“Fail-proof horse hoof polish!” the radio screeched out. I turned the dial to the next station “Breaking news, from the London Times! Another perplexing mystery has been solved by the honorable Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Doctor John Watson! They were brought the case only 3 days ago. A certain young woman named Helen Stoner came to their living quarters on Baker Street with this strange story. Today with us, we have the venerable Dr. Watson who is going to tell us about the case.” I was immensely interested in the work of the two men.

“So, Doctor, what can you tell us about this new case?” I turned my attention back to my radio “Well, I will start at the beginning. Miss Stoner came to us three mornings ago. She lives at her stepfather’s estate in Surrey, near Leatherhead. Two years ago, Miss Stoner woke to a loud shriek and then a whistle from the room next to hers, where her twin sister was sleeping. She rushed into the adjoining room only to hear her sister scream “the speckled band!” and then slump to the floor, dead. Miss Stoner was forced to sleep in her deceased sister’s room for the past week or so due to renovations in her room. It was right next to her stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Roylott’s bedroom. Ever since she moved into the room next to his, she heard the strange whistles that she heard the night that her sister died. The night before Miss Stoner came to us, she heard the whistle accompanied with a hissing sound and got so frightened that she barred her bedroom door, locked the shutters, and took every precaution that nobody or nothing could get into her room.

The next morning, her stepfather was out, so she took a dogcart to my friend and I’s dwelling on Baker Street. After hearing her story (what I’ve just told you) my friend commenced with questioning her, especially about her stepfather. It turns out that he had lived in India for quite a time with his wife, while he learned about the Indian ways of doctoring. His wife died in India, leaving 200 pounds to each of her daughters upon the event of their marriage. He had served a sentence in prison for killing his Indian butler out of pure rage, and that he was in a good deal of debt. Holmes also found that he had no love for his stepdaughters whatsoever, was often gone for extended periods of time and kept many Indian animals for pets, including a cheetah and baboon, of which Miss Stoner was very frightened of. We also learned that when the young lady’s sister was going to be married the day after she died, that Miss Stoner was at this time engaged also, and that she was very scared of her stepfather.
We arranged to come that afternoon, while Dr. Roylott would still be out and investigate. Miss stoner left our rooms, and not 10 minutes later, we heard an angry tug on the bell rope, and pounding footsteps coming up the stairs. A large, commanding figure stood in our doorway. He introduced himself as Dr. Grimesby Roylott and commenced in telling us that his stepdaughter was of a very excitable nature, prone to over exaggerate things and that if we believed anything she said, we were mad. He also told us that if he found us meddling with his affairs, it would not bode well for us. He grabbed the fire poker and with two large hands, bent it almost completely over as if to prove his strength, and then pounded back down the stairs. Holmes chuckled, picked up the poker and calmly bent it back to its normal shape. We could see now how Miss Stoner was frightened of him.

