Drusilla and Murgatroyd sipped their Auchentoshans simultaneously
and gazed at the faux Faberge egg sitting on the coffee table.
Sorry to have disappointed you, said Murgatroyd. It isn’t one of the missing
ones. Bless Aunt Augusta. She was trying to bestow something on you,
but it is practically worthless.
The Tindall Jewell, on the other hand is priceless. I wonder if it had any
connection to either of the Tyndales who turned down the throne of
Bohemia? I must do some research. But I suppose it is earlier than
that. Looks medieval.
The strange coincidence is, as we discussed earlier, that a branch of the
Tindalls owned this pele tower at one time. So, in a sense, you might be
coming home. I’ll dig out the charters tomorrow. I was going to frame one
or two for the Great Hall.
I’m not going to drag Gus through a lengthy process of establishing rights.
The insurance on the jewel would be a liability and a nightmare. It should
remain with The National Trust at Wyvern Mote, Dru stated firmly.
I think you are right, Murgatroyd nodded sagely. I get in a tizzy over the
security of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s communion chalice. I hated getting it
marked by ultraviolet, but it is alarmed in that niche by the fireplace. One
day it will be yours, my girl. Come to think of it, you do resemble
Clementina Walkinshaw a tad.
Well, thanks for that. I have no intention of escaping to a convent just
yet. Do you think it came from Bannockburn House when Clementina was
nursing The Young Pretender from a nasty bout of Manflu? He probably was
demanding the Last Rites histrionically- you know- the way all you guys do
when you catch a cold!
So the story goes, but Walter Scott and his ilk tended to embellish things
as you can imagine. It does come from the Rebellion period and has a very
good maker. I won’t take it out now, but it bears the motto: Nemo Me
Impune Lacessit and the lion sejant affrontee gules, crowned, holding in
dexter paw a sword and an erect sceptre, proper..
Whae dare meddle wi’ me? A motto I would gladly adopt as my own ,
smiled Dru. Well, I must go up the spiral stair to bed. My head is
spinning with all this history, the Auchentoshan, or losing myself in the
mizmaze this afternoon.
I’m sure it is a combination of all three, speculated Murgatroyd, handing
her a beeswax taper in a pewter chamber candlestick. The hive has
been busy to light you on your way. I’ve only been stung twice. You can
taste the honey at breakfast, my sweet.
She felt a renewal of filial affection which wasn’t diluted by being shared
with her biological pater.
The embers were dying, so Murgatroyd placed the fire-guard in front of the
glow and rolled back the rug, lest a spark should catch. He was turning into
a fussy old chatelaine. Dru left the egg on the table. If there should be a
raid by the reivers, they were welcome to it. The egg, not the table!
She dreamt of Border tussles: mafia bosses fuelled by proxy wars, with
visages remarkably like Rory Stewart. She briefly counted sheep in Cumbric,
that language, Stewart claimed, of The Lost Middlelands. She thought she
saw the face of the last independent King of Cumbria who vanished in the
11th century and screamed as it morphed into the heavy-browed, jowly
phizzog of Alex Salmond. Clearly she had watched too many Game of Thrones
episodes. Or he had.
Thank goodness the tower was fortified! Any snatch of The Proclaimers
which might herald the approach of The First Minister and penetrate the foot
thick walls and she would be tipping the contents of her chamber pot out of
the window. If Alex was stationed below with his troops and that wee
bauchle, the standard bearer, who shall remain nameless, Dru would not even
give them the warning: Gardy Loo!