“So did I,” said Katharine. “She was to come on—on Monday.”
“Six years in her last place?” said Daphne shakily
“Yes. And a clergyman’s daughter,” wailed Katharine.
“Did—did you take up her reference?”
“Wired last night,” was the reply.
In silence I brought two chairs, and they sat down.
“But—but,” stammered Jill, “she spoke from Torquay on Wednesday.”
“Did she?” said Berry. “I wonder.”
“Yes,” said Katharine. “She did.”
“You know she did,” said Daphne and Jill.
“Who,” said I, “answered the telephone?”
“My parlourmaid did,” said Katharine.
“And Jill answered ours,” said I. Then I turned to my cousin. “When you took off the receiver,” I asked, “what did you hear?”
“I remember perfectly,” said Jill. “Exchange asked if we were Mayfair 9999 and then said, ‘You’re through to a call-office.’ Then Pauline spoke.”
“Precisely,” said I. “But not from Torquay. In that case Exchange would have said, ‘Torquay wants you,’ or ‘Exeter,’ or something. Our Pauline rang up from London. She took a risk and got away with it.”
“I feel dazed,” said Daphne, putting a hand to her head. “There must be some mistake. I can’t believe——”
“‘A thoroughly nice-feeling woman,’” said Berry. “I think I should feel nice if I could make five pounds in two hours by sitting on the edge of a chair and saying I was a clergyman’s daughter. And now what are we going to do? Shall we be funny and inform the police? Or try and stop Camille at Amiens?”
“Now, don’t you start,” said his wife, “because I can’t bear it. Jonah, for goodness’ sake, get hold of the car, and let’s go.”
“Yes,” said Berry. “And look sharp about it. Time’s getting on, and I should just hate to be late for dinner. Or shall we be reckless and take a table at Lockhart’s?”
We drove home in a state of profound melancholy.
Awaiting our arrival was a “service” communication upon a buff sheet, bluntly addressed to “Pleydell.”
It was the official death-warrant of an unworthy trust.
I beg leave to inform you that your telegram handed in at the Grosvenor Street Post Office at 10.2 a.m. on the 26th June addressed to Reply paid Hamilton Smythe Fair Lawns Torquay has not been delivered for the reason indicated below.
ADDRESS NOT KNOWN.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
HOW JILL SLEPT UNDISTURBED, AND NOBBY ATTENDED CHURCH PARADE.
“What d’you do,” said Berry, “when you want to remember something?”
“Change my rings,” said Daphne. “Why?”
“I only wondered. D’you find that infallible?”
My sister nodded.