ABOVE: Vespa Spare Parts
Tawell took a moment to register that the pause was for his benefit. He nodded his consent.
‘Here is what I propose. You will sell me some furniture, Robert, that you’ve brought from England of late, and donate the proceeds to Mr Tawell here. Of course, you will be compensated.’
Robert knew that Fraser was good for the arrangement, though Mary wouldn’t be happy. He wondered how many of his newly acquired items would be left at the end of this venture – the colony, after all, was awash with booze. He nodded his agreement.
‘Good then!’ Fraser exclaimed, rising, the others hastily following. ‘No, no, gentlemen, let me go to my desk,’ he motioned them to resume their seats, then sat himself at a writing desk.
‘I can possibly ease our path a little. I happen to know the Captain of the Castle Dounie, so a small missive from me seeking his assistance,’ he said, sporadically, concentrating on his writing as he spoke, ‘may help garner his support.’
He rose, folding the note, smiling as he handed it to Tawell, who rose again.
‘Be about your business, Mr Tawell, we’ll make a push for civilization in this country yet!’
The two shook hands, then Tawell shook with McInnes.
‘Let me show you out, Mr Tawell, and then Robert and I must make our separate plans.’
Tawell nodded his farewell, ‘Mr McInnes.’
‘Mr Tawell,’ Robert reciprocated.
‘Now Robert,’ William said on his return, ‘First of all, you’ll need to tell Mary to expect my men and I to come calling to pick up the furniture, but tell her that she must oversee the matter while you attend to other duties. Then come and see me at Campbell’s bank.
‘On the way, though, stick your head in at Ryan’s Place. We need your story to halfway believable after all. Tell him you’ve seen the light, you know the kinds of things to say…’
‘Aye,’ Robert said.
‘Then you’ll need to come to me to take the money to Tawell, who should have his men ready.’
‘Then come back and help with the furniture.’
‘No, not quite yet,’ William said, moving to his desk again. ‘What I’d have you do then is pay a visit on your friend the Surgeon up at the hospital. You’ll need a cart and some strong men yourself, I’ll write another note to Captain Fraser.’
William didn’t look up or stop from his writing. Eventually he folded the note and handed it to Robert.
‘Yes, cousin, coincidentally enough,’ he said as he turned back to his desk.
‘Now, you’ll have to tell the Surgeon about what’s going on, but only the part you and Tawell are playing of course. Once the Rocks folk realise what’s happening they’ll head straight up there to pinch his medical alcohol, morons that they are.
‘Tell the Surgeon that, having caught wind of what ‘s going on, I’ve become concerned for the welfare of the hospital, that I’ve secured some storage space down at Campbell’s Cove, and that in the interests of the community I wish to take his stores and his person under my protection,’ he handed Robert another note. ‘This gives my guarantee to cover all expenses.’
‘And if that doesn’t work?’
‘Be… convincing, Robert. He mustn’t warn the Governor. Remember, ‘spare no expense’.’
Robert nodded his understanding.
‘The passage of the cart must be as inconspicuous as possible. Captain Fraser’s men will guard the good doctor once they get to the docks.
‘Come and see me here after all that’s done, to help unload the furniture, if you like, we’ll see where we stand.’
Robert nodded, and William saw him out.