Irene and her cousin were left alone; and it is obvious that there is no means of knowing what took plactron trx apie afterwards, beyond disclosures which either of them made, which were not of a detailed kind. But much may be inferred from an announcement in The Times which Myra read at breakfast only two mornings later.
She shook her head sadly, with downcast eyebitcoin etf galaxys. After a moment or two, she raised them appealingly to him as she said simply, "There is so much that I wish I could forget.""Poor child! Yes, I think I know. Be patient with yourself, and remember that you were never to blame."
Again came that quick, grateful glance by which some women express more than others can ever put in words. Her thought was, "I didn't think that even he was capable of that. What a way of assuring me that he'll be patient with me!" Then she quietly read for an hour descriptions of the Holy Land that were not too religious for Holcroft's mind and which satisfied her conscience better than much she had read in former days to satisfy a taste more alien to hers than that of her husband.Holcroft listened to her correct pronunciation and sweet, natural tones with a sort of pleased wonder. At last he said, "You must stop now.""Are you tired?" she asked."No, but you are, or ought to be. Why, Alida, I didn't know you were so well educated. I'm quite a barbarous old fellow compared with you.""I hadn't thought of that before," she said with a laugh.
"What a fool I was, then, to put it into your head!""You must be more careful. I'd never have such thoughts if you didn't suggest them.""No doubt she is. But I fail to see - - "
"Mr. Kindell had engagements he did not, and perhaps could not, explain. You understand that better than I. Curiosity was aroused.""You are explaining nothing at all.""Perhaps jealousy would be a more adequate word.""Perhaps it might. But I still fail to see - - "
"Is it necessary that you should? What I desired to convey was that curiosity - or jealousy - being aroused, things were noticed - perhaps I should say discovered, which would otherwise - I think I must have made myself sufficiently clear.""No. I can't say that you have. What I asked was what had first caused you to suspect Snacklit."
"I am afraid that I must decline to be more specific. I may already have said too much. And it is not, in fact, an explanation that could help you at all. What I thought I ought to tell you is what occurred when I reached Snacklit House, a short while before Mr. Thurlow intervened, perhaps more effectually than I should have been able to do.""You don't mind our questioning Miss Blinkwell?""About what I have said? It would be a gaucherie which I should regret. But it would not be within my power to prevent If you would imply that it might disclose some indiscretion of mine - which is absurd - no, I should not object at all.""Very well. . . . Then we will come to what happened at Snacklit House."
"I saw Mr. Snacklit in the lounge on the first floor. The girl whom I afterwards heard called Kate, showed me up, or, at least would have announced me, but I followed her without waiting for that."I found him on the couch, his face very badly cut and discoloured, and my first question was naturally to enquire how he had come to be in such a condition. He said something about a hellcat, or some such word, and I replied that Miss Thurlow would certainly not have committed such an act unless the provocation had been extreme. It was a shot in the dark, but it went home."He looked frightened, and, I thought, conscious for the first time of the indiscretion of what he had said before. He said something about not knowing what I meant, and I became seriously alarmed as I considered the kind of scene which must have occurred, and how he could have disposed of her subsequently."I told him that I was enquiring for Miss Thurlow, and that, in view of his condition, and what he had said about it already, it was useless to profess ignorance.
"I said that I had no wish to create any disturbance and, in view of the punishment he had received, nothing more might be said about the matter, if he would allow me to take her quietly away."He said I could take anyone away as far as he was concerned, but as he didn't know who I was talking about he couldn't say more than that.
"I told him that I must take that as permission to search the house, and he told me to go to hell."He gave me the impression of a man who was in such a state of combined mental desperation and physical pain that he was hardly conscious of what he said.
"I left him then, and went down some back stairs, and found myself in a lighted passage. I went along that, and came to a large incinerator built out from the house, and a man was there stoking up.""You mean Wilkes?""I did not have occasion to ask his name.""We arrested him for murder an hour ago.""From his appearance and manner I cannot say that it is an incredible charge. But when I told him that I was looking for a young lady who was known to be on the premises, he said he could probably take me to the right place, and that he certainly did."I must find some satisfaction in thinking that I should almost certainly have been in time, even if Mr. Thurlow had not been there, though I might not have been able to intervene so effectually, and what assistance I might have received from Wilkes can be a matter of conjecture only."
"You say you left Snacklit on the couch in the lounge?""Yes."
"He showed no sign of following you?""No. Nor did he look equal to doing it. I should have said that he was incapable of great exertion. . . . He might, of course, have got into a car."
"We know he didn't do that.""Am I to conclude that it was for his murder that you have arrested Wilkes?"
