Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

“Pity they didn't extend their labors all down the path while they were about it,” grunted Lord Peter, who was balancing himself precariously on a small piece of sacking. “Well, that bears out old Gerald so far. Here's an elephant been over this bit of box border. Who's that?”

“Oh, that's a constable. I put him at eighteen stone.
The stone (abbreviation st) is a units of measurement that was used in many North European countries until the advent of metrication. Its value, which ranged from 3 kg to 12 kg, varied from city to city and also often from commodity to commodity. In the United Kingdom its value is normally taken as being equal to 14 avoirdupois pounds (6.35kg), though prior to the Second World War it had other values, depending on its use. The stone is in common use in the United Kingdom and Ireland for measuring personal body weight, although it no longer has a legal status in either country other than as a supplementary measure.

He's nothing. And this rubber sole with a patch on it is Craikes. He's all over the place. This squelchy-looking thing is Mr. Arbuthnot in bedroom slippers, and the galoshes are Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson.
Galoshes (from French: galoches), also known as boat shoes, dickersons, or overshoes, are a type of rubber boot that is slipped over shoes to keep them from getting muddy or wet. The word galoshes might be used interchangeably with boot, especially a rubberized boot. Properly speaking, however, galoshes are synonymous with rain boots often reaching heights just below the knee.

We can dismiss all those. But now here, just coming over the threshold, is a woman's foot in a strong shoe. I make that out to be Lady Mary's. Here it is again, just at the edge of the well. She came out to examine the body.”

“Quite so,” said Peter; “and then she came in again, with a few grains of red gravel on her shoes. Well, that's all right. Hullo!”
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule (>2 to 4 mm or 0.079 to 0.16 in) and cobble (>64 to 256 mm or 2.5 to 10.1 in). One cubic yard of gravel typically weighs about 3000 pounds (or a cubic metre is about 1,800 kilograms).

Gravel is an important commercial product, with a number of applications. Many roadways are surfaced with gravel, especially in rural areas where there is little traffic. Globally, far more roads are surfaced with gravel than with concrete or tarmac; Russia alone has over 400,000 km (250,000 mi) of gravel-surfaced roads.[citation needed] Both sand and small gravel are also important for the manufacture of concrete.

On the outer side of the conservatory were some shelves for small plants, and, beneath these, a damp and dismal bed of earth, occupied, in a sprawling and lackadaisical fashion, by stringy cactus plants and a sporadic growth of maidenhair fern, and masked by a row of large chrysanthemums in pots.
Adiantum the maidenhair ferns, is a genus of about 200 species of ferns in the family Pteridaceae, though some researchers place it in its own family, Adiantaceae. The genus name comes from Greek, meaning "not wetting", referring to the fronds' ability to shed water without becoming wet.

Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths, are of the genus (Chrysanthemum) constituting approximately 30 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae which is native to Asia and northeastern Europe.

“What've you got?” inquired Parker, seeing his friend peering into this green retreat.

Lord Peter withdrew his long nose from between two pots and said: “Who put what down here?”

Parker hastened to the place. There, among the cacti, was certainly the clear mark of some oblong object, with corners, that had been stood out of sight on the earth behind the pots.

“It's a good thing Gerald's gardener ain't one of those conscientious blighters that can't even let a cactus alone for the winter,” said Lord Peter, “or he'd've tenderly lifted these little drooping heads—oh! damn and blast the beastly plant for a crimson porcupine! You measure it.”

Parker measured it.

“Two and a half feet by six inches,” he said. “And fairly heavy, for it's sunk in and broken the plants about. Was it a bar of anything?”

“I fancy not,” said Lord Peter. “The impression is deeper on the farther side. I think it was something bulky set up on edge, and leaned against the glass. If you ask for my private opinion I should guess that it was a suit-case.”
Originally, suitcases were made of wool or linen. Leather also became a popular material for suitcases. It was used to cover wood suitcases or just on its own for collapsible suitcases. It is difficult to document all the materials suitcases have been made out of. Like all produced consumer goods the materials chosen to construct suitcases are truly a product of their time. Wool, wood, leather, metal, plastic, fiber composite even recycled materials are all common suitcase materials. During covered wagon times trunks were a popular form of transporting goods. The ride was rough, so the luggage had to be strong. The theme of suitcases becoming less cumbersome over time could be directly related to the advancement of better transportation.

“A suit-case!” exclaimed Parker. “Why a suit-case?”

“Why indeed? I think we may assume that it didn't stay here very long. It would have been exceedingly visible in the daytime. But somebody might very well have shoved it in here if they were caught with it—say at three o'clock in the morning—and didn't want it to be seen.”

“Then when did they take it away?”

“Almost immediately, I should say. Before daylight, anyhow, or even Inspector Craikes could hardly have failed to see it.”

“It's not the doctor's bag, I suppose?”

“No—unless the doctor's a fool. Why put a bag inconveniently in a damp and dirty place out of the way when every law of sense and convenience would urge him to pop it down handy by the body? No. Unless Craikes or the gardener has been leaving things about, it was thrust away there on Wednesday night by Gerald, by Cathcart—or, I suppose, by Mary. Nobody else could be supposed to have anything to hide.”

“Yes,” said Parker, “one person.”

“Who's that?”

“The Person Unknown.”
“Who's he?”

For answer Mr. Parker proudly stepped to a row of wooden frames, carefully covered with matting. Stripping this away, with the air of a bishop unveiling a memorial, he disclosed a V-shaped line of footprints.

“These,” said Parker, “belong to nobody—to nobody I've ever seen or heard of, I mean.”

“Hurray!” said Peter.

“Then downwards from the steep hill's edge
They tracked the footmarks small
(only they're largish).”
This is from the poem “Lucy Gay” by Wordsworth
Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray,
And when I cross'd the Wild,
I chanc'd to see at break of day
The solitary Child.
No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew:
She dwelt on a wide Moor,
--The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!
You yet may spy the Fawn at play,
The Hare upon the Green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
"To-night will be a stormy night--
You to the Town must go,
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your mother through the snow."
"That, Father! will I gladly do,
'Tis scarcely afternoon--
The Minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the Moon"
At this the Father rais'd his hook
And snapped a faggot-band;
He plied his work, and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.
Not blither is the mountain roe,
With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powdery snow
That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time:
She wandered up and down;
And many a hill did Lucy climb;
But never reach'd the Town.
The wretched Parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.
At day-break on a hill they stood
That overlooked the Moor;
And thence they saw the Bridge of wood,
A furlong from their door.
And, turning homeward, now they cried
"In Heaven we all shall meet;"
When in the snow the Mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.
Then downward from the steep hill's edge
They track'd the footmarks small;
And through the broken hawthorn-hedge,
And by the long stone-wall:
And then an open field they crossed,
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost,
And to the Bridge they came.
They followed from the snowy bank
Those footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank;
And further there were none!
--Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living Child,
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome Wild.
O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Time Keeps On Slipping Into the Future

Sorry for the dearth of posts recently...I've been working on a project, wanted to devote all my time to it, and kept telling'll be done today so I can get back to blogging here tomorrow.

The next day it was... okay, it's definitely going to get done today....

Well, today it is done... so back to posting here on a daily basis tomorrow. (With the first post appearing tomorrow afternoon while I'm watching football!)

Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: The Attenbury Emeralds

From Review: The Attenbury Emeralds
Review by Mary Daoud
In the 1930s, Christian apologist and intellectual Dorothy L. Sayers wrote the Lord Peter Wimsey murder mysteries, the books that would give her enduring fame. They featured a cast of sophisticated characters, including the aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, his detective novelist wife Harriet Vane, and his manservant and fellow ex-soldier Bunter.

With permission from Sayers’ literary estate, respected novelist Jill Paton Walsh took up Sayers’s unfinished final manuscript and completed it to much acclaim. The Attenbury Emeralds (Minotaur Books, 2011) is the third book featuring Sayers’ characters that Walsh has written.

The book, set in the years after World War II, begins with Peter recounting to his wife the history of his first case, solved 30 years prior. As he concludes his narrative, the current owner of the Attenbury emeralds knocks on the door, disheveled and upset, seeking Peter’s help with a new development in the emeralds’ history. Lord Peter and Harriet take on the case.

Unfortunately, much of Walsh’s earlier skill with Sayers’ characters is gone. The narrative is riddled with problems: clunky, indelicate writing; a didactic Harriet acting as foil to Peter; and a number of confusing mysteries and unnecessary tragedies. Worse, the quotations that made Sayers’s prose spring to life are stale and familiar. There is nothing new here.

Still, if you come to the book without preconceived notions, and understand that Walsh is borrowing Lord Peter and his crew to write her own story, the book could be an enjoyable, even witty read, full of amusing characters and a complex plot. But it certainly is not vintage Dorothy Sayers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

“Do you suppose, Wimsey, that your brother really contemplates the gallows?” asked Parker.

“I think Murbles put it to him pretty straight,” said Lord Peter.

“Quite so. But does he actually realize—imaginatively—that it is possible to hang an English peer for murder on circumstantial evidence?”
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system. The term is used both collectively to refer to the entire body of noble titles (or a subdivision thereof), and individually to refer to a specific title (and generally has an initial capital in the former case and not the latter). The holder of a peerage is termed a peer.

In modern practice, no new hereditary peerages are created (except for members of the Royal Family), but only life peerages which carry the personal right to sit and vote in the House of Lords. Peerages, like all modern British honours, are created by the British monarch, taking effect when letters patent are affixed with the Great Seal of the Realm. Her Majesty's Government advises the Sovereign on a new peerage, under a process which scrutinises appointments to political honours. Currently a few hereditary peers, who are elected to represent the others, also retain the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords.

