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BLEEDING HEART SQUARE PDF

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Thursday, 2 January Tomorrow I shall go to Bleeding Heart Square for the first time. It was young Mr. Orburn's idea. I always think of him as young Mr. BLEEDING HEART SQUARE M ANDREW TAYLOR AFAFAF For Ann and Christopher L u don't go of a night into Bleeding. Get Free Read & Download Files Bleeding Heart Square Andrew Taylor PDF. BLEEDING HEART SQUARE ANDREW TAYLOR. Download: Bleeding Heart.


Bleeding Heart Square Pdf

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A few hundred yards ahead was the sign of the Crozier, the public house guarding the approach to Bleeding Heart Square. Hugging herself against the cold, she walked back to number seven. The mechanics whistled at her again. As she was unlocking the front door, she heard footsteps behind her.

She glanced back. An old woman in a gray overcoat was walking rapidly toward her. The key turned and Lydia opened the door. The woman was now on the steps behind her. Wispy hair escaped from under the brim of a hat like a squashed currant. Are you looking for somebody here? The smell in the hall was even worse. She swallowed, trying not to retch. Lydia walked toward it. On the table was a dusty brass gong, in front of which was a tray holding what looked like circulars and a small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied neatly with string.

She pulled back sharply, putting her hand over her mouth and nose. She screwed up her face. It was true that there were rusty stains on one side of the brown paper. But surely only a lurid imagination would identify it as blood? To her relief, she heard footsteps above them. Captain Ingleby-Lewis slowly descended the stairs, holding tightly but warily on to the banister rail as though grateful for its support but afraid that it might at any moment give him an electric shock.

He was wearing his overcoat but neither collar nor tie. When he reached the safety of the hall, he stared at the two women and rubbed the stubble on his chin. What were you talking about?

I heard somebody say something about blood. Renton indicated the parcel. And it stinks, too. Postman brought it on Friday. Renton pointed out. I take full responsibility. Renton pulled the knot apart and coiled the string into a roll. She unwrapped the parcel gingerly. The smell grew steadily worse. Finally she drew back the last fold of brown paper, exposing an object like a misshapen egg about four inches long and two inches high.

Most of it was a dark, mottled red, but there were streaks of a pale yellow embedded into its texture, and minute white specks milled about almost invisibly on its surface. Renton said. Holding his nose, he came nearer. What the blazes is it doing here? Renton looked at Lydia.

A trace of the decaying meat that she and Mrs. Renton had found lingered in the air, even here, upstairs and with the door closed. But it was enough to stifle hunger. Why would somebody take the trouble to send a piece of offal in the post? She tried to think about it as an anthropologist might think about the practices of a primitive tribe.

After all, she was in a strange place, among strangers, and no doubt they did things differently here. She remembered, quite irrelevantly it seemed, how Marcus had shown her a dead rabbit at Monkshill Park when they were children. He had shot it in the head with his. She had known [ 21 ] Andrew Taylor what the outside of a rabbit was like, the fur, the white tail, the long ears.

Now, for the first time, she saw what lay beneath the fur: The discovery made her sick. She went into her room and unpacked her suitcase, marveling at the curious assortment of clothes that she had brought with her. Apart from the hooks on the back of the door, there was nowhere to hang them so she had to put most of them back in the case. She washed the bowls and saucepan in the little kitchen but could not find a tea towel to dry them with.

She returned to the sitting room and tidied it as best she could. At least it was warmer here than elsewhere in the flat because she had fed the gas meter with a couple of shillings.

By the time she had finished, the room looked almost as bad as before. Woolf had ever had to live somewhere like Bleeding Heart Square and lunch on thin air, with the prospect of dining on a small tin of sardines.

Her attention strayed to her bookmark, the snapshot of her sister. The photograph had been taken on the Riviera that summer: Pamela looking mischievous in a bathing costume, with a cluster of young men around her. Looking at it made Lydia want to cry.

She heard his footsteps on the stairs and his coughing on the landing. He pushed open the door so violently that it banged against one of the chairs at the table. Lydia looked up, closing the book, shutting Pamela and Mrs. Woolf away. Swaying slightly and bringing with him a strong smell of beer, he advanced slowly into the room. He pulled off his overcoat and draped it over one of the chairs at the table. He sat down heavily in [ 22 ] bleeding heart square the armchair opposite hers.

