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Chapter 9

  • Rand found another car, a smoke-gray Plymouth coupé, standing on the left o_is Lincoln when he went down to the garage. Running his car outside and dow_o the highway, he settled down to his regular style of driving—a barely lega_ifty m.p.h., punctuated by bursts of absolutely felonious speed whenever h_ound an unobstructed straightaway. Entering Rosemont, he slowed and wen_hrough the underpass at the railroad tracks, speeding again when he was clea_f the village. A few minutes later, he was turning into the crushed-limeston_rive that led up to the buff-brick Gresham house.
  • A girl met him at the door, a cute little redhead in a red-striped dress, wh_ave him a smile that seemed to start on the bridge of her nose and lift he_hole face up after it. She held out her hand to him.
  • "Colonel Rand!" she exclaimed. "I'll bet you don't remember me."
  • "Sure I do. You're Dot," Rand said. "At least, I think you are; the last tim_ saw you, you were in pigtails. And you were only about so high." He measure_ith his hand. "The last time I was here, you were away at school. You must b_ld enough to vote, by now."
  • "I will, this fall," she replied. "Come on in; you're the first one here.
  • Daddy hasn't gotten back from town yet. He called and said he'd be delaye_ill about nine." In the hall she took his hat and coat and guided him towar_he parlor on the right.
  • "Oh, Mother!" she called. "Here's Colonel Rand!"
  • Rand remembered Irene Gresham, too; an over-age dizzy blonde who was stil_iving in the Flaming Youth era of the twenties. She was an extremely goo_gg; he liked her very much. After all, insisting upon remaining an F. Scot_itzgerald character was a harmless and amusing foible, and it was no mor_han right that somebody should try to keep the bright banner of Jazz Ag_nnocence flying in a grim and sullen world. He accepted a cigarette, share_he flame of his lighter with mother and daughter, and submitted to bein_ushed over.
  • "… and, honestly, Jeff, you get handsomer every year," Irene Gresham rattle_n. "Dot, doesn't he look just like Clark Gable in _Gone with the Wind? Bu_hen, of course, Jeff really is_ a Southerner, so … "
  • The doorbell interrupted this slight non sequitur. She broke off, rising.
  • "Sit still, Jeff; I'm just going to see who it is. You know, we're down t_nly one servant now, and it seems as if it's always her night off, o_omething. I don't know, honestly, what I'm going to do… ."
  • She hurried out of the room. Voices sounded in the hall; a man's and a girl's.
  • "That's Pierre and Karen," Dot said. "Let's all go up in the gunroom, and wai_or the others there."
  • They went out to meet the newcomers. The man was a few inches shorter tha_and, with gray eyes that looked startlingly light against the dark brown o_is face. He wasn't using a cane, but he walked with a slight limp. Beside hi_as a slender girl, almost as tall as he was, with dark brown hair and brow_yes. She wore a rust-brown sweater and a brown skirt, and low-heeled walking- shoes.
  • Irene Gresham went into the introductions, the newcomers shook hands with Ran_nd were advised that the style of address was "Jeff," rather than "Colone_and," and then Dot suggested going up to the gunroom. Irene Gresham sai_he'd stay downstairs; she'd have to let the others in.
  • "Have you seen this collection before?" Pierre Jarrett inquired as he and Ran_ent upstairs together.
  • "About two years ago," Rand said. "Stephen had just gotten a cased dueling se_y Wilkinson, then. From the Far West Hobby Shop, I think."
  • "Oh, he's gotten a lot of new stuff since then, and sold off about a doze_ulls and duplicates," the former Marine said. "I'll show you what's new, til_he others come."
  • They reached the head of the stairs and started down the hall to the gunroom, in the wing that projected out over the garage. Along the way, the girl_etached themselves for nose-powdering.
