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My Lady's Money

Chapter 4
LEFT alone in the drawing-room, Moody looked at the unfastened envelope on
the table.
Considering the value of the inclosure, might he feel justified in wetting the gum
and securing the envelope for safety's sake? After thinking it over, Moody
decided that he was not justified in meddling with the letter. On reflection, her
Ladyship might have changes to make in it or might have a postscript to add to
what she had already written. Apart too, from these considerations, was it
reasonable to act as if Lady Lydiard's house was a hotel, perpetually open to the
intrusion of strangers? Objects worth twice five hundred pounds in the aggregate
were scattered about on the tables and in the unlocked cabinets all round him.
Moody withdrew, without further hesitation, to order the light restorative
prescribed for himself by Mr. Sweetsir.
The footman who took the curacoa into the picture gallery found Felix recumbent
on a sofa, admiring the famous Hobbema.
"Don't interrupt me," he said peevishly, catching the servant in the act of staring
at him. "Put down the bottle and go!" Forbidden to look at Mr. Sweetsir, the man's
eyes as he left the gallery turned wonderingly towards the famous landscape.
And what did he see? He saw one towering big cloud in the sky that threatened
rain, two withered mahogany-colored trees sorely in want of rain, a muddy road
greatly the worse for rain, and a vagabond boy running home who was afraid of
the rain. That was the picture, to the footman's eye. He took a gloomy view of the
state of Mr. Sweetsir's brains on his return to the servants' hall. "A slate loose,
poor devil!" That was the footman's report of the brilliant Felix.
Immediately on the servant's departure, the silence in the picture-gallery was
broken by voices penetrating into it from the drawing-room. Felix rose to a sitting
 
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