Camden House

THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES
[ CONTENTS ] [ THE BEST OF ]

The Sherlock Holmes stories are illustrated with artwork by Sidney Paget, Richard Gutschmidt, Frank Wiles, Frederic Dorr Steele and other artists. Explanatory notes will be added eventually, but as this will be a long-term project, your patience is requested. The page numbers (seen here as links; in the text in brackets) refer to the relevant pages in The Complete Sherlock Holmes published by Doubleday / Penguin Books.

CONTENTS

A STUDY IN SCARLET
Part 1: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department 1. Mr. Sherlock Holmes 2. The Science of Deduction 3. The Lauriston Garden Mystery 4. What John Rance Had to Tell 5. Our Advertisement Brings a Visitor 6. Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do 7. Light in the Darkness Part 2: The Country of the Saints 1. On the Great Alkali Plain 2. The Flower of Utah 3. John Ferrier Talks with the Prophet 4. A Flight for Life 5. The Avenging Angels 6. A Continuation of the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D. 7. The Conclusion 52 58 62 65 71 76 83 15 19 25 32 36 41 46

THE SIGN OF FOUR
1. The Science of Deduction 2. The Statement of the Case 89 94

3. In Quest of a Solution 4. The Story of the Bald-headed Man 5. The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge 6. Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstartion 7. The Episode of the Barrel 8. The Baker Street Irregulars 9. A Break in the Chain 10. The End of the Islander 11. The Great Agra Treasure 12. The Strange Story of Jonathan Small

97 100 106 110 115 122 128 134 139 143

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 161 176 190 202 217 229 244 257 273 287 301 316

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 335 350 362 373 386 398 411 422 435

The Naval Treaty The Final Problem

447 469

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 483 496 511 526 538 558 572 582 596 607 622 635 650

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
1. Mr. Sherlock Holmes 2. The Curse of the Baskervilles 3. The Problem 4. Sir Henry Baskerville 5. Three Broken Threads 6. Baskerville Hall 7. The Stapletons of the Merripit House 8. First Report of Dr. Watson 9. Second Report of Dr. Watson 10. Extract from the Diary of Dr. Watson 11. The Man on the Tor 12. Death on the Moor 13. Fixing the Nets 14. The Hound of the Baskervilles 15. A Retrospection 669 673 679 685 692 698 704 712 716 726 732 740 747 754 761

THE VALLEY OF FEAR
Part 1: The Tragedy of Birlstone 1. The Warning 2. Sherlock Holmes Discourses 3. The Tragedy of Birlstone 4. Darkness 5. The People of the Drama 6. A Dawning Light 7. The Solution Part 2: The Scowres 1. The Man 2. The Bodymaster 3. Lodge 341, Vermissa 4. The Valley of Fear 5. The Darkest Hour 6. Danger 7. The Trapping of Biry Edwards Epilogue 815 820 830 839 846 853 859 865 769 774 779 784 791 798 806

HIS LAST BOW
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge 1. The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles 2. The Tiger of San Pedro 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 869 877 888 901 913 932 942 954 970

THE CASE-BOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

The Adventure of the Illustrious Client The Adventure of 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

984 1000 1012 1023 1033 1044 1054 1070 1083 1095 1102 1113

THE BEST OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
There are two famous lists of favourite stories—Arthur Conan Doyle’s own list from March 1927, and the list published in 1959 in the Baker Street Journal:

CONAN DOYLE’S LIST

BAKER STREET JOURNAL

The Speckled Band The Red-Headed League The Dancing Men The Final Problem A Scandal in Bohemia The Empty House The Five Orange Pips The Second Stain The Devil's Foot The Priory School The Musgrave Ritual The Reigate Squires Nancy Blakestad & David Soucek, 1998

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

The Speckled Band The Red-Headed League The Blue Carbuncle Silver Blaze A Scandal in Bohemia The Musgrave Ritual The Bruce-Partington Plans The Six Napoleons The Dancing Men The Empty House

IMPORTANT NOTE: This website will soon be offline for a while and then move to another location. Please watch this page for information about the new location.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Illustrated with the original artwork

Pinacotheca Holmesiana
The largest collection of Holmesian graphics online

Phonotheca Holmesiana
Sounds from various adaptations of the Canon (currently not active due to lack of webspace)

St. James’s Hall
Music, musicians and composers in the Canon

A Large Tin Box
Miscellany for Windows – wallpapers and screensavers (currently not active due to lack of webspace)

Dorak’s General Store
Still the only known Czech Holmesian site

The people behind: Olivia Adler Nancy Blakestad Vladimíra Korousová David Soucek

Impressum

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

A STUDY IN SCARLET

First edition, 1887

PART I: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. 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: The Country of the Saints Chapter 1. Chapter 2. On the Great Alkali Plain The Flower of Utah

Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7.

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

First published in Nov. 1887 as the main part of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. First book edition by Ward, Lock & Co. in July 1888 with illustrations by Charles Doyle, father of ACD. The second edition (1889) was illustrated by George Hutchinson. – The first American edition published by J. B. Lippincott Co. in 1890.

First book edition, 1888

Second book edition, 1889

A Study in Scarlet

PART 1 BEING A REPRINT FROM THE REMINISCENCES OF JOHN H. WATSON, M.D., LATE OF THE ARMY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT Chapter 1

MR. SHERLOCK HOLMES
IN 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 packhorse, 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 veranda, 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 despatched, 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 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, [16] 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 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 someone 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 man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone.” Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me over his wineglass. “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 [17] 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 till night. If you like, we will 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 matter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable, or what is it? Don’t be mealymouthed 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 dissecting-rooms 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 farther 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, testtubes, 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 haemoglobin, 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 [18] I should 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 haemoglobin. 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 medico-legal 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 guaiacum 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’s test, and there will no longer be any difficulty.” 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 [19] 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.” “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 badly played 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.

David Soucek, 1998

Chapter 2

A Study in Scarlet

Chapter 2

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 [20] comfortable bedrooms 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 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 stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had occasion to observe when I watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments. The reader may set me down as a hopeless busybody, when I confess

how much this man stimulated my curiosity, and how often I endeavoured to break through the reticence which he showed on all that concerned himself. Before pronouncing judgment, however, be it remembered how objectless was my life, and how little there was to engage my attention. My health forbade me from venturing out unless the weather was exceptionally genial, and I had no friends who would call upon me and break the monotony of my daily existence. Under these circumstances, I eagerly hailed the little mystery which hung around my companion, and spent much of my time in endeavouring to unravel it. He was not studying medicine. He had himself, in reply to a question, confirmed Stamford’s opinion upon that point. 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. Yet his zeal for certain studies was remarkable, and within eccentric limits his knowledge was so extraordinarily ample and minute that his observations have fairly astounded me. Surely no man would work so hard or attain such precise information unless he had some definite end in view. Desultory readers are seldom [21] remarkable for the exactness of their learning. No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so. His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. “You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.” “To forget it!” “You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” “But the Solar System!” I protested. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a

pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.” I was on the point of asking him what that work might be, but something in his manner showed me that the question would be an unwelcome one. I pondered over our short conversation, however, and endeavoured to draw my deductions from it. He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally well informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them down. I could not help smiling at the document when I had completed it. It ran in this way: Sherlock Holmes–his limits Knowledge of Literature.–Nil. ” ” Philosophy.–Nil. ” ” Astronomy.–Nil. ” ” Politics.–Feeble. ” ” Botany.–Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. Knowledge of Geology.–Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has [22] shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them. Knowledge of Chemistry.–Profound. ” ” Anatomy.–Accurate, but unsystematic. ” ” Sensational Literature.–Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. Plays the violin well. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

When I had got so far in my list I threw it into the fire in despair. “If I can only find what the fellow is driving at by reconciling all these accomplishments, and discovering a calling which needs them all,” I said to myself, “I may as well give up the attempt at once.” I see that I have alluded above to his powers upon the violin. These were very remarkable, but as eccentric as all his other accomplishments. That he could play pieces, and difficult pieces, I knew well, because at my request he has played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder, and other favourites. When left to himself, however, he would seldom produce any music or attempt any recognized air. Leaning back in his armchair of an evening, he would close his eyes and scrape carelessly at the fiddle which was thrown across his knee. Sometimes the chords were sonorous and melancholy. Occasionally they were fantastic and cheerful. Clearly they reflected the thoughts which possessed him, but whether the music aided those thoughts, or whether the playing was simply the result of a whim or

fancy, was more than I could determine. 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.

During the first week or so we had no callers, and I had begun to think that my companion was as friendless a man as I was myself. Presently, however, I found that he had many acquaintances, and those in the most different classes of society. There was one little sallow, rat-faced, darkeyed fellow, who was introduced to me as Mr. Lestrade, and who came three or four times in a single week. One morning a young girl called, fashionably dressed, and stayed for half an hour or more. The same afternoon brought a gray-headed, seedy visitor, looking like a Jew peddler, who appeared to me to be much excited, and who was closely followed by a slipshod elderly woman. On another occasion an old whitehaired gentleman had an interview with my companion; and on another, a railway porter in his velveteen uniform. When any of these nondescript individuals put in an appearance, Sherlock Holmes used to beg for the use of the sitting-room, and I would retire to my bedroom. He always apologized to me for putting me to this inconvenience. “I have to use this room as a place of business,” he said, “and these people are my clients.” Again I had an opportunity of asking him a point-blank question, and again my delicacy prevented me from forcing another man to confide in me. I imagined at the time that he had some strong reason for not alluding to it, but he soon dispelled the idea by coming round to the subject of his own accord.

It was upon the 4th of March, as I have good reason to remember, that I rose [23] somewhat earlier than usual, and found that Sherlock Holmes had not yet finished his breakfast. The landlady had become so accustomed to my late habits that my place had not been laid nor my coffee prepared. With the unreasonable petulance of mankind I rang the bell and gave a curt intimation that I was ready. Then I picked up a magazine from the table and attempted to while away the time with it, while my companion munched silently at his toast. One of the articles had a pencil mark at the heading, and I naturally began to run my eye through it. Its somewhat ambitious title was “The Book of Life,” 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. It struck me as being a remarkable mixture of shrewdness and of absurdity. The reasoning was close and intense, but the deductions appeared to me to be far fetched and exaggerated. The writer claimed by a momentary expression, a twitch of a muscle or a glance of an eye, to fathom a man’s inmost thoughts. Deceit, according to him, was an impossibility in the case of one trained to observation and analysis. His conclusions were as infallible as so many propositions of Euclid. 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. “From a drop of water,” said the writer, “a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it. Like all other arts, 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 possible perfection in it. Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems. Let him, on meeting a fellow-mortal, learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man, and the trade or profession to which he belongs. Puerile as such an exercise may seem, it sharpens the faculties of observation, and teaches one where to look and what to look for. By a man’s finger-nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boots, by his trouser-knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuffs–by each of these things a man’s calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.” “What ineffable twaddle!” I cried, slapping the magazine down on the table; “I never read such rubbish in my life.” “What is it?” asked Sherlock Holmes. “Why, this article,” I said, pointing at it with my eggspoon as I sat down to my breakfast. “I see that you have read it since you have marked it. I don’t deny that it is smartly written. It irritates me, though. It is evidently the theory of some armchair lounger who evolves all these neat little paradoxes in the seclusion of his own study. It is not practical. I should like to see him clapped down in a third-class carriage on the Underground, and asked to give the trades of all his fellow-travellers. I

would lay a thousand to one against him.” “You would lose your money,” Holmes remarked calmly. “As for the article, I wrote it myself.” “You!” “Yes; I have a turn both for observation and for deduction. The theories which I have expressed there, and which appear to you to be so chimerical, are really [24] extremely practical–so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese.” “And how?” I asked involuntarily. “Well, I have a trade of my own. I suppose I am the only one in the world. I’m a consulting detective, if you can understand what that is. Here in London we have lots of government detectives and lots of private ones. When these fellows are at fault, they come to me, and I manage to put them on the right scent. They lay all the evidence before me, and I am generally able, by the help of my knowledge of the history of crime, to set them straight. There is a strong family resemblance about misdeeds, and if you have all the details of a thousand at your finger ends, it is odd if you can’t unravel the thousand and first. Lestrade is a well-known detective. He got himself into a fog recently over a forgery case, and that was what brought him here.” “And these other people?” “They are mostly sent on by private inquiry agencies. They are all people who are in trouble about something and want a little enlightening. I listen to their story, they listen to my comments, and then I pocket my fee.” “But do you mean to say,” I said, “that without leaving your room you can unravel some knot which other men can make nothing of, although they have seen every detail for themselves?” “Quite so. I have a kind of intuition that way. Now and again a case turns up which is a little more complex. Then I have to bustle about and see things with my own eyes. You see I have a lot of special knowledge which I apply to the problem, and which facilitates matters wonderfully. Those rules of deduction laid down in that article which aroused your scorn are invaluable to me in practical work. Observation with me is second nature. You appeared to be surprised when I told you, on our first meeting, that you had come from Afghanistan.” “You were told, no doubt.” “Nothing of the sort. I knew you came from Afghanistan. From long habit the train of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps. There were such steps, however. The train of reasoning ran, ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type, but with the air of a military man. Clearly an army doctor, then. He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists are fair. He has undergone hardship and sickness, as his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has been injured. He holds it in a stiff and unnatural manner. Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan.’ The whole train of thought did not occupy a second. I then remarked that you came from

Afghanistan, and you were astonished.” “It is simple enough as you explain it,” I said, smiling. “You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.” Sherlock Holmes rose and lit his pipe. “No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin,” he observed. “Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. 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. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine.” [25] “Have you read Gaboriau’s works?” I asked. “Does Lecoq come up to your idea of a detective?” Sherlock Holmes sniffed sardonically. “Lecoq was a miserable bungler,” he said, in an angry voice; “he had only one thing to recommend him, and that was his energy. That book made me positively ill. The question was how to identify an unknown prisoner. I could have done it in twenty-four hours. Lecoq took six months or so. It might be made a textbook for detectives to teach them what to avoid.” I felt rather indignant at having two characters whom I had admired treated in this cavalier style. I walked over to the window and stood looking out into the busy street. “This fellow may be very clever,” I said to myself, “but he is certainly very conceited.” “There are no crimes and no criminals in these days,” he said, querulously. “What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. 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. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some bungling villainy with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it.” I was still annoyed at his bumptious style of conversation. I thought it best to change the topic. “I wonder what that fellow is looking for?” I asked, pointing to a stalwart, plainly dressed individual who was walking slowly down the other side of the street, looking anxiously at the numbers. He had a large blue envelope in his hand, and was evidently the bearer of a message. “You mean the retired sergeant of Marines,” said Sherlock Holmes. “Brag and bounce!” thought I to myself. “He knows that I cannot verify his guess.” The thought had hardly passed through my mind when the man whom we were watching caught sight of the number on our door, and ran rapidly across the roadway. We heard a loud knock, a deep voice below, and heavy steps ascending the stair.

“For Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” he said, stepping into the room and handing my friend the letter. Here was an opportunity of taking the conceit out of him. He little thought of this when he made that random shot. “May I ask, my lad,” I said, in the blandest voice, “what your trade may be?” “Commissionaire, sir,” he said, gruffly. “Uniform away for repairs.” “And you were?” I asked, with a slightly malicious glance at my companion. “A sergeant, sir, Royal Marine Light Infantry, sir. No answer? Right, sir.” He clicked his heels together, raised his hand in salute, and was gone.

David Soucek, 1998

Chapter 3

A Study in Scarlet

Chapter 3

THE LAURISTON GARDEN MYSTERY
I CONFESS that I was considerably startled by this fresh proof of the practical nature of my companion’s theories. My respect for his powers of analysis increased [26] wondrously. There still remained some lurking suspicion in my mind, however, that the whole thing was a prearranged episode, intended to dazzle me, though what earthly object he could have in taking me in was past my comprehension. When I looked at him, he had finished reading the note, and his eyes had assumed the vacant, lacklustre expression which showed mental abstraction. “How in the world did you deduce that?” I asked. “Deduce what?” said he, petulantly. “Why, that he was a retired sergeant of Marines.” “I have no time for trifles,” he answered, brusquely; then with a smile, “Excuse my rudeness. You broke the thread of my thoughts; but perhaps it is as well. So you actually were not able to see that that man was a sergeant of Marines?” “No, indeed.” “It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact. Even across the street I could see a great blue anchor tattooed on the back of the fellow’s hand. That smacked of the sea. He had a military carriage, however, and regulation side whiskers. There we have the marine. He was a man with some amount of self-importance and a certain air of command. You must have observed the way in which he held his head and swung his cane. A steady, respectable, middle-aged man, too, on the face of him–all facts which led me to believe that he had been a sergeant.” “Wonderful!” I ejaculated. “Commonplace,” said Holmes, though I thought from his expression that he was pleased at my evident surprise and admiration. “I said just now that there were no criminals. It appears that I am wrong–look at this!” He threw me over the note which the commissionaire had brought. “Why,” I cried, as I cast my eye over it, “this is terrible!” “It does seem to be a little out of the common,” he remarked, calmly. “Would you mind reading it to me aloud?” This is the letter which I read to him,– “MY DEAR MR. SHERLOCK HOLMES: “There has been a bad business during the night at 3, Lauriston Gardens, off the Brixton Road. Our man on the beat saw a light

there about two in the morning, and as the house was an empty one, suspected that something was amiss. He found the door open, and in the front room, which is bare of furniture, discovered the body of a gentleman, well dressed, and having cards in his pocket bearing the name of ‘Enoch J. Drebber, Cleveland, Ohio, U. S. A.’ There had been no robbery, nor is there any evidence as to how the man met his death. There are marks of blood in the room, but there is no wound upon his person. We are at a loss as to how he came into the empty house; indeed, the whole affair is a puzzler. If you can come round to the house any time before twelve, you will find me there. I have left everything in statu quo until I hear from you. If you are unable to come, I shall give you fuller details, and would esteem it a great kindness if you would favour me with your opinions. “Yours faithfully, “TOBIAS GREGSON.” “Gregson is the smartest of the Scotland Yarders,” my friend remarked; “he [27] and Lestrade are the pick of a bad lot. They are both quick and energetic, but conventional–shockingly so. They have their knives into one another, too. They are as jealous as a pair of professional beauties. There will be some fun over this case if they are both put upon the scent.” I was amazed at the calm way in which he rippled on. “Surely there is not a moment to be lost,” I cried; “shall I go and order you a cab?” “I’m not sure about whether I shall go. I am the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather–that is, when the fit is on me, for I can be spry enough at times.” “Why, it is just such a chance as you have been longing for.” “My dear fellow, what does it matter to me? Supposing I unravel the whole matter, you may be sure that Gregson, Lestrade, and Co. will pocket all the credit. That comes of being an unofficial personage.” “But he begs you to help him.” “Yes. He knows that I am his superior, and acknowledges it to me; but he would cut his tongue out before he would own it to any third person. However, we may as well go and have a look. I shall work it out on my own hook. I may have a laugh at them, if I have nothing else. Come on!” He hustled on his overcoat, and bustled about in a way that showed that an energetic fit had superseded the apathetic one. “Get your hat,” he said. “You wish me to come?” “Yes, if you have nothing better to do.” A minute later we were both in a hansom, driving furiously for the Brixton Road. It was a foggy, cloudy morning, and a dun-coloured veil hung over the housetops, looking like the reflection of the mud-coloured streets beneath. My companion was in the best of spirits, and prattled away about Cremona fiddles and the difference between a Stradivarius and an Amati. As for myself, I was silent, for the dull weather and the melancholy business upon which we were engaged depressed my spirits. “You don’t seem to give much thought to the matter in hand,” I said at

last, interrupting Holmes’s musical disquisition. “No data yet,” he answered. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.” “You will have your data soon,” I remarked, pointing with my finger; “this is the Brixton Road, and that is the house, if I am not very much mistaken.” “So it is. Stop, driver, stop!” We were still a hundred yards or so from it, but he insisted upon our alighting, and we finished our journey upon foot. Number 3, Lauriston Gardens wore an ill-omened and minatory look. It was one of four which stood back some little way from the street, two being occupied and two empty. The latter looked out with three tiers of vacant melancholy windows, which were blank and dreary, save that here and there a “To Let” card had developed like a cataract upon the bleared panes. A small garden sprinkled over with a scattered eruption of sickly plants separated each of these houses from the street, and was traversed by a narrow pathway, yellowish in colour, and consisting apparently of a mixture of clay and of gravel. The whole place was very sloppy from the rain which had fallen through the night. The garden was bounded by a three-foot brick wall with a fringe of wood rails upon the top, and against this wall was leaning a stalwart police constable, surrounded by a small knot of loafers, [28] who craned their necks and strained their eyes in the vain hope of catching some glimpse of the proceedings within. I had imagined that Sherlock Holmes would at once have hurried into the house and plunged into a study of the mystery. Nothing appeared to be further from his intention. With an air of nonchalance which, under the circumstances, seemed to me to border upon affectation, he lounged up and down the pavement, and gazed vacantly at the ground, the sky, the opposite houses and the line of railings. Having finished his scrutiny, he proceeded slowly down the path, or rather down the fringe of grass which flanked the path, keeping his eyes riveted upon the ground. Twice he stopped, and once I saw him smile, and heard him utter an exclamation of satisfaction. There were many marks of footsteps upon the wet clayey soil; but since the police had been coming and going over it, I was unable to see how my companion could hope to learn anything from it. Still I had had such extraordinary evidence of the quickness of his perceptive faculties, that I had no doubt that he could see a great deal which was hidden from me. At the door of the house we were met by a tall, white-faced, flaxenhaired man, with a notebook in his hand, who rushed forward and wrung my companion’s hand with effusion. “It is indeed kind of you to come,” he said, “I have had everything left untouched.” “Except that!” my friend answered, pointing at the pathway. “If a herd of buffaloes had passed along, there could not be a greater mess. No doubt, however, you had drawn your own conclusions, Gregson, before you permitted this.” “I have had so much to do inside the house,” the detective said evasively. “My colleague, Mr. Lestrade, is here. I had relied upon him to look after this.”

Holmes glanced at me and raised his eyebrows sardonically. “With two such men as yourself and Lestrade upon the ground, there will not be much for a third party to find out,” he said. Gregson rubbed his hands in a self-satisfied way. “I think we have done all that can be done,” he answered; “it’s a queer case, though, and I knew your taste for such things.” “You did not come here in a cab?” asked Sherlock Holmes. “No, sir.” “Nor Lestrade?” “No, sir.” “Then let us go and look at the room.” With which inconsequent remark he strode on into the house followed by Gregson, whose features expressed his astonishment. A short passage, bare-planked and dusty, led to the kitchen and offices. Two doors opened out of it to the left and to the right. One of these had obviously been closed for many weeks. The other belonged to the diningroom, which was the apartment in which the mysterious affair had occurred. Holmes walked in, and I followed him with that subdued feeling at my heart which the presence of death inspires. It was a large square room, looking all the larger from the absence of all furniture. A vulgar flaring paper adorned the walls, but it was blotched in places with mildew, and here and there great strips had become detached and hung down, exposing the yellow plaster beneath. Opposite the door was a showy fireplace, surmounted by a mantelpiece of imitation white marble. On one corner of this was stuck the stump of a red wax candle. The solitary window was so dirty that the [29] light was hazy and uncertain, giving a dull gray tinge to everything, which was intensified by the thick layer of dust which coated the whole apartment.

All these details I observed afterwards. At present my attention was centred upon the single, grim, motionless figure which lay stretched upon the boards, with vacant, sightless eyes staring up at the discoloured ceiling. It was that of a man about forty-three or forty-four years of age, middle-sized, broad-shouldered, with crisp curling black hair, and a short, stubbly beard. He was dressed in a heavy broadcloth frock coat and waistcoat, with light-coloured trousers, and immaculate collar and cuffs. A top hat, well brushed and trim, was placed upon the floor beside him. His hands were clenched and his arms thrown abroad, while his lower limbs were interlocked, as though his death struggle had been a grievous one. On his rigid face there stood an expression of horror, and, as it seemed to me, of hatred, such as I have never seen upon human features. This malignant and terrible contortion, combined with the low forehead, blunt nose, and prognathous jaw, gave the dead man a singularly simious and ape-like appearance, which was increased by his writhing, unnatural posture. I have seen death in many forms, but never has it appeared to me in a more fearsome aspect than in that dark, grimy apartment, which looked out upon one of the main arteries of suburban London. Lestrade, lean and ferret-like as ever, was standing by the doorway, and greeted my companion and myself. “This case will make a stir, sir,” he remarked. “It beats anything I have seen, and I am no chicken.” “There is no clue?” said Gregson. “None at all,” chimed in Lestrade. Sherlock Holmes approached the body, and, kneeling down, examined

it intently. “You are sure that there is no wound?” he asked, pointing to numerous gouts and splashes of blood which lay all round. “Positive!” cried both detectives. “Then, of course, this blood belongs to a second individual–presumably the murderer, if murder has been committed. It reminds me of the circumstances attendant on the death of Van Jansen, in Utrecht, in the year ’34. Do you remember the case, Gregson?” “No, sir.” “Read it up–you really should. There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before.” As he spoke, his nimble fingers were flying here, there, and everywhere, feeling, pressing, unbuttoning, examining, while his eyes wore the same far-away expression which I have already remarked upon. So swiftly was the examination made, that one would hardly have guessed the minuteness with which it was conducted. Finally, he sniffed the dead man’s lips, and then glanced at the soles of his patent leather boots. “He has not been moved at all?” he asked. “No more than was necessary for the purpose of our examination.” “You can take him to the mortuary now,” he said. “There is nothing more to be learned.” Gregson had a stretcher and four men at hand. At his call they entered the room, and the stranger was lifted and carried out. As they raised him, a ring tinkled down and rolled across the floor. Lestrade grabbed it up and stared at it with mystified eyes. [30] “There’s been a woman here,” he cried. “It’s a woman’s wedding ring.” He held it out, as he spoke, upon the palm of his hand. We all gathered round him and gazed at it. There could be no doubt that that circlet of plain gold had once adorned the finger of a bride. “This complicates matters,” said Gregson. “Heaven knows, they were complicated enough before.” “You’re sure it doesn’t simplify them?” observed Holmes. “There’s nothing to be learned by staring at it. What did you find in his pockets?” “We have it all here,” said Gregson, pointing to a litter of objects upon one of the bottom steps of the stairs. “A gold watch, No. 97163, by Barraud, of London. Gold Albert chain, very heavy and solid. Gold ring, with masonic device. Gold pin–bull-dog’s head, with rubies as eyes. Russian leather cardcase, with cards of Enoch J. Drebber of Cleveland, corresponding with the E. J. D. upon the linen. No purse, but loose money to the extent of seven pounds thirteen. Pocket edition of Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron,’ with name of Joseph Stangerson upon the flyleaf. Two letters–one addressed to E. J. Drebber and one to Joseph Stangerson.” “At what address?” “American Exchange, Strand–to be left till called for. They are both from the Guion Steamship Company, and refer to the sailing of their boats from Liverpool. It is clear that this unfortunate man was about to return to New York.” “Have you made any inquiries as to this man Stangerson?”

“I did it at once, sir,” said Gregson. “I have had advertisements sent to all the newspapers, and one of my men has gone to the American Exchange, but he has not returned yet.” “Have you sent to Cleveland?” “We telegraphed this morning.” “How did you word your inquiries?” “We simply detailed the circumstances, and said that we should be glad of any information which could help us.” “You did not ask for particulars on any point which appeared to you to be crucial?” “I asked about Stangerson.” “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, in an offended voice. Sherlock Holmes chuckled to himself, and appeared to be about to make some remark, when Lestrade, who had been in the front room while we were holding this conversation in the hall, reappeared upon the scene, rubbing his hands in a pompous and self-satisfied manner. “Mr. Gregson,” he said, “I have just made a discovery of the highest importance, and one which would have been overlooked had I not made a careful examination of the walls.” The little man’s eyes sparkled as he spoke, and he was evidently in a state of suppressed exultation at having scored a point against his colleague. “Come here,” he said, bustling back into the room, the atmosphere of which felt clearer since the removal of its ghastly inmate. “Now, stand there!” He struck a match on his boot and held it up against the wall.

“Look at that!” he said, triumphantly. I have remarked that the paper had fallen away in parts. In this particular corner [31] of the room a large piece had peeled off, leaving a yellow square of coarse plastering. Across this bare space there was scrawled in blood-red letters a single word– RACHE “What do you think of that?” cried the detective, with the air of a showman exhibiting his show. “This was overlooked because it was in the darkest corner of the room, and no one thought of looking there. The murderer has written it with his or her own blood. See this smear where it has trickled down the wall! That disposes of the idea of suicide anyhow. Why was that corner chosen to write it on? I will tell you. See that candle on the mantelpiece. It was lit at the time, and if it was lit this corner would be the brightest instead of the darkest portion of the wall.” “And what does it mean now that you have found it?” asked Gregson in a depreciatory voice. “Mean? Why, it means that the writer was going to put the female name Rachel, but was disturbed before he or she had time to finish. You mark my words, when this case comes to be cleared up, you will find that a woman named Rachel has something to do with it. It’s all very well for you to laugh, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. You may be very smart and clever, but the old hound is the best, when all is said and done.”

“I really beg your pardon!” said my companion, who had ruffled the little man’s temper by bursting into an explosion of laughter. “You certainly have the credit of being the first of us to find this out and, as you say, it bears every mark of having been written by the other participant in last night’s mystery. I have not had time to examine this room yet, but with your permission I shall do so now.” As he spoke, he whipped a tape measure and a large round magnifying glass from his pocket. With these two implements he trotted noiselessly about the room, sometimes stopping, occasionally kneeling, and once lying flat upon his face. So engrossed was he with his occupation that he appeared to have forgotten our presence, for he chattered away to himself under his breath the whole time, keeping up a running fire of exclamations, groans, whistles, and little cries suggestive of encouragement and of hope. As I watched him I was irresistibly reminded of a pure-blooded, well-trained foxhound, as it dashes backward and forward through the covert, whining in its eagerness, until it comes across the lost scent. For twenty minutes or more he continued his researches, measuring with the most exact care the distance between marks which were entirely invisible to me, and occasionally applying his tape to the walls in an equally incomprehensible manner. In one place he gathered up very carefully a little pile of gray dust from the floor, and packed it away in an envelope. Finally he examined with his glass the word upon the wall, going over every letter of it with the most minute exactness. This done, he appeared to be satisfied, for he replaced his tape and his glass in his pocket. “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains,” he remarked with a smile. “It’s a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.” Gregson and Lestrade had watched the manoeuvres of their amateur companion with considerable curiosity and some contempt. They evidently failed to appreciate the fact, which I had begun to realize, that Sherlock Holmes’s smallest actions were all directed towards some definite and practical end. “What do you think of it, sir?” they both asked. “It would be robbing you of the credit of the case if I were to presume to help [32] you,” remarked my friend. “You are doing so well now that it would be a pity for anyone to interfere.” There was a world of sarcasm in his voice as he spoke. “If you will let me know how your investigations go,” he continued, “I shall be happy to give you any help I can. 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 notebook. “John Rance,” he said. “He is off duty now. You will find him at 46, Audley Court, Kennington Park Gate.” Holmes took a note of the address. “Come along, Doctor,” he said: “we shall go and look him up. I’ll tell you one thing which may help you in the case,” he continued, turning to the two detectives. “There has been murder done, and the murderer was a man. He was more than six feet high, was in the prime of life, had small feet for his height, wore coarse, square-toed boots and smoked a

leaving the two rivals open mouthed behind him. In all probability the murderer had a florid face. 1998 Chapter 4 . but they may assist you.” he added.Trichinopoly cigar. which was drawn by a horse with three old shoes and one new one on his off fore-leg.’ is the German for ‘revenge’. “One other thing. and strode off.” Lestrade and Gregson glanced at each other with an incredulous smile. how was it done?” asked the former. turning round at the door: “‘Rache. Lestrade. “If this man was murdered. He came here with his victim in a four-wheeled cab. These are only a few indications. David Soucek.” said Sherlock Holmes curtly. and the finger-nails of his right hand were remarkably long.” With which Parthian shot he walked away. “Poison. so don’t lose your time looking for Miss Rachel.

“Surely you are not as sure as you pretend to be of all those particulars which you gave. and Square-toes had hopped over. showing that that was a new shoe. he can’t be quite in the sere and yellow. so that those wheels which left such a deep impression must have been there during the night.” I suggested. 3. though there is no use my boring you with figures. That was the breadth of a puddle on the garden walk which he had evidently walked across. There is no mystery about it at all. I had this fellow’s stride both on the clay outside and on the dust within.” said I. that it brought those two individuals to the house. Holmes. “but how about the other man’s height?” “Why. “The writing on the wall was done with a man’s forefinger dipped in . we have had no rain for a week. He then hailed a cab.” “And his age?” I asked. and ordered the driver to take us to the address given us by Lestrade. in nine cases out of ten. “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. Patentleather boots had gone round. Sherlock Holmes led me to the nearest telegraph office. Since the cab was there after the rain began. “Well. too. up to last night. Then I had a way of checking my calculation. Now that writing was just over six feet from the ground.” he remarked. and therefore. the outline of one of which was far more clearly cut than that of the other three. Is there anything else that puzzles you?” “The finger-nails and the Trichinopoly. Lauriston Gardens. “There is nothing like first-hand evidence. I am simply applying to ordinary life a few of those precepts of observation and deduction which I advocated in that article.” [33] “That seems simple enough. “as a matter of fact. my mind is entirely made up upon the case. and was not there at any time during the morning–I have Gregson’s word for that–it follows that it must have been there during the night. It is a simple calculation enough. It was child’s play.” said I. his instinct leads him to write above the level of his own eyes. but still we may as well learn all that is to be learned.” “You amaze me. if a man can stride four and a half feet without the smallest effort. When a man writes on a wall. There were the marks of the horse’s hoofs.” “There’s no room for a mistake. whence he dispatched a long telegram.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 4 WHAT JOHN RANCE HAD TO TELL IT WAS one o’clock when we left No. Now. the height of a man.” he answered. can be told from the length of his stride.

” he said. by suggesting Socialism and secret societies. that was a more daring shot. if you noticed.” “I shall never do that. and if I show you too much of my method of working. and the earnest way in which I uttered them. My glass allowed me to observe that the plaster was slightly scratched in doing it. into a fury. I could read all that in the dust. “the more one thinks of it the more mysterious it grows. When they got inside. it was simply a blind intended to put the police upon a wrong track. I have written a monograph upon the subject. in all probability. though I have quite made up my mind on the main facts.” I remarked. Doctor. was printed somewhat after the German fashion.” My companion smiled approvingly. and working himself up. “You sum up the difficulties of the situation succinctly and well. You know a conjurer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick. It was simply a ruse to divert inquiry into a wrong channel. I’m not going to tell you much more of the case. “I’ll tell you one other thing. no doubt. and they walked down the pathway together as friendly as possible–arm-in-arm. 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. You must not ask me that at the present state of the affair. It was dark in colour and flaky –such an ash is only made by a Trichinopoly. and I could read that as he walked he grew more and more excited. It is just in such details that the skilled detective differs from the Gregson and Lestrade type. though I have no doubt that I was right. “Ah. they walked up and down the room–or rather. I gathered up some scattered ash from the floor. “Patent-leathers and Square-toes came in the same cab. I flatter myself that I can distinguish at a glance the ash of any known brand either of cigar or of tobacco. The A. which would not have been the case if the man’s nail had been trimmed. Now. That is shown by the increased length of his strides. I have made a special study of cigar ashes–in fact. 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. a real German invariably prints in the Latin character. He was talking all the while. “you have brought detection as near an exact science as it ever will be brought in this world. but by a clumsy imitator who overdid his part. “There is much that is still obscure. Then the tragedy . 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 from? What was the object of the murderer. It was not done by a German.” [34] My companion flushed up with pleasure at my words.” he said.” “And the florid face?” I asked. “My head is in a whirl. so that we may safely say that this was not written by one. you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all.” I answered.” I passed my hand over my brow. since robbery had no part in it? How came the woman’s ring there? Above all. Patent-leathers stood still while Square-toes walked up and down. As to poor Lestrade’s discovery.blood.

“I made my report at the office. for the rest is mere surmise and conjecture. In the dingiest and dreariest of them our driver suddenly came to a stand. however. with his eyes upon the little golden disc. Holmes took a half-sovereign from his pocket and played with it pensively.occurred. “I shall be most happy to tell you anything I can.” he said. He appeared presently. “We thought that we should like to hear it all from your own lips.” he said. looking a little irritable at being disturbed in his slumbers.” he said. and through lines of discoloured linen. I’ve told you all I know myself now. We have a good working basis. “You’ll find me here when you come back. and we were shown into a little front parlour to await his coming. . On inquiry we found that the constable was in bed.” Audley Court was not an attractive locality. until we came to Number 46. “That’s Audley Court in there.” This conversation had occurred while our cab had been threading its way through a long succession of dingy streets and dreary byways.” the constable answered. The narrow passage led us into a quadrangle paved with flags and lined by sordid dwellings. We must hurry up. the door of which was decorated with a small slip of brass on which the name Rance was engraved. for I want to go to Halle’s concert to hear Norman Neruda this afternoon. We picked our way among groups of dirty children. on which to start. pointing to a narrow slit in the line of dead-coloured brick.

I ain’t afeared of anything on this side o’ the grave. The thought gave me a kind o’ turn. and then– –” John Rance sprang to his feet with a frightened face and suspicion in his eyes. without. sir. Then I pulled myself together and went back and pushed the door open. but there wasn’t no sign of him nor of anyone else. nor as much as a dog. but I thought that maybe it was him that died o’ the typhoid inspecting the drains what killed him.” . and then you walked through and tried the kitchen door. that I thought I’d be none the worse for someone with me. “It seems to me that you knows a deal more than you should.” Holmes laughed and threw his card across the table to the constable. Not a soul did I meet all the way down. but bar that all was quiet enough on the beat. though. You walked round the room several times. though a cab or two went past me.” he said. Go on. “What did you do that for?” Rance gave a violent jump. At eleven there was a fight at the White Hart.” my companion interrupted. I was a-strollin’ down. that’s true. at seeing a light in the window. Gregson or Mr. when suddenly the glint of a light caught my eye in the window of that same house. “Don’t go arresting me for the murder. It was precious dirty and lonely. Heaven only knows.” Rance sat down on the horsehair sofa.” he said. That brought Murcher and two more to the spot. Ye see when I got up to the door.” “There was no one in the street?” “Not a livin’ soul. I was knocked all in a heap. and I walked back to the gate to see if I could see Murcher’s lantern. so I went into the room where the light was a-burnin’. however. thinkin’ between ourselves how uncommon handy a four of gin hot would be. losing his mystified expression. “I’ll tell it ye from the beginning.“Just let us hear it all in your own way as it occurred. therefore. and stared at Sherlock Holmes with the utmost amazement upon his features. and then walked back to the garden gate. 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. I know all that you saw. Lestrade will answer for that. as though determined not to omit anything in his narrative. “I am one of the hounds and not the wolf. All was quiet inside. and you knelt down by the body. and I suspected as something was wrong. Now. “I went back to the gate and sounded my whistle. “though how you come to know it. sir. and knitted his brows. Mr. What did you do next?” Rance resumed his seat. “Why.” he said. “Where was you hid to see all that?” he cried. though the very last tenant what lived in one of them died o’ typhoid fever. “My time is from ten at night to six in the morning. When I got to the door– –” [35] “You stopped. 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. At one o’clock it began to rain. and I met Harry Murcher–him who has the Holland Grove beat–and we stood together at the corner of Henrietta Street a-talkin’. There was a candle flickerin’ on the mantelpiece–a red wax one–and by its light I saw– –” “Yes. it was so still and so lonesome.

” “What sort of a man was he?” asked Sherlock Holmes. and a-singin’ at the pitch o’ his lungs about Columbine’s Newfangled Banner. “What became of him?” “We’d enough to do without lookin’ after him.“Was the street empty then?” “Well. He was at the gate when I came out. far less help.” “His face–his dress–didn’t you notice them?” Holmes broke in impatiently.” he said.” the policeman said. seeing that I had to prop him up–me and Murcher between us. it was. in an aggrieved voice. the lower part muffled round– –” “That will do. as far as anybody that could be of any good goes. He was a long chap. “I’ve seen many a drunk chap in my time. “He’d ha’ found hisself in the station if we hadn’t been so took up.” “What do you mean?” The constable’s features broadened into a grin. or some such stuff. “but never anyone so cryin’ drunk as that cove.” he said. “I should think I did notice them.” cried Holmes. with a red face. “I’ll wager he found his way home all right.” “How was he dressed?” [36] “A brown overcoat. “He was an uncommon drunk sort o’ man. John Rance appeared to be somewhat irritated at this digression.” “Had he a whip in his hand?” . a-leanin’ up ag’in the railings. He couldn’t stand.

bitterly. That head of yours should be for use as well as ornament. Come along. and isolate it.“A whip–no. I might not have gone but for you.” Leaning back in the cab. the ring: that was what he came back for. And now for lunch. and expose every inch of it. There is no use of arguing about it now. Rance.” “He must have left it behind. that you will never rise in the force. There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life.” my companion said. we can always bait our line with the ring. But why should he come back to the house after leaving it? That is not the way of criminals. and then for Norman Neruda.” “The ring. “Just to think of his having such an incomparable bit of good luck. Doctor. but obviously uncomfortable. I shall have him. and our duty is to unravel it. What’s that little thing of Chopin’s she plays so magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay. and not taking advantage of it. You might have gained your sergeant’s stripes last night. I must thank you for it all. “The blundering fool!” Holmes said. leaving our informant incredulous.” We started off for the cab together. The man whom you held in your hands is the man who holds the clue of this mystery. and so have missed the finest study I ever came across: a study in scarlet. 1998 Chapter 5 . It is true that the description of this man tallies with your idea of the second party in this mystery. “You didn’t happen to see or hear a cab after that?” “No. I tell you that it is so. Her attack and her bowing are splendid. this amateur bloodhound carolled away like a lark while I meditated upon the many-sidedness of the human mind.” “I am rather in the dark still. man. Doctor–I’ll lay you two to one that I have him.” muttered my companion. “I am afraid. and whom we are seeking.” “There’s a half-sovereign for you. eh? Why shouldn’t we use a little art jargon. If we have no other way of catching him. David Soucek. as we drove back to our lodgings. standing up and taking his hat.

