The 'Mystery of the Pink Flower' continues with misguided comical but well meaning Langsworthy family. Let's zero in on the next scene.
Sheridan donned his short coat and top hat and checked to see if he’d remembered his parting gift of a pink flower. When he was confident he’d had all that he needed, he stepped into the awaiting carriage.
Giles watched from the window in the main parlor as his son left for yet another night of retrieving jewels. He too was going out this evening to a huge ball. Louise came down the staircase dressed in a red silk gown and gold necklace. Giles frowned.
‘Louise, where are the diamond and ruby earrings and necklace that go with that dress?’
Louise paused in midstep before answering. ‘Oh, I seldom wear this necklace so thought I’d put it on.’
Giles didn’t notice his wife’s hesitancy as he was quickly going to the safe to retrieve her jewelry. Before Louise could say ‘never mind’, Giles was returning with a box that held her jewels.
Louise’s eyes widened and she seemed to want to say something but didn’t. Giles opened the box and let her see inside.
What Giles got was a surprise. His wife’s eyes widened even more accompanied by a shriek. ‘What is it my dear?’ He quickly looked inside the box to make sure the jewelry was indeed there. When he saw that it was, he looked back at Louise. ‘Are you all right?’
‘How did they back in that box?’ His wife asked. She walked to the nearest overstuffed chair and sat down. Her face was quite pale and she stared at her husband in disbelief.
‘What do you mean?’ Giles began to suspect something and his stomach became queasy.
Louise took a deep breath and tried to gather her thoughts. ‘Giles, I need to tell you something.’
Giles had a feeling he wouldn’t like what he was going to hear. He sat down silently on the matching sofa.
‘About six months ago I overheard you talking to Nigel in your study. You said ‘The funds just aren’t there, if this keeps on we’ll be cleaned out by June.’ Now, I know you never discuss our finances with me so I won’t worry. Yet, I wanted to help you.’
Louise’s lips began to tremble as she confessed what she had done. She had taken most of her jewelry and brought it to an old friend in hopes she would get enough money to help her husband. That old friend was none other than ‘Julia Banninger’. Julia was Juliana’s mother. Julia had slowly sold the jewels only to have them be stolen at a later date.
Giles stood up and roared. ‘You what? Here I am thinking that I’d been robbed when you SOLD the jewels to help me with MY finances? I had no financial difficulty Louise. I was talking about a bad investment. I was warning Nigel not to get involved in it. You know how my friends and I are always trying new adventures. Why didn’t you tell me?’
Louise was dabbing at her eyes and finally collapsed in tears. ‘I’m sorry Giles. I didn’t want to appear to be eavesdropping. But, how did these jewels get back here?’
Giles wished he were a woman and could collapse in tears as his wife had done. Instead he took his handkerchief out and mopped his forehead with it.
He paced back and forth trying to find a way to tell his wife of his misdeeds. ‘I too was trying to help Louise. I’d thought I’d been robbed, or that you had been robbed rather. So, with the help of our clever son…we’ve been uh, we’ve been….’
Louise stopped crying and looked up at her husband sweaty face. ‘Giles, what have you and Sheridan been up to?’
Giles cleared his throat and stared at the red tapestry rug. The dark paneled walls and fireplace seemed to be closing in on him. He was uncomfortably warm. He walked over to poke the logs around in the fireplace. Instead of banking the fires though, he’d stirred them up.
Finally, he could prolong the truth no longer. ‘We’ve been stealing the jewels back one by one.’
Giles heard a soft swoosh and turned around to see Louise in a dead faint sprawled over the chair. ‘Oh dear!’
It took a few moments but Louise came around and stared at her beloved husband of 25 years. ‘Giles, are we going to jail?’
Giles had no idea what to do but for his wife’s sake he answered, ‘Not at all! I’ll gather Sheridan and we’ll meet with Nigel, Samuel and my old chums tonight and see what we’ll do. But, never fear dear no one is going to jail.
