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Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

June 20, 2015 10:57AM
Chapter Four.

Being totally familiar with the modus operandi of Sherlock Holmes, Watson knew that when he was focussed on a problem he was, at times, incommunicado with the world around him. It came as no surprise then to find him missing early the following morning. The serving maid informed Watson that Holmes had taken an early cup of tea and gone walking. Nothing, not even breakfast would break his chain of concentration when thus occupied. Deciding on a usual course of action at such times, Watson walked out for a newspaper then returned to devour a healthy breakfast himself. The weather was much more like it should be in July, warm and sunny, and he decided to walk around the bay to Lyme Parish Church, the Church of St Michael the Archangel he had seen pictured in Holmes’s local guide. He estimated it to be less than a mile and donned just a lightweight jacket and his straw hat. A small knapsack with a bottle of water, his sketch-book, pipe and Holmes’s telescope and he was ready to go. Within a short time the jacket was being carried over his arm and when he finally reached the old church he was perspiring freely. The guide book told his some facts about the building’s history, and parts of the exterior stonework were truly atmospheric, but he was exceedingly glad to find the interior cool and shaded after the hot sun. For a while he just sat in quiet contemplation of the stained glass windows and the magnificence of the church, so surprisingly at odds with the weathered exterior, enjoying the soothing sense of peace and tranquillity his surroundings provided. Dust motes drifted gently down through the sun’s rays, tinted by the coloured glass, and the warm scent of wax candles filled the silent air. A large statue of St Michael the Archangel stood on an altar in a side chancel. Eventually he rose and walked through the quiet church until he reached the bell tower. He was staring upwards when he suddenly became of someone behind him. Turning, he beheld a grey-haired gentleman in a clerical collar standing smiling at him.

“Good morning. I am Jacob Williams, vicar of St Michaels. Mr Elliot mentioned he had friends visiting and said you might call here. He asked that I help in any way I could with your questions. Are you Mr Holmes or Mr Watson?”

“Dr John Watson, sir. Pleased to meet you. Army doctor in the past and now general practitioner in London. My friend Holmes is on the prowl somewhere around Lyme, but where, I know not. He can disappear like a puff of smoke when the fancy takes him.”

Watson, a strong man himself, was surprised at strength of the vicar’s grip as they shook hands. The man’s hands were rough and hardened and Watson’s surprise must have shown on his face. The vicar looked down at his own hands and smiled wryly.

“Not exactly those of a concert pianist are they? I’ve always had a love of church bells and still like to take a turn pulling the ropes whenever I can. Not as often as I would like these day, mind!. I suppose Mr Elliot is still on a Grail quest in search of family heroes and that you are helping in that, hmmm? Unfortunately, our Church records show naught of his family, but that could be for many reasons. Lyme is prone to disappearing in sizeable chunks from time to time when the sea decides to devour some of it. You will have noticed that this church is rather worryingly near to the water’s edge due to that very reason. If I were not a man of the true God I may believe the old stories about the gods being angry with us and letting nature punish us”

Jacob smiled and shook his head sadly, then took Watson’s arm and led him down the church. towards one of the stained glass windows, still talking as they walked.

“I can tell you little that any common guide to the town does not. Church records get damaged and lost, particularly in ancient edifices like this. St Michael’s goes back to Saxon times originally, then Norman and it is still standing today. It is not that there are not carefully kept registers of much of the time, but, for instance, it is known that from fifteen seventy two until sixteen fifty three, a gap of some eighty years, there is nothing at all recorded. The same thing with tombstones. A ten feet area of the building was lost to road widening in eighteen twenty four. Who knows exactly what has happened or how much has been truly lost over time? The sea has always been our enemy here in Lyme, and one of the very bells you were looking at bears the inscription “O Sea, Spare Me”. We owe many thanks indeed to our Cobb wall.”

Watson listened with interest, particularly to the vicar’s words about lost records and tombstones. Jacob Williams stopped and indicated one of the colourful, tall windows.

