Bill's Diary 1949 (Part 6)
First edition: 2014
Publisher: EB Society
Illustrator: not illustrated
Category: Bill's Diary 1949
Type: Continuation Books
Publisher: EB Society
Illustrator: not illustrated
Category: Bill's Diary 1949
Type: Continuation Books
On This Page...
Oct. 8th Sat (cont.)
A spontaneous cheer went up, inspired no doubt by the sheer drama of it all. The officer smiled and saluted then got back into the 'copter and with a revving up of the motor it rose slowly upwards making another thunderous noise before changing direction and heading off west. All three bands started up a dramatic refrain and trumpets sounded while the searchlight's beam followed the two girls making their way towards us, and what an exotic looking female the younger one was with her dark complexion, dark eyes and bright red Carmen-like dress flowing all round her slim body.
There was a sudden silence as the music ceased. One of the 'courtiers' descended the front steps and joined us. He pointed to the first girl.
"Miss James," he said in a voice with a Welsh tinge to it, and indicating the second girl who stood shyly next to her companion, he announced
"And this young lady is ... Miss Faa."
Philip suddenly made us all jump when he yelled out, and then ran over to kiss the second girl before putting a proprietary arm around her shoulders.
This was a day of surprises.
Of all persons, it was the young gypsy girl the kids met up in Scotland and with whom Philip had been corresponding. Kiki gave a screech when she recognized the unexpected visitor. Flying straight to the girl's shoulder she started rubbing her head up against Tassie's cheek. Jack, Dinah, and Lucy-Ann rushed to welcome the newcomer as the string quartet began playing a soft romantic melody. The searchlights faded and Tassie faced a barrage of questions while the crowd, realizing this was a personal welcome, smiled and nodded to the newcomers before drifting off and pairing up to dance.
"Serenade for Strings," Allie whispered, coming to my side and putting her arms around my waist.
"What was that?"
"Op.3, No.5 ... Haydn."
"Allie, darling, it's the girl from Glenfinnan. How did she get here?"
"By helicopter," said Allie, accepting a glass from a passing waiter and taking a sip of sparkling wine.
"You know what I mean. By the way, how many of those have you had?"
"Two! Bill, I think Philip knows all there is to know."
The two visitors were almost dragged over to meet us and we welcomed them enthusiastically.
"O.K, Let's have the guff," Philip.
Everyone gazed at him and just as he spoke, the courtier standing nearby interrupted -
"The young lady's presence is the result of a written request made to the office."
I was seeing a glimmer of light now, and I think Allie was cottoning on too.
Philip explained. "The requests were all secret. I asked for Tassie, and here she is."
"She just dropped in on us," said Jack to everyone's amusement.
Tassie faced us, and what a change there was in her. From a shy, almost scrawny little waif she'd filled out and been transformed into a beautiful, exotic looking creature, still with the slightly shy look about her - but that simply enhanced her features in a kind of 'appealing' sense; here was an innocent young maiden.
"Jack and Lucy-Ann asked for their uncle, Dinah couldn't think of anyone, and I asked for Tassie," Philip went on. "Didn't know how to get hold of her but we were assured that anyone we asked for would be found and brought here."
He gave Tassie a sudden hug as he spoke and she flashed us all a smile showing her even white teeth.
"I just put down that she'd probably be at Glenfinnan didn't even know her address although I should have. After all we were up that way."
"I know what it is," said Dinah suddenly, " ... but of course no one knew who was mentioned in the request notes."
"That's right." Philip answered. "I put down that she was either at Glenfinnan, or St. Clare's in Porthcawl."
Tassie spoke suddenly in a clear voice with the slightest of accents that hinted at her Romany background.
"I was home for the holidays."
She turned to the girl standing next to her who seemed quite amused at all the interest. She looked a responsible young lady with her hair pinned up, a sun-tan ("Just returned from Barbados"), and a pleasant looking face. I could see her as a Captain of Games and an Academic Success in whatever path she chose to follow.
"This is Christine James," Tassie said, " ... and she's been my monitor ever since I was enrolled."
