By Mary Stewart
Artist Jennifer Silver has come to the picturesque, secluded Valley of the Storms within the French Pyrenees to satisfy with a tender cousin who's approximately to go into the convent there -- simply to find that the younger girl has died in a dreadful motor vehicle coincidence. Or did she?
Lies abound during this unusual and frighteningplace, yet looking the reality may lead Jenniferto her personal violent death.
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That is, until she met Stephen Masefield. He had come up a little late, having already done his National Service, and having had the ill fortune to do part of it in Korea, where he had been wounded. It was a full year after his return to an English hospital before he was reckoned fit to take up the life so brutally interrupted. He was twenty-one, and full of a bitter sense of time wasted, and power perhaps atrophied with the laming of his body. He flung himself at his music as if it were a beloved enemy, and over his spasmodic, almost savage brilliance, Professor Silver alternately nodded and swore.
Buenos dias, senorita. The Reverend Mother is at present occupied, but perhaps you can discuss your business just as well with me? " The room into which Jennifer followed her bore the same evidence of poverty as did the rest of the convent. It was small and square and, beyond the scanty furnishing provided by the flat bed, single chair, chest of drawers and prie-dieu, it held nothing. The floor, of scrubbed white boards, was innocent of polish, and the plain uncarved prie-dieu was placed, deliberately it seemed, so that the kneeler's gaze was turned away from the sun-drenched prospect of meadow and mountain, and directed toward a crudely carved crucifix—an effigy that made it only too plain that the cross was an instrument of torture.
All that relieved the somber black was the small cross on her breast and the rosary hanging from her waist. With a slight inclination of the head she indicated the single chair to Jennifer. She herself remained standing near the door. Jennifer sat down. To her own surprise, the illogical feeling of discomfort persisted. Faced now as she was with one of the inmates of the convent, this woman who stood quietly in traditional medieval garb against the austere simplicity of white wall and unvarnished deal, she should surely have been able to dismiss her earlier tremors as absurd.
Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart