The Jungle Photograph
I would place a spot here,a time,a date that is. The year I do believe is 1899,November 5th to be precise and a most gun powdery noisy night of the year it has chosen to be.
Bonfire Night, full of shadows dancing around each and every fire. Leaping outlines of what perhaps is destined to come. The East End of London seemed ablaze. The heat having put paid to the Fog forced it up into the nights sky. There to hang for just a wee short while before descending grip like once more upon such a place as this.
Dr Nots`gnivil is an explorer of renowned character who had a silent ring to his name,the letter G.It being the case it was fixed solid in place as if it were a rare gem from darkest Africa,and although distinguished acclaim followed him after all his daring exploits really well,he wore the hat of such sound acclaim as did that Hatter down ALICE LANE.It was to put no finer point to it, a type-cast cloak,a mask,because beneath the surface he had a most unsound mentality that would be the ruin of him,and in more ways than one.To cap it all in just one simple sentence. He was Stark Staring Mad.When in socialite company,or when dining with Princes,Queens and Kings he was as set in the mould as they were. All these brightly dull cousins had the same look to their eyes and noses. However enough of them for soon for most of them their black Eagles would fall and flutter no more in the coming wind of change.
Mr Spotit Calls
Concerning the good Doctor,idle hands feet and eyes soon began to draw a sullenness mood about his ears,and most disturbing it was for such a man,but soon it was about to change for the better or possibly even the worse.The oddest thing was about to happen,for as the maid answered the door of such resounding impatient knocking. A small skinny man was revealed in the half light of the hall. "My,My, Sir don`t knock so loud with heavy hand, these hinges are fit well enough indeed to fall off ,sending the draft in that would chill a Penguin solid."____"He,He,Peg. Always the same greeting. Is your Master in? "____"Well Mr Spotit,you best wait in the hall,and I`ll go ask Dr Nots,if he`s in."___ "Ah Peg,run them fine legs Masterly like away dear,and ask him. Be sure to show him this too." ___ It was then as the hall was warming up again ,that the Skinny Mr Spotit placed an old photograph in the rather plump housemaids hand. "It`ll be Coffee or Tea ",she muttered out aloud . "At this time of the night,As if i have not got enough to do."She continued on, while shuffle-like side stepping it down the hall way like some over plump mouse. Of course there being no tail in which to help keep her balance she sort of swayed,first one way and then the other. `Been at the Gin again our Peg, has? Yes Quite So.` Spotit thought to himself upon the swaying sight of dear Peg trying hard to pace it out. Now it was the Pinkest Gin in the whole street that Peg,had been a nipping at,and it was the same situation each night between 9 and 11 that she found herself in. With the door now half open ,the faint voice of Peg could be heard,as the skinny Gentleman strained hard his ears to listen. "Oh,Bother That clock ticks away ones life in such a strange loud way." He muttered impatiently.
I suppose that all dusty old black clocks are like that ,that stand from floor to almost ceiling height in cluttered hallways,full of hanging coats. Enough to keep the walls warm at least. As for Mr Spotit with his thread bare coat he was oppositely not warm at all. In fact since leaving the WHITE RABBIT,Public House,he had been shivering and a steaming it all his 25 minute way to where he now stood in the half light.
"Good God.Almighty. Send him in."
Spotit the eager man that he was ,was nearly half way down the hallway even before the Housemaid re-emerged from her Masters room. You can go in Mr Spotit the Dr is at home.
"Come in my dear fellow. Come sit in the easy chair next to the fire. Now then Spotit. Where did you come by this photograph?"
Shades of Brandy
"Well you see Sir,I.i," ______It was upon reaching that dotted i that Spotit ,the poor fellow that he was began a shivering ,and a coughing such a chesty cough well fit enough to fill up at least 5 good sized rooms like the study he now found himself perched in,with Germs.
Yes,I tell you perhaps even Ten rooms full to the brim and over spilling with his over acted out, imaginary germs. It is note worthy to mention that these types of germs are very hard to combat against,and daily many fall fowl of them still.
Mr Spotit, is a very gifted man with many a seedy talent to his book,and this being one of them he continued on. "Now Dr,i_" The cough returned with the i,as did the shivering .__" Come my dear fellow,have a sip of brandy and warm up your insides,as well as your outside." The good,and seemingly kind caring Dr Nots suggested to Spotit. The French Brandy,a gift not to be turned down or sniffed upon lightly ,was poured,glug,glug out into pure white crystal glasses,that seemed in the fire light to turn a perfect turn of blue. Cut Crystal does tend to catch light strangely at odd times,and this certainly seems to be one.Spotit downed his quicker than it would have taken a small monkey to climb down a small tree. Dr Nots`gnivil eyed up this wiry lean Spotit of a man ,and swollowed his Brandy down sip by sip,while sitting opposite. The roaring fire damper out to draw was between them." Now leaning over he refilled both glasses,and asked."Now then Mr Spotit pray tell me about this photograph for i am most curious indeed,and this little game is at an end." ____ "Well Sir , i was in such a fix at no mistake when i come by them."___ " By Them? You mean you have more?"_____ "That i do sir,Sort of." ______" Sort of ? What do you mean man? Do you have more? Or not?"______ "Well you see,i have my hands poor as they are available,and a ready to re-shuffle them up and back into the book." ____ "A Book,you say sir?"_____ "Well yes,yes indeed so. A book, a strange type of Journal as near as i figured it out to be."____ " A Journal? I must see it Mr Spotit,name your price for this game of craft is over."_____" 20 Guineas." ____ Both now downed the last few drops of Brandy,and Gob Smacked the Doc`s, response was rapid quick firing as the new Machine Guns used against the Boers.
