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Chapter Forty-Three

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« on: July 27, 2023, 11:04:05 am »

MISS Silver made her farewells, and was seen off at Ledbury station by Ninian and Janet.

Janet herself would be leaving next day. She had received her belated cheque from Hugo Mortimer and was feeling pleasantly independent. She told herself what a relief it would be to get away from Ford House. There had been two murders, two inquests and two funerals in the brief time she had spent there. And anyhow her job was at an end, since Stella was with her mother and Nanny would join them at Sunningdale, though how long she would get on with Sibylla Maxwell’s own nursery autocrat was another matter. She watched the smoke of Miss Silver’s train die away in the distance and felt Ninian’s hand upon her arm.

“Come along with you!”

They went out to the car, but instead of taking the road to Ford he turned in the opposite direction. To her “Where are you going?” she got no answer but “Wait and see.” After which she sat in what he felt to be a deceptive silence whilst they ran out of the old narrow streets into broader and more modern ones and were finally clear of the straggle of bungalows and small houses which Ledbury had gathered to itself since the war.

On this side the ground rose. They came to a wooded slope that looked to the south-east, and there he stopped the car. Janet opened her lips for the first time in half an hour.

“What do we do next?”

“We get out.”


“I’m tired of sitting in the car.”

There was no hedge on the right. A path meandered downwards between the trees. After a little way there was a clearing with a view. They could see the smoke of Ledbury, the flat green fields they had left, and the bend the river made at Ford. There was a sky flecked with blue and grey, a clear pale sunlight, and a temperate breeze. A fallen tree made a convenient seat. They sat down on it. Janet folded her hands in her lap, lifted her eyes to his face, and said, “Well?”

She caught a momentary gleam of mischief, and then it was gone. If it hadn’t been Ninian, she might have thought he was embarrassed. There was the sound of it in his voice as he said, “Well, what?”

“Oh, just---well. Did we come here to look at the view?”

“It’s quite a good view.”

“Oh, yes. Did we come here to look at it?”

“Woman, you’ve no sense of romance!”

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