One week later
Adelaide knocked at the door to Doctor Doyle's townhouse and smiled at Vera as the housekeeper opened the door and let her in.
"Constable Stratton, how nice to see you, again," Vera said as she took Adelaide's top coat and hung it on the rack near the door. "The Doctor is in his study," she finished and nodded down the hall.
"Any news," Adelaide asked in a whisper and Vera led the way down the hall.
"No," she replied with a sad shake to her head. "He's put on a brave face, but the children and I know there's little hope of Mrs Doyle coming home." Vera sniffed quietly before she knocked at the study door. "Constable Stratton is here, sir," she announced and Adelaide walked into the study.
Doyle glanced up from some papers on his desk as she walked over to the desk and sat in the chair in front of it. "I've missed seeing you at the station," she said with a small smile. "Chief Merring thinks you're out of his hair for good."
"I've just been … busy," he replied, absently as he glanced up at her then back at the file on his desk. "The Strand is ready to publish and I've got to get these last few chapters done."
Adelaide nodded and gave him the lie. She knew from talking to Houdini Doyle spent nearly everyday at the sanitorium. She took a small package wrapped in cotton wool from her pocket and put it on the corner of his desk. "I'm sorry it took so long, but I have Mrs Ellis' necklace and earrings." She patted the bundle on the desk. "I thought you'd want to be the one to return them to Mr Ellis."
Doyle picked up the package and nodded. "Thank you, Adelaide. I'll see August before I go out to … before I run some other errands. I can stop by the station if you'd care to come with me."
Adelaide stood from her chair. "I think he would much rather see you than the official police," she said as she walked to the door to the study and stopped. "If there is anything I can do for you -"
Doyle stood from his desk and met her at the door to the hallway. "Thank you, Adelaide. I'm fine. Really."
She frowned slightly but let the matter drop as he escorted her back to the front door.
Doyle knocked at the door to the Ellis townhouse and grabbed at his hat as a stray gust of wind blew down the street.
"Hello, William," Doyle greeted the butler as he answered the door. "I have some good news for August."
"Hello, sir," William replied and opened the door wide enough for Doyle to escape the blustery wind. "Mr Ellis is in his study," he finished as he took Doyle's top coat and hat.
"Thank you, William." Doyle walked down the short hall with its bare walls and entered the study. August Ellis was at his desk staring into the fire, a decanter of whiskey and a glass at his elbow. Arthur took the cotton wool bundle from his suit coat pocket and laid it in front of Ellis before he sat down in the chair across the desk.
"Scotland Yard asked me to return that to you, Ellis. It's one of the few items they were able to recover from the burglary ring and I'm relieved to tell you both the necklace and earrings are completely intact."
Ellis carefully unrolled the cotton and his hand shook slightly as he picked up the silver necklace, the diamond winked at him as it slowly spun back and forth on its chain. "She was always afraid to wear this, you know," August said in a low voice. "She didn't think it was quite the thing. She thought it was too heavy so she kept it locked away." He set the diamond twirling on its chain again. "She said she wanted it kept safe so she could give it to Emily when she turned sixteen." Ellis looked up at the portrait of his wife. "Now both of them are gone."
Doyle wasn't sure what to say. He lived at the edges of the grief Ellis inhabited but he didn't know what to do for the other man.
"Ellis, I am sorry, for Hazel, for what happened two years ago with Sullivan." Doyle stopped as Ellis looked over at him.
"Thank you for bringing it back. It's funny, I never even realised it was gone, but I'm glad you brought it back."
"If there's anything I can do," Doyle started to say and as Ellis shook his head. Arthur was struck by the irony of Adelaide saying the same thing to him only a few hours ago and saw his own stolid response in Ellis' head shake.
He stood and watched as Ellis spun the diamond in its chain once more. "I'll let myself out," he said softly and left the room and the house.
As he hailed a cab and gave the address for the sanitorium, he told himself he needed to talk to the constable and thank her for her friendship and support. He needed to take Harry's advice, and not be like Ellis.
Harry glanced at his watch as he left the hotel. He and Doyle had an unspoken agreement after that first night they spent reading the newspaper; he promised to give Doyle a few hours each day alone with Touie, if Doyle promised to eat dinner with Harry, either at the townhouse, the Metropole, or any restaurant Doyle wanted to name.
As he waited with the doorman for a cab to take him out to the sanatorium, he adjusted his gloves against the bitter wind and glanced up the street. He'd had a feeling for the past several days he was being watched or followed, but he never saw anyone out of the ordinary and chalked it up to worry about Doyle and Touie. Now as he looked around, he thought he saw a half-familiar face duck around the side of the hotel, but the cab arrived and he put it out of his mind.
He arrived at the hospital and made his way up to Touie's room, the nurses knew him now and several nodded and smiled as he walked up the stairs to the floor with Touie's room. He knocked softly and entered to see Doyle seated near the bed holding his wife's hand. Arthur looked up at Harry, nodded, and smiled as he, Harry, headed for the desk and his usual spot for their evening vigil.
He'd only been there for half an hour when he noticed a change in the woman in the bed. He looked up from his book and caught the surprised smile on Doyle's face as Touie took another deep breath and slowly opened her eyes.
"Arthur?" she whispered and Harry saw the tears in Doyle's eyes as he leant forward so his wife could see him.
"I'm right here," he answered, "I'll always be right here."
Touie took another, deeper, breath and slowly smiled. "Hello, my love," she whispered.
Doyle ducked his head and softly kissed his wife's fingers.
Harry quietly stood up and made his way to the door and out to the hall. He found the nearest nurse, told her what had happened and asked her to make sure Doctor Perlow and Doctor Biggs were informed. Then he left the hospital.
His first stop would be the townhouse to let Vera know Doyle had good news for the children. Then he headed to the station to tell Adelaide. He couldn't help the huge smile on his face as he left the sanitorium.
The spirit photographs described are some of the pictures taken by William Hope.
Thank you for reading episode two of my virtual season! Episode three is in the works and should be published soon. Feedback is always appreciated and helps feed the muse. Comments and/or favorites always welcome.