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The Underworld of London 1923

The Underworld of London 1923

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Published by Mr Thane
The Underworld of London 1923
The Underworld of London 1923

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THE UNDERWORLD OF LONDON

All Rights Resebved

BY SIDNEY THEODORE FELSTEAD i <J o€ O £>• LONDON JOHN MURRAY. ALBEMARLE STREET. ETC. W. 1923 .(THE I UNDERWORLD OF LONDON AUTHOR OF "THE BLOODSTAINED PEARL" "GERMAN SPIES AT BAY." ETC.

Printed in Great Britain by Hasell.. . London and Aylesbury. Watson & Viney. Ld.

But I am pleased to say that within the last few years there has been a very great change in the direction of giving the erring ones a chance to reform. vii . sent them to prison in their adolescent years and thereby rendered them prey on their fellow-men. product of a penal system which . from the closest personal observation.hing. depends These denizens of the deep but rarely come to the ere is But you may see them in the police courts and the criminal courts. talking a language that is the veriest jargon to ordinary beings.PREFACE a London of which many people know Beneath the whirling currents of our great . social life there exists a strange world inhabited softy's men and women whose existence more or less by on crime. is . feel nothing but sorrow they are the creatures of the environment. Magistrates and judges are now vested with such extensive discretionary powers that one may safely say the bad old days of not so very long ago. with their profession written on their face. that the average criminal not to be condemned rather should he be commiserated with on the manner in which our hitherto barbarous laws have done everything but assist him to a better life. For most of them one can surface. unfit for anything except to I would say.

It is the spectacle of their weeping wives which hurts most. bad their periodical encounters^they regard the police with a philosophic resignation \ J Q irresistibly strikes one as humorous. For themselves they care but little. . if one but knew it. What an since the close I excellent augury war the Home Office has been enat ! The something like a dozen prisons have written in this book are all sketches fro i though the names given are necessarily ficl There is a very human side to the people of the Few of them are inhe world. ha\ for the future it when we hanged women never to return. Some of it I have endeavoured to portray in the forthcoming pages. make you despair of They are quite prepared their ultimate reformation. to admit. late S. It would be a hard-hearted man who could regard unmoved the sight of some unfortunate woman sobbing in hopeless misery when a magistrate is compelled to send her breadwinner to gaol.viii PREFACE for shoplifting. even if it . . London. that they do not like going to prison.^ life. when you expostuwith them. F. But there is humour as well as sorrow in the life of the underworld. T. December 1922.

. 33-77 . — — — pp.. ..CONTENTS I THE NIGHT HAWKS The cardsharpers' resorts — Breakfast clubs — — Swellnight crooks — Confidence tricksters — Great Marlborough Street — Birds of prey pp. 168-219 . III THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD burglars Jewel thieves The Bank of Engraving Smooth-tongued scoundrels The confidence trick Receivers Master — — — Some criminal characters . II NEMESIS ON WHEELS The Squad — Burglars and their ways — A famous character —The Flying Titanic gang of pickpockets — Dope dramas— Motor-car thieves — Raffles up to date — Race-course ruffians — Humours of the criminal world —Adventures by night pp. 78-167 I IV TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER Girls who Blackmailers of the trade steal — Tragic stories — Dealings with the aristocracy— —Picture fakers — A Chinese romance—Humours pp. ... . 1-32 Sham Bohemianism — London retreat .

264-301 .220-2(\3 VI \ THE DOPE SMUGGLERS — A night widespread traffic A in Soho —Profits in — The evil cocaine —Where the drug clubs — Women night is sol in the pp.CONTENTS V STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS Women who bluff The Pitiful pictures Professional kleptomaniacs How thieves shopkeepers — —West — — drama are of a fur coat-— made— • Trickin End crooks PP.

To-day it lappens that some pleasure-sated girl dies from an BPverdose of cocaine or morphia. and people merely l .THE UNDERWORLD OF LONDON i THE NIGHT HAWKS London by day and London by night are two of the most different places in the world. When the shadows of evening begin to fal there comes a change The business people in the character of the streets. We Dleasures. that the thought of a night club haunted by negroes and West End Chinamen peddling poisonous drugs to stupid women would have aroused a thrill of horror in the land. with an irresistible demand that such a place should immediately be swept out of existence. scuttle off to their suburban homes and are replaced by the pleasure seekers. supplied to her by of some black or yellow parasite. And in the trail of the 'atter come the hawks whose profession it is to prey 1 /n society. less than s ten to be precise. are not improving in the way we take our It is not so many years ago.

and he knows his job well enough. It has nothing to do with them. to The harmless rowdiness which we used . What would happen if you should chance to purloin temporarily a taxi-cab I shudder to think. There is very little humour to be got out of a taximan today. and comitching for promotion. bought tha largest lobster they could find. The End One plain truth of the matter is that the West of London is growing sedate in its pleasures." and the time when a couple of boys from Oxford could have a magnificent evening's enjoyment by mounting the box of a hansom cab while the driver was conveniently sipping the brew in some near-by public-house. .2 THE NIGHT HAWKS shrug their shoulders. days has gone for ever in its place have succeeded pleasures carefully arranged by men and women whose life is devoted to keeping track of in those know the latest forms of human dissipation. and promptly proceeded to crack it on the head of their nearest You long for even the rough horseacquaintance. pastimes of the mid-Victorian days have been displaced by more subtle forms of enjoyment. hardly dares slide down the banisters of a Piccadilly restaurant these times without grave risk of being handed over to some zealous young constable The boisterous. paratively harmless. but one sadly misses the old hansom driver and his ready tongue. He is civil. play of the days gone by when George Leybourne " used to sing Champagne Charlie. certainly. so why should they worry ? It makes one sigh when you think of the boisterous days when hilarious undergraduates down from the 'Varsities for the Long Vacation rolled into any fashionable restaurant in Piccadilly.

Actors and actresses. seeking. They succeeded in importing Montmartre into London. place where people belonging to the theatrical profession could call when they had finished work about midnight somewhere to have a little supper and meet a few kindred souls. clubs which night a few Only years ago any mention of a club whose membership was exclusively confined to the underworld and admitted both men and women would Nothing West End of immediately have called forth a storm of criticism. . failings of humanity. like birds of prey. to batten on the .SHAM BOHEMIANISM 3 We have it . and so far as they were immediately concerned the night club was quite a harmless place. they all liked to forgather after the evening's show and talk over the events of the night. Even before the era of nigger bands they had succeeded in obtaining licences for night clubs which were nothing better than meeting-places for the male and female denizens of the underworld. The Americans began the type of night rendezvous which has brought the whole thing into disrepute. Such clubs have multiplied considerably since the days when negro bands and jazz music first emitted their discordant blare to the startled ears of London Originally the idea of a night club was a people. all in the West End of London to-day— certain night clubs which are nothing but houses of the dance clubs which carry matters assignation along a little further the sham restaurants and hotels where a horde of unscrupulous men and women gather nightly. is more typical of the changing life in the London than the crop of disreputable have sprung up in the last few years. — musical conductors. and authors. managers.

anything but a cigar or cigarette with your dinner you could not possibly be admitted to the club unless you were a member or were accompanied by one. and the youth of England. fairly swamped the better. Bunny-hugs and turkey-trots.class amazingly. of course. generally came to the conclusion that it was jolly fine fun dancing down the wee sma' hours with a beautiful young woman prepared to enjoy herself without thought of the morrow. in capital letters. The gravity with which they examine the credentials of a would-be member would have deceived a saint. you were to play at being in High Society . Evening dress is insisted on you are not permitted to smoke moral — . fluttering its wings in the bright glare of London life. It is all very amusing. places. really must carry their During the war the night clubs of London prospered Newly-made young officers. What a change to be ushered into a luxuriouslyfurnished dining-room where very capable waiters exactly what was wanted. where you could whisper sweet nothings into the shell-like ear of the And was lady and nobody took the slightest notice ! knew . anyone who and one admit that the proprietors of these clubs little bluff on exceedingly well. descending upon London determined to do or die in an effort to have a good time. They do things very well in these haunts of the fashionable demi-mondaine. drink could be obtained at any hour. to really understands the purpose of it all.4 THE NIGHT HAWKS Dancing took place all through the night. Gaby glides and slides the youngsters took them all in and the night club the finest thing voted unanimously ever invented. In short.

and of its luxurious dressing-rooms receiving Tommy's kit and tin hat. where beautiful women and handsome youths had so often chased the fleeting hours with twinkling feet. Bond Street there is another luxurious club. dinners. who knows everybody in the West End of London. the Embassy. Ciro's provides it all.M.A. someone in the 5 not even the noise of a jazz-band music compared War Office with a sardonic touch of humour thought that Ciro's. You have to pay for it. .C. conducted by that justly celebrated prince of tactfulness. That brought the war home to some of our social butterflies. . Jack Cordell. the elite of all night clubs. There was many a sigh from the lovely ladies at the thought of such terrible sacrilege and the mental spectacle of huge cups of tea and thick scones being served in the place of the dainty suppers and champagne of other days. Ciro's has been restored. dances. and has more acquaintances among stage people than anybody living. run by Mr. Over in High Life in the West. where all the latest things in American dances are seen and heard. being given over to a resting-place for tired soldiers. would make an excellent home Was there for a West End branch of the Y. if nothing else did.LONDON'S NIGHT CLUBS to the crash of a bursting shell ? Sad to say. With clubs . Well. ever an unkinder cut ? To think of that palatial ! building in Piccadilly. and once again houses the fashionable people who love to live the Swagger lunches and elegant and high-class music. Then there is Murray's Club in Beak Street. They do things very lavishly at the Embassy their chef is said to be second to none in Europe. Luigi Naintre. of course exclusiveness was ever expensive.

Murray's. open the other on hand. of course. eight o'clock the place begins to till fill up. . Keep spending is their motto. owing to the fact that many of these clubs hold their licences. Business commences about midday. Gone. you separate Ciro's. They are frankly conducted an eye to fleecing their members and their friends. and the some of the night clubs of London are that Embassy.m. these outcasts of life of London. They with time. One sees the cocaine sniffer in force nowadays at small night clubs. are the noise and laughter which used to greet you at 3 a. Since the Liquor Control Board stopped the sale of drink at 10 p. they may do much " " as they like in these night clubs. and things go with a swing till midnight. It is after . Nothing really happens About night. apparently for ever.m. in the shortest possible One cannot give names. and outwardly at least adhere to the fringe of respectability. short of harbouring convicted criminals. particularly the latter. to They may not actually be dissuspicion. and you keep your popularity. in these clubs. Otherwise. when a few tired-looking members stroll in to get a matutinal drink and then perhaps a trifle of lunch. They police. the night are not really clubs at all. there has been a sad falling-off in the one-time hectic gaiety of the night clubs. are under the constant supervision of the and take exceedingly good care that they do not infringe drink regulations. they are hardly places reputable where a decent man would take his sister.6 THE NIGHT HAWKS such as these absolutely no kind of fault could be found.

and during the time that the supply of young officers lasted was run on the most " discreet lines. Bohemian wo. but the magistrate. gradually one-time exclusive rooms. both male and found their way into its sub " on gaiety All sorts of un- female. this once-fashionable club has departed into the The owner pleaded (So limbo of things forgotten. the Cafe de l'Europe. desirable creatures. in Glasshouse Street. changing out of all Gone for ever are the old haunts of the recognition. is by no means sorry to see the last of them. In their places have arisen gigantic tea-shops. where theatre. ignorance. This club nourished for quite a considerable time during the war. where rents are [being pushed A few of [cheaper and public scrutiny less keen. and the proprietor.THE CHANGING WEST END 7 Midnight sees the last of most of the members. (them 2 still keep their end up. Id like the Provence. Such a one was that conducted by Leicester of woman in the neighbourhood Square. it is true. mainly by . Occasionally the police raid the less reputable much money a night clubs. having no opportunity of making after that time. The old haunts of the night birds are gradually into the back streets.and cinema-goers take their families after The night life of London is the matinees. But the passing of the youthful bent made the place deteriorate. and when the police finally made their appearance it had degenerated into nothing but a resort of the underworld. who held that the proprietor would not exactly be an (innocent abroad. was loth to swallow such a yarn. and the Brighton.

there is the club or common garden night ordinary luncheon club. you are as they say in the vernacular. should funds temporarily run short. One particularly evil result of the change driven underground. usually brought along by . You may join a variety of clubs in London nowaThere is the days. enjoyment your appetite is the very latter This club. you will find plenty of dance clubs. a breakfast to go along latest thing and is exclusively for those night birds who have danced and dissipated themselves hungry. . if until the small hours of the morning still remains for unsatisfied. only reasonable to constant without that conclude police supervision these disreputable night clubs will continue to cater is that vice is to the criminal world. I should say. and one cannot but wonder where it will all end. . jj — . or. where you may trip the light fantastic and then. On top of this you may like to become a member of a supper club if this fails to satisfy your Bohemian tastes.8 THE NIGHT HAWKS Night clubs situated places in all sorts of out-of-the- reason of the fact that they do a lucrative restaurant trade. . enter club premises to no have End the West power it seems and a without warrant. The eventual result cannot be anything but harmful. one a friend. way are absorbing the old patrons of the Provence and the Europe. now-a-nights. The profits are large enough to stand such losses. content to be raided and closed down now and then. of the fair sex. The proprietor makes his members on the doormat That is. Nearly all the proprietors of the lesser-known night clubs work hand-in-glove with their women in many cases actually finance them and members. without The police patrolling necessarily being destroyed.

a man in his shirt-sleeves comes rushing after you. taxi-drivers. they are going to do it. after having cashed a cheque at a bank. is that the same old crowd is to be found there night after night. morning. you won't send these birds of the night home by legislaIf they want to stay up to five o'clock in the tion. and being desirous of taking to a more honest form of livelihood before retribution overtook him. ! . how useful it is that the police should be able to find Harry when he is needed Besides. to inform there has mistake and that you must return the money to him in exchange for the cheque. asks you to sign a form. If Harry So-and-so should be wanted in re a little matter of burglary. One of the beauties of the night club. which is It isn't.THE BREAKFAST CLUB You 9 " " the all right are vouched for as being . owner has a good look at you. but you are not supposed in the envelope. and a sprinkling of jays. and it is known that Harry is in the habit of frequenting a certain club near Tottenham Court Road in his off moments. where he can indulge in robbery to his heart's content without fear of the law. some well" known criminals. bought a night club. the inventor made quite a been a slight useful little thing at it. That is. an envelope in his hand. there is one thing absolutely certain. and elects you then and there. It is quite a varied collection you will find at one Ladies of the breakfast clubs eating bacon and eggs. the sole inventor and patentee of that clever He is little trick in which. from the police point of view. to know that. in evening dress profession vaguely designated as cinema actress apaches. law or no law. Anyhow." The — — proprietor is quite a famous man in his way.

genteel name. dream that the sleek. asks you to join him in a little stimulant. it may be taken and card games. it is excellent advice to the stranger in to have nothing to do with affable gentlemen who chum up to him in strange places. which dear. should a stout. Everything is done very well at the Cardsharpers' There is no ostentation. — — These accomplished play. no more Only astonishing place than the Cardsharpers' Club. Especially is If by this so in the neighbourhood of Piccadilly. Oh It bears a nice. and then invite you into the cardroom to make one at bridge . and you would never Club. no never arouses the slightest suspicion in the mind of ! the pigeon invited there for plucking purposes. and then inquires whether you will do him the honour of lunching with him at It is highly his club. dexterously pumps you as to your business. white-coated steward is a well- . Now.10 THE NIGHT HAWKS ii To anybody who knows the underworld of the West End of London there is. to the Cardround will take he that you probable sharpers' Club it is just round the corner where he will treat you to an excellent lunch. a short distance from Piccadilly Circus. do not accept the invitation. perhaps. gentlemen play for granted that they play ever so much better than or whatever game you all you do. well-spoken gentleman any chance speak to you while enjoying a morning refresher in London the American bar of a well-known hotel. it is the meeting-place of half the swell confidence-men and cardsharpers in London. They do not call it the Cardsharpers' Club.

chemin-de-fer. baccarat. tempt the they ." It will never the cheque he gives will be a be presented. and when the opportune moment (arrives away in hard cash. soft of tongue and wise diplomatic of manner. ecarte. vingt-et-un." who fiercely demands his revenge. but they if will the cards have sadly misused their skill with they do not win thousands. who would be able to say that all these seemingly well-to-do men were anything but business men such as are to be found at twenty West End clubs in the in course of a day. and skilfully do " " I mug on with varying fortune. it is all one to them. Rather do they prefer to let lose. poker. The other loser. apparently. will also pay. You will doubtless be two of you will lose asked to make one of four but you will be the only one that really pays anything " you win a be just little there.THE CARDSHARPERS' CLUB 11 " known criminal famous for his skill with the boards. will suggest a visit to his flat. The sons of rich men are the prey these night hawks For weeks will they lay the bait to catch some seek. it will Or." tfor would there be any clue to tell you that the numerous gentlemanly-looking individuals who drift and out are anything but respectable citizens. if you should whet your appetite The individual who has you in hand for revenge. Stacking the cards is their business. — " dud. unless he happened to be an experienced detective. sufficient to . Dressed in irreproachable taste. where everything is anxious to quiet and there are no fellow-members take a hand in the plucking. Ifoolish youth. It is doubtful whether they will attempt to fleece you at the Cardsharpers' Club. he would indeed be a man. Bridge. " " even common banker or nap.

He. and put into prison. however. and his arrest on a charge of cardsharping along with his confederate caused a great sensation among hundreds of people who knew him for a fashionably-dressed. and living on the fat of the land. They were both caught. and They regarded there as being at the top of their profession. Both were members of the Cardsharpers' Club. He was at Bad Homburg when the war came. and both received heavy sentences. in company with another notorious London It is I was in « cardsharper calling himself Major Delahunty. posing as Colonel Chapman. while the other plucked their feathers. not generally known that the elder of the pair Germany when war broke out. was the stool pigeon. gentlemanly young American of charming manners. or whether they should remain in prison. engaged in rooking the wealthy visitors who annually take the cure at the Spa. The " Colonel " . said. with champagne and heavy cigars. and him plying when his senses have become bemused they will rook him with impudent recklessness.12 THE NIGHT HAWKS will sit up all the night with their victim. it may be He trapped the birds. Two of the cleverest crooks ever laid by the heels in recent years were a pair of Americans who had been living in London for years. The " Colonel " and the gallant " " Major were promptly arrested by the Germans as British military officers. as a result of the pluck of one of their victims. who always seemed to have plenty of money to spend. staying at the most expensive hotels. For quite a long time the pair cogitated on whether they should tell the Germans what they really were. The younger in particular was tremendously popular in the West End.

has not Unfortunately. and was then exchanged. the Major returned just in time to see his " " old friend the Colonel arrested. the Germans could not legally detain him once he had established his nationality. He got back to England after " a great deal of trouble. that you have reached the top of the tree. the Major his work hard was ever distasteful to kept promise him. and the shock was so great to his war-shattered nerves that he then and there vowed never to touch a card again as long " " as he lived. so high apparently that two of the party forgot the old adage of honour among thieves. The stakes were fairly high.BIRDS OF PREY 13 decided the matter. To be made a member of the Cardsharpers' Club is almost equivalent to a stage illusionist being elected You can then truthfully say to the Magicians' Club. but the Major. and of a financial standing sufficient to ensure not rooking the club or your fellow-members. Anyhow. Being an American citizen. guaranteed able to keep clear of the police. Not so very long ago grave trouble occurred in a perfectly friendly game of poker which took place in the club between four of the best-known members. even if he was nothing but a common crook. one of them produced four aces when it ultimately came to a show-down. You have to be vouched for as a firstclass man. No. you must be a soft-spoken gentleman with manners suitable for the Diplomatic Service before the committee will look at you." being a The Germans British subject. threw him into Ruhleben. had no such luck. known to all racegoers. where he repromptly mained until 1918. while his trickster . Sad " " to say. Not for the Cardsharpers' Club is the common three-card .

and are making their way out of the Cardsharpers' like respectable family Club of an evening. to be seen They work in pairs. old tale of legacies to distribute and an honest man (with cash security) wanted to handle the money. Just occasionindividual of some unfortunate one hears caught ally with the old. How the presence of the fifth ace was explained to the committee the writer never heard. and the big men of the game. speaking faultless English. although it is an undoubted fact that the United States has produced Why more the clever swindlers of this type than all the rest of world together. have come to London. Nearly all the successful confidence-men in London this should be are Australians or Americans. sighing for other worlds to conquer. so is difficult to understand. they never fail to impress strangers to London with their talk of family estates in Ireland or Scotland. Always dressed in the height of fashion. these confidence-men.14 THE NIGHT HAWKS opponent without a blush put down a royal flush. The writer even knew one high" class con. Presumably the Americans taught the Australians their gentle art (Sydney is overrun with Americans). when by selling you a parcel of perfectly worthless shares he can keep himself free from criminal prosecution and go on his way rejoicing that his victim has 1 got something for his money ? There are dozens of swell confidence-men living in the luxurious hotels of the West End doing nothing but living on the other guests. looking men wending their belated way home. Why should he. but in the main your up-to-date confidenceman doesn't touch such crude affairs."-man who posed as the possessor of a . or maybe Wales.

just to oblige his friend. who offered to sell him a parcel of oil shares considerably below the par price because they had been left on the hands of an underwriter friend The " con. he must needs walk about London in his cadet's uniform."-man hanging became angry. offered to take latter 12s. instead of 11*. and generally gave an excellent impression of having been coerced into an exceedingly bad bargain. who ought to have known better. It only meant were sure to rise. "-man produced the shares. "-man brought of his. Next day the " con. There was a certain North-country manufacturer. Most of the people who are defrauded by confidencemen deserve all they get. asked what the deuce his friend meant by making a fool of him. Under the influence of another " bottle " the underwriter grew more amenable. The police saw him. although the " seemed rather diffident of letting the shares go. The on con.THE CONFIDENCE TRICK 10. was roped into the Army under the Military Service Act. They " for a few months. " " his underwriter along to his hotel.000-acre estate in the Isle of this individual. he thought. a share. and so impressed his officers that he was recommended for a commission in the Guards Unfortunately. and it was not until he got back to his native town . In nine cases out of ten that have come under the notice of the writer the victim thought that he was getting something for nothing. "-man. ! 15 Man During the an exceedingly handsome young fellow. It looked good. and that was the end of his commission.000 not long ago to a specious young American war ! con. and the manufacturer had to interpose to prevent the pair from almost coming to blows. who lost £6. and the North-countryman passed over his cheque.

patronised by all the leading cardsharpers and confidence-men about lunch time. how soon the come round to subjects of mutual interest. If any of my readers should chance to enter that bar. Nearly all the high-class confidence-men in London are expert cardsharpers. who makes a ! lucrative " living acting as legal adviser to the con. and it may be said forthwith that they are much too knowing ever to put themselves within the reach of the law. it will amuse him to note the subtle fashion in which one of the men will get into conversation with him. and the enormous number of people the new friend talk will . after cleverly sighting a possible victim. if only to remind them not to get caught again. the two proex-solicitor's fessions are so closely interwoven that they might almost be compared to that of a physician and surgeon.16 THE NIGHT HAWKS a few days later that his broker enlightened him that the shares were those of a company in which the Stock Exchange had refused permission to trade Perhaps the cleverest confidence-man in the world solicitor who has been struck off the rolls. Not a hundred miles from Piccadilly Circus there is a famous restaurant with an equally famous bar. will proceed to " operate " with never a touch of pain to the patient. "-men and cardsharpers when they run foul of the law. this Always give your victims something. One term of ! There is one such imprisonment is enough for them individual well-known to the writer. There are several of these men in London."-man. is advice to all confidence-men. usually the is for embezzling clients' money. In fact. Certainly there is something nearly as dexterous as the surgeon's knife in the manner in which a high-class " con.

the number of great men with whom he is on familiar is terms astonishing — if it were true. quietly and cleverly lifting watches. in to the streets of the West End of London begin with pleasure seekers is the time when the society pests who infest every great city sneak forth fill When in search of prey. should you happen to be one of the initiated. snatching at bags. and pace impatiently up and down.MODERN OLIVER TWISTS will 17 know in your part of the world. Later in the evening.I. With a confederate stationed out on the kerbstone to keep a close watch for the C. Really. cleverly. not even disdaining the chance of imperceptibly stealing a valuable fur loosely thrown over the shoulders of a fair owner. the pickpockets hustle their way along the crowded passages. striding now and then to the congested door. over the last halfpenny.D. seek their prey among the wealthy people . they will walk into the foyer of a well-known theatre. The swell members of the " profession " work much more they pouring into the theatres. men from Vine Street. you may see them dividing the spoils of the evening. inevitable outcry is raised. like the petty sneak-thieves they are. as though waiting for an unpunctual member of the fair sex. squabbling. Gangs of pickpockets get busy among the crowds surging forth from the underground stations. the pickpockets are off like not for them to be on hand when the lightning . As cool as a cucumber. Once a haul is made. as though waiting for someone. Immaculately got up in evening dress.

. One needs to be in the company of a West End detective to identify all the crooks who infest the bars of Soho and Piccadilly . He jostles the incoming ladies and their male escorts with beautifully" his apology of Oh. ask you to have a drink if you appear sufficiently impressionable. Alas it is too late then. ! his going. The thief has disappeared into the night. so sorry. aires at least. a stranger unused to the machinations of the gentry who get their living by their wits would excusably be deceived by their and irreproachable clothes. the offers of hospitality which pour in are truly plausible conversation There is amazing ! The writer vividly remembers visiting a . " " Their eye for a mug is truly marvellous they will size you up as you walk in. Ten times more nauseous than the pickpocket or the sneak-thief are the innumerable well-dressed scoundrels to be found in the bars of the publichouses and cafes which surround Piccadilly Circus. a humorous side to taking a walk with a detective through the West End of London at night.18 THE NIGHT HAWKS Wonderful are the opportunities such visits to the door give to the expert pickpocket. and relate stories of racehorses they own in a manner calculated to give one the idea that they are million. owner has even the fair before comprehended appear it is rarely that any loss is disthe slightest danger covered until the wearer is inside the theatre undoing her wraps and unconsciously puts her hand up to see that her trinkets are displayed to the best advantage. Walk into a public-house frequented by criminals ." imperceptible intent Jewels disis all that a gentleman's should be. and nobody has witnessed the way of .

That's all right.D." disappeared thought you " Not likely. and under cover of the conversation which went on. " Are you going to have I know when I'm well off." shouted a flashily dressed " What'U you individual standing at the counter. There was no getting out of it. He financier to half the thieves . He acts as and pickpockets known to the police. He likes to tell me all his troubles probably he thinks I am to be squared when he does his next little job. ." said the would-be hospitable one. ' ' . at Vine Street. have ? " " " " I Oh. and will always persist in regarding me in the light of a family solicitor. for had good. " what'll your friend have as well ? had our drink at the expense of the man who had greeted us. Mr." said our self-appointed host . " a drink ? " No. " " We — So far as I could see. about forty years in gaol. a first-class collection of lags. Oh." my friend said. I asked " he said.SWELL CROOKS certain bar in 19 C. and wouldn't stick at murder if he thought it would save him from going to gaol.I. " That chap who asked us to have a drink is one " ' him who they all were. is it ? my friend said drily.' " That one sitting down. " Wardour Street with a friend in the Our reception was wonderful. Hullo. in to have something with my I just dropped old pal here.of the biggest scoundrels in London. nearly all the occupants of the bar were old acquaintances of my friend." indicating a highly respectable-looking old gentleman sipping at some hot " He has done is a high-grade housebreaker. whisky." indicating " myself. thanks. . it's you.

they do it like a shot. keep in touch with these fellows. dabbles in the confidence trick. " After the day's work " at the races is over. and with a willingness somewhat suspicious in its spon" hundred " on as a taneity they offer to get you a strict personal favour and in view of the fact that — . treat themselves to a good " " business has been good during the day. though if a potential mug should walk into the spider's parlour it will not be their fault if he happens to escape unharmed." The racecourse crooks are specially clannish. they come up to the West End. " " do not trouble about " busiUsually the boys " " " ness at night. of the " mugs " they have found. They always have on hand wonderful stories of immense coups about to be brought off in the near future. they think they can curry favour with us by giving a pal away. if and then adjourn to some public-house. where they relate boastful tales of their prowess." Round about the West End of London there are any number of bars and clubs where the leading lights of the criminal world forgather." my " Now and again you get a continued.20 THE NIGHT HAWKS battens on women. of a job coming whisper if There is no such thing as honour among thieves I like to " friend . and generally makes quite a good living fleecing mugs. off which is distinctly useful.' Just look at him with his diamond pin and fine cigar He looks as though he were rolling in ' ! money. and the wonderful schemes which certain owners and trainers are hatching in an effort to catch the bookmakers. meal. to drink and " chatter over the gossip of their particular profession.

common attraction of cheap gambling." a little higher in the social clubs in the West End. spending the money extracted from their unfortunate victims. French." many the dozens of foreign waiters who come sneaking into these clubs at midnight. You cannot all help pondering on the cause which brought those aliens to the great city of London . and. you may come across a tall stately Afghan peddling rugs . Italian. flash bookmakers of Jewish appearance. ten talking " Others of the boys. and after to scale. English crooks. An illumination in human psychology is a visit to a club of the night hawks. of the world's races extraordinary conglomerations come to be gathered under the one roof for the . indeed. desperately keen for a gamble after the toil and stress of their day and night in a crowded restaurant. what upheaval in their lives made them flee to a foreign country and there drag out a life of heart-rending toil by day and vicious dissipation by night. Occasionally you may even faro find a Chinaman or a gambling appeals. belong — dining luxuriously depart thereto. You will find there everyvery little that thing that is bad in humanity wonders One how these remotely approaches good. where they play and poker with whosoever may come along. Hindoo among those to whom impassive losers and equally un- impressionable winners. Or. perchance.COSMOPOLITAN LONDON you are a good 21 fellow almost before you have been minutes. Wonderfully cosmopolitan is the crowd of men to be found in the foreign clubs of Soho. men of all races. and Swiss waiters. " " not adept in handling There are few of the boys " a victim do they find among and the boards.

W . or in desperation. and are palmed off on credulous Londoners as the product of far-famed Basrah in Persia.22 THE NIGHT HAWKS around the public-houses of West End London. still in the scarlet fez. rugs which come from the Midlands of England. hoping against hope that you will give them the price of the box and not bother to take their pitiful little stock-in-trade ? What are the tragedies behind the lives of the thousands of beautiful women who walk the street. poor representations of human beings that offer you a box of matches with a look of mute appeal. still in his robes What of crimson velvet. or in what way do they earn a living ? It is one of the mysteries of our modern civilisation that nobody has yet been able to elucidate. ) London is truly marvellous Innocence and vice rub shoulders with a cheerful ignorance and indifference amazing in its extent. bawling aloud in excellent English that he has the winner of At night he will be in Soho. footsore and weary. and there see a Soudanese tipster clad in all the gorgeous robes of the African desert. gambling the next race away the proceeds of his day's work. you may go on one of our racecourses. seek the refuge of the cafes which are commonly known to be the trysting-houses of people of their class ? What becomes of them after their attractive- ness has vanished. never to return ? Do they become flower sellers. Perhaps our cosmopoliour tans are responsible for this untoward tolerance T est End of foreigners have certainly converted the ! . tragedy of the desert sands can have sent him to England to become a low-down racecourse tout ? How many shattered lives are there dragging out ! a miserable existence in Piccadilly and Leicester Square. Stranger still.

who sizes you up with uncanny accuracy. with never a protest concerning the lateness of the hour. trying to send us home to our beds before midnight. when Jovial Jehu. Vice. where sin and sorrow ruffle it with the best. Where is it all going to end ? Will these parasites 3 . The purse-proud bourgeoise woman from the Suburbs glances with envious eye at the daring corsage of a Frenchwoman.m. London is trying to grow good. in the hope that the night life of the greatest city in the world will gradually disappear. and in her heart of hearts wonders [if she dare imitate is it. if you gild it lavishly always attractive. growls something about you wanting to go in the opposite direction to which he lives. In his place has come along another type of Jehu. known again. cracking his long whip. London has been growing dull of recent Supper parties are becoming things of the but if the past liquor control has seen to that restrictions were removed. it is quite on the cards that the old-time gaiety of the London night club will be yet times. The law is trying to make us all good boys and girls. . occasions.VANISHED DAYS 23 iLondon into an international bourse. Gone for ever are the old roystering days of the hansom cab. And — . would whirl you home through the crowded streets at 1 a. Perhaps that explains !the insidious appeal of certain types of vice thoughts of the aftermath rarely intrude themselves on such enough. and refuses to budge unless you guarantee him double fare. The powers-that-be are attempting to cleanse the streets of the night hawks who creep forth from their obscure lodgings to prey upon pleasure-seeking humanity. Frankly.

It is the court which deals with all the malefactors captured in the West End of London. in surroundings which are ten times more dangerous to the unAnd along with the women have gone sophisticated. unheeded by Police have not succeeded in ridding authority ? The Women's the West their End of the thousands of . Situated at the back of the far-famed Palladium music-hall. in criminal knocking quick this morning. women who get they have only driven them to the dark streets of Soho. of the hundred and one forms of petty criminality which have been brought to light the day and night preceding. " " Knocking 'em off is the slang term " circles.24 THE NIGHT HAWKS of society disappear for good in the face of the law's Will they seek pastures new ? or will strictures ? they merely be driven to conducting their nefarious practices in the more popular suburbs." you will hear a detective say to a waiting comrade. Great Marlborough Street takes in all the night hawks and passes sentences on them with a speed that can only I come from long practice. there stands the Police Court of Great Marlborough Street. iv . At Great Marlborough Street two magistrates sit turn by turn and dispose. with smartness which gives the lie direct to those who talk of the long-drawn-out processes of the British law. the innumerable society pests who batten on the living failings of by doubtful means human nature. . just on the outskirts of Soho. which probably means that the case in Freddy's off 'em .

" " Any questions to ask the witness ? inquires the self-possession. a varied collection that the magistrate has to Case number one will deal with of a morning. you might not think so. is certainly an adept He at going through his lengthy list with celerity.D. not in custody.THE STIPENDIARY jwhich the 25 will two C. The lady steps down from the dock." although he might not had need to Like all be. But there is no the woman idly watches need for his precaution the police witness go into the box and testify that at 11 p. otherwise he would never get home." " passed. " Freddy.I. ushers her in and stands at the gate that gaoler she shall not attempt to escape. The air of pained surprise as the uniformed constable reads out a list of twenty previous infringements of officer if is excellently done. he knows all the old hands who regularly appear before him. upbraided him in language that he preferred to write down. though if you were to hear him ask the court j the accused had any previous convictions. your Worship. be a giggling young woman. on the night previous the accused was creating a disturbance in Piccadilly with another woman. magistrate. stipendiary magistrates in London. The . men are interested be feel highlyflattered at such familiarity." or seven is the sentence shillings days.m. The lady " Forty tosses her pretty head and says No. and after being warned to go away. hunts out her . prior to passing sentence. who walks into the tiny dock with great law and order It is born of long practice. well known to probably the police. coming on before long.

Follows another young woman. only magistrate behind his severely judicial manner is a kindly heart. and he discharges the shaking girl with a caution to keep away from the West End of a night. produces a couple of Treasury notes. It is her first appear- She ance. Who is this next captive of the law that is escorted What can be the meaning of the long. and watches with a puzzled face the pre. and he in the is charged with ! Charing Cross Road overnight begging Not a word of English can the prisoner speak the services of an interpreter have to be requisitioned. The accused is an Arab from Algeria. of a similar type. a handsomelooking young man. but she is nervous and defiant. into the dock ? black-and-white robe that the accused. what it but well too knows means. liminaries of English justice.! and goes off to meet the demands of justice just as though she had purchased a new hat and was quite ready and willing to pay for it. tells the magistrate that he has seen the accused walking along Charing Cross Road accosting passersby. is wearing ? The answer is extraordinary enough in all conscience. fashionably dressed. shaking the coloured blanket beneath their noses. and she is fearful of being sent to gaol. wearing a spotlessly white clean collar of English pattern.26 THE NIGHT HAWKS vanity-bag. The prisoner stands in the dock. full of copper coins. young policeman in plain clothes gets into the witness-box and holding in his hand what appears A to be a piece of coloured blanket. The Accosting the opposite sex is the charge. looks down at her smart costume. . somewhat bedraggled after a night in the police-station adjoining the court.

It is a remarkable story that is told to the Court The beggar is the son of a well-known subsequently. Northern Africa. mmediately checks him and says that the accused :an only ask questions when the witness has finished. The man in satisfactory. The magistrate asks somewhat impatiently why the prisoner is wearing a student's gown of black and white. elicits the information that it is the usual dress of a horse-dealer in . language quite well. Algeria. 6d. From the gay city he wandered farther afield. the results had not been altogether unThere was 8. and the Interpreter. after questioning him. The interpreter bursts into Voluble French in an endeavour to explain but the who understands the magistrate. was indulging in invoking the charity of passers-by. 27 And. \rab horse-dealer in Oran. and afterwards went on to Paris to sample its far-famed delights. Brussels claimed his wandering fancy. It is a weak story. and there apparently tie had fallen into the hands of rogues and lost everyIt turous turn of mind. and as a means of temporarily raising the wind.?. in it.A MORNING'S BAG Bid saying in French. He understands a of word what is being said." in the According to the number " sous " appealing glance at the stout little interpreter standng beneath him. and looks with pot . would seem that the prisoner was of an advenHe had arrived in Marseilles rom Oran with some horses to sell. " Monnaie of un sou. especially how he had managed from Brussels. and the magistrate perplexity . with many gaps that required to get across in bridging. i:he dock appears even more puzzled. extemporised bag. thing. From the Belgian capital he made his way to London.

his business in Europe having been completed.28 THE NIGHT HAWKS remands the prisoner. authorities here. The prisoner had been in England for some twelve months. There is a wordy argument in Court. and it is suggested by the witness that he has failed to register himself as an American citizen owing to the possibility of his being extradited. Obviously it was to the interest of everyone that the prisoner should be sent back to his native Oran without delay. . his clever counsel does all the talking. and requests that the French Consul would see him about the matter. the trouble being something to do with company promotion. Up jumps the defending barrister. and eventually gets his client off with a penalty of £25 for non-registration. A change comes over the bustling atmosphere of the Court little when man there next appears a sprucely-dressed charged with failing to register himself as a foreigner. the man from the Home Office trying to impress the magistrate that the prisoner in the dock had tried to conceal himself in London to avoid being discovered by the American The accused keeps his mouth shut . the reason for which is made evident when a witness from the Home Office takes the oath and tells the interested magistrate that the prisoner is badly wanted in the United States in connection with a bill found by a Grand Jury. He assures His Worship with the deepest respect that his client has no intention whatever of evading the finding of the Grand Jury. There is something more behind this case than the failure to carry out a trifling formality. A well-known barrister informs the Court that he represents the accused. and in actual fact is returning to the States almost at once.

the Clad in greasy old clothes. in all conscience. barely able to the policeman who had taken him . and asked him whether he had anything to say in answer to the charge. the initiated realise that a ing Only clever fellow has bluffed the law most handsomely. but his tone is . and had not previously been before the Court. and only hopes they will let him go and die somewhere in peace. A poor old man is the next occupant of the dock. in hopeless despair. He had known story. 29 Office witness asks for an order for deportation magistrate refuses it. for the poor old relic of humanity in the dock had found a brick and smashed it through a window. The gaoler shouted the gist of the evidence to the old man. and he doesn't quite true He has been starving care what they do with him. keep his feet.. The prisoner nods again. The prisoner was seventy-seven. bleary of eye. and quavcringly tells His Worship that it is he did break the window. he is charged with breaking a pane of glass in a Regent Street shop. having counsel's assurance that his client is returnaccepted to the States. But apparently the garbage-tubs of wealthy London had deteriorated. and the gaoler finds it necessary to shout in The old man nods his ear the nature of the charge. and in charge tells his Pitiful it is. He is very deaf. . his occupation or means the accused for many years of sustenance was poking around the dust-bins of the West End. bowed with the weight of years. valued at 255. the constable said. in order that he might be locked up and get a little food. he tells the stilled Court.DREGS OF HUMANITY The Home . There is nothing in the impenetrable face of the magistrate to reveal what he thinks of this terrible commentary on our social system. for weeks.

invited him in when he had made the nature of his business known to her. the face. whereupon the witness gave him in charge. It is obvious to the meanest intelligence that the poor. the lady had attempted to trick . who says that the accused accosted him in Piccadilly. and a sentence of one month's hard labour is the end of it all. shattered body standing in the dock is not long for this world. the prisoner has nineteen ! his previous convictions against him for begging " no work " do not seem so plausible explanations of as they might have been. He is an old soldier. Comes a case of a type growing much too common Accused is a handsome trafficking in cocaine. Alas and alack however. re-enlisted on the outbreak of war. and requested alms. after- more than kindly tells wards asking for his discharge papers. a time-serving man who did twenty years in a crack Scottish regiment. A sturdy beggar succeeds the old man. young woman living in a luxurious flat close to Oxford Street. and somehow fell by the wayside. It sounds something of a hard case. — . and that the accused. who is a Russian Jewess. It is a common story that is told of him. But once inside.30 THE NIGHT HAWKS as he remands the old man and the gaoler to have him sent to the infirmary. Evidence for the prosecution is furnished by a stalwart sergeant. prisoner used language of the most violent type. and the magistrate carefully listens to what the man in the dock has to say. one that is growing all too common in the West End of London. The Scotland Yard detective who outlines the prosecution says that he called at the flat. thrust his discharge papers in his On being refused.

But in main the men and women. Accused tries to tempt witness from the path of He takes her to the police-station duty. accepted as bail for her in the dock the following daughter's appearance morning. the subject of the present proceedings. Witness snatches the bag away. Anna. they know Russia." He (the detective) hears the " woman call to her maid. where her mother." Followed a little drama of absorbing interest. after Street they the come across a Raffles in real life. that with the loss of their breadwinner there will be no option but to go back to inhospitable So they pass through the Mill of Justice morning Hawks that prey must naturally morning. Anna is discovered standing at an open window. too well do leave the court with faces set in despair .COCAINE AND CAJOLERY him . while she made arrangements to get " rid of the dope. industriously emptying small white packets down into the area basement. But eventually he sentences the pretty girl in the dock to five months' imprisonment. The mother and the maid. the little black bag. 81 end of the she had tried to head him off to a room at the flat. and finds it contains three packets of cocaine. interested spectators of the proceedings. be caught at times. but in vain. Quick. most of the latter . The sinners against society who live on their wits are but poor specimens of the genus Here and there at Great Marlborough criminal. a swarthy little Jewess speaking is little or no English. little black bag in hand. and she is led away weeping bitterly. There is much legal argument before the magistrate decides to convict.

merely are fall into the drag-net of the police circumstances. They are but the flotsam and jetsam of a great city's life.32 THE NIGHT HAWKS girls. . to be tossed hither and thither by influences over which they have no control. and are to be pitied rather than con- who of victims demned.

There was very little theory used in any of these instances. Scotland Yard 33 . I am referring to the C. a if you will believe the novelist. Scotland Yard does not lag behind the times. the Jacoby case at the Spencer Hotel in Portland Square. One would imagine that Scotland Yard. is place where a collection of uneducated. and many others. as a matter of fact. Now. typical cases being that of the murder of Irene Munro at Eastbourne. if well-meaning. Whatever the critics may say. from Sherlock Holmes and Sexton Blake downwards. Branch of course. policemen sit day after day calling into consultation all sorts of super-amateur detectives.D. Scotland Yard very rarely indeed permits The powers that be very itself to indulge in theory.II NEMESIS ON WHEELS Scotland Yard. has all its big crimes solved for it by theorists. much prefer sending a hard-headed detective to the scene of a serious crime. One of the lessons taught by the war was the immense value which lay in the possession of a mobile fighting force ready to proceed anywhere at a moment's notice. In recent years some of the " Yard " men have done brilliant detective work. the Armstrong poisoning case at Hay in Breconshire.I.

The new regime at Scotland Yard has worked wonders with the Flying Squadron. it is only a matter of minutes before the posse of detectives arrives on the scene ready for anything. this is due to mental telepathy or some other form of occult science not commonly understood by our hard-working criminal classes need not be W hether T . The Flying Squadron is really American in its inOur transatlantic cousins long ago evolved ception. so highly developed has the Intelligence " " Department at the Yard become. A fleet of fast motor-cars and motor-cycles lies at their diswhen a message is received calling the Flying posal Squadron to action.34 NEMESIS ON WHEELS therefore established a force known as the Flying Squadron. Inside of eighteen months there have been quite 500 criminals brought to justice. indeed. whose only profession is anything from burglary to Matters have reached such a stage pocket-picking. with here and there a murder to intensify the gravity of the situation. of the crime. the conditions which existed in Western America and London after the war have been somewhat similar. that the Flying Squadron is able to arrest criminals just as they are about to commit a crime. To a certain extent. the idea of rushing a car-load of sheriffs to the scene . most of them habitual offenders. which consisted of a special detachment of highly trained detectives who are on duty day and night ready to rush out in an emergency. In each case robbery with violence was of almost daily occurrence. for in the days when murder was so common in the Western States of America the police either caught their man in the first day or two after the crime or never at all.

so far as he is concerned. Late on the night of the projected robbery a big. nabbed before he even gets his hands on any swag. Drama. the robbers expected to reach their destination shortly after midnight. sleeping in his bed at night. made their way down the Old Kent Road. tr* rob a house thought to contain a rich collecunsportsmanlike tion of silver.THE FLYING SQUADRON stated. Nothing will ever surpass. In the course of its short career the Flying Squadron has enjoyed more thrills than could ever be provided by any cinema theatre. from the standpoint of spectacular drama. " 35 Sufficient to say that complaints as to the conduct of the police are growing Bill Sikes does not like being increasingly bitter. through Bermondsey. " The Flying Squadron had a job after its own heart. In some mysterious way it came to the ears of the Flying Squadron some little time ago that plans were being matured for a big burglary in South-east London. packed in a car driven by a famous detective-inspector. which runs from the Elephant and Castle. will be glad to hear of the Flying Squadron and its work. the midnight fight in the Old Kent Road with a motor-car full of burglars speeding on their way to robbery. fast car filled with detectives left the depot on the News had been received that track of the burglars. According to the information received. comedy. a well-known gang was going down by motor-car equipped with a first-class collection of housebreaking tools. The wails of a disgusted burglar will fall on deaf ears. But the humble taxpayer. and with a view to intercepting them the Flying Squadron. and pathos succeed each other with bewildering rapidity. tragedy. right into the heart of .

and only an occasional wayfarer could be seen making homewards. and tore down " the deserted road in pursuit. with the men in front leaning over the back of their car bawling defiance. For a minute the police were left behind.36 NEMESIS ON WHEELS The streets Kent. Racing furiously wheel to wheel. The detective-inspector pluckily took a chance of sending himself and his his men to perdition by running terrific straight I crash and into quarry. but it is safe to say that nothing has ever exceeded in dramatic thrills the fight which took place between the Flying Squadron and the gang of burglars that night. . The more powerful car of the Flying Squadron regained its advantage. There was a The Old Kent Road has been the scene of many exciting conflicts between criminals and police in the past. the detective" Pull up. leapt grinding from the police car the posse of detectives resolved to capture their prey at all costs. nearly everyone had gone to bed. and the detectives prepared to jump out of their car and make a rush for the suspected burglars. I Their triumph was but momentary. We are police inspector shouted out. Get ready for action." the officer in charge ordered as they drew near their quarry. Any doubt as to the intentions of the occupants of the car in front was dissi- pated when the police rushed up alongside in their car. Suddenly in the distance was seen another car. and bore down on the burglars. The Flying Squadron went full speed ahead." I The answer was a stream of oaths and the clapping on of more speed. were all quiet . while there two cars as the collided. officers.