  • Unlike the room at the Fleming home, Stephen Gresham's gunroom had originall_een something else—a nursery, or play-room, or party-room. There were window_n both long sides, which considerably reduced the available wall-space, an_he situation wasn't helped any by the fact that the collection was abou_hirty per cent long-arms. Things were pretty badly crowded; most of th_ifles and muskets were in circular barracks-racks, away from the walls.
  • "Here, this one's new since you were here," Pierre said, picking a long muske_rom one of the racks and handing it to Rand. "How do you like this one?"
  • Rand took it and whistled appreciatively. "Real European matchlock; no, _ever saw that. Looks like North Italian, say 1575 to about 1600."
  • "That musket," Pierre informed him, "came over on the Mayflower."
  • "Really, or just a gag?" Rand asked. "It easily could have. The Mayflowe_ompany bought their muskets in Holland, from some seventeenth-centur_orerunner of Bannerman's, and Europe was full of muskets like this then, lef_ver from the wars of the Holy Roman Empire and the French religious wars."
  • "Yes; I suppose all their muskets were obsolete types for the period," Pierr_greed. "Well, that's a real Mayflower arm. Stephen has the documentation fo_t. It came from the Charles Winthrop Sawyer collection, and there were onl_hree ownership changes between the last owner and the Mayflower Company.
  • Stephen only paid a hundred dollars for it, too."
  • "That was practically stealing," Rand said. He carried the musket to the ligh_nd examined it closely. "Nice condition, too; I wouldn't be afraid to fir_his with a full charge, right now." He handed the weapon back. "He didn'_ose a thing on that deal."
  • "I should say not! I'd give him two hundred for it, any time. Even without th_istory, it's worth that."
  • "Who buys history, anyhow?" Rand wanted to know. "The fact that it came fro_he Sawyer collection adds more value to it than this Mayflower business. Pas_wnership by a recognized authority like Sawyer is a real guarantee of qualit_nd authenticity. But history, documented or otherwise—hell, only yesterday _aw a pair of pistols with a wonderful three-hundred-and-fifty-year documente_istory. Only not a word of it was true; the pistols were made about twent_ears ago."
  • "Those wheel locks Fleming bought from Arnold Rivers?" Pierre asked. "God, wasn't that a crime! I'll bet Rivers bought himself a big drink when Lan_leming was killed. Fleming was all set to hang Rivers's scalp in his wigwam… . But with Stephen, the history does count for something. As you probabl_now, he collects arms-types that figured in American history. Well, he ca_rove that this individual musket was brought over by the Pilgrims, so he ca_e sure it's an example of the type they used. But he'd sooner have a typica_ilgrim musket that never was within five thousand miles of Plymouth Rock tha_ non-typical arm brought over as a personal weapon by one of the Mayflowe_ompany."
  • "Oh, none of us are really interested in the individual history of collectio_eapons," Rand said. "You show me a collection that's full of known-histor_rms, and I'll show you a collection that's either full of junk or else cos_hree times what it's worth. And you show me a collector who blows money o_istory, and nine times out of ten I'll show you a collector who doesn't kno_uns. I saw one such collection, once; every item had its history neatl_ritten out on a tag and hung onto the trigger-guard. The owner thought tha_he patent-dates on Colts were model-dates, and the model-dates on Frenc_ilitary arms were dates of fabrication."
  • Pierre wrinkled his nose disgustedly. "God, I hate to see a collection al_ouled up with tags hung on things!" he said. "Or stuck over with gumme_abels; that's even worse. Once in a while I get something with a label paste_n it, usually on the stock, and after I get it off, there's a job getting th_ood under it rubbed up to the same color as the rest of the stock."
  • "Yes. I picked up a lovely little rifled flintlock pistol, once," Rand said.
  • "American; full-length curly-maple stock; really a Kentucky rifle in pisto_orm. Whoever had owned it before me had pasted a slip of paper on th_nderside of the stock, between the trigger-guard and the lower ramro_himble, with a lot of crap, mostly erroneous, typed on it. It took me si_onths to remove the last traces of where that thing had been stuck on."
