Then our family house and the last remnants of our lovely village and all working kitchen staff in the castle finally and quickly departed. My father, still grieving my dead mother, and being one of the last finally had to leave. And taking with him that prized canvas bag that he had kept hidden away that had once belonged to dear brother Jerome was soon gone. And I was fortunate to find work as a cabin boy on a ship in Hamburg sailing soon for Rio.
He paused drawing breath but looking now noticeably fatigued. Karen then enquired with concern about his noticeable health. Noticing as well those docile sheep were stretched around him and all peacefully sleeping which seemed unusual at this time of day: “What happened to your dear father?” asked Carin.
“Well, he journeyed to Dresden and eventually opened an apothecary establishment. He later married my mother and they had a family of five children, I being the youngest. He then personally pioneered and introduced many herbal medicines that were very popular and successful, and later became a wealthy shopkeeper it seemed when he died at the age of one hundred.”
“Of the final fate of lady Louise I only heard that she departed Germany perhaps for England or Scotland on a provided schooner forever. A remarkable woman it seemed. And now I too must depart from your good selves. Thank you both for listening to an old man reminiscing you have been very kind.”
He sat back and patted his dog’s head causing the animal to cautiously open his eyes and look suspiciously all around him.
He then took a deep breath and stiffly arose from his chair. The sun had deserted the sky leaving a mist arriving into the bay Karen noticed and it was probably time for her and Carin to go return to the hospital for dinner.
He then bowed to both Karen and the countess and firmly walked away through the field followed by all the docile flock of sheep and his ever-faithful dog.
Karen turned to Carin and raised her eyebrows, both being still spellbound at the tale he had related with such accuracy for a man of his age. But to their surprise when they both quickly turned back to watch him depart and offer a friendly wave, he was nowhere to be seen. He had somehow simply vanished. And what made the situation really bizarre, noticed Carin, was that around the chair that he had recently vacated, the grass had not been trampled down by the pressure of all the animals’ cloven hooves or by his heavy work boots. Nor were there any sheep’s numerous droppings seen on the unspoiled grass verges. They both looked at each other in bewilderment. It was all very bizarre, remembered Karen even many years later in Munich, when she thought about it, which was often especially on winter nights for some strange reason or before the joy of Christmas.
A sudden unexpected downpour then forced the fleeing party to quickly seek shelter in the car and awaken the sleeping Otto. They then returned to the hospital. Carin it seemed had earlier been feeling rather unwell and excused herself asking for a tray to be sent up to her room. Gertrude who had become close to Carin over the last few months agreed to perform this service. Then sweetly enquired if she could remain and keep Carin company until sleep arrived for the countess. Karen naturally agreed, but she would also look in herself before retiring early to bed for the night.
Only the next day did she learn from Carin at breakfast that she had placed a telephone call to Hermann. And then enquired of him that if possible, could he arrange to come and collect them both the following day. The hospital and its regime were now depressing her she admitted to Hermann and she wanted to leave to return to Munich and sleep in her own bed. Karen was rather surprised when she learned about this sudden decision of her friend. They usually discussed everything together that related to their future arrangements, travel or pleasure. But she decided not to comment, at least not this time, only enquiring how Hermann was managing. And what was happening in the so-called ‘bear pit of politics’ as he laughingly liked to refer to the carnage he and the party had caused in the Reichstag. And hoping if possible to be used for his own political advantage to now be fully exploited. And for the party of course he quickly added with a sly smile.
Karen did not share the evening meal with her friend Carin. She was still feeling indisposed herself. Then later she herself placed a phone call to Munich. Excitedly informing Walter about the intriguing tale of the castle and the important role that brother Jerome had performed in its daily life and of course that crypt and the creepy house on the cliff. And how it had somehow captured her interest and Carin’s. She rather hoped, she informed him, that when the party came to power Heinrich might arrange a private archaeological excavation to confirm or deny the burial place of the dear brother and the much-lamented duke on the site. But she really was only interested in brother Jerome’s final resting place, although she did not mention this to Walter.
“Well I will certainly ask him Karen but he has rather grand plans you know to search for Atlantis anyway…wherever that might be.” Walter also wondered where this archaeological interest of Karen’s had come from.
“It is supposed to be a lost landlocked continent” she crooned mysteriously. “Somewhere of course naturally in the Atlantic. And many are still hoping for it yet to be discovered” she said slowly, knowing fully the legend and what had supposedly happened that perhaps brought its total watery extinction about forever.
“So where is it? he was still slightly confused and not really interested in probing its dubious historical accuracy. He was more interested in the future than the past.
“Well supposedly darling if indeed it ever existed and I do believe it did, it is now apparently submerged in the grey Atlantic Ocean of course…and that’s why it’s named….Atlantis” she laughed, then after a few loving words she wished him a fond goodnight.
To be continued…….
(C) Copyright G. Patrick Battell
(All Rights Reserved)