The Coldfall Sanction

Breakfast with Câmpineanu

Session Seven - Part Two

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Casebook of Sergeant Savel
13 March, 1916, Résumé of the Case Mountebank Monsignor
Deceased, Nigel Montague, British Citizen. Age 34. Residence 33 Eisabeta Boulevard, second floor apartment, two-rooms and a water closet. Deceased’s Occupation, Diplomat – suspected intelligence agent for British Intelligence services. Commissioner Câmpineanu is uncertain which particular service as he is aware they have various. Cause of death, decapitation. Body was found by Eugen Culcer, occupation, Water-carrier. Discovery made as M. Culcer arrived to prepare for his morning deliveries. Discovery made quayside on the Dâmbovița River at end of Lipscani. Body found to be in a state of what appeared to the Commissioner as having been hastily positioned by what he suspects was a toss from a conveyance. Suspected conveyance: a motor car. Body was dressed in a simple black winter’s coat over purple cassock with bloody clerical collar, Catholic. A Monsignor.

A concerted canvas of area revealed no witnesses. Local river dwellers report having noticed a fog centralized in the immediate vicinity of Lipscani and the quay.

Observations of Commissioner upon contents of deceased’s pockets. One brown leather wallet within which he had two 100 krone banknotes, a single 100 korona banknote, and three 500 lei notes. Several coins: golden K’s and silver lei’s. Several rail tickets: Hungarian, Transylvanian. Personal notes. Calling cards in the name of Monsignor Jon Manoilescu. A calling card in the name of Professor Klaus Johann Vordenburg. A torn rosary sans crucifix (in left pocket of winter coat). A well-worn British travel document issued to Nigel Montague. Diplomatic. A second set of travel documents for a Monsignor Jon Manoilescu, envoy of the Papal Cardinal Secretary of State. (Right inner pocket) Commissioner surmises documents were intentionally left in order to facilitate identification of the body as the deceased’s head was not to be found quayside. Head missing—as yet not acquired. Further examination also found shoes, well worn. Hands bore recent cuts and abrasions, which the Commissioner stated did not appear to have been defensive in nature, rather Commissioner surmises some recent physical activity such as moving or climbing rocks.

Location provided little in way of evidence.

Casebook of Sergeant Savel
13 March, 1916, Athene Hotel – Interview with Lord Cyril Blathing
At 7:30 we proceeded to Athene Palace. Commissioner Câmpineanu was to reconvene his interview with Lord Cyril Blathing, 7th Earl of Gavilshire and noted Orientalist. The Commissioner had previously confided he strongly suspected Lord Cyril has ties to British Intelligence. We arrived at 7:55 and the Commissioner suggested we order breakfast and await Lord Cyril.

As we entered the great dining room, I observed a workman busy repairing mullions and replacing a windowpane of a large window. The table, which I assume to have been previously positioned before the damaged window, having been moved. There were as well two maids, each working with a bucket and scrub brush as they were busily cleaning the floor, while the general manager, Anton Rasty, stood with his hands behind his back supervising the workmen and maids as he oversaw the cleaning and repairs.

Having given our order it was not long before the slightly haughty waiter returned and placed our breakfast before us. As well as cups of Turkish coffee. The workman was finishing his repair of the window – but the cleaning of the floor – which I assumed was blood from the British gentleman, M. Richmond, who had been shot the night before, would take a bit longer. It would have been wiser to have worked upon it while fresh—but then again, as I understood it there had been some agitation in the hotel, owing to some odd experiment performed by some eccentric photographer. Yet another Englishman.

Punctual, Lord Cyril arrived in the dining room entrance at 8:30.

“Ah, Commissioner” he said as he walked over to our table, which was very near the entrance. “Slept well I take it?”

The Commissioner rose and lightly tapped his napkin to his lips, “I am sorry to say, you lordship, I have yet to sleep.” And he waved a hand to one of the unoccupied chairs at our table, “Please, do join us.”

Lord Cyril frowned as he took the proffered seat. “That is a shame. I find that a good night’s rest after a trying day does wonders to clear the mind.”

The waiter arrived to refresh our coffee.

“I would agree, your lordship – but alas, the events of the night are such that there is little rest for those who must seek justice,” The Commissioner sat down as Lord Cyril took his seat and held up a finger in order to prompt the waiter’s attention, “Eggs and Turkish coffee, if you please sir.”

He took notice of the Commissioner’s notebook and pen placed beside his cup of coffee as well as a well-folded copy of România Liberă, which the Commissioner had purchased when we arrived from the vendor just outside the hotel’s revolving door.

The waiter smartly nodded, “Oui Monsieur.”

If he understood Romanian then Lord Cyril would have taken notice of the headline indicating a mysterious death upon the quay.

The Commissioner lifted his cup of coffee and took a careful sip, "Shall we reiterate a few facts Lord Cyril, from our previous interview. M. Montague. I am correct in that you said last night you had never met him?”

Lord Cyril looked at the commissioner and folded his hands across his waistcoat. He looked far more rested than he had last night when I had first seen him at the foot of the lobby stairs as arrived to inform the Commissioner of the discovery of the body of M. Montague at the end of Lipscani Street. "That is correct. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting the gentleman.”

“Well,” I replied, slipping a spoon under a hard boiled egg from the platter of eggs and cold meats which the waiter earlier placed before us in the center of the table. I took it from my spoon, happy to feel it’s warmth still as I placed it in the egg cup resting in the middle of my plate, “It would appear you will not be able to do so until the funeral."

“Sergeant Savel.” The Commissioner said placing his coffee cup as always precisely in the center of his saucer, “Please. Some respect if not the dead, then the living.”

I looked at him and nodded. As was our usual custom, I would take the more abrasive attitude. I cracked my egg and began to peel it.

“Then it was indeed Mr. Montague whose body was discovered last night?” Cyril asked with an expression of mixed concern and intrigue.

“Yes. He was found upon one of the quaysides along the Dâmbovița River." The Commissioner nodded.

“At least . . . some of him.” I added not looking up as I began working to removed the shell of my egg.

“Yes, it was a rather grim crime scene, your lordship. You see, the gentelman’s head having been severed.”

“Beheaded?” Cyril’s shock shows through.

“And missing.” Savel added, “Perhaps, the Deputy Consul’s theory may still hold true. It may have run away with the whore.”

The Commissioner gave me a sharp look and the man sat back to his breakfast.

“You are sure it is Nigel Montague?” Lord Cyril asked as he draped his napkin carefully upon his right thigh.

“Yes – the gentleman having been been decapitated has been identified as M. Montague." The Commissioner said and turned his languid gaze upon Lord Cyril, "Which, I may say, does give one pause, seeing as how, as I said last night, a similar death occurred a little over a month ago. A bookseller. "

“Yes.” Lord Cyril nodded, “A M. Turcanu. Imre Turcanu. As I remember.”

“As you remember.” The Commissioner nodded affirmatively.

Lord Cyril seemed now perhaps a bit distracted, “I take it such deaths are not common here in Bucharest?”

“Not too common, no.” The Commissioner said, “Although . . . from time to time.”

Lord Cyril twisted his finger in his beard, in thought.

I glanced over to the British Earl, watching to observe, as I muttered: “The Strigoi.”

The Commissioner looked over to me and then once more to the Englishman, “Of course, I am sure you quite understand, but I must ask Lord Cyril, as you said last night, M. Ossington requested your assistance in regards to the purported disappearance of M. Montague – did M. Ossington say or give in any way some indication that M. Montague was involved in something other than imports & exports. To be precise, did he indicate that M. Montague was, shall we say, an agent of your government?”

I was aware that Lord Cyril had momentarily glanced away from the Commissioner to give me a quizzical look upon my utterance of the word, ‘Strigoi’, and so, he returned now his attention to the Commissioner. “In that one can assume all members of a delegation out of an embassy to be an agent of their government, I think it’s a fair assessment. Especially in such a war as this, I would be surprised if there are any embassy staff in Bucharest who are not, as you say, agents of their respective governments.”

The Commissioner sighs and sits back in his chair. “Yes, Yes, too true. But—there are those who work for one’s government in far more furtive capacities.” He reached in his jacket and removed the very battered and water damaged document we had found upon the corpse. Slowly opening it, he placed it on the table and turned it in order to allow Lord Cyril to inspect the paper contained within the damage cover. It was of course the special travel document which had been issued to a Monsignor Jon Manoilescu – indicating the Monsignor was a Papal representative to Romania and Hungary. “It seems odd that the body we examined last night not only had documents indicating they were issued to M.Montague, but, as well, to a representative of the Holy See. As you see, it is a rather special travel document—for a Monsignor Manoilescu.”

Lord Cyril leaned forward and examined the document more closely.

“We also discovered upon the body a wallet which held not only Romanian lei but krones and koronas, as well as rail tickets for travel which reveals a trip to Buad-Pesh, to Vienna, and to Transylvania.” The Commissioner added, “What do you make of this Lord Cyril?”

Slightly lifting the travel document from the table, “A secret identity to travel into Austria-Hungary? Now that is bold.”

“I would think so, your Lordship. But more importantly, I suspect that the first leg of this trip began in a small bookshop on Gral street.” The Commissioner now revealed is supposition. I watched the Englishman for his reaction. He seemed as most aristocrats rather tolerant but dismissive at the same time – as he also seemed to be looking beyond us for the waiter and more importantly his eggs and coffee.

I pointed my fork at him, “You are a Orientalist or so I have been told. What do you know of the Strigoi?"

Rather than some reaction by the British Lord, I took note of the general manager, Anton Rasty, who having overheard our conversation now crossing himself.

“Strigoi Sergeant?” The English Earl replied as his eyes grew appreciative having caught sight of the waiter, appearing now as if upon cue with the Englishman’s breakfast, which he placed before him with a flourish and poured a cup of coffee.

“Gentilhomme, would you desire anything more?” He asked looking at each of us in turn.

We indicated that everything was splendid and he departed.

“As you were saying, Sergeant Savel,” Lord Cyril began as he looked at his eggs and took up his fork, “The Strigoi.” He began a cut into the eggs. “It is from the Latin ‘Striga’, literally meaning a witch or evil spirit. However, in this context, I believe you are referring to a being related to the Vampir. Now as far as I am aware, the Strigoi mostly feed on children.” He took a bite of the scrambled eggs and chewed. “Have there been a string of child disappearances as well?”

“Not that has been called to our attention.” I replied taking a bite of my egg as well.

“Please, forgive me, Lord Cyril, Sergeant Savel is from Moldavia, where he grew up listening to the old stories told about the hearth late at night. And has listened to witnesses who have whispered suspicions that our decapitated bookseller was one such creature."

Lord Cyril took a sip of his coffee and looked at me with some interest, "I see. It is true that I am a folklorist who collects such stories. And if I may ask sergeant, for my curiosity’s sake, what are these suspicions you have heard whispered? Did he have strange habits? Keep odd hours? What?”

And the British Earl proceeded to remove his own small notepad and pen, and set it down on the table.

The Commissioner lifted his cup of coffee and took a sip.

“Witnesses reported than not only did he keep odd hours, but that he had numerous visitors during them as well. Consistent in their description, they reported that these visitors seemed to arrive rather furtively. Quite eager to seek the shadows of the alleyway and to quick dash from their conveyance into the back entrance, so as not to be seen – or recognized.

Lord Cyril looked up from his note taking, “He did business at all hours?”

“M. Turcanu’s kept rooms above his establishment.” The Commissioner interjected.

“Ah, I see.” Lord Cyril replied and made another note. “And so these odd hours would indicate he is Vampir? Mmm.”

I continued, “There are reports of removal of oblong boxes. And long, oddly wrapped objects consistent with that of a possible concealed body. There have been reports of missing young woman within a radius of the bookshop. And to these, add the fact it was apparently known to a few of his customers, although they were at first reticent to disclose it – but upon hearing how he had been murdered, they revealed he was likewise a member of an cult.”

The Commissioner spoke up, “A religious group.”

I nodded in assent to Commissioner Câmpineanumore’s more favorable description of the group: “Some such – perhaps." I lifted a knowing brow, “Known as the Frăția lui mortii vii. It is said they worship an ancient, pagan Thracian god – Zalmoxis – whom they anticipate shall return once more from the dead.”

I took note of the Englishman’s growing interest as he let his eggs go forgotten and continued to busily compile notes, "Superstitions lie here in Wallachia too, however this is fascinating. I had thought I would have to go out to Moldavia to find such syncretism, but you say there is a group in Bucharest who still worships Zalmoxis? Or is it a more modern reimagining of such worship?’ He said as he wrote, “Are you aware of other members of this group?” And the abruptly looked up from the notebook and then coughed, as if he suddenly he recognized his apparent zeal and so composed himself. “I beg your pardon. I am a folklorist and scholar first. Forgive me.”

Commissioner Câmpineanu, who had as well been making a note, put down his pen. “But of course your lordship.” He reached once more for his coffee cup, “As to possible members of this particular order? We have reached out to the Siguranța, who of course may have more details into its membership.”

