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 Xartis Psyxis - Chapter 9 "The Mustering" (part 3)

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Nobiles Barbariæ

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Join date : 2011-12-25

PostXartis Psyxis - Chapter 9 "The Mustering" (part 3)

The ancient parish of St Stephen, which Titus knew had been marked on ecclesiastical inventories dating from before Dublin itself had existed as a Norse town, had in recent years acquired a whole new importance as the site of the Corporation’s new development to the southeast of the old city walls. Much of this building was nearing completion and one rule of tenancy for its inhabitants was the strictly enforced obligation to hang a lantern outside each property from sunset to curfew. Since curfew these days was rarely sounded most people played safe and left enough oil in each to burn itself out about midnight. In the old city this would have been a stupidly dangerous ordinance given the combustible nature of many of the older buildings’ materials. But these new houses were well-built affairs of brick and slate, many with granite facades to their ground floor. Wide pavements and cobbled streets were also a feature of the development, so for much of their way back to the Sheep’s Head the group walked with ease and Titus had a clear view to ensure that they were not being followed. Other than a few mendicants and vagrants, no one else appeared to be about. Jack, Titus noticed, carried a dagger at all times, sheathed but readily accessible in a pouch hanging from his belt. At first Titus had thought this an affectation of fashion – now he could appreciate its possible usefulness.
Unconsciously he patted his breast and reassured himself of the presence of his own small gully knife where it lay within.

At the junction of St Stephen Street and St George’s Street the new development abruptly ended and it was through older and ill lit lanes that they completed the last few hundred yards to Sheep Street and the inn, thankfully undisturbed. Titus asked Letitia to look inside first and report if she saw any patron who might be military, in or out of uniform. She returned saying all was clear - she knew everyone there tonight and could vouch for them all. Titus still advised Sarah to go to her room by the back stairs that she had used earlier, and then he and the rest of their group entered the main parlour. Letitia joined her father behind the bar, while Ezzy saluted her own father, who had been sitting at the bar in conversation with Collier. Titus was slightly surprised, given Ezzy’s ribald humour, to see that he wore the garb of a church minister. To his dismay he saw that there was still no sign of Flitch, so he and Jack sat at a vacant table by the window and waited.

Titus had to admit that in the short time since they had met, the lad Jack had impressed him. He was little more than a youth, as was evident in his humour, but he had a way about him that showed an astute awareness of his surroundings, an ability to learn quickly, and a sensitivity to others’ feelings which was often only found in those who had lived long enough to realise that if one were to covet consideration oneself, one first had to show some. He had been roped into something that he could not fully understand – even Titus wasn’t sure that he himself fully grasped the dangers they might be facing – but had risen to the challenge with admirable courage. He had been deferential to Sarah and sympathetic to her plight, even risking his own safety that afternoon to assist her. And never once had he asked Titus why he was taking all these risks or being asked to do anything other than the ‘fetching and carrying’ he had ridden to Dublin thinking were his only tasks. Titus realised he owed the young man an explanation, if not also an apology. Sparing only the details of the mission he had been set with regard to Lord Ormonde, Titus explained how the danger that Sarah found herself in was related to a larger threat from persons unknown, and one which he had been set the task to help avert through the discovery of its perpetrators. He warned Jack that they were set against people who had proven themselves ruthless in the past, and could use the machinery of state to their own nefarious ends. He apologised to Jack for ever embroiling him in events to the extent that he had, and told him that if he had any sense he’d go back to college that night and resume his studies in the morning.
Jack thought about it for a moment. “It seems to me you could do with some help Mr Perry. And in any case,” he smiled broadly, “it beats bloody philosophy I can tell you!” Suddenly he rose to his feet. “And here’s someone else needs help. You’d better sit in here out of sight.” Sarah had rejoined them.

“Sorry – I couldn’t sit alone up there, and Bran is not the best conversationalist. Besides, I believe I’m safe enough here. We’ll hardly be getting any more visits from patrols tonight. I can see by your face you disapprove,” she said to Titus. “And I’m grateful for all you’ve done for me. But dammit, I’m not the one who should be imprisoned!”
Titus relented. He was beginning to see that there was no turning Miss Reilly when she’d set her mind to something, and besides, he could well understand that she would not want to be alone, whatever the risk in emerging from her hideout. For all her assuredness and brave talk, she was still a daughter grieving the recent death of her dearest relative, and in times such as that even the stoutest heart can benefit from the succour of empathic company.

