The Calendar - Edgar Wallace - ebook

The Calendar ebook

Edgar Wallace

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An enjoyable Edgar Wallace horse-racing escapade. One of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, Edgar Wallace was an immensely popular author, who created exciting thrillers spiced with tales of treacherous crooks and hard-boiled detectives. The setting of this mystery/thriller is the horse-racing world. A wealthy racehorse owner is banned from racing when he is double- crossed by the woman he loves. With the help of his butler – an ex-burglar he succeeds in regaining a L100 note that will clear his name and he falls for the bad girl’s sister. In an impulsive moment, a man agrees to throw a big race-and then is faced with all the consequences.

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Liczba stron: 291

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Contents

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 1

“Do you like me well enough to let me use your name?”

Garry Anson stared at the beautiful woman who put this tremendous question so casually.

“To use my name? I don’t quite know what you mean, darling.”

Wenda Panniford shrugged a shoulder impatiently. It was an odd little trick of hers. The beautiful grey eyes sought his for a moment, and then fell.

It was a fortnight before Ascot, and the garden of Daneham Lodge was at the height of its splendour.

They had been pacing the level, shaven lawn, talking of flowers, when the question of Willie Panniford arose. Willie was a source of worry to Garry Anson. He liked the big, blustering fool, drunk or sober; had speculated without profit for a very long time as to what Wenda could see in this husband of hers, and what charm Willie had had that had induced her to throw herself away upon an impecunious Scottish baronet.

He had taken a pride in his faith that he knew Wenda till then–she was almost a complete stranger to him at the moment.

“Honestly, I don’t understand, Wenda. What do you mean, use my name…?”

“Willie is jealous of you. He is ready to believe almost anything about you. If I went to him this moment and told him”–again the jerk of her shoulder–”you know.”

“You mean he would believe it? What a–”

“Don’t be stupid, Garry!” Her voice was a little sharp. “Why shouldn’t he? We’ve known each other since we were children; we’ve always been close friends. Willie isn’t terribly clever. He believes things now without any particular reason; why shouldn’t he believe–I nearly said ‘the worst’?” She smiled faintly. “Would it be the worst?”

Garry Anson was still dazed. The tanned, good-looking face was blank with amazement.

“You mean that I should let my name be used as co-respondent? My dear, I like you too much to allow your name to be dragged through the muck and mire of a divorce case.”

She sighed, again impatiently.

“Never mind about my name, Garry–your altruism is sometimes offensive. Do you like me well enough to make that sacrifice–and all that would be involved?”

He ran his hands over his crisp, brown hair.

“Of course I like you well enough. The idea is monstrous. Isn’t there any way of patching up–?”

“You’re terribly anxious for me to go on with Willie.”

There was a tremor in her voice; chagrin, pain, anger–he could not tell which; never dreamed, indeed, that he had done more than hurt her, and was panic-stricken at the thought. For Wenda Panniford was to him the one woman in the world.

“Of course, if you want it. I’ll do anything. It would be horrible for you, but naturally I wouldn’t hesitate a moment, and when it is over possibly you would care to marry me–”

He saw a look of astonishment come into her eyes, and blundered.

“You needn’t, of course; that isn’t obligatory–I mean, there’s no reason why you should!”

“Of course I’d marry you. Why–” She checked herself. “You love me, don’t you, Garry?”

He loved her very dearly, but realized at that moment with stunning force that he did not love her quite like that. They had been like brother and sister all these years, close comrades, sharing one another’s secrets–at least, she had shared his. Perhaps she realized the starkness of his embarrassment, for she went on quickly:

“Are you going to Hurst Park today? Willie is going with us. I’ll see you there–I expected you would be in Chester; it was a great relief to find you here.”

“But listen, darling.” He was recovering something of his balance. “Is Willie being too frightful? I know he drinks, and that he’s an awful lout in some ways, but there’s a lot of good in old Willie–”

“Don’t let us discuss Willie,” she said shortly. “We’re leaving for Italy on Tuesday. When we come back I want a really serious talk with you.”

And then she changed the subject, and talked about the old General who had died that week.

“Of course, that is why you didn’t go to Chester. I had forgotten. Poor old man! Did he leave a lot of money, Garry?”

“Buckets full,” smiled Garry Anson. “There’s Molly!”

A girl was waving from the other side of the lawn.

“I’ll see you at Hurst Park.”

In another moment she was out of sight. Garry continued his restless pacing of the lawn, his thoughts in turmoil. Wenda–of all people in the world! He knew things were not going too well in the Panniford household, but he had not dreamed that they were as bad as Wenda had revealed.

As he walked slowly back to the house he caught a glimpse of Hillcott, smoking a surreptitious cigarette, on the far side of a heavily laden lilac bush; but by now he was so accustomed to Hillcott’s acts of indiscipline that he never even thought of calling him to account. Indeed, Hillcott made no attempt to conceal the fact that he was taking a quiet loaf at a moment when he should have been engaged in pressing Garry’s trousers. He was butler, valet, had once been cook, to Garry’s establishment; cherished a bitter loathing for all housemaids, and profound contempt for society at large; for Hillcott had once been a burglar, had suffered a term of confinement in one of His Majesty’s prisons, and had come to harbour in Garry’s service, through the War. He had been Garry’s batman, was now almost the keeper of his conscience.

“Lady Panniford coming to breakfast?” asked Hillcott with that easy familiarity which Garry had long since ceased to chide.

“No, she isn’t.”

“Pity,” said Hillcott. “We’ve got mushrooms–picked them meself.”

“Which means I shall be dead before nightfall.”

“You never know,” was Hillcott’s only retort.

Hillcott interpreted the news he had read in the morning papers, and kept up a running fire of comment on men, women and horses, and, requiring no encouragement, came unexpectedly to the subject of Sir William Panniford.

“Heard about his lordship?” he asked, setting a plate for fruit.

He frequently so referred to Sir William; whether in sarcasm or a misunderstanding of courtesy titles Garry was never sure.

“What about him?” he asked carelessly.

“Got soused down at the Boar Inn last night with a lot of clodhoppers–the question is, can a gentleman get drunk on beer? I’ve been having an argument with a groom.”

Garry eyed him sternly.

“You’ll oblige me by not discussing my friends, Hillcott,” he said.

“If you don’t like my style you’d better get another servant, Captain,” said Hillcott stiffly. “I’m a human being and I’m entitled to me opinions.”

“I doubt very much if you’re human, but you’re certainly not entitled to express your opinions to me about my friends,” said Garry furiously, “and you can leave at the end of the month.”

“That’ll do me,” said Hillcott.

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