I put down my fork and placed my elbows upon the table, pressing my fingertips together in order for my hands to form a steeple above my plate, “What seems most significant is M. Turcanu, the bookseller . . . who had apparently captured the attention of your M. Montague, was found decapitated shortly before M. Montague proceeded to make his rather adventuresome travels – as the tickets in his wallet would indicate. Travels it would appear he made not as Nigel Montague, trade representative of the British Embassy, but as an envoy of the Holy See – a Monsignor Manoilescu. Whom, the Archbishop, freely admits he is completely unaware.”

“Although he did state that with the new construction of the Italian Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, soon to be consecrated, having been funded by the Holy See and the Italian Embassy, he was not aware of all of the personages being transferred to Bucharest.” Commissioner Câmpineanu said by way of elaboration, as he sipped his coffee. “But, in any case, why M. Montague would have documentation for a Papal envoy is most curious in any light.”

“And even more curious than merely coincidental is that when M. Montage, having apparently made his return to Bucharest, of late from Transylvania – where many far older superstitions lie – he is himself found decapitated.”

“As you can surmise, Lord Cyril, Sergeant Savel, is inclined toward a more outré supposition to these crimes. But, as for me, I for one do not believe in these creatures of the night, but—what people will do in the name of religion? It can be just as devilish.” The commissioner replied and patted his lips with his napkin.

“There is of course the witness, Dimitrie Mureșan, a shoemaker, one of the neighboring proprietors.” I said evenly, “Who reports having seen M. Turcanu departing his upper story windows upon many occasions and moving about the rooftops of Gral street.”

The Commissioner looked toward me, and then turned his gaze upon the Englishman. “So, what do you think?” he asked, “Do you think it possible an agent of the British government, far remote from the Carpathian horseshoe of superstitions, should find himself so inclined to believe such fanciful accounts? And if not, I must ask myself, what other possible motivations could there be?”

“This is all fascinating, Commissioner.” Lord Cyril replied and putting down his pen took up his fork and returned to his breakfast once again, “Though I do think we’ve rather strayed from the topic at hand – the one which prompted this morning’s meeting. So. Is there anything else I can do to help you find Mr. Richmond attacker?”

“As M. Richmond is in my opinion far more aware of precisely what activities M. Montague may have been actually been involved – I would ask, Lord Cyril, if you could perhaps speak with him and determine for what reason M. Montague has re-enforced this superstitious subterfuge.” The Commissioner placed his hands flat upon the table, “For you see, I fully believe he is the source from which these rumors spring – the oblong boxes, the fanatical creature of the night, the climbing from windows to range about the rooftops . . . but for what reason . . . as yet I do not know. But I feel they are connected to the deaths of M. Turcanu as well as M. Montague.”

Lord Cyril nodded, “I had planned to visit him after breakfast. I shall do my best, but remember, I only just met him.” He then shovels another mouthful of scrambled eggs into his mouth.

He eats as if a man who had not dined the previous night.

The Commissioner folds up the weathered travel papers of Monsignor Manoilescu. “My concern at the moment, your Lordship, is that there is more a whiff of espionage than the supernatural in all of this. The very grimness of these deaths being merely window dressing for something I suspect to be far more politically sinister than some shadowy rituals performed in the dead of night by foolish men.”

Lord Cyril lifts an eyebrow and then replies. “Possibly. Perhaps they are one and the same.” And then he pauses as he prepares to take a sip of coffee as if he is struck by a sudden thought. “Say, Commissioner Câmpineanu, Sergeant Savel, forgive my curiousness, but, what are your opinions regarding which side Rumania should join in this damnable affair, if at all?” And before we could reply he quickly held up a hand. “And I shan’t hold it against you if you say the Germans.”

I reached over and took another hard-boiled egg from the platter and placed some cold meat on my plate, “In my opinion, we should remain neutral. This damned war is a curse upon us all.”

The Commissioner looks at the remaining contents of his coffee cup and surveys the room for the waiter, “Yes, well. I for one feel if the Entente were to uphold their promises and commitments, if it were to fully support our entry, rather than have us help to relieve the pressures they feel from other fronts, then I say we should join the Entente and in so doing restore all Romanians to Romania.”

Lord Cyril looks to the Commissioner and nods somberly.

Commissioner Câmpineanu drew the attention of the waiter and indicated he was in need more coffee. "Alas, I feel you perhaps know more of the thoughts in England.”

“What would you recommend, Lord Cyril" I asked as I cracked the shell of the new egg in my egg cup.