"20 Guineas?"____" Yes Sir,And 20 more for my reward for a steering them here." ____ "Are you Mad Sir,Mad?"_______ " Well some says,that i be that way.Others in different circles say that i might be. As for myself i have no notice of it other than now. The Journal is worth much more than the 40 Guineas. So another 60 Guineas and it`s yours Sir." ______ It seems the game is not over after all. "The Gent who owns Half Way House ,will i`m sure be very interested in it all."____" Half Way House,I know of him you speak of. Glad Grind, he`s always cutting corners to save money that one."____ " That's very true.Yes Indeed so."
Another bottle of French Brandy was opened up,and the glugged in crystal glasses now turned to a rosy red by the fire light of glowing coals._____" I`ll see,everything here and then decide Spotit"
_____" No problem Dr, Here is another photograph to wet your appetite for such
HAT RUGER RUGANESS."
____ ` My,O My! I must find out more of this place.` Dr Nots`gnivil the renowned explorer of strange new worlds thought to himself,as he fingered and thumbed the picture,with both hands.Feeling well pleased with having such luck he gazed eagerly with an ardent desire for a clue ,upon seeing what appeared to be the strangest picture he had ever seen.Eyeing it perfectly as one would a Precious Gem up close against the dimming glare of the fire light,he noticed a scribble in strange ink on the back of it,for there was not even one blot to it. Upon his first gaze of it,he reflected well upon it,because such a date was familiar for him as was the silent G in his own name. 1492 Perfectly in every way was scribbled out upon the back of it in bright blue ink,and there was not one blot to it. His all seeing eye fixed intently,Mr Spotit ,always thinking,yes always that,sat calmly by sipping his drink,and relaxed in every way felt warmed up to a hidden glow both on the inside and the outside.
To be Continued
A Rather Late Supper
By twenty past eleven on that cold chilling November night Mr Spotit,was upon his way back to Pudding Lane,and there he lived a quite secluded lifestyle in two large rooms,that were always rather warm. There being a rather floury Hot Bun Bakery beneath those very bare noisy floor boards that so often creaked out in their own accord,as if another pair of shoes other than Spotit`s were a pacing up and down upon them.With a meagre ration of broke off cheese,and a wedge of bread that had been hastily torn off the hard loaf that now lay half demolished upon the wooden cutting board. Spotit, hacked,chewed and gulped and swallowed his way through his rather late supper. Brandy does warm ones stomach up for an expected nosh up of much finer food that is for sure. However Spotit was a wretched creature of habit,and always he`d dine upon such a delight that he was now a chucking down his throat with such a passion. Sitting as he did in the old worn out chair he resembled in his actions ,that of being strangely like a great big mouse a chewing on his bread. It must be mentioned that oddly at opportune times,two or three normal mice would often venture out from the back of that old chair ,and dine upon in delight whatever their hands could manoeuvre, and goofy teeth could nibble away and gnaw upon. The Banquet now over Spotit swilled the last remains of his rather weak warm tea down.Then he wound up the mantel clock,that oddly had no hands.A large key for winding two mechanism's one sited either side of the center. One for the ticking another for the chimes.He then hobbled his way into the other room where his rather unkempt bed awaited such dreams that only Spotit could unravel if only he had a clever mind to do so.After the mutterings of his days misdeeds,sleep of a restless kind of dreams settled once more upon him,for there were stars and bars and drum beats a plenty, set keenly into place within each of of them.
As the song of Spotit`s night sleep fades away,we leave the two warm rooms above that famous Bakery in Pudding Lane. That is until there be another time when there could be a bright or otherwise returning to them. One thing is for certain they are no ordinary rooms for they were long ago turned into charcoal and ash in such a Great Fearsome Fire. ( Sunday September 2nd 1666 ) One must leave understanding aside and expect the turning of such things within this ever swinging tale,for within its own pages time shifts come unexpected ,but mostly at an opportune pace, as with a fresh turning of the fine trickle of sand within an hour glass does. Sand that dances along with that special coupled sound within those special rooms above that Bakery ,where shifting cogs and springs with unusual ticks and dongs and musical chimes do spin and all are the soundings of past and present hours, of one great clock that has no hands. A time pieces as all clocks are,but one of two and for the many they would have never seen such workings within these. However those few associated with THE CLOCK MAKER, did._______along with Spotit,the Thief !
Toward the East End of London the bonfires were well burn`t down,and the poor were raking out of the burning remnant and Gray ashes their supper of hot Spuds. With the poking of wooden sticks through them,the Potatoes were finally taken away, and a heading burn`t smokey like for hungry mouths.Such a rare treat for the many poor homeless of that time. As Mr Spotit passed by one such smokey eyed gathering small children were quickly hot handling their Spuds,from one hand to another. Spotit tipped his hat at some seedy looking fellows he recognised ,and then pulling up his coat collar again around his cold neck he continued head down for his home. The stone bridge lay ahead that crossed the Thames at that spot where the rising mist met up with the descending coal dusted smog.
After the leaving of Mr Charley Spotit,with two fresh ironed out white five pound notes tucked into his breast pocket,of a new warm coat. Dr Nots`gnivil having shown him to the door,that door of shinny black flaking paint was locked and bolted up finer than the Crown Jewels ever were in King Williams exceptional Tower beyond the river. While passing the bottom of the winding cast iron stairwell the Doctor could hear the heavy noises of snoring Peg,above,and the sound of a fallen bottle hitting,and rolling along the uneven wooden floor. "An Old Sop,"he said out aloud to himself,but then thinking upon it further she was his old sop,and cheap as three bob a week.
The jenever twopence a slug was her way of escapism at the bottom of a gin glass. When ruddy red faced and in jovial company she would often declare herself addicted to water,but that the Gin and dipped in bread helped her get it down. Yes Peggy Larips was a good round faced House Keeper,Cook,and Maid all rolled up into one. Once she had had a spiralling ambition to travel the world,because the world as she knew ended at the East End of London,near the ubiquitous wooden Gibbet where Pirates bodies were hanged to rot,and where the iron body frame still hung swaying noisy upon its rusted chain. She`d often played as a youngster near that split black wooden Gibbet ,and her sweetheart had carved his name and hers under the old numbers of 1492,that had been chiseled out many a year before. However such as names are often muddled up or even twisted out of shape,these names where being no different due to a lack of space between them for the names blended together to spell out NEDPEG,which is still there even today.
