The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 68

Rhuari Mathison put his head round the door of Adam’s room. It was empty, save for an open but fully packed valise lying on a narrow bed stripped of bedding. Typical of Adam, Rhuari thought, smiling to himself. Tidy, organised not a bit like an artist, really. He would wait there for his friend, he decided, to deliver one last message before Adam’s departure, a message he felt might be of some importance to him. He sat on the bed and drew a pair of gloves from his pocket. They were the gloves which he had picked up on the day of Adam’s trip to Montparnasse with Madeleine the day that he was sure he’d caught a glimpse of Constance Tarrant-Smyth.Adam hadn’t mentioned her since coming to Paris, but Rhuari remembered them constantly being in each other’s company when they’d all been at art school. He’d often wondered about that . . .Since that Montparnasse trip, Rhuari reflected, life had been a positive whirlwind of activity as Adam suddenly prepared to move on. There had been no explanation from him, but Rhuari had given his help willingly, storing some art materials, getting rid of others and negotiating a price for the remainder of Adam’s sketches and watercolours still on display at Madeleine’s father’s caf.Now, he glanced at his watch, then went to the window as he heard a burst of laughter from the street below. His friends were making their way to their usual evening location for a little conviviality. With luck, Adam would join them. But in case he didn’t, Rhuari, ever prepared, took a note of explanation from his pocket, tucked it into one of the gloves and pushed them into the bottom of the valise for security. For the last few days, Adam Gray had been unpredictable, preparing to take flight as one possessed. He was due to leave early the next morning. Rhuari Mathison had the feeling that he wouldn’t see him for a very long time.****At that very moment, Adam was standing at the top of the long flight of steps leading to the church of Sacre Coeur, gazing out over the vista of the city of Paris which seemed to stretch for ever. He sighed. Another goodbye.On this, his last evening in Montmartre, he had visited the places where he had been happy, walked up cobbled streets to the tree-lined grassy spaces where he had sketched and painted . . . and, for a while, had been content. He had avoided the caf in the last few days, feeling burdened by selfish Madeleine’s secret, but had sent a letter of thanks to her father, Georges, and had let him have the remainder of his work on display for what was really a nominal price.The light was beginning to fade. Adam had promised to write to Rhuari as soon as he reached his destination, as yet unknown. Only a few hours remained before his journey would begin, at first light. Until then, he told himself, he would sit by his window and watch this place he had loved slowly go to sleep. Heavy-footed, he made his way down the long flight of steps.The dawn light was pearly, the air pure but heady as wine. Adam smiled to himself as he smelled the aroma of fresh bread waft up through the pavement gratings outside the baker’s shop. He remembered his very first morning in Montmartre and reflected that it all seemed a very long time ago. Like a curtain being drawn back, the light crept over the pastel-washed buildings with their ivy-clad walls. It lit up the windmills, somehow portly and important, their sails motionless, waiting for the slightest puff of wind. Montmartre was at its most beautiful in the early morning.But the waggoner who had promised Adam a lift into the centre of Paris was waiting impatiently, his pipe clamped between his teeth, the reins already in his hands. Adam scarcely had time to heft his valise into the wagon and haul himself up beside the driver before they jolted forward at a brisk trot. Sitting bolt upright, Adam did not look back.


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