1At curtain, hoarse voices – NEWSPAPER BOY calling papers- “‘Ere yer are- Special- Great Jewel Robbery- Theft of the Melrose -Paper!” etc.
SCENE:- RAFFLES’S chambers, The Albany, London. A square room artistically decorated and furnished, showing evidence of wealth and refinement. At back, two solid doors opening into room- one of these doors R. C. when open hides a large carved oak Nuremburg clock2 set into wall. This clock has a door large enough to admit a man. The hands have stopped at some obviously wrong hour- 6.40. In dining-room at back, a stained glass window to open. Door into small lobby L. A cabinet bookcase from C. doors to L. about 6 feet high, and decorated with busts, etc. On the walls, reproductions of Watts and Burne-Jones, cricket groups,3 and prominent “Vanity Fair” cartoon of RAFFLES in flannels.4 Table R.C. On it- lamp, shaded.
TIME:- 7 o’clock same evening. Foggy without, so that some artificial light is required within.
At rise of curtain, room empty- dark. Noise of key in lock, outer door. BARRACLOUGH turns up light in room, opens inner door -picks up cricket and dressing bags in R. hand. Enters room, places bags on floor to clear double doors when they are opened. By this time we have heard outer door slammed.
RAFFLES enters. BARRACLOUGH helps him off with his overcoat and takes his hat.
RAFFLES: Anything happened while I’ve been away?
BARRACLOUGH: Nothing of importance, sir — except letters.
RAFFLES (Crossing to writing-table- moving letters on table): Those can wait.
(BARRACLOUGH opens double doors, picks up the two bags, enters inner room, turns up light, takes both bags off R. Returns, closes R. half of double doors, stands below them. )
RAFFLES: Barraclough! (Sees him.) Oh! Dust pretty thick!
BARRACLOUGH: You told me not to touch nothink, sir.
RAFFLES: Exactly! and you did as you were told. (Tips him.) Stout fellow!
(BARRACLOUGH grinning with sovereign in palm[since a sovereign is gold, it would be obvious to the audience what coin Barraclough held.[/ref], salutes. RAFFLES back down stage to writing-table.)
BARRACLOUGH: I thank you, sir.
(Exits -Leaves inner door open.)
(Outer door slams. RAFFLES crosses and closes inner door, then goes up to clock, winds clock up, sets hands to 6.45, clock strikes the three-quarters. Then sets clock to 7 o’clock, clock strikes the four quarters – then the hours. RAFFLES closes glass door of clock. Whistles or hums. Goes to sideboard, gets whisky, syphon of soda and 2 glasses, puts them on table. Goes up into inner room. Returns – switches off light in inner room. Shuts L. half of double door. Turns up lamp on table, takes necklace out of pocket, throws it on table, sits in chair, takes up necklace.)
RAFFLES: Piecemeal in Amsterdam or Paris- without the slightest risk. (Shakes his head.) Too big a shame! (Gloats longingly over gems until Bell rings, when he drops them in his pocket – rises, looks at clock, crosses rapidly to door, opens door, then outer door- outside.)
Ah, there you are! Come in, old chap!
RAFFLES: Isn’t it poisonous?
Ordered dinner at the club? (Closes inner door.)
BUNNY: Rather- a jolly good one- and got your letters. (Throws letters on table)-just one or two.5 (Takes off coat and hat and throws them on low end of sofa.)
RAFFLES: Invitations, Bunny! Mrs. Vidal – already. (Throws letter on writing-table, unopened. Opens two or three others.)
BUNNY: Lucky chap you are A.J., asked everywhere – know everybody – got everything in the world a man wants.
RAFFLES: Far from it, Bunny. So far from it that I’m tired of the whole game. I’m thinking of chucking it.
BUNNY: Not you!
RAFFLES: Yes, I-Bunny-
Yes — I suppose I could spend a good many months in dull country houses; but if you knew how much I should prefer some “Never, Never Land.”6
BUNNY: I was right, A.J.- she does care for you- and you are hit.7
RAFFLES: Nonsense, Bunny!
RAFFLES: Don’t talk rot. Good Lord! Do you think I would allow myself to get fond of a sweet girl like that? I’m not the sort of chap. I’ll make that all right; in fact, I have.
BUNNY: You are the better man- why should you?
RAFFLES: Because– Do let’s talk of something else for goodness’ sake!
