The Barkley Library

Anna's First Adventure
Part 3

By Madge

Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV program "Big Valley" are the creations of Four Star/Republic Pictures and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

A continuation of "The Profit and Lost," after Heath goes to meet Vern Hickson. Part 3: Anna impresses the Barkley's.


Nick was in the corral. To Anna he said gruffly, "You must be one hell of a doctor. Or damned lucky."

"Why not both?" She accepted Nick's assistance in dismounting. "You Barkleys all seem to be very fine physical specimens."

"That's a compliment, brother Nick," Jarrod said helpfully.

Nick grunted. "I'm a damned sight better specimen than you, Pappy. You've been eating too much crow these days. Anyways, Mother thinks Heath's much better."

"I can't wait to give Scanlon the news," Jarrod said. "He'll probably have apoplexy."

"At least he'll have a decent doctor to treat him," Nick said and went into the barn.

Jarrod smiled. "My dear Dr. Carroll, you've quite bowled Nick over."

Anna frowned. "How can you tell?"

"I know him well. You'll find he neither gives nor takes compliments well. I, on the other hand, can take the most outrageous flattery."

"I'll remember that. But, please, Jarrod, I would beg you not to go boasting today. A few more days would make me a great deal easier."

"Then I take it we'll have your company for a few days more."

"Oh, certainly. I couldn't leave at this point."

"Your devotion does you credit. How's your appetite?"

"At bay. Your mother gave me quite a breakfast. I think I'll check on Heath and then grab my forty winks. I'm turning into quite a night owl."

"I'll see you at supper, then?"

"I imagine my appetite will be back by then."

She met Audra in the hallway. Audra embraced her warmly and unself-consciously. "It's almost a miracle," she said. "Just yesterday we all felt hopeless."

"It's not a miracle quite yet. And in any case your brother's obviously got a strong constitution. A lesser man wouldn't have even made it this far."

"Yes," Audra said softly. "Heath is–very special. I couldn't bear to lose him."

Again Anna felt something like envy. This girl was so rich–not just in a material way, but in family. Anna knew only too well how unbearable the loss of a brother could be.

"I've got to get going," Audra said. "I haven't been out the orphanage in days. They'll think I've forgotten them."

"What do you do out there?"

"Whatever they need. I've got a nice picnic lunch packed. They get so few outings."

"Are there so many orphans, then?"

"You'd be surprised. A few years ago there was an epidemic. It was very strange. The children got better, the parents died. Would you like to come?"

"No, thank you. But if there are any broken bones I'd be happy to set them."

Victoria was still in Heath's room. Heath was still sleeping. "Should he be sleeping so long?"

"Yes, it's very curative. Especially after a fever." Just to be sure she checked his pulse and respiration. They gave her no cause for alarm. "There's no point in disturbing him. He'll probably be like this another day or so."

"I hope you're planning on staying."

"For another day or two, certainly."

"Please stay as long as you like."

Anna laughed. "If you saw my digs in San Francisco you wouldn't be so careless with your hospitality. I might never leave."

"So there's no pressing need for you to go back."

"No," Anna admitted. "There's no pressing need for me to go back. I do, however, have a pressing need for some of that curative myself. I'll see you at supper."

Anna wouldn't be sleeping in her clothes again. Someone–Audra? Victoria?–had laid out a gown and robe. Anna washed, changed, and fell into a deep sleep.

To top

Heath awoke a little while later. In daylight the room was familiar, and Victoria was sitting by the bed. He decided he must have dreamed the other woman.

"Well, hello," Victoria smiled.

It was his room, all right, but he wasn't sure how he'd gotten here. And why did he feel so bad?" "What happened?"

Victoria decided not to burden him with details. "You've been very ill. But you're better now. Thirsty?"

He nodded. Yes, very ill. Especially if the way he felt was better than he'd been. Must have been a dream. Obediently he drank what she held before him, though it tasted bad. He'd have drunk mud. After the bad stuff she rewarded him with a drink of plain water. It was wonderful and helped clear his mind a little. He struggled to get up. Pain and exhaustion forced him back, with a little help from Victoria. "Got to go," he muttered, though he wasn't sure where.

"You're not going anywhere, Heath Barkley," Victoria said firmly. "You're going to stay right here and rest."

Rest. Yes. He could sleep forever. What was it he had to do? "Ten o'clock," he muttered, but by then the willowbark was taking effect and he drifted off again.

To top

That supper was the happiest meal in weeks. Hearing Victoria's report, all three of the younger Barkleys believed the crisis was over and the unthinkable would not happened. Victoria was concerned about Heath's confusion and possible trouble from the sheriff.

Anna said, "It's hard to predict. A prolonged period of high fever can cause some memory loss. If it has occurred, it's impossible to say whether his memory would improve."

"Mother, believe me, Fred isn't going to cause any trouble," Jarrod said. "Heath did nothing wrong; we all know him too well to believe otherwise. Now, no more worrying. This is a celebration."

Anna started, "I don't think–

"Yes, yes, we know your modesty, doctor. But anyone with eyes can see Heath's much better. Let's enjoy the evening and count our blessings."

"Hear, hear," said Audra.

"I second that," Nick said. "This is the first time in days–weeks, really-where there hasn't been a black cloud having over this family. Jarrod, pass the ham. Somebody's got to eat Heath's share."

"I'd say you have that well under control, brother Nick," Jarrod said.

Nick grinned. "I've got to maintain my fine physical specimen. Say, doc, do you do horses, too? One of our best mares is due to foal soon."

"Horses are too complicated. I stick to people."

"Nick gets his head busted open fairly often," Audra said. "You may get a chance to help him out yet."

"Speaking of helping out," Jarrod said. "I have to go to San Francisco. I'll be back late tomorrow. Can I bring anything back for you, Anna?"

"No, I'm well-supplied. Except..."

"Anything, dear doctor."

"If it's not too indelicate–would you mind going by my digs? I'd have brought my guitar if I'd known I would be away so long. And the other volume of Ivanhoe. It should be on my desk."

Victoria smiled. "I think we can find Ivanhoe for you here."

"A guitar!" Audra was delighted. "I've always wanted to learn. Could you teach me?"

"A little. I played the piano when I was a girl. But pianos aren't nearly so portable. I pretty much taught myself."

"Audra thinks she can sing," Nick snickered.

"I sing very well, Nick Barkley."

"You sing very loud, for sure."

"Children," Victoria said indulgently. "You see, Anna, why it's easy for me to forget I live in a houseful of adults. Coffee?"

"I'll take it upstairs, thank you. I'll take the night watch. Could you send up broth later–chicken, very plain?"

"Of course. I'll see to it myself."

Anna went upstairs, Nick and Audra to the billiard room. Victoria caught up with Jarrod. "I don't remember your mentioning San Francisco."

"It's just come up."

"Oh, I see." Jarrod didn't betray himself with so much as a smile; but Victoria knew him too well. "It's a long way to go for a guitar."

"Well worth the trip. I'll see you tomorrow night."

Victoria watched him go with mixed feelings. Of course Anna was an interesting young woman; but they hardly knew her. She struck Victoria as an extraordinarily self-possessed, dedicated and with a heart not likely to be easily touched. Still, it was clear Jarrod was taken with her. Well, you could trust Jarrod; he was more level-headed, less impulsive than either of his brothers.

To top

If Anna had been complimented, she was oblivious to it. She had not quite finished her volume of Ivanhoe when Victoria came in, a pot in one hand, Sir Walter in the other. I couldn't find Ivanhoe. Will Waverley do?"

"Any Scott will do. I'm a hopeless romantic, at least when it comes to novels."

"But not in other ways?"

"Why would you think not?"

"From the way you spoke. And your life. You seem very dedicated to your work."

"Dedicated, yes. Unromantic? Perhaps so. I haven't made a habit of falling in love." She fingered the book thoughtfully. "I had always assumed that medicine would take up my whole life. So I take my romance in novels."

It was much as Victoria had suspected. And yet there was a wistfulness in Anna's tone that made Victoria think Jarrod might have some chance after all.

Victoria put the pot of broth over the fire. "The others are taking it for granted that Heath's out of danger. Is he?"

Anna shrugged. "There is always the danger of complications. But if there were to be infection, I would have expected signs by now–it's more than 30 hours past surgery. I think it likely the worst is over."

"And if so–will he make a full recovery? Will he be the same?"

"Physically? In time, yes. Otherwise? Sometimes serious illness changes people. It can make them fearful, uncertain. Others I have seen gain both strength and serenity." Anna tried to lighten the tone. "Is there something you'd like to change?"

"Yes," Victoria said simply, "though I doubt this will do it. I wish he were–easier."

"Easier to deal with?"

"Oh, no, no." She sat on the edge of the bed. Though he slept quietly, she would see the toll the last days had taken; there were dark circles under his eyes, his cheeks looked hollow. A look that seemed to her the outward show of a too-common state of mind, though she knew these were just the marks of illness.

"My husband left very big shoes to fill. Each of his sons has had to find a way to reconcile himself to that, to find his own way. It's been harder for Heath. I think he measures himself and finds himself wanting. Not that he is. Each of them–they're good men. Conscientious men. But they struggle."

"I know the fight is supposed to be its own reward," Anna said slowly, "thought at times it seems a poor reward. You must be very proud."

Victoria was surprised at how openly she talked; she was even more surprised how well Anna understood. The grey eyes that met hers were level and sincere. She realized, for the first time, and Anna's composure, her strength, might have come at a price. Again she found herself warming to this woman. "I am. I wish I knew they felt it more."

"I'm sure they do." For her own part Anna was surprised at her own conador. Briefly, disloyally, she wondered what it would have been like to have a mother like Victoria. She felt Victoria would have understood her far better than her own mother had.

"And your parents must be proud of your accomplishments," Victoria said.

"My parents have both passed on. But my father was a great comfort and encouragement to me. He was a doctor, as had his father. Naturally he hoped my brother would follow, but Charles wanted to be a soldier. Father understood me–we were very close. And very supportive, though my ideas were unconventional, even unrealistic."

"You must miss him very much."

"Every day." Anna smiled wryly. "He too left very big shoes to fill. He was a wonderful doctor. He had a tremendous way with people–he could give heart just by coming into a room."

"You're already a fine doctor."

"Oh, technically, yes. In terms of skill I'm already his superior–he helped see to that, by making sure I got to Europe. But the other–if it's a gift I don't have it. If it's a skill it's one I'm still learning."

"I think you're mismeasuring yourself, Anna. You've given us courage." Victoria got up. "I won't waste our tie trying to convince you. I hope you believe you it own your own. And," she said, taking a brighter tone, "I think this should be your last night shift. Surely even the doctor needs a little rest."

"Touche. Perhaps after tonight we shan't need one. Thank you, Victoria."

"Good night, Anna." Victoria began to wonder if there was a way to keep Anna in the valley.

To top

Victoria was right; her short hours were catching up to her. She'd read Waverley before and it didn't hold her interest. She dozed.

She jerked awake. There was a sound; it was a groan. At once she was awake and alert. When she felt his forehead he opened his eyes.

And there she was again. Did she only come out in the dark? It must be a dream. But the pain that had forced him awake was real enough. "My legs," he muttered.

Legs? Gangrene? How could she have been such a fool? But there was no fever. She turned back the covers. The distinctive smell of gangrene was absent. No tell-tale red streaks. No gangrene. Still, she told herself, you should have checked. Too confident–

All right, not gangrene. What was it? Her logic, her training took over. He had been in bed for several days, without exercise or proper nourishment.

Cramp. The answer was so obvious–and so unthreatening–that she felt foolish. So much for your superior technical skills, doctor.

First, the right tea. From her satchel she brought out chamomile, good for its soothing qualities. She let it steep. She went to work on the leg muscles, kneading them till they relaxed. By now the tea was ready. "This is just a temporary solution, but it will help."

Unlike the other things she'd give him before, this had a pleasant, grassy smell, almost no taste. It left a pleasant warmth. "Who are you?"

"I'm Anna Carroll. I've been taking care of you."

This puzzled him. "But I'm home."

"Yes, you're home. Have been for several days. I'm a doctor."

For once she did not get a question or a stare. "You have very nice hands," was all he said.

"You Barkley men certainly are gallant. Don't go nodding off just yet. There's some broth on. Would you try some?"

He nodded. Whatever she'd ask he'd do. The broth, though weak, tasted so good to his starved body he could have wept. Instead he watched her hand working the spoon. It was surprisingly slender for all its strength. When the soup was gone, he said, "Thought I dreamed you."

She smiled. "I'm quite real, I assure you."

"Glad. What time is it?"

"Why would you care? It's eleven-thirty."

"What day?"

"Friday. Almost Saturday."

"God." The last day he remembered was Monday. What was Monday? "What happened?"

"I don't know. You were shot, quite badly. I patched you up. When you're better you can admire my handiwork. From the look of your hide it wasn't the first time."

