by Edward Powys Mathers
An Unofficial Solution
SPOILER: THIS WEBPAGE CONTAINS A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO CAIN’S JAWBONE. IF YOU PLAN TO SOLVE IT BY YOURSELF, STOP READING THIS PAGE.
Cain’s Jawbone, a Torquemada Mystery Novel is a mystery puzzle written by Edward Powys Mathers (1892 – 1939). It was initially published in 1934 (Victor Gollancz, Ltd) and was reprinted in 2019 (Unbound).
This puzzle consists of 100 shuffled pages. This puzzle is solved by correctly ordering them using clues from the text. Only one solution exists, and it has not been made public--yet.
I want to share a potential solution. It is not a verified solution because I did not participate in the recent competitions. Therefore, I do not know if this rearrangement is the expected one. Still, if the order is incorrect, it should be sufficiently close to the actual solution.
I reordered and contextualized the book thanks to the following resources:
- The subreddit /r/CainsJawbone and its related sources (documents linked to posts, etc.). The majority of the comments come from this source.
- The calendars of days of Chambers’ Book of Days (handy for the last part)
- A custom program to cross-reference Cain’s Jawbone against almost 70,000 books in the public domain to detect hidden quotes
Overall, the online community did a terrific job of making sense of this puzzle (my contributions are limited*).
On the right margin, the numbers correspond to the original page numbering. On the left, page order clues (dates, places, etc.) and deaths. It should be noted that days are absolute clues (they contribute to ordering the entire book) while hours are relative clues (they help sort pages belonging to a narrator).
- Text in italics and/or in a foreign language (French, Latin, ...)
- Underlined expressions can be hovered...
... to reveal additional information
- An absolute temporal clue (day), a relative temporal clue (hour), or a spatial clue
- Narrator unveiling their name or another character’s name
- Hidden quotes (i.e., when an author is implicitly quoted)
- Implicit quote (i.e., when a character is quoted by another without quotation marks)
- A wordplay (spoonerism, etc.)
- A puzzling expression that, to date, has no explanation
* Publication of an arrangement of pages, making them intelligible; identification of hidden quotes; discovery of an additional page ordering mechanism (May Doncaster);
potential identification of the underlying explanation for the cryptic “taking off in Ireland” mentioned in an unfindable issue of the “Grundy Sapphic” (11); explanation of “Casy Ferris” (1);
explanation of the meaning of “the Knight” in Paul Trinder’s narration (9); notes about Bill’s narration (a technique to name fictional characters similar to the one used by modern cryptographists); demonstration that epea pteroenta and ephphatha may have been chosen for their proximity in Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary of English Language rather than their definition (75) ; Henry the dog loves to play with eyeballs (36, 71, 91).
To add observations (or correct existing ones), send an email to
Your contribution will be attributed (please indicate your preference in your email: your name, a
pseudonym, or anonymous). Note that I cannot reply by email: I directly include (some of) your suggestions.
Likewise, if you want to remove your previous comments, email the same address.
(Contributions related to unexplained expressions are particularly welcomed!).
I would like to thank Marie Kyle and Stefanie Joy for their thorough re-reading of this webpage and their suggestions. I would also like to thank Bletologist for their suggestions.
This webpage will be regularly updated. Changes are tracked here.
||Added comments from Bletologist
The text has been transcribed from Mathers, E. P. (1934). The Torquemada Puzzle Book: A Miscellany of Original Crosswords, Acrostics, Anagrams, Verbal Pastimes and Problems, Etc., Etc. & Cain’s Jawbone, a Torquemada Mystery Novel
. Victor Gollancz, Ltd.
Portraits generated by DALL·E 2
Page Order Clues
Oscar Mills eats alone at a restaurant.
He accidentally eavesdrops on a conversation between Sir Paul Trinder and a woman named May.
Oscar notices that Paul hands a shady metallic device to May.
- Shortsighted (affects his perception of the world) (2, 68, 74, 92)
- Interjects in Latin (31, 38, 42, 53, 81)
- Quotes Robert Browning (5, 58, 83, 90)
- Clumsy (62, 68)
- The sequence of a full-course dinner in the UK
(Through his narration, Henry is a waiter).
Oysters (starter course)
My earlier days had
been so different. There hadn’t been the comfort, the sense of indulgence, or of adventure, that there was
now. I bit into the last of the oysters and someone
carried away the shells. It had been, as I say, so different.
What frustration of her, and
incidentally of myself, when to
be nursed by her and to submit to her stories had meant access to that secret caddis-hoard of Devona or of minty humbugs. I wondered what Henry would think of
next. I had plenty of time, my watch said.
I felt perhaps sillily ready for some sort of cardiac revelation, or
revaluation at least.
I assure you I had not seen her enter but suddenly I was electrically aware that she was sitting near me.
What could come next? I had let Henry guide me. She was very tall; sometimes, I think, tallness is an
excellent thing in women.
And I surmised dark eyes under golden lashes. I hardly liked
to disturb the surface for the first time. Her voice purred in my quick ears; I thought of a jaguar on
a lean bough, and envied
She lit a cigarette and poured down
cocktail after cocktail;
sometimes she made little dabbings with a butterfly of white lace to her mouth.
Soup: last spoonful
The few remaining figures and letters swam as
they came up to me. Then I took them in. There were no more. I glanced about me. I felt I was getting my
money’s worth. London is like that; it accepts
the wanderer home with a sort of warm indifference. The woman’s beauty was, I surmised, profound; her
creamy dress, contrasting with her vivid colouring, showed to me,
. Yes it was a dreadful beauty,
, and I recalled the stark phrases:
. But he was not;
. And again they continued this wretched course three or four days: but
. Where was Henry? Ah, he was standing by her, close enough to touch the
. Would he appreciate?
I was feeling better already, and was
glad that a memory, true though dim, had led me to the place.
; but I could not, for all my covert glances, see the modelling of the fossettes of
the elbows of the woman sitting so near me. Were they, I wondered, like Sonia Gordon’s, triangular dimples
with shadow in them? Poor
Sonia Gordon. I pondered on that tragic fortnight at Southend: the pier with its electrical railway,
and my cousin’s rash act, and Sonia’s lapse. Her temperament was against her.
“You would get off with a whole skin, would you?” I cried softly, as I stabbed once.
And even as I did so, I thought of skinny old Marat in his slipper bath, the nightcap about his forehead,
the dim light of the candle,
the shadow at the door, the stealthy tread of
with the undulled blade. There was something
While my mind had been thus far away, a grotesque looking old gentleman had fluttered like a bat to
the seat between us, and now deposited, with the bitter sang-froid of the unworldly, a dilapidated
of pinkish tweed upon
the glacial parquet.
one who was rich enough to remain unspotted by convention, and who
the undoing of a materialistic world.
, I considered
within myself what such an obvious hermit
could be doing among the brilliant lights of this notoriously soigné
dog was patently sorrowing in the distance. The two had their heads close together. The poor brute’s howling
bothered me, and I was
glad when it ceased.
Was all my endeavour to be in the future? Would I
never do anything in the present? It all seemed so fatuous.
Omelette: last bit
What should such a man need with such a companion, I asked myself. And then I thought of Jim’s uncle,
Darius Brockley, and of the flimsy excuse the Vicar’s niece had given when she returned. Yes, I began to
, and wait
upon events. I stretched out
my hand and touched a dim shape on the chair beside me; a sleek cat that horribly exulted at the
touch of my fingers. We were told that
; what then
should be said of the human
mind? Why, I meant, should I have remembered
Pork: just served
So far the mind had been ambling, if I may dare the expression; moving forward ungainly, as if
by one hemisphere at a time. But now I keenly wondered how we should agree, myself and
old fellow’s face seemed vaguely familiar, though
. Suddenly I remembered
. It should have been recognisable a mile off, from weekly reminders in the
more ecstatic newspapers, as that of
, whose furor loquendi
cause him for twenty years
to adhere loudly to every ebbing cause in town. He was also, if I mistook not, some sort of chartered
lecturer at obscure seats, one might almost call them stools, of learning. Such a man, it might be argued,
but, oh, what a bitter enmity that could be.
