Look at her, she’s like, “What’s all this nonsense here? Hmmm? Who did this? Who is going to clean this mess up?” The all the guys were like, “Um, yeah, we were just goofing around and this happened and then you came in; it’s really not as bad as it looks.”
This is the second part of the story about the red circle and we finally find out what the red circle is, after all, it would have been kind of a jerk move on Arthur’s part to write an entire story about a red circle and never explain what it was.
We last left Sherlock and John rushing to the house where they saw a signal, but inspector Gregson is already there. He says he has his ways. Those ways happen to be an American Pinkerton agent who has been tracking down a certain man and he was tracked to this house. There is only one way in or out, so they all decide to go in.
Once they’re inside and have some light they see a dead man on the floor. Sherlock takes a candle and passes it back and forth in front of the window, suddenly a woman storms in the room. She sees the dead body and starts dancing around. She starts singing, “Ding, dong, the witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead,” ok, not really, but she’s that happy about the whole thing. Gorgiano is the name of the dead man on the floor. He’s a big time criminal, and Italian, of course.
Sherlock and John were just trying to figure out who the woman was who the other man was, but they stumbled into an international investigation. Giorgiano was after the woman and her husband, who happened to be the man who originally rented the room. They had lived in America well enough and were befriended by a very nice man. Before they left for New York, Gennaro, the woman’s husband had joined a group called The Red Circle, for support, camaraderie, and connections, but he got married and moved to another country thinking he had left the whole thing behind; it turns out that wasn’t the case.
Gennaro and his wife lived in New York but Giorgiano showed up. Giorgiano started hanging around and making eyes at Gennaro’s wife. He wanted her to leave Gennaro and go with him. She wasn’t too happy about that idea. Giogiano also wanted Gennaro to blow up the business or house of the man they were friends with. They knew if they refused there would be retribution. So they told their friend that someone wanted to blow him up and left the country, but Giorgiano tracked them down.
Gennaro hid his wife in the rented rooms and signaled to her through the newspaper and through the window. They knew they would not be safe until Giogiano was dead. Giorgiano happened to have followed Gennaro to the empty house while he was signaling his wife, this is why the signaling suddenly stopped, Gennaro figured he had a chance to take Giogiano out and he did.
Let’s look into this Red Circle stuff, sounds an awful lot like a Mafia, no? Actually, from the description of the society in the story, it sounds like a cross between the Mafia and the Freemasons. We all know how much Arthur likes both groups.
It turns out that I’m correct. The Red Circle isn’t real, I mean there is a group of people in Washington D.C. who call themselves The Red Circle due to their devotion to Sherlock Holmes, but that’s not The Red Circle we’re talking about. The story states that The Red Circle was aligned with the Carbonari. So what in the heck is the Carbonari? If you were to translate it directly, it would mean something like “charcoal burner,” but that was just a ruse. That’s what they called each other, or good cousin.
The group was created in Naples and was a revolutionary group that was inspired by the society of the Free Masons. The main idea of the Carbonari was that they wanted a unified Italy, but they weren’t much more organized than that. Although they weren’t the most organized people, the Carbonari did play some pretty big roles in Italy being united and resisting invasion from other countries. All of this most notably took place around 1830.
Remember that Italy used to be nation-states. Italy wasn’t one country. Italy was ten areas or so that fought with each other all the time to get their man in St. Peter’s. People eventually wanted to be together. They didn’t want to fight with their neighbors all the time. They wanted constitutional rights. The Carbonari staged riots and rebellions, but were subsequently excommunicated from the Catholic church, which condemned all Freemasonry type groups at the time.
The fact that Gennaro joined The Red Circle doesn’t mean he wanted a life of crime. The Carbonari, and the fictional Red Circle, would have been a place where men could hang out and have a brothership of sorts. They would help each other find jobs and participate in whatever superstitious rituals the group had. Their idea wasn’t to go around murdering people, but that’s not always how these societies work out. Some of these societies have turned to crime and murder. It’s easy, everyone is supposed to be hush-hush about their rituals and meetings, so everyone is obligated to be hush-hush if there is a body in the back room.
I have already mentioned that Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was probably murdered by members of a freemasonry branch. They thought he was telling secrets. This actually happened not too much longer than all the Carbonari hub-bub in Italy. The early 1800s was a very active time for secretive societies.
Belonging to a secret club might be fun, but that’s only until the Magic Conch tells you that you can’t have any food, and then where are you at?
Gennaro probably never imagined that going to a lodge meeting would get him in this much trouble. He thought joining The Red Circle would be a help to his community connections. He wasn’t thinking that they were going to want him to blow stuff up and try to kill him. None of us join an exercise class and expect the members of that class to start making secret plans to raid other exercise classes, or whatever. Generally belonging to a group of some sort is a good way to make connections and make friends. You belong to a book club? Good for you, just don’t swear any blood oaths and you’ll be ok.
A book club is rather benign. I’ve never heard of soccer moms showing up at members’ houses and being like, “What do you mean you told the East Book Club what book we reading this month? We’re going to have to keep you quiet.” Now with a group that has lodge meetings and secret rituals, you might want to tread on the light side. Some of these groups get really serious about you saying anything. It can be very difficult to leave some groups. This isn’t only freemasonry type groups, but some religions as well.
It’s stupid, but there are genuinely situations where you have to pack your bags and leave in the middle of the night in order to get away from some group you might belong to. The best idea is not to get messed up with those groups in the first place, but that’s not always so easy, perhaps you’re born into the group, perhaps you’re forced into the group. It happens. If you think stuff like that doesn’t happen in the twenty-first century, then you’re very wrong.
Here’s a good rule of thumb, always have someone outside of your group that you can contact in case you need to get the heck out. Don’t let one group make up the entirety of your human connections. It’s just not a good idea. For example, you’re a Pastafarian and you live with your fellow Pastafarians on a compound. Your compound has everything so you rarely need to leave and most of your friends are there. Always keep a friend on the outside who isn’t a Pastafarian. You may think it’s blasphemy to have a non-Pastafarian friend because people who are not Pastafarians are lower lifeforms, but just do it. Keep yourself a friend on the outside. You need someone against which to check your beliefs, but also to help you out if you need to run.
Seems like an awful lot of drama for joining a club.
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Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes