فصل 18

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فصل 18

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

In the drawing room at Yewtree Lodge, the whole Fortescue family was together.

‘I think we might discuss future plans,’ said Percival. ‘I suppose you’ll be off again back to Kenya - or Canada - or climbing Mount Everest or something fairly exciting, Lance?’

‘Now what makes you think that?’ Lance smiled. ‘I’m coming into the firm with you. I have got the share in it that Father gave me years ago and that gives me the right to be involved, doesn’t it?’

Percival frowned. ‘Things are in a very bad way, you know. We’ll only just be able to pay Elaine her share, if she insists on having it. So are you serious, Lance?’

‘Completely serious.’

‘It won’t work! You’ll soon get bored,’ Percival said.

‘Why are you so angry, dear brother? Don’t you look forward to having me sharing your problems?’

‘You haven’t the slightest idea of the mess everything’s in,’ replied Percival. ‘For the last six months - no, a year, Father was not himself. He sold good stock and bought some very strange investments.’

‘In fact,’ said Lance, ‘it’s just as well for the family that he had Taxine in his tea.’

‘That’s a very ugly way of putting it, but it’s about the only thing that saved us from bankruptcy. We shall have to be very careful for a while.’

Lance shook his head. ‘I don’t agree with you. We must take a few risks, go for something big.’

Percival walked up and down angrily. ‘It’s no good, Lance. Our ways of doing business are totally different. The only sensible thing is to end the partnership.’

‘You’re going to buy me out - is that the idea?’

‘Well, I didn’t mean in cash,’ said Percival. ‘We could - er - divide everything up.’

‘With you keeping the best bits and me getting the mad investments Father bought recently, I suppose?’

‘They seem to be what you prefer,’ said Percival.

Lance grinned. ‘You’re right in a way, old boy. But I’ve got Pat here to think of.’

Pat opened her mouth, then shut it again. Whatever game Lance was playing, it was best that she did not become involved.

‘So what are you planning to give me?’ said Lance, laughing. ‘Diamond mines that have no diamonds, the oil fields where no oil has been found? Do you think I’m quite as big a fool as I look?’

Percival said, ‘Of course, some of these things that Father bought have turned out to be worthless, but some of them may turn out to be very valuable.’

Lance grinned. ‘Are you going to offer me the old Blackbird Mine as well? By the way, has the Inspector been asking you about this Blackbird Mine?’

Percival frowned. ‘Yes, he did. I couldn’t tell him much. You and I were children at the time. I just remember that Father went out there and came back saying the whole thing was no good.’

‘What was it - a gold mine?’

‘I believe so. Father came back certain that there was no gold there.’

‘Who involved him in it? A man called MacKenzie, wasn’t it? And MacKenzie died out there. I seem to remember… Mrs MacKenzie, wasn’t it? She came here and accused Father of murdering her husband.’

‘Really?’ said Percival. ‘I can’t remember anything like that.’

‘I do, though,’ said Lance. ‘Where was Blackbird? West Africa wasn’t it?’

‘Yes, I think so.’

‘I must find the paperwork on it sometime,’ said Lance, ‘when I’m at the office.’

‘You can be quite sure,’ said Percival, ‘that if Father came back saying there was no gold, there was no gold.’

‘You’re probably right there,’ said Lance. ‘Poor Mrs MacKenzie. I wonder what happened to her and to those two kids she brought along. Funny - they must be grown up by now.’

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