“You’re calling from what? The Manchester Guardian? No, thank you. I have no interest in talking to a provincial paper,” said Sir John and put down the telephonic device.

“These people are like seagulls,” said Sir John to Marie. “They make a racket and pick away at you.”

“Still, it is nice to have you home,” said Marie. “I missed you.”

“And me, you,” said Sir John. “The constabulary had lots of questions, not a few I couldn’t answer. And none seemingly that Lady… that Miss Scrote could answer.”

Marie coughed. “That is her real name?” she said.

“Yes, it seems it is. It’s generally agreed now that her father was Robert Scrote so she’s no longer Lady Howarth and instead is plain Miss Violet Scrote. The newspapers started to get interested, as well, and they had even more questions than the police.”

The telephone rang again.

“Hello? You’re from where? The Washington Post? But the events didn’t occur anywhere near Sussex!” said Sir John, and put the phone down angrily.

“It’s a shame they don’t pay money for these conversations,” said Sir John. “I don’t think Lady… I mean Miss Scrote is likely, or even able to pay us.”

“Oh, that would be monstrous,” said Marie. “People would just make up stories for money…  What will happen to her anyway?”

“To Miss Scrote? Well, it seems Lord Edward had a cousin, Margaret,  who is delighted to take ownership of Grimley Hall. She has an estate already so probably won’t move there. She has said that Miss Scrote may stay there for a while, perhaps work in the kitchens or something, and have a small room. They’ll pay her a reasonable wage, even though she has no employable skills as such.”

“So she won’t move to Cheapside?” said Marie with a smile. “It must be the cousin who sent this,” she continued, indicating a large object on a table in the room.

They both walked over to the table and looked at a bulky object tied under a large piece of tarpaulin tied by string. There was a note that read, “Awfully grateful, Margaret.”

“I didn’t look,” said Marie, “in case it was one of your experiments.”

Sir John untied the tarpaulin and they both peered inside.

“How interesting,” said Sir John and replaced the tarpaulin. Marie did not stop him. “Must be the Howarth naval connection, I suppose.”

Octopus 2“How Interesting!”

“But tell me, how was your trip to the village?” said Sir John. “Did you find Alice Copsey?”

“I did,” said Marie, “and I read her her letters. She was so old and frail. I think this is why the ghost was so active. He didn’t want her to die not knowing the truth. She listened quietly to the letters and at the end she smiled like an angel. And a single tear ran down her face.”

“You may well be right. There hasn’t been a single haunting since you uncovered the skeleton,” said Sir John, when the telephone rang again.

“Now look here, I don’t care who you are or where you are from, but I have no wish talk to you so please GO AWAY!” He paused and turned white. Then his head bobbed down quickly. “Your Majesty!” he said weakly.

4 thoughts on “The Howarth Haunting: Epilogue

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