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Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. Dashiell Hammett was an American author of detective crime fiction and short stories. As a young man he started his career at the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Private Detective Sam Spade and his partner, Miles Archer, are hired by the beautiful Miss Wonderly to track down her sister's brutish boyfriend, Floyd Thursby. Spade pocketed the other bill before he sat down. eyes wavered between heavy lashes, as if trying and failing to free their gaze from his.


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FP now includes eBooks in its collection. Book Details. Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: Limit the size to characters. However, note that many search engines truncate at a much shorter size, about characters. Your suggestion will be processed as soon as possible.

That's fair enough. You know me, Spade. If you did or you didn't you'll get a square deal out of me, and most of the breaks. I don't know that I'd blame you a hell of a lot--but that wouldn't keep me from nailing you. Lieutenant Dundy turned to the table, picked up his glass, and slowly emptied it.

Then he said, "Good night," and held out his hand. They shook hands ceremoniously. Tom and Spade shook hands ceremoniously. Spade let them out. Then he undressed, turned off the lights, and went to bed. When Spade reached his office at ten o'clock the following morning Effie Ferine was at her desk opening the morning's mail.

Her boyish face was pale under its sunburn. She put down the handful of envelopes and the brass paper-knife she held and said: Effie Perine's brown eyes opened wide and her voice was irritable as his: Spade stood beside the girl, put a hand on her head, and smoothed her hair away from its parting.

She was a blonde woman of a few more years than thirty. Her facial prettiness was perhaps five years past its best moment. Her body for all its sturdiness was finely modeled and exquisite. She wore black clothes from hat to shoes. They had as mourning an impromptu air. Having spoken, she stepped back from the door and stood waiting for Spade.

He took his hand from Effie Perine's head and entered the inner office, shutting the door. Iva came quickly to him, raising her sad face for his kiss. Her arms were around him before his held her. When they had kissed he made a little movement as if to release her, but she pressed her face to his chest and began sobbing. He stroked her round back, saying: His eyes, squinting at the desk that had been his partner's, across the room from his own, were angry.

He drew his lips back over his teeth in an impatient grimace and turned his chin aside to avoid contact with the crown of her hat. He grimaced again and bent his head for a surreptitious look at the watch on his wrist. His left arm was around her, the hand on her left shoulder. His cuff was pulled back far enough to leave the watch uncovered.

It showed ten-ten. The woman stirred in his arms and raised her face again. Her blue eyes were wet, round, and white-ringed. Her mouth was moist. Spade stared at her with bulging eyes. His bony jaw fell down. He took his arms from her and stepped back out of her arms. He scowled at her and cleared his throat. She held her arms up as he had left them. Anguish clouded her eyes, partly closed them under eyebrows pulled up at the inner ends.

Her soft damp red lips trembled. Spade laughed a harsh syllable, "Ha! He stood there with his back to her looking through the curtain into the court until she started towards him.

Then he turned quickly and went to his desk. He sat down, put his elbows on the desk, his chin between his fists, and looked at her. His yellowish eyes glittered between narrowed lids. She came to stand beside the desk, moving with easy sure-footed grace in black slippers whose smallness and heel-height were extreme. He laughed at her, his eyes still glittering. He got up and stood close behind her. He put his arms around her.

He kissed her neck between ear and coat-collar. When she had stopped crying he put his mouth to her ear and murmured: It wasn't wise. You can't stay. You ought to be home. He kissed her mouth, led her to the door, opened it, said, "Good-bye, Iva," bowed her out, shut the door, and returned to his desk. He took tobacco and cigarette-papers from his vest-pockets, but did not roll a cigarette. He sat holding the papers in one hand, the tobacco in the other, and looked with brooding eyes at his dead partner's desk.

Effie Perine opened the door and came in. Her brown eyes were uneasy. Her voice was careless. She asked: The girl frowned and came around to his side. The girl took his hat from his head and put it on the desk.

Then she leaned over and took the tobacco-sack and the papers from his inert fingers. When she ignored that question he said: Her thin fingers finished shaping the cigarette.

She licked it, smoothed it, twisted its ends, and placed it between Spade's lips. He said, "Thanks, honey," put an arm around her slim waist, and rested his cheek wearily against her hip, shutting his eyes. The unlighted cigarette bobbed up and down with the movement of his lips. Effie Perine bit her lip, wrinkled her forehead, and, bending over for a better view of his face, asked: Spade sat up straight and took his arm from her waist.

