The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 58

Constance rose early, determined to breakfast before the others wereup and about. Today, she did not want conversation. There was one thought in her mind, and one only Adam. She determined to stay calm, to achieve the one purpose that had filled her mind for the long, lonely months. She had to find him, tell him that he meant more to her than anything else in the world and that she could not bear to be parted from him any longer.A shout and the rumbling of a cart from the street below roused her from her reverie. An urgency pulling her on had her halfway down the stairs before she remembered her gloves and parasol. Turning back, she snatched them from a chair, almost hearing her mama’s voice.“A lady never goes out without her gloves, Constance.”The journey was not an easy one. She had to use up her meagre supply of French in asking directions and, when she arrived at last in Montmartre, she was foot-weary and hot.The sun was climbing, the warmth of it becoming uncomfortable. Constance longed to sit down, to rest and compose herself before completing her search. Instead, she walked on, anxiously scanning the groups of artists sketching in little tree-shaded squares and on the seemingly endless flight of steps leading up to the basilica of Sacre Coeur.Shading her eyes, Constance looked up. She had read about Montmartre, about these very steps and the view of Paris that could be seen from the top. For a moment, she was overcome by the strangeness of the place which had suddenly become beautiful.She sank down on one of the steps and looked around her. This place, she reflected, was an artist’s paradise, a village within a city with its winding cobbled streets, its shady green places, olive groves and windmills. Having lived here, Adam would surely never want to come home again.But they could live here together, Constance suddenly thought. Here, all their problems would melt away. Her spirits rising, she took her precious slip of paper fromher pocket and once more studied the address.****It took a very short time for her to find the house where Adam was lodging. Outside vast wooden gates, which looked like the entrance to a castle, an elderly woman in a long black dress, a bunch of keys at her waist, was sweeping the pavement with short, badtempered strokes.“Adam Gray?” Constance enquired hesitantly.The woman glared at her, then pointed down the street.“Le caf,” she said. “Comme d’habitude.”Constance felt the smallest jolt of unease.Comme d’habitude as usual. Was Adam frittering away his precious time?The caf in question turned out to be a pleasant, white-walled place, with tables in front and a shady spot provided by a tree in the comer furthest from the door. There were no customers, but Constance decided to wait there. She chose the shady spot, glad of respite from the growing heat of the day.A plump little man with a broad smile popped out from the caf and she considered asking if he’d seen Adam, but decided against it. As well to wait.She ordered coffee instead, and declined the offer of a pastry, trying to ignore the nagging little doubts that were beginning to grow in her mind.What if Adam had stayed angry and had no wish to see her?What if he was so bound up in his work that he had no time for her? What if . . .?****A familiar laugh broke into her train of thought. Her heart leaped. Adam! She had half risen from her seat when he emerged, laughing, from the caf. For a fleeting instant, Constance drank in the picture of broad shoulders, blond hair shining in the sun, strong tanned arms the picture she had carried in her heart for such a long time.But Adam was with someone, a beautiful girl, dark and slender, almost as tall as him. A girl who slipped her arm through his even as Constance watched, despair welling up and transforming into tears that ran unchecked down her face.As she watched them swing away across the square, engrossed in each other, she felt a pain which was almost physical. Rising, she knocked over her chair and took flight, running back down the street in the opposite direction from the love of her life. Georges Duval, bringing coffee for the pretty girl sitting in the shade, found only an upturned chair, and a pair of gloves decorated with pearl buttons lying on the table.Rhuari Mathison, making his leisurely way to the caf for lunch, stared after the girl in the blue dress who had almost collided with him as she ran down the street. Could it be? It wasn’t possible.“Constance Tarrant-Smyth?” he said aloud in puzzlement.


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