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The Lock and Key Library
Classic Mystery and Detective Stories: Modern English

written by "Castle, Egerton, 1858-1920"
...'t know why I should conceal the thing from you. I don't suppose either of you is any better than I am. I don't mind telling you how I got the pipe. I stole it." "Stole it!" Brasher seemed both amazed and shocked. But I, who had previous experience of Tress's methods of adding to his collection, was not at all surprised. Some of the pipes which he calls his, if only the whole truth about them were publicly known, would send him to jail. "That's nothing!" he continued. "All collectors steal! The eighth commandment was not intended to apply to them. Why, Pugh there has 'conveyed' three fourths of the pipes which he flatters himself are his." I was so dumfoundered by the charge that it took my breath away. I sat in astounded silence. Tress went raving on: "I was so shy of this particular pipe when I had obtained it, that I put it away for quite three months. When I took it out to have a look at it something about the thing so tickled me that I resolved to smoke it. Owing to peculiar circumstances attending the manner in which the thing came into my possession, and on which I need not dwell—you don't like to dwell on those sort of things, do you, Pugh?—I knew really nothing about the pipe. As was the case with Pugh, one peculiarity I learned from actual experience. It was also from actual experience that I learned that the thing was—well, I said haunted, but you may use any other word you like." "Tell us, as briefly as possible, what it was you really did discover." "Take the pipe out of the box!" Brasher took the pipe out of the box and held it in his hand. "You see that creature on it. Well, when I first had it it was underneath the pipe." "How do you mean that it was underneath the pipe?" "It was bunched together underneath the stem, just at the end of the mouthpiece, in the same way in which a fly might be suspende...

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