The Lovers of Reading Abbey - part 4
Anne was very upset with this investigation. While she was looking the next day for a portrait of the mother, she arrived in the General’s office. It was an austere place. Everything was dark and organized. She didn’t find anything expect a mysterious key that was on his desk. She noticed that it was pretty old; therefore it must open an old chest or something where the General kept some secrets. He may not have killed his wife, however, there was something shady about him. She took the key and brought it back in her room. Despite her fear, Anne woke up during the night, walked down the stair and tried to find the matching chest in the house. While she was walking discreetly in the corridor, she heard a conversation between two men in the General’s room. She immediately recognized the butler’s voice. Indeed the General and the butler where together in the middle of the night in the General’s bedroom! Anne was shocked about what she discovered. Both were speaking about their relationship.
“You know how much I love you. I don’t want to be separated from you.” said Mr. Swan.
“If you continue to do your duty, there is no reason for us to be separated.” answered the General.
“I will do everything for you, my love.”
Anne understood that they had an affair together! General Hamilton was in love with Matthew Swan!
She was petrified and decided to go back to her room. She didn’t sleep, she couldn’t! Anne didn’t really know if Frederick or Charlotte or any other member of the family knew about it! She was sure that if Frederick knew something he would have told her. He loved her. And did it have anything to do with Mrs Hamilton’s murder?
The next night Anne wanted to find some proofs about what she was suspecting. She was upset about this murder! Mrs. Hamilton couldn’t fall down the stairs! If, as the General told her, the old wing was old and dilapidated, why did she have her room there? The Abbey must have an architect or a plan where there were dates of buildings and repairs. She did the same thing as the previous night, but she heard some footstep noises which were coming from the corridor of the old wing. She was intrigued: Was someone supposed to be awake in the middle of the night? Who could it be? Everyone was supposed to be asleep.
She tiptoed to the old wing and saw a masculine outline. The man was wearing a black fitted coat and some white gloves!
The only person that could wear gloves in the Abbey was the butler, Mr. Swan!
Anne didn’t understand what was going on. The General forbade anyone to go there. Therefore why did the butler go in the old wing in the middle of the night? There must be something there that was hidden or something like that.
She came back in her room and saw the mysterious key that she had found previously. She decided to find the matching chest during the next day. Maybe she could go in General Hamilton’s room. It was the place where she imagined that she could find much clues.
During the following day, she slipped inside Frederick’s father’s room. She began to search in the drawer of a closet. However she didn’t find anything. Suddenly, she saw that there was an old chest which was in front of the bed. She came nearer and noticed that it matched the key. Despite her fear, she began to turn the key and opened the chest. She found in it very aged papers. Anne thought that it was some parchments or something like that, which was talking about the Abbey. Indeed it wasn’t. The chest contained one a-century-old laundry lists.
Anne was really disappointed about that. She believed that it would be something interesting.
As usual, she came back in her room, put the old key on the table next to her door and read one of her novels. At eleven o’clock, someone knocked on her door. It was Frederick who wanted to know if everything was alright. Unfortunately for Anne, she was a very bad liar and he saw the old key on the table:
“Why do you have this key? Where did you find it?” said he.
“Oh! I found it in your father’s office…”
“Frederick, I think there is something wrong in this Abbey and I try to find what it is.”
“I’m sorry but I think your read too many novels! This key is from a chest that belonged to my grand-mother. And you are not allowed to search in my father’s room!” said he really angrily, “I am very disappointed about you!”
Anne was shocked about this conversation. But her goal was to absolutely find the secret of this Abbey. When she was walking to go in the dining room for lunch she stopped in front of Mr. Swan’s room. In front of this room, in the corridor, there was a yellow petal from a rose. She didn’t believe what she saw. It was impossible! Instantly, she remembered that the gardener had told her that it was forbidden to have yellow roses in the Abbey because the General couldn’t stand them! So why was there a yellow petal in front of the General’s lover’s room? Anne must investigate about those flowers. She decided to go downtown to see if there was a flower shop who sold yellow roses. They may know something!
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