Student or Learner
‘Mrs Davidson was saying she didn’t know how they’d have got through the journey if it hadn’t been for us,’ said Mrs Macphail as she neatly brushed out her transformation. ‘She said we were really the only people on the ship they cared to know.’
‘I shouldn’t have thought a missionary was such a big bug that he* could afford to put on frills.’
(W.S. Maugham; Rain)
Does he mean something close to "I didn't think that a missionary..."?
*I would have expected it to be 'she', but I've checked out Google books and didn't find any version with 'she'.