But the presence of six well-known burglars going for a week-end. Women opened their windows and screamed. police-whistles blew. the defence was put forward that the burglarious kit had been placed in the car for the express purpose of enabling the injured innocents to be trapped by the police. while a fresh car was procured to enable the Flying Squadron to get back to the Yard. was a little too far-fetched for a long-suffering British jury. of them had to be six were there burglars — — knocked out by the Flying Squadron men before submit. evident became Uniformed police. would they They went down with all flags flying. and the verdict in each and every case was " guilty. and with their assistance the burglars were conveyed to the police-station. pants course they appeared at the London Sessions on a charge of attempting to commit a felony. summoned by the continual shriek of the whistles. on a Saturday night. when in due habitual and all were criminals." . with an up-to-date set of house-breaking implements aboard unknown to themselves.BATTLE WITH BURGLARS " 37 The burglars were game. miniature shouting and thudding of blows soon aroused the neighbourhood. via the Old Kent Road. and submitted to the " " handcuffs with stoical indifference once it that all further resistance was useless. and for a few minutes chaos unspeakable Practically all the reigned in the Old Kent Road." Probably aware of should they be captured. came running to the scene. In the back of the burglars' car was found a comThe occuplete kit of housebreaking implements. them the fate awaiting soon resolved itself into a which a fight they put up The battle.

used to receive many visitors." as they has a certain appropriateness comedy The Orchid. wondering how it was the Flying Squadron'" came to be going down the Old Kent Road at the same . She ran the business in receiver of stolen property." It would not be strictly accurate to! term "Robina" a lady. they were nothing' but " old lags. Not long ago the chief of the Flying Squadron came to the conclusion that the class of customer. . either. In fact." A plain-clothes man. conjunction with a man. To put the " Robina " is or was a matter quite plainly. was deputed to keep a watch on the place and report developments." as all the initiated call her. When Robina " was " doing time." the "husband" carried on. In point of fact.1 time as themselves. So it continued up to the time when this story commences. of one known to fame as in relating the story " Robina. little lady who's already known used to sing in that famous musical.! " Robina " is an whose chief " There's a certain I to notoriety rests the time that she at claim! woman.38 NEMESIS ON WHEELS six burglars. most of them the owners of' faces which caused people in the immediate neighbourhood to button up their pockets. So there are now inmates of His Majesty's 1 prisons. upon the fact that she is (during is not enjoying board and lodging " " fences public expense) one of the most famous elderly in London. " Robina " was receiving at her place of business wasi When the " husband " " i not altogether assuring. alleged to be her husband. i 1 — — was " doing time." " Robina I carried on. unknown to the lady in the case. In her little shop in the locality of the Euston Road " Robina. to fame.

" " Robina ? " asked her uninNothing at all.ROMANCE OF " " ROBINA " 39 her shop and went out. . Robina " left premises." he said with ungrammatical but dramatic brevity. I'll take my oath if you went all through the house you wouldn't find a single thing. The Squadron The door was carefully relatched. is it you ? " she wheezed. The Flying Squadron thought it an excellent opportunity to go One of the marauding party. with a knowledge of in. vited guest with suspicious gravity. " Oh dear oh dear " wailed " Robina. apparently resolved to brazen it out. a new leaf Well." pulled back. " Yes. when a fat hand was seen groping through the door. and the Squadron went downstairs to wait. strewed itself around in various negligent attitudes.'' " she said. it's me. under the bed evidently used by I Robina. Good heavens. Thus they waited for half an hour. pulled back the string which I Robina's was fastened to the latch and admitted the rest of Then they went on a tour of the the Squadron. ! ! ! ' ' 4 . The stuff was replaced. old dear. holding her heart. you won't find anything here. It would have added spice to a drama at the " Lyceum. " little ways. The latch was " Robina." sinking " Just when I had turned over heavily into a chair." they found the proceeds of three robberies. Need it be said that the object of her inquiry was an old acquaintance. Upstairs. Mr. and there entered " " of horror was worthy of Robina's genuine gasp a better setting than the dirty little shop off the Euston Road.

as a matter of fact. and included many well-known criminals. or was. which has been reserved for her for the space of eighteen months. we already have. select a likely victim. " It certainly must be admitted that the Titanic "! did their work A batch of[ well.! " " They adopted the name of Titanic because of their size. There is. Mr. and also because of their fancied invulnerTheir prowess became a byword among the! ability. big football ! matches. and do the actual picking ot the pocket." Working the crowded railway-stations. music-halls. while the ease with which they dodged the police made them the admired I of all the lesser fry of the profession." was the reply. " Robina " was still giving vent to her private.40 NEMESIS ON WHEELS " " You can ." said the lady. Nothing. The gang was about fifty! in number. a very large gang of pickpockets I in London recently known to fame as the " Titanic.. ! — . anywhere. while his confederates surrounded him. ready to let him through once the job was done. and presumably she is still doing so in the privacy of' her prison cell. in fact. It is the thirteenth time that " Robina " has been so provided for. so it is clear that another convert to the believers in unlucky numbers has been obtained.] l I . criminal fraternity of London stories were legidn of their wonderful successes. search the house if you like. where large numbers of people congregated. gang exceedingly ten or twelve highly expert pickpockets would world a specially selected " joint " perhaps a 'bus stoppingOne man would be detailed to place in the Strand." " Well. unbiassed opinions as she went away in the police-car. they enjoyed im-i munity for many years.

and children. The detectives heard one of the pickpockets call to his companions and point over his shoulder to the van standing close by. They spotted the motor-van almost at once. the occasion being a football match. and. as far out as Hornsey. with dense crowds pouring out of a North-London railway station en route to the football match. the four had run off down the road. where the motor-van of the Squadron was waiting developments in readiness. The Flying Squadron collected its scattered forces and gave chase. The " Titanic " gang did not for being up to every move belie their reputation in the game. Men. The detectives kept closely in touch with all the pickpockets they could see. Nemesis arrived in January 1922 in the shape of the Flying Squadron from Scotland Yard. got off scot-free. The four thieves knew what it meant right enough before the detectives had time to realise what they . The motor-car containing the pickpockets . were up to. and followed four of them out of the station. jumped into a motor-car waiting alongside the pavement.THE "TITANIC" GANG 41 waiting to close in upon the victim should he discover his loss before the thief had opportunity to make good his escape. thanks to their marvellous organisation. the hunt was continued. that the officers of the Flying Squadron specially on the watch for pick" " Titanic pockets discovered the presence of the gang in the throng. and were speeding off. It was a Saturday afternoon. the " Titanic " gang robbed them all with the greatest impartiality. women. All through the crowded streets of London.

made off in The Flying Squadron did likewise. a stern pursuit. This time no motorvan was needed. The end came in dramatic fashion. the door opened. although were They it is to be regretted that the term was hardly long enough to give any hope that they will mend their and driven ways for good. Two of the detectives set off after the biggest of the pickpockets. and the four occupants jumped out like lightning and different directions.42 NEMESIS ON WHEELS faster than the Flying Squadron's van. " Titanic " time gang had found long past that the a most profitable source of revenue in the pockets of — . Whatever the reason. who was the ringleader of the gang. all sent to gaol subsequently. the Flying Squadron resumed its operations a few days later. after were also caught pickpockets and brought back in triumph to the waiting van of him the Squadron. their car suddenly stopped. and after a long chase through back streets and alleyways secured Two of the other after a desperate struggle. where they were quickly bundled in off to the nearest police-station. " " In pursuance of the plan to break up the Titanic gang thoroughly. The quarry was to be hunted belowground on the underground railways to be It had been known to the authorities for a exact. The fugitive car had doubled back from Hornsey and was making was much for Islington when the men inside apparently grew frightened at their inability to throw off their inexorable pursuers. and but for the fact that the thieves' car was continually being held up by the crowded traffic they must undoubtedly have escaped. Your London pickpocket finds his trade too profitable to be lightly thrown aside.

watching the carriages in pairs. just about the time when the wealthy shoppers who had been doing the West End were making their way homeward in company with the early rush of workers. only to draw a blank once more." About six o'clock. Charing Cross. But the thieves also saw the detectives. Baker Street. People jammed into each other so tightly that the slight pressure attendant on lifting a watch and chain or extracting a wallet. and Leicester Square. the detectives discovered three pickpockets hustling their way into a train bound for Charing Cross. when the station was crammed with a continually flowing crowd. picking pockets and snatching ladies' handbags presented no difficulties whatever. and began operations on the Inner Circle Railway about five o'clock in the afternoon. The Flying Squadron split up into pairs. and doubtless . and slipping inside before they could be caught were borne off in triumph. Among the hundreds and thousands of people pressing their way into the lifts which carried them down to the underground trains. They could be seen in the carriage as the train drew out of the station hanging on to a strap. when carried out by an expert pickpocket. excited no suspicion whatever. A start was made at Charing Cross without result.AN EPISODE UNDERGROUND their 43 the teeming crowds which morning and night fought way in and out of the trains at stations like Oxford Circus. alighted at Victoria and kept a close look-out to see if any well-known faces were among the passengers that left the train there. Baker Street Station provided the first " find. The Squadron. Victoria.

and the commander of the Squadron wondered whether it was worth while persevering in the face of such difficulties. while he himself with one companion caught the next train to Charing Cross through Oxford Circus. The home-going crowds had grown denser than ever. and were busily engaged jostling the people fighting .44 NEMESIS ON WHEELS grinning to themselves at the ease with which they had outwitted the police. The thieves. Rememin all probability and branched off bering the propensity of all criminals to stick to a previously arranged plan of campaign. At Charing Cross four of the detectives met and reported having seen nothing of the quarry. with a daring worthy of a better purpose. although too well did he know that by the time their train had reached there the thieves would have left the train at Oxford Circus on to the Central London Railway. and with the object of cutting off the pickpockets sent two of his men back on the Inner Circle with instructions to report to him on the Bakerloo Station at Charing Cross." But there was nothing else to be done. Two more men he despatched to make the journey all round the circle going through King's Cross. had returned to Baker Street easily enough without being detected. himself taking the longer route around by the Inner Circle. Luck was with them this time. he eventually decided to get back to where the pickpockets had first been discovered at Baker Street. It needed quick thinking to keep on the track of the three men. The officer in charge of the Squadron hurriedly decided to divide his forces. Nothing happened. Once more he split up his forces. " otherwise the old Twopenny Tube.

The police descended upon them unawares. There is a reason for this. One of the captured men. Women. their story did not convince a hard-headed magistrate the following morning that they were not the men who had discarded them. told the magistrate such a a sick wife and starving children that he escaped with a light sentence of two months' hard labour a punishment which those who knew pitiful story of — the old gentleman's record thought hardly adequate to the occasion. and for a few minutes a free fight took place on the platform. despite all the claims made on their behalf to equality with men. a highly respectablelooking old individual. most dramatic episodes of the Flying with a woman. The real mission of the Squadron is the destruction of gangs of criminals. however. and although the pickpockets strenuously denied any knowledge of them. During the scuffle three wallets and a lady's purse were mysteriously dropped.BREAKING UP THE GANGS their 45 way into trains bound for the north-west of London. It connected Squadron had come to the knowledge of the authorities that one of the greatest offenders in distributing cocaine for sale in the West End of London was a beautiful of the is One . have so far not attempted to dispute male domination in the more violent forms of crime. the idea being that by suddenly throwing a posse of detectives around the scene of operations the criminals would have very little chance of escape. a state of affairs which every right-thinking person will devoutly wish to continue. of course. So far not many women have fallen into the net of the Flying Squadron.

would be living in Kensington. and. One day she would be heard of as living in Bloomsbury the next. So it went on for weeks. she as fast disappeared. and the officer in charge timed his arrival for about 2 a. The Flying Squadron was requisitioned. and possessed so many different names that it was almost impossible to keep track of her. did not " leave the Yard " until after midnight. making up packets passing it on to men and women who hawked it about Piccadilly Nora.m. Nora proved a most elusive creature. to allow of Nora and her protege having returned home. Eventually Scotland Yard received information that Nora was actually living in Putney with her supposed husband. So fast as the police traced her to one address. named. respectable and otherwise. The woman who eventually answered the door . let us say. with a man who posed as her husband she was known and Leicester Square at night. she . an hour when all citizens. and it was some little time before the loud knockings of the police aroused the owner of the house where it was thought Nora was sleeping." In company woman. Grave doubts began to be entertained as to whether Nora really existed at all. Everything was dark when the Flying Squadron arrived at its destination. the powers-that-be thought that perhaps it would be advisable to tackle the lady in force. She was a veritable will-o'-the-wisp. and as by that time she had acquired a wonderful reputation for daring and resource. would presumably be in bed. Hardly a light was to be seen in the street.46 NEMESIS ON WHEELS " " " to be receiving large quantities of from dope it into small and abroad. Surprise was essential for success in such a case..

Business had been so bad in " the dope "-selling line. Nora proved herself of sterner stuff. owing to the police keeping her on the run. and that they were looking for a a woman passing under a certain name. when our detectives waited for a crime to be committed and then leisurely went in pursuit of the miscreant — — have gone for ever. but instead of the formidable creature they had been led to believe. unable to comprehend what had actually happened. " and some little time elapsed before the dope. When she recovered a little she took her arrest quite philosophically. and conducted them upstairs to a room where the presence of a light showed itself beneath the door. walked in. they " found a woman sitting up in bed.A DOPE DRAMA 47 started back in affright when the figures of three When told they burly men revealed themselves. ." detectives could rouse him. and the detectives. the bad old days. and thence to the prison infirmary. not bothering to ask for permission. were police officers. It was indeed the redoubtable Nora. and told the authorities that she was glad they had found her. The door was not locked. gazing with dope "sodden eyes at them. The man was in even worse He was practically unconscious with condition. she hurriedly gave them admittance. that both she and the man had taken to inhaling their own cocaine as a panacea for all their troubles ! ii The good old days or perhaps I should say. after which he was carried man and downstairs into the Flying Squadron's waiting van.

" for immediate use conjunction with the when a serious crime is reported to Central Office." Superintendents Wensley.D. than whom nobody is more Short of there being another abhorrent of murder. criminal of the Percy Toplis type. and Carlin Under them they are the present chiefs of the C. The Squadron was brought to cope with an aspect of crime which into existence primarily is of quite . The average Scotland Yard detective is no theorist. or who" Yard " ever may be his prototype in real life. Its duties are confined mainly to professional criminals. Neil.48 NEMESIS ON WHEELS Down at Scotland Yard they have divided London into four sections for the purpose of suppressing crime " and created what is known as the Big Four. Nowhere else in the world is successful. who are available. have five Chief Inspectors. The Flying Squadron. he is a man who has been through the uniformed ranks and knows the game from A to Z. it is not likely that the Flying Squadron will ever be called upon to apprehend a murderer. spicuously there to be found such a small number of unpunished murderers. Ordinarily. prepared to offer desperate resistance if challenged by the police. officers outside London except for a murder. Hawkins. Instead of calling in Sherlock Holmes. Scotland Yard does not reckon to send its C. in " Big Four.I. Offences against property are usually dealt with by the local police.I. however. Without exception. the men get on the spot of the crime and start to ask And it may be said that they are conquestions.D. a do-or-die scoundrel who did not hesitate to shoot a man in cold blood and then steal his motor-car and drive away. has nothing to do with murder cases.

in all conscience. Not even the redoubtable Sherlock Holmes could have hoped to catch a criminal who vanished into thin his purpose. the simplest of ideas. It 49 recent growth— namely. this idea was simple was simplicity personi- He just walked through the West End of London. looked round to see if the owner . he was the greatest motor thief the world has yet known. once the coup had been successfully carried out. air immediately he had achieved Time is of such value in the detection of crime that the police would be heavily handicapped in dealing with men who committed their offences with a car waiting to carry them away. that which involves the use was fairly obvious when that famous gang of Parisian motor-bandits under the notorious Bonnet were enjoying their picturesque if somewhat lurid campaign of robbery and murder in the French capital a few years ago. saw a car he liked. Probably the real reason which ultimately brought about the establishment of the Flying Squadron at successful. that the time could not be very far distant when the police of all the world's big cities would need to be equipped with motor-cars themselves. he had already discovered that the biggest fortunes are amassed by criminologists industry. And It enough fied. In the years to come this youth will be written of the " Yard " was the by as the pioneer of a great new In brief. career of a certain accomplished youth. Although he was only nineteen years of age at the time when he commenced operations.MOTOR THIEVES of a motor-car. if somewhat abbreviated.

They took the detective who . I think I know where I can get you one. . What was easier than to jump in. had brought the accommodating friend to book from Knightsbridge to Scotland Yard. after the buyer had effected certain alterations. and instructed him to keep a section of his squadron cruising round the busier parts of London looking for stray criminals. And in due course." said the motor thief. and drive down to his friend. The partner would mention that he had a customer for a coupe. turn on the self-starter." Sure enough he did. From that time onwards the Flying Squadron has developed into a youth and his privateers of the criminal world. " " Ah. of the idea was for Scotland Yard beginning enough if expensive cars could be stolen so it was easily " " that the Yard should have obviously necessary a Flying Squadron ready to give chase to such . It seems that the operations of the youth and his partner were conducted with a due regard for supply and demand. where he found was got in a luxurious coupe standing before the house of a famous specialist. where an individual was waiting to buy all the nice new cars the young man could bring him at the price of £50 cash. The following afternoon he took a walk into Cavendish Square. unrecognisable to all but the most expert eye. who had his £50 all ready waiting ? How many motor-cars this precious pair handled will probably never be known the number was not less than or But the certainly sixty seventy.50 NEMESIS ON WHEELS in sight. and motor thieves in particular. the cars would go out again. found he was not. wound up the engine. and drove off down to Hammersmith.

one Saturday afternoon. the Ford possesses another virtue in the eyes of the motor a ready expensive Daimler. which is in North ron. Squadron thought it would not be a bad idea to see what was happening. while the third kept walking backwards and forwards to thief sale. The police-car was driven up a side-street. moment's notice. London.C." Two of the men stood chatting together. all as alike as the proverbial two peas. and O. besides being difficult of recognition. a statement which can easily be believed when one recollects that there are thousands upon thousands of Fords in this country. the writer is credibly recognisable. the commander of the squadron saw in Upper Street three well-remembered faces. And. it is Not so cheap. The centre of attraction seemed to be a Ford car " The standing near that famous public-house Angel. that it is not really safe to steal anything but Fords. ! first lessons learnt by all motor thieves most profitable to steal cars not easily It is laid down. . It was a Ford that was responsible for one of the most successful recent exploits of the Flying SquadIn cruising round Islington. and the crew spread themselves around the neighbourhood of the suspected party. The owners thereof were not possessed of characters such as to engender any confidence in their regards for other people's property. apparently deeply absorbed in conversation. One of the it is is that informed. People who buy such cars are not usually of the sort who ask no questions an essential condition in the purchase of a stolen car.TALE OF A FORD ! 51 strong mobile force ready to move anywhere at a . and therefore the Rolls-Royce commands or the — .

Squadron suggested that perhaps the car was not actually theirs as yet a lurid flow of ad- — — jectives was the result. was more worthy of the cinema than a mere description. j motion. and when O. They reached the Ford just as one of the men was When bending down to wind it up. When the captured party were searched at the police-station there was found on all three the sum of £35. they judged that the time had arrived for them to make a move also. on being told that three well-known thieves had nearly got off with his beloved car. would divulge the source of this unexpected find. judging by the language which greeted them. it is obviously profitable to watch him. incredulity. and finally anger chased themselves over his rubicund countenance. Squadron. At this stage of the proceedings the car owner of the why an a comshould cause such Ford ordinary. When one sees a well-known criminal plainly waiting for something to happen. Amazement. obviously the proceeds from other stolen cars. and in lieu of any satisfactory . perhaps.52 NEMESIS ON WHEELS a side-street with an appearance of aimlessness which did not in the least deceive O. the police saw the watcher walk briskly back from the corner of the side-street. His face. and there is no doubt that their arrival was somewhat unexpected. however. everyday came on the scene.C. All three wanted to know what it had to do with anyone else if they wanted to get into their car and drive off.C. and it was all the police could do to keep him from venting his physical feelings on the would-be stealers of his cherished Ford. wondering. Not one of them.

" even if he be merely a " knight of the jemmy. Even the most phlegmatic of policemen is apt to have his suspicions aroused by the spectacle of an individual in a cloth cap carrying a sack in the early hours of the morning. except it were someone anything but clothing ? The warehouse thieves . owing to " the difficulty of Mr. which have always been regarded It appears to be only a all as comparatively immune from burglary." and which are likely to be the first target of our modern burglar on wheels. The trouble came when he had to carry his swag through the streets." is a distinct possibility of the future.A KNIGHT OF THE CAR explanation as to 53 how they had acquired it the had no authorities compunction whatever in confiscatin when due course they were sentenced at the ing it. Does it not give such an air of respectability to the whole affair ? Who. What a different chance would Raffles in a Rolls- Royce have Picturesquely attired in heavy motoring coat. " A knight on wheels. matter of a few years at most when up-to-date burglars will carry out their exploits with a motor-car to carry them to and from country houses. what policeman could ever suspect such an emblem ! of respectable wealth ? How could one ever expect a myrmidon of the law to think that the bulging bag in the back seat of the luxurious touring car contained rich who nowadays reap such a harvest breaking into wholesale furriers' and cloth merchants' never work without a motor-car or van. London Sessions. voluminous cap. Sikes to make a successful getaway. and goggles over his eyes. It has never been especially dangerous or difficult for a skilful Raffles to break into a house.

" said O. eh ? pleasant manner. It comes under the heading of things that are not done. Squadron thought the sight sufficiently curious to cause him to drop anchor and interview the ancient mariner now plodding down the road. But a wheelbarrow It was the Flying Squadron which came on this untoward sight. Now. pulling hard on his clay pipe. " We are police officers. An occasional perambulator. put " Yes. not because it is likely to create suspicion. Dad stopped. and faced O. still with a very " and where did you get 'em. Dad. and although the wheelbarrow was something of a descent in the social scale of stolen ! Rolls-Royces. Berkeley Square is just about the last place in the world where any enterprising criminal should trundle a wheelbarrow. Squadron.54 NEMESIS ON WHEELS connected with the despoiled. Dad ? " he asked with down his barrow. yes. you may. " who you be." remarked his interrogator.C. but because one simply does not take a wheelbarrow through such a place as Mayfair.C. Oh. " a without tremor.C. carrying things Devonshire noticeable a burr. zur ? " Dad I be askin' Might inquired. ' a kindly smile. (He had be I zur." It is to be regretted that at this stage of the pro- ." away. although these are severely discouraged. would ever dream of questioning their coming and going ? Contrast this twentieth-century method of the successful criminal with the old gentleman who was discovered pushing a wheelbarrow through the aristocratic neighbourhood of Berkeley Square one morning. O.) quite " So. just a few old Squadron he said. " What have you got there.

He ran 55 — tasty plate. They took possession of the railway. Rolls-Royces are so common in that expensive neighbourhood." or welshing. Ordinary pocket. he stood a grave risk of being kicked to death. Wheelbarrows most emphatically are not. and quicklybrought him back." as they are generally known. For a good many years past the scandalous beof the earliest tasks One Squadron soon after its formation haviour of the boys. One of the Squadron sprinted after him. or On Open ventured to inform the police. and would permit nobody to enter who did not look a likely subject for cardsharping or fleecing of tion. " " of people was a common occurholding-up rence. " some descrip- the racecourse matters were a great deal worse.picking. while the others were lifting the sack in his barrow a sack which covered quite a RACECOURSE RUFFIANS Dad's nerve deserted him.carriages at the London termini from which race-trains departed. has been nothing short of a public disgrace. to use a motor-car when you go a-burgling in Berkeley Square. are mild offences. little collection of some noble earl's family The moral is. and if the victim expostulated too strongly. of course. in which awaited the Flying was that of cleansing the racecourses around London of the many gangs of thieves and pickpockets who do their best to give the sport of kings an unsavoury name. tale-telling. compared with the depredations 5 " .off down cecdings the road as fast as his ancient legs would carry him.

" Some of the race-meetings which have taken place during the last couple of years have been " the scenes of dozens of robberies by the boys. And this in full view of thousands of people.56 NEMESIS ON WHEELS " " who infest racecourses and boys levy toll without discrimination on backer and " bookie." the unfortunate victim being held by the arms while one of the gang went through his pockets. It may be said in passing that it would reflect no grave discredit on any man to decline combat with " the boys. attempting to arrest a couple of notorious crooks returning from . and then dealt him a cowardly blow of the gangs of in the face. who were afraid to do anything for fear of meeting a similar fate. and ever ready to render assistance to a brother-thief in case of arrest. all known to each other." Working in gangs. It has been notorious for a long time past that the county constabulary invariably employed at race-meetings are grossly inefficient to deal with the racecourse pests. and with the Jockey Club refusing to concern itself with the matter the race" " clubs which suffered most from the had no boys option but to apply to Scotland Yard for protection. matters came to a head towards the end of last year. Even racing journalists who venture to draw attention to the disgraceful scenes daily enacted on the metropolitan and provincial courses are threatened with an early and violent death if they persist in their attacks on " the boys. it needs a highly courageous individual to tackle them. even down to his railway-ticket. stripped him of everything he possessed. when a well-known detective." So far as Scotland Yard was immediately concerned.

Flying to shouted the boatman to but Squadron pull back " the at the told the boatdetectives. undesirable elements." doubtless congratulating " themselves on a successful day's work " were lost to sight. carrying passengers across the river to where a tram can be caught for Twickenham. O. arrest them on the too well did he know the fate awaiting him and his men if such a thing were attempted in a violently hostile crowd. But outside on the towing-path which skirts the as it runs alongside Hurst Park racecourse there was a tremendous crowd of people. The sequel to this episode provided one of the most extraordinary experiences known in the history of Scotland Yard. was detailed to visit Hurst Park races and Inspector. boys. see if the Turf could not be purged of some of its course gangs.'' they enjoying profitable The inspector wisely forbore to racecourse . . telling. was thrown underneath a train at King's Cross station and very nearly crushed to death. Scotland Yard resolved to raid the race- and for that purpose the Flying under the command of a DetectiveSquadron. Suddenly one of the detectives sighted their quarry pushing out into mid-stream in one of the Thames innumerable small boats which ply for hire on racedays. hoping to seize a favourable opportunity to take them into custody. After the racing had finished the Flying Squadron followed the gang outside." jeering . During the course of the day's racing the little party of detectives got on the track of a gang of the " " taleboys." What between picking pockets and were a most time. and tem" porarily the gang of boys.G.BLUFF ! 57 Alexandra Park Races.

" thoroughly cowed. — ! streets of London suddenly stop and empty forth on the pavement half a dozen burly young men. that if he did not get on. with a all men to throw off their coats. Watch split closely. Thoughts of a bath at any time were doubtless highly repugnant the prospects of one in such unforeseen to them circumstances even more so. and walks in apparently aimless fashion . From the seat of the motor. he took possession of another boat waiting for passengers. that unless they surrendered immediately his men would sink them in the Thames. The bluff worked.van another man has got down." now getting farther into the stream. and. The Ordering inspector did not bother parleying further. got ready to hand themselves over to the arms of justice. He turned slowly round towards the inspector. . then at the determined figure of the inspector on the riverbank. kinds of unmentionable fates awaited him. and shouted to the boys. and lastly at the fast-flowing Thames. ex" " tending his hand.58 NEMESIS ON WHEELS string of oaths. man. bundled his men " in post-haste. you will know that it is a detachment of the Flying Squadron and if you are of a curious type of mind it may interest you to wait and see what happens. up into and in two little all probability the men will parties and apparently walk aimlessly away. The boatman finally decided matters. one by one helped the boys on to terra firma and ultimately gaol If you see a small motor-van running along the his . the inspector stood on the bank. When the boat " reached the bank and the boys. The " boys " took a look at the boat manned with hefty young policemen.

At any rate. It is the Flying Squadron. the risk of being caught doing the job was comparatively slight. seat of the motor-van walks straight into the little group examining the car. There is a rough-and-tumble scuffle for a few moments. Suddenly there is an almost unnoticeable The man who has got down from the front signal.UNHAPPY DAYS 59 towards two or three men examining a motor-car in the street. Simultaneously the two little parties converge swiftly on the group. which just at that opportune moment happened to be passing by. — — — But what happens now ? A highly-efficient burglar makes all his plans in advance. of course. tells nobody what he intends doing. place upon a time and that not so very long ago it was possible to crack a crib with a fair amount of certainty that the job would be carried out undisturbed. Their examination of the car was but a " blind " to deceive passers-by. cracks his little crib. although Bill Sikes is not to know that. . where a charge is formulated of loitering with intent to commit a felony. and the van drives off to the nearest police-station. gets outside with the plunder. and then you will see the little group being bundled into the waiting motor-van. The group who had been looking at the motor-car with such intensity were well-known motor thieves. and finds waiting for him three or four individuals who walk up and ask what he is carrying in his bag. An uncomfortable feeling is growing in the minds " " of many of our old that London is not the lags it used Once to be. The flap is let down. He rudely requests his interrogators to go somewhere warmer than London. although it failed to bluff the Flying Squadron.

All the family of the crib in progress of being cracked were away at the seaside." It is the new era of crime detection in working order. Joe. with an armful of coconut fibre and a long bodkin. But in the privacy of the As he says prison he wonders how it all came about. but had been emboldened by the absence of a reply when he knocked at the door asking for mats to mend contentedly piled the family silver into a capacious sack. He smoked the clay pipe of contentment. The blue uniform of a policeman was the only danger-signal he was : — — . for was not his pal Joe outside keeping guard. to the many fellow-tradesmen he meets " inside " " How them splits knew I was a-doing of that job fair beats me. and generally thought the world quite a good place to live in after all. Sikes to appear at the London Sessions on a charge of burglary. he pleads guilty like a wise man. wondered what luck Harry was having inside. and the burglar he was really only a sneak-thief. Thoughts of capture never entered his head. where a conveyance is all ready to carry him off to durance vile. And when the time comes for Mr. for it contained three . looking for. It was unfortunate that Joe's back should have been turned just at the precise moment when a big touring car came up the street. was doing the British working man outside to perfection. A neat little job of daylight burglary was in progress at Hampstead. Motor-cars passed to and fro Joe took not the slightest notice. for he knows that the Chairman knows him. The old-fashioned methods of the burglar are of little use nowadays.60 NEMESIS ON WHEELS only to have his arms seized and find himself being dragged off round an adjacent corner.

Joseph ? " A little mat-mending. Mr. Joseph. Joseph a useful trade." he said awkwardly." says the pseudo mat-mender.HUMOUR IN HAMPSTEAD 61 acquaintances of his. " And pray. — . " And how is business." " A useful trade. sir. They " teach it very well at Wormwood Scrubs. don't they ? " They does." replied the driver of the car blandly. " " 'Ullo. Me rheu- getting about much. . . (It would not be strictly accurate to call them friends. what are you waiting about in the street longer." said his interrogator " I suppose you find the night air affects gravely. rheumatism your badly. . you are. Joseph ? " " Not too good. without enthusiasm. Mr. so you have to work in the day then ? " Yes. although there is no possible doubt that the occupants of the car were highly delighted to see him. Mr. And how have you " Very well. big motor-car. what are you doing for a living nowa" the tormentor persists." says Joe. His heart nearly stopped beating. " Well. fancy Doin' yourself proud. Joseph. The car stopped." " Yes. been keeping lately " ? " " we are. getting out." says Joseph.) Whether Joe would have been in any way delighted at the sight of the three is open to question." says Joseph. in a seeing you 'ere. and Joe turned round. it do." Ah. doubtless. although to give him credit he showed no outward signs of perturbation. days. Mr." " Yes. . realising that the inevitable was not to be staved off much matics keep " me from " " Ah." replied Joseph.

" you know. coming over Westminster Bridge." said the motorist. before he had actually had time to scan the horizon." Joe replies. Instead. No. who had been growing increasingly miserable. a little work." drove off down Victoria Street. I I may be able to find him will wait for your mate. But Joe was not there to greet him. and climbing in at his gruff invitation " to get a move on." The unfortunate Joe. He's inside doing a little job. NEMESIS ON WHEELS Joseph ? Business won't come to you. street him by." he shouted. As the car disappeared from sight a man arose from the cover of the railings which projected into White- ." I'm waiting for . went off willingly enough. better go for a little walk with one of my friends. Mr. As the car halted." " " I think you had Joseph. two burly men grasped him on either side. pulled up alongside the Parnell statue in Parliament Square. me mate. IV Big Ben was chiming the hour of midnight when a motor-car. Joe. two men came from the shadows of Westminster Abbey hard by. Not for him to be on hand when the inevitable denoue- " steps whistling blithely. Harry came up the area " All serene.62 for. as he laboriously hoisted the product of his labour indoors up on to the ment took place. were hailed by the driver of the car. to a luxurious motor-car courteously conducted all ready waiting near It was another neat little coup on the part of level —two men who the Flying Squadron.

None of the burglars were to know. and the flap at the back was down. driver of the burglars' car turned to the man who had stopped him with an angry oath.A NIGHT ADVENTURE I 63 hall to where a motor-van was standing against the . There was little enough to be seen. The van behind came on. destination. is proverbially successful. which then proceeded on its way towards its driver of the car. No thought of pursuit entered their heads. and asked what " " over nothing. of course. Nothing had been left to chance. for reasons that were obvious. that .van hard on their tracks. whether it be The five first-class burglars who or war. The scene of the projected job was at Pimlico. pavement. he meant by getting the wind up Humbly did the reproved one climb back into the car. down Victoria Street that night had every Hurriedly the information was conveyed to the who at once swung into the kerb and began tinkering with the engine. Audacity in love sped reason to congratulate themselves on the success of an experiment which had led them to hire a car to expedite the carrying away of a swag which was expected to be particularly heavy. A soldier was The driving. and it was not until they had passed Victoria Station and had swung round into the comparative quietude of Grosvenor Road that one of the gang discovered cause for alarm in the presence of a motor. and they had delayed picking up their pals with the tools necessary to break their way into their crib to the last possible moment. and as it did so all five burglars had a good hard look at it.

more ridiculous. hi any ease. uninviting place <)[' at times. llow At thai time the Flying Squadron boon had hardly mentioned in criminal circles. it the suspicious for pood. si reel burst into 8 fitful (lame. and that The driver wound up the engine. so Thoughts oi' retribution never entered shaven heads. and thai it should cruise about at midnight to think wit h a khaki-clad soldier at he driving wheel was even oould they? I van and it was had disappeared seemed. blissfully unaware of their presence as yet. motor-car drew up. Pimlioo o( is their well- a gloomy. with a Light heart that the burglars sped towards the warehouse they had marked out for robbery. here and there is an occasional wareInterspersed it was close to one o( these that the ami house. and before the two policemen had any conception that anything untoward had . ! but doubly dangerous in that they knew the neighbourhood and were certain to inquire what the occupants o[' the car were doing at that time of night.til NEMESIS ON WHEELS the motor-van that had just passed them contained a section of the dreaded l'Mying Squadron. all live jumped in. burglars There was only one thing to be done. in Kelies its the dull mid-Yict orian the best times abound high and woefully shabby houses. Suddenly they received the fright o[' their An are light burning at he top of he darkened t t lives. while the occupants burglars' tools about them ready to begin bestowed their operations. they were coming toward policemen them. quickly. revealing to the tense gaze o[' the live burglars the shining helmets o{' two burly Worse still.

.. afraid of the was with our live. was but a temporary check. All thoughts of the motor-van in GrOSvenor Road had passed out. judged it wise to absent himself from the neighbourhood of I'imlico for at least an hour. means of carrying out their purpose they resolved to take B drive round for an hour or two. III*- live wait. habitual criminal will tell you. was for the immediate Truth to tell. Desperate criminals are not. Quite a long drive did our five burglars have that The leader of the gang. to was affair. easily deterred from their purpose. if need be. over So it . and as the safest. never payfl to mole. Besides which code. how well-founded the writer does not know. of their mind. of the ear. To all intents their disappearance had taken place unnoticed. as if any you Trick them can. Inconvenient as it. that men who are guilty of violence towards the policemen rarely enjoy a com- All high-class fortable time in gaoL burglars much to do in little their prefer jobs peace and quietness. They were not in the least two policemen. this I'imlico land Yard would have proved that. niom-nt. had come and disappeared. who was the driver night. for the burglars would quite cheerfully have laid in policemen and battered them into un|. is the axiom laid but never resort to take such things as an infringement of the criminal with interest. violence. Their record at ScotBut. The light of two uniformed policemen. consciousness. But it- the police.ROISBKIIY liV NIGHT 05 occurred the car had turned round the way it. the Vauxhall Bridge Road. So he drove hack via. and retort in kind there down by the skilled burglar. The police are apt to is an old superstition. a joh They hoped big get thousands out of it.

and then swung up the long road towards Tooting. It was with quite a heart that leader the turned the car round to light go back to Pimlico. Half doubtful as to whether any danger was to be apprehended from the oncoming vehicle. and it was with no more than the customary suppressed excitement which every burglar experiences when he is about to commit the serious crime of breaking into a place that the occupants of the car regarded the warehouse which was to be their crib that night.66 NEMESIS ON WHEELS the Thames. The car slowed down preparatory to stopping at a convenient place to receive the swag. . when suddenly from round a street at the top swung another car coming towards ing his carefully-laid plans them at terrific speed. He had no intention of abandon- because a couple of policemen had unconsciously interrupted them. Clocks were striking two in the morning as the burglars' car reached Pimlico once more. All that could be seen was an occasional taxi-cab making its belated way homewards. But it was too As the burglars' car began to spring forward. the motor-van shot alongside. Nothing suspicious had been following them. The man who had seen it in Grosvenor Road bawled to the driver to clap on full speed. The burglars were caught in two minds. and collided with a crash which could be heard a mile away. late. swung right across their front. past Kennington Oval. Everything seemed as quiet as the grave. they made no effort to increase their own pace. It was only when the other car was within a couple of hundred yards that the burglars realised that it was a motor-van and not a car.

among habitual criminals. a curiosity which was not gratified until they appeared at the police court the following morning. its thrilling phases." as the indeterminate sentence is known . There were many stout inquiries among the burglars as to who was the individual driving the motor-van. The Pimlico affair is. forcements arriving. Something in the nature of a battle took place that reinnight. Half the population of the neighbourhood had been aroused by the noise of the conflict. . one of the Cinema-like in best feats of the Flying Squadron. up to the present. it possessed the inestimable I value of laying by the heels a gang of burglars who for months had been making a rich living robbing i warehouses. The burglars jumped out of their car. and there were many sore heads when. desperately resolved to escape. Too well did the burglars realise the fate awaiting them in the a long list of convictions added to event of capture " Kathleen the present affair could only mean Mavourneen. the police were able to take all five into custody and bundle them into the waiting motor-van. when they were duly committed for trial. and it was with distinct feelings of relief that the commander of the " " on all five and bracelets Flying Squadron got the drove away to a police-station.THE COUP DE MAIN From 67 the back of the motor-van there suddenly poured forth a body of stalwart men. There followed in that darkened street one of the most desperate melees ever known. but before they could even run across the road the police were upon them. and subsequently given sentences of from sixteen years downwards as habitual criminals.

when burglars got Inchcape's into the house somewhere between seven and nine o'clock and stole £800 worth of jewellery. average thing. and the average gang of warehouse thieves do not care a rap for old men. all Housebreaking pure and simple is being left more and more to the sneak-thief type of burglar. The high-class cracksman. doubtedly the work of some small thief. was unof valuable jewellery. probably an individual who had been employed in the neighbourhood at one time. mostly of jewellery. there is nothing to stop you from walking about the corridors of almost any expensive hotel in the West End of London. In almost every instance these thefts. Many of these hotel jewel robberies are not robberies at all. but is warehouse the rarely guarded. Provided you are sufficiently well dressed. rarely bothers about a private house unless he knows for certain that there is a collection J J The recent robbery at Lord Park house in Lane. When there is a caretaker it is usually some old man. and thus knew the habits of the . But that is another story. and ' ! f . and then get on with their burgling.68 NEMESIS ON WHEELS From the point of view of the highly-expert housebreaker the burgling of warehouses containing valuable merchandise is a much more profitable and sure For one affair than breaking into private houses. with a long list of convictions behind him. are the result of hotels being careless enough to allow practically anybody to walk about their premises unquestioned. And the same remark applies to the hundred one robberies reported from big hotels. as find nobody at in charge. One could family. They would just as soon knock them into temporary unconsciousness.

BURGLARY BY DAY •elate 69 insur- amazing instances of claims made upon ance companies in respect of jewellery which has nysteriously disappeared. between open burglary and an immense amount of aetty thieving which goes on at the docks and railways. jalmly put md go off up the street. and the two inside the energy. The day is not far distant when a section of the Flying Squadron will be detailed permanently to oatrol the city watching for warehouse thieves. Scores these actions are listed in the Courts every year. proceed to open up the premises in the ordinary Two or three individuals with their coats off Nay. Dut not 25 per cent.he warehouse. property to the value of millions is lost every fear in the city of London. So t has been for them. break their way into There is likely to . slam the door behind them. The colossal mpudence of this type of criminal needs to be seen :o be believed. claims which have been by the company and as a result at once Iropped. :he md — . they will drive up in a covered van just is the new man comes on duty. giving the policeman on the " jorner a cheery Good day " as they pass him.arry plunder out to the waiting van with hustling man outside drives off. their coats on. Keeping a close eye on the changing of the policenen's beats. the . ever come into Court. usually from the back somewhere. They are on a par with the many blacknailing libel actions which shady solicitors encourage iisputed hi the off-chance of )f something happening. be plenty of work in future for Flying Squadron in keeping track of the lumerous gangs which reap a rich harvest breaking nto warehouses on Saturday afternoons.

' given. If you should happen to take a walk along the aristocratic quarter of. late one evening and see a line of motor-cars standing . Result. of the never-failing attractions to the gilded youth of London both male and female particularly if there is just a chance of something ex- One — is — I j a game of chemin-de-fer (or commonly termed) or baccarat. and play inside " All clear is is temporarily suspended until the losing. the Flying Squadron in waiting. say Brook Street. John's Wood| During abounded with houses where well-to-do young officers!! were fleeced at these games. although the vigilance of the police makes it almost impossible for a stranger to be introduced unless he or she is personally vouched for by an habitu6 of the place and is guaran" " to the police in the event of teed not to squeal There is still Men are stationed outside to give warning of the approach of possible danger. Mayfair. chemmy.70 NEMESIS ON WHEELS The great value of the work accomplished by the Flying Squadron lies in the fact that there is growing] in the minds of the master-criminals of London aia uneasy feeling that their projected burglaries somehow or other are known to the police before they take place. of course. as it is j vigilance of Lord Athlumney and his staff of provost4j marshals." war the Mayfair and St. " " a great deal of both chemmy andi baccarat played. as in the Pimlico robbery. which created a tremendous sensation in the underworld of London. necessitating the closest! citing " happening.

GAMING HOUSES

71

along the street, the sight would not cause you any wonderment. Any number of the wealthy residents
of
this

exclusive

parties at dinner,

neighbourhood entertain large and what's more natural than the

guests should keep their cars in waiting. But come back about midnight, or even an hour

two later, and you will probably notice that the same cars are still standing about, the expensivelyor

dressed chauffeurs lying inside asleep. Perhaps then these cars are wonder what the owners of will you not to their beds. it is do home they go doing why
;

But
if

you walk a little farther along the street, and perchance you should have the entree to a certain
if

house hard by, the solution will present itself without further ado. A discreet butler will admit you, take your hat and coat with reverent air, and conduct you upstairs to a big room with folding doors, the old combined drawing-room and dining-room of our grandmother's
days, to where a noisy party of gaily-dressed women and immaculately-clad men are playing baccarat. They are not criminals, these well-bred men and women far from it. They are merely indulging in a

game which gains three-quarters of its attraction from the fact that the law says that it shall not be played That is for money. Spoilt children, you will say. " " be could If baccarat or all they are. chemmy would them let or none of without hindrance, played look at it. Hundreds of pounds are lying on the table, changing hands without a flicker of the owner's eyebrows. On a massive sideboard near by is a An attendant footman will help big supper spread.
you to anything you want

— champagne,

caviare

sandwiches, fruit, sweets, or even 6

cigarettes.

And

7'J

NEMESIS ON WHEELS

why not ? The proprietress of the house (one could hardly term it a gaming-hell) makes two or three hundred pounds a night profit. A handsome woman, isn't she ? who hardly looks what she really is professional gaming-house owner. There is hardly an empty house in the West End of London that she has not tried to obtain at one time But the agents have got to know her or another. she is compelled to fall back on imnowadays

I

'

;

poverished friends (there are plenty of them in Mayfair) who are only too glad to let their house furnished for a few weeks with no questions asked, and take a a trip to Monte Carlo with the money. It does not last long, of course. The police, who

always prowling around Mayfair looking for anything that might happen, rarely fail to spot a newly-arisen gambling-den, whatever its aristocratic appearance. The people coming and going at all hours of the night give the game away quite unconthe waiting motor-cars, however dark the sciously
are
;

they are lying in, always tell a tale. that were not enough, there are the " " to betray the presence of illicit gambling. spotters The " spotters " know the police, it is true, but, on the other hand, the police know them, so the status quo remains unchanged. Baccarat and chemin-de-fer playing is not really a It is merely one of the law's little crime, of course.
side- street

And

if

j

eccentricities.
all

" " get a whisper of a game of chemmy anywhere in Mayfair or Regent's Park, and it will not be long

cheerfully go and lose " " on a racecourse your money backing dead 'uns and the law will not turn a hair. But just let Stiggins

You may

before Nemesis descends

upon you.

A MIDNIGHT RAID

73

" " not of much use to them, because the spotters attached to the gaming-houses know pretty well every chauffeur whose master or mistress is in the habit of patronising their place. But a motor-van is another matter altogether. Even the most artful of " spotters " might be excused for not suspecting evil intent in a certain dirtylooking van which made its way up a well-known street in Mayfair not so long ago. And, equally, who could see any cause for alarm in the presence of a gentleman clad in immaculate evening dress who came down the street towards the
" particular spotter," in fact, paid no attention whatever to such a common occurrence

When the police wish to raid a house suspected of being used for gambling, the greatest difficulty is to get a number of men into the house before the Ordinary motor-cars are players receive warning.

van

?

Our

;

he even turned his back on both van and man, and therefore failed to see the dramatic little affair which happened in the space of a couple of seconds. He quite failed to see the man in evening dress approach the door of the house he was supposed to be guarding, and naturally also did not hear the bell inside ring. Did not the noise of the motor-van drown that ? And therefore the mysterious manner in which the man rang the bell, and the equally extraordinary celerity with which the motor-van stopped just opposite at the same time and emptied out from the back half a dozen hefty men, were also lost on him. Too late did he hear the scuffle of many feet. Before he could comprehend what had occurred one of the men had caught hold of him and prevented

74
his

NEMESIS ON WHEELS
moving to push that
secret bell

which gave the

How was the to the players upstairs. " " to know that the Flying Squadron was spotter out ? Never having been to New York, he had not
alarm

even heard of a police patrol wagon, much less of a marauding van-load of plain-clothes policemen in so There were prosaic a neighbourhood as Mayfair. excuses for him by all means, although the following day his infuriated mistress did not appear to think so. " " was surprised at the sudden If the spotter turn of events, what must the butler inside have thought when he dutifully answered the bell ? He heard the noise of a motor-engine outside, and the night being dark, made no effort to see whose car it might be. Instead, he opened the door, to find standing there a handsome young gentleman in evening dress, who, without waiting for an invitation, walked in. The butler was about to expostulate, asking the gentleman if he had not made a mistake, when his jaw suddenly dropped. Five other men, all of a size which proclaimed the policeman, entered uninvited.

He collapsed on It was too much for the butler. an oak settee near by, and mutely assented to the stern demand for silence which the man in evening dress imposed as he went upstairs with four of his companions, leaving one of them to keep company with the butler. And if the " spotter " and the butler had experienced a certain amount of incredulity at the turn proceedings had taken, what shall be thought of the hostess and her guests upstairs when, quite unan-

IN

THE HANDS OF THE POLICE

75

nounced, there intruded an individual, followed by four others, who calmly stated to the panic-struck assembly that he had come to conduct them to Vine Street Police Station on a charge of gaming ?
Silence, complete and unbroken, greeted this The experienced ones calmly startling statement. picked up their stakes from the tables ; the novices

looked as though they could hardly believe the evidence of their eyes and ears. But it was all too real the leader of the police ordered everyone present to put on their hats and coats downstairs, informing them also that if they gave their correct names and addresses at the station they could then go home for the night and appear at the police-court on the morrow. As if by magic a
;

line of taxi-cabs

had appeared
their escorts

outside.

