Fair Warning - Mignon G. Eberhart - E-Book
Beschreibung

Trapped in an evil man's house, a young wife searches for an escape. Though she can't admit it to anyone, the day of her husband's car accident is one of the best days in Marcia Godden's short life. After three years of marriage to Ivan, she has seen his darkest side, and now his very footsteps are enough to make her shudder. A guilty thrill goes through her when she hears of his accident, only to be replaced by terror when she learns that her husband is going to live. For four glorious, peaceful weeks, Ivan remains in the hospital. In the relief of this temporary freedom, Marcia confides in her neighbor, cheerful, handsome Robert Copley, and soon falls in love with him. Not long after her husband's return from the hospital, Marcia finds Ivan stabbed in the chest, and police suspicion falls on her. To save herself from prison, she must prove herself innocent of the murder of the one man she most wanted dead. Review Quote. "Mrs. Eberhart has written many excellent mystery stories, but in none of them has she presented a more baffling problem than in this one." - The New York Times "This season's model detective story ... Airtight." - The New Yorker "Mignon Eberhart's name on mysteries is like sterling on silver." - Miami News "One of America's favorite writers." - Mary Higgins Clark Biographical note. Mignon G. Eberhart (1899-1996) wrote dozens of mystery novels over a nearly six decade-long career. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, she began writing in high school, trading English essays to her fellow students in exchange for math homework. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, and in the 1920s began writing fiction in her spare time, publishing her first novel, The Patient in Room 18, in 1929. With the follow-up, While The Patient Slept (1931), she won a §5,000 Scotland Yard Prize, and by the end of the 1930's was one of the most popular female mystery writers on the planet. Before Agatha Christie ever published a Miss Marple novel, Eberhart was writing romantic crime fiction with female leads. Eight of her books, including While the Patient Slept and Hasty Wedding (1938) were adapted as films. Made a Mystery Writers of America grandmaster in 1971, Eberhart continued publishing roughly a book a year until the 1980s. Her final novel Three Days for Emeralds, was published in 1988.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

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About the Book

Trapped in an evil man’s house, a young wife searches for an escape

Though she can’t admit it to anyone, the day of her husband’s car accident is one of the best days in Marcia Godden’s short life. After three years of marriage to Ivan, she has seen his darkest side, and now his very footsteps are enough to make her shudder. A guilty thrill goes through her when she hears of his accident, only to be replaced by terror when she learns that her husband is going to live.

For four glorious, peaceful weeks, Ivan remains in the hospital. In the relief of this temporary freedom, Marcia confides in her neighbor, cheerful, handsome Robert Copley, and soon falls in love with him. Not long after her husband’s return from the hospital, Marcia finds Ivan stabbed in the chest, and police suspicion falls on her. To save herself from prison, she must prove herself innocent of the murder of the one man she most wanted dead.

Review quote

“Mrs. Eberhart has written many excellent mystery stories, but in none of them has she presented a more baffling problem than in this one.” - The New York Times

“This season’s model detective story ... Airtight.” - The New Yorker

“Mignon Eberhart’s name on mysteries is like sterling on silver.” - Miami News

“One of America’s favorite writers.” - Mary Higgins Clark

About the Author

Mignon G. Eberhart (1899–1996) wrote dozens of mystery novels over nearly sixty years. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, she began writing in high school, swapping English essays with her fellow students in exchange for math homework. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, and in the 1920s began writing fiction in her spare time, publishing her first novel, The Patient in Room 18, in 1929. With the follow-up, While the Patient Slept (1931), she won a $5,000 Scotland Yard Prize, and by the end of the 1930s she was one of the most popular female mystery writers on the planet.

Before Agatha Christie ever published a Miss Marple novel, Eberhart wrote romantic crime fiction with female leads. Eight of her books, including While the Patient Slept and Hasty Wedding (1938), were adapted for film. Elected a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master in 1971, Eberhart continued publishing roughly a book a year until the 1980s. Her final novel, Three Days for Emeralds, was published in 1988.

Fair Warning

Mignon G. Eberhart

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2014 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2012 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1935, 1936 by Mignon G. Eberhart

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Heidi North

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-234-6

 

www.luebbe.de

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All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

CHAPTER I

“AND SO,” THE DOCTOR said quietly, watching Marcia, “he’s well. He’s cured. And he’s coming home.”

