A Secret at Fenwick Mansion (A Mystery short story)

The soaring birds, with their bird’s eye view, observed a man on the fantail of a boat who was almost posed in position to receive a fatal shot in the side of the head, when suddenly the blood splattered and gushed forth, spraying out over the deck soiling the other passengers aboard the Ferry. People were shouting and cursing!

The boat was the Ferry at the Delaware River crossing from Philadelphia to Camden. There were no bridges built in 1845.

Some shocked and horrified, shouted out helplessly, “The blood runs like spilled milk.” “Its all over the place!” Others would retch, vomiting their early morning breakfast, at the sight of red blood mingled with white milk that was running together all over the deck of the ferry. A distant away a 55 gallon can of fresh raw milk was spilled …somehow! There was a milky and red, now pink seeping solution everywhere covering all it touched!

It smelled too! And clothes were splattered with drops of blood and milk. Men’s and woman’s shoes were milky and red wet. Meanwhile at the sound of the gun, the seagulls reacted and were flying wildly,
screeching, crying, and circling, and flying upward above, others were drifting in circles, while looking down and occasionally peeking, with their small brains; occasionally a silent bird would land on the banks of the river on a weed tuft or on a massive mud flat, and look about as if to say, “What’s going on?”

The birds focused on the banks of the Delaware River, looking for a possible nibble to eat. They were always looking, gawking, and flapping their wings, and hunting, while making high frequency sounds in the wind while flapping their wings. They were always a nuisance to the humans at this crossing. The birds were of course unconscious of the humans who inhabited their world. They metaphorically knew
something was going on, not comprehending what it was.

The Visitor’s thoughts were crowded out by the raucous noise, “The damn squawking Seagulls are just too noisy!” he thought aloud, and quickly looked about to check that no one had heard his breathless curse. He gripped the gun he had in his pocket, deciding wisely not to bring it out, or fire at the damn birds. He definitively didn’t
want it seen by others, or be associated by sight waving a gun at the murder scene.

Suddenly realizing he hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours, and his throat was dry and his stomach growled and gurgled from time to time! He was hungry, he acknowledged to himself ! The smell in the air inhibited his appetite. The dead fish and crabs smells permeated the air! Awful! The air was nauseous. Looking up river, he felt a cool breeze blowing in his face.

Then he wondered whether the mountain streams at the head of
the river would flow downriver to flood away the driftwood and dank fishy smell. Probably not soon enough!

The Visitors” ferry boat was just now slowing its forward thrust and drifting, inching itself alongside a pier and bobbing up and down with the waves into the pier at Philadelphia’s twin city Camden, New Jersey.

At the crime scene, and unknown to all three, the murdered man, his executioner, and the observer “Visitor“, three or four others were involved viewing the murderous scene. Idly he wondered if they all were unknown to one another? The Visitor’ calculated in his devious and somewhat paranoid mind, and was glad all anybody knew of him in a 100 yard radius of his spot, was that he was an unknown stranger to the area. He had waited on shore watching each passenger for any hint of recognition, and finding none, he finally boarded safely at Philadelphia, and was undetected.

In the greater scheme he was not an unknown to Philadelphia. Also he
had secretly visited and directed construction at Fenwick Mansion in Philadelphia about fifteen years ago, and had relatives and friends in the area. The old ferry ship named “Wayward Wanderer” seemed to pause every now and then and lurch forward again briefly…then shudder, just like the murdered man did as he collapsed in a heap he thought. The ferry was old and water logged. The City of Brotherly Love had silently witnessed it all from the opposite side of the river.

He briefly glanced at the sky.  He saw some dark clouds rolling toward him, and sensed a storm was brewing and ready to break. It would be sundown and possibly a lot wetter, by the time he got inland and down river to his own destination. The downpour began suddenly and broke. Sir Guy Fallo proceeded to go and meet at the appointed place down river.

On the outskirts of the city, Fenwick Mansion was its own political jurisdiction and independent of the two square miles that comprised Philadelphia.

Sheriff Richard Fenwick (no relation) was well aware of this, and paced up and down determinedly. He was worried and nervous. He was trying to calculate the political implications inherent with his finding this dead body. The Fenwicks and their linked in families were very well connected.

