That was the moment that the bell over the bookshop was set to ringing once more. In walked a man wearing a yellow mackintosh, a rather strange choice of attire in that the day had yet to display any rain. To be sure, the mist of the moor was in the air as it always is in this damp quarter of God's Creation, but as to rain, not a drop.
"Welcome to Old Bailey's, can I be of help, sir?" Billy was always a cordial soul, easy to like, especially that farmboy charm that was his nature.
"Possibly some tea, if I might, and a word of direction, if I may ask." The man in the yellow mackintosh possessed the voice of a deep barrel and his words had the elegance of a well-schooled gentleman, a professor quite possibly.
"To be sure. Please have a seat over there near or local parson and I will bring you tea. Earl Grey?'
"Do you have some orange pekoe?"
"Indeed, orange pekoe it will be."
The gentleman removed his rain gear and hung it on the oak coat rack that stood sentry by the reading area. He was a younger man, chestnut hair, near shoulder length. That in itself made him a rather striking figure, but there was even more to his flair. Chiseled features and steel grey eyes that had a piercing quality to them.
"Beaverbrook's the name, Colonel Lloyd Beaverbrook, of the Argyll and Sutherland regiment." With this quite proper self-introduction, he extended his hand to me.
"Reverend Stewart, well of the Lord's regiment, I suppose."
"Well indeed, Reverend Stewart, I always respected you gents of the cloth. My battles have always with been an enemy I can with my eyes, you have to fight an enemy that hides from human sight."
I wasn't all that sure that I completely agreed, but I had not the time nor the motivation to debate the point. "I suppose one might conclude such. Please. Have a seat."
With a nod, this rather distinguished military chose his chair and after a few moments of who and where, I asked. "And what might be the information you need?"
"The information that you mentioned the storekeeper."
"Oh, yes. Yes, indeed. I was needing directions to the home of one of my mates from my regiment."
"And his name?"
"MacFee, Gordon MacFee."
"Oh, Casey's oldest lad. Why they have a farm about three miles south of town. It tucked behind the Windsor place, they raise sheep. But now that you mention it, I haven't seem any of the MacFee's in quite awhile. You know, since Gordie went off the war and since their daughter was lost to the fever about two years ago, they've taken to keep to themselves. Why I didn't even know Gordie had come home."
"Well, that is why I am searching for their home place. It has fallen to me to bring Gordie home to rest."
I paused to put two and two together, then I realized that the Colonel was here to do the work of the last call. "Lordy be. God rest his soul.'