Thursday, March 29, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 5 cont

“Yes, my lord,” said Bunter gently. Dr. Lubbock was the “analytical gentleman.”

“Must have facts,” said Lord Peter, “facts. When I was a small boy I always hated facts. Thought of 'em as nasty, hard things, all knobs. Uncompromisin'.”

“Yes, my lord. My old mother——”

“Your mother, Bunter? I didn't know you had one. I always imagined you were turned out ready-made so to speak. 'Scuse me. Infernally rude of me. Beg your pardon, I'm sure.”

“Not at all, my lord. My mother lives in Kent, my lord, near Maidstone. Seventy-five, my lord, and an extremely active woman for her years, if you'll excuse my mentioning it. I was one of seven.”

“That is an invention, Bunter. I know better. You are unique. But I interrupted you. You were goin' to tell me about your mother.”

“She always says, my lord, that facts are like cows. If you look them in the face hard enough they generally run away. She is a very courageous woman, my lord.”

Lord Peter stretched out his hand impulsively, but Mr. Bunter was too well trained to see it. He had, indeed, already begun to strop a razor. Lord Peter suddenly bundled out of bed with a violent jerk and sped across the landing to the bathroom.

Here he revived sufficiently to lift up his voice in “Come unto these Yellow Sands.” Thence, feeling in a Purcellish mood, he passed to “I attempt from Love's Sickness to Fly,” with such improvement of spirits that, against all custom, he ran several gallons of cold water into the bath and sponged himself vigorously.
“Come unto these Yellow Sands.” Thence, feeling in a Purcellish mood, he passed to “I attempt from Love's Sickness to Fly,”
Wherefore, after a rough towelling, he burst explosively from the bathroom, and caught his shin somewhat violently against the lid of a large oak chest which stood at the head of the staircase—so violently, indeed, that the lid lifted with the shock and shut down with a protesting bang.
Lord Peter stopped to say something expressive and to caress his leg softly with the palm of his hand. Then a thought struck him. He set down his towels, soap, sponge, loofah, bath-brush, and other belongings, and quietly lifted the lid of the chest.
He set down his towels, soap, sponge, loofah, bath-brush, and other belongings,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clouds of Witness Ch 5

CHAPTER IV
—AND HIS DAUGHTER, MUCH-AFRAID
“The women also looked pale and wan.”
The Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print.

Bunyan began his work while in the Bedfordshire county gaol for violations of the Conventicle Act, which prohibited the holding of religious services outside the auspices of the established Church of England. Early Bunyan scholars like John Brown believed The Pilgrim's Progress was begun in Bunyan's second shorter imprisonment for six months in 1675, but more recent scholars like Roger Sharrock believe that it was begun during Bunyan's initial, more lengthy imprisonment from 1660-1672 right after he had written his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.

The English text comprises 108,260 words and is divided into two parts, each reading as a continuous narrative with no chapter divisions. The first part was completed in 1677 and entered into the stationers' register on December 22, 1677. It was licensed and entered in the "Term Catalogue" on February 18, 1678, which is looked upon as the date of first publication.

After the first edition of the first part in 1678, an expanded edition, with additions written after Bunyan was freed, appeared in 1679. The Second Part appeared in 1684. There were eleven editions of the first part in John Bunyan's lifetime, published in successive years from 1678 to 1685 and in 1688, and there were two editions of the second part, published in 1684 and 1686.

Mr. Bunter brought Parker's letter up to Lord Peter in bed on the Wednesday morning. The house was almost deserted, everybody having gone to attend the police-court proceedings at Northallerton. The thing would be purely formal, of course, but it seemed only proper that the family should be fully represented. The Dowager Duchess, indeed, was there—she had promptly hastened to her son's side and was living heroically in furnished lodgings, but the younger Duchess thought her mother-in-law more energetic than dignified.
For a titled woman to live in "furnished lodgings" - an apartment with furniture included - must be considered heroic. But why isn't she staying at the house with everyone else?


There was no knowing what she might do if left to herself. She might even give an interview to a newspaper reporter. Besides, at these moments of crisis a wife's right place is at her husband's side. Lady Mary was ill, and nothing could be said about that, and if Peter chose to stay smoking cigarettes in his pajamas while his only brother was undergoing public humiliation, that was only what might be expected. Peter took after his mother. How that eccentric strain had got into the family her grace could easily guess; the Dowager came of a good Hampshire family, but there was foreign blood at the roots of her family tree. Her own duty was clear, and she would do it.

Lord Peter was awake, and looked rather fagged, as though he had been sleuthing in his sleep. Mr. Bunter wrapped him solicitously in a brilliant Oriental robe, and placed the tray on his knees.
Fagged out - slang for being tired.

“Bunter,” said Lord Peter rather fretfully, “your café au lait is the one tolerable incident in this beastly place.”
Café au lait ("coffee with milk") is a French coffee drink. The meaning of the term differs between Europe and the United States; in both cases it means some kind of coffee with hot milk added, in contrast to white coffee, which is coffee with room temperature milk or other whitener added.

“Thank you, my lord. Very chilly again this morning, my lord, but not actually raining.”

Lord Peter frowned over his letter.

“Anything in the paper, Bunter?”

“Nothing urgent, my lord. A sale next week at Northbury Hall—Mr. Fleetwhite's library, my lord—a Caxton Confessio Amantis——”
Confessio Amantis ("The Lover's Confession") is a 33,000-line Middle English poem by John Gower, which uses the confession made by an ageing lover to the chaplain of Venus as a frame story for a collection of shorter narrative poems. According to its prologue, it was composed at the request of Richard II. It stands with the works of Chaucer, Langland, and the Pearl poet as one of the great works of late 14th century English literature.

In genre it is usually considered a poem of consolation, a medieval form inspired by Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy and typified by works such as Pearl. Despite this, it is more usually studied alongside other tale collections with similar structures, such as the Decameron of Boccaccio, and particularly Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, with which the Confessio has several stories in common.

“What's the good of tellin' me that when we're stuck up here for God knows how long? I wish to heaven I'd stuck to books and never touched crime. Did you send those specimens up to Lubbock?”

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont

“Craven Hotel,
“Strand, W.C.,
“Tuesday.

