Saturday, March 10, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont

Mr. Bunter produced, apparently by legerdemain, a cutting from an evening paper:
Sleight of hand, also known as prestidigitation ("quick fingers") or legerdemain, is the set of techniques used by a magician (or card sharp) to manipulate objects such as cards and coins secretly.

Sleight, meaning dexterity or deceptiveness, comes from the Old Norse slœgð,[3] meaning cleverness, cunning, slyness.[4] Sleight of hand is often mistakenly written as slight of hand or slide of hand.

Magicians in France would of course use the term “leger (light) de main (of hand).

“Number-plate Mystery
“The Rev. Nathaniel Foulis, of St. Simon's, North Fellcote, was stopped at six o'clock this morning for riding a motor-cycle without number-plates. The reverend gentleman seemed thunderstruck when his attention was called to the matter. He explained that he had been sent for in great haste at 4 a.m. to administer the Sacrament to a dying parishioner six miles away.
The Last Rites are the very last prayers and ministrations given to many Christians before death. The last rites go by various names and include different practices in different Christian traditions. They may be administered to those awaiting execution, mortally wounded or terminally ill. The term is used by some Christians outside the Roman Catholic Church

The ministration known as the Last Rites in the Catholic Church does not constitute a distinct sacrament in itself. It is rather a set of sacraments given to people who are extremely ill and believed to be near death. These are the sacraments of Anointing of the Sick (which, in spite of not being reserved for the dying, is sometimes mistakenly supposed to be what is meant by "the Last Rites"), Penance and the Eucharist. If all three are administered immediately one after another, the normal order of administration is: first Penance then Anointing, then Viaticum.

The Last Rites are meant to prepare the dying person's soul for death, by providing absolution for sins by penance, sacramental grace and prayers for the relief of suffering through anointing, and the final administration of the Eucharist, known as "Viaticum," which is Latin for "provision for the journey."

Reception of the Eucharist in this form is the only sacrament essentially associated with dying. Accordingly, "the celebration of the Eucharist as Viaticum is the sacrament proper to the dying Christian".[1] In the Roman Ritual's Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum, Viaticum is the only sacrament dealt with in Part II: Pastoral Care of the Dying.

Within that part, the chapter on Viaticum is followed by two more chapters, one on Commendation of the Dying, with short texts, mainly from the Bible, a special form of the litany of the saints, and other prayers, and the other on Prayers for the Dead. A final chapter provides Rites for Exceptional Circumstances, namely, the Continuous Rite of Penance, Anointing, and Viaticum, Rite for Emergencies, and Christian Initiation for the Dying. The last of these concerns the administration of Baptism and Confirmation to those who have not received these sacraments.

He hastened out on his motor-cycle, which he confidingly left by the roadside while executing his sacred duties. Mr. Foulis left the house at 5.30 without noticing that anything was wrong. Mr. Foulis is well known in North Fellcote and the surrounding country, and there seems little doubt that he has been the victim of a senseless practical joke. North Fellcote is a small village a couple of miles north of Ripley.”

“I'm going to Ripley, Bunter,” said Lord Peter.

“Yes, my lord. Does your lordship require me?”

“No,” said Lord Peter, “but—who has been lady's maiding my sister, Bunter?”
When a lady travels without a maid of her own, a servant of the household she’s visiting performs that function.

“Ellen, my lord—the housemaid.”

“Then I wish you'd exercise your powers of conversation on Ellen.”

“Very good, my lord.”

“Does she mend my sister's clothes, and brush her skirts, and all that?”

“I believe so, my lord.”

“Nothing she may think is of any importance, you know, Bunter.”

“I wouldn't suggest such a thing to a woman, my lord. It goes to their heads, if I may say so.”

“When did Mr. Parker leave for town?”

“At six o'clock this morning, my lord.”

• • • • • • • • • •
Circumstances favoured Mr. Bunter's inquiries. He bumped into Ellen as she was descending the back stairs with an armful of clothing. A pair of leather gauntlets was jerked from the top of the pile, and, picking them up, he apologetically followed the young woman into the servants' hall.

