The people patronizing Arginold's Soup And Snacks were mainly young people; dull corporate people who buzzed in, buying soup in plastic containers for that hurried meals between their numerous projects and then scuttled back into their illegally parked cars waiting on the pavement. The eatery enjoyed pretty good business for it was one of the few situated in corporate London, a temporary haven of peace in that bustling city.
Thus, the forty-something woman that sat in the far corner, wearing a scarlet red dress and slurping potato soup noisily earned quite a lot of curious looks.
Without lifting her head from her cake, she remarked," About time you came."
"Once a Ransholp, always a Ransholp. It never fails to amaze me how everybody in your family managed to be so perceptive, you especially so," commented the graying man half-admiringly, sliding into a seat beside Miranda Ransholp.
"My dear Archille, next time you want to invite me out, don't choose this eatery. Those young people look at me as though I'm an alien from outer space," stated Miranda Ransholp rather matter-of-factly.
"May I take your order please?" an apron-clad young woman suddenly appeared in front of them. Although she was speaking to Archille Danron, she was glaring at Miranda with a distasteful look on her face as though she was a glaring inkspot on a piece of white paper, soiling the respectable image of the eatery.
"Er… " Archille Danron scanned through the menu. "Give me a chicken and ham sandwich please."
The young woman disappeared as fast as she came.
"Now Archille, why did you ask me out?" Miranda asked, dabbing her lips with a lime green handkerchief.
"You see…" fumbled Archille. Clearly, he did not know where to begin. "Do you remember Sonia Fandevon?"
"Sure…" For the first time since she entered the eatery, Miranda had a sentimental look on her face. "Daughter of John Fandevon and Maria Landey right? Let's see… I last saw her when I worked at John and Maria's place during that disaster a long time ago. She was a adorable little girl then. Why, she must be twenty-something years old now."
"Yes. I don't know how on earth did she remember you after that incident. I would think a little girl would forget it as fast as possible. Anyway, she wants you to go down to the Fandevon mansion as soon as possible. Came to me one fine Sunday morning when I was peacefully planting sugar beets and wanted me to tell you so." Archille's mouth was set in a disapproving line, looking as though he thought planting sugar beets was a sacred occupation and should never be interrupted. "Oh yes! She gave me this letter too," He slid a plain white envelope across the table.
Miranda methodically took out a little letter knife from her handbag and slit open the envelope.
Dear Miss Ransholp (it said),
I don't know whether you remember me, but I certainly do remember you after that scandal involving my family sixteen years ago. I have uncovered something of utmost importance, and I feel that it may be connected to that scandal. However, I am unsure of what to do.I feel that you are the most suitable person to advise me on this matter, and thus, may I invite you down to Fandevon Mansion, Whympley-Ding?
Yours sincerely, Sonia Fandevon
Miranda's whole manner changed. She jumped out of her chair so quickly that everybody around looked at her. "Book train tickets for both of us. We're going there immediately. Sonia's in danger."