09 June 2012

CoC - Gaslight: Flow of Information

It is Thursday the 13 November eight o'clock in the morning, and I was just getting up to have a quiet morning starting with a prolonged breakfast as Craig, my loyal manservant, announced two men from Scotland Yard requesting me to accompany them to the Yard for an unscheduled meeting. This was to commence at nine o'clock. So much for breakfast.  I had just enough time to get properly dressed and grab a sandwich for the way.

After having arrived at the Yard, I was - to my surprise - guided to the top floor of the building, where I was lead into an office where most of the so far involved persons were gathered. Lady Kincayd was obviously not attending this meeting. At first I was relived that she had decided to let us handle the investigations, since this is not a suitable  matter for a Lady to be involved in. I was so painfully wrong.

I also noticed a shamefully heavy man standing behind a desk looking out of the window which I didn't know. He was clearly the proprietor of this office. Sir Jeffrey Hull introduced him to us as commander Leslie Devine the head of the homicide department. We were also introduced to him. First Dr. Burnside, second Mr. Roquefort, and my last. I had to calm myself at the insult being introduced after a bloody Yankee.

Inspector Fox revealed to us that there was a fourth murder in the East End the night before. And if this wasn't bad enough, Lady Kincayd accompanied by Dr. Burnside, as well as Inspector Fox and some other Policemen were in the East End at that time following some leads. Made aware of this I was unable to remain calm. I regarded as highly inappropriate for a Lady to be at the East End any time, but especially at night. She was seriously injured in the events. I was shocked, to put it mildly, that Dr. Burnside could act so irresponsible taking her to this place. I was assured there had been no force on earth that could have stopped her from going there short of locking her in a deep cellar. It was not really calming me down, but I had no reason to doubt this statement. One important detail of the events that night was the involvement of a black coach with four horses. At that moment I knew Dr. Laydon was holding back something.

Mr. Roqueford reported his findings concerning the work of Dümmichen, which he had told me already at the Club. But hearing it a second time helped me remember some more details. The Toth cult was supposed to have possessed a book called "The Book of Secrets" which contained details about something called the "Fire of Ra". Also some Roman sources had mentioned a mysterious energy source which could be interpreted as the "Fire of Ra".

Dr. Laydon - after being assured by Lord Hull it was all right - told us about the real state of healt of the duke. He was abusing alcohol and addicted to opiates. (my thoughts at that moment)
This corresponded to what I had read in his journal when I was "visiting" his house. So at least in this matter he is telling the truth. But if he could never the less have been involved in this.
We were all slightly outraged that this could have happened at all. But Dr. Laydon assured us that there was nothing he could have done to prevent this.

After the meeting I asked Sir Jeffrey and me co-investigators for a word in private. There I revealed that I had seen someone arriving at Dr. Laydon's house in a coach similar to the one seen at the last murder. And I expressed my deep concern about Dr. Laydon's honesty. All agreed to this conclusion. Everyone had his doubts about him. Not the least due to the fact that he had survived Sir Thomas' abduction. So we decided it would be best to put the good doctor under discreet surveillance. I volunteered for this task because my flat was in the same district as Dr. Laydon's house. So it would be far less suspicious if I would have been seen by him in contrast to the other two or even a policeman.

It was late in the morning and so I decided to go to the club for an early lunch. The door was opened by an impressively tall man who introduced himself as Arthur the new butler. His manners were excellent and I think he will be able to fill the gap left by the untimely death of Higgins.

I ate my lunch with more hunger than pleasure. Not that the food was in any way bad. But without having had a decent breakfast, I ate for sustenance not for enjoyment.

As I was drinking my cognac afterwards Sir Theodore Huntington, my friendly adversary, challenged my to a break of snooker. I accepted and we bet the usual price. He always had a good technique. Admittedly slightly better than mine. But his impatience was always his weak spot. This time I was again able to engage him in a series if safeties. And as usual he tried to soon to end this by potting a difficult red. This failed and opened the table for my to victory. During the game he tried mentioned my strange choice of company the last days. I thought he was talking about Mr. Roqueford, but he meant Dr. Burnside. I was stunned for a moment and demanded to know what he meant.

He told me that Dr. Burnsinde had supposedly killed his wife and child a few years ago or at least contributed to their death by irresponsible behaviour. And that that was the reason for his long absence. I couldn't belief this horrible story and demanded from him to state his sources. He said that "everybody" knew about this. Not being satisfied by this evasive answer I insisted of him to state the real source. He than revealed that some former servants of Dr. Burnside were the source of this "knowledge". I stated my opinion about the reliability of servants who dare to gossip about their employers. Hence I wouldn't take this rumours at face value, but I thought I would have to have a private conversation with Dr. Burnside about this. And I guessed i would have to tell him on this occasion about my night-time endeavours.

Afterwards we went back to the fireplace room. And I started to read the available literature about Egypt. The service provided by Arthur was as expected. He was polite, considerate and definitely a good choice. during the afternoon he brought my a note. At first I was startled by the memories of the recent events which had started with a similar note. But I quickly regained my composure and read it. It was an invitation by Sir Jeffrey Hull to the Egyptian League for five o'clock this afternoon. Again a very short notice. I really did not appreciate this. But I guessed this was the only way this whole affair could be solved.

So I went back home to get properly dressed for this occasion and arrived at the Egyptian League a minute before five.