BUNNY: By Jove, now you’re down.
RAFFLES: Only a bit of a reaction after last night. What’s the news at the Club?
BUNNY: Theft of the Melrose diamonds in all the evening papers.
RAFFLES: What a godsend for them!
BUNNY: Extras everywhere- “Amateur Cracksman Milchester Abbey-Theft of Lady Melrose’s necklace” -huge placards and hoarse voices. I say …. You don’t think Crowley ….
RAFFLES: Good heavens, no!
BUNNY: No more do I; but it looked as though Bedford did; and after all, a man who’s keen at cards-
RAFFLES: No, no, Bunny, there’s nothing in that; though, personally, I’d sooner rob a cathedral than fleece my guest.
BUNNY: I can’t thank you enough for promising to see me through. I could never tell you what I feel. But you shall be repaid, A.J., you shall!
RAFFLES: That’s all right. So are you, Bunny! You’re a dear, good chap. Take an old pal’s tip -pull yourself together while you can- and swear by all your gods to deserve – whatever the gods may send you.
BUNNY: I will, A.J.
RAFFLES: The gods may send us more than we bargain for before the night’s out.
BUNNY: Bedford backs himself to restore the necklace by midnight, doesn’t he? I wonder if he will!
RAFFLES: I wonder if he will!
(Slight pause, then bell.)
Hullo! who the devil’ s that? (Opens inner, then outer door.)
CROWLEY (at outer door): Run you to earth, old chap!8
BUNNY: Crowley! (Bus. with paper, takes it up, pretends to read it.)
RAFFLES: Oh, it’s you, Crowley. Come in.
CROWLEY: Manders, of all people! Quite unique! -just thinking of you … wondering if you wouldn’t like your revenge.
BUNNY: No, thanks, I’ve sworn off.
CROWLEY: So have I -lots of times.
RAFFLES (curtly, proffering cigarette box): Have a cigarette?
CROWLEY: One of my own if you don’t mind.
(CROWLEY opening his gold cigarette case. A cheque falls out, at which BUNNY recoils in horror, picking it up.)
Your cheque. Not paid in yet, you see. Never would be if you won it back. I was just too late for the Bank.
RAFFLES: I should be on the steps first thing on Monday morning. What’s brought you up, if I may ask?
CROWLEY: Pouring rain- no match- women all nerves- wouldn’t face another night at the Abbey with only me to protect ’em- all came up together at a moment’s notice by the 12.10.
RAFFLES: All of you, eh? No further developments down there?
CROWLEY: No-yes- French maid vanished into space.
CROWLEY: But I see there’s some development at this end.
RAFFLES (frowning): At this end. What d’you mean?
CROWLEY: Haven’t you seen Bedford?
RAFFLES (sits up alert): Have you?
CROWLEY: This very minute, here in the court-yard.
RAFFLES: What did he say?
CROWLEY: Say? The little blighter fairly leapt down my throat the moment I opened my mouth. Quite unique!
RAFFLES: I asked him to look me up. He’s lost no time.
CROWLEY: By the way, Crowley House9 is uninhabitable, so we’re all pigging it at the Carlton.
(Aside to RAFFLES.): I say, Gwen wants to see you. Something’s up- she wouldn’t tell me what.
RAFFLES: I’m leaving town to-night.
BUNNY: You -leaving town?
RAFFLES: Yes- I was going to tell you, Bunny.
CROWLEY: I say, this is too unique. Thieves in the night, rain in the morning, autumn mist in town, and Raffles on the run as though we were the plague.
RAFFLES: Bunny, do you mind? (Motions to door.)
(BUNNY opens both doors.)
BEDFORD: Why, how do you do, Mr. Manders?
CROWLEY (rises, throws cigarette into ash tray, picks up his hat- sotto voce): Here is the little blighter, and I’m off. (Crosses over to bookcase.)
RAFFLES: Stout fellow! Glad to see you; you know Crowley?
BEDFORD: Ah, yes. (Offers his hand to CROWLEY, which CROWLEY ignores.)
CROWLEY: Oh, how do you do? (Going.) Ta, ta! I won’t stop! See you later. Let myself out.
(Exit. Door slam.)
(BUNNY closes inner door.)
RAFFLES: Glad to see you. Come and sit down.
