the “station” deemed to consist only of a sign saying “wedgewhistle” and nothing else. there was no station house, certainly no station master, not even a bench.
and no persons in sight from whom she could enquire as to directions.
she saw something about a hundred feet away that looked like a path, so she supposed she might as well take it.
she was glad now that in her haste she had brought no luggage, except her large purse.
she heard the train pull out. she turned and watched it disappear down the track.
she heard a voice behind her. she turned and saw the little man who had shared the compartment with her.
nothing surprised her any more.
in fact, it seemed quite logical that he had gotten off.
he must have debarked on the other side of the train.
he smiled at her. his smile, which had so repelled her on the train, she now found somewhat reassuring, as otherwise she would have been completely alone.
“la, miss, what a surprise.”
“well, not exactly beyond the wildest dreams, perhaps. but a nice haul, a nice haul for one with the nerve to take it.”
“can i ask you a question, squire?”
“have you been smoking opium?”
“ha, ha! weii, between friends, i enjoy a pipe from time to time when i can afford one. but i assure you that it is not the case that this matter is but a fever dream.”
“there are documents. documents i have seen with my unclouded eyes - “ valentine sighed. “but which i have not been able to hold in my hands or seize.”
“hmm. so who does have them? “
“a fellow named barbourforth, from montagu square.”
“so if this barbour fellow has the documents , why don’t he make use of them himself?’
“i thought so. but what is the answer to my perspicacious question?”
“the answer is that mr barbourforth is not the right age.”
“the right age for what?”
“the right age to play the part of the claimant of the will he has in his possession.”
“ah. ah.” gobbins nodded sagely. “and you are?”
“i am. or more precisely, i was. we had an agreement, barbourforth and i.”
“justice will not be served by this proceeding.”
lying on her bed in her little room, after her seeing her guest on his way, garland tried to pull herself together.
what a fool she had been to confide in a person virtually a stranger to herself, though known to grandmother.
were all her hopes now dashed?
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