Lady Wetherby's tranquil voice made itself heard.

'Nonsense; who could be in there?'

'I heard him, I tell you. He growled at me!'

It seemed to Mr Pickering that the time had come to relieve the mental distress which he was causing his host. He raised his voice.

'It's all right!' he called.

'There!' said Lord Wetherby.

'Who's that?' asked Lady Wetherby, through the door.

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'It's all right. It's me--Pickering.'

The door was opened a few inches by a cautious hand.

'Is that you, Pickering?'

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'Yes. It's all right.'

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'Don't keep saying it's all right,' said Lord Wetherby, irritably. 'It isn't all right. What do you mean by hiding in the dark and popping out and barking at a man? You made me bite my tongue. I've never had such a shock in my life.'