  • "What do you collect, or don't you specialize?"
  • "Pistols; I try to get the best possible specimens of the most importan_ypes, special emphasis on British arms after 1700 and American arms afte_800. What I'm interested in is the evolution of the pistol. I have a coupl_f wheel locks, to start with, and three miguelet-locks and an Italia_naphaunce. Then I have a few early flintlocks, and a number of mid- eighteenth-century types, and some late flintlocks and percussion types. An_bout twenty Colts, and so on through percussion revolvers and early cartridg_ypes to some modern arms, including a few World War II arms."
  • "I see; about the same idea Lane Fleming had," Pierre said. "I collec_ersonal combat-arms, firearms and edge-weapons. Arms that either influence_ighting techniques, or were developed to meet special combat conditions. Fro_hat you say, you're mainly interested in the way firearms were designed an_ade; I'm interested in the conditions under which they were used. And Ada_rehearne, who'll be here shortly, collects pistols and a few long-arms i_heel lock, proto-flintlock and early flintlock, to 1700\. And Philip Cabo_ollects U.S. Martials, flintlock to automatic, and also enemy and Allied Arm_eapons from all our wars. And Colin MacBride collects nothing but Colts. Od_ow a Scot, who's only been in this country twenty years, should becom_nterested in so distinctively American a type."
  • "And I collect anything I can sell at a profit, from Chinese matchlocks t_ommy-guns," Karen Lawrence interjected, coming into the room with Do_resham.
  • Pierre grinned. "Karen is practically a unique specimen herself; the onl_eneral-antique dealer I've ever seen who doesn't hate the sight of a gun- collector."
  • "That's only because I'm crazy enough to want to marry one," the girl deale_eplied. "Of all the miserly, unscrupulous, grasping characters … " Sh_xpressed a doubt that the average gun-collector would pay more than ten cent_o see his Lord and Savior riding to hounds on a Bren-carrier. "They don'_ive a hoot whose grandfather owned what, and if anything's battered up _ittle, they don't think it looks quaint, they think it looks lousy. An_hey've never heard of inflation; they think arms ought still to sell for th_ort of prices they brought at the old Mark Field sale, back in 1911."
  • "What were you looking at?" Dot asked Rand, then glanced at the musket i_ierre's hands. "Oh, Priscilla."
  • Karen laughed. "Dot not only knows everything in the collection; she knows i_y name. Dot, show Colonel Rand Hester Prynne."
  • "Hester coming up," Gresham's daughter said, catching another musket out o_he same rack from which Pierre had gotten the matchlock and passing it ove_o Rand. He grasped the heavy piece, approving of the easy, instinctive way i_hich the girl had handled it. "Look on the barrel," she told him. "On top, right at the breech."
  • The gun was a flintlock, or rather, a dog-lock; sure enough, stamped on th_reech was the big "A" of the Company of Workmen Armorers of London, th_eventeenth-century gunmakers' guild.
  • "That's right," he nodded. "That's Hester Prynne, all right; the firs_merican girl to make her letter."
  • There were footsteps in the hall outside, and male voices.
  • "Adam and Colin," Pierre recognized them before they entered.
  • Both men were past fifty. Colin MacBride was a six-foot black Highlander; black eyes, black hair, and a black weeping-willow mustache, from under whic_ stubby pipe jutted. Except when he emptied it of ashes and refilled it, i_as a permanent fixture of his weather-beaten face. Trehearne was somewha_horter, and fair; his sandy mustache, beginning to turn gray at the edges, was clipped to micrometric exactness.
  • They shook hands with Rand, who set Hester back in her place. Trehearne too_he matchlock out of Pierre's hands and looked at it wistfully.
  • "Some chaps have all the luck," he commented. "What do you think of it, Mr.
  • Rand?" Pierre, who had made the introductions, had respected the detective'_resent civilian status. "Or don't you collect long-arms?"
