Xena and Gabrielle meet a Victorian super-criminal. Sherlock Holmes meets two women who are more dangerous than even he assumes.
1. The events of this story take place just a few weeks after Holmes's dramatic return in 'The Empty House', early in 1894; after his disappearance at the Reichenbach Falls three years before.
2. If it is thought that Xena and Gabrielle are not speaking in their usual voices, remember that these notes were written by Dr Watson after the event; possibly some years later.
3. I do not consider this story a Crossover because no characters are based on any Holmes TV series or film, but the original stories by Conan Doyle.
4. For *'s see Notes at end of chapter.
Disclaimer—MCA/Universal/RenPics own all copyrights to everything related to 'Xena: Warrior Princess' and I have no rights to them.
'The Adventure of the Two Greek Ladies.'
The astonishing events surrounding Miss Maltravers and the Garibaldi shirt* had been closed satisfactorily just a week previously. Not a paragraph had appeared in the daily papers, for which her family were extremely grateful; though Holmes passed off the strange affair as insignificant. I had safely consigned the case-notes to my tin dispatch-box in the vaults of Cox & Co, Charing Cross*. Since then, with no new cases in the offing, Holmes had become exasperated with the mundane tranquillity of normal life.
"The Normal, Watson!" He uttered the word with contempt as he stood by the tall window looking out on Baker Street on a rainy afternoon early in May. "There is so much of it. There really should be a Law to check the utterly commonplace in Society! Don't you think so?"
"From every point of view the erroneousness of the world in which we believe we live is the surest and firmest thing we can get our eyes on."* I quoted from a German author whom I had recently had occasion to peruse. "On the other hand, I personally think the backbone of the Empire is built on the merely Conventional!"
"Ha! Watson, I do declare you are turning philosopher on me! Where can it end?"
"I'll stick to my medical practice thank you, Holmes."
"The Conventional, you say!" Holmes continued musing, apparently unhearing of my remark, as he put a long finger to his chin and carried on gazing at the pedestrians traversing the wet pavements outside. "How I prefer the outré! The uncanny! The inexplicable! But what chance is there of such on a rainy May afternoon in London?"
"What about Lestrade's invitation to Scotland Yard?" I reminded him of a conversation with the worthy policeman the previous Saturday, when he had spoken of seeing us both in his office for an idle chat. Which both Holmes and I translated as a request to perhaps help with some as yet impenetrable case on hand.
"Lestrade can wait!" The tall figure at the window had suddenly straightened and he leaned slightly forward, his attention locked on something in the street outside. "Ha! Watson! Perhaps things are not quite so humdrum as they were. There are two ladies standing on the opposite pavement. Both curious in several differing ways!"
I cast aside 'The Times' and joined him to look out at the figures he indicated. There was only a desultory coming and going in the damp rain-streaked street, so the two women were instantly recognisable by their very immobility.
"Come, what do you think? You know my methods!"
"Well." I paused to study them more closely. "A tall dark-haired lady, with a much shorter and blonde-haired companion. They have stopped but seem somewhat uncomfortable. What can it be? Ah, yes! The younger blonde lady appears to find her skirt something of an encumbrance. No doubt the rain!"
"Almost, Watson. I have hopes for you yet." Holmes smiled in that tight-lipped manner which was so much a part of him. "Uncomfortable, yes! The weather, no! It is the very nature of her clothes which so disturb her, don't you see!"
"How do you mean, Holmes?"
"The length of the skirt is obviously alien to her." The great detective examined his prey with sharp eyes. "The tightness of the waistline also appears to cause some discomfort. And you note, of course, the curious shrugging of the shoulders? She is not at one with her upper garments either, I surmise!"
"So what do you make of her, er, discomposure?"
"Oh, it is quite straightforward, Watson. Her clothes—her English clothes—are not what she is used to in her native clime, where such things are perhaps rather more relaxed and even easy-going! You, of course, have not failed to note her long stride, in the few steps she has taken; and the dark tan of both ladies hands and faces? The answer provides itself!"
"And that is—what?" I was forced to ask a few moments later, when it became obvious Holmes thought he had presented all the necessary facts regarding the two women.
"Oh, simply that they are both clearly Greek! Arrived here quite recently—within the last two weeks, I should say."
"Greek!" I was astonished. If he had stated they were American I may have had reason to take him at his word. But Greek!