Two hours later a very surprised Sheridan was riding home with his father. ‘So, let me get this straight father…mother sold the jewels?’ Giles loosened his cravat as he stared out into the night air.
‘Yes, and now we are going home. My old friends are there and we’ll figure out what to do next.’
Sheridan scratched his head in amazement. ‘I’m too young to go to prison for stealing.’
Giles took a deep breath. ‘I’m too old for this!’
Nigel, Samuel, and John were in the study when the Langsworthy men approached. ‘Got your message that this was urgent. It better be! My wife is scalding mad at being at that ball without me. In fact, your wife looks a trifle upset too!’ Nigel directed his statement to Giles.
Giles took no time for pleasantries. ‘I see you’ve found the wine. Good, let’s get to the point. I’m in big trouble and so is Sheridan here. Nigel, why didn’t you tell me that Louise sold you her jewels?’
Nigel looked surprised as he gulped rather than sipped the wine. ‘What? I know of no such thing!’
Giles was taken back at first but then it dawned on him. ‘That’s right, Louise said she took them to your wife. Julia sold them!’
‘Why that’s preposterous! Why would she do such a thing? I’ll not have you badger my wife…’ Nigel started to get up.
Sheridan could stand it no longer. ‘Relax Uncle Nigel! Dad isn’t accusing you or your wife of anything! It’s just a horrible misunderstanding and now we are in grave danger of being put in jail!’
Samuel was the circuit court judge and looked alarmed. ‘What?’
John was actually Rev. John Timmons. He sat back and stared at it all. ‘Would someone tell me what is going on?’
Giles sat down and put his head in his hands. ‘Oh, this is too terrible!’
Nigel looked across the room at his lifelong friend. ‘Now, Giles it can’t be that bad! It’s just jewelry. I can have it all bought back for you in no time.’
Sheridan began to laugh. John asked, ‘Why are you laughing?’
‘Well, Dad and I have half of it recovered. I sort of, stole it back!’
Samuel slowly set his glass of wine down. ‘Giles, did I just hear that right?’
Giles groaned and looked over at his old friend. He nodded.
All at once the men started to laugh. The laughter went on for a few minutes until Giles began to shout! ‘I asked you here to find out what we should do now!’ He had no thought of being turned in, he just knew his friends well enough that together they could make this right.’
John grinned, ‘This reminds me of Mr. Sheffield’s pigs! Remember when we thought we’d have a pig roast out in the woods and the pig ran away? Then, we find out that two of us had stolen a pig and we had two runaway pigs! It took us all night to gather up those infernal things. By the time we got them we decided against the pig roast and took them back! Giles was the one who got us into that one too!’
The men laughed, including Giles. Nigel was remembering their past too. ‘Do you remember what the adults called the four of us when we were kids? ‘Quadruplet trouble’. He laughed and told Sheridan. ‘We didn’t look for trouble but it always found us!’
Samuel nodded his head. ‘Well, I guess we’re in this together again. Won’t this be fun! Of course we have to give back the jewels. Hey! I just solved the ‘mystery of the Pink Flower’! I won’t be able to get the glory though.’ He smiled and sat back thinking of a plan.
Sheridan looked at his adopted uncles and said, ‘I can’t believe it! You four were in all sorts of mischief as kids and now you are going to help us get out of this? Uncle John, you are a man of the cloth! Uncle Samuel you are a circuit court judge! Uncle Nigel, you’re the richest businessman around! What if folks find out? Dad, you are a lawyer!’
Giles had come up with a plan and his friends could tell by the twinkle in his eye. Giles usually came up with the plans with these four men. In fact, he was their childhood leader. Some things never changed.
‘Yes, Sheridan I am a lawyer. But, before I was a lawyer I was private detective! I think you would love that job someday. In fact, I have a plan that might give you some unusual experience!’ Giles smiled at his son.
Sheridan had never seen his uncles and his dad so animated. ‘Am I going to like this?’
to be continued