“My dear Wimsey,—A line as I promised, to report progress, but it's precious little. On the journey up I sat next to Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson, and opened and shut the window for her and looked after her parcels. She mentioned that when your sister roused the household on Thursday morning she went first to Mr. Arbuthnot's room—a circumstance which the lady seemed to think odd, but which is natural enough when you come to think of it, the room being directly opposite the head of the staircase. It was Mr. Arbuthnot who knocked up the Pettigrew-Robinson's, and Mr. P. ran downstairs immediately.

Mrs. P. then saw that Lady Mary was looking very faint, and tried to support her. Your sister threw her off—rudely, Mrs. P. says—declined 'in a most savage manner' all offers of assistance, rushed to her own room, and locked herself in. Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson listened at the door 'to make sure,' as she says, 'that everything was all right,' but, hearing her moving about and slamming cupboards, she concluded that she would have more chance of poking her finger into the pie downstairs, and departed.

“If Mrs. Marchbanks had told me this, I admit I should have thought the episode worth looking into, but I feel strongly that if I were dying I should still lock the door between myself and Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson. Mrs. P. was quite sure that at no time had Lady Mary anything in her hand. She was dressed as described at the inquest—a long coat over her pajamas (sleeping suit was Mrs. P.'s expression), stout shoes, and a woolly cap, and she kept these garments on throughout the subsequent visit of the doctor. Another odd little circumstance is that Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson (who was awake, you remember, from 2 a.m. onwards) is certain that just before Lady Mary knocked on Mr. Arbuthnot's door she heard a door slam somewhere in the passage. I don't know what to make of this—perhaps there's nothing in it, but I just mention it.

“I've had a rotten time in town. Your brother-in-law elect was a model of discretion. His room in Albany is a desert from a detecting point of view; no papers except a few English bills and receipts, and invitations. I looked up a few of his inviters, but they were mostly men who had met him at the club or knew him in the Army, and could tell me nothing about his private life. He is known at several night-clubs. I made the round of them last night—or, rather, this morning. General verdict: generous but impervious. By the way, poker seems to have been his great game. No suggestion of anything crooked. He won pretty consistently on the whole, but never very spectacularly.

“I think the information we want must be in Paris. I have written to the Sûreté and the Crédit Lyonnais to produce his papers, especially his account and cheque-book.
The former title of the French National Police was La Sûreté Nationale. It served initially as the criminal investigative bureau of the Paris police and did not function as the national command and control organization until much later, by which time it no longer had any detectives on its staff.

Both the PP of Paris's own Brigade Criminelle and the Direction centrale de la police judiciaire trace their history directly to the Sûreté.

Crédit Lyonnais is a historic French bank. In the early 1990s it was the largest French bank, majority state-owned at that point. Crédit Lyonnais was the subject of poor management during that period which almost led to its bankruptcy in 1993. It was acquired by another French bank (Crédit Agricole) in 2003.

“I'm pretty dead with yesterday's and to-day's work. Dancing all night on top of a journey is a jolly poor joke. Unless you want me, I'll wait here for the papers, or I may run over to Paris myself.

“Cathcart's books here consist of a few modern French novels of the usual kind, and another copy of Manon with what the catalogues call 'curious' plates. He must have had a life somewhere, mustn't he?
That would be French erotic novels. Not quite sure what "curious" plates means - more erotica?

“The enclosed bill from a beauty specialist in Bond Street may interest you. I called on her. She says he came regularly every week when he was in England.

“I drew quite blank at King's Fenton on Sunday—oh, but I told you that. I don't think the fellow ever went there. I wonder if he slunk off up into the moor. Is it worth rummaging about, do you think? Rather like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay. It's odd about that diamond cat. You've got nothing out of the household, I suppose? It doesn't seem to fit No. 10, somehow—and yet you'd think somebody would have heard about it in the village if it had been lost. Well, so long,

“Yours ever,
“Ch. Parker.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont

Wimsey stared at the lawyer with such honest astonishment as actually to disarm him.

“Remember this,” said the latter earnestly, “that if once the police get hold of a thing or a person it's no use relying on my, or Murble's, or anybody's professional discretion. Everything's raked out into the light of common day, and very common it is. Here's Denver accused of murder, and he refuses in the most categorical way to give me the smallest assistance.”

“Jerry's an ass. He doesn't realize——”

“Do you suppose,” broke in Biggs, “I have not made it my business to make him realize? All he says is, 'They can't hang me; I didn't kill the man, though I think it's a jolly good thing he's dead. It's no business of theirs what I was doing in the garden.' Now I ask you, Wimsey, is that a reasonable attitude for a man in Denver's position to take up?”

Peter muttered something about “Never had any sense.”

“Had anybody told Denver about this other man?”

“Something vague was said about footsteps at the inquest, I believe.”

“That Scotland Yard man is your personal friend, I'm told?”
“Yes.”
“So much the better. He can hold his tongue.”

“Look here, Biggs, this is all damned impressive and mysterious, but what are you gettin' at? Why shouldn't I lay hold of the beggar if I can?”

“I'll answer that question by another.” Sir Impey leaned forward a little. “Why is Denver screening him?”

Sir Impey Biggs was accustomed to boast that no witness could perjure himself in his presence undetected. As he put the question, he released the other's eyes from his, and glanced down with finest cunning at Wimsey's long, flexible mouth and nervous hands. When he glanced up again a second later he met the eyes passing, guarded and inscrutable, through all the changes expressive of surprised enlightenment; but by that time it was too late; he had seen a little line at the corner of the mouth fade out, and the fingers relax ever so slightly. The first movement had been one of relief.

“B'Jove!” said Peter, “I never thought of that. What sleuths you lawyers are. If that's so, I'd better be careful, hadn't I? Always was a bit rash. My mother says——”

“You're a clever devil, Wimsey,” said the barrister. “I may be wrong, then. Find your man by all means. There's just one other thing I'd like to ask. Whom are you screening?”

“Look here, Biggs,” said Wimsey, “you're not paid to ask that kind of question here, you know. You can jolly well wait till you get into court. It's your job to make the best of the stuff we serve up to you, not to give us the third degree. Suppose I murdered Cathcart myself——”

“You didn't.”

