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Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes

Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes

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Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes

Longitud:
265 página
3 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Mar 16, 2011
ISBN:
9781456844295
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

DAVID B. BECKWITH was born in Cumbria,
U.K. His family emigrated to Perth, Western
Australia in 1969. He studied Mathematics
and Philosophy at the University of W.A. He is
now a retired I.T. Professional, also a polyglot,
a polymath, cook, painter, and an avid traveller
(having circumnavigated the globe, visited
Antarctica, and spent more than six months in
Central & South America). He lives in a rural
region bordering to the metropolitan area of Perth where he and
his wife grow vegetables and raise chickens for eggs. David makes
cheeses and fruit wines, when he is not writing Sherlock Holmes
Editorial:
Publicado:
Mar 16, 2011
ISBN:
9781456844295
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

David B. Beckwith was born in Cumbria, U.K. His family emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1969. He studied Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of W.A. He is now a retired I.T. Professional, also a polyglot, a polymath, cook, and an avid traveller (having circumnavigated the globe, visited Antarctica, and spent more than six months in Central & South America. He lives in a rural region bordering to the metropolititan area of Perth where he and his wife grow vegetables and raise chickens for eggs. David makes cheeses and fruit wines, when he is not writing Sherlock Holmes.

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Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes - David B. Beckwith

Beckwith

Copyright © 2011, 2014 by David B. Beckwith.

ISBN:          Softcover          978-1-4568-6939-7

                   eBook                978-1-4568-4429-5

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Rev. date: 06/19/2014

Xlibris LLC

1-800-455-039

www.Xlibris.com.au

515426

Contents

1.     The Case of the Scotched, Soused, & Strung Scotsman

2.     Dr. Watson & the Cartomancer

3.     The Colonial Conspiracy

4.     Bertie

5.     Sherlock Holmes & Jack the Ripper

For:

Antoinette

Christopher

David

Dominic

In memory of

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

Preface

This book contains the stories that Doctor John Hamish Watson never published: there are numerous reasons why this happened: unsuitability, politically unwise, censorship by Conan Doyle etc. But now that the years have passed, these tales can be told.

I dedicate this book to my wife Antoinette and friend Dominic who patiently proofread the texts and made constructive suggestions.

But I must also thank Christopher and David who coaxed me into commencing to write. This is volume one: there will be more to come I am sure.

This is the second edition of the book. I have corrected the enormous number of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. I have also adjusted the text to correct a few logical/plot errors, and to rationalise the format of the Forewords and Afterwords to match that of Volume II.

The Case of the Scotched,

Soused, & Strung Scotsman

Foreword

I can find no reason why my forebear did not publish this story. The strong references to the Free Masons leads me to suspect that the tale was ‘a little too close’ to some of the acquaintances of either Conan Doyle or my forebear.

James Innes Watson, 2010.

My good friend Dr. John Watson has bidden me to begin this account, as it is now more than two years since he had married Mary Marston, and he vacated the lodgings that we had shared since 1881. Thus my accustomed chronicler was not present when this case commenced.

It was a frightful late afternoon in March 1891, the rain was being hurled against the window panes of my lodgings in 221B Baker Street, Westminster, London.

I was irritated, I brooded upon Professor Moriarty my arch foe. I had been in France where the climate had been more favourable. This weather did not suit me. I had no detective case to solve; I was awaiting the second post and the evening papers in the hope that by some fortune an event might come forth to spike my interest. Otherwise the spike would be that of my cocaine needle.

I was playing dolorously on my violin, a rambling improvisation of my frustrated mind, making a tuneless dirge at which Sarasate would have cringed. (I take some of Watson’s dramatic license in the next sentence: my violin is a Stradivarius) I was about to fling my instrument aside and resort to the needle, when a knock came at my door. I leaped to my feet and opened it in glad relief that some event had broken the dour spell of that wet, noisome afternoon.

My landlady Mrs. Hudson handed to me a pale yellow envelope,

A telegraphic message for you Mr. Holmes, she said, and she withdrew.