"Of course!" Holmes turned to grin broadly at me before transferring his interest back to the outside scene. "If they had been—for instance—American, they would exhibit a more bronzed colouring. But they are quite olive-skinned. The taller of the two intrigues me! She has what I would instantly categorize, in a man, as a military bearing! There is the air of an officer about her; a Lady, I fancy, of some standing in her Society. They are both hatless, so you may also take note of their hairstyles. Not English, I think you will agree, Watson?"
For the first time I did stop to take a closer look at the hair of the two women, where they still stood on the opposite pavement some forty feet away. It was just as Holmes said. It was quite obvious that their hair, now my attention had been brought to the matter, was styled in a way that was indeed not in the prevailing English fashions.
"But their nationality, Holmes?" I was still somewhat at sea with my friend's reasoning. "What makes you decide—merely from a hairstyle—that someone is Greek?"
"Simple, Watson." Holmes allowed himself a small smile. "I am also, as you know, able to lip-read! They are speaking Greek to each other over there!"
"Ha!" I grunted; then catching his eye, burst out laughing. "You know, Holmes, I think if you ever went on the stage Dan Leno* himself would have to search for another occupation!"
"Enough!" He stepped back from the window and looked at me excitedly. "They are crossing the street, and their destination is here! Shout down to Mrs Hudson to show them both up immediately. You know how well the good woman can bar the way, when she is in the mood to protect my privacy!"
As the women came up the stairs to our door we heard one of our visitors addressing Mrs Hudson in a beautiful contralto voice.
"Thank you. Yes, we wish to talk with Mr Holmes."
"I fancy we shall not need the services of Mr Melas*." Holmes glanced towards me as we both stood ready to welcome the ladies.
Another instant found them both standing on our rather threadbare carpet. The taller dark lady gazed composedly straight into Holmes's face with a peculiar intensity. Her fair-haired companion's attention seemed taken up by the unfortunate design of bullet pockmarks on the far wall; placed there by Holmes in one of his more spirited moments*.
"You are Holmes?" Her voice was deep and commanding in a way I had rarely heard in a woman before.
"Madame! May I be of assistance to you?" Holmes regarded the tall woman with sharp intensity.
"My friend and I need your help." She regarded both of us like a general addressing his officers. "You, perhaps, may need ours!"
I was intrigued; as I saw my friend was, by these confident women: but what their motives were remained dark.
"You have the advantage of us at the moment, ladies!" Holmes stared back at the woman with the same determined gaze as she focussed on him. After a moment he gestured towards an armchair with a rapid movement of his hand.
"Thank you." The dark lady sat in the disreputable leather armchair which Holmes waved her to. Her friend, at his insistence, took the more cheerful chintz covered chair opposite.
After a slight pause it was the dark lady; obviously the principal, who began to explain the details of what became one of the most curious cases which Holmes and I were ever involved in.
"My friend and I have come from far away." Her voice was warm, deep and somehow dangerous in its tone; her blue eyes exhibiting a curious iciness which made me nervous. "My name is Xena—er, Athenopolos. My friend is Gabrielle—Potidais."
As I looked into the face of the lady by her side I was struck by the gentleness of her features, and by the remarkable clarity of her pale green eyes of a tint I had rarely seen.
"We have information of a political nature concerning your country which is of the utmost import." Miss Athenopolos looked at us with something less than respect, I thought. "Elements of those who have governed Greece for a long time are also intimately involved!"
"But what can Britain's political situation have to interest either Greece or two such ladies as yourselves?" I fear my words must have hit a nerve, as the dark lady turned to face me with an expression that boded ill. I had the impression she was naturally quick-tempered.
"Britain, like Rome before it, rules the known world through its Empire!" Her words were nearly spat out through clenched teeth. "When any country rules most of the world it gains far more enemies than friends. I've seen it before!"
"And this affects our present Government—in what way?" Holmes cut to the heart of the matter in his usual way.
"Xena!" Her friend also broke in, putting a restraining hand on her companion's arm. "They can help us. Remember what Ar—er, shouldn't you show them the letter?"
"Ah! I forgot!" Miss Athenopolos, who in her turn had apparently been deciding just how much we could be trusted, suddenly dived a hand into her red leather reticule. "We are also in touch with someone else who has an interest in the present situation. I have brought a letter from him. Addressed to you, of course!"