His waistcoat was smeared with ash but the suit had once been a good one, and the trousers were neatly creased. Perhaps he put his trousers under the mattress of his bed while he slept. For a moment they stared at each other. They were separated by five feet of threadbare carpet and an enormous gulf of mutual ignorance. He took out a packet of cigarettes. And a husband. To all intents and purposes, that fellow Cassington is your father, not me.

He can give you everything you need. What does she say? No one does. A cylinder of ash fell from the tip of the cigarette to the carpet. I want it back. Shares not doing as well as they might. This damned government of ours. If you want to live like a gentleman these days, you have to be as rich as Croesus. Have you got any money of your own? And I have a bit of jewelry. I thought perhaps I could sell some of it and that would tide me over until I could get a job. He sighed gustily. And what sort of job could you do?

A real job, I mean? Do you know anything useful? There are millions of unemployed out there. Why should anyone want to give you a job? I—I know how things are done, for example. That could be useful.

Which flowers are best for the drawing room in September? Not around here. I can pay my own way. And I could help with—with the housework, perhaps. Perhaps your housekeeper would be able to show me. That parcel downstairs was for him. He took the money and put it in his wallet. He stood up slowly.

Or go across to Fetter Passage. Au revoir, my dear. The door banged. She went to stand by the window. Captain Ingleby-Lewis walked slowly and carefully across the square and into the doorway of the Crozier. She waited a moment. On the right was the bulk of the chapel with its pinnacles dark against a sky the color of dirty cotton wool.

If she craned her neck she had a glimpse of Rosington Place beyond, where the long, shabby terraces faced each other, cut off from the rest of London by the railings at the end and the lodge where the Beadle stood guard with his little dog. She shivered with a mixture of cold, fear and excitement. As she was about to turn back into the room she caught sight of the figure of a man standing in the alley near the Crozier.

She expected him to go into the pub. But instead he stood looking from one end of Bleeding Heart Square to the other with leisurely attention, as though he were a sightseer. Automatically she stepped back so he would not be able to glimpse her face against the glass.

She wondered idly who he was. Just a young man in a brown raincoat with a flat cap and a muffler round his neck. Perhaps a clerk of some sort or somebody who worked in a shop.

One of the army of little people, as Marcus used to say, one of those who needed other people like Marcus to tell them what to do. The young man hurried out of the square and into Charleston Street, where he glanced up and down as if wary of pursuit.

Half a dozen schoolgirls from St. He began to walk rapidly east. Narton, who had been sheltering from the wind on the steps of the public library, crossed [ 26 ] bleeding heart square the road and followed.

He calculated that he had nothing to lose and perhaps everything to gain. He caught up with his quarry in Farringdon Road. Maybe he was heading for the Tube station. Narton touched his shoulder, and the man swung round, alarm flaring in his eyes. He had a long bony face and the tip of his nose was red with cold. Can I have a word? Who are you? Detective Sergeant Narton. Roderick Wentwood. Look, what is this about? He unbuttoned his overcoat and produced a worn brown wallet.

Inside was a letter, addressed by hand to R. Wentwood, Esq. I could do with a cup of something, and I dare say you could too. Maybe he wanted to make a break for it. Most of the other customers were men with bloodstained overalls.

Narton ordered two teas, trying not to begrudge the expense. They stood side by side, leaning on a shelf sticky with spilled sugar and speckled with ash.

Wentwood rubbed a circle in the steamy haze on the [ 27 ] Andrew Taylor plate-glass window and looked out at the lorries and vans in Charterhouse Street. The rank smell of raw meat hung in the smoky air. Is there a law against it? Not somewhere you stroll past by accident. You have to make up your mind to go there. So I can rule it out. A friend of a friend. He produced a packet of cigarettes and, feeling reckless, offered one to Wentwood. He used to know the aunt of a friend of mine. Do you know her?

But I know her niece. Lives with her parents in Belsize Park. We are waiting until we can afford to marry. Somewhere central. Just—just in case. Or perhaps he might tell me where to find her. In case a little of hers comes your way. Though it still seems odd, her just vanishing like that. Anyway, I thought you chaps had decided there was [ 29 ] Andrew Taylor nothing suspicious about the business.

