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Amock Comedy Magazine 3

Holms leaned forward, drawing them into his confidence. “I understand that some elements of all business
dealings must remain secret, but it would aid me greatly if you could detail your relationship with Sir Clifford and
how it came about.”
The younger two seemed to defer to Riveli and allowed him to take the lead in telling the tale. In point of fact it
was boring in the extreme, starting with a chance meeting on the Riviera followed by interminable encounters to
thrash out financial details.
Holms bore it manfully while I fell my eyelids begin to droop. Only when Holms asked “And Lady Constance?”
did I snap to attention.
The three Italians wore matching grins. “Ah, una bella donna!” Pettuci said and the other two nodded vigorously
in agreement while I found myself joining them in their appreciation.
“Indeed, she is a remarkably attractive woman,” Holms questioned, “but do you have much to do with her?”
“We hardly see her,” said Silvestre, “Though we would like to see very much more of her. But she is devoted to
the Sir Clifford, she sees no other man, such is her love.”
“A princess!”
“A saint!”
Holms sprang to his feet. “In which case I shall trouble you no more, gentlemen. I bid you good evening.”
As we returned to the residential portion of Wrigsby Hall I questioned Holms as to his actions. “You were quick
to accept their innocence.”
Holms barely shortened his lengthy stride. “You may call me rash, Wilson, and it flies in the face of the
methodology I hold so dear, but where the nature of men is concerned one must sometimes bow to intuition.”
“A practiced liar might easily catch you out.”
“I stand that risk, but experience has taught me to recognise the liar and therefore his lie. No, no, our Italians
are genuine, if I am any judge.”
“Their admiration for Lady Chetterley was undisguised.”
“Indeed, as is yours. Does that make you guilty?”
I blushed to my roots as the thought of philandering with another man’s wife was anathema to me. “But we are
no further forward then.”
“Not at all. Removing any factor from an equation makes it more easy to solve.”
At the door to the east wing Sir Clifford was standing waiting for us. He hushed our greetings with a finger to his
lips and led us along the gravel path round the corner of the building. There he stopped and pointed to a curtained
window behind which the silhouette of two people could be seen. They stood close together and one was
undoubtedly the svelte figure of Lady Constance while the other, though obviously male, I did not recognise.
“It is her room,” Sir Clifford whispered, “and you see, she is with somebody.”
The unknown man’s hand lifted to his mouth and the tip of a cigarette glowed clearly though the drapes.
“You see, a smoker!” Sir Clifford exclaimed, almost beside himself with excitement.
“Not any of our Italians then, Wilson,” Holms said, “For none of them could have preceded us to this wing of the
house.”
I had to agree with Holms’ logic but Sir Clifford was urgent with his entreaties, “Quick, into the house, gentlemen,
and catch the fellow. I’d do it myself, but for my legs.”
Holms laid a hand on my arm to restrain me. “There is no need. You suspect one of the Italians, do you not, sir
Clifford?”
 
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