Clockwork 1888 Session 3
Clockwork 1888 Session 3

Clockwork 1888 Date: Tuesday, April 3, 1888
Mr. Thomas Poole, the Lew family footman, was next on the questioning list. He confirmed that Justin had put Beatrice up in the village inn after his father had dismissed her. But, Mr. Poole acted as the go-between for Justin when he wanted to deliver a letter to her or even to have an interlude with her while he was locked in the manor library. Mr. Poole confirmed that he would bring Beatrice through the back gate, through the garden path and to the library. Then, he’d wait by the garden gate to return her to the inn.

But, Mr. Poole begged them to not disclose his part in Justin’s affair. The Baron would surely dismiss him if he found out Mr. Poole’s part in Justin’s indiscretion. Mr. Poole was also the one dispatched to deliver the funds and letter of recommendation to Beatrice and was to make certain that she understood that said items were for her silence.

Their subsequent witness was the groundskeeper. The groundskeeper was asleep when the murder occurred but he had released the dogs to guard the grounds for the night. He’s a very light sleeper when it comes to hearing the dogs bark and he was not awakened until the butler roused him with the information on Justin’s death. He immediately searched the grounds and found no signs of an intruder. Plus, the dogs had not barked so, according to the groundskeeper, either nobody came onto the grounds or … the dogs knew the person.

Then, they went to the family crypt to examine the body of Justin Lew. He had obviously been strangled but the bruising was all around his neck and seemed to have been caused by something on the order of 3 or 4 inches in diameter. “Snake,” Archibald surmised. “I’ve not seen one myself but I’ve heard that a snake could do something like this. A constricting snake like a boa constrictor or the like could get to that size, too.” So, they carefully checked, looking for any signs of scales or such. But, there was nothing under Justin’s fingernails or other signs of a considerable struggle on the body.

Afterward, they took the carriage back into the village of Dearford where they spoke to the local doctor who had initially inspected the body. A country doctor who works out of his home, the man listed the cause of death as strangulation but had not thought of a snake as a possibility. The local constable had a different theory. He made it clear that he figures the private investigators are in town simply to find a scapegoat for the lord of the land. He believed that Justin and his father argued and that the father strangled him in a fit of rage. Of course, being nobility the constable dared not imply such theories publicly unless he had absolute proof … which he doesn’t have. When it’s a lord’s word against that of a commoner, well, lords are above that law.

They found the inn that Beatrice Poston, the former Lew servant, stayed in while she and Justin were having their affair. The innkeeper informed them that the room of interest was rented through the year but that the Lew family had said he could rent it again. After convincing the innkeeper to ‘rent’ them the room for the night, they were admitted to the unusually luxurious room and thoroughly searched it. In a secret compartment of the one desk, they found some love letters to Beatrice from Justin. Apparently, in her haste to leave she had forgotten about them. One, dated after Justin’s last visit to his wife in London, Margaret, he wrote to Beatrice that he planned to divorce his wife and marry Beatrice.

The innkeeper informed that one of the Lew servants met with her early this morning. As soon as the Lew servant left, she hurriedly packed and barely said goodbye before she left. He believed that she went off in the direction of the train station.

Afterward, they traced Beatrice’s movements that morning to the train station where she purchased a ticket on the first train to Hereford. The next train wasn’t due for a little while and they figured they could make better time with the carriage. So, to Hereford they went. Once in Hereford, it wasn’t long before they tracked Beatrice to one of the inns. The innkeeper informed them that the woman was last seen heading up to her room. As it was getting near supper, they waited for her keeping an eye on the tavern while they discussed how to approach her when they did find her. Finally a young lady emerged from the stairway and made her way to a small table in the corner of the room.

Fredryck covered the entrance in case Beatrice decided to make a hasty retreat. Evgenia and Priscilla went inside the inn and took a table near Beatrice. Then, Archibald flamboyantly entered the inn with Dracona following close behind. Priscilla gushed about that man (Archibald) being a famous actor and put on a scene of fan adoration. Archibald graciously took in the praise but informed that he wanted a quiet dinner this eve as he was on his way to a London performance next evening. To her chagrin, Archibald ended his speech with a proposal to have his meal with the quiet young lady in the corner, if she’d please.

Indifferent to the famed (but not to her) actor, Beatrice let the actor share her table. What she didn’t expect was when Dracona slipped into a chair on the other side of Beatrice from Archibald. Making small talk, Beatrice inquired about their London production. Archibald embellished on how the production was one of the great Shakespearean masterpieces.

“Of course,” he implored, "that could mean that it could be Othello with its tale of family indiscretion, or Julius Caesar with its murder of royalty, or the masterful love story of a Midsummer Night’s Dream. But, no,” he continued, “This was the greatest love story of them all, one of love forbade by family, Romeo and Juliet.” He went on about how great their love was, how it was forbidden, and how it woefully led to the demise of the lovers. He ended his dissertation with “Such love is rare, fair maiden. Hast thou known such love?”

