THE QUEEN OF DEDUCTION
From The Memoirs Of Basil Of Baker Street
By Karen

Dedicated to the memory of "The King Of Deduction", Dr. Joseph Bell, friend and mentor of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle and the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

CHAPTER 1
ENTER DR. JOSEPHINE BELL

All Oxford Medical students remember Josephine Bell, "Joe" Bell as they called her. Always alert, always up and doing, nothing ever escaped that keen eye of hers. She read both patients and students like so many open books, her diagnosis was almost never at fault.
Although rumors suggested she was of Scottish descent, possibly at one time holding a position at Edinburg University, and that she was at one time a tutor and governess to the royal children of The King Of Siam, but was forced to leave because of a dangerous outbreak of Cholera, very little was known about her, other then that she was one of the first few woman doctors and professors of surgery at Oxford, England, excelling in medicines and sciences and becoming increasingly well known for her eccentric and unconventional methods... I was about to be introduced to these methods, and to "The mysterious Miss Bell" herself... Little did I know that my life was about to change forever...

I had just arrived in Oxford from my home in Sussux, at about the age of seventeen, to start my education at the well known Magdelan University...
The day classes began I found myself wandering through the university's many darkened hallways on my own, as I was not a social creature by nature and preferred to be away from the crowds of young pupils that were beginning form outside.
I then reached a small room which seemed like a combination of an office and a scientific laboratory. Curious and intrigued, I handled the various odds and ends, my eyes widening as I read the contents of the jars and bottles...
"Enjoying yourself?", came a cool, pleasant voice from behind me...
Startled, I spun around to find myself face to face with a lady mouse, older then I, older then my elder brother and sister in fact, but still attractive, with a youthful air about her. She had piercing, clear blue eyes, light brown fur and dark brown hair, tied back in an only slightly disheveled bun.
With a knowing, almost mischievous smile, she approached me and briskly took the jar out of my hands before I could say anything in reply.
"These, I will have you know are bits of cat's eyes", she said as she set the jar back with the others on the shelf. "They are for Miss Bell's experiments".
At this I was able to find my toung. "Miss Josephine Bell?", I asked with a smirk. "I hear her methods are positively absurd, foolish even".
The lady whom I assumed to be an older fellow student or an assistant chuckled softly. "Perhaps so, but you are in her class are you not?".
"Not by my own choice", I said haughtily, my nose in the air.
The young lady shook her head with a laugh. "No I don't suppose it was". Then she smirked. "You had better leave now. Classes start soon and Miss Bell doesn't like to find unruly students meddling about in her laboratory without permission".

Later on, it was nearly time to begin the course in surgery, tought by Dr. Josephine Bell, whom I had not yet had the displeasure of meeting... Or so I assumed...
Being the loner that I was, I was one of the few students in the front row of the lecture hall. I listened silently as the students behind me discussed our mysterious teacher and her methods. Some felt that woman had no place being at university let alone teaching at one.
What utter nonsense, I thought. Male or female, this Dr. Bell would sound just as foolish, and mysterious , in my view...
"Good day", a cool, pleasant voice greeted us...
My mouth opened in surprise as a painfully familiar figure with brown fur and dark brown hair entered the lecture hall, stepping towards the front row...
At once the chatter ceased as Dr. Josephine Bell approached her class. I wanted to sink into my chair when she fixed her keen blue eyes on me.
"Ahhh, and good day to you, young sir, Sheringford Basil is it?", she smirked. Obviously she intended to punish me for my rude comments earlier by singling me out in front of the class now, and actually using my humiliating first name!. How I regretted my choice to sit in the front row!.
"How did you know my name?", I snapped.
"I keep a list of full names and descriptions of all my pupils", she answered. "Tell me, did you have a pleasant train ride from Sussux?".
"What?!", I gasped. "How?... How the deuce did you know I was from Sussux, let alone took a train from there?...".
Everyone began to whisper to eachother in surprise and anticipation.
Miss Bell smiled and pointed to my coat. "Your train ticket is sticking out from your front pocket, and I can just make out the words "Sussux" and "Oxford" printed on it. Judging from that, you must not have been in Oxford for very long before today".
Everyone laughed at this and I crossed my arms defensively as Miss Bell once again addressed her class.
"You see, gentlemen, and ladies, though ye few", she added, with a coy smile, "The precise and intelligent recognition and appreciation of minor differences is the real essential factor in all successful medical diagnosis. Eyes and ears which can see and hear, memory to record at once and to recall at pleasure the impressions of the senses, and an imagination capable of weaving a theory or piecing together a broken chain or unraveling a tangled clue, such are the implements of the trade to a successful diagnostician".
"Rubbish!", I answered, quite rudely. I was certainly not in the mood for a lecture!.
"Is it?", was the cool reply.
"Yes!", I shot back, still bitter from being singled out and laughed at like a fool.
But Miss Bell seemed not the least bit offended. "We shall see", she answered...

That very evening I was making my way back home to my rented flat, as I did not lodge in the college dormitories. It was getting rather late so I thought to save time by taking a shortcut through one of Oxford's few quaint sidestreets... It would prove to be a dangerous mistake!...
I was rather in a hurry, so I paid next to no attention to the three young mouse thugs who were following me...
I pulled back, startled, as the largest of those ruffians seized my arm.
"Kay', Guv', let's see how much lolly you got for us!".
"Unhand me!", I snapped. "How dare you?!". I tried to pull away, but the other two seized my shoulders. I struggled, but before I knew it I was laying sprawled on the dirty ground, stunned by a blow to my face and another to my stomach.
I felt my wallet being frisked from my right coat pocket, but I was to weak to even make the slightest move in protest. I made one last desperate attempt to cry out for help, but was forced to give myself up to the darkness that was rapidly closing in on me...

