Raffles (United Artists) (1930)

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six screen story magazine "Don’t make a noise,” Raffles admonished him, coolly. "If you shoot, Crawshaw, you'll wake everybody in the house. You wouldn’t want to do that!" Raf¬ fles said as he stepped past the burglar. He bent over Lady Melrose, and reaching for Crawshaw’s clip¬ pers out of his pocket, cut the cord from La<Jy Mel¬ rose's ear phone. "We can talk more comfortably now," Raffles con¬ tinued. “What’s your game?” Raffles replied, "Have you ever heard of the rule: set a thief to catch a thief? Well, I set a thief to steal for a thief. You're going to give me that neck¬ lace you’ve just stolen from this poor, defenceless old lady.” Crawshaw could emit a desultory, "Garr!” “So, my good fellow, if you don’t give me the jewels, I shall jump you and there’ll be such a noise that you’ll be caught and sent to jail. On the other hand, if you do give them up quickly, you’ll have only to make your getaway. You see my point, don’t you?” Crawshaw looked wide-eyed. "No, I don t see it, but . . . ’’ He handed the necklace to Raffles and watched him pocket it. "Now come,” Raffles instructed, “and we’ll arrange for your getaway.” They tip-toed toward the corri¬ dor that led to the balcony. W HILE Raffles and Crawshaw had been having this amiable discussion, McKenzie hadn’t been unoc¬ cupied. Seated in the library with one of his col¬ leagues, he suddenly had a thought. He arose quickly, and going up the back stairs, found the balcony corri¬ dor. He walked along the passageway to Lady Mel¬ rose’s door. Listening carefully, he couldn’t hear a thing. He was about to return to the lower floor, when he noticed the open window through which Crawshaw had made his entrance. McKenzie startled. He was angry, surprised, hurt, —a thousand things all at once. He brought the win¬ dow down and latched it, and then as fast as his legs could carry him, rushed down to the burglar alarm box. His flashlight immediately revealed that the switch had been turned off. He brought the lever down as he shouted for the nearest of his men. In a second, three of them were hurrying off in differ¬ ent directions at his instruction, when suddenly the bells clanged out at their loudest. From every corner of the house, the harsh, metallic chimes could be heard. Upstairs, Raffles had been helping Crawshaw es¬ cape. The uproar of the raised window and the alarm didn’t seem enough. Below, plainly visible, was one of McKenzie s men. “Try the main corridor. If that isn’t a go, go down the big staircase,” whispered Raffles as a farewell. Crawshaw ran down the hallway, intent on that means of escape. But the figure of Bupny and one of the Inspector’s men faced him there. He turned and headed for the stairway, with Bunny close upon his heels. Crawshaw hadn’t quite made the bottom of the stairs when the flying figure of Bunny landed squarely on him, and then in another minute, a half dozen others. Crawshaw knew that the game was up. T HE Bobbies had Crawshaw handcuffed and bound. Lord Melrose and the other guests, almost all in nightrobes, looked on. McKenzie searched him, re¬ porting nothing. He tossed the revolver and the clip¬ pers on the table. "Take him away to the village jail,” McKenzie in¬ structed. "He got nothing. It’s lucky you put the jewels in the safe.” The policeman took Crawshaw by the arm to lead him away. As he was about to be taken out, the culprit turned and pointing to Raffles, asked, “Who is that bloke? Ain’t I seen him before?” “That’s Mr. Raffles, the famous cricketeer," some¬ one,-it must have been a servant,-answered. "Well, laddie, lemme tell you," Crawshaw ad¬ dressed Raffles loudly, nodding his head significantly, “I’ll get you. Lemme tell you that. You watch. I'll get you.” His tirade ended as the policemen jerked him out of the room. No sooner had he gone than the beribboned figure of Lady Melrose appeared, gesticulating wildly. "Help! Murder! I’ve been robbed.” “But your diamonds were in the safe." “No, no, they weren’t at all. They were stolen from around my throat/’ Melrose, Raffles, McKenzie, Bunny and all the others looked at one another. Everyone was speech¬ less. Inspector McKenzie restored life to the group. "All of you are under technical arrest. You are all under suspicion. No one is to leave the house under any circumstances. Tomorrow, we’ll have our search and we’ll do some questioning. That’s all for tonight. I hope that you all sleep well, for everyone of you will be needed early in the morning.” One by one, the guests, host and hostess, again mounted the stairs to wait for the unwelcome inquisi¬ tion of the morning. Each one assured himself that for him, there would be no sleep that night, yet within an hour, there wasn’t a sound to be heard anywhere in the house, except perhaps the alert but restless vigil of McKenzie’s men at the doors and hallways. Thus McKenzie became a slave to his prisoners,—at least until morning. "Then we’ll see, muttered the Inspector to himself as he pulled his great coat tighter around him. FOUR AFFLES was busy packing his bags. Piece by piece, he dropped his belongings back into the open bags. When they seemed filled, he reached into his pocket, as if to dispose of something on his per¬ son. But he thought better of it. Whatever it was, it stayed in his inner pocket. "Ho! Ho! For London town," he whistled. The thought of going back to the city must have cheered him,—certainly Raffles showed no fear of his prom¬ ised questioning and examination by Inspector Mc¬ Kenzie. When he descended a few minutes before eight, most of the guests had already gathered about the living room. McKenzie stood at one end, talking to Lord Melrose. Raffles went toward them. Bunny intercepted him. "Come play tennis with us,—mixed doubles,—Gwen and Ethel and you and I,—right after breakfast." “Sorry, old chap,” Raffles answered, "I’m on my way to London for business,—our business, you know. That is, if