The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 23

HARRY Gresham was enjoying the convertible motorcar he was lucky enough to be using during his stay in England. It still seemed strange to be driving on the opposite side of the road from back home though. As he reached the London suburbs, a feeling of excitement built inside of him as he wondered what kind of reception he’d receive when he knocked upon the door of Seymour House.

Soon he was turning into a quiet residential area and slowing down to park under a leafy tree halfway along the road. He hopped out and marched purposefully down the pavement until he reached the main entrance of Seymour House, its name engraved on the exterior stonework.

He rang the bell and waited, on the verge of ringing a second time, when he heard footsteps and the impressive door was opened by Alfred Hicks.

“Mr Hicks, it’s good to see you again so soon.”

Alfred nodded.

“Mr Gresham, sir. How may I help you?”

Harry felt puzzled. Was this the man with whom he’d chatted about motorcars only days before? He seemed so stiff and starchy in his dark suit, his hair slicked down.

The American offered his calling card.

“I already left my card at Admiral’s Rest but I happened to be in town and wondered if it was possible to speak to Grace.”

Mr Hicks took the card.

“Please step inside, sir, while I see if her ladyship is available.”

Harry removed his hat and followed the butler, feeling as if he’d fallen into a British movie without knowing the script. He supposed etiquette demanded Lady Carmichael should be informed he’d called but if she was busy, did that mean he couldn’t see Grace?

Alfred Hicks walked back into the room.

“Her ladyship thanks you very much for calling, sir, but regrettably she’s about to leave for an appointment.”

“Could I call back later? I have to visit the museum and that’s not far from here. Or might I see Grace?”

“I’m sorry, Mr Gresham, but that’s impossible. I’m sure Lady Carmichael will be pleased to receive you if you happen to be staying at the coast while the family is in residence at Admiral’s Rest.”

The cold shoulder!

“Two minutes with Grace, Mr Hicks! That’s all I’m asking.”

Alfred looked uncomfortable.

Harry heaved a sigh.

“All right. I get the picture.”

Mr Hicks whispered something after he bade Harry farewell. It sounded like “I’m sorry but it’s for the best” though Harry couldn’t be sure and wasn’t about to question the man who was, after all, only doing his job.

The young American walked slowly across the road when he heard someone call his name. Whirling around, he saw a young woman, a delightful blonde, with one of those flapper haircuts and dressed in an emerald green dress with an unusual blue ribbon trim. She was a beauty all right and crossing the road towards him but why was she waving and hollering after a stranger?

“Mr Gresham? I’m Rowena.” She held out her hand.

Bemused, he took it, remembering his manners.

“Never mind the formalities,” Rowena said. “I’m so sorry about that misunderstanding back there. I’m afraid my mother, her ladyship, lives life in little compartments. She has her London face on and consequently didn’t take the trouble to question why you’d called upon us.

“The calling card you left at Admiral’s Rest was amongst a pile brought back by Mr Hicks. I took a look through them and yours was the only name I didn’t know. So when I heard Mr Hicks speaking to you when I was about to come downstairs, I recognised your name and hung around to find out what happened.”

“Tell me, Rowena, has Grace mentioned me to you?”

“No. But I got the feeling something happened while she was away.”

“You bet your life! I’ve fallen in love with Grace.”

Rowena flung her arms around him.

“That’s wonderful news – though I’m going to kill her for not telling me first!”

“Whoa!” Harry chuckled. “It’s not as simple as that. Grace has this darned stupid idea that she’s not good enough for me.”

Rowena wrinkled her nose.

“I hate to say this but, yes, I can imagine why she’d be unwilling to enter into a relationship with you because of her status.” She raised her hand to stop him protesting. “I’m not saying she’s right. First of all, you need time alone with her. Are you free this afternoon?”

“I have no appointments.” Harry watched Rowena’s face.

“Then be at the entrance to the Wallace Collection at two o’clock. That’s Hertford House, just minutes away from here.” She pointed in its direction. “I shall convince Grace of my need to take some fresh air and I’ll deliver you to her and wander off so you can talk.”


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!