"considering the time you have expended on this matter," ternwhistle continued cautiously, "i must confess i am surprised by your decision."
"time?" laughed mr barbourforth. "i have nothing but time. i have determined that too many people are now involved, that secrecy can not much longer prevail, and it is just not worth it to me."
mr barbourforth had brushed aside ternwhistle's first enquiry as to the documents in his possession, but a curiously emboldened ternwhistle returned to the charge.
"but, sir, surely someone will be interested in the singular documents you possess."
"no doubt, no doubt," mr barbourforth replied absently. he looked out the window.
the day had turned overcast. a few drops of rain fell on the window.
124. ternwhistle emboldened
"perhaps," ternwhistle continued, "if you do not wish to make use of these documents, someone else might."
mr barbourforth turned his attention from the window. "did you have a particular person in mind?'" his gaze narrowed. "has anyone contacted you in the matter? someone besides myself?"
blinking rapidly, ternwhistle plunged boldly forward. "no, sir, i was thinking i might make use of them myself."
"yes, sir, i thought you might give me the documents in lieu of my fee."
"what!" mr barbourforth laughed.
125. curiosity and representation
nettled by the little man's jocular - though not quite sneering - reference to the inheritance as a "folly" - the orphan paused before making her reply.
"and you, sir, are you a journalist yourself?"
he nodded. "i am, indeed."
"and if you do not mind satisfying my perhaps intrusive curiosity - but surely, a person whose profession is intrusiveness might take a charitable view - what journal do you represent?"
"ha, ha! that is very well said! ha, ha! quite to the point. i perceive that you were not ignored when the forthright manners were handed out! by thunder, it's jolly to see how plainspoken young ladies are these days! indeed it is!"
"that is all very well, sir, but as you are so pleased by what you term my forthrightness, perhaps you will be so kind as to requite it by telling me which journal or newspaper you represent."
the little man smiled. "which do you represent?"
126. a dream
oblivion mercifully descended on garland and she fell asleep.
she dreamed she was walking through the grounds of madwood, which in the dream were not a blasted wasteland but an enchanted forest of tall green trees and shaded pathways.
the forest stretched on and on. she needed to reach the end of it but could not.
she needed to reach the edge of the forest before she could return to the house where grandmother's will would be read.
the leaves on the trees turned red and began to fall...
127. storm clouds
"my goodness," thought arboreta as she saw the storm clouds gathering, " i hope pothers has no problems on the road."
pothers was the ancient chauffeur that arboreta had dispatched to the train station to pick up the journalist from the city.
the journalist whose imminent arrival she had not confided to anyone.
128. the wisdom of experience
"quite the schemer, aren't yer, squire? well, let me just say, i think you are making this a deal too complicated. a deal too complicated indeed."
valentine hesitated. "well, i defer to your hard-won expertise. but, look here - " he pointed to the pub's small window, on which raindrops could be seen streaming. "it's getting quite dark now."
gobbins laughed. "a dark day aren't the same as a dark night, trust me i know. i say, wait until proper dark, there's a good gentleman."
valentine made as if to rise. "very well then, i will meet you back here when darkness has fallen."
" that's not very comradely, squire. i was thinking we could drink the afternoon away."