I remembered the meeting I'd attended when it came to deciding on a school for young Tassie. Several were recommended but one college had stood out and it seems to have been a wise choice. The girl now had tons more confidence in herself if one could judge that by her ability to stand amongst us with so much confidence, in a place quite foreign to her former surroundings, let alone having the nerve to get into a helicopter and allow herself to be flown above the meadows and rooftops of Britain to be landed in the middle of a banquet. I think her monitor has a lot to do with Tassie's acceptance of the invitation. A close friend can often tip the confidence quotient quite remarkably, and it certainly is 'remarkable' in Tassie's case. I was glad I'd gone along with the Ministry's recommendation.
Tassie and her monitor kept on answering questions and it turned out that after an order had come through from 'High Places,' a naval helicopter due to be sent South had been diverted to Fort William where Tassie had been taken by her father. It was all approved once her parents knew that her class monitor would accompany the girl. She'd had been collected from the station together with Christine who had arrived from Glasgow by car, and they had been whisked off to Reg Yarmouth's hideaway. Apparently the Department thought it was O.K. because of the contribution Tassie had made to the justice tribunals that started up after the war.
Quite right too.
Reg and his wife materialized just then to welcome the visitors - they'd known all about it of course but having to be in London earlier, permission had been given for a housekeeper to supervise the two girls until they were collected and flown down. Christine and Tassie have been booked into a hotel and will return by train on Monday. What an experience for the 'Wild Flower.' I think her companion is probably more used to such occasions but I have to admit, just seeing the gypsy girl standing there and even being able to converse with them says a lot for the institution she's attending. The young set departed excitedly with Tassie and her monitor accompanying them to take part in whatever they had in mind for whiling away the time. I watched them go and noticed, once again, the power of Philip's Magical Attraction Tassie kept looking up at him as if to make doubly sure he was still with her.
The guests were once again mingling after the unexpected interruption. The bands were moving from spot to spot and to complete the surrealism, a harvest moon had floated up over the grounds shedding its light on the gardens and trees. Maybe it wasn't a 'harvest moon' seeing the equinox has passed but it was certainly the biggest I'd ever seen. Reg happened to walk by with his wife just then, each with a glass in one hand and what looked like an oyster roll in the other.
'Not the biggest I've seen," Reg informed Allie and myself there was a time in the Andes." He went on for a few minutes telling us of a study in which he'd taken part during a South American posting.
"A far cry from the Scottish Highlands," I thought aloud.
"Indeed. Heartiest congratulations to you both Bill, Allie ... and make sure you visit us if you're ever within a hundred miles or so."
"We will of course," I assured him. "Allie, Reg knows how to entertain he's a professional. Been to school!"
Allie laughed. She seems to like all my friends, and I like hers, so I think we're doing all right.
Reg and Audrey moved on to join Pete and the others who were still imbibing near the bar. Andrew and Beatrice had split once again and were chatting with guests. Allie went to have a word with Polly who had joined the Evans' s. Later on, as there were so many people wanting to speak with my beautiful wife, I thought I'd slip away for a quick check on the kids, so I strolled over to where I'd last seen them.
I found the gang easily enough when a voice squawked out from a beyond some bushes.
"Oh, I say. Oh I say. Shut the door. Party Time. Pick up sticks."
I rounded a bush and there they all were sitting about on benches outside the summerhouse and deep in conversation about family, friends, love affairs, school, and all the rest that's of interest to the present generation. The smaller guests had been taken away earlier by staff into the conservatory where there was a screening of some 8mm Disney shorts.
Spotting me, Jack, who was sitting with Louisa, seized the opportunity to introduce me for the benefit of those who might not know his 'father.'
"Detective Superintendent Cunningham" he announced proudly to his friends. "Bill was with us on those adventures you asked about Al, and he's saved our bacon a few times haven't you ... Dad?"
Like his sister, I think he'd been dying to say 'Dad' again after all these years. I recognized Al as Matt's lad, and thought Jack's statement should be balanced because the children had also rescued a few people before today, including my good self.
"Jack and the others have also saved me from destruction," I said and that initiated a question and answer session as to where and when.
They all seemed quite proud of their costumes - it made them stand out from the other guests and young people like to 'stand out.' Lucy-Ann told me later that they'd held an impromptu poll to decide who was wearing the best outfits and our lot together with Raymond and Beryl had topped the list. Tassie also got a high placing but that may have been due more to her exotically beautiful face that complimented the figure-hugging dress she wore. One or two of the crowd had actually thought she was a real gypsy Princess.
Philip was sitting with his arm round her of course and the rest who'd paired off, where applicable, listened as Jack continued relating a hair-raising experience that he and the others had endured.