He was very late in returning–so late that I knew that the concert could not have detained him all the time. “What’s the matter? You’re not looking quite yourself. After Holmes’s departure for the concert. The more I thought of it the more extraordinary did my companion’s hypothesis. they were certainly those of Enoch J. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. and that the depravity of the victim was no condonement in the eyes of the law. Dinner was on the table before he appeared. appear.” “That’s rather a broad idea. As long as all these questions were unsolved. It was a useless attempt. as he took his seat. “I ought to be more case-hardened . “It was magnificent. I felt that sleep would be no easy matter. and I was tired out in the afternoon. “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. since there was neither wound nor marks of strangulation? But. If ever human features bespoke vice of the most malignant type.” “To tell the truth. Every time that I closed my eyes I saw before me the distorted. baboonlike countenance of the murdered man. My mind had been too much excited by all that had occurred.” he said. I lay down upon the sofa and endeavoured to get a couple of hours’ sleep. This Brixton Road affair has upset you. if not poison. and the strangest fancies and surmises crowded into it. 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. that the man had been poisoned. either for Holmes or myself.” I said. and had no doubt that he had detected something which had given rise to the idea. it has. Drebber. on the other hand.” I remarked. Still I recognized that justice must be [37] done. of Cleveland. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood. self-confident manner convinced me that he had already formed a theory which explained all the facts. nor had the victim any weapon with which he might have wounded an antagonist. what had caused this man’s death. “One’s ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 5 OUR ADVERTISEMENT BRINGS A VISITOR OUR morning’s exertions had been too much for my weak health. I remembered how he had sniffed his lips. though what it was I could not for an instant conjecture. again. Then. ” he answered. His quiet. whose blood was that which lay so thickly upon the floor? There were no signs of a struggle.

and want to meddle in the affair.” “That is all right. It does not mention the fact that when the man was raised up a woman’s wedding ring fell upon the floor. “a plain gold wedding ring. it must have occurred to him that it was possible that he had lost the ring in the road after leaving the house. you can leave me to deal with him then. Apply Dr. “Oh. “If I used my own. According to my notion he dropped it while stooping over Drebber’s body.” I went to my bedroom and followed his advice. but found the police already in possession. this man would rather risk anything than lose the ring. 221B. 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. yes. “This will do very well.” he said. When I returned with . of course. would light upon this. where there is no imagination there is no horror. you have. the man in the brown coat–our florid friend with the square toes.” it ran. You shall see him within an hour.after my Afghan experiences. After leaving the house he discovered his loss and hurried back. found in the roadway between the White Hart Tavern and Holland Grove.” He threw the paper across to me and I glanced at the place indicated. between eight and nine this evening.” “And then?” I asked. He will be a desperate man. What would he do then? He would eagerly look out for the evening papers in the hope of seeing it among the articles found. Have you any arms?” “I have my old service revolver and a few cartridges. It is just as well it does not. this morning. He would be overjoyed.” “I can understand. and though I shall take him unawares. If he does not come himself. “But supposing anyone applies. it is as well to be ready for anything. His eye.” “Excuse my using your name.” I answered. He will come. Have you seen the evening paper?” “No. It is almost a facsimile. He would come. If my view of the case is correct. Now put yourself in that man’s place. handing me one.” “You had better clean it and load it.” “Why?” “Look at this advertisement. owing to his own folly in leaving the candle burning. It was the first announcement in the “Found” column. I have no ring. “I had one sent to every paper this morning immediately after the affair. He had to pretend to be drunk in order to allay the suspicions which might have been aroused by his appearance at the gate. “In Brixton Road.” “Would he not consider it as too dangerous?” “Not at all. Baker Street. some of these dunderheads would recognize it. and did not miss it at the time. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination.” said he. On thinking the matter over.” “Oh. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Maiwand without losing my nerve.” “It gives a fairly good account of the affair. and I have every reason to believe that it is. Watson.” he answered.” “And who do you expect will answer this advertisement?” [38] “Why. he will send an accomplice.

I think.” he remarked. “I have just had an answer to my American telegram. “Put your pistol in your pocket.’ I wonder who William Whyte was. When the fellow comes. “Does Dr. and there was a feeble tap at the door. and someone began to ascend the stairs.” “And that is– –?” I asked eagerly.” he said.” “Who is the printer?” “Philippe de Croy. It came slowly along the passage. Don’t frighten him by looking at him too hard. as I entered. Sherlock Holmes rose softly and moved his chair in the direction of the door. Leave the rest to me. On the flyleaf. Some pragmatical seventeenth-century lawyer. Here comes our man. His writing has a legal twist about it. That will do. Open the door slightly.” “It is eight o’clock now.” As he spoke there was a sharp ring at the bell.” I cried. “The plot thickens. Watson live here?” asked a clear but rather harsh voice. in 1642. and the sharp click of the latch as she opened it. speak to him in an ordinary way. We could not hear the servant’s reply. We heard the servant pass along the hall. whoever he may have been. glancing at my watch. . is written ‘Ex libris Guliolmi Whyte. “Come in. A look of surprise passed [39] over the face of my companion as he listened to it. “My fiddle would be the better for new strings. He will probably be here in a few minutes. the table had been cleared. but the door closed. Charles’s head was still firm on his shoulders when this little brown-backed volume was struck off. “Yes.the pistol. I suppose. 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. The footfall was an uncertain and shuffling one.” I said. Now put the key on the inside. in very faded ink. My view of the case is the correct one. and Holmes was engaged in his favourite occupation of scraping upon his violin.

and pointed at our advertisement. which her husband is steward aboard a Union boat. “The Lord be thanked!” cried the old woman.” “The Brixton Road does not lie between any circus and Houndsditch. A weary way from here. and his face had assumed such a disconsolate expression that it was all I could do to keep my countenance.” she said. “It’s this as has brought me. She appeared to be dazzled by the sudden blaze of light. taking up a pencil. “13. instead of the man of violence whom we expected. she went to the circus last night along with– –” “Is that her ring?” I asked. dropping another curtsey. If it please you. but more especially when he has the drink. It belongs to my girl Sally. The old woman faced round and looked keenly at him from her little . good gentlemen. a very old and wrinkled woman hobbled into the apartment.” said Sherlock Holmes sharply. I glanced at my companion.” “And what may your address be?” I inquired. “Sally will be a glad woman this night. she stood blinking at us with her bleared eyes and fumbling in her pocket with nervous. shaky fingers. That’s the ring. as was married only this time twelvemonth. Duncan Street. he being short enough at the best o’ times. and what he’d say if he comes ’ome and found her without her ring is more than I can think. “a gold wedding ring in the Brixton Road. Houndsditch. and after dropping a curtsey.At my summons. The old crone drew out an evening paper.

” he said. Eleven. Looking through the window I could see her walking feebly along the other side. Wait up for me. “I wouldn’t have the Scotland Yarders know it for the world. in obedience to a sign from my companion. because I know that I will be even with them in the long run. This begins to look genuine.” With many mumbled blessings and protestations of gratitude the old crone packed it away in her pocket. “I’ll follow her. and I heard the footsteps of the maid as she pattered off to bed. until the former suddenly carried the day. “she must be an accomplice. ‘Drive to 13. what with the women and what with liquor shops– –” “Here is your ring. Duncan Street. I perched myself behind. The instant he entered I saw by his face that he had not been successful. and will lead me to him. I thought. and shuffled off down the stairs. Houndsditch. That’s an art which every detective should be an expert at.” The hall door had hardly slammed behind our visitor before Holmes had descended the stair. Ten o’clock passed. Well. “or else he will be led now to the heart of the mystery. Mayfield Place.’ she cried. and hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. but I need not have been so anxious. and the more stately tread of the landlady passed my door.” “What is it then?” I asked. . Mrs.red-rimmed eyes. Peckham. but when on shore.” he cried.” I interrupted. and I am glad to be able to restore it to the rightful owner. and never drew rein until we reached the street in question. and he burst into a hearty laugh. and strolled down the street in an easy.” “And your name is– –?” “My name is Sawyer–hers is Dennis. and no steward in the company more thought of. for she sang it out loud enough to be heard at the other side of the street. “it clearly belongs to your daughter. for I felt that sleep was impossible until I heard the result of his adventure. dropping into his chair. as long as he’s at sea. Presently she came to a halt. “I have chaffed them so much that they would never have let me hear the end of it. I can afford to laugh. He returned in a few seconds enveloped in an ulster and a cravat. hurriedly. I had no idea how long he might be. “The gentleman asked me for my address. bound for the same destination. That creature had gone a little way when she began to limp and show every sign of being footsore. I managed to be close to her so as to hear the address. Amusement and chagrin seemed to be struggling for the mastery. It was close upon twelve before I heard the sharp sound of his latchkey. I hopped off before we came to the door.” I thought to myself.” There was no need for him to ask me to wait up for him. away we rattled. but I sat stolidly puffing at my pipe and skipping over the pages of Henri Murger’s [40] Vie de Boheme. I don’t mind telling a story against myself. while her pursuer dogged her some little distance behind. too. “Either his whole theory is incorrect. Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet the moment that she was gone and rushed into his room. “Oh. which Tom Dennis married her–and a smart.” she said. “Sally lives in lodgings at 3. clean lad. Sawyer. and having seen her safely inside. It was close upon nine when he set out.

The driver jumped down. 1998 Chapter 6 . and long into the watches of the night I heard the low melancholy wailings of his violin. Doctor.” I cried. Take my advice and turn in. and that no one of the name either of Sawyer or Dennis had ever been heard of there. and I saw him open the door and stand expectantly. There was no sign or trace of his passenger. On inquiring at Number 13 we found that the house belonged to a respectable paperhanger. The get-up was inimitable. and giving vent to the finest assorted collection of oaths that ever I listened to. besides being an incomparable actor. in amazement. and knew that he was still pondering over the strange problem which he had set himself to unravel. no doubt. named Keswick. but has friends who are ready to risk something for him.” I was certainly feeling very weary.” “You don’t mean to say. “We were the old women to be so taken in. and an active one. feeble old woman was able to get out of the cab while it was in motion. I left Holmes seated in front of the smouldering fire. It must have been a young man. I saw the cab pull up. Nothing came out though. so I obeyed his injunction. and I fear it will be some time before he gets his fare. you are looking done-up. “that that tottering. David Soucek. sharply. When I reached him. too. he was groping about frantically in the empty cab. He saw that he was followed. It shows that the man we are after is not as lonely as I imagined he was. without either you or the driver seeing her?” “Old woman be damned!” said Sherlock Holmes. and used this means of giving me the slip. Now.lounging way.

The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a . many miles from Euston. We are glad to learn that Mr. Joseph Stangerson. the 4th inst. as recorded. the principles of Malthus. The Socialists had many branches in America. the absence of all other motive. in Torquay Terrace. and the Ratcliff Highway murders. I still retain in my scrapbook numerous clippings and extracts bearing upon the case. are questions which are still involved in mystery. the Darwinian theory. How he came there. The two bade adieu to their landlady upon Tuesday. and the deceased had. Mr. and some had leaders upon it in addition. He was accompanied in his travels by his private secretary. the article concluded by admonishing the government and advocating a closer watch over foreigners in England. are both engaged upon the case. They were afterwards seen together upon the platform. He had stayed at the boardinghouse of Madame Charpentier. Nothing more is known of them until Mr. infringed their unwritten laws. The German name of the victim.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 6 TOBIAS GREGSON SHOWS WHAT HE CAN DO THE papers next day were full of the “Brixton Mystery. They arose from the unsettling of the minds of the masses. 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. and the sinister inscription on the wall. Carbonari.” as they termed it. Each had a long account of the affair. and the consequent weakening of all authority. aqua tofana. and departed to Euston Station with the avowed intention of catching the Liverpool express. Camberwell. There was some information in them which was new to me. of Scotland Yard. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of Stangerson. Lestrade and Mr.. and it is confidently anticipated that these well-known officers will speedily throw light upon the matter. After alluding airily to the Vehmgericht. Drebber’s body was. or how he met his fate. The Daily News observed that there was no doubt as to the crime being a political one. Gregson. The Standard commented upon the fact that lawless outrages of the sort usually occurred under a Liberal administration. discovered in an empty house in the Brixton Road. The deceased was an American gentleman who had been residing for some weeks in the metropolis. the Marchioness de Brinvilliers. all pointed to its perpetration by political refugees and revolutionists. no doubt. and been tracked down by them.

Every effort should be made to find the secretary. “In future you shall send up Wiggins alone to report.” “Oh. and the six dirty little scoundrels stood in a line like so many disreputable statuettes. and to ascertain some particulars of the habits of the deceased. in a sharp tone. 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. whatever happened. Stangerson. Gregson of Scotland Yard. Among these men there was a stringent code of honour. and the rest of you must wait in the street.’” “What on earth is this?” I cried. ‘Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire. and they appeared to afford him considerable amusement. for at this moment there came the pattering of many steps in the hall and on the stairs. it will be in spite of their exertions. accompanied by audible expressions of disgust upon the part of our landlady. “I told you that. [42] Sherlock Holmes and I read these notices over together at breakfast. It’s heads I win and tails you lose. if he escapes. Lestrade and Gregson would be sure to score. any infringement of which was punished by death. it doesn’t matter in the least. If the man is caught.” “That depends on how it turns out. they will have followers. Have you found it. “’Tention!” cried Holmes.” said my companion gravely. bless you. it will be on account of their exertions. Whatever they do. “It’s the Baker Street division of the detective police force. Wiggins?” .number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone. 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.

off you go. You must keep on until you do. “The mere sight of an officiallooking person seals men’s lips. “Now. sir.” A shade of anxiety seemed to me to cross my companion’s expressive face. “congratulate me! I have made the whole thing as clear as day.” he cried. we hain’t. go everywhere and hear everything. It is merely a matter of time. Bound for us. Here are your wages. there is a point which I wish to ascertain.” said one of the youths. “Yes. Yes. he is stopping.” “Is it on this Brixton case that you are employing them?” I asked. These youngsters. and come back with a better report next time. I know. and they scampered away downstairs like so many rats. and we heard their shrill voices next moment in the street. There he is!” There was a violent peal at the bell. “I hardly expected you would. “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. three steps at a time. 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. They are as sharp as needles. however. “My dear fellow.” He waved his hand.“No. all they want is organization. . and in a few seconds the fair-haired detective came up the stairs. wringing Holmes’s unresponsive hand.” He handed each of them a shilling. and burst into our sitting-room.

” “And his name is?” “Arthur Charpentier. however small it may seem. and try one of these cigars. she was looking red about the eyes and her lips trembled as I spoke to her. That didn’t escape my notice.” said Holmes. and asked him if he had sold a hat of that size and description. Sherlock Holmes. Drebber. Sherlock Holmes gave a sigh of relief and relaxed into a smile. sub-lieutenant in Her Majesty’s navy.” he said. or until parties came forward and volunteered information.” Gregson looked quite crestfallen. Camberwell Road.” “You do me too much honour. Her daughter was in the room. 129. Sherlock Holmes. too–an uncommonly fine girl she is. That is not Tobias Gregson’s way of going to work. sententiously. Dr. residing at Charpentier’s Boarding Establishment. Then suddenly he slapped his thigh in a paroxysm of amusement. I have no doubt that he has caught him by this time. you understand. The first difficulty which we had to contend with was the finding of this American’s antecedents. for we are both brain-workers. ‘Have you heard . “you should never neglect a chance.” The idea tickled Gregson so much that he laughed until he choked. and puffed complacently at his cigar. “The fun of it is. He looked over his books. who had no more to do with the crime than the babe unborn. too. nothing is little. has gone off upon the wrong track altogether. “Well.” “Smart–very smart!” murmured Sherlock Holmes. Of course. “We are anxious to know how you managed it.” said Holmes. “Take a seat.” continued the detective. we have the man under lock and key. “And how did you get your clue?” “Ah. “Let us hear how you arrived at this most gratifying result. “I had no idea that you noticed that. Mr. Watson.” cried Gregson pompously rubbing his fat hands and inflating his chest.“Do you mean that you are on the right track?” he asked. You know the feeling. I began to smell a rat. He had sent the hat to a Mr.” he said. Will you have some whisky and water?” “I don’t mind if I do. I’ll tell you all about it. “The tremendous exertions which I have gone through during the last day or two have worn me out. who thinks himself so smart. gravely. “I found her very pale and distressed. Some people would have waited until their advertisements were answered. You remember the hat beside the dead man?” “Yes. and came on it at once.” “Ha!” cried Gregson. sir. “that that fool Lestrade.” The detective seated himself in the armchair. I went to Underwood. “I next called upon Madame Charpentier. He is after the secretary Stangerson. when you come upon the right scent–a kind of thrill in your nerves. “by John Underwood and Sons.” “To a great mind.” remarked Holmes.” the detective answered.” he cried. this is strictly between ourselves. Thus I got at his address. “Have you been there?” “No. Torquay Terrace. You will appreciate that. “The right track! Why. Mr. Not so much [43] bodily exertion. as the strain upon the mind. in a relieved voice.

was far otherwise. “‘Mr. He was to catch the first.’ the girl answered firmly. of Cleveland?’ I asked. sir. reserved man. Besides. ‘You have murdered your brother. but his employer. “The mother nodded.’ “‘And was that the last which you saw of him?’ “A terrible change came over the woman’s face as I asked the question.’ she said. he speedily assumed the same attitude towards my daughter. Having once decided to speak. if your son is innocent he will be none the worse. showing that that had been their last stopping place. She didn’t seem able to get out a word. ‘I will tell you all. Alice. I will tell you all without omitting any particular. and then. Drebber leave your house for the train?’ I asked. you do not know how much we know of it. He and his secretary. [44] “There was silence for a moment. ‘I had no intention of telling you all this. He is utterly innocent of it. Drebber has been with us nearly three weeks. his antecedents would all forbid it. Drebber again. however. and . I am sorry to say. that in your eyes and in the eyes of others he may appear to be compromised. after twelve o’clock in the day he could hardly ever be said to be sober. ‘Depend upon it. turning to me. It was some seconds before she could get out the single word ‘Yes’–and when it did come it was in a husky. We did see Mr. and. Mr. had been travelling on the Continent. His high character. Worst of all.’ said I. Enoch J. is surely impossible. Drebber. you had better leave us together. “‘You had best tell me all about it now. That. Stangerson was a quiet.’ “‘God forgive you!’ cried Madame Charpentier. Alice!’ cried her mother. sir.’ “‘Perhaps. said that there were two trains– one at 9:15 and one at 11.of the mysterious death of your late boarder Mr. Her features turned perfectly livid. 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.’ “‘On your head be it. however. My dread is. clear voice. ‘His secretary. The very night of his arrival he became very much the worse for drink. unnatural tone. ‘Now.’ I said. Alice. “‘At what o’clock did Mr. ‘Let us be frank with this gentleman. and her daughter withdrew. “‘At eight o’clock. throwing up her hands and sinking back in her chair. gulping in her throat to keep down her agitation. Mr.’ “‘Arthur would rather that we spoke the truth. mother.’ I answered. The daughter burst into tears. I felt more than ever that these people knew something of the matter. I noticed a Copenhagen label upon each of their trunks. His manners towards the maid-servants were disgustingly free and familiar. indeed. but since my poor daughter has disclosed it I have no alternative. “‘No good can ever come of falsehood. Stangerson.’ she said. his profession. ‘Half-confidences are worse than none.’ “‘Your best way is to make a clean breast of the facts. Stangerson.’ she continued. and then the daughter spoke in a calm.’ she said.’ “‘It is your wisest course. He was coarse in his habits and brutish in his ways.

I heard oaths and the confused sounds of a scuffle. He was much excited. When I closed the door behind them a load seemed to be lifted from my mind.” Poor Alice was so frightened that she shrunk away from him. “‘I do not know. He forced his way into the room. They were paying a pound a day each–fourteen pounds a week. Charpentier’s lips with many gasps and pauses. but I did not tell him anything of all this. At times she spoke so low that I could hardly catch the words. I grudged to lose the money. I am a widow. Fixing her with my eye in a way which I always found effective with women. “I saw that the whole case hung upon one point. 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. in less than an hour there was a ring at the bell. I made shorthand notes of all that she said. and he let himself in. and before my very face.spoke to her more than once in a way which. I was too terrified to raise my head. and at that moment my son Arthur came into the room. I asked her at what hour her son returned. My son is on leave just now. where I was sitting with my [45] daughter. and I learned that Mr. Charpentier paused. Never mind the old girl here.” he said. ‘I suppose that you can get rid of your boarders when you wish.’ “‘But why did you stand all this?’ I asked. “You are of age.’ . “I don’t think that fine fellow will trouble us again. and my boy in the Navy has cost me much. however. however. “What happened next?” “When Mrs. and this is the slack season. but come along with me now straight away. but he caught her by the wrist and endeavoured to draw her towards the door.’ she answered. Charpentier blushed at my pertinent question. I acted for the best. so that there should be no possibility of a mistake. for his temper is violent. Drebber had returned.” With those words he took his hat and started off down the street. That was the reason of his going. Drebber’s mysterious death. What happened then I do not know. ‘But it was a sore temptation. When I did look up I saw Arthur standing in the doorway laughing. “and there is no law to stop you.” he said. You shall live like a princess. and made some incoherent remark about having missed his train. proposed to her that she should fly with him.’ “‘Well?’ “‘My heart grew light when I saw him drive away. he has a latchkey. fortunately. ‘Would to God that I had given him notice on the very day that he came. she is too innocent to understand. with a stick in his hand. and he is passionately fond of his sister.’ she said. The next morning we heard of Mr. and evidently the worse for drink.” said Sherlock Holmes.” the detective continued.’ “This statement came from Mrs.” “It’s quite exciting. I have money enough and to spare. “‘Not know?’ “‘No. This last was too much. and I gave him notice to leave on account of it. with a yawn. Alas. He then turned to Alice.’ “Mrs. I screamed. “I will just go after him and see what he does with himself.

’ “‘What was he doing during that time?’ “‘I do not know. so Charpentier dragged the body of his victim into the empty house. We shall make something of you yet. the latter perceived him. “Really.’ “‘So your son was gone at least two hours?’ “‘Yes. I think the whole case fits together uncommonly well. a fresh altercation arose between them. I am afraid he won’t make much of it.” “Well done!” said Holmes in an encouraging voice. When there. He had evidently come with the intention of consulting with Sherlock Holmes. On his way home he met an old shipmate.’ “‘When did you go to bed?’ “‘About eleven. As to the candle. The assurance and jauntiness which generally marked his demeanour and dress were. took two officers with me.’ she answered.” said Holmes. he was unable to give any satisfactory reply.” “What is your theory.” “Very. wanting. and took a cab in order to get away from him. proudly. who had ascended the stairs while we were talking. they may all be so many tricks to throw the police on to the wrong scent. “Of course after that there was nothing more to be done. What amuses me is to think of Lestrade.’ “‘Possibly four or five?’ “‘Yes. by Jove. then?” “Well. On being asked where this old shipmate lived. ‘I suppose you are arresting me for being concerned in the death of that scoundrel Drebber.” “I flatter myself that I have managed it rather neatly.” he said at last–“a most incomprehensible . you are getting along. “This is a most extraordinary case. The night was so wet that no one was about.’ he said.“‘After you went to bed?’ “‘Yes. and the ring. and who now entered the room. fumbling nervously with his hat and uncertain what to do. and arrested him. my theory is that he followed Drebber as far as the Brixton Road. in the pit of the stomach perhaps. “The young man volunteered a statement. which killed him without leaving any mark. His face was disturbed and troubled. he answered us as bold as brass. so that his alluding to it had a most suspicious aspect. When I touched him on the shoulder and warned him to come quietly with us. turning white to her very lips. who had started off upon the wrong scent. and took a long walk with him. however. I found out where Lieutenant Charpentier was. in the course of which Drebber received a blow from the stick. We had said nothing to him about it. He stood in the centre of the room. [46] and the blood. and the writing on the wall. Gregson. here’s the very man himself!” It was indeed Lestrade. while his clothes were disarranged and untidy. in which he said that after following Drebber some time. “He still carried the heavy stick which the mother described him as having with him when he followed Drebber. It was a stout oak cudgel. Why.” the detective answered. for on perceiving his colleague he appeared to be embarrassed and put out.

Lestrade!” cried Gregson.” David Soucek. Mr. Joseph Stangerson. Have you managed to find the secretary.” “Ah. 1998 Chapter 7 . you find it so. “was murdered at Halliday’s Private Hotel about six o’clock this morning. Joseph Stangerson?” “The secretary. Mr. triumphantly. gravely.affair.” said Lestrade. Mr. “I thought you would come to that conclusion.

“Would you mind letting us know what you have seen and done?” “I have no objection. and what had become of him afterwards.” Lestrade answered. You see. “The plot thickens. I stared in silence at Sherlock Holmes. At two in the morning Drebber had been found in the Brixton Road.” grumbled Lestrade. and then to hang about the station again next morning. They had been [47] seen together at Euston Station about half-past eight on the evening of the 3rd. This morning I began very early.” “We have been hearing Gregson’s view of the matter.” “Are you–are you sure of this piece of intelligence?” stammered Gregson. . and at eight o’clock I reached Halliday’s Private Hotel. “So it proved. This fresh development has shown me that I was completely mistaken. “I freely confess that I was of the opinion that Stangerson was concerned in the death of Drebber. “I have just come from his room.” remarked Holmes. whose lips were compressed and his brows drawn down over his eyes. Stangerson was living there. “I seem to have dropped into a sort of council of war. giving a description of the man. I spent the whole of yesterday evening in making inquiries entirely without avail. I argued that if Drebber and his companion had become separated. Full of the one idea. Gregson sprang out of his chair and upset the remainder of his whisky and water. I then set to work calling upon all the hotels and lodging-houses in the vicinity of Euston. the natural course for the latter would be to put up somewhere in the vicinity for the night. taking a chair.’ they said.” “It was quite thick enough before.” said Lestrade. “Stangerson too!” he muttered. they at once answered me in the affirmative. The question which confronted me was to find out how Stangerson had been employed between 8:30 and the time of the crime.” Holmes observed. “I was the first to discover what had occurred. “‘No doubt you are the gentleman whom he was expecting. seating himself.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 7 LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS THE intelligence with which Lestrade greeted us was so momentous and so unexpected that we were all three fairly dumfounded. and warning them to keep a watch upon the American boats. I telegraphed to Liverpool. I set myself to find out what had become of the secretary. in Little George Street.” “They would be likely to agree on some meeting-place beforehand. On my inquiry as to whether a Mr.

“‘He is upstairs in bed. After passing. and marks on the sheets where he had deliberately wiped his knife. in spite of my twenty years’ experience. The boots volunteered to show me the room: it was on the second floor.” continued Lestrade. he [48] looked back and saw a man descend the ladder. He nearly fainted when he saw it. The cause of death was a deep stab in the left side. that it imparted a fresh ghastliness to his crimes. He noticed that a ladder. for we found blood-stained water in the basin. From under the door there curled a little red ribbon of blood. in an awestruck voice. When we turned him over. and knocked it in. happened to walk down the lane which leads from the mews at the back of the hotel. lay the body of a man in his nightdress. He has an impression that the man was tall. which were steady enough on the field of battle. The door was locked on the inside. “That was it. the boots recognized him at once as being the same gentleman who had engaged the room under the name of Joseph Stangerson. passing on his way to the dairy. which must have penetrated the heart. He must have stayed in the room some little time after the murder. all huddled up. and we were all silent for a while. And now comes the strangest part of the affair. and there was a small corridor leading up to it. “It seemed to me that my sudden appearance might shake his nerves and lead him to say something unguarded. which usually lay there. had a reddish face. What do you suppose was above the murdered man?” I felt a creeping of the flesh. “Did you find nothing in the room which could furnish a clue to the murderer?” he asked. “The man was seen.” said Lestrade. and beside the window. even before Sherlock Holmes answered.’ “‘Where is he now?’ I asked. but we put our shoulders to it. He wished to be called at nine. I gave a cry. which was wide open. however. “A milk boy. The window of the room was open. There was. “The word RACHE. for his limbs were rigid and cold. . and was dressed in a long. There was something so methodical and so incomprehensible about the deeds of this unknown assassin. and was about to go downstairs again when I saw something that made me feel sickish. brownish coat. He came down so quietly and openly that the boy imagined him to be some carpenter or joiner at work in the hotel. was raised against one of the windows of the second floor. no trace of exultation or satisfaction upon his face. My nerves.’ “‘I will go up and see him at once.” I glanced at Holmes on hearing the description of the murderer which tallied so exactly with his own.” he said. which had meandered across the passage and formed a little pool along the skirting at the other side. He was quite dead. which brought the boots back. He took no particular notice of him. where he had washed his hands. The boots pointed out the door to me. and had been for some time. beyond thinking in his own mind that it was early for him to be at work. written in letters of blood.‘He has been waiting for a gentleman for two days. tingled as I thought of it. and a presentiment of coming horror.’ I said.

my friend.’ There was no name appended to this message.” The two detectives stared at him in amazement. “I cannot see. what it has to do with the death of Mr. except a single telegram. “Now. confidently.” answered Holmes. “I will now cut one of these pills in two.” Sherlock Holmes sprang from his chair with an exclamation of delight. Joseph Stangerson. “I took them and the purse and the telegram. I will give you a proof of my knowledge. and his pipe was on a chair beside him.” turning to me. the doctor. There were no papers or memoranda in the murdered man’s pocket. and on the windowsill a small chip ointment box containing a couple of pills. The other half I will place in this wineglass. of course.” “And there was nothing else?” Holmes asked. and almost transparent against the light. H. round. and on presenting it to the dog we find that he laps it up readily . “Precisely so. in the injured tone of one who suspects that he is being laughed at. dated from Cleveland about a month ago. “are those ordinary pills?” They certainly were not. and that it readily dissolves. from the time that Drebber parted from Stangerson at the station. however. Whatever the motives of these extraordinary crimes. for I am bound to say that I do not attach any importance to them. Could you lay your hand upon those pills?” “I have them. It was the merest chance my taking these pills. You perceive that our friend. There was eighty-odd pounds in it. exultantly.” said Lestrade. producing a small white box. They were of a pearly gray colour. patience! You will find in time that it has everything to do with it. “Nothing of any importance.“Nothing. “I have now in my hands. I shall now add a little milk to make the mixture palatable. in which is a teaspoonful of water. “One half we return into the box for future purposes. I should imagine that they are soluble in water.” my companion said. “From their lightness and transparency. but nothing had been taken. was lying upon the bed. “all the threads which have formed such a tangle.” he cried. Stangerson had Drebber’s purse in his pocket. There was a glass of water on the table. “The last link.” I remarked. and drawing his penknife he suited the action to the word. up to the discovery of the body of the latter. There are. Its laboured breathing and glazing eye showed that it was not far from its end. robbery is certainly not one of them. intending to have them put in a place of safety at the police station. details to be filled in.” “This may be very interesting. is in Europe.” “Patience.” said Lestrade. but it seems that this was usual. and containing the words. ‘J. I placed it upon a cushion on the rug. but I am as certain of all the main facts. is right. Indeed. The man’s novel. its snow-white [49] muzzle proclaimed that it had already exceeded the usual term of canine existence. and which the landlady wanted you to put out of its pain yesterday?” I went downstairs and carried the dog upstairs in my arms.” said Holmes. Doctor. as if I had seen them with my own eyes.” said Holmes. with which he had read himself to sleep. small. as he did all the paying. “Now would you mind going down and fetching that poor little devil of a terrier which has been bad so long.” “Give them here. “My case is complete.

I have it! I have it!” With a perfect shriek of delight he rushed to the box. So great was his emotion that I felt sincerely sorry for him. He gnawed his lip. The unfortunate creature’s tongue seemed hardly to have been .” As he spoke he turned the contents of the wineglass into a saucer and placed it in front of the terrier. The very pills which I suspected in the case of Drebber are actually found after the death of Stangerson. at last springing from his chair and pacing wildly up and down the room. cut the other pill in two. and expecting some startling effect. and showed every other symptom of acute impatience. Ah. and presented it to the terrier. who speedily licked it dry.enough. “It can’t be a coincidence. dissolved it. while the two detectives smiled derisively.” he cried. Holmes had taken out his watch. “it is impossible that it should be a mere coincidence. watching the animal intently. None such appeared. by no means displeased at this check which he had met. drummed his fingers upon the table. but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught. It is impossible! And yet this wretched dog is none the worse. an expression of the utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his features. What can it mean? Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot have been false. Sherlock Holmes’s earnest demeanour had so far convinced us that we all sat in silence. The dog continued to lie stretched upon the cushion. And yet they are inert. added milk. breathing in a laboured way. and as minute followed minute without result. however.

“might give him time to perpetrate some fresh atrocity.” he said. “Look here. “I should have more faith. You have thrown out hints here. Of the two pills in that box.” Thus pressed by us all. I ought to have known that before ever I saw the box at all. “we are all ready to acknowledge that you are a smart man. was the logical sequence of it. have really had the effect of making it less so.” remarked Lestrade. I have made my case out. far from making the case more difficult.” Mr. one was of the most deadly poison. and I began to have a dim. Sherlock Holmes. We want something more than mere theory and preaching now. indeed. and that you have your own methods of working. Mr. Young Charpentier could not have been engaged in this second affair. Gregson. Surely you will not withhold it any longer. It is a case of taking the man. It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. There was the dead dog. He continued to walk up and down the room with his head sunk on his chest . because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. Hence things which have perplexed you and made the case more obscure have served to enlighten me and to strengthen my conclusions. 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. and lay as rigid and lifeless as if it had been struck by lightning.” This last statement appeared to me to be so startling that I could hardly believe that he was in his sober senses. and it appears that he was wrong too. You have remarked more than once since I have been in the room that you had all the evidence which you require. though. “All this seems strange to you. “because you failed at the beginning of the inquiry to grasp the importance of the single real clue which was presented to you. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious. however. who had listened to this address with considerable impatience. These strange details. could contain himself no longer. 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 outré and sensational accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. to prove that his conjecture had been correct. and. it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation. vague perception of the truth.moistened in it before it gave a convulsive shiver in every limb. and the other was entirely harmless. Can you name the man who did it?” “I cannot help feeling that Gregson is right. It seemed to me that the mists in my own mind were gradually clearing away. “I ought to know by this time that when a fact appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions.” “Any delay in arresting the assassin. and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. and we have both failed. and everything [50] which has occurred since then has served to confirm my original supposition. Holmes showed signs of irresolution. Sherlock Holmes drew a long breath. Stangerson. and it seems I was wrong.” I observed. “We have both tried. and hints there. sir. I had the good fortune to seize upon that. and seem to know more than we do. Lestrade went after his man.” continued Holmes.” he said.

or by the depreciating allusion to the detective police. I do. compared with the power of laying our hands upon him. and this he pulled out and began to strap. The former had flushed up to the roots of his flaxen hair. of course. At present I am ready to promise that the instant that I can communicate with you without endangering my own combinations. introduced his insignificant and unsavoury person. “I have the cab downstairs. This I expect very shortly to do. “if we can only find the man to put them on. cabman.” said Holmes. “let me introduce you to Mr. and put down his hands to assist. Jefferson Hope. You have asked me if I know the name of the assassin.” “Good boy. The fellow came forward with a somewhat sullen. As long as this man has no idea that anyone can have a clue there is some chance of securing him. “Gentlemen. “See how beautifully the spring works. “Just give me a help with this buckle. but that I am prepared for. I shall do so.” “Very good.” “The old pattern is good enough. by another who is as clever as himself. He was busily engaged at it when the cabman entered the room. with flashing eyes. kneeling over his task. At that instant there was a sharp click. and never turning his head. and vanish in an instant among the four million inhabitants of this great city. stopping abruptly and facing us. smiling. as was his habit when lost in thought. “The cabman may as well help me with my boxes.” .” he said. very good.and his brows drawn down. he would change his name. If I fail. however. Just ask him to step up. The mere knowing of his name is a small thing.” I was surprised to find my companion speaking as though he were about to set out on a journey. but it is a thing which needs delicate handling. and Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet again. I shall. since he had not said anything to me about it. young Wiggins.” he said at last. Neither of them had time to speak. Wiggins. before there was a tap [51] at the door. and the spokesman of the street Arabs. “Please. defiant air. the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph Stangerson. sir. the jangling of metal. who is supported. There was a small portmanteau in the room. incur all the blame due to this omission. I am bound to say that I consider these men to be more than a match for the official force. while the other’s beady eyes glistened with curiosity and resentment. Without meaning to hurt either of your feelings. “You can put that consideration out of the question. and that is why I have not asked your assistance. “Why don’t you introduce this pattern at Scotland Yard?” he continued. however.” Gregson and Lestrade seemed to be far from satisfied by this assurance.” he cried. touching his forelock. but if he had the slightest suspicion.” remarked Lestrade.” said Holmes. blandly. They fasten in an instant. “There will be no more murders. taking a pair of steel handcuffs from a drawer.” he said. as I have had occasion to prove. I have good hopes of managing it through my own arrangements. for we have a shrewd and desperate man to deal with.

For a second or two we might have been a group of statues. and Holmes sprang upon him like so many staghounds. So powerful and so fierce was he that the four of us were shaken off again and again. That done. which had appeared as if by magic upon his wrists. savage face. His face and hands were terribly mangled by his passage through the glass. Then with an inarticulate roar of fury. and there is no danger that I will refuse to answer them. the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmes’s grasp. He appeared to have the convulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit. and then commenced a terrific conflict. and hurled himself through the window. Lestrade.The whole thing occurred in a moment–so quickly that I had no time to realize it. You are very welcome to put any questions that you like to me now.” said Sherlock Holmes. “We have his cab. but loss of blood had no effect in diminishing his resistance. I have a vivid recollection of that instant. of the cabman’s dazed. “It will serve to take him to Scotland Yard. but before he got quite through. He was dragged back into the room. we rose to our feet breathless and panting.” . “we have reached the end of our little mystery. 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. gentlemen. with a pleasant smile.” he continued. Gregson. of Holmes’s triumphant expression and the ring of his voice. Woodwork and glass gave way before him. And now. as he glared at the glittering handcuffs. and even then we felt no security until we had pinioned his feet as well as his hands.

David Soucek. Chapter 1 . 1998 Part 2.

Nor is Nature always in one mood throughout this grim district. It comprises snow-capped and lofty mountains. and the clumsy grizzly bear lumbers through the dark ravines. These are the sole dwellers in the wilderness. and in summer are gray with the saline alkali dust. nor of anything appertaining to life. which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilization. Here and there there are scattered white objects .A Study in Scarlet PART 2 THE COUNTRY OF THE SAINTS Chapter 1 ON THE GREAT ALKALI PLAIN IN THE central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert. and misery. There is no bird in the steel-blue heaven. and to find themselves once more upon their prairies. is a region of desolation and silence. and picks up such sustenance as it can amongst the rocks. nothing but silence–complete and heart-subduing silence. Listen as one may. In this great stretch of country there is no sign of life. There are no inhabitants of this land of despair. all dusted over with patches of alkali. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska. and from the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south. A band of Pawnees or of Blackfeet may occasionally traverse it in order to reach other huntinggrounds. As far as the eye can reach stretches the great flat plain-land. They all preserve. and there are enormous plains. It is rutted with wheels and trodden down by the feet of many adventurers. Looking down from the Sierra Blanco. the common characteristics of barrenness. there is no shadow of a sound in all that mighty wilderness. In the whole world there can be no more dreary view than that from the northern slope of the Sierra Blanco. The coyote skulks among the scrub. one sees a pathway traced out across the desert. however. the buzzard flaps heavily through the air. That is hardly true. no movement upon the dull. and intersected by clumps of the dwarfish chaparral bushes. There are swift-flowing rivers which dash through jagged canons. It has been said there is nothing appertaining to life upon the broad plain. and dark and gloomy valleys. gray earth–above all. inhospitality. which winds away and is lost in the extreme distance. but the hardiest of the braves are glad to lose sight of those awesome plains. which in winter are white with snow. with their rugged summits flecked with snow. there is absolute silence. On the extreme verge of the horizon lie a long chain of mountain peaks.

a solitary traveller. brown hair and beard were all flecked and dashed with white. without a sign anywhere of plant or tree. but her healthy arms and legs showed that she had suffered less than her companion. Where’s mother?” . eighteen hundred and forty-seven. in the vain hope of seeing some signs of water. He had toiled painfully down the ravine. showing the injured part up to him. it came down on the ground with some little violence. as he seated himself in the shelter of a boulder. and also a large bundle tied up in a gray shawl. North. “You’ve hurt me!” said a childish voice. “Have I. Instantly there broke from the gray parcel a little moaning cry. and the distant belt of savage mountains. Approach. It appeared to be somewhat too heavy for his strength. while the hand which grasped his rifle was hardly more fleshy than that of a skeleton. and that there. and east. and stand out against the dull deposit of alkali. For fifteen hundred miles one may trace this [53] ghastly caravan route by these scattered remains of those who had fallen by the wayside. Now the great salt plain stretched before his eyes. His appearance was such that he might have been the very genius or demon of the region. which he had carried slung over his right shoulder. for she was still rubbing the tousy golden curls which covered the back of her head. which hung so baggily over his shrivelled limbs. “How is it now?” he answered anxiously. twenty years hence?” he muttered. and his clothes. which might indicate the presence of moisture. The man was dying–dying from hunger and from thirst. and the latter to men.” As he spoke he unwrapped the gray shawl and extricated a pretty little girl of about five years of age. and the brown parchmentlike skin was drawn tightly over the projecting bones. questioning eyes. The child was pale and wan. and yet his tall figure and the massive framework of his bones suggested a wiry and vigorous constitution. his long. his eyes were sunken in his head. all bespoke a mother’s care. In all that broad landscape there was no gleam of hope. “Why not here. on that barren crag. His face was lean and haggard. he was about to die. there stood upon the fourth of May. An observer would have found it difficult to say whether he was nearer to forty or to sixty. Looking down on this very scene. however.” she said. and on to this little elevation. others smaller and more delicate. “That’s what mother used to do. proclaimed what it was that gave him that senile and decrepit appearance. with very bright brown eyes. though?” the man answered penitently. “I didn’t go for to do it. As he stood. The former have belonged to oxen. as well as in a feather bed. reproachfully. His gaunt face. “Kiss it and make it well. and west he looked with wild. he had deposited upon the ground his useless rifle. and then he realized that his wanderings had come to an end. and from it there protruded a small. and two little speckled dimpled fists.which glisten in the sun. Before sitting down. whose dainty shoes and smart pink frock with its little linen apron. for in lowering it. and burned with an unnatural lustre. scared face. with perfect gravity. and examine them! They are bones: some large and coarse. he leaned upon his weapon for support.

I guess you’ll see her before long.” “Well. Water ran out. she didn’t say good-bye. it’s awful dry. but I guess I’d best let you know how the cards lie. d’ye see. How long will it be first?” “I don’t know–not very long.” “Why didn’t you say so before?” she said. dropping her face in her pinafore and sobbing bitterly. like Bob and me was fond of. Why. compasses. and it didn’t turn up.” “Gone. dearie. dearie. whose coming is the forerunner of death. laughing gleefully. the vultures of the West. now as long as we die we’ll be with mother again. Put your head up ag’in me like that. They were buzzards. Then I thought there was some chance of water in this direction.” interrupted his companion gravely. or somethin’. “Funny. I’ll bet she meets us at the door of heaven with a big pitcher of water. nor drink. hot. “I guess that’s about the size of it.” “You’ll see prettier things than them soon. I was going to tell you though–you remember when we left the river?” “Oh. and now she’s been away three days. holding up two [54] glittering fragments of mica.” “And you too.“Mother’s gone. “When we goes back to home I’ll give them to brother Bob. I’ll tell her how awful good you’ve been.” said the man confidently. And Mr. ain’t it? Ain’t there no water nor nothing to eat?” “No. she ’most always did if she was just goin’ over to auntie’s for tea. and then Johnny Hones. so I heaved you over my shoulder and we tramped it together. and then Indian Pete. and then you’ll be all right. dearie. It ain’t easy to talk when your lips is like leather. and a lot of buckwheat cakes. . What’s that you’ve got?” “Pretty things! fine things!” cried the little girl enthusiastically. and then Mrs. They speedily resolved themselves into three large brown birds. Just except a little drop for the likes of you. eh!” said the little girl. yes. you will. so rapidly did they approach. and then. But there was somethin’ wrong. “Yes. your mother. In the blue vault of the heaven there had appeared three little specks which increased in size every moment. they all went except you and me. checking her sobs. It don’t seem as though we’ve improved matters. which circled over the heads of the two wanderers. Say. or map. There’s an almighty small chance for us now!” “Do you mean that we are going to die too?” asked the child. of course. You’ll just need to be patient awhile.” The man’s eyes were fixed upon the northern horizon. and toasted on both sides. and–and– –” “And you couldn’t wash yourself. “You just wait a bit. and raising her tear-stained face. and then you’ll feel bullier. there ain’t nothing. “No. staring up at his grimy visage. Bender.” “Then mother’s a deader too.” “Yes.” cried the little girl. McGregor. we reckoned we’d strike another river soon. and then settled upon some rocks which overlooked them. he was the fust to go. “You gave me such a fright.