He smiled at her. His smile held nothing but amusement. He took out his lighter, snapped on the flame, and applied it to the end of his cigarette. She smiled a bit wryly. Suppose I told you that your Iva hadn't been home many minutes when I arrived to break the news at three o'clock this morning?

I saw her clothes where she had dumped them on a chair. Her hat and coat were underneath. Her singlet, on top, was still warm. She said she had been asleep, but she hadn't. She had wrinkled up the bed, but the wrinkles weren't mashed down. Spade took the girl's hand and patted it. I don't know how far I talked them out of it.

He looked at her and laughed so that for the moment merriment mingled with the anxiety in her face. He sighed mockingly and rubbed his cheek against her arm. I'll be back in an hour, or phone you. Spade went through the St. Mark's long purplish lobby to the desk and asked a red-haired dandy whether Miss Wonderly was in. The red-haired dandy turned away, and then back shaking his head. Spade walked past the desk to an alcove off the lobby where a plump young-middle-aged man in dark clothes sat at a flat-topped mahogany desk.

On the edge of the desk facing the lobby was a triangular prism of mahogany and brass inscribed Mr. He was in here last night, you know. He was sitting in the lobby when I came in early in the evening. I didn't stop. I thought he was probably working and I know you fellows like to be left alone when you're busy.

Did that have anything to do with his--? Anyway, we won't mix the house up in it if it can be helped. Can you give me some dope on an ex-guest, and then forget that I asked for it? Freed nodded and went out of the alcove. In the lobby he halted suddenly and came back to Spade. Shall I caution him not to mention it?

Spade looked at Freed from the corners of his eyes. That won't make any difference as long as there's no connection shown with this Wonderly. Harriman's all right, but he likes to talk, and I'd as lief not have him think there's anything to be kept quiet.

She hadn't a trunk, only some bags. There were no phone-calls charged to her room, and she doesn't seem to have received much, if any, mail. The only one anybody remembers having seen her with was a tall dark man of thirty-six or so.

She went out at half-past nine this morning, came back an hour later, paid her bill, and had her bags carried out to a car. The boy who carried them says it was a Nash touring car, probably a hired one. She left a forwarding address--the Ambassador, Los Angeles. When Spade returned to his office Effie Perine stopped typing a letter to tell him: He wanted to look at your guns. You're to ask for Miss Leblanc. Spade said, "Give me," and held out his hand. When she had given him the memorandum he took out his lighter, snapped on the flame, set it to the slip of paper, held the paper until all but one corner was curling black ash, dropped it on the linoleum floor, and mashed it under his shoesole.

Her face was flushed. Her dark red hair, parted on the left side, swept back in loose waves over her right temple, was somewhat tousled. His smile brought a fainter smile to her face. Her eyes, of blue that was almost violet, did not lose their troubled look. She lowered her head and said in a hushed, timid voice: She led him past open kitchen-, bathroom-, and bedroom-doors into a cream and red living-room, apologizing for its confusion: I haven't even finished unpacking.

She laid his hat on a table and sat down on a walnut settee. He sat on a brocaded oval-backed chair facing her. She looked at her fingers, working them together, and said: Spade, I've a terrible, terrible confession to make.

Her eyes suddenly lighted up. She lifted herself a few inches from the settee, settled down again, smoothed her skirt, leaned forward, and spoke eagerly: Spade stopped her with a palm-up motion of one hand. The upper part of his face frowned.

The lower part smiled. It's not--". Spade, tell me the truth. Her face had become haggard around desperate eyes. Spade shook his head. Of course you lied to us about your sister and all, but that doesn't count: She said, "Thank you," very softly, and then moved her head from side to side. Archer was so--so alive yesterday afternoon, so solid and hearty and--". Spade shrugged again. What do you want to do?

She put a timid hand on his sleeve. Spade, do they know about me? That's why I've been stalling them till I could see you. I thought maybe we wouldn't have to let them know all of it. We ought to be able to fake a story that will rock them to sleep, if necessary. She squirmed on her end of the settee and her eyes wavered between heavy lashes, as if trying and failing to free their gaze from his.

She seemed smaller, and very young and oppressed. I can't explain now, but can't you somehow manage so that you can shield me from them, so I won't have to answer their questions?

