The Coglington Letters
Long steep stairs lead to the office Ellen was ushered into. The drizzly grey skies offered little light into the small room which was already dark with heavy furnishings. She turned as she heard the door close quietly behind her as the clerk slip out, she had meant to ask him who she was seeing. The letter asking her to attend the premises had simply stated from Mr’s. Barrett, Jones and Hackett solicitors.
“Ahh Miss Eleanor Elizabeth Coglington I presume, I’m Mr Barrett the senior partner here.”
“Good morning sir… That is my given name though I am normally called Ellen”.
Mr Barrett showed no signs of having listened as he bustled round the office and fitted into his desk. The gentleman was of portly stature with a kindly, if serious face. Somehow the office and he seem to merge into one, they had obviously been together a long time.
“Quite so, quite so. Now shall we get down to business? I’m sorry we meet under these circumstances but I always feel the best way forward is to move on and get the legal business sorted. You may or may not know that I was your Grandfathers solicitor of many years standing. He always was a very interesting client during his lifetime and proves to be no different in death. As executor to his last will and testament, I’m now tasked with the position of sorting out his estate”
Mr Barrett looked up to apprise Ellen with shrewd eyes. If he was looking for any signs of destress which he was not unaccustomed too on such occasions he saw none on the face of the young lady sitting primly before him. It was not that Ellen had not been fond of her Grandfather who took over her guardianship on the death of her parents but rather that she simply had not known him that well. His guardianship had mostly consisted of sending her to live with an assortment of Aunts and later on at various educational establishments.
“Now apart form a few smaller inheritances to various friends and acquaintances the bulk of the estate is left to you Miss Coglington. There is a proviso though, to gain this inheritance your grandfather has, well I know of no other way to describe it other than to say he’s set you a series of challenges to complete before you gain the inheritance. I cannot divulge what these challenges are as I was not given that information. What I was given was a series of letters and instructions. I am to give you the first letter and challenge now and then you will have twenty-four hours to decide if you wish to go along with your grandfather’s wishes.” He place his glasses glass side up on his desk as he proceeded. “Miss Coglington, while I admired your grandfather greatly I cannot say I’m in agreement with his directions on this matter. While I know not of the contents of these letters I do know they involve travel of some distance. It is the 1900’s, the dawn of a brand new century, the world is fast moving and progressive, and it is hardly the place for a young lady to be traveling unaccompanied. If you decide to go along with your grandfathers wishes then I am to post you a new letter after each challenge is completed. I do urge you most strongly though to think carefully about this. If you do not decide to take this folly on, then the bulk of the inheritance will be split between yourself and various good charities. I’m sure no one would be consider that a bad choice, your grandfathers estate is worth a goodly amount and half would be quite enough for you to live on prudently. This decision of course must be yours.”
With this he handed over a long cream envelope.