[2010] Clarissa Babila (Science 7 Olt Mertz, English 8th Gr 2013-2014, Science 8th Gr 2013-2014): Se

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[2010] Clarissa Babila (Science 7 Olt Mertz, English 8th Gr 2013-2014, Science 8th Gr 2013-2014): Se

Secret LettersLeah Scheier

Travel LogBaker Street is one of the most famous attractions in London, England. Sherlock Holmes has said to have resided in 221B Baker Street between the years of 1891 and 1904.Marylebone is an area of London known for the famous Baker Street. Some famous residents include Charles Dickens, Madonna, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes!Hanover Square was known as a chic residential area in the 1700s. Some of the houses from this time period are still intact. Some famous landmarks in this area are the London office of the fashion magazine, Vogue, and St. George's Hanover Square.St. George's, Hanover Square is a famous church constructed in the early 1700s in Hanover Square. The church was a popular place for weddings. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt was married here in 1886 which caused many other Americans to get married here too.London Victoria Station was built in 1860 and was named after Queen Victoria. Victoria Station is the departure point for the famous Orient Express's London-Paris-Vienna route.

221B Baker Street

Alternate EndingOnce I had finished my prayer, I saw a shadow fall across my makeshift gravestone and heard a rustling noise. I turned and saw Peter Cartwright walking towards me. He stood next to me and looked down at the gravestone. As he studied it, I felt embarrassed. I knew he had already heard the prayer I had made to my father and I dreaded what he would think. He looked at me with a look of sorrow on his face and offered me his hand to help me stand up. I gratefully took it and rose clumsily to my feet. “I didn’t mean to intrude,” he said in a quiet voice, his eyes on the ground. “What a surprise to see you here, Mr. Cartwright. How did you know I would be here?” I said in the calmest voice I could muster. I still had not recovered from the shock of seeing him here. “I didn’t,” he responded simply. I suddenly felt ashamed. It was foolish for me to even think he would come to the cemetery just to see me. But then something struck me: if he hadn’t known I was here, why was he in this cemetery anyways? “But, this can’t possibly be,” I reasoned. “My cousin brought me here unexpectedly and I wandered off to-” I clamped my mouth shut. I couldn’t possibly finish the sentence. What was I supposed to say? To mourn the death of my father who I’ve never met? There was nothing I could say. “Seek closure?” he suggested. He looked up at me, his eyes meeting mine. I looked back down at the gravestone to avoid his eyes. His eyes went to the gravestone too. He crouched and scooped up a handful of dirt. Peter opened his fingers and shook the dirt off his hand. “Are you ready to let him go now?” His eyes met mine and I didn’t bother to look away. His usually bright and cheery green eyes were darker. His face was somber and his eyes seemed to carry a deep sadness. He stood back up and brushed the dirt off his hands. He came forward and hugged me. I immediately felt warm. The cold air that was biting at my skin earlier didn’t bother me anymore. Peter pulled back and smiled. “Do you feel better?” he asked. I nodded. “Why did you come here?” I asked. “This cemetery is nowhere near your house.” Instead of responding, his eyes had drifted to a plot of land in the distance. I looked over at it and walked towards it. Peter followed me. There were four gravestones with four names on them. I read:William, Margaret, Trevor, and Charlotte CartwrightFour gravestones meant two parents and two children. They were his family. They had all died on the same day: December 24, 1887. I gasped. “You see, I had not come to see you, Dora,” he said. His tone was not bitter, but soft and sad. “After I had returned the letters to your cousin, I presumed our time together was over.” “Oh,” I said in a barely audible voice. Of course he had not come to see me. He had never meant to see me again, in fact. My heart dropped as I spoke. “Of course you had not come to see me, I’m just a foolish girl who cries for a father she has never known.” I said this bitterly, but I immediately regretted it. “It’s fine, Dora,” Peter saiid as he put an arm around my shoulder. “I understand how it is to lose someone. You feel like you could’ve done something but in the end, you really couldn’t.” He let out a long breath. “My family died not by accident, but because someone wanted us to die. I had thrown a fit. We were supposed to go and visit a family friend that night, but I didn’t want to. I told my mother I had a headache-not a real one of course, but I didn’t tell her that-and I didn’t want to go. We stayed at home and we gathered around the fire for a midnight picnic. Charlotte and Trevor were quite angry at me, but my mother promised that we would have a celebration to calm them. Soon, we were all laughing and having a grand time.” He dropped his arm from around my shoulders and continued. “I saw the men first. I learned later that they had come through the window which was intentionally left open by a maid. We scattered and I knew that they planned to kill all of us. I hid in a room and I was trapped. I thought that if I cut myself and made it look like I was dead, I would be able to survive. So I did and it worked. “After this all happened, I wondered what I could have done differently. If only I had not insisted that we stayed at home that night…we would all be alive.” His eyes shined with tears as he looked down at the gravestones. Without thinking, I reached for his hand. As I held it, he looked at me and smiled. “Thank you,” he said as he kissed me in between my eyebrows. I blushed and looked away. My cheeks grew hot with a blush and I laughed. Peter’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “What is so funny, Dora?” he asked. “Well,” I said, the laughter subsiding, “that was my first kiss.” He smiles at me. We start to walk around the cemetery, hand-in-hand, until I hear my cousin calling me. “That is my aunt,” I said. I felt sad that our time together was ending. “I have to say, Dora, I enjoyed my time with you.” “As did I,” I said. “I hope we’ll see each other soon. Are you still staying in the city?” “No, I’m going back to Newheath tomorrow,” I responded. I heard my aunt call my name again. “I’m sorry, I must go.” I turned away from him and start walking in the direction of my aunt’s voice. I stopped and turned around. I ran back to him and gave him a kiss on the lips. “What was that for?” “For telling me about your family and being my friend,” I said with a smile on my face. I was giddy. I turned away from him one last time. “Dora Joyce, aren’t you something!” I heard him call.

