more imaginative from an author of his caliber but it did present an opportunity
for me to advocate he leave the city. I
made the suggestion that a change of
scenery would revive his listless pen. Knowing York as well as I did I knew
he had hopes that the lady in question would in his absence realize
she couldn’t live without him. Call it manipulation if you will but I did not discourage this
pipe dream. He was an incorrigible romantic and though I pitied him, this
move out the city was not meant to indulge a weakness that could end his
It was a solution that would eliminate
distraction, present and future.
My cause was furthered by
conversation on the need for solitude and secrecy concerning his whereabouts.
York trusted me completely. I suppose he thought of me as a friend but the truth
is I thought of Percy of as an investment. His little dalliance with Madame
X had preyed heavily on my wallet and it was imperative I find him an affordable
refuge within the month. My doorman, of all people, approached me that very same
evening and out of the blue asked if I might be interested in a property his
brother-in-law was handling; Would you call it destiny, Mr. Ayers, or an coincidence? I contacted the offices of Dunn and Burton the next
morning. The property being offered
turned out to be the rural estate of a Mr. Phillip Johns.
recognized the name immediately as it had occupied the front
page of every
newspaper several years prior. "Phillips Johns, real estate tycoon found
dead. His wife Amelia committed into care at Meadows End Asylum." The
strange circumstances of John’s death and his wife's insanity were not
discussed at our meeting though the extreme isolation of its locale had been
emphasized to me. It might have discouraged other potential buyers but
frankly I did not regard the seclusion and dark history of the property as a
factor that might adversely influence my decision to have Shadow Publishing
purchase the property in
behalf. Quite the contrary it had all that he needed and at a price I felt was
an affordable risk.
The only drawback
in my opinion was the term rural would imply to Percy a cottage
with tree’s bordering well kept gardens. I knew he would expect there would
be a quaint little town within walking distance of shops, sidewalk café’s,
bookstores and interesting people with whom he could discuss interesting
thoughts. Nevertheless, it was out of his hands and I felt confident that
once he started writing again he'd appreciate I had acted in his best
interest.. The matter was settled and he left within the week.