Authors: Barbara Cartland
Tags: #London (England), #General, #Romance, #Historical, #Platinum Mines and Mining, #Large Type Books, #Fiction
Belinda was delighted that she had managed without a great deal of difficulty to translate everything he gave her.
She noticed, however, that he did not produce any book in Russian.
She wondered if it was because he had never been there or else that he had no wish for her to know that he had.
She had the idea that every book he produced was from countries he had visited over the years.
She had no real grounds for thinking so and yet that was what she felt.
She knocked gently on Lady Logan’s door.
It was open and she went in to find that she was nearly dressed.
“I hear my son is back,” she said before Belinda could speak. “Have you seen him?”
“Yes, indeed, Lady Logan,” Belinda answered. “He came into the library.”
“Obviously then you have met him and now I must hurry down to be with him. I hate to miss a minute of his company when he has been away for so long.”
Belinda knew she did not want her to accompany her and she went to her own room.
She wondered if perhaps now that he had returned, Marcus Logan would suggest that his mother should dispense with her services.
She realised, a little to her surprise, that she had no wish to go.
She had been horrified at the idea of coming here in the first place when her stepfather had suggested it.
Now she had to admit to herself that she found Marcus Logan extremely interesting.
He was very different from the man she had thought he would be and when they had argued, he had been really enthusiastic about it.
He was not in the least condescending, as he might have been.
‘He is so knowledgeable. He has learnt everything he knows at first hand. I have been only a pupil,’ Belinda told herself.
She wondered why she had ever imagined that he would be dull and pedantic and, although it was perhaps not exactly the right word, rather sinister.
When her stepfather had talked about it, it had seemed rather creepy that he should have this strange perception for finding precious stones.
In her mind this had become mixed up with witch doctors, wizards, sorceresses and strange religions that made peculiar sacrifices to their Gods.
It was therefore astonishing to find that Lord Logan was young, smart and obviously enchanted with life.
As they looked at the books, he described the people living in some of the places he had been to. He made it seem so real that Belinda could almost see a picture of it.
There would be Mosques and Temples, camels moving through narrow streets, donkeys carrying great burdens. There would be small children with huge dark eyes, playing in the sand.
‘He is so lucky to have been able to go there himself,’ she thought. ‘I can only make my mind translate what I read into a picture of what is happening in another part of the world.’
She wondered, now that Marcus Logan had returned, whether as a now superfluous reader she would be banished to her own room.
She remembered that when she was young her Governesses had always dined in the schoolroom.
‘I suppose I am now on the same level and therefore I must not complain,’ she told herself.
She could not help thinking it would be very exciting to hear Lord Logan talking about the places he had just visited.
As she thought about it, she remembered why she was in this beautiful house in the middle of Regent’s Park.
The instructions her stepfather had given her before he had deposited her here flowed into her mind.
“I will arrange for there to be a Hackney Carriage outside the gates,” he had said. “It will ostensibly be waiting to be hired, but actually it will be waiting only for you.”
Belinda was listening and waiting for him to explain.
“The Hackney Carriage will bring you,” her stepfather went on, “to wherever I am staying. I am not yet certain where that will be, but tonight it will be with
He was speaking as if he were thinking it out for himself.
Quickly, as if he was embarrassed at what he had said, he went on,
“As I cannot afford to pay for anything myself, I am forced to rely on my friends.”
“Yes – yes – ” Belinda murmured.
D’Arcy Rowland then continued,
“The driver of the Hackney Carriage will be told where he is to bring you the moment you know where Logan has just come from.”
He tightened his grip on the reins as he continued,
“And for God’s sake, don’t waste any time. Run from the house immediately, just as you are. Jump into the carriage, and then I will be able to set the wheels in motion, which will make us both rich enough to laugh at everything and everybody!”
It had sounded quite easy at the time.
Now Belinda was once again struggling with her conscience.
Lady Logan had been kind enough to engage her.
Marcus Logan had obviously accepted her.
But in the process he had interested her, as she had never been interested by a man before.
‘How – can I betray – them?’ she asked herself with a little sob.
There was a knock on the door, and when Belinda called out, “come in,” a footman stood there.
“’Scuse me, miss,” he said, “but her Ladyship asked me to tell you that tea’s ready in the drawing room.”
Belinda felt her heart give a little leap.
She was to go downstairs.
“I will come down at once!” she replied.
The footman closed the door and she hurried to the mirror to see that her hair was tidy.
Then she ran down the stairs as if her feet had wings.
Lady Logan was sitting in her favourite chair. A tea table was laden with silver and an amazing amount of different delicacies to eat.
Marcus Logan was sitting opposite his mother and, as Belinda entered the room, he rose to his feet.
“Ah, here you are, Miss Brown!” Lady Logan said in her gentle voice. “I know you have met my son.”
“We met in the library,” Marcus Logan said, “where, quite correctly, Miss Brown was reading a book of Persian poetry.”
Lady Logan smiled.
“She has already read me some of the poems from the book you brought me back from Teheran and they were delightful!”
“I thought you would enjoy them, Mama.”
“Would you please pour, Belinda?” Lady Logan asked. “My eyes are so bad that I either pour too much or else not enough tea into the cup.”
Belinda looked at the tea service.
She realised it was very like the one they had used at home until her stepfather had pawned it.
She tried not to think of that as she picked up the teapot and she recognised it as being George III silver.
Marcus Logan came and stood beside her so that he could pass the cup of tea she poured out to his mother.
He then took one for himself.
“It is so exciting to have you home, dearest,” Lady Logan exclaimed. “I always worry when you are away, although you have told me often enough not to do so.”
“You know I always turn up eventually, Mama, and this time rather sooner than I anticipated.”
