The chest is stoutly locked and they set to trying to opening it with pitons & hammer from their climbing equipment. In their reduced state the succeed only in prysing it open a tantalising crack before Lady macbeth arrives with the Landlord and 5 stout villagers to assist carrying everyone back to the Inn. Wallace is still unconcious and is carried, the rest are 'walking wounded'. Todgers recovers his dagger from the cave mouth.
Arriving at the Inn the injured folk are arrayed in chairs in front of the huge log fire in the lounge bar and plied with warming drinks while the casks of cognac are secured in the cellar. Elsbeth requests the private use of a back-room and investigates the two chests, which are still firmly locked. Todgers and Gladstone join her and Todgers remembers seeing a huge crow-bar in the cellar used to move heavy barrels around, which he asks the Inn keeper for. With the new tool the three of them attack the already weakened chest, and Rev. Hamilton upon his recovery discovers the 'Gentlemen' sitting on the chest while Elsbeth swings on the bar trying to pop the hinges. As he protests the hinges break and the adventurers gather around the chest, pulling back a fine velvet cover to reveal it is full of black coins. A quick investigation reveals they are not only silver but ancient, Todgers recons Anglo-saxon, and gives a swift estimate that if the other chest is similar they would be worth tens of thousands of pounds!
Realising that whoever lost such and fortune would be 'very' keen to have it back the party gather every gun and weapon they can find into the back-room and sit nervously awake for the night. Todgers 'agrees' with the Inn Keeper that a certain amount of 'leakage' is to be expected from one of the Cognac casks as it was already damanged, and a few pints are provided to the party, while the locals get riotously drunk in the public bar, toasting "here's to Lord Hamilton's leakage", or the more bawdy "Leaky Todgers".
Very early the next morning a rider gallops up to the Inn (while it is still dark), and a well dressed 'gentlemens man' presents a very high quality card and indicates that Squire JackRattenbury requests the urgent pleasure of their company as the people who have so bravely 'recovered his stolen goods' which he has apparently had a reward for the recovery of posted since they were 'stolen by hywaymen' while being transported to London. Choosing to belive the offer, and after much discussion the party agree and are taken by an ostentatious coach and four which is sent for them to the village of Beer (DM note sorry I said Bude last night it was Beer - getting my devon towns mixed up). The party conjecture that someone must have ridden like the wind through the night to get a message to Beer, and that the Gentlemen's man, one GeorgeSalter, must have ridden similarly hard to get back here so early. They also note that everyone in the village shows a lot of deference to George and that Giles the Inn keeper is on first name terms.
http://www.victorian-paintings.com/paintings/garland_h_village-gossips_l_tn.jpg+left The tired and wounded party arrive at a fine house overlooking Beer harbour, to be greeted by wainscoated footmen and staff, and shown to rooms to freshen up. As they come back down the to lounge they are met by their host an aging seafaring type of some manners, and not little meanace. They are treated to a fine luncheon and only after they have eaten does Squire Jack mention the chests. In deference to the presence of LadyElsbethMacBeth the gentlemen do not immediately take port and cigars and they all retire to the drawing room for "tea" while they discuss matters. Squire Jack offers to reward the party handsomly for the return off the chests, and with some delicacy broaches that he would greatly appreciated a high level of discretion about the contents of the chests from the party. After a genteel negotiation in which ArnoldTodgersHamelton shows a very high level of business acumen the party are each rewarded with a nominal 'dozen' coins to avoid discussion of anything so tawdry as money, and they are also engaged to become shareholders, to 10% each with Squire Jack holding 50%, in a shipping company to be formed from the proceeds of the planned sale of the LydfordPennies to a swedish collector. During the business discussion Elsbeth retires and has a most interesting and revealing discussion with Squire Jacks three 'daughters', who seem to be a most cosmopolitan set of young ladies, possibly with a questionable previous employment history. Squire Jack also enquires after ArnoldTodgersHamelton 's daguerrotype system, and asks for a picture to be taken of them all.
The party stay for the night, and in the morning after the image is taken, they are then carried by coach back to the Castle Inn, escorted by GeorgeSalter. They are met in Lydford by a concerned WilliamCoumbe, who obviously knows George and there is no love lost between them. William is the only man in the area which the party have seen not defer to George. they are closely questioned by William, in his role as Supervisor of excise, and taken to stay at Buckland Abbey for a night.
Over the following two days the party do thoroughly explore the cave, photograph (daguerrotype) it and recover some fossils of Cave bear, Rhino and Elephant as well as some pre-historic remains. The party make agree to meet Squire Jack in three weeks time in London, and make their way back to London ad some unexpected acclaim, as their escapades are covered in some detail and much 'enhancement' in a front page article in the Times. Gladstone is credited with leading 5 police constables against 30 ChartistRebels, putting them to flight and capturing their leader, and again only two days later fighting off an armed gang of smugglers, with the spirted help of the rest of the party - each of whom is named.