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The divine Doria, I found, was far from being as tidy as her husband. All her things were in a glorious jumble, which made leaving them undisturbed a difficult job, but also meant that she would be less likely than her husband to notice if anything were slightly out of place.
Of course I ended up where I had begun, flat on my back in a hospital. But not for so long, that time. I had a pleasant sunny room with a distant view of the sea, some exceedingly pretty nurses, and a whole stream of visitors. Chico came first, as soon as they would let him, on the Sunday afternoon.
I told him about Kraye’s dealing in racecourses. Both what I knew and what I guessed. When at length I finished he said calmly, ‘Where did you get hold of this?’
‘A big man came for the letter, about four o’clock one afternoon. It was awful. I asked him for the money and he just laughed in my face and pushed me into a chair. No money, he said, but if I didn’t hand over the letter at once he’d… he’d teach me a thing or two. That’s what he said, teach me a thing or two. I explained that I had put the letter in my box at the bank and that the bank was closed and that I couldn’t get it until the next morning. He said that he would come to the bank with me the next day, and then he went away…’
No one took much notice when I went in and sat down on the fringe of the circle except Mrs van Dysart, who began sharpening her claws. She got in a couple of quick digs about spongers marrying girls for their money, and Charles didn’t say that I hadn’t. Viola looked at me searchingly, worry opening her mouth. I winked, and she shut it again in relief.
I walked down the slope and then up the iron staircase to the jockeys’ box in the stand, smiling at myself. Representative. A nice big important word. It covered anything from an ambassador down. Commercial travellers had rechristened themselves with its rolling syllables years ago… they had done it because of the jokes, of course. It didn’t sound the same, somehow, starting off with ‘Did you hear the one about the representative who stopped at a lonely farmhouse…?’ Rodent officers, garbage disposal and sanitary staff: pretty new names for rat-catchers, dustmen and road sweepers. So why not for me?
I looked at the way they had tied the rope tightly round and round my left forearm, leaving the wrist bare, palm downwards. A hand, I thought. What good, anyway, was a hand that didn’t work.
Kraye knew. ‘It means he thinks he is safe saying the negatives were in the office, because we can’t prove they weren’t.’
He told me, at great and uncomplimentary length, about a half blind, utterly stupid, one paced habitual non-jumper with which he proposed to win the novice chase. Knowing him, he probably would. We agreed that Chico and I should arrive at his place at about eight that evening, and I rang off.
‘Mark,’ I said as we walked back to the weighing room, ‘do you remember whether Dunstable ran into any sort of trouble before it packed up?’
Дата публикации: 2017-08-20 12:10