Why do you love AB de Villiers

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12

Dick Staines made a heroic decision; he wanted to put everything on one card, reveal himself to Mary Dane, explain the whole thing to her, and confess clearly to him his suspicions about her inexplicable conduct. He would not have believed for a moment that she had a hand in Lordy Brown's murder, for the girl's honest blue eyes could not lie. As much as he might twist and turn the whole situation, he was certain that she alone could give him the necessary clarification.

He went to sleep with the firm intention of taking the first morning train to Margate in order to clear up these ambiguities once and for all. He let the deed follow suit and landed at his destination without being able to say for sure whether he would still find Mary Dane there. Old Cornfort traveled like a comet in all the seaside resorts, and the poor girl had to follow him. Was the old man perhaps the key to this secret of the strange actions of his nurse? What role did he play, the old invalid who was always confined to his wheelchair? Was it all just a play that was being put on in front of the world to deceive it as to the real purposes of the players? Was it really the doppelganger who played the suspicious role that made him so deeply suspicious of Mary Dane - the girl who had declared his love for him? Lordy Brown had spoken of a Miss de Villiers from Cape Town before his death. What role did she play in this drama? Dick had intended to wire to South Africa to inquire about the girl, but found a Cape Town address book in the library of the yard with no less than three full pages of "de Villiers" in it. Why hadn't he asked Lordy about the details of his acquaintance with this Mary de Villiers? But what was the point now of worrying about it? Lordy was dead and removed from all questions.

Maybe Tommy, still living at the Cliftonville Hotel, knew where to find Mary Dane? Dick was no longer annoyed by his friend's infatuation; on the contrary, for him the lord was the suspect's two-legged alibi. Had Mary Dane also viewed the suitor from this point of view and therefore encouraged him to be near her all the time?

At Margate Staines met his Sergeant Rees, who had come from London on the same train. He gave him the necessary explanations and a few orders, which he was immediately ashamed of.

First he went to the hotel and asked about Tommy.

"Yes, sir, Lord Weald lives here, but I think he went out earlier," the concierge told him when he asked.

A waiter who had heard these words was able to provide more information about Tommy's whereabouts.

“Lord Weald is down on the beach; he stays with the invalid who is always driven around in a yellow wheelchair. "

Dick met him there.

"Hello, my boy," the lord's greeting startled him out of thoughtfulness. When Dick looked up quickly, he met Mary Dane's scrutinizing eyes on his face.

"Good morning!" He greeted the company.

"What are you doing here in Margate?" Tommy asked.

It is undisputed that the lord did not greet the unexpected visitor with the kindness with which he would have received him a few days ago. Dick could empathize with him too. Cornfort was asleep, and under Mary Dane's quizzical looks, Dick felt his courage waning.

"I came to discuss something with Miss Dane."

Tommy didn't seem satisfied with this answer.

"What can you have to discuss with her?" He asked sullenly. “Why didn't you tell us of your arrival beforehand? I mean, of course, "communicated to me"; I can't speak for Miss Dane, of course, ”he added when he met the girl's puzzled looks. “You scared the old man to death; he has heart problems anyway. "

"Well, please," said Mary Dane with a smile, go on, Tommy! "

"Continue?" He asked in astonishment. "What do you mean?"

"With the wheelchair!" She replied. "You should continue with the wheelchair."

Tommy looked offended from one to the other; then he shrugged in resignation and took off in the wheelchair.

"I can't meet you until after lunch, Mr. Staines," Miss Dane told the inspector. “My foster mate sleeps after dinner, and when you are ready to wait for me at Westgate I will meet you there in front of the hotel. Point three, please. Or is that too late for you? Maybe at two? "

"That would suit me better because I could then take the three o'clock train back to London."

"Do you want to speak to me on business?"

"Yes," he nodded, "but also in personal matters."

He still feared that she would regret the words she had whispered to him on her departure from London. But an inner voice reassured him about it. He was sure that she wouldn't say a word more about that scene either. She said goodbye to him with a formal greeting and hurried after Tommy and the wheelchair, which was moving away and which she soon reached. Dick saw her speak a few words with Tommy, who then reluctantly went back to the waiting friend.

“I'm really sorry, my boy, if I was a little impatient when you suddenly sniffed in, but you know I'm crazy about the girl! If I meet her in the evening, then she is pure sunshine for me and in the morning - the pure North Pole. Two souls live, alas, in their breasts! I rub myself up, can't even sleep at night, Dicky. Ugh! ”He wiped the sweat from his forehead.

"Bad, bad," said Dick hypocritically.

