At the behest of Pip we offered to assist a launch captain with a bit of corpse fishing. Sounded simple enough.
The Gambling Debt
The group had some downtime before the expected rendezvous, so they decided to further investigate Nell and her circumstances.
It is discovered that a rather senescent gentleman who revealed himself to be Nell’s grandfather. There was also notably no sign of a dumbwaiter on the upper floor, nor space for one.
Nell’s grandfather apparently has a rather severe phobia of lawyers, where the mere mention of the profession was enough to lay him low. After Dr Isaac was able to restore him to his faculties the group discovered the reason for his ill ease, a rather unpleasant gentleman known as Mr Quilp.
Nell’s grandfather fell foul of a poorly planned gambling scheme while trying to secure money for Nell’s dowry. This resulted in a large debt to Mr Quilp to the sum of £350.
This has forced them into hiding, the alternative being the grandfather being sent to prison and Nell becoming a ward of the court under Mr Quilp’s care.
Mr Quilp currently occupies The Old Curiosity Shop pending judgement in chancery against Nell’s grandfather. There have been rumours that Mrs Quilp is due to suffer an accident leaving Mr Quilp looking for a bride.
On the other hand, Nell’s brother John wants to marry Nell off to his friend who will pass the shop over to him.
The group now need to identify a means to rescue Nell and her grandfather from their debt, freeing Nell to marry Pip when the time comes.
Late Night Fishing
Later the group gathered at the launch to aid the captain in his work. There they noticed two manned vessels moored up on either side of the river. No doubt lying in wait to snare any corpses the launch discovered. The decision was made to warn them off, with one of them being threatened with ‘lacking proper corpse fishing licences’ and the other being outmaneuvered en route.
The captain we were assisting remarked how he had received several dream visions about a woman in the river and how he would need to collect her. Initially there were queries about his state of mind, however he did indeed find a female corpse matching the description he gave.
Upon collection of the corpse Dr Isaac performed a post mortem and discovered signs of foul play, namely blunt trauma to the back of the head, a slit throat, stones in her pockets and all identifying items removed.
Meanwhile the ponderous George apparently had a mental lapse and exposed himself off the bow. Thankfully Evie was on hand to restrain him. The engineer also has a vision as this transpires.
Their next stop was the residence of a local coroner, who upon receiving the information about the woman’s fate gave them a week to find information regarding the culprit. Unless identified a murder case will not be raised and she goes into an unconsecrated pauper grave.
Outside it transpires that Mr Quilp’s chandlery is across the lane and there is a brief verbal bout between Quilp’s “boy” and Pip, brought to a sudden end by Evie’s flintlock. The boy was Shot in the Leg and starts bleeding. Evie vanishes into the night on horseback.
Come to investigate the gunshot, Dr Isaac managed to stabilise the boy’s injuries and accompanied him to the hospital. With better facilities he then goes on to save the boy’s life.