The morning sun broke through a sullen sky as the rain decreased and Soames was out of his bed early. The wicket gate clasp had been lifted and signs of footmarks in the softened grass path led him onwards to a reed bed swaying in the breeze coming up from the waters of the lake.
A swan took to flight leaving the water to take its refection then paddled into surf as the great white wings beat the air to rise far above him. Soames was every inch a country man but he heard a motor engine stop in the yard above the commotion of flight
” Hello you are Soames Er ! Mister John Soames. “The police man behind the plain clothes speaker approached slowly behind the officer.
‘ Yes that is me.Who wants to know may I ask.”
‘My names Inspector Paul Davis. Scotland Yard. London Division. This is Constable Higgins from Number 5 station in Wennington Lane. “
” Yes, so what is it you think me able to help with”? replied the Butler.
” You took in a pair of crooks last night sir. The car at the crossroads was involved in a bank robbery some hours prior. The couple go under the name of Bentley or a host of other names. “
‘ Right. Yes a couple knocked at his Lordships door last night late on. Gave us the likely enough tale of motorcar breakdown and stranded in the rain.Filthy night you see. Ours the only door in miles. Gave them tea and a bed for the night.”
” Taking in the air then sir?”
” No I came to see what happened later .This gate to us here was opened last night, well early hours the hounds from the kennels gave mouth . Too wet to trace the pair who had left the bed behind. Nothing obviously taken I checked pretty well everything Inspector. “
” Im sure you did. Been with Lord Bingham many years. Officer at war you served as his Aide de campe now his butler. is it. ?”
” Something like that I expect. He offered me a job when we marched out of uniform in India. Nothing I would not do for the old gentleman.”
” Well! just called to tell you watch out .We have recovered the motorcar and my guess is they did not go far enough out of this valley.”
The following day brightened and by noon, his Lordship had taken strides down to the farm behind the house, to see his beloved pig . Local show had won her gold medal as fattest baconer in the county. Fine figure of a sow she looked in his Lordships caring eyes. Joy of his morning walk was to take her tit bits to eat from his table.
Her eyes, flashed ,as soon as he appeared and he leaned over to feed her the last of the soup and mashed potato left over from the meal for the household from the previous night .
Her gussling and grunts told his Lordship how well she loved her food. Then his eyes came up to see a body laying across the pig pen shed floor . It was on closer inspection the man from last evening.The old Baron managed a sort of nobbled trot back to the house, unsteady on the corners but finally arrived in front of his man Soames ,as his breath returned ,related the report as Soames and the bead delivery boy ran to check while his master phoned the police station.
‘ Yes its our man alright. Sid Bishop his real name .Jewel thief and his woman is Morgan Ainsworth his accomplice who seems to have shot her man in the head. Id say ” Muttered the Inspector.
“Someone after them you think Inspector?”
” Yes without doubt. One Elma Donning a nasty piece of work in all ways bad. She was the wheel man in the raid but shot in an arm fell down near the car .Sid ran past her and drove the car around fast in front for Morgan as she dived in to the car he took off firing at us as he left. Elma must have hopped it as we never found her id say it was her who shot Silly Sid here when I give it thought. Bet his woman took to her heals. Last week arrested Mrs Pankhurst for knocking off a policemans helmet. Seems woman are no longer the weaker sect . This modern day 1912 is changing all we know as safe. Your guests too.”
“But why leave their beds no one could have reached them in the house?”
” No that is a puzzle. Anyway the bodies been moved sir. You are free to serve your master. He looked tired out. “
‘Not used to a morning run these days Id say Inspector.Hope you find your killer. “
” The cash bag too is still at large. “
“Sir ,shouted the policeman from the car. “Someone is up that hill watching us as just seen flash of binoculars sir. “
“Really Johnson. How far along that ridge. “replied the Inspector.
” About mid ships Id say,look look! there,see it?”
“Yes. Got it. Now all turn to the house and let us drive away as if we had not noticed. We can loop around back of them if lucky we may pull that off and arrest at least one of those women.”
Soames wandered back in and made tea as Cook came in and told him “His Lordship is in bed. “
It was after dinner that evening when the telephone burst into life .
‘Hello Morton 54 here.” Soames was sometime on the blower before relating the tale to his Lordship in the lounge room who was playing cards on his own.
‘So police arrested Elma in the next village on a public Omnibus. The other one said Elma shot at her too. Asked why they had left the house she said the pale faced lady the came into the bed room was crying and they could not sleep. Will that be all for now Sir?” The old Baron gazed into thin air but he made no reply.
The Lords eyes widened as Soames told him the last of the story and from then on he never went near that bedroom ever again .Nor did his Lordships Butler.
Another tale over.Hope ,really hope that you liked the read. Thank you all .Sir K
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2020.