I don't think I could stand being questioned now. I think I would rather die. Can't you, Mr. She went down on her knees at his knees. She held her face up to him. Her face was wan, taut, and fearful over tight-clasped hands. Look at me, Mr. You know I'm not all bad, don't you? You can see that, can't you?

Then can't you trust me a little? Oh, I'm so alone and afraid, and I've got nobody to help me if you won't help me. I know I've no right to ask you to trust me if I won't trust you. I do trust you, but I can't tell you. I can't tell you now. Later I will, when I can. I'm afraid, Mr. I'm afraid of trusting you. I don't mean that. I do trust you, but--I trusted Floyd and--I've nobody else, nobody else, Mr. You can help me.

You've said you can help me. If I hadn't believed you could save me I would have run away today instead of sending for you. If I thought anybody else could save me would I be down on my knees like this? I know this isn't fair of me.

But be generous, Mr. Spade, don't ask me to be fair. You're strong, you're resourceful, you're brave. You can spare me some of that strength and resourcefulness and courage, surely. Help me, Mr. Help me because I need help so badly, and because if you don't where will I find anyone who can, no matter how willing?

Help me. I've no right to ask you to help me blindly, but I do ask you. Be generous, Mr. Spade, who had held his breath through much of this speech, now emptied his lungs with a long sighing exhalation between pursed lips and said: You're good. You're very good. It's chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get into your voice when you say things like 'Be generous, Mr. She jumped up on her feet.

Her face crimsoned painfully, but she held her head erect and she looked Spade straight in the eyes. I do want it, and need it, so much. And the lie was in the way I said it, and not at all in what I said. Brigid O'Shaughnessy went to the table and picked up his hat. She came back and stood in front of him holding the hat, not offering it to him, but holding it for him to take if he wished.

Her face was white and thin. I suggested that so Mr. Archer could see him. We stopped at a restaurant in Geary Street, I think it was, for supper and to dance, and came back to the hotel at about half-past twelve. Floyd left me at the door and I stood inside and watched Mr.

Archer follow him down the street, on the other side. It would be nearly a dozen blocks out of his way if he was going from your hotel to his. Well, what did you do after they had gone? And this morning when I went out for breakfast I saw the headlines in the papers and read about--you know. Then I went up to Union Square, where I had seen automobiles for hire, and got one and went to the hotel for my luggage.

After I found my room had been searched yesterday I knew I would have to move, and I had found this place yesterday afternoon. So I came up here and then telephoned your office. He laughed impatiently and said: Haven't I offered to do what I can? For instance, I've got to have some sort of a line on your Floyd Thursby. He was--he had promised to help me. He took advantage of my helplessness and dependence on him to betray me.

He wouldn't even let me know where he was staying. I wanted to find out what he was doing, whom he was meeting, things like that. I know he always carries one there. I didn't see it last night, but I know he never wears an overcoat without it. There was a story in Hongkong that he had come out there, to the Orient, as bodyguard to a gambler who had had to leave the States, and that the gambler had since disappeared.

They said Floyd knew about his disappearing. I don't know. I do know that he always went heavily armed and that he never went to sleep without covering the floor around his bed with crumpled newspaper so nobody could come silently into his room. The vertical creases over his nose deepened, drawing his brows together. He took his fingers away from his mouth and ran them through his hair. Who killed Thursby? She looked at him with frightened eyes and shook her head in silence.

Her face was haggard and pitifully stubborn. Spade stood up, thrust his hands into the pockets of his jacket, and scowled down at her. I don't know what you want done. I don't even know if you know what you want. I've made myself God knows how much trouble standing them off.

For what? For some crazy notion that I could help you. I can't. I won't try. All I've got to do is stand still and they'll be swarming all over me.

Well, I'll tell them what I know and you'll have to take your chances. She rose from the settee and held herself straight in front of him though her knees were trembling, and she held her white panic-stricken face up high though she couldn't hold the twitching muscles of mouth and chin still. She said: You've tried to help me. It is hopeless, and useless, I suppose. I--I'll have to take my chances.

Spade made the growling animal noise in his throat again and sat down on the settee. The question startled her.

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Then she pinched her lower lip between her teeth and answered reluctantly: She hesitated, looking timidly at him. He made angry gestures with mouth, eyebrows, hands, and shoulders.

She went into her bedroom, returning almost immediately with a sheaf of paper money in one hand. She looked pleadingly at him. His yellow-grey eyes were hard and implacable. Slowly she put her hand inside the neck of her dress, brought out a slender roll of bills, and put them in his waiting hand. He smoothed the bills out and counted them--four twenties, four tens, and a five.

