"I'll wait for you," he said.
The investigator did not expect to find Mr. L. L. Bean himself at the store. If half the tales told in the catalog were true, he would be well into his 80s and probably retired.
"I would like," said the investigator to the receptionist, "to see Mr. L. L. Bean."
"Mr. Bean," said the girl, "is out for his coffee break. Please have a chair."
In a few moments Mr. L. L. Bean himself bounded up the stairs, tall and straight as a beanstalk and jolly as Santa Claus. At his invitation, the investigator followed him into his office and stated his mission.
The smile faded from Mr. Bean's merry face. He looked a little sad. Then he reached down and pulled out a drawer of his desk. He drew out a book, picked up his ballpoint and autographed the flyleaf. He handed it to the investigator.
"All I know about fish," he said softly, "is in this book. Take it with my compliments."
The investigator took the book and got up on his feet.
"Is there anything," he said slowly, "about the striper in here?"
Mr. Bean shook his head.