"Why is this damned room always the wrong temperature?" Hoff was demanding to know, as if the heat was an insult directed solely at him. "It's too hot half the year, too cold the other half! There's no air in here, no air at all! Why don't these windows open? Why can't we have a bigger room?"
"Er . . ."mumbled the harassed Under-Secretary, pushing his spectacles up his sweaty nose, "requests for audiences have always been held here, my Lord Chamberlain." He paused under the fearsome gaze of his superior. "Er . . .it is . . .traditional?"
"I know that, you dolt!" thundered Hoff, face crimson with heat and fury. "Who asked you for your damn fool of an opinion anyway?"
"Yes, that is to say, no," stuttered Morrow, "that is to say, quite so, my Lord."
Hoff shook his head with a mighty frown, staring around the room in search of something else to displease him. "How many more must we endure today?"
"Er . . . four more, your worship."
"Damn it!" thundered the Chamberlain, shifting in his huge chair and flapping his fur-trimmed collar to let some air in. "This is intolerable!" West found himself in silent agreement. Hoff snatched up a silver goblet from the table and took a great slurp of wine. He was a great one for drinking, indeed he had been drinking all afternoon. It had not improved his temper. "Who's the next fool?" he demanded.
"Er . . . " Morrow squinted at a large document through his spectacles, tracing across the crabby writing with an inky finger. "Goodman Heath is next, a farmer from--"
"A farmer? A farmer did you say? So we must sit in this ridiculous heat, listening to some damn commoner moan on about how the weather has affected his sheep?"
"Well, my Lord," muttered Morrow, "it does seem as though, er, Goodman Heath has, er, a legitimate grievance against his, er, landlord and--"
"Damn it all! I am sick to my stomach of other people's grievances!" The Lord Chamberlain took another swallow of wine. "Show the idiot in!"