BEDFORD (gazing after CROWLEY): Guess I’ve trod upon the Crowley corns.Our noble young friend may say what he durn pleases to the Metropolitan Police in the execution of their duty – but he don’t catechise me.10
RAFFLES: You aren’t here in the execution of your duty.
BEDFORD: Oh yes, I am- my duty to you, Mr. Raffles.
RAFFLES: How very considerate!
BEDFORD: Don’t name it.11
RAFFLES: With the awful warning of Crowley before us, we neither of us like to ask what’s happened.
BEDFORD: Guess I’ve come to tell you.
BEDFORD: To put you on your guard. (Looking at RAFFLES very keenly.)
RAFFLES: Our guard, eh, Bunny?
BUNNY: This is exciting.
BEDFORD: It has been. You heard Lord Amersteth promise me his best car down at Milchester, this morning; he subsequently gave me leave to drive that automobile to the devil. I guess it was the devil itself drove that automobile slick up to London town and landed me just in time to meet the Melrose lady’s maid in her widow’s weeds12 at Clapham Junction.
(RAFFLES hands cigarette box to BEDFORD.)
BUNNY: I noticed a little widow in our train.
(BEDFORD takes cigarette. RAFFLES puts box back on table.)
BEDFORD: That was Mademoiselle. She led me like a bird to the depot of the gang off the Fulham Road. In a couple of hours I was following friend Crawshay himself.
BUNNY: I’d have given him in charge.
RAFFLES: Where was Crawshay to lead you?
BEDFORD: To the diamonds.
RAFFLES: And has he?
BEDFORD: I can’t say so.
RAFFLES: Oh, what a pity! Have a whiskey and soda?
BEDFORD: Thanks, no. Fog enough outside; don’t want it inside too.
RAFFLES: The earliest I ever remember. Was that how you lost Crawshay?
BEDFORD: I’ve not lost him. The Crawshay passion for revenge is evidently stronger than the ordinary crook’s love of diamonds. I told you I’d come to put you on your guard. I meant against Crawshay. He’s here.
BUNNY: In the Albany?
BEDFORD: Here – in the Albany. My men are watching him.
BUNNY: Looking for Raffles and revenge.
RAFFLES: What a joke!
BEDFORD: You did handle him rather roughly last night, and you heard what he said.
RAFFLES: Stout fellow, I admire him, and I’m really very grateful to you. I call it so -what shall I say?- so friendly of you.
BEDFORD: It was a duty to you, Mr. Raffles.
RAFFLES: Sporting idea of duty, wasting your time on me. It may lose you our bet!
BEDFORD: Nothing will do that. I shall win that bet, Raffles. I shall lay hands on the necklace sooner than you think.
RAFFLES: Yes, but not before midnight.
BEDFORD: Perhaps before either of us is an hour older.
BUNNY (aside): What the devil does he mean?
RAFFLES: I see! You think Crawshay made sure of the plunder before coming for his revenge?
BEDFORD: That he’s probably brought it with him.
BUNNY (in awe, looks round room): And is in hiding in these rooms?
BEDFORD (nods to BUNNY): Say! Do you mind if I have a look?
RAFFLES: Not in the least.
(BEDFORD crosses to below double doors. RAFFLES picks up letters from writing-table and pretends to be looking at them. BEDFORD goes up and pauses in front of clock, pauses at folding doors.)
BEDFORD: In here?
RAFFLES: My dear fellow, wherever you like.
(BEDFORD opens double doors. Exit into inner room, goes up to window, stands on chest, opens it, looks out. Comes down from chest, entering double doors far enough to see what RAFFLES is doing. RAFFLES pretends to be busy with letters. BEDFORD goes in R. of inner room.)
BUNNY (calling RAFFLES’S attention to BEDFORD.): Sst!
RAFFLES (looking up from letters): He’s all right.
BUNNY: Beastly cheek, if you ask me!
(BUNNY goes into inner room.)
BEDFORD (off ): Say, what about this cupboard?
RAFFLES (turns quickly): Which cupboard?
BEDFORD (coming to opening): Why, this one. (Pointing to back of clock.)
RAFFLES: Is it locked?- I’ll bring the key.
(Exit into inner room, BUNNY follows.)
BEDFORD (off): I see- only coats.
RAFFLES: It’s the only way to keep coats. (Locks cupboard,· they return to inner room. RAFFLES closes double doors.)
