The Stolen White Elephant 233
so far, so good. Next, I must have a photograph of the property."
I gave him one. He examined it critically, and said:
" It must do, since we can do no better; but he has his trunk curled up and tucked into his mouth. That is unfortunate, and is calculated to mislead, for of course he does not usually have it in that position." He touched his bell.
"Alaric, have fifty thousand copies of this photograph made the first thing in the morning, and mail them with the descriptive circulars."
Alaric retired to execute his orders. The inspector said:
" It will be necessary to offer a reward, of course. Now as to the amount?"
" What sum would you suggest?"
"To begin with, I should say — well, twenty-five thousand dollars. It is an intricate and difficult business ; there are a thousand avenues of escape and opportunities of concealment. These thieves have friends and pals everywhere—"
" Bless me, do you know who they are?"
The wary face, practiced in concealing the thoughts and feelings within, gave me no token, nor yet the replying words, so quietly uttered:
"Never mind about that. I may, and I may not. We generally gather a pretty shrewd inkling of who our man is by the manner of his work and the size of the game he goes after. We are not dealing with a pickpocket or a hall thief now, make up your mind to that. This property was not * lifted' by a novice. But, as I was saying, considering the amount of travel which will have to be done, and the diligence with which the thieves will cover up their traces as they move along, twenty-five thousand may be too small a sum to offer, yet I think it worth while to start with that."