My ears were becoming attuned, and for the first
time I heard clearly what the woman was saying:
.” After all it was none of my business.
At my sign, Henry stooped and made all clean again. And there was no immediate call for me to listen
further, for there came a pause during which both seemed busy with their thoughts. And I too thought. The
voice was like and yet not
like that of Janetta Sheringham. How we had laughed that day in the hay field when John sat on the buttered
, and we thought the cricket
Frozen dessert: just served
(green, red rose, and white)
It was neither
thus to affront the dead; it was rather, surely,
it be thought morbid of me, I wondered, to sentimentalise a little as I sat and faced
And now it was such an ephemeral combination. “I don’t call that very terrible,” she was saying, and I
wished I could see whether she were smiling or not as she said it. Such remarks were irritant as well as
stimulant. What didn’t she call
terrible? What indeed, with her Renaissance pose, did she, would she, call terrible? But I might lose all if
, and fed my brain on cleaner things. I remembered
the place of my initiation
into so much that was glowing and splendid; I remembered the clanging fives courts, and the solemn old
Hall, hung round with
Frozen dessert: continuation
(red rose and white)
photographs of young and laughing athletes, lads who had profited and gone on, and ringing with those
words of the Head, as we called him,
. But again I was distracted. “Will anyone know about them?” that husky miracle of a voice was asking,
and I thought, not for the first time, that it would have caresses for all, a golden impartiality.
, no, a
; my wretched eyes that could not tell me the truth, for instance, about that Goya reproduction.
“There is no danger of that,” the old man said, “I bought them secretly in
Leningrad from a little humpbacked
fellow, a double-faced Quasimodo of the Ogpu.” This was difficult enough to reconcile with his Manchester
speech on sane mediocrity. “From the secret police?” The words rang like tense half-crowns dropped upon
marble. “Goodness gracious!”
“But it so seldom is,” came the wise old reply.
Frozen dessert: last bit
A flower-seller, fed ruddily, it seemed, on hope, broke in and would have made a round of all of us.
But she hurried away perforce without gaining her point, leaving me with an inexpensive memory of
countryside flowers. Our own and
other countries: ironic daffodils, irises of the stream, young pert bluebells, the foreign hedge-rose
and carnation. No
; how unquotable he had become. For
I was, was I not?
, and made a
sign which brought Henry cat-like to me over the floor.
. The hoarse newsboys with their shouting of the late night final, as of accomplished mal de mer
, disturbed me a little. Would there be any news?
The others did not seem similarly impressed. Phrases of this and that came to half my ear, duet by
. Rill vaunted the pleasure of speeding, and corncrake gave warnings
. I remembered
how I had listened for the same sound on that awful night in Paris, when I did not know what I know now. And
again, in this very place for another reason, Henry would remember. To lose even two like these two,
swallowed by the night, was apt
to break a balance in one, to suggest that it was time to square accounts.
A friend in the nick of time. I would have no more. My hand
dropped to my hip pocket. I had to reckon with Henry. Yet could I? This nomenclature business had often
bothered me. Sometimes I felt sudden
enough, as if my head would burst sometimes but triturative.
Page Order Clues
May Doncaster is on a train.
She is reading a short story about Henry the Savage Conqueror.
While she is reading, enter and exit respectively from her compartment: a man who is smoking a pipe, a couple of children, and Oscar Mills.
May recognizes Oscar from the restaurant and guesses that he eavesdropped on her conversation with Sir Paul Trinder.
She unpremeditatedly decides to push him off the train window.
- Pale (5, 13, 87)
- Red lips (2, 72, 100)
- Wears makeup (36, 79)
- Blond (17, 42, 84, 87)
- Husky voice (14, 42, 43, 74)
- Feline (30, 42, 100) (Speculation from Marie) might be a reference to Betty May, who wrote an autobiography called Tiger Woman, and frequented the Cafe Royal
- Train stations between Peterborough and York
- Ordinal markers associated with a fictional Henry:
- His wives
- Other indicators
- Scenography of people on the train
(Through her narration, Henry is a fictional character in a magazine).
(next station: Grantham Station)
; but it was pleasant to sit down and
to really find myself alone at last. Those emotional times were trying to us all. I felt that my lips were
paler than I liked;
soon put me right. Dear old Pasquier, I had come across him in Paris, at that little place in the Rue
de la Harpe, a street in which, I have been told, there was a touch of orderly room even in the disorderly
houses. I opened a magazine and
looked hastily through the last paragraphs of the short stories. I was all for love; but fading out on
an embrace never appealed to me. The embrace in my short stories—and my life was all short stories, I had
come to think—occurred in
the first few words. And afterwards the plot. The complete novel length looked better. It was called Savage
Conqueror, and I liked that.
Henry: 1st (“though this was my first introduction to him”)
I always feel a bit dazed on these occasions, and was so then. But it was pleasant to collect oneself, and
. I did so. Yet I felt dazed. As I have
said, I always did. I was developing
a bit of a yen for Henry, though this was my first introduction to him. I am a simple soul, and I must confess that I
was rather thrilled.
It seemed that here was a man of no ordinary fascination, with a chin cleft like the toe-cap of a satyr’s
boot, and a little group of show hairs behind each ear. Also he was doomed to destroy, for family reasons,
and to keep on destroying.
And I was still alone; I could hardly expect otherwise in the circumstances. I echoed the words of the
(next station: Doncaster Station)
Then against a possible invasion of my privacy, I touched my white cheeks until they blushed. My luck was
not in. He was a typically farm-labourer, with what thy’d call in Bloomsbury a
. Just like
that sort of a poet, I supposed they’d
mean. He anchored himself heavily, consciously waving an empty pipe. Henry was now stooping over the other
body, whistling between its teeth. What would I have done, I wondered? Really this sort of thing was native
to me in a way. I wished
there were water without going for it. I remembered, of course, that
. But that was of little use to me. On the whole, I thought I would have as
much nerve as my dear hero.
But one never knew.
Henry: 1st wife (“The girl had left Henry by this time”; from context)
Henry: 2nd (“those first two killings of his”)
Man with a pipe enters the compartment; he scratches his skin and asks May if he can smoke
The girl had left Henry by this time, thank God. She was an obvious whey-face. She didn’t seem
capable for a moment of understanding those first two killings of his. He was being a dear. He had sent the rector’s aunt away, as
he explained to the girl, like a bee with a sore bonnet. A foreign touch. Killing time, yes. I was doing
that. It was funny how idly the mind worked; or seeming idly. Perhaps
there was something in heredity after all. I pondered to its direction.
I realised that I was
impressionable, that I liked a good murder.
But Hodge, once settled, wasn’t in the least like a singer.
I supposed it would be different to suddenly
for someone. Different and messier.
Henry: 2nd wife (“the second wife’s brother”)
Man with the pipe continues to scratch his skin and smokes
I sometimes wish, and I wished then, that I had the gift of telling, or at least of following, a
story vividly. Hodge,
And this made it difficult to adequately appreciate Henry’s problem. Smells meant a lot to me; I was
back in a twinkling at the old fonda in Vera Cruz, and almost saw the young fruit merchant laying down his
guitar and wiping the blood
off the strings with a kenspeckle handkerchief. But I must, I felt, at all costs get back to Henry. The
this: the second wife’s brother had begun to suspect. He had found a half-burned marriage certificate
in the incinerator; that was charred
lines on Henry. What would he do? We couldn’t stop at this point, surely, I thought. But I was wrong.
(next station: Selby Station)
The man stops smoking (he scatters the ashes)
Children enter the compartment; they play loudly.
Naturally I looked up.
