Matt passed out, leaving him still shivering. Then a hatred twisted his own face, and he softly hurled savage threats at the door. He remembered the jewels, and hastened to the bed, feeling under the pillow for the bandana bundle. He crushed it with his fingers to make certain that it still contained the diamonds. Assured that Matt had not carried them away, he looked toward the kerosene stove with a guilty start. Then he hurriedly lighted it, filled the coffee pot at the sink, and put it over the flame.
The coffee was boiling when Matt returned, and while the latter cut the bread and put a slice of butter on the table, Jim poured out the coffee. It was not until he sat down and had taken a few sips of the coffee, that Matt pulled out the morning paper from his pocket.
“We was way off,” he said. “I told you I didn’t dast figger out how fat it was. Look at that.”
He pointed to the head lines on the first page. “SWIFT NEMESIS ON BUJANNOFF’S TRACK,” they read. “MURDERED IN HIS SLEEP AFTER ROBBING HIS PARTNER.”
“There you have it!” Matt cried. “He robbed his partner–robbed him like a dirty thief.”
“Half a million of jewels missin’,” Jim read aloud. He put the paper down and stared at Matt.
“That’s what I told you,” the latter said. “What in thunder do we know about jools? Half a million!–an’ the best I could figger it was a hundred thousan’. Go on an’ read the rest of it.”
They read on silently, their heads side by side, the untouched coffee growing cold; and ever and anon one or the other burst forth with some salient printed fact.
“I’d like to seen Metzner’s face when he opened the safe at the store this mornin’,” Jim gloated.
“He hit the high places right away for Bujannoff’s house,” Matt explained. “Go on an’ read.”
“Was to have sailed last night at ten on the _Sajoda_ for the South Seas–steamship delayed by extra freight—-”
“That’s why we caught ‘m in bed,” Matt interrupted. “It was just luck–like pickin’ a fifty-to-one winner.”
“_Sajoda_ sailed at six this mornin’—-”
“He didn’t catch her,” Matt said. “I saw his alarm clock was set at five. That’d given ‘m plenty of time … only I come along an’ put the _kibosh_ on his time. Go on.”
“Adolph Metzner in despair–the famous Haythorne pearl necklace–magnificently assorted pearls–valued by experts at from fifty to seventy thousan’ dollars.”
Jim broke off to say solemnly, “Those oyster-eggs worth all that money!”
He licked his lips and added, “They was beauties an’ no mistake.”
“Big Brazilian gem,” he read on. “Eighty thousan’ dollars–many valuable gems of the first water–several thousan’ small diamonds well worth forty thousan’.”
“What you don’t know about jools is worth knowin’,” Matt smiled good humoredly.
“Theory of the sleuths,” Jim read. “Thieves must have known–cleverly kept watch on Bujannoff’s actions–must have learned his plan and trailed him to his house with the fruits of his robbery–”
“Clever–” Matt broke out. “That’s the way reputations is made … in the noos-papers. How’d we know he was robbin’ his pardner?”
“Anyway, we’ve got the goods,” Jim grinned. “Let’s look at ’em again.”
He assured himself that the door was locked and bolted, while Matt brought out the bundle in the bandana and opened it on the table.
“Ain’t they beauties, though!” Jim exclaimed at sight of the pearls; and for a time he had eyes only for them. “Accordin’ to the experts, worth from fifty to seventy thousan’ dollars.”
“An’ women like them things,” Matt commented. “An’ they’ll do everything to get ’em–sell themselves, commit murder, anything.”
“Just like you an’ me.”
“Not on your life,” Matt retorted. “I’ll commit murder for ’em, but not for their own sakes, but for the sake of what they’ll get me. That’s the difference. Women want the jools for themselves, an’ I want the jools for the women an’ such things they’ll get me.”
“Lucky that men an’ women don’t want the same things,” Jim remarked.
“That’s what makes commerce,” Matt agreed; “people wantin’ different things.”
In the middle of the afternoon Jim went out to buy food. While he was gone, Matt cleared the table of the jewels, wrapping them up as before and putting them under the pillow. Then he lighted the kerosene stove and started to boil water for the coffee. A few minutes later, Jim returned.
“Most surprising,” he remarked. “Streets, an’ stores, an’ people just like they always was. Nothin’ changed. An’ me walkin’ along through it all a millionnaire. Nobody looked at me an’ guessed it”
Matt grunted unsympathetically. He had little comprehension of the lighter whims and fancies of his partner’s imagination.
“Did you get a porterhouse?” he demanded.
“Sure, an’ an inch thick. It’s a peach. Look at it.”
He unwrapped the steak and held it up for the other’s inspection. Then he made the coffee and set the table, while Matt fried the steak.