فصل 21

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Chapter twenty one

Lucy was busy arranging trays to take to the various sick people. She picked up the first one and took it upstairs.

‘What’s this?’ said Mr Crackenthorpe.

‘Tea and rice pudding,’ said Lucy.

‘Take it away. I told that nurse I wanted meat. What’s Emma doing? Why doesn’t she come and see me?’

‘She’s still in bed, Mr Crackenthorpe.’

‘Women are so weak. But you’re a good strong girl. And I’ve got a nice store of money and I know who I’m going to spend it on when the time comes.’ He smiled and tried to hold her hand.

Lucy went rather quickly out of the room.

The next tray she took in to Emma.

‘Oh, thank you, Lucy. But I’m worried about your aunt,’ she said as Lucy put the tray on her knees. ‘You haven’t had any time to go and see her.’

‘Oh, don’t worry. She understands how difficult things have been.’

But as she went down to fetch the next tray, Lucy decided that she would ring Miss Marple up as soon as she had taken Cedric his meal.

Cedric was sitting up in bed writing. ‘Hello, Lucy, what awful food have you got for me today? I wish you would get rid of that nurse. She calls me “we” for some reason. “And how are we this morning? Have we slept well?”’

‘You seem very cheerful,’ said Lucy. ‘And busy. What are you writing?’

‘Plans for what to do with this place when the old man dies. If I sell all the land, I’ll have more money than I know what to do with.’

‘I thought you disliked money.’

‘Of course I dislike money when I haven’t got any,’ said Cedric. ‘What a lovely girl you are, Lucy, or do I just think so because I haven’t seen any good looking women for such a long time?’

‘I expect that’s it,’ said Lucy.

Before getting her own lunch she went to the telephone and rang up Miss Marple. ‘I’m very sorry I haven’t been able to come over, but I’ve been so busy.’

‘Of course, my dear, but there’s nothing that can be done just now. And Elspeth McGillicuddy will be home very soon. I wrote to her to come at once.’

‘You don’t think…’ Lucy stopped.

‘That there will be any more deaths? Oh, I hope not. But one never knows, does one? When someone is really evil. I mean.’

Lucy rang off and took her tray into the small study. She was just finishing her meal when the door opened and Bryan Eastley came in.

‘Hello,’ she said. ‘This is very unexpected.’

‘I suppose it is,’ said Bryan. ‘How is everybody?’

‘Oh, much better. Harold’s going back to London tomorrow. Have you come to stay?’

‘Well, I’d like to, if it won’t be too much work for you.’

‘No, we can manage,’ said Lucy, picking up the tray.

‘I’ll do that,’ said Bryan, taking it from her. They went into the kitchen together. ‘Shall I help you wash up? I do like this kitchen. In fact I like this whole house.’ He picked up a cloth and began to wipe the spoons and forks. ‘It seems a waste, it all going to Cedric. He’ll just sell it and go abroad again. Harold wouldn’t want this house either, and of course it’s much too big for Emma. But if it came to Alexander, he and I would be as happy together here as two children. But before Alexander could get this place all of them would have to die, and that’s not likely, is it?’

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