That afternoon, when we arrived, we found that thankfully, the Doctor was still gone. Miss Stoner took us up to her bedroom, which my companion inspected carefully. There was no way for anything or anyone to get through the window. It was barred, shuttered, and locked. After looking the whole room over, Holmes noticed three strange things. There was a bell cord next to the bed that didn’t ring any bells, the bed was bolted to the floor, and a ventilator that went into the adjoining room, which happened to be Dr. Roylott’s own bedroom, where we went next. What we found was a large messy room with a large safe in it, a table covered in papers, a chair with a stick placed on it that had a leather loop on the end, a saucer of milk, and a few odds and ends from India. My friend must have seen something that I didn’t, because I could tell that he was very pleased.
After inspecting the grounds and giving Miss Stoner some instructions, we went home to Baker street. However, we didn’t stay there long. Holmes told me to get my revolver, he took a few things, and then we left. I had no clue where we were going. We ended up at a lodging house across the road from the Roylott estate, with a perfect view of the house. It was then that I recalled the instructions that Holmes gave Miss Stoner. He had told her to light an oil lamp and put it in the window of her room, until her stepfather had gone to bed, and had ceased to move around in his room. She was also supposed to pack a valise and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. We settled down in a room at the lodging house and waited until dark. About 9:30, the oil lamp went out. Holmes jumped up, grabbing his coat and mine, which he handed to me, as I put my revolver snuggly in the inside pocket.
As we snuck into the Roylott grounds we were startled by the baboon running across the lawn. Climbing into the window that led into Miss Stoner’s room (she had opened the shutters and bars) Holmes helped her out the window and told her that there was a cab waiting at the lodging house for her, to take her to her Aunt’s house for safety. Then, we settled down for a long night of intense waiting. Our nerves were strung high, and our ears were tuned to the slightest noise from the room next to the one that we were occupying.
At about 1:35 am, we heard a stirring from the next room. It was followed by the sound of about 10 footsteps, a slight grating noise, another 10 steps, the sound of a chair scraping lightly across the floor, and the squeak of wood as someone stood on top of the chair. Holmes silently picked up his riding whip off of the floor and looked as though he was ready to spring. All of a sudden, we heard the whistle that Miss Stoner had told us about and saw something sliding out of the ventilator, and onto the bell cord. At the same time, we heard a hissing sound, akin to that of steam escaping a pressurized water container. Holmes sprung up with a wild yell and started attacking the bell cord with his stout leather whip. He shoved something back through the ventilator, and then we heard a blood-curdling scream and a heavy thud. We raced to Dr. Roylott’s room and forced the door open. He was lying on the floor with a speckled snake latched onto his neck. Holmes picked the snake up with the stick with the leather loop on the end, shoved it in the safe, and slammed the door. Dr. Grimesby Roylott was dead within 5 minutes. It turns out that the doctor had brought the black and yellow speckled cobra from India and trained it with a series of whistle signals. He had been sending the snake through the ventillator every night for a week, waiting for the snake to find it’s mark. Fortunately for Miss Stoner, it hadn’t.”

“The rest of the story in just a minute.” The radio man’s voice came through, high pitched and nasal. The broadcast was interrupted here by advertisements. I waited until the obnoxious things ended “And now, the rest of the story from Dr. John Watson.” I leaned forward in my chair “When we were finally back in our rooms at Baker Street, I asked my friend how he had deduced that Dr. Roylott was the murderer. He started telling me all of the many clues that I had missed; The dirty fingerprints on the wall going up to the ventilator, the signs on the chair of it being stood on frequently, the snake holder (the stick with a leather loop attached to the end), and the saucer of milk to feed the snake with, and the hissing that Miss Stoner had heard the night before. Also, that the only motive for the murder (and attempted murder) of the two young women was to be able to keep the money that the girls’ mother had left them. Another crucial clue was that Dr. Roylott had construction going on that made the girl have to sleep in the room next to him before the first murder, as well as the attempted second murder. The murder and attempted murder happened just before both girls were to be married (this is when they would have claimed the money that their mother left them), though 2 years apart, thus enhancing his theory and the suspected motive for the crime.”

“I had seen a few of these clues, not realizing the importance of them, while the others, I was totally oblivious to.”

“And what has become of Miss Stoner?” The high pitched nasal voice came again. “Is she still living at the Roylott estate?”
“Miss Helen Stoner is now living with her Aunt out in the English countryside until the full police investigation is over, and she is married.”
“Quite an impressive case, Doctor” the radio man said. “Yes, my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes is a fantastic detective, and never ceases to amaze me with his admirable deducing skills.”
I flipped the radio off, turned my collar up, and went out to the misty street to start my long day of work. Detective work, to be precise, and a new case had come in today. My name is Sherlock Holmes.


The 7 Years War

Today I am going to be writing about the interesting subject of the 7 Years War, also known as the French and Indian war. This war was unlike any other, in the sense that after the war, in the peace treaty all of the territories that were gained on the mainland of Europe were returned to the original owners. Strange, I know.

