Baskergrand The Nautilus

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Doubt

Garth was at his home in Lockton Manor, having his afternoon tea. He had an apprehensive look on his face, as he mulled over what he had witnessed at Tuckerby Bay the day before.

'He couldn't have...I refuse to believe it...but...' he thought, staring at the floor as he sat in his study.

''Master Mason, a Miss Valerie Horace is here to see you. Shall I tell her to come in now?'' Garth's servant Hobbs asked as he entered the study unannounced. Garth was startled and stood up instantly.

''Oh-oh, yes, of course she can come in,'' Garth stuttered in his reply.

''Very well, sir,'' Hobbs responded, leaving the study door open. Garth cleared his throat and straightened his clothes. Valerie entered a moment later, smiling broadly at Garth. She wore a peach dress with a cream shawl, with a cream bonnet sat atop her tied up hair.

''Garth! So sorry to turn up unannounced, but I wanted to catch you before I went over to see Percival,'' she said as she greeted Garth with an embrace.

''It is all right, I'm glad you came to see me,'' Garth said. He motioned for her to join him around the table he had been sitting at. He pulled out the chair for her for her to sit on, and then he sat down opposite her.

''I wanted to thank you for bringing me and Percival together,'' Valerie said.

''Oh, it was mainly making him come to his senses. I just gave him the push. You were on your way to see him?'' Garth queried.

''Yes, I wanted to see if he wanted to go for a walk before night fall. We are supposed to be courting, but he's spent an awful lot of time away from me,'' Valerie answered, her cheerful tone slightly dropping. Garth became concerned with what he had seen pertaining to Percival's trips to Tuckerby Bay.

''Yes...he has been very busy lately. Has he told you...where he's been and what he's been doing?'' Garth asked her.

''He has been to see that scientist friend of his, oh, what's his name again - Charles Gordon Beller, that's it – about...some discovery he had made. It was when he went to the Great Exhibition in London. I think it was possibly one of the inventions they had observed there,'' Valerie replied. Garth's eyes lit up.

''So...Percival's told you where he's been going? I see,'' Garth responded. Valerie noticed his expression change slightly.

''Is everything all right, Garth?'' Valerie pressed him. Garth sighed, unsure of whether to tell Valerie of what he had seen Percival and Charles doing at Tuckerby Bay the day before.

''It's nothing,'' Garth dismissed. Valerie gave him a look to convey that she would not leave until he told her what was bothering him.

''Valerie...Percival is...I saw something that has troubled me a great deal,'' Garth reluctantly replied. Valerie's eyes were telling of worry.

''Whatever do you mean, Garth? What's happening with Percival? What do you know?'' Valerie persisted. Garth looked up at her.

'I can't tell her what I think...it would break her...' Garth thought.

''I worry about Percival's behaviour. I think...you should speak with him,'' Garth said to her. Valerie looked baffled.

''What do you mean I should speak with him? Garth, what did you see him do?'' Valerie interrogated him. Garth looked away from her briefly.

''I'm...not sure if what I saw was the case, but I thought I should warn you...that maybe Percival...is keeping something from us,'' Garth said. Valerie became disturbed at what Garth meant.

'Could it be...that Garth saw Percival...with another woman?' Valerie claimed.

''Anyway, I think that we should investigate further. I don't want to jump to the wrong conclusion,'' Garth tried to lighten up Valerie's mood, knowing how worried she must be of Percival.

''Yes...I agree. I must get to the bottom of what Percival is hiding, and if it's what we think...then...we will deal with it accordingly,'' Valerie resolved, standing up. Garth gave her a solemn expression, and nodded.

''I am sorry to have you worry, Valerie, I just wanted you to know my concerns,'' Garth said to her, also rising from his seat. They exchanged brief smiles before Valerie headed to the door.

''Thank you for telling me about Percival, he would be grateful that you care about him greatly,'' Valerie said to him.

''I just hope...he proves me wrong, and that he doesn't get into trouble,'' Garth commented. Valerie glanced down at the floor briefly, and then looked back at Garth.

''I hope so too,'' Valerie said before she left Garth alone. Garth stared at the door, anxiety weighing heavily upon him.

'You better prove me wrong, Percival,' Garth thought.


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