Collier came over with some drinks and sat down. Titus was grateful that the innkeeper immediately voiced the very thoughts he himself had just entertained. “Miss Reilly, ma’am. It’s a fierce silly thing to be sitting here. But I can’t say as I blame you hankering after company. I’ve set young Jimmy, our cellar lad, on watch outside, and the door is on patron lock.”
Titus was baffled. “Patron lock?”
“It’s a system we have when it suits us. The door is locked, is what I mean. Our patrons know to knock on our side window, not the door, if they find it so. Any who slip past Jimmy will warn us themselves at the door. Speaking of the castle, you heard about my visitors earlier then?”
Titus accepted his tankard of ale with thanks and took a deep draught from its contents. “I did. Did they say what they were searching for?”
“No. Briar simply said that his men were looking for someone in all the inns around. They don’t have to give many reasons for their actions, those constables. I reckoned it was for you though alright.” He nodded towards Sarah. “Don’t worry, I know how they think, you’re safer here now than you were this morning. There was no time to tell you today but tomorrow I will show you our ‘priest’s hole’. It’s a secret compartment where you can hide if they return. ”
Sarah nodded. “Thank you, Charlie. What about my father? Is Stanhope going through with the arrangements?”
“Yes dear, I’ve paid off the dieners up in the ‘Gate and Stanhope’s taken care of the rest. Your poor father is being laid to rest in St Mary’s tomorrow morning. I beseech you not to attend though. Briar’s men will be surely watching.”
Sarah suddenly seemed to look as vulnerable as she really was. Despite her earlier bravado, Titus thought, these last two days can’t but have taken their toll on the poor girl. Her eyes were downcast and he assumed she was close to tears. Suddenly she looked up at Collier, and not for the first time he realised how naïve it was to assume any such frailty on the part of this woman. If a collapse was due, its deferment was still in full abeyance. Her eyes flashed bright with a fleeting rage that as quickly condensed into cold conviction. “You’re right of course. But I swear on my parents’ graves, the one as yet unfilled even, I will avenge his death, I surely will!”

An earlier decision he had made came to mind and he realised that now was as good a time as any, perhaps even the best, to learn more of these phantoms upon who Sarah would take her revenge. It was time to ask her some pertinent questions, and maybe a few impertinent ones too. “Sarah, you said earlier your father died a Huguenot Protestant in spirit. In what way was this spirit expressed?”

The question seemed to take her off guard, though she quickly composed an answer delivered with some care for the words used to frame it. “You have a sharp ear, sir. Yes, that is what I said, and meant. My mother left France in the year following Mazarin’s death. Have you heard what happened in France that time?”
“Then you will understand how a Catholic in Ireland might see himself kin to their plight. To my father the victimisation of the inoffensive was a far greater calumny against our creator’s commandments than any evil perceived in how each man chooses to word his prayers. Through my mother he learnt of Calvin’s desire that we oppose tyranny with faith. For a man like yourself whose good fortune has been to escape such tyranny then the concept is most likely almost childish and silly. For my father, and many like him, it resonated with a truth and a relevance no Roman doctrine could equal. Once such a truth descends on one it is not within the power of any man who would call himself righteous to cast it off.”
“Yet he remained Catholic, and your mother converted also to the Roman faith.”

She smiled, and Titus thought he could see why. She was seeing in her mind’s eye her father speak the very words she said next, probably on the many occasions when his young daughter had asked the same questions. “God is all merciful, and God knows his own.”
“Did Stanhope know this, your father’s ambivalence of faith? I got the impression …”
“There was no ambivalence, sir!” The rage was suddenly back, but again dissipated as quickly as it had flared up. “Sorry, but that was his point, you see. A good man can call himself, or be called, any label you wish to invent. No faith has completely the truth of it, and no faith is completely wrong, least if it produces a man who will do good by his fellow.”
“But he never thought to become an Anglican?”
“No, it would not have served his aim. You cannot help those from whom you distance yourself.”
The logic was unarguable. Titus reckoned it was best to leave matters of theology and return to those more sordid, the real point of his enquiry anyway.
“To his killers then, would they have known this about him?”
“Some of them did, and I suspect hated him the more for it. A man who defies labelling defies the labellers, as he said himself, and that is something they will not abide. But that was why he made certain always to observe his Catholic duties as closely and as publicly as he did. And nor was that a lie. My father never lost his affinity for the faith he was born into. After my mother died I believe a lot of the optimism he had learnt through her beliefs died with her. He went back to his observance of the old faith, and I would defy any man to allege that he did so hypocritically.”
“I would hope I have not inferred as much either, Miss Reilly. But it is the nature of these killers I am trying to assess, not your father.”
“I know. But it is essential that you understand both. You are a stranger to this world.”

