Authors: Carl Leckey
Dedicated to all my family
Extra thanks to my Wife Rose for her
infinite patience editing my scribbling.
Extra thanks to my Kiwi front cover designer.
The Angels of Mons
Adam an illiterate adopted boy of sixteen joined the army during the Great War. He entered the Labour Corp a wartime unit consisting of mostly uneducated individuals similar to himself. Some of the tasks he had to perform disgust him but eventually he became a hardened soldier. Fortunately he befriended Sandy a stretcher bearer recovering from wounds. Sandy was an educated man a member of the non combatant corp. As their friendship grew he educated the lad until eventually Adam progressed to becoming a frontline ambulance driver. Adam fell in love with Denise a French girl when he transports wounded troops to a chateaux utilised by the British Army as a recovery hospital. Their romance meets many hurdles before he finally rescued her from the clutches of an evil Marquis. When the war ends Adam finds himself and his sweetheart in the company of Oscar the German soldier he unknowingly helped to escape from the British Military Police. The war ends to find them sharing a house in Le Havre France.
Angel on my shoulder.
The armistice is successful. Adam takes his first leave since joining up. Whilst wandering around the docks he spots his old comrade Sandy being shipped home with other wounded ex prisoners of war. His life takes a dramatic turn when he inherits property and a great deal of cash. Adam establishes several successful businesses in France with the assistance of his army mates.
Rejected by his fiancé he returns to England for his de-mobilisation where he discovers some startling evidence about his family. In his home town he has a short passionate affair with a childhood sweetheart. From rags to riches his life takes many turns. After a strange encounter with two beautiful ladies he is smuggled back into France. His illegal entry comes to haunt him later on when he becomes involved with military intelligence. Thanks to his loyal family and friends he manages to survive during a very dramatic period in his life. With the friendship and assistance of an international banker Adam’s various business enterprises flourish.
Book Three. Angelique.
Chapter twenty one
It takes us about two hours driving to reach the coast. Denise and I are as excited as two kids on a Sunday school outing. There is a surprise when we reach the hotel. Pompey Lill is already parked. Louise and Daisy are actually playing on the beach. Of course Denise without hesitation heads straight towards them, while I take our bags into the reception area. Marguerite greets me with the news that Louise has already arrived, accompanied by Daisy. She adds more unexpected information about the Priest. “Father Peter is here as well?” Her last declaration puzzles me, this is indeed strange. According to my last conversation with Billy just before I left Le Havre they were going to pick up a truck at the German border. She explains. “Father Peter arrived an hour ago. He travelled from the village by train and arrived here in a taxi. It’s lovely to see him. Anyway Adam we have plenty of rooms. I believe he is only staying overnight and Billy is due here later on, I don’t know when exactly, but he will be definitely here for the big meeting.” Mystified I muse. “Billy is to be here as well, I wonder what’s going on today.” Marguerite informs me. “By the way, Father Peter wants to see you urgently as soon as you arrive.” I reply. “This is all very strange. As far as I know Billy believes he is still at the village waiting there for him?” Marguerite drags me from my reverie when she informs me “I’ve no idea what’s going on. Father Peter evidently knew you would be here. Louise has telephoned Harry at the depot, he is arranging for Billy to contact you at the hotel when he calls at the depot later. I understand Father Peter is travelling back with him in the truck.”
“This is all a bit confusing Marguerite where is Peter? I best sort it out right away. May I leave the bags here?”
She replies. “Yes Adam. That’s no problem. Father Peter is waiting in the lounge.” She rings a bell and a page boy appears, she gives him orders regarding my luggage.
“My! This is very posh.” I remark as I head for the lounge. Marguerite smiles proudly and says. “We aim to please at the hotel OSCADA Sir.” Formally in a business manner she enquires. “Do you require coffee or tea Sir?” I laugh but I have to give her credit. “Send me a brew through my dear that will be very nice. What an absolutely splendid hotel! I shall have to recommend it to my associates.”
Father Peter is alone in the large room enjoying a cup of coffee. He greets me warmly when I enter. After we exchange the usual pleasantries, before I am able to broach the subject of his truck driving for Billy, and the wedding arrangements, Peter discloses the reason for the sudden visit. “Adam did you know the Marquise has been taken ill?” I reply “Louise told me on her last visit she had heard he suffered a stroke. I can’t say I’m sorry. I feel no sympathy for that evil man.”
“It was more serious than that Adam. Although he was basically a bad man we have to learn to forgive. That is the reason I am here. Now what I am about to reveal to you I can assure you no one else is privy to this information. Not even Louise knows what I am about to tell you.”
