The Diary Of Pamela D. (Chapter 5, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 5

'Come along, Pamela, you can ill-afford to be late. The concert can't begin without its star soloist.'

Pamela smiled at Mrs. Pascoe's exaggeration as she tied back her hair, which though still a mass of dark curls was much easier to manage since she'd let it grow out. After her recovery she'd had to make up for lost time as Easter and the concert approached. The choir-director, Mr. Howard, had intensified her vocal training as soon as she was well enough, on the pretense that Pamela and her voice were somehow an indispensable part of this year's performance. Pamela, however, wasn't fooled for a moment. There were four other sopranos with much more training, experience and natural ability than she could ever hope to have. She well knew the true reason to be that everyone seemed bent on finding some small way to make her forget her experience at the hands of Albert Askrigg. Yet despite their efforts not a moment went by that she wasn't aware that Albert Askrigg still roamed free, a monster in man's form prowling the moors of Yorkshire, dangerous, pitiless, lethal, utterly without remorse. With a little shiver she remembered that he had vowed to return one day to Dewhurst mansion and finish what he'd begun. No, it was not yet over: the demon still lived. But then, demons were supernatural beings, and therefore were unkillable: and so Albert Askrigg was free to try again, and possibly succeed where before he had failed.

She took a deep breath . . . let it out slowly . . . did her best to push such thoughts aside as being so much melodramatic nonsense, and hurried to join Mrs. Pascoe. When she got downstairs, her unpleasant musings were dispelled altogether when Pamela saw that she was indeed holding things up, that their little motorcade was lined up in the drive and ready to go.

The concert went off very well, so well in fact that she was able to sing her solo, 'Let the Bright Seraphim,' with something approaching confidence, though in truth she had been scared witless at having to stand up in front of everyone. But standing with her was an older gentleman, a semi-retired musician who had played all his life in the London Symphony named Benjamin Whitely who played the trumpet with sublime virtuosity, while Mrs. Dalziel, an unflappable, matronly woman accompanied them on the ancient and illustrious pipe-organ.

When the concert was over with and the crowd dispersing, Mr. Howard took Pamela by the arm and led her to a tall, distinguished-looking gentleman who was standing talking with a number of men Pamela had never met before. She noted at once that their suits were different in some manner- it was the shoulders; they had raglan sleeves and looked very expensive, and somehow foreign.

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