A VERY VICTORIAN INTRIGUE

A VERY VICTORIAN INTRIGUE A VERY VICTORIAN INTRIGUE

Status: In Progress

Genre: Historical Fiction

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary

When his best friend is found to be on the verge of ruin a doctor takes action to prevent disaster

Summary

When his best friend is found to be on the verge of ruin a doctor takes action to prevent disaster

Chapter1 (v.1) - Shadows of the Past

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 28, 2017

Reads: 291

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 28, 2017

A A A

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You who read this journal understand that I Dr. Raife Bedford care not whether you judge me harshly or no. Nor do I care how history shall judge my deeds for ultimately the only judgement I fear is that of the almighty and to him and him alone do I stand in judgement.

 My story begins 3 months after returning home from India where I had served with distinction in her majesty’s forces. Sadly, my service had concluded after being injured during a skirmish with some natives and had been returned home and subsequently discharged due to the nature of my injuries. Upon my arrival I received a telegram from my dear friend and mentor Dr Charles Crawford who, to my absolute surprise and delight extended an invitation to join him at his long established practice.

"I need someone with experience my dear fellow," he had said. "And the fact that you have seen action in India will only enhance your standing with my patients. You will be the talk of the town a real hero back from the war."

"What could one say to such an invitation? Of course I accepted with gratitude, my fortunes had been so uncertain up to that moment; providence was indeed smiling upon me. Crawford arranged rooms for me close to the surgery, my house keeper, Mrs Crannock; a warm and caring woman took me under her wing and ensured I was well cared for. A widow of the war in India, her husband, a sergeant in the infantry had been killed in action almost a year ago. She clucked and fussed about me like a mother hen always ensuring that I dined and rested well after a long day. Dear Mrs Crannock, how  very sweet you were.


 It was over 2 years later that poor Crawford died unexpectedly. He had been out riding and for reasons which have never been answered to my satisfaction, his horse had thrown him; poor fellow. Crawford’s death was a great personal loss to me. He had been more than a friend and mentor who had saved me from an uncertain future - he had been a father also and for that he had the eternal gratitude of a son. His will stated that I was to inherit the practice together with a sum of 800 pounds. In addition he requested that I act as guardian for his daughter Rachel and ensure she was well cared for. I was of course delighted to accept such a charge and resolved to honour the wishes of my dear old friend.

Sometime after the funeral I was to encounter an old army chum Oliver Tomeral. He too was now discharged from the army and over seeing his family business of mining and other ventures in Australia. Oliver was a man of considerable means; though rumour had it that his wife Sybella was one who craved a much more lavish lifestyle that even his purse could endure. I had been spending a relaxing afternoon at my club when Oliver appeared in a most dreadful state… the poor man had the countenance of one who had experienced something truly ghastly; he was almost out of his mind.

 "My god man what has happened to you?" I had exclaimed in horror. Even during my time in India I had never experienced such a sight. His eyes so blank that he did not recognise me nor was there any indication of comprehension of where he was; I had never seen a man so lost. "Oli, its Raife can your hear me?

 There was a long pause then the eyes blinked the head turned slightly then looked at me blankly. "Raife? Is that you – my friend, my dear old friend?"

 "Yes old boy it is I, what has happened to you?" I ordered the steward to fetch a large brandy."

 I do not recall how much time had elapsed before Oliver was in any condition to discuss his troubles but when that moment arrived the poor man was beside himself. "I am being ruined Raife, ruined! Sybella is spending my money as if it were in limitless supply, but it is not so. It is not common knowledge my friend and I must swear you to utmost secrecy but the family business does not fair well in Australia. Creditors are demanding payment, I simply cannot oblige them. Oh God Raife what am I to do? There would be the most horrid scandal if this was to be made public. I would be humiliated and ruined!"

The poor man began to weep uncontrollably, how I pitied him. His wife Sybella is such a lovely creature. A woman of great charm, wit, beauty and sophistication, an accomplished horse rider and – I am reliably informed an outstanding marks woman with a pistol. Her preference was to travel regularly to the theatre mixing with the London social elite. Such a lifestyle demands considerable means to maintain.

 "Now, now my dear fellow let me take you to my rooms and ensure you get some rest then we will discuss your troubles." A cab was brought to the rear of the club then conveyed Oliver and myself to my home, where, upon arrival kindly Mrs Crannock took charge of Oliver ensuring he went straight to bed in the spare room.

I sat staring at my fire deep in thought - poor Oliver, how dreadful that a man of his standing should be reduced to such a state by a woman as insidious as Sybella. Something had to be done to help my friend but what? I thought deeply considering every permutation possible. Then – an idea came, an idea so devilish, so audacious that I amazed myself its simplicity. I would remove Sybella and with it all of Oliver’s troubles. A telegram was quickly despatched to an old acquaintance who, if I was not mistaken was very much involved in the import export business. A few days later Oliver returned home appearing very much improved, due mainly, to the ministrations of Mrs Crannock. Oliver thanked me profusely and insisted that I visit him at his country home very soon. My acquaintance agreed to an interview later that day, a day that was to lead to a whole new enterprise, one that Sybella was to be the prime focus and the saving of my best friend from scandal and ruin.

 


© Copyright 2017 Gerard Peters. All rights reserved.

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