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Sherlock Holmes Complete

Sherlock Holmes Complete

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Sections

  • A Study In Scarlet
  • Mr. Sherlock Holmes
  • The Science Of Deduction
  • The Lauriston Garden Mystery
  • What John Rance Had To Tell
  • Our Advertisement Brings A Visitor
  • Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do
  • Light In The Darkness
  • On The Great Alkali Plain
  • The Flower Of Utah
  • John Ferrier Talks With The Prophet
  • A Flight For Life
  • The Avenging Angels
  • A Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson, M.D
  • The Conclusion
  • The Sign of the Four
  • A Scandal in Bohemia
  • The Red-Headed League
  • A Case of Identity
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  • The Five Orange Pips
  • The Man with the Twisted Lip
  • The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
  • The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  • The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  • The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
  • The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
  • The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
  • Silver Blaze
  • The Yellow Face
  • The Stock-Broker’s Clerk
  • The “Gloria Scott”
  • The Musgrave Ritual
  • The Reigate Puzzle
  • The Crooked Man
  • The Resident Patient
  • The Greek Interpreter
  • The Naval Treaty
  • The Final Problem
  • The Adventure of the Empty House
  • The Adventure of the Norwood Builder
  • The Adventure of the Dancing Men
  • The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist
  • The Adventure of the Priory School
  • The Adventure of Black Peter
  • The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton
  • The Adventure of the Six Napoleons
  • The Adventure of the Three Students
  • The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez
  • The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter
  • The Adventure of the Abbey Grange
  • The Adventure of the Second Stain
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • The Valley Of Fear
  • Preface
  • The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
  • The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
  • The Adventure of the Red Circle
  • The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
  • The Adventure of the Dying Detective
  • The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
  • The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot
  • His Last Bow
  • The Illustrious Client
  • The Blanched Soldier
  • The Adventure Of The Mazarin Stone
  • The Adventure of the Three Gables
  • The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
  • The Adventure of the Three Garridebs
  • The Problem of Thor Bridge
  • The Adventure of the Creeping Man
  • The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane
  • The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger
  • The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place
  • The Adventure of the Retired Colourman

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle

Table of contents
A Study In Scarlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

The Sign of the Four . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

63

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes A Scandal in Bohemia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Red-Headed League . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Case of Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Boscombe Valley Mystery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Five Orange Pips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Man with the Twisted Lip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Speckled Band . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Copper Beeches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 135 149 159 173 185 199 211 225 237 249 263

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Silver Blaze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Yellow Face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Stock-Broker’s Clerk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The “Gloria Scott” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Musgrave Ritual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Reigate Puzzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Crooked Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Resident Patient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Greek Interpreter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Naval Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Final Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279 293 305 315 327 339 351 361 373 385 403

iii

The Return of Sherlock Holmes The Adventure of the Empty House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Norwood Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Dancing Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Priory School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of Black Peter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Six Napoleons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Three Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Abbey Grange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Second Stain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417 429 443 457 469 485 497 507 519 529 543 555 569

The Hound of the Baskervilles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

583

The Valley Of Fear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

659

His Last Bow Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Cardboard Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Red Circle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Dying Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . His Last Bow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 741 743 761 773 787 803 813 825 839

iv

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Illustrious Client . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Blanched Soldier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure Of The Mazarin Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Three Gables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Three Garridebs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Problem of Thor Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Creeping Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Adventure of the Retired Colourman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 851 853 867 879 889 899 909 919 933 945 957 965 975

v

A Study In Scarlet

A Study In Scarlet

Table of contents
Part I Mr. Sherlock Holmes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Science Of Deduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lauriston Garden Mystery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What John Rance Had To Tell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Our Advertisement Brings A Visitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Light In The Darkness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Part II On The Great Alkali Plain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Flower Of Utah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Ferrier Talks With The Prophet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Flight For Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Avenging Angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson, M.D. . . . . . . . . . The Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 41 44 46 51 55 59 7 10 14 19 22 26 30

3

PART I.
(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)

A Study In Scarlet

I

CHAPTER I.
Mr. Sherlock Holmes
which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freely than I ought. So alarming did the state of my finances become, that I soon realized that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere in the country, or that I must make a complete alteration in my style of living. Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive domicile. On the very day that I had come to this conclusion, I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when some one tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round I recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Bart’s. The sight of a friendly face in the great wilderness of London is a pleasant thing indeed to a lonely man. In old days Stamford had never been a particular crony of mine, but now I hailed him with enthusiasm, and he, in his turn, appeared to be delighted to see me. In the exuberance of my joy, I asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off together in a hansom. “Whatever have you been doing with yourself, Watson?” he asked in undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. “You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.” I gave him a short sketch of my adventures, and had hardly concluded it by the time that we reached our destination. “Poor devil!” he said, commiseratingly, after he had listened to my misfortunes. “What are you up to now?” “Looking for lodgings,” I answered. “Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.” “That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion; “you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me.” “And who was the first?” I asked. “A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get someone to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse.” “By Jove!” I cried, “if he really wants someone to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very 7

n the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy’s country. I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.

The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines. Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lost in sending me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the troopship Orontes, and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it. I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into

A Study In Scarlet man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone.” Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me over his wine-glass. “You don’t know Sherlock Holmes yet,” he said; “perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion.” “Why, what is there against him?” “Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough.” “A medical student, I suppose?” said I. “No—I have no idea what he intends to go in for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first-class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the way knowledge which would astonish his professors.” “Did you never ask him what he was going in for?” I asked. “No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him.” “I should like to meet him,” I said. “If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?” “He is sure to be at the laboratory,” returned my companion. “He either avoids the place for weeks, or else he works there from morning to night. If you like, we shall drive round together after luncheon.” “Certainly,” I answered, and the conversation drifted away into other channels. As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particulars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as a fellow-lodger. “You mustn’t blame me if you don’t get on with him,” he said; “I know nothing more of him than I have learned from meeting him occasionally in the laboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you must not hold me responsible.” “If we don’t get on it will be easy to part company,” I answered. “It seems to me, Stamford,” I added, looking hard at my companion, “that you have some reason for washing your hands of the 8 matter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable, or what is it? Don’t be mealy-mouthed about it.” “It is not easy to express the inexpressible,” he answered with a laugh. “Holmes is a little too scientific for my tastes—it approaches to coldbloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think that he would take it himself with the same readiness. He appears to have a passion for definite and exact knowledge.” “Very right too.” “Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissectingrooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape.” “Beating the subjects!” “Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes.” “And yet you say he is not a medical student?” “No. Heaven knows what the objects of his studies are. But here we are, and you must form your own impressions about him.” As he spoke, we turned down a narrow lane and passed through a small side-door, which opened into a wing of the great hospital. It was familiar ground to me, and I needed no guiding as we ascended the bleak stone staircase and made our way down the long corridor with its vista of whitewashed wall and dun-coloured doors. Near the further end a low arched passage branched away from it and led to the chemical laboratory. This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure. “I’ve found it! I’ve found it,” he shouted to my companion, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand. “I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hœmoglobin, and by nothing else.” Had he discovered a gold mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features. “Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” said Stamford, introducing us. “How are you?” he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should

A Study In Scarlet hardly have given him credit. “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” “How on earth did you know that?” I asked in astonishment. “Never mind,” said he, chuckling to himself. “The question now is about hœmoglobin. No doubt you see the significance of this discovery of mine?” “It is interesting, chemically, no doubt,” I answered, “but practically—” “Why, man, it is the most practical medicolegal discovery for years. Don’t you see that it gives us an infallible test for blood stains. Come over here now!” He seized me by the coat-sleeve in his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at which he had been working. “Let us have some fresh blood,” he said, digging a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of blood in a chemical pipette. “Now, I add this small quantity of blood to a litre of water. You perceive that the resulting mixture has the appearance of pure water. The proportion of blood cannot be more than one in a million. I have no doubt, however, that we shall be able to obtain the characteristic reaction.” As he spoke, he threw into the vessel a few white crystals, and then added some drops of a transparent fluid. In an instant the contents assumed a dull mahogany colour, and a brownish dust was precipitated to the bottom of the glass jar. “Ha! ha!” he cried, clapping his hands, and looking as delighted as a child with a new toy. “What do you think of that?” “It seems to be a very delicate test,” I remarked. “Beautiful! beautiful! The old Guiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain. So is the microscopic examination for blood corpuscles. The latter is valueless if the stains are a few hours old. Now, this appears to act as well whether the blood is old or new. Had this test been invented, there are hundreds of men now walking the earth who would long ago have paid the penalty of their crimes.” “Indeed!” I murmured. “Criminal cases are continually hinging upon that one point. A man is suspected of a crime months perhaps after it has been committed. His linen or clothes are examined, and brownish stains discovered upon them. Are they blood stains, or mud stains, or rust stains, or fruit stains, or what are they? That is a question which has puzzled many an expert, and why? Because there was no reliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes’ test, and there will no longer be any difficulty.” 9 His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he put his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some applauding crowd conjured up by his imagination. “You are to be congratulated,” I remarked, considerably surprised at his enthusiasm. “There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frankfort last year. He would certainly have been hung had this test been in existence. Then there was Mason of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and Lefevre of Montpellier, and Samson of new Orleans. I could name a score of cases in which it would have been decisive.” “You seem to be a walking calendar of crime,” said Stamford with a laugh. “You might start a paper on those lines. Call it the ‘Police News of the Past.’ ” “Very interesting reading it might be made, too,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, sticking a small piece of plaster over the prick on his finger. “I have to be careful,” he continued, turning to me with a smile, “for I dabble with poisons a good deal.” He held out his hand as he spoke, and I noticed that it was all mottled over with similar pieces of plaster, and discoloured with strong acids. “We came here on business,” said Stamford, sitting down on a high three-legged stool, and pushing another one in my direction with his foot. “My friend here wants to take diggings, and as you were complaining that you could get no one to go halves with you, I thought that I had better bring you together.” Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me. “I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street,” he said, “which would suit us down to the ground. You don’t mind the smell of strong tobacco, I hope?” “I always smoke ‘ship’s’ myself,” I answered. “That’s good enough. I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that annoy you?” “By no means.” “Let me see—what are my other shortcomings. I get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I’ll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It’s just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together.” I laughed at this cross-examination. “I keep a bull pup,” I said, “and I object to rows because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I’m well, but those are the principal ones at present.”

A Study In Scarlet “Do you include violin-playing in your category of rows?” he asked, anxiously. “It depends on the player,” I answered. “A well-played violin is a treat for the gods—a badlyplayed one—” “Oh, that’s all right,” he cried, with a merry laugh. “I think we may consider the thing as settled—that is, if the rooms are agreeable to you.” “When shall we see them?” “Call for me here at noon to-morrow, and we’ll go together and settle everything,” he answered. “All right—noon exactly,” said I, shaking his hand. We left him working among his chemicals, and we walked together towards my hotel. “By the way,” I asked suddenly, stopping and turning upon Stamford, “how the deuce did he know that I had come from Afghanistan?” My companion smiled an enigmatical smile. “That’s just his little peculiarity,” he said. “A good many people have wanted to know how he finds things out.” “Oh! a mystery is it?” I cried, rubbing my hands. “This is very piquant. I am much obliged to you for bringing us together. ‘The proper study of mankind is man,’ you know.” “You must study him, then,” Stamford said, as he bade me good-bye. “You’ll find him a knotty problem, though. I’ll wager he learns more about you than you about him. Good-bye.” “Good-bye,” I answered, and strolled on to my hotel, considerably interested in my new acquaintance.

CHAPTER II.
The Science Of Deduction
We met next day as he had arranged, and inspected the rooms at No. 221b, Baker Street, of which he had spoken at our meeting. They consisted of a couple of comfortable bed-rooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows. So desirable in every way were the apartments, and so moderate did the terms seem when divided between us, that the bargain was concluded upon the spot, and we at once entered into possession. That very evening I moved my things round from the hotel, and on the following morning Sherlock Holmes followed me with several boxes and portmanteaus. For a day or two we were busily employed in unpacking and laying out our property to the best advantage. That done, we gradually began to settle down and to accommodate ourselves to our new surroundings. Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live with. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular. It was rare for him to be up after ten at night, and he had invariably breakfasted and gone out before I rose in the morning. Sometimes he spent his day at the chemical laboratory, sometimes in the dissecting-rooms, and occasionally in 10 long walks, which appeared to take him into the lowest portions of the City. Nothing could exceed his energy when the working fit was upon him; but now and again a reaction would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night. On these occasions I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanliness of his whole life forbidden such a notion. As the weeks went by, my interest in him and my curiosity as to his aims in life, gradually deepened and increased. His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination. His hands were invariably blotted with ink and

If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work. Philosophy. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle. “you say that we go round the sun. be it remembered.” he explained.” I was on the point of asking him what that work might be. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic.—Nil. and poisons generally. confirmed Stamford’s opinion upon that point. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. I eagerly hailed the little mystery which hung around my companion. 1.—Variable. Geology. philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Knowledge of Literature. Surely no man would work so hard or attain such precise information unless he had some definite end in view. yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch. My health forbade me from venturing out unless the weather was exceptionally genial. Botany.—Accurate. “You appear to be astonished.” “But the Solar System!” I protested. No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so. Well up in belladonna. and I had no friends who would call upon me and break the monotony of my daily existence. It is of the highest importance. Neither did he appear to have pursued any course of reading which might fit him for a degree in science or any other recognized portal which would give him an entrance into the learned world. however. smiling at my expression of surprise. Astronomy. but of these he has a large assortment. 5. Desultory readers are seldom remarkable for the exactness of their learning. or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.—Practical.—Feeble. 2. when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally wellinformed. I could not help smiling at the document when I had completed it. and endeavoured to draw my deductions from it. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. He was not studying medicine.” “To forget it!” “You see. and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them. therefore. Chemistry. and how often I endeavoured to break through the reticence which he showed on all that concerned himself. and how little there was to engage my attention. and all in the most perfect order. and within eccentric limits his knowledge was so extraordinarily ample and minute that his observations have fairly astounded me. Yet his zeal for certain studies was remarkable. It ran in this way— Sherlock Holmes—his limits. however.A Study In Scarlet stained with chemicals. The reader may set me down as a hopeless busybody. Anatomy. Politics. 7. how objectless was my life. I pondered over our short conversation. opium. when I confess how much this man stimulated my curiosity. My surprise reached a climax. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across. Before pronouncing judgment. and spent much of my time in endeavouring to unravel it.—Nil. “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic. not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones. . Under these circumstances. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out. 11 and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. but unsystematic. Of contemporary literature.” he said. He had himself. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it. however. 6. but limited. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 3. he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently. in reply to a question. I even took a pencil and jotted them down.—Nil. 8. He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge.—Profound. as I frequently had occasion to observe when I watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments. but something in his manner showed me that the question would be an unwelcome one. 4.

Leaning back in his arm-chair of an evening. “a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. and again my delicacy prevented me from forcing another man to confide in me. however. he would close his eyes and scrape carelessly at the fiddle which was thrown across his knee. and discovering a calling which needs them all. I found that he had many acquaintances. “I have to use this room as a place of business. He always apologized to me for putting me to this inconvenience. Has a good practical knowledge of British law. So all life is a great chain. His conclusions were as infallible as so many propositions of Euclid. but the deductions appeared to me to be far-fetched and exaggerated. Sometimes the chords were sonorous and melancholy. That he could play pieces. The same afternoon brought a grey-headed. “If I can only find what the fellow is driving at by reconciling all these accomplishments. and I had begun to think that my companion was as friendless a man as I was myself. The writer claimed by a momentary expression. One morning a young girl called. So startling would his results appear to the uninitiated that until they learned the processes by which he had arrived at them they might well consider him as a necromancer. according to him. and stayed for half an hour or more.” he said. I imagined at the time that he had some strong reason for not alluding to it. a twitch of a muscle or a glance of an eye. The landlady had become so accustomed to my late habits that my place had not been laid nor my coffee prepared. When left to himself. “and these people are my clients. Plays the violin well. and who was closely followed by a slipshod elderly woman. and who came three or four times in a single week. Then I picked up a magazine from the table and attempted to while away the time with it.” said the writer. “I may as well give up the attempt at once. Sensational Literature. or whether the playing was simply the result of a whim or fancy was more than I could determine. The reasoning was close and intense.” I see that I have alluded above to his powers upon the violin. while my companion munched silently at his toast. These were very remarkable. Deceit. On another occasion an old white-haired gentleman had an interview with my companion. It was upon the 4th of March. because at my request he has played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder.” I said to myself. and other favourites. but whether the music aided those thoughts. 11.” Again I had an opportunity of asking him a point blank question. Lestrade. was an impossibility in the case of one trained to observation and analysis. One of the articles had a pencil mark at the heading. as I have good reason to remember.A Study In Scarlet 9. and those in the most different classes of society. looking like a Jew pedlar. When I had got so far in my list I threw it into the fire in despair. It struck me as being a remarkable mixture of shrewdness and of absurdity. the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest . he would seldom produce any music or attempt any recognized air. but he soon dispelled the idea by coming round to the subject of his own accord. Is an expert singlestick player. that I rose somewhat earlier than usual. Its somewhat ambitious title was “The Book of Life. boxer. and swordsman. Clearly they reflected the thoughts which possessed him. and I would retire to my bedroom. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. and difficult pieces. During the first week or so we had no callers. I might have rebelled against these exasperating solos had it not been that he usually terminated them by playing in quick succession a whole series of my favourite airs as a slight compensation for the trial upon my patience. I knew well. but as eccentric as all his other accomplishments. and found that Sherlock Holmes had not yet finished his breakfast. “From a drop of water. Sherlock Holmes used to beg for the use of the sitting-room.—Immense. seedy visitor. Presently. There was one little sallow rat-faced. Occasionally they were fantastic and cheerful. When 12 any of these nondescript individuals put in an appearance. who appeared to me to be much excited. the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it. and on another a railway porter in his velveteen uniform. however. Like all other arts. to fathom a man’s inmost thoughts. fashionably dressed. With the unreasonable petulance of mankind I rang the bell and gave a curt intimation that I was ready.” and it attempted to show how much an observant man might learn by an accurate and systematic examination of all that came in his way. 12. dark-eyed fellow who was introduced to me as Mr. 10. and I naturally began to run my eye through it.

I have a turn both for observation and for deduction. it sharpens the faculties of observation. on meeting a fellow-mortal. Here in London we have lots of Government detectives and lots of private ones.A Study In Scarlet possible perfection in it.” Sherlock Holmes rose and lit his pipe. and I am generally able. Lestrade is a well-known detective. I listen to their story. by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb. Those rules of deduction laid down in that article which aroused your scorn. They are all people who are in trouble about something. and you were astonished. Puerile as such an exercise may seem. and asked to give the trades of all his fellow-travellers. and which facilitates matters wonderfully. and teaches one where to look and what to look for. There were such steps. Clearly an army doctor. “Well. however. “No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin. “Why.” “What is it?” asked Sherlock Holmes. He has undergone hardship and sickness. and then I pocket my fee. You appeared to be surprised when I told you. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories. Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties. and which appear to you to be so chimerical are really extremely practical—so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese. then. if you can understand what that is. as his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has been injured. I should like to see him clapped down in a third class carriage on the Underground. by his trouser knees. . I have a kind of intuition that way. I knew you came from Afghanistan. He has just come from the tropics. let the enquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.” “You were told.” I said.” “And how?” I asked involuntarily. by his shirt cuffs—by each of these things a man’s calling is plainly revealed. By a man’s finger nails. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.” “And these other people?” “They are mostly sent on by private inquiry agencies. and the trade or profession to which he belongs. “As for the article I wrote it myself. they listen to my comments. this article. by his boot.’ The whole train of thought did not occupy a second. I don’t deny that it is smartly written. “I see that you have read it since you have marked it. for his face is dark. “Now. although they have seen every detail for themselves?” “Quite so. and that is not the natural tint of his skin.” he observed. “that without leaving your room you can unravel some knot which other men can make nothing of. ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type. Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan. by his coat-sleeve. When these fellows are at fault they come to me. The theories which I have expressed there. pointing at it with my egg spoon as I sat down to my breakfast. It irritates me though. He got himself into a fog recently over a forgery case.” “You would lose your money. I’m a consulting detective. It is evidently the theory of some armchair lounger who evolves all these neat little paradoxes in the seclusion of his own study. that you had come from Afghanistan. He holds it in a stiff and unnatural manner. to set them straight. smiling. I would lay a thousand to one against him. and I manage to put them on the right scent. Let him.” “You!” “Yes. by his expression. and want a little enlightening. I then remarked that you came from Afghanistan. but with the air of a military man. The train of reasoning ran. It is not practical. “I never read such rubbish in my life. You see I have a lot of special knowledge which I apply to the problem. on our first meeting. Then I have to bustle about and see things with my own eyes. and that was what brought him here. slapping the magazine down on the table. Observation with me is second nature. learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man.” I said.” Sherlock Holmes remarked calmly.” “Nothing of the sort.” “What ineffable twaddle!” I cried. by the help of my knowledge of the history of crime. no doubt. for his wrists are fair. I have a trade of my own.” “But do you mean to say. are invaluable to me in practical work. that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps. “You remind me of Edgar Allen Poe’s Dupin. They lay all the evidence before me. Now and again a case turns up which is a little more complex. From long habit the train of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind.” “It is simple enough as you explain it. it is odd if 13 you can’t unravel the thousand and first.” I said. There is a strong family resemblance about misdeeds. I suppose I am the only one in the world. and if you have all the details of a thousand at your finger ends.

” I felt rather indignant at having two characters whom I had admired treated in this cavalier style. that the whole thing was a pre-arranged episode. “Does Lecoq come up to your idea of a detective?” Sherlock Holmes sniffed sardonically. “He knows that I cannot verify his guess.” said Sherlock Holmes. “I wonder what that fellow is looking for?” I asked. “Deduce what?” said he. My respect for his powers of analysis increased wondrously. Here was an opportunity of taking the conceit out of him. That book made me positively ill. querulously. “A sergeant.” I said. Dupin was a very inferior fellow. plainly-dressed individual who was walking slowly down the other side of the street. some bungling villany with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it. When I looked at him he had finished reading the note. but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine. my lad. and ran rapidly across the roadway. No answer? Right. We heard a loud knock. “Lecoq was a miserable bungler. “but he is certainly very conceited. sir. petulantly. and was evidently the bearer of a message. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour’s silence is really very showy and superficial. though what earthly object he could have in taking me in was past my comprehension. “This fellow may be very clever. looking anxiously at the numbers.” I was still annoyed at his bumptious style of conversation. “what your trade may be?” “Commissionaire. sir. “Uniform away for repairs. sir.” “There are no crimes and no criminals in these days. however. I could have done it in twentyfour hours. and was gone. lack-lustre expression which showed mental abstraction. It might be made a text-book for detectives to teach them what to avoid.” he said. “What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. “You mean the retired sergeant of Marines. at most. a deep voice below. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect. raised his hand in a salute.” The thought had hardly passed through my mind when the man whom we were watching caught sight of the number on our door. “For Mr. Sherlock Holmes. I walked over to the window. “May I ask.” He clicked his heels together. Lecoq took six months or so. “How in the world did you deduce that?” I asked. no doubt.” “And you were?” I asked. He had a large blue envelope in his hand. The question was how to identify an unknown prisoner. There still remained some lurking suspicion in my mind. pointing to a stalwart. and stood looking out into the busy street. and heavy steps ascending the stair. Royal Marine Light Infantry. I thought it best to change the topic.” he said. He had some analytical genius.” he said. He little thought of this when he made that random shot. gruffly.” I said to myself.A Study In Scarlet in my opinion. and his eyes had assumed the vacant. sir. “he had only one thing to recommend him. in an angry voice. with a slightly malicious glance at my companion. 14 . The Lauriston Garden Mystery I confess that I was considerably startled by this fresh proof of the practical nature of my companion’s theories. or.” he said. intended to dazzle me. “Brag and bounce!” thought I to myself. in the blandest voice. CHAPTER III. stepping into the room and handing my friend the letter.” “Have you read Gaboriau’s works?” I asked. and that was his energy.

we may as well go and have a look. So you actually were not able to see that that man was a sergeant of Marines?” “No. “Get your hat.” “Wonderful!” I ejaculated.” “Gregson is the smartest of the Scotland Yarders. on the face of him—all facts which led me to believe that he had been a sergeant. and regulation side whiskers. We are at a loss as to how he came into the empty house. Sherlock Holmes: “There has been a bad business during the night at 3. and acknowledges it to me. There we have the marine.A Study In Scarlet “Why. They are as jealous as a pair of professional beauties. but he would cut his tongue out before he would own it to any third person. indeed. He found the door open. He had a military carriage. however. I am the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather—that is. and in the front room. you will find me there. the whole affair is a puzzler.’ There had been no robbery.” “I have no time for trifles.” “Yes. “Tobias Gregson. middle-aged man. “Why. and would esteem it a great kindness if you would favour me with your opinion. There will be some fun over this case if they are both put upon the scent. what does it matter to me.” said Holmes. “You wish me to come?” “Yes. too. you may be sure that Gregson. “Would you mind reading it to me aloud?” This is the letter which I read to him— “My dear Mr.” I cried. indeed. If you are unable to come I shall give you fuller details. respectable. “Yours faithfully. I may have a laugh at them if I have nothing else. That smacked of the sea. but conventional—shockingly so. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four. too. well dressed. calmly. discovered the body of a gentleman. “Surely there is not a moment to be lost. which is bare of furniture. but there is no wound upon his person.” he remarked. you might find some difficulty.” he answered. and Co. suspected that something was amiss. and bustled about in a way that showed that an energetic fit had superseded the apathetic one.S. Lestrade. However. I shall work it out on my own hook. It appears that I am wrong—look at this!” He threw me over the note which the commissionaire had brought. and a duncoloured veil hung over the house-tops. Ohio. “shall I go and order you a cab?” “I’m not sure about whether I shall go. They have their knives into one another. There are marks 15 of blood in the room.” “It was easier to know it than to explain why I knew it. Supposing I unravel the whole matter.” “Why. for I can be spry enough at times. but perhaps it is as well. “this is terrible!” “It does seem to be a little out of the common. If you can come round to the house any time before twelve. if you have nothing better to do. brusquely. Lauriston Gardens. You must have observed the way in which he held his head and swung his cane.” “But he begs you to help him. as I cast my eye over it. They are both quick and energetic. nor is there any evidence as to how the man met his death. Come on!” He hustled on his overcoat. will pocket all the credit. off the Brixton Road. it is just such a chance as you have been longing for. Even across the street I could see a great blue anchor tattooed on the back of the fellow’s hand.” “My dear fellow.” I cried. U. Our man on the beat saw a light there about two in the morning. He was a man with some amount of selfimportance and a certain air of command.” I was amazed at the calm way in which he rippled on. and having cards in his pocket bearing the name of ‘Enoch J. “Commonplace. that he was a retired sergeant of Marines. “I said just now that there were no criminals. He knows that I am his superior. though I thought from his expression that he was pleased at my evident surprise and admiration. “he and Lestrade are the pick of a bad lot. You broke the thread of my thoughts. Cleveland. cloudy morning. A steady. when the fit is on me. then with a smile. “Excuse my rudeness. driving furiously for the Brixton Road. looking .” he said.A. I have left everything in statu quo until I hear from you. and as the house was an empty one. That comes of being an unofficial personage.” A minute later we were both in a hansom. Drebber. It was a foggy.” my friend remarked. and yet you are quite sure of the fact.

With an air of nonchalance which. A short passage. the sky. seemed to me to border upon affectation. “I think we have done all that can be done. Mr. The whole place was very sloppy from the rain which had fallen through the night. before you permitted this. white-faced. One of these had obviously been closed for many weeks. The garden was bounded by a three-foot brick wall with a fringe of wood rails upon the top. It was a large square room. A small garden sprinkled over with a scattered eruption of sickly plants separated each of these houses from the street. I had relied upon him to look after this.” “Except that!” my friend answered. but it was blotched in places with mildew. It was one of four which stood back some little way from the street. he lounged up and down the pavement. Gregson rubbed his hands in a self-satisfied way. and here and there . and was traversed by a narrow pathway. keeping his eyes riveted upon the ground. “No. My companion was in the best of spirits. sir. and that is the house. which was the apartment in which the mysterious affair had occurred.” he said. two being occupied and two empty.” “Nor Lestrade?” “No. interrupting Holmes’ musical disquisition. looking all the larger from the absence of all furniture. 16 and once I saw him smile. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. No doubt. which were blank and dreary.A Study In Scarlet like the reflection of the mud-coloured streets beneath.” “You will have your data soon. “this is the Brixton Road. you had drawn your own conclusions. pointing with my finger. The other belonged to the dining-room. Twice he stopped. who rushed forward and wrung my companion’s hand with effusion. pointing at the pathway.” “I have had so much to do inside the house. the opposite houses and the line of railings. Number 3. driver. “My colleague. that I had no doubt that he could see a great deal which was hidden from me.” “You did not come here in a cab?” asked Sherlock Holmes. The latter looked out with three tiers of vacant melancholy windows.” the detective said evasively. “If a herd of buffaloes had passed along there could not be a greater mess. I was unable to see how my companion could hope to learn anything from it.” I remarked.” I said at last. however. Lauriston Gardens wore an illomened and minatory look. and I knew your taste for such things. or rather down the fringe of grass which flanked the path.” he said. Having finished his scrutiny. As for myself. for the dull weather and the melancholy business upon which we were engaged. “With two such men as yourself and Lestrade upon the ground. but he insisted upon our alighting.” “Then let us go and look at the room.” Holmes glanced at me and raised his eyebrows sardonically.” With which inconsequent remark he strode on into the house. Gregson. followed by Gregson. yellowish in colour. he proceeded slowly down the path. and the difference between a Stradivarius and an Amati. and gazed vacantly at the ground.” he answered. It biases the judgment. “it’s a queer case though. “No data yet. stop!” We were still a hundred yards or so from it. Lestrade. “You don’t seem to give much thought to the matter in hand. with a notebook in his hand. and we finished our journey upon foot. and prattled away about Cremona fiddles. Holmes walked in. I was silent. and I followed him with that subdued feeling at my heart which the presence of death inspires. At the door of the house we were met by a tall. but since the police had been coming and going over it. Two doors opened out of it to the left and to the right. whose features expressed his astonishment. and heard him utter an exclamation of satisfaction. Still I had had such extraordinary evidence of the quickness of his perceptive faculties. “It is indeed kind of you to come. Nothing appeared to be further from his intention. and against this wall was leaning a stalwart police constable. A vulgar flaring paper adorned the walls. if I am not very much mistaken.” he answered. bare planked and dusty. led to the kitchen and offices.” “So it is. sir. I had imagined that Sherlock Holmes would at once have hurried into the house and plunged into a study of the mystery. is here. There were many marks of footsteps upon the wet clayey soil. and consisting apparently of a mixture of clay and of gravel. depressed my spirits. there will not be much for a third party to find out. under the circumstances. “I have had everything left untouched. save that here and there a “To Let” card had developed like a cataract upon the bleared panes. surrounded by a small knot of loafers. who craned their necks and strained their eyes in the vain hope of catching some glimpse of the proceedings within. flaxen-haired man. Stop.

“Positive!” cried both detectives. with masonic device. was standing by the doorway. sir. by Barraud. Lestrade grabbed it up and stared at it with mystified eyes. 97163. This malignant and terrible contortion. On one corner of this was stuck the stump of a red wax candle. pointing to numerous gouts and splashes of blood which lay all round. Finally. On his rigid face there stood an expression of horror. unnatural posture.” He held it out. “There’s nothing to be learned by staring at it. lean and ferret-like as ever. D. He was dressed in a heavy broadcloth frock coat and waistcoat. while his eyes wore the same far-away expression which I have already remarked upon. At his call they entered the room. Gold ring.” “There is no clue?” said Gregson. Two letters—one addressed to E. combined with the low forehead. Gold pin—bull-dog’s head. All these details I observed afterwards. feeling. Gold Albert chain. and I am no chicken. with vacant sightless eyes staring up at the discoloured ceiling. he sniffed the dead man’s lips. “Then. and everywhere. Gregson?” “No. pressing. So swiftly was the examination made.A Study In Scarlet great strips had become detached and hung down. As they raised him. It was that of a man about forty-three or forty-four years of age. as he spoke.” Gregson had a stretcher and four men at hand.” “At what address?” . but never has it appeared to me in a more fearsome aspect than in that dark grimy apartment. upon the linen. “A gold watch.” “You can take him to the mortuary now. such as I have never seen upon human features. Pocket edition of Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron. kneeling down.” said Gregson. “This case will make a stir. Do you remember the case. There is nothing new under the sun. and as it seemed to me. J. and immaculate collar and cuffs. and a short stubbly beard. with cards of Enoch J. Drebber and one to Joseph Stangerson. blunt nose.” “Read it up—you really should. while his lower limbs were interlocked as though his death struggle had been a grievous one. unbuttoning. his nimble fingers were flying here. of course. well brushed and trim. with crisp curling black hair. which was increased by his writhing.” he remarked. “You are sure that there is no wound?” he asked. No purse. very heavy and solid. and prognathous jaw gave the dead man a singularly simious and ape-like appearance. No.” said Gregson. if murder has been committed. and greeted my companion and myself. of hatred. There could be no doubt that that circlet of plain gold had once adorned the finger of a bride.” he said. which looked out upon one of the main arteries of suburban London. Opposite the door was a showy fireplace. sir. It reminds me of the circumstances attendant on the death of Van Jansen. but loose money to the extent of seven pounds thirteen. and. that one would hardly have guessed the minuteness with which it was conducted. with rubies as eyes. A top hat. Sherlock Holmes approached the body. His hands were clenched and his arms thrown abroad. which was intensified by the thick layer of dust which coated the whole apartment. in the year ’34. J. of London.” chimed in Lestrade.” As he spoke. upon the palm of his hand. examining. We all gathered round him and gazed at it. “Heaven knows. Drebber of Cleveland. 17 in Utrecht. and the stranger was lifted and carried out. Lestrade. “It’s a woman’s wedding-ring. broad shouldered. giving a dull grey tinge to everything. exposing the yellow plaster beneath. there. pointing to a litter of objects upon one of the bottom steps of the stairs. they were complicated enough before. Russian leather card-case. “There is nothing more to be learned. corresponding with the E. I have seen death in many forms. examined it intently. It has all been done before.” “You’re sure it doesn’t simplify them?” observed Holmes. “There’s been a woman here. was placed upon the floor beside him. What did you find in his pockets?” “We have it all here. and then glanced at the soles of his patent leather boots. middle-sized.” he cried. “This complicates matters. surmounted by a mantelpiece of imitation white marble. “None at all. “It beats anything I have seen. “He has not been moved at all?” he asked. “No more than was necessary for the purposes of our examination. At present my attention was centred upon the single grim motionless figure which lay stretched upon the boards. this blood belongs to a second individual—presumably the murderer. with light-coloured trousers. a ring tinkled down and rolled across the floor.’ with name of Joseph Stangerson upon the fly-leaf. The solitary window was so dirty that the light was hazy and uncertain.

in an offended voice. “Mean? Why. “I have just made a discovery of the highest importance. and once lying flat upon his face. As I watched him I was irresistibly reminded of a pure-blooded welltrained foxhound as it dashes backwards and forwards through the covert. sir. With these two implements he trotted noiselessly about the room. until it comes across the lost scent. bustling back into the room. stand there!” He struck a match on his boot and held it up against the wall. it bears every mark of having been written by the other participant in last night’s mystery. In this particular corner of the room a large piece had peeled off. “Come here.” “How did you word your inquiries?” “We simply detailed the circumstances. 18 “What do you think of that?” cried the detective. and little cries suggestive of encouragement and of hope. the atmosphere of which felt clearer since the removal of its ghastly inmate. and occasionally applying his tape to the walls in an equally incomprehensible manner. and refer to the sailing of their boats from Liverpool. triumphantly. sometimes stopping. Why was that corner chosen to write it on? I will tell you. For twenty minutes or more he continued his researches. You mark my words. whistles. “You certainly have the credit of being the first of us to find this out. It’s all very well for you to laugh. Mr. You may be very smart and clever. and if it was lit this corner would be the brightest instead of the darkest portion of the wall. reappeared upon the scene.” he said. “Mr.” “And what does it mean now that you have found it?” asked Gregson in a depreciatory voice.” The little man’s eyes sparkled as he spoke. and.” he said. “Look at that!” he said.A Study In Scarlet “American Exchange. Sherlock Holmes. groans.” said Gregson. it means that the writer was going to put the female name Rachel. Across this bare space there was scrawled in blood-red letters a single word— RACHE. See this smear where it has trickled down the wall! That disposes of the idea of suicide anyhow. It was lit at the time. “I have had advertisements sent to all the newspapers.” “Have you sent to Cleveland?” “We telegraphed this morning.” “Nothing else? Is there no circumstance on which this whole case appears to hinge? Will you not telegraph again?” “I have said all I have to say.” said Gregson.” As he spoke. but with your permission I shall do so now. leaving a yellow square of coarse plastering. I have not had time to examine this room yet. I have remarked that the paper had fallen away in parts.” “I really beg your pardon!” said my companion. rubbing his hands in a pompous and self-satisfied manner. “Now. It is clear that this unfortunate man was about to return to New York. occasionally kneeling. They are both from the Guion Steamship Company. and one which would have been overlooked had I not made a careful examination of the walls. who had ruffled the little man’s temper by bursting into an explosion of laughter. and he was evidently in a state of suppressed exultation at having scored a point against his colleague. Stangerson?” “I did it at once. but he has not returned yet. So engrossed was he with his occupation that he appeared to have forgotten our presence. but the old hound is the best. See that candle on the mantelpiece. and one of my men has gone to the American Exchange. Strand—to be left till called for. and no one thought of looking there. when Lestrade.” “You did not ask for particulars on any point which appeared to you to be crucial?” “I asked about Stangerson. when this case comes to be cleared up you will find that a woman named Rachel has something to do with it. who had been in the front room while we were holding this conversation in the hall. “This was overlooked because it was in the darkest corner of the room. keeping up a running fire of exclamations. measuring with the most exact care the distance between marks which were entirely invisible to me. Gregson. as you say. with the air of a showman exhibiting his show. when all is said and done. whining in its eagerness. he whipped a tape measure and a large round magnifying glass from his pocket. and said that we should be glad of any information which could help us. In one place he gathered up very carefully a little pile of grey . and appeared to be about to make some remark. for he chattered away to himself under his breath the whole time. The murderer has written it with his or her own blood. but was disturbed before he or she had time to finish.” “Have you made any inquiries as to this man. Sherlock Holmes chuckled to himself.

“It would be robbing you of the credit of the case if I was to presume to help you. square-toed boots and smoked a Trichinopoly cigar. “You are doing so well now that it would be a pity for anyone to interfere.” he answered.” Gregson and Lestrade had watched the manœuvres of their amateur companion with considerable curiosity and some contempt. but they may assist you. too. and was not there at any time during the morning—I have Gregson’s word for that—it follows that it must . had small feet for his height.” he remarked with a smile. “Come along. Now.” remarked my friend. “If you will let me know how your investigations go.” he said. and the murderer was a man. was in the prime of life. This done. There were the marks of the horse’s hoofs.” he continued.A Study In Scarlet dust from the floor. leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him. sir?” they both asked.’ is the German for ‘revenge.” Holmes took a note of the address. Audley Court. for he replaced his tape and his glass in his pocket. “Surely you are not as sure as you pretend to be of all those particulars which you gave. “I shall be happy to give you any help I can. and strode off. and packed it away in an envelope. we have had no rain for a week. “One other thing. “There is nothing like first hand evidence. he examined with his glass the word upon the wall. how was it done?” asked the former. he appeared to be satisfied.’ so don’t lose your time looking for Miss Rachel.” he remarked. “we shall go and look him up. These are only a few indications. Finally. Lauriston Gardens. He was more than six feet high. “as a matter of fact.” There was a world of sarcasm in his voice as he spoke.” Lestrade and Gregson glanced at each other with an incredulous smile. so that those wheels which left such a deep impression must have been there during the night.” he said. Sherlock Holmes led me to the nearest telegraph office. “What do you think of it. “Poison. I’ll tell you one thing which may help you in the case. “John Rance. whence he dispatched a long telegram. “It’s a very bad definition. Lestrade. Doctor. but still we may as well learn all that is to be learned.” he continued. Since the cab was there after the rain began.” “You amaze me. They evidently failed to appreciate the fact. Holmes.” With which Parthian shot he walked away.” said Sherlock Holmes curtly. “If this man was murdered.” he added. What John Rance Had To Tell It was one o’clock when we left No. He came here with his victim in a four-wheeled cab. In all probability the murderer had a florid face. turning to the two detectives. “There has been murder done. CHAPTER IV. “He is off duty now. and ordered the driver to take us to the address given us by Lestrade. “The very first thing which I observed on arriving there was that a cab had made two ruts with its wheels close to the curb. He then hailed a cab. You will find him at 46.” said I. wore coarse. up to last night. which was drawn by a horse with three old shoes and one new one on his off fore leg. which I had begun to realize. that Sherlock Holmes’ smallest actions were all directed towards some definite and practical end. 3. and the finger-nails of his right hand were remarkably long. Kennington Park Gate. “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. the outline of one of which was far more clearly cut than that of the other three. In the meantime I should like to speak to the constable who found the body. Can you give me his name and address?” Lestrade glanced at his note-book. but it does apply to detective work. going over every letter of it with the most minute exactness. my mind is entirely made up upon the case.” 19 “There’s no room for a mistake. turning round at the door: “ ‘Rache. showing that that was a new shoe.

that it brought those two individuals to the house.A Study In Scarlet have been there during the night. “There is much that is still obscure. which would not have been the case if the man’s nail had been trimmed. “Well. When a man writes on a wall. He was talking all the while. by suggesting Socialism and secret societies. Patent-leathers stood still while Square-toes walked up and down. why should the second man write up the German word RACHE before decamping? I confess that I cannot see any possible way of reconciling all these facts.” This conversation had occurred while our cab had been threading its way through a long succession of dingy streets and dreary by-ways.” “That seems simple enough. Patent-leather boots had gone round. My glass allowed me to observe that the plaster was slightly scratched in doing it. I have written a monograph upon the subject. Now that writing was just over six feet from the ground. can be told from the length of his stride. and if I show you too much of my method of working.” My companion smiled approvingly. on which to start. When they got inside they walked up and down the room—or rather. “My head is in a whirl.” “I shall never do that. You must not ask me that at the present state of the affair. It was simply a ruse to divert inquiry into a wrong channel. for the rest is mere surmise and conjecture. and they walked down the pathway together as friendly as possible—arm-in-arm. and working himself up.” said I. that was a more daring shot. I flatter myself that I can distinguish at a glance the ash of any known brand. either of cigar or of tobacco. We have a good working basis.” he said. for I want to go to Halle’s concert to hear Norman Neruda this afternoon. I am simply applying to ordinary life a few of those precepts of observation and deduction which I advocated in that article. Doctor. in nine cases out of ten. therefore. As to poor Lestrade’s discovery it was simply a blind intended to put the police upon a wrong track. “Ah. and the earnest way in which I uttered them. It is just in such details that the skilled detective differs from the Gregson and Lestrade type. Then the tragedy occurred.” I passed my hand over my brow. I gathered up some scattered ash from the floor. “but how about the other man’s height?” “Why. though I have no doubt that I was right. and Square-toes had hopped over. There is no mystery about it at all. In . though I have quite made up my mind on the main facts. however. I had already observed that he was as sensitive to flattery on the score of his art as any girl could be of her beauty. “The writing on the wall was done with a man’s forefinger dipped in blood. “Patentleathers and Square-toes came in the same cab. How came these two men—if there were two men—into an empty house? What has become of the cabman who drove them? How could one man compel another to take poison? Where did the blood come 20 from? What was the object of the murderer. “the more one thinks of it the more mysterious it grows.” he said. though there is no use my boring you with figures. but by a clumsy imitator who overdid his part. his instinct leads him to write about the level of his own eyes. “you have brought detection as near an exact science as it ever will be brought in this world.” My companion flushed up with pleasure at my words. in all probability. since robbery had no part in it? How came the woman’s ring there? Above all. you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all. and. It is a simple calculation enough.” I remarked. I’ve told you all I know myself now. The A.” I answered. That is shown by the increased length of his strides. if a man can stride four and a-half feet without the smallest effort. so that we may safely say that this was not written by one. Then I had a way of checking my calculation. Is there anything else that puzzles you?” “The finger nails and the Trichinopoly. a real German invariably prints in the Latin character. It was not done by a German. was printed somewhat after the German fashion.” “And the florid face?” I asked. I had this fellow’s stride both on the clay outside and on the dust within. We must hurry up. the height of a man. “I’ll tell you one other thing. It was child’s play.” I suggested. “You sum up the difficulties of the situation succinctly and well.” “And his age?” I asked. You know a conjuror gets no credit when once he has explained his trick. It was dark in colour and flakey—such an ash as is only made by a Trichinopoly. Now. if you noticed. I could read all that in the dust. I’m not going to tell you much more of the case. and I could read that as he walked he grew more and more excited. That was the breadth of a puddle on the garden walk which he had evidently walked across. into a fury. I have made a special study of cigar ashes—in fact. no doubt. he can’t be quite in the sere and yellow.

pointing to a narrow slit in the line of dead-coloured brick. and through lines of discoloured linen. far less help.” the constable answered with his eyes upon the little golden disk. We picked our way among groups of dirty children. “Where was you hid to see all that?” he cried. Presently—maybe about two or a little after—I thought I would take a look round and see that all was right down the Brixton Road. as far as anybody that could be of any good goes. the door of which was decorated with a small slip of brass on which the name Rance was engraved. At one o’clock it began to rain. until we came to Number 46. “though how you come to know it. though a cab or two went past me. thinkin’ between ourselves how uncommon handy a four of gin hot would be. “That’s Audley Court in there. What did you do next?” Rance resumed his seat. and we were shown into a little front parlour to await his coming. He was at the gate when I came out. and then walked back to the garden gate. All was quiet inside. it was. I ain’t afeared of anything on this side o’ the grave. but there wasn’t no sign of him nor of anyone else. though the very last tenant what lived in one of them died o’ typhoid fever. but bar that all was quiet enough on the beat. Mr. I was knocked all in a heap therefore at seeing a light in the window. and you knelt down by the body. looking a little irritable at being disturbed in his slumbers. Lestrade will answer for that. “I went back to the gate and sounded my whistle. You walked round the room several times. that I thought I’d be none the worse for some one with me.” “There was no one in the street?” “Not a livin’ soul. Gregson or Mr.” he said. or some such stuff. I was a strollin’ down.” Audley Court was not an attractive locality. though. When I got to the door—” 21 “You stopped. without however losing his mystified expression.” Holmes laughed and threw his card across the table to the constable. Ye see. and I met Harry Murcher—him who has the Holland Grove beat—and we stood together at the corner of Henrietta Street a-talkin’.” he said. “Just let us hear it all in your own way as it occurred.” he said. Holmes took a half-sovereign from his pocket and played with it pensively. a-leanin’ up ag’in the railings.” he said. “You’ll find me here when you come back. but I thought that maybe it was him that died o’ the typhoid inspecting the drains what killed him. Now. “I shall be most happy to tell you anything I can.A Study In Scarlet the dingiest and dreariest of them our driver suddenly came to a stand. and then—” John Rance sprang to his feet with a frightened face and suspicion in his eyes. and a-singin’ at the pitch o’ his lungs about Columbine’s New-fangled Banner. when suddenly the glint of a light caught my eye in the window of that same house. “My time is from ten at night to six in the morning. “but never anyone so cryin’ drunk as that cove. There was a candle flickerin’ on the mantelpiece—a red wax one—and by its light I saw—” “Yes. “I’ve seen many a drunk chap in my time.” “What do you mean?” The constable’s features broadened into a grin. The narrow passage led us into a quadrangle paved with flags and lined by sordid dwellings.” “Was the street empty then?” “Well. and I walked back to the gate to see if I could see Murcher’s lantern. He appeared presently.” my companion interrupted. On enquiry we found that the constable was in bed. nor as much as a dog. At eleven there was a fight at the ‘White Hart’. Then I pulled myself together and went back and pushed the door open. and then you walked through and tried the kitchen door. when I got up to the door it was so still and so lonesome. Go on. “Why. He couldn’t stand.” he said. The thought gave me a kind o’ turn.” he said. I know all that you saw. “We thought that we should like to hear it all from your own lips.” he said. sir. sir. I knew that them two houses in Lauriston Gardens was empty on account of him that owns them who won’t have the drains seed to. “What did you do that for?” Rance gave a violent jump. Heaven only knows. Not a soul did I meet all the way down. that’s true. and knitted his brows as though determined not to omit anything in his narrative. “It seems to me that you knows a deal more than you should. “I made my report at the office. so I went into the room where the light was aburnin’. “Don’t get arresting me for the murder.” Rance sat down on the horsehair sofa. “I am one of the hounds and not the wolf. and stared at Sherlock Holmes with the utmost amazement upon his features. “I’ll tell it ye from the beginning. and I suspected as something was wrong.” . It was precious dirty and lonely. That brought Murcher and two more to the spot.

“I should think I did notice them. If we have no other way of catching him. It was a useless attempt.” “He must have left it behind. seeing that I had to prop him up—me and Murcher between us. Still 22 . “You didn’t happen to see or hear a cab after that?” “No. It is true that the description of this man tallies with your idea of the second party in this mystery.” “His face—his dress—didn’t you notice them?” Holmes broke in impatiently. leaving our informant incredulous.” We started off for the cab together.” Holmes said. That head of yours should be for use as well as ornament. Drebber. “I am afraid.” the policeman said.” my companion said. “I’ll wager he found his way home all right. I tell you that it is so. There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life.” he said. CHAPTER V. I shall have him.” “Had he a whip in his hand?” “A whip—no. What’s that little thing of Chopin’s she plays so magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay. and not taking advantage of it. the ring: that was what he came back for. and isolate it. we can always bait our line with the ring. with a red face. John Rance appeared to be somewhat irritated at this digression. The man whom you held in your hands is the man who holds the clue of this mystery. Doctor—I’ll lay you two to one that I have him. Every time that I closed my eyes I saw before me the distorted baboonlike countenance of the murdered man. the lower part muffled round—” “That will do. and expose every inch of it. but obviously uncomfortable.” “There’s a half-sovereign for you. and whom we are seeking. Our Advertisement Brings A Visitor Our morning’s exertions had been too much for my weak health. in an aggrieved voice. as we drove back to our lodgings. bitterly. Rance. and our duty is to unravel it. and I was tired out in the afternoon.” Leaning back in the cab. After Holmes’ departure for the concert.” “I am rather in the dark still.” “How was he dressed?” “A brown overcoat. eh? Why shouldn’t we use a little art jargon. Doctor. and the strangest fancies and surmises crowded into it. I must thank you for it all. I might not have gone but for you. So sinister was the impression which that face had produced upon me that I found it difficult to feel anything but gratitude for him who had removed its owner from the world. But why should he come back to the house after leaving it? That is not the way of criminals. “Just to think of his having such an incomparable bit of good luck. of Cleveland. that you will never rise in the force.” muttered my companion. and then for Norman Neruda.” cried Holmes. He was a long chap. And now for lunch. “He’d ha’ found hisself in the station if we hadn’t been so took up. “The blundering fool. this amateur bloodhound carolled away like a lark while I meditated upon the many-sidedness of the human mind. “What became of him?” “We’d enough to do without lookin’ after him. Her attack and her bowing are splendid. You might have gained your sergeant’s stripes last night.” “The ring. I lay down upon the sofa and endeavoured to get a couple of hours’ sleep. Come along. man. they were certainly those of Enoch J. standing up and taking his hat. and so have missed the finest study I ever came across: a study in scarlet. If ever human features bespoke vice of the most malignant type. There is no use of arguing about it now.A Study In Scarlet “What sort of a man was he?” asked Sherlock Holmes. “He was an uncommon drunk sort o’ man. My mind had been too much excited by all that had occurred.

” “That is all right.” “I can understand.” I answered. It does not mention the fact that when the man was raised up. where there is no imagination there is no horror. if not poison.” “To tell the truth.” he answered. as he took his seat. His quiet self-confident manner convinced me that he had already formed a theory which explained all the facts. that I knew that the concert could not have detained him all the time. “One’s ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature. “What’s the matter? You’re not looking quite yourself.” he said. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. again. then? He would eagerly look out for the evening papers in the hope of seeing it among the articles found. Baker Street. the man in the brown coat—our florid friend with the square toes. Watson. Have you seen the evening paper?” “No.” “Would he not consider it as too dangerous?” “Not at all. would light upon this. owing to his own folly in leaving the candle burning. I have no ring. “a plain gold wedding ring.” “It gives a fairly good account of the affair. it has.” he said. It is almost a facsimile. This Brixton Road affair has upset you. Apply Dr. The more I thought of it the more extraordinary did my companion’s hypothesis.” . nor had the victim any weapon with which he might have wounded an antagonist.” said he. He had to pretend to be drunk in order to allay the suspicions which might have been aroused by his appearance at the gate. it must have occurred to him that it was possible that he had lost the ring in the road after leaving the house. I felt that sleep would be no easy matter. I remembered how he had sniffed his lips. since there was neither wound nor marks of strangulation? But. you have.” “Oh yes. a woman’s wedding ring fell upon the floor. either for Holmes or myself. “If I used my own some of these dunderheads would recognize it. whose blood was that which lay so thickly upon the floor? There were no signs of a struggle. After leaving the house he discovered his loss and hurried back. this morning. It was the first announcement in the “Found” column. If my view of the case is correct. He would come. Have you any arms?” “I have my old service revolver and a few cartridges. and want to meddle in the affair. and did not miss it at the time. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination.” He threw the paper across to me and I glanced at the place indicated.” “And then?” I asked.” “Excuse my using your name. What would he do. “It was magnificent.” he answered. 221b. on the other hand. Dinner was on the table before he appeared. handing me one. As long as all these questions were unsolved. this man would rather risk anything than lose the ring. “I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. “Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Now put yourself in that man’s place.” “That’s rather a broad idea. “Oh. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Maiwand without losing my nerve. “This will do very well. you can leave me to deal with him then.” “And who do you expect will answer this advertisement. Then. found in the roadway between the ‘White Hart’ Tavern and Holland Grove. He will come. and had no doubt that he had detected something which had given rise to the idea. between eight and nine this evening.” I remarked. It is just as well it does not. and I have every reason to believe that it is.” I said. but found the police already in possession.” “Why?” 23 “Look at this advertisement. You shall see him within an hour. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood. He would be overjoyed. of course. On thinking the matter over. what had caused the man’s death. and that the depravity of the victim was no condonement in the eyes of the law. “In Brixton Road.A Study In Scarlet I recognized that justice must be done. Why should he fear a trap? There would be no reason in his eyes why the finding of the ring should be connected with the murder. “But supposing anyone applies. According to my notion he dropped it while stooping over Drebber’s body. though what it was I could not for an instant conjecture. He was very late in returning—so late.” it ran. appear. If he does not come himself he will send an accomplice. His eye.” “Why. that the man had been poisoned. “I had one sent to every paper this morning immediately after the affair.

way from here. “a gold wedding ring in the Brixton Road. which her husband is steward aboard a Union boat. She appeared to be dazzled by the sudden blaze of light.” I cried. A look of surprise passed over the face of my companion as he listened to it. Watson live here?” asked a clear but rather harsh voice. shaky fingers. and shuffled off down the stairs. I suppose. and the sharp click of the latch as she opened it. I glanced at my companion. On the fly-leaf. in obedience to a sign from my companion. He will probably be here in a few minutes.” “Who is the printer?” “Philippe de Croy. as was married only this time twelvemonth. too. That will do.” I interrupted. “13. “The Lord be thanked!” cried the old woman. Peckham. Don’t frighten him by looking at him too hard. Wait up for me. That’s the ring. Some pragmatical seventeenth century lawyer.” I said. His writing has a legal twist about it. and what he’d say if he comes ’ome and found her without her ring is more than I can think. clean lad.” he remarked. Here comes our man. glancing at my watch. but the door closed.” As he spoke there was a sharp ring at the bell. and no steward in the company more thought of. We could not hear the servant’s reply. “she must be an accomplice. in very faded ink. in 1642. Houndsditch.” he said. he being short enough at the best o’ times. and some one began to ascend the stairs. “Sally will be a glad woman this night. what with the women and what with liquor shops—” “Here is your ring.” “And your name is—?” “My name is Sawyer—her’s is Dennis. “Sally lives in lodgings at 3. When the fellow comes speak to him in an ordinary way. “The gentleman asked me for my address.’ I wonder who William Whyte was. it is as well to be ready for anything.” he said. but when on shore. “The plot thickens. as I entered. At my summons. We heard the servant pass along the hall. The old crone drew out an evening paper. Thank you! This is a queer old book I picked up at a stall yesterday—De Jure inter Gentes—published in Latin at Liege in the Lowlands.A Study In Scarlet “You had better clean it and load it. When I returned with the pistol the table had been cleared. and I am glad to be able to restore it to the rightful owner. “Come in.” said Sherlock Holmes sharply. and after dropping a curtsey. Sherlock Holmes rose softly and moved his chair in the direction of the door. Duncan Street.” “And that is?” I asked eagerly.” With many mumbled blessings and protestations of gratitude the old crone packed it away in her pocket. The old woman faced round and looked keenly at him from her little red-rimmed eyes.” she said. which Tom Dennis married her—and a smart.” “It is eight o’clock now. and will lead me to him. she stood blinking at us 24 with her bleared eyes and fumbling in her pocket with nervous. dropping another curtsey. It came slowly along the passage. but more especially when he has the drink. hurriedly. Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet the moment that she was gone and rushed into his room. and his face had assumed such a disconsolate expression that it was all I could do to keep my countenance. “Yes. a very old and wrinkled woman hobbled into the apartment.” The hall door had hardly . Open the door slightly.” “And what may your address be?” I inquired. “Does Dr.” I went to my bedroom and followed his advice. whoever he may have been. is written ‘Ex libris Guliolmi Whyte. “I’ll follow her.” she said. “I have just had an answer to my American telegram. and pointed at our advertisement.” A weary “The Brixton Road does not lie between any circus and Houndsditch. Mayfield Place. Leave the rest to me. Charles’ head was still firm on his shoulders when this little brown-backed volume was struck off. “Put your pistol in your pocket. My view of the case is the correct one. good gentlemen. she went to the circus last night along with—” “Is that her ring?” I asked. He returned in a few seconds enveloped in an ulster and a cravat. taking up a pencil. Sawyer. He will be a desperate man. “It’s this as has brought me. and there was a feeble tap at the door. as long as he’s at sea. The footfall was an uncertain and shuffling one. It belongs to my girl Sally. “My fiddle would be the better for new strings. “it clearly belongs to your daughter. and though I shall take him unawares. If it please you. I think. Mrs. instead of the man of violence whom we expected. Now put the key on the inside. and Holmes was engaged in his favourite occupation of scraping upon his violin.

I hopped off before we came to the door.” I cried. It must have been a young man. besides being an incomparable actor.’ she cried. I thought. This begins to look genuine. I can afford to laugh. He saw that he was followed. because I know that I will be even with them in the long run. bound for the same destination. I saw the cab pull up. too. Ten o’clock passed. Eleven. Nothing came out though. for I felt that sleep was impossible until I heard the result of his adventure. The get-up was inimitable. and never drew rein until we reached the street in question.A Study In Scarlet slammed behind our visitor before Holmes had descended the stair. Now.” I was certainly feeling very weary. It was close upon twelve before I heard the sharp sound of his latch-key. ‘Drive to 13. for she sang it out loud enough to be heard at the other side of the street. named Keswick. dropping into his chair. Doctor. 25 . I perched myself behind. and I saw him open the door and stand expectantly. but I sat stolidly puffing at my pipe and skipping over the pages of Henri Murger’s Vie de Boh`me. “Either his whole theory is incorrect. and the more stately tread of the landlady passed my door.” There was no need for him to ask me to wait up for him. “Oh. but I need not have been so anxious.” “What is it then?” I asked. and having seen her safely inside. That’s an art which every detective should be an expert at.” I thought to myself. I had no idea how long he might be. so I obeyed his injunction. and giving vent to the finest assorted collection of oaths that ever I listened to. and he burst into a hearty laugh. and knew that he was still pondering over the strange problem which he had set himself to unravel. “We were the old women to be so taken in. and hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. and strolled down the street in an easy. away we rattled. Looking through the window I could see her walking feebly along the other side. Well. and long into the watches of the night I heard the low. I don’t mind telling a story against myself. There was no sign or trace of his passenger. while her pursuer dogged her some little distance behind. “that that tottering. The instant he entered I saw by his face that he had not been successful.” “You don’t mean to say. lounging way. without either you or the driver seeing her?” “Old woman be damned!” said Sherlock Holmes. Houndsditch. e and I heard the footsteps of the maid as they pattered off to bed. The driver jumped down. no doubt. I left Holmes seated in front of the smouldering fire. That creature had gone a little way when she began to limp and show every sign of being footsore.” he cried. melancholy wailings of his violin. Presently she came to a halt. and that no one of the name either of Sawyer or Dennis had ever been heard of there. you are looking done-up. “I wouldn’t have the Scotland Yarders know it for the world. and I fear it will be some time before he gets his fare. “or else he will be led now to the heart of the mystery. It shows that the man we are after is not as lonely as I imagined he was. “I have chaffed them so much that they would never have let me hear the end of it. On inquiring at Number 13 we found that the house belonged to a respectable paperhanger. feeble old woman was able to get out of the cab while it was in motion. but has friends who are ready to risk something for him. Take my advice and turn in. It was close upon nine when he set out. I managed to be close to her so as to hear the address. When I reached him he was groping about frantically in the empty cab. Amusement and chagrin seemed to be struggling for the mastery. until the former suddenly carried the day. and used this means of giving me the slip. in amazement. and an active one. Duncan Street. sharply.

discovered in an empty house in the Brixton Road. infringed their unwritten laws. no doubt. Whatever they do. and as he spoke there rushed into the room half a dozen of the dirtiest and most ragged street Arabs that ever I clapped eyes on. Mr. If the man is caught. it doesn’t matter in the least. the Marchioness de Brinvilliers. accompanied by audible expressions of disgust upon the part of our landlady. We are glad to learn that Mr. all pointed to its perpetration by political refugees and revolutionists. “I told you that. any infringement of which was punished by death. and to ascertain some particulars of the habits of the deceased.’ ” “What on earth is this?” I cried. aqua tofana. “Now. I still retain in my scrap-book numerous clippings and extracts bearing upon the case. it will be on account of their exertions. Every effort should be made to find the secretary. “’Tention!” cried Holmes. we hain’t. and they appeared to afford him considerable amusement. whatever happened. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of Stangerson. Camberwell. Among these men there was a stringent code of honour. and they scampered away downstairs like so many rats. A great step had been gained by the discovery of the address of the house at which he had boarded—a result which was entirely due to the acuteness and energy of Mr.” said one of the youths. The German name of the victim. Here are your wages. “It’s the Baker Street division of the detective police force. Gregson. off you go. Joseph Stangerson. the absence of all other motive. He had stayed at the boarding-house of Madame Charpentier. they will have followers. The two bade adieu to their landlady upon Tuesday. They arose from the unsettling of the minds of the masses. How he came there.. and been tracked down by them. Gregson of Scotland Yard. The Standard commented upon the fact that lawless outrages of the sort usually occurred under a Liberal Administration. are both engaged upon the case. and some had leaders upon it in addition. Drebber’s body was. and the six dirty little scoundrels stood in a line like so many disreputable statuettes. and the sinister inscription on the wall. Lestrade and Gregson would be sure to score. the article concluded by admonishing the Government and advocating a closer watch over foreigners in England.” “That depends on how it turns out. and the deceased had. “I hardly expected you would. “In future you shall send up Wiggins alone to report. They were afterwards seen together upon the platform. Here is a condensation of a few of them:— The Daily Telegraph remarked that in the history of crime there had seldom been a tragedy which presented stranger features. for at this moment there came the pattering of many steps in the hall and on the stairs.” He handed each of them a shilling.” said my companion. He was accompanied in his travels by his private secretary. the 4th inst. bless you. and the rest of you must wait in the street. Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do The papers next day were full of the “Brixton Mystery. Nothing more is known of them until Mr.” “Oh. The Daily News observed that there was no doubt as to the crime being a political one. The deceased was an American gentleman who had been residing for some weeks in the Metropolis. Have you found it. and come back with a better report next time. and the Ratcliff Highway murders. the Darwinian theory. You must keep on until you do. and departed to Euston Station with the avowed intention of catching the Liverpool express. if he escapes. in Torquay Terrace. in a sharp tone. Sherlock Holmes and I read these notices over together at breakfast. are questions which are still involved in mystery.A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER VI. The 26 despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental Governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone. ‘Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire. sir. and the consequent weakening of all authority. Wiggins?” “No. Each had a long account of the affair. or how he met his fate. and it is confidently anticipated that these well-known officers will speedily throw light upon the matter. The Socialists had many branches in America.” He waved his hand. There was some information in them which was new to me. gravely.” as they termed it. Stangerson. . It’s heads I win and tails you lose. as recorded. many miles from Euston. Lestrade and Mr. After alluding airily to the Vehmgericht. of Scotland Yard. it will be in spite of their exertions. and we heard their shrill voices next moment in the street. the principles of Malthus. Carbonari.

‘Have you heard of the mysterious death of your late boarder Mr. There he is!” There was a violent peal at the bell. this is strictly between ourselves. wringing Holmes’ unresponsive hand.” The idea tickled Gregson so much that he laughed until he choked. “The mere sight of an official-looking person seals men’s lips. Drebber. residing at Charpentier’s Boarding Establishment. Sherlock Holmes. and asked him if he had sold a hat of that size and description. You know the feeling.” “You do me too much honour. gravely. who had no more to do with the crime than the babe unborn. “Have you been there?” “No. I have no doubt that he has caught him by this time. you understand.A Study In Scarlet “There’s more work to be got out of one of those little beggars than out of a dozen of the force. too.” Holmes remarked. “We are anxious to know how you managed it.” said Holmes. there is a point which I wish to ascertain. I’ll tell you all about it. however small it may seem. “Let us hear how you arrived at this most gratifying result. as the strain upon the mind.” “Ha!” cried Gregson. I went to Underwood. of Cleveland?’ I asked.” he cried. and burst into our sitting-room. He is after the secretary Stangerson.” The detective seated himself in the arm-chair.” “Is it on this Brixton case that you are employing them?” I asked. “I next called upon Madame Charpentier. Yes. or until parties came forward and volunteered information. pompously. You will appreciate that.” said Holmes. The daughter burst into tears. That didn’t escape my notice. “congratulate me! I have made the whole thing as clear as day. Then suddenly he slapped his thigh in a paroxysm of amusement. too. You remember the hat beside the dead man?” “Yes.” continued the detective. Sherlock Holmes. “Yes. “The mother nodded.” Gregson looked quite crest-fallen.” he said. too—an uncommonly fine girl she is. That is not Tobias Gregson’s way of going to work. They are as sharp as needles. and in a few seconds the fair-haired detective came up the stairs. Some people would have waited until their advertisements were answered. for we are both brainworkers. Torquay Terrace. Enoch J. Sherlock Holmes gave a sigh of relief. three steps at a time. “My dear fellow.” cried Gregson. who thinks himself so smart. and relaxed into a smile. Of course. Camberwell Road. “I found her very pale and distressed.” A shade of anxiety seemed to me to cross my companion’s expressive face. “ ‘At what o’clock did Mr. 27 “The fun of it is. however. sententiously. sir. and came on it at once. I know. go everywhere and hear everything. Mr. Mr. and try one of these cigars. Doctor Watson. rubbing his fat hands and inflating his chest. . She didn’t seem able to get out a word.” “Smart—very smart!” murmured Sherlock Holmes. Not so much bodily exertion. sub-lieutenant in Her Majesty’s navy. He had sent the hat to a Mr. Bound for us. Drebber leave your house for the train?’ I asked. we have the man under lock and key. Her daughter was in the room. “that that fool Lestrade. He looked over his books.” “And his name is?” “Arthur Charpentier. “And how did you get your clue?” “Ah. The first difficulty which we had to contend with was the finding of this American’s antecedents. he is stopping. I began to smell a rat. Hullo! we are going to hear some news now with a vengeance! Here is Gregson coming down the road with beatitude written upon every feature of his face.” remarked Holmes. These youngsters. “The tremendous exertions which I have gone through during the last day or two have worn me out. “Do you mean that you are on the right track?” he asked. “by John Underwood and Sons. “I had no idea that you noticed that.” the detective answered. I felt more than ever that these people knew something of the matter. has gone off upon the wrong track altogether.” he said.” he cried. all they want is organisation. Thus I got at his address. and puffed complacently at his cigar. “Take a seat. Will you have some whiskey and water?” “I don’t mind if I do. when you come upon the right scent—a kind of thrill in your nerves. in a relieved voice. It is merely a matter of time. “you should never neglect a chance.” “To a great mind. “The right track! Why. nothing is little. she was looking red about the eyes and her lips trembled as I spoke to her. Drebber. “Well. 129.

He was much excited. You shall live like a princess. you do not know how much we know of it. and evidently the worse for drink. They were paying a pound a day each—fourteen pounds a week. proposed to her that she should fly with him. throwing up her hands and sinking back in her chair. ‘Would to God that I had given him notice on the very day that he came. “You are of age. and I gave him notice to leave on account of it. Do not imagine that my agitation on behalf of my son arises from any fear lest he should have had a hand in this terrible affair. but he caught her by the wrist and endeavoured to draw her towards the door. He was coarse in his habits and brutish in his ways. showing that that had been their last stopping place. and. and at that moment my son Arthur came into the room. Stangerson. He and his secretary. I will tell you all without omitting any particular.’ “ ‘Well?’ “ ‘My heart grew light when I saw him drive away. but 28 his employer. Her features turned perfectly livid. and her daughter withdrew. his antecedents would all forbid it.’ I answered. Never mind the old girl here. ‘I will tell you all. “ ‘Mr. ‘Let us be frank with this gentleman.’ she said. That however is surely impossible. and then. This last was too much. and he is passionately fond of his sister. I was too terrified to raise my head. Drebber had returned. and then the daughter spoke in a calm clear voice. that in your eyes and in the eyes of others he may appear to be compromised. When I closed the door behind them a load seemed to be lifted from my mind.’ she continued. That was the reason of his going. and spoke to her more than once in a way which. I noticed a “Copenhagen” label upon each of their trunks. “There was silence for a moment. fortunately. his profession. His manners towards the maid-servants were disgustingly free and familiar. in less than an hour there was a ring at the bell. you had better leave us together. ‘But it was a sore temptation. I am sorry to say.’ she said. and before my very face. The very night of his arrival he became very much the worse for drink. sir. We did see Mr. ‘Now. for his temper is violent.’ “ ‘Your best way is to make a clean breast of the facts. Alice!’ cried her mother. “ ‘No good can ever come of falsehood. but since my poor daughter has disclosed it I have no alternative. ‘You have murdered your brother.15 and one at 11. had been travelling on the Continent. said that there were two trains—one at 9. I heard oaths and the confused sounds of a scuffle. he speedily assumed the same attitude towards my daughter. mother. Drebber has been with us nearly three weeks. however. Stangerson was a quiet reserved man. after twelve o’clock in the day he could hardly ever be said to be sober.” he said. When I did look up I saw Arthur standing in the doorway laughing. “and there is no law to stop you. “ ‘You had best tell me all about it now. I am a widow. was far otherwise. and made some incoherent remark about having missed his train. On one occasion he actually seized her in his arms and embraced her—an outrage which caused his own secretary to reproach him for his unmanly conduct. Besides. Stangerson.’ “Mrs. but come along with me now straight away. He then turned to Alice. Drebber again.’ I asked. ‘I suppose that you can get rid of your boarders when you wish.’ “ ‘Arthur would rather that we spoke the truth. My dread is. Mr.’ “ ‘God forgive you!’ cried Madame Charpentier. where I was sitting with my daughter. Mr. gulping in her throat to keep down her agitation. His high character.’ said I.’ she said. she is too innocent to understand. sir. and my boy in the Navy has cost me much. ‘I had no intention of telling you all this. Having once decided to speak.’ “ ‘On your head be it.’ “ ‘But why did you stand all this. I screamed. I have money enough and to spare. ‘His secretary. I grudged to lose the money. . turning to me. He forced his way into the room. Charpentier blushed at my pertinent question. ‘Depend upon it. however.’ the girl answered firmly. He was to catch the first.” Poor Alice was so frightened that she shrunk away from him. indeed. Worst of all. It was some seconds before she could get out the single word ‘Yes’—and when it did come it was in a husky unnatural tone. if your son is innocent he will be none the worse. ‘Half-confidences are worse than none. I acted for the best. What happened then I do not know. My son is on leave just now. He is utterly innocent of it.’ “ ‘Perhaps. but I did not tell him anything of all this. and this is the slack season. Alice. and I learned that Mr.’ “ ‘And was that the last which you saw of him?’ “A terrible change came over the woman’s face as I asked the question. Alice.’ she said. Alas.A Study In Scarlet “ ‘At eight o’clock.’ I said.’ “ ‘It is your wisest course.

Drebber’s mysterious death. We shall make something of you yet.’ “ ‘After you went to bed?’ “ ‘Yes. which killed him without leaving any mark. perhaps. who had started off upon the wrong scent.” “It’s quite exciting. “I don’t think that fine fellow will trouble us again. The assurance and jauntiness which generally marked his demeanour and dress were. “This is a most extraordinary case. turning white to her very lips. they may all be so many tricks to throw the police on to the wrong scent. you find it so. Fixing her with my eye in a way which I always found effective with women. “The young man volunteered a statement. so Charpentier dragged the body of his victim into the empty house.” the detective answered proudly.’ “This statement came from Mrs. here’s the very man himself!” It was indeed Lestrade. by Jove. When I touched him on the shoulder and warned him to come quietly with us. “I thought you would come to that conclusion. for on perceiving his colleague he appeared to be embarrassed and put out. What amuses me is to think of Lestrade.” “I flatter myself that I have managed it rather neatly. so that his alluding to it had a most suspicious aspect. you are getting along. took two officers with me. “Of course after that there was nothing more to be done. in the pit of the stomach. “I will just go after him and see what he does with himself. Have you managed to find the Secretary. my theory is that he followed Drebber as far as the Brixton Road.A Study In Scarlet with a stick in his hand.’ he said. I found out where Lieutenant Charpentier was.” “Very.’ she answered. who had ascended the stairs while we were talking. Charpentier paused. however. Lestrade!” cried Gregson. in which he said that after following Drebber some time. and who now entered the room. It was a stout oak cudgel. with a yawn. “What happened next?” “When Mrs. and he let himself in. he has a latch-key. On his way home he met an old shipmate. I made shorthand notes of all that she said.” the detective continued.’ “ ‘When did you go to bed?’ “ ‘About eleven.” With those words he took his hat and started off down the street. “I saw that the whole case hung upon one point.” “Well done!” said Holmes in an encouraging voice. The night was so wet that no one was about. I think the whole case fits together uncommonly well. His face was disturbed and troubled.” said Lestrade gravely. Mr. the latter perceived him.” 29 . “ ‘Not know?’ “ ‘No.” said Holmes. Joseph Stangerson. As to the candle. Gregson. “He still carried the heavy stick which the mother described him as having with him when he followed Drebber. however. “Really.” said Sherlock Holmes.’ she answered. He had evidently come with the intention of consulting with Sherlock Holmes. fumbling nervously with his hat and uncertain what to do. On being asked where this old shipmate lived.’ “ ‘So your son was gone at least two hours?’ “ ‘Yes. and took a cab in order to get away from him. he answered us as bold as brass. Charpentier’s lips with many gasps and pauses. wanting. At times she spoke so low that I could hardly catch the words. he was unable to give any satisfactory reply.” “Ah. He stood in the centre of the room. then?” “Well. I am afraid he won’t make much of—Why. and the ring. Mr.” “What is your theory. a fresh altercation arose between them. in the course of which Drebber received a blow from the stick. triumphantly. ‘I suppose you are arresting me for being concerned in the death of that scoundrel Drebber.’ “ ‘Possibly four or five?’ “ ‘Yes. The next morning we heard of Mr. so that there should be no possibility of a mistake. and arrested him. When there. We had said nothing to him about it. “was murdered at Halliday’s Private Hotel about six o’clock this morning. “ ‘I do not know. and the blood. Joseph Stangerson?” “The Secretary. Mr.” he said at last—“a most incomprehensible affair. and took a long walk with him. and the writing on the wall.’ “ ‘What was he doing during that time?’ “ ‘I do not know.” he said. while his clothes were disarranged and untidy. I asked her at what hour her son returned.

” Holmes observed.’ they said. “Stangerson too!” he muttered. “Would you mind letting us know what you have seen and done?” “I have no objection.’ “ ‘Where is he now?’ I asked. “I freely confess that I was of the opinion that Stangerson was concerned in the death of Drebber. From under the door there curled a little red ribbon of blood. The Boots pointed out the door to me. and there was a small corridor leading up to it. . This fresh development has shown me that I was completely mistaken.” said Lestrade. giving a description of the man. I spent the whole of yesterday evening in making enquiries entirely without avail.” said Lestrade. Gregson sprang out of his chair and upset the remainder of his whiskey and water. On my enquiry as to whether a Mr. I set myself to find out what had become of the Secretary. The window of the room was open. “I seem to have dropped into a sort of council of war. and then to hang about the station again next morning. My nerves. in an awe-struck voice. they at once answered me in the affirmative. but we put our shoulders to it. which had meandered across the passage and formed a little pool along the skirting at the other side. and had been for some time. The door was locked on the inside. even before Sherlock Holmes answered. He was quite dead. written in letters of blood. which must have penetrated the heart. The question which confronted me was to find out how Stangerson had been employed between 8. There was something so methodical and so incomprehensible about the deeds of this unknown assassin.’ “ ‘I will go up and see him at once. Light In The Darkness The intelligence with which Lestrade greeted us was so momentous and so unexpected. thickens. and we were all silent for a while. in spite of my twenty years’ experience. I stared in silence at Sherlock Holmes. “So it proved. “It seemed to me that my sudden appearance might shake his nerves and lead him to say something unguarded. whose lips were compressed and his brows drawn down over his eyes. passing on his way to the dairy. I argued that if Drebber and his companion had become separated. He wished to be called at nine. When we turned him over. and a presentiment of coming horror. I telegraphed to Liverpool. At two in the morning Drebber had been found in the Brixton Road. that we were all three fairly dumfoundered. “The word RACHE. ‘He has been waiting for a gentleman for two days. You see.” he said. The cause of death was a deep stab in the left side.’ I said. “I have just come from his room. And now comes the strangest part of the affair.” grumbled Lestrade. The Boots volunteered to show me the room: it was on the second floor. taking a chair. lay the body of a man in his nightdress.” “They would be likely to agree on some meeting-place beforehand. and beside the window. “A milk boy. They had been seen together at Euston Station about half-past eight on the evening of the third. “I was the first to discover what had occurred.” remarked Holmes. and warning them to keep a watch upon the American boats. He nearly fainted when he saw it. happened to walk down the lane which leads from 30 “It was quite thick enough before. and was about to go downstairs again when I saw something that made me feel sickish.A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER VII. I gave a cry. This morning I began very early. in Little George Street. for his limbs were rigid and cold. “That was it.” continued Lestrade.” “We have been hearing Gregson’s view of the matter. the Boots recognized him at once as being the same gentleman who had engaged the room under the name of Joseph Stangerson. “ ‘He is upstairs in bed. all huddled up. and knocked it in. “The man was seen. seating himself. “ ‘No doubt you are the gentleman whom he was expecting.” Lestrade answered. and what had become of him afterwards. and at eight o’clock I reached Halliday’s Private Hotel. the natural course for the latter would be to put up somewhere in the vicinity for the night. which were steady enough on the field of battle tingled as I thought of it. that it imparted a fresh ghastliness to his crimes. Full of the one idea.” “The plot Stangerson was living there. which brought the Boots back.” “Are you—are you sure of this piece of intelligence?” stammered Gregson. What do you suppose was above the murdered man?” I felt a creeping of the flesh. I then set to work calling upon all the hotels and lodging-houses in the vicinity of Euston.30 and the time of the crime.

however. producing a small white box. brownish coat. I shall now add a little milk to make the mixture palatable. It’s laboured breathing and glazing eye showed that it was not far from its end. beyond thinking in his own mind that it was early for him to be at work. however. He has an impression that the man was tall. “Now. where he had washed his hands. The other half I will place in this wine glass. which usually lay there. There was. “I cannot see. He noticed that a ladder. and containing the words. small.” As he spoke he turned the contents of the wine glass into a saucer and placed it in front of the terrier. Indeed. The man’s novel. watching the animal intently. but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught. “I have now in my hands.” Sherlock Holmes sprang from his chair with an exclamation of delight. as if I had seen them with my own 31 eyes. and almost transparent against the light.” I glanced at Holmes on hearing the description of the murderer. is right.” my companion said. He came down so quietly and openly that the boy imagined him to be some carpenter or joiner at work in the hotel. There are. for we found blood-stained water in the basin. “Nothing. its snow-white muzzle proclaimed that it had already exceeded the usual term of canine existence.” “This may be very interesting. “One half we return into the box for future purposes. dated from Cleveland about a month ago. Doctor. with which he had read himself to sleep was lying upon the bed. but it seems that this was usual.” “And there was nothing else?” Holmes asked.” “Patience. It was the merest chance my taking these pills.” The two detectives stared at him in amazement. “I took them and the purse and the telegram. of course. in which is a teaspoonful of water. and his pipe was on a chair beside him.” said Lestrade.” “Give them here. “From their lightness and transparency. patience! You will find in time that it has everything to do with it. details to be filled in. and that it readily dissolves. breathing in a laboured way. but nothing had been taken. “are those ordinary pills?” They certainly were not. exultantly. The dog continued to lie stretched upon the cushion. from the time that Drebber parted from Stangerson at the station. He must have stayed in the room some little time after the murder. round.’ There was no name appended to this message.” I remarked. who speedily licked it dry. “Did you find nothing in the room which could furnish a clue to the murderer?” he asked. H. for I am bound to say that I do not attach any importance to them. . “all the threads which have formed such a tangle. Sherlock Holmes’ earnest demeanour had so far convinced us that we all sat in silence. None such appeared. They were of a pearly grey colour.A Study In Scarlet the mews at the back of the hotel. Stangerson had Drebber’s purse in his pocket.” said Lestrade. is in Europe. robbery is certainly not one of them. in the injured tone of one who suspects that he is being laughed at. no trace of exultation or satisfaction upon his face. which tallied so exactly with his own. and was dressed in a long. Joseph Stangerson. I placed it upon a cushion on the rug.” turning to me.” said Holmes. and on the window-sill a small chip ointment box containing a couple of pills. but I am as certain of all the main facts. had a reddish face. except a single telegram. and drawing his penknife he suited the action to the word. confidently. Whatever the motives of these extraordinary crimes. You perceive that our friend. which was wide open. was raised against one of the windows of the second floor. “The last link. Could you lay your hand upon those pills?” “I have them. what it has to do with the death of Mr. There were no papers or memoranda in the murdered man’s pocket. There was eighty odd pounds in it. “I will now cut one of these pills in two.” I went downstairs and carried the dog upstair in my arms.” answered Holmes. and marks on the sheets where he had deliberately wiped his knife. “Now would you mind going down and fetching that poor little devil of a terrier which has been bad so long. he looked back and saw a man descend the ladder. He took no particular notice of him. and on presenting it to the dog we find that he laps it up readily enough. up to the discovery of the body of the latter. I will give you a proof of my knowledge. and which the landlady wanted you to put out of its pain yesterday.” he cried. There was a glass of water on the table. the Doctor. as he did all the paying. ‘J. “Precisely so. “Nothing of any importance. however. and expecting some startling effect. my friend. I should imagine that they are soluble in water. “My case is complete. intending to have them put in a place of safety at the Police Station.” said Holmes. After passing.

“It can’t be a coincidence. Sherlock Holmes. It is impossible! And yet this wretched dog is none the worse. but the time has come when we feel that we have a right to ask you straight how much you do know of the business. It seemed to me that the mists in my own mind were gradually clearing away. Ah.” Thus pressed by us all. and as minute followed minute without result. who is supported. Can you name the man who did it?” “I cannot help feeling that Gregson is right. “Look here. “All this seems strange to you. dissolved it. Surely you will not withhold it any longer. Mr. that I could hardly believe that he was in his sober senses. as was his habit when lost in thought. sir. I have made my case out.” remarked Lestrade. cut the other pill in two. and presented it to the terrier.” This last statement appeared to me to be so startling. “might give him time to perpetrate some fresh atrocity. and it seems I was wrong. Young Charpentier could not have been engaged in this second affair.” he said.” he said at last. Hence things which have perplexed you and made the case more obscure. These strange details. This I expect very shortly to do. It is a mistake to confound 32 strangeness with mystery. “I ought to know by this time that when a fact appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions. and showed every other symptom of acute impatience.” continued Holmes. The very pills which I suspected in the case of Drebber are actually found after the death of Stangerson. however. Sherlock Holmes drew a long breath. You have thrown out hints here. “because you failed at the beginning of the inquiry to grasp the importance of the single real clue which was presented to you. could contain himself no longer. who had listened to this address with considerable impatience. indeed.A Study In Scarlet Holmes had taken out his watch. and that you have your own methods of working. Holmes showed signs of irresolution. that I felt sincerely sorry for him. and everything which has occurred since then has served to confirm my original supposition. “I should have more faith.” I observed. And yet they are inert. to prove that his conjecture had been correct. by another who is as . and we have both failed. Stangerson. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. “it is impossible that it should be a mere coincidence. far from making the case more difficult. Lestrade went after his man. He continued to walk up and down the room with his head sunk on his chest and his brows drawn down. for we have a shrewd and desperate man to deal with. and hints there. “We have both tried. drummed his fingers upon the table. at last springing from his chair and pacing wildly up and down the room. however. and lay as rigid and lifeless as if it had been struck by lightning. it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation.” he cried. The mere knowing of his name is a small thing. I ought to have known that before ever I saw the box at all. “You can put that consideration out of the question. as I have had occasion to prove. vague perception of the truth. I do.” Mr. and the other was entirely harmless. compared with the power of laying our hands upon him. an expression of the utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his features. and I began to have a dim. So great was his emotion. I had the good fortune to seize upon that. though. and. and it appears that he was wrong too.” “Any delay in arresting the assassin. was the logical sequence of it. “we are all ready to acknowledge that you are a smart man. “There will be no more murders. This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to unravel had the body of the victim been simply found lying in the roadway without any of those outr´ and sensae tional accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. have served to enlighten me and to strengthen my conclusions. stopping abruptly and facing us. I have good hopes of managing it through my own arrangements. Gregson. There was the dead dog. while the two detectives smiled derisively. have really had the effect of making it less so. We want something more than mere theory and preaching now. added milk. It is a case of taking the man.” he said. He gnawed his lip. You have asked me if I know the name of the assassin. and seem to know more than we do. You have remarked more than once since I have been in the room that you had all the evidence which you require. The unfortunate creature’s tongue seemed hardly to have been moistened in it before it gave a convulsive shiver in every limb. Of the two pills in that box one was of the most deadly poison. I have it! I have it!” With a perfect shriek of delight he rushed to the box. but it is a thing which needs delicate handling. by no means displeased at this check which he had met. and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. What can it mean? Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot have been false.

young Wiggins. but that I am prepared for.” said Sherlock Holmes. At present I am ready to promise that the instant that I can communicate with you without endangering my own combinations. Lestrade. It was not until Lestrade succeeded in getting his hand inside his neckcloth and half-strangling him that we made him realize that his struggles were of no avail.” “Very good. as he glared at the glittering handcuffs. I shall do so. and never turning his head.” I was surprised to find my companion speaking as though he were about to set out on a journey. of the cabman’s dazed. Wiggins. Neither of them had time to speak.” said Holmes. kneeling over his task.” Gregson and Lestrade seemed to be far from satisfied by this assurance. which had appeared as if by magic upon his wrists. touching his forelock.” 33 . gentlemen.” remarked Lestrade.” he said. “let me introduce you to Mr. “I have the cab downstairs. As long as this man has no idea that anyone can have a clue there is some chance of securing him. I have a vivid recollection of that instant. the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph Stangerson. Jefferson Hope. blandly. “Why don’t you introduce this pattern at Scotland Yard?” he continued. He appeared to have the convulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit. however. “The cabman may as well help me with my boxes. The former had flushed up to the roots of his flaxen hair. “Please. He was dragged back into the room. “We have his cab. For a second or two we might have been a group of statues. with flashing eyes. taking a pair of steel handcuffs from a drawer. Gregson. and put down his hands to assist. And now. that the four of us were shaken off again and again.A Study In Scarlet clever as himself. Just ask him to step up. You are very welcome to put any questions that you like to me now. and Holmes sprang upon him like so many staghounds. They fasten in an instant. he would change his name. and this he pulled out and began to strap. and hurled himself through the window. and even then we felt no security until we had pinioned his feet as well as his hands. and Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet again. and then commenced a terrific conflict. of course.” he said. “It will serve to take him to Scotland Yard. the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmes’s grasp. but loss of blood had no effect in diminishing his resistance. and that is why I have not asked your assistance.” he cried. His face and hands were terribly mangled by his passage through the glass.” “The old pattern is good enough. savage face. If I fail I shall. with a pleasant smile. Then. very good. He was busily engaged at it when the cabman entered the room. At that instant there was a sharp click. Woodwork and glass gave way before him. “Gentlemen. but if he had the slightest suspicion. Without meaning to hurt either of your feelings. and there is no danger that I will refuse to answer them. of Holmes’ triumphant expression and the ring of his voice. while the other’s beady eyes glistened with curiosity and resentment. So powerful and so fierce was he. The fellow came forward with a somewhat sullen.” “Good boy. incur all the blame due to this omission. cabman.” The whole thing occurred in a moment—so quickly that I had no time to realize it.” he continued. with an inarticulate roar of fury. “we have reached the end of our little mystery. or by the depreciating allusion to the detective police. since he had not said anything to me about it. before there was a tap at the door. I am bound to say that I consider these men to be more than a match for the official force. That done. “if we can only find the man to put them on. smiling. defiant air. sir. “Just give me a help with this buckle. “See how beautifully the spring works. we rose to our feet breathless and panting. but before he got quite through. the jangling of metal. and vanish in an instant among the four million inhabitants of this great city. introduced his insignificant and unsavoury person. There was a small portmanteau in the room.” said Holmes. and the spokesman of the street Arabs.

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PART II. The Country of the Saints. .

