The Squire sat still in his easy chair gazing across the lake to the old folly building on far side. His eyes clear from care his whiskey at his reach a pain in his chest .He felt it creep across him like a suit of tight armour . He saw the figure come from the folly to the very lake side waving at him. He knew his time had come . There was a taste in his mouth of indigestion .His chest being crushed his arms unable to release the vice like hold on his breathing.
He slumped back in the cozy folds of the chair . It was over and he knew it .No fight left his man from the folly had come out at last to laugh at him .
“So what time did you call on him Lord Derby.? “
“It was as Rubens here let me in .Seconds after 11am this very morning .:Replied the Peer.
:Rubens has the body been moved at all?”
‘No doctor just as you see him is how I found him as I let Lordship in I went to wake master .He often takes a nap you know. “
The man was visibly moved and so Doctor Howes released him from the room.
He then marched softly over to the dead mans body .Slumped in the chair ,as it was, hoping for clues.
Police arrived at noon and the body seen close up.
“So heart attack Doc or fowl play?” uttered the Inspector from Scotland Yard.
‘Unless that whiskey is poisoned I would be sure its natural causes.Suffered heart trouble over time did old Henry Vane . “
The police Inspector bagged both bottle and glass.
‘Well im no use here .Best drive back to London for the meeting at 5pm with Prime Minister. Who will inherit then Rubens?”
“In fact I cant say as master changed his will last month end when lawyers came here. Could be his nephew Charles Pernell or that Mister White . “
“White the news hound .My word what was Henry thinking?”cried his Lordship.
‘John White is an historian researching the Neville line of masters family . Ill have to ring and tell him sir as its his day for calling .”
The night air came in close as the corpse was carried out into the wooden box provided by Sherwoods Funeral Parlour in the village . Rubens had butlered for Sir Henry over 43 years with never a complaint .Then at 70 himself he had no place to go now it was all over. For now he crept back to sleep once more in the bed in his room. Forget it all as he took one of the bottles of wine down and de corked it. Set it to rest and wondered what it felt like to drink it. Master gone his wine cellars soon to be someone else. He took it by the neck into his little room and closed firmly the door with his foot behind him.
It was 10am and someone knocking at the front door. Rubens had only been up a few minutes and felt sick. “Yes good morning is this the home of Sir Henry vane ,my man .”Spoke the words of a stranger. A man in a long black over coat .
Rubens was not in the mood and worried about his future. “No this is not that home anymore . ” And closed over the door . He was feeling badly after drinking a whole bottle of claret from the bottle before passing out.
The knocking continued and it was not all from inside his head .”Sorry sir there has been a death in here. What is your business?”
“You are ?”
‘Rubens the butler sir. “
“You not well old sport look rather pale.”
” No shock only .Can I help?”
The man in the long coat smiled .”No perhaps not. Who got the old drum then?”
The butler looks puzzled
“The house who got it then.” explained the man.
‘We are not in that knowledge as yet sir .One must wait for the will reading.”
“And when will that be my man?” laughed the caller.
Rubens had not a clue so after a while the man left .
It was later it happened.Rubens had been polishing to table in the masters largest room . He heard a noise from the lake as if a boat had hit the water.He was forced to look up and there as sharp as daylight he saw a figure dart across from the boat into the stone built folly room . He was a tall man all in black as if wrapped in a cloak. He lay the cloth on the table and opened the door in the glass bay .There he could see a fire was lit in the folly .Gray smoke whisped up into the morning air from that tall chimney set against the hillside . It was a long walk around but in fact he had nothing to do .No one to serve and no job at all left for him.
He reached the steps to the little arched doorway in side of the small building .The door firmly closed .He did not knock in announcement but stretched to see into the leaded window . He fell back wards almost into the lake. He picked himself up and fled as fast as his old legs could carry him. Panting he arrived at the glass bay door and was sick as a dog on remains of wine and pure shook at the sight of what he saw in very that room.
The will read the victor ,nephew Charles Pernel took charge of the house keys. The assembled left with best wishes to that man.
Up from the kitchens came the Butler, bag in hand,he saluted ,in time honoured fashion the new master and left the home he had now for 45 years .
He walked aimlessly into the park and flopped down on a empty bench to think what to do next.
He was miles away in deep thought when Pernel came to his side.” Tired are you dear mister David Rubens .Me thinks you have much work to do to introduce me to my uncles house and ways . “
“I can do that for you Sir but I am to sign on for new work. “
“As is your wish .Then I have a job in my home if its likeable to you. “
“To be your butler sir is that your intent?”
“Make no mistake my man you are?”
The two walked back happily to the house.
” So whats that hut on the horizon .He never told me about it you know. ?”
‘It is an odd building sir .Placed there as an decoration called an English garden folly sir. Some one inhabits it at times .My master watched it daily but as much as I asked he never said a word about it . Sat in that same chair he did watching always watching . He was badly infirm by fall from his hunter four years ago. Never left that chair slept in it ate in it . I had to bath him as his legs had no power his back injured you see. “
‘ You say its occupied,by whom ?”
‘ I do not know sir but can say its not of this world and best left alone . “
‘How very interesting. So my Uncle watched to see it did he?”
:He was a good man until he had that accident . He changed into fear and upset soon after. It is all I can say of the matter .He told me nothing of that building ever. Will you be dinning in sir ?”
“Yes Rubens . What is for dinner ?”
‘ Roast pork and apple sauce and selected garden greens sir .”
” Jolly good sounds wonderful .he told me you cooked too. “
‘ Yes sir man of many tricks. We are perhaps low on certain items I must bring to your attention. “
” Just write what you need down and have them deliver pay on delivery Ill give you permission “
Part one ended .Part two next week .
Thank you for reading yours Sir K
copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2022 July.