The Mystery of Keats’ Missing ‘Endymion’— Solved.

Historian Albert Winslow sat at his desk in a sparsely furnished London office. Using two large wooden tweezers, he gently unrolled the manuscript. Faded calligraphy on tea coloured paper revealed its age and fragility. With a magnifying glass he studied the almost illegible signature confirming the author, John Keats.

Winslow peered over the top of his wire-framed spectacles. He studied the gentleman sitting opposite, who repeatedly wiped his balding head with a handkerchief. ‘Sir, where did you say you found this manuscript?’

‘I didn’t exactly find it. It’s part of my inheritance.’

Removing his spectacles, the historian studied the gentleman sitting on the other side of his desk fidgeting in his chair. ‘What did you say your name was?’

‘Kent. Michael Kent.’

‘Mr Kent, this signature doesn’t appear to resemble a Kent.’

‘It was handed down on my mother’s side. My mother changed my surname when she remarried.’

‘I see. Leave it with me, Mr Kent. I’ll have it valued for you by tomorrow. Leave your details with my secretary on the way out.’ He rose and shook his client’s hand.

Winslow’s secretary entered his office the following morning. He looked up as she reached his desk.

‘Miss Harwich, could you please place a call to a Lord David Keats of Hampstead? Give him my name and switch him through to my office. Give me a few minutes though, I need to talk to Scotland Yard.’

‘Yes, Mr Winslow.’

It took just moments for Lord Keats’s voice to be heard.

‘Lord Keats?’

‘Yes, this is he.’

‘I believe I have in my possession your great grandfather’s missing manuscript, ‘Endymion’.’

The line was quiet for so long that Winslow thought he had been disconnected when suddenly Lord Keats continued.

‘How can that be? It disappeared after he died, in 1821?  It’s been almost a century?’

‘Yes, I know. I also know that your father, Lord Alfred Keats, passed away last week, my condolences.’

‘Thank you, but how do you know and what does his death have to do with my great grandfather’s manuscript?’

‘Your father paid me to know. You see I’m a historian and a private investigator. Your father visited me here in London on December sixth last year. The manuscript had apparently resurfaced and he hired me to investigate its location. I sent him a wire last Monday about my findings before his heart attack. Did he mention it to you?’

‘No, and I’m not sure why he would hire anyone. Until Christmas my father and I had been investigating the mystery disappearance together for almost a decade.’

Winslow carefully chose his words before proceeding. ‘Perhaps, Lord Keats, your father discovered he hadn’t been told when someone had found it. That someone decided to use it for his own financial gain.’

‘What are you implying, Mr Winslow?’

‘Let me refresh your memory. Two years ago, your cousin, Michael Kent, inherited a meagre bequest. While clearing out his mother’s writing bureau, Kent discovered a key to a safe deposit box that contained a letter from his grandfather—your grandfather’s younger brother. With that letter was your great grandfather’s manuscript. The letter described in detail how your grandfather cheated him out of his share or their father’s estate. Your great uncle stole the manuscript after your great grandfather’s death in 1821— before he could have it published. Are you following me Lord Keats?’

‘Continue, Mr Winslow. I find your hypothesis intriguing.’

‘Late last year, your cousin decided it was time to show his hand by attempting to blackmail your father. Because your father didn’t want his conniving nephew to get his hands on his money, he came directly to me. We thought it was an open and shut case until I discovered that Michael Kent had an accomplice—someone who wanted revenge for an unrelated incident years before. Unfortunately, that piece of information inadvertently killed your father. The accomplice was you. Am I right Lord Keats?’

‘You’re very clever, Mr Winslow. There’s one thing you haven’t explained. How did you get your hands on the manuscript?’

‘That was the easy part. After your father’s death, you and your cousin-initiated plan B: to sell the manuscript to a publisher and split the profit. However, your cousin decided to have it valued first. Unfortunately for you both, he came to me. I advertise my professions separately and I only display my name on the door.’

There was another notable silence followed by a murmur of voices at Lord Keats’ end of the line. ‘You’ll have to excuse me, Mr Winslow. Apparently, I have visitors.’

‘Ah yes, my friends from Scotland Yard. Blackmail is a serious crime. Good day to you, Lord Keats.’

© Chrissy Siggee

Authors Notes:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

English poet John Keats, born October 1795 in Moorgate, London, died in February 1821 at the age of 26 from tuberculosis. His works had been the target of much abuse including his last epic poem ‘Endymion’. John Keats never married, which should indicate that the contents of: ‘The Mystery of Keats’ Missing ‘Endymion’ – Solved’ set in the early twentieth century, is completely fictional.

