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HOME > Biographical > The Man Who Found Himself > CHAPTER VII NINE HUNDRED POUNDS
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Bobby Ravenshaw did not spend the day at the Charing Cross Hotel waiting for Simon; he amused himself otherwise, leaving Mudd to do the waiting.

At eleven o'clock he called at the hotel. Mr. Mudd was upstairs in Mr. Pettigrew's room, and he would be called down.

Bobby thought that he could trace a lot of things in the porter's tone and manner, a respect and commiseration for Mr. Mudd and perhaps not quite such a high respect for himself and Simon. He fancied that the hotel was beginning to have its eye upon him and Simon as questionable parties of the bon vivant type—a fancy that may have been baseless, but was still there.

Then Mudd appeared.

"Well, Mudd," said Bobby, "hasn't he turned up yet?"

"No, Mr. Robert."

"Where on earth can he be?"

"I'm givin' him till half-past eleven," said Mudd, "and then I'm off to Vine Street."

"What on earth for?"

"To have the hospitals circulated to ask about him."

"Oh, nonsense!"

"It's on my mind he's had an accident," said Mudd. "Robbed and stunned, or drugged with opium and left in the street. I know London—and him as he is! He'll be found with his pockets inside out—I know London. You should have got him down to the country to-day, Mr. Robert, somewhere quiet; now, maybe, it's too late."

"It's very easy to say that. I tried to, and he wouldn't go, not even to Richmond. London seems to hold him like a charm; he's like a bee in a bottle—can't escape."

At this moment a horrid little girl in a big hat and feathers, boots too large for her, and a shawl, made her appearance at the entrance door, saw the hall porter and came towards him. She had a letter in her hand.

The hall porter took the letter, looked at it, and brought it to Mudd.

Mudd glanced at the envelope and tore it open.

    "10, Duke Street,
    "Leicester Square

    "Mr. Modd,

    "Come at once.

    "Celestine Rossignol."

That was all, written in an angular, old-fashioned hand and in purple ink.

"Where's my hat?" cried Mudd, running about like a decapitated fowl. "Where's my hat? Oh ay, it's upstairs!" He vanished, and in a minute reappeared with his hat; then, with Bobby, and followed by the dirty little girl trotting behind them, off they started.

They tried to question the little girl on the way, but she knew nothing definite.

The gentleman had been brought 'ome—didn't know what was wrong with him; the lady had given her the letter to take; that was all she knew.

"He's alive, anyway," said Bobby.

"The Lord knows!" said Mudd.

The little girl let them in with a key and, Mudd leading the way, up the stairs they went.

Mudd knocked at the door of the sitting-room.

Madame and Cerise were there, quite calm,[Pg 167] and evidently waiting; of Simon there was not a trace.

"Oh, Mr. Modd," cried the old lady, "how fortunate you have received my letter! Poor Monsieur Pattigrew——"

"He ain't dead?" cried Mudd.

No, Simon was not dead. She told. Poor Monsieur Pattigrew and a very big gentleman had arrived over an hour ago. Mr. Pattigrew could not stand; he had been taken ill, the big gentleman had declared. Such a nice gentleman, who had sat down and cried whilst Mr. Pattigrew had been placed on the sofa—taken ill in the street. The big gentleman had gone for a doctor, but had not yet returned. Mr. Pattigrew had been put to bed. She and the big gentleman had seen to that.

Mr. Pattigrew had recovered consciousness for a moment during this operation and had produced a number of bank-notes—such a number! She had placed them safely in her desk; that was one of the reasons she had sent so urgently for Mr. Modd.

She produced the notes—a huge sheaf.

Mudd took them and examined them dazedly, hundreds and hundreds of pounds' worth of notes; and he had only started with two hundred pounds!

"Why, there's nearly a thousand pounds' worth here," said Mudd.

Bobby's astonishment might have been greater had not his eyes rested, from the first moment of their coming in, on Cerise. Cerise with parted lips, a heightened colour, and the air of a little child at a play she did not quite understand.

She was lovely. French, innocent, lovely as a flower—a new thing in London, he had never seen anything quite like her before. The poverty of the room, Uncle Simon, his worries and troubles, all were banished or eased. She was music, and if Saul could have seen her he would have had no need for David.

Had Uncle Simon added burglary to knocker-snatching, broken into a jeweller's and disposed of his takings to a "fence," committed robbery? All these t............
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