The subtlety devised by those acting for the Raj was not to accuse Lokmanya of the murder.
His family would employ detectives and to represent him in court hire the best expensive professionals.
He would quickly be found innocent and the Raj scorned for their indictment.
Lokmanya was to be tried for subversion.
Half of Pune, although enjoying Lokmanya’s news pages, already considered him a lost cause.
Chapter Four
Illusion
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Thursday fifteen minutes to noon, a young, dark-haired woman dressed in London clothes follows Lucy to the servant’s living room.
“You will be comfortable here, Miss Ackrim.”  Lucy acts deferentially when the attractive lady brushes past her. “Mr. McBride, the butler, I need to find him.” With the apology Lucy hurries off.
Bella is not impressed.  The living room, bright yellow wallpaper, embossed flowers, faded — old.  Red curtains print — old.  Two sagging dowdy blue-grey armchairs.  A miserly iron fireplace with a burnt hearth fender.  She did not expect it to be good.  But this!
What’s he doing over there, she asks herself.  It’s not far from Stonebridge Manor, he said.  Just down Oath Highway towards the moors.  What is he up to in that fancy estate? Riding with his friend!  When he can’t gamble he likes to be active.  He won’t sit long.
In a way she cannot explain, she knows he does love her. She loves him.  They will get this money that should be coming to him by rights anyway, and they will be away. He talked at breakfast of going to America.  Said they would start a new life, perhaps a farm if she wished.  She told him for the umpteenth time that he could go back to her father’s farm.  America!  Something new, I suppose. He’s not a farmer and he’s never going to be a farmer. He knows it.
A stained, green draught excluder, with cock pheasant imprint, stands upright by the door.  The small home they rent is no magnificence but it’s a sight better than this.
Bella has a small allowance she gets from her father.  With this she has been able to outfit the cottage in St. Pancras, buy some nice little things.  She knows a bargain.
The quick sales where there’s been a death and no living relative, that’s where she goes.  A poster for an auction she’ll jot the day and time.  Funny how some of the men stop raising their cards when she puts up her hand.  They smile at her, and she’s not adverse to encouragement if she really wants what’s being bid.  A raising of the eyebrows drives them crazy.  She’s reaped some surprising good-deals with raising her eyebrows.
Walking around the centre oak table, she nudges a foot against one of the chairs, not quite wanting to touch it with her hands. Who knows how clean and she likes things to be clean.
She thinks of him up the road with his college friend.  If he’s not out riding, he’ll be playing cards with his friend’s mother.  The old woman is good, he said, but not as good as him.
He has given full instructions.  Bella is to say at the interview that she has to keep in touch with the agency so she will need to use the telephone on occasion.  The estate telephone is on the same line, he said, as he’s used it.  She is not to give her name to the operator, just to ask for Mandalmane.
When the phone answers, she’s to announce herself as employed by Mr.  Lawrence’s business manager.  She is not to use Stanton, nor the name Ackrim, but a Miss Jane Fotheringale.
The chair, pulled half way out from the table with her toe, she sits rigid as a board.  It won’t be easy staying here.
On the mantle is a frame of a velvet coated man, his waistcoat edged in embroidered fringe.  Quite well done. Frame she might buy herself if the price was right.
She wonders how Nancy is doing back in London.  It is Nancy who had the letter sent on agency paper:
Miss Bella Ackrim having recently arrived in England is touring the country and is seeking temporary arrangement in various households.