With a blush I
concentrated again on Henry, and asked
myself if his recent activities did or did not constitute the darbs. With a final flirt at the fringe, the
. Agriculture was to take back her own, it seemed, and I
rejoiced to have
. I couldn’t think why I became suddenly aware of Yeats; and then it came to
luck to him. Really I didn’t like the children. A little he and she bounced in, half settling on my side
like sparrows, and devirginating a bag of gum prunes as they bounced. How could I concentrate? And Henry was
waiting for me.
The children are quiet now.
One’s eyebrows were one’s own, I always thought. Though I did remember a case—Aunt Mary’s, to be
precise—when it was not so. She had met him after the explosion, of course; and when it became a
question of dinner and the Highgate
Empire, actually with performing quaggas, she put herself in the hands of the man who made up for, if
anything could make up for, the Russian ballet. And they dropped, naturally, like two fuzzy caterpillars
into the clear soup at supper. The
old days. The Highgate Empire, where Wilkie Bard, as Lauder did not say,
. At last the two little horrors ceased in their shrill claim and counter-claim for sweaty
quasi-transparencies of colour,
and goggled at me while I put black to mine. Bill always called them two dark flapper moons. Should I make
an effort and go back to Henry? He was ready to love. That at least was obvious.
(next station: York Station)
The children exit the compartment
Oscar enters the compartment
Out cascaded the darling young. It was no tragedy; that was, no tragedy comparable with the
. Yet, I supposed, to wantonly look back like that buttered no
parsnips. Just like reverting to
old tunes after they were damned and dead: how often had I not caught myself whistling
in my frugal bath. I felt that Henry was about all I could hope to cope with, or with
whom, if you like, I could
hope to cope. I was the more fed up, therefore, with the incursion of an untidy fellow,
, who clumsily stepped on my foot and touched a chord of memory at the same time. Surely this has
eavesdropped at my last crucial meeting with the old man. It mattered little enough, of course. But that
sort of thing was like a mosquito about
the ears, making Kreisler on his little fiddle. It distracted.
Henry: 3rd (“Henry, though a bit on the
spectacular side—to fly the viscera of his third”)
Henry: 4th (“The former was
stooping over the cooling remains
of his fourth”)
, I wasn’t having too much luck. Henry, though a bit on the spectacular side—to fly the viscera of his
third, of the old family lawyer, at his small flagstaff, a little argued the exhibitionist—was sane enough.
And this stranger, to judge by the over-vague
conversation he began to force on me—different in this from the agriculturist, who had been utterly silent
n, and the brats who had only uttered mutually—was distinctly nuts.
. But was it? Henry was in desperate case, and
enough not to realise that I should care. The former was stooping over the cooling remains of his
fourth—the rash intruding charlady—when there came a horribly official knock at the little blue door. (Was it
, or only some stolid-witted local?) But little the
latter cared. He went on talking about Browning.
Henry: 5th (“Henry, the angel, was plying his intended fifth”)
I hated my eye for being caught by what didn’t concern me: the powerful grip of the new young
man. But it was parading a couple of letters for all to see.
. And I would have to cut out the stops, I realised futilely,
, and anyway Henry, the angel, was plying his
with Emperor’s Peg—equal parts
of vitriol and applejack in his case—at the top of the ruined lighthouse. I incontinently powdered my nose.
He told me that, as far as I could gather, a certain good-looking
. What Hopes? I meant,
did one know the family?
It was really the way he took it for granted that I would rather hear him talking about
or something than attend to poor Henry that irritated me beyond endurance.
May Doncaster throws Oscar Mills out of the moving train
The victim, for that I must now reluctantly call him, blocked all the sweet air from the window.
and asked if
He was asking for it. Was he to be disappointed? Oh, yeah.
(sorry, even in retrospect the habit is catching) which he could not have seen at all
well. I pulled up his socks for him, and heaved outward with all my strength. The window was no more dark.
The fool, with any luck, was dead. What had he said as he finally left me? It sounded like
. No, I could make nothing of that. But, thank goodness, I was no detective.
Henry: 3rd wife (“his third wife”)
(May reflects on the murder she just committed)
Compact, they call it; but when I used it, I was feeling anything but so. Don’t think me
squeamish; it was my first. The last little contact with the bony ankles, so warm and so soon, if
Nature’s great force were to do its
work, to be so cold, had touched me, I confess it. Though I was alone again, it took me a few minutes to
visualise Henry’s predicament with the detached calm which it deserved. That old aunt of his third wife had
turned up again. Strangely
enough a jellyfish had plugged the solution of her motor boat’s continuity. And there she was back again,
alert, suspicious, very much alive. I couldn’t help being sorry for Henry. And I couldn’t help being sorry
for Perceval. Murders were
, and in so public a place, seemed to me unwarrantable. But I had never been strong on politics. For
the other, my own, though it was understandable, there was perhaps no utter warrant.
For this time being, Henry was drawing towards a close. I was not sorry. The police were after him in
no uncertain manner, and it seemed impossible for him to ultimately escape them. While the flying squad had
surrounded the house,
the locals were thronging the underground passage, and Wellington Crisp, with his assistant and his bulldog,
was pouring through the concealed panel in the bathroom. Instead of adding one more to his crimson list, he
preferred to trust himself
to a limping blimp: almost, it seemed, a certain suicide. But he might return. One never knew. At
least my end was reached, and in some comfort. Murders were funny things.
) it was certainly not
in such ease or such good time as I. I collected myself and mine, and went out to sniff the new air.
Page Order Clues
Sir Paul Trinder
Sir Paul Trinder meets Bill Hardy, a forger, to counterfeit a will.
- Old (29, 45, 53, 54, 80, 86, 90)
- Professor of mineralogy at the University (9, 29, 53)
- Knight Bachelor (Sir) (9, 53, 80)
- Has a distinctive beard (53, 60, 89)
- Quotes Oscar Wilde (all pages)
- Sequenced quotations from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
(Through his narration, Henry refers to Henry Vaughan and Henry King).
Paul appears to be the only narrator who does not share any clue about their own last name.
There is little ambiguity about it, though, as Oscar (53) and Clement (59) directly evoke it.
(Marie Kyle) Possibly, the references to the light coming through the window are an additional clue about the order as the sun goes down (28, 89, 98).
IBE (The Importance of Being Earnest), lines 28, 32
I found myself by that one of the windows which overlooked the stone broach spire—a rarity in Kent—of
Pluckley church, and the light would strike my book from over my right shoulder.
, and I wondered if such a reason for marriage would ever have occurred to me. I had never married,
and scarcely felt like beginning now. It was the tenth edition, of 1917. No, Sir;
. I never think of it myself.
I was in for a ticklish business, and I
You might not hear
of her again.
IBE, line 38
The sound of the bell, as of a boding gnat, just came to me. The finger causing it was, I knew,
, one I had commanded, one that would pluck me from embarrassment, and yet one I
. . . . One had to be in the key for such things. I felt I should enjoy it as I got used to it. The
bell again, and then a far sensation of feet. I was glad the man had come; time was not unlimited. I
remembered that, when I was returning
after a fortnight’s absence during which my assistant Charles Day had deputised for me in my lectures on
mineralogy at Peebles University, a tactless hand had left on the blackboard:
IBE, line 67
How quickly the quicksands of crime got hold of the mind’s feet. At that moment it seemed incredible
that I had ever been an innocent child, gambolling among the daisies, and thinking, if I thought of it at
The door opened and shut. From what I already knew of the man who entered, I should have
supposed cleaner limbs and an air more sinister. I explained my object, and told him to sit down and make
himself comfortable with the
papers. Coffee and sandwiches of Westphalian ham pleased him too obviously. Why cucumber sandwiches?
IBE, line 127
I rubbed my eyes and massaged my temples with pronated finger-tips. Then I fumbled two aspirin tablets into
. I had a very bad head. My vis-à-vis hadn’t a bad head,
now I came to consider it, bowed over
I became a trifle abstracted. What, I wondered, would he have said about
I would have trusted him; but
not on cinders, by no means on cinders. Yet the keen eyes bent like small topaz searchlights over the
writing. I would get, I felt, what
I wanted from this man. But then I suddenly remembered the words of the poet:
IBE, line 441
I wondered if I should succeed in hurting the girl. But think of her no more. The will was there all right.
