A Quiet Honeymoon – Episode 06

TERENCE and Philip returned inside and reported that the garden entrance was untouched. Ruth asked carefully if she and Terence might be permitted to make a tour of the garden alone, to see what could be discovered, and Terence told Ruth the story of Matthew, Sarah and Mary.

“Poor things,” Ruth said. “They have been through such turmoil already, and now this! We must do what we can. I don’t know what the local force has been able to do.” She pointed. “Look, there’s a short line of low trees here, between the lawn and the paving, screened from the house. I didn’t notice it before.”

“So whoever it was may have killed Mr Quirk here and then pulled him away, unseen, through the archway.”

The heavy oak door in the wall was open. Terence swung it shut. It fitted snugly.

“It may even be that the murderer shut the door when he did the deed, so that nobody in the lane would hear a noise.”

Ruth looked up.

“But noise can surely be heard through this old wall?”

Miss Greville walked up behind them.

“It’s an amazing piece of brickwork,” she said. She handed them both a cup. “You went walking before Henshaw brought coffee. The wall quite what is the word? baffles everything. You remember that I did not hear you talking, just the other side, that terrible day when you found Mr Quirk? I was surprised when I found you there.” She sighed. “I do not want to think of such a thing happening here, in our garden.” Her face showed a ray of hope. “The servants come in and out. The grass was perhaps disturbed by one of them, some time in the day he died, or the next day.”

“Let us hope so,” Ruth agreed.

Miss Greville retired indoors, and Ruth and Terence continued their discussion.

“And now,” Ruth said, “what about the French lady?”

Terence looked surprised.

“You suspect her?”

Ruth laughed.

“I suspect Mr Greville of being in love with her, and her with him.”

Terence stared at her.

“Women,” he said. “You know that from a quarter of an hour in her company?”

“From the touch of a hand, and the look in an eye,” Ruth corrected with a smile.

Mr Greville shook their hands as he showed them to the door.

“Congratulations,” Ruth said, “on the engagement of your daughter and Mr Young.”

“Thank you. I do think that Mary and Philip should continue their wedding plans,” he said. “I think it would cheer her.”

“I agree,” Ruth said. “When is the date?”

“September the fifth.” He smiled. “I told Mary that it must be delayed no longer than that. I enjoy pheasant shooting, you see. I cannot have a wedding during the season! Do you shoot, Mr Greene?”

Terence looked astonished.

“I’m just a policeman,” he said.

“Indeed.” Greville looked out beyond the front gate of the house. Rolling farmland could be seen in the distance. “We might have need of a policeman at this year’s shoots. My friend Brody, whose land is used, has poacher problems. They first began last autumn.”

Mr Greville was showing them out when he stopped, and the sudden change in movement made Ruth and Terence stop, too.

“In fact, I recall now Quirk suspected a man, or a group of men. Quirk was a sound fellow and a good friend, but rather a busybody, and his prying could often be

useful. He has saved my business from

more than one serious loss by examining the log or the accounts of a captain, or demanding that an inventory be double-checked. I believe he was after a poacher.”

“Do you know who it was?” Terence asked.

“Not for certain. But I know he visited the butcher at East Wittering, because he made himself a nuisance.” Mr Greville smiled. “The cook told me. It must have been a comical sight, old Quirk among the cutlets and offal. I suppose he was looking for game that should not have been there, game from Brody’s land.”

“Do you think a man would kill another man because he was threatening his poaching career?” Ruth asked Terence when they were back at the boarding house.

Terence shrugged.

“Feelings run high in such matters.”

“Especially the feelings of the underdog,” Ruth said thoughtfully, “towards his so-called betters. I have often felt the urge to strike the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University about the head for telling us that men are more intelligent than women!”

Terence laughed.

“I think I believe you, Ruth,” he said. He took her in his arms. “You are very hard to control,” he said, “and terrifying to any man who dares take you on.”

Ruth kissed him, and laughed.

“Yet you don’t seem as frightened of me as you ought to be,” she said.


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