Margaret Belman’s chiefest claim to Mr. Reeder’s notice was that she lived in the Brockley Road, some few doors from his own establishment.
He did not know her name, being wholly incurious about law-abiding folk, but he was aware that she was pretty,
that her complexion was that pink and white which is seldom seen away from a magazine cover.
She dressed well, and if there was one thing that he noted about her more than any other,
it was that she walked and carried herself with a certain grace that was especially pleasing to a man of aesthetic predilections.
He had, on occasions, walked behind her and before her, and had ridden on the same street car with her to Westminster Bridge.
She invariably descended at the corner of the Embankment, and was as invariably met by a good-looking young man and walked away with him.
The presence of that young man was a source of passive satisfaction to Mr. Reeder, for no particular reason, unless it was that he had a tidy mind,
and preferred a rose when it had a background of fern and grew uneasy at the sight of a saucerless cup.
It did not occur to him that he was an object of interest and curiosity to Miss Belman.
“That was Mr. Reeder – he has something to do with the police, I think,” she said.
Roy Master looked back with interest at the middle-aged man scampering fearfully across the road,
his unusual hat on the back of his head, his umbrella over his shoulder like a cavalryman’s sword.
“Good Lord! I never dreamt he was like that.”
“Who is he?” she asked, distracted from her own problem.
“Reeder? He’s in the Public Prosecutor’s Department, a sort of a detective – there was a case the other week where he gave evidence.
He used to be with the Bank of England – ”
Suddenly she stopped, and he looked at her in surprise.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“I don’t want you to go any farther, Roy,” she said. “Mr. Telfer saw me with you yesterday, and he’s quite unpleasant about it.”
“Telfer?” said the young man indignantly. “That little worm! What did he say?”
“Nothing very much,” she replied, but from her tone he gathered that the “nothing very much” had been a little disturbing.
“I am leaving Telfers,” she said unexpectedly.
“It is a good job, and I shall never get another like it – I mean, so far as the pay is concerned.”
Roy Master did not attempt to conceal his satisfaction.
“I’m jolly glad,” he said vigorously. “I can’t imagine how you’ve endured that boudoir atmosphere so long.
What did he say?” he asked again, and, before she could answer: “Anyway, Telfers are shaky.
There are all sorts of queer rumours about them in the City.”
“But I thought it was a very rich corporation!” she said in astonishment.
“It was – but they have been doing lunatic things –
what can you expect when a halfwitted weakling like Sidney Telfer is at the head of affairs?
They underwrote three concerns last year that no brokerage business would have touched with a barge-pole, and they had to take up the shares.
One was a lost treasure company to raise a Spanish galleon that sank three hundred years ago!
But what really did happen yesterday morning?”
“I will tell you tonight,” she said, and made her hasty adieux.
Mr. Sidney Telfer had arrived when she went into a room which, in its luxurious appointments, its soft carpet and dainty etceteras, was not wholly undeserving of Roy Masters’ description.
The head of Telfers Consolidated seldom visited his main office on Threadneedle Street.
The atmosphere of the place, he said, depressed him; it was all so horrid and sordid and rough.
The founder of the firm, his grandfather, had died ten years before Sidney had been born,
leaving the business to a son, a chronic invalid, who had died a few weeks after Sidney first saw the light.
In the hands of trustees the business had flourished, despite the spasmodic interferences of his eccentric mother,
whose peculiarities culminated in a will which relieved him of most of that restraint which is wisely laid upon a boy of sixteen.
The room, with its stained-glass windows and luxurious furnishing, fitted Mr. Telfer perfectly, for he was exquisitely arrayed.
He was tall and so painfully thin that the abnormal smallness of his head was not at first apparent.
As the girl came into the room he was sniffing delicately at a fine cambric handkerchief,
and she thought that he was paler than she had ever seen him – and more repellent.
He followed her movements with a dull stare, and she had placed his letters on his table before he spoke.
“I say. Miss Belman, you won’t mention a word about what I said to you last night?”
“Mr. Telfer,” she answered quietly, “I am hardly likely to discuss such a matter.”
“I’d marry you and all that, only … clause in my mother’s will,” he said disjointedly. “That could be got over – in time.”
She stood by the table, her hands resting on the edge.
“I would not marry you, Mr. Telfer, even if there were no clause in your mother’s will;
the suggestion that I should run away with you to America – ”
“South America,” he corrected her gravely. “Not the United States; there was never any suggestion of the United States.”
She could have smiled, for she was not as angry with this rather vacant young man as his startling proposition entitled her to be.
“The point is,” he went on anxiously, “you’ll keep it to yourself? I’ve been worried dreadfully all night.
I told you to send me a note saying what you thought of my idea – well, don’t!”
2010 Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, München
Dies ist ein interaktives E-Book. Klicken Sie auf den Text, um die Übersetzung einzublenden.
Das Werk ist urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Verwertung ist nur mit Zustimmung des Verlags zulässig. Das gilt insbesondere für Vervielfältigungen, Übersetzungen und die Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen.
eBook ISBN 978-3-423-41949-9 (epub)
ISBN der gedruckten Ausgabe 978-3-423-09462-7
Alle Bücher und eBooks aus der Reihe dtv zweisprachig finden Sie unter
Folgen Sie uns auch auf Facebook
Ausführliche Informationen über unser gesamtes Programm finden Sie auf unserer Website
Konvertierung, Synchronisation und Umsetzung: Doppeltext