Murdered, even? All we know for certain is that she was last seen in April So where might she be? And what about her money? The money comes from the Penhow side of the family, nothing to do with the Kensleys. That he could want only one thing she had to give? Wednesday, 8 January This morning there was a letter from Mr. Orburn waiting beside my place at breakfast. He enclosed a memorandum itemizing the works he considers necessary at 7 Bleeding Heart Square.

It seems a great deal of money but I suppose I should go ahead. No doubt Mr. Orburn has a better idea of what is necessary than I do. He also enclosed a letter from Major Serridge, the gentleman I met on Monday. It struck me as very much like the man himself: I think it worth copying out here in full: According to a man who lodges in the house and has made something of a study of these matters, there is an old legend relating to Bleeding Heart Square and Rosington Place next door.

It seems that it was once the site of a palace, of which the only remaining sign is the chapel. Many years ago, there was a ball at which a devil appeared, dressed as a gentleman. He danced a great deal with the lady of the house, who was much taken with him. They danced out of the palace together, and vanished.

In the morning, the only sign of her was a human heart, still warm—left in the middle of what is now Bleeding Heart Square! Yours very sincerely, J. Serridge The Major is quite right—it is a sinister tale. It was most sensitive of him to take account of my feelings, though.

Of course it is only one of those funny old stories that [ 32 ] bleeding heart square abound in these old places. The same woman was behind the counter of the Blue Dahlia but she showed no sign of recognition. After ordering tea and a fried egg, Lydia worked her way through the pages of the newspaper with a growing sense of unreality. She scanned the Situations Vacant columns and wished she were a man. A stretch of the Thames in its upper reaches had turned a rusty color and thousands of fish had been found dead.

The Welsh coalfields were in crisis again, and the Prince of Wales had made a gramophone record in aid of Poppy Day. According to the weather forecast London would have local morning fog and probably occasional rain later, though in Fetter Passage there was no later about it. Her breakfast arrived. Lydia folded the newspaper open at the crossword. Two men came in and took a table near the door.

One was in his fifties, a skinny fellow who threw off his shabby tweed overcoat to reveal a greasy suit. He wore a hard collar but no tie.

All his clothes were a little too large for him, as though he had recently shrunk. His suit was obviously off the peg and his flat cap was frankly awful, the sort of thing a chauffeur might have worn on his day off. But she liked his long face, which seemed crowded with overlarge and irregularly distributed features. It looked unfinished, as though its maker had been tempted away by a more interesting job, which gave it a sort of vulnerability. For an instant he glanced in her direction.

His eyes were striking, a vivid blue that was out of place among the muddy browns and shades of gray around him. He looked away. It was the flat cap that jogged her memory. She was almost sure this was the man she had seen yesterday afternoon, standing outside the Crozier and staring at Bleeding Heart Square. The door closed behind the elegant young woman who had been sitting by herself with The Times.

Rory Wentwood watched her walking along the pavement in the direction of Hatton Garden. Oh—that one? The one who just left? One noticed her in here, somehow. Not like the other customers. I was naturally curious.

I think she spent the night there. Could kill two birds with one stone. Police business, see? The hall no longer smelled of rotten meat, only of old cabbage and the bedroom slops. As she was closing the door behind her, she heard footsteps at the back of the hall. It was the plump man who had let her in when she had first arrived at the house.

Langstone, actually. But the man had contrived to pin her into the angle between the table and the wall. He smiled at her and his face twitched. Renton was standing in the doorway of the room to the right of the front door. Now I really must be off. No peace for the wicked, eh? Renton stared calmly at Lydia.

Renton peered at Lydia. My father thinks it will be all right. In all sorts of ways. That sort of thing. All the flats and rooms share the same bathroom—you know that? She obliges some of the tenants too, including Mr.

Fimberry, but not your father. He manages for himself, most of the time. The flats share. Nor does Mr. Serridge, come to that.

Serridge has got the other two rooms on your landing. Renton looked up at her and pursed her lips. Lydia thought how unnatural it was, that someone like herself should be practically begging this old woman for help. There was a knock on the front door. Renton marched in an unhurried way down the hall and opened it.