The

prettily-

were requested to enter a cab, three apiece, a policeman got in after them, and the party drove off. Some of the gamblers wished to use their own cars, but this their captors
clad
refused. Perhaps they thought the chauffeur might take the wrong way. At the police-station there was quite an interesting Some of the ladies, highly series of little scenes. indignant over it all, refused to give their names and addresses. Presumably they did not wish their husbands to know of their misdeeds. At any rate, they maintained their defiance until it was notified that unless they did give their names and abode they would stay in the police-station for the night.

women and

Then they surrendered. As for the proprietress, she took the
familiar proceedings with her habitual calm.

all-too-

"

Something new you have thought

of,

for

a

76
"

NEMESIS ON WHEELS
?

change
"

she asked the leader of the raid, with a

sarcastic smile.

don't

Yes," said that individual "

;

"we

live

and

learn,

we

?

The lady did not reply. She was wondering what " had become of her spotter," who was nowhere to be seen. Not having heard of the Flying Squadron then, she was mentally attributing all the trouble to the unfortunate creature who was supposed to know " " But the in the West End of London. split every the whom to in London one the not was only lady time. that at meant nothing Flying Squadron
often Surprise of an equally unpleasant description members of the criminal classes when they " old lag," There is a certain are least expecting it.
befalls

for instance, who one fine afternoon made his way " " well-known to the fence towards the shop of a untoward disof No anything thought profession. the only thing that worried him turbed our hero to get being the matter of how much he was likely for the stolen silver he carried in a neat little kit;

bag.

which all Quietly, with that indescribable stealth
the burglars assume night and day, he approached " little the that saw of the place dingy fence," shop bore its usual deserted appearance, slipped his hand down to the secret catch which only opened the door

and walked in. had happened some little time previously that the Flying Squadron from Scotland Yard had been As a matter of fact, they in the neighbourhood. were looking for stolen property, and thought they could not do better than pay a visit to a well-remembered old friend whose reputation as a safe
to the initiated,
It

is she ? " — and so will you. still. The Squadron. Mug' geridge. genelmen. In a second or two " there glided in our friend the old lag." he said. " ain't in." one of the Squadron repeated " but with excellent mimicry she soon will be . The " old lag " carried it off very well. " " the old lag stood saying never a word. so the Squadron decided to wait a little while.TABLEAU " " fence " 77 stood second to none in London. sat still fence " ." ." It was a beautiful little tableau. The Squadron sat stock-still. But the was temporarily non est. She No. she ain't. with never a " trace of recognition. They were still waiting when they saw a puzzlinglyfamiliar face trying to gaze through the window. I'm looking for Mrs. Beg pardon.

Crime. No. Quite rightly would he tell you that breaking into a house was not in his line. "job —with refusal. It is an astonishing fact that nearly all the wellknown criminals of London keep to their own parline of business. The pickpocket rarely " " ventures beyond the picking of the pokes confidence-man would never dream of taking on a little burgling job. of Sherlock Holmes renown. has its recognised leaders. he might find someone who would do the " " " ticular . and although I should hardly like to say that the great underworld of London boasts of a man comparable to Professor Moriarty. like more reputable industries. thank you violent adjectives to add force to the Those people who are known to be the you . for many but for himself. it is nevertheless true that practically every branch of crime has its men and women who are known to be the guiding spirits. ! leaders of the criminal world are not necessarily the master-mind behind all the crimes 78 committed in . If you liked.Ill THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD Within recent at Department New times the Criminal Investigation Scotland Yard has been con- centrating its work in an endeavour to bring to justice some of the master-criminals of London.

MAKING CRIMINALS " 79 their particular branch of the profession. and will be only too pleased to assist him on mention of his name. of the criminals of this world are . — They are permitted to mix scoundrels w ho take a malicious delight in filling the heads of the youngsters with stories of the ease with which rich hauls can be made." although it is safe to say that apart from a job being pulled off by an amateur unknown to them just then they will know all about later. tells the story of how he pulled off his first job. and while there meets other members of his newly-adopted profession. The police come to regard him as an " habitual " and hound him from pillar to post. . is explained as owing to bad luck. and woe betide him if he fails to give a satisfactory explanation to the suspicious detectives. The slight flaw in their arguments. the " old " tells the new chum that if he wants a helping lag hand he cannot do better than see a certain friend. it. goes to gaol. He will be liable to arrest at any time of the day or night as a suspected person. I have no difficulty in believing what I have repeatedly been told by gaol missionary societies that 75 per cent. who is to be found at a place in Soho every evening. " of course. not to be outdone. If the tyro in crime only knew it. the amateur " is caught. that is the time for him to be careful once in the toils of the mastercriminal he is gone beyond redemption. made with hardened r presence in prison. their own inside prisons. When the time for release draws near. viz. . and the beginner. Im- Sooner or prisonment soon begets confidence boasting tales are told of coups which have been worked.

knowledge into to the master-criminals. in Soho. are all to be found at night drinking in one or another of the dozens of bars in the district. In all my experiences of the underworld of our great metropolis I know of nothing more marvellous " than the way in which tidings of a particular job percolates through mysterious channels unknown to. the who patronise the flashy fellows well-dressed crafty.80 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD And what Not is the beginner in crime to think of it gifted with the faculty of introspection otherwise he would never have committed his first offence he sucks in all the specious wisdom of " old lag. he leads a riotous life unheeding of what happens on the morrow. restaurants and bars of the West End of London. the sneak-thieves and petty criminals who get a living . is never at any time remarkable for the good character The hundreds of foreign refugees of its denizens. Soho. the man in the street. to be precise." and is released upon the world the all ? — — anxious to put his newly-acquired operation. ' He becomes known He — — round about Leicester Square and Piccadilly. They are the satellites of the big crooks. There is a certain bar in the West End of London. who hide themselves in its dingy back streets. in between spends most of his time in gaol the with fed whiles. carefully money by cunning rogues who batten on his plunder. where many of the mastercrooks meet of a night and discuss the happenings of the day and night -with a frankness which would be dreadfully dangerous to them did they not know themselves to be in safe company. the crea tures who are willing to commit almost any crime at . of course.

This with a morbid dissatisfaction in their voice they feel grieved that anyone should place " a fictitious value on their jewellery. the safeguards of our boasted civilisais far from being safe at night in the tion. of burly ruffians on you. It is a black crime to steal somebody's girl. The racing back streets of the West End. When in " Rome is an exceedingly sound precept to bear in mind while in company with a collection of crooks who only need to raise their little finger to set a pair — — . jewels to the value of £2. He'll be lucky to get a couple of hundred for them. that the story of the burgled jewels being worth £2." you will be told." " a lesson. Some of the flashily-attired fellows sipping their drinks in lordly ease could tell provided you hap" " safe that this little affair pened to be known as had been carried out by George They will also add. without the slightest trace of the thief being discoverable. you may think that George will be not to get a couple of years' hard labour. although I have Despite all London .JEWEL THIEVES 81 the behest of the fashionably-dressed scoundrels who lounge about. ." Possibly there may have been a story in the papers that night of a robbery at Maida Vale .000 is a lie. unsavoury who are to found around there of be hanging gangs an evening are always ready to accept a "job. after reading the newspaper report." usually designated as teaching someone There is a peculiar code in existence in the criminal world of London certain things must not be done. . carefully eyeing every new-comer. but lucky " such thoughts must be kept to yourself.000 have been stolen. It is highly amusing to hear these fellows discussing " business. Privately. information must not be given to the police.

inhabitants. " " " " Or. discreetly mind their own business. to " split. he knows perfectly well that the moment the police get on the track of the miscreants he may be under sentence of death. " " This is teaching a lesson quite well-known our own among Apaches. Rarely it is that the injured one dare go to the For one reason. telling their screaming victim with many oaths. the boys may give their lesson in the form of a slash across the face with a razor. it And the police know it. from those dreadful murders so common in Paris those tragedies of love and jealousy which the Parisian takes as a matter of course. as the blood streams down his face. .82 rarely THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD known a case where the girl has been punished for her fickleness. Usually it consists of battering some unfortunate individual into unconsciousness down some dark alley-way. There is just as much organised lawlessness in London to-day as at any time during the past thirty authorities with a complaint. although they find almost impossible to obtain incriminatory evidence. Fear of reprisal is too well-founded to induce the average man or woman concerned in some outrage years. . that if he dares " be done in " properly squeal to the police he will next time." some recent crimes could be the law-abiding citizens of this country would stand aghast at the organised crime now in If the true story of narrated. he is aware that he has offended against probably fully the code for another. again. London is almost entirely free . where the accustomed to such little affairs. shrugging his shoulders and treating it as a matter of no importance.

" safe It is all a matter of business the men who have done the burgling will hand over the plunder to the " master-crook. Very few burglars.D. then select a man ikely to do the job successfully. They pass it on to the master-man." says that individual. Worth £150. men of it only needs a whisper of Scotland Yard by sight " 'Ware 'tec. There are too many people who have to get a " cut. ever attempt to sell their own stuff. not often they are much too clever to wrought to justice Dlace themselves within the actual clutches of justice. 83 Scotland Yard knows it. They the schemers and planners." to say nothing of the risk involved should the police get on the track of the jewels. . Probably the rightful owner like £1. svho has facilities for disposing of it in a perfectly quarter. but paid something of rule prices jewels very low among receivers of stolen property.MASTER CRIMINALS existence.I. VIost of these crooks know all the C.hese organisers of ire crime . verify it. it examining closely. ' conversation to cease immediately. and to their everlasting credit have started to tackle the evil.000 for the jewellery. instruct him exactly as to what he should do. who glean intelligence )f a promising nature. for instance.criminals of London are . for years past the vendettas of the underworld have }een nothing short of a public scandal. . their share of the any of work lever embraces the doing of the actual job. where no questions are asked except " those necessary for the protection of the fence." for all compromising ." or Busy. It would be difficult in any case to arrest . and . They will finance a man should the need arise.hen calmly await the spoils being brought to them. The master.

being extra careful to treat the publican. But when it comes to buying burgled jewellery the burglar rarely attempts to strike a bargain. Satisfied. buttons up the notes in a pocket concealed inside his vest. George. and then go their way. it being and expresses himself understood that George will be ready for another job when he has had time to spend the £75. " " he asks sharply. Harry. He may. George ? crook." he says. and probably does. man who his men to go away saying they " for are quite satisfied with their night's work. — repeatedly mulcted in heavy sums of money for stolen goods which they have taken in pawn in perfect faith. Very few professional criminals work while they. " sufficient unto the are possessed of ready cash " is a of the Bill Sykes motto day well-recognised . but he realises that he is under the thumb of the mastercould give a whisper to the police which would result in his being arrested and charged with the crime. They go off to have a drink. " All right.84 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD Always there is that cardinal rule to be remem" " that no compensation is fence bered by the payable to the man found in the possession of stolen valuables. grumble under his breath." says the man on " seventy-five each." Then and there he pays top out the burglar with bank or Treasury notes." only by mutual work satisfaction that they can together. He likes. . it is as well content. " One hundred and fifty pounds. whatever he may think privately. even although he may have purchased the Pawnbrokers are stuff in the best of good faith. just the same as a bank is liable for honour- ing a forged cheque. the .

across such come never have I my penal servitude for warehouse-breaking. . Originally. cluewere cloths less fashion in which the job was done there could be no possible doubt that some brilliant organiser was at the back of it all. who some time ago was sent to three years' I In all of business they adopted. I believe. Not for him was the ordinary haphazard method of breaking into a place and trusting to fortune to make off with a haul. he had been a warehouseman in the City of London. George Wilson became the prince of warehouse thieves. The master-mind was that of George Wilson. Immensely valuable stocks of furs. In time. crooks are in many of these made their who would have men masterfortune any line an experiences to bad brains devoted of being astonishing example uses than that of a good-looking man named George Wilson. and by the clever. who made the cloth and silk up into garments and asked no questions.A PRINCE OF THIEVES fraternity. But the drab o life of a man with £2 or £3 a week soon discontented him. and knew every firm in the trade where a haul would be worth while. of course. silks. and stolen wholesale. 85 Most burglars are shrewd enough to understand that it does not pay to carry the pitcher to the well too often. For some years past the metropolis had been the scene of dozens of cleverly-planned robberies in which warehouses were literally looted of half their contents. He took to breaking into warehouses where thieving was simple. In their way. content so long as the stuff was cheap. and selling the plunder to East End Jews. He would walk into a big place.

ask for prices while cunningly scanning the lay of the place. who had police . during which time he had married and become the father of a young family. it merely seems to have rendered him ten times more cunning. 1 . chat to them as he paused to light a cigar and pass the time of the night. Quite early in his career he was captured. Always in the company of well-known burglars and thieves. . For days and even weeks Wilson would make He would carefully watch the policepreparations. To be quite accurate. type . Although Wilson was under forty years of age at the time he was sentenced at the Old Bailey. doors the robberies he planned were of the open that policemen on the beat could never discover. the had come to know him about the time of the outbreak of war as one of the cleverest criminals in London. on a charge of shop- breaking. As he walked out he would take careful stock of the lock on the Not for him the crude method of breaking door.86 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD clad in a frock coat and silk hat. It was some years afterwards before he again fell into the hands of the police. But he was never to be found in the all his plunder was possession of anything stolen safely stowed away where the police would never dream of looking. Appearances go a long way in the City of London provided you are well dressed the average constable has no reason to suspect you of being a swell burglar. note the times. and so far from this acting as a deterrent. and even Perhaps he would even jot them down in a book. it went to unscrupulous dealers in the East End. he had been one of the burglar kings of London for over twenty years. men on and off their beat.

Fur warehouses for a time. indulgent husband in the City who gave her plenty of money to spend and never bothered private manner of its going. In his life he was looked upon as a citizen of irreproachable character. All the gang were well dressed. he was the possessor of the brain organising the coups and arranging the disposal of the stolen goods. for it was in a motor-van that he removed most of the plunder which brought him the comfortable house in Camberwell where he resided. to ask the . nobody in the neighbourhood ever suspected that his source of livelihood was crime. Wilson resumed operations on a larger scale than ever. He became the head of a gang of clever burglars who daily made trips all over London looking for places likely to prove profitable. his wife was regarded as a woman with a wealthy. 7 . Wilson planned it all . Monday in the City were their speciality In between Saturday afternoon and morning many an unfortunate furrier would find that his stock-in-trade appeared going. George was quite an expert in motor engineering he had need to be. and had a spurious business address at their disposal in case of inconvenient inquiries. When came to an end.JEKYLL AND HYDE facilities 87 for mysteriously disposing of stolen stuff in a hundred and one ways that the police could never the war trace. At all events. His children went to good schools. Every Sunday afternoon he took the family out in his motor-car. had surreptitiously and no one knew the manner of disits Wilson was a veritable Jekyll and Hyde.

88

THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD

and there was a general stupefaction when the C.I.D. men from Scotland Yard jumped his motor-car and arrested him for burglary. Raffleses do not abound in the criminal world of London. Here and there in the West End you may
it

find a swell burglar, ruffling it with the best, although may be said that the average Bill Sikes is not a

devotee of the swell-crook business. He is a workman, not a social butterfly, and when he has finished " " his money prefers to his work " and " earned in the rude, simple pleasures of the working indulge
classes.

You may find him at Southend or Margate enjoying a summer holiday with his family, where he would " " no more dream of cracking a crib than he would
of flying.

His affairs are in the hands of the master-crooks to be found in the West End of London, and he knows that while he is at liberty he can always draw " " on account. a tenner

George Wilson was neither a Raffles nor a common He was merely a respectable British Bill Sikes. who had taken to burgling as a means householder In the course of his depredations he was of wealth. responsible for something like £100,000 worth of robberies, although it is to be doubted whether he received one-quarter of that sum. But, at all events, he was very comfortably off. the bank His freehold house was his own property that but could not admit where he kept his account his name. to little balance there was a comfortable Altogether it was quite a romance of industry, and if the police had not prematurely upset arrangements there is no doubt that Mr. Wilson might have retired
;

JEWEL THIEVES
before long, a model of

89

all that was worth emulation the by rising generation. All the sensational jewel-robberies of modern times

have been planned by master-criminals who for weeks, and perhaps months, have been shadowing the people likely to be worth plundering. The greatest difficulty which the big crooks have to contend with is ascertaining when valuable jewels are

when the house containing them may be safely burgled. As a matter of fact, there is hardly a woman in Great Britain to-day owning famous jewels who keeps them at home ; she stores them at her banker's, sending for them on the rare occasions they are likely to be worn. This utterly baffles the thieves who would steal them. They have no knowledge of when the jewels are likely to be wanted, nor do they even know if the fair owner is going to wear them at all. Their opportunities for stealing are confined to burgling the house where the jewels may be for one night Such prior to going back to the banker's vaults. chances are too precarious for a high-class crook to bother about he much prefers to hunt game easier
in transit, or
;

of capture. One of the most cleverly-planned crimes of recent years was the manner in which the Princess of Thurn und Taxis was relieved of her jewel-case

somewhere between Dover and Victoria. From the moment when it became known on the Continent that the Princess was about to pay a visit
to England, a gang of international thieves began planning to steal her jewels. With a cunning which one can hardly help admiring, they succeeded in having made a replica of the Princess's jewel-case,

90

THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD

and followed her all the way from Brussels, waiting an opportunity of substituting the false case for the
real.

chance occurred until the Princess and her reached England, or at any rate, until they party but whenever were crossing the Straits of Dover the theft did occur, it was not until the party arrived at Victoria Station that the Princess's maid discovered, to her horror, that the jewel-case she was carrying did not belong to her mistress. It was like the real one, certainly, but there the resemblance ended. Inside, instead of £30,000 worth of valuable jewels, was a collection of rubbish worth
;

No

nothing. In the course of the next few weeks there were sensational developments among the international

Scotland Yard rounded and them up put through a most rigorous now One man, dead, was actually questionnaire. for the but on trial he cleverly escaped put robbery, from the meshes and lived long enough to laugh openly at the C.I.D. men.
criminals at large in London.
all

them

If he did not actually steal the Princess's jewels,

knew who did but the police, although too aware of the man's knowledge, were were they after the man had been acquitted of the powerless and the Princess never saw her jewels again. charge, on Robberies transatlantic liners are so common now that the big shipping companies make a practice of having a detective on board every big vessel, usually a man who has served in the Metropolitan Police of London or New York, and is therefore likely
he, at least,
;

to

know most of the|swell crooks. During the war, of course, such robberies were non-existent, for the

THE BANK OF ELEGANCE
reason that passport
difficulties

91

were in the way.

Wealthy American women visiting Europe are shadowed on to a boat, and when it is definitely ascertained that they have their jewels with them, one of the gang, who always travels first-class, makes the trip over and waits an opportunity of absconding
with the jewels. There are always plenty of chances for a wellspoken crook to make off with valuables. A favourite method is to strike up an acquaintance with the victim, and when the time comes for landing, with the inevitable Customs inspection and necessity of declaring the jewels, it is a poor specimen of the international adventurer who cannot make good use of such an opportunity. A confederate waiting at the Customs shed quietly passes over the false case, as easily walks off with the real, and is out of sight long before the owner has realised her loss. It is the work of a moment for the thief to empty the case, inform the Customs officer that he has nothing to declare, and make off, to await his fellow-thief later.
ii

In bygone years there used to be a common method of swindling by means of a Bank of Elegance note. Country cousins up to London for a week or two used to accept them, and never suspect the deception until they offered the note to a tradesman, who,
often as not, would call a policeman and give them in charge for attempted fraud. The master-criminals of the twentieth century have

improved considerably on the crude efforts of the pioneer banknote forgers. To-day they will pass

92

THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD

off on you a Bank of Engraving note, so excellent an imitation of the genuine Bank of England one that very close scrutiny is required unless one is to be deceived. The source of these notes is one of the greatest

I believe I am criminal mysteries of modern times. Yard has never yet in that Scotland right saying discovered the clever gang of criminals who put

them into circulation, to say nothing of tracking down the men who engrave them. I do not profess to know why these clever forgers bother to make their spurious notes payable on the " Bank of Engraving." I have heard that this is a " Bank of survival from the old days when the " of Threadof the Old took the Lady Elegance place needle Street, and it was an offence punishable by
hanging to imitate and circulate currency notes.

Whatever the real reason, there still survives in criminal circles in this country the impression that to pass off on some stupid foreigner or busy book" maker a note of the " Bank of Engraving is not an
indictable

impression, I might at the disillusionment a receives which painful say, hands of an unsympathetic Judge. From what I can gather, the tools of the masteroffence
at
all

—an

criminals who buy stocks of Bank of Engraving notes appear to think that they are merely indulging in a catchpenny trick similar to those indulged in at fairs. No more richly humorous example of these gentry being caught with their own hook has ever occurred than the recent episode at a racemeeting, when a couple of young crooks succeeded in getting a bookmaker to give them change for a

£20 Bank of Engraving note.

CATCHING THE UNWARY
The

93

pair booked a bet of £9 to £4 about a certain and horse, duly drew £16 change. Unfortunately for the two crooks their horse won. Nobody of the conversation that must have course, knows, taken place between the pair when they discovered that they had £13 to draw on the race. Probably

the question of the unlucky 13 never entered into all they were concerned with was whether their heads bookmaker had discovered that the £20 note they the had given him was not negotiable on any jointstock bank. Well, with a courage much superior to their judgment, they decided to chance it. One
;

of the pair took the ticket up and duly presented it. " Oh yes," said the bookmaker rudely, " you're

the fellow that gave me the dud note." Throwing off his bag, he grabbed the venturesome one, called out to a policeman standing near by, and had him hauled off to the cells before he quite realised what
'

'

had happened.

The men who circulate these forged notes, of course, are merely the dupes of the forgers. They pay all sorts of prices for the notes, from a shilling up to five shillings each. Racecourse cardsharpers
almost invariably carry them not usually because they intend to try to get rid of them, but because they are part of the stock-in-trade of the profession.

Credulous innocents inveigled into a game of cards on the way down to a race-meeting rarely fail to " " emit a gasp of astonishment when one of the gang " " bank notes and produces a huge roll of crackling peels off a dozen or so to a confederate, saying that
their account
is

now

settled.

Even more

useful are the

Bank

of

Engraving notes

Bill ? " he asks. after a certain amount of hesitation." Cheerfully the novice. I don't know. £700. immaculately got up in a light suit." " " I Oh.94 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD to one of those clever crooks on the racecourse with " " a mug in tow. We'll be lucky to get three's to of hundred then. " Shall we Bill's reluctance tation. Five hundred pounds will do me. don't feel like betting heavy to-day. He and says — " Is ? is a masterpiece in assumed hesi" frowns. comes up and says to the crook " It's Well. Bill. it will three to one now : . Not more than a couple All right." We don't want to shout all over Jim vouches " for his newly-made " friend. be evens. " " All this time the mug is standing by openmouthed. let "What do you " him in ? say. produces his crackling roll. parts with a couple of hundred . and carefully counts out ten £50 notes. looks at the blushing mug. introduces him to the man with the field-glasses. The pair may be in the paddock inspecting the runners for the next race when an impatient-looking gentleman. He looks appealingly at the crook who has him in charge." says the crook. what are you going to do about it ? if you don't get on soon. Jim ? Can he keep it his mouth shut the course. with field-glasses complete. who nearly always has plenty of money." he all right. and the latter. handing them over to the confederate with stern instructions not to take less than three to one. He dives into his breast pocket." says Bill.

It would be difficult for me. the day is out. " " if the has been responsible for it all mug had .COMEDY ON THE RACECOURSE pounds their in genuine notes. indeed. take him back to town with a view to future depredations. not seen that roll of apparently genuine Bank of England notes. " " He wins £20. The £200. repose in Bill's inside pocket. One of the gang strolls up and stakes a the boards having bet him two to one he cannot find the lady. The winner promptly takes man working rustling £10 note. They make an impressive start when a couple of crooks with an umbrella begin the three-card trick. all well and good ance again. he would never have parted with his own. make sponsible for their horse's defeat and promising something better later in the day. the card manipulator offers to bet him £100 to £50 he cannot do it again. while the remaining pair way to the stand to watch the race." commiserate with they cling tightly to the him.000 before . If the Bill makes his appearhorse loses. Highly annoyed. Failing the victory of the horse. to explain properly the usefulness of these Bank of Engraving notes to racecourse sharps. cursing the bad luck which was re. which never went on any horse. in which case Jim goes tell to look for him money and him they will or they keep his win him £10. Either There is the possibility of three things. Bill hurriedly takes 95 the notes off to the ring. " mug. the " — . Bill doesn't turn up with the winnings. to be shared out when the " " mug has been safely stowed away in his hotel It is the Bank of Engraving which for the night." He draws £30 in banknotes. and if he is sufficiently promising.

for instance. at which notes on the Bank of Engraving are produced and handed over without so much as the barest acknowledgment in writing ? All that the apparently What — — ." turns a card up. is what they are there that him with sympathises and he tries again. excited crowd over the umbrella. it is " " To is not to know that. throws — also in banknotes " is — ' and after this much cogitation finds the lady again." They cards pay over £150 to the lucky true. only to that he The crowd realise that he has picked the wrong one." are notes while It is down in the corner is the magic scroll of figures £50. By time an eager. Most of them mugs game. The "mug" can see "Bank of Eng. leaning will be in the " which no bank will ever cash. where the charitable one has an appointment with a man who is to assist him. but there are certain to be a few who watch with awe-struck eyes the man with the " winner. graving. All the confidence-tricksters in the London keep a liberal balance at the West End of Bank of En- What could be more useful. through " finds the lady. £5 in real notes to £10 takes the crush. but the result is the same for good enough — — — — always. He pushes his way for him.96 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD down £50 " the wager. but the mug all outward appearances they are Bank of England notes. than a pocketful of these forged notes wherewith to impress a promising stranger to London that he is the one man he (the man with the notes) has been looking for to assist in the distribution of a big charitable bequest ? could be more convincing than the meeting at the swell hotel.

having an excellent understanding of a man's honesty when discovery is unlikely they net a couple of hundred clear profit from an individual who thinks " — going to get away with £10. only to find too late that it is he And all. has and he has found some quixotic philanthropist. is why greatest mystery. while the lettering on the note. note payable the bother to make ever the^forgers The .000.SOMETHING FOR NOTHING 97 wealthy philanthropist requires is that you give him some guarantee of your honesty. The watermark is beautifully done. are cute judges of human nature. Bank of Engraving is is at the bottom of it no doubt that these imitation notes The paper itself is a wonare very cleverly forged. Nine times out of ten the mug he is I am ' is caught simply through avarice." and.000 for distribution to — — the old proverb of — Charity begins at home. well-spoken stranger. of course. will impress anybody There at a distance. ideas of milking him dry. " afraid the average citizen who is spoofed by the confidence-man gets but little sympathy " " from the police. They know nobody better that the average man is a firm believer in £10. Some little get- notice by a rich-quick scheme is brought to his " " thinks The mug clever. the who has been caught. He likes this to be in bank or Treasury notes genuine and when you have handed these over makes another appointment at which you are to — — receive any deserving charity you may happen to know. derful replica of the real thing. its crackle and rustle being wonderfully like the genuine. as I said previously. with its thick black flourishes. These clever confidence-tricksters.

They are the bait which lands the End would never be fish every time.criminals of London.98 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD on the Bank of Engraving. I number the forgers of the Bank of Engraving notes among the master. on all-fours with the unwritten law of the underworld never to strike a policeman if it can possibly be helped. of course. Clever is hardly the word to describe them. they are safe from the law. Without these false notes the swell confidence-tricksters of the West able to gain the confidence of wealthy fools. and silver. I suppose the forgers who manufacture these Bank of Engraving notes always have at the back of their minds the idea that so long as they do not forge a note on the Bank of England." if it the race-trains were not for a display " of dud " notes. and do not try to raise money forgeries. In the days when our currency consisted of no- the " thing but sovereigns. Why they do not go the whole hog and make it the Bank of England is just one of those little conundrums which always I puzzles people who know our criminal classes. while the crooks on the course. in The cardsharpers operating would rarely find victims the " tale-tellers. whisperers. thou- ." the pseudoowners. although up to the present the Directors of the Bank of Engraving have managed to keep out of trouble. and commission agents. banknotes. can only ascribe it to superstition. would all find their business at a woeful disadvantage if their stock-intrade had perforce to consist of genuine notes. which would be on their spurious legal tender. because their handi- work makes possible some of the biggest frauds which have ever been known. It is a mistake.

FORGED BANKNOTES 99 sands of bookmakers were caught by accepting Bank of Engraving notes during a tremendous rush of business. owing to the difficulty of passing £50 notes. The " " " boys with the Bank of Engraving. merely hoping that you will not be too communicative to the police. Contrary to all ordinary banking customs. and consequently the greater likelihood of coming " " " unstuck in successfully finding a mug. you If in like. Nowadays." It is not difficult to obtain a supply if you happen " " and can be to be known to any of the boys But where relied upon to keep your mouth shut. to do with as tell . with nearly all their transactions done in Treasury notes. The greatest mystery about these clever forgeries are put into circulation. I believe costs no more than a £5 note that. although if you offered any of them £100 to is how they you where the notes came from. if you make known your needs for an account " you care to try and pass them and get pinched the process. they actually come from will be kept a mystery sufficient that you have your notes. I doubt if any " one would split. There is hardly a well-known crook in London to be found without them. will merely laugh cynically when they hear the news. a £50 note on the Bank of Engraving In fact. but it still exists. In the West End of London there are certain bars where. that will be your funeral." the ! trade price is even lower. it is possible for business to be done. and only awaits the restoration of the gold standard to flourish once more. the fraud is more difficult to work. .

and. Over in the United States. The £5 and £10 notes bring the highest price. and also more ever made. in keeping with the appearance of the average crook. they have an ingenious system of disposing of forged notes which catches many victims. $500. being the easiest to negotiate. and £50. £20. say. Another reason is that £1 and 10s. the new notes are so elaborately engraved that the work would be exceedingly difficult to any but a highly-skilled craftsman. For one thing. A well-dressed fellow will stop you in the street and whisper that he knows someone in possession of a plate used for printing $100 notes. so on the old principle of the sheep and the lamb the of the Bank forger confines his attention to imitations of England notes. last Within the few months there have been a . where the criminal classes specialise to an extent unknown here. Here in Great Britain there have so far been but few attempts to forge our new Treasury notes. I have no doubt whatever that there are millions of dollars of forged Treasury notes floating around. It has been stolen from the Treasury at Washington. In a country where practically all the currency is paper. the stranger can supply you with $10. and for. such frauds find it many openings.000 of notes absolutely undetectable from the real thing.100 So THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD far as I am aware. although would be impossible to get any definite figures. nothing higher than £50 is The denominations are £5. who could earn enough honestly without bothering about crime. £10. notes incur just as much penalty under the law as a £5 or £10 note. Only the highest grade of sharper uses the £20 and £50 notes regularly.

First thoughts were that the Germans were at seeking to destroy confidence in our new currency. Presumably he conducts his business in the same . tried in secret. work. and I doubt whether it will ever be stamped out. The police burst into the house. printed on stamp paper. and it was only after a terrific struggle that he was removed to the police-station and subsequently to a long term of penal servitude. and for some time a close search was maintained among German tradesmen known to be at large in this country. the extent is not alarming. One night the prey arrived. it being thought undesirable the authorities at the time that the public should by ever suspect the genuineness of any of the notes which He was had just taken the place of gold. Eventually the notes were traced to Hoxton. The Bank of Engraving is an old fraud. and there in a back room they found lithograph stones still wet with ink.A number of WAR SECRET 101 forged Treasury notes in circulation. waiting for a man whose description had been given to them. were being issued to the public. and dreadfully crude specimens of the engraver's art. It was in the although of the war when the first £1 and 10s. It is questionable if the police have ever known the identity of the clever engraver who fabricates the fraudulent notes. that Scotland Yard discovered the existence of thousands of forgeries. The forger fought like a raging bull with his captors. early days notes. on which was to be found a beautiful replica of the new notes. Certain it is that the forger himself never attempts to circulate any of his specimens. and for a week detectives kept watch on a certain house.

and short of someone betraying it. Anyhow. Close by is the victim. Even the source where the paper is obtained is a puzzle. well-dressed man in front drop a fat pocket-book.102 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD as way manufacturers. that is. glancing to see that all is well. By jove. The watermark put their talents to such base uses. and taps him on the shoulder. The actual maker of the notes and the man who passes them to the crooks represent do many motor one of the greatest mysteries in London. perhaps. another welltracking the victim just by his side. " the owner turns to him and says. anxious. to see that the bulging pocket-book is actually restored to its rightful owner. It is not stolen. As he passes by. the man who picks up the pocketbook sees who has dropped it. there to mystify still further if you hold the note to the light you will wonder. it is not you that is wanted pick up the pocket-book. No secret is more jealously guarded. like all honest men. Someone just at the back of you has been earmarked for that job. do not hurry forward and restore it to him. for every square inch of the paper used in the Bank of England notes is rigorously accounted for a state of affairs which applies equally to the paper used for — Treasury notes. Rather will you be better entertained by standing off and watching the As a little comedy that is about to be staged. why such palpably clever tradesmen should is . if that dressed fellow is who . by a representative who has the sole right appointing of distribution. to matter of fact. If you should happen to be walking through the West End of London and see a stout. I fail to see how the police are to get to the bottom of it. hurries after him.

put his hand under his pillow and pulled out this very identical Here's £3. who was the owner ' of one When of the biggest cattle-ranches in the Argentine. Be " careful of your money. Harry. and he pulls out a handkerchief and unashamedly ' ' pocket-book. holding the two breathless by his easy eloquence.' Tears are streaming down the stout gentleman's face. where passers-by will not be unduly inquisitive." he goes on. I'm not long for this world.000.' he said.THE CONFIDENCE TRICK a stroke of luck in that case of mine. I want you to go to London and there share it out between charities which are kind to orphan boys. and before I die I will " happy that I have done something for them. It belongs to my Jim Kerrigan.000 worth of notes know what I should them. Before I die ' I'd like my old native town of London to have something to remember me by. gently steering his two companions to the side of the pavement. hardly daring . When I left South America to come friends said to over here the last words my me were. with great difficulty. " they always told me there were no honest people As he says in ' London. feel They were good to me. Harry.' Perhaps you don't know.' he said. gentlemen." lost They don't really this he opens the pocket-book and disthe closes to wondering gaze of the other two a thick of banknotes. " where I might distribute this money to the best advantage." the owner continues affably. isn't ! 103 I I don't had £3. old friend It is not really mine. he was dying he called me to his bedside. 8 His companions. wipes them away.' " Poor Jim. have done if I had belong to me. packet " You know.

stand by feeling rather embarrassed. where the snug bar of the " Of course. you some have must over to I of this you money any hesitates a little sents. Before he went he whispered Find an honest man." man's memories . you'll forgive an old I must be getting along now. " " I sniffles the stout one again. ' and says. " down. He man who has picked up his pocket-book." he says. not careful and if they'll do you you're rogues. or you would never have hurried after me with my notes." dignity. " Well. he with I'm honest. Perhaps we might walk round to the Criterion bar at the ' and discuss the matter." sipping drinks. philanthropist propounds his scheme. gentlemen. holds out his hand. considering him " I think I might safely let you have some of gravely. I can hand before that understand. when suddenly something " I wonder.104 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD to offer consolation to the memory of poor Jim. to help you London's full of distribute that money of mine. the money to hand over to charities which you know." Within a few minutes the three are seated in the " Cri." and then conlike to come would gentleman Perhaps " " I would the stout fellow. simple replies hope " Well. but carries I off the tribute with praiseworthy sang-froid. Harry. " whether you might care to assist me ? You must be an honest man.' He puts the banknotes back into his pocket shall to me." The honest one looks rather flustered. gentlemen. looking hard dawns on him." says the stout one. too ? prefer suggests that two or three people assisted me. The honest man " this . Poor Jim ' ! never forget him.

" I don't mind handing over a couple of hundred to show that I will deal faithfully with my £1." says." " Well. suddenly says " If you'll excuse me a moment I'll telephone to my solicitor. as much as to say." He goes. " I've only £150 on me. and before I can give you £1. and. ever got in your " factory. . leaving the other two in conversation. the innocent one slowly produces his note-case.INNOCENTS ABROAD 105 guarantee of your good faith." chatting for a time. all. We can see him this afternoon to fix up They sit leaving his : our arrangements. unable to help himself. the honest man begins to exhibit uneasiness. extracting dives into his inside pocket and pulls out a notefrom it four brand-new £50 notes. accepts the £200." replies the dispenser of charity " It's only a matter of form.000. " " I wonder what can have become of him ? he " Just a wait second while I find where he is. umbrella on the table. In about a quarter of an hour. " If you will do the same. " That will do. sir. there being no sign of him. it would be better if I had some evidence of your own financial standing.000 each." he announces." He case. it will be quite satis- victim. As he does so he winks cunningly at the unconscious Isn't this the easiest " life ? £1. after magnanimously." There is a certain amount of hypnotism about this stout fellow with the engaging manners." says the honest man. Both of you are strangers to me. that's easy enough. when the stout one. and says to the victim.000 you The stout philanthropist appears quite innocent of evil intents.

too. The few unkempt pieces of cloth in the window and a notice in Yiddish saying . disappears. usually for the stones to be unset and sold again. when it has dawned on the victim that he has been done. Expensive furs. It is no exaggeration to say that there are thou" " sands of in London. evil-smelling back street of Whitechapel. whose fence business will primarily be the purchase of stolen goods from City and West End warehouses. the two umbrellas are all that is left of his The banknotes which were to give him such £150. " in Whitechapel and Houndsditch. woollen cloths suitable for making up into men's and women's clothing these " are all grist for the mill of the East End fence. silks. — in undoubtedly the clearing-house of nearly the valuable property stolen in this country. by did you happen to be passing dingy shop in the dirty. sad to say." is London all ' — The stuff in a similar his comes into manner. how on earth the owner ever earned a living out of such an apparently unprosperous-looking place. are on the Bank of Engraving. well-dressed fellow. Half an hour later. also leaving his umbrella as an evidence of his bona fides. a pleasant holiday in London repose safely in the pocket of a stout. people who get a rich fences You will find the living dealing in stolen property.106 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD He. There is hardly a jewel-robbery in which the plunder does not ultimately arrive in London. along with a thick wad of other banknotes which. his place by night and departs You might wonder.

— A profitable profession that of buying stolen goods. Isaac himself is never to be seen about the shop. all kept by Jews. Isaac hard work attached to making clothes for neighbours. not only from motives of safety. conversing Yiddish the use of them Most tongue. As likely as not the talk will be of something one of the party has to sell. but because Whitechapel is so completely alien that many foreign Jews never learn the English language at all. is there instead. decide whether he is likely to be a nark " (spy). collected in some corner. with the marvellous intuition of her race. however. size him " copper's up. Everybody present understands that the stuff has been come by "on the cross. This was true enough years In the East End of ago. more his grasping has at- London there are dozens of licensed houses. Truth to tell. and if you should chance to visit a few of them of a night you will see little parties of swarthyskinned men." as it is known in such circles. and if by some extraordinary mischance a customer should enter she will. but is not so to-day. and if she thinks so ask him to call back when her husband is in. are only a blind. although such a fact does not necessarily depreciate its value. usually of Russian or Polish nationin guttural ality. The point at issue is the danger to be apprehended from the police. Too well does the artful Hebrew " fence understand that the English law makes the ' . Isaac has long ago abandoned the Mrs.MYSTERIOUS WHITECHAPEL 107 that Isaac So-and-So is prepared to make you a suit of clothes at a highly-reasonable price. whispers. tracted him It used to be generally believed that Jews never frequent public-houses.

To start with. with a wealth of gesticulation. more or less as blackmail " stolen where The proprietor of the lumber. . . The seller. . first of all. the prospective buyer." property is stored pending a suitable buyer. certain Then there is the man who carted the to land the police should find him in On top of that the man possession of the plunder. being old-fashioned and shop-soiled. . And so it goes on half the night. also wants his whack. so the him in gaol if haggling begins. on paid a stiff price. suitable. when on the cross anything and everything could be bought and sold without any questions being asked. terrible. . by the burglar who did the stuff to be his part. have to be taken into considera- tion in fixing the price of the goods being offered. for his is a dangerous job. with the understanding that the stuff is to be taken away " " from the lumber the following night. trade will be bad terrible. tells a specious story of the terrible figure required job. The people are getting frightened of touching anything " " times are not like the war. If the seller has half a dozen excellent reasons why the plunder in question should bring a high price. Perhaps after about three hours some arrangement will be come to money will be paid over. The stuff isn't — . until one becomes dazed with the fierce intentness of the bargainers. " most of No money about everybody's " broke his friends thinking of the Bankruptcy Court as their " " are about splits only hope of salvation.108 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD when he and the burglars are trial at the chief offender standing their All sorts of factors the Old Bailey. " " who owns the stuff must make a profit. has fifty why it should not.

Few of them get more than a single piece of anything stolen. and drive off to the Ordinarily the average tailor never considers his stock-in-trade as attractive to burglars. of course. Dirtylooking foreigners speaking broken English come in and offer ladies' costumes at prices that are absolutely ridiculous at the present value of silks and satins. remove a few thousand pounds' worth of cloth into a waiting " lumber. made up in the latest fashion. The explanation is cheap labour. It is all cleverly done. and after. are offered for sale at a price no English costumier could touch. with a ticket for five guineas on it. and stolen goods. and even then it is made up so quickly that discovery is almost impossible. long hours. in addition to being exceedingly scarce. Nothing was ' fence ' business men's wear. No one could swear to a particular blouse or jumper being made of silk that was lifted from some City warehouse. Smart evening dresses and costumes." van. The man who has bought the stuff from the burglar's intermediary has taken care that only small quantities are distributed to each maker. easier than to break into some tailor's shop. Within two or three days of the robbery the silk that was once reposing peacefully on the shelf of a City merchant will be on sale in a costumier's shop. has brought about a different state .THE RECEIVER There of is 109 an amazing business done in the East in End London making up stolen cloth for sale in some of the expensive shops of the West End. Another highly-lucrative branch of the warehouse is that of dealing in cloth for Especially was this so during the war. But the war. when all cloth was bringing a prohibitive price.

There is an astounding story to be told of fortunes " made out of goods bought " on the cross in the " " fences East End of London. naturally jibbed at tailors protecting valuable goods with nothing but a flimsy lock. where it is cut up and made into suits within a few hours of its arrival. Nowadays a London tailor regards his stock as inferior only to jewellery in value. description. Their ignorance of the English language and total lack of knowledge concerning the whereabouts of some compatriot badly wanted are truly amazing. And how stolen cloth is — wonderfully clever are these off-scourings of the big Russian cities when police' inquiries are about. Most of the stuff probably goes to ready-made clothing factories. " to that value have At any rate. amounting in many cases to very of affairs. there would be no warehouse That state of affairs applies equally well burglars. " robberies . Cash down is the principle with no questions asked.000 worth of furs stolen. " " fences If there were no ready and willing to buy stolen cloth. Nearly all transactions between dealers are carried out without any written security. upon to large sums. and so save themselves from any participation in trouble.110 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD The insurance companies who were called pay claims. within the past two years there has been not less — than £100. Some of the clever who get the first offer of the proceeds of some famous robbery have made thousands without handling a They buy on a single piece of the stolen property. The tracing of an almost insuperable problem. sell by the same method. to another enormously lucrative branch of the busiI suppose that ness the buying of stolen furs.

purposely a little late. which need not be touched upon here. If. The staff are dashing around in a state of great perturbation. which the police cannot understand. dashes off into quick-fire Yiddish. like the jeweller and the clothing manufacturer. to discover the police in attendance. He tears his hair. The place has been practically cleared. Abraham's consternation and subsequent anger are splendidly done. comes to an arrangement with some friends of his. be rather sceptical Perhaps the police may —they . has a pronounced habit of looking upon insurance premiums. and generally behaves like a madman. of these claims are genuine is quite another story. they should happen to be in a certain street at a particular time with a horse and cart. and rush up to inform him that there has been a burglary during the night. " Vot's der use of having vire inzurance bremiums if " don't get nothing vor dem? they will inquire. be they against fire or burglary. Your cunning furrier.SWINDLING SCHEMES 111 Whether many actually been reported to the police. with yer The same query applies to burglars. insure against them if you never have a burglary ? Why So Abraham. and out of curiosity try the door of a certain place. times being none too good. uplifted palms. it is quite Nobody will possible that entrance can be obtained. curses his staff up hill and down dale. and the valuable furs which lie inside can quite easily be lifted into the waiting van. Next morning the comedy develops. strolls in about half-past ten. he says. Abraham. be about. it not being advisable that he should take a leading part just then. as something in the nature of an investment to be realised upon when times grow bad.

— Act number two develops more slowly. all Abraham it is is thunderstruck.000 worth of jewellery. They have a habit of making all sorts of surreptitious inquiries. unknown to the claimant inquiries which often crystallise in their clients — — curtly refusing to make any payment. by sneak-thieves. their trump card being that they know Abraham to be a rogue. and is remarkable only for one thing its complete dissimilarity from the furs that did actually disappear. giving instructions for the claim to be on the insurance company. What becomes of it all ? The answer. they gravely take notes and depart with Abraham's promise of a complete list of the stolen furs. and goes away. at any rate so far as either £750. It is made two or three days later that the visit. This list is made out by the head of the firm himself. anyhow.112 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD usually are in such cases. who would never dare face the ordeal of cross-examination in a court of law. looks at the place where the burglars forced their way in. About midday Abraham might be found in the office of his lawyer. perhaps £1. company's gravely to assessor pays Abraham a listens everything he has to say.000 worth is concerned. Every year in the United Kingdom there is stolen. although the time only what he expected. but. He threatens and bluffs through his lawyer and talks of going to law.000. for he is in the position of not knowing exactly how much the company knows. Insurance assessors are very awkward people to deal with. leaving Abraham feeling exceedingly uncomfortable. Perhaps the insurance company may only be bluffing also. — but nothing happens." . is the " fence. or pickpockets. burglars.

All the big ring makers put their trade mark on their goods. " " Very rarely indeed does the clever fence attempt to dispose of a quantity of gold ornaments. and in trickled out again into use among manufacparticular turing jewellers dealings. for there is a truly colossal amount of the precious metal stolen every year. and they would be due for a term . There are master-minds at the back of this nefarious trade. where all these stolen rings and brooches are melted down. cunning crooks whose safety depends on the secrecy with which they work. goes The gold and the platinum are their are melted down. Recognition is too easy. and it would only require a smart detective to get on the track of a tradesman " " to be brought fence buying stolen stuff for the to book. most of which were effected by professional criminals. the solution could be found in some dingy back street in the East End. It is safe to say that into the hands of the " practically all this stuff " fences in London. if the real truth were known. . The value involved must be enormous. It is an astonishing mystery. even if they be merely common types of rings. and all of it finds its way back into ordinary channels of commerce.TRICKS OF THE TRADE 118 During the latter part of 1922 there was a tremendous epidemic of jewel-robberies. this traffic in stolen gold. and the gold sent out in strips suitable for re-manufacture. A whisper to the police of their operations. who are none too if especially they can buy their gold cheaply. Probably. and one that rarely comes to light. in the same condition as when they were stolen.

i. alas John Chinaman has been compelled to resume the older and infinitely more dangerous occupation of opium smuggling. and al- them for ever." it is hard to escape from the thrall of the trade. of course. above the face value of the sovereign for the purpose of melting it down and demand ever known for The dozens of working the East End of London will pay any- it so as to be fit for jewellery work. jewellers in thing up to 25 per cent. sooner or later He " a time after leaving overcomes him. Since sovereigns circles. Since the days when the sovereign became a rarity. whose artfulness is equalled only by his indomitable perseverance. but your Chinese criminal. turn him over. shaking them up for hours in a bag. pay him a " visit as a matter of course. ! . run in conjunction with a fan-tan or pak-a-pu shop. knowing him to have been a buyer of stolen property. temptation buys something which is said to be perfectly live honestly for may safe. and duly find what they were withdrawn from currency there has been the keenest gold of any description. Once a man known though he gaol." as they say in criminal are looking for. and afterwards scraping from the bottom the pieces which have come off the newly-milled edges. on all-fours with the old Chinese trick of " sweating " new alloying sovereigns. by getting several hundred newly-minted ones from a bank.114 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD servitude which would effectually is of penal damn to have been a " fence.e. finds the trade a profitable one. It requires patience. although such debasement is a criminal offence. Old criminals keep offering him stolen stuff." only to find that the police.