Slowly the darkness cleared and my eyes opened... I found myself laying in a large green, overstuffed chair before a fire in what looked like a comfortable sitting room, clean, well organized and homey... I gazed about my new surroundings...
"What on earth?!", I gasped as I looked around. "Where am I?".
"You're in my flat, that's where".
I turned and saw a familiar figure, with a pair of mocking blue eyes, standing in the doorway , her arms folded across her breast with a cocky smirk.
"Oh lor'", I groaned, casting a martyred glance to the ceiling, "I just can't seem to escape you today. What, pray tell, am I doing in your flat?".
"Behaving like a spoiled, ungrateful child, I'm afraid", was the snappish reply, as Josephine Bell stepped inside, closing the door and locking it behind her.
"What the deuce are you talking about? Don't tell me you found me unconscious in the street after those ruffians attacked me!".
Dr. Bell struggled out of her wet coat, obviously she had had to leave in a hurry soon after she brought me to her flat, then she snatched a housecoat from the hall closet, tied it over her plain, blue, day dress and sat herself down in the overstuffed, red chair in front of me. "Alright, I shan't tell you then. But you had better rest here for a moment before you return to your lodgings, as they are three streets away".
"Not again! How in the world did you know I was lodging three streets away from here? Have you followed me?".
"No, but I know the sidestreets you were in. That is one of the shortcuts, and it is very rude of you, Basil, to accuse me of following you just so I could show off".
I closed my eyes in dismay. My teacher and I had certainly not gotten off on the right foot.
Still aching from my previous beating, I rubbed my bruised stomach and forehead with a groan.
"Still smarting, is it?", Miss Bell asked, eyeing me.
"Yes, very", I admitted, "Although you probably think I deserve it".
She shook her head with chuckle. "Nonsense, dear boy. Just because I am not particularly fond of your attitude does not mean I am without compassion". She then stood up off her chair. "Mrs. Judson?", she called.
At once a friendly looking middle aged lady mouse entered the sitting room. "Oh you are back, Miss Joe", she smiled.
"Yes, and look who is up", my teacher grinned, gesturing towards me.
Josephine's landlady fixed her kindly gaze on me. "Ahhh, and it's about time too. You've been unconscious for nearly an hour".
"Some tea and some of those delightful cheese crumpets of yours for us please, Mrs. Judson?", Josephine asked. "That should help our young guest recover from his ordeal".
"Of course Miss Joe", she answered cheerfully, then the housekeeper tilted her head questioningly. "You are back very late... Trouble at the university?...".
"None at all", replied her tenant. "I had to perform a ballistics test back at the laboratory. The police already took a suspect in their latest case yesterday. I had to be sure if they were correct".
Mrs. Judson threw up her hands in frustration. "You are a teacher, not a detective. Honestly, my girl!", and with that she went into the kitchen to fetch our meal.
I looked at my teacher, surprised and shocked. "Ballistics tests? Police cases?". Just what sort of woman was this teacher of mine?.
Josephine nodded. "My second job you might say. In most cases the police are totally unimaginative when it comes to finding the right or wrong suspect. Sometimes I have to help them along. I hate to think of them putting an innocent man behind bars... or setting a guilty one free for lack of evidence...". At this, an unhappy look clouded her keen eyes... I raised an eyebrow as she lit herself a small cigarette. I would come to know this as her common habit whenever she was troubled or agitated. I preferred pipes myself... Her sad gaze shifted up towards a portrait on her mantelpiece... It was of a large, hideously ugly ratlike creature... Although he was dressed as a well to do gentleman, a top hap, proper suit and tie, his narrowed, ugly little eyes and his cruel smile did very little to enhance the image of outward sophistication... Something about that portrait unnerved me somehow... especially seeing the look on Miss Bell's face as she gazed at it...
"Who?... Who is that?...", I wanted to know.
"Professor Ratigan, an old acquaintance of mine...", was the emotionless reply, as Josephine's face and eyes hardened again. "Only a year or two ago he was a teacher of mathematics and sciences at Magdelan...".
"Oh?... What happened to him?...".
"Nothing really... He was dismissed from his position at the university and noone has seen or heard of him since...". As if trying to ward off some bad thought or memory she shook her head, further loosening her bun, then she turned once again to me, changing the subject.
"You do realize that I could have thrown you out of my class, in the very same way, for your rudeness earlier, don't you?". Her face was serious but I thought I saw a spark of humor in her eyes now.
"Yes I do", I nodded with a small smile. "I do apologize. But I still feel your methods of deduction are not practical, nor helpful, if you will pardon me for saying so".
Josephine chuckled softly. "You are pardoned, and perhaps there is a way I may prove you wrong"....
Just then, the kitchen door opened and Mrs. Judson entered the room, carrying with her a tray with a pot of tea, two cups, and a plate of warm, wonderful smelling cheese crumpets. "Tea luvs?", she gave us her warm, friendly smile as she set it down before us.
"Thank you kindly madam", I said gratefully.
Suddenly, the landlady turned on her tenant, crossing her arms in annoyance. "Miss Joe, I thought I told you not to smoke these dreadful things inside?!".
"Ahh, Mrs. Judson", Josephine said grandly, stamping out her cigarette on her napkin, but ignoring the woman's protestation regarding her habit. "Allow me to introduce my new assistant. Mr. Basil will be helping me with my work at the university. Hopefully, I shall be able to show him that my methods, though unusual, have their own unique use". She then turned to me with a smile that had a challenge written all over it, holding out her hand. "Isn't that right, dear boy?"...
"Why, yes, by all means", I answered without hesitation, accepting her hand, and her challenge...
Thus was my first meeting with Dr. Josephine Bell, "The Queen Of Deduction".


CHAPTER 2
ENTER PROFESSOR RATIGAN

Almost the very next day I began my new job as Dr. Bell's assistant. I helped my teacher with everything from her experiments and projects to her work at the college. I soon learned, inside out, the names, contents and uses of her strange bottles and jars, various odds and ends of different animals, as well as the many chemicals, powders and solutions.
Dispite my initial cynicism towards Josephine, I found myself growing more and more interested in her methods of deduction, and becoming quite a fast learner at it myself... Yet, I often found myself thinking back to that evening when I had first met Dr. Bell... and the haunted look in her eyes when she had gazed at the portrait of that cruel looking Professor Ratigan on her mantle piece...

"Alright gentleman", Miss Bell gestured towards the volunteer whom she had recently asked to stand before the class as a demonstration, "who can tell me about this fellow's illness and what he may be suffering?".
I leaned forward. "Perhaps an allergy or a cold of some sort?", I offered. I could tell by looking at the chap that he had a rather red face and his nose was red. He had also, on more then one occasion, raised a tissue to blow it.
"Correct", Josephine nodded. "Do you see the flowers on my desk?. Well, this man just so happens to be allergic to the strong pollen".
The volunteer raised his eyebrows and a murmur of surprise went through the class before Dr. Bell lifted her hand for our attention.
"Now", she said, in a challenging tone, "can anyone tell me anything more about this man?... Mr. Basil?...".
I stood up, observing the appearance of our volunteer. "This man is either from the country, or a gardener or stable groom, judging from his clothing, and the earth on his shoes".
"Very good", my teacher nodded, "I myself can make out little more then that as well..."... Then she smiled... "Other then the fact that he was probably in a carriage today, drawn by one grey horse and one dark, as you can see from the two differently colored horsehairs on his jacket sleeve"...

