A Shilling for Candles, by Josephine Tey

Chapter 27

Herbert Gotobed left England about a month later on his way to explain to the inquisitive police of Nashville, Tennessee, what he had done with the two thousand dollars old Mrs. Kinsley had given him to build a church with.

And on the day that he sailed — although neither party knew of the other’s activities — Erica had a dinner party at Steynes “to take the taste of the last one away,” as she said bluntly to Grant when she invited him. The only addition to the original personnel was Robin Tisdall, and Grant found himself ridiculously relieved to find that her small nose was still as casually powdered, and her frock still as childish as on the first occasion. He was afraid that contact with anyone as good-looking and ill-used as Robin Tisdall would have bred a self-awareness that would be the end of her girlhood. But it seemed as if nothing could make Erica self-conscious. She treated Tisdall with the same grave matter-of-factness she had used when she had told him that his shirt collar was too tight. Grant saw Sir George’s eyes going from one to the other in glad amusement. Their glances met, and moved by a common impulse the two men raised their glasses in a small gesture of mutual congratulation.

“Are you drinking a toast?” Erica asked. “I’ll give you one. To Robin’s success in California!”

They drank it with a will.

“If you don’t like the ranch,” Erica said, “wait till I am twenty-one and I’ll buy it from you.”

“Would you like that sort of life?” His tone was eager.

“Of course I should.” She turned to Grant, beginning to say something.

“You’ll have to come out and see it long before you’re twenty-one,” Robin persisted.

“Yes, that would be nice.” She was sincere but inattentive. “Mr. Grant” (for some reason she never called him Inspector) “if I get those tickets from Mr. Mills myself will you come with me to the Circus at Christmas?”

She was very faintly pink, as if she had asked a forward thing. A phenomenon in Erica, who was forward by nature and never knew it.

“Of course I will,” Grant said, “with the greatest pleasure.”

“All right,” she said. “That’s a promise.” She lifted her glass. “To Olympia, at Christmas!”

“To Olympia at Christmas!” Grant said.

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