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datatime: 2022-11-30 18:54:20 Author:TeBZqYgf

I resisted with all my might. I didn't know they were policemen. I had eyes only for the boy: his eyes, his hands, his knife.

I stopped struggling but the policemen didn't let go. They had no thought of chasing the boy. They were incongruously calling me "sir" while treating me with contempt, which if I'd been calm enough for reflection I would have considered fairly normal.

I resisted with all my might. I didn't know they were policemen. I had eyes only for the boy: his eyes, his hands, his knife.

The rest of the afternoon slid fast away. Henry at some point found himself alone out on the balcony beside me while inside the box the table was being spread with a tea that was beyond my stretched stomach entirely and a temptation from which the ever-hungry Henry had bodily removed himself.

"She's not just 'a' pharmacist," she said. "She owns her own place. Half the medics in London recommend her. You're talking to a walking gold mine with a heart like a wet sponge."

We were both panting but I was taller and stronger and I could have held him there for a good while longer but for the two policemen who had been out on the road directing traffic. They had seen the melee; seen as they supposed a man in morning dress attacking a pedestrian, seen us struggling on the ground. In any case the first I knew of their presence was the feel ofviselike hands fastening onto my arms and pulling me backwards.

He writhed under me, all muscle and fury, and tried to heave me off. He was lying on his back, his face just under mine, his eyes like slits and his teeth showing between drawn-back lips. I had an impression of dark eyebrows and white skin and I could hear the breath hissing between his teeth in a tempest of effort.

At the end of that splendid afternoon the whole party descended together to ground level and made its way to the exit; to the gate that opened onto the main road, and across that to the car park and to the covered walk that led to the station.

"How's your cartoonist?" he said genially. "Are we staking him, or are we not?"

A boy stood there on the pavement, watchful and still. I noticed first the fixed, burning intent in the dark eyes, and quickly after that the jeans and faded shirt, which contrasted sharply with our Ascot clothes, and then finally with incredulity the knife in his hand.

I jumped almost without thinking; certainly without assessing consequences or chances. Most unbankerlike behavior.

I had almost to guess at whom he was staring with such deadly purpose, and no time even to shout a warning. He moved across the pavement with stunning speed, the stab already on its upward travel.

Henry laughed aloud. "Your Uncle Freddie," he said, "knows you better than you may think."

"But you've decided?"

I jumped almost without thinking; certainly without assessing consequences or chances. Most unbankerlike behavior.

With peremptory strength they hauled me off, one of them anchoring my upper arms to my sides by encircling me from behind. I kicked furiously backwards and turned my head, and only then realized that the new assailants wore navy blue.

Henry laughed aloud. "Your Uncle Freddie," he said, "knows you better than you may think."

With peremptory strength they hauled me off, one of them anchoring my upper arms to my sides by encircling me from behind. I kicked furiously backwards and turned my head, and only then realized that the new assailants wore navy blue.

"All right." Henry seemed unalarmed. "Keep me informed."

The boy comprehended the situation in a flash. He rolled over onto his feet, crouched for a split second like an athlete at the blocks and without lifting his head above waist-height slithered through the flow of the crowds still pouring out of the gates and disappeared out of sight inside the racecourse. Through there they would never find him. Through there he would escape to the cheaper rings and simply walk out of the lower gate.

"She's not just 'a' pharmacist," she said. "She owns her own place. Half the medics in London recommend her. You're talking to a walking gold mine with a heart like a wet sponge."

We were out on the pavement, still in a group, half-waiting for a chance to cross the road, soon to break up and scatter. All talking, laughing, busy; except me.

The rest of the afternoon slid fast away. Henry at some point found himself alone out on the balcony beside me while inside the box the table was being spread with a tea that was beyond my stretched stomach entirely and a temptation from which the ever-hungry Henry had bodily removed himself.

At the end of that splendid afternoon the whole party descended together to ground level and made its way to the exit; to the gate that opened onto the main road, and across that to the car park and to the covered walk that led to the station.

"All right." Henry seemed unalarmed. "Keep me informed."

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