” It was a strange sight. “I guess somebody else made the country in these parts. hardened adventurer. “He made the country down in Illinois.” cried the little girl gleefully. Her chubby face and his haggard.” she said.” said her companion. and He made the Missouri. with wondering eyes. I guess it’s never too late. the little prattling child and the reckless. angular visage were both turned up to the cloudless heaven in heartfelt entreaty to that dread Being with whom they were face .” she answered. It’s not nearly so well done. pointing at their illomened forms. but He won’t mind that. Side by side on the narrow shawl knelt the two wanderers. “It ain’t night yet. and me too. “Say. “It don’t matter. had there been anything but the buzzards to see it. did God make this country?” “Of course He did. you bet.” he answered. laying the shawl out for that purpose.” “Then you’ll need to kneel down. It makes you feel kind of good. “You’ve got to put your hands up like this. and I’ll stand by and come in on the choruses. “I disremember them. It ain’t quite regular. and clapping her hands to make them rise.” the little girl continued. rather startled by this unexpected question.” [55] “Why don’t you say some yourself?” the child asked. “I hain’t said none since I was half the height o’ that gun. They forgot the water and the trees.” “What would ye think of offering up prayer?” the man asked diffidently. You say them out.“Cocks and hens. You say over them ones that you used to say every night in the wagon when we was on the plains.

it was not sufficient to rouse the two tired wayfarers above them. my brothers. ironfaced men. Right across the enormous plain stretched the straggling array. nestling upon the broad breast of her protector. until the man’s grizzled beard was mixed with the gold tresses of his companion. Innumerable women who staggered along under burdens.” “Amen! amen!” responded the whole party. This cloud continued to increase in size until it became evident that it could only be raised by a great multitude of moving creatures. [56] “To the right of the Sierra Blanco–so we shall reach the Rio Grande. As the whirl of dust drew nearer to the solitary bluff upon which the two castaways were reposing. and the head sunk lower and lower upon the breast. Slowly the eyelids drooped over the tired eyes. but rather some nomad people who had been compelled from stress of circumstances to seek themselves a new country. very slight at first. Had the wanderer remained awake for another half-hour a strange sight would have met his eyes. the canvas-covered tilts of wagons and the figures of armed horsemen began to show up through the haze. cleanshaven man with grizzly hair. and hardly to be distinguished from the mists of the distance. but Nature proved to be too strong for him. clad in sombre homespun garments and armed with rifles. a hard-lipped. But what a caravan! When the head of it had reached the base of the mountains. “The wells are to the right. Loud as it was.” cried a third. “He who could draw it from the rocks will not now abandon His own chosen people. and the apparition revealed itself as being a great caravan upon its journey for the West. At the head of the column there rode a score or more of grave. wagons and carts. and men on foot. This was obviously impossible in these arid wilds. From its summit there fluttered a little wisp of pink.” said another. The prayer finished. with the creaking of wheels and the neighing of horses. For three days and three nights he had allowed himself neither rest nor repose. and children who toddled beside the wagons or peeped out from under the white coverings. men on horseback. “Fear not for water. they resumed their seat in the shadow of the boulder until the child fell asleep. the rear was not yet visible on the horizon. There rose through the clear air a confused clattering and rumbling from this great mass of humanity. showing . and held a short council among themselves. while the two voices–the one thin and clear.to face. well-defined cloud. but gradually growing higher and broader until it formed a solid. the other deep and harsh–united in the entreaty for mercy and forgiveness.” said one. 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. He watched over her slumber for some time. This was evidently no ordinary party of immigrants. Far away on the extreme verge of the alkali plain there rose up a little spray of dust. and both slept the same deep and dreamless slumber. 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.

One of them seized the little girl and hoisted her upon his shoulder. at the sight of the newcomers. and said nothing. while fresh horsemen came galloping up to reinforce the vanguard. The cries of the foul birds awoke the two sleepers. and on joining him they were affected in the same way by the sight which met their eyes. and her golden-haired head resting upon the breast of his velveteen tunic. but looked all round her with the wondering. long-bearded and hard-featured.” “Shall I go forward and see. They advanced rapidly and noiselessly. The word “Redskins” was on every lip.” he muttered. Beside him lay a child. “And I. with the confidence and dexterity of practised scouts. The child stood beside him. holding on to the skirt of his coat. “We have passed the Pawnees. His placid face and regular breathing showed that he was fast asleep. His face assumed an expression of incredulity as he gazed. At the sight there was a general reining up of horses and unslinging of guns. Suddenly his followers saw him throw up his hands. who stared about them in bewilderment. and were ascending the precipitous slope which led up to the object which had excited their curiosity. Brother Stangerson?” asked one of the band.” cried a dozen voices. “There can’t be any number of Injuns here. but of an excessive thinness. showing the regular line of snow-white teeth within.” “And I. “Leave your horses below and we will await you here. The rescuing party were speedily able to convince the two castaways that their appearance was no delusion. Her rosy lips were parted. On the ledge of rock above this strange couple there stood three solemn buzzards. uttered raucous screams of disappointment and flapped sullenly away. while two others supported her gaunt companion. The man staggered to his feet and looked down upon the plain which had been so desolate when sleep had overtaken him. . questioning gaze of childhood. Her plump little white legs. and there are no other tribes until we cross the great mountains. The watchers from the plain below could see them flit from rock to rock until their figures stood out against the sky-line. with her round white arms encircling his brown sinewy neck. who. offered a strange contrast to the long shrivelled members of her companion. and he passed his bony hand over his eyes. “This is what they call delirium. and against this boulder there lay a tall man.” the elder answered. terminating in white socks and neat shoes with shining buckles.up hard and bright against the gray rocks behind. I guess. and assisted him towards the wagons. fastened their horses. In a moment the young fellows had dismounted. On the little plateau which crowned the barren hill there stood a single giant boulder. and a playful smile played over her infantile features. The young man who had first given the alarm was leading them. as though overcome with astonishment.” said the elderly man who appeared to be in command. and which was now traversed by this enormous body of men and of beasts.

where we had founded our temple.” The name of Nauvoo evidently recalled recollections to John Ferrier. “We are of those who believe in those sacred writings.” “Nigh unto ten thousand.” .” said the other.” the other cried. We have come to seek a refuge from the violent man and from the godless. “there seems to be a powerful lot of ye. “I see. though?” he continued. drawn in Egyptian letters on plates of beaten gold.” answered his companions with one voice. “I guess she is now. “we are the persecuted children of God–the chosen of the Angel Moroni.” “Is she your child?” asked someone. even though it be the heart of the desert. You must come before him. “me and that little un are all that’s left o’ twenty-one people. “And where are you going?” “We do not know. The rest is all dead o’ thirst and hunger away down in the south.” said the wanderer. He shall say what is to be done with you. sunburned rescuers.” he said. No man will take her from me.” “I never heard tell on him.” said one of the young men. defiantly. She’s Lucy Ferrier from this day on. Who are you.” “Do not jest at that which is sacred.” the wanderer explained. glancing with curiosity at his stalwart. We have come from Nauvoo. “she’s mine ’cause I saved her. which were handed unto the holy Joseph Smith at Palmyra. sternly. The hand of God is leading us under the person of our Prophet.[57] “My name is John Ferrier. “He appears to have chosen a fair crowd of ye. in the state of Illinois. “you are the Mormons.” “We are the Mormons.

which was conspicuous for its great size and for the gaudiness and smartness of its appearance.” he said. until they reached a wagon. but whose massive head and resolute expression marked him as a leader. 1998 Chapter 2 . and anxious. Brother Stangerson. and were surrounded by crowds of the pilgrims–pale-faced. followed by a great crowd of Mormons. “Take him. Beside the driver there sat a man who could not have been more than thirty years of age. strong. remember that now and forever you are of our religion. and the child likewise. on to Zion!” “On. 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. and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith. whereas the others were furnished with two. With a cracking of whips and a creaking of wheels the great wagons got into motion. In the meantime. “give him food and drink. “You shall remain here. “it can only be as believers in our own creed. where a meal was already awaiting them. which is the voice of God. and the words rippled down [58] the long caravan. and soon the whole caravan was winding along once more. with such emphasis that the grave Elders could not restrain a smile. We have delayed long enough. “If we take you with us. laughing children. Brigham Young has said it.They had reached the base of the hill by this time. on to Zion!” cried the crowd of Mormons. Their escort did not halt. meek-looking women. or. Then he turned to the two castaways. Forward! On. We shall have no wolves in our fold.” he said. earnest-eyed men.” David Soucek. 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. Let it be your task also to teach him our holy creed. in solemn words. at most. but as the crowd approached he laid it aside. Six horses were yoked to it. He was reading a brown-backed volume.” he said. and listened attentively to an account of the episode. passing from mouth to mouth until they died away in a dull murmur in the far distance. Will you come with us on these terms?” “Guess I’ll come with you on any terms.” said Ferrier. but pushed on. The Elder to whose care the two waifs had been committed led them to his wagon. four apiece. “In a few days you will have recovered from your fatigues. however. impressive expression. The leader alone retained his stern.

The two castaways. John Ferrier and the little girl. Little Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in Elder Stangerson’s wagon. In the town streets and squares sprang up as if by magic. Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful administrator as well as a resolute chief. until the next summer saw the whole country golden with the wheat crop.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 2 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. planting and clearing. Yet the long journey and the accumulated terrors had shaken the hearts of the stoutest among them. a retreat which she shared with the Mormon’s three wives and with his son. from the shock caused by her mother’s death. the clatter of the hammer and the rasp of the saw were never absent from the monument which the immigrants erected to Him who had led them safe through many dangers. hunger. and disease–every impediment which Nature could place in the way–had all been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity. with the elasticity of childhood. distinguished himself as a useful guide and an indefatigable hunter. that when they reached [59] the end of their wanderings. a headstrong. The savage man. the great temple which they had erected in the centre of the city grew ever taller and larger. 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. and that these virgin acres were to be theirs for evermore. who had shared his fortunes and had been adopted as his daughter. So rapidly did he gain the esteem of his new companions. 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. thirst. and reconciled herself to this new life in her moving canvas-covered home. it was unanimously agreed that he should be provided with as large and as fertile a tract of land as any of the settlers. Having rallied. In the meantime Ferrier having recovered from his privations. The tradesman was put to his trade and the artisan to his calling. with the exception of Young . Maps were drawn and charts prepared. All around farms were apportioned and allotted in proportion to the standing of each individual. Above all. in which the future city was sketched out. she soon became a pet with the women. In the country there was draining and hedging. forward boy of twelve. fatigue. From the first blush of dawn until the closing of the twilight. and the savage beast. accompanied the Mormons to the end of their great pilgrimage. Everything prospered in the strange settlement.

however. It was not the father. and managing it with all the ease and grace of a true child of the West. Ferrier remained strictly celibate. in nine he was rich. Others. but contented himself by resolutely and inflexibly adhering to his determination. Whatever the reason. There were some who accused him of lukewarmness in his adopted religion. spoke of some early love affair. Lucy Ferrier grew up within the log-house. In the case of Lucy Ferrier the occasion was serious enough in itself. and gained the name of being an orthodox and straight-walking man. 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. girlish figure tripping through the wheatfields. that a new and a larger nature has awakened within her. It was a warm June morning. There are few who cannot recall that day and remember the one little incident which heralded the dawn of a new life. and Drebber. who were the four principal Elders. It seldom is in such cases. From the great inland sea to the distant Wasatch Mountains there was no name better known than that of John Ferrier. That mysterious change is too subtle and too gradual to be measured by dates. keen in his dealings and skilful with his hands. which received so many additions in succeeding years that it grew into a roomy villa. Johnston. So the bud blossomed into a flower. In the fields and . in six he was well-to-do. Kemball. who first discovered that the child had developed into the woman. her cheek more ruddy and her step more elastic. apart from its future influence on her destiny and that of many besides. Hence it came about that his farm and all that belonged to him prospered exceedingly. Many a wayfarer upon the high road which ran by Ferrier’s farm felt long-forgotten thoughts revive in his mind as he watched her lithe. with a mixture of pride and of fear. There was one way and only one in which he offended the susceptibilities of his co-religionists. He never gave reasons for this persistent refusal. and the Latter Day Saints were as busy as the bees whose hive they have chosen for their emblem. again. In every other respect he conformed to the religion of the young settlement. In three years he was better off than his neighbours. and in twelve there were not half a dozen men in the whole of Salt Lake City who could compare with him. On the farm thus acquired John Ferrier built himself a substantial loghouse. 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.himself. 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 of a fair-haired girl who had pined away on the shores of the Atlantic. He was a man of a practical turn of mind. and of Stangerson. and others who put it down to greed of wealth and reluctance to incur expense. and she learns. or met her mounted upon her father’s mustang. and assisted her adopted father in all his undertakings. No argument or persuasion could ever induce him to set up a female establishment after the manner of his companions. His iron constitution enabled him to work morning and evening at improving and tilling his lands.

but for a kindly voice at her elbow which assured her of assistance. for the gold fever had [60] broken out in California. Accustomed as she was to deal with cattle. and even the unemotional Indians. in the hopes of pushing her way through the cavalcade. but took advantage of every opportunity to urge her horse on. she might have abandoned her efforts in despair. Scarcely had she got fairly into it. and the overland route lay through the city of the Elect. and forcing a way through the drove.in the streets rose the same hum of human industry. Every plunge of the excited horse brought it against the horns again. and goaded it to fresh madness. with all the fearlessness of youth. . she was not alarmed at her situation. and excited it to madness. She had a commission from her father in the city. The situation was full of peril. her head began to swim. At the same moment a sinewy brown hand caught the frightened horse by the curb. relaxed their accustomed stoicism as they marvelled at the beauty of the pale-faced maiden. Unaccustomed to sudden emergencies. all heading to the west. however. The travel-stained adventurers gazed after her in astonishment. and was dashing in as she had done many a time before. Through all this motley assemblage. driven by a half-dozen wild-looking herdsmen from the plains. She had reached the outskirts of the city when she found the road blocked by a great drove of cattle. men and horses equally weary of their interminable journey. either by accident or design. It was all that the girl could do to keep herself in the saddle. there galloped Lucy Ferrier. In her impatience she endeavoured to pass this obstacle by pushing her horse into what appeared to be a gap. There. long-horned bullocks. and she found herself completely embedded in the moving stream of fierce-eyed. her fair face flushed with the exercise and her long chestnut hair floating out behind her. thinking only of her task and how it was to be performed. before the beasts closed in behind her. and pranced and tossed in a way that would have unseated any but a skilful rider. and trains of tired immigrants. In an instant it reared up upon its hind legs with a snort of rage. journeying in with their peltries. Unfortunately the horns of one of the creatures. and her grip upon the bridle to relax. came in violent contact with the flank of the mustang. soon brought her to the outskirts. threading her way with the skill of an accomplished rider. were droves of sheep and bullocks coming in from the outlying pasture lands. Down the dusty high roads defiled long streams of heavily laden mules. Choked by the rising cloud of dust and by the steam from the struggling creatures. yet a slip would mean a terrible death under the hoofs of the unwieldy and terrified animals. too.

” “Hadn’t you better come and ask yourself?” she asked. respectfully. demurely. “I’ll do so. fierce face. He must take us as he finds us. miss. my father and he were pretty thick. and so have I. mounted on a powerful roan horse. “I’m awful frightened. . and clad in the rough dress of a hunter.” “Neither would I. I don’t see that it would make much matter to you. with a long rifle slung over his shoulders. and his dark eyes sparkled with pleasure. “I guess you are the daughter of John Ferrier. You ain’t even a friend of ours.” said her companion. If he’s the same Ferrier.” said her preserver. He was a tall.” he said.“You’re not hurt.” “He has a good deal to thank you for. The young fellow seemed pleased at the suggestion. and are not over and above in visiting condition.” the other said. “we’ve been in the mountains for two months. earnestly. When you see him. Louis.” she answered. savage-looking young fellow. “You! Well. “I saw you ride down from his house.” The young hunter’s dark face grew so gloomy over this remark that Lucy Ferrier laughed aloud. naively. “he’s [61] awful fond of me. “whoever would have thought that Poncho would have been so scared by a lot of cows?” “Thank God. anyhow. ask him if he remembers the Jefferson Hopes of St. I hope. and laughed saucily.” he remarked. If those cows had jumped on me he’d have never got over it. She looked up at his dark.” she said. you kept your seat.

” “And how about father?” she asked. fierce passion of a man of strong will and imperious temper. changeable fancy of a boy. She wheeled her mustang round. had stirred his volcanic. untamed heart to its very depths. and absorbed in his work. raising his broad sombrero. Jefferson Hope had been there in search of them. had had little chance of learning the news of the outside world during the last twelve years.” he said. but will you be ready to come when I am here again?” “And when will that be?” she asked. and were returning to Salt Lake City in the hope of raising capital enough to work some lodes which they had discovered. The sight of the fair young girl. Wherever stirring adventures were to be had. I didn’t mean that. “of course. He had been accustomed to succeed in all that he undertook. Young Jefferson Hope rode on with his companions. John. He soon became a favourite with the old farmer. All this Jefferson Hope was able to tell him. and a ranchman. He had been as keen as any of them upon the business until this sudden incident had drawn his thoughts into another channel. “I am off. as frank and wholesome as the Sierra breezes. and in a style which interested Lucy as well as her father. There’s no one who can stand between us.” he answered. He swore in his heart that he would not fail in this if human effort and human perseverance could render him successful. Lucy was silent. You must come and see us. cooped up in the valley. Lucy. The love which had sprung up in his heart was not the sudden. gave it a cut with her riding-whip. and could narrate many a strange tale of fortunes made and fortunes lost in those wild. but they were assuredly not thrown away upon the man who had won her affections. I will come and claim you then. and bending over her little hand. gloomy and taciturn. Now I must push along. my darling. blushing and laughing. but rather the wild. halcyon days. When she had vanished from his sight.” she said. and darted away down the broad road in a rolling cloud of dust. “A couple of months at the outside. Her honest father may not have observed these symptoms. and gazing tenderly down into her face: “I won’t ask you to come with me now. On such occasions. She was at the doorway. and that neither silver speculations nor any other questions could ever be of such importance to him as this new and all-absorbing one. One summer evening he came galloping down the road and pulled up at the gate. and many times again. you are a friend now. [62] “He has given his consent. a silver explorer. Good-bye!” “Good-bye. and a trapper. He had been a pioneer in California. He threw the bridle over the fence and strode up the pathway. until his face was a familiar one at the farmhouse. provided we get these mines working all . but her blushing cheek and her bright. He had been a scout too. He and they had been among the Nevada Mountains prospecting for silver. who spoke eloquently of his virtues. and came down to meet him. happy eyes showed only too clearly that her young heart was no longer her own. taking her two hands in his. He called on John Ferrier that night. he realized that a crisis had come in his life.“There. or father won’t trust me with his business any more.

if you and father have arranged it all. “Thank God!” he said. David Soucek. “It is settled.” He tore himself from her as he spoke. They are waiting for me at the canon. then.” “Oh. galloped furiously away. the happiest girl in all Utah. hoarsely. gazing after him until he vanished from her sight. The longer I stay. never even looking round. my own darling–good-bye. and. with her cheek against his broad breast. Good-bye. In two months you shall see me.” she whispered. well. there’s no more to be said.right. the harder it will be to go. 1998 Chapter 3 . of course. Then she walked back into the house. She stood at the gate. flinging himself upon his horse. stooping and kissing her. as though afraid that his resolution might fail him if he took one glance at what he was leaving. I have no fear on that head.

however. but as a shame and a disgrace. it took a wider range. Not the Inquisition of Seville. Its invisibility. Yes. but no father ever returned to tell them how he had fared at the hands of his secret judges. were ever able to put a more formidable machinery in motion than that which cast a cloud over the state of Utah. The man who held out against the Church vanished away. It appeared to be omniscient and omnipotent. deep down in his resolute heart. a dangerous matter–so dangerous that even the most saintly dared only whisper their religious opinions with bated breath. and that even in the heart of the wilderness they dared not whisper the doubts which oppressed them. His wife and his children awaited him at home. He had to seal his mouth on the subject. nor the German Vehmgericht.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 3 JOHN FERRIER TALKS WITH THE PROPHET THREE weeks had passed since Jefferson Hope and his comrades had departed from Salt Lake City. wished afterwards to pervert or to abandon it. that nothing would ever induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon. The supply of adult women was running short. and none knew whither he had gone or what had befallen him. made this organization doubly terrible. Strange rumours began to be bandied about –rumours of . At first this vague and terrible power was exercised only upon the recalcitrants [63] who. for to express an unorthodox opinion was a dangerous matter in those days in the Land of the Saints. Yet her bright and happy face reconciled him to the arrangement more than any argument could have done. and of the impending loss of his adopted child. however. and yet none knew what the nature might be of this terrible power which was suspended over them. No wonder that men went about in fear and trembling. and the mystery which was attached to it. having embraced the Mormon faith. He had always determined. A rash word or a hasty act was followed by annihilation. upon that one point he was inflexible. lest something which fell from their lips might be misconstrued. and polygamy without a female population on which to draw was a barren doctrine indeed. and yet was neither seen nor heard. and persecutors of the most terrible description. Whatever he might think of the Mormon doctrines. and bring down a swift retribution upon them. nor the secret societies of Italy. Soon. John Ferrier’s heart was sore within him when he thought of the young man’s return. Such marriage he regarded as no marriage at all. The victims of persecution had now turned persecutors on their own account.

led you safe to the Chosen Valley. looking through the window.” said the leader of the Mormons. throwing out his hands in expostulation. “Have I not given to the common fund? Have I not attended at the Temple? Have I not– –?” “Where are your wives?” asked Young. looking round him. for this was none other than the great Brigham Young himself. you have neglected. in the lonely ranches of the West. if common report says truly. Full of trepidation–for he knew that such a visit boded him little good–Ferrier ran to the door to greet the Mormon chief.” answered John Ferrier. We picked you up when you were starving in the desert. stealthy.” he said. His heart leapt to his mouth. To this day.” “And how have I neglected it?” asked Ferrier. and. One fine morning John Ferrier was about to set out to his wheatfields. The very friend to whom you communicated your misgivings as to the Prophet and his mission might be one of those who would come forth at night with fire and sword to exact a terrible reparation. and noiseless. we shared our food with you. “But women were few. The names of the participators in the deeds of blood and violence done under the name of religion were kept profoundly secret. who flitted by them in the darkness. gave you a goodly share of land. and this. is a sinister and an ill-omened one. These tales and rumours took substance and shape.” “It is true that I have not married. the name of the Danite Band. “In return for all this we asked but one condition: that was. and followed him with a stern face into the sitting-room. “She has grown to be the flower of Utah. received his salutations coldly. or the Avenging Angels. and has found favour in the eyes of many who are high in the land. however. and allowed you to wax rich under our protection.” . taking a seat. middle-aged man coming up the pathway. when he heard the click of the latch. and none spoke of the things which were nearest his heart.” Ferrier answered. “Brother Ferrier. saw a stout. and there were many who had better claims than I. 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.murdered immigrants and rifled camps in regions where Indians had never been seen. and eyeing the farmer keenly from under his light-coloured eyelashes. None knew who belonged to this ruthless society. Hence every man feared his neighbour. and conform in every way to its usages. “Call them in. The latter. sandy-haired. This you promised to do. and bore upon their faces the traces of an unextinguishable horror. that I may greet them. Is not this so?” “It is so. that you should embrace the true faith. Belated wanderers upon the mountains spoke of gangs of armed men. masked. “the true believers have been good friends to you. Fresh women appeared in the harems of the Elders–women who pined and wept. and were corroborated and recorroborated.” “It is of that daughter that I would speak to you. I was not a lonely man: I had my daughter to attend to my wants. until they resolved themselves into a definite name.

This must be the gossip of idle tongues. who profess the holy creed. and Drebber has a son. “My daughter is very young– she is scarce of an age to marry. They are young and rich.” he said at last.” He was passing through the door. What say you to that?” Ferrier remained silent for some little time with his brows knitted.1 but our children must also be provided. The girl is young.” said Young. and either of them would gladly welcome your daughter to his house. rising from his seat. and we would not have her wed gray hairs. “There are stories of her which I would fain disbelieve–stories that she is sealed to some Gentile. when he turned with flushed face and . “At the end of that time she shall give her answer.[64] John Ferrier groaned internally. Stangerson has a son. Let her choose between them. for if she wed a Gentile.’ This being so. it is impossible that you. should suffer your daughter to violate it.” John Ferrier made no answer.” “She shall have a month to choose. and of the true faith. she commits a grievous sin. “You will give us time. “Upon this one point your whole faith shall be tested–so it has been decided in the Sacred Council of Four. neither would we deprive her of all choice. but he played nervously with his ridingwhip. 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. We Elders have many heifers.

dear. and we’ll soon manage that.” “But we haven’t opposed him yet. and he’s a Christian.” her father answered. as these folk do to their darned Prophet. We have a clear month before us. One hears–one hears such dreadful stories about those who oppose the Prophet. than that you should put your weak wills against the orders of the Holy Four!” With a threatening gesture of his hand. but she could not help observing that he paid unusual care to the fastening of the doors that night. “We’ll fix it up somehow or another. and don’t get your eyes swelled up.flashing eyes. and looking up. and I’ll manage to send him a message letting him know the hole we are in. To tell the truth. But it is for you that I am frightened.” John Ferrier uttered these consoling remarks in a very confident tone. He was still sitting with his elbow upon his knee. considering how he should broach the matter to his daughter. If I know anything o’ that young man. “I could not help it.” she said. and that he carefully cleaned and loaded the rusty old shot-gun which hung upon the wall of his bedroom. do you?” A sob and a squeeze of his hand were her only answer. drawing her to him. of course not.” his daughter objected. and it’s all new to me. at the end of that. Guess I’m too old to learn. There’s nothing to be afeared about. rough hand caressingly over her chestnut hair. it isn’t the first time I have thought of doing it. John Ferrier. in answer to his look. frightened face showed him that she had heard what had passed. I don’t care about knuckling under to any man. “When he comes.” he answered. “that you and she were now lying blanched skeletons upon the Sierra Blanco. He’s a likely lad. Lucy. else he’ll be walking into me when he sees you. In the meantime. Oh. father. father.” “But they won’t let us leave. One glance at her pale. something terrible always happens to them. “His voice rang through the house. which is more than these folks here. he will advise us for the best. I guess we had best shin out of Utah. he’ll be back with a speed that would whip electro-telegraphs. and let the rest go. and Ferrier heard his heavy steps scrunching along the shingly path. and there’s no danger at all. “Wait till Jefferson comes. he saw her standing beside him. my dearie. when a soft hand was laid upon his. what shall we do?” “Don’t you scare yourself. I shouldn’t care to hear you say you did. “It will be time to [65] look out for squalls when we do. I’m a free-born American. You don’t find your fancy kind o’ lessening for this chap. “No. he might chance to run up against a charge of buckshot travelling in the opposite direction. he turned from the door. “It were better for you.” “Leave Utah!” “That’s about the size of it. in spite o’ all their praying and preaching. If he comes browsing about this farm.” Lucy laughed through her tears at her father’s description. There’s a party starting for Nevada to-morrow. and passing his broad. don’t you fret yourself.” “But the farm?” “We will raise as much as we can in money.” he thundered. .

Kemball. alludes to his hundred wives under this endearing epithet. 1 David Soucek. 1998 Chapter 4 . in one of his sermons.Heber C.

with his feet cocked up upon the stove.” he said at last. “He grindeth slowly but exceeding small. “when my daughter summons you. and the one in the rocking-chair commenced the conversation. As he approached his farm. warmly.” he said. “We will leave it all to her decision. smirking at his own reflection in the glass. “We have come. and returned home with a lighter heart. [66] As I have but four wives and Brother Drebber here has seven. who travelled with you in the desert when the Lord stretched out His hand and gathered you into the true fold. and I am the richer man. he was surprised to see a horse hitched to each of the posts of the gate.” cried the other.” said the other in a nasal voice. “When the Lord removes my father.” The two young Mormons stared at him in amazement.” “But my prospects are better. with a long pale face. but until then I don’t want to see your faces again. was standing in front of the window with his hands in his pockets whistling a popular hymn. One. Brother Stangerson. The other. My father has now given over his mills to me.” “As He will all the nations in His own good time. Having done thus he felt easier in his mind. you can come.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 4 A FLIGHT FOR LIFE ON THE morning which followed his interview with the Mormon Prophet. “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. striding up to them. “Look here. and I’m Joseph Stangerson. and how necessary it was that he should return. “Maybe you don’t know us. bloated features.” rejoined young Drebber. “This here is the son of Elder Drebber. it appears to me that my claim is the stronger one.” said the other. was leaning back in the rocking-chair. I shall have his tanning yard and his leather factory. and having found his acquaintance. In their eyes this .” John Ferrier bowed coldly. In it he told the young man of the imminent danger which threatened them. “the question is not how many wives we have. hardly able to keep his riding-whip from the backs of his two visitors.” “It will be for the maiden to decide. a bull-necked youth with coarse. but how many we can keep. who was bound for the Nevada Mountains. and am higher in the Church.” “Nay. Both of them nodded to Ferrier as he entered. he entrusted him with his message to Jefferson Hope. He had guessed who his visitors were. Still more surprised was he on the entering to find two young men in possession of his sitting-room.” continued Stangerson.” During this dialogue John Ferrier had stood fuming in the doorway. nay. John Ferrier went in to Salt Lake City. Then I am your elder.

” she answered. Others as well known and as rich as himself had been spirited away before now. The sooner the better. though she. but the incident struck a chill into his heart. You shall rue it to the end of your days. “Let me know when you have settled which it is to be. He concealed his fears from his daughter. saw plainly that he was ill at ease.” “Yes. for we do not know what their next move may be. with the keen eye of love. with spirit. but this suspense was unnerving. a small square of paper pinned on to the coverlet of his bed just over his chest. indeed. furiously.” “The hand of the Lord shall be heavy upon you. “He will arise and smite you!” “Then I’ll start the smiting. The twenty-nine days were . Any known danger he could face with a firm lip. though it came in an unlooked-for manner.” “And so should I.competition between them for the maiden’s hand was the highest of honours both to her and her father. Which do you care to use?” His brown face looked so savage. “You shall smart for this!” Stangerson cried. father. and the doors and windows had all been secured. and his gaunt hands so threatening. shadowy terrors which hung over him. wiping the perspiration from his forehead.” he said.” cried Ferrier.” exclaimed Ferrier. and he was not mistaken. Before he could escape from her. white with rage. and then– –” The dash was more fear-inspiring than any threat could have been. sardonically. “I would sooner see you in your grave. “There are two ways out of the room. How this warning came into his room puzzled John Ferrier sorely. but he trembled at the vague. to his surprise. and would have rushed upstairs for his gun had not Lucy seized him by the arm and restrained him. He crumpled the paper up and said nothing to his daughter. and their goods given over to the Church. however.” It was. what would be the fate of this arch rebel? Ferrier knew that his wealth and position would be of no avail to him. and there is the window. Upon rising next morning he found. “there is the door. If minor errors were punished so sternly.” cried young Drebber. In the whole history of the settlement there had never been such a case of rank disobedience to the authority of the Elders. “The young canting rascals!” he exclaimed. than the wife of either of them. The old farmer followed them to the door. He was a brave man. He expected that he would receive some message or remonstrance from Young as to his conduct. in bold. for his servants slept in an outhouse. It will not be long before he comes. the clatter of horses’ hoofs told him that they were beyond his reach. 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. that his visitors sprang to their feet and beat a hurried retreat. “You have defied the Prophet and the Council of Four. straggling letters:– “Twenty-nine days are given you for amendment. On it was printed. and affected to make light [67] of the whole matter. “but Jefferson will soon be here.

occasionally they were on small placards stuck upon the garden gate or the railings. Whenever a horseman clattered down the road. and as sure as morning came he found that his unseen enemies had kept their register. he knew that he was powerless. and with his limited knowledge of the mountains which surrounded the settlement. with a burned stick apparently. the old farmer hurried to the gate. or a driver shouted at his team. Still more shaken was he next morning. the number 28. And his daughter–what was to become of her after he was gone? [68] Was there no escape from the invisible network which was drawn all round them? He sank his head upon the table and sobbed at the thought of his own impotence. It came from the door of the house. and yet in the morning a great 27 had been painted upon the outside of his door. and then the low.evidently the balance of the month which Young had promised. he lost heart. To his daughter it was unintelligible. With all his vigilance John Ferrier could not discover whence these daily warnings proceeded. but there was no news of the absentee. Turn which way he would. when he saw five give way to four and that again to three. There was a pause for a few moments. He became haggard and restless. He was sitting alone one evening pondering deeply over his troubles. sometimes upon the floors. and he did not enlighten her. What was to happen then? All manner of vague and terrible fancies filled his imagination. Singlehanded. He saw and he heard nothing. and had marked up in some conspicuous position how many days were still left to him out of the month of grace. 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. thinking that help had arrived at last. Sometimes the fatal numbers appeared upon the walls. Thus day followed day. and the next day would be the last of the allotted time. Twenty had changed to fifteen. and none could pass along them without an order from the Council. and he could never have known who had slain him. and still there came no sign of him. The more frequented roads were strictly watched and guarded. and abandoned all hope of escape. and searching vainly for some way out of them. and his eyes had the troubled look of some hunted creature. when Lucy with a cry of surprise pointed upwards. but very distinct in the quiet of the night. At last. That morning had shown the figure 2 upon the wall of his house. Ferrier crept into the hall and listened intently. insidious sound was repeated. and that was for the arrival of the young hunter from Nevada. there appeared to be no avoiding the blow which hung over him. That night he sat up with his gun and kept watch and ward. He had but one hope in life now. They had sat down to their breakfast. A horror which was almost superstitious came upon him at the sight of them. and fifteen to ten. Was it some midnight assassin who had come to carry out the . In the centre of the ceiling was scrawled. What was that? In the silence he heard a gentle scratching sound–low. One by one the numbers dwindled down. 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. Someone was evidently tapping very gently upon one of the panels of the door.

but as he watched it he saw it writhe along the ground and into the hall with the rapidity and noiselessness of a serpent. until. he saw to his astonishment a man lying flat upon his face upon the ground.murderous orders of the secret tribunal? Or was it some agent who was marking up that the last day of grace had arrived? John Ferrier felt that instant death would be better than the suspense which shook his nerves and chilled his heart. The night was fine. but neither there nor on the road was any human being to be seen. and revealed to the astonished farmer the fierce face and resolute expression of Jefferson Hope.” the other said. Outside all was calm and quiet. “How you scared me! Whatever made you come in like that?” “Give me food. and the stars were twinkling brightly overhead.” He flung himself upon the cold meat and . “I have had no time for bite or sup for eight-and-forty hours. hoarsely. he drew the bolt and threw the door open. His first thought was that the prostrate figure was that of some wounded or dying man. Once within the house the man sprang to his feet. With a sigh of relief. closed the door. “Good God!” gasped John Ferrier. The little front garden lay before the farmer’s eyes bounded by the fence and gate. Springing forward. happening to glance straight down at his own feet. with arms and legs all asprawl. 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. Ferrier looked to right and to left.

” the young hunter answered.” “You’ve hit it there.” her father answered. but they’re not quite sharp enough to catch a Washoe hunter. That is why I crawled my way up to it. She does not know the danger. speaking in a low but resolute voice.” “That will do. and which he was now about to abandon forever. Hope slapped the revolver butt which protruded from the front of his tunic. He had long nerved himself to the sacrifice. All looked so peaceful and happy. I have a mule and two horses waiting in the Eagle Ravine. The house is watched on every side. “Yes. Jefferson Hope packed all the eatables that he could find into a small parcel. and unless you act to-night you are lost. and before harm comes on her I guess there will be one less o’ the Hope family in Utah. How much money have you?” “Two thousand dollars in gold. and five in notes.” he said with a sinister smile. and from the darkened window Ferrier peered over the fields which had been his own. I have as much more to add to it. “There are not many who would come to share our danger and our troubles.” John Ferrier felt a different man now that he realized that he had a devoted ally. The lights inside the house had all been extinguished. however. He had hardly completed his arrangements before the farmer returned with his daughter all dressed and ready for a start. We must push for Carson City [69] through the mountains. like one who realizes the greatness of the peril. It is as well that the servants do not sleep in the house. Once on the road we are only two miles from the Ravine where the horses are waiting. “We must make our start at once. By daybreak we should be halfway through the mountains. pard. we shall take two or three of them with us. for minutes were precious. but has steeled his heart to meet it. but brief. It’s Lucy that brings me here. “You’re a man to be proud of. but if you were alone in this business I’d think twice before I put my head into such a hornet’s nest. when he had satisfied his hunger.” While Ferrier was absent. and devoured it voraciously. the rustling trees and the broad silent . You had best wake Lucy. The greeting between the lovers was warm. for he knew by experience that the mountain wells were few and far between. preparing his daughter for the approaching journey. They may be darned sharp.” he said. and filled a stoneware jar with water. “That is well. “If they are too many for us. “Does Lucy bear up well?” he asked. and the thought of the honour and happiness of his daughter outweighed any regret at his ruined fortunes.” “What if we are stopped?” asked Ferrier. but with caution we may get away through the side window and across the fields. He seized the young man’s leathery hand and wrung it cordially.bread which were still lying upon the table from his host’s supper. “The front and back entrances are watched. “I have a respect for you.” “What are we to do?” “To-morrow is your last day.” said Jefferson Hope. and there was much to be done.

they waited until a dark cloud had somewhat obscured the night. and the two figures flitted away in different directions. Jefferson Hope sprang to his feet. they made rapid progress. Nine to seven!” “Seven to five!” repeated the other. and helping his companions through the gap. “To-morrow at midnight. Jefferson Hope had the scanty provisions and water. and then they managed to slip into a field. “Hurry on! hurry on!” he gasped from time to time. led the way across the fields at the top of his speed. Hurry on!” Once on the high road. and from him to the others. Ferrier carried the bag of gold and notes.” returned the other. stern. and uttered the plaintive signal cry again. He and his friends had hardly crouched down before the melancholy hooting of a mountain owl was heard within a few yards of them. who appeared to be in authority. “When the whippoorwill calls three times. black. Everything depends on speed. which was immediately answered by another hoot at a small distance.” “It is well. The instant that their footsteps had died away in the distance. 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. where the faithful animals had been picketed. It was a bewildering route for anyone who was not accustomed to face Nature in her wildest moods. On the one side a great crag towered up a thousand feet or more. Only once did they meet anyone. supporting and half-carrying the girl when her strength appeared to fail her. and menacing. “Shall I tell Brother Drebber?” “Pass it on to him. that it was difficult to realize that the spirit of murder lurked through it all. and old Ferrier upon one of the horses. “We are through the line of sentinels. and the defile which led between them was the Eagle Canon in which the horses were awaiting them. and then one by one passed through into the little garden. on which a second man appeared out of the obscurity. With bated breath and crouching figures they stumbled across it. Their concluding words had evidently been some form of sign and [70] countersign. With unerring instinct Jefferson Hope picked his way among the great boulders and along the bed of a dried-up watercourse. Before reaching the town the hunter branched away into a rugged and narrow footpath which led to the mountains. and so avoid recognition. Opening the window very slowly and carefully. shadowy figure emerged from the gap for which they had been making. until he came to the retired corner screened with rocks. At the same moment a vague. jagged peaks loomed above them through the darkness.stretch of grainland. They had just reached this point when the young man seized his two companions and dragged them down into the shadow. while Jefferson Hope led the other along the precipitous and dangerous path. while Lucy had a small bundle containing a few of her more valued possessions. It was as well that his prairie training had given Jefferson Hope the ears of a lynx.” said the first. which they skirted until they came to the gap which opened into the cornfield. with long basaltic . The girl was placed upon the mule. where they lay silent and trembling. with his money-bag. Two dark. and gained the shelter of the hedge.

They soon had a proof. and pointed upwards. so narrow in places that they had to travel in Indian file. “By whose permission?” he asked. that they were still within the jurisdiction of the Saints. His Mormon experiences had taught him that that was the highest authority to which he could refer. They had reached the very wildest and most desolate portion of the pass when the girl gave a startled cry.” said Jefferson Hope. “Seven to five. “The Holy Four. for every step increased the distance between them and the terrible despotism from which they were flying.” answered Ferrier. remembering the . They could see the lonely watcher fingering his gun. and so rough that only practised riders could have traversed it at all.” cried the sentinel. and peering down at them as if dissatisfied at their reply. On the other hand a wild chaos of boulders and debris made all advance impossible. in spite of all dangers and difficulties. showing out dark and plain against the sky. Between the two ran the irregular tracks. there stood a solitary sentinel. Yet. “Travellers for Nevada. with his hand upon the rifle which hung by his saddle. “Nine to seven. the hearts of the fugitives were light within them. He saw them as soon as they perceived him. however. On a rock which overlooked the track. and his military challenge of “Who goes there?” rang through the silent ravine.” returned Jefferson Hope promptly.columns upon its rugged surface like the ribs of some petrified monster.

” said the voice from above. and knew that they had passed the outlying post of the chosen people. Looking back. David Soucek. and the horses were able to break into a trot. Beyond his post the path broadened out. and the Lord go with you. they could see the solitary watcher leaning upon his gun. and that freedom lay before them. “Pass.countersign which he had heard in the garden. 1998 Chapter 5 .

at which his companions might warm themselves. Choosing a sheltered nook. In every direction the great snow-capped peaks hemmed them in. “They will be upon our track by this time. When morning broke. while they partook of a hasty breakfast. Once safe in Carson. He little knew how far that iron grasp could reach. More than once they lost their way. until they were all ruddy and glowing. and by evening they calculated that they were more than thirty miles from their enemies. they were up and on their way once more. or how soon it was to close upon them and crush them. and there. This gave the hunter little uneasiness. As the sun rose slowly above the eastern horizon. and to need only a gust of wind to come hurtling down upon them. however. Before daybreak. peeping over each other’s shoulders to the far horizon. where the rocks offered some protection from the chill wind. Nor was the fear entirely an illusion. The magnificent spectacle cheered the hearts of the three fugitives and gave them fresh energy. but Jefferson Hope was inexorable. for there was game to be had among the mountains. and he had frequently before had to depend upon his rifle for the needs of life. they enjoyed a few hours’ sleep. the caps of the great mountains lit up one after the other. for the barren valley was thickly strewn with trees and boulders which had fallen in a similar manner. but Hope’s intimate knowledge of the mountains enabled them to regain the track once more. he piled together a few dried branches and made a blazing fire. and startled the weary horses into a gallop. huddled together for warmth. and the air . So steep were the rocky banks on either side of them that the larch and the pine seemed to be suspended over their heads. like lamps at a festival.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 5 THE AVENGING ANGELS ALL night their course lay through intricate defiles and over irregular and rock-strewn paths.” During the whole of that day they struggled on through the defiles. for they were now nearly five thousand feet above the sea level. They had seen no signs of any pursuers.” he said. At night-time they chose the base of a beetling crag. a great rock came thundering down with a hoarse rattle which woke the echoes in the silent gorges. “Everything depends upon our speed. About the middle of the second day of their flight their scanty store of provisions began to run out. Even as they passed. however. we may rest for the remainder of our lives. a scene of marvellous though savage beauty lay before them. and Jefferson Hope began to think that they were fairly out of the reach of the terrible organization whose enmity they had incurred. Lucy and her father would fain have rested longer. At a wild torrent which swept out of a ravine they called a halt and watered their horses.

before he realized the difficulty which faced him. and it was almost dark before he at last found himself in a defile which was familiar to him. Lying on his face. he saw the old man and the young girl crouching over the blazing fire. The creature was too unwieldy to lift. he stumbled along. They must. probably. but fortunately it was heading in the opposite direction. The animal sprang into the air. The valley in which he found himself divided and sub-divided into many gorges. but with the same result. Having tethered the horses. He had hardly started. and that he carried with him enough to ensure them food for the remainder of their journey. and it was no easy matter to pick out the path which he had taken. In his eagerness he had wandered far past the ravines which were known to him. On the edge of a jutting pinnacle. He paused and listened for an answer. and took a long and steady aim before drawing the trigger. he judged that there were numerous bears in the vicinity. None came save his own cry. three or four hundred feet above him. Weighed down with his burden. Even in the darkness he could recognize the outline of the cliffs which bounded it. and had not perceived him. while the three animals stood motionless in the background. keeping up his heart by the reflection that every step brought him nearer to Lucy. . he was thinking of turning back in despair. Then the intervening rocks hid them from his view. after two or three hours’ fruitless search. At last. He had now come to the mouth of the very defile in which he had left them. silent ravines. The big-horn–for so it is called–was acting. tottered for a moment upon the edge of the precipice. and bid Lucy adieu. for the evening was already drawing in. be awaiting him anxiously. and other indications. however. so the hunter contented himself with cutting away one haunch and part of the flank. he tried another. though. he rested his rifle upon a rock. he threw his gun over his shoulder. which were so like each other that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. for he had been absent nearly five hours. for the moon had not yet risen. there stood a creature somewhat resembling a sheep in appearance. and the high cliffs on either side made the obscurity more profound. he reflected. and was borne back to his ears in countless repetitions. from the marks upon the bark of the trees. Looking back. Night was coming on rapidly. Again he shouted. He followed one for a mile or more until he came to a mountain torrent which he was sure that he had never seen before. which clattered up the dreary. In the gladness of his heart he put his hands to his mouth and made the glen reecho to a loud halloo as a signal that he was coming. and then came crashing down into the valley beneath. Convinced that he had taken the wrong turn. when casting his eyes upwards he saw a sight which sent a thrill of pleasure through his heart. but armed with a pair of gigantic horns. and weary from his exertions. He walked for a couple of miles through one ravine after another without [72] success.was bitter and keen. and set out in search of whatever chance might throw in his way. he hastened to retrace his steps. Even then it was no easy matter to keep to the right track. With this trophy over his shoulder. as a guardian over a flock which were invisible to the hunter.

and yet had left no traces behind it. dropping the precious food in his agitation. As the young hunter approached it. man. he came full in sight of the spot where the fire had been lit. when his eye fell upon an object which made every nerve of his body tingle within him. The ground was all stamped down by the feet of horses. Had they carried back both of his companions with them? Jefferson Hope had almost persuaded himself that they must have done so. and speedily recovered from his temporary impotence. Seizing a half-consumed piece of wood from the smouldering fire. nameless dread came over him. and the direction of their tracks proved that they had afterwards turned back to Salt Lake City. showing that a large party of mounted men had overtaken the fugitives. [73] and had to lean upon his rifle to save himself from falling. Bewildered and stunned by this blow. but it had evidently not been tended since his departure. A little way on one side of the camp was a low-lying heap of reddish soil. The same dead silence still reigned all round. all were gone. There was no living creature near the remains of the fire: animals. he perceived that a stick had . When he turned the corner. With his fears all changed to convictions. There was no mistaking it for anything but a newly dug grave. and again no whisper came back from the friends whom he had left such a short time ago. It was only too clear that some sudden and terrible disaster had occurred during his absence–a disaster which had embraced them all. which had assuredly not been there before. He was essentially a man of action. A vague. and proceeded with its help to examine the little camp. he hurried on. There was still a glowing pile of wood ashes there. however. Jefferson Hope felt his head spin round. he blew it into a flame. maiden.even louder than before. and he hurried onward frantically.