BEDFORD (to Bunny): Say, he’s got bully rooms here.
BUNNY: Yes, awfully bully.
BEDFORD: Say, what a nice lot of books. Browning! I could never understand a word that fellow wrote.13
RAFFLES: Really! I find him easier to understand than myself.
BEDFORD: Say, that’s a fine old clock.
RAFFLES (laughing): Like to look in there?
BEDFORD: You do know a good thing when you see one. I’m best at spotting the wrong ‘uns.
RAFFLES: Thank your stars you’re not a wrong ‘un, Bunny. He might spot you.
BEDFORD: I thought the inner room was the bedroom.
RAFFLES: Yes, it is if you keep a man. I don’t; I use the room provided for him upstairs. Quite separate.
BEDFORD: Then Mr. Manders doesn’t live with you?14
RAFFLES: No. I wish he did. We’re the oldest pals, aren’t we, Bunny?
RAFFLES: He used to fag for me at school.
BUNNY: I oiled his bat the day before he made 127 against the M.C.C.
RAFFLES: My one ewe century.
BUNNY: Rot! That’s his cartoon in Vanity Fair. They had to print a second edition.
(BEDFORD examining cartoon.)
(Bell. RAFFLES on hearing bell goes quickly up to sideboard, opens drawer and takes out revolver, slips case into hip trousers pocket, unseen by BEDFORD or BUNNY, and then answers door bell.)
MERTON (off ): Mr. Bedford-
RAFFLES: Bedford, here’s your man.
BEDFORD: Come in, Merton! (sharply): Well, Merton?
MERTON: We’ve located the man; he’s on the roof.
BEDFORD: Don’t press him. Does he know he’s followed?
MERTON: Not he, sir.
BEDFORD: Good. Give him rope enough.15
I’ll come, Merton. He’ll be calling on you yet, Mr. Raffles.
RAFFLES: Sorry I can’t join the dance. Manders and I are dining at the club. You can’t join us, of course?
BEDFORD: So sorry.
RAFFLES: If you care to look us up later, do; the porter will let you in with his key, if I’m not back.
BEDFORD: Thanks! It’s very good of you.
RAFFLES: I hope you find the jewels.
BEDFORD: By midnight.
RAFFLES (laughing): I think not- no-
BEDFORD (laughing): I think so -yes. Goodnight, Mr. Manders. Good-night, Mr. Raffles.
(Slam of outer door. RAFFLES shuts inner door, listens as though to discover if BEDFORD really leaves.)
BUNNY: Odd manner that chap’s got. I agree with Crowley.
(RAFFLES now has a new manner- all the alertness of a clever, half-sane criminal at bay. Crosses quickly to window. Looks out, cautiously using window curtain for a shield.)
RAFFLES: Man below; I thought so.
BUNNY: What was he driving at?
RAFFLES: The Cracksman!
BUNNY: What’s the Cracksman got to do with you?
RAFFLES: Can’t you guess?
RAFFLES (pause): I’m the man himself.
(BUNNY stands staring at him for a moment or two, then roars with laughter in RAFFLES’s face.)
I’m not joking, Bunny.
BUNNY (with another laugh): Oh, go to blazes!
RAFFLES: I tell you it’s no joke. Is it a time for one? There- there then, you silly ass. (Displays revolver and necklace .)
(A pause. BUNNY looks at necklace, then at RAFFLES, then backs a step.)
BUNNY: The necklace! A.J.! A.J.! The straightest chap I ever knew!
RAFFLES: Straight by day – crooked – (Drops revolver and necklace on table) as hell by night! How else do you suppose I live? (Takes out of pocket 6 cartridges which he throws in ash tray.) Anybody but you would have guessed it from the first.
BUNNY: God! I remember now … lots of things. (Back a few steps.) A.J …. A.J.! (Turns, looks at RAFFLES, then sinks, shaken by sobs on lower end of settee.)
RAFFLES: Poor old chap! Poor old chap! I never knew you thought so much of me. You knew what a scoundrel I was at school – getting out at nights – that started me. Yet it was you who used to let the rope down for me – you were the loyal little prince of fags – and last night you said you’d go through hell for me! You did, Bunny! Those were your words. Now’s your chance, if you meant them – if you want to keep up your end. A beast of a wicket, and good bowling at both ends. It’ll be a case of jumping out to hit. Thank God I was always nippy on my feet!