Titus felt some umbrage at this remark but quickly realised that she was simply telling the truth. He thought better of answering her.
Sarah seemed to notice this hesitation, and moreover interpret it correctly for what it meant. She smiled at him, a brief acknowledgement on her part that she had possibly been too harsh in her tone. Her voice softened. “It was essential to my father’s work that he always be perceived as nothing other than Catholic, that no ideological battle pursued by others be allowed dilute his effectiveness. You see, he really believed that he was setting an example and that it was one that needed setting. Probably the only one in this country that must be set before any other. Many Catholics are afraid to venture too far into public affairs and my father was intent on proving their fears unfounded. Stanhope is a vain man, and a mercenary one too, but he had the sense to see that my father was an asset in their venture and also that collaboration is where the future of this country, if we have such a thing, lies. My father was immensely pleased that he had persuaded such a man to accept a Catholic into partnership.”
“Yet you say his killers knew the truth? So was it his religion or his work which angered them most? Who do you believe they were Sarah?”

She thought a moment and Titus could see that she was again struggling to choose her words with care. “It was both, of course. That he was a Catholic drew the bead, what pulled the trigger though was his impudence in standing up for all faiths and none when he bettered the lot of his neighbours. There are many who will kill for any one of these reasons, but there are few in this town who would kill for all of them, leastways kill a man who had garnered trust and respect from the alms house in Thomas Street to Ormonde himself.”
“Someone powerful, you mean. Unafraid even of the Viceroy?”
“Afraid, maybe. But driven by forces which drown that fear.” She winced. “I am sorry. But that is as much as I can say.”
Titus could see that she was thinking of someone in particular, though just as before could not bring herself to state it openly, at least to him. He was at a loss as to how best coax her into admitting the name to him, Titus Perry, a man of whom she had known nothing two short days before who was now demanding an admission which even made to friends would be dangerous in the extreme. Possibly even fatal.

He was rescued by Collier. The innkeeper had been sitting by her side throughout, a look of deep compassion and concern etched into his rotund features, but contributing no more than an occasional subtle salute with his tankard or gentle nod of agreement as Sarah Reilly had extolled her father’s virtues and worth as a man. Now he spoke, and the tone was almost plaintiff. “Miss Reilly, you remember Willy, my brother?” Sarah nodded. “The day he was found out there on the street was the worst day of my life, and always will be. I swore I’d find them that did it and for many months I swear there was little else on my mind. And there should have been. Our inn was running to seed in front of my eyes. All that Willy and myself had worked towards was going up in smoke. And I knew it. I could see what was happening, but I couldn’t stop it. Consumed, I was. And it was a dangerous consumption. T’was like falling down a well I was. Could see the world I’d fallen out of but couldn’t stop plummeting. Then one day your father came in here and sought me out. Letitia, the poor girl was only about ten years old, was trying to run the bar for me, and it was her who knew him for what he was. A slip of a child she might have been but she had more intelligence than her father. She was powerless to stop me ruining everything herself, but she saw the answer readily enough. A stranger your father might have been then but Letitia saw immediately he’d been sent. It was your father who made me see sense, Miss Reilly. Asked me what Willy would have thought of what I was doing. Asked me what I thought myself. But he did more than that. He listened to my ramblings, I was blaming half of Dublin by that point, but he listened to them. And ‘clare to God if he didn’t find the beer in all the ullage. We all know that Willy died for the chapel upstairs, but it was your father who found out who it was whose offence led to the knife in his back. And it was your father who set about skinning the cat for me. I’d have swung for that bastard Smith but it was Eoin Reilly who persuaded me to let the Lord’s justice prevail, with your father’s help of course. You remember the case. It was the talk of the country when Smith went to debtors prison on the prosecution your father took agin him. A week later Smith was standing before his maker with the knife in his hand, the one he’d used to take Willy from us and the one he’d used on himself.”