"I still say that was merely a fortunate guess", I persisted, as Dr. Bell and I left the college that evening.
My teacher chuckled. "Don't tell me you are still trying to prove my methods are irrelevant. Have you not seen enough by now to know what purposes they serve?".
"Perhaps", I said, "But you know, Miss Bell, there are plenty of other successful, well known college teachers who can manage in this world without methods such as yours".
She nodded. "True, true, there is no denying that, I'll admit". Then she grinned, her eyes showing a touch of mischief. "But take care and mind your manners with me, dear boy. The unit in forensics is coming soon, and I just might get you to do all the demonstrations for the class!".
Laughing, and in good spirits, we exited the university's courtyard, and strolled down the evening streets on the way to our flats...
As we neared the sidestreet, the one where Dr. Bell had rescued me from those thugs a week or so ago, we sensed we were being followed... we both spun around... but there was noone there...
"Come on", Josephine said warily, "We'd best get to our flats quickly"...
"Oh?, what a pity. Leaving so soon my dear?", came a regal, but sinister, voice...
At this, Josephine's eyes widened, and her face grew pale as the newcomer stepped out from the shadows...
It was him! That same monster in the portrait on Josephine's mantle! He was even more horrid then I imagined!.
"Professor Ratigan!", my teacher said, stiffening. "I cannot believe you would have the nerve to show your face in Oxford again!".
"Oooo, never underestimate my nerve, Miss Bell", the rat leered, approaching us.
Josephine crossed her arms with an angry glare. "I shall make a note on that. What can I do for you Professor?, and do make it quick, for my student and I are slightly pressed for time at the moment".
"Hah! You certainly had enough time on your hands when you all but distroyed my career at the university, didn't you, you little bat?!".
My eyes widened in surprise and shock. I stared at Miss Bell in bewilderment.
But my teacher gave her adversary a contemptuous smirk. "You did that all on your own, Sir. I only finished what you began. Besides, you should thank me. Now you may devote your time to your second, and most profitable, profession".
"Which you just had to inform all of Oxford, not to mention Scotland Yard, about!", Ratigan interrupted with venom.
"It was the least I could do!", Dr. Bell hissed. "You're lucky I never mentioned more then that!".
At this the professor became enraged! With fury in his eyes he reached out to strike Josephine... But Miss Bell was to swift. She cought his hand and shoved it roughly away.
"Still haven't learned to control that temper of yours, have you, Professor? It's only going to get you into more trouble someday!".
"Not nearly as much trouble as you have caused me Miss Bell!", the rat snarled back. "You have ruined my life and I am going to ruin yours!".
"Not bloody likely!", I snapped angrily. Being raised as a gentleman, I hardly ever swore out loud, but Dr. Bell's hatred for this fiend was immensely contagious!.
"You little fool!", Ratigan leered, quickly seizing me by the collar of my coat. "You dare speak to your intellectual superiors like that?!".
I managed to free my hands, and struggled to fight myself free from the professor's grip, but he threw me roughly to the ground. I landed, out of wind and nearly stunned on the dirty pavement.
My eyes widened as Ratigan advanced towards me... raising his hand... his sharp claw bared...
Just then, Josephine moved between us. "Stop it!", she growled. "He's only a boy! Leave him alone!".
The two of them stood there for a moment... Looking eachother full in the face... Neither of them giving in...
Ratigan lifted his hand again, and for a moment I thought he might strike Miss Bell... But something in her eyes unnerved him... He lowered his hand and stepped away. "I must say Josephine, you have quite a brave little student there", he sneered. "But make sure he gets himself into no more trouble". He then took off his top hat with a sweeping bow. "And we are not finished yet, Bell. Make no mistake on that". Leaving the threat hanging, he turned and sauntered away into the fog and darkness of the city streets, like a sort of deamon...
"Basil, are you alright?", Josephine asked, helping me to my feet.
"Fine, fine!", I snapped, briskly dusting myself off. "What the devil is going on?", I demanded. "Is that villain mad, Miss Bell?".
She shook her head. "Furious yes, but far to devious to be "mad"".
"He said you ruined his life... that you were responsible for his no longer teaching at the college... What was he talking about?", I wanted to know.
Dr. Bell looked at me for a moment with a struggle in her eyes, as if she was trying to decide something. When she finally saw that I was not moving until she explained, she sighed and shook her head.
"I suppose you would have found out sooner or later, Basil. Very well, but let's get back to my flat first".

Not a word passed between us on the way back to Josephine's flat. I did not need my teachers skills of deduction to know that she was greatly troubled.
We entered her flat. She pulled off her coat and hung it in the hall closet, while I tossed mine over her red chair.
"Honestly", Josephine shook her head at me crossly, "Must you be so disorganized?. I shudder to think of what your own flat must look like by now".
We each sat down in the chairs before the fire which Mrs. Judson had recently lit before we arrived.
Miss Bell then lit her cigarette and handed me a match for my pipe. "You wished to know what that scene in the streets was all about, did you not?".
"Yes", I answered, lighting my pipe. "That ruffian must have had some reason to assault us".
"You are astonishingly perceptive", she smirked. "Well, if you must know, Professor Ratigan and I were rivals at the university a year or two ago... We didn't exactly... see eye to eye on everything...".
"Oh no?".
"No, and it only got worse in time... Eventually I was forced to reveal a certain amount of information about him that cost him his position at Magdalen...".
I tilted my head with interest and curiosity. "And what was that, Miss Bell?".
She leaned forward slightly. "You must not breathe a word of this to anyone, do I have your word on that Mr. Basil?".
"Yes, of course", I answered, without hesitation.
She nodded, satisfied. "Well, it appears as though the professor was somehow connected to various crimes, mainly large thefts, throughout England at that time... ".
"I see, so you informed the college and Scotland Yard about this, and the cad was arrested and sacked?".
"You're getting ahead of yourself, dear boy", she chuckled softly. "No it did not happen that way... I remained silent for my own safety at first... but then... then when the professor's crimes went far beyond burglary... Well, I could not stay that way and keep my conscience at the same time... The police could find no evidence however, so he was never officially prosecuted, but it was enough to ruin his reputation in Oxford. He lost a great deal of respect and trust at the university, and eventually was forced to resign... I have not seen or heard from him since, but now it appears he has returned to Oxford...".
"Bother", I said, feeling slightly nervous. "Does this mean we are in danger from him Miss Bell?... You recall what he said to us in the ally... ".
"I do", she answered quietly. "But I doubt he will be so foolish as to cause trouble so soon after he has just threatened us. He knows we are expecting it".
"Then what shall we do, Miss Bell?".
"Nothing, Mr. Basil", she said. "No doubt Scotland Yard already knows of our professor's return to Oxford. They are onto him".
"But... surely... there must be something you or someone can do?...".
"In the words of Mrs. Judson, Mr. Basil, I am a teacher, not a detective. I use my methods to aid the police on certain occasions, but only after a wickedness or injustice has been committed".
I sighed, as much as I hated to admit it, my teacher was right... But I still had an eerie feeling about that creature who had threatened us...
It was then that Josephine decided to change the subject.
"I say, you possess a violin, do you not, Basil?".
"Why yes", I answered, surprised. "Dare I ask how you determined that?'.
She grinned. "That case at your feet. It is a violin case, correct?. I've seen you carrying it about everywhere".
"Indeed... I have had it since childhood... It was a gift...", I answered.
Miss Bell smiled sympathetically. "A reminder of home. Oxford has not exactly welcomed you with open arms so far has it?".
"No", I chuckled, "No it hasn't".
"Don't worry, a stolen wallet and a round of fisticuffs is the worst of it", she assured me. "I'm surprised that happened at all. Tell me, can you play that fiddle of yours very well?".
I told her I could, and that my elder brother and sister had tought me.
At this Josephine smiled and stubbed out her cigarette. Getting up off her red chair, she plucked the violin box off the floor and drew the fiddle out of it's case.
"Then what are you waiting for, dear boy?", she said grandly, handing it to me.
"Please, play something!"...