“Well, I must say I am a bit biased don’t you think? Being a subject of a belligerent nation and all. I don’t think the Entente would have any problem giving Rumania Transylvania, Bukovina, all that and such. I think if any time to join, the time would be now. Or at least when the snow melts. While the Huns are tied up at Verdun. Perhaps if the Russians made a push at the same time, Rumanian cavalry could be watering their horses in Budapest within month.” Cyril cuts into his eggs and spears them on his fork. “Of course, perhaps after two Christmases of the ‘war that would be over by Christmas’, such blind optimism should be tempered.” he then bites into his egg.

I nodded in agreement, “Which is why I say we should remain neutral, how many more Christmas’ shall we see before we see the end to this madness.”

The Englishman shrugged.

’Yes, well, time enough to solve the vagaries of war." The Commissioner nodded as the waiter stepped over to the table and removed the Commissioner’s small coffee cup and replaced it with one freshly filled and steaming. "And so—“ He then glances toward the dinning room entrance, “Will Mademoiselle Bishop be joining us this morning.”

And then there was suddenly a loud clap of hands. I took note that Lord Cyril’s hand, holding his fork, betrayed a slight tremor in reaction to the sound. It was then I fully recalled that the Commissioner had indicated the Englishman and the American woman had made their way for weeks through war torn territories and crossed the Danube to make their way into Romania – which when he told raised my suspicions – but then I am suspicious by nature of Englishmen and American women hazarding Serbia for no other reason than to see the sights of our fair city.

Lord Cyril looked about for the source of the sudden loud distraction.

I glanced over my shoulder to see the general manager applauding the two maids, who had been busily scrubbing away the blood stains from hardwoos floor of the dining room. “Excellent, Excellent. Now, be certain to polish.” Anton Rasty added. to his applause.

Lord Cyril looked back to the Commissioner. “Bishop?”

The Commissioner adjusted the newly placed cup of coffee on its saucer, “Mademoiselle Bishop, or Jackson Elias as she is known,"

I was surprised that Lord Cyril did not seem to recognize Mademoiselle Bishop’s real name.

“Oh Jackson! Yes. No, I don’t believe she will be joining me at least this morning. I’m not sure where her itinerary lies, but we made no joint plans.” He said and lifted his cup of coffee to take a sip.

The General Manager apparently satisfied with his supervision of the workman’s repair of the window and the maid’s cleaning of the floor stopped short as he was passing our table. “Pardon. Did I happen to overhear you asking in regards to the whereabouts of Mademoiselle Elias?”

We all gave Rasty our attention.

“She left earlier this morning.” He said with a frank frown. “She asked for directions to Casa Capsa, where I understood she was planning to have breakfast.” His voice registering a bit of annoyance as the Casa Hotel was a direct competitor to the Athene Palace. And he waved an irritated hand toward the window which had been repaired and the floor that had to be scrubbed, “Which is why I am most impatient. Most impatient. In restoring my hotel once more to perfection.” And then looking at one of the maids, he called out: “Hurry, Hurry. The polish!"

He shook his head in exasperation, before he returned his gaze upon the Commissioner, “Most assuredly my pardon, Commissioner, “ He said and then turned his attention again to the British Earl. “Mishaps you are Lord Cyril, yes?"

“Yes, I am he.”

“Ah, there is a message for you at the desk from Mademoiselle Elias. I shall retrieve it for you?”

“Ah yes please.”

The General Manager bowed slightly and departed.
.
“If I may, Lord Cyril. “ Commissioner Câmpineanu asked, “Mademoiselle Bishop, she seems to be a very independent woman. What do you know of her?”

He smiled. “What do I know of her indeed? I know she is from the American region of New England, though she seems to have lived in California for a time. I know she is a journalist that won’t take no for an answer. I know that she won’t hesitate to defend herself if need be. I know that calling her Mademoiselle Bishop repeatedly to her face is a fast way to get on her bad side. I know this, but I suspect you’ve deduced much of this yourself.”

“Yes, I have concluded she is what they say ‘very strong headed’ as are most American’s here in Romania. We have many . . . what with the Standard Oil working so many of our fields. But, I must confess, with so many of these troublesome threads, your lordship, I feel I need to know all I can regarding those involved in these mysterious affairs. And so. To that end, I have wired to our London Embassy and made a request for them to make a radiotelephone connection to New York to ascertain more particulars in her regard, and to relay this information to me. I wish this to be known to you sir, as a courtesy, for I feel there is between you a certain friendship – no doubt from your adventures along the way from Corfu.”