“There is one church record we are proud was preserved. Our local fossil queen, Mary Anning. She died in eighteen forty seven aged just forty eight years old, but she brought fame to the town with her fossil finds. Are you aware of her?”

Watson nodded truthfully, because he had read of the lady in Holmes’s guide. The vicar pointed again at the window.

“Her actual grave is in the ground just the other side of that glass. Her history is logged and easily remembered. Would that I could say the same for the family of Mr Elliot! I can say with honesty that I have truly looked in everything we have without any success. ”

They had by now reached the porch and Watson held out his hand to Jacob Williams, who shook it strongly. .

“Many thanks for your helpful chat. I shall pass those facts on to my friend Holmes to see what he makes of them. He has a repetitive habit of finding things that others miss”.

“I shall wish you both luck with your quest then, and say goodbye for the time being.”.

With a nod and a parting smile Vicar Williams turned and went back into his church. Watson sat down on a tombstone and jotted a few lines down in his ever-present notebook, then rose and was about to head back to the path when he realised someone in a sail boat down off the jetty was waving in his direction. He raised a hesitant hand in acknowledgment thinking it was just someone being friendly, peered more closely, then walked forward to the edge of the jetty and shook his head in surprise. Sherlock Holmes grinned widely and beckoned him towards the jetty steps as he skilfully manoeuvred the boat alongside them.

“Come on Watson. Lovely morning for a sail around the bay. Climb aboard old chap!”

“Is there really any reason why I should be surprised? Holmes turns up sailing a boat. At least he isn’t wearing an eye-patch and flying a Jolly Roger from the masthead.”

Watson shook his head again and laughingly climbed down the steps.

“Tell me Holmes, what has a sailboat got to do with Jeremiah Elliot’s family problems?”

“Absolutely nothing, Watson, nothing at all. We came here for a vacation, remember, and Mr Elliot’s problems are an addition, not our whole reason for being here. It is a lovely morning, the boat was for hire and off I sailed. There is the fact, of course, that out at sea I can think clearly and uninterrupted by Hardy’s “madding crowd”

Watson nodded in agreement and used Holmes’s spyglass to watch the stack smoke of a distant steamer smudge the almost cloudless blue sky as it sailed for parts unknown. Holmes was correct, the day was indeed beautiful and they were on vacation. Everything else could take its turn at getting their attention. It didn’t, at that particular time, occur to him to ask why Holmes had been in the proximity of St Michael’s Church. It was during a repeat fish, fried potato and beer lunch that he did so. Holmes pondered the question for a moment.

“Tell me, if all we were here for was a pure and simple vacation, what should we do? Let me phrase the question a little differently. Much about Lyme must be very similar in character to when Jane Austen came here, twice apparently, and with her parents. What would she have done? I speak of course of the daylight hours and certainly have no wish to consider an assembly for dancing and dating. Where would she go, and how would she have filled her days? I have checked her history and she came here when she was twenty eight years old, and again a year later. She was hardly a child at the seaside. If we are to get at the problem of the Elliots and the bones of Persuasion, we must think like Jane Austen and, if necessary, be Jane Austen. There are some limits to that of course. I have no wish to see you traipsing down the streets in a ball gown and bonnet and carrying a parasol, but thought-wise we must get into her head”

Holmes broke off as Watson’s guffaw at the mental image made him also smile.

“ A start was made this morning by strolling the churchyard alone and just looking at tombstones and wondering about the lives of those within them. That could impact upon Persuasion. Now, as interesting as they appears, fossil hunting and sea-shell collecting are of little real importance. She may well have done both, indeed, probably did, and also perused the many examples of flora and fauna of mother nature. They again are not of any consequence in her plot, nor indeed is local history in the broad sense, because Persuasion contains little or nothing of either. But Jane Austen almost certainly walked the town and met people. She will have socialised with friends. I intend to spend at least some time in the same fashion. You, Watson, shall do as you wish, for I am, as you well know, not the best of company whilst pondering.”

Watson nodded his agreement and decided to first return to the hotel, pick up his books then stroll out into the green and pleasant land, listen to the hum of bees and, well, ”be Jane Austen”, as the man had just said!

Sherlock Holmes, despite his need for uninterrupted thinking, decided to take a leisurely stroll and do it amongst the town streets and shops. The steeply upward-sloping Broad Street seemed ideal for his purpose. Striped, pull-blinds made small havens of shade against the hot afternoon sun, and shops of all description dotted both sides of the street. Still deep in thought he followed a practise of peripheral vision, being aware of all of his surrounding but only concentrating when something caught his eye. Thus was the case when he found himself outside a small and dusty bookshop with some of its many wares displayed on tables on the sidewalk. What was it that had registered worthy of attention. He studied the books, the window and the shop itself, concentrating on nothing, seeing everything. Quite suddenly, he smiled, snapped his fingers and walked up the single step into the dim interior. He emerged, some five minutes later with a satisfied expression on his face. He paused for a moment outside the bookshop, then decided to sit at a shaded table across the street and partake of a dish of local ice cream. Idly, he watched the world go by for fifteen minutes, his alert mind marshalling facts and considering possibilities. Eventually, he rose to his feet and took a breath of the warm air, before striding leisurely off back down the street.

“The game, dear friends, is indeed afoot “ he murmured softly to himself.

Chapter Five.

Watson had a pleasant afternoon, doing a little sketching and reading in the sunshine and inevitably, became drowsy, lay back and dozed off. When he awoke, his hat had rolled off his head and his throat was unbearably dry. Unfortunately, his knapsack had been left in direct sunlight when the sun moved, consequently, the water in his carry bottle was warm and a little brackish and he decided to walk down the slope to the town and his hotel, via a visit to a main street where he could find a drink. Checking his pocket watch, he saw that it was four thirty already, so gathering up his books and bag he set off downhill. In a short time he was at street level and entering a small but neat and friendly-looking café situated next door to a pharmacy, where he ordered a very welcome pot of tea and a large cream scone. “Just the one” he promised himself, guiltily, knowing that his evening meal would be a couple of hours away yet. His table was in the small bay window and the one next to it was occupied by an elderly gentleman in a linen jacket. His straw panama hat was on a chair and a walking cane with an unusual handle stood in the corner beside him. Watson smiled and nodded in his direction as the waitress brought his order. The elderly man smiled back.

“Good afternoon. If I may be so bold, you look like you have been lying in the sun, sir. Be a little careful here with that, you can very soon get sun burned”.

Watson suddenly realised his face was tingling a little and decided mentally to purchase some sun cream or lotion. He shrugged and opted for the truth.

“Yes, I got a little inattentive and nodded off whilst reading. I’ve only been here two days and I should have realised it is easy to burn beside the sea. I’m not unused to warmer climes having been in India at one stage, but nevertheless, it was careless”

They chatted on general pleasantries for a while during which it emerged that the man and his family had lived in Lyme for many years. The gentleman revealed he was eighty three years of age and that his mother and father had met at the local assembly rooms back around the early part of the nineteenth century. Watson looked at him in surprise and revealed that his friend and companion had only mentioned those assembly rooms in connection with the visits of the authoress, Jane Austen. He pulled the copy of Persuasion from his knapsack to illustrate his remark. The man chuckled and nodded animatedly.

“My mother, God rest her soul, may well have been dancing alongside that very lady, although back then she would have been just another dancer among many, for in season the assemblies were held each Tuesday and Thursday. Many people came to Lyme for sea bathing and recreation. Much has changed since then, although physically it could also be said that the opposite is the case. I do believe I still have in my possession an old entry ticket to an assembly that she used to use as a bookmark. They were quite informal affairs as we have so many visitors here and the tickets are quite plain and were probably printed by the hundreds. I have no children of my own and I would be happy to let you have it if you so wish and it is of interest. It is of no use to me now!”

Watson expressed his absolute delight and thanks at the offer and the gentleman said he would leave the ticket in an envelope with the café owner. Shaking hands, the old man gathered his hat and cane and left the café in rather sprightly fashion. Watson, quite delighted at his luck, set to contentedly to finish his tea and scone. His luck continued with the fact that he was able to purchase sun lotion from the shop next door before strolling back to the hotel in great good humour to bathe, shave, and prepare for dinner. Holmes was still absent at the time and only appeared in the corridor outside his room as Watson was going down the stairs . He also, had been in the sunshine and looked quite relaxed and in good humour as they greeted each other. Over dinner, which they had decided to take at the hotel, Watson related the story of meeting the old man in the café and his promise of the assembly ticket. Holmes nodded and smiled at the news but it was obvious his mind was on other things. Watson asked him what preoccupied him. Holmes looked at him thoughtfully, cutting his meat into strips.

“ Jane Austen was twenty eight and twenty nine on her visits to Lyme. As far as I have been able to find out, she never came back after that, yet Persuasion was the last of her finished major works. She wrote all sorts of other things, but from the last visit in eighteen o’four, her other works took precedence and Persuasion was published last, and by her brother after she died in nineteen seventeen. From visiting Lyme it was seven years before she was able to publish anything at all due to convincing a publisher to do it. Since I have only completely read two of her works, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, I might be tempted to wonder why the latter was her last work and not her first. It is naught but idle curiosity, but …Damn it, those letters are somewhat puzzling and…?”

Holmes shook his head and left the sentence unfinished as he chewed thoughtfully on a mouthful of food. On the following evening they were to meet with Jeremiah Elliot to discuss progress, indeed if any had been made. That matter, in itself, was of no great consequence, for Watson knew that Holmes was hooked into solving the problem for his own satisfaction and not that of Elliot alone. He also knew, with a slight feeling of reservation, that the vacation was now taking second place to the puzzle of the letters. They finished an enjoyable meal of roast beef with horseradish sauce, roasted potatoes and carrots, followed by slices of ginger cake, and Holmes suddenly jumped to his feet and smiled as he exclaimed:

“Come on Watson, light your pipe as we walk. I have yearning for a draught of Brutton’s Stout I saw advertised in a public house called the Volunteer Arms on Broad Street. The evening is fine enough for a walk before we retire. Tomorrow is soon enough to do whatever we shall do. My brain needs a rest. For now, let’s drink and be merry! ”

They did just that, enjoying a couple of pints of stout and engaging in a game of darts with the locals in the Volunteer Arms. Not really to Watson’s surprise, Holmes proved an admirably skilled player. They eventually strolled back to their hotel in high good humour to take a last pot of tea and retire to bed.

The following morning brought a change in the weather and a note from Jeremiah Elliot, delivered by his man. He had booked a table for dinner that evening and proposed to treat them to his hospitality at the Three Cups Hotel on Broad Street, overlooking the Cobb harbour. Watson looked enquiringly at Holmes who, although somewhat preoccupied again, willingly voiced his approval and thanks. The bay had clouded over and the wind risen enough to facilitate the wearing of topcoats and, after some deliberation the pair decided to confine their activities to perusing the many shops, at one of which, titled originally, The Fossil Shop, Watson purchased a small species half the size of his palm and stated to be found locally and of a hundred and ninety million years of age, for a half-crown. They called at the café Watson and met the old gentleman in the previous day and, true to his promise, he had left the envelope with the assembly ticket with the waitress. After procuring and sharing a pot of tea, Watson eagerly opened it up and lifted out a small square of pasteboard some three inches by two in size. One side was blank, the other brown and bore the simple legend: Lyme Regis Assembly Room . Price One Shilling. Admit One. Tea, Sixpence extra. 8-0 clock-11-30. G.Portland, H Hermitage managers.