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The agency always searched through the announcements in the Times because it meant work for them.  Sending out temporary workers for weddings is much of their business. Nancy opens the post at the agency so there is no problem with correspondence coming back from the manor.
The Squire had replied to the agency stating that Miss Ackrim was to proceed to the manor for an interview if she is available the last week of April and the first two weeks of May, with the intention of commencing work immediately should the interview be satisfactory.  If Miss Ackrim has already been engaged for these dates then they are to send someone of quality who in their judgement will work with equanimity at the manor.
Lawrence and Nancy made two reference letters from blank reference letter heads the agency kept.  A word or two on paper if needed they weren’t above.
Dispatched to the manor a letter stating Miss Ackrim is available for this period and will be arriving at Biddiford station, Thursday morning, April 26.  The carriage from the manor picked Bella up at the station; she is here.
Bella twirls a thin bracelet wrapped around her wrist.  If she finds proof Lawrence is the magistrate’s son.  She stops herself.  She has to find proof.  No ifs!  Lawrence gave her the 22-carat, solid he said, payment on a win at cards.  She’s not sure if it’s solid and she thinks he was never sure.  But it’s all he could get.
She laughs.  She’ll make him give her a real 22-carat when they get to America.  They’ll go out to that West and she’ll make him become a cowboy.
The door opens.  A tall, thin man, seemingly somewhat irritated, walks towards her.
“Mr. McBride here, the manor butler.”  Lucy announces before retreating.
Not expecting, McBride stops, does a double take.  “Miss Bella Ackrim.  The lady who has been sent by the agency.”   McBride flustered, corrects himself.  “The Australian lady, travelling.”
Bella extends her gloved hand.
McBride grabs the tips of her fingers.  Extraordinary, not at all how he had expected.  It is the name, but how can you tell from a name.
“I understand you are visiting our country for a short time and you wish for a three week position at the manor, as part of your exploring, Miss Ackrim.”  McBride toys with the loosely dangling chain of his pocket watch.
“That is true, Mr. McBride.  I am interested to see if weddings here are perhaps dissimilar to those we have at home.  I intend to write a book on the various aspects of our two cultures.  I understand I will be providing assistance with the wedding guests.  This will be an excellent opportunity for me to be in attendance at a real wedding.”
The silk jacket fits exactly.  The bodice with its high neckline closing over such an exquisitely curved breast!
Bella stands up, men make her uncomfortable doing this. She stands by the window, stares at the view.  It is lovely. The farm fields in their spring, early summer finery, remind her of home.
“I do believe you are the person we have been seeking, Miss Ackrim.” McBride waves his hand, in truth trying to wave away his turbulent feelings.  “Quality help here for the wedding period is more than the Manor had a hope to obtain.”  
Bella forces herself to return to the chair, sits.  To keep men at bay, in her mind she has a technique where she imagines these wolves getting smaller, their wistful longing dissolving into the face of a little wimpy dog. Yes, she can see this butler at her feet, sniffing at her.  He’s a perfect replica of the thin, bony whippet they used to have at the farm.
She forces him even smaller now in her mind.  Not much meat or anything left on him.  ‘I wonder what they feed him,’ she thinks. Just the corner of her mouth twitches.
McBride, oblivious, cannot help but admire the pleated maroon-green skirt she wears.
Everything shows quality.
Elbows propping the door, a woman nudges a tray of drinks inside.  “Such a warm morning I thought a glass of lemonade.”
A great clatter as the tray is placed on the table.
McBride steps aside as Meg and the woman stare at each other. “This is Miss Trenton, Miss Ackrim.  Miss Trenton is senior maid. She will be working with you so I asked her to join us for the interview.
Meg is sort of taken aback with the white wrist-length gloves the woman is wearing.  Not a good sign.  Not a good sign at all.  But the gloves do suit her.  Somewhat with a merriment at this toff working, if she does work, but also somewhat in earnest, she asks, “I take it you do know the duties?”
Bella answers mildly.  “Various positions in households I have worked.”
“In Australia, you mean.”
“Yes.”
McBride eyes Meg somewhat sternly.  “Miss Ackrim is aware this is a temporary position.”
Meg is not going to discard her concerns.  “We’ll all have to muck in with the guests.  There will be parties to service.  Picnic is coming up Saturday.  Miss Annabell has informed us she’s holding a Sunday evening soirée. Mr. Edward and his mother will be coming.”  She glances at the butler, then back to the woman wearing her fancy emerald brooch, the green stones matching so exquisitely the colour of her eyes.  “Your duties will include cleaning.”
“Yes, Miss Trenton.  I understand there will be work to do.”
Bella’s tone is not unfriendly, Meg thinks.  She might be mistaken.  “Fine then.”
McBride breathes a very definite sigh that some might have considered of pleasure.  “I am sure this will work out very well.  I do like to see those at the manor well turned.”
He wishes he hadn’t said it.  He recognises his mistake immediately.  It was his thoughts.  But!
They both stare at him, Meg and the dark haired woman with the emerald brooch.
“What Mr. McBride means,” Meg jumps in, resisting her urge to smother His Nibs with her apron, because they do need help and if this woman doesn’t take the job who’s to find someone else in time.
She gives Bella a little wink.  “Isn’t that he’s a bad old soul, are you Woolley?”  Turning to McBride then back to Bella.  “Ask Mrs. Minton the cook.  She’ll vouch for him.”
Using Mrs. Minton’s name should do it.  “Quite harmless he is, I assure you, Miss Ackrim!”
“We have another young woman staying with us until the wedding.”  Meg is intent on continuing.  “She’ll be the bridesmaid for Miss Annabell.  Normally I would take care of Miss Emily’s needs, but as I said we all have to muck in.  You can attend to Miss Emily, if you wish.”
“I would like that, thank you.”  Bella’s smile is not unnatural, nor unkind.
“Lemonade then for all!”  Meg fills three glasses from the pitcher, hands the first glass very gently to the young, well, she would also say, cultured woman.  “You must be thirsty with the journey.”
Bella takes a sip of lemonade.  “I do have a request.  The agency in London asked that I keep in contact with them, so they can place me when I leave here.  It should not be more than three telephone conversations in all to their office.  About my employment you understand, where I am to proceed when my time is finished here.”
McBride picks up his glass, not offered to him by Meg, strides towards the window to stare out at the view.
“That won’t be a problem.”  Meg calls across to him. “Will it Mr. McBride!”
“I will notify the Squire of the matter.  Miss Ackrim, please use the telephone when you wish.”  Glancing back, just briefly from the window, at the stony-faces of Bella and Meg, he comments weakly, “Well, I think that everything is settled then.  You will enjoy the Devon climate here, as I have these many years.”
Bella is about to fumble in her bag for her references, but decides against it.  McBride also has the thought of references, but he too decides not to mention it.
They could be references from the Dark One and his cohorts for all he is concerned.  He doesn’t care what they say.  You get a looker like this...  Then he notices Meg eyeing him with guarded amusement.
“Your bags are in the kitchen,” Meg turns her attention back towards Bella.  “The kitchen is preparing the midday meal and Mrs. Minton will appreciate them moved.  Shall we go and get them?”
Seeing the woman depart, McBride seats himself in his favourite soft armchair, picks up the paper that he hasn’t yet had a chance to even scan the content.  News of the war on the front page. “Casualty figures up,” he murmurs to himself.  “More boys getting killed.  All bloody foolishness.”
An unsettledness takes him with the thought.  He places the paper down.  No doubt about it, though.  The new arrival. She is well turned.
He leans back into the chair, closes his eyes.
. . .
Upstairs in his room waiting for the bell to ring for lunch, Arthur leafs through a first edition of The Sign of the Four he found in the library.
Henrietta was indecisive about A. Conan Doyle’s work. She thought the doctor could do much better in explaining how the world is run.  She said he tried a little with the families, the power structure, but it has been weak at best.
The splitting of the mind into separate minds was only hinted at. Through her Stregheria lineage, Henrietta has been taught a lot about how the families manipulate the mind within the brain.
Knowledge from Atlantian times, how the mind went beyond the brain, passes through the ether in varied realities, as we think of The Game as George would say. High priests of the families keeping such secrets to be used when necessary.  Indeed true witchcraft is buried in these secret manipulations of The Game.
The Stregheria monitor closely how humans continue to obey, to pay them who hold power.  How the young march off to kill each other.  How societies allow themselves to be subjected to laws passed by the families, passed by their paid agents.  How societies become imprisoned in these forces through law.
Dividing is always paramount in this technique used by them to control the masses.  Divide by class.  Divide by money.  Divide by religion.
Create structures of grouping and then create within each structure an opposing force.  
The high witchcraft of the families. It works so well. Humans with their mighty supposed brains are nothing more than herds. Human wolves paid to round them up. Human dogs paid to kill them.  The families did it so well.
“Silly Billy,” she would stand in front of him, rolling her eyes, as if she were performing on a stage in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn:
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

Brain manipulation of z middle, how is it z express class

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

Yes z middle of the class, yah!

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

Religion yah! and z banks n z money!  Paper! Paper  yah!

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
How she would laugh.
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

Make z hem think z ey have zer choice to all their life...

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

z politicians...  Vote!  Vote!  Vote!

Make z hem believe they Volksentscheid

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Brain manipulation! Brain manipulation, my big fellow!

make, how you say, decisions by z people.

Ah!  too simple!

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Arthur places the book down, closes his eyes.
‘Henrietta?’
‘Henrietta!  Henrietta!  Don’t frighten me, my love.’
The room seems filled with her presence.
‘Henrietta?’  Arthur calls in his mind.
He’d noticed on the porcelain washstand the dragon. He’s never stayed in this room, always taking George’s old growing up room.  It’s the unusual blueness in the vein of the design that catches his attention.
Colchester!  That was the place.  Same as the washstand in the rooms in which Henrietta and he stayed.
How amazing, memory!
Colchester was part of the first year’s work they did together for the service.  The story being he was working on an expansion of his college work.
They’d been in Denmark before coming to Colchester. Henrietta had brought a typing machine back with her. How she loved its newfangled writing ball she’d discovered in their shopping.  It certainly helped with the story.  They had typewritten paper strewn everywhere, quite unusual then.
They took measurements of the Roman settlement at Colchester.
MONA QUAE DISTAT A CAMALODUNO BRITANNIAE OPPIDO CIRCITER DUCENTIS MILBUS

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
A sighting in the heavens by Gaius Plinius Secundus many miles distant was something to talk about.
Arthur smiles.  His viewing the telescope with Ronald’s guidance had obtained his position with the service.
He’d given a lecture to the Apostles, on dots seen moving on the moon.  That caught someone’s attention.  Then married to Henrietta, they began to question him about her.  She was offered a position to work with him.  It was all very exciting.  They were both to travel together.
Arthur hears inside his head a whistle sound.
‘Is that you Henrietta?’ he calls in his mind again.
Energy from some ether dancing through his mind.
They’d married that last year at Cambridge.  Arthur could never quite believe she had given herself to him.
But Henrietta and he knew their marriage was equal.
He knew Henrietta was Stregheria, a practised witch. He knew her mind had been trained in a strength he could little hope to match. Until she began to train him.
When she began to tell him some of the secrets, those that had to do with the bloodlines, she would speak of Ronald and his brother George.  Their lineage is from a high level family.  Never before daring, he’d asked Ronald about it. Ronald’s grandfather disconnected from his family, and in effect his lineage, after marriage.  When Ronald Major, Ronald and George’s father, married a daughter of high family lineage, despite the disconnection he’d been allowed. They usually do allow these reconnections if secrets haven’t been told.  They view it as a return to the fold.
Afterwards, Ronald Major followed his father in disconnecting. That must have caused some upset in the higher levels.
Henrietta said the families had the secrets of the druí. The druí had knowledge from a time of crystal orbs that could speak.
Within this knowledge was the secrets of separation, of the divided mind, the tool the families used upon their own children: that one mind might be considered benevolent and good, a hero to his or her people, the split version bringing death and destruction.
Scott’s poem of the Battle of Flodden:
They close, in clouds of smoke and dust, With sword-sway and with lance's thrust.

Battle of Flodden - Scott.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
And such a yell was there, Of sudden and portentous birth,

Battle of Flodden - Scott.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
As if men fought in upper earth, And fiends in upper air.

Battle of Flodden - Scott.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Scott phrasing the wording so as to avoid mentioning the families’ connivance.
Six thousand brave men slain, offered as sacrifice.
As time passed the druí became the Druids.  True evil once again being accommodated, then overtaking.
‘Beware,’ the orbs had warned the druí.  ‘Beware your knowledge does not fall.’
Henrietta acknowledges that enslavement once again has been achieved.
‘Henrietta,’ a clogging emotion overwhelms him.  ‘Please Henrietta,’ his mind speaks ‘if you are here, say it is you, my dear?’
How foolish he is being.
‘Henrietta!’
Swinging himself around he stares at the strange, compelling dragon on the porcelain washstand.
Then a soft voice, “Uncle Arthur!”
He would move towards her only his trembling legs will not allow him.
“Dear uncle?  Are you well!”
“Annabell?”
“I surprised you.  I did knock.  Would you like to escort me to lunch?  Did I frighten you, uncle?”
As Arthur prepares to leave, he glances at the The Sign of Four lying on the bed.  “You like Mr.  Doyle’s detective?”
“Yes!”
Arthur links his arm into Annabell’s.  “Now you and I must go down for our meal.”
. . .
A whimsie!  Bella is sure she sees one.  There it is, up above the servant’s hallway ceiling.
Meg and she have just come out of the interview with the bony whippet dog, and whimsies are the last thing she wants to see right now.  Whimsies she calls these misty, wispy things that she swears come from ghosts.  It’s what they leave behind them.  Like humans leave from their behinds.  Some energy they excrete she thinks.  She’s asked herself what they eat, and she don’t have no answers to that.
“We have all new water closets,” Meg is saying.  “Well, we will have working water closets when ‘lectric gets here.  It’s on its way.  Nearly up to Weatherby I hear. The Estate near the moors has paid for poles this side of Weatherby.   We will pay our share.  Won’t be long, I’m sure ‘til poles get here, though likely not before the wedding.”
Meg opens a door.  “Here ‘er is.  What do you think!”
Bella stares at a sparkling white porcelain bath, at the half-open, blue and yellow floral curtain.
Meg in a flight of fancy dances over to the brass canister fixed behind the bath.  “This is where the water comes out.  But it only works when proper ‘lectric is on.”  Meg twists the shiny metal tap.  “When it works as it should no more water to bring up.  Pumps they say.  Pumping machine brings water up.”
Meg pulls Bella down to look between two of the claw feet underneath the bath.  A pipe disappears into the floorboard. “Ain’t that marvellous.  Did you see such a thing?”   Meg sort of squeals as she peers at the pipe. “We can use that now! We just have to bring up the water in toilet cans.”
Meg points at the far wall.  “Miss Annabell has one of these but bigger in her apartment past the hall.
“Miss Annabell has two windows being situated on the corner. One looks to garden t’other to Hopkins’ land.
“There’s now a bathroom next to where Mr. Hews’ rooms are, over in the north wing.  Built out of the big closet that used to be there.
“Miss Annabell’s bath and the one next to Mr. Hews, both have flowers, lavender they are, painted on.”
“Painted on?”
“You know.  Like they do it.  Burnt in, I think.”  Meg gets up from the floor where she’s been kneeling, arranges the cream lace hanging around the bath so that once again it’s tidy.
“The new water closet over here!”
Pulling open the floral curtain: “Squire said S’ziezes paid for telephone.  Said if they were going to be modern, with electricity coming, he would have new closets put in. He did the outside privies same time, all of them now with water closets.
“Used to be eight privies for the front of the house, in the privy courtyard, and eight for us back where the laundry dries.  The Squire had them made bigger.  Now five in the privy courtyard, and five for us.  New privy’s all have washstands where you don’t have to get underneath to bring up the jug.
“They built a big tank under the trader’s road and put another tank under land near the greenhouses, for this closet and for Miss Annabell’s.
“In the privy courtyard, the first closet is for the Squire. But he’s put his brother’s name on that, I noticed.  His brother, Mr. George Bexfield is arriving on Friday from India.  The second closet is for Miss Annabell.  Mr. Coulter uses that one, and also Miss Emily. The rest are for guests.
“The Squire has placed Lady Middleton’s name on the middle closet.  The last two, one is labelled ‘Ladies’ t’other ‘Gentlemen.’
“Our privies, as I say, are behind the front privy courtyard.  The first one is reserved for Mr. McBride and the second one for Mrs. Minton.  Charlotte Appleton uses Mrs. Minton’s privy.  They’re the same age.
“The stable and Mr. Entwistle, the gardener, uses the privy at the far end.  Any men that come over, they also use that.
“So that leaves two for us women: Lucy and me, and now you, and Nelly.  Nelly works in the scullery.  All the privies including ours have soap and towels and everything. We have scented water in a bottle in both ours.”
Meg looks at Bella.  “We’re all expected to wash our hands and arms after going.  Nelly’s mother Charlotte comes in twice a week to do the laundry, but she is working five days now with all the guests. Appleton’s only live across the way.  Wilfred, Nelly’s father, works for the Briggs and they have a cottage on the farm.
“As I said we still have to bring water up until ‘lectric comes and does the pumping.  Olath at the stables was filling the front water closets three times a day.  Now with Olath gone back to look after his father, a man from Briggs’ farm is being paid to fill up the outside front water closets.
“A full toilet bucket is left at the side.  He comes three times a day, first in the morning before milking, so we don’t have to do their side. He don’t fill our side.  We take a toilet bucket filled from the well when we use the water closet.”
Still holding the curtain, she lowers her voice, “Look at this here new fancy closet from Chelsea!  The Squire put it in with the new baths.  Isn’t it something!”
She touches her nose and holds it.  “No longer with the washout bowls.”
Fondling the floral curtaining, pulling it around the bowl to make it private, Meg sighs deeply.  Then with a few quick steps outside to the hallway, pulling Bella with her, she adds: “Strangest thing, Squire didn’t have any new bath put in his rooms for himself, nor next to him where Lady Middleton stays.  Said he wanted to wait.”
Meg now skipping in front of Bella, goes all the way to the north end of the servant’s hallway, stopping at a door on the hallway’s west side.
Bella sees all kinds of things, dead solid things, ghosts that look like wax things, and she looks up above Meg where a misty whimsy is waiting.
Meg nudges the door slightly ajar.  “This is our room.”
“Our room!”
“The room we’ll share.  Lucy’s and mine’s room, and now yours.”  Meg peeks inside, shrugs in a sort of despair.  “I know well she wouldn’t be here and I did ask her to tidy it.  But she hasn’t.”
The door pushed open, Bella is greeted with floorboards, bare except for two thin rugs near each bed.  On the walls, brown and green floral wallpaper that looks like its been there for centuries. A dress lies on the floor in one corner, a bib cap and apron thrown on top.
Aghast she notes an open bottle of face cream by the chipped wash basin, stockings half-falling off a chair.  A cotton nightdress spread over the other chair. “We will bring down that bed that was used by Polly in the room upstairs.”
“You will bring down a bed?  From the room upstairs?
“Yes!  There’s an upstairs room but it’s all in disorder.”
Panicked not just by where she’s expected to stay, but by the whimsie that’s floating right towards her, Bella puts her hand up to stop it from lowering itself over her.
“You have an upstairs room?  Where you keep a bed?”
“I’ll tell Lucy to tidy all this up.  It’s her clothes everywhere.  I’m always telling her to be more orderly.”
“You have a bed upstairs!”  Bella repeats hysterically.
“Yes, Polly’s bed.  Polly’s old room upstairs!”
. . .
The rumbling of a carriage has the Squire putting down his spectacles, going to the window.  Constance reading, places her book on the lamp table.  “Who is it dear?”
“Good God.  I think it’s George.  If it is, he’s a day early!  It is him!  He’s leaning out the window.”
“Leaning out the window!”
“Let’s hope he’s not drunk.”
Constance gets up, grabs Ronald by the waist, laughs as she pulls him dance fashion towards the door. “Let’s hope so, indeed.  Wet kisses and mouthfuls of air that would wither an Egyptian mummy.”
“If you say so my dear.”
“I do!”
As the carriage flips by the drawing room they do not notice for they are both kissing.
The kisses finished, Constance grabs his hand.  “Your brother writes to me he’s become a model of respectability, Knobs.”
“You mean he no longer ogles the women!”
Outside, the butler has beaten them to the carriage.
The Squire, observing that George leans unsteadily as he examines the bags being dropped, whispers, “Taken up their ways, has he! Does that include a Hindu version of Pear wine.  Stand by your beds.”
But then George straightens up, looks around.
“Bless my soul, Conny, Ronald!”
“We saw you from the drawing room.”
George walks across to Constance and with more than a slight peck, smiles cockily at her.  “Cries when I leave. Not a tear for my return.  I’ve waited a long time to do that.”
Turning to Ronald.  “Ah!  Brother!”
“Ah!  Brother what!”
He kisses Ronald on each side of the face, then on the lips, the European style he has.  “Nothing!  Nothing! Where’s my niece?”
“Uncle George!”  Annabell comes running down the front door steps.  Writing to him these many years, she cannot believe he is really here.  “I was up in Emily’s room.  We heard the carriage, but I had to run to put something decent on.”
George stares at Annabell in her formal Venetian cotton suit, deep red taffeta collar, silk trimming around the waist highlighting her slim, youthful body.  He doesn’t know if he dare go up and kiss her.  “Emily, your school friend!”
Annabell turns to pull Emily, who has half-way been standing behind her, forward.  “My very best friend!”
Emily sort of bows.
George smiles, holds out his hand to which Emily touches gently. “Here for this dreadful wedding my niece has got herself involved with, I suppose.”
“Oh George,” exclaims Constance.
“Tush m’dear, the young are not the mooning idiots we were.”
Together taking the steps into the manor, the Squire inquires, “But how did you manage to be here today!”
