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Life at St. Austin's was rendered somewhat hollow and burdensome for Pillingshot by the fact that he fagged for Scott. Not that Scott was the Beetle-Browed Bully in any way. Far from it. He showed a kindly interest in Pillingshot's welfare, and sometimes even did his Latin verses for him. But the noblest natures have flaws, and Scott's was no exception. He was by way of being a humorist, and Pillingshot, with his rather serious outlook on life, was puzzled and inconvenienced by this. It was through this defect in Scott's character that Pillingshot first became a detective. He was toasting muffins at the study fire one evening, while Scott, seated on two chairs and five cushions, read "Sherlock Holmes," when the Prefect laid down his book and fixed him with an earnest eye. "Do you know, Pillingshot," he said, "you've got a bright, intelligent face. I shouldn't wonder if you weren't rather clever. Why do you hide your light under a bushel?" Pillingshot grunted. "We must find some way of advertising you. Why don't you go in for a Junior Scholarship?" "Too old," said Pillingshot with satisfaction. "Senior, then?" "Too young." "I believe by sitting up all night and swotting----" "Here, I say!" said Pillingshot, alarmed. "You've got no enterprise," said Scott sadly. "What are those? Muffins? Well, well, I suppose I had better try and peck a bit." He ate four in rapid succession, and resumed his scrutiny of Pillingshot's countenance. "The great thing," he said, "is to find out your special line. Till then we are working in the dark. Perhaps it's music? Singing? Sing me a bar or two." Pillingshot wriggled uncomfortably. "Left your music at home?" said Scott. "Never mind, then. Perhaps it's all for the best. What are those? Still muffins? Hand me another. After all, one must keep one's strength up. You can have one if you like." Pillingshot's face brightened. He became more affable. He chatted. "There's rather a row on downstairs," he said. "In the junior day-room." "There always is," said Scott. "If it grows too loud, I shall get in amongst them with a swagger-stick. I attribute half my success at bringing off late-cuts to the practice I have had in the junior day-room. It keeps the wrist supple." "I don't mean that sort of row. It's about Evans." "What about Evans?" "He's lost a sovereign." "Silly young ass." Pillingshot furtively helped himself to another muffin. "He thinks some one's taken it," he said. "What! Stolen it?" Pillingshot nodded. "What makes him think that?" "He doesn't see how else it could have gone." "Oh, I don't--By Jove!" Scott sat up with some excitement. "I've got it," he said. "I knew we should hit on it sooner or later. Here's a field for your genius. You shall be a detective. Pillingshot, I hand this case over to you. I employ you." Pillingshot gaped. "I feel certain that's your line. I've often noticed you walking over to school, looking exactly like a blood-hound. Get to work. As a start you'd better fetch Evans up here and question him." "But, look here----" "Buck up, man, buck up. Don't you know that every moment is precious?" Evans, a small, stout youth, was not disposed to be reticent. The gist of his rambling statement was as follows. Rich uncle. Impecunious nephew. Visit of former to latter. Handsome tip, one sovereign. Impecunious nephew pouches sovereign, and it vanishes. "And I call it beastly rot," concluded Evans volubly. "And if I could find the cad who's pinched it, I'd jolly well----" "Less of it," said Scott. "Now, then, Pillingshot, I'll begin this thing, just to start you off. What makes you think the quid has been stolen, Evans?" "Because I jolly well know it has." "What you jolly well know isn't evidence. We must thresh this thing out. To begin with, where did you last see it?" "When I put it in my pocket." "Good. Make a note of that, Pillingshot. Where's your notebook? Not got one? Here you are then. You can tear out the first few pages, the ones I've written on. Ready? Carry on, Evans. When?" "When what?" "When did you put it in your pocket?" "Yesterday afternoon." "What time?" "About five." "Same pair of bags you're wearing now?" "No, my cricket bags. I was playing at the nets when my uncle came." "Ah! Cricket bags? Put it down, Pillingshot. That's a clue. Work on it. Where are they?" "They've gone to the wash." "About time, too. I noticed them. How do you know the quid didn't go to the wash as well?" "I turned both the pockets inside out." "Any hole in the pocket?" "No." "Well, when did you take off the bags? Did you sleep in them?" "I wore 'em till bed-time, and then shoved them on a chair by the side of the bed. It wasn't till next morning that I remembered the quid was in them----" "But it wasn't," objected Scott. "I thought it was. It ought to have been." "He thought it was. That's a clue, young Pillingshot. Work on it. Well?" "Well, when I went to take the quid out of my cricket bags, it wasn't there." "What time was that?" "Half-past seven this morning." "What time did you go to bed?" "Ten." "Then the theft occurred between the hours of ten and seven-thirty. Mind you, I'm giving you a jolly good leg-up, young Pillingshot. But as it's your first case I don't mind. That'll be all from you, Evans. Pop off." Evans disappeared. Scott turned to the detective. "Well, young Pillingshot," he said, "what do you make of it?" "I don't know." "What steps do you propose to take?"