Reginald Brett, barrister-detective, twisted round in his easy-chair to permit the light to fall clearly on the card handed to him by his man-servant.
“What does Mr. David Hume look like, Smith?” he asked.
“A gentleman, sir.”
Well-trained servants never make a mistake when they give such a description of a visitor. Brett was satisfied.
Then he examined the card.
“It is odd,” he thought. “Mr. David Hume gives no address, and writes his own cards. I like his signature, too. Now, I wonder—”
The door was thrown open. A tall, well-proportioned young man entered. He was soberly attired in blue serge. His face and hands bore the impress of travel and exposure. His expression was pleasing and attractive. In repose his features were regular, and marked with lines of thought. A short, well-trimmed beard, of the type affected by some naval men, gave him a somewhat unusual appearance. Otherwise he carried himself like a British cavalry officer in mufti.
He advanced into the room and bowed easily. Brett, who had risen, instantly felt that his visitor was one of those people who erect invisible barriers between themselves and strangers.
“My errand will occupy some time, perhaps half an hour, to permit of full explanation,” said Mr. Hume. “May I ask—”