Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Romantic Horror, London, circa 1800

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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:43 am

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"We would be pleased if you would dine with us, sir," Lila replies. "We are all fellow friends of Mrs. Piper's, are we not? I imagine you must have been well-acquainted with our good host even before she engaged your professional services, given the clear trust she has in you. Come, you must tell us how you met her. It can't have been easy for you to move out here alone to aid Mrs. Piper in her sickness. Where did you say your offices were?"
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:39 am

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"Mrs. Piper's condition is unchanged," says Henry. "At least she is not getting any worse. I do hope your fatigue isn't a sign of illness, Mr. Crayle. Perhaps I should examine you."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:51 am

"Perhaps you are right, my lord. And as I have never been one to refuse an invitation from so charming a lady, I will dine with you, if only briefly."

It may be observed during the meal that Mister Crayle eats little, and that his claim to be fatigued is rendered believable by the paleness of his countenance and the sagging of his eyelids.

In response to Miss Davenport's inquiries, he explains that he became acquainted with Mrs Piper when they both happened to attend a salon in the city of Lancaster, where he was previously employed as a clerk for a shipping firm.

"Having a fair opinion, if I do not overly flatter myself, of my knowledge of law and finance, acquired through experience rather than formal education, she was kind enough to offer me this position. As it was clearly superior to my previous position, and I had neither wife nor kin to keep me in Lancaster, I accepted.

"And may I be so bold as to inquire in what manner you came to be acquainted with that unfortunate lady?"
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:22 am

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"Mr. Crayle, I fear you may be developing some of the same symptoms as Mrs. Piper," says Henry, realizing that his suspicions may have been misplaced. "You are already losing your appetite, and the fatigue you feel may also be due to a similar condition."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:41 am

"Dear me, how distressing. I confess that I do not entirely feel myself, but I hope I am not fated to fall into the same condition as Mrs Piper. Is there any preventative which you might suggest?"
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:07 am

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"As I recall, we first met poor Mrs. Piper in the audience at a theater in London," Lila replies. "The Belle's Stratagem, I believe it was, though I was somewhat inebriated at the time due to a prior encounter with a sailor. In any case, she and I have a shared interest in the preternatural."

At the disturbing suggestion that Mr. Crayle may also be afflicted, she calls over one of the servants to inquire if any of the staff in residence have also taken ill in the past year.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:16 am

It is quickly established that all of the servants are in good health, perhaps because they well away from the insalubrious vapors of London.

At this point Mister Crayle announces that, as pleasant as the company has been, he must retire for the evening. He seems a little better than before, whether it be from the conversation or good, simple victuals.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby SunlessNick » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:08 am

[Rendered moot]
Last edited by SunlessNick on Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:54 am

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"I believe it was exposure to the lodestone that caused her symptoms," Henry tells Mr. Crayle as he leaves. "It has a similar effect on the mice I tried it on. The magnetic properties of the iron may be having some effect on the sanguine humours. Removing it keeps them from getting worse, but I'm still trying to find a way to improve her condition. We should examine your room carefully to ensure that there's nothing there that could be causing your distress."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:22 pm

"I have no objection," Mister Crayle remarks, "but, I beg you, please wait until the morrow. I confess that I am quite tired. I bid you all good night."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:45 am

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"I think it would be best to search now," says Henry. "If there is another lodestone or something else with magnetic iron in your room, you would be exposed to it all night long, with possible further ill effects."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:10 pm

"Hmmm. Well, I suppose it is of no avail to come between a physician and his diagnosis. Proceed, then."

The combined efforts of all of the investigators fails to find anything of interest in Mister Crayle's bedchamber. Meanwhile, he falls asleep in a chair, snoring quite loudly.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:48 am

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"Let's leave him be," says Henry quietly. "If he awakens early, he'll get in bed. We should leave the room so we can discuss matters without disturbing him."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:38 am

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"i am still unsure about the fact of Mr. Crayle inheriting the estate. Unless someone can come up with a circumspect way of asking him about the legality of this provision we may need to show him the will. I suppose we might send the document away for verification by another lawyer though that would take time which Mrs. Piper may not have. Then there is the matter of the tonic discovered under her bed. Either way, given all that has transpired, perhaps we ought to keep alert overnight for further activities."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby SunlessNick » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:47 pm

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"I wonder that he became ill once the two of you took apart the machine weakening Miss Davenport," says Ines.
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:43 am

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"That is an interesting possibility," muses Henry. "When he started showing symptoms, I thought I had misjudged him, but we may still not be able to trust him fully. Still, I think we should 'find' the will in the morning and present it to him. I'd like to check on the tonic now to make sure the seal is still intact, and we may want to take shifts again tonight to watch Mrs. Piper from the alcove and make sure nothing untoward happens to her."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:45 am

After an uneventful night, the adventurers waken to discover that Mister Crayle has mostly recovered from his previous state of imperfect health, and insists on ascribing it to an unpleasant journey in a coach commanded by an inexperienced driver, as well as the wearisome task of undertaking such a trip on a dull but necessary affair of business.

Mrs Piper also shows some sign of improvement, in that she is able to take nourishment and converse for brief periods of time. However, whether it be the ravages of the illness, or the inevitable decay of the faculties to which all who reach a certain age are subject, her behavior and statements reveal signs of confusion. The vial, yet unopened, remains where it was.

During a quiet moment, Mister Crayle makes discreet inquiry of Doctor North as to whether Mrs Piper should be declared incompetent to run her affairs.

"It may be a mercy to her," he says, "and it would be no shame. Even His Majesty is heir such weaknesses of the mind, it is said."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Rooter » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:20 am

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"Mr. Crayle!" Lila interrupts, coming in from the next room. "Ines and I were just in the salon and we found what appears to be Mrs. Piper's will!" She waves the document before him. "Isn't it curious that we are both mentioned in it?"
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:57 am

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"It must have been written recently, then," says Henry, watching Mr. Crayle's reaction. "Miss Davenport only met Mrs. Piper last year, and I believe your acquaintance with her is even more recent. As for Mrs. Piper's condition, I have seen that she is starting to improve this morning. It may be that she will yet make a full recovery in time, and I am not prepared to declare her incompetent at this point. I have heard such rumours of His Majesty, but even if they are true, I cannot imagine anyone trying to have him declared incompetent."
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Re: Chapter the Fourteenth: A Respite From Turmoil

Postby VictoriaSilverwolf » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:19 am

"I bow to your expertise, my Lord."

After examining the document for a time, Mister Crayle pronounces it in order.

"This appears to have been written in Mrs Piper's own hand, with which, of course, I am quite familiar. It is signed by two disinterested witnesses, as is proper. Yes, everything seems quite correct.

"I confess myself not entirely surprised by the provision which places me in possession of the manor should no other relation of Mrs Piper care to undertake such a burden. The lady had often expressed to me the fact that she had few living relatives, and those residing at some distance.

"As for the curious bequeathal to Miss Davenport, I must admit that I do not understand it, such an item being entirely unknown to me."
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