The Sovereign is considered the fount of honour, and as "the fountain and source of all dignities cannot hold a dignity from himself",[1] cannot hold a peerage (although the British Sovereign uses the style "Duke of Lancaster"). If an individual is neither the Sovereign nor a peer, he is a commoner. Members of a peer's family who are not themselves peers (including such members of the Royal Family) are also commoners; the British system thus differs fundamentally from continental European ones, where entire families, rather than individuals, were ennobled.

Certain personal privileges are afforded to all peers and peeresses, but the main distinction of a peerage nowadays is the style or title and traditional forms of address. The claim to an existing hereditary peerage is regulated by the House of Lords through its Committee for Privileges and Conduct.

Lord Peter considered this.

“Imagination isn't Gerald's strong point,” he admitted. “I suppose they do hang peers? They can't be beheaded on Tower Hill or anything?”

“I'll look it up,” said Parker; “but they certainly hanged Earl Ferrers in 1760.”
Earl Ferrers is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1711 for Robert Shirley, 13th Baron Ferrers of Chartley. The Shirley family descends from George Shirley (died 1622) of Astwell Castle, Northamptonshire.

In 1611 he was created a Baronet, of Staunton Harold in the County of Leicester, in the Baronetage of England. He was succeeded by his son, the second Baronet. He married Lady Dorothy Devereux, daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. On the death of her brother Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, she became the youngest co-heir to the baronies of Ferrers of Chartley and the barony of Bourchier, which had fallen into abeyance on the death of the third Earl. Shirley was succeeded by his eldest son, the third Baronet. He died unmarried and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourth Baronet. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Cromwell and died there in 1656. On his death the title passed to his eldest son, the fifth Baronet. He died at an early age and was succeeded at birth by his posthumous son, the sixth Baronet.

He died as an infant and was succeeded by his uncle, the seventh Baronet. In 1677 King Charles II terminated the abeyance of the barony of Ferrers of Chartley in his favour and he became the thirteenth Baron Ferrers of Chartley. His claim to the barony of Bourchier was overlooked, however. He later served as Master of the Horse and as Lord Steward to the Queen Consort, Catherine of Braganza, and was Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire. In 1711 he was created Viscount Tamworth, of Tamworth in the County of Stafford, and Earl Ferrers, in the Peerage of Great Britain. He was succeeded in the barony of Ferrers of Chartley by his granddaughter Elizabeth, wife of James Compton, 5th Earl of Northampton. She was the daughter of the first Earl's eldest son the Hon. Robert Shirley (1673–1698), who predeceased his father (see the Baron Ferrers of Chartley for further history of this title). Lord Ferrers was succeeded in the baronetcy, viscountcy and earldom by his second son, the second Earl. He served as Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire from 1725 to 1729. He died childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Earl. He was Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire from 1731 to 1742.

He died unmarried and was succeeded by his nephew, the fourth Earl. He was the son of the Hon. Lawrence Shirley, third surviving son of the first Earl. Lord Ferrers killed Mr Johnson, his land-steward, was tried, condemned for murder and hanged at Tyburn on 5 May 1760. He is the last British peer to die a felon's death. On his death the titles passed to his younger brother, the fifth Earl.

“Did they, though?” said Lord Peter. “Ah well, as the old pagan said of the Gospels, after all, it was a long time ago, and we'll hope it wasn't true.”
I’ve been unable to find any reference to an “old Pagan”.
“It's true enough,” said Parker; “and he was dissected and anatomized afterwards. But that part of the treatment is obsolete.”

“We'll tell Gerald about it,” said Lord Peter, “and persuade him to take the matter seriously. Which are the boots he wore Wednesday night?”

“These,” said Parker, “but the fool's cleaned them.”

“Yes,” said Lord Peter bitterly. “M'm! a good heavy lace-up boot—the sort that sends the blood to the head.”

“He wore leggings, too,” said Parker; “these.”
Today, leggings seem to be really tight tights worn by women, over which they wear a dress. In the 1920s, leggings were extra pieces of cloth that men wore over the lower part of their trousers to prevent dirt getting on them.
Although Wikipedia specifies this description is for military leggings, they also describe what Herald was probably wearing.
Since the late 19th century, soldiers of various nations, especially infantry, often wore leggings to protect their lower leg, keep dirt, sand, and mud from entering their shoes, and to provide a measure of ankle support. At first, these were usually puttees—strips of thick woolen cloth resembling a large bandage—were wrapped around the leg to support the ankle. They were usually held in place by a strap attached to the cloth. Later, puttees were replaced by some armies with canvas leggings fastened with buckles or buttons, usually secured at the bottom with an adjustable stirrup that passed under the sole of the shoe, just in front of the heel. The soldier placed the leggings around his calf with the buttoned side facing out and adjusted them and the strap to achieve a proper fit. Leggings typically extended to mid-calf and had a garter strap to hold them up and were secured with a tie just below the knee. Military leggings only extended to the bottom of the knee and buttoned to the bottom button on the knee-breeches. They are sometimes confused with gaiters, which only extend to the high ankle and are worn with full leg trousers.
“Rather elaborate preparations for a stroll in the garden. But, as you were just going to say, the night was wet. I must ask Helen if Gerald ever suffered from insomnia.”

“I did. She said she thought not as a rule, but that he occasionally had toothache, which made him restless.”

“It wouldn't send one out of doors on a cold night, though. Well, let's get downstairs.”

They passed through the billiard-room, where the Colonel was making a sensational break, and into the small conservatory which led from it.
In billiards and snooker (and pool), the balls to be hit into the pockets are arranged in a triangular pattern at one end of the table, and “broken” by sending the cueball down to them. If an appropriate ball goes into one of the pockets, the “breaker” continues his break by sending more balls into pockets. A sensational break could be one where he runs the table, or at leasr gets a very high score before missing.

Lord Peter looked gloomily round at the chrysanthemums and boxes of bulbs.

“These damned flowers look jolly healthy,” he said. “Do you mean you've been letting the gardener swarm in here every day to water 'em?”

“Yes,” said Parker apologetically, “I did. But he's had strict orders only to walk on these mats.”

“Good,” said Lord Peter. “Take 'em up, then, and let's get to work.”

With his lens to his eye he crawled cautiously over the floor.

“They all came through this way, I suppose,” he said.

“Yes,” said Parker. “I've identified most of the marks. People went in and out. Here's the Duke. He comes in from outside. He trips over the body.” (Parker had opened the outer door and lifted some matting, to show a trampled patch of gravel, discolored with blood.) “He kneels by the body. Here are his knees and toes. Afterwards he goes into the house, through the conservatory, leaving a good impression in black mud and gravel just inside the door.”

Lord Peter squatted carefully over the marks.

“It's lucky the gravel's so soft here,” he said.

“Yes. It's just a patch. The gardener tells me it gets very trampled and messy just here owing to his coming to fill cans from the water-trough. They fill the trough up from the well every so often, and then carry the water away in cans. It got extra bad this year, and they put down fresh gravel a few weeks ago.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

La Rôtisserie de la Reine Pédauque, L'Anneau d'Améthyste, South Wind (our young friend works out very true to type), Chronique d'un Cadet de Coutras (tut-tut, Charles!), Manon Lescaut. H'm! Is there anything else in this room I ought to look at?”
La Rôtisserie de la Reine Pédauque and L'Anneau d'Améthyste were written by Anatole France.

Anatole France (16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924), born François-Anatole Thibault, was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his literary achievements.

In La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque (1893) Anatole France ridiculed belief in the occult [At the Sign of the Reine [Queen] Pédauque]

L'Anneau d'Améthyste is The Ring of Amethyste, also by Anatole France, 1899.

South Wind is a 1917 novel by British author Norman Douglas, his most famous book. It is set on an imaginary island called Nepenthe, located off the coast of Italy in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a thinly fictionalized description of Capri's residents and visitors. The novel's discussion of moral and sexual issues caused considerable debate

Chronique d'un Cadet de Coutras by Abel Hermant tells the adventures of of a younger son of the Coutras family.

Manon Lescaut (L'Histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut) is a short novel by French author Abbé Prévost. Published in 1731, it is the seventh and final volume of Mémoires et aventures d'un homme de qualité (Memoirs and Adventures of a Man of Quality). It was controversial in its time and was banned in France upon publication. Despite this, it became very popular and pirated editions were widely distributed. In a subsequent 1753 edition, the Abbé Prévost toned down some scandalous details and injected more moralizing disclaimers.

Set in France and Louisiana in the early 18th century, the story follows the hero le Chevalier Des Grieux and his lover Manon Lescaut. Des Grieux comes from a noble and landed family, but forfeits his hereditary wealth and incurs the disappointment of his father by running away with Manon. In Paris, the young lovers enjoy a blissful cohabitation, while Des Grieux struggles to satisfy Manon's taste for luxury. He scrounges together money by borrowing from his unwaveringly loyal friend Tiberge and from cheating gamblers. On several occasions, Des Grieux's wealth evaporates (by theft, in a house fire, etc.), prompting Manon to leave him for a richer man because she cannot stand the thought of living in penury.

The two lovers finally settle down in New Orleans, where the virtual absence of class differences allows them to live in idyllic peace for a while. But when Des Grieux reveals their unmarried state to the Governor and asks to be wed with Manon, the Governor's nephew sets his sights on winning Manon's hand. In despair, Des Grieux challenges the Governor's nephew to a duel and knocks him unconscious. Thinking he had killed the man and fearing retribution, the couple flees New Orleans and venture into the wilderness of Louisiana, hoping to reach a neighbouring English settlement. Manon dies of exposure and exhaustion the following morning, and Des Grieux returns to France to become a cleric after burying his beloved.
“I don't think so. Where'd you like to go now?”

“We'll follow 'em down. Wait a jiff. Who are in the other rooms? Oh yes. Here's Gerald's room. Helen's at church. In we go. Of course, this has been dusted and cleaned up, and generally ruined for purposes of observation?”