  • "I don't collect them, but I'm interested in anything that'll shoot. That's _ood one. Those things are scarce, too."
  • "Yes. You'll find a hundred wheel locks for every matchlock, and yet ther_ust have been a hundred matchlocks made for every wheel lock."
  • "Matchlocks were cheap, and wheel locks were expensive," MacBride suggested.
  • He spoke with the faintest trace of Highland accent. "Naturally, they go_etter care."
  • "It would take a Scot to think of that," Karen said. "Now, you take a Scot wh_ollects guns, and you have something!"
  • "That's only part of it," Rand said. "I believe that by the last quarter o_he seventeenth century, most of the matchlocks that were lying around ha_een scrapped, and the barrels used in making flintlocks. Hester Prynne, ove_here, could easily have started her career as a matchlock. And then, a grea_any matchlocks went into the West African slave and ivory trade, and wer_romptly ruined by the natives."
  • "Yes, and I seem to recall having seen Spanish and French miguelet musket_hat looked as though they had been altered directly from matchlock, retainin_he original stock and even the original lock-plate," Trehearne added.
  • "So have I, come to think of it." Rand stole a glance at his wrist-watch. I_as nine five; he was wishing Stephen Gresham would put in an appearance.
  • MacBride and Trehearne joined Pierre and the girls in showing him Gresham'_ollection; evidently they all knew it almost as well as their own. After _hile, Irene Gresham ushered in Philip Cabot. He, too, was past middle age, with prematurely white hair and a thin, scholarly face. According to Hollywoo_ype-casting, he might have been a professor, or a judge, or a Boston Brahmin, but never a stockbroker.
  • Irene Gresham wanted to know what everybody wanted to drink. Rand wante_ourbon and plain water; MacBride voted for Jamaica rum; Trehearne and Cabo_avored brandy and soda, and Pierre and the girls wanted Bacardi and Coca- Cola.
  • "And Stephen'll want rye and soda, when he gets here," Irene said. "Come on, girls; let's rustle up the drinks."
  • Before they returned, Stephen Gresham came in, lighting a cigar. It was jus_ine twenty-two.
  • "Well, I see everybody's here," he said. "No; where's Karen?"
  • Pierre told him. A few minutes later the women returned, carrying bottles an_lasses; when the flurry of drink-mixing had subsided, they all sat down.
  • "Let's get the business over first," Gresham suggested. "I suppose you've gon_ver the collection already, Jeff?"
  • "Yes, and first of all, I want to know something. When was the last that an_f you saw it?"
  • Gresham and Pierre had been in Fleming's gunroom just two days before th_atal "accident."
  • "And can you tell me if the big Whitneyville Colt was still there, then?" Ran_sked. "Or the Rappahannock Forge, or the Collier flintlock, or the Hall?"
  • "Why, of course … My God, aren't they there now?" Gresham demanded.
  • Rand shook his head. "And if Fleming still had them two days before he wa_illed, then somebody's been weeding out the collection since. Doing it ver_leverly, too," he added. "You know how that stuff's arranged, and ho_onspicuous a missing pistol would be. Well, when I was going over th_ollection, I found about two dozen pieces of the most utter trash, thing_ane Fleming wouldn't have allowed in the house, all hanging where some reall_ood item ought to have been." He took a paper from his pocket and read off _ist of the dubious items, interpolating comments on the condition, and a lis_f the real rarities which Gresham had mentioned the day before, which wer_ow missing.
  • "All that good stuff was there the last time I saw the collection," Gresha_aid. "What do you say, Pierre?"
  • "I had the Hall pistol in my hands," Pierre said. "And I remember looking a_he Rappahannock Forge."
  • Trehearne broke in to ask how many English dog-locks there were, and if th_naphaunce Highlander and the big all-steel wheel lock were still there. A_he same time, Cabot was inquiring about the Springfield 1818 and the Virgini_anufactory pistols.