Marcia got up and went to the window. It was a cold, wet morning in April. The sheathed, green points of tulips looked bare and thin; the brown flagstones leading down to the garden were shining with moisture, the vines were wet and yet brown over the summerhouse down by the pool. Beyond the garden wall she could see a red brick corner of the Copley house.

She was aware of the doctor’s waiting for her reply, but she stood rigidly still, her hands clenched in the pockets of her yellow sweater so the doctor could not see them, her chin thrown up a little to ease the sudden contraction of muscles along her throat. She said finally, “When?”

She could hear Dr. Blakie rising, too, and walking restlessly about the room. He said “Today” shortly and prowled toward the end of the long library and stood there, looking into the cloudy green depths of the small aquarium which held Ivan’s pet goldfish.

Today.

Presently Marcia said, “I must tell Beatrice.”

“She already knows. I told her while I was waiting to see you.” Dr. Blakie was nervous. He left the goldfish and wandered toward the opposite end of the room, pausing before Ivan’s long mahogany desk, picking up small objects on it and putting them down again, turning to the globe on a standard beside the desk and spinning it absently.

The small sound of the spinning was the only sound in the Godden house. Ivan’s house, which, though it had remained almost entirely unchanged since Ivan had been the owner of it, still bore his imprint so indelibly and so inescapably that during those weeks of his illness it had seemed like an ambassador, an emissary, silently and secretly watching and storing up the records of that passive espionage.

The library was particularly Ivan’s room, for everything in it reminded her of Ivan; even the ranks of glass covers along the bookshelves, which reflected rather eerily every light and motion in the somber room, now and then seemed actually, in the most curious way, though Ivan was not there at all, to reflect the faintest glimpse of his handsome, pale face and the secret, shadowy indentations at the corners of his mouth. It was no real inflection, of course; it was as if the blank glass cases held and retained the distorted half-reflections they had gathered and could, incomprehensibly, afford flashing reglimpses of faces and things. But it was in the main a shadowy room, brown-walled and high-ceilinged, with heavy brown carpets and high, narrow windows, too much curtained in lace and brown velvet. A white bust of Caesar—was it?—looked blankly down from one corner upon the things below it. The leather-cushioned chairs held, that dark morning, small dismal highlights, as did the shining, massive mahogany desk and tables. It was Ivan’s desk, and he liked to sit there caressing a favorite green glass paperweight with his beautiful white fingers.

Marcia was looking fixedly at the row of budding lilacs beyond the french doors—one of the more recent additions to the Godden house and leading down to the garden. There were small brown buds, chilly-looking, and she examined them with the most intense scrutiny, deciding whether or not the late frost had touched them. If she turned toward the room which pressed so strongly upon her she would see Ivan sitting at that desk.

His pale, handsome face—only a little too long and too narrow, with too cruelly pointed a chin. His black, wavy hair, so becomingly touched with white at his narrow temples. His thick eyebrows making a black slash across his white face, and above, but not shadowing the light, queer eyes which, looking at Ivan Godden, you were first and strongly aware of, for they were a very blank light aquamarine with tiny, hard black pupils like pencil points. Their expression seldom varied, and Marcia never understood just how she knew so certainly and so instantly when he became angry.

He would be sitting there behind the desk, his well-manicured fingernails faintly rosy against the whiteness of his fingertips and the glass paperweight. The paperweight was heavy and globular and contained strangely mingled sea-green flowers which were almost the color of his eyes and in the most extraordinary way shared their look of light, inscrutable blankness. It was his habit to look into the mingled green shadows of the paperweight and speak to her: “Marcia, I’m sorry to be obliged to tell you …” “Marcia, much as I dislike to remind you of my generosity …” “Marcia, will you kindly remember …” “Marcia, come to me …”

It became too real. Her heart was pounding in a curious, suffocating way which had asserted itself during the past year and was extremely distressing. To calm it she said to the doctor, still not looking at him:

“Everyone is talking of what you did for him. They say you made him live; that no other doctor would have done the things you did. I want— You must know how very grateful—” She couldn’t finish.

