face the fact that Mr Tidson is as clever as Connie is foolish, and the jury may well believe him.’

‘And the old villian is not committed for trial,’ said Gavin, looking perturbed. ‘He’d like to make her the guilty one, and himself right about her motive – she did everything she could to get him hanged.’

‘And over-did it,’ observed Laura. ‘But surely Mr Tidson soon found out what she was up to? Why didn’t he give her away?’

‘I said he was a clever old man,’ said Mrs Bradley. ‘No doubt it suited him very well to let Connie go all the way in faking the evidence. He depended upon me to save him. He as good as told me so. The deeper Connie involved herself the harder it would be for us to find out the truth. He knew that perfectly well. He must have chuckled when he brought that meaningless sandal to the Domus.’

‘Not entirely meaningless,’ said Laura.

‘Meaningless so far as the police were concerned,’ admitted Gavin. ‘We can’t even prove that those sandals ever belonged to young Biggin. There’s nothing to show that they did. His parents are not prepared to swear to anything. His father wants to stick to that bit of money, and hates the police like poison. But if Tidson can’t be proved guilty, I still don’t get what his game was unless—’

‘Yes, that’s it,’ said Mrs Bradley.

‘You mean he realised that Connie was doing her best to incriminate him, and that if only he could give her rope enough she would hang herself in the end?’

‘That is what I think, but of course we shall never prove it. Connie has been criminally foolish, but I think we all knew who the guilty party was. Of course, she had a strong double motive in trying to incriminate him—’

‘To get Mr Tidson hanged and so be rid of him out of her aunt’s house, and to save for ever young Preece- Harvard,’ said Laura.

‘But, of course, she gave herself away (as I told you) by placing what she believed to be objects which would incriminate Mr Tidson in that hole in the ground on the top of the hill after she had seen me search the hole. That was a childish thing to do. Then – very interesting, this! – she gave herself a black eye that morning when she saw that the others all had one!’

‘I wonder what caused a careful person like Mr Tidson to leave his precious gloves in the Cathedral?’ said Laura, frowning.

‘I have checked the Cathedral services,’ Mrs Bradley replied, ‘and I think he must have been carried away by the setting of Bairstow in D.’

Mr Tidson was released for lack of evidence, and immediately rejoined his wife in Tenerife – this to her great annoyance, as she informed Miss Priscilla Carmody by letter. Connie Carmody, anticipating trouble in England, went over on the next boat a week later. Miss Priscilla Carmody received news of her safe arrival from Crete Tidson, and almost immediately afterwards there followed from Gavin (who had gone at once to the island) news that her body and that of Mr Tidson had been recovered from deep water at the end of the Mole at Santa Cruz.

They were locked in each other’s arms in a grip that was not the clasp of love. The charitable islanders believed that one of them had died in an effort to save the other from drowning. Laura, drawing Mrs Bradley’s attention to this report in the English newspapers, remarked:

‘Well, I’m glad it didn’t happen in Winchester,’ and her blue-grey eyes saw in retrospect the grey Cathedral, the hills and the lovely darkening reaches of the river.

The prospect widened and grew as clear as a vision. She saw willows and the tall, green reeds, the patches of weed, the clear and stony shallows, the uncertain deeps; the rough and thick-leaved water-plants by the brink, the blue forget-me-not, the toffee-brown water-dropwort; and in side-stream and carrier, ditch and brook no less than in the broadly-curving river, over the weirs and under the little bridges, the smooth, hard rush of the water.

She saw the mallard in flight and the moorhens’ nests built on flotsam; the scuttling dabchicks, the warblers swinging on the sedge; she saw the lithe stoat slinking swiftly back to his home; the swans like galleons for beauty; and, last, a solitary trout in a small deep pool, as he anchored himself against the run of the stream.

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