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and from the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south. which in winter are white with snow.” he muttered. there stood upon the fourth of May. but the hardiest of the braves are glad to lose sight of those awesome plains. There is no bird in the steel-blue heaven. the buzzard flaps heavily through the air. Instantly there broke from the grey parcel a little moaning cry. North. grey earth—above all. For fifteen hundred miles one may trace this ghastly caravan route by these scattered remains of those who had fallen by the wayside. one sees a pathway traced out across the desert. Looking down from the Sierra Blanco. inhospitality. and misery. and the clumsy grizzly bear lumbers through the dark ravines. and east. In the whole world there can be no more dreary view than that from the northern slope of the Sierra Blanco. it came down on the ground with some little violence. Nor is Nature always in one mood throughout this grim district. and the brown parchment-like skin was drawn tightly over the projecting bones. he leaned upon his weapon for support. and then he realised that his wanderings had come to an end. and in summer are grey with the saline alkali dust. there is no shadow of a sound in all that mighty wilderness. on that barren crag. nor of anything appertaining to life. His appearance was such that he might have been the very genius or demon of the region. It is rutted with wheels and trodden down by the feet of many adventurers. Before sitting down. with their rugged summits flecked with snow. and examine them! They are bones: some large and coarse. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska. he had deposited upon the ground his useless rifle. there is absolute silence. There are no inhabitants of this land of despair. for in lowering it. His gaunt face. In all that broad landscape there was no gleam of hope. Listen as one may. the common characteristics of barrenness. his eyes were sunken in his head. which winds away and is lost in the extreme distance. That is hardly true. As far as the eye can reach stretches the great flat plain-land. The coyote skulks among the scrub. There are swift-flowing rivers which dash through jagged canons. and the latter to men. and his clothes. The man was dying—dying from hunger and from thirst. It appeared to be somewhat too heavy for his strength. all dusted over with patches of alkali. “Why not here. however. In this great stretch of country there is no sign of life. which might indicate the presence of moisture. and that there. and to find themselves once more upon their prairies. while the hand which grasped his rifle was hardly more fleshy than that of a skeleton. It comprises snow-capped and lofty mountains. and 37 stand out against the dull deposit of alkali. which hung so baggily over his shrivelled limbs. It has been said there is nothing appertaining to life upon the broad plain. and yet his tall figure and the massive framework of his bones suggested a wiry and vigorous constitution. which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilisation. On The Great Alkali Plain In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert. An observer would have found it difficult to say whether he was nearer to forty or to sixty. Approach. and also a large bundle tied up in a grey shawl. brown hair and beard were all flecked and dashed with white. and from it there protruded . The former have belonged to oxen. and the distant belt of savage mountains. His face was lean and haggard. he was about to die. eighteen hundred and forty-seven. and intersected by clumps of the dwarfish chaparral bushes. in the vain hope of seeing some signs of water. and on to this little elevation. and west he looked with wild questioning eyes. as he seated himself in the shelter of a boulder. and dark and gloomy valleys. and burned with an unnatural lustre. others smaller and more delicate. On the extreme verge of the horizon lie a long chain of mountain peaks. He had toiled painfully down the ravine. nothing but silence—complete and heart-subduing silence. Looking down on this very scene. proclaimed what it was that gave him that senile and decrepit appearance. They all preserve. without a sign anywhere of plant or tree. As he stood. a solitary traveller. as well as in a feather bed. which he had carried slung over his right shoulder. no movement upon the dull. and picks up such sustenance as it can amongst the rocks. however. These are the sole dwellers in the wilderness. his long. twenty years hence. Here and there there are scattered white objects which glisten in the sun. Now the great salt plain stretched before his eyes.A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER I. and there are enormous ˜ plains. is a region of desolation and silence. A band of Pawnees or of Blackfeet may occasionally traverse it in order to reach other huntinggrounds.

eh!” said the little girl.” cried the little girl gleefully. and then Indian Pete. whose coming is the forerunner of death. yes. and a lot of buckwheat cakes. you will. and raising her tear-stained face. dearie. or somethin’.” “Why didn’t you say so before?” she said. But there was somethin’ wrong.” As he spoke he unwrapped the grey shawl and extricated a pretty little girl of about five years of age. your mother.” The man’s eyes were fixed upon the northern horizon. I guess you’ll see her before long. checking her sobs. McGregor.” “Then mother’s a deader too. with very bright brown eyes. hot.A Study In Scarlet a small. nor nothing to eat?” “No.” the man answered penitently. “When we goes back to home I’ll give them to brother Bob.” said the man confidently. and then you’ll feel bullier. Just except a little drop for the likes of you and—and—” “And you couldn’t wash yourself. “You gave me such a fright. she didn’t say good-bye. “How is it now?” he answered anxiously. It ain’t easy to talk when your lips is like leather. now as long as we die we’ll be with mother again. nor drink.” she said. and clapping her hands to make them rise. we reckoned we’d strike another river soon. “Have I though. “Kiss it and make it well.” cried the little girl dropping her face in her pinafore and sobbing bitterly. did God make this country?” “Of course He did. so rapidly did they approach.” said her companion. ain’t it? Ain’t there no water. Say. “Say. and toasted on both sides. staring up at his grimy visage.” “And you too. . she ’most always did if she was just goin’ over to Auntie’s for tea. and He made the Missouri. laughing gleefully. like Bob and me was fond of. of course. “Funny. How long will it be first?” “I don’t know—not very long.” “What would ye think of offering up prayer?” the man asked diffidently. so I heaved you over my shoulder and we tramped it together. It don’t seem as though we’ve improved matters. rather startled by this unexpected question. “You’ve hurt me!” said a childish voice reproachfully. and then Mrs.” the little girl continued. I was going to tell you though—you remember when we left the river?” “Oh.” “Well. whose dainty shoes and smart pink frock with its little linen apron all bespoke a mother’s care. 38 “No. and it didn’t turn up. or map. “It ain’t night yet. he was the fust to go. shoving the injured part up to him. dearie. I’ll bet she meets us at the door of Heaven with a big pitcher of water. Where’s mother?” “Mother’s gone. dearie. which circled over the heads of the two wanderers. “I guess somebody else made the country in these parts. and then settled upon some rocks which overlooked them. they all went except you and me.” interrupted his companion gravely. “That’s what mother used to do. It’s not nearly so well done. the vultures of the west. “Cocks and hens. Put your head up agin me like that.” she answered. And Mr. and then. You’ll just need to be patient awhile. and then you’ll be all right.” “You’ll see prettier things than them soon. “I didn’t go for to do it. scared face. and now she’s been away three days. there ain’t nothing. There’s an almighty small chance for us now!” “Do you mean that we are going to die too?” asked the child. “I guess that’s about the size of it. it’s awful dry. “He made the country down in Illinois. pointing at their ill-omened forms. They speedily resolved themselves into three large brown birds.” “Yes. holding up two glittering fragments of mica. compasses. but her healthy arms and legs showed that she had suffered less than her companion. dimpled fists. They were buzzards. Bender. and two little speckled.” “Gone. The child was pale and wan. In the blue vault of the heaven there had appeared three little specks which increased in size every moment. “You just wait a bit. I’ll tell her how awful good you’ve been. Water ran out. They forgot the water and the trees. “Yes. for she was still rubbing the towsy golden curls which covered the back of her head. d’ye see. Then I thought there was some chance of water in this direction. but I guess I’d best let you know how the cards lie. What’s that you’ve got?” “Pretty things! fine things!” cried the little girl enthusiastically. and then Johnny Hones. with perfect gravity. Why.

“And I.” “Then you’ll need to kneel down.” asked one of the band. “To the right of the Sierra Blanco—so we shall reach the Rio Grande. while the two voices—the one thin and clear. men on horseback. “You’ve got to put your hands up like this. the rear was not yet visible on the horizon. Slowly the eyelids drooped over the tired eyes. and held a short council among themselves. This was obviously impossible in these arid wilds.” said the elderly man who appeared to be in command. “Leave your horses below and we will await you here.” “Shall I go forward and see. it was not sufficient to rouse the two tired wayfarers above them. until the man’s grizzled beard was mixed with the gold tresses of his companion. but He won’t mind that. and the apparition revealed itself as being a great caravan upon its journey for the West. waggons and carts. It ain’t quite regular. and both slept the same deep and dreamless slumber. they resumed their seat in the shadow of the boulder until the child fell asleep. while fresh horsemen came galloping up to reinforce the vanguard. but gradually growing higher and broader until it formed a solid. Brother Stangerson.” he answered. At the head of the column there rode a score or more of grave ironfaced men.A Study In Scarlet “It don’t matter. The word “Redskins” was on every lip. you bet. with wondering eyes. nestling upon the broad breast of her protector. the little prattling child and the reckless. The prayer finished.” “Why don’t you say some yourself?” the child asked. Far away on the extreme verge of the alkali plain there rose up a little spray of dust.” cried a third. and children who toddled beside the waggons or peeped out from under the white coverings. and men on foot. and his haggard. From its summit there fluttered a little wisp of pink. For three days and three nights he had allowed himself neither rest nor repose. the other deep and harsh—united in the entreaty for mercy and forgiveness. laying the shawl out for that purpose. and me too. There rose through the clear air a confused clattering and rumbling from this great mass of humanity. “We have passed the Pawnees. But what a caravan! When the head of it had reached the base of the mountains. You say over them ones that you used to say every night in the waggon when we was on the Plains. “He who could draw it from the rocks will not now abandon His own chosen people.” said one.” It was a strange sight had there been anything but the buzzards to see it. well-defined cloud. Right across the enormous plain stretched the straggling array.” said another.” the Elder answered. “Fear not for water. It makes you feel kind o’ good. and hardly to be distinguished from the mists of the distance. my brothers. the canvas-covered tilts of waggons and the figures of armed horsemen began to show up 39 through the haze. As the whirl of dust drew nearer to the solitary bluff upon which the two castaways were reposing. but Nature proved to be too strong for him. On reaching the base of the bluff they halted. They were about to resume their journey when one of the youngest and keenest-eyed uttered an exclamation and pointed up at the rugged crag above them. and the head sunk lower and lower upon the breast. “The wells are to the right.” cried a dozen voices.” “Amen! Amen!” responded the whole party. “I hain’t said none since I was half the height o’ that gun. clean-shaven man with grizzly hair. hardened adventurer. angular visage were both turned up to the cloudless heaven in heartfelt entreaty to that dread being with whom they were face to face. Loud as it was. “There can’t be any number of Injuns here. Side by side on the narrow shawl knelt the two wanderers. This cloud continued to increase in size until it became evident that it could only be raised by a great multitude of moving creatures. You say them out. and I’ll stand by and come in on the choruses. “I disremember them. I guess it’s never too late. and there are no other tribes until we cross the great mountains. very slight at first. a hard-lipped. He watched over her slumber for some time. At the sight there was a general reining up of horses and unslinging of guns. with the creaking of wheels and the neighing of horses. In a moment . This was evidently no ordinary party of immigrants. showing up hard and bright against the grey rocks behind.” “and I. Innumerable women who staggered along under burdens. clad in sombre homespun garments and armed with rifles.” she said. In more fertile spots the observer would have come to the conclusion that one of those great herds of bisons which graze upon the prairie land was approaching him. Her chubby face. Had the wanderer remained awake for another half hour a strange sight would have met his eyes. but rather some nomad people who had been compelled from stress of circumstances to seek themselves a new country.

” “Do not jest at that which is sacred. in the State of Illinois. and hoisted her upon his shoulder. He was reading a brownbacked volume. The rest is all dead o’ thirst and hunger away down in the south. but as the crowd approached he laid it aside. whereas the others were furnished with two.” answered his companions with one voice. and on joining him they were affected in the same way by the sight which met their eyes. The rescuing party were speedily able to convince the two castaways that their appearance was no delusion. “He appears to have chosen a fair crowd of ye.” They had reached the base of the hill by this time. and he passed his boney hand over his eyes. “My name is John Ferrier. His placid face and regular breathing showed that he was fast asleep. and against this boulder there lay a tall man. but whose massive head and resolute expression marked him as a leader. and were ascending the precipitous slope which led up to the object which had excited their curiosity. The child stood beside him.” The name of Nauvoo evidently recalled recollections to John Ferrier. “me and that little un are all that’s left o’ 40 twenty-one people. though?” he continued. Their escort did not halt. “We are of those who believe in those sacred writings. while two others supported her gaunt companion. They advanced rapidly and noiselessly. and said nothing but looked all round her with the wondering questioning gaze of childhood. until they reached a waggon. “she’s mine ’cause I saved her.” “We are the Mormons. Suddenly his followers saw him throw up his hands. as though overcome with astonishment. We have come to seek a refuge from the violent man and from the godless. “I see. where we had founded our temple. long-bearded and hard-featured. “we are the persecuted children of God—the chosen of the Angel Merona. “you are the Mormons. Beside the driver there sat a man who could not have been more than thirty years of age. The watchers from the plain below could see them flit from rock to rock until their figures stood out against the skyline. or. Her plump little white legs terminating in white socks and neat shoes with shining buckles. and anxious earnesteyed men. offered a strange contrast to the long shrivelled members of her companion.” said the other sternly. who. She’s Lucy Ferrier from this day on. The hand of God is leading us under the person of our Prophet. strong laughing children.” “Is she your child?” asked someone. drawn in Egyptian letters on plates of beaten gold. at the sight of the new comers uttered raucous screams of disappointment and flapped sullenly away. glancing with curiosity at his stalwart. Six horses were yoked to it. but pushed on.” said the wanderer. “And where are you going?” “We do not know. even though it be the heart of the desert. On the ledge of rock above this strange couple there stood three solemn buzzards. No man will take her from me. and were surrounded by crowds of the pilgrims—pale-faced meek-looking women. We have come from Nauvoo. but of an excessive thinness. The cries of the foul birds awoke the two sleepers who stared about them in bewilderment. His face assumed an expression of incredulity as he gazed. Beside him lay a little child. with the confidence and dexterity of practised scouts. The young man who had first given the alarm was leading them. One of them seized the little girl. sunburned rescuers.” the other cried. at most. and assisted him towards the waggons.A Study In Scarlet the young fellows had dismounted. Who are you. four a-piece. which were handed unto the holy Joseph Smith at Palmyra. and which was now traversed by this enormous body of men and of beasts. holding on to the skirt of his coat. with her round white arms encircling his brown sinewy neck.” “I never heard tell on him. and a playful smile played over her infantile features. He shall say what is to be done with you. “there seems to be a powerful lot of ye.” he muttered.” “Nigh upon ten thousand.” the wanderer explained. “This is what they call delirium. Many were the cries of astonishment and of commiseration which arose from them when they perceived the youth of one of the strangers and the destitution of the other. You must come before him. “I guess she is now. and listened attentively to an account . The man staggered to his feet and looked down upon the plain which had been so desolate when sleep had overtaken him.” he said. which was conspicuous for its great size and for the gaudiness and smartness of its appearance. however. On the little plateau which crowned the barren hill there stood a single giant boulder. Her rosy lips were parted. showing the regular line of snowwhite teeth within. I guess. and her golden haired head resting upon the breast of his velveteen tunic. followed by a great crowd of Mormons. fastened their horses.” said one of the young men. defiantly.

from the shock caused by her mother’s death. and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith. Having rallied.” he said. on to Zion!” cried the crowd of Mormons. until the next summer saw the whole country golden with the wheat crop. 41 In the town streets and squares sprang up. the clatter of the hammer and the rasp of the saw was never absent from the monument which the immigrants erected to Him who had led them safe through many dangers. Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful administrator as well as a resolute chief. John Ferrier and the little girl who had shared his fortunes and had been adopted as his daughter. and reconciled herself to this new life in her moving canvas-covered home. with the elasticity of childhood. planting and clearing. hunger. led them to his waggon. in which the future city was sketched out. “You shall remain here. Little Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in Elder Stangerson’s waggon. with such emphasis that the grave Elders could not restrain a smile. and that these virgin acres were to be theirs for evermore. the great temple which they had erected in the centre of the city grew ever taller and larger. Everything prospered in the strange settlement. thirst. passing from mouth to mouth until they died away in a dull murmur in the far distance.” he said. We shall have no wolves in our fold. fatigue. which is the voice of God. and the words rippled down the long caravan. Above all. a retreat which she shared with the Mormon’s three wives and with his son. and soon the whole caravan was winding along once more. The tradesman was put to his trade and the artisan to his calling. The savage man.” CHAPTER II. Maps were drawn and charts prepared. All around farms were apportioned and allotted in proportion to the standing of each individual. “In a few days you will have recovered from your fatigues. “give him food and drink.” he said. a headstrong forward boy of twelve. We have delayed long enough. “Take him. From the shores of the Mississippi to the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains they had struggled on with a constancy almost unparalleled in history. where a meal was already awaiting them. and the savage beast. in solemn words. Better far that your bones should bleach in this wilderness than that you should prove to be that little speck of decay which in time corrupts the whole fruit. Then he turned to the two castaways. as if by magic. Let it be your task also to teach him our holy creed.” said Ferrier. In the meantime Ferrier having recovered . The Flower Of Utah This is not the place to commemorate the trials and privations endured by the immigrant Mormons before they came to their final haven. With a cracking of whips and a creaking of wheels the great waggons got into motion. impressive expression. Brigham Young has said it. Forward! On. Yet the long journey and the accumulated terrors had shaken the hearts of the stoutest among them. and the child likewise. The leader alone retained his stern. Will you come with us on these terms?” “Guess I’ll come with you on any terms. In the country there was draining and hedging. she soon became a pet with the women. on to Zion!” “On. The Elder to whose care the two waifs had been committed. and disease—every impediment which Nature could place in the way—had all been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity. accompanied the Mormons to the end of their great pilgrimage. remember that now and forever you are of our religion. “it can only be as believers in our own creed. From the first blush of dawn until the closing of the twilight. Brother Stangerson. The two castaways.A Study In Scarlet of the episode. and learned from the lips of their leader that this was the promised land. There was not one who did not sink upon his knees in heartfelt prayer when they saw the broad valley of Utah bathed in the sunlight beneath them. In the meantime. “If we take you with us.

and the Latter Day Saints were as busy as the bees whose hive they have chosen for their emblem. In every other respect he conformed to the religion of the young settlement. There were some who accused him of lukewarmness in his adopted religion. He was a man of a practical turn of mind. Many a wayfarer upon the high road which ran by Ferrier’s farm felt long-forgotten thoughts revive in their mind as they watched her lithe girlish figure tripping through the wheatfields. His iron constitution enabled him to work morning and evening at improving and tilling his lands. The travel-stained adventurers gazed after her in astonishment. Johnston. No argument or persuasion could ever induce him to set up a female establishment after the manner of his companions. She had a commission from her father in the City. driven by a half-dozen wild-looking herdsmen from the plains. and the year which saw her father the richest of the farmers left her as fair a specimen of American girlhood as could be found in the whole Pacific slope. and even the unemotional Indians. It was a warm June morning. and assisted her adopted father in all his undertakings. and managing it with all the ease and grace of a true child of the West. relaxed their accustomed stoicism as they marvelled at the beauty of the pale-faced maiden. with a mixture of pride and of fear. and was dashing in as she had done many a time before. however. too. apart from its future influence on her destiny and that of many besides. Down the dusty high roads defiled long streams of heavily-laden mules. It seldom is in such cases. were droves of sheep and bullocks coming in from the outlying pasture lands. and she found herself completely imbedded in the moving stream of fierceeyed. in nine he was rich. that a new and a larger nature has awoken within her. her cheek more rudy. journeying in with their pelties. Lucy Ferrier grew up within the log-house. In three years he was better off than his neighbours. From the great inland sea to the distant Wahsatch Mountains there was no name better known than that of John Ferrier. So the bud blossomed into a flower. in six he was well-to-do. again. and her step more elastic. her fair face flushed with the exercise and her long chestnut hair floating out behind her. who first discovered that the child had developed into the woman. distinguished himself as a useful guide and an indefatigable hunter. The keen air of the mountains and the balsamic odour of the pine trees took the place of nurse and mother to the young girl. As year succeeded to year she grew taller and stronger. and Drebber. men and horses equally weary of their interminable journey. It was not the father. Kemball. Through all this motley assemblage. Accustomed as she . In the case of Lucy Ferrier the occasion was serious enough in itself. and of Stangerson. Others. with all the fearlessness of youth. thinking only of her task and how it was to be performed. and trains of tired immigrants. threading her way with the skill of an accomplished rider. there galloped Lucy Ferrier. In her impatience she endeavoured to pass this obstacle by pushing her horse into what appeared to be a gap. with the exception of Young himself. Ferrier remained strictly celibate. She had reached the outskirts of the city when she found the road blocked by a great drove of cattle. and of a fair-haired girl who had pined away on the shores of the Atlantic. keen in his dealings and skilful with his hands. and she learns. and the Overland Route lay through the City of the Elect. There are few who cannot recall that day and remember the one little incident which heralded the dawn of a new life. In the fields and in the streets rose the same hum of human industry. who were the four principal Elders.A Study In Scarlet from his privations. He never gave reasons for this persistent refusal. for the gold fever had broken out in California. Least of all does the maiden herself know it until the tone of a voice or the touch of a hand sets her heart thrilling within her. which received so many additions in succeeding years that it grew into a roomy villa. but contented himself by resolutely and inflexibly adhering to his determination. There. On the farm thus acquired John Ferrier built himself a substantial log-house. So rapidly did he gain the esteem of his new companions. before the beasts closed in behind her. or met her mounted upon 42 her father’s mustang. that when they reached the end of their wanderings. Scarcely had she got fairly into it. all heading to the west. however. spoke of some early love affair. There was one way and only one in which he offended the susceptibilities of his co-religionists. it was unanimously agreed that he should be provided with as large and as fertile a tract of land as any of the settlers. That mysterious change is too subtle and too gradual to be measured by dates. Hence it came about that his farm and all that belonged to him prospered exceedingly. Whatever the reason. long-horned bullocks. and in twelve there were not half a dozen men in the whole of Salt Lake City who could compare with him. and others who put it down to greed of wealth and reluctance to incur expense. and gained the name of being an orthodox and straight-walking man.

He called on John Ferrier that night. . Young Jefferson Hope rode on with his companions. but rather the wild. When she had vanished from his sight. “I guess you are the daughter of John Ferrier. “whoever would have thought that Poncho would have been so scared by a lot of cows?” “Thank God you kept your seat. He had been as keen as any of them upon the business until this sudden incident had drawn his thoughts into another channel. “There. He had been a scout too. The sight of the fair young girl. fierce passion of a man of strong will and imperious temper. he realized that a crisis had come in his life. but took advantage of every opportunity to urge her horse on in the hopes of pushing her way through the cavalcade. her head began to swim. changeable fancy of a boy. “of course. He had been a pioneer in California. He soon became a favourite with the old farmer. When you see him. anyhow. and clad in the rough dress of a hunter. Unaccustomed to sudden emergencies. He and they had been among the Nevada Mountains prospecting for silver. She looked up at his dark. and that neither silver speculations nor any other questions could ever be of such importance to him as this new and all-absorbing one.” he remarked. with a long rifle slung over his shoulders. you are a friend now. Choked by the rising cloud of dust and by the steam from the struggling creatures. had stirred his volcanic. He had been accustomed to succeed in all that he undertook.” “He has a good deal to thank you for. Unfortunately the horns of one of the creatures. “You! Well. Louis. and absorbed in his work. I didn’t mean that. Jefferson Hope had been there in search of them. as frank and wholesome as the Sierra breezes.” 43 “Neither would I. All this Jefferson Hope was able to tell him. and pranced and tossed in a way that would have unseated any but a most skilful rider. and her grip upon the bridle to relax. had had little chance of learning the news of the outside world during the last twelve years. naively. but for a kindly voice at her elbow which assured her of assistance. and darted away down the broad road in a rolling cloud of dust.” said her companion. The young fellow seemed pleased at the suggestion. and many times again. and excited it to madness. It was all that the girl could do to keep herself in the saddle. You must come and see us. You ain’t even a friend of ours.” she said.A Study In Scarlet was to deal with cattle. She wheeled her mustang round. Now I must push along. respectfully. my father and he were pretty thick. If those cows had jumped on me he’d have never got over it. fierce face. who spoke eloquently of his virtues. she was not alarmed at her situation. untamed heart to its very depths. cooped up in the valley. “he’s awful fond of me. gave it a cut with her riding-whip. until his face was a familiar one at the farm-house. and are not over and above in visiting condition. “I saw you ride down from his house. and were returning to Salt Lake City in the hope of raising capital enough to work some lodes which they had discovered. I don’t see that it would make much matter to you.” she said. gloomy and taciturn. came in violent contact with the flank of the mustang. The love which had sprung up in his heart was not the sudden. and forcing a way through the drove. and a trapper. Wherever stirring adventures were to be had. In an instant it reared up upon its hind legs with a snort of rage. and laughed saucily. The situation was full of peril. she might have abandoned her efforts in despair. demurely. He must take us as he finds us. “I’m awful frightened. I hope.” he answered. and in a style which interested Lucy as well as her father. yet a slip would mean a terrible death under the hoofs of the unwieldy and terrified animals. savage-looking young fellow. and bending over her little hand. He was a tall. On such occasions. At the same moment a sinewy brown hand caught the frightened horse by the curb.” “Hadn’t you better come and ask yourself?” she asked. either by accident or design. and his dark eyes sparkled with pleasure.” she answered. mounted on a powerful roan horse. John. raising his broad sombrero.” said her preserver. halcyon days. or father won’t trust me with his business any more. miss. and so have I. a silver explorer. ask him if he remembers the Jefferson Hopes of St. “You’re not hurt. soon brought her to the outskirts.” he said. and goaded it to fresh madness. He swore in his heart that he would not fail in this if human effort and human perseverance could render him successful.” the other said earnestly. and could narrate many a strange tale of fortunes made and fortunes lost in those wild. “we’ve been in the mountains for two months. Every plunge of the excited horse brought it against the horns again. If he’s the same Ferrier. and a ranchman. Good-bye!” “Good-bye.” The young hunter’s dark face grew so gloomy over this remark that Lucy Ferrier laughed aloud. “I’ll do so.

for to express an unorthodox opinion was a dangerous matter in those days in the Land of the Saints.” He tore himself from her as he spoke. John Ferrier’s heart was sore within him when he thought of the young man’s return. provided we get these mines working all right. Yes. There’s no one who can stand between us. and none knew whither he had gone or what had befallen him. “Thank God!” he said.A Study In Scarlet Lucy was silent.” “Oh. They are waiting for me at the canon. my own darling—good˜ bye. Good-bye. nor the Secret Societies of Italy. “A couple of months at the outside. blushing and laughing. but no father ever returned to tell them how he had fared at the hands of his secret judges. made this organization doubly terrible. and of the impending loss of his adopted child. Its invisibility. Such a marriage he regarded as no marriage at all.” he said. . gazing after him until he vanished from her sight. upon that one point he was inflexible. and came down to meet him. that nothing would ever induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon. He had always determined. taking her two hands in his. Not the Inquisition of Seville. were ever able to put a more formidable machinery in motion than that which cast a cloud over the State of Utah. but will you be ready to come when I am here again?” “And when will that be?” she asked. It appeared to be omniscient and omnipotent. but they were assuredly not thrown away upon the man who had won her affections. deep down in his resolute heart. Then she walked back into the house. hoarsely. flinging himself upon his horse. but her blushing cheek and her bright. He threw the bridle over the fence and strode up the pathway. “I won’t ask you to come with me now. No wonder that men went about in fear and trembling. His wife and his children awaited him at home. It was a summer evening when he came galloping down the road and pulled up at the gate. Yet her bright and happy face reconciled him to the arrangement more than any argument could have done. galloped furiously away. there’s no more to be said. The longer I stay. a dangerous matter—so dangerous that even the most saintly dared only whisper their religious opinions with bated breath. the happiest girl in all Utah. then. and yet was neither seen nor heard. and.” she whispered. with her cheek against his broad breast. and bring down a swift retribution upon them. and yet none knew what the nature might be of this terrible power which was suspended over them. I have no fear on that head. and persecutors of the most terrible description. Whatever he might think of the Mormon doctrines. “He has given his consent. In two months you shall see me. stooping and kissing her. He had to seal his mouth on the subject. “It is settled. nor the German Vehmgericht. of course. Lucy. happy eyes. my darling. Her honest father may not have observed these symptoms. the harder it will be to go. and that even in the heart of the wilderness they dared not whisper the doubts which oppressed them. “I am off. I will come and claim you then. as though afraid that his resolution might fail him if he took one glance at what he was leaving. and gazing tenderly down into her face. if you and father have arranged it all. and the mystery which was attached to it. A rash word or a hasty act was followed by annihilation.” “And how about father?” she asked. showed only too clearly that her young heart was no longer her own. lest something which fell from their lips might be misconstrued. never even looking round. She stood at the gate. however. She was at the doorway. The victims of persecution had now turned per44 secutors on their own account. CHAPTER III. well. but as a shame and a disgrace. The man who held out against the Church vanished away. John Ferrier Talks With The Prophet Three weeks had passed since Jefferson Hope and his comrades had departed from Salt Lake City.

” Ferrier answered. and noiseless. “Have I not given to the common fund? Have I not attended at the Temple? Have I not—?” “Where are your wives?” asked Young. but he played nervously with his riding-whip. sandy-haired.” said the leader of the Mormons. looking through the window. however. she commits a grievous sin. that I may greet them. and followed him with a stern face into the sitting-room. throwing out his hands in expostulation. “the true believers have been good friends to you. “There are stories of her which I would fain disbelieve—stories that she is sealed to some Gentile. These tales and rumours took substance and shape. The very friend to whom you communicated your misgivings as to the Prophet and his mission. for if she wed a Gentile. and either of them would gladly welcome your daughter to their house. and Drebber has a son. Let her choose between them. Full of trepidation—for he knew that such a visit boded him little good—Ferrier ran to the door to greet the Mormon chief. We picked you up when you were starving in the desert.” C. Belated wanderers upon the mountains spoke of gangs of armed men.” John Ferrier groaned internally. who profess the holy creed.A Study In Scarlet At first this vague and terrible power was exercised only upon the recalcitrants who. that you should embrace the true faith. Kemball. “Upon this one point your whole faith shall be tested—so it has been decided in the Sacred Council of Four. should suffer your daughter to violate it. you have neglected. and were corroborated and recorroborated. I was not a lonely man: I had my daughter to attend to my wants. having embraced the Mormon faith. John Ferrier was about to set out to his wheatfields. “She has grown to be the flower of Utah. 1 but our children must also be provided.” “And how have I neglected it?” asked Ferrier. Stangerson has a son. saw a stout. in the lonely ranches of the West. and none spoke of the things which were nearest his heart. “My daughter is very young—she is scarce of an age to marry. middle-aged man coming up the pathway. “Call them in. “In return for all this we asked but one condition: that was. Fuller knowledge of the organization which produced such terrible results served to increase rather than to lessen the horror which it inspired in the minds of men. Fresh women appeared in the harems of the Elders—women who pined and wept. “Brother Ferrier. This must be the gossip of idle tongues. The names of the participators in the deeds of blood and violence done under the name of religion were kept profoundly secret. and of the true faith. What say you to that?” Ferrier remained silent for some little time with his brows knitted. and allowed you to wax rich under our protection. in one of his sermons. Is not this so?” “It is so. gave you a goodly share of land. “But women were few. We Elders have many heifers. is a sinister and an ill-omened one. if common report says truly.” “It is of that daughter that I would speak to you. What is the thirteenth rule in the code of the sainted Joseph Smith? ‘Let every maiden of the true faith marry one of the elect. the name of the Danite Band. stealthy. and eyeing the farmer keenly from under his lightcoloured eyelashes. looking round him. The girl is young. and this. “You will give us time. masked. when he heard the click of the latch. and we would not have her wed grey hairs. alludes to his hundred wives under this endearing epithet. They are young and rich.” he said. it is impossible that you. we shared our food 1 Heber with you.” answered John Ferrier. for this was none other than the great Brigham Young himself. His heart leapt to his mouth. This you promised to do. Soon. Strange rumours began to be bandied about—rumours of murdered immigrants and rifled camps in regions where Indians had never been seen. until they resolved themselves into a definite name.” he said at last.” John Ferrier made no answer. and. and there were many who had better claims than I.’ This being so. who flitted by them in the darkness. and bore upon their faces the traces of an unextinguishable horror. and has found favour in the eyes of many who are high in the land. taking a seat. or the Avenging Angels. it took a wider range. led you safe to the Chosen Valley. and polygamy without a female population on which to draw was a barren doctrine indeed. None knew who belonged to this ruthless society. received his salutations coldly. neither would we deprive her of all choice. The supply of adult women was running short. might be one of those who would come forth at night with fire and sword to exact a terrible reparation. 45 . wished afterwards to pervert or to abandon it. One fine morning. however.” “It is true that I have not married. To this day. Hence every man feared his neighbour. and conform in every way to its usages. The latter.

and that he carefully cleaned and loaded the rusty old shotgun which hung upon the wall of his bedroom. Lucy. But it is for you that I am frightened. He was still sitting with his elbows upon his knees. and passing his broad.” “But they won’t let us leave. One glance at her pale. “Wait till Jefferson comes. and don’t get your eyes swelled up. with flushed face and flashing eyes.” John Ferrier uttered these consoling remarks in a very confident tone. and it’s all new to me.” “But the farm?” “We will raise as much as we can in money. “At the end of that time she shall give her answer.” she said. If I know anything o’ that young man. do you?” A sob and a squeeze of his hand was her only answer. Oh. CHAPTER IV. father. and I’ll manage to send him a message letting him know the hole we are in. In it he told the young man of the imminent dan- 46 . “that you and she were now lying blanched skeletons upon the Sierra Blanco. than that you should put your weak wills against the orders of the Holy Four!” With a threatening gesture of his hand. father. as these folk do to their darned prophet. frightened face showed him that she had heard what had passed. “His voice rang through the house. A Flight For Life On the morning which followed his interview with the Mormon Prophet.” “Leave Utah!” “That’s about the size of it.” “But we haven’t opposed him yet. in spite o’ all their praying and preaching.A Study In Scarlet “She shall have a month to choose. my dearie. “We’ll fix it up somehow or another. In the meantime. he might chance to run up against a charge of buckshot travelling in the opposite direction. drawing her to him. and we’ll soon manage that. rising from his seat. he’ll be back here with a speed that would whip electrotelegraphs. don’t you fret yourself. “I could not help it. he will advise us for the best. John Ferrier went in to Salt Lake City. “When he comes. and there’s no danger at all. I’m a free-born American. To tell the truth. but she could not help observing that he paid unusual care to the fastening of the doors that night. There’s a party starting for Nevada to-morrow.” his daughter objected.” He was passing through the door. dear. he entrusted him with his message to Jefferson Hope.” said Young. You don’t find your fancy kind o’ lessening for this chap. in answer to his look. and he’s a Christian.” he answered.” Lucy laughed through her tears at her father’s description. else he’ll be walking into me when he sees you. rough hand caressingly over her chestnut hair. John Ferrier. I guess we had best shin out of Utah. when he turned.” her father answered. it isn’t the first time I have thought of doing it. and let the rest go. If he comes browsing about this farm. what shall we do?” “Don’t you scare yourself. I shouldn’t care to hear you say you did. We have a clear month before us. who was bound for the Nevada Mountains. “It will be time to look out for squalls when we do. and looking up. I don’t care about knuckling under to any man. which is more than these folk here. “No. at the end of that. he saw her standing beside him. and having found his acquaintance. One hears—one hears such dreadful stories about those who oppose the Prophet: something terrible always happens to them. of course not.” he thundered. Guess I’m too old to learn. and Ferrier heard his heavy step scrunching along the shingly path. He’s a likely lad. he turned from the door. considering how he should broach the matter to his daughter when a soft hand was laid upon his. “It were better for you. There’s nothing to be afeared about.

” he said.” she answered. In the whole history of the settlement there had never been such a case of rank disobedience to the authority of the Elders.” The two young Mormons stared at him in amazement. he was surprised to see a horse hitched to each of the posts of the gate. and there is the window.” cried young Drebber. “When the Lord removes my father. “We will leave it all to her decision. “He will arise and smite you!” “Then I’ll start the smiting. that his visitors sprang to their feet and beat a hurried retreat. the clatter of horses’ hoofs told him that they were beyond his reach. and how necessary it was that he should return. “there is the door. and am higher in the Church. Still more surprised was he on entering to find two young men in possession of his sitting-room. shadowy terrors which hung over him. He concealed his fears from his daughter. “The young canting rascals!” he exclaimed. with spirit. indeed. hardly able to keep his riding-whip from the backs of his two visitors. but this suspense was unnerving. warmly. One. was standing in front of the window with his hands in his pocket. and affected to make light of the whole matter. Any known danger he could face with a firm lip.” “The hand of the Lord shall be heavy upon you. In their eyes this competition between 47 them for the maiden’s hand was the highest of honours both to her and her father. and would have rushed upstairs for his gun had not Lucy seized him by the arm and restrained him.” cried the other. high time that someone capable of giving advice and help should come to the aid of the sturdy old farmer and his adopted daughter. my girl.” continued Stangerson.” said the other in a nasal voice. was leaning back in the rocking-chair. white with rage. Which do you care to use?” His brown face looked so savage.” he said. and his gaunt hands so threatening. It will not be long before he comes. it appears to me that my claim is the stronger one.” “Nay.” “And so should I. You shall rue it to the end of your days. a bull-necked youth with coarse bloated features. “He grindeth slowly but exceeding small. whistling a popular hymn. Then I am your elder. with the keen eye of love. sardonically.” “But my prospects are better. “at the advice of our fathers to solicit the hand of your daughter for whichever of us may seem good to you and to her.” said the other. nay. wiping the perspiration from his forehead. Others as well known and as rich as himself had been spirited away before now. Brother Stangerson. you can come. Ferrier knew that his wealth and position would be of no avail to him. for we do not know what their next move may be. father.A Study In Scarlet ger which threatened them. “Let me know when you have settled which it is to be. Before he could escape from her. John Ferrier had stood fuming in the doorway.” cried Ferrier. The old farmer followed them to the door. who travelled with you in the desert when the Lord stretched out His hand and gathered you into the true fold. “when my daughter summons you. The sooner the better. and returned home with a lighter heart. Both of them nodded to Ferrier as he entered. I shall have his tanning yard and his leather factory. “This here is the son of Elder Drebber. He was a brave man.” It was. though she. “I would sooner see you in your grave. He had guessed who his visitors were. and their goods given over to the Church. The other. but until then I don’t want to see your faces again. with a long pale face. but he trembled at the vague.” he said at last. “You shall smart for this!” Stangerson cried. “Look here. and the one in the rocking-chair commenced the conversation. “the question is not how many wives we have. “We have come. and I am the richer man.” exclaimed Ferrier furiously. “Maybe you don’t know us. with his feet cocked up upon the stove. what would be the fate of this arch rebel. Having done thus he felt easier in his mind. “You have defied the Prophet and the Council of Four.” “As He will all the nations in His own good time. striding up to them. however. smirking at his own reflection in the glass.” “It will be for the maiden to decide. saw plainly that he was ill at ease.” “Yes. but how many we can keep. than the wife of either of them. As he approached his farm. “but Jefferson will soon be here. If minor errors were punished so sternly. As I have but four wives and Brother Drebber here has seven.” During this dialogue. . “There are two ways out of the room. and I’m Joseph Stangerson. My father has now given over his mills to me.” rejoined young Drebber.” John Ferrier bowed coldly.

with a burned stick apparently. And his daughter—what was to become of her after he was gone? Was there no escape from the invisible network which was drawn all round them. and then—” The dash was more fear-inspiring than any threat could have been. . The twentynine days were evidently the balance of the month which Young had promised. though it came in an unlooked-for manner. and as sure as morning came he found that his unseen enemies had kept their register. Outside all was calm and quiet. and he did not enlighten her. and searching vainly for some way out of them. With a sigh of relief. but neither there nor on the road was any human being to be seen. Someone was evidently tapping very gently upon one of the panels of the door. How this warning came into his room puzzled John Ferrier sorely. It came from the door of the house. What was to happen then? All manner of vague and terrible fancies filled his imagination. with arms and legs all asprawl. One by one the numbers dwindled down. Thus day followed day. occasionally they were on small placards stuck upon the garden gate or the railings.A Study In Scarlet He expected that he would receive some message or remonstrance from Young as to his conduct. He had but one hope in life now. and the next day would be the last of the allotted time. Twenty had changed to fifteen and fifteen to ten. The night was fine. he knew that he was powerless. and abandoned all hope of escape. when he saw five give way to four and that again to three. What strength or courage could avail against an enemy armed with such mysterious powers? The hand which fastened that pin might have struck him to the heart. He crumpled the paper up and said nothing to his daughter. in bold straggling letters:— “Twenty-nine days are given you for amendment. There was a pause for a few moments. Ferrier crept into the hall and listened intently. Sometimes the fatal numbers appeared upon the walls. He saw and he heard nothing. They had sat down to their breakfast when Lucy with a cry of surprise pointed upwards. and none could pass along them without an order from the Council. the old farmer hurried to the gate thinking that help had arrived at last. but very distinct in the quiet of the night. A horror which was almost superstitious came upon him at the sight of them. Springing forward he drew the bolt and threw the door open. Turn which way he would. and had marked up in some conspicuous position how many days were still left to him out of the month of grace. He sank his head upon the table and sobbed at the thought of his own impotence. Ferrier looked to right and to left. and the doors and windows had all been secured. and then the low insidious sound was repeated. Yet the old man never wavered in his resolution to part with life itself before he consented to what he regarded as his daughter’s dishonour. to his surprise. for his servants slept in an outhouse. The more-frequented roads were strictly watched and guarded. Whenever a horseman clattered down the road. With all his vigilance John Ferrier could not discover whence these daily warnings proceeded. and the stars were twinkling brightly overhead. and yet in the morning a great 27 had been painted upon the outside of his door. What was that? In the silence he heard a gentle scratching sound—low. In the centre of the ceiling was scrawled. Still more shaken was he next morning. The little front garden lay before the farmer’s eyes bounded by the fence and gate. there appeared to be no avoiding the blow which hung over him. Single-handed. At last. until happening to glance straight down at his own feet he saw to his astonishment a man lying flat upon his face upon the ground. John Ferrier felt that instant death would be better than the suspense which shook his nerves and chilled his heart. Upon rising next morning he found. On it was printed. and he was not mistaken. That night he sat up with his gun and kept watch and ward. the number 28. but the incident struck a chill into his heart. That morning had shown the figure 2 upon the wall of his house. but there was no news of the absentee. Was it some midnight assassin who had come to carry out the murderous orders of the secret tribunal? Or was it some agent who was marking up that the last day of grace had arrived. or a driver shouted at his team. and his eyes had the troubled look of some hunted creature. To his daughter it was unintelligible. and still there 48 came no sign of him. a small square of paper pinned on to the coverlet of his bed just over his chest. He became haggard and restless. and he could never have known who had slain him. and with his limited knowledge of the mountains which surrounded the settlement. he lost heart. and that was for the arrival of the young hunter from Nevada. He was sitting alone one evening pondering deeply over his troubles. sometimes upon the floors.

for he knew by experience that the mountain wells were few and far between.” He flung himself upon the cold meat and bread which were still lying upon the table from his host’s supper.” said Jefferson Hope. Once within the house the man sprang to his feet. By daybreak we should be half-way through the mountains. Jefferson Hope had the scanty provisions and water. “Good God!” gasped John Ferrier. Opening the window very slowly and carefully. It’s Lucy that brings me here. but they’re not quite sharp enough to catch a Washoe hunter.” the young hunter answered.” he said. where they lay silent and trembling. but has steeled his heart to meet it. “I have had no time for bite or sup for eight-and-forty hours. but with caution we may get away through the side window and across the fields. “How you scared me! Whatever made you come in like that. and the thought of the honour and happiness of his daughter outweighed any regret at his ruined fortunes.” “You’ve hit it there. “The front and back entrances are watched. We must push for Carson City through the mountains.” asked Ferrier. She does not know the danger.” the other said. closed the door. It was as well that his prairie training had given Jefferson Hope the ears of a lynx. and gained the shelter of the hedge. How much money have you?” “Two thousand dollars in gold. they waited until a dark cloud had somewhat obscured the night. That is why I crawled my way up to it. and before harm comes on her I guess there will be one less o’ the Hope family in Utah. Yet the white face and set expression of the young hunter showed that in his approach to the house he had seen enough to satisfy him upon that head. “We must make our start at once. and five in notes. like one who realizes the greatness of the peril.” he said with a sinister smile.” her father answered.” John Ferrier felt a different man now that he realized that he had a devoted ally. His first thought was that the prostrate figure was that of some wounded or dying man. The greeting between the lovers was warm. “If they are too many for us we shall take two or three of them with us. for minutes were precious.” “What if we are stopped. however. “That is well. The lights inside the house had all been extinguished. hoarsely.” “What are we to do?” “To-morrow is your last day. speaking in a low but resolute voice. Hope slapped the revolver butt which protruded from the front of his tunic. Once on the road we are only two miles from the Ravine where the horses are waiting. It is as well that the servants do not sleep in the house. the rustling trees and the broad silent stretch of grain-land. and which he was now about to abandon for ever. and then one by one passed through into the little garden. The house is watched on every side. They may be darned sharp. “I have a respect for you. Jefferson Hope 49 packed all the eatables that he could find into a small parcel. He had long nerved himself to the sacrifice.” “Give me food. and from the darkened window Ferrier peered over the fields which had been his own. He had hardly completed his arrangements before the farmer returned with his daughter all dressed and ready for a start. All looked so peaceful and happy. while Lucy had a small bundle containing a few of her more valued possessions. “You’re a man to be proud of. but as he watched it he saw it writhe along the ground and into the hall with the rapidity and noiselessness of a serpent. He seized the young man’s leathery hand and wrung it cordially. which they skirted until they came to the gap which opened into the cornfields. and unless you act to-night you are lost. With bated breath and crouching figures they stumbled across it. and there was much to be done.A Study In Scarlet So unnerved was he at the sight that he leaned up against the wall with his hand to his throat to stifle his inclination to call out. “There are not many who would come to share our danger and our troubles. and devoured it voraciously. He and . preparing his daughter for the approaching journey. “Yes.” “That will do. You had best wake Lucy. “Does Lucy bear up well?” he asked.” While Ferrier was absent. I have as much more to add to it. when he had satisfied his hunger. pard. and filled a stoneware jar with water. They had just reached this point when the young man seized his two companions and dragged them down into the shadow. that it was difficult to realize that the spirit of murder lurked through it all. I have a mule and two horses waiting in the Eagle Ravine. but brief. but if you were alone in this business I’d think twice before I put my head into such a hornet’s nest. and revealed to the astonished farmer the fierce face and resolute expression of Jefferson Hope. Ferrier carried the bag of gold and notes.

Jefferson Hope sprang to his feet. there stood a solitary sentinel. remembering the countersign which he had heard in the garden. until he came to the retired corner. and knew that they had passed the outlying post of the chosen people. on which a second man appeared out of the obscurity. On the other hand a wild chaos of boulders and debris made all advance impossible. On the one side a great crag towered up a thousand feet or more.” said the first who appeared to be in authority. They had reached the very wildest and most desolate portion of the pass when the girl gave a startled cry. and menacing. and the two figures flitted away in different directions.” said Jefferson Hope.” said the voice from above. “The Holy Four. “Shall I tell Brother Drebber?” “Pass it on to him. Two dark jagged peaks loomed above them through the darkness. and the horses were able to break into a trot. They soon had a proof. and then they managed to slip into a field. for every step increased the distance between them and the terrible despotism from which they were flying. with his money-bag. The girl was placed upon the mule. His Mormon experiences had taught him that that was the highest authority to which he could refer. Only once did they meet anyone. that they were still within the jurisdiction of the Saints. black. “Travellers for Nevada.” returned the other. screened with rocks. with his hand upon the rifle which hung by his saddle. Everything depends on speed. so narrow in places that they had to travel in Indian file. He saw them as soon as they perceived him. It was a bewildering route for anyone who was not accustomed to face Nature in her wildest moods. stern. “We are through the line of sentinels. the hearts of the fugitives were light within them. On a rock which overlooked the track. and the defile which led between them was the Eagle Canon in which the horses were awaiting them. “Seven from five. and from him to the others. and helping his companions through the gap.” answered Ferrier. and peering down at them as if dissatisfied at their reply.A Study In Scarlet his friends had hardly crouched down before the melancholy hooting of a mountain owl was heard within a few yards of them. and so rough that only practised riders could have traversed it at all. Yet in spite of all dangers and difficulties.” cried the sentinel. Nine to seven!” “Seven to five!” repeated the other. with long basaltic columns upon its rugged surface like the ribs of some petrified monster. and uttered the plaintive signal cry again. “Pass. 50 . however.” returned Jefferson Hope promptly. “Hurry on! hurry on!” he gasped from time to time. and old Ferrier upon one of the horses. while Jefferson Hope led the other along the precipitous and dangerous path. and pointed upwards. and so avoid recognition. The instant that their footsteps had died away in the distance. “To-morrow at midnight. Looking back. and that freedom lay before them. where the faithful animals had been picketed. led the way across the fields at the top of his speed. Before reaching the town the hunter branched away into a rugged and narrow footpath which led to the mountains. Hurry on!” Once on the high road they made rapid progress. which was immediately answered by another hoot at a small distance. They could see the lonely watcher fingering his gun. At the same moment a vague shadowy figure emerged from the gap for which they had been making. “By whose permission?” he asked. “When the Whippoor-Will calls three times. and his military challenge of “Who goes there?” rang through the silent ravine. they could see the solitary watcher leaning upon his gun. Beyond his post the path broadened out. supporting and halfcarrying the girl when her strength appeared to fail her. Their concluding words had evidently been some form of sign and countersign. Between the two ran the irregular track. showing out dark and plain against the sky. and the Lord go with you.” “It is well. “Nine from seven. ˜ With unerring instinct Jefferson Hope picked his way among the great boulders and along the bed of a dried-up watercourse.

but armed with a pair of gigantic horns. and other indications. so the hunter contented himself with cutting away one haunch and part of the flank. and then came crashing down into the valley beneath. tottered for a moment upon the edge of the precipice.A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER V. Before daybreak. They had seen no signs of any pursuers. but Hope’s intimate knowledge of the mountains enabled them to regain the track once more. for they were now nearly five thousand feet above the sea level. Once safe in Carson we may rest for the remainder of our lives. at which his companions might warm themselves. In every direction the great snowcapped peaks hemmed them in. About the middle of the second day of their flight their scanty store of provisions began to run 51 out. until they were all ruddy and glowing. He walked for a couple of miles through one ravine after another without success. The creature was too unwieldy to lift. The magnificent spectacle cheered the hearts of the three fugitives and gave them fresh energy. probably. for there was game to be had among the mountains. while the three animals stood motionless in the back-ground. and took a long and steady aim before drawing the trigger. The animal sprang into the air. In his eagerness he had wandered far past the ravines which were known to him. where the rocks offered some protection from the chill wind. the caps of the great mountains lit up one after the other. they enjoyed a few hours’ sleep. and there huddled together for warmth. and Jefferson Hope began to think that they were fairly out of the reach of the terrible organization whose enmity they had incurred. he threw his gun over his shoulder. but fortunately it was heading in the opposite direction. The bighorn—for so it is called—was acting. and it was no easy matter to pick out the path which he had taken. and by evening they calculated that they were more than thirty miles from their enemies. he piled together a few dried branches and made a blazing fire. At night-time they chose the base of a beetling crag. Then the intervening rocks hid them from his view. and startled the weary horses into a gallop. and to need only a gust of wind to come hurtling down upon them. he rested his rifle upon a rock. or how soon it was to close upon them and crush them. he judged that there were numerous bears in the vicinity. “Everything depends upon our speed. As the sun rose slowly above the eastern horizon. He had hardly started. Having tethered the horses. he hastened to retrace his steps. He little knew how far that iron grasp could reach. This gave the hunter little uneasiness. after two or three hours’ fruitless search. three or four hundred feet above him. there stood a creature somewhat resembling a sheep in appearance. which were so like each other that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. At last. Choosing a sheltered nook. and set out in search of whatever chance might throw in his way.” During the whole of that day they struggled on through the defiles. and he had frequently before had to depend upon his rifle for the needs of life. he was thinking of turning back in despair. when casting his eyes upwards he saw a sight which sent a thrill of pleasure through his heart. With this trophy over his shoulder. like lamps at a festival. a great rock came thundering down with a hoarse rattle which woke the echoes in the silent gorges. Looking back he saw the old man and the young girl crouching over the blazing fire. At a wild torrent which swept out of a ravine they called a halt and watered their horses. as a guardian over a flock which were invisible to the hunter. for the barren valley was thickly strewn with trees and boulders which had fallen in a similar manner. He followed one for a mile or more until he came to . Even as they passed. a scene of marvellous though savage beauty lay before them.” he said. but Jefferson Hope was inexorable. and had not perceived him. before he realized the difficulty which faced him. The Avenging Angels All night their course lay through intricate defiles and over irregular and rock-strewn paths. “They will be upon our track by this time. while they partook of a hasty breakfast. however. however. and bade Lucy adieu. Nor was the fear entirely an illusion. and the air was bitter and keen. So steep were the rocky banks on either side of them. that the larch and the pine seemed to be suspended over their heads. though from the marks upon the bark of the trees. When morning broke. for the evening was already drawing in. Lucy and her father would fain have rested longer. peeping over each other’s shoulders to the far horizon. On the edge of a jutting pinnacle. Lying on his face. The valley in which he found himself divided and sub-divided into many gorges. they were up and on their way once more. More than once they lost their way. however.

There was still a glowing pile of wood ashes there. be devoted to that one end. he stumbled along. for he had been absent nearly five hours. Weighed down with his burden. he set himself to walk back through the mountains upon the track of the avenging angels. and his own powerlessness to prevent it. tired as he was. and yet had left no traces behind it. 1860. and proceeded with its help to examine the little camp. too. The inscription upon the paper was brief. and. he wished that he. Again he shouted. he perceived that a stick had been planted on it. which had assuredly not been there before. The sturdy old man. and the direction of their tracks proved that they had afterwards turned back to Salt Lake City. and snatched a few hours of sleep. With his fears all changed to convictions. At night he flung himself down among the rocks. Formerly of Salt Lake City. He was essentially a man of action. There was no mistaking it for anything but a newly-dug grave. Seizing a half-consumed piece of wood from the smouldering fire. He paused and listened for an answer. Died August 4th. With a grim. all were gone. nameless dread came over him. brought by his own hand upon his enemies. and was borne back to his ears in countless repetitions. he blew it into a flame. The same dead silence still reigned all round. If there was nothing else left to him. even louder than before. he hurried on. he came full in sight of the spot where the fire had been lit. As the young fellow realized the certainty of her fate. he cooked enough to last him for a few days. keeping up his heart by the reflection that every step brought him nearer to Lucy. and he hurried onwards frantically.A Study In Scarlet a mountain torrent which he was sure that he had never seen before. In the gladness of his heart he put his hands to his mouth and made the glen re-echo to a loud halloo as a signal that he was coming. he tried another. and that he carried with him enough to ensure them food for the remainder of their journey. when his eye fell upon an object which made every nerve of his body tingle within him. he reflected. His strong will and untiring energy should. Had they carried back both of his companions with them? Jefferson Hope had almost persuaded himself that they must have done so. but before daybreak he was always well on . Night was coming on rapidly. Jefferson Hope looked wildly round to see if there was a second grave. Jefferson Hope possessed also a power of sustained vindictiveness. A little way on one side of the camp was a low-lying heap of reddish soil. and had to lean upon his rifle to save himself from falling. with a sheet of paper stuck in the cleft fork of it. he felt that the only one thing which could assuage his grief would be thorough and complete retribution. Lucy had been carried back by their terrible pursuers to fulfil her original destiny. As the young hunter approached it. Again. but it had evidently not been tended since his departure. None came save his own cry. showing that a large party of mounted 52 men had overtaken the fugitives. but there was no sign of one. and having stirred up the smouldering fire. white face. A vague. he could at least devote his life to revenge. be awaiting him anxiously. for the moon had not yet risen. but with the same result. and speedily recovered from his temporary impotence. and the high cliffs on either side made the obscurity more profound. man. which he may have learned from the Indians amongst whom he had lived. Even then it was no easy matter to keep to the right track. and it was almost dark before he at last found himself in a defile which was familiar to him. and weary from his exertions. They must. however. however. his active spirit shook off the lethargy which springs from despair. The ground was all stamped down by the feet of horses. by becoming one of the harem of the Elder’s son. Jefferson Hope felt his head spin round. Convinced that he had taken the wrong turn. he retraced his steps to where he had dropped the food. was gone. which clattered up the dreary silent ravines. and this was all his epitaph. It was only too clear that some sudden and terrible disaster had occurred during his absence—a disaster which had embraced them all. maiden. When he turned the corner. and again no whisper came back from the friends whom he had left such a short time ago. With indomitable patience and perseverance. There was no living creature near the remains of the fire: animals. but to the point: JOHN FERRIER. Even in the darkness he could recognize the outline of the cliffs which bounded it. whom he had left so short a time before. was lying with the old farmer in his last silent resting-place. As he stood by the desolate fire. He had now come to the mouth of the very defile in which he had left them. This he made up into a bundle. he determined. For five days he toiled footsore and weary through the defiles which he had already traversed on horseback. then. dropping the precious food in his agitation. Bewildered and stunned by this blow.

but pined away and died within a month. Tales were told in the City of the weird figure which was seen prowling about the suburbs. So strange and so brief was the episode. They were grouped round the bier in the early hours of the morning.” he cried with a fierce snarl. unkempt wanderer. “Where are you going?” “Never mind. man. it was difficult to recognize in this tattered. as is the Mormon custom. hold up. “Married. to their inexpressible fear and astonishment. which seemed to give him the 53 best claim. Are you off. with ghastly white face and fierce. and other signs of festivity. slinging his weapon over his shoulder. Hold up. you have no life left in you. and before an alarm could be raised sprang down the stairs and was gone. Worn and exhausted. and which haunted the lonely mountain gorges. “You remember me. and sat up with her the night before the burial. On the sixth day. Drebber’s party was the stronger. the spruce young hunter of former days. earnestly. you say?” “Married yesterday—that’s what those flags are for on the Endowment House. As he looked at it. weather-beaten man in tattered garments strode into the room. that the watchers might have found it hard to believe it themselves or persuade other people of it. “She shall not be buried in that. For some months Jefferson Hope lingered among the mountains. Thence he could look down upon the home of the saints. Without a glance or a word to the cowering women.” “What has become of Lucy Ferrier?” “She was married yesterday to young Drebber. leading a strange wild life. poor Lucy never held up her head again. and. at last. She is more like a ghost than a woman. Having.” Hope said. wild eyes. he recognized him as a Mormon named Cowper. Whether it was the terrible death of her father or the effects of the hateful marriage into which she had been forced.” said Hope faintly. strode off down the gorge and so away into the heart of the mountains to the haunts of the wild beasts. and a savagelooking. He was white to the very lips. had it not been for the undeniable fact that the circlet of gold which marked her as having been a bride had disappeared.” The Mormon looked at him with undisguised astonishment—indeed. Stooping over her. We have always been friends. from which they had commenced their ill˜ fated flight. so the Prophet gave her over to him.” he answered. when. “Be quick. I am off. who had married her principally for the sake of John Ferrier’s property. while its eyes glowed with a baleful light. but his other wives mourned over her. snatching up her hand. There is a warrant against you from the Holy Four for assisting the Ferriers away. and Stangerson had shot her father. They’d both been in the party that followed them. who had risen from his seat. the man’s surprise changed to consternation. “You must know something of this matter. or their warrant. His face might have been chiselled out of marble. I conjure you by everything you hold dear to answer a few questions.” “What is it?” the Mormon asked uneasily. No one won’t have her very long though. then?” “Yes. and had sunk down on the stone against which he had been leaning.A Study In Scarlet his way.” he said. There was some words between young Drebber and young Stangerson as to which was to have her. “You are mad to come here. for I saw death in her face yesterday. As he approached. he took the wedding-ring from her finger. the door was flung open. Her sottish husband. he reached the Eagle Canon. however. “It is as much as my own life is worth to be seen talking with you. but when they argued it out in council.” said Jefferson Hope. “I am Jefferson Hope. For God’s sake. did not affect any great grief at his bereavement.” “Don’t mind me. Cowper. satisfied himself as to his identity.” he cried. to whom he had rendered services at different times. with the object of finding out what Lucy Ferrier’s fate had been. The prediction of the Mormon was only too well fulfilled. He was still speculating as to what this might mean when he heard the clatter of horse’s hoofs.” “I don’t fear them. so hard and set was its expression. and saw a mounted man riding towards him. he leaned upon his rifle and shook his gaunt hand fiercely at the silent widespread city beneath him. The very rocks have ears and the trees eyes. he pressed his lips reverently to her cold forehead. he walked up to the white silent figure which had once contained the pure soul of Lucy Ferrier. and then. and nursing in his heart the fierce desire for vengeance which possessed him. don’t refuse to answer me. he observed that there were flags in some of the principal streets. Amongst them all there was none so fierce and so dangerous as himself. He therefore accosted him when he got up to him. Once a bullet whistled through Stangerson’s window and flattened .

There he found evil tidings awaiting him. and he only escaped a terrible death by throwing himself upon his face. as long as he obtained what he knew to be justice. That evening Jefferson Hope was taken into custody. but never overtaking the fugitives. as duly recorded in Dr. and the predominant idea of revenge had taken such complete possession of it that there was no room for any other emotion. At the Danish capital he was again a few days late. Petersburg they had departed for Paris. working his way in any menial capacity. Funds were wanting. a human bloodhound. and under an assumed name. what was to become of his revenge then? And yet such a death was sure to overtake him if he persisted. his memory of his wrongs and his craving for revenge were quite as keen as on that memorable night when he had stood by John Ferrier’s grave. so he reluctantly returned to the old Nevada mines. he departed for Europe. for they had journeyed on to London. and the result had been the secession of a certain number of the malcontents. Exposure and want of wholesome food were wearing him out. we cannot do better than quote the old hunter’s own account. Far from doing so. was comparatively poor. he returned to Salt Lake City. Rumour reported that Drebber had managed to convert a large part of his property into money. Disguised. When he reached St. as Drebber passed under a cliff a great boulder crashed down on him. he travelled from town to town through the United States in quest of his enemies. but always without success. At last. for nothing was either heard or seen of their opponent. As to what occurred there. saving every dollar for his approaching journey. careless what became of his own life. but still he wandered on. had recognized the vagrant in the street. The hunter’s mind was of a hard. who had left Utah and become Gentiles. but Jefferson Hope never faltered for a moment. If he died like a dog among the mountains. it had. would have abandoned all thought of revenge in the face of such a difficulty. above all things practical. but a combination of unforeseen circumstances prevented his leaving the mines for nearly five. He returned to his miserable lodgings with his plan of vengeance all arranged. however vindictive. and not being able to find sureties. 54 . who had become his private secretary. however. It chanced. having collected enough to keep life in him. and led repeated expeditions into the mountains in the hope of capturing or killing their enemy. and for some time he had to return to work. unyielding nature. there to recruit his health and to amass money enough to allow him to pursue his object without privation. if anything. his black hair turned grizzled. Many a man. He soon realized that even his iron constitution could not stand the incessant strain which he was putting upon it. that Drebber.A Study In Scarlet itself upon the wall within a foot of him. was detained for some weeks. but that one glance told him that Cleveland in Ohio possessed the men whom he was in pursuit of. With the small competence he possessed. as to their whereabouts. however. and they hoped that time had cooled his vindictiveness. accompanied by Stangerson. however. and when he followed them there he learned that they had just set off for Copenhagen. Stangerson. He was. and that he and his secretary had departed for Europe. and that he had departed a wealthy man. some of the younger members of the Church having rebelled against the authority of the Elders. and tracked his enemies from city to city. There was no clue at all. After a time they were able to relax these measures. Then they adopted the precaution of never going out alone or after nightfall. however. and again his concentrated hatred urged him to continue the pursuit. however. At last his perseverance was rewarded. eked out by such employment as he could pick up. while his companion. and had read murder in his eyes. to which we are already under such obligations. where he at last succeeded in running them to earth. When at last he was liberated. Again the avenger had been foiled. Among these had been Drebber and Stangerson. Watson’s Journal. looking from his window. with his mind wholly set upon the one object upon which he had devoted his life. At the end of that time. augmented it. It was but a glance of a face in a window. He hurried before a justice of the peace. and no one knew whither they had gone. and represented to him that they were in danger of their lives from the jealousy and hatred of an old rival. Year passed into year. His intention had been to be absent a year at the most. On another occasion. The two young Mormons were not long in discovering the reason of these attempts upon their lives. He felt that that was to play his enemy’s game. There had been a schism among the Chosen People a few months before. it was only to find that Drebber’s house was deserted. and of having their houses guarded.

which I again warn you will be taken down. Jefferson Hope.” our prisoner said slowly.” I answered. “Most certainly there is. whipped up the horse. and I am not likely to lie to you. you have taken an interest in the case and may as well stick to us. motioning with his manacled wrists towards his chest. that there is immediate danger?” the former asked. and we followed him.” “You had better come with me.A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER VI. “I guess you’re going to take me to the police-station. placidly. “Then put your hand here. It isn’t suicide I am thinking of.” he said. and we all descended together. I’m not so light to lift as I used to be. as I eyed him. Every word I say is the absolute truth. have you anything that you wish to say? I must warn you that your words will be taken down. who went through his duties in a dull mechanical way. and I don’t care how soon I go. I did so.” . I remember that I thought to myself. It has been getting worse for years. M. You too. “Do you consider. “in the mean time. I’ve done my work now. He rose and stretched his legs. “This aneurism of mine makes me easily tired. A Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson. he smiled in an affable manner. “My cab’s at the door. Doctor.” I assented gladly.” said the Inspector. “I went to a Doctor last week about it. and how you use it is a matter of no consequence to me. suiting the action to the word. sir. “The prisoner will be put before the magistrates in the course of the week. gazing with undisguised admiration at my fellowlodger. “In that case it is clearly our duty. but I should like to leave some account of the business behind me. “Why. and his dark sunburned face bore an expression of determination and energy which was as formidable as his personal strength.” he said. “I want to tell you gentlemen all about it. I got it from over-exposure and under-feeding among the Salt Lake Mountains. and became at once conscious of an extraordinary throbbing and commotion which was going on inside.” he said.” I cried. “you have an aortic aneurism!” “That’s what they call it. “I may never be tried. Our prisoner made no attempt at escape.” The Inspector and the two detectives had a hurried discussion as to the advisability of allowing him to tell his story. In the silence of the room I could hear a dull humming and buzzing noise which proceeded from the same source.” the prisoner said. I don’t want to be remembered as a common cut-throat.” he remarked to Sherlock Holmes. but stepped calmly into the cab which had been his. that I had seldom seen a more powerfully built man.” he answered. and may be used against you. and expressed his hopes that he had not hurt any of us in the scuffle.” said Holmes to the two detectives. “Yes. I’m on the brink of the grave.” he said. Doctor. The walls of his chest seemed to thrill and quiver as a frail building would do inside when some powerful engine was at work. “I can drive you. with your leave.” I answered. to take his statement. and brought us in a very short time to our destination. but Holmes at once took the prisoner at his word. I am. The official was a white-faced unemotional man. in the interests of justice.D. with a smile.” “I’ll sit down. and he told me that it is bound to burst before many days passed.” 55 “I’ve got a good deal to say. “The way you kept on my trail was a caution. We were ushered into a small chamber where a police Inspector noted down our prisoner’s name and the names of the men with whose murder he had been charged. I reckon you are the man for it. “If there’s a vacant place for a chief of the police. “You are at liberty. and loosened the towel which we had bound round his ankles. If you’ll loose my legs I’ll walk down to it. Are you a Doctor?” He turned his fierce dark eyes upon me as he asked this last question. “Good! and Gregson can come inside with me. and the tussle we had half an hour ago has not mended matters. as though to assure himself that they were free once more. Mr.” Gregson and Lestrade exchanged glances as if they thought this proposition rather a bold one. “You needn’t look startled.” said Lestrade. to give your account. Lestrade mounted the box.” “Hadn’t you better reserve that for your trial?” asked the Inspector. for on finding himself powerless. Our prisoner’s furious resistance did not apparently indicate any ferocity in his disposition towards ourselves.

as long as I could lay my hand upon the men I wanted. as though the events which he narrated were commonplace enough. You’d have done the same. and executioner all rolled into one. “That girl that I spoke of was to have married me twenty years ago. When once I found them out I knew that I had them at my mercy. I die knowing that my work in this world is done. and soon got employment. Stangerson seemed to be put out at that. I would dog them and follow them until I saw my opportunity. and never once saw them separate. Driving and riding are as natural to me as walking. The hardest job was to learn my way about. and after a time Drebber and Stangerson followed it. Go where they would about London. and I found that I must turn my hand to something for my living. over on 56 the other side of the river. I watched them late and early. and that his last thoughts should be of the crime for which he was punished. however. I was to bring a certain sum a week to the owner. but I inquired and inquired until at last I dropped across them. for they would never go out alone. I have carried it about with me. They thought to tire me out. Presently some luggage was brought out. and well done. and broke her heart over it. for I reckon that of all the mazes that ever were contrived. but Stangerson was not to be caught napping. They have perished. and there was no chance of their recognizing me. and I left a boy to hold my horse. for I feared that they were going to shift their quarters. as the street was called in which they boarded. for something told me that the hour had almost come. this city is the most confusing. Drebber said that he had a little business of his own to do. Sometimes I followed them on my cab. so I applied at a cabowner’s office. jury. if you had been in my place. and I determined that I should be judge. or to desire. but they could not do it. in which the prisoner’s words were taken down exactly as they were uttered. I was determined that they should not escape me again. “They were very cunning. and by my hand. “It was some time before I found out where my two gentlemen were living. I could not catch what Stangerson said to that. When I got to London my pocket was about empty. for then they could not get away from me. At Euston Station they got out. He spoke in a calm and methodical manner. I whipped up my horse and kept within sight of them. and when once I had spotted the principal hotels and stations. “They were rich and I was poor. “At last. one evening I was driving up and down Torquay Terrace. I can vouch for the accuracy of the subjoined account. I had grown my beard. Drebber answered that the matter was a delicate one. I had a map beside me though. and followed them on to the platform. it was impossible for me to secure a conviction against them in any court. and that he must go alone. They were at a boarding-house at Camberwell. I knew of their guilt though. when I saw a cab drive up to their door. but the other burst out swearing. They must have thought that there was some chance of their being followed. and reminded him that he was .” he said. and drove off. There is nothing left for me to hope for. There was seldom much over. His companion remonstrated with him. and the guard answer that one had just gone and there would not be another for some hours. feeling very ill at ease. Drebber himself was drunk half the time. but Drebber was rather pleased than otherwise.A Study In Scarlet With these words. so that it was no easy matter for me to follow them. I got so close to them in the bustle that I could hear every word that passed between them. “it’s enough that they were guilty of the death of two human beings—a father and a daughter—and that they had. and reminded him that they had resolved to stick together. She was forced into marrying that same Drebber. I took the marriage ring from her dead finger. If I die to-morrow. I heard them ask for the Liverpool train. I got on pretty well. I did not mind that. My only fear was that this thing in my chest might burst a little too soon and leave my work undone. and that if the other would wait for him he would soon rejoin him. “They were very near doing it for all that. Jefferson Hope leaned back in his chair and began the following remarkable statement. therefore. but I was not discouraged. and sometimes on foot. but never saw the ghost of a chance. though. and I vowed that his dying eyes should rest upon that very ring. forfeited their own lives. and never after nightfall. It was only early in the morning or late at night that I could earn anything. if you have any manhood in you. as is likely enough. for I have had access to Lestrade’s note-book. I was always at their heels. “It don’t much matter to you why I hated these men. After the lapse of time that has passed since their crime. but I managed to scrape along somehow. During two weeks I drove behind them every day. so that I began to get behind hand with my employer. but the former was the best. and have followed him and his accomplice over two continents until I caught them. and whatever was over that I might keep for myself.

leaving word that I should wait for him. so I worked this alkaloid into small. From that day I had always my pill boxes about with me. when suddenly there came a noise like people struggling inside the house. my heart jumped so with joy that I feared lest at this last moment my aneurism might go wrong. There he remained until closing time. When he came out he staggered in his walk. he hailed me and jumped in. and he ordered me to pull up outside a gin palace. I determined at the time that when I had my chance. My mouth gets dry with the talking. we found ourselves back in the Terrace in which he had boarded. and he showed his students some alkaloid. and when they were all gone. Dismal as it was outside. and made his way out of the station. but I could not bring myself to do it. It was claimed that same evening. There was a hansom just in front of me. and returned. He went in. How to get Drebber to that house was the difficult problem which I had now to solve. My plans were already formed. until.” I handed him the glass. I had almost decided upon this. and a good deal less noisy than firing across a handkerchief. The craze for drink had seized him again. and simply bargained with him that if he missed the last train he should rejoin him at Halliday’s Private Hotel. weighing in my own mind what it was best to do. if you please. and was evidently pretty well on.’ said he. or more. shaking his stick at him. and the other was a young chap whom I had never seen before.A Study In Scarlet nothing more than his paid servant. ‘You hound. bleak night. I spotted the bottle in which this preparation was kept. and his hansom drove away. I followed it so close that the nose of my horse was within a yard of his driver the whole way. On that the Secretary gave it up as a bad job. “He walked down the road and went into one or two liquor shops. which he had extracted from some South American arrow poison. with undue precipitation. There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him. and then. I did not act. One day the professor was lecturing on poisons. and had a duplicate constructed. but singly they were at my mercy. It chanced that some days before a gentleman who had been engaged in looking over some houses in the Brixton Road had dropped the key of one of them in my carriage. This fellow had Drebber by the collar. and when he came out he was so far gone that I knew the game was in my own hands. Next moment the door was flung open and two men appeared. soluble pills. ‘Drive me to Halliday’s Private Hotel. I helped myself to a little of it. and a wild. when he solved the problem for me. and the time had now come when I was to use them. If any of you gentlemen have ever pined for . only that the cur staggered away down the road as fast as his legs would carry him.” he said. He ran as far as the corner. “That’s better. By means of this I had access to at least one spot in this great city where I could rely upon being free from interruption. ‘I’ll teach you to insult an honest girl!’ He was so hot that I think he would have thrashed Drebber with his cudgel. I was a fairly good dispenser. to which Drebber answered that he would be back on the platform before eleven. We rattled across Waterloo Bridge and through miles of streets. I was once janitor and sweeper out of the laboratory at York College. and he drank it down. I had long determined that he should have a show for his life if he chose to take advantage of it. I could not imagine what his intention was in returning there. 57 and when they came to the head of the steps he gave him a shove and a kick which sent him half across the road. I waited for a quarter of an hour. “The moment for which I had waited so long had at last come. and which was so powerful that the least grain meant instant death. one of whom was Drebber. He entered it. my gentlemen should each have a draw out of one of these boxes. I might take him right out into the country. “Well. and each pill I put in a box with a similar pill made without the poison. as he called it. I had my plans arranged by which I should have the opportunity of making the man who had wronged me understand that his old sin had found him out. It would only have been rigid justice if I had done so. “It was nearer one than twelve. “Don’t imagine that I intended to kill him in cold blood. and there in some deserted lane have my last interview with him. seeing my cab. I had my enemies within my power. Give me a glass of water. but in the interval I had taken a moulding of it. It would be quite as deadly. while I ate the pill that remained. however. I drove along slowly. Among the many billets which I have filled in America during my wandering life.’ he cried. I was glad within—so glad that I could have shouted out from pure exultation. “When I had him fairly inside my cab. blowing hard and raining in torrents. and that he must not presume to dictate to him. and he hailed it. to my astonishment. and why retribution has come upon him. Together they could protect each other. but I went on and pulled up my cab a hundred yards or so from the house. staying for nearly half-anhour in the last of them.

and that the night was still very wild. I was thunderstruck at this. The pulses in my temples beat like sledge-hammers.’ I said. staggered. So I was for the time. but he knew well that it was useless. one on each side of the horse until I pulled up at the house in the Brixton Road. “There was not a soul to be seen. but I drew my knife and held it to his throat until he had obeyed me. “ ‘You dog!’ I said. All the way they were ahead of me. and then suddenly found it within your reach. ‘It’s time to get out. and I saw the perspiration break out upon his brow. stamping about. “I suppose he thought we had come to the hotel that he had mentioned.’ he cried. and convulse his whole features. and then. and bore her away to your accursed and shameless harem. He would have begged for his life. except the dripping of the rain. I shall take what you leave.’ “ ‘It was not I who killed her father. Then I walked down to my cab and found that there was nobody about. ‘Now. ‘Who talks of murdering a mad dog? What mercy had you upon my poor darling. When we came to the door. Let us see if there is justice upon the earth. fell heavily upon the floor. and followed me down the garden. but my hands were trembling. I shook him by the arm. you would understand my feelings. Choose and eat. waiting to see which was to live and which was to die. just as plain as I see you all in this room.’ said he. or if we are ruled by chance. and longed for it during twenty long years. for the action of the alkaloid is rapid. and puffed at it to steady my nerves. There is death in one and life in the other. “ ‘There is no murder. “ ‘All right. I had to walk beside him to keep him steady. As I drove.A Study In Scarlet a thing. at last your wanderings have come to an end. ‘Let the high God judge between us. Petersburg. “ ‘We’ll soon have a light. I give you my word that all the way. He staggered back with a livid face. he threw his hands out in front of him. with a hoarse cry. and my temples throbbing with excitement. when you dragged her from her slaughtered father. for it . I had always known that vengeance would be sweet. “ ‘Would you murder me?’ he stammered. for either you or I shall never see to-morrow’s sun rise. I turned him over with my foot. and it was argued at the time in the newspapers that the secret societies must have done it. turning to him. “ ‘It’s infernally dark. Enoch Drebber. and holding the light to my own face. so I dipped my finger in my own blood and printed it on a convenient place on the wall. cabby. It was but for a moment. thrusting the box before him. Shall I ever forget the look which came over his face when the first warning pangs told him that the poison was in his system? I laughed as I saw it. I had driven some distance when I put my hand into the pocket in which I usually kept Lucy’s ring. and held Lucy’s marriage ring in front of his eyes. and shaking the key in his face. drunken eyes for a moment. I guessed that what puzzled the New Yorkers would puzzle the Londoners. He was dead! “The blood had been streaming from my nose. At the sight. for he got out without another word. When I looked in at the window. ‘I have hunted you from Salt Lake City to St.’ I said. I don’t know what it was that put it into my head to write upon the wall with it. and found that it was not there. “ ‘But it was you who broke her innocent heart. Then I swallowed the other. but it has overtaken you at last. the father and the daughter were walking in front of us. I remembered a German being found in New York with RACHE written up above him. A spasm of pain contorted his features. I opened it. but I had taken no notice of it. Now.’ I saw his coward lips tremble as I spoke.’ “He cowered away with wild cries and prayers for mercy.’ I shrieked. and then I saw a horror spring up in them. ‘Punishment has been slow in coming. striking a match and putting it to a wax candle which I had brought with me. There was no movement.’ I answered. 58 “ ‘What do you think of Lucy Ferrier now?’ I cried. and I believe I would have had a fit of some sort if the blood had not gushed from my nose and relieved me. nor a sound to be heard. and I could see on his face that he thought I was mad.’ He shrunk still further away as I spoke. and led him into the front room. ‘who am I?’ “He gazed at me with bleared. I found Drebber all huddled together in a drunken sleep. and placed my hand upon his heart. Perhaps it was some mischievous idea of setting the police upon a wrong track. which showed me that he knew me. I could see old John Ferrier and sweet Lucy looking at me out of the darkness and smiling at me. I leaned my back against the door and laughed loud and long. I lit a cigar. locking the door. for he was still a little top-heavy. and we stood facing one another in silence for a minute or more.’ said he. for I felt light-hearted and cheerful.’ I continued. while his teeth chattered in his head. and you have always escaped me. but I had never hoped for the contentment of soul which now possessed me.

and your attendance will be required. The Conclusion We had all been warned to appear before the magistrates upon the Thursday.A Study In Scarlet was the only memento that I had of her. I drove back. My friend volunteered to go and see. I fancy that he suspected something when Drebber failed to put in an appearance.” So thrilling had the man’s narrative been. and said that his cab was wanted by a gentleman at 221b. and so pay off John Ferrier’s debt. It would have been the same in any case. and so made my way into his room in the grey of the dawn. for Providence would never have allowed his guilty hand to pick out anything but the poison. All I had to do then was to do as much for Stangerson. this young man here had the bracelets on my wrists. “Now. and early next morning I took advantage of some ladders which were lying in the lane behind the hotel. and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before a tribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him. I saw your advertisement.” the Inspector remarked gravely. he sprang from his bed and flew at my throat. I went on cabbing it for a day or so. In self-defence I stabbed him to the heart. “the forms of the law must be complied with. gentlemen. but when the Thursday came there was no occasion for our testimony. gentlemen. Even the professional detectives. “I have little more to say.” “Not a doubt of that. “but I don’t get other people into trouble. blase as they were in every detail of crime. and leaving my cab in a side street. or it might be the ring which I wanted. and the next thing I knew. On Thursday the prisoner will be brought before the magistrates. On the very night after his capture the aneurism burst. That’s the whole of my story. When he finished we sat for some minutes in a stillness which was only broken by the scratching of Lestrade’s pencil as he gave the finishing touches to his shorthand account. and Jefferson Hope was led off by a couple of warders. “Who was your accomplice who came for the ring which I advertised?” The prisoner winked at my friend jocosely. He was cunning. I went round. and always on his guard. A higher Judge had taken the matter in hand. and I thought it might be a plant.” said Holmes heartily. for I am about done up. I was standing in the yard when a ragged youngster asked if there was a cabby there called Jefferson Hope. I went boldly up to the house—for I was ready to dare anything rather than lose the ring. and I hung about all day. Until then I will be responsible for him. I walked right into the arms of a police-officer who was coming out. but he never came out. Instead of grasping at the chance of safety which that offered him. and as neatly snackled as ever I saw in my life. was Stangerson. intending to keep at it until I could save enough to take me back to America.” Sherlock Holmes said at last. I think you’ll own he did it smartly. Baker Street. I knew that he was staying at Halliday’s Private Hotel. and his manner was so impressive that we had sat silent and absorbed. appeared to be keenly interested in the man’s story. “There is only one point on which I should like a little more information. I woke him up and told him that the hour had come when he was to answer for the life he had taken so long before. Thinking that I might have dropped it when I stooped over Drebber’s body. When I arrived there. suspecting no harm. CHAPTER VII. If he thought he could keep me off by staying indoors he was very much mistaken. and I gave him the same choice of the poisoned pills. and only managed to disarm his suspicions by pretending to be hopelessly drunk. “That was how Enoch Drebber came to his end. but I hold that I am just as much an officer of justice as you are. You may consider me to be a murderer.” he said. I described Drebber’s death to him. I soon found out which was the window of his bedroom. “I can tell my own secrets. and he was found in the morning 59 .” He rang the bell as he spoke. and it’s as well. while my friend and I made our way out of the Station and took a cab back to Baker Street.

which told me that the nocturnal visitors were two in number. peculiarly suitable for taking impressions. That is a very useful accomplishment. for no other hypothesis would meet the facts. which happened to be composed of a clay soil. more brightly. In solving a problem of this sort. and I came to the conclusion that he had had poison forced upon him. with a placid smile upon his face. but I saw also the track of the two men who had first passed through the garden. never by any chance exhibit agitation upon their features.” Holmes remarked. The tall one. which. Most people. would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. but the agitated expression upon his face assured me that he had foreseen his fate before it came upon him. if you describe a train of events to them. 60 “Now this was a case in which you were given the result and had to find everything else for yourself.” he continued. but people do not practise it much. and much practice has made it second nature to me. to judge from the small and elegant impression left by his boots. The forcible administration of poison is by no means a new thing . There has been no better case within my recollection.” “I confess. Men who die from heart disease. “This was the first point gained.” I answered. and with my mind entirely free from all impressions. I saw the heavy footmarks of the constables. I ascertained by inquiry. and on work well done. had done the murder. It was easy to tell that they had been before the others. Happily.” “Simple!” I ejaculated. “Well. and a very easy one.” said I. as I have already explained to you. By the method of exclusion. “Where will their grand advertisement be now?” “I don’t see that they had very much to do with his capture. and argue from them that something will come to pass. and there. and so the other comes to be neglected. They can put those events together in their minds. as we chatted it over next evening. really. “The proof of its intrinsic simplicity is. and the other fashionably dressed. the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. one remarkable for his height (as I calculated from the length of his stride). There was no wound upon the dead man’s person. if you told them a result. Do not imagine that it was a very unheard of idea. “Gregson and Lestrade will be wild about his death. I saw clearly the marks of a cab. Never mind. I satisfied myself that it was a cab and not a private carriage by the narrow gauge of the wheels. No doubt it appeared to you to be a mere trampled line of slush. I have always laid great stress upon it. then. There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps. I had arrived at this result. There are few people. Again.” “That is true. Having sniffed the dead man’s lips I detected a slightly sour smell.” “I hardly expected that you would. To begin at the beginning. bitterly. “that I do not quite follow you. that without any help save a few very ordinary deductions I was able to lay my hand upon the criminal within three days. however. or any sudden natural cause. after a pause. who. because in places their marks had been entirely obliterated by the others coming upon the top of them. “On entering the house this last inference was confirmed.” returned my companion.” said Sherlock Holmes. smiling at my surprise.A Study In Scarlet stretched upon the floor of the cell. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards.” “I understand. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically. “I would not have missed the investigation for anything. Let me see if I can make it clearer. or analytically. My well-booted man lay before me.” said I. In this way my second link was formed. I argued that it had been forced upon him from the hatred and fear expressed upon his face. I then walked slowly down the garden path. if murder there was. must have been there during the night. on foot. but to my trained eyes every mark upon its surface had a meaning. as though he had been able in his dying moments to look back upon a useful life. what can you make people believe that you have done. as you know. Simple as it was. “I have already explained to you that what is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance. The ordinary London growler is considerably less wide than a gentleman’s brougham. I naturally began by examining the roadway. “What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. I approached the house. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards. will tell you what the result would be. it can hardly be described as otherwise. Now let me endeavour to show you the different steps in my reasoning.” said I. “The question is. there were several most instructive points about it.

” it said. “Your merits should be publicly recognized. Events proved that I had judged correctly. and sent them systematically to every cab proprietor in London until they ferreted out the man that I wanted. that the blood which covered the floor had burst from the murderer’s nose in his excitement. It seems that both the victims belonged.” he answered. who was suspected of the murder of Mr. The answer was conclusive. any sudden chance would be likely to draw attention to himself. “If he had been one there was no reason to believe that he had ceased to be.” “You may do what you like. named Jefferson Hope. The marks in the road showed me that the horse had wandered on in a way which would have been impossible had there been anyone in charge of it. but which could hardly in any case have been prevented. The murder of Stangerson was an incident which was entirely unexpected. on the contrary. been done most deliberately. I telegraphed to the head of the police at Cleveland. supposing one man wished to dog another through London. “And now came the great question as to the reason why. If you won’t. since there were no signs of a struggle. it settled the question. You see the whole thing is a chain of logical sequences without a break or flaw. handing a paper over to me. It told me that Drebber had already applied for the protection of the law against an old rival in love. and the paragraph to which he pointed was devoted to the case in question. limiting my enquiry to the circumstances connected with the marriage of Enoch Drebber. Why should he change his name in a country where no one knew his original one? I therefore organized my Street Arab detective corps. “have lost a sensational treat through the sudden death of the man Hope. for nothing was taken. “look at this!” It was the Echo for the day. Robbery had not been the object of the murder. for a time at least. unless he were inside the house? Again. who was sure to betray him. Where. “See here!” he continued. Doctor. The details of the case will probably be never known now. it is absurd to suppose that any sane man would carry out a deliberate crime under the very eyes. Political assassins are only too glad to do their work and to fly. Through it. “Having left the house. and the perpetrator had left his tracks all over the room. How well they succeeded. and all that remained was to secure the murderer. in their younger days. in which love and Mormonism bore a part. then. then. He answered. There was no reason to suppose that he was going under an assumed name. as you know. you remember.A Study In Scarlet in criminal annals. Lastly. You should publish an account of the case. The cases of Dolsky in Odessa. Clearly the murderer had used it to remind his victim of some dead or absent woman. could the driver be. and how quickly I took advantage of it. probably. and furnished me with the additional details as to the Trichinopoly cigar and the length of his nails. however. continue to perform his duties. All these considerations led me to the irresistible conclusion that Jefferson Hope was to be found among the jarveys of the Metropolis. was none other than the man who had 61 driven the cab. It was at this point that I asked Gregson whether he had enquired in his telegram to Cleveland as to any particular point in Mr. On the contrary. I was inclined from the first to the latter supposition. are still fresh in your recollection. I knew now that I held the clue to the mystery in my hand. When the inscription was discovered upon the wall I was more inclined than ever to my opinion. which called for such a methodical revenge. will occur at once to any toxicologist. Was it politics. When the ring was found. and that this same Hope was at present in Europe. Enoch Drebber and of Mr. of a third person. I proceeded to do what Gregson had neglected. what better means could he adopt than to turn cabdriver. Drebber’s former career. and not a political one. though we are informed upon good authority that the crime was the result of an old standing and romantic feud. and of Leturier in Montpellier. or was it a woman? That was the question which confronted me. He would. in the negative. “I had already determined in my own mind that the man who had walked into the house with Drebber. This murder had. from his point of view. “I then proceeded to make a careful examination of the room. The thing was too evidently a blind. breaks out in this way through emotion. I could perceive that the track of blood coincided with the track of his feet. and . I will for you. which confirmed me in my opinion as to the murderer’s height. Joseph Stangerson. “The public. It must have been a private wrong. as it were. I came into possession of the pills. so I hazarded the opinion that the criminal was probably a robust and ruddy-faced man.” “It is wonderful!” I cried. I had already come to the conclusion. showing that he had been there all the time. the existence of which I had already surmised. unless he is very full-blooded. It is seldom that any man. to the Latter Day Saints.

and not to carry them on to British soil. Lestrade and Gregson. hails also from Salt Lake City.” “Didn’t I tell you so when we started?” cried Sherlock Holmes with a laugh. in the rooms of a certain Mr. who has himself. It is an open secret that the credit of this smart capture belongs entirely to the well-known Scotland Yard officials. and will serve as a lesson to all foreigners that they will do wisely to settle their feuds at home.’ ” . it appears. brings out in the most striking manner the efficiency of our detective police force. it. at mihi plaudo Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar in arca. with such instructors. The man was apprehended. If the case has had no other effect.Hope. Messrs. It is expected that a testimonial of some sort will be presented to the two officers as a fitting recognition of their services. shown some talent in the detective line. In the meantime you must make yourself contented by the consciousness of success. Sherlock Holmes. at least. “That’s the result of all our Study in Scarlet: to get them a testimonial!” “Never mind. as an amateur. the deceased prisoner.” I answered. like the Roman miser— “ ‘Populus me sibilat. and who. may hope in time to attain to some degree of their skill. and the public shall know them. “I have all the facts in my journal.

The Sign of the Four .

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Strange Story of Jonathan Small . . . . . . . . . . . .The Sign of the Four Table of contents The Science of Deduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Statement of the Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Baker Street Irregulars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Episode of the Barrel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration . . . . . A Break in the Chain . . . . . . The Story of the Bald-Headed Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . In Quest of a Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 70 73 75 79 82 86 91 95 100 103 106 65 . . . . . . . . . The Great Agra Treasure . . . . . . . . The End of the Islander . . . .

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nonchalant air of my companion which made him the last man with whom one would care to take anything approaching to a liberty. and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. Give me problems. but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. and the experience which I had had of his many extraordinary qualities. but there was that in the cool. too. and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. Yet upon that afternoon. “My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. for a mere passing pleasure.—“morphine or cocaine?” He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened.” I answered. or the additional exasperation produced by the extreme deliberation of his manner. “Count the cost! Your brain may. On the contrary. “I could not tamper with the facts. or ought to be. as you say. and pronounce a specialist’s opinion. The work itself. “rebels at stagnation. “Honestly. give me work. pressed down the tiny piston. Surely the game is hardly worth the candle. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. earnestly. I examine the data. “The only unofficial consulting detective. I suddenly felt that I could hold out no longer.The Sign of the Four S CHAPTER I. But I abhor the dull routine of existence.” 67 herlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid.” said I. “I was never so struck by anything in my life. nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle. but it is a pathological and morbid process. Again and again I had registered a vow that I should deliver my soul upon the subject.” “But consider!” I said. Why should you. I claim no credit in such cases. is their normal state—the matter is laid before me.—or rather created it.” he said. On the contrary.” he answered. “I glanced over it.—“a seven-per-cent solution. . I find it. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism. brusquely. His great powers. You know. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it.” he said. Would you care to try it?” “No. Watson. like one who has a relish for conversation. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. “I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. from day to day I had become more irritable at the sight. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney Jones are out of their depths—which. Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance. Detection is. raising my eyebrows. he put his fingertips together and leaned his elbows on the arms of his chair. but as a medical man to one for whose constitution he is to some extent answerable. I even embodied it in a small brochure with the somewhat fantastic title of ‘A Study in Scarlet.” “But the romance was there. indeed.” he said. My name figures in no newspaper. as an expert. I cannot congratulate you upon it. whether it was the Beaune which I had taken with my lunch. so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment.” He did not seem offended.” I remonstrated. and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction. and I am in my own proper atmosphere. Finally he thrust the sharp point home. give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis. indeed. and my conscience swelled nightly within me at the thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. white. an exact science. all made me diffident and backward in crossing him. The Science of Deduction which involves increased tissue-change and may at last leave a permanent weakness. cordially.” “Yes. I crave for mental exaltation.” “The only unofficial detective?” I said. “I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. With his long.” He smiled at my vehemence. for I am the only one in the world. by the way. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession. however. “Which is it to-day?” I asked. “It is cocaine. is my highest reward. what a black reaction comes upon you. risk the loss of those great powers with which you have been endowed? Remember that I speak not only as one comrade to another.” said he. “Perhaps you are right.’ ” He shook his head sadly. the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers. “My mind. his masterly manner. be roused and excited. But you have yourself had some experience of my methods of work in the Jefferson Hope case.

leaning back luxuriously in his armchair. weavers. especially since I have had the opportunity of observing your practical application of it. with colored plates illustrating the difference in the ash. Here is my monograph upon the tracing of footsteps. “He has considerable gifts himself. for example. though it did not prevent me from walking. He has all the Celtic power of quick intuition.” he answered. with stray magnifiques. it obviously narrows your field of search. “For example. chuckling at my surprise. Louis in 1871. compositors. “I appreciate their importance. More than once during the years that I had lived with him in Baker Street I had observed that a small vanity underlay my companion’s quiet and didactic manner. “My practice has extended recently to the Continent. and I have mentioned it to no one. It is a point which is continually turning up in criminal trials. as far as I know. sailors. and that may come in time. I had a Jezail bullet through it some time before. “He speaks as a pupil to his master. Here is the letter which I had this morning acknowledging my assistance.—“so absurdly simple that an explanation is superfluous. “I was consulted last week by Francois Le Villard. a crumpled sheet of foreign notepaper. But I weary you with my hobby. The case was concerned with a will.” He tossed over.” I answered. is one ‘Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccoes. It was a sudden impulse upon my part.” “It is simplicity itself. for example. I glanced my eyes down it.” said Holmes. and. He is now translating my small works into French.” “Your works?” “Oh. too.” “You have an extraordinary genius for minutiae. Observation tells me that you have a little reddish mould adhering to your instep. with lithotypes of the hands of slaters. and diamond-polishers. but deduction lets me know that when there you dispatched a telegram. it ached wearily at every change of the weather. Here. corkcutters. who.” I remarked.” I was annoyed at this criticism of a work which had been specially designed to please him. has come rather to the front lately in the French detective service. “Yes. He is only wanting in knowledge. The earth is of this peculiar reddish tint which is found. But you spoke just now of observation and deduction. the one at Riga in 1857. lightly. “Right on both points! But I confess that I don’t see how you arrived at it. all testifying to the arı dent admiration of the Frenchman. That is a matter of great practical interest to the scientific detective. I confess.” “Right!” said I. or in discovering the antecedents of criminals. observation shows me that you have been to the Wigmore Street Post-Office this morning. too. or at least a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them. He has the power of observation and that of deduction. after a while. coupde-maˆtres and tours-de-force. cigarette-.” said Sherlock Holmes. I was able to refer him to two parallel cases. If you can say definitely. filling up his old brier-root pipe. that some murder has been done by a man who was smoking an Indian lunkah. The only point in the case which deserved mention was the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes by which I succeeded in unraveling it. as you probably know. nowhere else in . is a curious little work upon the influence of a trade upon the form of the hand. earnestly.” he remarked. hardly. which have suggested to him the true solution. however. and possessed some features of interest. and the other at St. he rates my assistance too highly. Just opposite the Seymour Street Office they have taken up the pavement and thrown up some earth which lies in such a way that it is difficult to avoid treading in it in entering.” “Why.The Sign of the Four “Some facts should be suppressed. but sat nursing my wounded leg. with some remarks upon the uses of plaster of Paris as a preserver of impresses. as he spoke. I have been guilty of several monographs. and which is sometimes of supreme importance as a clue. laughing.” “Not at all. Surely the one to some extent implies the other. and yet it may serve to define the limits of observation and of deduction. catching a profusion of notes of admiration. He possesses two out of the three qualities necessary for the ideal detective. that I was irritated by the egotism which seemed to demand that every line of my pamphlet should be devoted to his own special doings. I made no remark.—especially in cases of unclaimed bodies. “Oh. They are all upon technical subjects. and pipe-tobacco. didn’t you know?” he cried.’ In it I enumerate a 68 hundred and forty forms of cigar-. and sending up thick blue wreaths from his pipe.” said I. To the trained eye there is as much difference between the black ash of a Trichinopoly and the white fluff of bird’s-eye as there is between a cabbage and a potato. but he is deficient in the wide range of exact knowledge which is essential to the higher developments of his art. Here. “It is of the greatest interest to me.

