The Harrowing Estrangement Part V (Novella)

August 1853
Redlaw Mansion
William was visited by Mr Tetterby on one fine day; he had bought a silver dagger from the flea market, and wanted to show the ornamented metal to William. He went to his room, where William was working, and filling gaps between Patricia’s stories. Mr Tetterby entered the room with a cheer in his voice, and said, “Good morning Mr Redlaw, look what I have here in my hand!”
William was taken aback, and he took the dagger covered in a maroon velvet cover; he took the dagger in his hand, and observed it closely. It was beautiful, silver metal with beautiful inscriptions and patterns carved on it. The sharp edges of the dagger shone in the sunlight. William was mesmerised by its beauty, and kept looking at it.
Mr Tetterby was excited to hear his comments, and looked at him expecting an answer. William smiled and said, “It is a wonderful dagger, indeed. I wonder where you would find such a treasure from.”
“Aah! An old man in the flea market sold it to me, for a very meagre cost. I knew you would like it, and hence I brought it to show you first, rather than Mary”.
William was much impressed by his friend’s care and loyalty; he smiled at him, and said, “Well, it appears that you are very happy with the deal. Let’s observe the cravings on the surface”.
They both stooped at the dagger placed on the table, under the sunlight, and tried to observe the beautiful designs on the surface. They both were admiring the patterns, when Mr Tetterby said, “Oh look! There is something written here, ‘For Thou Power and Passion’, hmmm, very interesting”.
William looked closer, and he observed the writings too. He saw what was written on the surface, and was lost in thoughts trying to interpret what it meant. They were brought back to their senses, when a soft knock drew their attention toward the door. It was Martha, with a tray of tea for both of them. Mr Tetterby reached for his cup, and settled on an armchair. He let William admire the dagger as long he wanted.
“Oh! What a beauty, where did you find it?”
“Martha, I bought it in the flea market an hour ago. Look how much Mr Redlaw liked the dagger”.
“Indeed, it is such a beauty”.
“And, it is engraved”.
“Oh! Is that so, what does it say?”
“For Thou Power and Passion, how lovely”.
“I wouldn’t disagree. My husband once got an old white quill from the flea market, and used to write with it every day, until the day he disappeared. Well, I gifted it to Miss Patricia one day, and she was much happy with it”. Martha’s voice trembled as she spoke about the past.
William did not speak of anything, instead kept pondering over the beauty of the dagger. He rose from his chair, put his coat on, and announced, “John, let’s go for a small walk, shall we?”
Mr Tetterby and Martha looked at each other with surprise, they did not know how to respond, how to act.
“Why not”, he said in an amazed tone, “let’s go at once”.
Martha looked at them leaving the room. She smiled gently out of joy to see her master going out of the house in many months. She was happy that William was getting along with his life. She hoped that he recovered from the despair sooner, and cleared the table from the tea cups.

