Dancing Suite, part 2: The Consequences of Flight, 2/?
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Fandom: Murdoch Mysteries
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: William Murdoch/James Pendrick
Characters: William Murdoch, James Pendrick, Julia Ogden, Inspector Brackenreid, Georges Crabtree, James Gillies
Additional Tags: A host of OCs - Freeform, A host of historical figures, Diary/Journal, Fake Academic Essay
Series: Part 2 of The Dancing Suite
The following is taken from a recently defended Master’s cognate in History entitled « The Consequences of Flight : The Rediscovered Diary of a Canadian Homosexual in the Late-Victorian Era. »
The Murdoch Diary, part 1:
Sault-au-Récollet and SS Columbia,
To 8 March 1900
I am worried about James.
I write this sentence nearly two months ago, some time after Christmas. I don’t remember the exact date. My memory is failing me and I still worry.
8th March, Thursday
I have decided I should keep a journal, a diary. Now that we are no longer in danger of immediate arrest. I find I need to speak of the last dew months. I has been almost 6 months since we left Toronto. We boarded the SS Columbia this morning, heading for Cherbourg, from which we are heading to Paris 1. We are in a 2nd class cabin that James had arranged to be reserved for us when Operation Exodus was launched. The too ship is comfortable and swift, and rather modest for a Hamburg-America steamship, or so James tells me. No doubt He’s been on bigger, better vessels. Which comes as no surprise, and I have caught him looking wistfully at 1st class Passengers and to glimpse into their reserved Salons. I think, though, he is attempting to see if he knows any of them. We do not want to be recognized. Myself, I am simply happy to have avoided joining the 3rd class passengers below. I am told there are about 300 of them on our way to Europe, but there will be close to 800 when the ship makes its way back.
There will be no return trip for us. Certainly not in the foreseeable future. There is a library on board. It is small well-stocked and open to all 1st and 2nd class. James is already sat in one of the deep leather chairs reading the morning editions. We will not have access to them for at least a week, until France. James is pointedly not asking me what I am writing in this ledger. I am writing because I need to tell the our story to someone and because it cannot happen in person. Not even to a priest. Paper will have to do.
Six months ago, We left Toronto on the Monday morning in a coach that would take us to Kingston as per the original plan James
I will not name anyone in this diary. There is no shame in what James and I are to eachother and what we have done, but I cannot in good conscience risk that this diary could or anything could be read used to reach back to those of our friends who helped us.
This journal is therefore must be of William Gagnon and his compagnon friend James Beckett. This is who we are now.
Young J helped the staff2 and Dr R3 pack for us, as I made lists of what to bring between naps. The good Dr O4 cried when I hugged her last. James regained consciousness in the early morning and took the news of our impending flight well enough, all considering. Our enemy5 had made sure his intentions clear to James before torturing him. Our enemy kept James well drugged after a day or so. He did not remember being blinded and rendered dumb with plaster casts. He was not in any shape. He was not in any shape to travel, we all knew, but we did not have any choice. The doctors would not chance giving him a tonic or stimulants not even coffee because most are diuretic and he was still dehydrated. The daylong trip to Kingston only made things worse, for both of us, even if I were in a better state of health.
We bid farewell to our house, the library, the music room, our friends. We left our life on that cold Winter morning.
We were two [sic.] numb to cry and It was too early to mourn, so we spoke softly in the coach huddled under the coach covers, which were heavy and dry. I recounted what had happened in the last three days and what he’d missed of our rescue. How Dr O had been a beacon of sanity during the ordeal. How G had proven himself a capable Detective. How I‘d be lost without him8 at my side. How I love him and cannot regret our life despite the strife. And how we owed the Inspector9. everything. Why we had to leave.
James explained how our enemy has lured him to the laneway of St. David’s. It had been too easy, James felt more than foolish. How no one had recalled witnessing the event is astounding to me. Somehow, our enemy or an aid had used what I think is a fishing line to puck James’ driving hat right off his head. near He saw it fly up above his head drove to follow it. when it disappeared from sight, James stopped his motor without thinking and turned the corner to get his hat back. One turn into the laneway and he was smothered with chloroform. He woke next in what we now know was the top floor of the Ru a downtown building. All this for a hat.
When we arrived at Kingston, we almost took a room at the PG10. James was not in a good way, but we decided to take the next train to Mtl. James wouldn’t have been able to walk up the hotel’s steps, so we simply waited in the lounge with hot drinks for three hours. He had high tea. When we boarded the train across the street, from there it was a smooth enough trip to Mtl. Or so was the plan.
1. The Hamburg America Line steamships on the New York/Hamburg via Southampton and Cherbourg route sailed out of Hoboken, NJ.
2. “Young J.” Could not be identified and no records remain of who Pendrick kept as staff after 1898.
3. Doctor Paul Roberts (1869-1903), who rose to prominence as one of the more progressive staff members at Toronto’s Provincial Asylum until he resigned due to ill health in 1901.
4. Doctor Julia (Ogden) Roberts (1863-1938), Toronto’s only female coroner, on and off, from 1895 to 1918.
5. James Gillies, as discussed in the introduction.
6. Presumably George Crabtree (1875-1927), constable then detective of Toronto’s Station House no 4. Records show he worked primarily as an assistant to Murdoch before 1900.
7. Pendrick, most likely.
8. Thomas Brakenreid (1856-1928). Born in York, UK, he emigrated to Toronto as a young man and made his way up the echelons of Toronto’s police force, becoming Inspector in 1891, and Chief Inspector in 1908.
10. The Prince George Hotel in Kingston, ON, which still stands across Ontario St. from the now defunct train station. It has been in operation almost continuously since 1809, though today only caters to long-term rentals.