What seems strange to you is only so because you do not follow my train of thought or observe the small facts upon which large inferences may depend. he died. in the same pocket. is.The Sign of the Four the neighborhood.” In my heart I accused my companion of putting forward a most lame and impotent excuse to cover his failure. and. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man.—destructive to the logical faculty. Your father has.” “Ah. has a touch of charlatanism in it.” said I. “This is unworthy of you. but he threw away his chances. Viewing the matter as an abstract problem. upon the back?” 69 “Quite so. and finally.“ “But it was not mere guess-work?” “No. staring up at the ceiling with dreamy. an impossible one. Jewelry usually descents to the eldest son. You have made inquires into the history of my unhappy brother. to speak plainly. What data could he expect from an uncleaned watch? “Though unsatisfactory.” “How. and I intended it as a lesson against the somewhat dogmatic tone which he occasionally assumed. W.” said he. He balanced the watch in his hand. suggests your own name.” “That you gather. which robs me of my most suggestive facts. been dead many years. no doubt. been in the hands of your eldest brother. Would you think me impertinent if I were to put your theories to a more severe test?” “On the contrary. who inherited it from your father. I assure you. and the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation. of the simplest. Neither is it a very far-fetched inference . The W. I see also in your open desk there that you have a sheet of stamps and a thick bundle of postcards. my research has not been entirely barren. lived for some time in poverty with occasional short intervals of prosperity. after a little thought. That is all I can gather. What could you go into the post-office for. “I could not have believed that you would have descended to this. “pray accept my apologies. I did not at all expect to be so accurate.” I answered. and he is most likely to have the same name as the father. but to send a wire? Eliminate all other factors. and you now pretend to deduce this knowledge in some fanciful way. You cannot expect me to believe that you have read all this from his old watch! It is unkind. as you say.” I sprang from my chair and limped impatiently about the room with considerable bitterness in my heart. so far. For example.” he answered.” “You are right. therefore. for the test was. “It was cleaned before being sent to me. first with his naked eyes and then with a powerful convex lens. “The watch has been recently cleaned. It has. “it would prevent me from taking a second dose of cocaine. did you deduce the telegram?” “Why. I should be delighted to look into any problem which you might submit to me. It is a shocking habit. gazed hard at the dial. since I sat opposite to you all morning. and examined the works. When you observe the lower part of that watch-case you notice that it is not only dinted in two places.” “I have heard you say that it is difficult for a man to have any object in daily use without leaving the impress of his individuality upon it in such a way that a trained observer might read it. “There are hardly any data. “The thing. So much is observation. I could only say what was the balance of probability. from the H. if I remember right. then.” “Then how in the name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely correct in every particular. Would you have the kindness to let me have an opinion upon the character or habits of the late owner?” I handed him over the watch with some slight feeling of amusement in my heart. The rest is deduction. I could hardly keep from smiling at his crestfallen face when he finally snapped the case to and handed it back. The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back. as I thought.” he remarked.” I said. Now. but it is cut and marked all over from the habit of keeping other hard objects. opened the back.” “In this case it certainly is so. “Subject to your correction. no: I never guess. that is good luck.—very untidy and careless. then.” “My dear doctor.” he observed. kindly.” “Right. lack-lustre eyes. “Anything else?” “He was a man of untidy habits. I had forgotten how personal and painful a thing it might be to you. and the one which remains must be the truth. I should judge that the watch belonged to your elder brother. taking to drink. that I never even know that you had a brother until you handed me the watch. I began by stating that your brother was careless. such as coins or keys. He was left with good prospects. Holmes. however. I have here a watch which has recently come into my possession. however.” I replied. of course I knew that you had not written a letter.

was a very simple one.—marks where the key has slipped. “A young lady for you. The Statement of the Case Miss Morstan entered the room with a firm step and an outward composure of manner. Hence the cocaine.” she said. and she wore a small turban of the same dull hue. I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature. however. She was a blonde young lady.” he read. sir. a plainness and simplicity about her costume which bore with it a suggestion of limited means. Inference. bearing a card upon the brass salver. well gloved. Mrs.” I answered. or he could not have redeemed the pledge. more utterly inexplicable. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers. There was. and her large blue eyes were singularly spiritual and sympathetic. doctor. She was much impressed by your kindness and skill. as I remember it. What sober man’s key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a drunkard’s watch without them. “because you once enabled my employer. Was ever such a dreary. He leaned forward in his chair with an expression of extraordinary concentration upon his 70 .” she said. Her face had neither regularity of feature nor beauty of complexion. however. Ask the young lady to step up. than the situation in which I find myself. untrimmed and unbraided. doctor. He winds it at night. and he leaves these traces of his unsteady hand.—that he had occasional bursts of prosperity. The dress was a sombre grayish beige. I cannot live without brain-work. to scratch the number of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside of the case.” he repeated thoughtfully. But at least you cannot say the same of mine. to show that I followed his reasoning. In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents. as there is no risk of the number being lost or transposed. There are no less than four such numbers visible to my lens on the inside of this case.” I nodded. and dressed in the most perfect taste. “Miss Mary Morstan. Where is the mystery in all this?” “It is as clear as daylight.The Sign of the Four that a man who inherits one article of such value is pretty well provided for in other respects. to unravel a little domestic complication. “I believe that I was of some slight service to her. May I ask whether you have any professional inquiry on foot at present?” “None. small. but her expression was sweet and amiable. I should prefer that you remain. and she showed every sign of intense inward agitation. Secondary inference. dainty.” Holmes rubbed his hands.” I had opened my mouth to reply to this tirade. and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth. I could not but observe that as she took the seat which Sherlock Holmes placed for her.—that your brother was often at low water. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. I ask you to look at the inner plate. Mrs. Hudson. The case. I should have had more faith in your marvellous faculty. when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace. “It is very customary for pawnbrokers in England. which contains the key-hole. and his eyes glistened. “I regret the injustice which I did you. It is more handy than a label. Cecil Forrester. Look at the thousands of scratches all round the hole. Don’t go. Holmes.” CHAPTER II. Mr. her hand quivered. “I have come to you. Finally. her lip trembled. I can hardly imagine anything more strange. addressing my companion. existence is commonplace.” “She did not think so. “Hum! I have no recollection of the name. unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncolored houses. Cecil Forrester. when they take a watch. dismal. relieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the side.” “Mrs. when with a crisp knock our landlady entered.

and I had no relative in England. About six years ago—to be exact. which you will perhaps read for yourself.—nearly ten years ago. the 34th Bombay Infantry.” “Thank you. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess.” she said. Your unknown friend.” said Holmes. hawklike features. “the facts are these. He came home with his heart full of hope. however. “Has anything else occurred to you?” “Yes.” 71 “A singular case. to find some peace.” I relapsed into my chair. The same day there arrived through the post a small card-board box addressed to me. on the advice of the manager of the hotel.’ Well. My father was an officer in an Indian regiment who sent me home when I was quite a child. ‘Be at the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre to-night at seven o’clock. I am sure.” “But would he come?” she asked. excuse me. You can see for yourselves that they are very handsome. If you do. I felt that my position was an embarrassing one. You and I and—yes. Do not bring police. please. and have no friends whom . but he did not even know that his brother officer was in England. and showed me six of the finest pearls that I had ever seen. S. containing a similar pearl. the young lady held up her gloved hand to detain me. By her advice I published my address in the advertisement column. “Your statement is most interesting. and next morning we advertised in all the papers. some books. and there I remained until I was seventeen years of age. This morning I received this letter. and directed me to come down at once.—Major Sholto. To my surprise. and a choking sob cut short the sentence. “He disappeared upon the 3d of December.W. with something appealing in her voice and expression. some comfort. “I have led a retired life. You are a wronged woman. Since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box. “You will. and no later than to-day. What do you intend to do.” I said. “I should be proud and happy. I was placed. Our inquiries let to no result. he might be of inestimable service to me. In the year 1878 my father. “if I can be of any service. He telegraphed to me from London that he had arrived all safe.” “His luggage?” “Remained at the hotel.” “You are both very kind. That night. On reaching London I drove to the Langham. No address. business tones. The major had retired some little time before. “The envelope too. this is a very pretty little mystery. Particular man in his stationery. He and I have worked together before. and was informed that Captain Morstan was staying there. There was no name or address appended.” “Had he any friends in town?” “Only one that we know of. Hum! Man’s thumb-mark on corner. “Briefly. He had been one of the officers in charge of the convict-guard there. 1882—an advertisement appeared in the Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward.” said Sherlock Holmes. which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl.” she answered. who was senior captain of his regiment. of course. London. Best quality paper.” remarked Holmes. and instead—” She put her hand to her throat. Your correspondent says two friends. without any clue as to the sender. They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value. opening his notebook. I waited all day without news of him. His message. I had at that time just entered the family of Mrs. My mother was dead.” she continued.” She opened a flat box as she spoke. all will be in vain. but that he had gone out the night before and had not yet returned. I communicated with the police. No word of writing was enclosed.” said he. Date. Miss Morstan?” “That is exactly what I want to ask you. 1878.” said I.—some clothes.—probably postman. If you are distrustful. July 7. as I remember. really. “would be good enough to stop. “I have not yet described to you the most singular part. was full of kindness and love. “The date?” asked Holmes. That is why I have come to you. rising from my chair. and a considerable number of curiosities from the Andaman Islands. and from that day to this no word has ever been heard of my unfortunate father. Dr. upon the 4th of May. bring two friends. Postmark. “State your case. in brisk. in a comfortable boarding establishment at Edinburgh. We communicated with him. Envelopes at sixpence a packet. fervently.The Sign of the Four clear-cut. of his own regiment. why. and lived at Upper Norwood. “If your friend. obtained twelve months’ leave and came home. and shall have justice. giving the Langham Hotel as his address. There was nothing in it to suggest a clue.” “Then we shall most certainly go. Watson is the very man.

“What a very attractive woman!” I exclaimed. and that l an e.” Holmes shook his head.—a factor in a problem. “They are disguised hands.—a sweet age. and see the twirl of the final s. at six.” said our visitor. “I did not observe. turning to my companion. A client is to me a mere unit. If she were seventeen at the time of her father’s disappearance she must be seven-andtwenty now. Miss Morstan. however.” he said. however—” “I never make exceptions. Pray allow me to keep the papers.—nothing more. It is only half-past three. the strange mystery which overhung her life.” “In this case.—her smiles. languidly. We shall look out for you. “Look at his long letters. I have some few references to make. Men of character always differentiate their long letters. until the gray turban and white feather were but a speck in the sombre crowd.” she answered. “There is one other point. “They hardly rise above the common herd. Au revoir. and.” “I expected to hear you say so. that I should dare to think of such things? She was a unit. she replaced her pearl-box in her bosom and hurried away. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. “A man of business habits and some force of character. the deep rich tones of her voice. kindly glance from one to the other of us.” said Holmes. That d might be an a. then.The Sign of the Four I could appeal to. however illegibly they may write. “Is she?” he said. There is vacillation in his k’s and self-esteem in his capitals. See how the irrepressible Greek e will break out. Standing at the window. An exception disproves the rule. My mind ran upon our late visitor.—a calculatingmachine!” I cried. “There is something positively inhuman in you at times. and the most repellant man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor. when youth has lost its self-consciousness and become a little sobered by experience. Is this handwriting the same as that upon the pearl-box addresses?” “I have them here. I watched her walking briskly down the street. and was leaning back with drooping eyelids. He had lit his pipe again.—one of the most remarkable ever penned.” he said. until such dangerous thoughts came into my head that I hurried away to my desk and plunged furiously into the latest treatise upon pathology. What was I.” I answered. presently.” He spread out the papers upon the table.” He smiled gently. I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money. an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking-account. I should not like to suggest false hopes. but my thoughts were far from the daring speculations of the writer. Have you ever had occasion to study character in handwriting? What do you make of this fellow’s scribble?” “It is legible and regular. with a bright. and gave little darting glances from one to the other. I suppose?” “You must not be later.” “Au revoir. It is Winwood Reade’s Martyrdom of Man. but is there any resemblance between this hand and that of your father?” “Nothing could be more unlike. “You are certainly a model client. If I am here at six it will do.” I sat in the window with the volume in my hand. I shall be back in an hour. then. 72 . a factor. now. Let me recommend this book. Let us see. So I sat and mused. You have the correct intuition.” he said. except the letter. “It is of the first importance. producing half a dozen pieces of paper. “but there can be no question as to the authorship.” “You really are an automaton. If my future were black. They are undoubtedly by the same person. I am going out now. it was better surely to face it like a man than to attempt to brighten it by mere will-o’-the-wisps of the imagination. I may look into the matter before then. “not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities.

In Quest of a Solution It was half-past five before Holmes returned.” “No? You surprise me. should he write a letter now. 1882. and in excellent spirits. here is a four-wheeler. “But our expedition of to-night will solve them all. What wrong can it refer to except this deprivation of her father? And why should the presents begin immediately after Sholto’s death. in very rough and coarse characters. Yet it is evidently a document of importance. It is. At one point is a small cross done in red ink. died upon the 28th of April. for it is a little past the hour. of Upper Norword. the letter speaks of giving her justice. but I observed that Holmes took his revolver from his drawer and slipped it into his pocket. “There is no great mystery in this matter. She must have been more than woman if she did not feel some uneasiness at the strange enterprise upon which we were embarking. Look at it in this way.” “What! you have solved it already?” “Well. “His letters were full of allusions to the major. Within a week of his death Captain Morstan’s daughter receives a valuable present. and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacant eye that he was thinking intently. By the way. I have discovered a suggestive fact.The Sign of the Four CHAPTER III. then.37 from left. rather than six years ago? Again. that would be too much to say. Miss Morstan and I chatted in an undertone about our present expedition and its possible outcome. and Miss Morstan is inside.—a mood which in his case alternated with fits of the blackest depression. “The facts appear to admit of only one explanation. I begin to suspect that this matter may turn out to be much deeper and more subtle than I at first supposed. It was clear 73 that he thought that our night’s work might be a serious one. He and papa were in command of the troops at the Andaman Islands. but I fail to see what this suggests. that is all. for the one side is as clean as the other. unless it is that Sholto’s heir knows something of the mystery and desires to make compensation? Have you any alternative theory which will meet the facts?” “But what a strange compensation! And how strangely made! Why. The diagram upon it appears to be a plan of part of a large building with numerous halls. Are you all ready? Then we had better go down.’ No. He was bright. a curious paper was found in papa’s desk which no one could understand. I don’t suppose that it is of the slightest importance. The only person in London whom he could have visited is Major Sholto.” he remarked. and passages. Ah.” said Sherlock Holmes. Dost Akbar. on consulting the back files of the Times. that Major Sholto. corridors.” “It was in his pocket-book that we found it. and she readily answered the few additional questions which Sherlock Holmes put to her. so they were thrown a great deal together. Miss Morstan was muffled in a dark cloak.” Holmes unfolded the paper carefully and smoothed it out upon his knee. very suggestive. It is here. Holmes. but I thought you might care to see it. “Major Sholto was a very particular friend of papa’s. The details are still to be added.” He leaned back in the cab. Four years later Sholto dies. I must reconsider my ideas. There is no other injustice in her case that you know of. then. I confess that I do not see how this bears upon the matter. eager. Mahomet Singh. and above it is ‘3. “It is paper of native Indian manufacture. What justice can she have? It is too much to suppose that her father is still alive.” “There are difficulties. late of the 34th Bombay Infantry.’ in faded pencil-writing. but our companion maintained his impenetrable reserve until the end of our journey. Miss Morstan. taking the cup of tea which I had poured out for him. Major Sholto denies having heard that he was in London. “It has at some time been pinned to a board. however. Abdullah Khan. but pale. Captain Morstan disappears. and now culminates in a letter which describes her as a wronged woman. which is repeated from year to year. I have just found. ‘The sign of the four.” I picked up my hat and my heaviest stick.” “I may be very obtuse.” “Preserve it carefully. pensively. and her sensitive face was composed. It has been kept carefully in a pocket-book. yet her selfcontrol was perfect. He then very methodically examined it all over with his double lens. . too. there are certainly difficulties.” she said. for it may prove to be of use to us.” he said. In the left-hand corner is a curious hieroglyphic like four crosses in a line with their arms touching. so I brought it with me. Beside it is written.—Jonathan Small.

“I am Miss Morstan. “The Sahib awaits you.” “I give you my word on that. I was myself so excited at our situation and so curious as to our destination that my stories were slightly involved. I endeavored to cheer and amuse her by reminiscences of my adventures in Afghanistan. on an unknown errand. with the strange business upon which we were engaged. Stockwell Place. Now we come out on the Vauxhall Bridge Road. and not yet seven o’clock. I could see from Miss Morstan’s manner that she was suffering from the same feeling. apparently. Miss 74 Morstan’s demeanor was as resolute and collected as ever.—the monster tentacles which the giant city was throwing out into the country. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. miss. and then again interminable lines of new staring brick buildings. and my own limited knowledge of London. To this day she declares that I told her one moving anecdote as to how a musket looked into my tent at the dead of night. while we took our places inside.” he said with a certain dogged manner. I am not subject to impressions.” said she.” she answered. Now we are on the bridge.” We did indeed bet a fleeting view of a stretch of the Thames with the lamps shining upon the broad.—or else we had good reason to think that important issues might hang upon our journey. to my mind. but the dull. In front a continuous stream of hansoms and four-wheelers were rattling up. You can catch glimpses of the river. “Show them in to me. Our quest does not appear to take us to very fashionable regions. “Wordsworth Road. Mud-colored clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. and even as he spoke there came a high piping voice from some inner room. however. Lark Hall Lane.” said he. but. He bent a pair of wonderfully penetrating and questioning eyes upon us. reached a questionable and forbidding neighborhood. At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side-entrances.” said my companion. The man who had addressed us mounted to the box. save for a single glimmer in the kitchen window. The situation was a curious one. but our cab dashed on.“ it cried. Holmes alone could rise superior to petty influences. He gave a shrill whistle. Yes. We are making for the Surrey side. On our knocking.—which was an inconceivable hypothesis. “Priory Road.” said he. None of the other houses were inhabited. We were driving to an unknown place. and so back into the gloom once more.” . Robert Street. At last the cab drew up at the third house in a new terrace. khitmutgar. which was our rendezvous. and a yellow sash. but soon. There was something strangely incongruous in this Oriental figure framed in the commonplace door-way of a third-rate suburban dwelling-house. and threw a murky. before a small. and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city.—sad faces and glad. and how I fired a double-barrelled tiger cub at it. “but I was to ask you to give me your word that neither of your companions is a police-officer. and was soon involved in a labyrinth of streets upon the other side. but the day had been a dreary one. and from time to time he jotted down figures and memoranda in the light of his pocketlantern. Cold Harbor Lane. There was. “You will excuse me. to tell the truth. Long lines of dull brick houses were only relieved by the coarse glare and tawdry brilliancy of public houses at the corner. on which a street Arab led across a four-wheeler and opened the door. I thought so. At first I had some idea as to the direction in which we were driving. what with our pace. save that we seemed to be going a very long way. they flitted from the gloom into the light. haggard and merry. heavy evening. however. and knew nothing. combined to make me nervous and depressed. Yet our invitation was either a complete hoax. We had hardly done so before the driver whipped up his horse. white loose-fitting clothes.” We had. the fog. Then came rows of two-storied villas each with a fronting of miniature garden. I lost my bearings. “Rochester Row. and these two gentlemen are my friends. brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us. Like all human kind. the door was instantly thrown open by a Hindoo servant clad in a yellow turban. The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy. ”Show them straight in to me. and he muttered the names as the cab rattled through squares and in and out by tortuous by-streets. bediamonded women. and we plunged away at a furious pace through the foggy streets. shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. “Are you the parties who come with Miss Morstan?” he asked. He held his open note-book upon his knee. Sherlock Holmes was never at fault. something eerie and ghost-like in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light. vaporous air. dark. and that at which we stopped was as dark as its neighbors. indeed. silent water. discharging their cargoes of shirt-fronted men and beshawled. We had hardly reached the third pillar. “Now Vincent Square.The Sign of the Four It was a September evening.

The carpet was of amber-and-black. and a bald. refrained from throwing a strain upon his heart. I trust that you have no objection to tobacco-smoke. Miss Morstan.” said he. Pray step into my little sanctum. I can do you justice. with his high. Sherlock Holmes. In that sorry house it looked as out of place as a diamond of the first water in a setting of brass. Nothing would annoy Brother Bartholomew more than any publicity. The Story of the Bald-Headed Man We followed the Indian down a sordid and common passage. “It appears to be normal. And these gentlemen—” “This is Mr.” he remarked. An oasis of art in the howling desert of South London. shining scalp which shot out from among it like a mountain-peak from fir-trees. In point of fact he had just turned his thirtieth year. he might have been alive now.—no police or officials. for he shivered from head to foot. he gave the impression of youth.” said she. In spite of his obtrusive baldness. “I can give you every information. But let us have no outsiders. jerky little fellow. a bristle of red hair all round the fringe of it. which he threw open. but was unable to find anything amiss. “whatever you may choose to say will go no further. Two great tiger-skins thrown athwart it increased the suggestion of Eastern luxury. “That is my name. Miss Morstan? Or of Tokay? I keep no other wines. “For my part.” he kept repeating. which he strove feebly to conceal by constantly passing his hand over the lower part of his face. save indeed that he was in an ecstasy of fear. and our chins upon our hands. I am a little nervous. without any interference. We can settle everything satisfactorily among ourselves. then. what is more. and his features were in a perpetual jerk.” I could have struck the man across the face. watery blue eyes. Shall I open a flask? No? Well. Watson. “Your servant. “May I offer you a glass of Chianti. as did a huge hookah which stood upon a mat in the corner. and the smoke bubbled merrily through the rose-water. “and. He writhed his hands together as he stood. and a too visible line of yellow and irregular teeth. and I have long had suspicions as to that valve.” We were all astonished by the appearance o the apartment into which he invited us.” I said. Thaddeus Sholto. and this is Dr. The richest and glossiest of curtains and tapestries draped the walls. “Mr. We sat all three in a semicircle. high voice. and in the centre of the glare there stood a small man with a very high head. “I might have given you my address. if you would be so very good. miss. “When I first determined to make this communication to you. of course. I am so glad to have your friends here. but furnished to my own liking. “Have you your stethoscope? Might I ask you—would you have the kindness? I have grave doubts as to my mitral valve. airily.” “A doctor. to the mild balsamic odor of the Eastern tobacco.The Sign of the Four CHAPTER IV. whatever Brother Bartholomew may say. shining head. much excited. in a thin. as requested. “That is well! That is well!” said he. still jerking and smiling. now scowling. not only as an escort to you.” said the little man. A lamp in the fashion of a silver dove was hung from an almost invisible golden wire in the centre of the room.” I nodded to show my agreement. with our heads advanced. so soft and so thick that the foot sank pleasantly into it. Miss Morstan. but also as witnesses to what I am about to do and say. but I should value your opinion upon the mitral. You are Miss Morstan. Nature had given him a pendulous lip. Miss Morstan sat down. The three of us can show a bold front to Brother Bartholomew. As it burned it filled the air with a subtle and aromatic odor. and her face grew white to the lips. Miss Morstan. until he came to a door upon the right. ill lit and worse furnished.” 75 I listened to his heart. looped back here and there to expose some richly-mounted painting or Oriental vase. I am delighted to hear that they are unwarranted. now smiling. and I will. while the strange. too. Had your father. gentlemen. A small place.” said Holmes. eh?” cried he. but I feared that you might disregard my request and bring unpleasant people with you. A blaze of yellow light streamed out upon us. “You have no cause for uneasiness.” said he. . but never for an instant in repose. and I find my hookah an invaluable sedative.” “You will excuse my anxiety. “Your servant. The aortic I may rely upon. puffed uneasily in the centre. “I am a great sufferer.” He sat down upon a low settee and blinked at us inquiringly with his weak. so hot was I at this callous and off-hand reference to so delicate a matter. “I knew in my heart that he was dead.” He applied a taper to the great bowl. as into a bed of moss.

“for we shall certainly have to go to Norwood and see Brother Bartholomew. and I should desire the interview to be as short as possible. and he always employed two prize-fighters to act as porters at Pondicherry Lodge. and.” “You will excuse me. “ ‘I have only one thing. It is my weakness. “Early in 1882 my father received a letter from India which was a great shock to him. See that chaplet dipped with pearls beside the quinine-bottle. he made a remarkable statement to us.” “If we are to go to Norwood it would perhaps be as well to start at once. You cannot imagine what a terrible fellow he is when he is angry. Even that I could not bear . It is my treatment of poor Morstan’s orphan.” he cried. and brought back with him a considerable sum of money. We shall all go and try if we can get the better of Brother Bartholomew. once of the Indian army. I must tell you that there are several points in the story of which I am myself ignorant. I shall try and give it to you in his own very words. as you see. was one of them. The mere feeling of possession has been so dear to me that I could not bear to share it with another. The landscape is a genuine Corot. “That would hardly do. He retired some eleven years ago. What was in the letter we could never discover.—that of all men he alone knew the fate of Arthur Morstan. and he had orders. and there is nothing more unaesthetic than a policeman. “My father was. He nearly fainted at the breakfast-table when he opened it. ‘which weighs upon my mind at this supreme moment.” “At the best it must take some time. 76 We read the details in the papers. there cannot be the least question about the Bouguereau. And yet I have made no use of it myself. Mr. It is very late. On one occasion he actually fired his revolver at a wooden-legged man. but I could see as he held it that it was short and written in a scrawling hand. tastes. I seldom come in contact with the rough crowd. I have complete confidence in his discretion. You will excuse these precautions. I may call myself a patron of the arts. I must prepare you by showing you how we all stand to each other. Sholto. In the first place. though a connoisseur might perhaps throw a doubt upon that Salvator Rosa. “We did know. “I don’t know what he would say if I brought you in that sudden way. that some mystery—some positive danger—overhung our father. and towards the end of April we were informed that he was beyond all hope. He was once lightweight champion of England. I live. half at least of which should have been hers. but he had a most marked aversion to men with wooden legs.—so blind and foolish a thing is avarice. however. grasping our hands. knowing that he had been a friend of our father’s. who proved to be a harmless tradesman canvassing for orders. and came to live at Pondicherry Lodge in Upper Norwood. who drove you to-night. with some little atmosphere of elegance around me. in a voice which was broken as much by emotion as by pain. Then.’ he said. With these advantages he bought himself a house. if he were dissatisfied.” he answered.” I ventured to remark. He had prospered in India. I am partial to the modern French school. and lived in great luxury. He besought us to lock the door and to come upon either side of the bed. “When we entered his room he was propped up with pillows and breathing heavily. therefore. He was very fearful of going out alone. My twin-brother Bartholomew and I were the only children. but I am a man of somewhat retiring. Our father would never tell us what it was he feared. Never for an instant did we suspect that he had the whole secret hidden in his own breast.” said Miss Morstan. to proceed no further in the matter. and that he wished to make a last communication to us. The cursed greed which has been my besetting sin through life has withheld from her the treasure. “I very well remember the sensation which was caused by the disappearance of Captain Morstan. He laughed until his ears were quite red. but events have since led us to change our opinion. I had quite high words with him last night. we discussed the case freely in his presence. and. He is very angry with me for taking the course which has seemed right to me. My brother and I used to think this a mere whim of my father’s. Williams. He used to join in our speculations as to what could have happened.The Sign of the Four I took the liberty. No. and from that day he sickened to his death. We had to pay a large sum to hush the matter up. He had suffered for years from an enlarged spleen. I have a natural shrinking from all forms of rough materialism. Major John Sholto. a large collection of valuable curiosities. “but I am here at your request to learn something which you desire to tell me. and a staff of native servants. as you may have guessed. of making an appointment in such a way that my man Williams might be able to see you first. but he now became rapidly worse. I can only lay the facts before you as far as I know them myself. and I might even say refined.

“ ‘I will tell you how Morstan died. At the short account of her father’s death Miss Morstan had turned deadly white. will give her a fair share of the Agra treasure. I brought it over to England. She rallied however. He stole in and bolted the door behind him. A face was looking in at us out of the darkness. He walked over from the station. but the man was gone. There seemed to be no necessity why any soul ever should know. to my horror. came into possession of a considerable treasure. and he yelled. He had told me that no soul upon earth knew where he had gone. Lal Chowdar shook his head and smiled. we might have thought that our imaginations had conjured up that wild. The window of my father’s room was found open in the morning. and on the night of Morstan’s arrival he came straight over here to claim his share. Mr. fierce face. ‘He had suffered for years from a weak heart. Put your ears down to my mouth. His death at the moment of a quarrel. Let us put him away together.The Sign of the Four to part with. Here at least was a problem which would tax his sagacity to the utmost. Sahib. and he fell backwards.” The little man stopped to relight his hookah and puffed thoughtfully for a few moments. therefore. Again. “ ‘I was still pondering over the matter. I wish you. which I was particularly anxious to keep secret. My brother and I naturally associated this peculiar incident with the fear which haunted my father during his life. “I heard you quarrel. would be black against me. I alone knew it. though everything had been turned out. My fault lies in the fact that we concealed not only the body. but he concealed it from every one. hairy face. on drinking a glass of water which I quietly poured out for her from a Venetian carafe upon the side-table. It was a bearded. Thaddeus Sholto looked from one to . But send her nothing—not even the chaplet—until I am gone. he and I. looking up. After all. wondering what I should do. “Do not fear. and we came to heated words. My first impulse was. We could see the whitening of the nose where it was pressed against the glass. his face turned a dusky hue. with wild cruel eyes and an expression of concentrated malevolence. “ ‘For a long time I sat half distracted. listening to his extraordinary narrative. through a remarkable chain of circumstances. to make restitution. and upon his chest was fixed a torn piece of paper.” That was enough to decide met. and that I have clung to Morstan’s share as well as to my own. When in India. his eyes stared wildly. however. But for that one trace. What the phrase meant. his cupboards and boxes had been rifled.” said I. You will see from what I say that I can hardly be blamed 77 in the matter.” said he.” he said. to call for assistance. “I heard it all. You. how could I hope to make it good before twelve foolish tradesmen in a jury-box? Lal Chowdar and I disposed of the body that night. I saw my servant. and for a moment I feared that she was about to faint. cutting his head against the corner of the treasure-chest. ‘Keep him out! For Christ’s sake keep him out’! We both stared round at the window behind us upon which his gaze was fixed. Let us hide him away. Lal Chowdar. that he was dead. “We searched the garden that night. but it is still a complete mystery to us. and was admitted by my faithful Lal Chowdar. but also the treasure. and I heard the blow. As I glanced at him I could not but think how on that very day he had complained bitterly of the commonplaceness of life. We had all sat absorbed.’ he continued. in a voice which I can never forget. When we returned to my father his head had dropped and his pulse had ceased to beat. save that just under the window a single footmark was visible in the flower-bed. but I could not but recognize that there was every chance that I would be accused of his murder. none of my father’s property had been actually stolen. my sons. All are asleep in the house. when he suddenly pressed his hand to his side. we never knew. when. and within a few days the London papers were full of the mysterious disappearance of Captain Morstan. “No one need know that you have killed him. with the words ‘The sign of the four’ scrawled across it. Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair with an abstracted expression and the lids drawn low over his glittering eyes. The treasure is hidden in—At this instant a horrible change came over his expression. and the gash in his head. or who our secret visitor may have been. of course. Sahib. We soon. If my own servant could not believe my innocence. his jaw dropped. My brother and I rushed towards the window. When I stooped over him I found. in the doorway. and who is the wiser?” “I did not kill him. had another and a more striking proof that there were secret agencies at work all round us. although I had got it out with the design of sending it to her. who is now dead. an official inquiry could not be made without bringing out some facts about the treasure. men have been as bad as this and have recovered. but found no sign of the intruder. As far as we can judge. But my lips are sealed. Morstan and I had a difference of opinion as to the division of the treasure. Morstan had sprung out of his chair in a paroxysm of anger.

” said he. visitors. much excited as to the treasure which my father had spoken of. my brother was himself a little inclined to my father’s fault.“ he said. so that no part of him was visible save his mobile and peaky face. as 78 Miss Morstan remarked just now. Thaddeus Sholto ceased. Thaddeus Sholto talked incessantly. so that not one inch should be unaccounted for. “My brother and I. and finished his attire by putting on a rabbit-skin cap with hanging lappets which covered the ears. without discovering its whereabouts. resting upon two rafters. “Bartholomew is a clever fellow. and sat twitching on his luxurious settee. He lowered it through the hole. could we secure her rights. with my head drooped. would change from a needy governess to the richest heiress in England. “were. Besides. and made measurements everywhere. In the centre stood the treasure-chest. But. Miss Morstan. if not welcome. The treasure has been discovered. “It is possible that we may be able to make you some small return by throwing some light upon that which is still dark to you. which had been sealed up and was known to no one. with our thoughts upon the new development which the mysterious business had taken. ‘Le mauvais gout m`ne au crime.” At the mention of this gigantic sum we all stared at one another open-eyed. therefore. and our programme was evidently prearranged. too. deaf to the babble of our new acquaintance. but on adding together the heights of all the separate rooms. between friends. as he led the way down the passage. from first to last. which he ascertained by borings. sir. in spite of the extreme closeness of the night. and that my heart turned as heavy as lead within me. and it only remains for us to drive out to Norwood and demand our share. We had plenty of money ourselves. he could not bring the total to more than seventy feet. Surely it was the place of a loyal friend to rejoice at such news. for the driver started off at once at a rapid pace.” The little man waved his hand deprecatingly.” “It was a kindly thought. and I was . It was maddening to think that the hiding-place was on his very lips at the moment that he died. I desired no more.” Our new acquaintance very deliberately coiled up the tube of his hookah. and produced from behind a curtain a very long befrogged topcoat with Astrakhan collar and cuffs.” Mr. as you may imagine. yet I am ashamed to say that selfishness took me by the soul. Over this chaplet my brother Bartholomew and I had some little discussion. ”I am compelled to be a valetudinarian. The pearls were evidently of great value. He was clearly a confirmed hypochondriac. and then continued between the puffs of his overgrown pipe. We could judge the splendor of the missing riches by the chaplet which he had taken out.” said he.” said he. ”That was the view which I took of it. “My health is somewhat fragile. in the lath-andplaster ceiling of the highest room. so that at least she might never feel destitute. Holmes was the first to spring to his feet. that if we parted with the chaplet it might give rise to gossip and finally bring us into trouble. for. He thought. and making every allowance for the space between. “We were your trustees.“ he remarked. and there it lies. taking the old khitmutgar and Williams with me. Among other things. sure enough.’ The e ˆ French have a very neat way of putting these things. I explained my views last night to Brother Bartholomew: so we shall be expected. though Brother Bartholomew could not altogether see it in that light. it would have been such bad taste to have treated a young lady in so scurvy a fashion. earnestly. Yesterday. he came upon another little garret above it.” said our companion. I stammered out some few halting words of congratulation.The Sign of the Four the other of us with an obvious pride at the effect which his story had produced. and then sat downcast. I learn that an event of extreme importance has occurred. however. We all remained silent. This he buttoned tightly up. in a voice which rose high above the rattle of the wheels. He knocked a hole. and there. I instantly communicated with Miss Morstan. it is late. He computes the value of the jewels at not less than half a million sterling. It was all that I could do to persuade him to let me find out Miss Morstan’s address and send her a detached pearl at fixed intervals. There were four feet unaccounted for.” Our cab was awaiting us outside. Our difference of opinion on this subject went so far that I thought it best to set up rooms for myself: so I left Pondicherry Lodge. and we had best put the matter through without delay. These could only be at the top of the building. “You have done well. “How do you think he found out where the treasure was? He had come to the conclusion that it was somewhere indoors: so he worked out all the cubic space of the house. For weeks and for months we dug and delved in every part of the garden. and he was averse to part with them. he found that the height of the building was seventy-four feet. “It was extremely good of you.

“God’s truth! how could I have mistook you? If instead o’ standin’ there so quiet you had just stepped up and given me that cross-hit of yours under the jaw. However that may be. deep-chested man stood in the opening. I don’t know none o’ your friends. I’d ha’ known you without a question. but your friends must just stop where they are. in you come. a gravel path wound through desolate grounds to a huge clump of a house. Mr.” cried Sherlock Holmes. Thaddeus Sholto.” 79 This was an unexpected obstacle. Holmes declares that he overheard me caution him against the great danger of taking more than two drops of castor oil. and I have no orders. “That you.“ said Holmes.” “No. Pondicherry Lodge stood in its own grounds. “This. The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge It was nearly eleven o’clock when we reached this final stage of our night’s adventures. McMurdo!” he said. you’re one that has wasted your gifts.” he answered. Sherlock Holmes!” roared the prizefighter. Thaddeus Sholto looked about him in a perplexed and helpless manner. You know very well that I must stick to regulations. “This is too bad of you.” “You see. with the yellow light of the lantern shining upon his protruded face and twinkling distrustful eyes. “I don’t think you can have forgotten me. “He ain’t been out o’ his room to-day.” Inside.” “Oh. A single narrow ironclamped door formed the only means of entrance. laughing. and a short. and was girt round with a very high stone wall topped with broken glass. as he handed her out. inexorably. We had left the damp fog of the great city behind us. if you had joined the fancy. On this our guide knocked with a peculiar postman-like rat-tat.—you and your friends. The door swung heavily back. some of which he bore about in a leather case in his pocket. Thaddeus? But who are the others? I had no orders about them from the master.” said the porter. I can let you in. too. while I recommended strychnine in large doses as a sedative. genially. “Our friend won’t keep us out in the cold now. Mr. you have! You might have aimed high. There is the young lady. You surely know my knock by this time. Thaddeus. I trust that he may not remember any of the answers which I gave him that night. and heavy clouds moved slowly across the sky. Mr. I am sure. Mr.The Sign of the Four dreamily conscious that he was pouring forth interminable trains of symptoms. McMurdo.” said Mr. Thaddeus. yes you do. and my duty I’ll do. “If I guarantee them. She cannot wait on the public road at this hour. A warm wind blew from the westward. sir. Had to be certain of your friends before I let them in.” “Very sorry. square . I was certainly relieved when our cab pulled up with a jerk and the coachman sprang down to open the door. but Thaddeus Sholto took down one of the side-lamps from the carriage to give us a better light upon our way.” There was a grumbling sound and a clanking and jarring of keys. “Folk may be friends o’ yours. Thaddeus. Don’t you remember the amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison’s rooms on the night of your benefit four years back?” “Not Mr. and the night was fairly fine. He pays me well to do my duty. CHAPTER V. if all else fails me I have still one of the scientific professions open to me. “It is I. McMurdo. “Who is there?” cried a gruff voice from within. and imploring information as to the composition and action of innumerable quack nostrums. It was clear enough to see for some distance. and yet no friends o’ the master’s. is Pondicherry Lodge. “Very sorry. Miss Morstan. Ah. Watson. that is enough for you.” “In you come. but orders are very strict. McMurdo? You surprise me! I told my brother last night that I should bring some friends. with half a moon peeping occasionally through the rifts.

for here were we two who had never seen each other before that day. She can tell us all about it. Even Thaddeus Sholto seemed ill at ease. I shall be back in a moment. Mr. “Oh. and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us. with his hands thrown forward and terror in his eyes. I do not know what to make of it. for he often likes to be alone. like two children. Bernstone. looking round. but I have been sorely tried this day!” Our companion patted her thin. but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so. “It looks as though all the moles in England had been let loose in it. “It is Mrs. It is quite bright. struck a chill to the heart. but there is no light from within. “There is something amiss with Bartholomew!” he cried. Our guide had left us the lantern. and we all stood with thumping hearts. that is the housekeeper’s room. which stood upon the left-hand side of the passage. sir. and the lantern quivered and rattled in his hand.” he said.” “And from the same cause.” We all followed him into the housekeeper’s room. between 80 whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed. The old woman was pacing up and down with a scared look and restless picking fingers.” said Holmes. as she has often told me. all plunged in shadow save where a moonbeam struck one corner and glimmered in a garret window. and her hand was in mine. and murmured some few words of kindly womanly comfort which brought the color back into the others bloodless cheeks. He was the favorite son. where the prospectors had been at work. and yet there is no light in his window. A wondrous subtle thing is love. Thaddeus. “But I see the glint of a light in that little window beside the door. “She is the only woman in the house. and peered keenly at the house. “Come into the house. and at the great rubbish-heaps which cumbered the grounds.” He hurried for the door. Miss Morstan and I stood together. work-worn hand. with an hysterical sob.” “None. “I really do not feel equal to giving directions. But perhaps you would not mind waiting here for a minute or two. The vast size of the building. “What a strange place!” she said. I think. half blubbering with fear. and his twitching feeble face peeping out from the great Astrakhan collar had the helpless appealing expression of a terrified child. We could see a tall old woman admit him.” He was. “It does me good to see you. “These are the traces of the treasure-seekers. but an hour ago I feared that something was amiss. with its gloom and its deathly silence.—the shrill. “I cannot understand it. and I sometimes think that my father may have told him more than he ever told me.” “Ah. I have marvelled at it since. “God bless your sweet calm face!” she cried. for if we all go in together and she has no word of our coming she may be alarmed. do!” pleaded Thaddeus Sholto. broken whimpering of a frightened woman. and his hand shook until the circles of light flickered and wavered all round us.The Sign of the Four and prosaic. “All day I have waited to hear from him. “There must be some mistake. and sway with pleasure at the very sight of him. you know. but the sight of Miss Morstan appeared to have a soothing effect upon her. “I am frightened! My nerves cannot stand it. Miss Morstan seized my wrist. So we stood hand in hand. he has followed my father’s custom. That is where old Mrs. You must remember that they were six years looking for it. No wonder that the grounds look like a gravel-pit. firm way. straining our ears. That is Bartholomew’s window up there where the moonshine strikes. Thaddeus. and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. in his crisp.” “Does he always guard the premises in this way?” asked Holmes. Holmes swung it slowly round. I have seen something of the sort on the side of a hill near Ballarat. indeed. “Yes. and knocked in his peculiar way. Oh. so . Bernstone sits.” said Holmes. Wait here.” said Sholto. sir!” We heard her reiterated rejoicings until the door was closed and her voice died away into a muffled monotone.” she explained. But hush! what is that?” He held up the lantern. there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. “Master has locked himself in and will now answer me. and. and Thaddeus Sholto came running out.” said Holmes. “Yes. I distinctly told Bartholomew that we should be here. I am so glad you have come! I am so glad you have come. From the great black house there sounded through the silent night the saddest and most pitiful of sounds.” At that moment the door of the house burst open. Mr.

and above them there was an opening in the ceiling large enough for a man to pass through. for it is poisoned. “It looks like a thorn. But be careful. and instantly rose again with a sharp intaking of the breath. which in that still and moonlit room was more jarring to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. while we kept close at his heels. however. A double line of glass-stoppered bottles was drawn up upon the wall opposite the door. Holmes glanced at it. So like was the face to that of our little friend that I looked round at him to make sure that he was indeed with us. Beside it was a torn sheet of note-paper with some words scrawled upon it. One of these appeared to leak or to have been broken. Thaddeus. “It means murder. and this time it gave way with a sudden snap. By his hand upon the table there lay a peculiar instrument. as we could see when we set our lamp up against it. however. and had clearly been dead many hours. springing against it. A set of steps stood at one side of the room. in the air. stooping over the dead man. Miss Morstan had remained behind with the frightened housekeeper. and that ghastly. in a horrible smile. “What do you make of it?” I stooped to the hole. the same circular bristle of red hair. in a wooden arm-chair. The key being turned.—the very face of our companion Thaddeus. what does it all mean?” I asked. and by a broad and powerful bolt. The features were set. inscrutable smile upon his face. for his knees were trembling under him. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned to us that his brother and he were twins. Bartholomew Sholto in joy and in sorrow for ten long years. closegrained stick. Moonlight was streaming into the room. shining head. By the table. tarlike odor. test-tubes. I have seen Mr. in the midst of a litter of lath and plaster. for Thaddeus Sholto’s teeth were chattering in his head. The third door was that which we were seeking. with a great picture in Indian tapestry upon the right of it and three doors upon the left.” Sherlock Holmes took the lamp and led the way. more moved than I had ever before seen him. In the light of the lantern I read. there hung a face. and we found ourselves within Bartholomew Sholto’s chamber. but I never saw him with such a face on him as that. for a stream of dark-colored liquid had trickled out from it. “The sign of the four. holding the lamp.” “In God’s name. “Ah.The Sign of the Four I went up and peeped through the key-hole. Holmes advanced along it in the same slow and methodical way.” he answered. You must go up. the same bloodless countenance. dark thorn stuck in the skin just above the ear. rudely lashed on with coarse twine. and recoiled in horror. with a thrill of horror. At the foot of the steps a long coil of rope was thrown carelessly together. and suspended. I expected it. however. Holmes knocked without receiving any answer. “You see. “It is a thorn. and the table was littered over with Bunsen burners. “There is something devilish in this. You may pick it out. It appeared to have been fitted up as a chemical laboratory.” he said. and the air was heavy with a peculiarly pungent. and. He walked slowly from step to step. Mr.—you must go up and look for yourself. with a stone head like a hammer. In the corners stood carboys of acid in wicker baskets. Looking straight at me. with our long black shadows streaming backwards down the corridor. He was stiff and cold. and it was bright with a vague and shifty radiance. for all beneath was in shadow. and retorts. It creaked and groaned. a fixed and unnatural grin. the hole was not entirely closed.—a brown.” said he. with a significant raising of the eyebrows. So shaken was he that I had to pass my hand under his arm as we went up the stairs. It was locked on the inside. 81 “This is terrible!” I said to Holmes. and shooting keen glances to right and left. with his head sunk upon his left shoulder.” I took it up between my finger and thumb. The third flight of stairs ended in a straight passage of some length. It seemed to me that not only his features but all his limbs were twisted and turned in the most fantastic fashion. “What is to be done?” “The door must come down. he put all his weight upon the lock. as it were. Twice as we ascended Holmes whipped his lens out of his pocket and carefully examined marks which appeared to me to be mere shapeless smudges of dust upon the cocoa-nut matting which served as a stair-carpet.” said I. Look here!” He pointed to what looked like a long. and then tried to turn the handle and force it open. There was the same high. Watson. the master of the house was seated all in a heap. and then handed it to me. Sherlock Holmes bent down to it. Together we flung ourselves upon it once more. but did not yield. It came away from the skin so readily that hardly .” said he.

” “Simple!” I ejaculated. but addressing them to himself rather than to me. “It is something much more valuable to us. Roof quite out of reach. Offer to assist them in every way.” “Quite so. “Window is snibbed on the inner side. “The treasure is gone!” he said. there may be something deeper underlying it.” said Holmes. No hinges at the side. “it clears every instant. No water-pipe near.” “It is the wooden-legged man. And here is a circular muddy mark. he broke out into a sharp. See here. Yet a man has mounted by the window. CHAPTER VI. It is the impression of a wooden stump. Could you scale that wall.” said I.The Sign of the Four any mark was left behind. Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration “Now. and the police will be called in. I helped him to do it! I was the last person who saw him! I left him here last night. One tiny speck of blood showed where the puncture had been. Oh. Watson! This is really a very pretty demonstration. Simple as the case seems now. Mr. Sholto. almost complete.” I looked at the round. “Just sit in the corner there. rubbing his hands.” I answered. Let us open it. Watson. But suppose you had a friend up here who lowered you this good stout .” said Holmes. look where I would. How of the window?” He carried the lamp across to it. putting his hand upon his shoulder. “It grows darker instead of clearer. “This is not a footmark. muttering his observations aloud the while. You see here on the sill is the boot-mark. querulous cry. 82 and here again upon the floor. and. “It is absolutely impossible. Now to work! In the first place. “This is all an insoluble mystery to me. “Without aid it is so. “You have no reason for fear. “They have robbed him of the treasure! There is the hole through which we lowered it. “Take my advice. dear! oh.” We had almost forgotten our companion’s presence since we entered the chamber. “Surely. well-defined muddy discs. and beside it is the mark of the timber-toe. gentlemen? Surely you don’t think that it was I? Is it likely that I would have brought you here if it were I? Oh. and I shall be suspected of having had a hand in it. He was still standing in the door-way. dear! I know that I shall go mad!” He jerked his arms and stamped his feet in a kind of convulsive frenzy. how did these folk come.” said I. Framework is solid. We shall wait here until your return.” he answered. I could see no foothold. as I have told you. and drive down to the station to report this matter to the police. Here is the print of a foot in mould upon the sill.—a very able and efficient ally. The moon still shone brightly on that angle of the house. however. but we must not err on the side of over-confidence. My case is. “we have half an hour to ourselves. Let us make good use of it. Suddenly.” “On the contrary. It rained a little last night. But you don’t think so. yes. I only require a few missing links to have an entirely connected case. nor as much as a crevice in the brick-work. that your footprints may not complicate matters.” said he.” “What time was that?” “It was ten o’clock. and here again by the table. And now he is dead. doctor?” I looked out of the open window. We were a good sixty feet from the round. the very picture of terror. and we heard him stumbling down the stairs in the dark. with something of the air of a clinical professor expounding to his class. But there has been some one else.” The little man obeyed in a half-stupefied fashion. a heavy boot with the broad metal heel. and I heard him lock the door as I came down-stairs. wringing his hands and moaning to himself. and how did they go? The door has not been opened since last night. I am sure I shall. kindly.

” he said.” he answered.” He had recovered his self-possession in an instant. “It will be clear enough to you soon. well defined. My lens discloses more than one bloodmark. As a minor point it may be noted. He must have done so.” he said. and your ally would draw up the rope. that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law. with a touch of impatience. This. if you were an active man. The 83 floor was formed by the rafters. If you will have the kindness to hold the lamp for me. surprised look come over his face.” “How then?” I persisted. as to those footmarks?” I asked. you might swarm up. then. measuring.” I cried. “I had already considered that possibility.” he continued. silent. “Holmes. and furtive were his movements. and the accumulated dust of years lay thick upon the floor. is the way by which Number One entered. and it will be instructive to compare results. His hands were far from horny. So swift.” “How came he. of course. and here is the roof itself. Let us go down.” I said. in the same fashion. “You know my methods.” “I cannot conceive anything which will cover the facts. with his long thin nose only a few inches from the planks.” said I. in a whisper. must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door.” “This is all very well.—the secret room in which the treasure was found.” He mounted the steps. Let us see if we can find one other traces of his individuality. or the chimney. Then.” I answered. we shall now extend our researches to the room above. the window is inaccessible. was not a professional sailor. securing one end of it to this great hook in the wall. “My dear Watson. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains. comparing. The roof ran up to an apex.” He held down the lamp to the floor. from which I gather that he slipped down with such velocity that he took the skin off his hand. Was it through the chimney?” “The grate is much too small. “I was staggered for the moment. putting his hand against the sloping wall. “Here you are. try a little analysis yourself.—though parallel cases suggest themselves from India. The floor was covered thickly with the prints of a naked foot. then. “I think that there is nothing else of importance here. then. “but the thing is quite natural. “The door is locked. especially towards the end of the rope. and as he did so I saw for the second time that night a startled. seizing a rafter with either hand. so that in walking one had to step from beam to beam. “You will not apply my precept.” said Sherlock Holmes.The Sign of the Four rope which I see in the corner. You would depart. then?” I reiterated. but scarce half the size of those of an ordinary man. I think. he swung himself up into the garret. “a child has done the horrid thing. however improbable. as I followed his gaze my skin was cold under my clothes. did he come?” “He came through the hole in the roof. and hurried about the room on his knees. “There are features of interest about this ally. Whence. My memory failed me. from Senegambia. “that our wooden-legged friend. pensively. if my memory serves me. Then. untie it from the hook. like those of a trained blood-hound picking out a scent. and. you see. and was evidently the inner shell of the true roof of the house. wooden leg and all.” he said. “Of course he did. Apply them. “but the thing becomes more unintelligible than ever. lying on his face. perfectly formed. shut the window. or I should have been able to foretell it.—clear. sloping at a gentle angle. as there is no concealment possible. in an off-hand way. eagerly. The chamber in which we found ourselves was about ten feet one way and six the other. There was no furniture of any sort. he reached down for the lamp and held it while I followed him.” “What is your theory. “This is a trap-door which leads out on to the roof. when we had regained the lower room once more. How about this mysterious ally? How came he into the room?” “Yes. with thin lath-andplaster between. and. shaking his head. snib it on the inside. There is nothing more to be learned here. For myself. examining. I fancy that this ally breaks fresh ground in the annals of crime in this country. though a fair climber. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room. fingering the rope.” said he. and his beady eyes gleaming and deep-set like those of a bird. but I will look. I can press it back.” He whipped out his lens and a tape measure. He lifts the case from the regions of the commonplace. the ally!” repeated Holmes. instead of exerting them . the window. and get away in the way that he originally came.

” Heavy steps and the clamor of loud voices were audible from below. burly and plethoric. How’s that?” . but you’ll own now that it was more by good luck than good guidance. How lucky that I happened to be out at Norwood over another case! I was at the station when the message arrived.” I took it up gingerly and held it in the light of the lantern. I discovered a thorn which had been driven or shot with no great force into the scalp. As he hunted about. Number One has had the misfortune to tread in the creosote. or ‘risus sardonicus.” “It was a piece of very simple reasoning. if it was fastened the steps could have nothing to do with the matter. no. These flashes come upon me at times. Now examine the thorn. Still.” said he. I understand. dryly. and you. this Hippocratic smile. and a very stout. Mr. What do you feel?” “The muscles are as hard as a board. and the stuff has leaked out. on which Sholto walked off with the treasure. in a muffled.” I answered.” “Well. “Why. That’s common sense. what conclusion would it suggest to your mind?” “Death from some powerful vegetable alkaloid. “Before they come. and the hall door shut with a loud crash. come! Never be ashamed to own up. “It’s Mr. the theorist. “I know a dog that would follow that scent to the world’s end. You observe that the part struck was that which would be turned towards the hole in the ceiling if the man were erect in his chair. As you saw.” said Holmes. On getting into the room I at once looked for the means by which the poison had entered the system. husky voice.” said Holmes. he kept muttering to himself. we have got him. portly man in a gray suit strode heavily into the room. but there are steps on the sill. Athelney Jones.—What do you think of this. well. It’s true you set us on the right track. we can’t deny that you hit the nail on the head sometimes. how far can a specially-trained hound follow so pungent a smell as this? It sounds like a sum in the rule of three. it certainly is not. and finally he broke out into a loud crow of delight. Remember you! I’ll never forget how you lectured us all on causes and inferences and effects in the Bishopgate jewel case. now. 84 “No. “Here’s a pretty business! But who are all these? Why. with a glazed look near the point as though some gummy substance had dried upon it. on his own confession. The brother died in a fit. this is hardly a case for me to theorize over.” I answered. You can see the outline of the edge of his small foot here at the side of this evil-smelling mess. sharp. the steps which had been coming nearer sounded loudly on the passage. You see. Coupled with this distortion of the face.’ as the old writers called it. The carboy has been cracked. Dear me! Door locked. But here are the regulars: so the auxiliary forces may beat a retreat.” “That was the idea which occurred to me the instant I saw the drawn muscles of the face. that’s all. But what is all this? Bad business! Bad business! Stern facts here. the house seems to be as full as a rabbit-warren!” “I think you must recollect me. If a pack can track a trailed herring across a shire. “We are certainly in luck. They are in a state of extreme contraction.—“some strychnine-like substance which would produce tetanus.The Sign of the Four in its defense.” As he spoke. He was closely followed by an inspector in uniform. How was the window?” “Fastened. sergeant.—no room for theories. The answer should give us the—But halloo! here are the accredited representatives of the law. and here on his leg. “No.” said he. Mr. He was red-faced. Man might have died in a fit. Jewels worth half a million missing. far exceeding the usual rigor mortis. quietly. Sholto.” “Oh.—Just step outside. Sherlock Holmes. “just put your hand here on this poor fellow’s arm. “Why. with his brother last night. It was long. “We ought to have very little trouble now.” “With all these data you should be able to draw some just inference. “Here’s a business!” he cried. The blunt end had been trimmed and rounded off with a knife.” “What then?” I asked. Ha! I have a theory. “Is that an English thorn?” he asked. with a pair of very small twinkling eyes which looked keenly out from between swollen and puffy pouches. Holmes? Sholto was. What d’you think the man died of?” “Oh. Your friend can remain. and by the still palpitating Thaddeus Sholto.” said Holmes. come. but then the jewels are missing. “Quite so. and black. of course I do!” he wheezed.

not attractive. so much we know. as like as not. sir. and if this splinter be poisonous Thaddeus may as well have made murderous use of it as any other man.” “Not only will I clear him.” said the fat detective. “Is a rather curious person. is Jonathan Small. There is a trap-door communicating with the roof. was on the table. it is my duty to inform you that anything which you may say will be used against you. I don’t think I could rest until I know more of this fantastic business. considering his bulk. He is a poorly-educated man.” “You are not quite in possession of the facts yet. No one saw the brother from the time Thaddeus left him. ”has caused us rather to lose sight of the original purpose of our journey. I have every reason to believe.” “Hum! There’s a flaw there.” He led me out to the head of the stair. Watson. Il n’y a pas des sots si incommodes que ceux qui ont de l’esprit!” “You see!” said Athelney Jones. The card is some hocus-pocus. pompously. My view of the case is confirmed.” 85 “There.—don’t promise too much!” snapped the detective. then?” He seemed a little crestfallen at the discovery. he sprang up the steps and squeezed through into the garret. however.—a blind. His name.” I answered.” “Oh. here is a hole in the roof. after all. and beside it lay this rather curious stone-headed instrument. You see that I am weaving my web round Thaddeus. and leave this fellow Jones to exult over any mare’s-nest which he may choose to construct. Cecil Forrester.“ he said. now that I have got so far. and wearing a wooden stump which is worn away upon the inner side. So much also we know.” “I have just been thinking so. The other man—” “Ah! the other man—?” asked Athelney Jones.” “Your presence will be of great service to me. throwing out his hands. “It is not right that Miss Morstan should remain in this stricken house. it shows how our gentleman got away.” remarked Holmes. “I think that I can engage to clear you of the charge. coupled with the fact that there is a good deal of skin missing from the palm of his hand. turning upon his heel. “Don’t trouble yourself about it. square-toed sole. I have seen something of the rough side of life. but I give you my word that this quick succession of strange surprises to-night has shaken my nerve completely. indeed! You did notice it. His left boot has a coarse.” “Don’t promise too much. A word with you. how did he depart? Ah. Inspector!” “Yes. “We shall work the case out independently. and immediately afterwards we heard his exulting voice proclaiming that he had found the trap-door. Thaddeus brought this up. whoever noticed it. “He can find something. to see the matter through with you. there was a quarrel.” said Sherlock Holmes. The only question is. and it is partly open. She lives with Mrs. His bed had not been slept in. was in the man’s scalp where you still see the mark. active. “Facts are better than mere theories. He is a middle-aged man. I arrest you in the queen’s name as being concerned in the death of your brother. Sholto. “House is full of Indian curiosities. Mr.—Mr. reappearing down the steps again. and has been a convict. His appearance is—well. How does all that fit into your theory?” “Confirms it in every respect. “Ask Mr. Mr. this card. “You may find it a harder matter than you think.” “It was I who opened it. as I could easily see. Sholto to step this way. “I hope before very long to be able to introduce you to the pair of them. The net begins to close upon him. This Thaddeus Sholto was with his brother. Or perhaps you are too tired?” “By no means. and looking from one to the other of us. The brother is dead and the jewels are gone. Theorist. “This unexpected occurrence. small.” said Holmes. I will wait for you here if you will drive out again. “Well. I should like. Let us apply common sense to the matter.” from the passage. by the precision of the other’s manner. much sunburned. . with his right leg off. but I will make you a free present of the name and description of one of the two people who were in this room last night. of course. “He has occasional glimmerings of reason.” he answered. shrugging his shoulders.” “No. which I have every reason to believe to be poisoned.” said Holmes. Jones. with an iron band round the heel.The Sign of the Four “On which the dead man very considerately got up and locked the door on the inside. inscribed as you see it. now! Didn’t I tell you!” cried the poor little man. “This splinter of wood.” With great activity. You must escort her home. Thaddeus is evidently in a most disturbed state of mind. These few indications may be of some assistance to you. but impressed none the less. Mr. Sholto. in Lower Camberwell: so it is not very far. in a sneering voice.

I explained. I ought to be back before three. and from the Indian servant.—we had had light upon all those events.—a queer mongrel. Forrester had been so interested by the strange message which Miss Morstan had received that she had sat up in the hope of her return. she was rich. Then I shall study the great Jones’s methods and listen to his not too delicate sarcasms. and the bright stairrods. the importance of my errand. she first turned faint. however. “It is one now. She was clearly no mere paid dependant.” said Holmes.” “I shall bring him. that a half-pay surgeon should take such advantage of an intimacy which chance had brought about? Might she not look upon me as a mere vulgar fortune-seeker? I could not bear to risk that such a thought should cross her mind. she would be an heiress. I was introduced. Cecil Forrester’s. the advertisement. that I want Toby at once. The Episode of the Barrel The police had brought a cab with them.” “Yes. She opened the door herself. The third house on the right-hand side is a bird-stuffer’s: Sherman is the name. but Mrs. It was nearly two o’clock when we reached Mrs. You will bring Toby back in the cab with you. and in this I escorted Miss Morstan back to her home. I reviewed the whole extraordinary sequence of events as I rattled on through the silent gas-lit streets. It was to take her at a disadvantage to obtrude love upon her at such a time. and then burst into a passion of weeping. This Agra treasure intervened like an impassable barrier between us. dark business which had absorbed us. If Holmes’s researches were successful. Knock old Sherman up. After the angelic fashion of women. My sympathies and my love went out to her. 3 Pinchin Lane. the two graceful. if I can get a fresh horse. but an honored friend. Yet there were two thoughts which sealed the words of affection upon my lips. ‘Wir sind gewohnt. “shall see what I can learn from Mrs. the barometer.” said I. and I still seem to see that little group on the step. graceful woman. brave nature as had this one day of strange experiences. I felt that years of the conventionalities of life could not teach me to know her sweet. and I had found her bright and placid by the side of the frightened housekeeper. You will see a weasel holding a young rabbit in the window. The servants had retired hours ago. In the cab. Was it fair. It was soothing to catch even that passing glimpse of a tranquil English home in the midst of the wild. with a most amazing power of scent. Thaddeus tell me.The Sign of the Four When you have dropped Miss Morstan I wish you to go on to No. Mr.” “A dog.’ Goethe is always pithy. the sending of the pearls. the half-opened door. She little guessed the struggle within my breast. sleeps in the next garret. the letter.” CHAPTER VII. was it honorable. then. the wilder and darker it grew. shaken in mind and nerve. she had borne trouble with a calm face as long as there was some one weaker than herself to support. with my compliments. The death of Captain Morstan. or the effort of self-restraint which held me back. the hall light shining through stained glass. and Mrs. even as my hand had in the garden. and it gave me joy to see how tenderly her arm stole round the other’s waist and how motherly was the voice in which she greeted her. And the more I thought of what had happened. daß die Menschen verh¨ hnen was o sie nicht verstehen.—so sorely had she been tried by the adventures of the night. and tell him. who. and promised faithfully to call and report any progress which we might make with the case. She was weak and helpless. a middleaged. They had 86 . down near the water’s edge at Lambeth. As we drove away I stole a glance back. There was the original problem: that at least was pretty clear now. Forrester earnestly begged me to step in and tell her our adventures. I would rather have Toby’s help than that of the whole detective force of London. Worse still. clinging figures.” “And I. She has told me since that she thought me cold and distant upon that journey. Bernstone. however. I suppose.

Mr. Even the rafters above our heads were lined by solemn fowls. with a very clumsy waddling gait.” “But I want a dog. A weary-looking police-sergeant reclined in the corner. shadowy light I could see dimly that there were glancing. “So help me gracious. Leave the dog here.The Sign of the Four only led us. Sherlock Holmes—” I began. save that a sheet had been draped over the central figure. “A friend of Mr. there was the glint of a candle behind the blind. been arrested as an accessory. and the Indian servant. 7 on the left here.—here was indeed a labyrinth in which a man less singularly endowed than my fellow-lodger might well despair of ever finding the clue.” said I. the very singular accompaniments to the crime.” said my companion. I had to knock for some time at No. In the uncertain.” said he. “Do you observe anything noteworthy about them?” . corresponding with those upon Captain Morstan’s chart.” “If you’ll let one out it’s just what I have come for. so as to hang it in front of me. Two constables guarded the narrow gate. it followed me to the cab. brownand-white in color. however.—Just you carry them down with you. a stringy neck. Sherlock is always welcome. to a deeper and far more tragic mystery. Toby proved to an ugly. but the words had a most magical effect.” He moved slowly forward with his candle among the queer animal family which he had gathered round him. sergeant.” I cried. Watson. The ex-prize-fighter McMurdo had. but for a sergeant up-stairs. you have him there!” said he. I have a wiper in the bag. At last. Sholto had been marched off to the station.” “Ah! that would be Toby. for when I say ‘three. having thus sealed an alliance. you drunken vagabone. the housekeeper. would you take a nip at the gentleman?” This to a stoat which thrust its wicked head and red eyes between the bars of its cage. and made no difficulties about accompanying me. so I gives it the run o’ the room. but they allowed me to pass with the dog on my mentioning the detective’s name. Keep clear of the badger. “Go on!” yelled the voice. for he bites. lop-eared creature. for I’m guyed at by the children. And dip my handkerchief into the creasote. Holmes was standing on the door-step. “Go on. an’ I’ll drop it on your ’ead if you don’t hook it. Toby was the name. and. “I wish you particularly to notice these footmarks. half spaniel and half lurcher. Sherman was a lanky. “Step in. lean old man.” We clambered up through the hole. Now come up into the garret with me for a moment. “Good dog. and a face looked out at the upper window. sir. The room was as he had left it. Sherlock Holmes wanted. “I won’t be argued with!” shouted Mr. That will do. Holmes turned his light once more upon the footsteps in the dust. naughty. with stooping shoulders. the curious plan found among Morstan’s baggage. for the window instantly slammed down. and come up. with his hands in his pockets. and within a minute the door was unbarred and open. Thank you. then! Athelney Jones has gone. however.” he said. the footsteps.” said the face.” “Mr. and blue-tinted glasses. and there’s many a one just comes down this lane to knock me up. “Now stand clear. sir: it’s only a slowworm. Now I must kick off my boots and stockings. I am going to do a little climbing. It had just struck three on the Palace clock when I found myself back once more at Pondicherry Lodge. 3 before I could make my impression. the strange scene at Major Sholto’s death. “Don’t mind that.’ down goes the wiper. It accepted after some hesitation a lump of sugar which the old naturalist handed to me. Ah. We have the place to ourselves. You must not mind my bein’ just a little short wi’ you at first. He has arrested not only friend Thaddeus. Sherman. Pinchin Lane was a row of shabby two-storied brick houses in the lower quarter of Lambeth. and both he and Mr.” “Yes. smoking his pipe. It hain’t got no fangs. the words upon the card. but the gatekeeper. “Lend me your bull’s-eye. What was it that Mr.” 87 “Toby lives at No. naughty. “Now tie this bit of card round my neck. I found. We have had an immense display of energy since you left. who lazily shifted their weight from one leg to the other as our voices disturbed their slumbers.” We tied Toby to the hall table. The Indian treasure. long-haired. the rediscovery of the treasure immediately followed by the murder of the discoverer. and reascended the stairs. sir?” “He wanted a dog of yours. “If you kick up any more row I’ll open the kennels and let out forty-three dogs upon you. for it keeps the bettles down. the remarkable weapons. “Ah. glimmering eyes peeping down at us from every cranny and corner.

bare walls.” “Top on it?” “Yes. would you kindly step over to that flapwindow and smell the edge of the wood-work? I shall stay here. with its black. as though they had frequently been used as a ladder. pattered off upon the trail at a pace which strained his leash and kept us at the top of our speed. “Tiles were loosened the whole way along.” “No sign of a ladder?” “No.” said he. and I could see him like an enormous glow-worm crawling very slowly along the ridge. “They are hellish things. I should think that Toby will have no difficulty. with his nose on the ground. Where the two walls joined. “It was easy to follow him. several bricks had been loosened. tremulous yelps.” There was a scuffling of feet. Now run down-stairs. like a connoisseur sniffing the bouquet of a famous vintage.” “Apart from their size. myself. That is the point. for the chances are that they are all he has. What is the chief difference?” “Your toes are all cramped together. with its scattered dirt-heaps and ill-grown shrubs. behind us. and the crevices left were worn down and rounded upon the lower side. “Your leg will stand it?” “Oh. yes. The square. Holmes then threw the handkerchief to a distance. though. Now. Is there nothing else?” “They appear to be much as other footmarks. When I made my way round there I found him seated at one of the corner eaves. Toby. towered up. There is the less fear of you or me finding one in our skin before long. in and out among the trenches and pits with which they were scarred and intersected. ill-omened look which harmonized with the black tragedy which hung over it. “That You. fastened a stout cord to the mongrel’s collar. anyhow.” “Quite so. doggy! Good old Toby! Smell it. while the creature stood with its fluffy legs separated. and with a most comical cock to its head.” The object which he held up to me was a small pocket or pouch woven out of colored grasses and with a few tawdry beads strung round it. The east had been gradually whitening. and let him to the foot of the water-barrel. Watson?” “Certainly. taking the dog from me. “That is where he put his foot in getting out. Are you game for a six-mile trudge. as you doctors express it.” he said.” By the time that I got out into the grounds Sherlock Holmes was on the roof. Now I make one with my naked foot beside it. It confirms my diagnosis. What is that black thing down there?” “A water-barrel. and his tail in the air.” “Confound the fellow! It’s a most break-neck place. massive house. like that which had struck Bartholomew Sholto. The other print has each toe distinctly divided. The creature instantly broke into a succession of high. Watson?” he cried. and.” “Here you are. In shape and size it was not unlike a cigarette-case. and the lantern began to come steadily down the side of the wall. and. and in his hurry he had 88 dropped this. .” “This is the place. Then with a light spring he came on to the barrel.” I said. whining eagerly. had a blighted. On reaching the boundary wall Toby ran along.” I answered. If you can trace him. I ought to be able to come down where he could climb up. “to a child or a small woman. he dropped it over upon the other side. Look here! This is the print of a right foot in the dust. loose the dog. “Look out that you don’t prick yourself. The water-pipe feels pretty firm. empty windows and high. and from there to the earth.The Sign of the Four “They belong. smell it!” He pushed the creasote handkerchief under the dog’s nose. sharp at one end and rounded at the other. “Yes. and we could now see some distance in the cold gray light. but he presently reappeared. Bear that in mind. and then vanished once more upon the opposite side. and was instantly conscious of a strong tarry smell. and stopped finally in a corner screened by a young beech.” I did as he directed. underneath its shadow. sad and forlorn. I lost sight of him behind a stack of chimneys. I’m delighted to have them. Holmes clambered up. The whole place. I would sooner face a Martini bullet. Inside were half a dozen spines of dark wood. and look out for Blondin.” “Not at all. as I have this handkerchief in my hand. drawing on his stockings and boots. Our course let right across the grounds. Here goes.

for he would have known what their term of imprisonment was. In a frenzy lest the secret of the treasure die with him. It is all patent and above-board. but waddled on in his peculiar rolling fashion.” 89 “But that is mere speculation. Suddenly Small learns that the major is on his death-bed. There is this butler. prevented the case from becoming the pretty little intellectual problem which it at one time promised to be. What does he do then? He guards himself against a wooden-legged man.” “Well. but. however. even more than I did in the Jefferson Hope Murder. and actually fires a pistol at him. Jonathan Small did not get the treasure because he and his associates were themselves convicts and could not get away.The Sign of the Four “There’s the print of wooden-leg’s hand. The chart is dated at a time when Morstan was brought into close association with convicts. however. The thing seems to me to be deeper and more inexplicable. It would not have been a surprise to him. makes his way to the dying man’s window. Let us look at it from his point of view. whom we have not seen. He had signed it in behalf of himself and his associates. “It is more than that. mark you. He comes to England with the double idea of regaining what he would consider to be his rights and of having his revenge upon the man who had wronged him. Therefore we may say with confidence that the wooden-legged man is identical with Jonathan Small. however. and is only deterred from entering by the presence of his two sons. he enters the room that night. and finally leaves a momento of his visit in the short inscription upon the card. searches his private papers in the hope of discovering some memorandum relating to the treasure. now. from the point of view of the four associates. A map is drawn for them by an Englishman named Jonathan Small. as I mounted up beside him. “You see the slight smudge of blood upon the white plaster. the officers—or one of them—gets the treasure and brings it to England. Mad with hate.” said I. Two officers who are in command of a convict-guard learn an important secret as to buried treasure. some condition under which he received it unfulfilled. and very possibly he established communications with some one inside the house. That is much more likely. Now. let us put ourselves in the place of Jonathan Small. for he mistakes a white tradesman for him. Then he receives a letter from India which gives him a great fright. Whimsical and bizarre conceits of this kind are common enough in the annals of . happy in the possession of his treasure. for no one ever knew. Does the reasoning strike yo as being faulty?” “No: it is clear and concise. could you describe with such confidence the wooden-legged man?” “Pshaw. why did not Jonathan Small get the treasure himself? The answer is obvious. What a lucky thing it is that we have had no very heavy rain since yesterday! The scent will lie upon the road in spite of their eight-and-twenty hours’ start. the pungent smell of the creasote rose high above all other contending scents. we will suppose. I have knowledge now which would enable me to trace them in many different ways. then.—a white man. What was that?” “A letter to say that the men whom he had wronged had been set free. and to spare. Let us see how it fits in with the sequel. I don’t wish to be theatrical. It has. Holmes. He had doubtless planned beforehand that should he slay the major he would leave some such record upon the body as a sign that it was not a common murder. where the treasure was hid.” I confess that I had my doubts myself when I reflected upon the great traffic which had passed along the London road in the interval. however. Clearly. This. but for this too palpable clue. Aided by this chart. however. Mrs.” “There is credit. he runs the gauntlet of the guards. Small could not find out. How. against the dead man. Now. The others are Hindoos or Mohammedans. There is no other white man. Major Sholto remains at peace for some years. as he somewhat dramatically called it. My fears were soon appeased. only one white man’s name is on the chart. You remember that we saw the name upon the chart in Captain Morstan’s possession.” said Holmes. Lal Rao. save the major and one faithful servant who had died. It is the only hypothesis which covers the facts. my dear boy! it was simplicity itself. There might have been some credit to be gained out of it. since fortune has put it into our hands. for example. is the readiest and.—the sign of the four.” “Or had escaped. leaving. “Do not imagine. He found out where Sholto lived. Toby never hesitated or swerved.” he remarked. Bernstone gives him far from a good character. I should be culpable if I neglected it. something in the nature of an act of justice. “I assure you. “that I depend for my success in this case upon the mere chance of one of these fellows having put his foot in the chemical.” said I. that I marvel at the means by which you obtain your results in this case.

Toby ceased to advance.” 90 “That was like following the brook to the parent lake. We again trace the presence of some confederate in the household. and the poison had done its work: so Jonathan Small left his record. however. who committed the crime. you see. to judge by the way the stamped about when he got into the room. lowered the treasure-box to the ground. You have not a pistol. with his wooden leg. There is much food for thought in Richter. is utterly unable to reach the lofty room of Bartholomew Sholto. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of nature! Are you well up in your Jean Paul?” “Fairly so. He did not wish to put his head in a halter. At the squaretopped corner public houses business was just beginning. whence come Toby. as if to ask for sympathy in his embarrassment. and a six-mile limp for a half-pay officer with a damaged tendo Achillis. he put it back into the right-hand pocket of his jacket. Brixton. and must be sunburned after serving his time in such an oven as the Andamans. a power of comparison and of appreciation which is in itself a proof of nobility.” “But it was the associate. or go off in a balloon. And rather to Jonathan’s disgust. having borne away through the side-streets to the east of the Oval. Of course as to his personal appearance he must be middle-aged. Jonathan.” “The associate?” “Ah. and followed it himself. have you?” “I have my stick. and usually afford valuable indications as to the criminal. “They surely would not take a cab. He bore no grudge against Bartholomew Sholto. He makes one curious but profound remark. and rough-looking men were emerging. and now found ourselves in Kennington Lane. having loaded two of the chambers. a rather curious associate. How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo.The Sign of the Four crime. and not Jonathan. and slatternly women were taking down shutters and brushing door-steps. we were beginning to come among continuous streets.” He took out his revolver as he spoke. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. but our inimitable Toby looked neither to the right nor to the left. who are on a stranger errand than you and I. where laborers and dockmen were already astir. The men whom we pursued seemed to have taken a curiously zigzag road. and would have preferred if he could have been simply bound and gagged. His height is readily calculated from the length of his stride. Now. He takes with him. I worked back to him through Carlyle. however. There was no help for it. That was the train of events as far as I can decipher them.” “Perhaps they stood here for some time.” “Now. the very picture of canine indecision. At the foot of Kennington Lane they had edged away to the left through Bond Street and Miles Street. It shines on a good many folk. Then comes the discovery of the garret. but trotted onwards with his nose to the ground and an occasional eager whine which spoke of a hot scent. who gets over this difficulty. and. but dips his naked foot into creasote. and we know that he was bearded.” “It is just possible that we may need something of the sort if we get to their lair. what could Jonathan Small do? He could only continue to keep a secret watch upon the efforts made to find the treasure. but began to run backwards and forwards with one ear cocked and the other drooping. with the idea probably of escaping observation. Jonathan I shall leave to you. Where the latter street turns into Knight’s Place. Camberwell. but on none. Do you follow all this?” “Very clearly. It argues. rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet. looking up to us from time to time. Possibly he leaves England and only comes back at intervals. there is no great mystery in that. however: the savage instincts of his companion had broken out. I dare bet. His hairiness was the one point which impressed itself upon Thaddeus Sholto when he saw him at the window. “What the deuce is the matter with the dog?” growled Holmes. They had never kept to the main road if a parallel side-street would serve their turn. . We had traversed Streatham. Strange dogs sauntered up and stared wonderingly at us as we passed. It is that the chief proof of man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness. and he is instantly informed of it. But you will know all about it soon enough. I don’t know that there is anything else.” I suggested.” “Quite so. We had during this time been following the guidance of Toby down the half-rural villa-lined roads which lead to the metropolis. but if the other turns nasty I shall shoot him dead. well. Then he waddled round in circles.

We took Toby round to each in turn. No. He was indeed off. and the whole air was heavy with the smell of creasote. CHAPTER VIII. “This looks bad. and there stood whining. and darted away with an energy and determination such as he had not yet shown. and then burst simultaneously into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. “They have taken to a boat here. especially for the seasoning of wood.” There was no difficulty about this. Evidently what puzzled the dog at the corner of Knight’s Place was that there were two different trails running in opposite directions. On leading Toby to the place where he had committed his fault. we have no distance to go. “If you consider how much creasote is carted about London in one day. It is much used now.” “We must get on the main scent again. round a passage. but tugged at his leash and tried to break into a run. Here the dog. underneath. And. The scent appeared to be much hotter than before. looking out on the dark current beyond. Poor Toby is not to blame. where the sawyers were already at work. He’s off again. “These fellows are sharper than I expected. down an alley. With lolling tongue and blinking eyes. whereas the barrel passed 91 down the roadway. with a wooden placard slung out through the second window. he made no sign. “Boats to hire by the hour or day. They seem to have cov- . and finally. but. “We are out of luck. But you notice that he keeps on the pavement. “I had thought of that.” It tended down towards the river-side. We took the wrong one. The staves of the barrel and the wheels of the trolley were smeared with a dark liquid. “Toby has lost his character for infallibility.” said my companion. fortunately. in a tone of relief. for after sniffing round again he suddenly made up his mind. frantic with excitement. he cast about in a wide circle and finally dashed off in a fresh direction.” “Yes. I suppose. where there was a small wooden wharf. with a triumphant yelp. Sherlock Holmes and I looked blankly at each other. Toby stood upon the cask. though he sniffed earnestly.The Sign of the Four “Ah! it’s all right. just past the White Eagle tavern.—a statement which was confirmed by a great pile of coke upon the jetty. “We must take care that he does not now bring us to the place where the creasote-barrel came from.” said Holmes. it is no great wonder that our trail should have been crossed. At the end of Broad Street it ran right down to the water’s edge. and his face assumed an ominous expression. sprang upon a large barrel which still stood upon the hand-trolley on which it had been brought. The Baker Street Irregulars “What now?” I asked.” said Holmes.” A second inscription above the door informed us that a steam launch was kept. Toby led us to the very edge of this.” Several small punts and skiffs were lying about in the water and on the edge of the wharf. between two wood-piles. running through Belmont Place and Prince’s Street. On the dog raced through sawdust and shavings. for he had not even to put his nose on the ground. looking from one to the other of us for some sign of appreciation.” “He acted according to his lights.” I observed. lifting him down from the barrel and walking him out of the timber-yard. we are on the true scent now. Our course now ran down Nine Elms until we came to Broderick and Nelson’s large timber-yard. It only remains to follow the other. I cold see by the gleam in Holmes’s eyes that he thought we were nearing the end of our journey. Sherlock Holmes looked slowly round. and. “Mordecai Smith” was printed across it in large letters.” said he. Close to the rude landing-stage was a small brick house. turned down through the side-gate into the enclosure.

’ My old man woke up Jim. sir. sir. sir. been preconcerted management here. I don’t feel easy in my mind about it.” said Holmes. I knew his voice. curly-headed lad of six came running out. and forward. “Here you are.” “And was this wooden-legged man alone?” “Couldn’t say. he is that.” “I wanted to hire his steam launch.” He was approaching the door of the house.—There is a boatman here with a wherry. If you do. “What would you do. they will instantly shut up like an oyster. sir. Mrs.” “He might. wi’ his ugly face and outlandish talk.” “He’s been away since yesterday mornin’. I don’t like that wooden-legged man.” said I. sir. I fear. which is kind o’ thick and foggy. and I have heard good reports of the—Let me see. I am going down the river. is there anything you would like?” The youth pondered for a moment. and if I should see anything of the Aurora I shall let him know that you are uneasy. “You are frightening yourself about nothing. for I wanted a steam launch. “I’d like a shillin’. “Come back. what’s more. strategically. sir. Good-morning. maybe I could serve as well. If you listen to them under protest. very broad in the beam?” “No. when it opened. for I know there ain’t more coals in her than would take her to about Woolwich and back. indeed. with bland surprise. sir.” . I hope that you will hear soon from Mr. my dear Mrs. as we sat in the sheets of the wherry. you young imp. for many a time a job has taken him as far as Gravesend. without so much as a word to me. and. Smith. Black with a white band. I could hear the wooden leg clackin’ on the stones. I am sure. “I am sorry for that.” “Why.” said he. followed by a stoutish. is he?” said Holmes. But what good is a steam launch without coals?” “He might have bought some at a wharf down the river. shrugging his shoulders. “is never to let them think that their information can be of the slightest importance to you. Smith. Watson.” “I am sorry. you say?” “No. after some thought. sir. Smith. then?” “I would engage a launch and go down the river on the track of the Aurora. for if your father comes home and finds you like that. bless you.—and away they went. I didn’t hear no one else. That’s what puzzles me. he’ll let us hear of it.—that’s my eldest. Mrs. what is her name?” “The Aurora. sir.” “But. for he had steam up in the launch. matey. it is in the steam launch that he has gone. “Nothing you would like better?” “I’d like two shillin’ better. black with two red streaks. How could you possibly tell that it was the wooden-legged man who came in the night? I don’t quite understand how you can be so sure.” “Away. 92 “Yes.” “Thanks. Many a time I’ve heard him call out at the prices they charge for a few odd bags. ‘Show a leg. What did he want always knockin’ about here for?” “A wooden-legged man?” said Holmes. you are very likely to get what you want.” “Our course now seems pretty clear. Mrs. Jack. then! Catch!—A fine child. truth to tell. sir. It was him that roused him up yesternight. But if it was about a boat. There has. If he’d been away in the barge I’d ha’ thought nothin’. Besides.” “His voice. Smith!” “Lor’ bless you. and. Smith. Jack.” the prodigy answered. “You come back and be washed. and then if there was much doin’ there he might ha’ stayed over. He tapped at the winder. He gets a’most too much for me to manage. I am beginnin’ to feel frightened about him. She’s as trim a little thing as any on the river. of course. ’specially when my man is away days at a time. I tell you straight.” “Ah! She’s not that old green launch with a yellow line.—about three it would be. A black funnel.” said Holmes. for I wanted to speak to Mr. She’s been fresh painted.The Sign of the Four ered their tracks. monkey-faced chap that’s called more’n once for my old man. as it were. We shall take it and cross the river.” “Ah. “The main thing with people of that sort.” she shouted. a brown. in a disappointed voice. “What a rosy-cheeked young rascal! Now. It was the sides which were black.” “Dear little chap!” said Holmes. and a little. my man knew he was comin’. Smith.’ says he: ‘time to turn out guard. but it weren’t his way. redfaced woman with a large sponge in her hand. sir.

But you have had enough of the case.” “Could we advertise.” “Employ the police. Bartholomew Sholto. The discovery was first made by Mr. “I am sure I don’t know. it would be a colossal task. then. As far as 93 the death of Bartholomew Sholto went. who had called at the house with Mr. named McMurdo. Thaddeus Sholto. I had heard little good of him. and they would be off out of the country. While there was a chance of recovering it I was ready to devote my life to the one object. “This is just the case where they might be invaluable. “Here it is.” “You remember the Baker Street division of the detective police force whom I employed in the Jefferson Hope case?” “Well. for Mr. If they fail. and could feel no intense antipathy to his murderers. Watson. of Pondicherry Lodge. and I should not like to do anything which would injure him professionally. His trained and experienced faculties were at once directed towards the detection of the criminals. and a porter. they are likely enough to leave. By a singular piece of good fortune. brother of the deceased. Yet it would be a petty and selfish love which would be influenced by such a thought as that. then. if you set about it alone. True. drive home.” said I. as we landed near Millbank Penitentiary. however. if I found it it would probably put her forever beyond my reach. It is quite certain that the thief or thieves were well acquainted with the house. for his view of the case is sure to push itself into the daily press. Bernstone. and the runaways will think that every one is off on the wrong scent. no actual traces of violence were found upon Mr. has already been arrested. Upper Norwood.” We pulled up at the Great Peter Street postoffice.” “About twelve o’clock last night. an Indian butler named Lal Rao. He is not a bad fellow. As it is. or part of it. but I shall try them first. I shall probably call Athelney Jones in at the last moment. Below the bridge there is a perfect labyrinth of landingplaces for miles. was found dead in his room under circumstances which point to foul play. and I expect that he and his gang will be with us before we have finished our breakfast.The Sign of the Four “My dear fellow. The treasure. She may have touched at any wharf on either side of the stream between here and Greenwich. laughing. When I came down to our room I found the breakfast laid and Holmes pouring out the coffee.” I took the paper from him and read the short notice. Sholto’s person. Stop at a telegraph-office. “Take this hansom. laughing. “The energetic Jones and the ubiquitous reporter have fixed it up between them.” “No. It would take you days and days to exhaust them. and get an hour’s sleep. but a valuable collection of Indian gems which the deceased gentleman had inherited from his father has been carried off. I had not the professional enthusiasm which carried my companion on. and Holmes despatched his wire. Mr. cabby! We will keep Toby. the well-known member of the detective police force. together with the housekeeper. befogged in mind and fatigued in body.” It was between eight and nine o’clock now.” said he. If Holmes could work to find the criminals. have some breakfast. with the gratifying result that the brother. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Wiggins. which was headed “Mysterious Business at Upper Norwood. Thaddeus Sholto. I have other resources. It is quite on the cards that we may be afoot to-night again. As far as we can learn. That wire was to my dirty little lieutenant. asking for information from wharfingers?” “Worse and worse! Our men would know that the chase was hot at their heels. Better have your ham and eggs first. Mrs. was a different matter. But I have a fancy for working it out myself. for he may be of use to us yet. nor could I look at the matter as a mere abstract intellectual problem. “Whom do you think that is to?” he asked. and pointing to an open newspaper. happened to be at the Norwood Police Station. I was limp and weary. or gatekeeper. Athelney Jones. That.” “What are we to do. “Mr. Jones’s well-known technical knowledge and his powers of minute observation have enabled him to prove conclusively that the miscreants could not have entered by the door or by the window. A bath at Baker Street and a complete change freshened me up wonderfully. now that we have gone so far. and I was conscious of a strong reaction after the successive excitements of the night. but as long as they think they are perfectly safe they will be in no hurry. as we resumed our journey. belonged rightfully to Miss Morstan. Jones’s energy will be of use to us there. and was on the ground within half an hour of the first alarm.” said the Standard. then?” I asked. but must have made their way across . I had a tenfold stronger reason to urge me on to find the treasure.

a clatter of high voices.” “Hardly that. taller and older than the others. I wouldn’t answer for our safety now. and a guinea to the boy who finds the boat.” said he. The prompt and energetic action of the officers of the law shows the great advantage of the presence on such occasions of a single vigorous and masterful mind. What do you make of all this?” “A savage!” I exclaimed. sir. raising her voice in a wail of expostulation and dismay. “They can go everywhere.” I hazarded. The Hindoo proper has long and thin feet. I want one boy to be at Mordecai Smith’s landing-stage opposite Millbank to say if the boat comes back. grinning over his coffee-cup. and I could hear Mrs. great agility. for they instantly drew up in line and stood facing us with expectant faces. it is just as well that you should all hear the instructions.” “So do I. half rising. we can do nothing but await results.—the Baker Street irregulars. then. However. I should think. I expect to hear before evening that they have spotted her. and do both banks thoroughly. there came a swift pattering of naked feet upon the stairs. There was some show of discipline among them. Are you going to bed. which has been very clearly made out. stone-headed wooden mace. but none could have left such marks as that.The Sign of the Four the roof of the building. Diminutive footmarks. anyway.” “Here you are. but the remarkable character of the footmarks caused me to reconsider my views. I dare say. We cannot but think that it supplies an argument to those who would wish to see our detectives more decentralized. Now. too. I want to find the whereabouts of a steam launch called the Aurora. black with two red streaks. If ever man had an easy task. “What do you think of it?” “I think that we have had a close shave ourselves of being arrested for the crime.” As he spoke. “The old scale of pay. proves conclusively that it was no mere haphazard burglary. It is the unofficial force.” said he. this of ours ought to be. I never remember feeling tired by work. I have a curious constitution.” “No. owner Mordecai Smith. “I believe that they are really after us. and away they buzzed down the stairs. and took down a bulky volume from the shelf. small poisoned darts. “In future they can report to you. if he should happen to have another of his attacks of energy.” “Toby could eat these scraps.” “That other man again!” “I have no wish to make a mystery of him. Hudson. because the thong is commonly passed between. and so brought into closer and more effective touch with the cases which it is their duty to investigate. He stretched his hand up. “By heaven. though idleness exhausts me completely.” I said. despite their tumultuous entry. I am going to smoke and to think over this queer business to which my fair client has introduced us. where are we to find our savage?” “South American. “When first I saw signs of strange weapons I was inclined to think so. One of their number. Holmes. do consider the data. . as he rose from the table and lit his pipe. “This is the first volume of a gazetteer which is now being published.” said Holmes.” At this moment there was a loud ring at the bell.—to you.” said Holmes. They are from a blow-pipe. Now off you go!” He handed them a shilling each. Now. and in rushed a dozen dirty and ragged little street-Arabs. and you to me. toes never fettered by boots. naked feet. see everything. could only be shot in one way. and I saw them a moment later streaming down the street. it’s not quite so bad as that. overhear every one. guv’nor. Mordecai Smith. Wiggins. I cannot have the house invaded in this way. “If the launch is above water they will find her. But you must have formed your own opinion. “Got your message. She is down the river somewhere. We cannot pick up the broken trail until we find either the Aurora or Mr.” “Isn’t it gorgeous!” said Holmes. Wooden-legged men are not so common. Some of the inhabitants of the Indian Peninsula are small men. This fact. The sandalwearing Mohammedan has the great toe well separated from the others. Here’s a day in advance. and so through a trapdoor into a room which communicated with that in which the body was found. stood forward with an air of lounding superiority which was very funny in such a disreputable little carecrow.” said Wiggins. Three bob and a tanner for tickets. but the other man must. our landlady. In the mean while. “Perhaps one of those Indians who were the associates of Jonathan Small. be absolutely unique. “and brought ’em on sharp. funnel black with a white band. producing some silver. Is that all clear?” “Yes. 94 Let me know the moment you have news. These little darts. You must divide it out among yourselves. Holmes?” “No: I am not tired.

