[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Cain HisBrotherAnne PerryBook 6William MonkTo the people of Portmahomack for their great kindness“We have read each other as Cain his brother”-G.K.CHESTERTONChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 1Mr.MONK?” she said, then took a deep breath.“Mr.William Monk?” He turned from the desk where he had been sitting, and rose to his feet.The landlady must have let her through the outer chamber.“Yes ma'am?” he said inquiringly.She took another step into the room, ignoring her huge crinoline skirts as they touched against the table.Her clothes were well cut and fashionable without ostentation, but she seemed to have donned them in some haste and without attention to detail.The bodice did not quite match the skirt, and the wide bow of her bonnet was knotted rather than tied.Her face with its short strong nose and brave mouth betrayed considerable nervousness.But Monk was used to that.People who sought the services of an agent of inquiry were almost always in some predicament which was too serious, or too embarrassing, to have dealt with through the more ordinary channels.“My name is Genevieve Stonefield,” she began.Her voice quivered a little.“Mrs.Angus Stonefield,” she amended.“It is about my husband that I must consult you.”With a woman of her age, which he placed between thirty and thirty-five, it most usually was; or else a minor theft, an unsatisfactory household servant, occasionally a debt.With older women it was an errant child or an unsuitable match in prospect.But Genevieve Stonefield was a most attractive woman, not only in her warm coloring and dignified deportment, but in the frankness and humor suggested in her face.He imagined most men would find her greatly appealing.Indeed, his first instinct was to do so himself.He squashed it, knowing bitterly the cost of past misjudgments.“Yes, Mrs.Stonefield,” he replied, moving from the desk into the middle of the room, which he had designed to make people feel at ease-or more accurately, Hester Latterly had persuaded him to do so.“Please sit down.”He indicated one of the large, padded armchairs across the red-and-blue Turkey rug from his own.It was a bitter January, and there was a fire burning briskly in the hearth, not only for warmth but for the sense of comfort it produced.“Tell me what disturbs you, and how you believe I may help.” He sat in the other chair opposite her as soon as courtesy permitted.She did not bother to rearrange her skirts; they billowed around her in exactly the way they had chanced to fall, hoops awry and showing one slender, high-booted ankle.Having steeled herself to take the plunge, she had no need of further invitation, but began straightaway, leaning forward a little, staring at him gravely.“Mr.Monk, in order for you to understand my anxiety, I must tell you something of my husband and his circumstances.I apologize for taking up your time in this manner, but without this knowledge, what I tell you will make little sense.”Monk made an effort to appear as if he listened.It was tedious, and in all probability quite unnecessary, but he had learned, through error, to allow people to say what they wished before reaching the purpose of their visit.If nothing else, it permitted them a certain element of self-respect in a circumstance where they found themselves obliged to ask for help in an acutely private matter, and of someone most of them regarded as socially inferior by dint of the very fact that he earned his living.Their reasons were usually painful, and they would have preferred to have kept the secret.When he had been a policeman such delicacy would have been irrelevant, but now he had no authority, and he would be paid only according to his client's estimate of his success.Mrs.Stonefield began in a low voice.“My husband and I have been married for fourteen years, Mr.Monk, and I knew him for a year before that.He was always the gentlest and most considerate of men, without giving the im- pression of being easily swayed.No one has ever found him less than honorable in all his dealings, both personal and professional, and he has never sought to take advantage of others or gain by their misfortune.” She stopped, realizing--perhaps from Monk's face--that she was speaking too much.His features had never concealed his feelings, especially those of impatience, anger or scorn.It had served him ill at times.“Do you suspect him of some breach in his otherwise excellent character, Mrs.Stonefield?” he asked with as much concern as he was able to pretend.It was beginning to appear that her interesting face covered a most uninteresting mind.“No, Mr.Monk,” she said a little more sharply, but the fear was dark in her eyes.“I am afraid he has been done to death.I wish you to find out for me.” In spite of her desperate words, she did not look up at him.“Nothing you can do will help Angus now,” she continued quietly.“But since he has disappeared, and there is no trace of him, he is presumed by the law simply to have deserted us.I have five children, Mr.Monk, and without Angus, his business will very rapidly cease to provide for us.”Suddenly the matter became real, and genuinely urgent.He no longer saw her as an overwordy woman fussing over some fancied offense, but one with a profound cause for the fear in her eyes.“Have you reported his absence to the police?” he asked.Her eyes flickered up to his.“Oh yes.I spoke to a Sergeant Evan.He was most kind, but he could do nothing to help me, because I have no proof that Angus did not go of his own will.It was Sergeant Evan who gave me your name.”“I see [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]