The Mirror Crack'd: from Side to Side

The Mirror Crack'd: from Side to Side by Agatha Christie Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The Mirror Crack'd: from Side to Side by Agatha Christie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Agatha Christie
room, now done in dark oak and Spanish leather, and a few other joys.
    â€œNever think this was Gossington Hall, would you, now?” said Mr. Sampson’s daughter-in-law.
    Mrs. Bantry strolled up fairly late and observed with pleasurethat the money was coming in well and that the attendance was phenomenal.
    The large marquee in which tea was being served was jammed with people. Mrs. Bantry hoped the buns were going to go round. There seemed some very competent women, however, in charge. She herself made a beeline for the herbaceous border and regarded it with a jealous eye. No expense had been spared on the herbacous border, she was glad to note, and it was a proper herbaceous border, well planned and arranged and expensively stocked. No personal labours had gone into it, she was sure of that. Some good gardening firm had been given the contract, no doubt. But aided by carte blanche and the weather, they had turned out a very good job.
    Looking round her, she felt there was a faint flavour of a Buckingham Palace garden party about the scene. Everybody was craning to see all they could see, and from time to time a chosen few were led into one of the more secret recesses of the house. She herself was presently approached by a willowy young man with long wavy hair.
    â€œMrs. Bantry? You are Mrs. Bantry?”
    â€œI’m Mrs. Bantry, yes.”
    â€œHailey Preston.” He shook hands with her. “I work for Mr. Rudd. Will you come up to the second floor? Mr. and Mrs. Rudd are asking a few special friends up there.”
    Duly honoured Mrs. Bantry followed him. They went in through what had been called in her time the garden door. A red cord cordoned off the bottom of the main stairs. Hailey Preston unhooked it and she passed through. Just in front of her Mrs. Bantry observed Councillor and Mrs. Allcock. The latter who was stout was breathing heavily.
    â€œWonderful what they’ve done, isn’t it, Mrs. Bantry?” pantedMrs. Allcock. “I’d like to have a look at the bathrooms, I must say, but I suppose I shan’t get the chance.” Her voice was wistful.
    At the top of the stairs Marina Gregg and Jason Rudd were receiving this specially chosen élite. What had once been a spare bedroom had been thrown into the landing so as to make a wide lounge-like effect. Giuseppe the butler was officiating with drinks.
    A stout man in livery was announcing guests.
    â€œCouncillor and Mrs. Allcock,” he boomed.
    Marina Gregg was being, as Mrs. Bantry had described her to Miss Marple, completely natural and charming. She could already hear Mrs. Allcock saying later: “—and so unspoiled, you know, in spite of being so famous.”
    How very nice of Mrs. Allcock to come, and the Councillor, and she did hope they’d enjoy their afternoon. “Jason please look after Mrs. Allcock.”
    Councillor and Mrs. Allcock were passed on to Jason and drinks.
    â€œOh, Mrs. Bantry, it is nice of you to come.”
    â€œI wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Mrs. Bantry and moved on purposefully towards the Martinis.
    The young man called Hailey Preston ministered to her in a tender manner and then made off, consulting a little list in his hand, to fetch, no doubt, more of the Chosen to the Presence. It was all being managed very well, Mrs. Bantry thought, turning, Martini in hand, to watch the next arrivals. The vicar, a lean, ascetic man, was looking vague and slightly bewildered. He said earnestly to Marina Gregg:
    â€œVery nice of you to ask me. I’m afraid, you know, I haven’t gota television set myself, but of course I—er—I—well, of course my young people keep me up to the mark.”
    Nobody knew what he meant. Miss Zielinsky, who was also on duty, administered a lemonade to him with a kindly smile. Mr. and Mrs. Badcock were next up the stairs. Heather Badcock, flushed and triumphant, came a little ahead of her husband.
    â€œMr. and

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