back from seem' Peter Strong now. I'll take you there if you like." He no longer needed to raise his voice to be heard. "Again you come to my aid, Mr. Ellis. It is much appreciated." "I take it Lady Muriel got you to Faraday all safe and sound, sir?" Ellis moved forward, gently leading the way. "Yes, Lady Muriel did so with alacrity." Philip wondered how it came to be that her identity had not been immediately revealed by Ellis. "What news do you have for me, my man?" "You'll not find your horses here in town." He gestured down the way. "There weren't no room. I've had your cattle stowed down at The Wild Rose; they can stay there until nightfall." He would need to make further arrangements before the day's end. An inconvenience Philip would sort out once he had finished here.
"Sent young Sturgis to fetch your rig first thing. He'll be bringin' it to Strong's straightaway. There be the shop." Ellis gestured to the left. A man's rant rang out from the shop. "I've been waitin' for near-on a week, now!" Ellis led Philip inside, where he caught sight of the outraged patron and a leather-aproned man, clearly Peter Strong. "That's Matthew Tyndale," Ellis whispered as a casual introduction. "That be him right there. You blasted worm." Tyndale jabbed his large finger in their direction, pointing at Donny Ellis. "I heard what the two of you said. You can't just push my wagon aside 'cause some flush nob is havin' trouble gettin' to Town in time to measure his swelled head for his new hat!" Apparently news of Philip's disabled curricle had instigated the tirade. Subsequently his large cranium would be taking the brunt of the wrath-if not literally, then by earnest name-calling. "That's right, been here waitin', my horse standin' idle; costs to feed him." Tyndale gestured wildly with his right arm. "An' what about me?" He pounded his chest. "I ain't worked since I made my last deliverynear a fortnight ago. What'll I do without my wagon? I got to make a livin' !" "If you will excuse me, gentlemen." Philip interrupted before Strong could answer. "I believe there must be an amiable solution to our problem." No, Philip certainly could not in all good conscience insist the wheelwright repair his curricle before this good man's wagon. He also did not wish to remain for a fortnight waiting for the repair of his vehicle and inconvenience the Duke and his family with his unexpected presence.
He had to find an agreeable solution for all their difficulties. Normally this type of situation was not difficult to solve. He felt he had only bits and pieces of a puzzle that when placed together in the correct sequence would set things to right. Currently he felt inexplicably distracted. Somehow Philip needed to expedite the repair of his rig, find a solution to Mr. Tyndale's unemployment, and locate adequate lodging for his horses. From the east lawn Muriel could easily see Charlotte and Sir Hugh pass before the maze. Susan Wilbanks joined them only moments after starting on the tour of the grounds. Muriel had remained with Aunt Penny, who had donned a bonnet and busied herself directing the placement of tables and chairs. Fifteen minutes after Sir Hugh's arrival, Lord Arthur Masters and Lord Irving appeared with their pails of gooseberries. The two men soon joined the company of Charlotte's group on their way toward the conservatory. In another ten minutes, Sir Albert Stephenson, Mr. Chester Atwater, and Lord Paul Bancroft arrived, followed by Sir Nicholas. Muriel thought it looked as though Mr. Atwater's and Lord Paul's jaws, now merely darkened bruises after the altercation in the assembly, were healing nicely. The thin scratches they sported on the sides of their faces were new. Upon second inspection, she noted that all of them seemed to have been afflicted with similar types of marks.
Muriel watched the visitors progress from the conservatory to the parterre. "Sir Nicholas,"