"I've seen some trouble," he said vaguely. "What's that?"

"Waverley. It's a novel by Sir Walter Scott. I'm not enjoying it."

He was feeling warm, drifting. "When I was little mama used to read to me."

"What did he read?"

"Bible, mostly. Didn't care. Just liked the sound."

She had a hard time picturing Victoria reading the Bible that way, but glossed over it. "Would you like me to read?"

" was very lonely out there. Good to hear someone."

"All right. But I warn you, it's not very interesting. I just hope it puts you to sleep before it gets me."

To top

Anna's other miracle patient continued to improve. She removed Heath's stitches and pronounced the serious phase over. He was still underweight and worn down, but that would improve with time. Victoria thought him somewhat low in spirits, though he said nothing to her about it and she could think of no cause. It seemed to her he should be happy and relieved. Perhaps with time and greater strength he would be. She asked Anna.

"Illness is a strange thing. I believe I told you before I've seen it work both ways. I think he needs time. He's used to being active, busy, strong. I think as his body gets stronger his mood will improve. Right now it just seems too far away."

The novelty of her sex seemed to wear off. There were a number of other women in various stages of pregnancy; they were all anxious to hear about the miracle drug. Too, they were relieved at the idea of having a woman to help them. Doc Scanlon had been fine–but he was a man. Most women had preferred to rely on another woman friend or neighbor.

And there were the usual ailments: burns, broken bones, the occasional broken head on Saturday night, just as Jarrod had foreseen. It being late summer, and a dry one at that, there was little illness. Stockton was lucky with its water supply; according to Matt there had been few cases of cholera or typhus. Measles and scarlet fever wouldn't come out until the damper months in fall and winter.

Victoria helped Anna get her household under control. Anna decided to use the long-empty coop in the backyard, being fond of fresh eggs; Victoria taught her a little about hen-keeping. For general housekeeping help she hired a Chinese girl from the family that ran the laundry. The presence of a Chinese in the doctor's house caused some consternation. One of her patients said helpfully, "Doc, you can't trust them Chinee. They ain't clean."

That made Anna smile. "Have you seen all the steam at that laundry? She knows clean."

Jarrod's trial preparation kept him mainly in San Francisco. Much as he would have preferred to be in Stockton, he couldn't ignore the demands of his practice. He still got home most weekends, and his time in San Francisco was made more pleasant by the start of the true social season. He managed to enjoy himself and avoid Sylvia Ottway's machinations; on opening night he escorted Hester Converse to the opera when her original escort was delayed in Sacramento.

Once or twice he tried to lure Anna up to the city, dangling the promise of a play or a concert. She didn't want to leave her patients so soon. Still, she came to supper most weekends while she and Audra worked their way through all the new music Jarrod had brought back. Anna taught Audra the guitar; Audra helped Anna brush up at the piano. Even Nick occasionally ventured from the billiard room. Only Heath hung back; but then he was no singer.

Anna came out occasionally to ride Jingle. It was on such a ride that she came upon the separate corral, where Nick and Heath were working with the stallion. Audra and Victoria were watching with some amusement. "Nick's trying to ride that stallion," Audra said, "but it's really riding him."

Anna watched for a big. Audra's assessment was correct. Several times Heath caught the stallion and distracted him long enough for Nick to mount.

But Nick was only able to keep his seat for a few seconds, as the stallion began bucking and rearing every time Nick settled in. "Isn't there some easier way to do this?"

"Nick," his mother said dryly, "doesn't believe in the easy way."

Nick and Heath were chased to the side of the corral where the women were waiting. They had to vault the fence. "I tried the easy way," Nick panted. "It didn't work with this ornery critter."

"Maybe you didn't try long enough," Heath said reasonably.

"While you were playing cards with your dear little sister I was trying enough. If he's gonna get broke this is the only way it'll get done."

"I still say you'll have to geld him," Victoria said. "Anna, it will be close to suppertime when we get back. Will you stay?"

"No, thank you. I've been gone long enough today."

On the way back to the ranch Anna rode up alongside Charger. "I guess he's pretty happy to be out of the barn."

"Mighty happy. He was gettin fat. Nick didn't ride him enough."

"And I guess Charger's not the only one happy to be out of the barn."

"You are right there. It's good to be doin something useful again."

"Still," Anna said quietly, "it's a little more strenuous than I would have recommended."