“I'm afraid so. I could hardly keep the Duchess out of her bedroom.”

“No. Here's the window Gerald shouted out of. H'm! Nothing in the grate, here, naturally—the fire's been lit since. I say, I wonder where Gerald did put that letter to—Freeborn's, I mean.”

“Nobody's been able to get a word out of him about it,” said Parker. “Old Mr. Murbles had a fearful time with him. The Duke insists simply that he destroyed it. Mr. Murbles says that's absurd. So it is. If he was going to bring that sort of accusation against his sister's fiancé he'd want some evidence of a method in his madness, wouldn't he? Or was he one of those Roman brothers who say simply: 'As the head of the family I forbid the banns and that's enough'?”
The Marriage Act 1753, full title "An Act for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage", popularly known as Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, was the first statutory legislation in England and Wales to require a formal ceremony of marriage. It came into force on 25 March 1754. The Act was precipitated by a dispute about the validity of a Scottish marriage, although pressure to address the problem of clandestine marriage had been growing for some time.

Before the Act, the legal requirements for a valid marriage in England and Wales had been governed by the canon law of the Church of England. This had stipulated that banns should be called or a marriage licence obtained before a marriage could take place and that the marriage should be celebrated in the parish where at least one of the parties was resident. However, these requirements were directory rather than mandatory and the absence of banns or a licence – or even the fact that the marriage was not celebrated in a church – did not render the marriage void. The only indispensable requirement was that the marriage be celebrated by an Anglican clergyman. The common but mistaken assumption that a simple exchange of consent would suffice is based on later, erroneous readings of ecclesiastical case law: such an exchange created a binding contract to marry rather than a legal marriage.

The banns -- the public declaration of an intended marriage, usually formally announced on three successive Sundays in the parish churches of both the betrothed. To "forbid the banns" meant to forbid the wedding.

“Gerald,” said Wimsey, “is a good, clean, decent, thoroughbred public schoolboy, and a shocking ass. But I don't think he's so mediæval as that.”

“But if he has the letter, why not produce it?”

“Why, indeed? Letters from old college friends in Egypt aren't, as a rule, compromising.”
“You don't suppose,” suggested Parker tentatively, “that this Mr. Freeborn referred in his letter to any old—er—entanglement which your brother wouldn't wish the Duchess to know about?”

Lord Peter paused, while absently examining a row of boots.

“That's an idea,” he said. “There were occasions—mild ones, but Helen would make the most of them.” He whistled thoughtfully. “Still, when it comes to the gallows——”
A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or by means to torture before execution, as was used when being hanged, drawn and quartered. The gallows took its form from the Roman Furca when Constantine abolished crucifixion.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

He leaned forward and stared into the grate.

“There's some burnt paper here, Charles.”

“I know. I was frightfully excited about that yesterday, but I found it was just the same in several of the rooms. They often let the bedroom fires go out when everybody's out during the day, and relight them about an hour before dinner.
Although central heating was in existence in the 1920s, it was very expensive. Most large homes therefore had fireplaces in the bedrooms for warmth, or, failing that, a hot water bottle would be placed at one’s feet, under the covers, or a bedwarmer (a metal container filled with hot coals) would be run underneath the sheets for a while to warm them.

There's only the cook, housemaid, and Fleming here, you see, and they've got a lot to do with such a large party.”

Lord Peter was picking the charred fragments over.

“I can find nothing to contradict your suggestion,” he sadly said, “and this fragment of the Morning Post rather confirms it. Then we can only suppose that Cathcart sat here in a brown study, doing nothing at all. That doesn't get us much further, I'm afraid.” He got up and went to the dressing-table.
The Morning Post, as the paper was named on its masthead, was a conservative daily newspaper published in London from 1772 to 1937, when it was acquired by The Daily Telegraph.

The expression "brown study" is old, dating at least from the sixteenth century. We’ve now lost the original meanings of both halves of the phrase and so it has long since turned into an idiom. Brown does refer to the colour, but it seems that in the late medieval period it could also mean no more than dark or gloomy and it was then transferred figuratively to the mental state. A study at that time could be a state of reverie or abstraction, a sense of the word that is long since obsolete.

The first example is a surprisingly modern-sounding bit of sage advice in a book called Dice-Play of 1532: “Lack of company will soon lead a man into a brown study”. (From Word Wide Words)

“I like these tortoiseshell sets,” he said, “and the perfume is 'Baiser du Soir'—very nice too.
'Baiser du Soir’ is French for “Kiss of the evening.”

New to me. I must draw Bunter's attention to it.
Wimsey often tels Bunter to flirt with the servants in the households where he is investigating a crime.

A charming manicure set, isn't it? You know, I like being clean and neat and all that, but Cathcart was the kind of man who always impressed you as bein' just a little too well turned out. Poor devil! And he'll be buried at Golders Green after all. I only saw him once or twice, you know. He impressed me as knowin' about everything there was to know. I was rather surprised at Mary's takin' to him, but, then, I know really awfully little about Mary. You see, she's five years younger than me.

When the war broke out she'd just left school and gone to a place in Paris, and I joined up, and she came back and did nursing and social work, so I only saw her occasionally.
Social Work has its roots in the social and economic upheaval wrought by the Industrial Revolution; in particular the struggle of society to deal with poverty and its resultant problems. Dealing with poverty was the main focus of early social work and therefore social work is intricately linked with the idea of charity work; but must now be understood in much broader terms. For instance it is not uncommon for modern social workers to find themselves dealing with the consequences arising from many other 'social problems' such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and age and physical/ mental ability discrimination. Modern social workers can be found helping to deal with the consequences of these, and many other social maladies, in all areas of the human services; and many other fields besides.

Whereas social work started on a more scientific footing aimed at controlling and reforming individuals; (at one stage supporting the notion that poverty was a disease) it has, in more recent times, adopted a more critical and holistic approach to understanding and intervening in social problems. This has lead, for example, to the re-conceptualisation of poverty as more a problem of the haves versus the have nots rather than its former status as a disease, illness, or moral defect in need of treatment. This also points to another historical development in the evolution of social work; evolving from a profession engaged more in social control to one more directed at social empowerment. That is not to say that modern social workers do not engage in social control (consider statutory child protection workers) and many, if not, most social workers would likely agree that this is an ongoing tension and debate.

The concept of charity goes back to ancient times, and the practice of providing for the poor has roots in many major ancient civilizations and world religions.

At that time she was rather taken up with new schemes for puttin' the world to rights and hadn't a lot to say to me. And she got hold of some pacifist fellow who was a bit of a stumer, I fancy.
Pacifism is the opposition to war and/or violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud (1864 - 1921) and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901

Stumer is something bogus or fraudulent. In use since 1885–90; origin uncertain.

Then I was ill, you know, and after I got the chuck from Barbara I didn't feel much like botherin' about other people's heart-to-hearts, and then I got mixed up in the Attenbury diamond case—and the result is I know uncommonly little about my own sister. But it looks as though her taste in men had altered. I know my mother said Cathcart had charm; that means he was attractive to women, I suppose. No man can see what makes that in another man, but mother is usually right. What's become of this fellow's papers?”

“He left very little here,” replied Parker. “There's a cheque-book on Cox's Charing Cross branch, but it's a new one and not very helpful.
Cox is a fictional bank. Charing Cross denotes the junction of Strand, Whitehall and Cockspur Street, just south of Trafalgar Square in central London. It is named after the now demolished Eleanor cross that stood there, in what was once the hamlet of Charing. The site of the cross is now occupied by an equestrian statue of King Charles I. Since the second half of the 18th century Charing Cross has been seen as the centre of London. It is the primary of the central datum points for measuring distances from London along with the London Stone, Hicks Hall and the doors of St Mary-le-Bow church.

By the 17th century, bills of exchange were being used for domestic payments in England. Cheques, a type of bill of exchange, then began to evolve. Initially they were called drawn notes, because they enabled a customer to draw on the funds that he or she on account with a banker and required immediate payment.[10] These were handwritten, and one of the earliest known still to be in existence was drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton, scriveners and bankers based in the City of London, and dated 16 February 1659.

In 1717, the Bank of England pioneered the first use of a pre-printed form. These forms were printed on "cheque paper" to prevent fraud, and customers had to attend in person and obtain a numbered form from the cashier. Once written, the cheque was brought back to the bank for settlement.

Until about 1770, an informal exchange of cheques took place between London banks. Clerks of each bank visited all the other banks to exchange cheques, whilst keeping a tally of balances between them until they settled with each other. Daily cheque clearing began around 1770 when the bank clerks met at the Five Bells, a tavern in Lombard Street in the City of London, to exchange all their cheques in one place and settle the balances in cash. See bankers' clearing house for further historical developments.

In 1811, the Commercial Bank of Scotland, it is thought, was the first bank to personalise its customers' cheques, by printing the name of the account holder vertically along the left-hand edge.[11] In 1830 the Bank of England introduced books of 50, 100, and 200 forms and counterparts, bound or stitched. These cheque books became a common format for the distribution of cheques to bank customers.

In the late 19th century, several countries formalised laws regarding cheques. The UK passed the Bills of Exchange Act in 1882, and India passed the Negotiable Instruments Act (NI Act) 1881; which both covered cheques.

In 1931 an attempt was made to simplify the international use of cheques by the Geneva Convention on the Unification of the Law Relating to Cheques. Many European and South American states as well as Japan joined the convention. Some countries, including the U.S. and members of the British Commonwealth, did not participate.

In 1959 a standard for machine-readable characters (MICR) was agreed and patented in the U.S. for use with cheques. This opened the way for the first automated reader/sorting machines for clearing cheques. As automation increased, the following years saw a dramatic change in the way in which cheques were handled and processed. Cheque volumes continued to grow; in the late 20th century, cheques were the most popular non-cash method for making payments, with billions of them processed each year. Most countries saw cheque volumes peak in the late 1980s or early 1990s, after which electronic payment methods became more popular and the use of cheques declined.