The Wooden Chest
As Doctor Nots`gnivil fumbled hard trying to identify and get the right key,that he needed just at that exact point in time,the Tall Grand Father Clock donged out upon the once almost silent hallway 11 resounding spring bongs,then strange as it may seem settled itself into its usual state of cleverly spaced out ticking,which actually sounded more like Tock!Tock! Rather than a forceful Tick! No sooner as the Tock`s had begun the good upright and friendly Doctor gained entry into the room. As the door swung open a rather cool breeze entered out into the hallway and those walls would have shivered and shook as if young schoolboys upon a snow filled playground would have in the dead of winter.Were it not for all those warm coats that lined the walls.I would go as far as describing it as if an ancient Egyptian Tomb had just been opened after 4 or 5 thousand years had passed since it was well sealed up. Nots` entered leaving the brass key in the lock and a tinny whiff of a string dangled from its metal turning handle. The room having been locked up for a considerable length of time kept its chill as does a block of ice,and for some strange reason there were no gas light fittings in that room whereas elsewhere in this large house the mantle wall a top each fireplace had two. A left and a right one fixed into place and jutting out from the walls with tinted coloured light shades,that had been crimped into rather well fashioned fringes after having been turned in the glass makers fire.
Soon a match sparked and flared up into its burning short life,and raising the glass top on the rather large oil lamp the mantle was easily lit,and the almost spent and twisted out of shape match stick was shook out with relative ease. The glass slid back into place and the light was extreme enough to mark out every item that stood in that room with a moving shadow as the lamp was carried carefully across the large 27 foot room. For these were well in part Georgian houses that had once seen better days and nights and much finer residents than what resided there now. Close by the river and the locked gate yards were where Wooden Ships of the Line were once amassed in split wood and built up in order to knock others down.These houses with spiked iron bars to their front that lined that curved street were especially built for Navel Officers of Highest Rank. Make no bones about it these walls had seen enough gold braid as would help fill up a real ancient Egyptian tomb. The room now crossed and the heavy lamp set aside, a cover of finest tapestry was slid aside to drop upon the floor revealing a large half barrel shape of a box,a large sea chest that had the look of once having been in a fire,for it was jet black and highly buffed up in polish. Deep cut and well chiseled out into the dark wood the name YOBONAEB had been placed upon the black lid. ( I presumed it to be Topsy Turvy in Olde English Style! ) With the turn of a key in four hidden locks the sound of well sprung metal plate sound shifted in a giant twang that resounded well in that almost silent cold room. Creaking upon its ancient hinges the top was slowly raised.
To Be Continued
The Contents of YOBONAEB
With the heavy lid now having been lifted the Doctor, moved aside a package of clothing wrapped in brown paper holding the thin tied hairy string. Beneath was a large leather bound book. A Ships Log. The Steam Ship ELDDIR having been heat sealed into the leather. Flipping through the well logged entries upon those pages,he finally reached the last page of entry. He placed the Photograph`s that Mr Spotit, the seedy fellow had given him there among others. Some were tatty finger worn with drawing pin holes with the deep impression ring showing,others not so were of pictures of Ships Officers. Newspaper cuttings which were folded neatly where also there too.
Picking one up he began to read the head Lines. `Bitter Battle 63.000 Dead,As Civil War Claims More Lives.`He began to remember what had driven him mad. He being at the time of it a young Officer on The Blockade Runner The S S ELDDIR.
The American Civil War being at its height ,the Southern States needed arms,food supplies,gold,and precious mail. Great Britain was waging a highly secret campaign of arming Blockade Runners,fast steamships that after being built in France were then sailed to London where the Armoury outfitted them with quick firing rifled Guns. These fast ships could outrun any ship afloat during the great upheaval of those times,and so a steady trickle of supplies got through.The risk was great if caught they would,and could all be hanged on the spot without trial of any kind. Clearly seen as Pirates by the US Federal Government. So as a man of privilege an Officer and Gentleman the young Percy Nots`gnivil,was a Gun Runner who risked all or nothing upon the gain of great wealth ,and as it would turn out much high acclaim too from none other than Queen Victoria,herself. Remembering he chuckled away to himself. Well after all he was touched slightly in that way.
Shrugging off such memories from idle review he continued on with searching for a certain set of letters.After fudging his way through a mountain of what seemed ancient scrolls. Each one with its own stored up power wholly intent of rolling back into its rightful place.___Which must have been most confusingly, frustrating to those that were once commissioned to write them all down .He finally found the large oblong biscuit tin.Long had it been empty of such crumbing spicy delight,but like the many then and now one can often see such tins about the place in peoples homes. For they seal up tight and often contain doings of former times.So upon that night that roved for fudged for ornamental tin was opened up,and its contents now sprung from such a spring of confinement as was once laid upon them,the first few layers of Christmas cards,letters flew up and out.His wondering fingers bony like from age at long last found the letters of such rank and file and power that once would have blown off the tops of many a boiler if they had been discovered. They being unopened envelopes in Victoria`s ,and Lord Palmerston's`s scratchy hands to the Confederate President. These sealed letters were soundly tucked into place now within the Ships Log along with all the other contents of the last entry page and had the recent acquired photographs slipped in between them.
Unseen by many as if with blurred vision.___ Outside the last few remaining silver stars burst high above the squalid wore out alleyways,and the harsh prisons iron bars,as such vague stripes as these shot up into that defining nights sky ,as if the last assemblage of fuel rich rockets soaring, searching out the nebulous of the heavens above.
