20. Worried about Velma.

Just now, when I passed Velma’s cabin, as I must have done a hundred times in the last few days on all manner of imaginative errands, I thought I heard a few choked sobs. But it stopped – or what I imagined stopped – when I called out her name at the door.

A gentle knock, still nothing.

A hearty rapping of nail polish and knuckles, and still nothing.

The Cabin Steward took my request to break down the door with no small amount of scorn, ‘Madam’, and was even forced to yank his passkeys and chain from my grasp. In the end, faced with nothing but the unyielding wood of a well-made door – able, I’m sure, to survive all manner of sea-borne catastrophe, up to and including ‘hysteria’ – I was forced to retreat. But not until a rather embarrassing squall of requests had left my lips (‘Do let me in’, ‘I miss you’, and ‘What’s wrong?’) as I clung to her door handle like a rather pitiful study of Greek tragedy.

How could it be worse? Well, of course – of course – who should come along but Mr. Pelham at that very moment! Though, luckily, he took the prudent view over all my washed out mascara, and the current lack of ‘that abominable, boorish woman’, and scooted past me like a be-whiskered sea lion, squished – snout down – to the opposing wall of the hallway.

Oh, Velma…

Later, I suppose.

Not much point in leaving another note.

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