Apparently he only kept a small current account with them for convenience when he was in England. The cheques are mostly to self, with an occasional hotel or tailor.”
“Any pass-book?”
A passbook or bankbook is a paper book used to record bank transactions on a deposit account. Depending on the country or the financial institution, it can be of the dimensions of a chequebook or a passport.

Traditionally, a passbook is used for accounts with a low transaction volume, such as a savings account, and this is the term in which Wimsey uses it.
“I think all his important papers are in Paris. He has a flat there, near the river somewhere. We're in communication with the Paris police. He had a room in Albany.
Albany, Piccadilly, London – a Housing Development in the West End of London, initially designed by architect Robert Adam.

I've told them to lock it up till I get there. I thought of running up to town to-morrow.”

“Yes, you'd better. Any pocket-book?”
Men once carried coin purses, and the oldest known purse dates back more than 5000 years, and was worn by a man, Ötzi the Iceman. In early Modern Europe, when women's fashions moved in the direction of using small ornamental purses -- which evolved into handbags -- men's fashions were moving in another direction. Men's trousers replaced men's breeches during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, and pockets were incorporated in the loose, heavy material. This enabled men to continue carrying coins, and then paper currency, in small leather wallets, called pocketbooks.

“Yes; here you are. About £30 in various notes, a wine-merchant's card, and a bill for a pair of riding-breeches.”

“No correspondence?”

“Not a line.”

“No,” said Wimsey, “he was the kind, I imagine, that didn't keep letters. Much too good an instinct of self-preservation.”

“Yes. I asked the servants about his letters, as a matter of fact. They said he got a good number, but never left them about. They couldn't tell me much about the ones he wrote, because all the outgoing letters are dropped into the post-bag, which is carried down to the post-office as it is and opened there, or handed over to the postman when—or if—he calls. The general impression was that he didn't write much. The housemaid said she never found anything to speak of in the waste-paper basket.”

“Well, that's uncommonly helpful. Wait a moment. Here's his fountain-pen. Very handsome—Onoto with complete gold casing.
Onoto was a brand of fountain pen manufactured by De La Rue until 1958. De La Rue had made their name as high quality printers, responsible for the printing of bank notes and postage stamps. They had printed British and Indian stamps since 1865 and had started printing bank notes in 1860. By the first few years of the 20th Century, the directors had recognised that they may not hold on to the UK postage stamp contract and were actively looking for other sources of income. It was not surprising then, that the opportunity to move into the pen manufacturing business was met with such enthusiasm.

Sweetser's pen was openly embraced by Evelyn Andros De La Rue, a Director of the company who himself had recently patented a similar pen. Recognising the opportunity which such an invention would give his company the patent was purchased from Sweetser. At the time, the insertion of ink into fountain pens was undertaken largely with eye-droppers and was, at best, a clumsy and time-consuming affair. By making the ink-filling operation simple, Evelyn De La Rue recognised that his company would have an overwhelming advantage over all other pen manufacturing companies at a time when there was huge growth in the use of fountain pens.

Onoto is still making fountain pens today.

Dear me! entirely empty. Well, I don't know that one can deduce anything from that, exactly. I don't see any pencil about, by the way. I'm inclined to think you're wrong in supposing that he was writing letters.”

“I didn't suppose anything,” said Parker mildly. “I daresay you're right.”

Lord Peter left the dressing-table, looked through the contents of the wardrobe, and turned over the two or three books on the pedestal beside the bed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

“Right ho!” said Parker. “Where would you like to begin?”

Peter considered. “I think we'll start from Cathcart's bedroom,” he said.

The bedroom was of moderate size, with a single window overlooking the front door. The bed was on the right-hand side, the dressing-table before the window. On the left was the fireplace, with an arm-chair before it, and a small writing-table.

“Everything's as it was,” said Parker. “Craikes had that much sense.”

“Yes,” said Lord Peter. “Very well. Gerald says that when he charged Cathcart with bein' a scamp, Cathcart jumped up, nearly knockin' the table over.
Wimsey is downplaying the accusation. But what is a scamp? Origin: 1775–85; obsolete scampto travel about idly or for mischief, perhaps < obsolete Dutch schampento be gone < Old French escamperto decamp.

That's the writin'-table, then, so Cathcart was sittin' in the arm-chair. Yes, he was—and he pushed it back violently and rumpled up the carpet. See! So far, so good. Now what was he doin' there? He wasn't readin', because there's no book about, and we know that he rushed straight out of the room and never came back. Very good. Was he writin'? No; virgin sheet of blottin'-paper——”
Blotting paper is a highly absorbent type of paper or other material, used to absorb an excess of liquid substances (such as ink or oil) from the surface of writing paper or objects. Up until the 1960s or so, in England, hotels and private houses provided their guests with blotting paper, since everyone wrote with fountain-pens which had a tendency to smear if the excess ink were not blotted up.

“He might have been writing in pencil,” suggested Parker.

“That's true, old Kill-Joy, so he might.
The meaning is self evident. The term has been in use since from about 1770–80.

Well, if he was he shoved the paper into his pocket when Gerald came in, because it isn't here; but he didn't, because it wasn't found on his body; so he wasn't writing.”

“Unless he threw the paper away somewhere else,” said Parker. “I haven't been all over the grounds, you know, and at the smallest computation—if we accept the shot heard by Hardraw at 11.50 as the shot—there's an hour and a half unaccounted for.”

“Very well. Let's say there is nothing to show he was writing. Will that do? Well, then——”

Lord Peter drew out a lens and scrutinized the surface of the arm-chair carefully before sitting down in it.

“Nothing helpful there,” he said. “To proceed, Cathcart sat where I am sitting. He wasn't writing; he—you're sure this room hasn't been touched?”


“Then he wasn't smoking.”

“Why not? He might have chucked the stub of a cigar or cigarette into the fire when Denver came in.”

“Not a cigarette,” said Peter, “or we should find traces somewhere—on the floor or in the grate. That light ash blows about so. But a cigar—well, he might have smoked a cigar without leaving a sign, I suppose. But I hope he didn't.”


“Because, old son, I'd rather Gerald's account had some element of truth in it. A nervy man doesn't sit down to the delicate enjoyment of a cigar before bed, and cherish the ash with such scrupulous care. On the other hand, if Freddy's right and Cathcart was feelin' unusually sleek and pleased with life, that's just the sort of thing he would do.”

“Do you think Mr. Arbuthnot would have invented all that, as a matter of fact?” said Parker thoughtfully. “He doesn't strike me that way. He'd have to be imaginative and spiteful to make it up, and I really don't think he's either.”

“I know,” said Lord Peter. “I've known old Freddy all my life, and he wouldn't hurt a fly. Besides, he simply hasn't the wits to make up any sort of a story. But what bothers me is that Gerald most certainly hasn't the wits either to invent that Adelphi drama between him and Cathcart.”
The Adelphi Theatre is a 1500-seat West End theatre, located on the Strand in the City of Westminster. The present building is the fourth on the site. The theatre has specialised in comedy and musical theatre, and today it is a receiving house for a variety of productions, including many musicals. The theatre was Grade II listed for historical preservation on 1 December 1987.

In its early years, the theatre was known for melodrama, called Adelphi Screamers.

“On the other hand,” said Parker, “if we allow for a moment that he shot Cathcart, he had an incentive to invent it. He would be trying to get his head out of the—I mean, when anything important is at stake it's wonderful how it sharpens one's wits. And the story being so far-fetched does rather suggest an unpractised story-teller.”
“True, O King. Well, you've sat on all my discoveries so far. Never mind. My head is bloody but unbowed. Cathcart was sitting here——”
From the poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

At the age of 12, Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and at age 17 his leg was amputated just below the knee. Stoicism inspired him to write this poem. Henley led an active life until his death at the age of 53.

Publication history
The poem was written in 1875 in a book called Book of Verses, where it was number four in several poems called Life and Death (Echoes). At the beginning it bore no title. Early printings contained only the dedication To R. T. H. B.—a reference to Robert Thomas Hamilton Bruce (1846–1899), a successful Scottish flour merchant and baker who was also a literary patron. The title "Invictus" (Latin for "unconquered") was put in The Oxford Book of English Verse by editor Arthur Quiller-Couch.

“So your brother said.”

“Curse you, I say he was; at least, somebody was; he's left the impression of his sit-me-down-upon on the cushion.”

“That might have been earlier in the day.”

“Rot. They were out all day. You needn't overdo this Sadducee attitude, Charles. I say Cathcart was sitting here, and—hullo! hullo!”
The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Ancient Israel during the Second Temple period, starting from the 2nd century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society[1] As a whole, the sect fulfilled various political, social and religious roles, including maintaining the Temple. The Sadducees are often compared to other contemporaneous sects, including the Pharisees and the Essenes. Their sect is believed to have become extinct sometime after the destruction of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, but it has been speculated that later Karaites may have had some roots or connections with old Sadducee views.

The religious responsibilities of the Sadducees included the maintenance of the Temple in Jerusalem. Their high social status was reinforced by their priestly responsibilities, as mandated in the Torah. The Priests were responsible for performing sacrifices at the Temple, the primary method of worship in Ancient Israel. This also included presiding over sacrifices on the three festivals of pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Their religious beliefs and social status were mutually reinforcing, as the Priesthood often represented the highest class in Judean society. It is important to note that the Sadducees and the priests were not completely synonymous. Cohen points out that “not all priests, high priests, and aristocrats were Sadducees; many were Pharisees, and many were not members of any group at all.” It is widely believed that the Sadducees were descended from the House of Zadok and sought to preserve this priestly line and the authority of the Temple.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

The departure of the church-going element had induced a more humanitarian atmosphere.
An interesting comment from Dorothy Sayes, who was a devout Christian!
Mrs. Marchbanks stumped off upstairs to tell Mary that Peter had come, and the Colonel lit a large cigar. The Hon. Freddy rose, stretched himself, pulled a leather arm-chair to the fireside, and sat down with his feet on the brass fender, while Parker marched round and poured himself out another cup of coffee.
Brass fender are fire guards around fireplaces, to prevent logs from rolling off onto the floor.

