FIFTEEN
MARTINEAU'S INTENTION

I walked past Martineau's, the following Friday night. The drawing-room window was dark: Martineau, so George thought, was visiting his brother, the Canon. Next day, when I was having supper with Morcom, George sent a message by Jack: Martineau wanted to see us tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon: we were to meet at George's.

" Martineau's getting more fun out of all this than anyone else," said Jack. "Like your girl" -- he said to Morcom -- "when she decided to sacrifice herself. Blast them both." He could speak directly to Morcom about Olive, as no one else could; and he went out of his way to ease Morcom's jealousy. "How is she, by the way? No one else ever hears a word but you."

"She seems fairly cheerful," said Morcom.

"Blast her and Martineau as well. Send them off together," said Jack. "They deserve each other. That'd put them right if anything could." His face melted into a mischievous, kindly grin.

When I arrived at George's the next day, he was smoking after the midday meal. His shout of greeting had a formal cheerfulness, but I could hear no heart behind it.

"You're the first," he said.

" Martineau is coming?"

"I imagine so," said George. "Even Martineau couldn't get us all together and then not turn up himself."

We sat by the window, looking out into the street. The knocker on the door opposite glistened in the sun.

Soon there were footsteps down the pavement. Martineau looked in and waved his hand. George went to let him in.

"Come in," I heard George saying, and then, "Isn't it a beautiful day?"

-103-

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