Unformatted text preview: ath certified as due to natural
causes! It's just a question of bribing high enough -- and finding the right man -probably the Chief of Police!33
Harold smiled faintly. He said:
"It's rather Comic Opera, isn't it ? Well,
after all, we can but try.33
Mrs. Rice was energy personified. First
the manager was summoned. Harold re228
mained in his room, keeping out of it. He
and Mrs. Rice had agreed that the story
told had better be that of a quarrel between
husband and wife. Elsie's youth and prettiness
would command more sympathy.
On the following morning various police
officials arrived and were shown up to
Mrs. Rice's bedroom. They left at midday.
Harold had wired for money but otherwise
had taken no part in the proceedings -indeed he would have been unable to do
so since none of these official personages
At twelve o'clock Mrs. Rice came to his
room. She looked white and tired, but
the relief on her face told its own story.
She said simply: c<It'sworked /"
"Thank heaven! You've really been
marvellous! It seems incredible!"
Mrs. Rice said thoughtfully:
"By the ease with which it went, you
might almost think it was quite normal.
They practically held out their hands
right away. It's -- it's rather disgusting, really!"
Harold said dryly:
"This isn't the moment to quarrel with
the corruption of the public services.
How much ?"
"The tariff's rather high.55
She read out a list of figures.
The Chief of Police.
The Hotel Manager.
The Night Porter.
Harold's comment was merely:
"The night porter doesn't get much,
does he ? I suppose it's mostly a question
of gold lace."
Mrs. Rice explained: "The manager stipulated that the death
should not have taken place in his hotel
at all. The official story will be that Philip
had a heart attack in the train. He went
along the corridor for air — you know how
they always leave those doors open — and
he fell out on the line. It's wonderful what
the police can do when they try!5'
"Well," said Harold. "Thank God our
police force isn't like that."
And in a British and superior mood
he went down to lunch.
After lunch Harold usually joined Mrs.
Rice and her daughter for coffee. He decided to make no change in his usual
This was the first time he had seen
Elsie since the night before. She was very
pale and was obviously still suffering from
shock, but she made a gallant endeavour
to behave as usual, uttering small commonplaces
about the weather and the scenery.
They commented on a new guest who
had just arrived, trying to guess his nationality. Harold thought a moustache
like that must be French--Elsie said
German--and Mrs. Rice thought he
might be Spanish.
There was no one else but themselves
on the terrace with the exception of the
two Polish ladies who were sitting at the
extreme end, both doing fancywork.
As always when he saw them, Harold
felt a queer shiver of apprehension p...
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