“Oh!  That was easy.  The boat docked early.”
“Docked early!”
“The completely full ship was to stop at an island.  The family took sick just before boarding and were replaced and the ship being full there was no need for us to stop. Many had decided to remain on the ship for tonight, their carriages or accommodation planned for tomorrow, travel arrangements already made.
“Because of this the Captain had not cancelled the last evening’s party.  It would be a fine showing, he said. Then a messenger come on board to tell me the hackney service had a carriage available if I wished. I told him I did wish and I am here! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for ordering from such a good service.”
“Good!”  Ronald beams.
As they all enter the parlour, McBride takes orders and begins to hand around the drinks.
“Uncle George!”
“Yes, my dear!”
“We were going to have a welcome party, tomorrow evening.  But wouldn’t it be fun if we held it this evening instead.  If you are not tired!  With Edward and his friend Lawrence, and Mother Coulter.”
“One thing I never get when my niece requests is tired,” laughs George.  “Croquet and billiards have been the most exhausting things I’ve been doing.  I suppose I will have to be nice to Enid!”
“I suppose you will,” says Ronald.
“I will go and telephone Edward.”  Annabell grabs Emily’s hand as they run out the room.
“Is that the orange tinctured stuff, Conny,” George asks.
“It is and why would I change after twenty years.”
“Twenty-two, or is it twenty three,” laughs George.
Ronald gets up, picks up the bottle, hands it to his brother.
“From father’s cellar.”
“Really!  Pater’s stock.  You still have bottles!”  George stares at the label.  “I wish they were both here.  It is the only thing bothering me, not having them here.”
“You enjoy, Pune!”
“Yes.  But I don’t mind leaving.  I have a friend there, a teacher if you like, Srinivas.  He said it would be some time before I came back to see him.  He told me to settle my affairs, so I did.”
“Yes!”  replies Ronald.  “Your rooms are ready.  We were able to get the exact same paper for the walls, so we did that.  The carpet looks sparkling new.  Mother wouldn’t have anything moved, you know.  She said you would be back.  She said she wanted it just as it was.”
“She didn’t want me to go.”
“No!  Your leaving took a toll on her.”
Annabell rushes in, “Edward has asked Mother, and they are all coming.  Mother is sending over Gwenda the veg cook to help Mrs. Minton, and Lancard the pâtissier.  He creates sauces as well as pastries.  Isn’t that wonderful.”  
“I don’t know if Mrs. Minton will consider it wonderful,” the Squire mutters.
. . .
In the dining room three hours before Edward and his mother are set to arrive, McBride, opens two bottles of Chambolle burgundy. Add an hour for pre-dinner drinks and the wine should be perfectly aired.
Chambolle has become a conversation piece between the Squire and Mrs. Coulter after she went touring the wine country along the Saône with the Squire some years past. Enid’s first trip out of the country, or anywhere, since Edgar, her husband, passed in ’92.
They’d diverted on a whim up into the steep sloping Côte d’Or. Coming to an enchanting grouping of villages, they both were taken with the speciality of wine from the black grape.  But once Enid had tasted the red Chambolle, that became her passion, most especially when visiting the manor.  The Squire always keeps a healthy stock in the cellar.
McBride has never forgotten the comment the first time she was presented with a glass from him.
“Ummmmm!”  She was not impressed.
Then she had come right out with: “McBride, the trick is to air the bottle for several hours.”
Some time it took to get over the sting of her comment.
Not knowing how many hours ‘several’ meant, he decided upon four.  That seems to have the magic, for now Mrs. Coulter will murmur: “Very expressive!  Yes, as silky as wine can be.”
McBride has opened three bottles.  Mrs. Coulter seldom drinks more than half a bottle when playing cards.  But the Squire himself has a taste for it and will join her.  Who knows if additional requests will come from the guests. That which isn’t consumed at the front will be consumed at the upstairs back.
Nine for dinner.  McBride cannot remember the previous time the manor has had nine at the dining table.
The Squire restricted his guests to a touring judge and wife, if she had come with him on the tour.  Dinner events given by the Squire were done at his club in Biddiford.
The Manor was too far to travel out from Biddiford and return late in the evening comfortably, which meant having any invited group stay the night, and in the morning having to be social.  That is something Ronald major and Zona his mother enjoyed doing, but not him.
A half hour before the Estate carriage is set to arrive, McBride checks the table.  Fruit stands and the small cake compotiers each side of the flower centrepiece.  Yes! Olive dishes set correctly. Yes! Water glasses, wine stemware in their correct sequence.  Side plates exactly where they should be.
The ivory-handled main course, fish, salad, butter, cheese and fruit knives all seem to be in order.  The soup spoons. Yes!  One of the mustard spoons is nudged closer to its mustard. By rote he begins to count: four salt spoons and dishes, four pepper dishes and spoons.
He steps back to the wine table.  This is the first dinner the Squire and his brother will be having together, the first since he has been butler.  McBride is well aware Mr. George as half owner of the manor is his employer.  He wants to make sure nothing is out of place this evening.
Placing a corkscrew by the still-corked bottles, the girls have done a good job he thinks.  He’ll let them know in the kitchen he appreciates their thoroughness. Employment should be told when appropriate.
Mr. George seems somewhat unconventional.  He had been preparing the bath in the bathroom that Mr. Hews and Mr George share, when Mr. George getting into the bath asked if her Ladyship went to the Squire’s rooms at night.  McBride is not an inexperienced butler, but this, coming from the Squire’s brother.  He had remained silent.
But then Mr. George had laughed and asked him again. “Mr. Bexfield,” he had had to say.  “I never speak of private matters.”
“Oh!”  The Squire’s brother had responded.  “Very Good! Admire you for that!”
Always the right approach, McBride muses as once more around the table he surveys the settings.  “Honest and frank,” two day past those words spoke by the Squire. He told Missy and she said it was the quality she admired most in him.  “Best be with these people,” she’d said.
. . .
“George, you have grown older.”
“My manners prevent me from answering, Enid.”
Since George in his teens began to develop Enid and George have had a sparring relationship.  Especially his thoughts of all this stuff that Enid Coulter believes rubbish.
Like her father she believes in production.  You make an item it will be bought.  Enid is new money married into old money.  But Enid does enjoy George in his more Earthly meanderings.  She knows how the rich get into your purse. She isn’t a fool.
Edgar Coulter, Edward’s father, is old money.  He did not need the new money that came with Enid, but she was an only daughter and had lots of it.  Edgar married for looks, and she had fair share. She also had some charm that mesmerized him, enough to make him fall decidedly in love.
Enid would not have married the young man had she not felt reciprocal love.  She is the daughter of her father. Common sense and a feltness for all that she needs to get through life makes the strength of her mind.
Enid Coulter did love her husband.  The pain she felt when he died, would, she has said often, have destroyed her had it not been for Edward.
Edward was fifteen when his father died.  Enid married the handsome, twenty-three year old Edgar in the June of 1855.  She was nineteen.  Her daughter, Nicola, had not come to them until October of ’65.  Enid was 30 and what a rejoicing that was.  Nicola was taken in the winter of ‘79.
Edward arrived in Enid’s forty-first year, a month before she would be forty-two.  He was one year, seven months old when Nicola passed.
Enid did not believe in angels, or religion, or God.  She did not know what those words meant.  If God, or whomever it was that decided these things, had determined to take her loving, dear Nicola, then she wanted nothing to do with him, or it.  She thought if anything this God would be an it.
After Edgar's death, Enid modified her position by not commenting on such matters.  A strangeness took place. She doesn’t understand what it meant.
“I told McBride you two could not sit either together or be placed opposite,” the Squire says, laughing.
The banter continues through the drinks hour.  Then, hunger pangs developing, they move from the parlour into the dining room, checking the dining cards amid comments.
When they are all seated, the Squire asks, “Would you like to say grace, George?”
“You want me to say grace?”
“It was always your forte you know.  Both Mama and Papa said that.  I have missed you, you know.”
“Well, I have been living in India.”
“Nay say!”
“I will say grace then if you wish.  An acknowledgement of thanks.”  George closes his eyes.  “We who come to this most beneficent feast, Oh Soul-Spirit of each, your offspring who sit around this table, we give you our greetings.”
George’s trembling voice becomes more firm as he speaks.  “To the Soul-Spirits who have as their purpose given us guardianship of the planet, who have given us this game that we so righteously play, we ask that in the growing, in the life and the fruit that we bring forth, that The Game of which we are a part, continues in its abundance.  We ask also that the pursuit within our Self-Soul continues.”
George shifts himself in the chair nervously:  “We take this moment to call upon those of The Game that are with us unseen. We give you fair ones our greetings.
“For any spirit that might have need in its play, we call you to your higher purpose.  Know also, you Self-Soul. To our loved ones and the many Higher Awareness who in sport give magnificence, such entertainment for our diversions, may your jollity and wisdom continue to baffle us.”
Silence.
“I suppose that has to do with, what?  George?”  It is Enid Coulter who speaks.  “Would you care to expound.”
George broods over that remark.  “The Game you mean?”
McBride walks around the table handing out the soup, salad and fish menu.  The calligraphed letters of the butler carefully written nine times for nine placements, reads:
Potages

