While the Lights Last: An Agatha Christie Short Story
Агата Кристи

While the Lights Last: An Agatha Christie Short Story
Agatha Christie

A classic Agatha Christie short story, available individually for the first time as an ebook.Written during Agatha Christie’s own tour to Africa, a Rhodesian tobacco plantation is the setting for a war widow’s unexpected visitor from beyond the grave…

While the Light Lasts

A Short Story

by Agatha Christie

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Copyright © 2008 Agatha Christie Ltd.

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Ebook Edition © JUNE 2014 ISBN 9780007560202

Version: 2017-04-17

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While the Light Lasts (#ulink_4f4c1e31-b927-5efa-9576-54ae1cd9814e)

‘While the Light Lasts’ was first published in Novel Magazine, April 1924.

The Ford car bumped from rut to rut, and the hot African sun poured down unmercifully. On either side of the so-called road stretched an unbroken line of trees and scrub, rising and falling in gently undulating lines as far as the eye could reach, the colouring a soft, deep yellow-green, the whole effect languorous and strangely quiet. Few birds stirred the slumbering silence. Once a snake wriggled across the road in front of the car, escaping the driver’s efforts at destruction with sinuous ease. Once a native stepped out from the bush, dignified and upright, behind him a woman with an infant bound closely to her broad back and a complete household equipment, including a frying pan, balanced magnificently on her head.

All these things George Crozier had not failed to point out to his wife, who had answered him with a monosyllabic lack of attention which irritated him.

‘Thinking of that fellow,’ he deduced wrathfully. It was thus that he was wont to allude in his own mind to Deirdre Crozier’s first husband, killed in the first year of the War. Killed, too, in the campaign against German West Africa. Natural she should, perhaps – he stole a glance at her, her fairness, the pink and white smoothness of her cheek; the rounded lines of her figure – rather more rounded perhaps than they had been in those far-off days when she had passively permitted him to become engaged to her, and then, in that first emotional scare of war, had abruptly cast him aside and made a war wedding of it with that lean, sunburnt boy lover of hers, Tim Nugent.

Well, well, the fellow was dead – gallantly dead – and he, George Crozier, had married the girl he had always meant to marry. She was fond of him, too; how could she help it when he was ready to gratify her every wish and had the money to do it, too! He reflected with some complacency on his last gift to her, at Kimberley, where, owing to his friendship with some of the directors of De Beers, he had been able to purchase a diamond which, in the ordinary way, would not have been in the market, a stone not remarkable as to size, but of a very exquisite and rare shade, a peculiar deep amber, almost old gold, a diamond such as you might not find in a hundred years. And the look in her eyes when he gave it to her! Women were all the same about diamonds.

The necessity of holding on with both hands to prevent himself being jerked out brought George Crozier back to the realities. He cried out for perhaps the fourteenth time, with the pardonable irritation of a man who owns two Rolls-Royce cars and who has exercised his stud on the highways of civilization: ‘Good Lord, what a car! What a road!’ He went on angrily: ‘Where the devil is this tobacco estate, anyway? It’s over an hour since we left Bulawayo.’

‘Lost in Rhodesia,’ said Deirdre lightly between two involuntary leaps into the air.

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