His statement throws me into confusion. “Is it something about Denise Peter?” He replies reassuringly. “Not directly but it could have repercussions. Let me outline the details and you will understand my dilemma. The Marquis did have a heart attack and a very serious one. I was approached by his personal doctor with a message to say the Marquis has invited me to visit him urgently. Even though I swore not to enter the chateau again, when the request came, I could not refuse. It could have been his last confession and I would have administered absolution to him. Well! To my astonishment, it was not his confession he wanted me to hear.
If it had been I would not be able to disclose to you what he informed me.
I believe he just wanted to clear matters up and cause more chaos on his way to the afterlife. He wasn’t a man to confess as he believed he had done no wrong. Although I have a feeling he knew the end was near despite his doctors assurances he would recover. Now brace yourself Adam, I still find this hard to comprehend myself and I have experienced all kinds of shocks in my chosen profession. There is no way to make this easier I am afraid. The old Marquis was Louise’s Father. His Son Raymond the Marquis discovered this after he had seduced Louise. Do you see the implications? He had made love to his Sister and she had become pregnant as a result.”
I am gob smacked at this revelation and find it hard to absorb what he has divulged. I question. “But I understand the young Marquis never married and has no legitimate heirs?” He replies. “That is correct he never married, to my knowledge Louise is his only blood relative.”
The enormity of his disclosure strikes me, I exclaim. “Bloody. Hell! Peter! That will make Louise a Marquise, or whatever the female version is won’t it? Oh! My! What about Denise and Yvette, are they also his children?” Peter replies. “I have papers and letters the Marquis permitted me to take away from the chateau to peruse before he died. They prove Louise’s birthright without a doubt. I don’t know about your Wife and her Sister. On the announcement of his death yesterday I was still in possession of the information. As yet I have not had the opportunity to study them in detail. Incidentally I have all the papers and letters with me. Adam, do you understand why I didn’t disclose this information to Louise without seeking your advice? She is so happy for the first time in her life. She loves Billy and they plan to marry soon. You and I are both aware she hates the chateau and all it stands for.” He pauses for a moment then adds. “Then there is her fiancé Billy? How will he feel about his Wife bearing the enormous responsibilities that go with the title?”
I admit to myself the situation has its funny side. If she accepts her birthright and they marry, would Billy become a Marquis? This triggers another thought. If my Mother accepts me as her child would I have the title of Lord Adam? Will two ex members of the Labour Corps considered by many as the lowest of the low become title holders? Where will it all end? The barmy class system is still up and running in France as well as Britain despite France suffering a revolution to dispense with it.
What a joke that would be if I was a lord? But as Mother’s title is only honorary it will never happen. I don’t think I would accept the title even if I was offered it.
Again I exclaim. “Bloody. Hell! Peter. Excuse my French or should I say English? Where do we go from here, who will handle the funeral? Who will sort out the estate? Are you certain there are no other relatives that might make a claim to the title and the estate? It’s a vast area the estate covers, I understand all the houses in the village and many of the surrounding farm businesses are part of the property?” Peter replies. “Yes; it is an extensive estate, and no, there are no other kinfolk entitled to inherit. In his own wicked way I believe the Marquis was laughing at the irony of the situation. That is why he involved me, a Priest he detested instead of his own lap dog Priest. He guessed the impossible position it would place me in. The girl he took advantage of then rejected was to become the owner and administrator of all she abhorred. And yes Adam, he even owns the village church and the house I live in. Isn’t it odd he was about to have me evicted from the manse and had persuaded the bishop to take away my role as parish Priest when he fell ill. Billy had recently offered me an alternative career as a driver. To be honest I was looking forward to the change.” I laugh cynically remarking. “Ha! So there is some justice left in the world eh? You will now be able to stay on as a Priest and keep your house.”
Peter replies. “Adam I would not wish ill on my worst enemy, you know that?
But as for being a full time Priest I have not decided yet. The decision rests with the Bishop, but ultimately with Louise if she accepts her inheritance. But whatever happens I am still going along with Bill to recover the truck because I have some unfinished business yet to complete.”
I reply with the standard answer I had been given on many occasions when it suited religious persons to cover their ignorance. I have always wanted to use it and the opportunity now arose. “God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.” Peter nods agreement he evidently doesn’t detect my cynicism. “You are so right my friend but what do we do now? I have prayed for guidance, but.” He throws his hands up in despair.
An idea comes to me. “Got it Peter your prayers have been answered. I have a colleague attending the meeting Gunter Cogan, in fact he is already here. He is a very experienced international lawyer, we will seek his advice. Until we do so I suggest we keep the news from Louise. In the meantime I will talk to Denise. For one so young she has a wise head on her shoulders, she will know how Louise will react. At least I hope she will know what to do. I haven’t a clue myself.”