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I don t know,' she confessed. ' I didn't think
it at the time, but ... but now you ask me, I do
remember saying to Patrick something about the
man and he-Patrick, I mean-said something like
T+?6 "^ what man " " " oh y^' ihe man."
1 thought then it was rather odd. As if he
'As if there was no man at all. That's'what I
believe. I must say the whole thing seems to me like
a woman s scheming. What about your sister-in-
law? Was she eager for you to take her place as
her husband's partner?'
' We didn't talk about it. You see, when I saw
her' ."was several days before she was taken to
hospital, there was no question then of my taking
her place.
'Do you think she would have minded?'
Megan sighed. ' I honestly don't know. When
1 went there to rehearse as I said she had gone I
know she wasn't very keen on impressing the man '
^ She mentioned him, then?' & , "
' Yes.^ She said Patrick was more concerned with
Uie man s opinion than with her feeling so ill She
doesn t want to leave the island. She loves it here '
, ' I see. Craig looked thoughtful for a moment
gently tugging at his ear. ' Was Madame Duval ,''|
there at the time?' -3
' Gaston's mother?' Megan asked, then felt un- ^
comfortable because of the way Craig looked at her. |j
' Yes. I was with Georgina when Patrick came and ,|
told me I had a visitor. I went with him, and that |
was when I met Madame Duval.' ,|
' How did you get on with her?' |
' I rather liked her. She was most friendly.' |
* And very bitter about me, of course.' 3
'Not really, just resentful, because she feels it ^
couldn't make any difference to you letting Gaston |
make money here.' . I
Craig 'gave a little grunt. ' Sometimes it's con- :|
venient to be blind to the truth. I wouldn't trust |
her. Like most mothers, she's completely amoral /|
when concerned about her children. They don't |
want the school to stay here. They want to close it |
down and have the whole island to themselves. They. |
think that if they make life impossible for the school :|
 and they've done their best in the past with anony- |
mous letters and malicious gossip I might go back I
to my real work and sell them the island.' \
' Your real work?' Megan asked. |
His face relaxed a little. ' I'm an archaeologist ->,
by desire. I gave it up when my father died and I :;
had to come here to take over. This is my responsi- I,
bility. I respected my grandfather very much. He :
_was good to me, understanding and stepping in ;
where my father wouldn't bother, so I felt I owe it
to my grandfather to do my best to keep his ideal
of a school going. Of course, as I've said before,
we must change quite a few things here. I plan to
start that next year . . .' He frowned suddenly. ' I
mustn't waste time chatting like this.'
He stood up and looked at her thoughtfully. ' I
think everything has been smoothed out now and
even the irate parents have accepted Miss Wilmot's
diplomatic letters.' He smiled. ' She's an amazing
person. I often wonder what I'd do without her '
Megan thought that what Clare Wilmot had said
must be the truth. Next year. Miss Tucker would
go, Craig would marry Clare and they would
modernise the school.
Craig walked towards the door. ' Only ten more
days before the end of the term, so we'll return to the
routine.' He looked at his watch. ' How time flies!
Look, Frank Pan- is going into town tomorrow as
he's having trouble with his new glasses. I suggest
you go with him and call on your brother.' At the
doorway, he paused. ' You might shock him into
truthfulness for once,' he added as he went out.
Megan stood up, standing very still, her hands
pressed to her face hard. So now what? She was
staying, but ...
For how long? Next year when Miss Wilmot
became Mrs Lambert and took over, the first person
to be sacked would certainly be Miss Crane!
However, now she was free to return to her usual
duties, so she hurriedly changed her dress and went
down into the school, seeking Mr Taft as she had
been studying his notes and there were several ques-
tions. He was friendly as usual and no reference
was made to her behaviour. Dinner time would
have been a nightmare, but Frank took care of
her, sitting her between himself and Mr Taft. No
one spoke to her except them; in fact, she had a
strange feeling of not being there because it was so
obvious that Petronella Weston and the other staff
had decided to stay far from her'in case they got
Afterwards, Anarita came up, her dark hair swing-
ing, her lovely face happy.
' We threatened to go on strike, Miss Crane, when
we heard you were housebound, but Mr Lambert
explained it was to protect you from the journalists.
Miss Crane, it was such fun. There were journalists
and men with cameras and it was just like war, we
weren't allowed out so we waved from the win- :^
dows . . .' She laughed happily. ' Are you going '" j
to town tomorrow with Mr Parr? I know he's going, -j
only I'd like to go, too.' ^ |
Megan hesitated, very conscious that several mem- ^
bers of the staff were looking at her disapprovingly, .1
they were probably afraid that some of her ' wicked- ;|
ness ' might come off on poor Anarita. .3
' It's rather awkward, Anarita. You see,-I was |
going to see my brother and . . .' ,1
Anarita laughed. ' He's out of bounds as far as |
I'm concerned. Right? I only like going with you, :|
Miss Crane. The other girls get lifts in, but r wanted j
to wait for you.' g
Megan smiled. ' That's nice of you. Look, why |
not ask Mr Lambert yourself? Say I wasn't sure if j
he'd agree?' She looked round. 'There he is. "i
Come on, I'll go with you.' -|
Craig was standing on the terrace, talking to ;|
Petronella Weston. He turned with a frown as I
Megan and Anarita went up to them. '|
' Well? What is it this time?' he asked. |
Anarita spoke first. ' Could I go into town to- |
morrow with Miss Crane?' I
' Of course you can,' Craig said irritably. ' You 1
always do.' '{
' I wondered . . .' Megan began. *
Craig scowled. ' Don't wonder, just do what I
say. I told you life had returned to normal.' He
turned away, almost rudely.
Anarita giggled as they walked away. ' He's in
one of his moods! Anyhow,' she gave a little skip,
' that'll be nice. See you tomorrow. Miss Crane,'
she said, and danced away to join her friends.
Megan returned to her flat. She felt she didn't
want questions, comments or what was even worse
was being sent to Coventry, which it seemed to be
what most of the staff were doing.
Tomorrow . . . but how was she to see Patrick if
Anarita was with her? Could she ask Frank to
chaperone Anarita for an hour or so? It was all so
old-fashioned, Megan thought restlessly. Yet she
remembered she had been told that girls in Spain and
Italy are chaperoned even today, so perhaps it was
wiser in a school where there were so many different [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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