7 - The reaction to the body
We were all in the library; that's just the room we would go to (draw off to) after dinner. The Butler, Blandings, insisted on calling it the Drawing Room, and the reality show people just latched onto that, just the way they latched onto his fake British accent. Honestly, the higher our ratings go, the deeper his accent gets.
Helen didn't scream, but she came into the room but her actual face was shaking and her hair stood out from her head. She just stood in the doorway. Steve was having a tete-a-tete with Tiffany in the corner in such hushed tones that even I couldn't hear them were too occupied to notice Helen. (They were actually discussing Steve taking Helen away on a cruise. Helen had wanted to stay and keep an eye on the house so they were making previsions to address her concerns and allow her to go, but at the time he seemed neglectful and it looked like they were having an affair. The woman was much more svelte than Helen.) The cameraman was filming the scratches I had made on his arm. The butler was expounding on the myth of a dog's mouth being cleaning than a humans, and talking about "fight bite" which is often fatal, and saying that a cat scratch is like a hypodermic full of germs.
Madeleine looked up when Helen didn't argue with the butler about that and noticed Helen's distress and we thereby saw some glances into Mad's true nature beneath her superficial exterior. We saw the affection and respect between the two women who were , in fact, blood relations. Just glimpses.
The family and crew went to the basement door and there was nearly another casualty because of the cameraman's enthusiasm to see the blood.
"I can't believe this" the camera man cried in great distress. Everyone looked at him in surprise. He didn't seem like a humanitarian. "My handheld light for the camera has blown out."
The reaction of the other people was one part outrage and one part comprehension. A few shrugs and nods. I yawned.
Then the cameraman turned to me and accused me. The butler piped in with statistics about how many people die after being tripped by their cats. By this time handheld lights had been brought in and the cameras were rolling again. Helen was refuting what the butler said, and the dead body was being ignored until Steve (who retained his perspecitive although he was diffident) finally broke in and suggested that this was not the time for that argument.
Steve ushered everyone into the library and called the police.
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