Betrayal at Lisson Grove

Betrayal at Lisson Grove by Anne Perry

Book: Betrayal at Lisson Grove by Anne Perry Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Perry
a little surprised to see her hand shaking as she reached for the receiver of the instrument, and took it off its hook on the wall.
    When the voice answered she gave Emily’s number.
    It rang at the other end several times before the butler picked it up.
    ‘Mr Radley’s residence. May I help you?’ he said politely.
    ‘I’m sorry to disturb you so late,’ Charlotte apologised. ‘It is Mrs Pitt calling. Something of an emergency has arisen. May I speak with Mrs Radley, please?’
    ‘I’m very sorry, Mrs Pitt,’ he replied with sympathy. ‘Mr and Mrs Radley have gone to Paris and I do not expect them back for two or three weeks. Is there something I may do to assist you?’
    Charlotte felt a sort of panic. Who else could she turn to for help? Her mother was also out of the country, in Edinburgh, where she had gone with her second husband, Joshua. He was an actor, and had a play running in the theatre there.
    ‘No, no thank you,’ she said a little breathlessly. ‘I’m sure I shall find another solution. Thank you for your trouble. Good night.’ She hung up quickly, before she heard him reply.
    She stood in the quiet parlour, the embers dying in the fire because she had not restoked it. She had until tomorrow evening to find someone to care for Daniel and Jemima, or she could not go with Narraway. And if she did not, then she could not help him. He would be alone in Dublin, hampered by the fact that he was known there, by friend and enemy alike. His face and his bearing were sufficiently unusual that he would not be forgotten, even in twenty years. Anyway, twenty years or fifty, hate did not ever forget. Sometimes it carried on down generations, an evil heritage like the propensity for some disease.
    Pitt had said little to her about the affair at Buckingham Palace, but she knew, as much from the things he left out as from what he’d told her, that his solution of the crime had embarrassed the Prince of Wales by making very obvious his personal weaknesses. Worse than that, it had exposed his error in front of the assembled courtiers – and, of course, unforgivably, before his mother, Queen Victoria.
    It would be no use whatever to Pitt having the Queen appreciate him for a few minutes if the Prince of Wales were his enemy for years.
    That Pitt had been Narraway’s man from the beginning, his protégé, had bred envy, and in some cases fear. With Narraway gone it would be only a matter of time before Pitt too was dismissed or – worse than that – met with an accident.
    Then another thought occurred to her, ugly and even more imperative. If Narraway were innocent, as he claimed, then someone had deliberately reorganised evidence to make him look guilty. They could do the same to Pitt. In fact it was quite possible that if Pitt had had anything whatever to do with the case, then he might already be implicated. As soon as he was home from France he would walk straight into the trap. Only a fool would allow him time to mount a defence, still less to find proof of his innocence, and at the same time, presumably their guilt.
    But why? Was it really an old vengeance against Narraway? Or did Narraway know something that his enemy could not afford to have him pursue? Whatever it was, whatever Narraway had done, or not done, she must protect Pitt. Narraway could not be guilty, that was the only thing of which she had no doubt.
    Now she must find someone to look after Jemima and Daniel while she was away. Oh, damn Mrs Waterman! The stupid creature!
    Charlotte was tired enough to sleep quite well, but when she woke in the morning, the previous evening all flooded back to her. She remembered that not only had she to make breakfast herself – not an unfamiliar task, since in the early days of her marriage she had done it always – but then she had to see Mrs Waterman on her way, and explain to Daniel and Jemima at least something of what had happened. It might be easier to Jemima, but how would Daniel, at ten, grasp

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