Old Mr. Howard Saxby was seated at his desk in his room at the Edgar Saxby literary agency when Cosmo arrived there. He was knitting a sock. He knitted a good deal, he would tell you if you asked him, to keep himself from smoking, adding that he also smoked a good deal to keep himself from knitting. He was a long, thin old gentleman in his middle seventies with a faraway unseeing look in his eye, not unlike that which a dead halibut on a fishmonger’s slab gives the pedestrian as he passes.
* * *
“You came to discuss business of some sort. I don’t suppose you got far with old Mr. Saxby? No, I thought not. Was he knitting?”
Cosmo winced, her question had touched an exposed nerve.
“Yes,” he said coldly. “A sock.”
“How was it coming along?”
“I understood him to say that he had turned the heel.”
“Good. Always the testing part. Once past the heel, you’re home. But except for learning that the sock was going well, you did not get much satisfaction out of him, I imagine. Not many of our clients do.”
From P.G. Wodehouse’s “Cocktail Time” (1958)