Fog of Doubt

Free Fog of Doubt by Christianna Brand

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Authors: Christianna Brand
Thomas’s sister is taking abortifacients.’
    â€˜Good lord, what a heavenly word!’ But she was mildly alarmed by it. ‘It won’t do me any harm, will it?’
    It would not have done a kitten the slightest harm—or the slightest good either; but at least it would stop her from going where harm might be done. To make doubly sure he insisted: ‘You’re not to take the second dose till three days after the first; promise?’ That would give them a breathing space while they made some arrangements for her. ‘I’m going to see Tilda to-morrow, and really talk over what we’re to do.’
    â€˜Now you’ve given me this, we won’t have to do anything, will we?’
    â€˜Well, no, perhaps not,’ he said. He changed the direction of the subject. ‘How did you feel this morning, after I left?’
    â€˜Well, of course I was really skrimshanking a bit because of getting out of seeing Raoul. But still I did feel grim, and then I had this fuss with Damien on the telephone and I felt grimmer still. Tilda wanted me to stay in bed all day but I wouldn’t, so then of course she was cross because I didn’t get up that min ute and whizz round doing my stuff. That’s the worst of Tilda—you must be ill or well with her, you can’t be just sort of grey.’
    â€˜She’s probably worried to death about you, out in this fog.’
    â€˜Not she,’ said Rosie. ‘She’s sitting listening to lies about me from Raoul.’
    â€˜He’ll have gone by now.’
    â€˜Good lord, no, it’s only about eight o’clock.’
    â€˜It’s a quarter past nine,’ said Tedward.
    â€˜No, is it really? I must have taken hours getting here,’ said Rosie, with not even the grace to blush.
    â€˜You must be worn out,’ said Tedward.
    â€˜No, I’m not. After all, it’s no actual distance, and it was quite fun, really, I mean one foot in the gutter, and chains of hands with strangers across the roads.’
    But she was tired. The unexplained exhilaration was dying away, leaving her very pale; there were shadows under the amber eyes and her round face had a suddenly peaky look. ‘I’ll get the car out,’ he said, ‘while you finish your tea. You ought to be in bed.’
    â€˜But if he’s still there.…’
    â€˜It’ll take me half an hour to manoeuvre the car out of the garage in this; he may be gone by then, but anyway, we can ring up and ask Matilda, before we start. You get on with your tea.’
    â€˜Oh, cat, ’ said Rosie, ‘do shift over a bit, I can’t reach anything.…’
    But when he came back to the sitting-room, five minutes later, leaving the car ticking over in the little drive outside his front door, she was standing in the middle of the room and the cat had gone. ‘Tedward! The most frightful thing’s happened. I—I think it must be Raoul.’
    â€˜What do you mean? What’s happened?’
    â€˜The telephone,’ said Rosie, sweeping her hand vaguely towards the little table where it stood. ‘Somebody rang up. Tedward, I think it was Raoul and I think he’s been hurt.’
    â€˜He rang up here? ’
    â€˜Well, the bell rang and I picked up the receiver and a voice said, “Gome quick!” in a sort of a peculiar hoarse kind of a whisper as though they could hardly breathe, and then he said, “Tell the doctor to come quick,” and then I began to think that his voice sounded rather foreign. So then I said, “Well, who is it? Where are you?” Just thinking it was a patient, of course, and he said, “A man came in and hit me with a mastoid mallet,” and then he said—oh, Tedward, he said, “I’m dying”.’ She bit her lower lip and two tears tumbled slowly down her round white young face.
    â€˜A mas toid mallet?’ he said incredulously.

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