Thursday, September 18, 2014

the fotherinton inheritance, part 3

by heathcote parkman sternwall

illustrations by penmarq studios

chapters 15 - 21 of 156

for previous entry, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here





15. a rude request

"kindly remove yourself from the verandah, cousin darnell."

so rude a request seemed a bit much, even from cousin garland, and arboreta felt moved to protest, although cousin garland was not known for responding to protests, or to almost any communications from family members or other humans.

"but, garland, darnell has as much right to sit on the verandah as you do."

"her big feet are in my way."

"then surely the civilized course is to ask her to move her feet."

"is that not what i asked?" retorted cousin garland.

*

16. the full extent

ruling the clan with an iron hand as she had for so long, grandmother fotherinton was still hesitant to reveal the full extent of the import of the solicitor ternwhistle's visit on behalf of mr barborforth.

she might have revealed the details to her most trusted confidantes.

that is, if she had any trusted confidantes, which she did not.

was there one among the assorted weaklings and ne'er-do-wells to be trusted with any information at all?

*

17. credit

"enlighten me a little more, ternwhistle." mr barbourforth settled his bulk deeper in his chair and gazed sternly at the solicitor.

at least ternwhistle assumed he was being gazed at sternly. mr barborforth's eyes were not easily discernible in his rubicund face, or in the dim light cast by the fireplace in his study.

mr barbourforth took a cigar out of his breast pocket and studied it, studied it as if he had never seen such an object before.

"you say old mrs fotherinton seemed not at all put out by your information." mr barbourforth snorted. "i can hardly credit that. no, no, i can scarcely credit that at all."

*

18. what other choice?

"useless, quite useless, the whole lot of them," grandmother fotherinton muttered to herself, hardly for the first time, as she looked out at the "garden", as the ground beneath her window was still designated, although it gone completely unattended for at least ten years.

the sun had set. it was now more than twenty-four hours since the solicitor's visit.

should she attempt to send for rainsforth?

what other choice did she have?

she wondered if he were alive.

*

19. ternwhistle strategizes

"depend upon it, the old woman was shaken. shaken to the marrow of her evil old bones."

"sir, i could not read her mind." ternwhistle could barely keep a note of annoyance out of his voice. "i can only describe her demeanor as i witnessed it."

"yes, of course, of course." mr barbourforth sighed. "i did not mean to impugn your powers of observation."

"i will have papers drawn up to proceed as we have agreed. i still advise waiting a bit before serving them - no more than a few days - to see if she attempts to strike a first blow."

" oh yes, yes, do as you see fit ."

*

20. a visitor

turning aside from her window, grandmother fotherinton's eye was caught by a car starting to come up the long driveway.

who could it be? no one besides ternwhistle had made an appointment to see her.

might it mean more problems?

*

21. a young man of promise

kelvin armistead gave every outward appearance of being a young man of promise, and even more so a young man of sense, who could be counted on to follow a well-trodden path to felicity and a solid, if unspectacular career in the law.

might he be other than he seemed?

this was the first thought that had crossed mr barbourforth's mind when armistead had appeared in his chambers with his seemingly outlandish proposal.

a proposal involving an inheritance which on the face of it seemed quite worthless.

the estate of an ancient - very ancient - family in the most remote and barren region of the kingdom - a family which had managed to remain completely innocent of fame, glory, and even notoriety through the long centuries of its existence.

the fotherintons .

whoever they might be.

*

chapters 22 - 28



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