Consideration for Victor
The central theme for all of GLOR is consideration for Victor. It is very clear that Trevor Senior's confession, shown in the 2nd stage, was full of his love, affection and consideration for his son.
On that winter's night when Holmes told Watson the events in the 1st stage that had preceded the 2nd stage by eleven years, he took over Trevor Senior's concern for Victor. He wanted nothing socially wrong to affect Victor and his father. Holmes's consideration and concern appear throughout his narrative including his conversation with Watson. It would be hard to point out which part or which word indicated or hinted his consideration.
Trevor Senior shows his anxiety for his son by writing, “…which cuts me to the heart; it is the thought that you should come to blush for me—you who love me and who have seldom, I hope, had reason to do other than respect me.” In his papers and the confession of his past, there was no use of his son's name. Only “dear son,” “dear lad,” and “you” were used. Also he refers to “my position in the county” only and does not use Justice of the Peace.
Hearing that the papers were in the back drawer of the Japanese cabinet, Victor took them out by himself. Except for Holmes, reading the confession for Victor, only Victor knew that it had been written by his father. Nothing was written to connect Armitage to Victor in the confession. If the original place where the papers were kept is changed to another place, then it would be impossible to say who Armitage's son is.
The transport ship Gloria Scott was set down by the Admiralty as being lost at sea. The records, however, of her departure thirty years before should have been filed in the Admiralty and Falmouth Port Authorities. By checking these records the date of her departure could be easily found. The date of 1855/10/08, endorsed outside of the confession, must have been right and true. Again, I do not think that the year can be changed to 1844.
Who wrote the endorsement, Trevor Senior or Holmes? The possibility of Holmes's having written it cannot be denied(*1). Different dates and places of her destruction make it impossible to trace the ship. Furthermore, Armitage can be traced only until his arrival in Sydney. Nothing clear was written about him after his getting off the Hotspur. Trevor Senior let his son know the truth about his past crimes, which might result in social accusations to his son, and his previous relationship with Hudson. He did not tell his son the happenings after his arrival in Sydney since these were not crimes. He might have wanted to avoid to be traced.
Trevor Senior was dead, as were his wife and daughter. Hudson and Beddoes had disappeared. His servants and Dr Fordham did not know why Hudson had come to Donnithorpe. Victor knew about his father's past only after his death. Therefore, only Victor and Holmes had the knowledge about the events at Donnithorpe and Trevor Senior's past. Victor's going out to the Terai tea planting was because he was heartbroken at the death of his beloved father and not at the crimes his father had committed.
“Donnithorpe was a little hamlet just to the north of Langmere, in the country of the Broads.” Holmes showed deep consideration for his old friend Victor by making the whereabouts of Donnithorpe and Langmere mysterious (*2). Their house was some distance away, by ride on a dog-cart, from a railway station. The building of their home as well as its vicinity was shown in commonplace description as a squire's property.
Holmes recalled his college days spent with Victor and said to Watson, “He was a hearty, full-blooded fellow, full of spirits and energy, the very opposite to me in most respects.” At the station when they met again, Holmes noted that Victor had lost the loud, cheery manner. These are all we know about Victor in person.
Holmes portrayed Trevor Senior's character as “a man of little culture, but with a considerable amount of rude strength, both physically and mentally. He knew hardly any books,” and also “He had traveled far, had seen much of the world, and had remembered all that he had learned. He had a reputation for kindness and charity on the countryside and he had a small but select library.” He was respected by his son. Victor referred to Holmes about his father as “the kindly, charitable good old governor.”
Holmes started his narrative by referring to “Justice of the Peace Trevor,” whom we tend to imagine an old man. He expressed this JP identity before telling the events in the 1st stage and before speaking about Trevor Senior's personality in detail. I would rather think that this JP might be the position that he had in the 2nd stage or he got during eleven years between 1st and 2nd stages. It is not so clear if he was a man in his prime or an old man. Holmes described him as “a fine, robust old man” to Watson. This personality would fit Trevor Senior in the mixture of the times of the 1st and 2nd stages, though Holmes had never met him in the 2nd stage. He was forty-two years of age in the 1st stage when Holmes met him and fifty-three in the 2nd stage.
Mysterious and unclear expressions and contradictory views, deeply considered by Holmes, as well as a story made by Watson's combining the two stages into one, might have made the matters quite complicated, confusing and difficult to understand. The complex flow of times in the narrative adds a headache, I presume(*3). Holmes's description given in a certain time may sometimes be applied to another time, due to his consideration for the Trevors.
After all, it is not clear where Trevor Senior lived and who and what he was, though Holmes explained a lot about him. The same is true of Victor.
We would like to think that Victor is still doing well at the Terai tea planting, but Holmes protected him with his consideration. Holmes has made us think that Victor is still at the Terai tea planting; and that he is still doing well there. If so, we must look for him all over the Indian continent. Holmes was very cautious. The real name of his old friend may not have been Victor, and Victor's family name may not have been Trevor.
1. Who wrote the endorsement?
The Gloria Scott departed on Trevor Senior's twenty-third birthday, according to the confession. The exact date was not mentioned in it, but the endorsement of the confession papers showed the date of her departure as 1855/10/08. Trevor Senior was presumably careful not to give concrete details. I surmise that Holmes had not known the date of his birth but had checked the official record to get the exact date of the “departure.” The date in the endorsement came from the departure date. It might be the same or different date to his real birthday, who knows? If the departure date was correct, then who could doubt the destruction date, also clearly written in the endorsement? The date and place of her destruction, in spite of being written in the endorsement, I am afraid, still remain mysterious.
Takeshi Shimizu says that the origin of word Donnithorpe might come from “a small village on a hill.” There could be many small villages situated on hills.
3. The complex flow of times
The flow of times in the narrative, based on my concept of dating, would be; '87-'74-'85-'55-'85-'87. The time starts in 1887, according to Baring-Gould, by Holmes's telling about the events. It goes back to the 1st stage, or Holmes's college days in 1874, then jumps to the 2nd stage in 1885. It goes back to 1855 of Trevor Senior's past experience and to 1885 in the last part of the confession. Then it comes to 1887 to close the narrative.