" ... I bolted them in and they tried to shoot their way out!"
A voice asked. "Nazis?"
"Well they had connections," said Jack, "... and being in the part where our beds were, we had to camp down in the cave of stars."
One or two of the girls clasped their hands and sighed, while the lads listened intently not wanting to miss one single detail. When Jack had finished, the Courtenay's daughter Beryl, spoke.
"Tell us how you met the gypsy princess, Phil."
Everyone laughed, including Tassie.
I've always thought of Beryl as fourteen going on twenty-seven because of her creative, no expenses spared clothes. (Added by Allie - she was wearing a full-length pink frock covered in black floral designs with pink and white tulle arranged round her waist and red satin on top of that. She also sported a pink, black-fringed wide brimmed hat and a pink necklace round her neck). Blonde hair cascading round her shoulders put her beyond teen-age, and one might think she was interested only in top-knots and tassels but being Hugh's daughter, I know that's not the case. Beryl also enjoys pony riding, and contributes a lot of her time to the Junior Red Cross. She was paired up with Raymond, the Carrington's other son.
"Tassie's been at 'finishing school' having her corners rubbed off," said Philip looking at his partner who wasn't sure if she wanted still more attention.
"Ah, That's right!" squawked Kiki flapping her wings and flying up to the branch of a tree.
There were plenty of laughs at that, especially from the Mannering and Trent team. How Kiki can remember something like that from the distant past when referring to someone still baffles us. Christine patted Tassie's arm and said she only had to listen to Philip and not say anything. It appears that if she has someone nearby whom she trusts, Tassie's able to weather attention, and right at that moment she had two - plus another three, plus Kiki so she was fairly well catered to.
Philip related how they'd discovered spies in an old castle and he also described Tassie's part in the adventure. Several of the audience looked at one another with disbelief and one lad voiced his as could be expected but he was shouted down by others who knew more than he did.
"I've got the Telegraph cuttings," yelled Jeremy who was sitting next to Dinah and when several others affirmed his statement, and I had been called in to give an adult's testimony, the interjector fell silent and listened agog.
Philip went on relating details of a thunder and lightning storm up in the hills overlooking Loch Shiel up in Scotland and he was assisted by Dinah and also Jack who recounted his excruciating journey through a narrow tunnel with water flowing through it. Tassie's heroic act was well received and she sat there blushing, and then laughing as Jack got down on the ground and acted out his tortuous crawl. Suppose I should have told him to think of his suit but the earth was dry so he was able to brush off any dirt easily enough.
"What happened to the fox?" asked one of the females.
Philip had mentioned the pet he had in Scotland.
"Button!" Philip answered. "He was called Button and Tassie got him for me." All eyes turned to Tassie as spoke - it seemed to be her night.
"It went wild again," she said. "Philip had to leave him with me and the following spring, he moved out and started a family just a little way from our house."
"Did he ever visit you again?" Jennifer asked.
"Yes, he did," said Tassie with a sudden smile that lit up her gypsy features. "He'd call in every now and again for some extra food and he even took some back for his family. His wife was too scared to visit though."
The audience was enjoying the human-interest items that garnished the main themes.
Dinah was next and she got up to tell them all about how she and Lucy-Ann had found a secret way to a ledge behind an enormous waterfall. She's a good speaker and quite enthralled the audience as she described in detail their action on the slippery perch while two ruffians tried to reach them.
"Where's the river? I didn't know we had a big one like that?" This was from Simon, Neil's lad. He was wearing tight white knickerbockers and a royal blue jacket with what looked like a row of golden lions running down the sleeves. Very chic.
Everyone looked at Dinah who stopped, and tried to think of the name.
I couldn't help ... at least I knew, but it was one of those 'tip of the tongue' things.
Philip suddenly remembered.
There's no river of that name anywhere," said Jennifer sounding quite confident. She and her escort were engrossed as everyone else in the stories of far away adventures. Jennifer was sitting on the only chair available with her bridesmaid's dress carefully folded so as not to catch it on anything.
"It's in Austria."
"Austria?" Jennifer looked at Dinah in awe. "You lot get around."
"It's an extension of the Salzach," added a cultured voice.
Couldn't help smiling. Trust Jeremy to know.
"That's right," I informed them. "Couldn't think of it."
Someone yelled out for a contribution involving Lucy-Ann and she visibly quailed.