It was a few days later,after the turning of December 1899,the 5th to put more of a raw shine to it,for the snow was well fit in its every fall to clean up London into looking like a very iced over universal white.It was an evening that saw Mr Spotit making his way over the stone bridge dodging the wheels of such traffic that plied across it,for even at night there seemed little rest for all those steaming horses that moved it along. Leaving his warmed up rooms containing the strange clicking clock,
Spotit was out upon a mission in search of Doctor Nots`gnivil. He had bright intention to place a certain heavy item which he had hid from view under his left arm beneath his new coat.To counter balance this he had another hanging from his right shoulder.Now coats were long in those far off days,and had bulky pockets deep enough to hide away meat a plenty for the Sunday Roast,and this one in spite of being hung upon a certain untidy floor on many an occasion had little crease set into it. It was a gift of sorts from the good Doctor along with two £5.00 Bank Notes he now intended to invest into acquiring both energy and old reliable friends.
He had an uneasy feeling that he was being both watched and followed. ________So down in the Public Bar of,THE WHITE RABBIT, down ALICE LANE,he was a filling his face in with his third Hatters meat pie when the good Doctor arrived in this noisy dusty smoke filled hole of a Pub, and like the white rabbit upon the sign outside he looked intently at his gold watch while checking it with the one in the actual Saloon Bar. He ordered a French Brandy and a fresh pint of beer for Mr Spotit,who was eyeing well this activity at the bar,and the last of the few crumbs of his meat pie slid nicely down with the remains of his last few gulps of beer. After greetings had been exchanged the Doctor sat down and the cool glass of beer was slid across the round table top leaving a condensation trail behind it as it traveled toward the welcoming hands of Charley Spotit. " Well now Mr Spotit,do you have it?" Percy asked. " I do Sir."___________ " Well where is it? For i do not see it here."_____ "Well I`m a sitting upon it.Just in case some thieving low life tea-leaf has a grab of it,and a steal away of it running afore you has it in your hand,that which near cost me dare,and i as me money promised upon a firm hand shake." Spotit ,replied. "Well i see Mr Spotit,that drinking cool beer,and feeding your face so has made you into a new man." Percy exclaimed. Both men smiled upon such a close eyed observation.
The Saloon Bar was rather a noisy place as local Riff Raff came and went. In the far corner three men heads down across their table whispered,and occasionally one would raise a head straining the neck up in order to view who was about the place. Eventually one got up from this cosy group and wondered over to the Bar. Jostling through the crowd like an ice breaker out upon a frozen sea he finally landed his arms there solid fixed and secure upon the wooden bar. He then proceeded to order a large round of drinks and quite fool hardy one of Hatters Meat Pies. Holding a full enamel tray he bullied and pushed his way back through all those ice like fellows that had closed in behind him. There being many about the place who knew of him, made little obstruction to his path.Three pints and two glasses of French Brandy. Now it was for certain an odd thing to do,but the bully pushing expert at shifting ice-like people,changed course and approached Spotit`s and the Doctor`s table. "im what as ha plenty ,says ya ta ave these eer drinks.An this err pie is yours ta do whot ya will wive it." The rather rough and tumble bully explained. Spotit launched a hand and had the pie between his teeth quicker than it would take a small monkey to climb a small tree.This being no bright safe occasion the two of them raised not one word or even the start of a single i,in exchange for this unexpected grate of rasping hospitality.However as the bully boy returned to his seat with a swagger. A well dressed man in his mid fifty`s raised a glass in the direction of Not`s and Charley Spotit. A smile cast across that crowded smokey room was seen well enough for each to recognise Mr Glad Grind Senior,a sitting in that well protected corner.
To Be Continued
The Skinny long face of Glad Grind,flanked well by his long silver side burns and topped with a balding head,being shinny like a pale speckled brown egg, was as always on occasions like these a sight few could notice and then forget, especially those iced over cool looking faint blue eyes. Eyes that being so aged each had somewhat lost their colour. Dimming yes,very much so and more important now at this time in his life to complete a search before the inevitable blindness set in for good. He knew there to be no escape from that. The almost straight look to the bridge of his nose looked oddly like a true relation to the top of his head. It being more of looking like a beak than a real nose,and one could if they had the fancy for it imagine it pecking away chippings from the very same type of pub table that Not`s gnivil,and that pie eating champion Spotit were a sitting oddly at. `Yes, oddly strange.`Mr Grind thought as he leaned forward across his table a little ,trying to gain a better focus upon Spotit,who looked strangely out of shape based upon recollected memory,but taller as if grown by at lest a good head of six inches. "He`s a sitting upon it Sir,as ya can see?"___
" Clearly so for you it seems." ________ " Well Sir,we Smiffy an Me, as good eyes fa such loftiness`es as perched up Spotits."____ " That we`s do Gov!" The iron fisted Mr Smith declared while noisily squeaking his chair around so as to face directly in the direction of the subject matter at hand,the table and those now sitting uncomfortably around it.____"Well Dick,you know that i want it? At the agreed price. But remember well you two. There being no cause for murder here. For I`ll not take the drop for it."____ "Thank ya Sir,And duly noted for them two will be no troubled when a fist is put ta them there noses." __ "As always Dick, forcefully put.Yes, Indeed." Mr Glad Grind,expressed as he replaced his high hat upon his egg shaped head,and then left these rather over confident fellows about his business in hand. Gentlemanly raising his hat by a thumb and finger in the direction of Doctor Nots`gnivil he sailed out through the doorway smiling into the cold night air.
Fresh heavy snow was now passing the light of every gas fed street light ,like a strange glass reminder of a round shake up bowl. Taking a Handsom Cab Glad Grind defined mordantly his destination. "Half Way House, Cabby." As the trotting down the Honey Well Road began he smiled. A thing quite uncommon indeed for him.
