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Unformatted text preview: this isn't a detective
story! To attempt a thing like that would
be quite crazy."
"I suppose it would.35 He groaned.
"What can we do? My God, what can
we do ?"
Mrs. Rice shook her head despairingly.
She was frowning, her mind working
225 Harold demanded:
"Isn't there anything we can do ? Anything
to avoid this frightful disaster ?"
There, it was out--disaster! Terrible
-- unforeseen -- utterly damning.
They stared at each other. Mrs. Rice
"Elsie -- my little girl. I'd do anything.
... It will kill her if she has to go through a
thing like this." And she added: "You too,
your career -- everything."
Harold managed to say:
"Never mind me."
But he did not really mean it.
Mrs. Rice went on bitterly:
"And all so unfair -- so utterly untrue!
It's not as though there had ever been anything
between you. I know that well
Harold suggested, catching at a straw:
"You'll be able to say that at least-that it was all perfectly all right."
Mrs. Rice said bitterly:
"Yes, if they believe me. But you know
what these people out here are like!"
Harold agreed gloomily. To the Continental mind, there would undoubtedly
be a guilty connection between himself
and Elsie, and all Mrs. Rice's denials
would be taken as a mother lying herself
black in the face for her daughter.
Harold said gloomily:
"Yes, we're not in England, worse luck."
"Ah!" Mrs. Rice lifted her head. "That's
true. . . . It's not England. I wonder now
if something could be done — "
"Yes ?" Harold looked at her eagerly.
Mrs. Rice said abruptly:
"How much money have you got ?"
"Not much with me." He added: "I
could wire for money, of course."
Mrs. Rice said grimly:
"We may need a good deal. But I think
it's worth trying."
Harold felt a faint lifting of despair. He
"What is your idea?"
Mrs. Rice spoke decisively.
"We haven't a chance of concealing the
death ourselves, but I do think there's just a chance of hushing it up officially!"
"You really think so?" Harold was
hopeful but slightly incredulous.
"Yes, for one thing the manager of the
hotel will be on our side. He'd much rather
have the thing hushed up. It's my opinion
that in these out of the way curious little
Balkan countries you can bribe anyone and
everyone--and the police are probably
more corrupt than anyone else !33
Harold said slowly:
"Do you know, I believe you're right.33
Mrs. Rice went on:
"Fortunately, I don't think anyone in
the hotel heard anything.33
"Who has the room next to Elsie's on
the other side from yours ?33
"The two Polish ladies. They didn't
hear anything. They'd have come out into
the passage if they had. Philip arrived late,
nobody saw him but the night porter. Do
you know, Harold, I believe it will be possible
to hush the whole thing up -- and get
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