Book II. The Haunted Man
Chapter XX. A Heavy Father
Mr Lindon was excited,--there is no mistaking it when he is, because with him excitement means perspiration, and as soon as he was out of the cab he took off his hat and began to wipe the lining.
'Atherton, I want to speak to you--most particularly--somewhere in private.'
I took him into my laboratory. It is my rule to take no one there; it is a workshop, not a playroom,--the place is private; but, recently, my rules had become dead letters. Directly he was inside, Lindon began puffing and stewing, wiping his forehead, throwing out his chest, as if he were oppressed by a sense of his own importance. Then he started off talking at the top of his voice,--and it is not a low one either.
'Atherton, I--I've always looked on you as a--a kind of a son.'
'That's very kind of you.'
'I've always regarded you as a--a level-headed fellow; a man from whom sound advice can be obtained when sound advice--is--is most to be desired.'
'That also is very kind of you.'
'And therefore I make no apology for coming to you at--at what may be regarded as a--a strictly domestic crisis; at a moment in the history of the Lindons when delicacy and common sense are--are essentially required.'
This time I contented myself with nodding. Already I perceived what was coming; somehow, when I am with a man I feel so much more clear-headed than I do when I am with a woman,--realise so much better the nature of the ground on which I am standing.
'What do you know of this man Lessingham?'
I knew it was coming.