CHAPTER 3
ENTER MILLE. IRENE RELDA

In spite of my fears regarding Professor Ratigan, Josephine seemed unalarmed, and my anxiety slowly calmed during the course of a few weeks. During that time Miss Bell and I formed quite a strong friendship. She helped me get my orientation around Magdalen and around Oxford itself. I soon found myself growing more skilled in medicines and sciences, and was actually forced to admit to myself that I was excelling at Dr. Bell's method of logical deduction, and, oddly enough, appreciating it.
Aside from my friendship with Josephine Bell, whom I now addressed by the more familiar term of "Joe" Bell, I lived quite an isolated existence at Oxford... Perhaps it was my disregard for companionship... one which my teacher shared...

"Alright, gentlemen", Miss Bell said as she presented a vial of an odd colored liquid before us. "This is a drug, extremely bitter to the taste and offensive to the smell. As I would not ask my pupils to do anything I would not do myself, I shall taste it first, then you".
She then dipped her finger into the vial, and tasted the drop of liquid on her finger, then passed it throughout the class. We each tasted a drop on our finger as Dr. Bell had done, wrinkling our faces at the smell and the taste. I found it extremely bitter, just as she had said, and the smell was indeed offensive.
When we had finished the vial was handed back to Miss Bell... Who was shaking her head with a smile...
"Gentlemen", she said with a laugh, "I am deeply grieved to find that not one of you has yet developed this power of perception , which I so often speak about. For if you had watched me more closely, you would have found that while I placed my forefinger in the medicine, it was the middle finger which found it's way into my mouth".

"That was cruel!", I accused Joe, trying my hardest to keep a straight face.
Miss Bell chuckled. "It was rather, wasn't it?. But honestly, would you have sampled that medicine if I had not pretended to do so first?".
I had to admit I wouldn't have.
"There, you see my point, Mr. Basil?. If not for my "cruelty" you would have no information on one of the most beneficial drugs in medical science".
I shook my head with a laugh as Dr. Bell and I strolled down the riverside near Magdalen. Joe had already showed me a great deal of Oxford, including the deer park and the Botanical gardens, however, I was more impressed by the many fine colleges throughout the town and the excellent libraries.
"Have you ever been in one of those, Mr. Basil?", Joe gestured towards the small boats, punts they were called, on the Cherwel river. There were mostly students in them, but there were also parents with their children, as well as various young couples. All of them enjoying the quiet autumn afternoon.
"No", I answered. "They look rather enjoyable though".
My teacher smiled. "Perfect for parents and children on outings, isn't it?".
I stuck my hands in my coat pockets rather awkwardly. "Yes... well...", I said. "I was always closer to my brother and sister then to my parents...".
Miss Bell gave me a sympathetic look. "Your brother and sister are back in Sussux, are they not?".
"My sister Brynna is married in Sussux yes, but my brother Myerricroft has a position with the British government in London".
"Hmmm", my teacher suddenly looked thoughtful. "You mean Myerricroft Basil is your brother? I suppose I should have noticed the resemblance when I first met you".
"What?!", I gasped. "You mean to tell me you knew my brother?". This was indeed surprising news!.
Josephine nodded. "I did, a most intelligent and thoughtful fellow. He took some of my courses here at Oxford, though I have to admit I found him rather... lazy... If you will forgive me".
"I forgive you completely", I laughed. "And you are absolutely right. Myerricroft is ever so much more knowledgeable then I, but he's never bothered to get his rear off the couch to prove it so, even when we were children".
Dr. Bell chuckled at that, then her eyes quickly grew serious and concerned. "Tell me, have you any other friends besides your brother and sister, Basil?".
I was about to answer her... When suddenly I heard a commotion nearby...
Near the riverside, just up ahead, a group of large boys, older students, were gathered round a slender boy, a white mouse, taunting him and jeering at him.
"To good to talk to us, are you, pretty boy?", one of them sneered, stepping in the youth's way.
"Leave me alone", he answered in a soft, quiet voice, keeping his head down.
"Why? Cause you're the professor's favorite?".
"Just let me pass", the boy snapped, raising his head, and I could see the anger in his clear, brown eyes.
But the little group of assailants did not let him pass. Another large boy roughly grabbed the youth's arm. "You came here to go to college, not to make us all look like bloody fools!".
"Now there's a challenge", Joe smirked, approaching them. Surprised, the fellow released his grip on the unfortunate boy's arm as the others turned to glare angrily at Miss Bell and I.
Dr. Bell smiled coldly at them. "Rather bad form, a small gang harassing a fellow classmate". Don't you think you should be getting back to what you were doing, gentlemen?".
They kept their expressions of anger, but said nothing. They knew better then to harass a well regarded teacher at Oxford.
"Forget it", the largest of them scoffed, and the others grumbled in agreement. Then the group, in a rather indignant manner, brushed past us in a retreat back to their own college.
"Crazy pack of fools", muttered the young boy, glaring hatefully after them. Then he turned to Joe and I. "Thank you. The classes I am in are just full of jealous oafs".
Miss Bell nodded. "You are most welcome... young lady...", she finished with a knowing smile...
I gasped! Young lady? What on earth was Miss Bell talking about?
At once the boy stiffened, his eyes widening. "How... how did you know?...", he whispered, so as not to be heard by anyone but us. In that moment his deep voice and hardened face softened, like a mask being removed from an actor, and I saw that this young man was indeed a young girl!. She was probably no older then I was.
"A woman knows another woman, my dear", answered Joe, her voice equally as quiet and inconspicuous.
The girl quickly gestured towards a tree nearby, and we followed her behind it. Once there, she turned to us with a look of anxiety on her face.
"They would not have accepted me here", she hissed. "I had no choice but to disguise myself as a male".
Miss Bell nodded. "I understand. It was hard enough for me being one of the few woman teachers here. It is no wonder you do not wish to be known as a woman student".
"You also attend acting school, do you not?", I asked the young lady in boy's clothing.
The girl narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "How did you know that?...".
"Your speech. You take great care in annunciating your words, and your gestures are somewhat theatrical".
She crossed her arms with a smirk. "Look, there is no need to show off, either of you".
"We are not showing off", I shot back, "just stating a fact".
"Whatever you say Dahling", the girl answered sarcastically, rolling her eyes. Then she looked at my teacher seriously. "I hope noone else will find out about this though... ".
Joe nodded. "Your secret is safe with me, my dear".
"And you?", the young girl asked, fixing her intelligent brown eyes on me.
I shrugged. "I suppose, if you prefer it".
"I do", she answered curtly. "Thank you, I had best get back now". Then she turned and headed down towards Longwell Street. I assumed she was not a pupil at Magdalen.
"She's quite a girl", I thought, impressed. For the most part I took little interest in peers my own age, particularly females. But this girl struck me as being rather different from other girls, other students, I had met before, just as Miss Bell had struck me as being different from other teachers I had met before.
"I say", I said. "I would have liked to have gotten her name!"...
Joe tilted her head thoughtfully. "Indeed... She is impetuous, touchy, and entirely to bold... ". Then an approving smile played about her features... "I like that".
We both laughed as we turned to make our way back towards Magdalen.
"I would advise you to let my star pupil alone, Bell", a familiar, sinister voice came from behind us.
Joe rolled her eyes as she turned to face the newcomer. "You're pupil? Don't tell me they have actually let you take up teaching here again, Ratigan?".
"Indeed, they have", sneered the professor, stepping towards us. "Young Irene just so happens to be my prize pupil. I won't have you, or your little pipsqueak misfit distracting her".
"Distracting her?", scoffed Joe. "Hah! In case you have failed to notice, Basil and I were just of some assistance to your little prodigy".
The professor smirked. "I've noticed. But in the future, Miss Bell, you would be wisest to babysit your own pupils".
"Joe doesn't babysit her pupils, Sir", I snapped. "At least she shows them how to think, instead of telling them what to think!".
"Arrogant little pipsqueak! Just like you to brag about it!", Ratigan narrowed his eyes.
"I never brag!".
"Come come, Basil", Joe said, gently taking my arm. "There is no need to waste your breath on this bad tampered fool, we must get back to Magdalen now anyway".
Giving the rat a contemptuous glare, I turned and began to follow my teacher back to the college.

