Page 106

The Magician which I attended and you know nothing about.' 'I mean to take the steps necessary to get an order for exhumation, Dr Richardson, and I cannot help thinking it will be worth your while to assist me in every possible way.' 'I shall do nothing of the kind. I think you very impertinent, sir. There is no need for exhumation, and I shall do everything in my power to prevent it. And I tell you as chairman of the board of magistrates, my opinion will have as great value as any specialist's in Harley Street.' He flounced to the door and held it open. Susie and Dr Porhoet walked out; and Arthur, looking down thoughtfully, followed on their heels. Dr Richardson slammed the street−door angrily. Dr Porhoet slipped his arm in Arthur's. 'You must be reasonable, my friend,' he said. 'From his own point of view this doctor has all the rights on his side. You have nothing to justify your demands. It is monstrous to expect that for a vague suspicion you will be able to get an order for exhumation.' Arthur did not answer. The trap was waiting for them. 'Why do you want to see Haddo?' insisted the doctor. 'You will do no more good than you have with Dr Richardson.' 'I have made up my mind to see him,' answered Arthur shortly. 'But there is no need that either of you should accompany me.' 'If you go, we will come with you,' said Susie. Without a word Arthur jumped into the dog−cart, and Susie took a seat by his side. Dr Porhoet, with a shrug of the shoulders, mounted behind. Arthur whipped up the pony, and at a smart trot they traversed the three miles across the barren heath that lay between Venning and Skene. When they reached the park gates, the lodgekeeper, as luck would have it, was standing just inside, and she held one of them open for her little boy to come in. He was playing in the road and showed no inclination to do so. Arthur jumped down. 'I want to see Mr Haddo,' he said. 'Mr Haddo's not in,' she answered roughly. She tried to close the gate, but Arthur quickly put his foot inside. 'Nonsense! I have to see him on a matter of great importance.' 'Mr Haddo's orders are that no one is to be admitted.' 'I can't help that, I'm proposing to come in, all the same.' Susie and Dr Porhoet came forward. They promised the small boy a shilling to hold their horse. 'Now then, get out of here,' cried the woman. 'You're not coming in, whatever you say.' 14

104

The Magician  
The Magician  

W. Somerset Maugham

Advertisement