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Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 18-20

March 10, 2023 10:40AM
Chapter 18

Downstairs the gentlemen and ladies had split and the men started discussing the leads they had followed that day. Richard started. “We found the man who had the horse that matched the description of the leader’s horse. It was a false lead. We checked his story and confirmed he had been travelling back from his sister’s. However, he had passed the leader’s horse travelling the other way following his men. He had taken particular notice as the leader’s horse looked so much like his own.”

Officer Johnson continued. “We’ve traced the three to Belper where they had lunch at a local inn, though none stayed there. We checked to see if they stayed the night elsewhere and it didn't appear that they had. We spoke with people who had travelled in and it appears that two of them continued along the road North towards Ripley.”

“That would make sense if their destination is Sherwood forest. They must intend to head towards Mansfield,” said Sir Riley thoughtfully.

“We think we have a sighting of Bob heading towards Derby. We have none of the leader,” said Officer Johnson.

“I'll send a message to the Sheriff of Nottingham to warn him. Andrew and Johnson, the two of you can take another two men and head towards Ripley and Mansfield and follow the trail left by Bill and the other unidentified man. You may be gone a couple of days.” Sir Riley then looked to Richard, Darcy and Bingley. “Will you be helping tomorrow?”

“I'll be leaving for my own estate tomorrow, however, I can help in the search in Derby. I'll stay the night there and return to Netherfield from there, ” said Bingley.

“I'll be helping in the search tomorrow,” said Darcy.

Sir Riley nodded. “I have three men in Derby who will help you in your search.” With the plan for the morrow made, the men went and joined the ladies.


Chapter 19


Lizzy rode in the carriage enjoying the sunlight filtering down through the foliage. She turned and laughed at something her aunt said. Mrs Gardiner took her hand and looked across the carriage where Mr Gardiner sat. “Look out for him for me. He needs you.”

Then the carriage was hurtling through the forest. There was blood on their face and no carriage driver. They passed the two men on horse back. The carriage veered off the road and Lizzy was flying through the air. When she landed and got to her feet and heard Mr Gardiner yell “Run!” she looked to her aunt who was lying still, her eyes staring unblinking at her.

Lizzy started out of her bed realising it was all a dream and her dear Aunt was dead. She put a hand to her mouth and sobbed for several minutes before calming down.
The maid entered first with breakfast, followed soon after by Kitty and Mr Bennet and then the doctor.

“How is the patient this morning?”

“My head feels good this morning. No sign of headache. And my body doesn’t feel quite as sore.”

“Very good.” Dr Brown checked her wound. “Still no sign of infection and scabbing nicely.” He wrapped the wound again in a fresh bandage. “Have you tried standing yet today Miss Elizabeth?”

Lizzy shook her head. “Not yet.”

“I’d like you to try.”

Lizzy swung her legs off the bed and she rose carefully.

“How does your head feel as you stand? Do you think you could faint?”

“I feel light-headed. Provided I stop and rise slowly, I don't feel as though I would faint.”

The doctor nodded. “Good, I'll let you walk around your room, and to see your uncle provided you are attended by someone.”

This delighted Lizzy, and with Kitty’s help she slowly made her way to her uncle's room. Her Uncle’s breathing was raggard. There was such a deep-set melancholy about him that worried Lizzy.

Kitty left when the seamstress arrived. Once out the room, Mr Bennet started. “I gave Mr Bingley a letter to deliver to Longbourn advising that the funeral date will be in two weeks. I've told them to await further instructions.”

“Mr Bingley is returning to Netherfield?” asked Mr Gardiner.

“Yes, though I've told him not to bother if he plans on leaving again. I've told him not to toy with Jane’s feelings, and if he intends to do so, it would be better if he did not return.”

“What did he reply to that?” asked Lizzy.

“He said he did not intend to and that he sought my permission to propose once the mourning period is over. I've told him to ask again if he is serious after the mourning period is over.” Mr Bennet turned to Lizzy. “I trust you will keep this to yourself? This is something for Mr Bingley to raise with Jane and not for us to interfere.”

“Of course, Papa,” promised Lizzy.

Soon the local vicar came and funeral plans were made. The vicar stayed with Mr Gardiner as Lizzy’s headache returned and she went back to her room to rest.

In the afternoon before dinner, Lizzy, Mr Bennet and Kitty were surprised by the invasion of the room by the sheriff, Richard and Darcy. This was soon followed by the doctor, who had come to visit the patients earlier.

After polite enquiries on Lizzy’s health, the sheriff came to the point. “We had some promising leads in Derby that both Bob and the leader were there. However, it was Mr Bingley, when he was checking in at his inn came across someone matching the description of Bob. He had seventy pounds on him.” The sheriff turned to the doctor. “We were wondering if it were possible for Miss Elizabeth to travel to Derby to identify this man.”

“Absolutely not!” said the doctor. “Miss Elizabeth is in no shape to travel.”

“Doctor Brown,” said Elizabeth. “What is the worst that can happen to me? Is there any possibility I could die? Is the action of sitting in a carriage for a few hours then walking a short distance likely to cause anymore damage?”

The doctor considered the question and slowly said “Noooo. But it won't help your recovery. You'll likely end up with such a terrible headache you won't be of much use to anyone by the time you reach Derby. It will add to your recovery time.”

“If that is the worst, then I'll take the risk. Yes, Sir Riley, I'll travel to see this man tomorrow. If he’s innocent, he deserves to be released quickly. If he’s the culprit then the sooner he'll meet justice.”


Chapter 20


The next day Lizzy and Mr Bennet rode with Sir Riley in his carriage to Derby, accompanied by Darcy and Richard on horseback. Kitty was staying back at Matlock with Mr Gardiner.

Lizzy had woken up with less pain and a clear head. It had felt good to leave her room and being able to descend the stairs, with her father’s help. Climbing into the carriage had been carefully done with her broken arm and her head had gone light. Most of the ride to Derby had been comfortable, but she had noticed that her head was starting to hurt with the continued vibrations and noise of the carriage.

Mr Bennet descended first then turned to help Lizzy down. Darcy had also descended from his horse and was waiting as well, watching with concern. Descending the carriage seemed more daunting than getting into it, especially with only her right arm to steady herself with and a pounding feeling inside her head. “I've got you, Lizzy,” said her father encouragingly.

Lizzy put on a smile and cautiously stepped down, using her father’s arm to steady her. They had stopped in front of the gaol. The bailiff came to greet Sir Riley and led them inside to wait. Soon they were led into a hallway, with only the Sheriff, Richard and Lizzy going into a room that was bare of anything other than a couple of chairs and one empty wooden table in the centre. The bailiff turned to Lizzy. “We’ll bring in the man for you to identify, who may be the man who killed your aunt.” Lizzy prepared herself to come face to face with one of her attackers.

A large, shackled, man was led into the room. Though his clothes were similar to what the thieves had worn, it appeared newer but not cleaner, with black stains.

The man was forced to sit at the table. The sheriff started the interrogation. “State your name.”

“Robert Worthington.” With scared eyes, he looked to Lizzy without a single flicker of recognition. “Please, Miss, tell ’em I'm not the one they are looking for. This is all a mistake.”

“What is your business in Derby?” asked the Sheriff.

“I've finished a job at the coal mine in Staffordshire. My daughter’s having a baby and I've come to help out and see my grandchild.”

“How did you come to have seventy pounds?”

“My wages that I've been saving up. Some of it will be a gift to my daughter.”

There were some more questions, and they led him out of the room. The Sheriff turned to Lizzy. “Did you recognise him? Was he one of the men who robbed you and your Uncle?”

Lizzy shook her head. “He was not involved. That man is innocent.”

“Are you certain? You would not have got that good a look at the man when you were attacked. ” asked Richard.

“Positive. There was no recognition in his eyes; this was the first time he had ever seen me. His voice was not as deep or raspy as the man who killed the carriage driver. Also, this man, though of the right height, was much....fatter, than the man who attacked us.”

The sheriff told the bailiff to release Robert Worthington. They returned to Mr Bennet and Darcy who looked up expectantly as they rose. Lizzy shook her head. “He wasn't one of the highwaymen.”

They left the gaol. As they went outside into the sunlight, Lizzy steadied herself on the doorway as her head had started thumping. This did not escape anyone’s notice. “Are you feeling light-headed, Lizzy?” asked Mr Bennet.

“Can we get some lunch? I'm certain it will help to make me feel better. There is an inn across the road.”

“I do know of a much better place to eat not far from here,” suggested Richard.

Lizzy tried to smile but it was too much effort. “Though I would love to try your suggestion, Colonel, it is currently beyond me.”

They all entered the inn, and they were all clearly the best dressed people in there. The inn was aimed at the working classes and not the gentlemen class. They took a seat and ordered the roast lunch.

Lizzy tried to follow the conversation as Richard and Sir Riley discussed Napoleon, but her head pounded too much. She was seated with her back to the entrance to the inn. Richard was on her right side and Darcy to her left. It was just as lunch had been set down she vaguely heard the inn front door open. Moments later, just as she had lifted her fork to her mouth, she froze, and a voice behind her sent a chill down her spine. Her pulse started to race and she resisted the urge to get up and run.

“Waitress, can I have today's lunch roast?” she heard a deep, gruff voice say.
SubjectAuthorPosted

Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 18-20

Anne VMarch 10, 2023 10:40AM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 18-20

Maria Teresa CMarch 10, 2023 06:58PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 18-20

billrMarch 10, 2023 04:01PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 18-20

billrMarch 10, 2023 04:01PM

Re: Action Lizzy and the Four Thieves Chapters 18-20

Anne VMarch 10, 2023 10:42AM



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