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^Published BY SPECIAL Arrangement.] I THE ROGUES' SYNDICATE, I By TOM GALLON, Author of "The Dead Ingleby, "Dicky Monteith." "Tatterley," "The Lady of the Cameo," &c., &c. [COPYRIGHT.] I CHAPTER IX. I SAM OFFLEY READS THE PAPER. It has generally been acknowledged that there is something soothing about tobacco; even its bitterest opponents have never been able qu.te to get over that fact. Tobacco enables a man to look upon life, with the edges of it blunted a ¡{)OK upon,. h ,n 1 little, M it were, and some ot t-.c s h arpness worn off; more than that, it teaches L.m au easy sort of phik?ophy. It may be said of cour.?. that it causes him to take things a little too eas ly at times, and to let the more strenuous businesses oi life go past him but that is by the way. If the fragrant weed Wit, h;¡ye cms effect upon a mere layman-m outsider, m it were, who smokes his occasional pipe, a.nd thinks no more about it—let it be imagne.d what the effect woul d be upon one to whom tobacoo meant the read and serious business of existence; a man who bought an d sold it, Lved amongst it 0110 whose happy privilege it was to upp'y grateful customers with prln ege 1 was ov" ff .t- it, from morn ng t-ili night. Increase its effects (the beneficial effects, ot course) a hundredfold, and you might come something near to the bliss- ful state of that man. Sam Offloy was such a man. Let it not be imagined that he had been in the business all his life; he had not enjoyed such luck as that. But, before he entered into this earthly parad se of his, it had boen his dream. He iiad saved for it, thought about it, looked forward to the day when it would be an accomplished fact; that wonderful time when he should sit behind the oounter in his own shop, survey.ng the best brands, and purveying those, and others of a more ordinary quality, to his customers. Briefly let it be stated that Sam Offley had been a very ordinary member of the London police; had worked up, by sheer dogged good behaviour, to the position of sergeant; ar.d had, in due course, retired on a pens on. Being independent, in a sense, of the actual earnings of the little shop, he may be sa-,ci almost to havo played at the gamo of being a tcbaooolllst50methlllg like a big child keeping a shop; and perhaps for that reason, doing rather well at the jame, take it for all in all. It waa a cosy little shop-a place to linger in after you had bought your oigar or whatever else tempted you, and have a word or two with the proprietor. You had to be cautious in entering it, because you dropped down a step from the street and oame up rather suddenly, if you were not aareful, against the barrel with the lid on it which formed a seat against the counter. It was precisely at that point that Sam OfHey usually told you, in his deep ruminating voice, that he 'ad thought of 'aving it m-ide a bit more gradual ever since 'e took the place. There is always a fly in the ointment; and, even in, so blissful a life as that led by Sam Offley, there was something to be set against the bliss. That something was Mrs. Offieya. little bright, fiery woman, who had an energetic fashion of stirring Sam up pretty frequently— probably from fear that he might, one of those days, sit down in a fit of philosophic dreaming and never get up any more. If the truth be told, it must be said that she had a heart of gold, and that Sam would never have boon anything very muoh, especially in the tobacco line, without her. Sam Offley was bi o ornamental part of the busi- ness, so to speak, and the licence was in his name; but it was Mrs. 3am who worked the busi- ness—cut down prices, demanded discounts, and generally made it pay. At the moment we find ourselves blundering i. nto the little shop and ooming- up unexpectedly aga nst the barrel, Margaret Florris was in the room which was always kept for her above the snop. For Mrs. Offloy was the old nurse of whom mention has been made—the woman with Whom Margaret stopped on the night Luke Dan bury d ed at the Hotel