Dr. Blakie measured the distance from Madagascar to London, spreading his fine, deft surgeon’s fingers along the rounded surface of the globe.

“I did what I could,” he said dryly.

Marcia thought of the night at the hospital following the auto accident in which Ivan had been injured. Of the nurses and the doctors in consultation. The smell of ether. Dr. Blakie in a queer white coat, loose, with a mask on his face.

“They said that night that what you were doing to save him would become surgical history,” she said. “Don’t think we don’t know how you worked—how you saved him by sheer genius and will power when everyone else gave up and said it couldn’t be done.”

“Oh, come, come, my dear.” He spun the globe impatiently, checked it, and measured now from Cape Town. “If a doctor can’t work a little harder for his friends …”

She turned finally to look at him. He was a slight, gray man, in his middle forties perhaps, young for his achievements. His hair was thinning a little over his high forehead, his mouth was controlled and rather tight, there was a delicate network of wrinkles around gray eyes, hidden on occasion by gold-rimmed spectacles. His color was clear and good, his hands incredibly deft, and every muscle and nerve in his body had the most perfect and exact co-ordination, as if—as was true—he hated any kind of waste. He was a fine surgeon, he was kind in a rather remote and detached way, as if a nearer approach might involve him or his well-arranged emotions, and he had a fine brusque impatience for things that were unimportant. Human life was important, it was at the very top of his scale, and for Ivan he had flung off every shred of that neat, quiet detachment and plunged fully— white and sweating and tense—into combat. He had made Ivan live.

“A little harder,” said Marcia gently. “Do you think we don’t know what you did for him? The surgery itself—the care you gave him afterward. They said you didn’t leave the hospital for two days.”

“Well, I did,” he said. “Went to my office both days. The nurses made too much of it. Although as an operation it was—well,” he admitted, “it wasn’t bad. Old Dr. Leonard was watching. He said I couldn’t do it. Swore. Well, I did. And after the first few days Ivan made a rapid recovery. He’s pretty tough—you know. Takes care of himself, too. You won’t have any trouble about that. He’s been coddled quite a lot in the hospital, and he’s not going to take any chances. Just see he doesn’t walk much on that foot. But he won’t.”

He spun the globe again. The little whirring sound diminished, and Marcia said:

“He is—altogether well, then, except for the foot?”

He looked at her quickly and replied indirectly, “You’ve been at the hospital every day, Marcia.”

“I know. But he never walked. Never felt awfully well.” Her heart was starting that suffocating pounding again. She said quickly, “Is there anything in the way of—oh, diet? General care?” A sudden thought occurred to her, and she leaped at it. “Perhaps the nurse is coming along?”

The doctor glanced at her again and then bent over the globe.

“No. He didn’t want a nurse. Doesn’t need one now. Anyway, he was a little difficult about nurses after the first few days.”

“Oh. That’s why they changed so often?”

He nodded. Then said dryly. “He wasn’t easy to take care of, I must say. I may have had more cantankerous patients, but I can’t remember any.”

Cantankerous.

“That doesn’t mean Ivan isn’t grateful to you. It’s just his way.”

“Damned unpleasant way,” said Dr. Blakie. “However, it’s all in a day’s work.”

“You won’t admit,” said Marcia, smiling rather stiffly, “that you did anything out of the ordinary for Ivan.”

He gave the globe a final twirl and turned abruptly away from it and toward her, so that the gray, clear light from the window fell directly on his face.

“Suppose I did,” he said abruptly. “He’s your husband, my dear.”

Her husband. And he was returning that day. In an hour. Two.

The four weeks of peace and of strange, cautious tranquillity had passed. A little time more, she thought dimly, and she might have found herself again. But Ivan was returning, and at that thought there was again that distressing quiver and flutter running along her pulses.

Dr. Blakie knew it this time, and took a quick, neat step toward her, put one hand on her wrist and turned her so the light fell now on her own face and he could see her eyes. He said quite suddenly:

“What are you afraid of?”

She met his eyes helplessly. They saw too much. He was too wise about people, about his patients, about the things they didn’t tell him.

“You mustn’t be afraid,” he said quietly. “Don’t tremble. What is it?”