And the wonderful hands at the opposite side of the table were at work with a caseful of strange pens. I sat
quite still; neither in life
nor letters will I consent to jump about.
The man had certainly got into his stride at last. The fellow seemed absorbed. It is a marvellous
gift, I always think. He could undoubtedly have written, if he’d had a mind, like a Chesterton or a Camoens.
IBE, line 471
I started to read
’s exquisite production, and every muscle of my brain was enthralled until I
came to the end. Just such another must have been
There could be no slightest doubt. I would now be able to reap the harvest. And
. I thought of her mother and laughed aloud.
The Monk Arnulphus, with a dash of
. How, I wondered, did I strike him? I knew I should
like to. His was obviously a slow methodical brain, used to pigeon-holing by type. In that case,
IBE, lines 495, 712
I discussed certain passages with the man, and he was too guardedly ignorant in his contributions to
But would I have called him to me had it not been for money?
As I looked at him I realised that no single dish would satisfy the man. He would be, even to
start with, for
IBE, line 721
It was a petty employ for one of my reputation; you would not hear, I felt, much more of it.
I have spoken of ironic comment. There was, I thought, little chance of that. I wondered if he had
ever been an innocent child feeding among the pantries. But that was no fit time for such musings. He took
foolish occasion to tell me who he
was; as if I did not know.
. I turned to the man, and his gaze soon fell before mine. He had always spoken
as if his throat were full
of jelly. Now with a leer, he emitted sounds through this quag which shaped themselves into hints at some
perpetual reward for valuable services rendered. But even then I had not made up my mind. It was, I said to
myself, a bad workman who
could not play
IBE, line 808
Looking over at the sly sideways smile which seemed to fill all the foreground opposite me, I could
not help recalling old Lord Pentarry and his minion.
said, as he stood wiping
the billhook on his smalls, over the welter that had once been so incomparable a lieutenant. I felt I could
not do less.
Those little golden escapes, those logical thoughts, came on me
, as Henry said. And then arrived the blinding realisation that if I did not do the thing myself—and I
am not that type—I would be merely
. I would have to think it over.
IBE, line 1022
The ancient had then sat down among the heather to a great dish of brown and swimming collops.
Personally, as far as my stomach went,
concomitant Spey Royal to drown the
taste. Nor was that likely to happen in this case.
Circumstances, I thought, as I looked over at the man, alter cases.
Well, signatures were his business.
I also had flaunted
—to the public without
ever having been satisfied with it.
IBE, line 1230
Then there disappeared the last rose flivers of the Prussian beast. He had died to stay this mimic
artistry, and had not had an inkling of it. The lips were wiped clean. He handed me the new instrument, and
stood half in furtive assurance
and half, I thought, in fear. I felt I could afford to be suave.
, pray do so.
But this memorial of, as I thought, a soon to be dead woman’s silly wishes, now cleverly guided a
little, by a stranger if falser hand, was even more so.
as Henry said,
. Yes, I would have to learn that.
IBE, line 1564
He stood and looked down at me; but I was not to be hurried. The money changed hands
slowly; for I wished to be able to describe him.
, I would have to think seriously of that. And then he went. He went.
My heart dilated as soon as the sedulous ape had
got out from me. Gone, in a relative
sense alas! not positively, finally gone. That was a
, but yet to be
compassed. Whom should I trust with that?
. May be. May be not. Sunset was already
reddish-purple above the Quarry hills,
like a bruise on the breast of the evening.
Page Order Clues
June 18 - June 28.
Clement DeAth explains how May Doncaster has convinced Sir Paul Trinder to see him.
May orders Clement to murder Paul.
Clement tries several poisonous plants until Paul’s death.
- Doctor (24, 43, 45)
- Smokes oriental tobacco (6, 10, 24, 33, 54, 59, 75)
- In love with May (6, 71, 75, 80)
- Quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson (36, 54, 60, 71, 80)
(Through his narration, Henry is his dog).
Paul is about to come meet Clement
I was feeling about as good as man could feel that day. Everything horticultural, in the awful and
literal sense of the word, was lovely. Green blood, as I considered before breakfast, I delighted to
conserve. I received a letter from
over the crumbs of toast and the last clear smear of marmalade, telling me that the old man
would be coming to-day, on her advice to take mine. I admit that she had stirred me strangely.
and considered her letter
. That was a nice thing to ask of a comparative stranger. It would have to be scanned. Poor old
man; but everyone must bump up against his Waterloo, and
. It was not appropriate.
Clement greets Paul
Aconitum, first day
Hospitality, when I came to consider it, was indeed a funny thing. I wanted to do my best for this hopeful
newcomer. My cellar, my library, my curious collection
of bottled worms; all should be at his disposition. He was pathetically eager. And at the same time,
. I showed him nearly everything, and he commended all he saw. “You
do infinite honour to my
,” I said. An old fellow who would be young again! He had only come before lunch;
but there was not time like the present.
I am not incautious. Determining first to exhibit
, I asked him to take a preliminary glass of sherry.
. He drank my health.
Aconitum, second day
In my youth I had been worried that
was still going down next day; in fact, I knew too much to let it go up. It even seemed to be
At least I was the last. I would not say at last
I was the least. I tried to interest
him in my little Black Museum, and indeed elicited a frisson
with the preserved
. The eye in which, just before its fellow was shot out by the
, he had asked that suave
detective if he, the detective, could see any green.
I would have
to take steps.
Aconitum, last day
But next day
, if I might thus unscientifically express myself, showed signs, it seemed to me, after that initial
success, of failing. I would give it till midnight. Do not misunderstand me. Why should I
As for the other, I had, of course, no intention of letting up.
and I remembered, I could not help remembering, Elsie’s difficulty when the young coastguard had tried to
prove to her his direct descent
from Herebald the Drake. “I will,” she quoted,
Switching from aconitum to Gelsemium
What was it I held in my fingers? Looked at in one way it could just be
one, it seemed. His silly
bane had now definitely failed. I put, at petit déjeuner
, the cast-iron old
. By the by, I had a visit on that day from a detective-sergeant about a poor fellow who had died
strangely. >My slight experience of detective-sergeants is that
you use a word of more than two syllables
to them they think you are laughing at them. They are, to that extent, acute. Still it was awkward with
about. It pleasured me, however, I must confess, to think that
with an account of it all.
Gelsemium, second day
Next day I let
—what a name!—do her very damnedest for my guest. But I was doubtful of her influence all the while.
What a man!
. Why should that stick in my head?
And what more had he said?
That should be, I thought, a consolation for my patient. Surely such a confirmed old tub-thumper
would not have had the wit to think out the
for himself, and put it into practice?
Perish the thought, and the fellow.
Also my ravishing correspondent would have told me. I found myself thinking with a strange weakness of the
Gelsemium, last day
Next day I saw that my suspicions of
had been well-founded. This was an infernal nuisance; a
Chinese confrère of mine might even have called it a hellebore. It was annoying to share the house with
someone who reacted to wild jasmine much
as he reacted to roses. He throve on my roses. To that extent I was satisfied with him.
and blowing at myself for a fool, I tried to consider my competence, or lack of it.
Roses automatically reminded me of my aunt Cynthia who had, before there was any constraint between
them, asked the poor old Ahkoond
Switching from Gelsemium to Digitalis
may be; but bad for life’s fitful fever. Its active ingredient had finally let me down. I was
nothing if not generous. I started my fellow garden enthusiast on the
. He would appreciate that if he knew. Yes, I was doing my best for the dear girl. I wished I could
make up (she would appreciate this) my mind about her.
I thought of the old spare-room in this very
. When I was ill, I was put there, with the only dangling
bell-wire in all the place, descending behind my head. I used of course to have nightmares of the Speckled
Band, and awfully scream down the house.
Switching from Digitalis to Calabar Bean
. There was blood all about. I called to him sharply and he seemed dazed. Afterwards I brought in my
rough old friend
to help me—this on the very day when I had proved
, though I did not know if the
profession prescribe it usually as such, a signal wash out. But why should this aspect have come into my
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Read Mark Twain and inwardly digest. But I had to keep my wits about
me. He pottered about with me and succeeded at last in
. Already he felt that I was
leading him to the fountain Ponce
de Leon sought, where
. And he was not so far wrong.
Calabar Bean, second day
, as I called him, should fail me; yet on the morning after I had
introduced him to the person most concerned, I felt certain that I could not rely on him. I felt certain
that I could not rely on him. I
would give him another day, and then. . . . It was distinctly awkward in a way. At eleven in the forenoon
little Mavis Kitchener came with a gift of eggs, a clutch of eggs, I might say, looking at her determined
little fists. Distinctly awkward:
for, knowing they were bound to be bad, I spent an hour I could ill afford in finding her an equivalent in
wormy raspberries. How could I marry her in the circumstances?
I remembered, as I wandered among the abortive Bengal attempts of the rhododendrons, that she
whose bidding I then did would always make up.
Switching from Calabar Bean to lobelia and Lords-and-ladies
It had always been my habit to rise with the lark, if there was one going up at about nine.
, I first arranged with Flora that there should be seven of the long stout shapes rosily
bursting from the exquisite, taut
but not too elastic brown at breakfast. I trusted they would not
with whetted appetite, and after an unsatisfactory visit to the spareroom, I went for a quick stroll among
my flowers. If the West
had proved a disappointment, at least the broad ones were giving satisfaction. On that
day—and indeed I was well inspired—I discarded my useless
. I led the old mineralogist up the
garden, if I may be permitted
the expression, and introduced him to my
and to my pretty
. I wanted to see how the
combination would suit him. I felt I ought to be drawing towards a close; but one never knew.
Lobelia and Lords-and-ladies, second day
I saw to it that I should be for a moment alone among the marigolds. Thinking kindly of
, which I felt almost certain now would win me the girl I felt I could love, I exulted.
, he said it was called Calendula
. You would
have noticed my oriental preference
when I smoke, and would not have been surprised that my Indian tobacco, after a scant four-and-twenty hours,
was doing excellent work. It seemed almost certain that the blight would be destroyed: the blight on
the May, or on the
Clement DeAth effectively poisons Sir Paul Trinder
I had sufficient knowledge to realise that I had succeeded. I ordered Charles to spare no expense in
confecting that Sundae known as Lover’s Delight for my companion. I believed in letting a man have a bit in.
A couple of hours later
had, with his collaborator, done the trick. I looked down on what I had
would plough the pseudo-scientific seas no more, at least.
But never one that had left a man
more dead. I gave the huddle farewell, and
. I climbed down from the
short flight of folding steps upon which I had secured my inevitable
Page Order Clues
Bill Hardy meets May Doncaster on Paul Trinder’s suggestion.
While waiting for May and interacting with her, he thinks about his acquaintances (Alexander, Barbara, Catherine).
May gives Bill a letter from Paul and poisons Bill’s beverage. Bill dies.
- Narrates in the present tense (all pages)
- Uses the stream of consciousness technique (all pages; see notably the use of internal interjections: “ugh” , “well, well” )
- Does not drink alcohol (not compatible with his work) (17, 43)
- Possesses custom-made pens (1, 50)
- Skilful (9, 50, 65, 98)
- Talks about tea (4, 17, 47, 96)
- A scenography of people surrounding Bill is used to illustrate the natural sequence of events in life:
- Marriage (Catherine walks down the aisle, then exchanges vows, and is married)
- Alcoholism (Alexander is sober, then is alcoholizing before getting drunk)
- Physics (Barbara’s hair is dry, then gets wet by swimming into the sea)
- Buying a flower for a boutonnière
(Through his narration, Henry mainly refers to one of his pens, but also to Henry II).
To name Bill’s acquaintances, Edward Powys Mathers seems to have used a technique familiar to cryptographists writing scientific articles. They use fictional characters as placeholders for A, B, C, etc. Therefore, a modern cryptographist would have used Alice, Bob, and Carol/Charlie instead of Alexander, Barbara, and Catherine, but the effect is the same.
Sitting alone, Bill starts writing.
Catherine walks down the aisle to get married.
I sit down alone at the appointed table and take up my pen to give all whom it may concern an exact
account of what may happen. Call me nervous, call me fey, if you will; at least this little pen, this
mottled black and silver
Aquarius, with its nib specially tempered to my order in Amsterdam, is greedy. It has not had much work
since it flew so nimbly for
. As I watch the sea,
Her father reminds me of a valetudinarian walrus. But she has, I suppose, to have somebody.
is full, no doubt, already. I think she is rash; but it is none of my business.
. Strange that he comes into my head so much to-day. I hope it’s over some flotsam fish that the birds
Sitting alone, Bill waits for May.
Catherine exchange vows: she becomes Catherine Somerset.
Now I think I will
try a cup of what they insolently call Golden Tips, a find young Tippy Tea. And then they say specifically
No Tips. It is very disheartening. While I am waiting
for it, and for the possible her,
. What is a Loganberry Kiss? Is it at
It is strange to think that
. The whole business reminds me of the time we lay outside Jifjaffa, and
to me: “I would rather have written that poem than take castor oil in the morning.” I had been reading
. Well, well. How vividly, whenever I adventure on stew now, I remember the
stew we had that night. How it all comes back. The whole circumstances of this meeting are so mysterious.
, if I may be permitted the expression.
Alexander arrives by car and goes to the first pub (the Moon).
Catherine is effectively married.
Bill meets May.
I am conveniently situated,
. Conveniently situated for some things, that is. Here’s young
, for instance, parking
with a perfectly grey face. I’m sorry.
almost wish I had tried the Lapsang. I remember I once received seven pounds of Lapsang from Grace. Or the
Moning, very choice, delicate flavour. Why go to pubs?
. And that must be he. Poor
My heart turns over a little
in my breast and then re-settles.
She is very beautiful. Why should I think her beauty somewhat sinister? Because, perhaps, marriage is in the
Barbara arrives, ready to swim.
May shows the letter to Bill.
I hate seeing things like this in the paper.
I find it hard to reconcile my
, except perhaps her singing.
, a match box rhythm. Bryant and,
. Rub gently,
Oscar. Nor will the ends
Pure Francis Thompson. He sold matches. But I feel I am letting the dear
, sister of
. She marches
by on muscular pink hocks. The thought of that evening in the
parches me, makes my heart
beat differently. I must say I envy Alexander having his first, and perhaps his second, in there. I think
wistfully of the poet’s
May accepts Bill’s drink
Alexander exits the first pub.
My guest has, I think, a Byzantine beauty, as of a golden snake.
comes into view again, seemingly improved by his lunar visit. He props himself and gazes out to the northwest over the water of the little bay,
drinking it all in. I follow his gaze and see, as
, twisted trees
in front of the thick-windowed
little house, and a foreground of exquisitely coloured vegetation with somewhat the consistency of fur
stoles: a breast of the hills under a long cloud. I have given her nothing at all. She has let me see
the original of the dead man’s
letter. It is funny, it is rather fearful, to feel
. Why, I
wonder? Not that it can really be skeleton yet; it must be—worse:
Alexander enters the second pub (the Dawn).
This is good. She accepts Lover’s Delight from me. She has spoken very little; but she urges me
to make trial of a Banana Split. Is there some esoteric meaning behind the titles? Now Ecky passes over to
Emotional stuff. Anyway Ecky has disappeared in the Dawn. I almost wish I took it. The hard stuff, I mean; but it would ruin my
tells me a lot, each word huskily
lisping over that
, of a doctor friend of hers. I have only known her a
few minutes; but I hate to think she would change—her voice hits a pocket, just like a plane, when she
talks of him—
—what is it?—
Barbara enters the sea.
Alexander exits the second pub; too drunk to drive, he takes the bus.
I wish she would tell me more. I wish she would give me some hint as to why the deceased wished us to
know each other. Sitting here, stung by those wild gold waspish eyes, I wonder terribly. I wonder
dreadfully. I do think it is a pity.
on young uncertain feet once more, and he’s handsomely taken the
Dagenham bus en route for the converted oast-house where his mother lives. I hope it won’t backslide.
Barbara passes from right to left,
dear child. Her one-piece is yellow jasmine, and she spurns the concrete and especially the abstract with
those bronze legs of hers. The tawny curls of her are springes to catch woodcocks, and more than woodcocks.
She waves a towel capriciously,
take it or leave it, at me.
Yes, what would I feel like? She is
Bill thinks about Barbara’s dry hair
I cannot help, even with this supreme distraction,
If you take my meaning. She
, at least, shows herself delightfully
interested in Henry. I have always hated that these writers should be anonymous. What a tribe of them there
has been, to be sure! But I have called
them all by their names. Is it a foolish ecstasy to thrill when I see her long warm fingers taking off
Henry’s cap and putting it on again, and trying him out on the table? My dear guest accepts a Rainbow. I
clamour for it, and it comes. She
explains, and her throat dimples, that she will take it because Lent is over. She never, she adds, will have
I must be besotted, for I think this amusing.
Barbara comes out of the sea.
Babs now moves across the vision, crowned with two straight downfalls, as it were, of copper upon her
head. The uncurling flow is to right and left, as if a river, reflecting a thunder sunset, had split in
terror into twin cataracts.
And here, thank heaven, come the first, much needed rain of the week. A greyness and a spray to begin with,
and suddenly a birth of little silver frogs all along the road.
I always think of that, even in England. But, looking across at the figure opposite me, I realise
that it is actually she and not Babs that has got me. Got me, that is a terrible conjunction of two little
words; Henry does not like it
at all. But as a proof that what I say is true, she is strong enough to wean me from my thoughts of Orange
Pekoe to a Special Orange Supreme.
May Doncaster poisons Bill Hardy’s sundae
Sir Roland Mowthalorn is about to buy a flower for his boutonnière
And I really think I would have preferred the
, now that this piled abomination is actually before me. But the queen can do no wrong. The rain that
came heavily is drying off lightly. There, jauntily tripping from the edge of one puddle to another is crisp
. I remember clearly,
perhaps because I ought to have my wits about me for another purpose, how
once saw Henry
. Instead of really explaining,
She tells me to mash all with a spoon. If she had said a mashie. But she is so
beautiful. Can I suspect her?
Sir Roland Mowthalorn bought the flower for his boutonnière
Your gardenia is difficult at a distance to
determine. It may be florida flore-pleno, double white. Why should I care? I am a very sick fellow.
Gardenias! And there are also Gardener’s
Garters, Phalaris arundinacea variegata. I am not at all well. He is clutched unwillingly into greeting old
Mrs. Cave, our local Dame Quickly. They mince at one another. Yes, by James! James?
Sorry. She urges me to the American mess.
Then I try her out, saying, with an airy lift of the spoon,
. Excellent, my dear
. But the leopard’s eyes do not bat a blink. Can she be guilty?
Sir Roland Mowthalorn dropped the flower
I dimly guess why
so wanted this. I had worked for him, Henry
had worked for him. If I could get up, as, believe me, I cannot, I would have a thing to say to her. She
lolls over at me gloating,
her mouth blood-tinted on the puma freckle of her beauty.
A sorry thing to be last noticed:
. He, the
reckless old cock, slips down past Woolworth’s and she continues full-sail toward
. The girl is
smiling at me. That’s not so good.
. O beastly woman. You know not
; but I know. Henry, I feel
it, is for the first and last time getting out of hand. Good-bye, Henry. He drops awa. . . . .
Page Order Clues
Jasmine Gay, a clairvoyant, psychically witnessed Clement DeAth poison Sir Paul Trinder.
She has known Clement since he was a kid and writes him a letter describing this murder.
- Has a speech impediment (spoonerisms) (all pages)
- Personally knows Clement DeAth (6, 27, 37)
- Subtly quotes the Treasure Island (11, 41)
- Jasmine describes her day hour by hour
(Through her narration, Henry mainly refers to her late husband, but also to her first dog).
(Marie Kyle) Possibly, her meals throughout the day act as secondary clues to the time: coffee and eggs for breakfast (27), a simple lunch of potted ham and pickled vegetables on crackers (45), tea and sweet biscuits (82).
I came out of my waking dream with temples moist and tongue most damnably dry. I had to believe myself, for
I had never previously deceived myself. Yes, I came to myself, if you must know,
, but also, when one is alone,
. What, I asked myself, ought I to do? The answer was plain enough. When I was ten I had messily
collected eggs. When I was twelve I had collected bus tickets and, if I had known where to look for them,
would doubtless have collected
also. The answer was plain enough. I must—oh, final and most difficult hobby!—collect myself. It was
ghastly. I had seen every minute of it.
There was something, I reflected, about the fashion, beastly, in the awful and literal sense of the
word, as of equals, in which youth treated the young day. Heaven knew I would have been in bed, had not my
head been surcharged with too perilous
a stuff for sleep.
Even as a tiny toddler, at old
Mrs. Larkin’s school, when I was technically a mixed infant, I had shown signs of possessing these uncanny
powers. In fact Mrs.
. For a long time I sat and mused,
Gradually a realisation came to me that I would revisualise more connectedly on an assuaged stomach.
I hoped for breakfast soon, nor was I to be disappointed. There
was that silly girl of mine bursting into
, just like
, as she always did.
I had seen, day after day, every sunlit or night obscured detail of the funny old house I had visited
so many years ago. Through it, handsome, cadaverous and so quiet,
unnoticed at the very walls of
the mansions of life; trying here, failing there, lightly fingering for the sign of a breach. A tiny
had found that I could face my usual mixture of Peaberry Mysore and Blue Mountain.
I had made certain havoc of two on toast,
. To think of the tiny
mixed up, nay, a prime mover, in such
affairs. Useful, courteous little
. He had
for me when he was only six, one morning on which I had wanted to go out for a walk.
, that was the really frightful thing: I had seen them, beneath a
debonair smile, fumbling so long about their business. I realised that I would have to do something.
. I looked across the table to the great brimming bowl of
yellow jasmine; young Alexander had sent him up the night before with an invitation to a private view
Then I glanced at the rococo mirror on my left.
, and to know that murder had been committed. He would—I had sensed that—be intrinsicated and
concealed, chamber within chamber; if I
, who would believe
12 pm (midday)
I had gone to sleep the night before after rereading Typhoon. It had always struck me as a remarkable
very phrase struck chill like the slap of the Firth of Forth above the heart, wading out over the
in the morning. I had investigated; but who would believe an investigator
I was a judge,
but with no sombre little cap, and no machinery to make my judgements effective. I felt I needed something.
Would I be comforted by and the concomitant odour? I tried, and felt relieved.
advised me, a few days before,
, or in Search of a Father, was it? But
, as far from English as the Poles, and did not mean to try again.
I remembered that when Hélène told him of her attachment
. It was one of the times that he had an absinthe. They said that it made the heart grow fonder. What
had I actually seen?
—bending innocently over
And I had also seen the doctor leading the old man up the garden, not once or twice, but many times. The
girl was no longer there. I stayed myself with devilled Epicam and Royans aux Achard, levered into me with
Peter Barleys and washed down
and out, foul thought, with Villacabras. But one was so helpless alone in a great building of many
flats: I was glad I had not given up
I felt battered. What could the batter be? Ah, I remembered. I had looked upon
. And then, gazing at the steaming Lapsang before me, I became lost
in reverie. Bartholomew pawed my ankles even, but I am not superstitious,
, desiring sweet
biscuits. They were so bad for him. He was the third dog I had had in London. I was afraid, I realised, that I did not notice him enough.