And right now, the Manor was a business that was being managed by some foreign immigrant he didn’t really trust. He knew he as County Sheriff was not welcome at the old Mansion. Even the servants and staff seemed to enjoy avoiding answering any questions directly. He noted they squirmed when questioned because of the reality that a semi-nude dead body had been found on the premises. Sheriff Fenwick well knew that it was likely that the staff really didn’t know from where this young man came, or how he came to be DEAD. “I am going to get to the bottom of this,” he thought.

But not knowing what the Sheriff was silently thinking, Deputy Wainscott blurted out loud, “We have to figure out whether this is a murder or a suicide.” And admit that the perp got away! Who was he visiting here , and why? I know, I’ll call up the “Posse

Comitatus”, he proclaimed.

“No, you won’t,” thundered the Sheriff! Rmember that riot of the Native Americans last year that burned two Catholic Churches, killing several Irish and German immigrants, almost cost me my job. The mobs were racist and anti-religion. “Oh Right!”, not a good idea said the Deputy remembering all the problems.

“I am not saying that it wouldn’t be useful to call up that old English “Common law” of the Posse Comitatus from the 16th century for help, Thomas. But not now, since we know them to be more Nativist American and less willing to uphold a law they don’t like. They’re not law abiding. I didn’t know that last year! No, we have to be smarter than make that mistake again. Go look around the Mansion and check for any fresh tracks. But be careful of the trail that leads down to the Schuylkill River way back into the proper city.”

Harrumph ! He cleared his throat and having ended his own tirade When in reality the Sheriff didn’t have a clue what had happened at Fenwick Manor. Deputy Thomas was a much younger man, energetic, impulsive a little, but very loyal. “I’ll go contact the Detectives I know in Germantown Borough”, the younger man said. “They ought to be able to develop more information about the Mansion. Its closer to their jurisdiction. Maybe they’ll cooperate too,though of course they don’t
have too legally. They’re as independent as we are!” Deputy Thomas also knew that the Sheriff , though he had the authority to call up the “Posse Comitatus”, he wouldn’t. And the Governor issued an executive order that the County Sheriff could no longer call up the Posse without the approval of the Governor. The Sheriff got badly burned last year.

He was totally humiliated the last time he called it, and the County government that hired him had allowed anyone who wanted to excuse himself from the call up to not answer the call. No, he knew his older friend and boss wouldn’t do that again. Deputy Thomas resolved to try and get the various independent jurisdictions to voluntarily cooperate. It was a better way, though more difficult.

Sheriff Fenwick and his Deputy were still unaware of the murder on the ferry boat, or was it on the River’s liquid surface, or, where the ship tied up at the dock’s side in Camden, New Jersey. No one knew exactly. Nevertheless, he was worried, as the cases lately kept
coming in and increasing in intensity of their mayhem. Over the past month a dozen dead bodies have been found all over the county, in the City and also in the provincial townships, and hamlets too. The problem for him was that as Sheriff of Philadelphia County, he could call on the authorities in each township,borough and hamlet, but he could not demand their help. He had to convince them to cooperate.

Nodding at the Mansion , Sheriff Fenwick said, “It’s still a grand Mansion, but about the same as it was long ago. Only the real difference was that now we have another mysterious murder to go along with the others in the County. And murders amongst
the rich seem always more complicated.” Only last week the Sheriff was re-appointed but by only one vote at City Council. He knew the political risks. “I guess this is my last year as Sheriff, and my retirement might be forced if I don’t get an handle on these crimes.”

He remembered his first investigation of an earlier murder at Fenwick. “I had another murder here about 10 years ago and ended up having to be interviewed by a Detective Edwin Poeta and an Inspector Henri Vidocque from New York City“, he said to his Deputy. Remembering that they were sent for by some unknown person, he thought. “They were intrusive in their questions too.” Seems like the New
Yorkers had a series of serial murders with ritual overtones and had wanted to check out a lead to Old Fenwick and to try tying him to some secret and unknown society. He still suspected they had ulterior motives.

They left they said, with some valuable clues and evidence. He didn’t know what it was. They didn’t share it with the Sheriff. And the Sheriff was unable to track down a rumor that the New York Detectives had consulted with a Daniel Lippard, father of today’s Journalist, pulp newspaper writer and publisher. Lippard senior was a political appointee.

