AND 16 OTHER STORIES - online book

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

240                      The Stolen White Elephant
them without offending. We must constantly show the public what we are doing, or they will believe we are doing nothing. It is much pleasanter to have a news­paper say, ' Inspector Blunt's ingenious and extraordi­nary theory is as follows/ than to have it say some harsh thing, or, worse still, some sarcastic one."
" I see the force of what you say. But I noticed that in one part of your remarks in the papers this morning you refused to reveal your opinion upon a certain minor point."
" Yes, we always do that; it has a good effect. Besides, I had not formed any opinion on that point, anyway."
I deposited a considerable sum of money with the inspector, to meet current expenses, and sat down to wait for news. We were expecting the telegrams to begin to arrive at any moment now. Meantime I re­read the newspapers and also our descriptive circular, and observed that our $25,000 reward seemed to be offered only to detectives. I said I thought it ought to be offered to anybody who would catch the elephant. The inspector said:
" It is the detectives who will find the elephant, hence the reward will go to the right place. If other people found the animal, it would only be by watching the detectives and taking advantage of clews and indications stolen from them, and that would entitle the detectives to the reward, after all. The proper office of a reward is to stimulate the men who deliver up their time and their trained sagacities to this sort of work, and not to confer benefits upon chance citizens who stumble upon a capture without having earned the benefits by their own merits and labors."
This was reasonable enough, certainly. Now the telegraphic machine in the corner began to click, and the following dispatch was the result: