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Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8.

June 03, 2015 12:29PM
Chapter Eight.

Watson hesitated, outside the front door of the Cockatoo, took a deep breath then drew his service revolver, which surprisingly had become a rather large flintlock, and turned to watch his companions deploy from three barouche carriages, and assemble on the sidewalk.

“Are we prepared gentlemen? It is time to bring these villains to justice once and for all”

“Oh, I say, Watson. Do you think there are enough of us? I mean, we don’t really know what to expect. There may be a room full of armed and very dangerous men waiting”

A man, who looked very much like the waiter from the Baker Street Café, spoke the words then checked his own flintlock and placed a nervous hand on his sword hilt.

“Oh, come Bingley. I hope you are not suffering one of your changes of mind. Justice must be done and if someone suggested to you we should all go home, I do believe you would leap on your horse and do so without arguing the pros and cons of why. Step up man. No one tries to blackmail Elizabeth Bennet and gets away with it, no one, and that includes the Prince Regent, Beau Brummel and the Duke of Wellington!”

Rupert Chance, dressed in an immaculately cut coat with brass buttons, white breeches and gleaming riding boots, grasped his genuine Moroccon leather riding crop and whacked it against a gloved hand. He turned to their leader and gave a curt nod of his head.

“Lead on Sherlock, we are ready!”

“Capital, capital. Well said Darcy”….a voice from the rear of the group called.

Sherlock Homes, dressed for some reason in clerical garb, and white knee stockings, adjusted his hat and stepped firmly over the threshold of The Cockatoo. Once inside he strode determinedly over to a table in the corner where the owner and landlady of the establishment was playing cards with her cronies. The lady, “Good Lord, was it Mrs Hudson?” looked up in surprise. The woman with the gimlet eyes from the local library, those very same eyes alert like an expectant hyena stalking an antelope, sat next to Mrs Hudson’s daughter, Anne, holding a large butterfly net and a giant fly swat. Watson remembered her well, for she had remonstrated roundly with him for getting three raindrops on the cover of a copy of Robinson Crusoe. A tall, handsome-looking stranger, resplendent in scarlet regimentals and wearing white gloves in case a stray dust mote should settle, sat next to a bored looking girl, who resembled the one that worked at the cake-shop, he holding a hand of cards, she a glass of wine and a straw bonnet she had been mutilating with a corkscrew. Mrs Hudson looked up in astonishment and glared angrily at Sherlock Holmes. Behind him, Watson, Chance, the café waiter, and half-a-dozen burly servants dressed in fine blue and gold livery, spread out threateningly around the table. Mrs Hudson glared angrily at Holmes.

“Mr Collins!. What on earth is this? Did you make an appointment? Oh, and I want a word with your wife about buying a full leg of lamb to last you two weeks, when half of one would have sufficed for a month. Explain yourself man; and what are all these scoundrels doing treading mud all over my newly mopped flagstones? Good Lord, is that you Darcy and…Fitzwilliam…...?”

Mrs Hudson broke off and stared in astonishment at Rupert Chance and the waiter who had appeared at Chance’s shoulder brandishing a sabre. The garish cockatoo perched on her own shoulder shrieked in anger.

“ All out at once? disgraceful. Shut the door”

Sherlock Holmes opened the large Bible he was carrying, revealing a pistol secreted in the cut-out pages. He withdrew it with a flourish and pointed it at Mrs Hudson. Watson stepped forward in alarm but Holmes barred his approach with a raised arm.

“The game is up Lady Catherine. Offering practise on your pianoforte will not get you out of this. You are under arrest.”…….You, Mr Hurst Sir, put that knife and fork down immediately! You will see no more hearty breakfasts inside a prison cell, I’ll wager.”

A weighty man, eating at the table, dropped his knife and fork and tried desperately to empty his mouth of three beef sausages, two whole mushrooms, a slice of fried bacon and a tomato. Eventually, he swallowed hugely and managed to gasp..

“Just one pistol sir? How very singular!”

Opposite him, a thin-faced character spilled a glass of port down his waistcoat in fright. The regimental type card player, surreptitiously dropped a three of clubs, playing card, beneath the table and replaced it with an ace of spades he produced from his sleeve. A middle-aged woman Watson had seen before, possibly selling newspapers near Baker Street, sat in a corner beside the girl from the cake shop. She eyed Watson’s heavy gold watch chain with some interest and winked at him.

