She said good-bye and clicked off. Still hanging on to her cell, considering his offer. She had all she needed for her missing chapter to her thesis, mainly due to the kindness of this man. He said his life depended on it these translations? Surely she could stay a little longer since he had promised to pay for her whole time here. He seemed sincere and, hopefully, honest. She would have plenty of time to finish her thesis now since she had what she needed for her final chapter. She wanted to check out the extent of what would be needed for the translations so she emailed the photos from her phone to herself so they would be on her laptop and easier to work with. She skimmed them and decided two, maybe three days tops. He said he’d pay me. Handsomely? Sure. Why not.
She called him back, “Sorry to bother you again, Mr. Smythe, but you said you’d pay my expenses plus pay me handsomely. Exactly how handsomely are you thinking.”
He laughed, “I appreciate your candor, Miss Morgan. The translations and manuscripts would be worth,” he paused, “would 50,000 U.S. dollars be adequate compensation for your troubles?”
She gasped, “Oh no! No! That is far too much.”
“My dear Miss Morgan, what this would mean to me is priceless. Covering your expenses plus $50,000 is the least I can do. It shall give you some spending money to tide you over. I can certainly afford it for this service you are performing for me. You have no idea. I will do a wire transfer or a check as you prefer. I shall do it straightaway. Do you have your bank’s routing number and your account number? There are pen and paper right here on my side table”
She was speechless. He was serious. That’s more money than she ever had in her life. She swallowed, dug in her bag for her bank card and gave what he would need for the transfer. He could drain her account with this information but there was no money in it anyway. Her voice was trembling, “This should do it for the wire transfer, if you are truly serious.”
“I am deadly serious my dera girl. I shall do the transfer immediately. Check your account in about an hour. Please keep track of your expenses, including your airfare, and I shall compensate you when you give me that amount. Thank you again. I must go now. I am supposed to be resting,” he finished with a chuckle and clicked off.
Emma called the airline and was able to change her flight for four days from now to be safe.
She got out her laptop, pencil and notepad and went to work. She was able to isolate the block prints and printed them in the hotel business suite.
An hour later, curious, she checked her bank account and it showed a deposit of $50,000. My god, he trusts me to do this for him and not just disappear. Who is this man?
She worked long into the night, calling out for food. After a restless sleep she had a continental breakfast from the hotel and several cups of coffee. By 6:00 that night she had finished translations of what she considered to be something that made absolutely no sense to her whatsoever but she was sure of her work. With a sigh of accomplishment, she called Mr. Smythe to tell him the news and she’d drop the translations off at the hospital in the morning. He was elated but he was presently being released from his ‘confinement’ as he called it.
He asked, “Where are you staying? I shall send a car for you at 10:00 tomorrow morning.”
“Might I ask where I’ll be taken?”
“Of course. Of course.” He gave her the address of his home.
She gave him her address and they disconnected, she with a sigh of relief, but not without a knot of anxiety in her gut. She looked up his address and it was an estate on the edge of London. What was she dealing with here? There is this Mr. Smythe, then that crazy man, secret passages, manuscripts of spells. She went to the mini bar and got three bottles of wine and ran a hot tub to soak in and gather her thoughts. After another dinner of fish and chips and two pints, she fell into a restless sleep.
10:00 next morning she was nervously waiting in front of the hotel when a Rolls Royce pulled up. A skeletal man in a chauffeur’s uniform got out and approached her, “Would you be Miss Morgan?”
“Yes. That’s me.”
“My name is Jeffers. Mr. Smythe sends his apologies for not meeting you in person, but he has been strictly ordered to rest. You appear to be prepared to go then.”
Jeffers took her bags. She took a breath and got into the luxurious car.
“Please help yourself to the tea and pastries she had already seen spread before her. I shall get you champagne if you so wish.”
“No champagne, thank you. Tea will be fine.”
“As you wish, Miss.”