. You might have thought it strange for me to say
these things, but you never knew Henry. Whether as a human mistake or one
, as the Poet Laureate says—and
—he knew his job. I felt as if great
were pressing down on my head, with all the cold weight of my certainty.
And then with horrid clearness I had seen a woman—not actually, if I could trust myself, there; but
aiming, directing, inspiring: slim, tawny, petulant, self-willed: wanton, but too calculated to
be more than mistress of herself;
. I looked back on my own youth; I had been about a bit, as they say; sometimes,
. But it was not till my marriage with Henry that
old Charles Goodfellow dared to hint that
. Poor lonely little
, I couldn’t help realising that, after my husband’s training.
When I said
means, I meant of course lawful ones. Then I remembered Henry’s favourite quotation:
Had not the author of
that they were
? Had not the winger of Wimpole Street said that they were
, and I could not be sorry. I knew, after arguing it out from one side of my aching head to
—that if I had no tangible proof against
, I had merely a thistledown of semi-conviction against the other. That
his thought process, when
I tapped its wire,
, helped me, surely, not at all.
If Henry had been there he could have told me what to do. His great voice,
, would have breezily put me right. Tears came to my eyes. I was, I supposed, an emotional old fool.
Henry had taught me a little of his trade, and this, curiously
enough, was what had struck. After all the
. I did not quite agree with de
Quincey that murders in Ireland did not count.
Now, I considered,
. I fancied what self-consciousness and preciosity there would be, for instance,
A strange institution; but the
was always interesting. Yes, if sitting at the familiar table with Bart chewing at my moccasins, I
could have broadcast it all, I would have left the mighty heart of England to deal with it.
Her lover was all over black; but not the least sign of life was found in either.
Jasmine writes a letter to Clement describing the murder in detail
I knew, of course, that
. I felt so much at one with Holy
did he call himself? But he
was right about these hours, and if that was not holiness, what was?
, surely he had convulsed us with. For the moment
it didn’t matter. Because I had decided what to do. Leda and
, and then drew a
sheet of notepaper towards me. I took up my pen, after having laid it down again and again, and, seeing that
the ink was sufficient,
plunged in. In clear terse phrase, utterly neglecting my contact with his infancy, I told him all, hour by
hour, day by day, from the inception to the culmination of the horrid act.
, also that even if I took the
. But after all I was not going. Rather I intended to finish what I had begun. The girl would find it
in the morning, franked, and all ready to go upon its way. I had
told all I knew, and felt very tired. Would he ignore what I had said, leaving me to do my worst? And if so,
worst could I do? Or would he come to me and cringe for silence, relying
old association, when he had babbled at me knee, the arthritic one, that surely
and, as being too good for us, torn up? Or would he simply try to do me
Page Order Clues
August 2 - 7.
After receiving the letter from Jasmine Gay, Clement DeAth hires a sickly hitman, John Walker, to assassinate her.
John travels from Emsworth to London (where Jasmine lives) and stabs her to death.
- Takes pills (3, 20, 40, 97)
- Drug user (3 [“assassin’s wonderful substance”], 32 [“hemp”], 64 [lotus-eater])
- Quotes Walt Whitman, his favorite author (3, 20, 25, 32, 40, 51, 73, 85)
- Decreasing distance from Emsworth (starting point of the hitman) to London (where Jasmine lives)
(Through his narration, Henry mainly refers to his knife, but also to Henry III of France).
(57 miles to London)
I was a little consoled
for the weeping weather by the fact that
. And, now I came to think of it,
But that would be scanned. Or rather it wouldn’t. It didn’t seem to fit. I had woken that morning
pleasantly near the sea, at yesterday’s capricious place of appointment with the man who gave me my
instructions and all I wanted beside.
Did Wodehouse know it, I wondered.
. All I wanted beside, I had thought. Hadn’t Chesterton said something about it’s being
(53 miles to London)
At my meeting with
yesterday, he had been quite specific:
to be exact—full ration of the
, a little act of justice at the end of less than a week, and then the
glorious stuff galore for ever. I felt excellent as I took my second pill. At least I was on my way, for I
had come upon the major half
of a publishing firm; they had always been very good to me, what with
And then there was a forgotten line.
My signs are a
rain-proof coat, good shoes.
(48 miles to London)
After I might just as easily have been a literary bloke,
. When was it? Why, to-day, if I mistook not. I felt I must take a grip of my failing, in
so far, that was, as it distorted the time factor. But in that case I knew I was right. To think of time—of
all that retrospection,
. Have you guessed you yourself would not continue?
But it occurred to me that to think of time with my delight would have got him guessing. I woke to
the consciousness that I had done very little in my life. Not Dolittle but Didlittle. What was a did little?
, perhaps, or didlet.
It was at the former that I woke to consciousness that morning.
(44 miles to London)
All the artist in me flared up. After all,
. But that was far away, and instead was
and, on the E. V.
Lucas a non Lucendo principle,
. O the orator’s joys!
. I rather relished my sandwich. But food and drink
were so bad for the stuff. I remembered
the place of my initiation behind the old Port at Marseille, the furtive plush, the little airless secret
rooms hung round with
(38 miles to London)
the darker works of Beardsley and Felicien Rops, and ringing with the gloat curses of the Head, as we
called him, lubriciously gasping in the grip of ether. I took the first blink of the light at
, I remembered, and
; and you all know by this time the result of that. But upon my soul I wasn’t sure how to
celebrate, though celebration was one of my specialties. Ought I to allow myself another ration of my herb
of grace, and sheerly rejoice, or
should I merely weep?
The balance was too hard to strike. In the end I carried on as usual.
(32 miles to London)
As I was not staying, but only passing through, I raised my hat to
I paid respect also to
After all, I was doing another man’s work for him. As I progressed,
He had called him
. He had called him
, he had said,
. But somehow I had my doubts. I sat on the grass, and counted a distinct
ninety between each beat of my heart. I would have to go slow. Each beat, I saw, puffed out of my breast
like purple smoke from an exhaust.
(28 miles to London)
The picture of the Old Mill at Bramley
, had not detained me the day before. I had groped for my first cigarette of the day, eyes hardly
open, a few miles on. So easily were things forgotten! I found it difficult to realise that
But the whole thing was not clear to me, and I doubted if it was to anyone. The two
smells, of the medlar and the
vine, had been the two notes of a chord, venetian red and peridot, that bit one ear gently and the other
hard—or did I mean loud and tenuous?—a monotone save for this variation: once it had
. It had been a pretty smell.
(20 miles to London)
. But I wondered if part of my life would not rather horribly reverse his. After all he had
at Colney Hatch. But no, for the goal of my pilgrimage might easily
make it Broadmoor; I rather hated that: portmanteau of Dartmoor and Broad arrows, with a little
insanity thrown in. No, locked in, locked in!
There I saw a
hen and two sheep.
Stoke d’Abernon, Surrey
(16 miles to London)
Next day I would have to pay for all I had had of solace, and for all I would have later.
: the bricklayer out of Annandale and the inheritor of the second-best bed: strange
; but of course he hadn’t been talking about her. Nor had either had anything to do with my
waking, my strong tea, and my first pill. That all happened by the Mole, and
(11 miles to London)
Now that I was approaching journey’s end, I began to ask myself disconcerting questions. It would be
terrible if she turned out to be Flecker’s one. And some to Flecker
I had probably got it wrong.
Yet it was all right.
and it was long ago. Yes, but supposing she came of
I could never be sure of that. I took a
pill. But it was worth it.
Yes, it was worth it.
He certainly could put that sort of thing over, the dear old bean.
, as Eric Parker calls her—and one remembered
same tale—had soon passed. Long she was; but I did not linger to pay court to her.
(6 miles to London)
That was the day when I was going to do a thing I had never done
before. I looked at Henry,
and felt a little sick. I took two pills. I had too soon—perhaps I did not want to go even so quickly as my
. I was not in Dorset; but I murmured to
. The connection was obvious.
