The Murder at Sissingham Hall
was conscious of a regret that I had thought long since dead and buried.
    ‘Joan, must you take those awful dogs everywhere with you? They do get under one’s feet so and they’re such a bore,’ said Rosamund, as we entered the house through the conservatory.
    ‘Don’t be unfair, Rosamund,’ said Joan reproachfully. ‘They have never given you any trouble. It isn’t you that looks after them, it’s me or Neville and they only get under your feet if you don’t look where you’re going.’
    ‘Rosamund demands that the path of life be smoothed for her without any effort on her part,’ observed Bobs.
    ‘Of course I do,’ answered Rosamund, with disarming honesty. ‘I should like to have everything fall into my lap. And why shouldn’t I? There’s no harm in it.’
    Her remark brought to mind Gwen MacMurray, who had expressed a very similar sentiment the previous evening and I wondered how it was that a trait which struck me as so ugly in one woman could be so attractive in another.
    We found the others gathered in the drawing-room for tea, together with a new member of the party, who I gathered must be Mr. Pomfrey. He was a dried-up little old fellow with, as Bobs had mentioned, a crushing hand-shake. He was evidently a great authority on gardening and Joan began questioning him closely about some new treatment for black fly she had heard of. As I sipped my tea, I noticed that Gwen MacMurray was eyeing Mr. Pomfrey with interest and I watched with amusement as she moved over to where he was standing and neatly cut Joan out. There was a low whistle next to me and I turned to find that Bobs had seen it too.
    ‘As neat a job as I ever saw,’ he said.
    ‘Shh! She’ll hear you.’
    ‘What do you think? Is she pumping old Pomfrey for information? I’ll bet she is simply dying to know why he’s come here this afternoon. She’s got the wind up her all right—terrified that she’s not going to see a penny of Neville’s money.’
    ‘Is he really going to rewrite his will?’ I asked. I had thought Bobs’s remark at lunch-time was just a joke but Joan’s story had given me pause for thought. Bobs shrugged his shoulders.
    ‘No idea, although I shouldn’t be surprised. Neville’s rather a stuffy old fellow and I can’t imagine him being too pleased if he knew what they get up to in town.’
    I dismissed this reply as Bobs’s usual rumour-mongering and concluded that Mr. Pomfrey was probably here for other reasons. It seemed unlikely that Sir Neville should advertise an intention to alter his will so openly, especially when the people who would be most affected by the change were actually in the house. I glanced over at Hugh MacMurray, who was looking as cheerful as ever, seemingly oblivious to rumours about his supposed impending impoverishment. He was roaring with laughter at something Angela Marchmont was saying and seemed to have not a care in the world.
    Gwen at last released the solicitor from her clutches and I heard Sir Neville say: ‘Shall we return to the study, Pomfrey? There are just a few more points I should like to mention.’
    ‘Certainly,’ replied Mr. Pomfrey. ‘Indeed, as I said before, the course you wish to take carries certain…implications, shall we say? I am convinced we ought to discuss these more at length before I carry out the actions you mentioned.’
    He excused himself to the company at large and they left the room together. I looked over at Gwen MacMurray, to see if I could judge whether or not she had had any success in finding out the purpose of Mr. Pomfrey’s visit but her face gave nothing away.
    That night, at dinner, I was seated next to the solicitor and found him to be a likeable little fellow, intelligent with a dry sense of humour. He had obviously mixed a good deal in society and had a fund of mildly indiscreet anecdotes with which he entertained Angela Marchmont (who was sitting on the other side of him) and me throughout dinner while the rest of the table

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