Some of this seemed to have been news to Sarah. She listened intently to Collier as he spoke and when a sigh seemed to signal that he was spent she patted him on the back of his hand with her own. But he hadn’t quite finished. He’d set out to make a point and though it had ended up more fulsome and arduous than he’d intended he was intent on seeing it through.
“I’d only needed a friend, Miss Reilly. My child could see that. A stranger he was at the time, but a friend like none other. I should have had more faith. We all should …” Tears had welled in his eyes and he abruptly turned his face away, leaving Titus and Sarah Reilly contemplating each other briefly. Both knew that the point had been understood.

Sarah waited a few moments as Collier composed himself by her side and she composed her thoughts. When she spoke she did so quietly but with purpose. “There’s a man called John Stafford. He owns some property where my father’s business is – was. But his main ambition lies in developing the old quarters.”
Titus answered her matter of fact tone reciprocally. The little he knew of Miss Reilly suggested that when she spoke with conviction and intelligence she expected nothing less in return. “I thought the property around Capel Street was all owned by Jervis.”
“Jervis does nothing alone. His plans for this town are too grandiose for even a man of his wealth to achieve on his own. He has many partners.”

Titus remembered Jervis’ reference earlier to the fact that he had received investment from Oliver Burke. “So I believe, but Jervis does business with Catholics too. I met the man today and he made no secret of it. If Stafford is a man motivated to murder for fear of Catholics acquiring wealth or property, it is not a view shared by his senior partner.”
“Jervis would do business with Satan himself if there was profit in it. My father called him Croesus. If you met the man you can see why. But no, I do not suspect Jervis. He is a shrewd man, but not a villain. He may not be above a bit of bribery when it suits him, but he is a public figure of some esteem and stands to realise a fortune enough from his plans for the old Abbey grounds. No, he would risk too much politically and financially sinking lower.”
“What of this Stafford then? Why do you think he had a part to play in your father’s death Sarah?”
It was Collier who answered the question. He probably felt he had got Sarah Reilly into this so now the least he could do was abet her. Besides, this was a subject on which he also was knowledgeable and relating it helped him regain his composure all the quicker. The remnants of tears were still in his eyes but his tone now was as sedulous and even as his companions. “Stafford has plans that even Jervis wouldn’t dream of pursuing, Mr Perry. Jervis is making a fortune from new land. Stafford has plans for the old.”
“Where I come from Mr Perry, do you know why it is called The Liberties?” Sarah added, and then answered her own question before Titus could tell her that he knew of the term well from London, and what it implied. “The Liberties have always been outside the town, and outside the town’s laws as well. Our hearths and windows are taxed like any other, but tithes or levies are paid to no guild, nor rate to any corporation of aldermen either. Old monastery land, it was. Some say people lived there long before the city itself came to be. Petty says that it holds half as many people again as those within the walls. I’d hazard more, though there is little profit in counting the destitute, so even the most learned man can only guess.”
“I understand that,” Titus replied. “And I can see why the city authorities would want to bring it to heel. But why Stafford’s interest? It strikes me that his plan entails more work to put into effect than it’s worth. The area is destitute, after all, as you said.”
“No, not any more. Not since the Huguenots started coming to live here.”

Titus had some experience of this phenomenon from London. Unlike other refugees who sought safe haven in the capital, these French settlers had brought skills, and often personal wealth with them, not to mention the advantage of being regarded by the rabidly anti-Catholic Londoners as unfortunate victims of Papist tyranny and therefore deserving of succour and support. But what had started as a trickle was fast becoming a flood, and despite the general acceptance of their need to be there, recent years had seen a shift in opinion, especially from the many guilds, who saw their industry as competition and their growing numbers as disastrous to the guild members’ ability to strike a decent wage. The Huguenots had therefore settled for the most part in the outlying Liberties, cheek by jowl with other minorities who were excluded from guild membership, and as in Dublin had concentrated their efforts in two lines of business that the guilds did not control – weaving and banking. It seemed the same had transpired in Dublin. The numbers might have been less, but in a city so much smaller than its counterpart in England, the effect had been considerably magnified. Quite coincidentally the embargo on livestock sales to England had suddenly made the weaving trade in Ireland quite a profitable choice of trade – the raw materials had sunk in price while the goods produced, unaffected by any embargo, sold well. Sarah and Collier between them explained how the wealth now being produced in Dublin’s one-time slum was enough to turn the head of any would-be developer, let alone an avaricious and unscrupulous operator such as Stafford. And what galled men such as Stafford most, according to Titus’s informants, was that the Huguenots were content to use their profits to bolster their own chosen trades, and to remain aloof from the older established networks of wealth. Worse than that, and inconceivable to the Protestant authorities in the city, the Huguenots were seemingly happy to see their prosperity shared by those they employed – a huge irony in Dublin where this had meant their Catholic neighbours, driven to society’s fringes themselves of old, and who the Huguenots saw as people with which they had something therefore in common, rather than associate them with the persecutors who had driven them from their homeland. How long such an association could continue was anyone’s guess, but for the moment it made Dublin’s Liberties a profitable quarter, and one moreover that was infuriatingly indifferent to the rest of the town, just as its inhabitants had always felt the rest of the town were indifferent to them.