It was a good quarter after nine,and Spotit finished the last of the pie,which he expressed freely as being the best of the lot. Leaning across the table ,he explained a point as sharp as one on a brand new pencil. It being this." I`m not stupid Doctor.For i have arranged at a small fee an arrangement of secure safe escort for you and your goods that near cost me dare.But on em other hand to dare is to do." Spotit leaves the chair with it sat upon it. " First i will see ta more of e`m drink,just quick ones and then we`ll be off." With that said Mr Spotit,the strange fellow he is ,made his way through the smokey ,mixed up jumble that made up such a noisy social gathering as this and leaving the Journal out in the open and in plain sight. The good Doctor whatever his thoughts were upon such a matter as this got much more concerned as the two seedy looking ruffians started to walk toward him,the table and the Journal. This sticky situation he`d been placed and left in however could get even worse,but on the other hand hopefully a lot better. For Charley Spotit plonked down a tray of four drinks upon the table,just as all three of them arrived at it. My dear Doctor meet Dick a Plenty,and Smiffy my O`ll Mates,from my far away army days." Sweating with profusion and the wiping away of it with perhaps the biggest white hanky all remarked upon it as being, Doctor Nots` gnivil, sighed such a sigh of welcome expressive relief,and made a blunt point as blunt broke as an old well used pencil would here.
"Gentlemen,forgive me please? I was sure that seeing you so placed a nodding and drinking,that you were in the employ of Glad Grind."___"i he a faought for too e did,but we never spit upon e`m handshake wive i`m that as a plenty. We as honour us do from such worn out streets as these. At least as much as them that long a fore us laid them out." Dick a Plenty said. Charley Spotit,Smithy and Nots`gnivil agreed.
So it was that the pledge with honoured spit and over active animated mitts was put well into place. The Drinks all having been swallowed down as if sucked in by the driest thirsty drain outside,the journey home safe secured,they left as that grinning cat raced across the way.The street now being heavily laced over with fallen snow reflected well the cold sugary shine of such a Lane,that even young Alice once played,skipped and danced upon,while high above it all the double sided sign had swung upon an open breeze.
So with such a close call hanging upon their coat tails on that night,an extra deal was done and well shook upon with two five pound notes apiece for these rough men of Honor.
From the cold wet flint of such streets men such as these had forged ahead of the French and helped build an Empire for Britain. Sharp eyed fellows who stood their ground well,and for many they still lay silent there beneath it.
As these two went upon their way Dick a Plenty,and Smithy,were well chuffed to have near on two years wages warming up nicely in their pockets. Circumstances make men,and dictate whether a crust has to be had by rigid clocked on card ,or in another quick fisted way.These two well set rouges when set straight ,and level upon a certain worthwhile cause,were most certainly in their element.
As Charley Spotit`s, friends and comrades well proven true,i have little doubt they might well show up in the near future again to smell out fresh columns of hidden stone in a fearsome jungles grip. For there being much money to be had on such adventures as finding hidden lost Temples ,they would be game for it that`s for sure. Even if it meant shouldering a rifle again. An Army Pension of a Half Crown a week does not even fill one belly up let alone others large or small that these two might have in tow.
As Mr Spotit laid the Journal upon the table,the glee of it certainly made for merriment,and noticing the Brandy had strangely evaporated from the decanter the Doctor of Science and Archaeology,rang for Peg to fetch out some more from the stash of cobwebbed bottles that lay snug fitted and a leaning in the white washed dark cellar far below their feet. Very soon Peg,arrived back a bit well dusted, but with two bottles under one arm and holding sort of shaky like a tiny half hour piece of candle that had been welded tight fit into the dark black metal candle holder. With many a years shine, having been denied it,it had turned it`s silver quite that colour as if a sooty piece of old artillery.For black it was and black as spades it would remain,as if it had little value at all. As for the candle it had much more worth to it,and the master of such a house as this would cut off one hour chunks out for this tiny metal thing. Practical as ever thinking not to leave a six inch candle a burning all night long while Peg,a snored her way through each drunken dreamy night. It was an extra expense he cared not to have. For candle lit a light requires a putting out of it,and so that is the snuffed out reason for such one hour chunks of waxed out time put timely into their perfect black place. Now it might seem that these characters have been placed with good heads of warmed up respectability,but no that is not the case for each has been fashioned one way or another by that system of things that lay outside their locked up doors.That world,harsh cruel,wicked and evil lurked cold and as fancy-free as the ladies of the night that sold dare that which they themselves saw no worth in. However it did keep the Workhouse gates from closing in upon them,for all owed money and debts they would never be free of. At least Peg Larips,who had many faults had been spared that down trodden poke of an ancient profession.
Charley Spotit,becoming very attached to his new coat in more ways than one was rather reluctant to remove it.Without the need of one imaginary cough he found himself sitting there again in that very same chair as he had sat in before. Content and comfy he looked around this splendid room while sipping his third glass of French Brandy,and Doctor Nots` gnivil, sat opposite and the glow of a hot fire ran its course of releasing the long sealed up energy of the Sun.A large half size rug beneath their feet was of the deepest blue speckled in silver stars,and galloping around the red fringed edges Centaurs carried nuggets of solid gold,and huge diamonds one in each hand.Others were armed with the mighty weapons of war,axes , composite bows, huge spears ,and large ornate swords as long as their pure white backs.High above, the ceiling was not one of paint and pattern,but a strange shiny copper one,heavily embossed with ancient boats. To its center a blinded Cyclopes upon an island lifts a great rock,while a fleeing boat escapes the scene. Here and there rough seas hammer out,A Tempest at no mistake.Bashed boats,are tossed about and cast far and wide adrift upon uncharted seas,while set well into each corner fortified walls of city`s occupy in full high cliff tops. One such cliff with a golden fleece hanging brightly upon a tree. All this making the ceiling itself a very close defined extraordinary reflective piece of highly polished copper. How it was ever spit and polished none will ever know,for it hung so a-fixed a good twelve feet above a standing tall head.` Yes so it did Charley thought to himself.` Once more he gazed upon that very large expanse of floor,for he had only ever seen its like in red fashioned outside brick.
The floor being of Herringbone design was one of hardwood,each piece stained and polished and set into place perfectly in its buffed up shine,for it too reflected oddly out of shape that high ceiling of headful sights.
