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beyond, and Peter Kennedy impervious to hint. The only thing that softened the situation to Gabriel was that she made room for him on the sofa, by a gesture inviting him to seat himself there. Almost he pretended not to see it, he felt rigid and uncompromising. Nevertheless, after a moment's hesitation, he found himself beside her, listening to Dr. Kennedy's unwelcome voice.

"You knew, didn't you, that there had been a man hanging about the place, trying to get information from the servants? Margaret first heard of this last Tuesday …" Gabriel missed the next sentence. That the fellow should speak of her as "Margaret" made him see red. When his vision cleared Peter was still talking. There had been some allusion to or description of cook's weakness, and the discursiveness was a fresh offence.

"What she told him in her amorous moments we have no means of knowing, but that it included the information that you had stayed in the house there is not much reason to doubt. And down came this woman like a ton of bricks on Wednesday morning and flung a bomb on us in the shape of a demand for a thousand pounds."

"What woman?"

"The man's employer. She had set him on to it."


"This blackmailing person."