Fic: York

Jun. 13th, 2017 04:17 pm
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] holmes_minor
Title: York
Form/Word count: 500
Characters/Pairing: Dr John Watson
Rating: PG
Warning/Content: Watson is visiting York.  Warning for the effects of Victorian poverty.

We had gone to York because of its railway station, one of the largest in England.  Situated at the crossing place of so many different lines, it was the ideal point for us to meet our old friend Inspector MacDonald, who had returned to Scotland and was now promoted to Chief Inspector with the Edinburgh police.  MacDonald had information relevant to one of Holmes’ cases, and he hoped in return to obtain assistance on one of his.

We had booked rooms at the Royal Station Hotel and arrived there in the early afternoon, to be greeted warmly by MacDonald.  We discussed Holmes’ case for a while, and then the conversation turned to MacDonald’s.  I excused myself and said I would take the opportunity to explore some of the city, and agreed I would join them for dinner that evening.

 I headed first for the Minster, as most visitors to the city do.  The nave is very large, the Quire screen, with its line of kings, impressive, and the stained glass awe-inspiring, indeed the Great East Window is the largest I have ever seen.

Bradshaw’s had recommended a visit to Clifford’s Tower, being all that remained of the Castle.  Accordingly I set off across the city to see it.  However, I must have taken a wrong turning, for I was soon in a maze of small streets.  I had assumed York to be a genteel city, but the poverty I found in these streets was as bad as what I was accustomed to in the East End of London.

I was attempting to retrace my footsteps when I all but bumped into a gentleman who was hurrying across my path.  I hastened to apologise, but was interrupted by a young voice which called out, “Doctor, Doctor, this way, please hurry.”

Without thinking I turned my steps to hasten in the direction of the voice, only to realise it was the other gentleman who was being summoned.  He hurried into a building, and something caused me to follow.  Inside there was a young woman in labour, but the doctor had arrived too late to do anything other than close her eyes.  Four small children huddled in a corner, the youngest uncomprehending, the oldest clearly aware she was now the family’s mother.

I could do little for them, but pressed some pennies into the hands of the oldest so they might at least have something for their supper that night.  I left, my mood more sombre than when I had begun my sightseeing walk.

As I made my way back towards the hotel, I was overtaken by the doctor.

“Thank you, friend, for what you did,” he said.

“It was nothing,” I replied.  “I doubt you will be paid for your visit.”

“I make enough in my chemist’s shop I can help those in need for free.”  He smiled and turned into his shop.

I smiled back.  “In which case, John Saville, I will buy something so you will not lose out completely.”

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