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The Changing Numbers
by [?]

The tall clock in the corner of the small living-room had just struck eight as Mr. Samuel Gunnill came stealthily down the winding staircase and, opening the door at the foot, stepped with an appearance of great care and humility into the room. He noticed with some anxiety that his daughter Selina was apparently engrossed in her task of attending to the plants in the window, and that no preparations whatever had been made for breakfast.

“Wouldn’t look at all well,” said Mr. Gunnill, nodding his head sagely.

Mr. Jenkins breathed hard and looked from one to the other. It was plain that it was no good reminding them that he had not had a case for five years.

“When I say that I know who did it,” he said, slowly, “I mean that I have my suspicions.”

“Don’t call on me as a witness, that’s all,’ continued Mr. Drill.”

“Ah,” said Mr. Drill, “that’s a very different thing.”

“Nothing like the same,” said Mr. Gunnill, pouring the constable a glass of ale.

Mr. Jenkins drank it and smacked his lips feebly.

“Sims needn’t know anything about that helmet being repaired,” he said at last.

“Certainly not,” said everybody.

Mr. Jenkins sighed and turned to Drill.

“It’s no good spoiling the ship for a ha’porth o’ tar,” he said, with a faint suspicion of a wink. “No,” said Drill, looking puzzled.

“Anything that’s worth doing at all is worth doing well,” continued the constable, “and while I’m drinking another glass with Mr. Gunnill here, suppose you go into the kitchen with that useful bag o’ yours and finish repairing my truncheon?”