فصل 07 - 04

مجموعه: کارآگاه مارپل / کتاب: انگشت محرک / فصل 21

فصل 07 - 04

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IV

That afternoon we were going to tea with Miss Emily Barton at her rooms in the village. We must have got there early, for the door was opened to us by a tall fierce-looking woman who told us that Miss Barton wasn’t in yet. ‘But she’s expecting you, I know, so if you’ll come up and wait, please.’

This obviously was Miss Barton’s former servant, faithful Florence. We followed her up the stairs and she showed us into a pleasant sitting room. ‘I make her as comfortable as I can,’ she said, ‘but she ought to be in her own house.’

Joanna, said, ‘Well, Miss Barton wanted to rent out the house. She went to the house agents.’

‘Forced into it,’ said Florence. And looking hard at us for some moments she left the room.

‘We don’t seem to be very popular,’ I said. ‘Megan gets tired of us, Partridge disapproves of you, Florence disapproves of both of us.’

Joanna said, ‘I wonder why Megan did leave?’

‘She got bored.’

‘I don’t think she did. Do you think, Jerry, it could have been something that Aimee Griffith said?’

I was about to reply that she might easily have upset Megan when the door opened and Miss Emily came in. Her face was pink and she seemed excited. Her eyes were very blue and shining.

‘Oh dear, I’m so sorry I’m late. I was just doing a little shopping in the town, and the cakes at the Blue Rose didn’t seem to me quite fresh, so I went on to Mrs Lygon’s…’

Joanna said quickly, ‘No, Miss Barton, you are not late. We were early. Jerry is walking so fast now that we arrive everywhere too soon.’

‘You could never be too soon, dear. One cannot have too much of a good thing, you know.’

Joanna brightened up. At last, it seemed, she was being a success.

And then the door opened and Florence came in with a tray of tea and some little cakes.

Joanna and I ate far more than we wanted to and of course we talked about the people who lived in Lymstock. Miss Barton said how kind and clever Dr Griffith was. Mr Symmington, too, was a very clever lawyer, and had helped Miss Barton to get some money back from the income tax. He was so nice to his children, too, and to his wife.

She was less sure about Mr Pye. All she said was that he was very kind, and very rich, too. He had very strange visitors sometimes, but then, of course, he had travelled a lot.

‘I have often thought I would like to go on a holiday,’ said Emily Barton.

‘Why don’t you go?’ asked Joanna.

‘Oh, no, no, travelling alone would not be suitable for a lady, don’t you agree?’

‘I’m not sure,’ said Joanna, and then quickly tried to calm her by asking a question about the Red Cross sale in the village. This led us to talk about Mrs Dane-Calthrop.

‘You know, dear,’ Miss Barton said, ‘she does say some very strange things sometimes.’

I asked what things.

‘Oh, very unexpected things. And the way she looks at you, as though you weren’t there but somebody else was. And then she won’t - well, do anything. There are so many cases where a vicar’s wife could tell people what is right, and make them behave better. But she refuses, and she also has a habit of feeling sorry for the most unpleasant people.’

‘That’s interesting,’ I said, looking quickly at Joanna.

‘But she is very loyal to her husband who is such a clever man - and such a good man, too.’

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