Tag Archives: Maisie

Well, Guess What?

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.

granny-cartoon

 

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…

 

 

 

 

Continuing The Story

Two women on beach

Oh yes, they still had on their hats but…

Way back in March 2012, I started the story of Maisie Benton-Smythe and her friend Juliet Drummond whom we met having woken on a beach.  They had no recollection of how they arrived there but both were particularly pleased that they still had on their hats.

We learned that the day before, the two women had met up with another friend from school days, Imogen Carruthers.  In fact, these three were the scourge of the teachers and staff at their school, Struthers Hall, and were named The Terrible Trio.

Maisie eventually recalled that the two of them went to Imogen’s house where they had tea and after that, Imogen suggested they raid her husband’s wine cellar.  After several hours and several glasses of Sir Percy’s special wines, Imogen suggested a ride in her new, racy little Jaguar roadster to the County seat of the Carruthers family in Horley.  They all agreed.

Arriving at Sir Percy’s country retreat and having managed to outrage the housekeeper with the way they were acting, and the fact they had nothing to change into for supper, they decided to spend the night

After consuming a bottle of wine at dinner, Imogen declared that more wine should be brought from Sir Percy’s cellar and unfortunately, in getting the wine, she slipped on the cellar steps landing quite heavily on her shoulder.

An ambulance was called and Imogen was taken to hospital where she spent the night.

We are introduced to a very angry Sir Percy.  Mostly angry because he thinks the activities of his wife and her friends, react very badly on him, his position in society,  and his reputation.

There are some rather risque friends, or acquaintances, and a hilarious encounter in a house of ill repute.

But really to read the rest of this “gripping” saga, you will have to read the blog posts.  Much more fun than my just telling you here, without all the frills and furbelows that accompany the story.

And starting tomorrow, I shall continue the story from where we left off in January 2013, having been confronted by the swarthy gentleman in the Panama hat

Those related posts:

Hats on;   Hats On Again;  New Hats; The Beach;
The Bonnets; The Bonnets 2; T he Bonnets 3;  The Bonnets – Lost;
In Search of the Bonnets;
Found at LastYet More on the Bonnets; Keeping Promises;
The Swarthy Gent in the Panama Hat;  The Swarthy Gentleman

A Mistake

Yesterday I published two posts.  The second by mistake.  I was so taken up with the story of Maisie and the Swarthy Gent in the Panama hat, that I hit publish and so it did so immediately. I had meant to programme it for today.

So today I am going to rest on my laurels and hope you enjoy both of yesterday’s posts – the one in response to the Trifecta Challenge entitled An Extremely Difficult Task and the second one continuing the saga of Maisie and her friends.

Two women on beach

Oh yes, they still had their hats but…

 

The Swarthy Gent in the Panama Hat

We left Maisie and her friends, way back in October, fidgeting and worrying about the Swarthy Gent due to call upon Maisie the following day.  The story continues..

After a restless night during which Maisie was convinced she had no more than a few snatched minutes of sleep, she was awakened by Jackson with her morning tea and the morning newspaper.

Usually Maisie was content to lie abed and sip her tea while reading the newspaper, but this morning she had too much on her mind to settle.  So she asked Jackson to pour her bath and having drunk the tea repaired to the bathroom to attend to her morning ablutions.

Dressed, she descended the stairs to breakfast.  This over she decided to call her friends to confirm that they would be with her well before the appointed time for Fotheringham to call.  They each assured her that they would and Juliet suggested that they have lunch together at a new tearoom that had recently opened in the area.  Imogen agreed with this suggestion and so it was decided.

None of the three friends felt like shopping even for new hats and so they met at the tea room at the appointed time and it was a subdued trio who sat down to a light lunch.

Lunch over they retired to Maisie’s house to await the arrival of the guest.  They were still worrying about him and the reason for his calling upon Maisie right up until the time of his arrival.

Promptly at 4pm the front door bell rang, followed by the tap-tap of Jackson’s feet on the tiled front entry.  This then was followed by Jackson’s knock on the door of the drawing room.  The gentleman had arrived and Maisie instructed Jackson to bring him in.