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Bouillon

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Bikavr bull's blood wine carrot soup

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Chick pea with coriander leaf and lemon


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Chick pea with coriander leaf and lemon

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Entremets Salade

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Roasted shrimp in orange sauce, capers and dill

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Smoked salmon marinated in Muscovado rum and nutmeg

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Greek Kos lettuce, bacon, chopped egg, celery,
lemon

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Arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, dressing of oil, lemon
and Indian mustard leaf

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Poissons

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Pike marinated in lime, ginger, and pepper, baked with tomato, sweet butter, paprika, ginger and cloves

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Salmon grilled in Canadian maple glaze with gingerroot and scallions

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Plaice steamed, a Chardonnay sauce of mushrooms, lemon and bay leaf

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Sablefish broiled in rice wine, with rosemary, lemon, parsley and garlic

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The table is mostly quiet while the opening menu is read, an exclamation here and there.  McBride orbits the table as drinks are requested.
Enid Coulter fires her questioning at George.  “I thought all you people from the East were about reincarnation?”   Enid picks up her deep plum wine glass.  “Enlighten me while I enjoy this Musigny.”
George looks upwards to heaven for guidance.  “Not long after I came to Pune, Enid, I had the honour of being introduced to a monastery without cloisters.  The land the house is upon is quite substantial. Thatched cottages litter the property hidden among the lush vegetation.
“The Hindi call these small domiciles surrounded by a balustrade, bungalows, which means in Hindi ‘being of Bengal.’ We have adopted the word here as you know.
“People stay in these bungalows for a few days, a few months, a few years.  They contribute as they can to the welfare of the estate. I had already acquired my own home so I never did stay on the property.”
“Tell us why you left Bombay for Pune, uncle?”
“The East India Company were looking for someone who could negotiate good contract terms, trade deals up in Pune.  I had been doing that for the army in Bombay.”
“But that doesn’t explain all the reasons you decided to move to Pune, does it, uncle?”
“No, my dear.”  George smiles at his niece.  The real reason he left for Pune was that Kashvi had left him, but he isn’t going to explain that to his young niece, nor to this assembly.  “Bombay heat could be truly oppressive. Steam rises off the water from the heat.  Desperately you wait for monsoon season to arrive and when it does, rain pours down and then more rain.  You wish it to stop and when it does back comes the heat.  Pune is elevated and has a milder climate.”
He turns towards Enid.  “I suppose you wish me to say more about reincarnation?”
“I hadn’t noticed that you had said anything,” replies Enid before returning to her bull’s-blood wine and carrot soup.
“Having title to the deed of this estate is a person who became a dear friend.  Srinivas is not only the owner, he is considered the spiritual, perhaps teacher is the closest our English approaches the concept.  Someone who provides knowledge by words, someone who also provides knowledge by his presence.
“Things happen to Srinivas when engaged in a prayer meeting that your eyes do not believe.
“There is a poem that I learnt from Srinivas.  It is from the Upanishads the Holy Upanishads as they say in Sindhu Sanskrit. It is a story about truth.
“In all lands truth is swallowed by falsehood.  This poem explains that for the enquirer this is never true.  Only for those who do not wish to see truth will lies prevail.
“Unfortunately most of us do not wish for truth.  Truth is uncomfortable.  Lies are not:
In the beginning this universe was water alone.

That water produced Satya.

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This name Satya consists of three syllables.

Sa is one syllable.

Ti is one syllable.

Ya is one syllable.

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The first and last syllables are the truth.

In the middle is untruth.

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Untruth is enclosed on both sides by truth.

Thus truth preponderates.

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Untruth does not hurt him who knows this.