“I feared that our talk would wake you. What have we here? ‘Andaman Islands. yesterday. Rutland Island. Wiggins has just been up to report. are remarkably small. ‘The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth. or shooting them with their poisoned arrows. that is more than I can tell. I fancy that. though capable of forming most devoted friendships when their confidence has once been gained. it is not so very wonderful that this islander should be with him. the message might come in our absence. Cecil Forrester.’ Mark that. strengthened and refreshed.The Sign of the Four It may be looked upon as the very latest authority. however.” I answered. Cecil Forrester?” asked Holmes.” he said. coral reefs. No doubt we shall know all about it in time. Their feet and hands. “Women are never to be entirely trusted. fierce eyes. the Digger Indians of America.” . cottonwoods—Ah. She asked me to. They were anxious to hear what happened. no. sharks. in the Bay of Bengal. These massacres are invariably concluded by a cannibal feast. He says that no trace can be found of the launch. If we go ourselves. I have a vague remembrance of his gaunt limbs. “Well. listen to this. however. “You have slept soundly. and the rise and fall of his bow.” “I would not tell them too much. The average height is rather below four feet. and distorted features.” said Holmes. Watson. Port Blair. then?” “Unfortunately. Watson. Lie down there on the sofa.” “On Mrs.” “I heard nothing. Since. we can do nothing. dreamy. He looked across at me. amiable people. then. as I stirred. A Break in the Chain It was late in the afternoon before I woke. though some anthropologists prefer the Bushmen of Africa.” “Then I shall run over to Camberwell and call upon Mrs. his earnest face. So intractable and fierce are they that all the efforts of the British official have failed to win them over in any degree. and quite ready for another night’s outing. Jonathan Small would give a good deal not to have employed him.” 95 “Can I do anything? I am perfectly fresh now. Look here. until I found myself in dream-land. with the sweet face of Mary Morstan looking down upon me.” “No. ‘They are naturally hideous. no doubt. Watson! If this fellow had been left to his own unaided devices this affair might have taken an even more ghastly turn. but I must remain on guard. even as it is. here we are. small. It is a provoking check. and intractable people.” “But how came he to have so singular a companion?” “Ah. Sherlock Holmes still sat exactly as I had left him. situated 340 miles to the north of Sumatra. I expected something definite by this time. Then I seemed to be floated peacefully away upon a soft sea of sound. save that he had laid aside his violin and was deep in a book. misshapen heads. Now. morose. with the twinkle of a smile in his eyes. I confess that I am surprised and disappointed. braining the survivors with their stone-headed clubs.’ Nice. and as I stretched myself out he began to play some low. we had already determined that Small had come from the Andamans. having large. and delay be caused.—not the best of them. CHAPTER IX. They have always been a terror to shipwrecked crews.’ Hum! hum! What’s all this? Moist climate. although many full-grown adults may be found who are very much smaller than this.” He took up his violin from the corner.—his own. We can only wait. You can do what you will. melodious air. you look regularly done. and I noticed that his face was dark and troubled. They are a fierce. and see if I can put you to sleep. “Have you had fresh news. for every hour is of importance. for he had a remarkable gift for improvisation. and the Terra del Fuegians. convictbarracks. of course Miss Morstan too.

Hudson as she came up to lower the blinds. with such a look that I don’t know how ever I got out of the room. ”I have seen him like this before. “Nothing else is of any consequence. and up and down. and left him. suppressing. a black cannibal. with ‘What is that. I could not sleep. I say. If no news comes to-day. Mrs. sir. however. “Why.” “Could it have gone up the river?” “I have considered that possibility too. too.” “I don’t think that you have any cause to be uneasy. After you was gone he walked and he walked. but he had disappeared. Not a word came to us either from Wiggins or from the other agencies. Forrester. I think that may be dismissed. Do you know. Hudson?” 96 “Well. and there is a launch of that description.” “No. With all my omissions. with a little fleck of feverish color upon either cheek.” sinking her voice into an impressive whisper. I hope he’s not going to be ill. “I suppose that Mr. Then I heard him talking to himself and muttering. at the old naturalist’s in Pinchin Lane. but I think that he has behaved most kindly and honorably throughout. “I am afraid for his health?” “Why so. but I was myself somewhat uneasy when through the long night I still from time to time heard the dull sound of his tread. and to have the world at your feet!” It sent a little thrill of joy to my heart to notice that she showed no sign of elation at the prospect. up and down. everything.” I remarked. he’s that strange. for I don’t think it is at all likely that we shall have any use for him now. however. and a wooden-legged ruffian. as though the matter were one in which she took small interest. but he turned on me. My companion’s book and pipe lay by his chair. Mrs. “No. until I was weary of the sound of his footstep. sir. Mrs.” “And two knight-errants to the rescue.“ I answered. with a bright glance at me. I looked about in the hope of seeing a note. “All right! Good luck! But. “I shall be back in an hour or two. we shall hear something. Smith heard of her husband. I had inquiries made. however.” I said to Mrs. “I heard you marching about in the night. Hudson?’ And now he has slammed off to his room. He has gone to his room. and there is a search-party who will work up as far as Richmond.The Sign of the Four I did not pause to argue over this atrocious sentiment. Thus. sir. “An injured lady. “It is a romance!” cried Mrs. surely. sir. It is too much to be balked by so petty an obstacle. the launch. But there are objections to that.” It was evening before I left Camberwell. although I spoke of Mr. Sholto’s death. nor has Mrs. The whole river has been searched on either side. At breakfast-time he looked worn and haggard.” I tried to speak lightly to our worthy landlady. and every time the bell rang out he came on the stairhead. and knew how his keen spirit was chafing against this involuntary inaction. but there is no news. I said nothing of the exact manner and method of it. was full of curiosity. I have set other agencies at work. Sherlock Holmes has gone out.” he answered. your fortune depends upon the issue of this search. Smith has put us on a wrong scent.” We did not. old man.” “No. Just imagine what it must be to be so rich. Forrester. He has some small matter upon his mind which makes him restless. Hudson. half a million in treasure. “It is for Mr. Thaddeus Sholto that I am anxious. But surely. there was enough to startle and amaze them. when all else had been overcome. if you are crossing the river you may as well return Toby. I know the men. sir. Mary. I shall start off myself to-morrow. I ventured to say something to him about cooling medicine. she gave a toss of her proud head. It is our duty to clear him of this dreadful and unfounded charge. but there was none. together with a half-sovereign.” “Or that Mrs. “You are knocking yourself up. and yet I can get no news. but I can hear him walking away the same as ever. Mrs.” she said.” I took our mongrel accordingly. but very eager to hear the news. the more dreadful parts of the tragedy. and go for the men rather than the boat. On the contrary. I told them all that we had done. I don’t think that you are nearly excited enough. and quite dark by the time I reached home.” I remarked. “This infernal problem is consuming me. and used every means at my disposal. I shall come to the conclusion soon that they have scuttled the craft. They take the place of the conventional dragon or wicked earl. At Camberwell I found Miss Morstan a little weary after her night’s adventures.” added Miss Morstan. sir. There were articles in most of the papers upon the .

” thought I. but all tending in the same direction. Might he be suffering from some huge self-deception? Was it not possible that his nimble and speculative mind had built up this wild theory upon faulty premises? I had never known him to be wrong. I had myself seen the evidence. In the early dawn I woke with a start. Smith. funnel black with a white band. however. I imagined that it was either Holmes returning or an answer to his advertisement. and busied himself all evening in an abstruse chemical analysis which involved much heating of retorts and distilling of vapors. though Wiggins was despondent about it last night. Thaddeus Sholto could have been in any way concerned in the matter. at Smith’s Wharf. many of them trivial in themselves.” I had heard nothing of him by breakfast-time. “I am off down the river. Up to the small hours of the morning I could hear the clinking of his test-tubes which told me that he was still engaged in his malodorous experiment. Could there be. Jim. “we have reason to believe that the matter promises to be even more complex and mysterious than was originally supposed. Watson. that the police have a clue as to 97 the real culprits. It is worth trying. No fresh details were to be found. as to the whereabouts of the said Mordecai Smith and the launch Aurora. were both released yesterday evening. on the other hand. Fresh evidence has shown that it is quite impossible that Mr. It struck me as rather ingenious. Bernstone. however. but at that moment my eye caught an advertisement in the agony column. however. at any rate. “With reference to the Upper Norwood tragedy. I found that there was a fresh allusion to the business.” This was clearly Holmes’s doing. “Friend Sholto is safe. black with two red stripes. and on my return I found Holmes dejected and somewhat morose.—his preference for a subtle and bizarre explanation when a plainer and more commonplace one lay ready to his hand. I shall have news of some sort or other before I get back. I could not disguise from myself that even if Holmes’s explanation were incorrect the true theory must be equally outr´ and startling. When I looked back on the long chain of curious circumstances. The Baker Street address was enough to prove that. Athelney Jones. and I can see only one way out of it. and yet the keenest reasoner may occasionally be deceived. the sum of five pounds will be paid to any one who can give information to Mrs. and was surprised to find him standing by my bedside. and a coarse red scarf round his neck. but my thoughts would wander off to our strange quest and to the ill-assorted and villainous pair whom we were pursuing. though it seems to be a stereotyped form whenever the police have made a blunder. “I have been turning it over in my mind. I thought.—Whereas Mordecai Smith. for I can hardly tell yet where I may find myself.” “That is satisfactory so far as it goes. I want you to open all notes and telegrams. to fall into error through the over-refinement of his logic. or at 221b Baker Street. I may not be gone so very long. of Scotland Yard. I wondered. I wonder what the fresh clue may be. Can I rely upon you?” “Most certainly. It was a long day. and his son. and that it is being prosecuted by Mr. I tried to read. On opening the Standard. He and the housekeeper. ending at last in a smell which fairly drove me out of the apartment. e . Every time that a knock came to the door. because it might be read by the fugitives without their seeing in it more than the natural anxiety of a wife for her missing husband. or a sharp step passed in the street. however. clad in a rude sailor dress with a pea-jacket.” I tossed the paper down upon the table. and to act on your own judgment if any news should come. with all his well-known energy and sagacity. It is believed. in any of them. some radical flaw in my companion’s reasoning. at all events. If I am in luck. Mrs.” “Surely I can come with you. for it is quite on the cards that some message may come during the day. They all appeared to be rather hostile to the unfortunate Thaddeus Sholto. He was likely. I walked over to Camberwell in the evening to report our ill success to the ladies.” “I am afraid that you will not be able to wire to me. It ran in this way: “Lost. Yet. I am loath to go.” it remarked. save that an inquest was to be held upon the following day. then?” said I. He would hardly reply to my questions. you can be much more useful if you will remain here as my representative. boatman.” said he. “No.The Sign of the Four Norwood tragedy. Further arrests may be expected at any moment. and I had heard the reasons for his deductions. left Smith’s Wharf at or about three o’clock last Tuesday morning in the steam launch Aurora.

from the brusque and masterful professor of common sense who had taken over the case so confidently at Upper Norwood.” He took the telegram out of his pocket. with evident satisfaction. We shall keep you. It’s a very dark case. “Mr. “Wait a bit. I don’t care about the look of either of you. I have known that young man go into a good many cases. but at last he made his way to our door and entered.” said he. my man?” I asked.” “Thank you.” said I.” he repeated. I am close on the track of the Sholto gang. “Good-day. He is irregular in his methods.” “We all need help sometimes. From the time that he left his brother’s room he was never out of sight of some one or other. until our friend returns. you must wait for him. to my surprise. and I could see little of his face save a pair of keen dark eyes. Here is the message. He was an aged man. mopping his face with a red bandanna handkerchief. and I cannot be sure when he will be back. His back was bowed. and I have had a good deal to worry and try me.” “It was to him I was to tell it. in a husky and confidential voice. I should be very glad of a little assistance.” said he. I have been obliged to reconsider it. “Go to Baker Street at once.” said he. I don’t mind if I do. As he leaned upon a thick oaken cudgel his shoulders heaved in the effort to draw the air into his lungs. Once or twice he stopped. “No. and I don’t care who knows it. I think he would have made a most promising officer. I ain’t goin’ to lose a whole day to please no one. It is very hot for the time of year. His expression was downcast. “Even the best of us are thrown off sometimes. and I won’t tell a word.” “Then tell me. Was it about Mordecai Smith’s boat?” “Yes. “Is Mr. I had my net drawn tightly round Mr. and my professional credit is at stake. by which I understand that he has got some clue to this Sholto business. sir. But there is some one at the door. Holmes ain’t here. It was dated from Poplar at twelve o’clock. then he has been at fault too.” 98 “This sounds well. good-day.” “No. with an old pea-jacket buttoned up to his throat. An’ I knows where the treasure is. however. Sherlock Holmes is out. clad in seafaring garb. wait for me. But perhaps you would care to wait. “But I tell you that I am acting for him. Athelney Jones was shown up to me. Sholto. and long gray side-whiskers. An’ I knows where the men he is after are.“ it said. You can come with us to-night if you want to be in at the finish. He has evidently picked up the scent again. no.” “Well. no less a person than Mr. So it could not be he who climbed over roofs and through trap-doors. and I shall let him know. on the whole. and.” said I. then Mr.” .” said he.The Sign of the Four At three o’clock in the afternoon there was a loud peal at the bell. an authoritative voice in the hall. Of course this may prove to be a false alarm. and handed it to me.” “Yes. Altogether he gave me the impression of a respectable master mariner who had fallen into years and poverty. half a glass.” He shuffled towards the door. but I am acting for him. as though the climb were too much for him. His appearance corresponded to the sounds which we had heard. Sherlock Holmes is a wonderful man. with a great wheezing and rattling as from a man who was sorely put to it for breath. “What is it. and a little quick perhaps in jumping at theories. but Athelney Jones got in front of him. If Mr. I understand. “And a whiskey-and-soda?” “Well. Holmes must find it all out for himself. but I never saw the case yet that he could not throw a light upon. He looked about him in the slow methodical fashion of old age. Very different was he.” exclaimed Jones. my friend. “Well. “Ah. when pop he went through a hole in the middle of it. and his bearing meek and even apologetic. I knows well where it is. Sherlock Holmes here?” said he. sir. He was able to prove an alibi which could not be shaken. Perhaps this is he. I have had a wire from him this morning. overhung by bushy white brows. and his breathing was painfully asthmatic. ”If I have not returned.” A heavy step was heard ascending the stair. You know my theory about this Norwood case?” “I remember that you expressed one. “You have important information. and you must not walk off. but. He had a colored scarf round his chin. “He’s a man who is not to be beat. Take that chair and try one of these cigars. You can tell me any message you have for him. whether you like or not.” “It was to him himself I was to tell it. “Your friend Mr. I knows all about it. his knees were shaky. with the petulant obstinacy of a very old man.” said he. sir. but it is my duty as an officer of the law to allow no chance to slip.

stamping his stick. There was Holmes sitting close to us with an air of quiet amusement. I thought my disguise was pretty good. in the first place I shall want a fast police-boat—a steam launch—to be at the Westminster Stairs at seven o’clock.—Watson. “Here he is. with something a little choice in white wines. You are welcome to all the official credit. Is that agreed?” “Entirely. But you must put yourself under my orders. It will be ready in half an hour. One other point.” “That is understood. Holmes’s voice broke in upon us. and a rare one. however. but I hardly expected that it would stand that test. if you can catch him I don’t see how I can refuse you an interview with him.” “There will be two or three in the boat.” “Rather an irregular proceeding. I have had no proof yet of the existence of this Jonathan Small. and there is no evidence against the other two.” “Then I shall want two stanch men. eyebrows. but you must act on the line that I point out.” “How has your case prospered?” “It has all come to nothing. “You here! But where is the old man?” “Here is the old man. I think that it would be a pleasure to my friend here to take the box round to the young lady to whom half of it rightfully belongs. you have never yet recognized my merits as a housekeeper.” 99 . though. I should much like to have a few details about this matter from the lips of Jonathan Small himself. “You would have made an actor. Watson?” “It would be a great pleasure to me. That is easily managed. You didn’t get away from us so easily.” “I have been working in that get-up all day. Jones and I resumed our cigars and our talk. a good many of the criminal classes begin to know me. seize me and treat me in this fashion!” “You will be none the worse. whiskers. There is no objection to my having an unofficial interview with him.” “Ah. “I think that you might offer me a cigar too.—wig. “However. and seated himself with his face resting on his hands. I have had to release two of my prisoners. What else?” “When we secure the men we shall get the treasure.” “Certainly. you rogue!” cried Jones. either here in my rooms or elsewhere. You got my wire?” “Yes. that was what brought me here. Suddenly. and all. “Holmes!” I exclaimed. shaking his head.” he said. and I suppose we must wink at it. Let her be the first to open it. then?” “Perfectly. and you two. Sit over here on the sofa.” He came across sullenly enough.” said he. However.” “That is easily managed. you are master of the situation. “I come here to see a gentleman.—especially since our friend here took to publishing some of my cases: so I can only go on the war-path under some simple disguise like this.The Sign of the Four The old man made a little run towards the door.” said Jones. I have oysters and a brace of grouse. but.” I said. There is always one about there. We shall give you two others in the place of them. “You see. if you will help me to the men.” “Never mind. “We shall recompense you for the loss of your time. then. highly delighted.” “Well. the whole thing is irregular. but I can step across the road and telephone to make sure. in case of resistance. lighting his cigar. I thought I knew the glint of your eye. and those weak legs of yours are worth ten pound a week. You know I like to work the detail of my cases out.—Eh. you see. We both started in our chairs. he recognized the uselessness of resistance. as Athelney Jones put his broad back up against it. Is there anything else?” “Only that I insist upon your dining with us. who I never saw in my life. holding out a heap of white hair. “Pretty sort o’ treatment this!” he cried. as long as he is efficiently guarded?” “Well. You had the proper workhouse cough. The treasure must afterwards be handed over to the authorities until after the official investigation. and you will not have long to wait.” said he.

And now it is high time we were off. I see that the cab is at the door. and possibly be associated with this Norwood tragedy.” Our craft was evidently a very fast one. launches to beat us. “We ought to be able to catch anything on the river.—on miracle-plays. I gave my mind a thorough rest by plunging into a chemical analysis. None of us alluded during dinner to the cause which had brought us together.” But there are not many “We shall have to catch the Aurora. Now. and the ropes were cast off. and I caught something of Holmes’s gaiety. and he would wish to get back before it was broad light. and people would be about in an hour or so. we stepped on board. Watson. and on the war-ships of the future. nor had it returned.The Sign of the Four CHAPTER X. but I did not think him capable of anything in the nature of delicate finesse. I knew this man Small had a certain degree of low cunning. and that night he did choose. This lair of his would be too valuable a retreat in case of need for him to give it up until he was sure that he could do without it. and filled up three glasses with port. when they got the boat. Athelney Jones proved to be a sociable soul in his hours of relaxation. one to tend the engines. Therefore. “It is more probable that he had arranged his affairs before ever he set out upon his expedition. I will tell you how the land lies.” “No. But a second consideration struck me. Yet it could hardly have been scuttled to hide their traces. It is well to be prepared. They paid Smith well to hold his tongue. It would be quite bright. and I sat in the stern. and face his dinner with the air of a bon vivant. I hardly think so. according to Mrs. My boys had been up the river and down the river without result. I came back to our problem of the Sholtos. You recollect how annoyed I was at being balked by so small a thing?” “Yes. For myself. He appeared to be in a state of nervous exaltation. on Stradivarius violins.” “Well. Holmes coud talk exceedingly well when he chose. and found our launch awaiting us. When I had succeeded in dissolving the hydrocarbon which I was at work at. would give rise to gossip.” “It seems to me to be a little weak. I ordered it for half-past six. at any rate. The launch was not at any landing-stage or wharf. That was the balance of probability. on medieval pottery. Smith. it was past three o’clock. Holmes.” It was a little past seven before we reached the Westminster wharf. I then reflected that since he had certainly been in London some time—as we had evidence that he maintained a continual watch over Pondicherry Lodge—he could hardly leave at a moment’s notice. I have never known him so brilliant. Have you a pistol. Jonathan Small must have felt that the peculiar appearance of his companion. He was quite sharp enough to see that.” The small change was made. “Where to?” asked Jones. then.—that green lamp at the side. reserved his launch . hardly that. Jones.” said I. That is usually a product of higher education. I argued. We shot past the long lines of loaded barges as though they were stationary. When the cloth was cleared. His bright humor marked the reaction from his black depression of the preceding days. they did not go very far. Holmes eyed it critically. and she has a name for being a clipper. The End of the Islander Our meal was a merry one.” “Then take it off. Watson?” “I have my old service-revolver in my desk. but would need some little time. and thought the whole matter out again. however much he may have top-coated him. So it is.” “You had best take it. “To the Tower. to arrange his affairs. “Is there anything to mark it as a police-boat?” “Yes. They had started from their head-quarters under cover of darkness.—handling each as though he had made a special study of it. on the Buddhism of Ceylon. Holmes glanced at this watch. Tell them to stop opposite Jacobson’s Yard. “One bumper. Holmes smiled with satisfaction as we overhauled a river steamer and left her behind us. I felt elated at the thought that we were nearing the end of our task. One of our greatest statesmen has said that a change of work is the best rest. “to the success of our little expedition. if it were only a day. 100 “Well. There was one man at the rudder. and two burly police-inspectors forward.—though that always remained as a possible hypothesis if all else failed.” said he. He spoke on a quick succession of subjects.” he said.

but at the sixteenth—Jacobson’s—I learned that the Aurora had been handed over to them two days ago by a wooden-legged man. we had been shooting the long series of bridges which span the Thames. A strange enigma is man!” “Some one calls him a soul concealed in an animal. to look at them. mind. In a couple of nights. and hurried to their lodgings with the treasure-box. even the policemen and stokers. It will be a clear night and plenty of light. have known him. for I have two gentlemen who won’t be kept waiting. and all.’ At that moment who should come down but Mordecai Smith.’ said he. ‘There ain’t naught amiss with her rudder. but I suppose every one has some little immortal spark concealed about him. Paul’s.” “But the launch? They could not have taken that to their lodgings. We were all eager by this time. It was twilight before we reached the Tower. As long as he has liquor and good pay. “We have no right to take anything for granted. of course. I could only think of one way of doing it. in spite of its invisibility.“ said Jones. “I see my sentry at his post. and. ‘I want her to-night at eight o’clock. but we cannot be certain. could he conceal the launch and yet have her at hand when wanted? I wondered what I should do myself if I were in his shoes. why should he ask questions? They send him messages what to do. ”but if the affair were in my hands I should have had a body of police in Jacobson’s Yard. and arrested them when they came down. There is no a priori probability about it. We must stay where we are. I started at once in this harmless seaman’s rig and inquired at all the yards down the river. ‘There she lies. I drew blank at fifteen. “Cruise gently up and down here under cover of this string of lighters. We shall be lying off in the stream. I then put myself in the place of Small. and whether there was any suspicion.The Sign of the Four for the final escape. This man Small is a pretty shrewd fellow. with directions to make a trifling change in her. pointing to a bristle of masts and rigging on the Surrey side. and they can hardly see us. and this is the best. who had a very vague idea of what was going forward.” “Dirty-looking rascals. “but no sign of a handkerchief.’ said the foreman. and if anything made him suspicious lie snug for another week. He would probably consider that to send back the launch or to keep it at a wharf would make pursuit easy if the police did happen to get on his track. while at the same time I could have her at a few hours’ notice. I argued that the launch must be no great way off. for he was very flush of money.” Holmes answered. How. I should not. but he subsided into an ale-house: so I went back to the yard. She would then be removed to his shed or hard. when they had time to see what view the papers took. No.” “They are coming from work in the yard.” said Holmes. I thought over every possible course. You would not think it. and so been led to their hiding-place.” While this conversation had been proceeding. “It is certainly ten to one that they go down-stream. chucking shillings about to the men. with the red streaks. See how the folk swarm over yonder in the gaslight. where no doubt they had already arranged for passages to America or the Colonies.” “It is just these very simple things which are extremely liable to be overlooked.” “Quite so. with some trivial directions as to her rudder. whether they are the right men or not.’ They had evidently paid him well. the missing owner? He was rather the worse for liquor. eagerly.” said I. and so be effectually concealed. treasure. happening to pick up one of my boys on the way. I think that it is a hundred to one against Smith knowing where they live. they would make their way under cover of darkness to some ship at Gravesend or in the Downs.” “Which would have been never. I determined to act on the idea.” said Jones. .” “That seems simple enough.” “Suppose we go down-stream a short way and lie in wait for them. I followed him some distance. However.” He took a pair of night-glasses from his pocket and gazed some time at the shore. but he bellowed out his name and the name of his launch. “In that case I should have wasted my day. As we passed the City the last rays of the sun were gilding the cross upon the summit of St. He would send a scout on ahead.” he remarked. and it will 101 be a strange thing if we do not take men. “That is Jacobson’s Yard. He is to stand at water’s edge and wave his handkerchief to us when they start. I stationed him as a sentry over the launch.” I suggested.” “But you might have stuck to Mordecai Smith.” “You have planned it all very neatly. I might land the launch over to some boat-builder or repairer. From this point we can see the entrance of the yard. and looked at it as a man of his capacity would. then.—‘eight o’clock sharp.

and up again after rounding the Isle of Dogs. Beside him lay a dark mass which looked like a Newfoundland dog. between his teeth. “I can see him plainly. stripped to the waist. down the long Deptford Reach. yard by yard. past the West India Docks. At Blackwall we could not have been more than two hundred and fifty. In the silence of the night we could hear the panting and clanking of their machinery. At the sound of his strident.” said Jones. however. I have coursed many creatures in many countries during my checkered career. But do I see a handkerchief? Surely there is a white flutter over yonder. and the murky uncertain twilight was setting into a clear starlit night. One man sat by the stern.” 102 At that moment. in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. but still the Aurora thundered on. never foretell what any one man will do. The boy held the tiller. but never did sport give me such a wild thrill as this mad. angry cries there was movement in the huddled bundle upon . Jones turned our search-light upon her. I shall never forgive myself if she proves to have the heels of us!” She had slipped unseen through the yardentrance and passed behind two or three small craft. while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle. “Get every pound of steam you can. It was a clear reach of the river. We were not more than four boat’s lengths behind them. as our evil fate would have it. pile it on!” cried Holmes. Her sharp.” “Yes. cursing the while in a high. At Greenwich we were about three hundred paces behind them. and the powerful engines whizzed and clanked. a tug with three barges in tow blundered in between us. aquiline face. so that we could plainly see the figures upon her deck. The furnaces roared. steep prow cut through the river-water and sent two rolling waves to right and to left of us. with something black between his knees over which he stooped. She was still. for example. The dull blur in front of us resolved itself now clearly enough into the dainty Aurora. and his arms were moving as though he were busy. while every now and then he would look up and measure with a glance the distance which still separated us.” said I. powerful man. merchant-vessels. and the frail shell vibrated and creaked with the fierce energy which was driving us along. engineer. “We shall be up with her in a very few minutes. “I doubt if we shall catch her. flying man-hunt down the Thames.” exclaimed Holmes. steamers. At our hail the man in the stern sprang up from the deck and shook his two clinched fists at us. and shovelling coals for dear life. but percentages remain constant. Jones looked gravely at her and shook his head. stokers! Make her do all she can! If we burn the boat we must have them!” We were fairly after her now. “He remarks that. well in view. He was a good-sized.” “We must catch her!” cried Holmes. going at a tremendous rate. looking down into the engine-room. We flashed past barges. and still we followed close upon her track. with his eyes on thea Aurora. You can. “She is very fast. flickering funnel of light in front of us. Steadily we drew in upon them. behind this one and round the other. We had shot through the Pool. Our boilers were strained to their utmost. By heaven. but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to.” “And there is the Aurora. With every throb of the engines we sprang and quivered like a living thing.The Sign of the Four “Winwood Reade is good upon the subject. Nearer we came and nearer. “and going like the devil! Full speed ahead. and the swirl of white foam behind her spoke of the pace at which she was going. Make after that launch with the yellow light. Right ahead a dark blur upon the water showed where the Aurora lay.” “I think we gain a little. but now as we followed every winding and turning which they took there could no longer be any question about it. it is your boy. Now she was flying down the stream. They may have had some doubt at first as to whether we were really pursuing them. One great yellow lantern in our bows threw a long. “Pile it on. So says the statistician. It was only by putting our helm hard down that we avoided a collision. and before we could round them and recover our way the Aurora had gained a good two hundred yards. Individuals vary. Voices hailed us out of the darkness. “I am sure of it. in and out. near in to the shore. The man in the stern still crouched upon the deck. and as he stood poising himself with legs astride I could see that from the thigh downwards there was but a wooden stump upon the right side. “Heap it on. Jones yelled to them to stop.” he said. however. cracked voice. so that she had fairly got her speed up before we saw her.” I cried.” said Holmes. while against the red glare of the furnace I could see old Smith. while the fierce glow from below beat upon his eager. men. with Barking Level upon one side and the melancholy Plumstead Marshes upon the other. both boats flying at a tremendous pace. like a great metallic heart.

Never have I seen features so deeply marked with all bestiality and cruelty. open-air life. which grinned and chattered at us with a half animal fury. with her bow in the air and her stern flush with the water. I caught one glimpse of his venomous. stuck one of those murderous darts which we knew so well. but it was of considerable weight. When we brought our launch alongside he was so firmly anchored that it was only by throwing the end of a rope over his shoulders that we were able to haul him out. distorted creature. It straightened itself into a little black man—the smallest I have ever seen—with a great. and almost within touch of our quarry. where the moon glimmered upon a wide expanse of marsh-land. “We were hardly quick enough with our pistols. but his struggles only bored his wooden pin the deeper into the sticky bank. Even as we looked he plucked out from under his covering a short. round piece of wood. The Aurora herself we hauled off and made fast to our stern. which left only his face exposed. there could be no question. A solid iron chest of Indian workmanship stood upon the deck. He whirled round. There was no key. was the same that had contained the ill-omened treasure of the Sholtos. It must have whizzed between us at the instant that we fired. shrieking out curses. but I confess that it turned me sick to think of the horrible death which had passed so close to us that night. but there was no sign of the Islander. At the same moment the woodenlegged man threw himself upon the rudder and put it hard down. It was a wild and desolate place. It was well that we had so clear a view of him. while we shot past her stern. He yelled in impotent rage. The Great Agra Treasure Our captive sat in the cabin opposite to the iron box which he had done so much and waited so long to gain. quietly. and clapped it to his lips. like some evil fish. and the unhallowed dwarf with his hideous face. The fugitive sprang out. recklesseyed fellow. but came aboard meekly enough when commanded. over our side. only clearing her by a few feet. misshapen head and a shock of tangled. just behind where we had been standing. Holmes smiled at it and shrugged his shoulders in his easy fashion. 103 . He was a sunburned.” There. This. and with a kind of choking cough fell sideways into the stream.” said Holmes. We were round after her in an instant. I can see the two of them now as they stood.The Sign of the Four the deck. His small eyes glowed and burned with a sombre light. we flashed our search-light in every direction. Somewhere in the dark ooze at the bottom of the Thames lie the bones of that strange visitor to our shores. like a school-ruler. but his stump instantly sank its whole length into the sodden soil. We were within a boat’s-length by this time. Not one step could he possibly take either forwards or backwards. but that face was enough to give a man a sleepless night. dishevelled hair. father and son. and to drag him. In vain he struggled and writhed. The two Smiths. and I whipped out mine at the sight of this savage. There was a singular prominence about his bearded chin which marked a man who was not to be easily turned from his purpose. “See here. but she was already nearly at the bank. with pools of stagnant water and beds of decaying vegetation. so that his boat made straight in for the southern bank. The launch with a dull thud ran up upon the mud-bank. “Fire if he raises his hand. and kicked frantically into the mud with his other foot. pointing to the wooden hatchway. He was wrapped in some sort of dark ulster or blanket. Our pistols rang out together. sure enough. so we transferred it carefully to our own little cabin. which told of a hard. CHAPTER XI. and his thick lips were writhed back from his teeth. with a net-work of lines and wrinkles all over his mahogany features. the white man with his legs far apart. As we steamed slowly up-stream again.” said Holmes. threw up his arms. and his strong yellow teeth gnashing at us in the light of our lantern. Holmes had already drawn his revolver. sat sullenly in their launch. menacing eyes amid the white swirl of the waters.

He is going to bring you up to my rooms.” “Smith says she is one of the fastest launches on the river. The truth is that I hoped to find the room clear. and some of his darts too. That was how he came to leave his club. “I don’t believe that I can swing over the job. It is most irregular. and am like to spend the other half digging drains at Dartmoor.” “Well. “I think I shall have a pull at that flask. the Esmeralda. curly hair was thickly shot with gray. though how you kept on it is more than I can tell. which never brought anything but a curse yet upon the man who owned it. It was that little hell-hound Tonga who shot one of his cursed darts into him. twinkling eyes at the box which had been the cause of his ill-doings.” said Holmes. I had no part in it. and I could not undo it again. It was all we could do to overhaul her. I shall make no secret of the business. The best defence that I can make is just the simple truth.The Sign of the Four His age may have been fifty or thereabouts. Well. at Gravesend. though his heavy brows and aggressive chin gave him. “and you had best take a pull out of my flask. “and shall land you. “But I certainly did not know that the Aurora was such a clipper.” “And so am I. sir. “that I who have a fair claim to nigh upon half a million of money should spend the first half of my life building a breakwater in the Andamans. with the treasure-box.” said Jones. How could you expect so small and weak a man as this black fellow to overpower Mr.” he remarked. Dr. Once he looked up at me with a gleam of something like humor in his eyes.” he added. sir. sir. It fairly shook me. I need hardly tell you that I am taking a very grave responsibility upon myself in doing this. “We will be at Vauxhall Bridge presently.” said Holmes. I chose his launch because I heard that she was a flier. I don’t feel no malice against you for it. Holmes. for you are very wet. I never got such a turn in my life as when I saw him grinning at me with his head on his shoulder as I climbed through the window. to Major Sholto it brought fear and guilt. His face in repose was not an unpleasing one.” cried our prisoner. to me it has meant slavery for life. From the slight smile which played over Sherlock Holmes’s face. of Scotland Yard. If we are pretty quick in catching our men. He swears he knew nothing of this Norwood business.” “All is well that ends well. But it’s cursed hard that I should be lagged over this young Sholto. I’d have half killed 104 Tonga for it if he had not scrambled off. however. but there was no choice. “I am sorry that it has come to this.—“not a word.” “Neither he did. but of course an agreement is an agreement. Pity we didn’t take the other alive. as I had lately seen. “Quite a family party.” said Holmes. “Well. as . Athelney Jones. I give you my word on the book that I never raised hand against Mr. To him it brought murder. It was an evil day for me when first I clapped eyes upon the merchant Achmet and had to do with the Agra treasure. Sholto usually went down to his supper. as he tells me. I welted the little devil with the slack end of the rope for it. frankly. while he looked with his keen. you must confess that you cut it rather fine. and he was to get something handsome if we reached our vessel. a terrible expression when moved to anger. I think I can prove that the poison acts so quickly that the man was dead before ever you reached the room. I could see that the speech had not been lost upon him.” he answered. Now. with a bitter smile. I was as grieved as if it had been my blood-relation. I must. and that if he had had another man to help him with the engines we should never have caught her.” It was amusing to notice how the consequential Jones was already beginning to give himself airs on the strength of the capture. Jonathan Small. We told him nothing. but we paid him well. I say.” At this moment Athelney Jones thrust his broad face and heavy shoulders into the tiny cabin. for his black.” “Have a cigar. and his head sunk upon his breast. and I shall ask you for a true account of the matter. and it was the time when Mr. He sat now with his handcuffed hands upon his lap. outward bound for the Brazils. I would have thought no more of knifing him than of smoking this cigar. Watson. sir. Holmes. sir. Sholto. But it does seem a queer thing. I think we may all congratulate each other. for if you do I hope that I may be of use to you. if he has done no wrong we shall see that no wrong comes to him. lighting a cigar. You must make a clean breast of it. with whom I had no quarrel whatever. but it was done. Sholto and hold him while you were climbing the rope?” “You seem to know as much about it as if you were there. which I dare say helped to put you on our track.” “That he was.” “You are under the charge of Mr. It seemed to me that there was more sorrow than anger in his rigid and contained countenance. we are not so quick in condemning them. if it had been the old major I would have swung for him with a light heart. I knew the habits of the house pretty well.

grave face. however. There 105 will be few richer young ladies in England. Bring the box back with you to the Baker Street rooms. The box was empty! .” “Pray sit down and tell me all about it. “I am all right again. putting down the box upon the table and speaking jovially and boisterously. “If I have it. genial inspector as my companion. doctor. “I have brought you something which is worth all the news in the world. but I never dreamed that it might be you.” There was in the front a thick and broad hasp. and with a bluff. though my heart was heavy within me. “It was nothing. with my heavy iron box. With all the will in the world. “I thought that Mrs.” She glanced at iron box. Where is the key. no doubt?” “Yes. I have brought you a fortune. “This is Indian work. It had struck her. since you have so valuable a charge. At the sound of my footfall she sprang to her feet. Forrester’s poker. Forrester had come back very early. Is it not glorious?” I think that I must have been rather overacting my delight. There was no eagerness in her voice. and the wild chase down the Thames. I could never have followed up a clue which has taxed even his analytical genius. Let us turn to something brighter. “I must borrow Mrs.” said she.” I answered. Think of that! An annuity of ten thousand pounds. Where is the key?” “Small threw it into the Thames. wrought in the image of a sitting Buddha. Cecil Forrester’s. What news have you brought me?” “I have brought something better than news. “I heard a cab drive up.” “No. She listened with parted lips and shining eyes to my recital of our adventures.” she said. “The box alone must be of some value. and her whole pose and figure spoke of an absorbing melancholy.” she said. for I saw her eyebrows rise a little. One white arm and hand drooped over the side of the chair. There is the treasure. we very nearly lost it at the last moment.” “And so heavy!” she exclaimed. then?” she asked. and that she detected a hollow ring in my congratulations. I narrated briefly what had occurred since I had seen her last. “not to me. You will drive. You will find us there. When I spoke of the dart which had so narrowly missed us. The servant seemed surprised at so late a visitor.” I answered. doubtless. Dr.The Sign of the Four a matter of duty.” “It would be of the greatest interest to me. “What a pretty box!” she said. thinking that it would interest you to be the first to see it. The hasp sprang open with a loud snap. but to my friend Sherlock Holmes. box in hand. We both stood gazing in astonishment. with a little touch of scarlet at the neck and waist. and tinting with a dull. on our way to the station. However. was in the drawing-room: so to the drawing-room I went. however.” said I. Mrs. Half of it is yours and half is Thaddeus Sholto’s. She was seated by the open window. leaving the obliging inspector in the cab. the discovery of the Aurora. With trembling fingers I flung back the lid. she turned so white that I feared that she was about to faint. coolly enough. our expedition in the evening. You will have a couple of hundred thousand each. It was a shock to me to hear that I had placed my friends in such horrible peril. metallic sparkle the rich coils of her luxuriant hair. and a bright flush of surprise and of pleasure colored her pale cheeks. A quarter of an hour’s drive brought us to Mrs. she explained. As it was.” “That is all over. as I hastened to pour her out some water. this is the great Agra treasure. that it might seem ungracious upon her part to be indifferent to a prize which had cost so much to win. “I owe it to you. I shall drive.” I answered. shortly. and likely to be very late.” she said. stooping over it.” said she. “It is nothing. Cecil Forrester was out for the evening.” “It is a pity there is no key.—Holmes’s new method of search. it is Benares metal-work. send an inspector with you. I will tell you no more gloomy details. I need not warn you to be careful. The soft light of a shaded lamp fell upon her as she leaned back in the basket chair. dressed in some sort of white diaphanous material.” They landed me at Vauxhall. however. the appearance of Athelney Jones. no. trying to raise it. We have had work enough already through you. Watson.” said Small. I suppose?” “Yes. my man?” “At the bottom of the river. that we may make an inventory first. Miss Morstan. What could be brighter than that? I got leave to bring it with me. and she glanced at me curiously. Under this I thrust the end of the poker and twisted it outward as a lever. “Hum! There was no use your giving this unnecessary trouble. playing over her sweet. You will have to break it open. “Is that the treasure. “Yes.

” he answered. exultantly. I was half mad when . Thaddeus Sholto is a rich man. “The treasure is lost. That is why I said. My companion lounged in his arm-chair with his usual listless expression.” said Athelney Jones. but not one shred or crumb of metal or jewelry lay within it. CHAPTER XII. I have put it away where you shall never lay hand upon it. Athelney Jones will think. angrily. I put the loot away in a safe place. however. “It is my treasure.The Sign of the Four No wonder that it was heavy. The iron-work was two-thirds of an inch thick all round. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. sternly. and he.” he repeated. the prisoner. and I know that they cannot. for they had changed their plans so far as to report themselves at a station upon the way. as I drew her to my side. She looked at me with a quick. for it was a weary time before I rejoined him.’ too. “Why do you say that?” she asked. When I saw that your launch must catch us. His face clouded over when I showed him the empty box. It was massive. ‘Thank God. There are no rupees for you this journey. “and so Mr.” The inspector shook his head despondently.” she whispered. unless it is three men who are in the Andaman convict-barracks and myself. I know now that I cannot have the use of it. It went to my heart to do it. Well I know that they would have had me do just what I have done.” said Miss Morstan. You’ll find the treasure where the key is. sidelong look. “The man that was clever enough to hunt me down is clever enough to pick an iron box from the bottom of a river. I tell you that no living man has any right to it. I did not know how this Agra treasure had weighed me down. Now that they are scattered over five miles or so. “Thank God!” I ejaculated from my very heart. wrong. It was not to make them rich that we did for Achmet. though. like a chest constructed to carry things of great price. I knew that night that I had gained one.” “You are deceiving us. these riches. no doubt. a great shadow seemed to pass from my soul.” he cried. This night’s work would have been worth a tenner each to Sam Brown and me if the treasure had been there.” I said.” “Easier for me to throw. She did not withdraw it. “There goes the reward!” said he. Small. Because this treasure. disloyal. Whoever had lost a treasure. gloomily. I have acted all through for them as much as for myself. It was absolutely and completely empty.’ ” “Then I say. ‘Thank God. “Where there is no money there is no pay. with a shrewd. It’s been the sign of four with us always. “This is your doing. well made. Holmes. and throw the treasure into the Thames rather than let it go to kith or kin of Sholto or of Morstan. questioning smile.” I said. “Because I love you. “Because you are within my reach again.” His forecast proved to be correct. treasure or no. and if I can’t have the loot I’ll take darned good care that no one else does. and easier for you to recover. it may be a harder job. As I listened to the words and realized what they meant. As I exhibited the empty box he leaned back in his chair and laughed aloud. for the detective looked blank enough when I got to Baker Street and showed him the empty box. as truly as ever a man loved a woman. and where little Tonga is. and solid.” said Athelney Jones. They had only just arrived. while Small sat stolidly opposite to him with his wooden leg cocked over his sound one. “He will see that you are rewarded. It was selfish. calmly. Mary.” “Mr. The Strange Story of Jonathan Small A very patient man was that inspector in the cab. sealed my lips. taking her hand. “If you had wished to throw the treasure into the Thames it would have been easier for you to have thrown box and all. “It’s a bad job. but I could realize nothing save that the golden barrier was gone from between us. Small. until now that it was finally removed. 106 “Yes.

as you can imagine. At last. there’s no good grieving over it. A crocodile took me. the great mutiny broke upon us. One month India lay as still and peaceful. “We have not heard your story. “A pretty justice! Whose loot is this. without a note of warning. wanted an overseer to look after his coolies and keep them up to their work. They were all steady. for white folk out there feel their hearts warm to each other as they never do here at home. all night chained up in the filthy convict-huts. I’ve had ups in my life. which was just starting for India. just above the knee. however. you would have had a better chance at your trial. He happened to be a friend of our colonel’s. who had taken an interest in me since the accident. and I’ll put my lips to it if I am dry. I dare say you would find a heap of Smalls living there now if you were to look. “I am a Worcestershire man myself. for I got into a mess over a girl. Of course you know all about it. the colonel recommended me strongly for the post and. instead of thwarting it in this way. though I can see that I have you to thank that I have these bracelets upon my wrists. if it is not ours? Where is the justice that I should give it up to those who have never earned it? Look how I have earned it! Twenty long years in that fever-ridden swamp. you can put the glass beside me here. Still. “I wasn’t destined to do much soldiering. To make a long story short. “Well. when I was fool enough to go swimming in the Ganges. and should have drowned if Holder had not caught hold of me and paddled for the bank. very like. I could understand. to keep an eye on the men as they worked. What I had to do was to ride over the plantation. as I saw the fury and the passion of the man. was in the water at the same time. and learned to handle my musket. gentlemen. for I was a useless cripple though not yet in my twentieth year. Suddenly. and the country was a perfect hell. well known and respected over the 107 country-side. the next there were two hundred thousand black devils let loose. and I doubt if they would be so very glad to see me. as Surrey or Kent. I was never in luck’s way long. bitten by mosquitoes. and when at last I was able to limp out of it with this timber toe strapped to my stump I found myself invalided out of the army and unfitted for any active occupation. I gave them no more trouble. Luckily for me. who had come out there as an indigo-planter. I have often thought of taking a look round there. and I’ve had downs. “If you had helped justice.” Small had dropped his mask of stoicism. but I’ve learned not to cry over spilled milk. I was five months in hospital over it. my leg was no great obstacle. Abelwhite was a kind man. you have been very fair-spoken to me. my misfortune soon proved to be a blessing in disguise.” said Holmes quietly. If you want to hear my story I have no wish to hold it back. That was how I earned the Agra treasure. my company sergeant. since reading is not in . “You forget that we know nothing of all this. I had comfortable quarters. However. than live in a convict’s cell and feel that another man is at his ease in a palace with the money that should be mine. when I was about eighteen. Small. I fainted. I had just got past the goose-step.—born near Pershore. racked with ague. and he would often drop into my little shanty and smoke a pipe with me. and could only get out of it again by taking the queen’s shilling and joining the 3d Buffs. Thank you. I bear no grudge for that. for I had enough knee left to keep good grip on the saddle. pretty down on my luck at this time. John Holder. Mr. What with the shock and the loss of blood.—a deal more than I do. but the truth is that I was never much of a credit to the family. chapel-going folk.” said the detective. however. and we cannot tell how far justice may originally have been on your side. every word of it. all day at work under the mangrove-tree. What I say to you is God’s truth. A man named Abelwhite. However. and the handcuffs clanked together with the impassioned movement of his hands.The Sign of the Four you came up with us. small farmers. and altogether I was content to spend the remainder of my life in indigo-planting. sir.” “Justice!” snarled the ex-convict. as the work was mostly to be done on horseback. just as I was half-way across. and to report the idlers. “I was. while I was always a bit of a rover.” “This is a very serious matter. and he was one of the finest swimmers in the service. and you talk to me of justice because I cannot bear to feel that I have paid this price only that another may enjoy it! I would rather swing a score of times.” “Well. to all appearance. bullied by every cursed black-faced policeman who loved to take it out of a white man. It is all fair and above-board. while his eyes blazed. or have one of Tonga’s darts in my hide. that it was no groundless or unnatural terror which had possessed Major Sholto when he first learned that the injured convict was upon his track. and all this came out in a wild whirl of words. and nipped off my right leg as clean as a surgeon could have done it. The pay was fair.

I only know what I saw with my own eyes. which took all our garrison. “The river washes along the front of the old fort. and I was instructed if anything went wrong to fire my musket. He had it in his head that the affair had been exaggerated. and was riding slowly home in the evening. and a couple of bullets sang past my head. swarming with fanatics and fierce devil-worshippers of all sorts. I rode down to see what it was. I was selected to take charge during certain hours of the night of a small isolated door upon the southwest side of the building. with an empty revolver in his hand and four Sepoys lying across each other in front of him. when my eye fell upon something all huddled together at the bottom of a steep nullah. and so protects it. Of course we stuck by him. For this reason it was seldom that any one went into it. and took up his position in the old fort at Agra. with their red coats still on their backs. It is a very queer place. therefore. all cut into ribbons. foot. winding streets. horse. The whole country was up like a swarm of bees. Our plantation was at a place called Muttra.—the queerest that ever I was in. where nobody goes. and everything else. when I might rely upon help coming at once from the central guard. and gunners. Two Sikh troopers were placed under my command. Some of them pointed at me. “The city of Agra is a great place. drinking whiskeypegs and smoking cheroots. children. and the cold struck through my heart when I found it was Dawson’s wife. and these had to be guarded. Everywhere else they were helpless fugitives. and which is given over to the scorpions and the centipedes. so I broke away across the paddy-fields. some Sikhs. Night after night the whole sky was alight with the burning bungalows. and a battery of artillery. Mr. there was no great safety there. Lucknow is rather better than a hundred miles to the east. however. either. and to leave each gate under the charge of one white man and two or three natives. but would only throw my own life away if I meddled in the matter. From where I stood I could see hundreds of the black fiends. I knew then that I could do my employer no good. and half eaten by jackals and native dogs. We went out to meet the rebels at Shahgunge early in July. We were short-handed. It was a fight of the millions against the hundreds. and we had to fall back upon the city. who. two troops of horse. Our handful of men were lost among the narrow. At Agra there were the 3d Bengal Fusiliers. used to do the book-work and the managing. where were the nearest troops. It is all full of great deserted halls. There is a modern part. A little further up the road Dawson himself was lying on his face. so that it is easy enough for folk to get lost in it. therefore. I reined up my horse. whom we had taught and trained. and that it would blow over as suddenly as it had sprung up. and day after day we had small companies of Europeans passing through our estate with their wives and children. for if you look at the map you will see that we were right in the heart of it. to station a strong guard at every one of the innumerable gates. one fine day the crash came. I had great .The Sign of the Four my line. it is enormous in size. Wherever the English could collect in little bands they held just the ground that their guns commanded. and long corridors twisting in and out. “As it proved. but at that moment I saw thick smoke curling up from Abelwhite’s bungalow and the flames beginning to burst through the roof. with hardly men enough to man the angles of the building and to serve the guns. of course. and this I joined. but our powder gave out. with his wife. wondering which way I should turn. however. too. and the cruellest part of it was that these men that we fought against. But the modern part is nothing like the size of the old quarter. and I have been in some rum corners. 108 wooden leg and all. From every point on the compass there was nothing but torture and murder and outrage. on their way to Agra. with plenty of room over. and found myself late at night safe within the walls at Agra. I don’t know if any of you gentlemen have ever read or heard anything of that old fort. There he sat on his veranda. and blowing our own bugle-calls. stores. were our own picked troops. and winding passages. I should think that the enclosure must be acres and acres. but on the sides and behind there are many doors. Nothing but the worst news came to us from every side. in the old quarter as well as in that which was actually held by our troops. handling our own weapons. A volunteer corps of clerks and merchants had been formed. It was impossible for us. quite dead. while the country was in a blaze about him. and as the space between was cut up into a labyrinth of passages and corridors. First of all. and Cawnpore about as far to the south. Our leader moved across the river. Abelwhite was an obstinate man. Well. and we beat them back for a time. though now and again a party with torches might go exploring. dancing and howling round the burning house.—which is not to be wondered at. As the guard was a good two hundred paces away. women. I and Dawson. near the border of the Northwest Provinces. What we did was to organize a central guard-house in the middle of the fort. I had been away on a distant plantation.

the rattle of tomtoms. The fort is safe enough. and the Englishman knows the Sikh. but I could get little out of them. but without much success.’ said he. ‘by the bones of your father. to raise no hand and speak no word against us. Sahib. But the Sikh knows the Englishman. or your body this night shall be thrown into the ditch and we shall pass over to our brothers in the rebel army.’ “ ‘You will swear. in silence. “My first thought was that these fellows were in league with the rebels. for. Sahib. Do you stand at the gate. ‘Don’t make a noise. There is no middle way.’ said I. driving rain. They were tall. if it was my last one. The beating of drums. Every two hours the officer of the night used to come round to all the posts. looking down on the broad. I was pretty proud at having this small command given me. The man who held me seemed to know my thoughts.’ “ ‘How can I decide?’ said I. then. death or life? We can only give you three minutes to decide. “Well. and laid down my musket to strike the match. Hearken.’ “ ‘But what is the treasure. though I felt the point of the knife at my throat.’ There was the ring of truth in what he said. and the yells and howls of the rebels. If you will be one of us this night.The Sign of the Four doubts as to whether they could arrive in time to be of any use in case of an actual attack. to what I have to say. if you will but show me how it can be done. and all must be done before the rounds come again. but I give you my word that when I thought of that. Which is it to be. and give notice of their coming. which might alarm the main guard. We ask you to be rich. There are no rebel dogs on this side of the river. In an instant the two Sikhs were upon me. ‘You have not told me what you want of me. For myself. by the cross of your faith. If our door were in the hands of the Sepoys the place must fall. We can say no fairer. The thing is too great a one for us to hesitate. then. the one whom they called Abdullah Khan. even as I braced myself to it. he whispered. I opened my mouth with the intention of giving a scream. and your body in the water. and the women and children be treated as they were in Cawnpore. we will swear to you upon the naked knife. Either you are heart and soul with us on your oath on the cross of the Christians. The thing stands thus. At two in the morning the rounds passed. that you shall have your fair share of the loot. I tried again and again to make my Sikhs talk. Finding that my companions would not be led into conversation.’ said the taller and fiercer of the pair. so you can drive home your knife and welcome. But I tell you know that if it is anything against the safety of the fort I will have no truck with it. Mahomet Singh and Abdullah Khan by name. One of them snatched my firelock up and levelled it at my head. “ ‘No. while the other held a great knife to my throat and swore between his teeth that he would plunge it into me if I moved a step. for the time is passing. both old fighting-men who had borne arms against us at Chilian-wallah. either now or afterwards?’ “ ‘I will swear it. winding river and on the twinkling lights of the great city. drunk with opium and with bang. “The third night of my watch was dark and dirty. therefore. with a small. and that this was the beginning of an assault. It was dreary work standing in the gate-way hour after hour in such weather. I waited. and a game-legged one at that. They could talk English pretty well. and by the threefold oath which no Sikh was ever known to break. For two nights I kept the watch with my Punjaubees. ‘provided that the fort is not endangered.’ said he. then?’ I asked. and broke for a moment the weariness of the night. Mahomet Singh. . ‘You must either be with us now or you must be silenced forever. and I knew that if I raised my voice I was a dead man. ‘I am as ready to be rich as you can be. and I tell it to you because I know that an oath is binding upon a Feringhee. Maybe you gentlemen think that I am just making out a case for myself. to see what it was that they wanted from me. Had you been a lying Hindoo. We can tell the tale to you while we await them. I took out my pipe. to make sure that all was well. fierce-looking chaps. A quarter of the treasure shall be yours. and that we may trust you. “ ‘Listen to me.’ “ ‘There are but three. They preferred to stand together and jabber all night in their queer Sikh lingo. I could read it in the fellow’s brown 109 eyes. though you had sworn by all the gods in their false temples. since I was a raw recruit.’ “ ‘It is nothing against the fort. ‘We only ask you to do that which your countrymen come to this land for. Dost Akbar must have his share. by the honor of your mother. I used to stand outside the gate-way.’ “ ‘Then my comrade and I will swear that you shall have a quarter of the treasure which shall be equally divided among the four of us.’ I answered. were enough to remind us all night of our dangerous neighbors across the stream. your blood would have been upon the knife.

I let them scramble down the sloping bank. Sahib?’ “In Worcestershire the life of a man seems a great and a sacred thing. of what you will do?’ I asked. come what might. Abdullah Khan. for your word. therefore. being a careful man. with a great yellow turban. There will be enough to make every one of us rich men and great chiefs.’ said he. We will go to the gate and share the watch with Mahomet Singh. It was strange to me to be standing there with those two wild Punjaubees waiting for the man who was coming to his death. but at the talk about the treasure my heart turned to it. ‘Give him no cause for fear. however. before I challenged them. “ ‘The plan is his. A deep moat lay in front of our door.’ “ ‘I am with you heart and soul. he made such plans that. until I could see two dark figures upon the other side of the moat. He has with him as travelling-companion my fosterbrother Dost Akbar. is not to be broken. for it was just the beginning of the wet season. pressed the matter more closely. Sahib. No one can know about the matter. Have the lantern ready to uncover. I uncovered my lantern and threw a flood of light upon them. Dost Akbar has promised this night to lead him to a side-postern of the fort. We have now only to wait for my brother and the merchant. and it could easily be crossed. like ours. for he is of a low nature and hoards his gold rather than spend it. there to lie until the land is at peace. Outside of a show I have never seen so tall a man. When the troubles broke out he would be friends both with the lion and the tiger. Here he will come presently. so that no man will be a rupee the better for them. it seemed to him that the white men’s day was come. . half at least of his treasure should be left to him. The first was an enormous Sikh. “ ‘Here they are!’ I exclaimed. for through all the land he could hear of nothing but of their death and their overthrow. however. heavy clouds were drifting across the sky. and a bundle in his hand. and we shall do the rest while you stay here on guard. What say you to it. “ ‘You will challenge him. “Suddenly my eye caught the glint of a shaded lantern at the other side of the moat. Sahib. and here he will find Mahomet Singh and myself awaiting him. since we do the taking of him. then. is now in the city of Agra.The Sign of the Four “ ‘There is a rajah in the northern provinces who has much wealth. but the water was in places nearly dried up. and more still he has set by himself.’ “The rain was still falling steadily. he threw himself into the cause of the Sepoys. fat.’ whispered Abdullah.’ he answered.’ “ ‘Does your brother know. already made up my mind.—with the Sepoy and with the Company’s raj. in a subdued voice. By doing this. as usual. that we may be sure that it is indeed the man. mark you. but the great treasure of the rajah shall be divided among us. That which was in gold and silver he kept by him in the vaults of his palace. “ ‘This pretended merchant. “ ‘Friends. and then appeared again coming slowly in our direction. “ ‘Consider. 110 and his jewels taken by the government. What could be better for the purpose? Say again.’ came the answer. and desires to gain his way into the fort. thinking that I hesitated. handing me back my firelock. then. The place is lonely. ‘You see that we trust you. his property becomes the due of those who have been true to their salt. and none shall know of his coming. now stopping and now advancing. The world shall know of the merchant Achmet no more. whether you are with us. but it is very different when there is fire and blood all round you and you have been used to meeting death at every turn. It vanished among the mound-heaps. and I thought of what I might do in the old country with it. who travels under the name of Achmet. Brown. but the most precious stones and the choicest pearls that he had he put in an iron box. Thus. He has devised it. with a black beard which swept nearly down to his cummerbund. Much has come to him from his father. or if we must look upon you as an enemy. Sahib. “ ‘Who goes there?’ said I. and it was hard to see more than a stone-cast. and sent it by a trusty servant who. ‘that if this man is taken by the commandant he will be hung or shot. I had. and how my folk would stare when they saw their ne’er-do-well coming back with his pockets full of gold moidores. “ ‘It is well. since they were strong upon his borders.’ said I. splash through the mire. should take it to the fort at Agra. but if the Company conquered his jewels would be saved to him.’ “The light had flickered onwards. though his lands are small. for here we are cut off from all men. Soon. and climb half-way up to the gate. who knows his secret. Yet. if the rebels won he would have his money. under the guise of a merchant. why should we not do the rest as well? The jewels will be as well with us as in the Company’s coffers. Whether Achmet the merchant lived or died was a thing as light as air to me. round fellow. Now. and has chosen this one for his purpose. Sahib. Send us in with him. The other was a little. Having thus divided his hoard.

I remained at the gate-way with the lantern. It gave me the chills to think of killing him. I am telling you every work of the business just exactly as it happened. A moment later there came. and I heard voices. It was some distance off. I confess that I had now conceived the utmost horror of the man. We took him to a place which the Sikhs had already prepared. The man never uttered moan nor moved muscle. When we had feasted our eyes we took them all out and made a list of them.—I and my poor possessions. the brick walls of which were all crumbling to pieces. having first covered him over with loose bricks.’ “ ‘What have you in the bundle?’ I asked. “It lay where he had dropped it when he was first attacked. gentlemen. I cast my firelock between his legs as he raced past. and I shall reward you. For myself. “ ‘Your protection. and I could see that if he once passed me and got to the open air he would save himself yet. It was blinding to look upon them. running like the wind. and his head kept turning to left and right with two bright little twinkling eyes. I have never seen a man run so fast as that little merchant.’ “I could not trust myself to speak longer with the man. “I could hear the measured tramp of their footsteps sounding through the lonely corridors. straight passage. and held out his manacled hands for the whiskey-and-water which Holmes had brewed for him. the great black-bearded Sikh. but again the thought of his treasure turned me hard and bitter.The Sign of the Four done up in a shawl. Abdullah.” “Go on with your story. Yet I am not a beggar. and I. while they marched in through the dark gate-way. and the giant walked behind. I think myself that he may have broken his neck with the fall. I have travelled across Rajpootana that I might seek the shelter of the fort at Agra. and he rolled twice over like a shot rabbit. for people were not very lenient at a time like that. young Sahib. so we left Achmet the merchant there. but I thought of the treasure. the harder did it seem that we should slay him in cold blood. too. and a scuffle.—‘your protection for the unhappy merchant Achmet. that I am keeping my promise. with a smear of blood across his face. frightened face. no doubt. My heart softened to him. The earth floor had sunk in at one place. Sherlock Holmes and Jones sat with their hands upon their knees.” said Holmes. and 111 buried his knife twice in his side. deeply interested in the story. It was best to get it over. We opened it. but which I should be sorry to lose. You see. where a winding passage leads to a great empty hall. and my heart set as hard as a flint within me. shortly. not only for this cold-blooded business in which he had been concerned.’ he answered. I turned my lantern down the long. It is a blessed night this when I am once more in safety. “ ‘An iron box. He was gaining on the Sikh. we carried him in. Suddenly it ceased. A key was hung by a silken cord to that carved handle upon the top. and your governor also. Mahomet Singh was left to guard the door. a rush of footsteps coming in my direction. If he had got out. Akbar. with a knife flashing in his hand. He seemed to be all in a quiver with fear. Sahib. A fine weight he was. the whole business would come to light. for there was a touch of defiance in his voice and manner as he proceeded. The box was the same which now lies open upon your table. to my horror. we all went back to the treasure. for his hands twitched as if he had the ague. “ ‘Take him to the main guard. with the loud breathing of a running man. but with the same disgust written upon their faces.’ said I. but lay were he had fallen. He may have observed it. The two Sikhs closed in upon him on each side.” said he. ‘which contains one or two little family matters which are of no value to others. The more I looked at his fat. for all that he was so short.” He stopped. making a natural grave. “Well. and I should have been court-martialled and shot as likely as not. There were one hundred and . if he will give me the shelter I ask. and the light of the lantern gleamed upon a collection of gems such as I have read of and thought about when I was a little lad at Pershore. and there was the fat man. and close at his heels. it was my life or his when once he was in the fort. This done. bounding like a tiger. When he saw my white face he gave a little chirrup of joy and came running up towards me. Whatever punishment was in store for him. I felt that he might expect no sympathy from me. whether it is in my favor or not. I have been robbed and beaten and abused because I have been the friend of the Company. “I should like to know how many fellows in my shoes would have refused a share of this loot when they knew that they would have their throats cut for their pains. “It was all very bad. Besides. but even more for the somewhat flippant and careless way in which he narrated it. like a mouse when he ventures out from his hole.’ he panted. Ere he could stagger to his feet the Sikh was upon him. with the sound of blows. Never was a man so compassed round with death.

Then there were ninety-seven very fine emeralds. We agreed to conceal our loot in a safe place until the country should be at peace again. though my sentence was afterwards commuted into the same as the others. The three Sikhs got penal servitude for life. for the rajah had been deposed and driven out of India: so no one had any particular interest in them. who brought it to the ears of the commandant. Not a word about the jewels came out at the trial. and other stones. sixty-one agates. A flying column under Colonel Greathed came round to Agra and cleared the Pandies away from it. Then we solemnly renewed our oath to stand by each other and be true to our secret. and he followed him like his shadow. Thus at the very moment that we thought that all was safe we were all four seized and brought to trial on a charge of murder. We made careful note of the place. There was no use dividing it at present. there were nearly three hundred very fine pearls. and ditching. into the same hall where we had buried the body. “Well. and all beyond our little clearings was infested with wild cannibal natives. “After we had counted our treasures we put them back into the chest and carried them to the gate-way to show them to Mahomet Singh. just waiting to be picked up. and one hundred and seventy rubies. one for each of us. onyxes. That is an oath that I can put my hand to my heart and swear that I have never broken. so that none might take advantage. A thorough search was quickly made. and yam-planting.—three of us because we had held the gate that night. and there. however: so what does this rajah do but take a second even more trusty servant and set him to play the spy upon the first? This second man was ordered never to let Achmet out of his sight. which is a small place on the slopes of Mount Harriet. and I was left pretty much to myself. but I was always a pretty stubborn one. I was changed from Agra to Madras. There we were all four tied by the leg and with precious little chance of ever getting out again. two hundred and ten sapphires. including one which has been called. and I was condemned to death. It might have driven me mad. these last had been taken out of the chest and were not there when I recovered it. It is a dreary. and applied for admission there himself next day. when that gorgeous fortune was ready for him outside. By the way. however. There was digging. and put the sign of the four of us at the bottom. and a great quantity of beryls. turquoises.The Sign of the Four forty-three diamonds of the first water. for we had sworn that we should each always act for all. cats’-eyes. and there was no privacy in the fort nor any place where we could keep them. and a dozen other things to be done. some of which. was clearly made out. were small. They 112 are suspicious folk in the East. but could find no trace of Achmet. I soon found myself a sort of privileged person. to have rice to eat and water to drink. twelve of which were set in a gold coronet. though I have become more familiar with them since. while we each held a secret which might have put each of us in a palace if we could only have made use of it. There are very few white convicts at this settlement. fever-stricken place. and it was certain that we must all have been concerned in it. and we four were beginning to hope that the time was at hand when we might safely go off with our shares of the plunder. Fresh troops came pouring in. however. as I had behaved well from the first. and then to divide it equally among ourselves. ‘the Great Mogul’ and is said to be the second largest stone in existence. When the rajah put his jewels into the hands of Achmet he did it because he knew that he was a trusty man. and the body was discovered. There were forty carbuncles. Peace seemed to be settling upon the country. I was given a hut in Hope Town. We carried the box. and next day I drew four plans. It was enough to make a man eat his heart out to have to stand the kick and the cuff of every petty jack-in-office. and the fourth because he was known to have been in the company of the murdered man. so we were busy . our hopes were shattered by our being arrested as the murderers of Achmet. Besides this. “It came about in this way. Of course he thought he had taken refuge in the fort. He went after him that night and saw him pass through the doorway. however. and from there to Blair Island in the Andamans. therefore. for if gems of such value were found upon us it would cause suspicion. In a moment. “At last it seemed to me to have come. “It was rather a queer position that we found ourselves in then. and Nana Sahib made himself scarce over the frontier. and. the very names of which I did not know at the time. under certain bricks in the bestpreserved wall. I believe. so I just held on and bided my time. we made a hollow and put our treasure. who were ready enough to blow a poisoned dart at us if they saw a chance. there’s no use my telling you gentlemen what came of the Indian mutiny. This seemed to him so strange that he spoke about it to a sergeant of guides. After Wilson took Delhi and Sir Colin relieved Lucknow the back of the business was broken. The murder.

Somerton. Captain Morstan.’ said he.’ “Two nights later he and his friend Captain Morstan came to my hut in the dead of the night with a lantern. “ ‘Well. with small changes so that he could not identify the places. and they knew each other’s game to a point. as I cannot use it myself. “Well. and never far apart. The major was raving about his losses. Night after night the soldiers got up poorer men. “ ‘I want you just to let Captain Morstan hear that story from your own lips. Major Sholto was the hardest hit. where I used to make up my drugs. Morstan. and that was that the soldiers used always to lose and the civilians to win.—‘to government. what is it?’ he asked. and there was the surgeon himself. or that you might repent. and he took to drinking a deal more than was good for him.’ “ ‘Half a million. Small. so that it belongs to the first comer. I could see by the twitch of his lip that there was a struggle going on within him.’ 113 “ ‘Nonsense. All the time I was on the lookout for a chance of escape. Small. I used to turn out the lamp in the surgery. Mind. “ ‘Well. sir. and Lieutenant Bromley Brown. “ ‘I wish to have your advice. but it is hundreds of miles from any other land. but soon it came to notes of hand and for big sums. major. “One night he lost even more heavily than usual. you must not do anything rash. at last. “ ‘You think.’ he said.’ “ ‘To government. but it was enough to set me thinking. and then. quietly. with a small window between us. well. And the queer thing about it is that the real owner is outlawed and cannot hold property. When I had finished he stood stock still and full of thought. I am a ruined man. looking hard at me to see if I was in earnest. All day he would wander about as black as thunder. “ ‘This is a very important matter. I could hear their talk and watch their play. and I knew in my heart that I had got him. and it was almost as good as having one to watch the others. I was sitting in my hut when he and Captain Morstan came stumbling along on the way to their quarters. Let me hear all about it.The Sign of the Four enough all day. ‘You must not say a word to any one about it. who were in command of the native troops. then. Small. “The surgeon. taking his cheroot from his lips. It lies there ready for anyone. Small?’ he gasped. “ ‘It’s all up. and then the luck would set in against him worse than ever. there was one thing which very soon struck me. just to give him heart. as they passed my hut. Often. The surgery. “ ‘Quite that.’ he was saying. and there is little or no wind in those seas: so it was a terribly difficult job to get away. Dr. A very snug little party they used to make. if I felt lonesome.’ said I.’ But he said it in a halting fashion. I learned to dispense drugs for the surgeon. that I should give the information to the Governor-General?’ said I. but—’ That was all I could hear. crafty old hands who played a nice sly safe game. and the other young officers would meet in his rooms of an evening and play cards. I thought perhaps the best thing that I could do would be to hand it over to the proper authorities.’ he stammered. but so it was. and.—in jewels and pearls. though in the evening we had a little time to ourselves. ‘It’s good enough to act upon?’ “Captain Morstan nodded. sporting young chap. I know where half a million worth lies. “ ‘It rings true. I don’t say that there was anything unfair. and two or three prisonofficials. those two. They were bosom friends. Give me the facts. Small. eh?’ said he. was a fast. These prison-chaps had done little else than play cards ever since they had been at the Andamans.’ “I told him the whole story. . was next to his sitting-room. and I shall see you again soon. sir. sir. “I repeated it as I had told it before. Small. and the poorer they got the more keen they were to play. and then perhaps they would get my sentence shortened for me. Among other things. while the others just played to pass the time and threw their cards down anyhow. ‘I’ve had a nasty facer myself. I am fond of a hand at cards myself. A couple of days later Major Sholto was strolling on the beach: so I took the chance of speaking to him. ‘I shall have to send in my papers. There was Major Sholto.’ said I. slapping him upon the shoulder. and picked up a smattering of his knowledge. He used to pay in notes and gold at first. old chap!’ said the other. standing there. He sometimes would win for a few deals. ‘who is the proper person to whom hidden treasure should be handed over. “ ‘I wanted to ask you.

but his eyes were shining with excitement and greed. trying also to be cool. gentlemen. I sat up all night with paper and ink.’ “ ‘It’s a dirty business. and at last we came to an arrangement.’ said he. From that day I lived only for vengeance.’ “ ‘Well. The scoundrel had stolen it all. The four of us must always act together. ‘we must.’ he said. “Well.’ 114 “ ‘Nonsense!’ he broke in. It became an overpowering.’ I answered. without carrying out one of the conditions on which we had sold him the secret. Tell me where the box is hid. His uncle had died. the question is. Now.’ He tried to speak in a cool. ‘A fifth share! That is not very tempting. ‘What have three black fellows to do with our agreement?’ “ ‘Black or blue. careless way. “ ‘But how can we gain your freedom? You know very well that you ask an impossibility. my friend here and I.The Sign of the Four “ ‘Look here. ‘We have been talking it over. ‘I have thought it all out to the last detail. which of course you have the power of disposing of as you think best. I cared nothing for the law. I have told you that I had picked up something of medicine. ‘there is only one bargain which a man in my position can make. yet he could stoop to treat five men as he had treated us.’ said the major. which was to lie off Rutland Island. and myself.’ said I. and to help my three companions to theirs. and there we were to have a final division of the treasure. and I shall get leave of absence and go back to India in the monthly relief-boat to inquire into the affair. and I know that my friend Mr. We shall engage to get aboard her by night. but feeling as excited as he did. He does not flinch from his friend. There are plenty of little yachts and yawls at Calcutta or Madras which would serve our turn well. and by the morning I had the two charts all ready. All this we sealed by the most solemn oaths that the mind could think or the lips utter. I tell you that it is four or none with us. “ ‘None or all.’ I answered. I shall want yo to help me to my freedom.’ “Well. absorbing passion with me. of Abdullah. ‘they are in with me. Captain Morstan showed me his name among a list of passengers in one of the mail-boats very shortly afterwards. ‘I must have the consent of my three comrades. as we expected. I suppose. Mahomet.’ said I. what price would you ask for it? We might be inclined to take it up.—that was my one thought. and Dost Akbar were all present. after all. leaving him a fortune. ‘Small is a man of his word. of course. Major Sholto was to go to India to test our story. “ ‘Why. and we all go together. Jones is impatient to get me safely stowed in chokey. to have my hand upon his throat. but is a private concern of your own.’ “ ‘Not so fast. We talked the matter over again. to meet us at Agra. I’ll make it as short as I can. The villain Sholto went off to India. ‘We have sworn it. the money would save our commissions handsomely. and he had left the army. and at least look into it. and we have come to the conclusion that this secret of yours is hardly a government matter. To escape. I thought of it by day and I nursed it by night. test the truth of your story.—that is. Do you bring one over. But it was weary years before my time came. gentlemen. The only bar to our escape is that we can get no boat fit for the voyage.’ “ ‘If there were only one. and give you a fifth share to divide between you. and if you will drop us on any part of the Indian coast you will have done your part of the bargain. Abdullah Khan. he taking the major’s share as well as his own. Morstan went over to Agra shortly afterwards. Captain Morstan was then to apply for leave of absence. We must first. Small.—nothing for the gallows. ‘Yet. if we could agree as to terms. Small. One day when Dr. try and meet you. growing colder as he got hot. and no provisions to last us for so long a time. If he found the box he was to leave it there. I have set my mind on many things in this life.’ said I.’ “ ‘You see.’ “ ‘Hum!’ said he. as you say. signed with the sign of four. the matter ended by a second meeting. “Well. and finally to return to his duties. and to which we were to make our way. to track down Sholto. but he never came back again. to send out a small yacht provisioned for a voyage.’ said the major.’ the other answered. I weary you with my long story.’ I answered. We were to provide both the officers with charts of the part of the Agra fort and mark the place in the wall where the treasure was hid. and never one which I did not carry out. Akbar. at which Mahomet Singh. Somerton was down with a fever a little Andaman Islander was picked . Morstan. I think we may very well trust him. Even the Agra treasure had come to be a smaller thing in my mind than the slaying of Sholto. We shall then take yo into partnership. and found.’ “ ‘Nothing of the sort. as to that.’ “ ‘It would come to fifty thousand apiece. that the treasure was indeed gone.

Before I left I bethought me that if I ever met my Sikh friends again it would be a satisfaction to know that I had left some mark of our hatred: so I scrawled down the sign of the four of us. and would hardly go back to his woods. and on the eleventh we were picked up by a trader which was going from Singapore to Jiddah with a cargo of Malay pilgrims. but he was pretty sly. but I struck him full. but none could I see. You can see the split in the wood now where I hit him. and.The Sign of the Four up by a convict-gang in the woods. roomy canoe of his own. and I pinned it on his bosom. but I could not see how with my wooden leg I was to make my way up to it. I brought him out with me with a long rope wound round his waist. No man ever had a more faithful mate. and Tonga and I soon managed to settle down among them. All the time. It was up at the top of the house. For ten days we were beating about. I hurried at once to the garden. I made for the boat. I looked about for a stone to beat out his brains with. however. besides his sons and his khitmutgar. however. There was not a line. in Mr. He would eat raw meat and dance his war-dance: so we always had a hatful of pennies after a day’s work. or if he still had it. He put his carbine to his shoulder. some three or four years ago. I came at once and had a look at the place. I got word that he was dying. A hundred times I have killed him in my sleep. bitter and savage as a man could be. As it chanced. Here and there we drifted about the world. but when I got up I found him still lying quiet enough. I would dream of Sholto at night. He was sick to death. and for some years there was no news to hear. The treasure had been found. I gave him directions to have several gourds of water and a lot of yams. with which I make a sort of sail. and also about Mr. Then I tried to get at him in many ways. and some Andaman cocoa-nut matting. I made friends with someone who could help me. Sholto’s supper-hour.—and I soon found that he still had the jewels. we found ourselves in England. if I were to tell you all the adventures that my little chum and I went through. and in an hour we were well out at sea. and sweet potatoes. looking through the window. for I don’t want to get any one else in a hole. and owned a big. . was little Tonga. and I searched his papers to see if there was any record of where he had hidden our jewels. and had always two prize-fighters. however. I saw him lying in his bed. When I found that he was devoted to me and would do anything to serve me. his arms and his gods. and now I had my chance. however. At the night named he had his boat at the wharf. I saw my chance of escape. however: so I came away. only even as I looked at him his jaw dropped. I got into his room that same night. Bartholomew Sholto’s chemical laboratory. I had always vowed vengeance. It seemed to me that I could manage the thing easily through Tonga. Then a queer thought came into my head and showed me where I could lay my hand on a weapon. “One day. I’d have come through and taken my chance with the three of them. you would 115 not thank me. I took him in hand. Tonga had brought all his earthly possessions with him. They were a rum crowd. except that they were hunting for the treasure. I learned a little of his lingo from him. for I could not keep my balance. about a trap-door in the roof. and there he was to pick me up. He took a kind of fancy to me then. I still heard all the news from Pondicherry Lodge. He stood on the bank with his back to me. for I would have you here until the sun was shining. and had gone to a lonely place to die. With three long hops I was on him. something always turning up to keep us from London. and his carbine on his shoulder. and this made him all the fonder of me. however.—a vile Pathan who had never missed a chance of insulting and injuring me. but was always hanging about my hut. and after a couple of months I got him all right and able to walk. At last. I learned. I never lost sight of my purpose. Among other things. mad that he should slip out of my clutches like that. and I knew that he was gone. “He was stanch and true. trusting to luck. and I set to work to discover whether he had realized the treasure. on guard over him. “We earned a living at this time by my exhibiting poor Tonga at fairs and other such places as the black cannibal. It was as if fate had placed him in my way that I might pay my debt before I left the island. I sat down in the darkness and unstrapped my wooden leg. At last.—I name no names. with his sons on each side of him. “Well. It was too much that he should be taken to the grave without some token from the men whom he had robbed and befooled. They had one very good quality: they let you alone and asked no questions. though. I had no great difficulty in finding where Sholto lived. I talked it over with him. “Tonga—for that was his name—was a fine boatman. he had a long bamboo spear. there was one of the convict-guard down there. cocoa-nuts. came what we had waited for so long. however. though he was as venomous as a young snake. He was to bring his boat round on a certain night to an old wharf which was never guarded. and knocked the whole front of his skull in. We both went down together. as it had been on the chart.

” said Sherlock Holmes. a confederate in the house.The Sign of the Four He could climb like a cat.” I remarked. the butler: so Jones actually has the undivided honor of having caught one fish in his great haul. I should never marry myself. as I surmised. but.” “Strange.” “I trust. it is not to amuse you. I engaged with old Smith. but he was not in our secrets.—for you have not done me a very good turn. “Not at all. I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met.” my companion answered. and there are two inspectors down-stairs. Miss Morstan has done me the honor to accept me as a husband in prospective.” “He had lost them all. daß die Natur nur einen Mensch aus Dir schuf. and made off the way that he had come. I had heard a waterman speak of the speed of Smith’s launch. Holmes. I shall be as limp as a rag for a week.” said he.” And he stretched his long white hand up for it.” “Ah.—but it is because I believe the best defence I can make is just to hold back nothing. I shall feel more at ease when we have our story-teller here safe under lock and key. I get a wife out of it. But love is an emotional thing. to his cost.” “The division seems rather unfair. and was to give him a big sum if he got us safe to our ship.” I was a little hurt. after we had set some time smoking in silence. and there is the end of our little drama. having first left the sign of the four upon the table. and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. Very much surprised was he when I made at him with the rope’s end and cursed him for a little blood-thirsty imp. thank you. He knew.” 116 “Good-night.” “A very remarkable account. to show that the jewels had come back at last to those who had most right to them. and he soon made his way through the roof. so I thought she would be a handy craft for our escape. the Aurora.” “Is there any other point which you would like to ask about?” asked the convict.” said Holmes. “that my judgment may survive the ordeal.” he answered. All this is the truth.” said I. laughing. “By the way. “I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. the reaction is already upon me. “You have done all the work in this business. “I feared as much. “Have you any reason to be dissatisfied with my choice?” I asked. “there are in me the makings of a very fine loafer and also of a pretty spry sort of fellow. But you look weary. Bartholomew Sholto was still in the room. By the way. Small. I took the treasurebox and let it down. gentlemen.” “Yes. and then slid down myself. “I don’t know that I have anything else to tell you. Denn zum wurdigen Mann war ¨ und zum Schelmen der Stoff. Jones gets the credit. “A fitting wind-up to an extremely interesting case. as ill luck would have it. except that you brought your own rope.” “Yes. Tonga then pulled up the rope. you see that they had. affably. yet he managed to shoot one at us in the boat. but duty is duty. Good-night to you.” He gave a most dismal groan. “You are a man to be humored. “how terms of what in another man I should call laziness alternate with your fits of splendid energy and vigor. a propos of this Norwood business.” said I. and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. “I’ll take particular care that you don’t club me with your wooden leg.” remarked the wary Jones as they left the room. no doubt.” said Athelney Jones. I am much obliged to you both for your assistance. There is nothing at all new to me in the latter part of your narrative. I had hoped that Tonga had lost all his darts. pray what remains for you?” “For me.” said Sherlock Holmes. and if I tell it to you. except the one which was in his blow-pipe at the time. that there was some screw loose. and how innocent I am of the death of his son.— Schade.” “Well.” I remarked. “I had not thought of that. Of course you will be wanted at the trial. “I really cannot congratulate you. “You first.” said Jonathan Small. gentlemen both. sir. and I have gone rather far in doing what you and your friend asked me. That I did not know. The cab still waits. of course. I often think of those lines of old Goethe. lest I bias my judgment. “Well. . who could be none other than Lal Rao. She had a decided genius that way: witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father. but let all the wold know how badly I have myself been served by Major Sholto. for when I came up by the rope I found him strutting about as proud as a peacock. “I think not. and we all know that you are a connoisseur of crime. whatever you may have done to the gentleman at the Andaman Isles. closed the window. “there still remains the cocaine-bottle. Tonga thought he had done something very clever in killing him.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes .

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A Scandal in Bohemia .

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. . . . . . . . . . . . .A Scandal in Bohemia Table of contents Chapter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 127 132 121 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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and occupied his immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clues. I fail to see how you work it out. I observe. of dubious and questionable memory.” “Then. I take it. All emotions. As I passed the well-remembered door. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. as ever. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. and that one particularly. He was. As to Mary Jane. I fancy. I knew little of my former friend and companion. “It is simplicity itself. “this is too much. I saw his tall. I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again. and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. she is incorrigible. threw across his case of cigars. Beyond these signs of his activity. One night—it was on the twentieth of March. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately. precise but admirably balanced mind. “Indeed. They were admirable things for the observer—excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. or a crack in one of his own highpower lenses. but he was glad. and that woman was the late Irene Adler. eagerly. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. remained in our lodgings in Baker Street. he waved me to an armchair. He had risen out of his drug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of some new problem. and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition. and.” said he. that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you. the drowsiness of the drug. He was at work again. With hardly a word spoken. Watson. and my wife has given her notice. but there. I should have thought a little more. nervous hands together. which must always be associated in my mind with my wooing. His manner was not effusive. save with a gibe and a sneer. And in practice again. would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. It seldom was. while Holmes. which I merely shared with all the readers of the daily press. Watson. but as I have changed my clothes I can’t imagine how you deduce it.” said I. again. “I think.” He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long. how do you know?” “I see it. and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. “Wedlock suits you. and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. You did not tell me that you intended to go into harness. were sufficient to absorb all my attention. And yet there was but one woman to him. I deduce it. who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul. were abhorrent to his cold. My own complete happiness. spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against the blind. however. and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. had you lived a few centuries ago. “my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe. and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment.A Scandal in Bohemia o Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. buried among his old books. but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder. and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl?” “My dear Holmes. He never spoke of the softer passions. and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. Just a trifle more. with his head sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. Grit in a sensitive instrument. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. 1888—I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice). I had seen little of Holmes lately. His rooms were brilliantly lit. and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet.” he remarked. but with a kindly eye. He was pacing the room swiftly. 123 T CHAPTER I. of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee. even as I looked up. You would certainly have been burned. Then he stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular introspective fashion. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which had formerly been in part my own. when my way led me through Baker Street.” “Seven!” I answered. to see me. To me. just where . the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. He was still. I think. his attitude and manner told their own story. It is true that I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadful mess. who knew his every mood and habit. deeply attracted by the study of crime.

” I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction.” said he. But the note itself. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.” I remarked. but you do not observe.” “Quite so.” “Not at all. and since you are good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences. to discover what is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper and prefers wearing a mask to showing his face. It only remains. By-the-way. “Precisely. the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. The distinction is clear.’ Ha. no doubt.” The note was undated. at a quarter to eight o’clock. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it. As to your practice. lighting a cigarette. therefore. since you are interested in these little problems. “When I hear you give your reasons. my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather.” I remarked. and without either signature or address.” “Frequently. And the man who wrote the note is a German. what do you make of that?” His eyes sparkled.” said Holmes. and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope. Egria. “What do you make of that?” asked Holmes. because I have both seen and observed. if I am not mistaken.” “This is indeed a mystery. Be in your chamber then at that hour.” a “P.’ Now for the ‘Eg. “It is not an English paper at all.’ Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer. rather. stands for ‘Papier.” “Then how many are there?” “How many? I don’t know. you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room. “a gentleman who desires to consult you upon a matter of the very deepest moment. to resolve all our doubts.” He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves. Do you note the peculiar construction of the sentence—‘This account of you we have from all quarters received.” and a large “G” with a small “t” woven into the texture of the paper. “What do you imagine that it means?” “I have no data yet. instead of theories to suit facts.” he answered. and the paper upon which it was written. What do you deduce from it?” I carefully examined the writing. For example.’ of course.’ ‘P. “The man who wrote it was presumably well to do.” . ‘Remarkable as being the scene of the death of Wallenstein. not far from Carlsbad. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession.A Scandal in Bohemia the firelight strikes it. indeed. and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey. my boy. and do not take it amiss if your visitor wear a mask. if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform. and he sent up a great blue triumphant cloud from his cigarette.” “How often?” “Well.’ which is the German for ‘Company. though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process. and saw a large “E” with a small “g.” “Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. The ‘G’ with the small ‘t’ stands for ‘Gesellschaft.” I said. you see. Eglonitz—here we are. It is in a German-speaking country—in Bohemia. Your recent services to one of the royal houses of Europe have shown that you are one who may safely be trusted with matters which are of an importance which can hardly be 124 exaggerated. I must be dull. And here he comes. “It came by the last post. “Eglow. with a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger. “Read it aloud. Hold it up to the light. pink-tinted notepaper which had been lying open upon the table. or his monogram. It is peculiarly strong and stiff. and throwing himself down into an armchair.’ It is a customary contraction like our ‘Co.” it said. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories. some hundreds of times. “You see.” “Peculiar—that is the very word.’ A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. and for its numerous glass-factories and paper-mills. Now. This account of you we have from all quarters received. ha. It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs. “The name of the maker.” I did so. endeavouring to imitate my companion’s processes.” I remarked. “There will call upon you to-night. you may be interested in this.” He threw over a sheet of thick. “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself. “Such paper could not be bought under half a crown a packet. “The paper was made in Bohemia. I know that there are seventeen steps. Hence. That is just my point.

At present it is not too much to say that it is of such weight it may have an influence upon European history.” said he. 125 “Pray take a seat.A Scandal in Bohemia As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses’ hoofs and grating wheels against the curb. Whom have I the honour to address?” “You may address me as the Count Von Kramm. “The august person who employs me wishes his agent to be unknown to you. “A nice little brougham and a pair of beauties. with the chest and limbs of a Hercules.” He looked from one to the other of us. To speak plainly. whom I may trust with a matter of the most extreme importance. or none. And this promises to be interesting. Watson. by the sound.” “I was aware of it.” A slow and heavy step. I should much prefer to communicate with you alone. with a gesture of desperation. as if uncertain which to address. “Yes. Holmes whistled. “You may say before this gentleman anything which you may say to me. he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground. if there is nothing else. hereditary kings of Bohemia. . and I may confess at once that the title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own. and every precaution has to be taken to quench what might grow to be an immense scandal and seriously compromise one of the reigning families of Europe. Here he comes. His dress was rich with a richness which would.” said Holmes dryly. Watson. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character. A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height. “I should be better able to advise you. the matter implicates the great House of Ormstein. It would be a pity to miss it. at the end of that time the matter will be of no importance. “Then I must begin.” The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable agitation. “A pair. straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand. lounging figure of the man who had been no doubt depicted to him as the most incisive reasoner and most energetic agent in Europe. which had been heard upon the stairs and in the passage. with a thick. glancing out of the window. A hundred and fifty guineas apiece. “And I. Then there was a loud and authoritative tap. I may want your help. I am lost without my Boswell. your friend. “This is my friend and colleague. “by binding you both to absolute secrecy for two years.” “You will excuse this mask. and so may he. paused immediately outside the door. “Come in!” said Holmes. Doctor. extending down past the cheekbones. “If your Majesty would condescend to state your case.” The Count shrugged his broad shoulders.” I rose to go. while he wore across the upper part of his face. in England. completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. settling himself down in his armchair and closing his eyes. a Bohemian nobleman. Holmes. Stay where you are. “It is both. “The circumstances are of great delicacy. There’s money in this case. Then. Our visitor glanced with some apparent surprise at the languid.” “I think that I had better go. “I told you that I would call. and a long.” murmured Holmes. Boots which extended halfway up his calves. for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. Dr. but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair.” said Holmes.” said he.” said he. is a man of honour and discretion. hanging lip.” continued our strange visitor.” “But your client—” “Never mind him.” “I promise. “You had my note?” he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German accent.” “Not a bit. If not.” “I was also aware of that. be looked upon as akin to bad taste.” he continued. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat. Holmes slowly reopened his eyes and looked impatiently at his gigantic client. which he had apparently adjusted that very moment. a black vizard mask.” said Holmes.” he remarked. followed by a sharp pull at the bell. and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur. and give us your best attention. while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-coloured silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single flaming beryl. who is occasionally good enough to help me in my cases. Sit down in that armchair. I understand that this gentleman. Doctor.

