فصل 13

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فصل 13

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

At Antoine’s Hairdressing Salon

Jane arrived at work on the morning after the inquest, to find that her first customer of the day was waiting for her. The woman was looking into the mirror and saying to a friend, ‘Darling, my face looks awful this morning.’

‘It looks the same as usual to me, my sweet,’ replied the friend. As Jane arrived, the friend turned to stare at her. Then she said, ‘It is, darling! I’m sure of it.’

‘Good morning, Madam,’ said Jane. ‘It’s a long time since we’ve seen you here. Have you been abroad?’

‘Antibes.’ The customer was also staring at Jane. ‘Tell me, are you the girl who gave evidence at the inquest yesterday? The girl in the aeroplane?’

‘Yes, Madam.’

‘How exciting! Do tell me about it.’

Jane had no choice but to answer their questions. What had the old woman looked like? Was Lady Horbury really on board? Who did Jane think had actually committed the murder? And so on and so on.

It was the first of many similar conversations. By the end of the week Jane felt that if she had to go through the story once more, she would scream or attack her next customer with the hairdryer. Instead, she went to ask Monsieur Antoine for a pay rise.

‘How dare you ask that, when you have been mixed up in a murder case?’ he demanded, angrily. ‘Many employers would have dismissed you immediately’

‘Nonsense,’ said Jane. ‘People are coming here because of me. If you want me to leave, I’ll go and get what I want from Henris or the Maison Richet.’

Monsieur Antoine agreed, unwillingly, to Jane’s demands.


Jane decided to celebrate her pay rise that Saturday by buying herself lunch at the Corner House cafe and listening to music while she ate.

She sat down at a table where a middle-aged woman and a young man were already sitting. The woman finished her lunch, and called for her bill. Then she picked up her parcels and left. As usual, Jane read a book while she ate. Looking up as she turned a page, she saw the young man sitting opposite staring at her. His attractive face seemed familiar.

‘You do not recognize me, Mademoiselle?’ he asked. ‘We have not been introduced, it is true. Unless you call murder an introduction, and the fact that we both gave evidence in court.’

‘Of course!’ said Jane. ‘You are…?’

‘Jean Dupont.’ He seemed very pleased to see her. ‘My father has been to Edinburgh to give a talk. Tomorrow we return to France.’

‘I see.’

‘The police have not made an arrest yet?’

‘No. There has been no more news about it in the papers. Maybe they’ve given up. Who do you think did it?’ asked Jane.

Jean shrugged. ‘Well, it wasn’t me. The woman was far too ugly!’

‘Wouldn’t you rather kill an ugly woman than a pretty one?’

He laughed. ‘No, no! If a good-looking woman behaves badly towards you, you say, ”Good, I will kill her. It will be most satisfying”. But an ugly old woman - why bother to kill her?’

‘Well, that’s one way of looking at it.’ Jane frowned. ‘But perhaps she was young and pretty once?’

‘It is the great tragedy of life, that we must all grow old.’

‘You’re an archaeologist, aren’t you?’ she asked ‘You dig things up?’

Jean Dupont happily began to talk about his work, and she listened with great interest.

‘You’ve been to so many countries,’ she sighed at last. ‘You’ve seen so much. It sounds fascinating. I will never go anywhere or see anything.’

‘You would like to go abroad? To see wild parts of the earth? There are no hairdressing salons in the jungle, you know!’

Jane laughed.

‘Mademoiselle,’ Jean said, a little embarrassed, ‘as I am returning to France tomorrow, would you have dinner with me tonight?’

‘I’m so sorry, I can’t. I’m having dinner with someone else.’ In fact, she was meeting Norman Gale.

‘Ah! And I do not know when I shall be in London again! It is sad! I hope I shall see you again, very much,’ he said, and sounded as though he meant it.

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