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“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.

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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.

 

The Battle of Jumonville Glen

The Battle of Jumonville Glen was a 15-minute skirmish that started the wheels in motion for the 7 years war (also called the French and Indian war).

It all started on a cold winter night. A troop of English and Indian soldiers were marching toward a place called Fort Necessity.  The fort was in construction, and the soldiers were sent to keep it safe from the Canadians while it was being built. The English soldiers were commanded by a man named George Washington, (yes, the same man that let the continental army in the American Revolution) and the Indian soldiers were being led by a man named Tanacharison.

Washington and Tanacharison were about 5 miles apart when word came from the Indians that they had spotted the Canadian encampment.  (As a side note really quick, the band of 35 or so Canadians led by Joseph Jumonville, was just a small part of a larger group of soldiers. The larger group had already captured the partly constructed fort that Washington was on his way to defend.  Jumonville and his men were sent to warn Washington not to start messing around with the Canadian’s claimed land).  Washington marched his men the 5 miles that night to where Tanacharison was and set up an ambush.  The next morning, the Canadians were surprised by a bunch of soldiers attacking the camp.  The skirmish lasted only about 15 minutes, but quite a few of the Canadians were killed, including Joseph Jumonville.  Not including a couple of men that managed to escape, all of the Canadian survivors were taken as prisoners.  The dead were either just left in the field where the battle took place or  buried in very shallow graves.  George Washington pushed his men on to the fort.

When word came to the main party of Canadians, Jumonville’s brother was raving mad.  He took a troop of 600 soldiers, attacked Washington and his men and forced him to surrender.  The surrendering terms were written in french, which Washington couldn’t read, so it is questionable if he knew what he was agreeing to when he signed that paper. It turns out that the paper had a confession that he had had Jumonville specifically assassinated in the battle.   That was used against him later in life.

The next year, more and more small conflicts kept happening, and essentially grew into a full blown war.  In fact, both France and England declared war on each other in 1756.  This was the 7 years war, or the French and Indian war.

In Which the Sheriff of Nottingham Becomes an Outlaw

The Sheriff of Nottingham was at his wits end.   That merry knave, Robin Hood, had not been brought to justice.  Prince John (who had declared himself king in King Richard’s absence) was getting more and more eager to get Robin Hood out of his way too.  You see, Robin and his merry men set the people of England against the false king.  Prince John, of course, did not like this. One day, he called the Sheriff to come to London-town to have a meeting with him.  The sheriff eagerly prepared to leave immediately, which he did.  It was a sight to see.  The cowardly sheriff, knowing that he would have to go through Sherwood Forest to get to London-Town brought all of the retainers in Nottingham. They all amounted to about 80-armed men all decked out in their best attire. As for Robin Hood, two of his men had been in Nottingham when the word came that Prince John summoned the Sheriff, and he was to be traveling to London-Town with all the armed men in Nottingham.  They straightway returned to Sherwood and brought the news to Robin.

As soon as Robin heard what was to take place, he brought his horn to his lips and blew three loud, clear, sweet notes.  At this, his men all gathered ’round him, some coming out of the forest, some from different paths leading into the clearing.  He stood up and began giving instructions. “Six men will come with me, to meet that knave of a sheriff, and the rest of you will cut off his retainers and wagons.  Will Scarlet, Little John, Friar Tuck, Allan A Dale, David of Doncaster, and Midge the Miller’s son will come with me, and Will Stutely, you will lead the rest.”  Ten men were also set out in the forest to keep an eye on the roads to see when the Sheriff arrived.