"Not at all. We have no reason to suppose that he has been murdered. But the man who drove Miss Thurlow certainly was. She saw his body being wheeled to the incinerator, and when we drew the fire there were obvious human remains, which a few further hours would have reduced to unrecognizable ashes. No doubt it was done on Snacklit's orders, and that's probably why he disappeared in the way he did.""Do I understand," the Professor asked, "that the heat of the incinerator would be sufficient to destroy a human body - even the bones - beyond recognition within so short a time?""Yes. That is so. The wonder really was that we were able to secure such definite evidence after the time which had elapsed. But you can understand why Wilkes was busy stoking the fire."Professor Blinkwell said that that was certainly what he would be likely to do. He observed silently (it was not a matter to be spoken aloud) that Wilkes and Burfoot would probably be most justly hanged - as in fact they were - for the murder of the taxi-driver, on the unjust evidence of the remains of Mr. Snacklit which the furnace had been allowed insufficient time to consume entirely. Would Wilkes try to save himself by asserting the truth that it was Snacklit's body, and that Professor Blinkwell had pushed him in? It would be a most improbable thing, and, even if it were believed, it would be worse than useless to him, for he would have to admit that he had done nothing to intervene or denounce the crime. It would be to make his fate sure, even beyond the faint hope of reprieve which may follow conviction for the foulest crime, if a doubt of guilt, however slender, can be suggested to the Home Secretary's mind. . . .
Mr. Allenby rose. With a toneless forn;ality, he thanked Professor Blinkwell for the information he had given. Actually he saw no reason to doubt its substantial accuracy, apart only from the nature and extent of his knowledge of Snacklit, and his reasons for supposing that Irene would have been in his hands.Professor Blinkwell rose also. He spoke with simple sincerity when he said that there was no occasion for thanks. Whatever little he had been able to do at Snacklit House had been a pleasure to him.
Chapter 41 But Myra Felt DifferentlyIT WAS TEN days later that the ambassador gave a dinner to some prominent Englishman whom his country desired to honour.
It was the first day, after her experiences at Snacklit House, on which Irene had been visible at the Embassy, some physical blemishes, which had been reductive of her usual charms, having prompted an anonymous visit to a South Coast town, which it is better to leave unmentioned, owing to an experience she had there - one of the dubious consequences of anonymity - of which she thought it best that her father should not be told.Her health, owing to the buoyant quality of her sanguine youth, had been unaffected throughout, and, when this evening came, she showed no trace of the experiences she had undergone excepting an inconspicuous scar near her left eye, and that she would have had patience to remain secluded until that should disappear would have been an extreme improbability, even apart from the event which we must not be drawn aside to observe, beyond the discreet allusion already made.
To the only guest who was audibly curious concerning the cause of the injury, she replied, with impregnable veracity, that it is always foolish to collide with open doors in the dark, and having put that enquiry so lightly aside she proceeded to enjoy herself as much as is possible to an ambassador's daughter who shares the responsibility of entertaining her father's guests.Her right-hand neighbour at the dinner-table was a professor of economics of international reputation, and she concluded soundly that he would not be overwhelmingly interested in the knitting of jumpers, or the style of the season's hats.On the other hand, her knowledge of economics was not sufficient to give reasonable hope that she could sustain a conversation upon them without exposing greater ignorance than a hostess prefers to show, and with this consciousness, and that of her international duty of entertaining her guest with a suitable topic of conversation, her mind naturally turned to a subject which had largely occupied it during the voluntary seclusion of the previous week. She introduced the question of the desirability of the marriage of cousins with the verbal adroitness which few men and most women have.Its connection with economics (if any) is remote, but the old gentleman was one of those numerous specialists who, having succeeded in establishing a reputation for good crowing on their own dunghills, consider that any other should do equally well; and he was, more exceptionally, of wide interests and an unprejudiced mind.
He rose to the bait at once. He said that, like many popular beliefs, the objection to such marriages was only conditionally true. Like to unlike is the law of physical attraction, and cousins are likely but not certain to combine like qualities, both good and bad. The question, should cousins marry, is therefore incapable of absolute reply. Some should, and others should not. A minority of cousins are widely different in temperaments and physique, and, in such cases, if they should both be in good health, their unions might be particularly successful. Nothing can alter the arithmetical fact that the children of first cousins will have less than the normal number of grandparents, and the one who is duplicated may have an abnormally strong influence either, or perhaps both, for good and evil.The learned doctor having a rather penetrating voice, which was more frequently exercised in the classroom than at the fireside, and the guests not being numerous, his remarks gained the attention of a silent table.
A discussion followed, exposing some differences of opinion, but nothing was said to disturb Irene's opinion that the learned doctor was a most able man.Mr. Thurlow, listening without comment at the other end of the table, concluded that if Will Kindell were asked to dinner his daughter would not be vexed, and being a man of prompt action when his decisions were clearly made, he telephoned him next morning, and found, without surprise, that his invitation was promptly accepted.
Kindell came that evening, and found that the ambassador and his daughter were dining alone.Mr. Thurlow explained that he had asked him because he was curious to know what was being done by the police to secure the conviction of Professor Blinkwell (to whom he alluded in language unfitting for the lips of an Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the august country he represented) for his countless crimes, and he enquired with a more personal anxiety to what extent Irene was likely to be involved in the criminal proceedings which had become obviously unavoidable.