” “Your Majesty must pay. The name is no doubt familiar to you. “you can understand that I am not accustomed to doing such business in my own person. “Very. Yet the matter was so delicate that I could not confide it to an agent without putting myself in his power.” “No legal papers or certificates?” “None. She has the face of the most beautiful of women.” “She will not sell.” “Pooh.” “Then.” “Stolen. And what does she propose to do with the photograph?” “To ruin me. how is she to prove their authenticity?” “There is the writing.” “We have tried and failed. You do not know her.” returned the King reproachfully. “Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858. You may know the strict principles of her family. “It is quite a pretty little problem. second daughter of the King of Scandinavia. She is herself the very soul of delicacy. but she has a soul of steel. Doctor. “Let me see!” said Holmes. “The facts are briefly these: Some five years ago. dear! That is very bad! Your Majesty has indeed committed an indiscretion. Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein. If this young person should produce her letters for blackmailing or other purposes.” said Holmes. “I am the King.” said our strange visitor.A Scandal in Bohemia “You are right.” said he. Twice burglars in my pay ransacked her house.” “My own seal. For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things.” “No sign of it?” “Absolutely none. and the mind of the most resolute of men. Irene Adler.” “Kindly look her up in my index. pooh! Forgery. Twice she has been waylaid. as I understand.” “Oh. pray consult. A shadow of a doubt as to my conduct would bring the matter to an end.” “You are sure that she has not sent it yet?” “I am sure. Contralto—hum! La Scala.” “To Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen. In this case I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staffcommander who had written a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes. “Your Majesty had not spoken before I was aware that I was addressing Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein. there are no lengths to which she would not go—none. during a lengthy visit to Warsaw. I have come incognito from Prague for the purpose of consulting you. hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw—yes! Retired from operatic stage—ha! Living in London—quite so! Your Majesty.” “Imitated.” “Bought.” “My private note-paper. so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information.” “And why?” .” “And Irene Adler?” “Threatens to send them the photograph. indeed.” “My photograph.” “It must be recovered.” “But how?” “I am about to be married. And she will do it. There has been no result. It must be bought.” “Five attempts have been made. then.” “I was mad—insane. shutting his eyes once more. “But a very serious one to me. Rather than I should marry another woman. wrote her some compromising letters. Why should I attempt to conceal it?” “Why.” “Precisely so.” “I was only Crown Prince then. and is now desirous of getting those letters back. indeed?” murmured Holmes. But how—” “Was there a secret marriage?” “None. I am but thirty now.” “You have compromised yourself seriously.” 126 “Stolen.” Holmes laughed. Once we diverted her luggage when she travelled. I was young. sitting down once more and passing his hand over his high white forehead.” “We were both in the photograph.” he cried. and hereditary King of Bohemia. I made the acquaintance of the well-known adventuress. became entangled with this young person. I know that she will do it.” murmured Holmes without opening his eyes.” “Then I fail to follow your Majesty.” “But you can understand.” “So I have heard.

as I have one or two matters of importance to look into just at present.” Holmes took a note of it. however. in the chair. whence he emerged in five minutes tweed-suited and respectable.” he said. St. ill-kempt and side127 whiskered. stay in London for the present?” “Certainly. I had to look three times before I was certain that it was indeed he. subtle methods by which he disentangled the most inextricable mysteries. I left the house a little after eight o’clock this morning in the character of a .” “Then. but the sequel was rather unusual. I sat down beside the fire.” “Pray do so. then we have three days yet. I will tell you. really!” he cried. Serpentine Avenue. with the intention of awaiting him. your Majesty. Putting his hands into his pockets. “That is very fortunate.” said he. of course. though it was surrounded by none of the grim and strange features which were associated with the two crimes which I have already recorded. “One other question. however long he might be. Accustomed as I was to my friend’s amazing powers in the use of disguises. apart from the nature of the investigation which my friend had on hand.” “Absolutely?” “I tell you that I would give one of the provinces of my kingdom to have that photograph.” “Quite so. he stretched out his legs in front of the fire and laughed heartily for some minutes.” CHAPTER II. and to follow the quick. and his keen. with an inflamed face and disreputable clothes. and a drunken-looking groom. however. John’s Wood. but Holmes had not yet returned. there was something in his masterly grasp of a situation. which made it a pleasure to me to study his system of work. The landlady informed me that he had left the house shortly after eight o’clock in the morning.A Scandal in Bohemia “Because she has said that she would send it on the day when the betrothal was publicly proclaimed. Watson. of Miss Irene Adler. as to money?” “You have carte blanche.” “I can’t imagine. Indeed. That will be next Monday. “What is it?” “It’s quite too funny.” he added. incisive reasoning. the nature of the case and the exalted station of his client gave it a character of its own. “If you will be good enough to call to-morrow afternoon at three o’clock I should like to chat this little matter over with you. “There are three hundred pounds in gold and seven hundred in notes. Holmes scribbled a receipt upon a sheet of his note-book and handed it to him.” “Then. And good-night. walked into the room. for. as of old. At three o’clock precisely I was at Baker Street. I suppose that you have been watching the habits. With a nod he vanished into the bedroom. I am sure you could never guess how I employed my morning. limp and helpless. Your Majesty will. and perhaps the house. or what I ended by doing.” “And for present expenses?” The King took a heavy chamois leather bag from under his cloak and laid it on the table. “Well. and then he choked and laughed again until he was obliged to lie back. So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head. You will find me at the Langham under the name of the Count Von Kramm.” said Holmes with a yawn. I was already deeply interested in his inquiry. and I trust that we shall soon have some good news for you. good-night. “Was the photograph a cabinet?” “It was. It was close upon four before the door opened.” “Then I shall drop you a line to let you know how we progress. as the wheels of the royal brougham rolled down the street. I shall be all anxiety. “And Mademoiselle’s address?” he asked. “Is Briony Lodge.” “Oh. still.

Monica in the Edgeware Road. handsome. He is dark. I fear that I bore you with these details. shouted to the cabman to wait. “ ‘The Church of St. and I could catch glimpses of him in the windows of the sitting-room. well furnished. Behind there was nothing remarkable. drives out at five every day. Has only one male visitor. I don’t think I ever drove faster. Presently he emerged. ‘first to Gross & Hankey’s in Regent Street. Seldom goes out at other times. and you will know all that there is to know. but she was a lovely woman. or his mistress? If the former. with a garden at the back. I began to walk up and down near Briony Lodge once more. but the others were there before us. and his tie under his ear. It was a delicate point. while all the tags of his harness were sticking out of the buckles. As he stepped up to the cab. and then to the Church of St. She lives quietly. as I expected. He is a Mr. and as much information as I could desire about Miss Adler. “He was in the house about half an hour. but whose biographies I was compelled to listen to. I walked round it and examined it closely from every point of view. There is a wonderful sympathy and freemasonry among horsey men. Monica. Monica. There was not a soul there save the two whom I had followed and . dark. If the latter. his friend. I lent the ostlers a hand in rubbing down their horses. but without noting anything else of interest. See the advantages of a cabman as a confidant. He was a remarkably handsome man. It is a bijou villa. to a man. ‘Drive like the devil. and dashing.’ It was twenty-five minutes to twelve. and of course it was clear enough what was in the wind. I was just balancing whether I should run for it. and knew all about him.” “I am following you closely. ‘and half a sovereign if you reach it in twenty minutes. that there was a mews in a lane which runs down by one wall of the garden. with a face that a man might die for. and waving his arms. sings at concerts.A Scandal in Bohemia groom out of work. and returns at seven sharp for dinner. but I have to let you see my little difficulties. Half a guinea if you do it in twenty minutes!’ “Away they went. looking even more flurried than before. “My cabby drove fast. Chubb lock to the door. He was a lawyer. So say the Serpentine-mews. “This Godfrey Norton was evidently an important factor in the matter. and often twice. John. or turn my attention to the gentleman’s chambers in the Temple. When I had listened to all they had to tell. two stories. save that the passage window could be reached from the top of the coach-house. Large sitting-room on the right side. and a gentleman sprang out. or whether I should perch behind her landau when a cab came through the street. and moustached—evidently the man of whom I had heard.’ she cried. Be one of them. and those preposterous English window fasteners which a child could open.” “And what of Irene Adler?” I asked. except when she sings. and I was just wondering whether I should not do well to follow them when up the lane came a neat little landau. the coachman with his coat only half-buttoned. aquiline. and received in exchange twopence. he pulled a gold watch from his pocket and looked at it earnestly.” I answered. if you are to understand the situation.’ “This was quite too good to lose. She is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet. and what the object of his repeated visits? Was she his client. The driver looked twice at such a shabby fare. of the Inner Temple. “Oh. I paid the man and hurried into the church. two fills of shag tobacco. What was the relation between them. Godfrey Norton. she had probably transferred the photograph to his keeping. but a good deal of him. I only caught a glimpse of her at the moment. she has turned all the men’s heads down in that part. ‘The Church of St. Watson. to say nothing of half a dozen other people in the neighbourhood in whom I was not in the least interested. never calls less than once a day. and to think over my plan of campaign. but I jumped in before he could object. They had driven him home a dozen times from Serpentine-mews. “I was still balancing the matter in my mind when a hansom cab drove up to Briony Lodge. and it widened 128 the field of my inquiry. but built out in front right up to the road. That sounded ominous. it was less likely. talking excitedly.’ said I. a glass of half and half. pacing up and down. The cab and the landau with their steaming horses were in front of the door when I arrived.’ he shouted. I soon found Briony Lodge. It hadn’t pulled up before she shot out of the hall door and into it. ‘and half a sovereign if you reach it in twenty minutes. and brushed past the maid who opened the door with the air of a man who was thoroughly at home. He appeared to be in a great hurry. with long windows almost to the floor. Of her I could see nothing. “I then lounged down the street and found. On the issue of this question depended whether I should continue my work at Briony Lodge.

” “You are to watch me. man.” “Then you may entirely rely on me. ‘I shall drive out in the park at five as usual. then to raise the cry of fire. or it won’t be legal. for I have not much time. he driving back to the Temple. “I must discuss it while I eat. “ ‘Thank God.” “That is excellent.“ “Precisely. to watch you. Your task is confined to that.” . I think.” “And what then?” “You must leave that to me. perhaps. You understand?” “I am to be neutral?” “To do nothing whatever. They were all three standing in a knot in front of the altar.’ he cried.” “But what is it you wish?” “When Mrs. only three minutes. and so necessitate very prompt and energetic measures on my part. It is nearly five now. You must not interfere. and that my lucky appearance saved the bridegroom from having to sally out into the streets in search of a best man. rather. and to wait you at the corner of the street. it is almost time that I prepare for the new role I have to play.” he answered. I shall want your co-operation. Doctor. Turner has brought in the tray I will make it clear to you. and I went off to make my own arrangements.” “Nor running a chance of arrest?” “Not in a good cause.” “I was sure that I might rely on you.” “You don’t mind breaking the law?” 129 “Not in the least. and I will rejoin you in ten minutes. while the clergyman beamed on me in front. come. “I have been too busy to think of food. and vouching for things of which I knew nothing. Suddenly. returns from her drive at seven.” he said. they separated. taking a long cigar-shaped roll from his pocket. bachelor. You quite follow me?” “Entirely. In two hours we must be on the scene of action. however. I have already arranged what is to occur. and generally assisting in the secure tying up of Irene Adler. “and what then?” “Well. and I am likely to be busier still this evening. ringing the bell. Miss Irene.” “Which are?” “Some cold beef and a glass of beer.” he said as he turned hungrily on the simple fare that our landlady had provided. and at the signal to throw in this object.’ “I was half-dragged up to the altar. When you raise your cry of fire. spinster. to my surprise. I found my plans very seriously menaced. Four or five minutes afterwards the sitting-room window will open. By the way. the three at the altar faced round to me. It looked as if the pair might take an immediate departure. come what may.” “I shall be delighted. You may then walk to the end of the street. I hope that I have made myself clear?” “I am to remain neutral. I heard no more. It seems that there had been some informality about their license. and there was the gentleman thanking me on the one side and the lady on the other. and will. at the same time. and Godfrey Norton came running as hard as he could towards me. They drove away in different directions. Do not join in it. and I mean to wear it on my watch-chain in memory of the occasion. It was all done in an instant.” “Oh. It was the most preposterous position in which I ever found myself in my life. ‘You’ll do.” “Yes. Now. and she to her own house. to get near the window.” “It is nothing very formidable. and it was the thought of it that started me laughing just now. Come! Come!’ “ ‘What then?’ I asked. You are to station yourself close to that open window. to Godfrey Norton. I lounged up the side aisle like any other idler who has dropped into a church. for I will be visible to you. who seemed to be expostulating with them. it will be taken up by quite a number of people. and before I knew where I was I found myself mumbling responses which were whispered in my ear.” said I. or Madame. raise the cry of fire. that the clergyman absolutely refused to marry them without a witness of some sort.’ she said as she left him.” “And when I raise my hand—so—you will throw into the room what I give you to throw.” “Yes. “ ‘Come. There will probably be some small unpleasantness. fitted with a cap at either end to make it self-lighting. the cause is excellent!” “Then I am your man. At the church door. We must be at Briony Lodge to meet her. The bride gave me a sovereign.” “This is a very unexpected turn of affairs. It will end in my being conveyed into the house. “It is an ordinary plumber’s smoke-rocket. There is only one point on which I must insist.A Scandal in Bohemia a surpliced clergyman.

As it pulled up. then. please!“ . his white tie. It was a quarter past six when we left Baker Street. It was a smart little landau which rattled up to the door of Briony Lodge. his baggy trousers. Bring him into the sitting-room. and a rough one. crowded in to help the lady and to attend to the injured man. There is a comfortable sofa. A blow was struck. The photograph becomes a double-edged weapon now.” “But she will refuse. “Is the poor gentleman much hurt?” she asked. It must be in her own house. he’s breathing now.” said a woman. But I hear the rumble of wheels. They were a gang. too.” remarked Holmes. “You see. “No. that she does not carry it about with her. Ah. There was a group of shabbily dressed men smoking and laughing in a corner. It is cabinet size. Women are naturally secretive. marm?“ “Surely. indeed?” “It is most unlikely that she carries it about with her. She knows that the King is capable of having her waylaid and searched. This way. It is her carriage. but just as he reached her he gave a cry and dropped to the ground. There is that double possibility. for a small street in a quiet neighbourhood. “They would have had the lady’s purse and watch if it hadn’t been for him. with the blood running freely down his face. had hurried up the steps. was the centre of a little knot of flushed and struggling men. At his fall the guardsmen took to their heels in one direction and the loungers in the other. The chances are that she would be as averse to its being seen by Mr. as I will still call her. A fierce quarrel broke out.” “But how will you look?” “I will not look. who had stepped from her carriage. May we bring him in. Why should she hand it over to anyone else? She could trust her own guardianship.” “He can’t lie in the street. His broad black hat. Too large for easy concealment about a woman’s dress.A Scandal in Bohemia He disappeared into his bedroom and returned in a few minutes in the character of an amiable and simple-minded Nonconformist clergyman.” “Where. and it still wanted ten minutes to the hour when we found ourselves in Serpentine Avenue. a scissors-grinder with his wheel. It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume.” As he spoke the gleam of the side-lights of a carriage came round the curve of the avenue.” “He’s a brave fellow. but she could not tell what indirect or political influence might be brought to bear upon a business man.” “She will not be able to. John Hare alone could have equalled. waiting for the coming of its occupant. one of the loafing men at the corner dashed forward to open the door in the hope of earning a copper. his sympathetic smile. then?” “Her banker or her lawyer. Godfrey Norton.” cried several voices.” “What then?” “I will get her to show me. remember that she had 130 resolved to use it within a few days. who had rushed up with the same intention. but was elbowed away by another loafer. and they like to do their own secreting. It was already dusk. but she stood at the top with her superb figure outlined against the lights of the hall. when he became a specialist in crime. as we paced to and fro in front of the house.” “Pshaw! They did not know how to look. who took sides with one of the loungers. it was remarkably animated.” “But it has twice been burgled. which was increased by the two guardsmen. who had watched the scuffle without taking part in it. and the lamps were just being lighted as we paced up and down in front of Briony Lodge. two guardsmen who were flirting with a nurse-girl. Irene Adler. “He is dead. and general look of peering and benevolent curiosity were such as Mr. It must be where she can lay her hands upon it. who was equally hot upon the other side. Now carry out my orders to the letter. On the contrary. His expression. while a number of better-dressed people. as our client is to its coming to the eyes of his princess. and several well-dressed young men who were lounging up and down with cigars in their mouths. who struck savagely at each other with their fists and sticks. Two attempts of the sort have already been made. there’s life in him!” shouted another. “this marriage rather simplifies matters. looking back into the street. The stage lost a fine actor. The house was just such as I had pictured it from Sherlock Holmes’ succinct description. and by the scissors-grinder. “But he’ll be gone before you can get him to hospital. his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. Besides. even as science lost an acute reasoner. Holmes dashed into the crowd to protect the lady. no. We may take it. his manner. Now the question is. But I am inclined to think neither. and in an instant the lady. but the locality appeared to be less private than I expected. Where are we to find the photograph?” “Where.

The lamps had been lit.” “I guessed as much. I motioned for air. but the coachman had come in. She was bound to have me in. making my excuses. She will not be up.” he remarked. The smoke and shouting were enough to shake nerves of steel. we are not injuring her. and servantmaids—joined in a general shriek of “Fire!” Thick clouds of smoke curled through the room and out at the open window. and with you. if you care to come with us.” “And how did you find out?” “She showed me. while I still observed the proceedings from my post by the window. Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street. she replaced it. Besides. which was the very room which I suspected. I do not know whether he was seized with compunction at that moment for the part he was playing. Doctor. clapped my hand to my face. It is all right. It lay between that and her bedroom. When I cried out that it was a false alarm. It is an old trick. A maid rushed across and threw open the window. but it is probable that when she comes she may find neither us nor the photograph. and also in the Arnsworth Castle business. We are but preventing her from injuring another.” “How did that help you?” “It was all-important. and a moment later the voice of Holmes from within assuring them that it was a false alarm. I hardened my heart. I rose. we must be prompt. well dressed and ill—gentlemen. We will be shown into the sitting-room to wait for the lady.” “Then they carried me in. saw that everyone in the street was an accomplice.” “Then.” “You have the photograph?” “I know where it is. and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend’s arm in mine. What else could she do? And into her sitting-room. and to get away from the scene of uproar. laughing. “You did it very nicely. In the case of the Darlington substitution scandal it was of use to me. When a woman thinks that her house is on fire. and became a piteous spectacle. for this marriage may mean a complete change in her life and habits. “Nothing could have been better. “The matter was perfectly simple.” “I am still in the dark.” “I do not wish to make a mystery. rushed from the room. She responded beautifully.” . as I told you she would. I hesitated whether to attempt to secure the photograph at once. they were compelled to open the window.” “That also I could fathom. fell down. Holmes had sat up upon the couch. and I was determined to see which. or the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man. and took the smokerocket from under my ulster.” “And when will you call?” “At eight in the morning. so that I could see Holmes as he lay upon the couch. escaped from the house. I rushed 131 forward. ostlers.” said he. and I caught a glimpse of it as she half-drew it out. He walked swiftly and in silence for some few minutes until we had turned down one of the quiet streets which lead towards the Edgeware Road. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse.” “And now?” I asked. A married woman grabs at her baby. It might be a satisfaction to his Majesty to regain it with his own hands. You. And yet it would be the blackest treachery to Holmes to draw back now from the part which he had intrusted to me. They were all engaged for the evening. and I have more than once taken advantage of it. her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. and you had your chance. I thought. “Our quest is practically finished. The alarm of fire was admirably done. At the same instant I saw him raise his hand and at the signal I tossed my rocket into the room with a cry of “Fire!” The word was no sooner out of my mouth than the whole crowd of spectators. an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box. I caught a glimpse of rushing figures. I had a little moist red paint in the palm of my hand. glanced at the rocket. so that we shall have a clear field. and I saw him motion like a man who is in need of air. The photograph is in a recess behind a sliding panel just above the right bell-pull. After all. and as he was watching me narrowly it seemed safer to wait. Now it was clear to me that our lady of to-day had nothing in the house more precious to her than what we are in quest of. when the row broke out. A little over-precipitance may ruin all.A Scandal in Bohemia Slowly and solemnly he was borne into Briony Lodge and laid out in the principal room. She was there in an instant. and I have not seen her since. I shall call with the King to-morrow. of course. They laid me on a couch. but the blinds had not been drawn. and. I must wire to the King without delay. but I know that I never felt more heartily ashamed of myself in my life than when I saw the beautiful creature against whom I was conspiring. She would rush to secure it.

my brougham is waiting. And yet—Well! I wish she had been of my own station! What a queen she would have made!” He relapsed into a moody silence.” “And the papers?” asked the King hoarsely.” “It is true.” remarked Holmes. I am all impatience to be gone. “Married! When?” “Yesterday.” “Then that will simplify matters. “Do you mean that she has left England?” “Never to return.” “But to whom?” “To an English lawyer named Norton. plunging in his hand. She watched 132 “We shall see.” answered my companion.A Scandal in Bohemia We had reached Baker Street and had stopped at the door. staring down the dimly lit street.” said Holmes.” “And why in hopes?” “Because it would spare your Majesty all fear of future annoyance.” “No. Sherlock Holmes. I wonder who the deuce that could have been. grasping Sherlock Holmes by either shoulder and looking eagerly into his face. “Irene Adler is married. To be left till called for.” “But she could not love him. Holmes.” “But you have hopes?” “I have hopes. “I am Mr. tore back a small sliding shutter. He was searching his pockets for the key when someone passing said: “Good-night. “I’ve heard that voice before. “Now. Esq. white with chagrin and surprise.” My friend tore it open and we all three read it together. If the lady loves her husband. the letter was superscribed to “Sherlock Holmes.15 train from Charing Cross for the Continent. “You have really got it!” he cried. which was not broken until we drew up in Serpentine Avenue. but the greeting appeared to come from a slim youth in an ulster who had hurried by. looking at her with a questioning and rather startled gaze. she does not love your Majesty. and we were engaged upon our toast and coffee in the morning when the King of Bohemia rushed into the room. “Mr. pulled out a photograph and a letter. The furniture was scattered about in every direction.” CHAPTER III. She left this morning with her husband by the 5. If she does not love your Majesty. “Not yet. I believe?” said she. come.” “We must have a cab.” We descended and started off once more for Briony Lodge. I slept at Baker Street that night.” “What!” Sherlock Holmes staggered back.” “Then.” us with a sardonic eye as we stepped from the brougham. The door of Briony Lodge was open. “All is lost. Holmes rushed at the bell-pull. and an elderly woman stood upon the steps.” He pushed past the servant and rushed into the drawing-room. The photograph was of Irene Adler herself in evening dress. It was dated at midnight of the preceding night and ran in this way: “Indeed! My mistress told me that you were likely to call. and. followed by the King and myself. Mister Sherlock Holmes. there is no reason why she should interfere with your Majesty’s plan. as if the lady had hurriedly ransacked them before her flight.” “I am in hopes that she does. .” There were several people on the pavement at the time. with dismantled shelves and open drawers.

with all this. The King may do what he will without hindrance from one whom he has cruelly wronged. “Irene’s photograph!” he cried. and to preserve a weapon which will always secure me from any steps which he might take in the future. “Your Majesty has something which I should value even more highly. “I am sorry that I have not been able to bring your Majesty’s business to a more successful conclusion. This ring—” He slipped an emerald snake ring from his finger and held it out upon the palm of his hand. Even after I became suspicious.” e “What a woman—oh. or when he refers to her photograph. I had not a suspicion. what a woman!” cried the King of Bohemia.” said Holmes coldly. And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia. rather imprudently. the coachman. when pursued by so formidable an antagonist.” “I am glad to hear your Majesty say so. I leave a photograph which he might care to possess. As to the photograph. “You have but to name it. you know. Sherlock Holmes. I had been told that if the King employed an agent it would certainly be you. “Certainly. I have been trained as an actress myself. . “Very truly yours. got into my walking-clothes. wished you good-night. it is always under the honourable title of the woman.” “On the contrary. I often take advantage of the freedom which it gives. and so made sure that I was really an object of interest to the celebrated Mr. my dear sir. when we had all three read this epistle. “We both thought the best resource was flight. You took me in completely.” “This photograph!” The King stared at him in amazement. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. “Did I not tell you how quick and resolute she was? Would she not have made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity that she was not on my level?” “From what I have seen of the lady she seems indeed to be on a very different level to your Majesty. The photograph is now as safe as if it were in the fire. Until after the alarm of fire. Then I. ran up stairs. and came down just as you departed. when I found how I had betrayed myself. if you wish it. to watch you. I know that her word is inviolate. n´ e Adler. turning away without observing the hand which the King had stretched out to him. and I remain. “Well. I keep it only to safeguard myself.“My dear Mr. And your address had been given me. But. “nothing could be more successful. so you will find the nest empty when you call tomorrow. Yet. I found it hard to think evil of such a dear. kind old clergyman. dear Mr. I began to think. as I call them. I had been warned against you months ago.” “I thank your Majesty.” He bowed. I have the honour to wish you a very good-morning. your client may rest in peace. Sherlock Holmes. Pray tell me in what way I can reward you. Male costume is nothing new to me. he set off in my company for his chambers. but I have not heard him do it of late.” cried the King. And when he speaks of Irene Adler. Then there is no more to be done in the matter. you made me reveal what you wanted to know. I love and am loved by a better man than he. and started for the Temple to see my husband. But then.” “I am immensely indebted to you. I sent John. and. and how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “You really did it very well. I followed you to your door.” said Holmes. “Irene Norton. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women.

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The Red-Headed League .

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and to begin a narrative which promises to be one of the most singular which I have listened to for some time. “I was afraid that you were engaged. As he glanced down the advertisement column. and occasionally. Mr. elderly gentleman with fiery red hair. by my inspection. Watson has not heard the opening part but also because the peculiar nature of the story makes me anxious to have every possible detail from your lips. has been my partner and helper in many of my most successful cases. however. for otherwise I shall keep on piling fact upon fact on you until your reason breaks down under them and acknowledges me to be right. that he is a Freemason.” “Then I can wait in the next room. Mr. “You will remember that I remarked the other day. but none the less you must come round to my view. with a quick little questioning glance from his small fat-encircled eyes. You have shown your relish for it by the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle.” “A proposition which I took the liberty of doubting. unique. that he has been in China. “Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour. Jabez Wilson here has been good enough to call upon me this morning. Now.” “You did.” The portly client puffed out his chest with an appearance of some little pride and pulled a dirty and wrinkled newspaper from the inside pocket of his greatcoat. “I know. in the name of good-fortune. Doctor. that he takes snuff. that for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself.” Mr. but the course of events is certainly among the most singular that I have ever listened to. as was his custom when in judicial moods. with his forefinger upon the paper. Mr. Very much so. This gentleman. A frayed top-hat and a faded brown overcoat with a wrinkled velvet collar lay upon a chair beside him.” “So I am. unbuttoned in the front. my dear Watson.” he said cordially. Mr. look as I would. “You could not possibly have come at a better time. “Try the settee.” I observed.” “Not at all. and I have no doubt that he will be of the utmost use to me in yours also. I was about to withdraw when Holmes pulled me abruptly into the room and closed the door behind me. pompous. which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination. Perhaps. relapsing into his armchair and putting his fingertips together. Sherlock Holmes. As a rule. In the present instance I am forced to admit that the facts are. obese. just before we went into the very simple problem presented by Miss Mary Sutherland. Sherlock Holmes’ quick eye took in my occupation. I took a good look at the man and endeavoured. if you will excuse my saying so. and he shook his head with a smile as he noticed my questioning glances. to the best of my belief. Wilson. I did not gain very much. and. there was nothing remarkable about the man save his blazing red head. when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events. You have heard me remark that the strangest and most unique things are very often connected not with the larger but with the smaller crimes. Holmes?” he asked. I can deduce nothing else. and the expression of extreme chagrin and discontent upon his features. As far as I have heard it is impossible for me to say whether the present case is an instance of crime or not. my dear Watson. one day in the autumn of last year and found him in deep conversation with a very stout. where there is room for . you would have the great kindness to recommence your narrative. and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman. and a square pierced bit of metal dangling down as an ornament. and a drab waistcoat with a heavy brassy Albert chain. but his eyes upon my companion. Altogether. Mr. Wilson. a not over-clean black frock-coat.I The Red-Headed League doubt whether any positive crime has been committed. indeed. did you know all that.” The stout gentleman half rose from his chair and gave a bob of greeting. I ask you not merely because my friend Dr. “How. florid-faced.” “Your cases have indeed been of the greatest interest to me.” said Holmes. and slow. He wore rather baggy grey shepherd’s check trousers. with his head thrust forward and the paper flattened out upon his knee. With an apology for my intrusion. somewhat to embellish so many of my own little adventures. I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memory. “How did 137 had called upon my friend. after the fashion of my companion. to read the indications which might be presented by his dress or appearance. that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life. Jabez Wilson started up in his chair.

and then diving down into the cellar like a rabbit into its hole to develop his pictures.” “Oh. I used to be able to keep two assistants.” “Ah. ‘Omne ignotum pro magnifico.” Mr. too. Wilson?” “Well. Mr. in addition. after all. Can you not find the advertisement. “And now. rather against the strict rules of your order. “Never was such a fellow for photography. the matter becomes even more simple. sir. It’s hard to say his age. Apply in person 138 on Monday. Wilson. as was his habit when in high spirits. and I know very well that he could better himself and earn twice what I am able to give him. You have worked with it. I see a Chinese coin hanging from your watch-chain. Mr.” “Very good. at the offices of the League. indeed? You seem most fortunate in having an employee who comes under the full market price. “Well. off you go at scratch and tell us all about yourself. why should I put ideas in his head?” “Why. near the City. sir. then. at eleven o’clock. Sherlock Holmes. I presume?” “Yes. that I did manual labour. It’s as true as gospel. Wilson?” “Yes.” “Your hands. mopping his forehead.” “I begin to think. 1890. of course.” he answered with his thick red finger planted halfway down the column. for I am a widower and never had any family. but on the whole he’s a good worker. We live very quietly. That is his main fault. after all. of Lebanon.” I took the paper from him and read as follows: “To the Red-headed League: On account of the bequest of the late Ezekiah Hopkins. Holmes chuckled and wriggled in his chair. “I thought at first that you had done something clever. Pennsylvania. but I see that there was nothing in it. I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even contributed to the literature of the subject. “Here it is. It’s not a very large affair. “that I make a mistake in explaining. Just two months ago.” said Mr.” said Jabez Wilson.” said Holmes. U. When. Mr.” “What is the name of this obliging youth?” asked Sherlock Holmes. S.” “Well. “It is a little off the beaten track. of the paper and the date. he has his faults. I forgot that. and we keep a roof . You just read it for yourself. A. my dear sir. Your right hand is quite a size larger than your left. 7 Pope’s Court. isn’t it?” said he. All redheaded men who are sound in body and mind and above the age of twentyone years. and the Freemasonry?” “I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how I read that. Jabez Wilson laughed heavily. Now. I should not wish a smarter assistant. sir. There’s no vice in him.The Red-Headed League you know. are eligible. for I began as a ship’s carpenter. and my poor little reputation. I have got it now. and of late years it has not done more than just give me a living.’ you know. Wilson. especially as. and he’s not such a youth. and I would have a job to pay him but that he is willing to come for half wages so as to learn the business. Snapping away with a camera when he ought to be improving his mind. That trick of staining the fishes’ scales of a delicate pink is quite peculiar to China. You will first make a note. Holmes. “His name is Vincent Spaulding. This is what began it all. He and a girl of fourteen. there is now another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. you use an arc-andcompass breastpin. your household.. “I have a small pawnbroker’s business at Coburg Square. But. But the writing?” “What else can be indicated by that right cuff so very shiny for five inches.” “What on earth does this mean?” I ejaculated after I had twice read over the extraordinary announcement. but now I only keep one. Watson. for example. Fleet Street. to Duncan Ross. It is not a common experience among employers in this age. but China?” “The fish that you have tattooed immediately above your right wrist could only have been done in China.” “He is still with you. the snuff. the three of us. who does a bit of simple cooking and keeps the place clean—that’s all I have in the house. Doctor. if he is satisfied. it is just as I have been telling you. and the muscles are more developed.” “It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27. either. I never!” said he. will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid. Mr. Mr. I don’t know that your assistant is not as remarkable as your advertisement. such as it is. and the left one with the smooth patch near the elbow where you rest it upon the desk?” “Well. and the effect which this advertisement had upon your fortunes.

or anything but real bright. and west every man who had a shade of red in his hair had tramped into the city to answer the advertisement. showing me the advertisement. How he did it I could not imagine. Wilson. the League was founded by an American millionaire. and as my business came to me instead of my having to go to it. and I was always glad of a bit of news. again. It’s worth quite a little fortune to any man who gets it. so that it seemed to me that if there was to be any competition in the matter I stood as good a chance as any man that I had ever met. or dark red. it is a fact. he came down into the office just this day eight weeks.’ “ ‘And what are they worth?’ I asked. “ ‘Oh.’ he answered. “ ‘Well. I am a very stay-at-home man. Holmes. with instructions to apply the interest to the providing of easy berths to men whose hair is of that colour. but he pushed and pulled and butted until he got me through the crowd. I should not have thought there were so many in the whole country as were brought together by that single advertisement. Fleet Street was choked with red-headed folk. and he had a great sympathy for all red-headed men. and an extra couple of hundred would have been very handy. He was himself red-headed.The Red-Headed League over our heads and pay our debts. Then. east. Every shade of colour they were—straw. “Pray continue your very interesting statement. Mr. I have heard it is no use your applying if your hair is light red. Mr. with this very paper in his hand. so we shut the business up and started off for the address that was given us in the advertisement. and right up to the steps which led to the office. who was very peculiar in his ways.’ “Well. Wilson.’ says he. brick. lemon.’ “ ‘Why. From all I hear it is splendid pay and very little to do. orange. He was very willing to have a holiday. for you are eligible yourself for one of the vacancies. ‘here’s another vacancy on the League of the Red-headed Men. liver. “ ‘Have you never heard of the League of the Red-headed Men?’ he asked with his eyes open. then?’ I asked. ‘You see it is really confined to Londoners. fiery red. but Spaulding would not hear of it. south.” “Your experience has been a most entertaining one.’ said I.’ “ ‘Why. but perhaps it would hardly be worth your while to put yourself out of the way for the sake of a few hundred pounds. If my hair would only change colour. “ ‘Tell me all about it. and it need not interfere very much with one’s other occupations.’ “ ‘Why that?’ I asks.’ “Now. clay. From north.” “There was nothing in the office but a couple of wooden chairs and a deal table. Mr. and he says: “ ‘I wish to the Lord. Mr. you can easily think that that made me prick up my ears. what is it. and some coming back dejected. some going up in hope.’ 139 “ ‘But. but. “ ‘Never. “ ‘Why. you would just walk in. There was a double stream upon the stair. As far as I can make out. here’s a nice little crib all ready for me to step into. I was often weeks on end without putting my foot over the door-mat. I wonder at that. and to grown men. gentlemen. behind which sat a small man with a head that was even redder than . as Spaulding said. This American had started from London when he was young.” remarked Holmes as his client paused and refreshed his memory with a huge pinch of snuff. that I was a red-headed man. but we wedged in as well as we could and soon found ourselves in the office. for the business has not been over-good for some years. ‘there would be millions of redheaded men who would apply. I would have given it up in despair. there were not many who had the real vivid flamecoloured tint. When I saw how many were waiting. so I just ordered him to put up the shutters for the day and to come right away with me.’ “ ‘Not so many as you might think. ‘you can see for yourself that the League has a vacancy. so when he died it was found that he had left his enormous fortune in the hands of trustees. You see. but the work is slight. Holmes. blazing. In that way I didn’t know much of what was going on outside. and I understand that there are more vacancies than there are men. “I never hope to see such a sight as that again. Now. as you may see for yourselves. “The first thing that put us out was that advertisement. if you cared to apply. and he wanted to do the old town a good turn.’ said he.’ said I. Spaulding. merely a couple of hundred a year. if we do nothing more. Irish-setter. Vincent Spaulding seemed to know so much about it that I thought he might prove useful. and Pope’s Court looked like a coster’s orange barrow. Ezekiah Hopkins. so that the trustees are at their wits’ end what to do with the money. and there is the address where you should apply for particulars. that my hair is of a very full and rich tint.

cocked his head on one side. for I thought that I was not to have the vacancy after all. especially Thursday and Friday evening.’ said I. “ ‘This is Mr. “ ‘In the case of another. “ ‘Oh. and I am myself one of the pensioners upon the fund left by our noble benefactor.’ “ ‘And the work?’ “ ‘Is purely nominal. and gazed at my hair until I felt quite bashful. ‘the objection might be fatal. However. so it would suit me very well to earn a little in the mornings. Holmes. and blottingpaper. Mr. Mr. ‘You will. Then suddenly he plunged forward.The Red-Headed League mine. Mr. He said a few words to each candidate as he came up. Wilson!’ said Vincent Spaulding. You must find your own ink. for we have twice been deceived by wigs and once by paint.’ said my assistant.’ said Mr. You don’t comply with the conditions if you budge from the office during that time.’ said he. ‘I should be able to look after that for you. good-bye. “His face fell immediately.’ “My face lengthened at this. however. or you lose your billet. for I had quite persuaded myself that the whole affair must be some great hoax or fraud. Wilson? Have you a family?’ “I answered that I had not. hardly knowing what to say or do. and congratulated me warmly on my success. the whole time. but we must stretch a point in favour of a man with such a head of hair as yours. excuse me for taking an obvious precaution. There you must stay. ‘and he is willing to fill a vacancy in the League.’ said I.’ “Now a pawnbroker’s business is mostly done of an evening. though what its object might be I could not imagine. which is just before pay-day.” There is the first volume of it in that press. The fund was. “ ‘Ten to two. or at least in the building.’ With that he seized my hair in both his hands. Duncan Ross. “ ‘My name. and he closed the door as we entered. ‘And the pay?’ “ ‘Is £4 a week. I could tell you tales of cobbler’s wax which would disgust you with human nature. Mr. It is exceedingly unfortunate that you should be a bachelor. of course.’ “ ‘What would be the hours?’ I asked.’ said he. Mr. and let me congratulate you once more on the important position which you have been fortunate enough to gain.’ He stepped over to the window and shouted through it at the top of his voice that the vacancy was filled.’ “ ‘It’s only four hours a day. I am sure. “ ‘No excuse will avail. I knew that my assistant was a good man. Jabez Wilson. ‘He has every requirement. Besides. “ ‘That would suit me very well. “ ‘Dear me!’ he said gravely. never mind about that. and tugged until I yelled with the pain. “ ‘It would be injustice to hesitate. “Well. and the folk all trooped away in different directions until there was not a red-head to be seen except my own and that of the manager. I thought over the matter all day. “ ‘Then. but we provide this table and chair. and by evening I was in low spirits again.’ said he. and that he would see to anything that turned up. when our turn came the little man was much more favourable to me than to any of the others. you have to be in the office. Duncan Ross. but after thinking it over for a few minutes he said that it would be all right. Are you a married man.’ the other answered. If you leave. I was so pleased at my own good fortune. Getting a vacancy did not seem to be such a very easy matter. ‘that is very serious indeed! I am sorry to hear you say that.’ I answered. It seemed altogether past belief that anyone could make such .’ “ ‘And the work?’ “ ‘Is to copy out the “Encyclopaedia Britannica. ‘neither sickness nor business nor anything else.’ “ ‘What do you call purely nominal?’ “ ‘Well. Will you be ready to-morrow?’ “ ‘Certainly. it is a little awkward.’ He took a step backward. ‘There is water in your eyes.’ “ ‘And he is admirably suited for it. ‘is Mr. The will is very clear upon that point. Jabez Wilson. But we have to be careful. ‘I perceive that all is as it should be. A groan of disappointment came up from below. for I have a business already. pens. so that he might have a private word with us.’ He bowed me out of the room and I went home with my assistant. and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. wrung my hand.’ said he as he released me. Holmes. and I should not think of leaving.’ said I. for the propagation and spread of the red-heads as well as for their maintenance. 140 When shall you be able to enter upon your new duties?’ “ ‘Well. you forfeit your whole position forever. I cannot recall when I have seen anything so fine. after all.

Holmes. and suited me so well. “ ‘Well. “Your case is an exceedingly remarkable one. so I bought a penny bottle of ink. and you can read for yourself. I did not know what to do. ‘his name was William Morris. Paul’s. “Eight weeks passed away like this. It cost me something in foolscap. and I had written about Abbots and Archery and Armour and Architecture and Attica. I did not wish to lose such a place without a struggle. “I really wouldn’t miss your case for the world. and the same the week after. Holmes.’ said he. I came right away to you. shoving him back into the chair from which he had half risen. and locked the door of the office after me. with a little square of cardboard hammered on to the middle of the panel with a tack. and seven sheets of foolscap paper. to my surprise and delight. William Morris or Mr. who is an accountant living on the ground-floor. complimented me upon the amount that I had written. He could only say that if I waited I should hear by post. and Mr.” cried Holmes. However. and every afternoon I left at two. Then I called at the offices round. and I asked him if he could tell me what had become of the Red-headed League. Finally. something just a little funny about it. Holmes. Then I asked him who Mr. The table was set out ready for me. or that they would pay such a sum for doing anything so simple as copying out the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica. It read in this fashion: The Red-headed League is Dissolved October 9. as I had heard that you were good enough to give advice to poor folk who were in need of it. I started off for Pope’s Court. Every morning I was there at ten. at his new offices. but when I got to that address it was a manufactory of artificial knee-caps. Mr. He started me off upon the letter A. the red-headed man?’ “ ‘Yes. but the door was shut and locked. everything was as right as possible. and I had pretty nearly filled a shelf with my writings. but none of them seemed to know anything about it. and the billet was such a good one. 141 Sherlock Holmes and I surveyed this curt announcement and the rueful face behind it. And no later than this morning. and I took the advice of my assistant. Duncan Ross took to coming in only once of a morning. and I . that I would not risk the loss of it. But that was not quite good enough. I can go elsewhere. “If you can do nothing better than laugh at me. and then he left me. By degrees Mr. I went to my work as usual at ten o’clock. “This went on day after day.” “To an end?” “Yes. and no one in it had ever heard of either Mr.’ “ ‘Where could I find him?’ “ ‘Oh. And then suddenly the whole business came to an end. but he would drop in from time to time to see that all was right with me. Duncan Ross was. ‘the gentleman at No. so.” “And what did you do then?” asked Holmes. 17 King Edward Street. He answered that the name was new to him. Still.’ “ ‘Oh. 1890. Duncan Ross.’ said I. near St. Duncan Ross was there to see that I got fairly to work. flushing up to the roots of his flaming head. But he could not help me in any way. I never dared to leave the room for an instant. sir.” “And you did very wisely. Mr. in the morning I determined to have a look at it anyhow. and hoped with diligence that I might get on to the B’s before very long. for I was not sure when he might come.’ “I started off. He said that he had never heard of any such body. “I went home to Saxe-Coburg Square. and then. “Well. and with a quill-pen.’ “ ‘What.” said Holmes. no. Mr.The Red-Headed League a will. until the comical side of the affair so completely overtopped every other consideration that we both burst out into a roar of laughter. but by bedtime I had reasoned myself out of the whole thing. and on Saturday the manager came in and planked down four golden sovereigns for my week’s work.” He held up a piece of white cardboard about the size of a sheet of note-paper. He moved out yesterday.” cried our client. It is most refreshingly unusual. Here it is.’ Vincent Spaulding did what he could to cheer me up. after a time. he did not come in at all. Yes. He was a solicitor and was using my room as a temporary convenience until his new premises were ready. Pray what steps did you take when you found the card upon the door?” “I was staggered. It was the same next week. At two o’clock he bade me goodday. 4. sir. But there is. if you will excuse my saying so. “I cannot see that there is anything very funny. I went to the landlord.” “No. of course. He did tell me the address.

I shall be happy to give you an opinion upon the subject in the course of a day or two. with 142 . You have lost nothing by them. sir. “Have you ever observed that his ears are pierced for earrings?” “Yes. first.” “How did he come?” “In answer to an advertisement. From what you have told me I think that it is possible that graver issues hang from it than might at first sight appear. This assistant of yours who first called your attention to the advertisement—how long had he been with you?” “About a month then.” “As a rule. I have lost four pound a week. “what do you make of it all?” “I make nothing of it.” said Holmes when our visitor had left us. I am going through the City first. which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French. upon a corner house.” “Then put on your hat and come. Wilson.The Red-Headed League shall be happy to look into it. I had a dozen. I have only just left him.” “As far as you are personally concerned. “He is still with you?” “Oh.” “What are you going to do.” he remarked. sir. very quick in his ways. featureless crimes which are really puzzling.” “What is he like. “the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be.” Holmes sat up in his chair in considerable excitement. “Sarasate plays at the St.” I answered frankly. “To smoke. I had come to the conclusion that he had dropped asleep. when he suddenly sprang out of his chair with the gesture of a man who has made up his mind and put his pipe down upon the mantelpiece. and who they are. stout-built.” said he. It is introspective.” “At half-wages. And. “What do you think. and a short walk took us to SaxeCoburg Square. But I want to find out about them. My practice is never very absorbing. and we can have some lunch on the way. sir. But I must be prompt over this matter. for it cost them two and thirty pounds. and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.” There’s never “That will do. where four lines of dingy two-storied brick houses looked out into a small railed-in enclosure.” “No. no hair on his face. Wilson. yes. “I do not see that you have any grievance against this extraordinary league.” “Well. “It is quite a three pipe problem. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme. Three gilt balls and a brown board with “Jabez Wilson” in white letters. you are. James’s Hall this afternoon. shabby-genteel place. Sherlock Holmes stopped in front of it with his head on one side and looked it all over.” “We shall endeavour to clear up these points for you. though he’s not short of thirty.” said Holmes. On the contrary. this Vincent Spaulding?” “Small. It was a poky. to say nothing of the minute knowledge which you have gained on every subject which comes under the letter A. and I want to introspect. and what their object was in playing this prank—if it was a prank—upon me. He told me that a gipsy had done it for him when he was a lad. richer by some £30. “I thought as much.” “Was he the only applicant?” “No. little. Jabez Wilson.” “Why did you pick him?” “Because he was handy and would come cheap. very much to do of a morning. “Why. Mr. with his thin knees drawn up to his hawklike nose. announced the place where our red-headed client carried on his business. as I understand.” “Yes. where a lawn of weedy grass and a few clumps of faded laurelbushes made a hard fight against a smoke-laden and uncongenial atmosphere. Has a white splash of acid upon his forehead. Watson. the scene of the singular story which we had listened to in the morning.” “Grave enough!” said Mr. Mr. sir. It is your commonplace. in fact.” he answered. and I hope that by Monday we may come to a conclusion. and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting out like the bill of some strange bird. To-day is Saturday. one or two questions. Come along!” We travelled by the Underground as far as Aldersgate. Watson? Could your patients spare you for a few hours?” “I have nothing to do to-day. and indeed was nodding myself. then?” I asked. just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.” “Hum!” said Holmes. sinking back in deep thought.” He curled himself up in his chair.” “And has your business been attended to in your absence?” “Nothing to complain of.” remarked Holmes. It was a pretty expensive joke for them. “It is a most mysterious business.

” “I shall be at Baker Street at ten. This business at Coburg Square is serious. James’s Hall I felt that an evil time might be coming upon those whom he had set himself to hunt down.” said I. for days on end. “I should like just to remember the order of the houses here.” “Evidently.” “Why did you beat the pavement?” “My dear doctor. he had been lounging in his armchair amid his improvisations and his black-letter editions. “Let me see. “Smart fellow.The Red-Headed League his eyes shining brightly between puckered lids. “You want to go home. and there are no redheaded clients to vex us with their conundrums. and. I have every reason to believe that we shall be in time to stop it. The swing of his nature took him from extreme languor to devouring energy. “Yes. he was never so truly formidable as when. keen-witted. as it was possible to conceive. There is Mortimer’s.” observed Holmes as we walked away.” “At what time?” “Ten will be early enough. “Thank you.” “And what did you see?” “What I expected to see. having thumped vigorously upon the pavement with his stick two or three times. no doubt.” “Not him. while the footpaths were black with the hurrying swarm of pedestrians.” said Holmes. Doctor. It was one of the main arteries which conveyed the traffic of the City to the north and west. who asked him to step in. Let us now explore the parts which lie behind it. the fourth smartest man in London. he went up to the door and knocked. I shall want your help tonight. Wilson’s assistant counts for a good deal in this mystery of the Redheaded League. and then down again to the corner. and that his brilliant reasoning power would rise to the level of intuition. When I saw him that afternoon so enwrapped in the music at St. being himself not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit.” said Holmes. the little 143 newspaper shop. so it’s time we had some play.” answered the assistant promptly. Doctor.” My friend was an enthusiastic musician. clean-shaven young fellow. “He is. the reaction against the poetic and contemplative mood which occasionally predominated in him. In his singular character the dual nature alternately asserted itself. “Mr. gently waving his long. We know something of Saxe-Coburg Square. It was difficult to realise as we looked at the line of fine shops and stately business premises that they really abutted on the other side upon the faded and stagnant square which we had just quitted. And now.” “What then?” “The knees of his trousers. until those who were unacquainted with his methods would look askance at him as on a man whose knowledge was not that of other mortals. “I only wished to ask you how you would go from here to the Strand. in my judgment. It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London. fourth left. The roadway was blocked with the immense stream of commerce flowing in a double tide inward and outward. I am sure that you inquired your way merely in order that you might see him. ready-handed criminal agent. All the afternoon he sat in the stalls wrapped in the most perfect happiness. still looking keenly at the houses.” he remarked as we emerged.” “Why serious?” “A considerable crime is in contemplation. where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony. the tobacconist. It was instantly opened by a bright-looking. thin fingers in time to the music. and McFarlane’s carriage-building depot. But to-day being Saturday rather complicates matters. and for daring I am not sure that he has not a claim to be third. while his gently smiling face and his languid. as I knew well. dreamy eyes were as unlike those of Holmes the sleuth-hound. it would be as well. We are spies in an enemy’s country. and then off to violin-land. Then it was that the lust of the chase would suddenly come upon him. closing the door. Holmes the relentless. standing at the corner and glancing along the line. that.” . the Coburg branch of the City and Suburban Bank. and his extreme exactness and astuteness represented.” The road in which we found ourselves as we turned round the corner from the retired SaxeCoburg Square presented as great a contrast to it as the front of a picture does to the back. this is a time for observation. That carries us right on to the other block. Finally he returned to the pawnbroker’s. and. as I have often thought. A sandwich and a cup of coffee. Then he walked slowly up the street.” “And I have some business to do which will take some hours. we’ve done our work. not for talk. the Vegetarian Restaurant.” “Third right. I have known something of him before.

thief. but gave it up in despair and set the matter aside until night should bring an explanation. however.” said Holmes. “He has his own little methods.” said the police agent loftily. Here I had heard what he had heard. He’s a young man. and that the play will be more exciting. “Watson.The Red-Headed League “Very well. Doctor. Holmes. Watson and I will follow in the second.000.” “I hope that I may have the pleasure of introducing you to-night. I say. I thought it as well to have Jones with us also. I trust that I am not more dense than my neighbours. and for you. Jones. and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford. sir.” “I think you will find. and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next. If you two will take the first hansom. “We are close there now. For you. As I drove home to my house in Kensington I thought over it all. “Ha! Our party is complete. Mr. and what were we to do? I had the hint from Holmes that this smooth-faced pawnbroker’s assistant was a formidable man—a man who might play a deep game. He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone. “Our friend here is a wonderful man for starting a chase. the official police agent. thin. buttoning up his pea-jacket and taking his heavy hunting crop from the rack. I had seen what he had seen. and yet from his words it was evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened but what was about to happen. Doctor. but I was always oppressed with a sense of my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes. just a little too theoretical and fantastic. and as I entered the passage I heard the sound of voices from above.” “John Clay. the stake will be some £30.” said Jones in his consequential way. and why should I go armed? Where were we going. and so through Oxford Street to Baker Street. Two hansoms were standing at the door. We rattled through an endless labyrinth of gas-lit streets until we emerged into Farrington Street. “that you will play for a higher stake to-night than you have ever done yet.” said the stranger with deference. and disappeared in an instant among the crowd. I’ve had one or two little turns also with Mr. of Scotland Yard? Let me introduce you to Mr.” . but he has the makings of a detective in him. the murderer. He’s a remarkable man.” observed Mr. but he is at the head of his profession. He is not a bad fellow. Merryweather gloomily. Merryweather. though an absolute imbecile in his profession. smasher. and the ominous words with which he had parted from me. What was this nocturnal expedition. And. “You may place considerable confidence in Mr. sad-faced man. Here we are. as in that business of the Sholto murder and the Agra treasure. I think you know Mr. who is to be our companion in to-night’s adventure. while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque. “This fellow Merryweather is a bank director. it is all right.” “Oh. with a very shiny hat and oppressively respectable frock-coat. He’ll crack a crib in Scotland one week.” “I hope a wild goose may not prove to be the end of our chase. All he wants is an old dog to help him to do the running down. he has been more nearly correct than the official force. “Still. Mr. and forger. turned on his heel. and I would rather have my bracelets on him than on any criminal in London. and quite time that we started. is young John Clay. His grandfather was a royal duke.” my friend remarked.” Sherlock Holmes was not very communicative during the long drive and lay back in the cab humming the tunes which he had heard in the afternoon. from the extraordinary story of the red-headed copier of the “Encyclopaedia” down to the visit to Saxe-Coburg Square.” “We’re hunting in couples again. It is not too much to say that once or twice.” He waved his hand. On entering his room I found Holmes in animated conversation with two men. He has one positive virtue. we never know where to find the man himself. while the other was a long. It is past ten. I’ve been on his track for years and have never set eyes on him yet. it will be the man upon whom you wish to lay your hands. one of whom I recognised as Peter Jones. and I agree with you that he is at the head of his profession. and though we meet signs of him at every turn. and personally interested in the matter. Mr. which are. there may be some little danger. It is the first Saturday night for seven-and-twenty years that I have not had my rubber. I confess that I miss my rubber. you see. Merryweather. if he won’t mind 144 my saying so. if you say so. so kindly put your army revolver in your pocket. and they are waiting for us. John Clay. Merryweather.” said Sherlock Holmes. It was a quarter-past nine when I started from home and made my way across the Park. His brain is as cunning as his fingers. I tried to puzzle it out. Jones. Jones.

and the directors have had misgivings upon the subject. we must choose our positions. we passed down a narrow passage and through a side door. yet my nerves were worked up to the .” “It is our French gold. while Holmes fell upon his knees upon the floor and. you might have your rubber after all. And now we must be silent and wait. for he sprang to his feet again and put his glass in his pocket.” “Which were very well justified. following the guidance of Mr. upon the top of the wooden case behind which I crouched. We had occasion some months ago to strengthen our resources and borrowed for that purpose 30. “Nor from below. Merryweather. My limbs were weary and stiff. “for they can hardly take any steps until the good pawnbroker is safely in bed. ready to flash out at a moment’s notice.” I placed my revolver. “I must really ask you to be a little more quiet!” said Holmes severely. yet it appeared to me that the night must have almost gone and the dawn be breaking above us. after opening a third door. have no compunction about shooting them down.” whispered the director.” he remarked. earth-smelling passage. In the meantime Mr. and then conducted us down a dark. We are at present. “You are not very vulnerable from above. I had brought a pack of cards in my pocket.000 napoleons from the Bank of France. Merryweather. and I thought that. and that it is still lying in our cellar. and so. “You have already imperilled the whole success of our expedition. The crate upon which I sit contains 2.” said Mr. If they fire. and though we shall take them at a disadvantage. cocked. and. Might I beg that you would have the goodness to sit down upon one of those boxes.000 napoleons packed between layers of lead foil. “They have but one retreat. These are daring men. I hope that you have done what I asked you. with the lantern and a magnifying lens. with my nerves worked up to a pitch of expectancy. which terminated at another formidable gate. it sounds quite hollow!” he remarked. A few seconds sufficed to satisfy him.” “And sit in the dark?” “I am afraid so. The smell of hot metal remained to assure us that the light was still there. “And now it is time that we arranged our little plans. “That is back through the house into Saxe-Coburg Square. 145 It has become known that we have never had occasion to unpack the money. dear me.” What a time it seemed! From comparing notes afterwards it was but an hour and a quarter. looking up in surprise.The Red-Headed League We had reached the same crowded thoroughfare in which we had found ourselves in the morning. I shall stand behind this crate. and do you conceal yourselves behind those. Within there was a small corridor. first of all. into a huge vault or cellar. with a very injured expression upon his face. And. Merryweather stopped to light a lantern. there was something depressing and subduing in the sudden gloom. Then. when I flash a light upon them. Doctor—as no doubt you have divined—in the cellar of the City branch of one of the principal London banks. and not to interfere?” The solemn Mr. for I feared to change my position. Mr. This also was opened. “We have at least an hour before us. and he will explain to you that there are reasons why the more daring criminals of London should take a considerable interest in this cellar at present. which he opened for us. Merryweather perched himself upon a crate. To me. Holmes shot the slide across the front of his lantern and left us in pitch darkness—such an absolute darkness as I have never before experienced. they may do us some harm unless we are careful.” observed Holmes. Watson. and in the cold dank air of the vault. Jones?” “I have an inspector and two officers waiting at the front door. I expect that within an hour matters will come to a head. “Why. Our reserve of bullion is much larger at present than is usually kept in a single branch office. which ended in a very massive iron gate. close in swiftly. and led down a flight of winding stone steps.” Holmes remarked as he held up the lantern and gazed about him. for the sooner they do their work the longer time they will have for their escape.” “Your French gold?” “Yes. Then they will not lose a minute.” whispered Holmes. we must put the screen over that dark lantern. Mr. “We have had several warnings that an attempt might be made upon it. which was piled all round with crates and massive boxes. Merryweather. Merryweather is the chairman of directors. as we were a partie carr´e. Our cabs were dismissed. striking his stick upon the flags which lined the floor. But e I see that the enemy’s preparations have gone so far that we cannot risk the presence of a light.” “Then we have stopped all the holes. began to examine minutely the cracks between the stones.

with its writhing fingers. “Well. would you please.The Red-Headed League highest pitch of tension.” said Mr.” he explained in the early hours of the morning as we sat over a glass of whisky and soda in Baker Street. and I heard the sound of rending cloth as Jones clutched at his skirts. was but momentary. lithe and small like himself. however. and what was it to them. and my hearing was so acute that I could not only hear the gentle breathing of my companions. which looked keenly about it. Mr.” “So I see. boyish face. protruded out of the floor. In another instant he stood at the side of the hole and was hauling after him a companion.” “And I you. and the pistol clinked upon the stone floor. which felt about in the centre of the little area of light. He made a sweeping bow to the three of us and walked quietly off in the custody of the detective. and together they manage to secure his absence every morning in the week. Then it lengthened out until it became a yellow line. a gash seemed to open and a hand appeared. Holmes. and I’ll swing for it!” Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seized the intruder by the collar.” said Jones. and by hearing the very remarkable narrative of the Red-headed League. “Really. “You have no chance at all. a white.” . and then. heavier in-breath of the bulky Jones from the thin. the other rogue incites the man to apply for it. one of the broad. Merryweather as we followed them from the cellar. who were playing for thousands? They put in the advertisement. through which streamed the light of a lantern.” said John Clay serenely. gaping hole. march upstairs. Then it was withdrawn as suddenly as it appeared. but beyond that I am amply repaid by having had an experience which is in many ways unique.” said Jones with a stare and a snigger. The other dived down the hole. until one knee rested upon the edge. From the time that I heard of the assistant having come for half wages.” “I have had one or two little scores of my own to settle with Mr. but Holmes’ hunting crop came down on the man’s wrist.” “I beg that you will not touch me with your filthy hands.’ must be to get this not over-bright pawnbroker out of the way for a number of hours every day. Over the edge there peeped a clean-cut. almost womanly hand. tearing sound. With a rending. where we can get a cab to carry your Highness to the police-station?” “That is better. “I do not know how the bank can thank you or repay you. but.” said Holmes.’ ” “All right. John Clay. indeed! You seem to have done the thing very completely. with a pale face and a shock of very red hair. “It’s all clear. drew itself shoulder-high and waist-high. and the copying of the ‘Encyclopaedia. Archie. it would be difficult to suggest a better. it was obvious to me that he had some strong motive for securing the situation. Just hold out while I fix the derbies. Have the goodness.” said Holmes. “Have you the chisel and the bags? Great Scott! Jump. though I see you have got his coat-tails. “I fancy that my pal is all right. but I could distinguish the deeper. one rogue has the temporary office. Suddenly my eyes caught the glint of a light. “It’s no use. I must compliment you. and all was dark again save the single lurid spark which marked a chink between the stones. “Oh. and then. It was a curious way of managing it. “I have been at some small expense over this matter.” Holmes answered.” the other answered with the utmost coolness.” said Holmes blandly.” he whispered. John Clay. without any warning or sound. Watson. The £4 a week was a lure which must draw him. The light flashed upon the barrel of a revolver. At first it was but a lurid spark upon the stone pavement. From my position I could look over the case in the direction of the floor. “You may not be aware that I have royal blood in my veins. when you address me always to say ‘sir’ and ‘please. jump. “Your redheaded idea was very new and effective.” 146 “You’ll see your pal again presently. with a hand on either side of the aperture. sir. really. The method was no doubt suggested to Clay’s ingenious mind by the colour of his accomplice’s hair. also. sighing note of the bank director. “He’s quicker at climbing down holes than I am.” “You see. white stones turned over upon its side and left a square.” remarked our prisoner as the handcuffs clattered upon his wrists. For a minute or more the hand. “it was perfectly obvious from the first that the only possible object of this rather fantastic business of the advertisement of the League. There is no doubt that you have detected and defeated in the most complete manner one of the most determined attempts at bank robbery that have ever come within my experience. which I shall expect the bank to refund. Its disappearance.” “There are three men waiting for him at the door.

was out of the question. or the bullion might be removed. once more? I could think of nothing save that he was running a tunnel to some other building. and such an expenditure as they were at. “So far I had got when we went to visit the scene of action.” he remarked.” “It saved me from ennui. “ ‘L’homme c’est rien—l’oeuvre c’est tout.” “And how could you tell that they would make their attempt to-night?” I asked.” I exclaimed in unfeigned admiration. The only remaining point was what they were burrowing for. For all these reasons I expected them to come tonight. I walked round the corner. that they had completed their tunnel. He shrugged his shoulders. and felt that I had solved my problem. yawning. Then I rang the bell. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. He was doing something in the cellar—something which took many hours a day for months on end. His knees were what I wished to see. I should have suspected a mere vulgar intrigue. It must. But it was essential that they should use it soon. When you drove home after the concert I called upon Scotland Yard and upon the chairman of the bank directors. What could it be? I thought of the assistant’s fondness for photography. and yet every link rings true. It was not in front.’ as Gustave Flaubert wrote to George Sand. “It is so long a chain. saw the City and Suburban Bank abutted on our friend’s premises. it is of some little use. We have had some skirmishes. and. when they closed their League offices that was a sign that they cared no longer about Mr. with the result that you have seen. and there was nothing in his house which could account for such elaborate preparations. as it might be discovered. They spoke of those hours of burrowing. as I hoped.” he answered.” . That. “Well. These little problems help me to do so.“But how could you guess what the motive was?“ “Had there been women in the house. the assistant answered it. “Well. What could it be. perhaps.” “You reasoned it out beautifully. and stained they were. The cellar! There was the end of this tangled clue. but we had never set eyes upon each other before. be something out of the house. wrinkled. Jabez Wilson’s presence—in other words. I was ascertaining whether the cellar stretched out in front or behind. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence. as it would give them two days for their escape. after all. Saturday would suit them better than any other day. however. I hardly looked at his face. You must yourself have remarked how worn. I surprised you by beating upon the pavement with my stick. then.” “And you are a benefactor of the race.” said I. The man’s business was a small one. and his trick of vanishing into the cellar. Then I made inquiries as to this mysterious assistant and found that I had to deal with one of the coolest and most daring criminals in London.

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A Case of Identity .

.

where more stress is laid. and yet the result is. however. The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler. save for one rather intricate matter which has been referred to me from Marseilles. as of the swimmer who leaves the bank.” “A certain selection and discretion must be used in producing a realistic effect. there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace. bald enough. gently remove the roofs. hesitating fashion at our windows. the drink. you are brought in contact with all that is strange and bizarre. for this is one of my clients. “Some ten or twelve. and peep in at the queer things which are going on. or I am much mistaken.” said Holmes. she hurried across the road. your example is an unfortunate one for your argument.” said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street. “It was from the reigning family of Holland. it e would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable. Doctor.” I said. the plannings. which to an observer contain the vital essence of the whole matter. without being interesting. But here”—I picked up the morning paper from the ground—“let us put it to a practical test. throughout three continents. is the motive. the bruise. hover over this great city. is not an action likely to occur to the imagination of the average story-teller. but I know without reading it that it is all perfectly familiar to me. ‘A husband’s cruelty to his wife.” I smiled and shook my head. and for the quick analysis of cause and effect which gives the charm to an investigation. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. there is nothing which presents any features of interest. with a great amethyst in the centre of the lid. for the bigger the crime the more obvious. it must be confessed. From under this great panoply she peeped up in a nervous. “Ah. the sympathetic sister or landlady. It is possible.” “And the ring?” I asked. We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits. I saw that on the pavement opposite there stood a large woman with a heavy fur boa round her neck. the strange coincidences.” He had risen from his chair and was standing between the parted blinds gazing down into the dull neutral-tinted London street. with a plunge. Looking over his shoulder. In these cases. and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat which was tilted in a coquettish Duchess of Devonshire fashion over her ear. while her body oscillated backward and forward. Take a pinch of snuff. the other woman. as it happens. Its splendour was in such contrast to his homely ways and simple life that I could not help commenting upon it.” He held out his snuffbox of old gold. Suddenly. “Of course. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand. “I can quite understand your thinking so. and vulgar enough. as a rule. who have been good enough to chronicle one or two of my little problems. The crudest of writers could invent nothing more crude. that I may have something better before very many minutes are over. and the conduct complained of was that he had drifted into the habit of winding up every meal by taking out his false teeth and 151 M A Case of Identity hurling them at his wife. the blow. taking the paper and glancing his eye down it. and acknowledge that I have scored over you in your example. “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. “The cases which come to light in the papers are.” I answered.” “And yet I am not convinced of it.” “Indeed. upon the platitudes of the magistrate than upon the details. of course. There is. . there was no other woman. working through generations. and we heard the sharp clang of the bell. “This is wanting in the police report. the push. They are important. I was engaged in clearing up some small points in connection with it. and. It is a little souvenir from the King of Bohemia in return for my assistance in the case of the Irene Adler papers. as a rule.” remarked Holmes. the wonderful chains of events. in your position of unofficial adviser and helper to everybody who is absolutely puzzled. you understand. Depend upon it. perhaps. Here is the first heading upon which I come. you will allow.’ There is half a column of print.y dear fellow. glancing at a remarkable brilliant which sparkled upon his finger. neither fascinating nor artistic. the cross-purposes. The husband was a teetotaler. though the matter in which I served them was of such delicacy that I cannot confide it even to you. I have found that it is usually in unimportant matters that there is a field for the observation. Indeed.” “And have you any on hand just now?” I asked with interest. “I forgot that I had not seen you for some weeks. but none which present any feature of interest. and leading to the most outr´ results. “This is the Dundas separation case.” said he. and her fingers fidgeted with her glove buttons. which.

Mr.” I had expected to see Sherlock Holmes impatient under this rambling and inconsequential narrative. and the usual symptom is a broken bell wire. I wish you would do as much for me. while the lady herself loomed behind his small black figure like a full-sailed merchantman behind a tiny pilot boat. Mr. though it sounds funny. besides the little that I make by the machine. And yet even here we may discriminate. “for it made me angry to see the easy way in which Mr.” said Holmes. sir. but. but still I have a hundred a year in my own right. Mr. which wasn’t near as much as father could have got if he had been alive. with what you earn into the bargain. “it is my business to know things. that is only just for the time. and I just on with my things and came right away to you. “does it come out of the business?” “Oh.” “You have made your position very clear to me. but I can only touch the interest. on the contrary. Mr. Windibank came he made her sell the business. She would like advice. and I find that I can do pretty well with what I earn at typewriting. which mother carried on with Mr. Of course. and so they have the use of the money just while I am staying with them. having closed the door and bowed her into an armchair. but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication. he had listened with the greatest concentration of attention. Windibank—that is. “else how could you know all that?” “Never mind. Etherege. and I can often do from fifteen to twenty sheets in a day. why should you come to consult me?” “I came to you. because I heard of you from Mrs. Windibank draws my interest every quarter and pays it over to mother.” “Yes. but you understand that as long as I live at home I don’t wish to be a burden to them.” she said. Watson. But here she comes in person to resolve our doubts. good-humoured face. suddenly realising the full purport of his words. too. When a woman has been seriously wronged by a man she no longer oscillates. I believe that a single lady can get on very nicely upon an income of about £60.” “Your father. with his fingertips together and his eyes to the ceiling. Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook. They got £4700 for the goodwill and interest. Holmes.” “Why did you come away to consult me in such a hurry?” asked Sherlock Holmes. it made me mad. “your stepfather. surely. Holmes. Dr. and. and I would give it all to know what has become of Mr. Mr. whose husband you found so easy when the police and everyone had given him up for dead. as he would do nothing and kept on saying that there was no harm done.” “And your mother is alive?” “Oh. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself.” .” Then.” said Holmes. mother is alive and well. It brings me twopence a sheet. paying 4 1 per cent.” said Holmes. Sherlock Holmes welcomed her with the easy courtesy for which he was remarkable. with fear and astonishment upon her broad. you no doubt travel a little and indulge yourself in every way. and a man who was nearly fifteen years younger than herself. Holmes. being a traveller in wines. laughing. yes.A Case of Identity “I have seen those symptoms before. Two thousand 2 five hundred pounds was the amount. I’m not rich. but when Mr. Kindly tell us now all about your connection with Mr. I did bang out of the house. “Do you not find.” “You interest me extremely.” said Holmes. “Yes. It is in New Zealand stock. I call him father. Hardy.” he asked. or grieved. “that with your short sight it is a little trying to do so much typewriting?” “I did at first. he looked her over in the minute and yet abstracted fashion which was peculiar to him. for he was very superior.” As he spoke there was a tap at the door. and the boy in buttons entered to announce Miss Mary Sutherland. Hosmer Angel.” said Holmes. Hosmer Angel. and so at last. If not. “Your own little income. throwing his cigarette into the fire. “but now I know where the letters are without looking.” she cried.” “I could do with much less than that. Here we may take it that there is a love matter.” he said. Oh. “Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affaire de coeur.” she answered. my stepfather. Again a startled look came over the somewhat vacuous face of Miss Mary Sutherland. and he left a tidy business behind him. He would not go to the police. “You’ve heard about me. when she married again so soon after father’s death. I wasn’t best pleased. no. Holmes. but that the maiden is not so much angry as perplexed. “And since you draw so large a sum as a hundred a year. “This is my friend. the foreman. It is quite separate and was left me by my uncle Ned in Auckland. for he is only five years and two months older than myself. she gave a violent start and looked up. since the name is different. and he would not go 152 to you. sir. Father was a plumber in the Tottenham Court Road. my father—took it all.

but his eyes were weak. with my hands on the Testament. “I met him first at the gasfitters’ ball. He would rather walk with me in the evening than in the daylight. and he used to say that a woman should be happy in her own family circle. Windibank did not wish us to go. I met him twice for walks. and what happened when Mr. but after that father came back again. Hosmer Angel?” “He was a very shy man. for he said that he hated to be conspicuous.” “No?” “Well. Hosmer Angel. as I used to say to mother.” “Oh. when they talked of marrying within the week. I began to ask about father. and then afterwards they remembered us. Holmes. I don’t know. like he did his. he told me. yes. I remember. mother and I. Holmes. but we went. and mother . for what right had he to prevent? He said the folk were not fit for us to know. Hosmer—Mr. so I offered to typewrite them. He said that if they were sent to the office he would be chaffed by all the other clerks about having letters from a lady. and he wore tinted glasses against the glare. well. Angel—was a cashier in an office in Leadenhall Street—and—” “What office?” “That’s the worst of it.A Case of Identity A flush stole over Miss Sutherland’s face. then?” “He slept on the premises. and a hesitating.” “Well.” said Holmes.” “Were you engaged to the gentleman at this time?” 153 “Oh. “that when Mr. Then. and it was there I met Mr.” “Where did he live. and I would go. He wouldn’t have any visitors if he could help it. who used to be our foreman.” “Where did you address your letters. when nothing else would do. then?” “To the Leadenhall Street Post Office. very neat and plain. but just to tell him afterwards. and shrugged his shoulders. Very retiring and gentlemanly he was. and said there was no use denying anything to a woman. Windibank. “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. Hardy. Mr.” “I suppose. sir. Mr. and I had not got mine yet. and Mr. and after that we met him—that is to say. with Mr. But then. Mr. for he said that when I wrote them they seemed to come from me. Can you remember any other little things about Mr. Holmes.” “Yes. I met him that night. Hosmer Angel came to the house again and proposed that we should marry before father came back. Holmes. He never did wish us to go anywhere.” “It was most suggestive. Hosmer Angel could not come to the house any more. Then at the gasfitters’ ball you met. and that it was a sign of his passion. that whatever happened I would always be true to him. and it had left him with a weak throat.” “I see. just as mine are. he was very good about it. Mr. Mother said he was quite right to make me swear. a gentleman called Mr. He’d had the quinsy and swollen glands when he was young. We could write in the meantime. That will just show you how fond he was of me. Mr. and sent them to mother. to be left till called for.” said Holmes. Hosmer Angel? Did he make no attempt to see you?” “Well. “They used to send father tickets when he was alive. whispering fashion of speech. He would get quite mad if I wanted so much as to join a Sunday-school treat. but they both said never to mind about father. I took the letters in in the morning. you know father didn’t like anything of the sort. and the little things that he would think of. but he wouldn’t have that. and he called next day to ask if we had got home all safe. when I had my purple plush that I had never so much as taken out of the drawer. and she picked nervously at the fringe of her jacket. He was always well dressed. a woman wants her own circle to begin with. He laughed. And he said that I had nothing fit to wear. and Hosmer wrote and said that it would be safer and better not to see each other until he had gone. as I understand. We were engaged after the first walk that we took. But this time I was set on going. when all father’s friends were to be there. returned to France?” “Mr. for she would have her way. Even his voice was gentle.” she said. Holmes. but when they were typewritten he always felt that the machine had come between us.” “And you don’t know his address?” “No—except that it was Leadenhall Street. he went off to France upon the business of the firm.” “But how about Mr. and he used to write every day. Mr. your stepfather. so there was no need for father to know. father was going off to France again in a week. Mother was all in his favour from the first and was even fonder of him than I was. At last. Windibank came back from France he was very annoyed at your having gone to the ball. He was in dreadful earnest and made me swear. Hosmer Angel.

Holmes. where the company has its French offices. so I wrote to father at Bordeaux. but very quietly.” said Holmes. “and I have no doubt that we shall reach some definite result. with me.” “Mr. that some unforeseen catastrophe has occurred to him?” “Yes. How did your mother take the matter?” 154 “She was angry. And then I think that what he foresaw happened. Above all. the great claret importers of Fenchurch Street. and when the cabman got down from the box and looked there was no one there! The cabman said that he could not imagine what had become of him. Holmes.” For all the preposterous hat and the vacuous face.” She pulled a little handkerchief out of her muff and began to sob heavily into it. He shall find me ready when he comes back. That was last Friday. Your wedding was arranged. but as there were two of us he put us both into it and stepped himself into a four-wheeler. You will leave the papers here. You have made your statement very clearly. Pancras Hotel. And your address?” “No.” “One more question. near King’s Cross.A Case of Identity said she would make it all right with him. “I shall glance into the case for you. Mr. Hosmer Angel vanish from your memory.” “Thank you. As he said.” “Then you don’t think I’ll see him again?” “I fear not. Saviour’s. for he had started to England just before it arrived. no. then. all the morning he was saying to me that. for he had seen him get in with his own eyes.” said she. We got to the church first. then?” “Yes. which happened to be the only other cab in the street. as he has done from your life. then. what could have happened? And why could he not write? Oh.” “Most certainly it does. sir. sir. Mr. It seemed funny that I should ask his leave. there might be some reason. there was something noble in the simple faith of our visitor which compelled our respect. 31 Lyon Place. and then leaving me? Now. I shall be true to Hosmer. “Oh. if he had borrowed my money. and when the four-wheeler drove up we waited for him to step out.” “Ha! that was unfortunate. or if he had married me and got my money settled on him. It was to be at St. it drives me half-mad to think of it. that something had happened. Let the weight of the matter rest upon me now. Why.” “And your father? Did you tell him?” “Yes. what interest could anyone have in bringing me to the doors of the church. I should like an accurate description of him and any letters of his which you can spare. Your own opinion is. but he never did. Let the whole incident be a sealed book. but what has happened since gives a meaning to it. Angel’s address you never had.” “It missed him. “Here is the slip and here are four letters from him. Camberwell. but I cannot do that.” “It seems to me that you have been very shamefully treated. Where is your father’s place of business?” “He travels for Westhouse & Marbank. sir! He was too good and kind to leave me so. but I didn’t want to do anything on the sly. and we were to have breakfast afterwards at the St. and he seemed to think. but the letter came back to me on the very morning of the wedding. and remember the advice which I have given you. and do not let your mind dwell upon it further. And yet. and do not allow it to affect your life. I didn’t quite like that. but Hosmer was very independent about money and never would look at a shilling of mine. or else he would not have talked so. and I have never seen or heard anything since then to throw any light upon what became of him. I believe that he foresaw some danger. try to let Mr. She laid her little bundle of papers upon the table and . Holmes.” “Thank you. for the Friday. Was it to be in church?” “Yes.” said Holmes. I was to be true.” “But you have no notion as to what it could have been?” “None. and said that I was never to speak of the matter again.” “Then what has happened to him?” “You will leave that question in my hands.” “You are very kind. I understand. I was always to remember that I was pledged to him. and that even if something quite unforeseen occurred to separate us. and I can’t sleep a wink at night. and that I should hear of Hosmer again. rising. Hosmer came for us in a hansom.” “I advertised for him in last Saturday’s Chronicle. Mr. and that he would claim his pledge sooner or later. sir. whatever happened. It seemed strange talk for a wedding-morning. as he was only a few years older than me.

and a look of infinite languor in his face. The sewing-machine.” he observed. though rather elementary.” Sherlock Holmes clapped his hands softly together and chuckled. which was to him as a counsellor. having lit it. though the boots which she was wearing were not unlike each other. in height. which. You have really done very well indeed. that she had written a note before leaving home but after being fully dressed. I then glanced at her face. Then he took down from the rack the old and oily clay pipe. and the other at the first. “I noted. You did not know where to look. as I always was. which is a most useful material for showing traces. Now. with black beads sewn upon it. and a general air of being fairly well-to-do in a vulgar. You observed that her right glove was torn at the forefinger. “Not invisible but unnoticed. his legs stretched out in front of him. observing the dint of a pince-nez at either side of her nose. is rather a trite one. Now. black waistcoat. by my friend’s incisive reasoning. he leaned back in his chair. with brown gaiters over elastic-sided boots.” “But. surely. One was buttoned only in the two lower buttons out of five. or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace. Watson. but you have hit upon the method. Would you mind reading me the advertised description of Mr. She had written in a hurry and dipped her pen too deep. Never trust to general impressions. She had small round. has come away from home with odd boots. Hosmer Angel?” I held the little printed slip to the light. in Andover in ’77. you are coming along wonderfully. in passing. that maiden. Her gloves were greyish and were worn through at the right forefinger. halfbuttoned. 155 The double line a little above the wrist. however. but concentrate yourself upon details. gold Albert chain. was beautifully defined. sallow complexion. black side-whiskers and moustache. “Quite an interesting study. seven in. and you have a quick eye for colour. leaves a similar mark. All this is amusing. but I must go back to business. by the way. and so you missed all that was important.” “And what else?” I asked. but you did not apparently see that both glove and finger were stained with violet ink. You will find parallel cases. which seemed to surprise her. what did you gather from that woman’s appearance? Describe it. bushy.” it said. Her boots I didn’t observe. third. a little bald in the centre. where the typewritist presses against the table. in black frock-coat faced with silk. keenly interested.A Case of Identity went her way. and his gaze directed upward to the ceiling. and. as this was. Watson.” I remarked. Old as is the idea. with a promise to come again whenever she might be summoned. a gentleman named Hosmer Angel. the one having a slightly decorated toecap. and grey Harris tweed trousers. and. she had a slate-coloured. I ventured a remark upon short sight and typewriting. About five ft. otherwise neatly dressed. or the mark would not remain clear upon the finger. broadbrimmed straw hat. it is no great deduction to say that she came away in a hurry. of the hand type. Her jacket was black.” “Well. It is true that you have missed everything of importance. Was dressed. rather darker than coffee colour. My first glance is always at a woman’s sleeve. Her dress was brown. when you see that a young lady. the suggestiveness of thumb-nails. “Missing. and the other a plain one. but only on the left arm. As you observe. there were one or two details which were new to me. “I found her more interesting than her little problem. and a fringe of little black jet ornaments. with a little purple plush at the neck and sleeves. it was obvious. and there was something of the sort at The Hague last year. In a man it is perhaps better first to take the knee of the trouser. and on the side of it farthest from the thumb. I was then much surprised and interested on glancing down to observe that. when last seen. with the thick blue cloud-wreaths spinning up from him. hanging gold earrings. “’Pon my word. tinted glasses. if you consult my index. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for a few minutes with his fingertips still pressed together.” “It surprised me. they were really odd ones. “on the morning of the fourteenth. and fifth. I can never bring you to realise the importance of sleeves. comfortable. instead of being right across the broadest part. Known to have been employed in an office in Leadenhall Street. But the maiden herself was most instructive. strongly built. this woman had plush upon her sleeves. easy-going way. slight infirmity of speech. with a feather of a brickish red.” “You appeared to read a good deal upon her which was quite invisible to me. Anybody bringing—” . Watson. my boy. It must have been this morning. black hair.

I found Sherlock Holmes alone. with a bland. Doctor.” said Holmes. There is one remarkable point. I am afraid that I am a little late. though. that can touch the scoundrel. as I said yesterday. Mr. It was the bisulphate of baryta. “Well. “Good-evening. that was not the point. have you solved it?” I asked as I entered. with his long. There is a date. However.” said Holmes. as you may have noticed. but when I looked back to the weird business of the Sign of Four.A Case of Identity “That will do. is it possible you do not see how strongly it bears upon the case?” “I cannot say that I do unless it were that he wished to be able to deny his signature if an action for breach of promise were instituted. but the signature is typewritten. half asleep. some of the details are of interest. so we may put our little problem upon the shelf for the interim. One is to a firm in the City. The point about the signature is very suggestive—in fact. but I am not quite my own master. then. but she is a very excitable. the mystery!” I cried. A professional case of great gravity was engaging my own attention at the time. still puffing at his black clay pipe. which should settle the matter. James Windibank. impulsive girl. the other is to the young lady’s stepfather. “He has written to me to say that he would be here at six. cleanshaven. however. and the extraordinary circumstances connected with the Study in Scarlet. Come in!” The man who entered was a sturdy. “Oh. The only drawback is that there is no law. and Holmes had not yet opened his lips to reply. half afraid that I might be too late to assist at the d´ nouement of the lite tle mystery. A formidable array of bottles and test-tubes. Mr. however. and a pair of wonderfully sharp and penetrating grey eyes. no. And now.” he continued. “As to the letters. you know.” I remarked. insinuating manner.” “Who was he. and sallow-skinned. and what was his object in deserting Miss Sutherland?” The question was hardly out of my mouth. Once only had I known him to fail. Absolutely no clue in them to Mr. which will no doubt strike you. we can do nothing until the answers to those letters come. for I think it is far better not to wash linen of the sort in public. that! I thought of the salt that I have been working upon. Windibank. Look at the neat little ‘Hosmer Angel’ at the bottom. glancing over them. He shot a questioning glance at each of us. asking him whether he could meet us here at six o’clock tomorrow evening.” “Of what?” “My dear fellow. Besides. but it is not pleasant to have a family misfortune like this noised abroad. I left him then. There was never any mystery in the matter. middlesized fellow. when we heard a heavy footfall in the passage and a tap at the door. “This is the girl’s stepfather. and with a slight bow sidled down into the nearest chair. placed his shiny top-hat upon the sideboard. as you are not connected with the official police. It is just as well that we should do business with the male relatives. It was quite against my wishes that she came. save that he quotes Balzac once.” said Holmes. you see. I am sorry that Miss Sutherland has troubled you about this little matter. some thirty years of age. Mr. told me that he had spent his day in the chemical work which was so dear to him.” “They are typewritten. which is rather vague. It was not until close upon six o’clock that I found myself free and was able to spring into a hansom 156 and drive to Baker Street. and she is not easily controlled when she has made up her mind on a point. for how could you possibly find this Hosmer Angel?” . I did not mind you so much. Angel. I felt that it would be a strange tangle indeed which he could not unravel.” “No. but no superscription except Leadenhall Street. in the case of the King of Bohemia and of the Irene Adler photograph. in which you made an appointment with me for six o’clock?” “Yes. with the pungent cleanly smell of hydrochloric acid. and the whole of next day I was busy at the bedside of the sufferer. “I think that this typewritten letter is from you. I shall write two letters. thin form curled up in the recesses of his armchair. “Not only that. “they are very commonplace. sir. I fear. with the conviction that when I came again on the next evening I would find that he held in his hands all the clues which would lead up to the identity of the disappearing bridegroom of Miss Mary Sutherland. James Windibank. it is a useless expense.” I had had so many reasons to believe in my friend’s subtle powers of reasoning and extraordinary energy in action that I felt that he must have some solid grounds for the assured and easy demeanour with which he treated the singular mystery which he had been called upon to fathom. Of course.” “No. we may call it conclusive. “Yes.

’ There are fourteen other characteristics. of course. Some letters get more worn than others. and her little income.” The man sat huddled up in his chair. leaning back with his hands in his pockets. with his head sunk upon his breast. and it was a very bad compliment when you said that it was impossible for me to solve so simple a question.” our visitor answered. Angel began to call. Windibank. “and he enjoyed the use of the money of the daughter as long as she lived with them. insisted upon her rights. not only are the ‘e’s’ slurred and the ‘r’s’ tailless. glancing keenly at Holmes with his bright little eyes. amiable disposition. That’s right! Sit down and let us talk it over. However that may be. Unless they are quite new.’ and a slight defect in the tail of the ‘r.” “It was only a joke at first. that I have caught him!” “What! where?” shouted Mr. But soon he found that that would not answer forever. Windibank gave a violent start and dropped his gloves.” “Certainly. let me just run over the course of events. She became restive. “that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man’s handwriting. Windibank.” Holmes continued.” remarked Holmes. and some wear only on one side. Now her marriage would mean. the young lady was very decidedly carried away. What does her clever stepfather do then? He conceives an idea more creditable to his head than to his heart. and the loss of it would have made a serious difference. the loss of a hundred a year. she would not be allowed to remain single long. Hosmer Angel.” “Very likely not. “There is no possible getting out of it. 157 “I am very much afraid that it is not. “I let you know. turning white to his lips and glancing about him like a rat in a trap. “I have every reason to believe that I will succeed in discovering Mr. began talking. “Oh. Mr. “It—it’s not actionable. It was worth an effort to preserve it. and. She was flattered by the gentleman’s attentions.” groaned our visitor. for it was obvious that the matter should . “I think of writing another little monograph some of these days on the typewriter and its relation to crime. and the effect was increased by the loudly expressed admiration of her mother.” said Holmes quietly.” he said. no two of them write exactly alike. rather to himself. like one who is utterly crushed. and finally announced her positive intention of going to a certain ball. Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the mantelpiece and. stepping over and turning the key in the door.” Our visitor collapsed into a chair. as it seemed.” Mr.” he said. for people in their position. than to us. Now. Mr. Windibank sprang out of his chair and picked up his hat. Mr. “The man married a woman very much older than himself for her money.A Case of Identity “On the contrary. It is a subject to which I have devoted some little attention. so what does her stepfather do to prevent it? He takes the obvious course of keeping her at home and forbidding her to seek the company of people of her own age. but those are the more obvious. The daughter was of a good. so that it was evident that with her fair personal advantages. having quite made up her mind that her stepfather was in France. and let me know when you have done it.” he stammered.” Mr. It is quite too transparent. it was as cruel and selfish and heartless a trick in a petty way as ever came before me. “If you can catch the man. then. masked the face with a moustache and a pair of bushy whiskers.” said he. They are all typewritten. he appears as Mr. Mr. and no doubt it is a little worn. With the connivance and assistance of his wife he disguised himself. Holmes. In each case. “It is a curious thing. Now. It was a considerable sum. “We never thought that she would have been so carried away. Hosmer Angel.” “We do all our correspondence with this machine at the office. the suspicion of treachery never for an instant entered her mind. but affectionate and warm-hearted in her ways. and you will contradict me if I go wrong. “I cannot waste time over this sort of fantastic talk. “And now I will show you what is really a very interesting study.” said Holmes suavely. Then Mr. Windibank. “I am delighted to hear it. it won’t do—really it won’t. and doubly secure on account of the girl’s short sight. But between ourselves. that in every case there is some little slurring over of the ‘e. catch him. I have here four letters which purport to come from the missing man. with a ghastly face and a glitter of moisture on his brow. but you will observe. covered those keen eyes with tinted glasses. that the fourteen other characteristics to which I have alluded are there as well. and keeps off other lovers by making love himself. if you care to use my magnifying lens. Windibank.” said Holmes. sunk that clear voice into an insinuating whisper. Windibank. you remark in this note of yours.

Having taken the printed description. and he rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale face. of course. Mr. I think that was the chain of events. “Well. but that the one always appeared when the other was away. his reply was typewritten and revealed the same trivial but characteristic defects. in some respects. I have done nothing actionable from the first. and I wrote to the man himself at his business address asking him if he would come here. You see all these isolated facts. My suspicions were all confirmed by his peculiar action in typewriting his signature. “That fellow will rise from crime to crime until he does something very bad.” said Holmes. Hosmer Angel must have some strong object for his curious conduct. “It may be so. The thing to do was clearly to bring the business to an end in such a dramatic manner that it would leave a permanent impression upon the young lady’s mind and prevent her from looking upon any other suitor for some time to come. If the young lady has a brother or a friend. “it is not part of my duties to my client. and I think I shall just treat myself to—” He took two swift steps to the whip. There were meetings. These pretended journeys to France were rather cumbrous. and from the window we could see Mr. I knew the firm for which this man worked. By Jove!” he continued. which both hinted at a disguise. As far as the church door he brought her. Then the fact that the two men were never together. which. unlocking and throwing open the door. “but if you are so very sharp you ought to be sharp enough to know that it is you who are breaking the law now. as he threw himself down into his chair once more. James Windibank. and hence also the allusions to a possibility of something happening on the very morning of the wedding. and as much knowledge of the world. “There’s a cold-blooded scoundrel!” said Holmes. and so uncertain as to his fate.be pushed as far as it would go if a real effect were to be produced. Holmes. and it was equally clear that the only man who really profited by the incident. together with many minor ones. and then. was suggestive. of course it was obvious from the first that this Mr.” “I cannot now entirely see all the steps of your reasoning. Mr. “yet there never was a man who deserved punishment more. he conveniently vanished away by the old trick of stepping in at one door of a four-wheeler and out at the other.” . that for ten years to come. As I expected. James Windibank wished Miss Sutherland to be so bound to Hosmer Angel. as did the bushy whiskers. flushing up at the sight of the bitter sneer upon the man’s face. But the deception could not be kept up forever. but before he could grasp it there was a wild clatter of steps upon the stairs. and I sent it to the firm. it was easy to get corroboration. Windibank!” Our visitor had recovered something of his assurance while Holmes had been talking.” I remarked. and ends on a gallows. the glasses. I had already noticed the peculiarities of the typewriter. I eliminated everything from it which could be the result of a disguise—the whiskers. as far as we could see. the voice. which would finally secure the girl’s affections from turning towards anyone else. So were the tinted spectacles and the curious voice. The same post brought me a letter from Westhouse & Marbank. he ought to lay a whip across your shoulders. and an engagement. at any rate. touch you. inferred that his handwriting was so familiar to her that she would recognise even the smallest sample of it. and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman. she would not listen to another man. but as long as you keep that door locked you lay yourself open to an action for assault and illegal constraint. Voil` tout!” a “And Miss Sutherland?” “If I tell her she will not believe me.” “The law cannot. The case has. to say that the description tallied in every respect with that of their employee.’ There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace. and not me. ‘There is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub. been not entirely devoid of interest. as he could go no farther. You may remember the old Persian saying. but here’s a hunting crop handy. was the stepfather. laughing. with a request that they would inform me whether it answered to the description of any of their travellers. of Fenchurch Street. James Windibank running at the top of his speed down the road.” “And how did you verify them?” “Having once spotted my man. all pointed in the same direction. as you say.” said he. the heavy hall door banged. Hence those vows of fidelity exacted upon a Testament. or it may not.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery .

.

who made his money in Australia and returned some years ago to the old country. who was also an exAustralian. gaunt figure made even gaunter and taller by his long grey travellingcloak and close-fitting cloth cap. My wants were few and simple. upon terms of perfect equality. my wife and I.” “That sounds a little paradoxical. “It makes a considerable difference to me. I must pack at once. If you will keep the two corner seats I shall get the tickets. I will explain the state of things to you. in Herefordshire. as he had an appointment of importance to keep at three. “Not a word. In this case. and he had told the man that he must hurry. “It is really very good of you to come. McCarthy left his house at Hatherley about three in the afternoon and walked down to the Boscombe Pool. his tall.” We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of papers which Holmes had brought with him.” I answered.” “What do you say. Then he suddenly rolled them all into a gigantic ball and tossed them up onto the rack.” “It is a murder. as far as I have been able to understand it. I think that the change would do you good. The men had known each other in the colonies. Among these he rummaged and read. they have established a very serious case against the son of the murdered man. was let to Mr. Singularity is almost invariably a clue. The largest landed proprietor in that part is a Mr. and two people saw 161 “Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of England in connection with Boscombe Valley tragedy. I shall take nothing for granted until I have the opportunity of looking personally into it. the more difficult it is to bring it home. when the maid brought in a telegram. so that it was not unnatural that when they came to settle down they should do so as near each other as possible. I have a fairly long list at present.” “The London press has not had very full accounts. which is a small lake formed by the spreading out of the stream which runs down the Boscombe Valley. and Turner had an only daughter of the same age. Local aid is always either worthless or else biassed. I have just been looking through all the . until we were past Reading. looking across at me.” “But it is profoundly true. Watson. as they were frequently together. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is. Leave Paddington by the 11.” “I should be ungrateful if I were not. Turner was apparently the richer man. though both the McCarthys were fond of sport and were frequently seen at the race-meetings of the neighbourhood. He had been out with his serving-man in the morning at Ross. then?” “Well. John Turner. I have not seen a paper for some days. but neither of them had wives living. in a very few words. it seems. It was from Sherlock Holmes and ran in this way: recent papers in order to master the particulars. having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely. “On June 3rd. Air and scenery perfect. with intervals of note-taking and of meditation. to be one of those simple cases which are so extremely difficult. that is.” “Oh. Charles McCarthy. McCarthy kept two servants—a man and a girl. however. from what I gather.” My experience of camp life in Afghanistan had at least had the effect of making me a prompt and ready traveller. some half-dozen at the least. Turner had a considerable household. so McCarthy became his tenant but still remained. Anstruther would do your work for you. that of Hatherley. so that in less than the time stated I was in a cab with my valise. for I have only half an hour. rattling away to Paddington Station. and you are always so interested in Mr. “Boscombe Valley is a country district not very far from Ross. dear?” said my wife. “Have you heard anything of the case?” he asked. McCarthy had one son. a lad of eighteen. They appear to have avoided the society of the neighbouring English families and to have led retired lives. Shall be glad if you will come with me. “From Hatherley Farm-house to the Boscombe Pool is a quarter of a mile.” said he. From that appointment he never came back alive.15.W The Boscombe Valley Mystery e were seated at breakfast one morning. “Will you go?” “I really don’t know what to say. it is conjectured to be so. Sherlock Holmes was pacing up and down the platform. “But if I am to go. That is as much as I have been able to gather about the families. You have been looking a little pale lately. One of the farms which he held. It seems. Now for the facts. seeing what I gained through one of them. on Monday last. Sherlock Holmes’ cases.