When the Sheriff and his first deputy arrived at the mansion they got to see what they both believed were the torture chambers of Fenwick Mansion; located in a sub-basement cave. They found the walls were covered with paintings with strange symbols. At that time Sheriff Richard Fenwick, (not related to the old colonial family at Fenwick
Mansion and Plantation) had trained himself in ciphering and deciphering the clues as if they were special codes, which of course they were.
But he had to figure out the key to breaking them.

The New York Detectives were certain they had deciphered the symbols and the religious codes which came, they said, from the “Monks out on the Wissahikon.” They were way off ! Sir Guy Fallo of course hadn’t been listening or even thinking of the Sheriff. But he did have something in common with the Sheriff; though against the Sheriff he had hired the two New Yorker Detectives to do what he could not do himself… talk with the Sheriff about the cases. Sir Guy had helped those out-of-town investigators and provided them diagrams and a map with extra penciled in drawings that the builders constructed three sub-basements at the Mansion.

The Sheriff and his Deputy rode back into town down to the Schuylkill River trail. Now “Something is similar, but I’m not sure how yet,” said the Sheriff Fenwick aloud to no one in particular, though his Deputy Thomas Wainscot was the only horseback rider close enough to near him. He and the deputy had scribbled notes before they got on their horses for the long ride back into town. They headed to the Gaol/Jail near the port on Dock street. Deputy Thomas would help by consulting with some friends and officials in the Township/borough of Germantown. The Mansion and its 1,000 acres were located just on the edge of the Borough of Germantown, and was technically its own Township independent of Philadelphia and Germantown.

Fenwick Mansion of course had a deciding influence politically in Philadelphia. No sooner than they had arrived back in the city, when they heard about the shooting a on the Philadelphia-Camden Ferry. “ One here at the mansion and now another on the riverboat in the middle of the River. Makes me wonder if they are somehow connected,” said Deputy Thomas Wainscot. “Maybe yes, maybe no!”, said the Sheriff. “But I don’t know how exactly yet.” “Don’t get ahead of the evidence you already have “son“, the Sheriff said to his Deputy Thomas. “We have to make haste, but slowly!” “Maybe we don’t really have jurisdiction for the murder on the Delaware River. So maybe we only have to solve one murder. Maybe the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey will decide where the
boundaries on the water are drawn.” He knew it was a legal fiction. Sheriff Fenwick responded impatiently to his deputy, “Well, we‘re not yet sure that it was a murder at the Fenwick subterranean caves, are we!” And we might have jurisdiction on the Ferry incident!, since the owner resides and is a citizen of Pennsylvania.

“And no doubt the Mayor and the Chief of Police of both cities and surrounding townships were already talking about this affair on the Delaware River. But It usually takes them days or weeks to finally for all the Lawyers to come to any agreement. In the meantime we have to act as if the circumstances of all dead bodies found have to be investigated and it determined by the Coroner, how and why
they died. This inquest ought to be interesting. The legal niceties will no doubt come later.” And Deputy Wainscot thought that water is too soft to draw a boundary line on anyway. Sheriff Fenwick thought his assistant was being sidetracked again with irrelevant and unhelpful things.

Fenwick itself was an old mansion that had been standing on the outskirts of the city for over 200 years. It faced south, had high columns at the entrance and had seen better days. It was covered with Ivy on the walls. It had high Tudor style windows, and it was built high on a hill. But it was deteriorating now, the brick work was
crumbling. It had several workable fireplaces even on the basement levels.

Someone in the titled Fenwick family had inscribed its history on a plaque on its walls which read: Fenwick Mansion homestead belonged to the second son of the 1st Baronet of Wallington Hall, of Northumberland, England in 1694, a “Master Architect”. Written history said that he was a warrior and a great philosopher who
also studied Alchemy and led actual searches for the Holy Grail.

The Fenwicks had had their share of scandals in their history. It had been rumored that the second son was Knighted and had been an officer in Cromwell’s army. The Fenwicks lost their influence when Parliament restored the Monarchy. This had actually forced him to become a refugee. So he gave up his sword, became a Quaker, and settled in the Province of Pennsylvania.