All this was done, so Robin’s men waited.  The next morning, bright and early, Will Stutely and Robin Hood were woken, and told that the men stationed in the forest had caught sight of the sheriff and his procession.  Robin blew his horn, and all the men were up in a heartbeat, gathering around him.  He reminded them of their orders and they all went off to do them.  Robin and his six men ran and hid in the bushes on the side of the road.  Will Stutley and his men (there was about 75 of them) did the same, hiding along in the bushes every few yards for half of a mile or so. When the Sheriff’s caravan got to where Will and his men were, all of the men stuck their quarterstaffs out in the horse’s way, and tripped them.  Then all of the men rushed out into the road and pulled the Sheriff’s retainers off their horses.  This would not normally have worked, but all of the retainers were paying attention to the Sheriff, who was riding in front. Robin had stepped out, and grabbed the bridle of the sheriff’s horse. It was a sight to see. More than 80 men all being pulled off their horses, and their swords being grabbed and thrown into the bushes.  Robin Hood and his six men grabbed the bridles of the Sheriff’s horse, and started leading them into Sherwood.  The Sheriff started yelling at his retainers telling them to come and capture Robin Hood. When he looked backwards, where they were supposed to be, he saw a scene of utter chaos. Seventy men in Lincoln green were pulling his retainers off their horses while they were kicking and trying to get to their swords.

Soon, Robin’s men had gotten control and disarmed all of the sheriff’s retainers.  Robin yelled for them to stay there, and he led the Sheriff and a few of his men into the forest, and into him and his men’s camp.  Then he said, “My dear sheriff, I have a deal to make with you. You pick two of your best Yeomen, and my man Little John and I will have a little competition with them. Whoever can split a twig the width of my thumb from 70 paces away with a grey goose shaft, I will give a good stout ewe bow, with gold engraving, and 12 good arrows to match.”  The Sheriff decided that he would make another part of the deal too. “If you and your little john beat my men, then I will come and join your band of merry men, with all of these retainers with me. But, if I win, you will become my page, for life.” Robin thought for a while, and then decided that it would be worth it. “My answer is yes, sheriff!”  The targets were set up, and the sheriff picked his men.  The first was the popular young Sir Eldred of the Moor, and the second was old Sir Alfred of Yorkton. They were both very well-known archers in England.  It was decided that Sir Eldred would go first, then Little John, then Sir Alfred, and then finally, Robin Hood.  Each man would have two shots at the two targets, and whichever team split the stick, would be the winner.

Up Sir Eldred stepped, brought up his bow, fitted one of his arrows, and aimed. Wizzz, the arrow shot from the bow, and flew toward the stick. The young man’s arrow missed the mark by a barley straw’s width. He fitted his second arrow, and this time, the arrow nicked the stick. It was not split though, so Little John took his turn.  Both of Little John’s arrows hit the stick, and stuck in it, but neither went all the way through, to split it.  Sir Alfred was up next.  The Sheriff was sitting on the edge of his seat, as was Robin, because both of their futures were at stake. Now, Sir Alfred stepped up with is bow.  He aimed his first arrow, and let fly. This one would have went straight through the stick, but a little gust of wind caught it and blew it off of course, and it landed on the ground a ways away. The second arrow, however, hit the stick straight in the middle and went all the way. It didn’t split the stick all the way though!  Robin Hood let out a sigh of relief, and stepped up to the mark. He let his first arrow go, and it flew straight and true, straight to the stick. The same thing happened with his arrow though. It went all the way through, but didn’t split the stick all the way. He drew a deep breath, and aimed his second arrow.  It flew whizzing toward the stick. Pffttts! It went straight through, and split the stick all the way!  A great shout came out of the throats of all of Robin Hood’s merry men. The sheriff of Nottingham couldn’t believe it. He was absolutely sure that his men could shoot better than Robin Hood and Little John. He was now Robin’s man, along with all of the retainers that he had brought with him.  Since he wasn’t a sheriff anymore, he took the name of Richard of Nottingham instead. He actually learned to like the life of Robin and his band, carefree, and adventurous.  Robin even helped teach him not to be so cowardly.

Thus concludes my tale of how the Sheriff of Nottingham became an outlaw.

 

Saxon Culture

3/23/2017
Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.

In my 7th grade English class, I have been reading a book called Wulf the Saxon, by G.A. Henty. It’s all about the Norman invasion of England. This week for my writing assignment, I need to write about the culture of the Anglo-Saxon people.