“I know I didn't, but if I did I'm not goin' to have you askin' questions and lookin' at me in that tone of voice. However, just to oblige you, I don't mind sayin' plainly that I don't know who did away with the fellow. When I do I'll tell you.”

“You will?”

“Yes, I will, but not till I'm sure. You people can make such a little circumstantial evidence go such a damn long way, you might hang me while I was only in the early stages of suspectin' myself.”
Circumstantial evidence is evidence in which an inference is required to connect it to a conclusion of fact, like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need for any additional evidence or the intervening inference.

On its own, it is the nature of circumstantial evidence for more than one explanation to still be possible. Inference from one piece of circumstantial evidence may not guarantee accuracy. Circumstantial evidence usually accumulates into a collection, so that the pieces then become corroborating evidence. Together, they may more strongly support one particular inference over another. An explanation involving circumstantial evidence becomes more valid as proof of a fact when the alternative explanations have been ruled out.

Circumstantial evidence allows a trier of fact to deduce a fact exists.[1] In criminal law, the inference is made by the trier of facts in order to support the truth of assertion (of guilt or absence of guilt).

Testimony can be direct evidence or it can be circumstantial. If the witness claims they saw the crime take place, this is considered direct evidence. For instance, a witness saying that the defendant stabbed the victim is direct evidence. By contrast, a witness who says that she saw the defendant enter a house, that she heard screaming, and that she saw the defendant leave with a bloody knife gives circumstantial evidence. It is the necessity for inference, and not the obviousness of a conclusion, that determines whether or not evidence is circumstantial.

Forensic evidence supplied by an expert witness is usually circumstantial evidence. A forensic scientist who testifies that ballistics proves the defendant’s firearm killed the victim gives circumstantial evidence from which the defendant’s guilt may be inferred. (Note that an inference of guilt could be incorrect if the person who actually fired the weapon was somebody else.)

On the other hand, the additional circumstantial evidence of the defendant's fingerprint on the trigger would dovetail with this piece to provide corroborating evidence.

The two areas in which circumstantial evidence is of most importance are civil and criminal cases where direct evidence is lacking.

“H'm!” said Biggs. “Meanwhile, I tell you candidly, I am taking the line that they can't make out a case.”
“Not proven, eh? Well, anyhow, Biggs, I swear my brother shan't hang for lack of my evidence.”
"Not proven" is a verdict available to a court in Scotland.

Under Scots law, a criminal trial may end in one of three verdicts: one of conviction ("guilty") and two of acquittal ("not proven" and "not guilty").

Historically, the two verdicts available to Scots juries were that the case had been "proven" or "not proven". However in a dramatic case in 1728 the jury asserted "its ancient right" to bring in a "not guilty" verdict even when the facts of the case were proven (see jury nullification). As the "not guilty" verdict gained wide acceptance amongst Scots juries, Scots began to use "not guilty" in cases where the jury felt the "not proven" verdict did not adequately express the innocence of the defendant. Shrewd defence then further encouraged this interpretation in order to persuade juries unwilling to bring in a "not guilty" verdict that the "not proven" could be brought in as a lesser or "third verdict".

The result is the modern perception that the "not proven" verdict is an acquittal used when the judge or jury does not have enough evidence to convict but is not sufficiently convinced of the defendant's innocence to bring in a "not guilty" verdict. Essentially, the judge or jury is unconvinced that the suspect is innocent, but has insufficient evidence to the contrary. In popular parlance, this verdict is sometimes jokingly referred to as "not guilty and don't do it again".

Out of the country, the "not proven" verdict may be referred to as the Scottish verdict, and in Scotland itself it may be referred to colloquially as the bastard verdict, which was a term coined by Sir Walter Scott, who was sheriff in the court of Selkirk.

"Of course not,” said Biggs, adding inwardly: “but you hope it won't come to that.”

A spurt of rain plashed down the wide chimney and sizzled on the logs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont


He steered skillfully away into a quiet channel of reminiscence. Lord Peter watched his statuesque profile against the fire; it reminded him of the severe beauty of the charioteer of Delphi and was about as communicative.
The Charioteer of Delphi, also known as Heniokhos (the rein-holder), is one of the best-known statues surviving from Ancient Greece, and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient bronze statues. The life-size statue of a chariot driver was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. It is now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum.

The statue was erected at Delphi in 474 BC, to commemorate the victory of a chariot team in the Pythian Games, which were held at Delphi every four years in honor of Pythean Apollo. It was originally part of a larger group of statuary, including the chariot, four (possibly six) horses and two grooms. Some fragments of the horses were found with the statue. When intact, it must have been one of the most imposing works of statuary in the world.

An inscription on the limestone base of the statue shows that it was commissioned by Polyzalus, the tyrant of Gela, a Greek colony in Sicily, as a tribute to Apollo for helping him win the chariot race. The inscription reads: [P]OLUZALOS MA nETHÊK[EN] ...]ON AES EUONUM APOLL[ON], which is reconstructed to read "Polyzalos dedicated me. ... Make him prosper, honoured Apollo."

The Sicilian cities were very wealthy compared with most of the cities of mainland Greece and their rulers could afford the most magnificent offerings to the gods, also the best horses and drivers. It is unlikely, however, the statue itself comes from Sicily. The name of the sculptor is unknown, but for stylistic reasons it is believed that the statue was cast in Athens. It has certain similarities of detail to the statue known as the Piraeus Apollo, which is known to be of Athenian origin.

The Charioteer himself is intact except that his left arm is missing. Greek bronzes were cast in sections and then assembled. When discovered, the statue was in three pieces—head and upper torso, lower torso, and right arm. The left arm was probably detached and lost before the statue was buried. This was probably done to protect it from looters, some time after the Sanctuary at Delphi was closed in the 4th century AD.


Detail of the statue's head, showing the inlaid eyesThe statue is one of the few Greek bronzes to preserve the inlaid glass eyes and the copper detailing of the eyelashes and lips. The headband is of silver and may have been inlaid with precious stones, which have been removed.