Finding my letter opener (a scalpel that I had purloined from Watson) on the mantelshelf, I slit open the missive and extracted a flimsy piece of paper, and read:

LAIRD MACDOUGALL DEAD STOP FOUND IN LOCKED CELLAR STOP SCOTCHED SOUSED STRUNG STOP COME AT ONCE TO GLENFARG GRANGE AUCHTERMUCHTY STOP GILLIE ROBERT GRAHAM STOP

The ennui was over!

I hastened to pack a bag, exited 221B Baker Street, telling Mrs. Hudson that I would return in a day or maybe three. I proceeded at a brisk walk down Baker Street, into Marylebone Road and so to the consulting room and residence of my friend Dr. John Watson. This was less than half of a mile away at 18 Devonshire Place, just one block west of Harley Street.

I found Watson in his consulting room on the ground floor of the three-storey terraced house where he and Mary occupied the first two floors. He did not appear to be overly busy, nor appear to be about to become so. A scattering of notes and jottings were on his desk, no doubt he was attempting to arrange some details of one of our previous cases into order for his literary agent Dr. Conan Doyle.

I exclaimed, Ah Watson, the game is afoot. I trust that Mary and your practice can spare you for a day or two. Here, read this and I proffered him the telegraphic message.

I trust that you have a Scotch Almanac, and the train timetables to the far north.

*

Thus it was that I, John Watson, now continue the narrative.

Holmes said I, I have hardly seen of you these last twelve months and I continued remonstrating him,

And I have told you upon many occasions that ‘Scotch’ is the term for whisky from the highlands, and that ‘Scots’ or ‘Scottish’ is the correct adjective.

I read the telegraph, and said:

Surely Auchtermuchty must be on the continent. I do know a little German.

Holmes was ready to depart.

Watson, you exasperate me. The message clearly said ‘Laird’ and the names are not Germanic, I deduce that Scotland is our destination. Get the, he paused, Albion Almanac. Then he added And the train timetables. Then get yourself to packing, I feel that I will need your insights and probably your medical skills, into this singular case.

The Scots Almanac revealed that Glenfarg was in the land still known to the Scots as the Kingdom of Fife, north of the Firth of Forth, but to the south of the Firth of Tay. The MacDougalls had been the lairds in the region for at least 400 years.

The train timetables revealed that there was an overnight train to Edinburgh, but from there onwards my friend and I must needs use the local Scottish trains, and cross the new Firth of Forth rail bridge.

I hesitated, being appalled, to have to say the misnamed Special Scotch Express but argued with Holmes that surely the Express would be quicker than the night train.

Watson, there is no Scotch Express until ten tomorrow morning. We must away now. Now! The night train takes three hours longer, but we shall be in Edinburgh just a while after dawn, more than twelve hours before the Scotch Express.

Thus I hastened to the drawing room to inform my ever-forbearing wife, and then upstairs to pack my Gladstone.

Holmes and I crossed Marylebone Road to hail a hansom cab going eastwards to take us to King’s Cross station. It was there that we discovered that there were no first class seats available.

Ensconced in a second class carriage, half full of other passengers, and facing a long overnight journey north, I tried to get comfortable and get what whatever sleep I could. Holmes re-read the telegraph, and broke my napping:

Scotched, he said, must have other meanings, otherwise I deduce that the Gillie did not spend extra pennies sending superfluous information, this is not likely of a Scotchman. They are a very frugal people.

Struggling out of my snooze, I asked,

Enlighten me Holmes?

He replied: Because Watson, the Gillie also used SOUSED, I cannot deduce anything, after all aspects have been considered, but that SCOTCHED and SOUSED refer to different aspects of this death.

Now awakened, I pondered upon this. I must admit that fatigue was still overcoming me: Holmes’s decision of a sudden departure had deprived me of my dinner, and I was uncomfortably hungry. I again tried to get what rest I could.

I was awoken again to a commotion being made by our fellow passengers in the carriage, they were grumbling about toffs and their inconsiderate habits. Holmes was sat oblivious on the bench of the carriage with his long legs stretched out, his fingers steepled, his eyes shut, and his pipe clamped in his jaws. The carriage was a full of a blue/grey fog. I gave Holmes a sharp nudge, and said:

Holmes, it is the middle of the night, I no longer smoke, but usually I can ignore your malodorous habits, but our fellow passengers clearly object to your Turkish blend. Can we not sleep in peace and without the stink; Edinburgh is still hours away.