I signalled to Jack.
"Mention Wales," I said and Jack got up much against a rather embarrassed young lady's wishes. Clyde put his arm round Lucy-Ann and insisted she let her brother talk because, as he said -
"Most of us know about it anyway."
Deciding that made sense, Lucy-Ann subsided as Jack related how his sister had offered herself in place of Philip when he'd been ordered to try out some artificial wings that had been crafted by a madman.
"He wasn't completely mad because he knew more than most scientists," Philip interjected.
"Quite right," said Jack going on with a clear description of the scene that had taken place on top of a mountain in Wales.
" ... and we all could have been blown up."
The silence was pin-dropping as the watching audience gazed in horror.
"How come?" asked a voice.
"Because inside the mountain was a lab and they were experimenting with ..."
Jack looked at me.
"Atoms," I said. "They were manufacturing power Atomic Power."
Everyone had read about this new form of energy and interpreted the information strictly within their boundaries. Christine, suddenly spoke.
"Atomic power was in those bombs used on Japan near the end of the war."
They understood that all right and a few shivers went down the backs of the more faint-hearted.
Jeremy said something that sounded like 'Fissionable Uranium" but I was probably the only one who understood that, having gained a smattering of knowledge during an investigation of the mountain lab after the kids had become mixed up in the illegal operations near Capel Curig.
"Tell us about that gang you met who were printing money," shouted Louisa, and the others nodded expectantly. The Mannerings and the Trents were the centre of attention.
Philip got up and began relating an account of our nightmarish experience deep down in the mines of Lundy.
"Our Aunt Polly had a manservant ..."
Jeremy interrupted, eager to claim a connection with any anecdote that might send the audience aaaahhhing and oooohhhing.
"She's here we brought her over."
"Yep. I'll introduce you to her if you like," said Philip to a couple of girls hanging on to his every word. "She had a manservant who scared the wits out of us he'd wander about on the cliffs at nighttime. We were sleeping up in a tower overlooking the sea, and one night Jack and I snuck out to see what was happening after seeing some lights flashing.
Philip knows how to keep an audience's attention and there were a few there I think who couldn't fully believe some of the things they heard during the fifteen minutes or so I hung around but they had to of course because those who were more in the know kept confirming various points from their second hand knowledge. However, it was far more interesting for them to hear the facts direct from those who had taken part in the adventures.
It was nice to see them enjoying each other's company so much during a period of their lives when they were almost ready to go out and Face the World. I looked over to where Lucy-Ann was sitting and was astonished to see that Clyde had his arms round her with his head right up against her neck and just as I was thinking whether or not it was purely Lucy-Ann's business if she allowed her dance partner to act like a vampire, Clyde suddenly exclaimed -
All heads turned.
What are you talking about," Simon demanded.
"They're authentic. These are real emeralds. Old and terribly valuable!"
'You bet they're real,' I thought to myself. The girls had been early recipients of their promised share of the Grecian treasure.
Raymond had been indulging in his interest prior to taking up employment as a jeweller's apprentice next year. In his hand was a pocket lens he'd been using to examine the necklace round Lucy-Ann's neck.
"Never!" came the expected chorus of voices and when their owner spoke up and confirmed that her jewels were the genuine article, no one outside our family would believe her until three very confident members of the group backed up what Lucy-Ann had said. With Philip, Dinah, and Jack on her side and myself 'waiting in the wings,' the rest of the mob had to accept it.
"Where did you get it?" asked Beryl looking dumbfounded, and Lucy-Ann answered.
"Greece. It came from the treasure that a King Panlostes promised to a girl called Andra. The man she was fond of tried to intercept it by attacking a fleet of ships that were guarding the jewels but nothing was found, and the treasure was lost for hundreds of years."
" ... and we discovered it," said Jack not being able to stop himself cashing in on the excitement that his sister's statement had engendered.
Lucy-Ann was quite flattered at the attention she got when Clyde gazed at her admiringly and solemnly stated -
"We're sitting with a girl who wears jewels snatched from an ancient treasure cache!"
Not all that much had been reported about the find because there was a raft of formalities taking place in Athens at the moment, but a few facts had trickled out.
"I received a necklace of rubies," Dinah told the hushed gathering. "I didn't wear it today though because the jewels are being rethreaded."