As he stood by the desolate fire. he cooked enough to last him for a few days. but before daybreak he was always well on his way.” he said. Jefferson Hope possessed also a power of sustained vindictiveness. brought by his own hand upon his enemies. he observed that there were flags in some of the principal streets. unkempt wanderer. Having. 1860. however. to whom he had rendered services [74] at different times. however. As he looked at it. Died August 4th. FORMERLY OF SALT LAKE CITY. “I am Jefferson Hope. the spruce young hunter of former days. “You remember me. was lying with the old farmer in his last silent resting-place. If there was nothing else left to him. be devoted to that one end. from which they had commenced their ill-fated flight. he leaned upon his rifle and shook his gaunt hand fiercely at the silent widespread city beneath him. he retraced his steps to where he had dropped the food. Jefferson Hope looked wildly round to see if there was a second grave. As he approached. then. Thence he could look down upon the home of the Saints. with the object of finding out what Lucy Ferrier’s fate had been. he recognized him as a Mormon named Cowper. As the young fellow realized the certainty of her fate. he set himself to walk back through the mountains upon the track of the Avenging Angels. Again. he felt that the only one thing which could assuage his grief would be thorough and complete retribution. wild eyes. Lucy had been carried back by their terrible pursuers to fulfil her original destiny. The inscription upon the paper was brief. but there was no sign of one. was gone. On the sixth day. he could at least devote his life to revenge. he reached the Eagle Canon. he determined. he wished that he.been planted on it. with ghastly white face and fierce. with a sheet of paper stuck in the cleft fork of it. it was difficult to recognize in this tattered. whom he had left so short a time before. His strong will and untiring energy should. With a grim. and this was all his epitaph. At night he flung himself down among the rocks. The sturdy old man. white face. He was still speculating as to what this might mean when he heard the clatter of horse’s hoofs. and saw a mounted man riding towards him. With indomitable patience and perseverance. and snatched a few hours of sleep. and. tired as he was. This he made up into a bundle. He therefore accosted him when he got up to him. For five days he toiled footsore and weary through the defiles which he had already traversed on horseback. Worn and exhausted. too. his active spirit shook off the lethargy which springs from despair. but to the point: JOHN FERRIER. and his own powerlessness to prevent it. and other signs of festivity. at last satisfied himself as to his identity. the man’s surprise changed to consternation. and having stirred up the smouldering fire. which he may have learned from the Indians amongst whom he had lived. by becoming one of the harem of an Elder’s son. .” The Mormon looked at him with undisguised astonishment–indeed.

snatching up her hand. he pressed his lips reverently to her cold forehead.” “What has become of Lucy Ferrier?” “She was married yesterday to young Drebber. while its eyes glowed with a baleful light. Whether it was the terrible death of her father or the effects of the hateful marriage into which she had been forced. and Stangerson had shot her father. as is the Mormon custom. uneasily. “You must know something of this matter. man. when. and before an alarm could be raised sprang down the stairs and was gone. earnestly. “She [75] shall not be buried in that. Cowper. you say?” “Married yesterday–that’s what those flags are for on the Endowment House. We have always been friends. you have no life left in you.” he answered. I conjure you by everything you hold dear to answer a few questions. for I saw death in her face yesterday. he walked up to the white silent figure which had once contained the pure soul of Lucy Ferrier. They were grouped round the bier in the early hours of the morning. so hard and set was its expression. “Where are you going?” “Never mind. and sat up with her the night before the burial. weather-beaten man in tattered garments strode into the room. Are you off.” said Jefferson Hope. slinging his weapon over his shoulder. Amongst them all there was none so fierce and so dangerous as himself.” he cried. so the Prophet gave her over to him. The very rocks have ears and the trees eyes. hold up. he took the wedding ring from her finger. He was white to the very lips.” Hope said. Hold up.” said Hope faintly. I am off. and. poor Lucy never held up her head again. which seemed to give him the best claim. but pined away and died within a month. did not affect any great grief at his bereavement. She is more like a ghost than a woman.” “Don’t mind me. strode off down the gorge and so away into the heart of the mountains to the haunts of the wild beasts.” he cried with a fierce snarl. Without a glance or a word to the cowering women. For God’s sake. then?” “Yes. There was some words between young Drebber and young Stangerson as to which was to have her. and had sunk down on the stone against which he had been leaning. “Married. “Be quick. Stooping over her. “It is as much as my own life is worth to be seen talking with you. the door was flung open.“You are mad to come here. to their inexpressible fear and astonishment. or their warrant. Her sottish husband. Drebber’s party was the stronger. don’t refuse to answer me. but his other wives mourned over her. who had married her principally for the sake of John Ferrier’s property. There is a warrant against you from the Holy Four for assisting the Ferriers away. The prediction of the Mormon was only too well fulfilled. So strange and so brief was the episode that the watchers might have found it hard to believe it .” “What is it?” the Mormon asked. No one won’t have her very long though. but when they argued it out in council. They’d both been in the party that followed them. who had risen from his seat. and a savage-looking.” “I don’t fear them. and then. His face might have been chiselled out of marble.

however. unyielding nature. was comparatively poor. however. leading a strange. There he found evil tidings awaiting him. but a combination of unforeseen circumstances prevented his leaving the mines for nearly five. Tales were told in the city of the weird figure which was seen prowling about the suburbs. Many a man. Among these had been Drebber and Stangerson. would have abandoned all thought of . and no one knew whither they had gone. Exposure and want of wholesome food were wearing him out. Disguised. Far from doing so. if anything. as Drebber passed under a cliff a great boulder crashed down on him. and they hoped that time had cooled his vindictiveness. and which haunted the lonely mountain gorges. He felt that that was to play his enemy’s game. as to their whereabouts. however vindictive. so he reluctantly returned to the old Nevada mines. it had. and the predominant idea of revenge had taken such complete possession of it that there was no room for any other emotion. Stangerson. 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. On another occasion. He was. and he only escaped a terrible death by throwing himself upon his face. there to recruit his health and to amass money enough to allow him to pursue his object without privation. and of having their houses guarded. however. Then they adopted the precaution of never going out alone or after nightfall. practical. he returned to Salt Lake City. If he died like a dog among the mountains. had it not been for the undeniable fact that the circlet of gold which marked her as having been a bride had disappeared. and the result had been the secession of a certain number of the malcontents. Once a bullet whistled through Stangerson’s window and flattened itself upon the wall within a foot of him. For some months Jefferson Hope lingered among the mountains. The hunter’s mind was of a hard. wild life. Rumour reported that Drebber had managed to convert a large part of his property into money. as long as he obtained what he knew to be justice. and led repeated expeditions into the mountains in the hope of capturing or killing their enemy. He soon realized that even his iron constitution could not stand the incessant strain which he was putting upon it. After a time they were able to relax these measures. and that he had departed a wealthy man. while his companion. and nursing in his heart the fierce desire for vengeance which possessed him.themselves or persuade other people of it. some of the younger members of the Church having rebelled against the authority of the Elders. augmented it. The two young Mormons were not long in discovering the reason of these attempts upon their lives. what was to become of his revenge then? And yet such a death was sure to overtake him if he persisted. but always without success. There was no clue at all. for nothing was either heard or seen of their opponent. who had left Utah and become Gentiles. careless what became of his own life. above all things. There had been a schism among the Chosen People a few months before. His intention had been to be absent a year at the most. and under an assumed name. At the end of that time.

Funds were wanting. and when he followed them there. and not being able to find sureties. eked out by such employment as he could pick up. they had departed for Paris. and had read murder in his eyes.revenge in the face of such a difficulty. a human bloodhound. but never overtaking the fugitives. At last his perseverance was rewarded. to which we are already under such obligations. but that one glance told him that Cleveland in Ohio possessed the men whom he was in pursuit of. for they had journeyed on to London. and represented to him that they were in danger of their lives from the jealousy and hatred of an old rival. working his way in any menial capacity. that Drebber. It chanced. Watson’s Journal. saving every dollar for his approaching journey. It was but a glance of a face in a window. but Jefferson Hope never faltered for a moment. however. and that he and his secretary had departed for Europe. That evening Jefferson Hope was taken into custody. Year passed into year. however. he departed for Europe. With the small competence he possessed. where he at last succeeded in running them to earth. At the Danish capital he was again a few days late. Again the avenger had been foiled. As to what occurred there. who had become his private secretary. 1998 Chapter 6 . he travelled from town to town through the United States in quest [76] of his enemies. David Soucek. but still he wandered on. He returned to his miserable lodgings with his plan of vengeance all arranged. At last. as duly recorded in Dr. When at last he was liberated it was only to find that Drebber’s house was deserted. and again his concentrated hatred urged him to continue the pursuit. Petersburg. he learned that they had just set off for Copenhagen. we cannot do better than quote the old hunter’s own account. his black hair turned grizzled. looking from his window. having collected enough to keep life in him. was detained for some weeks. with his mind wholly set upon the one object to which he had devoted his life. and for some time he had to return to work. had recognized the vagrant in the street. and tracked his enemies from city to city. When he reached St. He hurried before a justice of the peace accompanied by Stangerson.

I reckon you are the man for [77] it.” said Lestrade. but stepped calmly into the cab which had been his. He rose and stretched his legs. Our prisoner made no attempt at escape. “My cab’s at the door. You too.” he remarked to Sherlock Holmes. The official was a white-faced.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 6 A CONTINUATION OF THE REMINISCENCES OF JOHN WATSON. as though to assure himself that they were free once more.” he said. “I can drive you. and may as well stick to us. and expressed his hopes that he had not hurt any of us in the scuffle. Jefferson Hope. as if they thought this proposition rather a bold one. M. You have taken an interest in the case. who went through his duties in a dull. “I guess you’re going to take me to the policestation. he smiled in an affable manner. and we all descended together. OUR prisoner’s furious resistance did not apparently indicate any ferocity in his disposition towards ourselves. “in the meantime. and we followed him. as I eyed him. but Holmes at once took the prisoner at his word. and loosened the towel which we had bound round his ankles. whipped up the horse. and his dark. sunburned face bore an expression of determination and energy which was as formidable as his personal strength. I remember that I thought to myself. We were ushered into a small chamber.” “You had better come with me. “Good! and Gregson can come inside with me.” he said. If you’ll loose my legs I’ll walk down to it. Mr. and may be used against you. “The prisoner will be put before the magistrates in the course of the week.” said Holmes to the two detectives. that I had seldom seen a more powerfully built man. mechanical way.” . Doctor. gazing with undisguised admiration at my fellowlodger.D.” Gregson and Lestrade exchanged glances. “If there’s a vacant place for a chief of the police. I’m not so light to lift as I used to be. “The way you kept on my trail was a caution. unemotional man. where a police inspector noted down our prisoner’s name and the names of the men with whose murder he had been charged. Lestrade mounted the box. for on finding himself powerless. have you anything that you wish to say? I must warn you that your words will be taken down. and brought us in a very short time to our destination.” I assented gladly.

“I’ve got a good deal to say. “you have an aortic aneurism!” “That’s what they call it.” I cried. but I should like to leave some account of the business behind me. It isn’t suicide I am thinking of. I am. I did so.” “Hadn’t you better reserve that for your trial?” asked the inspector. Are you a doctor?” He turned his fierce dark eyes upon me as he asked this last question. “You needn’t look startled. “I may never be tried. In the silence of the room I could hear a dull humming and buzzing noise which proceeded from the same source. I got it from overexposure and under-feeding among the Salt Lake Mountains.” he said. “I want to tell you gentlemen all about it. It has been getting worse for years. “Why. I’ve done my work now.” I answered. “I went to a doctor last week about it. “Yes.” he answered. and became at once conscious of an extraordinary throbbing and commotion which was going on inside. with a smile. and he told me that it is bound to burst before many days passed. I don’t want to be remembered as a common cutthroat.” he said. The walls of his chest seemed to thrill and quiver as a frail building would do inside when some powerful engine was at work. motioning with his manacled wrists towards his chest.” The inspector and the two detectives had a hurried discussion as to the advisability of allowing him to tell his story. and I don’t care how soon I go. “Then put your hand here.” our prisoner said slowly. placidly. .

and executioner all rolled into one. Driving and riding are as natural to me as walking. suiting the action to the word. and I vowed that his dying eyes should rest upon that very ring. I was to bring a certain sum a week to the owner. or to desire. “You are at liberty. though. If I die to-morrow. for I reckon that of all the mazes that ever were contrived. and I found that I must turn my hand to something for my living. and when once I had spotted the principal hotels and stations. and how you use it is a matter of no consequence to me. “Most certainly there is. I’m on the brink of the grave. They were at a boarding-house at Camberwell.” the prisoner said. and I determined that I should be judge. therefore. over on the other side of . and broke her heart over it. Doctor. “it’s enough that they were guilty of the death of two human beings–a father and daughter–and that they had. and I am not likely [78] to lie to you. and soon got employment. but I managed to scrape along somehow. She was forced into marrying that same Drebber. as though the events which he narrated were commonplace enough.” said the inspector. Every word I say is the absolute truth. “This aneurism of mine makes me easily tired. Jefferson Hope leaned back in his chair and began the following remarkable statement. “It was some time before I found out where my two gentlemen were living. it was impossible for me to secure a conviction against them in any court. I knew of their guilt though. with your leave. The hardest job was to learn my way about. which I again warn you will be taken down. jury. I die knowing that my work in this world is done. After the lapse of time that has passed since their crime. as is likely enough. They thought to tire me out. There was seldom much over. this city is the most confusing. I have carried it about with me. forfeited their own lives.” he said. that there is immediate danger?” the former asked. in the interests of justice. “It don’t much matter to you why I hated these men. “That girl that I spoke of was to have married me twenty years ago. He spoke in a calm and methodical manner. and have followed him and his accomplice over two continents until I caught them. and the tussle we had half an hour ago has not mended matters. I can vouch for the accuracy of the subjoined account.” I answered. I took the marriage ring from her dead finger. if you had been in my place. “In that case it is clearly our duty. so that it was no easy matter for me to follow them.“Do you consider. to give your account. for I have had access to Lestrade’s notebook.” “I’ll sit down.” With these words. I had a map beside me. so I applied at a cab-owner’s office. to take his statement. but they could not do it. in which the prisoner’s words were taken down exactly as they were uttered. but I inquired and inquired until at last I dropped across them. and by my hand. When I got to London my pocket was about empty. You’d have done the same. I got on pretty well. and whatever was over that I might keep for myself. if you have any manhood in you. and well done. There is nothing left for me to hope for. and that his last thoughts should be of the crime for which he was punished. “They were rich and I was poor. sir. They have perished.

I whipped up my horse and kept within sight of them. and why retribution has come upon him. I had my enemies within my power. but singly they were at my mercy. I was determined that they should not escape me again. and never after nightfall. There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him. and simply bargained with him that if he missed the last train he should rejoin him at Halliday’s Private Hotel. Drebber himself was drunk half the time. for something told me that the hour had almost come. At Euston Station they got out. and that he must go alone. to which Drebber answered that he would be back on the platform before eleven. and there was no chance of their recognizing me. with undue precipitation. for then they could not get away from me. and that if the other would wait for him he would soon rejoin him. I had grown my beard. feeling very ill at ease. for I feared that they were going to shift their quarters. but the former was the best. but never saw the ghost of a chance. I watched them late and early. I did not act. “They were very near doing it for all that. During two weeks I drove behind them every day. His companion remonstrated with him. however. one evening I was driving up and down Torquay Terrace.the river. and drove off. I would dog them and follow them until I saw my opportunity. I could not catch what Stangerson said to that. and there would not be another for some hours. and I left a boy to hold my horse and followed them on to the platform. as the street was called in which they boarded. When once I found them out. but I was not discouraged. I was always at their heels. Go where they would about London. It was only early in the morning or late at night that I could earn anything. “The moment for which I had waited so long had at last come. and reminded him that he was nothing more than his paid servant. I got so close to them in the bustle that I could hear every word that passed between them. and sometimes on foot. I had my plans arranged by which I should have the opportunity of making the man who had wronged . but Drebber was rather pleased than otherwise. I did not mind that. Together they could protect each other. Drebber said that he had a little business of his own to do. and that he must not presume to dictate to him. though. They must have thought that there was some chance of their being followed. Presently some luggage was brought out and after a time Drebber and Stangerson followed it. for they would never go out alone. so that I began to get behindhand with my employer. My plans were already formed. and never once [79] saw them separate. Drebber answered that the matter was a delicate one. Stangerson seemed to be put out at that. as long as I could lay my hand upon the men I wanted. On that the secretary gave it up as a bad job. I heard them ask for the Liverpool train. I knew that I had them at my mercy. Sometimes I followed them on my cab. “They were very cunning. however. and the guard answer that one had just gone. when I saw a cab drive up to their door. but Stangerson was not to be caught napping. and made his way out of the station. My only fear was that this thing in my chest might burst a little too soon and leave my work undone. but the other burst out swearing. “At last. and reminded him that they had resolved to stick together.

and he drank it down. This fellow had Drebber by the collar. I waited for a quarter of an hour.me understand that his old sin had found him out. My mouth gets dry with the talking. I had long determined that he should have a show for his life if he chose to take advantage of it. He ran as far as the corner. 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. I drove along slowly. weighing in my own mind what it was best to do. 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. He went in. “When I had him fairly inside my cab. but I could not bring myself to do it. and he showed his students some alkaloid. leaving word that I should wait for him. It was claimed that same evening. and when he came out he was so far gone that I knew the game was in my own hands. and there in some deserted lane have my last interview with him. and was evidently pretty well on. and returned. but in the interval I had taken a moulding of it. ‘You hound!’ he cried. my heart jumped so with joy that I feared lest at this last moment my aneurism might go wrong. until. he staggered in his walk. and he ordered me to pull up outside a gin palace. when suddenly there came a noise like people struggling inside the house. When he came out. and the other was a young chap whom I had never seen before.” he said. The craze for drink had seized him again. I had almost decided upon this. but I went on and pulled up my cab a hundred yards or so from the house. Next moment the door was flung open and two men appeared. only that the cur staggered away down the road as fast as his legs would carry him. or more. I might take him right out into the country.’ said he. There he remained until closing time. which . There was a hansom just in front of me. as he called it. We rattled across Waterloo Bridge and through miles of streets. and had a duplicate constructed. shaking his stick at him. ‘I’ll teach you to insult an honest girl!’ He was so hot that I think he would have thrashed Drebber with his cudgel. Give me a glass of water. if you please. It would only have been rigid justice if I had done so. “He walked down the road and went into one or two liquor shops. ‘Drive me to Halliday’s Private Hotel. he hailed me and jumped in. one of whom was Drebber. staying for nearly half an hour in the last of them. Among the many billets which I have filled in America during my wandering life. 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 was once janitor and sweeper-out of the laboratory at York College. to my astonishment. when he solved the problem for me. “That’s better. we found ourselves back in the terrace in which he had boarded. and then seeing my cab. He entered it. I could not imagine what his intention was in returning there. “Well. “Don’t imagine that I intended to kill him in cold blood. How to get Drebber to that house was the difficult problem which I had now to solve.” [80] I handed him the glass. I followed it so close that the nose of my horse was within a yard of his driver the whole way. and he hailed it. One day the professor was lecturing on poisons. and his hansom drove away.

I could see old John Ferrier and sweet Lucy looking at me out of the darkness and smiling at me.’ said he. It would be quite as deadly and a good deal less noisy than firing across a handkerchief. As I drove.’ I said. Dismal as it was outside. I shook him by the arm.’ said he. I was glad within–so glad that I could have shouted out from pure exultation. ‘Now. “It was nearer one than twelve. for he got out without another word. I had to walk beside him to keep him steady. If any of you gentlemen have ever pined for a thing. and a wild. except the dripping of the rain. you would understand my feelings. so I worked this alkaloid into small. and which was so powerful that the least grain meant instant death. ‘It’s time to get out. “I suppose he thought we had come to the hotel that he had mentioned. the father and the daughter were walking in front of us. “‘It’s infernally dark. one on each side of the horse until I pulled up at the house in the Brixton Road. nor a sound to be heard.’ I continued. blowing hard and raining in torrents. I give you my word that all the way. I found Drebber all huddled [81] together in a drunken sleep. striking a match and putting it to a wax candle which I had brought with me. turning to him. cabby.he had extracted from some South American arrow poison. From that day I had always my pill boxes about with me. I determined at the time that when I had my chance my gentlemen should each have a draw out of one of these boxes. “‘We’ll soon have a light.’ I said. and puffed at it to steady my nerves. I was a fairly good dispenser. soluble pills. When I looked in at the window. and longed for it during twenty long years. stamping about. I opened it and led him into the front room. “‘All right. and holding the light to my own face. I spotted the bottle in which this preparation was kept. bleak night. while I ate the pill that remained. When we came to the door. and followed me down the garden. and the time had now come when I was to use them. and then suddenly found it within your reach. Enoch Drebber. and when they were all gone. but my hands were trembling and my temples throbbing with excitement. “There was not a soul to be seen. I helped myself to a little of it. All the way they were ahead of me. ‘who am I?’ . I lit a cigar. and each pill I put in a box with a similar pill made without the poison. for he was still a little topheavy. just as plain as I see you all in this room.

at last your wanderings have come to an end. Now. At the sight I leaned my back against the door and laughed loud and long. while his teeth chattered in his head. There is death in one and life in the other. He staggered back with a livid face. ‘I have hunted you from Salt Lake City to St. ‘Punishment has been slow in coming. and I believe I would have had a fit of some sort if the blood had not gushed from my nose and relieved me. which showed me that he knew me. and shaking the key in his face. “‘What do you think of Lucy Ferrier now?’ I cried. ‘Let the high God judge between us. Choose and eat. ‘Who talks of murdering a mad dog? What mercy had you upon my poor darling. I shall take what you leave. but I had never hoped for the contentment of soul which now possessed me. I had always known that vengeance would be sweet. and then I saw a horror spring up in them. drunken eyes for a moment. locking the door. “‘But it was you who broke her innocent heart. Petersburg. thrusting the box before him.’ I saw his coward lips tremble as I spoke.“He gazed at me with bleared.’ I shrieked. and you have always escaped me. and convulse his whole features.’ I answered. when you dragged her from her slaughtered father. The pulses in my temples beat like sledge-hammers. He would have begged for his life. Let .’ he cried. and bore her away to your accursed and shameless harem?’ “‘It was not I who killed her father. “‘There is no murder. for either you or I shall never see tomorrow’s sun rise. and I saw the perspiration break out upon his brow. and I could see on his face that he thought I was mad.’ He shrunk still farther away as I spoke. but it has overtaken you at last. but he knew well that it was useless. “‘You dog!’ I said. “‘Would you murder me?’ he stammered. So I was for the time.

and I hung about all day. and then. I went boldly up to the house–for I was ready to dare anything rather than lose the ring. he sprang from his bed and flew at my throat. Then I walked down to my cab and found that there was nobody about. Thinking that I might have dropped it when I stooped over Drebber’s body. or if we are ruled by chance. A spasm of pain contorted his features. with a hoarse cry. Instead of grasping at the chance of safety which that offered him. for Providence would never have allowed his guilty hand to pick out anything but the poison. I described Drebber’s death to him. when I put my hand into the pocket in which I usually kept Lucy’s ring. 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. and leaving my cab in a side street. and held Lucy’s marriage ring in front of his eyes. I remember a German being found in New York with RACHE written up above him. There was no movement. Perhaps it was some mischievous idea of setting the police upon a wrong track. I drove back. and I gave him the same choice of the poisoned pills. but I drew my knife and held it to his throat until he had obeyed me. for it was the only memento that I had of her. I walked right into the arms of a police-officer who was coming out. [82] I don’t know what it was that put it into my head to write upon the wall with it. and that the night was still very wild. He was dead! “The blood had been streaming from my nose. He was cunning. “That was how Enoch Drebber came to his end. I had driven some distance. for the action of the alkaloid is rapid. I knew that he was staying at Halliday’s Private Hotel. fell heavily upon the floor. staggered. and always on his guard. and we stood facing one another in silence for a minute or more. so I dipped my finger in my own blood and printed it on a convenient place on the wall. for I felt light-hearted and cheerful. I soon found out which was the window of his bedroom. If he thought he could keep me off by staying indoors he was very much mistaken.’ “He cowered away with wild cries and prayers for mercy. In self-defence I stabbed him to the heart. and found that it was not there. I turned him over with my foot. and only managed to disarm his suspicions by pretending to be hopelessly drunk. I was thunderstruck at this.us see if there is justice upon the earth. I fancy that he suspected something when Drebber failed to put in an appearance. but he never came out. and so made my way into his room in the gray of the dawn. was Stangerson. and early next morning I took advantage of some ladders which were lying in the lane behind the hotel. 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. It would have been the same in any case. All I had to do then was to do as much for Stangerson. and so pay off John Ferrier’s debt. and it was argued at the time in the newspapers that the secret societies must have done it. but I had taken no notice of it. Then I swallowed the other. waiting to see which was to live and which was to die. When I arrived there. It was but for a moment. . he threw his hands out in front of him. I guessed that what puzzled the New Yorkers would puzzle the Londoners. and placed my hand upon his heart.

My friend volunteered to go and see. this young man here had the bracelets on my wrists.” “Not a doubt of that. “I can tell my own secrets. “There is only one point on which I should like a little more information.” said Holmes. 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. That’s the whole of my story. and I thought it might be a plant. I was standing in the yard when a ragged youngster asked if there was a cabby there called Jefferson Hope. On Thursday the prisoner will be brought before the magistrates. but I hold that I am just as much an officer of justice as you are. I went round suspecting no harm. heartily. When he finished. and as neatly shackled as ever I saw in my life.” Sherlock Holmes said at last. I think you’ll own he did it smartly. and the next thing I knew. “Now.” the inspector remarked gravely. 1998 Chapter 7 .” he said. blase as they were in every detail of crime. I went on cabbing it for a day or so. for I am about done up. Even the professional detectives. or it might be the ring which I wanted. Until then I will be responsible for him. and it’s as well. I saw your advertisement. gentlemen. and said that his cab was wanted by a gentleman at 221B.“I have little more to say. and your attendance will be required. “Who was your accomplice who came for the ring which I advertised?” [83] The prisoner winked at my friend jocosely. gentlemen.” So thrilling had the man’s narrative been and his manner was so impressive that we had sat silent and absorbed. “but I don’t get other people into trouble. and Jefferson Hope was led off by a couple of warders. appeared to be keenly interested in the man’s story. Baker Street. while my friend and I made our way out of the station and took a cab back to Baker Street. “the forms of the law must be complied with. You may consider me to be a murderer. David Soucek.” He rang the bell as he spoke. intending to keep at it until I could save enough to take me back to America.

the grand thing is to be able to reason backward. In the everyday affairs of life it is more useful to reason forward. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backward. They can put those events together in their minds. “What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. In solving a problem of this sort. who. however. bitterly. more brightly. “The proof of its intrinsic simplicity is. “Where will their grand advertisement be now?” “I don’t see that they had very much to do with his capture. if you describe a train of events to them. but people do not practise it much. really. and so the other comes to be neglected. that without any help save a few very ordinary deductions I was able to lay my hand upon the criminal within three days. “I would not have missed the investigation for anything. and a very easy one. That is a very useful accomplishment.” he continued. “The question is.” Holmes remarked.” said Sherlock Holmes. and on work well done.” “I hardly expected that you would.A Study in Scarlet Chapter 7 THE CONCLUSION WE HAD all been warned to appear before the magistrates upon the Thursday. if you told them a result.” said I. it can hardly be described as otherwise. what can you make people believe that you have done? Never mind.” “That is true. “that I do not quite follow you. as though he had been able in his dying moments to look back upon a useful life. as we chatted it over next evening. On the very night after his capture the aneurism burst. Most people.” returned my companion. There are few people. “I have already explained to you that what is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance.” “Simple!” I ejaculated. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically. There has been no better case within my recollection. “Gregson and Lestrade will be wild about his death. and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before a tribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him.” I answered. and he was found in the morning stretched upon the floor of the cell.” said I. after a pause. and argue from them [84] that something will come to pass. Let me see if I can make it clearer. there were several most instructive points about it.” “I confess. A higher Judge had taken the matter in hand. smiling at my surprise. . “Well. would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. Simple as it was. but when the Thursday came there was no occasion for our testimony. with a placid smile upon his face. will tell you what the result would be.

and the other fashionably dressed. and much practice has made it second nature to me. I then walked slowly down the garden path. I satisfied myself that it was a cab and not a private carriage by the narrow gauge of the wheels. or was it a woman? That was the question which confronted me. and I came to the conclusion that he had had poison forced upon him. It . but I saw also the track of the two men who had first passed through the garden. I had arrived at this result. showing that he had been there all the time. I argued that it had been forced upon him from the hatred and fear expressed upon his face. Robbery had not been the object of the murder. To begin at the beginning. but the agitated expression upon his face assured me that he had foreseen his fate before it came upon him. I naturally began by examining the roadway. to judge from the small and elegant impression left by his boots. been done most deliberately. By the method of exclusion. This murder had. Was it politics. I approached the house. which happened to be composed of a clay soil. The tall one. then. which. as I have already explained to you. Men who die from heart disease. or any sudden natural cause. peculiarly suitable for taking impressions. on foot. and of Leturier in Montpellier. “On entering the house this last inference was confirmed. for no other hypothesis would meet the facts. “Now this was a case in which you were given the result and had to find everything else for yourself. Again. on the contrary. as you know. for nothing was taken. and the perpetrator had left his tracks all over the room. I saw clearly the marks of a cab. I have always laid great stress upon it. which told me that the nocturnal visitors were two in number. because in places their marks had been entirely obliterated by the others coming upon the top of them. never by any chance exhibit agitation upon their features. Political assassins are only too glad to do their work and to fly. I detected a slightly sour smell. I was inclined from the first to the latter supposition. Do not imagine that it was a very unheard-of idea. No doubt it appeared to you to be a mere trampled line of slush. Happily. but to my trained eyes every mark upon its surface had a meaning. will occur at once to any toxicologist.” said I. I ascertained by inquiry. had done the murder. Now let me endeavour to show you the different steps in my reasoning. The forcible administration of poison is by no means a new thing in criminal annals. “And now came the great question as to the reason why. “This was the first point gained. one remarkable for his height (as I calculated from the length of his stride). There was no wound upon the dead man’s person. The ordinary London growler is considerably less wide than a gentleman’s brougham. The cases of Dolsky in Odessa. My wellbooted man lay before me. There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps.or analytically. must have been there during the night. In this way my second link was formed. It was easy to tell that they had been before the others.” “I understand. then. if murder there was. and with my mind entirely free from all impressions. I saw the heavy footmarks of the constables. Having sniffed the dead man’s lips. and there.

I proceeded to do what Gregson had neglected. The murder of Stangerson was an incident which . Clearly the murderer had used it to remind his victim of some dead or absent woman. “Having left the house. which called for such a methodical revenge. as it were. continue to perform his duties. It was at this point that I asked Gregson whether he had inquired in his telegram to Cleveland as to any particular point in Mr. could the driver be. and not a political one. The answer was conclusive. He answered. It is seldom that any man.must have been a private wrong. of a third person. what better means could he adopt than to turn cabdriver? All these considerations led me to the irresistible conclusion that Jefferson Hope was to be found among the jarveys of the Metropolis. are still fresh in your recollection. The thing was too evidently a blind. There was no reason to suppose that he was going under an assumed name. I had already come to the conclusion. breaks out in this way through emotion. for a time at least. limiting my inquiry to the circumstances connected with the marriage of Enoch Drebber. How well they succeeded. I telegraphed to the head of the police at Cleveland. you remember. and furnished me with the additional details as to the Trichinopoly cigar and the length of his nails. He would probably. and all that remained was to secure the murderer. which confirmed me in my opinion as to the murderer’s height. Why should he change his name in a country where no one knew his original one? I therefore organized my street Arab detective corps. Events proved that I had judged correctly. It told me that Drebber had already applied for the protection of the law against an old rival in love. there was no reason to believe that he had ceased to be. I was more inclined than ever to my opinion. Lastly. “I then proceeded to make a careful examination of the room. so I hazarded the opinion that the criminal was probably a robust and ruddyfaced man. On the contrary. I could perceive that the track of blood coincided with the track of his feet. Where. however. named Jefferson Hope. it settled the question. and how quickly I took advantage of it. since there were no signs of a struggle. When the inscription was discovered [85] upon the wall. I knew now that I held the clue to the mystery in my hand. unless he is very full-blooded. and that this same Hope was at present in Europe. 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. When the ring was found. and sent them systematically to every cab proprietor in London until they ferreted out the man that I wanted. then. “I had already determined in my own mind that the man who had walked into the house with Drebber was none other than the man who had driven the cab. who was sure to betray him. any sudden change would be likely to draw attention to himself. unless he were inside the house? Again. Drebber’s former career. in the negative. that the blood which covered the floor had burst from the murderer’s nose in his excitement. supposing one man wished to dog another through London. it is absurd to suppose that any sane man would carry out a deliberate crime under the very eyes. from his point of view. “If he had been one.

as you know.” “It is wonderful!” I cried. the deceased prisoner. who was suspected of the murder of Mr. Enoch Drebber and of Mr. Messrs. You should publish an account of the case. may hope in time to attain to some degree of their skill. Through it. with such instructors. in the rooms of a certain Mr.was entirely unexpected. Joseph Stangerson. and Hope.” “You may do what you like. and will serve as a lesson to all foreigners that they will do wisely to settle their feuds at home. though we are informed upon good authority that the crime was the result of an old-standing and romantic feud. at least. The man was apprehended. If you won’t. You see. handing a paper over to me. The details of the case will probably be never known now. as an amateur. It is an open secret that the credit of this smart capture belongs entirely to the well-known Scotland Yard officials. Lestrade and Gregson.” he answered. Sherlock Holmes. the existence of which I had already surmised. who has himself.” it said. “See here!” he continued. “The public.” . I came into possession of the pills. Doctor. It is expected that a testimonial of some sort will be presented to the two officers as a fitting recognition of their services. but which could hardly in any case have been prevented. “look at this!” [86] It was the Echo for the day. in their younger days. in which love and Mormonism bore a part. I will for you. hails also from Salt Lake City. shown some talent in the detective line and who. and not to carry them on to British soil. brings out in the most striking manner the efficiency of our detective police force. the whole thing is a chain of logical sequences without a break or flaw. “Your merits should be publicly recognized. it appears. “have lost a sensational treat through the sudden death of the man Hope. If the case has had no other effect. it. and the paragraph to which he pointed was devoted to the case in question. It seems that both the victims belonged. to the Latter Day Saints.

“I have all the facts in my journal. In the meantime you must make yourself contented by the consciousness of success. like the Roman miser– “Populus me sibilat.“Didn’t I tell you so when we started?” cried Sherlock Holmes with a laugh. at mihi plaudo Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar in arca. and the public shall know them. “That’s the result of all our Study in Scarlet: to get them a testimonial!” “Never mind.” I answered.” David Soucek. 1998 The Sign of Four .

First book edition by S. Chapter 10. Chapter 4. The Science of Deduction The Statement of the Case In Quest of a Solution The Story of the Bald-headed Man The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstartion The Episode of the Barrel The Baker Street Irregulars A Break in the Chain The End of the Islander The Great Agra Treasure The Strange Story of Jonathan Small First published in the Lippincott’s Magazine. Chapter 12. Philadelphia and London. Chapter 11. in February 1890. Chapter 3. Chapter 7. Blackett in Oct. Chapter 6. Chapter 9. Chapter 2. 1890 Chapter 1.The Complete Sherlock Holmes THE SIGN OF FOUR First edition in Lippincott’s Magazine. . Chapter 5. Chapter 8. 1890.

The second book edition. 1892 David Soucek. 1998 .

Yet upon that afternoon. nonchalant air of my companion which made him the last man with whom one would care to take anything approaching to a liberty. nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle and rolled back his left shirtcuff. and the experience which I had had of his many extraordinary qualities. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist. he thrust the sharp point home. but there was that in the cool. but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. Again and again I had registered a vow that I should deliver my soul upon the subject. pressed down the tiny piston. With his long. white. all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. On the contrary. his masterly manner. and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction.The Sign of Four Chapter 1 THE SCIENCE OF DEDUCTION SHERLOCK HOLMES took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece. all made me diffident and backward in crossing him. and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. and my conscience swelled nightly within me at the thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance. His great powers. from day to day I had become more irritable at the sight. Finally. whether it was the Beaune which I had taken with my lunch or the additional exasperation produced by the extreme .

I claim no credit in such cases. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants.” “The only unofficial detective?” I said. what a black reaction comes upon you.” “But consider!” I said earnestly. or Lestrade. risk the loss of those great powers with which you have been endowed? Remember that I speak not only as one comrade to another but as a medical man to one for whose constitution he is to some extent answerable. I cannot congratulate you upon it. On the contrary.” said I cordially.” he answered. like one who has a relish for conversation. “Which is it to-day. “I glanced over it. The work itself. Surely the game is hardly worth the candle. be roused and excited.” He smiled at my vehemence. give me work. I examine the data. Would you care to try it?” “No. or the most intricate analysis. But you have yourself had some experience of my methods of work in the Jefferson Hope case. or ought to be. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. Give me problems. “I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one.” I asked.” said he. and pronounce a specialist’s opinion.” He did not seem offended. “I was never so struck by anything in my life. as you say. or rather created it. is my highest reward. “a seven-per-cent solution. [90] give me the most abstruse cryptogram. indeed. I suddenly felt that I could hold out no longer. with the somewhat fantastic title of ‘A Study in Scarlet. the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it. “Honestly. Why should you. but it is a pathological and morbid process which involves increased tissue-change and may at least leave a permanent weakness. When Gregson. “Perhaps you are right. however. “rebels at stagnation. My name figures in no newspaper. indeed. and I am in my own proper atmosphere. “My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. I even embodied it in a small brochure.” I answered brusquely. as an expert. “It is cocaine.’” He shook his head sadly. “morphine or cocaine?” He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened. he put his finger-tips together. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession. is their normal state–the matter is laid before me. for I am the only one in the world. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism. You know.” he said. too. so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment.” “Yes.deliberation of his manner. raising my eyebrows.” he said. which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid. an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. I find it. or Athelney Jones are out of their depths–which. “Count the cost! Your brain may.” . “The only unofficial consulting detective. and leaned his elbows on the arms of his chair. for a mere passing pleasure. “My mind. I crave for mental exaltation. Watson. Detection is. by the way.” he said. “I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection.

” . and pipe tobacco. but sat nursing my wounded leg.” I remonstrated. I glanced my eyes down it. Here.” said Sherlock Holmes lightly. for example. He is now translating my small works into French. as you probably know. has come rather to the front lately in the French detective service. “He has considerable gifts himself. the one at Riga in 1857. 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. “Oh.” said Holmes after a while. too. laughing. as he spoke.” said I.“But the romance was there. I had had a Jezail bullet through it some time before. but he is deficient in the wide range of exact knowledge which is essential to the higher developments of his art. I made no remark. and that may come in time. filling up his old brier-root pipe.” “Some facts should be suppressed. a crumpled sheet of foreign notepaper. who. however. for example. “My practice has extended recently to the Continent. with stray magnifiques. The only point in the case which deserved mention was the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes. he rates my assistance too highly. with coloured plates illustrating the difference in the ash. that some murder had been done by a man who was smoking an Indian lunkah. and which is sometimes of supreme importance as a clue. “I was consulted last week by Francois le Villard. “He speaks as a pupil to his master. at least. He possesses two out of the three qualities necessary for the ideal detective. catching a profusion of notes of admiration. didn’t you know?” he cried.” I was annoyed at this criticism of a work which had been specially designed to please him. it obviously narrows your field of search. 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. by which I succeeded in unravelling it. [91] coup-de-maîtres and tours-de-force. all testifying to the ardent admiration of the Frenchman.” “Your works?” “Oh.” He tossed over. and the other at St. Louis in 1871. Here is the letter which I had this morning acknowledging my assistance. which have suggested to him the true solution. I have been guilty of several monographs. It is a point which is continually turning up in criminal trials. He has all the Celtic power of quick intuition. The case was concerned with a will and possessed some features of interest. He is only wanting in knowledge. a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them. cigarette. I was able to refer him to two parallel cases. and though it did not prevent me from walking it ached wearily at every change of the weather. He has the power of observation and that of deduction. If you can say definitely. is one ‘Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos. I confess.’ In it I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar. They are all upon technical subjects. 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 could not tamper with the facts. or. “Yes.