The ticket was, as the gentleman had said, rather plain, and undated. Watson passed it to Holmes who examined it then passed it back. Watson took out his sketchbook and carefully placed the ticket inside it. He looked up to find Homes regarding him thoughtfully.

“Good Lord. Dammit, Watson if you haven’t…!”

He waved a hand dismissively to prevent Watson asking for an explanation and , jumping up walked out of the cafe. Watson watched open-mouthed as Holmes strode across the street and into the old bookshop there. He shook his head but decided to finish his tea. He was still watching the shop when Holmes emerged, a broad grin on his face. He came back across the street and resumed his seat as if nothing had happened. At Watson’s enquiring stare he raised a finger and smiled mysteriously.

“This evening Watson, this evening !. I think I have it. Be patient until then old friend and let me organise my thoughts. I am pretty sure I may have at least one answer to our friend’s proposition. For now, let us walk along the Cobb in different weather!”

They did, and spent a bracing hour strolling the harbour as the wind rose and the skies changed from blue to a steely grey. When the first large drops of rain came down, and being without umbrellas, they dashed laughingly back to the hotel and lunch. Holmes excused himself straight after, and disappeared to his room. Watson decided, mindful of the weather preventing much in the way of entertainment, to take a short nap. Soon he was oblivious to both weather and problems as he slid easily into a dreamless slumber.

Chapter Six.

The rain had abated leaving a clear and fresh sky as Holmes and Watson took the short walk to Broad Street and the Three Cups Hotel at seven-forty-five as arranged. Jeremiah Elliot was there before them and the head waiter led them over to his table. He had already ordered wine and greeted them smilingly.

Gentlemen, good evening. I trust you have been enjoying our town, at least until mid-day. Rain does not always give warning here and somewhat spoils the pleasures of our local scenery. Please treat this evening just as a social get-together of friends and tell me what pleasures of Lyme you have thus far experienced. I accept and realise that little will ever come of my own initial enquiries, so please leave the topic be until another time. A toast then, to friendship and fossils!”

They smiled and touched glasses and it was Holmes who addressed their host.

“If we may trespass on you hospitality in your house later tonight, Jeremiah, I actually believe I may finally be able to put you problem to bed. I don’t claim to have a total answer as I believe that is beyond earthly powers to achieve or provide, but a solution that is acceptable to myself is the best I can offer. That, thanks to my good friend Watson, I now have. But let us put it aside till later and enjoy our meal”.

Watson raised his hands and shook his head in bewilderment at Elliot’s enquiring gaze, so the host led the conversation away and to the fact that many famous people had enjoyed Lyme’s views and hospitality: Two monarchs, two prime ministers, William Pitt, and William Pitt the younger, Henry Fielding, Lord Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, the artists Whistler and Turner and, of course, Jane Austen. At the last, Elliot smiled widely.

“Would you be surprised to know that Hiscott’s Boarding House, where Jane Austen stayed here in Lyme, before this place was built? was on the very spot we are now eating upon?”

Holmes and Watson were genuinely surprised and interested and the evening passed in excellent fashion as a superb meal of roast lamb chops with mint sauce, creamed potatoes and carrots and turnips was consumed It was followed by local strawberries and cream and pot of well-made coffee and a brandy and cigar each rounded off an enjoyable evening for all. The bill, it appeared, had already been settled by Elliot despite his guest’s protests, and it was Holmes who finally rose and smiled at his companions.

