Blanche and Helen -9 the Finds
It is now September, and Mrs. Warrington and her mother have arrived back, and I feel much more relaxed about my job again. Mr Warrington was in a good mood. I'll try to remember the conversation that I overheard.
“I can’t believe it,” he said.” After all these months, I finally had someone come up and show me some coins which had been found that were actually worth something. It was Harry Oldfield and he had shown more interest than most when I had first discussed the situation at the meeting.”
“That’s nice dear. What kind of coins were they?” said Mrs. Warrington.
“There were several old Victorian coins - early Victorian dates - and the odd few from George IV, but the one that really made my eyes bulge was from the reign of Queen Elizabeth dated 1568 - a silver coin. It shows the figure of Queen Elizabeth. I am so excited as this is worth a lot of money. Of course, I didn’t give that information away to Harry - but asked him whether he wanted to sell his findings to me out right - or whether he wanted me to get them valued as his agent, and then take a 25% cut of the value he is offered. Then he was almost embarrassed when he showed me the last find. It was a fine specimen of a prehistoric stone hammer head, although I didn’t think he had recognised it as such.
“Is this worth anything?” he said.
“I’m not too sure,” I said, “although added into the collection with the coins, it will certainly increase the value.”
“How much will you give me?” he asked straight out, and I stopped in my tracks for a moment. It had to be high enough to tempt him to sell the things to me, and yet not so high as to make him think it was worth much more than I mentioned.
“Two pounds for the lot,” I said.
“Blimey, that’s more than I expected.”
“Well there are several coins and the other item - so I don’t think that is a bad offer. What do you say? Is it a deal?”
“Can I have a few days to think it over and talk to my friends about it?”
“Either you trust me or you don’t,” I countered. “If you want to find somebody else to sell it for you, or buy it from you, that’s up to you. Good day,” and I started shutting the door.
“Wait,” he said. “All right, it’s a deal. But I want two guineas now and in cash.”
“Oh, so it’s guineas now is it? Well, since you are here and I hope you and your friends will keep looking for more, all right. It's a deal.”
"I reached into my pocket and withdrew two £1 notes from my money clip, and added the required two shillings to make it up to two guineas.
“And do come back if you find more,” I said. “This could be the start of a fortune for you. Who knows but what a whole bag of those coins might be out there somewhere in your field.”
“Thanks for this. I’ll see what else I can find,” and he trotted off whistling, and no doubt was about to spend a certain amount of his wealth on drinks at the local. That's fine with me. Nothing like a satisfied customer to make others take note. I rather thinkt that a few more coins would be coming my way in the next few weeks.”
I had a fortnight’s holiday when the family were in France. I managed to get to Buxton and visited with my brother Harry and his wife for a few days too, but I hadn’t managed to see Fred again since things got back to normal.
“Blanche,” Mr. Warrington said. “I have a little job for you. I have written a note for you to take to Mrs. Morrison. It’s to do with the house buying business.”
Certainly, sir,” I said, glad for an opportunity to have time outside in this beautiful autumn weather we are having.
I was hoping I might call in on Fred at the same time, as I haven’t seen him for some weeks.
I knocked at Helen’s door, and was pleased when she opened it.
“I have a note for you about the house sale,” I said.
"Oh, thank you, Blanche. And do come in. You look in need of a good strong cup of tea after that long walk.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say no,” I said.
She opened her letter in front of me.
“To whom it may concern:
On the 14th of October, I will be meeting with the representatives of Lord Howard of Glossop in regard to our house purchase plans. The meeting will take place at the Estate Offices, at 11 am. I shall be lunching at the Norfolk Arms Inn which is nearby the meeting place at about 12.30 pm, after the meeting, and would welcome any of the participants in the scheme to join me at that time, to discuss any concerns you might have.
Then handwritten at the bottom,
“Helen, I do hope to see you there.”
“Did you take notes like this to everyone, Blanche?” she asked me.
“No, there was just the one note for you.”
“How very curious,” she said. “Does he expect you to bring a reply from me?”
“He didn’t say so.”
“Well, please tell him thank you for the letter, and that I intend to come to the meeting. I think I should be able to get the Glossop bus there. I expect he will probably go in a carriage, so maybe he will give me a lift home, if I’m lucky. If I’m late back, I’m sure Rosie can go to Mary’s for tea. Do you know the bus times Blanche?”
Just then Mary came over for a chat, and Helen offered her a cup of tea too.
“You are looking right perky, Helen? Did you have good news in the post?”
“Well, not bad news anyway. I have to go to a meeting in Glossop in a few weeks’ time, and I was just thinking about how to go about arranging it.”
“Rosie can always come over to me if there is a problem of that sort.”
“Thank you, Mary, I know that. But she has a friend just down the road who she goes to school with, so it is likely she would go to her house if I were not back in time. I have every intention of being back by 5, but with depending on bus services, you just cannot predict these things exactly.”