Harcourt; and to whom she had fled on the present occasion. Mrs, Offley was devotedly attached to her, a.nd that little room was always kept as a sacred place into whioh no one but Margaret was allowed to go; en. Sam passed the door cf it on tip-toe whether girl happned to be in it or not. On this particular morning Mr. Offley, to do him-Justice, was :n a very extraordinary mood. In the nr.?t plac-o.he was hungry: in the second  ho wa.:¡  ?? ? hungry because ? ?r3. a?aam m?UNmey. being oocupied in talking to MM-garet upst&irs and in soothing and comfort- r, er her long and sleepless night, had utterly de-cline d even to consider the question of breakfast until she chose. Sam did not mind that much, altlioug-h he glanced wistfully onoe or twice at the door leidmg into tho little room behind the shop. The ruffling was another fashtn been breught about in a curious lash.,on. When Sam Offiey unfastened the shop that morning and went out in his shirt sleeves to r-   ?tter. he found a man leamng aga,J'nst teem. NothI'n, "ry remarkable in that, -?ex? cept tha-t the? man P had & skuohing- hang-dog 'exPr?:c?n lot at ? pleasing, and sufficient to  ?? ? ?pec? M ex.-po!.ceman, to be su^T ku M mvw' ? ??' after ? '^d look at. Mr. Offioy, went away, and S?n practically ?ot ? about him. H?f-an-hourlat? how-  happenIng to ??ce up at rhe?hop window ?om he paper he was rc?adiii? he saw the ?me ing\ flatrung ^1S n? ag.ins? the gla.ss ?h? ing he might be a P9- b?o mg  lll;ght  ???' customer even .so early ?M ttha.tt. bSa?rn (MH&y went on with his paper keeo- 411 eye meanwhile upon the man at the Kin- dow. The man did not cojn? in. Once or twice cer *? 00 on the point of do?g?o. a?.d d got as far as the doorway; but he alay went away agrain and placed his nose to the win- dOw a-3 rh--u.11 unable to make up his mind what to buy. T.?e c'e:,mn' of t!? winder won't pay fer wot 3.V' ? ever -??? S ?t sa id ,Sm to himself; "to say not,h'n, of your Ico^pin ,oher f-clks SIWJLV \Vell, take ^er own time; don't Wry yer^Tf Sam went on with the ead'g of his naner He had a peculiar method In this. UsuaUi^spleSlc,  glanced ———? ?  in"9, he gi-O-?d c-&3ual at t,?o adver sem  'manned himself in a va ,Zuo sort of A,ny' to be se?t?n(r out upon var'ous voyag to U' knVWn Parts! after that, X turned wwiTth h?pnrJof? essional interest to the polioerer^rL nodd?n? C>'li to an old '.<-Porc< vhen ? .? p.c.?d? ?  b i m.,?el f in injr direction. wSLshhfs way thus t rouoh the paper, with a loyal look at +^K V;OV0m°ilts of the King and Queen, he got t, t.1, V"rY bO-t oolumn of all, in his estimation. That column was to 1>0 found at the. end of the "r. It WM head.d. in cold print, Per?;onf,?l, tst and' Found but was known to the vulgar M the- "A,,?,-ny Column." Having reached that, Sam Offie'y invariably heaved a s?"h of reLef, and sa't'ed to" to enjoy him.%elf. ? n M- The advertl,eiiientii oorce-rni n,- variotii 6r? ind fference ■ ho °lffcy pas^ sed over with ind'1ference; he had no --eat faith  them. Tha unknown people under initials or floral    other: & %Ei i ho sighed Ov{\r syrr.pathcticalJy; baving a g'OO.d1 ll\emory, he r3m,?mbered how this one hd ad ,,?er- ti.zed 7at), ou t a we,(- k be f ore tiM about a. weoe.k before, and wa a.dn>rt.¡.i.g a.gain; or ??'?  w" bitter and  but !zt:ll ?sctonat? bec..? somMn?e!?  failwi to r' an app??ararce under the clock ch?riB Las'lv. he eamo to th-ooe adv,,rti.;?emonts,nany t!oe.m d.estined never to be <e? by the ml f wh:oh they WNe in ton d ed-on(?crnlng- p,,oplo w+o wre to hear "somehing' to their advan- ta?e," if they would SSy at 1 > Vague visions of the enormous sum^ wait^T" fey fortunaro one fWed the ^nd of °S^ Oilley, and be, had a oeri:ain thdory re.-arding th? p.rt?.1? adve?i?? '? ??'? OM of tI (>ose dayi, be hii? reminded h,' 'n-g?lf more ?'?ed h?If as I can lay 'old on. I nÜgl:t not light on me- ,wlf; :t rui_ht be a fr; .4,. d biit Offley a i n't oommon. an one 0' the3e days I gball see ;t me in I shall gc-e the na alk' of a friend, an' ?;hall take from that friend sum. JnÎ11k for me  Thug it happened that on thiq particul.? 