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Irregular Work

" 'No, it's not quite so bad as that. It is the unofficial force -- the Baker Street irregulars.'

"As he spoke, there came a swift pattering of naked feet upon the stairs, a clatter of high voices, and in rushed a dozen dirty and ragged little street Arabs. There was some show of discipline among them, despite their tumultuous entry, for they instantly drew up in line and stood facing us with expectant faces."

"'The old scale of pay, and a guinea to the boy who finds the boat. Here's a day in advance. Now off you go!' He handed them a shilling each, and away they buzzed down the stairs, and I saw them a moment later streaming down the street.”

From "The Sign of the Four"