"Work's good for me. Besides, Nick was doin the hard part–fallin off."

"Work, yes, but in moderation."

"I seem to recall you sayin you're a doctor, not a jailer."

She sighed. "I don't want to be a jailer. I just want to make sure you use a little common sense. If you're tired, stop. Don't get yourself overheated."

"Yes, doctor." But he had a distinctively mulish look, one she'd seen at different times on each of the others' faces, even Audra's.

Well, she'd tried her best. She was glad she'd turned down the supper invitation.

To top

Nick was discouraged enough to leave the stallion alone for a few days. But there was plenty of other work to do. There were miles of fencing to check and repair; orchards to check; stock to county. Heath threw himself back into the routine, spending all day on the range.

But it didn't seem to be making him any better. Nick couldn't help noticing that his brother was easily and frequently winded. He yawned his way through supper. Then he picked up a cough that wouldn't go away. Nick, remembering Anna's caution, rode into town late one afternoon to see her.

Anna was surprised to see him. "That stallion take a hunk out of you?"

"No, I'm in fine fettle, as always. It's about Heath."

After Nick had told his story, Anna said, "I'm not surprised. I tried to warn him. Can't you stop him?"

"He's likely to take it the wrong way from me."

"But surely your mother can influence him."

"He's mighty stubborn."

She sighed. "So it's up to me? But, Nick, I've already made him angry about this. I don't know if I can do anything now."

"But you'll try."

"Of course. I'll come out first thing tomorrow morning."

At breakfast the next morning, Heath asked, "So what's on for today?"

"I'm checking the fences in Sky Meadow. You're staying home. You're in no shape to be out all day."

"Fine," Heath said angrily. "I'll go by myself, then."

"I don't think you'll get very far without a horse."

Victoria interrupted. "Both of you, simmer down. Heath, Nick feels you're not well enough to be working the way you have."

"I'm the best judge of that, I reckon."

"Perhaps. In any case, Nick and I want a second opinion."

At that moment Anna walked in behind Silas. "My, that coffee smells good. Silas, what do you do to it?"

"A little chicory," Silas said. "You take breakfast, Dr. Carroll?"

"No, this is a professional call, not a visit. But I'll take some coffee, certainly."

Heath said morosely, "If this is the second opinion I already know what she'll say."

"Nonsense," Anna said briskly. "I'm a scientist. I believe in objective measures. So if you're really as fit as you think, you'll have no trouble convincing me. It won't take five minutes. Shall we?"

He followed her upstairs with poor grace and obeyed her instruction to remove his shirt with even less. He was definitely running a fever; there was a high, hectic color to his face. She listened carefully to his breathing. "Well?" he asked at last.

"There's some congestion in the lungs. I'd say you have a touch of pneumonia."

He snorted. "Folks don't get pneumonia in September."

"Generally, no. But they can get it any time if they're already weakened by other illness. There's no help for it but rest, Heath."

"I've had enough rest."

She sat beside him, searching for words. "Why is this so hard for you? You have so much–a good life, a wonderful family. Why can't you accept this?"

"If somebody asked you what you are, I don't bet you'd say you're beautiful, or smart, or kind. You'd say you're a doctor. Why should it be different for me?"

"Do you think I'm belittling you?" she asked, genuinely surprised. "I certainly don't mean to. No one knows better than I do about defining yourself by what you do." An idea came to her. "You know, Heath, this family loves you. They don't keep you around because you're a good with horses. They won't send you away if you don't finish your chores."

He didn't answer. After a long silence she said, "I'm sorry. That was–impertinent of me."

"No," he said finally. "I said you're smart."

"Well, I'm glad. I always feel like you get the better of me when we talk serious. I'm glad for once it was me getting you instead." She took one of his hands. "Now. We'll get you past this and then we'll work out a proper plan for you. If you'll trust me I promise I'll have you back in full working order by Christmas."


"Well, sooner, probably. But you'll trust me?"

"Guess so."

"It would help if you didn't think of me as the villain of the piece."

He looked at her briefly. "I don't think of you as a villain."

"For a good poker player you're a bad liar. Now I'm going to send your womenfolk up here for a little fussing and scolding. I'll be back in a day or so to check up."

