One of the letters was to Mrs. Sappleton. When Mr. Nuttel visited her, Mrs Sappleton was busy and he was asked to wait for several minutes. The servant invited Mr. Nuttel into a room. There Mr. Nuttel met Mrs. Sappleton’s niece, a very self-confident young lady of fifteen. The young lady asked him what he knew about her aunt. Mr. Nuttel knew nothing except Mrs. Sappleton’s name and address.
Mr. Nuttel looked around. There was something about the room that told him there were other people living in the house. So he was wondering if Mrs. Sappleton was married. Suddenly the girl got sad and told a story ofMrs. Sappleton’s tragedy. Mr. Nuttel was greatly surprised because his sister hadn’t told him anything about it. The tragedy was very unusual for that peaceful place.
The girl pointed at the French window, which opened on to the lawn and said that Mrs. Sappleton always kept it open.Mr. Nuttel stated that it was natural to keep the window open because the weather was quite warm. But the girl sighed and explained that her poor aunt always kept the window open in the evenings because she was waiting for her husband and sons to return. Three years ago they had gone hunting and never came back. The story caught Mr. Nuttel’s imagination deeply. He felt very upset.
He felt a little better only when Mrs. Sappleton finally appeared in the room. She apologized for being late and asked if he minded the open window. She said her husband and sons would soon be home from hunting. They always came in that way. Then, she continued talking cheerfully about hunting ducks. But Mr. Nuttel felt terrible.
He made an attempt to change the topic and told her about the reasons why he had come to the country. But Mrs. Sappleton didn’t seem to notice. She was constantly looking at the open window. Mr. Nuttel felt uncomfortable. He understood that he had chosen the wrong moment to visit her. Suddenly Mrs. Sappleton cried happily pointing at the window, “Here they are at last, just in time for tea!” Three male figures were walking across the lawn towards the window. They carried guns and a dog followed them.
Shocked and afraid, Mr. Nuttel grabbed his stick and hat and rushed out of the house. Mrs. Sappleton was extremely surprised at the extraordinary man who had left the house so quickly without a word. Her niece suggested that it was because of the dog. She said that Mr. Nuttel had been afraid of them since childhood – once, a dog had seriously bitten him. This was enough to make the young man lose his nerve. The young lady was so good at making up stories!