“I suppose you've seen the papers,” he said.

“Oh yes, I read up the inquest,” said Lord Peter. “Y'know, if you'll excuse my saying so, I think you rather mucked it between you.”

“It was disgraceful,” said Mr. Murbles, “disgraceful. The Coroner behaved most improperly. He had no business to give such a summing-up. With a jury of ignorant country fellows, what could one expect? And the details that were allowed to come out! If I could have got here earlier——”

“I'm afraid that was partly my fault, Wimsey,” said Parker penitently. “Craikes rather resents me. The Chief Constable at Stapley sent to us over his head, and when the message came through I ran along to the Chief and asked for the job, because I thought if there should be any misconception or difficulty, you see, you'd just as soon I tackled it as anybody else. I had a few little arrangements to make about a forgery I've been looking into, and, what with one thing and another, I didn't get off till the night express. By the time I turned up on Friday, Craikes and the Coroner were already as thick as thieves, had fixed the inquest for that morning—which was ridiculous—and arranged to produce their blessed evidence as dramatically as possible.
The OED defines this as "close in confidence; intimate; familiar" There's a reference to 1833, but that quote calls it a proverb, so it's older.

"The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985) says "thick as thieves" means "intimate, conspiratorially close." And it also refers to an 1833 quote -- from "The Parson's Daughter" by Theodore E. Hook. "She and my wife are thick as thieves, as the proverb goes."

I only had time to skim over the ground (disfigured, I'm sorry to say, by the prints of Craikes and his local ruffians), and really had nothing for the jury.”

“Cheer up,” said Wimsey. “I'm not blaming you. Besides, it all lends excitement to the chase.”

“Fact is,” said the Hon. Freddy, “that we ain't popular with respectable Coroners. Giddy aristocrats and immoral Frenchmen.

I say, Peter, sorry you've missed Miss Lydia Cathcart. You'd have loved her. She's gone back to Golders Green and taken the body with her.”
Golders Green is an area in the London Borough of Barnet in London, England. Although having some earlier history, it is essentially a 19th century suburban development situated about 5.3 miles (8.5 km) north west of Charing Cross and centred on the crossroads of Golders Green Road and Finchley Road.

In the early 20th century it grew rapidly in response to the opening here of a tube station of the London Underground, adjacent to the Golders Green Hippodrome - home to the BBC Concert Orchestra for many years. It has a wide variety of housing and a busy main shopping street, Golders Green Road. The area is noted especially for its large Jewish population.

“Oh well,” said Wimsey. “I don't suppose there was anything abstruse about the body.”
“No,” said Parker, “the medical evidence was all right as far as it went. He was shot through the lungs, and that's all.”

“Though, mind you,” said the Hon. Freddy, “he didn't shoot himself. I didn't say anything, not wishin' to upset old Denver's story, but, you know, all that stuff about his bein' so upset and go-to-blazes in his manner was all my whiskers.”
All my whiskers – have yet to find out what this in reference to, probably from Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps Cockney rhyming slang?

“How do you know?” said Peter.

“Why, my dear man, Cathcart 'n I toddled up to bed together. I was rather fed up, havin' dropped a lot on some shares, besides missin' everything I shot at in the mornin', an' lost a bet I made with the Colonel about the number of toes on the kitchen cat, an' I said to Cathcart it was a hell of a damn-fool world, or words to that effect.

'Not a bit of it,' he said; 'it's a damn good world. I'm goin' to ask Mary for a date to-morrow, an' then we'll go and live in Paris, where they understand sex.' I said somethin' or other vague, and he went off whistlin'.”

Parker looked grave. Colonel Marchbanks cleared his throat.

“Well, well,” he said, “there's no accounting for a man like Cathcart, no accounting at all. Brought up in France, you know. Not at all like a straightforward Englishman. Always up and down, up and down! Very sad, poor fellow. Well, well, Peter, hope you and Mr. Parker will find out something about it. We mustn't have poor old Denver cooped up in gaol like this, you know.
[C13: from Old French jaiolecage, from Vulgar Latin caveola(unattested), from Latin caveaenclosure; see cage: the two spellings derive from the forms of the word that developed in two different areas of France, and the spelling gaolrepresents a pronunciation in use until the 17th century]
Awfully unpleasant for him, poor chap, and with the birds so good this year. Well, I expect you'll be making a tour of inspection, eh, Mr. Parker? What do you say to shoving the balls about a bit, Freddy?”

“Right you are,” said the Hon. Freddy; “you'll have to give me a hundred, though, Colonel.”
Typically a superior player – in this case at billiards, will spot an inferior player a certain number of points.

“Nonsense, nonsense,” said that veteran, in high good humor; “you play an excellent game.”

Mr. Murbles having withdrawn, Wimsey and Parker faced each other over the remains of the breakfast.

“Peter,” said the detective, “I don't know if I've done the right thing by coming. If you feel——”

“Look here, old man,” said his friend earnestly, “let's cut out the considerations of delicacy. We're goin' to work this case like any other. If anything unpleasant turns up, I'd rather you saw it than anybody else. It's an uncommonly pretty little case, on its merits, and I'm goin' to put some damn good work into it.”

“If you're sure it's all right——”

“My dear man, if you hadn't been here I'd have sent for you. Now let's get to business. Of course, I'm settin' off with the assumption that old Gerald didn't do it.”

“I'm sure he didn't,” agreed Parker.

“No, no,” said Wimsey, “that isn't your line. Nothing rash about you—nothing trustful. You are expected to throw cold water on my hopes and doubt all my conclusions.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Clouds of Witness cont

Mornin', Mrs. Marchbanks, Mornin' Mrs. P. Well, Mr. Murbles, how d'you like this bili—beastly weather?

Don't trouble to get up, Freddy; I'd simply hate to inconvenience you. Parker, old man, what a damned reliable old bird you are! Always on the spot, like that patent ointment thing.

I say, have you all finished? I meant to get up earlier, but I was snorin' so Bunter hadn't the heart to wake me. I nearly blew in last night, only we didn't arrive till 2 a.m. and I thought you wouldn't half bless me if I did. Eh, what, Colonel? Aeroplane. Victoria from Paris to London—North-Eastern to Northallerton—damn bad roads the rest of the way, and a puncture just below Riddlesdale.
Northallerton is an affluent market town and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies in the Vale of Mowbray and at the northern end of the Vale of York. It has a population of 15,741 according to the 2001 census. It has served as the county town of the North Riding of Yorkshire and since 1974, of North Yorkshire.

There has been a settlement at Northallerton since Roman times, however its growth in importance began in the 11th century when King William II gifted land to the Bishop of Durham. Under the Bishop's authority Northallerton became an important centre for religious affairs. It was also a focus for much conflict in subsequent years between the English and the Scots, most notably the Battle of the Standard, nearby in 1138, which saw losses of as many as 12,000 men.

In later years trade and transport became more important. Lying on the main route between Edinburgh and London it became an important stopping point for coaches travelling the route, eventually superseded by the growth of the railways in the 19th century. Lying in the centre of a large rural area Northallerton was established as a market town in 1200 by Royal Charter, and there is still a market in the town today.

It continues to be a major retail centre for the local area today. As the administrative centre for Hambleton district and the county of North Yorkshire, the council and several other associated public sector organisations have their headquarters in the town.

Damn bad bed at the 'Lord in Glory'; thought I'd blow in for the last sausage here, if I was lucky.
Lord in Glory is a [fictional] inn.

Inns are generally establishments or buildings where travellers can seek lodging and, usually, food and drink. They are typically located in the country or along a highway. Found in Europe, they possibly first sprang up when the Romans built their system of Roman roads two millennia ago. Some inns in Europe are several centuries old. In addition to providing for the needs of travellers, inns traditionally acted as community gathering places.

In Europe, it is the provision of accommodation, if anything, that now separates inns from taverns, alehouses and pubs. The latter tend to supply alcohol (and, in the UK, usually soft drinks and sometimes food), but less commonly accommodation. Inns tend to be grander and more long-lived establishments; historically they provided not only food and lodging, but also stabling and fodder for the traveller's horse(s) and fresh horses for the mail coach. Famous London examples of inns include the George and The Tabard. There is however no longer a formal distinction between an inn and other kinds of establishment. Many pubs use the name "inn", either because they are long established and may have been formerly coaching inns, or to summon up a particular kind of image, or in many cases simply as a pun on the word "in" such as "The Welcome Inn" the name of many pubs in Scotland.

The original functions of an inn are now usually split among separate establishments, such as hotels, lodges, and motels, all of which might provide the traditional functions of an inn but which focus more on lodging customers than on other services; public houses, which are primarily alcohol-serving establishments; and restaurants and taverns, which serve food and drink. (Hotels often contain restaurants and also often serve complimentary breakfast and meals, thus providing all of the functions of traditional inns.)