Holmes gave me a withering look, but extinguished the offending pipe, he closed his eyes again, resumed his posture, still with the pipe clamped in his jaws.

Sometime during the middle of the night the train passed into Yorkshire, the county of Holmes’s birth. Passing through the county of Durham we passed into Northumberland where I was born; and in the small hours of the morning we crossed the border into Scotland. There had been several stations at which the train had stopped during that very long night, but all that I will recount is that they had interrupted my sleep. But I was unconscious as to where they were, or what they were named.

We arrived in the Scots capital long after dawn, but it was still at the very early time of half past seven. The night journey had taken thirteen and a half hours. The inclement weather had followed us. The great grim grey granite Castle loomed over the station, wisps of clouds about the highest castellations.

Holmes hastened to arrange our transportation to Kinross in Fife, but the local train would not leave until nine thirty. The station master obliged with a telegraph form, Holmes wrote to the Gillie Rabbie Graham:

ARRIVED EDINBURGH STOP ARRIVING KINROSS ELEVEN THIRTY STOP ARRANGE TRANSPORT KINROSS TO GLENFARG FOR TWO STOP HOLMES STOP

Holmes had me check the form:

A little brusque, don’t you think? I said.

Holmes replied: I too can be as frugal as a Scotchman, especially when my fee has not been discussed. Already we are here in Edinburgh out-of-pocket, I am deducing that the Gillie has access to the privy purse of the deceased Laird, or his unnamed Lady.

Holmes! I cried, the Almanac made no mention of a Lady MacDougall!

"Sometimes Watson you amaze me! He is, or was, a Laird, of some 400 years lineage. His Gillie approaches me telegraphically over 400 miles to the south on the death of his master. I deduce that there is considerable ‘old’ money here. I further deduce that the Laird was unlikely to happen to ‘die’ as it may be put. Therefore I postulate that there was a Lady in the Laird’s life before his demise. A Gillie alone is unlikely to pay my fee."

I thought upon this for a moment or two before replying,

I accept your deductions, but as I warned you seven years ago after the matter with Irene Adler: you are a misogynist. I paused, then added:

Holmes, I am starving! We have eaten neither dinner last night, nor breakfast today. And it is cold!

It was of good fortune to us that Waverley Station at the foot of the crag bearing Edinburgh Castle, and it was only a short walk to Prince’s Street; the Scots capital’s main thoroughfare. Here we chanced upon an establishment that was open at that early hour, providing a fair menu of choices to break one’s fast. We both ate a plate of grilled bacon, poached eggs, and a slice of delicious fried haggis. Although I must admit to being hesitant to try this northern haggis delicacy, even though I had spent my early childhood not that far to the south in Northumberland. A large pot of very strong tea was provided, and was much appreciated. Holmes sat back, apparently replete; but I then ordered a scone to be accompanied by Aberdeen marmalade with whipped cream. Holmes gave another of his disparaging looks, so I just replied:

I have a healthy appetite. Moreover, I do not abuse my body with drugs. It was a long time since luncheon yesterday. And sugar will fuel me until I eat next whenever that may be!

I added the final comment because the arrangement of expenditure and income between my friend and I had never been resolved. Often Holmes’s sometimes seemingly bottomless purse paid for all. However my friend often dispatched me with a Go… and do… and no recompense was ever mentioned. Generally I feel my friend is fair and just; and I must not forget the monies I receive from the Strand Magazine via Dr. Conan Doyle for my tales of our investigations. Together we had advanced much since the days when I met my friend in 1881 when he needed a companion to help to pay the rent of 221B Baker Street. Holmes had gained a considerable reputation, and I in my part had augmented my modest medical income by chronicling our adventures and cases.

Now replete, Holmes and I again crossed Prince’s Park to the Waverley train station. The station master’s boy gave us our baggage ticket and ushered us to our carriage. In the other platform stood the gleaming so called Special Scotch Express ready for its departure to London later that morning.

