Bones in London (Chapter 7, page 1 of 17)


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Chapter 7

Mr. Harold de Vinne was a large man, who dwelt at the dead end of a
massive cigar.

He was big and broad-shouldered, and automatically jovial. Between the
hours of 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. he had earned the name of "good fellow,"
which reputation he did his best to destroy between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

He was one of four stout fellows who controlled companies of imposing
stability--the kind of companies that have such items in their balance
sheets as "Sundry Debtors, £107,402 12s. 7d." People feel, on
reading such airy lines, that the company's assets are of such
magnitude that the sundry debtors are only included as a careless
afterthought.

Mr. de Vinne was so rich that he looked upon any money which wasn't his
as an illegal possession; and when Mr. Augustus Tibbetts, on an
occasion, stepped in and robbed him of £17,500, Mr. de Vinne's family
doctor was hastily summoned (figuratively speaking; literally, he had
no family, and swore by certain patent medicines), and straw was spread
before the temple of his mind.

A certain Captain Hamilton, late of H.M. Houssas, but now a partner in
the firm of Tibbetts & Hamilton, Ltd., after a short, sharp bout of
malaria, went off to Brighton to recuperate, and to get the whizzy
noises out of his head. To him arrived on a morning a special courier
in the shape of one Ali, an indubitable Karo boy, but reputedly pure
Arab, and a haj, moreover, entitled to the green scarf of the
veritable pilgrimage to Mecca.

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