Anna Dean

Author of the Dido Kent mysteries

chawton 030d

A Tale of Midwinter

           I have become quite attached to the Lady Olwen; I wish you could see her fierce stony stare, Eliza. It is quite extraordinary!

           But, to return to the business of the treasure: there is, I am sure, some document in this room – something which revealed to Mr Carew's father the secret of Monkswood.

 

           Dido had come to her bedchamber to change her gown in preparation for the dinner hour, but her head was so full of the events of the day that she could not resist relating everything to her sister.

 

           And I believe that secret has to do with Bridge Farm. I recall Mr Carew saying that his father had summoned Dorothy to the chamber a short time before he died, and Dorothy is, of course, Mr Boyd's aunt (perhaps I have not yet mentioned that to you, but she is). And…

 

           She drew the hairpin from her pocket and turned it over thoughtfully…

 

           I am quite convinced that Dorothy has herself been pursuing the treasure of Monkswood – and perhaps she has discovered it…

           But, Eliza, a mere tenancy document could not have revealed anything to old Mr Carew… What else had he found? And where is it now?

           You may be sure that I have made a very thorough search of this apartment. I have with great difficulty opened the massy chest, which I was quite certain must have some fine secret hidden in it. For what other purpose were massy oak chests ever constructed? But the tiresome thing contains nothing but blankets and has not even the slightest sign of a false bottom or a cunningly concealed spring that might reveal a secret compartment. Which I really think is too bad! When a house is so determinedly like something out of a novel as Monkswood is, its chests ought at least to have hidden compartments about them, even if there are no torture chambers or passages concealed behind the tapestries…

 

           Dido stopped writing very suddenly and turned all her attention upon the tapestries which were stirring in the icy draughts that blew from the windows, making the huge old figures of monks and warriors move and live in the gloom beyond the firelight . After a moment she got to her feet and went to lay a hand upon a place – just beside the man defending himself from snakes. In that place the tapestry seemed to move rather more than it did anywhere else in the room.

           A look of understanding spread across her bright young face. She was thinking of a hairpin, and the words of an ancient chronicle – and a moment of stillness in the embrace of a pair of strong arms…

 

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