In March encouraged by a couple of my blogging friends, I decided to continue the story of Maisie Benton-Smythe and her friends. And guess what – after making that promise and writing a post I completely forgot; that is until April 7 when I did, in fact, continue the story, in this post.
But procrastination is still alive and well here. So without making any more promises, I am now continuing the story.
After Julia left to prepare for dinner with her fiancé, Maisie phoned Juliet. After discussing their daughter and goddaughter for a few minutes, and agreeing that she was infuriating, they then said they had more pressing things to discuss.
“I think you should call Charles and ask him to come for lunch tomorrow. It might also be a good idea for Hector to come too.” Offered Juliet.
And so it was agreed. Maisie made the call and the invitation to lunch was accepted. Sir Charles also offered to relay the invitation to Sir Hector, who he had no doubt, would accept. Maisie filled n some more details for Sir Charles in the hope that further investigation would prove the man a fraud.
Sir Charles also suggested that Reggie be at the lunch too and with no idea that Reggie had moved out, added that she could discuss this with Reggie tonight. Then Reggie, knowing all she knew, could call Sir Charles and some plan of action might be derived.
Maisie rang off and spoke to Juliet “We shall have to get together again before lunch. Would you please call Imogen and ask her to lunch? In the meantime, I’ll call Reggie but I don’t know how to broke the subject with him. He will be furious but at least he will have time to settle down and think the problem through before he meets Charles and Hector at lunch tomorrow.”
Juliet readily agreed to call Imogen but thought it best if they didn’t attend lunch. Reggie would not like to discuss these matters in front of Maisie’s friends, although he would know soon enough that they knew all about the claims too.
“Alright then, let’s go to that little tearoom in the High Street. Shall we say 11 am?” with which they ended the conversation and each went off to make the next telephone call.
Maisie was not looking forward to calling her husband. She knew that he would be angry that an unknown man would be making these claims. She asked Jackson to bring her a Gin and Tonic and thought it best if she called Sir Reggie before he left for dinner and ask him to come to the house on a matter of some urgency. She knew he would accept what she had to tell him better in a face to face conversation rather than a telephone call.
Sir Reggie was not at all keen to come to the house to meet with Maisie, but after she stressed that it was an urgent family matter, he reluctantly agreed.
After dinner, Maisie took her bath and then waited in her small sitting room forSir Percy to arrive. This he did rather later than agreed and having had rather more to drink than she would have liked.
However, he poured himself a rather large whisky and got straight to the point.
“Now what is it, old girl? You have me quite worried. What family matter can it be?”
So, Maisie told him about the swarthy gent in the Panama hat, how he had come calling and been sent away while Sir Charles and his friend Sir Hector made some enquiries about him. She handed him Fotheringham’s card.
She then went on to tell him what Sir Charles had discovered and then told him about Fotheringham’s claims.
“But that’s preposterous” yelled Reggie. “How does he expect to get away with such nonsense. We know the Earl would never have had any truck with a native woman. The man is a charlatan and should be hounded out of the country.”
In time he settled down and in a more subdued tone asked Maisie what had she done.
She explained that Fotheringham had been sent off for a couple of days and that she had asked Sir Charles and Sir Hector to meet them for lunch the next day. This would give them time for Sir Charles to look further into this matter and also to plan how to deal with it.
Pouring himself another stiff whisky, he said he would spend the night there sleeping in his dressing room and they could discuss this further in the morning over breakfast. “And I suppose those two friends of yours know all about this as well,” he said. “Why can you never keep anything to yourself?”
Maisie was quite pleased when he took himself off. She felt she had handled it as well as she could and that the hours between now and breakfast would give him further time to cool down and seriously think how to deal with this matter.
It was now too late to call Juliet and so she would tell her what transpired with Reggie when they met for coffee the following morning.
To be continued…