A wedding in St. George's

Lady Rose has just been found in a run-down cottage and has been revived. I woke up to a hot drink going down my throat and a blanket over me. A man with a drooping mustache was standing over me. I brushed a piece of hair out of my eyes as he began to talk. “Do you remember how you got here, Lady Rose?” he asked. His tone was serious and his eyebrows were furrowed in thought. I shook my head slowly, for my head ached. “All I remember is a strong smell and a rag over my mouth. After that, I woke up here.” I gestured to the dark and dusty room we were in. “My hands were tied and a man I have never seen before was hovering over me. I was quite frightened.” The man with the mustache went to the other room with a frown. A chair had fallen on top of a man and his face was bleeding. He had called for help and the man, begrudgingly, went to help. A girl with curly brown hair and a maid’s outfit stood to the right of me. I sat up against the wall and asked quietly, “Who are you?” Her eyes darted left and right and her chest rose and fell. She was breathing faster. She was nervous. The girl finally spoke. “I’m Dora Banister, Miss,” she said in an obviously fake maid’s accent. She curtsied. “I’m the new maid at Hartfield Hall." As she spoke, I started to get up. The blanket fell off of me and I immediately felt colder. I looked around and saw that the room was small and dimly lit. There was a door behind her, but there were no windows. The girl, Dora, offered me a muffin. I stared at it in disbelief. I had not seen food for so long that I did not know what to make of it. I snatched the muffin out of the girl’s hand and devoured it one bite. Once I had finished, Dora reached into her apron and pulled out another. Just as I was about to take the muffin, I noticed something odd. I caught her wrist and she let out a gasp of surprise. The front of her hand was swollen and an odd shade of purple. “What happened to your hand?” I asked. Using my other hand, I took the muffin out of hers and continued to eat. She pulled her hand back so quickly I had almost dropped the muffin. She hid her hand under her apron and looked down. “I burned it while cooking the other day. It’s nothing, really.” I could tell she wasn’t telling the truth but I ignored it. My mother had always said it was bad to intrude on other people’s business. “Why are you here? And where is that cruel farmer who was starving me?” I finished the muffin and brushed the crumbs off my chin with the back of my hand. “He’s outside, tied to a chair,” Dora said and I smiled. “We’re just waiting for the doctor to come and then we’ll bring you home. I’m just here to watch over you until the doctor comes.” I stared at her and shook my head. “I don’t believe you. They tried to starve me but I wouldn’t confess. Then they drugged me, but I still wouldn’t tell them. They tried to make me write a farewell letter to my parents. For all I know, this could be another trick.” I frowned and crossed my arms over my chest. Dora took a step toward me, the arm without the burn resting on my shoulder. I shook it off. “You can trust me, Lady Rose. I am with the man who rescued you and we have just apprehended James, who we found in this very cottage.” This statement confused me. “My brother’s valet found me here? How poetic! Now we both have uncovered secrets.” I smiled to myself. “You have discovered a secret?” Dora asked. Her curiosity was apparent. I looked at her blankly as I slumped down against the wall. I turned away. “Maybe I have, maybe I haven’t. Why are you so concerned?” I asked accusingly as I looked back up at her. “I just want to bring these criminals to justice. They’ve cruelly wronged you. These criminals have kidnapped and starved you. Don’t you want them to be brought to justice?” At the end of her explanation, I turned back at her and smiled. “This is what you call being ‘cruelly wronged?’” I waved my hand over the dirty room. “I have been in here for only a few days and I was not even awake for the majority of it. Although they’ve kidnapped and starved me, I would hardly