The five children are waiting in an old house for the rest of their school group to arrive. They come across an old manuscript written by a boy who ran away when his mother remarried after his father’s death.
Richard’s Story-
Master Richard’s father had a fever. His mother tried her best to coax his father to eat something- but it was of no use. Richard asked George the gardener about his father. Richard calls him Mr Digby. Mr Digby did not answer him but hugged him hard instead. Lucy the maid sat by Richard’s bedside. When Richard asked if it was going to be today,she placed her finger on his lips and said “Hush! Don’t even speak of it. Little Charlotte called out to Richard and told him that Papa wanted to see him. He dashed as fast as he could. He came across Reverend Coldstone but did not stop although he was asked to. The reverend was angry. His mother was waiting at the doorway and reminded him not to cry. His father asked him to be good to his mother and sister. His last words were –“Obey your mother’s wishes to the letter.’
At the chapel, Mr. Coldstone consoled his mother. Richard heard him say -“When you are mine…”. Richard studied at Mordanger school. He hated it there. Now he was home. Charlotte realized that Richard hated his stepfather. Richard accuses that Charlotte had forgotten about their father. Charlotte denied it and advised him not to accuse Mr Coldstone as the murderer when their father died of fever. Nevertheless,
Richard had decided to leave the three of them.
Richard wrote in his diary that he worked in a ship. Whenever he wrote about Mr Coldstone, he refered to him as the ‘black bat’. Twice his ship stopped at his hometown and he visited his home only to stand like a trespasser. It had been a long time since Richard had been home. Suddenly, he saw a note on the Captain’s table. He found out that his mother and stepfather had died. Charlotte wrote him a letter. In the letter, Charlotte wrote that things had been difficult as their mother spent a lot of money looking for him and they all suffered Mr Coldstone’s anger. Charlotte married Charles Devere although she did not love him because he had money and was willing to spend it to look for Richard. This would be the only letter from her.