Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chapter 66: Departures

Date: May 9-11, 1903
Location: Channelside House and Elsewhere
Situation: Departures

See Previous Chapter 65 here:

4:51 a.m. - MAY 9, 1903 - LONDON

Pedestrian: "Cabby! --- I SAY --- CAAAABBY. --- Helloa there!

Cabby: "Pardon me Gv'nr. Sleep'n I was. How may Doris and I be of service?"

Pedestrian: "Victoria Station my good man. I must catch the 6:-- ah, to, well --- let us make haste, if you please."

Cabby: "Very good sir. Step right up and --- in. There you are. Make yourself at home. --- We'll be at the train station in no time or I'm a whirling Dervish. --- Doris! Tally-Ho!  


Holmes: "My dear reliable old Watson. Thank you for kindly obliging my desire for your company on one more adventure. I trusted you would instantly drop everything and join me to board the 6:06 a.m to Brighton. I'm glad you brought your service revolver."

Watson: "I did. How do you know? 

Holmes: "I see the distinctive bulge in your right  coat pocket where are stored six or seven cartridges --- placed there when you departed your lodgings. A smear of common Gibborn grease associated with them appears on your shirt cuff migrating onto your coat sleeve no doubt occurring as a last event before leaving. Plus, I am familiar with your ways my friend. Elementary deduction really."

Watson: "Your wire only arrived yesterday saying, The Empire and I need you. Join me on the 9th instant at Victoria in time for the morning 6:06. Naturally I transferred my patient appointments to another doctor for the week. However, had anyone else made such an astounding request, I would have demanded more data and wondered about his hyperbole." 

Holmes: "I am afraid it is not an excess of explanation. It is a serious matter of great importance. You started the whole affair."

Watson: "Nonsense."

Holmes: "Remember telling me about the disappearance of Captain Collingwood, 66th Foot? 

Watson: "I do. Poor fellow. He served with me in General Pettygree's Surajistan Field Force until sent home to recover from wounds, but what has he to do with trouble in The Empire?"

Holmes: "Much I am afraid. According to The Times, he was found dead, in a hastily-dug circular grave with strangulation marks. Local police in York mentioned traces of yellow fibers on his collar.  I mentioned it to my brother Mycroft two days ago at the Diogenese Club." 

Watson: "Your brother ---- perhaps the most important man in the government with his singular skill and correct analysis of innumerable facts."

Holmes: "Quite so. In moments after telling him about Collingwood, he and I assembled an extraordinary chain of incidents leading to a conclusion there is an insidious serial of murders all suggestive of hateful revenge and deterrence."

Watson: "Remarkable!" 

Holmes: "Here is the 6:06. --- Yes, remarkable indeed. Suffice it to say nine more of your brother officers from The SFF disappeared from York to Brighton. Several were found --- all with minuscule yellow fibers about their necks. Do you see a pattern ol' boy?"

Watson: "The Thugee rumal strangulation scarf!"

Holmes: "Hum. Yeees and one more. The train of murders is consecutive from north to south, York to The Channel and thence from Brighton westward to Worthing. Mycroft knows of one more officer from The Surajistan Field Force in the vicinity. He was so shaken, he hustled himself away without finishing dinner to personally warn the gentleman."

Watson: "You can't mean General Pettygree himself!" 

Holmes: "I do. He is about to be reactivated to restore order outside the country. The sole man who can do it --- or so says Mycroft. I only hope we are not too late to prevent another murder of a kind which threatens The Empire!"


Tumagee-Kota: "Our supreme moment is here. Enter and kill, kill, KILL!"

In semi-darkness they enter the banqueting hall of General Pettygree's Channelside House.

 Tumagee-Kota: "Who is turning on the lights?"

A Thugee: "We are discovered."

Another Thugee: "Kali is dissatisfied with us. --- WE are to be sacrificed!"

Inspector Gregson: "Stand down. You are all under arrest."

Tumagee-Kota: "Never! Fight the unbelievers!"

Holmes: "That won't do Tumagee-Kota. Your malevolent scheme is finished."

A brief scuffle ensued ending in subjugation of the Thugees. Their morale suddenly failed.

Holmes: "General, we have resolved the mystery of the murder and disappearance of ten of His Majesty's officers formerly under your command."

Pettygree: "I hope you are right sir --- and --- thank you."

Inspector Gregson: "If you don't mind Mr. Holmes, I have one question before I take these men away. --- Mr. Turmagee-Kotar, why did you give up so easily --- quickly?"   