What? Sunday morning in an English family and no sausages? God bless my soul, what's the world coming to, eh, Colonel? I say, Helen, old Gerald's been an' gone an' done it this time, what? You've no business to leave him on his own, you know; he always gets into mischief. What's that? Curry? Thanks, old man. Here, I say, you needn't be so stingy about it; I've been travelling for three days on end. Freddy, pass the toast. Beg pardon, Mrs. Marchbanks? Oh, rather, yes; Corsica was perfectly amazin'—all black-eyed fellows with knives in their belts and jolly fine-looking girls. Old Bunter had a regular affair with the inn-keeper's daughter in one place. D'you know, he's an awfully susceptible old beggar. You'd never think it, would you? Jove! I am hungry. I say, Helen, I meant to get you some fetchin' crêpe-de-Chine undies from Paris, but I saw that old Parker was gettin' ahead of me over the bloodstains, so we packed up our things and buzzed off.”
Silk crape is woven of hard spun silk yarn in the gum or natural condition. There are two distinct varieties of the textile: soft, Canton, or Oriental crape, and hard or crisped crape. Thin crêpe is called crêpe de Chine ("Chinese crêpe").

Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson rose.

“Theodore,” she said, “I think we ought to be getting ready for church.”
“I will order the car,” said the Duchess. “Peter, of course I'm exceedingly glad to see you. Your leaving no address was most inconvenient. Ring for anything you want. It is a pity you didn't arrive in time to see Gerald.”

“Oh, that's all right,” said Lord Peter cheerfully; “I'll look him up in quod. Y'know it's rather a good idea to keep one's crimes in the family; one has so many more facilities. I'm sorry for poor old Polly, though. How is she?”
The Quota System (also known as The Quod), introduced by Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger in 1795, required each English county to provide a quota of men for the Royal Navy, based on its population and the number of its seaports — London, for example, had to provide 5,704 quotamen, while Yorkshire had to provide 1,081.

Because of the brutality of the Navy, it was often compared to being in prison. Thus quod soon came to be a term for prison as well.

"Polly" is a nickname for Mary, which was derived from another nickname for Mary, Molly. It is sometimes used as a name in its own right.

“She must not be disturbed to-day,” said the Duchess with decision.
“Not a bit of it,” said Lord Peter; “she'll keep. To-day Parker and I hold high revel.
Peter is referencing Horace (Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 B.C.),
Ode 1.1

Ivy for me! The grove for mine!
Where nymphs and satyrs hold high revel.
Where I can join the gods divine,
A bit above the lowbrow level.
And if you say: "Some bard, this guy!"
My soaring head shall touch the sky.

To-day he shows me all the bloody footprints—it's all right, Helen, that's not swearin', that's an adjective of quality. I hope they aren't all washed away, are they, old thing?”
“No,” said Parker, “I've got most of them under flower-pots.”
“Then pass the bread and squish,” said Lord Peter, “and tell me all about it.”
Squish is slang for marmalade.
Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from the juice and peel of citrus fruits, boiled with sugar and water. The benchmark citrus fruit for marmalade production in Britain is the "Seville orange" from Spain, Citrus aurantium var. aurantium, thus called because it was originally only grown in Seville in Spain; it is higher in pectin than sweet oranges and therefore gives a good set. The peel has a distinctive bitter taste which it imparts to the marmalade. Marmalade can be made from lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins and sweet oranges or any combination thereof. For example, California-style marmalade is made from the peel of sweet oranges and consequently lacks the bitter taste of Seville orange marmalade.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Scrabble superseded Wimsey

I just put on a Scrabble tournament yesterday here in Cheyenne - not as successful as I'd hoped. There are 8 people in my club - they showed up, and that was it. Despite the fact that we'd gotten a nice write up in our Wednesday paper - it generated no new people and no new spectators. Very disappointing.

But preparing for the tournament had taken up all my time, and that's why I've been lax here.

Regular posting starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clouds of Witness ch 2 cont

“Well, after all,” said Mrs. Marchbanks, “as Helen so rightly says, does it matter? Nobody's really got anything to be ashamed of. There has been a stupid mistake, of course, but I don't see why anybody who wants to shouldn't go to church.”
“Certainly not, certainly not, my dear,” said the Colonel heartily. “We might look in ourselves, eh dear? Take a walk that way I mean, and come out before the sermon.
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of preaching include exposition, exhortation and practical application.
I think it's a good thing. Shows we don't believe old Denver's done anything wrong, anyhow.”

“You forget, dear,” said his wife, “I've promised to stay at home with Mary, poor girl.”

“Of course, of course—stupid of me,” said the Colonel. “How is she?”

“She was very restless last night, poor child,” said the Duchess.

“Perhaps she will get a little sleep this morning. It has been a shock to her.”

“One which may prove a blessing in disguise,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson.

“My dear!” said her husband.

“Wonder when we shall hear from Sir Impey,” said Colonel Marchbanks hurriedly.

“Yes, indeed,” moaned Mr. Murbles. “I am counting on his influence with the Duke.”

“Of course,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson, “he must speak out—for everybody's sake. He must say what he was doing out of doors at that time. Or, if he does not, it must be discovered. Dear me! That's what these detectives are for, aren't they?”

“That is their ungrateful task,” said Mr. Parker suddenly. He had said nothing for a long time, and everybody jumped.

“There,” said Mrs. Marchbanks, “I expect you'll clear it all up in no time, Mr. Parker. Perhaps you've got the real mur—the culprit up your sleeve all the time.”

“Not quite,” said Mr. Parker, “but I'll do my best to get him. Besides,” he added, with a grin, “I'll probably have some help on the job.”

“From whom?” inquired Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson.

“Her grace's brother-in-law.”

“Peter?” said the Duchess. “Mr. Parker must be amused at the family amateur,” she added.

“Not at all,” said Parker. “Wimsey would be one of the finest detectives in England if he wasn't lazy. Only we can't get hold of him.”

“I've wired to Ajaccio—poste restante,” said Mr. Murbles, “but I don't know when he's likely to call there. He said nothing about when he was coming back to England.”
Ajaccio is a commune on the island of Corsica in France. It is the capital and largest city of the region of Corsica and the prefecture of the department of Corse-du-Sud.

Poste restante (French, trans. post remaining) or general delivery is a service where the post office holds mail until the recipient calls for it. It is a common destination for mail for people who are visiting a particular location and have no need, or no way, of having mail delivered directly to their place of residence at that time.

“He's a rummy old bird,” said the Hon. Freddy tactlessly, “but he oughter be here, what? What I mean to say is, if anything happens to old Denver, don't you see, he's the head of the family, ain't he—till little Pickled Gherkins comes of age.”
The gherkin is a vegetable similar in form and nutritional value to a cucumber. Gherkins and cucumbers belong to the same species (Cucumis sativus), but are from different cultivar groups.

They are usually picked when 4 to 8 cm (1 to 3 in) in length and pickled in jars or cans with vinegar (often flavored with herbs, particularly dill; hence, "dill pickle") or brine to resemble a pickled cucumber.

Why the son of the Duke of Denver is nicknamed Pickled Gherkins is anyone’s guess.

In the frightful silence which followed this remark, the sound of a walking-stick being clattered into an umbrella-stand was distinctly audible.

“Who's that, I wonder,” said the Duchess.

The door waltzed open.

“Mornin', dear old things,” said the newcomer cheerfully. “How are you all? Hullo, Helen! Colonel, you owe me half a crown since last September year."
The half crown was a denomination of British money worth half of a crown, equivalent to two and a half shillings (30 pennies), or one-eighth of a pound. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1967. The half crown was demonetised (ahead of other pre-decimal coins) on 1 January 1970, the year before the United Kingdom adopted decimal currency on Decimal Day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On travel til Wednesday

I'm visiting elderly relatives in Box Elder, SD who do not have internet.

Will try to sneak out now and again to an internet cafe to post, but more than likely will not be posting until Wedneday.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Clouds of Witness continued

Nor had Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson at all cared for Captain Denis Cathcart. She did not like a young man to be handsome in that obvious kind of way. But, of course, since Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson had wanted to come to Riddlesdale, it was her place to be with him. She was not to blame for the unfortunate result.
Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson was angry, quite simply, because the detective from Scotland Yard had not accepted his help in searching the house and grounds for footprints. As an older man of some experience in these matters (Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson was a county magistrate) he had gone out of his way to place himself at the man's disposal.
In the courts of England and Wales, magistrates—also known as justices of the peace (JPs)—hear prosecutions for and dispose of 'summary offences' and some 'triable-either-way offences' by making orders in regard to and placing additional requirements on offenders. Magistrates can only sentence for six months for one offence and twelve months consecutively, they can also give a maximum of a £5,000 fine; community orders which can include curfews, electronic tagging, requirements to perform unpaid work up to 300 hours or supervision up to three years and or various other options.

There are two types of magistrate in England and Wales: justices of the peace and district judges (formerly known as stipendiary magistrates) permanently employed by the Ministry of Justice (until May 2007, the Department for Constitutional Affairs). Justices of the peace sit voluntarily, apart from an allowance being paid for loss of earnings, mileage and subsistence (which are at a standardised rate agreed by the Ministry of Justice). According to requirements, around 50% of them are women. The majority are seen as "middle class, middle aged and middle minded" and over 41% of magistrates are retired from employment while others may be self-employed or able to arrange leave from their employment.

No formal qualifications are required but magistrates need intelligence, common sense, integrity and the capacity to act fairly. Membership is widely spread throughout the area covered and drawn from all walks of life. All magistrates receive training over a period of three months before sitting, carried out in conjunction with a mentoring program (mentors are magistrates with approximately five years service), which covers basic law and procedure and then continue to receive training throughout the first two years of their service and subsequently attend annual 'refresher courses.' Additional training is given to magistrates in the Youth Court, or those dealing with family matters. New magistrates sit with mentors on at least six occasions during their first year.

Magistrates are unpaid appointees but they may receive allowances to cover traveling expenses, subsistence and loss of earnings for those not paid by their employer whilst sitting as a magistrate.

Not only had the man been short with him, but he had rudely ordered him out of the conservatory, where he (Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson) had been reconstructing the affair from the point of view of Lady Mary.
All these angers and embarrassments might have caused less pain to the company had they not been aggravated by the presence of the detective himself, a quiet young man in a tweed suit, eating curry at one end of the table next to Mr. Murbles, the solicitor.
Tweed is a rough, unfinished woollen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern. Subdued, interesting colour effects (heather mixtures) are obtained by twisting together differently coloured woolen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn.