“And you sir, are you married? I have three daughters at home right now. Do you dance? For I warrant you will not find prettier tavern girls or better drunken fiddle-playing anywhere than here in the Cockatoo”.

“Dance you say? Why, if I had ever learned this Can-Can thing the French music hall strumpets do, I should have been a great proficient and…”

What Mrs Hudson would have said was never uttered. Chance whacked his riding crop down on the table top with a crash, his eyes smouldering angrily.

“Enough! We are not come here to dance madam, but to arrest you, Lady Catherine de Burglar, for blackmail. You tried to besmirch the honour of the woman I love, Elizabeth Bennet, and rob her of her rightful upper-middle class lifestyle.”

Mrs Hudson, who everyone kept calling “Lady Catherine”? almost spat the words at him

“Silence, Darcy! Do not mention that woman’s name here. It will pollute the shades of the docks. She has taken you in when you should have married my daughter. I would have seen her penniless, but I will not be taken alive. Anne, get the phaeton and prepare to flee. H.M.S Rosings is moored at the dockside and we can be on our way to France by nightfall”

Mrs Hudson threw aside her brocaded shawl and revealed a large blunderbuss. She aimed it directly at Watson, grinned fiendishly… and pulled the trigger.…


…Watson woke up with a start and, struggling upright, peered owlishly around him. He found he was breathing heavily, almost gasping for breath. In the dark bedroom the brass knobs of the foot of his bed glowed faintly in a pale moonlight. He frowned and tried to remember what had awoken him, then shrugged his shoulders and turning on his side soon dropped into sleep, this time deep and dreamless.


The following morning, Watson dressed and shaved early and let himself out into Baker Street. Several cabs were already taking people off to their various destinations, and a news vendor was calling out headline topics as he strolled. The morning was fresh and Watson took several deep breaths as he walked along, pausing to purchase The Times and Telegraph newspapers on his way. Deciding Holmes may not yet be abroad, Watson went into a small café and ordered morning tea and a fresh muffin. The day’s newspapers contained reports of a section of British soldiers forced back by Boers after a six hour engagement. No great losses were mentioned. Kitchener declared it would take a year and many men to defeat the Boers, and The Times questioned the British tactics. In football, northern club Bury beat Southampton 4-0 in the F.A.Cup Final. Watson folded the papers: He would read both later. He finished his breakfast snack, paid his bill and strolled leisurely back up Baker Street. He climbed the stairs, let himself quietly into the sitting room and was quite surprised to see Sherlock Holmes already dressed and alert. Watson was even more surprised to see him cleaning and polishing his Webley Bulldog pistol. Holmes raised a hand and smiled a greeting, before pointing the weapon at a cactus plant in a pot on the windowsill and simulating pulling the trigger. Watson never doubted for a moment the weapon was fully loaded..

“Morning Watson. Didn’t know if you were up and about. I was thinking we both should walk out and take a hearty breakfast later. It is quite possible that travelling may interfere with our lunch!”

Watson eyed the gun Holmes was holding, thoughtfully as he was removing his coat. He carried his old Adams service revolver himself on occasion, mainly when he knew he would be abroad after dark, but, after what Holmes had told him just before they retired last night, had not thought today would be an occasion for firearms. Perhaps he had better take his own gun after all?

Holmes saw the direction of his gaze and smiled as he put the weapon in his pocket.

“Worry not Watson. I am but being prepared for anything to happen, although I seriously doubt much will. My plan will involve more conversation then bullets, believe me!”

Watson nodded wordlessly, hoping he was right, and went to light the gas ring to make more tea.

The five landau carriages provided by Rupert Chance made an unusual sight as they drew up in line along the dockside on the West India dock complex. Work went on regardless, with the dockers unloading the two ships moored in that section, but the sight still drew a small crowd of curious onlookers as the five carriages discharged their somewhat heavy loads. Holmes, Watson, Thomas Twitterington and Rupert Chance had all travelled together and Chance once again looked regretfully at the fifteen burly individuals who clambered down onto the flags outside The Cockatoo pub. He glanced with distaste at the sign with its crude daub of the bird that gave the place its name, then looked across at Holmes and held out his hand.