And as she still did not—could not—reply for fear of breaking forever the protecting barrier of silence she had so painstakingly and painfully built up, he said rather gently, “Is it Ivan?”

He did not seem to expect a reply to that. He let his cool gray eyes search her own for a moment, then suddenly took his hand from her fluttering wrist and with the quiet neatness and economy of motion that characterized him took out a cigarette and lighted it. She watched him select the cigarette and open the small cardboard flap and pull off and strike the match with a very passion of fixity, as if the small routine of it held an engrossing interest. But no matter how many small objective things one fastened one’s attention upon, there were still those other things, things one couldn’t escape.

He puffed blue smoke and turned a little to look upon the new greens of the lawn, uncannily bright in the rest of the overhanging grayness of the world; a robin dug briefly and tersely for a worm, secured it and winged importantly away.

“I’m going to meddle,” said Dr. Blakie abruptly, as if coming to a decision. “And I hate meddling. But I’ve seen you change, Marcia—from a healthy normal girl to a—white-faced, nervous, hunted-looking woman.— Don’t say anything. I’ll finish in a minute. I don’t have much to say. It’s only this: You have one life to lead. Just one. I don’t know what Ivan—and Beatrice—have done to you, but you are—you are what those tender young tulip sheaths would be if I walked on them. You are beaten down. Crushed. Your body, your initiative, even your common sense isn’t functioning as it ought to do.”

“Common sense,” said Marcia with dry lips, “doesn’t have much to do with it.”

He looked at her quickly again and then away.

“Useless, huh? Against their combined strength. Well, my dear, I’ve said too much. I’ll say only one other thing, but I want you to remember it: In the end your life lies in your own hands. Do you understand me?”

She didn’t really understand him; the thought of Ivan’s impending return so filled and possessed all her consciousness that everything else was veiled and obscure. She felt again, but in a faraway and half-recognized way, that if she had been given a few days more of peace and precious loneliness, she might have arrived at something that would be like a fort, a standing ground.

He was looking at her again, shaking his head a little.

She said belatedly and stumblingly, “I know you mean to help me—I can’t—I don’t know—there’s nothing I can do. Besides—how do I know I’m right?”

Her faltering question hung in the air between them, while the library listened and watched and laid that moment away in its store. Finally Dr. Blakie shrugged. He turned crisply away, as if he recognized futility. He said, all resonance gone now from his voice, so he was again detached and impersonally kind, as for a moment he had been direct and urgent, “Very well, my dear. You know yourself, I suppose. But when the time comes—as it will probably come, for there’s still courage somewhere in you, Marcia, and there must be stamina—when, the time comes that you need a friend, remember—” His voice was becoming deeper.

He checked himself and finished in a light, dry tone, “Remember the old doctor, my dear.”

“Thank you.”

He stopped again beside the desk, his neat, fine hands touching it with their fingertips. He said thoughtfully and in a thin, small voice which was infinitely far away and unapproachable—the voice he used at the hospital with nurses, with other doctors; a voice deprived of all personal feeling, and as neat and economical as the figures in a ledger, “Perhaps you’d better call Beatrice. She wanted to ask me something or other before I left. And I’m due at the hospital in an hour.”

Marcia turned in a kind of automatic obedience toward the door. She did pause before opening it to take a long, queer breath, as one does before lifting a familiar and heavy burden.

The library watched her. The glass covers of the bookcases reflected impressionistically a slender woman in a canary-yellow sweater and skirt—a glimpse of a small head with soft light hair, smoothly waved and clinging. A flash perhaps of dark-gray, shadowed eyes and a too sensitive mouth, set now in lines that went ill with the rather fine and delicate planes of her face. Unhappiness did not become Marcia; she had no tragic beauty. Instead it took spirit and luminousness from her and a certain light, flying grace. She was likely to seem, except in rare moments, flat and one-dimensional, without depth and passion—a woman who might have been beautiful had there been feeling in her regular, merely pretty face. Who might have been interesting had she said anything but automatic, pleasantly bright and social nothings.

Dr. Blakie, watching her again, said suddenly, “There’s danger, you know, Marcia, in bottling up too much. You are supple, you’ve got the slender, tough resiliency of a willow. But you can’t—”

“Don’t!” It was her own voice, but it was short and harsh and full of breath and tore its way from somewhere deep inside her. “Don’t you see?” cried Marcia Godden. “I can’t let go.”

