It was a crisper harder frost that brought Plumer to his feet . Stretched and made ready to feed his horse. Hay was good and sweet and he gathered the looser piles and loaded her manger . It was good horse hay made from the meadows of grazing grass and wild flowers. Dried in the summer sunshine and packed on the upper level of the barn . The fallen bits gathered gave enough to keep her busy half hour. He pulled water from the yard well and gave her drink .He stood back watching her checking her over with a horsemans eye.
Suddenly the Ostler arrived with some oats for the animal. Plumer thanked him and felt able to leave his mount in the young mans capable hands .He wandered towards the kitchen back door and knocked with his crop .
‘Sleep well Mister Plumer did you. Hard frost this morning .”
“Yes well enough. Is your master available Butler?”
:Indeed he awaits you in the library. I can order you breakfast sir .what is your liking?”|
“Thank you Bacon in bread with perhaps fried egg in it. “
“Be ready anytime you finish talks with the Earl .”
So it was the two men meet after nearly 34 years .
‘Lance Corporal Plumber indeed.Come in man .Glad it is to see you .”
“And you my Lord .”
“Good heavens Plumer how little you have changed. “
” Good living Sir. Have a game keepers job for Lord Strickland in Essex County.”
“Really thats good news. Ever marry.”
” No My Lord . She died in the plague before we got that far. “
‘Oh! sad it is to hear your troubles. ‘
‘ I have to told you of my recent trouble sir as yet”
” I see .Sit down man .Now tell me all.”
” It was October of last. I was rearing ducks for the shoot. In the bushes came forth a man so bedraggled and wet he collapsed in my arms. He came around to a dram from my flask. Seems he was robbed and beaten by forest scoundrels and all he had taken from his person.” . ”
“Great Scott you mean to say this goes on in Essex today. “
“No my Lord this man came from London . I searched the lanes he spoke of and yes a great scuffle had occur as he had explained. Yes in Essex ,as you say strange. “
‘ Im not sure where I come in to this problem Plumer?”
‘ The mans name was Gregson. He was the man along with others that robbed your brother and was therefore followed and robbed himself sir .I had this from police as my master sure fired rang them when he was the state of the man who fell from the bushes . I could have sent you a post card .Only im not good at forming sentences my Lord. Besides it is good to see my old Colonel after all this time since Africa. “
‘My thought two . So this Gregson where is he now. “
“In jail Sir in Harlow. As no goods on him police are waiting for these new fangled finger prints and see it they match the robbery at your brothers home .If so he will be be charged and hopefully name names. My master had heard from police that you had a death by murder of a man named John Payne.”
‘Him again. Bertie my brother lost a lot to thieves he told me. How can I help you Plumer. ?”
“Police told us that what ever was taken may well be part of a larger haul. Including what your brother lost sir.”
” I see.Well s my brother aware of all this ?”
? No Sir he is away in Italy as police could not get hold of him. Seems he owns a villa near Florence.”
” Yes it was my mothers family property left to us both. ”
“Has anyone located the contacts home as police must have gone into all of this in a murder case .They then say on no fixed abode was he now dead.”
‘Vicar said he rented an old cottage in need on great repair. You need to speak with him dear man.”
The day was milder and the sun tried hard to smile as the two men said their farewells near the gates of the old horse yard .
“Ah Lady Emma .Your father was just in the yard if your looking for him?”
“No Plumer. it is you I need for now. “
“What is it My lady?”
” Police are stripping that cottage the dead man used . Seems haul is not there .”
‘I wonder not really.”
“That is why im here .You know where it is dont you?”
‘Not exactly as yet, no my lady. I came across a marketeer and asked him to look out for the Earls brothers belongings if handed over for cash trade.”
“Sam the man.”
” Yes but how do you know?”
” I see him in the town often . He is a well know dealer of antiques .”
” That is why I went to him as if anything is about he will be the best one to sell too.”
‘And has he.I mean -“
‘Yes miss I know your meaning. Yes this silver cup . It is engraved with your family crest . He gave it me ans said he will seek reward as he had to pay for it to encourage more his way from whom ever it is.”
‘You mean to say he did not see who sold it to him?”
“No its by messenger boy ‘”
The day was at an end. The dinner over and The Earl sat with his wife examining the silver cream jug that sat on the coffee table before them.
“Its my brothers yes crest on both sides . My grandmothers went to him as i got the china Derby dinner set . We will have to keep it until he ships back from Italy in a Moth from now. “
“In the safe dear is best.Will there be more ?”
“I hope so my love as Plumber is in the diving seat should be a better chance of such .”
Thank you so much for reading .Part five next weekend.
Yours Sir K .
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2022.