It must be confessed. he was on Wednesday brought before the magistrates at Ross. On following him they found the dead body stretched out upon the grass beside the pool.” “What are they?” . Mr. To take the first example to hand. I know the military neatness which characterises you. You shave every morning. however. To the best of his belief. Lestrade would have noted even so self-evident a thing as that. who have referred the case to the next Assizes. until it becomes positively slovenly as we get round the angle of the jaw. He thought no more of the matter until he heard in the evening of the tragedy that had occurred. She states that while she was there she saw. One was an old woman. which was found lying on the grass within a few paces of the body. and a verdict of ‘wilful murder’ having been returned at the inquest on Tuesday.” “I am afraid. but since your shaving is less and less complete as we get farther back on the left side. She heard Mr. I only quote this as a trivial example of observation and inference. and his right hand and sleeve were observed to be stained with fresh blood.” “How on earth—” “My dear fellow. has referred the case to me. and who have retained Lestrade. The Boscombe Pool is thickly wooded round. Lestrade. and to ask for the help of the lodge-keeper. and among them Miss Turner. who believe in his innocence. whose name is not mentioned. The game-keeper adds that within a few minutes of his seeing Mr. “If ever circumstantial evidence pointed to a criminal it does so here. I know you well. Turner. and it is very possible that he is indeed the culprit. lost sight of them. McCarthy came running up to the lodge to say that he had found his father dead in the wood. There are several people in the neighbourhood. Under these circumstances the young man was instantly arrested. and the other was William Crowder.” said I. a game-keeper in the employ of Mr. and which are worth considering. and yet I question whether Mr.” “I could hardly imagine a more damning case. McCarthy the elder using very strong language to his son.” 162 “Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. the daughter of the neighbouring landowner. “The two McCarthys were seen after the time when William Crowder. McCarthy was walking alone. with just a fringe of grass and of reeds round the edge. but if you shift your own point of view a little. and the son was following him. however. being rather puzzled. I could not imagine a man of your habits looking at himself in an equal light and being satisfied with such a result. The injuries were such as might very well have been inflicted by the butt-end of his son’s gun. James McCarthy. Those are the main facts of the case as they came out before the coroner and the police-court.” “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. She was so frightened by their violence that she ran away and told her mother when she reached home that she had left the two McCarthys quarrelling near Boscombe Pool. She had hardly said the words when young Mr. was in one of the woods picking flowers. whom you may recollect in connection with the Study in Scarlet. it is surely very clear that that side is less illuminated than the other. and that she was afraid that they were going to fight. going the same way with a gun under his arm. Patience Moran. that the case looks exceedingly grave against the young man. the father was actually in sight at the time. we may chance to hit upon some other obvious facts which may have been by no means obvious to Mr.” he answered. McCarthy pass he had seen his son. You know me too well to think that I am boasting when I say that I shall either confirm or destroy his theory by means which he is quite incapable of employing. The head had been beaten in by repeated blows of some heavy and blunt weapon. and that they appeared to be having a violent quarrel.” I remarked. Lestrade.The Boscombe Valley Mystery him as he passed over this ground. Therein lies my m´tier. “that the facts are so obvious that you will find little credit to be gained out of this case.” answered Holmes thoughtfully. “Besides. who is the daughter of the lodge-keeper of the Boscombe Valley estate. laughing. or even of understanding. and hence it is that two middle-aged gentlemen are flying westward at fifty miles an hour instead of quietly digesting their breakfasts at home. There are one or two minor points which were brought out in the inquest. McCarthy and his son. He was much excited. Mr. and in this season you shave by the sunlight. to work out the case in his interest. the game-keeper. Both these witnesses depose that Mr. you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different. without either his gun or his hat. and she saw the latter raise up his hand as if to strike his father. A girl of fourteen. and it is just possible that it may be of e some service in the investigation which lies before us. “It may seem to point very straight to one thing. at the border of the wood and close by the lake. I very clearly perceive that in your bedroom the window is upon the right-hand side.

but he had. I am afraid. but after the return to Hatherley Farm. I settled myself 163 down in the corner of the carriage and read it very carefully. “No. James McCarthy. As to his remark about his deserts. to ask for assistance. His frank acceptance of the situation marks him as either an innocent man. I had not gone more than 150 yards.” I shook my head. but I . the game-keeper. he could not be such an absolute imbecile as not to see that the circumstances were very black against him. and that it was no more than his deserts. but he almost instantly expired. however. looking out of my window. I then took my gun and strolled out in the direction of the Boscombe Pool. or else as a man of considerable self-restraint and firmness. However innocent he might be. I saw no one near my father when I returned. to raise his hand as if to strike him. not very encouraging to his supporters. with the intention of visiting the rabbit warren which is upon the other side.” said Holmes. the groom. for my father was a man of a very violent temper. as far as I know.” “What is the young man’s own account of the matter?” “It is. he remarked that he was not surprised to hear it. though there are one or two points in it which are suggestive. and may read it for yourself. and even. “So they have. I knelt beside him for some minutes. It ran in this way: “Mr.The Boscombe Valley Mystery “It appears that his arrest did not take place at once. was then called and gave evidence as follows: ‘I had been away from home for three days at Bristol. because such surprise or anger would not be natural under the circumstances. “Many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence. as he had stated in his evidence. being somewhat cold and forbidding in his manners. it was also not unnatural if you consider that he stood beside the dead body of his father.” I remarked. with his head terribly injured. though I was not aware in which direction he was going. I had no idea that he was in front of me. And many men have been wrongfully hanged. I found my father expiring upon the ground. You will find it here. He appeared to be much surprised at seeing me and asked me rather roughly what I was doing there. but he is mistaken in thinking that I was following my father. This observation of his had the natural effect of removing any traces of doubt which might have remained in the minds of the coroner’s jury. Turner’s lodge-keeper. and found him standing by the pool. I saw him get out and walk rapidly out of the yard. and that there is no doubt that he had that very day so far forgotten his filial duty as to bandy words with him. On the inspector of constabulary informing him that he was a prisoner. and yet might appear to be the best policy to a scheming man.” “It was a confession. no active enemies. A conversation ensued which led to high words and almost to blows. I know nothing further of the matter. Shortly after my return I heard the wheels of his trap in the yard. when I heard a hideous outcry behind me. the 3rd. He was not a popular man. and I have no idea how he came by his injuries. When about a hundred yards from the pool I heard a cry of “Cooee!” which was a usual signal between my father and myself. I then hurried forward. and. On my way I saw William Crowder. according to the little girl whose evidence is so important.’ “The Coroner: Did your father make any statement to you before he died? “Witness: He mumbled a few words. Had he appeared surprised at his own arrest. it was at least a most suspicious remark. I left him and returned towards Hatherley Farm.” I ejaculated. his house being the nearest. My father was absent from home at the time of my arrival. I should have looked upon it as highly suspicious. which caused me to run back again. and had only just returned upon the morning of last Monday. or feigned indignation at it.” He picked out from his bundle a copy of the local Herefordshire paper.” “Coming on the top of such a damning series of events. Seeing that his passion was becoming ungovernable. The self-reproach and contrition which are displayed in his remark appear to me to be the signs of a healthy mind rather than of a guilty one. the only son of the deceased.” “On the contrary. “it is the brightest rift which I can at present see in the clouds. and I was informed by the maid that he had driven over to Ross with John Cobb. I dropped my gun and held him in my arms. and having turned down the sheet he pointed out the paragraph in which the unfortunate young man had given his own statement of what had occurred. and then made my way to Mr. for it was followed by a protestation of innocence.

sir.” said I as I glanced down the column. that he uttered it before he saw you. as he remarks.” Holmes laughed softly to himself and stretched himself out upon the cushioned seat. it was gone. And now here is my pocket Petrarch.’ “ ‘You cannot say what it was?’ “ ‘No. It seemed to me to be something grey in colour. “ ‘Do you mean that it disappeared before you went for help?’ “ ‘Yes. “that the coroner in his concluding remarks was rather severe upon young McCarthy. ferret-like man. of Scotland Yard. Don’t you see that you alternately give him credit for having too much imagination and too little? Too little. “The Coroner: What was the point upon which you and your father had this final quarrel? “Witness: I should prefer not to answer. and that you would not be happy until you had been on the scene of the crime. “The Coroner: That is for the court to decide. I need not point out to you that your refusal to answer will prejudice your case considerably in any future proceedings which may arise. or a plaid perhaps.” “I see. I shall approach this case from the point of view that what this young man says is true. “The Coroner: What did you understand by that? “Witness: It conveyed no meaning to me. “A Juryman: Did you see nothing which aroused your suspicions when you returned on hearing the cry and found your father fatally injured? “Witness: Nothing definite. With him we drove to the Hereford Arms where a room had already been engaged for us.The Boscombe Valley Mystery could only catch some allusion to a rat. In spite of the light brown dustcoat and leather-leggings which he wore in deference to his rustic surroundings. “I knew your energetic nature. We lunch at Swindon. too much. “Both you and the coroner have been at some pains. I had no difficulty in recognising Lestrade. was waiting for us upon the platform. also to his refusal to give details of his conversation with his father.” Holmes answered. a coat of some sort. if he could not invent a cause of quarrel which would give him the sympathy of the jury. He calls attention. I had a feeling something was there. When I rose from my father I looked round for it. then. after passing through the beautiful Stroud Valley. if he evolved from his own inner consciousness anything so outr´ as e a dying reference to a rat.’ “ ‘Then if it was removed it was while you were within a dozen yards of it?’ “ ‘Yes. “I have ordered a carriage. but it was gone. and before he even knew that you had returned from Bristol? “Witness (with considerable confusion): I do not know. “to single out the very strongest points in the young man’s favour. I thought that he was delirious.” It was nearly four o’clock when we at last.’ 164 “ ‘And how far from the edge of the wood?’ “ ‘About the same.’ “This concluded the examination of the witness. “The Coroner: What do you mean? “Witness: I was so disturbed and excited as I rushed out into the open. furtive and sly-looking. “The Coroner: How was it. to the discrepancy about his father having signalled to him before seeing him.” . and I see that we shall be there in twenty minutes. “Witness: It is really impossible for me to tell you. that I could think of nothing except of my father. and not another word shall I say of this case until we are on the scene of action. No. but with my back towards it. “The Coroner: I am afraid that I must press it.’ “ ‘How far from the body?’ “ ‘A dozen yards or so.” said he. and over the broad gleaming Severn. “The Coroner: I understand that the cry of ‘Cooee’ was a common signal between you and your father? “Witness: It was. A lean.” “It was very nice and complimentary of you. and the incident of the vanishing cloth. and his singular account of his father’s dying words. “It is entirely a question of barometric pressure. Yet I have a vague impression that as I ran forward something lay upon the ground to the left of me. very much against the son. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the sad tragedy which followed. found ourselves at the pretty little country-town of Ross. They are all. “Witness: I must still refuse. and with reason. and we shall see whither that hypothesis will lead us.” said Lestrade as we sat over a cup of tea.

and not a cloud in the sky. throwing back her head and looking defiantly at Lestrade. “You hear! He gives me hopes.” “Thank you. where.” “In what way?” asked Holmes. “Thank you for this information. Sherlock Holmes!” she cried. Mr. Miss Turner. and finally. he was averse to it also. I have driven down to tell you so. and we heard the wheels of her carriage rattle off down the street. He has taken to his bed. “Why should you raise up hopes which you are bound to disappoint? I am not over-tender of heart. and the sofa is very much superior to the usual country hotel abomination.” “I hope we may clear him. Miss Turner. No wind. at the mines. Willows says that he is a wreck and that his nervous system is shattered. I do not think that it is probable that I shall use the carriage to-night. her lips parted. and Dr. Such a charge is absurd to anyone who really knows him. “I am afraid that my colleague has been a little quick in forming his conclusions.” said Sherlock Holmes. I have a caseful of cigarettes here which need smoking. Never let yourself doubt upon that point.” “Yes. “I am ashamed of you. So there were quarrels.” “Quite so. glancing from one to the other of us. No doubt you will go to the prison to see James. Mr. You have been of material assistance to me. Mr. Still. James and I have always loved each other as brother and sister. though I repeatedly told her that there was nothing which you could do which I had not already done. “It is no time for me to hide anything. was one of them.” “I will. McCarthy was very anxious that there should be a marriage between us.” said Lestrade with dignity after a few minutes’ silence.” he said. but he is too tenderhearted to hurt a fly. for dad is very ill.” he said. Her violet eyes shining. but this has broken him down completely.” Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. I know it. too. fastening upon my companion. James never did it. Oh. We have known each other since we were little children. and the more one goes into it the plainer it becomes. She has heard of you.” “The doctor?” “Yes.” A quick blush passed over her fresh young face as Holmes shot one of his keen. “Was he in favour of such a union?” “No.” “But you have read the evidence. I am sure. questioning glances at her. and I know his faults as no one else does. “You may rely upon my doing all that I can. no doubt. James and his father had many disagreements about me. Oh! I know that he is right. McCarthy was the only man alive who had known dad in the old days in Victoria. but I call it cruel. Holmes. as I understand.” “Ha! In Victoria! That is important. McCarthy was in favour of it.” “I must go home now. “How is the glass? Twenty-nine. if you do. “Oh. “The case is as plain as a pikestaff.” he said. Mr.” Lestrade laughed indulgently. You have formed some conclusion? Do you not see some loophole. Good-bye. Why. a pink flush upon her cheeks. and would have your opinion.” “There. “But he is right.The Boscombe Valley Mystery Lestrade looked startled. he naturally did not wish to do anything like that yet. one can’t refuse a lady. already formed your conclusions from the newspapers. “I am so glad that you have come. but of course he is young and has seen very little of life yet. I know that James didn’t do it. and such a very positive one. of course. certainly. “You have.” “And your father?” asked Holmes. now!” she cried.” He had hardly spoken before there rushed into the room one of the most lovely young women that I have ever seen in my life. and—and—well. and he misses me so if I leave him. with a woman’s quick intuition.” “You will tell me if you have any news tomorrow. Holmes. have you not heard? Poor father has never been strong for years back. bless my soul! here is her carriage at the door. Mr. Miss Turner. No one but Mr. “May I see your father if I call to-morrow?” “I am afraid the doctor won’t allow it. too. and God help you in your undertaking. all thought of her natural reserve lost in her overpowering excitement and concern.” said he. do tell him that I know him to be innocent. and I want you to start upon your work knowing it. Turner made his money. “I do not quite follow. And about his quarrel with his father. I see.” “Yes. and this. some flaw? Do you not yourself think that he is innocent?” “I think that it is very probable. I am sure that the reason why he would not 165 speak about it to the coroner was because I was concerned in it.” She hurried from the room as impulsively as she had entered.” . at the gold-mines.

which contained a verbatim account of the inquest. What could that mean? It could not be delirium. I was inclined to think at one time that he knew who had done it and was screening him or her.” “Then I shall reconsider my resolution about going out. It was with his barmaid wife that he had spent the last three days in Bristol. What a tissue of mysteries and improbabilities the whole thing was! I did not wonder at Lestrade’s opinion. then what hellish thing.” “Then let us do so. at their last interview.The Boscombe Valley Mystery “I think that I see my way to clearing James McCarthy. Good has come out of evil. “It is of importance that it should not rain before we are able to go over the ground. however. “if it is indeed a fact that he was averse to a marriage with so charming a young lady as this Miss Turner.” I walked down to the station with them. It is of importance. and his father did not know where he was.” “Ah. Still. “The glass still keeps very high. but only for you and me. but I shall only be away a couple of hours. and his father. and must have had the hardihood to return and to carry it away at the instant when the son was kneeling with his back turned not a dozen paces off. however. A man dying from a sudden blow does not commonly become delirious. and I did not wish to do it when fagged by a long journey. but what he knows to be absolutely impossible.” said Holmes. when he was only a lad. We have still time to take a train to Hereford and see him to-night?” “Ample. for the .” “I cannot admire his taste. And then the incident of the grey cloth seen by young McCarthy. Watson. and before he really knew her. that I at last flung it across the room and gave myself up entirely to a consideration of the events of the day. On the other hand. It was late before Sherlock Holmes returned. Then there was the peculiar dying reference to a rat. drawn back by his screams.” I remarked. What could it be? Might not the nature of the injuries reveal something to my medical instincts? I rang the bell and called for the weekly county paper. and the moment when. He is not a very quick-witted youth. he had no means of supporting himself. The puny plot of the story was so thin. it did not go for very much. In the surgeon’s deposition it was stated that the posterior third of the left parietal bone and the left half of the occipital bone had been shattered by a heavy blow from a blunt weapon. I marked the spot upon my own head. Supposing that this unhappy young man’s story were absolutely true. as when seen quarrelling he was face to face with his father. was goading him on to propose to Miss Turner. and I found my attention wander so continually from the action to the fact. for the older man might have turned his back before the blow fell. what absolutely unforeseen and extraordinary calamity could have occurred between the time when he parted from his father. thereby hangs a rather painful tale. and then wandered through the streets of the little town. I fear that you will find it very slow. where I lay upon the sofa and tried to interest myself in a yellow-backed novel. But what could it indicate? I cudgelled my brains to find some possible explanation. presumably his overcoat. He came back alone. Mark that point. sound at heart. in his 166 flight. but some two years ago. for she had been away five years at a boarding-school. but I am convinced now that he is as puzzled as everyone else. I should think. No. but you can imagine how maddening it must be to him to be upbraided for not doing what he would give his very eyes to do.” “Could he throw no light?” “None at all. what does the idiot do but get into the clutches of a barmaid in Bristol and marry her at a registry office? No one knows a word of the matter. though comely to look at and. This fellow is madly. On the other hand. in love with her. insanely. who was by all accounts a very hard man. That was to some extent in favour of the accused.” he remarked as he sat down. “Have you an order to see him in prison?” “Yes. and yet I had so much faith in Sherlock Holmes’ insight that I could not lose hope as long as every fresh fact seemed to strengthen his conviction of young McCarthy’s innocence. he rushed into the glade? It was something terrible and deadly. it was more likely to be an attempt to explain how he met his fate.” “And what did you learn from him?” “Nothing. a man should be at his very best and keenest for such nice work as that. If that were true the murderer must have dropped some part of his dress. I have seen young McCarthy. It was sheer frenzy of this sort which made him throw his hands up into the air when his father. when compared to the deep mystery through which we were groping. would have thrown him over utterly had he known the truth. for Lestrade was staying in lodgings in the town. finally returning to the hotel. Clearly such a blow must have been struck from behind. Still. it might be worth while to call Holmes’ attention to it.

moonshine is a brighter thing than fog. He was an old friend of McCarthy’s. The second is that the murdered man was heard to cry ‘Cooee!’ before he knew that his son had returned. as if it were merely a case of a proposal and all else would follow? It is the more strange. a great benefactor to him. Sometimes Holmes would hurry on. and that in such a very cocksure manner. finding from the papers that he is in serious trouble and likely to be hanged. if you please. “It is said that Mr. who has done it?” “Ah! who? I would call your attention very particularly to two points. presumably. has thrown him over utterly and has written to him to say that she has a husband already in the Bermuda Dockyard. The drawn blinds and the smokeless chimneys. as Holmes had foretold. who is. Having measured these very carefully from seven or eight different points. I presume?” said Holmes. showed us the boots which her master wore at the time of his death.” “Really! Does it not strike you as a little singular that this McCarthy. and so by way of the woods to the Boscombe Pool. heiress to the estate. who appears to have had little of his own. Sherlock Holmes was transformed when he was hot upon such a scent as this.” said Lestrade. “Oh. with great yellow blotches of lichen upon the grey walls. that is it.” It was a widespread. and. Do you not deduce something from that?” “We have got to the deductions and the inferences. from which we all followed the winding track which led to Boscombe Pool.” “Well. though not the pair which he had then had.The Boscombe Valley Mystery barmaid. Holmes.” replied Lestrade with some warmth. and the morning broke bright and cloudless. for I have learned that he gave him Hatherley Farm rent free. and he has been in failing health for some time. His face flushed and darkened.” “An elderly man. when the maid. impatient snarl in reply. without flying away after theories and fancies. gave it a stricken look.” “Indeed! That is interesting. winking at me. sinewy neck. Lestrade and I . Everybody about here speaks of his kindness to him. I think that that bit of news has consoled young McCarthy for all that he has suffered. as is all that district.” said Holmes demurely. comfortable-looking building. is so ill that his life is despaired of.” “But if he is innocent.” “You are right. yes! In a hundred other ways he has helped him. “But I am very much mistaken if this is not Hatherley Farm upon the left. but his constitution has been shattered by his life abroad.” “Yes. and once he made quite a little detour into the meadow. Those are the crucial points upon which the case depends. His face was bent downward. It was damp.” said Holmes. Men who had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have failed to recognise him. “I find it 167 hard enough to tackle facts. or. should still talk of marrying his son to Turner’s daughter. At nine o’clock Lestrade called for us with the carriage. I have grasped one fact which you seem to find it difficult to get hold of. so that there is really no tie between them. One is that the murdered man had an appointment with someone at the pool. his shoulders bowed. since we know that Turner himself was averse to the idea. Turner.” said Holmes. sometimes stop dead. and to have been under such obligations to Turner. and there were marks of many feet. for his son was away. however. “About sixty. slateroofed. Swiftly and silently he made his way along the track which ran through the meadows. “And that is—” “That McCarthy senior met his death from McCarthy junior and that all theories to the contrary are the merest moonshine. Holmes desired to be led to the court-yard. and that the someone could not have been his son. And now let us talk about George Meredith.” There was no rain. and the veins stood out like whipcord in his long. marshy ground. and his mind was so absolutely concentrated upon the matter before him that a question or remark fell unheeded upon his ears. both upon the path and amid the short grass which bounded it on either side. his lips compressed.” Lestrade observed. “you do find it very hard to tackle the facts. at Holmes’ request. and we set off for Hatherley Farm and the Boscombe Pool. This business has had a very bad effect upon him. of the Hall. His brows were drawn into two hard black lines. as though the weight of this horror still lay heavy upon it. His nostrils seemed to dilate with a purely animal lust for the chase. only provoked a quick. The daughter told us as much. laughing. and also a pair of the son’s. and he did not know when he would return.” “Anyhow. at the most. We called at the door. I may add. while his eyes shone out from beneath them with a steely glitter. two-storied. and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow. “There is serious news this morning.

But how on earth—” “Oh. sometimes finding the track until we were well within the edge of 168 the wood and under the shadow of a great beech. Holmes still carrying with him the stone which he had picked up in the wood. To Holmes. “This may interest you. but these may be enough to aid us in our search. and perhaps write a little note. they come again—of course that was for the cloak. uses a cigar-holder. returning to his natural manner. It corresponds with the injuries.” . then? It is the butt-end of the gun as the son stood listening.” “But the mystery?” “It is solved. Now where did they come from?” He ran up and down. too. And this? Ha. quite unusual boots! They come.The Boscombe Valley Mystery walked behind him. wears thick-soled shooting-boots and a grey cloak. You may walk to the cab. is situated at the boundary between the Hatherley Farm and the private park of the wealthy Mr.” Lestrade laughed. I shall be busy this afternoon. and I shall be with you presently. Lestrade showed us the exact spot at which the body had been found. and. Here is where the party with the lodge-keeper came. jutting pinnacles which marked the site of the rich landowner’s dwelling. turning over the leaves and dried sticks. For a long time he remained there. and this also he carefully examined and retained.” It was about ten minutes before we regained our cab and drove back into Ross. Above the woods which lined it upon the farther side we could see the red. indeed. so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly visible. where all traces were lost. we may drive back to our luncheon. the detective indifferent and contemptuous. He ran when he saw his father on the ground. while I watched my friend with the interest which sprang from the conviction that every one of his actions was directed towards a definite end.” “How do you know. I think that I will go in and have a word with Moran. sometimes losing. A mole could trace it. and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket.” “And leave your case unfinished?” “No. gathering up what seemed to me to be dust into an envelope and examining with his lens not only the ground but even the bark of the tree as far as he could reach. tut! I have no time! That left foot of yours with its inward twist is all over the place. “You work your own method. and I shall work mine. Twice he was walking. The Boscombe Pool. finished. smokes Indian cigars. A jagged stone was lying among the moss. “These are young McCarthy’s feet. “It has been a case of considerable interest. and there it vanishes among the reeds. they go. which is a little reed-girt sheet of water some fifty yards across.” answered Holmes calmly. Lestrade. as I could see by his eager face and peering eyes. and there was a narrow belt of sodden grass twenty paces across between the edge of the trees and the reeds which lined the lake.” “And the murderer?” “Is a tall man. and shall probably return to London by the evening train.” he remarked.” “Nous verrons. He ran round. and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the body. like a dog who is picking up a scent. But here are three separate tracks of the same feet. Then he followed a pathway through the wood until he came to the highroad. then?” “The grass was growing under it. that I could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the stricken man. There was no sign of a place whence it had been taken.” He drew out a lens and lay down upon his waterproof to have a better view. I thought there might be some weapon or other trace. “Theories are all very well. Oh. There are several other indications.” “I see no marks. It had only lain there a few days. “I fished about with a rake. limps with the right leg. but we have to deal with a hard-headed British jury. There is no sign of any other weapon. holding it out. tut. What is this. “What did you go into the pool for?” he asked. “I am afraid that I am still a sceptic. so moist was the ground. Having done that. Holmes traced his way to the farther side of this and lay down once more upon his face with a little cry of satisfaction. Turner. On the Hatherley side of the pool the woods grew very thick. Then here are the father’s feet as he paced up and down. “I fancy that this grey house on the right must be the lodge. “The murder was done with it. very many other things were to be read upon the trampled grass.” he remarked. ha! What have we here? Tiptoes! tiptoes! Square. and then turned upon my companion. the largest tree in the neighbourhood.” he said. left-handed.” “There are none. how simple it would all have been had I been here before they came like a herd of buffalo and wallowed all over it. That bears out his story. and once he ran swiftly. talking all the time rather to himself than to us.

I then looked round and discovered the stump among the moss where he had tossed it. and I should value your advice.” said Holmes quietly. then?” “The gentleman I describe. I don’t know quite what to do. It was mere chance that he was within earshot. granting the son’s statement to be correct. and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe. “I am a practical man. Having found the ash. for the pool can only be approached by the farm or by the estate.” “But who is he?” “Surely it would not be difficult to find out. We have come now out of mere vagueness to the definite conception of an Australian from Ballarat with a grey cloak. The other was his singular dying reference to a rat. as you know. and we will begin it by presuming that what the lad says is absolutely true. He put less weight upon it. of Ballarat. “Look here.” he said. they were peculiar boots. might be told from their traces. It is founded upon the observation of trifles. obviously it could not have been meant for the son. devoted some attention to this. “I have given you the chance. The possession of a grey garment was a third point which.” “Well. There is a strong presumption that the person whom McCarthy expected to meet him at Boscombe Pool was someone who had been in Australia. By an examination of the ground I gained the trifling details which I gave to that imbecile Lestrade. Why? Because he limped—he was lame. you see.” Having left Lestrade at his rooms.” “But his left-handedness. cry ‘Cooee!’ before seeing him. “I wired 169 to Bristol for it last night.” I read. which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enables me to pronounce as an Indian cigar. Now from this double point our research must commence. And now. you understand.” he said when the cloth was cleared “just sit down in this chair and let me preach to you for a little. His boots. where we found lunch upon the table. This is not such a populous neighbourhood. “It is obvious. “BALLARAT. The ‘Cooee!’ was meant to attract the attention of whoever it was that he had the appointment with. how can that be unless it were by a left-handed man? He had stood behind that tree during the interview between the father and son. He was trying to utter the name of his murderer.” “Yes. The son. too. One was the fact that his father should. “And now?” He raised his hand. Watson. now. in considering this case there are two points about young McCarthy’s narrative which struck us both instantly. and of which his son only caught the last two syllables. The blow was struck from immediately behind.The Boscombe Valley Mystery “Who was the criminal. He had even smoked there.” “You were yourself struck by the nature of the injury as recorded by the surgeon at the inquest. I found the ash of a cigar.” “All right.” he said.” “But how did you gain them?” “You know my method.” “Then comes our expedition of to-day. according to his account. “This is a map of the Colony of Victoria. “and I really cannot undertake to go about the country looking for a left-handed gentleman with a game leg.” “His height I know that you might roughly judge from the length of his stride. although they impressed me in his favour and you against him. Light a cigar and let me expound. Now. but that was all that caught the son’s ear. It . I had narrowed the field down considerably.” Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. Goodbye. I shall drop you a line before I leave. where strangers could hardly wander.” “Quite so. I have.” “It is wonderful!” I exclaimed.” “Quite so. as one who finds himself in a perplexing position. That was the word the man uttered. as to the personality of the criminal.” “And one who was at home in the district. as far as he knew. and cigarette tobacco. and yet was upon the left side. was in Bristol. I should become the laughing-stock of Scotland Yard. Here are your lodgings. then?” Sherlock Holmes took a folded paper from his pocket and flattened it out on the table. But ‘Cooee’ is a distinctly Australian cry. cigar. and one which is used between Australians. Holmes was silent and buried in thought with a pained expression upon his face.” “What of the rat. we drove to our hotel. He mumbled several words. So and so.” “What of this ‘Cooee!’ then?” “Well.” “Pray do so.” “Certainly.” He put his hand over part of the map.” “But his lameness?” “The impression of his right foot was always less distinct than his left. “What do you read?” “ARAT. was a certainty.

took to the bush. ready to turn my hand at anything. You said that you wished to see me here to avoid scandal. His slow. and in a word became what you would call over here a highway robber. He was a devil incarnate. or stopping the wagons on the road to the diggings. answering the look rather than the words. and ushering in a visitor. Yet I would rather die under my own roof than in a jail. took to drink. and outstanding. There were six of us. free life of it. “Just tell us the truth. His grip has been upon me these twenty years. “I would have spoken now had it not been for my dear girl. And now I will make the thing clear to you.” The old man sank his face in his hands. so I deduced a blunt pen-knife. “One day a gold convoy came down from Ballarat to Melbourne. Then I could produce your confession at the last extremity to save young McCarthy. I got among bad companions. The man who entered was a strange and impressive figure. before we got the swag. it has been a long time in the acting.” he said. but his face was of an ashen white. of the variety which are rolled in Rotterdam. “You had my note?” “Yes. “you have drawn a net round this man from which he cannot escape. “I have had diabetes for years. grizzled hair.” “I am glad to hear you say so. sticking up a station from time to time. I understand that it was your daughter who required my presence here. however. I give you my word that I would have spoken out if it went against him at the Assizes. but we emptied four of their saddles at the first volley. My doctor says it is a question whether I shall live a month.” said Holmes. God keep you out of the clutches of such a man as he. “I shall jot down the facts. I promise you that I shall not use it unless it is absolutely needed.” said Holmes gently. “It was in the early ’60’s at the diggings. limping step and bowed shoulders gave the appearance of decrepitude.” “It’s as well. and you have saved an innocent human life as truly as if you had cut the cord which was hanging him. His tangled beard. “But I would not have let the young man come to harm.” said old Turner. but I spared him.” “I am a dying man. I was a young chap then. and yet his hard. I know all about McCarthy.” cried the hotel waiter. drooping eyebrows combined to give an air of dignity and power to his appearance. It would break her heart—it will break her heart when she hears that I am arrested. while his lips and the corners of his nostrils were tinged with a shade of blue. “God help me!” he cried. but will not take me long to tell. I see the direction in which all this points.” I said. and his enormous limbs showed that he was possessed of unusual strength of body and of character.” “And the cigar-holder?” “I could see that the end had not been in his mouth. and he has blasted my life. “Yes. Black Jack of Ballarat was the name I went under. The tip had been cut off. I tell you that. as though to remember every feature. as though his question was already answered. The culprit is—” “Mr. You will sign it. I wish to the Lord that I had shot him then.” “I thought people would talk if I went to the Hall. craggy features. opening the door of our sitting-room. I put my pistol to the head of the wagon-driver. It was clear to me at a glance that he was in the grip of some deadly and chronic disease. had no luck with my claim. however. so it matters little to me. Three of our boys were killed. We got away with the .” said Holmes gravely. and Watson here can witness it. and our party is still remembered in the colony as the Ballarat Gang. and I am acting in her interests. so it was a close thing. Young McCarthy must be got off. “What?” “I am no official agent. the lodge-keeper brought it up. McCarthy. “It is so.” said the old man. deep-lined.” said Holmes.” “Holmes.” “And why did you wish to see me?” He looked across at my companion with despair in his weary eyes. and we lay in wait for it and attacked it. “Pray sit down on the sofa. but the cut was not a clean one. who was this very man McCarthy.” Holmes rose and sat down at the table with his pen in his hand and a bundle of paper before him. hot-blooded and reckless. not bitten off. John Turner. Therefore he used a holder. and we had a wild.The Boscombe Valley Mystery was an Indian cigar. “it’s a question whether I shall live to the Assizes. “You didn’t know this dead man. though I saw his wicked little eyes fixed on my face. but I should wish to spare Alice the shock. I’ll tell you first how I came to be in his power. There were six troopers and six of us.” 170 “It may not come to that.

It grew worse as Alice grew up. sir. not that I had any dislike to the lad. and made our way over to England without being suspected. and I set myself to do a little good with my money. but his blood was in him.” “Well. There’s two of us. “His son. will be the easier for the thought of the peace which you have given to mine. Could I not snap the bond? I was already a dying and a desperate man. too. touching me on the arm.” Tottering and shaking in all his giant frame. though I was forced to go back to fetch the cloak which I had dropped in my flight. If not. land. and you can have the keeping of us. and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. Old Turner lived for seven months after our interview. for he soon saw I was more afraid of her knowing my past than of the police. there was his cunning. and there they have lived rent free on my best land ever since. money.’ ” James McCarthy was acquitted at the Assizes on the strength of a number of objections which had been drawn out by Holmes and submitted to the defending counsel. of all that occurred.” said the old man solemnly. shall be safe with us. Even when she was just a baby her wee hand seemed to lead me down the right path as nothing else had ever done. “I had gone up to town about an investment. Holmes. no forgetfulness. and there’s always a policeman within hail. I married. ‘There.” “Farewell. We were to meet at the pool midway between our houses to talk it over. Deeply as I have sinned. “I pray that we may never be exposed to such a temptation. and say. down they came to the west country. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bitter in me seemed to come uppermost. houses. He asked for Alice.” said Holmes as the old man signed the statement which had been drawn out. so I smoked a cigar and waited behind a tree until he should be alone. me and my son. and if McCarthy is condemned I shall be forced to use it. I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past. I bought this estate. I did it. There was no rest for me. But that my girl should be entangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suffer. to make up for the way in which I had earned it. had grown up. but he is now dead. . it is not for me to judge you. I knew that my own fate was sealed. I struck him down with no more compunction than if he had been some foul and venomous beast. Whatever he wanted he must have. and as I was known to be in weak health.gold. “ ‘Here we are. Though clear of mind and fairly strong of limb. His cry brought back his son. and that was enough. But my memory and my girl! Both could be saved if I could but silence that foul tongue. “When I went down there I found him talking with his son. But there I was firm. became wealthy men. it seemed a fine stroke to him that his lad should step into the whole property. That is the true story. McCarthy threatened. but I had gained the cover of the wood. I braved him to do his worst. In a word.’ “Well.” “I pray not. You are yourself aware that you will soon have to answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes. goes Sherlock Holmes. “Why does fate play such tricks with poor. ‘we’ll be as good as a family to you. turn where I would. you see. helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words. then. It drove me mad to think that I and all that I held most dear should be in the power of such a man as this.’ says he. nothing. I stood firm. Mr. until at last he asked a thing which I could not give. “God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence. “Your own deathbeds. I would do it again. I have led a life of martyrdom to atone for it. and whatever it was I gave him without question. Jack. I would not have his cursed stock mixed with mine. and there is every prospect that the son and daughter may come to live happily together in ignorance of the black cloud which rests upon their past. he stumbled slowly from the room. And what do you intend to do?” “In view of your health. All was going well when McCarthy laid his grip upon me. There I parted from my old pals and determined to settle down to a quiet and respectable life. which chanced to be in the market. whether you be alive or dead. law-abiding country is England. no peace. and so had my girl. I will keep your confession. If you don’t—it’s a fine. when they come. it shall never be seen by mortal eye. and your secret. grinning face at my elbow. but for the grace of God. He was urging his son to marry my daughter with as little regard for what she might think as if she were a slut from off the streets. and I met him in Regent Street with hardly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot. there was no shaking them off. gentlemen.

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The Five Orange Pips .

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All these I may sketch out at some future date.” “That is easily got. beginnings without an ending. Who could come tonight? Some friend of yours. of the singular adventures of the Grice Patersons in the island of Uffa. however. who held a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse. for there came a step in the passage and a tapping at the door. “Come in!” said he. and I could see that his face was pale and his eyes heavy. by winding up the dead man’s watch. “I trust that I am not intruding. like those of a man who is weighed down with some great anxiety. so that even here in the heart of great.” said Holmes. and for a few days I was a dweller once more in my old quarters at Baker Street. Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour. “that was surely the bell. of the facts connected with the loss of the British barque “Sophy Anderson”.” “A client. like untamed beasts in a cage.” “Give me your coat and umbrella. then?” “If so. of the Amateur Mendicant Society. hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life and to recognise the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilisation. and would be. Among my headings under this one twelve months I find an account of the adventure of the Paradol Chamber. There is.” “And help. and his long shining waterproof told of the fierce weather through which he had come. too. one of these last which was so remarkable in its details and so startling in its results that I am tempted to give some account of it in spite of the fact that there are points in connection with it which never have been.” “Yes. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows. and probably never will be. well-groomed and trimly clad. I see. You have come up from the south-west. and the wind . Some. As evening drew in. while others have been but partially cleared up. perhaps?” “Except yourself I have none. it is a serious case. however. entirely cleared up. The streaming umbrella which he held in his hand. as may be remembered. of which I retain the records. and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree. “Why. and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate.” said I. raising his golden pince-nez to his eyes. from Horsham. But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady’s.” Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture. and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. “I owe you an apology. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime. but none of them present such singular features as the strange train of circumstances which I have now taken up my pen to describe. In the latter. He looked about him anxiously in the glare of the lamp.” he said. as narratives. My wife was on a visit to her mother’s. I fear that I have brought some traces of the storm and rain into your snug chamber.W The Five Orange Pips cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. He stretched out his long arm to turn the lamp away from himself and towards the vacant chair upon which a newcomer must sit. while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text. “They may rest here on the hook and will be dry presently. some twoand-twenty at the outside. and that therefore the deceased had gone to bed within that time—a deduction which was of the greatest importance in clearing up the case.” “That clay and chalk mixture which I see upon your toe caps is quite distinctive. have baffled his analytical skill.” “I have come for advice. and finally of the Camberwell poisoning case. glancing up at my companion. The year ’87 furnished us with a long series of cases of greater or less interest. Some. The man who entered was young. It was in the latter days of September. however.” he answered. Sherlock Holmes was able. “I do not encourage visitors.” 175 hen I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years ’82 and ’90. the storm grew higher and louder. to prove that it had been wound up two hours before. I am faced by so many which present strange and interesting features that it is no easy matter to know which to choose and which to leave. and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves. and have their explanations founded rather upon conjecture and surmise than on that absolute logical proof which was so dear to him. with something of refinement and delicacy in his bearing. have already gained publicity through the papers.” “That is not always so easy.

This would be in the year 1878. Mr. 1883—a letter with a foreign stamp lay upon the table in front of the colonel’s plate. I kept all the keys and could go where I liked and do what I liked. “One day—it was in March. of course. At the time of the war he fought in Jackson’s army.” “He said too much.” “And yet I question. and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his . he took a fancy to me. where he remained for three or four years. With a boy’s curiosity I have peeped through the keyhole. but the laugh was struck from my lips at the sight of his face. as far as I can understand.” The young man pulled his chair up and pushed his wet feet out towards the blaze.” “He said that you could solve anything. his skin the colour of putty. He had made a very considerable fortune in the States. so that by the time that I was sixteen I was quite master of the house. “You must know that my grandfather had two sons—my uncle Elias and my father Joseph. I began to laugh at this. Holmes. It is a hereditary matter. He begged my father to let me live with him and he was very kind to me in his way.” “I beg that you will draw your chair up to the fire and favour me with some details as to your case. About 1869 or 1870 he came back to Europe and took a small estate in Sussex. in all your experience.” “I have been beaten four times—three times by men. There was one singular exception. out there jumped five little dried orange pips.” said he. which was invariably locked.” “Then you may be so with me. for he had a single room. so long as I did not disturb him in his privacy. He drank a great deal of brandy and smoked very heavily. ‘Pondicherry postmark! What can this be?’ Opening it hurriedly. not even his own brother. When Lee laid down his arms my uncle returned to his plantation. and there he would take his exercise. little to do with this awful business. which he enlarged at the time of the invention of bicycling. During all the years that he lived at Horsham.The Five Orange Pips “I have heard of you. I doubt if ever he set foot in the town. but my own affairs have. whether. sir. and his reason for leaving them was his aversion to the negroes. He was a singular man. for at the time when he saw me first I was a youngster of twelve or so. but he would see no society and did not want any friends. It was not a common thing for him to receive letters. however. where he rose to be 176 a colonel.” “That you are never beaten. ‘From India!’ said he as he took it up. and which he would never permit either me or anyone else to enter. and his business met with such success that he was able to sell it and to retire upon a handsome competence. near Horsham. His lip had fallen.” “You fill me with interest. and he would make me his representative both with the servants and with the tradespeople. a lumber-room up among the attics.” said Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast how you saved him in the Tankerville Club scandal. his eyes were protruding. though very often for weeks on end he would never leave his room. and of a most retiring disposition. and he had no friends of any sort. He was wrongfully accused of cheating at cards. and I can afterwards question you as to those details which seem to me to be most important. very foul-mouthed when he was angry. you have ever listened to a more mysterious and inexplicable chain of events than those which have happened in my own family. He had a garden and two or three fields round his house. and afterwards under Hood. for his bills were all paid in ready money. after he had been eight or nine years in England. which pattered down upon his plate. I must go back to the commencement of the affair. “He didn’t mind me. “My uncle Elias emigrated to America when he was a young man and became a planter in Florida. fierce and quick-tempered. He was a patentee of the Openshaw unbreakable tire. in fact.” “It is no ordinary one. “My name.” “Ah. When he was sober he used to be fond of playing backgammon and draughts with me. “is John Openshaw. so in order to give you an idea of the facts. but I was never able to see more than such a collection of old trunks and bundles as would be expected in such a room. where he was reported to have done very well. My father had a small factory at Coventry.” “But what is that compared with the number of your successes?” “It is true that I have been generally successful. “Pray give us the essential facts from the commencement. and once by a woman.” “None of those which come to me are. I am the last court of appeal. and his dislike of the Republican policy in extending the franchise to them.

leaving me palpitating with horror. and ‘Letters. that upon the lid was printed the treble K which I had read in the morning upon the envelope. On the inside of the cover was a paper label. “ ‘They may do what they like. and send down to Fordham.” “Thank you. “ ‘Death.” Holmes interposed. well and good! If you find you cannot. fluffy ashes. as though it were new raised from a basin. as you may think. memoranda. Some of them were of the war time and showed that he had done his duty well and had borne the repute of a brave soldier. however. at my request. and my father entered into possession of the estate. His death was seven weeks later. like a man who can brazen it out no longer against the terror which lies at the roots of his soul. Pray proceed. however.’ But I.000. and the water was but two feet deep. your father. The singular incident made. the letter K three times repeated. I leave my estate. There was no sign of any violence. We found him. by man or devil. ‘My God. K. The fire was burning brightly.’ “I signed the paper as directed. receipts. K. For the rest. ‘K. and he was less inclined for any sort of society. ‘to witness my will. but I’ll checkmate them still. to come to an end of the matter. my sins have overtaken me!’ “ ‘What is it. having regard to his known eccentricity. and a register’ written beneath. as of burned paper. made a careful examination of the attic. Others were of a date during the reconstruction of the Southern states. and that he was not to be cooped 177 up.!’ he shrieked. my boy. there was nothing of much importance in the attic save a great many scattered papers and notebooks bearing upon my uncle’s life in America. The matter passed.The Five Orange Pips trembling hand. There was nothing else save the five dried pips. When these hot fits were over. like a sheep in a pen. K. in the other. which lay to his credit at the bank.’ said he. there came a night when he made one of those drunken sallies from which he never came back. I foresee. just above the gum. he. If you can enjoy it in peace. with all its advantages and all its disadvantages. one of the most remarkable to which I have ever listened. although its contents had been destroyed. I took up the envelope and saw scrawled in red ink upon the inner flap. for he had evidently taken a strong part in opposing the carpet-bag politicians who had been sent down from the North. so that the jury. upon the night of May 2nd. and were mostly concerned with politics. while the brass box stood open and empty beside it. take my advice. to my brother. Mr.” “When my father took over the Horsham property. my God. “ ‘I wish you. 1883. which lay at the foot of the garden.” “The letter arrived on March 10. face downward in a little green-scummed pool. which had been always locked up. who knew how he winced from the very thought of death. We found the brass box there. and then. “your statement is. and as I ascended the stair I met him coming down with an old rusty key. repeated upon it. but I can’t say what turn things are going to take. These. we presume.” “One moment. uncle?’ I cried. which must have belonged to the attic.’ said my uncle. As I glanced at the box I noticed. Holmes. whence it will. and when the lawyer arrived I was asked to step up to the room. even on a cold day. screaming out that he was afraid of no man. and I pondered over it and turned it every way in my mind without being able to make anything of it. Kindly sign the paper where Mr. when we went to search for him. glisten with moisture. he would rush tumultuously in at the door and lock and bar it behind him. Most of his time he would spend in his room. “Well. descend to you. Let me have the date of the reception by your uncle of the letter. indicated the nature of the papers which had been destroyed by Colonel Openshaw. and the date of his supposed suicide. the Horsham lawyer. K. John.’ said he with an oath. however. and in the grate there was a mass of black. like a cashbox. with a start. but sometimes he would emerge in a sort of drunken frenzy and would burst out of the house and tear about the garden with a revolver in his hand. I could see a change in my uncle. He drank more than ever. At such times I have seen his face. and leave it to your deadliest enemy. Fordham shows you. What could be the reason of his overpowering terror? I left the breakfast-table. and the lawyer took it away with him. . and rising from the table he retired to his room. ‘Tell Mary that I shall want a fire in my room to-day. no doubt. though the sensation grew less keen as the weeks passed and nothing happened to disturb the usual routine of our lives. the deepest impression upon me. with the initials of K. and of some £14. Yet I could not shake off the vague feeling of dread which it left behind. and a small brass box. and not to abuse your patience. in one hand. brought in a verdict of ‘suicide.’ “I did as he ordered. had much ado to persuade myself that he had gone out of his way to meet it. with the door locked upon the inside. I am sorry to give you such a two-edged thing.

“This is the envelope. with a heart which was full of forebodings. I hurried to him. “ ‘Why. On the fourth day after the new year I heard my father give a sharp cry of surprise as we sat together at the breakfast-table. Within are the very words which were upon my father’s last message: ‘K. the jury had no hesitation in bringing in a verdict of ‘death from accidental causes.” . K. however. My father had fallen over one of the deep chalk-pits which abound in the neighbourhood. no record of strangers having been seen upon the roads. and that I was wellnigh certain that some foul plot had been woven round him. I was unable to find anything which could suggest the idea of murder.’ I said. “Nothing.’ I read. and as the country was unknown to him. ‘What have I to do with sundials and papers? I shall take no notice of such nonsense. During that time I have lived happily at Horsham. who is in command of one of the forts upon Portsdown Hill. You will ask me why I did not dispose of it? I answer. said I. I went about. and we can’t have tomfoolery of this kind. K. peeping over his shoulder. I forbid you. and all went as well as possible with us until the January of ’85. “ ‘And be laughed at for my pains. glancing at the postmark. Major Freebody. and then ‘Put the papers on the sundial. for it seemed to me that he was farther from danger when he was away from home.” he continued. “On the third day after the coming of the letter my father went from home to visit an old friend of his. as it appears. “The postmark is London—eastern division. and I had begun to hope that this curse had passed away from the family. ‘Here are the very letters.’ ” “What have you done?” asked Holmes. He had. “ ‘Some preposterous practical joke. And yet I need not tell you that my mind was far from at ease. no robbery. and was lying senseless. I had begun to take comfort too soon. and turning to the table he shook out upon it five little dried orange pips. There is no other. white hands—“I have felt helpless. and that the danger would be as pressing in one house as in another. “It was in January. John?’ he stammered. K.’ Carefully as I examined every fact connected with his death. however. because I was well convinced that our troubles were in some way dependent upon an incident in my uncle’s life. imploring me to come at once. He had always laughed at what he called my cock-and-bull story about the colonel. Upon the second day of his absence I received a telegram from 178 the major. ‘but the papers must be those that are destroyed.’ “ ‘Then let me do so?’ “ ‘No..’ “It was in vain to argue with him. which no foresight and no precautions can guard against. “ ‘What papers? What sundial?’ he asked. no footmarks. I was glad that he should go. ’85. what on earth does this mean. for he was a very obstinate man. There he was.The Five Orange Pips “Well. ‘So it is.’ he cried. “He looked inside the envelope. ’“ ‘The sundial in the garden.” “Nothing?” “To tell the truth”—he sank his face into his thin. gripping hard at his courage. been returning from Fareham in the twilight. but he looked very scared and puzzled now that the same thing had come upon himself. but he passed away without having ever recovered his consciousness.’ said I. I won’t have a fuss made about such nonsense.’ “ ‘I should certainly speak to the police. inexorable evil. it was the beginning of ’84 when my father came to live at Horsham.’ said he. I was in error. There were no signs of violence. however. Nothing of the sort. sitting with a newly opened envelope in one hand and five dried orange pips in the outstretched palm of the other one. ‘We are in a civilised land here. Where does the thing come from?’ “ ‘From Dundee. and the chalk-pit unfenced.’ I answered. “My heart had turned to lead. yesterday morning the blow fell in the very shape in which it had come upon my father. In that. that my poor father met his end.’. K. I have felt like one of those poor rabbits when the snake is writhing towards it.’ “ ‘Pooh!’ said he. “In this sinister way I came into my inheritance. and that it had ended with the last generation. ‘It is K. with a shattered skull. I seem to be in the grasp of some resistless. But what is this written above them?’ “ ‘Put the papers on the sundial. and two years and eight months have elapsed since then.“ The young man took from his waistcoat a crumpled envelope.

blue-tinted paper. you must at once put the box out upon the sundial. with news as to the box and the papers. How do you go back?” “By train from Waterloo. And. You must get home instantly and act. The streets will be crowded. I think myself that it is a page from some private diary. wild story seemed to have come to us from amid the mad elements—blown in upon us like a sheet of sea-weed in a gale—and now to have been reabsorbed by them once more. so I trust that you may be in safety. “that on the day when my uncle burned the papers I observed that the small. as the jury stated. You have no further evidence.” “What shall I do?” “There is but one thing to do. perhaps. folding up the paper and returning it to our visitor. then?” “No.” “Do not think of revenge. It must be done at once. 1869. You must put this piece of paper which you have shown us into the brass box which you have described.” “Then I shall call upon you in a day.” said he. Paramore. “and.The Five Orange Pips “Tut! tut!” cried Sherlock Holmes. Augustine.” “It is not yet nine. McCauley cleared. It was headed. I found this single sheet upon the floor of his room.” Again Holmes raved in the air.” said John Openshaw. I suppose. and I am inclined to think that it may be one of the papers which has. We cannot spare time even to discuss what you have told me.” He shook hands with us and took his leave. I think that we may gain that by means of the law. he laid it out upon the table. Outside the wind still screamed and the rain splashed and pattered against the windows. .” said the young man. and. Having done this.” “Ah!” “But they listened to my story with a smile. above all. “And now you must on no account lose another instant. “Why did you come to me. Do you understand?” “Entirely. however. Same old platform. “March. at present. Beyond the mention of pips. and were not to be connected with the warnings. I shall take your advice in every particular.” “I shall see you at Horsham. “You must act. “Incredible imbecility!” he cried.” he cried. It is there that I shall seek it. fluttered out from among the others. and in that way has escaped destruction. or in two days. I do not see that it helps us much. You must also put in a note to say that all the other papers were burned by your uncle. and John Swain. His orders were to stay in the house. Visited Paramore. and we both bent over the sheet of paper. The first consideration is to remove the pressing danger which threatens you. for I do not think that there can be a doubt that you are threatened by a very real and imminent danger. which showed by its ragged edge that it had indeed been torn from a book.” and beneath were the following enigmatical notices: 4th. or anything of the sort. The second is to clear up the mystery and to punish the guilty parties.” “Has he come with you to-night?” “No. or you are lost. I am convinced that the inspector has formed the opinion that the letters are all practical jokes. 12th.” Holmes shook his clenched hands in the air.” “That is well. Hudson came. And yet you cannot guard yourself too closely. 179 10th. You must assert that in such words as will carry conviction with them. take care of yourself in the meanwhile.” “It is really two days since you had the letter. man.” “Do not lose an instant. To-morrow I shall set to work upon your case. I shall certainly do as you advise.” “I have seen the police. your secret lies in London. who may remain in the house with me. as directed. but we have our web to weave.” Holmes moved the lamp. rising and pulling on his overcoat. 7th. This strange. “They have. John Swain cleared. than that which you have placed before us—no suggestive detail which might help us?” “There is one thing. and that the deaths of my relations were really accidents. above all. It was only to-day that I spoke to Major Prendergast about my troubles and was advised by him to come to you. He rummaged in his coat pocket. “You have given me fresh life and hope.” “I am armed. and that this is the only one which remains. of St. We should have acted before this. “I have some remembrance. Set the pips on McCauley. All well.” “I thank you. allowed me a policeman. “Thank you!” said Holmes. Nothing but energy can save you. drawing out a piece of discoloured. This is no time for despair. 9th. The writing is undoubtedly my uncle’s. while theirs is already woven. unburned margins which lay amid the ashes were of this particular colour. why did you not come at once?” “I did not know.

“that of all our cases we have had none more fantastic than this. that. There can be no doubt that the probability—the strong probability—is that the writer was on board of a ship. “Then what are they? Who is this K.” he remarked. laughing. K. It . “I think. What do you deduce from that?” “They are all seaports. boxer. I remember.” I asked. “The ideal reasoner. Kindly hand me down the letter K of the ‘American Encyclopaedia’ which stands upon the shelf beside you. “would. “formed any definite conception as to what these perils are?” “There can be no question as to their nature. His extreme love of solitude in England suggests the idea that he was in fear of someone or something.” “Excellent. and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library. and this I have endeavoured in my case to do. If I remember rightly.” “Well. That the writer was on board of a ship. And yet this John Openshaw seems to me to be walking amid even greater perils than did the Sholtos.” he answered. with his fingertips together. Now. Now let us consider the situation and see what may be deduced from it. In the case of Pondicherry. is a somewhat rare accomplishment. for such a case as the one which has been submitted to us to-night. To carry the art.” Holmes grinned at the last item. deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it. so we may assume as a working hypothesis that it was fear of someone or something which drove him from America. however. violin-player. in Dundee it was only some three or four days. “I say now. chemistry eccentric. it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilise all the facts which have come to his knowledge. We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone can attain to. “Well. we may start with a strong presumption that Colonel Openshaw had some very strong reason for leaving America. K. in the early days of our friendship. which. however. Save. anatomy unsystematic. As to what it was he feared..” I answered. the Sign of Four. so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents should be able to accurately state all the other ones. and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco.The Five Orange Pips Sherlock Holmes sat for some time in silence. astronomy. Did you remark the postmarks of those letters?” “The first was from Pondicherry. seven weeks elapsed between the threat and its fulfilment. Botany variable. geology profound as regards the mud-stains 180 from any region within fifty miles of town. perhaps. and politics were marked at zero.” “But have you. and this in itself implies. as I said then. as you will readily see. It is not so impossible. and why does he pursue this unhappy family?” Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair. lawyer. were the main points of my analysis. that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work. and leaning back in his chair he watched the blue smoke-rings as they chased each other up to the ceiling. Men at his time of life do not change all their habits and exchange willingly the charming climate of Florida for the lonely life of an English provincial town. we need certainly to muster all our resources. Watson. where he can get it if he wants it. Does that suggest anything?” “A greater distance to travel. We have already a clue.” “Save. even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias.” “But the letter had also a greater distance to come. I think. And now let us consider another point. Thank you. In the first place.” “From East London. that a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use. Then he lit his pipe. yes. Philosophy. when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings. swordsman. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses. sensational literature and crime records unique. both before and after. Those.” he said. and the third from London. the second from Dundee.” “Then I do not see the point. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone.” “Yes.” “There is at least a presumption that the vessel in which the man or men are is a sailing-ship. perhaps. you on one occasion. to its highest pitch. defined my limits in a very precise fashion. “It was a singular document. with his head sunk forward and his eyes bent upon the red glow of the fire. we can only deduce that by considering the formidable letters which were received by himself and his successors.” he remarked at last. a possession of all knowledge.

Doctor. In this way you see K. and Florida. the movement rather suddenly collapsed. and C’—that is. B. I think. Its power was used for political purposes.The Five Orange Pips looks as if they always send their singular warning or token before them when starting upon their mission. and so systematic its methods. and I believe that the only chance young Openshaw has in the meantime is to do what I have told him. It may well have been cause and effect. laying down the volume. You see how quickly the deed followed the sign when it came from Dundee. in the year 1869. So perfect was the organisation of the society. The blow has always fallen at the end of the time which it would take the senders to travel the distance. this relentless persecution?” “The papers which Openshaw carried are obviously of vital importance to the person or persons in the sailing-ship. with. A name derived from the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle. K. And now you see the deadly urgency of this new case.” Holmes turned over the leaves of the book upon his knee. notably in Tennessee. and it rapidly formed local branches in different parts of the country. so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellow-men. It ran. It is probable. Their papers they mean to have. On receiving this the victim might either openly abjure his former ways. For some years the organisation flourished in spite of the efforts of the United States government and of the better classes of the community in the South. If they had come from Pondicherry in a steamer they would have arrived almost as soon as their letter. principally for the terrorising of the negro voters and the murdering and driving from the country of those who were opposed to its views. “Here it is. Louisiana. This terrible secret society was formed by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern states after the Civil War. sent the society’s warning to them. the Carolinas. and finally that C was visited. A single man could not have carried out two deaths in such a way as to deceive a coroner’s jury.” “Then the page we have seen—” “Is such as we might expect. bending forward and sinking his voice—“have you never heard of the Ku Klux Klan?” “I never have. death would unfailingly come upon him. if I remember right.” It had cleared in the morning. and therefore we cannot count upon delay. Then there are successive entries that A and B cleared. “that the sudden breaking up of the society was coincident with the disappearance of Openshaw from America with their papers.’ “You will observe.” “It is possible. I think that those seven weeks represented the difference between the mail-boat which brought the letter and the sailing vessel which brought the writer. There is nothing more to be said or to be done to-night. I think that it is quite clear that there must be more than one of them. There must have been several in it. Its outrages were usually preceded by a warning sent to the 181 marked man in some fantastic but generally recognised shape—a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts. a sinister result for C. But. be the holder of them who it may. and the sun was shining with a subdued brightness through the dim veil which hangs over the great city. Eventually. seven weeks elapsed. and that there may be many who will not sleep easy at night until it is recovered. But this one comes from London. and they must have been men of resource and determination. although there have been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date. It is no wonder that he and his family have some of the more implacable spirits upon their track. You can understand that this register and diary may implicate some of the first men in the South.” “But of what society?” “Have you never—” said Sherlock Holmes. .” “More than that. as a matter of fact. “What can it mean. or might fly from the country. melon seeds or orange pips in others. or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. ‘sent the pips to A. and why I urged young Openshaw to caution. or left the country. ceases to be the initials of an individual and becomes the badge of a society. Georgia.” said Holmes.” said he presently: “ ‘Ku Klux Klan. If he braved the matter out. that we may let some light into this dark place. that there is hardly a case upon record where any man succeeded in braving it with impunity. and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner.” “Good God!” I cried. I fear. Sherlock Holmes was already at breakfast when I came down. K. Well.

and that in his haste and the extreme darkness he missed his path and walked over the edge of one of the small landingplaces for river steamboats. Watson. “you are too late. “It will very much depend upon the results of my first inquiries. no doubt. even on such a night. “It may give him a sleepless night. it was quite impossible to effect a rescue. Why. “Holmes. “They must be cunning devils. That he should come to me for help. washing it down with a long draught of water. It had escaped my memory. of the H Division.” said he.” “How did you trace it. if God sends me health. however. as it appears from an envelope which was found in his pocket.” “What steps will you take?” I asked. The night. and. in spite of the help of several passersby. Savannah. chuckling.” “That will await him when he enters port.” Then he sealed it and addressed it to “Captain James Calhoun. Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. Just ring the bell and the maid will bring up your coffee.” he said at last. Sherlock Holmes had not come back yet. H. Georgia. the body was eventually recovered.” he exclaimed at last. was John Openshaw. How was it done?” He spoke calmly. “My eye caught the name of Openshaw. and it was late in the evening before I returned to Baker Street. I may have to go down to Horsham. and there can be no doubt that the deceased had been the victim of an unfortunate accident. It is conjectured that he may have been hurrying down to catch the last train from Waterloo Station. “You are hungry. It rested upon a heading which sent a chill to my heart. and tearing a piece from the loaf he devoured it voraciously. for their purpose. It becomes a personal matter with me now. we shall see who will win in the long run. “It is a petty feeling. I shall set my hand 182 upon this gang.” All day I was engaged in my professional work. I shall have the others. but I could see that he was deeply moved. The bridge. by the aid of the water-police. and that I should send him away to his death—!” He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation. “Starving.” said he. and.” “You have a clue?” “I have them in the hollow of my hand. was too crowded. after all. I am going out now!” “To the police?” “No. I have had nothing since breakfast. but he first. and tearing it to pieces he squeezed out the pips upon the table. “I have. The body exhibited no traces of violence. “That hurts my pride. Watson.” “Nothing?” “Not a bite. so that. Well. was given. but it hurts my pride. let us put their own devilish trade-mark upon them. and whose residence is near Horsham. with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands. When I have spun the web they may take the flies. however. I shall be my own police. “I feared as much.” We sat in silence for some minutes. Young Openshaw shall not long remain unavenged. looking pale and worn. Watson. Barque Lone Star. It is well thought of!” “What do you mean?” He took an orange from the cupboard. heard a cry for help and a splash in the water. then?” . and the heading ‘Tragedy Near Waterloo Bridge.” I remarked. a very busy day before me in looking into this case of young Openshaw’s.” “You will not go there first?” “No. On the inside of the flap he wrote “S. I shall commence with the City. The alarm.” “Ah!” said he. He walked up to the sideboard. He will find it as sure a precursor of his fate as Openshaw did before him. I had no time to think of it. I lifted the unopened newspaper from the table and glanced my eye over it. Holmes more depressed and shaken than I had ever seen him.” “And how have you succeeded?” “Well. I foresee.’ Here is the account: “Between nine and ten last night PoliceConstable Cook. was extremely dark and stormy. but not before. “How could they have decoyed him down there? The Embankment is not on the direct line to the station. which should have the effect of calling the attention of the authorities to the condition of the riverside landing-stages. no doubt.” I cried. laying down his cup.” As I waited. on duty near Waterloo Bridge.The Five Orange Pips “You will excuse me for not waiting for you. It was nearly ten o’clock before he entered. O.” “And who is this Captain Calhoun?” “The leader of the gang. It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name. for J.

and that is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star. although it was reported as having cleared from London. one. my suspicion became a certainty. all covered with dates and names. “over Lloyd’s registers and files of the old papers. The others are Finns and Germans. following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in ’83. in the best laid of human plans. however.” carved upon it. ’85. Very long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year. instantly attracted my attention. I think. S. but none ever reached us. I wired to Gravesend and learned that she had passed some time ago. since. the Lone Star. that they were all three away from the ship last night. We did at last hear that somewhere far out in the Atlantic a shattered stern-post of a boat was seen swinging in the trough of a wave.” “Yes?” “The Lone Star had arrived here last week. He and the two mates. I had it from the stevedore who has been loading their cargo. with the letters “L. “I have spent the whole day. and when I found that the barque Lone Star was there in January. and the cable will have informed the police of Savannah that these three gentlemen are badly wanted here upon a charge of murder.” “Texas. was upon their track. I have my hand upon him.” There is ever a flaw.” said he.” “What then?” “I searched the Dundee records. then?” “Oh. as cunning and as resolute as themselves. homeward bound to Savannah.” “What will you do.” “I was not and am not sure which.He took a large sheet of paper from his pocket. I went down to the Albert Dock and found that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning. There were thirty-six ships of fair tonnage which were reported there during those months. the name is that which is given to one of the states of the Union. and the murderers of John Openshaw were never to receive the orange pips which would show them that another. Of these. By the time that their sailing-ship reaches Savannah the mail-boat will have carried this letter. are as I learn. and as the wind is easterly I have no doubt that she is now past the Goodwins and not very far from the Isle of Wight. the only native-born Americans in the ship. . but I knew that the ship must have an American origin. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah. I then inquired as to the vessels which lay at present in the port of London. I know. also.

.

The Man with the Twisted Lip .

.

bent knees. and chins pointing upward.D. But what was she to do? How could she. now bright. It’s about Isa.” she began. doubtless among the dregs of the docks. “Oh. now faint. drooping lids. no. I could manage it better if I were alone. Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fantastic poses. and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug. and sobbed upon her shoulder. I’m in such trouble!” she cried. make her way into such a place and pluck her husband out from among the ruffians who surrounded him? There was the case. “It was very sweet of you to come. bowed shoulders. as a second thought. made use of an opium den in the farthest east of the City. How you startled me. He found. We heard the door open. all huddled in a chair. approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave. I sat up in my chair. when the fit was on him. worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of drunken feet. Our own door flew open. as so many more have done. Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light-house. heads thrown back. and a lady. “You will excuse my calling so late. from some foolish freak when he was at college. so I came straight to you. Ordering my cab to wait. and pin-point pupils. why should she come at all? I was Isa Whitney’s medical adviser. and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. a few hurried words. threw her arms about my wife’s neck. One night—it was in June. and then quick steps upon the linoleum. as it seemed to me at the time.” That was always the way. like the forecastle of an emigrant ship. to me as a doctor. with a black veil. though the future only could show how strange it was to be. and he lay there. “You’ll have to go out. Hitherto his orgies had always been confined to one day. in Upper Swandam Lane. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?” “Oh. with here and there a dark. I found the den of which I was in search. George’s. pulling up her veil. and he had come back..” I groaned. to my wife as an old friend and school companion. with yellow. too. I passed down the steps. And so in ten minutes I had left my armchair and cheery sittingroom behind me. But there was no great difficulty in the first stage of my adventure. clad in some darkcoloured stuff. “A patient!” said she. Did she know where her husband . pasty face. the wreck and ruin of a noble man. and then. I can see him now. Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop. in the evening.I The Man with the Twisted Lip was? Was it possible that we could bring him back to her? It seems that it was. was much addicted to opium. “it is Kate Whitney. and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap and made a little face of disappointment.” “I didn’t know what to do. She had the surest information that of late he had. that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of. We soothed and comforted her by such words as we could find. suddenly losing her self-control. Now. an object of mingled horror and pity to his friends and relatives. low room. and as such I had influence over him. and was speeding eastward in a hansom on a strange errand. ’89—there came a ring to my bell. Principal of the Theological College of St.” said my wife. Kate! I had not an idea who you were when you came in. about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock. no! I want the doctor’s advice and help. Might I not escort her to this place? And then. But now the spell had been upon him eight-and-forty hours. D. Upper Swandam Lane is a vile alley lurking behind the high wharves which line the north side of the river to the east of London Bridge.” “Why. breathing in the poison or sleeping off the effects. lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer. The habit grew upon him. I am so frightened about him!” It was not the first time that she had spoken to us of her husband’s trouble. as the burning poison waxed or waned in the bowls of 187 sa Whitney. entered the room. He has not been home for two days. he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. brother of the late Elias Whitney. for I was newly come back from a weary day. and of course there was but one way out of it. thick and heavy with the brown opium smoke. at the Bar of Gold. and terraced with wooden berths. for having read De Quincey’s description of his dreams and sensations. and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long. I promised her on my word that I would send him home in a cab within two hours if he were indeed at the address which she had given me. Out of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light. There he was to be found. she ran forward. you must have some wine and water. as I understand. “I do so want a little help. she was sure of it. a young and timid woman. twitching and shattered.

” “Then pray send him home in it. He was in a pitiable state of reaction. four pipes—I forget how many. and a low voice whispered. I have one waiting. I saw Whitney. You may safely trust him. beside which on a three-legged wooden stool there sat a tall. and then look back at me. stupefying fumes of the drug. he straightened himself out and burst into a hearty fit of laughter. He made a slight motion to me to approach him.” said he. with every nerve in a twitter. I glanced down. and looking about for the manager. as though it had dropped in sheer lassitude from his fingers. his wrinkles were gone. sitting by the fire and grinning at my surprise. I have not come to stay. In a very short time a decrepit figure had emerged from the opium den. pale. however. three pipes. holding my breath to keep out the vile. Find what I owe. “that you imagine that I have added opium-smoking to cocaine injections. Give me your hand! Have you a cab?” “Yes. I took two steps forward and looked back. “what on earth are you doing in this den?” “As low as you can. for he appears to be too limp to get into any mischief. I should recommend you also to send a note by the cabman to your wife to say that you have thrown in your lot with me. “I say. I felt. His form had filled out. Watson. man.” said I.” I walked down the narrow passage between the double row of sleepers. very wrinkled. As I entered. led him out to the cab. as he turned his face half round to the company once more. their conversation coming in gushes.” “I have a cab outside. and I wish to speak with him. but some muttered to themselves. and yet he sat now as absorbed as ever. The most lay silent. beckoning me to an empty berth. with his jaw resting upon his two fists.The Man with the Twisted Lip the metal pipes. an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees. What d’you want to frighten a chap for?” He sank his face onto his arms and began to sob in a high treble key.” There was a movement and an exclamation from my right. I could not wish anything better than to be associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the normal condition of his existence. They could only have come from the old 188 man at my side. and I was walking down the street with Sherlock Holmes. But you’ve got mixed.” The words fell quite distinctly upon my ear.” It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes’ requests. Isa Whitney. staring out at me.” “Good heavens! I thought it was Wednesday. and for the rest. subsided into a doddering. monotonous voice. each mumbling out his own thoughts and paying little heed to the words of his neighbour.” he answered. a sallow Malay attendant had hurried up with a pipe for me and a supply of the drug. the dull eyes had regained their fire. You should be ashamed of yourself!” “So I am. I am all off colour. bent with age. Your wife has been waiting this two days for you. At the farther end was a small brazier of burning charcoal. and others talked together in a strange. paid Whitney’s bill. Watson. For two streets he shuffled along with a bent back and an uncertain foot. Watson. what o’clock is it?” “Nearly eleven. and unkempt.” “Then I shall go in it. I wouldn’t frighten Kate—poor little Kate. and then suddenly tailing off into silence. If you would have the great kindness to get rid of that sottish friend of yours I should be exceedingly glad to have a little talk with you. “I suppose. In a few minutes I had written my note. But I’ll go home with you. and all the other little weaknesses on which you have favoured me with your medical views. for they were always so exceedingly definite. “My God! It’s Watson. “I have excellent ears. Watson. “Thank you. and instantly. loose-lipped senility. very thin.” “Of what day?” “Of Friday. He had turned his back so that none could see him but I. thin old man. It took all my self-control to prevent me from breaking out into a cry of astonishment. low.” . that when Whitney was once confined in the cab my mission was practically accomplished. “Walk past me. “Holmes!” I whispered. “There is a friend of mine here. and his elbows upon his knees. and there. June 19th. and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery. I shall be with you in five minutes. for I have only been here a few hours. “I tell you that it is Friday. I can do nothing for myself. haggard. Mr. As I passed the tall man who sat by the brazier I felt a sudden pluck at my skirt. staring into the fire.” said he. and peering through the gloom. But I must owe something. Then. was none other than Sherlock Holmes. glancing quickly round. If you will wait outside. It is Wednesday. and seen him driven through the darkness.

St. So long. and the rascally Lascar who runs it has sworn to have vengeance upon me. for I have used it before now for my own purposes. in Kent. a good husband. and a chronicler still more so. By degrees he made friends in the neighbourhood. Clair has entered it never to leave it more. Had I been recognised in that den my life would not have been worth an hour’s purchase. that is Mr. He had no occupation. I may add that his whole debts at the present moment. its silence broken only by the heavy. Beyond lay another dull wilderness of bricks and mortar.” “You forget that I know nothing about it. when he shook himself. “You’ll come with me. and we dashed away through the endless succession 189 of sombre and deserted streets. as I have done before now. who appeared to have plenty of money. my natural prey. curious to learn what this new quest might be which seemed to tax his powers so sorely. I am in the midst of a very remarkable inquiry. It seems absurdly simple. St. There is a trap-door at the back of that building. a trusty comrade is always of use. won’t you?” “If I can be of use. Watson. Give her her head. We have a seven-mile drive before us. then!” He flicked the horse with his whip. bodies.” He put his two forefingers between his teeth and whistled shrilly—a signal which was answered by a similar whistle from the distance. It is the vilest murdertrap on the whole riverside.” “And I to find an enemy. We had driven several miles. as far .” “I shall just have time to tell you the facts of the case before we get to Lee. and in 1887 he married the daughter of a local brewer. shall I say. 1884—there came to Lee a gentleman.” “Where is it. Neville St. “Now. Clair by name. and a star or two twinkled dimly here and there through the rifts of the clouds. A dull wrack was drifting slowly across the sky.” “Oh. is a man of temperate habits. Look out for me to-morrow. which widened gradually. “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion. You’ll know all about it presently. and yet. we shall not need you. it is a great thing for me to have someone to talk to. no doubt.The Man with the Twisted Lip “I was certainly surprised to find you there. with his head sunk upon his breast. Clair’s house. We should be rich men if we had £1000 for every poor devil who has been done to death in that den. My room at The Cedars is a double-bedded one. by whom he now has two children. and maybe you can see a spark where all is dark to me. Mr. Watson. one of my natural enemies. for my own thoughts are not over-pleasant. I’ll state the case clearly and concisely to you. Watson. and yet afraid to break in upon the current of his thoughts. Clair is now thirty-seven years of age.” “An enemy?” “Yes. Holmes drove in silence. in May. There’s plenty of thread. somehow I can get nothing to go upon. Here’s half a crown. but was interested in several companies and went into town as a rule in the morning. until we were flying across a broad balustraded bridge. then?” “Near Lee. or the songs and shouts of some belated party of revellers. Watson. which could tell some strange tales of what has passed through it upon the moonless nights. and a man who is popular with all who know him. I was wondering what I should say to this dear little woman to-night when she meets me at the door.” said Holmes. and I have hoped to find a clue in the incoherent ramblings of these sots. ’Pon my word. and lived generally in good style. about eleven. and lit up his pipe with the air of a man who has satisfied himself that he is acting for the best. but I can’t get the end of it into my hand. Jump up here.” “Some years ago—to be definite. All right. followed shortly by the rattle of wheels and the clink of horses’ hoofs. laid out the grounds very nicely.” “What! You do not mean bodies?” “Ay. and the air of a man who is lost in thought.” said he. and were beginning to get to the fringe of the belt of suburban villas. He took a large villa. I am staying there while I conduct the inquiry.” “Of course you are. Briefly.” “But not more so than I to find you. or. Watson. as a tall dogcart dashed up through the gloom. then. while I sat beside him. John.” “Proceed. Now. But our trap should be here.” “The Cedars?” “Yes. a very affectionate father.” “I came to find a friend. throwing out two golden tunnels of yellow light from its side lanterns. near the corner of Paul’s Wharf. returning by the 5.” “But I am all in the dark. and I fear that Neville St. “You have a grand gift of silence. shrugged his shoulders. with the murky river flowing sluggishly beneath us. regular footfall of the policeman.14 from Cannon Street every night.

Have you followed me so far?” “It is very clear. if you are well up in your London. by the merest chance. you will know that the office of the company is in Fresno Street. with the exception of his coat. who. St. while he has £220 standing to his credit in the Capital and Counties Bank. to the effect that a small parcel of considerable value which she had been expecting was waiting for her at the offices of the Aberdeen Shipping Company.. she suddenly heard an ejaculation or cry. The window was open. He waved his hands frantically to her. At the foot of the stairs. and several scattered drops were visible upon the wooden floor of the bedroom.The Man with the Twisted Lip as we have been able to ascertain. . Both he and the Lascar stoutly swore that no one else had been in the front room during the afternoon. for the tide was at its very highest at the moment of the tragedy. Clair had her lunch. but as. in the whole of that floor there was no one to be found save a crippled wretch of hideous aspect. his socks. “And now as to the villains who seemed to be immediately implicated in the matter. as it seemed to her. Clair walked slowly. Monday was an exceedingly hot day. with a cry. Clair went into town rather earlier than usual. his hat. Now. made his home there. beckoning to her from a second-floor window. The rooms were carefully examined. it seems. Clair had last been seen. “Convinced that something was amiss with him. Neville St. and was struck cold to see her husband looking down at her and. she met this Lascar scoundrel of whom I have spoken. Neville St. and found herself at exactly 4. remarking before he started that he had two important commissions to perform. such as he had started to town in. which branches out of Upper Swandam Lane. to think that money troubles have been weighing upon his mind. as she did not like the neighbourhood in which she found herself. St. and the evident confusion which the cripple showed. Between the wharf and the bedroom window is a narrow strip. and results all pointed to an abominable crime. “Last Monday Mr. she sprang at a small deal box which lay upon the table and tore the lid from it. and there were no other traces of Mr. did some shopping. Out there fell a cascade of children’s bricks. So determined was their denial that the inspector was staggered. Clair. Clair had been deluded when. and he protested that he had no knowledge as to the doings of Hugh Boone. The bedroom window was a broad one and opened from below. Out of the window he must apparently have gone for no other exit could be discovered. The front room was plainly furnished as a sitting-room and led into a small bedroom. “This discovery. therefore. she rushed down the steps—for the house was none other than the opium den in which you found me to-night—and running through the front room she attempted to ascend the stairs which led to the first floor. Clair’s story. His defence was one of absolute ignorance. who thrust her back and. where you found me to-night. and that he would bring his little boy home a box of bricks. aided by a Dane. he had on neither collar nor necktie. proceeded to the company’s office. While she was walking in this way down Swandam Lane.” “If you remember. and then vanished from the window so suddenly that it seemed to her that he had been plucked back by some irresistible force from behind. Thrust away behind a curtain in the front room were all the clothes of Mr. There is no reason. by Mrs. Neville St. His boots. they made their way to the room in which Mr. and had almost come to believe that Mrs. On examination traces of blood were to be seen upon the windowsill. Now. started for the City. very shortly after his departure.35 walking through Swandam Lane on her way back to the station. who acts as assistant there. he could hardly have been more than an accessory to the crime. Mrs. Filled with the most maddening doubts and 190 fears. which looked out upon the back of one of the wharves. The Lascar was known to be a man of the vilest antecedents. It was the toy which he had promised to bring home. his wife received a telegram upon this same Monday. and his watch—all were there. and the ominous bloodstains upon the sill gave little promise that he could save himself by swimming. got her packet. and she distinctly saw his face. which she describes as being terribly agitated. and Mrs. all on their way to their beat. which is dry at low tide but is covered at high tide with at least four and a half feet of water. by rare goodfortune. and in spite of the continued resistance of the proprietor. met in Fresno Street a number of constables with an inspector. There were no signs of violence upon any of these garments. pushed her out into the street. St. St. she rushed down the lane and. In fact. amount to £88 10s. St. The inspector and two men accompanied her back. There was no sign of him there. made the inspector realise that the matter was serious. Clair. he was known to have been at the foot of the stair within a very few seconds of her husband’s appearance at the window. however. One singular point which struck her quick feminine eye was that although he wore some dark coat. glancing about in the hope of seeing a cab.

Clair’s assertion that she had actually seen her husband at the window. as he was allowed some few minutes during which he might have communicated with his friend the Lascar. He denied strenuously having ever seen Mr.” “But a cripple!” said I. and he was seized and searched. by its contraction.” “But I understand that all the other clothes were found in the room. As to Mrs. sir.” “Mrs. “What could he have done single-handed against a man in the prime of life?” “He is a cripple in the sense that he walks with a limp. “And it did. made a very careful examination of the premises. it is true. He was removed. Neville St. and that he could not account in any way for the presence of the missing gentleman’s clothes. St. He has little time. is so remarkable that no one can pass him without observing him. Clair. Here it is that this creature takes his daily seat. and explained that the bleeding came from there. when it would occur to him that it would swim and not sink. that weakness in one limb is often compensated for by exceptional strength in the others. a bulldog chin. He is a professional beggar. too. A shock of orange hair.” “Pray continue your narrative. and perhaps he has already heard from his Lascar confederate that the police are hurrying up the street. which. It was Neville St. does his wit. then. It seemed likely enough that the weighted coat had remained when the stripped body had been sucked away into the river.The Man with the Twisted Lip his lodger. I have watched the fellow more than once before ever I thought of making his professional acquaintance. which lay uncovered as the tide receded. There is a fierce eddy between the wharf and the house. as her presence could be of no help to them in their investigations. though they hardly found upon the mud-bank what they had feared to find. One mistake had been made in not arresting Boone instantly. to the police-station. while the inspector remained upon the premises in the hope that the ebbing tide might afford some fresh clue. His appearance. cross-legged with his tiny stock of matches on his lap. Inspector Barton. There is . Some little distance down Threadneedle Street. Would the body be dressed in a coat alone?” “No. Watson. which had been cut near the nail. This is the man whom we now learn to have been the lodger at the opium den. some blood-stains upon his right shirt-sleeve. you see. and his hideous face is one which is familiar to every man who goes much to the City. there is. but this fault was soon remedied. and as he is a piteous spectacle a small rain of charity descends into the greasy leather cap which lies upon the pavement beside him. Clair. St. though in order to avoid the police regulations he pretends to a small trade in wax vestas. and to have been the last man to see the gentleman of whom we are in quest. he declared that she must have been either mad or dreaming. but in other respects he appears to be a powerful and well-nurtured man. but without finding anything which threw any light 191 upon the matter. upon the lefthand side. “So much for the Lascar manager. Clair’s coat. and be in the act of throwing it out. and not Neville St. but he pointed to his ring-finger. Clair had fainted at the sight of the blood upon the window. but the facts might be met speciously enough. Clair and swore that the presence of the clothes in his room was as much a mystery to him as to the police. I don’t think you would guess. and a pair of very penetrating dark eyes. which present a singular contrast to the colour of his hair. and I have been surprised at the harvest which he has reaped in a short time. Clair through the window. loudly protesting. adding that he had been to the window not long before. Every pocket stuffed with pennies and half-pennies—421 pennies and 270 half-pennies. He would seize the coat. who had charge of the case. without anything being found which could incriminate him. for he is ever ready with a reply to any piece of chaff which may be thrown at him by the passers-by. And what do you think they found in the pockets?” “I cannot imagine. It was no wonder that it had not been swept away by the tide. for he has heard the scuffle downstairs when the wife tried to force her way up. Suppose that this man Boone had thrust Neville St. Surely your medical experience would tell you. There were. and she was escorted home in a cab by the police. has turned up the outer edge of his upper lip. all mark him out from amid the common crowd of mendicants and so. a pale face disfigured by a horrible scar. What would he do then? It would of course instantly strike him that he must get rid of the tell-tale garments. Now for the sinister cripple who lives upon the second floor of the opium den. there is no human eye which could have seen the deed. and that the stains which had been observed there came doubtless from the same source.” “No. But a human body is a different matter. as you may have remarked. His name is Hugh Boone. and who was certainly the last human being whose eyes rested upon Neville St. a small angle in the wall.

as I have told you.” said my companion. “We have touched on three English counties in our short drive. If I can be of any assistance. we will take it as a working hypothesis for want of a better. and a lucky chance has made it possible for me to bring him out and associate him with this investigation. Mrs. Clair has most kindly put two rooms at my disposal. with a touch of fluffy pink chiffon at her neck and wrists. and springing down. she gave a cry of hope which sank into a groan as she saw that my companion shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. and beside that lamp sits a woman whose anxious ears have already. we had been whirling through the outskirts of the great town until the last straggling houses had been left behind. real opinion. with eager eyes and parted lips. when you consider the blow which has come so suddenly upon us. There the matter stands at present. He throws it out. we drove through two scattered villages. Mr. and he stuffs all the coins upon which he can lay his hands into the pockets to make sure of the coat’s sinking. But come in. passing over an angle of Surrey.” “No bad?” “No. See that light among the trees? That is The Cedars. He rushes to some secret hoard. I hate to meet her. “Well?” she cried. for you have had a long day. Sherlock Holmes. clad in some sort of light mousseline de soie. “I am an old campaigner. starting in Middlesex. when I have no news of her husband. “Frankly.” “This is my friend. madam.” “Thank God for that. He has been of most vital use to me in several of my cases. caught the clink of our horse’s feet. Watson. “I should very much like to ask you one or two plain questions. As we approached. You must be weary. forgive anything that may be wanting in our arrangements. whoa!” We had pulled up in front of a large villa which stood within its own grounds. either to you or to my friend here.” While Sherlock Holmes had been detailing this singular series of events. where he has accumulated the fruits of his beggary. where a few lights still glimmered in the windows.” “But why are you not conducting the case from Baker Street?” I asked. Clair was doing in the opium den. do you think that Neville is alive?” Sherlock Holmes seemed to be embarrassed by the question.” “Do not trouble about my feelings. her head and face protruded.The Man with the Twisted Lip not an instant to be lost. “You will. I am not hysterical. She stood with her figure outlined against the flood of light.” said the lady as we entered a well-lit dining-room. one half-raised in her eagerness. where is he now.” “Upon what point?” “In your heart of hearts. I simply wish to hear your real. “Because there are many inquiries which must be made out here. . A stable-boy had 192 run out to the horse’s head. St. what happened to him when there. winding graveldrive which led to the house. Dr. but it could not be shown that there had ever before been anything against him. He had for years been known as a professional beggar. a standing question. there. seeing that there were two of us. Boone.” “It certainly sounds feasible. however. one hand upon the door. and only just had time to close the window when the police appeared. and a little blonde woman stood in the opening.” “I am delighted to see you. upon the table of which a cold supper had been laid out. to which I beg that you will give a plain answer. and if I were not I can very well see that no apology is needed. Watson. but his life appeared to have been a very quiet and innocent one. Whoa. I shall be indeed happy. and what Hugh Boone had to do with his disappearance—are all as far from a solution as ever. I followed Holmes up the small. and you may rest assured that she will have nothing but a welcome for my friend and colleague. her body slightly bent.” said I. standing upon the rug and looking keenly down at him as he leaned back in a basket-chair.” “Now. Here we are. and we rattled along with a country hedge upon either side of us. pressing my hand warmly. nor given to fainting. and the questions which have to be solved—what Neville St. was arrested and taken to the station. the door flew open.” said she. I am sure.” “Well. and would have done the same with the other garments had not he heard the rush of steps below.” “My dear madam. now!” she repeated. “We are on the outskirts of Lee.” “Certainly. I confess that I cannot recall any case within my experience which looked at the first glance so simple and yet which presented such difficulties. I have little doubt. and ending in Kent. Just as he finished. “well?” And then. “No good news?” “None.

” He snatched it from her in his eagerness. which has dried itself.The Man with the Twisted Lip “Frankly.” “And you were surprised to see him in Swandam Lane?” “Very much so. Hum! Posted to-day in Gravesend by a man with a dirty thumb. no water-mark. and yet I in the dining-room rushed upstairs instantly with the utmost certainty that something had happened. There is so keen a sympathy between us that I should know if evil came upon him. And in this letter you certainly have a very strong piece of evidence to corroborate your view.” Sherlock Holmes sprang out of his chair as if he had been galvanised.” “No. If it had been written straight off. why should he remain away from you?” “I cannot imagine. “Yes.” “How can you tell that?” “The name. “Neville. The rest is of the greyish colour. Ha! And the flap has been gummed. I had left my chair and was gazing at it over his shoulder. you must not discourage me. It may. however. Holmes.” “I perceive also that whoever addressed the envelope had to go and inquire as to the address. His signet-ring. which shows that blotting-paper has been used. I know that all is well with him. Let us now see the letter. and there has then been a pause before he wrote the address.” 193 . Mrs. and yet I know it well. no. but there is nothing so important as trifles.” “Oh. “What!” he roared.” “That is possible. proves nothing.” “You think that he is dead?” “I do. but the enclosure is. Mr. madam?” “None. Mr.” “Was the window open?” “Yes. octavo size. to-day.” “But he must be alive.” She stood smiling. Holmes. for it was considerably after midnight. Written in pencil upon the fly-leaf of a book.” “One?” “His hand when he wrote hurriedly. There is a huge error which it may take some little time to rectify.” “Murdered?” “I don’t say that. It is very unlike his usual writing. It is unthinkable. It may have been taken from him. Neville wrote those words. have been written on Monday and only posted to-day.” “Unless this is a clever forgery to put us on the wrong scent. you will be good enough to explain how it is that I have received a letter from him to-day. But if your husband is alive and able to write letters. It is.” “And they were posted to-day at Gravesend. if I am not very much in error. On the very day that I saw him last he cut himself in the bedroom. you see. madam.” “And you are sure that this is your husband’s hand?” “One of his hands. it is his very own writing!” “Very well. or rather of the day before.” “Then he might have called to you?” “He might. holding up a little slip of paper in the air. after all. is in perfectly black ink. Ha! there has been an enclosure here!” “Yes. a trifle. “Coarse writing. Holmes.” “Dearest do not be frightened. I do not. and then blotted.” “No. it is. much may have happened between. madam. then. by a person who had been chewing tobacco. though I should not venture to say that the danger is over. The ring. “Surely this is not your husband’s writing. Mr.” “If so.” murmured Holmes. and smoothing it out upon the table he drew over the lamp and examined it intently. St. All will come well. This man has written the name. And you have no doubt that it is your husband’s hand.” “And on what day did he meet his death?” “On Monday.” “Then perhaps. Perhaps. which can only mean that he was not familiar with it. of course. Do you think that I would respond to such a trifle and yet be ignorant of his death?” “I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner. there was a ring. the clouds lighten.” “And on Monday he made no remarks before leaving you?” “No. The envelope was a very coarse one and was stamped with the Gravesend postmark and with the date of that very day. Wait in patience. none would be of a deep black shade. Clair. Well. “May I see it?” “Certainly.

