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Lady Wetherby was feeling battered. She had not realized how seriously Roscoe Sherriff took the art of publicity, nor what would be the result of the half-hour he had spent at the telephone on the night of the departure of Eustace.
Roscoe Sherriff's eloquence had fired the imagination of editors. There had been a notable lack of interesting happenings this summer. Nobody seemed to be striking or murdering or having violent accidents. The universe was torpid. In these circumstances, the escape of Eustace seemed to present possibilities. Reporters had been sent down. There were three of them living in the house now, and Wrench's air of disapproval was deepening every hour.
It was their strenuousness which had given Lady Wetherby that battered feeling. There was strenuousness in the air, and she resented it on her vacation. She had come to Long Island to vegetate, and with all this going on round her vegetation was impossible. She was not long alone. Wrench entered.
'A gentleman to see you, m'lady.'
In the good old days, when she had been plain Polly Davis, of the personnel of the chorus of various musical comedies, Lady Wetherby would have suggested a short way of disposing of this untimely visitor; but she had a position to keep up now.
'From some darned paper?' she asked, wearily.
'No, m'lady. I fancy he is not connected with the Press.'
There was something in Wrench's manner that perplexed Lady Wetherby, something almost human, as if Wrench were on the point of coming alive. She did not guess it, but the explanation was that Bill, quite unwittingly, had impressed Wrench. There was that about Bill that reminded the butler of London and dignified receptions at the house of the Dowager Duchess of Waveney. It was deep calling unto deep.
'Where is he?'
'I have shown him into the drawing-room, m'lady.'
Lady Wetherby went downstairs and found a large young man awaiting her, looking nervous.
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