"I tell you I know what I saw." Lord Beard was adamant.
"Okay. I believe you. It's just that..." I paused, looked out the window. It was still raining. The snow was polka dotted from the large fat drops that were now falling. It had warmed since yesterday (a balmy 52 degrees Fahrenheit) and the lovely snow scene was now being turned into mustard colored mush.
"It's just what?"
"Lady Guthrie said she was going to visit her mother. If that's the case, you couldn't have seen her yesterday."
I sipped my coffee (this morning called for stronger fortification than even the Earl could provide. I shall summarize for you, dear reader, the problem at hand. It seems yesterday, as Lord Beard was loading the carriage for his photo safari, he saw a strange cloaked figure zip past his line of vision and disappear into the trees on the side of our property. The side that butts against The Guthrie Manor. Lady Guthrie, however, informed me just last week she was going to her mother's for a stay. Lord Guthrie was being watched over by Dr. Helmstrode, the village physician.
"Perhaps we should ask the doctor," Lord Beard proposed.
It seemed like a good idea. We put on wellies and took our great, black umbrellas from the stand in the foyer. Benson warned against the rock path cut through. "You'll slip for sure."
We headed his advice and took the road, puddles and slush and all. I had to hold my skirts above my knees in order to avoid getting soaked to the bone. By the time we arrived at the Guthrie Manor, the sky had grown darker and there was thunder to be heard in the distance. I shivered and pulled my cloak tighter about me.
"Perhaps we should have waited until the rain let up." I wondered aloud.
"Don't be silly," Lord Beard remarked, though he was looking at the sky with a nervous glance. "We need to clear this up. If there's something wrong with the Lord and the Lady, perhaps we can be of some assistance."
He's a good soul, Lord Beard.
He knocked on the iron knocker several times before the locks clicked. There stood the doctor, looking as though he'd not seen rest in weeks.
"Sir Jon!" He cried, looking elated and a tad uncomfortable. "And the Lady! What on earth are you two doing out on a day like this?"
"We were concerned," I said boldly, "for our neighbors."
Dr. Helmstrode glanced nervously over his shoulder. "Yes, yes. Come in."
Cloaks, hats, wellies and umbrellas in the foyer, we joined the doctor in the library where a roaring fire soon took the chill from us and dried our fingertips and garments. A tall, dour looking gentleman brought tea. We thanked him. All he did was nod, slowly, and disappear back to wherever he'd been before we arrived.
When we were alone, the doctor pulled his chair to the sofa where we sat. "I do not know how long I have so I will be brief. There is something amiss at Guthrie Manor. I fear-"
A loud thump above caused us all to jump. My tea sloshed and I wiped my hand on a handkerchief Lord Beard handed me.
"You must go," Dr. Helmstrode said hurriedly. He took our tea cups.
"But what's amiss? What's wrong?" I asked as he pulled me to my feet.
"If there is some danger, doctor, surely we can -"
The doctor handed us our things. We quickly put them on. There was another thump and a moan that sent chills up my spine. "Go swiftly by the road. Do no stop until you are home. If I were you, I would bar the doors at night."
We were hurried out the front door.
"I should stay with you," Lord Beard offered.
"No! That is not necessary. I shall stop by when I can and fill you in." And the door was shut in our faces. The sound of someone rushing up stairs was heard and a door slammed.
I looked at Lord Beard and he looked at me. "Perhaps we should do as the doctor suggested?"
He nodded and we hastened home.