The 7 years war was started in North America. It was originally just a series of skirmishes between the French and Indians but quickly grew into a worldwide clash. The first of these skirmishes was the Battle of Jumonville Glen (read my essay on it here). After a few more small engagements, the battle of Monongahela took place. A Britt named Edward Braddock was the commander in chief and general in charge of the colonies in America, and he was told lead a force of men, aided by the well-known George Washington to capture Fort Duquesne (Du-kuez-nee). I could go into all of the details of the battle, but I don’t really have time to, so I will just say, the Brits were defeated. Bad.

After Monongahela, both the Brits and French sent re-reinforcements to America and declared war on each other. All of a sudden, these skirmishes had turned into a full-blown war. In Europe, pretty much every country was involved. The way that the countries were allied was: Great Britain, Prussia, Hanover, and Portugal, vs. France, Russia, Austria, Spain, Saxony, and Sweden. For the first 6 years of the war, the main act on the main stage was Prussia fighting Austria and Russia. Prussia had the largest army of all of the countries in Europe, and for 5 or 6 years, they did very well.The general for the Prussian army was the fantastic Frederik II. When in the 6th year of the war, he started losing, nobody knew what was going on. He was defeated at Kunersdorf, where he lost no less than half of his army. After a lot more fighting, with heavy losses, Prussia and Russia agreed that the war needed to end. The Brits were on the same page also, so in 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the war. In this treaty, something called the “Status Quo Ante Bellum” was instated, saying that any territory on the mainland of Europe was to be returned to whoever owned it before the war.

In the end, not very much was gained in the 7 Years War. France lost a lot of its overseas colonies to Great Britain, but overall, due to the Status Quo Ante Bellum, not very much of land changed hands. It was basically a big bloody war that in the end, didn’t really do anything major to change the European nations.

Map of Europe during the 7 years war
Image result for 7 years war google images
General Frederik

A Brief History of Europe

Today I am going to be writing about the history of Europe from the fall of Rome to 1750 AD.

When Rome finally fell, the result was that the Germanic tribes started claiming parts of the former Roman Empire and forming a lot of little Countries. Most of them were not very stable, due to almost no power centralization. When the Holy Roman Empire was formed, it united the vast majority of the small independent countries/states.

At this time, the Muslims started making their attempt at conquering Europe. Within the next 200 years, the Muslims are held back and pushed back to near the Iberian Peninsula. They were still a big threat to Spain. Pretty much all of the territories in Europe had been claimed and the H.R.E. (Holy Roman Empire) was still “in charge” of it.

By the year 1453, Europe had gone through a few really hard things. Two of which were that the Byzantine Empire had fallen to the Turks, and the black death had swept through, killing about 50 million people (60 percent of Europe’s population).

Skipping ahead to 1750 ad, Sweden had risen in power and was controlling most of Scandinavia, while Austria, Poland, and Russia were keeping the Muslims from invading Europe again. Also, by this time many European countries have colonies all over the world, bringing in more money and making Europe a richer and more powerful nation.

More Literature Analysis of a Knight of the White Cross

In my last essay I talked about the setting and style of the book assigned for English, so today I’ll be writing about the character development and plot.


The Plot development of A Knight of the White Cross, by G.A. Henty

As I said in my last essay, most of Henty’s books pretty much all have the same base story. A handsome, strong, young man rises in fame and fortune and becomes a hero to the country. They normally end up with the fella’ marrying a gal that he rescued from some terrible thing. In A Knight of the White Cross, a young man named Gervaise joins the Order of St. John, in the magnificent city of Rhodes. He has a good thinking head, as well as being a great warrior at a young age (due to the training he received ever since he was a small child). He is a Page to the Grand Master for 3 years, before becoming a professed knight. Soon after, he was sent on a galley with a bunch of other knights. They encountered 5 or 6 pirate ships that they eventually captured with the help of two other galleys that were also on patrol. While out on the ocean, Gervaise showed himself worthy of being dubbed a real Knight upon their return. In later events, Gervaise did lots of things that earned him great renown including capturing 13 pirate ships and destroying 10 more with only one galley. He was a favorite with the Grand Master and all his fellow knights. He took part in the defense of Rhodes during the famous siege of Rhodes. In the end of the book, he marries a girl from Genoa and lives happily ever after.