The Anglo-Saxon people started out as a bunch of Germanic tribes that settled in the part of Europe that is now England.  The tribes eventually united and grew into a country with a King, and different Earldoms and Earls ruling over them.  In each earldom, there were the people that lived in them that were free men that were farmers, or some other occupation such as a metal worker or something like that.

There were not a lot of trained, paid soldiers, so when a  war started, all the farmers and people were called from their homes, farms, and businesses to fight. This made them weaker than their opponents because their men would leave to get back to their farms and occupations as soon as their required time in service was up.  This left the king relatively helpless at times because he had practically no army.

The Saxons were pagan, believing in what seems like thousands of different gods, but eventually, some catholic missionaries came and converted most of England.  King Alfred helped spread the popularity of Catholicism also.  The Saxons had cities and villages and monasteries and convents and everything.

Over time, England began to adopt more and more civilized ideas and things, to become one of the most powerful country’s in Europe.

 

 

The Anglo-Spanish War

Odessa O.
Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.
Subject: History

This war is what gave England it’s great naval supremacy.  Spain was determined to take the English throne and return the country to Catholicism, while England was equally determined to keep the throne and also keep the freedom of religion that Elizabeth I had brought when she ascended the throne in 1558.  Philip II of Spain built a fleet of 130 huge ships especially to attack England. It was called the Armada, which in Spanish, means Navy.

Mary Tudor had died, and her half-sister Elizabeth had been crowned queen. But, Mary had married Philip II, the king of Spain.  So, when Mary died in 1558, and Elizabeth became queen, he believed that he should get some of the English throne, or at least Elizabeth’s hand in marriage.  She refused to marry him (in fact, she never got married at all).  So, Philip decided to try to overthrow Elizabeth and take England for himself.

Philip started building a fleet of 130 ships that were huge. Those 130 were so huge that they held 26,000 men.  Elizabeth knew that if the Armada landed in England, they were as good as dead, so under Lord Howard of Effingham and Sir Frances Drake, the English navy met the massive Spanish Armada in the English channel.

The Battle went poorly for the Spaniards. The weather was against them, the English had small ships that could run circles around their huge ones, plus the English Channel wasn’t super wide, so it was a lot easier for the English navy to maneuver and get around.  To top it off, the English sent a few fire-ships over that lit a bunch of Spain’s fleet on fire.  The Armada was so crippled that it returned to Spain without even landing on English Ground.

The Anglo-Spanish war didn’t officially end until 1604 when King James (who became king after Elizabeth I died) instituted the treaty of London that ended the war.

John Cabot

John Cabot was an Italian explorer, who explored for  England.  He headed up two explorations. The first voyage turned out well. Cabot and his crew landed on Newfoundland. The second voyage, though, ended in disaster.

Cabot was born in 1450, in Venice.  His father was a spice merchant.  When he was a boy, he would go to the docks and talk to the Italian sailors.  He learned a lot about navigation and sailing from them.  Cabot got married when he was twenty-four years old and had three sons.

John Cabot moved to England in 1488, because of financial troubles. There were rumors going around that he was being chased by the people he owed money to, so he figured he should just leave the country.  He decided that he wanted to go exploring.  His timing was just right. England was seeing a lot of the countries around them going into other countries and establishing colonies. They wanted to get in on the game now. So, King Henry IV commissioned him to go to the new world, and claim some of it for England.

In 1497, Cabot left the port with 18 men, and one ship called The Matthew.  Fifty days later, they landed on what is now Newfoundland. Like other explorers before him, Cabot thought that he was in Asia. He returned to England, and then he was sent on another exploration.  This time, he left the port with 300 men and five ships. This second exploration ended quite strangely.  The whole 300 man crew and all five ships mysteriously disappeared.

Nobody knows what happened to John Cabot and his second exploration, but he is credited with being the first European man to set foot on the mainland of North America since Leif Erickson and the Vikings.