Monday, January 9, 2012

Clouds of Witness cont

Sorry for the long delay in posting. Will now be back to every other day.
“No such luck,” said Parker. “It's more a case of:
“They followed from the earthy bank
Those footsteps one by one,
Into the middle of the plank;
And farther there were none!”
A poem by William Wordsworth. Lucy Gray; Or, Solitude. 1799

“Great poet, Wordsworth,” said Lord Peter; “how often I've had that feeling. Now let's see. These footmarks—a man's No. 10 with worn-down heels and a patch on the left inner side—advance from the hard bit of the path which shows no footmarks; they come to the body—here, where that pool of blood is. I say, that's rather odd, don't you think? No? Perhaps not. There are no footmarks under the body? Can't say, it's such a mess. Well, the Unknown gets so far—here's a footmark deeply pressed in. Was he just going to throw Cathcart into the well? He hears a sound; he starts; he turns; he runs on tiptoe—into the shrubbery, by Jove!”
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter (Latin Iuppiter) or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon.

Jupiter may have begun as a sky-god, concerned mainly with wine festivals and associated with the sacred oak on the Capitol. If so, he developed a twofold character. He received the spolia opima and became a god of war; as Stator he made the armies stand firm and as Victor he gave them victory. As the sky-god, he was the first resort as a divine witness to oaths.

Jupiter's primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices.

Jupiter was the central deity of the early Capitoline Triad of Roman state religion, comprising Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus, who each possessed some measure of the divine characteristics essential to Rome's agricultural economy, social organisation and success in war. He retained this position as senior deity among the later Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto. Each of them presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, land, and underworld. Jupiter remained Rome's chief official deity throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until displaced by the religious hegemony of Christianity.

“Yes,” said Parker, “and the tracks come out on one of the grass paths in the wood, and there's an end of them.”

“H'm! Well, we'll follow them later. Now where did they come from?”

Together the two friends followed the path away from the house. The gravel, except for the little patch before the conservatory, was old and hard, and afforded but little trace, particularly as the last few days had been rainy. Parker, however, was able to assure Wimsey that there had been definite traces of dragging and bloodstains.

“What sort of bloodstains? Smears?”

“Yes, smears mostly. There were pebbles displaced, too, all the way—and now here is something odd.”

It was the clear impression of the palm of a man's hand heavily pressed into the earth of a herbaceous border, the fingers pointing towards the house. On the path the gravel had been scraped up in two long furrows. There was blood on the grass border between the path and the bed, and the edge of the grass was broken and trampled.
A herbaceous border is a collection of perennial herbaceous plants (plants that live for more than two years and are soft-stemmed and non-woody) arranged closely together, usually to create a dramatic effect through colour, shape or large scale. The term herbaceous border is mostly in use in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. In North America, the term perennial border is normally used.

“I don't like that,” said Lord Peter.

“Ugly, isn't it?” agreed Parker.

“Poor devil!” said Peter. “He made a determined effort to hang on here. That explains the blood by the conservatory door. But what kind of a devil drags a corpse that isn't quite dead?”

A few yards farther the path ran into the main drive. This was bordered with trees, widening into a thicket. At the point of intersection of the two paths were some further indistinct marks, and in another twenty yards or so they turned aside into the thicket. A large tree had fallen at some time and made a little clearing, in the midst of which a tarpaulin had been carefully spread out and pegged down. The air was heavy with the smell of fungus and fallen leaves.

“Scene of the tragedy,” said Parker briefly, rolling back the tarpaulin.

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