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over him. Those still faces, those curved
beaks of noses, those long claw-like
hands. . . .
A page boy approached and told Mrs.
Rice she was wanted. She rose and followed
him. At the entrance to the hotel they
saw her encounter a police official in full
Elsie caught her breath.
"You don't think—anything's gone
Harold reassured her quickly.
"Oh no, no, nothing of that kind."
But he himself knew a sudden pang
of fear. He said:
"Your mother's been wonderful!"
"I know. Mother is a great fighter.
She'll never sit down under defeat."
Elsie shivered. "But it is all horrible,
isn't it ?"
"Now, don't dwell on it. It's all over
and done with."
Elsie said in a low voice:
"I can't forget that — that it was I who
Harold said urgently:
"Don't think of it that way. It was an
accident. You know that really."
Her face grew a little happier. Harold
"And anyway it's past. The past is
the past. Try never to think of it again.55
Mrs. Rice came back. By the expression
on her face they saw that all was well.
"It gave me quite a fright/5 she said
almost gaily. "But it was only a formality
about some papers. Everything's all right, my children. We're out of the shadow.
I think we might order ourselves a liqueur
on the strength of it."
The liqueur was ordered and came.
They raised their glasses.
Mrs. Rice said: "To the Future!"
Harold smiled at Elsie and said:
"To your happiness!"
She smiled back at him and said as she
lifted her glass:
"And to you — to your success! I'm
sure you're going to be a very great
With the reaction from fear they felt
gay, almost light-headed. The shadow had
lifted! All was well. . .
From the far end of the terrace the two
bird-like women rose. They rolled up their
work carefully. They came across the stone
With little bows they sat down by Mrs.
Rice. One of them began to speak. The
other one let her eyes rest on Elsie and
Harold. There was a little smile on her
lips. It was not, Harold thought, a nice smile. . . .
He looked over at Mrs. Rice. She was
listening to the Polish woman and though
he couldn't understand a word, the expression
on Mrs. Rice's face was clear
enough. All the old anguish and despair
came back. She listened and occasionally
spoke a brief word.
Presently the two sisters rose, and with
stiff little bows went into the hotel.
Harold leaned forward. He said hoarsely:
^What is it ?39
Mrs. Rice answered him in the quiet
hopeless tones of despair.
"Those women are going to blackmail us.
They heard everything last night. And now
we^ve tried to hush it ups it makes the whole
thing a thousand times worse. ..."
Harold Waring was down by the lake. He had been walking feverishly for over an
hour, trying by sheer physical energy to
still the clamour of despair that had
He came at last to the spot wher...
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