butler, and minister of inferior affairs. Mudd was sixty-five and a bit; he had been in the services of the Pettigrew family forty-five years, and had grown up, so to say, side by side with Simon. For the last twenty years every morning Mudd had brought up his master's tea, drawn up his blinds and set out his clothes—seven thousand times or thereabouts, allowing for holidays and illnesses. He was a clean-shaven old man, with rounded shoulders and a way that had become blunt with long use; he only "sirred" Simon in the presence of guests and servants, and had an open way of speaking on matters of everyday affairs verging on the conjugal in its occasional frankness.

 

This morning, the third of June, Mudd, having drawn up his master's blinds and set out his boots and shaving things, vanished and returned with his clothes, brushed and folded, and a jug[Pg 13] of shaving water which he placed on the wash-handstand.

 

"The arms will be out of this old coat if you go on wearing it much longer," grumbled Mudd, as he placed the things on a chair. "It's been in wear nearly a year and a half; you're heavy on the left elbow—it's the desk does it."

 

"I'll see," said Simon.

 

He knew quite well the suggestion that lay in the tone and the words of Mudd, but a visit to his tailors was almost on a par with a visit to his dentists, and new clothes were an abhorrence. It took him a fortnight to get used to a new coat, and as to being shabby, why, a decent shabbiness was part of his personality and, vaguely perhaps, of his pride in life. He could afford to be shabby.