Down to the Vault

At that moment, Mildred returned with the tea, set the tray down, and left once more.  Seymour took a cup and added liberal quantities of sugar.  “Do you think that likely?”

                “I trust them all, but it is possible that Mildred could have let in a visitor for one of my sons and simply forgot to notify me.”

                Seymour nodded, setting his cup back down on the tray.  “Very well.  What exactly did the vault contain?”

                “Five and twenty thousand knamick in coins, in one, ten, and one hundred knamick increments, and one lovely cloak pin that had belonged to my dear wife.”

                “Describe it.”

                “It is made in the shape of a hummingbird, wrought of gold and inlayed with precious stones.  I know not its monetary worth, but it is likely worth more than the combined value of the coins in the vault.”

                Seymour peered contemplatively into his own teacup.  “And its sentimental value is much greater, no?”


                “Anything else you think I should know?”

                “Well, tomorrow I will be receiving my share of my company’s profits, and I do not know what to do with it.”

                “I advise you, my good sir, to put it in a bank.  It will be guarded there—plus, it will earn interest.  If you find that so repugnant,” he added at Caligard’s expression of disgust,  “Then I suggest you place it in the hands of a very close and trustworthy friend.  It would be best for the investigation if it does not remain in this house.”

                “Why is that?”

                “I have my reasons.”  He finished his tea and stood up.  “Now allow me to inspect this vault.”

                They descended a different stairway than the one Seymour had come up by.  It was a narrow, steep one with stone steps that led all the way down to the cellar.  Caligard took Seymour through an aisle in the mostly empty racks of wine to the back of the cellar, where there was a solid oaken door.  He unlocked it, and they entered another set of steps, these ones cut unevenly from the earth.  Caligard took a candle from a bracket on the wall and lit it, and it was by its wavering light that they made their way down to the vault.

The End

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