I had a feeling these revelations would be the start of another half hour's cross-examination and I was right so I left them to it as they all gathered round for personal accounts of Jack, Lucy-Ann, Philip, and Dinah Trent/Mannering/Cunningham's adventure near the land of 'Twelve Olympians.'
I moved off and rejoined the guests who were drinking the ever-abundant wine and helping themselves to platters borne by waiters who expertly avoided running into arms that waved back and forth as various individuals described the events in their lives with style. The younger children tore around helping themselves to peanuts, potato crisps, cake, ιclairs, ice cream, and soft drinks. Polly, clasping a glass of wine, was moving from group to group asking if anyone had seen Bobby and Aaron the two pageboys. I was savouring every moment while passing from one bunch to another and as the temperature dropped slightly, some of the guests made their way inside to the large front room adjoining the conservatory.
I moved in as well and having established ourselves there were some involuntary toasts that went off very well and included just the right persons. Plenty of applause erupted and the best parts were when Allie managed to join me briefly before being called away by this guest or that. She seemed so full of energy despite the long day that had started when she insisted on helping Gwen and several other guests with the buffet preparations this morning. Charming all the guests, she never faltered, and every time I saw her passing by she was usually with someone, but that didn't stop us from exchanging looks that could be interpreted as 'Promissory Glances.'
I was with the Evans's when Polly came back. She'd found the pageboys in the sandpit and taken them away to wash their hands. Having toured the circuit initially, she was spending most of her time with Effans and his wife. I'd introduced them and it turns out she knew one of Eirwen's family years ago when she was a girl and as they were getting on so well together, I bowed out and went to see if anyone else needed the bridegroom's attention. Reg knew the 'boys' of course and after we'd refilled our glasses after running into each other, we joined them for a discussion on the latest news and views that also included information to be kept from the general public. Reg told everyone of the afternoon I, Jim, Bruce Campbell, and Geordie had visited him at his home in Scotland a few years ago and, with my help, gave an account of the police work involved during Operation Intense. Jim filled in some points as well. Ron appeared just as he finished and that was the signal for a few more stories. Waiters all dressed in their fine costumes kept on assaulting us with food and drinks and wedding cake, and the musicians kept at it with tunes that Allie said, "reflected the era beautifully."
Beatrice appeared to be everywhere at once and that made up for her husband's occasional absences. He'd been called inside a few times to speak on the telephone and had been involved in a few intimate chats with some of the guests. My respect grew even more for him because it would be difficult for someone of his status to be as social as he had been this day. He's fit and well but getting on, and it can take a considerable amount of energy to make each and every guest welcome on a continuing basis, which is exactly what he was doing. Curiously, he'd appear at my elbow almost every time I felt like asking something about the arrangements or perhaps wanting to have him join in on a conversation, especially with Pete, Matt, and the rest of the boys.
At about 19:30 the moon was beaming its light all over the estate and Allie happened to accost me in the passageway just as were entering the conservatory to join the guests there.
"Let's see how the kids are doing," she said.
I was ready to go anywhere with my new wife and nodding to her suggestion, we went out into the cool night air towards a raised patch of lawn surrounded by bushes and trees from where we could hear sweet violin and cello music that, according to Allie, was a well presented version of an eighteenth century ditty 'The Lass of Richmond Hill.' We approached and were treated to a wonderful sight. A tableau picture of a lad and lass dancing to a tune that was emanating from a six-piece musical ensemble. The wigged heads concentrated on the scores in front of them and the youngsters were taking it in turns to perform polkas, reels, Irish Jigs, Celtic folk dances, and as their cues arrived the couples would march out. The boys, with their arms around the girls, pirouetted and wheeled as if they'd been dancing all their lives. We spotted Tassie snuggled up against Philip and anyone could tell she was in the 7th Heaven of her life. I was glad she was doing her best to tear herself away from the lonely environment she had led up in the Highlands and was now applying herself to gain the best of both worlds. The present with its benefits and instabilities, and the more steady but peaceful one, that would allow her to roam unfettered amongst her beloved hills and valleys.
Jack came on the 'stage' with Louisa and they suddenly changed the pace by clasping each other and gliding slowly around to the tune of pipes and a recorder.
Allie and I were entranced by the performance. She whispered close up to my ear -
"Cliffs of Dooneen."
"Wouldn't I love a photograph," I whispered back as we stood there taking in the scene.
