Returning to London after Margaret’s disappearance Burdon had thrown himself again into the work trying to distract himself from his thoughts. But it did not help him. He was sure that a great danger threatened Margaret. He could not tell what it was, but the idea was there always, night and day.
He dreamed that she was at the point of death, and heavy chains prevented him from stretching out a hand to help her. At last he could stand it no more. He told another surgeon that private business forced him to leave London, and put the work into his hands. He supposed that Haddo had taken Margaret to his house to Skene. He went to Paris to see Susie and Doctor Porhoet. They tried to reason with him, but saw that it was quite useless.
“What do you want us to do?” asked Susie.
“I want you both to come to England with me at once. If we start now we can catch the evening train.”
“For Heaven’s sake, calm down a little,” said Susie. “I’m convinced that you’ll find Margaret safe and sound.”
He did not answer. He gave a sigh of relief as they drove to the station.
* * *
Susie never forgot the horror of that journey to England. They arrived in London early in the morning and without stopping drove to Skene. It was a small place with one public house serving as a hotel to the rare travelers who stayed there.
They tried to find out something about the Haddos. Oliver was the local magnate, and his wealth and eccentricity made him a usual topic of conversation. The landlady of the hotel called him insane; she told them of Haddo’s evil influence on the crops and cattle of farmers who had aroused his anger. As soon as he could do so, Arthur asked about Margaret. The landlady shrugged her shoulders. No one knew anything certain about her. “People say the poor lady is dead,” she said.
‘What did she die of?” asked Susie, her eyes on Arthur.
“They say it was heart disease,” answered the landlady. “Poor thing! It’s a happy release for her.”
Susie seized Arthur’s arm.
“Arthur, Arthur. You couldn’t have done anything, if you had been here. If Margaret died of heart disease, your suspicions were quite without ground.”
His silence terrified her more than anything. The landlady was on the point of leaving when Arthur stopped her.
“How do you
know that Mrs. Haddo died of heart disease?” he asked suddenly.
“Dr. Richardson told me so.” “Where does he live?”
“Why, sir, he lives at the white house near the station.” She could not understand why Arthur asked these questions. ‘Thank you. You can go.” “What are you going to do?” asked Susie. He turned on her with a sudden rage.
“I’m going to see this doctor. Margaret’s heart was as good as mine. I’ll put a rope round that man’s neck, and if the law won’t help me, I’ll kill him myself. I know that Margaret didn’t die naturally. I’ll never rest so long as that fellow lives.”
* * *
Dr. Richardson was a little man of fifty-five with a white beard and prominent blue eyes.
Arthur was shown into the consulting-room and shortly told him about the reason of his visit.
“I have just learnt of the death of Mrs. Haddo. I was her oldest friend. I came to you in the hope that you would be able to tell me something about it.”
Dr. Richardson gave him a suspicious glance.
“I don’t know why you came to me instead of her husband. He will be able to tell you all that you wish to know.”
“I came to you as a fellow-doctor,” answered Arthur. He pointed to his card, which Dr. Richardson still held.
‘What can I do for you, Mr. Burdon?”
“I should be very much obliged if you would tell me how Mrs. Haddo died.”
there are 22 million homes in britain
Magician – chapter 11