Those are the principal points about which I wished to be absolutely clear.The Man with the Twisted Lip “He only. Your husband. silent.” “Had he ever spoken of Swandam Lane?” “Never.” said Holmes. the blue smoke curling up from him. with the half-clad stable-boy waiting at the head. It was no wonder that no one was stirring. Watson?” he asked. “I think. however.” In town the earliest risers were just beginning to look sleepily from their windows as we . without rest. and even for a week. with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him. I am not joking. my boy.” he answered. You did not see anyone else in the room?” “No. looking at it from every point of view until he had either fathomed it or convinced himself that his data were insufficient. Mrs. with the light shining upon his strong-set aquiline features.” “A call for help. the smoke still curled upward. pulling on his boots. as far as you could see.” said he.” “And you thought he was pulled back?” “He disappeared so suddenly.” “Then dress. rearranging his facts. I deserve to be kicked from here to Charing Cross. but I know where the stable-boy sleeps. No one is stirring yet. and I found the summer sun shining into the apartment. I distinctly saw his bare throat. Come on. put on a large blue dressing-gown. and I have got it in this Gladstone bag. We both sprang in.” “Quite so. Clair. for we may have a very busy day tomorrow. his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of 194 the ceiling. as I understand.” He chuckled to himself as he spoke.” he continued. bearing in vegetables to the metropolis. that you are now standing in the presence of one of the most absolute fools in Europe. and I was quickly between the sheets.” “Had he ever showed any signs of having taken opium?” “Never.” “He might have leaped back. turning it over. The pipe was still between his lips. “I have just been there. “I want to test a little theory of mine. flicking the horse on into a gallop. So he sat as I dropped off to sleep. for I was weary after my night of adventure. but this horrible man confessed to having been there. who. and I have taken it out.” “But it might have been a cry of surprise. his eyes twinkled. had his ordinary clothes on?” “But without his collar or tie.” “And where is it?” I asked. but the lines of villas on either side were as silent and lifeless as some city in a dream. but nothing remained of the heap of shag which I had seen upon the previous night. But I think I have the key of the affair now. upon which he perched himself cross-legged. and he seemed a different man to the sombre thinker of the previous night. It was soon evident to me that he was now preparing for an all-night sitting. Sherlock Holmes was a man. “It has been in some points a singular case. In the dim light of the lamp I saw him sitting there. and so he sat when a sudden ejaculation caused me to wake up. and away we dashed down the London Road.” “Thank you. but it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all. would go for days. It was twentyfive minutes past four. He took off his coat and waistcoat. Astonishment at the unexpected sight of you might cause him to throw up his hands?” “It is possible. and out into the bright morning sunshine. and we shall soon have the trap out. “Oh. “In the bathroom. gave an inarticulate cry?” “Yes. and the room was full of a dense tobacco haze. Watson. He waved his hands. yes.” “Game for a morning drive?” “Certainly. St. smiling. “Yes. “I confess that I have been as blind as a mole. In the road stood our horse and trap. seeing my look of incredulity. With these he constructed a sort of Eastern divan. We shall now have a little supper and then retire.” A large and comfortable double-bedded room had been placed at our disposal. and the Lascar was at the foot of the stairs.” We made our way downstairs as quietly as possible. As I dressed I glanced at my watch. A few country carts were stirring. “Awake. motionless. and then wandered about the room collecting pillows from his bed and cushions from the sofa and armchairs. an old briar pipe between his lips. I had hardly finished when Holmes returned with the news that the boy was putting in the horse. you thought?” “Yes. and we shall see whether it will not fit the lock. when he had an unsolved problem upon his mind.

” “Would you? That is easily done. if you saw him. “Here it is!” He quietly shot back a panel in the upper part of the door and glanced through. stout official had come down the stone-flagged passage. sad-faced.” “Ah. in the county of Kent. Come this way. with a coloured shirt protruding through the rent in his tattered coat. extremely dirty. A shock of very bright red hair grew low over his eyes and forehead. Then suddenly realising the exposure. a very large bath-sponge. I know him from the photograph. was a pale. too. One of them held the horse’s head while the other led us in. in a very deep sleep. coarsely clad as became his calling. He was. and we all very quietly entered the cell. “The third on the right is his. He was a middle-sized man. Gone was the coarse brown tint! Gone.” chuckled the inspector. “He certainly needs a wash.” said he.” said the inspector. Neville St. Step into my room here. Holmes stooped to the water-jug. Passing down the Waterloo Bridge Road we crossed over the river. and his face is as black as a tinker’s. sitting up in his bed. But he is a dirty scoundrel. Clair. “to Mr. he gives no trouble. and I took the liberty of bringing the tools with me. it is all we can do to make him wash his hands. He was brought up and remanded for further inquiries.” He opened the Gladstone bag as he spoke. “Inspector Bradstreet. the missing man. how are you?” A tall. and brought us to a whitewashed corridor with a line of doors on each side. we will soon make him cut a much more respectable figure.” he shouted. Boone—the one who was charged with being concerned in the disappearance of Mr. you would agree with me that he needed it. Come this way. if you please. and by its contraction had turned up one side of the upper lip. I think that I’ll take it. “I had an idea that he might. Holmes?” “I called about that beggarman. Mr. The inspector sat down at his desk. passed down a winding stair. You can leave your bag. “You can see him very well.” “No. and the twisted lip which had given the repulsive sneer to the face! A twitch brought away the tangled red hair. and I think. “He is asleep.” It was a small. and a telephone projecting from the wall. You have him here?” “In the cells. The sleeper half turned. “I wish to have a quiet word with you. and the two constables at the door saluted him.” “Certainly. and there. and dashing up Wellington Street wheeled sharply to the right and found ourselves in Bow Street. The man’s face peeled off under the sponge like the bark from a tree. sir.” He led us down a passage. The prisoner lay with his face towards us. to my astonishment. as the inspector had said. he broke into a scream and threw himself down with his face to the pillow. “Now.” Never in my life have I seen such a sight. I don’t know why not. Mr.” “Yes. isn’t he?” said the inspector.” . so that three teeth were exposed in a perpetual snarl. was the horrid scar which had seamed it across. Well. of Lee.” “Well.” “Dirty?” “Yes. he will have a regular prison bath. Sherlock Holmes was well known to the force. rubbing his eyes and staring about him with sleepy bewilderment. “He doesn’t look a credit to the Bow Street cells.” “Is he quiet?” “Oh.” “So I heard. “it is. refined-looking man. but the grime which covered his face could not conceal its repulsive ugliness. Bradstreet.” remarked Holmes. “Who is on duty?” asked Holmes. breathing slowly and heavily. indeed. Bradstreet.” 195 We both put our eyes to the grating. if you will have the great goodness to open that door very quietly. and took out. “Great heavens!” cried the inspector. opened a barred door. black-haired and smooth-skinned. and then rubbed it twice vigorously across and down the prisoner’s face. when once his case has been settled. “Let me introduce you. with a huge ledger upon the table. Clair. in a peaked cap and frogged jacket.” said the inspector.The Man with the Twisted Lip drove through the streets of the Surrey side. “He! he! You are a funny one. of Lee. office-like room. “What can I do for you.” “I should like to see him very much. Neville St. moistened his sponge. does he?” He slipped his key into the lock. and then settled down once more into a deep slumber.” “Very good. A broad wheal from an old scar ran right across it from eye to chin. Holmes. “He’s a beauty.

and spent the time in begging in the City under my disguise.” said he. some time later. and also in a facility of repartee. I am illegally detained.” “God bless you!” cried the prisoner passionately. I took advantage now of my attainments. I would not have them ashamed of their father.” “It was not the wife. you can imagine how hard it was to settle down to arduous work at £2 a week when I knew that I could earn as much in a day by smearing my face with a little paint. “Be it so. I have been twentyseven years in the force. “Last Monday I had finished for the day and was dressing in my room above the opium den when I looked out of my window and saw. “I would have endured imprisonment. the Lascar. and I volunteered to supply them. I backed a bill for a friend and had a writ served upon me for £25. She little knew what. threw up my arms to cover my face. One day my editor wished to have a series of articles upon begging in the metropolis. but a sudden idea came to me.” groaned the prisoner. and an appropriate dress. Clair. varied by silver. Then with a 196 red head of hair. “Well. was well paid by me for his rooms. In ten days I had the money and had paid the debt. and it was a very bad day in which I failed to take £2. “God help me. On the other hand. therefore.” said Holmes. inspiring pity by my ghastly face and filling my pockets with coppers. make notes upon anything which you might tell us and submit it to the proper authorities. I am sure. but a very great error has been committed. laying my cap on the ground. The case would then never go into court at all. I took my station in the business part of the city. My dear wife knew that I had business in the City. so that I knew that my secret was safe in his possession. I begged a fortnight’s grace from the creditor. and. where I received an excellent education. it was the children. and eventually married. learned all the secrets of making up. When an actor I had.” said the inspector with a grin. It was a long fight between my pride and the money. rather than have left my miserable secret as a family blot to my children. took a house in the country. I do not know that there is any reason that the details should find their way into the papers. Neville St. where I could every morning emerge as a squalid beggar and in the evenings transform myself into a well-dressed man about town. “I wrote my articles and thought little more of the matter until. with her eyes fixed full upon me. but the dollars won at last. “Well. then it is obvious that no crime has been committed. and that. and had been famous in the greenroom for my skill. . and finally became a reporter on an evening paper in London. rushing to my confidant. Inspector Bradstreet would. My God! What an exposure! What can I do?” Sherlock Holmes sat down beside him on the couch and patted him kindly on the shoulder. “You would have done better to have trusted your wife. that my wife was standing in the street.—Oh. and sitting still. even execution. of course. ostensibly as a match-seller but really as a beggar. asked for a holiday from my employers. Neville St. without anyone having a suspicion as to my real occupation. “of course you can hardly avoid publicity. and to make myself as pitiable as possible I made a good scar and fixed one side of my lip in a twist by the aid of a small slip of flesh-coloured plaster. This fellow. “As I grew richer I grew more ambitious.The Man with the Twisted Lip The prisoner turned with the reckless air of a man who abandons himself to his destiny. It was only by trying begging as an amateur that I could get the facts upon which to base my articles. very soon I found that I was saving considerable sums of money. took to the stage. to my horror and astonishment. 4d. I travelled in my youth. ay. There was the point from which all my adventures started. poured in upon me. “If you leave it to a court of law to clear the matter up. and I threw up reporting and sat day after day in the corner which I had first chosen. and when I returned home in the evening I found to my surprise that I had received no less than 26s. come. I gave a cry of surprise. I was at my wit’s end where to get the money. “You are the first who have ever heard my story. Only one man knew my secret. “Well. All day a stream of pennies. “And pray what am I charged with?” “With making away with Mr. My father was a schoolmaster in Chesterfield.” said he. you can’t be charged with that unless they make a case of attempted suicide of it.” “If I am Mr. I painted my face. He was the keeper of a low den in which I used to lodge in Swandam Lane. if you convince the police authorities that there is no possible case against you. For seven hours I plied my trade. a Lascar. I do not mean that any beggar in the streets of London could earn £700 a year—which is less than my average takings—but I had exceptional advantages in my power of making up. but this really takes the cake. which improved by practice and made me quite a recognised character in the City.” “No crime.

I confess. and put on my pigments and wig. Even a wife’s eyes could not pierce so complete a disguise. pulled on those of a beggar. telling her that she had no cause to fear. But then it occurred to me that there might be a search in the room. that instead of being identified as Mr. “by sitting upon five pillows and consuming an ounce of shag. I am sure. and hence my preference for a dirty face.” said Inspector Bradstreet. I was determined to preserve my disguise as long as possible. which was weighted by the coppers which I had just transferred to it from the leather bag in which I carried my takings. but at that moment there was a rush of constables up the stair. but what was a fine to me?” “It must stop here. but I knew that she could not ascend. and it disappeared into the Thames.” “In that case I think that it is probable that no further steps may be taken. Then I seized my coat. together with a hurried scrawl. there must be no more of Hugh Boone. Holmes.” said my friend. Watson. “I do not know that there is anything else for me to explain. nodding approvingly. that if we drive to Baker Street we shall just be in time for breakfast. “and I can quite understand that he might find it difficult to post a letter unobserved. then all must come out. “I have no doubt of it. and a few minutes after I found.” “That note only reached her yesterday. I was arrested as his murderer. “If the police are to hush this thing up. But if you are found again. I hurled it out of the window. however. The other clothes would have followed.” said Holmes. Knowing that my wife would be terribly anxious. Probably he handed it to some sailor customer of his. Neville St. I think.” “I reached this one. who forgot all about it for some days. that we are very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up.” said Bradstreet. to my relief. I threw open the window. I slipped off my ring and confided it to the Lascar at a moment when no constable was watching me.entreated him to prevent anyone from coming up to me. Mr.” “I have sworn it by the most solemn oaths which a man can take. reopening by my violence a small cut which I had inflicted upon myself in the bedroom that morning. Swiftly I threw off my clothes.” . Clair. But have you never been prosecuted for begging?” “Many times. I wish I knew how you reach your results.” “That was it. and that the clothes might betray me.” said Holmes. I heard her voice downstairs. rather. “Good God! spent!” What a week she must have “The police have watched this Lascar.

.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle .

.

The goose we retained until this morning. “Only one of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you have four million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles. shocked at having broken the window. The facts are these: about four o’clock on Christmas morning.” I remarked. Well. is a very honest fellow. No crime. as you know. It is true that ‘For Mrs. B. to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose. “that. In front of him he saw. Henry Baker’ was printed upon a small card which was tied to the bird’s left leg. which is. I have no doubt. You know Peterson. dropped his goose.” “It is his hat. and some hundreds of Henry Bakers in this city of ours. as to how it came here. You allude to my attempt to recover the Irene Adler papers.” “No. and a pile of crumpled morning papers. laughing. and also of the spoils of victory in the shape of this battered hat and a most unimpeachable Christmas goose.” “Did he not advertise?” “No. no. a row broke out between this stranger and a little knot of roughs. so that he was left in possession of the field of battle. “perhaps I interrupt you. and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. did Peterson do?” “He brought round both hat and goose to me on Christmas morning.” I remarked. “that of the last six cases which I have added to my notes. he found it. and to the adventure of the man with the twisted lip. We have already had experience of such.had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas. “You are engaged. took to his heels. while I continue to retain the hat of the unknown gentleman who lost his Christmas dinner. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity. it is not easy to restore lost property to any one of them. and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal. every possible combination of events may be expected to take place. smashed the shop window behind him. roasting at this moment in front of Peterson’s fire.” I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire. a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right. One of the latter knocked off the man’s hat. Peterson had rushed forward to protect the stranger from his assailants. swinging it over his head.” said I.” “Not at all. three have been entirely free of any legal crime.” said Sherlock Holmes. near at hand. first. but as there are some thousands of Bakers. and cracked in several places. therefore. the commissionaire?” “Yes. As he reached the corner of Goodge Street. there lies the problem. evidently newly studied. knowing that even the smallest problems are of interest to me. no. and on the angle of the back hung a very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat.’ are legible upon the lining of this hat. and carrying a white goose slung over his shoulder. I beg that you will look upon it not as a battered billycock but as an intellectual problem. then. was returning from some small jollification and was making his way homeward down Tottenham Court Road. this thing has some deadly story linked on to it—that it is the clue which will guide you in the solution of some mystery and the punishment of some crime. Its finder has carried it off. “I suppose. A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair suggested that the hat had been suspended in this manner for the purpose of examination. on which he raised his stick to defend himself and. Its owner is unknown.” “Which surely he restored to their owner?” “My dear fellow. The roughs had also fled at the appearance of Peterson.” “So much so.” 201 I The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle “No. Beside the couch was a wooden chair. much the worse for wear. Peterson. The matter is a perfectly trivial one”—he jerked his thumb in the direction of the old hat—“but there are points in connection with it which are not entirely devoid of interest and even of instruction.” “It is to him that this trophy belongs. in the gaslight. who. homely as it looks. in company with a good fat goose. a tallish man. for a sharp frost had set in.” “Precisely. to the singular case of Miss Mary Sutherland. and it is also true that the initials ‘H. but the man. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressinggown. walking with a slight stagger. it would be well that it should be eaten without unnecessary delay. with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season.” “What. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results.” . It arrived upon Christmas morning. I have no doubt that this small matter will fall into the same innocent category. in spite of the slight frost. and vanished amid the labyrinth of small streets which lie at the back of Tottenham Court Road. and seeing an official-looking person in uniform rushing towards him. when there were signs that. And.

it is a sign of a certain amount of foresight. however. which. to reason from what you see.” said he. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. what clue could you have as to his identity?” “Only as much as we can deduce. On the other hand. however. But how about the foresight and the moral retrogression?” Sherlock Holmes laughed. This dust. Is it possible that even now. There was no maker’s name. then he has assuredly gone down in the world. Look at the band of ribbed silk and the excellent lining. B. He had foresight. “They are never sold upon hats. It was a very ordinary black hat of the usual round shape. retained some degree of selfrespect. probably drink. and which he anoints with lime-cream. you can see everything. “I can see nothing. It is a hat of the very best quality. it was cracked. that it has been recently cut. “On the contrary. grey dust of the street but the fluffy brown dust of the house. “It is perhaps less suggestive than it might have been. If this man could afford to buy so expensive a hat three years ago.” “But you are joking. is middle-aged. and has had no hat since. that it is extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house. although there seemed to have been some attempt to hide the discoloured patches by smearing them with ink. that is clear enough. You know my methods. and there is a distinct odour of lime-cream.” said I. But since we see that he has broken the elastic and has not troubled to replace it. clean cut by the scissors of the barber. Also. They all appear to be adhesive.” “Not in the least. Holmes.” he remarked. but was a good deal discoloured.” “The decline of his fortunes.” “Your reasoning is certainly plausible. Watson. that he is middle-aged. then?” “This hat is three years old. he has endeavoured to conceal some of these stains upon the felt by daubing them with ink. that his hair is grizzled.” “Well.” “My dear Holmes!” “He has. which is a sign that he has not entirely lost his self-respect. pray tell me what it is that you can infer from this hat?” He picked it up and gazed at it in the peculiar introspective fashion which was characteristic of him. but the elastic was missing. as Holmes had remarked.” “Then. If this man ordered one. For example. how did you deduce that this man was intellectual?” For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head.” were scrawled upon one side. What can you gather from this old battered felt?” “Here is my lens. and a few others which represent at least a strong balance of probability. but I must confess that I am unable to follow you. when I give you these results. it is obvious that he has less foresight now than formerly. disregarding my remonstrance. You fail. is out of training entirely. by the way. at work upon him. since he went out of his way to take this precaution against the wind. and that he uses lime-cream. These flat brims curled at the edge came in then. showing that it . is not the gritty. and also that he was fairly well-to-do within the last three years. certainly.” he continued. “Here is the foresight. This may account also for the obvious fact that his wife has ceased to love him.” “From his hat?” “Precisely. “It is a question of cubic capacity. It was pierced in the brim for a hatsecurer.” “The further points. These are the more patent facts which are to be deduced from his hat. goes out little. “He is a man who leads a sedentary life. but has less now than formerly.” said he putting his finger upon the little disc and loop of the hat-securer. pointing to a moral retrogression. What can you gather yourself as to the individuality of the man who has worn this article?” I took the tattered object in my hands and turned it over rather ruefully. That the man was highly intellectual is of course obvious upon the face of it. the initials “H. although he has now fallen upon evil days. and spotted in several places.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle “Then. you will observe.” “You are certainly joking. The lining had been of red silk. For the rest. You are too timid in drawing your inferences. has grizzled hair which he has had 202 cut within the last few days. handing it back to my friend. exceedingly dusty. when taken with the decline of his fortunes. which is a distinct proof of a weakening nature. but. hard and much the worse for wear. “and yet there are a few inferences which are very distinct. you are unable to see how they are attained?” “I have no doubt that I am very stupid. are all to be gathered from a close examination of the lower part of the lining. seems to indicate some evil influence. The lens discloses a large number of hair-ends. “a man with so large a brain must have something in it.

there has been no crime committed. while the marks of moisture upon the inside are proof positive that the wearer perspired very freely. he never got tallow-stains from a gas-jet. was lying empty upon the dressing-table. Holmes! The goose. John Horner.” “You have an answer to everything. he found that Horner had disappeared. the Countess was accustomed to keep her jewel. I shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose your wife’s affection. sir? A precious stone. but when I see no less than five. Mr. and could therefore. as it afterwards transpired. as you said just now. “The goose. Sherlock Holmes sat up with a whistle.” “Nay. a plumber. I think that there can be little doubt that the individual must be brought into frequent contact with burning tallow—walks upstairs at night probably with his hat in one hand and a guttering candle in the other. and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state. just five days ago. when the door flew open. On returning.” Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply. seeing that I have read the advertisement about it in The Times every day lately.” “It was lost. might come by chance. “By Jove. John Horner. “That is the reward. rushed into the apartment with flushed cheeks and the face of a man who is dazed with astonishment. It is the precious stone.” He rummaged amid his newspapers. and its value can only be conjectured. abstracted from the jewel-case of the Countess of Morcar the valuable gem known as the blue carbuncle. then? Has it returned to life and flapped off through the kitchen window?” Holmes twisted himself round upon the sofa to get a fairer view of the man’s excited face. if I remember aright. Are you satisfied?” “Well. “this is treasure trove indeed. sir! See what my wife found in its crop!” He held out his hand and displayed upon the centre of the palm a brilliantly scintillating blue stone. The evidence against him was so strong that the case has been referred to the Assizes. Ryder instantly gave the alarm. and I have reason to know that there are sentimental considerations in the background which would induce the Countess to part with half her fortune if she could but recover the gem. hardly be in the best of training.” “This hat has not been brushed for weeks. but the reward offered of £1000 is certainly not within a twentieth part of the market price. “Eh? What of it. doubled it over. my dear Watson. I believe. gave his evidence to the effect that he had shown Horner up to the dressing-room of the Countess of Morcar upon the day of the robbery in order that he might solder the second bar of the grate. was accused of having abstracted it from the lady’s jewel-case. the commissionaire. Anyhow. laughing. with a week’s accumulation of dust upon your hat. I ought to know its size and shape. on December 22nd.” said I. glancing over the dates. “Precisely so. “See here. It cuts into glass as though it were putty. and Horner was arrested the same evening. When I see you. rather smaller than a bean in size. 26. Peterson!” said he. It is absolutely unique. at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. James Ryder. and read the following paragraph: “Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery.” “A thousand pounds! Great Lord of mercy!” The commissionaire plumped down into a chair and stared from one to the other of us.” “But he might be a bachelor. or even two. sir!” he gasped.” “Not the Countess of Morcar’s blue carbuncle!” I ejaculated. was brought up upon the charge of having upon the 22nd inst.” I remarked. all this seems to be rather a waste of energy. upperattendant at the hotel. that the bureau had been forced open. but the stone could . Remember the card upon the bird’s leg.” “It’s more than a precious stone.” “But his wife—you said that she had ceased to love him. which was loose. he was bringing home the goose as a peace-offering to his wife. and Peterson. I suppose you know what you have got?” 203 “A diamond.. “but since. and no harm done save the loss of a goose. until at last he smoothed one out. and that the small morocco casket in which. “Precisely so. I have some account of the matter here. but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an electric point in the dark hollow of his hand. it is very ingenious. but had finally been called away. He had remained with Horner some little time. plumber.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle has been hung up indoors most of the time. But how on earth do you deduce that the gas is not laid on in his house?” “One tallow stain.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle not be found either upon his person or in his rooms. a vitriolthrowing. who had no idea that the bird which he was carrying was of considerably more value than if it were made of solid gold. “Just see how it glints and sparkles. much more likely that Henry Baker is an absolutely innocent man. Every good stone is. Evidence of a previous conviction for robbery having been given against the prisoner. And. however. Peterson. Mr. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. gave evidence as to the arrest of Horner. for I should like to see the solution of so tangled a business. who struggled frantically. Catherine Cusack. Who would think that so pretty a toy would be a purveyor to the gallows and the prison? I’ll lock it up in my strong box now and drop a line to the Countess to say that we have it.” “Hum! So much for the police-court. But I shall come back in the evening at the hour you have mentioned. Evening News. It was found in the banks of the Amoy River in southern China and is remarkable in having every characteristic of the carbuncle. Then. and these lie undoubtedly in an advertisement in all the evening papers. Henry Baker can have the same by applying at 6. By the way. then: ‘Found at the corner of Goodge Street. and the goose came from Mr. run down to the advertising agency and have this put in the evening papers.” “And you can do nothing until then?” “Nothing. St. Inspector Bradstreet. There is a woodcock. maid to the Countess. Here is the stone. but referred it to the Assizes. for we must have one to give to this gentleman in place of the one which your family is now devouring. sir?” “Oh. yes.” “In which. There have been two murders. I shall have recourse to other methods. where she found matters as described by the last witness. but since then he must have bitterly regretted the impulse which caused him to drop his bird. If this fail. the loss was a heavy one. “The question for us now to solve is the sequence of events leading from a rifled jewel-case at one end to the crop of a goose in Tottenham Court Road at the other. a suicide. to a poor man. They are the devil’s pet baits. and protested his innocence in the strongest terms. I dine at seven.” “Very glad to see you. “It’s a bonny thing.” said Holmes thoughtfully. deposed to having heard Ryder’s cry of dismay on discovering the robbery. I believe. fainted away at the conclusion and was carried out of court. just buy a goose on your way back and leave it here with me. then. Standard. I shall determine by a very simple test if we have an answer to our advertisement. I say. the magistrate refused to deal summarily with the offence. Here you are. in view of recent . our little deductions have suddenly assumed a much more important and less innocent aspect.” “In that case I shall continue my professional round. since. In spite of its youth. I shall keep the stone.” “Well. the stone came from the goose. and several robberies brought about for the sake of this forty-grain weight of crystallised charcoal. the introduction of his name will cause him to see it. Watson. Echo. save that it is blue in shade instead of ruby red. Thank you. To do this. and any others that occur to you. he is sure to keep an eye on the papers.” “Very.” “What will you say?” “Give me a pencil and that slip of paper.’ That is clear and concise. Horner. James’s. again.” “Do you think that this man Horner is innocent?” “I cannot tell.” “Very well. Star. had anything to do with the matter?” “It is.” said he. Peterson. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed. do you imagine that this other one. who had shown signs of intense emotion during the proceedings. But will he see it?” “Well. and to having rushed into the room. Henry Baker.” When the commissionaire had gone. it has already a sinister history. Pall Mall. So now we must set ourselves very seriously to finding this gentleman and ascertaining what part he has played in this little mystery. a goose and a black felt hat. in the Globe. That. the gentleman with the bad hat and all the other characteristics with which I have bored you. He was clearly so scared by his mischance in breaking the window and by the approach of Peterson that he thought of nothing but flight. sir. Holmes took up the stone and held it against the light. And this stone?” “Ah. we must try the simplest means first. tossing aside the paper. B division. This stone is not yet twenty years old. I think. Now.30 this evening at 221b. Baker Street. Henry Baker. for 204 everyone who knows him will direct his attention to it. You see.

sir. Baker?” “Yes. Watson. “There is your hat. you understand. “I had no doubt that the gang of roughs who assaulted me had carried off both my hat and the bird. “We have retained these things for some days. which is a small public-house at the corner of one of the streets which runs down into . and so on of your own bird. Just as I arrived the door was opened. My pence were duly paid. who had risen and tucked his newly gained property under his arm. and the rest is familiar to you. “but beyond that I can hardly see what use the disjecta membra of my late acquaintance are going to be to me. a massive head. certainly. His rusty black frock-coat was buttoned right up in front. “So much for Mr.” Sherlock Holmes glanced sharply across at me with a slight shrug of his shoulders. But I presume that this other goose upon the sideboard. with your permission. will answer your purpose equally well?” 205 “Oh. “Pray take this chair by the fire. sir. I think that. on consideration of some few pence every week. “Yes.” “By all means. and so through Wigmore Street into Oxford Street. recalled Holmes’ surmise as to his habits. Henry Baker. the stars were shining coldly in a cloudless sky. “because we expected to see an advertisement from you giving your address. we were each to receive a bird at Christmas. I did not care to spend more money in a hopeless attempt at recovering them. with the collar turned up.” “Certainly. certainly.” It was a bitter night. and it was a little after half-past six when I found myself in Baker Street once more. “Of course. As I approached the house I saw a tall man in a Scotch bonnet with a coat which was buttoned up to his chin waiting outside in the bright semicircle which was thrown from the fanlight. Ah.” “Very naturally. I am much indebted to you. and I observe that your circulation is more adapted for summer than for winter. Hudson to examine its crop. Baker with a sigh of relief. No.” I had been delayed at a case. intelligent face. you have just come at the right time. Wimpole Street. and gave the impression generally of a man of learning and letters who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune. perhaps I ought to ask Mrs. which is about the same weight and perfectly fresh.” “To eat it!” Our visitor half rose from his chair in his excitement.” He was a large man with rounded shoulders. so we drew on our ulsters and wrapped cravats about our throats. “They might be useful to me as relics of my adventure. Harley Street.” said Holmes when he had closed the door behind him. and I have seldom seen a better grown goose. it would have been of no use to anyone had we not done so. Baker.” Our visitor gave a rather shamefaced laugh. crop. This year our good host.” said he. In a quarter of an hour we were in Bloomsbury at the Alpha Inn. He spoke in a slow staccato fashion.” said Holmes. Watson?” “Not particularly. sir. Windigate by name. sir.” “Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clue while it is still hot. then.” he remarked. Outside. Mr. I believe. A touch of red in nose and cheeks.” said he. sloping down to a pointed beard of grizzled brown. “Mr.” said Baker. “It is quite certain that he knows nothing whatever about the matter. and there your bird. that is undoubtedly my hat. Our footfalls rang out crisply and loudly as we swung through the doctors’ quarter. for a Scotch bonnet is fitted neither to my years nor my gravity. “There are a few of us who frequent the Alpha Inn. we were compelled to eat it. I will confine my attentions to the excellent bird which I perceive upon the sideboard. and a broad. and we were shown up together to Holmes’ room. we still have the feathers. Are you hungry. Is that your hat.” answered Mr.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle occurrences. near the Museum—we are to be found in the Museum itself during the day. would it bore you to tell me where you got the other one from? I am somewhat of a fowl fancier. Mr. rising from his armchair and greeting his visitor with the easy air of geniality which he could so readily assume. I am at a loss to know now why you did not advertise. legs. “Shillings have not been so plentiful with me as they once were. with a slight tremor of his extended hand. choosing his words with care. so if you wish—” The man burst into a hearty laugh. and his lank wrists protruded from his sleeves without a sign of cuff or shirt. It is a cold night. about the bird. instituted a goose club. by which.” said he. By the way. Henry Baker. “By the way.” With a comical pomposity of manner he bowed solemnly to both of us and strode off upon his way. and the breath of the passers-by blew out into smoke like so many pistol shots.

” he continued.” continued Holmes. “Now then. “Bring me the books. You see this little book?” . “I thought that I was out of geese.” “Ah! I don’t know him.” “Fine birds they were. but before I finish you’ll find that there is still one left in my shop.” “Well. them’s not our geese. then?” “Well. buttoning up his coat as we came out into the frosty air. but. “Remember.” “You’ll never persuade me to believe that. then. we have a line of investigation which has been missed by the police. with his head cocked and his arms akimbo. but I don’t know why you should be so warm over such a trifle.” “Indeed! Whose.” said he. I was speaking only half an hour ago to Mr.” said he. “Yes. Which was it?” “Breckinridge is his name.” snapped the salesman.” “That’s no good. So now!” “Oh. then. with a sharp face and trim side-whiskers was helping a boy to put up the shutters. Bill. it is a matter of no importance.” said he.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle Holborn.” “I say it is. Watson that though we have so homely a thing as a goose at one end of this chain.” “Indeed? I know some of them. “My geese!” The man seemed surprised. Good-night. who was a member of your goose club. “It’s nothing of the kind. if you were as pestered as I am. “Let you have five hundred to-morrow morning. and which a singular chance has placed in our hands. Henry Baker.” “Now for Mr. Now where did you get them from?” To my surprise the question provoked a burst of anger from the salesman. “what are you driving at? Let’s have it straight. “If you won’t tell us the bet is off. in any case. Mr. just to teach you not to be obstinate. The salesman nodded and shot a questioning glance at my companion. One of the largest stalls bore the name of Breckinridge upon it. I sent him a couple of dozen. “Now. mister. I shan’t tell you. and prosperity to your house.” said Holmes carelessly. But I’ll have a sovereign on with you.” “D’you think you know more about fowls than I.” “Will you bet.” “Well.” “Who by?” 206 “The landlord of the Alpha. Holmes pushed open the door of the private bar and ordered two glasses of beer from the ruddy-faced.” “It is straight enough. I got the two dozen from a salesman in Covent Garden. “Good-evening.” “Ah! yes. down Endell Street. there are some on the stall with the gasflare. “Your beer should be excellent if it is as good as your geese. Breckinridge. and I have a fiver on it that the bird I ate is country bred. all those birds that went to the Alpha were town bred. It’s a cold night. Cocksure.” “Well. sir.” The salesman chuckled grimly. I have no connection with any other people who have been making inquiries. for it’s town bred. but I was recommended to you.” said the salesman. When I pay good money for a good article there should be an end of the business. Well. then. who have handled them ever since I was a nipper? I tell you.” “I don’t believe it. “Sold out of geese. Let us follow it out to the bitter end. The small boy brought round a small thin volume and a great greasy-backed one. and the proprietor a horsey-looking man. pointing at the bare slabs of marble. and so through a zigzag of slums to Covent Garden Market. we have at the other a man who will certainly get seven years’ penal servitude unless we can establish his innocence. here’s your good health landlord. but it’s ‘Where are the geese?’ and ‘Who did you sell the geese to?’ and ‘What will you take for the geese?’ One would think they were the only geese in the world. now.” “Well then.” “Ah.” “Oh.” “Warm! You’d be as warm. I see. I see. you’ve lost your fiver. for I know that I am right. too. to hear the fuss that is made over them. and quick march!” We passed across Holborn. But you see.” said Holmes. It is possible that our inquiry may but confirm his guilt. that is all. then?” “It’s merely taking your money. But I’m always ready to back my opinion on a matter of fowls. Faces to the south. white-aproned landlord. maybe. laying them out together beneath the hanging lamp. yes. I should like to know who sold you the geese which you supplied to the Alpha.

Well. the real name.’ ” “Now.” 207 “Quite so. Oakshott. “Ha! this may save us a visit to Brixton Road. no.” cried the little fellow with outstretched hands and quivering fingers. If you come pestering me any more with your silly . what’s the last entry?” “ ‘December 22nd. I know everything of it. turning away with the air of a man whose disgust is too deep for words.” he answered with a sidelong glance. “Here you are. 6d.” Striding through the scattered knots of people who lounged round the flaring stalls. while Breckinridge. you are the very man whom I have longed to meet. Windigate. He drew a sovereign from his pocket and threw it down upon the slab. but one of them was mine all the same. look at that third name. and I could see in the gas-light that every vestige of colour had been driven from his face. of Brixton Road. Oakshott here and I’ll answer her. I fancy.” said Holmes sweetly. and by him to his club. “Come with me. “I daresay that if I had put £100 down in front of him. before we go farther.” said he.” The man hesitated for an instant. to a salesman named Breckinridge. It is my business to know what other people don’t know. here on this page are the country folk. and we will see what is to be made of this fellow. we are.’ ” Twenty-four geese at 7s.” whined the little man. you can always draw him by a bet. or whether we should reserve it for tomorrow. who it is that I have the pleasure of assisting.” “Mrs. 117. “I wish you were all at the devil together.” said he. Windigate of the Alpha. “No. you can ask the King of Proosia. ask Mrs. and the numbers after their names are where their accounts are in the big ledger. of which Mr.” Sherlock Holmes hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. for all I care. my companion speedily overtook the little man and touched him upon the shoulder.” said Holmes blandly. I think that I could be of assistance to you. “Well.” whispered Holmes. and I should—” His remarks were suddenly cut short by a loud hubbub which broke out from the stall which we had just left. Oakshott. “but I could not help overhearing the questions which you put to the salesman just now. He sprang round. “Who are you. Now.” “Oh. then. then! You see this other page in red ink? Well.’ ” “What have you to say now?” Sherlock Holmes looked deeply chagrined. It is clear from what that surly fellow said that there are others besides ourselves who are anxious about the matter. And underneath?” “ ‘Sold to Mr. the salesman. and the only point which remains to be determined is whether we should go on to this Mrs. that man would not have given me such complete information as was drawn from him by the idea that he was doing me on a wager. but what have you to do with it? Did I buy the geese off you?” “No.” “You? Who are you? How could you know anything of the matter?” “My name is Sherlock Holmes. “I can hardly explain to you how interested I am in this matter. Oakshott. Brixton Road. Now. Now turn that up in the ledger. Henry Baker is a member. that is a list of my town suppliers. was shaking his fists fiercely at the cringing figure. A few yards off he stopped under a lamp-post and laughed in the hearty. nearing the end of our quest. “But pray tell me. Get out of this!” He rushed fiercely forward. “It is always awkward doing business with an alias.” “But you can know nothing of this?” “Excuse me. sir. There you are.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle “Well?” “That’s the list of the folk from whom I buy. D’you see? Well. then. and the inquirer flitted away into the darkness. by him in turn to Mr. Turning round we saw a little ratfaced fellow standing in the centre of the circle of yellow light which was thrown by the swinging lamp.” Holmes turned to the page indicated. Oakshott to-night. then. Just read it out to me. “I’ve had enough of you and your geese. “When you see a man with whiskers of that cut and the ‘Pink ’un’ protruding out of his pocket. then? What do you want?” he asked in a quavering voice. ‘Mrs. noiseless fashion which was peculiar to him. I’ve had enough of it. You are endeavouring to trace some geese which were sold by Mrs. 117. “My name is John Robinson. egg and poultry supplier.” “She told me to ask you. Watson. Brixton Road—249. at 12s. Oakshott for it. of the Alpha. framed in the door of his stall. talk I’ll set the dog at you. “You will excuse me.” he shouted. “Quite so. You bring Mrs. “In that case we had better discuss it in a cosy room rather than in this wind-swept market-place.” read Holmes.” “Well.

that there is the making of a very pretty villain in you. You knew that this man Horner.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle A flush sprang to the white cheeks of the stranger. and all the proofs which I could possibly need. Still. many-pointed radiance. “The game’s up. “can you tell me where it went to?” “It came here. so there is little which you need tell me. the plumber. It seems to me. Watson. Nothing had been said during our drive. the temptation of sudden wealth so easily acquired was too much for you.” Ryder passed his tongue over his parched lips.” Our visitor staggered to his feet and clutched the mantelpiece with his right hand. then! You want to know what became of those geese?” “Yes. but the high. raised the alarm. Then. Holmes. when he had left. I went out.” “Precisely so. You look cold.” said he.” “Or rather.” said Holmes quietly. with a cold. “Well then. sir. don’t!” “Get back into your chair!” said Holmes sternly. and he sat staring with frightened eyes at his accuser. “I will tell you it just as it happened. sir. “Hold up. as one who is not sure whether he is on the verge of a windfall or of a catastrophe. Mr. brightest little blue egg that ever was seen. Head attendant at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. Pray step into the cab. with a black bar across the tail. man.” said he. don’t bring it into court! For Christ’s sake. I fancy. Ryder. I have it here in my museum. And now let us hear a true account of the next act. or you’ll be into the fire! Give him an arm back into his chair. “Think of my father! Of my mother! It would break their hearts. Holmes unlocked his strong-box and held up the blue carbuncle. it seemed to me that it would be best for me to get away with the stone at once. Ryder stood glaring with a drawn face. There was no place about the hotel where it would be safe. sir. uncertain whether to claim or to disown it. “It is very well to cringe and crawl now. .” “Hum! We will talk about that. I imagine in which you were interested—white. for there lies your only hope of safety. but you thought little enough of this poor Horner in the dock for a crime of which he knew nothing. “my real name is James Ryder. of that goose. I’ll swear it on a Bible. then? You made some small job in my lady’s room—you and your confederate Cusack—and you managed that he should be the man sent for. What did you do. and I shall soon be able to tell you everything which you would wish to know. Then he stepped into the cab. and that suspicion would rest the more readily upon him. and how came the goose into the open market? Tell us the truth. I don’t wonder that you should take an interest in it. You then—” Ryder threw himself down suddenly upon the rug and clutched at my companion’s knees. half-hopeful eyes. I swear it. but you were not very scrupulous in the means you used. as it has been for better men before you. “Oh. Ryder. of this blue stone of the Countess of Morcar’s?” “It was Catherine Cusack who told me of it. It laid an egg after it was dead—the bonniest. which shone out like a star.” said he in a crackling voice. and had this unfortunate man arrested. and the claspings and unclaspings of his hands. to be sure!” For a moment he had staggered and nearly fallen. “When Horner had been arrested. “The fire looks very seasonable in this weather. and in half an hour we were back in the sitting-room at Baker Street. sir.” “Here?” “Yes. You had heard. He’s not got blood enough to go in for felony with impunity. Now. you rifled the jewel-case.” The little man stood glancing from one to the other of us with half-frightened. had been concerned in some such matter before. Ryder. Pray take the basket-chair. I never went wrong before! I never will again.” he cried. What a shrimp it is. Give him a dash of brandy. Oh. thin breathing of our new companion. So! Now he looks a little more human. but the brandy brought a tinge of colour 208 into his cheeks. Then the charge against him will break down. I will leave the country.” “I will fly. for I did not know at what moment the police might not take it into their heads to search me and my room. and a most remarkable bird it proved. “I have almost every link in my hands. Ryder. have mercy!” he shrieked. I will just put on my slippers before we settle this little matter of yours. Well. “Here we are!” said Holmes cheerily as we filed into the room. that little may as well be cleared up to make the case complete. “For God’s sake. How came the stone into the goose. brilliant. It was one bird.” Ryder quivered with emotion. Mr. “I see—her ladyship’s waiting-maid. spoke of the nervous tension within him.

Jem. And now—and now I am myself a branded thief. and there would be the stone in my waistcoat pocket. Mr. ‘but if it is all the same to you. and in it I would carry my stone to Kilburn. I told my pal what I had done. there were two barred-tailed ones.’ “ ‘Never mind. with his face buried in his hands. where he lived. and we got a knife and opened the goose. There was a long silence. Jem. he has always answered me like that. white.’ said I. I caught it. where she fattened fowls for the market. But how to get to him in safety? I thought of the agonies I had gone through in coming from the hotel. There’s twenty-six of them. but I told her that I had been upset by the jewel robbery at the hotel. Well. and prying its bill open.’ “Well. of course I saw it all. which 209 makes one for you. Maggie?’ I cried. and behind this I drove one of the birds—a fine big one. But the creature flapped and struggled. Sometimes I think that I am myself. and I could never tell them apart. and not one word would he tell me as to where they had gone. and two dozen for the market. He laughed until he choked. and why I was so pale. “What. The bird gave a gulp. My sister thinks that I am going mad. “I had a friend once called Maudsley. Then my friend rose and threw open the door.’ says she. and how they could get rid of what they stole. and hurried into the back yard. without ever having touched the wealth for which I sold my character. “ ‘Oh. I left the bird. ‘you said you’d give me one for Christmas. “Get out!” said he.’ “ ‘Thank you.’ says I. and take him into my confidence. Jem?’ says she. “ ‘Whatever were you doing with that bird. Maggie. Heaven bless you!” . and has just been serving his time in Pentonville. and I was feeling which was the fattest. and I made for my sister’s house. She had married a man named Oakshott. and suddenly an idea came into my head which showed me how I could beat the best detective that ever lived. and I carried the bird all the way to Kilburn. Holmes.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle as if on some commission. There was a little shed in the yard. “My sister had told me some weeks before that I might have the pick of her geese for a Christmas present. of Covent Garden. and fell into talk about the ways of thieves. for there was no sign of the stone. and I felt the stone pass along its gullet and down into its crop. and lived in Brixton Road. who went to the bad. I’d rather have that one I was handling just now.’ “ ‘Oh. so I made up my mind to go right on to Kilburn. and I ran off as hard as my feet would carry me to this man Breckinridge. and I knew that some terrible mistake had occurred.’ “Well.’ “ ‘Oh. “ ‘Well. My heart turned to water.’ “ ‘Which dealer’s?’ “ ‘Breckinridge. ‘and we fattened it expressly for you. One day he had met me. Kill it and take it with you. rushed back to my sister’s. and out came my sister to know what was the matter. I knew that he would be true to me. broken only by his heavy breathing and by the measured tapping of Sherlock Holmes’ finger-tips upon the edge of the table. for all that it was a cold night. then?’ “ ‘That white one with the barred tail. and I knew that she was always as good as her word.’ said she.’ “ ‘The other is a good three pound heavier. Then I went into the back yard and smoked a pipe and wondered what it would be best to do. He would show me how to turn the stone into money. ‘the same as the one I chose?’ “ ‘Yes. It’s the big white one over yonder. sir! Oh. ‘Which is it you want. “ ‘Gone to the dealer’s. You heard him yourselves to-night. I’ll have the other. As I turned to speak to her the brute broke loose and fluttered off among the others. and. My sister asked me what was the matter. There was not a bird to be seen there. with a barred tail. we call it. ‘we’ve set yours aside for you—Jem’s bird. a little huffed. I would take my goose now. “ ‘Where are they all. I thrust the stone down its throat as far as my finger could reach. I might at any moment be seized and searched. but he had sold the lot at once. I was leaning against the wall at the time and looking at the geese which were waddling about round my feet.’ said she. and I’ll take it now. then. right in the middle of the flock. very well. just as you like. and one for us. All the way there every man I met seemed to me to be a policeman or a detective. I did what she said. for I knew one or two things about him. the sweat was pouring down my face before I came to the Brixton Road.’ said I.’ “ ‘But was there another with a barred tail?’ I asked. God help me! God help me!” He burst into convulsive sobbing. for he was a man that it was easy to tell a thing like that to.

also a bird will be the chief feature. in which. Watson. Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem. Get out!” And no more words were needed. and you make him a jail-bird for life. a clatter upon the stairs. Besides.“No more words.” . If you will have the goodness to touch the bell. and the crisp rattle of running footfalls from the street. but this fellow will not appear against him.” said Holmes. “After all. the bang of a door. but it is just possible that I am saving a soul. he is too terribly frightened. and its solution is its own reward. we will begin another investigation. reaching up his hand for his clay pipe. Doctor. If Horner were in danger it would be another thing. it is the season of forgiveness. and the case must collapse. “I am not retained by the police to supply their deficiencies. This fellow will not go wrong again. Send him to jail now. I suppose that I am commuting a felony. There was a rush.

The Adventure of the Speckled Band .

.

“Very sorry to knock you up. before you reached the station. and yet you had a good drive in a dog-cart. but none commonplace. and in . working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth. as swift as intuitions. I thought. like those of some hunted animal.” “What is it. I find many tragic. and perhaps just a little resentment. You have come in by train this morning. by the side of my bed. at any rate.” “You know me. It is possible that I might have placed them upon record before.” said he. when we were sharing rooms as bachelors in Baker Street. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself. A lady dressed in black and heavily veiled. I rapidly threw on my clothes and was ready in a few minutes to accompany my friend down to the sitting-room. Now. “The left arm of your jacket is spattered with mud in no less than seven places. He was a late riser. Dr.” “Whatever your reasons may be. “My name is Sherlock Holmes. for I was myself regular in my habits. bending forward and patting her forearm. from which I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death of the lady to whom the pledge was given.” said he soothingly. and as the clock on the mantelpiece showed me that it was only a quarter-past seven. Holmes. reached Leatherhead at twenty past.” “My dear fellow. madam. The marks are perfectly fresh. Watson.” said he.” said she. that I should call you and give you the chance. then—a fire?” “No. “Good-morning. you are perfectly correct.” She raised her veil as she spoke. Her features and figure were those of a woman of thirty. with restless frightened eyes. There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way. Hudson has been knocked up. changing her seat as requested. rose as we entered. he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual. a client. Mr. but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glove. Watson. I presume that it is something very pressing which they have to communicate. wish to follow it from the outset. smiling.” said Holmes cheerily. she retorted upon me. Should it prove to be an interesting case. and her expression was weary and haggard. then?” “No. I blinked up at him in some surprise. for I observe that you are shivering. however. for. “but it’s the common lot this morning. Mrs. It is terror. you would. when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning. Pray draw up to it. but her hair was shot with premature grey. who insists upon seeing me.O The Adventure of the Speckled Band admiring the rapid deductions.” “It is not cold which makes me shiver. and even the fantastic. I would not miss it for anything. my dear madam. “I started from home before six. It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light. who had been sitting in the window. and I shall order you a cup of hot coffee. I can 213 n glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes. a large number merely strange. “There is no mystery. and came in by the first train to Waterloo. but a promise of secrecy was made at the time. The events in question occurred in the early days of my association with Holmes. You must have started early. fully dressed. and yet always founded on a logical basis with which he unravelled the problems which were submitted to him. This is my intimate friend and associate. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth. all-comprehensive glances. then?” “It is fear.” I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations. Of all these varied cases. I have no doubt. It seems that a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement. some comic. Sir.” said the woman in a low voice. along heavy roads. and then only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver. and we could see that she was indeed in a pitiable state of agitation. and knock sleepy people up out of their beds. Hudson has had the good sense to light the fire. I see. for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr. I am sure.” The lady gave a violent start and stared in bewilderment at my companion. her face all drawn and grey. Ha! I am glad to see that Mrs. and I on you. “You must not fear. It was early in April in the year ’83 that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing. Sherlock Holmes ran her over with one of his quick. She is waiting now in the sitting-room. “What. “We shall soon set matters right. I cannot recall any which presented more singular features than that which was associated with the well-known Surrey family of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. as a rule.

Roylott then abandoned his attempts to establish himself in practice in London and took us to live with him in the old ancestral house at Stoke Moran. “The name is familiar to me. with a provision that a certain annual sum should be allowed to each of us in the event of our marriage. madam. and then at least you shall not find me ungrateful. I have no one to turn to—none. who is the last survivor of one of the oldest Saxon families in England. I shall go mad if it continues. In a fit of anger. it was concerned with an opal tiara. and the estates extended over the borders into Berkshire in the north.” “Alas!” replied our visitor. and at least throw a little light through the dense darkness which surrounds me? At present it is out of my power to reward you for your services. that I shall be happy to devote the same care to your case as I did to that of your friend. Holmes. he suffered a long term of imprisonment and afterwards returned to England a morose and disappointed man. but in a month or six weeks I shall be married. poor fellow. A series of disgraceful brawls took place. drew out a small case-book. It was from her that I had your address. The last squire dragged out his existence there. He does not say so.” said he. Mr. I believe.” said he. Violence of temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family. at the time which suits you best. however. and we were only two years old at the time of my mother’s re-marriage. and I am living with my stepfather. Dr. for he is a man of immense strength. Nothing was left save a few acres of ground. living the horrible life of an aristocratic pauper. Farintosh. my profession is its own reward. of the Bengal Artillery. whom you helped in the hour of her sore need. madam. The money which my mother had left was enough for all our wants. caused by some robberies which had been perpetrated in the house. As it was. until at last he became the terror of the village. “Farintosh. I have heard of you. where. which enabled him to take a medical degree and went out to Calcutta. however. he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence. the young widow of MajorGeneral Stoner. “Last week he hurled the local blacksmith over a parapet into a stream. and Hampshire in the west. and in my stepfather’s case it had. my stepfather. “Ah yes. I can only say. obtained an advance from a relative. can be of little aid. that even he to whom of all others I have a right to look for help and advice looks upon all that I tell him about it as the fancies of a nervous woman. Roylott was in India he married my mother. My sister Julia and I were twins. which he consulted. and he. the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. who cares for me. You may advise me how to walk amid the dangers which encompass me. but his only son. Holmes. on the western border of Surrey. She had a considerable sum of money—not less than £1000 a year—and this she bequeathed to Dr.The Adventure of the Speckled Band stand this strain no longer. been intensified by his long residence in the tropics. four successive heirs were of a dissolute and wasteful disposition. which might seem trivial to another. by his professional skill and his force of character. Mr. Mrs. two of which ended in the police-court. “When Dr. and my suspicions depend so entirely upon small points. do you not think that you could help me. but I can read it from his soothing answers and averted eyes. Instead of making friends and exchanging visits with our neighbours. unlocking it. and the folks would fly at his approach. sir. who had at first been overjoyed to see a Roylott of Stoke Moran back in the old family seat.” Holmes nodded his head. which is itself crushed under a heavy mortgage. and the twohundred-year-old house. Stoner. I have heard of you from Mrs.” “My name is Helen Stoner. and there seemed to be no obstacle to our happiness. and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger. I recall the case. too. And now I beg that you will lay before us everything that may help us in forming an opinion upon the matter. In the last century. Oh. and it was only by pay- . but you are at liberty to defray whatever expenses I may be put to. save only one. As to reward. “The family was at one time among the richest in England. he established a large practice. “But a terrible change came over our stepfather about this time. he shut himself up in his house and seldom came out save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with whoever might cross his path. that you can see deeply into the manifold wickedness of the human heart.” “I am all attention. “the very horror of my situation lies in the fact that my fears are so vague. But I have heard. seeing that he must adapt himself to the new conditions. and the family ruin was eventually completed 214 by a gambler in the days of the Regency. Roylott entirely while we resided with him. Watson. with the control of my own income. Shortly after our return to England my mother died—she was killed eight years ago in a railway accident near Crewe. I think it was before your time.” Holmes turned to his desk and.

” “Your sister is dead. even as mine has. “Was it your custom always to lock yourselves in at night?” “Always. No servant would stay with us. at any rate. and it is of her death that I wish to speak to you. and he would give these vagabonds leave to encamp upon the few acres of bramble-covered land which represent the family estate. “ ‘Tell me.’ She smiled back at me. She left her room. an aunt. The manor-house is.’ “ ‘Well. At eleven o’clock she rose to leave me. perhaps from the lawn. She was but thirty at the time of her death.” “The windows of the three rooms open out upon the lawn.” Sherlock Holmes had been leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed and his head sunk in a cushion. in your sleep?’ “ ‘Certainly not. the sitting-rooms being in the central block of the buildings. He had no friends at all save the wandering gypsies. Miss Honoria Westphail. I sprang from my bed.’ “ ‘Ah. clear whistle. I am a light sleeper. and the third my own. though we knew that he had not retired to rest. Helen. The wind was howling outside. as I have already said. That fatal night Dr. He has a passion also for Indian animals. and came into mine. and a few moments later I heard her key turn in the lock. and only one wing is now inhabited. “Pray be precise as to details. then?” “She died just two years ago. therefore. there burst forth the wild scream of a terrified woman. We had. But why?’ “ ‘Because during the last few nights I have always. My sister and I. wandering away with them sometimes for weeks on end. and you know how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied. it is of no great consequence. The bedrooms in this wing are on the ground floor. I cannot tell where it came from—perhaps from the next room. amid all the hubbub of the gale. about three in the morning.” said he. ‘have you ever heard anyone whistle in the dead of the night?’ “ ‘Never. “It is easy for me to be so. we were little likely to see anyone of our own age and position. very old. I wonder that you did not hear it also. for every event of that dreadful time is seared into my memory. I have not.’ “ ‘No. “You can imagine from what I say that my poor sister Julia and I had no great pleasure in our lives.” “And why?” “I think that I mentioned to you that the doctor kept a cheetah and a baboon. living the life which I have described. closed my door. who lives near Harrow. There is no communication between them. Julia went there at Christmas two years ago. and yet her hair had already begun to whiten. heard a low. which wander freely over his grounds and are feared by the villagers almost as much as their master.’ “ ‘Very likely. and for a long time we did all the work of the house. but I sleep more heavily than you. the second my sister’s. Roylott had gone to his room early. I knew that it was my sister’s voice. but she paused at the door and looked back. and the rain was beating and splashing against the windows. and we were occasionally allowed to pay short visits at this lady’s house. you will recollect.The Adventure of the Speckled Band ing over all the money which I could gather together that I was able to avert another public exposure. and it has awakened me.” “Quite so. A vague feeling of impending misfortune impressed me.’ said she. Pray proceed with your statement. Of these bedrooms the first is Dr.” said Holmes. We had no feeling of security unless our doors were locked. Do I make myself plain?” 215 “Perfectly so. “ ‘I suppose that you could not possibly whistle. but they all open out into the same corridor.’ said I. and rushed into the corridor.” “I could not sleep that night. where she sat for some time. As I opened my door . which are sent over to him by a correspondent. and met there a half-pay major of marines. to whom she became engaged. wrapped a shawl round me. It was a wild night. and would accept in return the hospitality of their tents. the terrible event occurred which has deprived me of my only companion. but he half opened his lids now and glanced across at his visitor. yourself.” “Indeed. Roylott’s. And yet if it were on the lawn. and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon. my mother’s maiden sister. It must be those wretched gipsies in the plantation. for my sister was troubled by the smell of the strong Indian cigars which it was his custom to smoke. Suddenly. were twins. I thought that I would just ask you whether you had heard it. My stepfather learned of the engagement when my sister returned and offered no objection to the marriage. You can understand that. but within a fortnight of the day which had been fixed for the wedding. chatting about her approaching wedding. however.

such as my sister described. she was in her night-dress. and were shown to be quite solid all round. my thrill of terror when last night. therefore. near Reading. and yet. which were secured every night. At first I thought that she had not recognised me. I rushed out. I do not know whether the spotted handkerchiefs which so many of them wear over their heads might have suggested the strange adjective which she used. so that I have had to move into the chamber in which my sister died. with the same result. and in her left a match-box. ‘Oh. but is barred up by four large staples. but as I bent over her she suddenly shrieked out in a voice which I shall never forget.” “Was your sister dressed?” “No. there are nearly always some there.” “Were there gipsies in the plantation at the time?” “Yes. but without success. As I ran down the passage. and revolved slowly upon its hinges. then.” “Showing that she had struck a light and looked about her when the alarm took place. When he reached my sister’s side she was unconscious.” Holmes shook his head like a man who is far from being satisfied. for she slowly sank and died without having recovered her consciousness. Such was the dreadful end of my beloved sister.” “How about poison?” “The doctors examined her for it. a dear friend. there were no marks of any violence upon her. of Crane Water. She writhed as one who is in terrible pain. not knowing what was about to issue from it. My stepfather has offered no opposition to the match. and what did you gather from this allusion to a band—a speckled band?” “Sometimes I have thought that it was merely the wild talk of delirium. Imagine. The walls were carefully sounded. “pray go on with your narrative. In her right hand was found the charred stump of a match. her face blanched with terror. has done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage. but at that moment her knees seemed to give way and she fell to the ground. and I met him hastening from his room in his dressing-gown. calling loudly for my stepfather. all efforts were in vain.” “What do you think that this unfortunate lady died of.The Adventure of the Speckled Band I seemed to hear a low whistle. “These are very deep waters. Armitage. A month ago. It is my strong impression that I heard it. It is certain. My evidence showed that the door had been fastened upon the inner side. and a few moments later a clanging sound.” “One moment. and she stabbed with her finger into the air in the direction of the doctor’s room. and 216 the windows were blocked by old-fashioned shutters with broad iron bars. among the crash of the gale and the creaking of an old house.” said Holmes. but he was unable to find any satisfactory cause of death. and my bedroom wall has been pierced. I may possibly have been deceived. “are you sure about this whistle and metallic sound? Could you swear to it?” “That was what the county coroner asked me at the inquiry. Roylott’s conduct had long been notorious in the county. thinking over her terrible fate. I suddenly heard in the silence of the night the low whistle which had been the herald of her own death. I stared at it horror-stricken.” “Two years have passed since then. and her limbs were dreadfully convulsed. That is important. her whole figure swaying to and fro like that of a drunkard. The chimney is wide. as if a mass of metal had fallen. then?” “It is my belief that she died of pure fear and nervous shock. and to sleep in the very bed in which she slept. I sprang up and lit the . I ran to her and threw my arms round her. His name is Armitage—Percy Armitage—the second son of Mr. and though he poured brandy down her throat and sent for medical aid from the village. and the flooring was also thoroughly examined. however. her hands groping for help. though what it was that frightened her I cannot imagine.” “Ah. and we are to be married in the course of the spring. as I lay awake. Besides. my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!’ There was something else which she would fain have said. And what conclusions did the coroner come to?” “He investigated the case with great care. whom I have known for many years. Two days ago some repairs were started in the west wing of the building. perhaps to these very gipsies in the plantation. that my sister was quite alone when she met her end. sometimes that it may have referred to some band of people. By the light of the corridor-lamp I saw my sister appear at the opening. for Dr. but a fresh convulsion seized her and choked her words. my sister’s door was unlocked.” said he. and my life has been until lately lonelier than ever.

We have a housekeeper now. The lady coloured deeply and covered over her injured wrist. the fact that Miss Helen Stoner heard a metallic clang. however.” “I see many objections to any such theory. “You have been cruelly used. having a black top-hat. A large face. burned yellow with the sun.” “When you combine the ideas of whistles at night.” “But what.” “Why.” “Yet if the lady is correct in saying that the flooring and walls are sound.” said my friend. His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural. but nothing was to be seen in the room. would it be possible for us to see over these rooms without the knowledge of your stepfather?” “As it happens.” “Miss Roylott. Five little livid spots. So tall was he that his hat actually brushed the cross bar of the doorway.” said Holmes.” “And you may expect us early in the afternoon.” “You have done wisely. and that there would be nothing to disturb you. seared with a thousand wrinkles. which might have been caused by one of those metal bars that secured the shutters falling back into its place. I must go. he spoke of coming into town to-day upon some most important business. during which Holmes leaned his chin upon his hands and stared into the crackling fire. got a dog-cart at the Crown Inn. Watson?” asked Sherlock Holmes. then. was turned from one to . My heart is lightened already since I have confided my trouble to you. “He is a hard man. and drove to Leatherhead. But what in the name of the devil!” The ejaculation had been drawn from my companion by the fact that our door had been suddenly dashed open.The Adventure of the Speckled Band lamp.” he said at last. what do you mean?” For answer Holmes pushed back the frill of black lace which fringed the hand that lay upon our visitor’s knee. I was too shaken to go to bed again. Will you not wait and breakfast?” 217 “No. “and perhaps he hardly knows his own strength. “And what do you think of it all. “But have you told me all?” “Yes. You are not averse to this trip. and a pair of high gaiters.” “And so do I. the marks of four fingers and a thumb. of these nocturnal whistles. were printed upon the white wrist. and. I think that there is good ground to think that the mystery may be cleared along those lines. I shall look forward to seeing you again this afternoon. but she is old and foolish. so as to be there in time for your coming. with a huntingcrop swinging in his hand. I want to see whether the objections are fatal. It is probable that he will be away all day. It is precisely for that reason that we are going to Stoke Moran this day.” she said.” “Dark enough and sinister enough. window. and his breadth seemed to span it across from side to side. “There are a thousand details which I should desire to know before I decide upon our course of action. If we were to come to Stoke Moran to-day. and I could easily get her out of the way. leaning back in his chair. Yet we have not a moment to lose. then. What are you going to do yourself?” “I have one or two things which I would wish to do now that I am in town. all. then her sister must have been undoubtedly alone when she met her mysterious end. the fact that we have every reason to believe that the doctor has an interest in preventing his stepdaughter’s marriage. “It seems to me to be a most dark and sinister business. You are screening your stepfather. and what of the very peculiar words of the dying woman?” “I cannot think. from whence I have come on this morning with the one object of seeing you and asking your advice. which is opposite.” There was a long silence. and that the door. or if they may be explained away. so I dressed. I have myself some small business matters to attend to. and marked with every evil passion.” She dropped her thick black veil over her face and glided from the room. a long frockcoat. and as soon as it was daylight I slipped down. Watson?” “By no means. “This is a very deep business. you have not. did the gipsies do?” “I cannot imagine.” “Then we shall both come. and that a huge man had framed himself in the aperture. and chimney are impassable. the dying allusion to a band.” “Excellent. finally. But I shall return by the twelve o’clock train. the presence of a band of gipsies who are on intimate terms with this old doctor.” “What becomes.

” “I will go when I have said my say. “What has she been saying to you?” screamed the old man furiously. 218 And now. sir.” continued my companion imperturbably. all that we need. Doctor.The Adventure of the Speckled Band the other of us.” It was nearly one o’clock when Sherlock Holmes returned from his excursion. and I only trust that our little friend will not suffer from her imprudence in allowing this brute to trace her. Grimesby Roylott. That and a tooth-brush are. this beauty would have had a mere pittance. “Ha! You put me off. Watson. gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey. this is too serious for dawdling. and his chin sunk upon his breast. thin. “I have seen the will of the deceased wife. It is evident.” My friend smiled. and pointed over the meadows. Suddenly. Each daughter can claim an income of £250.” said he. his arms folded. What has she been saying to you?” “It is a little cold for the time of the year.” said my companion quietly. however.” said Holmes. tapped me on the shoulder.” At Waterloo we were fortunate in catching a train for Leatherhead. that if both girls had married. “I know you.” He stepped swiftly forward. so if you are ready. “But I have heard that the crocuses promise well. “Look there!” said he. “He seems a very amiable person. I think. do you?” said our new visitor. and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands. A heavily timbered park stretched up in a gentle slope. My stepdaughter has been here. I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. I have traced her. taking a step forward and shaking his hunting-crop. “Which of you is Holmes?” asked this apparition. and his high. He held in his hand a sheet of blue paper. however. fleshless nose. The trees and wayside hedges were just throwing out their first green shoots. and hurling the twisted poker into the fireplace he strode out of the room. “I am not quite so bulky. And now. where I hope to get some data which may help us in this matter. An Eley’s No. in case of marriage.” “I will do nothing of the kind. scrawled over with notes and figures.” said Holmes. while even one of them would cripple him to a very serious extent. “Your conversation is most entertaining. “Holmes. Watson.” said Holmes blandly. but you have the advantage of me. but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own. the meddler. My morning’s work has not been wasted. of Stoke Moran. the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office!” Holmes chuckled heartily. and the air was full of the pleasant smell of the moist earth. and afterwards I shall walk down to Doctors’ Commons. with a bright sun and a few fleecy clouds in the heavens. buried in the deepest thought. since it has proved that he has the very strongest motives for standing in the way of anything of the sort. you scoundrel! I have heard of you before. “I am Dr. . not more than £750. especially as the old man is aware that we are interesting ourselves in his affairs. From amid the branches there jutted out the grey gables and high roof-tree of a very old mansion. Don’t you dare to meddle with my affairs. we shall call a cab and drive to Waterloo. bile-shot eyes. To me at least there was a strange contrast between the sweet promise of the spring and this sinister quest upon which we were engaged. while his deep-set. My companion sat in the front of the trap. he started. I know that Miss Stoner has been here. “Stoke Moran?” said he. I traced her! I am a dangerous man to fall foul of! See here. “When you go out close the door. “Holmes. his hat pulled down over his eyes. seized the poker. laughing. through the fall in agricultural prices.” said he. for there is a decided draught. thickening into a grove at the highest point. “My name. with a sudden effort. which at the time of the wife’s death was little short of £1100. we shall order breakfast. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots. “To determine its exact meaning I have been obliged to work out the present prices of the investments with which it is concerned. You are Holmes. where we hired a trap at the station inn and drove for four or five miles through the lovely Surrey lanes. “See that you keep yourself out of my grip. “Fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official detective force! This incident gives zest to our investigation. It was a perfect day. straightened it out again. therefore. the busybody!” His smile broadened.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and. is now. “Pray take a seat.” “Indeed. The total income.” he snarled.

There are windows in it. of course?” “Yes. These articles. as I understand. showed that this was where the family resided. and the one next to the main building to Dr.” “He is so cunning that I never know when I am safe from him. for he may find that there is someone more cunning than himself upon his track.” said the driver. It may stop his gossip. we shall see if the inside throws any light upon the matter. we must make the best use of our time. you’ll find it shorter to get over this stile. You must lock yourself up from him tonight. “All has turned out splendidly. Holmes walked slowly up and down the illtrimmed lawn and examined with deep attention the outsides of the windows. with two small wicker-work . Too narrow for anyone to pass through. “Hum!” said he.” remarked the driver.” The building was of grey. a picture of ruin. that in which Miss Stoner was now sleeping. There was no slit through which a knife could be passed to raise the bar. after a careful examination through the open window.” observed Holmes. while the roof was partly caved in. I believe that it was an excuse to move me from my room.” said Holmes. If he is violent. Dr. There it is. “I have been waiting so eagerly for you. after the fashion of old country-houses. Now. but the right-hand block was comparatively modern. but very small ones.” “There’s the village. endeavoured in every way to force the shutter open. Some scaffolding had been erected against the end wall. belongs to the room in which you used to sleep. and so by the footpath over the fields. I fancy. “Yes. a narrow white-counterpaned bed in another. thrown out on each side. and it is unlikely that he will be back before evening.The Adventure of the Speckled Band “Yes. paid our fare. built firmly into the massive masonry. You see that we have been as good as our word. But I am now sleeping in the middle one.” “There were none. shaking hands with us warmly. and the blinds in the windows. “I thought it as well.” We got off. so kindly take us at once to the rooms which we are to examine. on the other side of this narrow wing runs the corridor from which these three rooms open. and Holmes. like the claws of a crab.” “So it appears. your rooms were unapproachable from that side. but there were no signs of any workmen at the moment of our visit. shading his eyes. scratching his chin in some perplexity. “There is some building going on there. or on some definite business. Grimesby Roylott.” Our client of the morning had hurried forward to meet us with a face which spoke her joy. “that this fellow should think we had come here as architects. “that is where we are going.” she cried. that be the house of Dr. I think we had better do as you suggest.” said Holmes. where the lady is walking. and the trap rattled back on its way to Leatherhead. Now. Well. “Good heavens!” she cried. sir.” said Holmes as we climbed the stile. “my theory certainly presents some difficulties. with a high central portion and two curving wings. and in a few words he sketched out what had occurred. No one could pass these shutters if they were bolted. Good-afternoon. we shall take you away to your aunt’s at Harrow. What will he say when he returns?” “He must guard himself. Holmes refused to examine the third chamber. with a low ceiling and a gaping fireplace. but they were of solid iron.” “We have had the pleasure of making the doctor’s acquaintance. The central portion was in little better repair. but without success. so we passed at once to the second. Then with his lens he tested the hinges. “but if you want to get to the house.” “As you both locked your doors at night. and the stone-work had been broken into. Miss Stoner. then. It was a homely little room. there does not seem to be any very pressing need for repairs at that end wall. the centre one to your sister’s. is Miss Stoner.” A small side door led into the whitewashed corridor from which the three bedrooms opened. Roylott’s chamber?” “Exactly so. “This. and a dressing-table on the left-hand side of the window. with the blue smoke 219 curling up from the chimneys.” “And the lady.” “Ah! that is suggestive. By the way. pointing to a cluster of roofs some distance to the left. I take it. In one of these wings the windows were broken and blocked with wooden boards. Roylott has gone to town. Miss Stoner turned white to the lips as she listened. would you have the kindness to go into your room and bar your shutters?” Miss Stoner did so. A brown chest of drawers stood in one corner. Now. lichen-blotched stone. “he has followed me. and in which her sister had met with her fate.” “Pending the alterations.

Then he did the same with the wood-work with which the chamber was panelled. rising and putting his lens in his pocket. of course! Well. was curled upon itself and tied so as to make a loop of whipcord. Finally he walked over to the bed and spent some time in staring at it and in running his eye up and down the wall. “Hullo! Here is something interesting!” The object which had caught his eye was a small dog lash hung on one corner of the bed. there were several little changes carried out about that time. when.” said the lady.” “Ah. some years ago.” “Your sister asked for it. worm-eaten oak. “Where does that bell communicate with?” he asked at last pointing to a thick bell-rope which hung down beside the bed. it seemed unnecessary to put so nice a bell-pull there. we shall now carry our researches into the inner apartment. The lash. Miss Stoner. I remember that it was full of papers. it is not even attached to a wire. a cheetah is just a big cat. I suppose?” “No. what a fool a builder must be to open a ventilator into another room. look at this!” He took up a small saucer of milk which stood on the top of it.” 220 “They seem to have been of a most interesting character—dummy bell-ropes.The Adventure of the Speckled Band chairs.” Dr. . examining minutely the cracks between the boards. There is one point which I should wish to determine. Watson?” “It’s a common enough lash. me! it’s a wicked world. Holmes drew one of the chairs into a corner and sat silent. then?” “Only once.” said he.” “How very absurd! I never noticed that before. while his eyes travelled round and round and up and down. and when a clever man turns his brains to crime it is the worst of all. We used always to get what we wanted for ourselves. That is quite settled. But I don’t know why it should be tied. “Why. but was as plainly furnished. it’s a dummy. yes. “Yes.” He squatted down in front of the wooden chair and examined the seat of it with the greatest attention. “Done about the same time as the bell-rope?” remarked Holmes. pulling at the rope. “Won’t it ring?” “No. it was only put there a couple of years ago. we don’t keep a cat. Finally he took the bell-rope in his hand and gave it a brisk tug. and a large iron safe were the principal things which met the eye. and yet a saucer of milk does not go very far in satisfying its wants. We had walked several times up and down the lawn. “It goes to the housekeeper’s room. Grimesby Roylott’s chamber was larger than that of his step-daughter. With your permission. You will excuse me for a few minutes while I satisfy myself as to this floor.” “There isn’t a cat in it. For example. mostly of a technical character. and with your permission we shall walk out upon the lawn. taking in every detail of the apartment. You can see now that it is fastened to a hook just above where the little opening for the ventilator is. an armchair beside the bed.” “It looks newer than the other things?” “Yes. This is very interesting. “There are one or two very singular points about this room. and ventilators which do not ventilate. But there is a cheetah and a baboon. a small wooden shelf full of books. the tassel actually lying upon the pillow.” “Oh! you have seen inside. Miss Stoner. “What do you make of that. “Thank you.” “That is not quite so common. is it? Ah. A camp-bed. made up all the furniture in the room save for a square of Wilton carpet in the centre. “No.” said he. Holmes walked slowly round and examined each and all of them with the keenest interest. tapping the safe. I daresay. a round table. “What’s in here?” he asked. What a strange idea!” “Well. neither Miss Stoner nor myself liking to break in upon his thoughts before he roused himself from his reverie. with the same trouble. I think that I have seen enough now. however. a plain wooden chair against the wall. for example?” “No. he might have communicated with the outside air!” “That is also quite modern. I never heard of her using it.” He threw himself down upon his face with his lens in his hand and crawled swiftly backward and forward. so old and discoloured that it may have dated from the original building of the house.” “Very strange!” muttered Holmes.” I had never seen my friend’s face so grim or his brow so dark as it was when we turned from the scene of this investigation.” “Indeed. The boards round and the panelling of the walls were of brown. “My stepfather’s business papers.

and from our window we could command a view of the avenue gate. I deduced a ventilator. Then when you hear him retire for the night. Roylott returned and saw us our journey would be in vain.” “The rest you will leave in our hands. and what purpose that could answer I confess is more than I can imagine. both my friend and I must spend the night in your room.” “No.” “In the first place. you could manage there for one night. Let me explain. when your stepfather comes back. too?” “Yes.” “Very good. “I have really some scruples as to taking you to-night.” “I shall most certainly do so. we must leave you for if Dr. “Do you know.” .” Sherlock Holmes and I had no difficulty in engaging a bedroom and sitting-room at the Crown Inn. it must be so. It was so small that a rat could hardly pass through.” said he. I did. Now.The Adventure of the Speckled Band “It is very essential. but I do not think that it is such a very unusual thing to have a small opening between two rooms. and then withdraw quietly with everything which you are likely to want into the room which you used to occupy. Roylott’s cigar.” “Can I be of assistance?” “Your presence might be invaluable. They were on the upper floor.” “I believe.” “You can at least tell me whether my own thought is correct. that is the Crown.” “Then.” said Miss Stoner. laying her hand upon my companion’s sleeve. or it would have been remarked upon at the coroner’s inquiry.” “I knew that we should find a ventilator before ever we came to Stoke Moran.” “My dear Holmes!” “Oh.” “But what harm can there be in that?” “Well. I think that there was probably some more tangible cause. The trap drove on. for if you will do what I 221 have told you. and a few minutes later we saw a sudden light spring up among the trees as the lamp was lit in one of the sitting-rooms. tell me what was the cause of my sister’s death. “Yes. Does not that strike you?” “I cannot as yet see any connection. there is at least a curious coincidence of dates. his huge form looming up beside the little figure of the lad who drove him. and be brave.” “I should prefer to have clearer proofs before I speak.” “It is very kind of you. you may rest assured that we shall soon drive away the dangers that threaten you. I imagine that you saw all that I did. and a lady who sleeps in the bed dies. and if she died from some sudden fright.” “You speak of danger. Miss Stoner. And now.” “I saw nothing remarkable save the bell-rope. on pretence of a headache.” “But what will you do?” “We shall spend the night in your room. Your life may depend upon your compliance. and we shall investigate the cause of this noise which has disturbed you. At dusk we saw Dr. You remember in her statement she said that her sister could smell Dr. put your lamp there as a signal to us. “Perhaps I have. in spite of the repairs.” “Then I shall certainly come.” “No. for pity’s sake. you must open the shutters of your window. easily. I have no doubt that. but I fancy that I may have deduced a little more. yes.” said Holmes as we sat together in the gathering darkness. Mr.” Both Miss Stoner and I gazed at him in astonishment. a cord is hung.” “You must confine yourself to your room. Miss Stoner.” “The matter is too serious for any hesitation.” “You saw the ventilator. and of the inhabited wing of Stoke Moran Manor House. “that you should absolutely follow my advice in every respect. yes. Holmes. of course that suggested at once that there must be a communication between the two rooms. that you have already made up your mind. There is a distinct element of danger. A ventilator is made. undo the hasp.” “Oh. Good-bye.” “I assure you that I am in your hands. I do not think so. Grimesby Roylott drive past. The boy had some slight difficulty in undoing the heavy iron gates. It could only be a small one. Your windows would be visible from there?” “Certainly. and we heard the hoarse roar of the doctor’s voice and saw the fury with which he shook his clinched fists at him. I believe that that is the village inn over there?” “Yes. Watson. You have evidently seen more in these rooms than was visible to me.

“I seem to see dimly what you are hinting at.” “Subtle enough and horrible enough. and one yellow light twinkling in front of us through the gloom to guide us on our sombre errand. All was as we had seen it in the daytime.The Adventure of the Speckled Band “Did you observe anything very peculiar about that bed?” “No. which vanished immediately. “That is the baboon. who threw itself upon the grass with writhing limbs and then ran swiftly across the lawn into the darkness. that we shall be able to strike deeper still. but I think. for goodness’ sake let us have a quiet pipe and turn our minds for a few hours to something more cheerful. explaining that we were going on a late visit to an acquaintance.” I cried. too. and one and two and three. which told us that the cheetah was indeed at liberty. He would see it through the ventilator. not even the drawing of a breath.” I had forgotten the strange pets which the doctor affected. within a few feet of me. How shall I ever forget that dreadful vigil? I could not hear a sound. a chill wind blowing in our faces. and all was dark in the direction of the Manor House. since it was clearly never meant for a bell-pull. Suddenly there was the momentary gleam of a light up in the direction of the ventilator. It must always be in the same relative position to the ventilator and to the rope—or so we may call it. and still we sat waiting silently for whatever might befall.” I took out my revolver and laid it on the corner of the table. and yet I knew that my companion sat open-eyed. By it he laid the box of matches and the stump of a candle. My companion noiselessly closed the shutters. and then.” I nodded to show that I had heard.” “The lady could not move her bed. Two hours passed slowly away. “We must sit without light. and once at our very window a long drawn catlike whine. just at the stroke of eleven. Did you ever see a bed fastened like that before?” “I cannot say that I have. “it comes from the middle window.” “It was clamped to the floor. His hand closed like a vice upon my wrist in his 222 agitation. a single bright light shone out right in front of us. perhaps we might find it upon our shoulders at any moment. But we shall have horrors enough before the night is over. and you in that chair. I will sit on the side of the bed. springing to his feet. I confess that I felt easier in my mind when.” he murmured. Palmer and Pritchard were among the heads of their profession. which boomed out every quarter of an hour. Holmes had brought up a long thin cane. There was a cheetah.” I nodded again. We are only just in time to prevent some subtle and horrible crime. Have your pistol ready in case we should need it. he whispered into my ear again so gently that it was all that I could do to distinguish the words: “The least sound would be fatal to our plans. and were about to enter through the window when out from a clump of laurel bushes there darted what seemed to be a hideous and distorted child. after following Holmes’ example and slipping off my shoes. Then he turned down the lamp. and this he placed upon the bed beside him. He has nerve and he has knowledge. Then creeping up to me and making a trumpet of his hand. From outside came the occasional cry of a night-bird. suddenly. crossed it. your very life may depend upon it.” As we passed out he exchanged a few words with the landlord. Then he broke into a low laugh and put his lips to my ear. There was little difficulty in entering the grounds. and we were left in darkness. those quarters! Twelve struck. When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. Watson.” said Holmes. “My God!” I whispered. in the same state of nervous tension in which I was myself. Far away we could hear the deep tones of the parish clock. How long they seemed. Making our way among the trees. “It is a nice household. This man strikes even deeper. I found myself inside the bedroom. and that it was possible that we might spend the night there. and cast his eyes round the room. A moment later we were out on the dark road. “Do not go asleep. “That is our signal. but was succeeded by a . moved the lamp onto the table. and we waited in absolute darkness. The shutters cut off the least ray of light. for unrepaired breaches gaped in the old park wall. “did you see it?” Holmes was for the moment as startled as I.” About nine o’clock the light among the trees was extinguished.” “Holmes. we reached the lawn.

The idea . He has died within ten seconds of being bitten. which he closed upon it. It swelled up louder and louder. and he at me. Grimesby Roylott. and lashed furiously with his cane at the bell-pull. though the smell grew stronger. They say that away down in the village. Let us thrust this creature back into its den. Holmes sprang from the bed. Then suddenly another sound became audible—a very gentle. I at his heels. as I have already remarked to you. and when I coupled it with my knowledge that the doctor was furnished with a supply of creatures from India. of how the slow process of official inquiry came to the conclusion that the doctor met his fate while indiscreetly playing with a dangerous pet. For half an hour I sat with straining ears.The Adventure of the Speckled Band strong smell of burning oil and heated metal. Twice he struck at the chamber door without any reply from within. my dear Watson. however. It is not necessary that I should prolong a narrative which has already run to too great a length by telling how we broke the sad news to the terrified girl. Such are the true facts of the death of Dr. until the last echoes of it had died away into the silence from which it rose. after all. and then all was silent once more. 223 “The band! the speckled band!” whispered Holmes. a hoarse yell of pain and fear and anger all mingled in the one dreadful shriek. that cry raised the sleepers from their beds. and there reared itself from among his hair the squat diamond-shaped head and puffed neck of a loathsome serpent. Roylott’s room. in truth. His chin was cocked upward and his eyes were fixed in a dreadful. The discovery that this was a dummy. however. The instant that we heard it. to this ventilator. Watson?” he yelled. were sufficient to put me upon an entirely wrong scent.” With a grave face he lit the lamp and led the way down the corridor. Someone in the next room had lit a dark-lantern. his bare ankles protruding beneath. with brownish speckles. Violence does. but the sudden glare flashing into my weary eyes made it impossible for me to tell what it was at which my friend lashed so savagely. Then he turned the handle and entered. see that his face was deadly pale and filled with horror and loathing. on the wooden chair. and that the bed was clamped to the floor. to explain the appearance which she had caught a hurried glimpse of by the light of her match. Take your pistol. and his feet thrust into red heelless Turkish slippers. it became clear to me that whatever danger threatened an occupant of the room could not come either from the window or the door. “I had. As we entered he made neither sound nor motion. Round his brow he had a peculiar yellow band. “the deadliest snake in India. Beside this table. I heard a gentle sound of movement. and to the bell-rope which hung down to the bed. threw it into the iron safe. rigid stare at the corner of the ceiling. with the cocked pistol in my hand. of Stoke Moran. I felt that I was probably on the right track. and even in the distant parsonage. and the use of the word ‘band. The idea of a snake instantly occurred to me. “You see it?” But I saw nothing. recoil upon the violent. and we can then remove Miss Stoner to some place of shelter and let the county police know what has happened. My attention was speedily drawn. I can only claim the merit that I instantly reconsidered my position when.’ which was used by the poor girl. The little which I had yet to learn of the case was told me by Sherlock Holmes as we travelled back next day. I took a step forward. like that of a small jet of steam escaping continually from a kettle.” Holmes answered. it is for the best. and I stood gazing at Holmes. “come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows. Across his lap lay the short stock with the long lash which we had noticed during the day. and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. soothing sound. sat Dr. It struck cold to our hearts. carrying it at arm’s length. instantly gave rise to the suspicion that the rope was there as a bridge for something passing through the hole and coming to the bed. Grimesby Roylott clad in a long grey dressing-gown. He had ceased to strike and was gazing up at the ventilator when suddenly there broke from the silence of the night the most horrible cry to which I have ever listened.” said he. The presence of the gipsies. On the table stood a dark-lantern with the shutter half open. In an instant his strange headgear began to move. “You see it. clear whistle. struck a match. “What can it mean?” I gasped. and throwing the noose round the reptile’s neck he drew it from its horrid perch and. “It means that it is all over. and we will enter Dr.” As he spoke he drew the dog-whip swiftly from the dead man’s lap. “And perhaps. how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. no doubt. throwing a brilliant beam of light upon the iron safe. At the moment when Holmes struck the light I heard a low. the door of which was ajar. It was a singular sight which met our eyes. “It is a swamp adder!” cried Holmes. which seemed to be bound tightly round his head. I could. how we conveyed her by the morning train to the care of her good aunt at Harrow.

Of course he must recall the snake before the morning light revealed it to the victim. Then I thought of the whistle. The metallic clang heard by Miss Stoner was obviously caused by her stepfather hastily closing the door of his safe upon its terrible occupant. The rapidity with which such a poison would take effect would also. An inspection of his chair showed me that he had been in the habit of stand- ing on it. Some of the blows of my cane came home and roused its snakish temper. and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience. from his point of view. to return to him when summoned. It would be a sharp-eyed coroner. the saucer of milk. and I instantly lit the light and attacked it. but sooner or later she must fall a victim. indeed. perhaps she might escape every night for a week. so that it flew upon the first person it saw. I heard the creature hiss as I have no doubt that you did also. The sight of the safe.” “With the result of driving it through the ventilator. probably by the use of the milk which we saw. In this way I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr.of using a form of poison which could not possibly be discovered by any chemical test was just such a one as would occur to a clever and ruthless man who had had an Eastern training. Grimesby Roylott’s death. and the loop of whipcord were enough to finally dispel any doubts which may have remained. with the certainty that it would crawl down the rope and land on the bed. “I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room. It might or might not bite the occupant. He had trained it. Having once made up my mind.” “And also with the result of causing it to turn upon its master at the other side. He would put it through this ventilator at the hour that he thought best. be an advantage.” . which of course would be necessary in order that he should reach the ventilator. you know the steps which I took in order to put the matter to the proof. who could distinguish the two little dark punctures which would show where the poison fangs had done their work.

The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb .

.

“Stop it!” I cried. a worthy fellow very kindly escorted me here. then he couldn’t slip away. but the other was so strange in its inception and so dramatic in its details that it may be the more worthy of being placed upon record.” “What is it. “I thought I’d bring him round myself. which was mottled all over with bloodstains. I understand. It was in the summer of ’89. for solution during the years of our intimacy. There he is. “I’ve got him here. My practice had steadily increased.” he gasped. “he’s all right. Victoria Street (3rd floor). but he was exceedingly pale and gave me the impression of a man who was suffering from some strong agitation. 16A. like all such narratives. I entered my consulting-room and found a gentleman seated by the table. however. . sitting down in my librarychair. Victor Hatherley.” “Oh. “That’s better!” said he. He laughed very heartily. I gave the maid a card. for I knew by experience that railway cases were seldom trivial. and that of Colonel Warburton’s madness. I came in by train this morning. hydraulic engineer. It was useless. that the events occurred which I am now about to summarise. came out of the room and closed the door tightly behind him. and the lapse of two years has hardly served to weaken the effect. not long after my marriage.O The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb “It’s a new patient. Drink this. “pull yourself together!” and I poured out some water from a caraffe. which is in itself a monotonous occupation. not more than five-andtwenty. One morning. with a high. Hatherley’s thumb. this trusty tout. He was quietly dressed in a suit of heather tweed with a soft cloth cap which he had laid down upon my books. at a little before seven o’clock. or rather to the place where my thumb used to be. Doctor. which it took all his strength of mind to control. The story has. One of these. He was off in one of those hysterical outbursts which come upon a strong nature when some great crisis is over and gone.” he whispered. very weary and pale-looking.” said I. although I continually visited him and occasionally even persuaded him to forgo his Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us. and the colour began to come back to his bloodless cheeks. I have my dooties. even if it gave my friend fewer openings for those deductive methods of reasoning by which he achieved such remarkable results. “You are fresh from a night journey. I had returned to civil practice and had finally abandoned Holmes in his Baker Street rooms. the guard. “but I have had a very serious accident during the night. leaning back in his chair and shaking his sides. perhaps you would kindly attend to my thumb. for his manner suggested that it was some strange creature which he had caged up in my room. Round one of his hands he had a handkerchief wrapped. masculine face. I got a few patients from among the officials. there were only two which I was the means of introducing to his notice—that of Mr. I believe. “I am sorry to knock you up so early.” I took it up and glanced at it. Doctor. and abode of my morning visitor. “I regret that I have kept you waiting.” said he. style. Presently he came to himself once more. All my medical instincts rose up against that laugh. As I descended.” And off he went. I dressed hurriedly. was never weary of advertising my virtues and of endeavouring to send me on every sufferer over whom he might have any influence. Of these the latter may have afforded a finer field for an acute and original observer.” said he.” 227 f all the problems which have been submitted to my friend. Sherlock Holmes. At the time the circumstances made a deep impression upon me. “Mr. I was awakened by the maid tapping at the door to announce that two men had come from Paddington and were waiting in the consulting-room. and the mystery clears gradually away as each new discovery furnishes a step which leads on to the complete truth. my old ally. “I have been making a fool of myself. and hastened downstairs. but. with a strong. I must go now. ringing note.” he whispered. He was young.” I dashed some brandy into the water.” That was the name. all safe and sound. and as I happened to live at no very great distance from Paddington Station. without even giving me time to thank him. “Not at all. jerking his thumb over his shoulder. Mr. whom I had cured of a painful and lingering disease. “And now. but I see that she has left it upon the side-table. then?” I asked. its effect is much less striking when set forth en bloc in a single half-column of print than when the facts slowly evolve before your own eyes. and laughed. been told more than once in the newspapers. my night could not be called monotonous. and on inquiring at Paddington as to where I might find a doctor. Doctor. just the same as you. I should say.

I shall have to tell my tale to the police.” “Thank you. the well-known firm. dressed it.” “You horrify me. I shall not feel easy until I have told my story. but. We shall just be in time to have a little breakfast with him. Tell us what you can.” said my patient. lounging about his sitting-room in his dressing-gown. “if it is anything in the nature of a problem which you desire to see solved.” “It is a question of hydraulics. and we listened in silence to the strange story which our visitor detailed to us. for it is a very extraordinary one. I’ll take you round to him myself. cleaned it. between ourselves. “Good heavens!” I cried. “Capital! Between your brandy and your bandage. When I came to I found that it was still bleeding.” said he.” said he. It is evidently trying to your nerves. though of course I must use the official police as well. I should strongly recommend you to come to my friend. It had been hacked or torn right out from the roots.” “Excellent! You should have been a surgeon. examining the wound. no. it did. and I have not much in the way of proof with which to back it up.” said I. having served my time.” “Oh. It must have bled considerably. “and I should be very glad if he would take 228 the matter up. He received us in his quietly genial fashion. and having also come into a fair sum .” answered my visitor. all carefully dried and collected on the corner of the mantelpiece.” “A thing like a cleaver.” “Oh. Do you feel equal to it?” “Yes. reading the agony column of The Times and smoking his before-breakfast pipe. I was very weak. before you go to the official police. not now. I shall take up as little of your valuable time as possible. placed a pillow beneath his head. and I have had considerable experience of my work during the seven years that I was apprenticed to Venner & Matheson. and joined us in a hearty meal. lie down there and make yourself absolutely at home.” “Yes. By profession I am a hydraulic engineer. “You must know.” “Then my servant will call a cab. “that I am an orphan and a bachelor. residing alone in lodgings in London. explained the matter shortly to my wife. you see. and laid a glass of brandy and water within his reach. There were four protruding fingers and a horrid red. Mr. ordered fresh rashers and eggs.” “I should be immensely obliged to you.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb He unwound the handkerchief and held out his hand.” I rushed upstairs. if it were not for the convincing evidence of this wound of mine. Would you give me an introduction to him?” “I’ll do better. so I tied one end of my handkerchief very tightly round the wrist and braced it up with a twig. even if they believe me. the clues which I can give them are so vague that it is a question whether justice will be done. “Pray.” said he. which was composed of all the plugs and dottles left from his smokes of the day before. Sherlock Holmes was. I presume?” “By no means. It gave even my hardened nerves a shudder to look at it. and. “this is a terrible injury. When it was concluded he settled our new acquaintance upon the sofa. I should be surprised if they believed my statement. and I think that your breakfast has completed the cure. and came within my own province. “How is that?” I asked when I had finished. I have heard of that fellow.” “We’ll call a cab and go together. and I think that I must have been senseless for a long time. heavy-lidded expression which veiled his keen and eager nature. and I shall be with you in an instant.” “Ha!” cried I.” I sponged the wound. spongy surface where the thumb should have been. I fainted when it was done. Mr. Sherlock Holmes. so I shall start at once upon my peculiar experiences. “but I have felt another man since the doctor bandaged me.” “Perhaps you had better not speak of the matter.” “This has been done. and finally covered it over with cotton wadding and carbolised bandages. “by a very heavy and sharp instrument. “It is easy to see that your experience has been no common one. and in five minutes was inside a hansom. “An accident. of Greenwich. Hatherley.” Holmes sat in his big armchair with the weary. but stop when you are tired and keep up your strength with a little stimulant. but I have had a good deal to go through. Two years ago. while I sat opposite to him.” “What! a murderous attack?” “Very murderous indeed. as I expected. driving with my new acquaintance to Baker Street. He lay back without wincing. though he bit his lip from time to time. I feel a new man.

