A ring at the doorbell, followed by the tap-tap of Jackson’s feet on the tiled front entry preceded Jackson’s knock on the door of the morning room. “There is a gentleman here to see you madam” she said. Well it was very early and Maisie Benton-Smythe, the Countess of Waverley, was certainly not expecting anyone. Taking a look at the proffered card, Maisie quickly ascertained that this was not a gentleman known to her. What to do? She was alone in the house except for Jackson, the parlour maid and Higgins the chauffeur. Should she receive this stranger or send him away? Or Jackson could deal with him and suggest he return at a more convenient and agreed time. which would give Maisie time to find out who he was and in fact, whether she wished to receive him.
Indeed, he could not be a gentleman – no gentleman would call unannounced on a lady early in the morning. So it was decided. Jackson would send the man on his way suggesting that he write a note for madam stating his business and requesting a time to call upon her.
With Jackson despatched to pass the message to the gentleman, Maisie took herself off to the window to watch him depart She was surprised to see a late-model sports car parked at the kerb and soon after she saw a swarthy gentleman in a Panama hat climb into the driver’s seat. Who could this be she wondered.
An excited call to Juliet Drummond (her very best friend) with a demand that Juliet hurry around to the house without delay. Over cups of coffee the two friends discussed this “gentleman”. Had either of them seen him before? No they didn’t think they had. How had he found where Maisie lived and what could his business be with her? A quick call to Imogen (Lady Carruthers) meant that she would join the other two in trying to determine who this gent could be.
Imogen, it was, who thought she had seen this gentleman at the restaurant when they were having lunch on the day that they retrieved the bonnets. But who was he and how had he discovered where Maisie lived. The three women were very worried that he might be a stalker, with evil intentions. The telephone was lifted again to call Juliet’s brother, Charles Spencer, who happened to be a Member of Parliament and as such had acquaintances (if not friends) in all sorts of occupations. One such was the Head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Walter Burke. Charles promised to contact his friend and to report back as soon as possible.
Where is this story going? I don’t know so please watch this space. I am having fun with these ladies and their adventures. I hope you are too.
And “the swarthy gentleman in the Panama hat seen lurking in the department store and later driving past Masie’s in a late model sports car” is an invention of Thomas Stazyk. Thanks Thomas.