"It would be best to stay out of his way", Joe advised me later that evening, as we enjoyed a spot of tea at her flat, once again, courtesy of Mrs. Judson.
"You don't have to be a genius to know the fellow is dangerous", I answered. "But we do have a right to stand up for ourselves".
At this, Joe's face grew more serious. "And we can take it to far, dear boy, we can take it to far... Especially with villains like that...".
For a moment we were both silent... Then I decided to change the subject. "I say, I meant to ask you Joe, have you ever met Oscar Milde?... Yesterday I found him bruised and half conscious in one of the college fountains! He said that a pack of jealous ruffians attacked him, perhaps those were the same fellows that were harassing that young girl today...".
"Oscar Milde... Hmmm... Yes that name is familiar to me", my teacher sipped her tea thoughtfully. "Quite an interesting fellow. Colorful, poetic, if a tad oversensitive. How terrible that he should be treated so unkindly".
The two of us sipped our tea, enjoying the warmth of the fire in the hearth... Feeling rather inspired, I picked up my violin and began to play...
After a few moments Joe turned to me with a smile. "Really, Mr. Basil, must your tunes be so melancholy?".
"Melancholy?", I raised an eyebrow. "Well, I suppose they are rather...".
She chuckled. "Then why not play something a little more cheerful, dear boy?".
I did not know that many tunes at the time, but I remembered a few uplifting violin solos that my brother and sister and I used to dance to when we were children... I raised my violin again and began to play a spirited, cheerful tune, which Joe was soon nodding her head in time to.
Just then Mrs. Judson entered the sitting room with a familiar plate of cheese crumpets and a pot of tea. "I say, what is going on here, Miss Joe?".
"Ah, Mrs. Judson", my teacher laughed standing up. "It appears our Basil is quite a talented musician!".
Almost before the housekeeper could put down the tray, Joe had seized her hands and had begun to dance her around the sitting room and parlor, in sort of a mixture between a waltz and a polka. The two of them could barely contain their laughter.
Chuckling, I got up, still playing my violin and followed them.
It was then that Joe, not even missing a dance step, flicked on her gramophone. The moment I put my violin down I danced with Mrs. Judson, much to her amusement and over her protestations, then Joe seized my hands and spun me about, only to switch partners with Mrs. Judson. Laughing, I grabbed my violin and played along with the gramophone.
When we grew tired, the three of us collapsed onto the sitting room chairs, laughing and breathing heavily.
"There, you see?", Joe grinned, her blue eyes sparkling with amusement. "Basil is a fine musician. Really, dear boy, you must play those sort of tunes more often. I am amazed by your talents".
I grinned back. "And I never cease to be amazed by yours"...


CHAPTER 4
EXIT DR. JOSEPHINE BELL

As I had mentioned before, during my four years of education at Oxford I was an assistant of Miss Bell, as well as a pupil. I would often help her in her Doctor's practice before and after classes... Naturally, Joe assumed I to would become a doctor as well... However, as much as I learned from the work, and enjoyed it, I did not see that as my calling...
I would find my calling... However, I could never have known the price I would have to pay... The price Joe would have to pay...