With this she handed over a small white envelope which he simply unfolded and quickly read the letter inside before offering it, wordlessly, to me. When I straightened the single page and read the superscription I must admit that a surprise awaited me. It was from none other than Holmes's brother Mycroft!
London. May, 1894.
You will, no doubt, have already made a passingly competent deduction of your two visitor's standings. But let me fill in those few gaps which may yet elude you.
Miss Athenopolos and her companion Miss Potidais came to my Department highly recommended by letters from certain ministers of my acquaintance in Athens. Due to the new undersea telegraph lines it is now possible, of course, to send and receive messages within hours if not minutes of each other. A great improvement on the days, not so long ago, when such messages would take several weeks or months for the round trip.
The replies were satisfactory, if couched in rather hazy terms; but I can speak for the integrity of the two ladies who now stand before you. Trust them and act on their advice in this curious matter. Wholly depending on the nation's best interests, of course!
"Maybe I should tell them the facts, Xena?" Miss Potidais put a hand on the arm of her dark friend who nodded silently and glanced at the younger woman with what was obviously deep friendship.
"Tell me, Mr Holmes," Miss Potidais's gaze was straight and sure in her turn. "is it true that you have had recent acquaintance with the infamous Colonel Sebastian Moran?"
Holmes, who had been idly flicking through a pile of notes heaped on a sidetable, froze in place. I too was astounded for an instant: we both exchanged glances at this surprising reference.
"What, madam, do you know of the worthy Colonel?" My friend turned slowly to fix the slight young woman with a cold gaze; to which, I have to admit, the lady seemed impervious.
"I believe that just a few weeks ago he made himself—somewhat insufferable to you!" Miss Potidais almost smiled; or perhaps sneered. I found it difficult to read her expression.
Both Holmes and I inadvertently looked over to the wall, opposite the window. Here lay yet another, fresher, bullet pockmark in the plaster; evidence of the expert aim of the Colonel and his famous air-powered gun!* Sometimes I myself thought our living-room was beginning to exhibit more bullet-holes than the Malamute Saloon;* a criticism to which Holmes, at the time, had merely grunted in reply.
"He certainly made his presence felt!" Holmes's twist of the lips could hardly be taken for a smile. "But he was apprehended by the police at once—"
"And has since escaped again; though the fact is not yet public knowledge!" The resolute Greek lady finished on her own account. "And is at large as we speak. I wonder if you know where he is right now?"
My friend stood erect, with a sharp light in his eye as he gazed on the two seated women.
"Yes, Mr Holmes, he is in London at this very moment." The blonde-haired woman spoke in a sombre, dramatic tone. "Where, I do not precisely know; but here, certainly!"
"And his intent, madam?"
There was a short space of time; which to me at least appeared an eternity, while the women looked at each other, gauging the power of their news.
"He was, apparently, somewhat vexed by his failure to complete his plot against you. Since then he has developed a rather sinister obsession. He wants revenge; against you, Mr Holmes, and against the powers-that-be in this country." Miss Potidais's tone, though clear, had a hard edge. "He originally meant to kill your Prime Minister, Mr Gladstone. But with the fall of his Government* and retiral there is no longer anything to gain in that. He has switched his attention elsewhere."
"Lord Rosebery!" I cried. The relatively youthful leader of the Liberals had barely been in power a month as yet.
"No! He is regarded by Moran, and his backers, as insignificant." Miss Potidais went on in her mellifluous voice. "He will hardly last a year—two at the most, they surmise! No. They want to cause terror; and horror! Do something that will bring the country to its knees: perhaps even affect the Empire itself!"
For a length of time which I shall never be able to measure in memory accurately there was silence. Holmes did not speak, and finally it was I who broke the stillness; my voice echoing in the high-ceilinged room.
Miss Athenopolos nodded, looking all the while at Holmes through narrowed eyes.
Holmes walked over to stand in front of the fireplace; casting a yearning glance at the Persian slipper which contained his most aromatic tobacco as he did so.
"There is evidence of this—dastardly plot, I assume?"
"Colonel Moran is—known to my friend, Gabrielle!" Miss Athenopolos looked appraisingly at the detective. "She was—given—a letter which he, as yet, does not know has gone slightly astray. Here it is! Perhaps it will make you change your mind?"