BUNNY (turning away): The straightest of all my pals! The man who used to keep me straight!
(RAFFLES, to table for whisky and soda, mixes it with his back to BUNNY.)
It’s the last straw -Gwen. gone- all gone. (Sees revolver, discovers it to be empty.) This is the one thing left for me! (After loading two chambers of revolver, points it at his own face, but cannot face death. With a groan, puts revolver down on table -paper over it- sits in chair, buries his head in his hands.)
RAFFLES: Here! Come! Come!
BUNNY (pushes it away): You of all men! You a thief!
RAFFLES (puts drink on table): The thief, thank you. The only one that counts. Be just- if you can’t be generous. I believe there’s a record reward for me. I should win it, if I were you.
BUNNY (angrily rises): Raffles!
RAFFLES: It’s a pal’s perquisite. (Goes to door, opens it.) Call them, Bunny -they’ll hear you.
BUNNY: No! damn you! I’d sooner die first.
RAFFLES (shuts door): Ah! then we’ll fight ’em together, we’ll fight ’em to a finish! you’re in at the other end. Keep up your wicket and leave the rest to me.
BUNNY (facing audience): Never to know till now!
RAFFLES: Nobody does, except Mrs. Vidal. I wonder if she’ll dare-
BUNNY: How can you … in God’s name, A.J., how can you?
RAFFLES: Do you think I haven’t often asked myself the same question? It was born in me, Bunny. Some taint in the blood- God knows where I got it from.
BUNNY: My hero!- A.J. Raffles, the slow bowler!
RAFFLES: That doesn’t make it any worse, Bunny. It’s an extenuating circumstance. There’s an absolute affinity between the two things -a defence to be broken down -a weak spot to be found. But what’s a man’s wicket to his family plate? And what excitement will a whole season offer to compare with one minute at dead of night on another man’s stairs? A door opens; some one listening. Are they coming down to find out what they heard, or are they going back to bed? Our friend Crawshay would find nothing in cricket to come up to that. Take a felon’s word for it, the dreadful game beats any other in the world for excitement- sensation- sport. (Pause.)- But it’s the last wicket now!
BUNNY (jumps up, goes to him with hand out-stretched): Then we’ll win by a wicket; we’ll beat them, I’ll stand by you!
RAFFLES (shaking hands with both his hands): You would -I know you would. (Pause-drops BUNNY’s hand.)
But I’m not going to let you, all the same.
BUNNY: You must.
RAFFLES: No, you leave me. I’ll worry through.
BUNNY: Leave you! leave you! after the way you stood by me last night.
RAFFLES (his face lightening): Ah -last night! I was forgetting. The bet- But, I say, you must clear out, old chap.
RAFFLES (goes to get necklace): Bedford’s coming back. He may have another move. (Picks up necklace.) You must take this and keep it till I want it.
BUNNY: Loose in my pocket?
RAFFLES (laughs): We’ll find a jewel case of sorts.
(RAFFLES goes first to writing-table, picks up silver cigarette box, discards it, goes to cabinet, finds pouch.)
The very thing! (Takes out tobacco.) Latest kind of cotton wool, too. (Packing necklace in pouch.)16
BUNNY: Ssh! (Puts hand on arm- motions to doors with head.)
(RAFFLES turns head slowly, looks over his L. shoulder, turns back to BUNNY, nods his head, motions to him. RAFFLES buttons up coat, backing to L. of double doors the while. BUNNY creeps up to R. of double doors. When they both have their hand on door knobs, RAFFLES motions to BUNNY, they both open doors suddenly. CRAWSHAY stands there- his ugly face pale and resolute. The window at back is open, and a dangling rope can be seen.)
CRAWSHAY: Didn’t h’ expect me- did yer, gents? Gawd love yer, but I’m ‘ere.
RAFFLES: How are you, Mr. Crawshay? (sits on back of table, back to audience – coolly, still packing pouch – never turns his back on CRAWSHAY) What do you want?
CRAWSHAY: Wot do I want? (Pause of mingled rage and admiration.) Fair do’s. Nothink else. Fair do’s.
RAFFLES (finishing packing pouch – turns, faces audience): You speak in parables, my friend.
