Rose Macaulay

Mystery at Geneva: An Improbable Tale of Singular Happenings

Henry, looking disgusted, as well he might, picked his way down the dark and dirty corkscrew stairway of the dilapidated fifteenth century house where he had rooms during the fourth (or possibly it was the fifth) Assembly of the League of Nations. The stairway, smelling of fish and worse, opened out on to a narrow cobbled alley that ran between lofty mediæval houses down from the Rue du Temple to the Quai du Seujet, in the ancient wharfside quarter of Saint Gervais. Henry, pale and melancholy, his soft hat slouched over his face, looked what he was, a badly paid newspaper correspondent lodging in unclean rooms. He looked hungry; he looked embittered; he looked like one of the underdogs, whose time had not come yet, would, indeed, never come. He looked, however, a gentleman, which, in the usual sense of the word, he was not. He was of middle height, slim and not inelegant of build; his trousers, though shiny, were creased in the right place; his coat fitted him though it lacked two buttons, and he dangled a monocle, which he screwed impartially now into one brown eye, now into the other. If any one would know, as they very properly might, whether Henry was a bad man or a good, I can only reply that we are all of us mixed, and most of us not very well mixed.
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