‘May I ask who it was who gave me so good a character?’ “ ‘Well. “Yesterday. with something of a German accent. but the words came to my lips. and after? No reference to the matter at all. and I came to believe that I should never have any practice at all. “ ‘Mr. from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon. He was plainly but neatly dressed. ‘you may absolutely depend upon my doing so. for his eye was bright. His whole face sharpened away into nose and chin. either in word or writing?’ “ ‘I have already given you my word. and that is absolutely all that my profession has brought me. Mr.’ said he.’ “He looked very hard at me as I spoke. and it seemed to me that I had never seen so suspicious and questioning an eye.’ “ ‘Precisely so. To me it has been exceptionally so. What do you think of such a commission as that?’ “ ‘The work appears to be light and the pay munificent.’ “ ‘There is a drive. I understand that it was on a professional matter that you wished to speak to me?’ “ ‘Undoubtedly so. and within seven miles of Reading. My gross takings amount to £27 10s. but an hour’s would be nearer the mark. Hatherley?’ said he.’ “I bowed. Every day. I have it from the same source that you are both an orphan and a bachelor and are residing alone in London. Yet this emaciation seemed to be his natural habit. ‘my time is of value. and of something akin to fear had begun to rise within me at the strange antics of this fleshless man. But you will find that all I say is really to the point. but absolute secrecy is quite essential—absolute secrecy. ‘You have been recommended to me. and darting like lightning across the room he flung open the door. you understand. perhaps it is better that I should not tell you that just at this moment. I suppose there would be no chance of . “ ‘That’s all right.’ “ ‘Where to?’ “ ‘To Eyford.’ Heaven forgive me for that last sentence. I do not think that I have ever seen so thin a man. “ ‘How would fifty guineas for a night’s work suit you?’ he asked. “ ‘Do you promise. I have a professional commission for you. “ ‘Yes. Close at his heels came the colonel himself. a man rather over the middle size. ‘but you will excuse me if I say that I cannot see how all this bears upon my professional qualifications.’ “ ‘I say a night’s work. During two years I have had three consultations and one small job. Even my dread of losing a client could not restrain me from showing my impatience. ‘I know that clerks are sometimes curious as to their master’s affairs. I simply want your opinion about a hydraulic stamping machine which has got out of gear. until at last my heart began to sink.’ “ ‘That is quite correct. I should judge. “I suppose that everyone finds his first independent start in business a dreary experience. “A feeling of repulsion. and due to no disease. If you show us what is wrong we shall soon set it right ourselves. and the skin of his cheeks was drawn quite tense over his outstanding bones. and his age. and his bearing assured. then?’ “ ‘Yes. “ ‘I beg that you will state your business.’ “ ‘I shall come down in a carriage to meet you.’ I answered. The passage outside was empty. but of an exceeding thinness. I waited in my little den.’ said I.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb of money through my poor father’s death. then?’ said he at last. I determined to start in business for myself and took professional chambers in Victoria Street. his step brisk. It is a little place near the borders of Oxfordshire. Hatherley. “ ‘Most admirably. as being a man who is not only proficient in his profession but is also discreet and capable of preserving a secret. There is a train from Paddington which would bring you there at about 11. my clerk entered to say there was a gentleman waiting who wished to see me upon business. It is a good seven miles from Eyford Station. in Berkshire.’ “ ‘Then we can hardly get there before midnight. coming back.’ “ ‘Very good. too. He brought up a card. just as I was thinking of leaving the office. We shall want you to come tonight by the last train. with the name of ‘Colonel Lysander Stark’ engraved upon it. sir. I promise.’ said I.15. however. feeling as flattered as any young man would at such an address. and of course we may expect that more from a man who is alone than from one who lives in the bosom of his family. our little place is quite out in the country. Now we can talk in safety. during.’ 229 “ ‘If I promise to keep a secret. would be nearer forty than thirty.’ “ ‘Absolute and complete silence before.’ He suddenly sprang up.’ He drew up his chair very close to mine and began to stare at me again with the same questioning and thoughtful look.’ “ ‘Very good.

and there was no one upon the platform save a single sleepy porter with a lantern. Naturally. however. as I understand. I suppose that we are absolutely safe from eavesdroppers?’ “ ‘Entirely. This we have now been doing for some time. dank grasp. it would soon rouse inquiry. and in order to help us in our operations we erected a hydraulic press. This press. ‘I shall expect you. pressing my hand in a cold.’ “ ‘Ah!’ said he carelessly. However. has got out of order. and I reached the little dim-lit station after eleven o’clock. a fee which would buy an opinion from the very heads of your profession. ate a hearty supper. I found my acquaintance of the morning waiting in the shadow upon the other side. and we wish your 230 advice upon the subject. and his extreme anxiety lest I should tell anyone of my errand. is dug out like gravel from a pit. in the grounds of my neighbours. and of how very useful they would be to me. as you may both think. Could I not come at some more convenient hour?’ “ ‘We have judged it best that you should come late. and then. On the one hand. But that is a mere detail.’ “ ‘I shall certainly be there. if the facts came out. and started off. however.’ He rose as he spoke. for the fee was at least tenfold what I should have asked had I set a price upon my own services. I was glad. and if it once became known that we had hydraulic engineers coming to our little house. Mr. However. I hope that I make it all plain?’ “ ‘I quite follow you. and I could not think that his explanation of the fuller’s-earth was sufficient to explain the necessity for my coming at midnight. I found that this deposit was a comparatively small one. so as to remove them without revealing what they are. when I came to think it all over in cool blood I was very much astonished.’ said I. then. It is very natural that the pledge of secrecy which we have exacted from you should have aroused your curiosity. “Well. however. On examining it. I should be compelled to stop the night.15. Still. the face and manner of my patron had made an unpleasant impression upon me. there is plenty of time to do so. “At Reading I had to change not only my carriage but my station. ‘Not at all. I took a few of my friends into the secret. I was in time for the last train to Eyford. which.’ “ ‘Yes. at Eyford at 11. having obeyed to the letter the injunction as to holding my tongue. I threw all fears to the winds. and they suggested that we should quietly and secretly work our own little deposit and that in this way we should earn the money which would enable us to buy the neighbouring fields. Hatherley. a young and unknown man. however. it was to my interest to buy their land before they discovered its true value.’ said I. I was fortunate enough to discover that there was a deposit of fuller’s-earth in one of my fields.’ “ ‘That is very awkward. I was the only passenger who got out there. and it was possible that this order might lead to other ones. however.’ “ ‘Some little time ago I bought a small place—a very small place—within ten miles of Reading.’ He looked at me with a last long. ‘The only point which I could not quite understand was what use you could make of a hydraulic press in excavating fuller’s-earth.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb a train back. On the other hand. we could easily give you a shake-down. I have no wish to commit you to anything without your having it all laid before you. of course. I should like. however.’ “ ‘Then the matter stands thus. he hurried from the room. and then. and that it formed a link between two very much larger ones upon the right and left—both of them.’ “ ‘And not a word to a soul. We compress the earth into bricks. if you would like to draw out of the business. Without a word he grasped my arm and hurried me . These good people were absolutely ignorant that their land contained that which was quite as valuable as a goldmine. drove to Paddington. That is why I have made you promise me that you will not tell a human being that you are going to Eyford to-night.’ “I thought of the fifty guineas. it would be good-bye to any chance of getting these fields and carrying out our plans. and I have shown you how I trust you. It is to recompense you for any inconvenience that we are paying to you. as I have already explained. questioning gaze.’ “ ‘Quite so. ‘we have our own process. to understand a little more clearly what it is that you wish me to do. ‘I shall be very happy to accommodate myself to your wishes. We guard our secret very jealously. and that it is only found in one or two places in England?’ “ ‘I have heard so. but unfortunately I had no capital by which I could do this. As I passed out through the wicket gate. of course. at this sudden commission which had been intrusted to me. You are probably aware that fuller’s-earth is a valuable product. I have taken you fully into my confidence now.

that we were in the country. At last. he walked towards me again with the lamp in his hand.” “Away we went then. Colonel Lysander Stark had said that it was only seven miles. south. with a round table in the centre. and the carriage came to a stand. the door of my room swung slowly open. There was an old clock ticking loudly somewhere in the passage. but an oak shutter. and I was aware. She held up one shaking finger to warn me to be silent. throwing open another door. on which several German books were scattered. He drew up the windows on either side. was folded across it. but they were made of frosted glass. “I glanced at the books upon the table. fresh and glossy. It was a wonderfully silent house. pushing her back into the room from whence she had come. and vanished into the darkness. the bumping of the road was exchanged for the crisp smoothness of a gravel-drive. whispered something in her ear. It grew broader. that was all I knew. humming a tune under my breath to keep up my spirits and feeling that I was thoroughly earning my fifty-guinea fee. pulled me swiftly into a porch which gaped in front of us. or west I had no idea. to speak calmly. ‘I shall not keep you waiting an instant. only one. like those of a frightened horse. and in spite of my ignorance of German I could see that two of them were treatises on science. The instant that I had crossed the threshold the door slammed heavily behind us. so that I failed to catch the most fleeting glance of the front of the house. after all. however. and the conversation soon flagged. more than once when I glanced in his direction.” “One horse?” interjected Holmes. as I followed after him. her eyes glancing back. and. ‘I would go. that he was looking at me with great intensity. so the place might not be so secluded.” “Did you observe the colour?” “Yes. and a woman appeared with a lamp in her hand.” “Thank you. and we drove for at least an hour. “ ‘I would go. east. the others being volumes of poetry. and I heard faintly the rattle of the wheels as the carriage drove away. Now and then I hazarded some remark to break the monotony of the journey.’ said she. Then I walked across to the window. and the colonel fumbled about looking for matches and muttering under his breath. and the sight sent a chill to my own heart. that it must have been nearer twelve. I could see that she was pretty. from the rate that we seemed to go.’ said he. and from the gloss with which the light shone upon her dark dress I knew that it 231 was a rich material. I am sorry to have interrupted you. the door of which was standing open. She spoke a few words in a foreign tongue in a tone as though asking a question.’ said he. and she shot a few whispered words of broken English at me. right out of the carriage and into the hall. but otherwise everything was deadly still. little. Colonel Stark went up to her. Who were these German people. but I should think. Colonel Stark laid down the lamp on the top of a harmonium beside the door. I could see at a glance that she was sick with fear. We stepped. but the colonel answered only in monosyllables. Suddenly a door opened at the other end of the passage. golden bar of light shot out in our direction. and from the time that we took. The woman was standing in the aperture. I saw it by the side-lights when I was stepping into the carriage. and a long. and away we went as fast as the horse could go. tapped on the wood-work. heavily barred. without any preliminary sound in the midst of the utter stillness. “ ‘Perhaps you will have the kindness to wait in this room for a few minutes. Yet it was quite certain. I . For that matter. for we lurched and jolted terribly. as it seemed to me. I paced up and down the room. pushing her face forward and peering at us. into the gloom behind her. and then. hoping that I might catch some glimpse of the country-side. Reading. as it were. trying hard. from the absolute stillness. the darkness of the hall behind her. but whether north. plainly furnished room. were within that radius. It was a quiet.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb into a carriage. and what were they doing living in this strange. out-of-the-way place? And where was the place? I was ten miles or so from Eyford. and when my companion answered in a gruff monosyllable she gave such a start that the lamp nearly fell from her hand. The country roads seem to be not very good in that part of the world. “Yes. “Suddenly. “It was pitch dark inside the house. It was a chestnut. and possibly other large towns. and I could make out nothing save the occasional bright blur of a passing light. I tried to look out of the windows to see something of where we were. Pray continue your most interesting statement. the yellow light from my lamp beating upon her eager and beautiful face.” “Tired-looking or fresh?” “Oh. He sat at my side in silence all the time. A vague feeling of uneasiness began to steal over me. which she held above her head. Colonel Lysander Stark sprang out.

but I had not forgotten the warnings of the lady. and which transmit and multiply it in the manner which is familiar to you. the thresholds of which were hollowed out by the generations who had crossed them. the colonel first with the lamp. ‘actually within the hydraulic press. which he unlocked. I fear that you have felt the draught.’ 232 “We went upstairs together. and I examined the machine very thoroughly.’ said I. of my wearisome journey. and I pointed it out to my companions. ‘For the love of Heaven!’ she whispered.’ “ ‘I had better put my hat on. I was under the impression that I left this door shut just now. with corridors. ‘Perhaps we had better proceed to business. and the sound of several footsteps was heard upon the stairs.’ said I. who followed my remarks very carefully and asked several practical questions as to how they should proceed to set it right. With a stout bearing. while the plaster was peeling off the walls.’ she went on.’ “ ‘But. and the colonel ushered me in. ‘You can pass through the door. though her manner had shaken me more than I cared to confess. There are small lateral columns of water outside which receive the force. ‘I have not yet done what I came for. Perhaps you will have the goodness to look it over and to show us how we can set it right. madam. you dig fuller’s-earth in the house?’ “ ‘No. She listened for an instant. “ ‘This is my secretary and manager.’ “ ‘What. however. and vanished as suddenly and as noiselessly as she had come. and of the unpleasant night which seemed to be before me. ‘By the way. ‘I opened the door myself because I felt the room to be a little close. then. There were no carpets and no signs of any furniture above the ground floor. But never mind that. Was it all to go for nothing? Why should I slink away without having carried out my commission. who was introduced to me as Mr. no. the fat manager and I behind him.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb should not stay here. for all I knew. “Colonel Lysander Stark stopped at last before a low door.’ said the colonel. I suppose. “ ‘We are now. I thought of my fiftyguinea fee. An examination showed that one of the india-rubber bands which was round the head of a driving-rod had shrunk so as not quite to fill the socket along which it worked. I still shook my head and declared my intention of remaining where I was. It was a labyrinth of an old house.’ “ ‘It is not worth your while to wait.’ And then. ‘Mr. but I could see from the little that he said that he was at least a fellowcountryman. it is in the house. passages. which allowed a regurgitation of water through one of the side cylinders. unhealthy blotches. I tried to put on as unconcerned an air as possible. narrow winding staircases. There is no good for you to do.’ “I took the lamp from him. in which the three of us could hardly get at one time. The machine goes readily enough. The ceiling of this small chamber is really the end of the descending piston. This is only where we compress it. I knew at once by the whishing sound that there was a slight leakage. and it would be a particularly unpleasant thing for us if anyone were to turn it on.’ “ ‘On the contrary. threw up her hands with a despairing gesture. and I kept a keen eye upon my two companions. When I had made it clear to them. It was indeed a gigantic one. and it comes down with the force of many tons upon this metal floor. and little low doors. She was about to renew her entreaties when a door slammed overhead.’ said he. no. Within was a small. When I passed outside. be a monomaniac. and capable of exercising enormous pressure. with her hands wrung together. I cannot possibly leave until I have seen the machine. ‘get away from here before it is too late!’ “But I am somewhat headstrong by nature. she suddenly threw aside her constraint and made a step forward. and without the payment which was my due? This woman might. Ferguson and I will take you up to see the machine.’ “ ‘Oh. I returned to the main chamber of the machine and took a good look at it to satisfy . Ferguson. and the more ready to engage in an affair when there is some obstacle in the way. Ferguson appeared to be a morose and silent man.’ said he. even though I disregarded them. and pressed down the levers which controlled it. “The newcomers were Colonel Lysander Stark and a short thick man with a chinchilla beard growing out of the creases of his double chin. no one hinders.’ “He shot one of his suspicious looks at me. seeing that I smiled and shook my head. and the damp was breaking through in green. therefore. but there is some stiffness in the working of it. All we wish you to do is to examine the machine and to let us know what is wrong with it. This was clearly the cause of the loss of power. square room. Ferguson remained outside. and it has lost a little of its force.

through the window of which the moon was shining brightly. 233 “I have said that though the floor and ceiling were of iron.’ said she. . then at any risks I was determined to go back to her assistance.’ “The instant that I uttered the words I regretted the rashness of my speech. I had stooped and was scraping at this to see exactly what it was when I heard a muttered exclamation in German and saw the cadaverous face of the colonel looking down at me. and did not give in the least to my kicks and shoves. I rushed across the bedroom. The panel had closed again behind me. and turned the key in the lock. He had set the engine at work. Oh. as none knew better than myself. I staggered to my feet and ran with her along the corridor and down a winding stair. but she threw her arms round him and tried to hold him back. “ ‘Come! come!’ she cried breathlessly. If she were ill-used. The walls were of wood. “I was recalled to myself by a frantic plucking at my wrist. If I lay on my face the weight would come upon my spine. which broadened and broadened as a small panel was pushed backward. It was the same good friend whose warning I had so foolishly rejected. at least. and when I came to examine it I could see a crust of metallic deposit all over it. My guide stopped and looked about her like one who is at her wit’s end. ‘I was admiring your fuller’s-earth.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb my own curiosity. His face set hard.’ “As she spoke a light sprang into view at the further end of the passage. It was the clank of the levers and the swish of the leaking cylinder. The lamp still stood upon the floor where I had placed it when examining the trough. The thought had hardly flashed through my mind before he was at the door. and dragged with my nails at the lock. but I hesitated to jump until I should have heard what passed between my saviour and the ruffian who pursued me. and a baleful light sprang up in his grey eyes. with a force which must within a minute grind me to a shapeless pulp. “I felt angry at having been tricked by so elaborate a story as that which he had told me. and yet. ‘Hullo!’ I yelled. and it could not be more than thirty feet down. had I the nerve to lie and look up at that deadly black shadow wavering down upon me? Already I was unable to stand erect. I saw a thin line of yellow light between two of the boards. but. For an instant I could hardly believe that here was indeed a door which led away from death. and lay half-fainting upon the other side. jerkily.’ said he. I threw myself. told me how narrow had been my escape. ‘Hullo! Colonel! Let me out!’ “And then suddenly in the silence I heard a sound which sent my heart into my mouth. but the floor consisted of a large iron trough. while a woman bent over me and tugged at me with her left hand. ‘you shall know all about the machine. and I shuddered to think of that dreadful snap. “ ‘What are you doing there?’ he asked. perhaps.’ He took a step backward. ‘They will be here in a moment. while she held a candle in her right. slammed the little door. pushing his way past her. the walls were of wood. The latter led to another broad passage.’ said I. but come!’ “This time. and with my hand upraised I could feel its hard. and I saw the lean figure of Colonel Lysander Stark rushing forward with a lantern in one hand and a weapon like a butcher’s cleaver in the other. Then she threw open a door which led into a bedroom. do not waste the so-precious time. when my eye caught something which brought a gush of hope back to my heart. I implored the colonel to let me out. How quiet and sweet and wholesome the garden looked in the moonlight. and looked out. ‘It is high. I rushed towards it and pulled at the handle. I did not scorn her advice. By its light I saw that the black ceiling was coming down upon me. As I gave a last hurried glance around. but the crash of the lamp. “ ‘It is your only chance. screaming. rough surface. I clambered out upon the sill. for it would be absurd to suppose that so powerful an engine could be designed for so inadequate a purpose. slowly. ‘I think that I should be better able to advise you as to your machine if I knew what the exact purpose was for which it was used. against the door. one answering the other from the floor on which we were and from the one beneath. The next instant I threw myself through. but it may be that you can jump it. and a few moments afterwards the clang of the two slabs of metal. Then it flashed through my mind that the pain of my death would depend very much upon the position in which I met it. Easier the other way. and I found myself lying upon the stone floor of a narrow corridor. but the remorseless clanking of the levers drowned my cries. The ceiling was only a foot or two above my head. They will see that you are not there. flung open the window. “ ‘Very well. and just as we reached it we heard the sound of running feet and the shouting of two voices. It was obvious at a glance that the story of the fuller’s-earth was the merest fabrication. but it was quite secure.

I glanced down at my hand. for I understood that I was far from being out of danger yet. sir. I went into the station and asked about the morning train. and I fell into the garden below. Bradstreet had spread an ordnance map of the county out upon the seat and was busy with his compasses drawing a circle with Eyford for its centre. I determined to wait until I got back to town before telling my story to the police. of Scotland Yard. upon my approaching it. Were it not for the ugly wound upon my hand. for the first time. to be the very station at which I had arrived upon the previous night. There would be one to Reading in less than an hour. the hydraulic engineer. rushing to the window. on the 9th inst. I was conscious of a dull pain. saw that my thumb had been cut off and that the blood was pouring from my wound. every moment now is precious. I found. for the moon had sunk. The smarting of it recalled in an instant all the particulars of my night’s adventure. a hydraulic engineer. and then. Suddenly.” Some three hours or so afterwards we were all in the train together. ‘You will be the ruin of us. He has seen too much. “It appeared in all the papers about a year ago. Was dressed in—’ etc. weak and ill as I was. But to my astonishment. “Half dazed. so I picked myself up and rushed off among the bushes as hard as I could run. a plain-clothes man. and. I inquired of him whether he had ever heard of Colonel Lysander Stark. bound from Reading to the little Berkshire village. and was hanging by the hands to the sill. aged twenty-six. Let me pass.” “Good heavens!” cried my patient.” said he. The name was strange to him. so if you feel equal to it we shall go down to Scotland Yard at once as a preliminary to starting for Eyford. as had been there when I arrived. Inspector Bradstreet. and I sprang to my feet with the feeling that I might hardly yet be safe from my pursuers. “Here is an advertisement which will interest you. Mr.” said he. I had let myself go. my grip loosened. “How long I remained unconscious I cannot tell. It was a little past six when I arrived. like those out-and-out pirates who will leave no survivor from a captured ship. and then the doctor was kind enough to bring me along here. and a bright morning was breaking when I came to myself. and just a little lower down was a long building. and my coat-sleeve was drenched with blood from my wounded thumb. neither house nor garden were to be seen.” We both sat in silence for some little time after listening to this extraordinary narrative. but there came a sudden buzzing in my ears. Left his lodgings at ten o’clock at night. all that had passed during those dreadful hours might have been an evil dream.” “And you think that they brought you back all that way when you were unconscious?” . I endeavoured to tie my handkerchief round it. which proved. “That circle is drawn at a radius of ten miles from the village. There were Sherlock Holmes. Jeremiah Hayling. I had been lying in an angle of the hedge close by the highroad. ‘remember your promise after the last time. Elise!’ he shouted. You said ten miles. and myself. The same porter was on duty. so I went first to have my wound dressed. Well. I put the case into your hands and shall do exactly what you advise.” “It was an hour’s good drive. he will be silent!’ “ ‘You are mad. when his blow fell. as I ran. The place we want must be somewhere near that line. My clothes were all sodden with dew. a deadly dizziness and sickness came over me. struggling to break away from her. Was 234 there a police-station anywhere near? There was one about three miles off. however. and next moment I fell in a dead faint among the rosebushes. etc. Then Sherlock Holmes pulled down from the shelf one of the ponderous commonplace books in which he placed his cuttings. he had not. He will be silent! Oh.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb “ ‘Fritz! Fritz!’ she cried in English. It must have been a very long time. Had he observed a carriage the night before waiting for me? No. “There you are. “I was shaken but not hurt by the fall. Listen to this: “ ‘Lost... when I came to look round me.” “Undoubtedly. and has not been heard of since. I think. cut at me with his heavy weapon. I fancy. who was absolutely determined that nothing should stand in the way of his little game. It is quite clear that the colonel was a cool and desperate man. “It was too far for me to go. You said it should not be again. Ha! That represents the last time that the colonel needed to have his machine overhauled. I say!’ He dashed her to one side. “Then that explains what the girl said. which was throbbing painfully.

“Of course there can be no doubt as to the nature of this gang. spouting fire at every chink and window. I have a confused memory. I never saw a more inexorable face in my life. “There is the gravel-drive.” “None at all. now!” cried the inspector. How could it be that if it had gone twelve miles over heavy roads?” “Indeed. but could get 235 no farther.” said Holmes. We have boxed the compass among us. Becher a German. while in the garden in front three fire-engines were vainly striving to keep the flames under. with a long. “No. too. Becher is an Englishman.” said I. now.” “And I say east. sir. or the morose Englishman. of having been lifted and conveyed somewhere. sir. and the whole place is in a blaze. a patient. But now. for the country is more deserted there. sir!” said the station-master. But he has a gentleman staying with him. I think that we have got them right enough.” said Bradstreet. in intense excitement. for they had covered their traces in a way that showed that they were very old hands. “Well. “They are coiners on a large scale. “you have formed your opinion! Come. at least. Early that morning a peasant had met a cart containing several people and some very bulky boxes driving rapidly in . very thin. and our friend says that he did not notice the carriage go up any. set fire to the wooden walls. As we rolled into Eyford Station we saw a gigantic column of smoke which streamed up from behind a small clump of trees in the neighbourhood and hung like an immense ostrich feather over the landscape. That second window is the one that I jumped from. “They have been turning out half-crowns by the thousand. I say it is south. yes.” “Well.The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb “They must have done so. “because there are no hills there. “Yes. though I very much fear that they are a good hundred miles off by now. This is my point.” “Come. Perhaps the villain was softened by the woman’s entreaties.” said the inspector. “A house on fire?” asked Bradstreet as the train steamed off again on its way. laughing. We even traced them as far as Reading. thanks to this lucky chance. “There are several quiet little villages up there. and I only wish I knew at what point upon it the folk that we are in search of are to be found. Nothing simpler. though no doubt they were too excited in the chase after you to observe it at the time. who is a foreigner. “That’s it!” cried Hatherley. The road topped a low hill. when it was crushed in the press.” said my patient.” “Oh. you can. for from that day to this no word has ever been heard either of the beautiful woman. “Six out and six back. for those criminals were not destined to fall into the hands of justice. and he looks as if a little good Berkshire beef would do him no harm. Becher’s. “you have had your revenge upon them. we shall see who agrees with you. “I am for west.” The station-master had not finished his speech before we were all hastening in the direction of the fire. and there are the rose-bushes where I lay. “Really.” “Oh. it is a likely ruse enough. and there was a great widespread whitewashed building in front of us. There can be no question that it was your oil-lamp which.” observed Bradstreet thoughtfully.” “I hardly think that likely. but it has got worse.” broke in the engineer.” “Whose house is it?” “Dr. You say yourself that the horse was fresh and glossy when you got in.” said Holmes quietly.” “Tell me. and have used the machine to form the amalgam which has taken the place of silver.” He placed his finger in the centre of the circle.” “We have known for some time that a clever gang was at work. “This is where we shall find them.” remarked the plain-clothes man. we shall soon clear up all that. “is Dr. the sinister German. Who do you give your casting vote to?” “You are all wrong.” But the inspector was mistaken. as I understand.” cried the inspector.” “And I am for north. “When did it break out?” “I hear that it was during the night. “is why they should have spared you when they found you lying fainting in the garden.” “But the twelve-mile drive?” gasped Hatherley. “it’s a very pretty diversity of opinion.” said Holmes.” And Holmes’ fears came to be realised.” said I. sharp nose?” The station-master laughed heartily.” “What I cannot understand. Now keep your eyes open in this crowd for your friends of last night.” “I think I could lay my finger on it.” “But we can’t all be. Dr. I have drawn my circle. and there isn’t a man in the parish who has a better-lined waistcoat.

About sunset. however. which may have explained the presence of those bulky boxes which have been already referred to. but no coins were to be found. had assisted the woman to bear the unconscious man out of the way of danger. you know. and even Holmes’ ingenuity failed ever to discover the least clue as to their whereabouts. Large masses of nickel and of tin were discovered stored in an out-house. and the whole place been reduced to such absolute ruin that. you have only to put it into words to gain the reputation of being excellent company for the remainder of your existence.” said Holmes.the direction of Reading. one of whom had remarkably small feet and the other unusually large ones. and still more so by discovering a newly severed human thumb upon a window-sill of the second floor. not a trace remained of the machinery which had cost our unfortunate acquaintance so dearly. He had evidently been carried down by two persons. “Well.” . The firemen had been much perturbed at the strange arrangements which they had found within. save some twisted cylinders and iron piping. but not before the roof had fallen in.” said our engineer ruefully as we took our seats to return once more to London. which told us a very plain tale. and they subdued the flames. and what have I gained?” “Experience. but there all traces of the fugitives disappeared. being less bold or less murderous than his companion. On the whole. their efforts were at last successful. “Indirectly it may be of value. laughing. “it has been a pretty business for me! I have lost my thumb and I have lost a fifty-guinea fee. it was most probable that the silent Englishman. How our hydraulic engineer had been con- veyed from the garden to the spot where he recovered his senses might have remained forever a mystery were it not for the soft mould.

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor .

.

“He says four o’clock. I hope that you will postpone it. without affectation. as this matter is of paramount importance.” said I ruefully. and its curious termination. I congratulate you.” “My dear fellow. with high autumnal winds. Turn over those papers and arrange the extracts in their order of time. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it. “Here he is. It is three now.’ “It is dated from Grosvenor Mansions. I had surrounded myself with a cloud of newspapers until at last. But if you have followed recent events so closely you must have read about Lord St. that that also may not be wanting in . “ ‘St. saturated with the news of the day.” He picked a red-covered volume from a line of books of reference beside the mantelpiece. sitting down and flattening it out upon his knee. therefore. to get clear upon the subject. I had remained indoors all day.” I remarked as he entered. for the weather had taken a sudden turn to rain. come. with the deepest interest. during the days when I was still sharing rooms with Holmes in Baker Street. should you have any other engagement at that time.” said he. written with a quill pen. and in return you must turn over these papers and let me have whatever bears upon the matter. however. distinctly professional. The latter is always instructive. and that he even thinks that it might be of some assistance.” “Not social.” “Then I have just time. however. if I remember right. and as my friend Sherlock Holmes had a considerable share in clearing the matter up. This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie. with your assistance. of Scotland Yard. He will be here in an hour. Sherlock Holmes: “ ‘Lord Backwater tells me that I may place implicit reliance upon your judgment and discretion.” remarked Holmes as he folded up the epistle. It was a few weeks before my own marriage. and their more piquant details have drawn the gossips away from this four-year-old drama. As I have reason to believe.” “I assure you. my correspondence has certainly the charm of variety. Simon and his wedding?” “Oh. have you not?” “It looks like it.” “That is well.T The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor this new investigation. while I take a glance as to who our client is. I have determined. Watson. for you will perhaps be able to post me up.” He broke the seal and glanced over the contents. that the status of my client is a matter of less moment to me than the interest of his case. You have been reading the papers diligently of late. Simon marriage. I feel that no memoir of him would be complete without some little sketch of this remarkable episode. pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. I read nothing except the criminal news and the agony column. watching the huge crest and monogram upon the envelope upon the table and wondering lazily who my friend’s noble correspondent could be. Simon. I will call at four o’clock in the afternoon. then?” “No. were from a fish-monger and a tidewaiter. “ ‘Yours faithfully. that he came home from an afternoon stroll to find a letter on the table waiting for him. I tossed them all aside and lay listless. With my body in one easy-chair and my legs upon another.” “Yes. “and the humbler are usually the more interesting.” “It is fortunate. and the noble lord has had the misfortune to get a smear of ink upon the outer side of his right little finger. “Here is a very fashionable epistle. Lestrade. “Oh. after all. Mr. it may prove to be something of interest. and.” “And from a noble client?” “One of the highest in England. The letter which I hold in my hand is from Lord St. “ ‘Lord Robert Walsingham de Vere 239 he Lord St. to call upon you and to consult you in reference to the very painful event which has occurred in connection with my wedding. Simon. and the Jezail bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my Afghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence. but he assures me that he sees no objection to your co-operation. It is just possible. that the full facts have never been revealed to the general public. This is what he says: “ ‘My dear Mr. “I have had nothing else to do. “Your morning letters. have long ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegroom moves. yes. is acting already in the matter. I will read it to you. smiling.” he answered.

whose graceful figure and striking face attracted much attention at the Westbury House festivities. thin legs towards the fire. This is more interesting than it promised to be. and Tudor on the distaff side.” “When did she vanish.” “They often vanish before the ceremony. stretching his long. there is nothing very instructive in all this. quite dramatic. as you see. if rumour is correct. Simon. is an only child. here it is: “ ‘There will soon be a call for protection in the marriage market. who has shown himself for over twenty years proof against the little god’s arrows. and the matter struck me as remarkable.” “Oh. One by one the management of the noble houses of Great Britain is passing into the hands of our fair cousins from across the Atlantic. very shortly take place. I feared to refer them to you. and Miss Hatty Doran. “There was a paragraph amplifying this in one of the society papers of the same week. ‘Singular Occurrence at a Fashionable Wedding’: .” “Such as they are. in fact. you mean the little problem of the Grosvenor Square furniture van. Born in 1846. Cal. Those are all the notices which appeared before the disappearance of the bride. second son of the Duke of Balmoral. the only daughter of Aloysius Doran. Simon has no property of his own save the small estate of Birchmoor.’ Hum! ‘Arms: Azure. Esq. it was obvious from the first. and it is currently reported that her dowry will run to considerably over the six figures. Two days later—that is.. Was UnderSecretary for the colonies in a late administration. for something more solid. yawning. I think that I must turn to you Watson.” remarked Holmes. his father.S.” “Here is the first notice which I can find. then?” “At the wedding breakfast. Lord St. but I cannot call to mind anything quite so prompt as this.’ He’s forty-one years of age. That is quite cleared up now—though.A. and that the party would return to the furnished house at Lancaster Gate which has been taken by Mr. second son of the Duke of Balmoral. indeed. “Oh. Then there is another note in the Morning Post to say that the marriage would be an absolutely quiet one. that only half a dozen intimate friends would be invited. the fascinating daughter of a California millionaire. yes. they are set forth in a single article of a morning paper of yesterday.” “Indeed. Ah. for the present free-trade principle appears to tell heavily against our home product. it is obvious that the Californian heiress is not the only gainer by an alliance which will enable her to make the easy and common transition from a Republican lady to a British peeress. U. “for the facts are quite recent. It is headed. however.” “Yes. and dates. as I knew that you had an inquiry on hand and that you disliked the intrusion of other matters. Hanover Square. it struck me as being a little out of the common. plenty.” “Terse and to the point. Simon. “The vanishing of the lady. which is mature for marriage. It is in the personal column of the Morning Post. Simon.The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor St. was at one time Secretary for Foreign Affairs. They inherit Plantagenet blood by direct descent. and as Lord St. George’s. Ha! Well. on Wednesday last—there is a curt announcement that the wedding had taken place. The Duke.” “Before the what?” asked Holmes with a start.’ ” “Anything else?” asked Holmes. near Petersfield. which I will read to you. Miss Doran.” said I. and that the honeymoon would be passed at Lord Backwater’s place. Pray give me the results of your newspaper selections. has now definitely announced his approaching marriage with 240 Miss Hatty Doran. and occasionally during the honeymoon. An important addition has been made during the last week to the list of the prizes which have been borne away by these charming invaders. three caltrops in chief over a fess sable. Pray let me have the details. As it is an open secret that the Duke of Balmoral has been compelled to sell his pictures within the last few years. between Lord Robert St..” “Perhaps we may make them less so. of San Francisco. with expectancies for the future. Aloysius Doran. that it would be at St. some weeks back: “ ‘A marriage has been arranged [it says] and will.” “I warn you that they are very incomplete.’ That is all.” “I have very little difficulty in finding what I want.

in the belief that. Simon. The ceremony. yellow gloves. but learned from her maid that she had only come up to her chamber for an instant. It appears that some little trouble was caused by a woman.’ ” “And is that all?” “Only one little item in another of the morning papers. nothing had transpired as to the whereabouts of the missing lady. high-nosed and pale. who had fortunately entered the house before this unpleasant interruption. so much public attention has now been drawn to it that no good purpose can be served by affecting to disregard what is a common subject for conversation.The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor “ ‘The family of Lord Robert St. with high collar. Simon. and we will talk this matter over. alleging that she had some claim upon Lord St. where breakfast had been prepared. Mr. Hanover Square. Simon has been thrown into the greatest consternation by the strange and painful episodes which have taken place in connection with his wedding. It appears that she was formerly a danseuse at the Allegro. however. from jealousy or some other motive. believing her to be with the company. and swinging in his right hand the cord which held his golden eyeglasses. Lord Eustace and Lady Clara St. Watson. This is my friend and colleague. The bride. Lord Backwater. black frock-coat. cultured face. no one being present save the father of the bride. Aloysius Doran. and light-coloured gaiters. instantly put themselves in communication with the police. in conjunction with the bridegroom. As to his dress. Dr. but it is a suggestive one. Draw up a little to the fire. In spite of the attempts of the friends to hush the matter up. and hurried down to the passage. the Duchess of Balmoral. with something perhaps of petulance about the mouth. He advanced slowly into the room. throwing open the door. and the whole case is in your hands now—so far as it has been set forth in the public press. It was only after a painful and prolonged scene that she was ejected by the butler and the footman. Aloysius Doran. has actually been arrested. turning his head from left to right. Simon (the younger brother and sister of the bridegroom). A gentleman entered. One of the footmen declared that he had seen a lady leave the house thus apparelled. On ascertaining that his daughter had disappeared. and yet his general appearance gave an undue impression of age. the lady who had caused the disturbance. white waistcoat. patent-leather shoes. Up to a late hour last night. as he swept off his very curly-brimmed hat.” “Lord Robert St.” “And it is—” “That Miss Flora Millar. Lord St. I have no doubt that this will prove to be our noble client. George’s. it was careful to the verge of foppishness. but had refused to credit that it was his mistress. was a very quiet one.” said Holmes. but it is only now that it has been possible to confirm the strange rumours which have been so persistently floating about. when she complained of a sudden indisposition and retired to her room. Mr. rising and bowing. There are rumours of foul play in the matter. well-opened eye of a man whose pleasant lot it had ever been to command and to be obeyed. and that she has known the bridegroom for some years. Aloysius Doran. as shortly announced in the papers of yesterday. who endeavoured to force her way into the house after the bridal party. “Pray take the basket-chair. Watson. her father followed her. “Good-day. if only as a check to my own memory. and Lady Alicia Whittington. whose name has not been ascertained. But there is a ring at the bell. and it is said that the police have caused the arrest of the woman who had caused the original disturbance. too. Do not dream of going. for he had a slight forward stoop and a little bend of the knees as he walked. for I very much prefer having a witness. Simon. she may have been concerned in the strange disappearance of the bride. which will probably result in a speedy clearing up of this very singu241 lar business. which was performed at St. and as the clock makes it a few minutes after four. occurred on the previous morning. was grizzled round the edges and thin upon the top. and with the steady. at Lancaster Gate.” . with a pleasant. His hair. His manner was brisk. I would not have missed it for worlds. had sat down to breakfast with the rest. Her prolonged absence having caused some comment. “ ‘The ceremony. Watson. caught up an ulster and bonnet.” “And an exceedingly interesting case it appears to be.” announced our pageboy. The whole party proceeded afterwards to the house of Mr. and very energetic inquiries are being made. There are no further particulars.

as to the disappearance of the bride. Holmes gazed long and earnestly at it. I presume that I may take it as correct—this article.” “Now. “that I extend to the affairs of my other clients the same secrecy which I promise to you in yours.” said he.” “And this. Not more than is usual in my family. and have now married her. as far as it goes.The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor “A most painful matter to me.” “Very naturally not. so that her education has come from Nature rather than from the schoolmaster. then. And on the morning of the wedding?” “She was as bright as possible—at least until after the ceremony. I understand. “Yes. of course. with a strong nature.” “Indeed! That is very interesting. nothing more. and she could see that I was amused. and came up by leaps and bounds.” “Of course! Very right! very right! I’m sure I beg pardon. It was not a photograph but an ivory miniature. to tell the truth. I understand that you have already managed several delicate cases of this sort. On the other hand. I believe that she is capable of heroic self-sacrifice and that anything dishonourable would be repugnant to her. really! I had no idea. And which king?” “The King of Scandinavia. sir. The incident however. Holmes.” said Holmes suavely. I met her several times.” “I beg pardon. though I presume that they were hardly from the same class of society. the large dark eyes. and you renewed your acquaintance?” “Yes. as you can most readily imagine. During that time she ran free in a mining camp and wandered through woods or mountains. “The young lady came to London. Simon glanced over it. Mr. I was about to say.” “She brought.” “Her father is very rich?” “He is said to be the richest man on the Pacific slope. Then he closed the locket and handed it back to Lord St. I am descending. I think that I may arrive at my facts most directly by questioning you. Holmes.” “Have you her photograph?” “I brought this with me.” “Did you become engaged then?” “No.” Lord St. for example. I saw then the first signs that I had ever seen that her temper was just a little sharp. it is correct. She is swift in making up her mind and fearless in carrying out her resolutions. and the exquisite mouth.” “When did you first meet Miss Hatty Doran?” “In San Francisco. became engaged to her. unfettered by any sort of traditions. She is impetuous—volcanic. I would not have given her the name which I have the honour to bear”—he gave a little stately cough—“had not I thought her to be at bottom a noble woman.” “No. I have already learned all that is in the public prints. a considerable dowry?” “A fair dowry.” “Pray do so.” “Oh.” “But you were on a friendly footing?” “I was amused by her society. “You see. since the marriage is a fait accompli?” “I really have made no inquiries on the subject.” “You were travelling in the States?” “Yes.” “But it needs a great deal of supplementing before anyone could offer an opinion. “my wife was twenty before her father became a rich man.” “And did you observe any change in her then?” “Well. Simon. Did you see Miss Doran on the day before the wedding?” “Yes. invested it.” “And how did he make his money?” “In mining. her father brought her over for this last London season. She is what we call in England a tomboy. He had nothing a few years ago. I am ready to give you any information which may assist you in forming an opinion. She kept talking of what we should do in our future lives. wild and free.” “Was she in good spirits?” “Never better.” “My last client of the sort was a king. As to my own case. was too trivial to . I have been cut to the quick.” “What! Had he lost his wife?” “You can understand. a year ago. and the artist had brought out the full effect of the lustrous black hair.” He opened a locket and showed us the full face of a very lovely woman.” “Thank you. Then he struck gold. what is your own impression as to the young lady’s—your wife’s character?” 242 The nobleman swung his glasses a little faster and stared down into the fire. Mr. remains to you.

I hardly noticed his appearance. as I understand. It is impossible to exclude them when the church is open.” “You did not overhear what they said?” “Lady St. She was quiet when she saw that there was no good in making a row.” “Quite so.” “And who is her maid?” “Alice is her name. for all that. in America they look upon these things in a different way. but exceedingly hot-headed and devotedly attached to me. She used to be at the Allegro. I had something else to think of. she seemed absurdly agitated over this trifling cause. and she had no just cause of complaint against me. it is a possible supposition. I have not treated her ungenerously. She was very independent in little matters like that. That is what Mr.” “Ah. she rose hurriedly. She wrote me dreadful letters when she heard that I was about to be married. and who had already made a disturbance at Mr. the reason why I had the marriage celebrated so quietly was that I feared lest there might be a scandal in the church. She is an American and came from California with her.” “Indeed! You say that there was a gentleman in the pew. muttered some words of apology. uttering very abusive expressions towards my wife. and it did not appear to be the worse for the fall. deposes that she went to her room. Doran’s door just after we returned. Alice. and your relations to her. Still. no.” “Oh. then. and.” “You think so. Mr.” “This gentleman was not one of your wife’s friends?” “No. returned from the wedding in a less cheerful frame of mind than she had gone to it. but I had foreseen the possibility of something of the sort. It seemed to me that her mistress allowed her to take great liberties. and she endeavoured to push her way in. “We have been on a friendly footing for some years—I may say on a very friendly footing. She was passing the front pew at the time. a woman who is now in custody. There was a moment’s delay. But you do not yourself look upon this as likely?” “I do not think Flora would hurt a fly. of course. thank goodness. Simon. but he was quite a common-looking person. who soon pushed her out again. She came to Mr. but you know what women are. she did not. and went out. Yet when I spoke to her of the matter. Flora was a dear little thing. And she was afterwards seen walking into Hyde Park in company with Flora Millar.” “Pray let us have it.” “But this maid.” “How long did she speak to this Alice?” “Oh. to tell the truth. She dropped her bouquet as we went towards the vestry. Some of the general public were present. a few minutes. Then. then?” “Oh. and in the carriage. I have no idea what she meant. and I had two police fellows there in private clothes.” “American slang is very expressive sometimes. And what did your wife do when she finished speaking to her maid?” “She walked into the breakfast-room.” “On your arm?” 243 “No. covered her bride’s dress with a long ulster. Doran’s house that morning.” “Lady St.” .The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor relate and can have no possible bearing upon the case. Simon shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows. I should like a few particulars as to this young lady. She never came back. she answered me abruptly. I call him a gentleman by courtesy. It is thought that Flora decoyed my wife out and laid some terrible trap for her. but the gentleman in the pew handed it up to her again. put on a bonnet. yes. of Scotland Yard. and even threatening her. yes. looks upon as so serious. But really I think that we are wandering rather far from the point.” “A confidential servant?” “A little too much so.” “Well. and left the room. on our way home. Holmes. after we had sat down for ten minutes or so.” “And she was seen walking with this very woman afterwards?” “Yes. alone. Lestrade. Simon said something about ‘jumping a claim. and it fell over into the pew. it is childish. What did she do on re-entering her father’s house?” “I saw her in conversation with her maid.” “Did your wife hear all this?” “No.’ She was accustomed to use slang of the kind. too?” “I did not say a probable one.” Lord St.

Since you ask me. I have been at work upon it all day.” “Who ever heard of such a mixed affair? Every clue seems to slip through my fingers. My whole examination served to turn my conjecture into a certainty. that she had become suddenly deranged?” “Well. I had formed my conclusions as to the case before our client came into the room. a pair of white satin shoes and a bride’s wreath and veil.” said Holmes. “There is a little nut for you to crack.” “Where. “You look dissatisfied. all discoloured and soaked in water.” “In heaven’s name. and bowing in a stately. what for?” “In search of the body of Lady St. then.” he remarked. I have only just heard the facts. Master Holmes. rising. which were quite as prompt. putting a new wedding-ring upon the top of the pile. and tumbled onto the floor a weddingdress of watered silk.” “And very wet it seems to have made you. Simon shook his head. when I consider that she has turned her back—I will not say upon me. With a short greeting he seated himself and lit the cigar which had been offered to him. May I ask whether you were seated at the breakfast-table so that you could see out of the window?” “We could see the other side of the road and the Park. I can make neither head nor tail of the business. really.” said Sherlock Holmes. Simon to honour my head by putting it on a level with his own. but my mind is made up.” “In short. however. really. oldfashioned manner he departed.” The official detective was attired in a pea-jacket and cravat. “There. and something on very much the same lines at Munich the year after the Franco-Prussian War. I have given you all the facts.” Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily.” “Should you be fortunate enough to solve this problem. I came to seek a theory. then?” asked Holmes with a twinkle in his eye. “It is very good of Lord St. but upon so much that many have aspired to without success—I can hardly explain it in any other fashion.” “Eh? What was that?” “I say that I have solved it. It is one of these cases—but.” “Oh. though none. “And now.” “And I feel dissatisfied. hullo. Lestrade! You will find an extra tumbler upon the sideboard. “Well. Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing.” said he. had the effect of causing some little nervous disturbance in my wife. which gave him a decidedly nautical appearance.” “Then perhaps you will kindly explain how it is that we found this in it?” He opened his bag as he spoke. jealousy is a strange transformer of characters. to quote Thoreau’s example. is my wife?” “That is a detail which I shall speedily supply. “Yes. I may say that it has occurred to me as possible that the excitement of this affair. smiling. here is Lestrade! Good-afternoon. Pray what is your own theory as to what took place?” “Well. “What’s up. I shall communicate with you.” “My dear Holmes!” “I have notes of several similar cases. as when you find a trout in the milk. Then I do not think that I need to detain you longer. Simon.” “Well. laughing. “I suppose you know all about it. and he carried a black canvas bag in his hand. “Why? What do you mean?” “Because you have just as good a chance of finding this lady in the one as in the other. the knowledge of preexisting cases which serves me so well. I have been dragging the Serpentine.” he snarled. as I remarked before. Simon marriage case. There was a parallel instance in Aberdeen some years back.” Lord St. not to propound one.” said Holmes laying his hand upon the arm of the pea-jacket.” “Without. “I am afraid that it will take wiser heads than yours or mine.The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor “Still. It is this infernal St. and there are cigars in the box.” “Really! You surprise me. “I think that I shall have a whisky and soda and a cigar after all this cross-questioning. indeed! Then you think that the Serpentine plays no part in the matter?” “I think it very unlikely. I think that I have nearly all my data. Simon.” .” said our client. certainly that is also a conceivable hypothesis. “Have you dragged the basin of Trafalgar Square fountain?” he asked. Lord St. the consciousness that she had made so immense a social stride.” Lestrade shot an angry glance at my companion. “I have solved it.” 244 “But I have heard all that you have heard.” “Quite so. however.

but there was a light in his eye which made me think that he had not been disappointed in his conclusions. rooms 8s. They have been identified as her clothes. This he unpacked with the help of a youth whom he had brought with him..” He took up the paper in a listless way. Come at once. “you’re looking at the wrong side!” “On the contrary.” he said. There is not. lunch 2s. I looked at it before. shook his head solemnly. a pˆ t´ de foie gras pie with a group of ancient ae and cobwebby bottles.” He slapped it down upon the table in front of him.” “I’ve wasted time enough. 6d.” “There’s nothing in it. indeed!” said my friend. It is most important.” “Very good. Just before nine o’clock Sherlock Holmes stepped briskly into the room. And pray what did you hope to arrive at through this?” “At some evidence implicating Flora Millar in the disappearance. “I am surprised that Lord St. He had hardly shut the door behind him when Holmes rose to put on his overcoat. “I am afraid. and made for the door. and we shall see which gets to the bottom of the matter first. is the very note which was no doubt quietly slipped into her hand at the door and which lured her within their reach. There were a couple of brace of cold woodcock. Watson. 245 . so I congratulate you again.” “Are you. “Just one hint to you. Holmes. “You really are very fine indeed. “so I think. a quite epicurean little cold supper began to be laid out upon our humble lodging-house mahogany. I congratulate you warmly. “ ‘Oct. rubbing his hands. Simon is a myth.” “And over here is what appears to be the fragment of a hotel bill. “There is something in what the fellow says about outdoor work. Lady St. Then he turned to me.” he shrieked.” said he.. thrust them into the bag. I fancy we may have some company dropping in. As to the note. blowing blue rings into the air.” Lestrade looked sadly at my companion. Let me see it. and there never has been.” “I am afraid that you will find it difficult. “ ‘F. Lestrade. 8d. This dress does implicate Miss Flora Millar. “You dragged them from the Serpentine?” “No. 6d. any such person. “You seem to expect company.’ I see nothing in that. all the same. “Ha! you find it so?” “Extremely so. then. “I will tell you the true solution of the matter. “Why. glass sherry. with no explanation save that the things had been paid for and were ordered to this address. Holmes. a pheasant. for within an hour there arrived a confectioner’s man with a very large flat box. “They have laid the supper. And here is the very note. and presently. Having laid out all these luxuries. that you are not very practical with your deductions and your inferences.” “The right side? You’re mad! Here is the note written in pencil over here.” “Very likely not. indeed. but his attention instantly became riveted. signed with her initials. rising. laughing.” “By the same brilliant reasoning. Good-day.” “And how?” “In the dress is a pocket. They were found floating near the margin by a park-keeper. In the pocket is a card-case.” said Lestrade. now?” cried Lestrade with some bitterness.H. but I had no time to be lonely. Lestrade. no doubt. They have laid for five. or at least the initials are. that I must leave you to your papers for a little.” drawled Holmes before his rival vanished. breakfast 2s.” he remarked. “Listen to this: “ ‘You will see me when all is ready.M. like the genii of the Arabian Nights. 4th. and he gave a little cry of satisfaction.” “Yes. my two visitors vanished away. In the card-case is a note.” said Lestrade. it is important also.The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor “Oh. cocktail 1s.’ Now my theory all along has been that Lady St. tapped his forehead three times.” Lestrade rose in his triumph and bent his head to look. Here. His features were gravely set. Mr.. and it seemed to me that if the clothes were there the body would not be far off.” said Holmes. which interests me deeply. was responsible for her disappearance. with confederates. every man’s body is to be found in the neighbourhood of his wardrobe. You have made two blunders in as many minutes.” said he. to my very great astonishment. Simon was decoyed away by Flora Millar.” He gathered up the garments. and hurried away. this is the right side. “This is indeed important. and that she.. “I believe in hard work and not in sitting by the fire spinning fine theories.” It was after five o’clock when Sherlock Holmes left me.

I should like all Europe and America to hear the rights of it. I fainted dead away. perhaps.” said Lord St. for her pleading face was one which it was hard to resist. so we just fixed it all up for ourselves.” “I fail to see that anyone is to blame. “Then I’ll tell our story right away. The richer pa grew the poorer was Frank.” He opened the door and ushered in a lady and gentleman. but then one day father struck a rich pocket and made a pile. I can hardly see how the lady could have acted otherwise. and then Frank went off to seek his fortune. and he had fixed it all up so nicely. Pa thought I had a decline and took me to half the doctors in ’Frisco. we talked it over. “The next I heard of Frank was that he was in Montana. The lady had taken a quick step forward and had held out her hand to him. and then he went prospecting in Arizona. Lord St. Simon. Simon. and there was my Frank’s name among the killed. and with a very perturbed expression upon his aristocratic features. where pa was working a claim.” “It was a slight. It would only have made him mad to know. but I was kind of rattled. After that came a long newspaper story about how a miners’ camp had been attacked by Apache Indians. sir. a picture of offended dignity. clean-shaven. too. yes. Ha! I fancy that I hear his step now upon the stairs. “Yes.’ said he.” He was a small. sunburnt man.” said Lord St. with a clergyman all ready in waiting. The lady. “Lord St. there are steps on the landing. I guess you have every cause to be. but he still refused to raise his eyes. then?” asked Holmes. Simon sank into a chair and passed his hand over his forehead. dangling his glasses more vigorously than ever. Mrs. in McQuire’s camp.” Lord St.” said she. Not a word .The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor Simon has not already arrived. “we’ve had just a little too much secrecy over this business already. so he followed me there. she had no one to advise her at such a crisis.” 246 “Pray make no apology to me. and he took me away to ’Frisco.” said Holmes. you have already met. I cannot allow that there is any humiliation. “You must make allowance for this poor girl. you would like my friend and me to leave the room while you explain this matter?” “If I may give an opinion.” At the sight of these newcomers our client had sprung from his seat and stood very erect. I think.” “I will make no allowance. then. If I cannot persuade you to take a lenient view of the matter. Robert. Simon. “What will the Duke say.” “Ah. though. For my part. “Frank here and I met in ’84. We were engaged to each other. and he saw me without pa knowing anything about it. “when he hears that one of the family has been subjected to such humiliation?” “It is the purest accident.” It was indeed our visitor of the afternoon who came bustling in. and I went back to pa. Frank wouldn’t throw up his hand. so at last pa wouldn’t hear of our engagement lasting any longer. wiry.” he murmured. and never come back to claim me until he had as much as pa. ‘and then I will feel sure of you. that we just did it right there. I know that I have treated you real bad and that I should have spoken to you before I went. Have you good authority for what you say?” “The best possible. I am very angry indeed. and I confess that the contents startled me beyond measure. Frank said that he would go and make his pile. It was as well for his resolution. near the Rockies. Simon bitterly. and I was very sick for months after. and Mrs.” “I think that I heard a ring. with a sharp face and alert manner.” said he “allow me to introduce you to Mr. Moulton. and I won’t claim to be your husband until I come back?’ Well. “Oh. tapping his fingers upon the table. Frank and I. “Yes. a public slight. I only wonder I didn’t fall down and do a faint right there before the altar. “You’re angry.” “Perhaps. Having no mother. and from the time when I saw Frank here again I just didn’t know what I was doing or saying. though her abrupt method of doing it was undoubtedly to be regretted. ‘Why shouldn’t we be married right away. “Well. while poor Frank here had a claim that petered out and came to nothing. placed in so unprecedented a position. and then I heard of him from New Mexico.” said the lady.” remarked the strange gentleman. you look on these things from another standpoint. Francis Hay Moulton. and I have been shamefully used. I have brought an advocate here who may be more successful. “My messenger reached you. So then I promised to wait for him to the end of time and pledged myself not to marry anyone else while he lived. with his eyes cast down and his hand thrust into the breast of his frock-coat.

” “Then you won’t forgive me? You won’t shake hands before I go?” “Oh. I went to the altar with him with the intention to make him just as good a wife as it was in me to be. “I had hoped.” he said. So Frank took my wedding-clothes and things and made a bundle of them. but had listened with a frowning brow and a compressed lip to this long narrative. We can’t command our love. just as I came to the altar rails. Simon alone. and the words of the clergyman were just like the buzz of a bee in my ear. and that was my true wedding after all those years of waiting. Simon to me—seemed to me from the little I heard as if he had a little secret of his own before marriage also—but I managed to get away from her and soon overtook Frank. I hadn’t been at the table ten minutes before I saw Frank out of the window at the other side of the road. with a kind of question in his eyes. “that you would have joined us in a friendly supper. and a marriage was arranged. It is likely that we should have gone on to Paris to-morrow. I just made up my mind to run away and explain afterwards. “Still. and I hope that you do not think very meanly of me. I ordered her to say nothing. . Now. and that we should be putting ourselves in the wrong if we were so secret.The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor of news came for a year and more. I didn’t know what to do. but it was dreadful hard before his mother and all those great people.” “Then we had a talk as to what we should do. as if to ask me whether I were glad or sorry to see him. and we came to London. but I felt all the time that no man on this earth would ever take the place in my heart that had been given to my poor Frank. Some woman came talking something or other about Lord St. Simon had by no means relaxed his rigid attitude. Then Lord St. but we can our actions. and so we came right away round to his rooms at once.” “I think that there you ask a little too much. but I can hardly be expected to make merry over them. Simon came to ’Frisco. I slipped out. but when I looked again there he was still. perhaps. came on to ’Frisco. if I had married Lord St. It was awful to me to think of all those lords and ladies sitting round that breakfasttable and waiting for me to come back. though how he found us is more than I can think.” Lord St. to show him that I was alive. We got into a cab together. followed me there. found that I had given him up for dead and had gone to England. I thought it was his ghost at first. and he slipped the note into my hand when he returned me the flowers. and had always been his friend. “but it is not my custom to discuss my most intimate personal affairs in this public manner. and I knew that he was writing me a note. Robert. and he showed us very clearly and kindly that I was wrong and that Frank was right. certainly. Of course I never doubted for a moment that my first duty was now to him.” explained the American. and dropped them away somewhere where no one could find them. Frank had 247 been a prisoner among the Apaches. I know that everything was turning round. and pa was very pleased. only that this good gentleman.” responded his Lordship. “When I got back I told my maid. for he raised his finger to his lips to tell me to be still. Simon. I think that with your permission I will now wish you all a very good-night. Then he offered to give us a chance of talking to Lord St. had escaped. and followed him.” He included us all in a sweeping bow and stalked out of the room. and I determined to do just whatever he might direct. you have heard it all. It was only a line asking me to join him when he made the sign to me to do so. Holmes. Then I saw him scribble on a piece of paper. He beckoned to me and then began walking into the Park. “Excuse me.” “I saw it in a paper. who had known him in California. I wonder I didn’t drop. so that I should not be traced.” suggested Holmes. I glanced back and saw Frank standing and looking at me out of the first pew. and I am very sorry if I have given you pain. Simon. and Frank was all for openness. but I was so ashamed of it all that I felt as if I should like to vanish away and never see any of them again—just sending a line to pa. But you may imagine what I felt when. “It gave the name and the church but not where the lady lived. and had come upon me at last on the very morning of my second wedding. if it would give you any pleasure. and away we drove to some lodgings he had taken in Gordon Square. and he seemed to know what I was thinking. but to get a few things packed and my ulster ready. Should I stop the service and make a scene in the church? I glanced at him again. so that I never doubted that Frank was really dead. came round to us this evening. I know I ought to have spoken to Lord St. As I passed his pew on the way out I dropped my bouquet over to him. of course I’d have done my duty by him. put on my things. “I may be forced to acquiesce in these recent developments. Mr.” He put out his hand and coldly grasped that which she extended to him.

Moulton. I invited them to meet him here. I knew. Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Then who could this American be. In the second one which I visited in Northumberland Avenue. When he told us of a man in a pew. Her young womanhood had. I came upon the very items which I had seen in the duplicate bill.” “The case has been an interesting one. the other that she had repented of it within a few minutes of returning home. Mr.” “But with no very good result. I ventured to give them some paternal advice and to point out to them that it would be better in every way that they should make their position a little clearer both to the general public and to Lord St. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin.” “And how in the world did you find them?” “It might have been difficult. and nothing stranger than the result when viewed. “perhaps you would not be very gracious either. “It is always a joy to meet an American. then?” “From the first. Watson. There are not many in London which charge at that rate. then? If she had. of course. if. Obviously something had occurred during the morning. Had she seen someone. had left only the day before.” remarked Holmes when our visitors had left us. Nothing could be more natural than the sequence of events as narrated by this lady.” “Ah. Simon in particular. for I am one of those who believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being some day citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes. and of her very significant allusion to claim-jumping—which in miners’ parlance means taking possession of that which another person has a prior claim to—the whole situation became absolutely clear. but more valuable still was it to know that within a week he had settled his bill at one of the most select London hotels.” “You were not yourself at fault at all. it must be someone from America because she had spent so short a time in this country that she could hardly have allowed anyone to acquire so deep an influence over her that the mere sight of him would induce her to change her plans so completely. two facts were very obvious to me. I learned by an inspection of the book that Francis H.“Then I trust that you at least will honour me with your company. The initials were. Eight shillings for a bed and eightpence for a glass of sherry pointed to one of the most expensive hotels. smiling. So far I had got before I ever heard Lord St. as you see. What could that something be? She could not have spoken to anyone when she was out. “because it serves to show very clearly how simple the explanation may be of an affair which at first sight seems to be almost inexplicable. His letters were to be forwarded to 226 Gordon Square. and the man was either a lover or was a previous husband—the chances being in favour of the latter. for instance. and why should he possess so much influence over her? It might be a lover. an American gentleman. You see we have already arrived. then. so thither I travelled. the one that the lady had been quite willing to undergo the wedding ceremony. for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings. at the idea that she might have seen an American.” said Holmes. of so transparent a device for obtaining a note as the dropping of a bouquet. been spent in rough scenes and under strange conditions. you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune.” “How did you deduce the select?” “By the select prices. to cause her to change her mind.” . I think that we may judge Lord St.” said Sherlock Holmes. I made him keep the appointment. by a process of exclusion. and being fortunate enough to find the loving couple at home. Simon very mercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. of the change in the bride’s manner. by Mr. of the highest importance. Simon’s narrative. it might be a husband. Moulton. for she had been in the company of the bridegroom. and. “His conduct was certainly not very gracious. after all the trouble of wooing and wedding.” I remarked. She had gone off with a man. but friend Lestrade held information in his hands the value of which he did not himself know. of her resort to her confidential maid. and on looking over the entries against him.

The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet .

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and I will put the facts before you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can. sir. “here is a madman coming along. puffing and blowing. to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We waited. It was a bright. He was dressed in a sombre yet rich style. What could have happened.” “Pray compose yourself. “that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your co-operation. but the two coming together.olmes. and turned his face towards us. the man. As he ran he jerked his hands up and down. For a while he could not get his words out. A few moments later he was in our room.” said he.” responded Holmes. in black frock-coat.” The man sat for a minute or more with a heaving chest. for I am a man who takes very little exercise. soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ. well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends . although I am a man whose character has never yet borne a stain. but with so fixed a look of grief and despair in his eyes that our smiles were turned in an instant to horror and pity. crisp February morning. strongly marked face and a commanding figure. “You are fatigued with your haste.” “I believe that he is coming here. patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy. but at either side and on the heaped-up edges of the foot-paths it still lay as white as when it fell. It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to come out alone. rushed at our door and pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging. then. until with another effort he braced himself to tell his story. Pray wait until you have recovered yourself. shining hat. The grey pavement had been cleaned and scraped. from the direction of the Metropolitan Station no one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric conduct had drawn my attention. “is probably familiar to your ears. “Here?” “Yes. it is not I alone. Indeed. with a massive.” said I as I stood one morning in our bow-window looking down the street. and writhed his face into the most extraordinary contortions. for he was running hard. “You have come to me to tell your story. Public disgrace I might have faced. Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and. looking over my shoulder. rubbing his hands. tall. “I see that you have had some great trouble. Down the centre of Baker Street it had been ploughed into a brown crumbly band by the traffic. suddenly springing to his feet. “God knows I have!—a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason. fighting against his emotion. and then I shall be most happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me. still gesticulating.” “My name. so that there were fewer passengers than usual.” My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressinggown. 251 H The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet Then. have been enough to shake my very soul. still puffing. have you not?” said he. so sudden and so terrible is it. Private affliction also is the lot of every man.” said Holmes. He was a man of about fifty. “It is. Then he passed his handkerchief over his brow. set his lips tight.” answered our visitor.” The name was indeed well known to us as belonging to the senior partner in the second largest private banking concern in the City of London. neat brown gaiters. “No doubt you think me mad?” said he. of the banking firm of Holder & Stevenson. and imposing. but was still dangerously slippery. and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground. I feel better now. portly. “I feel that time is of value. with occasional little springs.” said Holmes. of Threadneedle Street. shimmering brightly in the wintry sun. I think that I recognise the symptoms. I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. for the cabs go slowly through this snow. and in so frightful a form. Besides. waggled his head. of course. “What on earth can be the matter with him?” I asked. such as a weary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. That is why I was so out of breath. I came to Baker Street by the Underground and hurried from there on foot. and well-cut pearl-grey trousers. sitting beside him. he beat his head against the wall with such force that we both rushed upon him and tore him away to the centre of the room. The very noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair. “and let me have a clear account of who you are and what it is that has befallen you. I am Alexander Holder. but swayed his body and plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme limits of his reason. “He is looking up at the numbers of the houses. Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features. all curiosity. Ha! did I not tell you?” As he spoke.

I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but. borrow so trifling a sum ten times over from my friends. I should not dream of doing so were it not absolutely certain that I should be able in four days to reclaim it. “Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks.’ said he. a horrible scandal would ensue if any misfortune should occur to it.’ “ ‘I should much prefer to have it so. However. above all. then in justice to my partner I must insist that. I could. black morocco case which he had laid beside his chair. and I shall call for it in person on Monday morning. Is the security sufficient?’ “ ‘Ample. Mr.’ “ ‘You understand. to preserve this coronet with every possible precaution because I need not say that a great public scandal would be caused if any harm were to befall it.’ “ ‘I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my own private purse. and I shall then most certainly repay what you advance. most exalted names in England. where the security is unimpeachable. however. perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it was a name which is a household word all over the earth—one of the highest. I am to do it in the name of the firm. “ ‘It is absolutely essential to me. I said no more but. ‘I have been informed that you are in the habit of advancing money. ‘that I should have £50. We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years. for there are no beryls in the world to match these. “ ‘Mr. I leave it with you. Holder. libraries. You may set your mind at rest about that. ‘and the price of the gold chasing is incalculable. One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans. I could not but think with some misgivings of the immense responsibility which it entailed upon me. it was too late to alter the matter now. and there. and why should not mine be? If so. lay the magnificent piece of jewellery which he had named. “ ‘You doubt its value?’ he asked. calling for my cashier. but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task. It is a pure matter of form. ‘There are thirty-nine enormous beryls. “When evening came I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a thing in the office behind me. how terrible would be the position in which . “ ‘Next Monday I have a large sum due to me.’ said he. with whatever interest you think it right to charge. In my position you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one’s self under obligations. imbedded in soft.’ “ ‘For how long. flesh-coloured velvet. founded upon all that I have heard of you. but I much prefer to make it a matter of business and to carry out that business myself. so I locked it up in my private safe and turned once more to my work. I ordered him to pay over fifty £1000 notes. that I am giving you a strong proof of the confidence which I have in you. with the precious case lying upon the table in front of me. with every confidence. “ ‘Not at all. every businesslike precaution should be taken. 252 “ ‘Precisely. when he entered. do you want this sum?’ I asked. I only doubt—’ “ ‘The propriety of my leaving it. may I ask. When I was alone once more.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors. The lowest estimate would put the worth of the coronet at double the sum which I have asked.’ “I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to my illustrious client. I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted. of course. noblest. Holder. and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures. I am prepared to leave it with you as my security. If. ‘were it not that the strain would be rather more than it could bear.’ said he.’ said I. I started when I saw the name. or plate. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss. to say so.000 at once.’ said I. There could be no doubt that. on the other hand. But it is very essential to me that the money should be paid at once.’ He opened the case. however. ‘You have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coronet?’ “ ‘One of the most precious public possessions of the empire. I already regretted having ever consented to take charge of it.’ I answered. raising up a square. as it was a national possession.’ “Seeing that my client was anxious to leave.’ “ ‘The firm does so when the security is good. for it was that of none other than—well. Bankers’ safes had been forced before now. even in your case.’ said he. and it would be impossible to replace them.

Lucy Parr. for he has frequently brought 253 him to my house. When I was a youngster I have opened it myself with the key of the box-room cupboard. he was soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expensive habits. Mr. until he had again and again to come to me and implore me to give him an advance upon his allowance. therefore. one who had been everywhere. Mary and Arthur were much interested and wished to see the famous coronet. too. Holmes.’ I answered. has only been in my service a few months. beautiful. I could not trust him in the handling of large sums of money. I have no doubt that I am myself to blame. Arthur. was enough to draw him back again. however. He followed me to my room.’ “ ‘Well. carrying the jewel with me. loving. I have three maid-servants who have been with me a number of years and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. and I shall continue with my miserable story. He was wild.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet I should find myself! I determined. and so. “ ‘Oh. He is older than Arthur. She is a very pretty girl and has attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place. but I thought it better not to disturb it. She is my right hand. Holmes. and have looked upon her ever since as my daughter. With this intention. Another. I am a widower and have an only son. “And now a word as to my household. so that I thought little of what he said. the second waiting-maid.’ “He often had a wild way of talking. that night with a very grave face. but each time the influence of his friend. He has been a disappointment to me. He learned to play heavily at cards and to squander money on the turf. I hope to goodness the house won’t be burgled during the night. She is my niece. “ ‘In my own bureau. but when my brother died five years ago and left her alone in the world I adopted her. wayward. and has always given me satisfaction. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had to love. Perhaps it would have been better for both of us had I been sterner. So I think. “And now there is only she to be described. In only one matter has she ever gone against my wishes. and that his marriage might have changed his whole life. a man of the world to his finger-tips. I have never denied him a wish. that for the next few days I would always carry the case backward and forward with me. I am sure. had. and there. and. When he was young he became a member of an aristocratic club. for he loves her devotedly. “And. yet as tender and quiet and gentle as a woman could be. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment from his face. That is the only drawback which we have found to her. for I wish you to thoroughly understand the situation. “It was naturally my intention that he should succeed me in my business. but I cannot swear that the door was closed. Very likely I have. and may be set aside altogether. thinks my little Mary. I told Arthur and Mary my experience. Twice my boy has asked her to marry him. however. seen everything. I think that if anyone could have drawn him into the right path it would have been she.’ said he. who has a woman’s quick insight into character. but I meant it for the best. but each time she has refused him. far away from the glamour of his presence. to speak the truth. “ ‘It is locked up. He tried more than once to break away from the dangerous company which he was keeping. People tell me that I have spoiled him. I did not breathe freely until I had taken it upstairs and locked it in the bureau of my dressing-room. and of the precious treasure which we had under our roof. Sir George Burnwell. “ ‘Where have you put it?’ asked Arthur. “When we were taking coffee in the drawingroom that night after dinner. I called a cab and drove out to my house at Streatham. She is a sunbeam in my house—sweet. I do not know what I could do without her. My groom and my page sleep out of the house. suppressing only the name of my client. Yet when I think of him in cold blood. indeed. My family itself is so small that it will not take me long to describe it. any old key will fit that bureau. and a man of great personal beauty. a brilliant talker. . you know the people who live under my roof. I could not wonder that such a man as Sir George Burnwell should gain an influence over him. I am convinced from his cynical speech and the look which I have caught in his eyes that he is one who should be deeply distrusted. but we believe her to be a thoroughly good girl in every way. but he was not of a business turn. and I have found myself that I could hardly resist the fascination of his manner. Mr. who had brought in the coffee. that he might settle his debts of honour. so that it might never be really out of my reach. but now. left the room. Mr. having charming manners. “So much for the servants. Lucy Parr. Holmes—a grievous disappointment. She came with an excellent character. a wonderful manager and housekeeper. alas! it is too late—forever too late! “Now.

holding the coronet in his hands. dressed only in his shirt and trousers.’ said she.’ “ ‘And a very good thing.” “On the contrary. It had ceased ere 254 I was wide awake. or bending it with all his strength. but it had left an impression behind it as though a window had gently closed somewhere. “ ‘Arthur!’ I screamed. ‘but I must have this money. ‘I will not stand it any longer.’ “ ‘You shall learn nothing from me. and locked it again. I slipped out of bed. dad. to my horror.’ “I was very angry. and the anxiety in my mind tended. good-night. too!’ I cried. dad. for I had raised my voice in my anger. shaking him by the “ ‘There are none missing. she read the whole story and. ‘can you let me have £200?’ “ ‘No. ‘I could not bear the disgrace.’ “ ‘She came in just now by the back door. Mary was the first to rush into my room. I have no doubt that she has only been to the side gate to see someone. “ ‘Yes.’ “ ‘You must speak to her in the morning. Are you sure that everything is fastened?’ “ ‘Quite sure. thief!’ shoulder. and. About two in the morning.’ “ ‘Then.’ said he. was missing. I must raise the money in some way. but I beg that you will question me upon any point which I do not make clear. “ ‘Yes. which may have any bearing upon the case. fell down senseless on the ground. since you have chosen to insult me. ‘You shall not have a farthing from me. and if you will not let me have it. then I must try other means. He appeared to be wrenching at it. When the inspector and a constable entered the house. Then I started to go round the house to see that all was secure—a duty which I usually leave to Mary but which I thought it well to perform myself that night. and my unhappy boy. a little disturbed. but you would not have me leave it a dishonoured man. At my cry he dropped it from his grasp and turned as pale as death. Must I call you a liar as well as a thief? Did I not see you trying to tear off another piece?’ “ ‘You have called me names enough. I shall not say another word about this business.’ “By this time the whole house was astir.’ said he. “I am endeavouring to tell you everything. I roared. looking. dad. but I think that it is hardly safe and should be stopped. beside myself with rage. ‘you villain! you thief! How dare you touch that coronet?’ “The gas was half up. no doubt. ‘I have been far too generous with you in money matters.’ said he with a passion such as I should not have thought was in his nature. ‘I shall have this matter probed to the bottom.’ “ ‘You shall leave it in the hands of the police!’ I cried half-mad with grief and rage. As I came down the stairs I saw Mary herself at the side window of the hall. to make me even less so than usual. I snatched it up and examined it. there was a distinct sound of footsteps moving softly in the next room.’ “ ‘You have been very kind. then. I lay listening with all my ears. I cannot!’ I answered sharply. for this was the third demand during the month.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet “ ‘Look here. which she closed and fastened as I approached. There cannot be any missing. your statement is singularly lucid. “When he was gone I unlocked my bureau. I will leave your house in the morning and make my own way in the world. Holmes. “ ‘Tell me. And you know where they are.” “I come to a part of my story now in which I should wish to be particularly so. “ ‘You blackguard!’ I shouted.’ I cried. all palpitating with fear. I sent the house-maid for the police and put the investigation into their hands at once. with three of the beryls in it. “ ‘There are three missing. leave to go out to-night?’ “ ‘Certainly not. who had stood sullenly with his . where I was soon asleep. at the sight of the coronet and of Arthur’s face. or I will if you prefer it. ‘If you choose to call the police. Arthur. Suddenly. on which he bowed and left the room without another word. as I had left it. ‘did you give Lucy. One of the gold corners.’ said he. made sure that my treasure was safe. let the police find what they can. and peeped round the corner of my dressing-room door.’ I kissed her and went up to my bedroom again. I am not a very heavy sleeper. Mr.’ said he. I thought. with a scream.’ said he with his eyes cast down. I was awakened by some sound in the house. was standing beside the light. or else I can never show my face inside the club again. ‘You have destroyed it! You have dishonoured me forever! Where are the jewels which you have stolen?’ “ ‘Stolen!’ he cried. the maid.

from what you say. No one else. A search was made at once not only of his person but of his room and of every portion of the house where he could possibly have concealed the gems. my gems. Besides. of the disappearance of these gems?” “They are still sounding the planking and probing the furniture in the hope of finding them.” “Do you go out much in society?” “Arthur does. The whole garden has already been minutely examined.” “Have they thought of looking outside the house?” “Yes. realising the dreadful position in which I was placed.” “You have neither of you any doubt as to your son’s guilt?” “How can we have when I saw him with my own eyes with the coronet in his hands. “ ‘At least. I implored him to remember that not only my honour but that of one who was far greater than I was at stake. why did he not invent a lie? His silence appears to me to cut both ways. she is not so very young. to me it seems exceedingly complex. nor would the wretched boy open his mouth for all our persuasions and our threats. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes. Consider what is involved by your theory. ‘you will not have me arrested at once. Oh. “Do you receive much company?” he asked. at great risk.” “A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his door so as to wake a household. ‘you have been caught in the act. what shall I do!” He put a hand on either side of his head and rocked himself to and fro. opened your bureau. asked me whether it was my intention to charge him with theft. and I.” “That is unusual in a young girl. since the ruined coronet was national property. that he might have been trying to straighten it?” “God bless you! You are doing what you can for him and for me. The police have openly confessed that they can at present make nothing of it.” “Do you not think. but no trace of them could be found. my dear sir. went. And if it were guilty. and no confession could make your guilt more heinous. turning away from me with a sneer. What was he doing there at all? If his purpose were innocent.” said Holmes.” “This matter. have hurried round to you to implore you to use your skill in unravelling the matter. then. He might avert it all if he would but tell me what he had done with the three missing stones. My God.” “She is of a quiet nature.” “I hardly consider that a conclusive proof. There are several singular points about the case.’ said he. She is four-and-twenty. then. or perhaps that you may conceal what you have stolen.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet arms folded. What did the police think of the noise which awoke you from your sleep?” “They considered that it might be caused by Arthur’s closing his bedroom door. after going through all the police formalities. What did they say. “is it not obvious to you now that this matter really strikes very much deeper than either you or the police were at first inclined to think? It appeared to you to be a simple case. If you but make such reparation as is in your power. But it is too heavy a task. what shall I do! I have lost my honour. Mary and I stay at home. all shall be forgiven and forgotten. You may go to any expense which you think necessary. they have shown extraordinary energy. and my son in one night. with his brows knitted and his eyes fixed upon the fire. I think. “ ‘You may as well face the matter. Sir George Burnwell has been several times lately. 255 “None save my partner with his family and an occasional friend of Arthur’s. You suppose that your son came down from his bed. I was determined that the law should have its way in everything. I saw that he was too hardened for any words of mine to influence him. I called in the inspector and gave him into custody. broke off by main force a small portion of it.’ “ ‘That you may get away. droning to himself like a child whose grief has got beyond words.” “Now. I have already offered a reward of £1000. it was twisted. And then. took out your coronet. Was the remainder of the coronet at all injured?” “Yes. I answered that it had ceased to be a private matter. We neither of us care for it. This morning he was removed to a cell. It would be to your advantage as well as mine if I might leave the house for five minutes.’ he answered. by telling us where the beryls are. why did he not say so?” “Precisely.’ “ ‘Keep your forgiveness for those who ask for it. went off .” “Terrible! She is even more affected than I. but had become a public one.’ said I. seems to have been a shock to her also.’ said I. There was but one way for it. and that he threatened to raise a scandal which would convulse the nation. to your dressing-room.

if it may help to clear this horrible affair up. sir. “so now. she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress. I confess that the guilt of the banker’s son appeared to me to be as obvious as it did to his unhappy father. concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine. and devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into details. As she swept silently into the room she impressed me with a greater sense of grief than the banker had done in the morning. and I trust. if you please. Holder. the matter must be probed to the bottom. A double carriage-sweep. when I actually saw him with the coronet in his hand?” “Oh. were bloodless. facing round to me. for my curiosity and sympathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. I suppose. and he even broke into a desultory chat with me over his business affairs. though little used.” replied Holmes. the modest residence of the great financier. “What can he hope to find there? Ah! this. He hardly spoke a word the whole way out to the southern suburb. Might I ask you a question or two?” “Pray do. Her lips. “No.” “Why is he silent.” “How could I help suspecting him. standing back a little from the road. why does he not explain them?” “It is our task to find that out. going back to the mat to knock the snow from his shoes. Holmes left us standing at the door and walked slowly all round the house.” My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition. being a public. if he is innocent?” “Who knows? Perhaps because he was so angry that you should suspect him.” “But I am so sure that he is innocent. my girl.” returned Holmes. sir. He is round in the stable lane now. I have brought a gentleman down from London to inquire more deeply into it. “I believe I have the honour of addressing Miss Mary Holder. but still I had such faith in Holmes’ judgment that I felt that there must be some grounds for hope as long as he was dissatisfied with the accepted explanation. and was not itself within the grounds at all. is such a theory tenable?” “But what other is there?” cried the banker with a gesture of despair. thoroughfare. is he. down the tradesmen’s path. She was rather above the middle height. that my cousin Arthur is innocent of this crime. Fairbank was a good-sized square house of white stone. which I was eager enough to do. I ask you now. 256 which seemed the darker against the absolute pallor of her skin. It is so dreadful to think of our dear Arthur in a prison!” “I shall never let it drop until the gems are found—never. but he had only picked it up to look at it. which led into a narrow path between two neat hedges stretching from the road to the kitchen door. do take my word for it that he is innocent. with immense capacity for self-restraint. We were sitting there in silence when the door opened and a young lady came in. no. You know what woman’s instincts are. So long was he that Mr. dad?” she asked. with a snow-clad lawn. but sat with his chin upon his breast and his hat drawn over his eyes.” . and it was the more striking in her as she was evidently a woman of strong character. across the front. with such skill that nobody can find them. I do not think that I have ever seen such deadly paleness in a woman’s face. that we may prove it. have you not. what I feel sure is the truth. but her eyes were flushed with crying. Mr. sunk in the deepest thought. He wished us to leave him alone. and so round by the garden behind into the stable lane.” “This gentleman?” she asked. that you will succeed in proving. Far from hushing the thing up. “You have given orders that Arthur should be liberated. his friend. then. too. Our client appeared to have taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope which had been presented to him. I trust. we will set off for Streatham together. Let the matter drop and say no more. Mary! Your affection for Arthur blinds you as to the awful consequences to me. and then returned with the other thirtysix into the room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered. slim. On the left ran a lane which led to the stables. do. Disregarding my presence. with you.” “I fully share your opinion. and forming the tradesmen’s entrance. with dark hair and eyes.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet to some other place. stretched down in front to two large iron gates which closed the entrance. Oh. “No. A short railway journey and a shorter walk brought us to Fairbank. Holder and I went into the dining-room and waited by the fire until he should return. “If his motives were innocent. I know that he has done no harm and that you will be sorry for having acted so harshly.” “The stable lane?” She raised her dark eyebrows. On the right side was a small wooden thicket.

what do you think would happen if I did break it. you are like a magician. in the gloom. We must come back to that.” “Thank you.” He went alone. It is all dark to me.” “You have a maid who has a sweetheart? I think that you remarked to your uncle last night that she had been out to see him?” “Yes.” Sherlock Holmes took it up and opened the bureau. Holder. “I shall probably wish to go over the outside of the house again. until my uncle here began to speak loudly. too.” He walked swiftly round from one to the other. “It is no wonder that it did not wake you. with a grey carpet. About this girl. “Now.” said she. and a long mirror. yes! he is the green-grocer who brings our vegetables round. and taking out the diadem he laid it upon the table. “when I have told you that I saw Arthur with the coronet in his hands?” “Wait a little. Perhaps I had better take a look at the lower windows before I go up. We have certainly been favoured with extraordinary luck during this inquiry. though I am exceptionally strong in the fingers. You saw her return by the kitchen door. Holder? There would be a noise like a pistol shot. “I feel it give a little. You infer that she may have gone out to tell her sweetheart.” “Have you it here?” “That is it on the dressing-table. Holder.” “But what is the good of all these vague theories. I presume. where a corner holding three gems had been torn away. This he opened and made a very careful examination of the sill with his powerful magnifying lens. “It is a noiseless lock.” “I see. and I came down.” “He stood. 257 The banker’s dressing-room was a plainly furnished little chamber. I saw the man. “Which key was used to open it?” he asked. and who may have heard uncle’s remarks about the coronet. Mr. eager face.” Holmes suddenly bent his strength upon it. “I should be very glad now to go upstairs. pausing only at the large one which looked from the hall onto the stable lane. Did you fasten all the windows?” “Yes. Holder.” The banker recoiled in horror. farther up the path than is necessary to reach the door?” “Yes. a large bureau. “Then I will. and that the two may have planned the robbery. Mr.” “And he is a man with a wooden leg?” Something like fear sprang up in the young lady’s expressive black eyes. “here is the corner which corresponds to that which has been so unfortunately lost. “Now we shall go upstairs. at his own request. “but. It was a magnificent specimen of the jeweller’s art. I presume?” “Yes. Miss Holder. for he explained that any unnecessary footmarks might . but without result. Holmes went to the bureau first and looked hard at the lock.” said he.” “Your son had no shoes or slippers on when you saw him?” “He had nothing on save only his trousers and shirt.” “You shut up the windows and doors the night before. when I went to see if the door was fastened for the night I met her slipping in.” “Were they all fastened this morning?” “Yes. His name is Francis Prosper. We must have a look at it. “to the left of the door—that is to say. Might I beg that you will break it off. At one side of the coronet was a cracked edge. it would take me all my time to break it.” said he.” “But perhaps it may grow lighter as we go. “Why.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet “You heard nothing yourself last night?” “Nothing. Mr. Now. I heard that. he did. contains the coronet. An ordinary man could not do it.” cried the banker impatiently. and it will be entirely our own fault if we do not succeed in clearing the matter up. What do you think. and she was the girl who waited in the drawing-room.” said Holmes. With your permission. “That which my son himself indicated—that of the cupboard of the lumber-room. I shall now continue my investigations outside.” He opened the case. “How do you know that?” She smiled.” said he at last.” said Holmes. Do you tell me that all this happened within a few yards of your bed and that you heard nothing of it?” “I do not know what to think. Miss Holder?” “I confess that I still share my uncle’s perplexity. This case. “I should not dream of trying. and the thirty-six stones were the finest that I have ever seen.” “Do you know him?” “Oh.” said he.” said he. but there was no answering smile in Holmes’ thin. Mr.

His eyes twinkled. seedy coat. was now pinched and fallen in. Holmes. evidently in excellent spirits.” He cut a slice of beef from the joint upon the sideboard. and there was even a touch of colour upon his sallow cheeks. returning at last with his feet heavy with snow and his features as inscrutable as ever. He entered with a weariness and lethargy which was even more painful than his violence of the morning before. “I shall never see them again!” he cried. as fresh and trim as possible. Several times during our homeward journey I endeavoured to sound him upon the point. he was a perfect sample of the class. and I would not have missed it for a good deal. “I think that I have seen now all that there is to see. Mr. his red cravat. With his collar turned up. I do not know at what hour he came in. I hope that I may be back in a few hours. so I retired to my room. but I fear that it won’t do. his shiny. I have been out to Streatham since I saw you last. so that his lateness caused me no surprise. it is after nine now. or I may be following a will-o’-the-wisp. Don’t wait up for me in case I should be late. “but you remember that our client has rather an early appointment this morning.” said he.” I answered.” said he.” “Very good. while his hair seemed to me at least a shade whiter.” said he.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet make his task more difficult. and his worn boots.” I could see by his manner that he had stronger reasons for satisfaction than his words alone would imply. I waited until midnight.” “Then. He hastened upstairs.” “How are you getting on?” “Oh. for his face which was naturally of a broad and massive mould. without a care in . and a few minutes later I heard the slam of the hall door. but I shall soon know which it is.” It was. For an hour or more he was at work.” “I would give my fortune to have them back. It is a very sweet little problem.” said he. glancing into the glass above the fireplace. Where are they?” “I cannot tell. our friend the financier. and he dropped heavily into the armchair which I pushed forward for him. Mr. I had just finished my tea when he returned.” said he. I must not sit gossiping here. “I should not be surprised if that were he. what was this dark business which was acted in my house last night?” “If you can call upon me at my Baker Street rooms to-morrow morning between nine and ten I shall be happy to do what I can to make it clearer. but must get these disreputable clothes off and return to my highly respectable self. “I can serve you best by returning to my rooms. I thought I heard a ring. He hurried to his chamber and was down again in a few minutes dressed as a common loafer. “I am going right on. I may be on the trail in this matter. but there was no sign of his return. I shall look into the matter between this and then. indeed. I was shocked by the change which had come over him.” “Where to?” “Oh. provided only that I get back the gems. so so. but when I came down to breakfast in the morning there he was with a cup of coffee in one hand and the paper in the other. It was no uncommon thing for him to be away for days and nights on end when he was hot upon a scent. It may be some time before I get back. but he always glided away to some other topic.” “But the gems. “And my son? You give me hopes?” “My opinion is in no way altered. “You will excuse my beginning without you. until at last I gave it over in despair. Nothing to complain of. although what his conclusions were was more than I could even dimly imagine. which told me that he was off once more upon his congenial hunt. Watson. “I only looked in as I passed. Holder. “I only wish that you could come with me. and that you place no limit on the sum I may draw. to the other side of the West End. “Only two days ago I was a happy and prosperous man. but I did not call at the house. “I think that this should do. it is just possible that I may have to come over here again before evening.” “Why. for God’s sake. However. and thrusting this rude meal into his pocket he started off upon his expedition. I understand that you give me carte blanche to act for you. Watson. He chucked it down into a corner and helped himself to a cup of tea. swinging an old 258 elastic-sided boot in his hand. It was not yet three when we found ourselves in our rooms once more. sandwiched it between two rounds of bread. “I do not know what I have done to be so severely tried.” The banker wrung his hands. Good-bye.” It was obvious to me that my companion’s mind was now made up about the case.

ever again be happy under your roof.” “He knows it already. then. a man without heart or conscience. the debt is not to me. When he breathed his vows to her. I cannot. I told it to him. His footmarks had pressed right through the snow. and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom. gone to your room. Do not worry about my future. “I am saved! I am saved!” The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been. and I will show you the steps by which I reached it. believe it!” cried the banker with an ashen face. When I had cleared it all up I had an interview with him. with this thought in my mind. has deserted me. Holmes. as he had done to a hundred before her. and he bent her to his will. In life or in death. Three thousand will cover the matter. on which he had to confess that I was right and to add the very few details which were not yet quite clear to me. for that is provided for. in sorrow and not in anger.” With a dazed face the banker made out the required check. but at least she became his tool and was in the habit of seeing him nearly every evening. Holmes? Do you think it points to suicide?” “No. and I will not. you have learned something! Where are the gems?” “You would not think £1000 pounds apiece an excessive sum for them?” “I would pay ten. Mr.” “For heaven’s sake. It is to that remark that she refers in this note: “ ‘My dearest Uncle: “ ‘I feel that I have brought trouble upon you. what occurred in your house last night. do not search for me. an absolutely desperate villain.” “Then it was not Arthur who took them?” “I told you yesterday. however. then. what is this extraordinary mystery!” “I will do so. Better make it out for £4000. My niece. first.” “You are sure of it! Then let us hurry to him at once to let him know that the truth is known.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet the world. it is certain. and I will pay it. Have you your check-book? Here is a pen. I am ever “ ‘Your loving “ ‘Mary. Neither you nor your son knew the true character of this man when you admitted him into your family circle.” “Ha! You say so! You have heard something.” “My Mary? Impossible!” “It is unfortunately more than possible. and threw it down upon the table. that if she had married my boy all might have been well with him. His wicked lust for gold kindled at the news. for it will be fruitless labour and an ill-service to me. slipped down and talked to her lover through the window which leads into the stable lane. And let me say to you. He is one of the most dangerous men in England—a ruined gambler. She told him of the coronet. who has carried himself in this matter as I should be proud to see my own son do. when you had. Mary. “I will tell you. as she thought. “You have it!” he gasped. that you are nearing the end of your troubles. should I ever chance to have one. Your niece. took out a little triangular piece of gold with three gems in it. and.’ “What could she mean by that note. and I repeat to-day. I trust. Now I am left to a lonely and dishonoured age. Holder. above all. And there is a little reward. Mr. nothing of the kind. “Owe!” He caught up a pen. I had said to her last night. One sorrow comes close upon the heels of another. They have now fled together. no. and I feel that I must leave you forever. Perhaps it was thoughtless of me to say so. It is perhaps the best possible solution.” “I cannot. Her bed this morning had not been slept in. With a shriek of joy our client clutched it up.” “Deserted you?” “Yes. I have no doubt that she loved you. Holder. and a note for me lay upon the hall table. Holmes walked over to his desk. your son. that it was not. tell me. Mr. and that if I had acted differently this terrible misfortune might never have occurred. Your news of this morning. so long had he stood there. You owe a very humble apology to that noble lad. her room was empty. she flattered herself that she alone had touched his heart.” “No. that which it is hardest for me to say and for you to hear: there has been an understanding between Sir George Burnwell and your niece Mary. 259 “There is one other thing you owe. Mr. The devil knows best what he said. and finding that he would not tell me the story. Your niece knew nothing of such men. but there are women in whom the love of a . “Name the sum.” “That would be unnecessary. may open his lips.” said Sherlock Holmes rather sternly. I fancy.

thrilling with horror. He took the more chivalrous view. I passed round the garden without seeing anything more than random tracks. ascended to your room. I saw where Boots had faced round. in his bare feet. as was shown by the deep toe and light heel marks. where Boots had worn all the snow away while waiting. I found that the pavement had been cleared. finding that he had the coronet in his hands. for the woman had run back swiftly to the door. but found it all trampled down and indistinguishable. however. and then had gone away. but the other had run swiftly. I thought at the time that this might be the maid and her sweetheart. and he. She had hardly listened to his instructions when she saw you coming downstairs. rushed back. . “Oh. at the far side of the