I felt a nudge at my elbow, and there was Andrew standing beside me. It turned out he'd also felt like a break and had the same idea as us.
"You'd like a photograph, and so would I."
"You couldn't. Not in this light," I said.
"Don't you believe it!"
He signalled to an aide and spoke a few words. ABC always has an aide within reach and out here, as he was away from the relative safety of the Hall, he probably had a bodyguard or two handy. Looking towards some bushes a little further away my speculation was confirmed when I noticed a slight movement in the shrubbery. The aide disappeared and a few minutes later, he returned with the photographer who was lugging his camera and tripod. He began setting it up and I watched as he leaned over and focussed the lens.
"How can he do it," I asked holding Allie close.
ABC took the cigar out of his mouth.
"Eastman Company they've been developing technical items for naval surveillance operations and amongst them is a recent breakthrough in sensitometers. He motioned towards the photographer - our photographic gentleman is from the Department and happens to have been involved with the latest and greatest. Did you know, there are film emulsions capable of capturing a colour photograph taken by the light of a match?"
I knew that my own department had some pretty fast films but this made us look positively out of date.
"Still experimental, but it works," Andrew said, putting his cigar back in and puffing away for a few seconds. "It was actually one of the naval architects who put me on to the developers and as we had the facilities onboard with guaranteed privacy way out there on the ocean, I began investigating."
My relative is a man of many facets. I went over and touched the photographer's arm.
"Could you possibly get a shot of the next couple when it's their turn they're right by the musicians."
He hunched over his camera waiting for the exact moment.
It came. Philip led Tassie out onto the patch of green and stepped up the pace considerably by clasping and twirling her around, personifying the thought 'Danced by the light of the Moon.' We stood there admiring the scene that every now and again showed them silhouetted against the great yellow sphere that floated in the sky behind them.
"What's this one?" I whispered to Allie for an excuse to get closer again. She turned and looked up at me.
"Oh, these gorgeous eyes, dark and glorious eyes. Burn-with-passion eyes, how you hypnotize! It's a song with Romany connections a sped up version of Dark Eyes."
"Suits Tassie to a T."
I was glad to see Jack, Philip and Dinah clearly visible and facing the photographer. Kiki flew up and circled the dancers just as they were finishing and I wondered if the camera's eye had snapped her as well. Andrew had once again disappeared to 'mingle' and I felt indebted to him for the record I knew we would receive of this fascinating scene with the children standing around looking so happy.
It was about time to go inside. The musicians stood up to change their location as they'd been doing all evening. Allie and I joined in with the youngsters as they cheered and voted Philip and Tassie the dance winners although there were no prizes. Tassie told us that she had been top of her dancing class and I could understand why after the tales I've heard of her suppleness and gymnastic abilities. I think she outshone Philip but I wouldn't tell him that of course. Christine, who had also taken part in the dancing, said Tassie had changed enormously from when she first entered the college.
"They like to hone in on any latent skills the girls have," she told us. "Upon entry all the pupils take part in a written exploratory test to mark out their proclivities."
Tassie had been helped with her test and enough had been gained to map out a programme suited to her talents. There was laughter when Allie told everyone of the time she had stripped Tassie and taken to her with a bar of carbolic soap. The young girl had received a jolly good scrubbing in an old tin bath. (cf: Mid 1945 entries).
Tassie's eyes lit up. "I got a dress out of it, didn't I?"
Yes, she had. The kids told me about it once. Allie suggested they all to hurry back into the warmth of the Hall but no encouragement was needed and, as one, they made off to join the other guests. The musicians and the cameraman had also disappeared, leaving Allie and I alone. I grabbed her arm.
"Come with me."
Making our way through the gardens I led her towards the hall where coloured lights had sprung up to decorate the front area and tastefully placed lamps illuminated the shrubbery. Faces could be seen in the conservatory windows where a 'Second Front' had been opened up. Waiters still moved around endlessly with drinks and goodies while two of the string quartets could be heard playing music from times long gone.
The moon shone down brightly as I escorted Allie to the fountain and placed her against it. Dropping to one knee I took her hand.''
"Allie. Would you marry me?"
She started, then, looking down at me she smiled.
"Bill. This is so sudden!"
"29th? Oh, the 29th. Bill you had me confused. Of course I remember ... now what did I say?"
"You've forgotten already?"
"What was it?"
"You already have the answer."
"And the answer is?"
"Bill, darling - with all my heart."