I had never at school looked upon him as in any
sort a healer. I had,
infact, never heard of John Ayrton then.
But I wasn’t thinking of John Ayrton.
London (Baker Street)
John Walker stabs Jasmine Gay in the neck
I was true to time. I had, it occurred to me, been something of an automaton. But wasn’t I thrusting
my head, when bent on such a business
was Kipling. And I blubbed with my face in the mackintoshes. But I thanked heaven
that their childish jibe was
true. I was
I only knew that all the weary business was ended. I looked across the table and saw that she was
asleep. A nice old thing. I put Henry’s keenness a few inches below the withered
. I drove Henry home, and left him.
, but I could have all the stuff I wanted for ever.
Page Order Clues
August 9 - 21.
Henry is Clement DeAth’s dog.
Henry describes how May meets Clement and how they bet who will be the first to murder again.
Clement stabs May to death. May posthumously gifts him a cigarette box (in the context of the bet).
The cigarette box is trapped and explodes, killing Clement. Henry survives.
- Is a dog (affects his perception of the world)
- Is a Skye Terrier (8, 19, 22, 33, 46, 57,64, 91)
- Enjoy playing with eyeballs (36, 71, 91)
64 AUGUST 9
Needless to say I didn’t know that that was the last day. Afterwards I found it terrible to look
back, and realise that I hadn’t made the most of it, or rather of all the little things that went to compose
it, and the thousands
that had gone before. I heard him read two things
and say that
. And the other called him
But that was too big for me.
But until he told me about it to-day, I never knew that
. There was that in me which needed the exercise of fealty. To give all—as I had given all to him—was
He always talked to me about murder, when we were alone together.
; I can’t say I understood very
much. But I liked his
name, and showed him so, for he had always been
, even about that cat Jasmine. By the bye,
. Of course you might say that was nothing to make a song
about. But others
had not agreed. And just as I was feeling how much I loved him,
lowered myself and made love to Flora. It
was quite late when he
came back with her. He had always told me that I was absurdly sensitive. It might be so. Explain it how you
will, when I first set eyes on her I felt no vibration, no hint at all,
. I was banished and
slept miserably with
It was that day my friend Sandy told me he was sure he wouldn’t sleep all night. There was, of
course, a difference between us. I couldn’t get all worked up like that. You see,
, whom I knew well, and he hadn’t been allowed to do that for such a long time. I was fond of Sandy
and rejoiced with him. But I felt, I couldn’t help feeling, that there was something wrong, something
disjoined about my very front.
I made love to Flora again in the back parts; the result was satisfactory enough. I was feeling quite
at my best, but
. After all he liked me to, and he was always right. But I
had come to the conclusion
that I loathed her; she kept colouring up. I understood why he had once said to me about something
. Also she wore her hair in a cluster of little sly curls, a thing which in our family
emphatically was not done.
I had always thought that
essentially meant sugar. This I liked almost next to anything, though
mostly not at once, but under the gas fire and pulled out when there was nobody else. But he said to her,
But I didn’t think he would taste so good; I preferred the sugar one. I thought they were together too
much. I became convinced
that I must be a sad dog; I tried to remember all the times when one of the other sex had preoccupied
me, and we had been oblivious of all else. I tried to forgive.
was his big joke. I knew it by the way he laughed, and I too rolled about. But I liked the real way to call
her best. I met Ecky that evening, he was very happy; but just about all in. When I greeted him he
nearly fell on my nose.
I always liked to listen to him.
, I was told, and , I remembered,
. I was getting quite clever in that way. He said his stepson had
been misunderstood for a long time, and had gone out to-day.
He said his third son had been crude. I did
not entirely understand; but I had a lot of good Tate.
She said to him. He said to her.
The consequence was rather dreadful, but out of doors.
I had got a
little sick, too, of the way they went on; like that Tom and Flora’s Jasmine. Perhaps that was really
knew they’d get over that. I had. But each, too, began to say things about how few the other had done so
late in the year. I don’t
know why, but I felt that mice were dancing on my little slab.
She said it didn’t matter what they had done, because
. That was he. She showed us some delicate undercoats, all raw liver colour, very lovely, and proved it.
But she had, too, a passion
for getting new things, and I was sorry for his sake. After all, in all my life with him,
. True, it was long and graceful, and fitted beautifully, which was more than
could be said for
some of hers. Combe, I had always thought, was where one pottered after rabbits. But there was a George too,
because he said so. He called him a
, though it didn’t seem to me he gave much away.
I didn’t care. But I heard them say
. They made a bet.
46 AUGUST 15
In one way, of course, I was glad they were married. I had always been rather a stickler for purity
in family life.
If I had had a real education, instead of just
listening to him, I could have told—it was bad that day—how
. It was she that did
it. But he was pleased in
a way, and said to her, out of a book,
, had done that, I gathered. He was
enthusiastic and provided a chop for me, and said it was good
10 AUGUST 16
. He laughed when he remembered that, as we were walking round the garden, and said
. I liked to hear him laugh, and thought it was absurd for him
. The latter’s way of expressing himself seemed to me childish; why should we, of all
people, use singular for plural and plural for singular? They went back two days and formulated their bet,
till I could have howled.
If he got the third point, she’d owe him a box of a hundred Egyptian cigarettes—Gourdoulis, and if she won,
he’d give her
. They looked so bright about it all. She drooped
long seed pearl things
right over the soup. Ear-drops, as my mother had called them, I never could abide; probably because
. My mistress wore them; was it for that that I had begun to
tire of her already?
99 AUGUST 17
And she wore a mauve love-knot on her breast, and the ends were unequal. He said he’d put that right,
but he couldn’t find the
she wasn’t the one I’d killed. He had read out about some
When she asked him why he had chosen those and whose they were, he answered: Father Fred’s, and
. I had had a dry shampoo that morning, a thing I adored, especially on
the old chest. Rather a
waste of time, though, as it turned out. Of course I ought to have been more careful of such a trifle.
Clement DeAth stabs May DeAth (née Doncaster) with scissors
Could I be developing a green-eyed streak?
At last I was satisfied. I measured the distance carefully with my
. But whether or not this
was cause and effect I couldn’t make out. I wished for the hundredth time I had a better brain. Later she
was wearing the same
bow—I loathed bows myself—and that time he found them and trimmed the left end. Then he turned what he was
holding a bit; so that it pushed its way right through. Then
19 AUGUST 19
Yesterday he got in
, who agreed she’d done it all herself.
I, rather surprisingly, liked music. Surprisingly, that is, to anyone who did not know that
. I was rather astonished to hear him saying
something about someone who was
. So I pulled his sleeve. He pulled my ears, and said it was Wotton, which I didn’t think it was, and
that she had only just come to Falkland. I made a low noise and at once knew I had done the wrong thing.
; but then he said something much worse.
57 AUGUST 20
I wondered if it was good and plentiful. Not that I really liked to think about meat, though we
were alone again. I thought
it crude of him to talk about
, until I realised that he was thinking that
had been, in point of time, like Felton’s
meat. Over the Westphalian ham, which I contrived to share, he read bits of paper about Hilary and the
Amazon, and Stella Polaris and Voltaire,
and the City of Nagpur, and Vandyck, and other lovely people. I wondered if he wasn’t thinking of going on a
holiday. It seemed a pity to me; so unnecessary, just then.
my people had known
well enough, doubtless; but that wasn’t the boat that went to South Africa.
May DeAth (née Doncaster) posthumously kills Clement DeAth with an explosive device
He was picking round among all she had left behind and found a box with his name on it. Also it said,
for he read it, I always pay my debts.
Unwrapped, it seemed to be a
hundred box of Gourdoulis. I had never seen him so moved. He started reading a letter from a woman,
, it said,
, he went on,
I don’t think he ever said any more.
He just opened the box. I had never seen him
. There were little bits of stuff like black pineapple on the carpet.
, and that