Means to an End

Lord Bruce Pallington owned one of the richest estates in England. His young wife, Laura, was beautiful but didn't love him. She flirted openly with men of the fashionable circle with whom they socialised. Bruce never took her flirtations seriously, and their friends knew he didn't.

Then David Stone arrived on the scene. He was young and handsome and had already attained fame as a brilliant surgeon, but had not yet made his fortune. As was expected, Laura flirted but surprised everyone by flirting with the newcomer.

Within a few weeks, things had changed. It was obvious to all, including her husband, that Laura no longer flirted within the group. She seemed interested only in David, for she had fallen in love with him and he with her.

The routine of Laura's life had changed, too. Things she had done by habit on certain days were switched to other times and places. Bruce became suspicious, and suspected she was meeting David secretly. And the lovers were meeting secretly. They wished to be together always and talked about what they might do, or what might happen. If she asked for a divorce, it would likely be granted but she would be penniless. Where would they live and what would they live on? If Bruce died Laura would inherit the estate.

David, to make money, worked harder. His great skill was always in demand, and the more surgery he did, the greater his skills became. The tricky cases other surgeons preferred not to handle, he fearlessly took on and so became an even better surgeon.

Meanwhile, what about Laura? She had next to nothing to do and so had lots of time just to think, and what did she think about? How she could get the estate so she could live there with her lover. But that could only happen if Bruce were dead. And so, she thought about how to get Bruce out of the way and decided to murder him.

A month later, Bruce began suffering pains in the stomach. He was examined by his doctor who gave him medicine for an upset tummy, but it didn't work. Because the pain was becoming intolerable, his doctor had him taken to hospital for urgent exploratory surgery. David was on duty and was surprised to have to operate on his lover's husband but it made no difference to him. This patient, just like any other patient, was just another case.

He made the necessary cuts and incisions and was soon looking at the inside of Bruce's stomach. He scooped away the remains of a partly-digested meal, enabling him to examine the stomach lining. The moment he saw its inflamed surface, he knew its cause – powdered glass!

Instantly, he knew Laura had tried to murder Bruce. What was he to do? Save Bruce's life, or let him die? Denounce Laura to the police? Or live in luxury with her on her dead husband's estate?

Being a sensible person, he did the sensible thing!

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