Historically: It’s been said that the original Wallington Hall , in Yorkshire was part of the family heritage and had extensive lands there since 1475. Sheriff Fenwick still believed that Fenwick Mansion was used for secret purposes which were kept from the public. And the
secrets were in the sub-basements, and extensive caves below the main hall that went down 50 to 60 feet. He had no proof, of course.
He privately thought that the Free and Accepted Masons were somehow behind all of this. He had no proof of this either.

At present Fenwick Mansion was owned or managed by Sir Guy Fallo who also claimed to be related to the Fenwicks, though distantly on the female genealogical lines. Apparently a Lady Fenwick had run off to wed a Portuguese Knight. Guy Fallo was their son, he was also a builder and architect and had made many changes in the old Mansion’s structure. The old and retired aged Knight of Fenwick had long ago (50
years) turned to more private pursuits such as building up a huge library containing ancient manuscripts in theology, science, botany, and histories. He also put aside his sword of war as had his ancestor. He maintained though that he was still a titled Knighthood. Knighthood had been a personal reward and commendation, not an act
of any Government. He also felt that his family had been Knights Templar in a long ago age. (The fact that he was born and raised in Pennsylvania was immaterial to his family’s noble status granted by a Sovereign authority in England.) He was a pretentious recluse.

Sir Guy Fallo mostly ignored the old Fenwick Master. To the public Fenwick appeared like a Monk in a Monastery wearing a hooded
cowl. Neighboring wags in the local pubs would brag as if they knew all about the secret societies that old man was part of a ‘secret group’. The old Knight liked the rumors, and did nothing to discourage them. He liked the stories about Knights, and the talk about Order of the Rosy Cross. He was also fond of reading and quoting from “Don Quijote de la Mancha.” He smiled whenever he heard of such tales.

Many even believed that deadly poisons were home grown at Fenwick Mansion. It’s true that some were cultivated with such premeditation. He even built a family chapel and named it “St Giles in the Fields”, though all was left of the fields was a largish vegetable garden next to the herb fields. “You keep them separated…you are forbidden to mix cotton and wool together.’

Those who heard this were more puzzled than thinking they had just received a new revelation. The wags would say that the old guy was daft.

However this Fenwick Mansion was more pretentious. The original St. Giles chapel had ruins on the family estate in back England. (St. Giles was the patron saint for those ’wounded’, and this was carried over to the family crest with a ‘wounded deer or Elk’ leaping emblazoned on it.) Old man Fenwick never felt much like a Quaker anyway in his inner heart.

Still old wives, as he thought of them, would come from the city for cooking herbs and herbs for their medical potions. One was even claimed to be able to assist women in becoming pregnant, obviously by enabling the man to continue a longer time in his intimate an ready state.

Back at the Ferry landing , “The Visitor” muttered to himself that It looks like homicide. He always trusted his gut instincts and waited for the ’reasoning’ power to catch up with them. And he didn’t like it, as this murder , he sensed, was something personal about it. The murdered man was being pursued, chased, from somewhere. Stalked even! Where? Why?

 He briefly glanced at the sky.  He saw some dark clouds rolling toward him, and sensed a storm was brewing and ready to break. It would be sundown and possibly a lot wetter, when he got inland and further down river. The downpour began suddenly and broke over his head.

Miles away by a two horse carriage, the ship’s “Master Pilot” knew “the Visitor” on sight, the Sheriff, and his deputy didn’t. The occupant from the Fenwick Mansion and Plantation got on at the Mansion’s landing on the Schuylkill River. “Good to see you again, Sir!” ” I’ve been waiting on your getting here. Did you hear about that foolishness up
at the Mansion yesterday?” “I have,” answered Guy Pallo dismissively.

The Sheriff and his Deputy were tired when they got on their horses and rode back to the center of the city district. “Get all your notes together tomorrow and come meet me at City Tavern at about high noon,” the Sheriff called out to the Deputy. The Sheriff was glad to see his wife when he arrived at his home. He was really tired, and needed sleep. She had a good meal ready for him when he arrived. He went to bed early, had his usual vivid dreams that stole away the rest he needed.

