My telephone is fashioned from a hollowed-out raven. It amused me to wrest the cursed thing from the murderous claw of a senseless Yakuza in Kobe during the case of the Bishop and the Nightdress.
Nevermore! quoth the phone. Nevermore!
Limehouse Dick! I started from my escritoire, upsetting the inkwell and spilling jet-black encre de chine all over the final MS of my latest monograph: An Inquiry into the Cohesive Index of Canine Faeces and its Application to Western Criminology.
A mere trifle. If this telephonic communication yielded the results I expected, I should be happy to write out a hundred monographs.
Limehouse Dick, I shouted into the raven’s beak. Is that you old fellow?
The line crackled and the voice sounded hollow, but it had the unmistakeable growl of the old brute.
That it is, Guv. That it is.
Thank God! I ejaculated. Did you have success?
Indeed I did, Guv, but it’s not gettin’ any cheaper.
Never mind the cost, Limehouse Dick. Pray tell, did you do as I instructed? Did you secure one for me and a second for young Master Bullet?
That I did, Guv, but it’ll cost you deep in purse.
I was seized with a sudden flux of rage. By God, man, do I not pay you handsomely for these services? If I suspect –
I could hear Limehouse Dick’s sudden intake of breath. Clearly the fellow had not forgotten the sound thrashing he’d received these two years past.
Nah, Guv. it ain’t me. It’s the new firm I’ve got to deal with. Prices is up everywhere.
I felt a discreet presence at my shoulder. It was Scrotum, my manservant and confidant.
I fear the despicable fellow is correct, Sir, he frowned. These things have become rather more expensive.
Suddenly, as if a draught of blushful Hippocrene had worn off, leaving me dazed but once more awake, it dawned on me that the job was done. Damn me if I didn’t feel gratitude to the shambling brute.
Well done Limehouse Dick.I laughed gaily. Well done indeed.
Very good, Sir, said Scrotum. Shall I fill the usual bag of sovereigns?
Indeed, I nodded, and throw in a couple extra for good measure. Oh, and, Scrotum?
Have the ostler prepare my Phaeton. Master Bullet and I are going to a football game.