I was somewhat shaky after my encounter with the fiendish Calvin Hobbes, so with the help of the Professor, I made my way to the study and downed a dram of brandy. Miss Thompson saw to the cut on my forehead, proving that her dowdy exterior housed a most capable nurse.
"Who was that devil?" asked the Professor as he handed me a cup of tea.
"An old friend," I replied.
"He hardly seemed the friendly sort to me," sniffed the Professor. "Someone you’ve swindled at cards, perhaps?"
"On the contrary, I know him well. Or thought I did."
"Then what was the cause of that rumpus?"
"Would you believe a plate of pasta? But the details are far too ludicrous to recount. Besides, my...friend always insisted no blame could be attached to him," I said.
The Professor gave me a suspicious look, but let my comment pass. “It is far too dangerous for you here if a madman seeks your demise. He may be lurking in any alley you like, ready to spring forth and slide a dirk betwixt your ribs. Something must be done."
"Yes, I must make haste to London."
"So you are still resolved to discover what business Mr. Walker has for you?"
"Indeed I am, Professor, moreso, in fact, than I was." With that, I rose and made my way back to my room.
The floor was spattered with my blood and with the rain that had fallen when Hobbes had made his hasty exit. I frowned at the sight of my inherent mortality, but resolved that it should not be an omen for my coming voyage. London in all its splendor awaited.
Still, my mind continued to drift back to Hobbes. He would return. I knew it as I knew the sun, as I knew my own face. Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than lust. His quest for that unholy grail, vengeance, would bring him back to me as surely as the crusader gravitates towards Jerusalem.
But I would be ready. He would not catch me unawares again. I packed my things in the grim determination that, should Hobbes make another assault upon my person, I would deflect it with greatest alacrity. I might meet him a second time, but there would be no third.
I decided I would sleep on the coach. My excited demeanour would not allow me rest, so after my wardrobe had been carefully secured, I addressed letters to both Margaret and Joseph, informing them with the utmost humility that I apologised for the great haste in which I was leaving Stokington, but that the demands of business required my presence henceforth in London, and could not wait.
Giving these epistles to a servant, I made my fare-thee-wells to Miss Thompson and the Professor. As much as it pains me to admit, the old fellow had grown on me, and truly I knew then that I would miss his company in London. Then I mounted the carriage, and in the early morning gloom, I was off.
Glittering London awaits!
The Life, Times, and Misadventures of Dennis St. Michel, Viscount of Stokington, Soldier, Gambler, Diplomat, Scoundrel, Notorious Rakehell, and Lord of Menacing House, in his Own Words.