Now. Would you think me impertinent if I were to put your theories to a more severe test?” “On the contrary. The rest is deduction. and the one which remains must be the truth. but deduction lets me know that when there you dispatched a telegram. and I intended . I should be delighted to look into any problem which you might submit to me.” he answered. as far as I know. nowhere else in the neighbourhood. Here is my monograph upon the tracing of footsteps. I see also in your open desk there that you have a sheet of stamps and a thick bundle of postcards. It was a sudden impulse upon my part. “I appreciate their importance. But you spoke just now of observation and deduction.” he remarked.” “Right!” said I. The earth is of this peculiar reddish tint which is found. What could you go into the post-office for. as you say.” “How. “Right on both points! But I confess that I don’t see how you arrived at it. So much is observation. did you deduce the telegram?” “Why.” he answered. chuckling at my surprise–“so absurdly simple that an explanation is superfluous. I have here a watch which has recently come into my possession. “The thing. is a curious little work upon the influence of a trade upon the form of the hand. But I weary you with my hobby. “It is of the greatest interest to me.“You have an extraordinary genius for minutiae.” I remarked.” “In this case it certainly is so. but to send a wire? Eliminate all other factors. and yet it may serve to define the limits of observation and of deduction. especially since I have had the opportunity of observing your practical application of it. which lies in such a way that it is difficult to avoid treading in it in entering. is. and I have mentioned it to no one. weavers. with lithotypes of the hands of slaters. sailors. 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. of course I knew that you had not written a letter.” “I have heard you say 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. too.” “It is simplicity itself. compositors. then. however. then.” “Not at all. Just opposite the Wigmore Street Office they have taken up the pavement and thrown up some earth.” “Why. “For example. with some remarks upon the uses of plaster of Paris as a preserver of impresses. as I thought. Here. Observation tells me that you have a little reddish mould adhering to your instep. hardly. of the simplest.” I replied after a little thought. That is a matter of great practical interest to the scientific detective–especially in cases of unclaimed bodies. an impossible one.” I answered earnestly. since I sat opposite [92] to you all morning. for the test was. leaning back luxuriously in his armchair and sending up thick blue wreaths from his pipe. Surely the one to some extent implies the other. or in discovering the antecedents of criminals. cork-cutters. and diamondpolishers. “it would prevent me from taking a second dose of cocaine. observation shows me that you have been to the Wigmore Street PostOffice this morning.

been dead many years. and you now pretend to deduce this . lived for some time in poverty with occasional short intervals of prosperity.” “That you gather. I could hardly keep from smiling at his crestfallen face when he finally snapped the case to and handed it back. therefore. from the H. The W. “Subject to your correction. I should judge that the watch belonged to your elder brother. “There are hardly any data. staring up at the ceiling with dreamy.” he observed. he died. if I remember right.” I said. The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back. and finally. lack-lustre eyes. so far. and he is most likely to have the same name as the father. suggests your own name. Holmes. “It was cleaned before being sent to me. no doubt. Jewellery usually descends to the eldest son. which robs me of my most suggestive facts. It has. opened the back. who inherited it from your father.it as a lesson against the somewhat dogmatic tone which he occasionally assumed. but he threw away his chances.” I answered. gazed hard at the dial. and examined the works.” “You are right. my research has not been entirely barren. W. and the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation. What data could he expect from an uncleaned watch? “Though unsatisfactory.” In my heart I accused my companion of putting forward a most lame and impotent excuse to cover his failure. He balanced the watch in his hand. Your father has.” “Right.” I sprang from my chair and limped impatiently about the room with considerable bitterness in my heart. “This is unworthy of you. That is all I can gather. “I could not have believed that you would have descended to this. “The watch has been recently cleaned. taking to drink.” he remarked. He was left with good prospects. You have made inquiries into the history of my unhappy brother. been in the hands of your eldest brother. “Anything else?” “He was a man of untidy habits–very untidy and careless.” said I. first with his naked eyes and then with a powerful convex lens. upon the back?” “Quite so.

It is a shocking habit–destructive to the logical faculty. 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.” I answered. however. He winds it at night. has a touch of charlatanism in it. when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man. When you observe the lower part of that watch-case you notice that it is not only dinted in two places but it is cut and marked all over from the habit of keeping other hard objects. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers. unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. “I regret the injustice which I did you. I began by stating that your brother was careless.” “But it was not mere guesswork?” “No. Viewing the matter as an abstract problem. Hence the cocaine. such as coins or keys.knowledge in some fanciful way. I did not at all expect to be so accurate. I cannot live without brainwork. You cannot expect me to believe that you have read all this from [93] his old watch! It is unkind and.” I nodded to show that I followed his reasoning. existence is commonplace. I should have had more faith in your marvellous faculty. or he could not have redeemed the pledge.” “Then how in the name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely correct in every particular. Inference–that your brother was often at low water. and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth. I assure you. Finally.” said he kindly. For example. I ask you to look at the inner plate. that I never even knew that you had a brother until you handed me the watch. I had forgotten how personal and painful a thing it might be to you. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here.” “Ah. There are no less than four such numbers visible to my lens on the inside of this case.” “My dear doctor.” I had opened my mouth to reply to this tirade when. to scratch the numbers of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside of the case. with a crisp knock. Where is the mystery in all this?” “It is as clear as daylight. which contains the keyhole. and he leaves these traces of his unsteady hand. Secondary inference–that he had occasional bursts of prosperity. “It is very customary for pawnbrokers in England. no: I never guess. . What sober man’s key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a drunkard’s watch without them. Look at the thousands of scratches all round the hole–marks where the key has slipped. Doctor. I could only say what was the balance of probability. “pray accept my apologies. that is good luck. It is more handy than a label as there is no risk of the number being lost or transposed. to speak plainly. Neither is it a very far-fetched inference that a man who inherits one article of such value is pretty well provided for in other respects. Was ever such a dreary. when they take a watch. dismal. May I ask whether you have any professional inquiry on foot at present?” “None. in the same pocket.

addressing my companion. I should prefer that you remain. Hudson. 1998 Chapter 2 . sir. “A young lady for you. “Miss Mary Morstan. “Hum! I have no recollection of the name. bearing a card upon the brass salver. Mrs. Ask the young lady to step up. Don’t go.” he read.” she said.” David Soucek.our landlady entered. Doctor.

untrimmed and unbraided. relieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the side. In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents. Cecil Forrester. I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature.The Sign of Four Chapter 2 THE STATEMENT OF THE CASE MISS MORSTAN entered the room with a firm step and an outward composure of manner. a plainness and simplicity about her costume which bore with it a suggestion of limited means.” “She did not think so. small. “because you once enabled my employer. Mr. than the situation in which I find myself. more utterly inexplicable. The dress was a sombre grayish beige. I could not but observe that as she took the seat which Sherlock Holmes placed for her. and his eyes glistened. But at least you cannot say the same of mine. Her face had neither regularity of feature nor beauty of complexion. She was much impressed by your kindness and skill. There was. Mrs. however. and she wore a small turban of the same dull hue. and she showed every sign of intense inward agitation. “I have come to you. to unravel a little domestic complication. well gloved.” Holmes rubbed his hands. and her large blue eyes were singularly spiritual and sympathetic. however. and dressed in the most perfect taste. was a very simple one. I can hardly imagine anything more strange. hawklike features. as I remember it. She was a blonde young lady.” she said. her lip trembled. . Cecil Forrester. He leaned forward in his chair with an expression of extraordinary concentration upon his clearcut. but her expression was sweet and amiable. her hand quivered.” he repeated thoughtfully.” “Mrs. Holmes. dainty. “I believe that I was of some slight service to her. The case.

” she said. who was senior captain of his regiment. obtained twelve months’ leave and came home. In the year 1878 my father. I waited all day without news of him. excuse me.” I said. was full of kindness and love. who sent me home when I was quite a child. He telegraphed to me from London that he had arrived all safe and directed me to come down at once.“State your case.” said he in brisk business tones. To my surprise. and next morning we advertised in all the papers. the young lady held up her gloved hand to detain me. rising from my chair. however. I was placed. he might be of inestimable service to me. some comfort. on the [95] advice of the manager of the hotel. Our inquiries led to no result. My father was an officer in an Indian regiment. as I remember. His message.” she continued. “Briefly. in a comfortable boarding establishment at Edinburgh. giving the Langham Hotel as his address. That night. I felt that my position was an embarrassing one. “would be good enough to stop. but that he had gone out the night before and had not returned.” I relapsed into my chair. and from that day to this no word has ever been heard of my unfortunate father. My mother was dead. “If your friend. and there I remained until I was seventeen years of age. “the facts are these. I communicated with the police. I am sure. On reaching London I drove to the Langham and was informed that Captain Morstan was staying there. “You will. and I had no relative in England. He came home with his heart full of hope to find some peace. and instead– –” .

without any clue as to the sender. of course. Watson . “Be at the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre to-night at seven o’clock. all will be in vain. 1878–nearly ten years ago. S. 1882–an advertisement appeared in the Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan.” said Holmes. and a considerable number of curiosities from the Andaman Islands. please. You are a wronged woman and shall have justice. “The envelope. upon the fourth of May.She put her hand to her throat. London. He had been one of the officers in charge of the convict-guard there.” “Thank you. too. Your unknown friend. of his own regiment. Date.” She opened a flat box as she spoke and showed me six of the finest pearls that I had ever seen. July 7. No word of writing was enclosed. If you do.” “A singular case. W. “The date?” asked Holmes. some books. You can see for yourself that they are very handsome. That is why I have come to you. and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward. which you will perhaps read for yourself. and a choking sob cut short the sentence. but he did not even know that his brother officer was in England. containing a similar pearl. This morning I received this letter.” “His luggage?” “Remained at the hotel.” “Then we shall most certainly go–you and I and–yes. The same day there arrived through the post a small cardboard box addressed to me. this is a very pretty little mystery! What do you intend to do.” “Had he any friends in town?” “Only one that we know of–Major Sholto. Envelopes at sixpence a packet. opening his notebook. Well. “He disappeared upon the third of December.” remarked Holmes. By her advice I published my address in the advertisement column. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess. Post-mark. If you are distrustful bring two friends. There was no name or address appended. which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl. “I have not yet described to you the most singular part. “Has anything else occurred to you?” “Yes. The major had retired some little time before and lived at Upper Norwood. No address. Hum! Man’s thumb-mark on corner–probably postman. the Thirty-fourth Bombay Infantry. “Your statement is most interesting. We communicated with him. Do not bring police. About six years ago–to be exact. I had at that time just entered the family of Mrs. really. There was nothing in it to suggest a clue–some clothes. Best quality paper. Since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box.” said Sherlock Holmes. and no later than to-day. Particular man in his stationery. They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value. Miss Morstan?” “That is exactly what I want to ask you. why Dr.

It is only half-past three. Pray allow me to keep the papers. and with a bright. she replaced her pearl-box in her bosom and hurried away.is the [96] very man.” he said presently.” said our visitor.” said I fervently.” he cried. He had lit his pipe again and was leaning back with drooping eyelids. Is this handwriting the same as that upon the pearl-box addresses?” “I have them here. An exception disproves the rule. and see the twirl of the final s.” she answered.” “You really are an automaton–a calculating machine. however. now. “not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities. at six. then. He and I have worked together before. Let us see. See how the irrepressible Greek e will break out. then. A client is to me a mere unit. “if I can be of any service. I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money. “I shall be proud and happy. but is there any resemblance between this hand and that of your father?” “Nothing could be more unlike.” “In this case. “There is one other point.” she answered. Au revoir. “I did not observe. Miss Morstan. “It is of the first importance. I may look into the matter before then.” “You are both very kind. “What a very attractive woman!” I exclaimed. Standing at the window. Your correspondent says two friends. I watched her walking briskly down the street until the gray turban and white feather were but a speck in the sombre crowd. They are undoubtedly by the same person. kindly glance from one to the other of us. You have the correct intuition. “but there can be no question as to the authorship.” I cried. “There is something positively inhuman in you at times. “They are disguised hands. We shall look out for you. a factor in a problem.” said Holmes. except the letter.” “But would he come?” she asked with something appealing in her voice and expression. If I am here at six it will do.” He spread out the papers upon the table and gave little darting glances from one to the other. turning to my companion. “I have led a retired life and have no friends whom I could appeal to. however– –” “I never make exceptions. I suppose?” “You must not be later. Have you ever had occasion to study character in handwriting? What do you make . “Is she?” he said languidly. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. producing half a dozen pieces of paper. “You are certainly a model client.” He smiled gently.” “I expected to hear you say so.” “Au revoir. and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor. I should not like to suggest false hopes.

the strange mystery which overhung her life. the deep rich tones of her voice. “A man of business habits and some force of character. That d might be an a. I have some few references to [97] make. and that l an e. David Soucek. There is vacillation in his k’s and self-esteem in his capitals. If she were seventeen at the time of her father’s disappearance she must be seven-and-twenty now–a sweet age. I am going out now. “They hardly rise above the common herd. I shall be back in an hour. “Look at his long letters. What was I. however illegibly they may write. My mind ran upon our late visitor –her smiles. a factor–nothing more. Men of character always differentiate their long letters. that I should dare to think of such things? She was a unit. an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking account. It is Winwood Reade’s Martyrdom of Man. Let me recommend this book–one of the most remarkable ever penned. So I sat and mused until such dangerous thoughts came into my head that I hurried away to my desk and plunged furiously into the latest treatise upon pathology. but my thoughts were far from the daring speculations of the writer.” I sat in the window with the volume in my hand. 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.” Holmes shook his head.” I answered. If my future were black.of this fellow’s scribble?” “It is legible and regular. 1998 Chapter 3 .” he said. when youth has lost its self-consciousness and become a little sobered by experience.

late of the Thirty-fourth Bombay Infantry. It was clear that he thought that our night’s work might be a serious one. What justice can she have? It is too much to suppose that her father is still alive. The only person in London whom he could have visited is Major Sholto. I have just found. that Major Sholto. of Upper Norwood. I have discovered a suggestive fact. “There is no great mystery in this matter.” “I may be very obtuse. Are you all ready? Then we had better go down. What wrong can it refer to except this deprivation of her father? And why should the presents begin immediately after Sholto’s death 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. She must have been more than woman if she did not feel some uneasiness at the strange enterprise upon which we were . Major Sholto denies having heard that he was in London. There is no other injustice in her case that you know of. He was bright. Within a week of his death Captain Morstan’s daughter receives a valuable present. there are certainly difficulties. and her sensitive face was composed but pale. eager. The details are still to be added. taking the cup of tea which I had poured out for him.” “What! you have solved it already?” “Well. for it is a little past the hour.” I picked up my hat and my heaviest stick. that is all. and Miss Morstan is inside. too. should he write a letter now. rather than six years ago? Again.” “No? You surprise me. on consulting the back files of the Times. but I fail to see what this suggests. and in excellent spirits. Look at it in this way. Ah. the letter speaks of giving her justice. Miss Morstan was muffled in a dark cloak. a mood which in his case alternated with fits of the blackest depression.” he said. died upon the twenty-eighth of April. Holmes. 1882. “the facts appear to admit of only one explanation. here is a [98] four-wheeler. It is. Four years later Sholto dies. “but our expedition of to-night will solve them all. however. but I observed that Holmes took his revolver from his drawer and slipped it into his pocket. Captain Morstan disappears. very suggestive. that would be too much to say.” said Sherlock Holmes pensively.” “There are difficulties.The Sign of Four Chapter 3 IN QUEST OF A SOLUTION IT WAS half-past five before Holmes returned. which is repeated from year to year and now culminates in a letter which describes her as a wronged woman. then.

At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side- . in very rough and coarse characters. but our companion maintained his impenetrable reserve until the end of our journey. Mud-coloured clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. Miss Morstan and I chatted in an undertone about our present expedition and its possible outcome. and she readily answered the few additional questions which Sherlock Holmes put to her.embarking.” He leaned back in the cab. haggard and merry. Miss Morstan. and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacant eye that he was thinking intently. then. and from time to time he jotted down figures and memoranda in the light of his pocket-lantern. “It is paper of native Indian manufacture. It is here. He then very methodically examined it all over with his double lens. The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy. corridors. I could see from Miss Morstan’s manner that she was suffering from the same feeling. He and Papa were in command of the troops at the Andaman Islands. At one point is a small cross done in red ink. Holmes alone [99] could rise superior to petty influences. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. vaporous air and threw a murky.” she said. combined to make me nervous and depressed. I am not subject to impressions. “His letters were full of allusions to the major. Dost Akbar. Like all humankind. Beside it is written. There was. It was a September evening and not yet seven o’clock. and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city.’ No. “Major Sholto was a very particular friend of Papa’s.” “Preserve it carefully. so they were thrown a great deal together. a curious paper was found in Papa’s desk which no one could understand. but the day had been a dreary one. Mahomet Singh. something eerie and ghostlike in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light–sad faces and glad. to my mind. yet her self-control was perfect.” he remarked. for the one side is as clean as the other. for it may prove to be of use to us. “It has at some time been pinned to a board.” “It was in his pocketbook that we found it. It has been kept carefully in a pocketbook. I don’t suppose that it is of the slightest importance. Abdullah Khan. shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. ‘The sign of the four–Jonathan Small. 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.37 from left. I must reconsider my ideas.” Holmes unfolded the paper carefully and smoothed it out upon his knee. with the strange business upon which we were engaged. but the dull. Yet it is evidently a document of importance. they flitted from the gloom into the light and so back into the gloom once more. I confess that I do not see how this bears upon the matter. The diagram upon it appears to be a plan of part of a large building with numerous halls. but I thought you might care to see it. He held his open notebook upon his knee. I begin to suspect that this matter may turn out to be much deeper and more subtle than I at first supposed.’ in faded pencil-writing. heavy evening. By the way. and passages. and above it is ‘3.

Miss Morstan’s demeanour was as resolute and collected as ever. and these two gentlemen are my friends. At first I had some idea as to the direction in which we were driving. “Are you the parties who come with Miss Morstan?” he asked. but. the fog. on an unknown errand. “You will excuse me.” said she. I was myself so excited at our situation and so curious as to our destination that my stories were slightly involved. He gave a shrill whistle. what with our pace. I endeavoured to cheer and amuse her by reminiscences of my adventures in Afghanistan. and we plunged away at a furious pace through the foggy streets. We had hardly reached the third pillar. on which a street Arab led across a fourwheeler and opened the door. He bent a pair of wonderfully penetrating and questioning eyes upon us. brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us. before a small. and how I fired a double-barrelled tiger cub at it. while we took our places inside.” he said with a certain dogged manner.entrances. discharging their cargoes of shirt-fronted men and beshawled. miss. “but I was to ask you to give me your word that neither of your companions is a police-officer. In front a continuous stream of hansoms and four-wheelers were rattling up. “I am Miss Morstan. but soon. to tell the truth. We had hardly done so before the driver whipped up his horse. bediamonded women. .” “I give you my word on that. which was our rendezvous. We were driving to an unknown place. The man who had addressed us mounted to the box.” she answered. Yet our invitation was either a complete hoax–which was an inconceivable hypothesis–or else we had good reason to think that important issues might hang upon our journey. 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. The situation was a curious one. dark.

You can catch glimpses of the river. Robert Street.” We had indeed reached a questionable and forbidding neighbourhood. Our quest does not appear to take us to very fashionable regions. and even as he spoke.” said he. 1998 Chapter 4 .” We did indeed get a fleeting view of a stretch of the Thames. piping voice from some inner room. I lost my bearings and knew nothing save that we seemed to be going a very long way. “Rochester Row.” said my companion. each with a fronting of miniature garden. Long lines of dull brick houses were only relieved by the coarse glare and tawdry brilliancy of public-houses at the corner. staring brick buildings–the monster tentacles which the giant city was throwing out into the country. On our [100] knocking. “Priory Road. but our cab dashed on and was soon involved in a labyrinth of streets upon the other side. Now we come out on the Vauxhall Bridge Road.” said he. silent water. At last the cab drew up at the third house in a new terrace. Stockwell Place. “Show them straight in to me.” David Soucek. there came a high.and my own limited knowledge of London. Yes. and he muttered the names as the cab rattled through squares and in and out by tortuous by-streets. and that at which we stopped was as dark as its neighbours. Sherlock Holmes was never at fault. “The sahib awaits you. Lark Hall Lane. and a yellow sash. save for a single glimmer in the kitchen-window. however. clad in a yellow turban. however. “Wordsworth Road. “Now Vincent Square. I thought so. There was something strangely incongruous in this Oriental figure framed in the commonplace doorway of a third-rate suburban dwelling-house. Cold Harbour Lane. white loose-fitting clothes. “Show them in to me. We are making for the Surrey side apparently. with the lamps shining upon the broad. khitmutgar.” it said. Now we are on the bridge. Then came rows of twostoried villas. None of the other houses were inhabited. and then again interminable lines of new. the door was instantly thrown open by a Hindoo servant.

“Your servant.” he kept repeating in a thin. “Your servant. The richest and glossiest of curtains and tapestries draped the walls. for he shivered from head to foot. A lamp in the fashion of a silver dove was hung from an almost invisible golden wire in the centre of the room. still jerking and smiling. Thaddeus Sholto. but was unable to find anything amiss. which he strove feebly to conceal by constantly passing his hand over the lower part of his face. The carpet was of amber and black. A small place. and his features were in a perpetual jerk–now smiling. save.” I listened to his heart. “That is my name. much excited. gentlemen. Miss Morstan. as requested. that he was in an ecstasy of fear. and a bald. In spite of his obtrusive baldness he gave the impression of youth. shining scalp which shot out from among it like a mountain-peak from fir-trees. Sherlock Holmes. and a too visible line of yellow and irregular teeth. In that sorry house it looked as out of place as a diamond of the first water in a setting of brass. ill-lit and worse furnished. of course. looped back here and there to expose some richly mounted painting or Oriental vase. high voice. until he came to a door upon the right. eh?” cried he. indeed. which he threw open.” “A doctor. In point of fact. a bristle of red hair all round the fringe of it.” said the little man. Watson. now scowling. You are Miss Morstan.The Sign of Four Chapter 4 THE STORY OF THE BALD-HEADED MAN WE FOLLOWED the Indian down a sordid and common passage. miss. He writhed his hands together as he stood. Pray step into my little sanctum. so soft and so thick that the foot sank pleasantly into it. as into a bed of moss. but furnished to my own liking. Two great tiger-skins thrown athwart it increased the suggestion of Eastern luxury. but I should value your opinion upon the mitral. As it burned it filled the air with a subtle and aromatic odour. An oasis of art in the howling desert of South London. The aortic I may rely upon. “Have you your stethoscope? Might I ask you–would you have the kindness? I have grave doubts as to my mitral valve.” We were all astonished by the appearance of the apartment into which he invited us. A blaze of yellow light streamed out upon us. if you would be so very good. as did a huge hookah which stood upon a mat in the corner. “Mr. and this Dr. . but never for an instant in repose. he had just turned his thirtieth year. Nature had given him a pendulous lip. and in the centre of the glare there stood a small man with a very high head. And these gentlemen– –” “This is Mr.

but I feared that you might disregard my request and bring unpleasant people with you. I have a natural shrinking from all forms of rough materialism. We sat all three in a semicircle. I took the liberty.” I said. with some little atmosphere of elegance around me. I am delighted to hear that they are unwarranted. I am a little nervous. puffed uneasily in the centre. Miss Morstan. Had your father. “but I am here at your request to learn something which you desire to tell me. therefore. too. shining head. there cannot be the least question about the Bouguereau.” said Holmes. Shall I open a flask? No? Well. and he had orders. I am partial to the modern French school. and I have long had suspicions as to that valve. and her face grew white to the lips. to the balsamic odour of the Eastern tobacco.” He applied a taper to the great bowl. Miss Morstan sat down.” said she. and I will.” I could have struck the man across the face. I can do you justice. I am so glad to have your friends here not only as an escort to you but also as witnesses to what I am about to do and say. “and. Nothing would annoy Brother Bartholomew more than any publicity. and there is nothing more unaesthetic than a policeman. You will excuse these precautions. “whatever you may choose to say will go no further. Miss Morstan? Or of Tokay? I keep no other wines. But let us have no outsiders–no police or officials.“It appears to be normal.” “You will excuse my anxiety. I trust that you have no objection to tobaccosmoke. and I might even say refined. It is my weakness.” I nodded to show my agreement. “For my part. and the smoke bubbled merrily through the rose-water. Miss Morstan. Sholto. what is more. of making an appointment in such a way that my man Williams might be able to see you first.” said he.” He sat down upon a low settee and blinked at us inquiringly with his weak. with his high.” “You will excuse me. but I am a man of somewhat retiring. “That is well! That is well!” said he. “I can give you every information. The landscape is a genuine Corot. and I find my hookah an invaluable sedative. then. I have complete confidence in his discretion. It is very . “I am a great [101] sufferer. We can settle everything satisfactorily among ourselves without any interference. I seldom come in contact with the rough crowd. watery blue eyes. I may call myself a patron of the arts. refrained from throwing a strain upon his heart. The three of us can show a bold front to Brother Bartholomew. I live. “I might have given you my address. while the strange. jerky little fellow. “May I offer you a glass of Chianti. tastes. he might have been alive now. with our heads advanced and our chins upon our hands. “When I first determined to make this communication to you. to proceed no further in the matter. and though a connoisseur might perhaps throw a doubt upon that Salvator Rosa.” said Miss Morstan. “I knew in my heart that he was dead.” said he. whatever Brother Bartholomew may say. if he were dissatisfied. as you see. Mr. so hot was I at this callous and offhand reference to so delicate a matter.” he remarked airily. “You have no cause for uneasiness.

” “At the best it must take some time. No. and that he wished to make a last communication to us. I can only lay the facts before you as far as I know them myself. “We did know.” he answered. it would perhaps be as well to start at once. We shall all go and try if we can get the better of Brother Bartholomew. however. “When we entered his room he was propped up with pillows and . With these advantages he bought himself a house. “for we shall certainly have to go to Norwood and see Brother Bartholomew. some positive danger. but he now became rapidly worse. He had suffered for years from an enlarged spleen. but events have since led us to change our opinion. Never for an instant did we suspect that he had the whole secret hidden in his own breast. He was very fearful of going out alone. that some mystery. We read the details in the papers. He had prospered in India and brought back with him a considerable sum of money. My brother and I used to think this a mere whim of my father’s. and I should desire the interview to be as short as possible. I must tell you that there are several points in the story of which I am myself ignorant. You cannot imagine what a terrible fellow he is when he is angry. a large collection of valuable curiosities. In the first place. Major John Sholto. Our father would never tell us what it was he feared. On one occasion he actually fired his revolver at a wooden-legged man. overhung our father.” he cried. “Early in 1882 my father received a letter from India which was a great shock to him. We had to pay a large sum to hush the matter up. “My father was. He used to join in our speculations as to what could have happened. Williams. He is very angry with me for taking the course which has seemed right to me. He retired some eleven years ago and came to live at Pondicherry Lodge in Upper Norwood. who proved to be a harmless tradesman canvassing for orders. but he had a most marked aversion to men with wooden legs. I had quite high words with him last night. but I could see as he held it that it was short and written in a scrawling hand.” I ventured to remark. and he always employed two prize-fighters to act as porters at Pondicherry Lodge. He was once lightweight champion of England. who drove you to-night. and towards the end of April we were informed that he was beyond all hope. “I very well remember the sensation which was caused by the disappearance of Captain Morstan. “That would hardly do. and from that day he sickened to his death. and a staff of native servants. as you may have guessed. My twin-brother Bartholomew and I were the only children. that of all men he alone knew the fate of Arthur Morstan. “I don’t know what he would say if I brought you in that sudden way. and lived in great luxury. I must prepare you by showing you how we all stand to each other. once of the Indian Army.late. He laughed until his ears were quite red.” [102] “If we are to go to Norwood. He nearly fainted at the breakfast-table when he opened it. and knowing that he had been a friend of our father’s we discussed the case freely in his presence. was one of them. What was in the letter we could never discover.

The mere feeling of possession has been so dear to me that I could not bear to share it with another. After all. Morstan and I had a .’ he said. but he concealed it from every one. Then grasping our hands he made a remarkable statement to us in a voice which was broken as much by emotion as by pain. will give her a fair share of the Agra treasure. I alone knew it. I shall try and give it to you in his own very words. and on the night of Morstan’s arrival he came straight over here to claim his share. “‘I will tell you how Morstan died. Even that I could not bear to part with. “‘I have only one thing. so blind and foolish a thing is avarice. And yet I have made no use of it myself. He walked over from the station and was admitted by my faithful old Lal Chowdar. It is my treatment of poor Morstan’s orphan. ‘which weighs upon my mind at this supreme moment. through a remarkable chain of circumstances. ‘He had suffered for years from a weak heart.breathing heavily. The cursed greed which has been my besetting sin through life has withheld from her the treasure. who is now dead. When in India. But send her nothing–not even the chaplet–until I am gone. I brought it over to England. [103] although I had got it out with the design of sending it to her. he and I. half at least of which should have been hers. He besought us to lock the door and to come upon either side of the bed. my sons. came into possession of a considerable treasure. men have been as bad as this and have recovered. See that chaplet tipped with pearls beside the quinine-bottle. You.’ he continued.

All are asleep in the house. and we came to heated words. Put your ears down to my mouth. his eyes stared wildly. his jaw dropped. looking up. but the man was gone. “no one need know that you have killed him. with wild cruel eyes and an expression of concentrated malevolence.” said I. He had told me that no soul upon earth knew where he had gone. his face turned a dusky hue. cutting his head against the corner of the treasure-chest. Let us hide him away. When I stooped over him I found. Lal Chowdar. wondering what I should do. There seemed to be no necessity why any soul ever should know. The treasure is hidden in– –’ “At this instant a horrible change came over his expression. his cupboards and boxes had been rifled. “Do not fear. When we returned to my father his head had dropped and his pulse had ceased to beat. I saw my servant. We could see the whitening of the nose where it was pressed against the glass. to call for assistance. My first impulse was. He stole in and bolted the door behind him. I wish you. “We searched the garden that night but found no sign of the intruder save that just under the window a single footmark was visible in the flower-bed. sahib. “‘For a long time I sat half distracted.” That was enough to decide me.difference of opinion as to the division of the treasure. You will see from what I say that I can hardly be blamed in the matter. however. My brother and I rushed towards the window. to my horror. to make restitution. and he yelled in a voice which I can never forget. Lal Chowdar shook his head and smiled. and who is the wiser?” “I did not kill him. fierce face. 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. when. His death at the moment of a quarrel. We soon. we might have thought that our imaginations had conjured up that wild. It was a bearded. therefore. The window of my father’s room was found open in the morning. sahib. of course. hairy face. that he was dead. But my lips are sealed. but I could not but recognize that there was every chance that I would be accused of his murder.” said he. Again. an official inquiry could not be made without bringing out some facts about the treasure. in the doorway. would be black against me. when he suddenly pressed his hand to his side. If my own servant could not believe my innocence. and I heard the blow. ‘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. A face was looking in at us out of the darkness. My fault lies in the fact that we concealed not only the body but also the treasure and that I have clung to Morstan’s share as well as to my own. and he fell backward. Morstan had sprung out of his chair in a paroxysm of anger. and upon his chest was fixed a torn piece of paper with the words ‘The sign of the four’ . Let us put him away together. “I heard it all. “‘I was still pondering over the matter. and the gash in his head. which I was particularly anxious to keep secret.” he said. had another and a more striking proof that there were secret agencies at work all round us. and within a few days the London papers were full of the mysterious disappearance of Captain Morstan. “I heard you quarrel. But for that [104] one trace.

” . between friends. visitors. Our difference of opinion on this subject went so far that I thought it best to set up rooms for myself. Over this chaplet my brother Bartholomew and I had some little discussion. however. I instantly communicated with Miss Morstan.” The little man waved his hand deprecatingly. We had all sat absorbed. however. “My brother and I. My brother and I naturally associated this peculiar incident with the fear which haunted my father during his life. Besides. He thought.” he said.” said our companion earnestly. We could judge the splendour of the missing riches by the chaplet which he had taken out. if not welcome.” said he. I desired no more. For weeks and for months we dug and delved in every part of the garden without discovering its whereabouts. for. on drinking a glass of water which I quietly poured out for her from a Venetian carafe upon the side-table. Yesterday. and he was averse to part with them.” The little man stopped to relight his hookah and puffed thoughtfully for a few moments. and for a moment I feared that she was about to faint. too. though everything had been turned out. She rallied.’ The French have a very neat way of putting these things. as you may imagine. none of my father’s property had been actually stolen. The pearls were evidently of great value. “it was extremely good of you. taking the old khitmutgar and Williams with me. we never knew.” “It was a kindly thought. so I left Pondicherry Lodge. Mr. We had plenty of money ourselves. What the phrase meant or who our secret visitor may have been. my brother was himself a little inclined to my father’s fault. “were. and it only remains for us to drive out to Norwood and demand our share. As I glanced at him I could not but think how on that very day he had complained bitterly of the commonplaceness of life. it would have been such bad taste to have treated a young lady in so scurvy a fashion. but it is still a complete mystery to us. As far as we can judge. ‘Le mauvais goût mène au crime. It was maddening to think that the hidingplace was on his very lips at the moment that he died. “We were your trustees. though Brother Bartholomew could not altogether see it in that light. I learned that an event of extreme importance has occurred.scrawled across it. Thaddeus Sholto looked from one to the other of us with an obvious pride at the effect which his story had produced and then continued between the puffs of his overgrown pipe. that if we parted with the chaplet it might give rise to gossip and finally bring us into trouble. The treasure has been discovered. Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair with an abstracted expression and the lids drawn low over his glittering eyes. I explained my views last night to Brother Bartholomew. “that was the view which I took of it. 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 so that at least she might never feel destitute. much excited as to the treasure which my father had spoken of. so we shall be expected. Here at least was a problem which would tax his sagacity to the utmost. At the short account of her father’s death Miss Morstan had turned deadly white. listening to his extraordinary narrative.

and our programme was evidently prearranged. he could not bring the total to more than seventy feet. some of which he bore about in a leather case in his pocket. sure enough. But. Miss Morstan. he came upon another little garret above it. I stammered out some few halting words of congratulation and then sat downcast. In the centre stood the treasure-chest resting upon two rafters. and there it lies.” said he. so he worked out all the cubic space of the house and made measurements everywhere so that not one inch should be unaccounted for. This he buttoned tightly up in spite of the extreme closeness of the night and finished his attire by putting on a rabbit-skin cap with hanging lappets which covered the ears. but on adding together the heights of all the separate rooms and making every allowance for the space between. therefore. as Miss Morstan remarked just now. and there. yet I am ashamed to say that selfishness took me by the soul and that my heart turned as heavy as lead within me. “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. There were four feet unaccounted for. Among other things. deaf to the babble of our new acquaintance. “My health is somewhat fragile. He lowered it through the hole. could we secure her rights. which he ascertained by borings. Thaddeus Sholto ceased and sat twitching on his luxurious settee. with my head drooped. and we had best put the matter through without delay.[105] Mr. He knocked a hole.” said he. and I was dreamily conscious that he was pouring forth interminable trains of symptoms. he found that the height of the building was seventy-four feet. These could only be at the top of the building. “You have done well.” 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. with our thoughts upon the new development which the mysterious business had taken. from first to last. Holmes was the first to spring to his feet. He computes the value of the jewels at not less than half a million sterling. I trust that he may not remember any of the answers which I gave him that night. “Bartholomew is a clever fellow. “I am compelled to be a valetudinarian. would change from a needy governess to the richest heiress in England. for the driver started off at once at a rapid pace. it is late. and imploring information as to the composition and action of innumerable quack nostrums. Thaddeus Sholto talked incessantly in a voice which rose high above the rattle of the wheels. which had been sealed up and was known to no one. “How do you think he found out where the treasure was? He had come to the conclusion that it was somewhere indoors. He was clearly a confirmed hypochondriac. Surely it was the place of a loyal friend to rejoice at such news. sir.” he remarked as he led the way down the passage. We all remained silent.” Our cab was awaiting us outside.” At the mention of this gigantic sum we all stared at one another openeyed. so that no part of him was visible save his mobile and peaky face. Holmes declares that he overheard me caution him against the great danger of taking more than two drops of . in the lath and plaster ceiling of the highest room.

1998 Chapter 5 . while I recommended strychnine in large doses as a sedative. is Pondicherry Lodge.castor-oil. Thaddeus Sholto as he handed her out. However that may be. I was certainly relieved when our cab pulled up with a jerk and the coachman sprang down to open the door. David Soucek. “This.” said Mr. Miss Morstan.

It was clear enough to see for some distance. with half a moon peeping occasionally through the rifts. deep-chested man stood in the opening. distrustful eyes. “Who is there?” cried a gruff voice from within. You surely know my knock by this time. McMurdo. A single narrow ironclamped door formed the only means of entrance. Pondicherry Lodge stood in its own grounds and was girt round with a very high stone wall topped with broken glass. A warm wind blew from the westward.The Sign of Four Chapter 5 THE TRAGEDY OF PONDICHERRY LODGE IT WAS nearly eleven o’clock when we reached this final stage of our night’s adventures. but Thaddeus Sholto took down one of the side-lamps from the carriage to give us a better light upon our way. and heavy clouds moved slowly across the sky. The door swung heavily back. with the yellow light of the lantern shining upon his protruded face and twinkling. . and the night was fairly fine. On this our guide knocked with a peculiar postman-like rat-tat. We had left the damp fog of the great city behind us. “It is I. and a short.” There was a grumbling sound and a clanking and jarring of keys.

you have! You might have aimed high. Mr. You know very well that I must stick to regulations. I can let you in. McMurdo. “If I guarantee them.” . I’d ha’ known you without a question.” said the porter inexorably.“That you. I don’t know none o’ your friends. and yet no friend o’ the master’s. and I have no orders.” “Very sorry. “This is too bad of you. yes you do. There is the young lady. “Folk may be friends o’ yours. Thaddeus. but your friends they must just stop where they are. Ah. Thaddeus. “I don’t think you can have forgotten me. too.” This was an unexpected obstacle. Thaddeus? But who are the others? I had no orders about them from the master. McMurdo!” he said. Mr. “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.” “He hain’t been out o’ his rooms to-day. He pays me well to do my duty. Sherlock Holmes!” roared the prize-fighter. Don’t you remember that amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison’s rooms on the night of your benefit four years back?” “Not Mr. you’re one that has wasted your gifts.” “No. McMurdo? You surprise me! I told my brother last night that I should bring some friends.” cried Sherlock Holmes genially. if you had joined the fancy. that is enough for you. Mr. and my duty I’ll do.” “Oh. She cannot wait on the public road at this hour. Thaddeus Sholto looked about him in a perplexed and helpless manner.

Thaddeus. The vast size of the building. “Our friend won’t keep us out in the cold now. struck a chill to the heart. straining our ears. and she has had no word of our coming. Watson.” said Sholto. square and prosaic. for if we all go in together. she may be alarmed. sir. Wait here.” he said. I have still one of the scientific professions open to me. I do not know what to make of it. I have marvelled at it since. Our guide had left us the lantern. for here were we two. But. Mr. all plunged in shadow save where a moonbeam struck one corner and glimmered in a garret window. That is where old Mrs. Holmes swung it slowly round and peered keenly at the house and at the great rubbish-heaps which cumbered the grounds. “Oh. hush! what is that?” He held up the lantern. with its gloom and its deathly silence. broken whimpering of a frightened woman. between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed. and we all stood.” “None. Even Thaddeus Sholto seemed ill at ease.” He hurried for the door and knocked in his peculiar way. [107] Mr. “I cannot understand it. I distinctly told Bartholomew that we should be here. “It is Mrs. We could see a tall old woman admit him and sway with pleasure at the very sight of him. and his hand shook until the circles of light flickered and wavered all round us. But perhaps you would not mind waiting here for a minute or two. in you come–you and your friends. That is Bartholomew’s window up there where the moonshine strikes. but orders are very strict.” “Ah. “She is the only woman in the house. and her hand was in mine.“You see. It is quite bright.” “In you come. . Miss Morstan seized my wrist. and yet there is no light in his window. “Very sorry. She can tell us all about it. laughing. who had never seen each other before that day. I am sure. sir. if all else fails me. A wondrous subtle thing is love. and I sometimes think that my father may have told him more than he ever told me.” “Does he always guard the premises in this way?” asked Holmes.” said Holmes.” he answered. I am so glad you have come! I am so glad you have come. Mr. with thumping hearts. but there is no light from within. sir!” We heard her reiterated rejoicings until the door was closed and her voice died away into a muffled monotone. Bernstone. “There must be some mistake. and the lantern quivered and rattled in his hand. From the great black house there sounded through the silent night the saddest and most pitiful of sounds–the shrill. He was the favourite son you know.” Inside. he has followed my father’s custom. Had to be certain of your friends before I let them in.” said Holmes. Thaddeus. “But I see the glint of a light in that little window beside the door. that is the housekeeper’s room. Thaddeus. a gravel path wound through desolate grounds to a huge clump of a house. I think. I shall be back in a moment. Miss Morstan and I stood together. and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. “Yes. Bernstone sits. but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so.

there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. but I never saw him with such a face on him as that. with his hands thrown forward and terror in his eyes. which stood upon the left-hand side of the passage. You must go up. The third flight of stairs ended in a straight passage of some length. Holmes advanced along it in the same slow and methodical . I have seen Mr. indeed. work-worn hand and murmured some few words of kindly. and shooting keen glances to right and left. “There is something amiss with Bartholomew!” he cried. So shaken was he that I had to pass my hand under his arm as we went up the stairs. He walked slowly from step to step. holding the lamp low. “These are the traces of the treasure-seekers. and Thaddeus Sholto came running out. so I went up and peeped through the keyhole. Oh. appealing expression of a terrified child. and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us. do!” pleaded Thaddeus Sholto. Bartholomew Sholto in joy and in sorrow for ten long years. Thaddeus–you must go up and look for yourself. for he often likes to be alone.” said Holmes in his crisp. Mr. looking round. 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 cocoanut-matting which served as a stair-carpet. as she has often told me. No wonder that the grounds look like a gravel-pit. for his knees were trembling under him. half blubbering with fear.” Sherlock Holmes took the lamp and led the way.” He was. “I really do not feel equal to giving directions. “What a strange place!” she said. I have seen something of the sort on the side of a hill near Ballarat. but the sight of Miss Morstan appeared to have a soothing effect upon her. So we stood hand in hand like two children.” [108] “And from the same cause. “It looks as though all the moles in England had been let loose in it. and his twitching.” We all followed him into the housekeeper’s room.and. “Master has locked himself in and will not answer me. for Thaddeus Sholto’s teeth were chattering in his head. “I am frightened! My nerves cannot stand it. where the prospectors had been at work. Miss Morstan had remained behind with the frightened housekeeper.” said Holmes. “It does me good to see you. feeble face peeping out from the great astrakhan collar had the helpless. Twice as we ascended. but an hour ago I feared that something was amiss. but I have been sorely tried this day!” Our companion patted her thin. You must remember that they were six years looking for it. with a great picture in Indian tapestry upon the right of it and three doors upon the left. “Yes. firm way. The old woman was pacing up and down with a scared look and restless. “Come into the house. “All day I have waited to hear from him. calm face!” she cried with a hysterical sob. womanly comfort which brought the colour back into the other’s bloodless cheeks.” At that moment the door of the house burst open. “God bless your sweet. picking fingers.” she explained.

“What do you make of it?” [109] I stooped to the hole and recoiled in horror. and springing against it. Together we flung ourselves upon it once more.” said he. the same circular bristle of red hair. and this time it gave way with a sudden snap.way. the same bloodless countenance. and by a broad and powerful bolt. At the foot of the steps a long coil of rope was thrown carelessly together. There was the same high. The third door was that which we were seeking. shining head. tarlike odour. Moonlight was streaming into the room. in a horrible smile. In the corners stood carboys of acid in wicker baskets. however. with our long black shadows streaming backward down the corridor. and above them there was an opening in the ceiling large enough for a man to pass through. The features were set.” he answered. while we kept close at his heels. and we found ourselves within Bartholomew Sholto’s chamber.“This is terrible!” I said to Holmes. Holmes knocked without receiving any answer. as we could see when we set our lamp up against it. and then tried to turn the handle and force it open. for a stream of darkcoloured liquid had trickled out from it. however. Looking straight at me and suspended. and the table was littered over with Bunsen burners. One of these appeared to leak or to have been broken. The key being turned. however. 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. . he put all his weight upon the lock. “What is to be done?” “The door must come down. It was locked on the inside. there hung a face–the very face of our companion Thaddeus. and the air was heavy with a peculiarly pungent. the hole was not entirely closed. A set of steps stood at one side of the room in the midst of a litter of lath and plaster. more moved than I had ever before seen him. a fixed and unnatural grin. for all beneath was in shadow. It appeared to have been fitted up as a chemical laboratory. which in that still and moonlit room was more jarring to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. as it were. Sherlock Holmes bent down to it and instantly rose again with a sharp intaking of the breath. Watson. test-tubes. “There is something devilish in this. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned to us that his brother and he were twins. in the air. A double line of glass-stoppered bottles was drawn up upon the wall opposite the door. It creaked and groaned but did not yield. and retorts. and it was bright with a vague and shifty radiance.

