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datatime: 2022-10-04 04:50:01 Author:NKfKMCYw

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.

I said: "I can take this Geiger off your back, General, if that's what you want. Whoever he is and whatever he has. It may cost you a little money, besides what you pay me. And of course it won't get you anything. Sugaring them never does. You're already listed on their book of nice names."

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.

"That ought to save you from a pauper's grave. No money now, thanks. What does Mrs. Regan want to see me about?"

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

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

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

I said: "I can take this Geiger off your back, General, if that's what you want. Whoever he is and whatever he has. It may cost you a little money, besides what you pay me. And of course it won't get you anything. Sugaring them never does. You're already listed on their book of nice names."

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

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 have pride, sir," he said coldly.

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

"Who told her anything about my visit?"

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

"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."

"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."

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

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'm sure you will. And now I must excuse myself. I am tired." He reached out and touched the bell on the arm of his chair. The cord was plugged into a black cable that wound along the side of the deep dark green boxes in which the orchids grew and festered. He closed his eyes, opened them again in a brief bright stare, and settled back among his cushions. The lids dropped again and he didn't pay any more attention to me.

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

He stopped about two feet from me and said gravely: "Mrs. Regan would like to see you before you leave, sir. And in the matter of money the General has instructed me to give you a check for whatever seems desirable."

"I have that privilege."

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