The Black Robe
Father Benwell's Correspondence
To Mr. Bitrake. Private and Confidential.
SIR--I understand that your connection with the law does not exclude your
occasional superintendence of confidential inquiries, which are not of a nature
to injure your professional position. The inclosed letter of introduction will
satisfy you that I am incapable of employing your experience in a manner
unbecoming to you, or to myself.
The inquiry that I propose to you relates to a gentleman named Winterfield.
He is now staying in London, at Derwent's Hotel, and is expected to remain
there for a week from the present date. His place of residence is on the North
Devonshire coast, and is well known in that locality by the name of Beaupark
The range of my proposed inquiry dates back over the last four or five years--
certainly not more. My object is to ascertain, as positively as may be,
whether, within this limit of time, events in Mr. Winterfield's life have
connected him with a young lady named Miss Stella Eyrecourt. If this proves
to be the case it is essential that I should be made acquainted with the whole
of the circumstances.
I have now informed you of all that I want to know. Whatever the information
may be, it is most important that it shall be information which I can implicitly
trust. Please address to me, when you write, under cover to the friend whose
letter I inclose.
I beg your acceptance--as time is of importance--of a check for preliminary
expenses, and remain, sir, your faithful servant,
To the Secretary, Society of Jesus, Rome.
I inclose a receipt for the remittance which your last letter confides to my
care. Some of the money has been already used in prosecuting inquiries, the
result of which will, as I hope and believe, enable me to effectually protect
Romayne from the advances of the woman who is bent on marrying him.
You tell me that our Reverend Fathers, lately sitting in council on the Vange
Abbey affair, are anxious to hear if any positive steps have yet been taken