P. G. Wodehouse: The Man Upstairs and Other Stories

1. THE MAN UPSTAIRS (continued)

The young man burst into a roar of laughter.

'Poor old Morrison! I forgot all about him. I lent him my rooms at the Albany. He's writing a novel, and he can't work if the slightest thing goes wrong. It just shows--'

'Mr Bates!'


'Perhaps you didn't intend to hurt me. I dare say you meant only to be kind. But--but--oh, can't you see how you have humiliated me? You have treated me like a child, giving me a make-believe success just to--just to keep me quiet, I suppose. You--'

He was fumbling in his pocket.

'May I read you a letter?' he said.

'A letter?'

'Quite a short one. It is from Epstein, the picture-dealer. This is what he says. "Sir," meaning me, not "Dear Bill," mind you--just "Sir." "I am glad to be able to inform you that I have this morning received an offer of ten guineas for your picture, 'Child and Cat'. Kindly let me know if I am to dispose of it at this price."'

'Well?' said Annette, in a small voice.

'I have just been to Epstein's. It seems that the purchaser is a Miss Brown. She gave an address in Bayswater. I called at the address. No Miss Brown lives there, but one of your pupils does. I asked her if she was expecting a parcel for Miss Brown, and she said that she had had your letter and quite understood and would take it in when it arrived.'

Annette was hiding her face in her hands.

'Go away!' she said, faintly.

Mr Bates moved a step nearer.

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