Holmes nearly snatched the envelope from the ladies hand as she extracted it from her handbag. The first thing he did, after opening the folded single sheet which it contained, was to hold the paper to his nose and inhale deeply. Then he held the page up to the light and examined the texture minutely. Only after this did he deign to read the closely-written text.
"The faintest aroma of narcissi. Our worthy Colonel has indeed returned, Watson!" He almost shouted with an excitement unusual in him. "The paper is gray, antique-laid. The text written on the rough side in light-blue Hollidge's ink, with a well-used steel nib. The text is closely-written and small; the first word of each paragraph deeply indented! And all words ending in '–ing' have an unneeded 'e' for good luck! Moran to a certainty!"
"He must feel sure of himself to return so quickly to his old haunts!" I spoke with some trepidation, remembering our previous meeting with the murderous villain. "What has he to say, Holmes?"
"I quote—" Holmes began to recite the letter's contents in an even voice. " 'To Jervaise Markham.' Ha! Jervaise! A slimy character who generally likes to hide quietly in the morass that is Whitechapel!* I continue—'Late May. M S C. Visitors Special Euston. Assuming Mr Lucian Danvers. I have the particular instrument and necessary equipment. Going by 'Jenny Villiers'. 3.15pm. 200, yes, if you stay willing to my purpose.' It is signed with the single initial 'M'! A most interesting communication!"
"A most cryptic missive, surely?" I was as much in the dark as ever. "What does it tell us?"
"Almost everything we wish to know, Watson!" Holmes was elated; crossing to the window to stand looking out onto the passing scene before turning back to us. "We are given the time of the expected incident. Coupled with our revered Monarch's schedule we therefore now know the scene of the intended atrocity!"
"Where?" I could not help but cry the question loudly.
"Why, Manchester, of course!" Holmes smiled wryly at me and nodded towards the two ladies. "She is expected there for the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal—one of the scientific glories of our age! The 21st May I believe is the correct date!" *
"And the rest of the letter?" I was intrigued, as ever, by Holmes's method of extracting hard facts from the slightest of evidence.
"—tells us his method of travel! From Euston Railway Station; using a special train allocated for spectators travelling from London. He travels under the non-de-plume of Mr Danvers." Holmes paced the littered floor, catching the edge of the tattered carpet as he strode purposely around. "He already has his gun and ammunition ready. 'Jenny Villiers', as you no doubt know, is the steamer which crosses from Manchester to Belfast. 3.15pm will be it's time of departure. And the 200 will be in pounds, for Jervaises's pay! That, I believe, is almost all the letter can tell us!"
"Almost, Holmes?" I raised an eyebrow as I looked at my friend.
"Except for what it merely implies!" Holmes smiled sardonically. "Which is that the Colonel does not intend going to his destination until it is necessary. Meanwhile he will be taking up his abode here, in London. Where I can certainly find him!"
"Remarkable, Mr Holmes!" Miss Athenopolos gazed at the detective with an intense fire in her blue eyes. "We had read the letter before; but had not discovered what you have!"
"Merely elementary, my dear Lady!" Holmes was never one to brag about his capabilities at any time. "I often say; mostly to poor Inspector Lestrade, that anyone with enough resolve and aspiration can eventually attain something of the same aptitude! But tell me, how did this message come into your possession? And will not you or your friend be in some danger when its absence is discovered?"
Miss Xena laughed; though her expression gave me cause for concern. Some underlying mental disturbance or excitability seemed to show itself then to my medical side. I must here admit I was never quite happy about Miss Athenopolos throughout the whole course of ensuing events.
"He gave it to Gabrielle!" She continued to laugh, though without any strain of humour whatever: an almost terrifying performance! "She is what might be called 'in his favour' at the moment. Part of his group, I think you would call it!"
"I am his messenger, for the time being." The blonde lady continued in a calm voice, as if the situation was one which she felt perfectly capable of coping with. "I am to take it to somewhere rather colourfully named 'The Elephant and Castle',* where Jervaise will be waiting its arrival."
"We had better be on our way, I think." Miss Athenopolos looked at her friend, then rose to stand beside Holmes. She almost equalled him in height, I noticed for the first time.
"I am not quite clear on why Greece, and yourselves, are involved in this matter." Holmes put a finger on his chin and looked at Miss Athenopolos enquiringly. "May I ask why you have come to me?"