The figure is of a very young man, as is shown by his soft side-curls. Like modern jockeys, chariot racers were chosen for their lightness, but also needed to be tall, so they were frequently teenagers. He is wearing a xystis, the garment which drivers wore while racing. It falls to his ankles and is fastened high at the waist with a plain belt. The two straps that cross high at his upper back prevented the xystis from "ballooning" during the race.

Stylistically, the Charioteer is classed as "Early Classical" or "Severe" (see Greek art). The statue is more naturalistic than the kouroi of the Archaic period, but the pose is still very rigid when compared with later works of the Classical period. One departure from the Archaic style is that the head is inclined slightly to one side. The naturalistic rendering of his feet was greatly admired in ancient times. This sculpture displays several advancements on Archaic sculpting style - the introverted expression does away with the old 'Archaic smile' and he would not have been clothed in the Archaic period.

• • • • • • • • • •
It was not until after dinner that Sir Impey opened his mind to Wimsey. The Duchess had gone to bed, and the two men were alone in the library. Peter, scrupulously in evening dress, had been valeted by Bunter, and had been more than usually rambling and cheerful all evening. He now took a cigar, retired to the largest chair, and effaced himself in a complete silence.

Sir Impey Biggs walked up and down for some half-hour, smoking. Then he came across with determination, brutally switched on a reading-lamp right into Peter's face, sat down opposite to him, and said:

“Now, Wimsey, I want to know all you know.”

“Do you, though?” said Peter. He got up, disconnected the reading-lamp, and carried it away to a side-table.

“No bullying of the witness, though,” he added, and grinned.

“I don't care so long as you wake up,” said Biggs, unperturbed. “Now then.”

Lord Peter removed his cigar from his mouth, considered it with his head on one side, turned it carefully over, decided that the ash could hang on to its parent leaf for another minute or two, smoked without speaking until collapse was inevitable, took the cigar out again, deposited the ash entire in the exact centre of the ash-tray, and began his statement, omitting only the matter of the suit-case and Bunter's information obtained from Ellen.

Sir Impey Biggs listened with what Peter irritably described as a cross-examining countenance, putting a sharp question every now and again. He made a few notes, and, when Wimsey had finished, sat tapping his note-book thoughtfully.

“I think we can make a case out of this,” he said, “even if the police don't find your mysterious man. Denver's silence is an awkward complication, of course.” He hooded his eyes for a moment. “Did you say you'd put the police on to find the fellow?”

“Yes.”

“Have you a very poor opinion of the police?”

“Not for that kind of thing. That's in their line; they have all the facilities, and do it well.”

“Ah! You expect to find this man, do you?”

“I hope to.”

“Ah! What do you think is going to happen to my case if you do find him, Wimsey?”

“What do I——”

“See here, Wimsey,” said the barrister, “you are not a fool, and it's no use trying to look like a country policeman. You are really trying to find this man?”

“Certainly.”

“Just as you like, of course, but my hands are rather tied already. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps he'd better not be found?”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont

Returning to Riddlesdale, Lord Peter found a new visitor seated at the tea-table. At Peter's entry he rose into towering height, and extended a shapely, expressive hand that would have made an actor's fortune. He was not an actor, but he found this hand useful, nevertheless, in the exploitation of dramatic moments. His magnificent build and the mobility of his head and mask were impressive; his features were flawless; his eyes ruthless. The Dowager Duchess had once remarked: “Sir Impey Biggs is the handsomest man in England, and no woman will ever care twopence for him.”
In England, the smallest coin was called a pence. Two pence was run rogether when spoaking as “twopence”, or more usually, “tuppence.”

He was, in fact, thirty-eight, and a bachelor, and was celebrated for his rhetoric and his suave but pitiless dissection of hostile witnesses. The breeding of canaries was his unexpected hobby, and besides their song he could appreciate no music but revue airs.
A revue is a type of multi-act popular theatrical entertainment that combines music, dance and sketches. In other words, Impey Biggs is not a fan of classical music or opera.

He answered Wimsey's greeting in his beautiful, resonant, and exquisitely controlled voice. Tragic irony, cutting contempt, or a savage indignation were the emotions by which Sir Impey Biggs swayed court and jury; he prosecuted murderers of the innocent, defended in actions for criminal libel, and, moving others, was himself as stone. Wimsey expressed himself delighted to see him in a voice, by contrast, more husky and hesitant even than usual.

“You just come from Jerry?” he asked. “Fresh toast, please, Fleming. How is he? Enjoyin' it? I never knew a fellow like Jerry for gettin' the least possible out of any situation. I'd rather like the experience myself, you know; only I'd hate bein' shut up and watchin' the other idiots bunglin' my case. No reflection on Murbles and you, Biggs. I mean myself—I mean the man who'd be me if I was Jerry. You follow me?”

“I was just saying to Sir Impey,” said the Duchess, “that he really must make Gerald say what he was doing in the garden at three in the morning. If only I'd been at Riddlesdale none of this would have happened. Of course, we all know that he wasn't doing any harm, but we can't expect the jurymen to understand that. The lower orders are so prejudiced. It is absurd of Gerald not to realize that he must speak out. He has no consideration.”
The Duchess (Gerald’s wife, not his and Peter’s mother, who would be the Dowager Duchess) is referring to the lower social orders – anyone who does not have a title behind their name - servants, tradesmen and businessmen.

“I am doing my very best to persuade him, Duchess,” said Sir Impey, “but you must have patience. Lawyers enjoy a little mystery, you know. Why, if everybody came forward and told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth straight out, we should all retire to the workhouse.”
“The truth..the truth” is the form of the oath given by people who are to testify at a trial in sworn testimony.

Sworn testimony is evidence given by a witness who has made a commitment to tell the truth. If the witness is later found to have lied whilst bound by the commitment, they can often be charged with the crime of perjury. The types of commitment can include oaths, affirmations and promises which are explained in more detail below. The exact wording of the commitments vary from country to country.

In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment. The earliest known use of the term dates from 1631, in an account by the mayor of Abingdon reporting that "wee haue erected wthn our borough a workehouse to sett poore people to worke".

