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The man who had alighted from the automobile was young and cheerful. He wore a flannel suit of a gay blue and a straw hat with a coloured ribbon, and he looked upon a world which, his manner seemed to indicate, had been constructed according to his own specifications through a single eyeglass. When he spoke it became plain that his nationality was English.
Nutty regarded his beaming countenance with a lowering hostility. The indecency of anyone being cheerful at such a time struck him forcibly. He would have liked mankind to have preserved till further notice a hushed gloom. He glared at the young man.
Elizabeth, such was her absorption in her thoughts, was not even aware of his presence till he spoke to her.
'I beg your pardon, is this Flack's?'
She looked up and met that sunny eyeglass.
'This is Flack's,' she said.
'Thank you,' said the young man.
The automobile, a stout, silent man at the helm, throbbed in the nervous way automobiles have when standing still, suggesting somehow that it were best to talk quick, as they can give you only a few minutes before dashing on to keep some other appointment. Either this or a natural volatility lent a breezy rapidity to the visitor's speech. He looked at Elizabeth across the gate, which it had not occurred to her to open, as if she were just what he had expected her to be and a delight to his eyes, and burst into speech.
'My name's Nichols--J. Nichols. I expect you remember getting a letter from me a week or two ago?'
The name struck Elizabeth as familiar. But he had gone on to identify himself before she could place it in her mind.
'Lawyer, don't you know. Wrote you a letter telling you that your Uncle Ira Nutcombe had left all his money to Lord Dawlish.'
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