What a handsome fellow he was and how gallantly he greeted each of the ladies in turn.  He appeared just a little surprised to see three ladies instead of the one he expected.  However he quickly recovered his equilibrium.

Jackson was instructed to bring tea and while they waited for this they indulged in the usual small talk about the weather (very English), what friends they had in common but no talk about the depression or the recent stock market crash.  Ladies did not discuss such disasters.

Tea arrived and when all had been served, Maisie decided to take charge of the meeting.  She expressed her surprise at the intrusion into her life of a complete stranger and in her usual straight forward manner asked him what he wanted.

Thomas Anthony Winston Fotheringham, aka “Billy” Fotheringham was unused to being addressed in such a forthright way by a lady and spluttered into his tea cup.  When he had recovered his breath he said that what he had to say should probably be told to the Countess of Waverley in private.  “What nonsense” snapped Maisie.  “Whatever you have to say may be said in front of these two ladies”.

“Well then,” countered Fotheringham “the truth of the matter is that I am the illegitimate brother of your husband, the Hon Reginald Benton-Smythe.  His father had a liaison with a local woman in India and I am the result. ”

He went on to say that Major Thomas Fotheringham had been the old Earl’s batman and when the pregnancy was discovered, he accepted a large gratuity from the Earl in exchange for staying in India, marrying the pregnant woman and bringing up the boy as his own.

Can you imagine the looks that passed between the three ladies at this news?  They were stunned; almost incoherent.  “But that’s not possible”  and “How could that be?” and “Reggie’s father would never do anything like that”.

Through all the spluttering and exclamations Billy Fotheringham sat unmoving with a small, sardonic smile playing around his mouth.  He assured Maisie that he was indeed her brother-in-law and proposed to remain in London making the most of this family ties.  Maisie was horrified.  What could she do to stop Reggie being ruined and his father and their family name being dragged through the mud.

“Just what do you expect to get out of this preposterous tale?” she enquired in an imperious voice; the voice that had been known to shrivel lesser mortals in their shoes.

“Just what is mine by rights” was the reply.  “And in case you are asking I can prove my claim.  I have come into possession of a pack of letters sent by your father-in-law to my mother.  And I have the deathbed confession of the man who I always thought was my father.  These things are irrefutable and are available for inspection by you, your husband or any other reputable person you wish to name.”

“Are these papers in your possession now?” enquired Maisie.

“Would I be foolish enough to carry them around with me when London is full of footpads and pickpockets?  No, they are in a safe place where only I can get ahold of them.  So what do you want to do now?  Do you want time to discuss it with your husband and father-in-law, or can we make a deal between us?”

The effrontery of the man quite took away Maisie’s breath.  How was she going to deal with him and the fall out if his claims became known in Society?  She would need some time to think and plan; perhaps consult Reggie; certainly consult Sir Charles (Juliet’s brother) and his friend Sir Hector Ryder, Head of the Metropolitan Police and maybe even  the ailing Earl.

But time was certainly needed.  She would put this scoundrel off for a couple of days to give Sir Charles and Sir Hector time to delve more deeply into this man’s past, although the thought of bringing the fellow’s claims to their attention  horrified her.

“Well obviously I shall need some time to consider what you have told me this afternoon” she said. “And equally obviously I shall need to see the so-called proof of the relationship between you and my husband.  So I suggest that you leave now and come back again in two days time, with some proof of your claim at which time I shall have an answer for you.”

With that, the swarthy gentleman picked up his Panama hat, gave each of the ladies a broad smile, thanked the Countess and took his leave.

A shocked silence remained in the drawing room after his departure.

To be continued….

The Swarthy Gentleman in the Panama Hat

 

We left Maisie, Juliet and Imogen wondering about the swarthy gentleman who had called upon Maisie without prior notice.  Our three adventurous ladies were concerned about him and his intentions and so they called upon Juliet’s brother to make some enquiries among those of his acquaintance who might have knowledge of the gentleman.  This he agreed to do and promised to report back to them at the earliest opportunity.

Sir Charles Walton (Juliet Drummond’s brother) was as good as his word.  The next day he called on Maisie – having first made an appointment to do so – to tell her of his enquiries.  Among his close friends was Sir Hector Ryder the head of the Metropolitan Police and so this is where he started the enquiries.  And with some success.