” “In God’s name. It came away from the skin so readily that hardly any mark was left behind. “This is all an insoluble mystery to me. He was stiff and cold and had clearly been dead many hours. Look here!” He pointed to what looked like a long dark thorn stuck in the skin just above the ear.” “On the contrary. By his hand upon the table there lay a peculiar instrument–a brown. But be careful.” he answered. Beside it was a torn sheet of note-paper with some words scrawled upon it. It seemed to me that not only his features but all his limbs were twisted and turned in the most fantastic fashion. with a stone head like a hammer.” [110] We had almost forgotten our companion’s presence since we .” said I. rudely lashed on with coarse twine.By the table in a wooden armchair the master of the house was seated all in a heap.” he said with a significant raising of the eyebrows. One tiny speck of blood showed where the puncture had been. stooping over the dead man. “Ah! I expected it. “You see. “It grows darker instead of clearer. I only require a few missing links to have an entirely connected case. “It looks like a thorn.” said he. closegrained stick. inscrutable smile upon his face. “It means murder. with his head sunk upon his left shoulder and that ghastly. You may pick it out.” said I. In the light of the lantern I read with a thrill of horror. “it clears every instant. for it is poisoned. “It is a thorn. “The sign of the four.” I took it up between my finger and thumb. Holmes glanced at it and then handed it to me. what does it all mean?” I asked.

dear! I know that I shall go mad!” He jerked his arms and stamped his feet in a kind of convulsive frenzy. “take my advice and drive down to the station to report the matter to the police. Suddenly. Oh. We shall wait here until your return. I helped him to do it! I was the last person who saw him! I left him here last night.” The little man obeyed in a half-stupefied fashion.” said Holmes kindly. dear! oh. “You have no reason for fear. “The treasure is gone!” he said.” “What time was that?” “It was ten o’clock. putting his hand upon his shoulder. and we heard him stumbling down the stairs in the dark. He was still standing in the doorway. “They have robbed him of the treasure! There is the hole through which we lowered it. the very picture of terror. And now he is dead. 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. David Soucek. wringing his hands and moaning to himself. I am sure I shall. querulous cry. he broke out into a sharp. Sholto. But you don’t think so. Offer to assist them in every way. Mr. and the police will be called in.entered the chamber. yes. 1998 Chapter 6 . and I heard him lock the door as I came downstairs. however. and I shall be suspected of having had a hand in it.

of course. that your footprints may not complicate matters. wooden leg and all. rubbing his hands. I could see no foothold. See here.” [111] “It is the wooden-legged man. “Just sit in the corner there. and. No hinges at the side. The moon still shone brightly on that angle of the house. look where I would. and get away in the . as I have told you. “we have half an hour to ourselves. We were a good sixty feet from the ground.” said he with something of the air of a clinical professor expounding to his class. Then. and here again by the table. Let us make good use of it. you might swarm up. if you were an active man. securing one end of it to this great hook in the wall. almost complete. I think. It rained a little last night. snib it on the inside. shut the window. Here is the print of a foot in mould upon the sill. “Surely. You see here on the sill is the boot-mark. and here again upon the floor. Let us open it. there may be something deeper underlying it. But there has been someone else–a very able and efficient ally. nor as much as a crevice in the brickwork. “It is something much more valuable to us. My case is.” I answered. untie it from the hook. Doctor?” I looked out of the open window. but we must not err on the side of overconfidence. in the same fashion. Roof quite out of reach.The Sign of Four Chapter 6 SHERLOCK HOLMES GIVES A DEMONSTRATION “NOW. and beside it is the mark of the timber-toe. No water-pipe near.” I looked at the round. Watson. Now to work! In the first place. how did these folk come and how did they go? The door has not been opened since last night. “That is not a foot-mark. a heavy boot with a broad metal heel. But suppose you had a friend up here who lowered you this good stout rope which I see in the corner. And here is a circular muddy mark.” said I. Simple as the case seems now. Watson! This is really a very pretty demonstration. “Window is snibbed on the inner side. and your ally would draw up the rope. well-defined muddy discs. You would depart. muttering his observations aloud the while but addressing them to himself rather than to me. Could you scale that wall. How of the window?” He carried the lamp across to it.” “Quite so.” said Holmes. “It is absolutely impossible. “Without aid it is so. Yet a man has mounted by the window. Frame-work is solid. It is the impression of a wooden stump.” “Simple!” I ejaculated.

” “How came he. Then. This. sloping at a gentle angle. he swung himself up into the garret.” he continued. must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door.” “How. then?” I reiterated. and.” He mounted the steps. My lens discloses more than one blood-mark. or the chimney. and the accumulated dust of years lay thick upon the floor. putting his hand against the [112] sloping wall.way that he originally came. the ally!” repeated Holmes pensively. How about this mysterious ally? How came he into the room?” “Yes. When.” he answered. seizing a rafter with either hand. though a fair climber. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room. as there is no concealment possible. from which I gather that he slipped down with such velocity that he took the skin off his hands. Was it through the chimney?” “The grate is much too small. from Senegambia. then. especially towards the end of the rope. “Of course he did. then?” I persisted. and here is the roof itself. you see. then. His hands were far from horny. The roof ran up to an apex and was evidently the inner shell of the true roof of the house. whatever remains. we shall now extend our researches to the room above–the secret room in which the treasure was found. however improbable. The floor was formed by the rafters. If you will have the kindness to hold the lamp for me. As a minor point. “The door is locked. the window. “that our wooden-legged friend. Let us see if we can find some other traces of his individuality?” . he reached down for the lamp and held it while I followed him. “This is a trapdoor which leads out on to the roof. I can press it back. it may be noted.” “This is all very well.” said Sherlock Holmes. I fancy that this ally breaks fresh ground in the annals of crime in this country–though parallel cases suggest themselves from India and. “but the thing becomes more unintelligible than ever. “I had already considered that possibility. shaking his head. the window is inaccessible. “You will not apply my precept. did he come?” “He came through the hole in the roof!” I cried. if my memory serves me. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible.” said I. He lifts the case from the regions of the commonplace. so that in walking one had to step from beam to beam. “Here you are. with thin lath and plaster between. was not a professional sailor.” he said. “There are features of interest about this ally. The chamber in which we found ourselves was about ten feet one way and six the other. There was no furniture of any sort. is the way by which Number One entered. He must have done so. lying on his face. fingering the rope.

as I followed his gaze. The floor was covered thickly with the prints of a naked foot–clear. and as he did so I saw for the second time that night a startled.He held down the lamp to the floor. my skin was cold under my clothes. perfectly formed. For myself. but scarce half the size of those of an ordinary man. welldefined. surprised look come over his face. .

that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law instead of exerting them in its defence. examining.” I answered. As he hunted about.” “I cannot conceive anything which will cover the facts. in an offhand way. “We ought to have very little trouble now. “I was staggered for the moment. and finally he broke out into a loud crow of delight. he kept muttering to himself.” I said in a whisper. “We are certainly in luck. silent. as to those footmarks?” I asked eagerly when we had regained the lower room once more. “but the thing is quite natural. measuring. and it will be instructive to compare results. with his long thin nose only a few inches from the planks and his beady eyes gleaming and deepset like those of a bird.” said he. “a child has done this horrid thing. try a little analysis yourself. “I think that there is nothing else of importance here.” he said. comparing. but I will look. Apply them.” He had recovered his self-possession in an instant. “My dear Watson. “It will be clear enough to you soon. So swift. My memory failed me. “You know my methods. You can see the outline of the edge of his small foot here at the side of . like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent.” he said. Let us go down. Number One has had the misfortune to tread in the creosote. or I should have been able to foretell it. There is nothing more to be learned here.” said he with a touch of impatience.“Holmes.” “What is your theory. and furtive were his movements.” He whipped out his lens and a tape measure and hurried about the room on his knees. then.

and the hall door shut with a loud crash. “No. The blunt end had been trimmed and rounded off with a knife. They are in a state of extreme contraction.” I answered. and the stuff has leaked out. the theorist. Coupled with this distortion of the face. “Here’s a business!” he cried in a muffled. Mr. What do you feel?” “The muscles are as hard as a board. what conclusion would it suggest to your mind?” [113] “Death from some powerful vegetable alkaloid. and black.this evil-smelling mess. the steps which had been coming nearer sounded loudly on the passage.” I answered.” “With all these data you should be able to draw some just inference. Sherlock Holmes. husky voice. “Is that an English thorn?” he asked. Athelney Jones. “Quite so. it certainly is not. “Why. that’s all. this Hippocratic smile. He was closely followed by an inspector in uniform and by the still palpitating Thaddeus Sholto. and plethoric. “I know a dog that would follow that scent to the world’s end. The answer should give us the– – But hallo! here are the accredited representatives of the law. burly. Remember you! I’ll never forget how you lectured us all on causes and inferences and effects in the Bishopgate jewel case. “It’s Mr. “just put your hand here on this poor fellow’s arm. It was long. and here on his leg. 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. If a pack can track a trailed herring across a shire. and a very stout.’ as the old writers called it. far exceeding the usual rigor mortis. how far can a specially trained hound follow so pungent a smell as this? It sounds like a sum in the rule of three.” said Holmes quietly. “Here’s a pretty business! But who are all these? Why. The carboy has been cracked.” I took it up gingerly and held it in the light of the lantern. Now examine this thorn. or ‘risus sardonicus. As you saw. But here are the regulars. “Before they come. we have got him. He was red-faced.” “That was the idea which occurred to me the instant I saw the drawn muscles of the face. “Why.” said he. It’s true . so the auxiliary forces may beat a retreat. On getting into the room I at once looked for the means by which the poison had entered the system. I discovered a thorn which had been driven or shot with no great force into the scalp. the house seems to be as full as a rabbit-warren!” “I think you must recollect me. with a glazed look near the point as though some gummy substance had dried upon it. portly man in a gray suit strode heavily into the room. of course I do!” he wheezed. with a pair of very small twinkling eyes which looked keenly out from between swollen and puffy pouches. sharp.” Heavy steps and the clamour of loud voices were audible from below.” said Holmes. “some strychnine-like substance which would produce tetanus. you see.” As he spoke.” “What then?” I asked.

My view of the case is confirmed. These flashes come upon me at times. How was the window?” “Fastened. with his brother last night. considering his bulk.” “Oh.” said the fat detective pompously. well. Jewels worth half a million missing. this is hardly a case for me to theorize over.” “You are not quite in possession of the facts yet. Holmes? Sholto was. Mr.you set us on the right track. The net begins to close upon him. here is a hole in the roof. “facts are better than theories.” With great activity. shrugging his shoulders. So much also we know. was in the man’s scalp where you still see the mark. Dear me! Door locked. and it is partly open. and immediately afterwards we heard his exulting voice proclaiming that he had found the trapdoor. Il n’y a pas des sots si incommodes que ceux qui ont de l’esprit!” “You see!” said Athelney Jones. come. “he has occasional glimmerings of reason. What d’you think the man died of?” “Oh.” “Hum! There’s a flaw there.” said Holmes dryly. But what is all this? Bad business! Bad business! Stern facts here–no room for theories. There is a trapdoor communicating with the roof. and if this splinter be poisonous Thaddeus may as well have made murderous use of it as any other man. we can’t deny that you hit the nail on the head sometimes. You see that I am weaving my web round Thaddeus. he sprang up the steps and squeezed through into the garret. come! Never be ashamed to own up. was on the table. “No. inscribed as you see it. The only question is.– Just step outside. I understand. but there are steps on the sill. Man might have died in a fit. Sergeant. “This splinter of wood. on which Sholto walked off with the treasure? How’s that?” “On which the dead man very considerately got up and locked the door on the inside. That’s common sense. this card.” remarked Holmes. Thaddeus brought this up. No one saw the brother from the time Thaddeus left him. now. His appearance is –well.” . “He can find something. This Thaddeus Sholto was with his brother. how did he depart? Ah. if it was fastened the steps could have nothing to do with the matter. which I have every reason to believe to be poisoned. “House is full of Indian curiosities. but then the jewels are missing. His bed had not been slept in. Thaddeus is evidently in a most disturbed state of mind. The brother died in a fit. not attractive. How does all that fit into your theory?” “Confirms it in every respect. [114] The brother is dead and the jewels are gone. and beside it lay this rather curious stoneheaded instrument. Let us apply common sense to the matter. and you.– What do you think of this. after all. on his own confession. as like as not. Still.” said Holmes. Ha! I have a theory. but you’ll own now that it was more by good luck than good guidance. there was a quarrel: so much we know. Sholto. Your friend can remain. How lucky that I happened to be out at Norwood over another case! I was at the station when the message arrived. The card is some hocus-pocus–a blind. no.” “Well. of course.” “It was a piece of very simple reasoning. reappearing down the steps again.

square-toed sole. [115] “Is a rather curious person. Theorist. by the precision of the other’s manner. His name. Jones.” “Oh. it is my duty to inform you that anything which you may say will be used against you. “Don’t trouble yourself about it. active. whoever noticed it. “has caused us rather to lose . much sunburned.–Mr. These few indications may be of some assistance to you. Sholto.” “Don’t promise too much. then?” He seemed a little crestfallen at the discovery.” from the passage.” He led me out to the head of the stair. turning upon his heel. is Jonathan Small. “Ask Mr. I have every reason to believe. with his right leg off. Inspector!” “Yes. Mr. with an iron band round the heel. Sholto to step this way.” he said.” “Not only will I clear him. now! Didn’t I tell you!” cried the poor little man. I arrest you in the Queen’s name as being concerned in the death of your brother. throwing out his hands and looking from one to the other of us.” said Sherlock Holmes. and has been a convict. but impressed none the less. “This unexpected occurrence. sir.” “There. it shows how our gentleman got away. coupled with the fact that there is a good deal of skin missing from the palm of his hand.“It was I who opened it. Mr. and wearing a wooden stump which is worn away upon the inner side. don’t promise too much!” snapped the detective. Watson. Mr. small. The other man– –” “Ah! the other man?” asked Athelney Jones in a sneering voice.” said Holmes. He is a middle-aged man. 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. Sholto. He is a poorly educated man. His left boot has a coarse. “You may find it a harder matter than you think. as I could easily see. “I hope before very long to be able to introduce you to the pair of them. A word with you. indeed! You did notice it. “Well. “I think that I can engage to clear you of the charge.

Knock old Sherman up and tell him. 3 Pinchin Lane. You must escort her home.” said Holmes.” said I. that I want Toby at once. who. I have seen something of the rough side of life. a queer mongrel with a most amazing power of scent. I wish you to go on to No. I would rather have Toby’s help than that of the whole detective force of London. I don’t think I could rest until I know more of this fantastic business.sight of the original purpose of our journey. I suppose. “We shall work the case out independently and leave this fellow Jones to exult over any mare’s-nest which he may choose to construct. I ought to be back before three if I can get a fresh horse. with my compliments. Sherman is the name.” “I shall bring him then.” “A dog. You will see a weasel holding a young rabbit in the window. daß die Menschen verhöhnen was sie nicht verstehen.” “Yes. “It is one now. sleeps in the next garret. “shall see what I can learn from Mrs. She lives with Mrs. Then I shall study the great Jones’s methods and listen to his not too delicate sarcasms. down near the water’s edge at Lambeth. Cecil Forrester in Lower Camberwell.” he answered. Mr.” David Soucek.” “Your presence will be of great service to me.” “I have just been thinking so. Bernstone and from the Indian servant.“ ‘Wir sind gewohnt.” I answered. however. Or perhaps you are too tired?” “By no means. The third house on the right-hand side is a bird-stuffer’s.” “And I. “it is not right that Miss Morstan should remain in this stricken house. 1998 Chapter 7 . now that I have got so far. I should like. When you have dropped Miss Morstan. so it is not very far.’ “Goethe is always pithy. to see the matter through with you. I will wait for you here if you will drive out again. You will bring Toby back in the cab with you. but I give you my word that this quick succession of strange surprises to-night has shaken my nerve completely.” “No. Thaddeus tells me.

graceful woman. the importance of my errand and promised faithfully to call and report any progress which we might make with the case. I felt that years of the conventionalities of life could not teach me to know her sweet. I was introduced. the barometer. She was weak and helpless. clinging figures.The Sign of Four Chapter 7 THE EPISODE OF THE BARREL THE police had brought a cab with them. she first turned faint and then burst into a passion of weeping–so sorely had she been tried by the adventures of the night. She little guessed the struggle within my breast. Worse still. or the effort of self-restraint which held me back. and the bright stair-rods. 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 fortuneseeker? I could not bear to risk that such a thought should cross her mind. Yet there were two thoughts which sealed the words of affection upon my lips. And the more I thought of what had happened. Was it fair. It was to take her at a disadvantage to obtrude love upon her at such a time. a middle-aged. even as my hand had in the garden. brave nature as had this one day of strange experiences. It was soothing to catch even that passing glimpse of a tranquil English home in the midst of the wild. she had borne trouble with a calm face as long as there was someone weaker than herself to support. shaken in mind and nerve. dark business which had absorbed us. In the cab. After the angelic fashion of women. the wilder and darker it grew. She opened the door herself. but Mrs. Cecil Forrester’s. It was nearly two o’clock when we reached Mrs. I explained. was it honourable. and Mrs. My sympathies and my love went out to her. She was clearly no mere paid dependant but an honoured friend. however. however. and in this I escorted Miss Morstan back to her home. 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. I reviewed the whole extraordinary sequence of events as I rattled . 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. Forrester earnestly begged me to step in and tell her our adventures. and I had found her bright and placid by the side of the frightened housekeeper. The servants had retired hours ago. This Agra treasure intervened like an impassable barrier between us. the half-opened door. She has told me since that [116] she thought me cold and distant upon that journey. the hall-light shining through stained glass. and I still seem to see that little group on the step–the two graceful. As we drove away I stole a glance back. If Holmes’s researches were successful. she was rich. she would be an heiress.

” “Mr. the words upon the card. gas-lit streets. They had only led us. . I’ll open the kennels and let out forty-three dogs upon you.” said the face. “Now stand clear. lean old man. the strange scene at Major Sholto’s death.on through the silent. Sherman was a lanky. the very singular accompaniments to the crime. the letter–we had had light upon all those events. and I’ll drop it on your ’ead if you don’t hook it!” “But I want a dog. Mr. however. and a face looked out at the upper window. The death of Captain Morstan. but the words had a most magical effect. the footsteps. the advertisement. “So help me gracious. you drunken vagabond. 3 before I could make any impression. it’s just what I have come for. “If you kick up any more row.” said I. There was the original problem: that at least was pretty clear now. a stringy neck. for when I say ‘three. I have a wiper in this bag. corresponding with those upon Captain Morstan’s chart–here was indeed a labyrinth in which a man less singularly endowed than my fellow-lodger might well despair of ever finding the clue. and blue-tinted glasses. two-storied brick houses in the lower quarter of Lambeth. [117] “I won’t be argued with!” shouted Mr. Sherman. I had to knock for some time at No. and within a minute the door was unbarred and open.’ down goes the wiper. the remarkable weapons.” “If you’ll let one out.” I cried. the curious plan found among Morstan’s baggage. the sending of the pearls. Sherlock Holmes– –” I began. however. for the window instantly slammed down. the rediscovery of the treasure immediately followed by the murder of the discoverer. “Go on!” yelled the voice. “Go on. The Indian treasure. At last. to a deeper and far more tragic mystery. there was the glint of a candle behind the blind. Pinchin Lane was a row of shabby. with stooping shoulders.

after some hesitation. 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. naughty. for it keeps the beetles down. Sherlock Holmes wanted.” “Yes. Ah. brown and white in colour.” He moved slowly forward with his candle among the queer animal family which he had gathered round him. shadowy light I could see dimly that there were glancing.” “Ah! that would be Toby.” said he. sir. naughty.“A friend of Mr. sir?” “He wanted a dog of yours. having thus sealed an alliance. Toby was the name. It had . waddling gait. and there’s many a one just comes down this lane to knock me up. it’s only a slowworm. It hain’t got no fangs. Even the rafters above our heads were lined by solemn fowls. You must not mind my bein’ just a little short wi’ you at first. What was it that Mr. for he bites. lop-eared creature. Toby proved to be an ugly. sir. half spaniel and half lurcher. “Step in. it followed me to the cab and made no difficulties about accompanying me.” “Toby lives at No. with a very clumsy. a lump of sugar which the old naturalist handed to me. In the uncertain. long-haired. Keep clear of the badger. Sherlock is always welcome. so I gives it the run o’ the room. glimmering eyes peeping down at us from every cranny and corner. 7 on the left here. for I’m guyed at by the children. It accepted. and. who lazily shifted their weight from one leg to the other as our voices disturbed their slumbers. “Don’t mind that.

Just you carry them down with you. “Now tie this bit of card round my neck. Sergeant.” said my companion. loose the dog.” he said.” “Apart from their size.” We clambered up through the hole. “That is where he put his foot in getting out. Now I make one with my naked foot beside it. Now I must kick off my boots and stockings. Now run downstairs. “to a child or a small woman. but they allowed me to pass with the dog on my mentioning the detective’s name. Holmes turned his light once more upon the footsteps in the dust. Is there nothing else?” “They appear to be much as other footmarks. We have had an immense display of energy since you left. If you can trace him. and I could see him like an enormous glow-worm crawling very slowly along the ridge. The other print has each toe distinctly divided. Now. Sholto had been marched off to the station. What is the chief difference?” “Your toes are all cramped together. I should think that Toby will have no difficulty. though.” “This is the place.” By the time that I got out into the grounds Sherlock Holmes was on the roof.” . Leave the dog here and come up. That is the point. He has arrested not only friend Thaddeus but the gatekeeper.” We tied Toby to the hall table and reascended the stairs. “Ah. the housekeeper. When I made my way round there I found him seated at one of the corner eaves. Holmes was standing on the doorstep with his hands in his pockets.just struck three on the Palace clock when I found myself back once more at Pondicherry Lodge. but he presently reappeared and then vanished once more upon the opposite side. Now come up into the garret with me for a moment. been arrested as an accessory. [118] “I wish you particularly to notice these footmarks. and both he and Mr. and the Indian servant. Two constables guarded the narrow gate. I found. That will do. save that a sheet had been draped over the central figure. “Yes. And dip my handkerchief into the creosote.” I did as he directed and was instantly conscious of a strong tarry smell. “Lend me your bull’s eye. I am going to do a little climbing. then! Athelney Jones has gone. “Good dog. you have him there!” said he. “That you. What is that black thing down there?” “A water-barrel. Thank you. as I have this handkerchief in my hand. “Do you observe anything noteworthy about them?” “They belong. The ex-prize-fighter McMurdo had. and look out for Blondin. The room was as we had left it. Watson.” “Not at all.” “Quite so.” I said. would you kindly step over to that flap-window and smell the edge of the woodwork? I shall stay over here. so as to hang it in front of me. Bear that in mind. smoking his pipe. I lost sight of him behind a stack of chimneys. Watson?” he cried. A weary-looking police-sergeant reclined in the corner. Look here! This is the print of a right foot in the dust. We have the place to ourselves but for a sergeant upstairs.

“Your leg will stand it?” [119] “Oh. like a connoisseur sniffing the bouquet of a famous vintage. In shape and size it was not unlike a cigarette-case. and with a most comical cock to its head. Toby. sharp at one end and rounded at the other. Holmes then threw the handkerchief to a distance. Then with a light spring he came on to the barrel. Are you game for a sixmile trudge. drawing on his stockings and boots. smell it!” He pushed the creosote handkerchief under the dog’s nose.” There was a scuffling of feet. doggy! Good old Toby! Smell it. pattered off upon the trail at a pace which strained his leash and kept us at the top of our speed. myself. as you doctors express it.” “Here you are. “Tiles were loosened the whole way along.” he said.” I answered. I ought to be able to come down where he could climb up. Here goes. while the creature stood with its fluffy legs separated. Watson?” “Certainly. There is the less fear of you or me finding one in our skin before long. like that which had struck Bartholomew Sholto. and led him to the foot of the water-barrel. Inside were half a dozen spines of dark wood. I’m delighted to have them.” “Confound the fellow! It’s a most breakneck place. fastened a stout cord to the mongrel’s collar. . with his nose on the ground and his tail in the air. and in his hurry he had dropped this. “They are hellish things. “It was easy to follow him. The water-pipe feels pretty firm. “Look out that you don’t prick yourself. and the lantern began to come steadily down the side of the wall. tremulous yelps and. and from there to the earth.” The object which he held up to me was a small pocket or pouch woven out of coloured grasses and with a few tawdry beads strung round it.” said he. anyhow. The creature instantly broke into a succession of high. for the chances are that they are all he has. It confirms my diagnosis. I would sooner face a Martini bullet.” “No sign of a ladder?” “No.“Top on it?” “Yes. yes.

underneath its shadow. Where the two walls joined. “You see the slight smudge of blood upon the white plaster. however. “There’s the print of Wooden-leg’s hand.” 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. empty windows and high. as though they had frequently been used as a ladder. and stopped finally in a corner screened by a young beech. “that I depend for my success in this . The square. Holmes clambered up. “Do not imagine. Our course led right across the grounds. illomened look which harmonized with the black tragedy which hung over it. On reaching the boundary wall Toby ran along. behind us. whining eagerly. and we could now see some distance in the cold gray light. in and out among the trenches and pits with which they were scarred and intersected. and the crevices left were worn down and rounded upon the lower side. massive house. Clearly the pungent smell of the creosote rose high above all other contending scents. with its scattered dirt-heaps and ill-grown shrubs. My fears were soon appeased.” said Holmes. several bricks had been loosened. The whole place.” he remarked as I mounted up beside him. sad and forlorn. bare walls. had a blighted.The east had been gradually whitening. with its black. and taking the dog from me he dropped it over upon the other side. towered up. Toby never hesitated or swerved but waddled on in his peculiar rolling fashion. 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-andtwenty hours’ start.

for example. since fortune has put it into our hands.” “There is credit. The others are Hindoos or Mohammedans. however. whom we have not seen. Bernstone gives him far from a good character. That is much more likely. I should be culpable if I neglected it. for he would have known what their term of imprisonment was. He found out where Sholto lived. some condition under which he received it unfulfilled. Let us see how it fits in with the sequel. It has. the officers–or one of them–gets the treasure and brings it to England. happy in the possession of his treasure. What does he do then? He guards himself against a wooden-legged man–a white man. my dear boy! it was simplicity itself. is the readiest. There might have been some credit to be gained out of it but for this too palpable clue. could you describe with such confidence the wooden-legged man?” “Pshaw. The chart is dated at a time when Morstan was brought into close association with convicts. How. I have knowledge now which would enable me to trace them in many different ways. 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. mark you. that I marvel at the means by which you obtain your results in this case even more than I did in the Jefferson Hope murder. What was that?” “A letter to say that the men whom he had wronged had been set free. This. Two officers who are in command of a convict-guard learn an important secret as to buried treasure. He had signed it in behalf of himself and his associates–the sign of the four. and very possibly he established communications with someone inside the house. and to spare. Small . Now. Holmes. however. why did not Jonathan Small get the treasure himself? The answer is obvious. “I assure you. then. I don’t wish to be theatrical. The thing seems to me to be deeper and more inexplicable. Now. Mrs.case upon the mere chance of one of these fellows having put his foot in the chemical. “It is more than that. Let us look at it from his point of view.” “Or had escaped. let us put ourselves in the place of Jonathan Small. only one white man’s name is on the chart. Aided by this chart.” “But this is mere speculation. Lal Rao. Major Sholto remains at peace for some years. There is no other white man. and. A map is drawn for them by an Englishman named Jonathan Small. we will suppose.” said I. now. Jonathan Small did not get the treasure because he and his associates were themselves convicts and could not get away. Therefore we may say with confidence that the woodenlegged man is identical with Jonathan Small. You remember that we saw the name upon the [120] chart in Captain Morstan’s possession.” said I. It would not have been a surprise to him. There is this butler. It is the only hypothesis which covers the facts. It is all patent and above-board. for he mistakes a white tradesman for him and actually fires a pistol at him. Then he receives a letter from India which gives him a great fright.” “Well. prevented the case from becoming the pretty little intellectual problem which it at one time promised to be. Does the reasoning strike you as being faulty?” “No: it is clear and concise. as he somewhat dramatically called it. leaving.

He bore no grudge against Bartholomew Sholto and would have preferred if he could have been simply bound and gagged. I dare bet. His height is readily calculated from the length of his stride. 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?” . lowered the treasure-box to the ground. and finally leaves a memento of his visit in the short inscription upon the card. he runs the gauntlet of the guards. where the treasure was hid. a rather curious associate. Jonathan. he would leave some such record upon the body as a sign that it was not a common murder but. however. as to his personal appearance. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. well. however.” “Now what could Jonathan small do? He could only continue to keep a secret watch upon the efforts made to find the treasure. Then comes the discovery of the garret. That was the train of events as far as I can decipher them.” “But it was the associate and not Jonathan who committed the crime. and he is instantly informed of it. He had doubtless planned beforehand that. In a frenzy lest the secret of the treasure die with him. but on none. for no one ever knew save the major and one faithful servant who had died. and is only deterred from entering by the presence of his two sons. There was no help for it. Do you follow all this?” “Very clearly. who are on a stranger errand than you and I. It shines on a good many folk. Of course. He did not wish to put his head in a halter. But you will know all about it soon enough. however. Whimsical and bizarre conceits of this kind are common enough in the annals of crime and usually afford valuable indications as to the criminal. makes his way to the dying man’s window. however: the savage instincts of his companion had broken out. is utterly unable to reach the lofty [121] room of Bartholomew Sholto. whence come Toby. with his wooden leg. He takes with him. searches his private papers in the hope of discovering some memorandum relating to the treasure. he must be middle-aged and must be sunburned after serving his time in such an oven as the Andamans. from the point of view of the four associates. and the poison had done its work: so Jonathan Small left his record. Suddenly Small learns that the major is on his deathbed. he enters the room that night. should he slay the major. His hairiness was the one point which impressed itself upon Thaddeus Sholto when he saw him at the window. there is no great mystery in that. and followed it himself. Possibly he leaves England and only comes back at intervals.” “The associate?” “Ah. And rather to Jonathan’s disgust. to judge by the way he stamped about when he got into the room. who gets over this difficulty but dips his naked foot into creosote. Mad with hate. I don’t know that there is anything else. and we know that he was bearded. against the dead man. something in the nature of an act of justice. and a six-mile limp for a half-pay officer with a damaged tendo Achillis.could not find out. How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. We again trace the presence of some confederate in the household.” “Quite so.

At the square-topped corner publichouses business was just beginning. Brixton. but our inimitable Toby looked neither to the right nor to the left but trotted onward with his nose to the ground and an occasional eager whine which spoke of a hot scent. however. but if the other turns nasty I shall shoot him dead. having loaded two of the chambers. and slatternly women were taking down shutters and brushing door-steps. and rough-looking men were emerging. We had traversed Streatham. He makes one curious but profound remark. we were beginning to come among continuous streets. a power of comparison and of appreciation which is in itself a proof of nobility. It is that the chief proof of man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness. You have not a pistol. We had during this time been following the guidance of Toby down the half-rural villa-lined roads which lead to the metropolis. he put it back into the right-hand pocket of his jacket. and now found ourselves in Kennington Lane.” “It is just possible that we may need something of the sort if we get to their lair. It argues. and. I worked back to him through Carlyle. where labourers and dockmen were already astir. rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet. Jonathan I shall leave to you. have you?” “I have my stick. you see. There is much food for thought in Richter.” “That was like following the brook to the parent lake. having borne away through the side streets to the east of the [122] Oval. Strange dogs sauntered up and stared wonderingly at us as we passed. Now.” He took out his revolver as he spoke. Camberwell. The men whom we pursued seemed to have .“Fairly so.

for after sniffing round again he suddenly made up his mind and darted away with an energy and determination such as he had not yet shown. with the idea probably of escaping observation. with a triumphant yelp. Sherlock Holmes and I looked blankly at each other and then burst simultaneously into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. 1998 Chapter 8 . They had never kept to the main road if a parallel side street would serve their turn. “What the deuce is the matter with the dog?” growled Holmes. “They surely would not take a cab or go off in a balloon. The scent appeared to be much hotter than before. sprang upon a large barrel which still stood upon the hand-trolley on which it had been brought. and finally. “Ah! it’s all right. as if to ask for sympathy in his embarrassment. looking from one to the other of us for some sign of appreciation. With lolling tongue and blinking eyes Toby stood upon the cask. He was indeed off. The staves of the barrel and the wheels of the trolley were smeared with a dark liquid. turned down through the side gate into the enclosure. I could see by the gleam in Holmes’s eyes that he thought we were nearing the end of our journey. At the foot of Kennington Lane they had edged away to the left through Bond Street and Miles Street. the very picture of canine indecision. On the dog raced through sawdust and shavings. Here the dog. Where the latter street turns into Knight’s Place.” I suggested. looking up to us from time to time. He’s off again. between two wood-piles.” said my companion in a tone of relief. for he had not even to put his nose on the ground but tugged at his leash and tried to break into a run. down an alley. Then he waddled round in circles. where the sawyers were already at work. Our course now ran down Nine Elms until we came to Broderick and Nelson’s large timber-yard just past the White Eagle tavern.taken a curiously zigzag road. David Soucek. round a passage.” “Perhaps they stood here for some time. and the whole air was heavy with the smell of creosote. Toby ceased to advance but began to run backward and forward with one ear cocked and the other drooping. frantic with excitement.

” He was approaching the door of the house. Toby led us to the very edge of this and there stood whining. There has. We took the wrong one. “These fellows are sharper than I expected. “This looks bad.” “Yes. And. “If you consider how much creosote is carted about London in one day.” “We must get on the main scent again. I fear. but though he sniffed earnestly he made no sign.” A second inscription above the door informed us that a steam launch was kept–a statement which was confirmed by a great pile of coke upon the jetty. Sherlock Holmes looked slowly round. we are on the true scent now. “They have taken to a boat here. where there was a small wooden wharf. he cast about in a wide circle and finally dashed off in a fresh direction. especially for the seasoning of wood. “We must take care that he does not now bring us to the place where the creosote-barrel came from. “Toby has lost his character for infallibility. lifting him down from the barrel and walking him out of the timber-yard. But you notice that he keeps on the pavement.The Sign of Four Chapter 8 THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS “WHAT now?” I asked. On leading Toby to the place where he [123] had committed his fault. “We are out of luck.” There was no difficulty about this. whereas the barrel passed down the roadway.” said he. No. They seem to have covered their tracks. Close to the rude landing-stage was a small brick house. “I had thought of that. and. when it opened.” “He acted according to his lights. and a little . It only remains to follow the other. looking out on the dark current beyond. underneath. running through Belmont Place and Prince’s Street. I suppose. We took Toby round to each in turn. we have no distance to go. Evidently what puzzled the dog at the corner of Knight’s Place was that there were two different trails running in opposite directions. with a wooden placard slung out through the second window.” said Holmes.” It tended down towards the riverside.” Several small punts and skiffs were lying about in the water and on the edge of the wharf. been preconcerted management here. and his face assumed an ominous expression. Poor Toby is not to blame. fortunately. it is no great wonder that our trail should have been crossed.” I observed.” said Holmes. At the end of Broad Street it ran right down to the water’s edge. It is much used now. “Boats to hire by the hour or day. “Mordecai Smith” was printed across it in large letters.

’specially when my man is away days at a time. for I know there ain’t more coals in her than would take her to about Woolwich and back. redfaced woman with a large sponge in her hand. “I’d like a shillin’. he is that. “Come back. it is in the steam launch that he has gone. you young imp. truth to tell. is he?” said Holmes in a disappointed voice. bless you.” “I wanted to hire his steam launch. Jack. sir. But if it was about a boat. for if your father comes home and finds you like that he’ll let us hear of it. Jack. then! Catch!–A fine child. Smith!” “Lor’ bless you. “Here you are.” she shouted. Mrs.” said he. for I wanted to speak to Mr. and. Smith. sir.” “Dear little chap!” said Holmes strategically. followed by a stoutish.curly-headed lad of six came running out.” the prodigy answered after some thought. He gets a’most too much for me to manage. “I am sorry for that.” “He’s been away since yesterday mornin’. “You come back and be washed. is there anything you would like?” The youth pondered for a moment. If he’s been away in the barge I’d ha’ .” “Why. “Nothing you would like better?” “I’d like two shillin’ better.” “Away. maybe I could serve as well. sir. sir. “What a rosy-cheeked young rascal! Now. That’s what puzzles me. and forward. I am beginnin’ to feel frightened about him.

Smith. wi’ his ugly face and outlandish talk. sir.” “But. as it were.” said Holmes. and. and I have heard good reports of the– – Let me see. A black funnel. Besides. Smith.” “Our course now seems pretty clear.” “I am sorry. but it weren’t his way. shrugging his shoulders. a brown. sir. sir. I didn’t hear no one else. it would be a colossal task.” “My dear fellow. “What would you do. sir. for I wanted a steam launch. “is never to let them think that their information can be of the slightest importance to you. She’s as trim a little thing as any on the river. I don’t like that wooden-legged man. If you do they will instantly shut up like an oyster. I hope that you will hear soon from Mr. I am sure. Smith. indeed.’ My old man woke up Jim–that’s my eldest–and away they went without so much as a word to me. What did he want always knockin’ about here for?” “A wooden-legged man?” said Holmes with bland surprise. you say?” “No.” “His voice. for many a time a job has taken him as far as Gravesend. But what good is a steam launch without coals?” [124] “He might have bought some at a wharf down the river. what’s more.” “He might. I tell you straight. She may have touched at any wharf on either side of the stream between here and Greenwich.” “The main thing with people of that sort. Mrs. She’s been fresh painted. “you are frightening yourself about nothing. of course. There is a boatman here with a wherry.” “Ah! She’s not that old green launch with a yellow line.” “And was this wooden-legged man alone?” “Couldn’t say. sir.” “Thanks. . sir. my man knew he was comin’. and then if there was much doin’ there he might ha’ stayed over. my dear Mrs. you are very likely to get what you want.’ says he: ‘time to turn out guard. Mrs. If you listen to them under protest. Many a time I’ve heard him call out at the prices they charge for a few odd bags. for he had steam up in the launch. what is her name?” “The Aurora. ‘Show a leg. I knew his voice.thought nothin’. Watson.” said I. We shall take it and cross the river. I could hear the wooden leg clackin’ on the stones. sir. matey. which is kind o’ thick and foggy. black with two red streaks.” said Holmes as we sat in the sheets of the wherry. It was him that roused him up yesternight.” “Ah. then?” “I would engage a launch and go down the river on the track of the Aurora. monkey-faced chap that’s called more’n once for my old man. He tapped at the winder–about three it would be. I am going down the river. It was the sides which were black. Good-morning. and if I should see anything of the Aurora I shall let him know that you are uneasy. Smith. I don’t feel easy in my mind about it. Black with a white band. 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. “Yes. very broad in the beam?” “No.

now that we have gone so far. for his view of the case is sure to push itself into the daily press. it would probably put her forever beyond my reach. asking for information from wharfingers?” “Worse and worse! Our men would know that the chase was hot at their heels. “I am sure I don’t know. “Here it is. and get an hour’s sleep. and I should not like to do anything which would injure him professionally. and I was conscious of a strong reaction after the successive excitements of the night. belonged rightfully to Miss Morstan. [125] But I have a fancy for working it out myself. That. nor could I look at the matter as a mere abstract intellectual problem. “Take this hansom.” We pulled up at the Great Peter Street Post-Office. He is not a bad fellow.” said he. or part of it. however.” “Could we advertise. “Whom do you think that is to?” he asked as we resumed our journey. I had not the professional enthusiasm which carried my companion on.Below the bridge there is a perfect labyrinth of landing-places for miles. When I came down to our room I found the breakfast laid and Holmes pouring out the coffee. laughing and pointing to an open newspaper.” “You remember the Baker Street division of the detective police force whom I employed in the Jefferson Hope case?” “Well. If Holmes could work to find the criminals. Wiggins. I had heard little good of him and could feel no intense antipathy to his murderers. and the runaways will think that everyone is off on the wrong scent. While there was a chance of recovering it I was ready to devote my life to the one object. Stop at a telegraph office. was a different matter. then?” I asked as we landed near Millbank Penitentiary. if I found it. I had a tenfold stronger reason to urge me on to find the treasure.” said I. laughing. As it is. “The . cabby! We will keep Toby. The treasure. then. It is quite on the cards that we may be afoot to-night again. then. As far as the death of Bartholomew Sholto went. A bath at Baker Street and a complete change freshened me up wonderfully. but as long as they think they are perfectly safe they will be in no hurry. That wire was to my dirty little lieutenant. “This is just the case where they might be invaluable. and they would be off out of the country. they are likely enough to leave. drive home. If they fail I have other resources. I was limp and weary.” “No. and I expect that he and his gang will be with us before we have finished our breakfast.” “Employ the police.” It was between eight and nine o’clock now. True. and Holmes dispatched his wire. Yet it would be a petty and selfish love which would be influenced by such a thought as that. I shall probably call Athelney Jones in at the last moment. but I shall try them first. have some breakfast. befogged in mind and fatigued in body.” “What are we to do. Jones’s energy will be of use to us there. for he may be of use to us yet. It would take you days and days to exhaust them if you set about it alone.

happened to be at the Norwood police station and was on the ground within half an hour of the first alarm. Thaddeus Sholto. the wellknown member of the detective police force.” “So do I.energetic Jones and the ubiquitous reporter have fixed it up between them. Better have your ham and eggs first. who had called at the house with Mr. which was headed “Mysterious Business at Upper Norwood. with the gratifying result that the brother. our landlady. As far as we can learn. Thaddeus Sholto. for Mr. This fact. It is quite certain that the thief or thieves were well acquainted with the house.” I took the paper from him and read the short notice. Holmes.” I said. Hudson.” About twelve o’clock last night [said the Standard] Mr. was found dead in his room under circumstances which point to foul play. which has been very clearly made out.” At this moment there was a loud ring at the bell. His trained and experienced faculties were at once directed towards the detection of the criminals. brother of the deceased. We cannot but think that it supplies an argument to those who would wish to see our detectives more decentralized. The discovery was first made by Mr. “I believe that they are really . or gatekeeper. Bernstone. But you have had enough of the case. Bartholomew Sholto. 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. “By heavens. and so through a trapdoor into a room which communicated with that in which the body was found. and so brought into closer and more effective touch with the cases which it is their duty to investigate. Athelney Jones. Mr. no actual traces of violence were found upon Mr. has already been arrested. Upper Norwood. of Pondicherry Lodge. 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 but must have made their way across the roof of the building. and I could hear Mrs. “What do you think of it?” “I think that we have had a close shave ourselves of being arrested for the crime. but a valuable collection of Indian gems which the deceased gentleman had inherited [126] from his father has been carried off. Watson. “Isn’t it gorgeous!” said Holmes. Mrs. By a singular piece of good fortune. Sholto’s person. I wouldn’t answer for our safety now if he should happen to have another of his attacks of energy. half rising. and a porter. proves conclusively that it was no mere haphazard burglary. raising her voice in a wail of expostulation and dismay. grinning over his coffee cup. an Indian butler named Lal Rao. together with the housekeeper. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. named McMurdo.

and you to me. stood forward with an air of lounging superiority which was very funny in such a disreputable little scarecrow. “Got your message. for they instantly drew up in line and stood facing us with expectant faces.” said Wiggins.” said he. You must divide it out among yourselves and do both banks thoroughly. “In future they can report to you. Three bob and a tanner for tickets. sir. Now off you go!” . I want one boy to be at Mordecai Smith’s landing-stage opposite [127] Millbank to say if the boat comes back. owner Mordecai Smith. guv’nor. it’s not quite so bad as that. There was some show of discipline among them. It is the unofficial force–the Baker Street irregulars. Wiggins. Let me know the moment you have news.” “No. “The old scale of pay. producing some silver.after us. “and brought ’em on sharp. it is just as well that you should all hear the instructions. I want to find the whereabouts of a steam launch called the Aurora. and in rushed a dozen dirty and ragged little street Arabs. black with two red streaks. taller and older than the others.” said Holmes. there came a swift pattering of naked feet upon the stairs. I cannot have the house invaded in this way. However. Is that all clear?” “Yes. funnel black with a white band. Here’s a day in advance. a clatter of high voices.” “Here you are. She is down the river somewhere. despite their tumultuous entry.” As he spoke. One of their number. and a guinea to the boy who finds the boat.

stoneheaded wooden mace. do consider the data.” said Holmes as he rose from the table and lit his pipe. “Perhaps one of those Indians who were the associates of Jonathan Small. I expect to hear before evening that they have spotted her.” “Toby could eat these scraps.” “That other man again!” “I have no wish to make a mystery of him to you. Diminutive footmarks. Holmes?” “No: I am not tired. “They can go everywhere. If ever man had an easy task. I dare say. be absolutely unique. In the meanwhile. though idleness exhausts me completely. What do you make of all this?” “A savage!” I exclaimed. I have a curious constitution. but the other man must. Mordecai Smith. “If the launch is above water they will find her. Are you going to bed. Wooden-legged men are not so common. anyway. this of ours ought to be. toes never fettered by boots. naked feet. and I saw them a moment later streaming down the street.” . and away they buzzed down the stairs. great agility. But you must have formed your own opinion. Now. I should think. I am going to smoke and to think over this queer business to which my fair client has introduced us. We cannot pick up the broken trail until we find either the Aurora or Mr. see everything. overhear everyone. we can do nothing but await results. I never remember feeling tired by work. small poisoned darts.He handed them a shilling each.

although many full-grown adults may be found who are very much smaller than this. Their feet and hands. “This is the first volume of a gazetteer which is now being published. Watson. however. So intractable and fierce are they. are remarkably small. coral reefs. Some of the inhabitants of the Indian Peninsula are small men. could only be shot in one way. [128] They are a fierce. but the remarkable character of the footmarks caused me to reconsider my views. and intractable people. They are from a blow-pipe. The Hindoo proper has long and thin feet. cottonwoods– – Ah. we had already determined that Small had come from the Andamans. that is more than I can tell. Now. No doubt we shall know . however. and distorted features. He stretched his hand up and took down a bulky volume from the shelf. What have we here? “Andaman Islands. here we are! “The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth. These little darts. convict barracks. it is not so very wonderful that this islander should be with him. sharks. They have always been a terror to shipwrecked crews. Nice. Since.” “But how came he to have so singular a companion?” “Ah. Now. Jonathan Small would give a good deal not to have employed him. and the Terra del Fuegians. the Digger Indians of America. These massacres are invariably concluded by a cannibal feast. in the Bay of Bengal. “They are naturally hideous. “When first I saw signs of strange weapons I was inclined to think so. where are we to find our savage?” “South America. that all the efforts of the British officials have failed to win them over in any degree. then. having large. situated 340 miles to the north of Sumatra. morose. braining the survivors with their stone-headed clubs or shooting them with their poisoned arrows. but none could have left such marks as that.“Hardly that. Watson! If this fellow had been left to his own unaided devices. The average height is rather below four feet. though some anthropologists prefer the Bushmen of Africa. Mark that. this affair might have taken an even more ghastly turn. even as it is. It may be looked upon as the very latest authority. too. then listen to this. Rutland Island. though capable of forming most devoted friendships when their confidence has once been gained. Hum! hum! What’s all this? Moist climate. I fancy that.” I hazarded. misshapen heads. The sandal-wearing Mohammedan has the great toe well separated from the others because the thong is commonly passed between. amiable people. small fierce eyes.” said he. Port Blair.