Tumagee-Kota: "There can be only one reason, S'hab. In some way we displeased the goddess Kali. A sacrilege perhaps. She therefore sacrificed us to you and your confederates as justifiable punishment for our transgression. Our only salvation is to surrender and suffer your penalties. We are her servants in good and bad circumstances even if this results in...."

Holmes: "Hanging no doubt. Take them away Inspector."

Tumagee-Kota: "If it is the will of Kali."

Pettygree: "As for you, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, please be my guests at Channelside. I'll find Jameson and ask him to show you to your quarters for what is left of the rest of the morning for sleep."

MAY 11, 1903 --- TWO DAYS LATER

Mycroft: "Congratulations gentlemen. It was touch and go and...."

Sherlock: "Here we are at dockside presumably safe near Ajax." 

Pettygree: "Mr. Holmes --- Mycroft I mean. What news have you of promised reinforcements for my mission?"

Mycroft: "The first unit to depart did so the same morning after my brother and Dr. Watson left Victoria Station; 2/Seaforth Highlanders. The 2/66th Foot followed a few hours later."

Pettygree: "Very well. I hope there will be more."

Angry Sailor: "Handle the lady's luggage smartly now. The General's wife would not take it kindly if you dropped it over the side!"

The Other Sailor: "Quit yer shoving mate."

Dr. Watson: "Godspeed Mary and General Pettygree."

Mycroft: "The government has every confidence in you General. Good-bye and good luck."

Mary: "Here we go dear. Egypt, Alexandria, Cairo, the pyramids and the Nile."

Pettygree: "A quasi-holiday darling. It will be fun."

Mycroft: "He'll need Divine intervention I'm afraid. Going to Egypt and The Soudan is only a ruse...."

Sherlock: "To inveigle the newspapers and The Guru."

Dr. Watson: "A good plan I should think before he returns to the the Northwest Frontier; his real mission. However, I don't like it that Mrs. Pettygree is not in the know."  

"Holmes you may put away your revolver."

Mycroft: "Though she does not know it now, Mary will return to England after swanning about Egypt for a few weeks. You see don't you Doctor, secrecy is paramount to frustrate The Guru.  He will only find out Pettygree is back when he steps ashore at Bombay."

Sherlock: "Hopefully to discombobulate The Guru's plans for the jewel of The Empire."


1) Wish Mary and General Pettygree luck will you? Though the threat at home was squashed, turbulence remains in The Soudan and India. Should we also concern ourselves with mischief from the Kaiser's East Asia Squadron? 

2) Thank you Greg H., down under, for giving me an appealing Eureka Miniatures hansom cab and I think Foundry bobbies! 

3) See the previous chapter for several manufacturers of miniatures. Ajax is from The Virtual Armchair General, a Richard Houston model. Watson and Holmes in the beginning of this story are from Reaper Miniatures. The second Holmes and Watson were produced by Muttonchop Miniatures now sold by Empress Miniatures. The third Watson is a Foundry Victorian civilian who resembles Watson. The lampost is a model railroad structure by Lionel Trains.

4) Your remarks will be posted after review solely because an anonymous spammer has sought to place hundreds of irrelevant posts here. General Pettygree will never allow those.

5) However, your remarks are sought, welcome and will appear after a short delay!  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chapter 65: Trouble Everywhere

Date: May 9, 1903

Location: Mary and General Pettygree's Home; Channelside House
Situation: Per angusta ad augusta (Through difficulties to honours)

See Previous Chapter 64 Here:

Colonel Chartwell's personal report about my former command in Surajistan had been a courtesy to stifle inevitable newspaper imperfections and obfuscations I might read. "Horse Guards want you to hear it right." he had said. That was ten days ago.

My old nemesis, The Guru and his Thugee followers, had revived, broken the Armistice and shockingly attacked Fort Grant. Colonel Smythe's men repelled a furious escalade suffering a cruel 25% loss. Further news never arrived because telegraph lines had been cut. The fate of my comrades remained unknown.

Mary's dread I would be ordered back to active duty subsided. Retired life therefore continued at Channelside House with our quiet walks, social calls and home restoration work until May 9th. when....

Jameson: "General, a prodigious gentleman has arrived apologizing he gave no advance notice. He says he must speak with you privately. Urgent he said. His bearing makes him a government man, unless I'm mistaken."

Pettygree: "His name then?"

Jameson: "When I begged pardon inquiring after his name, all he said was MH."

Pettygree: "MH? --- --- --- Show him in."

Jameson: "Very good General."  