He returned two of the tens and the five to her. The others he put in his pocket. Then he stood up and said: I'll be back as soon as I can with the best news I can manage.

I'll ring four times--long, short, long, short--so you'll know it's me. You needn't go to the door with me. I can let myself out. The red-haired girl at the switchboard said: He stood beside her with a hand on her plump shoulder while she manipulated a plug and spoke into the mouthpiece: Spade to see you, Mr. He squeezed her shoulder by way of acknowledgment, crossed the reception-room to a dully lighted inner corridor, and passed down the corridor to a frosted glass door at its far end.

He opened the frosted glass door and went into an office where a small olive-skinned man with a tired oval face under thin dark hair dotted with dandruff sat behind an immense desk on which bales of paper were heaped.

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The small man flourished a cold cigar-stub at Spade and said: So Miles got the big one last night? Can I hide behind the sanctity of my clients' secrets and identities and what-not, all the same priest or lawyer? Sid Wise lifted his shoulders and lowered the ends of his mouth. An inquest is not a court-trial. You can try, anyway. You've gotten away with more than that before this.

Get your hat, Sid, and we'll go see the right people. I want to be safe. Sid Wise looked at the papers massed on his desk and groaned, but he got up from his chair and went to the closet by the window. Spade returned to his office at ten minutes past five that evening. Effie Perine was sitting at his desk reading Time. Spade sat on the desk and asked: He grinned contentedly. I always had an idea that if Miles would go off and die somewhere we'd stand a better chance of thriving. Will you take care of sending flowers for me?

THE MALTESE FALCON

That girl is all right, and you know it. He chuckled. Effie Perine sat up straight and said: Spade smiled unnaturally. Then he frowned. The frown was unnatural. He opened his mouth to speak, but the sound of someone's entrance through the corridor-door stopped him. Effie Perine rose and went into the outer office. Spade took off his hat and sat in his chair. The girl returned with an engraved card-- Mr. Joel Cairo. Joel Cairo was a small-boned dark man of medium height. His hair was black and smooth and very glossy.

His features were Levantine. A square-cut ruby, its sides paralleled by four baguette diamonds, gleamed against the deep green of his cravat. His black coat, cut tight to narrow shoulders, flared a little over slightly plump hips. His trousers fitted his round legs more snugly than was the current fashion.

The uppers of his patent-leather shoes were hidden by fawn spats. He held a black derby hat in a chamois-gloved hand and came towards Spade with short, mincing, bobbing steps. The fragrance of chypre came with him. Cairo bowed elaborately over his hat, said, "I thank you," in a high-pitched thin voice and sat down. He sat down primly, crossing his ankles, placing his hat on his knees, and began to draw off his yellow gloves.

Spade rocked back in his chair and asked: Cairo turned his hat over, dropping his gloves into it, and placed it bottom-up on the corner of the desk nearest him. Diamonds twinkled on the second and fourth fingers of his left hand, a ruby that matched the one in his tie even to the surrounding diamonds on the third finger of his right hand. His hands were soft and well cared for. Though they were not large their flaccid bluntness made them seem clumsy. He rubbed his palms together and said over the whispering sound they made: Spade, if there was, as the newspapers inferred, a certain--ah--relationship between that unfortunate happening and the death a little later of the man Thursby?

Cairo rose and bowed. I am trying to recover an--ah--ornament that has been--shall we say? I thought, and hoped, you could assist me. When Spade had called, "Come in," the door opened far enough to admit Effie Perine's head and shoulders.

She had put on a small dark felt hat and a dark coat with a grey fur collar. Cairo smiled and took a short compact flat black pistol out of an inner pocket. Spade did not look at the pistol.

He raised his arms and, leaning back in his chair, intertwined the fingers of his two hands behind his head. His eyes, holding no particular expression, remained focused on Cairo's dark face. Cairo coughed a little apologetic cough and smiled nervously with lips that had lost some of their redness. His dark eyes were humid and bashful and very earnest. I warn you that if you attempt to prevent me I shall certainly shoot you.

Cairo went around behind him. He transferred the pistol from his right hand to his left. He lifted Spade's coat-tail and looked under it. Holding the pistol close to Spade's back, he put his right hand around Spade's side and patted his chest.