He slept, but turned often as not, his mind was engulfed and was tormented with dreams of deer and elk leaping over streams and dying with an arrow in their hind legs. He had been having this dream for weeks. In the scenes he dreamed, it always happened that as
the Deer or Elk fell to his death he was transformed into a young man. He woke with a start, his heart pounding! And as quickly as he had dreamt, it vanished and faded away as the bright sun struck his eyes. He still wondered why he was dreaming such strange and vivid dreams, and what did they mean? Putting it aside, he got up, dressed and went to the breakfast his wife had already prepared for him.

It was later in the afternoon by the time they met at City Tavern. The Deputy had secured details from the Mansion, and had also collected other information from the Coroner to give his boss. And he had new information about the ritual-like murder on the ferry in the middle of the river. Thomas Wainscott also knew that the Mayors and their lawyer friends were already meeting and bickering about who had the legal authority to prosecute. The Deputy thought, it’s useless for them to argue now, who is going to prosecute, when the Sheriff and I haven’t even found anybody to charge with “Murder”. It looks like murder,and it looks like it might be connected to the dead body at the Mansion, but who knows, it might not be.

It was now eight or ten hours later on the following day, and the deputy had prepared for his meeting with his boss the Sheriff. He had carefully written down all the information in the interviews that had been conducted. He had his finest nub of a quill pen. It was a laborious task that he had started at first light that morn. And he had just been passed a note from Germantown Detective Charlie Myers to contact him for some interesting details.

“Now a stranger had stayed at the Mansion for a few days for some purpose. Now how did he end up in a heap and dead? And a few hours later that man’s friend would himself get himself shot on that ferry? A witness had placed the murdered man on the “Spirit of the Wissahikon” when it arrived coming down the River Schuylkill. The last stop was at the piers nearby the Fenwick Homestead. Was the murdered man on the Ferry related in some way to the young crumpled corpse laying
on the basement floor up at Fenwick? Was the shooter that got away involved in these those business relationships, or was it just a fluke and co-incidence.

The old sheriff said, “ Of course you know that more things are called co-incidences than are justified by the circumstances. Usually, there is no such a thing as an ‘accident’ when it comes to physical harm.

“Damn queer thing if you ask me,” muttered the Sheriff, still thinking back to yesterday at Fenwick Plantation. The deputy had no response, and agreed with the Sheriff’s thoughts. Deputy Thomas prided himself on just getting the facts written down. He had everything anyone who claimed to be a witness was willing to say. Both the Sheriff and his deputy understood that witnesses were usually wrong in many important details. But they understood the nature of reports about anything so
intense as a murder. Overall witnesses actually know more than they think they know. He wanted to talk with them again about the surrounding observations, and not just who did what to who. For example, the color of their clothes, type, age, hair color. Anything unusual !

For sure, the Sheriff tried to digest and make sense of all the witnesses reports on Friday’s brazen murder on the ferry at the pier landing. I wonder who is this passenger who was seen standing outside the pilot’s steering house. Still, it’s a bit strange that a witness saw the boat and then some unknown person was seen standing near the Captain’s pilot house watching and talking, while the shooting was
in process. “I saw him,” one said. But nobody could identify who he was. Or where he went after the boat landed.

The Sheriff and his Deputy continued drinking their coffee , when a newsboy hurried in with an ’Extra’ The Deputy bought a copy of the ’extra’ ‘Town Crier” newspaper, and quickly turned to the story on the front page. Then Deputy spoke as he turned the pages. “It seems a young journalist we know, had gotten into the Police Headquarters and taken verbatim accounts of the murder at Fenwick Mansion and
now claims there is a connection to the Ferry boat murder, too.” The Sheriff scoffed!

The journalist was named George Lippard, and had already made a name for himself exposing the darker side of the pure “Quaker City”. “He’s doing it again!”, Exclaimed the Sheriff. The Sheriff knew of Lippard who was now about 25 years old , and had once been a Seminary student for a couple years, left that training and
took up the job of ’reading the law’, learning how to become a Lawyer. He studied with the reform Attorney General. Presto! Now he was a Journalist! Thomas Wainscott did see, and he didn’t like George’s attitude. Actually Thomas was a little jealous of the reputation Lippard had developed as an independent investigator.

The upper crust of society didn’t like Lippard at all. He (the journalist) writes for the ’Spirit of the Times’ and “The Town Crier”, had apparently yesterday gotten into the Mansion and viewed the dead body even before the Sheriff Fenwick and Deputy got there.

The Deputy read aloud the lead paragraph. “The Fenwick Mansion murder is such a presentation that a badly bloodied dead body was found , of a partially nude young man who was found alone in the basement of a very private club of the “Quaker City” named Fenwick Mansion. “The murdered lad”, the article and the Deputy continued, “was clad (strangely enough) only in a loose ill fitted sleep shirt which
seems like it wasn’t even owned by him. The clothing ended at his waist; he wore no socks, no shoes, no trousers, no underpants. And he had wine stains on his sleep shirt. The young man’s head was crushed at the top as if the head and his shoulders hit the dank basement floor with some downward force, mangling the shoulders, arms, and
hands. The crushed head pooled blood on the floor of the basement. It was a death dealing blow! It is hard to conjecture that he fell accidentally from the ceiling. The basement room was only accessible from inside. There are no outside entryways.

Blood was all about the corpse, dried in the air. The bruises reported that the young man had put out his hands to break his fall, or ward off a blow in a probable defensive gesture. There were also some scuff marks on the young man’s feet. Or animal bite marks! In any
case he hit the earthen and wooden floor. “Possibly,” Lippard continued to write, “the young man had been stooped down, when the fatal blow was struck to the side of his head. Now do you think that the young man knew or did he not know his attacker? Why was he stooped, or kneeling down? What was his business at Fenwick Mansion all about. Was he a friendly boarder, or a close relative or business partner of some sort? The staff are deliberately silent revealing nothing. There was a mysterious smell in the area. It was a pervasive fragrance, yet sharp to the nostrils of something…like “Apples”, but of Apples and
Blood mixed together. Strangely pungent ! Another corner of the basement had a pervasive smell of sulphur usually associated with rotted eggs.”

The journalist continued writing, that the body was still in a state of extreme erotic arousal when found. “I speculated that as the body cooled down and the rigor set in, but very curiously so, and enough so that a certain member of the body retained its full rigid state. Strange though that his face was red as if the blood had been forced to tint the face before the fatal blow. Almost as red as a young woman wearing cosmetics on her face. I observed,” the journalist waxed, “that the crime scene was physically intact, and there was no stairwell placed nearby, nor opening in the floor above from which the young man might have fallen. If he had fallen. The body was slumped right in front of the Servants fireplace in the basement. One can only speculate on how could this have happened? The sounds must have been muffled, as none were reported by the staff. How could the partially clad young
man end up like this? Or was he moved from someplace else, where the original crime actually happened? This is a crime scene. Was it “logical”? And will our local Sheriff explain all this as he surely must eventually to a Inquest Grand Jury?”

“He is just trying to provoke,” said the Sheriff. The Deputy’s words now broke in the Sheriff Fenwick’s consciousness with his reading , “Well I did notice when I was there a strong smell of apples that pervaded the premises. I could not explain it as there were not seen any explainable origins of the smell of apples in the house or in
the gardens.” The Deputy said,”I also saw what looked like bite marks on the young man’s ankles and bare feet. He also had scrapes and bruises all over his body, and could have been beaten or tortured. I didn’t see any containers about that would explain that apples might have recently been used or crushed.” “ Oh, I did see,” continued the Deputy Wainscott, “that there were several strange looking plants
and large roots near and lying about. Did I imagine it, or did these roots appeared to almost take the form or resemble the human body’s anatomy. But they were gnarled and distorted, not real. Never seen anything like that before in my life,” Thomas finished.

The Sheriff remembered now, he had seen the journalist talking to the Attorney General Ovid Johnson the previous week. But he didn’t like the sound of the “appeared to take human form” phrase expressed by Thomas. Deputy Wainscott was too suggestible and was known to talk a lot about Mesmerism and the Occult, and to read sensational books about the ’Dark Arts, and about Alchemy.

The previous week George LIppard hadn’t noticed Sheriff Fenwick watching him, as he was copying the Police reports of petty crime, drunkenness, gambling, and prostitution. The Sheriff Fenwick also knew where the young journalist worked, and had studied or ‘read the law’. He was not impressed with Lippard nor was Lippard
awed by the Sheriff. Sheriff Fenwick thought that the young man was just trying to promote his sensationalist weekly series “The Quaker City” anyway he could. No doubt in time, the City fathers will come to me suggesting that Journalist Lippard had done something criminal and ought to be investigated or arrested. But I can’t honestly say that he had done any wrong, thought the Sheriff.

