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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 76… Rebecca’s Help… (Part One) Charles, Esme and Herbert pay a visit to The Kings Head in Bayswater… ‘Well, thanks Charlie, for labelling me as a blooming nutcase.’ The three sat within the confines of the most respected and formatively noted Kings Head on the Moscow road within Charles beloved Bayswater. They looked upon with envy the wonderful food now placed before them on three over filled plates happily brought to their table by the welcoming arms of the landlady of this very cherished establishment. ‘It was the only way ‘Herby’ and it got you out of a hole, did it not?’

Herbert laughed, ‘It sure did. I knew you would come through Charlie, I knew I could rely on you. You’re a diamond Charlie, and that’s for sure!’

‘Herby, my very dear friend, that’s very human of you. But tell me, how did you meet such a formidable lady?’

‘I was weak Charlie, very weak. It was one night at “The Palace” she got talking to me and took me into her confidence. Said she had been very lonely si…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 75… The Return of Herbert Marks… (Part Three)Charles and Esme try to convince Mrs Plum to change her mind… It was somehow in that moment of time that Charles could see the side of Esme that only her mother could have provided for her from childbirth. In that instance, he felt he was listening to Constance and in a way it warmed the cockles of his heart, just as a dram of whisky would have taken on the same effect. Mrs Plum seemed to retreat a little at this relaxation in this revelation, seemingly, this had not been part of the singular mental state of her mind just now.

‘I have known Herbert for many years.’ said Charles. ‘He is a very dear and loving person. But he would not make a good husband for he has some terrible afflictions of the mind that trouble him from time to time. Do you know that just a few years back he was sectioned at Rampton for almost strangling his former wife to death!’

‘You mean to say that he has been married before.’ Mrs Vera Plum looked even redder …

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 74… The Return of Herbert Marks… (Part Two)Charles and Esme visit Herbert’s shabby office in Brick Lane… The sign above the door simply read Herbert Marks Theatrical Agency 3rd floor. Herbert’s long association with The People’s Palace as a placement agent was well known to Charles. That was an establishment of quite reputable entertainment on The Mile End Road serving up nightly its form of working men’s enjoyment. Now, here in Brick Lane, that venue seemed just a distant memory. Pushing the door inwards he and Esme took to the well worn and rickety stairs carefully counting each step in front of them. ‘I’ve been here before’ said Esme quietly. ‘More than once, and when I was looking for you again.’
‘I know sweetheart, I know, and I’m so thankful you did. The horror of Hinckley Common and that dreadful relative you had in France is all too vivid in my memory.’

They stove their thoughts, wishing Herbert could afford something a little less tiring on their limbs.

‘He needs look…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 73… The Return of Herbert Marks… (Part One)Esme has returned to Charles in Bayswater and their reunion affords a dear friend of Charles… It was late that following morning when Charles awoke, he glanced wearily at the unwound clock, its alarm had retreated some hours earlier. Esme lay gently sleeping beside him, it seemed little had disturbed her through the night. Downstairs he could hear the faint sounds of Toby or Barney moving around, perhaps even dealing with a client. He smiled to himself, perhaps they were tiding up for once. Lunch saw them all in the Parlour and enjoying a chicken casserole with some fresh crusty bread, all procured, cooked and provided by the brothers. ‘We thought, after your traumatic and welcoming night. You might both like a square and fulfilling meal.’ Toby looked at the others around the table and Barney nodded agreement.

‘But, how did you know?’ inquired Charles.

‘My dear friend’ replied Toby. ‘I have an insight into these things, or perhaps you…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 72… Charles and Bayswater… Rebecca’s spell has returned Esme to Moscow road…  There could have been a number of reasons why Charles had lifted his tired body from an uncomfortable bed and slowly dragged himself down the two narrow stairways and into the shop. Could it have been the thoughts of Esme that had given him such a sleepless night, yes it must be that, he told himself. He fumbled for the flashlight that he knew must be somewhere on the counter, then, its beam picking out the light switch in the far corner. ‘Must get that moved’ he groaned. He flipped the switch and yellow light entered the dark corners of the room. Bleary eyes told him Toby needed to tidy before retiring. Perhaps, just maybe, he thought he could hear a faint sound, as if shoes on pavement, slow and apprehensive, as if unsure of movement. He moved to the window blind, but could see nothing without disturbing it. The door blind was also down. The sounds were directly outside the shop, he felt they must …

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 71… Rebecca’s Spell… (Part Five)… Sisters of Heaven ‘Are you the Mother Superior?’ began Toby as they left the table. ‘I think you could be.’ ‘No, my young friend’, replied Sister Ann. ‘She is away from us at present, attending to some pressing matters in the North of England.’ ‘Pressing matters?’ inquired Celia. She felt she wanted to lend support to Toby’s opening conversation, and after all, she rather liked this young man. ‘Nothing too serious.’ Sister Ann answered sharply, then gave Celia a gentle smile. ‘Just business at another order that must be attended on.’ Celia blushed with slight embarrassment. Perhaps she had been a little forward, she told herself. Further along the corridor they were ushered into what looked like a small workshop, where several nuns were seated at intervals and busy with their hands in what seemed to be the hand sewing of garments.

‘A number of our Sisters are engaged in reclaiming clothes for the local poor,’ explained Sister Ann, ‘these are d…

The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp...

Episode 70… Rebecca’s Spell… (Part Four)… Sisters of Heaven They approached the archway silently, careful their feet made no sound. The archway that would take them to that large oak door. They had all secretly told themselves that they would run if the man seen earlier, opened the door to their knocking. ‘What are we doing,’ whispered Charles, ‘We must be completely mad!’

It was Bridget who knocked loudly on the door. The others took a step back. They waited for what seemed a life-time, and then the door opened slowly to a woman wearing a Nun’s habit. She was a person of small statue, with somewhat rounded features and a very welcoming smile.

She looked upon the six. Then in a moment of recognition, said: ‘Yes, you must be from the school. We know all about your given free time. Your Head Mistress wrote us an interesting letter saying that some of you will want to visit us.’

Heads were turned to Bridget.

‘Come in, you are most welcome. The Sisters have hot porridge for you as a mid m…