THREE
VIEW OVER THE GARDENS

Our meeting in the café took place on a Wednesday; two days later, on the Friday afternoon, Olive rang me up at the office. " Roy has found something out from his father. George ought to know at once, but I can't get hold of him. It's his day at Melton, isn't it?" (The firm of Eden and Martineau had branches in several market towns: and George regularly spent a day a week in the county.) "He must know before he goes to Martineau's tonight."

Her voice sounded brusque but anxious; she wanted someone to see Roy, to examine the news. Jack was the obvious person, but him Roy was forbidden to meet. She asked me to go along to Morcom's as soon as I was free; she would take Roy there.

I walked to Morcom's flat in the early evening. The way led from the centre of the town, and suddenly took one between box-hedges and five-storey, gabled, Victorian houses, whose red brick flared in the sunset with a grotesque and Gothic cosiness. But the cosiness vanished, when one saw their dark windows: once, when the town was smaller, they had been real houses: now they were offices, shut for the night. Only Martineau's, at the end of the Walk, remained a solid private house. The one next door, which he also owned, had been turned into flats: and there Morcom lived, on the top floor.

When I went into his sitting-room, Olive and Roy had just arrived. Olive had brought Morcom a great bunch of deep red dahlias, and she was arranging them on a table by the window. The red blazed as one looked down over the public gardens, where the Walk came to an end.

-18-

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