There was a police-car readily parked by the gate. Under his command, Alexandra helped Inspector Whitting move Daphne to this car, where she was attended to by two policemen inside. Even through this gravest of times, Alexandra couldn’t help but chuckle rather. Imagine that! Daphne, a criminal mastermind. Although she had known that Daphne was not perfect, Alexandra hadn’t begun to speculate on the girl’s deeds being so dreadful. It was ridiculous at its best.
Whilst Daphne was ice-cold glares and stony silence, Cynthia was still protesting as she was bundled into the same vehicle, begging them all not to get her family involved as she was truly innocent.
The other guests had stayed inside, but Mrs. Winters was on her feet again, and their host followed the Inspector out, to stare in shock at her daughter’s exit.
Alexandra couldn’t tell what the mistress was feeling, but the tears pricking at her eyes were enough to say that she knew not what to do, having always, in the before time, been cluelessly naive about her daughter’s ‘amusements’.
“Let us head back inside, Mrs. Winters,” said the Inspector. “It does us no good to stand here solitary…especially as we intend to escort your daughter away from this place in a matter of minutes.”
“I shan’t smudge my make-up. Not today, not here.”
Acknowledging his point, Mrs. Winters cast one more longing glance at her child, before tearing her eyes away from the figure and walking, with true ladylike poise, to the guesthouse.
“Thank you for your assistance, kind Miss Alexandra.” The Inspector turned to Alexandra once he was sure that the lady of the house was inside.
“It is nothing, honestly…” she blushed, heating up under the solemn cerulean irises of the man.
“Your cockney accent,” the Inspector gasped, “it’s gone!”
Alexandra allowed herself a coy grin.
“You didn’t think it was real…Sir? It was put on from the start, all for the sake of the game…
“You’ll find many people in that room are liars. I’d try Peter Stones as a start.”
“Oh, yes, my job here is far from over. I already know that for a certainty.”
They walked further, but Alexandra stopped herself metres from the doorway. She turned to the Inspector.
“Sir…” Alexandra attentively said. “I think that Cynthia might be telling the truth, at least where Daphne's lies are concerned. She’s far more a docile creature than Joshua Newton. Their relationship did not seem to be one made out of fairness.”
“I know, Miss Alexandra. In fact, I don’t think that their engagement came about any more from convenience than love, but…there is still more to discover about the hows and whys, I’m afraid. I believe, well I think, that she was always the victim of his persuasion and sexual trickery. However, as my job, and as a personal interest to the lost young lady, I guarantee I’ll find a way to discover and ensnare Mr. Newton’s cruel behaviour through her.”
“Very well. Is it right for me to think that he knew about Daphne and Cynthia’s business, and condoned it?”
“Most likely he encouraged them. It would have kept him in a job; yes, I presume that he was part of Daphne’s GoldenFire.”
“Hmm…” Alexandra started to drift, lost in thought on another matter.
“Penny for your thoughts, maid?”
“I was just…thinking. Why would Mr. Winters turn his own daughter in? How could he have known of her activities?”
“Ah, I presume that he overheard one of her exchanges, and could not bare to see his daughter living out such the cruel life that she had chosen. In a way, he was trying to save her from herself.”
“I guess he walked in on one of the…umm…arrangements. Daphne had many admirers… How ironic: it led to her defeat in a way that mirrored her spurious death.”
Shaking his head in disappointment, the Inspector put both hands into the pockets of his tailor-made suit, and hurried back inside.