Chapter 12 – Reunited
The next 48 hours were the most frustrating and depressing in Amelia’s short life as a Detective, knowing that it was all going on around her and she was stuck impotently at home.
There were a few diversions to break up the monotomy. First, soon after she had taken a light lunch, Robert Garstang arrived. She was pleased to see that he was so much recovered from his ordeal in captivity and from what he said he was eager to get back into harness as soon as possible. He asked Mary to fetch them some tea.
He began by giving her effusive thanks his rescue. Amelia was flattered and blushed. She wondered just what he remembered of his rescue (she reminded herself that she was supposed not to have been there) so she asked “When you were brought here you were in quite a bad way and you were in no state to be able to describe how you were rescued. Can you tell me anything about it?”
“I was retained by Mr Fellini to ensure he was paid for the rifles he had supplied to the War Department. When I investigated the situation I discovered that only half the rifles he supplied to Beech and Pablo were redirected to the WD. I set off to tell Fellini that I had enough evidence to persuade the police to raid B & P. As I was decending from the cab at the Dorchester Hotel, I was approached by two men who pushed me back into the cab and ordered the cab driver to leave. I’m not sure what happened after that, I think they probably drugged me. When I woke up I was chained up in the cellar where your people found me. I don’t know how many days I was there and it was a terrible experience, a lot of time I spent in the dark. Then eventually, three men came down, released me and dragged me up the steps. I was scared stiff that they were going to kill me and I couldn’t understand why they would do that forjust few rifles. Now of course I know why, they had a much bigger objective, but at the time I was probably still suffering from being drugged. Anyway, at the top of the steps there there was an almighty row. As far as I could make out the men who had been keeping me were attacked and knocked out. Three other men then took charge of me and escorted me to the door. At the entrance, we stopped and one of the men set off up the street, then shortly afterwards we followed. They helped me into a cab and we set off. After a time, one of the men got out and we set off again. Sometime afterwards we arrived here. The rest you know.” He looked round the room, “I remember I was here. I recognise the sofa and the desks, but I don’t remember much else”
“Whilst you were incarcerated in the cellar, Woman Constable Jane Wilks and I were commissioned by your sisters to find you, and we worked very hard because we knew time was the essence.”
“They tell me that you were wonderful.”
Amelia looked down demurely at the ground, “Thank you sir! I’m sure they exagggerate and if it had not been for your original investigation, no one would have known anything until the villains had got off scott free with their loot.”
“Be that as it may. Now I am taking up the case on for Mr Fellini onced again. He is due the $250,000 he was promised by the War Department and I will make sure he is fully recompensed.” Amelia did not want to go into what was happening at present and she thanked him for his explanation. After some further small talk, during which he assured Amelia that he would keep her informed, Robert took his leave. As the door closed behind him, she thought to herself, what a nice man.
She dined alone saying continually to herself how much she would like to be in Southampton where all the action would take place, but she knew that if Beech and Pablo (or Mr & Mrs Muldoon as they would be) were to be apprehended they must know nothing about the trap being set for them and she may be recognised if she were there. It crossed her mind that she could go as Lord Fauntelroy, but she would never forgive herself is she were to be the cause of their escape, so she finally reconciled herself to staying where she was. After dinner she sat down with her notes of the case to bring them up to date.
Although she had found it difficut at times to concentrate properly, she had managed to complete her notes of the case to her satisfaction. ‘If only I had a Watson to do it for me’ she thought. It was around 10.30pm and she was on the point of clearing her desk and asking Mary for a night cap to drink before retiring for the night, when there was a loud knocking at the front door. ‘Who could it be calling so late?’ she thought ‘It must be an emergency of some sort’. Her fears were confirmed when Mary appeared at the door with a policeman in tow. “Constable Garrett, Miss, with a message from Inspector Knott.”
“Come in Constable, would you like a drink, ale or tea or something?”
“I can’t drink alcohol on duty, Miss, but a cup of hot cocoa would be nice,” Mary was dispatched and he handed the letter to Amelia. He seemed such a nice young man, not at all like the constables she knew, but then he had probably been through the fire yet of dealing with the dregs of society. That would inevitably harden him up. She turned to the letter. It read;-
Dear Miss Ecclestone, I thought I ought to let you know as soon as possible the outcome of my further investigations after you left this morning. First, our suspicions were correct. Mr and Mrs Muldoon took the Dublin ferry from Liverpool on the date we expected. This could be a co-incidence but I don’t think so. Unfortuately, there is no record of them returning and I would be surprised if they left it so late if they intend to catch the Cunard liner the day after tomorrow. On the second matter, the man we found trussed up in the B&P office confessed to working for the War Department. His name is Michael Robinson. However in spite of intense questionning (‘did that mean a beating?’thought Amelia) he would not admit to anything else including why he was in the office in the first place. All he would tell is is that he walked into the office to be faced by a man in evening dress, wearing a cape and top hat. He remembered nothing until he woke up in the condition we found him. He thinks he was hit violetly on the head. We are keeping him in custody and tomorrow we will get over to the Department to see if we can find out where he fits in. I wish you a good night’s sleep, Inspector John Knott, Scotland Yard
Amelia looked up when she had finished reading the letter, to find the Constable dozing in the chair, with a cup of cocoa, untouched besides him. “I will just pen a reply to Knott and then you can be on your way.”
