The Voice in the Dark: An Agatha Christie Short Story
‘I am. Yes, that is so,’ admitted Mr Satterthwaite cautiously.
‘And you know all these psychical research people. Of course you do, you know everybody.’
Mr Satterthwaite smiled a little. It was one of his weaknesses to know everybody.
‘So what can be simpler?’ continued Lady Stranleigh. ‘I never get on with that sort of person. You know – earnest men with beards and usually spectacles. They bore me terribly and I am quite at my worst with them.’
Mr Satterthwaite was rather taken aback. Lady Stranleigh continued to smile at him brilliantly.
‘So that is all settled, isn’t it?’ she said brightly. ‘You will go down to Abbot’s Mede and see Margery, and make all the arrangements. I shall be terribly grateful to you. Of course if Margery is really going off her head, I will come home. Ah! here is Bimbo.’
Her smile from being brilliant became dazzling.
A young man in white tennis flannels was approaching them. He was about twenty-five years of age and extremely good-looking.
The young man said simply:
‘I have been looking for you everywhere, Babs.’
‘What has the tennis been like?’
Lady Stranleigh rose. She turned her head over her shoulder and murmured in dulcet tones to Mr Satterthwaite: ‘It is simply marvellous of you to help me. I shall never forget it.’
Mr Satterthwaite looked after the retreating couple.
‘I wonder,’ he mused to himself, ‘If Bimbo is going to be No. 5.’
The conductor of the Train de Luxe was pointing out to Mr Satterthwaite where an accident on the line had occurred a few years previously. As he finished his spirited narrative, the other looked up and saw a well-known face smiling at him over the conductor’s shoulder.
‘My dear Mr Quin,’ said Mr Satterthwaite.
His little withered face broke into smiles.
‘What a coincidence! That we should both be returning to England on the same train. You are going there, I suppose.’
‘Yes,’ said Mr Quin. ‘I have business there of rather an important nature. Are you taking the first service of dinner?’
‘I always do so. Of course, it is an absurd time – half-past six, but one runs less risk with the cooking.’
Mr Quin nodded comprehendingly.
‘I also,’ he said. ‘We might perhaps arrange to sit together.’
Half-past six found Mr Quin and Mr Satterthwaite established opposite each other at a small table in the dining-car. Mr Satterthwaite gave due attention to the wine list and then turned to his companion.
‘I have not seen you since – ah, yes not since Corsica. You left very suddenly that day.’