15.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

14.  Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

A Conference With Lady Saxondale

A play in one act and one scene.

Characters:

R.E. Prindle, narrator.

Dr. Anton Polarion, noted psychologist.

Dug Warbaby, assistant to Dr. Polarion.

George W. M. Reynolds, Chronicler of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale.

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale

Ralph Faerfiled, Lady Saxondale’s putative son.

Chiffin the Cannibal, criminal

Dr. Ferney   famed London Physician of the 1850s.

Various crew and technical support.

All are on stage all the time.

Scene:  Located on the entrance and apron of the Wormhole in the basement floor of the Magic Shop in Portland, Oregon.  A rectangle has been marked in front of the Wormhole.  A white line has been drawn across the rectangle a few feet from the entrance to the Wormhole.

Lady Saxondale has been called from the pages of the immortal novel of its author George W.M. Reynolds, (1814-79) sometimes going by G.W.M. Reynolds.  Lady Saxondale has the appearance of a hologram as she has never had physical existence.  George Reynolds  who has been released from the beyond for this occasion, has an ephemeral appearance.  R.E. Prindle as a living person appears live.  Dr. Polarion and Mr. Warbaby are psychological projections, or alter egos, of Mr. Prindle.  They are dependent on him.

Dr.    the famed physician of London is also a fictional character of George Reynolds and should be treated as Lady Saxondale is.  Both he and Lady Saxondale are not permitted on the reality side of the white line as they have emerged from the Worm hole and will return to it.  George Reynolds as a historical once living person but now dead has the ability to move back and forth of white line with no peril as he can ascend to heaven from either place.

Mr. Prindle and his alter egos cannot cross the line without becoming lost down the Wormhole nor can any of the filming crew and technical support and they too are living entities.

George W.M. Reynolds is the author of The Crimes Of Lady Saxondale.  He has been released as a spectre from Heaven or Hell, it isn’t clear.  Lady Saxondale is a fictional emission from his mind and her image can be found in the pages of the novel.

The scene  is a ‘dreamscape’ from Mr. Prindle’s mind.

Lady Saxondale Harriet Faerfield is a gorgeous woman, 5’10-6’0.

She is magnificently built, sylph like, wonderful ample bust, slender for a large woman and proud and haughty as though from humble beginnings.

George W.M. Reynolds if 5’6” stout but not fat, dandyish in the 1850s style, he wears a short beard one inch wide encircling the face from sideburns to under the chin.  The rest of the face and chin are shaved.  He and the Lady dress in costume of the 1850s.  George is a self-made man, the most successful novelist of the nineteenth century and owner of his own publishing company, confident an jaunty.  A man of the world, he’s jaunty having a humorous countenance having experienced the world but is now more amused by it than not.

Dr. Anton Polarion can be any height, more slender than heavy, dresses sedately but with a sense of style, disgustingly wear brown shoes with a dark suit, quiet tie.

Dug Warbaby is a bouncy guy, sees everything as a joke,  he can be young or middle aged.

Dr.  Ferney will be young at first appearance then will reappear at 60 yrs of age.  He dresses as any Doctor would. He has had a secret love and devotion for Lady Saxondale from 30 to 60.

Ralph Faerfield is a Libertine looking very dissipated.  Rather homely and unpleasant looking but wealthy though his mother.

Chiffin the Cannibal is as ugly and degraded as a character can be.

As the scene opens from above, the tech gear and cameras and all are scattered across the area.  The dark entrance to the Wormhole looms behind the far side of the rectangle.  Lady Saxondale will be positioned against that backdrop, she is not yet present.  Stage left George Reynolds is present. R.E. Prindle stands a few feet from George to the right of Prindle Dr. Anton is sitting with a clipboard and pen.  Dug Warbaby hovers behind him.  Chiffen, Ralph Faerfield and Dr.     as holograms are behind the front line.

Head Tech:  We’re ready, is everyone here?

R.E.:  Lady Saxondale hasn’t’ appeared yet but keep the film rolling Bob while we introduce ourselves but focused on her entrance.  Make it as dramatic as possible.  This all has to filmed on the first take.  We won’t get another shot.  Do not interrupt, just keep filming.

George, or should I call you Mr. Reynolds?

George:  You can call me George, we’re all friends here.  (chuckles) At least I hope Lady Saxondale will agree.

R.E.:  Yes, well, I’m R.E. Prindle your reader and organizer of the conference.  Next to me is Dr. Anton Polarion, an alternate persona of mine and an eminent psycho-analyst.

George:  Psycho-analyst?

R.E.:  Yes, George, since your time psychology has come a long way.  I know you were a pretty good psychologist for your time but I’ve always wanted to know, did you ever visit Dr. Charcot at the Salpetriere in your later years?

George:  Yes I did. I met him once in, I don’t know, maybe 1873 I went over to Paris to see him in action.  Observed one of his seances where he hypnotized those poor hysteric female subjects.  Seemed like too much of a showman for me.  What ever became of him?

R.E.:  He and his disciple Pierre Janet pretty much laid the foundation for modern psychology.  A man named Sigmund Freud visited Charcot in the eighties and was able to sort out the nineteenth century development and impose his vision of psychology on the world.  It was he who devised the word psycho-analysis, he was a real disturber.

George:  Dr. Polarion.  (tips his head-

Dr. Anton,  All my pleasure, Mr. Reynolds, George.  R.E. and I have read your books with great pleasure.  R.E.’s more historical while I’m psychological although as must be obvious we share our knowledge as well as our brain.  I hope you don’t mind if I speak of you familiarly but after all what’s a few million words between friends?

Given your place in time and space I’m very impressed with the soundness of your intelligence.  You remind me somewhat of Edgar Rice Burroughs, of whom I’ve done an extended study, in that your personalities were accreted in a similar manner.

George:  Excuse me, accreted personality.

Anton:  Yes. One’s life is merely a stack of years while development from inception to death follows universally similar patterns, that is the individual matures at the same periods of life.  The sequence of events forming your life are quite distinct.

You were born in 1814, propitious year, in Kent, then removed to the island Guernsey at the age of two, 1816, where you lived until you were moved back to Kent six years later in 1822 when you were eight.  An interesting six years in your development.  You mention that time a few times in your writing.

Then in 1822 your father died leaving you an orphan with only your mother to care for you. Then in 1826, 4 years later at the age of 12 you were entered to the Sandhurst Military College by your Guardian, Duncan McArthur from whom you obtained your third name.  You can see how the periods of your life are stacking up.  Sandhurst was a very painful four years which went a long way towards forming your underlyng personality.

Now, Duncan McArthur was your father’s best friend, a naval surgeon with whom your father, a Captain may have served.  Being military they were probably stern disciplinarians while in your novel, The Steam Packet, your hero mentions his guardian who he hated and who as the executor of your mother’s will absolutely refused to tell you how much was your inheritance and of what it consisted.  My conclusion then is that he probably cheated you out of a fair amount of money.

George:  That is exactly my opinion.

Anton: Your time at Sandhurst was very unpleasant.  Military life did not agree with you. Entering at twelve you were at the mercy of the older students and we’ve all read Tom Brown’s School Days. Horrifying movie too.

George:  Movie?

Anton:  Yes, photography was developing in your day so that it was soon found how to take rapid photographs in seqence, put them on film strips and project them onto a screen so that live action was captured and preserved.  In time sound and color was added and, in my opinion the human mind was corrupted, lifted from its anchorings.  And then things got really exciting.

George:  You mean this meeting could be recorded and preserved.

Anton:  Such is the case George and such is what is happening.  That is a Wormhole where your characters are standing who we have abstracted from your pages with the appearance of being living people, we have brought you back from the dead for this occasion, I am merely a projection of a facet of R.E.’s brain, as well as Dug behind me, so that R.E. and the tech people doing the filming are the only living people here.  Amazing isn’t it?

George:  I -I- you can’t…

Anton:  It’s true George. Wonders of modern science, no magic involved.  You can’t believe how overwhelmed I am to actually be talking to that great writer George W.M. Reynolds.  But to continue.  While you were at Sandhurst you saw a soldier brutally whipped for a very slight reason and that changed your life becoming a major fixation.

George:  Fixation?

Anton:  Yes. Psychological term, Idee Fixe in Pierre Janet’s term.  An idea you can’t get out of your mind that affects your future life. You were terrified out of your mind.  Then in March of 1830 when you were fifteen, your mother died leaving you a complete orphan.  Your whole psyche must have sunk into your breast leaving you in a depression.  You were now depending on the martinet, Duncan Reynolds your guardian while your majority was five long years away.  You had to get out of Sandhurst.  You couldn’t stay with the possible refuge of your mother removed.  But you didn’t know how.  Then, one night in the Fall of 1830 as you were returning from liberty in London you were held up by highwaymen.  The leader of the highwaymen, who you designate as Arnold in your novel written, first draft, only two years later in 1832 while you were in France.  You rewrote the novel in 1835, published it, but withheld publication in England for, perhaps, obvious reasons. After all, you were describing your crime.  However in 1836 it was published in the United States.

I’m convinced that the novel was based on a true story as the say of the movies.  Is that true.

George:  As you say Anton, based on a true story.  But, yes, something like happened to me on the Hounslow road.  As you say, I was stopped by a couple bravoes that he, who I designate as Arnold, was training.  As I wrote, he had plans into which I fell perfectly.  There I was, between the hell of Sandhurst that was driving me out of my mind, and a life of crime that Arnold made sound really attractive.  Duncan broke off with me at that point but I didn’t care.  I hated him, I hated the Army and he was military to the bone.  And so I with Arnold worked the swindle.  We were found out and as you have probably divined I took the English solution and fled across the channel to France.  I don’t know what you think Anton, and I don’t care.  I was between the devil and the deep blue sea and I chose the deep blue sea from which I emerged whole and entire a few years later.  It was a good choice.  Painful but at least I was a free man.

Anton: Bravo, George, wonderful.  Yes, you brought your bark to shore with honors.  Reminds of Caesar among the pirates. Joined in with them while captured  but when redeemed took his task force with him and wiped them out.

But, to continue… You arrived in France and a whole new developmental period in you life began.  Perhaps the most essential.  I’m guessing, but I believe among the first things you did was to read the works of the Marquis de Sade.

George: I was married in 1832.

Anton: At eighteen.

George:  Yes.  But M’sieu Donatien, yes, that was a lightning bolt.  The Libertine bible.  There was material to think about.  It took a while to digest.  I was repulsed by many of his conclusions and offended by his method but there was food for thought.

I think it’s obvious that I’m very well read.  In my reading I noticed this Libertine strain in the Hellfire Clubs that began appearing about 1720 becoming more entrenched with every passing year combined with that rowdy, lawless strain epitomized by Duke Wharton and his Mohocks.  My days Of Hogarth or The Mysteries of Old London deals with this in my own way.  And of course in my youth Pierce Egan introduced Tom and Jerryism with Corinthian Tom.

Anton:  Was it then that you wished to become a Man of the World?

George:  Yes, the attitude was necessary.  Greenwood of was of that strain in The Mysteries of London.  Advancing civilization toned down the rowdyism some so that it evolved more or less into the Man of the World or his lesser Man About Town.  Yes, I was something of a Dandy and aspired to that sophistication of the Man of The World.  It was either that or insanity.  So, I became what you are, Anton, a psychologist.  Obviously we were primitive in our day but I imagined that I shown amongst my peers.  Of course I learned a great deal during my short visit to Charcot’s Salpetriere but that was after my novelistic career had concluded.

Anton:  Why did you stop?

George:  I had nothing left to say.  The attic was bare.

Anton:  And so you set about learning Paris and France.  You made a remarkable job of it too.  I am astonished at the depth of your abilities in your Pickwick Abroad.  You must have put your time to good use.

George:  No grass grew under my feet Anton.  I was hungry for knowledge and neither shy nor backward.  And then in 1835 they caught up with me of course.

Anton:  They?

George:  Yes. The Jews, the money lender I thought I had so successfully defrauded tracked me down in Paris. Another Jewish money lender, his accomplice sought me out and got me to enter into a usury scheme, cleaned me out, bankrupted me with a wife in child I was responsible for.  Not very bright of me was it?  Well, live and learn.  Quite shattered I picked up wife and child and returned to England.  I read and speak French but I was totally ignorant of the grammar, so I couldn’t write it.  Back to England where I knew the language to begin my writing career there. My god, Anton, you don’t know the anxiety.  Nothing was working for me and there I was in 1844 writhing in desperation.  Then George Stiff sought me out and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Laughter on set, as a shimmering in front of the Wormhole announces the arrival of Lady Saxondale descending as though an angel from above.  Dr. Ferney quietly goes into ecstasies at the appearance of his secret love, moving closer to her.)

Harriet Faerfield, Lady Saxondale:  You called?  I make my entrance.  Wherefore was I disturbed?

Anton:  Lady Saxondale.  We’re very pleased that you could come.  We’re having a discussion today about your life.  I am Doctor Anton Polarion, a psychologist, and to your right there is your creator George Reynolds, the author of your biography, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes.

(Lady Saxondale shudders at the mention of her crimes.)

Harriette:  Oh, so that’s Mr. Reynolds is it?  Little do I have much to thank from his pen.

Anton:  Yes, and behind me here is my assistant Dug Warbaby.  R.E. Prindle to my left, the organizer and your summoner.  The rest you know, Ralph, Chiffin, and Dr. Ferney.

Harriette:  Good God, if I’d known Ralph and Chiffin were here I wouldn’t have come.  Good to see you again Dr. Ferney.

George:  I see you’re late us usual, Harriet.

Harriet:  Yes, I had to be materialized from the pages of your defamatory novel and that was technically very difficult.  And how did you get here?

George:  I’ve, um, been called from the great beyond.  Something Houdini never achieved, try as he  did.  Let’s leave it at that. (Coughs, others laugh.)

Harriet:  So, I suppose you’ve called me to laugh at me and mock me?  It won’t work.

Anton:  No Ma’am, we haven’t.  We’re interested in your side of the story.  Should we call you Harriet or Lady Saxondale, my Lady?

Harriet:  My Lady will suffice.

Anton:  Then, My Lady ,we are actually here to examine George’s presentation of you and whether you were quite as guilty as you were made to seem.  Let us remember that the story is George’s and he has it on paper.  Nevertheless, having composed his novel and thrown it on the waters of time to that extent he has lost control of the discussion and we may evaluate his intent and its execution, as it were, objectively.

George:  Who told you that?

R.E. (with a smirk)  That’s the way it is and I am in control of this situation.

George:  Humph!

Anton: Enough boys, we’re working.  Certainly your first crime, My Lady, can be excused as foisted on you by uncontrollable circumstances and of course one crime leads to the another not so much as you willed any of it in my opinion, but as your very fate forced it upon you.  Not really culpable in my opinion.

George:  She had options, she made decisions.

Anton: Not in my opinion.

Harriet:  That is a little more understanding than I could hope Dr. Polarion.  Mr. Reynold apparently had some vendetta to excise.

Anton:  As I read the novel, your first crime was completely unavoidable.  I believe Mr. Reynolds did you an injustice there.

George:  Stop a moment!  What she did was a willful act and a crime of deception solely for her own benefit.

Harriet:  I dare say, Mr. Reynolds, and was not it a crime on the part of Ralph Faerfield here, to abduct my baby with the intent to murder it for his own selfish purposes?  Wherefore should I endure that without rescuing my interests?  And, as a result he introduced the despicable Chiffin the Cannibal into my life and home causing indescribable pain and worse, humiliation. Do you realize how he destroyed my peace of mind?

R.E.:  Hold on, hold on, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.  Why don’t we start at the beginning to keep things in order.

George: I…

Harriet:  Hold! I will tell the story; he’s already had his chance and botched it.  The instigator of the whole matter was my husband’s son by his first wife, Ralph Faerfield.

Ralph:  I had my rights being violated.

Harriet:   Your rights being violated?  You forfeited those rights by your Libertine life style and wastrel habits.  Your father did not want you to inherit his title and besmirch it.

Ralph I have my side…

Harriet:  Shut up, you vile boy.  Ralph was a wastrel.  His father, my husband, was alarmed by his reckless ways, his mortgaging his future to those Jewish money lenders, the only people reckless enough to take a chance on him and then at a ruinous compound interest of thirty percent.  Excessive interest that would eat up the resources of the estate and make a long lineage disappear.

My husband took alarm and decided to balk Ralph by creating a new heir.  I was selected to marry him and bear that heir.  Even though my husband was much older than myself I had always been a good girl so when I was requested to marry him I made no objections.  Thus, I was elevated into the nobility, which I considered no small thing.  I wanted to be Lady Saxondale and I make no apologies for that.

Ralph: You only married him for the position, money, there was no love involved.  You were just a high class prostitute.  And besides the estate was entailed.

R.E.  Enough of that Ralph, once more and away you go.

Harriet:  I therefore did marry and quickly became pregnant, having submitted to the old man’s embraces.  Unfortunately my child was a daughter.  Ralph breathed more easily hoping my husband would die soon.  I became as desperate as my husband for a son knowing that Ralph would turn me out if he became Lord Saxondale and I would be reduced to penury after enjoying a most luxurious life.  At some risk to my health I became immediately pregnant once again.  Mr. Reynolds makes no mention of that sacrifice. I provided another daughter unfortunately.  Both my husband and I were now consumed by anxiety, he because his age and health indicated a short extension of life.  Hoping that the third time would be a charm I became pregnant again and thank God it was my beautiful baby boy.  My husband rejoiced believing that he had thwarted Ralph as I did too.

George Reynolds, knew what a fine lad I had made as the sequel will show.  Ralph was enraged and embittered.  His creditors now refused loans and pestered him for repayment.

Ralph:  Oh yes, they did.  And you would have been enraged too being cheated out of your rightful inheritance.

Harriet:  It was my own rightful inheritance then.  I had produced an heir as I was supposed to do and I had twenty-one years as the mistress of Saxondale Castle and then a son who would not turn me out with a meager pension.

I too was relieved because I knew that my husband must die soon, and Ralph killed him by depriving him of his heir, he could not bear the loss.  As my boy’s guardian I should enjoy all the emoluments of the estate as sole executrix.  I had earned it.  I had been a good and dutiful wife.  But that wicked Ralph couldn’t bear accepting his earned fate that he could have avoided by being a dutiful son.  That evil Ralph then hired Chiffin the Cannibal , the most disgusting criminal in London to abduct and murder my beautiful boy.  And then Chiffin did abduct my boy and would have murdered my son had not circumstances intervened.  My child lived and I knew he lived.  I could feel it.  The problem was, what had become of him?

I set off to London where I thought he’d been taken.  I believed I would find someone who could tell me where my boy was.  You can’t imagine the despicable, most degraded men and women I had to actually come into contact with.  I was informed that my child had been murdered.  It wasn’t true as somehow my beautiful boy had been taken in by a group of strolling players and brought up them according to Mr. Thompson who was their manager as were to learn under tragic circumstances twenty-one years later.  Nevertheless I believed him dead and I was desperate to balk that evil man there. (Pointing to Ralph.)

My boy had been born with a strawberry mark on his clavicle so while I could obtain a boy baby without that strawberry the imposture couldn’t succeed.  Mr. Reynolds thinks what I did next was despicable but I totally disagree with him.  A crime was thwarted by another supposed crime, that’s all.  Mr. Reynolds doesn’t seem to understand that.

It was fortunate then that I found Dr. Ferney, at that time a young but brilliant doctor.  I could tell that he had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight so I was sure he would do what I had to do.  Isn’t that so, Dr. Ferney?

Dr. Ferney:  (coughing, cringing, embarrassed…stutters.)

George:  Oh, come now, Doctor, no not  to speak.  It’s old hat, beyond repair.  I can speak for you if you want to put on this charade.

Dr. Ferney:  No, no, not that, I can speak for myself, you left so much unspoken. Yes, yes, it’s true. If…if…I may…Harriet? (Harriet nods assent)  Harriet came to me, she was recommended to me, by whom I won’t say;  she explained her situation for which I was sympathetic naturally and I was able to obtain this baby without the strawberry and she wanted…wanted me to create one which I could do using certain methods I developed.  I hadn’t been out of school for that long, but this was a period when all we medical men hoped we could create life, not clumsily like Mary Shelley’s monster created for her by Doctor Frankenstein.  That was fiction of course but I think we all half believed it could be true.

R.E.:  Doctor Ferney, you would be amazed by the advances made since your day.  You probably won’t be able to believe that we can transplant a heart out of one person and into another and that it is done routinely.

Dr. Ferney (breathless) That does seem impossible.

 R.E.:  Some have said that they have chemically created Petri dish life but in the year 1947 James Watson in the US and Crick in Britain discovered DNA, which is the code that directs life and by using DNA we were able to clone duplicate creatures, identical twins or even armies of identical creatures a la Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Mastermind of Mars.  The DNA in each would have been identical.  Other medical wonders that you wouldn’t believe.

Dr. Ferney:  I can’t quite believe anything you have just told me.  Only a hundred fifty years from my day.  Only visionaries would have thought it possible. Of course, I’ve never heard of this Burroughs fellow. As I say, I was head over heels in love with Har…Lady Saxondale, there was nothing I would not have done to be in the presence of this most beautiful lady so I put my fingers to my temples pressed three times and lo! The method began to flash itself out to me and within three weeks the baby was marked and she without a backward glance walked out of my life as I thought.  Is that sufficient?

Harrriet:  I had no idea how and what frightful means I would meet over time by this deed but it was absolutely necessary to thwart that evil Ralph Faerfield.  Paying Dr. Ferney liberally I took this baby, as a real mother I could never really accept it as my own so that possibly unconsciously I made the boy feel unwanted but I accept no responsibility as it would never have happened except for Ralph.  All my so-called crimes can be traced back to him.  He is guilty for whatever I may have done.

Ralph was furious when he learned that I had found the baby. He ran to Chiffin the Cannibal and demanded an explanation as Chiffin had told him that my baby was dead.  All Chiffin knew was that the baby may have been alive as the last he had seen of him he was so he could neither deny or affirm that the baby was the real baby.  Absolutely infuriate Ralph cursed out Chiffin, which was rather bold, and determined to do it himself.

I knew exactly what he had come back to Saxondale Castle to do.  He had to see and then kill the child.  I was fairly driven into a life of crime.  I had not the strength of mind then to outright murder Ralph by knife or poison but I devised a plan.  The castle had a chapel in the unused West Wing that extended along the Trent River, in that chapel was a pool below the chapel level that had been used to baptize young Saxondales by full immersion, rather unusual then. 

While at Dr. Ferney’s, the doctor was well ahead of his profession in experimentation, he had a vial of chloroform, that was quite a new discovery at the time. He told me its properties and demonstrated its use to me.  While his back was turned I slipped the phial between my bosoms.

Ralph I lured into the chapel, down to the pool.  I managed to distract him and as he turned his back I waved the chloroform under his nose.  He immediately collapsed into a stupor tumbling into the pool where without waiting I believed he had drowned.  I shut and bolted the door confident in the knowledge that no one ever went to the chapel and if they did they certainly would not open that door.

Thus the infant baby who would not assume his rights until he was twenty-one left me in possession of the magnificent Saxondale estate to do as I pleased.  In memory of and thanks for my deceased husband I remained chaste for nineteen years.  I had my daughters to rear.

The man child turned our worse than Ralph on top of which he was unhandsome, one might just as well say unredeemably ugly.  As we would learn he was the son of an ugly witch.

Anton:  Lady Saxondale:  Did no one ever notice that your new child looked nothing like you, let alone your husband?  That said, some nineteen years after the birth of your baby a young artist named William Deveril was given employment by you.  He was a handsome young man who captured your fancy, which fancy compromised your reputation but I am not concerned with that.  By an amazing coincidence this young man turned out to be your long lost boy.

Now this young man had both your and your husbands genes.  In other words the family resemblance must have been unmistakable.  Surely your daughters would have noticed, did you never suspect anything?  Trick him into showing his clavicle, talk about birth marks in a way to make him show his?

Harriet:  Why don’t you put that question to Mr. Reynolds?  I have no more responsibility for not noticing than I did for my crimes.  Mr. Reynolds was in charge of that department.  Were you not Mr. Reynolds?

Anton:  George?

George:  Let us consider a couple things.  I was either working on a couple other novels working them up in my mind.  My usual method for the Mysteries of the Court series was to write the next installment from start to finish on Friday afternoon and evening.  That’s eight thousand words in about seven hours.  One draft.  First draft was the last draft.  I had to clear my mind of all other concerns and dwell of that segment, keep past and future segments in mind so that all meshed.  You tell me that I could have handled Harriet’s relationship with William better?  Maybe so.  All I can say in my defense is that the way I was looking at the problem my solution was the best solution.  Perhaps from another perspective it could have been better.  But that is how the matter lies Harriet.

Anyway each story was planned for two years, a hundred and four installments.  At the same time for each of those two year periods I was writing numerous other books concurrently.  I say, R.E., you’re planning on schematizing the various novels that reconciled with my writing of Court.  Is that right, Sir?

R.E.:  Please don’t call me Sir, George, if you can remember not to.  Yes I am George, in answer to your question.  I always marvel that you could keep the characters’ names straight and your story lines in order.  So, yes, I’ll get to that pretty soon.  I also have to but your partner’s relationship into perspective.  But what about the resemblance?

George:  Quite frankly I never thought about that till now.  Perhaps my vision for the whole story, and the general plan was worked out in my mind, I couldn’t leave too much to the chapter of accidents but I leaned pretty heavily on it.  If Harriet had suspected or recognized that, not to mention Juliette and her sister, yes they did resemble Justine and Juliette of de Sade, and yes, I did reverse their outcome to let Virtue prevail, that would have caused a reassessment of where the story was going and how it would get there. I mean, you know, my brain was reeling half the time if not more.

As you recall the family relationship was brought up later introducing the horror of incest and incest was a real gripper for my readers.  As an author I always had my readership in mind so to a fairly large extent that directed my tales.  I couldn’t lose my popularity or my whole magnificent edifice would come crumbling down.

I certainly agree that Lady Saxondale or the girls should have noticed but they didn’t.

Harriet:  I wish I had noticed as William certainly was the son of which I had dreamed.  I certainly would have written you a different story Mr. Reynolds.  With Edward,  my adopted son as Lord Saxondale, turned out to be a wastrel not much different than Ralph Faerfield and that grieved me deeply.

But, yes, William was the real beginning of my woes. If I had not injured my reputation by my lust things would have turned out much differently.  And Chiffin- Chiffin, you monster, damn you Ralph for bringing that monster into my life.  Curse you Chiffin, you evil man.

Chiffin:  ‘Curse me an evil man?’ Oh come now, Lady Saxondale, it seems to me that you got good use out of  me.  Cos’ why? I did some pretty dirty work for you that got you from certain complications.

Harriet: Complications that your crimes got me into.   You were paid well and if that pay wasn’t enough for you, you robbed my castle and plundered me very thoroughly.

Chiffin:  My need was great.  To each according to his need.

Harriet:  And then that horrible deed you committed with Dr. Ferney here.  What a horrible shock that was.

George:  What a fine piece of invention that was.  Never got due credit for that one.

Dr. Ferney:  That was so horrible.  I had no idea, dear Harriet, what or who I was buying.

Chiffin:  I had no idea that you and Doctor Ferney were acquainted Lady Saxondale, not that that would have mattered, the price was very, very good, the preservation of the body was so good.

Dr. Ferney:  The preservation was so good I should have questioned you further.

Chiffin:  Wouldn’t have done no good.  Cos’ why?  A resurrection man don’t give away precious information like that.  You doctors was always crying for fresh cadavers.  For those, you had to resurrect them the day of the burial and that was hazardous business what with family members tryin’ to catch ‘yer.  I had given up the business but that find was too good to bypass.

Anton:  Why don’t you tell us that story Chiffin.

Chiffen:  Don’t mind if I does, that find was so good.  It was so good that George there, didn’t even know that I did some work with Barney the Burker, can’t understand why he didn’t make that connection.  My book, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes should have been called The Crimes of Chiffin the Cannibal.  I was the star of the book.  I was the center of the action just like the Burker was in his Fortunes of the Ashtons. He was the star and a bang up job George did with it too. He owes me.  Imagine what a book with two stars like Chiffin The Cannibal and Barney the Burker could do.  Sure fire, no flash in the pan there.

Back to that little to do in the alley, me and my pal had to take it on the lam after my pal botched the job and almost got us lagged.  We was hotter than a pistol, in search of a hideaway I bethinked me of the Castle chapel waitin’ for Ralph Faerfield.  So we up and went to Lincolnshire and the Castle and settled in.  I’m not boring you am I, no?  Alright then.

Roof over us heads, vittles from the pantry hefted in the middle of the night when the help was sleepin’…who could ask for anythin’ more?

So we was sittin’ around complainin’ about this and that when I noticed the door.  You can imagine our surprise when I opened the door and there was a dead Ralph Faerfield layin’ at out feet lookin’ alive as you and me.  I immediately saw clearly that Ralph would set us back up on our feet again.

Later it come out that Lady Saxondale had pulled the hanky trap on Ralph and he fell into the pool there where he drowned and  that embalmed him tighter than one of the Gypsy mummies.  Hmm?  Hanky trap?  I mean that stuff Lady Saxondale put on the hankies and wave under your nose and knock you out for a while.  What ‘dye call it.

George:  Chloroform?

Chiffen:  Sure enough.  So, as an old resurrection man I seed my opportunity.  We scooped Ralph up and hied on back to Lunnuntown, to knock on Dr. Ferney’s door.  He’d bought stiffs from me before.

Anton:  Was Dr. Ferney startled to find you there with a perfectly preserved corpse?

Chiffin:  Maybe the quality of the body, a real good stiff ‘un but not surprised I brought it.  Dr. Ferney had kept the resurrection men busy you can bet.

Dr. Ferney:  If I may interrupt Chiffin, you see I’m a physician seeking the ultimate knowledge of life.  I am a scientist.  People have a very crude idea of what scientists do.  We pursue truth wherever so that we may reveal all the secrets of nature.  The laws stood in the way of our pursuit of knowledge so we had to play fast and loose with the laws and work in the dead of nigh, sorry, no pun intended, but the bodies were dead, uh, dead anyway.

I had a collection of all kinds of medical anomalies and aberrations as those to whom I allowed into my museum can attest.  I had a magnificent collection of heads with all kinds of deformities.  I was quite proud of my collection.

George:  If I may interject here to elucidate the medical situation.  The work these physicians did advanced our medical knowledge beyond anything that had been known before.  The progress was by leaps and bounds.  Our medical knowledge was the wonder of the world.  I imagine you fellows today have progressed much further.

Anton:  I through R.E. here admired your open receptivity to the advanced psychology of your time.  You had a very good mind, excellent mind.  You pushed the boundaries of knowledge while avoiding the truly erroneous or ridiculous forays into medical mysteries.  I really admired your notion of physiognomy. You obviously were familiar with the work of the famous Dr. Franz Gall.  He, of course, popped the envelope with his ideas of depressions and prominences of the skull as indicating areas of mental activity, such as, for instance, an amorous bump. Of course he was much misunderstood and the vulgar distorted his investigations into a cause of hilarity that R.S. Surtees exploited so ably in his novels.  However, George, you may be interested to know that in the science of the twenty-first century in which we can expose the brain or use electronic measurements certain areas of the brain do perform different functions.  Not quite like Franz Gall may have imagined but he had the right idea.

George:  How interesting.  I could really do something with the knowledge you fellows must have.  I guess I was out of time, too early.

Harriet:  Enough of this digression; what about me?  I was supposed to be the attraction here.  Chiffin and the Burker and Dr. Ferney’s chamber of horrors are peripheral to myself.  I wouldn’t have come if I had known I was going to be ignored.  Chiffin and the Burker stars indeed!

Anton:  Oh yes, of course, dear Lady Saxondale.  How rude of us to abstract you from the pages of your book and then nearly ignore you.

R.E (nudging Anton)  Move along Anton.  Time is precious here, we’re metered.

Anton:  Thank you for the subtle hint.  I don’t know whether we’ve been properly introduced Lady Saxondale but I’m Franz Anton Polarion, known by my middle name Anton, just so you know who you’re talking to.  I’m a psychological projection of the mind of R.E. here so I’m no more substantial than you but since I’m a part of a real live living person I have to stay on this side of the Wormhole line.  Even though I have no substance myself, I still am a man of qualities.  If I were to cross the Wormhole line all three of us, me, R.E. and warbaby would all disappear down the Wormhole.  Even though we would never age in the Wormhole, being a part of Eternity, it is highly unlikely that we would ever be able to find out way back to this entrance, or, indeed, exit.  Thus we would be lost in the Wormholes for Eternity making us coeval with God.  (chuckles)   Therefore we are one step from godhood.

Harriet:  Anton…Anton, I knew you without asking.  All the time R.E. was reading my book, with each turn of the page I was analyzing him.  As George can tell you both he and I are dead level physiognomists. I have your number Anton.

Anton:  I suppose you do, but know this, yours and George’s knowledge is limited by what is known in 1856,  I have nearly two hundred years on you.  You probably have never heard of Jean Martin Charcot.

Harriet:  George…

George:  I’m going to have to disappoint you Anton.  I lived to 1879 and in 1872 I took a trip expressly to visit Charcot at the Salpetriere.  I was present at one of his seances and learned a great deal about hysteria from the experience.  I had already closed my novelistic career so I couldn’t include my hysterical thoughts, pardon me, my thoughts concerning hysteria in my writing.  I can tell you that had I had that knowledge there would have been some fireworks, especially concerning Lady Saxondale.  I can probably extrapolate from what I learned from Charcot and that fellow Janet, Claude or whatever, into whatever developments you are aware of.  In fact, I would really enjoy picking some twenty-first century knowledge from your brain.  Remember I am a ghost of a once living person and not a projection from any brain.  Lady Saxondale as I am her creator knows a lot of what I know.

Anton:  R.E.?

R.E.:  What?  You know as a psychological projection what I know Anton.   Barrel ahead.

Anton:  Yes.  Well, Harriet.  You were always a dutiful girl.  You fulfilled the vision of womanhood of your time.  It was your duty to follow your father’s wishes and after you reflected on the advantages of marrying a wealthy, noble old duffer who would die soon your father’s wishes became your own.  A little sacrifice then for unlimited benefits for the whole of your life.  A wise choice.

Your husband wanted an heir and on the third try you gave it to him.  Everything was perfect.   You were fulfilled and content.  And then the fixative calamity of your life occurred, a calamity that destroyed the results of your sacrifices and obedience; Ralph Faerfield caused your beautiful holy boy to be abducted and as far as you knew, murdered.  You had never had a criminal thought to that time; then an entire life of criminality was forced on you.  A laughing cosmos mocked your dutiful life, justice was perverted.  Ralph was a rake and a coxcomb, a man about town and a wastrel and then your putative son, Edmund was no better ruining the next nineteen years of your life.  You believed your own son would have been handsome and virtuous and not ugly and vicious as your putative son who you knew was no blood of yours.  Yet the cosmos gave you the burden of carrying on the charade.  The crowning indignity was when you learned that you own son was everything you wished him to be.

I am sure that your mind reeled when you became aware of this terrible truth.

Harriet:  Wait! Stop a moment Anton!  You’ve overwhelmed me.  It’s all true but give me a moment to recover.

Anton:  R.E?

R.E.:  Take as long as you wish we are outside what is known as time and space here although if we go much longer we may have to open a slot for us to resume our lives in real time.  That is a difficulty.  Time which is Eternity in this case has no meaning in the Wormholes.  While a Wormhole burrows through Time and Space we are at the moment outside Time and Space.  We are in the Eternal NOW.

Anton:  As I understand you R.E. we are nowhere in Space and Time.

R.E. Don’t worry about setting your watch Anton, it stopped ticking a little while back.

George:  I think we were talking about hysteria.  Wonderful.  I tentatively described it in 1853 but didn’t grasp the principle.  Strangely I didn’t relate Charcot’s Salpetriere to it afterwards.  Damme.

Anton. (laughing)  Now you know, George, now you know.

Harriet:  I’m learning. The abduction of my boy was like a bolt of lightning blasting my soul forever, dividing myself from myself.  A part of me dead, a part of me, cursed the day I was born.  Never speak to me of justice, there is none in the cosmos.

R.E.:  No, there is only necessity.  What is, is and cannot not be.  I know your feeling Lady Saxondale.  The same thing happened to me when I was seven.  However, while I do not condemn you for many of your decisions some were unwisely made considering the consequences or at least preparing for them.  However you had no choice but to replace your son while Ralph volunteered to die by resenting it.

Harriet:  Very good, R.E., but in the heat of circumstances it is not always clear what is happening nor what the correct response might be.  Let me remind that I was only a puppet with Mr. Reynolds pulling the strings.  He doesn’t seem to like women very much.

George:  Harriet, I had a story to tell, I had to make it interesting.  I resent your assertion that I don’t like women.  I repeatedly appealed to the innate goodness  of woman, truly describing them as angels.  Still they are human being subject to human frailties. 

Perhaps you were perverted by circumstances beyond your control.  I didn’t mean to portray you as innately bad but driven by circumstances completely beyond your control.  Still, women despite their angelic nature, as you certainly were before Ralph’s crime, are only human.  I’m sorry it had to be you but I certainly did not use your example as a representation of the female sex.

Harriet:  Oh, you are an impossible man.  I don’t have to put up with this and I am not going to.  I am going back to the pages of the book named after me.  I’ll be safe there.  Nobody reads your crap anymore anyway.

(Lady Saxondale crackles, sparkles and fades away as well as the other fictional characters.)

R.E.:  That was enlightening George.  I hope you enjoyed it as well as we did, perhaps, we can meet this way again?

George:  Oh, to be sure.  Arrange a situation so you can tell me of developments of the future to my time.  I don’t say that Darwin’s Descent Of Man affected my decision to stop writing but it is true that my past became somewhat irrelevant when that shell exploded in our midst.  The world moved on and so must I now.  Later, perhaps.

(George whirls away.)

R.E:  Well, boys, pack it up it’s all over for this time.  Me and mine wish you well.

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and exits through the door.)

(Anton and Warbaby amalgamate with R.E.  who climbs the stairs to the Magic Shop, salutes the clerk, and

Eighth Note: G.W.M. Reynolds And Pierce Egan, Casual Reference

by

R.E. Prindle

In George’s first excursion into the novelist’s art, The Youthful Impostor (1832, 1835) he heads Chapter VI with this poem, that goes:

Houses, churches mix’d together,

Streets unpleasant in all weathers,

Prisons, palaces contiguous,

Gates, a bridge, the Thames irriguous,

Gaudy, cheap enough to tempt ye,

Showy outside, insides empty,

Bubbles, trades, mechanic arts,

Coaches, wheelbarrows, and carts;

This is London, how do ye like it?

George attributes this to Description of London.  Elegant Extracts.

For those thoroughly well read no discussion of Elegant Extracts is needed, but for those of us being regularly exposed to exciting discoveries let me say that George was opening the door to then what was very popular at the time.

Elegant Extracts, is just that, a collection of poems by one Vicesimus Knox first published in 1789.  I was able to acquire an 1826 copy for a very reasonable price.

Pierce Egan also published the full text of Description of London in his very interesting volume, Real Life In London, or, the Rambles and Adventures of Bob Tallyho, Esq. and his Cousin, the Hon. Tom Dashall as a head to chapter VIII 1821-22, unattributed.

Egan would have been a writer after George’s heart as he writes as a Man About Town with the sensibility of The Man Of The World.  George wanted to be thought of as a Man Of The World but doesn’t appear to have too keen on being considered a Man About Town.

I copy the full text of Description Of London from Egan’s Real Life In London.  The original in Elegant Extracts obviously describes the appearance of London in late eighteenth century London.  The description of London also applies with small changes to the London of 1826 when George entered Sandhurst Military Academy and was first acquainted as a country boy with the spectacle of London.  So at twelve or thirteen his mind was blown by what must have been unbelievable to him—the squalor and glory of the big city.

Life in London From Egan’s Real Life

Houses, churches mix’d together,

Streets unpleasant to all weather,

Prisons, palaces contiguous;

Gaudy things, enough to tempt ye,

Showy outsides, insides empty:

Bubbles, trades, mechanic arts:

Warrants, bailiffs, bills unpaid:

Rogues, that nightly rob and shoot men.

Hang men, aldermen, foot men:

Lawyers, poets, priests, physicians,

Noble, simple, all conditions,

Worth beneath a thread bare cover,

Villainy bedaubed all over:

Women, black, red, fair and grey,

Prudes, and such as never pray:

Handsome, ugly, noisy, still;

Some that will not, some that will:

Many a beau without a shilling’

Many a widow not unwilling;

Many a bargain, if you strike it:–

This is London- How do ye like it?

There, the two works Real Life In London and the Mysteries of London in a nutshell.  The whole story.  Real Life as a sort of social treatise but still exciting reading, especially as one’s knowledge of Reynold’s London gives added depth and meaning.

The poem Description of London resonates with my own first view of London c. 1974.  Of course I didn’t come from the provinces being a city boy from the US and having seen both sides of the Big City, East and West Coast.  I’m not bragging, it’s just understood…  London was a far cry from the City of Angels.

Not reading very accurately in my younger days with literary vision I created a dreamland, although Joyce Cary’s two twentieth century trilogies, himself returning from a long residence in Africa, presented a grim image fully justified by my own experience.

I was shocked, dismayed and sickened as my image of London crumbled in my mind.  This was not the Disneyland of my imagination; this was Philadelphia.  Oh my god, the horrors of Philadelphia at eighteen, the South side, one long huge slum and here in London as the taxi rolled slowly along the narrow streets in dense traffic through endless dilapidation.  London was only redeemed by its fabulous book stores.  Searching them out was no easy task either.  If I could afford the books would I be able to afford the shipping.

I can imagine George when he came back from Paris after a five year hiatus.  What horrors he must have experienced, broke, even bankrupt, coming the City of Light to the City of Darkness.  George loved Paris; he loved the French, preferred French sophistication and humanity to that of London.  All of his comparisons of London to Paris are negative and this was before Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann had modernized the city and tore down its endless slums in the 1860s.

Had I never seen life in London, I avoided Real Life in London, I could never have appreciated Reynolds’ writing as I do.  Quite extraordinary stuff and dozens of works to give full expression to his equally extraordinary mind.  Volume by volume he creates a three dimensional picture of the London and England he saw and knew.

In a period of extraordinary writers, and the post-1830 revolution writer both in England and France are truly extra-ordinary.  There is a certain quality of mind that almost universally existed that I have found no where else in literature.

Of course George remained au courant with the writers of his time.  Pierce Egan was a major influence as we will discover as we go on.  The Journey is just begun.

by

R.E. Prindle

Substrata In George W.M. Reynolds’ The Mysteries of Old London

Having now read perhaps a majority of Reynolds’ works I think I have detected substrata that run through those works.  One substratum is not unique but appears in other writers such as W.H. Ainsworth and, perhaps even in Bulwer-Lytton and that substratum is a residue from at least the time of Queen Anne.  Anne’s time seems to be the dividing line between what went before in English history and what would succeed it, that is, a cosmic shift.

This substratum seems to be a strong sense of anarchy.  In Queen Anne’s time that streak of anarchy could be glaringly found in the career of the Duke of Wharton and his Mohocks. (Mohawks)  This wild American Indian streak shows up in Paris also in the Mohicans of Alexander Dumas’ time and the later Apaches.  Europeans rebelled against the strictures of civilization.  Echoes can be found in the African novels of Rider Haggard and even in the Jekyll and Hyde of Robert Louis Stevenson.

To provide a solid background I offer a quote from The Social Life of Queen Anne by John Ashton publishing in 1897 from original sources.  On p. 382 et seq.

Quote:

In every age and country young blood Is hot blood and in this reign it was particularly so.  The wild blood of the Cavaliers still danced in the veins of the beaus in Anne’s time and nightly frolics and broils were of frequent occurrence.  They had their predecessors in this work—as Sir Tope says in Shadwell’s play of “The Scowrers”:  Puh, that is nothing, why I knew the Hectors, and before them The Muns and the Titire Tus, they were brave fellows indeed, in their days a man could not go from Rose Tavern to the Piazza once, but he must venture his life twice.’  And Whackum in the same play, describes the days of the fraternity of Scowrers.  ‘Then how we scour’d the Market Place, overthrew the Butter Woman, despoiled the Pippin Merchants, wip’d out the Milk Scores, pull’d off the Doorknockers, dawb’d the Gilt Sign.’

In Anne’s reign these roysterers were called Mohocks—why I know not, except that it is sort of generic term for North American Indians.  In a later age this furore was termed Tom and Jerryism; but it had an intelligible  origin, from Pierce Egan’s Life In London or the Day and Night scenes of Jerry Hawthorn Esq. and His Elegant Friend Corinthian  Tom &c,’  It still exists although it has no special name.

Unquote.

So there you have a long tradition of anarchy, or major streak in the English character.  Perhaps it was this type of roysterer that left England to conquer the world.  It is this substratum in Reynolds and perhaps the writers of his time but seems to have toned down in the next generation.  The streak may reappear in the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson toward the end of the century, especially  in the novelette of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Stevenson himself was nurtured on the writings of the Penny Dreadful school if you read him with that background in mind an extra layer appears.  Of course in the middle fifties and Sixties England had the Mods and Rockers succeeded by the Punks. The Punks theme song was anarchy in the UK.

The leader of the Mohocks was the Duke Wharton.  Wharton was an especially vicious psychopath.  During the day he functioned as a political figure while at night he led his Mohocks in the tradition of the anarchic bands.  So in Jekyll and Hyde, Dr. Jekyll appears as a respectable person but at night he howls through the streets injuring or offending everyone he meets.  Stevenson then probably based Jekyll and Hyde on Wharton. Reynolds too, in his Mysteries of Old London: Days of Hogarth based his character that was based on himself, Jem Ruffles on Duke Wharton.  Like Wharton Ruffles has recreated a gang of ruffians who cruise the streets at night beating, stealing and ripping off door knockers.  Door knockers seem to have been a special thrill for them. As Wharton as a duke was able to protect his minions from justice so did Ruffles in one of his multiple personas.

A ruffler was a person who routinely disturbed the peace hence the name Ruffles, a guy who ruffles things.  Now, at the time Wharton flourished so did the first, perhaps, of the great criminal masterminds, the celebrated Johnathan Wild.  Wild was the subject of several  biographies including those of Daniel Defoe and Henry Fielding, the author of Tom Jones.

Wild organized all the thieves of London so that he was aware of every burglary and theft.  He established a reputation for being able to locate and retrieve stolen goods, for a fee of course, that was shared with his employees, so to speak, in other words, the thieves.  His method worked for some time; he passing himself off as respectable.  Needless to say he was finally detected and took his place at the Tuck Up Fair to dance on air.

His character recurs in several guises in Reynolds work, perhaps most notably as Old Death in the third series of The Mysteries of London.  George does his research presenting a good outline of how stolen goods were disposed of internationally, thus an international crime network.

As a young boy Reynolds in France learned of Wild’s French counterpart the famed Eugene Francois Vidocq.  Vidocq began his career as a serious criminal.  He was arrested on many charges spending a good deal of his time in prisons.  Tiring of this life he offered his services as a police informer and was accepted.  Amazingly from there he worked his way into being the chief of police.  As chief he filled Wild’s function of retrieving stolen goods.  His methods came under suspicion and he was relieved a rich man, which I rather suspect. He remained as the head of the Surete or Paris Police Force until 1832.  So the very young Reynolds would have been witness to Vidocq’s presence and aware of all the rumors surrounding him.  Reynolds’ detective of the Bow Street Runners was undoubtedly based on Vidocq as well, probably as Poe’s C.A. Dupin of The Murders In The Rue Morgue.

Yet he doesn’t refer to the Paris police much.  If Pickwick Abroad is any evidence he seems to have been under surveillance by the Gendarmerie which was an outfit separate from the police being some sort of National policing outfit.  I haven’t found a clear explanation of how the force functioned other than they evolved out of a medieval security force hence having a military structure.  Paul de Kock has them as a National police protecting highways in the Departments.

Other than some enigmatic comments in The Steam Packet the only evidence I have found to corroborate my opinion was Reynolds desire to see Brussels.  That city of Belgium was at the time an international refuge for criminals.  Reynold says in the Steam Packet that when he was a few miles from the Belgian border he looked longingly towards Brussels.  He gives no indication of what he was doing that far North in France.  That means he was quite a distance from Paris meaning he would have been absent from Paris for at least two to three weeks.

Something that seems clear to me is that it is almost certain that he was involved in fairly serious criminal activity, swindling in London forcing him to remove to France where he may very easily have had criminal associates in France.  Certain, if Dick Collins is correct, he had run ins with the police in Paris.

Further, if the Youthful Imposter was the point man in swindling the Jewish usurer in London the Jews, being an international brotherhood, it is quite possible that he was under surveillance by them waiting for vengeance.  That vengeance would have been achieved when Reynolds was led into a usury scheme and swindled of what he had swindled.  He was lured in 1835 into schemes that cleaned him of monetary resources and may have led to bankruptcy proceedings according to Dick Collins.  I have no evidence of who did it but if he was involved in usury there is every chance the Jews were involved.

In dire straits he very probably was ordered to leave France in 1836, thus the return to England.

An aside:  A very interesting ‘slip’, perhaps, occurs in Pickwick Abroad.  If one assumes that the lead character is an alter ego of Reynolds it will be noted that he is more familiar with the Gendarmes than with the Paris Police.  As a casual reader one equates the Gendarmes with the Paris Police.  This is not the case.  The Gendarmes are a National law enforcement agency whose jurisdiction is France rather than Paris.

The Gendarmes, the etymology of the word means Gens-d-armes, that is, Men At Arms.  The unit had a military organization derived from the Middle Ages.  One, then, has to question Reynolds familiarity with the Gendarmes.  He must have been a courier or something for organized crime units either French or international for the Gendarmes to have taken an interest in him..  Balzac and Paul Favel mention such organizations as highly developed .  A modern example would be John Lennon and the Beatles who were taken under the wing of the European mafia when they performed in Hamburg.  One then must question Reynolds’ familiarity with the Gendarmes, the Johnny Darmies.

It is interesting that as Pickwick Abroad opens Pickwick’s group is on the road to Paris.  In the diligence is Octavus Crashem, a hustler, gambler, crapshooter and cardsharp.  Collins opines that Reynolds was arrested in Calais for shooting shaved dice.  Crashem is cheating Winkle while in the one corner a man sits quietly watching and knowingly smiling.  That was Dupont a Gendarme.  No sooner does the group reach their hotel than Dupont and the police arrive to arrest Crashem as a debtor.  So, an interest in crime appears at the very beginning.

If, as he seems to have been inducted into crime at sixteen when he left Sandhurst, escaping to France to avoid arrest in England at the end of 1830 as seems to be the case, then, as an acknowledged criminal neophyte he might have been recruited by the rapidly developing international criminal organization.

The French crime writer (and remember Reynolds is very much a crime writer), Paul Favel records the doings of organized crime in his Black Coats series recently translated by Brian Stableford.  There are puzzling passages in Reynolds’ The Steam Packet in which he records being a few miles from the Belgian border looking longingly at the international crime resort, Brussels.   He mentions several towns along the route of the steam packet of which he is fairly familiar meaning he must have traveled while in France.  Many of the southern French locations he mentions seem to be familiar to him.

So, he may actually have traveled extensively in France while also gaining some firsthand knowledge of Italy.  Then in 1835-36 his affairs collapsed and his reason for returning to England may have been that he was asked to leave France.

I do not offer this interpretation, founded on circumstantial evidence, as fact, nevertheless it is a perspective of his undocumented puzzling career in France.  Something for which he had to be apologetic while seeking forgiveness for the errors of his youth.

One of Reynolds subtexts is the concept of forgiveness and redemption.  His characters are the most forgiving people you’d ever want to meet.  They are always ready to forgive the greatest crimes against them imaginable.  Reynolds seems to equate forgiveness with redemption.  To be forgiven is to be absolved.  This all leads back to The Days of Hogarth, The Mysteries of Old London and Jem Ruffles.

End of aside.

Days of Hogarth is a story of early transgressions with redemption and honorable amends.  It is, in fact, the story of Reynolds’ life as of 1847-’48 when it was written.  That was when he was putting the finishing touches to the Mysteries of London thus the two novels are complementary.

Just as Reynolds slips over the nineteen years from his entry into Sandhurst Military Academy and the wild success of Mysteries of London in 1844-’45 thus slipping the misery of those years, he is pleading for redemption and forgiveness along with a brand new beginning.  It is also a good explanation for beginning a story in 1926, the year he entered Sandhurst and skipping those offensive nineteen years to the beginning of his success, or a new life in other words.

That doesn’t mean that the adventures portrayed are literal, Reynolds is writing for an audience, but they portray the horror of those years metaphorically.  There is something symbolic about returning to the origins of Modern England formed in the reign of good Queen Anne merging into the Georgian period.  

One must remember that Reynolds was barely a grown boy becoming a young man when these adventures he’s recording occurred.  (Nobody can write about what isn’t in his mind.  Invention is very, very limited.) They originate when he is only twelve, take form when he is only sixteen and terminate in 1836 when he at twenty-two he has barely attained his majority.  When he began writing Mysteries of London he was only thirty years old, thirty-four when he finished all four series.  Only thirty-two when he finished the first two series which is about all  of Reynolds that most people, no matter how many, have read.  Those of us who have managed a couple dozen titles are few indeed.  I couldn’t have imagined that he wrote forty or more, and most of them are very hard to find.  The transition  from novice to fairly accomplished writer was quick indeed.  Perhaps more remarkable is that he was only 46 when he gave up novel writing, and then he lived for another nineteen years.

Empress Eugenie’s Boudoir seems to have been a recapitulation in which he brings forward a few stories from the past that, perhaps ignored when originally issued

 he doesn’t want ignored.  More especially his translation of Charles Paul de Kock’s novel Soeur Anne. That was a novel that was very influential for him and a good story. From Soeur Anne Reynolds lifts nearly intact the fleecing of DuBourg for the fleecing of Tupman.

To return to the Days of Hogarth,  Reynolds seems to have been enamored of Hogarth’s cartoons.  While they may have accurately portrayed the social system of Anne and George I they are lost on me.  I don’t have the patience to study them or the knowledge to accurately interpret as George apparently did.  The ‘ good old days of good Queen Anne’ must have been uproarious indeed.  But George is much more concerned with justifying his early conduct in a mythologized manner.

George’s main character, Jem Ruffles patterned after himself seems to be based on both the infamous Duke Wharton and Johnathan Wild.  Ruffles runs both a gang like Wharton’s Wild Boys and Wild’s control of the London underworld.  While fully involved in the underworld Ruggles is uneasy in his roles wishing to reform.  He gives up or closes out his Wharton side sending his Wild Boys out on their own.

George then introduces the president of the East India Company where he becomes the head of the Company’s press gangs.  This was an apparent step up from his criminal career because his crimes are  committed in the Company’s name.  According to the story the notion of press gangs was invented by the East India Company.  Unable to recruit enough personnel for the company, the Company hired men to snatch men off the streets to send to India.  Ruffles becomes the Captain of these crews.  Not too different really than his role as Duke Wharton.

I viewed this a little askance as I read it as Reynolds seemed to regard the kidnappings as legitimate work; but then this is also a historical novel and it is Reynolds story.  By the time Ruffles is employed by the East India Company Reynolds in Ruffles persona is halfway to his own redemption, he is legitimately employed in a questionable occupation.

As much as I know I’m reading fiction the proceedings and transitions are mind boggling.  True, this is fiction but it still has to be written by a human being and after all you can’t get out of a mind what isn’t it.  All fiction comes from the experience, knowledge  and mind set of the author.  More than anything one is impressed by the turmoil of Reynold’s life with its close association with crime.

The brutal years from twelve to twenty-one including the death of his father when he was eight and that of his mother when he was fifteen, left him an orphan.  His orphaning is a, if not the central fact of his life.  I can’t remember if he states that Ruffles was an orphan but mid-transition to legitimacy he becomes associated with the wife of the President of the East India Company who turns out to be his long lost mother.

Finally completing his transition to legitimacy, Ruffles is employed by the East India Company, going off to the sub-continent with his mother in tow.  Now, Days of Hogarth was written in 1847-48 when Reynolds’ career was taking off.  His four series of Mysteries of London was a roaring success.

In 1846 he had launched his magazine, The Reynolds’ Miscellany that was a roaring success for fifteen years until John Dicks began his own magazine Bow Bells and folded the Miscellany into it.  In ’48 Reynolds hired Dicks as his printer ensuring a runaway success until he sold out to Dicks in ’64 to devote himself to newspaper work.

His contract to write The Mysteries of London with George Stiff and George Vickers terminated with the last installment of Mysteries of London so, looking to the future, he was exuberant.

Then Jem Ruffles goes off to India working himself up into an outstanding administrator so, in real life, and in fiction Reynolds redeemed the early days of his youth.

If one notices George’s characters are the most forgiving people who may never have existed.  There is no egregious crime against themselves that they won’t forgive.  Reynolds believed than any criminal past could be redeemed by subsequent good behavior in later life.  That redemption required forgiveness on the part of society.  He was obviously hoping for forgiveness and redemption.  I don’t think he got it. For myself I find Days of Hogarth my sentimental favorite of his writings.

Sixth Note

George W. M. Reynolds

And The Saxe-Coburgs

by

R.E. Prindle

As the first two series of The Mysteries Of The Court Of London indicate George Reynolds had a problem with the Saxe-Coburgs especially the reign of the four Georges. The first series of Court dealt with George III and his pre-reign clandestine marriage to Hannah Lightfoot, continuing in the second series to George IV’s regency and his problems with a forced marriage to Princess Caroline.

Reynolds bid adieu to George IV as he left the Regency in 1920 to assume the throne at his father’ death.  George IV lived until 1830 when he was succeeded by his brother William IV.  He died in 1937 being succeeded by the daughter of his second next younger brother, Victoria.  Needless to say, her reign filled the remainder of the nineteenth century and a little over.  In 1840 Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

As a female and a beloved Queen she as a Saxe-Coburg was beyond the reach of Reynold’s scathing attacks.  However, Victoria’s beloved husband Albert wasn’t.  Reynolds contained himself until the fourth series of Court of London, writing in 1855 or ‘56 when he unleashed a scurrilous attack on Albert.

As we know, George Reynolds was an advocate of violent revolution.  While he had not actually been present at the 1830 violent revolution in France, he arrived in the French capital in its aftermath in very late 1830, what we might just as well call early 1831.  He thus witnessed first hand the aftermath of that revolution.  As he was a mere sixteen year old boy on his own he was enthralled.

The revolution of 1830 is only the second stage of the French Revolution of 1789.  The revolution would continue its struggle to the third stage, the 1848 European revolution, from there to the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia.  That was the end of that cycle.  A shift in strategy then occurred.

George Reynolds as a member of the British revolutionary activity, belonged to the group called the Chartists in which he was very active in the 1848 revolution in England.  He was very disappointed at its failure.

Then came the reaction to the revolution as the governing powers cracked down on the revolutionists, perhaps unable to understand.  Even though working conditions were bad which the rulers recognized nevertheless from their perspective civilization had made astounding advances and they were right.  Perhaps not understanding the workers reaction to the magnificent achievements of the scientific, technological and industrial advances to that time, Prince Albert took a hand in organizing the Crystal Palace Exposition  of 1851, just three years after the failed revolution.

The Crystal Palace Expo which sought to calm revolutionary fervor by displaying all those advances to the public was the first of the great expos that continued to mid-twentieth century.  The greatest of all the expos by far was the fantastic  Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.  The Chicago Expo had the greatest impact of any of the expos emulating that of 1851.  The like of the Chicago Expo has never come close to it again and now never will.

The Crystal Palace Expo which sought to calm the revolutionary fever undoubtedly did so while raising the ire of the revolutionists.  Witness the enraged George Reynolds attack of Prince Albert.  Its display of all the scientific, industrial and technological marvels, and remember this stuff was new and unseen before, showed the shape of things to come while giving confidence and hope. 

That confidence and hope was realized in 1893 at the very height of Euro-American self-confidence as the apex of all humanity and history.  Ironically the long downhill slide began at that moment.

George Reynolds was infuriated at the success of the Crystal Palace Expo for which he blamed Prince Albert.  He attacked through Albert’s Germanness and raged at all things German.  Albert’s own status was as the Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Central Germany.  All this happened before the unification of Germany in 1866.  Germany and Central Europe served as matter for light opera as the imaginary country of Ruritania.  Germany then was a congeries of over a hundred small duchies and principalities..  While these States strove to maintain the hauteur of royalty they were too small and impoverished to attain any real dignity compared to the large States like England and France.  They were as fleas to England in George Reynolds’ mind. And Prince Albert represented that poverty sponging off England in George’s mind.

His ire reached a peak in the fourth series of the Court of London composed in 1855-56 as this series was about to terminate.  It might be worth while here to mention that the third and fourth series are not concerned with the Court at all.  The third series, titled The Crimes of Lady Saxondale is concerned with denigrating the aristocracy while the fourth devolves almost to the level of celebrating the common people.

George opens his attack on Prince Albert by vilifying the Germans.  He creates the German Principality of Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha which is about the size of Hyde Park. The name is an obvious parody of Albert’s Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  He makes the Prince of Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha Prince Albert’s brother. 

Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha is an impoverished dukedom as compared with Great Britain.   Albert’s brother is continually visiting England to cadge handouts of a thousand pounds.  A ridiculously low figure compared to Reynolds’ characters tossing around thousands, tens of thousands and even a hundred thousand pounds.  The Duke brings his rag tag court with him.  George gives them ridiculous names like Raggidbak, Kadger, Frumplehausen and Gumbinnen.  They arrive in the most pitiful condition, dressed literally in rags while demanding to be treated as potentates.

Reynolds drops all pretense of story turning to straight invective, heaping crude scorn on all German States.  Writing in 1856 it would be a mere ten years before Bismarck united the German States, Duchies and Principalities into the first State of Europe.  They became an industrial competitor of Great Britain, and indeed rapidly surpassed England as an economic power setting up the prelude to WWI.  The laughable States known as the mythical Ruritania would soon disappear.

George scornfully says that this position as Duke of Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha would have been Albert’s position had not Victoria rescued him to give him his magnificent position.  This direct attack on Albert must have come to Victoria’s attention.  She would have deeply resented it placing George on the non-person list.

George had already offended the Army with his novel The Soldier’s Wife of 1952-53.  That book was deeply resented by the Army to the point of banning the book.  George’s reputation was already so bad that he wasn’t welcome in polite society.

A Review of the ‘Popular Authors’ Essay by Robert Lewis Stevenson

This essay has some pertinency to George W. M. Reynolds. The essay may be found in full by typing in Robert Louis Stevenson Popular Authors on the Internet.  I discuss merely the last paragraph.

Quote:

What kind of talent is necessary to please the mighty public?  That was my first question and was soon amended with the words “if any.”  J.F. Smith [no longer a house hold name] was a man of undeniable talent,  Errmyn [James Malcolm Rymer] and Hayward have a certain spark, and even in [Pierce] Egan the very tender might recognize the rudiments of a story of literary gift; but the case on the other side is quite conclusive; or the dull ruffian Reynolds, or Sylvanus Cobb, of whom perhaps I have only seen unfortunate examples—they seem to have the talents of a rabbit, and why anyone should read these is a thing that passes wonder.  A plain-spoken and possibly high-thinking critic might here perhaps return upon me with my own expressions.  And he would have missed the point.  For I and my fellows have no such popularity to be accounted for. The reputation of an upper class author is made for him at dinner-tables and nursed in newspaper paragraphs, and, when all is done, amounts to no great matter.  We call it popularity surely in a pleasant error.  A flippant writer in the Saturday Review, expressed a doubt if I had ever cherished one “genteel” illusion; in truth I never had many, but there was one- and I have lost it.  Once I took the literary member at his own esteem;  I behold him now like one of those gentlemen who read their own MS descriptive poetry aloud to wife and babes around the evening hearth; addressing a mere parlour coterie and quite unknown in the great world outside the villa windows.  At such pygmy reputation, Reynolds or COBB or Mrs. Southworth can afford to smile.  By spontaneous public vote, at a cry from the unorganic  masses these great ones of the dust were laureled.  For what?

Unquote.

While tracking down references to George Reynolds on the internet I came across this essay by Robert Louis Stevenson entitled Popular Authors with a couple mentions of Reynolds.  By Popular authors Stevenson doesn’t mean all authors; no, he means ‘Popular’ as in ‘Popular Mechanics’ or ‘Popular Science.’  Something dumbed down for the multitude.  He means ‘Popular Literature’.  Literature dumbed down for the masses; that is Penny Dreadfuls, Dime novels, Pulps. Literature with high tones eliminated.  Polite or literary fiction is for an elite crowd trying to avoid rubbing shoulders with vulgar reality.

The essay opened my eyes to Stevenson, whom I may confess, I have never liked, his novels that is.  Stevenson was born in 1850 thus becoming aware in 1862-63.  This time would have been the heyday of the Penny Dreadful writers, a large catalog by that time would have been available to him.  As he mentions no Gothic authors in his essay we may assume that if read a few they made no impression on him, but he immersed himself in the Penny Dreadfuls.

Stevenson’s most famous imitation of Penny Dreadfuls is his astonishingly successful Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a fundamental text for the psychology of the generations following.  The idea of the story is great but the execution of it a little less so.  The book is pretty nearly a mere outline.  Stevenson was sickly as a youth, bedridden in fact, so that he apparently spent his time reading ‘sensational’ fiction or Penny Dreadfuls and even stranger stuff.  When I learned this, Stevenson’s writing style fell into place, he’s an epigone of his masters.

There is a rather extended review of the origins of Jekyll and Hyde on the internet (https://.grunge.com/230634/the-bizarre-truth-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/ that gives a detailed list of possible influences.

While not disparaging the list of influences, I think the author misses a very important one, that of Duke Wharton and his Mohocks (Mohawks).  One can mention another Queen Anne notable, Johnathan Wild although Hyde has no criminal network.  One imagines all youth of the time reveled in the stories of Wharton and Wild.  For my sensibilities the resemblance of Hyde to Wharton is striking.  Both men, the real Wharton and the fictional Hyde had respectable day jobs, but they really came out at night.

They both roamed the streets at night completely ignoring caution or disguise.  Wharton and his Mohocks even engaged in street battles with the Night Watch that they frequently outnumbered while being such hardened street fighters that they seldom lost and if any were captured Wharton had the influence to get them released.

So Hyde openly committed crimes arousing a crowd that pursued him to his lair.  While the movies that had him experimenting with weird chemicals to release his inner Satan, Stevenson’s Hyde like Wharton had been a rowdy in his youth and merely wished to experience those lost thrills again.  In a way Jekyll and Hyde could have been a companion volume to James Malcom Rymer’s (Errmyn) Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

As will be noted from Stevenson’s essay, he gives Reynolds the back of his hand calling him ‘the dull ruffian’ Reynolds’.  Stevenson may have thought Reynolds was a ‘ruffian’, probably correctly, but I can’t believe that he thought he was dull.  It is probable that he owed more to Reynolds than he cared to admit.

Even though the reputations of Rymer and Reynolds’  may have been eclipsed by WWI certainly the likes of J.F. Smith, and the Americans Sylvanus Cobb and Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth have fallen further from favor.  Oddly enough Cobb and Southworth were the top selling authors of the last half of the twentieth century in the US

Both were phenomenally prolific and popular.  Stevenson rightfully wondered how commonplace you have to be to find success.  Popularity involves finding a very large market and satisfying it.  Literary fiction quite often appeals to a small niche market. Stevenson falls between pulp and literary fiction and while he succeeded it was not to the extent of Reynolds whose sales really opened Stevenson’s eyes.

As it evolved, popular fiction in the twentieth century by writers like Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, Bram Stoker, even Mary Shelley and a host of others dominated book sales while literary fiction languished. One might also mention movies that on the screen translated literary fiction into the genres of the popular along with numerous sci-fi and horror writers too numerous to mention. Stevenson’s essay is worthwhile to consider.

Sixth Note

George W. M. Reynolds

And The Saxe-Coburgs

by

R.E. Prindle

As the first two series of The Mysteries Of The Court Of London indicate George Reynolds had a problem with the Saxe-Coburgs especially the reign of the four Georges. The first series of Court dealt with George III and his pre-reign clandestine marriage to Hannah Lightfoot, continuing in the second series to George IV’s regency and his problems with a forced marriage to Princess Caroline.

Reynolds bid adieu to George IV as he left the Regency in 1920 to assume the throne at his father’ death.  George IV lived until 1830 when he was succeeded by his brother William IV.  He died in 1937 being succeeded by the daughter of his second next younger brother, Victoria.  Needless to say, her reign filled the remainder of the nineteenth century and a little over.  In 1840 Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

As a female and a beloved Queen she as a Saxe-Coburg was beyond the reach of Reynold’s scathing attacks.  However, Victoria’s beloved husband Albert wasn’t.  Reynolds contained himself until the fourth series of Court of London, writing in 1855 or ‘56 when he unleashed a scurrilous attack on Albert.

As we know, George Reynolds was an advocate of violent revolution.  While he had not actually been present at the 1830 violent revolution in France, he arrived in the French capital in its aftermath in very late 1830, what we might just as well call early 1831.  He thus witnessed first hand the aftermath of that revolution.  As he was a mere sixteen year old boy on his own he was enthralled.

The revolution of 1830 is only the second stage of the French Revolution of 1789.  The revolution would continue its struggle to the third stage, the 1848 European revolution, from there to the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia.  That was the end of that cycle.  A shift in strategy then occurred.

George Reynolds as a member of the British revolutionary activity, belonged to the group called the Chartists in which he was very active in the 1848 revolution in England.  He was very disappointed at its failure.

Then came the reaction to the revolution as the governing powers cracked down on the revolutionists, perhaps unable to understand.  Even though working conditions were bad which the rulers recognized nevertheless from their perspective civilization had made astounding advances and they were right.  Perhaps not understanding the workers reaction to the magnificent achievements of the scientific, technological and industrial advances to that time, Prince Albert took a hand in organizing the Crystal Palace Exposition  of 1851, just three years after the failed revolution.

The Crystal Palace Expo which sought to calm revolutionary fervor by displaying all those advances to the public was the first of the great expos that continued to mid-twentieth century.  The greatest of all the expos by far was the fantastic  Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.  The Chicago Expo had the greatest impact of any of the expos emulating that of 1851.  The like of the Chicago Expo has never come close to it again and now never will.

The Crystal Palace Expo which sought to calm the revolutionary fever undoubtedly did so while raising the ire of the revolutionists.  Witness the enraged George Reynolds attack of Prince Albert.  Its display of all the scientific, industrial and technological marvels, and remember this stuff was new and unseen before, showed the shape of things to come while giving confidence and hope. 

That confidence and hope was realized in 1893 at the very height of Euro-American self-confidence as the apex of all humanity and history.  Ironically the long downhill slide began at that moment.

George Reynolds was infuriated at the success of the Crystal Palace Expo for which he blamed Prince Albert.  He attacked through Albert’s Germanness and raged at all things German.  Albert’s own status was as the Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Central Germany.  All this happened before the unification of Germany in 1866.  Germany and Central Europe served as matter for light opera as the imaginary country of Ruritania.  Germany then was a congeries of over a hundred small duchies and principalities..  While these States strove to maintain the hauteur of royalty they were too small and impoverished to attain any real dignity compared to the large States like England and France.  They were as fleas to England in George Reynolds’ mind. And Prince Albert represented that poverty sponging off England in George’s mind.

His ire reached a peak in the fourth series of the Court of London composed in 1855-56 as this series was about to terminate.  It might be worth while here to mention that the third and fourth series are not concerned with the Court at all.  The third series, titled The Crimes of Lady Saxondale is concerned with denigrating the aristocracy while the fourth devolves almost to the level of celebrating the common people.

George opens his attack on Prince Albert by vilifying the Germans.  He creates the German Principality of Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha which is about the size of Hyde Park. The name is an obvious parody of Albert’s Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  He makes the Prince of Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha Prince Albert’s brother. 

Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha is an impoverished dukedom as compared with Great Britain.   Albert’s brother is continually visiting England to cadge handouts of a thousand pounds.  A ridiculously low figure compared to Reynolds’ characters tossing around thousands, tens of thousands and even a hundred thousand pounds.  The Duke brings his rag tag court with him.  George gives them ridiculous names like Raggidbak, Kadger, Frumplehausen and Gumbinnen.  They arrive in the most pitiful condition, dressed literally in rags while demanding to be treated as potentates.

Reynolds drops all pretense of story turning to straight invective, heaping crude scorn on all German States.  Writing in 1856 it would be a mere ten years before Bismarck united the German States, Duchies and Principalities into the first State of Europe.  They became an industrial competitor of Great Britain, and indeed rapidly surpassed England as an economic power setting up the prelude to WWI.  The laughable States known as the mythical Ruritania would soon disappear.

George scornfully says that this position as Duke of Maxe-Stolburg-Quotha would have been Albert’s position had not Victoria rescued him to give him his magnificent position.  This direct attack on Albert must have come to Victoria’s attention.  She would have deeply resented it placing George on the non-person list.

George had already offended the Army with his novel The Soldier’s Wife of 1952-53.  That book was deeply resented by the Army to the point of banning the book.  George’s reputation was already so bad that he wasn’t welcome in polite society.

A Review of the ‘Popular Authors’ Essay by Robert Lewis Stevenson

This essay has some pertinency to George W. M. Reynolds. The essay may be found in full by typing in Robert Louis Stevenson Popular Authors on the Internet.  I discuss merely the last paragraph.

Quote:

What kind of talent is necessary to please the mighty public?  That was my first question and was soon amended with the words “if any.”  J.F. Smith [no longer a house hold name] was a man of undeniable talent,  Errmyn [James Malcolm Rymer] and Hayward have a certain spark, and even in [Pierce] Egan the very tender might recognize the rudiments of a story of literary gift; but the case on the other side is quite conclusive; or the dull ruffian Reynolds, or Sylvanus Cobb, of whom perhaps I have only seen unfortunate examples—they seem to have the talents of a rabbit, and why anyone should read these is a thing that passes wonder.  A plain-spoken and possibly high-thinking critic might here perhaps return upon me with my own expressions.  And he would have missed the point.  For I and my fellows have no such popularity to be accounted for. The reputation of an upper class author is made for him at dinner-tables and nursed in newspaper paragraphs, and, when all is done, amounts to no great matter.  We call it popularity surely in a pleasant error.  A flippant writer in the Saturday Review, expressed a doubt if I had ever cherished one “genteel” illusion; in truth I never had many, but there was one- and I have lost it.  Once I took the literary member at his own esteem;  I behold him now like one of those gentlemen who read their own MS descriptive poetry aloud to wife and babes around the evening hearth; addressing a mere parlour coterie and quite unknown in the great world outside the villa windows.  At such pygmy reputation, Reynolds or COBB or Mrs. Southworth can afford to smile.  By spontaneous public vote, at a cry from the unorganic  masses these great ones of the dust were laureled.  For what?

Unquote.

While tracking down references to George Reynolds on the internet I came across this essay by Robert Louis Stevenson entitled Popular Authors with a couple mentions of Reynolds.  By Popular authors Stevenson doesn’t mean all authors; no, he means ‘Popular’ as in ‘Popular Mechanics’ or ‘Popular Science.’  Something dumbed down for the multitude.  He means ‘Popular Literature’.  Literature dumbed down for the masses; that is Penny Dreadfuls, Dime novels, Pulps. Literature with high tones eliminated.  Polite or literary fiction is for an elite crowd trying to avoid rubbing shoulders with vulgar reality.

The essay opened my eyes to Stevenson, whom I may confess, I have never liked, his novels that is.  Stevenson was born in 1850 thus becoming aware in 1862-63.  This time would have been the heyday of the Penny Dreadful writers, a large catalog by that time would have been available to him.  As he mentions no Gothic authors in his essay we may assume that if read a few they made no impression on him, but he immersed himself in the Penny Dreadfuls.

Stevenson’s most famous imitation of Penny Dreadfuls is his astonishingly successful Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a fundamental text for the psychology of the generations following.  The idea of the story is great but the execution of it a little less so.  The book is pretty nearly a mere outline.  Stevenson was sickly as a youth, bedridden in fact, so that he apparently spent his time reading ‘sensational’ fiction or Penny Dreadfuls and even stranger stuff.  When I learned this, Stevenson’s writing style fell into place, he’s an epigone of his masters.

There is a rather extended review of the origins of Jekyll and Hyde on the internet (https://.grunge.com/230634/the-bizarre-truth-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/ that gives a detailed list of possible influences.

While not disparaging the list of influences, I think the author misses a very important one, that of Duke Wharton and his Mohocks (Mohawks).  One can mention another Queen Anne notable, Johnathan Wild although Hyde has no criminal network.  One imagines all youth of the time reveled in the stories of Wharton and Wild.  For my sensibilities the resemblance of Hyde to Wharton is striking.  Both men, the real Wharton and the fictional Hyde had respectable day jobs, but they really came out at night.

They both roamed the streets at night completely ignoring caution or disguise.  Wharton and his Mohocks even engaged in street battles with the Night Watch that they frequently outnumbered while being such hardened street fighters that they seldom lost and if any were captured Wharton had the influence to get them released.

So Hyde openly committed crimes arousing a crowd that pursued him to his lair.  While the movies that had him experimenting with weird chemicals to release his inner Satan, Stevenson’s Hyde like Wharton had been a rowdy in his youth and merely wished to experience those lost thrills again.  In a way Jekyll and Hyde could have been a companion volume to James Malcom Rymer’s (Errmyn) Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

As will be noted from Stevenson’s essay, he gives Reynolds the back of his hand calling him ‘the dull ruffian’ Reynolds’.  Stevenson may have thought Reynolds was a ‘ruffian’, probably correctly, but I can’t believe that he thought he was dull.  It is probable that he owed more to Reynolds than he cared to admit.

Even though the reputations of Rymer and Reynolds’  may have been eclipsed by WWI certainly the likes of J.F. Smith, and the Americans Sylvanus Cobb and Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth have fallen further from favor.  Oddly enough Cobb and Southworth were the top selling authors of the last half of the twentieth century in the US

Both were phenomenally prolific and popular.  Stevenson rightfully wondered how commonplace you have to be to find success.  Popularity involves finding a very large market and satisfying it.  Literary fiction quite often appeals to a small niche market. Stevenson falls between pulp and literary fiction and while he succeeded it was not to the extent of Reynolds whose sales really opened Stevenson’s eyes.

As it evolved, popular fiction in the twentieth century by writers like Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, Bram Stoker, even Mary Shelley and a host of others dominated book sales while literary fiction languished. One might also mention movies that on the screen translated literary fiction into the genres of the popular along with numerous sci-fi and horror writers too numerous to mention. Stevenson’s essay is worthwhile to consider.

Note #4 The Return of George W.M. Reynolds

by

R.E. Prindle

 GWMReynolds

In the twenty-first century when the public mind was focused on exorcizing the past the search was to correct or eliminate unapproved statements and thoughts from literature. This attitude was nothing new. In the nineteenth century censorship was concerned with sexual matters. In the explosive time of the 21st century anything goes as far as pornography. For this time one can be disqualified for life over racial matters.

In 1837 the seemingly immortal Charles Dickens created a criminal character by the name of Fagin in his Oliver Twist. Fagin was a Jew. As he tried to explain in his defence when he was accused of defaming the Jews, in 1837 the underworld of the nineteenth century was run by Jews. In other words, he was depicting reality. He was simply citing underworld facts.

Dickens was made to humble himself and since his works were reproduced in numberless editions he agreed that in future editions he would scrub references to Fagin as a Jew.

Historically, after the French Revolution of the eighteenth century had emancipated the Jews, the conflict between Jews and Europeans shifted in their favor. As the nineteenth century advanced they began to dominate all social and financial areas. This was universally recognized and resented. The question was alert. One of the English writers who early realized and wrote about it was the best selling author of the nineteenth century. No, it wasn’t Charles Dickens, it was an author who was wildly popular until the first world war. His name was George W.M. Reynolds.

He wrote an entire 500 page allegory about the situation, much disguised in his fabulous novel The Necromancer, readily available today. In addition and openly in about 1854-55 when the attack on Dickens was gaining intensity the following extract from his novel published by the Wildside Press, The Fortunes of the Ashtons, Vol. 1, page 201:

In one of the principal thoroughfares, so narrow, so crowded, which constitute the City of London, stood the immense establishment of Mr. Samuel Emanuel, the great clothier.

The reader will not require to be informed that this individual was of the Hebrew race; nor if we be compelled to say anything to his disparagement, it must not be presumed that we are holding him up as an invariable type of his nation. It is nothing of the sort. We yield to no one, we may without vanity affirm, in enlightened opinions with respect to the Jews, and we have the conviction that there are many excellent persons amongst them as well as many admirable traits in their national character. [Here we must acknowledge that Reynolds anticipates the twentieth century psychologist Sigmund Freud in his Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego in which Freud definitely states that groups such as his own Jews do have identifiable traits, while to be in a group by definition is having similar traits. How could a group be considered a group without identifying traits? I have found Reynolds to be an excellent psychologist.]

But, there ae good and bad of all kinds and species in this world—good and bad Christians,, good and bad Musselmans, good and bad Buddhists, and therefore why not bad Israelites as well as good ones? We will even go farther and we will affirm that within the range of our own experience have met persons professing Christianity, of a viler stamp of rascality, and capable of more unmitigated scoundrelism, that ever we discovered a Jew to be guilty of.

Thus, at this time we can see to what a pass society, English society, had come because of the extreme Jewish sensitivity. I have to believe that in this openly broaching of the question that George W.M. Reynolds is coming to the defense of Charles Dickens and indirectly defending freedom of speech that is being encroached on by the Jews. Reynolds might well have asked why the Jews should be given a favored position free from any censure?

In accurately describing English society which consisted of several races and nationalities, various Anglo-Saxon tribes, Normans, Irish, Welsh, Scots, Jewish, Gypsy and we might as well throw in the French Huguenots why should the Jews be excused from the generality and given a special and higher position. How could English society be accurately portrayed without them. How could their deeds and practices be ignored. Indeed they would have complained of neglect had that been the case as they have complained in the nineteenth and twentieth and twenty -first centuries.

I ask how can a historian write accurate history if an historian is required to self-censor to favor a particular race, while at the same time that race has the privilege of censoring the conduct of all others? In the twenty-first century a writer is required to self-censor any accurate depictions of Jews, Moslems, Negroes, Women and Sexual Deviants, and actual madmen. Indeed, one is forbidden to write a factual account of something that happened to one’s self lest it should offend those sensitive perps. One must censor one’s very own life.

If so, history and many other Liberal Arts studies become meaningless.

In Reynolds’ case he was no pansy as was Dickens who cut his jib to suit the Jews. Fagin was an accurate depiction of a Jewish criminal, in fact, he was not the worst of the lot while the whole lot had a very negative impact on society. Indeed the Jews were disproportionately represented in the criminal ranks as they were in financial circles. This is a historic fact. It cannot be denied.

Perhaps after his daring confession of faith Reynolds, because he was more than capable of defending himself, was not taken on by the Jews. Perhaps also the sudden and inexplicable disappearance of his works after 1914 was because he was banned by Jewish vengeance.

There is increasing evidence that a hundred years on after his expulsion he is being rehabilitated and recognized as the great literary artist he is. There is much to be learned from his writing. George W.M. Reynolds was very nearly sui generis.

  1. The View From Prindle’s Head

by

R.E. Prindle

As it is now time to deal with the career of Joseph ‘Suss’ Oppenheimer the reformer of Jewish customs and mores beginning about 1740. I will have to deal with the consequences of his career out of historical order, that is the consequences extend to 1945 and the end of WWII.

As there appears to be nothing written in English about Suss I will rely on the translation of the German novel titled Jud Suss by the Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger that was published in 1925.

Just as a note, here one has to keep the different nationalities in mind. The Jews were acting a nation or people with their own goals and methods in mind. The wished to subordinate all European government to their rule as well as Great Britain and the US. They had an international government operating across all other nations. This is a fact that must be accepted. Thus one speaks of Germans, English, Russians and hence Jews. They are resident in all nations. The Jewish nation merely lives among the various nations and peoples. They must take responsibility for their actions.

Feuchtwanger originally wrote Suss’ story as a play staged in 1916. The play was staged then withdrawn. As the play as well as the novel is pro-Jewish and anti-German I’m sure it was a wise move. He then turned the play into the novel of the same name in 1925. This was the height of the Jewish attempt to take over Germany according to Suss’ methods. The translation was then published in England where it met with great success. It was then made into an English propaganda movie also titled Jud Suss in 1933, in the US it was titled Power, in the same year Samuel Untermyer declared war on Germany on behalf of the Jewish people.

While the novel and its movies, both Jewish and German are important perhaps the name Lion Feuchtwanger is unfamiliar to most. Certainly few are aware of the importance of the man. As an historian, prior to reading Jud Suss I had seen the name mentioned frequently but I knew little further about him. Feuchtwanger, while not logorrheic did write a corpus. Most of it is historical concerning the greatness of the Jews. He wrote a trilogy, 1500 pages, around the character of Josephus and the Jewish-Roman wars of the first and second centuries AD. He also wrote a longish novel titled Success about the political situation in Weimar Bavaria in the twenties published in 1930.

This was before the Jewish-German hostilities of the thirties and forties, so while Hitler was mentioned there is no inkling of the holocaust and Hitler is seen as a crank and not a threat. Perhaps it was the times and the Jewish propaganda machine that credits Feuchtwanger with the mantle of the greatest historical novelist. He isn’t even close to that, not even a contender. Nevertheless Jud Suss was a best seller in Germany and abroad. My copy from the English reprint publisher Hutchinson bills itself and the 158th thousand. Perhaps for propaganda effect itself.

Suss is told in a fantasia style, mythologizing the story. Suss was what was known as a Court Jew serving the Duke Karl Alexander of Wurttemberg, the companion State of Bavaria to the East and Alsace to the West. It is south of Frankfort in Hesse-Cassell which was the operational capital of the Jews in the West.

I am sure that few people in the West know anything of Suss Oppenheimer if they have ever heard the name. Little known outside of Germany, I have found no study of him in English. While the book and movies have historical validity they are not documentaries. There is some invention in them however apart from emphasis the stories closely follow the facts. If you’re Jewish your interpretation will differ from the German. That’s a matter of interpretation.

Feuchtwanger himself had access to Jewish accounts that are perhaps not accessible to non-Jews, in any event the story line conforms to historical results. What Feuchtwanger has actually done is to write a manual for gaslighting societies. Suss was a master gaslighter while his employer, Duke Karl Alexander was an old soldier. He was a very successful warrior but his profession didn’t prepare him to deal with a smooth politician like Suss whose religion and nationality placed him in conflict with that of the Duke. He followed the Jewish agenda, for instance, Jews were forbidden in Wurttemberg but Suss enticed the Duke to allow them admission much to the disgruntlement of the population.

Used to having military subordinates who obeyed orders the Duke expects the same from Suss. Suss however is subversive to the core. The Duke has no familiarity with numbers while Suss was a master arithmetician.

Suss cultivates a fancy or luxurious tastes in the Duke while suggesting military grandeur that was well beyond the Dukes imagination. All these fantasies were very expensive and while the Duke has an organic connection to the his land and people while Suss doesn’t. To Suss land and people are merely props for exploitation. His policies such as taxing the people for the use of the roads, making every road a toll road, destroys the economic balance, impoverishing the citizens.

Thus, Suss becomes the Duke’s financial support. As Nathan Rothschild will be made to say in the American film The House of Rothschild: Money! The only weapon I have is money.

In sexual competition Suss who studies the arts of seduction alienates the Duke’s wife from him and she joins Suss’ gaslighting. Constantly demeaned and belittled the Duke turns to drink. Suss in order to do the things he wants encourages the drinking while obtaining powers of attorney so that he can act in the Duke’s name gaining the benefits while being able to fix the blame on the Duke. In the end the Duke goes apoplectic and dies.

At that point the Wurttemberg authorities are able to arrest Suss and charge him with the crimes that had been committed against them and the State. Suss counters an airtight alibi. He had a power of attorney and therefore was acting with the Duke’s authority so that the Duke was responsible for all Suss’ acts. The Germans obsessed with legal restrictions, Suss is about to get away with his crimes, but there was an old legal statute that held Jews who had intercourse with German women were subject to the death sentence. Suss had no argument against that, guilty as hell. As a lesson to the Jews as to methods for corrupting men and States the method is one that has been well taken and followed ever since.

Now, as a transitional figure, Feuchtwanger pits Suss against the traditional old fashioned Jews, Isaac Landau and Rabbi Gabriel. Landau was the actual Court Jew of Vienna. He is the living caricature of the Jew, side curls, caftans and all. He is content to wield the power while remaining obscure. Suss is a Western Jew longing to shine amongst the goyim in the Western grand style as the Rothschilds would so ably do.

In the end Landau still lives while Suss’ body is hanging high swinging in a cage, the highest gibbet ever erected. Landauer’s triumph was short lived as the Rothschilds soon took center stage. Suss had shown the upcoming generation the way.

Jewish affairs were multi-varied, at the same time Suss was active in Wurttemberg to the East the Jews in Alsace were wielding usury like master knife throwera. They had that State in thrall. If they plundered Spain a few centuries earlier they owned the souls of the Alsatians. With compound interest working against the Alsatians, they were as good as slaves.

The French Revolution and the emancipation of the Jews to full citizenship was on the horizon in 1791. With that freedom to operate openly the conflict between Jewish mores and French mores gave the Jews every advantage. There is little doubt that France would have been in the position of Alsace within a decade or two. The conflict between the two nations escalated until Napoleon became the Emperor and had to grapple with the problem.

European civilization had been rapidly evolving since the Renaissance and increasing freedom from the Catholic/Jewish straight jacket. In the eighteenth century it took its tentative moves into modern institutions. In 1720 the Scot, John Law, had succeeded in introducing the concept of paper currency in France. The notion was based on the idea that money could equal a nation’s gross national product and at first it was stunningly successful but as the novelty was not understood the method ran out of control and crashed.

The English enviously watching from across the channel dreamed up the South Seas Company that was thought to develop an immense business not unlike the East India Company. Thus, expectations were divided into shares that quickly traded at immense value and then just as quickly crashed. Nevertheless new systems emerged from the wreckage as the modern banking system and the stock exchange slowly took shape. The Jews understood the new systems perfectly.

Subsequent to the two Bubbles the Industrial Revolution evolved from new scientific and technological knowledge, most notably in the emergence of the railroad which would change the face of the land and create immense new sources of wealth largely based on paper money as there wasn’t enough gold to go around.

These developments slowly changed the social balance of power that manifested itself in the explosion of the French Revolution. The Revolution marked the rise of the Bourgeoisie that was securely in place by the passing of the Napoleonic period.

The Jewish avatars of this new order were the Rothschilds who rose phoenix like from the ashes of the Suss period. As I indicated the principalities of Wurttemberg, Alsace and Hesse-Cassel were the heart of Jewish operations of Europe. Suss had briefly captured Wurttemberg while in Alsace to the East Jewish usurers repeating the earlier Spanish success of bringing the whole of that State into their debt.

The German Margrave of Hesse who was no mean usurer himself had amassed a huge fortune in financial obligations. One of his methods had been to lease his male citizens to other States as soldiers. According the Feuchtwanger Suss had tried to get Karl Alexander to do the same but he refused.

As is well known the Rothschild father, Mayer, had sent his five sons to different European capitals as bankers. Remember Mayer’s attributed statement in the House of Rothschild that his only weapon was money and he intended to use it. Sending his sons out as bankers was that move. Once they found banking , that is, usury on a massive and legal scale the family was on solid ground. What Mayer’s intent was in dispensing his sons wasn’t dwelt on but judging from the results it was the political domination of Europe, the realization of the Jewish goal of world dominion.

Nathan I, who went to England to engage in the burgeoning textile business of the Industrial Revolution knew nothing of textiles, hence failed, but failing there he followed the maxim, ‘by any means necessary’. He turned to criminal activities and became a very successful smuggler gaining some useful knowledge that would stand him in good stead soon.

Then Napoleon invaded Hesse-Cassell in hot pursuit, some people say, of the Margrave’s million which he assuredly meant to appropriate for himself. The Margrave, no doubt thinking that all things must pass, looked to secrete his chests of obligations and as luck would have it he settled for Mayer Rothschild as his agent. What a boon, what a boon. Mayer took the riches and turned them to account sending a big bundle of cash to the failed textile merchant but successful smuggler, his number one son, Nathan I who immediately set himself up as a banker. What reputation Nathan made in textiles and smuggling isn’t known but it would seem certain that when he showed up in the City with millions it must have been somewhat of a surprise. Ill dressed and eccentric but with marvelous skills in usury, which is almost to say, banking, trained to the philosophy ‘by any means necessary’, Nathan couldn’t help but succeed and succeed he did in a most spectacular way. When Napoleon failed a decade later, when the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared Nathan all but owned the bank of England. He was the George Soros of his day.

Well and good but Europeans still had the Jewish problem that Emancipation and Napoleon’ efforts had only exacerbated. Henry Ford tried to do the same about a hundred years later but with no more success than Napoleon. They didn’t understand the problem while the problem had grown and grown.

After 1806 and his conquest of Central Europe Napoleon furthered the emancipation of the Jews from the French Revolution of 1791. He sent his Minister of the Interior, Champigny a letter in 1806 outlining his program: (following the Wikipedia entry)

[It is necessary to] reduce, if not destroy, the tendency of the Jewish people to practice a great number of activities that are harmful to civilization and to public order in society in all the countries of the world. It is necessary to stop the harm by preventing it, to prevent it, it is necessary to change the Jews…. Once part of their youth will take its place in our armies, they will come to leave Jewish interests and sentiments; their interests and sentiments will be French.

You see how little Napoleon understood the Jews. Had the term been available at the time the Jews would have called Napoleon an anti-Semite. His program was exactly what the Catholic Church’s had been for about 1500 years and in which they failed miserably. That is, converting the Jews. A little over a hundred years on, after Henry Ford’s failed attempt, the German Chancellor Adolph Hitler would review all the failed efforts to incorporate the Jews into society and in answer to a Jewish call to exterminate the Germans and raze Germany to the ground, call the for the Final Solution. That didn’t work either.

Napoleon, thus, was no psychologist or ethnologist. He makes the mistake of thinking that all people’s interest and sentiments can be changed by fiat. The French learned nothing from Napoleon’s mistakes as they are now finding it impossible to integrate Moslems and Africans and make Frenchman of them. As they failed miserably at integrating the Jews two hundred and some years later one may find a hint at the outcome of this experiment.

Lest Napoleon’s opinion of the Jews be mistaken, in another letter of 1808 to brother Jerome Napoleon he said this: (Still Wikipedia

I have undertaken reform to reform the Jews, but I have not endeavored to draw more of them into my realm. Far from that, I have avoided doing anything which would show esteem to the most despicable of mankind.

Indeed, as if to acknowledge this opinion: (still Wikipedia)

In 1808, Napoleon rolled back a number of reforms. (Under the so-called decret infame, or Infamous Decree of 17 March 1808) declaring all debts with Jews to be cancelled, reduced or postponed. The Infamous Decree imposed a ten year ban on any kind of Jewish money-lending activity. Similarly, Jewish individuals who were in subservient positions—such as a Jewish servant, military officer-or wife- were unable to engage in any kind of money-lending activity without the explicit consent of their superiors. Napoleon’s goal in implementing the Infamous Decree in 1808 was to integrate cultures and customs into those of France.

 

This caused so much financial loss that the Jewish community nearly collapsed.

Thus it can be seen that the central problem was the Jewish practice of usury. Nor was usury forced on them as why should it be, it is the most lucrative business short of drug dealing ever devised by human minds. The Jews embraced usury. They were usurers from biblical times on. Jesus chased the money lenders from the temple porch. You may be sure that the Jews were enraged at losing that most lucrative of all businesses.

By usury Jews were able to control the money and hence the people. As society developed and nationalism became more developed, central banks came into existence. All nations borrowed and the loans were immense and secured by the taxes of the countries. Thus Jews managed to control the central banks and the entire currency. Governments then had to apply to the banks, that is the Jews for loans, they thus became more important than the governments themselves.

While attacking that Jewish activity Napoleon could only have a surer victory while restoring himself to full sovereignty. Indeed, the Florentines of Italy had already faced up the problem by instituting a municipal pawn shop lending at reasonable rates thus bypassing on that level the Jewish usury industry. France would also create a State run pawn shop. However, if a world be borrower had no alternative he could ‘go to the Jews’ and obtain money at exorbitant rates.

In England, of course, no such laws were passed giving Jewish usurers full license to handle the currency.

With the rise of the great banking organizations and the stock exchanges some order was brought into the currency, while laws began to be passed regulating maximum interest rates.

Napoleon believed he could integrate an alien culture and people into the dominant French culture thus converting the Jews into authentic Frenchmen. He merely gave the Jews entry into the dominant culture in which they could impose their customs and culture while piously claiming to be French. Within very few decades, fighting only with money as their weapon, the Jews would have more magnificent castles than the French nobles who had been stripped of all their prerogatives by the revolutions of 1791, 1830 and 1848. As the monetary royalty then, the commons and debased nobility were sheep that had been sheered. France, in all but name, belonged to the Jews.

It was then, sometime after the Father Thomas affair in Syria of 1840 that alarmed writers began to write exposes of the Jewish threat that were immediately countered with defamatory anti-Semitist charges. The Jews became adept at organizing incidents that strengthened their hold on the various nationals as the reactions would be defamed as anti-Semitism. That includes the famous Dreyfus Affair of France of the 1890s.

To return to Feuchtwanger and Jud Suss. As mentioned in 1933 Feuchtwanger managed to have a movie of made of Jud Suss, while in 1934 the American Jews made a movie romanticizing Mayer Rothschild and his sons called The House of Rothschild. That movie is withheld from distribution as a DVD while it is available on the internet. Both movies are strictly Jewish propaganda and given the timing and circumstances anti-German especially as the Jews had declared war against Germany in 1933. US boycotts and other forms of discrimination enacted by the Roosevelt administration followed.

The situation was so fraught with danger that the anti-war faction in Congress strengthened the neutrality laws to prevent the Roosevelt administration from taking military actions. Roosevelt and his Jewish coterie found ways to get around the laws, that is, violate them. The US of Roosevelt had virtually joined the Jewish war against Germany.

One must assume that the Germans were affronted, we don’t have to assume, we know they were affronted by these movies. Both were essentially acts of war. More concerning that issue further on.

Let us now return to 1808. It is true that Napoleon enfranchised the Jews, that is, emancipated them as he conquered Central Europe. This was much against the objections of the conquered States which had long negative experience with the Jews and very likely recognized their hostile intents. Indeed, the Zionist movement would arise in Vienna. When Napoleon was conquered and sent into permanent exile on St. Helen’s in the middle of nowhere the Central and Eastern States tried to reimpose Jewish disabilities but with ill success. Now empowered, Jewish hostilities increased apace enveloped in the Communist movement.

In the US movie The Rothschilds, Mayer Rothschild expresses his hatred toward Europe and states more than once that the only weapon the Jews have in the fight is money. In viewing the film it is often difficult to distinguish the portrayal of the Rothschilds from overt ‘anti-Semitism; even though the movie is authorized.

Nathan Rothschild I delegated to England has been quoted to say: I care not which politicians run the country so long as I control the currency. Money was essential to the Jewish campaign. Nathan Rothschild had captured control of English currency, and the Jews did what they liked with British politics. His brother James had done the same with the French currency.

In England from being a ‘persecuted’ people they won pre-eminence until a Jew, Benjamin D’Israeli disguised as Church of England, was the prime Minister and the entire Rothschild family owned the largest and most magnificent of estates.

James Rothschild in France, while not being Nathan, was establishing a Jewish dynasty that would endure from 1815 until the French people disenfranchised them in mid-twentieth century by confiscating their bank.

The revolutionary period from 1791 to 1830 was both a critical period in world history and the ascension of the Jews. In France the Jews integrated themselves into the government early and they knew what to do to advance themselves further. The aristocracy was dispersed as a political force, neatly disenfranchised in the Revolution of 1830 during which the monarchy lost the right to absolute power. In 1830 the French finally disposed of the Barbary Pirates who had raided the Med coast for slaves and booty for hundreds of years since the expulsion of the Moors from Spain. Thus security was assured the coast. As part of the conquest of the Barbary Coast France annexed Algeria. They subjected the Algerians making Frenchman the dominant caste. Algeria had a substantial Jewish population who were subjects of the Algerine Moslems.

A French Jew named Adolph Cremieux who was one of the most important Jews of the nineteenth century forced a law through making the Algerine Jews French citizens thus elevating them in a moment over the Moslems. You may be sure that they took full advantage of their position to revenge themselves. Thus putting the French into even worse odor as conquerors.

Thus the Jews constantly pushed the envelope. They had an unrecognized superior position. They played a semi-autonomous role. While posing as the various nationals they claimed all the rights of citizens while at the same time maintaining their own legal and moral code in opposition to the citizens of the home country. They were quick to deny any criticism labeling any such as ‘anti-Semitism.

Thus a very strong tension developed as national analysts wrote books exposing and detailing Jewish machinations. And this would continue to develop until the confrontation of the Second Thirty Years War of 1914-1945.

More importantly Jewish religious pretentions were successfully challenged by the emergence of the scientific method and its results. The European mind was advancing far beyond the Jewish magical mind.

During the Catholic centuries in which the Jewish and European minds were centered on the Arien Age magic of the Jewish bible, the two mentalities were equal or at least on the same evolutionary level. The rise of Science invalidated Jewish magic while elevating the European mind far above it. Thus in the attempt to deal with Science the Jewish religion split into many sects until the beginnings of Zionism in 1797 began to direct Jewish magic to the undermining of science by infecting it with that magic.

Jewish power would find a savior in the United States of America, that while insignificant at the turn of the century became the dominant world power. Hence the Jewish version of the Jud Suss movie was named Power in the US. Once the Jews realized this, they quickly sent millions to colonize the US. They were successful by 1913 as when they elected Woodrow Wilson they became co-governors. At that point they were able to sway European affairs at will.

Continue to 18. The View From Prindle’s Head

  1. Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

 

The deeper one gets into Reynolds the more deep it gets. The question becomes how did perhaps, after Walter Scott, the greatest English novelist of his or any other time get swept under the historical rug or in contemporary terms disappear down the memory hole. While I can only claim to have begun my study I am overwhelmed by George’s narrative abilities.

In my study I have been introduced to various writers of George’s period of which I had only known by name such as William Harrison Ainsworth, Bulwer-Lytton, Charles Lever, Captain Marryat, Dickens and Thackeray of course, and none can compare to him. This was a stellar cast in English literature, too. Of succeeding writers such as Trollope, Eliot, Collins, Mrs. Gaskell and a host of others appear as epigone to my mind. Apart from, perhaps, Thackeray, Reynolds is easily the most prolific.

He did however have one tragic flaw, if he liked something he read he either emulated or appropriated it. While perhaps not so obvious now as it was glaring at that time. A key example will appear in this essay, that of Georges appropriation of Harrison Ainsworth’s Ride of Dick Turpin from his novel Rookwood.

A word on Harrison Ainsworth as background. Ainsworth in his time was as famous as either Dickens or Reynolds with Dickens only, so far, surviving the test of time. This is difficult for me to understand. Dickens makes for painful reading. Ainsworth was prolific and had an extended career although dim at the end. He was from Manchester and a Midlands, almost regional author. He made his fame on what were called Newgate novels. Like others he was active as a magazine editor having an eponymous magazine, Ainsworth’s to showcase his writing. He was a very social type who enjoyed his fellowship of writers. He ran a literary salon out of his house in Kensal Green to which Reynolds was not invited.

As a writer, after Rookwood published in 1832 which established his reputation he was most successful from 1838 to 1845 when he issued his string of historical novels based on English history. These are quite good. Competent with flashes but not quite genius level. His account of the plague year of 1665 and London fire of 1666 is outstanding. His later career had its ups and downs but his histories of the John Law currency scandal in France and the South Sea Bubble in England are well worth reading.

Reynolds took up his pen in 1844 to successfully launch his career with his Masterwork, The Mysteries of London as Ainsworth’s masterly historical novels were appearing one after another. In reading both authors I sometimes have trouble distinguishing which author I’m reading; so, after several failed attempts, excluding his Dickens appropriation of Mr. Pickwick with his Pickwick Abroad, Reynolds probably adjusted his style to that of Ainsworth. While Ainsworth’s style is flat and Dickens slightly archaic I find Reynolds’ to be quite modern. While Ainsworth’s style is flat, mostly surface, Reynolds has an amazing depth as he strives for every nuance to bring his characters to life. Of course, his style changes slightly with the advancing years.

While I have not read every thing I have read much of the oeuvre and except for his historical novels which form a large part of his corpus he places his contemporary novels in the years from 1826 into the forties. He seems to set up those novels from 1826 into the forties, and then to their conclusions. As his mind was fixated on that period, other than age, a possible reason for his ceasing to write novels about 1860 was that his novels became dated. Strangely even though his works were selling very well when he stopped novel writing he sold his copyrights to his printer John Dicks and never looked back. By that time he was very well off, dying in the seventies with twenty thousand pounds in the bank.

Ainsworth himself in his later years after 1860 also struggled to appeal to contemporary readers. The late fifties to the break time of 1860 was when the Romantic period faded and Auguste Comte’s Positivism commanded and that was finished by Herbert Spencer. Darwin published his Origin of Species in 1859 leading the scientific succession from Comte and Spencer. Spencer sat astride the succession.

The role of psychology was developing rapidly during the thirties, forties, and fifties and Reynolds who was deeply interested in human maturation was no mean psychologist. He is quite remarkable. The principal work I am studying here is Series III of the Mysteries of the Court of London.

The final two series have nothing to do with the Court but the title must have been worth something so he continued it much as Stiff attempted to do when Reynolds left Stiff’s Mysteries of London. I first came upon Reynolds through the first two series of The Mysteries of the Court of London that bowled me over. Gradually as my interest expanded I discovered the Valancourt edition of The Mysteries of London that really excited my interest. And then I came across a bibliography of his work that is as inclusive as any but still misses a number of his titles, many of them virtually unknown. Even with his two major works, the Mysteries the first two series of each are well known and until recently the latter two volumes of each are, if not unknown, neglected. Wildside Press began to publish Lady Saxondales’s Crimes of the Court but gave up after a combined edition of the first two volumes of the 1900 Oxford Society edition, presumably from lack of interest although they did publish all five volumes of the fourth series, The Fortunes of the Ashtons. Those volumes are out as remainders. When those have been gone through the volumes will be scarce.

The whole series of the Court was serialized from 1848 to 1856. I think most readers, as few as they may be, believe that Series I & II occupy that whole space and I did also. Actually the first two Series were finished sometime in 1852, Lady Saxondale would have been from perhaps l853-54 and the Ashtons from 1855 and 1856. Dicks then published all four series in eight volumes.

For as popular as Reynolds was said to be it seems odd that copies of early printings are impossible to find except in American editions that are slightly less difficult to find mostly in the odd volume. So for the two Mysteries one has to rely on The Oxford Society edition. They publish the four series in five volumes each instead of two as with Dicks.

This Oxford Society itself seems to have disappeared without a trace. Scholars in England have been unable to locate it, yet they published the last edition of the Mysteries of the Court while combining with the Richard Francis Burton Society of Boston. The edition was in multiple forms and apparently a fairly large number. The title page says that it was published for members of the Society but they had a deluxe edition of a thousand copies, a flexible leather covered ‘paper back’ edition and an edition of apparently ten volumes combining two volumes each listed as London and Boston. Either the Oxford Society Membership was very large or the publishers merely published under that name as no evidence of the society is known. In any event Reynolds sales continued until WWI when nearly all memory of him vanished under the Guns Of August.

As a note for those not familiar with Richard Francis Burton he was a noted Ethnologist and Anthropologist as well as one of the most famous of explorers that opened Europe to the world. His expeditions take a prominent place in the opening of Africa while his studies of Moslem literature have still a prominent place in Ethnic studies. His most famous work is A Secret Pilgramage to Mecca and Medina when he is alleged to have been the first European to penetrate to the Kabah. I have been able to learn nothing of the Burton Society of Boston.

There is no biography extant about Reynolds. Dick Collins’ short essay published as a preface in the Valancourt Edition of Reynolds’ title The Necromancer being the closest we have. However, Dick Collins points out that George was a highly auto-biographical writer so that armed with the few acts and hints Collins puts out it is possible to get a probable history of the writer.

This is possible because as he is an astute psychologist his works can be seen as essays in self-analysis. In Vol. III the depiction or analysis of Lady Saxondale is central from her first crime to the dissolution of her character. The maturations of all the characters are thoroughly examined while Freud would not have been disappointed in the results. I know, because I’m not. So, sometime in late 1853 Reynolds began the third series of the Court of London

Reynolds was a revolutionary. During the forties he had been a central participant in the evolutionary Chartist Movement of England. He does not seem to have been involved in Marxism. I have found no reference to the Communist Manifesto of 1847. Reynolds career as a violent revolutionist collapsed after the failed Revolution of 1848 in which he played a prominent part in England. He first became a revolutionist when he arrived in France in 1830. His analysis was that the violence of that revolution cleared away ancient customs allowing for a brave new world. From 1830 for the eighteen years to 1848 he was an active revolutionist using his literature to subvert the existing order. His major role in the 1848 revolution was his literary agitation against the Crown and the Aristocracy. All of his writing is subversive. As a violent revolutionist he did not endear himself to the other Chartist leaders.

One of his problems other than advocating violence was that he always had financial schemes that were probably on the edge of legitimacy. Accounts of such schemes fill his pages. His sons were later convicted for employing financial schemes. Con men abound with the most vile criminal figures in every book. Crime is the central theme of Lady Saxondale’s Crimes, indeed, crime is the last word in the title. Lady Saxondale tries to solve all her problems with criminal acts that get her in deeper and deeper blasting nearly all those around her.

Reynolds frequently mentions crimes committed in youth and how they are redeemed by virtue in maturity. Undoubtedly he is referring to himself. An interesting example in Crimes is Lady Bess who will figure in this analysis. Following his regular method she and her brother were orphans. Reynolds and his brother were orphaned. Their father died when Reynolds himself was eight and his mother died when he was sixteen. Orphans and sixteen year olds ramble through his pages.

His first book was written in 1832 when he was eighteen and published in 1835. It was a record of a crime he committed that scarred him for life. His mother died in March of 1830 and George was placed in the guardianship of his father’s best friend Duncan McArthur. He is the McArthur of Reynolds third name. He was a naval doctor living in Walmer. Dick Collins thinks it not unlikely that McArthur bought bodies from Resurrection Men. It was from these men that doctors obtained bodies for dissection and scientific experiments. Once again such doctors have prominent places in his novels. If Reynolds was aware of this and if McArthur indoctrinated him in these practices that he describes so well Georges’ mind was profoundly affected. Perhaps McArthur had an anatomical museum such as the one that Dr. Ferney has in Crimes that George describes so minutely.

George’s father probably appointed his friend as guardian to give his sons male guidance in case of his death. If so, he made the wrong choice. In another place, his novel the Steam Packet, George has a character, probably an alter ego and an orphan declare that his character hated his guardian who was overbearing and brutal who also was executor of his parents will and would never tell how much the legacy was or what it consisted of. In the dispute about how much George inherited if there was a will then it must have substantial enough for McArthur to possibly appropriate it for his own purposes which as executor he could do. In the absence of details one can only speculate but there does seem to be an issue here.

When George wrote his first version of the novel in 1832 he may have felt it too early to the crime depicted to publish so he waited for three years and then probably rewrote or edited it, as he had had time to think the material over.  The novel titled A Youthful Impostor involves a sixteen year old youth who is a cadet at the English military academy at Sandhurst in Berkshire as was Reynolds. Thus his obsession with sixteen year olds. One time coming back to the school from London to Hounslow his character was accosted on the road by two highwaymen as a third watched. After being bandied by the two, the third who watched from a distance thought he would be ideal for a swindling operation he had in mind. The Youth is recruited. In real life this would have been between September and December 1830. In the novel the swindle goes well and the youth is treated to a couple months of the highlife before the swindle goes sour. In real life this must have been the time that George became familiar with Long’s Hotel. Long’s was the posh hotel in London. Reynolds refers to it frequently in his novels.

The bubble must have burst in December so that Reynolds fled to the Continent to avoid prosecution. Then began his exile of five years. Collins believes that Reynolds was involved in criminal activities such as using loaded dice. As George believes that adult honesty redeemed criminal activity he must be referring to himself.

Fresh from a criminal milieu then, this sixteen year old set out to conquer the world by any means necessary. George is so familiar with con games, cheats and sponging that one thinks he must have experienced such activities. I think George did. He was especially solicitous of the gendarmes in Pickwick Abroad so that one imagines that he was quite familiar with them and probably saw first hand the insides of the jails he so minutely describes.

On the other hand George was a curious guy. He came, he saw, and picked a few pockets.

And so, Lady Bess of Crimes who had lost sight of her brother, she was told he was dead, is reunited with him; he is horrified to find that she is a lady highwayman living a life of crime. This is Geroge speaking through Lady Bess now, that when, she explained to her brother, when she was thrown destitute out on the world she had two evil choices, one was to sacrifice her chastity and live a life of degradation and shame from which she could never recover or take up a life of crime while retaining her precious chastity and therefore remain pure while the crimes she was committing could be readily forgiven an hence with her chastity secure she could reenter society as she will when the orphans are discovered to be of noble parentage on the bastard side.

So, while George had erred as the Youthful Impostor his own life had been redeemed by his success as an author and publisher. His crimes in his mind were swept under the rug. A little sophistry goes a long way. Sexual purity, by the way, obsesses George.

Reynolds writing also encompasses several genres from fairy tales to history to true romance, to crime and others. Per its title, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes is primarily a crime and mystery novel with a lot of romance. He does have an audience to maintain and this is the way he does it. Remember the episodes are published on a weekly basis so he has to follow a Perils of Pauline type cliffhanger formula.

The starting point for Lady Saxondale that develops into quite a string of crimes began when she presents her elderly husband with an heir to the title. From a first marriage he has a ne’er do well son name Ralph Farefield who is depending on his inheritance to bail a wastrel life out. When Lady Saxondale’s son is born who displaces him, Ralph determines to remove the baby. This introduces the criminal character Chiffin the Cannibal who is quite reminiscent of the Resurrection Man of Mysteries of London. The chief difference here is that Chiffen is a creation of George’s imagination rather then erupted from his subconscious as did Tony Tidkins, the Resurrection Man. While Tidkins was organic Chiffin has the manufactured feel, however quite good.

Having now read a few million of Georges twenty million plus words I am getting more comfortable with Reynolds’ mind. It now becomes apparent that he is creating his own universe. For instance, this is the first time I’ve noticed him do this, he takes a character from another novel and works him in. I had just finished his million worder Mary Price before beginning Crime. In Mary Price he introduces a ne-er do well strolling player by the name of Thompson who was still alive at novel’s end. In that novel we now learn he had become involved in a valuable secret that Harietta (Lady Saxondale) needs. Mary Price was begun in 1850 running concurrently with the second series of Mysteries of the Court. The first series of that novel terminated and was published in book form in 1853. The last we saw of Thompson he was in prison on some charge of flim flam. He was obviously an obscure personage as no one in Saxondale has ever heard of him nor is he known to be dead or alive.

Lady Saxondale actuates a dragnet at some expense to locate him. I imagine that if Reynolds could have planned his whole oeuvre consciously in 1844 he might have composed a huge panoramic novel. Subconsciously he has, as the novels can be integrated but with shifting casts of characters. Tony Tidkins, the Resurrection Man could have been kept alive thus appearing here obviating the need for Chiffin. The two characters are quite close with Chiffin doing some resurrection work.

Well, Ralph the Heir employs Chiffen to abduct and murder the infant which he promises to do. Circumstances prevent the murder. Lady Saxondale, Harriet is determined that Ralph shall not inherit. She sets out to find the child. The astute reader intuits that she will not find it but will find a substitute. The difficulty here is that the real baby has a strawberry birthmark on his shoulder. Harriet was an aristocrat you know; in those day an aristocrat could do and get away with anything they willed. Harriet appealed toa Dr. Ferney to create the strawberry on the substitute.

A reader familiar with Reynolds knows doctors, medical matters, are an obsession with him. This probably refers back to his guardian, Duncan McArthur. He creates many and Dr. Ferney, along with Tidkins, the Resurrection man, is perfect of his kind. Now, of course the reader can guess the baby is a duplicate but that’s about all. It’s pretty clear that one of the characters is going to be the real baby. Which one. George keeps his audience guessing, strings the issue out. However, Ferney’s depiction is wonderful. According to biographer Dick Collins, Georges guardian who you will remember had been his father’s best friend, Duncan McArthur had been a doctor in Walmer, Kent who also bought bodies from resurrection men. Collins speculates that George had even worked with Duncan, perhaps even accompanying him on a removal. At any rate George’s description of Dr Ferney seems really detailed, the kind of detail you can only get by having been involved.

George’s doctors always have a museum of embalmed body parts, the random head collection and the obsession with creating life. These doctors appear regularly. The description of Ferney’s collection is magnificent. Of course, Ferney falls deeply in love with Harriet having met her while grafting the strawberry on the substitute. Ferney’s crime haunts him carrying that frightful secret as a burden.

Ralph becomes desperate when he learns of the discovery of the child or replacement. He now has to murder the replacement, in the process he is discovered by Harriet and murdered in the crypt of the Saxondale private chapel. This is because Harriet has a vial of newly discovered chloroform acquired from Dr. Ferney. One whiff of which lays you out. She gave Ralph a whiff and shoved him into the pool and walks out locking the door behind her. Nobody ever visits the chapel so she thinks she is cool.

At this point she has launched herself into a life of hideous crimes that will unfold one after the other. If you think Harriet was alone in her crimes you are mistaken. There will be many crimes and many criminals. For the most attractive of them George reinvents the wonderful Lady Lade, Letitia Lade, from the first series of the Court of London. In that novel she was an associate of Tim Meagles who was a very close buddy of George IV as a young man. She was known as an Amazon and Diana the Huntress. Appellations of Lady Bess. She wears men’s clothes as does Lady Bess. Meagles was based on the relationship of the real life Beau George Brummell with George IV.

George Reynolds introduces Lady Bess, also known as Elizabeth Paton. She is a difficult character, as we will learn she was the sister of Francis Paton, presumably orphans, but we will learn further on that they are the natural children of Lord Everdean who mated with Lady Everton, a married lady to produce them out of wedlock. Lord Everdean finds it expedient to leave England for a decade or but when Lady Everton’s husband dies he returns to reconcile with that widowed Lady. He also reunites with his two children. He can forgive Lady Bess for her criminal activities because she has jealously guarded her virginity so that she is pure.

Lady Bess while not hardened ran with and commanded a ferocious gang led Chiffin the Cannibal. Bess is a lady highwayman. Reynolds is associated with the Newgate Calendar school of Penny Dreadful writers along with Ainsworth although neither really fits that description. The Newgate Calendar was a series of brief histories of famous crimes and criminals that writers mined for their own stories.

Reynolds is very familiar with the Newgate Calendar and especially likes the character of the highwayman, perhaps because of his youthful encounter. He also favors female characters dressed in men’s clothes. Lady Bess fits all his preferences. As her story begins she along with Chiffin are holding up a stages coach quite close to where she lives. Her victims are two lawyers, Marlow and Malton who will figure prominently in the novel. Things go wrong when Marlow punches Lady Bess and knocks her down thus capturing her. She talks them into taking her to her house, where she lives for crying out loud, to tidy up. Incredible as that sounds she has a hutch of carrier pigeons so that she pens a note in code, attaches it under a wing and sends it off. It seems that there is a criminal network that is connected by carrier pigeon from London to Dover.

Hang in now, don’t leave me, George, as I pointed out, was much influenced by Harrison Ainsworth. Ainsworth wrote a novel in 1832 titled Rookwood. This was one of the first Newgate novels from which he selected as a hero the legendary highwayman, Dick Turpin. In it Turpin commits a crime in London and to foil detection he set out on a wild non-stop ride to York two hundred miles distant. He rides his wonder horse Black Bess, hence Lady Bess is a tribute, at top speed the two hundred miles in eight hours, a seemingly impossible feat. That means he can claim to have been in York when the crime was committed in London. Confederates could claim that he had been seen in York during those eight hours.

Ainsworth’s depiction of Dick Turpin’s ride created a sensation while making his reputation. George was one of those in the admiring crowd. As ever George lifted the story, which was obvious to everyone, much as he had Dickens Mr. Pickwick for his own Pickwick Abroad. While it might appear that George was plagiarizing, and I suppose he was, he apparently wanted to emulate, or appropriate, that which he admired. Hence Lady Bess does a ride from London to Dover in five and half hours.

Now, Dick Turpin’s great horse, Black Bess, dropped dead after her grueling race of eight hours. George Reynolds’ objected to that in Lady Bess’ case although in Crimes of Lady Saxondale he has Count Christoval make a dash from Madrid to Barcelona, 300 miles, in an effort to save a man from hanging, in which the horse does drop dead at the end of the run. In his The Necromancer he has the devil, Danvers’, make a run from London to the Isle of Wight over hill and dale and water with no ill effects to his magic horse.

Lady Bess’ pigeon post is set up on a start, two relays and a finish system. Thus, while the two lawyers, Marlow and Malton, are waiting Lady Bess sends off her pigeon to the first relay station. Pigeons apparently fly sixty miles an hour thus arriving before Lady Bess.

