The shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 55… Disappointment

It was raining very heavily that following morning. Bill said he wanted to finish off a landscape and Margarita felt there was plenty to do in the kitchen, so donning raincoats and weather proof hats the two of them set off in the direction of the old manor house.

‘What are we looking for?’ inquired Esme, as they made their way up a long steep gulley. The wind and rain down drafted along this pathway and progress was slow.

‘I don’t really know.’ he replied. The rain stung their faces unceasingly, ‘Anything that is not how it should be, I guess.’

At last they arrived. Everything seemed as they had both seen it for the first time. Stonework was crumbling and nature had taken back her heritage in every way. It was possible of course to follow the ruined outlines of the old house and also to determine the structured remains of fallen rooms.

‘There must be cellars’ declared Charles, ‘A house of this size would have cellars. Perhaps, undisturbed for years. I doubt the fire would have reached below ground level and this could reveal some insight into how life was during the heyday of the house. We must find an entrance, it will be somewhere near to the servants quarters.’

‘This could have been the servants kitchen?’ Esme stepped into a structure that was wide, long, much toward the rear of the house. ‘This would be referred to as “below stairs” of course.’ she told herself.

‘Look for remains of stone steps down or even a steel trapdoor in the floor.’ called Charles. ‘At the very least, there would have to be a wine cellar!’

‘That’s impossible. The floor is strewn with scattered debris, not counting the fallen bricks and masonry. Perhaps, Rebecca Haig did not drink?’

‘Well maybe, but her guests would have. Just try to find something, anything that may give us a lead to what lies below. I’m sure there would be more than just wine bottles below. The Family and for that matter, the staff, would put items down there that were seldom used. The Butler would then hold the keys to the wine cellar. Determination sat within Charles mind. He smiled to her. She had always been the keeper of his enthusiasm.

‘I know Charles. We learnt at Prep School, just how the British aristocracy behaved. It was one of Miss Ferguson’s pet subjects when it came to modern history lessons!’

The rain began to ease and a sparkle of sunshine began to break through those darkened clouds. ‘Well, I hope that’s a good sign.’ remarked Charles. They removed their raincoats and hats, then threw them over a low wall. ‘They might even dry a little.’ he said with a chuckle.

A search of this supposed servants hall revealed nothing and after an hour of trying to clear the floor Charles called a halt to their labours. ‘I think we are looking in the wrong place.’ he declared. ‘It’s no good, this can’t be right.’ He looked very despondent, clearly wishing they had found some clue or other to the cellars.

‘Let me come here alone, at another time.’ suggested Esme. ‘Perhaps, that’s the only way we can be involved in this. Perhaps, Rebecca will talk to me again, hopefully.’

‘Well, she hasn’t talked to either of us today that’s for sure. She has got to be the key to all this or we are just off our chumps.’

‘You know. I’m sure we are right about this, we are both rational people. Bill and Margarita, well maybe they have a different take on this. Frankly. I’m not even sure what their views are on this. Perhaps I can tune into this supernatural phenomena where others can’t. It seems we both can’t do that together. Let me try and explore here alone once more and then tell you of the images that form in my mind from my experience.’

‘Ok, if you have this gift Esme, and I accept that you do. Then, I insist on you taking every precaution. I will not run the risk of losing you to some aspectual entity.’ There was  a serious look in his face.

‘Look Charles, what could possibly happen to me up here. You can see the place is a ruin. Nobody really lives here anymore. It’s got to be simply a case of over-imagination.’

He felt there was not much reassurance in her words, but he would agree. He also felt the outcome could be quite different from that imagined, just here and now…

About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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1 Response to The shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

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