The Franchise Affair, by Josephine Tey

24

The summer rain beat on the air-field with a dreary persistence. Every now and then the wind would lift it and sweep the terminus buildings with it in one long brush-stroke. The covered way to the Montreal plane was open on either side and the passengers bent their heads against the weather as they filed slowly into it. Robert, moving up at the tail of the queue, could see Mrs. Sharpe’s flat black satin hat, and the short strands of white hair being blown about.

By the time he boarded the plane they were seated, and Mrs. Sharpe was already burrowing in her bag. As he walked up the aisle between the seats Marion looked up and saw him. Her face lighted with welcome and surprise.

“Robert!” she said. “Have you come to see us off?”

“No,” Robert said. “I’m travelling by this plane.”

“Travelling!” she said, staring. “You are?”

“It’s a public conveyance, you know.”

“I know, but — you’re going to Canada?”

“I am.”

“What for?”

“To see my sister in Saskatchewan,” Robert said demurely. “A much better pretext than a cousin at McGill.”

She began to laugh; softly and consumedly.

“Oh, Robert, my dear,” she said, “you can’t imagine how revolting you are when you look smug!”

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:04