Tweeds are desirable for informal outerwear, being moisture-resistant and durable. Once worn in, tweeds are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Solicitors are lawyers who traditionally deal with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts. In the United Kingdom, a few Australian states and the Republic of Ireland, the legal profession is split between solicitors and barristers (or, in Scotland, advocates), and a lawyer will usually only hold one title.

This person had arrived from London on Friday, had corrected the local police, and strongly dissented from the opinion of Inspector Craikes.
If the individual in question is not of the “gentleman” class, he or she is referred to as a "person".

He had suppressed at the inquest information which, if openly given, might have precluded the arrest of the Duke. He had officiously detained the whole unhappy party, on the grounds that he wanted to re-examine everybody, and was thus keeping them miserably cooped up together over a horrible Sunday; and he had put the coping-stone on his offences by turning out to be an intimate friend of Lord Peter Wimsey's, and having, in consequence, to be accommodated with a bed in the gamekeeper's cottage and breakfast at the Lodge.
The coping stone is another term for the capstone – the covering of a wall to endure that water will run off it freely.

Mr. Murbles, who was elderly and had a delicate digestion, had travelled up in a hurry on Thursday night. He had found the inquest very improperly conducted and his client altogether impracticable. He had spent all his time trying to get hold of Sir Impey Biggs, K.C., who had vanished for the week-end, leaving no address.
Queen's Counsel (or QC), known as King's Counsel (or KC) during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of "Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law". Membership exists/existed in various Commonwealth countries around the world and it is a status, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court.

As members wear silk gowns of a particular design, the award of Queen's or King's Counsel is known informally as "taking silk". Appointments are made from within the legal profession on the basis of merit rather than a particular level of experience, however successful applicants tend to be solicitor advocates, barristers or advocates (in Scotland) with 15 years or more experience.

He was eating a little dry toast, and was inclined to like the detective, who called him “Sir,” and passed him the butter.
“Is anybody thinking of going to church?” asked the Duchess.
“Theodore and I should like to go,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson, “if it is not too much trouble; or we could walk. It is not so very far.”
“It's two and a half miles, good,” said Colonel Marchbanks.
Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson looked at him gratefully.
“Of course you will come in the car,” said the Duchess. “I am going myself.”
“Are you, though?” said the Hon. Freddy. “I say, won't you get a bit stared at, what?”
“Really, Freddy,” said the Duchess, “does that matter?”
“Well,” said the Hon. Freddy, “I mean to say, these bounders about here are all Socialists and Methodists....”
Socialism is an economic system in which the means of production are either state owned or commonly owned and controlled cooperatively; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. As a form of social organization, socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.

Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. The Methodist Church is known for its missionary work, and its establishment of hospitals, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools to follow Jesus' command to spread the Good News and serve all people.

Wesley, along with his brother founded the Holy Club while they were at Oxford, where John was a fellow and later a lecturer at Lincoln College. The holy club met weekly and they systematically set about living a holy life. They were branded as "Methodist" by students at Oxford who derided the methodical way they ordered their lives. Wesley took the attempted mockery and turned it into a title of honour. Initially Whitefield and the Wesleys merely sought reform, by way of a return to the gospel, within the Church of England, but the movement spread with revival and soon a significant number of Anglican clergy became known as Methodists in the mid-18th century. The movement did not form a separate denomination in England until after John Wesley's death in 1791.

“If they are Methodists,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson, “they will not be at church.”
“Won't they?” retorted the Hon. Freddy. “You bet they will if there's anything to see. Why, it'll be better'n a funeral to 'em.”
Methodists regard the funeral service as an opportunity to express their grief, celebrate the life of the deceased and affirm their faith.
“Surely,” said Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson, “one has a duty in the matter, whatever our private feelings may be—especially at the present day, when people are so terribly slack.”
After World War I, several old customs and constraints began to be flouted – such as women wearing more revealing clothing and so on.

She glanced at the Hon. Freddy.
“Oh, don't you mind me, Mrs. P.,” said that youth amiably. “All I say is, if these blighters make things unpleasant, don't blame me.”
“Whoever thought of blaming you, Freddy?” said the Duchess.
“Manner of speaking,” said the Hon. Freddy.
“What do you think, Mr. Murbles?” inquired her ladyship.
“I feel,” said the lawyer, carefully stirring his coffee, “that, while your intention is a very admirable one, and does you very great credit, my dear lady, yet Mr. Arbuthnot is right in saying it may involve you in some—er—unpleasant publicity. Er—I have always been a sincere Christian myself, but I cannot feel that our religion demands that we should make ourselves conspicuous—er—in such very painful circumstances.”
Mr. Parker reminded himself of a dictum of Lord Melbourne.
After listening to an evangelical sermon developing the virtues of a religion compulsory upon the daily life of all men Lord Melbourne is reported to have remarked: "Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life."

Viscount Melbourne, of Kilmore in the County of Cavan, was a title in the Peerage of Ireland held by the Lamb family. This family descended from Matthew Lamb, who represented Stockbridge and Peterborough in the House of Commons. In 1755 he was created a Baronet, of Brocket Hall in the County of Hertford, in the Baronetage of Great Britain. Lamb married Charlotte, daughter of Thomas Coke, through which marriage Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire came into the Lamb family.

The Melbourne who said the above quote was William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. He was a noted Whig politician and served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1834 and from 1835 to 1841. He was Queen Victoria's first Prime Minister, and she greatly relied upon his wisdom and experience in her early days on the throne, such that Melbourne's political foes complained that he had enthralled her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clouds of Wintness, Chapter 2


William Shakespeare used the term "green-eyed monster" for jealousy in his play Othello." The term green with envy has been common ever since, and since women and cats are associated...

“And here's to the hound
With his nose unto the ground——”
Drink, Puppy, Drink
The lyrics above are to a hunting song popular in England during the 1920s. Dogs were and are used to flush game, and fetch it once its been killed.

Some people hold that breakfast is the best meal of the day. Others, less robust, hold that it is the worst, and that, of all breakfasts in the week, Sunday morning breakfast is incomparably the worst.

The party gathered about the breakfast-table at Riddlesdale Lodge held, if one might judge from their faces, no brief for that day miscalled of sweet refection and holy love.
Sunday is called a day of “sweet reflection and holy love in a Lutheran hymn written by Christopher Wordsworth in the 1800s, also entitled “O day of rest anf gladness.”

The only member of it who seemed neither angry nor embarrassed was the Hon. Freddy Arbuthnot, and he was silent, engaged in trying to take the whole skeleton out of a bloater at once.
a herring or mackerel cured by being salted and briefly smoked and dried.

The very presence of that undistinguished fish upon the Duchess's breakfast-table indicated a disorganized household.

The Duchess of Denver was pouring out coffee. This was one of her uncomfortable habits. Persons arriving late for breakfast were thereby made painfully aware of their sloth. She was a long-necked, long-backed woman, who disciplined her hair and her children. She was never embarrassed, and her anger, though never permitted to be visible, made itself felt the more.

Colonel and Mrs. Marchbanks sat side by side. They had nothing beautiful about them but a stolid mutual affection. Mrs. Marchbanks was not angry, but she was embarrassed in the presence of the Duchess, because she could not feel sorry for her. When you felt sorry for people you called them “poor old dear” or “poor dear old man.” Since, obviously, you could not call the Duchess poor old dear, you were not being properly sorry for her. This distressed Mrs. Marchbanks. The Colonel was both embarrassed and angry—embarrassed because, 'pon my soul, it was very difficult to know what to talk about in a house where your host had been arrested for murder; angry in a dim way, like an injured animal, because unpleasant things like this had no business to break in on the shooting-season.
In England, the shooting season varies depending on the type of bird being shot – pheasant, grouse, ptarmigan, and so on. Basically, the shooting season was and is from September to February.

Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson was not only angry, she was outraged. As a girl she had adopted the motto stamped upon the school notepaper: Quæcunque honesta.
Latin for Always honest, inflexibly honest

She had always thought it wrong to let your mind dwell on anything that was not really nice. In middle life she still made a point of ignoring those newspaper paragraphs which bore such headlines as: “Assault upon a Schoolteacher at Cricklewood”; “Death in a Pint of Stout”; “£75 for a Kiss”; or “She called him Hubbykins.”
Stout is a dark beer from the ale variety of beers made using roasted malt or barley, hops, water, and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters, typically 7% or 8%, produced by a brewery.

There are a number of variations including Baltic porter, dry stout, and imperial stout. The name porter was first used in 1721 to describe a dark beer popular with street and river porters of London that had been made with roasted malts. This same beer later also became known as stout, though the word stout had been used as early as 1677.

She said she could not see what good it did you to know about such things. She regretted having consented to visit Riddlesdale Lodge in the absence of the Duchess. She had never liked Lady Mary; she considered her a very objectionable specimen of the modern independent young woman; besides, there had been that very undignified incident connected with a Bolshevist while Lady Mary was nursing in London during the war.
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903.

The Bolsheviks were the majority faction in a crucial vote, hence their name. They ultimately became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks came to power in Russia during the October Revolution phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and founded the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic which would later in 1922 become the chief constituent of the Soviet Union.

The Bolsheviks, founded by Vladimir Lenin, were by 1905 a mass organization consisting primarily of workers under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism, who considered themselves the leaders of the revolutionary working class of Russia. Their beliefs and practices were often referred to as Bolshevism. Bolshevik revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky commonly used the terms "Bolshevism" and "Bolshevist" after his exile from the Soviet Union to differentiate between what he saw as true Leninism and the regime within the state and the party which arose under Stalin.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Clouds of Witness, end of chapter 1

If they excluded suicide, there remained accident, manslaughter, or murder.
Difference between manslaughter and murder.
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.

