Friday, September 19, 2014

the fotherinton inheritance, part 4

by heathcote parkman sternwall

illustrations by penmarq studios

chapters 22 - 28 of 156

for previous entry, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here





22. headlights

"sit down, please, cousin darnell, you are blocking my view."

"your view of what? the sun has set, there is nothing out there but the bleak, desolate moor."

good gracious, thought arboreta, are they going to start up again?

"yes, garland," arboreta interjected, in as reasonable a voice as she could manage, "perhaps you could tell us what you wish a view of?"

"a view of that!" garland pointed to the driveway, up which a long black touring car was approaching with dimmed headlights.

*

23. consolation

nothing could console or calm down cousin thomas "the redeemer".

cousin betsy was ready to give up trying - he did seem to be past the stage where he might start banging his head against the thin walls of his garret room.

the window of the room was too small for him to jump out of.

"we are doomed - doomed, " thomas muttered, his voice finally dropping a bit.

betsy was tempted to ask exactly when and how they were doomed, but of course that would only get him going again.

"i am going to leave you now, thomas."

*

24. a strange business

when mr ternwhistle had gathered up his papers and left, mr barbourforth sat gazing into the fire.

a strange business! and perhaps about to get stranger.

but he had committed himself to it.

it would be stretching the case to say that he felt excitement - he had long since passed the stage of life when he could even think of such a thing - but he did feel, a - a - how could he put it, a certain frisson - maybe even that was too strong a word.

he heard a knock on the study door - the unmistakable knock of his long time servant, craver.

"yes, craver?"

"a young lady to see you, sir."

"a young lady?"

"yes, sir. unmistakably young, and if i may presume to say so, unmistakably a lady."

*

25. opportunity

quickly making his way to a cab stand in the deepening fog, ternwhistle , though remaining alert to his surroundings, allowed his mind a few flights of fancy.

for here was an opportunity for a man to take a chance.

*

26. confidence

"i apologize, sir, for the lateness of the hour, but when you hear my story i hope you will at least acknowledge the necessity for caution which has prompted so irregular an introduction." the young woman gave mr barbourforth a smile which in its very brevity and coolness dazzled him by its complete confidence in its ability to conquer him.

the upper part of her face remained covered by a veil. but her voice gave ample credence to craver's assertions as to her breeding and youth.

mr barbourforth, who had settled snugly into his chair and only risen from it with some effort, returned a cool smile of his own.

"indeed, miss. i am a man who keeps late hours in any case. but i do not believe we have, in fact, been introduced."

*

27. a creature of impulse

"please forgive me, madam, for this intrusion. i sincerely hope i am not inconveniencing you . but i am a creature of impulse, and i was suddenly possessed by the need to present my case to you directly, without intermediaries."

grandmother fotherinton considered the young man standing before her, attired in the finest and most fashionable clothes seen at madwood in twenty years.

*

28. arrival

total consternation reigned on the verandah, where the handsome young stranger's arrival had broken the stagnant pool of the evening like a falling star plunging into a witch's cauldron.

*

chapters 29 - 35



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