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From: StoneOx17@aol.com
Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 09:41:38 EDT
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: Smart

In a very interesting post, Roy C. Lackey writes:

> We are told that for 25 years, since the death of Olivia, that Smart did not
> peak to his nephew, Weer. We are not told why. Despite this estrangement,
> when Julius died, Weer inherited the company. Again, why? 

Good questions.  I note that Weer's comment about not speaking to Julius
for 25 years was not addressed to the reader, but to Aaron Gold, which,
at least by my rules for interpretation, means he might be lying (possibly 
to avoid mentioning the coldhouse prank).  Weer and Julius certainly weren't 
buddies, though -- Weer does tell us directly that the only occasions from
which he remembers Julius well after the funeral were laboratory inspections.

> Which brings me back
> to the circumstances of [Olivia's] death. Was it an accident? Not likely. 
> know only from Wolfe's say so that Peacock was the culprit; the text gives  
> no hint.

There are a few things I think are hints.  It's revealed that Peacock owned a
car.  He doesn't show up at the funeral, and Weer assumes that he isn't 
grieving (thus revealing that Weer, at least, suspected that it was murder).  
Finally, in the Chinese garden dream, the earthenware troll under the 
bridge possibly resembles Aunt Olivia's ceramic garden gnomes.  And 
in the princess fairy tale, the suitor representing Peacock is the youngest 
son of the king of the gnomes.  However, if Wolfe hadn't confirmed it, I 
suspect I wouldn't be convinced.

> Was that
> nailed-down letter from Peacock to Smart (which would/should not have 
> been on either Weer's real or replica desk) relevant?

> What if that letter, which Weer obviously has knowledge of, implicated Smart
> in Olivia's death, whether before or after the fact? (Perhaps Peacock was
> blackmailing Smart, or threatened to, or Smart feared he would. 

It was on the President's desk, so I presumed that Weer saw it when he
went through Julius's files after he inherited the company, and that Julius
received it when he was President, thus probably after Olivia's death.  
This means Weer couldn't have seen it before Aunt Olivia's funeral (and 
how would he have gotten his hands on Julius's private mail anyway?),
so I don't see that it could be Weer's grounds for suspicion at the funeral.

> Perhaps,
> also, Smart's pharmaceutical skills were used to silence Peacock, who "died
> only a few years afterward of a complicated series of disorders said to have
> been aggravated by hypertension". 

Alternatively, he could have died from medical disorders brought on by guilt.

> What if the choice not to speak to one another after
> the funeral was Weer's? That he despised Julius, but with his father's
> wealth being sapped by the Depression, he took advantage of the 
> situation to make Julius an offer he couldn't refuse? In a Faustian twist, 
> Weer agreed to a fixed term of silent service--say twenty-five years--at 
> the end of which Julius would hand over the company to him and fade 
> away--maybe to join the circus or live on the beach in Florida. Smart 
> would have accumulated a handsome personal fortune by then, enough 
> to live out his days in comfort.  Smart would have only been in his early
> sixties when Weer took over his company. 
> People just assume that Smart had to die in order for Weer to gain
> control of the company, and that he did die. But the text doesn't ever say
> that Smart died, or even hint at it. And during those twenty-five years Weer
> would be guaranteed a living wage.

I like the idea that Weer doesn't speak to Julius because he suspects
complicity in Aunt Olivia's death.  I don't know that I believe that Weer
would have voiced his suspicions at this point, as I don't see how he could
have any proof, so I don't buy a Faustian pact at this point.  Maybe after
the coldhouse incident.  

I also think (for reasons connected with the Doris story, which I'll put in 
next posting), that Smart had to be dead by the time Charles Turner spoke 
with Weer, which means it is very likely that Weer inherited when Smart 
died. But alternatively, the terms of the pact could have been that Weer
inherited from Smart (which he would likely have done anyway, if he was 
Smart's closest living relative).

-- Stone Ox


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