The origins of the workhouse can be traced to the Poor Law Act of 1388, which attempted to address the labour shortages following the Black Death in England by restricting the movement of labourers, and ultimately led to the state becoming responsible for the support of the poor. But mass unemployment following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the introduction of new technology to replace agricultural workers in particular, and a series of bad harvests, meant that by the early 1830s the established system of poor relief was proving to be unsustainable. The New Poor Law of 1834 attempted to reverse the economic trend by discouraging the provision of relief to anyone who refused to enter a workhouse. Some Poor Law authorities hoped to run workhouses at a profit by utilising the free labour of their inmates, who generally lacked the skills or motivation to compete in the open market. Most were employed on tasks such as breaking stones, bone crushing to produce fertilizer, or picking oakum using a large metal nail known as a spike, perhaps the origin of the workhouse's nickname.

Life in a workhouse was intended to be harsh, to deter the able-bodied poor and to ensure that only the truly destitute would apply. But in areas such as the provision of free medical care and education for children, neither of which was available to the poor in England living outside workhouses until the early 20th century, workhouse inmates were advantaged over the general population, a dilemma that the Poor Law authorities never managed to reconcile.

As the 19th century wore on workhouses increasingly became refuges for the elderly, infirm and sick rather than the able-bodied poor, and in 1929 legislation was passed to allow local authorities to take over workhouse infirmaries as municipal hospitals. Although workhouses were formally abolished by the same legislation in 1930, many continued under their new appellation of Public Assistance Institutions under the control of local authorities. It was not until the National Assistance Act of 1948 that the last vestiges of the Poor Law disappeared, and with them the workhouses

“Captain Cathcart's death is very mysterious,” said the Duchess, “though when I think of the things that have come out about him it really seems quite providential, as far as my sister-in-law is concerned.”

“I s'pose you couldn't get 'em to bring it in 'Death by the Visitation of God,' could you, Biggs?” suggested Lord Peter. “Sort of judgment for wantin' to marry into our family, what?”

“I have known less reasonable verdicts,” returned Biggs drily. “It's wonderful what you can suggest to a jury if you try. I remember once at the Liverpool Assizes——”
The Courts of Assize, or assizes, were periodic criminal courts held around England and Wales until 1972, when together with the Quarter Sessions they were abolished by the Courts Act 1971 and replaced by a single permanent Crown Court. The assizes heard the most serious cases, which were committed to it by the Quarter Sessions (local county courts held four times a year), while the more minor offences were dealt with summarily by Justices of the Peace in petty sessions (also known as Magistrates' Courts).

The word assize refers to the sittings or sessions (Old French assises) of the judges, known as "justices of assize", who were judges of the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice who travelled across the seven circuits of England and Wales on commissions of "oyer and terminer", setting up court and summoning juries at the various Assize Towns.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont

The Police Superintendent at Ripley received Lord Peter at first frigidly, and later, when he found out who he was, with a mixture of the official attitude to private detectives and the official attitude to a Duke's son.

“I've come to you,” said Wimsey, “because you can do this combin'-out business a sight better'n an amateur like myself. I suppose your fine organization's hard at work already, what?”

“Naturally,” said the Superintendent, “but it's not altogether easy to trace a motor-cycle without knowing the number. Look at the Bournemouth Murder.”
Bournemouth (pronounced Burnmuth) is a large coastal resort town in the ceremonial county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth. With Poole and Christchurch, Bournemouth forms the South East Dorset conurbation, which has a total population of approximately 400,000.

Founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell, Bournemouth's growth accelerated with the arrival of the railway, becoming a recognised town in 1870. Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset with the reorganisation of local government in 1974. Since 1997 the town has been administered by a unitary authority, meaning that it has autonomy from Dorset County Council. The local authority is Bournemouth Borough Council.

Bournemouth's location on the south coast of England has made it a popular destination for tourists. The town is a regional centre of business, home of the Bournemouth International Centre and financial companies that include Liverpool Victoria and PruHealth.

He shook his head regretfully and accepted a Villar y Villar.
Handcrafted in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Villar y Villar is a classic medium-bodied blend comprised of tobaccos from three nations and wrapped in a Colorado Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper. It is a solid, no-nonsense cigar, packed with flavor and very fairly priced. (It is still made today.)

“We didn't think at first of connecting him with the number-plate business,” the Superintendent went on in a careless tone which somehow conveyed to Lord Peter that his own remarks within the last half-hour had established the connection in the official mind for the first time. “Of course, if he'd been seen going through Ripley without a number-plate he'd have been noticed and stopped, whereas with Mr. Foulis's he was as safe as—as the Bank of England,” he concluded in a burst of originality.

“Obviously,” said Wimsey. “Very agitatin' for the parson, poor chap. So early in the mornin', too. I suppose it was just taken to be a practical joke?”

“Just that,” agreed the Superintendent, “but, after hearing what you have to tell us, we shall use our best efforts to get the man. I expect his grace won't be any too sorry to hear he's found. You may rely on us, and if we find the man or the number-plates——”

“Lord bless us and save us, man,” broke in Lord Peter with unexpected vivacity, “you're not goin' to waste your time lookin' for the number-plates.
This is a phrase that many characters in many stories use, I can’t find an actual Biblical passage that says it.

What d'you s'pose he'd pinch the curate's plates for if he wanted to advertise his own about the neighbourhood? Once you drop on them you've got his name and address; s'long as they're in his trousers pocket you're up a gum-tree.
“Up a gum tree” is an Australian colloquism. It’s meaning is self-evident, but nowhere on the web was I able to find the origin of it. (The meaning of most colloquisms are self-evident, I would have thought. What people want to know is not what they mean, but how they originated!

Now, forgive me, Superintendent, for shovin' along with my opinion, but I simply can't bear to think of you takin' all that trouble for nothin'—draggin' ponds an' turnin' over rubbish-heaps to look for number-plates that ain't there. You just scour the railway stations for a young man six foot one or two with a No. 10 shoe, and dressed in a Burberry that's lost its belt, and with a deep scratch on one of his hands. And look here, here's my address, and I'll be very grateful if you'll let me know anything that turns up. So awkward for my brother, y'know, all this. Sensitive man; feels it keenly. By the way, I'm a very uncertain bird—always hoppin' about; you might wire me any news in duplicate, to Riddlesdale and to town—110 Piccadilly. Always delighted to see you, by the way, if ever you're in town. You'll forgive me slopin' off now, won't you? I've got a lot to do.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Clouds of Witness Ch 4 cont

Drat this stain! It's regular dried in. She and his grace could never get on, and when she was away in London during the war she had a rare old time, nursing officers, and going about with all kinds of queer people his grace didn't approve of. Then she had some sort of a love-affair with some quite low-down sort of fellow, so cook says; I think he was one of them dirty Russians as wants to blow us all to smithereens—as if there hadn't been enough people blown up in the war already!

