Sparkling cyanide – Agatha Christie
“What a beautiful bride she makes…”
Why had Rosemary married George? Even at the time Iris had been vaguely surprised. There had been so many exciting young men, ringing Rosemary up, taking her out. Why choose George, fifteen years older than herself, kindly, pleasant, but definitely dull?
George was well off, but it wasn’t money. Rosemary had her own money, a great deal of it.
Uncle Paul’s money…
Iris searched her mind carefully, seeking to differentiate between what she knew now and what she had known then: Uncle Paul, for instance?
He wasn’t really an uncle, she had always known that. Without ever having been definitely told them she knew certain facts. Paul Bennett had been in love with their mother. She had preferred another and a poorer man. Paul Bennett had taken his defeat in a romantic spirit. He had remained the family friend, adopted an attitude of romantic platonic devotion. He had become Uncle Paul, had stood godfather to the first-born child, Rosemary. When he died, it was found that he had left his entire fortune to his little god-daughter, then a child of thirteen. Rosemary, besides her beauty, had been an heiress. And she had married nice dull George Barton.
Why? Iris had wondered then. She wondered now. Iris didn’t believe that Rosemary had ever been in love with him.
But she had seemed very happy with him and she had been fond of him
-yes, definitely fond of him. Iris had good opportunities for knowing, for a year after the marriage, their mother, lovely delicate Viola Marle, had died, and Iris, a girl of seventeen, had gone to live with Rosemary Barton and her husband.
A girl of seventeen. Iris pondered over the picture of herself. What had she been like? What had she felt, thought, seen?
She came to the conclusion that that young Iris Marle had been slow of development – unthinking, acquiescing in things as they were. Had she resented, for instance, her mother’s earlier absorption in Rosemary?
On the whole she thought not. She had accepted, unhesitatingly, the fact that Rosemary was the very important one. Rosemary was “out” – naturally her mother was occupied as far as her health permitted with her elder daughter. That had been natural enough. Her own turn would come some day. Viola Marle had always been a somewhat remote mother, preoccupied mainly with her own health, relegating her children to nurses, governesses, schools, but invariably charming to them in those brief moments when she came across them. Hector Marle had died when Iris was five years old. The knowledge that he drank more than was good for him had permeated so subtly that she had not the least idea how it had actually come to her.