Friday, 14 August 2015
Sherlock Holmes And The Time Patrol
"The private agent smiled sourly and watched [two disguised Time Patrolmen] with a narrow eye as they approached the mound; he was tall, thin, hawkfaced, and accompanied by a burly, mustached fellow with a limp who seemed a kind of amanuensis." (Time Patrol, p. 25)
Poul Anderson practices the art of understatement in this passage. Manse Everard, who is our viewpoint character and one of the two Patrolmen, knows very well that the burly, mustached, limping fellow is the private agent's amanuensis. It was reading that fellow's veiled reference to this incident that has brought Everard to 1894 in the first place.
The private agent asks Everard a sharp question after noiselessly approaching from behind. Everard has several paragraphs of conversation with Holmes who must be very carefully misdirected. The local Patrol office dare not employ him because he might learn too much. And later in Everard's career, the latter must secure the Altamont case.