A tall young man was standing on the step. Share kitchen and bathroom. No meals or laundry. May I see the rooms? Maybe tomorrow or Saturday. Can you tell me what the rent is? He does all that side of things. Well, thank you for your help. Wentwood stood to one side to allow the man to approach Mrs.

The postman groped inside his bag and produced a small parcel wrapped in brown paper and string. He handed it to Mrs.

Renton, who closed the door on the two men and put the parcel on the hall table. Renton bent down and sniffed it. My aunt. The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women. Of the two—the vote and the money—the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important.

Five hundred a year? If a woman had that, she could do almost anything she wanted. She dropped the book on the table, dislodging puffs of dust and tobacco ash.

Her father had gone out, and she had the flat to herself. The air smelled of stale cigar smoke, and there were two empty brandy bottles in the wastepaper basket.

She resisted the temptation to look inside the chest of drawers and the wardrobe, partly because she felt it beneath her to pry, but more because she was afraid of what she might find. She pitied her father but pity was perilously close to disgust. In the sitting room, kitchen and bedrooms, every surface seemed covered with a fine layer of sooty grime, slightly oily.

Lydia found a moderately clean dishcloth under the kitchen sink and wiped the woodwork around the sitting-room windows. It was much harder work than she had expected, and much dirtier.

Before moving to the mantelpiece, she tied up her hair with a silk headscarf. How did people manage without servants, she wondered for the first time in her life, and indeed how did servants themselves manage? There were footsteps on the landing and she looked round. The door was open, and Mrs. Renton was staring at Lydia kneeling by the hearth.

The old woman sniffed and moved away without speaking. But a few minutes later, she returned with an enamel bucket in her hand and a pinafore over her arm. In the bucket were dusters and rags. She put down the bucket in the doorway and draped the pinafore over the back of the nearest chair. The work seemed a little easier after that, and not just because she was better equipped for it.

When she had finished the dusting, she filled the bucket and washed the windows. Even that was harder than it looked because one tended to smear the dirt on the glass rather than remove it. Lydia worked on until her stomach told her it was lunchtime. She would have to go out again. As she made herself ready, she noticed that there was a sooty line on her skirt.

She tried to remove it without success. She had another vivid mental image of Frogmore Place, this time of her bedroom: She found a shopping basket in the kitchen and went outside. The fog had lifted but the rain had grown heavier, and her feet slithered on the cobbles. She heard singing, faint but dreary, and guessed it came from the chapel. She walked to the Blue Dahlia in Fetter Passage again.

Going there had almost become a habit, and a habit of any sort was reassuring in a world where almost everything was strange. She found a place at a table laid for two. She was surprised to find herself much hungrier than usual and ordered cutlets and peas, with plum pie and custard to follow. It would cost her half a crown, plus perhaps a tip.

In the last forty-eight hours, she had become conscious about money in a way she had never been before. Soon she would have to sell some jewelry. While she was waiting for her cutlets, she returned to the crossword in The Times.

Instead of attempting the clues, however, she jotted down items on a shopping list. As she was wondering whether she should economize and buy margarine rather than butter, somebody brushed her arm. All the other tables are full. She nodded and went back to her shopping list. He sat down and ordered the cutlets as well.

After a moment, he cleared his throat. His face was long and bony, with strongly marked eyebrows arching over the unexpectedly blue eyes. There was a small red scab on his jawbone, as if he had nicked himself while shaving that morning. No one could call him handsome but it was a face you could look at more than once. Should you wish to do so, of course.

Have you seen it? They seem to exist in more dimensions than most places do. I suppose I mean it exists in time as well as space. Rather to her relief, the waitress arrived with her cutlets, which gave her the opportunity to break off the conversation. She ate a few mouthfuls and returned to the crossword. His own lunch arrived and for a few minutes they ate in silence. He could be worse, Lydia conceded—at least his table manners were reasonable. He coughed. Just to make sure.

Lydia pushed the newspaper toward him. He would see her embryonic shopping list in the margin of the newspaper. The forced intimacy suddenly jarred on her.