CRAWSHA Y (fiercely): Don’t you start talkin’ through yer neck at me! It ain’t the first time you done me in. It ain’t the first time- (Moves chair out of his way, gets closer to RAFFLES.) But, by God-it’s the last! I like yer cheek- you, stayin’ in the ‘ouse, an’ me ‘idin’ in the shrubbery! You got the sparkles out with ’em! (Holds out hand.)
RAFFLES (offering pouch, hand extended): You wouldn’t like this baccy.
CRAWSHAY (knocks pouch away): It’s not the baccy-
(RAFFLES shrugs, laughs and throws pouch on table, to BUNNY’S horror.)
It’s my share o’ the sparkles.
RAFFLES: Mr. Crawshay, you tempt me strongly to go to that door and call up the police.
RAFFLES: They followed you- they’re looking for you on the roof at this moment.
CRAWSHAY: Very well, then, they’ll cop the lot of us in ‘ere!- in ‘ere!- see?
RAFFLES: Very well, let them. (Moves to door)
CRAWSHAY (with a snarl and a bound, gets to door): No yer don’t! And no yer wouldn’t if yer could!
RAFFLES: Why not?
CRAWSHAY: ‘Cause we’re brothers- ’cause we’re pals. You don’t want to be copped any more’n me. Oh, I’ve put salt on yer mister. They want you more’n they do me- it’s the Amateur Cracksman they’re after!
RAFFLES (points to whisky, and puts back chair that CRAWSHAY moved): Have a whisky and soda?
CRAWSHAY: Gawd love yer, no, I takes it neat- but I talks business first. You ain’t a-goin’ to blow the gaff on me, yer cuckoo, w’en I can blow it on you as easy as kiss me ‘and-!
RAFFLES: You grasp the situation Bunny? If our friend here is to fall into the bottomless pit of penal servitude, he is nobly resolved to drag us after him.
CRAWSHAY: Yus, that’s it.
RAFFLES: “Yus!” You may “catch his clear accents” without happening to “speak his great language.”17 I have offered you perhaps a flowery translation. (CRAWSHAY glares.)
RAFFLES: Now we’ve “the mild and magnificent eye.”
CRAWSHAY: Talkin’ through yer neck again! Talk out straight, curse yer! (Going close to RAFFLES with clenched fist, threatening him.)
RAFFLES (briskly): Right! I’ll talk as straight as you like – I’ll take this thing on – I’ll see you through, fool though you are!
CRAWSHAY: ‘Ere, I say! (Still with fist up.)
RAFFLES: You’ve said enough. You’ve got to listen to a better man.
RAFFLES: And obey him. (Pause- CRAWSHAY hesitates, then drops his fist.) I’ll see you through my own way, or not at all. If you don’t like it there’s the door – Get out -say what you like, and be damned to you!
BUNNY (strongly): It’s all very well …
RAFFLES (stronger): My dear Bunny, I know what I’m doing – if there’s time to do it.
CRAWSHAY (cringing, backing a step, takes cap off, wipes his forehead with back of his hand): Gawd love yer, and I know w’ere I am ‘wen yer talk like that! That is talkin’, that is. I like a bloke as can get his tongue between his teeth. (Backing to door)
RAFFLES: Come away from that door.
CRAWSHAY: All right Guv’nor, all right! I didn’t mean no ‘arm. (looking at open window.) I didn’t mean no ‘arm.
RAFFLES (watches him round): Bunny, go and dress. Don’t wait for me. We’ll meet at the club.
BUNNY (watching CRAWSHAY): I’m going to wait for you.
RAFFLES: You are not! You’ll spoil the game if you don’t obey orders.
BUNNY: What is the game?
RAFFLES: You’ll see. The orders are to leave me and Mr. Crawshay to settle our little difference like – birds of a feather.
BUNNY (pleadingly): My dear chap!
RAFFLES: It’s bagging the bowling, Bunny. That’s all it is. You want to keep your end up. This is the way. Come, there’s a good chap.
(BUNNY gets hat and coat from sofa. Crosses to door, opens it.)
Hi, you’ve forgotten your pouch!
(Movement from BUNNY who realizes what the pouch means.)
(Picking it up to CRAWSHAY.) Sure you don’t want a fill?
CRAWSHAY (growling): Gam!18
RAFFLES: You hear what he says? “Gam!” (Tossing pouch to BUNNY.) And mind you bring it back- there’s no mixture to touch it. (BUNNY catches pouch.)