We clasped each other hard up against the side of the fountain like a couple of stars in a movie finale.
"May I kiss the bride?"
"I don't know," said Allie, looking shy all of a sudden.
"You've no choice!"
I kissed her passionately and she gasped.
"I think you've bruised my lips."
"That can be fixed."
"I'll kiss them better."
She laughed as I grabbed hold of her once more and as we strained against each other, a light mist of water floated down upon us, dampening our clothes.
"Whew! I needed that."
It appeared we both did, and linking hands, we left the fountain and walked up the front steps of the Hall to resume our duties.
Notes gleaned from various sources and retained as part of the collection:
News Update October10th, 1949: At 23:52 on October 8th an incident occurred at Gosfield Hall. Two cat burglars (yet unnamed) opened a top window located on the northern side but were prevented from entering by members of the security staff who abseiled from the roof, captured them, and lowered the offenders to the ground. Three local constables who had just arrived to begin their shift entered the grounds to assist but the intruders had already been efficiently subdued and handcuffed. With the help of other police personnel who were guests at the Hall, the burglars were transported to the Central Station. There is speculation as to how they managed to enter the grounds while the entrance and walls were being patrolled due to a celebration that was taking place with V.I.P's. Sergeant Victor Edwards has issued a statement defending the Constabulary in which he makes note of the fact that the British Police have been pursuing the captives for just over seven years without any success whatsoever, short of obtaining fingerprints. The area affected by the miscreants encompasses Peterborough, Hastings, Canterbury, Ipswich, and other centres that stretch to the outskirts of Sheffield. Their operations have been the subject of three seminars with five of the eastern precincts collaborating in one of the largest hunts for such criminals in modern times. The men possess an almost supernatural ability to make their way past police and private security guards, and an enquiry as to their methods will be held - the fruits of which will be published for distribution to all police forces. One aspect of their modus operandi has been to enter large homes whilst the occupants are still up and preferably entertaining, with the upstairs rooms unattended. When asked how they were apprehended, Sergeant Edwards would reveal only that private staff belonging to Viscount Cunningham, the present occupant of the Hall, made the capture. No more was forthcoming. The grateful thanks of the Police and, no doubt, several hundred good citizens will be passed on to those involved. A further statement will be issued when formalities have been completed. The operation went mainly unnoticed by the remaining guests as it took place on the other side of the Hall, away from any activity. The extra personnel who assisted with the capture were Detectives Matthew Wootton, Peter Croft, and James Gordon. Detective Inspector Cunningham who was also there celebrating his wedding was not informed until the following day. Upon hearing about the incident, his response was - "If only they'd known whose place it was they tried to enter!"
Ron Banks was a Communications Officer employed briefly by the British Police from 1944 to 1945. His code-name was 'Y2.'
Mr. Donnington whose annual leave was pending when the honeymoon took place, was offered accommodation at Overton after he and his partner volunteered to take care of the Cunninghams' children in the absence of their parents.
One or two enquiries have been fielded regarding two unrelated offspring belonging to the recently married persons. They are in the process of being legally adopted.
The holiday venue was kept a secret until after the wedded couple returned. Apart from Viscount Cunningham and his wife, no one else knew of the location in due deference to a personal request. The children tried very hard, and sometimes very innovatively, to 'crack' the secret, but were unsuccessful.
The honeymoon took place in the Glens of Antrim, followed by a flight to the Serranνa de la Costa mountain range where Det. Cunningham and his bride stayed for one week in a cabin owned by the Viscount.
An additional note was attached to this entry shortly after it was compiled because the tribunal recognized there was a connection:
October 9th, 1949: The Harwich and D.M.M Standard reports the overnight appearance of a yacht moored off the coast near Dovercourt. Its presence has stirred the locals. One resident described it as "Sleek, pure white, and so low slung that it resembles a miniature submarine." Mr. Gaetano Masclarelli, when returning from a fishing expedition, altered his course to inspect the craft but thought better of it when three uniformed men who resembled 'naval commandos,' waved him off. One of them held what looked like a "walkie talkie" with a "tall thing" sticking out of it. There was no hostility but discretion was thought the better part of valour and Mr. Masciarelli kept well away. A Boat Club spokesman is of the opinion that the yacht would probably have been constructed in Hamburg. The Police have offered no comment, and a request to the Harbour Master for information has yet to be acted upon.