Chapter Eleven / In Carvil, Time LimpsMature

Three hours later, Seymour left the station with ten pages of notes, a list of leads, and a few sketches and diagrams that the sheriff had let him keep for further analysis.

            It was nearly noon by then.  Rather warm, too.  The sun was high, but decidedly southward of its summer zenith, and Seymour was reminded that it was nearly November.  Of the exact date, he couldn’t be certain—was it the 30th or the 31st?  He had lost track.  Time seemed to move differently in Carvil.

            As he was approaching Wyrinther, who was swatting flies in front of the clock store, a small statured, elderly woman passed in front of him, carrying a bucket of water up from the river.  She emptied the pail in a trough by the hitching post, and the mare extended her neck to drink from it.

            “Oh, thank you,” said Seymour.

            She nodded at him.  “This your horse?”

            “No, not exactly.  I borrowed her from a friend.”

            “Beautiful horse.”  She squinted at the saddle, then touched the corner, where the Edmund seal was branded into the leather.  “You friends with his lordship?”

            Seymour smiled, eyes darting to the old woman’s left hand.  No ring.  “Well, spotted, Ms.…?”

            “Barrowman.  This is my shop.”  She gestured toward the window of clockwork creations.  “That Lord Henry is a piece of work, ain’t he?”

            “How do you mean?”

            “You ain’t never seen him angry, have you? No,” Ms. Barrowman said, shaking her head.  “Next to his father, he’s a right angel, let me tell you that.  But still, you be careful around him, hear?  All us peasants are afraid of that man.  We’d always hoped that his brother would be our next Lord of Carvil, but then they carted him off north for doing exactly what everyone’d been dreaming of doing for decades.”

            “You seem to know a lot about…”  He paused.  “I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself.  I’m Seymour de Winter.  I’m a private detective.  Lord Henry hired me to take a look at that very case.  He doesn’t believe that Simon was guilty.”

            The old woman smiled widely.  “Never thought that boy had it in him to be a killer.”

            “You were acquainted with him?”

            “Yes.  He would ride into Carvil Crossing every Saturday, once he was old enough.  Spend all day here.  He’d always stop by my place.  Liked to look at the clocks.”  She looked over her shoulder.  “Come inside.  I’ll tell you all about him.”

The End

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