call this being ‘cruelly wronged'" “Wait. How did-” “I’m not going to tell you what I know,” I said, cutting her off. “But I can tell you that I know you are not who you say you are. I can tell you’re a maid; I’ve known from the start. All the female detectives I’ve met are never as young as you are.” “You are quite right,” Dora responded. “Everyone tells me I’m not behaving like a young lady should be. I should be attending balls when the Season comes instead of chasing kidnappers and blackmailers.” She looks down at her shoes. “We were polar opposites then,” I responded as I looked down at my hands. I sighed and slumped even further down the wall. “I’ve spent the last couple years of my life regretting all the choices I’ve made. Everything I’ve done seems to embarrass my family. I’ve become a disappointment to them.” “You are not a disappointment,” Dora says. She came and sat down next to me on my left. She touched my shoulder my reassuringly. I didn’t shake her hand off this time. “I can’t imagine anyone thinking of you like that. You’re very clever and vigilant.” I chuckled. “If you think of me like that, you do not know me at all. I’m known as the earl’s foolish daughter. If you ask anyone at Hartfield Hall what they think about me, that’s what they will say.” “Your family supports you. You can still change what everyone thinks of you.” I looked at her. I couldn’t believe what she was saying. “Do you honestly think they will be proud of me when they learn that their only daughter uncovered their deepest, darkest secret?” I said angrily. “They’ll disown me for it.” I shook my head in despair. “If you had the chance to change your life forever, would you take it?” Dora looked at me, a confused look on her face. She seemed surprised by this question. I could tell she could not fathom why I was asking her this. Nevertheless, she answered anyways. “I would take the chance.” I let out a long breath and looked away from Dora at the wall to my right. “But what if by exposing this secret, it tore apart your family? A family you love more than life itself?” I murmured. My eyes burned. I was about to cry. I turned even more away from Dora as a hot tear slid down my cheek. It had felt as if a weight had been lifted off my chest. My true feelings had been finally been spoken out loud. I hadn’t known how liberating the feeling would be. I stopped crying and brushed the tear off my cheek. We sat in silence for a moment as she tried to figure out how to respond. “Maybe, at the end, you won’t have to reveal your secret. Perhaps someone else will do it for you.” I nod. “It’s possible.” I lay down on the cold floor. “I hope that will happen, but, you see, I’ve hidden the secret and no one can find it without me.” I felt my eyes become heavy. I closed them and let sleep take me.

The book

Title: Secret LettersAuthor: Leah ScheierGenre: Mystery/ Historical FictionLeah Scheier’s Secret Letters is a unique spin on Sherlock Holmes. Instead of the book being about Sherlock Holmes, it is about his daughter. After Dora Joyce's parents' deaths, she learns that her father is actually Sherlock Holmes and becomes determined to become a famous detective like him. When someone blackmails her cousin Adelaide, she takes this opportunity to go to London and meet her father. Upon her arrival, she learns that Holmes has died in Switzerland. She then meets the handsome and young detective Peter Cartwright and is swept up into a bigger mystery than her aunt's: the heiress Lady Rose has been kidnapped. Dora helps Peter by posing as a maid at the heiress' country estate and learns what it takes to truly be a detective.Secret Letters makes you test your detective skills and surprises you at every turn. This book is a perfect mix of historical fiction, mystery, and romance. I would recommend this book to teens who are interested in the Victorian Era London. This book helped me learn more about London during the late 1800s which I really liked. By the time you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down!

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