“Whatever it is you have in mind, these lads will be only too pleased to make sure you are not interrupted or interfered with. Good luck my friend!”

Holmes shook the offered hand, took a deep breath, looked around the assembled players and smiled.

“Gentlemen, I think the landlord would like to buy you all a drink. Follow me please”

Jeffrey Edmonds, owner and landlord of the Cockatoo public house, seated with his three cronies at his usual table, could hardly believe his eyes when Holmes and Watson entered the dingy interior of his premises. His eyes at first lit up at the sight of two gentlemen, well dressed and obviously past the first flush of youth. The smile that was about to quirk his lips was halted when he observed the crowd of very large males following them in. His eyes suddenly became wary as Holmes crossed the room and stood before his table. Apart from the one in the corner and its four occupants, only a couple of tables contained drinkers. The men at both seemed suddenly to realise they had business elsewhere and drank up quickly and left. The newcomers spread and seated themselves around at the empty tables. Looking over them, Watson was exceedingly glad they were on his side.

“Good afternoon, Landlord. Mr Edmonds is it not? Porter for my friend and I, then follow it with a round for all these gentlemen, if you will. There are things of interest to both of us that we should discuss, I do believe. I think you had better summon your waiter. Jump to it man, lively now. We do not have all day”

Edmonds looked at him, his mouth opening and closing in shock. Finally, he glared angrily at Holmes, but sweat had suddenly appeared on his florid face.

“Ere, who are you to be telling me what to do in my own pub?” he blustered. “I give the orders in here and you better believe it .Are you police or something? ” He nevertheless, signalled to the girl standing behind the plank table to dispense porter to the silent watchers. Holmes took a seat at Edmond’s table, after making a brushing gesture over the stained bench there. Watson took up station behind him. The decently dressed young man and the sailor-type with the tattoos, of their previous visit were seated there. The girl serving maid deposited two flagons of porter on the table and went off to serve Holmes’s companions. Holmes took a mouthful of the beer and withdrew two pieces of paper from his pocket. He left them on the table before unhurriedly producing his pipe and looking steadily at Edmonds. He reached into his waistcoat and produced a box of safety matches and slowly lit the pipe. He then addressed the landlord, his eyes suddenly flinty.

“No, there are no police here yet, but there well may be very shortly if you do not listen very carefully to what I am going to say. After that, the decision will rest with you! My name is Sherlock Holmes and I am a professional detective. The man behind me is my companion, Doctor Watson. The large gentlemen are spectators, for now. Now then, a short time ago, your son, for this gentleman is your son, is he not?” Holmes indicated the young man at the table, “posing as a new friend, tempted a man here to drink and play cards. After cheating and robbing him of his money, you rigged up a charade to make him believe he had killed one of the card players after a row over cheating. From that point, once you found he was of a wealthy family, you pressured him into parting with a great deal of money by a vicious scheme of lies, blackmail and threats using disclosure of his crime as a lever……Sit down and stay where you are!”

Holmes barked the words and pointed at the man with the tattoos who had risen to his feet. He switched his attention to him noting his furtive look.

“You are back from the dead it seems. The last heard of you was as a corpse floating in the dock, killed by the same unfortunate man you cheated. One of your “friends”, and I use the term loosely indeed, hit the man with a bottle and knocked him unconscious. When he came round, injured and still partially drunk, you were missing claimed dead. I don’t have to relate the whole story, do I? It is all too familiar to you. You were very easy indeed to identify when we my friend and I came here the other day. Gaviota was the man claimed murdered and yet here you are alive and well. Yes, you are that man. You see, my friend, I happen to know that “Gaviota” is the Spanish word for “seagull”, two of which are tattooed on your arms. That young man beside you had to be the owner’s son, for he was as out of place in a rat-infested hovel like this as we are. He would not be here unless he had a right to be so and was guaranteed to be safe.!”

Holmes switched his attention back to Edmonds who was now perspiring freely.

“Now, you may deny as much of it as you will, but if necessary I am quite prepared to get these men to keep you all here whilst someone contacts my friend Inspector Lestrade of the police and brings him here. I can assure you he will be far more inclined to believe me than you that the only crimes committed are yours. I also have the man you cheated and injured seated in a carriage outside. I doubt it is the first time you pulled this devious, vicious trick, but I guarantee it will be the last!”