MH: "General Pettygree, I beg your pardon dropping in utterly unannounced. Monstrous breach of etiquette of me...."

Pettygree: "Well --- some excitement might be agreeable. May I ask your name sir?"

MH: "For the moment my name must remain undisclosed. May it suffice to say I am a special adviser to the Prime Minister? You may inquire with Colonel Chartwell as to the validity of my claim."

Pettygree: "Irregular I dare say. How may I be of service to you? Trouble I assume."

MH: "Of the worst sort. The meat of it is General, the bloody business concluded in the south of Africa has convinced our enemies we are in decline and weak. The Kaiser perceives this as a singular opportunity for expansion and mischief from Africa into the Pacific. Even the Sudan is again aflame with a Dervish revival near Port Suakin know Chartwell's report about Fort Grant. There is more...." 

Pettygree: "What about Surajistan?"  

MH: "I've brought a map to show you. Fort Grant, Surajistan and most Frontier provinces have been lost. A sub-continental uprising is feared threatening northern India. You kept the Guru in check forcing him to sign the Armistice. When you were recalled and our garrisons reduced, he commenced renewal of his malevolent schemes. Multitudes joined him. You were the only deterrent that kept him in check."

Pettygree: "My men kept him in check sir. In the end we had insufficient numbers to knock The Guru on his head once and for all. Two more brigades and we would have finished the job. You may tell that to the PM!

MH: "We know General. --- The PM and even His Majesty request your return to India. You will have those two extra brigades."

Pettygree: "If I agree to go back, there must be no dithering or interference by the government. Men, supplies, money - all of it - must be more than ample lest this trouble further embarrasses the Empire."

MH: "Indeed and in fact you will have it all."

MH: "Your return must be kept secret lest the Guru intensifies his efforts making matters worse than they are. We'll cover your return sending you with your lovely wife at first ---- to Cairo to analyse the situation in the Sudan. We don't expect much trouble from the Dervish revival but an experienced hand needs to make sure of it, eh?"

"From there you will secretly depart for Bombay. Meanwhile reports will be made on your behalf about conditions in Egypt and the Sudan. The newspapers will think you are still there."

MH: "One last thing General. A relative of mine whose powers of deduction are of the first order and with whom the government has had occasion to secretly employ creditably believes you and Mrs. Pettygree are in grave danger. I confess his findings appear worthy of your consideration."

"In view of the important role I anticipate you will accept, I have therefore taken another liberty. I've asked him to explain everything and offer his protective services until you depart for Egypt. He will be here tomorrow."

"Will you do your duty General?"

Pettygree: "Yes. Per angusta ad augusta. Through difficulties to honours."


Mary Pettygree: "William, what did the gentleman say to you?"

Pettygree: "There is in trouble from Africa into Pacific Oceania. The Kaiser is taking liberties, there is an insignificant Dervish revival in The Sudan and he added to Chartwell's report about Surajistan."

Mary: "Are you recalled to duty William?"

Pettygree: "I am --- with you dear. How would you like a holiday in Egypt?"

Mary: "Your duty is mine too William. Yes of course. When do we leave?"

Mary: "General Pettygree and I are leaving for Egypt in two days."

Anna: "Very good mum."

Mary: Whilst we are out tonight, please start packing.

Pettygree: "Anna, please see that my luggage is brought upstairs."

Mary: "Anna, I will be lost without you. Will you come along?"

Anna: "I will. Thank you mum. I've only dreamed of Egypt, the pyramids, Cairo and the Nile."

Pettygree: "Splendid. The hansom taking us to the Flint's dinner party should arrive any moment. We will return before eleven. Tell Jameson will you, to prepare for a house guest tomorrow."

Whilst waiting for the hansom cab....

Anna brought in some of Mary's luggage. 


Whilst the entire household was asleep, uninvited guests arrived....

Bearing yellow rumals, the infamous Thugee strangling scarf.


1) Thank you for looking in. It is good to be back producing, writing and directing the story of General Pettygree!

2) Mary Pettygree, MH and Thugees are from Pulp Figures. Gen. Pettygree in cermonials is a Muttonchop Miniature now sold by Empress Miniatures. His 1903 (1914 actually) garments are from Brigade games, Great War Miniatures 1914 British. Jameson came from Old Glory's Blue Moon Pulp range.

3) Your remarks will be posted after review solely because an anonymous spammer has sought to place hundreds of irrelevant posts here. General Pettygree will never allow those.

4) However, your remarks are sought, welcome and will appear after a short delay!