The Levantine face was then no more than six inches below and behind Spade's right elbow. Spade's elbow dropped as Spade spun to the right. Cairo's face jerked back not far enough: Spade's right heel on the patent-leathered toes anchored the smaller man in the elbow's path. The elbow struck him beneath the cheek-bone, staggering him so that he must have fallen had he not been held by Spade's foot on his foot.

Spade's elbow went on past the astonished dark face and straightened when Spade's hand struck down at the pistol. Cairo let the pistol go the instant that Spade's fingers touched it. The pistol was small in Spade's hand. Spade took his foot off Cairo's to complete his about-face. With his left hand Spade gathered together the smaller man's coat-lapels--the ruby-set green tie bunching out over his knuckles--while his right hand stowed the captured weapon away in a coat-pocket.

Spade's yellow-grey eyes were somber. His face was wooden, with a trace of sullenness around the mouth. Cairo's face was twisted by pain and chagrin. There were tears in his dark eyes. His skin was the complexion of polished lead except where the elbow had reddened his cheek. Spade by means of his grip on the Levantine's lapels turned him slowly and pushed him back until he was standing close in front of the chair he had lately occupied. A puzzled look replaced the look of pain in the lead-colored face.

Then Spade smiled. His smile was gentle, even dreamy. His right shoulder raised a few inches. His bent right arm was driven up by the shoulder's lift. Fist, wrist, forearm, crooked elbow, and upper arm seemed all one rigid piece, with only the limber shoulder giving them motion.

The fist struck Cairo's face, covering for a moment one side of his chin, a corner of his mouth, and most of his cheek between cheek-bone and jaw-bone.

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Spade lowered the limp body into the chair, where it lay with sprawled arms and legs, the head lolling back against the chair's back, the mouth open. Spade emptied the unconscious man's pockets one by one, working methodically, moving the lax body when necessary, making a pile of the pockets' contents on the desk.

When the last pocket had been turned out he returned to his own chair, rolled and lighted a cigarette, and began to examine his spoils. He examined them with grave unhurried thoroughness. There was a large wallet of dark soft leather. The wallet contained three hundred and sixty-five dollars in United States bills of several sizes; three five-pound notes; a much-visaed Greek passport bearing Cairo's name and portrait; five folded sheets of pinkish onion-skin paper covered with what seemed to be Arabic writing; a raggedly clipped newspaper-account of the finding of Archer's and Thursby's bodies; a post-card-photograph of a dusky woman with bold cruel eyes and a tender drooping mouth; a large silk handkerchief, yellow with age and somewhat cracked along its folds; a thin sheaf of Mr.

Joel Cairo's engraved cards; and a ticket for an orchestra seat at the Geary Theatre that evening. Besides the wallet and its contents there were three gaily colored silk handkerchiefs fragrant of chypre ; a platinum Longines watch on a platinum and red gold chain, attached at the other end to a small pear-shaped pendant of some white metal; a handful of United States, British, French, and Chinese coins; a ring holding half a dozen keys; a silver and onyx fountain-pen; a metal comb in a leatherette case; a nail-file in a leatherette case; a small street-guide to San Francisco; a Southern Pacific baggage-check; a half-filled package of violet pastilles; a Shanghai insurance-broker's business-card; and four sheets of Hotel Belvedere writing paper, on one of which was written in small precise letters Samuel Spade's name and the addresses of his office and his apartment.

Having examined these articles carefully--he even opened the back of the watch-case to see that nothing was hidden inside--Spade leaned over and took the unconscious man's wrist between finger and thumb, feeling his pulse. Then he dropped the wrist, settled back in his chair, and rolled and lighted another cigarette. His face while he smoked was, except for occasional slight and aimless movements of his lower lip, so still and reflective that it seemed stupid; but when Cairo presently moaned and fluttered his eyelids Spade's face became bland, and he put the beginning of a friendly smile into his eyes and mouth.

Joel Cairo awakened slowly. His eyes opened first, but a full minute passed before they fixed their gaze on any definite part of the ceiling. Then he shut his mouth and swallowed, exhaling heavily through his nose afterward. He drew in one foot and turned a hand over on his thigh. Then he raised his head from the chair-back, looked around the office in confusion, saw Spade, and sat up.

He opened his mouth to speak, started, clapped a hand to his face where Spade's fist had struck and where there was now a florid bruise. Been up there yet? I am ready to pay five thousand dollars for the figure's return, but surely it is natural enough that I should try first to spare the owner that expense if possible.