Edmonds had lost his ruddy complexion and was pale and perspiring freely. Holmes sat back waiting for the denials, none came. Gaviota had a haunted look and his tanned face had also paled. The younger man just looked helplessly at his father.

“What do you intend to do?” Edmonds former brash tone had become almost a croak.

“You are obviously the instigator of the whole dastardly scheme and the hurt and anguish you have caused cannot be undone. The money you stole will be returned, every single penny of it, and how you achieve that I care not a fig about. You do not have the excuse of a crime since none was committed except your own threats and blackmail. Here is a list drawn up from the figures you demanded and took from the young man and his family. Very fortunately we stepped in before your final outrageous demand could be met. There is a man also outside, a good friend of the lady you stole from, who has very powerful connections in both police and government. He is far from amused, but the family wish to avoid embarrassment by making these details public so he has some reservations on proceeding, whilst I, sir, have no such limitations and would do so in a heartbeat, for you are the lowest form of life I can think of. I care not how much it hurts you to return the money, but return it you will. You have one week to deliver it for the attention of myself, care of a Mrs Hudson at 221B Baker Street, Marylebone. The amounts, address and details are on this sheet of paper.”

Holmes placed the larger of the two sheets he had put on the table in front of Edmonds.
“In addition to the police, should you fail to do this, my companions will visit you again with even more friends. What might be left of your establishment after they visit will be suitable only for firewood! It is only at the request of the family to avoid publicity that you do not finish up behind bars this very day. You have got off very lightly indeed. There is, in addition, one last thing that you will do if you wish not to see me again. Carry out the instructions on this other sheet. Do not fail, for you are a very lucky man, as are your companions. I shall return within a week to see that you have complied. I think our business is now concluded. Come gentlemen, let us leave this rats den of thieves and scoundrels!”

Holmes placed two pounds on the table in front of Edmonds. He would not have it said that they had left without paying for their drinks. He stood up and walked from the place without a backward look and followed by Watson and some grim looking, heavyweight gentlemen.

One week later, much to the delight and gratitude of Lady Henrietta and her brother, Holmes’s promised Status Quo was restored. The stolen money, complete to the penny, had arrived in a package at Baker Street only two days after the visit to the docklands. The Times that morning had carried the announcement of the engagement of a well known society gentleman, Mr Rupert Chance and Lady Henrietta Twitterington of Marylebone Court, much to the delight of all concerned. Holmes and Watson were now in a carriage approaching the West India docks. Behind them, as escorts, came a second carriage containing four of the same large gentlemen that had visited The Cockatoo the previous week. Holmes had one interest in the case left. He wanted to ascertain that his last demand of the villainous Edmonds had been met.

“What exactly are we going to see, Holmes? You’ve been damned secretive about this whole thing. My curiosity is aroused. All you say is “wait and see”

“Patience Watson, for we are approaching the answer to your question right now. Mr Edmonds likes birds, it seems, but Cockatoos are rather foreign in London and his sign was a disgrace, so I changed the scenario somewhat. Ah, there we are…splendid !”

Holmes smiled widely as their carriage pulled up outside the public house. He waved a hand grandly and pointed at the pub doorway. Over it, on a new bracket and chains, a shiny, professionally painted sign hung in splendid and colourful isolation of the grime around it. Watson peered at it then smiled broadly. The smile became a guffaw and the guffaw an explosive laugh, joined in by Holmes. The pair could be heard laughing uproariously as the driver flicked the reins and the carriages turned for home. Watson would ask himself later, in a quiet moment, did he really hear a woman’s voice echoing their laughter….or was it just his imagination?

Behind the disappearing carriage, swinging gently in the breeze, the sign announced to all and sundry, the premises to be……. ......

Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8.

Jim G.MJune 03, 2015 12:29PM

Re: Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8.

terrycgJune 03, 2015 05:52PM

Re: Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8A. Case Closed

Jim G.MJune 03, 2015 12:31PM

Re: Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8A. Case Closed

ShannaGJune 04, 2015 12:08AM

Re: Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8A. Case Closed

mpinneyJune 03, 2015 03:57PM

Re: Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8A. Case Closed

Jim G.MJune 03, 2015 04:50PM

Re: Pride, Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes.Chapter 8A. Case Closed

Lucy J.June 04, 2015 04:27AM


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