  • "I'll have a complete, itemized list in a few days," Rand said. "In th_eantime, I'd like a couple of you to look at the collection and help m_ecide what's missing. I'm going to try to catch the thief, and then get a_he fence through him."
  • "Think Rivers might have gotten the pistols?" Gresham asked. "He's th_rookedest dealer I know of."
  • "He's the crookedest dealer anybody knows of," Rand amended. "The only thing, he's a little too anxious to buy the collection, for somebody who's jus_kimmed off the cream."
  • "Ten thousand dollars isn't much in the way of anxiety," Cabot said. "I'd cal_hat a nominal bid, to avoid suspicion."
  • "The dope's changed a little on that." Rand brought him up to date. "Rivers'_ffer is now twenty-five thousand."
  • There was a stunned hush, followed by a gust of exclamations.
  • "Guid Lorrd!" The Scots accent fairly curdled on Colin MacBride's tongue. "W_anna go over that!"
  • "I'm afraid not; twenty would be about our limit," Gresham agreed. "And wit_he best items gone … " He shrugged.
  • Pierre and Karen were looking at each other in blank misery; their dream o_stablishing themselves in the arms business had blown up in their faces.
  • "Oh, he's talking through his hat!" Cabot declared. "He just hopes we'll los_nterest, and then he'll buy what's left of the collection for a song."
  • "Maybe he knows the collection's been robbed," Trehearne suggested. "Tha_ould let him out, later. He'd accuse you or the Fleming estate of holding ou_he best pieces, and then offer to take what's left for about five thousand."
  • "Well, that would be presuming that he knows the collection has been robbed,"
  • Cabot pointed out. "And the only way he'd know that would be if he, himself, had bought the stolen pistols."
  • "Well, does anybody need a chaser to swallow that?" Trehearne countered. "I'_loody sure I don't."
  • Karen Lawrence shook her head. "No, he'd pay twenty-five thousand for th_ollection, just as it stands, to keep Pierre and me out of the arms business.
  • This end of the state couldn't support another arms-dealer, and with th_eputation he's made for himself, he'd be the one to go under." She stubbe_ut her cigarette and finished her drink. "If you don't mind, Pierre, I thin_'ll go home."
  • "I'm not feeling very festive, myself, right now." The ex-Marine rose and hel_ut his hand to Rand. "Don't get the idea, Jeff, that anybody here holds thi_gainst you. You have your clients' interests to look out for."
  • "Well, if this be treason make the most of it," Rand said, "but I hope River_oesn't go through with it. I'd like to see you people get the collection, an_'d hate to see a lot of nice pistols like that get into the hands of a damne_windler like Rivers… . Maybe I can catch him with the hot-goods on him, an_end him up for about three-to-five."
  • "Oh, he's too smart for that," Karen despaired. "He can get away with faking, but the dumbest jury in the world would know what receiving stolen goods was, and he knows it."
  • Dorothy and Irene Gresham accompanied Pierre and Karen downstairs. After the_ad gone, Gresham tried, not very successfully, to inject more life into th_arty with another round of drinks. For a while they discussed the persona_nd commercial iniquities of Arnold Rivers. Trehearne and MacBride, who ha_ome together in the latter's car, left shortly, and half an hour later, Philip Cabot rose and announced that he, too, was leaving.
  • "You haven't seen my collection since before the war, Jeff," he said. "I_ou're not sleepy, why don't you stop at my place and see what's new? You'r_taying at the Flemings'; my house is along your way, about a mile on th_ther side of the railroad."
  • They went out and got into their cars. Rand kept Cabot's taillight in sigh_ntil the broker swung into his drive and put his car in the garage. Ran_arked beside the road, took the Leech & Rigdon out of the glove-box, and go_ut, slipping the Confederate revolver under his trouser-band. He was pullin_own his vest to cover the butt as he went up the walk and joined his frien_t the front door.
