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24: Au Revoir

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Author Topic: 24: Au Revoir  (Read 333 times)
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« on: April 19, 2023, 11:26:53 am »

“WELL,” said Freddy with a melancholic sigh, “I suppose this is it! No good kicking against the pricks. It’s been fun while it lasted. We’re off tomorrow as soon as it’s light.”

He and Dilys were leaning over the terrace of Le Rocher de Monaco gazing out across the placid waters of the harbour towards the lights of Monte Carlo.

Dilys asked with a faint hint of apprehension:

“But surely you’ll . . . you’ll be glad to get home again?”

“What! . . . To Willesden, N.W.2? After this?” He gestured toward the insubstantial fairyland that seemed to be suspended between sea and sky like some spangled and impossibly romantic backcloth. “Have a heart!” Freddy sighed again. “I came down here a carefree, uncomplicated sort of chap. And now look at me! Befogged, bewitched and bewildered. You’ve got a heck of a lot to answer for, Miss Westmacott.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Well, you don’t look it!” snorted Freddy, gazing down at her face with an expression of agonized approval.

“Really? Then how do I look?”

“Unbelievable,” breathed Freddy. “Out-of-this-world.”

Dilys laughed.

“A week from now you’ll remember saying that and blush to the roots of your hair.”

“A week from now,” contested Freddy, “I shall be sitting in my lonely bachelor room writing you a ten-page letter.”

Her hand tightened over his. She demanded earnestly:

“You will write, won’t you?”

“Every dreary day until we meet again. Though heaven alone knows,” he added glumly, “when that will be.”

“Why not when I come to London?”

“What!” whooped Freddy, twisting her round and almost whirling her off her feet. “You’re coming to London? Why the deuce didn’t you tell me? Why? When? How long for?”

“Well, I don’t know exactly. But Aunt Nesta wants to let the villa for at least six months. We’ll probably be coming over to England in a few weeks. You can imagine how dreadful she feels about poor Tony.”

Freddy nodded and went on in more sober tones:

“Yes---a rotten show. I didn’t mean to talk about all this---but now that it’s cropped up . . . well, I may as well tell you.”

“What?”

“They arrested that poor devil Dillon this morning at the Gare du Nord in Paris. I suppose he was trying to edge his way back across the Channel. You know, darling, I can’t help feeling sorry for the fellow. Take it all round he’s had a pretty raw deal. More sinned against than sinning, eh?”

“And now . . .” asked Dilys unhappily, “now that they have arrested him . . . ?”

Freddy shrugged.

“Difficult to say. Heaven knows he had plenty of provocation for what he did. It’s what they call a crime passionel over here, isn’t it? So perhaps they won’t hand out too stiff a sentence.” For the third time Freddy sighed. “Funny how some blokes get all the hard knocks . . .” He broke off and slowly shook his head.

THE END

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