Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Clouds of Witness, ch 5 cont


They went back and turned to the January volume, where they found no help. But on February 6th they read:

Peigne en écaille et diamants f.7,500
Chat en diamants (Dessin C-5) f.5,000

                “That settles it,” said Parker gloomily.

                “Monsieur does not appear content,” suggested the jeweller.

                “Monsieur,” said Parker, “I am more grateful than I can say for your very great kindness, but I will frankly confess that, of all the twelve months in the year, I had rather it had been any other.”

                Parker found this whole episode so annoying to his feelings that he bought two comic papers and, carrying them away to Boudet's at the corner of the Rue Auguste Léopold, read them solemnly through over his dinner, by way of settling his mind.
A café presumably named after Jean Boudet, who fought during the Napoleonic wars.
                Then, returning to his modest hotel, he ordered a drink and sat down to compose a letter to Lord Peter. It was a slow job, and he did not appear to relish it very much. His concluding paragraph was as follows:

                “I have put all these things down for you without any comment. You will be able to draw your own inferences as well as I can—better, I hope, for my own are perplexing and worrying me no end. They may be all rubbish—I hope they are; I daresay something will turn up at your end to put quite a different interpretation upon the facts. But I do feel that they must be cleared up. I would offer to hand over the job, but another man might jump at conclusions even faster than I do, and make a mess of it. But of course, if you say so, I will be taken suddenly ill at any moment. Let me know. If you think I'd better go on grubbing about over here, can you get hold of a photograph of Lady Mary Wimsey, and find out if possible about the diamond comb and the green-eyed cat—also at exactly what date Lady Mary was in Paris in February. Does she speak French as well as you do? Let me know how you are getting on.

 “Yours ever,             
“Charles Parker.”

                He re-read the letter and report carefully and sealed them up. Then he wrote to his sister, did up his parcel neatly, and rang for the valet de chambre.

                “I want this letter sent off at once, registered,” he said, “and the parcel is to go to-morrow as a colis postal.”
1) parcel, 2) postal package (Parcel Post)
After which he went to bed, and read himself to sleep with a commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.

The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity.

The epistle opens with an exaltation of Jesus as "the radiance of God's glory, the express image of his being, and upholding all things by his powerful word."[1:3] The epistle presents Jesus with the titles "pioneer" or "forerunner," "Son" and "Son of God," "priest" and "high priest." It has been described as an "intricate" New Testament book.

The epistle casts Jesus as both exalted Son and high priest, a unique dual Christology. Scholars argue over where Hebrews fits in the 1st century world. Despite numerous publications on this epistle, scholarly discussion has failed to yield a definitive consensus on most issues. One author says conclusions on most questions, including the one concerning authorship, should be avoided· · · · · · · · · ·
Lord Peter's reply arrived by return:

“Dear Charles,—Don't worry. I don't like the look of things myself frightfully, but I'd rather you tackled the business than anyone else. As you say, the ordinary police bloke doesn't mind whom he arrests, provided he arrests someone, and is altogether a most damnable fellow to have poking into one's affairs. I'm putting my mind to getting my brother cleared—that is the first consideration, after all, and really anything else would be better than having Jerry hanged for a crime he didn't commit. Whoever did it, it's better the right person should suffer than the wrong. So go ahead.

                “I enclose two photographs—all I can lay hands on for the moment. The one in nursing-kit is rather rotten, and the other's all smothered up in a big hat.

                “I had a damn' queer little adventure here on Wednesday, which I'll tell you about when we meet. I've found a woman who obviously knows more than she ought, and a most promising ruffian—only I'm afraid he's got an alibi. Also I've got a faint suggestion of a clue about No. 10. Nothing much happened at Northallerton, except that Jerry was of course committed for trial. My mother is here, thank God! and I'm hoping she'll get some sense out of Mary, but she's been worse the last two days—Mary, I mean, not my mother—beastly sick and all that sort of thing. Dr. Thingummy—who is an ass—can't make it out. Mother says it's as clear as noonday, and she'll stop it if I have patience a day or two. I made her ask about the comb and the cat. M. denies the cat altogether, but admits to a diamond comb bought in Paris—says she bought it herself. It's in town—I'll get it and send it on. She says she can't remember where she bought it, has lost the bill, but it didn't cost anything like 7,500 francs. She was in Paris from February 2nd to February 20th. My chief business now is to see Lubbock and clear up a little matter concerning silver sand.

                “The Assizes will be the first week in November—in fact, the end of next week. This rushes things a bit, but it doesn't matter, because they can't try him there; nothing will matter but the Grand Jury, who are bound to find a true bill on the face of it.
A “true bill” is a “bill of indictment.”
                After that we can hang matters up as long as we like. It's going to be a deuce of a business. Parliament sitting and all.
Old Biggs is fearfully perturbed under that marble outside of his. I hadn't really grasped what a fuss it was to try peers. It's only happened about once in every sixty years, and the procedure's about as old as Queen Elizabeth. They have to appoint a Lord High Steward for the occasion, and God knows what. They have to make it frightfully clear in the Commission that it is only for the occasion, because, somewhere about Richard III's time, the L.H.S. was such a terrifically big pot that he got to ruling the roost.
The position of Lord High Steward of England is the first of the Great Officers of State. The office has generally remained vacant since 1421, except at coronations and during the trials of peers in the House of Lords, when the Lord High Steward presides. In general, but not invariably, the Lord Chancellor was appointed to act as Lord High Steward in the latter situation. The trial of peers by their peers in the House of Lords was abolished in 1948, although trials on impeachment have not been abolished (though long obsolete). There was a "Court of the Lord High Steward" which served this purpose when Parliament was not in session.

Although initially the position was largely an honorary one, over time it grew in importance until its holder became one of the most powerful men of the kingdom. From the late 12th century, the office was considered to be bound with the Earldom of Leicester. When the House of Lancaster ascended the throne in 1399, Henry IV made his second son, Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence, Lord High Steward. He held the post until his death in 1421.

The Lord High Steward of Ireland in contrast is a hereditary title, also known as the Hereditary Great Seneschal, vested in the Earl of Shrewsbury, Waterford and Talbot, who is the Premier Earl of Ireland, Chetwynd-Talbot.
                So when Henry IV came to the throne, and the office came into the hands of the Crown, he jolly well kept it there, and now they only appoint a man pro tem. for the Coronation and shows like Jerry's.
Latin for “temporary”
                 The King always pretends not to know there isn't a L.H.S. till the time comes, and is no end surprised at having to think of somebody to take on the job. Did you know all this? I didn't. I got it out of Biggy.

                “Cheer up. Pretend you don't know that any of these people are relations of mine. My mother sends you her kindest regards and what not, and hopes she'll see you again soon. Bunter sends something correct and respectful; I forget what.

                “Yours in the brotherhood of detection,

“P. W.”

It may as well be said at once that the evidence from the photographs was wholly inconclusive.

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