'I A'WSttsj wg' an ^ortiseiMnt-very tenderly worded ^fd~frn ai"1n". an appcintmen-t outsde South StiCt?on, a.t thrBe-thirty th at day, ho s:?ehed r think of what mizht have hap- ^TvttStT^i dayhho: pened had the little shop not. held him j an aee 'em meet, an' h?n? %7muX' th ^d be to him- sel,f,  tink I'd "pot 'em."  nc.xt advertiment arr",teQ his artenhon- one of his Ta^oun^H^T^ fo^oOtten —— ahout b relkfast by that t,Vn an^ was qu:w obt v;ous conc;-rnincr the ?."?? "? ?"? o?t?do the window Ho settlp,d him3e.Jf more oomfort- ably in h? ooooL.?ner r ?beh. m? d the cou?nte? r, and r?ad it:  faS???????d Ken?ay..h.,? ji^jAi tho undenlgDed, he 'll hear of something to hi" &<h-an rage. An '? per'on in poss.es"ion of   Arnold Ken- way w:n be :ru:hbly rewarded. -Apply to  Fields, LDndon. No-, 'dthSIr;S lt° P,?er withhil hSdon o?»aidJ11'" dc??erviri' man. The man who ooulc" lay 'old ? *T -);noid Fenway might oome in fer a tidv rtU™ to say r?k .f tho romance  ?j It wat at that very mcrnent that Mrs Offley i ?p.n.d the door i?din? into the shop and a?- Douno?d that b'-Mkf?t was ready. a? w ? the paper clutched between a !ar? finger and: th?b. to mark that inr<.rc.tin? p)? ?..oMy. a.nd went into the inner rJom. From that inn,-r ro?m it was p<.ssiM? to Se trrouK? h I te gl^ed upper half of the door into the shop 1 wish I had time to read tho paper. and sit M. my c.? and do nothing a?d Mrs Om? briskly, a« sh-e ?t!ed alyott? with th??Sai? th?a Irmt a man to take the easy side and do nothing that can be avoided; trust a man to "it down when he can, and k-ava everything tw o a weak woman." Y°U a:-n't i?°kin' ?cak. Jemima," said ?r Offiey, eh<?iy. Nev?. seen voa ooi?'' nJ6ier me lif. 'Ow's the young !adv?" ??i.? a11 the r?t of us poor wom?—not what tf s"ould he  retorted Mrs. Ofney..ha3?y  -Jl night, ? crying all day; ?t do you  "Anythmk on er m'nd?' ?skpd ?, b?gi??" r h.3 br?Jtfa? with ?ucb beartines,  "Everything. I O:lll't find out what the poor dear wants or what she means. I only know that she's fretting1 about something, and is afraid of something. If I was a man. said Mrs Offley, vioiousiy, "I'd soon put things straight for her, I know. "It may not be so easy as you think, Jemima" said S.tm, soothingly. "Of course, if anybody 'as n doin 'er any 'arm, that's another matter. Wots sho afraid of?" "I've been trying to find out-and I can't," said Mis. Ofiloy, with a shake of the head. "Sh"s ixskeu m_J. hundred times over— if I ddn't think I heard someone coming; she's oried out. a hundred times over, that she can never look upon his face again, and that she never moant to do it. I don't know what she means." "She's in love. said! Sam, with a w Iso, noct. "Love exclaimed Mrs. Offley, contemptu- ously. "That's all you men think about; my precious one upstairs has got too much sense ever to throw hers-elf away on anybody." "Your precious one upstairs ain't the sort to throw 'erself away at all, said Sam. "At the same time as a man of the world, an' knowin' the symptoms rnrself at the time you first ketched my eye I should say, Jemima, she's in love." "B.;h she's got too much sense." retorted Mrs. Offley again. "Theres someona in the shop," she addsxl. Sam rose with a sigh and went out into the shop Lounging across the oounter was the man who had roused Sam's wrath a little eariier-thc man who had flattened his nose so persistently I against the window of the shop. "Well," said Sam, a little sharply, "wot d'you want? r"Tll trouble yer," said tho man slowly, "fer 'alf a ounce of shag." "It s took yer a pritty long time to make up yer m:nd said Sam. looking at the man across the top of the scales, as he weighed out the tobacco. "If everybody laid out their money like you we should be able to retire earlier than wot we do "If everybody laid out their money like wot I do," retorted th? man, "it'd be a better woild. I'm a honest man-I am; I'm a toiler. I'm one o' them wot 'olds the world up." "I've always found that them wot talks the most about honesty are those that know least about it." said