Character Development

Really the only characters that develop enough to mention are Gervaise, his best friend Ralph Harcourt, and Lady Claudia (the girl he marries). Gervaise starts out being a 13-year-old boy, working as Page to the Grand master of the Order of St. John. Later on, he becomes a professed knight, then a real knight, the captain of a galley (at the age of 17), a slave (he got captured, but then escapes), and then finally a married man. Sir Ralph Harcourt starts out as a professed knight and becomes a real knight at the same time as Gervaise. He is 1st mate to Gervaise on his galley, and eventually, gets awarded with the command of his own galley. Lady Claudia is first introduced in the book as a serious 14-year-old girl. She isn’t talked about a lot since she lives in a whole different country than Gervaise, but she’s talked about enough to know that as she became a woman, she was the beauty of Genoa, and refused many offers for her hand in marriage. When Gervaise asks her to marry him, she accepts and becomes his wife.


A Knight of the White Cross

Odessa O.                                                                                                                            9-14-’17
Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.

Today I am going to be writing about the Authors style and the Setting of the book that was assigned in my English course; A Knight of the White Cross, by G.A. Henty.

We’ll start off with Henty’s writing style. He wrote a lot of historical fiction but took special care that the historical facts were correct and not misleading. In A Knight of the White Cross, a young parent-less boy who joins the Order of St. John, due to his father’s last wish before dying from mortal battle wounds. He was in the right place at the right time and got the opportunity to become the Grand Master’s page in Rhodes. After 3 years, he became a professed knight, and went on several ocean voyages with other knights of the order, distinguishing himself so much while fighting Turkish corsairs that he was dubbed a real knight when he was only 15 years old. The rest of the book covers all the different adventures that he has, including discovering a plot of treachery with the slaves and guards of the slave quarters where 1,000 slaves were to make an attempt at escape. This gave him even more respect from his comrades and seniors in the Order. A lot of Henty’s books have the same main plot; a boy grows into a man and becomes basically a hero for the brave and heroic deeds he’s done, complete with finding a beautiful girl to marry.

The Setting for A Knight of the White Cross changes a lot. The setting where most things happen is in Rhodes. This is where the convent for the Order of St. John was. Rhodes was a city that was preparing for an attack from Mahomet and his followers. There were thousands of slaves working on walls that seemed impossible to breach. The countryside surrounding the walled city of Rhodes was farmland. There were lots of fields and farms. The people that lived in the city were mainly merchants, their families, knights, slaves, farmers, etc.

This Weeks History Essay

This week I started 8th-grade history through the Ron Paul Curriculum. The class is taught by Bradley Fish Jr. Today, I am going to overview what I learned this week. Focusing on a little bit of history from the Middle East.

The Middle East

This civilization includes modern-day Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. You see, the ancient people from this area were farmers, so they needed a great place to plant their crops and keep them lush and green. The middle east was a great choice because there was a semi-circle kind of area that was especially fertile. The Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile rivers all flow through this area, which was called the “fertile crescent” after it’s lush farming land (see pictures below). Between the years of 1000 BC and 500 AD, the middle east changed hands a lot, in fact, 5 different powers ruled during those 1500 years. Babylon, Persia, Parthia, Rome, and for a short time, Alexander the Great was in control.

In 750 AD, the Muslims took over the government, converting it to their religious system, to start forming the Islamic middle east that we know today.

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Map of the Fertile Crescent
Farms in the Fertile Crescent