jordan, the countess’s faithful butler, recognized sonia, and sonia and joe entered and were ushered into the big house.
the countess was nowhere to be seen. a number of guests, some of whom joe recognized from the party at mr madison’s, were sitting around looking at newspapers or magazines or strange into space.
it was not a lively group.
sonia was greeted by a little old woman who was sitting on the edge of a sofa, knitting something - a shawl or sweater. the old woman herself was dressed in a plain gray dress a size too large for her.
“good evening, miss chuff, “ sonia responded. “miss chuff, this is my friend mr joseph b—————. joe, this is no other than the celebrated miss chuff.”
joe had never heard of the celebrated miss chuff, but he took the little claw she offered him. “a great honor,” he told her.
“you look like a serious young man,” miss chuff told joe.
“i try to be serious as i have to be,” he replied, with a smile.
“who was she?’” joe asked sonia, as they moved deeper into the house.
“she is one of the famous amateur detectives the countess likes to invite. didn’t i tell you that before?”
“miss chuff is here, and i think cardinal gogol and sir devilish keene will also be here.”
“does she expect somebody to be murdered?”
“she just likes to invite them.”
“i guess you can’t be too careful,” joe said. “look who’s here.”
sonia and joe were suddenly confronted with cleve, the rude individual they had encountered previously at mr madison’s.
“hello, cleve,” sonia greeted him. “you must remember joe.”
“of course!” cleve cried. “the filmmaker! i see we are looking a bit less rumpled tonight, sir,” he addressed joe.
“i was just telling joe how much the countess likes to invite her detectives to her gatherings.”
“ah! too bad they had so many films made about them already. eh! but i suppose there is always room for one more,” cleve laughed heartily,
suddenly there was the sound of a commotion at the front door. loud voices were raised.
“that sounds like sir devilish keene now,” said sonia.