The door of the study was closed, and only Nero was to be seen. He, poor dog, stood in the wide hall gazing wistfully at the knob, and pricking up his ears whenever sounds of movement in the room aroused his hope of being admitted. Suddenly he gave a yelp of delight. Somebody surely was approaching the door. The steps—they were a man's—halted. There was a soft, rolling sound, as if the master's chair were being drawn to the table; next, a rustling of paper; a deep-voiced moan; the rapid scratching of a quill pen; then silence—silence—and poor Nero again stood at half-mast.