“You have been successful?” Lady Logan asked.
“I suppose I must not ask you where you have been,” his mother continued.
Belinda held her breath.
This was what she was waiting to hear.
“I will tell you all about it later,” he replied. “At the moment I am more interested in what Miss Brown thinks of this house.”
He looked at Belinda as he spoke.
She realised he had adroitly diverted attention from the question his mother had asked him.
“Of course,” she replied. “I think it is magnificent! It is very exciting to think that it was designed by Nash!”
“I think what is particularly interesting about it,” Marcus Logan remarked, “is that for some unknown reason he made every room on the ground floor connect with the next.”
“Which is more characteristic of the houses of the Queen Anne period,” Belinda remarked.
Marcus Logan smiled.
“I might have known you would have that answer, Miss Brown! You have now surprised me even more than you had already.”
Lady Logan was listening and she asked,
“Is Miss Brown surprising you with her knowledge, Marcus? I am astonished at the number of languages she had managed to learn while she is still so young.”
“Fortunately,” he answered, “I rather enjoy surprises.”
“So do I,” Lady Logan agreed, “provided they are pleasant ones! I must show Miss Brown what you have just brought me.”
As she spoke she picked up an object that she had put on the seat of the armchair in which she was sitting.
“Look, Miss Brown,” she said, “is it not beautiful?”
Belinda took it from her and saw that it was an icon.
It was obviously very old because the picture of the Virgin was painted on wood, but the frame was particularly attractive because it was set with numerous precious stones.
Belinda was sure they were all to be found in the mountains of Russia.
beautiful!” she exclaimed.
At the same time, she felt disappointed.
It was obvious that Marcus Logan had come from Russia.
In which case he would not, as he had said to her, have been helping some poor country that badly needed the money.
She had read the recent dramatic reports in the newspapers of the enormous amount of gold that had been mined in Russia recently.
Her father had told her, too, that Russia was now the biggest contributor of the world’s supplies of gold.
“I have a great many other things for you, Mama,” Marcus Logan was saying, “but I have to give Grover time to unpack.”
“Of course,” Lady Logan replied, “and how is that nice man?”
“Very efficient, as ever,” he replied, “and he bullies me even more than you do!”
“Oh, dearest, how can you say such things!” Lady Logan exclaimed. “I bully you only because I think you do too much and go too far and do not look after yourself as well as you should.”
“Grover sees to all that and I assure you he over-cossets me more than any wife.”
Lady Logan laughed.
“I must explain to you, Miss Brown,” she turned to Belinda, “that Grover has been with my son ever since he left Oxford. He is an extraordinary little man and because his mother was Chinese while his father was English, he speaks almost as many languages as my son does!”
“How fascinating!” Belinda cried.
“Everything about Grover is amazing,” Lady Logan said, “and incidentally, he is a master of all those strange methods of self-defence.”
“What my mother means,” Marcus Logan interposed, “is that Grover is a champion at Ju-Jitsu and Kung-Fu. I find him very useful, I can assure you, when I am in a tight spot.”
Belinda looked at his broad shoulders.
She thought that he would be an unpleasant opponent for anyone who might assault him.
At the same time, she was sure that there were people who tried to steal from him the diamonds or other gems they thought he carried on his person.
Alternatively they might try to force him to tell them the secrets of his discoveries.
To her surprise, Marcus Logan read her thoughts and then said to her quietly,
“What you are thinking is true, but I don’t want to upset my mother.”
Belinda’s eyes widened in astonishment.
Then she told herself that his remarkable intuition helped him to find what was hidden in the earth.
Similarly it revealed to him what other people were thinking.
She thought, however, that it would be wisest to say nothing, so she merely enquired whether Lady Logan would like another cup of tea.
“No, thank you, my dear,” she replied. “What I intend to do now is to lie down before dinner and, as my son must be tired after his long journey, we will dine early so that he can have a long rest.”
Marcus Logan’s eyes twinkled and Belinda knew that he was amused.
He did not reply, but walked across the room to open the door for his mother. He went out into the hall and took her to the foot of the stairs.
Belinda wondered if she also should retire to her room.
She was not certain what she was expected to do, so she picked up the empty teacups and replaced them on the tray.
As she did so, the butler came in to take the tray away.
When he had done so with the help of two footmen, Marcus Logan came back into the room.
Belinda said quickly,
“If you wish to work, of course I will go upstairs.”
“There is quite a lot of work waiting for me as well as a number of invitations on my desk in the library,” he replied, “but for the moment I feel lazy and I would prefer to talk to you.”
It was what Belinda wanted and she sat down eagerly.
“Now tell me about yourself and your family, Miss Brown” Marcus Logan began.
Belinda shook her head.
“You know quite well that is a boring subject, my Lord, and I would much rather listen to your adventures which to me seem like something out of a Fairy tale. One day you will have to write it all down in a book.”
“Many people have suggested that and I fear that ultimately I shall be forced into doing what I don’t really want to do.”
“Then you should tell the stories to somebody else for them to write them down for you. Think how much your children and your grandchildren will enjoy learning about all your adventures.”
Marcus Logan held up his hands.
“Now you are bullying worse than my mother! I have as yet no children or grandchildren, so I shall keep my adventures to myself and enjoy them without feeling they are being scrutinised by a pack of unbelieving critics!”
“Now you are being modest, my Lord. It is most unfair for you to do all the discovering, when people really want to discover
They were duelling in words.
They continued talking until it was time for them to go upstairs and change for dinner.
Belinda found that a bath had been arranged for her in her bedroom and she thought how lucky she was to be in this lovely house.
She was enjoying even more luxury than she had been used to at home.
Then she remembered the reason why she was here and immediately it was as if a cold hand clutched at her heart.