D. Ask your London to-day about " What's the Holland. yet not above " on the crook. " " as intermediary. far too difficult to get in quantities worth his while. and except for the trouble of finding a remunerative market. a man There must be a fence the trade. plain." a deal In years gone by. But jewels. able to sell in preferably of fair repute anything without arousing suspicion. He would never dream of offering the stolen gem to a pawnbroker or a jeweller. been successfully brought Here it is that the " fence " comes in. 115 If the ultimate destination of all the gold that is then. and occasionally a lapidary up a stone likely to be recognisable by who can . for one thing. and he will laugh at you. what. everyday gold has but little stolen in this country — is lers attraction for the high-class crook. can be in the waistcoat pocket. and diamonds carried away in particular. a buyer. " sparkthe valuable diamonds which may be worth anything up to a few thousands apiece. It is the " he wants . is an insoluble mystery. its size. Without cut a big diamond is valueless to a burglar. and even now.B. they cause little or no trouble once the burglary has off. knowing full well that the police would long ago have circulated a description of the stolen gems. all stolen diamonds went over to Amster" " fence dam.I. and plain gold. No swell burglar would ever dream of going after It is too dangerous. according to certain novelists. " matter with London ? he will ask. to be thought of the most baffling puzzle of all the secret which lies behind the disappearance of the diamonds and other precious stones which attract the attention of thieves ? Ordinary.

In South Africa to-day." even the most expert diamond. and are unsafe to offer as the burglar found them. not of ring makers could swear to a thousands of pounds worth of dealt with in " of fences. Diamonds attract the crooks of the world. but large emeralds and rubies are scarce there hardly a famous coloured stone that is unknown " " to the trade.D. Mostly foreigners. They are comparatively safe. It is perfectly true. and There are thousands of huge diamonds sapphires. There are stolen gems that are London every year through the medium The trade is a well-known one.B. although the De Beers Company have succeeded in stamping out most of the I. is still plenty of money made surreptitiously by white men who do not mind consorting with the native labourers employed in the mines. although correspondingly they would never bother to inform the police of their suspicions. in Great Britain worth anything from £1. far more so than coloured stones such as emeralds. (illicit many men there diamond buying). that are stolen are recognisable Once they are dismounted. Fences will not buy them. for they depreciate to almost nothing in value when cut.116 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD Very few of the diamonds out of their settings. they look with a tolerant eye on their brethren who offer them a parcel of stones which are obviously of doubtful origin. which made fortunes for in the early days of the Kimberley mines. And it is diamonds that the high-class " fence " goes for. and certain dealers are quite aware of it. rubies. The diamond-market is the strangest market in . Probably they would refuse to buy the stones. is .000 upwards.

robberies such as took . and only to be measured by the credulity of the women who ultimately buy them. is carried around in an inside pocket. No written record is kept of the transaction and no cheques are given. They may buy a small parcel of diamonds from a " on the fellow-dealer. " Stolen diamonds as he " ! you would an amiable says the dealer. the second purchaser may also make £50 out of the deal. least in a coffee-shop. 117 Most of the dealers are Jewish. The shabby-looking individual who first bought the stones may make £50 or £100 profit. stock-in-trade. some of an office sort. at Most of them the street. district Who told you this The likely place to find anything stolen ? old days when the thief carried his plunder off was a " to Holland have gone for good. The profit in diamonds is colossal.STOLEN STONES the world. which may be rarely worth many thousands of pounds. I have never heard of any such thing here. The bland " no " " " of the Heathen Chinee is not to be comsavee pared with the blank stare of amazement which greets you. one particular reason being that the Continental boats are too closely watched by experienced detectives for a well-known thief ever to think of selling his stuff in Amsterdam. although they but possess visit Their it. In an epidemic of jewel. Try to obtain information of any stolen diamond of a dealer and see what happens. and so it goes on. regarding " lunatic. knowing full well they are crook. if not actually in and extraction." dispose of them to another dealer. who in his turn passes the stones on to someone else. of Dutch do their business.

like all other producers. must find a market for their wares. " " that the authorities want to It is the fences as I previously said. The writer well remembers a famous judge." for they are mutually incriminated. Most of these gentry are much too clever to take any chance in that direction. gentle- ." if there were no Burglars. get would be very few burglaries indeed. There would be no burglars " fences. He but rarely dares to quarrel openly " with his fence. the stones are distributed before a description can be printed. he is offered. and very often the most " " fence's incriminating evidence that of the previous relations with the law is totally unknown to — — the jury. there without for at. It is a difficult it offence to prove. They prefer to accept a " " to bear low price in London and leave the fence the risk of the police. When " business " is bad or the police are unduly vigilant. Once the thieves get away with a woman's jewels the chance of recovery is almost nil. But in actual fact the risk is very. prices rule Nine times out of ten " Raffles " takes what low. and stuff. although if the buyer gets unduly stingy the burglar quietly finds someone else anxious for his custom. The crack pro" " fences all ready for the fessional men have their It is dismounted. very slight.118 place THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD in 1922 all the boat trains and Channel packets are watched for international thieves. the gold is melted down. after " not a villainous-looking individual had been found " " of to the receiving. that of buying property knowing to have been stolen." jury saying bitterly guilty " : Perhaps you will be interested to know. them.

CHARACTERS IN CRIME 119 men. if they are not actually accepted ! gentlemen in their private life. so the critics said. He would take a job to 9 . are at least totally unsuspected of any connection with the criminal They carry on a business of some sort. ling. Penfold was a tradesman in a small way of business at Highgate when he first took to burgling. by day But there are dozens of well-known criminals in London to-day who." the prisoner corroborated with a grin as he hastily descended the dock. his identity may was a man I Penfold is not his real name. What started him on the path is a bit of a mystery. Burglar by night and cricketer Utterly ridiculous." " Not 'arf. if it does not bring them in much money it certainly as has the inestimable quality of absolving them from suspicion. Penfold took to burgtrade. but be recognised by anyone familiar with the famous burglars of recent years. me lud. IV When a famous novelist wrote his sensational story of Raffles there were few people who did not hesitate to describe the character of the hero as one impossible in real life. that nobody is more surprised at your verdict " and here the judge paused for a long time— than " than the prisoner. for he could make quite a respectable living by his Whatever the reason. One of the cleverest of these fellows shall call Penfold. It was the first time he had left the court in that fashion for — nearly twenty years. and profession. using his trade merely as a means of spying out " " cribs worth cracking.

the detective went back to the station. do the work satisfactorily enough. . and commiserate with them on the difficulty of laying the wicked burglar by the heels. chat at his workshop. and. was fast asleep when the pair arrived.120 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD decorate a house. accompanied by a The painter colleague. and all went merrily until one day there came to Highgate a newly-made young detective. Penfold was a fellow on excellent terms with the men Numbers of them used to stop and have a in blue. where Penfold would chat with them. Nothing was done to inform Penfold of the detective's ideas. he came down to the front room swearAn ing violently at being aroused from his sleep. and his wife had the greatest difficulty in making him understand what the police wanted. Not bothering to arrest the man on the spot. went round to his house. After a time the police began to notice that nearly all the houses which were burgled in North London had recently been decorated by the estimable PenIt was thought to be only a coincidence. Tousle-headed and still in his pyjamas. to One night Penfold did a little job. excellent game of bluff went on for quite a considerable time. for he had many friends in the police who would have scouted the suggestion of his being concerned in burglary. for fold. discuss the robberies. and all unknown him. There was never the slightest suspicion that Penfold might be the miscreant. the young detective followed him. who grew to be highly suspicious of the plausible painter's sympathy. had a warrant sworn for the arrest of the fellow. while all the time he was making plans to rob it.

and for just a moment the detective braced himself to meet a lightning attack. a plain-clothes policeman. with his wife bringing up the rear. of a burglary which has been reported from something Road. Penfold quickly recovered himself. Do you want to see my warrant." young detective (he was nervous and inexperienced then. under the beds." Leading the way. Not a sign of a burglary was to be found. I've never been outside the door since seven o'clock " last night." the young detective replied doggedly. . have I ? . Burgling ? " must be mad." A funny look came over the painter's face. they " " of course they are. came in. and his wife. and we'll soon get it over. laughed again as " Come along. Mad. where the police religiously searched the cupboards. though it were a good joke. burgling of They think a night. We propose to search this place. Mary ? " been out I have outside. all over the house.A BURGLAR UNMASKED 121 " " asked the painter. But it never came. and not altogether sure of " we have reason to believe that you know himself). carried Penfold " his to shouted he wife." said her husband." He laughed out loud. " propose to go through this house. Penfold took them into every room. then." the North " Do you hear it off very well. who had been anxiously wondering what the visit meant " " she so early in the morning. What's the game ? " the said Well. and all the nooks and crannies likely to contain hidden valuables. I " Mad or not. who was that." said incredulously why. Penfold escorted the detective and his companion. and the detective was growing rather frightened that he had made a serious mistake. and said.

" " Never mind about that. and were just of But they drew nothing but to the painter when the apologising thinking detective suddenly espied the painter's workyoung shop outside. gave him the idea of exploring the mysteries of the scaffold-poles. I'll apologise to you. " What have you got up there ? " he asked the painter. Bill ? them look in the shed and then be rid of them. "I'd old poles. never think of asking such a spruce young fellow as yourself to get up there and have a look for yourself. " What have you got out there " Still he inquired.122 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD blanks." he said." the detective . All your chaps have been out there in all my life. Mister Smart Policeman." said the detective." The workshop was a dirty old place full of cobwebs and reeking with paint." " Well. while his wife. I'm not so proud as that. manner. and Penfold was about to lead the way outside when something impelled the young detective to point to a mass of scaffolding poles resting on some beams under the roof. " When I've finished with your shed and found ? ' suspicious. but they weren't like you. asked you " I never saw such a fellow as you with a sneer. But they found nothing. a hint of uneasiness or anxiety to get them outside. What's the matter. at one time or another. sensing trouble in the air. closed up to him and caught him by the arm. are ? " nothing there." that peculiar expression flashed across the Again painter's face. " " " Let she inquired. " A lot of dirty Penfold broke into an open sneer. It was only Something in Penfold's intuition on his part. the painter.

Penfold was not in the house as they expected.A FIGHT FOR LIBERTY replied. began inside. Hurriedly the detective unlocked the back door and let his companion through to assist him in capturing the escaping man. slammed the door." The detective went outside to get a ladder he had No sooner had he left the shed than a terrific seen. At the front gate his wife was wringing her hands. and had evidently been slick in getting on enough clothes to appear in the streets without arousing much comment. hurled themselves at it. but in vain. dashed inside the house. . certain that they were on the right track. 123 Suddenly he saw on the floor of the workshop tiny marks which looked as though something had been dragged across. Penfold. A waiting its shrill. breaking loose from plain-clothes man. the detective picked up the ladder and smashed it through the scullery window. He pulled out his whistle. the young detective tore off down the street in pursuit of the running man. " Just keep your eye on " I fancy him. and when the two men rushed out Penfold was to be seen at the bottom of the street. There was no other scuffle the front. Shouting to his companion to remain behind to watch developments. There was a terrific crash of glass. and locked it. a pair of trousers and an overcoat over his pyjamas. to be followed by more splinters as the burly plain-clothes man way to the picked up his companion and literally lifted him through the broken window. and the streets resounded with Penfold did not get very far. and despairing of catching the fellow. The policemen." he said to his fellow-policeman this is where we strike lucky. . He was also — wearing boots.

Penfold had been a most industrious collector of silver plate. took him to the station. and. and took him into waiting arms. Hidden away in a far dirty corner he found three or four sacks." "I'll chance it. copious tears pouring down her face. Stop here till I come house. for there were hundreds of pounds worth stowed away. as things turned out. but a dozen robberies. heedless of the painter's frantic explanation that he was chasing thieves who had been in his house. Better be sure you haven't made a mistake.124 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD policeman saw him coming. the detective went round to the painter's The woman was sitting in the front room. while opposite her sat the unimpressionable plain-clothes man. " It'll be a bad thing for you charging a respectable tradesman with burglary if it isn't true. After seeing the suddenly humble Penfold safely placed in a cell." he said to the detective. assisted by the policeman. back." With the ladder he had used on the window the detective proved the mystery of the scaffold-poles. Penfold would be asked if he knew anything of a . tive For some few weeks afterwards the young detechad a most amusing time with the painter. In them were the proceeds of not one. " Got him ? " he inquired as his colleague came in. and gave a very excellent simulation of indignation until the detective arrived on the scene. It was all right." said the other." the detective replied. Even up to the last Penfold remained plausible. Even when they got the painter there the station sergeant refused to believe that he could have been connected " with any burglary. " " Yes.

he appears to have cultivated new tricks. which could easily be put up over the scaffoldpoles at It is some opportune moment.THE DOUBLE LIFE robbery. part of the piece certain 125 " cunning Ha ! then ? " " spoils of some particular robbery. gave him three years' penal servitude. Painting's good enough for me. and he nearly got off altogether. fact. with no delusions about the strength of the painter's pretensions to an honest life. and a Judge. the jury came in with a verdict of guilty. that Penfold's wife entirely ignorant of her husband being a burglar by night in addition to Apparently he had been in the painter by day. with the old plead ignorance. " " Bill used to spend his spare time burgling and It was an astonishing dropping the plunder over his fence in a convenient sack. Humbly. he would " ever seen that. the detective would say. as was elicited at the was trial. Instead. put forward the old plea that the police had planted all but the proceeds of one robbery on him. Placed in the box. But. so " tell the tale. " " a of was That silver. To the detectives who asked him what he was doing some time after he had returned home he gave humble assurance of a simple " and honest life. he would say. . " " Bill's sojourn saddening to record that in gaol did him no good. the woman never knew that late. habit of going out to lodge meetings and staying out At all events." with a sorrowful look in his eye. after a prolonged discussion. he nearly convinced the jury." that this robbery artistically did he in the North Road had been his one lapse from virtue. gleam of the eye. When it came to the trial the painter. through his counsel.

all old and had about his friend William. and . awfully nice man. Helped me no end carrying heavy " Ah. although in prudence bound the police felt themselves compelled to warn people that Bill." Leaving the house. besides being a painter." said the " but it couldn't have been him. but said nothing. until one fine day he was called in to investigate a burglary in a big house in Wood Green. having once found William straying from the fold. He was an girl. which lasted well into the night. it appeared. Penfold answered the door. But by diligent inquiry. Evidently William had taken another name. and found a small trades- man who had employed him. forgotten no cause to recollect him. and the detective was about to give the problem up when a chance remark from one of the maids caused a memory of the past to recur to him. surely that can be no other than my old friend W illiam. he tracked William down. " We had a painter in a few weeks ago. Nobody did. were not so certain. promoted to He had sergeant. William was in bed." " 7 stuff upstairs. was also a pilferer.126 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD The police. Years passed. he started making inquiries round the local painters and decorators as to whether they knew a man named Penfold. For a time William did stick to business. Interrogation of the owner and his wife produced no tangible clue. Another Mrs. when the detective and a companion arrived at the house where he lived. -was moved to another division. There were no followers likely to have done the job. The young detective. so the detective turned his attention to the servants." said the detective.

" There wouldn't be a burglary for miles around that I wasn't blamed for." Shrilly expostulating. with a flash of his old humble cunning. Shaking him by the shoulder. clothes. " Good-evening." he said. appearance at the bar of justice would mean a seven Bill got off years' dose. Bill ! Poor business in ' ' right. the detective waited for him to gather his rudely-scattered wits." he said. " Nobody named Penfold 'ere." with two years' hard labour on that but the Judge warned him that another occasion. My name's Parker. she accompanied the policemen upstairs. My 'usband's asleep upstairs. " as the two officers told her their business.CAUGHT AGAIN 127 looked surprised when the two men pushed their way in without being invited. and when he did he shambled out of bed and slowly began donning his " I suppose you want me again. It took him a few moments to recognise his old captor." Under the bed the police found the plunder from the burgled house. She . Of all the astonishing facts in the underworld of ." she said loudly. William watched them packing it up with a mournfulface and bade his new wife a shame-faced farewell. old girl. Good-bye. Gone were his rosy dreams of a little which burglary should be profitably mingled with painting. just as we were getting on all eye. William." he said.carried a candle in her hand. with a tear in his It's bad luck. enlarging on the reception they would receive for disturbing her better half. and by its guttering light the detective recognised his old pal William.

and has given up burglary. All things considered. and William grew rich and fat on the proceeds. From one part of London to another he moved. He came to patronise the saloon-bars of publichouses. drum life. invariably leave clues which enable the police to track them down. He dropped the foolish habit of keeping the stolen property at his house. The police came to know him in time. But for years after the two incidents related he carried out the same tricks. Penfold was such an individual.128 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD crime none is more astounding than the regularity with which professional criminals stick to their And not only do they particular line of business. but who find it utterly impossible to settle down to an honest. He is an old man now. and if in the serving of his apprenticeship he paid . their crimes by the same out continually carry almost but methods. William became more artful. as he grew accustomed to the ropes. he had reason to be regarded as a successful man. of course. It might be supposed that the average criminal possesses no brains. finding that night expeditions are not congenial to a man who is a martyr to rheumatism. and had a friendly word for them all. Confederates carried off the swag. knew all the detectives by sight. and when there was a robbery at a house which had recently been painted they had only to find William to lay their hands on the culprit. otherwise he would never take there to a life of crime. hum. But such is not the case are dozens of men making their living out of crime who have plenty of intelligence. working a little at his trade while spying out the land for his burglarious enterprises.

have a strange taste for alliterative nicknames. He found that they gave easy access to in — — . the porch was a typical entrance to the house of some wealthy City merchant. The City men have gone farther out. he would probably tell you that it was no more than could be expected. the Georgian and Victorian days. In those days. and Pimlico is tenanted by all that flotsam of a great city which ekes out a precarious existence living in cheap rooms and passing out of life unheeded.THE CLIMBING CRIMINAL 129 a heavy price for learning his trade of burglar. although some of their glory has faded. Down there relics of are about the region of Fulham and Pimlico thousands of old-fashioned residences. when the men lived around the neighbourhood. long before Pimlico became nothing but cheap lodging-houses. Rows and rows of substantial-looking residences were built with them. and. But in many of the squares close to Victoria this decay has not become so pronounced. as his title indicates. Percy was a burglar. he specialised in robberies which he made possible by climbing the porches in front of prosperouslooking houses. Criminals. fairly wealthy people who cannot afford the extortionate ground-rents of Mayfair and yet hanker after the delights of the West End keep up a house there. and are to be seen well-to-do business West London to-day. Many mostly of the official classes. One of the most picturesque individuals I ever knew was one who rejoiced in the name of Percy the Porch Man. like other sections of the community. It was the porches of these houses that Percy the Porch Man attacked.

when Percy was caught in the act. The speed with which he slid down the porch had never . he cast anchor in London. where the mistress of the house slept. Casting about for means of getting a livelihood. or perchance ripping up a jewelcase. of course. it occasionally happened that a maidservant would come in to clean up from her mistress's dressing. throw the stuff down to his friends. When that occurred Percy retired in haste. scale a high porch soon brought him notoriety. Shrieks would denote the discovery of Percy industriously ransacking drawers. In years past Percy had been a sailor. and with some of his confederates keeping watch down below. he got into touch with a gang of burglars who worked the big West End It was not long before some of these indijobs. and slip down the porch again in less than five minutes.130 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD the front bedrooms. What made him desert the life of the sea to turn London criminal he would never tell. Although he and his friends made a strong point of doing their work when the family would be at dinner below. finding before long that the business houses had but little use for a sailorman with a taste for picking a quarrel on the slightest provocation. At all events. Rarely indeed was it that he failed to get in the house somehow. although among his comrades there are stories of shipmasters fighting shy of him owing to his being such a rough handful. and presumably kept her jewellery. viduals ascertained that Percy could be of great use The ease and celerity with which he could to them. There were times. Percy would speedily ransack the room.

and had a habit of showing it to all and sundry as proof of his prowess. although it is to be regretted that imprisonment ! newlyadopted In time also the police came to recognise Percy's trade-marks. all the " denizens of the burgling would say. ported the visit of some uninvited guest.THE PENALTY OF FAME ratlines of 131 been equalled in the days when he climbed the one of his old vessels and had to come down hurriedly at the call of grog. " Percy again So it came about that Percy grew to be quite well known to the powers that be. Percy would be sought. Percy " again ! It followed. that such fame could not go unnoticed by the police. but sufficiently distinct to indicate to any trade. Ah. All the big crooks in London came to hear of him. He achieved a nick- — name. the hall-mark of criminal competency. They. too. In the early days of his career as a burglar he was dreadfully careless with his plunder. with the loss of a few hundred pounds' worth of jewellery. " Where were you on such and such a night. would ejaculate when a porch-fronted house re" Ah. not heavily perhaps. with Percy ? . That fact having been established. Percy. in fact. The marks of his rubber shoes could always be seen on the column of a porch. " the detective would inquire. as a matter of course. This resulted " " in his going over the wall on a good many occasions. But in the main Percy was astonishingly successful too much so. had little or no effect on his love for his Sherlock Holmes in embryo that a skilful climber had been at work. When a house with a porch was burgled.

however informative it may be to the police. and finds it difficult to shin up steep columns with the ease of But right up to the end of his his younger days. Most professional burglars leave their trade-mark Percy has practically retired. Sometimes. asked how he obtained all the money in his possession. and his story is interesting as typical of the manner in which criminals cling to the one method of working. He would pass the swag straight off to a confederate and draw his share in hard cash a few days afterwards at some convenient hostelry. where money was handed over and no remarks passed. it was rarely that this little bluff worked. truth to tell. an would pretend to think he would say.182 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD air of great innocence. But when he jewellery was a fully-qualified man Percy grew much more cunning." — Thursday wasn't hard. It some extraordinarily safe job to induce behind. especially in the days when Percy was " mug. knight Bill. and placed in a cell while the police ransacked his lodgings. for he is growing old. corroborated Percy's doubtful question." odd pieces of the stolen something of a would be discovered there. the really clever men but rarely bother whether the police do know that . would require him to climb another porch. knitting his brows. active career he always did his jobs in the same way. " see. Percy would be asked to walk along to the police-station was searched. " Let me . you appealing to another of the jemmy. I at the Old Canterbury with " Bill ? on Thursday. to whom a nod was as good as a wink any But time. although.

his life except for the race- purpose of picking pockets at some convenient Sam was something talking to of an artist. Getting rid of the swag the trouble. So long as he got a living he was quite satisfied and had no thought of " " at any pokes utilising his great skill at picking of the well-known hauls in the West End. " did you get it from ? Sam would tell you to put it back and not keep " He had pit. ' ." you would reply.A COCKNEY CHARACTER is 133 a particular job is theirs. sud- denly he would produce your pocket-book from behind his back." your pocket-book in your top taken it. " " he would ask with his This yours. education and less ambition. none appealed to me more than a famous pickpocket who was known " " " among his brother dips as Camberwell Sam. There is no crime in having money. a smile all over his face. guv'nor ? rich Cockney accent. " Yes. unknown to yourself." Sam was a native of the Borough and was a I doubt whether he had Cockney born and bred. amazed that the wallet Where had disappeared without your noticing it. and could do the trick any time he liked. in his particular line of business Of fame all the picturesque personalities who achieved been out of London in meeting. while he was talking to you. " " For a good many years Camberwell Sam reaped a rich living working the tram and 'bus stoppingSam had little or no places in South-east London. He would when be you of nothing in particular.

Sure enough there were. what " else did you expect ? " the detective inquired." " said the detective. this for a bloke in the Borough." asked him how his " I gave that up long ago. guv'nor. and the detective " book " was getting on." rattling the sovereigns in his brand-new bag. all " I can't have this." replied Sam hoarsely. Lost over £5. and the detective " you were going ." wandered off. and after warning Sam not to get up to any of his old tricks the detective having first ascertained that Sam's financier was a publican in the Borough." from " his perch. Never he said disgustedly. " Well. had a winning day." bloke He looked very disgusted with life.000." " " said the detective incredulously. to win. pulling him down Here. Some twelve months later the detective met the " " who had been financing Sam's " book. " Oh. Do tell me anybody would trust you with " Yus. Sam. I've turned over a new leaf." Sam said earnestly. did It You surely didn't think you ? was some time afterwards. Plenty of money here. so much so that the appearance of Sam in any busy street was sufficient to have him hauled off to durance vile as a suspected person." It's " What " you mean to any money ? " " ! I'm doing right. guv'nor. until one day down at Kempton Park races a detec" tive saw him standing up making a book. and temporarily vanished. Sam apparently grew very tired of this unwarrantable interference with his business.134 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD The consequence was that the police in the neighbourhood came to know him well. I does. Nothing was seen of him for some months.

" fully life. all lections of the things considered. It was his old friend Camberwell Sam." They do not drive taxi-cabs. guv'nor. but utilise arrive " them so that they may and depart unnoticed from the scene of a robbery. In time. grateful recol" bloke in the Borough. however. waiting in some back street while he does it.BURGLARY UP-TO-DATE was again Park. and fairly exuding prosperity. these men become projected larly fond of this known to the police. which is highly efficacious and provokes little or no suspicion. He still retains. could I Cockney voice smote his ears. and they take to roguery out and out. " better start for meself Sam still flourishes." as they call pocket-picking in the vernacular. at 135 a race-meeting. Daylight robbers are particumethod. Why. is not unnatural. " how's this ? I thought Sam. and no longer thinks of sifting ' ' ! a lady's poke." whispered Sam." which. Their licence is cancelled. " ask yer to take 'arf a bottle wiv' me ? Turning round. as may be imagined. " dressed up. ten times more profitable than the humdrum work of taking ordinary fares. the detective had the shock of his " He was . thinking of nothing in particular. Among the thousands of men driving taxi-cabs in London there are naturally a few black sheep who readily league themselves with criminals and find carrying a burglar to a job. Frequently they get hold of a brother-driver's badge and drive burglars 10 ." said the detective. when a raucous " Mr. " your book was finished long ago ? " " I thought I'd Well. Some of the most up-to-date burglars in London " are what is known as taxi-men. this time at Hurst walking through the Silver Ring.

Possibly the this man who ever practised game was a driver known in the underworld as " Charlie the Cabman. and jump in. to be driven giving off somewhere adjacent to the crib which was to be cracked. the taxi would drive off to an agreed instructions to pick destination. some of the detectives intimate with his nefarious associates knew perfectly well that Charlie was while on business bent. with engine running. for the simple reason that . his fellows in that True." Charlie was a cut above he never lost his licence. carrying them about it was found although impossible to implicate him directly. when the risk of being stopped practically spoil. To the uninitiated.136 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD is about at night. It was practically impossible to convict him of any participation in a robbery. What Charlie was looking for in the way of a fare was a couple of burglars disguised as honest British citizens. although had a skilled observer taken the trouble to follow him he might have observed that he disregarded many urgent signals from people anxious to engage him. During the course of the day he would receive up a couple of a gang down some back street. The pair would go through the farce of Charlie an address. while the job was being done. nil. Charlie would wait. and to all They get a certain share of the intents and purposes act as spotters cleverest for the police. Charlie would be merely looking for a fare. When the pair reappeared. During the course of his career as chauffeur to high-class burglars Charlie carried many thousands of pounds' worth of property in his cab.

the mistress of the place will be either out or away in the country. although. but short of catching him with something stolen there was never any chance of convicting him. and Ben utilises the — — opportunity of mentally ear-marking rooms worth robbing. house to keep her tryst." Ben's speciality is afternoon robberies around Mayfair and Belgravia. Plenty of people knew that Charlie was hand-in-glove with burglars. he prefers to make an appointment with the girl when she has an afternoon Ben is close handy when the girl leaves the off. have manages As likely as not. It is the work of a moment. and comports himself like a respectable citizen. as he is sitting inside a taxi-cab. One of the smartest burglars in London is a Russian " Jew. Once there. He has given up his dangerous livelihood now. Charlie. running round in a fast car. No. He does not do the job while the smitten housemaid is about. a shrewd man. whom I shall call Ben Jacobs. Ben is a taximan. mainly owing to strong representations on the part of the authorities. It was suggested to him that the advent of the Flying Squad. he is not to be seen.AN AFTERNOON IN MAYFAIR 137 he could plead ignorance as to the real character of his fare." This is to say. once the girl is out of . he hires a taxi-cab to carry him to and from his " work. Nowadays he confines He has his activities to indiscriminate passengers. Striking up an acquaintance with impressionable housemaids and cooks he is a handsome-looking young fellow Ben soon gets invited inside. a good word for the police. it is not long before he to a look over the house. like might present danger hitherto lacking. agreed.

and Ben exist quite comfortably in a flat in Soho. " the Burlington Arcade ? Off he rushes and all is well. in the space of five minutes. and retires upstairs to meditate on what might have been had she not grown fat and forty. and goes off to an afternoon's enjoyment with the consciousness of a day's work well done. how stupid I am replies Ben. apologises profusely in broken English for keeping her late. If. as marked down. I suppose it is flattering to call Ben Jacobs a burglar. however. speedily and silently ransack the bedrooms he has sight." " " Ah. profits are good. promise to meet her at may run into the cook as he opens Giving that lady deferential greeting. The numerous mysterious robberies which are continually being reported to the police from the . he inquires as to the whereabouts of the fair housemaid. He keeps his appointment the area door. In reality. to meet you not five minutes ago. Ben is free to tip-toe upstairs. the cook is upstairs in the servants' quarters enjoying forty winks or tidying herself up. and be inside his taxi-cab again all with the trusting housemaid." ! The manages to thief. Cook suspects thinks what a nothing wrong. for kitchen. " Perchance Ben Why. he is nothing but a sneak- " she went off says cookie in amazement. where he supports his wife and also her mother. with much " Did I not gesticulation. as befits her position in the household.138 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD Ben to slip is down the area and into the highly likely. charming young man Ben is. although there is no doubt as to his being amazingly clever at making his way inside a house worth robbing.

well-spoken young man who will take them about and relieve them of a little of the drudgery of their life. It may be the baker. he hastens off to a waiting pal in Soho. who is she to doubt his word ? more natural than that the man should strike up a conversation with her. making an appointment. catches the not unthe waist. and that she had been ordered to remain indoors. and assures willing girl by her that she is the prettiest girl he has seen for Too often she succumbs to the temptation. The girl may have qualms. or the butcher. Servant-girls in London lead a lonely life. civil and deferential. a gentleman highly skilled in the manipulation of Also a rough sketch is made. Most of them come from the country. and ask her if she would not do him the honour of accompanying him to the pictures. Ripping the false electric light band from his cap. and the fellow goes off. telling the man that her mistress would be out that night. The next few hours are exceedingly busy ones for the man. so it is hardly to be wondered at that they jump at the chance of doing a little sweethearting with a well-dressed. should knock at the door and tell the maid he has come to look at the electricAnd what light meter. But the man inlove-making. if a nice-looking young man. the milkman. handed skeleton keys. So. snatches a kiss. be apparently deeply smitten by her charms. years. made for The comedy develops very prettily towards eight . What does it matter ? Anything for the sake of company.TRICKING SERVANTS West End 139 are nearly always the result of servants becoming familiar with strange men. perchance. dulges in a little over to the key expert. and arrangements a meeting late that night.

and eventually the sobbing girl elicits from the story of the fascinating young man. ence in the next few hours. face flaming " I don't know. demure maid meets the man pseudo- at an adjacent street-corner." Poor Mary undergoes a bitter chastening experifor. ma'am. asks hundreds of questions. man — bliss. the lights are off. Most of the girls who fall into the hands of the . where she indulges in a little surreptitious squeezing and many promises of further electric-light the About eleven the pair part. saying that he will take her out again on Saturday evening. and nothing has been disturbed. " " Mary. and heart beating Mary rushes in. looking with terror-stricken eyes at the ripped jewel-case which her mistress is holding. It is not until the following morning that the denoue- ment takes place. THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD A flushed. The police are telephoned and a hard-faced detective comes round." with a premonition of guilt. She gets herself a bite of supper and turns into bed. There is nothing to indicate to the girl as she pulls out her latchkey that an uninvited visitor has been The door is locked.140 o'clock. Mary ! shrieks her employer from the " who has been in here ? " dressing-room. then goes off to the pictures. " Nobody called here yesterday except the electriclight man. she says. in the flat during her absence. to dream of a time when she shall have a flat of her own and no longer be dependent on a situation. He does not bid her good-bye at the flat for fear of her mistress being about— but departs leaving the poor girl in a transport of delights in the future.

and the Her inclinaThe extravamonths make her appalled at the thought of getting up at five in the morning to scrub floors. little And what ? than to do a shop-lifting could be easier Why pay ten guineas for a dress which can just as easily be slipped under the cloak and carried out of the shop without evoking the slightest suspicion ? The Disillusionment comes in time.PUPILS IN CRIME 141 police for serious crime are ex-housemaids and waitresses. When the time comes for them to be initiated themselves as creatures. able. of course. apparently. and generally and entrancing awesome into the mysteries of hotel-thieving or shop-lifting. man falls into the hands of the detectives. who succumb to the glamour of a fashionably attired and smooth-spoken crook. tions no longer tend to honest work. so why moralise when the man tells them to walk into a certain bedroom in a big hotel and abstract the jewellery they will find in a case in the wardrobe. go They meet all sorts of strange comport though they were in the seventh heaven of delight. have unlimited money for clothes and food. While things well. they see but little harm in it. Why should they ? The life they have been leading teaches them the gospel of help yourself. For a week or two she girl finds she has to battle for herself. gant habits she has learned in a few . to produce wads of notes at will. nothing but to enjoy themselves. Their male is a truly marvellous fellow. are listened to deferentially by waiters and hotel managers. There is no work to do. and of immense influence among other men. the girls regard it all as very clever and For the first time in their lives they wonderful.

For a time she is wonderfully favoured by fortune. are pretty. only to learn that nobody however pretty. this imprisonment of petty crimes. weeping broken-heartedly all the time. gods." the man " teously. where she will be searched without the formality of her permission. All unknown to herself. charged. costume. who are very often nothing but children. although on the way to the office she makes an attempt to get rid of the dress she has the store staff But too many eyes are watching her. catching her by the arm. or else go direct to the policestation. Inside. So. consoling herself decides to become a foolish idea that she in a big store. the girl is invited to submit voluntarily to a search. " Pardon me. and spends the night in a cell. All know that a shoplifter has been caught. a terrible tragedy. and asking herself why she ever succumbed to the glitter of such false ing's visit. madame. But one day the blow falls. without experience.142 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD girls. Most of the girls. tries to get wants with the owes society a grudge. and one of them follows on to the office with the stolen. girl weakly gives way. on the stage. she drags forth all the trifles she has stolen in the course of her morn- She is taken off to the police-station. mind stepping into the office for a will say courbut would you moment the " ? Between the devil and the deep sea. Then she lets her mind wander back to what the man taught her about robbing hotel bedrooms and She stealing valuable furs and dresses from shops. bursting into bitter tears. It is young girls for . she is followed around by a lynx-eyed detective thief.

exuding an air of real or fictitious prosperity. I once came into contact with a clever swindler known " to his confederates — and the police — as Australian Fred. in a West End bar he described to me the evoluOnce upon a time Fred tion of a confidence-man. their smooth." He was in an expansive mood. makes them a ready prey to any unscrupulous adventurer who troubles amuse himself with them for a few months. resulted in his going to gaol. specious flow of conversation is wonderfully soothing to the vanity of the proposed victim. The deference with " " which they listen to the opinions of the mug rarely fails to effect its purpose of presenting the trickster in the light of an intelligent listener.SMOOTH-TONGUED CROOKS eventless life 143 empty-headed creatures who rebel against the drab their birth has The longing to to escape from it all condemned them to. followed by a deficit in his accounts which his employers found difficult to excuse. and . for the victim parts with his money with open eyes. There was hardly a racecourse swindle he had not First of all he took tried in the course of his career. VI For sheer cleverness I always think that nothing beats the confidence-man. His is surely the most audacious branch of crime known to civilisation. They are fascinating fellows. But cards and horse-racing. and after that he abandoned his profession and took to making a living on the turf. these high-class confidence-men. had been a commercial traveller in Melbourne. Always well dressed.

and if it came to the ears of the people working the job there would be the very deuce to pay. this is Jim. you a friend of mine from Bendigo. Fred glances round the bar in aimless fashion and gives a convincing start of surprise as he sees the farmer." one of the oldest of turf swindles.000 to invest. when The job isn't coming off for a day or Keep your mouth shut and meet me in Bourke Street to-morrow night." Here. mind. As they are waiting for the wine. we are ready. The victim. well-to-do-looking fellow. so he would relate. Somewhere about half-past nine Fred arrives." he would let him in. and pitch him a marvellous story of a big coup which was about to be worked with a certain horse. " in the know. only because he had taken such a fancy to a real good " But only to the sport. who carelessly throws a sovereign on the counter and calls for a bottle of wine." He Fred." the arrives. "I'll let you know later. He himself had £2. accom- To-morrow night duly " panied by a stout. and as a strict favour. is ready waiting for Fred. extent of a couple of hundred. was had been entrusted with the working of a large part of the commission. " " a for keen a With up a eye mug he would pick " " some likely-looking customer.144 to THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD " tale-telling." Fred says." Introductions " Hullo. to his companion. primed not to give the slightest inkling of the great secret. " he says. and in the bar cocky "farmer. usually cocky farmer from the back-blocks. two. asks how he should proceed in the matter "Well." . I never thought to see " here. all eyes and ears for this great opportunity.

It was a rotten got last time the horse won. me to get and spread it all over the place. you know. after promising to meet Fred on the course departure. who has stood with wide-opened ears listening to the talk. and the conversation becomes Gradually the talk works round to general.HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED 145 are made. ? " the " mug " in- . what about " says. you'd better give it course first thing to the down I'll now. order another to takes the opportunity bottle. " Now. Jim. and deferentially pours out another glass of wine for Jim and the farmer. who also counts them. racing. for a moment that I had given the game away he'd never speak to me again." he remarks " If he thought in confidential fashion after a pause. price is coming along Jim dives into his and produces a roll of notes. " Jim's a funny fellow." replies Fred." Jim. takes a long drink and Fred gives the matter his deepest consideration." " it will Jim money. takes said to the farmer concerning horse-racing. Fred ? think we'll have to get it on be all over the ring in about this " " Well. before the race Not a word has he his is run. and Fred also does not refer to it until Jim has been gone some few minutes. we and while it Nothing is said to the farmer." " Does he own many horses quires. five You know. and shortly afterwards Jim. thinking deeply. hands fully he counts them over to Fred. Carebreast-pocket out twenty £100 notes. Fred's friend asks the farmer to partake of a glass of wine. I very quietly or minutes.

From first to last the " " mug had never heard the name of the horse to Fred was not on the racecourse the be backed " " morning following. remarks in a sudden burst of How much ready money have you got " mug. Nor is he likely to." shake hands. Fred's eyes glisten it may have been the champagne but he evinces no undue elation as the farmer counts out £250 and gives it to him. " All right. ? do. of course." says the mug. what handy " I'll candour." Nearly £300. He fourteen or fifteen." he says in the pessimistic tone of a " — — man committing some me to-morrow in front the race is Meet fearful wrong-doing. of the grand-stand as soon as if " run. and while it is being served timidly asks about himself. get four to one for your money. and part. a word to a soul I'll let you have £250 on. only about " reply." if Jim says . unless he comes to London. ." Fred says. But mind. We ought to get £25. nor did the cocky farmer ever ! see him again. but for once in a way I don't mind doing a good turn to a pal.000 out of this job." is the waits till he gets something good and then planks the money down." " " At this stage of the proceedings the mug calls for another bottle. Don't be disappointed you only They drink up. It'll affect our price." pulling out a thick pocketbook.146 " THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD Oh. not a whisper to anyone." replies the " if you promise not to breathe Well. " " there'll be the Fred I don't devil to pay " know." he " I tell you gets to hear of it. Have you the money " on you ? " " Yes.

On occasions." replies Fred. " " Hullo. the Melbourne Cup. He would get into a railway-carriage with a couple of potential victims. Banker would be started. and more for the sake of sociability than anything " " would be asked if they cared to else the mugs Almost invariably they did so. to be followed by some of his friends. Back my .A MASTER OF CRAFT Fred made a " 147 lot of money one way and another " " to tale the mugs. Fred would be a horse-owner himself. a chance. with amazing fortune — on the part of Fred. ' telling you I've got a certainty to-day." His richest harvest telling used to be reaped about the time of that great Australian festival. and Fred and his pals never used to have the slightest difficulty in picking up optimistic farmers from the back-blocks who thought they had discovered in the amiable Fred an easy road to affluence. " mind I don't all good pals. who would greet him with great surprise." they say. " ? Fred." he remarks half-way. Fred being join in. running the horse to-day " " I think he's got a bit of Yes." Shortly after the train has started someone would suggest a game of cards. a racehorse owner and therefore a person whose acquaintance was worth cultivating and his friends were such obviously good fellows that there could not be the slightest idea of cardsharpers. The Victorian capital would be filled with farmers down for their yearly dissipation. So the game would go on. particularly with an up-country race-meeting. who would laugh in jolly fashion at his wonderful luck and tell everybody that he As we're was sure to have a good day at the races.

148

THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD
for

mare Josephine

the

three

o'clock

race.

My

mugs enormously, and they undoubtedly would have carried it into effect but for one reason. This was that by the time they had arrived at their destination their only asset was a couple of railway tickets. Fred had their money. Some of the more humorous " con."-men have a creed which is rather amusing. They firmly believe " " that have no right to possess money. I mugs asked Fred what his ideas were, and he replied in all
seriousness, fellows loose

the two

trainer says she can't lose it." Fred's advice, coming from such a source, impresses " "

"

on a racecourse
?

Well, what's the use of letting these ? If I don't have their
will.
is

money some bookmaker
deserving a case
logic.

Aren't

I

"

just

as

There

no coping with such

Fred always believed in keeping his hand in. If times were bad and rich " mugs " hard to find, he would take a spell of the three-card trick. In fact, while I was talking to him the place was a very quiet and secluded one he pulled some playingcards out of his pocket and offered to bet me £2 " to £1 that I could not find the lady." " Now," he said, twiddling the cards about on the " table, you're a pretty smart sort of fellow. Let's

you find it." When I caught hold of his hand and disclosed the " lady " reposing in his palm he " What gave a great guffaw and put the cards back. " about the old pea and shells, then ? he said " Here she is and depositing them on the table. there she is, and £2 to £l you don't pick it in
see

one.

Done,"

I said,

once more turning his palm up-

SNARES FOR THE STUPID

149

" mugs who had fallen to this clever The game begins with a man dropping a trick. matchbox. Someone coming behind rushes up and restores it to the owner, who is profusely grateful. " I wouldn't have lost this for all the money in the of the

wards where the elusive pea clung. So Fred put the shells away, and once more resumed his narrative. " Have you ever heard of the old game witli the " he inquired. I had, and he told me match-box ?

many

"

world," he says. Just at this stage the two confederates arrive on the scene and listen interestedly to the explanation being given by the owner. They, too, had seen the dropped matchbox, and, in fact, had hurried forward to pick it up when they were forestalled. " You know," the owner continues in friendly " this matchbox was made in South Africa tone, It opens by a secret for my father by a Zulu king. spring and the old dad used to win a ton of money betting people they couldn't do the trick." " " Is that so ? says confederate number one, reaching out for the marvellous matchbox. Carefully he examines it, and while he is doing so the owner turns away. He is looking for a cab, and does not see the man with the matchbox suddenly open it and then quietly close it as he turns back. " " I must be Well," he says, having hailed a cab,

Did you say your father used to win money betting people they couldn't open that matchbox ? asks confederate number one incredulously, giving a sly wink to the stranger. " " I do," says the owner. Not one man in fifty ever succeeded in getting it open."
'

going." "

150

THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD

Just at this moment the cab arrives, and the owner, as though having come to a sudden resolution, invites the three to drive along with him. " We'll see if you can do the trick," he says doubt" I can't do it myself sometimes." ingly. The stranger, highly interested in the prospect of
seeing "

money won and lost, gets inside. Now," says the owner, taking the box and
it to,

snapping
Slowly
forward.

"I'll bet

you anything you

like

you

can't open it."

"

" you on ? " Done," the owner

and impressively the confederate leans " Are I'll bet you £50 I do," he says.
"
replies.

And what about
well.

your friends here
"I'll bet

?

Do

they want a bet as

"

And what about you ? " the owner asks the gentle stranger, who can hardly believe that money " Would you like to wager is to be won so easily.
"

you

fifty," says confederate

number two.

the same

amount

?

"

The stranger has been carefully picked and the wisdom of the selection is evident when he pulls five £10 notes out of his pocket-book and lays them along with the notes produced by the other men. The
is given into the possession of the owner, and confederate number one proceeds to try to open the matchbox. Nothing happens. He presses and fumbles it all over, but still the box refuses to open. Confederate number two has a try, gets very red in the face, and fails. The stranger tries, unable to

money

believe the evidence of his

own

companions in misfortune gaze concern in their faces.
Just to show them that
it

eyes, while his two at him with great

can be done, however,

Easy money
the owner takes
his eyes it is."
it

151

and

says.

from the stranger, opens it before " There you are. See how easy

Just then the he has a call to a moment. He Several minutes

cab stops, the owner gets out, says make, and that he will be back in has the money in his possession. elapse and there is no sign of the One of the confederates says he will go in fellow. search of him. He, too, departs and fails to come

back. Number two grows desperately anxious, and feels sure that he and the stranger have been swindled by a pair of sharpers. "I'm going for the police," he says. Apparently policemen are scarce in^ London that day, for half an hour elapses with no sign of

him, and the taxi driver comes to the door in surly fashion, and inquires how much longer he is to be kept waiting. " Oh, I'm just waiting for some friends of mine," says the victim meekly. He may still be waiting. " " is not one of your swindling Australian Fred company-promoters. He is a bit of a rough diamond in his way, and thinks that robbing widows of their savings by means of some fraudulent company about the lowest crime in the world. Cheerfully will he tell you a wondrous tale on the racecourse, rook you at cards, or work on you the touching story of a legacy to dispense in charity. From Fred's point of view the fault is yours if you are caught, an attitude which the law refuses to acquiesce in, unfortunately
for

Fred and
"

his friends.

"

The smartest
was a

fellow I ever caught in
little

my

life,"

said Fred,
like to

Jew from Johannesburg.

I

come

across the chaps that imagine they are

11

152

THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD
They
are

too shrewd to come a cropper.
for us.

made

happened to be in Capetown a few years ago Australia was a bit unhealthy at the time and ran into this little fellow in the bar of an hotel. He was a flashy sort of cove, all beans and business. We got into conversation, and I learned that he had been
I

"

keeping a store in Jo'burg. Judging by the way he his money about, he seemed well off, so I got to work to see how I could relieve him of a bit of it. " I had plenty of pals in Capetown. Half a dozen of us had lit out from Melbourne on a White Star boat, and we were fairly itching for something or somebody to do. Capetown was about the dullest place I had ever struck. Most of the English people were broke completely, while as for telling any sort of yarn to the Dutchmen I would as soon have taken to honest work. " Well, we got together that night, and I put it up to the boys as the opportunity of a lifetime.

threw

'

'

would we use for bait ? Kelly, one of the crowd, who knew South Africa You can't well, plumbed for stolen diamonds. All Jews like to do a bit of beat it, boy,' he said.

