Tompkins thumped his open palm with his fist in frustration. He looked around the room at the elegant chenille with embroidered damask pattern curtains and the paintings on the walls and realised his friend would never see these possessions again. They’d be passed on within the family, just as they had been passed to Dapper Dan over 20 years ago.
“When did Dr. Black arrive?” asked Tompkins after looking in the ledger.
“He just missed Mr. Steeple and Rev Green,” replied Selkirk.
“Was he looking for them?” asked Tompkins.
“No, Mr. Tompkins, Dr. Black came to see Mr. Dan about going to Deauville and was asking about his plans for the next few days.”
“Was he now? Well that’s jolly interesting and no mistake.” Tompkins looked down at his brogues and wondered why Dr. Black would be so interested in Dapper Dan’s plans.
“Do you know what Dan said to Dr. Black about the next few days?”
“I don’t sir, but I know Mr. Dan’s diary and he didn’t have any plans to leave the country and he had no intention of going to Scotland.”
“Yet, there he is in Scotland, so what happened, Selkirk, how did he end up on Lewis? Who would have lured him there, do you reckon?”
“I am sure he was killed here, Mr. Tompkins, and then taken to Scotland. By ‘here’ I don’t mean in this house, but in London, or close to London. There’s no way Mr. Dan would have allowed himself to be taken prisoner and shuttled off to another part of the country. He’d have put up a fight, I am sure.”
“And I am sure you are correct, Selkirk, so the question is how did they get ahold of him and spirit him away?”
“I have told my side of the story many times, Mr. Tompkins,” replied Selkirk, who for the first time in the whole of the visit seemed to just sag a little at the shoulders, as though the full realisation of what had happened was dawning on him.