“There,” said Ellen, flinging her burden on the table, “and the work I've had to get them, I'm sure. Tantrums, that's what I call it, pretending you've got such a headache you can't let a person into the room to take your things down to brush, and, as soon as they're out of the way, 'opping out of bed and traipsing all over the place. 'Tisn't what I call a headache, would you, now? But there! I daresay you don't get them like I do. Regular fit to split, my head is sometimes—couldn't keep on my feet, not if the house was burning down. I just have to lay down and keep laying—something cruel it is. And gives a person such wrinkles in one's forehead.”

“I'm sure I don't see any wrinkles,” said Mr. Bunter, “but perhaps I haven't looked hard enough.” An interlude followed, during which Mr. Bunter looked hard enough and close enough to distinguish wrinkles. “No,” said he, “wrinkles? I don't believe I'd see any if I was to take his lordship's big microscope he keeps up in town.”

“Lor' now, Mr. Bunter,” said Ellen, fetching a sponge and a bottle of benzine from the cupboard, “what would his lordship be using a thing like that for, now?”
Petroleum ether, also known as benzine, VM&P Naphtha (varnish makers' & painters'), Petroleum Naphtha, Naphtha ASTM, Petroleum Spirits, X4 or Ligroin, is a group of various volatile, highly flammable, liquid hydrocarbon mixtures used chiefly as nonpolar solvents. Chemically, it is not an ether like diethyl ether, but a light hydrocarbon.

Petroleum ether is obtained from petroleum refineries as the portion of the distillate which is intermediate between the lighter naphtha and the heavier kerosene. It has a specific gravity of between 0.6 and 0.8 depending on its composition. The following distillation fractions of petroleum ether are commonly available: 30 to 40 °C, 40 to 60 °C, 60 to 80 °C, 80 to 100 °C, 80 to 120 °C and sometimes 100 to 120 °C. The 60 to 80 °C fraction is often used as a replacement for hexane. Petroleum ether is mostly used by pharmaceutical companies and in the manufacturing process. Petroleum ether consists mainly of pentane, and is sometimes used instead of pentane due to its lower cost.[1]

Benzine should not be confused with benzene or benzyne, nor should it be confused with gasoline although many languages call that with a name derived from benzine. Benzine is a mixture of alkanes, e.g., pentane, hexane, and heptane, whereas benzene is a cyclic, aromatic hydrocarbon, C6H6. Likewise, petroleum ether should not be confused with the class of organic compounds called ethers, which contain the R-O-R' functional group.

“Why, in our hobby, you see, Miss Ellen, which is criminal investigation, we might want to see something magnified extra big—as it might be handwriting in a forgery case, to see if anything's been altered or rubbed out, or if different kinds of ink have been used. Or we might want to look at the roots of a lock of hair, to see if it's been torn out or fallen out. Or take bloodstains, now; we'd want to know if it was animal's blood or human blood, or maybe only a glass of port.”

“Now is it really true, Mr. Bunter,” said Ellen, laying a tweed skirt out upon the table and unstoppering the benzine, “that you and Lord Peter can find out all that?”

“Of course, we aren't analytical chemists,” Mr. Bunter replied, “but his lordship's dabbled in a lot of things—enough to know when anything looks suspicious, and if we've any doubts we send to a very famous scientific gentleman.” (He gallantly intercepted Ellen's hand as it approached the skirt with a benzine-soaked sponge.)

“For instance, now, here's a stain on the hem of this skirt, just at the bottom of the side-seam. Now, supposing it was a case of murder, we'll say, and the person that had worn this skirt was suspected, I should examine that stain.” (Here Mr. Bunter whipped a lens out of his pocket.) “Then I might try it at one edge with a wet handkerchief.” (He suited the action to the word.) “And I should find, you see, that it came off red. Then I should turn the skirt inside-out, I should see that the stain went right through, and I should take my scissors” (Mr. Bunter produced a small, sharp pair) “and snip off a tiny bit of the inside edge of the seam, like this” (he did so) “and pop it into a little pill-box, so” (the pill-box appeared magically from an inner pocket), “and seal it up both sides with a wafer, and write on the top 'Lady Mary Wimsey's skirt,' and the date.
If you've ever received newsletters or brochures in the mail, chances are they were held together by wafer seals. Wafer seals are self-adhesive paper disks used to prepare self-mailing materials for delivery or to seal envelopes securely without glue. Some wafer seals are perforated to prevent damage while opening, while others may be serrated for decoration or embossed for personalization. Many stamp collectors also have an interest in certain vintage or historic wafer seals.

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