  • Cabot's combination library and gunroom was on the first floor. Like Rand'_wn, his collection was hung on racks over low bookcases on either side of th_oom. It was strictly a collector's collection, intensely specialized. Ther_ere all but a few of the U.S. regulation single-shot pistols, a fai_epresentation of secondary types, most of the revolvers of the Civil War, an_ll the later revolvers and automatics. In addition, there were Britis_istols of the Revolution and 1812, Confederate revolvers, a couple of Spanis_evolvers of 1898, the Lugers and Mausers and Steyers of the first World War, and the pistols of all our allies, beginning with the French weapons of th_evolution.
  • "I'm having the devil's own time filling in for this last war," Cabot said. "_ave a want-ad running in the Rifleman, and I've gotten a few: that Nambu, an_hat Japanese Model-14, and the Polish Radom, and the Italian Glisenti, an_hat Tokarev, and, of course, the P-'38 and the Canadian Browning; but it'_oing to take the devil's own time. I hope nobody starts another war, for _ew years, till I can get caught up on the last one."
  • Rand was looking at the Confederate revolvers. Griswold & Grier, Haima_rothers, Tucker & Sherrod, Dance Brothers & Park, Spiller & Burr—there i_as: Leech & Rigdon. He tapped it on the cylinder with a finger.
  • "Wasn't it one of those things that killed Lane Fleming?" he asked.
  • "Leech & Rigdon? So I'm told." Cabot hesitated. "Jeff, I saw that revolver, not four hours before Fleming was shot. Had it in my hands; looked it ove_arefully." He shook his head. "It absolutely was not loaded. It was empty, and there was rust in the chambers."
  • "Then how the hell did he get shot?" Rand wanted to know.
  • "That I couldn't say; I'm only telling you how he didn't get shot. Here, thi_s how it was. It was a Thursday, and I'd come halfway out from town before _emembered that I hadn't bought a copy of Time, so I stopped at Biddle'_rugstore, in the village, for one. Just as I was getting into my car, outside, Lane Fleming drove up and saw me. He blew his horn at me, and the_aved to me with this revolver in his hand. I went over and looked at it, an_e told me he'd found it hanging back of the counter at a barbecue-stand, where the road from Rosemont joins Route 22. There had been some other pistol_ith it, and I went to see them later, but they were all trash. The Leech & Rigdon had been the only decent thing there, and Fleming had talked it out o_his fellow for ten dollars. He was disgustingly gleeful about it, particularly as it was a better specimen than mine."
  • "Would you know it, if you saw it again?" Rand asked.
  • "Yes. I remember the serials. I always look at serials on Confederate arms.
  • The highest known serial number for a Leech & Rigdon is 1393; this one wa_234."
  • Rand pulled the .36 revolver from his pants-leg and gave it a quick glance; the number was 1234. He handed it to Cabot.
  • "Is this it?" he asked.
  • Cabot checked the number. "Yes. And I remember this bruise on the left grip; Fleming was saying that he was glad it would be on the inside, so it wouldn'_how when he hung it on the wall." He carried the revolver to the desk an_eld it under the light. "Why, this thing wasn't fired at all!" he exclaimed.
  • "I thought that Fleming might have loaded it, meaning to target it—he had _istol range back of his house—but the chambers are clean." He sniffed at it.
  • "Hoppe's Number Nine," he said. "And I can see traces of partly dissolve_ust, and no traces of fouling. What the devil, Jeff?"
  • "It probably hasn't been fired since Appomattox," Rand agreed. "Philip, do yo_hink all this didn't-know-it-was-loaded routine might be an elaborate suicid_uild-up, either before or after the fact?"
  • "Absolutely not!" There was a trace of impatience in Cabot's voice. "Lan_leming wasn't the man to commit suicide. I knew him too well ever to believ_hat."
  • "I heard a rumor that he was about to lose control of his company," Ran_entioned. "You know how much Premix meant to him."
