Death in The Stocks
by Georgette Heyer
At this moment the studio door opened, and Giles Carrington came in, accompanied by Kenneth. Antonia greeted him with a friendly smile, but desired her brother to tell her what he had done with Miss Rivers.
"She pushed off homewards," answered Kenneth. "Cigarette, Giles?--if there are any, which I doubt."
"Oh, well, in that case we can talk!" said Antonia briskly. "Giles, do you know about Rudolph cooking the firm's accounts, or not?"
"What?" ejaculated Kenneth, pausing in his search for the cigarettes, and turning to stare at Mesurier. "Actually embezzling funds? Did you really?"
His manner was partly interested, partly critical, and it goaded Rudolph, deeply flushed, to defend himself. His explanation was met with so derisive a laugh that Antonia at once took up the cudgels, and told her brother he needn't be so offensive, because for one reason she wouldn't put it above him to cook accounts, and for another it had nothing to do with him.
"Oh, yes, it has!" objected Kenneth. "You seem to forget I'm the heir. I daresay I could prosecute, if I wanted to. Not that I do, of course, though I do rather draw the line at embezzling. It's one thing to bump a man off, but quite another thing to monkey with his accounts. However, don't think I'm being captious. I expect it seemed good to you at the time, Rudolph."
Mesurier said angrily: "I don't care for your tone! I'm willing to admit I shouldn't have borrowed the money, but when you accuse me of----"
"My bonny lad, I haven't accused you of anything," said Kenneth, beginning to fill a pipe. "Tony said you'd been cooking the firm's accounts; I merely displayed the proper amount of surprise, interest, and disapproval."
Antonia had drawn her cousin over to the window, and stood there facing him, with one hand lightly grasping his sleeve. She looked gravely up at him and asked quietly: "He's in a mess, isn't he?"
"I don't know, Tony."
"Well, I think he is. You will help him, won't you, Giles?" He did not answer immediately, and she added after a moment: "You see, I'm engaged to be married to him"
"That isn't an inducement to me, Tony."
Her candid eyes were a trifle puzzled; they searched his unavailingly. "Isn't it?" she asked, seeking enlightenment.
"Oh! Well--well--will you do it for me, Giles?"
He looked down at her, and at her hand, still clasping her sleeve. "I suppose so, Tony," he said in his level way, and glanced across the room to where Mesurier and Kenneth were arguing. "Shut up, Kenneth," he said pleasantly.
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