It appeared that the swarthy gentleman was recently arrived in London from India   There he had made a considerable fortune from planting and harvesting tea.  Apparently, he was the son of a British Major about whom very little was known.  The swarthiness noted by all, was put down to the fact that the Major had married a local woman of high standing and had set up home with her.  At the time there had been quite a commotion caused by this but as the years passed, the situation became more acceptable.  The children of such marriages, however, were not really accepted as quite on a par with those born to a British couple.  However, because of his parentage, the swarthy gentleman was British.

He was known to his contemporaries as Billy although he had been christened in the Church of England in Lucknow (where his father had been stationed), Thomas Anthony Winston Fotheringham.

On arriving in London he had met some acquaintances of his father’s and had then been sponsored into all the right clubs.  He was becoming quite well-known among that certain set in London.  He was also known to frequent a particular hotel where he met a variety of young women for afternoon tea, but really nothing much was known of the man.

It was established that he wasn’t married although there had been some sort of scandal shortly before he left India.  In fact it was rumoured that the decision to leave hadn’t been entirely his.

So where did this get Maisie.  She thanked Sir Charles for his help and after finishing his coffee he left.

It was almost lunch time and so Maisie decided to think about all that she had learned while she ate and then she would call Juliet and Imogen to see what they thought of this information.

Just as Maisie sat down for lunch a loud knocking on the front door  was heard followed by the heavy tread of Higgins the chauffeur.  He appeared at the morning room door with an envelope containing a heavily embossed card with the name T A W Fotheringham, Esq on it,  with various club affiliations noted and also a hand written note requesting her approval for him to call upon her the following morning around 11.30 am to discuss a matter of interest to both of them.  Well, what could that be?

Obviously as soon as the card was received a telephone call was made to both Juliet and Imogen.  Having been summoned once again, the two friends duly arrived and settled down to hear about “Billy” Fotheringham.  They were all perplexed as to how he found Maisie and where she lived and also what connection could there possibly be.

Many ideas and thoughts were voiced as the three ladies sat in the drawing room drinking the tea that had been brought by Jackson.  Was there a relative of Maisie’s who went out to India either with the army or else with the East India Company and maybe stayed on after his contract was finished.  Could Major Fotheringham (Billy’s father) be a distant or long lost relative?  Or could his business with Maisie be totally different, maybe even bordering on the evil?

The ladies shuddered to think this.

After much discussion it was agreed that he should be invited to attend on the next day but not at his suggested time of 11.30 am (far too early for an unknown gentleman to call upon a lady) but rather in the afternoon at which time the other two friends would be present.

With the decision made, Jackson was summoned to bring pen and paper and Maisie wrote to Fotheringham proffering the invitation.  Higgins the chauffeur was despatched to the address given to deliver the note.

This having been done, Juliet and Imogen took themselves off each promising to be there well in advance of the 4pm appointment time.

Maisie then settled herself for the rest of the day not knowing whether she should be looking forward to the morrow or dreading it.

Until tomorrow…

 

The Bonnets – Lost

The taxi duly arrived and the two girls climbed into the back….

By now Daisie was exhausted with the music, the noise, the chatter and the dubious drinks she had consumed both at the party and at the nightclub.  She almost fell into the back of the taxi and immediately went to sleep.  This left Charlotte, who was rather the worse for drink (she had lost count of what and how many) to instruct the taxi driver to their destination.  Unfortunately, in her befuddled way she gave the driver the address of her house instead of Daisie’s.  Daisie slept through the ride only waking when Charlotte shook her as they arrived at their destination.

Charlotte paid the driver and walked rather unsteadily towards her front door with Daisie following sleepily.  The two girls entered the house and went to Charlotte’s room where they immediately fell asleep.

They were awakened the next morning by Charlotte’s mother who in turn had been awakened by Daisie’s mother who was worried when the girls hadn’t arrived home.  It had been too late to call when they arrived the night before and neither girl awoke early enough to put Juliet’s mind at ease.