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“Truth it seems breaks the dream.  Few of us wish that.
“I have seen this teacher, Srinivas, become something completely different in appearance.  He might appear as a frightening apparition when there is someone who has come before him with ill intent, to panic the person so that they would go and not return.
“Srinivas has the ability to become his Higher Self as form that can be seen within this vibration frequency.  This is where my version and recognition of reincarnation stands, Enid.
“In becoming the Higher Self, he has the ability to form into any life that his Higher Self has created.  It will be a reflection, a mirror one might say. He will take the speech, take the actions of that being, in essence take the mind of that being, that person, without loosing his own. I have asked him about this and he states he is always present, but behind the person, the image.
“He has the ability to transmogrify, the correct term, into any bodily appearance that is his ‘reincarnation’ as he speaks of it.  It is not him, but it is him.  For he also is his Higher Self.
“‘Soul,’ he would say, ‘Is part of a larger tree.  We have brothers and sisters in Soul life, and a father/mother Soul that created us.’ I asked him if we ourself are unique and he stated that we are. That there is nothing that duplicates us.”
“So we are not someone who terminates at some point, leaving whatever we know to someone else?”  asks Enid.
“That is not how Srinivas would explain our beingness,” answers George.  “Our trueness is of course Soul.  Our frame as a ’Person,’ as we view ourself, is a teacher for the newly created Soul that we are.  Each ‘personhood’ that we are as the Higher Soul, has its own Soul.”
“It is the Higher Soul who sets an agreement?”  Ronald asks his brother.
“Yes!  It is the Higher Soul who sets the parameters for its creations, its children.  As its children we fulfil as we wish.  We have options within our parameter, and we many extend ourself beyond that which has been given to us.  Beings are unique individuals.  We decide upon our actions.  We have free will. Every moment we decide.”
“So one might say we play?”
“Yes!  The Game you know.”
“But as a creation of the Higher Self, we are also of the Higher Self?”
“Yes!  Our minds, our outer bodies, our sense of reality is part of that awareness.  At some moment play for us within Earth’s frequency ends.  We venture into new worlds.  Here the play continues.”
Meg and Lucy have entered by the servants entrance to clear away the soup dishes.
“Ghosts, do you still believe they exist, George?”
“I do indeed, Conny.  One of the many things I have learnt in spending time at Vijayalakshmi is that once we have passed from this life, the afterlife is much more complicated then we think.”
“Vijayalakshmi?”
“The estate of Srinivas.”
“Do we become ghosts, Mr. Bexfield?”
George stares down the table at Annabell’s beau.  “To answer, Complicated!  Complicated!  We become a ghost, or we reach for a heaven.  Some say if we do bad things, we continue our lives in hell.  Many in India accept we return in a new body.  In the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas, special prayers are chanted at a person’s death.
“Prayers continue over many days.  They remind the newly departed spirit, first that it has died to a mortal state, and, that decisions now are of most importance. The ghost Spirit’s desires, yearnings, determine it is said where it finds itself in the next life.
“I do not agree with all of that.  Srinivas would say that spirit really is mind, personality, and that mind within the ghost body continues until all funeral proceedings have been completed.
“Mind, if it decides, will then drop the ghost body to become its next inner body, the light body as it is spoken of, with personality encapsulated within the next body, still learning.
“There are many degrees of light a light body can exist within. Many light bodies reunite with loved ones, often on another planet or star system from which they came.
“Existence can be within a heaven of a religion after human body death.  Depends upon one’s belief.  It can be as many variants as one has the ability to conceive.”
“Can spirits rush towards you, Mr. Bexfield.”  George turns to this new voice, the young Mr. Morton.
“Rush towards you?”
Edward answers for him.  “We had a strange affair coming from the station.  The horses got into a terrible state.  Henri was muttering in his Gallic, that it was some bewitchment, an energy supernatural that had caused the horses to shy.”
“Some energy never has had any human or any other frequency body,” answers George.  “Does not have as we think of ourselves, personage.  The ‘in-between’ or ghost existence contains many energies.  In the Sanskrit language, ghosts are known as ‘Bhûta.’ The ordinary person in India will run from something it believes is such energy.  Many forms of energy people have come to associate with this word that do frighten.
“Spirit energy forms from fear and distress?  This might emanate from a human or previous human who remains as a ghost.  These energies act as ghosts in some instances, but will wither as quickly as they arise, their essence bleeding into the surrounding frequency structures.”
“This spirit rushing towards could be accumulation of energy that has split away?”
George turns to Constance.
“Yes, Conny.  When energy separates it becomes in the sense of all substance, has livingness.  Nothing is not alive.”
“This is the Indian notion,” Enid says.
“It is.  But I believe our science is coming to recognise such reality.  These alive non-enclosed Soul substances do not have a mind as we would consider.  Their ‘aliveness’ is often emotion spewed from us.  Energy gathering into ever larger groupings of energy, until the totality begins to decay.”
“This fear, Mr Bexfield,” Lawrence asks.  “Could it be substance somehow grown by becoming attached to more fear?”
“I would say that’s about it,” answers George.  “Much of what we are is not physical.  Emotion from the mind is a powerful force.  “
“Oh, how interesting,” Constance observes.  ‘This is the teaching in India?”
“One teaching.  India has three million Deities, Conny. More varieties of religious belief are held in India than all of the faiths of the world together.  Islamic Hindu, Jina, skyclothed Jains Hindu, white-clothed Jainists Hindu, just a few of these faiths.”
“Sky clothed.”  Emily giggles.
“Well, that simply means they wear no clothes, at least the Digambara.  It’s a strange country when you first get there.”
“I suppose the same can be said of here, for foreigners.”
“I suppose, Ronny.”
On the wine table, the lamp flickers.
“The oil, sir,” McBride addresses the Squire.  “This batch seems to be faulty.”
This is interrupted by ‘entremets salade’ placed before everyone and Bella moving around the table two bulbous silver-gadrooned glass bottles in her hands, olive oil and Italian grape vinegar.
“Is this The Game” asks Enid.  “I remember now George, you were in college.  Ronald and you would talk about it. Is this what you meant with your grace?”
“The same, Enid.”
“It’s a duality game, is it not — a contest between good and evil?”
George glances at Ronald.  “We considered The Game as a contest, did we not, between players who play from the left and players who play from the right.”
“Where do these come into the picture then?” asks Enid. “Are these ghosts a mixture, some decent, some base?”
Again George glances at Ronald.
Ronald laughs.  “I am leaving this to you, brother.”
“For myself, since I’ve spent time with Srinivas, I believe personality exists in The Game, as personality upon Earth, to those who remain as ghosts, to us as astral beings, to us let us say, who play from a ‘Higher Mind.’ ”
“Higher mind!  What does that mean?”
“The pinnacle of The Game players.  Mind creations of Soul within the tree.
“Within the tree?”
“Mind can be joined to a creation tree.  That is where reincarnation comes into play.  Mind can experience any life upon its creation tree.
“Can the Higher Mind be intrinsically evil?”
“Evil!  Interesting question, Mr. Morton.  You might ask if the Higher Mind might be playing at being evil.  I would answer, yes, to that.  Higher Minds are all about delight in having power. Able to manipulate through connecting with Earth minds for example. Placing thoughts in our head.  Suggestions that we act upon.”
“Do you think there are Machiavellian relationships that take place in our instigation of warfare, George?”
“Oh!  Indeed, Arthur.  The learning process is how as a society we are manipulated.”
“The Mahabharat Wars?  Were those wars between airships, beings in airships?”
“I accept that.  Those living upon the world destroyed by weapons we today have not yet created.”
McBride motions to Meg and Lucy to wheel the trolleys with the fish course forward.
“Ginger pike, your Ladyship.”
“Thank you, Meg.”
“Grilled salmon, sir.”
“Yes, certainly,” replies Ronald.
“Sablefish!”
Around the room, the trolleys go.
“You think the British will give up India, George?”
George laughs.  “For the war against the Boers, Ronny.  I don’t think so.  India is the centre jewel of the Empire.”
“Sometime they will leave.  It is too big.  This little island cannot command indefinitely such a large continent.”
“You remember when I shipped out, brother.  I was as British as they come then, worked slavishly at the Fort. The second year I was going ‘Native.’  They didn’t like it, me dressing up in the local clothes on my time off.  I began to eat at the food counters, visit places no Raj would ever go.”  George is silenced with McBride handing him two menu’s.
Plats Principaux

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Lamb steamed in Riesling, parsley and peppercorns

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Duck breasts grilled in apricot mead with ginger and honey

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Pheasant sautéed in sherry with basil, white onion and cinnamon

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Quail casserole with Romanian purple onion, potato and celery

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White fowl roasted with sage and saffron

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Cavatappi pasta, mushrooms, tomato, basil, 

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a cover of cheddar, asiago d’allevo and aged pecorino

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Plateau de Légumes

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Buttered wortes: spinach, cabbage, leek, onion - Roast turnip

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Mashed white potato with swede and chives

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Roast blue potato, Swiss Gruyère and garlic

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Collard with red pepper - Carrot soufflé, orange, nutmeg

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Pea-pods in green curry - Baked white bean with tarragon

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Meg and Lucy take orders for the main course while people read the Entremets Parfaits menu.
Entremets Parfaits

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Nutmeat méringue, sherry cream custard

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Chocolate rum tipsy cake - Turkish Delight gelatine, cream

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Golden Noble apple pie, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg

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Cream coconut, Alicante coffee liqueur

