Reading Sundays: A SURPRISING CURE (Part 9) a short story by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Miriam had no idea that I took a great interest in helping the poor, because I made nearly all of my bequests anonymously. How could I make her understand? But before I could form a coherent sentence she had slammed the door, and rustled downstairs towards her friend. I stood there, my hands balled into fists, How could she be so cruel?

*     *     *      *      *

Like a magpie, that fellow Nicol made his nest in our home. In the long month that followed, I realized there was no way of getting him to leave without annoying my wife. Matters were not helped by the fact that Miriam avoided me. I breakfasted alone, early, before walking to the office whereas Miriam and her friend both rose late. Once they left the house, they stayed out until late. The only time, therefore, when I actually saw them was during the weekend.

On this particular occasion, they were more animated than usual. As I helped myself to scrambled eggs and kippers I could hear their voices coming from the Drawing Room next door.

“It’s got to be provocative so that people will read it,” he remarked.

There was a rustling sound as Miriam paced across the room.“Let’s call it The Truth About Chocolate Factories.”

I raised my head. One of my clients, Fry’s, was a Quaker family who owned chocolate shops and factories in Bristol.

“That’s a good start. But how about The Truth About Chocolate Factories: Or Modern White Slavery, Its Cause and Cure. By Miriam Daniell and Robert Nicol.

“That’s splendid, Robert. And my name is first. How thrilling!”

“I’d love to be in the Board Room when Fry’s see this.”

I went to the door and opened it. Mr. Nicol had one long leg crossed over the other and was leaning back against the plush cushions of the sofa with both hands cradling his head. Miriam stood, gesturing with a long cigarette holder in her right hand. [To be continued.]