The problem was

— What
'

Dan

'

when they get a chance, particularly if there no risk of the police.' " We argued it out good and hard. Dan's scheme the great trouble was to get hold of was all right a parcel of stones which were uncut. It was no use trying to trick an artful little Yiddisher boy that cut diamonds came out of the Kimberley mines. " Old George Bailey, who had been a stockbroker in his time, and still looked good enough for anyI.D.B.
is
;

thing, volunteered to save the situation.

He knew

THE BITER BIT

153

a jeweller in the town who had been a friend in bygone days in Sydney, and thought that possibly he might manage to borrow a small parcel of stones with which we might trick the Jew boy. " I ran into the I was the one to open the ball. fellow in the hall of the hotel and gave him a mysAll Jews terious signal to follow me into the bar. of in their dealings it adds like a touch secrecy piquancy to the affair. At all events he came after me. I asked him to have a drink, and then pulled Do you happen to know him over to a corner. I anyone who wants a small parcel of stones ?
;
'

'

whispered. "
'

I well remember the cunning look he threw me. ' Do you take me Vot's der game ? he inquired. " fence" ? for a " Of course not,' I said. ' This is quite a safe A friend of mine brought the stones down deal. from Kimberley and wants to get rid of them quickly. You can have them cheap if they are any good to
' ' '

you.'

took me a long time to talk him round, but end he grew to like the idea, especially as I I told him I had insisted on it being perfectly safe. no idea of what my friend would want for the diamonds, but thought something in the region of There were nearly £3,000 worth properly £1,000. cut, I said, and it would pay him to take a trip to Europe to get rid of them. I flatter myself we staged the thing very well. I introduced him to old George and Dan over the dinner table. They were having for this occasion only, their meals in a private room
It

"

in the

and

I

had previously warned the Jew to keep
shut.

his

mouth

asked George. They were diamonds all right George had seen to that and worth a considerable sum.' said George. It's a risky game.' " No. Dan.000 if Dan would not.000. and eventually the Jew plucked up courage to say that he would not mind giving £1. I should say they are easily worth I handed them over to Cohen. although I could see he was What do you think they are drinking it all in. Sold in the proper market they would easily the deal. and I must get a profit. make it £800. ' " ? George asked in careless fashion.' said old George in his finest style. Dan. I should lose money on ' ' ' " I'll you what I'll do. the diamonds George quiet gave worth ' — — — ' — ' Dan recommenced his bargaining. Dan most emphatically repudiated any such idea. a Cohen him wink. and not a penny more.000 for them. I must have £1. But George would have none of his £800.154 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD When ' the cigars were lit.000. and " . whose hands £3. Just as carelessly although I could feel the Jew's eyes glaring at it I opened literally the paper and glanced at the blue pebbles inside.' I said.' seemed to be fairly itching to get hold of them. I can't look at the figure you offer. " Yes. as though he had been waiting for the opportunity. By the way he looked at them I could see he knew I gave precious little about diamonds in the rough. pulling out of his waistcoat-pocket something screwed up in tissue paper.' " ' ' Well.' said Dan. and with great apparent reluctance George again back. long What are you going to do about it ? " Oh. All this talk was supposed to be so much double Dutch to the Jew. I'll tell ' ' realise £3.

year in and year out.000 in notes on the Bank of South Africa. caught one of the Union Castle steamers to England at the "He end of the week. and brainy men among them. . are of this earth own limitations. had a look at it. We told him the police were looking for the stones." said Fred absolutely nothing." —" VII Everybody knows that the wise people those who know their master-criminals of London. had a hole in his waistcoat pocket for the real stuff. own naturally grow extremely adept at carrying out the crime which gets them their living." concluded Fred. The and there are many religiously stick to their line of business. carefully placing it in a money belt he wore under his clothes. worth " " the Jew's stones really very fair idea of the Nothing.THE SHOEMAKER AND HIS LAST 155 dived into his waistcoat-pocket and pulled forth the packet. and screwed it up again. The Jew counted out £1. so he was extra careful never to go near any of his pals who might have given the game away. " I don't know what afterwards happened to the Jew or the stones. Old George berley clay." " And how much were ? I inquired. particular They are content to follow the same track. although we took jolly good care never to let him out of our sight during the time he was waiting. It's wonderful the resemblance between real diamonds and the pebbles which are found in the blue KimI've been taken in myself. took the package from George. having a trick that he had suffered.

" and forthwith issues instructions present that William shall be unearthed.handled job. ascertains that William is not at " inside. compares a finds remarkable mitted. however. The new regime at Scotland Yard.156 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD It would appear. Some little time ago one of the most audacious robberies ever planned took place in Regent's Park. similarity between them and a few episodes connected with the career of one William Jones. At all events the highwaymen got clear away with £3. but few people were about and those that were took no notice of what was happening. was held up by a couple of men armed with pistols and themselves in possession of a motor-car. A few months later a similar job nearly came off. The " hold-up " took place in broad daylight. A garage proprietor in Kensington was called upon by a man who wanted a fast car to take him to Luton. that this penchant for the beaten track will be full of peril in the immediate future. It was obviously a long-planned and The men in the van could cleverly. The fellow looked like a chauffeur. carrying thousands of work pounds in Treasury notes for the payment of the staff. In all probability when the search does take place William is missing from his usual haunts additional proof that he has " " — been at somewhere. no of give description any value to the police. and the authorities came to the conclusion that the affair was the work of amateurs. obviously the work of the same gang. A Ministry of Pensions van. and was so mysterious . thorconversant with this phase.000. now indexes oughly the manner in which they are comcrimes. and nothing has been heard of them from that day to this.

" I wouldn't have anything to do with it at any price. what we'll do." the chauffeur urged. There was a certain manufacturing concern in Luton. and It eventually came out bit by bit that the fellow his pal knew where £5. on foot. " " ." " We'll give you £500 if you take us up. this for ? what do you want to come and tell me all demanded the garage man.000 was to be obtained in the easiest fashion imaginable. " All right. the cashier of which was in the habit of drawing the wages every Saturday morning and carrying the money through a lonely road. So he said to the fellow. the owner of the garage thought might be advisable to inform the police what was " I don't know. The chauffeur wanted a fast car to carry them to a spot close handy. When " do you want the car ? " Seven o'clock to-morrow morning." At it fellow this stage of the proceedings.000 for yourWell. and you can chauffeur. Well give you £1." " " Look I'll tell you here." said the " There won't be any risk.000 or £6." " No good to me." was the reply. self. " You come back . drop us as soon as we get back to the outskirts of London. convinced that the was in earnest.HIGHWAY ROBBERY 157 in his manner that the garage owner grew angry and wanted to know what it was all about." said the proprietor " I don't do that sort of work. where the driver could wait for them and run them back to London the moment the job had been done." said the owner. You'd better let me think the matter over. where he could be held up without the slightest risk.

who instructed him to agree apparently to the scheme. A posse of police in motor-cars would be in attendance the following morning. Eight o'clock came. nine. passed without a sign of the two men. but still no sign of the Half-past eight. was waiting ready to take up the chase. said his off to bring him along. That same night the chauffeur returned and the — — owner. The garage proprietor at once communicated with the police. said that he and his partner had agreed to let him have the car. from that day to this nothing further has been heard of the pair. and would catch them red-handed. Seven o'clock the following morning duly came. drawing him aside in mysterious fashion. Anyhow.158 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD and I'll let to-night. and consent to take the two men to Luton. A police car. although owing to the vague . The probabilities are that they were the same fellows that carried out the Regent's Park robbery. It would be ready in a side-street The close by. At half-past seven the chauffeur pal was not quite ready and went arrived. you know. and would be driven by himself. ready to trail the men up to Luton. The car for the would-be highwaymen was also in attendance at the promised rendezvous. I want to talk the matter over with my partner. and by ten o'clock the police came to the conclusion that they must have seen the preparations for them and made off. fellow was highly delighted and went off." On this under- standing they parted. vowing he would never regret it. and nine-thirty also pair. and with it a big body of police. with the driver disguised as a soldier.

" " failed to Later still. cashier. Their method was simplicity itself. and would never have been discovered had not their bag one day lost its label and been opened by the railway people to discover the owner. with no one to pave the way to the a friendship of impressionable ladies. They used to carry a battered old portmanteau for the express purpose. pack it into a bag. hold-ups probabilities are that all these were the work of the one gang. Preparations The authorities got wind of the matter. the pair used to work the big seaside towns in the summer. for nothing happened. who was utilised to strike up an acquaintance with women likely to be worth robbing. and threw a large body of police into the neighbourhood. with results that were wonderfully profitable. After he came out of gaol the father kept on at the old game.case. and instead of the dilapidated portmanteau worked with a smart suit. he became .SWELL JEWEL THIEVES 159 information available in the first affair the fact could never be definitely ascertained. One very famous criminal reaped a rich harvest for years going around the country posing as a retired naval officer. the robbers must have got wind of the fate in store for them. Accompanied by a pretty daughter. however. Here again. specialising in robbing cashiers en route from a bank to pay wages. another big hold-up rob a to made were materialise. And. He had now become an Army man. Jewel robbers are notoriously conservative in their The " " methods. although he left the daughter at home. Father or daughter would abstract the jewellery. and despatch it to a cloakroom at a London railway-terminus to be called for.

he carried a bag which means of a false bottom to pick up likely-looking suit-cases. He worked alone. of course.160 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD That is to say. man had merely by chance been in the Old " " had previously Colonel Bailey Court where the been sentenced.D. but he kept a keen eye on the old gentleman. " want with the wretched woman's jewellery ? ." was able by others." He was in the lounge peacefully sipping a whisky and soda. and when a couple of days later a lady in great distress rushed down to the hotel office and said that her jewel-case had been stolen. " You are making a mistake. anything which might contain valuables. the detective went down to look for the " Colonel.I. realising from past knowledge that with no one but himself to betray the secret he was fairly safe from capture. were all appropriated by this clever thief. Jewel-cases. So-and-so's jewels. In the course of his depredations this elderly " " hundreds of bags and jewelscoundrel picked up The haughty manner in which he spoke to cases. sir. " picker-up. and professed great indignation when the man from Scotland Yard sat down alongside him and asked what he had done with Mrs. and would probably have gone undiscovered for years had it not chanced that at Bournemouth one year he had the misfortune to put up at the same hotel as a well-known detective inspector from Scotland Yard. for the C. The recognition was not mutual. people alone absolved him from suspicion." said the " " Colonel " with What should I lordly scorn. The inspector said nothing. He looked and acted like the retired colonel he posed as.

" he said " You might ask Mrs. but the sealing wax had provided a clue that was easily followed up. No trace of the jewels could be found. An interview with the postmaster soon resulted in an inspection of the parcels which had been handed The " Colonel " declined to recogin that morning.HOTEL ROBBERIES 161 The bluff went on for quite a long time. and he is sure to be posing as some type of individual common It is enough in hotels frequented by holiday-makers." The latter at first refused to entertain the idea. for the provincial police do not know him." the detective. to accompany you. they found the missing property. The Colonel. especially widows. but when it was suggested that he would be taken forcibly he grudgingly acquiesced. and The " Colonel there seems every probability that he has been concerned in some of the recent jewel robberies which have been so distressingly frequent around the seaside resorts. " is out of prison once more. man came across a newly-used piece of sealing wax and some ends of " I string. not easy to trace him. went upstairs to the former's room. one of which had been hollowed out. who would not be averse to another experiment in matrimony. nise any of them. Probably he uses a motor-car nowadays. of course. train. Inside a parcel of books.I. and they were thinking of trying other measures when the C. . and wealthy ladies." he added to the " Colonel.D. and in the end the detective summoned a waiter to call " the manager. And us. So-and-so to the manager. think we'll go along to the post-office. and the manager. too. As a means of escape it is infinitely superior to the railway But his method of robbery will be the same.

Not long afterwards another grocer had his shop broken into. until one day a householder at Hornsey reported a robbery. and finding that he had been the victim of a robbery. apparently angered at finding nothing of value the grocer had carefully removed all his cash before going home at night he opened half a dozen tins of condensed milk.162 will THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD be well advised not to become smitten with an interesting old gentleman of a friendly disposition and charming manners. although the owner was vexed to find that paint had been poured into a bottle of Worcester sauce and vinegar placed in the milk. and by way of revenge he opened some bottles of mustard pickle and poured the contents into a bin of loaf sugar They laid the culprit by the heels on this occasion. and poured the contents into a large bin of tea. Criminals indulge in give all sorts of little tricks which them away. and sent him to gaol for twelve months. There was a certain burglar who used to work the north of London and had a habit of mixing up all the condiments he could find. Here the burglar was equally successful I think his net profit was Ihd. All that had been taken was a couple of shillings' worth of stamps. Nothing of value had been stolen. Once he burgled a grocer's shop. on arriving in the morning. and the grocer. which the burglar had taken out of the cupboard and carefully — — ! placed back. was jubilant at having lost nothing more valuable. No more was heard of him for a couple of years. . and. But his satisfaction soon changed to anger when he came to serve a woman with a — — pound of tea.

they will ultimately get the original members of the gang together and begin working their old haunts. and a explain. the police will come down on them again. in bed. and they are too old Nobody Startto take up honest work of some description. " his makes who a man is fisher living extracting There is streets of London known ." they said. laboriously acquired in long years paid for by many terms in gaol. certain as the rising of the sun that the of the famous gang of pickpockets now in are gaol will resume their old occupation once they For a time they will keep out of trouble." cheque. and the gang will once more go to gaol. have no difficulty in discovering the cul- It is members released. They are irreclaimable is no doubt." " " kiteis a I should A kite. — and a certain individual walking about the " as Tom the Kite-fisher. knowing full well that the police will prit." our old friend Ah. one of the reasons for this fatal attrac- know no other mode of living. would employ them. there of that Pocket-picking is their profession. 163 There was no hesitation on the part of the police " " . being careful not to attract the attention of the police. and then gradually be drawn back to the old wellI suppose remembered game. tion is that they ing once more. In time. of course.THE BEATEN PATH this time. same kind of offence. in a small way. a raid will take place. and him found house his to round they Going his explanations of his doings the night before were so unsatisfactory that they had no hesitation in hauling him off to durance vile. The philosophy of professional criminals is hard Year after year they commit the to understand.

Tom any description is found on him. looking If proof of it upon when as part of their duty to apprehend him occasion requires. I remember being in Marlborough Street Policecourt on one occasion when a couple of women thieves were in the dock. There is not a great deal of honour among thieves. comes from criminals who happen to have heard something of what has taken place. whatever the copybook maxim may lay down to the The average crook will rarely refuse to another if he thinks that by doing so he will betray stand well with the police. The detective in the case had just concluded demeanours of the forth " : his ladies account of the previous miswhen one of them burst If it a job. He never has any quarrel with the police. but is so to the police that when the loss of valuables in the post is reported Tom is at once sought is He an expert at known for. are not so logical. big robbery. nearly all the valuable information. of course. stop him. postal orders. bank or Treasury notes. and. In fact. are all grist to Tom's contents. however. you'd be out of " " Live and let live was evidently the creed of this lady.164 letters THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD from pillar-boxes and robbing them of their Open cheques. such as can be cashed over the counter immediately. taking it all as one of the necessary risks of his business. and ask him . especially in the case of some contrary. A detective roaming about the West End may run into some notorious thief. mill. submits without further ado. Some criminals." wasn't for the likes of us. well this particular game.

All criminals down on their luck are jealous of their more successful brothers " in crime." says the detec- tive sympathetically. and the publican could come to no other conclusion than that Harry was robbing fellow at his work. Mr. either through wishing to stand well with the police. thought I So-and-so. say . obviously from a reluctance to meet any old acquaintances from the " Yard. times is bad. and. and won't speak to none of his old pals." replies the thief. they give the game away.HONOUR AMONG THIEVES what he will is 165 " " doing. of criminal is whose outlook on life the individual who objects to before he has actually done the being pinched reminds It me of a publican who once prosejob. " ." Bit by bit it all comes out. who he is consorting with. cuted his in barman The question was a smart enough class is Another rather humorous " " outward appearances. and all about the affair at Maida Vale. barman for stealing money from the till. Was in that big job down in Maida Vale. touch " for Probably they have tried to a few pounds and not succeeded. and go off up the street with a look of virtue highly amusing to the people who understand. the public-house was doing a profitable business." Nuffink. or vindictiveness. where So-and-so is to be found. Yus. to all . as though the thought has just " what's So-and so doing just now ? I struck him. is an individual badly wanted for a robbery. But somehow or other the takings were never what they should have been." he adds." it might be said. By the way. but he has been missing from his usual haunts." the thief Ah. "I'm sorry to hear that." " " He's flush just now. saw him the other night. At all events.

It took place." says the leader. " That's for rne. bar. until the last halfcrown was reached. to his he said dumbfounded skunk. and he was taken off to " You miserable old the police-station. was certainly an instructive entertainment that Harry put all the money on the counter and divided it out with a scrupulousness that nearly " " drove the boss into an apoplectic fit.166 THE BRETHREN OF THE ROAD So he had a hole bored in the ceiling over the and resolved to watch Harry making up the till him. redder and redder in the face. and there had his watch. that's for the boss. Some of the sporting men from long experience know that it is better to allow the racecourse gangs to make some sort of a living by what is virtually blackmail than to fight against it. " All right. A famous London journalist once went to a wellknown boxing-resort. receives his money." the publican could almost hear him saying as he divided up the So it went on. a There is — — . and there are many sections of the community in London who recognise it. and goes off with the consciousness of having done his duty. "I'll see what I can do for you. The barman was very wroth and bitter when the police were brought in the same night." Half an hour later he comes back with the watch. On the racecourse proper there is an unwritten law that your watch can be stolen from you that and if you want it back you is all in the game must go to the right man and put a price on it. at night. the boss at his spyhole getting cash. " don't you want anyone else but yourself to make a " living ? a wealth of logic in that question." employer.

and promised that he would have it back in the morning.CRIMINAL CREEDS 167 chiming repeater. It is not the game " as played by them. Always keep on good terms " is their motto. The big criminals rarely attempt to rob people able to retaliate in effective form. in the morning all right. if only for the fact with the police that a man who is known to be a rough handful usually gets the trouble he is looking for. stolen from him. He got a gold watch although it was not his. He complained to the management. Similarly. 12 . who were very wroth at this infringement of the unwritten law that journalists must not be robbed. they never knock policemen about.

IV TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER It is a curious trait in the character of British people that the pawnshop is regarded as a place of shame. standing up to be shot at. the mont-de-piete. the man or the woman who is offering us something which they have the right to dispose of just as surely can we spot the servant-girl who has stolen her mistress's jewellery. . Ask them to interview a pawnbroker and they immediately assume the demeanour of a criminpd standing at the bar of Across the Channel. is The pawnbroker." as it is generally known. it is not justice. Why it should be so is rather difficult to understand people will go to a bank and negotiate a loan without the slightest semblance of dread. Pawnbrokers come to be rare judges of human nature we are able to tell. " so there. it should always be remembered. where you may pledge what you like and nobody will think a whit the worse of you. . recent robbery. If he advances money 168 . . without ever making a mistake. in France. is a State-conducted institution. treating it all as a matter of everyday business. or the sneakthief who is trying to get rid of the proceeds of a .

169 stolen jewellery and the police come to reclaim he has to stand the racket. Usually I expect some timid working girl in such doubtful cases. . and producing a magnificent diamond ring for which she asked a loan of £50. for the mounting of the stones was comparatively " .DUBIOUS DEALS upon it." was the reply. I bent down to examine the ring more closely it must have been worth close on £200 and wondered how it could have come into the possession of the girl. I recollect a lady- coming into one of my shops one dark afterDecember 1916. but there was nothing timid about this young lady." she said. When was it bought. Magistrates will rarely admit that the pawnbroker has not been at fault in accepting the stolen property claims for the pawnbroker is compensation are not admitted in the same position as the bank that cashes a forged . as is always done when a large sum of money is required. She was got up in a becoming costume with an expensive fur round her neck. " My husband gave it to me on our marriage. and her hat was the last word in smartness. We are not like girl noon in infallible. might I ask " I con- tinued. and I went along to have a look at the girl. for it was a platinum-set ring of a type sold only by — — — — the best shops. cheque. I looked her keenly in the face an infallible test usually and the girl gave me back look for look without a tremor. About five years ago. of course. The assistant brought it to me. the girl was lying. " Is this your own property " Yes." If I was not greatly mistaken. " ? " I asked the ? girl.

when the police circulated a list of jewellery which had been stolen from a country mansion in " wanted " for the robbery Berkshire. although by then I had grown sufficiently suspicious to decide to have nothing to do with my fair visitor. There was a large emerald and diamond pendant. and there I saw that tiny glimmer of guilt which every pawnbroker and policeman knows so well. first as a housemaid and subsequently promoted to be a sort of lady's maid.170 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER new. that secret dread which tells you surer than anything on this earth that something wrong has been done. " " I am afraid I No. but I expect it was that insatiable craving for high society which afflicts so many young girls hidden away in the country villages." I said. don't care to lend you any money on it. My acquaintance with the girl began one winter's morning. handing it back. I looked the girl straight in the eyes. week later I had reason to be thankful for my caution. a dia- ." Saying this. and murmured a word of thanks. What diverted her thoughts to thieving I am unable to say. But they may have been remounted. I was sitting in my private office casually glancing through the list of stolen property which pawnbrokers daily receive from Scotland Yard. She was a country-bred girl who had been taken into the house of the local squire. One of a smart of the strangest cases of this kind was that young woman from Lincolnshire. when my me manager came quietly in and put down before a handful of extremely valuable jewellery. The person was a refined-looking lady's maid my would-be A — customer. The girl took the ring.

of her red cheeks. your jewellery ? " I asked. Brown ? " I asked." indicating the jewellery spread before " What's she like ? " I asked. expecting to find that the damsel had knifed me. Send her in " girl." into the dialect of said my boyhood days. was myself in peals of laughter. All he saw. " Indeed I be." I said.000." " " Is this is. "It zur.A GUILTY CONSCIENCE mond dagger brooch worth perhaps and a few odd " trinkets. zur ? with wide-open eyes. " Servant and keep your eyes open. my life. 171 £150. good morning. handsome creature. which altogether must have What's this." " Do you ' unconsciously dropping then I with a the shock of got " muttered Well. with a ruddy complexion. " W7 hen I was a boy in Spalding they never used to have such she asked. and all the con" I gave her fidence in the world. sir. some rings. I be (something which I did not quite catch)." And pray where do girls in Lincolnshire get big diamond pendants ? " I inquired. shoulders. The girl proved to be a rough-looking. however. a trick he My manager shrugged had when he suspected trouble. be a Lincolnshire boy. me. cost well over £1. who wants £100 on his this lot. And my fair visitor." and she replied in a broad accent which betrayed at once where she came from. I. for " . and came hurrying in. some of the colour going out things. literally flew out of my office. " There's a girl out there. My manager gaped open-mouthed at the apparition which rushed past him.

she had often expressed her intention of going. in the case of Ethel Harrison real name) because I was the woman's not (which and for her. interspersed with much grim tragedy. taking it all in all. it seems. and understood that she From lived in an expensive flat in Piccadilly. however. had absconded who replied that one Annie with her mistress's jewellery and was probably in London. and they communicated with the local constabulary. I don't know if the police ever caught the fair Annie my part in the affair but I finished with handing over the jewellery don't think they did. as so forgetting that the pawnbroker man. only a business had to pledge and many . much of the seamy side of life. Pawnbroking is not a particularly enlivening One sees too trade. lery was stolen right enough. I knew her for some years.172 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER have gone after the girl and handed her over to the police for all the money in the world. thought that the day might come sorry when her fortunes would take a turn for the better. but handed over what she is people do. diamonds and pearls it came down to comparatively valueless gold trinkets. things which the better-class West End pawnbrokers will not touch in the usual way. so completely had she dumbfounded me. where. well-dressed woman about forty years of age who began by pawning diamond rings and necklaces. One dreadfully sad case I remember only too well was that of a handsome. if the lady could run as fast as she did out of my office that morning. She never attempted to borrow money with some I is made an exception harrowing tale of trouble. The jewelI notified the police. I couldn't — .

" I said. somewhat embarrassed. leaving behind her very little else but a bundle of pawntickets A down and a few empty drug bottles. Somewhere country she had a husband. and I knew then that the crisis was at hand. and respected the pride which made her keep her troubles to herself. and provided for her to the extent of in the paying the rent of the flat. who had cast her off. Things went apparently from bad to worse. would surprise many people who imagine our aristocracy are rolling in wealth to know the extent to which many well-known titled families resort to the pawnbroker. 173 immensely. The unfortunate woman had taken to drugs to drown her sorrows. . She looked at " couple of days later I was inexpressibly shocked to hear that she had shot herself in her flat. inquired whether it would be possible to assist her in any way. she replied that she thought she would soon be at the end of " her troubles. Nearly all the old families of Britain keep their account at a bank which has been used by the family for generations they do not want their bankers to .took what I A TRAGIC ENDING I liked the woman offered. as though to ask. never for one moment imagining what the end would be. One might ask why such people do not go to their banks for a loan ? The answer is very simple. And what " business is it of yours ? but instead. I invited her into my office one morning and. and sooner than borrow money from her wealthy relatives had pawned everything It of value she possessed. me in a peculiar fashion. From gold ornaments she was reduced to raising money on her furs. I am glad to hear that.

for the would be disastrous where mortgages are in existence." With that she opened a leather bag she was carrying on her arm and emptied on the table a glittering mass of jewels which made even my oft-dazzled eyes short. " or How much ? " two Er " —your ladyship " could I have on those for a she asked. who not give her name. I am not in a come to your case ? pawnbroker " business do to unwilling " I quite see what you mean. Instead. asked her to be seated." I said again. carrying in a jewel-case some family heirlooms whose value sometimes runs into thousands know they effect of pounds." her ladyship said. " assistant sorry that " " am only my all on business." Your ladyship will pardon me.174 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER are in want of ready money. with a faint smile. . came him he might show her in. and Do you know me ? " she inquired. raising her " I Certainly. will it month I said — —pardon me. they come along to the pawnbrokers. That's " I've right. cutting me blink. " but I have parwith a faintly quizzical glance. your ladyship. visitor was. but repressing my surprise." replied come to see you my visitor. wishing but is husband My " might hear of it. to not for reasons ticular go to my bank. I gave a slight whistle of astonish- ment." er not somewhat unusual to hesitatingly. I was sitting in my office one afternoon when one of the assistants would I told in to say that a lady. When I I saw who my " veil. wished to see me at once. bowed." I said.

000. to her ladyShe did for a with £2. made out a it speci- fication of the jewellery. I cannot possibly neglect.000 on them. property." waving a contemptuous hand at the flashing heap in front of her.000. I want to know that I am fully protected." which hours eight With that I had a close look over the jewels. which and handed ." her ladyship said deter" I have some debts to pay within fortyminedly. for included in the collection before me was an oldfashioned diamond necklace which must have been The bulk of the stuff fully a hundred years old. me in rather an awkward position." I said. I am always willing to lend money on negotiable security. " How much were you wanting ? " I must have £2.000. If you particularly wish to know. he is not. all this jewellery. cheque ship together not even ask me what the interest was to be. I had no doubt about the wisdom of lending £2. and taken altogether the lot must have been worth fully £5. I may tell you." " Your ladyship places I shrugged my shoulders. was modern and fairly valuable. So I sent for the contract book.THE SKELETON IN THE CUPBOARD " 175 the Earl is aware of the fact that you are bringing these jewels to me ? I am afraid I could not do anything until I knew definitely one way or the other. What I was doubtful over was whether her ladyship was offering me her own property. but naturally. It certainly has but I should like to know whether nothing to do with family heirlooms." " " all well and good. "was given to me on my marriage." " To be quite frank." Her ladyship stamped her foot angrily and her " What I am offering you is my own eyes flashed. If that is the case.

but went back to my office. and was so glum that some of my old cronies chaffed me with having made a bad bargain that morning. and cursed myself for ever having anyThen I went round to B thing to do with it. . in case of Square . and then sat down to have another look at the jewels she had brought. " bell rang and a voice asked. Is that my telephone " little . it was no use my riding the high horse. I said nothing. Did my wife thousands of some pounds' worth of jewellery pawn " with you some little time ago ? " Your lordship will pardon me. with the jewellery in my pocket. Yes." I said. but bowed her out of the office. One morning. Mr.176 told TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER me that she was desperately in want of the However. had better call round and this see me perhaps you afternoon at three o'clock. I was in no mood to argue with them. " transaction with the Countess of Cerhappened to cause me any alarm." Well. I replied that Then I went out to lunch I would call as desired." his lordship said very decidedly. this is Lord speaking. tainly nothing ? emergencies. so. During the next two or three weeks I was the prey to incessant misgivings as to the wisdom of my money. had another look at the Countess's jewellery. " but I am afraid I cannot discuss my confidential business affairs over the telephone perhaps your lordship " could call ? " " But No. though I was far from feeling pleased. but I had a presentiment that all was not well. just as I was going out to lunch." I said. " Oh.

His lordship wrote me a cheque for £2." I replied. " I have made up to your lordship." then waited for him to the conversation." It was a shrewd blow that. My wife had no authority to raise money on it. fixing me with his cold blue eyes. and reading the newspaper. His lordship looked as though he were going to explode. come me three Her ladyship did certainly weeks ago with some jewels. on mind my " to be frank with you. ing the word of your lordship's wife." said his lordship." H'm. it was whether all She assured me hers. " I certainly asked her gave a slight shrug. among the jewels my wife brought you was a diamond necklace which belongs to the family.HUSHED UP 177 His lordship was in the library when I called. £100 will cover them. have to pay you out. but he calmed his anger and nodded to himself." " And did you take any steps to ascertain whether " all this jewellery was her own property ? asked his lordship." he said. open " sum of My wife borrowed a fairly considerable " from did she not ? he asked money you recently. glad enough to get out of the transaction so well. seated before the fire. " " that Possibly you are not aware. ladyship that it was. at length. What " this money ? " " " I suppose I shall are your charges for Oh.100. " I wished him good day. I would never have dreamed of doubtI which she wanted to borrow £2. " One would never question the word of the Countess of ." " How was I to know that ? " I inquired.000. asked ." I said.

there the cause of a certain amount of the trouble." I often think that women ought to be debarred from playing cards or betting on horses large sums of money. I I that had been exceedingly sorry innocently effort at reconciliation. not only their husband's credit. they from few of them this. leaving stern old husband to do what he would. and shook hands with I me on my trouble. or know enough of the Turf. although I have no doubt that had I not lent the woman the money. departure. female as well as male. Nearly all women are wretched gamblers never know when to stop. ladyship for she was cited in the Divorce Court as having eloped with a young cavalry officer. to pay so-called " debts of honour. Two months Then I saw in the wards. was not well with his matrimonial affairs. saying that both of us appeared to have been caused a good deal of unnecessary I it though was somewhat mystified by was easy enough to see that elapsed before his all remark. had been a vain ladyship in her imperious her cut her felt ciently well. to give themselves a fair chance of holding their own. problem was newspaper that her had indeed made a sad mess of her life. I don't know that . An unending source of embarrassment to the pawnbrokers who possess a fashionable clientele are the women who pledge. I heard afterthe solved.178 if TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER had the jewels with me. which had way peremptorily short by running away to Monte Carlo. but all their valuable jewels. There are a surprising number of sharks in society. ready to prey on any infatuated creature with monev to burn. that following my visit to the Earl. someone else would. very Apart play cards suffifor .

" " Surely your husband could arrange this for you ? " " I could Oh. and " " " So that's it. director of one of the largest joint-stock banks in the City." I " said. If my husband knew. but I knew too well from past experience that sooner ' . male society adventurer generally has some compassion left in him and will give the woman a hint to drop her stupid gambling before it is too late. but I think you would certainly be wiser to tell your husband and " Well. I had a visit one afternoon from a pretty. rob their fellow-women of every penny they The possess without the slightest compunction." it is no business of mine to into inquire your private affairs. is it ? I grunted. She told me she wanted a loan of £400 at once. She gave me her card. I am quite willing to lend you something on these jewels. but what will your husband say when he hears about it ? " " Oh." she said. fluffyhaired little creature whose face was white with trouble. and when I inquired what security she had to offer. he would they will disown me." the woman said franOnce before he warned me that I must tically. And how do you propose to raise the money to redeem them ? " It was no business of mine to make such a remark. have done with it. and when I saw the name on it I pursed my I knew her husband slightly.GAMBLING DEBTS women are not the 179 more dangerous of such parasites . " never play cards. " " Why do you come to me ? I asked. never do that. produced a miscellaneous collection of jewels worth possibly £600 or £700. a lips in doubt. not to be thought of. he mustn't hear.

I got Then for a certain . " my and tell him everything. look here. so much so that I thought I could settle her claims without the passPerhaps I was a fool. Will you promise me that ? " " Can you really do that ? asked the lady. Oh." said the silly little creature. eyes. my dear. all about up this Go home and tell your and promise him that you will gambling. on one condition that is." I said. husband give out. " Now." With that I showed her it " on the telephone and asked Mayfair number. I will settle your debt for you. a charming little woman comes into my office and begins to cry I forget all about business. that you never touch another card and never have an" other bet.180 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER husband would inquire what had become or later the I suppose I shall have to get it from somewhere. never play cards again if I can get out of this — scrape. and am only anxious to help her. — — pick up your jewellery." Bit by bit I learnt the whole story. at me between her tears with her big violet staring " I have been such an awful I'll fool. terrible woman says she will write to husband of his wife's jewellery. She had been playing baccarat with a crowd of doubtful characters who rented a house in Mayfair and got a fine living rooking fools like my pretty caller. beginning to dab at her " But if I don't get £400 by to-morrow that eyes. but when ing of any money. and go home. I knew the woman in the case very well indeed." " That's right." I said I was old " enough to be her father you dry your pretty eyes.

" you are I talk- shall cer- tainly do nothing of the kind. knowing it is futile to argue with angry women." I said. each other much too well to entertain any delusions. ? I inquired of the woman who answered my call. and look very surprised when you decline to do a deal. silver. gold. and a hundred and one other things besides.PITFALLS 181 " " Is that Mrs. from Mrs. people bring you all sorts of articles to which there is a real or a sentimental value. I stand. John " that she owes you £400." " You and I know think you will." " W hat 7 ing ? " preposterous rubbish is this demanded the angry voice." came the reply. If you want payment . II Pawnbroking is a business that necessitates an immense amount of experience. and without any unnecessary beating about the bush I told her that I had just had a call " I underof Street." I said. Besides. " ? ing I told her. and other valuable metals. you must apply to me. a judge of furs." And then I rang off. You have to be an expert in precious stones. a connoisseur of pictures. Well. when one knows a woman gets her living in the company of ex-convicts it is a waste of time repeating something that she " I knows just as well as you. Besides. or the man who wishes to continue in business. can only look upon every pledge that comes into his place in the . They forget that the successful pawnbroker. " " Who is that speakYes. have taken over the debt.

and fetches the munificent sum of fifteen shillings. " " have caused many of my colleagues Old masters to curse the day which led them to believe that The faking of " old they were judges of pictures. months pass by. I shall of months. in this it is the brooch you are asking £10 for. Rembrandts. So one fine morning there ambles into your shop . there are any quantity of pictures quite genuine." " " but Yes." talks and talks. and sometimes by excesThe sive volubility she induces us to give her £3. And they say for a West End pawnbroker doing a high-class business is that of pictures. " is one of the smartest tricks in the world. masters pawnbroking is all profit Perhaps the worst pitfall ! and in London who make Titians.182 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER is light of what it will bring when it collection of hard-headed dealers. trying to induce you to lend her £10 on an old-fashioned brooch which she says she prizes above everything " Oh. but comparatively unheard-of except by the expert dealers." world." we reply in our courteous fashion. there are any number of painters quite a rich living copying Murillos. ultimately goes to auction. and other famous masterpieces. and which to a pawnbroker is " I shall have quite a lot of worth £2. auctioned to a be certain to take it out in a couple says the loquacious lady. Reynolds. It should be remembered that although the ownership and whereabouts of all the betterknown " old masters " are known and duly chronicled. The lady The brooch is put into a collection of unredeemed pledges. and there is no sign of the owner. possibly to me money coming shortly.

and. the picture is a genuine Murillo. I don't want to sell it outright. You invite the old the great artist's usual style. Several of my friends have told me it was worth a small fortune." you say to the old gentleman. " You know.PICTURE FAKERS in hesitating fashion 183 an old and highly respectablelooking gentleman. the matter of picture would always keep me from poverty. who sits polishing his glasses and not " that if this is indeed a Murillo it is saying a word. and stands silently by as you examine it. a couple of exquisitelypainted cherubs being held by an adoring mother. indeed. offered to buy it. and has an appearance of antiquity which may well lead you to think it is indeed a Murillo. who is making acquaintance with the pawnbroker apparently for the first time. But I never bothered about it. I preferred to keep it in my study. fact. and asks to The following conversation see the manager. It is in office. takes place " I am unfortunately reduced to temporarily raising money on some of my pictures. worth something like £15. no sensible pawnbroker likes to turn away 13 ." Well.000 ? " " " " As a Is that really so ? asks the old man. and wonder whether you would care to let me have : £100 on it. of course. knowing that if I did come to want." says the old gentleman in a refined voice." gentleman into your private where he unwraps the masterpiece reverently. with a world of regret " I have here one of my in his bespectacled eyes. Murillos. So far as you know. which has been in my family for close on two hundred years. I have never had it properly valued. He carries under his arm a bulky package.

a maker of picture frames. Within the next day or two the transaction begins You have put the to burn holes in your mind. Even he does not " know for certain. Charmingly does he thank you for your kindness." " I'm not do.000 of mine. I'll tell you what quite certain about it.184 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER a pledge offered to him for £100 which might be worth £15. the replies All I want at present I don't want to sell it at all. Then one day at lunch you meet an old acquaintance. and give the old man the money in Bank of England notes. it out of its wrapping. picture carefully away. and a long "It is colloquy between yourself and the expert.000 or it may not. look over it carefully. and goes out of the shop. if only for the reason that he has may — away from The Murillo So you take . The friend arrives. finds the almost hidden Murillo signa- ture. and still you cannot decide. who is a connoisseur of "old masters" in a rough way. and knits his brow I'll in perplexity.000. after much hesitation. so. informs you that he will redeem the picture in a few weeks. you make out a contract note for £100. for it. elsewhere. he'll give you £10. so he telephones to a friend." " but old man in his courteous fashion." You are literally between the devil and the deep You do not want the owner to take his picture sea. a picture-dealer whose opinion he will always stand on. I'd like to take it to a friend very kind of you to take such trouble. but cannot get the idea that there is something wrong. be worth £15. tests the varnish. is to raise a loan of £100 on it. looks over the picture back and front. If it is a real Murillo." he says.

000 years B. And so has my £100." you replies. pay which date back to something like 2. much as I expected.ADVENTURES . It is no use taking the matter The old gentleman never gave me to the police. You tell him you have a picture which you think is a real Murillo he You take scoffs unbelievingly. my I make lots of these frames for a fellow friend. that he did occupy a couple of rooms there. and asks where ? him round to your shop. "I'll get for that a dozen he price.' How I reply. and will bring almost any price among the people in Europe who can afford to collect rare articles I have seen a pair of badlyregardless of expense. while a perfect pair would be literally priceless. where he has a good look " at the frame. and says.C." My address in Belgravia which the old gentleman gave me. the weirdest was the episode of the Kang-he vases. . Then I send round to the highly-respectable "£100. down much in Chelsea who did you give for it ? fakes " ' old masters. Wealthy collectors all over the world will astounding prices for Kang-he and Ming ware. friend laughs in sardonic fashion. and find. You've been done. vases sold at auction for £500 to damaged Kang-he a dealer who knew his business. any guarantee Of all the weird adventures which ever came my way. that it was a genuine Murillo. but that he has since gone. 185 framed hundreds of them. It was made by the old Chinese potters in the days long before the Christian world knew anything about the baking of colours into fine-glazed pottery.

clusion that no vases." Keeping the astonishment out of my voice as best I could. I did a little rapid calculation. in a Is that Mr. " " at my flat in what I have them here. came to the conharm could come from seeing the and replied that I would be pleased to come " Thank you so much. Would five o'clock this afternoon be suitable ? I " . " " ? came a soft voice. Your name has been given to me as someone who is willing to buy Chinese ware of value. and I which all Orientals have. there would be fierce competiSo I said nothing to any of tion to obtain them." I said " It is a Chinese gentleman speaking. Portland call Road." " I'll call then. Kang-he vases which I have just brought to London with me. and would like you to look at them. My name is Wong Lee Tuan. I have some ancient call ." you " What is it you want me to do ? " I asked. Also. was that I unable to recognise.186 I TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER was in my office one afternoon when a telephone came." he said. and see him. except quired it " Would " peculiarly soft intonation was flawless." said the " voice." Yes." said the Chinaman. I asked my caller where he had them. He added the number. accent foreign " " " who's speaking ? Yes. English. in the friends trade. inbe convenient for you to call ? His for that the Chinaman." I replied than myself that the preknew better Nobody sence in London of some genuine Kang-he vases would create an immense sensation among dealers and collectors. wondered who he could really be. " engaged until then. and arrived at Portland my am .

do you not.A CHINESE ROMANCE Road 187 that afternoon with the idea of a profitable day's work. and embellished with tiny birds and flowers." said my host. I felt myself wafted . why I have asked you " he began. mind. and my knock was answered by a pig-tailed Chinaman. Perhaps it was the tea. perhaps the of my Chinese host at all events. an amiable smile creasing his yellow face. There was no milk and no sugar. you tea as we have it in China. The flat was on the third floor. " A mandarin. and on his head was a round cap with a yellow button in front. He was style. . I bowed to him. influence hypnotic as I slowly sipped the beverage. " ! dressed in Chinese garments." I said to myself. But first. tail hung down his back. who in black velvet jumper and Oriental slippers ushered me in with a low bow to a room furnished in European I was gazing around me when I heard a soft " and the Chinaman who called himgood day self Wong Lee Tuan was standing in the room. and poured it into the most marvellous cups I have ever seen. ruby overall His long pighalf covering his figure to the knees. " You wonder." The servant who had admitted me brought tea." my " confessed." touching " let me give the bell at the side of the fireplace. perhaps it would be better that you heard the story in full. and the tea itself was of a flavour I have never tasted before or since. They were made of china no thicker than paper. and he asked me to be seated in a chair drawn up before the fire. a rich. to call here ? " was that Something to I effect floating through " Well.

getting up and leading the way through the passage-way value.188 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER where intrigue was as the very breath of and romance an accompaniment of the daily into a land life. In one of the bedrooms." replied " " my host." " " I I asked a question in one word. and that you'll be you followed back to your shop. — said. " to involve myself seriously with the Republican Government in my native land. ? The Kang-he vases " I asked. I have been watched ever It is quite probable that since I came to London. " I have had the misfortune. Because they are anxious to know whether you carry away something they will pay any price to obtain. " " because I am I have asked you here. safe." he said. a man who understands their not overrating their no value when I tell you that money could buy them. . Wong Lee nodded. for it was the loveliest specimen of its kind I had ever seen. Why ? . and you. have been seen coming in. existence. want to hide and I because of in want ready money. You see me here. my life would pay the penalty. he took a Kang-he vase fully three feet high. out of an ordinary wardrobe. a Mandarin of the Fourth Class which in my country — would correspond to your rank of Marquis an outI dare not go back to China to-day cast. will believe that I am of his flat. I could have cried out in astonishment." began Wong Lee. to be are where They likely they my vases six hunlike for have been in my family something dred years." he suddenly said. Come with me.

and if I can get . Now the time has come when I must raise money on them. and. Such work I had never before seen in a Kang-he vase. He of door vase. covered with hundreds of figures of people wending their way into an ancient temple. There is not a mark on them. to Japan. suppose you will know that in China it is forbidden by the Republican Government to take Kang-he vases out of the country. opening the other the wardrobe. smiled proudly. that price would be somewhere in the region of £6. took out the companion see " You these. if I was not greatly mistaken. " But these vases are all I have left. I then told " I me the story of the vases. from Japan to Canada. and my exclamation evidently pleased Wong Lee. " By your Christian calendar they are nearly four thousand years old. interested went over them carefully from top to bottom. and.000. I smuggled these vases into Korea. and so on to London. The soldiers of the Republic have sacked my possessions my lands have been distributed to my enemies. It will only be a year. as they would have cost me mine had I been discovered taking them away. and thence over . and. There was not a flaw in the entire piece. I have wealthy relations in San Francisco. They are sacred treasures which have cost many men their lives. They were worth what they would bring from a connoisseur of world-wide reputation." That I could readily see for myself." he said to me. It was impossible to place a price on them. and beyond measure.A KNOTTY PROBLEM It 189 was a dead white. Wong Lee took me back to the drawing-room.

knowing " You could take them out at the back. man Well." " And where would I keep them ? " " That I should leave to you." " And how much do you want on them ? " I inquired. About a week after my interview with him a couple of strange Chinamen came into my shop. carry them He was " watching me with impassive face. I lent the Chinathe £1. with the vases as security.190 safely to TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER them I will repay you well for any loan you may care to make. and during that time the worry they caused me gave me ample opportunity to regret ever having had anything to do with his Kang-he vases. That was the last I saw of Wong Lee for nearly two years." he said." said Wong Lee " It would require to be somewhere very gravely. to cut a long story short. and carried them off in a motor-car. How ? do away less " I asked you propose I should Wong Lee at last. " You havem big jar ? " smile. securely packed in a wooden case. he asked with an oily . with a pair of vases might get that were literally worth treble their weight in gold. I never knew but that I into serious trouble. " frightened me.000 on his vases. full well is a garage in the rear of these flats where could obtain a car. doubt- what was in my thoughts. One of them spoke pidgin-English. thought dangerous security Besides." I thought long and hard. Daring I had ever such but the of been." said Wong Lee. There we safe. " A thousand pounds will be ample.