Andrew Taylor (author)

It was as though she were a silly little shopgirl, and he were trying to pick her up. Why the hell had she found the man interesting? She ate it quickly and decided against coffee. When she pushed back her chair to leave, he put down his fork and rose politely to his feet.

He handed her the newspaper. Lydia shook her head but avoided looking at him. She picked up her basket and said goodbye. The next forty-five minutes were devoted to shopping, which was on the whole an unsatisfactory experience, by turns mystifying and mortifying. How much bread should she buy?

How did you tell whether a loaf was stale merely by looking at it? Was the milk fresh? It seemed to her that the shopkeepers treated her with a mixture of surliness and disdain. The wind was stronger, and the umbrella swayed and bucked in her hand. A taxi had parked in the lee of the chapel, opposite the door of number seven. She put the shopping on the doorstep and opened her handbag, looking for the latchkey. There were footsteps behind her.

She wanted to scream. Marcus came up beside her and clumsily embraced her. She edged away from his arm. It was a quiet street of detached red-brick houses, thirty or forty years old, set back from the road in small gardens full of trees. The Kensleys lived at number fifty-one, and so had Rory when he had studied with neither enthusiasm nor success for an MA degree in French literature at University College London. The four-story house was divided into two maisonettes, the lower of which was leased to the Kensleys.

Kensley, who had once aspired to be a barrister, felt with some justification that he had come down in the world. A heart attack had carried off Mr. Kensley in , while Rory was in India. Then, in July , Mrs. Kensley herself had died and the annuity had died with her. That was one reason Rory had decided to come home to England.

It was already dusk, and housemaids were drawing curtains across windows in Eton Avenue. Leaves clogged the gullies and lay in swaths across the pavement. The first time Fenella touched him, they had been walking down to the station at this time of year; she had slipped on a drift of sodden leaves and seized his arm to steady herself; and somehow by the time they reached the station they had been arm in arm and, if not a couple, aware of the possibility that they might become one.

Fenella was five years younger than he was. When he lived in Cornwallis Grove, she had been only seventeen. She attended a secretarial college for young ladies in Portland Place where you learned about flower arranging and table placements as much as typing and shorthand. Not that she had learned very much.

Until her father died, she used to harbor vague ambitions of being an artist. She was small and slight and looked younger than she was. But what you noticed most of all—or at least Rory had—was how pretty she was.

Hair waving like corn in the sunlight. Eyes of cornflower blue. Even, God help him, elfin grace and wayward charm. A pocket Venus. Of course marriage had been out of the question. He could expect nothing from his family, and nor could she. Cousin Gordon had a pal on the South Madras Times, a pal who was on the lookout for bright young men. There was an opening in the advertising department.

In a year or two, Rory had thought, he would be established enough to send for Fenella, who promised she would come when the time was right.

He hesitated at the gate of number fifty-one. The garden looked untended and desolate. Pushing open the gate, he skirted the patch of oil that marked where Mr. He rang the bell. When Fenella let him into the house, she led the way into the sitting room, where there was a very small fire. Or rather, I wish her rent was.

You look tired. Do you want some tea? Miss Penhow is your nearest relative. Of course you want to find out where she is. That must count for something. Not as things are. Perhaps I can sell something.

He must have some idea where she is. All right? She leaned toward him, cupping her hands around the flame of the match. It was easier with Dad, somehow. But Mother. So should I. I just want us to have a breathing space. A moment before he had been engaged. They smoked in silence. Embers rustled in the grate. The only light came from the standard lamp. He wanted to make love to Fenella more than ever. She might even let him if he kept on asking, he thought, but would she say yes out of pity?

As a way of say[ 46 ] bleeding heart square ing sorry? He threw the cigarette end into the heart of the fire. I posted the letter yesterday morning. Somewhere more central. His grandmother had left him a hundred pounds when she died last year. He had enough for a few months in London, if not enough to marry on. It just seems so damned stupid. These conventions. Can you even begin to imagine what people would say? He wanted to tell her about Narton and the flat in Bleeding Heart Square, despite what the Sergeant had said.

But she was already on her feet and moving toward the door. Rory felt light-headed when he stood up, as if unhappiness made one dizzy.

