Lady Wetherby brightened.

'Oh! Have you seen it?'

He was glad that she put it like that.

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'Yes. It came round our way last night.'

'Where is that?'

'I am staying at a farm near here, a place they call Flack's. The monkey got into one of the rooms.'

'And then--er--then it got out again, don't you know.'

Lady Wetherby looked disappointed.

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'So it may be anywhere now?' she said.

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In the interests of truth, Bill thought it best to leave this question unanswered.

'Well, it's very good of you to have bothered to come out and tell me,' said Lady Wetherby. 'It gives us a clue, at any rate. Thank you. At least, we know now in which direction it went.'

There was a pause. Bill gathered that the other was looking on the interview as terminated, and that she was expecting him to go, and he had not begun to say what he wanted to say. He tried to think of a way of introducing the subject of Claire that should not seem too abrupt.

'Er--' he said.

'Well?' said Lady Wetherby, simultaneously.

'I beg your pardon.'

'You have the floor,' said Lady Wetherby. 'Shoot!'

It was not what she had intended to say. For months she had been trying to get out of the habit of saying that sort of thing, but she still suffered relapses. Only the other day she had told Wrench to check some domestic problem or other with his hat, and he had nearly given notice. But if she had been intending to put Bill at his ease she could not have said anything better.

'You have a Miss Fenwick staying with you, haven't you?' he said.

Lady Wetherby beamed.