Want " It the better part of an hour to get rid of the pair. " Big jar. No. " Big jar." no got. together with a bank draft for £1." said the fellow. things at last. " One No likee.DANGEROUS PROPERTY 191 I smelt a rat at once. and was thankful that I had taken the Kang-he vases to a place where not even a couple of artful heathen Chinese could gain admittance. asking me to hand the vases over to a certain Chinaman who was coming down from Liverpool." " " " ! I said. until I wondered whether I ought to call the police in and tell them the whole story." " No savee.250. but my assistants didn't. they attempted to bribe my staff." me Then one day they disappeared. and I had no intention of enlightening them. The one with the English explained to his comrade in Chinese. and beyond making sure that the vases were safely hidden I bothered no more about them until I received a letter from Wong Lee Tuan. likee. I knew what everything they wanted well enough." took I said " big jar with men. all over cover men. him pound you. pointing to a couple of rubbishy Japanese vases standing in the window. Oh. followed me home at night. like that. " What do you mean ? " I inquired. They hung round my shop all day. followed me into business of a morning. Glad enough to get rid of the wretched I drove down to the safe-deposit ." I said. They tried to burgle the shop. taking one out. Those two Chinamen made my life a misery for the next month. no .

who sidles out of the door the moment you give him a sharp I verily believe — . A couple of nights later the river-police on the Thames found the dead body of a Chinaman floatThere was ing in the water near Tilbury Dock. made the Chinaman sign a receipt. Wong Lee did not blame me. .192 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER I had secreted them. These Oriental feuds do not interest a peace-loving old fellow like myself. Following that a meek-eyed Japanese then a pretty little actress the latter a class that is always short of money then a thief. I have never learnt. only a brief mention of the matter in the Press. What has happened since. while in the next. and one day he would go back for them. there is an Indian student anxious to raise a couple of pounds on a ring of native workmanship ? Then there comes a voluble Yankee who has come to " Yurrup " for a good time. is that half the romance of the world hidden away behind the dingy doors of a London pawnbroker's shop. in which he informed where me his that the messenger he had despatched to bring Kang-he vases over to the United States had disappeared. he said. and with him the vases. . in the cubicle alongside. What would you say to a business where one minute you are lending an impecunious peer £10 on his watch. Three months afterwards I had a letter from Wong Lee. and I paid no attention to it. He knew where his vases were. and watched him drive off with the case containing the vases. look. and has had it to such an extent that he must pawn his cuff-links to keep him in food until a remittance comes across.

no. You have to give him the best description you can remember (which is nothing very great. quite impressed me by the offhand manner I in which he explained things to me. Oh. and had given it to the Prince on the understanding that he was to sell it. cursing you with great fluency when you decline the transaction. They wanted me to give them the necklace then and there." r . while you ruefully reflect that you have lost the value of the ring. or bring an action in a civil court to get your necklace. alleging that it was theirs. There are men who will come into a pawnshop. who told me that it wasn't the Prince's necklace at all. a business that brings home to you the frailties of humanity as nothing else can. woman who One particularly interesting case I recollect was that of a self-styled Indian prince who pledged a He was a haughty sort of pearl necklace for £200. And so it goes on.THE INDIAN PRINCE Over the the 193 river. On the Sunday it is worn. day in. take off their vest. Your next visitor may be a detective making inquiries about a stolen ring. I know nothing about you. But you mustn't ask me for it. considering the varied appearance of your clients). in the poor-class districts. never suspected an3 thing wrong until I had a visit from two of his countrymen. that they had brought it from India. Go to the police if you like. and day out. and ask you to lend them two shillings on it." I said and has pawned your necklace illegally I'm not saying it is here you must take proceedings. there is takes all her family's Sunday clothof out ing pawn on Saturday. — — . on the Monday it is back in pawn. " " If the Prince I can't do that. and individual.

don't here snakes get your I'll send for the police. " Ten pounds. Then they brought the but the authorities would take no action instituted a prosecution. There was something uncannily not fishy about the whole affair. and I sat tight." I said hurriedly." replied the gallant captain. Isn't extracting a hideous reptile. " he a beauty ? I had jumped back about six feet in fright. who placed a round basket on the counter. shabby ulster. sell it I still have it. my beauties ? crawling reptiles. Aren't you. " Not ten pounds nor tenpence. " I want you to lend me £10 on my snakes. " " " and what can I do for you ? Oh. " And if you and retreating to my private office. One an We day get all sorts of weird pledges offered us. opening the basket and " Look at him. they all they wanted was their didn't want to do that necklace back.194 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER That pair of Hindoos haunted asking police unless for in. one one snakes his he out stead. and announced himself as Captain Vere. there mysteriously came into my shop individual in a long. the World-Famous Snake- charmer. but Inthis deterred the captain not in the slightest. by beastly pulled until there were about a dozen of them coiling their slimy bodies round his head and shoulders. their pearls. meaning to lose my £200 if I could help it." he said. " and easily worth a " to the thousand. No. pearl necklace. and am going to when the jewel-market improves. out of in five seconds. my shop for weeks. and I retained the they ." ." I said. Then all three Indians disappeared.

It had a decided " curl in it. and said that I was so struck by his affection for "Bobs" that I would never dream of depriving him of his beloved And he went away calling me a miserable jacket. which the Field-Marshal had given him." wished him the best of luck. until at the very last -hunger had compelled " him to offer it in pawn. in I could tell tragedies in innumerable stories of pitiful little which fate has woven its web around ." More in sorrow than in anger I bade him " goodday. But." I had another gentleman who wanted to borrow £1 on a greasy lock of hair which he alleged to have belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte. the Little " hair had been lank and straight. more out of curiosity than anything else." he said. putting them back. Another unduly optimistic specimen of humanity wanted to negotiate a loan on an ancient-looking army jacket which he said had belonged to the late Lord Roberts. and had kept this jacket. Then and there the optimist took root on the counter and for nearly an hour told me a long and " " circumstantial story of how he had been Bobs' body-servant. a loan of £2 on it for a week or two. fixing me with a stern I just want eye. mind you. old skinflint.LIGHTER MOMENTS " 195 " All right. don't get shirty. and so far as I could remember. " Where did you get it ? " I asked." said the captain. "I'm not going to sell it to you. So I Emperor's turned that gentleman out into the cold night.

They like great . and for a few months all goes well. though they may think quite a lot. find favour with some theatrical manager. and they are glad to accept a place in the ! . This is the period when they first make the acquaintance of the pawnshop experienced friends tell them to " pop " the diamond brooch that some wealthy admirer has presented to them. asking for an advance on rings and bangles worth a fair amount of money. Then one by one their jewels come into the pawnshop. and for a year or two sup the cup of life to the full. with whom I have a very considerable acquaintance. next step is anything. They are engulfed in the . and ask no question in return. There was a pretty Yorkshire girl who used to come into one of my shops a good deal. Poor creatures They come to the West End of London in the full beauty of their youth. listen to stories. until. they take to pledging their clothing. attracted to London as the moth is to the candle in the hope that she will become a star of the theatre. It was no business of mine. thankful for anything that will keep a roof over their heads and give them something to eat.196 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER some pretty. and stageland knows them no more. for pawnbrokers. like the sailor's parrot. and more out of curiosity comedy than anything else I asked one day how it was that she was always so short. of course. chorus or ballet. ambitious girl. Then there comes the time when their charms begin to fail engagements are more difficult to obtain. underworld. But the ladies of the theatre. She was playing a small part in musical in the Strand. are not so reticent. at the last The resort.

" as they call it in the profession. I went round to see her. and when she was well enough to be moved I sent her off to some friends of mine in the country. and I in return occasionally as to their welfare. It seems that the husband had forced his way any salaries at into his wife's dressing-room. and when the girl had no money to give he had produced a pistol and fired at her. and told her not to worry about the future." said. . yes. 197 their troubles. where she stayed until the roses came back into her cheeks. rage. a salary of £3 a week doesn't go far. The poor little thing was then in hospital. However. I would have told him something that would have made his ears burn. in a drunken demanded money." she said. . tossing her head. badly wounding her in the shoulder. so I gave the girl the money she wanted. When you've got a big lout of a husband sponging on you. and thought no more about the matter until a couple of days later. he had told him she There. Don't they pay " your theatre ? " " but that isn't of much use. inquire " " she I have to Oh." H'm. it was nothing to do with me. and it was doubtful if she would recover. me pay " girl it away. Oh. and said that she thought she would never get up but she was mistaken.THEATRICAL TROUBLES to tell ." I like you replied. " seems rather tough on a little to be keeping others. She thanked me with a wan smile." I should dearly have liked to have had the husband in my office. when I heard that there had been a terrific scandal at the theatre where my little friend worked. Then I found her " another shop.

of different calibre came my way in 1915. I was told that I would find her in Room 193 on the third floor." Well. Her rascally husband went to penal servitude for ten years. like many other convicts. I felt rather thankful that I had brought no money with me. having no fancy for being held up in an hotel and left in a room gagged and bound until someone found me. if privately I it was all for the best. is " rather a haughty kind business. furthermore. That made me somewhat suspicious. and times were hard.198 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER and from that day she has never looked back. so hat and went round to the Carlton my and asked for Miss Curtis. business on . He was killed in France. that I was expected. and had the decency to volunteer for active service. thought A woman when Curtis. near enough to the real name without disclosing any secrets. She still comes into my shop. for I had not telephoned to say I was coming. but not. and. Miss Curtis was not the ordinary type of customer I was used to by any manner of means. business was very spare time on my is slack. on business. I consoled her as best I could. So it may be well imagined that it was with a certain amount of trepidation I clapped of lady." I said to myself. and I had plenty of I will call her Miss Nancy hands. Instead of calling at the shop she sent me a letter saying that she desired a sum of money on certain valuable diamonds she possessed would I kindly call at the Carlton Hotel that day which — at noon " ? H'm. I am pleased to say. when the war came. and the little widow wept in my office as she told me the news.

Mr. But. I thought that was nonsense." " " I dare say." Why on them for it in America. Somewhat abashed at this novel way of a pawnbroker doing business. it wouldn't do in father's position was diamonds. the States than here. I nevertheless seated myself more on my guard than The lady smiled at me and began dealer in precious stones. and I are over here. and contented myself with a shake of the head. I do a little in that line. 14 selling Street. . and found standing before me an exceedingly handsome young woman wearing a Paris gown that must have cost a lot of money." said the lady. ever. and . He's a big man on Wall would do him no good. " Good morning. and while we are in London we thought we might just as well do a little business. Well." she said in response " to my bow. : ? " You're a big " Resolved to give nothing away. Come and sit right down here." Privately. and if they were sold in the right place they ought to bring a high " don't you take them to America ? I " Diamonds fetch a much higher price in inquired." replied the lady carelessly." " I said cautiously. who had a by no means " father unpleasant American twang in her voice. but I held my tongue. knocked at the door and entered on the an American accent.ARTFUL AMERICANS that I 199 re- quest of a voice with I opened the door." leading the way to a settee in the window. and to be known it that a man further. aren't you beside her. We've got a big parcel of stones. " Oh yes. you see. in the first place there is a big duty to pay " price.

I don't carry them around with me. and there stepped forth a well-dressed man of about forty-five. Mr. and his good morning in a nasal twang was all that it should be.200 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER ." Just then a door leading to an adjoining room opened. But there was something uncannily familiar about his face if I was not immensely mistaken I had seen his photograph somewhere. and they'll go cheap to the man who can put the cash down and say nothing about it." " " Where Just They'll be produced at the right moment. we want to find a buyer who Now. but the eyes I could not be mis. and in doing so I " " father's face in suddenly caught a glimpse of I But stead. . can do a deal and keep his mouth shut. ? Are " you a buyer ? I sat down on the settee again. He looked quite the prosperous " " ! " are they ? " I asked. His hair was differently done.000 worth of good stones. never batted the proverbial eyelid. " " Ah. Mr. and there had been no moustache on the portrait I had seen. Then I remembered ! I bill had seen his photograph on an American police as being badly . I returned his greeting. taken in. say the word that you are willing to buy and you'll see the stones. American business man." said father. I was growing there increasingly suspicious of that young lady was a hardness about her face and an easy confidence of manner which to an experienced student of human nature like myself told its own tale. Inand stood there while " " his daughter explained matters." when he had heard all. We've got about £15. " and What do you think about it. —— profile.

my manager I was only Carlton for a few minutes. any case. at jewel robbery So they were trying to sell me jewels stolen in No wonder they were over in London. " suit ? o'clock you " Quite. if my memory of father was at all accurate. matters. " " I for the occasion). between the two. at someone had shot how of he an account seeing who had and for a tried to prevent his escape in New York." giving glance. one my partner (inventing to the stones to would like you my bring up office." full of meaning. My face showed my alarm. I not do anything without could In over. head as to how I was moment puzzled to get out of must have a curious look with her father. Then I took up my hat. me back at the office . they are expecting I told before one o'clock." said.A LUCKY ESCAPE 201 " wanted " on suspicion of being concerned in a big a New York hotel. Would four I guess we'd better come round later. he was a gentleman who would not be I recollected deterred bv violence to save himself." " " must I I have time to think it Well. defeat without Well. with me. and. for the girl exchanged " Another glance." coming round to the " hard me a Father." I said. about sums of carry any big money my my awkward predicament. I never to hasten I added. took his " a if that's the case. " The lady gave me her hand. tremor. and with a haste that was perhaps somewhat indecent I made for the door. America The great thing was to get out of that room without " " ! any trouble . and said " Good-bye in the voice that hostesses use when an undesirable besides. " Of course.

202

TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER
"
is

going, while with a nod of the head.

guest
I

father

"

contented himself
office,

said, you take round straight away and ask my advice you'll send at these diamonds. If that precious to have a look couple are not a pair of first-class crooks I'm very

hurried downstairs, and returned to my where I got on to a friend at Scotland Yard. " " I but if be all

They may

right,"

much mistaken."
But, quick as I was, the pair at the Carlton were A couple of men from the Yard arrived in quicker. their suite half an hour after I had left, only to find that the birds had flown. They had called for their bill within ten minutes of my leaving them, and had vanished into thin air. And apparently they had everything ready for flight, for I heard afterwards that they had got away to Paris by the afternoon boat-train from Waterloo.

The French police were notified and kept watch on them, with the result that a week or two later they were arrested on information from America, and extradited. From the report of the trial in America I learnt how fortunate I had been. The

man was known

Tom," The charming daughter was his decoy bird, had been in prison many times herself, and had been
responsible for the swindling individuals like myself.
of

" Transatlantic to the police as one of the cleverest jewel-thieves in the world. " " who

many

innocent

It may be taken for granted that the really clever English crook never attempts to dispose of the proceeds of a big robbery in a pawnshop. The big

DEALING WITH THIEVES
men

203

in the criminal world have their buyers ready and waiting before they do a job, and would no more dream of putting their heads into the lion's mouth by offering stolen jewels to a pawnbroker than they would think of leading an honest life. The pawnbroker who comes down to buying stolen

" becomes a fence," soon finds himself in trouble. There is precious little truth in that old saying " Honour among thieves." As a matter of fact, the

property,

or,

in

the language of the underworld,

average thief or burglar rarely refuses to tell the police where he has disposed of his plunder, if only

And usually to try to mitigate his own punishment. " the fence," be he pawnbroker or secondhand dealer, receives a stiffer sentence than the actual thief. Judges always say that if there were no
would be no thieves, a remark which Reputable pawnbrokers never knowingly accept pledges which are stolen, and even men of doubtful character decline to be made a party to an offence that can have only one ending the loss of both liberty and business. As soon as a big robbery takes place, the police all over Great Britain are notified, and circulate to pawnbrokers and jewellers a description of the stolen It often happens, of course, that some property. of the plunder is offered to a pawnbroker, and if he is able to recognise it from the police description it is his duty to communicate with them forthwith.
receivers there
is

doubtless

true.

requires a certain amount of cleverness to trap a thief in such circumstances. You have to keep the suspect in conversation, without arousing his suspicions, while an assistant slips out to get a

One

policeman.

204

TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER
;

The artful crook is not easily caught. His eyes are here, there, and everywhere he soon gets an idea from the inevitable delay that something is
amiss, and is apt to slip out of the door before a policeman can be found. I have heard it said that all pawnshops ought to be close to a police-station a commentary which is not altogether a fair criticism of a pawnbroker's occupation, for it is rarely that the authorities have to be called in. Also, there is a decided risk about calling in the police. A pawnbroker may make a mistake, and have to face an

-

action for wrongful arrest. Sneak-thieves are not averse to trying to dispose of their booty to a pawnbroker, especially if the
article is of

no particular value.

They

will

make

off

with a lady's bag, sift the contents, and immediately offer anything valuable it contains to the nearest pawnbroker. If the latter has his suspicions, all well and good he can decline the transaction. But should the thief be of respectable appearance, and the pawnbroker takes the offered pledge, he finds to his dismay a day or two later that the article is in the Scotland Yard list of stolen property, and has to surrender it forthwith, together with the best description he can give of the thief.
;

Some pawnbrokers
for

occasionally

make

application

compensation in such cases where the mistake has been through no fault of theirs, but it is almost invariably refused. The law says that the pawnbroker, by the very nature of his business, must be prepared to incur such losses from time to time.

must be on sion which

It stands to reason, therefore, that a his guard unceasingly. His

pawnbroker

attracts

is a profesthe most dangerous class of

THE NEEDY AND GREEDY

205

people in the world, the needy and the greedy. A smart pickpocket will relieve a gentleman of his watch, and perhaps before even his victim realises his loss some confiding pawnbroker has lent the " " five pounds on it. That same day the dip victim reports his loss to the police, giving the of the watch, and the day afterwards the pawnbroker learns from the Scotland Yard list that he has lent a " fiver " on a stolen watch. He notifies the police, who bring along the owner to identify the watch. The latter says he is sorry but the who is the man has to pawnbroker pay.

number

;

There are certain things, it is pawnbroker instinctively guards

true,

which every

against.

One

is

the spectacle of a roughly-dressed fellow offering a He will probably lady's dainty gold watch for sale. tell you, in a Cockney accent, when you ask whose " " watch it is, that it was given to his missus for a But to take leave doubt birthday present. you may this statement, if only for the reason that the "missus" herself would have pawned it long before
her loving husband got his hands on such a valuable
article.

In all likelihood, the gentleman with the watch has been doing a little sneak-thieving. Probably dressed as a plumber or a gasfitter, he picked it up in a flat to which he had illegally obtained admittance. The safest thing to do with these fellows is to make a prolonged examination of the watch, while one of the assistants is bringing in a policeman.
a different story to tell. Asked to " is to where the " missus " " finks she isn't be found, he of the gold watch in just then. She is doing a day's charing. Pressed

Then

there

is

escort the

man

in blue to

206
still

TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER

" " fahnd it, and hopes a little further, he says he he hasn't done wrong by trying to pawn it. So, to the watch and give the owner a chance, they take " " finder the along to the police-station, where in all probability several of the C.I.D. officers greet him as an old friend, and inquire as to what he is doing for a living just then. For a little while he " Just fahnd a watch, guv'nor, is full of grievance. and went to soak it. I 'opes I 'aven't done no "
' '

'arm

?

The police, however, think him with being in possession
be stolen.

differently,

of a

and charge watch believed to

Inquiries soon establish the fact that the

in a West End flat, and had articles of value. Next with other several disappeared an day unsympathetic magistrate, after glancing at a list of about forty previous convictions, sends him to the Sessions to be dealt with as an incorrigible rogue. Verily the path of the pawnbroker is beset with

watch belonged to a lady

peril.
is the wella valuable ring, and gives a good address, which is false. There is nothing to indicate that the ring has been stolen, and the pawnbroker, after parting with a considerable sum of money, finds to his mortification that a description of the ring is given in the police list the day following, with no option but to notify the authorities that it is in his possession. In all these cases we can act on our own only judgment, and that is why I say a

The

cleverest rogue of all to deal with

dressed

man who

offers

pawnbroker requires to be an exceedingly clever
student of

human

nature.

a case which came within my experience only a short time ago of a well-known man
I recollect

TRAGEDIES

207

about town who had got into financial difficulties, and descended to- stealing jewellery from his lady friends. Suspicion ultimately fell upon him, because some valuable diamonds had been missed from a He lady's flat where he had been the last visitor. was taxed with the theft by a friend of the lady, and,
after a considerable amount of bluffing, confessed that he was desperately hard up and had stolen the A terrible scandal would have been certain stones. had there been a police prosecution, if only for the reason that the lady was married. So in the end the thief found the money to redeem the rings, and handed them back. He disappeared from his usual haunts immediately afterwards, and has never been seen since. Any number of these affairs come within a pawnbroker's experience. Ordinarily he does not know for certain that a crime has been committed. The stolen property is redeemed within a few days of its being pledged, the people concerned doing their best Some of the best-known to hush everything up. families in England have been involved in such scandals, usually by some fast-living member of the family who has become desperate through want of

ready money.

Gaming debts, or a blackmailing woman, are almost invariably at the bottom of the trouble. Money has to be found quickly, and the desperate one, knowing it to be impossible to raise the amount from his long-suffering family, throws discretion to the winds, and becomes a thief. The family pays in the end, of course, to save themselves from scandal. The erring individual is shipped off to the Colonies, never to be heard of again. Dozens of these minor

IV People whose business it is to lend money see and hear a great many family troubles. I concluded that. after all. and. without waiting for me to ask any questions. . except for the people kept a complete secret. and. Plenty of these puzzling affairs come the way of a big West End pawnbroker. although I wondered why the wife of such a wealthy man should come to me for cash. and put the tiara in my safe. and. after looking at the tiara.208 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER who know. One of the saddest cases I experienced in this the wife of a wellrespect was that of Lady known public man. and with a faint smile said she had again to seek my I nodded. It was no business of mine to inquire into my customer's confidential affairs. and waited for her to speak. but because very often it is essential to know everything before money can safely be advanced. with evident signs of distress. it had nothing to do with me. " I wonder whether you could let me have £800. not because they want to. I first became aware that all was not well in the family when one afternoon her . About six weeks later her ladyship again called. the affair is tragedies continually take place. assistance. I made out a cheque for £500. ladyship was shown into my private office and told me. for. have shown signs of surprise. her ladyship said she had good security to offer for the loan. producing at the same time a diamond tiara which was worth fully three times that amount. that she wanted I suppose my face must to raise £500 immediately.

worth more than £500." the woman said. but I could see that she was seriously troubled. And blackmail it turned out to be." I gave her the money. and necklace. cannot go to 209 " she said.BLACKMAIL ? Mr." I said with a smile. I wondered there was what had gone wrong with the family not the slightest hint in the City of his lordship having come a cropper. and £300 on the necklace. and I suppose that within a year she must have borrowed something like £5." With that she took out of her bag a small flat case. " my bank for the For certain reasons I money. " have the money to-day or She said nothing further. sure enough. but if you like. disappointment diamond " It is tiara. I will let you have an additional £500 on the tiara. it is no part of the pawnbroking business to give more than people ask. thank you so much. above all. Often . I " Is that so ? " " What can I do ? I must coming into her face. must have it quickly. From that time onwards she was always pledging jewellery. and I could only come to the conclusion that someone was secretly blackmailing her ladyship unknown to her husband. " Of course. . and she went away. " I'm sure you don't know how relieved I am.000. and extracted from it a beautiful little pearl It was worth possibly £300 or £400. and. I told my caller that I was afraid that I could not possibly lend her anything like £800 on it. Will that be agreeable to " you ? " Oh. and after a moment's consideration I told her that possibly I could arrange matters by advancing her something more on her said her ladyship.

being certain that there would be a crash before long. had married the son of a local farmer who had turned out a firstclass rotter. For a few months he did then one day detectives from Scotland Yard came to the flat they were living in and arrested the . In the days of her youth. The girl stuck to him when he came out. and was sent to gaol. then an innocent girl in a country vicarage. The girl. it seemed. He had shamefully abused the confidence reposed in him by a friend of his wife's father. The latter course was the only one a married woman's IOU being hesitated a good deal. heard the This time her ladyship said she had nothing to offer in the way of security she would give me her note . for forgery and embezzlement. hoping that he would go straight. or perhaps I tional advance on the jewels would make an addiI already had in my I could adopt. old story of a family skeleton. which fortunately had died at birth. who had given him employment after coming out of gaol and had decided to prosecute. I possession. Husband and wife had migrated to London. her ladyship. went back to live with her parents. valueless in law. It was the old. where after a time the man got into trouble. This time the stupid boy he was nothing else received eighteen months' hard husband — — labour. . There had been a child.210 I TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER full came story one day when Lady to me in a state of terror and said that if she could not have £250 before nightfall' she would be ruined. and while I was making up my mind her ladyship told me the whole wretched story. heart-broken. of hand instead.

was seen of the husband. our marriage would never have taken place. When the thing daughter was about thirty years of age her parents died within a few months of each other. and dropped The years passed said with a sad smile. as I sat silent. saying that he knew how to get a good living without their The girl's parents fervently hoped they and daughter would see no more of the ne'er-dotheir inquiries then and there. I knew too well that if Lord was aware that I had been the wife of a dissolute scoundrel who had been in gaol. but the Prisoners' Aid Society knew nothing beyond the fact that the man had help. . and she found herself the possessor of a small income. listening to her At all events. about six months after her story. my first husband was still alive. from away my native village." she weel. and never told him that I had been previously wedded. and the by. and that. for all I did I " knew. " I was still fairly good-looking. That was only partly true what they did not tell me was that if my first husband ." went on her lady" I married my present husband in London. people's death she received a proposal of marriage from Peer. Sir James . ship. their airily declined any offer of assistance. you know.CONFIDENCES Nothing was seen of the husband when his 211 term of imprisonment ended. who had since become a a very foolish thing. Secret inquiries were made as to where he had gone. I was deceived by being told that if a woman's husband deserted her for seven years she was free to marry again. free to do what she liked. memory of the girl's Notragic youthful marriage gradually blunted.

beginning My own darling wife. I never troubled to learn off. afraid in any case. At any rate. for he followed recognise him. must have peace. " I was married in London as I told quietly. you. looking terribly dissipated. and endearments. I received a letter.' I was not particularly surprised when in a postscript I should like you to send me £500 I read: 'P. " ' ' — at once. for fear of arousing Lord 's has always been a very jealous man. However. and up to twelve months ago nothing occurred to cause me the slightest alarm. soon discovered my address.212 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER turned up again and claimed me. where me to instead he but was going to speak to Lord -. suspicions. I thought he our car stood waiting. the handwriting of which I recognised It was full of hypocritical affection immediately. grin almost beyond rehe was as husband Changed cognition.S. my first husband. when I turned round. stood my first there.' and ending with Your loving husband. whether I was being followed I should have been .' She drew a breath and went on. My husband of the out and I were coming Gaiety Theatre. ! merely stood on the pavement and watched us drive Fool that I was. and me. and in my maiden name. for although I went off to our country He house the morning following the theatre episode. and had my movements watched. . Then one day the blow fell. Alfred. I could still And he knew me. my second marriage would automatically become null and void. he apparently knew it at once. to From that day this I have never known a moment's Alfred Tully. Fifteen years have passed since then. brushed a man against his on evil with an face.

" " " It is the only way. it from him for or to ever." said the woman wildly. I had heard. He would refuse to have anything more to do with me. and sent him the money you lent me. tinue There " you will take my advice. have come to the end of my resources. I came to you with my diamond Now I tiara. I cannot. and Lord My husband. cannot continue for ever paying blackmail to a man who is lost to all sense of honour. Oh. has written up to say that unless I meet him in St.SECRETS " 213 . I have used Like a fool. I I knew too well that he all my spare allowance. I cannot. Lady You ." she sobbed. for was afraid to tell Lord would then and there cast me out. That is better by far than to let Lord he would discover this secret himself If " —— . " He is such a terribly stern man that he would never listen to any explanation." . what am I going and the poor woman burst into bitter deeply distressed by the terrible story One thing was quite certain to con- weeping. he will write to Lord and to do ? tell " him everything. Instead. only accuse you of deliberately deceiving him." I said at last. I sat silent. — paying hush-money was impossible. for I suppose he is still that. must hush the matter up." I replied. James's Square to-night and give him £250." " Oh. nearly all my jewellery is beginning to ask questions. keep buy off your hope first husband." " " I dare not do it. he . has gone. He would say I had disgraced him beyond redemption. you will go and tell Lord You cannot everything. would be no end to it. Throw yourself on the mercy of Lord For his own sake.

I never heard what actually happened afterwards. I admit." There is no reason to refuse the request the brooch is easily worth the money." you My wife often asks me who the beauThere tiful lady is. " If insist. in the third written letter." I spent something like an hour arguing with the poor frightened woman. and. believe you are me. as they cannot borrow from their bank without security. . brooch. are some things that are better untold. It is done very . and a request that I would despatch all the pledged jewelSquare. So you make out a pawn-ticket. but I always refuse to tell her. they send round to the A lady's maid discreetly.214 TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER is nothing else for you to do. but about a week after the affair I received a cheque covering the full amount borrowed from me. lend you the £250. something " to this effect Mrs. and are afraid to ask their husbands for money for fear of inconvenient inquiries." I said. and in the end she dried her eyes and said she would take my advice. you only getting deeper into the mire. So-and-so would be glad if would let her have £20 on the accompanying Mr. but. who imagine Upper Ten greatly surprise to be rolling in butterflies Times innumerable do those fashionable run short of ready cash. lery to her ladyship's house in C Enclosed also was a photograph across which was "In grateful memory from one whose life written saved. person. and seal brings a : pawnshop. I will : " There • • • • • • Many of the smart society women whose names are always in the papers lead a hand-to-mouth financial existence which the would people wealth. enclose two £10 notes.

" from ? The lady laughed again and gave me an arch look. and lent her £100. I knew a pretty little creature living in Mayfair who was an adept at getting presents from men and then bringing them to the pawnshop. invariably the precursor of much trouble. you know I am always ready to do business. some admirer has been confidentially told that she is dreadThese affairs are fully hard up. perhaps. Most of the stuff was new. " right. Where does it come " . which sometimes get to the Divorce Court. Perhaps you may lend the lady £50 or £60 in this fashion. I am a pawnbroker not a guardian Probably my — I have troubles enough angel of imprudent women. I sent a note saying I could not lend any more money without first seeing the owner. " * Well." I said been sending me is brand-new. Then one day will come the maid." I said. you dear foolish man. She walked into my private office." replied the lady " " do you think I have stolen it ? merrily. and asked what all the trouble was about. Then the lady herself came round. " It is evident you know nothing about the stage. smiled seductively at me. and. lady has won enough playing bridge to enable her to make a fresh start. being rather suspicious of the maid. with a letter enclosing money sufficient to redeem everything. without delving into their matrimonial escapades. who was continually offering jewellery." 15 . of my own. But that is no concern of mine. or.SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES 215 the lot up in an envelope. " " but all this jewellery you have No. but first I must know that everything is all Oh.

but. I learned that she ran off to London with some worthless fellow." I replied. and meet any number of boys with more money than they know what to do with." came to know that little woman very well in the next two or three years. with a fascinating peachstrikingly beautiful. I still see her around it End she is Lady De Vere now and rides about in a coronetted Rolls-Royce. who had tried to make her take up domestic service." I must confess that I found her Tall." Well." she added. well say to myself. she knew how to look after number She finished up by marrying a young fellow one. the West . who tried to exploit her on the A . year or two ago there was a very pretty girl " around London who was known as the Queen of the Night Clubs. and I smile as I pass and " one never knows. am You would. Always she greets me with a cordial smile. . I wanted to know.216 she said. she came into the night life of London mysteriously. " " then that's Oh. and I might say that she was a pretty good judge of values. From what she told me. I won't go so far as to allege that she was a vampire. you know. smiling at presents. they send me lots of they like me presents given to us. too. She used to turn all her presents into hard cash. bloom complexion and long raven-black hair. just I all right. Rumour had it that she was the daughter of poor parents in Somersetshire. TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER " Some of us girls I get any amount of on at the Garrick. . well. looking as though she had been born in the purple. to put quite mildly. I think at any rate. me in a way that made me glad good wife was my not about. who would one day be a Peer.

I am afraid the poor girl had rather a rough time She got into the habit of visiting the night of it. hanging round with " I had a crowd of disreputable ne'er-do-weels ? seen her in the West End in the company of men who were nothing but The girl society parasites. For a time money was plentiful enough. she sobbed out that she had run away to avoid becoming a servant. I got her to tell me the story.A COUNTRY GIRL 217 stage. said that dared not return she to Somerset. From a demure country-bred girl she became a regular harum-scarum. after giving her a cup of tea. but as the months went on the midnight revels began to have their effect on the rosy cheeks. — . and one day. I let her emotion work itself out. and then. poor girl but in the end I persuaded her to take the plunge. Sad enough it was in all conscience the old. but told her that if she would take a little good advice she would go back to her The parents and never come to London again. looked as though she was going to answer me rudely. more out of compassion than anything else. old tale of a stage-struck girl who found that when she did get a chance on the boards. " " I asked. I asked her into my office. up to all manner of devilry. clubs and frequenting the society of people who could do her no good. I lent her a good deal of money from time to time. and when that came to naught he coolly left her to shift for herself. but all of a sudden she put her head in her hands and burst out crying. Why don't you cut all this out ? " What does a country-bred girl like you want to be wasting her life in London. she was not in the I sympathised with her when least suited for it.

218 I TOLD BY THE PAWNBROKER gave her money to pay her expenses and myself saw her off from Paddington Station. She gave me one which I knew to be a fabrication. I remember a lady coming into my place one morning and asking for £40 on a diamond bangle. doubtless feeling that it was a sorry end to her great adventure. and have the right to expect that their confidence will be respected — which it is. fearing. any number of women in the West End of London who have been customers of mine in days gone by. Besides. because not long previously I portrait in the illustrated papers as the a millionaire shipowner who had disof daughter women who come into a name and address. so I have no doubt that what I did was the best. of else. Half of the men and pawnshop give under the idea about them and then tell the whole world. that I am going to rush after their husbands and tell them I see that once upon a time their wives used to bring me But. perhaps. Men from business shouting their us in to and women come secrecy. . and asked for her name and address. people my profession don't go the house-tops. I heard from her later. if jewellery to pawn. have no time for anything would I I was to do that. bless their little hearts. apparently a false that we are going to make inquiries had seen her owned her when she ran away and married an actor. " If you will give me your right name and address. She smiled wanly at me as the train moved off. saying that everything was all for right. I was quite willing to lend her the money. Happily married. they glance my way in doubt and trembling.

and ponder over the wilfulness of these women whom we see so much of in pawnshops." " He is not in the I replied. you will tell him everything.GOOD ADVICE I will let 219 " you have the £40. stand. you do. People call us Shylocks. I could only shake my I head sadly. " I dread my father getting to hear that my marriage She looked rather confused." making out a ticket and then getting her " But if you will take a little advice from the £40." I said." " " Isn't your real name Yes. . but we are only human beings after all." I replied. last time I heard of her she was about to sue her husband for a divorce." The don't think she took my well-meant advice. but not other- wise. Mathieson " I did not want to give it. an old man. least likely to hear from me." I don't quite undershe said. " Helen ? Mrs." the poor girl said. " turned out so badly.

and the impossibility of keeping anything like an effective check on unscrupulous men and women who might steal avail themselves of the opportunity to some of the thousands of valuable articles within easy reach. when in the toy department one of the detective staff discovered a woman quietly abstracting cheap little playthings and placing them in a market-bag.V STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS A great store in the West End of London was crowded with thousands of happy people. and the store was graduemptied of its eager customers. what with thousands of people impatiently clamouring to be served. goodhumouredly pushing and jostling their way through the place in search of toys and trinkets. Whatever thieving does take place must be written down to profit and loss as all part of the great game. It had been a trying day for the staff. The ally being 220 . which on the morrow would fill the stocking of some tiny toddler and bring forth shrieks of delight. to the relief of the harassed assistants. Closing time was slowly drawing near. At the gifting season. the big stores of London more or less make up their minds that the bad must be taken with the good.

bag out. Tell me what it is all about. He turned to the man who had brought her in. one of those cases in which the judgment of Solomon might righteously be invoked." The woman answered him by a torrent of tears. by this time sound asleep. She has paid for none of them. the arm. were to be handed over to the police and prosecuted. a box of lead soldiers. worth perhaps ten shillings in all a trumpet. His orders were All shoplifters strict enough to admit of no doubt. and a top. Mute with misery. and said nothing. perhaps I may be able to help you. dreaming of the delightful surprise which awaited them in the morning. and They turned the dilapidated fright. white-faced woman hung her head. where these took They matters are first investigated a poor. and there found half a dozen cheap toys. trembling all over. sir. madame ? " asked the chief inquiry agent. a child's tea-set. — " Have you paid for these. with " If you give me something of a catch in his voice. compassionately glancing at the " woman. her off to a private office.A CASE FOR MERCY woman perate thief. the drab. " . 221 certainly did not appear to be a very des- if personal appearance was any criterion. The chief scratched It was his head in despair. shabby. Briefly he nodded to and then. I'm afraid." said the assistant. catching the his assistant to silent woman by go outside. gently seated her in a chair. painful — white-faced little speechless with woman. a small doll with flaxen hair and staring eyes." he said. the truth. But there came to his mind a picture of his own happy family.

" I —I didn't mean to steal. and the thought of what might have done in similar circumstances. in the other an unhealthy yellowish piece of cake. " Well ? " The " chief. and I'll pay you back every penny. of that he was certain. " You've stolen no less than six different things. and just enough money to buy a little dinner for Christmas. do I if do not come home ? What will they to-night they do if there is no dinner for them to-morrow ? I'm afraid I must send for the police." the unfortunate woman sobbed." she said brokenly." to the half-dozen pointing tawdry toys on the floor. " I just came in to look at the beautiful presents. "Yes. too. Again the vision of his own little children came before his eyes." The chief looked hard and long at the weeping woman." said the chief. and never thought I should be tempted to steal anything. and in response a tired voice from the other end of the line said. please." " Oh." " What will dren. I've got a poor soul down here. an out-of-work husband. assistant. sir." he said to his he.222 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS Between her sobs she mumbled something about six little children at home. " I want to 'phone the governor. Curiously he opened a couple of packages out of the woman's bag. I feel we can't ." said the " Been stealing a few toys. "but look at those. The chief nodded his head and called "Jack. She was not a hardened thief. In one was an evil-looking piece of meat. please have mercy on my little chil- Let me go this once." chief pressed a button." " Take her outside for a moment. looking at the chief with pathetically-drawn face.

" the white-haired lady " I've left all that wretched said to her husband. meat. "I'm sure I don't know. and there emerged a still weeping woman. stirred A by the thought ture waiting outside to hear her fate. a look of infinite compassion on her face. and long suffering at the nimble fingers of the shoplifters had driven some of the compassion out of his soul. going to take this poor woman down and give her a real Christmas. 223 to do with grunt greeted the chief's message. dreadfully poor and miserable. (I am not giving real names. His family had years ago grown up and gone out into the world. " I think I'd give her a chance. Phillips had nod to her husband. the poor thief crept in. "I'll talk to her." said the voice.) Phillips told her. Toys. perhaps expecting summary justice." urged the chief." of the trembling crea" She looks A woman's voice broke in from the other end of " " it asked. Twenty minutes elapsed before the door was opened again. not knowing what was before her. where there sat a white-haired lady and a tired-looking husband. went upstairs to a richly-carpeted office. the owner " and his detective left the room. and cake. I " am . What is it. Phillips ? the line. sir. Holding her by the arm was the other woman. I deal with the matter. Bring the woman up here. is male sions when the mere superfluous. with an imperious " You and Mr. Timidly.very well her ? " A CHRISTMAS CAROL What am I charge her. together with the woman." said the lady. whose tears had lost their sting." while better go outside that there are occawho realise as men Humbly." replied the owner.

" • • • • • my • wife's a terrible problem. There is something peculiarly repugnant to the feeling of all decent men in the idea of women going to gaol. Occasionally. I am constrained to admit. this dealing with women who. palatial stores of the twentieth century outvie each other in piling It is . over-blessed with money perhaps. gently-nurtured women. paper basket. steal things from the big shops. some sudden demon has sprung into their brain the thought of theft. of the shoplifters caught in the West End stores. She will deal with it all right. not ing. I am quite prepared to admit that it is all so terribly simple." said the owner. Any man who possesses the slightest grain of human sympathy will naturally hesitate when it comes to making a criminal of some misguided woman who has been tempted to thieve. little dreaming of the dreadful retribution in store. People would be amazed if I were to give anything like a comprehensive list of the women who at one time or another have been caught stealWell-educated. Phillips. that the average woman has neither the courage nor the mentality regularly to place herself within the pale of the law. The hardened offenders do not constitute twentyfive per cent. mostly on the spur of the moment. Our modern of in which the system shopkeeping. there happens some female wrongdoer who appears to commit such crimes out of sheer wickedness. but still comfortably placed. beyond all doubt. but a long experience has taught me." " You can throw " it into the wasteI H'm. think the best thing we can do is to leave the case in hands.224 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS rubbish inside.

That stuff and nonsense. And I do not think you are going to change the system. I ask. and found herself idly picking up a pair while waiting for the crowd to move spirit Into her head suddenly jumps that evil which whispers. Let me get out of the place. beyond their means. in full possession of all her faculties and actually in want of nothing. There remains. of mature years. happily married to a major in the army. be done when you catch an expensively-dressed woman." Thousands of women who would never dream of stealing money give way in some extraordinary fashion before the beauties of a silk dress which they on. But " there comes the thought.MEGRIMS their wares tive customers 225 on counters and tables so that prospecmay see and handle them without the aid of an assistant." people will say. even to have the courage to seek out an assistant and pay for the stockings. " Slip them into your muff. readily lends itself to the sudden temptation of theft. Someone may have seen me steal them. the problem of what you are going to do with the woman who indulges in the crime of shoplifting. What has happened is that the woman was pushing by a counter filled with fascinating silk stockings which have an astonishing attraction for many of the fair sex. It is but the work of a moment idly to pick up the dress from the chair where it has been laid after some other woman has tried it on. therefore." The moment she has done it she would give anything she possesses to undo the mischief. What. Nobody will be any the wiser. is to stealing silk " stockings in a West End is store all ? Kleptomania. even quicker to glance realise only too well is .

— . which eventually lands them in gaol. in keeping with the modern trend of domestic " work. again.22C guiltily STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS round to see that no one is looking. perhaps of a more humble and industrious turn of mind. They are married women. and very common one. put it on under and walk out as bold as brass. they've had enough out of me in the past I'll get some of my own back." a question of ethics which I am not prepared to argue. Others. In the privacy of her home she gloats over the cheaplyacquired treasure. She reconciles her wrongdoing with an argument which in effect is." life. but nevertheless the motive which inspires so many women to persist in the crime . There is another type of shoplifter. and with the gown concealed under her cloak. enough On that occasion. short of the theft been actually seen by one of the in all conscience. there is no question of the enormous losses which many of the big stores suffer at the hands of these brazen creatures who push and elbow people about. carry a large reticule." Spurious reasoning. is slight stroll off The risk of being stopped. the wives of ex-convicts. They will steal a dress. their own. handkerchiefs. and perhaps a few more times. in which they stuff dozens of small things stockings. and so wonderfully feminine in its illogicality. and while doing so find plenty of opportunity of abstracting valuable articles of clothing. which makes a business of a it. having staff. believe in sending their spouses out to " To the professional crook all crime is work. the thief escapes scot-free. But whatever the term. go downstairs to one of the ladies' retiring-rooms. " Oh. and comes to the conclusion that shoplifting is not the dreadful thing she has imagined. who.

distinct case for compassionate treatment. find at the lady's house some hundreds of presumably stolen articles. and on ad infinitum. leather bags. escort them red-handed. But investigation so A throws " The light on the matter. drawing unemployment pay. The of stuff they steal in the course of a year runs into many thousands of pounds. in the course of their inquiries. They despise nothing. an old " lag " who prefers to loaf at home.MODERN DETECTIVES pieces of lace. the average man or woman will say." to use quite another " invalid husband is his own description. The establishment store gives of a detective staff inside a firm. sending " the missus up West to do a bit of thievin'. burst into tears. no pleasure to the directors of the to say nothing of the expense involved. In the course of time detective force amount the detective staffs of the well-known stores get to know these women by sight. Should a prosecution be possible. 227 which To of the deal with this latter class of shoplifter is one principal reasons why a specially-trained now exists in all the big stores. firmly. half a dozen starving children. anything. and none too them to the front door with the intimathat their room is preferable to their company. a wise old magistrate thinks that the community will be better if the lady spends the next four months in gaol. short of actually catching tion politely. who. And as the police. The thousands of highly-respectable people who daily enter . on being caught. and told a pathetic story of an invalid husband at home. and. the case will prob" ably be reported in the papers as that of a respect" able married woman. comes their way. in fact.

and the shops crammed to suffocation with mothers dragging delighted children around. looking them over and casting them aside as the fancy takes them. not actually on a question of fact. and that. for they have to decide. The tactful detective is he who will hurriedly push his way to the doubting woman. and courteously inquire whether he can assist her. If he is an experienced man at his work he realises only too well what is passing in that woman's mind. after vainly trying to get attended to. and inside of five seconds she will commit an act which may land her in prison. to a mere man. pay for their chosen blouse. and go off with it in triumph. Problems suddenly arise which sometimes sorely puzzle the chiefs of the detective staffs. One of the shop detectives at the back suddenly notices a woman. is always responsible for a tremendous increase in the amount of shoplifting which goes on. Not . The fortunate ones struggle their way to an assistant. She is wondering whether to walk off with the blouse without paying. but on a woman's probable intentions. Women are picking them up by the dozen.228 its STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS doors naturally resent any suspicion of surveillance their movements. is almost impossible. of • • • • • • Christmas. look around in guilty fashion. with its enormous rush of people buy- ing presents. although I might say the shadowing of a suspected thief is done so cleverly as to be practically unnoticeable. . There may be an extraordinary rush around some counter where fascinating blouses are being sold. in a state of momentary indecision. It appears simple enough nobody is taking the slightest notice of her.

the detective did nothing then and there. and tracked the van out to a than anything efforts of suburb in the north of London. Judge of his astonishment when he found that the carman unloaded all his parcels at one house. and realising that crooked work was afoot." blouse." most astonishing frauds ever perpe- trated on a big drapery store came to light recently through pure chance. questioned closely. please. and the woman goes off. when he saw on one of the firm's vans a well-known criminal. " Thank God that man didn't see of the One me. Instead he went back to the firm concerned. He chartered a taxi-cab. " Oh.I. officer from Scotland Yard happened to be passing along the back of a well-known shop. yes. the detective followed the van when it departed with a load. saying to herself. A C. in conjunction with a packer employed addressing parcels to people in the suburbs. More out of curiosity else.D. and not desiring to frustrate the the fellow to lead an honest life by informing his employers of his real character. His confederate had got hold of anything which appeared to be valuable.A CLEVER FRAUD 229 the slightest trace of suspicion does he allow to creep It is pathetic to hear the relief into his voice. has it wrapped up and paid for. I have been trying to get served The man takes the for a quarter of an hour. which greets him. he had carried out to the house some hundreds of packages with false labels on them. and informed the principal of what had taken place. the woman says. Flushing. and after many denials finally confessed that. and not a particularly prosperous-looking one at that. The carman was brought in. Being a clever man at his job. .

where prospective customers may handle them without fear of being pressed to buy. It exists. and slip it into her muff.D. each waiting to pilfer something her heart is set on. Thousands of people had been complaining of the non-receipt of things bought and paid for. amenable to all the pains and penalties of a common felon. as I know from the multifarious cases which have come to country my knowledge. and Melbourne all know the female shoplifter. . in every civilised in the world. Rio de Janeiro. Paris. and yet on an afternoon when she has left home without the slightest thought of turning thief. there will you find a number of nimble-fingered creatures around. She carries it out of the place unpaid for technically she has become a thief. . unperceived by the staff. and but for the fortunate intervention of the C. There is the wealthy woman who steals from some uncontrollable impulse. New York.230 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS labelled it with an address which ensured the excrook having the delivery of it.I. man they might still have been doing so to and this day. What makes her do it she herself would be hard-pressed to explain. Berlin. All her life she has been brought up to regard other people's property as sacred. Wherever crowded stores display quantities of luxurious goods in apparently careless profusion. How much stuff this precious pair got away with will probably never be known. II Shoplifting is not an offence peculiar to Great Britain. some evil spirit has made her lay hands on a pretty little blouse lying loosely on a near-by counter.

standing with the fur department. Judge of the astonishment of the chief of the inquiry staff. The haughty one had moved off by this time. disdainful in manner. fellow ? pudent " 16 . sure enough. who hurried off in pursuit. but for all that she was a in the picker-up of unconsidered trifles. she hastily ran through the furs under her charge. that a skunk scarf worth £30 had disappeared. and headed the lady up into a quiet corner. but the girl could see her tall figure as she sailed through the throng of shoppers. So. and with all the airs and graces of a duchess. to make quite certain. They tell me that you have taken away a skunk scarf by mistake." The lady stared at him as though he were some amiable lunatic who had strayed into the stores " What do you mean. and found. had been seen by a girl assistant carelessly stuffing a valuable fur scarf into a capacious muff she carried. madame. " she asked in annoyed tones. She bought a good many odds and ends.A HAUGHTY THIEF Well do I 231 of a tall. when it was reported to him by one of his assistants that the grand dame." said the assistant with a " but I believe there is a little misunderpolite bow. So cleverly had it been done that for just a moment the girl could hardly believe her own eyes. remember the astonishing case haughty-looking creature who used to sail around one of the big stores in London. you imwithout a keeper. place good joke. therefore. most of them comparatively valueless. as everyone called her. Hastily she told one of the chief assistants. Everybody less treated her as a or more and knew her. Excuse me.

resolving at all costs to bring her before his chief. my preparing to move off. He caught up with the lady." " Not in case. liable to practically be a case of naturally consider their him. and " Excuse me. there was nothing for it but to take the plunge. " of shoplifter. Correspondingly." the embarrassed assistant He was rather new to such a dignified type replied. and his chief at was no ground If he forcibly detained the lady. All this had occurred in a few seconds. Already she was vanishing from sight. " Can I not walk about this place without being " " If I molested by you ? she demanded angrily. as would inevitably be the equally liable to dismissal. for the firm. possibly. . and the haughty dame was ploughing her way through her weaker sisters for all the world like a battleship moving through a fleet of tiny destroyers. and there for the belief that she was a shop- then he stood a very good chance of losing his job. he would be Well." the lady said with icy emphasis. madame.Are you suggesting that I have taken away your " wretched scarf without paying for it ? " Well er. again said. and the young assistant went after her. case. would own interests and discharge damages in known. lifter. Perhaps madame may have forto for the scarf. Such mistakes do occur gotten pay 232 " STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS — in this place. trouble. The young detective felt in sore would have given much to have had hand." The lady turned on him in a state of sudden fury. touching her on the arm. if he allowed the supposed thief to depart and the loss of the scarf became what would illegal detention.

but in the meantime I must ask you to accompany me to the office. Passing through a crowd of other women. very well perhaps I had better go what happens in with You understand you. to follow close behind. the thief attempted people." " You must please yourself about that. Arrived at his chief's door to slip the stolen fur out of her muff. as it always does with such get rid of the stole." For just a second the woman looked as though she would literally have torn her accuser to pieces." " " I must take the Quite. But courage failed her." The pair moved off." " the courteous youngster said. Then a contemptuous smile flitted across her face. and biting her lips hard. caught the woman by the arm. I shall report you to your employers. tried to En route to the chief detective's office she But the watchshopwalker behind saw it slowly coming out. I have reason to believe that you are carrying goods you have not paid for. Caught in the act. along a case like this ? I shall sue your firm for damages. If I am mistaken.THE BLUFF THAT FAILED 233 have any more of your impertinence. you will receive an apology. apparently unconcerned as ever. and with an indifference magnificently done she " said. ful . and rushing up. who were ignorant of the little tragedy then being staged." the assistant replied. the thief marched on. Oh. If the grand dame had carried her bluff through to the bitter end she might have got away with it. madame. risk of that. and as they did so the assistant signalled to one of the shopwalkers . and told her it was no good.