Archived in: Short Fiction

A Man called Rob

There once was a man called Rob,
who lived in the town of Dungog.
With daily doses of moonshine,
he couldn’t walk a straight line.
Sadly, he drowned in his grog.

Chrissy Siggee 2020

(Note: Dungog is a rural town near Maitland north of Sydney)

Archived in: 🦋 Poetry Mix

Whispers of the Dawn

Whispers of the Dawn

Gentle raindrops drizzle down,
Splashing into pond and streams.
Morning freshness all around
Spirit, wake from earthly dreams.

Robins greet the tranquil dawn
Sun-kissed roses, drip with dew
Crickets sing and daisies yawn
Light reveals this daily view.

Morning come with restful calm
Gentle whispers of the dawn
Touch me with His healing balm,
Former days and troubles gone.

Stillness come from deep within,
Peace and wonder fill this hour;
Praise and glory to begin,
Lord, fill me with your power.

Breathe new life into my soul
Fill my needs with your embrace.
Every day you make me whole,
In the knowledge of your grace.

Peaceful moments with my Lord,
Calmness flows within my veins,
Nature sings in sweet accord,
While His presence still remains.

Sunrays change to pastel hues,
Breathing in your gentle peace
Stillness of the dawn infuse,
Your great power to release.

Solace comes in daily prayer
Quiet dawn, my favourite hour
Wonders of His love declare
Daily blessings to empower.

© Chrissy Siggee

From my book:  Glimpses of His Glory   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Archived in: Christian Reads

Prayer

Matthew 7:7 tells us to: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

1 John 5:1415 says: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

Matthew 6:6 also tells us: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.’

Prayer has to be my favourite topic and many related verses come freely. Prayer is an important part of my life and I wouldn’t survive without it. My months of pain in 2017 brought me closer to the Father than I could ever believe possible. Prayer had a remarkable impact on my healing and recovery, and on those who prayed and believed with me.

Through prayer we have direct access to the throne room of God the Father, the almighty and living God. We can take anything to God in prayer and He hears us. Sometimes we need to wait for answers and sometimes his answer is no, but He does answer. Whether it is prayer for healing, finances, or salvation of a loved one, whatever the need, we ought to be diligent in our prayer requests.

Whatever is on your heart right now, tell Him. God already knows your need but we need to tell him what’s on our hearts and also give thanks for His answer, even before he gives it.

Father, you are my rock and my salvation. I hand all my circumstances over to you. Teach me how to pray. Give me the desire to draw closer to you so I may give all things over to you, believing your will and plan will be fulfilled in your perfect timing. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee 2013

Scripture Verses used are from the New International Version of the Bible

Archived in: 🦋 Christian Reads

Happy Birthday to the Man I Love AND Congratulations on 50 Service in the RAAF

Forever and Always. I’m so blessed to have you as my wonderful husband. You’re my best friend, my partner in life, my husband, my hero, my love…my everything. You make me so happy just by being the man and the husband you are. Even after all this time, you never stop amazing me. – Happy Birthday!

Archived in: 🦋 Announcements

PIRATES, HIDDEN TREASURE AND …

Fourteen-year-old Electra sat perched on the edge of her chair facing the small group that sat cross legged on her bed.

‘It happened a long time ago’, she began, ‘but it seems like yesterday—probably because I’ve told the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because it’s why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots. Oh, you think your families has roots too? Okay, let me explain what REAL ancestry means.’

Electra put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor before continuing.

‘In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captain’s cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven… its captain’s name was..’

‘Electra! Will you please stop telling that tale.’

‘Aw…Dad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with our family’s history, or your family home. And, don’t forget the reason why you were named Electra.’

Sandy, one of the girls at the pyjama party, bounced off the bed. ‘Tell us, Mr Chapman. We really want to know about your house and your family.’

The other girls joined in the pleading.

Electra stood and took the freshly made popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her chair where she had just been sitting, and motioned him to take over the narration.

‘Electra was right about the year. That’s when the house was built, but that’s where the truth of her story finishes.’ He waited for Sandy and his daughter to join the other girls on the bed. Electra passed the popcorn round before he continued.

‘Basically, my father wanted to save this house from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. He pleaded his case and renovated it. It’s been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but it’s stable.’

Sandy stared at nothing in particular. ‘You mean those rooms could be haunted?’

Electra burst out laughing. ‘You must be kidding.’

‘Please continue’, one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electra’s father and ignoring his daughter’s outburst.

‘No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. There’s no great mystery, only the history gets a bit confusing. A few generations back the family lost most of their fortune and the house was left empty for years.’