“Yes, I knew you would sympathize with me. Sometimes it's awful, hard as wrought iron. When I told her that I only slept seven hours last night, she just laughed at me. "

"But, man, how long do you sleep otherwise?"

"Ten! The doctor told me I had a brain that needed such a long sleep! "

"I can only agree with him!" Replied his friend suggestively. “But I wouldn't tell my acquaintances so openly because they could get the wrong idea from you. So, do you love Mary Dane? "

"To the point of despair," was the nobleman 's definite answer. “At least in the evening! I almost want to hate her early in the morning! She annoys me, harasses me in all possible ways, gets rude, loses her feminine gentleness, and if I dared to take her hand early in the morning I would hardly fare well. It then looks like I'm asking a foreman in an explosives factory to put a match on me to light a cigarette. I've tried that before and the man gave me his opinion of my desire in a rather impolite way. "

"You do try to get hold of her hand a lot?" Dick asked the question in a careless tone, as if he didn't care much about the answer. But Tommy saw it differently.

“That's why you don't need to get jealous, my boy. Of course, I often take her hand. Every normal young man who is in love with a girl does that. "

"And didn't she have you arrested for molestation?"

“No, she wasn't even thinking of that. You weren't even mentioned, ”he added suggestively, alluding to his friend's job as a police officer.

"Yes, some women have a little strange taste!" Staines retorted the blow.

It never occurred to him that a lady like Mary Dane might be content to hold the damp paw of an aristocratic friend in her hand for hours. Hadn't she said just a few days ago that she viewed Tommy as just a kind of lightning rod good enough to help her hide various things she had to do?

"Bet, Tommy, that you never got hold of her hand?" He said challengingly to the lord.

"You'd lose that bet, old boy," Tommy said calmly to his friend. Dick saw that he was speaking the truth. "I even asked for her hand." The confession was certainly factual.

"And of course she fell into your arms right away?" The irony of Dick was lost with Tommy.

“Not exactly that,” he replied, “but she told me she wanted nothing better than me to be a husband. She accepted my proposal with certain reservations. "

Dick stared at his friend with open mouth.

"I said with some reservations," the other went on. “As soon as the old cripple leaves, she wants to give up her job as a nurse, and then ... well, then there will be a new Countess Weald in Gotha. Imagine her wearing a count's crown, Dicky! A few days ago I saw a splendid tiara in a London window. ”The astonished inspector was convinced that he was telling the truth.

"But ... but," stuttered Dick.

“Nothing to 'but', it's the truth. She really is an angel and smart, I tell you! There is no such thing anymore. When I brought her a beautiful diamond ring, she said she didn't want to wear it because it looked too sophisticated. Of course she didn't say 'nifty' - a real lady doesn't use such expressions - but you know what I mean. So I bought her a simpler one, which you must have noticed on her hand, right? "

Everything seemed to be spinning before Dick's eyes. Was what Tommy said here was a dream or just a bad joke? He tried to make sure by asking a question.

"No, it's not a joke," said Tommy. “Why shouldn't a man like me marry? Do you find that weird? My parents got married too, otherwise you wouldn't have the pleasure of seeing me here next to you. N / A?"

Dick didn't reply; Lord Weald's communications had surprised him too much. Mary Dane engaged? Was she just a cocotte?

He pulled himself together:

"My heartiest congratulations, my dear Tommy!"

"Thank you." The ease with which Tommy accepted the congratulations almost drove Dick to despair. "Jane and I ..."

"Jane?"

“Yes, her name is Jane Mary, but I always call her Jane; even her people just call her like that. How is it that everyone at home has a different name than outside? My father always called me 'Dachshund eye'! He seemed to regard the nickname as a caress. - In any case, she asked me to only call her Jane in public; that is, she did not just ask me to do so, but instead allowed me to use only her first name. I know the honor I have received as a result, my boy. They are only allowed to name their very best friends by their first names. You're a good friend of hers ... "

"And I'm still not going to call her Jane," Dick cut him off.

Should he laugh or howl? What was the use of meeting her? He would have gone back to London immediately if he hadn't promised to meet her in Westgate at two o'clock. Oh no, he had to take on the conversation he had just brought about. A cocotte? Was that she? He cast an appraising look at his friend. For the sake of beauty and masculinity, she certainly hadn't accepted his advertisement. Was it the title? The money? In his mind he saw reproachful eyes fixed on him, and the eyes belonged to Miss Dane.

"It won't get into my head," he said his thoughts out loud. Tommy opened his eyes in shock.

"Yes, the sun always tires me, and this air too!"

"When do you want to get married?" Asked his friend.

