Dorothy L. Sayers HANGMAN’S HOLIDAY
some to be the very speech of our first fathers in Paradise. They spoke of the bad winter, and young Esteban Arramandy, so strong and swift at the pelota, who had been lamed by a falling rock and now halted on twosticks; of three valuable goats carried off by a bear; of the torrential rainsthat, after a dry summer, had scoured the bare ribs of the mountains. It wasraining now, and the wind was howling unpleasantly. This did not troubleLangley; he knew and loved this haunted and impenetrable country at alltimes and seasons. Sitting in that rude peasant inn, he thought of the oak- panelled hall of his Cambridge college and smiled, and his eyes gleamedhappily behind his scholarly pince-nez. He was a young man, in spite of his professorship and the string of letters after his name. To his universitycolleagues it seemed strange that this man, so trim, so prim, so early old,should spend his vacations eating garlic, and scrambling on mule-back along precipitous mountain-tracks. You would never think it, they said, tolook at him.There was a knock at the door.“That is Martha,” said the wife.She drew back the latch, letting in a rush of wind and rain whichmade the candle gutter. A small, aged woman was blown in out of thenight, her grey hair straggling in wisps from beneath her shawl.“Come in, Martha, and rest yourself. It is a bad night. The parcel isready—oh, yes. Dominique brought it from the town this morning. Youmust take a cup of wine or milk before you go back.”The old woman thanked her and sat down, panting.“And how goes all at the house? The doctor is well?”“He is well.”“And
The daughter put the question in a whisper, and the landlord shook his head at her with a frown.