Saturday, 10 March 2007

Chapter 44

Stan Redfearn wondered what was eating into Harry, when he seemed to cut the discussion with Colin short, with a curt: “Well, thank you for your information, Mr McAllistair, but I think I’ll hold onto these medals a while longer,” and he’d scooped the medals off Colin’s lap and stuffed them into his pocket. McAllistair had seemed genuinely surprised: “The valuation I suggested can only be a provisional one, Mr McFry. Unless you have a competent dealer look at them, you won’t know their true worth.” Colin had waited for Harry’s response, but when there was none, he went on: “Perhaps you could give me your number, and I could ring you when you’ve had time to think about it?”

“Sure,” Harry had said, and he’d scrawled his office number on a piece of paper he took from Stan’s counter. “I’m sorry we can’t talk longer, but Danny and I have some business to attend to.” Danny had caught the cue, and stood up just as Harry did, and they’d both bid McAllistair goodbye.

As Stan rose, too, to let them out, he tapped Harry on the arm as they stood by the door. “What’s wrong, Harry? That’s a good price. More than I thought they’d fetch.” His voice was low, so McAllistair wouldn’t hear him.

“Do me a favour, Stan,” Harry had said, equally quietly. “Get me the name of that ‘competent dealer’ he mentioned: but don’t let him know I want to know.”

Stan had smiled as he let them out. So Harry did want to sell the medals after all … but he just didn’t want McAllistair to know. Well, that was Harry’s business. He was a deep one alright, that Harry McFry.

Stan had returned to the counter where Colin had collected his folder and was sat down again, waiting for Stan to return.

“He’s a bit of a strange one, your Harry McFry, isn’t he?” he’d asked Stan, but in a friendly enough way.

“He’s an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, enveloped in a mystery,” Stan had replied, enjoying the pleasure of quoting Churchill’s description of the Soviet Union. “But I know Harry, Colin. He’s a sound man. It’s my guess he’ll think things over, and want to talk to a dealer about the medals. Maybe you could give me a number?”

Colin had seen the opportunity, and seized it. “Of course. Tell him to ring Cyril. Cyril Galloway. Here’s his number. Between you and me, Stan, it was Mr Galloway who helped Jonathan Harcourt sell his medals all those years ago. He’s got connections in Spain, you see,” and he’d jotted down Galloway’s number on a piece of paper he pulled from the counter. “Mr McFry would be a fool not to sell those medals – particularly if he’s got the certificate to back them up.” Stan took the paper from Colin. Harry was a lot of things, to a lot of people, he thought. But Harry was no fool.

1 comment:

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