"I beg your pardon, my love."
"Granted," I replied magnanimously.
The library door opened and Gargery, our butler, poked his head in. "Did you call, Professor?"
"I didn't call you," Emerson replied. "And you know it. Go away, Gargery."
Gargery's snub-nosed countenance took on a look of stubborn determination. "Would you and the madam care for coffee, sir?"
"We just now finished breakfast," Emerson reminded him. "If I want something I will ask for it."
"Shall I switch on the electric lights, sir? I believe we are due for a rainstorm. My rheumatism --"
"Curse your rheumatism!" Emerson shouted. "Get out of here, Gargery."
The door closed with something of a slam. Emerson chuckled. "He's as transparent as a child, isn't he?"
"Has he been nagging you about taking him to Egypt this year?"
"Well, he does it every year, doesn't he? Now he is claiming the damp winter climate gives him the rheumatics."
"I wonder how old he is. He hasn't changed a great deal since we first met him. Hair of that sandy shade does not show gray, and he is still thin and wiry."
"He's younger than we are," said Emerson with a chuckle. "It is not his age that concerns me, Peabody, my dear. We made a bad mistake when we allowed our butler to take a hand in our criminal investigations. It has given him ideas below his station."
"You must admit he was useful," I said, recalling certain of those earlier investigations. "That year we left Nefret and Ramses here in England, one or both of them might have been abducted by Schlange's henchmen if it hadn't been for Gargery and his cudgel."
Copyright Elizabeth Peters 2001. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Harper Collins. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
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