" said the chief." the lady said. shrugging her shapely shoulders. " Your men appear to have done that already." said the lady offhandedly. to make quite certain. " " I hear there has been Ah." said the chief. and an awkward silence ensued until the girl arrived. the chief sent his assistant off for the girl who had first reported the case.284 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS the assistant went in and narrated what had happened. sensing the . shoplifter usually became dreadfully tearful and This one was easily the calmest person hysterical. " Would you care to give me any explanation of how you came into possession of this ? " asked the chief. " You understand. some " little trouble. that unless you can satisfactorily explain matters I shall have no option but to send for the ! police please yourself. one could laugh at the scene which then took place. " No." Oh. in the room. the fur scarf hanging from her voluminous muff." replied the lady disdainfully. Embarrassing was but a mild word to describe " and give you in charge. The thief was brought in. sir. I suppose so. The lady was accommodated with a chair. I don't think so. madame. " I understand. for." You must the matter. of course." " H'm " the chief said. this lady that you said had taken a skunk scarf which had not Is that so ? " been paid " " girl Yes. picking up the scarf." replied the timidly. The suspect was so dignified and calm in her demeanour that there was a distinct possiThe average bility of a mistake having been made. So. If it were not so tragic.

passive woman." stage. " H'm " said the chief once more. You have your duty to do. sir not to my knowledge. The chief nodded to the girl and his assistant to leave the room. " Send these creatures out of the room. But : if name and a policeman." was the reply. lying on the chief's desk. " Do you care to explain your possession of it ? " — the chief inquired of the " No. There were embroidered linen handkerchiefs. 235 and looking curiously at the imasked the chief." said the lady. Is this ours ? " holding up the article in question. I shall not give my right address. and a gold-mounted purse. and you call .EVERYDAY HAPPENINGS tragedy in the " air. " Yes." If the woman had been a hardened thief. " And have " these been paid for. bottles of expensive perfume." she ordered at last. sir. the woman "I don't suppose it is much use explaining said anything to you. " " Is there anything else in the muff ? asked the chief of his assistant. " Has it been paid for ? " " No. madame ? Madame treated the question in haughty silence. picking and brought out quite a comprehensive collection of expensive knick-knacks. man put his hand inside the younger up. and. and the chief repeated his query. and when they had gone." the girl said. as though she were mistress of the ! situation. do not think that any explanation of mine would assist matters at this You must do whatever you think fit. woman " I in the chair. it The muff was a small silver inkstand.

which she considered worthy of her position in life.236 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS was a regular obviously one to whom shoplifting one easy been have would profession. You cannot deal with shoplifters as you would with ordinary confirmed criminals. Apart from the might successfully scandal involved. behalf kleptomania good birth and position. she had made up her mind to steal. so it came big house in Kensington. earned something like £1. the problem of woman a But the culprit was plainly of solution. in all conscience. a worthy individual in the thing. there was the natural reluctance to impose on the culprit's family a social stigma which would be practically everlasting. enough it was. and on that the wife was attempting to keep up a She had stolen. . a bazaar in which many of her titled friends were She could not afford to buy things interested. and undertaken prosecutions in the police-court are only when it is imperatively necessary. Vindictiveness is no part of a big business firm's policy. Civil Service.000 a year. there was the distinct possibility of some terrible tragedy occurring if a prosecution were resolved upon. and between them they the woman the story which lay behind her becoming a thief. and as a result found herself faced with the probability of going to prison and being disgraced for evermore. At the bottom of the whole affair lay social vanity and a desire to shine in circles where money was everyPitiful Her husband. Apart from the hesitation one ordinarily feels in making a criminal of a fellow-being. make some donation to could she that order in out. So the chief sent for the managobtained from ing director. Instead. on whose be pleaded.

are readily taken into account by police magistrates and judges. who lives in a charming home. distressed beyond measure when it was revealed to him that his wife was a thief. awfully sorry. it would never do any of the big department stores now so general in the big cities to be continually prosecuting women for shoplifting. and yet indulges in You cannot dismiss the problem offshoplifting ? send her to hand by saying. she is a thief " could listen to her than more gaol you any " I but suffer from excuse of I'm Oh. " Oh.HUSHING-UP I will leave it 237 to the imagination of my readers what was done with the unfortunate woman in the case of the stolen fur scarf. People would say are They always having their customers arrested for " . for Oh. ! kleptomania. sobs. solemnly assured the firm there would be no further risk of their suffering to decide at the hands of his wife. her frame shaking with thing. they are certainly held in mitigation of the offence. welleducated woman. Before the painful interview terminated. necessity. and the West End of London saw her no more. in fact. The place would get a bad name. the woman had become a broken She was led out. steals One can from sheer easily understand the thief who Such reasons. is quite comfortably off financially. Her husband. I shan't go to So-and-so's." In the first place. . pen more able than mine would be required to accurately the moral standpoint of the average woman in regard to what is called kleptodissect A mania. and although they may not necessarily absolve the culprit from punishment altogether. But what is one to do with a well-dressed.

the matter is shoplifters as kleptomaniacs. generally speaking. all the town would suddenly become afflicted with the disease. professional thieves in the not to be decided generally by treating all If you did so. They learn there from the regular habitues how it was they were When the time comes for release they are caught.238 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS stealing. for whom not a shred of pity could be felt. the average man hesitates before to gaol. But shoplifting — is different. One might say is successful. On that. On the other hand. Nearly all the great criminals of history have been madmen. eager to put their newly-acquired knowledge into use that is. directors of big stores correspondingly hate having to decide what shall be done with a woman of good If the woman position who has been caught stealing. unless they are of a strong type of mind. then there would be no hesitation in giving the offender her deserts. there exists the undoubted fact that thousands of criminals are manufactured from inside the gaols. were some female monster. the cure the other hand. It is easy to understand any woman some succumbing to the temptation of purloining . Civilisation not yet having reached the stage so often advocated in America of surgically operating on criminals with the idea of curing them of their criminal propensities. especially if they be of gentle birth. and are able to put temptation behind them. we have to content ourselves — — with trying to remedy the disease by sending them to prison. I think it is recognised by all intelligent human beings that crime is more or less of a disease. Magistrates detest having to deal with female The criminals." sending a woman Besides.

It was a peculiar incident in its way. the average shoplifter plunges into crime on the spur of the moment. and when she got her husband's fifty guineas she devoted the money " to paying her so-called debts of honour. Or perhaps they were better bridge players I am not prepared to — say. And what man is proof against a woman's tears ? From the days of Cleopatra. Whatever the reason. empty-headed little woman. and I have no out thought of what reason to suppose that we are any different to-day. 239 an offence which was committed withit might ultimately mean. I recollect the case of a pretty.DECEIT AND DESPAIR trifling article. until there arrived a period when she either had to confess that she had devoted the money to surreptitious debts . with an indulgent husband holding a high position in the City." Naturhusband to the ally. of whom there of the professionals. But apparently the woman had been playing cards with a set of companions a good deal better off than herself. From what could be gathered. worth about fifty guineas. With the exception women. the husband had given his wife the fifty guineas to buy herself a coat as a birthday present. if only for the ease with which the crime was committed. mostly are plenty in every big city. the stupid little creature found herself hopelessly in debt. inquire when he was to began The wife put him off see the brand-new fur coat. man has ever felt an uncomfortable feeling around the heart at the sight of a pretty woman weeping bitterly. from one of our big emporiums. with various excuses for some time. who had stolen a fur coat.

assistant to show her some fur coats about fifty guineas. certainly. .240 or else STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS obtain a fur coat from somewhere. " What if he calls " in the police. inventing a story of the borrowed coat having been This plan was rejected because of the cerstolen. although she had not the faintest woman hope of paying for it. She asked an place was crowded with women. and the of buying one. But the borrowed garment would have to be returned. womanlike. or some suitable excuse put forward for its absence. furthermore. and. The husfriend. one like it would have to be obtained. But then came the awful thought. and bothered no more about it for the time being. The idea came to tell her husband a story of the non-existent coat having been stolen from her. and allowed her to try on a musquash coat which was just about the price required. tainty of the owner making trouble and demanding compensation. band saw the coat. although she had not the slightest intention It was in the early winter. also owing to the fact that her husband would learn of the double deception that had been practised on him. In a It became a masterpiece of petty plotting. she went into one of the largest stores and asked to see some fur coats. the woman thought of desperate effort to save herself. and they ask where I bought it ? It was in this dilemma that. The succeeded in delaying the inevitable foolish for some time by borrowing the coat of a wealthy But this could not last for ever. They had a few in the place. To put the temptation behind her. she sent back the borrowed coat. and grew pale and worried trying to find some plausible excuse for deceiving her husband.

All would have gone well with this poor little novice in crime but for one thing. The assistant had gone off to get other coats to show her.TOO CLEVER 241 And then it was that there suddenly flashed into her head the idea of walking off with the coat without paying. contrite wife who sobbed out in the husband his wife in her When . tion. took any notice of her. put the coat away in a wardrobe. and it was practically inevitable that the missing fur coat would be connected with the one certain to be found in the department. walked off. indeed. She had left behind her in the fur department the coat she had Too late did she been wearing when she left home ! remember it. made her way homeward. and after a moment's hesitaNo one followed her. she was free to admire herself in one of the long mirrors scattered around the department. for in the pocket of her coat were letters addressed to her house. or. see him. But she knew that in any case she would be found out. too unwell to come down to dinner. Thoughts of rushing back and saying she had been over the store for something else rushed to her brain. found that no one was paying anyone the slightest attention. it was simplicity itself. With a beating heart she hurried out of the place. came home that night he found room. only to be rejected as making discovery certain. She would not tell him what had happened. It was a weeping. Guiltily she turned round to see if was watching. Like all great ideas. and after removing the tag carefully. and it was not until he was dining alone that the maid came to tell him that two gentlemen wanted to Then he understood what had happened. and for the time being.

it was highly doubtful if she was really guilty of the crime. found guilty. who was the mother of five little children and the wife infinitely some evil-living wretch. he or she suffered the infinitely greater punishment of being transported to the Colonies. was actually hanged in Newgate Prison. One particularly disgraceful case I read of was that of an unfortunate r creature who had been charged with stealing a pair was then the fashionAs a matter of fact. hangman. The fact of her guilt was never clearly established. and there appears to be little of . It is only a matter of seventy years ago that women w ere hanged for what is known as shoplifting. but at all events she was tried for the crime. of gloves from a shop in what able district. I am happy to say that what might have been a Coats were terrible tragedy was luckily averted. The present generation have little or no conception of the terrible brutality of the British law even so late as 1850. in In one form or another shop-stealing has been going on for hundreds of years. a and and little sadder. of High Holborn. there to undergo a life the horror of which was worse than death. In the case I have mentioned. and sentenced to death. the woman. certainly woman made a solemn promise late that night that in future she and cards would be total strangers. exchanged.242 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS the library the story of her first venture into crime. wiser. Practically all thieving was punishable with death and even where the culprit was lucky enough to escape death at the hands of the common .

of course. the professional thief. In the case of first offenders. apart from the growing modern tendency not to send women to gaol. She they are nearly all women is a cunning individual who grows highly experienced as she goes on. with the result that women have to be employed to keep watch on them. Contrast this treatment with that meted out to nowadays. Once inside. They into the place in the rush hours.FEMALE CUNNING 248 doubt that she was the victim of a barbarity almost without parallel in the history of a civilised nation. those parts of a store given over to the fair sex. and finds dozens of ways to circumvent the people charged with detecting The male detective staff cannot frequent shoplifting. There may be a couple of thousand highly respectable women customers in the shop. and. The bane of the shop-detective's life is. the most she can suffer is a month or two in gaol. Rarely is this leniency abused. irrespective of the record of the culprit. I firmly believe more good is done by giving amateur criminals a chance to make good than was ever done in the days when men and women were sentenced by brutal judges. the magistrate almost invariably binds them over to be of good behaviour for a couple of years. it is practically impossible to prevent them stealing. and unless they are recognised entering the doors. If the offender is prosecuted. shoplifters — — professionals will steal anything. and pilfer to their hearts' content. whose thoughts are naturally far away from anything connected with crime. How are they to know that the woman . These come they cleverly cloak their movements by getting mixed up in the crowd.

a view to purchase. Feminine nature forbids law and order when £7 7s. is to prevent the experienced shoplifter from walking off with an expensive dress. preference nobody knows who is being served. What. and is examining them with. ostensibly. and walkYou ing out. bargain-hunting women. on the opening day of a big sale. charge through the doors like a squadron I . smartest tricks of the trade it is that of stealing a dress and carrying nothing it into one of the changing-rooms which every upto-date store has in the mantle department.244 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS who has picked up a pair of silk stockings at the side of them. costumes are going for £2 10s. then. as cool as the proverbial cucumber ? cannot make to women take their turn at being attended when the bargain sales are in full swing. and. Nobody takes the slightest notice of women who pick up a costume or dress and carry it off for closer examination. everybody ignores their neighbour. all In the bustle and confusion struggling to be served. The assistants are overwhelmed with eager customers. and who is not. is a smart thief who has oftentimes been convicted of shoplifting ? There may be fifty or sixty women round that particular counter. It is the easiest thing in the world for a smart thief to slip the stockings into a bag or a pocket and then be carried away in the crush. believe me. The department will probably be crowded with a mass of perspiring. I have seen a horde of women. the woman in search of a bargain carries a relentless look in her eye sufficient to quail any man. and for of the else One — — is at sale times. The game is played when the shop is busiest.

Probably it is an ex-detective from Scotland Yard who is employed in the place who sees them. anything . else. dainty garments worth anything up to £5 55. who are afraid to venture out themselves. Their favourite time for offensive operations was about four o'clock in the afternoon. wolves —the scent. It is there is much wordless humour in the expressive jerk of the thumb which he makes in the direction The " ladies " have no need to be told of the door. a nod is even better than a wink in such cases. but have no compunction in sending the " " missus out to do what they are pleased to term a day's work. Once inside. Carrying capacious hemp bags and wearing long coats. when grows more fierce. Out they go. At any rate.THE PROFESSIONALS 245 of cavalry as soon as the time came for admittance. they rush to the places they are seeking like hounds on a hot are more come the walk round wary and discriminating. expensive. For quite a time they specialised in crepe-de-Chine blouses. apiece. I think I mentioned on a previous page that perhaps the cleverest women in the game are wives of ex-convicts. and merely rush the seeking what they may devour later. serving twelve months' hard labour creatures. . —who shoplifters And in with the hunters one of the comedies of the business to see what happens when a couple of notorious shoplifters find themselves recognised at the doors. and probably try somewhere where they may have better luck. they had plenty of accommodation for any- —they are — just now thing they could steal. with all the effrontery in the world. Two buxom of these women I recollect well big.

was a scuffle at the door. and then move off to another seemingly profitable spot. stockings. in which a burly commissionaire took part. Retribution came one afternoon through pure One of the assistants was looking through chance. Slowly but surely it went over the side. I must confess that they were an exceedingly discriminating pair. when. which I expect was the reason they went undiscovered for so long. and then. followed the woman through the shop until she met one of the detective staff. and for quite twelve months they must have got away with hundreds of of They would push and women around pounds' worth of stuff. stuff them into their hemp bags and cover them up with another parcel. and there office. pick up a couple of the garments. and defiantly refused to accompany the detective to the She made to run out of the shop. She was a smart girl. valuable lingerie. Even a little pocketpicking did not come amiss. burst into a torrent of abuse.246 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS bustle their way into a crowd the blouse counter. who was apparently pushing her way out of the throng. leaving her counter. Silk underwear. it all came alike to the two thieves. she let the woman go off in ignorance that she had been discovered. before she came to the conclusion that discretion would be preferable to valour. under the cover of a big cloak worn by a stout woman. she saw it slowly disappearing over the edge of the counter. lace. Instead. Quite a dramatic little scene followed. The thief. And . They took nothing that could not be stuffed into a small compass. to her amazement. her stock for a particular blouse. when accosted. and did nothing to arouse the immediate suspicion of the thief.

for she spun a long story of how she had been led into crime by another woman." a very old lag. " father. soap. and innumerable odds and ends. half a dozen reels of silk ribbon. She. Blatantly did she defy everyone. It was a long time before the woman could be induced to make any confession of her misdeeds.WHOLESALE ROBBERY 247 ! what a find there was when they came to search her Three blouses. tained. They had been doing quite a profitable business. a and smoking pipe feeling rather perturbed as to what had become of his wife. too. Stowed away in the ' bedroom were found hundreds different shops. selling the stolen 17 . fession of the woman already in custody. of the shoplifting campaign. worked wonders. and it was not until she had been removed to the police-station and remanded for further inquiries the following day that her residence could be ascerThe calm seclusion of a prison-cell. Perhaps she was afraid of her confederate giving the whole game away. But there was quite another story to tell when the police came to search her house. There was no information to be obtained from her as to where she lived or anything else. and of the dire punishment which would surely overtake all those who had aspersed her character. however. First of all. she made unearthed. a couple of expensive leather bags. of articles stolen from In due course the companion in crime was also perturbation." was discovered at home. jewelled hair-combs. and generally gave the impression that she had been greatly misused. talking of invoking the law in her aid. likewise in a state of much was in possession of innumerable trophies Faced with the con- no bones about telling everything.

with an expression of self-pity which was Only the philosophical thief is really humorous. which happened some months ago.248 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS not being a property to their acquaintances. They fail to realise that so far they have not been that they are not known as shoplifters. That . plunder readily bought Both the women pleaded guilty when they came before the magistrate. suspected and are therefore subject to no supervision. the of that is It can feel rather sorry. Perhaps for a few days they will take nothing. had look gift type disposed to ridiculous at the prices. in the horse a mouth. under false preShoplifting and obtaining goods of crime which branches two tences are about the only There is a extent. Experimental efforts in the shape of picking up something and then glancing guiltily around to ascertain if anyone is looking. to in the fair sex indulge any for whom one type of shoplifter. girl who has in the home run away from a good provinces in the a fortune in make can idea that any pretty girl the influence under London. who. They reconnoitre a store which has been indicated to them as one easy to The downfall for such girls steal from. and went to gaol for twelve months. who. able to take punishment as part of the game. Often such a one comes not prosare of some swell crook. semi-professional. teaches the silly girl to thieve. usually begins in a desire for smart clothes. when things perous. comes later. give them courage. of a young house in Leicester and girl who had left her parents' . pathetic enough in its way. There was a certain case.

and inquired where she obtained the valuable jewellery she was wearing.I. and told them everything. apprehended the real criminal and hauled him off to gaol. as might be expected. comes the tragedy of the whole affair. Frightened out of her wits. The an expensive flat in the West End.A BROKEN REED come and to 249 London little to a situation as servant. and. sold all the fashionable clothing which had been girl. got hold of her. the girl burst into tears. She was a flighty creature. In fact. and her parents heard no more of her. That night the C. For over a year the girl led a life of hectic enjoyment with her crook companion. who had come to recognise the girl as the companion of a certain badly. All the jewelShe lery had naturally been taken away from her. where in due course he returned to serve a long term of penal servitude. Detectives from Scotland Yard. the crook used to boast to his companions that his " " he could find for his girl was the safest plant She used to wear it and give it to him as plunder. also had no difficulty in giving her plenty of valuable jewellery. With the proceeds class jewel thief.D. At all events. It was not long before her looks attracted the attention of an international good adventurer. at first made an effort to go straight. he kept her amply supplied with money. she left her place and found a position as a waitress in a West End restaurant much frequented swell crook type. who was known to the police as a first- by the The girl went off with him. of his jewel-robberies occasion required. and soon tired of the drudgery loneliness of a London servant's life. Now installed in . naturally.wanted jewel thief. The crash came one day.

telephoned for a colleague. in Tottenham Court Road. what's the matter. About half-past five the girl returned. and for some weeks appears to have enjoyed quite a profitable time at it.250 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS for her.D. small voice." was the reply. and probably when least expected. " I bought them. she asked. with much previous acquaintance with the C. the girl leaving the She was clad in a gown lodgings she occupied.. and she nearly fainted when she saw who her uninvited — visitors were. .I. bought and obtained a situation in a restaurant The wages were small. still. the detective ! Lo and behold ! went outside. " Where did you get all this. a stout old woman a few inquiries. when he saw. Discovery came in exceedingly peculiar fashion. the detective went upstairs and made The landlady. the room was crammed with dresses There must have been quite £500 worth. and feeling rather curious. to find awaiting her two well and unfavourably—remembered acquaintances from Scotland Yard. Mr. and went back to wait developments. which could not have cost less than £20. Nellie ? " inquired the elder of the two men. and it requires no effort of imagination to believe that before long she grew heartily tired of the long hours and poor pay. and with the certainty that something was wrong. ? " Oh. She took to shoplifting. " in a . made no fuss about admitting him to the girl's room. Mr. They were sitting quietly chatting when the girl walked in. One of the detectives who had been concerned in sending her lover to gaol happened to be in Soho one day. to his astonishment.

holding up a silk blouse. " Five guineas. carrying a dress off and slipping it over her own. . brokenly told them how she had adopted the profession of shoplifter. and the ! — day following a by no means unsympathetic magistrate told her that he thought it would be best to give her a lesson by sending her to gaol for four was still weeping when she left the have no doubt she has now gone back to the comparative dullness of domestic service. months. and. and dresses honestly. Nellie I dock. a couple of market-bags in her hands. they are all quite new. between Poor Nellie her sobs. a sadder and certainly wiser girl. come. Nellie " " ! said the detective im- me you got all these patiently. They took her off to the police-station. multitude of sins." You can't tell She burst into tears. with a pleasant flow of conversation immensely amusing to jaded assistants. my dear ? " she would inquire. to walk out totally unsuspected. terms in prison. she was still shoplifting. and went around openly expressing her contempt for the shop- know detective staffs. elderly dame who had lived long enough At the age of 65. She would come waddling in of an afternoon." the girl would reply. " What's the price of this. It had all been so merely walking into one of the big fatally easy stores in busy times. You've got over thirty here. and One was a to of the cleverest old thieves I ever heard of stout. and wearing a voluminous cape which literally covered a She was an amiable old lady.THIEVES YOUNG AND OLD " 251 Come. despite many better.

and while the bill. as she candidly confessed. assistant has gone off to make out the walks off. It is simple enough. try on an expensive pair of shoes. requested the tenancy of her usual cell. not for . Some time during the day that blouse would disappear. or thieving. The hat thief is another who walks out with the ! plunder already in use. At the police-station she greeted the gaoler as an old friend. and it was all Lombard Street to the proverbial orange that the old dame had secured it while bantering with the assistant. and although the frantic assistant rushes off to tell one of the detective staff. I must . dress beneath her cloak. so varied was Nothing came amiss to the lady her taste that it was evident that she stole. the young folks' clothing of today was much too gay for her. it is but rarely the culprit is found. Shoplifting.252 " ! STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS Ha some folks have got plenty of money. for. she quickly gave up the ghost when from her market-bags a couple of dozen more or less valuable articles were dragged forth. and took her nine months next day without so much as a murmur or a whine. She will walk into the ladies' footwear department. class of woman who will not dream of stealing in the ordinary way." the ancient one would wheeze. attracts many different types. She may have asked the price to fix its value when selling it. leaving behind a pair of dilapicoolly dated old boots fit for nothing but the dust-heap She disappears in the crowd. They caught her one day stowing an evening personal adornment. but for mere personal profit. and although she attempted to brazen the matter out with her accustomed hardihood. whatever one likes to call There is a certain it.

who at one time or another have been employed in the household of a wealthy woman. Losses by shoplifters are to all intents and purposes unpreventable in the modern system of departmental stores. It is not exactly shoplifting. and even world. and in a way necessitates a good The culprits are almost invariably deal more nerve. and so long as human nature remains what it is there appears but slight possibility of altogether preventing them. Long before would-be the buyer is suited. Her name is well enough known. and are thus in a position to know her habits. Such losses come under the heading of fair business risk.FALSE PRETENCES confess. the assistant naturally gets fresh hats. for 258 most women like to try on fully twenty before hats they find one to their liking. and it is comparatively easy for a thief to walk off wearing some Paris confection worth In a shop crowded with cusfive or six guineas. They will walk into a big store where they know their erstwhile mistress has an account. Nine times out of ten the assistant does not know big stores suffer A Lady by sight. and with all the assurance in the world order half a dozen expensive articles and carry them away. and to judge by the highly dignified X . certainly. IV very clever form of robbery which most of the from is that carried out by women who obtain goods by false pretences. should there be no record of its sale. women of good education. tomers disappearance is the easiest thing in the The hat is not immediately missed. nobody can remember who is likely to have stolen it.

that the firm receive an annoyed letter informing them that Lady knows nothing of the items charged her on such and such a date. . is forIt is perhaps a month later. but certainly. A woman who has for years dealt at a certain place and run a valuable account can hardly be refused immediate delivery of anything she chooses to buy while on a shopping The big stores do not like the custom. Then an against The signature on the bill is takes place. Any number of well-to-do titled women go around the attitude of the is London shopping and carrying their purchases away with them. It would be idle to state that the svstem of allowing well-known women to take away things bought on credit is to blame for the large amount of fraud which occurs by this method. Lady X X employee who might have been and the word goes forth to all the big stores in the West End to beware of a woman who is impersonating Lady X and taking away goods in her name. deep They try to verify the bona fides of the identity of any past guilty of the crime. inquiry found to be a forgery and the police take the matter has to search her mind to fix the up. they are between the devil and the sea.254 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS woman who orders the goods. expedition. when Lady warded her monthlv account from the store. and there is accordingly she hands over the an end of the transaction for the — X time being. The bill is sent up to the office to have verified the fact that Lady X does have an account with the firm. there not the slightest reason for thinking that an impudent fraud is about to be perpetrated. and when the assistof West End ant is notified goods.

THE USES OF A TITLE 255 purchaser as far as possible without going to the length of offending her and so losing her custom. This little game. Everything was done according to plan. but it would have to do for the time being. would be carefully played for a few weeks. In the course of perhaps a month the time would be considered ripe to begin Her ladyship would then cautiously operations. her name. make a tour of the little-known but highly-expensive and fashionable places in the West End which specialise in supplying the aristocracy with jewellery and furs. It is a ticklish job. she would take a flat in the West End. A tall. who. asking that someone should be sent with a selection of furs to her flat in Mayfair. There is a woman at present undergoing three years' penal servitude. languidly look over what she had brought. as she cunningly baited the hook. in her way. to ascertain whether her title did really exist. the jewellers began . and tell her that it was not quite what she wanted. calling herself by a title. Her ladyship. all leading up to a big coup. and duly despatch the messenger. In manner she was quite irreproachable. and one which requires much tact. her ladyship paying for everything she received. with all which had been uniformly successful in the past. The beginning of her little swindle was a telephone message to a small. would receive the girl. handsome-looking the assurance in the world. and when. playing the part to perfection. and she made a practice of adopting tactics Edith Day is woman. The firm would consult Debrett. could lay claim to being the cleverest female crook in England. find that it did. select firm. and then proceed to swindle every store which would trust her. There was nothing in the least crude about her method.

" ing the furriers they will be pleased to tell you I — — am quite a respectable person. And that was the last he saw of it. give us a refer" ence ? the courteous jeweller would inquire. and send his bangle round. of the immensely valuable jewellery she had at home. looking as though she had not a care in the world. and how she really could not find room for more. glittering rings strewed before her on the counter. well.256 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS to offer her their wares. One way and another Edith Day got away with two or three thousand pounds' worth of valuable goods Jn this fashion. " Oh. hoping to tempt her from her assertion that she was not buying anything. unless he had the good fortune to recover it when the police arrested the woman and managed to trace the stolen property. until at last her ladyship would pretend to succumb and say : " Oh. she displayed a diffidence which had the effect she was angling for that of making them desperately keen on selling her some- — In casual fashion her ladyship talked of her thing. Send the bangle round when you have finished your inquiries." And out of the shop ^she would sweep. she would move out to fashion- . aristocratic connections. perhaps I may really afford myself this bangle. Dainty diamond bangles would be brought forward. of course. in her cultured " " I dare say if you ask So-and-so's mentionvoice. When the West End became too hot to hold her." " Your ladyship will. The jeweller would make his query. receive the assurance of the firm that she was quite sound." her ladyship would say. Unfailingly would the jewellers rise to the bait.

and I don't think that he received much sympathy from the police when he reported his loss. Failing that. It might be possible to inveigle money out of some impressionable old woman or steal something out of the house. for perhaps a month would elapse before the bill would be presented and the fraud discovered. And even then many of the estimable folk she had swindled refused to believe that it could have been their charming nurse who had deceived them. to blame. When out. she the titled game had been temporarily played would seek a situation as nurse or companion to some wealthy woman. she left herself with plenty of time to escape. • • • • • I have never heard of a more clever fraud than that which was recently worked on a West End To a very large extent the tradesman was jeweller. always posing as a Dozens of tradesmen were deceived of title. . there was the old trick of purloining the crested notepaper of her employer and forging an order for jewellery or expensive clothing from one of the tradesmen patronised by the mistress. He was a victim of a pair who had studied the psy- chology of the human race. by her aristocratic manner and easy way of talking of well-known people as though they were her closest friends. Short of a shopkeeper suspecting that something was wrong with the order. usually with the aid of forged references. She had a dual purpose in this move. Edith Day was a clever crook in that she rarely exposed herself to the risk of immediate arrest.CLEVER WOMEN woman 257 able watering-places and spas.

laid the saw she as flashing gems joy on a them she fastening finally up. He had lady in rapture. " " breathed the Isn't that a beauty. They rubbing his hands. ready to help on the good work. What madame ? " I can I have the pleasure " he inquired with a bow. He was studying the silver plate. George ? all this The man his part. and he reluctantly came over to see the ring which was being displayed before him. ing rings. sensing time had been carefully playing turned away as though the subject was of no interest to him. the lady Something about seventy or think. asked the price. hastened forward to proprietor. that his cusinquired the crafty jeweller. " " asked the What do you think of this one ? lady. A man serve " them himself. The jeweller went behind his counter and produced a tray containing a couple of dozen glitterOne by one the lady picked them up. produced another little gasp of tray. picked Eagerly massive diamond-encrusted ring which the jeweller said was £350. as a matter of fact. when the lady called him. a prosperous-looking pair. and curled her pretty little nose in want to contempt." " answered. and the lady gave a delighted before her. and the were noon." I eighty pounds. of showing see some half-hoop diamond rings.258 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS and a woman. An assistant. dressed in the height of into the jeweller's shop one afterwalked fashion. " Perhaps madame would like something better ' ? tomer had a taste for expensive things. .

Besides. I haven't afford it. . my dear." The jeweller." " a lovely ring." looking at his watch. the No." dare say." urged the lady in ecstasy. George. no. Here it was that the jeweller rushed in where The prospect of losing a cusangels fear to tread. But the lady was not having anything of the sort." said George. Besides." said George grumpily. " " and how much sir. " I don't feel like paying anything near that. I haven't so jeweller deferentially." said George. but. And the banks will be closed by now. tomer for a £350 diamond ring was too awful to contemplate. my dear." replied is it ? Three hundred and fifty pounds. " much money on me. he had fallen right into the artful trap the clever couple were laying for him. It was hardly to be expected that the little comedy in his shop of the pleading wife and the unrelenting husband had been specially staged for his benefit." said George in decided " but I told you a hundred was the fashion. I " limit. interjected something about the lady liking a ring a little cheaper. this is " Oh. eyes downcast in modest fashion while this domestic colloquy went on. too much money.WHEN FOOLS RUSH " " IN 259 Urn. enough ready money on me to pay for it. She dragged the reluctant George back he was starting to look at the silver plate again and said " in a pleading voice. Can't I have this one. George ? " Please " " I really can't No. shaking his head decidedly. It was then a — — ! quarter past three. Besides.

If you give me your name and address and permit me to verify it. rubbing his hands. frowning and " It's a lot tapping the glass counter in perplexity." first-class George was a mitted. I suppose so. after a long pause. reaching for his cheque-book in an inside " much did you say it was ? " he pocket. gave the man a card on which was " Sir George Holman. Mayfair." said that How worthy once more. having had many and knowing that the end silent. her pretty face the picture of innocent anxiety. yes." The jeweller and his assistant similar scenes in the shop. to the jeweller. grunted " Three hundred and fifty pounds. faces. and laying her hand on his arm said. ." Once again did the lady turn to George with pretty " pleading. George carefully wrote out the cheque and then. pulling out his card-case. well. " Oh. stood with impassive The lady continued to look at George. I would be pleased to accept a cheque for the amount. At all George.260 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS : events. was always the same. of " money. Not a sign did George and his lady give that this was the crucial test. 394 Brook Street. he precipitated matters by saying with an ingratiating smile " I dare say that little matter could be managed. Oh. I don't know. it must be adeagerness did Not the slightest sign of he show." said George. George stood languidly by." The jeweller took the cheque and the card and went to an office in the rear of his shop. Ah. actor." he said. sir. dear. sir.

! | I I : into every transaction." he said. posing as a woman of title. He picked up the ring. as he opened the door and showed his customers out.IMPERSONATORS 261 apparently bored to distraction. minus " That will be quite all the cheque and the card." he said with a low bow. the annual losses so incurred are enters largely . The name Sir George Holman was there right enough although it did not belong to the man who had given him the And £350 — cheque. of I have the shall seeing pleasure your ladyship hope again. under his breath. " I'll bet you don't." replied George. had done to verify George's bona fides was to look up the name in the telephone book. She enjoyed a marvellous run of success. is that in the smaller establishments the personal element woman swindler named Nellie Levin. and gave it to the lady. The large work on a concerns and if system. both in London and the provinces. departmental from time to time some specious woman crook succeeds in getting away with valuable goods under false pretences. of course. right. It is a good deal easier to swindle small shopkeepers than the big stores. that was the last the jeweller ever saw of his It turned out subsequently that all he ring. Sir George. while the lady idly toyed with the rings. In Holloway Prison at the present time there clever is a Modesty was not this lady's least conspicuous virtue. put it into a handsome plush case which the assist" I ant handed to him. The reason. In a couple of minutes the jeweller returned.

Their eagerness to sell to anyone. when a title was sufficient to awe the average shop assistant into respectful silence was giving an order while Lady Blank or Lord In the West in dulcet tones. which show a very large They profit. has been going around the shops buying goods in her husband's name. It is not altogether a swindle. both male and female. will trust practically unknown women with quantities of clothing worth hundreds of pounds in a way which appals their Christian competitors. So-and-so. Kensington. and that by this means he repudiates all — future liability. is usually the cause of their undoing. The big West End stores have lost many hundreds of thousands of pounds through this method. the class of assistant em- X ployed. is an immense improvement on that known to the past generation. There is many a poignant little tragedy behind that announcement so frequently seen in the news" In future Mr. and there can be no legal . it is the Jewish shopkeepers ants.262 STORIES OF THE SHOPLIFTERS comparatively small as against the enormous volume of trade. parted from her husband. of Crompapers that well Road. will not be responsible for any debts contracted by his wife." It means that the lady. The old days. Education and better conditions of labour have immensely improved the social status of shop assist- Left to themselves. who are the greatest sufferers by the clever crook. have gone for ever. any as it may seem. taking into account their Strange national characteristics. End of London especially. particularly something like furs or jewellery. it would be but rarely that swindler would succeed in cheating them.

who had been divorced by her fraud. 18 .HIDDEN SCANDALS 263 proceedings unless the woman has pledged her husband's credit subsequent to the publication of the notice. It was a terribly painful affair to the relatives. been buying goods in her late husband's name all over the West End of London. husband. seemingly from motives of revenge. There was an exceedingly painful case not long ago of a granddaughter-in-law of one of the highest men in the land who was arrested for obtaining credit by The woman. vain creature was sent to gaol. for the head of the family was concerned with the judiciary in a capacity that rendered it highly undesirable that there should be any scandal attached to his name. had. and the stupid. A criminal prosecution was instituted.

while at Vine Street 264 . a form of vice in recent times has gripped the imagination of those fashionable womenlives revolve around Piccadilly. " dopers. Scotland Yard has a special force of detectives making the sale or engaged in tracking down the smugglers who bring the cocaine into the country." women up in London a horde of female who regularly drug themselves with cocaine and heroin. and Soho. There is fast springing Leicester Square. The matter has grown so dangerous that the Home Office has found it necessary to introduce legislation possession of cocaine by unauthorised persons a criminal offence subject to twelve months' hard labour.VI THE DOPE SMUGGLERS For a good many years past it has been the pride of the British race that we could justly congratulate ourselves on being entirely free from the baser forms The terrible orgies of the night life of Berlin of vice. two of the most potent poisons in the British about-town whose Pharmacopoeia. Unfortunately. or the wild pleasures of Paris have never been carried on in this country to an extent sufficient to cause alarm to those concerned with public morality.

. as do not act an immense sensation is caused when Occasionally actress is found dead as the result of some beautiful " an overdose of dope. On a night like this they make for cafes in Soho. and I asked my companion if he did not think it was a bad time be abroad. with a sentence of imprisonment on the But the trade goes on always. and besides being the place where practically all the cinema trade is gathered. We'll try the in Wardour for cocaine traffickers to " Not it. It was raining hard when I called for a friend who " " was going to show me round the haunts dope The glaring lights of theatre-land of the West End. where they deal with most of the fashionable crime in London." From time to time prosecutions take place. This is just the chance you want. it harbours a choice collection of foreigners." Wardour Street is in Soho. and so malefactor. " he said with a laugh. there are large numbers of detectives detailed to keep a close watch on the gangs of men and women who make a fat living " peddling the dope.A NIGHT IN SOHO 265 Police Station." But for all the Billie Carletons and Freda Kemptons who inadvertently kill themselves with cocaine there are dozens of other women dying a death of slow poison unknown to the It is only when the victim is parpublic or police. are the profits that a few months in gaol enormous a deterrent. flickered eerily on the glistening wet umbrellas of the pleasure-bound throng of people. ticularly well known that the public indignation is stirred." Street first.

" Yes. And even if it had not been for the tell-tale rings. She calls herself Swiss. " and she died not long afterwards." I interrupted. the loss of it drove her insane. foreign-looking little black eyes.260 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS entered the cafe. underneath which were terrible black rings. couid discern by the unnatural woman. Painted women stood in a " " at the crooks corner and a gang of well-known ordered a We counter were talking to the proprietor. with no experience of the effects of cocaine. drink. she was captured in 1915. " turn Don't your drink. " there you see one of the worst dopers in London. who regularly took cocaine. As a matter of fact. as I turned round again. but just have a look at those women behind We you. and One of the had a look in the women was stout. I should say she has about six . and well-dressed in a loud fashion. by the name of Lizzi Wertheim who lived in London When before the war." my friend said. thin. and my friend whispered. People will that the Canadian and American soldiers before then." " continued my see those two women ? " The little dark one has been doping companion. I think she was one of the first women to use cocaine ' ' in London. head. You ' ' herself for years. I believe her to be a have it were the first to use cocaine as dope in this country." I took a sip at my direction indicated. with large glitter of the woman's eyes that she had been drugging herself with some dangerous stimulant. The other was a dark. even I. but you can take it from me that it was known long ' ' German." " " I remember a German spy Yes. telling all too plainly of some secret vice. flushed of face.

.DRUG FIENDS months to die for the 11 2(57 live. she would if you let her have it. as The an anaesthetic. a small plant which grows on the South American Andes. She little of a starting buys packets couple of and finds the result excellent for the time grains. for has had a tooth drawn with cocaine ininstance. with results that have been disastrous to the lives of many unfortunate women. There are two forms of cocaine utilised by science. The only thing that will save her will be for the is She am police absolutely to stop all sale of cocaine. cocaine used as " dope " jected is a powder. until recent years that modern science discovered the wonderful anaesthetic qualities of the distilled leaf. used principally by doctors and dentists for small local operations. and I don't being. The other one." I learned some London's latest illuminating facts concerning vice as we sat that night in the foreign cafe in Soho. will it suppose get her down for a couple of years.000 per cent. the police are going to have a difficult time stamping the trade out. she will . and I afraid that while the varous smugg^rs and pedlars can each make a profit of 1. die just the same. strong woman. The Indians who inhabit that region have known But of it its was not properties for hundreds of years. is just on. If want of it you put her in prison. almost liquid is The incredibly light and fearfully expensive. . feathery substance. and later still that German chemists were able to make cocaine in powder form. Nearly everybody. a shining. at it. All cocaine is made from the leaf of the coca plant." my friend went " — a big.

women will pay as " " much as £2. " " Not until the morning is transformed. doper does the nervous relapse take place. the whole system sparkles. 20 dwt. and 20s. although the restrictions which surround the sale of the drug are so severe that very little cocaine can be bought from a bona-fide chemist except on a doctor's prescription. occabrought from A America. termed. an ounce. Most of the cocaine which comes into this country for doping purposes is smuggled. I can say without fear of contra- diction that they average about £1. sionally pound of it is worth an almost unbelievable sum by the time all the various go-betweens have made their profit. It is across from Holland and Germany.500 a pound.268 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS it is is no gainsaying the fact that cocaine sniffing. For two or three grains.. used to the artificial stimulant. is one of the most dangerously fasTo a body and mind cinating vices in the world. profits made out of this illicit traffic are simply enormous. the larger the dose There as for any noticeable effect. To appreciate properly the temptations The which surround it. Like strong wine. enclosed in a small packet very similar to that used for tiny powders. so that. an ounce would . There are 24 grains to every dwt. In the trade the price fluctuates between 1 2s. to every ounce.400 to £1. cocaine is a drug that requires to be taken in The more the system becomes increasing quantities. and there comes a feeling of unFor a few hours at least the believable exhilaration. even if the pedlars only get £1 for every two grains of pure cocaine. The troubles of life temporarily disappear. surfeited with pleasure it acts like a magic tonic.

quantities to their beauty. to wrap two or three grains in a 10s.500. usually paid by would-be fashionable actresses and women desperate for want of the drug. The despicable creatures who hawk the cocaine round know only too well that a drug-sodden woman will sell body and soul to maintain a supply of dope. Wardour Street cafe Women came and went. But even if an average of 10-s. say. then. if not his precious life. women who We had been sitting in the quite a long time. powdered milk. the profit would still be colossal. from Hamburg." indifferent as to whether it is pure or otherOne of the favourite tricks of the pedlar is wise. one of the headquarters of the trade. What.COLOSSAL PROFITS realise ! 269 no less than £240 It is only fair to say that £l for two grains is an outside price. knowing full well that they are being robbed. must be the profit when it " " is realised that there is hardly a grain of dope sold in the West End of London which has not been adulterated at least 50 per cent. would by the time it had been adulterated bring anything up to £1. note and sell it for £1. and at . buy cocaine. and the mysterious inhabit expensive flats. with is aspirin. were made. ! " A pound of cocaine. or boric acid ? the difference ? Certainly not the stupid Who know women who to buy the drug. when sold surreptitiously in small 4<2. women whose principal asset in life is The lesser-known actresses. The actual value of the contents is about smuggled. But what are they going to do ? The scoundrel who sells it to them is risking his liberty. The above figures only relate to cocaine in its pure state.

I haf got none. Together we ran forward.270 last I THE DOPE SMUGGLERS ventured to ask my friend if he was waiting anybody in particular. Jacob.way leading off Wardour Street. I suppose his pal. he. sitting with his back to it. " " I want a word with you." he said you wait a little longer I might manage to lay hands on a couple of dope One or two usually drop in here pedlars for you." he said. obviously foreigners. apparently hoping they had not been noticed. they paid the waiter and. as their eyes roved round the smoke-room looking for possible Barely waiting to finish the drink they customers. ' ' in the course of the evening. " but if " No. all try to who has just skipped round the corner. no. looked in the mirror at his side and smiled. he haf it all. But they were too slow for my highly-experienced companion. for . The door my and me. and my friend caught hold of one of the men by the shoulder. would tell ' ' ' ' . sidled out of the door. It see what happens when they catch sight of was not long before the two men. too. had already ordered." '* No. Let's Here. see how much dope you've got about you. " Here comes a pair of them." said the captive to " friend. " They rat on each other." my " At the old game." said my friend to me." he said. and friend. grabbing their hats. " Wait into view." It was close on ten o'clock before our quarry came of the cafe opened. The " dope " smugglers were just disappearing down a dark alley. Throwing three shillings on the table. recognised my companion. grabbed his hat and rushed out of the door. sir.

who was actually carrying the dope. no. These men who peddle forbidden dope as artful as they make them. It was a letters from women. with on it will be six months' cocaine caught any you for after and have done that you will gaol you." your pockets suddenly. " About the first time you have ever told the truth. much " " for me. with frightened fer" I haf never told you lies." my companion sarcastically. a very dirty handkerchief.5.THE ALIEN ELEMENT the same tale 271 if I could catch hold of him. Meekly. round the corner of a dark lane almost before my companion had finished speaking. with a grim laugh." said my friend. worth of loose silver. Solly got caught to enable his pal Jacob. Turn he said out. you be deported back to your native Russia." said my com" that our friend Solly would have any panion. friend's inspection. cocaine we could find not the slightest trace. our bold smuggler hastily handed the contents of his pockets over for my mixed collection of rubbish." He was Solly needed no further warning to clear. without even so much as a protest. cheap cigarettes. You know too vour." . a box of But of pills. only too glad to have got out of his trouble so easily. observed Solly." replied Solly." Perhaps.' to get * ' ' ' ' clear. About the only time any of you infernal scoundrels Next time you get tell the truth is when it pays you. and about 15. " I didn't think for one minute. on him. My friend took me by the arm. and we strolled into the comparative gentility of Old Compton Street. are drugs Solly and his friend were out selling dope to-night sure and enough. " Indeed.

