Friday, January 12, 2007
New Beginning 187
In the year 1878 I became the recipient of my father's fortune, owing to the sad event of his death of malaria two continents away. I was thirty-one at the time, and prospering in my business as an architectural consultant for those builders of the vast, smoky factories that rose to darken the skyline of London.
This was three years before I met the mysterious woman in black.
My mother had died that decade past, and, having been the sole child of that union, I was pleased to find the inheritance falling uncontested into my pockets. An account of my new fortunes included: a healthy sum of cash and an even healthier sum in sound investments; two houses, one in Kent and another in Vienna; a French cook of no mean ability; three of my father's prize greyhounds; and my father's valued manservant, Christopher Toomie.
Toomie was a wiry chap of fifty-some years. He was a Cockney; he had hunted rats as a boy, dug trenches as a young man, and in recent years had been my father's sole companion and trusted servant.
This was four years before I encountered the enigmatic figure in the hooded robe.
My first interview with Toomie was inauspicious. "Yer father didn't think 'ighly of ye," he said.
I would have fired him on the spot, but his words had rendered me speechless.
"Blind Osbert, 'e called ye. Didn't think ye were any good at reading the signs even when they were smackin' ye in the face."
"What . . . what utter piffle," I said. "I made my way down here to Kent with only one false turning. No good at reading signs, indeed."
"Aye, well, we'll just 'ave to wait an' see then, won't we?"
This was five years before I met the unfortunate individual with the horns in his head and the cloven hooves.
And six years before things turned decidedly odd.
Opening: acd.....Continuation: McKoala