As he put these few words to the lady Holmes looked like an eagle soaring over its prey, with his eyes half-closed in thought as he glanced from one to the other of our curious visitors.
"Simply that we have accurate knowledge that the Colonel intends to finally reappear in our country." The tall woman looked at us with dark angry eyes. "Greece, as you know, is rather unstable at the moment. Colonel Moran is perhaps the least welcome visitor we need at this time. Hence our determination to see that he is caught and tried for his crimes!"
"Well, ladies!" Holmes suddenly burst into action, dashing across the room to retrieve the cloaks of our guests. "Time rushes on and events become somewhat clearer. You must certainly attend your appointment with the less than respectable Jervaise!"
"I am a little worried about that, Mr Holmes." Miss Potidais looked at us as she stood by her friend's side. "I have never met the man. And Colonel Moran simply told me the meeting-place; the 'Elephant and Castle.' He expected Mr Markham to make himself known to us, I presume."
"Oh, we can do better than that, Miss Potidais!" Holmes was actually grinning like a boy with a new stick and hoop in his pleasure at having work to do. "I can give you a very pretty description of the wholly obnoxious Markham. You will not be able to miss him, I assure you! And Watson here will be accompanying you both. Discreetly, of course! Watson, when the letter has been delivered please do your best to follow Jervaise after he leaves the Inn. He will certainly make his way back to his old haunt in Whitechapel!"
"And you, Holmes?"
"Oh, I shall be engaged for the next few hours!" He nodded to the ladies and placed the fingers of both hands together in a habitual way he had when considering the details of a case before him. "Jervaise Markham! His manners and habits! Well, Miss Athenopolos, he is highly regarded down Wapping* way as a fine exponent of the 'back alley lay.' That is to say, he finds a sailor fresh from a long voyage; makes friends with him; gets him drunk at one of thousands of drinking dens; eventually induces him into a dark lane or alley where he assaults the poor sailor with a blackjack, then makes off with his pay from the voyage! A nasty, vicious cove is Jervaise! Not a nice person by anyone's standards, I have to say!"
"Just the kind of character I like to meet on a rainy day!" Miss Athenopolos smiled; or rather, grimaced as she bared her teeth in an almost delighted expression.
"As to appearance," Holmes continued, raising his brow slightly at the lady's manner. "He is about five foot six in height, if you can call it that!"
The scowl, delivered from under a lowered brow that was aimed at him from Miss Potidais missed its mark as he went on with his description of the criminal classes to be met with along the River.
"A round head; almost spherical, in fact. The top lightly brushed with remnants of gray hair, cut short." He smiled at the peccadilloes of those who regularly treated the Sheriff Court as a second home. "He once had ambitions of being a prize-fighter. But found that his opponents were always better; or at least, more brutal! He is stocky; solidly built, without actually being fat. His legs appear shorter than usual because his arms are rather longer than the norm. His hands are large and powerful. His smile is set off by the lack of all the upper frontal molars; a frightening sight, if come upon unexpectedly in one of his cheery moods!"
"I think I remember putting a five-pound note on him to go six rounds, some years ago!" I had spoken before I quite knew what I was doing and stood embarrassed as all eyes focussed on me for a moment. "Never saw that note again!"
"Harumph! His voice is tenor," Holmes frowned as he recalled the details of his subject. "but long made rusty by the imbibement of gin of the worst sort. His accent is that of the authentic Whitechapel; rather guttural than otherwise. His replies are generally short. The exclamation 'Rrr' often doing service for more formal conversation!"
"I don't think we'll be doing much in the way of talking, Mr Holmes." Miss Potidais stood beside her friend as they prepared to leave. "I was given instructions to hand over the letter when Markham presented himself with the codeword. Then return to Moran."
At Holmes's raised eyebrow she quickly understood his meaning.
"A small hotel in the Tottenham Court Road." She passed a hand through her short unruly hair. "Only a meeting-place. We do not, as yet know where he actually lives."
"Do not be concerned!" Holmes was still darting around the room, picking up various sheets of paper and other small items as he went. "It may turn out to be quite a simple affair to track the Colonel to his lair!"
"Am I to go with the ladies, Holmes?" I thought it best to discover what my friend's plans were at the outset.
"In a separate cab, Watson, if you please." He raised a hand in the air, fingers playing restlessly. "Don't follow them inside the Inn. Just wait for the detestable Jervaise to leave and follow him. Considering the neighbourhood I would strongly recommend, if not your Service revolver, at least your fine swordstick! Who knows, you may rediscover your lost wealth from all those years ago!"
