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Heir Presumptive by Henry Wade

Heir Presumptive by Henry Wade

Author:Henry Wade [Wade, Henry]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781471918421
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Published: 2016-06-13T22:00:00+00:00


Chapter Fifteen

A Shattering Blow

PUZZLED, and not a little disquieted, Eustace made his way slowly down the stairs. It was not so much that he had twice in the last two days been denied access to Desmond, though that seemed rather odd, especially in view of Henry Carr having just lunched with him, but why had the companion, Mrs. Toumlin, looked at him so oddly, seemed so uncomfortable? Eustace shrugged his shoulders, decided to try again in a day or two, turned the last flight that led into the hall, and found Henry Carr still waiting there.

“Hullo”, he said. “Why . . . ?”

“I thought you might possibly not be allowed to see him”, said Henry. “Thought, if that was so, you might care to stroll across the Park with me.”

They went out into the sunlight, heading for the nearest entrance to Regent’s Park.

“But why did you think I mightn’t be allowed to see him?”

“What reason did Mrs. Toumlin give?”

“She said he wasn’t feeling well—that you had tired him”, said Eustace bluntly, irritated that Carr should know he had been turned away.

“I thought that might be so”, said the solicitor quietly. “Have you got time to spare? I’ve an appointment at the Temple at half-past three; that’ll give me plenty of time for a walk if you care for one.”

Eustace had plenty of time too, and could hardly be so boorish as to pretend he hadn’t. Besides, this might give him a chance to sound Carr about that entail—if he could do it not too obviously.

It was hot walking in the blazing September sun and presently Carr suggested sitting for a bit; two chairs under a thorn tree offered rest, shade, and—as it happened—isolation. Eustace had no excuse for not telling once again his story of the death of David. He did not want to; this man was a lawyer; he might ask the same sort of questions that that infernal Procurator Fiscal had done. Eustace thought he was prepared for all emergencies, but he would have much preferred the whole thing to be forgotten; however, he could not well refuse. Henry Carr listened in silence, asked a question or two about the investigation, points about procedure, explained to Eustace about the Crown Office, the Judge Advocate, the Advocates Depute, the Procurator Fiscal, commiserated with him on his trying ordeal, and fell silent.

After a minute or two he turned to Eustace with a smile and said:

“Well, Eustace, there’s no concealing the fact that these last two months have altered your own position a bit. I suppose you realize that when poor Desmond goes you will be heir presumptive to the Barradys peerage?”

Eustace, his heart beating a little faster, nodded. “Yes, I realize that”, he said. “It’s rather extraordinary, isn’t it. I’ve never given the possibility a thought.”

“Naturally; there were so many of them.”

Henry took a long pull at his cigarette, inhaling and letting the smoke trickle out of his nostrils.

“I wonder if I might venture to offer you a word of



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