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Godfrey Emsworth was a British soldier who fought in the Second Boer War. His friend James Dodd sought Sherlock Holmes' assistance in discovering what happened to him following their return from the war in The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier.

The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier[]

Godfrey was raised at Tuxbury Old Park, near Bedford. His father was Colonel Emsworth, who had received the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War.

In January 1901, Godfrey volunteered to to fight the Boer guerrillas fighting the British in South Africa. He joined the Middlesex Corps of the Imperial Yeomanry, and was assigned to B Squadron, where he met James Dodd. The two soon became fast friends, and fought together for about a year, during which time Emsworth achieved the rank of lance-corporal.

In 1902, however, the two friends were separated when Emsworth was wounded in an ambush outside Pretoria. Dodd received two letters from him, on from a Cape Town hospital, and another from Southhampton after Emsworth had returned to England. But he received no further news, and his attempts to find information from Godfrey's family were rebuffed by the Colonel, who merely said Godfrey had gone on a trip around the world for his health. Dodd next visited Tuxbury Old Park, but was ejected after discovering, he believed, that Godfrey was being held captive by his father. He therefore sought Sherlock Holmes' advice to resolve the situation.

Holmes resolves the case before even leaving his office. The two travel to Tuxbury Old Park with an associate of Holmes, who they leave in the coach. Homes confronts Colonel Emsworth, and demands to see Godfrey, which the Colonel reluctantly allows after Holmes slips him a note. Godfrey meets with them, but refuses to allow them too close. He reveals that after his injury, he sought shelter in what turned out to be a leper colony, and believes that he has contracted leprosy himself. Out of fear, his father had tried to keep his condition absolutely secret, and had hired a local surgeon to watch him. Holmes mentions that the man waiting in the coach, Dr James Saunders, is a dermatological specialist, and Colonel Emsworth permits him to examine his son. Fortunately for Godfrey, Sir James determines that he does not, in fact, have leprosy, but a noncontagious case of ichthyosis with some hope of a cure.

Appearance[]

Holmes describes Emsworth as a man who had once been handsome, "with clear-cut features sunburned by an African sun"; however, his skin condition has given him a mottled pattern of bleached white patches across his face.

Trivia[]

  • Dodd and Emsworth give contradictory locations for the site of the battle that separated them. Dodd claims his friend was injured at Diamond Hill, or Donderhoek, about 15 miles east of Pretoria, and site of a famous battle in 1900. However, Emsworth places the ambush at Buffelspruit - a hamlet to the northwest of the city.
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