Ormonde, it seemed, was not only content with this state of affairs, but actively encouraged it. His Huguenot ‘guests’ remained outside the corporation’s revenue-collection machinery, and their businesses enjoyed the patronage of his administration and that of his associates. To Stafford and his friends it was the ultimate insult, and if they could not use their civic authority to undermine and destroy Ormonde’s protection of these people who they saw as depriving them of their wealth by right, then other methods might prove more effective. It was time, Stafford decided, that the weaving industry be delivered into the hands of its rightful owners, and if it cost money to achieve it, then it was a worthwhile investment whatever the cost.
“How?” Titus asked. “By buying out the weavers?”
“Nothing so expensive, or honest. He tried to get his business colleague Jervis, who was Lord Mayor at the time, to pass legislation whereby the Corporation would acquire the right to licence linen exports, and then appoint Stafford as the administrator of the office.”
“But surely that is not something a city authority can simply decide to do, at least without royal dispensation.”
“It depends,” Sarah answered. “London has shown the boys here what can be done with a bit of neck. A weak king in need of friends can be ‘persuaded’ to approve such legislation after it has already been enacted, especially when he has dissolved parliament, the only authority who otherwise might have impeded such a trick.”
“I take your point,” Titus knew only too well how London’s corporation had wasted no time in asserting itself as the greatest authority in the land outside of the king’s own administration after Charles had prorogued his parliament some years before.
“Well in any case Jervis refused, and to his credit referred the matter to the Viceroy himself. As I said, Ormonde was always kind to the Huguenots. He regards them truly as his guests in his city, and he regards the tradition of The Liberties’ independence to be a guarantee of their economic survival.”
“I take it Stafford didn’t give up so easily.”
“No, as he grew richer from other enterprises he could employ more daring methods. We began to experience an extraordinary number of fires a few years ago. You can guess who stepped in to purchase the vacant lots. The streets became very dangerous too, people were afraid to go out at night with the number of roaming gangs who were abroad at night. We could see the pattern, and suspected its author, but yet the city did nothing to help us – we were beyond their jurisdiction they claimed, so we could fight our own battles. My father and others petitioned the Duke himself to intervene. Ormonde granted The Liberties a charter, ensuring us of the protection of his own constabulary. Stafford was thwarted, but not quite finished yet. He had the effrontery to stop my father in the street one day and threaten him.”
“And that’s why you suspect him now above all others?”
“Not just that, no. A few days before he died my father told me of his involvement in what he called ‘the ladder’.”
“I heard of this only today. Your father by the sound of it was an important rung in the ladder I’d warrant.”
“Yes, and one who didn’t just lie low when he saw that they were now targets for assassination. He made enquiries and learnt that Stafford himself was one of the paymasters for the ‘New Model Army’ as they style themselves. He wrote all he knew in a document.”

Titus leaned forward. “A document? Did others know of this?”
She visibly paled as she spoke, as if just now realising the importance of what she was revealing. “I fear so. He spoke of it as insurance against the very fate that befell him. I assume that he therefore broadcast its existence in some way, I do not know.”
“Do you know if this letter still exists? Did it survive the fire?”
She paused and studied the room, as if checking that no one was eavesdropping before she continued. Then she sighed, and averted her eyes as she continued. “It matters not. You can judge for yourself the proof of its effectiveness as insurance.”
“It matters greatly!” Titus could sense that she had deliberately avoided answering the question. “That document may be the reason why he died. Do you have it, or know where it is?”
She looked up again, and her voice regained its stridency. “Let the world assume that it perished in the fire, I care not anymore! If the blasted thing was the reason he was murdered then may it burn in hell along with those who coveted it!”
“Let us assume nothing, Miss Reilly!” Titus’s voice betrayed his impatience. “I sympathise with your sentiments, believe me, knowing that it is through grief that you speak. But I must know the truth of this matter if I am to be of any further help to you. What was the fate of that document as far as you know?”

