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The picturesque village of Rudge-in-the-Vale dozed in the summer sunshine. Along its narrow High Street the only signs of life visible were a cat stropping its backbone against the Jubilee Watering Trough, some flies doing deep-breathing exercises on the hot window sills, and a little group of serious thinkers who, propped up against the wall of the Carmody Arms, were waiting for that establishment to open. At no time is there ever much doing in Rudge's main thoroughfare, but the hour at which a stranger, entering it, is least likely to suffer the illusion that he has strayed into Broadway, Piccadilly, or the Rue de Rivoli is at two o'clock on a warm afternoon in July. You will find Rudge-in-the-Vale, if you search carefully, in that pleasant section of rural England where the gray stone of Gloucestershire gives place to Worcestershire's old red brick. Quiet, in fact, almost unconscious, it nestles beside the tiny river Skirme and lets the world go by, somnolently content with its Norman church, its eleven public-houses, its quote the Automobile Guideof 3,541, and its only effort in the direction of modern progress, the emporium of Chas. Bywater, Chemist. Chas. Bywater is a live wire. He takes no afternoon siesta, but works while others sleep. Rudge as a whole is inclined after luncheon to go into the back room, put a handkerchief over its face and take things easy for a bit. But not Chas. Bywater. At the moment at which this story begins he was all bustle and activity, and had just finished selling to Colonel Meredith Wyvern a bottle of Brophy's Paramount Elixir (said to be good for gnat bites). Having concluded his purchase, Colonel Wyvern would have preferred to leave, but Mr. Bywater was a man who liked to sweeten trade with pleasant conversation. Moreover, this was the first time the Colonel had been inside his shop since that sensational affair up at the Hall two weeks ago, and Chas. Bywater, who held the unofficial position of chief gossip monger to the village, was aching to get to the bottom of that. With the bare outline of the story he was, of course, familiar. Rudge Hall, seat of the Carmody family for so many generations, contained in its fine old park a number of trees which had been planted somewhere about the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This meant that every now and then one of them would be found to have become a wobbly menace to the passer-by, so that experts had to be sent for to reduce it with a charge of dynamite to a harmless stump. Well, two weeks ago, it seems, they had blown up one of the Hall's Elizabethan oaks and as near as a toucher, Rudge learned, had blown up Colonel Wyvern and Mr. Carmody with it. The two friends had come walking by just as the expert set fire to the train and had had a very narrow escape. Thus far the story was common property in the village, and had been discussed nightly in the eleven tap-rooms of its eleven public-houses. But Chas. Bywater, with his trained nose for news and that sixth sense which had so often enabled him to ferret out the story behind the story when things happen in the upper world of the nobility and gentry, could not help feeling that there was more in it than this. He decided to give his customer the opportunity of confiding in him.

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Generi Romanzi e Letterature » Romanzi contemporanei , Storia e Biografie » Storia: opere generali » Storia: specifici argomenti , Salute Benessere Self Help » Mente, corpo, spirito

Editore Library Of Alexandria

Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM

Pubblicato 08/05/2024

Lingua Inglese

EAN-13 9781465510075

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