Last year the Sheriff had received rumors and tried to talk with Sir Guy Fallo about his importing and exporting businesses at the Mansion. Guy Fallo did not want to speak to Richard Fenwick directly so he had a subordinate do it. The Sheriff was informed in no uncertain terms that Fenwick Mansion was a private club, where the very wealthy gathered themselves together to have parties and plan other business ventures or deals. The Sheriff also knew that while enjoying art works, people at
the Mansion also enjoyed a type of pulp literature. It was all safe from prying eyes and ears of the public. The Sheriff was told that what consenting adults do in private is not the public’s business. A man’s home is his castle. And Fenwick Mansion was actually a Castle. The Sheriff was not so sure of all these goings on , but had no evidence otherwise, so he had to let the issues drop. He also didn’t met or know what ‘Sir” Guy Fallo even looked like.

Suddenly the Deputy started rummaging through the papers, as if a candle had just illuminated his eyes and brains. Almost out loud the Sheriff heard Deputy Thomas say, “I know I saw it in here somewhere.

“What do you think you saw?” “Where?”

“I saw the words that one witness says that he saw the murdered man get off a horse just before he alighted on the ferry to cross the Delaware. And he saw another man run up from 10 paces behind him and do the same thing.

“Sheriff Fenwick, the two men knew each other before the incident on the Ferry.” It was true that the first man was shot dead on the docks in Camden town. The witness said he thought he saw the horse the shooter rode getting away. It had a crest embossed on the saddle. “It was unusual for a leather saddle to have a an obvious carved crest of a red cross over a Rose.”

“Oh, you’re back on the dock’s in Camden,” a bit exasperated said the Sheriff. However, the deputy knew that he wasn’t confused, the Sheriff was. Why is this information important?

“To find out what family crest it might be embossed on it.” And it means the horseman was there waiting for the shooter and had his horse ready. See, it’s a larger plot that we first thought,” said the Deputy.

“Okay, so what do we have now?” the Sheriff said, picking up his brewed coffee and sipped a little. ( It was too hot to drink in gulps! He hated it being too hot! ) “The murdered man on the ferry is about 15 or so years older than the semi-nude young man we found at Fenwick Mansion. They’re connected, how ?” And Thomas said, “I still don’t know their names either. Somebody has seen and knows more about this than they are talking freely talking about. Yep! No doubt
about it!” said the Deputy Wainscott.

On the river, ‘the Visitor’ had immediately jumped to the wharf and walked briskly to the slumped man who was bleeding from that fatal left temple shot in his head. He saw that the body was lying near the edge of the dock and the water unattended.

“The Visitor” glanced about and checked out whether anyone was watching him and saw none! In those few seconds or minutes, everyone was shouting, talking, pointing in the direction the horse carriage had taken down the street. No one was watching him, so carefully the Visitor bent over the body, visually assessed the clothes, type of
shoes. Briefly, but quickly, he put his hands on the hands, finger, neck and head of the dead man, mentally recording it all. And he looked for anything, any mark or bruise that might identify something. He raised himself, then exclaimed, “Ahh, there is that distinct fragrance of apples.” He slid his hand into the dead man’s pockets for
some object of identification, found and removed a ring he quickly put into his own pocket. He put a small pack of yellow seeds he extracted from the man’s coat pocket into his own. Got up and quickly left with the Mandrake seeds in his breast pocket.

(Mandrake roots and seeds when cooked up in a potion, drunk, allow the consumer to feel flushed, with increased heart rate, and with strong erotic feelings). Hmmm. a chemical arousal substance!,he thought.

Later in the same day, after walking southeast from Camden along the canal, the Visitor came upon an old Victorian type of home, saw a candle light reflected through the glass at the front stained glass door. He walked up the steps and was about to reach for the door, when it abruptly opened of its own accord.

“Come on in, I am glad you got here, Sir Guy Fallo,” said an older man. (The older man was a retired Master Pilot who had charted ships on both the Delaware and the Schuylkill Rivers). “I have prepared what you said in your mail last month. Come sit down and I’ll show you the charts and graphs with their symbolic images and meanings. I learned these meanings from the Alchemical and Zoharic Kabbalah scriptures and diagrams.