Beatrice talked with them, about love forbidden, about love promised and love lost. Without using any names, she told Archibald about the love she had and how it ended in her lover’s death. Archibald asked, for a possible script he was considering, if she knew of whether such a noble family would keep strange pets, like snakes or such. Beatrice smiled again, at such a suggestion and informed that other than a few dogs for protection and the handy chicken for meals and such, they’d had no strange pets. At the next table, Evgenia and Priscilla could tell she was sincere in her love for Justin and they determined that she was most probably not his killer. So, Archibald paid for her meal, thanked her for her hospitality and time, and left the inn.

Returning to the manor at Dearford, they found that Gordon was due to arrive and he was bringing Margaret Lew, Justin’s wife, with him.

Clockwork 1888 Session 2

Clockwork 1888 Date: Tuesday, April 3, 1888
Evgenia and Priscilla had just finished tending Dracona’s wounds when there was a knock on the door. James, the Yermak family butler, answered the door. Archibald and Fredryck had finished their statements at the police station and had stopped by to check on Dracona.

Shortly, another knock on the door brought James, again. He admitted a young gentleman whose card identified him as Gordon Lew, the man that the inspector had mentioned was in need of investigative services. When he was introduced to Evgenia, he insisted on speaking with the lead investigator.

Evgenia explained that he was out completing a prior case. Gordon still wanted to speak to the lead investigator. Fredryck saw the difficulty that Evgenia was having and interrupted them to offer Gordon some brandy and introduce himself. Fredryck then assured Gordon that Evgenia was quite competent in taking the required information and ensuring that the lead investigator received it. With a huff, Gordon agreed to explain the situation to Evgenia but he still kept asking if she was getting all the pertinent details.

Gordon’s brother, Justin, was murdered in the Dearford manor library last night, about 10 o’clock. The killer apparently stole £100 and strangled Justin before fleeing. The local constable has already investigated but Lord Hubert Lew, Gordon’s and Justin’s father, insisted on a private investigation. The butler was about to deliver some milk to Lord Lew when he heard Justin call his wife’s name. The butler unlocked the library door to find Justin dead, strangled. Nobody else was in the room and the doors and windows were all bolted from the inside.

Evgenia asked who would gain from Justin’s death. Gordon will now inherit the Lew estate but he quickly dismissed the implication that he could kill his own brother. After all, if he were the murderer why would he hire private investigators? Evgenia asked about others and Gordon explained that Justin’s wife, Margaret, was in Belgravia, London, at the time of the murder but Justin had visited her last week.

If possible, Gordon has a private car booked for the investigator on the noon train. Evgenia explained that caring for Dracona, a performer, was part of their duties for a prior case and Gordon offered no resistance to their accompanying, so long as they didn’t meddle in the Lew affairs and understood that they arrive as guests. The private train car holds 6 comfortably so if the investigator wanted his assistant, or other cohorts, to accompany that was acceptable. And Fredryck, familiar with the needs of the well-to-do, was welcome to accompany them if he so desired. Archibald, being between productions, offered to go along to help care for Dracona.

Travel to Dearford village was via a 3 hour train ride with 1st class private rail car accommodations provided by the Lew family. Priscilla and Evgenia continued to tend to Dracona’s wounds throughout the journey and they all discussed the details of the case. Disembarking in a small village, they could see the Dearford manor up on the hill, overlooking the village.

Priscilla scouted about for rumors while the others looked for the coach. Rumors in the village indicated that a maid was let go from the Lew employ about 3 months ago. But, the maid stayed at the local inn. She continued to receive visits from and was apparently, on numerous occasions, keeping company with another Lew employee, Mr. Poole. After listening to the buzz around the village train station, they finally spotted the Lew family carriage and were taken to Dearford manor by the coachman, Roger Waite, and another Lew servant, Thomas Poole.

The butler, Mr. Archibald Shay, met them at the door and showed them to the drawing room. Lord Hubert Lew, the Baron of Dearford, joined them shortly. Evgenia and Priscilla started questioning Lord Lew but he quickly tired of their inquiry, strained to keep his composure at the loss of his son, and suggested they examine the library. The butler, Archibald Shay, escorted them to the library.

They quickly set about searching the library. Priscilla poked at the ashes in the fireplace but was unable to discern anything. They spotted a crumpled paper underneath the one chair. Justin had started penning a letter, apparently disliked it, crumpled it up and missed when he threw it at the fireplace. It read:

My Darling,
As much as it pains me to write this, I fear that we cannot (end of text)

Also noticed was the blank piece of paper on the desk. There’s an open jar of ink but the blank paper had an ink spot on the back of it. The party deduced that the paper was placed there after the ink had dripped onto the desk, most probably after the murder. They proceeded to question the butler, Mr. Shay. After a bit of grilling, he confided that out of his loyalty to the family, he destroyed the letter that Justin was writing and replaced it with the blank paper that was on the desk. When asked who the letter was to, he told them to speak again with Lord Lew.

