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|The Man Who Was Thursday||Gilbert K. Chesterton|
The Secret Of Gabriel Syme
|Page 5 of 6||
"My dear fellow." said Syme heartily, "I congratulate you. A great career!"
Gregory smiled in deprecation, and walked across the room, talking rapidly.
"As a matter of fact, everything is ready for me on this table," he said, "and the ceremony will probably be the shortest possible."
Syme also strolled across to the table, and found lying across it a walking-stick, which turned out on examination to be a sword-stick, a large Colt's revolver, a sandwich case, and a formidable flask of brandy. Over the chair, beside the table, was thrown a heavy-looking cape or cloak.
"I have only to get the form of election finished," continued Gregory with animation, "then I snatch up this cloak and stick, stuff these other things into my pocket, step out of a door in this cavern, which opens on the river, where there is a steam-tug already waiting for me, and then--then--oh, the wild joy of being Thursday!" And he clasped his hands.
Syme, who had sat down once more with his usual insolent languor, got to his feet with an unusual air of hesitation.
"Why is it," he asked vaguely, "that I think you are quite a decent fellow? Why do I positively like you, Gregory?" He paused a moment, and then added with a sort of fresh curiosity, "Is it because you are such an ass?"
There was a thoughtful silence again, and then he cried out--
"Well, damn it all! this is the funniest situation I have ever been in in my life, and I am going to act accordingly. Gregory, I gave you a promise before I came into this place. That promise I would keep under red-hot pincers. Would you give me, for my own safety, a little promise of the same kind? "
"A promise?" asked Gregory, wondering.
"Yes," said Syme very seriously, "a promise. I swore before God that I would not tell your secret to the police. Will you swear by Humanity, or whatever beastly thing you believe in, that you will not tell my secret to the anarchists?"
"Your secret?" asked the staring Gregory. "Have you got a secret?"
"Yes," said Syme, "I have a secret." Then after a pause, "Will you swear?"
Gregory glared at him gravely for a few moments, and then said abruptly--
"You must have bewitched me, but I feel a furious curiosity about you. Yes, I will swear not to tell the anarchists anything you tell me. But look sharp, for they will be here in a couple of minutes."
Syme rose slowly to his feet and thrust his long, white hands into his long, grey trousers' pockets. Almost as he did so there came five knocks on the outer grating, proclaiming the arrival of the first of the conspirators.
"Well," said Syme slowly, "I don't know how to tell you the truth more shortly than by saying that your expedient of dressing up as an aimless poet is not confined to you or your President. We have known the dodge for some time at Scotland Yard."
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|The Man Who Was Thursday
Gilbert K. Chesterton
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