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My Lady's Money

Chapter 17
EVENTS succeeded each other rapidly, after the memorable day to Isabel of the
luncheon at the farm.
On the next day (the ninth of the month) Lady Lydiard sent for her steward, and
requested him to explain his conduct in repeatedly leaving the house without
assigning any reason for his absence. She did not dispute his claims to a
freedom of action which would not be permitted to an ordinary servant. Her
objection to his present course of proceeding related entirely to the mystery in
which it was involved, and to the uncertainty in which the household was left as
to the hour of his return. On those grounds, she thought herself entitled to an
explanation. Moody's habitual reserve--strengthened, on this occasion, by his
dread of ridicule, if his efforts to serve Isabel ended in failure--disinclined him to
take Lady Lydiard into his confidence, while his inquiries were still beset with
obstacles and doubts. He respectfully entreated her Ladyship to grant him a
delay of a few weeks before he entered on his explanation. Lady Lydiard's quick
temper resented his request. She told Moody plainly that he was guilty of an act
of presumption in making his own conditions with his employer. He received the
reproof with exemplary resignation; but he held to his conditions nevertheless.
From that moment the result of the interview was no longer in doubt. Moody was
directed to send in his accounts. The accounts having been examined, and found
to be scrupulously correct, he declined accepting the balance of salary that was
offered to him. The next day he left Lady Lydiard's service.
On the tenth of the month her Ladyship received a letter from her nephew.
The health of Felix had not improved. He had made up his mind to go abroad
again towards the end of the month. In the meantime, he had written to his friend
in Paris, and he had the pleasure of forwarding an answer. The letter inclosed
announced that the lost five-hundred-pound note had been made the subject of