In the dead center of the room a massive polished desk stood upon metal cast wheels,and it had the look of having been made up of wood, and mixed up iron parts taken off several Napoleonic Gun Carriages,and when viewing of such a sight as this Charley, half expected a canon to roll out of each large side draw,and start to pound away a rolling smoke filled broadside.
A few more sips later,Spotit`s mind was upon other things.
So the pen will finish describing.
Two walls facing each other were decked out entirely at least to the eye,top to bottom in bound leather books of all shapes and sizes. So tight fitting that not a one got tired and a leaning,no not a single one. The entrance to the room was fitted out into the dead center of one book in-cased wall
The fireplace now all of a red roar flanked by yellow lay to the left upon entry to the room,and two large windows with inside fold away shutters lay opposite in grand Georgian display.
Such Windows as these faced the Thames, long and large enough to have seen the tall Man of War that thrashed out iron a hot and plentiful to the American,Dutch,Spanish,Portuguese and the French Navies.They along with the house itself like a new flag had been raised in 1776,and so saw such bitter reaction caused by it all, including such rantings and cursed ravings from such a mad King! As if a good pinch,from a snuff box,Napoleonic times came and went as did such a King`s son ,and looking well in favour of it to the Far East, Victoria, fat and stubby now decked herself out in black lace and had jewels a plenty. I guess England has always been a race of Pirates.
As the cover of the Journal bound in some kind of leather quite unknown to the Doctor,was flipped over a couple of pictures came into view of a stone gallery. The thought was upon Percy`s, mind `Who had taken the pictures of such things,and how? For clearly they were of ancient times. `
His attention was held upon pictures of utter impossibilities.
Spreading out,and sifting through remarkable stuff,the Doctor confessed it to be ,"Such a Puzzlement,to take it all in." Mr Spotit,being keen to get paid asked about it. " Now then kind Gentleman that you are. Ave yah got the ready`s handy fa me ta take?" ___"I have,there upon the desk a small bundle in a brown paper bag." Spotit,was there in a flash a fingering every coin and note. " Perfect,Just Perfect Sir." He squeezed his laughing statement out. "I`ll be off a home now Doctor,and glad,Very glad to have placed that which near cost me dare.In your hands." ____ " Are you not worried about being way laid by ruffians with so much tucked under your arm?" Dr Nots`gnivil asked Spotit.___ " No,No, Not at all. You see,i am armed Sir." Upon,that note he opened up his coat revealing the oddest weapon Percy had ever seen.____ "Righty O! Before you go Mr Spotit,sign this receipt for the money. We must do everything above board and most proper. "____"Ok! That what we do,we has a must to do.Yes Indeed." Charley mentioned while carefully rounding off his name upon that paper. A paper he would find hard to read,because he being only able bright or other wise,to sign out his Charles Edwin Spotit of a name. Or at least that is what he reckons upon,to others about him.His past learning army days dictated he master it in order to draw his pay he states,but is this just a clever ploy on his part? So each letter was slowly drawn out with a pencil,along with the aid of his wet tongue of utter concentration sticking out slightly to make it a perfect neat job. " There you go then. Charley`s spotted his name on e`m dotted line." He said as he laid the short stub of a pencil down. One thing is for certain there is much more to Charles Edwin Spotit,than meets the average i.
Mr Spotit left,and the front door of solid English Oak was shut tight with two great locks,three iron bolts that squeaked tight into their housings which had a cause to make dusty rust fall where it may. Finally a chain was secured in such a way that even a draft would find it difficult to filter its cold self through such a door as this.For ordered Admiralty men had toiled long hours to fashion such as this, and the ships they built were likewise rigged out with such iron and rust as this very same door. Having little time then to study such a wide book of wonderment`s Percy`s, thoughts were now upon much more urgent pressing matters __like needed sleep. For he had such a gift for catching up upon the coat tails of ever passing dreams that made it well worthwhile getting his head down.
Almost as if future shadows of flickering passing pictures to come.
So with the Collection of such oddities shuffled so,and put back into place between the pages of this very thick Journal it was then stored for safety within the deep wooden YOBONAEB Chest. Upon the last heavy click of metal that locked tight such things as would make falls and shuddering`s in high stately places ,the Coal black upon the large chest seemed even more shinny than before. Or was it simply caused by the hand held oil lamp with its changing glow that now danced along across that 27 foot wide room? Every perfect movement of deep shadow moving in step cast by things within that room seemed leaping Zulus cast upon a red dawn.
Upon the close of such a room as this,there seemed a lower chill to the coat filled hallway as if Alexander himself the maker of four Great Kings, had passed by. The tall Grandfather Clock perfect in its own time clicked into gear and wound up a chain,then finally released the first resounding dong of twelve. Midnight Had Arrived. Along with a brand new day.
It was shortly after midnight when Mr Spotit slid his way across the slush of that stone bridge that crossed the black waters of the Thames below it at its widest point. "If there were fish alive in it sure as cats have flea`s,and dogs have snarls,those fish would need lighted oil lamps to see around that`s for sure." He thought upon such a bright winged question as that. Passing by the noisy houses of gambling and ill repute,a running fight was in progress. Two men dishing out wallops a plenty to a third unlucky fellow all the worse off for it. Finally he managed to take to flight and scarpered off in the direction of the bridge,with those two quickly upon his heels as if biffing sniffer dogs. Another sound of fierce altercation was followed by a loud splash! Nothing unusual in that." thought Spotit. `In any case nothing whats so ever to do with me.` He reasoned in his head,as he turned down Pudding Lane. It was there the wood framed houses had so been leaned upon each other for support that if it had not been for bent twisted doors one would have been hard to guess just where one house of such close leaning ended,and another began. Half way down that dark lane,Charley stopped for clearly in spite of such drink he had recently consumed and had dully assigned to his stomach his ears were working perfectly, and in fact were picking up more than the echo of his quick sloshing foot steps. He unbuttoned his coat quick smart and turned in time to see the same two men that had been dishing out both kicks and clouts a plenty as before, now approaching him fast with the glint of knives in their hands. The distinct sounding Colt M4 Carbine spat out splattering both men just above the waist line,and that which had been inside both was well wasted upon its spilling out. A full clip having been emptied into them was duly replaced with another, for Mr Spotit,the Charley that he was. Was indeed taking no chances at this late stage of the Game. Retrieving the spent cartridges now frozen cold to the touch he was off a running toward the end of Pudding Lane. Whistles were now heard in answer to others as the Peelers were alerted to such a weird sounding disturbance. Pudding Lane never ever seemed that long before as he stopped for breath with his back against an old brick and flint wall. Facing back up the lane figures busied themselves in pursuance of their duty,only stopping to take notice of the two dead men that lay as if heaps of wet rags in the slush. "These two are dead en`s,and whoever e is e`s off ,and a legging it." The rather plump Sergeant declared to the other three rather skinny Policemen now at his side. "Go get i`m lads for e`s for the drop that`s fa sure."