"Hmmm", Joe said as she finished examining the little boy's stomach, then, helping him back on with his trousers she gave his worried mother and I a reassuring smile. "It's only a little tummy ache", then she tapped the child gently on his nose with a grin, "To much ice-cream, chocolate maybe".
The little boy giggled and Joe tousled his hair affectionately before helping him down from the examining table.
"Thank you so much Miss Bell", the grateful mother gathered her child in her arms.
"My pleasure", Joe smiled.

That evening, as Joe and I smoked our pipe and cigarette by the fireplace at her flat, we talked of the patients we had received that day...
"I must confess I was concerned for that child", my friend said. "That pain in his stomach could just as easily have been something far more serious...".
I nodded, remembering Joe's lectures on diagnosing internal pains. "Thank goodness it was not a tumor or the appendix".
"Indeed", she answered, a touch of relief in her voice. "Well, all's well that ends well, as they say... You know", she smiled, "Sometimes I think the best thing about being a doctor is when suspicions like that are proved wrong".
I nodded in agreement and Joe tossed her cigarette into the fireplace. "Tell me, dear boy, what are you planning on doing after you graduate college? Becoming a doctor perhaps?".
"I don't really know...", I answered hesitantly... In truth, I could not picture myself as a doctor, dispite my success in Joe's classes...
"Why not?", my teacher asked, tilting her head. "I think you would make a fine doctor, Mr. Basil. You have done remarkably well as my assistant, and you have excelled yourself at learning my methods".
"Yes...", I said with a smile. "Your methods... Permit me Miss. Bell, but I should like to try a little experiment to prove their irrelevancy".
Instead of being offended, Joe chuckled good naturedly. "Of course you may, dear boy, by all means".
I took out a small gold plated pocketwatch, an heirloom from my parents, and handed it to my friend. "Here, tell me about this".
She studied it for a moment... "Hmmm, you've cleaned it Basil... That takes away a great deal of information...".
"Exactly", I said, with a smug grin. I was sure I had her stumped this time...
"Hmmm... ", Joe continued to study the pocketwatch... "Other then the fact that this watch once belonged to a careless man, who was often either intoxicated or unstable of mind, and who had seen very hard times in his life, I can make out very little".
Apon hearing this I stiffened... My eyes widened in shock...
"How dare you!", I blurted out. "Who have you been speaking to?! Where did you get this information?!".
She looked at me, startled by my sudden outburst. "Why, what on earth are you talking about, Basil?".
Roughly, I seized the watch from her hand. "How dare you pry into my personal life and use me to play your little mind games! This is not only unkind, but immoral!".
At this a sadness filled her eyes. "Basil", she said kindly. "Please believe that I have never pryed into anyone's personal life, least of all yours. Aside from your brother, you could be an orphan for all I know". Then she gently took the watch from my hand again and pointed to the various marks on it. "Look, the scratches on the surface are the type made by keys and coins, thus showing this fellows carelessness. There are pawnbrokers marks on this side, hence the hard times, and it has been severely broken and fixed again several times, suggesting drunkenness or an unstable mind, either those things or a bad temper".
I threw up my hands in defeat, angry and humiliated. Without another word to Joe I turned and left the flat, grabbing my coat on the way out... I could not have known that I would regret it for the rest of my life...

The next few days I hardly spoke to Joe during classes, except to answer her questions when she bothered to address me, but even then it was plain to see a coldness in my manner. The enthusiasm and familiarity between us was gone. I stopped going for tea at her flat and usually forgot to come to her laboratory to assist her.

Three days after our terrible argument, I awoke early one morning to a knock on my door. It was to early to get ready for classes, so I was in an irritable mood as I tied on my housecoat and stepped into my slippers.
I opened the door to find Joe there, in her plain coat and carrying her bag which she usually used when on housecalls.
"Good morning, Mr. Basil", she said as formally as if she had been addressing a stranger. "I recieved an urgent message today. A young woman in the next town is deathly sick, and I may require your assistance if I am to help her. A cab is waiting for us nearby".
"Very well", I nodded slowly. "I shall be there in a moment, Miss. Bell"... I did not want my disagreement with her to hinder this innocent woman's life...

As soon as I had dressed, I joined my teacher in the cab and we rode the entire fifteen minutes to the next town in silence... Me, indignant and grudgingly cooperative, her, silent, sad and thoughtful...
Soon we arrived at a small countrystyle house near the outskirts of town. After paying our coachman we approached the door and Joe knocked...
At once two mice, one slightly overweight and the other of regular build, answered the door. At first glance I noticed that their shabby, dirty clothing made them seem rather out of place with the homey, clean country house... I could tell Joe noticed it too...
"I am Doctor Bell", she said. "I believe it was you who sent this message", she handed a folded letter to them.
"Oh yes!", the chubby one answered quickly. "Our dear Mum, she is dreadfully sick!".
"Please!", said the other fellow. "Please come in and help her!".
Joe looked at them for a moment... I thought saw a strange look in her eyes... Did she know these fellows?...
She then lit her cigarette, not taking a step into the house. "Very well, I shall help your mother, but my young assistant must return to Oxford to get some extra medical supplies which I may need".
My eyes widened. Joe had already brought everything she needed in her medical bag... Was she trying to prevent me from entering?...
"Oh no, Miss Bell", they protested. "We need both of you! Now! Please!".
But Joe would not budge. "No Sirs, my assistant will return to Oxford, or I shan't set one foot in your house to help your "darling mum!".
I wondered how she could have been so cold.
The two mice looked at eachother... Then they shrugged their shoulders and nodded. "Alright, Miss. In you go then".
At this Joe nodded, stamping out her cigarette. She then turned to me, and to my surprise took me gently by the shoulders.
"Basil", she said, her voice urgent. "Please, go back to Oxford. I can handle it from here".
"What?", I asked. "Why?...".
"Just listen to me for once!", she snapped, and I saw an expression of fear and sadness in her eyes...
"Well... Alright then...", I said quietly, slightly taken aback... What on earth was going on?...
Trying my best to ignore my uneasiness, I nodded and made my way back down the steps and entered the cab... As the cab made it's way farther from the little house I glanced back from the window to see Joe watching... Her face was unemotional, but her eyes were filled with that mysterious sadness... Then she turned away and followed the two mice into the house...

