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3. The Man
"You know the man?"
"I do; or rather, I know a man who answers to this description. He comes here
once in a while. I do not know whether or not he was in the building to-night, but
Clausen can tell you; no one escapes Clausen's eye."
"His name."
"Brotherson. A very uncommon person in many respects; quite capable of such
an eccentricity, but incapable, I should say, of crime. He's a gifted talker and so
well read that he can hold one's attention for hours. Of his tastes, I can only say
that they appear to be mainly scientific. But he is not averse to society, and is
always very well dressed."
"A taste for science and for fine clothing do not often go together."
"This man is an exception to all rules. The one I'm speaking of, I mean. I don't
say that he's the fellow seen pottering in the snow."
"Call up Clausen."
The manager stepped to the telephone.
Meanwhile, George had advanced to speak to a man who had beckoned to him
from the other side of the room, and with whom in another moment I saw him
step out. Thus deserted, I sank into a chair near one of the windows. Never had I
felt more uncomfortable. To attribute guilt to a totally unknown person--a person
who is little more to you than a shadowy silhouette against a background of snow
--is easy enough and not very disturbing to the conscience. But to hear that
person named; given positive attributes; lifted from the indefinite into a living,
breathing actuality, with a man's hopes, purposes and responsibilities, is an
entirely different proposition. This Brotherson might be the most innocent person