Dancing Suite, part 2: The Consequences of Flight, 3/?
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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,
9 and 10 March 1900
9^th^ March. Friday.
The Columbia is a remarkable vessel. This morning James convinced a steward to allow us access to the mechanical decks. From the promenade deck, all is white with elegant beige funnels^1^, but aft and amidships, the elegance makes way for brute metal and coal dust. The boiler room, the steward would not let us enter, but through the dust and soot we glimpsed all its engineering strength. I am uncertain as to the reason for his hesitation, since he was convinced we were both some form of engineers. At least, James is. James posited later that we did not see the boilers possibly because of the filth, but also because we would have seen the state of the dozen or so men toiling below, feeding coal into the furnace. We were allowed to view the enormous twin screws that power the propellers. The noise was deafening. We are now once again in the library. James is reading what looks to be a history of __. His mood is improved.
He still struggles to answer to his new name, I notice. When we were still in The Province of Quebec, he found it especially difficult. After To^2^, by the time the train reached Longueuil Station^3^, it became clear James could travel no further. I did not yet know then, but infection had set into his injured shoulder where our enemy had ran through what I think was a steel bore. With the dehydration, in his already weakened state, we would not be able to flee any further without risking his life. Hiding was the appropriate course of action until he healed completely. It had been foolish to think we would have made our escape to Europe quickly. So once at Lngl^4^, I made a telephone call.
James is sleeping now and I am writing by the moonlight through the porthole of our cabin. Once in Lngl, I realized we should have stopped in Mtl^5^ directly. We needed help and we needed to hide for as long as James needed. No hotel in Montreal would provide that. I was desperate, I telephoned to an old school friend of mine from Jesuit College. F., now Father F, lived at the Jesuit Noviciate^6^ in the village of Sault au Recollet^7^ on the north of the Island of Mtl. I lied to him after a fashion, told him it was a police matter, that I needed a place to lay low with someone under my protection. He said he would take care of it, that all we needed was to make our way to the village, that the roads past the city limits were still passable despite the snow^8^. It was well banked on the roads and the coach we hired got there in the evening. He met us at the Noviciate gates. James' fever only rose as we made our way out of the city, across miles of farmland until the first houses on Principal road appeared. The Noviciate
10^th^ March. Saturday.
Father F met us at the Noviciate gates, climbed into the coach with us and told the driver to go back up the road to the white house with the gray door^9^. This was the house we woulds be staying in for the length of James' convalescence, however long it took. The house belonged to a recent widow who would be spending the winter with family on the South Shore with her young children. The Noviciate was expecting to be given the house outright, or they planned the purchase, I'm not certain which and never bothered to ask. F assured me we would not be disturbed. The village had a doctor, and he paid us a visit that evening.
The story we told villagers went thus: we were both recent widowers, hurt in a recent accident on our way to Quebec City. But our state of health demanded we convalesce in peace. F agreed to spread the story. He asked I not enquire how he convinced his superiors to give us shelter, and I did not.
The weather turned today and the Atlantic Ocean shows its might. My father would call it choppy seas I believe. The Columbia is a marvellous ship. It navigates the waves with stability and ease. No doubt my father's schooner, had it been full size, we would be tossed about. As it is, only the weakest of stomachs among the 1^st^ class Passengers seem a little green. I would not want to be below deck with the 3^rd^ class today, I fully admit.
James was quiet today. Not exactly melancholy. He seems contemplative. Most likely my reflective mood is rubbing off. He asked what I am writing today at lunch. I told him.
Within half a week of our arrival at Sault Au Recollet, not only did the entire village know of our existance [sic.], but our names and a version of our story built on rumour and deduction. They knew us as James Beckett from Toronto (un Anglais, they called him^10^) and his French Canadian butler William Gagnon^11^. They agreed that I had spent most of my life in Ontario, explaining my more English inflections and errors when speaking French with them. We had been widowed in a train wreck "out west" in one version, and had chosen to spend our mourning and convalescence in tranquility. It seems we were not very unusual visitors to the Sault; since the arrival of the tramway in 1893^12^, quite a few Messieurs Bourgeois had bought summer homes here, turning it into a bit of a resort in the warm month. The mayor^13^, whom I met at church weekly, is inordinately proud of the village's wood sidewalks, though his pride is not completely misplaced. The villagers were welcoming to a fault, respectful of our grief and so far as I know never suspected they had been lied to. Not the Jesuits either, nor the Priests of St. Gabriel^14^ who run the village school or the Sulpicians of the Parish church^15^, not the good Holy Heart nuns^16^ who sent us sucre a la crême fudge [sic.] weekly withing ten days of our arrival.
1. In 1900, the chimney funnels on Hamburg-America ships were beige with a black band.
3. Longueuil is situated on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River, directly across downtown Montréal, QC.
6. We could not identify Father F. No priest with this initial served at the Noviciat Saint-Joseph at Sault-au-Récolet in 1900. The institution was founded in 1852 and remained in operation as the Jesuits' main school for recruits until 1969. The building still stands on Gouin boulevard in the arrondissement Ahuntsic-Cartierville in Montréal and houses the Collège Mont-Saint-Louis.
7. The village of Sault-au-Récollet was founded in 1696 and was named for the French Récollet priest Nicolas Viel who drowned in the rapids in the Prairie River in 1625. It was an Indian mission until the early 1700s. A number of buildings from the 18^th^ and early 19^th^ centuries still stand and the old village is now a protected historic area.
8. In 1900, most of the territory on the Island of Montreal was still farmland. Outside of Montréal proper and its immediate suburbs, the island was dotted by a number of rural villages, some of which were turning into summer resort areas, notably Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (then referred to as St. Ann) and Sault-au-Récolet.
9. We could not identify the exact house. We know from later mentions that the house stood between the Jesuit Noviciate and Visitation-du-Sault-au-Récollet parish church, possibly on what is now Lambert street.
10. This monicker was a common way from French Canadians to refer to Anglophones in Canada. especially but not exclusively those from British extraction. This monicker was widely used well into the mid-twentieth century. James Pendrick would be the epitome of an "Anglais": White, English-speaking, and of Protestant extraction.
11. Though Murdoch's fluency of French is a well-known, this sentence indicates that he spoke the language almost as well as a native. Steve Gunn, in his biography of Murdoch, found that the Detective consistently gave the reason for his French-language fluency as having studied with Jesuits in New Brunswick. The main issue here is that there were no Jesuit houses of education in that province during Murdoch's lifetime. Gunn posits that Murdoch may have been taught by one or more Jesuit priests who had left the Society of Jesus in order to become secular priests in an unidentified New Brunswick parish. There are a few examples of such priests in New Brunswick in the second half of the nineteenth century, though Gunn could not identify Murdoch's mentor or mentors. See Gunn, Our Own Sherlock (Toronto: UTP, 1999), chap. 2.
12. Murdoch is incorrect by two years: Montreal Park & Island inaugurated tramway line 24 in 1895.
13. Émile Delorme, who was mayor in 1897-1902.
14. The Frères de Saint-Gabriel were invited by Archbishop Bruchési to settle in Québec in 1888 and moved to Sault-au-Récolet in 1891. They built a noviciate near the Jesuits and opened a primary school immediately.
15. In 1900, as with most parish churches on the Island of Montréal, Sulpician priests were responsible for and own the Visitation-du-Sault-au-Récollet parish church, first built in 1749 and expanded several times in the 19^th^ century.
16. The Dames du Sacré-Coeur convent was established in 1855. They ran several institutions in the village, notably a school for girls.