“Oh, my child,” said Dr. Blakie pitifully. But he said it to the waiting room, to the blank white head of Caesar, to the gray world outside the windows. For Marcia had gone out and closed the door behind her.

The hall, as always, was a pool of shadow. At her right on a landing of the broad ascending stairs were stained-glass windows through which light fell downward in mingled bands of red and yellow and green, giving a curiously patterned and disagreeable glow and patina to the objects in the hall below. Behind the stairs was a door leading to Beatrice Godden’s study—a small, neat, and very ugly room where she was wont to sit for hours, arranging the affairs of the household, giving orders to the cook—“Name Emma Beek; age forty-six; worked in the Godden family for twenty years; says she knows nothing of the murder; questioned however gave evidence as follows:” It was to appear in certain records, that and the evidence she gave with such curious willingness—or to the housemaid, or to Ancill.

Ancill was in the hall. Marcia did not see him at once, only when he moved, for he had already put on a dark coat and carried his chauffeur’s cap in his hand, and he was at the far end of the hall, so he was in its deepest shadow, very near the wide, dark panels of the outside door. He moved toward her, and she had an instant’s altogether untraceable impression that when she opened the library door he had been much nearer it than when she discovered him.

He said a little too respectfully, as if she were a child readily fooled by words, “Is Madam ready to go to the hospital?”

She looked at him, giving herself a protective moment to become Mrs. Godden again. To assume the little extra dignity she was always forced to assume with Ancill because he knew so much. Saw so much. Was so peculiarly and sympathetically Ivan’s man, so innately comprehensive that he had the singular faculty of understanding Ivan’s wishes before they were uttered. Or if they were never uttered.

He was a man of average size and undistinguished looks except that respectability seemed to be laid on him with a trowel. And except that all his motions were fluid and completely silent, as if he had some special thick oil in his joints. He was a little pale by nature, his small dark eyes a little close together, and he had a way of looking over her shoulder instead of into her face which at first had annoyed Marcia and made her a little nervous. But first and foremost and above everything he was respectable.

He held his cap and looked at her and waited.

“We’ll not be going to the hospital this morning, Ancill,” she said. “Mr. Godden is coming home today.”

It was out and it was sealed now and certain.

He looked over her shoulder.

“Very well,” he said. “Good news, isn’t it, madam? Miss Beatrice will be very pleased.”

Did he mean what it sounded as if he meant? Was he, under that smugness and oiliness and respectability, actually as impertinent, as sly, as he sounded? Dared he—She checked herself. He did dare, of course. Knowing his own secret understanding with his master. Knowing her own lack of weapons and backing. There was never and had never been any definite excuse for complaint. His insolence was always veiled, oily, hidden. Nothing that would oblige Ivan to reprove him.

“I don’t know exactly when he will arrive,” she said. “I believe the doctor intends to bring him out in his own car. Is Miss Beatrice in her study?”

She was, sitting with the door closed, watching the garden with clouded, brooding eyes, her black eyebrows brought together over her long, pale face and looking, except for her eyes, exactly like Ivan.

She frowned and blinked when Marcia spoke to her, as if the words recalled her from some secret deeps of thought.

“Dr. Blakie—oh, yes,” she said. “I wanted to ask him if there is anything in particular in the way of diet and care for Ivan. I knew you wouldn’t think to ask him.”

“I did ask him,” said Marcia. “He said there was nothing—”

Beatrice’s mouth had Ivan’s trick of sudden secret indentations at its corners. It wasn’t a smile, but it was like one. She put two cold fingers under Marcia’s chin and said, “Our little butterfly troubling herself with household affairs!” and walked out of the room. The gesture and look were so like Ivan’s in their secret, dark amusement, in the suggestion of something poised and venomous under light words, that Marcia felt a sick wave of foretaste. She turned and followed Beatrice’s tall figure in its trimly fashionable gray knitted dress. Ancill and Delia, the young and somewhat subdued housemaid, were in the hall and had been talking, though as Marcia entered it Delia became ostentatiously busy with a duster and Ancill inspected his cap closely.