You've walked in and tied yourself up, plenty strong enough to suit the police, with last night's killings. Well, now you'll have to play with me or else. Cairo's smile was demure and not in any way alarmed. Spade thumped Cairo's wallet with the backs of his fingers and said: You're betting your eyes. You could come in and say you'd pay me a million for a purple elephant, but what in hell would that mean?

Cairo put his hand out towards his wallet, hesitated, withdrew the hand, and said: Spade picked up the wallet and took out a hundred dollars. Then he frowned, said, "Better make it two hundred," and did. What's your second? Spade neither denied nor affirmed that: He asked: There is this, though: And if you know as much about the affair as I suppose--or I should not be here--you know that the means by which it was taken from him shows that his right to it was more valid than anyone else's--certainly more valid than Thursby's.

Excitement opened Cairo's eyes and mouth, turned his face red, made his voice shrill. Spade blinked his eyes sleepily and suggested: Cairo recovered composure with a little jerk. If you do not then I have made a mistake in coming to you, and to do as you suggest would be simply to make that mistake worse.

Spade nodded indifferently and waved his hand at the articles on the desk, saying: Spade; that is, five thousand dollars less whatever moneys have been advanced to you--five thousand in all. And it's a legitimate proposition. His face also was solemn except for the eyes. I confidently expect the greatest mutual benefit from our association, Mr.

Go ahead. I won't stop you. For half an hour after Joel Cairo had gone Spade sat alone, still and frowning, at his desk. Then he said aloud in the tone of one dismissing a problem, "Well, they're paying for it," and took a bottle of Manhattan cocktail and a paper drinking-cup from a desk-drawer.

He filled the cup two-thirds full, drank, returned the bottle to the drawer, tossed the cup into the wastebasket, put on his hat and overcoat, turned off the lights, and went down to the night-lit street. An undersized youth of twenty or twenty-one in neat grey cap and overcoat was standing idly on the corner below Spade's building. Spade walked up Sutter Street to Kearny, where he entered a cigar-store to buy two sacks of Bull Durham.

When he came out the youth was one of four people waiting for a street-car on the opposite corner. Spade ate dinner at Herbert's Grill in Powell Street. When he left the Grill, at a quarter to eight, the youth was looking into a nearby haberdasher's window. Spade went to the Hotel Belvedere, asking at the desk for Mr. He was told that Cairo was not in.

The youth sat in a chair in a far corner of the lobby. Spade went to the Geary Theatre, failed to see Cairo in the lobby, and posted himself on the curb in front, facing the theatre. The youth loitered with other loiterers before Marquard's restaurant below.

At ten minutes past eight Joel Cairo appeared, walking up Geary Street with his little mincing bobbing steps. Apparently he did not see Spade until the private detective touched his shoulder. He seemed moderately surprised for a moment, and then said: I've got something I want to show you. Cairo murmured, "I'll see," and looked at his watch.

He looked up Geary Street. He looked at a theatre-sign in front of him on which George Arliss was shown costumed as Shylock, and then his dark eyes crawled sidewise in their sockets until they were looking at the kid in the cap, at his cool pale face with curling lashes hiding lowered eyes. Cairo wet his lower lip with his tongue and asked: Cairo removed his hat and smoothed his hair with a gloved hand.

He replaced his hat carefully on his head and said with every appearance of candor: I give you my word I have nothing to do with him. I have asked nobody's assistance except yours, on my word of honor. There goes the curtain.

Good night," Spade said, and crossed the street to board a westbound street-car. Spade left the car at Hyde Street and went up to his apartment. His rooms were not greatly upset, but showed unmistakable signs of having been searched. When Spade had washed and had put on a fresh shirt and collar he went out again, walked up to Sutter Street, and boarded a westbound car. The youth boarded it also. Within half a dozen blocks of the Coronet Spade left the car and went into the vestibule of a tall brown apartment-building.

He pressed three bell-buttons together. The street-door-lock buzzed. He entered, passed the elevator and stairs, went down a long yellow-walled corridor to the rear of the building, found a back door fastened by a Yale lock, and let himself out into a narrow court. The court led to a dark back street, up which Spade walked for two blocks.

Then he crossed over to California Street and went to the Coronet. It was not quite half-past nine o'clock. The eagerness with which Brigid O'Shaughnessy welcomed Spade suggested that she had been not entirely certain of his coming. She had put on a satin gown of the blue shade called Artoise that season, with chalcedony shoulder-straps, and her stockings and slippers were Artoise.

