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datatime: 2022-12-08 13:58:10 Author:QxNukJxw

"Your daughters have money in their own right, General?"

His blue eyes gave me a smooth level look. "She has a misconception of the purpose of your visit, sir."

"Vivian has, but not a great deal. Carmen is still a minor under her mother's will. I give them both generous allowances."

"I see." He shrugged his wide sharp shoulders in the faded red bathrobe. "A moment ago you said pay him. Now you say it won't get me anything."

"I get twenty-five a day and expenses-when I'm lucky."

"Her windows command the greenhouse. She saw us go in. I was obliged to tell her who you were."

"Can I make a deal with this guy, if I think he's within hooting distance of being on the level?"

"Your daughters have money in their own right, General?"

"Some kind of gambler. I hardly recall. Norris would know. My butler."

"I see. It seems reasonable enough for removing morbid growths from people's backs. Quite a delicate operation. You realize that, I hope. You'll make your operation as little of a shock to the patient as possible? There might be several of them, Mr. Marlowe."

"Yes. The matter is now in your hands. I never do things by halves."

"I have pride, sir," he said coldly.

"Vivian has, but not a great deal. Carmen is still a minor under her mother's will. I give them both generous allowances."

"Who told her anything about my visit?"

I stood up and lifted my coat off the back of the damp wicker chair and went off with it among the orchids, opened the two doors and stood outside in the brisk October air getting myself some oxygen. The chauffeur over by the garage had gone away. The butler came along the red path with smooth light steps and his back as straight as an ironing board. I shrugged into my coat and watched him come.

"Can I make a deal with this guy, if I think he's within hooting distance of being on the level?"

"I mean it might be cheaper and easier to stand for a certain amount of squeeze. That's all."

His blue eyes gave me a smooth level look. "She has a misconception of the purpose of your visit, sir."

I finished my second drink and wiped my lips and my face. The heat didn't get any less hot with the brandy in me. The General blinked at me and plucked at the edge of his rug.

He looked puzzled, then he smiled. "Ah, I see, sir. You are, of course, a detective. By the way he rang his bell."

"It's a question of a little money against a lot of annoyance. There has to be something behind it. But nobody's going to break your heart, if it hasn't been done already. And it would take an awful lot of chiselers an awful lot of time to rob you of enough so that you'd even notice it."

I stood up and lifted my coat off the back of the damp wicker chair and went off with it among the orchids, opened the two doors and stood outside in the brisk October air getting myself some oxygen. The chauffeur over by the garage had gone away. The butler came along the red path with smooth light steps and his back as straight as an ironing board. I shrugged into my coat and watched him come.

"Some kind of gambler. I hardly recall. Norris would know. My butler."

"Yes. The matter is now in your hands. I never do things by halves."

"I'm afraid I'm rather an impatient man, Mr. Marlowe. What are your charges?"

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