“And now, good sir, if we may retire to your abode, I shall attempt to explain all”

Thus, less than thirty minutes later they were once again settled around the table in Elliot’s comfortable extended cottage with a glass of wine and pipes alight. Holmes began:

“I must do this with total truth or not at all. I confess at the onset I had no single idea as to how all the remnants of this story could ever be assembled into anything satisfactory or sensible. In your case, Mr Elliot, your concern was the link, if any, between characters in a Jane Austen Story and your family name. Let me state at the start of things and until you actually produced those letters, that I had all but dismissed the whole thing as wild imagination. The letters, naming an Elliot, were seventy five years previous to the story
Jane Austen wrote. You can possibly claim now, that if indeed the Frederick Elliot of the letters was your ancestor, and your family had links with Lyme, then his burial at sea would explain the lack of a grave, and his single status possibly the lack of a family record in the church. That sir, you must accept as being as far as I can possibly go with that matter. What happened with your family beyond Frederick I cannot possibly ever know. That much must end your, and indeed my own, questions as being answered as much as they ever will on that aspect. And now, if you will allow me, I shall tell you how I believe Persuasion came to be!”

Holmes now had a totally captive audience and paused long enough to drink part of his wine and relight his pipe.

“ Imagine if you will, a very normal, single young woman of twenty eight or so years, on holiday. An intelligent woman with a lively mind who communicated almost her every living thought with her dearest friend, her sister, Cassandra. And many times at that, by the written word. She was a natural writer and pen and paper were as food and drink to her. She would walk, make friends, dance and do all the things a young woman might do, then commit her thoughts to paper. “Watson, if I may?” Holmes held out a hand and Watson handed him his knapsack. Holmes had earlier asked him to bring it and his permission to use its contents. Watson, without explanation, had done so. Now Holmes laid out on the table before him Watson’s sketch book, the fossil, his pocket notebook and finally, the admission ticket to the Lyme assembly. From his pocket he added a copy of Steel’s Navy List for the year 1765.

“I had some questions in my mind and found out a couple of pointers, but it was actually whilst I was watching Watson sketching seagulls that the whole thing started to make sense. Look at his sketches and the items here. What do you really see?”

The question was addressed to Elliot, but Watson leaned forward an enquiring frown on his brow. Elliot raised his eyebrows and peered at the items on the table.

“ I see some possessions I suppose and, yes, possibly souvenirs of his trip so far. Some well-drawn sketches and a few notes.... ?”

“Splendid, and almost right, but what you really see are memories. Things he will look at in years to come and remember what they meant to him. His notebooks and sketch pads will bring back pleasant memories of things he thought important enough to preserve. His fossil will make him remember where he got it and the assembly ticket he so carefully folded into his book will do the same. He met an old gentleman from Lyme who gave him that, and already he was remembering that old man by sketching his walking stick!”

Holmes smiled and pointed at the pencil drawing of the head of the unusual cane Watson had noted. The opposite page had several seagulls drawn there. Elliot carefully picked up the assembly ticket, nodded and gave a somewhat whimsical smile before putting it back down.

“Watson was doing what Jane Austen would have done. He was being Jane Austen. Writing stories was her pleasure and the ingredients for them were all around her. The Cobb, the spray, the wind and those steps that she might well remember from how cautious that made her decending them. Lyme had all the elements for collection and saving that her lively mind needed. She would commit them to paper and her memory.”

“But the letters…they are a total reality, are they not?” Elliot’s voice held a little of his uncertainty and bewilderment, and Holmes smiled and nodded..

“Ah, the letters. Now we come to something that can only be an opinion, but maybe a key to it all. It all depends how you take it. I do but offer my view. How and when did Jane Austen see those letters? For indeed there are too many coincidences for any comfort to deny that she must have. One of my visits was to your local bookshop, the place where you discovered the letters, and was to ask a couple of questions of the bookseller. He assured me that there have been booksellers in his family as far back as he can remember, so that helps in a positive way. He also confirmed to me that hardly anyone buys or sells second-hand prayer books. He cannot imagine anything worse that having stocks of them because they are so personal an item that people only ever buy new. For that they will go to special religious outlets. Books like your prayer books and family bibles only ever get into a bookshop via clearances when people die without relations, or the relations do not want the books or goods. That is most likely the story of your book. The letters were in the book and part of its story. Somewhere, Anne Russell passed on, maybe from a broken heart and a relation kept the letters and later somehow lost possesion of the book and letters for reasons no one can know. If you had not bought them they could have just crumbled to dust eventually.”

