The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 89… A Final Visit…

The large colour photographs that began to appear in the windows of the Bayswater shop, begged and produced much interest. Gabby seemed quite happy and resigned within this new technology, he was satisfied with much of what was produced and settled to the role of assistant in both the darkroom and studio. He even found time to pop over to the brothers in their newly acquired premises in Tooting, offering some very sound advice and the colour facilities offered from the Bayswater shop, should it be needed, for the introduction of colour photography to Toby and Barney’s customers.

Toby and Barney, very welcomed this offer, it somehow, assured their long friendship with Charles would continue, they knew he could call on them whenever he wished.

It was Barney who first felt the effects of Rebecca’s last visit from the darkness beyond. She came in a dream, or was it, she knew the brothers were able to see into another dimension, and that was a gift she had offered to Charles and to Esme, and that, she was ever thankful for, but now that energy was failing, and the darkness was closing in for her.

The following day the Bayswater telephone rang, it was Barney’s excited voice, ‘I’ve had a dream Charles. Yes, don’t be sceptical. Rebecca came to me, and told me, her energy has nearly gone and she could not reach you, it just required too much of her strength. She said something very strange. We all have to look toward a north wind, and then, in that moment, she was gone…’

‘Barney!  Barney!’ cried Charles, but the phone was dead…

Charles pondered for a few moments, it was on a Saturday morning. He had a number of commitments that day, some that just would not wait. Celia would have to cope with the situation, she must find out if Barney was ok and if he needed support. Yes, Celia, would be fine to deal with the issue and she would have answers on his return later that day.

It was the Friday before, when Esme had decided to travel by train and settle some of her mother’s estate in Scotland, a forbearing of her mother’s marriage to George, who had various relatives in Aberdeen and from where his family had originally made its roots. Those matters simply had to be attended too.

Esme delt with much of her parents affairs as was financially possible and within Constance’s stuffy trustees who seemed only dead set on feathering their own nests, but it was  done, and Esme returned that very Sunday evening on the overnight sleeper from Glasgow to London, then taxied to her beloved Bayswater on a dismal and wet Monday morning.

She was cold, tired out and hungry and raindrops ran down the windows of the corner shop as she hesitantly placed her overnight bag on the shop floor and looked at Celia. ‘What’s wrong.’ she asked.

Celia’s look was pale and her voice was uncertain.

‘It’s Charles.’ she replied unsteadily. ‘He has not been seen all weekend!’



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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