Sandy looked puzzled. ‘Is that it? Electra, I think it’s a great story. Tell us Mr Chapman how did Electra get her name.’

‘It’s not all that interesting,’ Electra commented casually, wriggled back against the bed board and stuffed popcorn into her mouth.

Her father paused and took a moment to continue. ‘Electra’s mother was beautiful. She had red hair…’

‘That explains your hair,’ Sandy teased.

Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.

‘She died in child birth’, he continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. ‘I didn’t know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock that caused her hair to frizz. Her grandmother named her. Over time her hair lost its frizz… but the name stuck. Her hair still reminds me of her mother.’

He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.

Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. ‘You’ve never told me the real story. Why wouldn’t anyone like the true story about your family and this house?’

Electra turned; her eyes glistened with tears. ‘I wish I knew my mother but I do know a lot about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I don’t get sad. I guess I didn’t realize, until today, just how sad my dad gets.’

The girls gathered around their friend for a group hug. ‘Your family sounds wonderful,’ Sandy exclaimed. ‘Your family home is beautiful. Why don’t we ask your dad to show us around?’

Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. ‘That’s sounds like a great idea. Maybe we’ll find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure’, she added with a giggle. She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in:🦋 Short Fiction 

Close of Day

silence captures a moment in time—

                  an owl sounds the close of day,

a hush falls over the darkening sky

                  and the world closes its eyes to sleep.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© Chrissy Siggee

From my book:   Glimpses of His Glory

Archived in: 🦋 Poetry Mix

Courage

Psalm 27:14 says: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Philippians 4:12 – “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

There have been times in my life when I felt overwhelmed by the busyness of life itself. Sometimes my health issues cause physical pain and tiredness. Being aware of the pain that family and dear friends are going through can also overwhelm.

Going through tough times needs courage. Though I don’t always feel I have enough, God is always there to see me through. His Word is true and I can do everything through him who gives me strength. I always know that… “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” – Isaiah 40:29

Father, I am weak but you are strong. Through the struggles of day-to-day busyness, pain and weariness, I look to you for the courage to go on. Help me to do what I need to do in your strength. Amen

© Chrissy Siggee 2018

Scripture Verses used are from the New International Version of the Bible

Archived in: 🦋 Christian Reads

AWOL

–  a fictional short read based on a true incident.

Snaking up the mountain road was miserable, and not just because great droplets of rain were exploding on the windscreen before the wipers could whisk them away. Susan’s eyes were strained from weeping most of the night since her brother, Ron, phoned her. After picking up her friend Annie, just after 6am, they began the long drive.

‘How could she get out?’ Susan cried. She squeezed the steering wheel tighter. ‘How could they let this happen?’

‘Susan please, you need to stay focused; otherwise Ron will need to send out a search party for us too.’ Annie sighed. ‘Hopefully, she’ll be found before we arrive. Those new GPS tracking shoes for Dementia and Alzheimer patients are well worth the expense in situations like this. You’ll see.’ She sent up a silent prayer as Susan drove into the storm.

Ron met the two women at the car with an umbrella. He shouted updates as they scrambled across the parking lot and into the foyer of the nursing home. Inside, a young aide that Susan had recognized from her visit the previous week, greeted them with mugs of steaming coffee. Annie accepted hers with enthusiasm, but felt a twinge of guilt when she heard Susan decline.

‘What happened? Who’s responsible?’ Susan demanded.

‘Please’, Ron soothed. ‘It doesn’t matter now who’s to blame. The important thing is that everyone is doing their best to find her.’

‘You’re right.’ Susan reached for the coffee that the aide was still holding out to her. She held the mug of steaming coffee between her hands but didn’t drink.

A man wearing a search and rescue uniform stepped toward the siblings. ‘Ms Cummings, I’m O’Malley. I’m in charge of the team. I’ve been here with your brother since late last night.’ He offered his hand.

Susan shook O’Malley’s hand and took a quick sip of coffee before speaking. ‘Call me Susan, please. Ron tells me you have people out looking for our mother. How far could she possibly get in this weather?’

‘We don’t know. It wasn’t until almost midnight that the situation had been fully realized.’

The space between Susan’s eyebrows creased. ‘What do you mean—”situation”?’

Ron replied for O’Malley. ‘Mum had evidently dressed in a hurry. Her slippers aren’t here and her GPS shoes are still under the bed. We think she may have followed someone else’s visitor or a member of staff out the front door around 9pm. With the rain, they would have been concentrating on getting to their vehicle. Being so late well…Who would think?’ He paused to wipe rainwater from his face.