Inspector McKenzie here can get done with me in time.” The police officer looked at him with an artificial air of friendliness. It was, obviously, overdone. “You’re free to go as you please, Mr. Raffles. There’s to be no questioning. We’re not going to search anyone.” “Always willing to oblige,—but anyway, thanks kindly,” Raffles returned. He made for the dining room, where many of the guests were already search¬ ing about on the buffet for their breakfast. Gwen joined him in a minute. His betrothed had a concerned air,—some worry hung over her that wasn’t perfectly hidden. But she was friendly and cheerful. Raffles always felt that, with a look, Gwen could offer more kindliness and friendship than most people with a dozen handclasps and an embrace to boot. Perhaps it was because he needed her kind of friendship so much this morning that he felt so happy with her. As young people who are in love have been known to say, it was wonderful. Gwen asked, "Darling, what’s the matter?” “I’ve got a problem to put before you.” “All right, I’m good at problems,” she countered. Raffles stretched out his hands to help explain, "A man loves a girl. She’s radiant, straight, fine and un¬ touched by any of the sordid evil of the world. He isn’t worthy of her. In every possible way, he’s most unworthy. He knows it, too. And for all that, he loves her.” Gwen, puzzled, said, "Well, I ... I hope she loves him.” “She does,” he replied, “but that’s just the prob¬ lem. She does.” “Then it isn’t a very hard problem.” Raffles continued, "It is. Because he meant to lead a new life for her sake. He meant to make himself another man. He’s found that he can’t do it. The taint’s there. He was born a wrong 'un and on the very first excuse, he’s gone wrong again. Oh, it was a good excuse! No man could have asked for a better. But, just the same ...” “If she loves him, she must want to help him,” Gwen insisted. "He’s beyond help." "She wouldn’t believe that.” Raffles continued, “But he can’t disillusion her, don’t you see.” He held out his hand, "Good bye, Gwen. I’m going away now.” Frightened, Gwen asked, “But not like this! Just as though you weren’t coming back!" “I’m not,” Raffles answered. "You don t mean you’re talking about yourself?" “That’s just what I was. I’m not worthy of you, Gwen. Try to think kindly of me, if you can. I love you. I shall always love you. But it’s too late for you and me to . . .1 mean you’ve made me see all that I’ve lost in life too late.” Almost tearfully, Gwen exclaimed, “Darling, my darling . . .” 'W J UST then, Bunny came in to tell Raffles that his car was ready, while Crowley and Mrs. Frayle and another group brought the news that Lord Melrose had offered Inspector McKenzie, the guests or anyone who found trace of the necklace a thousand pounds reward. Raffles whistled when he heard of it. "1 could do with that, all right. But we’ve got to go. Come on, Bunny.” And without turning, he walked out to the car with Lord Melrose, who promised to make his adieus to her ladyship and the guests. In a min¬ ute, Raffles and Bunny were on their way to London. Gwen stood for a long time on the terrace, watch¬ ing the distant cloud of dust that was the last sign of Raffles. She had many disturbing thoughts. At breakfast, Lady Melrose had rehearsed her story of the robbery. Quite freely, she had acknowl¬ edged that the idea of wearing the necklace originated with Raffles, not her. He, too, had suggested that she send down the empty box to be locked in the safe. Gwen remembered, too, meeting Raffles in the hall¬ way a few seconds after the alarm had been sounded. He was coming toward his room, not from it. Where could he have been. What could that have meant? What meaning had these strange threats of Craw¬ shaw as the police took him away? Obviously, he had a grievance against Raffles. Why? Surely they weren't friends? It must have been their first meet¬ ing. And Crawshaw must have been tricked. Other¬ wise, why should he want revenge? They had never met before, or Crawshaw would have known Raffles’ name. But what seemed most frightening to her was Raf¬ fles’ confession. She didn’t know which he meant her to believe,—his confession of guilt, or his declaration of love. Still, he didn’t confess any crime. Maybe he had committed none. Her head throbbed and her eyes ached just from thinking about it. He couldn’t be guilty of such crimes and still love her. But still, that was his con¬ fession. That’s what took him away, what prompted that strained farewell. Gwen could think of no answer. The more damning the case, the more sure she was, she loved him. I N the library, McKenzie and Lord Melrose were dis¬ cussing the robbery. Melrose explained to him that early that morning, Crawshaw had been taken from the village jail to London. There, acting on a theory of the Inspec¬ tor’s, he was to be allowed to escape. “We feel sure that Crawshaw didn’t get the dia¬ monds,” the Inspector repeated, “but he knows who got them. He knows how they were taken. Maybe he had a hand in it. What my men must do now is to watch him, every step he takes for the next day or two.” "If our suspicions that he is going to look for Mr. Raffles are just, we’ll have the goods on them pretty soon,” McKenzie continued, thinking out loud. ‘'I’ll be in London in two hours. By that time, my men will have them both pretty well spotted. Crawshaw will get his man, and we’ll get them both. Again, it’s setting a thief to catch a thief.” G WEN felt a little ill from this monologue of Mc¬ Kenzie’s. It was like a death sentence, not only on Raffles, but on both of them. She steeled her face into an expressionless gaze and dug her nails into the palm of her hands in the effort to hide her feelings, her anxiety. She mounted the stairs, feeling weak. She wanted Continued on Next Page Ronald C olm an as " Raffles”, and Kay Francis as Lady Gwen, his influence for good. TT ANDSOME, suave, fascinating, he was a danger to “^dowagers, debutantes and diamonds alike.