There was a long pause in which she simply stared at Titus, almost as if she was searching for something within him that eventually proved elusive, and she cast her eyes down. “It burnt,” she said softly and Titus realised that he was being invited to pursue the matter if he wished, but she was not going to change her story.
Jack, who had sat at the periphery of the group throughout almost so much that they had all forgotten he was there, broke the deadlock with an observation. Peripheral he may have been but he had been following the conversation throughout. “So it burnt then. At least it means that those who craved its contents went unrewarded. It strikes me that such can’t be a bad thing, or am I missing something?”
“You are missing that it might have contained the names of those behind the deed, and other deeds besides,” Titus sighed, “and would therefore have been of much assistance to us.”
Jack coughed and looked nervously at the floor, like a schoolchild corrected by his master. “Of course, there is that.”
Titus addressed Sarah again, and spoke slowly and carefully. “This document that we must assume is no more – did you ever read it?”
Again Sarah seemed to weigh her options before replying. Eventually she nodded in the affirmative.
“And do you recall its contents?”
She shook her head. “Not in detail, no. It was largely a list of names, most of which I did not recognise. I remember some of them though.”
“Good, and might you remember if the names were linked in any way? Did your father ascribe them to an organisation of any description?”
She nodded. “He made mention of The Modellers I recall.”
Collier snorted at the name. “T’would make sense that they were all members of that shower alright!”
Sarah shook her head. “Not all of the names Charlie. Some I remember had the letters DPS written next to them, which I took to be another code for such an outfit.”
“Not quite,” Titus interjected. “Or at least, I think not. If I am not mistaken that would signify that they are members of the Dublin Philosophical Society.”
“That figures.” Jack’s previous embarrassment had obviously quickly dissipated. “I always knew there was something suspect about that shower!”
Titus frowned at Jack and then returned to Sarah. He could see now with a vivid clarity why her belief that she was in dire peril herself was not at all unfounded. “Whatever it might signify we will endeavour to discover. One thing we can safely assume is that every name in that letter represents a potential enemy to your father, and now to you. For all they know that list is still probably extant, and however your father planned to use it, it could still pose them some danger. Sarah, you must write of it what you recall.”
Collier let out a low whistle. “That explains Oliver’s sudden flight, and many more too I’d warrant. As long as they think that letter exists, the Modellers are like cornered rats, and there’s nothing more dangerous I can tell you. But tell me something my dear. Why do you think your poor father was left locked up in his own warehouse? Was it just to put the frighteners on Mr Stanhope?”
Sarah shook her head. “No Charlie, that was a message to me I think. I’m safe nowhere, not even in your ‘priest’s hole’ alas.”
Collier stood to go back to his bar. “There’s none of us safe lassie, none of us. But I’ll tell you one thing, once Ormonde gets back from London things will be different. If I have to go round and knock on his bloody door myself, he’ll be made aware of what’s going on!”

Titus sighed, if they only knew how far this thing had gone they might be less defiant. And there was something else that was really worrying him. “Mr Collier, still no news of my secretary?”
Collier gave Titus a look of despair that spoke more eloquently than words and went over to the bar where a customer had begun to sing a plaintive Gaelic song in a low sonorous tone. The mood of the song matched Titus’s own, and the small group fell quiet.
Eventually Jack sighed. “Well Mr Perry, Miss Reilly, I’d better be off. They lock the college gate at eleven bells, after that it’s over the railings and I think I’ve had enough adventure for the day. Where do you want to meet tomorrow, Mr Perry?”

Titus had deferred arranging anything until Flitch showed up. Yet he suspected he might have need of Jack all the same, and it was looking less likely that his secretary had made it back to Dublin. In many ways he may be undependable, but to disappear at this time was not in his nature, Titus knew. He asked Jack to meet himself and Sarah back here at the inn in the morning. Once the lad had gone he confided his disquiet to Sarah regarding Flitch’s absence.
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