After WWI, the Bolsheviks and Anarchists in Russia vied for power. Both movements also spread to other countries (Sacco and Vanzetti in the US advocated anarchism, for example.)

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relation. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations.

There are many types and traditions of anarchism, not all of which are mutually exclusive.[13] Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications. Anarchism is often considered to be a radical left-wing ideology, and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflect anti-statist interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism or participatory economics. However, anarchism has always included an individualist strain supporting a market economy and private property, or morally unrestrained egoism. Some individualist anarchists are also socialists or communists while some anarcho-communists are also individualists.

Anarchism as a social movement has regularly endured fluctuations in popularity. The central tendency of anarchism as a mass social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being primarily a literary phenomenon which nevertheless did have an impact on the bigger currents and individualists also participated in large anarchist organizations. Most anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, supporting self-defense or non-violence (anarcho-pacifism), while others have supported the use of some coercive measures, including violent revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society

Anyhow, his grace made a dreadful fuss, and stopped supplies, and sent for her ladyship home, and ever since then she's been just mad to be off with somebody. Full of notions, she is. Makes me tired, I can tell you. Now, I'm sorry for his grace. I can see what he thinks. Poor gentleman! And then to be taken up for murder and put in gaol, just like one of them nasty tramps. Fancy!”

Ellen, having exhausted her breath and finished cleaning off the bloodstains, paused and straightened her back.

“Hard work it is,” she said, “rubbing; I quite ache.”

“If you would allow me to help you,” said Mr. Bunter, appropriating the hot water, the benzine bottle, and the sponge.

He turned up another breadth of the skirt.

“Have you got a brush handy,” he asked, “to take this mud off?”

“You're as blind as a bat, Mr. Bunter,” said Ellen, giggling. “Can't you see it just in front of you?”

“Ah yes,” said the valet. “But that's not as hard a one as I'd like. Just you run and get me a real hard one, there's a dear good girl, and I'll fix this for you.”

“Cheek!” said Ellen. “But,” she added, relenting before the admiring gleam in Mr. Bunter's eye, “I'll get the clothes-brush out of the hall for you. That's as hard as a brick-bat, that is.”
In England, a brick that has been cut to various shapes is called a bat.

No sooner was she out of the room than Mr. Bunter produced a pocket-knife and two more pill-boxes. In a twinkling of an eye he had scraped the surface of the skirt in two places and written two fresh labels:

“Gravel from Lady Mary's skirt, about 6 in. from hem.”
“Silver sand from hem of Lady Mary's skirt.”

He added the date, and had hardly pocketed the boxes when Ellen returned with the clothes-brush. The cleaning process continued for some time, to the accompaniment of desultory conversation. A third stain on the skirt caused Mr. Bunter to stare critically.

“Hullo!” he said. “Her ladyship's been trying her hand at cleaning this herself.”

“What?” cried Ellen. She peered closely at the mark, which at one edge was smeared and whitened, and had a slightly greasy appearance.

“Well, I never,” she exclaimed, “so she has! Whatever's that for, I wonder? And her pretending to be so ill, she couldn't raise her head off the pillow. She's a sly one, she is.”

“Couldn't it have been done before?” suggested Mr. Bunter.

“Well, she might have been at it between the day the Captain was killed and the inquest,” agreed Ellen, “though you wouldn't think that was a time to choose to begin learning domestic work. She ain't much hand at it, anyhow, for all her nursing. I never believed that came to anything.”

“She's used soap,” said Mr. Bunter, benzining away resolutely. “Can she boil water in her bedroom?”
In other words, does she have a gas ring, and a kettle to go with it, for example if she wanted to heat cocoa in the middle of the night without having to ring for it.

“Now, whatever should she do that for, Mr. Bunter?” exclaimed Ellen, amazed. “You don't think she keeps a kettle? I bring up her morning tea. Ladyships don't want to boil water.”

“No,” said Mr. Bunter, “and why didn't she get it from the bathroom?” He scrutinized the stain more carefully still. “Very amateurish,” he said; “distinctly amateurish. Interrupted, I fancy. An energetic young lady, but not ingenious.”

The last remarks were addressed in confidence to the benzine bottle. Ellen had put her head out of the window to talk to the gamekeeper.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Clouds of Witnesses cont

Then I should send it straight off to the analytical gentleman in London, and he'd look through his microscope, and tell me right off that it was rabbit's blood, maybe, and how many days it had been there, and that would be the end of that,” finished Mr. Bunter triumphantly, replacing his nail-scissors and thoughtlessly pocketing the pill-box with its contents.

“Well, he'd be wrong, then,” said Ellen, with an engaging toss of the head, “because it's bird's blood, and not rabbit's at all, because her ladyship told me so; and wouldn't it be quicker just to go and ask the person than get fiddling round with your silly old microscope and things?”

“Well, I only mentioned rabbits for an example,” said Mr. Bunter. “Funny she should have got a stain down there. Must have regularly knelt in it.”

“Yes. Bled a lot, hasn't it, poor thing? Somebody must 'a' been shootin' careless-like. 'Twasn't his grace, nor yet the Captain, poor man. Perhaps it was Mr. Arbuthnot. He shoots a bit wild sometimes. It's a nasty mess, anyway, and it's so hard to clean off, being left so long. I'm sure I wasn't thinking about cleaning nothing the day the poor Captain was killed; and then the Coroner's inquest—'orrid, it was—and his grace being took off like that! Well, there, it upset me. I suppose I'm a bit sensitive. Anyhow, we was all at sixes and sevens for a day or two, and then her ladyship shuts herself up in her room and won't let me go near the wardrobe.
To be "at sixes and sevens" is an English phrase and idiom used to describe a state of confusion or disarray.

