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|The Haunted Bookshop||Christopher Morley|
The "Cromwell" Makes its Last Appearance
|Page 7 of 9||
"Don't you get it," said Aubrey, and their eyes met for the first time. "Show me where it is, and we'll let friend Hun bring it."
Titania flushed a little. "It's in my bedroom cupboard," she said.
She led the way upstairs, Metzger following, and Aubrey behind Metzger with his pistol ready. Outside the bedroom door Aubrey halted. "Show him the suitcase and let him pick it up," he said. "If he makes a wrong movement, call me, and I'll shoot him."
Titania pointed out the suitcase, which she had stowed at the back of her cupboard behind some clothes. The chef showed no insubordination, and the three returned downstairs.
"Very well," said Roger. "We'll go down in the shop where we can see better. Perhaps he's got a first folio Shakespeare in here. Helen, you go to the phone and ring up the McFee Street police station. Ask them to send a couple of men round here at once."
"My dear Mifflin," said Weintraub, "this is very absurd. Only a few old books that I had collected from time to time."
"I don't call it absurd when a man comes into my house and ties my wife up with clothesline and threatens to shoot a young girl," said Roger. "We'll see what the police have to say about this, Weintraub. Don't make any mistake: if you try to bolt I'll blow your brains out."
Aubrey led the way down into the shop while Metzger carried the suitcase. Roger and Weintraub followed, and Titania brought up the rear. Under a bright light in the Essay alcove Aubrey made the chef lay the bag on the table.
"Open her up," he said curtly.
"It's nothing but some old books," said Metzger.
"If they're old enough they may be valuable," said Roger. "I'm interested in old books. Look sharp!"
Metzger drew a key from his pocket and unlocked the bag. Aubrey held the pistol at his head as he threw back the lid.
The suitcase was full of second-hand books closely packed together. Roger, with great presence of mind, was keeping his eyes on Weintraub.
"Tell me what's in it," he said.
"Why, it's only a lot of books, after all, " cried Titania.
"You see," said Weintraub surlily, "there's no mystery about it. I'm sorry I was so----"
"Oh, look!" said Titania; "There's the Cromwell book!"
For an instant Roger forgot himself. He looked instinctively at the suitcase, and in that moment the druggist broke away, ran down the aisle, and flew out of the door. Roger dashed after him, but was too late. Aubrey was holding Metzger by the collar with the pistol at his head.
"Good God," he said, "why didn't you shoot?"
"I don't know" said Roger in confusion. "I was afraid of hitting him. Never mind, we can fix him later."
"The police will be here in a minute," said Helen, calling from the telephone. "I'm going to let Bock in. He's in the back yard."
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