I suppose so. Fenella touched his arm. As he turned back to her, she stood on tiptoe and her lips brushed his cheek. He wound his scarf around his neck.

But it was more complicated than that. Tuesday, 14 January Major Serridge came to tea this afternoon to show me his engraving. The presence of a bluff military man caused quite a stir among the old tabbies in the dining room, especially the six of them at the table in the bay window, which they treat as their personal property. I thought Miss Beale stared in really quite a rude manner.

I know for a fact that she has been here for nearly 20 years. She celebrated her 75th birthday in September. So she must have been about my age when she came to live at the Rushmere. It quite chills the blood to think about it. But to return to Major Serridge. We had a most interesting conversation. He has served all over the Empire.

He was even in China—he spoke very feelingly about the famine they are having at present, and said it was the children he felt most sorry for. He left the Army for a few years but he was soon back in uniform for the Great War. I suspect he was in military intelligence. After tea the Major showed me the engraving. It had the date at the bottom. It showed the splendid palace of the bishops of Rosington which once covered all the land now occupied by Bleeding Heart Square, Rosington Place and several of the surrounding streets.

It was a great Gothic building with cloisters, a great hall and a private chapel. The whole area is still part of the See of Rosington and is known rather quaintly as the Rosington Liberty. Something else happened today. The Major paid me a compliment, which meant all the more because it was so obviously unforced and unplanned.

Several residents are rather younger than I am in chronological terms, at any rate!! The one sitting by herself? Exactly the same words had passed through my mind, just before he spoke them! The Major also complimented me on my dress—I wore my new afternoon frock, the one with the charming floral pattern. He said what a pleasure it was to meet a lady who dressed as a lady! Then he apologized again! Partly to ease his embarrassment, I said how hard it was to find a good seamstress for repairs, etc.

Renton, was reckoned a very superior needlewoman and had worked in Bond Street in her time. Now you realize it was more complicated than you had thought. It was also that she was terrified of staying where she was with all the aging women, of growing older and dying at the Rushmere Hotel.

Marcus she remembered very clearly because of what he had done. She had been five years old, which meant he had been eleven, almost twelve, and his brother practically grown-up.

It must have been quite soon after Lord Cassington had taken the lease on Monkshill Park. Lydia remembered how big everything had seemed that first summer, not just the house but the gardens and the park. To a five-year-old, it was a place without limits, more like an entire country than a home. The Langstones arrived in the afternoon. Lydia did not meet them until teatime.

Nurse scrubbed her face and hands and brushed her hair so hard it hurt.

She was introduced to the visitors and sat by her mother. Adult conversation crashed and roared above her head. She drank her milk, ate her bread and butter and wanted to escape.

She avoided looking at anyone so there was less chance of their noticing her. Once or twice, though, she glanced up and caught Marcus looking at her. He was a tall, handsome boy, with blond hair and regular features. He reminded her of a picture of the young Hereward the Wake which Lydia had seen in the Book of Epic Heroes in the nursery bookcase. She thought him very handsome. There was nothing to be done about it, however, and a few minutes later the two of them were walking along the path that led from the house toward the monument and the lake.

On their right was the high, sun-warmed wall of the kitchen gardens, pierced at intervals by doors. They walked in silence, with Marcus in the lead. At the far end, where the wall ended, there was a belt of trees.

Marcus stopped, so suddenly that Lydia almost cannoned into him. Hands on hips, he stared down at her. It was almost completely shrouded in trees. Marcus thrust his hands into his pockets.

She padded after him, feeling that, as his hostess, she had a duty to look after him. There were nettles here and they reached her bare legs. Marcus glanced back. At the end of the path, the tiled roof of the shed sagged and rippled. It was muddy underfoot, and the air felt damp, which was strange because it was a sunny afternoon. In memory, at least, it seemed to Lydia that the little spinney tucked against the north wall of the kitchen gardens had its own climate, its own atmosphere.

Marcus kicked over a fragment of rotten plank lying across the path. Woodlice scurried frantically. There were gray, slimy things, too. Lydia assumed they were leaves, or roots, or even a special sort of stone. Marcus picked up a twig and prodded one of them. The thing was alive.