‘Ms Cummings…Susan’, O’Malley spoke above the sudden clap of thunder. ‘We are almost certain she couldn’t have gotten very far but this constant rain has slowed us down’.

‘Ron called me at 11:15pm last night.’ She looked at her wristwatch. ‘It’s almost eight thirty. If she’s exposed to this weather much longer, she…’ Her words faded with the reality hitting Susan with a jolt. She handed the coffee to Annie with shaking hands. ‘Okay… O’Malley, what can we do? Where do we go from here?’

There was still no sign of their missing mother by the time the rain eased at midday when the siblings and Annie returned to swallow down coffee and sandwiches. While O’Malley was updating the family and his search team, a small bus loaded with local volunteers arrived. After quick handshakes all-round the meeting continued. Annie, Susan and Ron had searched south along the main street questioning storeowners and shoppers. The search team had walked a few metres apart through an adjoining cornfield to the west and the vacant overgrown paddocks beyond, while O’Malley had conducted a search of out buildings, laundry and kitchen facilities at the nursing home. The night staff had been requested to report in with any information that may or not be related to the missing patient. O’Malley and a staff member also conducted interviews with a few patients who were with her shortly after seven last night. No clues or explanations were discovered. With directions for the original team to take a short break, eat and get dry, the new team were given maps for the north and east of the nursing home.

Susan and Ron took off on foot to cover the area between the car park and where they started their search that morning. Annie stayed behind to help serve coffee to the morning’s search team.

An hour later Susan and Ron returned chilled and wet from another soaking downpour with no news that would help with the search. Other searchers returned in groups of two and three’s over the next few hours—all quietly murmuring their disappointments but at least the rain had completely stopped.

Finally, Ron suggested to Susan that they drove around up and down every street and lane. He looked at his watch then up at the clearing clouds. ‘She has to be somewhere. It’s been too long and you know how Mum doesn’t like standing for too long. Perhaps we’ll have more success now.’ His face suddenly paled. ‘There’s also the railway station.’ He grabbed Susan’s arm and led her to the parking lot with Annie close behind.

Just as they were putting on their seatbelts, the nurse’s aide approached the driver’s side window of the SUV with O’Malley. Ron press the down arrow switch to hear her better. ‘I think I found something that may help.’ She handed him a book opened at a page with a recent date at the top and stepped back.

Ron read from his mother’s diary. ‘I have to know for certain if my Harold went AWOL. If he has, I know where he could be. We often met at our secret place before he went to war.’

‘Why would Mum think Dad had gone AWOL?’ Susan asked.

‘I don’t remember Dad ever going AWOL, Susan. Obviously, she’s confused.’

Annie, who had been relatively quiet in the back seat, spoke up. ‘Isn’t there an old army storage unit around here?’

‘Well yes, but it’s almost three kilometres from here.’ O’Malley looked in the direction of the army base. ‘It sounds a long way for an old woman to walk.’

‘When I was here a few months ago with Susan,’ Annie continued, ‘I remember their mother had an old newspaper clipping about the unit.’

‘You’re right.’ Susan gasped. ‘I wondered at the time why Mum had kept the article.’

‘Okay’. Ron took charge. ‘We’ll check the railway station on the way. If we can’t find her there, we’ll continue on to this army place.’ Ron swapped the diary with a folded map with O’Malley who had quickly circled a crossroad to the east.

O’Malley nodded. ‘I’ll grab some first aid gear and blankets and meet you at the Army storage unit.’

Ron thanked him and drove off.

At the railway station Ron and Susan raced in opposite directions down the platform. It was silent and empty. ‘Let’s go! This is a waste of time’, Susan shouted to Ron who stood with his hands on his hips at the far end and gawking down the tracks that disappeared in the distance.

A clear starry sky abruptly brought the long day to a close when the three entered the old army storage unit with O’Malley and two military personnel. Within minutes they had found, huddled in a skeleton of a storage shed, their mother. She was cold and wet but uninjured. With her dirt-smeared face looking up at Susan, she apologized for ruining her slippers.

Susan knelt beside her mother. ‘That’s okay Mum, we know of the perfect pair to replace them with. Let’s go home.’

© Chrissy Siggee

 This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in: 🦋 Short Fiction

Fire in the Sky

The heavens are ablaze with orange embers
Splinters of steel-grey clouds pierce the radiance
Wisps of haze emerge like smoky smudges
Summer’s twilight heat affects the changing light
Fiery reflections shimmer against the fading hues
Like a fire in the sky, the sun melts into the horizon.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in: 🦋 Poetry Mix