Later that evening, I was sitting by the fireplace in my own messy, disorganized, flat... I was still uneasy because of what had happened earlier that day... I picked up my violin and began to play, as that always tended to have a comforting effect on me...
I had just put down my violin and begun to sip my tea... Suddenly, there was a loud, desperate pounding at my door... I opened it to find a sobbing Mrs. Judson standing in the rain, shivering with cold and grief...
"Why, Mrs. Judson!". I exclaimed. "Please come in quick! What on earth is wrong?!".
I helped the tearful, shaken woman inside and set her down on my chair.
"Oh, Mr. Basil", she sobbed, her face in her hands. "I ran all the way from the flat! It's terrible! My poor poor Miss Joe!".
"What!", I gasped. "Please, Mrs. Judson! What happened?!".
"That letter... The one summoning her out of town today... It was him who had it sent to her...".
I stiffened... She couldn't be talking about Professor Ratigan!...
Mrs. Judson nodded slowly. "Yes... It was all a trap... By the time she was found it was to late to save her... The doctor has been over... but... There is nothing he can do...".
"What?!", I gasped, standing up quickly. How could this have happened?!.
Poor Mrs. Judson closed her eyes as the tears flowed down her cheeks. "The bullet wound was to deep... The doctor says it's remarkable she's survived this long... She's been asking for you...".

Moments later, I found myself entering Joe's house. The doctor had long since gone, or rather Mrs. Judson had told me that Joe had sent him away, and everything was quiet...
Uncomfortable, and even a bit frightened, I made my way over to Joe's room and knocked on the door...
"Basil?... Is that you?...".
I opened the door slowly... I barely recognized the pale, sickly looking woman, laying propped up on the pillows, her brown hair loose...
"How did you know it was me?", I asked, entering and sitting down beside her bed.
She gave me a weak smile, yet her eyes showed some of the familiar sparkle. "I know your knock by now, dear boy... Besides, Mrs. Judson said she was going to fetch you...".
I shook my head, struggling to hold back tears. "Please, Joe. Don't start with that again".
"Start with what again, dear boy?".
I thew up my hands in dispair. "I am not your "dear boy" anymore Joe! I am a man! Almost twenty one years old for Heaven's sake!".
My friend looked at me with a patient understanding in her eyes. "Basil, I am sorry. I never meant to offend you".
I took a deep breath and swallowed back a sob. "Even now, Joe, even now you are still playing mind games with me! All that about keen perception and logical deduction! It couldn't save you! It was all a lie! A foolish lie!".
"No!", Joe snapped, her blue eyes flashing. She snatched a piece of paper from her bedside and handed it to me. "This is the lie!".
I knew it had to be the message she had received this morning...
Suddenly, her strength spent, my teacher sank back down against the pillows, closing her eyes as if in defeat. "I was a naive fool, Basil", she sighed. "I should have known it was that devil Ratigan's doing... that he was leading me into a trap... but I did not realize it until I saw those thugs of his at the house...".
Tears streaming down my cheeks, I took Joe's hand in mine. "Forgive me, please", I begged. "I didn't mean what I said. You saved my life!".
Gently, she brushed the tears from my cheeks. "Nothing to forgive, Basil, but please don't cry. You're not going to get me started are you?". A small smile played about her pale face.
Unable to contain myself, I threw my arms, as carefully as I could manage, around my friend and teacher. She was surprised, yet returned my embrace.
"There there, Basil", she said, patting me on the shoulder. Then she chuckled warmly. "You know, under different circumstances I might ask you for a cigarette, but now I think that may only speed the process, and I am trying to quit after all".
She got a halfhearted smile and a faint sob of a laugh from me.
"Basil", she patted my hand. "I am a little tired... Will you stay with me tonight though?... Please?...".
I squeezed her hand. "Of course, Joe".
"Thank you... And do you know, Mr. Basil... Aside from Mrs. Judson, and two more pupils of mine, one in Edinburg and another in Bangkok, you have perhaps been the best friend I have ever had?...".
"And you have been mine", I answered.
She smirked good naturedly. "Ahhh, Mr. Basil, you are telling me a falsehood... Is that Oscar Milde fellow not your friend? Is not Mrs. Judson?".
"Yes, but what can I learn from them?".
"Flatterer!".
Trying our best to smile through our tears, we hugged again, and I rested my arms on the side of Joe's bed, laying my head on my hands. Then I felt her hand tussle my hair a little, like a mother or a protective elder sister might do.
"Goodnight, Basil".
"Goodnight, Joe".

Dr. Josephine Bell died that night, with me holding her hand as she slept... She was buried in one of the country churchyards the next morning, and with no funeral... I knew she wouldn't have wanted one...
Afterwards, I seldom ever came to the churchyard where she was buried... I did not like to think of her as being there, and I knew she would not want me to think of her there either...


CHAPTER 5
ENTER BASIL OF BAKER STREET

Almost a week after that tragic night I moved into one of the spare rooms at Joe's flat, knowing that it would be a comfort to Mrs. Judson. Joe had been like a daughter to her and her death had broken the poor, lonely woman's heart.
Mrs. Judson and I were not the only ones to mourn the loss of one of Oxford's finest professors and doctors. The pupils in Joe's classes soon became depressed and melancholy. They, like me, grew bored with the conventional new replacement male teacher, and missed the sight of the wiry, mischievous, brilliant lady, leaning against her desk with a cocky manner, constantly lecturing us, shocking us, and finding new ways to trick us into learning...
Little did I know that my friend's death would serve a purpose, and would eventually help to shape the mouse I would become...

