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

“He takes photographs, for instance,” I suggested.

“Yes.  But not ordinary amateur photographs; his work is more technical and quite excellent of its kind.  For example, he did a most beautiful series of micro-photographs of sections of metalliferous rocks which he reproduced for publication by the collotype process, and even printed off the plates himself.”

“I see.  He must be a very capable fellow.”

“He is, very,” she assented, “and very keen on making a position; but I am afraid he is rather too fond of money for its own sake, which is not a pleasant feature in a young man’s character, is it?”

I agreed that it was not.

“Excessive keenness in money affairs,” proceeded Miss Gibson oracularly, “is apt to lead a young man into bad ways—­oh, you need not smile, Dr. Jervis, at my wise saws; it is perfectly true, and you know it.  The fact is, I sometimes have an uneasy feeling that Walter’s desire to be rich inclines him to try what looks like a quick and easy method of making money.  He had a friend—­a Mr. Horton—­who is a dealer on the Stock Exchange and who ‘operates’ rather largely—­’operate’ I believe is the expression used, although it seems to be nothing more than common gambling—­and I have more than once suspected Walter of being concerned in what Mr. Horton calls ‘a little flutter.’”

“That doesn’t strike me as a very long-headed proceeding,” I remarked, with the impartial wisdom of the impecunious, and therefore untempted.

“No,” she agreed, “it isn’t.  But your gambler always thinks he is going to win—­though you mustn’t let me give you the impression that Walter is a gambler.  But here is my destination.  Thank you for escorting me so far, and I hope you are beginning to feel less like a stranger to the Hornby family.  We shall make our appearance to-night at eight punctually.”

She gave me her hand with a frank smile and tripped up the steps leading to the street door; and when I glanced back, after crossing the road, she gave me a little friendly nod as she turned to enter the house.

CHAPTER V

TheThumbograph

“So your net has been sweeping the quiet and pleasant waters of feminine conversation,” remarked Thorndyke when we met at the dinner table and I gave him an outline of my afternoon’s adventures.

“Yes,” I answered, “and here is the catch cleaned and ready for the consumer.”

I laid on the table two of my notebooks in which I had entered such facts as I had been able to extract from my talk with Miss Gibson.

“You made your entries as soon as possible after your return, I suppose?” said Thorndyke—­“while the matter was still fresh?”

“I wrote down my notes as I sat on a seat in Kensington Gardens within five minutes after leaving Miss Gibson.”

“Good!” said Thorndyke.  “And now let us see what you have collected.”

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