Let's Kill Uncle

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Authors: Rohan O’Grady
until his uncle arrived to claim him.
    Mr Rice-Hope, caught in the cross fire, but on Albert’s side, nodded nervously.
    Albert’s determined face was enough to make Mr and Mrs Brooks realise he meant every word, and alarmed by this latest threat to their darling, they gave in.
    Albert, pleased with himself in his Solomon’s role, turned to Miss Proudfoot, but if he thought he had placated that lady, he was very much mistaken.
    Miss Proudfoot was still bitter. It had taken years of love, patience and coaxing on her part to teach Fletcher to sing, and while they might recompense her for his ‘real’ value, indeed, they might even replace him with another budgie, nevertheless his passing left a void that nothing but time could fill.
    And if those wicked children so much as set foot on her property again, she would write to her member of Parliament. There was still decency and order on this Island, although one could scarcely believe it with the present police administration. And as a taxpayer she felt it was her moral duty to see that decency and order were preserved. It was no wonder the world was in the state it was, and the Communists taking over.
    And she was very disappointed in Albert’s attitude. He simply did not seem to understand the seriousness of the crime, but she supposed he would wait until anarchy reigned supreme before taking a sensible stand and putting those children behind bars where they belonged.
    Albert eyed her silently. The miserable old trout. Well, from a lifetime of experience on the Island, he knew that it was impossible to please everybody, but he had been just and firm. Secure in the knowledge that he had upheld the reputation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he assisted Lady Syddyns to her feet.
    Dudley Rice-Hope stood at the door, an awkward look on his pale curate’s face.
    ‘I hate to bother you further, Sergeant- ’
    ‘Yes, Mr Rice-Hope?’
    It was, said Mr Rice-Hope, about Lady Syddyns’s windows.
    ‘I’ve had some trouble getting them to stay in. The ones in the sides remain propped up nicely, but the top ones seem to drop right through.’
    Sergeant Coulter thought for a moment.
    ‘It’s probably the putty,’ he said. ‘If it dries too quickly, that could happen. If you lay the putty on a coat of wet paint it helps a lot. It makes it much easier to install the glass.’
    Mr Rice-Hope looked bewildered.
    ‘Perhaps,’ Albert paused, ‘perhaps, Mr Rice-Hope, I could finish the windows. Is the glass still at Lady Syddyns’s?’
    Dudley Rice-Hope flushed miserably.
    ‘I’m very much afraid, Sergeant, that I have broken most of the glass.’
    ‘I’ll pick up more in Victoria on Tuesday,’ said Albert. ‘Nine-by-nine-inch, weren’t they?’
    Mr Rice-Hope nodded humbly. ‘Be sure and give me the bill. I’m sorry you are being put to extra trouble, Sergeant.’
    ‘It’s no trouble,’ said Albert, knowing that he would never give the bill to Dudley Rice-Hope. With the nameless waifs of southern Europe that he supported, and the local Indian children he insisted on showering with flannel vests and his many extra charities, Dudley’s stipend was already strained.
    And so the incident was closed, with big, brutal Sergeant Coulter buying the glass, paying for the glass and installing the glass, for all of which he received no particular thanks from his grateful Islanders.

B ARNABY WAS an early riser, the earliest on the Island, and at dawn the goat-lady found him sitting patiently on her porch. With his head leaning against the carved post and old Shep cradled in his arms, he was waiting for his breakfast. The price was chores, which he performed cheerfully. He got the milk can out of the well for her, he watered Gudrun and he collected eggs. Then, eager and hungry, he sat in the kitchen while she started his meal.
    When Christie, still in her nightgown, came down the ladder like a cross little princess, he was rocking noisily back and forth, usually carrying on a

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