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Thorold, Cecil. Cecil Thorold was created by Arnold Bennett and appeared in eight stories in The Windsor Magazine in 1904 and 1905, beginning with “The Fire of London” (The Windsor Magazine, June, 1904); the stories were collected in The Loot of Cities (1905).
Cecil Thorold is a Lupin modeled on A.J. Raffles. Thorold is a combination thief and do-gooder: he steals and commits crime to punish wrong-doers and help innocents. Thorold sees nothing wrong with enriching himself through one of his schemes, whether monetarily or by gaining seats to a sold-out opera performance. Thorold is not violent, although he is capable of using a revolver if he has to. He generally prefers to scheme in a neat and bloodless manner, employing burglary while his victims are away or blackmail delivered in genteel and discrete manner.
To quote Thorold himself:
What was I to do? I was rich. I was bored. I had no great attainments. I was interested in life and in the arts, but not desperately, not vitally. You may, perhaps, say I should have taken up philanthropy. Well, I'm not built that way. I can't help it, but I'm not a born philanthropist, and the philanthropist without a gift for philanthropy usually does vastly more harm than good. I might have gone into business. Well, I should only have doubled my millions, while boring myself all the time. Yet the instinct which I inherited from my father, the great American instinct to be a little cleverer and smarter than someone else, drove me to action. It was part of my character, and one can't get away from one's character. So finally I took to these rather original 'schemes,' as you call them. They had the advantage of being exciting and sometimes dangerous, and though they were often profitable, they were not too profitable. In short, they amused me and gave me joy.
By his last story Thorold has fallen in love and agreed to abandon his criminal ways.
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