Lydia opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. The younger the better, because they taste nicer. Her mind had no room for anything except a terrifying image of her own naked body covered with those gray, shiny things, browsing on her, nibbling at her, just as the sheep and the Highland cattle browsed and nibbled at the grass of the park. One of the slugs was moving toward her, and another, and soon they would be climbing up her legs and— [ 53 ] Andrew Taylor Marcus snatched her up, lifting her under the armpits.

In an instant she was high in the air and her face was level with his. Then he hefted her over his shoulder as if she were a sack of potatoes and walked toward the shed. He kicked open the door. Lydia could see down the back of his Norfolk jacket and the line of his long legs to his boots.

It was such a long way to the ground. She was safe up here. Marcus lifted her from his shoulders. She shrieked with joy and fear as her head turned through degrees. He set her down on a broad and dusty shelf fixed to the brick wall at the back of the shed. There was a sieve on one side of her and a pile of flowerpots on the other. In the gloom below, Lydia made out the outlines of the machines the gardeners used for mowing the grass. There were wheelbarrows, too, and rusting machinery whose purpose she did not know.

His face was level with her chest now. She was far too high above the floor. Marcus returned, his body almost filling the low doorway. He held out his hands to her, the fingers curled into fists.

Lydia stared at his big handsome face. He was smiling at her. He turned his hands over and uncurled the fingers. On each palm was a glistening slug. They looked even larger than the others, and they were moving. He wiped his palms on his trousers and showed them, pink and empty, to her.

She screwed her eyes shut. She felt his hands on her legs. It seems that it was once the site of a palace, of which the only remaining sign is the chapel. Many years ago, there was a ball at which a devil appeared, dressed as a gentleman.

He danced a great deal with the lady of the house, who was much taken with him. They danced out of the palace together, and vanished. In the morning, the only sign of her was a human heart, still warm—left in the middle of what is now Bleeding Heart Square! Yours very sincerely, J. Serridge The Major is quite right—it is a sinister tale.

It was most sensitive of him to take account of my feelings, though. Of course it is only one of those funny old stories that [ 32 ] bleeding heart square abound in these old places. Memo: write and thank him for his kindness.

Bleeding Heart Square pdf epub

The same woman was behind the counter of the Blue Dahlia but she showed no sign of recognition. After ordering tea and a fried egg, Lydia worked her way through the pages of the newspaper with a growing sense of unreality. She scanned the Situations Vacant columns and wished she were a man.

A stretch of the Thames in its upper reaches had turned a rusty color and thousands of fish had been found dead. The Welsh coalfields were in crisis again, and the Prince of Wales had made a gramophone record in aid of Poppy Day. According to the weather forecast London would have local morning fog and probably occasional rain later, though in Fetter Passage there was no later about it.

Her breakfast arrived. Lydia folded the newspaper open at the crossword. Two men came in and took a table near the door. One was in his fifties, a skinny fellow who threw off his shabby tweed overcoat to reveal a greasy suit. He wore a hard collar but no tie. All his clothes were a little too large for him, as though he had recently shrunk. His suit was obviously off the peg and his flat cap was frankly awful, the sort of thing a chauffeur might have worn on his day off. But she liked his long face, which seemed crowded with overlarge and irregularly distributed features.

It looked unfinished, as though its maker had been tempted away by a more interesting job, which gave it a sort of vulnerability. For an instant he glanced in her direction. His eyes were striking, a vivid blue that was out of place among the muddy browns and shades of gray around him.

He looked away. It was the flat cap that jogged her memory. She was almost sure this was the man she had seen yesterday afternoon, standing outside the Crozier and staring at Bleeding Heart Square. The door closed behind the elegant young woman who had been sitting by herself with The Times.

Rory Wentwood watched her walking along the pavement in the direction of Hatton Garden. Oh—that one? The one who just left? One noticed her in here, somehow. Not like the other customers. I was naturally curious. I think she spent the night there. Could kill two birds with one stone. Police business, see? The hall no longer smelled of rotten meat, only of old cabbage and the bedroom slops.

As she was closing the door behind her, she heard footsteps at the back of the hall. It was the plump man who had let her in when she had first arrived at the house. Langstone, actually. But the man had contrived to pin her into the angle between the table and the wall.

