Elementary Novels

The Third Party by William Trevor

The law is: a third person is a person who was involved in the situation by the first two people. Often, a third party is necessary for divorce. But there are other situations. And it is not always possible to immediately understand who the third person is. The two men agreed to meet at the bar at noon. One of them said that the other should recognize him. After all, his appearance was already told: he was tall with blond hair, which was just beginning to become grey. The other person was short, slouching, and wore glasses. The second man’s name was Lairdman. The tall old man answered to Boland. The old man took out his wallet and offered to pay for the drinks. He took a stack of whiskey for himself and a glass of lemonade for another man. Boland took out a cigarette. Then he started the conversation.

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The Third Party by William Trevor

In law, the third party is a person involved in a situation in addition to the two main people involved. A third party quite often appears in cases of divorce, for example.

However, all threesomes are different. And in some of them it is not always clear which of the three people actually is the third party…

The Third Party by William Trevor

The two men met by arrangement in the bar of Buswell’s Hotel, at half past eleven. ‘I think we’ll recognize each other all right,’ the older man had said. ‘I expect she’s told you what I look like.’

He was tall, his face pinkish-brown from the sun, his fair hair turning grey. The man he met was thinner, wearing glasses and a black winter coat – a smaller man, whose name was Lairdman.

‘Well, we’re neither of us late,’ Boland said a little nervously. ‘Fergus Boland. How are you?’ They shook hands. Boland took out his wallet. ‘I’ll have a whiskey myself. What’ll I get you?’

‘Oh, just a lemonade for me, Fergus, this time of day.’ Boland ordered the drinks and they stood by the bar. Boland held out a packet of cigarettes. ‘Do you smoke?’

Lairdman shook his head. He placed an elbow tidily on the bar. ‘Sorry about this,’ he said.

They were alone except for the barman, who put their two glasses in front of them. Boland paid him. ‘I mean I’m really sorry,’ Lairdman went on, ‘doing this to anyone.’

‘Good luck,’ Boland said, raising his glass. He had softened the colour of the whiskey by adding twice as much water. ‘You never drink this early in the day, I suppose?’ he said, carefully polite. ‘Well, that’s very sensible, I always think.’

‘I thought it might not be an occasion for drinking.’

‘I couldn’t talk to you without a drink inside me, Lairdman.’

‘I’m sorry about that.’

‘You’ve stolen my wife from me. It’s not an everyday event.’

‘I’m sorry-‘

‘It’d be better if you didn’t keep saying that.’

Lairdman made no protest at Boland’s sharpness. ‘The whole thing’s awkward, I must confess. I didn’t sleep at all last night.’

‘You’re from Dublin, she tells me,’ Boland said, still politely. ‘You’re in the wood business. There’s money in that, no doubt.’ Lairdman was offended. She’d described her husband as clumsy, but had added he wouldn’t hurt a fly. Already, five minutes into the difficult meeting, Lairdman wasn’t so sure…

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