A reader sends this extract from “The Laird and the Lady,” by Joan Grant:—
“‘Part of my present to you is so small that it could go in a matchbox … and I ran out of coloured paper so I left the rest of it downstairs.’
He pretended to be disappointed. ‘But I love unwrapping parcels. Couldn’t I have had a little bit of newspaper and a foot or two of string?’
‘There is lots of string. But first you will have to find the clue, for your present requires a treasure hunt.’
He tore off the gilt paper and opened the green leather case. It held two gold keys; one with his initials, the other with her own. Again he joined in the game, pretending not to know what kind of keys they were.
‘The keys of your heart?’
‘How can they be? I gave you those on a certain stormy evening in France.’
He jumped out of bed and pulled her with him. ‘I refuse to be tortured by curiosity. Do we need more than a dressing-gown? ‘
She went to draw back a curtain. ‘Definitely more, it’s snowing.’
‘So it’s an outside treasure? Shall we require a spade to find it?’
‘I hope not; unless the snow is very deep.’
Still wearing the tiara, she put on red fur-lined boots and a mink coat while he dived into a grey sweater and buckled his kilt. Hand in hand they ran downstairs and across the courtyard. The double doors of the Great Barn were closed with a tartan sash.
‘It’s a very small key for such a large door!’ He pretended to search for a new lock in one of the knot-holes of the ancient oak.
‘You have to untie the bow first, and you musn’t cut it for Georgina lent it to me.’
A vast white shape loomed out of the dark cavern of the barn. That she had given him a Rolls Wraith, silver grey with scarlet leather upholstery, perfect in every detail even to his crest on the driver’s door, he found less moving than that she had wrapped it in linen sheets and tied them on with scarlet cords.”
[Presumably he deserved it.—Ed.]
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