"And when I trace him to his lair, what then?"
"Then you return to Baker Street, Watson." He had dashed into his room and re-emerged with a heavy coat over his arm. "My investigations should themselves be completed by the middle of the evening. Ladies, where do you stay?"
"We have rooms at No 32 Malet Street, just behind the Museum." Miss Athenopolos followed the detective with her eyes as he ranged round the room, diving into draws and placing obscure items in his pockets. "You can find us there, or send a message."
"Yes, yes, I may have recourse to the telegraph before this business is over." He stopped beside the door to look at all three of us for a moment. "I must rush. There is someone I shall have to see about this really most entertaining business. Till this evening, goodbye!"
The door closed behind him and the great detective was gone.
"A man of action!" Miss Gabrielle smiled as she looked from her companion to me. "We seem to have brought some excitement into his daily routine!"
"Just what he most needed, ma'am." I smiled at the young lady. "He was falling into a rut otherwise. Now he's busy he'll be full of energy for days. May I take you down to the street. There should be no difficulty about a cab."
"Where exactly is this place, the 'Elephant and Castle.' " Miss Athenopolos stared at me with her penetrating glance. "Is it something more than a drinking den?"
"It's actually a District of London, madam." I gave the women a short history of London's geography. "It lies on the other side of the River, beyond Southwark. The place takes its name from the famous Inn at its centre. By London's standards it is actually quite a prosperous, up and coming area."
"So a cab will take us there without trouble?" Miss Potidais smiled again at me. "Is it very far?"
"Some considerable distance, as the crow flies, ma'am." I thought of finding a street-map to show them; but looking at our room's singular untidiness, thought better of it. "About half-an-hour by cab. Much the same by Underground, but a great deal noisier, smellier, and more crowded that way, I'm afraid. Even on a rainy day like today a cab will be more comfortable. Shall we go?"
In the street there were few passers-by, but the rain had lightened to a simple drizzle. Being the thoroughfare that it was though, the traffic was still quite busy and I saw a suitable carriage approaching immediately.
"Here, ladies, this growler* will be best for you." I waved the four-wheeler to a stand beside us and handed both women into the spacious interior.
"There is room here for you, Dr Watson!" Miss Potidais leaned over to look at me as her companion closed the door with its lowered window.
"I need to stay separate, as Holmes says, ma'am." I touched my hat and indicated the flow of traffic behind them. "Here's a Hansom that'll be just the ticket. Don't worry if you do not see me again till this evening. I shall keep a close eye on you till your meeting is over!"
With that I stood back and watched as the carriage pulled out into the road and soon vanished amid the grey rainy mist and other vehicles. My own Hansom set off smartly; the horse clip-clopping at a fair pace as we wended our way through the streets towards the rendezvous in South London. I smiled to myself as I recalled the sudden turn of events in the course of the afternoon.
As Holmes himself would have said, the game was afoot; and where it would lead us was as yet, thankfully, a mystery.
End of Chapter 1
1. An otherwise unknown case.
2. See 'The Problem of Thor Bridge.'
3. 'Beyond Good and Evil.' 1886. Friedrich Nietzsche.
4. Dan Leno. Victorian Music Hall comedian. (1864-1904).
5. See 'The Greek Interpreter.'
6. See 'The Musgrave Ritual.'
7. See 'The Empty House' where Colonel Moran attempts to shoot the detective.
8. 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew' by Robert Service. Not published till 1907, so perhaps a clue to the later writing of these case-notes by Dr Watson?
9. Gladstone, a Liberal, resigned as Prime Minister in March 1894, to be immediately replaced by Lord Rosebery whose reign only lasted till June of 1895.
10. An infamous London District.
11. The Manchester Ship Canal was officially opened by Queen Victoria on 21st May 1894 in a grand ceremony attended by thousands.
12. The 'Elephant and Castle' was, and still is, a District of South London.
13. A District which had many wharves and boarding houses for seamen, bordering the Thames River.
14. Four-wheeled enclosed public-carriages, pulled by two horses as opposed to the Hansom cab's one, were universally known as growlers because of the curious noise the wheels made going over the street cobbles. They had room for four passengers, where the Hansom could only take two people at most.