“First, tell me all about Fenwick Mansion’s troubles. I heard from some on the ferry here that the Estate Manager is in big trouble. The Pilot related what he knew.

“Ahha…just as I thought,” said Guy Fallo, “that was no deliberate murder at the mansion, it was an just an accident. The young man probably fell through the chutes that were built in front of every fireplace, from the top three floors all the way down to the three sub-basements. I know, as I helped to design and built them. Ashes from the fireplaces could more easily be removed thru the chutes, than carry them through the whole mansion.

I think the young man was probably having business with someone and when standing, or staggered, unknowingly tripping the latch under the rug in front of the fireplace. Plunged to his death, instantly falling . Understandably, whoever that was, his partner left, after descending to see the dead young man’s nude body in the first basement cellar area. Obviously knowing that he could do nothing for him, departed,
as he didn’t want their identity or business known.

“Well,” interjected the old retired Pilot, “the Sheriff Fenwick doesn’t know or can’t figure that out… yet!” “Another problem is that I did see an employee of Fenwick’s kill somebody this afternoon on the ferry as I was coming down to see you.”

“You might have seen a relative, maybe a cousin of the Fenwick’s who has been feuding with the manager. “The dead man had this ring, with a crest on it. And these yellow seeds in a packet in his breast pocket.” “What do you make of them?”

The Pilot looked at it and confirmed what Guy Fallo already knew: “That’s a Fenwick family crest for sure! (New style too!) And those yellow seeds are part of the Mandrake root harvest, it comes from the violet and white colored flower, and these are the seeds that the plant produces. Crush one in your fingers, it’ll smell of pungent apples. There are a lot of hallucinogenic inducing plants and herbs at the Mansions herb gardens.”

“Now we know all or most of the evidence that the Sheriff may present to the Inquest Grand Jury. The murderer was a cousin of the dead young man at the Mansion, and the dead man in Camden had some kind of an encounter with him.

I took a crested ring from him, so robbery is involved also. It was likely a business deal gone sour or the personal feud that you just mentioned.

“Whereas the first killing was accidental death, unfortunate, but still an accident tripping the latch that opens the chutes. The second seems to be homicide murder or manslaughter with additional robbery

“Does the whole incident depend on whether the herbs were used in the service of the accident, or do you think the young man at the Mansion also took some kind of mineral salts or something sulfurous?

“No, we need a chemist to analyze the wine in the partly consumed bottle found at the mansion. It might be laced with some kind of poison.”

Guy Fallo turned to the Pilot and said that the newspaperman Lippard will try to make something of these deaths, as if the Mayor and his friends of the City were trying to hide their crimes. “I met George Lippard, the journalist, when he was but 19 years of age and had only just arrived in the City from Chester. He had already written these
unsublte morality plays of his. He was trying to implicate Fenwick. So I got some New York Detectives to come down and mislead him. And Lippard bought it all, and was now peddling them as new exposes of the City of Philadelphia. He started calling Philadelphia the “Quaker City” after that. He got it all wrong of course, and was overreaching.

Meanwhile I’ll get in touch with my friends at Philadelphia’s Mayor and
Council office and get the Sheriff reassigned.”

“The use of drugs in this day and age is hardly a crime. And the shooting on the Ferry actually will mean that it won’t be investigated thoroughly, for lack of legal jurisdiction. So it will be written off with no proof of anything more than a personal argument or duel of honor. I have friends in the “Order” who will take care of things in the City, and they direct the county government. But its a shame the county has
no unified Police and is divided into 21 different , competing jurisdictions.”


About Ric Ben-Safed

Technical and Freelance Writer, degrees in History,Psychology, and Master's in Social Policy and Planning. written hundreds of reports in regard to mental health, major research in genealogy and genetic genealogy as well as local history. I try to be and Independent leaning Libertarian but also like the cooperative anarchist ideas of L.Neil Smith, Murray Rombard, J. Neil Schulman. Fascinated by (Philadelphians, George Lippard ( 1830-1854). Gothic & City Noir, appreciate the Mystics of Philadelphia Mystic Johaness Kelpius (1667-1708), even "God may be a Verb!).
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