Then I seemed to be floated peacefully away upon a soft sea of sound until I found myself in dreamland. Look here. no doubt.” He took up his violin from the corner. with the sweet face of Mary Morstan looking down upon me. you look regularly done. and as I stretched myself out he began to play some low. David Soucek. Lie down there on the sofa and see if I can put you to sleep. dreamy. melodious air–his own. for he had a remarkable gift for improvisation. Watson.all about it in time. his earnest face and the rise and fall of his bow. 1998 Chapter 9 . I have a vague remembrance of his gaunt limbs.

They take the . was full of curiosity. Forrester.” said Holmes. It is a provoking check. Cecil Forrester?” asked Holmes with the twinkle of a smile in his eyes. Cecil Forrester.” I remarked. “Well.” I answered.” “Can I do anything? I am perfectly fresh now. Thus. for every hour is of importance. “I feared that our talk would wake you. He says that no trace can be found of the launch. At Camberwell I found Miss Morstan a little weary after her night’s adventures but very eager to hear the news. I said nothing of the exact manner and method of it. and I noticed that his face was dark and troubled.” I took our mongrel accordingly and left him.” I did not pause to argue over this atrocious sentiment. too. although I spoke of Mr. no. Mrs. there was enough to startle and amaze them. for I don’t think it is at all likely that we shall have any use for him now. we can do nothing. “It is a romance!” cried Mrs. of course on Miss Morstan. if you are crossing the river you may as well return Toby.” “I would not tell them too much. “An injured lady. Wiggins has just been up to report.” “Then I shall run over to Camberwell and call upon Mrs. He looked across at me as I stirred. at the old naturalist’s in Pinchin Lane. I expected something definite by this time. save that he had laid aside his violin and was deep in a book. together with a halfsovereign. You can do what you will. I say. We can only wait. suppressing. Sherlock Holmes still sat exactly as I had left him. “I shall be back in an hour or two. “You have slept soundly. I confess that I am surprised and disappointed. and a wooden-legged ruffian. then?” “Unfortunately.” “I heard nothing. the more dreadful parts of the tragedy.” he said.” “On Mrs. and quite ready for another night’s outing. “All right! Good luck! But. yesterday. a black cannibal. Forrester.The Sign of Four Chapter 9 A BREAK IN THE CHAIN IT WAS late in the afternoon before I woke. If we go ourselves the message might [129] come in our absence and delay be caused. however. With all my omissions. I told them all that we had done. too. “Women are never to be entirely trusted–not the best of them.” “No. strengthened and refreshed. however. Sholto’s death. They were anxious to hear what happened. but I must remain on guard. “Have you had fresh news. half a million in treasure. She asked me to.

I don’t think that you are nearly excited enough. up and down. but I can hear him walking away the same as ever. sir. Hudson as she came up to lower the blinds. Hudson. sir. My companion’s book and pipe lay by his chair. with such a look that I don’t know how ever I got out of the room. I looked about in the hope of seeing a note. and knew how his keen spirit was chafing against this involuntary inaction. Mrs. everything. with a little fleck of feverish colour upon either cheek. Mrs.” I remarked. I ventured to say something to him about cooling medicine. Do you know. “I heard you marching about in the night. but he had disappeared. Thaddeus Sholto that I am anxious. Mrs. On the contrary. old man. “No. Then I heard him talking to himself and muttering.” he answered. I shall come to the conclusion soon that they have scuttled the craft. I have set other agencies at work and used every means at my disposal. After you was gone he walked and he walked. He has some small matter upon his mind which makes him restless. It is too much to be balked by so petty an obstacle.” It was evening before I left Camberwell.” I said to Mrs. sir. but I think that he has behaved most kindly and honourably throughout. “You are knocking yourself up. “It is for Mr.” she said. and every time the bell rang out he came on the stairhead.” “And two knight-errants to the rescue. I [130] hope he’s not going to be ill. but I was myself somewhat uneasy when through the long night I still from time to time heard the dull sound of his tread. “I am afraid for his health. I know the men. It is our duty to clear him of this dreadful and unfounded charge. Just imagine what it must be to be so rich 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. your fortune depends upon the issue of this search. Smith heard of her husband. “Nothing else is of any consequence. At breakfast-time he looked worn and haggard. But there .” I answered.” added Miss Morstan with a bright glance at me. but he turned on me. He has gone to his room. nor has Mrs. but there is no news. “I suppose that Mr. Hudson?’ And now he has slammed off to his room. “This infernal problem is consuming me.” “No. the launch. as though the matter were one in which she took small interest.” “Why so. Mary. until I was weary of the sound of his footstep.” “I don’t think that you have any cause to be uneasy. Hudson?” “Well. The whole river has been searched on either side. when all else had been overcome. he’s that strange. Sherlock Holmes has gone out. sir. and yet I can get no news.” I tried to speak lightly to our worthy landlady. but there was none. and up and down. “I have seen him like this before. with ‘What is that. and quite dark by the time I reached home. sir. sir. “Why.place of the conventional dragon or wicked earl. I could not sleep. she gave a toss of her proud head.” sinking her voice into an impressive whisper.

surely.” We did not. In the early dawn I woke with a start and was surprised to find him standing by my bedside. 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. No fresh details were to be found. Not a word came to us either from Wiggins or from the other agencies. save that an inquest was to be held upon the following day. They all appeared to be rather hostile to the unfortunate Thaddeus Sholto.” “Could it have gone up the river?” “I have considered that possibility. too. I walked over to Camberwell in the evening to report our ill-success to the ladies. There were articles in most of the papers upon the Norwood tragedy. and on my return I found Holmes dejected and somewhat morose. however. I think that may be dismissed.are objections to that. clad in a rude sailor dress with a pea-jacket and a coarse red scarf round his neck. He would hardly reply to my questions and busied himself all the evening in an abstruse chemical analysis which involved much heating of retorts and distilling of vapours. . But surely. however. and there is a launch of that description. ending at last in a smell which fairly drove me out of the apartment. in any of them. I had inquiries made. If no news comes to-day I shall start off myself to-morrow and go for the men rather than the boat. we shall hear something.” “No. Smith has put us on a wrong scent. and there is a search-party who will work up as far as Richmond.” “Or that Mrs.

for I can hardly tell yet where I may find myself. and to act on your own judgment if any news should come. I may not be gone so very long.” I had heard nothing of him by breakfast time. however. and I can see only one way out of it. though Wiggins was despondent about it last night.“I am off down the river. Can I rely upon you?” “Most certainly. Bernstone. however.” “I am afraid that you will not be able to wire to me. On opening the Standard. “No.” said he. that the police have a . Mrs.” “Surely I can come with you. Fresh evidence has shown that it is quite impossible that Mr. however. Watson. Thaddeus Sholto could have been in any way concerned in the matter. With reference to the Upper Norwood tragedy [it remarked] we have reason to believe that the matter promises to be even more complex and mysterious than was originally supposed. I am loath to go. were both released yesterday evening. “I have been turning it over in my mind. then?” said I. for it is quite on the cards that some message may come during [131] the day. It is believed. I shall have news of some sort or other before I get back. I found that there was a fresh allusion to the business. you can be much more useful if you will remain here as my representative. He and the housekeeper. It is worth trying. If I am in luck. I want you to open all notes and telegrams. at all events.

“Good-day. and that it is being prosecuted by Mr.” “Yes. He was likely. or at 221B. at any rate. and. on the other hand. funnel black with a white band. Further arrests may be expected at any moment. good-day. Every time that a knock came to the door or a sharp step passed in the street. This was clearly Holmes’s doing. however. I wondered.” I tossed the paper down upon the table. many of them trivial in themselves but all tending in the same direction. I had myself seen the evidence. boatman. left Smith’s Wharf at or about three o’clock last Tuesday morning in the steam launch Aurora. and his son Jim.” said he. sir. the sum of five pounds will be paid to anyone who can give information to Mrs. an authoritative voice in the hall. Yet. I wonder what the fresh clue may be. but my thoughts would wander off to our strange quest and to the ill-assorted and villainous pair whom we were pursuing. and I cannot be sure when he will be back. Athelney Jones. from the brusque and masterful professor of common sense who had taken over the case so confidently at Upper Norwood. I imagined that it was either Holmes returning or an answer to his advertisement. black with two red stripes. It struck me as rather ingenious 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. It ran in this way: LOST–Whereas Mordecai Smith.clue as to the real culprits. The Baker Street address was enough to prove that. But perhaps you . though it seems to be a stereotyped form whenever the police have made a blunder. I understand. as to the whereabouts of the said Mordecai Smith and the launch Aurora. at Smith’s Wharf. Very different was he. When I looked back on the long chain of curious circumstances. and yet the keenest reasoner may occasionally be deceived. and I had heard the reasons for his deductions. Athelney Jones was shown up to me. Could there be. “That is satisfactory so far as it goes. of Scotland Yard.” thought I. I thought. At three o’clock on the afternoon there was a loud peal at the bell. to fall into error through the overrefinement of his logic–his preference for a subtle and bizarre explanation when a plainer and more commonplace one lay ready to his hand. Baker Street. and his bearing meek and even apologetic. Sherlock Holmes is out. His expression was downcast. no less a person than Mr. to my surprise. “Friend Sholto is safe. I could not [132] disguise from myself that even if Holmes’s explanation were incorrect the true theory must be equally outre and startling. Smith. “Mr. I tried to read. It was a long day. with all his well-known energy and sagacity. some radical flaw in my companion’s reasoning? Might he not 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. but at that moment my eye caught an advertisement in the agony column.

Mr. I have had a wire from him this morning. Go to Baker Street at once [it said]. It was dated from Poplar at twelve o’clock. His appearance corresponded to the sounds which we had heard.” He took the telegram out of his pocket and handed it to me. mopping his face with a red bandanna handkerchief. I had my net drawn tightly round Mr. He was able to prove an alibi which could not be shaken. “Ah. So it could not be he who climbed over roofs and through trapdoors. “And a whisky and soda?” “Well. From the time that he left his brother’s room he was never out of sight of someone or other. but. I think he would have made a most promising officer. clad in seafaring garb.” “Thank you. I have known that young man go into a good many cases. It is very hot for the time of year. If I have not returned. He has evidently picked up the scent again. Sholto. You can come with us to-night if you want to be in at the finish. on the whole. his knees were shaky. when pop he went through a hole in the middle of it. Once or twice he stopped.” said he. “Your friend. then he has been at fault too. But there is someone at the door. He is irregular in his methods and a little quick perhaps in jumping at theories. I don’t mind if I do. wait for me. but I never saw the case yet that he could not throw a light upon. as though the climb were too much for him.would care to wait. with an old pea-jacket buttoned up to his throat. and I don’t care who knows it. His back was bowed.” said I. He had a coloured scarf round his chin. “Even the best of us are thrown off sometimes. is a wonderful man. Sherlock Holmes. half a glass. You know my theory about this Norwood case?” “I remember that you expressed one.” said I. sir. sir.” said he in a husky and confidential voice. As he leaned upon a thick oaken cudgel his shoulders heaved in the effort to draw the air into his lungs.” exclaimed Jones with evident satisfaction. Here is his message. He was an aged man. and my professional credit is at stake. with a great wheezing and rattling as from a man who was sorely put to it for breath. Of course this may prove to be a false alarm but it is my duty as an officer of the law to allow no chance to slip. I have been obliged to reconsider it.” “Well. overhung by bushy white brows and long gray side-whiskers. “He’s a man who is not to be beat. I am close on the track of the Sholto gang. Take that chair and try one of these cigars. and I have had a good deal to worry and try me. but at last he made his way to our door and entered. Perhaps this is he. by which I understand that he has got some clue to this Sholto business. Altogether .” A heavy step was heard ascending the stair. It’s a very dark case. and his breathing was [133] painfully asthmatic. and I could see little of his face save a pair of keen dark eyes. “This sounds well.” “We all need help sometimes. I should be very glad of a little assistance.

He looked about him in the slow methodical fashion of old age. I knows all about it.” said he.” The old man made a little run towards the door.” “No. until our friend returns. Holmes ain’t here. “But I tell you that I am acting for him. but Athelney Jones got in front of him. Was it about Mordecai Smith’s boat?” “Yes. “Well. you must wait for him. but. my friend. he recognized the uselessness of resistance. and I shall let him know. If Mr. I don’t care about the look of either of you.” He shuffled towards the door.” “It was to him himself I was to tell it. “What is it. my man?” I asked. “No.” said he. You can tell me any message you have for him. Sherlock Holmes here?” said he. An’ I knows where the men he is after are. Holmes must find it all out for himself. but I am acting for him. and you must not walk off. whether you like or not. “Wait a bit.” “Then tell me. An’ I knows where the treasure is.” “It was to him I was to tell it. . I knows well where it is. as Athelney Jones put his broad back up against it. “Is Mr. I ain’t goin’ to lose a whole day to please no one. and I won’t tell a word. We shall keep you. no. then Mr. “You have important information.” he repeated with the petulant obstinacy of a very old man.he gave me the impression of a respectable master mariner who had fallen into years and poverty.

and you will not have long to wait.“Pretty sort o’ treatment this!” he cried. however. Jones and I resumed our cigars and our talk. “You here! But where is the old man?” . and you two. Sit over here on the sofa. We both started in our chairs. “Holmes!” I exclaimed. seize me and treat me in this fashion!” “You will be none the worse. “We shall recompense you for the loss of your time. “I think that you might offer me a cigar too. stamping his stick.” He came across sullenly enough and seated himself with his face resting on his hands. “I come here to see a gentleman. Suddenly.” he said.” I said. who I never saw in my life. Holmes’s voice broke in upon us. There was Holmes sitting close to us with an air of quiet amusement.

Is that agreed?” “Entirely. then. We shall give you two others in the place of them. There is always one about there. and there is no evidence against the other two. you rogue!” cried Jones.“Here is the old man.” “There will be two or three in the boat.” “How has your case prospered?” “It has all come to nothing.” said he.” “Well. lighting his cigar. I thought I knew the glint of your eye. highly delighted.” “Ah. that was what brought me here. holding out a heap of white hair.” “That is easily managed.” “Never mind. but I can step across the road and telephone to make sure.” said he. What else?” .” “I have been working in that get-up all day. “Here he is–wig. and those weak legs of yours are worth ten pound a week. I thought my disguise was pretty good. “You would have made an actor and a rare one. “You see. a good many of the criminal classes begin to know me–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. I have had to release two of my prisoners. though. You had the proper workhouse cough. but you must act on the lines that I point out. but I hardly expected that it would stand that test. eyebrows. if you will help me to the men. You didn’t get away from us so easily. you see. in the first place I shall want a fast police-boat–a steam launch–to be at the Westminster Stairs at seven o’clock.” “Then I shall want two staunch men in case of resistance. You got my wire?” [134] “Yes. But you must put yourself under my orders. You are welcome to all the official credit. whiskers. and all.

That is easily managed.” David Soucek. Watson?” “It would be a great pleasure to me. I have oysters and a brace of grouse. There is no objection to my having an unofficial interview with him. then?” “Perfectly. It will be ready in half an hour. “However. either here in my rooms or elsewhere. I don’t see how I can refuse you an interview with him.” said Jones. Let her be the first to open it. You know I like to work the details of my cases out. I have had no proof yet of the existence of this Jonathan Small. However. The treasure must afterwards be handed over to the authorities until after the official investigation.” “That is understood. 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.” “Rather an irregular proceeding. if you can catch him.“When we secure the men we shall get the treasure. and I suppose we must wink at it. you have never yet recognized my merits as a housekeeper.–Watson. Is there anything else?” “Only that I insist upon your dining with us. the whole thing is irregular. with something a little choice in white wines. Eh. shaking his head.” “Certainly. you are master of the situation. as long as he is efficiently guarded?” “Well. One other point. I should much like to have a few details about this matter from the lips of Jonathan Small himself. 1998 Chapter 10 .

Holmes eyed it critically. hardly that. on mediaeval pottery.” “We shall have to catch the Aurora. And now it is high time we were off. on Stradivarius violins. and I sat in the stern. “Is there anything to mark it as a police-boat?” “Yes. one to tend the engines.” It was a little past seven before we reached the Westminster wharf and found our launch awaiting us. and I caught [135] something of Holmes’s gaiety. and that night he did choose. I ordered it for half-past six. Tell them to stop opposite to Jacobson’s Yard.” The small change was made. Have you a pistol. “to the success of our little expedition. Watson. But there are not many launches to beat us. His bright humour marked the reaction from his black depression of the preceding days.The Sign of Four Chapter 10 THE END OF THE ISLANDER OUR meal was a merry one. “Well. and the ropes were cast off. There was one man at the rudder. He appeared to be in a state of nervous exaltation. we stepped on board. None of us alluded during dinner to the cause which had brought us together. and two burly police-inspectors forward. He spoke on a quick succession of subjects–on miracle plays. Holmes could talk exceedingly well when he chose. Watson?” “I have my old service-revolver in my desk. You recollect how annoyed I was at being baulked by so small a thing?” “Yes.” Our craft was evidently a very fast one.” “You had best take it. “To the Tower. and on the warships of the future–handling each as though he had made a special study of it. Jones. Holmes smiled with satisfaction as we overhauled a river steamer and left her behind us. that green lamp at the side. Athelney Jones proved to be a sociable soul in his hours of relaxation and faced his dinner with the air of a bon vivant. When the cloth was cleared Holmes glanced at his watch and filled up three glasses with port. I felt elated at the thought that we were nearing the end of our task. then. on the Buddhism of Ceylon. We shot past the long lines of loaded barges as though they were stationary.” said he. It is well to be prepared. I have never known him so brilliant. “One bumper.” he said. I gave my mind a thorough rest by plunging into a chemical .” “Well. Holmes. I see that the cab is at the door. and she has a name for being a clipper. “Where to?” asked Jones. For myself. I will tell you how the land lies.” “Then take it off. “We ought to be able to catch anything on the river.

nor had it returned. Yet it could hardly have been scuttled to hide their traces. when they got the boat. if it were only a day. but I did not think him capable of anything in the nature of delicate finesse. 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. I came back to our problem of the Sholtos. while at the same time I could have her at a few hours’ notice.” “It seems to me to be a little weak. It would be quite bright. I hardly think so.” “But the launch? They could not have taken that to their lodgings. I knew that this man Small had a certain degree of low cunning. But a second consideration struck me. when they had time to see what view the papers took. He was [136] quite sharp enough to see that. She would then be removed to his shed or yard. at any rate. 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. they did not go very far. I determined to act on the idea. 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. in spite of its invisibility. Now. I argued. I argued that the launch must be no great way off. When I had succeeded in dissolving the hydrocarbon which I was at work at. it was past three o’clock.” said I. and so be effectually concealed. Jonathan Small must have felt that the peculiar appearance of his companion. I might hand the launch over to some boat-builder or repairer. They had started from their headquarters under cover of darkness. So it is. How. Therefore. and people would be about in an hour or so. however much he may have top-coated him. I started at once in . and hurried to their lodgings with the treasure-box. 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. and possibly be associated with this Norwood tragedy. That is usually a product of higher education. I could only think of one way of doing it.” “That seems simple enough. My boys had been up the river and down the river without result. according to Mrs.” “It is just these very simple things which are extremely liable to be overlooked. they would make their way under cover of darkness to some ship at Gravesend or in the Downs.analysis. However. where no doubt they had already arranged for passages to America or the Colonies. reserved his launch for the final escape. In a couple of nights. with directions to make a trifling change in her. and he would wish to get back before it was broad light. and thought the whole matter out again. One of our greatest statesmen has said that a change of work is the best rest. then. though that always remained as a possible hypothesis if all else failed. and whether there was any suspicion. but would need some little time. “it is more probable that he had arranged his affairs before ever he set out upon his expedition.” “Quite so. They paid Smith well to hold his tongue. Smith. That was the balance of probability. to arrange his affairs. I then put myself in the place of Small and looked at it as a man of his capacity would.” “No. The launch was not at any landing-stage or wharf. would give rise to gossip.

’ They had evidently paid him well. and they can hardly see us. and so been led to their hiding-place. even the policemen and stokers. This man Small is a pretty shrewd fellow.” He took a pair of night-glasses from his pocket and gazed some time at the shore.” “But you might have stuck to Mordecai Smith.’ said he–‘eight o’clock sharp. “That is Jacobson’s Yard. ‘I want her to-night at eight o’clock. and if anything made him suspicious he would lie snug for another week. but we cannot be certain. I thought over every possible course. He would send a scout on ahead. of course. Paul’s. “We have no right to take anything for granted. chucking shillings about to the men. we had been shooting the long series of bridges which span the Thames.” said Jones. I drew blank at fifteen. for he was very flush of money. “I see my sentry at his post. happening to pick up one of my boys on the way. See how the folk swarm over yonder in the gaslight. mind. and it will be a strange thing if we do not take men. but he subsided into an alehouse.” said I. We were all eager by this time. and this is the best. who had a very vague idea of what was going forward. “but no sign of a handkerchief.this harmless seaman’s rig and inquired at all the yards down the river. ‘There ain’t naught amiss with her rudder. the missing owner. have known him. 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. treasure. so I went back to the yard. I stationed him as a sentry over the launch. and. and all. We must stay where we are. I think that it is a hundred to one against Smith knowing where they live. From this point we can see the entrance of the yard. As long as he has liquor and good pay. It will be a clear night and plenty of light.” “Suppose we go downstream a short way and lie in wait for them.” he remarked.’ At that moment who should come down but Mordecai Smith. “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.” “They are coming from work in the yard. He is to stand at the water’s edge and wave his handkerchief to us when they start. He was rather the worse for liquor. We shall be lying off in the stream. No. whether they are the right men or not. with some trivial directions as to her rudder. It was twilight before we reached the Tower. but he bellowed out his name and the name of his launch.” “Which would have been never. I should not.” . “It is certainly ten to one that they go downstream.” said Jones eagerly.” said Holmes. “In that case I should have wasted my day. [137] why should he ask questions? They send him messages what to do. pointing to a bristle of masts and rigging on the Surrey side. I followed him some distance. with the red streaks. for I have two gentlemen who won’t be kept waiting.” Holmes answered. As we passed the City the last rays of the sun were gilding the cross upon the summit of St.” While this conversation had been proceeding. “Cruise gently up and down here under cover of this string of lighters.” “You have planned it all very neatly. ‘There she lies.’ said the foreman.

but I suppose every one has some little immortal spark concealed about him.” said Holmes. “Heap it on. Now she was flying down the stream. Individuals vary. I shall never forgive myself if she proves to have the heels of us!” She had slipped unseen through the yard-entrance and passed between two or three small craft. it is your boy. “She is very fast. near in to the shore. so that she had fairly got her speed up before we saw her. going at a tremendous rate.” I cried. But do I see a handkerchief? Surely there is a white flutter over yonder.” exclaimed Holmes.” “Yes. So says the statistician.“Dirty-looking rascals. By heaven.” “And there is the Aurora.” he said. but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. You can. but percentages remain constant. for example. stokers! Make her do all she can! If we burn the boat we must have them!” . “I doubt if we shall catch her. “Winwood Reade is good upon the subject.” I suggested. while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle. There is no a priori probability about it. Jones looked gravely at her and shook his head. engineer. Make after that launch with the yellow light. never foretell what any one man will do. You would not think it.” “We must catch her!” cried Holmes between his teeth. “I can see him plainly. A strange enigma is man!” “Someone calls him a soul concealed in an animal. in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. to look at them. “and going like the devil! Full speed ahead. “He remarks that.

and his arms were moving as though he were busy. We were not more than four boat’s-lengths behind them. down the long Deptford Reach. Our boilers were strained to their utmost. flying man-hunt down the Thames. so that we could plainly see the figures upon her deck. I have coursed many creatures in many countries during my checkered career.” said Jones with his eyes on the Aurora. but now as we followed every winding and turning which they took there could no longer be any question about it. Steadily we drew in upon them. She was still. in and out.We were fairly after her now. yard by yard. It was a clear reach of the river. The dull blur in front of us resolved itself now clearly into the dainty Aurora. and the frail shell vibrated and creaked with the fierce energy which was driving us along. past the West India Docks. Jones turned our searchlight upon her. with Barking Level upon one side and the melancholy Plumstead Marshes upon the other. Nearer we came and nearer.” “I think we gain a little. pile it on!” cried Holmes. over which he stooped. and the murky. well in view. starlit night. which looked like a Newfoundland dog. and the powerful engines whizzed and clanked like a great metallic heart. uncertain twilight was settling into a clear. and shovelling coals for dear life. The furnaces roared. while the fierce glow from below beat upon his eager. flickering funnel of light in front of us. At Blackwall we could not have been more than two hundred and fifty. and up again after rounding the Isle of Dogs. a tug with three barges in tow blundered in between us. both boats flying at a tremendous pace. “I am sure of it. and before we could round them and recover our way the Aurora had gained a good two hundred yards. In the silence of the night we could hear the panting and clanking of their machinery. looking down into the engine-room. We had shot through the pool. and still we followed close upon her track. but still the Aurora thundered on. Right ahead a dark blur upon the water showed where the Aurora lay. The boy held the tiller. aquiline face. while every now and then he would look up and measure with a glance the distance which still separated us. One man sat by the stern. merchant-vessels. At our hail the man in the stern sprang . stripped to the waist.” At that moment. men. steep prow cut through the still river-water and sent two rolling waves to right and to left of us. Her sharp. Jones yelled to them to stop. “Get every pound of steam you can. With every throb of the engines we sprang and quivered like a living thing. One great yellow lantern in our bows threw a long. but never did sport give me such a wild thrill as this mad. steamers. “Pile it on. “We shall be up with her in a very few minutes. Voices hailed us out of the darkness.” said I. behind this one and round the other. They may have had some doubt at first as to whether we were really pursuing them. while against the red glare of the furnace I could see old Smith. We flashed [138] past barges. however. however. as our evil fate would have it. At Greenwich we were about three hundred paces behind them. Beside him lay a dark mass. It was only by putting our helm hard down that we avoided a collision. The man in the stern still crouched upon the deck. with something black between his knees. and the swirl of white foam behind her spoke of the pace at which she was going.

up from the deck and shook his two clenched fists at us. Even as we looked he plucked out from under his covering a short. angry cries. and as he stood poising himself with legs astride I could see that from the thigh downward there was but a wooden stump upon the right side. [139] “Fire if he raises his hand. Never have I seen features so deeply marked with all bestiality and cruelty. We were within a boat’s-length by this time. powerful man. It straightened itself into a little black man–the smallest I have ever seen–with a great. cursing the while in a high. cracked voice. It was well that we had so clear a view of him. distorted creature. and his strong yellow teeth gnashing at us in the light of our lantern. and I whipped out mine at the sight of this savage. At the sound of his strident. He was a good-sized. and the unhallowed dwarf with his hideous face. there was movement in the huddled bundle upon the deck. like a . but that face was enough to give a man a sleepless night. round piece of wood. and almost within touch of our quarry. His small eyes glowed and burned with a sombre light. dishevelled hair. which left only his face exposed. Holmes had already drawn his revolver. the white man with his legs far apart. He was wrapped in some sort of dark ulster or blanket. I can see the two of them now as they stood.” said Holmes quietly. and his thick lips were writhed back from his teeth. which grinned and chattered at us with half animal fury. shrieking out curses. misshapen head and a shock of tangled.

Not one step could he possibly take either forward or backward. with her bow in the air and her stern flush with the water. but his stump instantly sank its whole length into the sodden soil. but there was no sign of the Islander. This. so we transferred it carefully to our own little cabin. The two Smiths. Somewhere in the dark ooze at the bottom of the Thames lie the bones of that strange visitor to our shores. As we steamed slowly upstream again. with a dull thud. with a kind of choking cough. menacing eyes amid the white swirl of the waters. In vain he struggled and writhed. 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 and to drag him. only clearing her by a few feet. father and son. I caught one glimpse of his venomous. It was a wild and desolate place. threw up his arms. Our pistols rang out together. ran up upon the mud-bank. there could be no question. The launch. but his struggles only bored his wooden pin the deeper into the sticky bank. so that his boat made straight in for the southern bank. There was no key. and clapped it to his lips. fell sideways into the stream. sat sullenly in their launch but came aboard meekly enough when commanded. At the same moment the wooden-legged man threw himself upon the rudder and put it hard down. but she was already nearly at the bank. was the same that had contained the ill-omened treasure of the Sholtos. but it was of considerable weight. we flashed our searchlight in every direction. and. The fugitive sprang out. over our side. A solid iron chest of Indian workmanship stood upon the deck. with pools of stagnant water and beds of decaying vegetation. He yelled in impotent rage and kicked frantically into the mud with his other foot.school-ruler. where the moon glimmered upon a wide expanse of marshland. The Aurora herself we hauled off and made fast to our stern. . He whirled round. We were round after her in an instant. while we shot past her stern. like some evil fish.

just behind where we had been standing. stuck one of those murderous darts which we knew so well.” said Holmes. “We were hardly quick enough with our pistols. 1998 Chapter 11 .” There. It must have whizzed between us at the instant we fired. sure enough. pointing to the wooden hatchway.“See here. but I confess that it turned me sick to think of the horrible death which had passed so close to us that night. David Soucek. Holmes smiled at it and shrugged his shoulders in his easy fashion.

as I had lately seen. His age may have been fifty or thereabouts. curly hair was thickly shot with gray.The Sign of Four Chapter 11 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. open-air life. though his heavy brows and aggressive chin gave him. a terrible expression when moved to anger. Once he looked up at me with a gleam of something like humour in his eyes. His face in repose was not an unpleasing one. . It seemed to me that there was more sorrow than anger in his rigid and contained countenance. He sat now with his handcuffed hands upon his lap. while he looked with his keen. with a network of lines and wrinkles all over his mahogany features. There was a singular prominence about his bearded chin which marked a man [140] who was not to be easily turned from his purpose. for his black. and his head sunk upon his breast. He was a sunburned reckless-eyed fellow. twinkling eyes at the box which had been the cause of his ill-doings. which told of a hard.

for if you do I hope that I may be of use to you.” “Have a cigar. The best defence that I can make is just the simple truth. sir. [141] Holmes. sir. Sholto. But it’s cursed hard that I should be lagged over this young Sholto. It was that little hell-hound. I don’t feel no malice against you for it. I welted the little devil with the slack end of the rope for it. It fairly shook me.” said Holmes. and am like to spend the other half digging drains at Dartmoor. should spend the first half of my life building a breakwater in the Andamans. I knew the habits of the house pretty well. Sholto usually went down to his supper.” he answered frankly. but it was done. “But I certainly did not know . I shall make no secret of the business. of Scotland Yard. I think I can prove that the poison acts so quickly that the man was dead before ever you reached the room. for you are very wet. and it was the time when Mr. How could you expect so small and weak a man as this black fellow to overpower Mr. I’d have half killed Tonga for it if he had not scrambled off. sir. He is going to bring you up to my rooms. and I shall ask you for a true account of the matter. Sholto and hold him while you were climbing the rope?” “You seem to know as much about it as if you were there.” said Holmes. though how you kept on it is more than I can tell. It was all we could do to overhaul her. That was how he came to leave his club. I had no part in it. Tonga. To him it brought murder. I say. I would have thought no more of knifing him than of smoking this cigar. who shot one of his cursed darts into him. but there was no choice.” “And so am I.” “All is well that ends well.” he remarked. “I think I shall have a pull at that flask. which I dare say helped to put you on our track. sir. I think we may all congratulate each other. I was as grieved as if it had been my blood-relation. You must make a clean breast of it. who have a fair claim to half a million of money. “and you had best take a pull out of my flask. I give you my word on the book that I never raised hand against Mr. if it had been the old major I would have swung for him with a light heart. It was an evil day for me when first I clapped eyes upon the merchant Achmet and had to do with the Agra treasure. sir. But it does seem a queer thing. to Major Sholto it brought fear and guilt. 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. Jonathan Small. with whom I had no quarrel whatever. you must confess that you cut it rather fine.” “That he was.” At this moment Athelney Jones thrust his broad face and heavy shoulders into the tiny cabin. to me it has meant slavery for life. which never brought anything but a curse yet upon the man who owned it. and some of his darts too. Well. “Quite a family party.” he added with a bitter smile. “that I. as he tells me.“Well. Pity we didn’t take the other alive. and I could not undo it again. The truth is that I hoped to find the room clear. Athelney Jones. “I am sorry that it has come to this.” said Holmes. lighting a cigar. “I don’t believe that I can swing over the job.” “You are under the charge of Mr. Now. Holmes.

outward bound for the Brazils. You will drive. that we may make an inventory first. however. It is most irregular. but of course an agreement is an agreement. the Esmeralda. though my . on our way to the station. We told him nothing.” said Jones. We have had work enough already through you. and tinting with a dull. Cecil Forrester’s. if he has done no wrong we shall see that no wrong comes to him. and her whole pose and figure spoke of an absorbing melancholy. Cecil Forrester was out for the evening.” said Small shortly. send an inspector with you. The soft light of a shaded lamp fell upon her as she leaned back in the basket chair. with the treasure-box.” “It is a pity there is no key. and a bright flush of surprise and of pleasure coloured her pale cheeks. I shall drive. she explained. I need hardly tell you that I am taking a very grave responsibility upon myself in doing this. we are not so quick in condemning them. At the sound of my footfall she sprang to her feet.” “Neither he did. so to the drawing-room I went. “and shall land you.” she said. Dr. However. but I never dreamed that it might be you. with my heavy iron box. Miss Morstan. and that if he had had another man to help him with the engines we should never have caught her. You will have to break it open. What news have you brought me?” “I have brought something better than news. Bring the box back with you to the Baker Street rooms. was in the drawing-room. metallic sparkle the rich coils of her luxuriant hair. She was seated by the open window. “I thought that Mrs. at Gravesend. Doctor. leaving the obliging inspector in the cab. A quarter of an hour’s drive brought us to Mrs. my man?” “At the bottom of the river. playing over her sweet grave face. and with a bluff. Mrs. but we paid him well. no doubt?” “Yes. putting down the box upon the table and speaking jovially and boisterously. “Hum! There was no use your giving this unnecessary trouble. One white arm and hand drooped over the side of the chair. and likely to be very late. I need not warn you to be careful. He swears he knew nothing of this Norwood business. box in hand. and he was to get something handsome if we reached our vessel. Where is the key. since you have so valuable a charge.” They landed me at Vauxhall. with a little touch of scarlet at the neck and waist. Forrester had come back very early. Watson. If we are pretty quick in catching our men. You will find us there.” “Smith says she is one of the fastest launches on the river.that the Aurora was such a clipper.” It was amusing to notice how the consequential Jones was already beginning to give himself airs on the strength of the capture. “I heard a cab drive up. I must. dressed in some sort of white diaphanous material. as a matter of duty.” said I. “We will be at Vauxhall Bridge presently. however. however. I could see that the speech had not been lost upon him.” cried our prisoner–“not a word. The servant seemed surprised at so late a visitor. genial inspector as my companion. I chose his launch because I heard that she was a flier.” “Well. From the slight smile which played over Sherlock Holmes’s face.

I have brought you a fortune. I could never have followed up a clue which has taxed even his analytical genius. well made. Dr. The hasp sprang open with a loud snap. We both stood gazing in astonishment.” There was in the front a thick and broad hasp. She listened with parted lips and shining eyes to my recital of our adventures. our expedition in the evening. “It was nothing.heart was heavy [142] within me.” she said as I hastened to pour her out some water. The ironwork was two-thirds of an inch thick all round. “This is Indian work. I suppose?” “Yes. It was massive. “What a pretty box!” she said. Where is the key?” “Small threw it into the Thames. With all the will in the world.” I answered. “The box alone must be of some value. There was no eagerness in her voice. she turned so white that I feared that she was about to faint. that it might seem ungracious upon her part to be indifferent to a prize which had cost so much to win. “If I have it.” She glanced at the iron box. Forrester’s poker. With trembling fingers I flung back the lid. Under this I thrust the end of the poker and twisted it outward as a lever. doubtless. thinking that it would interest you to be the first to see it. There will be few richer young ladies in England. “It is nothing.” said she. The box was empty! No wonder that it was heavy. but not one shred or crumb of . no.” she said. trying to raise it. “I must borrow Mrs.” said she. and she glanced at me curiously.” “And so heavy!” she exclaimed. we very nearly lost it at the last moment.” “No. it is Benares metal-work.” “It would be of the greatest interest to me. Is it not glorious?” I think I must have been rather over-acting my delight. “I am all right again. Think of that! An annuity of ten thousand pounds. Watson.” “Pray sit down and tell me all about it. When I spoke of the dart which had so narrowly missed us. coolly enough. There is the treasure. and that she detected a hollow ring in my congratulations. “Yes. and the wild chase down the Thames. the appearance of Athelney Jones. “I have brought you something which is worth all the news in the world. like a chest constructed to carry things of great price. It was a shock to me to hear that I had placed my friends in such horrible peril. however.” “That is all over. and solid. “I owe it to you. It had struck her.” I answered.” I answered. What could be brighter than that? I got leave to bring it with me. for I saw her eyebrows rise a little. I will tell you no more gloomy details. this is the great Agra treasure. “Is that the treasure then?” she asked. the discovery of the Aurora. I narrated briefly what had occurred since I had seen her last. Half of it is yours and half is Thaddeus Sholto’s. As it was. Holmes’s new method of search. “not to me but to my friend Sherlock Holmes. Let us turn to something brighter. stooping over it. wrought in the image of a sitting Buddha. You will have a couple of hundred thousand each.

‘Thank God. I knew that night that I had gained one. as truly as ever a man loved a woman. She did not withdraw it. That is why I said. As I listened to the words and realized what they meant.’ too. taking her hand. It was absolutely and completely empty. Because this treasure. sealed my lips.” said Miss Morstan calmly.” she whispered as I drew her to my side. 1998 Chapter 12 . “Because I love you. questioning smile. She looked at me with a quick. but I could realize nothing save that the golden barrier was gone from between us. “Thank God!” I ejaculated from my very heart. It was selfish. wrong. disloyal.’” “Then I say ‘Thank God. no doubt.” I said. “Because you are within my reach again. “The treasure is lost. these riches. a great shadow seemed to pass from my soul. David Soucek. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. Whoever had lost a treasure.metal or jewellery lay within it. I did not know how this Agra treasure had weighed me down [143] until now that it was finally removed. Mary. “Why do you say that?” she asked.

.

it would have been easier for you to have thrown box and all.” I said. Well.” he repeated. Small. the prisoner.The Sign of Four Chapter 12 THE STRANGE STORY OF JONATHAN SMALL A VERY patient man was that inspector in the cab. I have put it away where you shall never lay hand upon it.” he answered with a shrewd. “It is my treasure.” he cried exultantly. I know that they would have had me do just what I have done. side-long look. and throw the treasure into the Thames rather than let it go to kith or kin of Sholto or Morstan. “Yes. “Where there is no money there is no pay. “he will see that you are rewarded. for it was a weary time before I rejoined him. It’s been the sign of four with us always. and he. I have acted all through for them as much as for myself.” “You are deceiving us. When I saw that your launch must catch us.” The inspector shook his head despondently. however. and I know that they cannot. “This is your doing. unless it is three men who are in the Andaman convictbarracks and myself. while Small sat stolidly opposite to him with his wooden leg cocked over his sound one. His face clouded over when I showed him the empty box. I put the loot away in a safe place. Thaddeus Sholto is a rich man. As I exhibited the empty box he leaned back in his chair and laughed aloud. “if you had wished [144] to throw the treasure into the Thames. treasure or no. My companion lounged in his armchair with his usual listless expression. “There goes the reward!” said he gloomily. There are no rupees for you this journey. I tell you that no living man has any right to it.” said Athelney Jones angrily. for they had changed their plans so far as to report themselves at a station upon the way. for the detective looked blank enough when I got to Baker Street and showed him the empty box. Small. They had only just arrived. “The man that was clever enough to hunt .” said Athelney Jones sternly. It was not to make them rich that we did for Achmet. You’ll find the treasure where the key is and where little Tonga is.” “Mr.” His forecast proved to be correct. I know now that I cannot have the use of it. Athelney Jones will think.” “Easier for me to throw and easier for you to recover. and if I can’t have the loot I’ll take darned good care that no one else does. “and so Mr. Holmes. This night’s work would have been worth a tenner each to Sam Brown and me if the treasure had been there. “It’s a bad job.