We began our journey into the Kingdom of Fife; gloriously in a carriage to ourselves. Holmes relit his pipe, and I opened the window nearest to me. The weather had much improved, and the air not too chill, but a little bracing. Ten miles west to South Queensbury we went, forward to the great Bridge.

As often was the case, Holmes would probe me as to what insights I had already gleaned of our newest case. And I must admit, often to make himself appear a genius, and myself to have little more intelligence than one could call average’.

I had prepared, as best I could. In the interlude before departing Devonshire Place, I had consulted the reputable Oxford English Dictionary.

I could not find a meaning for SCOTCH that may have had any relevance to our case. SOUSED however has pertinent meanings: to be pickled or be totally inebriated. STRUNG I hardly need to explain to you, the Laird was either tied up, or in a more serious case, he was found strung’ as in a hanging; but somehow a Scotsman was SCOTCHED.

Approaching South Queensbury I was totally in awe. We could see the huge, mighty, twin spans of steel arching over the Firth of Forth, spans so wide that I made an estimate of the length of the bridge at least one whole mile and a half. More than a mile and a half of man’s engineering skill to cross a firth. I wondered where this age of great technology and engineering could ever end. This was truly a marvel of our era of engineering, and the bridge had been only opened six months previously after seven years of construction.

The train stopped at South Queensbury, and then we proceeded north: The Bridge. I have never been so stunned, afraid, and proud of our British skill. Truly an awesome experience. Crossing a massive structure of steel and concrete, high above the cold waters of the Forth. Almost moments later we were in Inverkeithing, in the Kingdom of Fife.

The train stopped briefly at Inverkeithing, then again at Dunfermline, and again at Cowdenbeath, and so onwards to our departure point at Kinross. The train would continue to its destination at the town of Perth, at the upper reaches of the Firth of Tay.

Upon reaching Kinross, the weather had cleared, and a weak northern sun contested with the cool wind blowing from the chilly waters of the North Sea. A youth with a surrey was waiting in the station yard, and since there were no other passengers alighting we approached the lad.

You must be from Glenfarg? postulated Holmes.

Aye sir. I’m Lachlan Larkins, sent ta fitch a Mr. Holmes an’ his companion ti tha Grange.

I am Sherlock Holmes, and this is my friend Dr. John Watson. Let us make haste to Glenfarg.

Holmes wasted no time. During the trip of the five or so miles from Kinross to Glenfarg, he had ascertained that the Laird had been found in a locked cellar, hung by a noose from a hook in the ceiling. He had queried the lad about the inhabitants of the Grange; there was the Laird and his Lady Ailsa: they had no children. There was the live-in maid Amy Russell who had not actually found the body, but had found the clue that lead to its discovery. Rona MacTavish, who was the cook lived in the Grange, as did the stableman Jock Pearson.

An’ Ah abide wi’ Jock. An’ most folk call me Lachie, he explained,

I’m tha yard boy, Ah look efter tha horses an’ tha dogs, an’ Ah beat fer tha grouse.

The remaining staff lived in the village of Glenfarg, only a mile from the Grange. I jotted all this down in my notebook, with some difficulty I may add. The lad had a broad accent, and the surrey did not give the smoothest of rides.

A second maid was Fiona MacBride, of whom Lachie spoke also with some fondness. There was a gardener Andrew Rowland,

Bit wes calls hem Andy.

Lachlan continued that there was a butler Alban Perceval, adding:

Hes a wee but stuck oop, commented the boy.

Robert Graham, the Gillie did not dwell in the village, but in the Grange gatehouse. In telling us this Lachie said:

Bit wes all call hem Rab, or Rabbie. Hez a braw mon, he is.

Traversing through the village of Glenfarg, we passed the gatehouse and we entered a plane tree lined drive leading to the Grange. And as the boy Lachie had said, it was a mile or so before the rambling red brick and slate roofed group of buildings came into view. It was now twelve o’clock, seventeen hours after we had left London, and nineteen hours since the telegraph had arrived at Baker Street.

We had scarcely stepped down from the surrey when a

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