After hurried breakfast Daisie departed to face her mother.  And it was then that she realised that the two bonnets they had borrowed from Maisie and her friends were missing.  Presumably still in the back of the taxi.  She was in a blue funk.**

Having unsuccessfully tried to locate the taxi and the missing bonnets, Daisie felt very low in spirits.  How was she going to tell her beloved grandmother Maisie that the two bonnets were missing?  She was not sure how she would take the news.  But, being a child of the 21st Century she decided there was nothing to do but to go and face her Grandmother and see whether together they could perhaps come up with a way of tracing the missing bonnets.

Photo thanks to Sallyann at Photographic Memories.
Click on the photo to go to Sallyann’s post.

** Note.  Thanks to Christine at Trudging Through Fog for pointing out that I had not used the word ‘blue’ in my post.  This sentence was added after that.

This is the fourth in the series about the bonnets.  If you haven’t read the earlier posts check the links – The Bonnets The Bonnets Part 2 The Bonnets Part 3.  It is also a continuation of the Hats Series.  Links to The Hats posts appear on each of the above three posts.

Trifecta tricycleAnd this last post fitted in well with Trifecta’s challenge this week and so this is my entry.  The challenge is to write an entry between 33 and 333 words using the third definition of the word BLUE (adjective) :
1  : of the color blue
2  a : bluish
b : discolored by or as if by bruising
c : bluish gray
3  a : low in spirits : melancholy
    b : marked by low spirits : depressing <a blue funk> <things looked blue>

If you want to try your hand at the challenge, you can find the complete guidelines on the Trifecta site by clicking the tricycle picture.

The Bonnets – Part 3.

The day of the party dawned….

The two girls were very excited.  They had all the right clothes, including hats, handbags and shoes, and were really looking forward to the party.

The day seemed to drag by.  They met for lunch and some desultory window shopping but all the time they were willing the hours to pass until party time.  It was agreed that Charlotte would come around to Daisie’s to get ready and then they would be driven to the party by Hudson, the chauffeur.  It was also agreed that they would call the house when they were ready to be picked up again, or if it was after midnight, they would get a taxi home.  Charlotte was to spend the night and so the girls would be together at all times.

And now it was time to get ready.  Much giggling and hilarity accompanied the getting dressed and Juliet, Daisie’s mother joined in.  Some of clothes that came from Maisie’s she remembered seeing all those years ago when her mother dressed to go out.  And she was a trifle wistful remembering when she too was excited about going to a party with her friends.

The car was brought around and Hudson was given strict instructions by Juliet not to leave the girls until he saw them safely into the house.  Juliet was a little concerned at the thought of the two girls in an unknown house in an unknown district.  But she consoled herself with the thought that while Daisie might appear to be flighty she was really a very sensible young woman.

When they arrived the party was in full swing. Loud music and very loud voices. So many people were there that it was difficult to hear oneself speak and as for finding anyone in the throng..well that was almost impossible.

Almost immediately, the two girls got separated and each was pulled into a group, given a glass of suspicious looking punch, offered cigarettes and some other dubious things and didn’t see each other again for some time.

There was dancing and somebody had produced a karaoke machine with 1950s songs and everybody had to take a turn at the microphone.  The two girls were really enjoying themselves.  Around 1am Daisie, being the most sensible of the two, thought they should go home.  But Charlotte was with a group who were going on to a nightclub and she wanted them both to go with them.

Somewhat reluctantly, Daisie agreed, and the group set off in several cars.  Once again the girls were separated.  The noise at the club was even louder than it had been at the party and Daisie quickly developed a headache and decided that she just had to go home.  But Charlotte was not ready to leave.  There was a slight argument between the two.  Daisie was well aware that her mother thought the girls were still at the party and didn’t know how she would react if she knew they were at a somewhat sleazy nightclub.

After some pleading, Daisie managed to persuade Charlotte to leave with her.  They declined the offer of a lift home in somebody’s car – how much had they all drunk that night – and called for a taxi.

It duly arrived and the two girls climbed into the back….

Photo thanks to Sallyann at Photographic Memories.
Click on photo to go back to Sallyann’s Post.

Related Posts
Hats On; Hats On Again; New Hats; The Beach