He smiled at her and his face twitched. Renton was standing in the doorway of the room to the right of the front door. Now I really must be off. No peace for the wicked, eh? Renton stared calmly at Lydia. Renton peered at Lydia. My father thinks it will be all right. In all sorts of ways. That sort of thing. Renton said. All the flats and rooms share the same bathroom—you know that? She obliges some of the tenants too, including Mr.

Fimberry, but not your father. He manages for himself, most of the time. The flats share. Nor does Mr. Serridge, come to that. Serridge has got the other two rooms on your landing. Renton looked up at her and pursed her lips. Lydia thought how unnatural it was, that someone like herself should be practically begging this old woman for help. There was a knock on the front door.

Renton marched in an unhurried way down the hall and opened it. A tall young man was standing on the step. Share kitchen and bathroom. No meals or laundry. May I see the rooms? Maybe tomorrow or Saturday. Can you tell me what the rent is? He does all that side of things. Well, thank you for your help.

Wentwood stood to one side to allow the man to approach Mrs. The postman groped inside his bag and produced a small parcel wrapped in brown paper and string. He handed it to Mrs. Renton, who closed the door on the two men and put the parcel on the hall table.

Renton bent down and sniffed it. Woolf: My aunt. The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women. Of the two—the vote and the money—the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important. Five hundred a year? If a woman had that, she could do almost anything she wanted. She dropped the book on the table, dislodging puffs of dust and tobacco ash.

Her father had gone out, and she had the flat to herself. The air smelled of stale cigar smoke, and there were two empty brandy bottles in the wastepaper basket. She resisted the temptation to look inside the chest of drawers and the wardrobe, partly because she felt it beneath her to pry, but more because she was afraid of what she might find. She pitied her father but pity was perilously close to disgust.

In the sitting room, kitchen and bedrooms, every surface seemed covered with a fine layer of sooty grime, slightly oily.

Lydia found a moderately clean dishcloth under the kitchen sink and wiped the woodwork around the sitting-room windows. It was much harder work than she had expected, and much dirtier. Before moving to the mantelpiece, she tied up her hair with a silk headscarf. How did people manage without servants, she wondered for the first time in her life, and indeed how did servants themselves manage?

There were footsteps on the landing and she looked round. The door was open, and Mrs. Renton was staring at Lydia kneeling by the hearth. The old woman sniffed and moved away without speaking. But a few minutes later, she returned with an enamel bucket in her hand and a pinafore over her arm. In the bucket were dusters and rags. She put down the bucket in the doorway and draped the pinafore over the back of the nearest chair.

The work seemed a little easier after that, and not just because she was better equipped for it. When she had finished the dusting, she filled the bucket and washed the windows. Even that was harder than it looked because one tended to smear the dirt on the glass rather than remove it.

Bleeding Heart Square. Andrew Taylor

Lydia worked on until her stomach told her it was lunchtime. She would have to go out again. As she made herself ready, she noticed that there was a sooty line on her skirt. She tried to remove it without success. She had another vivid mental image of Frogmore Place, this time of her bedroom: the dressing table, with its array of silver-backed brushes and pots and jars; her clothes laid out for her, with her stockings rolled ready for her to put on; and Susan, her maid, hovering near the door, hands clasped, eyes down.

She found a shopping basket in the kitchen and went outside. The fog had lifted but the rain had grown heavier, and her feet slithered on the cobbles. She heard singing, faint but dreary, and guessed it came from the chapel.

She walked to the Blue Dahlia in Fetter Passage again. Going there had almost become a habit, and a habit of any sort was reassuring in a world where almost everything was strange. She found a place at a table laid for two. She was surprised to find herself much hungrier than usual and ordered cutlets and peas, with plum pie and custard to follow. It would cost her half a crown, plus perhaps a tip.

In the last forty-eight hours, she had become conscious about money in a way she had never been before. Soon she would have to sell some jewelry. While she was waiting for her cutlets, she returned to the crossword in The Times.Lydia walked on toward a busy crossroads with Smithfield market on the far side.

No peace for the wicked, eh? The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women. She heard her husband apologizing to his guest, the closing of the study door and his footsteps behind her.

Her mouth watered. Soon she would have to sell some jewelry.