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Chapter 19 Apologia
On one of the worst days of last year, to wit the first day of the Eton and Harrow match, I had turned into the Hamman, in Jermyn Street, as the best available asylum for wet boots that might no longer enter any club. Mine had been removed by a little pinchbeck oriental in the outer courts, and I wandered within unpleasantly conscious of a hole in one sock, to find myself by no means the only obvious refugee from the rain. The bath was in fact inconveniently crowded. But at length I found a divan to suit me in an upstairs alcove. I had the choice indeed of more than one; but in spite of my antecedents I am fastidious about my cooling companions in a Turkish bath, and it was by no accident that I hung my clothes opposite to a newer morning coat and a pair of trousers more decisively creased than my own.

But the coincidence in pickle was no less remarkable. In ensuing stages of physical devastation one had dim glimpses of a not unfamiliar, reddish countenance; but with the increment of years it has been my lot to contract short sight as well as incipient obesity, and in the hot rooms my glasses lose their grip upon my nose. So it was not until I lay swathed upon my divan that I recognised E.M. Garland in the fine fresh-faced owner of the nice clothes opposite mine. A tawny moustache rather spoilt him as Phoebus, and there was a hint of old gold about the shaven jaw and chin; but I never saw better looks of the unintellectual order; and the amber eye was as clear as ever, the great strong wicket-keeper’s hand unexpectedly hearty, when recognition dawned on Teddy in his turn.

He spoke of Raffles without hesitation or reserve, and of me and my Raffles writings as though there was nothing reprehensible in one or the other, displaying indeed a flattering knowledge of those pious memorials.

“But of course I take them with a grain of salt,” said Teddy Garland; “you don’t make me believe you were either of you such desperate dogs as all that. I can’t see you climbing ropes or squirming through scullery windows — even for the fun of the thing!” he added with somewhat tardy tact.

It is certainly rather hard to credit now. I felt that after all there was something to be said for being too fat at forty, and that Teddy Garland had said it excellently.

“Now,” he continued, “if only you would give us the row between Raffles and Dan Levy, I mean the whole battle royal that A.J. fought and won for me and my poor father, that would be something like! The world would see the sort of chap he really was.”

“I am afraid it would have to see the sort of chaps we all were just then,” said I, as I still think with exemplary delicacy; but Teddy lay silent and florid for some time. These athletes have their vanity. But this one rose superior to his.

“Manders,” said he, leaving his divan and coming and sitting on the edge of mine, “you have my free leave to give me and mine away to the four winds, if you will tell the truth about that duel, and what Raffles did for the lot of us!”

“Perhaps he did more than you ever knew.”

“Put it all in.”

“It was a longer duel than you think. He once called it a guerilla duel.”

“Then make a book of it.”

“But I’ve written my last word about the old boy.”

“Then by George I’ve a good mind to write it myself!”

This was an awful threat. Happily he lacked the materials, and so I told him. “I haven’t got them all myself,” I added, only to be politely but openly disbelieved. “I don’t know where you were,” said I, “all that first day of the match, when it rained.”

Garland was beginning to smile when the surprise of my statement got home and changed his face.

“Do you mean to say A.J. never told you?” he cried, still incredulously.

“No; he wouldn’t give you away.”

“Not even to you — his pal?”

“No. I was naturally curious on the point. But he refused to tell me.”

“What a chap!” murmured Teddy, with a tender enthusiasm that made me love him. “What a friend for a fellow! Well, Manders, if you don’t write all this I certainly shall. So I may as well tell you where I was.”

“I must say it would interest me to know.”

My companion resumed his smile where he had left it off. “I wonder if you would ever guess?” he speculated, looking down into my face.

“I don’t suppose I should.”

“No more do I; not in a month of Sundays; for I spent that day on the very sofa I was on a minute ago!”

I looked at the striped divan opposite. I looked at Teddy Garland sitting............
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