The law generally differentiates between levels of criminal culpability based on the mens rea, or state of mind. This is particularly true within the law of homicide, where murder requires either the intent to kill – a state of mind called malice, or malice aforethought – or the knowledge that one's actions are likely to result in death; manslaughter, on the other hand, requires a lack of any prior intention to kill or create a deadly situation.

Manslaughter is usually broken down into two distinct categories: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

As to the first, if they thought it likely that deceased or any other person had taken out the Duke of Denver's revolver that night for any purpose, and that, in looking at, cleaning, shooting with, or otherwise handling the weapon, it had gone off and killed deceased accidentally, then they would return a verdict of death by misadventure accordingly. In that case, how did they explain the conduct of the person, whoever it was, who had dragged the body to the door?

The Coroner then passed on to speak of the law concerning manslaughter. He reminded them that no mere words, however insulting or threatening, can be an efficient excuse for killing anybody, and that the conflict must be sudden and unpremeditated. Did they think, for example, that the Duke had gone out, wishing to induce his guest to return and sleep in the house, and that deceased had retorted upon him with blows or menaces of assault?

If so, and the Duke, having a weapon in his hand, had shot deceased in self-defense, that was only manslaughter. But, in that case, they must ask themselves how the Duke came to go out to deceased with a lethal weapon in his hand? And this suggestion was in direct conflict with the Duke's own evidence.

Lastly, they must consider whether there was sufficient evidence of malice to justify a verdict of murder. They must consider whether any person had a motive, means, and opportunity for killing deceased; and whether they could reasonably account for that person's conduct on any other hypothesis. And, if they thought there was such a person, and that his conduct was in any way suspicious or secretive, or that he had willfully suppressed evidence which might have had a bearing on the case, or (here the Coroner spoke with great emphasis, staring over the Duke's head) fabricated other evidence with intent to mislead—then all these circumstances might be sufficient to amount to a violent presumption of guilt against some party, in which case they were in duty bound to bring in a verdict of willful murder against that party.

And, in considering this aspect of the question, the Coroner added, they would have to decide in their own minds whether the person who had dragged deceased towards the conservatory door had done so with the object of obtaining assistance or of thrusting the body down the garden well, which, as they had heard from Inspector Craikes, was situated close by the spot where the body had been found. If the jury were satisfied that deceased had been murdered, but were not prepared to accuse any particular person on the evidence, they might bring in a verdict of murder against an unknown person, or persons; but, if they felt justified in laying the killing at any person's door, then they must allow no respect of persons to prevent them from doing their duty.

Guided by these extremely plain hints, the jury, without very long consultation, returned a verdict of willful murder against Gerald, Duke of Denver.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Clouds of Witness continued

Inspector Craikes from Stapley had been brought back in the car with Dr. Thorpe. He had seen the body. It was then lying on its back, between the door of the conservatory and the covered well just outside. As soon as it became light, Inspector Craikes had examined the house and grounds. He had found bloody marks all along the path leading to the conservatory, and signs as though a body had been dragged along. This path ran into the main path leading from the gate to the front door. (Plan produced.) Where the two paths joined, a shrubbery began, and ran down on both sides of the path to the gate and the gamekeeper's cottage. The blood-tracks had led to a little clearing in the middle of the shrubbery, about half-way between the house and the gate. Here the inspector found a great pool of blood, a handkerchief soaked in blood, and a revolver. The handkerchief bore the initials D. C., and the revolver was a small weapon of American pattern, and bore no mark.

The conservatory door was open when the Inspector arrived, and the key was inside.

Deceased, when he saw him, was in dinner-jacket and pumps, without hat or overcoat.
The term “pumps” for shoes has been in use since the 1720s, but the origin is uncertain. For women, they are a lightweight, low-cut shoe without fastenings.
For men, they are a slip-on black patent leather shoe, for wear with formal dress.

He was wet through, and his clothes, besides being much blood-stained, were very muddy and greatly disordered through the dragging of the body. The pocket contained a cigar-case and a small flat pocket-knife. Deceased's bedroom had been searched for papers, etc., but so far nothing had been found to shed very much light on his circumstances.

The Duke of Denver was then recalled.

The Coroner: “I should like to ask your grace whether you ever saw deceased in possession of a revolver?”

Duke of D.: “Not since the war.”
World War I

The Coroner: “You do not know if he carried one about with him?”

Duke of D.: “I have no idea.”

The Coroner: “You can make no guess, I suppose, to whom this revolver belongs?”

Duke of D. (in great surprise): “That's my revolver—out of the study table drawer. How did you get hold of that?” (Sensation.)

The Coroner: “You are certain?”

Duke of D.: “Positive. I saw it there only the other day, when I was hunting out some photos of Mary for Cathcart, and I remember saying then that it was getting rusty lying about. There's the speck of rust.”

The Coroner: “Did you keep it loaded?”

Duke of D.: “Lord, no! I really don't know why it was there. I fancy I turned it out one day with some old Army stuff, and found it among my shooting things when I was up at Riddlesdale in August. I think the cartridges were with it.”
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head (centerfire ammunition) or at its rim (rimfire ammunition). Electrically fired cartridges have also been made. Caseless ammunition has been made as well. A cartridge without a bullet is called a blank; one that is completely inert is called a dummy. In popular use, the term "bullet" is often misused to refer to complete cartridges. This is incorrect; "bullet" refers specifically to the projectile itself, not the entire cartridge.

The Coroner: “Was the drawer locked?”

Duke of D.: “Yes, but the key was in the lock. My wife tells me I'm careless.”

The Coroner: “Did anybody else know the revolver was there?”

Duke of D.: “Fleming did, I think. I don't know of anybody else.”

Detective-Inspector Parker of Scotland Yard, having only arrived on Friday, had been unable as yet to make any very close investigation. Certain indications led him to think that some person or persons had been on the scene of the tragedy in addition to those who had taken part in the discovery. He preferred to say nothing more at present.

The Coroner then reconstructed the evidence in chronological order:

At, or a little after, ten o'clock there had been a quarrel between deceased and the Duke of Denver, after which deceased had left the house never to be seen alive again. They had the evidence of Mr. Pettigrew-Robinson that the Duke had gone downstairs at 11.30, and that of Colonel Marchbanks that he had been heard immediately afterwards moving about in the study, the room in which the revolver produced in evidence was usually kept. Against this they had the Duke's own sworn statement that he had not left his bedroom till half-past two in the morning. The jury would have to consider what weight was to be attached to those conflicting statements.

Then, as to the shots heard in the night; the gamekeeper had said he heard a shot at ten minutes to twelve, but he had supposed it to be fired by poachers. It was, in fact, quite possible that there had been poachers about. On the other hand, Lady Mary's statement that she had heard the shot at about three a.m. did not fit in very well with the doctor's evidence that when he arrived at Riddlesdale at 4.30 deceased had been already three or four hours dead. They would remember also that in Dr. Thorpe's opinion, death had not immediately followed the wound. If they believed this evidence, therefore, they would have to put back the moment of death to between eleven p.m. and midnight, and this might very well have been the shot which the gamekeeper heard. In that case they had still to ask themselves about the shot which had awakened Lady Mary Wimsey. Of course, if they liked to put that down to poachers, there was no inherent impossibility.

They next came to the body of deceased, which had been discovered by the Duke of Denver at three a.m. lying outside the door of the small conservatory, near the covered well. There seemed little doubt, from the medical evidence, that the shot which killed deceased had been fired in the shrubbery, about seven minutes' distance from the house, and that the body of deceased had been dragged from that place to the house. Deceased had undoubtedly died as the result of being shot in the lungs. The jury would have to decide whether that shot was fired by his own hand or by the hand of another; and, if the latter, whether by accident, in self-defense, or by malice aforethought with intent to murder. As regards suicide, they must consider what they knew of deceased's character and circumstances.

Deceased was a young man in the prime of his strength, and apparently of considerable fortune. He had had a meritorious military career, and was liked by his friends. The Duke of Denver had thought sufficiently well of him to consent to his own sister's engagement to deceased. There was evidence to show that the fiancés, though perhaps not demonstrative, were on excellent terms. The Duke affirmed that on the Wednesday night deceased had announced his intention of breaking off the engagement. Did they believe that deceased, without even communicating with the lady, or writing a word of explanation or farewell, would thereupon rush out and shoot himself?

Again, the jury must consider the accusation which the Duke of Denver said he had brought against deceased. He had accused him of cheating at cards. In the kind of society to which the persons involved in this inquiry belonged, such a misdemeanor as cheating at cards was regarded as far more shameful than such sins as murders and adultery.

Possibly the mere suggestion of such a thing, whether well-founded or not, might well cause a gentleman of sensitive honor to make away with himself. But was deceased honorable? Deceased had been educated in France, and French notions of the honest thing were very different from British ones. The Coroner himself had had business relations with French persons in his capacity as a solicitor, and could assure such of the jury as had never been in France that they ought to allow for these different standards. Unhappily, the alleged letter giving details of the accusation had not been produced to them. Next, they might ask themselves whether it was not more usual for a suicide to shoot himself in the head. They should ask themselves how deceased came by the revolver. And, finally, they must consider, in that case, who had dragged the body towards the house, and why the person had chosen to do so, with great labor to himself and at the risk of extinguishing any lingering remnant of the vital spark, instead of arousing the household and fetching help.
Vitalism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is
1.a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from biochemical reactions
2.a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone and that life is in some part self-determining
Where vitalism explicitly invokes a vital principle, that element is often referred to as the "vital spark," "energy" or "élan vital", which some equate with the "soul".

Vitalism has a long history in medical philosophies: most traditional healing practices posited that disease results from some imbalance in the vital energies that distinguish living from non-living matter.