P. G. Wodehouse: Uneasy Money

Chapter 13

Lady Wetherby sat in her room, writing letters. The rest of the household were variously employed. Roscoe Sherriff was prowling about the house, brooding on campaigns of publicity. Dudley Pickering was walking in the grounds with Claire. In a little shack in the woods that adjoined the high-road, which he had converted into a temporary studio, Lord Wetherby was working on a picture which he proposed to call 'Innocence', a study of a small Italian child he had discovered in Washington Square. Lady Wetherby, who had been taken to see the picture, had suggested 'The Black Hand's Newest Recruit' as a better title than the one selected by the artist.

It is a fact to be noted that of the entire household only Lady Wetherby could fairly be described as happy. It took very little to make Lady Wetherby happy. Fine weather, good food, and a complete abstention from classical dancing--give her these and she asked no more. She was, moreover, delighted at Claire's engagement. It seemed to her, for she had no knowledge of the existence of Lord Dawlish, a genuine manifestation of Love's Young Dream. She liked Dudley Pickering and she was devoted to Claire. It made her happy to think that it was she who had brought them together.

But of the other members of the party, Dudley Pickering was unhappy because he feared that burglars were about to raid the house; Roscoe Sherriff because he feared they were not; Claire because, now that the news of the engagement was out, it seemed to be everybody's aim to leave her alone with Mr Pickering, whose undiluted society tended to pall. And Lord Wetherby was unhappy because he found Eustace, the monkey, a perpetual strain upon his artistic nerves. It was Eustace who had driven him to his shack in the woods. He could have painted far more comfortably in the house, but Eustace had developed a habit of stealing up to him and plucking the leg of his trousers; and an artist simply cannot give of his best with that sort of thing going on.

Lady Wetherby wrote on. She was not fond of letter-writing and she had allowed her correspondence to accumulate; but she was disposing of it in an energetic and conscientious way, when the entrance of Wrench, the butler, interrupted her.

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