do me the honor, squire, of standing me a drink at yonder pub. it has better fare than you might think from the look of it."
valentine corgrave - for such was the true cognomen of "kelvin armistead" and as such we will henceforth refer to him - laughed.
95. jasper procrastinates
"have you not considered," jasper addressed arboreta, "the consequences of not waiting until the full moon has passed before reading grandmother's will."
"jasper, the will has been in mr garwood's possession for many a moon, full or otherwise. it is whatever it is, and i am sure there are no surprises. it will not change because we wait or do not wait," arboreta replied with as much patience as she could summon.
"and do you really believe that?"
"pardon me, miss, but do you mind if i sit here?"
the orphan's interlocutor was small, elderly, and dapper, with a long nose and a black top hat thirty years out of fashion. as the train swayed, he kept the top hat in his hand as a shield between himself and the orphan .
"not at all, sir, please make yourself comfortable."
the train was fifteen minutes out of the station , and the orphan had been expecting the man, or someone like him, since she had taken her seat in the second class compartment.
surely it had been too much to expect that she could travel down to wedgewhistle, the closest train station to madwood, without somebody following her?
and that whoever followed her would not think her so green that they could openly accost her without her suspecting anything ?
the little man took his seat across from her.
97. mutual profit
"you know, gobbins, there is really no need to play the slyboots with me, and think you have to finagle me into anything."
valentine took a sip of the ale he had purchased for himself. it was not half bad.
"no," he continued, " i think this may be both our lucky days, and that we can profit from each other's endeavors.
"yer don't say." goblbns eyed the former officer and gentleman warily, and took a hearty swig of his own ale. "and might yer have any particular endeavors in mind, squire?"
" i do." valentine looked over his shoulder.
98. the romantic side
"all this is very well, miss," garland's visitor assured her, after he he had finished his tea and she had finished her account, "but it seems - a bit farfetched. a bit - on the romantic side, shall we say."
garland's face fell. she had not expected this.
"but, sir!" she cried. "consider the possibilities! "
99. on the way
"unless i was misinformed, miss" the orphan's compartment mate addressed her, "this train does not stop until folke-on-turpin."
"i do not really know, sir," she replied. "i am only concerned with my own destination, and did not enquire as to the stops on the way."
100. a sincere hope
"my sincerest hope - my sincerest hope - is that no matter what is contained in the will, that everything will go on as before - exacty as before, as if grandmother were still alive."
such was aunt gerontia's first pronouncement on her reappearance on the verandah, which she had been absent from since the old woman's demise.
"i trust we all hope so," arboreta replied diplomatically.