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In the Mayor's Parlour   By: (1863-1935)

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First Page:

IN THE MAYOR'S PARLOUR

By J. S. FLETCHER

JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD LIMITED

LONDON MCMXXII

SECOND EDITION

Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London .

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I THE MAYOR'S PARLOUR 1 II THE CAMBRIC HANDKERCHIEF 14 III THE TANNERY HOUSE 27 IV BULL'S SNUG 41 V SLEEPING FIRES 53 VI THE ANCIENT OFFICE OF CORONER 67 VII THE VOLUNTARY WITNESS 80 VIII MRS. SAUMAREZ 93 IX THE RIGHT TO INTERVENE 107 X THE CAT IN THE BAG 121 XI THE NINETEEN MINUTES' INTERVAL 132 XII CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE 143 XIII A WOMAN INTERVENES 153 XIV WHOSE VOICES? 164 XV THE SPECIAL EDITION 174 XVI THE CASTLE WALL 185 XVII IMPREGNABLE 196 XVIII LOOSE STRANDS 208 XIX BLACK SECRETS AND RED TAPE 221 XX THE FELL HAND 235 XXI CORRUPTION 246 XXII THE PARLOUR MAID 258 XXIII THE CONNECTING WALL 268 XXIV BEHIND THE PANEL 280 XXV THE EMPTY ROOM 291

IN THE MAYOR'S PARLOUR

CHAPTER I

THE MAYOR'S PARLOUR

Hathelsborough market place lies in the middle of the town a long, somewhat narrow parallelogram, enclosed on its longer side by old gabled houses; shut in on its western end by the massive bulk of the great parish church of St. Hathelswide, Virgin and Martyr, and at its eastern by the ancient walls and high roofs of its mediæval Moot Hall. The inner surface of this space is paved with cobble stones, worn smooth by centuries of usage: it is only of late years that the conservative spirit of the old borough has so far accommodated itself to modern requirements as to provide foot paths in front of the shops and houses. But there that same spirit has stopped; the utilitarian of to day would sweep away, as being serious hindrances to wheeled traffic, the two picturesque fifteenth century erections which stand in this market place; these, High Cross and Low Cross, one at the east end, in front of the Moot Hall, the other at the west, facing the chancel of the church, remain, to the delight of the archæologist, as instances of the fashion in which our forefathers built gathering places in the very midst of narrow thoroughfares.

Under the graceful cupola and the flying buttresses of High Cross the countryfolk still expose for sale on market days their butter and their eggs; around the base of the slender shaft called Low Cross they still offer their poultry and rabbits; on other than market days High Cross and Low Cross alike make central, open air clubs, for the patriarchs of the place, who there assemble in the lazy afternoons and still lazier eventides, to gossip over the latest items of local news; conscious that as they are doing so their ancestors have done for many a generation, and that old as they may be themselves, in their septuagenarian or octogenarian states, they are as infants in comparison with the age of the stones and bricks and timbers about them, grey and fragrant with the antiquity of at least three hundred years.

Of all this mass of venerable material, still sound and uncrumbled, the great tall towered church at one end of the market place, and the square, heavily fashioned Moot Hall at the other, go farthest back, through association, into the mists of the Middle Ages... Continue reading book >>




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