(CRAWSHAY goes up and looks out of window. Exit BUNNY. RAFFLES goes and closes door, locks it, takes key, and puts it in his pocket. CRAWSHAY turns to RAFFLES.)
Now, friend Crawshay- We’re alone and man to man. You can’t go the way you came. They’re busy looking for you on the roof. What can I do for you?
CRAWSHAY: You know-the sparkles-and either I’ll get ’em or I’ll (shaking fist in his face) get you -(throws chair into inner room.) I’m top dog this time.
RAFFLES: Well, don’t you let the elevation turn your head.
CRAWSHAY (snarls): If you talk through yer neck again I’ll take and twist it for yer. See?
RAFFLES (goes gradually back towards large table, keeping his face to CRAWSHAY): Don’t bark so much. The pity is that you can’t absorb an idea unless it’s driven through your thick skull with a club, or planted between your eyes with a fist. You’re heavy clay, Crawshay -very heavy clay.
CRAWSHAY: Dirt, am I? (Threatening, fist clenched, going to RAFFLES.)
RAFFLES: Stop! don’t you come any nearer!
CRAWSHAY: Show up the swag!
RAFFLES: Diamonds before- Crawshay? (Keeps his eyes on him while he turns.) You’ll never see them again no more shall I.
CRAWSHAY (fiercely): Then my share of what they fetched.
RAFFLES: They didn’t fetch anything. You wouldn’t have them, so they’re on their way back to their lawful owner.
CRAWSHAY: I wouldn’t ‘ave them?
RAFFLES: No, they were in that tobacco pouch I offered you just now.
CRAWSHAY: Oh I’ll do you in for this! (Turns up coat sleeve, brings hand down on paper, which strikes hidden revolver; throws paper away, sees revolver, seizes it and points it at RAFFLES.) I got you now!
RAFFLES (laughing): Pull the trigger – pull it – pull it! You see, it’s as empty as your skull.
CRAWSHAY (triumphantly): It ain’t; it ain’t. I’ll do you in! (Takes aim)
(On the first “It ain’t” RAFFLES looks on table for cartridges, sees three gone.)
RAFFLES (looking down revolver barrel): Kill me, I suppose. Well, of course you can do that if you like. Mind you, it makes an awful row indoors. You’ll swing for it all right.
CRAWSHAY: It’ll be worth it- for you!
RAFFLES: Ever seen a man condemned to death? I have. Quite an interesting performance. The judge puts on the black cap. It isn’t a cap, you know-just a square bit of black stuff; I’m telling you so that you’ll know. The murderer I saw clung to the dock-rail like a wet towel. One of the reporters fainted. It may have been the gas; you could hear every jet of it burning when the nice old gentleman in the black square moistened his lips and dabbed his eyes. Then you’ll find that you are to be taken to the place from whence you came, and thence to the place of execution, there to be hanged by the neck till you’re dead- and may the Lord have mercy on your soul.
(CRAWSHAY has been swaying during the foregoing, at this point he groans, revolver in hand, drops it on the table.)
You’d better take a seat; they’ll give you one at the Old Bailey; and they’ll prop you up on the drop,19 if your knees tremble as they’re doing now. (Picks up revolver, puts it in his pocket.)
(CRAWSHAY falls into chair)
And now you’d better have your drink.
CRAWSHAY (hoarsely): Yuss- neat.
(RAFFLES staggering to table, takes up glass, drinks it off- it has whisky in it left previously -gives sigh of relief, smiles, pours out more whisky for CRAWSHAY, crosses down to him.)
(CRAWSHAY takes glass.)
I’m not worth it, Crawshay. I’m not, really.
(CRAWSHAY empties glass.)
(Voices above heard, and the rope dangling back of window moves.)
VOICES: He’s gone this way. He let himself down. He’ll escape! (Rope hauled up.) With a rope quick, quick!
(CRAWSHAY turns, rises, goes up to double doors, closes R. side. As CRAWSHAY rises RAFFLES goes to door L. speaking as he goes. He listens at door, then goes up at back of sofa L. and closes L. half of double door.)
RAFFLES: They’ve struck your trail, Crawshay; they’ll be here in two minutes.
(CRAWSHAY is mad with terror, and crosses quickly down to door L., finds it locked. RAFFLES goes down to above writing-table, peeps out between wall and curtain.)