Dr. Blakie was on the verge of departure, and had already absently pulled on his gloves and was looking anxiously at his watch. He had devoted more than its quota of time to the Godden affair and was evidently hurried and was telling Beatrice rather crisply that, except for his ankle, Ivan was actually perfectly well.

“It doesn’t seem possible,” said Beatrice, “when he was on the very verge of death so short a time ago. If it hadn’t been for you, Graham—”

“No, no,” said Dr. Blakie hurriedly. “Ivan has the constitution of an ox, really. It was good luck that I happened to be here when you had news of the accident and could go straight to the hospital and operate. By the way, did you ever find out whom he collided with?”

“No, never. The car has been repaired; that will please Ivan. New fenders—various new parts, indeed.”

“Yes, to be sure.” He was abstracted; he looked again at his watch, glanced at Marcia and said, “Well, I must be on my way. I’ll bring Ivan out myself shortly after noon. Can’t say just when—depends upon how things go this morning. No special diet or special care—just keep him from walking too much.” He looked a little grim, as if he wanted to repeat what he had said to Marcia about that, but refrained under Beatrice’s brooding dark gaze.

Beatrice went with him to the outside door, closing the door of the library after her, as if to keep Marcia from hearing any words she might have wished to have with the doctor. But, if so, the words were very few, for presently Marcia heard the slow, quivering jar the heavy door gave when it closed. Beatrice did not rejoin her in the library, and Marcia stood quite still in the middle of the room.

The clouded green waters of the aquarium moved slightly now and then. The white head of Caesar looked blankly down at her. The half-glimpsed reflections along the bookshelves glimmered a little and seemed to move. She found herself staring fixedly at Ivan’s desk again—Ivan’s desk, so strangely, flatly empty since Ivan’s absence—and again seeing Ivan’s face behind it, watching her with those blank light eyes. As he had looked that day of March eighteenth—the day he had been injured in the accident and Dr. Graham Blakie had literally, almost miraculously, saved his life.

As he had looked when she had unexpectedly, dreadfully, defied him.

She could still see the three long red marks appearing against his livid face, and the horribly blank, bright look in his eyes. ...

She closed her own eyes with a long shiver of revulsion and of fear. During all those weeks at the hospital he had said, nothing of what had happened that day. But now that he was well, now that he was to be at home, it would come.

The room pressed too closely upon her—Ivan’s room, which was so soon to take up its familiar life.

Beatrice had retired to her own study again—there was no sound in the house, or, if there was a sound, it was muffled by other sounds and far away, so that even the high, remarkably acoustic spaces overhead could not pick up and amplify it hollowly as they did any sound at night.

Marcia turned rather blindly to the french doors, opened one and went out.

The gray sky hung low over tiny bright leaves just budding. The lilacs had been caught by the frost; only a few of them were turning a pale purple, touched still with brown. Her feet slipped a little on the wet flagstones and over moist grass as she turned toward the summerhouse at the bottom of the garden. It was cold, too, but anything was better just then than the house. Besides, the vines over the summerhouse, still brown though they were, were yet a kind of screen—a screen from the prying, watching eyes of the household.

The household of which she was not, and never had been since the day she became Ivan Godden’s wife, the mistress.

The lily pool was gray and full and choked a little with last summer’s rushes. Already, owing to the many rains of the spring, the grass needed cutting, and the hedges and trees gave promise of being too lush and green, although just now there was a faintly yellow tone about them. Across the garden wall the Copley house looked very bright in its red bricks and neat white trim.

She had liked seeing it there. In the very cheer of its neat red bricks—contrasting with the heavy gray stones of the Godden house, only half masked in strong, old ivy—it gave a kind of promise of friendliness. Besides, occasionally across the wall she could see Robert Copley and his mother, walking in the garden or throwing sticks for Bunty to catch. And always at night the windows were bright, even though, lately, Rob had been gone so much.

The thought of Bunty recalled her again to the day of March eighteenth.

The false peace of the past few weeks was gone.

Ivan was returning.

There was a bench in the damp summerhouse. Marcia Godden sat down there and put her face in her hands.

CHAPTER II

IT HAD BEEN THREE years since Marcia married Ivan Godden and came to live at the Godden house.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!