The red and cream sitting-room had been brought to order and livened with flowers in squat pottery vases of black and silver. Three small rough-barked logs burned in the fireplace. Spade watched them burn while she put away his hat and coat. Anxiety looked through her smile, and she held her breath. She sighed happily and sat on the walnut settee.

Her face relaxed and her body relaxed. She smiled up at him with admiring eyes. He stood beside the fireplace and looked at her with eyes that studied, weighed, judged her without pretense that they were not studying, weighing, judging her. She flushed slightly under the frankness of his scrutiny, but she seemed more sure of herself than before, though a becoming shyness had not left her eyes.

THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett - PDF Drive

He stood there until it seemed plain that he meant to ignore her invitation to sit beside her, and then crossed to the settee. She blushed and replied hurriedly, not looking at him: It's a speech you've practiced. After a moment in which she seemed confused almost to the point of tears she laughed and said: Spade, I'm not at all the sort of person I pretend to be. I'm eighty years old, incredibly wicked, and an iron-molder by trade. But if it's a pose it's one I've grown into, so you won't expect me to drop it entirely, will you?

We'd never get anywhere. Gaiety went out of her face. Her eyes, focused on his profile, became frightened, then cautious. He had stretched his legs out and was looking at his crossed feet. His face did not indicate that he was thinking about anything. She got up from the settee and went to the fireplace to poke the fire. She changed slightly the position of an ornament on the mantelpiece, crossed the room to get a box of cigarettes from a table in a corner, straightened a curtain, and returned to her seat.

Her face now was smooth and unworried. His eyes were shiny in a wooden satan's face. She started, her teeth tore the end of her cigarette, and her eyes, after a swift alarmed glance at Spade, turned away from him. She laughed a clear merry laugh, dropped the mangled cigarette into a tray, and looked at him with clear merry eyes. She smiled, but when, instead of smiling, he looked gravely at her, her smile became faint, confused, and presently vanished.

In its place came a hurt, bewildered look. Spade, you promised to help me. You can't--" She broke off, took her hands from his sleeve and worked them together. Spade smiled gently into her troubled eyes.

You do know now. You won't--you can't--treat me like that. She lifted her shoulders and hands and let them fall in a gesture that accepted defeat. Spade laughed.

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His laughter was brief and somewhat bitter. What have you given me besides money? Have you given me any of your confidence? Haven't you tried to buy my loyalty with money and nothing else? Well, if I'm peddling it, why shouldn't I let it go to the highest bidder? Her voice was hoarse, vibrant. What else is there? Their faces were a few inches apart. Spade took her face between his hands and he kissed her mouth roughly and contemptuously. Then he sat back and said: He stood up and said: He turned to face her.

The two vertical lines above his nose were deep clefts between red wales. I've done what I could so far. If necessary I'll go ahead blindfolded, but I can't do it without more confidence in you than I've got now. You've got to convince me that you know what it's all about, that you're not simply fiddling around by guess and by God, hoping it'll come out all right somehow in the end.

We can get him on the phone at his hotel. She raised her eyes, alarmed. I can't let him know where I am.

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I'm afraid. She went into the next room. Spade went to the table in the corner and silently pulled the drawer out. The drawer held two packs of playing-cards, a pad of score-cards for bridge, a brass screw, a piece of red string, and a gold pencil.

He had shut the drawer and was lighting a cigarette when she returned wearing a small dark hat and a grey kidskin coat, carrying his hat and coat. Their taxicab drew up behind a dark sedan that stood directly in front of Spade's street-door. Iva Archer was alone in the sedan, sitting at the wheel.

Spade lifted his hat to her and went indoors with Brigid O'Shaughnessy. In the lobby he halted beside one of the benches and asked: I won't be long. Spade went out to the sedan.

When he had opened the sedan's door Iva spoke quickly: Can't I come in? He looked away from her, down the street. In front of a garage on the next corner an undersized youth of twenty or twenty-one in neat grey cap and overcoat loafed with his back against a wall.

Spade frowned and returned his gaze to Iva's insistent face. You oughtn't to be here at this time of night. As a young man he started his career at the Pinkerton Detective Agency as an operative. Available Formats. This book is in the public domain in Canada, and is made available to you DRM-free.

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