Leaving the ranch that morning Anna felt a strange glow of satisfaction. She'd spoken truly; he had the strange ability to see her clearly, and finally she felt she'd been able to understand him a little better. She felt that perhaps she was really learning the other side of doctoring, tending not just to bodies but to the spirits that drove them. This warm autumn day she felt and full and promising as spring.

To top

In San Francisco, with a little free time, Jarrod found himself in the shopping area of town. He had the idea of buying a present for Anna, but nothing suited. Jewelry, he felt, was too personal too soon; raised in the South, she would have a keen sense of the proprieties and recognize jewelry as a presumption. Gloves? She only worse sensible heavy work gloves for driving. Perfume? He smiled at the thought of perfume under all that carbolic.

Perhaps a case of soap would be the most appropriate!

He settled on a book. Extremely suitable and unobjectionable, and it would provide later conversation. Remembering her fondness for Scottish romanticism he chose a Bulwer-Lytton for her, as well as some travel pieces by a new American, Henry James. For himself he chose another Trollope, companion to the one Hester Converse had lent him.

Think of the devil, he smiled. For Hester materialized just as he was waiting to pay for his purchases. "Why, Jarrod! Surely you're too busy to be doing all that reading."

"Some are gifts, Hester."

She raised an eyebrow. "I can't see your sister with Henry James."

"Perhaps I'm trying to improve her mind–not that I'm saying it needs improvement.

"Of course not. But fi you wanted to improve her mind I think a book of sermons would be more appropriate. Mr. James is a bit–racier, shall we say."

"You've read him? I don't know the name, but it looked interesting."

"He's a most penetrating essayist. He's done some wonderful pieces for The Nation."

Jarrod was surprised. "Hester, you read The Nation?"

"Mainly to annoy father, who considers it a monster of radicalism. But the literary articles are of the highest caliber. Oh, and Trollope! You must have enjoyed Phineas."

"I did, and that must be my excuse for keeping it so long. I must return it."

"Oh, no rush. In fact, I've just received the next volume in the series, fresh from England. It's most delightful. I'll send it around to you when I'm finished. But, seriously, Jarrod, when do you have so much time for reading? Aren't you taking on that wicked railroad?"

Jarrod laughed. "As I recall, your father is a director of that wicked railroad."

"All the better. I think I'll come to the trial wearing a red cockade and carrying a placard saying Power to the Little People. Shall you win, Jarrod?"

"I'm not sure I should discuss that with you, Hester."

"Oh, good heavens, Jarrod, I'm no spy. You could whip Coastal and Western a dozen times and there'd still be more than enough money–even for me."

"Perhaps. If Judge Cartwright isn't too much in the pockets of C&W I stand a good chance. Not, of course, that I have any desire to bankrupt you, Hester."

"I doubt you could. Apparently even I can't! But perhaps an honest trade would suit me. Can you fancy me as a milliner?"

"It's hard on the fingers, I hear. All those little pin pricks."

"Well, we can't have that. You'll just have to not beat Coastal & Western too often. Oh, I want to tell you. You needn't worry about Sylvia Ottway any longer. Little Sophie's already caught a beau. Syliva's over the moon. Quite a catch."

"A better catch than me? Hester, I'm hurt."

"Shush, nobody seriously believes you're catchable any more, Jarrod. You've been out and about too long. No, the lucky man is Mark Cotswold."

"I may be more catchable than Sylvia thinks."

Hester smiled. "I shall watch with great interest. All's well at home, I trust."

"Yes, thank you for asking."

"Will you be at the Rodgers' on Thursday?"

"If I have time."

"Oh, you must make the time. August is showing some paintings of a new man–Moran, I think. Scenes of the plains and the mountains. I know you're fond of that sort of work. Augusta says he's quite fabulous–like one of those new Parisians in an American setting."

"In that case I'll be sure to find the time."

"Good, good....Well, I'll give you good day, Jarrod. Don't worry about getting the Trollope back to me. And I will come see your trial."

"Without the cockade, I hope. It might prejudice the jury."

"In that case I'll come with an apple pie. Surely that would put the jury in the right frame of mind."

He was still smiling when he got to the train. Hester was one of those rare women who didn't mind other women's successes, perhaps because she'd had so many of her own. Mark Cotswold was an extremely eligible man by any standards–and one that had mooned over Hester for years. Yet his defection had scarcely bothered Hester at all. No doubt she had someone better–probably several someones–already on the line. And he didn't doubt she'd show up in the courtroom. He thought she might really bring a pie.


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