“Can he not come at my office-hour?” asked the doctor.
“He said his business was about a personal matter.”
“Show him in, then,” said the doctor, with a sigh.
He lifted his head as the door opened again, and was surprised when he beheld the singular person who answered to the feudal name of Tudor, and the plebeian name of Brown.
He was a man about fifty years of age, his forehead was covered with a profusion of little ringlets, of a carroty color, while the most superficial examination betrayed that they were made of curled silk; his nose was hooked, and surmounted with an enormous pair of gold spectacles; his teeth were as long as those of a horse, his cheeks were smooth, but under his chin he wore a little red beard. This odd head, covered by a high hat which he did not pretend to remove, surmounted a thin angular body, clothed from head to foot in a woolen suit. In his cravat he wore a pin, containing a diamond as large as a walnut; also a large gold chain, and his vest buttons were amethysts. He had a dozen rings on his fingers, which were as knotty as those of a chimpanzee. Altogether he was the most pretentious and grotesque-looking man that it was possible to behold. This person entered the doctor’s office as if he had been entering a railway station, without even bowing. He stopped to say, in a voice that resembled that of Punch, its tone was so nasal and guttural:
“Are you Doctor Schwaryencrona?”
“I am,” answered the doctor, very much astonished at his manners.
He was debating in his mind whether he should ring for his servant to conduct this offensive person to the door, when a word put a stop to his intention.
“I saw your advertisement about Patrick O’Donoghan,” said the stranger, “and I thought you would like to know that I can tell you something about him.”
“Take a seat, sir,” answered the doctor.
But he perceived that the stranger had not waited to be asked.
After selecting the most comfortable arm-chair, he drew it toward the doctor, then he seated himself with his hands in his pockets, lifted his feet and placed his heels on the window-sill, and looked at the doctor with the most self-satisfied air in the world.
“I thought,” he said, “that you would listen to these details with pleasure, since you offer five hundred pounds for them. That is why I have called upon you.”
The doctor bowed without saying a word.
“Doubtless,” continued the other, in his nasal voice, “you are wondering who I am. I am going to tell you. My card has informed you as to my name, and I am a British subject.”
“Irish perhaps?” asked the doctor with interest.
The Granger, evidently surprised, hesitated a moment, and then said:
“No, Scotch. Oh, I know I do not look like a Scotchman, they take me very often for a Yankee—but that is nothing—I am Scotch.”