The Adventure of the Leaping Lord of Beasley Manor
Chapter Two
by
Billy Fields

 

     Holmes, who already had quite a store of information about the Beasley Family did, indeed, need more data.

     “I nearly laughed aloud when she said it was not a financial problem,” Holmes said as he eased into his chair upon her departure. “Beasley Manor is actually the less substantial of the family’s holdings. In fact, the Beasley’s whose ancestral homes are in Warwickshire, still main homes in London as well as the historic holdings in Warwickshire.”
     I must have surprised him since he immediately answered my unasked question.
     “Why have you not heard of them if their holdings are so vast and family legacy so great,” he said with a puff of smoke. “I can sum it up in a single word… Clarendon.”
     “Of course, the Earl of Clarendon is Warwickshire and has been since Charles II gave him Kenilworth Castle,” I said. “Even if the Beasley’s held vast estates, it would be under the shadow of Clarendon.”

     "So the carriage ride to Beasley Manor will be a relatively short one in the morning. But the one by train then carriage to their home in Warwickshire, if we need to go there, will be a little more time-consuming,” Holmes said. He settled deeply into his chair as he drew up his long legs .Holmes, with his encyclopedia memory, rushed forward recalling the history of the county. “You must know that Stratford-on-Avon is in the county,” Holmes said as he cut his eyes to me for my response.
     “Any school boy in England knows the birthplace of Shakespeare,” I said. “George Eliot taught me that ‘Iteration, like friction, is likely to generate heat instead of progress’.
     "While 'he' was a woman, Eliot had a first class mind who saw the world quite analytically and quite clearly” he said wryly.
     “I am surprised. I thought you never read for pleasure,” I exclaimed.

     “Correct Watson. I don’t, but writers, even writers of novels have ideas which must be consumed from time to time. And, George Eliot, rather the writer who used that name, was always interesting to me as a youth. I still have a few parts of my mind you haven’t been able to access, old friend.” Francis Holyoake, a lexographer, has provided me with data which I have used for years. He too is from Warwickshire. Shall I go on,” he smiled.
     “No, confound it, no. Your point is proven and I tire of your ceaseless regurgitation of data on Warwickshire. I say we go there and see what we must see. Then you will have the data you need,” I said turning toward my rooms.
     “Watson, old fellow, don’t leave in a dither. I merely wanted to save you from research. I know how thorough to read and how little time we have. Please sit back and let’s consider the data we have before us,” he said. 

     I composed myself and returned to my place near the fire. The fall, as I said, was rapidly coming to England so Mrs. Hudson had young Billy build a fire for us while we met with Lady Beasley. The morning commotion had brought on my appetite as well so I asked for a mid-day meal from our kind landlady.
     “I was not expecting to be serving a luncheon for you Dr. Watson, but I was able to put together some cheese and cold meats with some fresh bread. I even have spotted dick for you with your strong coffee.,” she said sternly with a slight grin. “Will that hold you ‘til supper.”
     Holmes laughed aloud at the Scottish woman as she left me sitting in front of my meal.
    “Bravo Watson. She was eating from your hand. Bravo.”
    At first irritated, I was soon amused as we laughed together.
    “Join me Holmes. We have much to talk over,” I said.

     He nearly leapt from his chair as he gathered himself to the table. He wasn’t particularly hungry, but he wanted to probe my mind as he probed his mind as well. He clearly was about to enter a place that I was unable to go with him….a place where he separated fact from fiction where data were whirling around like water during a heavy gale. His brow furrowed and unfurrowed as he sat across from me. Often, it looked painful as his mind worked like the magnificent machine that it was…but soon it started slowing and he returned to my presence.

     “It is still not clear to me how this strange leaping business can be more than a fantasy. What would compel a normal man to go laughing and leaping about the rooms as if he was being lifting and swung by a puppeteer,” Holmes said dryly. “It is not obvious and it is not answerable…yet.”
     Wiping a bit of coffee from my mustache, I grabbed his hand in an attempt to calm his nerve.
     He recoiled as if touched by a hot poker. I did not realize that he had not been talking to me, but to himself…out loud.
     I shouted at him, “Holmes, old man. Where are you?”
     “Here, dear Watson. I am here. For a few minutes, I was thinking thoughts I cannot share just yet,” he said.
     “A few minutes,” I said. “You have been in a near trance for almost an hour.”
     “Data…I need data. Without it I am lost,” he said.
     Words that I had heard so many times before.
     “In the morning, we shall go to the Manor,” I said. “Data is what you need and data is what you will find there.”