CHAPTER TWELVE: Flotsam and Jetsam
Vinzent Watersheen trudged home through the dark streets of Vienna. It was nine o’clock at night, but he enjoyed a short walk in the dark to relax him before he slept. He had had a profitable day, too, which gave his heart a light feeling that made him want to sing.
It had taken two weeks to find a tenant for his big townhouse, but now he had found one with a kind family, and had stored away his valuables. He had insisted on keeping his bedroom for himself if he ever needed it, so that he had somewhere to stay while he found somewhere smaller to live. He gathered he could live in a hotel or a small terrace quite comfortably. Yet he would not make a decision about that until he had returned from the Achensee a second time.
The business regarding his parents had been sorted out finally, and he had been promised a good income for the rest of his life. He was now better-off than he could have guessed, and with the money for the rent of his house coming in he felt that he could count himself as ‘rich’. He smiled with contentment at a good day’s work done, and started to whistle to himself.
But all of a sudden he stopped whistling and felt the loneliness envelop him. He had few friends still living in Vienna, since many had moved away or were now studying at various universities and liked to live there during the holidays. He had talked only to bankers, lawyers, estate agents and prospective house tenants over the past fortnight. The only man who had been really interested had struck Vinzent as a man in a tearing hurry to find long-term accommodation, and he had rushed off as soon as the paperwork was done, and so the fact was that Vinzent had not had a proper conversation with anyone in a fortnight.
He missed the easy welcome of the Atkins. He missed the trusting comradeship of the Thimbles. He missed the warm understanding of Aoife. They were all motherless in truth or principle, and they had all unconsciously helped him in his time of secret grieving.
He would give a lot to be back at the Achensee with the two families he had grown to love so well. Especially Aoife. Aoife was something special. Everyone felt it, but none as strongly as Vinzent Watersheen that night in the dark. He imagined her walking along beside him, and her relaxing and almost telepathic presence seemed to truly exist as her long legs strode over the cobbles with such admirable purpose. She had to be strong for her cousins, and there was no higher praise for Vinzent to bestow upon her fair head than to be thinking so warmly of her on this dark night.