The Lovers of Reading Abbey - part 5
Actually, there were three flowers shops in the main street of Reading. Anne went in the first shop and asked if they sold yellow roses. They didn’t, neither did the second shop. But the third one did! With her charming smile she asked the owner of the shop who bought yellow roses. He told her that there was only one person. His name was John Wolf, and he lived in a beautiful house near Reading.
Anne immediately deduced that this John Wolf was obviously Mrs. Hamilton’s lover!
She went to his house which was real pretty and welcoming. She found him in his garden and introduced herself as Frederick’s friend. Then Anne asked him a few questions about the General:
“Just before I visit you, I went downtown to find the only flower shop which sells yellow roses. The owner told me that you were the only person who buys them. Reading Abbey is a mysterious place and I’m sure that there is something strange about the death of Mrs. Hamilton. I found some clues and I’m searching for proofs. The gardener told me that it was forbidden to have yellow flowers in the Abbey, but he happened to see Mrs. Hamilton with some. I was thinking that she may have a lover who gave her the roses.”
“To be completely honest with you, your suspicions were right. Indeed I was Susan Hamilton’s lover. It’s me who sent her yellow roses because she was not allowed to buy any by herself. I’m really surprised that I’m not the only one who thinks that there is something wrong with this Abbey. Twelve years ago, Susan and I met and we fell in love. She was one of the most incredible creatures I had ever seen in my life. We decided to elope with her three children during the night she died. We had an appointment at the exit of the town, but I never saw her coming. During the following day, I learnt that she died because of a broken step.”
Anne was shocked about what she was hearing. The husband might have been jealous of her lover and decided to kill her. He could have pushed her in the stairs.
“And what do you think about the General? I mean, he scares me a lot!”
“I always thought that it was him who killed my Susan. Who else could it be?!”
“Yes of course he was one of my suspects! But, I mean, if you are the only person who buys yellow roses, why did I find a yellow petal in front of Mr. Swan’s room?”
“Mr. Swan? Oh yes I understand now. Matthew is the brother of the man you spoke to in the flowers shop. He only told you who buys what in his shop, but his brother doesn’t need to buy them. But it makes no sense, why did he have yellow roses? He never ever liked Susan! Unless… Do you think it’s insane to believe that she is still alive? ”
Suddenly, Anne remembered the noises that she heard when she just arrived in the Abbey and realized something terrible. The noises weren’t simple noises like a crack or something. No, they sounded like a female voice! Therefore if Susan was alive, she must be in the old wing. And if the butler wasn’t there, the night the accident happened, the General must be guilty! He wasn’t brave enough to kill her, so she became his prisoner. Therefore Mr. Swan brought her food every night when everyone was asleep. It explained everything! General Hamilton could live his love story with the butler without any witnesses. There was just one strange thing. Why did Matthew have yellow flowers? Anne thought that he must have some remorse and brought her very often some yellow roses, so she can keep some hope.
“I’m so sorry to interrupt you but I have to go. It’s almost night and every one must be waiting for me. I think I have the answer to your question, sir.”
She rushed at the Abbey. After dinner, she waited in her bedroom until everyone fell asleep, and ran to the old wing. There, in a big bedroom, she found Mr. Swan with Mrs. Hamilton who was crying.
“You! I knew it was you!” Anne cried.
When the butler heard the sound of Anne’s voice, he left the place as fast as he could. Anne didn’t pay attention to it because she had to save Mrs. Hamilton. The prisoner told her the whole story, exactly the same as Anne had imagined in her head.
The “savior” went to Frederick and Charlotte’s rooms, and woke them up! In ten minutes, everyone in the Abbey was awake. They all rushed, including the General, to the old wing. Everyone was shocked about what they saw. It was the first time Emma saw her mother. Mrs. Hamilton was tired but really happy and relieved to finally meet her children again.
The reunion was short because they heard someone screaming in the kitchen. Indeed it was Catherine who had found Mr. Swan hanged. He had committed suicide because he felt too ashamed about what he had done. Actually, when he had escaped from Anne, he was too scared to run away and had so many regrets, therefore he had killed himself. However just before, he had written a letter to the family where he said that he was sorry and he had remorse. He didn’t want to hurt anyone but because he loved the general so much, he did everything he told him to do. Everyone was focused on the corpse and the letter. The General took advantage of this mess to run away from the Abbey. The family decided to go to the police who started to look for him.
Frederick felt very embarrassed and suggested to bring Anne back in her family. However, she refused. Frederick’s mother was really afflicted and they needed some help to start afresh. Therefore, Anne decided to stay. It was a new opportunity for them to spend time together and on the 31st of March, they finally got married.
The police finally found out that General Hamilton had bought a ticket for the boat named The Titanic. The boat had just left Southampton on the 10th of April 1912, two days before, at a quarter past twelve.
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