"I do not know that yet. Of course it has to be a first class wedding, with a cathedral, organ, maid of honor, flowers. My aunts will be terrified, especially those with their three unmarried daughters. No, I have never been a friend of relatives. It's eugenically nonsensical, and I'm a man who swears by eugenics. "

He was talking half asleep again. His chin dropped and his hands were folded over his well-developed tummy. It really wasn't Apollo dozing in the gleam of the morning sun.

"My God!" Wondered his friend, and left the sleeper.

Punctually at the appointed hour, the girl got out of the taxi that had brought her to the rendezvous. This time Mary did not wear the nurse's costume, but a gray suit that she dressed excellently.

"We want to go to Margate," she said.

He walked beside her and they didn’t say a word for a long time. Finally she broke the silence.

“Come on, let's sit here on the lawn. People will think we are newlyweds, but hopefully you will get over that too. "

It seemed to him that she was deliberately raising the subject. He refused to follow her here.

"Why do you want to see me, Mr. Staines?" She asked when he left her comment unanswered.

"Why did you ask me a few days ago to accompany you to the train station?"

Thoughtfully, she plucked some stalks without looking up.

“Was my request so unusual that you asked me why? Why shouldn't I ask for your company? "

“Because while I was away from the house someone broke into Derrick's house and wreaked havoc there. They were probably looking for hidden treasures. The burglars must have been the same people, with one exception, who tried the same thing before. In any case, the lady who uses the perfume 'Sans Atout' wasn't there. "

"Do you mean me?" She asked. "Are you seriously claiming that I deliberately lured you away from the house with my request for your company, for the burglars - probably my friends, didn't you?" - To give them the opportunity to do their work undisturbed. "

He was silent.

"Is that your guess?" She insisted.

"I'm not guessing anything," he replied at last. "I just asked you whether ..."

“Yes, I know you asked me why I asked you to come with me to the train station. Isn't the explanation clear enough? "

"No, I want to know more, Miss Dane."

He was getting into a mood that was close to despair. He wondered why he was still considerate of this girl, someone else's bride.

“Anytime, anywhere, in London, yes, in all of England, I'll meet you or your doppelganger. I suspect - yes, it is, Miss Dane - that you are somehow connected to the burglar gang. Of course, I cannot say why and for what purpose. Perhaps I can help you, Mary "- he put his hand on hers and she let it happen -" not as a detective, but as a - friend. If you really have set out on this hot street out of a thirst for adventure or for any other reason ... «

"Me or my doppelganger?" She interrupted.

“... or your doppelganger,” he admitted, “and if they were arrested, it would be too late for me to intervene. But now my hands are not yet tied; I can still turn all dangers away from you. Put a little trust in me. "

She looked at the expanse of water in front of her and shook her head despondently. Suddenly she looked deep into his eyes.

"You have a right to ask me to trust you," she said. "But I am not allowed to give it to you."

He was rigid. Suddenly his gaze fell on the little ring she wore on her ring finger. He had not yet seen the jewel on her; now he suddenly remembered Tommy's words.

"Tommy has confessed his luck to me," he said hesitantly, "he's a nice, nice person."

"Rich?" The question came so cold-blooded and unexpectedly that he was speechless for a moment.

"Yes, it is," he was finally able to reply. "If some of his heirs die, he will become even richer."

"You were ashamed of me because of my question?" Said the young girl."Don't you think that - if he were rich and I really his bride - I would be the greatest idiot if I embarked on criminal adventures?"

"And commit murder," he finished her question.

She was frightened.

“Do you also attribute a murder to me? How stupid of you. ”She glanced at her engagement ring. “You think I'm a perfectly made cocotte, don't you? Well, you know from experience how self-controlled I am. "

"Yes, I've had that experience several times," he said vaguely, and stood up.

“But the best evidence that I have self-control is the fact that I haven't tossed that ring into the water yet. You have to give me credit for that one point. ”She patted his arm.

Everything she had done so far had been as unexpected as her words. In any case, she managed to fool him over and over again.

“Now go ahead, Mr. Staines. You just have time to catch your train at Westgate. I'm going back in a taxi. Tommy is getting a real spendthrift in me. "Suddenly her voice was half-choked with tears that were so hard to hold back." Once, Dick Staines, I lied to you; but now I want to finally confess the truth to you: I was not pretending when I gave you that message at the London station. I still haven't gotten over my confession back then, and I won't be anytime soon. You must have this fact and its truth before you always and always, my beloved! "

Before he could reply, she had reached the waiting taxi and got in. She pressed his hand once more, and when the car was already moving, she said sadly:

"Oh, Dick, my darling, I am in a terrible position!"

Even before he lost sight of her, he remembers hiring Rees to watch her and was ashamed of his behavior.


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