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12. POTS O'MONEY (continued)
'I enclosed a letter, anyhow.'
'There was a letter enclosed. I opened the parcel out of doors. There was a fresh breeze blowing at the time. It caught the letter, and that was the last I saw of it. I had read as far as "Dear Madam". But one thing I do remember about it, and that was that it was sent from some hotel in Cheltenham, and I could remember it if I heard it. Now, then?'
'I can tell it you. It was Wilbraham's. I was stopping there.'
'You pass,' said Mr Prosser. 'It was Wilbraham's.'
Owen's heart gave a jump. For a moment he walked on air.
'Then do you mean to say that it's all right--that you believe--'
'I do,' said Mr Prosser. 'By the way,' he said, 'the notice of White Roses went up last night.'
Owen's heart turned to lead.
'But--but--' he stammered. 'But tonight the house was packed.'
'It was. Packed with paper. All the merry dead-heads in London were there. It has been the worst failure this season. And, by George,' he cried, with sudden vehemence, 'serve 'em right. If I told them once it would fail in England, I told them a hundred times. The London public won't stand that sort of blithering twaddle.'
Owen stopped and looked round. A cab was standing across the road. He signalled to it. He felt incapable of walking home. No physical blow could have unmanned him more completely than this hideous disappointment just when, by a miracle, everything seemed to be running his way.
'Sooner ride than walk,' said Mr Prosser, pushing his head through the open window. 'Laziness--slackness--that's the curse of the modern young man. Where shall I tell him to drive to?'
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