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HOME > Biographical > The Man Who Found Himself > CHAPTER III THE HUNDRED-POUND NOTE
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Uncle Simon awoke consumed by thirst, but without a headache; a good constitution and years of regular life had given him a large balance to draw upon.

Mudd was in the room arranging things; he had just drawn up the blind.

"Who's that?" asked Simon.

"Mudd," replied the other.

Mudd's tout ensemble as a new sort of hotel servant seemed to please Simon, and he accepted him at once as he accepted everything that pleased him.

"Give me that water-bottle," said Simon.

Mudd gave it. Simon half-drained it and handed it back. The draught seemed to act on him like the elixir vit?.

"What are you doing with those clothes?" said he.

"Oh, just folding them," said Mudd.

"Well, just leave them alone," replied the other. "Is there any money in the pockets?"

"These aren't what you wore last night," said Mudd; "there was two pounds ten in the pockets of what you had on. Here it is, on the mantel."

"Good," said Simon.

"Have you any more money anywhere about?" asked Mudd.

Now Simon, spendthrift in front of pleasure and heedless of money as the wind, in front of Mudd seemed cautious and a bit suspicious. It was as though his subliminal mind recognised in Mudd restraint and guardianship and common sense.

"Not a halfpenny," said he. "Give me that two pounds ten."

Mudd, alarmed at the vigour of the other, put the money on the little table by the bed.

Simon was at once placated.

"Now put me out some clothes," said he. He seemed to have accepted Mudd now as a personal servant—hired when? Heaven knows when; details like that were nothing to Simon.

Mudd, marvelling and sorrowing, put out a suit of blue serge, a blue tie, a shirt and other things of silk. There was a bathroom, off the bedroom, and, the things put out, Simon arose[Pg 123] and wandered into the bathroom, and Mudd, taking his seat on a chair, listened to him tubbing and splashing—whistling, too, evidently in the gayest spirits, spirits portending another perfect day.

"Lead him," had said Oppenshaw. Why, Mudd already was being led. There was something about Simon, despite his irresponsibility and good humour, that would not brook a halter even if the halter were of silk. Mudd recognised that. And the money! What had become of the money? The locked portmanteau might contain it, but where was the key?

Mudd did not even know whether his unhappy master had recognised him or not, and he dared not ask, fearing complications. But he knew that Simon had accepted him as a servant, and that knowledge had to suffice.

If Simon had refused him, and turned him out, that would have been a tragedy indeed.

Simon, re-entering the bedroom, bath towel in hand, began to dress, Mudd handing things which Simon took as though half oblivious of the presence of the other. He seemed engaged in some happy vein of thought.

Dressed and smart, but unshaved, though scarcely showing the fact, Simon took the two pounds ten and put it in his pocket, then he[Pg 124] looked at Mudd. His expression had changed somewhat; he seemed working out some problem in his mind.

"That will do," said he; "I won't want you any more for a few minutes. I want to arrange things. You can go down and come back in a few minutes."

Mudd hesitated. Then he went.

He heard Simon lock the door. He went into an adjoining corridor and walked up and down, dumbly praying that Mr. Robert would come—confused, agitated, wondering.... Suppose Simon wanted to be alone to cut his throat! The horror of this thought was dispelled by the recollection that there were no razors about; also by the remembered cheerfulness of the other. But why did he want to be alone?

Two minutes passed, three, five—then the intrigued one, making for the closed door, turned the handle. The door was unlocked, and Simon, standing in the middle of the room, was himself again.

"I've got a message I want you to take," said Simo............
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