A Lady in the Smoke 4 (Chapters 21-28)



James accepts to take on Paul Wilcox’s defence, and when he and Tom Flynn go to visit him, Elizabeth insists on going to the prison. From the first moment it is clear from Paul’s attitude that she doesn’t approve of Elizabeth’s presence there, but he doesn’t say a word. Yet, Elizabeth can feel his disapproval, so Elizabeth hardly speaks. What Paul tells him that the patient whose family has accused him of manslaughter is Felix Benedict. He tells them that he treated the young man, and even though he recommended he should stay in the hotel for a couple of days, his own physician came and decided to move him home, and when Felix got worse in London, Paul was called and saw that his doctor had not applied Paul’s treatment. Then he died afterwards. Now he needs to prove that Felix died not because of his treatment but because of the intervention of his own physician.

Elizabeth has recognised the name. Felix Benedict is Philip Reynolds’ friend, the one who Philip tried to get out of the opium den. Elizabeth doesn’t say anything to the men about what he knows about Felix. So he goes to see Anne. Elizabeth knows that if the court gets to learn that Felix Benedict was an opium addict and this circumstance could well have worsened his condition. Elizabeth knows that the only way to help Paul is persuading Philip to testify. Yet, Anne tells her that it is not going to be easy since Philip would consider that as betrayal, and this is the last thing he wanted to do.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues. Flynn discovers that Marcus Hayes, the man who wanted to buy the land from one of Elizabeth’s neighbours, had a partner, Geoffrey Farnsworth, and they bought land in different parts of the country. Flynn suspects that their intention was to get control of some minor train companies. This part about shares and railway companies is a bit complex, but the conclusion that these men were after money. Yet, Flynn hasn’t discovered anything illegal in their activities, so he believes that they should try to find a clue in the small railway companies in the area where the men bought the land.

Knowing that a discovery could help Paul, Elizabeth decides to go to London and help Tom Flynn. So she takes a maid dress from one of the spare rooms, and making up a story about staying with Anne, she leaves the house, takes the train to London, and gets to Flynn’s office. Tom is shocked when he sees her appear, but he reluctantly lets her help go through all the documents and newspapers he is examining. Yet, at some point James appears, and Elizabeth is disappointed to realise that Tom has called him. So she has no other option but follow her cousin, and on the train he gives her a lecture about propriety and reputation. To make things worse, when they get home, the house is lit, which at that time means that she has been found out. It is true, and no sooner has she stepped into the house than her aunt gives her a good reprimand, but Elizabeth cuts her off and goes straight to her room.

Poor Elizabeth!!! Nobody understands her when she only tries to help and find out the truth.


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