Sam, quietly. "You seem a busy man," he added, with a glance towards where his breakfast was cooling. "I am—an* I ain t replied the other mysteri- ously. Ow's the young lady?" was his next sur- prising remark. Sam stared at him. "Wot young lady?" he asked. "The young lady." replied the man. "Wy. I see 'er pritty face up at the winder on'y this morn in' j "Then don't look up at the winder," said Sam, savagely. "Wot do'you want with 'er?'' "No offence, guv'nor," said the j1 man hacking away a. little. "On'y I 'appen to be from 'er pait of the country-that's all. Stavin' long, is she?" "You want to know a lot fer 'alf a ounce o* shag!" replied Sam cautiously. "Good mornin' "Oh good morning to you said the man and lurched out of the shop. Sam went b_ck to his j breakfast in no very peaceful frame of mind. As 1 he entered the room Mrs. Offley eamo in also, having befn upstairs to fie-e her guest. "Sh wants you to post a letter for her, Sam," said Mrs. Offley, holding that letter up between her finger and thumb. "Seems very anxious about it, poor dear; so. as soon as you've done gorging. perhaps you wouldn't mind stepping down to the pillar box she added, sarcastically. j "All my gorgin', as you call it. is done in snatches," said Sam. patiently. "Wot with yer alf-ounces an' wot not, you can't quite call yer ] meais a tarble-dote can yer? Put the letter down; I'll be off with it in 'alf a jiffy." I Sam went on eating li-s breakfast for a minute or two; and then, with his coffee cup to his lips looked over the edge of it at Mrs. Offley. "Jprnim wot was it you were sayin' about the young lady bein' afra'd. an' askin' if anyone bin 'ere ch?" he asked, lowering his voice a little. "S11("" afraid of something I don't understand.' said Mrs. Offley. "If I didn't know her so well I should say she'd almost eomr- here to hidc-to be out of the way. God forgive me for thinking I such a. thing Sam; but it almost looks like it, j 9ee'ng the tre-,nb,c, she' in An I beheve yer right. Jenrma. said Sum, slowly. "She is afraid of somethink, an' she is 'iding. More than that there's someone lookin' for 'er." Mrs Offley put down her cup and stared at Sam. Sam, leaning across the table gave a full and minute account, of his interview with the lurching- stranger in the shop. "My opinion. she's pot mixed up in something not quite straight." said Sam. "Yes, yes, I know but it ain't no good flying out at me, Jemima, we've got to face wot we find in this world. Wot's the letter; did she say any think about it?" "Of course not," said Jemima, indignantly, "Why should she; I suppose she can write to anyone she likes, can't she? The only thing you've got to think about is. how long you re goincr to be before you post it." "All right all right," said Sam. with a sigh. as he rose from the table. "You won't never under- stand that a man o' my figure wajits a deal of sustainin'—especially w'en 'e's got a business on 'is mind." "On his what?" asked Mrs. OfHey. contemptu- ously. "Hero. take the letter, for goodness' sake! jI Sam took the letter, and casually glanced at it; drew it a little ncarer to his eyes, and looked at it. w;th a puzzled expression; held it at arm's lenzth. arid shook his head over it. "Funny thing!" he ejaculated, softly. "Weil* what's the matter with you now?" asked Mrs Offley, sharpiy. "Would you like to open it, and look inside-?" I "Arnold Kenway." said Sam, softly to himself, i "Now, where 'ave I seen that name? It seems that familiar, it might be my own brother." He held the letter before his eyes again and read the address 'Arnold Kenway, Esq., c/o Owen: Matherwick. Esq., The Retreat. Oyton, Hamp- shire,' he whispered to himself. "Kenway— Kc,iiw.,iy, -by George, its in the paper!" "Whit on earth are you raving about?" asked Mrs. Offley, staring at him. "What's in the pap2r?" For answer. Sam Offley carefully spread out the newspaper, with that particular co-turnm whl,, h had so deepiy interested him. uppermost; and laid the letter beside it; triumphantly he pointed to it with a large forefinger. "Read that, Jemima," he