_____"No need to rush Sergeant . Its a dead end . That fellow is going nowhere." A bright young sprig of a Policeman exclaimed.
Mr Spotit arrived home in broad daylight,such as it was,and after checking the key back into his breast pocket,and then after climbing the creaky wooden steps that were well dusted in starchy flour,he opened the door that swung upon uneven faulty hinges. It was never locked,and over many a year had been patched up ruff and ready in odd repairs. As always the fresh smell of bread filled the air with its rather warm welcome of embrace. Pudding Lane was a thriving buzz of activity,and none took little note of him as he arrived and placed that first foot upon the cobble roadway.Safe inside now,the coat was well hung as before upon the floor,but this time landed down with a rather loud lump. ( Clips & 5.56mm rounds are heavy. ) The bundle of money was laid upon the make shift mantle piece. The strap of the Colt M4 Carbine was removed from his shoulder,and the weapon placed upon the large wooden table top,and off to the far side of that table the cheese and dry bread awaited his nightly supper. As indeed did the thriving mice that were homed snug as a rug inside that old tatty worn out chair did.
Fetching out the key again he wound up both side points set aside for such mysterious winding`s as these ,where the brass like rimed holes were just off set from the middle of that clock face that had no hands. Beneath his feet the movement glanced upon through the gap of each floor board was a welcome sight to him as he relaxed himself in that old worn out chair. "Safe as houses. Yes Indeed." He said out loud to himself with a loud laugh! With the key now back in his breast pocket that he was now patting slightly he laughed again. Like sweet Alice through that Looking Glass,this was his way in and out,and the weather was very warm indeed for the last few days of that fine August he now found himself in,and the London of 1666, just kept grinding along in its close nit living conditions. However Mr Spotit,knew time was near up for him here, for hot times were indeed about to heap up charcoal a plenty here as never before.
Meanwhile back in 1899 for us,but forward in time for Charley
"What on earth do you mean, Disappeared through a Wall ?" The Inspector asked out loud enough to shrink the young police officers by at least four inches. At least their noses were much nearer to their collars now than when they first quick stepped in and reported for duty the night before.The rather Plump Sergeant reinforced his men's statements ,and confirmed " Sir,how was not theirs to reason upon,but with my own eyes i saw the suspect of the shootings walk straight through that wall at the very end of Pudding Lane. Smelling the breath of each man,and looking strangely at the Sargent , who said ,"Mustard and Ham and Pickle Onions. No spirits at all Sir."
The case was never ever looked into fully,but officially stamped upon in the beginning of the year 1900,for further investigations at a future date.
So upon a damp foggy night the confused report was placed into an envelope which was sealed shut in heavy wax and shuffled away into a large wooden drawer which was as long as it was wide with two great half cup brass handles. It was a huge well worn drawer coffee-tea in color and grimy looking as if the grease from hands had been in the process of staining it for well over a thousand years. As the young Policeman shut that draw he thought it to be a good Yard long and made of Scottish Oak.
TO BE CONTINUED
While A City Burns
It is perhaps as the old saying goes that as the unlucky 13th chapter rings out white hot fire warnings Mr Spotit, might well have fallen a burnt to a crisp victim of that great firestorm of 1666,but with the high spire of St Pauls Cathedral well alight and burning in violent red eruption`s hot enough to melt steel,Charley Spotit had already left both the City and that point in time.
However earlier he had hurried from Pudding Lane,and had crossed over the Thames by way of London Bridge which was built up with wood a plenty above stone supports with solid hardwood that had been thick covered in pitch black tar to further preserve them,but upon reaching the far end of that medieval bridge he gazed up at the heads of the traitors spiked above that entrance point of the bridge. Like the bridge itself they too had been dipped into bitchumen after the blunt lobbing off of them this was enough to make them blaze as if burning toffee apples. Turning to gaze a backwards glance ,a last look at the far end of old London Bridge it too exploded into a red ball of fire that engulfed every living thing at that far end. "My God !" Charley muttered and hurried along with the crowd now pushing him along at a steady fast screaming pace he had no liking for. "1940 was never like this. Fall over now and i`m dead." He muttered to himself.The Carbine strap having been slung over his right shoulder held well the hidden weapon under his coat and counter balanced well the time piece,the Clock that had no hands now clamped tight under his left arm. Pudding Lane had ignited as if a gunpowder plot had left a trail there and it having been lit with a such hard flint lock the fire spread along it and up all those twisted with age dried out buildings . Now an inferno gathering and expanding into a burning wall of utter exploding destruction. For whatever lay in its path was consumed in seconds. As barges and boats blazed away sending sparks a plenty sky high the firestorm had been stopped well at the river where it had fanned out along the embankment running fast fearsome and unstoppable. As it had reached the bridges packed with fleeing people it began to sweep across the Thames at those crossings driven by the updraught of oxygen it sucked up and after consuming it then leaped skywards into massive swirling red flames.
