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By Betty Neels

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Mrs Frost called in with a bag of onions to thank your father for giving her Ned a lift the other day. ' Philomena swallowed the last of her bread. ' Philomena went out of the house by the back door, and down the side path which led directly onto the village street. When she reached the village green she joined the customers waiting to be served. She knew that she would have to wait for several minutes. Mrs Salter was the fount of all news in the village and passed it on readily while she weighed potatoes and cut cheese.

We can spend the day with Aunt Bess. ' She gave a little crow of laughter. 'Darling! That poky little place! ' The Professor pondered a reply but decided not to say anything. Instead he said, 'I'm sorry about your weekend, Sybil. I'm going out of town early tomorrow morning and I shan't be back until Monday. ' Which was true. Mrs Willett, his one-time nanny and housekeeper at the cottage, reminded him almost weekly that it was time he spent a few days at the cottage. `Put them off,' said Sybil.

Her smile disappeared. 'What if I was a bit longer than I said? I won't be ordered around and I won't be hurried. ' He drove carefully, for the snow was drifting and visibility was almost non-existent. The big car held the road well, but it was now pitch-dark and there was no lighting on the narrow country roads. He came to the crossroads, drove through Wisbury and onto the crossroads after it. It was as he drove into Nether Ditchling that a flashing blue light from a police car parked on the side of the road brought him to a halt.

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