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Releves - Oysters

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“Tell us about Lokmanya, the terrorist, uncle George. And the plot.”
“Ah!  Annabell.  Lokmanya wasn’t a terrorist of course. He was set-up.  A perfect Machiavellian brother-against-brother ruse by the Raj.  The English know so well how to create the play for these things.
“Lokmanya, from the moment he acquired his printing press, came out with articles against the established order.
“He hated the occupying Raj.  He was from a wealthy family and I suppose he considered the wealth of his family would protect him. He was distributing weeklies, one in Marathi, the common language, one in English to taunt the Raj.
“His papers pushed the boundaries to the extreme, but the Raj, hypocrisy falling all over them, smiled.  ‘We understand,’ they would tell his parents.  ‘We understand youth.’
“In reality it was unsettling for the British, a newspaper bringing forth stories that continued to embarrass them.
“‘Free Speech’ was a reasoning the Raj gave for white people being in control.  They needed more justification than his words to shut him down, because his stories always had an element of truth.  A killing scenario became their play.
“Both plague and famine were sweeping through the eastern part of the India at the time.  When people begin to die from lack of food, some begin to turn.  India was controlled, as all nations, by creating a local army, money taken from the people in their taxes. Plague and famine does something to people.  They become less easy to control.
“The local troops might at some point attempt to usurp the British forces.
“In Pune as the Bubonic plague crept up from Bombay Lokmanya kept publishing all the details.  Raj merchants, those who exported back to Britain, were panicking in Bombay.  Knowledge of the plague could bring an embargo of goods made and sent from Bombay, from Pune, and from all of India.  If not the plague itself, reporting of the plague and famine had to be stopped at all costs. If these two disasters for the common people could not be stopped, it had to be seen to be stopped.
“The Raj had to be seen to be doing something.  An elite corps was set up in the military for this purpose.  In Pune, a British official called Rand was given responsibility for searches conducted in the interest of ‘health.’ Rand went through the whole city with his soldiers, rough handling the men, the women, and even the children.  Family worship temples were desecrated.  Injury and death came if locals put up any resistance.
“It was all a show, had little if anything to do with eliminating the plague.  Pune has a healthy climate and the fevers were less than in Bombay, which is very humid and low-lying and surrounded by water.
“Lokmanya with his printing presses poured out the complaints.  In the staging of the event to get at Lokmanya, it was decided that Rand would be shot. Rand had become so unpopular the scheme devised would be getting rid of two unwanted at the same time.
“The subtlety devised by those acting for the Raj was not to accuse Lokmanya of the murder.  His family would employ detectives and to represent him in court hire the best expensive professionals.  He would quickly be found innocent and the Raj scorned for their indictment.
“Lokmanya was to be tried for subversion.  Half of Pune, although enjoying Lokmanya’s pages, already considered him a lost cause. They knew the Raj would spirit him away at the moment of their choosing.
“Two young brothers were picked to be tried for the killing. Whether they did it is not known.  The story in Pune is that Raj agents approached the boys, playing upon their patriotism.  The agents working for the Raj in disguise were playing as opponents of British rule.
“These agents were brought to convince the boys they should attempt the murder, and to offer payment, the money coming from some semi-fictitious subversive organization, in reality created by the Raj secret service.
“It may have gotten out of control, these government schemes often do.  It is very probably Rand and Lieutenant Ayerst were killed by an agent of the families, not by the boys.
“All the ‘evidence’ was presented.  A subversive group of young men rounded up.  Testimony extracted.
“It was stated in the testimony that a large number of people gathered on a hillside to witness the shootings, building bonfires to keep them warm in Pune’s somewhat chilly weather.
“One of the brother’s statement is treated incorrectly as a confession, the fellow hanged in ‘98.  The second brother is allowed to get away but then ‘betrayed by a friend.’
“Two police informants who had given testimony of the brothers involvement were disposed of.  An attempt to shoot a police constable was created, a third brother implicated in this.
“It all settled with the two brothers not yet hung being hung alongside a third young man said to be involved in the attempted shooting of the police constable.  This just a year ago.
“Lokmanya was accused of a mild form of sedition, of trying to stir up trouble.  It was enough.  He was convicted in ’97, sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment which indeed shut him up for enough time for the plague and famine to pass.
“The contagion claimed most lives in ’96.  Lokmanya was found guilty by six Raj jurors.
“The three Indians placed on the jury for show all found him innocent.  I think Lokmanya we will hear more of.”
Everyone engaged with their Plats Principaux, George is allowed time to enjoy his Cavatappi pasta.
Noticing he’s almost finished, Enid breaks the silence: “This study of human affairs, George, it seems to have blended with your forté of the afterlife?”
“I suppose so.  However I do believe I still see only eleven of the thirty-six inches or so.”
“Thirty-six inches?”
“That which is needed to complete The Game.”
“Tell us the extent of those eleven inches, George?”   Ronald laughs.  “I’m interested to hear what you have come up with.”
“The mountains, the oceans, all the goodness of the world.  People in their toil.  Pishacha!  Bhûta!  Preta!”
“What is Pishacha?”  asks Emily.
“A demon created by a vice.  Something which attaches itself to a human.”
“And Bhûta?”
“Bhûta has the same meaning as our ghost.”
“Mr.  Fizziwig’s Ball and Jacob Marley’s ghost.  Is it real?”
“You mean once the body leaves us, are we still held by that which we have done?”
“Yes!”
“Emotion, strong feelings, guilt, fear, shock from some terrible cause of death!”
“How can we live if we have no body?”  asks Constance.
George has to think how to answer that.  “That which we call our body is bone and bile and the rest you will excuse me.  We have underneath or as an inter-setting, an energy body.  This has not the lightness we speak of when we think of angels — the dazzling bright colours — that is a third body as we proceed inwards.
“This second body is substance part our world, part an ether existence we think of as the ghost world.  The second body must be discarded for while we remain in this in-between body we remain trapped between worlds.
“‘Do not be like me.  I cannot break free.  I cannot depart for my condemnation of myself is too great.  I am trapped in these chains.’   The message of Jacob Marley.”
“Do we look human as a ghost, George?”
“We do!  Most of us are clothed.  It is our mind that clothes us!  Everything in The Game is mind.”
As George falls silent, Meg and Lucy take orders for the various Parfaits.
George stretches out his arms, rolls them into a very strange contortion around his head.  “Ghosts live neither in our time nor any time they are aware.  Time is meaningless in their dream. They repeat endlessly that which they know.  But don’t laugh!  We do the same. None of us like change, neither ghost nor human.  Life for a ghost is within the dream, as it is for a human.”
The lamp on the wine table flickers again.  All the lamps, the bow-fronted sideboard lamp, the lamp upon the mahogany corner cupboard, the table lamps, all begin to flicker.
Lucy is white faced.  She wishes the Master would stop with these spirits.  He’s drawing them she’s sure.
Ronald, Constance, Arthur, Enid do appear startled.  The younger set seem to have a more enquiring interest.
“Well, George?”
“I am not doing this, Enid.”
“Is there a ghost here?”
“Is there a ghost here?  I don’t know.”
George shouts out.  “If you are a ghost, identify yourself. Speak to us with the lights.”
Nothing!
Then a very faint crashing sound that seems to come from the walls.
“Let us take sweets and releves in the parlour,” the Squire moves his chair back, holds out his hand to assist Constance.
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