Finally upon reaching the St Thomas Hospital Mr Spotit , ducked out of sight down a side ally and then left for cooler climes of safety. It was Curiosity that determined he see it and witness such devastating destruction ,but now overcome with grief Charley Spotit cried,for it had near cost him dare. The Great Relief was the Clock had saved him again.
The Great Fire of 1666 burned up and down depending how one looks at it ,over 13.000 houses in London in three days and as Mr Spotit left on day one the inferno would continue. Yes as stated before St Paul's Cathedral Spire was engulfed in flame,and Charley had escaped that terrible scene.
How Time Fly`s
The Spring of 1901 saw Mr Charley Spotit outside the good Doctors house,and a year and three months had passed since he had last seen sight of the three stone steps,and that rather imposing black door,flanked by white columns either side of it.Or of those that lived well safe and protected behind it. After the quick rat-ta-tat knocking of the brass door knocker had done its resounding ,finally the door swung open a little,and peeping out the housekeeper looked at Charley and began nodding along with that beautiful smile she wore,once the nipping at the gin had worn off. " Can i help you Sir?" she asked. ____ "You certainly can Peg,be so kind to see if the good Doctor is at home please." ___ " My word Sir, you do look trim. i had to double a stare and three quick blinks in order to recognise you. Step in Mr Spotit,i`ll away and see,in the meantime please wait here." ___ " Right you are Peg."____" My O My,just how this clock ticks away ones life." He said to himself while fingering his chin and looking intently at that old Grand Father Clock,that ticked away each and every second of time as it greedily used them. While awaiting Peg,he foundled the key that had helped change his whole world and the sights and sounds within others too. Looking intently observantly listening to each seconds twist into lost time,he smiled for he had been here on this spot at this very same time and date and year before,and although being no gambler as such, for all worlds are downright riddled with them, he knew how to play another hand in this odd game of twist. All the while elsewhere another clock without hands quietly ticked and tickled the fabric of time itself.
To Be Continued
A Unit Revealed For All Those Who Have Eyes For It
"Ah Spotit, My Word you look a new man,all dressed up as you are. " said the Doctor as he greeted his visitor in the hallway." ___"Well you see Sir,money i has a plenty now,what wive coming into your honest paid for dotted on e`m line payment, and mine which belongs ta me a finally arriving too that near cost me dare long ago in my tiresome awfully Ard fighting days in India." _____ "India,the Army i suppose Spotit ? Queen and Country and all that A* my good fellow?"Asked the curious explorer of new lands. _____"Well eye was in ha uniform of odd scrounged sorts, for never were i or me mates soldiers fit enough for the saluting,or trimmed ta fit in like other stiff necked fellows who were a tight buttoned up and shiny like,or fitted out red faced smart into them there regulated straight lines of universal marching " Replied Spotit.____ "Really Mr Spotit? i might have work for you along with such fellows as you yourself mention." The rather curious Dr and explorer asked as he raised up his eyebrows as the Penny dropped for he had heard before of such a unit of rugged soldiers that had a certain hard fighting ability. "Well Sir,eye knows of a few that never wish to carry a flag,it being a target of the many ta aim at, all e`m lads a side a me only wished ta beat the Clock with its turning shadow and come home safe afterwards,for we ad seen action a plenty and only 5 on us remain alive so ta speak of it. " Charley Spotit coughed out between sentences.___________" Come into my study man,you have need of a nip of something for that awful cough." They entered the room clad in leather books that had no leaning ,where the floor buffed up reflected that copper ceiling and where the eyeballing windows scanned well every eddy of the river as it twisted and turned. Spotit sat in the same large brass studded chair ,and a rubbing the arms of fresh waxed polished leather he awaited the nip of fine French Brandy. To his bright delight it was soon handed to him by the half smiling Dr. "You were one of Wellingtons Boys,where you not?" He asked bluntly,but oddly to the point. ____ "i were Sir,and it near cost me dare,and there were no fortune to be had in it only a small belt of Gold Sovereigns, yes Sterling`s Silver we all called it,ta be sure." Charley Spotit said while he eyed that strange desk of 30 Pounders, half expecting that thunderous broadside from those heavy navel guns to roll out a shredding his fine apparel to pieces and him along with it. Such strange thoughts are had constant to be sure of from the Spotits of this world because they have seen those great dog`s of war released,and daydream hard of it between fearful night time sleep.
"Wait here Spotit,and help yourself to the Brandy. i will be but a few minutes."____ The good Dr urged Charley,as he quick smart left the room.With a quick large gulp of French Brandy that slid smoothly down Charley, poured out another that near lapped over the edges of the finest leaded crystal glassware he had ever had the privilege to sup a snort from. Standing in front of the white marble fireplace he once more gazed upon the reflected scenes within that strange study,and could not help but notice the odd mingled smell of waxed polish ,and stranger still that of mashed potatoes.This reminded him well of his infant school days especially that of the very first strict day within such a bell ringing and whistle blowing place that he as a little lad had no liking for at all.
Soon the door swung open again with its false oddity of rare leather bound books,and the Dr entered with the Journal tucked against his chest and held tight and safely in place by his left arm. " My word Spotit this thing weighs a ton." He said as he headed for the desk spotted dead center in the room,and lumped it down with a thump that raised fine dust a plenty that was caught well by the sunlight beams from those over large inquisitive oblong windows. "i have been awaiting your return Spotit,and with good cause."____ " Dear me Sir.Are you not happy with that which near cost me dare?" Asked Charley,with a stern puzzled cold look upon his adult face. All thoughts of infant days vanished from his minds eye view. " My word Spotit,far from it my man. Far from it i say,for it holds such stored up information hidden from full view when a reading of it. Here come view these pictures,that so perplexed my head so upon the first sighting of them."
"What the Dickens, was going on here? And who took the Photographs? And man they are coloured pictures to boot!"___________ "Well begging your pardon Sir,i know nothing of such wonders as What,Who,or Why?" Charley admitted.
"These pictures are astounding! Mr Spotit ,my dear fellow,where is this place?"
This is the Ending of the First Book