As I made my way back home from classes, I pulled my warm coat to me against the cold, winter wind. How I was looking forward to Mrs. Judson's tea and warm cheese crumpets!.
I was just heading down the street towards the flat when I felt strong hands seize my shoulders and shove me against the wall of a house...
My eyes widened when I saw them... The same two mice Joe and I had seen that day at the small house!...
"Sorry, guv'!", the thin one grinned menacingly, "but someone `ere want's a word with ya!".
I swallowed back a gasp as a large, dark figure immerged from the shadows...
"Good evening, Mr. Basil", Professor Ratigan leered, approaching me. "What a pleasure to see you again!".
I gave him a hateful glare. "The pleasure is not mine", I hissed through clenched teeth.
He seized me roughly by my collar. "I suppose you got a tremendous amount of pleasure when you caused me to lose my position at Magdalen for the second time! Thank's to you I am a pariah to Oxford! Not to mention that I am now being persued by Scotland Yard!".
Enraged, I struggled out of his grasp and faced him. "You caused all that yourself, both times, Professor! I merely finished what you started!". My voice was cold, steady, as if Joe was somehow speaking through me...
The rat stepped forward, raising his hand to strike me down... But he saw something in my face and stepped back, lowering hs hand...
"You sound just like her, defiant to the end", he said... Then he sneered. "Do you know, Basil, that the moment she stepped into that house and saw my men and I waiting for her, she lit her cigarette and told us that we were poor criminals, far to obvious and sloppy?".
I was silent... That sounded like Joe alright...
Then the professor laughed cruelly. "But then, Basil, I signaled one of my men to pull the trigger... and she was not so rude to me afterwards...".
My eyes widened in horror to hear that villain actually bragging about what he had done!
Still laughing, Ratigan seized me again by my collar. "Stay out of my way from now on, boy! or else you shall end up just like her!".
He then threw me roughly to the ground, and he and his men sauntered off.
I was on my hands and knees, humiliated and shaken... Gritting my teeth and clenching my fists, I stood up...
"Ratigan", I called, in a dangerously controlled, steady voice, "I would rather be like her then like you! Revolting sewer rat!".
He paused... stiffening... Then he turned around slowly, giving me the most contemptuous, murderous look I have ever seen...
"Because I am a gentleman", he hissed, "I shall let you off this once, with a warning... But take care you never call me that again, boy!". And with that he turned on his heels and sauntered away into the fog and darkness, leaving me staring angrily after him...
I bit my lip and roughly wiped away the tears that were beginning to form in my eyes... Then I turned and ran as fast as I could towards the flat... I stormed up the stairs and burst through the door into the sitting room, shaking with cold, fear and anger.
"Mr. Basil?", came Mrs. Judson's voice from the kitchen. "Mr. Basil, is that you?". She came into the sitting room and found me there.
"Why Mr. Basil!", she cried, rushing over to me and helping me out of my wet coat. "Whatever is the matter? You look as if you've seen a ghost!".
It was almost as if I had! I was in such shock I let the dear woman lead me over to the overstuffed red chair and sit me down with a warm, fresh, cup of tea... Gradually, I began to relax and think clearer...
I looked about the sitting room... I thought of the first time I had met Joe, when she had brought me here after I was attacked... I thought of all the warm pleasant evenings we had spent chatting by the fireside, sipping tea, enjoying Mrs. Judson's cheese crumpets, and smoking our usual pipe and cigarette... I smiled sadly as I remembered the time the three of us had danced clumsily around the flat to my violin and the gramophone... Then my gaze fell apon the green chair in front of me...
"I say", I sighed. "It's almost as if any moment she'll come walking through that door and set herself down in that chair, scolding me for being so melancholy".
Mrs. Judson chuckled sadly, sipping her own cup of tea. "Yes, my poor poor Miss Joe... She was always like that, Mr. Basil, even as a child... She never did like to give in to dispair...". At this her voice became quieter and more thoughtful... Then she reached inside of her pocket and pulled out a familiar object... "I think this belongs to you, Mr. Basil. Joe wanted me to return this... I suppose I just forgot...".
It was my pocketwatch! The same one I had lent Joe that time I had tried once again to prove her methods irrelevant. How I hated myself for that.
"I was always trying to show off", I shook my head as I gazed at the watch. "The whole thing was my fault... If I hadn't been such an arrogant little fool...".
"No, Mr. Basil", the kindly woman seated herself in the chair before me. "She did not die because you argued with her, but because she wanted to protect you".
I nodded sadly as I rubbed my finger over the watch's surface... Then I looked up at Mrs. Judson once again...
"Mrs. Judson", I said. "I believe I have a proposition for you".
"And what is that?", she asked.
"I've decided that as soon as graduation is over I shall leave Oxford and take up residence in London where my brother lives... I don't suppose you would be so good as to come with me?... I would appreciate a good housekeeper immensely, and I think Joe would have wanted her two best friends to stay together...".
She seemed surprised at first... Then she nodded with a warm smile. "Of course Mr. Basil. After graduation there will probably be nothing here for either of us, so many bad memories".
"Then it is agreed", I said. "After graduation in the summer we move to London and you will be my landlady and housekeeper, just as you were Joe's".
"And what shall you do, Mr. Basil", Mrs. Judson wanted to know.
"I honestly don't know... But what I'd give to hunt down that fiend Ratigan and make him pay for everything he's ever done...". At this my voice trailed off unhappily... "Joe... Joe could not do it...".
"No, no she could not", Mrs. Judson said softly. "She was a teacher, not a policeman... and not a detective...".
"No... No she was not...". I shook my head... Then I picked up my violin from beside the chair and began to play as Mrs. Judson continued to sip her tea and the warm fire continued to burn in the hearth... My gaze then shifted to the top of the fireplace, where the portrait of Ratigan was...
"The Napoleon Of Crime", I thought angrily, narrowing my eyes, my face hardening. "Someday... Someday, Professor, you are going to grow careless and make a mistake... and I shall be there when you do!"...

Winter soon ended, then came spring, then summer and my graduation. How I wished it was Joe who had shook my hand and handed me my diploma at the ceremonies!.
As soon as graduation was over Mrs. Judson and I made arrangements for a flat in London, at 221B Baker Street...
On the day we were to leave Oxford I found myself walking to the churchyard where my old friend rested... even though I had promised myself I never would... but there was something I wished to do before I left...
It was a small churchyard, so I had little trouble finding Joe's headstone... Plain white marble, with Joe's name carved onto it...

Josephine Bell
Our "Joe"
Lovingly Remembered By The Students Of Oxford

I stared long and hard at it... as if I were trying to imagine it away, and Joe standing there in it's place... I had to smile to myself as I thought of what my old friend would have said to me right now...
"Oh, do stop being such a sentimental drama king!", she would have scolded me with a warm chuckle. "What's done is done, and we must make the best of it! Now go, dear boy, and never look back! London is waiting!".
"Yes, it is, isn't it?", I thought to myself as I took out my pocketwatch and placed it on top of the headstone. "Take care, Joe... and thank you...".
I then turned and made my way out of the churchyard, heading towards the train station where dear Mrs. Judson was waiting...
I promised myself I would never look back... Yet, I also promised myself that I would never forget Dr. Josephine Bell, "The Queen Of Deduction".

There isn't much I haven't shared
With you along the road
And through it all there'd always be
Tomorrows episode

Suddenly that isn't true
There's another avenue
Beckoning the great divide
Ask no questions, take no sides

Who's to say who's right or wrong?
Who's course is braver run?
Still we are, have always been
Will ever be as one

What is done has been done for the best
Though the mist in my eyes might suggest
Just a little confusion about what I'll lose
But if I started over I know I would choose
The same joy, that same sadness
Each step of the way
That fought me and tought me
That friends never say goodbye

("Friends Never Say Goodbye" from "The Road To El Dorado")

The End

E Mail the author at karenjade@home.com

All characters are a copyright of Disney, with the exception of Dr. Josephine Bell, who is my own creation. If you would like to use her in your own stories please ask me first.