'What about it, Dudley?' said Lady Wetherby.
'I must say, Pickering,' said Lord Wetherby, 'much as I disliked the animal, it's a bit thick!'
Mr Pickering recoiled from their accusing gaze.
'Good heavens! Do you think I did it?'
In the midst of his anguish there flashed across his mind the recollection of having seen just this sort of situation in a moving picture, and of having thought it far-fetched.
Lady Wetherby's good-tempered mouth, far from good-tempered now, curled in a devastating sneer. She was looking at him as Claire, in the old days when they had toured England together in road companies, had sometimes seen her look at recalcitrant landladies. The landladies, without exception, had wilted beneath that gaze, and Mr Pickering wilted now.
'But--but--but--' was all he could contrive to say.
'Why should we think you did it?' said Lady Wetherby, bitterly. 'You had a grudge against the poor brute for biting you. We find you hiding here with a pistol and a story about burglars which an infant couldn't swallow. I suppose you thought that, if you planted the poor creature's body here, it would be up to Algie to get rid of it, and that if he were found with it I should think that it was he who had killed the animal.'
The look of horror which Lord Wetherby had managed to assume became genuine at these words. The gratitude which he had been feeling towards Mr Pickering for having removed one of the chief trials of his existence vanished.
'Great Scot!' he cried. 'So that was the game, was it?'
Tips, opportunities to make money：No money online, make moneyMr Pickering struggled for speech. This was a nightmare.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Online chat, making money is a deceptive'But I didn't! I didn't! I didn't! I tell you I hadn't the remotest notion the creature was there.'
'Oh, come, Pickering!' said Lord Wetherby. 'Come, come, come!'
Mr Pickering found that his accusers were ebbing away. Lady Wetherby had gone. Claire had gone. Only Lord Wetherby remained, looking at him like a pained groom. He dashed from the place and followed his hostess, speaking incoherently of burglars, outhouses, and misunderstandings. He even mentioned Chingachgook. But Lady Wetherby would not listen. Nobody would listen.
He found Lord Wetherby at his side, evidently prepared to go deeper into the subject. Lord Wetherby was looking now like a groom whose favourite horse has kicked him in the stomach.
'Wouldn't have thought it of you, Pickering,' said Lord Wetherby. Mr Pickering found no words. 'Wouldn't, honestly. Low trick!'
'But I tell you--'
'Devilish low trick!' repeated Lord Wetherby, with a shake of the head. 'Laws of hospitality--eaten our bread and salt, what!--all that sort of thing--kill valuable monkey--not done, you know--low, very low!'
And he followed his wife, now in full retreat, with scorn and repulsion written in her very walk.