" I said. and heroin." said my companion. Europe hardly appreciates the importance of this business. Even if that fact were brought home to people ' ' ' Road. they ' would merely shrug their shoulders and say Oh. as we turned up into Charing Cross " but where do these fellows get all this stuff Is there a ' generally. despite all police precautions. " but it appears to be impossible to trace any regular gang at the game. Nowadays they spend all their time hanging around public-houses and cafes looking for possible customers. " ' They spin quite a good story of the wonderful effects To hear them talk you would think of cocaine. or any organised conspiracy to bring the dope from abroad ? Surely it ought to be possible to discover " the source somehow ? " You would think so. what sort of women are they ? " But the trouble is this. and once upon a time are They earned an honest living in Whitechapel tailoring. ? men on " suspicion Unless with in cocaine actually caught That their possession. friend. and Britain there are some thousands of women addicted to the use of cocaine. especially in the big cities." they were doing you a favour by selling you a couple " master-smuggler in London. well. of grains for £1. a man or a woman is do quite a flourishing business in dope. In ' Germany to-day. The use of cocaine is not decreasing. choice pair you just saw in the cafe. the police have no case.272 " " THE DOPE SMUGGLERS But why ? is can't the police arrest these I asked. doping few realise that in Very people yet Germany.' both Russian Jews. France. cocaine . from ? Yes. morphia." continued my the use replied " What " my friend. You see.

however.A GROWING EVIL ' ' 273 has come to be a recognised practice. It came as something of a shock." fined to certain classes. I don't think so. Morphia yes. many women know of the soothing effects of a dose of this they are only just beginning to appreciate the soothing and at the same time exhilarating effects of cocaine. one could without hesitation that if say any anybody like our friend Solly were gently to insinuate an offer of cocaine to a well-known actress he would find himself getting a well-deserved thrashing before he knew where he was. " I don't allege for one minute that they are the best class of women on the stage." my friend replied. ." " There can be no question " of chemists supplying it. when they found a potentially-famous actress in poor Billie Carleton lying dead through an overdose of cocaine. " and " surely ? " Here No. and perhaps even more in this country. there you might get some unscrupulous chemist . and certain that this terrible habit of taking cocaine as a stimulant is spreading all over the world. They have to learn in time the price they pay in return. ' ' . " It gave them some idea of the extent to which the habit had spread. ii Where does all the dope come from ? " I asked the man who was taking me behind the scenes in London " dopeland. There doping I am is any amount of it going on in France. But latterly it has been clearly shown that the dope pedlars expect to find quite a considerable number of customers among actresses. So long as it was con- nobody was inclined to take the matter up. In fact.

Too strict a check is kept on all forbidden drugs for that. It may be brought via France and landed at Folkestone or Southampton. Besides. and heroin which come into this country is smuggled over from Germany. each containing two or three grains." continued my friend as we passed the through surging crowd at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.274 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS supplying a few grains to a woman. a quarter of a on the off-chance of finding them cocaine." see. and then distributed amongst trace of " I . by the time it had been adulterated. but it would be next to impossible for such a one to get any large supply from the wholesale houses. to search baggage. You could not possibly search people. I think most of the cocaine. certain cafe in pound of cocaine is a very People say. " You Hamburg. search everybody arriving in this country from Germany. Once the stuff gets into London. which is strongly suspected of being the headquarters for the supply of cocaine. " it isn't so easy to There is a stop smuggling as some people imagine. The stuff is brought there and distributed in small quantities to men who smuggle it into England and France. entirely It isn't certain that just in possession of the stuff comes in from Harwich or Newcastle. But how can you do that ? The Customs Convention only allows you small parcel. except in cases of extreme suspicion. it would cause all manner of trouble if you searched every man and woman arriving here " Now. morphia. for instance. No. suppose a quarter of a pound of pure cocaine. would be split up into thousands of small packets. all it is temporarily lost.

but in any case there would be little trouble in finding buyers. especially women. a pound is worth — — easily £150 ! the profit is when it has been adulterated. "It is no use wasting time dwelling on the moral . and that the pedlars get anything from 5s. to 205. The women won't tell you." " " In other words. for two or three grains. ! i the business are so tremendous that it pays the pedlars to keep their mouths shut if they happen to ! . But when you reckon that there are 480 grains to the ounce. be caught.A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE 275 dozens of pedlars. I don't know what the men who originally smuggle the cocaine into England pay for the stuff. you will have some idea of the profit " What being made. Ask them. Surely there must be smuggling ? some deep-laid scheme to get a regular supply of " dope across from Germany ? " " but There is some such plan." was the reply are dealing with people. ' : ' . By the time the cocaine has been distributed in London. a conspiracy of silence ? I asked. The profits in so far it has never been discovered. It has to be sold quickly for fear of evaporation." " And have the authorities never found anything to prove that there is any recognised head of this " " I asked. : who live in fear of the law. Worse. They might pay as much as £3 an ounce four times and they would still be able to its normal value make a fabulous profit." my friend said. " When you "a conspiracy of lies. in addition to which the stuff has been mixed with an adulterant. and they will quickly denounce you. Heaven alone knows. you don't exactly expect the truth.

card-sharpers. The women who dope themselves are mostly those who lead a very doubtthe only existence they know is bounded ful life ' ' . up vanishes as if by magic. and various other specimens of humanity whose vices I need not particularise." " Why. or fatigue any depression The whole body sparkles with some extraordinary for a few hours at least.276 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS ' aspect of the dope evil. as you get about companion said. I think the cocaine pedlars are very nearly the worst of the lot. this part of the world you will begin to realise that in the West End of London there exists about as " Well. ' by the necessity " of preserving their beauty and Cocaine is the wonderful figure as long as possible. when there must be " a reckoning for this drugging of the body ? " " I asked. confidence-men. for they make a living out of the vices and failings fine of women. and. powder on the back of the nose. you will see a few of them yourself before long. There are sneak-thieves. I'm just going to introduce you to a few of . Anyhow. pickpockets. Oh. stimulant to drown all their troubles. What do they trouble about the morning. where are you going " to ? " I inquired. " ' ' Actually. And what of the men ? They tilt a little it of the their hand. lo and behold." my " a collection of unprincipled scoundrels as could be got together in any part of the world. or the days to come. they are exhilaration transformed. To hear him talk of the police one would imagine that . sniff . he was being interfered with in supplying a longfelt public want. the dope pedlar gives himself airs he looks upon his business as quite legitimate.

and the dope {incessant popping of champagne corks." my friend replied. Hardly up to pre-war standard. gave him his hat and coat. jThey don't care a rap. looking bored to dis- . My companion said it was a night club. the men clad in evening dress. a place redolent of foreigners. Everything looked dirty and disreputable. remained in as I followed stairs. missionaire. presumably acting as comto the first floor." I thought. I had often made the acquaintance of the night clubs of London in the days before the Liquor Control Board came upon the scene and restricted the sa e of drink. and again warned me to keep a still tongue in my head. and told me to do likewise. The jazz band had finished and an just playing. I don't expect for one moment that there will be any trouble. melodious bands. jmy memory my friend up a flight of where was iSteep." Our rendezvous proved to be a dingy little sidestreet off the Tottenham Court Road. As I followed my friend inside and cast a look round I could well understand that some of the habitues of the place might take to cocaine as a " means of infusing a little gaiety into life. indefinably cosmoof collection men and women were seating politan themselves around the room. The gaily dressed women. It was about eleven o'clock. even if the men do. but you never know.TAWDRY the ' ' VICE " 277 haunts. dingy up stationed a stout man. The 'women would raise a row as soon as look at you. Only for mouth shut and don't sake goodness' get keep your looking around you as though you have never been there before. as piy companion nodded curtly to the commissionaire.

Just let us have a cup of coffee and a nice We shan't be here long. Night clubs are notorious for the ease with which one may become involved in trouble. and apologised profusely for no drink being available." women. with a smile. I dare say they will pay me a visit ere long. ' They sell dope. almost hidden by the of them I saw nod in our direction and " They don't seem to like your pre- was the smiling reply. which had started up again. an occasional glass of mineral were water." I whispered. thieve. That bunch over there ought to be in gaol I suppose not. but in our particular instance the trouble had nothing to do with women. I had been idly watching the dancing. being served by waiters looking equally tired of the farcical attempt at gaiety. and looking at girls known " whom my companion dopers. " All right. thought they get away minute or two . they will have to put up with it until I choose to go. " Anyhow. " we know you never serve drinks after time." cigar. George. Usually the bother is caused by some of the women present. The manager of the club appeared from nowhere. across the room." said my mentor amiably. greeted my friend with too spontaneous cordiality.' swindle if they could wait a with Just it." sence here. gave me the hand of friendship.278 traction. One then hold a whispered colloquy with his friends. " Just have a look at that little gang over there. THE DOPE SMUGGLERS Coffee. and would even murder ." when my told me were wellattention was attracted to three men band. ices. I nudged my companion." " for the rest of their days.

for instance. your happy smiling faces. Mr. made " " his way over to us. nothing." What looked like developing into serious trouble was suddenly ended by the manager of the club " " What's the trouble ? making his appearance. he inquired hastily. Soon after another dance had commenced one of the men. Then what would you isn't do? " A sudden blaze of passion flamed over the face of the Italian. " Yes." " " the Italian hissed." my friend said with " I just came up to see aggravating politeness. so ! " One of these nights. think. and what is more you had better not knife me if try. The Italian stood there with snarling lips. Looking for anything to-night. and he drew back with clenched hand so fiercely that for one moment I thought there would be a brawl. when you are by yourself. Clever Spy. you won't. Ah. a thick-set. who looked to be an Italian." my friend replied. what might happen to you ? The police might even send you back to your native Italy. like to I dare say you would But you got half a chance. thank you." Well. ? " he asked with a sneer. will get you you " the surprise of your life. well. it ? Who knows.AN INTERLUDE 279 We had not long to wait. But nothing happened. Mr. black-browed individual. with a coolness I could not but admire. still looked at him with his provoking smile. life is full of uncertainties. and my friend. 19 " Merely our . Giuseppe. friend Giuseppe. No. " Oh. Giuseppe. you will see more than Some time.

if he got anything like an oppor" but his idea of a fight tunity. never done an ' ' honest day's work ever since he has been in London. I haven't the least intention of giving him the chance of meeting me in such circumstances. and walked down through Soho The theatre-goers were streaming into Piccadilly. until the proprietor of the restaurant got rid of him to save his business." times as outside. He used to be a waiter once. " He would profess the blandest ignorance if you asked him about ' ' cocaine or anything else. health. possibly. after nodding his head several if to remember something." We left the night club. If he said to the out. followed him. apologising for the disturbance. and we stood at the ." " " Is he likely to make trouble ? I inquired. these fellows ? I asked." you can't behave yourself. get any trouble here." was the reply would be a dark lane with about six of his pals in attendance. " Italian briefly. " Oh. homeward by the thousand. I don't want Giuseppe went. and tell them to keep away if they happened to be carrying any 'cocaine' around with them.280 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS come to inquire as to old acquaintance. Giuseppe. and the manager. to the obvious relief of everybody there." said my friend. but afterwards he would warn the dope sellers that inquiries were afoot." " Does the proprietor of this club know all about " ." my " The manager was nothing Cut it if not understanding. " An excellent specimen of the genus parasite." " friend remarked. " Of course. my dope seller.

BIRDS OF THE NIGHT 281 corner of the Haymarket watching the swirling crowds righting their way into the tube station. It only a whisper of police for the cocaine traffic to wants be with the exception of a belated couple here and there hurrying . and if catch sight of a plain-clothes man they know they at all well." he said. I Where they city. they are off like a shot into the heart of Soho. shrugged companion. " " Ah. In fact." The streets were emptying fast after a late supper. one could not help recognising that the character of the crowds had homeward undergone a great change. A woman going by heard him laughing and gave him a malevolent glance. was difficult my : . suspended for the night. there goes another dope seller. and now and then my companion laughed as he recognised someone. They call her Dopey Annie. " comThese fellows have eyes like hawks. ! When I asked his and said he shoulders. there was hardly a person who passed who was not known by my friend. but when you can't do they will have no ' ' ' dope ' on them. it all slept. Later in the evening you might catch them. who had both been and had now taken to dealing my employ anything but experienced men. All kinds of people passed us by. these night-hawks of the great to realise. cocaine in lieu of more serious crime. where it is almost useless to follow. of Negroes. They police panion You after them as well as the police know them." " know who the are remarked. two well-known to my friend said." Then came a couple criminals.' She used to do quite a big trade around public-houses until the police ' ' ' caught her. in penal servitude.

he would certainly have a little cocaine." I said ' ' ." friend added with a laugh. " That woman I called ' Dopey Annie ' had quite a flourishing connection at one time. principally because they have more money secondly. You probably saw the look she gave me to-night. and she was caught with dope in her possession and sent to gaol. you would be Yes. some neatly-cut of paper to wrap his precious wares in. . Actresses are first on the list. could tell you some marvellous things about this part of the world. for instance a good deal of boric powder. finds.' and if she promises good go to endless trouble to introduce . Annie thinks I am responsible for her little spell in gaol. perhaps a little aspirin ' ' : " for more fastidious clients. cocaine." . these scoundrels do their work his who pretty thoroughly has taken to they will themselves as purveyors of cocaine. Everybody knew her as being able to get regular supplies of In fact. they get to know of a woman dope. Her fame proved her undoing. and squares a list of possible customers. my " " if looks could kill." was the ! " reply." " Ha I suppose so. she became a little too well known. As a matter of fact the police know all about the Some of those detectives over at Vine Street lady. " You know. because no questions are results. ' asked. dead by now.282 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS Who troubles ? I wouldn't mind betting you that if you went through the belongings of some of these people you would make some astonishing Take the stock-in-trade of a dope pedlar.

I think it is a grave mistake to imagine that this growing habit of women doping themselves with . many of whom are engaged in daily work at one or other of the well- known commercial houses. that the woman whose life is bound up in pleasure should take to drugging herself with cocaine as a palliative to the unspeakable ennui and boredom which inevitably overtake those who have no real mission in life. Small wonder. or even larger numbers float about in the whirlpool of the but doing nothing social life of London." loosely termed the " is an indefinite phrase which The West End has denoted various districts of London in succeeding In the reign of Queen Anne it applied specially ages. marry happily. it would be necessary to try to arrive at some understanding of the psychology of that part of the feminine population of our great metropolis which lives anywhere within what is " West End. later.SOCIETY DRUG-TAKERS in 283 To appreciate properly the ominous features of the undoubtedly increasing habit of cocaine doping now going on in London. and leave the fashionable existence for good. however. and to them during the last century were added Belgravia and Tyburnia but the phrase. Some rise above the whirlpool. in its social sense. regarded squares as the social centre of London. pected places. Living within the West End of London are some hundreds of thousands of women. Mayfair and the old aristocratic north of Oxford Street were. to Bloomsbury. has now been extended so as to include many strange and unex' .

bodily lassitude and sleeplessness. obtain without a doctor's prescription. talk of How easy is the path of temptation Midnight suppers and early-morning dances. All the available evidence points to doping having originated in Berlin. in the infamous night life of the German capital. to whom the mysteries of dope are made known through no fault it. all to be banished by " dope. well educated. at any rate. which became so cocaine and heroin bad that the newspapers even ventured to expose the excesses of princes of royal blood. Men and women they meet enlarge on its attractions. In the fashionable restaurants and night clubs one meets many beautiful women. cocaine exhilarates. occascription. In the beginning. All these drugs are difficult to sionally veronal. and although for some time past the police have found evidence to prove that large quantities of morphia are brought into the country by unauthorised persons. it is the cocaine which is really causing the mischief. and perhaps laughingly offer to procure them a little so that they may try it." What wonder that a woman succumbs to the mystery of this all-healing drug. of their own. a sniff of cocaine represents to her mind no more danger than would . to the lure of a few grains of cocaine discreetly obtained by some male acquaint! ance.284 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS is confined exclusively to any particular class. It is easy enough to understand women who live the gay life taking to cocaine as a means of producing brightness and abandon. The empty life of a woman of pleasure is rarely without drugging of some deUsually it is laudanum or morphia. Morphia deadens. well " " dressed.

even if their sources of livelihood are open to grave suspicion. The day of reckoning does not come into calculation. and as such possess a nodding acquaintance with nearly all those fashionable young men-about-town who are It is the women who Some of them apparently belong . men and women. both " The dress that covers a multi- tude of sins. to the stage others have a slight connection with the cinema world. of that erratic world which them. of the most beautiful women in the whole of London." You my " . Some of these places are nothing but houses where others call themselves conviviality reigns supreme . see here. Apart from the theatrical people." whispered my friend. In nearly every instance the members are of that indefinable class which lives without apparent means of support." A couple of nights after my preliminary visit to " the haunts of the cocaine dopers. there are other women who at one time of their lives have been on the stage. and as such find themselves with a great deal of time on their hands." I was taken by to fashionable night club friend a my sophisticated It was a different-class place off Street. and now live somehow in the comparative Idlers all of affluence of a flat in the West End. some companion remarked. just Regent from the one in the neighbourhood of Tottenham Court Road. always well dressed.a MYSTERIOUS WOMEN brandy-and-soda to one of her man 285 friends. provide the greatest mystery. ' places where both men and women are members. dance clubs. typical specimens " is always willing to try something new. " Everybody wore evening dress. Scattered about the West End of London there " are many of what are known as mixed clubs.

" " A young actress. . allows her to associate occasionally with girls who have not yet been initiated into night-club life. A male ' ' respectability also creature the mysterious attracts that dangerous friend does that for them . spends fifty. What happens is that they drop out of theatrical life. The lady him that she feels off-colour she thinks a . Managers won't submit to their tantrums the cocaine makes them nervous and irritable.' " Mind you. or. my friend continued. nor in the street. he pays for his barely- tolerated devotion luxuries will tell little by purchasing his lady-love little unattainable by the uninitiated. Late suppers. you want to catch them in the early morning. " This is the place where high-class dopers come. tive widow whose husband was She likes to come here because it killed in the war. spending half their time in a night club. in due course. and so you begin the life of a cocaine ' doper. all anxious to obey her slightest wish. mostly on dresses people. to meet someone who will listen to. too tired to go to the theatres in the early evening. and so you sec them. beautiful. dies it is rarely that any woman actually from an overdose of cocaine. with a promising stage career in front of her. " You also get the Billie Carleton type of woman. cocaine might pull her round.286 It is THE DOPE SMUGGLERS a great place for girls who like a little quiet Its comparadissipation unknown to their families. They don't buy it here. to put it plainly. no sleep. They look healthy enough this time of the evening . The usual and presents to other crowd of male admirers. the sorrowful story she tells. and believe. Earns perhaps twenty or thirty pounds a week. with .

' spent half an hour that night talking with a pretty little girl. to time there appears in the West End a batch of dancing clubs usually run by one man. that they were excellent my as I afterwards found mediums for the cocaine traffic.DISREPUTABLE CLUBS ' 287 the paint and powder off. suspecting.. All she in the club and forget all her troubles. With a shamefaced little laugh. and women without escorts make it a practice to come here on of " all sorts come to these dances. the girl confessed that she had tried a sniff of it and found. But the child she was nothing more would not " — — would say was that plenty of women took "dope' regularly. it quite nice. my single ticket costs 7s. although I suppose I I must have brought the subject up unconsciously. to appreciate the full effects " of a course of dope. From time which temporarily evoke no suspicion as to their bona fides. 6d. out. I went round these places one night with friend. " Women friend. How the question of cocaine arose I cannot say. and that one night a certain lady had tilted a little from a packet on to the back of her hand and told her to inhale it Irll me." said A the off-chance of something happening. you see girls of highly-respectable families here. Where did you get it from ? " I asked. although I guess their parents would have a fit if 1 were to tell them the histories of some of the . and asked if I knew anyone who might give her a part in musical comedy. As a matter of fact. who told me she had been on the stage.

. and warn the proprietor to clear them out.' She hands over a pound note. They are all over the West End in one night. " You say to one of these fellows.288 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS All the swell ' women. ' dope pedlars work these " I Can't the police do anything with them ? asked. of course. panion They do it in front of your eyes. George. At halfnine he be down in an past underground bar might to a bunch of women and talking probably selling " ! ' places . it is all so dreadfully easy. when George hands her a ten. Oh. that it contains two or three grains of cocaine ? " I suppose there is hardly a high-class cafe or bar within a square mile of Piccadilly Circus that has not harboured dope pedlars and their customers at one time or another. here is that ten shillings you lent me last week. Who is to know. they find many clients in the come looking for partners. The police in their nightly rounds soon come across them.shilling note in exchange." women who ' — them some he would probably dope. you would want hundreds of men on the job. as well as the other dope haunts. with his eyes well skinned for the police." my com" went on.' be doing a little trade in the street. " If you were to keep all these places under observation. and you wouldn't know what was occurring. still on ' An hour later see. You don't catch these fellows as easily as that. " will ' ' ' ' ' What happens ? They move off somewhere else . " Pooh " was the contemptuous reply. A girl business bent. At midnight you would in all likelihood run across him in a night club. At nine o'clock you might find one of them in a theatre promenade.

did not tion all welcome the effusiveness with which I didn't listen to the conversathat came to me were fragments such as. When the supplies get short. etc. I don't believe him in the least ." etc. take you round to twenty public-houses. pocketful of money." know him. The police get on the track of a big parcel. ' . he was greeted. " "I " really couldn't tell you. . " He has just sworn to me that he hasn't seen a says he is grain of cocaine for over six months working. all most respectably-conducted places. for some reason." said my friend. " You saw that young scoundrel I was talking to just now. Mr. one so young. up. the price goes Going back through Piccadilly that night my friend ran across a well-dressed youth who.IN PICCADILLY ' ' 289 the word goes round Leicester Square and Regent Street that dope is to be bought at a certain place. could regularly get them dope. and was never without a . One of these fine days I am . and in every one of them you will find that women look in there regularly just to see if there are any dope sellers it and " so I could ' ' Sometimes the stuff is very scarce. back. goes on.' always the ladies knew the winner of a race. having parted from the " He used to be an immense favourite with youth. Nearly four months now. All the women in the West End expecting that the police will catch him smuggling a big consignment of cocaine over from Germany. and has turned over a new leaf. he is much too artful for . like that little lot the Flying Squadron ran to earth a few weeks about.

who shakes with laughter every time she tells you . There is a fat old woman in the Piccadilly district is But who the stupid. True. glistening character. Sometimes or to know the difference ? Certainly not ignorant women who buy it. the evil is not without a rich touch of comedy. acid. Within the last twelve months the " dope " habithas become known all over the West End of London. or even boracic common it will probably be nothing but garden baking-powder. many of the women-traders could produce a bottle of something from a capacious skirt and sell it to you for a price. so much so. The coming of the cocaine traffic has not found the — old traders wanting. purchased in some establishment in Soho. it has spread to all classes of Englishwomen. In the days of the war. provided it be of a white. From being a vice practised by the few. that the women who go in for street trading in the West End do their best to cater for the demand in their spare While the is time. passes muster with them for cocaine. There is very you can West. the stuff they sell for cocaine may only be Epsom-salts. when drink was unobtainable after nine o'clock at night.290 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS IV it would be perfectly true to say that tragedy underlying note of the cocaine traffic in London. Any powder. tell Long little about the night life of London these wise old women-traders of the years of dealing with the frequenters of cafes and bars have given them an acquaintance with the vices and virtues of the West End which few policemen can equal.

." Lately the boys who pretend to sell evening papers " " around the West End have taken up selldope hold of little from Heaven packets. I may be old enough to be his grandmother. " " women to buy it too. I have seen them doing up ' ' their papers.' And they get ' Scenting mischief. into Shaftesbury You Oh. Then all of a sudden they catch sight of a possible customer coming along. slowly along the " " Some whisper." to a swell pedlar women who promenade Leicester Square to buy them from them for a few shillings. mightn't young carry a If you could catch stock of papers just for a blind. did it up in little packets. I inquired the reason. I had a glimpse of some of these ragamuffins as I came down friend. ' ' " Nine times out of ten the stuff is anything but . but I can still show these boys a few tricks they don't know. but those villains believe it. Want any dope to-night." said my companion. and sold the lot " " for £5 "I'll give him cocaine. or at any rate something which they sell as dope.A WISE OLD WOMAN the story of 291 how she bought a tin of baking-powder ! " the old dame says. They get ing knows where. Avenue one night with we a side-street I saw As walked down my a couple of paper-boys flying round the corner. and persuade the " dope "-infatuated ! for 6d. while one of the gang keeps watch for the police. Quick as a flash they sidle over and pretending to sell their alleged dope sitting in a doorway. them and go through their pockets you would probably find a few packets of cocaine. with hoarse chuckles. miss ? of the more impertinent ones even call the girls by their Christian names. " You will see them walking street. they saw me.

by any manner of means. it becomes practically unrecognisable as its London of mystery.292 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS cocaine. is not likely to go to the police and complain of having been swindled. Judging by the evidence I have been enabled to collect. number of so-called English men and It is There women engaged in the traffic. She." It would be a libel on the foreign population of London if I were to suggest that this disgraceful traffic in cocaine is being carried on entirely by aliens. From the time a consignment of cocaine reaches subsequent fate is more or less a matter The police need to obtain information very promptly to deal with the principals in the " " traffic. too. for instance. whatever the victim of the imposition may think about it. and the authorities have more than a shrewd suspicion that the cocaine which is smuggled across from Germany passes into English hands when it reaches London. because once the is retailed out to dope the pedlars. for £l. are any not. and then almost come to blows with anyone who says they are not genuine. This adulteration of " dope " is perhaps the most humorous aspect of the whole affair. You can easily impose on the women who frequent this part of the world. seek to make his little bit of . at any rate. And then the individual who smuggles it across the Channel— does he. but possibly he does. I do not know whether the Hun who originally supplies the drug " breaks it down " in any way. nearly everybody concerned takes a hand. It is no offence to sell three or four grains of boric powder. They buy a set of allegedly genuine Astrakan furs from some Jewish furrier for £10. cocaine.

whatever his inclinations may be. quite gentlemanly in their . There are fashionablydressed young men. after the broken-down cocaine is sold to Ithe various pedlars. " " Now. it is doubtful whether a qualified chemist. the people who are addicted to drug- . London must be scoured to meet her wishes. And certainly the texture of the two powders is not so distinct as to make the difference particularly noticeable." why. All sorts of disreputable creatures get a living from the selling of cocaine. would jbe able to detect the presence of an adulterant I from anything ! ! ' {which had been cleverly used. men and women.PROFITABLE SWINDLING rofit ? 293 facilities for Perhaps he does not get many rug-mixing. except he were an analyst. They would never do so were pure cocaine that they sniffed by the grain. i manners and appearance. In no other way is it possible to account for the " " ifact that notorious dopers keep their health fairly [well fif month after month. the gang who purchase it immediately begin a process of adulteration which reduces its potency at least 50 per cent. As a matter of fact. How are the ignorant women who buy to know cocaine else ? In fact. who exist by touting to the whims and fancies of certain ladies with money to burn. If the word goes forth that a lady of this " class would like a little dope. hat I am morally certain of is that once the cocaine reaches its destination. I have heard it said that half the women around Piccadilly and Leicester Square would not appreciate the difference between inhaling menthol snuff and cocaine. it seems highly it probable that still more adulteration it occurs. I would particularly like to impress my readers with this fact.

while a woman if found in the unlawful possession of imprisonment cocaine. acted promptly and wisely in legislating against Before the habit has grown to very serious dimensions we now have in existence a law making the possessor of illegally obtained cocaine or heroin If anyliable to twelve months' imprisonment. As I have who peddle " dope cocaine. They will ask you. I am side. is rather difficult to To a certain extent. lenient errs on the the punishment thing. In Great Britain. of course.294 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS never for one moment ging themselves with cocaine do they look upon the Rather a crime. the unauthorised possession of either cocaine or opium is now a criminal respective I believe charge." packet All things considered. the cocaine traffic in Great Britain is on all-fours with the opium traffic of China. The time will probably come and when it will be necessary to it to be not far distant — — rouse the nation on this cocaine-doping habit. And I must admit that the question answer. In both cases the Governments have found it necessary to introduce legislation making it a criminal offence to be in possession of the forbidden drug. as it regard law's interference as an impertinence almost intolerable. . It is a vice far more easily pursued than that of opium the only facilities required consist of a smoking " of dope. of course. I think the authorities have . evil thorout the that to of stamp opinion firmly will need to punish the men oughly the Government " with a flogging. with a great show of a man can drink himself indignation. why it is that to death with whatever intoxicant he may choose to renders herself liable to purchase.

of the druggists in this country would uncompromisingly refuse to supply any forbidden drug without a doctor's prescription. are those The on little authorities all the cocaine into England. Exactly the same state of 20 affairs pertains with . there appears little doubt that smuggling of cocaine will continue. but the evil still goes on. The idle women who " live in flats. For years past both the Australian and United States Governments have been trying to eliminate the unauthorised importation of opium for their Chinese population. you light a flame that takes a great deal of extinguishing. The strained state of our diplomatic relations with Germany renders it very difficult for the Government to approach our late enemies with a view to action. keeping a check the cocaine sold by the wholesale chemists. with nothing to do all day except amuse themselves. with the possibility of enormous profits. A who smuggle have no difficulty in may be sold illegally by some unscrupulous chemist.S. and presumably will do so as long as opium is worth 12s. OF THE BUSINESS " 295 is not by any means said previously. doping confined exclusively to women who have fallen from the narrow path of virtue. The people they want to get at. Until some international convention comes to an arrangement on the matter.£. but in the main I am quite satisfied that 99 per cent.D. When you arouse the cupidity of mankind. readily fall victims to the insidiousness of a drug that is alleged to be the one thing to make life worth living. I think that the police deal very efficaciously with the evil. a pound in Hong Kong and £20 a pound in Sydney and San Francisco. of course.

But take a walk accompanied by someone who knows the neighbourhood around the hundreds of public-houses and cafes which surround Piccadilly Circus. an ounce of pure cocaine. similar to that in existence in Australia.296 THE DOPE SMUGGLERS regard to cocaine. who hang about the West End of London. would appear to be the passing of a Vagrancy Act. if you were particularly unsophisticated. But short of some drastic Act which gives the police authority to arrest them with- out warrant they can carry out their nefarious trade with a good deal of impunity. with the exception that the profits When one realises that are immeasurably greater. the numerous highways and byways which lie behind . where the police have power to apprehend people whom they suspect of having no lawful means of support. you stand anywhere near Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus for a few nights you will come to recognise in time that there are some hundreds of men and women who apparently do nothing but walk about the streets. the temptation to the hundreds of unscrupulous scoundrels. apart from the imposition of a flogging penalty in the case of the men. after the various adulterers have done with it. both male and female. and you might wonder. may easily fetch £300 or £400. is too obvious to be dilated upon. The remedy. Explore the back streets of Soho. Night after night the same old faces are to be seen. Most of the cocaine pedlars in London are well known to the police. what the owners If of the faces did for a living.

"Do you want to buy any dope ? " And if the neighbour does. dear it is difficult to get now. Look into some of these little cafes and bars and take a casual glance at the occupants. " " seller For sheer impertinence the female dope has her male companion in evil beaten to the pro" Not so very long ago one verbial Yankee frazzle. leans over and whispers. that thoroughfare devoted to expensive jewellery. What could not such a man make of the women who slip quietly into a bar tenanted by flashilydressed creatures. Watch her open her purse. and after getting into conversation with her nearest neighbour. " What on earth do these people do for a living ? " One of these days there will arise someone capable of writing the amazing story that lies behind the gaily-lit main thoroughfares of the West End of London. a man who will be able to see the humour as well as the tragedy of it all. coming to the conclusion that the men were much too cautious in the way they sold . " Ten shillings. take a little white packet from the man.WHISPERS IN THE WEST END 297 the glare of the lights of London. luxurious clothing. a woman who even more quietly orders a drink. secure in the knowledge of a great time of gaiety to come. the interrogator will again whisper. Then ask yourself once more. Keep your eyes open. and then pass on her way sedately. and sweet perfumes. And then cast your eyes on the figure of the man vanishing into the purlieus of Soho." Go for a stroll up Regent Street. and see some smartly-dressed girl being accosted by something that wears the clothing of a man. gloating over having sold for half a sovereign something which was ' ' ! possibly worth fourpence." of these women.

and would be pleased to supply same on request. and one fine night. station. enterprising dope over her wares to the passed pseudo-actress without to find herself question.sergeant told his wife. " convinced of the wisdom of the saying Fools clearly rush in where angels fear to tread. the actress being busy at her theatre. is now doing six months' imprisonment. the actress told her husband." resolved to write to possible clients. the woman in " " question had been supplied with a list of dopers which was not remarkable for its accuracy. and the woman. intimating that she had a regular supply of cocaine. wrote to her inquiring whether she required any cocaine. both male and female." She If the cocaine evil becomes strongly pronounced. etc. only immediately nabbed by two other detectives anxiously watching the knowledge negotiations. and if so.298 their THE DOPE SMUGGLERS " dope. and the husband told the police in turn a certain detective. Now. One can well imagine that the innovation will only come . our police will have no option but to adopt the Continental system of agents provocateurs. etc. suspecting nothing. woman she was. The experienced crooks. unfortunately for enterprise. but evidently their does not extend to detectives' " " because the merchant wives. the wife of the detective-sergeant met the would-be " " seller by appointment at a certain Tube dope Like the sensible . of London make it their boast that they know all the detectives of the West End by sight. Included in the list of probable customers was the name of a well-known actress of irreproachable character.

how." the girl replied with a pout. a woman for preference." the ' girl replied in a burst of candour. for it has ever been a principle of British justice that criminals shall not be encouraged to " " sellepidemic of dope ing thoroughly it is necessary to get rid of the men and women engaged in the traffic." I said. What do you think your life will end in if you persist in drugging How old might you be ? " yourself at your age ? I asked. " " " " " ' Well.TRAGIC LIFE-STORIES 299 about with the utmost reluctance on the part of the authorities. What are you to do when you can't sleep at night. what is it to do with you or anyone else for that " matter ? but. and I got into the habit of taking dope to forget all my troubles. But to stamp out this smoking " in China. I'm twenty-two. when you get up . can't go on long at this sort of thing. They can only be caught and convicted by using such an agent. and if they are allowed to carry on their business practically unmolested they are going to be the means of inculcating into the life of our womenkind a vice which may become as serious as the opiumsin against the law. who will get into touch with " " the sellers and eventually find out who is dope actually behind it all. you Nothing at all. Why do you take cocaine " ? ? little fair-haired girl at a certain London. It is quite certain that kid-glove methods are useless in dealing with those who traffic in forbidden drugs. is in time " Surely you " know asked a pretty night club in what the effect of it I " AnyPerhaps. you know.

alas they find they have put off the turning-over process until it is too late. " is joint. Yet they go on with the vice. to judge by the difficulty of obtaining the cocaine. and said it did not matter." always prosecuted when an opium-den is raided. possibly promising themselves that one day they will turn over a new leaf and give the gay life the go-by. that they are committing a grave sin.300 in the THE DOPE SMUGGLERS morning feeling dead to the world and don't what happens to you ? Answer me that. until. It would presumably be a waste of time attempting ! to persuade educated women to drop this pernicious " " habit. with a flight to London and an attempt to make a living which ended first in failure. then in the night club. Up to the present the authorities have rarely attempted to bring into the dock the women who use The Chinaman who smokes a pipe of cocaine. dope They must be fully aware." care can you say to these women ? By judicious questioning I learnt the life-story of my dainty little companion. but are they not as guilty as anybody else ? If there were no market there ! . well as the individual who keeps the as opium. with these people. so why not try stamping out the cocaine " " amenable evil by making the women who dope to the penalties of the law ? Is not a receiver of stolen property looked upon by the powers that be as infinitely more dangerous than the actual thief ? Nobody wants to see our police-courts filled with women " dopers. but she laughed in the defiant way such women have." true. Nothing does. It was the old. What I told her And drugging herself at twenty-two that six months of it would see her a complete wreck. old story.

would be A STITCH IN TIME no salesmen. and everybody who realises the extent of the menace will quite agree that in such work they are more than fully occupied. it will be necessary to employ hundreds of men in suppressing the vice. Then. I am sure moral it 801 According to the law as the reverse. The Chinese " a stitch not have heard of the old proverb of " in time no such excuse could serve our people. We don't want such a happening as occurred in China over opium twenty years ago. not the fact that cocaine doping useless. The police devote their attention to the roundingup of the smugglers and pedlars. I suppose. One of these days the authorities will awake to " " is increasing. may . > .suasion is stands at present the illegal possession of cocaine is a criminal offence.

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Copplestone's work will find his latest novel as unflagging and unspoiled as ever. hut an . LONDON. W. Bennet Copplestone has scored an unqualified success. Albemarle Street. and has the rare faculty of treating technical subjects in a way which appeals to the lay mind." Daily Telegraph. What we " JOHNIMURRAY. 'Jitny' has my blessing.l . is GILBERT'S CANNIBAL a . . it is and what writes with knowledge." Daily Telegraph. One of the best and most entertaining books on the work of the Navy we remember to have read. I would advise you to get Grenvilles. A ' — — JITNY AND THE BOYS " In the father of his family Mr. — THE LOST NAVAL PAPERS Exciting Stories which reveal the English Secret Service as it really is silent." Punch. individualised human being. will — — THE LAST OF THE GRENVILLES " If Story of Modern Seafare. unsleeping.' which has just come to me from that home of good stories John Murray's House. The book is full of the thoughts which make us proud to-day and help us to face to-morrow. Admirers of Mr. situation worthy of the author's inexhaustible and Willatopy himself is not a mere freak. Yes. "William Dawson is a great a sheer delight. and supremely competent. Copplestone owe to it. you would like a story packed with adventure.By BENNET COPPLESTONE MADAME "Here vivacity." Westminster Gazette. The inimitable Sherlock Holmes surprise — soon be rivalled in popularity by the inscrutable William Dawson. — THE SECRET OF THE NAVY Mr."— Birmingham Post. which reads like an actual record The Last of the from life.

"— tour deforce it is ' Rezanov Post. Daily Telegraph. powerfully THE AVALANCHE ' Effective."— Daily Mail. ably strengthened conviction of Mrs."— THE GORGEOUS "The scene is ISLE West Indian island of Nevis.By "A GERTRUDE ATHERTON ."— Daily Telegraph. is not its least attraction. and the character studies . and the tropical atmosphere pervading it."— laid in the Athmaum. It deals with a situation which is fresh and handled. Albemarle Street. MRS. Morning PERCH OF THE DEVIL prodigious. . without a doubt. LONDON." Morning Post. " Her BALFAME story is whole way through. She pours our her novelistic riches with a prodigal hand. and rendered with the author's usual vividness. Atherton's powers by a reading of this novel. SISTERS-IN-LAW own to a remarkpiece of sound craftsmanship."— Westminster Gazette. ANCESTORS "The story is cleverly told. ' is. .l . are extraordinarily close and subtle. gripping with character as well as mystery to PATIENCE SPARHAWK AMERICAN WIVES AND ENGLISH HUSBANDS JOHN MURRAY." — Spectator. interest the reader. We — REZANOV " "Asa A novel of extraordinary power and beauty. . Her novel is not one which the reader gets tired of. JULIA FRANCE "She is AND HER TIMES not niggardly with her gifts. a great work of art. . W. absorbing and exceedingly well managed the The craftsmanship is most excellent.

the artist's factotum." — we Mr. " In his logical conduct of an absurd proposition. W. There is not a dull page might say. laughter was .' The boy who brings the accursed image to Champion's house.'' Times. Anstey's unique gift of fantastical is fuel for laughter on every page. in his ' most surly mood. is solved in a THE " " PARIAH. and there THE . A FALLEN IDOL. the ex-butler who has turned policeman." The Saturday Review." Morning "The Tost. JOHN MURRAY. of best and ." Spectator. could hardly " The Talking Horse. London. THE TALKING HORSE "The grimmest resist the fun of and other tales. best ever there .' Athenceum. Anstey has surpassed himself in Lyre and Lancet.' of the brightest and most entertaining bits of comedy had for many a day. One Extremely entertaining reading. humour. Anstey has once more shown himself to be an artist and a humorist of uncommon and enviable merit. Yarker. "Will delight the multitudinous public that laughed over 'Vice Versa. ANSTEY. and above all Mr." Illustrated. . in his brisk dialogue and effective characterisation. The " If F. — LYRE AND LANCET. . of mortals. Mr. . a book made up from beginning to end it is " Vice Versa. in bis fantastic handling of the supernatural. not a dull sentence in it.BY VICE VERSA. are figures whom it is as pleasant to meet as it is impossible to forget. Mr." Saturday Review." read and cannot cease reading till the puzzle Pall Mall Gazette. THE GIANT'S ROBE.l. plot gives full scope to Mr. . Albemarle Street. ' we have IN BRIEF AUTHORITY. known laughter-making story of school.BRASS BOTTLE. " We series of exciting situations. Bales.

10. cloth. 13. Mr. 7. F'cap 8vo. JOHN MURRAY. 11. WEYMAN . W. 14. net. THE WILD GEESE.The Novels of STANLEY Many some of Stanley J. 15. THE HOUSE OF THE WOLF. 19. THE LONG NIGHT. 6d. SHREWSBURY. The . . tion by Mr. 3s. and The first volume contains an Introducarranged chronologically. printed on thin paper. ' reader will be scarcely conscious of taking breath. 12. net leather. UNDER THE RED ROBE. 8. Weyman has proved that he is far superior to his competitors. Weyman. MEMORIES OF A MINISTER OF FRANCE. Mr. 5. THE STORY OF FRANCIS CLUDDE. A GENTLEMAN OF FRANCE. 17. 4. 18. THE NEW RECTOR. THE CASTLE INN. . 1. London. THE ABBESS OF VLAYE. 2. COUNT HANNIBAL. 1. 16. 5s.. LAID UP IN LAVENDER. 6.' — in the field Illustrated of romance London News. STARVECROW FARM. 20. SOPHIA. THE GREAT HOUSE. MY LADY ROTHA. THE RED COCKADE. 21. Albemarle Street. CHIPPINGE. Murray has Weyman's volumes have been unobtainable for now issued an Author's Complete Edition in twenty-one volumes of handy size. 3. . There is a perfect mastery of picturesque incident set down in excellent prose. 9. time. THE MAN IN BLACK. IN KINGS' BYWAYS.

from Bound CROWN OCTAVO . EDITION. MURRAY'S 2s. clear type on in cloth. For him. 5s. THE GREY LADY. or in leather. SERIES:—THE SOWERS. : the Spaniard. net NOVEL . He learnt his language. FROM ONE GENERATION TO ANOTHER. and to see Spain. Poland or Russia with the eyes and from the point of view of . there were no alien countries. or the aubefge where the tourist was never seen to sit in the local cafes of an evening and listen to local politics — and gossip to read for the time nothing but the native newspapers and no literature but the literature. the Pole or the Russian. of the strongest characteristics in Henry Seton Merriman's it is certainly one of the strongest characteristics in his was his sympathy with." Note in The Slave of the Lamp. and in consequence. past and present. of the land where he was sojourning to follow the native customs.The Novels of HENRY SETON MERRIMAN "One books. to well printed thin paper. THE SLAVE OF THE LAMP. —From the Biographical TITLES The Slave of the Lamp The Sowers From One Generation Another With Edged Tools The Grey Lady Flotsam In Kedar's Tents Roden's Corner The Isle of Unrest The Velvet Glove EDITIONS ~ THIN PAPER EDITION Fourteen volumes of handy size. the nature. . net. indeed. 6s. his understanding mind of the foreigner. as of. completely in the life learnt the character of the stranger as quickly as he His greatest delight was to merge himself and interests of the country he was visiting — to stay at the mean venia. not. . Fourteen volumes in uniform blue cloth binding 7s 6d net each The Vultures Barlasch of the Guard Tomaso's Fortune and Other Stories The Last Hope WITH EDGED TOOLS.

By Charlotte Bronte. Benson. by Charlotte. Emily. is included in JANE EYRE. Edited by A. of the title and A facsimile each volume. : LONDON: JOHN MURRAY . THE LIFE Gaskell. 7 volumes (as above). 4. Including some Poems hitherto unprinted. Emily. SHIRLEY. By Mrs. By Charlotte Bronte. GREY. POEMS Selections from the Poetry of Charlotte. By Anne 7. C. page of the first edition Large Crown 8vo. WUTHERING HEIGHTS. 2. Shorter. i. CHARLOTTE BRONTE. By Emily Bronte. and POEMS. OF POPULAR EDITION. By Charlotte Bronte. VILLETTE. 3. with Introductions by Portraits Mrs. and Anne Bronte and the Rev. Patrick Bronte. HALL. and Branwell Bronte. By Charlotte Bronte. AQNES 6. Humphry Ward. Small Post 8vo.The Life and Works of CHARLOTTE BRONTE and her Sisters EMILY AND ANNE BRONTE HAWORTH EDITION In seven volumes. THE PROFESSOR. By Anne Bronte. with Portraits and two Facsimile MSS. Anne. THE TENANT OF WILDFELL Bronte. and Illustrated with Views of places described in the books. With an Introduction and Notes by Clement K. 5. With Photogravure Portraits and other Illustrations.

S. and Scenery. ROMANY A Sequel RYE.The Works THE BIBLE or. Knapp. Unaltered Text of the original issue Episodes now printed for the first time Vocabulary. Collated and revised by Professor W. Map. I. his By Herbert With Jenkins. Edition. of : the Romany or English Gipsy THE LIFE OF GEORGE BORROW. W. etc. Containing the some Suppressed . 12 Illustrations by A. G. : of an Englishman in an Attempt to Circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula. With 2 Photogravures and 7 Illustrations by A. and Language. and Hartrick. 3 THE GYPSIES OF SPAIN LAVENGRO The : Their Manners. of George Borrow . Correspondence. the Priest. Customs. the Gypsy. Adventures. Official Compiled from Unpublished Works. 2 Half-Tone Illustrations. With Photogravure. Variorum. and Imprisonments With Photogravures and a Map. Language. With the Notes and Glossary of Ulick Burke. to Lavengro. Kitton. and 8 Pen and Ink Sketches by Percy Wadham. MS. DEFINITIVE EDITION IN SPAIN The Journeys. Wallis Mills. Religion. With Photogravure Portrait. Documents. Illustrations. Knapp. and Notes by Professor . New ROMANO LAVO-LIL The Word Book Language. I. With Photogravure and 7 Pen and Ink Sketches by F. Scholar. . WILD WALES: Its People.

LEONARD HUXLEY. ' " It is one of the few magazines of which a complete set stock for the benefit of borrowers. though th<< The 'note' of the 'Cornhil! fringe of them is often touched." ' My Committee are kind. (Postage extra)." Oxford Magazine. and public affairs have for the most part been avoided.D. . upon inquiry at our five and certainly it appeals to of opinion that there is room for one of its (Personally.' I * find well read.' of Culture and Anarchy. and that is the 'Cornhill' itself. May I take this opportunity of expressing my own admiration for the high literary tone which you preserve in the " Cornhill.' I have been on the search. .CORNHILL MAGAZINE Edited by ' I5. " — " The counsel of perfection is to its may " not only enjoy purchase the 'Cornhill. as Matthew Arnold describes it the pages. . . 'Cornhill' is in a class by itself and is full of the most entertaining reading with real literary flavour.) I may say at once that the Cornhill' exactly meets the wants of a select body of readers." Liverpool Courier." Guardian. wide. is the literary note. . .' that you contents but keep them to show a friend. ii ' ' : —SIR EDWARD COOK OPINIONS OF LIBRARIANS. Libraries that the 'Cornhill' is a section of readers who can appreciate better literary fare than is offered in most cf the modern monthlies. . in the widest sense of the term its soul is thtl spirit of that humane culture. " In turning over the pages of Can a magazine have a soul ? hundred volumes of the Cornhill. the methods of treatment are infinitely various. — will The Cornhill price Is . Politic. ." is kept in OPINIONS OF THE PRESS. Qd net monthly Annual Subscription 18s. .6A n« MONTHU LL. — Those of us who are not in the habit of reading the magazine be well advised to repair the omission.' t!te . I think there is only one of the 'Cornhill' kind. . reprinted from the Cornhill. and The range of subjects is verv I believe I have found it. can be obtained of all Booksellers and Newsagents.

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i? ."2JS" JUL qMK& n OV5U L7F4 ?L Felstead Sidney Theodore The underworld of London .

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