Baskergrand The Nautilus

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Percival's Folly

On the day after the ball, Garth visited Comerton Hall in order to speak with Percival about what occurred last night. Percival was deeply troubled over the incident, and after not being able to find Valerie, he was afraid of what Garth would say to him.

'I might come to harm if I tell him that I didn't get to speak with Valerie,' Percival worried as he sipped on his cup of tea in the drawing room. It was coming to midday, and Percival was alone in the room. Algernon was in his room, and Percival's parents were getting ready to go to lunch with the Bartletts. Parsons entered the drawing room to announce Garth had arrived.

''Master Garth Mason has arrived, Master Percival,'' Parsons declared. Percival nodded before Garth came in behind Parsons, a stern look plastered across his face.

'It looks like I may be in for a scolding,' Percival thought when he stood up to greet him.

''Would you like anything, Master Mason?'' Parsons asked him.

''No thank you, Parsons,'' Garth responded, his eyes still on Percival. Percival knew that Garth was very upset with him. They waited for Parsons to close the door before they conversed.

''Heaven knows what I am to do with you, Percy,'' Garth said, staring at his friend. Percival looked up at him sheepishly.

''I do not know what I did to upset Valerie,'' Percival surrendered. Garth looked at him more vehemently.

''You didn't find Valerie?! I told you to find her! It wasn't a joke, Percival!'' Garth reprimanded him. Percival looked bemused at Garth's anger.

''What is wrong? I would know if I really did something to upset Valerie, and she would have told me if I did,'' Percival defended. Garth sighed, pinching the top part of his nose whilst closing his eyes.

''She's...in love with you, you idiot,'' Garth revealed. Percival gave him a baffled look.

''...What? What do you mean?'' Percival questioned Garth, unsure if he was serious. Garth came closer to him.

''She's been in love with you for a long time,'' he continued. Percival looked at him in realisation as he pondered on all the times he had spoken to Valerie recently, and her behaviour towards him.

'She's...in love with me? But...why didn't she tell me herself?' he wondered.

''I thought you felt the same way. You seemed so...preoccupied lately, I thought it was because you were thinking about her,'' Garth said. Percival looked up at him, and remembered about the suit.

''I've been...'' he started to say, but stopped himself.

'I'm not sure if I should reveal the Nautilus to Garth. Not yet anyway,' Percival resolved.

''You've been what?'' Garth prompted. Percival sat down on the chaise longue.

''I had been busy with plans for the ball...and also helping my father with his business. I don't think...I have the time for love,'' Percival admitted. Garth came to join his friend.

''There never is time for it, old friend. It just comes when it pleases. It makes no appointment. And I think your time has been long over due. You've been putting it off,'' Garth said to him, his manner more calm. Percival looked at him and smiled briefly.

''I guess you are right. I feel...terrible for making her upset. If she had just told me...'' Percival drifted off in thought.

''You know how women are, Percy. They are more shy than we think. And Valerie...underneath her bravado, there's a timid girl who is afraid to share her feelings,'' Garth remarked. Percival glanced over at him, and smiled more broadly. He sighed, then sprang up from his seat.

''Right. I am going to make amends. I will send a telegram to Valerie to ask her if she would like to dine with us tomorrow,'' Percival decided. Garth smiled, and arose slowly.

''Good. Well, my work here is done. I shall see you, possibly tomorrow. I have some business matters to deal with now. Good-bye, Percy,'' Garth said as he embraced his friend.

''Thank you for coming, Garth. I really appreciate your care for me and for Valerie. You are a great friend,'' Percival returned. Garth smiled before he turned to leave. When he had gone, Percival turned to look outside the window.

'I'll also send a telegram to Beller, so that I can meet him and tell him about the Great Exhibition in London,' Percival determined.


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