"I'm certain what we seek is in one of the fireplaces," says Alexander, "but I havena found the right one yet. I just have to keep searching them all until I find it, unless there's some way to narrow it down to a particular room or area. Aye, I can help you with a little task, so long as it willna take too long."
I'm also tempted to test the levels in some of the outbuildings." Isolde says as she picks over her lunch. She says nothing about George, not wanting to get him into any trouble, but does give him a wink.
She tries to see Harry's sketches without seeming too obvious and then says,
"Vic, I can help you with the libary this afternoon if you wish."
Meanwhile, Vic and Isolde head to the library to find the location of relevant information.
She closed her eyes and rolled her shoulders, mentally preparing herself for the task ahead.
"Aye, we can do that," says Alexander. "Considering his mood, I wouldna expect his reaction to be a good one, but we can try."
Vic meanwhile finds something interesting – the Forby family bible. On the flyleaf, the following is written:
Nicholas Forby – Alison Sperring
Aleister Forby – Rhoda Trevellan
(1826 – 1854) (1813 – 1866)
Harold Forby – Gertrude Meddler
(1850 - ) (1852-)
The early volumes range from around 1789 until 1817, and are filled with sketches and plans of his work and his writing – discussions of his works and philosophy, which seems to be a passionate rendered blend of atheistic cynicism and fatalism. As he becomes more successful, especially with his ceilings, a mystery malady begins to plague him. He complains of “painful and disparate’ fits of lethargy, alternating with frenetic fits of energy, in which he works like a man possessed. At length these fits become so bad, bringing him to the edge of madness, that he is forced to leave off work and retire to the country.
"I'll see if he will," says Alexander. "He's none too fond of me at the moment, but I'll give it a go." He heads off to find Forby.
But his health begins to deteriorate again, and he loses the use of his legs. Bains becomes “indispensable” – Nicholas calls him “my limbs”, and insists that Bains be included in a portrait of him that Christopher paints. Nicholas sketches the frame he makes for the portrait. His philosophy becomes darker in the face of persistent pain and disability. He also notes finding a secret passage from which he can observe other rooms, particularly those of Alison and Christopher.
An entire section has been cut from the end of the last of these middle books, some time ago it would appear.
Alexander goes upstairs and knocks at Forby’s bedroom door. Gertrude answers, her face brightening when she sees him.
“Yes, Doctor” she says softly. “What can I do for you?”
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