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Evidently people like Framton Nuttel who were strangers and were bringing letters of introduction would arrive at an appropriate hour, probably around tea time, without advance notice, since there were no telephones. Nuttel was presenting his letter of introduction to Mrs. Sappleton and not to Mr. Sappleton, one of the men who was out hunting. She was probably doing a little last-minute powdering and hair arranging, so she sent her niece Vera down to greet this visitor before putting in an appearance herself. Framton Nuttel is only doing what his sister has strongly advised him to do, and it is one of her letters he is presenting to Mrs. Sappleton in a effort to make a few acquaintances in this part of the country where he is taking a rest cure. He is a diffident, nervous, introverted type of man, and he doesn't expect to get any positive results from all his letters of introduction. He is not like his sister, who is obviously more socially graceful and more aggressive. Perhaps Nuttel doesn't really want to meet people but is stuck with a lot of letters of introduction and a promise to his sister.
Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing.
It sounds as if Nuttel has already used some of his letters without getting any more than a cup of tea and a vague invitation to a return visit or to some as- yet-unscheduled social function. The English can seem very cool and standoffish. Nuttel is further handicapped by the fact that he is perhaps the only male in the region who doesn't enjoy killing birds and animals. Both Vera and her aunt can see that their visitor is an unattractive bore who is all wrapped up in himself and his probably imaginary ailments. Even Mrs. Sappleton, who must have had to put up with a lot of uninteresting people in her long career as a hostess, finds Framton's personality and conversation soporific.
"No?" said Mrs. Sappleton, in a voice which only replaced a yawn at the last moment.
No doubt the letter of introduction to the Sappletons will be the last such letter Framton Nuttel will present to anyone.
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