Dancing Suite, part 2: The Consequences of Flight, 17/19
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Fandom: Murdoch Mysteries
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: William Murdoch/James Pendrick
Characters: William Murdoch, James Pendrick, Julia Ogden, Inspector Brackenreid, Georges Crabtree, James Gillies, Dr. Roberts (Murdoch Mysteries), Thomas Edison, Auguste Lumière, Gustave Eiffel, Marcel Guillaume, Antoine Lumière, Alphonse Bertillon, Louis Lumière
Additional Tags: A host of OCs - Freeform, A host of historical figures, Diary/Journal, Fake Academic Essay, Historically Accurate, Bycicles
Series: Part 2 of The Dancing Suite
The following is taken from a recently defended Master’s cognate in History entitled « The Consequences of Flight : The Rediscovered Diary of a Canadian Homosexual in the Late-Victorian Era. »
The Murdoch Diary, part 2:
4 July 1900
4 July, Wednesday
The world turned upside down again. Here we are in Paris, our talents and our names recognized, at least behind closed doors. I must admit, reluctantly, the Guillaume pulled through for us. Granted, it is mostly to his benefit, but we can not and will not complain. Officially, when in public, we remain Beckett and Gagnon, but the names now serve as a kind of cover. However, to the Police, with permission of the Sûreté headquarters, we are ourselves again. Monday, James and I took the position of "specialists" at the Police station, working out if its stables. We will earn 22 hundred francs a year each, as much as most street patrolmen. There is no room for advancement outside of Marcel Guillaume's own. Where he goes, we go. We are his Canadiens and will work as forensic analysts, all around tinkermen and soundboards for him. Guillaume remains a provisional investigator for the time being, but should soon replace the station's inspector when he himself replaces Mr. Pontaillier^1^ upon his retirement as police chief. Probably next year if the rumours are correct.
We and Guillaume serve as a kind of experiment. Last week, we were summoned to Pontaillier's office by no other than Bertillon^2^, with a representative from the "Première section du Deuxième bureau de la Première division,^3^" who would not give us his name, and in the presence of Guillaume and Duponnois. Bertillon explained he hoped to expand his anthropometric department to include the full use of detecting techniques and new technologies. The Sûreté is dubious at best but trust Bertillon. They are willing to disregard our "moral inferiority^4^" in order to exploit my own investigative experience in Toronto and James's engineering acumen, so long as we remain in the shadows. We were given a week to decide, as he there was a choice to be made.
Our new life is both simpler and greatly stimulating to the intellect, similar enough to my life in Toronto, but with James taking a larger part. We cycle in the morning to Phillipe de Grand street and untangle the physical evidence Guillaume brings us. When not occupied by evidence (everything but finger marks, which still go directly to Bertillon's office) we busy ourselves reconstructing the many surveillance devices James and I perfected back home, with the key difference that none may now be associated with our names. Any report we draft are signed by Guillaume. Our discoveries are his. Our devices are Bertillon's.
I find myself sanguine about our prospects. With this position, I am once again a police officer, if tangentially, and I serve the law. I never cared for renown and have avoided fame. None of my supposed inventions were anything other than expansions on others' ideas. The ultraviolet light James and I finished this morning is only an application of Wood and Ruben's research^5^.
James is less enthused by the forced anonymity. Public recognition of his genius is important to him, as the last months have demonstrated. He thinks, however, that we may use our position as a means to invent apparatuses we could patent ourselves, using the facilities at our disposal here. I see him scheming and the glint in his eye, the one that drew me to him all those years ago, has returned. He shows genuine interest in the forensic sciences and the thrill of criminal investigation. This morning, unprompted, he mused the we might make ourselves useful after all. I can only agree.
Very little information about Pontaillier remains in the public record. Both when he was commissaire at Pantin (a Paris suburb) and later in La Chapelle, neither city books, nor newspapers give his first name. Systematic research in Police records was not within the purview of this cognate essay.
Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914), renown French criminologist, generally recognized as an inventor of biometric analysis, he applied photography and anthropological measurement to law enforcement (known as the Bertillon system or Bertillonage), creating an identification system based on physical characteristics.
In the 1900 Paris Préfecture de Police organizational structure, the first office of the second section of the first division is responsible for the case files of individuals under arrest and the expulsion procedure files of foreign nationals under arrest.
Certainly a reference to homosexuality.
Most likely, Murdoch is referring to Robert William Wood (1865-1955), an American physicist, and Henrich Rubens (1865-1922), a German physicist, both renown for their separate and common research at Berlin University on the light spectrum, including ultraviolet. Wood would continue his research on ultraviolet light, as well as ultrasounds, at Johns Hopkins University.