Investigating Alexander, Briony intended to visit his studio in Keeper’s Green. Keeper’s Green being a district in the west of Newton Howard, between the railway line and canal. It being a district that Alice Howard had established to be a community for artists. The are being characterised by flats that were mainly suitable for single people or couples and by open-spaces and light and airy studios. Just south of that being what had become known as Factory or Southward, which better suited those whose art or craft required smelly or industrial processes.
Rather than start with his digs or studio, Briony had tea in the Keeper’s Green Corner House, that overlooked Verdant Park.
Dressed in the requisite uniform, the waitress cheerfully greeted her, “Morning Ma’am, how may I serve you?”
“Morning,” Briony looked the waitress in the eye, “Is your name Ginny?”
“Yes Ma’am?” Ginny sounded uncertain.
Having listened to her spirit guide, Briony offered, “You have a brother, Arthur, who was lost to you, He gave me a message for you.”
“Really?” Ginny looked round the tea shop.
“On the day he left for the war, you told him, ‘Not to be a brave Fox but be a crafty Fox,’” Briony noted the shock on Ginny’s face, “He said,‘The artist is the right one for you, for you will be happy with him but not wealthy.’ Does that mean something to you?”
“Yes Ma’am. How did he tell you that?” Ginny looked intently at Briony.
“Through my spirit guide.”
“Your one of those spirity folk. You talk to the dead.” Ginny’s face showed her excitement.
“You mean a Spiritualist. I come from such a family. I am a Medium.” Briony went on to tell Ginny more about her Brother.
After having ordered a teacake and a pot of tea, Briony asked Ginny, if she remembered Alexander Corder, which Ginny did. When Ginny returned with the tea, she told Briony that not long before the painter died he had started to come in with a very attractive red-headed woman, who she had not seen since. Ginny did not know the woman. Though she thought the woman might have been called Anne.
The teacake came and had plenty of butter on it.
After leaving the Corner House, Briony followed the directions to Alexander Corder’s digs, which Briony was not surprised to learn had been let to another artist, though the block’s concierge or caretaker offered her the meagre belongings of Alexander Corder. Apart from a cravat, Briony had the belongings sent to the Railway Hotel.
Fortunately, Alexander’s studio had not been taken over by another artist. Looking around the studio, Briony found a series of magnificent paintings and studies of a delicately featured woman who had red hair. The woman’s beauty shone out of the paintings, but it was an unearthly beauty.
Seeking insight, Briony sat cross-legged on the floor and held the painting up so she could gaze upon the woman’s beauty.
Listening all she heard from her guide was, “Must Paint! Have to Paint! Must be perfect.” Apart from that all she heard was gibberish. Leaving there, Briony took with her the painting and some studies.