The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 56… A Change of Mind

‘I don’t know Charlie. I think you are playing with forces that you can’t understand and you are putting Esme in some danger.’

‘Some danger Bill? Danger from what! Forces we don’t understand. Come-on, this is all nonsense. It’s born in the minds of those that…’ he stopped himself further, thinking of Esme feelings.

‘We’ve looked over the old place Bill. No harm has come to us. If Esme can raise thoughts in her mind when she is there. That’s perfectly ok. Look, when a person can tune into what we call an astral plain they are given the courtesy of being respected as a “Medium”. Not labelled as some person of evil. To be that gifted and move within a spirit world. Why not?’

‘Because it’s not right Charlie It’s not normal behaviour.  You know, I did not welcome you both here to become ghost hunters. Perhaps, you both… Should return to London and not cause any further upset’. Bill was clearly very angry, it was there in his eyes.  ‘Charlie, all I want to do… All we ever came here for, was peace and quiet. The kind of life that allowed me to paint and the kind of life that suited Margarita. Charles… Esme. Let it go. Go back to the city… To a life that is suited to you both. And then… We can remain friends.’

‘Well, you’re right Bill.’ That frustration in Charles mind began to ebb somewhat. ‘We have no reason to impose on you both in this way. I’m… No, we are both very sorry. We will return to London in the morning and remain good friends and that’s how it should be. I’m sorry Bill… Margarita, I won’t give any more thought to this silly matter.’

They talked in their small bedroom that last night and sat either side of the bed, rather saddened and with their backs to each other.

‘Bill’s right of course.’ said Charles after some period of silence. ‘We have to return to London. We can’t presume on this friendship any longer, it simply, is not fair to them. We’ve outstayed our welcome, and rightly so.’

‘But, surely Charles, we can’t let this go.’

‘We can Esme, we have to, for the sake of friendship and most importantly… Respect for others. We’ll return to London, and there perhaps, we will have those answers we are searching for…’

‘Please Charles. If we do this. I must stay with you. I’ve no wish to return to the folds of my mother and certainly not after a failed marriage. She would not understand how my life has been changed. She would only see the best of Edward.’

‘I’m sorry to say, that your mother thinks only of you’re welfare in terms of wealth and position. That’s her way and it’s borne of her generation. Maybe, that’s not so bad, but times are changing. The old class system is breaking down and because of that, thankfully. we will be together forever. That’s how it will be!’

That following morning Margarita had cooked a fine breakfast for them in her little kitchen. Around the table it was a quiet affair. She fussed over them for extra helpings and with respect for their long journey home. Bill puffed cautiously on his old clay pipe from a chair in the corner of the room. At last, he spoke. ‘Charlie, look I’m truly sorry. I really did not get much sleep last night thinking about what I said to you. Perhaps you both should stay. I was out of order….’

‘Dear friend’ Charles interrupted him. ‘You have a perfect right to your own life. We both know that. For us to return to London is the very best thing to do, and look, how many years have I known you and Margarita…Ten, maybe fifteen years, come-on Bill. Do you really think this changes anything.’

It was sad farewells when they spoke their goodbyes and then walked slowly from the cottage. The rain clouds had now cleared, and yet, Charles swung off to the right, away from the path that would take them back to their parked car, instead he held onto Esme’s arm quite firmly and headed in the direction of the old manor house ruins.

‘Why are we doing this’ she asked.

‘Well, I don’t wish to involve our dear friends any further and before we return to London I want us both to take one last gander at this ruined manor house… Surely, you don’t mind.’

‘Of course not!’ Esme’s face was suddenly lit with enthusiasm ‘I just love your sense of adventure. That thrill of the unexpected. I always get that high with you.’

Well, perhaps it’s just the way we are. That’s what makes us both tick. But don’t get off on a roller coaster Esme. This could be just another lost cause.’

‘I don’t think so.’ There was a mischievous look to her eyes. ‘Tobias and Barnaby have much to do with our lives. More than we’ve yet to realize. I feel, it involves the way we think. I believe, this adventure is for all four of us, and there is more yet to come.’

‘Esme, My love, I think you are absolutely right.’

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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