CRAWSHAY: ‘Ere! Gawd love us, if we ain’t caught like rats in a trap!
RAFFLES: Didn’t you see me lock it? I wasn’t going to let you walk straight into the loving arms of the law. You see what a damned fool you were to come here.
CRAWSHAY: Ah! the windows! (Crosses towards window. RAFFLES catches him, throws him back on sofa.)
RAFFLES: Curse you! that’s watched! (Goes to window again.)
(CRAWSHAY rises, runs up to window at back, looks out.)
Come away from that window, you fool.
VOICES: Quick, quick; there’s not a moment to lose. Sharp as you can!
CRAWSHAY: Gawd love yer, mister, ‘elp me to find a way out- ‘elp me – ‘elp me!
RAFFLES (throws him off in disgust): You cur! you don’t deserve it, but I’m going to give you a lesson, a run for your money – another chance.
(RAFFLES goes quickly into inner room and gets rope from box below window at back. CRAWSHAY rushes up and hides behind R. half of double doors. As RAFFLES comes down to window with rope, CRAWSHAY, seeing what the preparations are, follows, stands ready to help. RAFFLES above writing-table opens window and throws one end of rope out and speaks. CRAWSHAY ties the other end of rope; it is in a loop, and so he lifts the lower end of sofa leg and drags it through loop. Voices at outer door. Bell. Banging on door during all this business.)
VOICE: Open the door. Mr. Raffles- etc., etc.
RAFFLES: Lucky the fog’s so thick- and luckier if there’s only one man below; you’ve got to fight your own battles now, Crawshay!
(RAFFLES throws off the two cushions off sofa, gets to head of sofa, pushes it towards window. Puts glass from table on to writing-table, throws chair down stage; table with lamp up stage. CRAWSHAY, having adjusted the rope, is getting out of the window. He turns on sill and sees what RAFFLES has done.)
CRAWSHAY: Gawd love yer, mister, what a pro. you’d make!
RAFFLES: Buck up!
(Bell and Voices at outer door)
RAFFLES: Got anything by way of a handkerchief?
(CRAWSHAY produces foul rag which he was wearing as a muffler. RAFFLES takes it between fingertip and thumb, souses it with chloroform from cupboard, gets below double doors.)
MERTON (outside): Break it down!
RAFFLES: Fools, they’ve forgotten the key!
BEDFORD (outside): Stop that! The porter has a key. Run for it, Merton. Get the key from the porter.
RAFFLES (throws chloroform bottle away): Good old Bedford; I’ll dine with Bunny yet. (Goes quickly into inner room, closing double doors.)
(Behind double doors when shut RAFFLES takes off his coat, vest, braces, pulls his tie awry, ruffles his hair, short rope is tied round his arms- a duplicate scarf like one worn by CRAWSHAY is tied round his face, and he lies down on floor, his head against the chest and feet by double doors. Then signal is given to BEDFORD, MERTON, etc., who are outside the door. The voices, bell, banging continue louder at door till signal is given that RAFFLES is ready. Then noises cease, door is forced. Door crash used. Then enter in the following order, MERTON, BARRACLOUGH, BEDFORD, BUNNY. MERTON rushes back to audience, looking round room; BARRACLOUGH crosses to R. of MERTON down stage, BEDFORD stands by sofa L. below it. All look at room.)
BARRACLOUGH: ‘E’s dead!
(BUNNY gives an exclamation- goes up behind sofa.)
BEDFORD: Then it’s murder (disgustedly) for revenge!
(BEDFORD and BUNNY bring RAFFLES in standing position. MERTON rushes off into inner room. MERTON rushes back down to window.)
Chloroform as well! (Taking muffler from RAFFLES’S face.)
BUNNY (supporting RAFFLES): He isn’t- he isn’t; he’s coming to!
RAFFLES (very faintly): H’lo, Bedford! Quite right; he did call. Have you got him?
MERTON: Got out of the window and clean away.
(MERTON pulls rope in. BEDFORD steps to him. BARRACLOUGH exits.)
RAFFLES: Poor old Bedford! I am so sorry for you!
(BEDFORD throws muffler which he is holding down in disgust, and looks out in direction of window. RAFFLES, unseen by BEDFORD, puts his fingers to his nose, winks at BUNNY and again seemingly collapses.)