Landed Estate Excerpt
Placing his satchel on the only table he can find in the busy tavern, he surveys the scene before him. Cigar smoke envelops the room swirling upwards forming a cloud over the heads of customers immersed in their conversations of laughter, legal talk and politics. A smile crosses his lips. He marvels at the scene before him, a place ripe for inspiration and stories. The Lane Way Tavern is a busy place situated close to the court of law and a short distance from Riverdale Town Hall where it is frequented on a daily basis by the city’s legal profession and judges. It was here two weeks ago that he first heard of a story that has captivated him so much that it has become the inspiration for his new book. He believes it will be the story to launch his career.
Edgar Evans has long aspired to become a well known author, and his dream is not about to fade. The Riverdale Chronicle is his current source of employment where he writes a daily feature column on life in the city chronicling everything that happens, from small, to major news items. He soon discovered after joining the newspaper three years ago on his nineteenth birthday that the Lane Way Tavern is an immense source of knowledge, as who else knows all about the ins and outs of everyone’s lives, but the solicitors and judges?
Pushing his way to the counter, he orders ale over the din and places a coin before him. Nodding at the barman, he enjoys a mouthful of beer prior to returning to his table. Most of the customers recognise him and take no notice of his eavesdropping as long as their names are never mentioned. As he opens his notepad, his eyes fall on the title “The Legend of Earl Southwell”; a conversation that began two weeks ago by an elderly judge commenting that the 11th of July was the 39th anniversary of his death. Curious by nature, he moved nearer to hear more of this man, as what was so important to recall a death of a man after such a period of time? What briefly unravelled before him was mystery, love and murder. He was hooked. Many questions were left unanswered, names of people, dates, motives, and at the centre was a man of the aristocratic classes killed while on duty, having fallen in love with the lady who instigated the investigation over the death of her husband. What made it more tragic for the people of Riverdale was that this man, fair and just, was the son of Lord and Lady Southwell of Oakwood Castle Estate, landlords of the district.
Edgar moves randomly between the tables. Discussions are on current law cases, local politics and Ireland’s role in the British Empire, but no mention of Earl Southwell today. He has been fortunate enough to have a brief interview with the elderly judge and has also carried out some further investigations locally, but he wants more. Returning to his seat, he places his almost empty glass on the table. Glancing towards the large clock hanging over the bar, the hour hand strikes twelve signalling end of lunch and the mass exodus of the law men returning to their respective duties. Silence descends with only a few customers remaining now conversing in hushed voices. Swallowing the last of his beer, he reaches his decision, something that has been playing on his mind in the past week. He will seek leave from the Chronicle for some time and travel to Kilbrack and meet with the Westby family and Mrs. Westby should she still be alive. As he stands, he nods to the barman and exits the bar into the sunny afternoon and bustle of the Riverdale streets.
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