Few days later, William was busy writing the story. He had written it over and over, to bring a perfect finish to it. He had planned the story beautifully, and had decided what is going to happen to Julia and Jonathan. He had decided that the lovers death would part the lovers away, and the story would finish there. But he had to decide how are they dying?
He was busy thinking, when he heard a sound of someone hitting against a wooden plank. William paused, to be sure if he heard something. There was silence all around, so he went back to his writing. After a short pause, he heard the sound again. William stopped working, and looked around. He rose from his chair, and opened the door of his room, and then of his personal lavatory, but there was no one.
William went back to work, wondering if he was imagining it. As soon as he started writing, he heard the noise again. This time, it was harder, and louder. William was irritated, he looked around him, and there again! He heard it again, as if someone was knocking harder against a wooden plank. He tried to recognise where it could come from, and went back to open the doors in his room. There was no one again. William was vexed, and angry.
“Old fool, dreaming with open eyes”, he said to himself, and started walking towards his study table. And then, he heard it again. And this time, it was harder and longer than before. William narrowed his grey eyes, and turned towards his closet. He wondered if the noise came from there. He heard it again, and this made him confident that it came from the inside of the closet, but what is it, he was not sure. He walked slowly towards the closet, thinking that there must be a rat trapped inside, chewing off his clothes. He reached for a bunch of papers from his table, rolled them up, and walked to kill the wicked animal. He slowly held the handles of the door, and sprang the door open. There was nothing, no rat, no animal, nothing which could have caused the noise. William was surprised, he ruffled the clothes and searched for the thing which could have caused the noise, but there was nothing. He was distracted by a noise of someone opening the door, he turned to see, and found Martha standing.
Martha had a puzzled look on her face, and William hastily closed the doors of his closet.
“Yes Martha, what is it?”
“Mr Redlaw, what are you searching for?”
“Nothing, just few papers! Tell me what has happened? Why are you here?”
“Sir, Greet, my daughter has fallen ill again, I must go and see her, would it be okay if I take leave mow and return by two days?”
William was exasperated, still thinking about the noise that emerged from invisible, and kept wondering about it.
Martha was worried now, “Mr Redlaw, are you alright, Sir?”
“Yes, yes, alright. Go at once!”
He reached for his study table, took some money out of his cabinet, and handed it to her, “Here, you might need this.”
Martha thanked him, and left the room.
William was annoyed, and kept thinking about the little incident. He walked back to his study table, sat in his chair, and lighted his pipe, to relax and think further about Patricia’s story.
September 1853
Redlaw Mansion
It was autumn time, and the trees started shedding their leaves. The garden in the mansion was losing its charm, just another seasonal cycle that changes the view outside the window. William was smoking his pipe, and watching this change taking place bit by bit. Martha was serving him tea. One of the servants appeared, with Lucas and Mr Henry Brownlow, the vice-president of the Writers’ Association. Martha and William were surprised to the see the amalgamation of the gentlemen.
“Good morning, Mr Redlaw! How are you doing today?”
“Good morning, Officer. I am very well, thank you. Well, a very good morning to you too, Mr Brownlow, how are you doing?”
“Very well, thank you”, said Brownlow walking around the room, and observing things around him. He looked at Martha, and said, “Miss, would you please let us be alone with your master for a word?”
Martha was afraid; she bowed, and left the room hastily. Lucas watched her leaving, and turned to William.
“Mr Redlaw”, said Brownlow, “have you forgotten your path to the Association, or you have decided to destitute us from the honour of your company?”
William was embarrassed, and nervous, and replied, “There is nothing like you assumed, Mr Brownlow, I wanted to be alone for some time”.
Brownlow observes the study table, and picks up the notebook, “Oh, very well! It seems like you are writing again. May I?”
William stumbles and tries to take the notebook away from him, but Brownlow reacted quickly, and raised the notebook in the air, out of his reach. William understood now about the combination of the guests in his room, and kept quiet. He was afraid that they would take the notebook away, and press charges again him, for not sharing any information about Patricia, and on him to have encouraged her to write in her life.
Brownlow moved away from William, and said, “This must be interesting, your dear maid, Miss Martha told Officer Lucas about your daughter’s notebook. I hope this would be enough for our observation for now, am I right Officer?”
Lucas had a stern composition, and was watching everything that was happening in the room. He did not reply, but kept looking at William.
William was angry, but helpless. He could not do anything. Brownlow and Lucas were leaving, when Brownlow spotted the white quill, and took that, too, with him. William did not say anything.
“Well, Mr Brownlow, I guess this is enough for now”.
“Oh, yes indeed! We shall be going now, Mr Redlaw”, said Brownlow, wearing a cunning smile, “we shall leave you to enjoy your tea, and the spectacular view of your withering garden. Have a good day”.
They both left the room; Martha stood next to the door, and watched everything that had happened inside. She was worried and afraid for her master. She left from where she stood, not saying a word. William descended in his armchair, held his head in his hands, and stayed still for a long.
It had been three weeks since Lucas and Brownlow had visited William, and there was no news from them since. One fine day, when William was getting ready for lunch with the Tetterbys’ in their house, Martha came to William and said that Officer Lucas had come to visit.
William was scared, and was worried that he had come to arrest him. He asked Martha to let him wait in the hall, and locked his closet, and his room behind him. He climbed down the stairs, buttoning his waist-coat; Lucas rose from the dewan he was sitting. He had a sorry look on his face. William wondered what had happened.
“Good morning, Officer. How are you doing today?”
“Good morning, Mr Redlaw”, he said in a soft tone, “I have come here to acknowledge you about a sad news.”
William sighed, now he was sure that his fear had come true, he was going to prison.
“Mr Brownlow was found dead his in room”
William looked at Lucas in surprise. He did not know what to say, “What, how did this happen?
“Well, looks like the old man went lunatic working on his own book for days at a stretch, and killed himself just the way he had killed his characters in his work, by drowning in a bathtub full of boiling water”.
William was too shocked to speak; he did not know what to say. Lucas reached the pockets in his coat, and took the leather notebook and the white quill out. William kept gazing at the floor with shock.
“Mr Redlaw, I am extremely sorry to have behaved immoral the other day, here are your belongings. We could not find anything”.
William was relieved to hear that, but was still in shock. Lucas left the house, without saying a word. William opened the notebook, to see if anything was missing from it, any page was torn off. To his surprise, everything was just as it was, except for the last couple of pages, where all the sentences were jumbled, and unorganised, stroke off, and had blots of ink here and there. William got angry, he remembered the few pages that he hid in his closet, which belonged to Patricia, looked the same. He understood that the wicked Brownlow would have caused this, to chasten her for her writing. He was furious at the thought of him causing her death, and was happy in his heart, that God had done justice to his malicious soul.
When William turned to go to his room, he saw Martha standing in the corner, with fear lurking from her eyes.
She looked at master, and said, “Storm is coming, Mr Redlaw”.
William paused, nodded, and left to his room without a word. He did not understand what she said, and he did not bother for the moment.
She said nothing and kept looking at William. She watched her master climbing the stairs, and left the room as he locked himself in his room. William came out with his coat, an umbrella, and a hat in his hands, to go to the Tetterbys’.


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