Lord Hubert Lew had regained his composure by the time they returned. They confronted him with Justin’s discarded note and he finally told them the real story. The butler had indeed heard Justin call his wife’s name from behind the locked library doors. Justin went to the library to write and once, some time back, a maid had disturbed him and caused him to spill ink on his writing. Since then he had locked the library door.

But, Justin had been having an illicit affair with one of the maids, Beatrice. This had been going on for some time when Lord Lew fired the maid to try and break them up. But, Justin continued seeing her. Last night, after Justin had expressed great interest in an African expedition, he informed his father that he was planning to divorce his wife and take up with the maid. Lord Lew drew the line. Justin would not disgrace the family so and he threatened to disown Justin unless he ceased the affair immediately.

They argued but eventually Lord Lew agreed to fund Justin on the expedition in exchange for his breaking off the affair. In return, Lord Lew was to give the maid a £100 and a letter of recommendation. The £100 that the police believe was stolen was actually taken from Justin’s pocket to turn over to the maid this morning. Mr. Poole delivered the letter and £100 in exchange for her silence on the affair. He wants his son to be remembered as an honorable man.

Clockwork 1888 Session 1

Clockwork 1888 Date: Tuesday, April 3, 1888
You paused from your errands to take in the performance of Dracona, a street performer said to have a unique show. As she was getting to the crescendo of her performance, a well dressed man pushed through the crowd, shoved Sir Fredryck aside, and shot Dracona, saying something about making an example of her.

Before anybody could react, the well dressed man struck Dracona with the butt of his pistol, saying how Mr. Barker had tried to tell her how dangerous it was being a street performer. But she just wouldn’t listen so he was there to make sure everybody heard.

In spite of the pounding the well dressed man had just delivered to Darcona, she stood her ground and completed her performance by striking the match and spewing the liquid from her mouth past the lit match. The ensuing burst of fire caught the well dressed man, even though he tried to avoid it, and set him aflame.

Archibald moved to the man and struck at him, noting the rudeness of the well-dressed man’s critique upon a fellow artistic performer. Fredryck, being of the military, recognized a brutal attack when he saw it, drew his family sword on the well dressed man, and delivered a blow that would have fell many a man.

Pricilla made a nasty knife blow to the offensive well dressed man and Evgenia took a shot at him but missed due to the ensuing chaos. The crowd of onlookers spread out as the gunshots would dictate if one didn’t want to catch a stray bullet. With the cacophony of onlookers beating upon him, the well dressed man put out the flames that licked at his fine clothes. Archibald again insisted the man cease his rude interruption as Fredryck struck and the well dressed man went unconscious.

Pricilla quickly went to the well dressed, singed, unconscious man and proceeded to tie him up. She noted that their performer, Dracona, was looking a bit peaked from her wounds. Evgenia moved to help bind Dracona’s wounds but heard the whistles of the bobbies and noticed a figure making its way through the crowd. She recognized this one; it was Inspector Harold Rombold from the Yard.

The inspector came to them, inquiring what had happened and directing the arriving bobbies. He greeted Sir Fredryck Stanley properly and seems to know Evgenia. While Pricilla and Evgenia tended to Dracona, the inspector got the story from Archibald and Sir Stanley. With corroborating stories from the conscious witnesses, he asked that they all stop by the station for statements as soon as possible. Of course, Sir Stanley could simply write his statement and have it delivered to the station at his leisure.

The bobbies loaded the unconscious man into a hansom and took him away, apparently for medical attention. Rombold asked if Dracona needed medical attention but Evgenia promised to make certain that Dracona got proper care for her injuries. Pricilla offered to help tend Dracona through the night and so Rombold let them go, saying he’d stop by in a little while. He asked Archibald to accompany him to the station and Evgenia gave her address if they wanted to stop in to check on Dracona.

As things were wrapping up, Rombold spoke quietly to them. “Evgenia,” he began, “I have a task for your father’s firm. It requires the utmost discretion due to the involvement of Lord Lew, Baron of Dearford.” The mention of Lord Lew caught Fredryck’s ear and he interjected, “is this to do with the Justin Lew obituary in the London Times?” Rombold turned his attention to Fredryck, “it’s to be of the utmost discretion, as I’m certain you’d understand, Sir Stanley.”

“But of course,” Fredryck answered, “but I’ll help the Baron if possible.” “Yes, well, the Baron’s son, Gordon, is in London to secure private investigation services concerning the death of his brother, Justin. I’ll have Gordon stop by your residence later, then, Evgenia.”

The well-dressed man referred to Mr. Barker. When he regained consciousness, he told the police that he was working for Mr. Mortimer Orville Barker. A search of his wallet found a few shillings, a couple sovereigns and no identification. His pocket had a note written in his own hand with a description and location of the street performer, Dracona, and the word, “Example” written under it. When questioned he smiled and claimed his name was Henry Smith.


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