Holmes paused and took another mouthful of his wine. He still had the attention of Watson and Elliot to the point where both remained totally silent and waiting.

“What it does confirm is that Jane Austen, regardless of whoever owned the shop in her time, must have browsed through the books in the shop and seen those letters. She would not want to buy the book or even have the letters, but reading them must have set off a scenario in her mind that made an impression she did not forget. She may well, indeed probably did, do what Watson did and make a note of something that touched a chord within her, and used her notebook to record the details. Years later those details were brought out, maybe by just perusing her private possessions, and, with memories of Lyme and by changing a few names she gave Frederick and Anne in print what life had denied them in reality In Persuasion, Frederick’s letter brought Anne the joy that in fact had brought deep sorrow to the real Anne. In the story, Bath and the false values affected by the Elliots were unimportant opposites to the real values that Anne Elliot possessed. There was a real ship called H.M.S Berwick, not Benwick, in the navy lists of 1770 that listed her as broken up in 1763. A seventy gun fighting ship of the Royal Navy. Jane Austin promoted Frederick from a Ships Master to an Admiral to avoid him being scorned by the likes of the Elliots and the ridiculous Dalrymples. Bath was the life she disliked, Lyme and its Cobb and the sea, the memory she cherished. This part is pure presumption on my part, but it rings as a feasible possibility. There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact!”

Where had Watson herd Holmes utter the latter words before? It occurred to him with certainty that he had done so. Holmes let out a sigh, spread his hands.

“And that, rightly or wrongly, is my deduction. Based upon what was available, the best anyone can claim is presumption. I claim nothing more. Sad as it seems, Mr Elliot, the bones of your relation may well still lie somewhere beneath the English Channel and that is where they must remain!”

Jeremiah Elliot actually smiled at Holmes’s words and nodded. He let out a sigh.

Mr Holmes, it is almost a great relief that it is so. I shall no longer wonder and I may even show the letter to the vicar and ask him to enter the details in the church records as “Drowned at sea”. Maybe even a small memorial stone in the churchyard? I am deeply in your debt for your efforts and you must accept recompense for them”

Holmes shook his head firmly.

“The price my friend has been well paid by your hospitality. Tomorrow, Watson and I will put Jane Austen away for a while and do all the things that tourists to Lyme Regis do. We shall take a boat trip, maybe fish a little, explore the sights and potter around for fossils amidst your Jurrasic coast until we have had enough. If your carriage happened to be headed for Axminster to allow us to catch the London train when that happens, then that would be truly grand!”

Holmes and Watson parted from Jeremiah Elliot on the best of terms and set off to stroll the short walk back to their hotel. Holmes lit his pipe then chuckled, causing Watson to cast him an enquiring look.

“It may just be another coincidence Watson, and one I did not mention, but a true fact regarding the name Wentworth, those navy lists tell us that on June 10th 1635, a Hugh Wentworth did actually sail as a passenger from London to Bermuda. The name of his ship was, The Truelove! (with credit to Anne Stevens of packrat-pro.com)

Watson guffawed and nodded at the irony.

“ So then, no more Jane Austen for a while Holmes?”

“Certainly not. To just enjoy a laid-back, problem-free vacation, I shall need no persuasion at all!”


Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

Jim G.MJune 20, 2015 10:57AM

Re: Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

Kathy L BerlinJune 22, 2015 01:19PM

Re: Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

Jim G.MJune 22, 2015 01:59PM

Re: Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

terrycgJune 22, 2015 03:26AM

Re: Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

Lucy J.June 21, 2015 05:59AM

Re: Persuading Sherlock Holmes. Chapters 4-6 and End.

ShannaGJune 20, 2015 08:36PM


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