Danger in the Dark
Danger in the Dark
THE DAY BEFORE THE wedding Dennis Haviland returned.
No one expected him. The letter, written in Amelia's spidery handwriting, in which she made brief and rather bitter mention of the wedding, was gathering dust in an unclaimed-letters file in the Buenos Aires post office. He knew nothing of the wedding until he landed in New York, bought a Chicago Tribune and looked at it-hungrily, after his year's absence, and hunting for familiar names.
He found them in plenty.
But it was the picture he saw first.
It looked out of the page straight at him. Daphne in a fashionably simple tailored suit, with a hat below which her eyes were level and remote. She wore gloves, so he couldn't see the huge sapphire on her left hand, and a sable skin crossed softly under her uplifted chin. And she didn't look at all like Daphne.
He stopped abruptly, letting people jostle past him.
No, it wasn't like Daphne. Of course, it was a posed photograph, made for that purpose. And she looked very handsome, very poised, and a little unfriendly. There was no hint of gaiety in her eyes, no faint tremor of a smile about her closed lips. Her chin was lifted a little, the fine bones of her face a bit more clearly defined than he remembered. Fine bones, he thought absently; family, though she isn't really a Haviland. Good God, how like Amelia that sounded! And it was queer how a man could think in two layers; one on the top of his mind, superficial and articulate-one deep down and wordless.
It was her mouth that looked natural and like Daphne, and that was all. It was so-so resolute. That was it. He could remember her in her childhood, holding her mouth just in that unsmiling, resolute line when she was determined to undertake some feat of derring-do which the boys-himself and Rowley-had themselves accomplished, boastfully and with swaggers. She was younger than they, and they teased her and ordered her about, but they were proud of her, too.
A baggage truck trundled by; a porter shouted, and somebody jostled his elbow, said, "What the hell, did you rent this space?" and Dennis looked up, lifted his slender, peaked black eyebrows and moved good-naturedly to one side and returned to the paper.
It was then that he read the paragraph below the picture.
It was a brief paragraph. It said that Daphne Haviland was being married the next day. At Miss Amelia Haviland's place in St Germain. The immediate family and a few of their closest friends would be present. Rowley Shore was to be best man. The immediate family were Mrs Archie Shore, her son, Rowley Haviland Shore and Miss Amelia Haviland; John Haviland would give his daughter in marriage. And she was to be married to Benjamin Brewer.
That was as far as Dennis read.
There were some additional notes. A Bermuda honeymoon, an apartment at a good address; a reference to the late Rowley Haviland, the bride's grandfather, and to the fact that Benjamin Brewer was president of the Haviland Bridge Company; a mention of schools, clubs, the Haviland name-all of it words that were like threads making a background. Dennis, however, saw nothing of it, for he was hailing his porter.
He took the eleven-o'clock plane for Chicago.
Later, when the weather was important, he remembered that trip above and through opaque gray-white clouds, the glimpses of snow-covered hills and ribbons of black that were paved roads; the lights of Gary twinkling through the curtain of falling snow, and the red blast furnaces. Somewhere below there were the Haviland furnaces. The Haviland plant where steel was made for Haviland girders and Haviland rails and sent out over the world.
He thought of it briefly: the Haviland Bridge Company. Once a small business: owned and controlled by one man. Now a great steel-fabricating company whose products went all over the world. In Shanghai, in Rio, in Cape Town, he had seen tha