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!  


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Another great episode that leaves one waiting impatiently for the next!

Wonderful figures, models, and terrain.

All the best,


Robert Herrick said...

Absolutely. Spectacular scenery and action; it's the internal scenes of yours which REALLY dazzle.

A nice preview of coming attractions with the reinforcements - have people been body painting?

Which officers known to us have fallen to the Thuggee menace?

Parzival of TMP said...

Most excellent, sir. I knew Holmes would save the day— now, it is up to the good general to save India!

William Stewart said...

Magnificent story board – its like the serials from the 1930’s. I can hardly wait for the next episode.

Dai said...

The fact that you managed to use discombobulate in a sentence was more than enough reason to keep reading. :)

Sterling work and well taken photos too.

Here's to the next installment!

Michael Mathews said...

Good luck to the general and his missus. Illustrated story tellig at its finiest. Fun, fun.

Donogh said...

Fantastic entry (as always).
I'm keen to see how this turns out


Squibzy / Richard Hubbard said...

By Timothy, just in the nick of time, eh?! Well, hopefully, they'll be safe aboard Ajax...
But even "swanning around Egypt" can be very dangerous... Then and now!


tidders2 said...

Superb story line - love the involvement of Holmes

-- Allan

Ross Mac said...

Tremendous, the story goes from strength to strength. Loved the lighting of the cab on Baker St but it was all marvelous.

Gallia said...

Hello Everyone,
A glass of fine wine is raised to you all for your interest, thoughts and support. You are appreciated very much by me.
Officer names?
At present, I regret there is not a list of the missing officers other than Collingwood.
New units painted?
Chuck has some redcoats and a battalion in khaki.
Safe aboard Ajax.
Thank you all very very much.

A J said...

Cracking stuff! The models and terrain help bring the story to life. I'm looking forward to more.

Phil said...

Great looking pictures and minis, beautiful scenery...and blog, that's the first time I read it...and not the last, beautiful work, really!

Larry Stehle said...

A most excellent missive as usual!
I look forward to the next installment!

Rob Bresnen said...

some amazing photograph there- it is fascinating how you manage to get so much life and movement into inanimate figures- golly good stuff.

Ted Henkle said...

I loved how you included the Holmes brothers and Dr. Watson.