He jumped with a start “Oh it must have been the warmth of the room that nearly put me to sleep.I’m sorry.” Amelia smiled and indicated the cup of cocoa. In her reply she thanked the Inspector for taking the trouble to write and suggesting that he arranged to have checked all the ferries from Ireland to England (and Scotland) for the last 3-4 days. ‘That will keep him busy tomorrow’, she though. She handed the note to the constable, wished him good night and welcomed Mary carrying in her own nightcap.
The next day passed slowly with no news, but Amelia had become reconciled to the inactivity and had arranged to visit her friend Alice whom she had shamefully been neglecting. Young Julian must be coming along now by leaps and bounds, she thought. The cab took her along to the house and she was welcomed at the door by Costa. “Good morning madam. Mrs Worcester is waiting for you in the drawing room. I’ll take you through.” She introduced Amelia and asked if whe wanted tea, coffee or a glass of wine or cordial.
“Coffee will be fine” and she entered the room to be greated by Alice as a long lost friend.
“Come and sit down and tell me all the news. Its been a long time so there is lots to tell I’m sure.”
“I’m afraid, more than I could possibly deal with in a single visit, which shows I suppose how long it is since we were together. Perhaps you should start and tell me what you have been up to.”
“Its baby talk for the most part. McKenzie is kept busy with his work. He is being very successful as far as I can understand, but he does not tell me much. Julian and I are getting along just fine. He is growing into a fine boy. Nanny will bring him in soon so you can see. Its always my hope that seeing my young son growing up will encourage you to, you know what….”
“Get married and have babies you mean? Never. You know my views on marriage, ‘obey’ and all that.”
“You disappoint me, Amelia. Well here is your coffee. Thank you Costa. We go out, rain or shine. Julian enjoys watching the other children playing with a bat and ball and he gets quite excited just watching. I have learned from one or two of the other mothers that the best thing to do with little boys is to give them an opportunity to let off steam. Once they are tired they sleep much better at night. McKenzie is very keen that his lessons are not neglected but of course he is far too young for formal lessons, but Nanny has come up a range of challenges for him. I’m amazed just how much he does understand. Because he is not able to walk or talk yet I imagined that his understanding was not developing but Nanny knew what to do. All that guff about children being seen and not heard is just that -rubbish. Julian seemed to want stimulation almost from the moment he was born and we were really fortunate to get Nanny. She knows so much. I can tell from the look on your face, you goose, that I am boring you. Don’t protest. Tell me what you have been up to. Been assaulted or anything else exciting? Go on, you know you are dying to tell me.”
Amelia knew that trying to contradict Alice was a waste of time, so without more ado she set about outlining the basic story of the ‘missing brother’ case as best she could. However hard she tried she found it impossible to cut much out as one incident led onto the next and when she tried shortening the story, she kept having to back track. Alice prevailed on her to stay to lunch, so it was mid-afternoon when she got away. She was desparate to get home in case there was any news, but when she got there she was disappointed that there was none. Such an anti-climax. She whiled away the afternoon picking up and putting down her needlework, finally picking up one of Dr Watson’s stories. She knew most of them by heart but familiarity didn’t mean that from time to time she learned something that she had overlooked before. As darkness began to fall her thoughts turned to Jane and when she would be home. she delayed dinner, hoping that Jane would appear in time to eat with her. And in this wish she was at last successful. She heard the key in the front door and within a minute, Jane bounded into the room. Amelia was overjoyed to see her. They flew into each other’s arms and Amelia put all her frustration into embracing Jane, quite driving the breath out of the young woman. In unison they said “How are you? You must tell me what you have been up to.” They pulled apart, looked at each other and laughed. They were re-united.
Dinner took twice as long as usual as they ignored their manners as they talked, talked and talked. Jane had had a great time in Ireland with Jones. They had not learned very much. If Beech and Pablo of for that matter Mr & Mrs Muldoon had visited the glass works where the rifles had been sent to then they did not find out. Neither had they located the rifles because no one at the Company had any idea what they were talking about. The Company Director presented Jane Jones with a set of wine glasses each. They talked until they were exhausted then retired to bed.