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6. The Head of Caesar (continued)
Flambeau looked up in surprise; but the girl with the red hair also looked up, and with something that was stronger than astonishment. She was simply and even loosely dressed in light brown sacking stuff; but she was a lady, and even, on a second glance, a rather needlessly haughty one. "The man with the false nose!" repeated Flambeau. "Who's he?"
"I haven't a notion," answered Father Brown. "I want you to find out; I ask it as a favour. He went down there"--and he jerked his thumb over his shoulder in one of his undistinguished gestures-- "and can't have passed three lamp-posts yet. I only want to know the direction."
Flambeau gazed at his friend for some time, with an expression between perplexity and amusement; and then, rising from the table; squeezed his huge form out of the little door of the dwarf tavern, and melted into the twilight.
Father Brown took a small book out of his pocket and began to read steadily; he betrayed no consciousness of the fact that the red-haired lady had left her own table and sat down opposite him. At last she leaned over and said in a low, strong voice: "Why do you say that? How do you know it's false?"
He lifted his rather heavy eyelids, which fluttered in considerable embarrassment. Then his dubious eye roamed again to the white lettering on the glass front of the public-house. The young woman's eyes followed his, and rested there also, but in pure puzzledom.
"No," said Father Brown, answering her thoughts. "It doesn't say `Sela', like the thing in the Psalms; I read it like that myself when I was wool-gathering just now; it says `Ales.'"
"Well?" inquired the staring young lady. "What does it matter what it says?"
His ruminating eye roved to the girl's light canvas sleeve, round the wrist of which ran a very slight thread of artistic pattern, just enough to distinguish it from a working-dress of a common woman and make it more like the working-dress of a lady art-student. He seemed to find much food for thought in this; but his reply was very slow and hesitant. "You see, madam," he said, "from outside the place looks--well, it is a perfectly decent place--but ladies like you don't--don't generally think so. They never go into such places from choice, except--"
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