No Greater Love

Stephanie Cole is a girl who loves the spotlight. She will do anything to get it, anything at all. But when suspicions arise about her life and her being the cause for a former teachers suicide she is all too quick to run from her love of the light. But when she is reported missing it falls to Detective Inspector Henry Quinton and his DC Wilson Drake to find her before something terrible happens. Soon St. Grandorf's school for girls is back to normal and Stephanie is home again yet when she is found murdered there are a number of suspects for Quinton to look at before he can find the true perpetrator of this terrible crime....

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6. When things are revealed

Chapter Six:

 

When things are revealed…

 

Tuesday 2nd November 1895 was a significant day for me.

It was so for a number of reasons. Firstly this was the day when I would finally meet Detective Inspector Henry Quinton. Secondly, I would see how much I had affected the life of Stephanie Cole. And thirdly, I would find out more and more about why Mrs. Cole had ratted out Eva Peters when she had. All of which I was eager to find out about.

 

It all started out as a normal day. The morning air was sharp and fresh. There was a slight mist over the fields that surrounded St. Grandorf’s. But it wasn’t cold, it didn’t call for a winter coat and a pair of gloves but equally it didn’t call for you not to wear a coat or a pair of gloves. It was that kind of weather. And so I made my way, in a winter coat, towards the main building of St. Grandorf’s. I had had little sleep the previous night as I had had to mark and examine the students work from the last three lessons. All were good and easily going to achieve a grade that they would be happy with. However, one thing had begun to take hold of my thoughts. And this so called “thing” was Stephanie Cole and her situation. How lonely she was and how little help or advice she received from anybody, be it family or friends or even tutor. But this wasn’t the time for thinking about Stephanie Cole, though it sounds harsh to say it is still true that I too had problems of much importance. Mainly the fact that I was to go and meet Mr. Barrows again. So after taking my things to my room I continued to my journey towards Barrows office. The corridors were empty and every footstep echoed eerily as I continued down towards the large wooden doors of, as the golden plaque read:

“Mr. A. A. Barrows- Assistant Headmaster”

I cautiously knocked on the door. The large booming voice beckoned me in….

 

“Hello Peter.” Barrows was stood facing towards his fireplace and seemed to have just finished the final page of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” as the brown leather book faced down towards the tabletop of his cluttered desk. I slowly walked in and sat down on one of the two brown leather chairs that faced the fire, one on the left of the great roaring flames and one on the right. I was situated on the left. Barrows sat down on the right (as would be expected).

Please sir. I want some more.” I don’t know why I said it, it just came out. It was an Oxford thing. In Oxford everybody seems to deliberately showcase their knowledge by any means they find. Often (in my case) by quoting something from some well-known person or book. As was such that I did in this very instance.

“You like Dickens?” Asked Barrows looking towards the brown leather edition which (as I have said) faced downwards towards his desktop.

“I’m not an avid reader but if there’s a good copy in the library then I might decide to take a look.”

“Same here. I only read it on the advice of my wife. She bloody loves Dickens, the shelves of the bedroom are littered with the flammin’ books!”

“Oh…” I didn’t know what to say. “…I’m more of an Oscar Wilde man.” At this point Barrows raised a thick brown eyebrow.

“Oscar Wilde eh? I don’t do poetry myself.”

“People know the price of everything but the value of nothing.” Again Oxford took over my mind.

“That’s true. Whatever the hell it means!” Barrows chuckled to himself.

“Yes, I suppose it probably is.”

“Its certainly is in the case of Stephanie Cole.”

“How do you mean?” it was my turn to raise a curious eyebrow.

“Mrs. Cole came to see me yesterday…”

“About?”

“…You. She said that you had thrown her out of the lesson and then made her tell you a reason for her behaviour.”

“I must protest.”

“Of course you must protest. I doubt that you’d take such a thing on the chin. You’d have to be an idiot if you did.”

“I suppose so.” I couldn’t believe it.

“So what really happened then?” Barrows starred at me with cold merciless eyes. The coldest eyes I had ever seen, until those of Inspector Quinton of course.

“She continued to disrupt the lesson. She kept talking about the Tattenborough Hall ball and about Mrs. Peters.”

“I see.” Suddenly a small note pad was taken out from nowhere. He began to write something down, what it was I don’t know. Probably what I was saying.

“So I decided to take her out of the lesson and then continue with the other students. So afterwards I had a talk with her. She openly told me of her situation at home and openly began to get into quite a state. So at this point I said that she could go. And that was it.”

“That’s all of it?”

“Yes.”

“I see….but what do you mean “The Tattenborough Ball”?”

“I danced with Miss. Grahams. That’s all.”

“What?” The huge mass of a man shot into life.

“I said. I danced with Miss. Emily Grahams.”

“Do you know who Emily Grahams is?”

“No.” I starred blankly at Barrows as he slowly pulled himself from his leather chair. He wiped his sweating brow.

“Sir, what is it?” I began to get impatient.

“Emily Grahams is the step-sister of Stephanie Cole.”

Again a cold merciless glare was shot in my direction.

“What?” Again I starred blankly at him.

“Grahams is the result of Berénece Cole and the former gardener of the Cole estate.”

“And?” Even though this was a shock I failed to see why this should worry Barrows so much.

“And! And!!! The girl is the very same student whom Mrs. Eva Peters got friendly with!”

“What?!” I suddenly realised just why this worried Barrows.

“Eva Peters managed to stay on here simply because Berénece Cole managed to blackmail me into keeping her here.”

“Dear God! But I thought that Stephanie Cole was the one whom ratted out Mrs. Peters in the first place. Why rat out her own step-sister?”

“Stephanie and Emily were never very close for long. Well I say never, once there was a time but then….then they just stayed away from each other. Never spoke.”

“This is just a complete mess.”

“You can say that again!” Barrows took a tumbler of whisky and quickly took another as well.

“But I knew….”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Barrows waddled over to it; I starred into the bright yellow flames and tried to make sense of it all. Of course it was no use.

Barrows waddled over towards his chair again. A man stood at the doorway, he walked with a cane and wore small silver spectacles. I looked at the man with slight wariness.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Quinton. Detective Inspector Henry Quinton.”

 

 

 

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