“So what is this meeting about then?”
“Oh, just to do with some investments that I've made.”
“Not to do with your plans for buying the house then?”
“Well, the subject may come up - as it is my invested money that I would be spending.”
“I do hope you know what you are doing, Helen. It has been some time now since that fancy Mr. Warrington has called any meetings for you lot, hasn’t it?”
“He and his family were away for much of this month,” I put in.
“Well, I know these things take time, and don’t expect that it will happen without a great deal of hoo-ha from the officials involved. Presumably, Lord Howard’s man would have to come to inspect this property - which he owns but not doubt has forgotten about over the last fifty years - to see what sort of price he thinks he can get from you for it.”
“Oh, I am sure there will be a surveyor, and he will need to measure sizes of rooms and such like. The land will still be under Lord Howard's overall control, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot use it as we see fit - just that we have to pay him a yearly rent for it.”
“And how much is that likely to be?”
“I don’t know. It probably depends on the size of the plot, and that will depend on their surveyor measuring it.”
“Well, just remember, you can always pull out of the deal, if you feel it is not right for you.”
“Yes, I do know that, Mary, and I will be sure that what I am doing is right and sensible before I give over my money. It is Rosie’s inheritance too, and I mustn’t waste it.”
“Well, ta for the tea, luv. I must be getting back and doing some baking. Nice to see you Blanche.”
“Bye Mary. I must be off too.” But I decided I had spent too much time with Helen, and didn’t risk going to Fred’s for a visit too. I have something I have to tell him, but I’m not looking forward to doing it.
I made a note of the date of the meeting that Mr. W had arranged with his advisors and that Helen was going to. I knew that it was scheduled to start at 12.30 and that Helen had intended being back home by 5 or so. So when Mr. Warrington told his wife that he would be away two nights and had hired a brougham I immediately smelled a rat. Helen and Mr. Warrington think they have been so clever in disguising their interest in each other, but really for anyone who was at all interested, this so called meeting is really a secret assignation. I don’t feel bad for Mrs. Warrington, who I despise anyway, but I wish Helen wouldn’t get involved with him. He is not a nice man, as I know only too well.
Mr. Warrington is back, and he is in a very foul mood. When asked by his wife how things had gone, he snapped at her. “None of your business, woman.”
But when she reminded him that it is very much her business, as several hundred pounds of her mother’s money had been invested in the group, he softened a bit.
“Mr. Andrews will come to inspect each of the residential properties taking our surveyor Mr. Thomas Haines with me, and Mr. Siddens will inspect all the farms with regard to the outbuildings, and live stock, and then we will come up with a specific asking price for each of the properties. He will then tell me as acting agent, rather than the individual investors, the amounts, and then I will go back to him, within a reasonable length of time, saying whether we are happy to pay the amount asked or whatever.”
“How soon will they be doing their assessment?” she asked.
“Well before the new year, and their price should get to us before the first of February next.”
“I was rather hoping it would be quicker than that, but appreciate that these things do take time. I expect that the solicitors involved will take as much time as they can to spin the whole procedure out, to advance their pay packets,” she said.
“I am sure they will do their business as quickly and efficiently as we will do ours,” he replied, not at all pleased at her jibe at solicitors.
“And you paid the deposit?”
“Yes, of course. I went to the bank manager in the town and got it all dealt with.”
“And it was the amount you expected?” she asked.
“Of course, it was,” he shouted, “are you accusing me of fraud now?”
And I think both she and I were thinking that something was surely amiss somewhere in all of this.
I wondered how Helen had gotten on with her part of the big day. I knew a bit about what she would have experienced, because on my last day off, I decided that I would take the bus to Glossop, and see what there is to offer in that town. I have seen so little of anything, and having gone to Buxton the other week gave me an appetite to do some more exploring.
The bus from Lane Ends just outside our house was due at 11, and it was somewhat late. It times its journeys to coincide with the train arrivals and departures in Marple - and if the train is late, the bus will also be late. And it was 11.15 before it arrived. There were several others on the bus, but I found a seat to myself and didn’t converse with any of them. We took quite a time covering the seven miles or so to Glossop, stopping in Chisworth, Charlesworth, Gamesley and Dinting en route. I was interested to see we went by Melandra Castle - which was mentioned by Mr. Warrington in his talk about Roman coins. It was only a ruin now, nothing to show for it, and not even a very good view. It was almost 12.30 when we finally got to the town square and I hoped it would not be far to the Norfolk Arms Inn. But having asked the driver, I was told that it was just down to the main street and then on the right.
I found a little café to have lunch in, and then wandered around the town for an hour or so, taking in the various shops of all varieties, although there wasn’t much that I found that I couldn’t have bought in Marple.
I had a cup of tea and settled in a quiet part of the park. The bus stop was outside the Market Square, just across the street from the inn, and it was on time, and my trip home was pleasant. I wonder if Helen had an equally pleasant time.