فصل 23

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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Chapter twenty three

The neat secretary brought Harold Crackenthorpe his usual afternoon cup of tea.

‘Thanks, Miss Ellis, I shall be going home early today.’

‘I don’t really think you should have come in at all, Mr Crackenthorpe. You don’t look well.’

‘I’m all right,’ said Harold, but he did not feel well.

He shouldn’t really have come into the office, but he had wanted to see how the business was going. All this - he looked round him - appeared successful. But now it wouldn’t be long before his business failed. If only his father had died instead of Alfred, there wouldn’t have been anything to worry about.

But with Alfred gone, the money from his grandfather would be divided not into five shares but into four. Looking more cheerful, Harold got up, left the office and drove home.

Darwin, his servant, opened the door. ‘Her ladyship has just arrived, sir.’

For a moment Harold stared at him. Alice! Was it really today that Alice was coming back from the Riviera? He had forgotten all about it.

He had never been in love with her, of course, but her rich family had been useful. Though not perhaps as useful as they might have been, because he and Alice had never had any children.

He went upstairs into the sitting room. ‘My dear, how was San Raphael?’

Alice told him how San Raphael was. She was a thin woman with sandy-coloured hair, and pale grey eyes. She also asked about her husband’s health. ‘Emma’s telegram rather frightened me. I read in the paper the other day of forty people in a hotel getting food poisoning. All these refrigerators are dangerous. People keep things in them too long and forget about them.’

‘Possibly,’ said Harold.

‘Oh, and I nearly forgot to tell you there’s a parcel for you on the hall table.’

‘Is there? I didn’t notice it.’ Harold went and picked up the parcel, which was small and very carefully wrapped. He took it back into the sitting room where he opened it. Inside was a small pill box with ‘Two to be taken each night’ written on it. With it was a small piece of paper from the chemist’s in Brackhampton with ‘Sent by request of Doctor Quimper’ written on it.

‘What is it, dear?’ said Alice. ‘You look worried.’

‘Oh, it’s just - some pills. But I’m sure the doctor said I need not take any more.’

His wife said calmly, ‘He probably said don’t forget to take them.’

‘Perhaps he did.’ Harold looked across at her and for a moment he wondered exactly what she was thinking. That calm expression told him nothing. Her eyes were like windows in an empty house. What did Alice feel about him? Had she ever been in love with him?

‘I think I shall go to bed,’ he said. ‘It’s been my first day back in the City.’

‘Yes, I think that’s a good idea. And don’t forget to take your pills, dear.’

He went upstairs. Yes, it would be wrong to stop taking the pills so soon. He took two and swallowed them with a glass of water.

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