Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Vengeance: Two

Ms. Madison reached Mainstone Hall just after four o'clock. In the gathering dusk, she could see the great gothic bulk of the mansion. It would have been nice to reflect on the many ancestors of Lord Ambrose Vaughan who had built up the estate. However, that would have been false. Lord Ambrose was a younger son who had inherited a great deal of money from a favourite aunt. He had bought Mainstone when it was derelict and facing demolition. His aunt's old home, and Lord Ambrose's occasional seat, was located in the Home Counties, closer to the London Clubland that was Lord Ambrose's natural habitat.

Not that Ms. Madison was complaining, for Lord Ambrose was a good 'sport.' As she stepped out of the car, the gravel crunching under her shoe, she looked at the brightly lit window that indicated the entrance hall of the mansion. Approaching the door, she rang the bell.

The door was opened by a lovely, friendly looking brunette in a yellow gown and fur coat.

"Hullo," the girl smiled, "I'm so glad you could come, Lynette. Ambrose is sorry he can't be here too, but a friend of his is holding a party in London before he goes off on a round-the-world cruise. Stil," she extended a soft, perfumed hand, "it'll be wonderful having you over."

"Thanks, Lady Sylvia," the blonde took the proferred hand. "I'm just glad to be here. When do the other guests arrive?"

"Apart from your Mr. Rake," Lady Sylvia laughed, "they're all here. Come into the Drawing Room, I'll introduce you."

The drawing room was a palatial structure, rising through two floors, with galleries. Well-dressed young men and women lounged on sofas and armchairs. The air was filled with the buzz of conversation, drinks standing on the side, liveried waiters stood by with refills.

"Wonderfully decadent," Lady Sylvia laughed. "This," she addressed the assembled company, "is Lynette Madison, a very good friend of my brother and I."

"Well," one of the young ladies laughed, "any friend of yours is a friend of mine, Sylv." She spoke with a very slight Scots burr.

"That's Mary Laing," Lady Sylvia informed the blonde, "her father has a huge palace in Scotland, as well as a nice pad in London. Her brother's with Ambrose at this good-bye party."

"Hullo, Lynette," Mary, a regal-looking brunette, gave Ms. Madison a little wave.

"Hiya, Mary," Ms. Madison smiled at the pretty Scottish girl.

"And, Lynette, this most interesting gentleman is Mr. Robert Matthew-Henry." Lady Sylvia indicated a man in his late thirties, lounging in a particularly shapeless armchair.

Ms. Madison tried very hard not to start when she laid eyes on the man in the armchair. As secretary to the Green Man, she knew most of the serious villains in the world by sight. And while she did not recognise the London gangster the Green Man had referred to, she did recognise this man. Under the long, elegantly curling hair and the moustache was the face of Monty Bristow - alias The Disturber!


The Girl in Grey said...

I hope I'm going to be reassured by this Lady Sylvia. Otherwise I'm going back to sharpening my claws.

The Green Man said...

Oh, you'll be reassured, my dear.

The Girl in Grey said...

Thank you. Dinner at eight next Wednesday? Emily's cooking.