She tried to relax into the plush seat, but was so filled with apprehension, she couldn’t touch either the pastries or tea.
After around a forty-fiveminute drive under ominous cloudy skies that threatened rain, Jeffers turned into a driveway, stopped in front of a large iron gate, and punched in a code. The gates swung open slowly to reveal a tree lined drive to a magnificent house, somewhere between a medieval castle and a small hotel.
Jeffers stopped the car at the front entrance and opened her door, escorting her to a large formidable front door, quickly opened by a somewhat fleshy middle aged severe looking woman in a maid’s uniform. Taking Emma’s bag from Jeffers said, “Miss Morgan, I am Miss Grant. I shall take you to the study. Please follow me.”
Emma followed two paces behind down a parquet floored hallway. She was awed by the luxurious magnificence of the house. Paintings, sculptures, and the required suits of old armor, lined the hall. She was directed into the study, a dark paneled room with a large orderly desk, plush leather chairs, thick carpet, and copious bookshelves filled with leather bound volumes. Where there weren’t bookshelves, there was expensive looking artwork. Tall windows flooded the room with the pending storm. A bolt of lightening flashed. A roll of thunder followed. Two bouquets of flowers brightened the room, giving the room a sweet fragrance and some relaxation to Emma. Miss Grant showed her to a seat with a side table set with more tea and small sandwiches. She was so nervous now she couldn’t bear to even look at food.
A moment later, Mr. Smythe slowly entered the room from another door. She arose to greet him but he motioned her to stay seated. He looked more pale and wan than when they had first met only a few days ago.
“Miss Morgan, I am so happy you came. Thank you. I owe you a deep gratitude.” He sat slowly and carefully into a chair opposite her.
His fragile presence quickly dissipated her fears. “I’m happy to be of service, Mr. Smythe. And please call me Emma.”
“Ah yes, formalities. Please call me Alexander or Alex will do just fine. You said you made the translations?” he asked eagerly.
“Yes, yes. I printed copies for you of both the original Latin and the translations along with enlarged images of the block prints. It should all be there,” as she handed him a sheaf of paper.
“Splendid. Splendid.” He quickly went through the papers. When he was finished, she noticed his lips quivering, tears forming in his eyes. He quickly looked away shaking his head as though trying to shake away his emotions. Regaining his composure, he turned back to her and said with a quivering voice, his eyes shining with moisture, “This is it. This is what I have been searching for. Perfect. Thank you Miss, I mean Emma. I cannot express my gratitude for what you have done for me.”
“I’m happy this is what you wanted. And thank you for your generosity. This was all was quite an adventure, quite an adventure.”
“Yes, quite an adventure indeed. Now, Emma, do you have your receipts so I may cover them as I promised?”
“I forgot to bring them, but may I email them to you?”
“Of course, Here is my card with my contact information. And, please do, at your earliest convenience. Now, I would love to stay and chat, however, I think my doctor was quite serious about me needing rest. I must lie down and read this treasure you have found. If this works as it should, you have truly saved this old man. Miss Grant will be showing you out. Jeffers will return you to your hotel. If you will please excuse me now.”
He slowly and unsteadily arose from the chair. She quickly got up to help, but he waved her off. “I am fine.” He stood before her, looked deeply into her eyes. She looked back and for a moment, got a glimpse of the handsome man he must have been in his youth.
“Oh, one more thing, Emma, I talked to Miss Pritchard today and she said that Mr. Arnon had been hospitalized after an incident at the library. Would you happen to know anything about that? Something about a ‘she devil from hell’,” he asked with a smirk.
“Me? No. Of course not. Why would you think that?” she answered all too hastily.
Now his smirk had turned into a broad grin. “Just asking. Thank you again, Emma.” His look was with a tenderness that made her melt a bit inside. They shook hands, he turned and went back through the door he had entered from . She was quickly snagged by Miss Grant who escorted her out to the front door where Jeffers awaited.
To be Continued . . .