“I quite understand.” Lord Cyril replied as the General Manager returned and handed him a small envelope. “Your Lordship, the message.”

Lord Cyril looks over to M. Rasty. “Ah, thank you.” And he took the envelope.

I watched as the English Earl pulled his glasses from his coat pocket and slipped them on. He calmly opened the message and silently read its contents. He did not betray any emotion in his countenance and only nodded and made a slight grunt as he folded over the paper again and placed it in the envelope and then the message in an inside pocket of his jacket.

Letter from Jackson Elias Dated 13 March, 1916

He picked up his fork and continued with breakfast.

“I would like to ask if there is anything of interest, your Lordship.” The Commissioner asked as he sat back in his chair.

“Hm? Oh! Ah, well she simply wished to let me know that she had some investigating for her newspaper to attend to and she should be back shortly. She seems to want to confide in me later, but I had plans today to meet with an old acquaintance of mine. Well, I say acquaintance, we’ve never met, but had quite the correspondence I should say. Do either of you know a Professor Klaus Vordenburg?”

I gave the commissioner a look.

But the Commissioner was leaning forward and lifting his pen in order to make a note.

As neither of us responded to his question, which I am certain he took note of – he replied as he placed his fork down on his plate and lifted his napkin to his lips, “No? No matter. Anyway, she should be back later if you wish to continue questioning her then.”

By an odd coincidence just as he was making this statement, the house doctor of the hotel, Doctor Poruciuc, entered through a side door of the dining room and stepped over languidly to our table. He cleared his throat by way of interruption.

The Commissioner looked up as well as Lord Cyril.

“I heard you were here Commissioner.” The doctor said by way of explanation for his sudden intrusion, “I want to let you know, M. Richmond is well.”

“Ah, yes, then I would like to have a few words with him, please.” The Commissioner replied.

“Well, he left.”

“Left?”

The English Earl frowned slightly, “Oh dear. I had hoped to check in on him before he did.”

The doctor continued to address the Commissioner, "Yes, left rather hurriedly right after he received a message”

“Another message?” I said unable to conceal the suspicion in my voice.

“This message, from whom? Do you know?” The Commissioner asked.

The doctor shook his head, “No—Commissioner, I do not. Perhaps the bell captain that brought it.”

“Please,” Commissioner Câmpineanu waved a hand, “See if he is about and bring him to me.”

The doctor gave him a very haughty look as if to say, pardon I am a doctor not a messenger. He turned and strolled away in the direction from which he came.

I put down my napkin and arose, “I will see to it, Sir.” I said and hurriedly made my way to the lobby where I found the bell captain and explained that Commissioner Câmpineanu wished a few words with him.

As I was returning with the bell captain I overheard Lord Cyril say, “Well, I can see things are getting exciting again.” He pushed his chair back from the table, “I’d best leave you to your work. I’ll stop by the embassy and see if they know where he went. I really had hoped to speak with him after last night.”

The Commissioner sighed and looked at Lord Cyril, “Yes, that would be most helpful. And so. In regards to you earlier question regarding Professor Vordenburg. Yes. I know where he can be found. He has taken a position at the University of Bucharest—but, of the mornings, I understand he can be found at the Casa Caspa Hotel.”

Oddly where your American friend went this morning I refrained from saying as I introduced the bell captain.

“Monsieur Commissioner, I may be of assistance?”

He turned his attention to the bell captain, “You delivered a message to M. Richmond this morning, yes.”

“Oui, Commissioner."

“This message, do you know from whom it was sent?"

“It arrived sir by postal messenger and I took it to M. Richmond. I can not say if it gave any indication as from whom it had been sent. As I only delivered it — I did not look to see."

“Did M. Richmond say anything when he received it? Was there a reply?”

“No, reply, Sir. He just smiled and said, something – ah, yes, he said to the doctor, I must be leaving now. I have a young lady to thank for her assistance.” He then winked and said something rather odd.

“Odd?” The Commissioner asked.

He said, “And she has the most lovely ankles.”

The Commissioner sighed and waved a hand of dismissal to the bell captain and looked at Lord Cyril.

Lord Cyril looked back, taking off his spectacles and hung them from his outer jacket pocket.

“It would seem our Mademoiselle Bishop, your Jackson, she is very busy this morning your Lordship.”

“So it seems.’ Lord Cyril replied, “Seems she may have, as they say, ‘found a real scoop’.”

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nicholsvictoria2 Salmonilla

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