There's a divinity that shapes our ends. Consider the case of Henry
Pifield Rice, detective. I must explain Henry early, to avoid
disappointment. If I simply said he was a detective, and let it go
at that, I should be obtaining the reader's interest under false
pretences. He was really only a sort of detective, a species of
sleuth. At Stafford's International Investigation Bureau, in the
Strand, where he was employed, they did not require him to solve
mysteries which had baffled the police. He had never measured a
footprint in his life, and what he did not know about bloodstains
would have filled a library. The sort of job they gave Henry was to
stand outside a restaurant in the rain, and note what time someone
inside left it. In short, it is not 'Pifield Rice, Investigator.
No. 1.-The Adventure of the Maharajah's Ruby' that I submit to your
notice, but the unsensational doings of a quite commonplace young
man, variously known to his comrades at the Bureau as 'Fathead',
'That blighter what's-his-name', and 'Here, you ' Henry lived in a
boarding-house in Guildford Street. One day a new girl came to the
boarding-house, and sat next to Henry at meals. Her name was Alice
Weston. She was small and quiet, and rather pretty. They got on
splendidly. Their conversation, at first confined to the weather
and the moving-pictures, rapidly became more intimate. Henry was
surprised to find that she was on the stage, in the chorus.
Previous chorus-girls at the boarding-house had been of a more
pronounced type-good girls, but noisy, and apt to wear
beauty-spots. Alice Weston was different.
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