Vexatious Fate

This is proving to be quite vexing. I should put this behind me and think of it no more- let it lie as quietly as it has for a century or more, but it will not allow me to do that. Retrieval of the records was no mean feat itself: a company that specializes in the safe keeping of museum-quality historical documents stored them. One does not simply drive up and haul away cases of old records from a facility such as this. Nonetheless I was able to get at them after some hours of effort.

Thirteen large cases awaited me: the accumulation of over two hundred years of documents, books and letters. What concerned me would be contained in one of two particular cases and I set about the task of sorting them out once I had had them moved to my apartment outside the city. I suppose those who first collected these at my behest had been methodical in dating and storing them, but over the years as they were moved from one place to another they had become somewhat jumbled. Still, my money had been well spent- they were in remarkably good condition.

I started with letters dated after I had ended my contact with Catherine. Even after she was certain I was unlikely to respond she had continued to write in a most conversational manner. I nearly became ill when she mentioned that she had co-opted her son in to the task of ensuring I would be welcomed should I ever choose to return- this was written in 1890. Not once in any of her missives to me had she made any overt statement or even hint that she was aware of my secret: it was clear to me that her son was a lawyer and she had merely employed him in the creation of a trust to hold the family property inviolate for a great span of years, until 2050 to be exact. Unlike her words, her actions made it unmistakable that she had indeed been told, and that she believed.

Her last letter was dated December of 1896. Following that there was a letter from an attorney, informing me of her death and that I or my descendants had been named in a portion of her will. Two further letters followed, requesting a reply, then a final large packet.

Catherine and her son had been quite clever. The family fortunes had apparently grown quite large by that time so they set up a trust to hold title to the house and property. I am no legal scholar, but it appeared to me the trust stipulated any family member could reside in the house at will, but that efforts must be made to maintain the current structure and properties as they were. The trust also endowed a Historical Society for the town with a stipend for a museum. Finally, almost as an afterthought, it was noted that any person in possession of a specific legal instrument could present it to the trust as proof of descent from Elaine in order to take full advantage of the trust and its assigned properties. That instrument was sealed within an envelope in the packet.

It seems Catherine had been quite thorough.

I had already been aware that the property was in a trust- I had quietly engaged two different law firms to look in to the status of the property back when I decided to visit Jeremy’s grave. Now I was faced with having them probe more deeply, investigating the financial status of the trust and the Historical Society, as well as determining the legal status, if any, conferred by the instrument I possessed. These could conceivably be very dangerous acts on my part. They could also quite easily come to nothing. I found it hard to believe that whoever was holding the trust at this time would suddenly agree to surrender use of the property to somebody who arrived with a letter over a century old.

I chose to tackle the simplest task first: the instrument. A few hours huddled with some fine (and expensive) gentlemen determined that the instrument appeared to be valid, assuming the provisions of the trust were properly described and had not been changed; however, to execute it I would have to become personally involved as it could not be done by proxy. What surprised me was how easily I made my choice. I then set them to the task of learning everything they could while I set about making my own preparations.

Common sense tells me I should leave this be. Whatever threat there may have been is obviously minimal- digging in to this can only serve to make it worse. So why am I unwilling to walk away? Why am I so excited?

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