Saturday, July 2, 2011

Clouds of Witness pt 2

For the last three months he had forsworn letters, newspapers, and telegrams. He had tramped about the mountains, admiring from a cautious distance the wild beauty of Corsican peasant-women, and studying the vendetta in its natural haunt. In such conditions murder seemed not only reasonable, but lovable.
In Corsica, vendetta was a social code that required Corsicans to kill anyone who wronged the family honor. It has been estimated that between 1683 and 1715, nearly 30,000 out of 120,000 Corsicans were killed in vendettas, and between 1821 and 1852, no fewer than 4,300 murders were perpetrated in Corsica.

Bunter, his confidential man and assistant sleuth, had nobly sacrificed his civilised habits, had let his master go dirty and even unshaven, and had turned his faithful camera from the recording of finger-prints to that of craggy scenery. It had been very refreshing.
Now, however, the call of the blood was upon Lord Peter.
Lord Peter’s blue blood, i.e. civilization.

They had returned late last night in a vile train to Paris, and had picked up their luggage. The autumn light, filtering through the curtains, touched caressingly the silver-topped bottles on the dressing-table, outlined an electric lamp-shade and the shape of the telephone. A noise of running water near by proclaimed that Bunter had turned on the bath (h. & c.) and was laying out scented soap, bath-salts, the huge bath-sponge, for which there had been no scope in Corsica, and the delightful flesh-brush with the long handle, which rasped you so agreeably all down the spine.
(h. & c.) =Hot and cold running water – not always available in hotels in the 1930s. Moreover, bathrooms were usually "down the hall" and shared between the people staying on that floor of the hotel or pensionne(private home turned into lodgings), unless they were specifically ordered "en suite" - within one's room.

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