The lawyers hear her horse clatter off realizing that they have been hoodwinked. Now Turpin was followed by a posse who were delayed by changing horses so the lawyers rode off after Bess but are no match for her. The first relay station prepares a horse for her so that she can jump off hers and remount within seconds. That station then sends the pigeon on to the second station signaling that Bess is on the way. The second station repeats sending the final message to the terminal point the Admiral Hotel in Dover.

Ainsworth had Turpin and Black Bess clatter noisily through towns; George notices this error so he has Bess ride around towns to avoid notice which she can do because she knows the whole of Kent like the back of her hand. Arriving at Dover at daybreak (4:00 AM in England at that season and latitude) she checks into the Admiral hotel whose owners are in cahoots and have prepared an alibi and set it up. Unlike the desperate characters of London who look and act vicious, these criminals in Dover maintain the appearance of respectability and hence can function within the law as well as without. When Marlow and Malton arrive and try to bring charges the magistrates blow them off as Bess couldn’t have been in two places at once. Bess wins that one

To follow the Lady Bess thread of the novel a little further, she had been separated from her brother Frank Paton a few years earlier. She had lost track of him but then she spots him walking down the street. He was wearing the livery of Lady Saxondale whose footman he was. Bess rescues him from service, which was considered an indignity, but he is aghast when he learns she is a criminal. Here George indulges in a little sophistry. In order to reconcile Frank she explains that when they were separated she had no means, having only the choice of sacrificing that greatest jewel that woman possesses, that is her virginity, and become a kept woman or worse or turning to crime which was a much lesser evil than becoming frail and living off her body. Frank thinks for a couple minutes and agrees. I offer no opinion of my own.

Some adventures intervene until their father, unknown to them, Lord Eagledean returns to England, tracks them down along with their mother who, it may be kept in mind, was seduced from virtue byhim making her a frail twice over. Eagledean is fabulously wealthy, we are talking millions of pounds, a multi-billionaire in today’s money, so the two orphans are now fabulously wealthy while being elevated to the nobility. Nice trick, Lady Bess becomes Elizabeth and amazingly drops her whole criminal psychology. She had maintained that jewel of womanhood so that probably redeemed her criminal career while making her acceptable to Eagledean.

Lord Eagledean is an enigmatic character. While he maintains that he is a virtuous, highly principled person who is highly censorious of other people’s conduct his methods hover around the unethical into hypocrisy. It is difficult to determine what Reynolds wants readers to think of the man. Is it Reynolds’ art that he preaches the contrast between Eagledean’s word an his actions so as to let the reader form his own opinion of the man or is he unaware of the contrast but wants the reader to take him at his word. Eagledean’s activities do take place at a very complex point in the story in which the ethics of all the characters have become ambiguous in their morality. This part of the story is actually quite frightening. It takes place in the latter half of vol. IV and there’s still five or six hundred pages to go.

In 14. I will begin an analysis of the principal character of the Crimes of Lady Saxondale. As guilty as Lady Saxondale became she is hardly more culpable than every other character in the novel. Indeed, Lady Saxondale’s Crimes is one long study of criminality of one degree or another. I think you will find the climax invigorating. It will take some effort on my part to capture the essence of Reynolds’ mind.

 

14. Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle follows.

  1. The View From Prindle’s Head

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Before I jump ahead to the reformer Jud Suss and the rise of modern Judaism let us first review evolving European society. While the Jews were sinking into a desperate mysticism characterized by the Kabala, which is to say even into deeper subjectivism, Europeans were developing a more objective appreciation of reality, that is the scientific method of raising the Veil of Isis and revealing nature.

One might say that the Europeans truly discovered the world, both visible and invisible. Unlike the earlier Marco Polo they didn’t traverse the Eurasian land mass but, blocked by the Moslems on that route, they made an end run around Africa to India, thus proving a water route to the East while beginning the realization that the Earth was indeed a sphere. Untold vistas were opened up as geographical information rapidly added to the knowledge, thus from the fifteenth century onward the European mind expanded rapidly.

The European brain expanded quickly as the objective world ceased to be less and less mysterious. Initially Astronomy and Chemistry moved rapidly ahead soon followed by the other sciences.

Judaism stagnated stultifying itself in the nonsense of the Talmud and Kabala. They took at most a peripheral part in the rapid development until the turn of the twentieth century and then they began to inject Jewish subjectivism into it and corrupting it. The world was developed in the image of the Europeans.

In about 1740 the Jud Suss made his appearance on the world stage from the German Duchy of Wurttemberg nestled between Bavaria on the East and Alsace of the West and South of Hesse and its capital of Frankfort. That city was also the center of Jewish operations in Europe at the time.

Not much has been written about Suss in Western Europe. My account relies on the novel of the Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger. He first wrote up a play about Suss in the critical year of 1916. By 1926 the Jews under the guise of Communism were in open revolution against the ancient native German population. Volkist [folkist] groups of which the National Socialist was the most prominent were defending the Germans and Germany from the Jewish takeover. A few years later in 1930 Feuchtwanger would write his novel Success that mocked the National Socialist leader Adolf Hitler. At that time the Jews considered Hitler a joke and no threat. That was a serious miscalculation.

At that time the future of the National Socialist electoral victory was undreamed of and the events of WWII were unimagined and unimaginable. Indeed, in 1930 the Jews had little cause to doubt their success as Russia, France, England and the United States were in their pocket. If needed the US could be held in reserve as they had been in WWI. How could they lose? Thus the novel Jud Suss was mocking Germany as losers and was perceived as such.

The novel was a propaganda success. It sold extremely well in England. The English made it into a movie also titled Jud Suss which was even more successful than the book. From my view of the matter, it is difficult to see why either the book or movie was so well received. Feuchtwanger lays bare the Jewish conspiracy and its methods. Methods the Jews had used at least since the reign of Suss and which ought to have been known by one and all. One can only say that like Maxwell Grant’s fictional character, The Shadow, they had the ability to cloud men’s minds. Perhaps the Jewish bible had indoctrinated and conditioned the West to view the Jews in the light in which they wished to be viewed.

Feuchtwanger chose Suss as his vehicle in part because he represented the demise of the medieval Jew and the rise of the modern Western Jew as would be epitomized by the Rothschilds who may have emulated Suss to perfect his method. At the same time as the Western Jews adapted to Aryan ways the Eastern Jews remained dedicated to the ancient ways. Thus paradoxically the Western Jews despised the Eastern Jews for those very Jewish customs.

It is this transitional moment in time that Feuchtwanger chose to capture. He could have used the early nineteenth century Rothschilds but he didn’t. He chose the beginning and foundation of modern Jewish history. In this passage below Feuchtwanger contrasts the medieval Jew in the character of Isaac Landauer with that of the modern Suss, Joseph Oppenheimer.

Isaac Landauer looked his colleague up and down with amicable amusement. The elegantly cut brown coat, bordered with silver made of the first cloth, the powdered peruke with its fastidious formal curls and delicately pleated lace ruffles, these alone must have cost forty gulden. He had always had a weakness for this Suss Oppenheimer, whose eager and adventurous spirit flared so fiercely as his great restless round eyes. He, Isaac Landauer, had seen a rough and sparing life, the kennels of the Jews’ quarter and the pleasure houses of the great. Confinement, dirt, persecution, arson, death, oppression, utter helplessness—and pomp, spaciousness, despotism, lordliness and beauty. He knew the machinery of diplomacy as only three or four others at most within the empire knew it, and his eye could examine down to the smallest detail of the whole apparatus of war, and peace, of the government of men. His countless business interests had given him a keen eye for the connections between things, and he was aware with a good-humoured and mocking awareness, of the absurd and subtle limitations of the great. He knew there was only one reality in the world- money. War and peace, life and death, the virtue of women, the Pope’s power to bind or to loose, the Estates’ enthusiasm for liberty, the purity of the Augsburg Confession, the ships on the sea, coercive power of princes, the Christianizing of the New world, love, power, cowardness, wantonness, blasphemy and virtue, they were all derived from money and they would turn into money, and they could well be expressed in figures.

Yes, and usury meant the control of money and hence the control of all. As the saying goes, follow the money. In many ways this history is the history of money and usury.

But in his [Landauer’s] dress and appearance he clung obstinately to the traditions of his race. He wore his caftans as he wore his skin. In it he entered the closets of princes and of the Emperor. That was the other secret and more profound secret of his power. He disdained gloves and perukes. He was indispensable, and this was his triumph, even in his caftan and his ritual curls.

But now there was this Josef Suss Oppenheimer, the younger generation. There he sat, proud magnificence with his buckled shoes and his lace ruffles, and puffed himself up. It was not subtle, this younger generation. It did not understand the refined pleasure of keeping power secret, of possessing it without betraying it, and the still more refined pleasure of relishing its flavour quietly and exclusively by oneself. Knick knacks and silk stockings, and an elegant traveling carriage with attendants up behind, and the trumpery external signs of possession, these were of more account to it than a jealously-guarded chest containing a bond on the City of Frankfort or on the Margrave of Baden’s Treasury. A generation without finesse, without taste.

Here in Feuchtwanger’s novel we have he Jewish side of the story and it is exactly this image of the most ardent anti-Semite. It is the reality that Jews deny to the outside world.

It is also the truth about money. It was the truth that Europeans wouldn’t begin to learn until the nineteenth century when this epoch begins, when the great banking institutions of money developed that reality to the world. The Duke Karl Alexander of Wurttemberg is secure in his power as the Lord of Wurttemberg with all its people and its lands, for to the European land was the source of wealth and power not money.

Suss would betray the Duke’s trust and wheedle away his power in land until Suss had both the power of the purse and the land leaving the Duke a mere shadow of a presence. This was the sneer that Feuchtwanger was giving the German people during the Weimar Republic.

Thus the Jew Suss is an allegory of the stripping of Europe by the Jews.

Continue to 17. The View From Prindle’s Head.

  1. The View From Prindle’s Head

by

R.E. Prindle

 

The period from 1492 to the career of Joseph Oppenheimer, known to history as the Jud Suss, or Jew Suss, in the middle of the eighteenth century was a terrible time for Jews. Either expelled from or unwelcome everywhere in Europe the tribe was truly wandering in the desert without an effective central authority or direction.

It was the time of the many messiahs as any Jew with the gall could present himself as the long awaited one. None got very far in their impersonation except one and that one was a man called Sabbatai Zevi. Zevi worked in the Ottoman Empire to which many Jews had migrated from Spain. This was during the seventeenth century c. 1650.

One should note the date because European society had been developing rapidly and freeing itself from the Judaeo-Catholic incubus. Entering a period called the Enlightenment. When the Turks captured Constantinople, now Istanbul, numerous Greek scholars fled West reinforcing Classical learning that strengthened scientific development among the Aryans and among the Aryans only. Early experimentation, the Alchemists, was deeply mixed with the supernatural but by the time of the Enlightenment taking form in the seventeenth century the European mind was rapidly developing a scientific consciousness.

The Jewish mind however was till immured in the supernatural and magical. Indeed, it has never left. Thus, while the Aryan mind became objective, looking outward from the mind, the Jewish mind remained subjective, as it is today, looking inwardly. Thus as late as the sixteenth century Rabbi Loewe is credited with creating the Golem. The Golem was a stone monster created to be an avenging angel of the Jews. In the time honored manner Rabbi Loewe gathered some mud together, muttered a magical formula, then himself being a master magician, breathed life into its nostrils and, voila!- The Golem.

Which is not to say that the supernatural had vacated the Aryan mind as yet, but that by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the spectre of the supernatural had been brought under control and objectivity owned the field.

Thus, the messiah, Sabbatai Zevi conquered the Jewish mind establishing himself universally in Europe. The day of redemption then seemed at hand. The date fixed for the redemption was in the year 1666. One of the many, many dates over the centuries when the messiah was to appear. The year 1000 had also been a year of the Great Hope.

At any rate, the Jews armed for a repeat of the Roman Revolution of 70-135 AD. Many Jews sold all their goods and indulged themselves in various follies as no money would be needed in the after-redemption. Throughout Europe the Jews armed themselves in readiness to commit genocide on the Europeans. They awaited only the word from Zevi. Sabbatai wasn’t the soul of confidence while the Sultan having gotten word of Zevi’s pretensions sent him an invitation to attend him at the palace.

Of course Sabbatai obliged the Sultan. Then things began to sour. The Sultan having plumbed Zevi’s depth offered him a choice, death or conversion to Mohammedanism. What’s a boy to do in a situation like that? Sabbatai Zevi swallowed hard then asked in a quavering voice: Anybody have a spare turban?

Thus the word was out that Sabbatai had become a Moslem ending the threat of a holocaust of Europe. A Moslem Sultan had inadvertently saved Europe from potential extinction. But…note the pattern. Genocide is embedded in Jewish psychology. It would express itself after the redemption in Russia in 1917. While knowledge of it has been suppressed the Jews went on a murderous rampage in Russia, Hungary and Germany that was horrendous and disgusting, that being the reason it has been suppressed. However the Europeans in the West observed and did not forget. They just didn’t go around announcing: Never Again!

The failure of the proposed insurrection and Sabbatai’s conversion shattered the Jews. As is usual in such cases the trauma created new gods as the old ones had failed in their duty. It was thus that the Hasidic cult came into existence created by a man calling himself the Baal Shem Tov. He created, not usually is such a situation, an ecstatic religion with a lot howling and jumping around somewhat like the Holy Rollers of the United States. A scene in the German version of the movie Jud Suss depicts this. They created the Tzaddic, a man god whom they revered and taxed themselves to provide him with the most luxurious lifestyle.

The Hasids split the Jewish religion as they controlled the South of what would become the Pale of Settlement with the Rabbinic mainstream occupying the North. From this disaster a sort of messiah named Joseph Frank emerged initiating the Frankist cult to which the future Sigmund Freud adhered. Freud’s view of the unconscious is little more that Frankism dressed in pseudo-scientific language.

The Frankist ideology was that the redemption would never be realized until the Jews had gotten all the evil out of their system so he encouraged his followers to indulge all their evil impulses until the evil was purged. Thus Freud urged the removal of inhibitions.

At the same time as the Jews were resettling in England, France and Germany ‘modern’ Western Jews would emerge while the Eastern wing of the Pale of Settlement sunk into a sort of Medieval semi-barbarity from which Zionism and the future of Israel would emerge.

The big man for the reformation of the Western Jews lived and died in the German Duchy of Wurttemberg. He went by the title of the Jud Suss named Joseph Oppenheimer. His career occurred about seventy-five years after the failed insurrection and the apostasy of Sabbatai Zevi.

Continue

A Second Note On The Works Of George W. M. Reynolds: Mary Price, Memoirs Of A Servant Maid

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Reynolds’ novel Mary Price was composed in 1852, the same year as the final chapters of the Second Series of The Mysteries Of The Court Of London written concurrently. The succeeding generation of writers including Willkie Collins, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot and others were beginning their long careers in the 50s. The Romantics had made it clear that there was big money in literature.

In the fifties the Romantics still held center stage. W. Harrison Ainsworth, the historical novelist, who had preceded Reynolds by a few years was the companionable sort liking to have a lot of people around him. Thus he founded a sort of literary salon or club including the leading lights of his generation including Charles Dickens.

By 1852 and the success of The Mysteries Of London and The Mysteries Of The Court Of London plus a dozen or more others of varying success, Reynolds was of the writers that Ainsworth should have invited to his coterie but he didn’t. And for a very good reason. Dickens was the shining light of his group. For any who might read this or have familiarity with the period, Dickens had achieved immediate success with his Sketches By Boz and The Pickwick Papers.

Reynolds, who at the time, was floundering in 1836 when Pickwick appeared, appropriated Dickens’ Mr. Pickwick for his own novel Pickwick Abroad. And then in successive works he continued to use Mr. Pickwick as well as others of Dickens works most notably his Master Master Humphrey’s Clock on which Reynolds based his Master Timothy’s Bookcase. You may imagine that Dickens’ had small appreciation of Reynolds.

There was something about Dicken’s writing that stuck in Reynold’s craw and he never let up ridiculing Dickens. Thus in his 1852 novel, Mary Price, Reynolds from out the blue had this to say about the leading and most famous novelist of the day while his reputation down to this day nearly two hundred years later is undimmed. Reynolds gratuitously caricatures Dickens thusly: Part I, p. 119. Dickens as Charles Wiggins is attending a big ball:

There was a great literary character amongst the visitors- Mr. Charles Wiggins; who from having been a penny-a-liner on the Morning Chronicle, had by dishing up all kinds of absurdities which he called “humour”, and throwing into the hodge-podge a dash of maudlin sentimentality, or sickly extravagance which he called “pathos”, had managed to establish his renown as a popular author—somewhat impudent and presumptuous—dressed rather gaudily than well—and courting observation even among stable boys. Mr. Charles Wiggins was nevertheless a very requisite ornament in the circle I am describing; because it was absolutely necessary to have a literary man in order that the party should be complete; and the one thus selected was of a mental culture thus suited to the average intellectual standard of Harlesdon Park.

There does seem to be a touch of envy there as Reynolds with his own radical reputation was never invited anywhere. Charles Wiggins/Charles Dickens is hard to miss and one may be sure that Dickens’ attention was called to this passage which is really a capital joke of the type that is funny if you’re not the object.

Still, the above is an astute evaluation of Dickens and his writing and one that I share fully. If Reynolds knew that Dickens two hundred years on would still be famous and celebrated and he not, I’m sure he would have smashed his head against a stone wall.

In point of fact, Reynolds far exceeds Dickens on any level while being a dozen times more prolific than Dickens who really had trouble trying to find topics to write about.

Such is fate and whatever Dickens had has stood him in good stead for two centuries. There are innumerable editions of his novels and collected works. I think Shakespeare himself would be rolling over in his grave.