In a smaller dining room, Sir John and Marie dined together. Lady Howarth had started to explain why she wouldn’t join them, then when she couldn’t think of a reason, had just waved her hands dismissively. The table was covered with silverware and in the center was a large soup tureen that the maid had brought. The room was a pale green with more portraits of Howarths. It seemed there had been a lot of them painted over the ages.

“So tomorrow the priest will come again, now he has the real ghost in his sights,” said Sir John, eating a huge bowl of soup with rustic abandon. “It looks like we may have cracked our first case, Mrs Jennings!”

“I’m not so sure,” said Marie as she took a small spoonful of her soup. “Something is not right.”

“How do you mean?” he said. “It all seems cut and dried.” He spilled some soup on his cravat and started fussing with it.

“It makes no sense though for this ‘peasant boy’ to haunt the mansion for so long. He was treated well, and respected even. And…” Marie hesitated, “I just…”

“…Have a feeling?” said Sir John, smiling. “Well your feelings have proved useful so far. I’ll tell you what, tomorrow before the exorcism I’ll use the Thanatograph. That will allow ghost voices to be amplified so maybe we can hear the voice of the phantom and find out more.”

“And I’d like to see that painting again,” said Marie. Sir John spat soup across the table.

“You can’t do that!” he said. “Lady Howarth was quite forthright on that matter as I recall.”

“Then during the exorcism,” said Marie, “I can go and look.”

“But that would be…” started Sir John.

“Maid,” whispered Marie as the maid came for the tureen. The Jenningses smiled at the maid as she took the soup away.

The Constabulary! “The Constabulary!”

“I trust all was pleasant?” she said.

“Very much so,” said Sir John. “Thank you Miss, er, Copsey.”

When the maid had left, Sir John turned back to his wife.

“…Breaking and entering!” he exclaimed. The maid was just going through the door and jumped a little.

“It’s not,” said Marie. “We are entered already and I will break nothing.”

“I don’t like it,” said Sir John, his voice rising. “There could be trouble. You could get caught. Lady Howarth would be furious. She might call…”

“Maid!” whispered Marie as Miss Copsey brought the main course.

“Here’s your fish, sir… madam,” said the maid.

“Thank you, very much obliged,” said Sir John, a little irritably.

“Is everything well?” said the maid, looking concerned.

“It’s fine, thank you,” said Marie, softly and Miss Copsey left.

“…The constabulary!” blurted Sir John loudly, and the retreating maid jumped and looked back quickly. Marie smiled at her and she scuttled out.

“It will be fine, mon cher,” said Marie. “You help the priest and I will see what I can find. Nothing untoward will happen; I am sure of it.”

Sir John started to gingerly eat the fine trout on his plate, his appetite vanishing.

Image thanks to thegraphicsfairy.com

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