“Now you mention it,” said Bunty “he was awfully coy in showing us the drafts of the book he was supposed to be writing and Pater didn’t seem to bothered because he was hoping for lots of royalties.”
“Yes I remember that brief sojourn at your house, and when Bingo came he became awfully matey with the Prof. Don’t you remember we thought he got on Very Well with Bingo. We caught them looking very cagey in the summer-house. Perhaps your father’s predilection for building awful gothic folly’s gave Bingo the idea for this one?”
“You could be right, and then when the war started the Prof just disappeared and it was said he was going around war-torn museums trying to save important artefacts. It looks like we’ve found where he put them.” replied Bunty.
They stood surveying the treasure trove and wondered what they should do with it. Many of the pieces were recorded as destroyed, others were so old they could only guess where they had come from.
The folly seemed to descend further and further into the hillside and as they turned along corridors stacked on both sides with precious paintings they made noises and gestured as if to say “look it’s another old master, and I didn’t know Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa with a cigarette holder, fancy that”. At the end of the corridor was a door. it was rusty and had an old padlock securing it. By this time Lola had become rather bored with all the magnificence and without a thought picked up a large bust of an over excited faun and belted the padlock. it fell of and together they pushed the ancient door.
it creaked open and they realised something was on the other side preventing it from opening more than a few inches.
“Shine your torch through Bunty see if you can make out what is on the other side.”
“Is that you Mr Bingo?” came a querulous voice from the other side, wait a minute I’ll move the table.”
The sound of scraping an puffing and “That should do it, try now” said the voice.
Bunty and Lola shoved the door and at last opened it so they could walk through.
The corridor had led to a room in the asylum. A lanky man wearing a faded denim jacket stood peering into the darkness.
“Is it safe to come out now? I don’t think anyone is looking for me, I really don’t” he said pitifully.
“OH Lola, it looks like, but it can’t be, he used to be so handsome. ” said Bunty dismayed.
“I rather think it is Bunty and what’s more naughty Uncle Bingo has used the Prof rather badly. What an old rogue he was!”
Bunty went towards the Prof who was waving a manuscript, a very large manuscript entitled –
‘The Tuff-Muffin heresy, proof positive that the muffin was invented by Deirdre De Sponge.’
“Now I see, family honour was at stake here, not the accumulation of art treasures, that was just a side interest of Bingo’s. He was very proud of being a Tuff-Muffin and would never allow something like this to be published.” said Bunty
The prof clutched the manuscript tightly. “You won’t stop me publishing it, this is my life’s work! The best I have ever written!”
“I think we should just go back the way we came and leave you here to rot.” said Lola
“No please don’t, let me out and I’ll tell you everything I know. Don’t tell Bingo though.” he trembled at the thought of having to be Baby Jane again.
“very well, but do as we say!” said Lola poking him in the ribs with a gold spear from Egypt.