A few days later all was in order and Lady Jane and her household felt like they had lived there forever. Sir Alfred had heard the gallant story of young Robert and the bear and was fully impressed.
Happy, carefree days stretched into happy, carefree weeks. Russel was sent out every two days to see if he could find some sort of information concerning Dudley Cummings. Four weeks went by and there was still no news. But Lady Jane did not worry too much. She knew that Dudley Cummings would lie low until her cousin arrived.
At the end of the fifth week, news reached them that Sir George Walham had reached Aurora valley. A secret messenger was sent to Sir George to tell him to meet them in secret in Berna Creek, a small cave in the mountains on the far side of Aurora valley.
The moment Sir George received the message he called for his attendants and told them to spread around the news that he had gone to explore the valley’s far side. Its ice walls, they were to say, intrigued him and he wanted to find out what they looked like on the other side. He would be back in a week.
Sir George was a handsome man in his forties, physically fit but not especially strong or muscular. He had merry brown eyes and chestnut colored hair.
Accordingly, the two parties met in Berna Creek days later. The reunion was a happy one; neither one had seen the other for many, many years. Jenny and her father were so happy when they met that neither could speak for a moment. He marveled how she had grown into a beautiful young lady.
When Sir George received the news of what Dudley Cummings was planning, he was speechless. When he finally got control over himself he and Lady Jane made plans. They agreed that Lady Jane would continue staying at Sir Alfred’s estates, and Sir George would ask the governor for the land of Lord Humandor. Sir George assured Lady Jane that he would be on guard all the time.
Sir George also told Lady Jane that the plague in England had gotten worse right after he left, and that it was raging particularly strong in the area of London where he had lived.
After a few more minutes, the two parted and went their own ways. A fond remembrance of the other stayed in each one’s mind.
Sir George arrived back in the town just on his due date. Directly after he arrived he went straight to the house of the renowned governor Raymond. Reaching the residence, he was directed into the ruler’s presence and told his story. For safety’s sake he did not tell him of the meeting he had had with Lady Jane. He asked the governor for the land of Lord Humandor, and the governor was only too proud to give it to him. He wrote up a document and they both signed it, bringing the deal to a close. They shook hands, Sir George now officially one of the valley.
“I’m glad you’re going to live with us, Sir George.”
“So am I, governor.”
“Mayhap you know that it is the custom of this valley that when newcomers arrive to live here there is a festival where everyone is introduced, and each owner of the estates pitches in to give you a present of the livestock you care to raise, the gardens and the food that you care to plant in the extensive gardens behind the castle. They also give you furnishings for the interior, and such other necessities so that you have an easy time to get started.”
“What a custom! Truly governor, I am astonished. In London we would never think of such a thing. Tell me, how many land owners are there in total in this valley?”
“Twelve. Of course that doesn’t count the people that live in the town.”
“When will this celebration be, governor? I wouldn’t want to be late, for after all, it is being hosted for me.” A merry, genuine chuckle followed this remark, which was so contagious that the governor soon began to grin, and their great bellowing laughter could be heard throughout the house and in the street.
When they grew more serious Sir George remarked,
“Will Dudley Cummings be there, governor?”
“Why, yes. Why do you ask?”
Lady Jane had told Sir George that he could tell the governor about Dudley Cummings, so Sir George related the whole account while the governor stared at him, his jaw dropped, the whole duration of the story. It was decided however indignant the two of them were at the un-knightly behavior of one of the valley’s most respected citizens, they were to say nothing about it for a while until the governor had decided what to do.
Sir George then left saying that he would stay at Lady Jane’s estate until the festival, and then, after the party, he would move into his new home.
A week later, after rushed activity and feverish excitement, the preparations for the festival were complete. Banners decked the streets, flower petals were piled in baskets outside doors, fireworks were prepared and everyone was fairly bursting with excitement to see the new arrival, Sir George.
Sir George himself was rather excited at the prospect of settling into a new home and neighbors. The day of the festival he called together his retinue, all gaily dressed, and they proceeded to the town on horseback. The servants had all already been briefed on Dudley Cummings.
Halfway there, Sir George sighted a small movement in the bushes. Halting his retinue, he proceeded on foot towards the place where the foliage had moved. Reaching the spot, he found a small piece of green cloth, torn away from a man’s garment, by the feel of it. Thoughtful, Sir George cautioned his command to be extra cautious as to their safety and his own.
As an extra precaution Sir George took a side road into town, so as to avoid any moves of mal intent on the part of his enemies.
When they arrived at the town, everyone greeted them with a shout. Fireworks exploded and the entire town flung flower petals on all of the newcomers. Sir George was conducted to a place of honor and the festivities began.