said; "and then tell me wot it means." "It's certainly the same r?am??," said Mrs- Offley. in 'a ? puzzled voioe. "And it ain't a clommot? name, e'ther-Is It i ..Nvoll; n t it be well to run up. an' ask the young M Fs about it?" asked Sam tentatively. "And let her see that we've been frying into her letter, to find out who she's writing to?" I ex- claimed Jemima, scornfully. "A nioe thing that'd | be, I'm sure-with the poor dear as worried as she is just now. Better say nothing about it." Sam was thinking deeply. He rubbed one large hand up and down one cheek for a moment or two, while he thoughtfully regarded the. letter and the newspaper. At last he spoke, and his words were weisrhty. "There's somethink in this we don't under- stand." sa'd Sam. "Wen I was in the Force one o the things we 'ad first to learn was to put two an' two together an' make wot we could of 'em. In this case, look-n' at it as I might 'ave done a few years ago—there's somethink more than two an' two to L" put together. As I will now en- deavour." continued Sam. prosily, "to explain." "Well-be as quick as you can," said Mrs Offley. impatiently. "In the first place, the young Miss is writin' to a gent in the same neighbourhood as she comes fiom—Oyton. in 'Ampshire. She is in trouble thinks someone is oomin' after 'er. As a matter of fact, someone 'as bin comin' after 'er, this very mornin'. A party, as I would 'ave took up vie,r-v L-n o r .n,n on suspicion in the old days 'as bin 'anging about 'er? all the moinin' an'—coverin' 'isself with 'a!f a ounce, so to speak—comes in to ask about 'er. That's point, number two. Point number three is that, aocordin* to the paper, someone is very anxious to get 'od of a certain Mr. Arnold Ken- way—the very gent as it seems that she's been writin' to." "Sam," said Mrs Offley, with much decision. "I take back that scornful remark I made, a few minutes ago. about your mind It never ought to have been said and if it hadn't been for that pension coming along, you'd havo been an Inspec- tor by this time—mark my words. I give in, SJ,m; what are you going to do?" "I'm a; goin' to foller this up. said Sam Omey, greatly elated. "I've always said that the time would come w'en this bit o' the newspaper would point the way,, so to speak, and show me a new line. I'm goin' down to find Mr. Arnold Ken- way, at Oyton 'Ampshire; and, in order to be sure that the post-oflioe won't make no mistakes. I'm a goin' to take the letter with mo. More than that." continued Sam, squaring his_shotilders, "I'm a go'n' this houq. Sam, you re right., said Mrs. Offley, and be it noted that that was probably the first time she had ever made use of the expression in her life aa regarded her husband. "I shall say nothing about this upstars"-5h jerked her head towards the ceiling—"until you come back. It's my belief that there's good in it and that it may help the dear girl; at any rate. I know she wouldn't be writing to anybody she oughtn t to write tG. Now, don't let yourself down, Sam, after what you've done this morning, she added, impatiently. "On w:th your awt, and off with you!" So the little .shop was left in charge of Mrs. Offley, and Sam, lighting a largo but cheap cigar of a mottled colour, in honour of the occasion, started off. He went, in the first place to Lincoln's Inn FideL, and, after various enquiries, and much climbing of dark staircases, and reading of names upon doors, carne at last to the office of Messrs. Stock and Cross. Assuming his best professional manner, he handed the cuttiug from the newspaper to a clerk, and asked to see someone in authority. He was shewn in with very little delay. Well, my man," said a little bright, qniDk gentleman, behind a desk many sizes too large for him, "so you know something about this matter, do you?" I 'appcn to know the address of a Mr. Arnold i Kenway." said Sam slowly, looking in a non-com- mittai sort of fashion at the ceiling Very good. Will you let me have it?" asked the little man. • (To be continued.)

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