‘Now run into my bedroom, and in the bottom of my wardrobe you will find a bundle of stout cord.’
Tell us, Lord Peter, are midnight burglars a regular occurrence in Piccadilly, or do you keep the rope for other purposes?
Since Wimsey’s nephew knows about this, and has a tendency to be indiscrete, I’m now imagining what he might have said to Harriet when he bumped into her in Gaudy Night...
‘Why should anybody object to Uncle Peter? He’s no beauty and he’d talk the hind leg off a donkey; but he’s dashed well-off and he’s got good manners and he’s in the stud-book.’ Lord Saint-George balanced himself on the edge of Mercury and peered into its tranquil waters. ‘Where’ve the carp taken themselves off to? They never resist meringues. Perhaps the fountain’s got hidden depths. So’s Uncle Peter, come to think of it. I stayed with him once when I was a kid – measles at school, parents away, uncle steps in – and we had an attack of burglars and Uncle Peter tied them up with this rope in the bottom of his wardrobe. The rope, that is, not the burglars – they were in the library. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but a chap grows up and the French novels get passed around and all that, and obviously one gets to wondering.’
‘Obviously,’ said Harriet, fascinated by this new light on the subject.