How to deal with Magistrates

One of the great things about the writing  that I do is that I am free to follow leads as they turn up. Earlier this week my work was all  planned out. I knew what I was going to do. I fought off the attractions of a  lost village in Carmarthen Bay and turned to … and then something else jumped  out of the past and nowI can’t ignore it.
I have known about the Harries family from  Caio for a while. They were early nineteenth century astrologers and doctors  who inspired respect and fear in equal measure in their locality. I always  thought I would write about them. Fascinating characters, they either possessed  secret powers or they were charlatans, depending on your point of view. But I  have always put off writing about them because I have already explored the story  behind another grave in this tiny village. That was John Johnes who was  murdered by his butler Henry Tremble. It is a dramatic story indeed and one I  couldn’t ignore. But I didn’t want to do Caio again. I have had the same  problem with Kidwelly too. I have written about poor little John Thomas in  Volume One (page 130) and about Gwenllian, the Welsh warrior princess, though  this story is as yet unpublished, since it is intended for Volume Three. But  Kidwelly also witnessed the notorious murder of Mabel Greenwood in the early twentieth  century and I have a lot of material for that. However, I always feel I need to  spread my net as wide as I can.
But Henry and John Harries have started to  tempt me. Their magical powers certainly seem to stretch across the centuries  to pull at me. It is an itch that I keep going back to scratch. And it is this  detail that is taunting me. I found a passing reference in an old book and it  just won’t go away.
A local girl had gone missing and Doctor  Harries was called in. He considered for a moment and then said she’d been killed  by her lover and had been buried near a stream under a tree which held a bees  nest.
And of course they found her just as he  said. Her lover confessed too.  The magistrates  however were convinced that Harries could only have known this if he had been  involved in some way. So he was charged with complicity.
Apparently he remained perfectly calm. He  told the magistrates that if they could just tell him their dates of birth, he  would do them the honour of writing down the date on which they would die.
The trembling magistrates discharged him  immediately.What nerve.
I know myself too well. I won’t be able to  resist. I can feel a trip to the beautiful and isolated village of Caio coming  on….

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