Common in the United Kingdom, it likely derives from a complicated dice game called "hazard".[ It is thought that the expression was originally "to set on cinq and six" (from the French numerals for five and six). These are the riskiest numbers to shoot for (to "set on"), and anyone who tried for them was considered careless or confused.

The similar phrase "to set the world on six and seven", used by Geoffrey Chaucer in his Troilus and Criseyde, dates about the mid 1380's and seems from its context to mean "to hazard the world" or "to risk one's life".

It is possible an ancient dispute between the Merchant Taylors' and Skinners' Livery Companies may have helped to popularise it. The two, which were founded in the same year, argued over sixth place in the order of precedence. After more than a century, in 1484 the then Lord Mayor of London Sir Robert Billesden decided that at the feast of Corpus Christi, the companies would swap between sixth and seventh and feast in each others' halls. Nowadays they alternate in precedence on an annual basis.[1]

Compare this with the Chinese phrase qi shang ba xia (七上八下), with similar meaning, but instead uses the numbers seven and eight.

'Ow!' she says, 'do leave that wardrobe door alone. Don't you know it squeaks, and my head's so bad and my nerves so bad I can't stand it,' she says. 'I was only going to brush your skirts, my lady,' I says.

'Bother my skirts,' says her ladyship, 'and do go away, Ellen. I shall scream if I see you fidgeting about there. You get on my nerves,' she says. Well, I didn't see why I should go on, not after being spoken to like that. It's very nice to be a ladyship, and all your tempers coddled and called nervous prostration. I know I was dreadfully cut up about poor Bert, my young man what was killed in the war—nearly cried my eyes out, I did; but, law! Mr. Bunter, I'd be ashamed to go on so. Besides, between you and I and the gate-post, Lady Mary wasn't that fond of the Captain.
Posts, of whatever sort, have long been used to epitomise deadness and unresponsiveness; for example, Richard Braithwaite's Solemne and Joviall Disputation, 1617, compares characters as 'like Posts can neither speake nor goe'. We retain the allusion in the idiomatic phrase 'as deaf as a post'. In the 17th century posts were also called stupid. Horace Walpole made clear the widespread use of that, in his letters in 1753:

'As stupid as a POST,' is a phrase perpetually made use of.

'Between you, me and the bed-post' has several variants - 'between you, me and the post' is a commonly found early example, but any kind of post would do. Later versions have it as 'between you, me and the gate-post', 'between you. me and the fence-post' etc, etc. The imagery of the phrase is clearly that 'this is between us two; the only other to be allowed into the confidence is deaf, blind and mute'.

The earliest version used might be expected to be the unadorned 'between you, me and the post' and that elaborations on that would come later. That may well be the case but the earliest citation I have found is an example of the 'bed-post' version, in Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel Eugene Aram, 1832:

"Between you and me and the bed-post - young master's quarrelled with old master."

Never appreciated him, that's what I said to cook at the time, and she agreed with me. He had a way with him, the Captain had. Always quite the gentleman, of course, and never said anything as wasn't his place—I don't mean that—but I mean as it was a pleasure to do anythink for him. Such a handsome man as he was, too, Mr. Bunter.”
“Anythink” is not a typo, but a spelling to show the accent the maid uses.

“Ah!” said Mr. Bunter. “So on the whole her ladyship was a bit more upset than you expected her to be?”

“Well, to tell you the truth, Mr. Bunter, I think it's just temper. She wanted to get married and away from home.
In the 1920s, and all the way up until the 1960s, the only way a woman could leave home was to get married, as most women weren't paid living wages to work. Men were always paid more because, "after all, they had a family to support. And a woman will just work until she gets married, anyway".

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.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Clouds of Witness ch 4 cont

Sunday afternoon. Parker had gone with the car to King's Fenton, with orders to look in at Riddlesdale on the way and inquire for a green-eyed cat, also for a young man with a side-car. The Duchess was lying down. Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson had taken her husband for a brisk walk. Upstairs, somewhere, Mrs. Marchbanks enjoyed a perfect communion of thought with her husband.

Lord Peter's pen gritted gently over the paper, stopped, moved on again, stopped altogether.
Fountain pens grit, as opposed to biros – ballpoint pens – which don’t.
A ballpoint pen is a writing instrument with an internal ink reservoir and a sphere for a point. The internal chamber is filled with a viscous ink that is dispensed at its tip during use by the rolling action of a small sphere. The sphere, usually from 0.5 mm to 1.2 mm in diameter, may be made of brass, steel, tungsten carbide, or any durable, hard (nondeformable) material.

The manufacture of economical, reliable ballpoint pens arose from experimentation, modern chemistry, and the precision manufacturing capabilities of 20th century technology. Many patents worldwide are testaments to failed attempts at making these pens commercially viable and widely available. The ballpoint pen went through several failures in design throughout its early stages.

The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued on 30 October 1888, to John Loud, a leather tanner, who was attempting to make a writing instrument that would be able to write on his leather products, which then-common fountain pens could not do. Loud's pen had a small rotating steel ball, held in place by a socket. Although it could be used to mark rough surfaces such as leather, as Loud intended, it proved to be too coarse for letter writing and was not commercially viable.

In the period between 1904 and 1946 particularly, alternatives or improvements to the fountain pen were invented. Slavoljub Eduard Penkala invented a solid-ink fountain pen in 1907, a German inventor named Baum took out a ballpoint patent in 1910, and yet another ballpoint pen device was patented by Van Vechten Riesburg in 1916. In these inventions, the ink was placed in a thin tube whose end was blocked by a tiny ball, held so that it could not slip into the tube or fall out of the pen. The ink clung to the ball, which spun as the pen was drawn across the paper. These proto-ballpoints did not deliver the ink evenly. If the ball socket were too tight, the ink did not reach the paper. If it were too loose, ink flowed past the tip, leaking or making smears. Many inventors tried to fix these problems, but without commercial success.

László Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor, was frustrated by the amount of time that he wasted in filling up fountain pens and cleaning up smudged pages, and the sharp tip of his fountain pen often tore the paper. Bíró had noticed that inks used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge free. He decided to create a pen using the same type of ink. Since, when tried, this viscous ink would not flow into a regular fountain pen nib, Bíró, with the help of his brother George, a chemist, began to work on designing new types of pens. Bíró fitted this pen with a tiny ball in its tip that was free to turn in a socket. As the pen moved along the paper, the ball rotated, picking up ink from the ink cartridge and leaving it on the paper. Bíró filed a British patent on 15 June 1938.
He leaned his long chin on his hands and stared out of the window, against which there came sudden little swishes of rain, and from time to time a soft, dead leaf. The Colonel snored; the fire tinkled; the Hon. Freddy began to hum and tap his fingers on the arms of his chair. The clock moved slothfully on to five o'clock, which brought tea-time and the Duchess.
Afternoon tea, is a small meal snack typically eaten between 2pm and 5pm. The custom of afternoon tea originated in England in the 1840s. At the time, the various classes in England had a divergence in their eating habits. The upper classes typically ate luncheon at about midday and dinner (if not eschewed in favor of the later supper) at 8:00 pm or later, while the lower classes ate dinner at about 11:00 am and then a light supper at around 7:00 pm.

For both groups, afternoon tea filled a gap in the meals. The custom spread throughout the British Empire and beyond in succeeding decades. However, changes in social customs and working hours mean that most 21st Century Britons will rarely take afternoon tea, if at all.

Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar. The sugar and caffeine of the concoction provided fortification against afternoon doldrums for the working poor of 19th and early 20th century England who had a significantly lower calorie count and more physically demanding occupation than most westerners today. For laborers, the tea was sometimes accompanied by a small sandwich or baked good (such as scones) that had been packed for them in the morning. For the more privileged, afternoon tea was accompanied by luxury ingredient sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam) and usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg, fruit cake or Victoria sponge).

In hotels and tea shops the food is often served on a tiered stand; there may be no sandwiches, but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread, or toast, muffins or crumpets. Nowadays, a formal afternoon tea is usually taken as a treat in a hotel or tea shop. In everyday life, many Britons take a much simpler refreshment consisting of tea (and occasionally biscuits) as one of many short tea breaks throughout the day.

While visiting Belvoir Castle, Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford, is credited as the first person to have transformed afternoon tea in England into a late-afternoon meal rather than a simple refreshment.

Isabella Beeton, whose books on home economics were widely read in the 19th Century, describes afternoon teas of various kinds: the old-fashioned tea, the at-home tea, the family tea and the high tea and provides menus.

High tea
High tea (also known as meat tea) is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5pm and 7pm. It is now largely followed by a lighter meal later in the evening.

High tea typically consists of a hot dish such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, or macaroni cheese, followed by cakes and bread, butter and jam. Occasionally there would be cold cuts of meat, such as ham salad. Traditionally high tea was eaten by middle to upper class children (whose parents would have a more formal dinner later) or by labourers, miners and the like when they came home from work. The term was first used around 1825 and high is used in the sense of well-advanced (like high noon, for example) to signify that it was taken later in the day.

In its origin, the term “high tea” was used as a way to distinguish it from afternoon tea. It is stated that the words 'low' and 'high' refer to the tables from which either meal was eaten. Afternoon tea was served in the garden where possible; otherwise it was usually taken in a day room, library or salon where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs generally (hence the fallacy about it being low tea). Most quality hotels in Britain serve afternoon tea, frequently in a palm court, and more recently have offered the option of champagne instead of tea.

“How's Mary?” asked Lord Peter, coming suddenly into the firelight.

“I'm really worried about her,” said the Duchess. “She is giving way to her nerves in the strangest manner. It is so unlike her. She will hardly let anybody come near her. I have sent for Dr. Thorpe again.”

“Don't you think she'd be better if she got up an' came downstairs a bit?” suggested Wimsey. “Gets broodin' about things all by herself, I shouldn't wonder. Wants a bit of Freddy's intellectual conversation to cheer her up.”

“You forget; poor girl,” said the Duchess, “she was engaged to Captain Cathcart. Everybody isn't as callous as you are.”

“Any more letters, your grace?” asked the footman, appearing with the post-bag.

“Oh, are you going down now?” said Wimsey. “Yes, here you are—and there's one other, if you don't mind waitin' a minute while I write it. Wish I could write at the rate people do on the cinema,” he added, scribbling rapidly as he spoke. “'Dear Lilian,—Your father has killed Mr. William Snooks, and unless you send me £1,000 by bearer, I shall disclose all to your husband.—Sincerely, Earl of Digglesbrake.' That's the style; and all done in one scrape of the pen. Here you are, Fleming.”

The letter was addressed to her grace the Dowager Duchess of Denver.
• • • • • • • • • •
From the Morning Post of Monday, November —, 19—:

“Abandoned Motor-cycle
“A singular discovery was made yesterday by a cattle-drover.
A drover in Australia is a person, typically an experienced stockman, who moves livestock, usually sheep or cattle, "on the hoof" over long distances. Reasons for droving may include: delivering animals to a new owner's property, taking animals to market, or moving animals during a drought in search of better feed and/or water. Moving a small mob of quiet cattle is relatively easy, but moving several hundred head of wild station cattle over long distances is a completely different matter

He is accustomed to water his animals in a certain pond lying a little off the road about twelve miles south of Ripley. On this occasion he saw that one of them appeared to be in difficulties. On going to the rescue, he found the animal entangled in a motor-cycle, which had been driven into the pond and abandoned. With the assistance of a couple of workmen he extricated the machine. It is a Douglas, with dark-grey side-car.

The number-plates and license-holder have been carefully removed. The pond is a deep one, and the outfit was entirely submerged. It seems probable, however, that it could not have been there for more than a week, since the pond is much used on Sundays and Mondays for the watering of cattle. The police are making search for the owner. The front tire of the bicycle is a new Dunlop, and the side-car tyre has been repaired with a gaiter. The machine is a 1914 model, much worn.”

“That seems to strike a chord,” said Lord Peter musingly. He consulted a time-table for the time of the next train to Ripley, and ordered the car.

“And send Bunter to me,” he added.

That gentleman arrived just as his master was struggling into an overcoat.

“What was that thing in last Thursday's paper about a number-plate, Bunter?” inquired his lordship.