The Red Thumb Mark eBook

R Austin Freeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 206 pages of information about The Red Thumb Mark.

“John Evelyn Thorndyke!”

“Thank God!” exclaimed Juliet, clasping her hands.  “Oh! will he be able to save Reuben?  Do you think he will, Dr. Jervis?”

“There is someone who thinks he will,” I replied, glancing towards Polton, who, clasping in his arms the mysterious box and holding on to the microscope case, gazed at his master with a smile of ecstasy.  “Polton has more faith than you have, Miss Gibson.”

“Yes, the dear, faithful little man!” she rejoined.  “Well, we shall know the worst very soon now, at any rate.”

“The worst or the best,” I said.  “We are now going to hear what the defence really is.”

“God grant that it may be a good defence,” she exclaimed in a low voice; and I—­though not ordinarily a religious man—­murmured “Amen!”

CHAPTER XVI

THORNDYKE PLAYS HIS CARD

As Thorndyke took his place in the box I looked at him with a sense of unreasonable surprise, feeling that I had never before fully realised what manner of man my friend was as to his externals.  I had often noted the quiet strength of his face, its infinite intelligence, its attractiveness and magnetism; but I had never before appreciated what now impressed me most:  that Thorndyke was actually the handsomest man I had ever seen.  He was dressed simply, his appearance unaided by the flowing gown or awe-inspiring wig, and yet his presence dominated the court.  Even the judge, despite his scarlet robe and trappings of office, looked commonplace by comparison, while the jurymen, who turned to look at him, seemed like beings of an inferior order.  It was not alone the distinction of the tall figure, erect and dignified, nor the power and massive composure of his face, but the actual symmetry and comeliness of the face itself that now arrested my attention; a comeliness that made it akin rather to some classic mask, wrought in the ivory-toned marble of Pentelicus, than to the eager faces that move around us in the hurry and bustle of a life at once strenuous and trivial.

“You are attached to the medical school at St. Margaret’s Hospital, I believe, Dr. Thorndyke?” said Anstey.

“Yes.  I am the lecturer on Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology.”

“Have you had much experience of medico-legal inquiries?”

“A great deal.  I am engaged exclusively in medico-legal work.”

“You heard the evidence relating to the two drops of blood found in the safe?”

“I did.”

“What is your opinion as to the condition of that blood?”

“I should say there is no doubt that it had been artificially treated—­probably by defibrination.”

“Can you suggest any explanation of the condition of that blood?”

“I can.”

“Is your explanation connected with any peculiarities in the thumb-print on the paper that was found in the safe?”

“It is.”

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Project Gutenberg
The Red Thumb Mark from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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