AND 16 OTHER STORIES - online book

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and greasy. I could not resist showing him where it was ripped. It so affected him that I was almost sorry I had done it. First he seemed plunged into a bottom­less abyss of grief. Then he roused himself, made a feint with his hands as if waving off the pity of a nation, and said — with what seemed to me a manufactured emotion—"No matter; no matter; don't mind me; do not bother about it. I can get another."
When he was thoroughly restored, so that he could examine the rip and command his feelings, he said, ah, now he understood it — his servant must have done it while dressing him that morning.
His servant! There was something awe-inspiring in effrontery like this.
Nearly every day he interested himself in some article of my clothing. One would hardly have ex­pected this sort of infatuation in a man who always wore the same suit, and it a suit that seemed coeval with the Conquest.
It was an unworthy ambition, perhaps, but I did wish I could make this man admire something about me or something I did — you would have felt the same way. I saw my opportunity: I was about to return to Lon­don, and had " listed " my soiled linen for the wash. It made quite an imposing mountain in the corner of the room — fifty-four pieces. I hoped he would fancy it was the accumulation of a single week. I took up the wash list, as if to see that it was all right, and then tossed it on the table, with pretended forgetfulness. Sure enough, he took it up and ran his eye along down to the grand total. Then he said, " You get off easy," and laid it down again.
His gloves were the saddest ruin, but he told me
where I could get some like them. His shoes would
hardly hold walnuts without leaking, but he liked to
put his feet up on the mantel-piece and contemplate