  • "That's idiotic!" Cabot's voice was openly scornful, now, and he seemed _ittle angry that Rand should believe such a story, as though his confidenc_n his friend's intelligence had been betrayed. "Good Lord, Jeff, where di_ou ever hear a yarn like that?"
  • "Quote, usually well-informed sources, unquote."
  • "Well, they were unusually ill-informed, that time," Cabot replied. "Take m_ord for it, there's absolutely nothing in it."
  • "So it wasn't an accident, and it wasn't suicide," Rand considered. "Philip, what is the prognosis on this merger of Premix and National Milling & Packaging, now that Lane Fleming's opposition has been, shall we say, liquidated?"
  • Cabot's head jerked up; he looked at Rand in shocked surprise.
  • "My God, you don't think… ?" he began. "Jeff, are you investigating Lan_leming's death?"
  • "I was retained to sell the collection," Rand stated. "Now, I suppose, I'l_ave to find out who's been stealing those pistols, and recover them, and jai_he thief and the fence. But I was not retained to investigate the death o_ane Fleming. And I do not do work for which I am not paid," he added, wit_endacious literalness.
  • "I see. Well, the merger's going through. It won't be official until th_ixteenth of May, when the Premix stockholders meet, but that's just _ormality. It's all cut and dried and in the bag now. Better let me pick yo_p a little Premix; there's still some lying around. You'll make a little les_han four-for-one on it."
  • "I'd had that in mind when I asked you about the merger," Rand said. "I hav_bout two thousand with you, haven't I?" He did a moment's mental arithmetic, then got out his checkbook. "Pick me up about a hundred shares," he told th_roker. "I've been meaning to get in on this ever since I heard about it."
  • "I don't see how you did hear about it," Cabot said. "For obvious reasons, it's being kept pretty well under the hat."
  • Rand grinned. "Quote, usually well-informed sources, unquote. Not the source_entioned above."
  • "Jeff, you know, this damned thing's worrying me," Cabot told him, writing _eceipt and exchanging it for Rand's check. "I've been trying to ignore it, but I simply can't. Do you really think Lane Fleming was murdered by somebod_ho wanted to see this merger consummated and who knew that that was a_mpossibility as long as Fleming was alive?"
  • "Philip, I don't know. And furthermore, I don't give a damn," Rand lied. "I_omebody wants me to look into it, and pays me my possibly exaggerated idea o_hat constitutes fair compensation, I will. And I'll probably come up wit_leming's murderer, dead or alive. But until then, it is simply no epidermi_ff my scrotum. And I advise you to adopt a similar attitude."
  • They changed the subject, then, to the variety of pistols developed and use_y the opposing nations in World War II, and the difficulties ahead of Cabo_n assembling even a fairly representative group of them. Rand promised t_ail Cabot a duplicate copy of his list of the letter-code symbols used by th_azis to indicate the factories manufacturing arms for them, as well as copie_f some old wartime Intelligence dope on enemy small-arms. At a little pas_ne, he left Cabot's home and returned to the Fleming residence.
  • There were four cars in the garage. The Packard sedan had not been moved, bu_he station-wagon was facing in the opposite direction. The gray Plymouth wa_n the space from which Rand had driven earlier in the evening, and a blac_hrysler Imperial had been run in on the left of the Plymouth. He put his ow_ar in on the right of the station-wagon, made sure that the Leech & Rigdo_as locked in his glove-box, and closed and locked the garage doors. Then h_ent up into the house, through the library, and by the spiral stairway to th_unroom.
  • The garage had been open, he recalled, at the time of Lane Fleming's death.
  • The availability of such an easy means of undetected ingress and egress thre_he suspect field wide open. Anybody who knew the habits of the Flemin_ousehold could have slipped up to the gunroom, while Varcek was in his lab, Dunmore was in the bathroom, and Gladys and Geraldine were in the parlor. A_e crossed the hall to his own room, Rand was thinking of how narrowly Arnol_ivers had escaped a disastrous lawsuit and criminal action by the death o_ane Fleming.