It is all fair and above-board. was in [145] the water at the same time. “If you had helped justice.” “This is a very serious matter. and all this came out in a wild whirl of words. That was how I earned the Agra treasure. Thank you. all night chained up in the filthy convict-huts. or have one of Tonga’s darts in my hide. you would have had a better chance at your trial. you have been very fair-spoken to me.” Small had dropped his mask of stoicism. At last. and I’ve had downs. which was just starting for India. but the truth is that I was never much of a credit to the family. I bear no grudge for that. and he was one of . and I’ll put my lips to it if I am dry. chapel-going folk. instead of thwarting it in this way. when I was fool enough to go swimming in the Ganges. What I say to you is God’s truth. It went to my heart to do it though. They were all steady. I have often thought of taking a look round there. “You forget that we know nothing of all this. and the handcuffs clanked together with the impassioned movement of his hands. If you want to hear my story. all day at work under the mangrove-tree. racked with ague. 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. sir. it may be a harder job. and we cannot tell how far justice may originally have been on your side. bullied by every cursed black-faced policeman who loved to take it out of a white man. however. I had just got past the goose-step and learned to handle my musket. I could understand. there’s no good grieving over it.” “Justice!” snarled the ex-convict.” “Well. “I am a Worcestershire man myself. well known and respected over the countryside. “We have not heard your story.” said Holmes quietly. Luckily for me. but I’ve learned not to cry over spilled milk. while I was always a bit of a rover. when I was about eighteen. However.me down is clever enough to pick an iron box from the bottom of a river. I have no wish to hold it back. and I doubt if they would be so very glad to see me. for I got into a mess over a girl and could only get out of it again by taking the Queen’s shilling and joining the Third Buffs. as I saw the fury and the passion of the man. bitten by mosquitoes. while his eyes blazed. I gave them no more trouble. 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. I’ve had ups in my life. Small. my company sergeant. “A pretty justice! Whose loot is this. small farmers. I was half mad when you came up with us. every word of it. however. though I can see that I have you to thank that I have these bracelets upon my wrists. “I wasn’t destined to do much soldiering. Now that they are scattered over five miles or so. John Holder. 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. Still. you can put the glass beside me here.” said the detective. born near Pershore. I dare say you would find a heap of Smalls living there now if you were to look. 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.

to all appearance. for white folk out there feel their hearts warm to each other as they never do here at home. used to do the book-work and the managing. gentlemen–a deal more than I do. I and Dawson. and four sepoys lying across each other in front of him. and the country was a perfect hell. just above the knee. while the country was in a blaze about him. where were the nearest troops. drinking whisky-pegs and smoking cheroots. Our plantation was at a place called Muttra. What I had to do was to ride over the plantation. To make a long story short. as Surrey or Kent. What with the shock and the loss of blood. Suddenly. He happened to be a friend of our colonel’s. However. without a note of warning. He had it in his head that the affair had been exaggerated. “I was. wanted an overseer to look after his coolies and keep them up to their work. the colonel recommended me strongly for the post. and to report the idlers. though not yet in my twentieth year. Abel White was an obstinate man. A little further up the road Dawson himself was lying on his face. I was five months in hospital over it. as the work was mostly to be done on horseback. pretty down on my luck at this time. and day after day we had small companies of Europeans passing through our estate with their wives and children. with an empty revolver in his hand. and should have been drowned if Holder had not caught hold of me and paddled for the bank. I rode down to see what it was. near the border of the Northwest Provinces. I found myself invalided out of the Army and unfitted for any active occupation. very like. I had been away on a distant plantation and was riding slowly home in the evening. and altogether I was content to spend the remainder of my life in indigo-planting. but at that moment I saw thick smoke curling up . and when at last I was able to limp out of it with this timber toe strapped to my stump. “Well. Well. Of course you know all about it. and that it would blow over as suddenly as it had sprung up. one fine day the crash came. There he sat on his veranda. Mr. quite dead. the next there were two hundred thousand black devils let loose. to keep an eye on the men as they worked. when my eye fell upon something all huddled together at the bottom of a steep nullah. Of course we stuck by him. my leg was no great obstacle. as you can imagine. and.the finest swimmers in the service. for I was a useless cripple. who had come out there as an indigo-planter. The pay was fair. I reined up my horse. my misfortune soon proved to be a blessing in disguise. I was never in luck’s way long. Abel White was a kind man. who. I fainted. One month India lay as still and peaceful. A crocodile took me just as I was halfway across and nipped off my right leg as clean as a surgeon could have done it. the great mutiny broke upon us. Night after night the whole sky was alight with the burning bungalows. Mr. and half eaten by jackals and native dogs. who had taken an interest in me since the accident. on their way to Agra. all cut into ribbons. since reading is not in my line. I only know what I saw with my own eyes. and he would often drop into my little shanty and smoke a pipe with me. I had comfortable quarters. for I had enough thigh left to keep a good grip on the saddle. A man named Abel White. and the cold struck through my heart when I found it was Dawson’s wife. wondering which way I should turn. with his wife.

some Sikhs. but would only throw my own life away if I meddled in the matter. I knew then that I could do my employer no good. A volunteer corps of clerks and merchants had been formed. “As it proved. there was no great safety there. either. The whole country was up like a swarm of bees. but our powder gave out. Wherever the English could collect in little bands they held just the ground that their guns commanded. and we beat them back for a time. horse. and this I joined. Some of them pointed at me. Everywhere else they were helpless fugitives. handling our own weapons and blowing our own bugle-calls. however. and gunners. “Nothing but the worst news came to us from every side–which is not to be wondered at. and the cruellest part of it was that these men that we fought against. for if you look at the map you will see that we were right in the heart of it. We went out to meet the rebels at Shahgunge early in July. It was a fight of the millions against the hundreds. wooden leg and all. two troops of horse. whom we had taught and trained. and found myself late at night safe within the walls at Agra. with their [146] red coats still on their backs. Lucknow is rather better than a hundred miles to . At Agra there were the Third Bengal Fusiliers. were our own picked troops.from Abel White’s bungalow and the flames beginning to burst through the roof. foot. and a battery of artillery. and we had to fall back upon the city. dancing and howling round the burning house. and a couple of bullets sang past my head: so I broke away across the paddy-fields. From where I stood I could see hundreds of the black fiends.

which took all our garrison. who had borne arms against us at Chilian Wallah. I had great doubts as to whether they could arrive in time to be of any use in case of an actual attack. It was dreary work standing in the gateway hour after hour in such weather. “The river washes along the front of the old fort. First of all it is enormous in size. Two Sikh troopers were placed under my command. and everything else. As the guard was a good two hundred paces away. when I might rely upon help coming at once from the central guard. and a game-legged one at that. They could talk English pretty well. and so protects it. but on the sides and behind there are many doors. It is a very queer place–the queerest that ever I was in. The beating of drums. and the yells and howls of the rebels. but I could get little out of them. and as the space between was cut up into a labyrinth of passages and corridors. For this reason it was seldom that anyone went into it. There is a modern part. They preferred to stand together. and I was instructed if anything went wrong to fire my musket. therefore. where nobody goes.the east. with a small driving rain. For myself. and took up his position in the old fort of Agra. and these had to be guarded. to station a strong guard at every one of the innumerable gates. I don’t know if any of you gentlemen have ever read or heard anything of that old fort. Every two hours the officer of the night used to come round to all the posts to make sure that all was well. I tried again and again to make my Sikhs talk. drunk with opium and with bang. Our handful of men were lost among the narrow. I used to stand outside the gateway. We were short-handed. with hardly men enough to man the angles of the building and to serve the guns. Our leader moved across the river. therefore. both old fighting men. I was pretty proud at having this small command given me. [147] “Well. What we did was to organize a central guard-house in the middle of the fort. swarming with fanatics and fierce devil-worshippers of all sorts. For two nights I kept the watch with my Punjabees. were enough to remind us all night of our dangerous neighbours across the stream. of course. with plenty of room over. winding river and on the twinkling lights of the great city. “The city of Agra is a great place. and long corridors twisting in and out. They were tall. But the modern part is nothing like the size of the old quarter. the rattle of tomtoms. winding streets. stores. though now and again a party with torches might go exploring. From every point on the compass there was nothing but torture and murder and outrage. I was selected to take charge during certain hours of the night of a small isolated door upon the south-west side of the building. and jabber all night in their queer Sikh lingo. It was impossible for us. however. too. so that it is easy enough for folk to get lost in it. fierce-looking chaps. I should think that the enclosure must be acres and acres. and to leave each gate under the charge of one white man and two or three natives. and winding passages. children. and which is given over to the scorpions and the centipedes. Mahomet Singh and Abdullah Khan by name. It is all full of great deserted halls. but without much . “The third night of my watch was dark and dirty. looking down on the broad. women. since I was a raw recruit. and I have been in some rum corners. in the old quarter as well as in that which was actually held by our troops. and Cawnpore about as far to the south.

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. Maybe you gentlemen think that I am just making out a case for myself. Finding that my companions would not be led into conversation. I took out my pipe and laid down my musket to strike the match. for. and that this was the beginning of an assault. but I give you my word that when I thought of that.success. therefore. the one whom they called Abdullah Khan. in silence. he whispered: ‘Don’t make a noise. One of them snatched my firelock up and levelled it at my head. sahib. The fort is safe enough. I could read it in the fellow’s brown eyes. The man who held me seemed to know my thoughts. I waited. and I knew that if I raised my voice I was a dead man. I opened my mouth with the intention of giving a scream. At two in the morning the rounds passed and broke for a moment the weariness of the night. There are no rebel dogs on this side of the river. and the women and children be treated as they were in Cawnpore. though I felt the point of the knife at my throat. If our door were in the hands of the sepoys the place must fall. “‘Listen to me. if it was my last one. ‘You must either be with us now. “My first thought was that these fellows were in league with the rebels. to see what it was that they wanted from me. or .’ said the taller and fiercer of the pair. which might alarm the main guard. even as I braced myself to it.’ There was the ring of truth in what he said. In an instant the two Sikhs were upon me.

Soon. We can say no fairer. come what might.you must be silenced forever. and the Englishman knows the Sikh. ‘provided that the fort is not endangered. and give notice of their coming. then. and I tell it to you because I know that an oath is binding upon a Feringhee. to what I have to say. but the most precious stones and the choicest pearls that he had he put in an iron box and sent it by a trusty servant. to raise no hand and speak no word against us. being a careful man. though you had sworn by all the gods in their false temples. A quarter of the treasure shall be yours. there to lie until the land is at peace. and more still he has set by himself.’ said he. sahib. Which is it to be–death or life? We can only give you three minutes to decide. if the rebels won he would have his money. “‘There is a rajah in the northern provinces who has much wealth. Mahomet Singh. for he is of a low nature and hoards his gold rather than spend it. The thing is too great a one for us to hesitate. and by the threefold oath which no Sikh was ever known to break. But the Sikh knows the Englishman. your blood would have been upon the knife and your body in the water. his jewels would be saved to him. it seemed to him that the white men’s day was come. There is no middle way. We can tell the tale to you while we wait them. should take it to the fort at Agra.’ “‘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. Had you been a lying Hindoo. Hearken.’ “‘It is nothing against the fort. If you will be one of us this night. under the guise of a merchant. The thing stands thus. but if the Company conquered. Do you stand at the gate. Thus.’ said I. But I tell you now that if it is anything against the safety of the fort I will have no truck with it. for through all the land he could hear of nothing but of their death and their overthrow. Yet. and we shall pass over to our brothers in the rebel army. ‘I am as ready to be rich as you can be if you will but show me how it can be done.’ I answered. or your body this night shall be thrown into the ditch. that you shall have your fair share of the loot. We ask you to be rich. Either you are heart and soul with us on your oath on the cross of the Christians. for the time is passing. he made such plans that. though his lands are small. however. Much has come to him from his father.’ said he. ‘We only ask you to do that which your countrymen come to this land for.’ “‘You will swear.’ [148] “‘But what is the treasure then?’ I asked. Dost Akbar must have his share. then. “‘No. who. That which was in gold and silver he kept by him in the vaults of his palace. either now or afterwards?’ “‘I will swear it. ‘You have not told me what you want of me. we will swear to you upon the naked knife. ‘by the bones of your father. by the cross of your faith. and that we may trust you.’ “‘There are but three. by the honour of your mother. Having thus . half at least of his treasure should be left to him. so you can drive home your knife and welcome. and all must be done before the rounds come again. When the troubles broke out he would be friends both with the lion and the tiger–with the sepoy and with the Company’s raj.’ “‘How can I decide?’ said I.

like ours. and how my folk would stare when they saw their ne’er-do-well coming back with his pockets full of gold moidores. heavy clouds were drifting across the sky. thinking that I hesitated. is now in the city of Agra and desires to gain his way into the fort. sahib. What could be better for the purpose? Say again. sahib. as usual. “Suddenly my eye caught the glint of a shaded lantern at the other side of the moat. however. since we do the taking of him. and we shall do the rest while . he threw himself into the cause of the sepoys. but the great treasure of the rajah shall be divided among us. already made up my mind. What say you to it. Dost Akbar has promised this night to lead him to a sidepostern of the fort. There will be enough to make every one of us rich men and great chiefs. It was strange to me to be standing there with those two wild Punjabees waiting for the man who was coming to his death. and you have been used to meeting death at every turn.’ “‘I am with you heart and soul. sahib. and I thought of what I might do in the old country with it.divided his hoard. then. for here we are cut off from all men. We have now only to wait for my brother and the merchant. then. He has devised it. He has with him as travelling-companion my foster-brother Dost Akbar. No one can know about the matter. but it is very different when there is fire and blood all round you.’ said I. The world shall know the merchant Achmet no more. “‘Here they are!’ I exclaimed. ‘Give him no cause for fear. It vanished among the mound-heaps. ‘You see that we trust you. By his doing this. but the water was in places nearly dried up. “‘It is well. [149] Abdullah Khan. who knows his secret. We will go to the gate and share the watch with Mahomet Singh. and then appeared again coming slowly in our direction. his property becomes the due of those who have been true to their salt. why should we not do the rest as well? The jewels will be as well with us as in the Company’s coffers. pressed the matter more closely. so that no man will be a rupee the better for them. handing me back my firelock. and it was hard to see more than a stonecast. mark you.’ “The rain was still falling steadily. “‘Consider.’ he answered. sahib?’ “In Worcestershire the life of a man seems a great and a sacred thing. “‘The plan is his. is not to be broken. and has chosen this one for his purpose. or if we must look upon you as an enemy. therefore. Brown. Here he will come presently. The place is lonely.’ whispered Abdullah. whether you are with us. and his jewels taken by the government. but at the talk about the treasure my heart turned to it. and it could easily be crossed. and none shall know of his coming. A deep moat lay in front of our door. ‘that if this man is taken by the commandant he will be hung or shot. Send us in with him. for your word. “‘You will challenge him. and here he will find Mahomet Singh and myself awaiting him.’ “‘Does your brother know. I had. Whether Achmet the merchant lived or died was a thing as light as air to me.’ said he. since they were strong upon his borders. “‘This pretended merchant. sahib. who travels under the name of Achmet. Now. for it was just the beginning of the wet season. of what you will do?’ I asked.

I remained at the gateway with the lantern.’ “The light had flickered onward. young sahib. while they marched in through the dark gateway. I let them scramble down the sloping bank. but I thought of the treasure. and your governor also if he will give me the shelter I ask. done up in a shawl. He seemed to be all in a quiver with fear. round fellow with a great yellow turban and a bundle in his hand. and the giant walked behind. and my heart set as hard as a flint within me. and I shall reward you.’ he answered. like a mouse when he ventures out from his hole. that I might seek the shelter of the fort at Agra. for his hands twitched as if he had the ague. I uncovered my lantern and threw a flood of light upon them. It gave me the chills to think of killing him. The two Sikhs closed in upon him on each side. ‘your protection for the unhappy merchant Achmet. splash through the mire. Never was a man so compassed round with death. The more I looked at his fat.’ came the answer.’ “I could not trust myself to speak longer with the man. and climb halfway up to the gate before I challenged them. The first was an enormous Sikh with a black beard which swept nearly down to his cummerbund. now stopping and now advancing. When he saw my white face he gave a little chirrup of joy and came running up towards me. that we may be sure that it is indeed the man. “‘Take him to the main guard.’ he panted. until I could see two dark figures upon the other side of the moat. sahib. ‘which contains one or two little family matters which are of no value to others but which I should be sorry to lose. “‘Your protection. “‘Who goes there?’ said I in a subdued voice. “‘An iron box. Have the lantern ready to uncover.’ “‘What have you in the bundle?’ I asked. I have been robbed and beaten and abused because I have been the [150] friend of the Company. The other was a little fat. “‘Friends. Outside of a show I have never seen so tall a man. It is a blessed night this when I am once more in safety–I and my poor possessions.’ said I.you stay here on guard. I have travelled across Rajpootana. frightened face. Yet I am not a beggar. . and his head kept turning to left and right with two bright little twinkling eyes. the harder did it seem that we should slay him in cold blood. It was best to get it over.

with the sound of blows. and I heard voices and a scuffle. that I am keeping my promise. My heart softened to him. Suddenly it ceased. bounding like a tiger. gentlemen.” . I am telling you every word of the business just exactly as it happened. I turned my lantern down the long straight passage. with a knife flashing in his hand. with a loud breathing of a running man. and I could see that if he once passed me and got to the open air he would save himself yet. a rush of footsteps coming in my direction. and close at his heels. You see. to my horror. the great black-bearded Sikh. I have never seen a man run so fast as that little merchant. He was gaining on the Sikh.“I could hear the measured tramp of their footsteps sounding through the lonely corridors. with a smear of blood across his face. A moment later there came. running like the wind. I cast my firelock between his legs as he raced past. I think myself that he may have broken his neck with the fall. and he rolled twice over like a shot rabbit. whether it is in my favour or not. but again the thought of his treasure turned me hard and bitter. Ere he could stagger to his feet the Sikh was upon him and buried his knife twice in his side. The man never uttered moan nor moved muscle but lay where he had fallen. and there was the fat man.

for there was a touch of defiance in his voice and manner as he proceeded. we all went back to the treasure. Abdullah. It was some distance off. Akbar. “Well.He stopped and held out his manacled hands for the whisky and water which Holmes had brewed for him. The earth floor had sunk in at one place. This done. too. He may have observed it. making a natural grave. I confess that I had now conceived the utmost horror of the man not only for this cold-blooded business in which he had been concerned but even more for the somewhat flippant and careless way in which he narrated it. it was my life or his when once he was in the fort. . where a winding passage leads to a great empty hall. so we left Achmet the merchant there. no doubt. deeply interested in the story but with the same disgust written upon their faces. We took [151] him to a place which the Sikhs had already prepared. and I should have been courtmartialled and shot as likely as not. A fine weight he was. “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. having first covered him over with loose bricks. for all that he was so short.” said Holmes shortly. and I.” said he. I felt that he might expect no sympathy from me. Whatever punishment was in store for him. Sherlock Holmes and Jones sat with their hands upon their knees. the brick walls of which were all crumbling to pieces. Besides. Mahomet Singh was left to guard the door. the whole business would come to light. we carried him in. If he had got out. “It was all very bad.” “Go on with your story. for people were not very lenient at a time like that. For myself.

and a great quantity of beryls. They are suspicious folk in the East. We made careful note of the place. “After we had counted our treasures we put them back into the chest and carried them to the gateway to show them to Mahomet Singh. and were not there when I recovered it. there were nearly three hundred very fine pearls. We carried the box. turquoises. In a moment. onyxes. however. The box was the same which now lies open upon your table. the very names of which I did not know at the time. When we had feasted our eyes we took them all out and made a list of them. Of course [152] he thought he had taken refuge in the fort and applied for admission there himself next day. sixty-one agates. Fresh troops came pouring in. and next day I drew four plans.’ and is said to be the second largest stone in existence. and there was no privacy in the fort nor any place where we could keep them. 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. We agreed to conceal our loot in a safe place until the country should be at peace again. “It came about in this way. This second man was ordered never to let Achmet out of his sight. some of which. for if gems of such value were found upon us it would cause suspicion. and he followed him like his shadow. That is an oath that I can put my hand to my heart and swear that I have never broken. A flying column under Colonel Greathed came round to Agra and cleared the Pandies away from it. and other stones. Then there were ninety-seven very fine emeralds. There were forty carbuncles.“It lay where he had dropped it when he was first attacked. and put the sign of the four of us at the bottom. into the same hall where we had buried the body. He went after him that night and saw him pass through the doorway. two hundred and ten sapphires. including one which has been called. twelve of which were set in a gold coronet. under certain bricks in the best-preserved wall. I believe. we made a hollow and put our treasure. these last had been taken out of the chest. 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 one hundred and seventy rubies. When the rajah put his jewels into the hands of Achmet he did it because he knew that he was a trusty man. and then to divide it equally among ourselves. and Nana Sahib made himself scarce over the frontier. After Wilson took Delhi and Sir Colin relieved Lucknow the back of the business was broken. “Well. 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. so that none might take advantage. Then we solemnly renewed our oath to stand by each other and be true to our secret. By the way. Besides this. but could . It was blinding to look upon them. therefore. one for each of us. There was no use dividing it at present. A key was hung by a silken cord to that carved handle upon the top. our hopes were shattered by our being arrested as the murderers of Achmet. There were one hundred and forty-three diamonds of the first water. however. were small. and there. Peace seemed to be settling upon the country. cats’-eyes. We opened it. there’s no use my telling you gentlemen what came of the Indian mutiny. though I have become more familiar with them since. for we had sworn that we should each always act for all. ‘the Great Mogul.

I was given a hut in Hope Town. Not a word about the jewels came out at the trial. and Lieutenant Bromley Brown. was a fast. fever-stricken place. It is a dreary. Dr. where I used to make up my drugs. if I felt lonesome. however. I was changed from Agra to Madras. and it was almost as good as having one to watch the others. sporting young chap. This seemed to him so strange that he spoke about it to a sergeant of guides. which is a small place on the slopes of Mount Harriet. “It was rather a queer position that we found ourselves in then. and two or three prison-officials. and. and that was . The three Sikhs got penal servitude for life. “The surgeon. and all beyond our little clearings was infested with wild cannibal natives. was clearly made out. standing there. “Well. and the fourth because he was known to have been in the company of the murdered man. Captain Morstan. but it is hundreds of miles from any other land. It might have driven me mad. Among other things. There we were all four tied by the leg and with precious little chance of ever getting out again. I learned to dispense drugs for the surgeon. and picked up a smattering of his knowledge. when that gorgeous fortune was ready for him outside. There are very few white convicts at this settlement. so I just held on and bided my time. A thorough search was quickly made. and I was left pretty much to myself. who were in command of the native troops.find no trace of Achmet. there was one thing which very soon struck me. so we were busy enough all day. and it was certain that we must all have been concerned in it. All the time I was on the lookout for a chance to escape. There was Major Sholto. 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. for the rajah had been deposed and driven out of India: so no one had any particular interest in them. and I was condemned to death. and there is little or no wind in those seas: so it was a terribly difficult job to get away. A very snug little party they used to make. I used to turn out the lamp in the surgery. as I had behaved well from the first. crafty old hands who played a nice sly safe game. There was digging and ditching and yam-planting. and the other young officers would meet in his rooms of an evening and play cards. The murder. I could hear their talk and watch their play. “At last it seemed to me to have come. 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 –three of us because we had held the gate that night. and a dozen other things to be done. who brought it to the ears of the commandant. Often. to have rice to eat and water to drink. 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. though my sentence was afterwards commuted to the same as the others. and the body was discovered. and there was the surgeon himself. just waiting to be picked up. and from there to Blair Island in the Andamans. and then. Somerton. though in the evening we had a little time to ourselves. I soon found myself a sort of privileged person. The surgery. who were ready enough to blow a poisoned dart at us if they saw a chance. but I was always a pretty stubborn one. I am fond of a hand at cards myself. with a small window between us. was next to his sitting-room.

Captain Morstan. and then the luck would set in against him worse than ever.’ “Two nights later he and his friend. slapping him upon the shoulder. “‘It’s all up. The major was raving about his losses. He used to pay in notes and gold at first. and I knew in my heart that I had got him. And the queer thing about it is that the real owner is outlawed and cannot hold property. “‘This is a very important matter.’ said I. Small. looking hard at me to see if I was in earnest. with small changes. He sometimes would win for a few deals just to give him heart. All day he would wander about as black as thunder. “One night he lost even more heavily than usual.’ he said at last. while the others just played to pass the time and threw their cards down anyhow. “‘I wanted to ask you. and they knew each other’s [153] game to a point. “A couple of days later Major Sholto was strolling on the beach: so I took the chance of speaking to him. but it was enough to set me thinking. . well. I could see by the twitch of his lip that there was a struggle going on within him. I thought perhaps the best thing that I could do would be to hand it over to the proper authorities. “‘Well. “‘You think. so that it belongs to the first comer. taking his cheroot from his lips.’ said I. so that he could not identify the places. and never far apart. but– –’ That was all I could hear. “‘I wish to have your advice. Night after night the soldiers got up poorer men.’ he stammered. “‘Quite that. those two. Mind.’ “‘To government. sir. “‘Well. ‘I’ve had a nasty facer myself. Small. sir–in jewels and pearls. ‘I shall have to send in my papers.’ “I told him the whole story. Major. but so it was. Give me the facts. ‘who is the proper person to whom hidden treasure should be handed over. ‘You must not say a word to anyone about it. then. what is it?’ he asked. I was sitting in my hut when he and Captain Morstan came stumbling along on the way to their quarters. ‘to government. I don’t say there was anything unfair.’ But he said it in a halting fashion. Major Sholto was the hardest hit. They were bosom friends. Morstan. old chap!’ said the other.’ “‘Nonsense. Small. but soon it came to notes of hand and for big sums. as I cannot use it myself. I am a ruined man. I know where half a million worth lies. When I had finished he stood stock still and full of thought. sir. Small. and he took to drinking a deal more than was good for him. you must not do anything rash. and then perhaps they would get my sentence shortened for me. and. came to my hut in the dead of the night with a lantern. It lies there ready for anyone. Let me hear all about it.that the soldiers used always to lose and the civilians to win. and the poorer they got the more keen they were to play. that I should give the information to the governor-general?’ said I quietly. Small?’ he gasped. and I shall see you again soon.’ “‘Half a million.’ he was saying as they passed my hut. These prison-chaps had done little else than play cards ever since they had been at the Andamans. or that you might repent.

’ “‘Hum!’ said he. and we have come to the conclusion that this secret of yours is hardly a [154] government matter. “‘Look here. but his eyes were shining with excitement and greed.’ said I. “‘It rings true. “‘But how can we gain your freedom? You know very well that you ask an impossibility. Small.’ said the major. “‘Why. eh?’ said he. and to help my three companions to theirs. “I repeated it as I had told it before. Now the question is.“‘I want you just to let Captain Morstan hear that story from your own lips.’ I answered. my friend here and I.’ He tried to speak in a cool.’ “‘It would come to fifty thousand apiece. and at least look into it. ‘We have been talking it over. ‘It’s good enough to act upon?’ “Captain Morstan nodded. ‘A fifth share! That is not very tempting. We shall then take you into partnership and give you a fifth share to divide between you. as to that. Small. trying also to be cool but feeling as excited as he did. if we could agree as to terms.’ said he. I shall want you to help me to my freedom. The only bar to our escape is that we can get no boat fit for the voyage. and no provisions to last us for so long a time.’ I answered. but is a private concern of your own. careless way. gentlemen. ‘there is only one bargain which a man in my position can make. What price would you ask for it? We might be inclined to take it up. ‘I have thought it all out to the last detail. after all. which of course you have the power of disposing of as you think best.’ “‘Nothing of the sort. There are plenty of little yachts and yawls at Calcutta or Madras which would serve our turn .

Small. and if you will drop us on any part of the Indian coast you will have done your part of the bargain. I thought of it by day and I nursed it by night. and Dost Akbar were all present. and I know that my friend Mr.’ “Well. to track down Sholto. ‘What have three black fellows to do with our agreement?’ “‘Black or blue. Do you bring one over. To escape. ‘they are in with me. ‘We have sworn it. and we all go together. at which Mahomet Singh. . Akbar. and mark the place in the wall where the treasure was hid. Morstan. ‘Small is a man of his word. Tell me where the box is hid. and I shall get leave of absence and go back to India in the monthly relief-boat to inquire into the affair. We must first. Mahomet.’ “‘Not so fast. try and meet you. and finally to return to his duties. Captain Morstan was then to apply for leave of absence. and by the morning I had the two charts all ready. The villain Sholto went off to India. Captain Morstan showed me his name among a list of passengers in one of the mail-boats very shortly afterwards. I cared nothing for the law–nothing for the gallows. absorbing passion with me.’ he said. the money will save our commissions handsomely. We talked the matter over again. The four of us must always act together. Major Sholto was to go to India to test our story. I think we may very well trust him. as you say. of course. Even the Agra treasure had come to be a smaller thing in my mind than the slaying of Sholto. gentlemen. ‘Yet. The scoundrel had stolen it all without carrying out one of the conditions on which we had sold him the secret.’ “‘If there were only one. he taking the major’s share as well as his own. I weary you with my long story. I tell you that it is four or none with us. ‘we must. Abdullah Khan. to have my hand upon his throat–that was my one thought. growing colder as he got hot.’ the other answered.’ said he. All this we sealed by the most solemn oaths that the mind could think or the lips utter. [155] “Well. yet he could stoop to treat five men as he had treated us. and there we were to have a final division of the treasure. but he never came back again. and at last we came to an arrangement.’ “‘You see. “‘None or all. which was to lie off Rutland Island. of Abdullah. and to which we were to make our way.’ I answered. and myself. as we expected. leaving him a fortune. and he had left the Army. Morstan went over to Agra shortly afterwards and found.’ “‘Nonsense!’ he broke in. I suppose. the matter ended by a second meeting. From that I lived only for vengeance.well. I sat up all night with paper and ink. ‘I must have the consent of my three comrades. His uncle had died. We were to provide both the officers with charts of the part of the Agra fort.’ said I. We shall engage to get aboard her by night.’ said I.’ said the major. signed with the sign of four–that is. Jones is impatient to get me safely stowed in chokey. that the treasure was indeed gone.’ “‘Well. I’ll make it as short as I can. test the truth of your story. to send out a small yacht provisioned for a voyage. to meet us at Agra. He does not flinch from his friends.’ “‘It’s a dirty business. It became an overpowering. If he found the box he was to leave it there.

I had always vowed vengeance. but was always hanging about my hut. I have set my mind on many things in this life. No man ever had a more faithful mate. I talked it over with him. It was as if fate had placed him in my way that I might pay my debt before I left the island.“Well. I saw my chance of escape. and sweet potatoes. and after a couple of months I got him all right and able to walk. however. He took a kind of fancy to me then. I gave him directions to have several gourds of water and a lot of yams. When I found that he was devoted to me and would do anything to serve me. but none could I see. I learned a little of his lingo from him. He was to bring his boat round on a certain night to an old wharf which was never guarded. . was little Tonga. though he was as venomous as a young snake. But it was weary years before my time came. He was sick to death and had gone to a lonely place to die. “He was staunch and true. Somerton was down with a fever a little Andaman Islander was picked up by a convict-gang in the woods. and this made him all the fonder of me. roomy canoe of his own. and his carbine on his shoulder. One day when Dr. I looked about for a stone to beat out his brains with. there was one of the convict-guard down there–a vile Pathan who had never missed a chance of insulting and injuring me. I have told you that I had picked up something of medicine. and would hardly go back to his woods. and now I had my chance. “Tonga–for that was his name–was a fine boatman and owned a big. He stood on the bank with his back to me. cocoanuts. As it chanced. and never one which I did not carry out. At the night named he had his boat at the wharf. and there he was to pick me up. I took him in hand.

For ten days we were beating about. and Tonga and I soon [156] managed to settle down among them. I saw him lying in his bed. I had no great difficulty in finding where Sholto lived. but I struck him full. I never lost sight of my purpose. and I searched his papers to see if there was any record of where he had hidden our jewels. so I came away. A hundred times I have killed him in my sleep. I got into his room that same night. They had one very good quality: they let you alone and asked no questions. on guard over him. something always turning up to keep us from London. mad that he should slip out of my clutches like that. It was too much that he should be taken to the grave without some token from the men whom he had robbed and befooled. for I could not keep my balance. and I set to work to discover whether he had realized on the treasure. however. however. bitter and savage as a man could be. I’d have come through and taken my chance with the three of them. we found ourselves in England. All the time. besides his sons and his khitmutgar. I hurried at once to the garden. You can see the split in the wood now where I hit him. only even as I looked at him his jaw dropped. and I pinned it on his bosom. I got word that he was dying. with which I made a sort of a sail. but he was pretty sly and had always two prize-fighters. At last. and. Then I tried to get at him in many ways. so I scrawled down the sign of the four of us. he had a long bamboo spear. but when I got up I found him still lying quiet enough. 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. trusting to luck. . and I knew that he was gone.“Then a queer thought came into my head and showed me where I could lay my hand on a weapon. Here and there we drifted about the world. and knocked the whole front of his skull in. We both went down together. I sat down in the darkness and unstrapped my wooden leg. “Well. I made friends with someone who could help me–I name no names. and on the eleventh we were picked up by a trader which was going from Singapore to Jiddah with a cargo of Malay pilgrims. however. looking through the window. and in an hour we were well out at sea. as it had been on the chart. and some Andaman cocoanut matting. I would dream of Sholto at night. if I were to tell you all the adventures that my little chum and I went through. however. They were a rum crowd. you would not thank me. his arms and his gods. though. or if he still had it. some three or four years ago. With three long hops I was on him. I made for the boat. He put his carbine to his shoulder. There was not a line. for I don’t want to get anyone else in a hole–and I soon found that he still had the jewels. Tonga had brought all his earthly possessions with him. with his sons on each side of him. Among other things. “One day. for I would have you here until the sun was shining.

however. about a trapdoor in the roof. He would eat raw meat and dance his war-dance: so we always had a hatful of pennies after a day’s work. I learned. and made off the way that he had come. I came at once and had a look at the place. At last. It seemed to me that I could manage the thing easily through Tonga. I brought him out with me with a long rope wound round his waist. Tonga thought he had done something very clever in killing him. and for some years there was no news to hear. closed the window. having first left the sign of the four upon the table to show that the jewels had come back at last to those who had most right to them. I took the treasure box and let it down. to his cost. and he soon made his way through the roof. as ill luck would have it. Very much surprised was he when I made at him with the rope’s end and cursed him for a little bloodthirsty imp. He could climb like a cat. Tonga then pulled up the rope. Sholto’s supper-hour. The treasure had been found. except that they were hunting for the treasure. Bartholomew Sholto’s chemical laboratory. with my wooden leg. came what we had waited for so long. but. and also about Mr. Bartholomew Sholto was still in the room. however.“We earned a living at this time by my exhibiting poor Tonga at fairs and other such places as the black cannibal. It was up at the top of the house in Mr. but I could not see how. I still heard all the news from Pondicherry Lodge. I was to make my way up to it. and then slid down myself. for when I came up by the rope I found him strutting about as proud as a peacock. .

I had hoped that Tonga had lost all his darts. I engaged with old Smith. All this is the truth. “Well.” “Is there any other point which you would like to ask about?” asked the convict affably.” “Ah. of course. and was to give him a big sum if he got us safe to our ship. so I thought she would be a handy craft [157] for our escape. that there was some screw loose. and we all know that you are a connoisseur of crime. it is not to amuse you–for you have not done me a very good turn–but it is because I believe the best defence I can make is just to hold back nothing. and I have gone rather far in doing what you and your friend asked me. and if I tell it to you.” said Athelney Jones.” “He had lost them all. sir. but he was not in our secrets. gentlemen. “you are a man to be humoured.“I don’t know that I have anything else to tell you.” “A very remarkable account. That I did not know. I had heard a waterman speak of the speed of Smith’s launch. By the way. thank you. the Aurora. no doubt. Holmes. but duty is duty. He knew. “I had not thought of that. There is nothing at all new to me in the latter part of your narrative except that you brought your own rope.” said Sherlock Holmes. except the one which was in his blow-pipe at the time. yet he managed to shoot one at us in the boat.” my companion answered. I shall feel more at ease when we have our story-teller here safe under lock and . and how innocent I am of the death of his son.” said Holmes. “A fitting windup to an extremely interesting case. “I think not. but let all the world know how badly I have myself been served by Major Sholto.

and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. “I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. The cab still waits.” “I trust. “Have you any reason to be dissatisfied with my choice?” I asked. “I really cannot congratulate you. after we had sat some time smoking in silence. Good-night to you.” I remarked.” I was a little hurt. gentlemen both.” “Strange. Of course you will be wanted at the trial. I should never marry myself.” said he.” said I. “Not at all. and there are two inspectors downstairs. lest I bias my judgment. “You first. Miss Morstan has done me the honour to accept me as a husband in prospective. and there is the end of our little drama.” “Yes. laughing. I am much obliged to you both for your assistance.” said Jonathan Small. Small.” said I. the reaction is already upon me. She had a decided genius that way.” He gave a most dismal groan. witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father. “that my judgment may survive the ordeal.” remarked the wary Jones as they left the room. “I’ll take particular care that you don’t club me with your wooden leg. I shall be as limp as a rag for a week. “how terms of what in another man I should call .key. I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. whatever you may have done to the gentleman at the Andaman Isles. But you look weary.” “Good-night. But love is an emotional thing. “I feared as much.” “Well.

and also of a pretty spry sort of a fellow. pray what remains for you?” “For me. apropos of this Norwood business. daß die Natur nur einen Mensch aus dir schuf.” “Yes. a confederate in the house.” I remarked.” said Sherlock Holmes.laziness alternate with your fits of splendid energy and vigour. “there are in me the makings of a very fine loafer. I often think of those lines of old Goethe: [158] ”Schade. Jones gets the credit.” “The division seems rather unfair. I get a wife out of it. By the way. 1998 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes . who could be none other than Lal Rao. “You have done all the work in this business. you see that they had. David Soucek.” And he stretched his long white hand up for it. Denn zum würdigen Mann war und zum Schelmen der Stoff. “there still remains the cocainebottle. as I surmised. the butler: so Jones actually has the undivided honour of having caught one fish in his great haul.” he answered.

A Case of Identity First published in the Strand Magazine. with 7 illustrations by Sidney Paget. 1891. July 1891. with 6 illustrations by Sidney Paget. with 10 illustrations by Sidney Paget. 1891. 1892 A Scandal in Bohemia First published in the Strand Magazine.The Complete Sherlock Holmes THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES First edition of The Adventures. 1891. . Oct. 1891. The Boscombe Valley Mystery First published in the Strand Magazine. with 10 illustrations by Sidney Paget. The Five Orange Pips First published in the Strand Magazine. Aug. with 10 illustrations by Sidney Paget. with 10 illustrations by Sidney Paget. Dec. The Red-headed League First published in the Strand Magazine. The Man with the Twisted Lip First published in the Strand Magazine. 1891. Nov. Sept.

1892. with 8 illustrations by Sidney Paget. The Adventure of the Speckled Band First published in the Strand Magazine. 1892 by G. with 9 illustrations by Sidney Paget. The whole collection was first published on 14 Oct. with 9 illustrations by Sidney Paget. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet First published in the Strand Magazine. with 8 illustrations by Sidney Paget. Jan. David Soucek. 1892. 1892. Feb. May 1892.The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle First published in the Strand Magazine. with 8 illustrations by Sidney Paget. 1998 . Newnes Ltd in an edition of 10. 1892. June 1892. with 9 illustrations by Sidney Paget. The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb First published in the Strand Magazine.000 copies. Apr. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches First published in the Strand Magazine. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor First published in the Strand Magazine. Mar.

which I merely shared with all the readers of the daily press. of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee. and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. and that one particularly. and occupied his immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clues. Beyond these signs of his activity. but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He was. My own complete happiness. of dubious and questionable memory. the drowsiness of the drug. Grit in a sensitive instrument. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. And yet there was but one woman to him. From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder. He never spoke of the softer passions. who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul. while Holmes. They were admirable things for the observer–excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. I take it. remained in our lodgings in Baker Street. were abhorrent to his cold. I had seen little of Holmes lately. . the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen. and that woman was the late Irene Adler. All emotions. He was still. and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. deeply attracted by the study of crime. 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. or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses. buried among his old books. however. and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA TO SHERLOCK HOLMES she is always the woman. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. as ever. save with a gibe and a sneer. were sufficient to absorb all my attention. precise but admirably balanced mind. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. I knew little of my former friend and companion.

It seldom was. threw across his case of cigars. With hardly a word spoken. 1888–I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice). but with a kindly eye. and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. and. Then he stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular introspective fashion. He was pacing the room swiftly. and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarlet. He was at work again. I think. His rooms were brilliantly lit. He had risen out of his drug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of [162] some new problem. but he was glad. his attitude and manner told their own story. I saw his tall. eagerly. who knew his every mood and habit. As I passed the well-remembered door. which must always be associated in my mind with my wooing. spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against the blind. His manner was not effusive. and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again.One night–it was on the twentieth of March. to see me. he waved me to an armchair. even as I looked up. . I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which had formerly been in part my own. To me. with his head sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. when my way led me through Baker Street.

“It is simplicity itself. again. I observe. Just a trifle more.” “Then. she is incorrigible.” said he.” said I. had you lived a few centuries ago.” he remarked. “Indeed. Watson. “this is too much. that you have put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you. nervous hands together. You would certainly have been burned. you see. It is true that I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadful mess.” “Seven!” I answered. the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey. how do you know?” “I see it. I deduce it. As to Mary Jane.“Wedlock suits you. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately. You did not tell me that you intended to go into harness. “I think. but as I have changed my clothes I can’t imagine how you deduce it. As to your practice. Hence.” He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long. Watson. but there. and my wife has given her notice. just where the firelight strikes it. and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl?” “My dear Holmes. if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform. my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather. 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. I should have thought a little more. with . I fail to see how you work it out. I fancy. And in practice again. “my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe.

And yet you have seen. you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.” I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories.” “Quite so! You have not observed. For example. and without either signature or address. and do not take it amiss if your visitor wear a mask. you may be interested in this. I must be dull. “You see. instead of theories to suit facts. lighting a cigarette. and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope. “There will call upon you to-night. “What do you imagine that it means?” “I have no data yet. since you are interested in these little problems.a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger. if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession. Be in your chamber then at that hour. and throwing himself down into an armchair.” “Quite so. “When I hear you give your reasons.” The note was undated. But the note itself. I know that there are seventeen steps.” “How often?” “Well.” “Frequently. . This account of you we have from all quarters received. “This is indeed a mystery. at a quarter to eight o’clock [it said]. “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself. “It came by the last post.” said he.” I remarked. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours. but you do not observe.” he answered. some hundreds of times. 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 exaggerated. Now. That is just my point. “Read it aloud. indeed. and since you are good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences. The distinction is clear. because I have both seen and [163] observed.” I remarked.” “Then how many are there?” “How many? I don’t know. What do you deduce from it?” I carefully examined the writing. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. pink-tinted note-paper which had been lying open upon the table. a gentleman who desires to consult you upon a matter of the very deepest moment. and the paper upon which it was written.” He threw over a sheet of thick. By the way. 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. ha. “Eglow. “Such paper could not be bought under half a crown a packet.’ ‘P. “Precisely. and for its numerous glass-factories and paper-mills. It is peculiarly strong and stiff. It only remains. stands for ‘Papier.’ It is a customary contraction like our ‘Co. to resolve all our doubts.” As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses’ hoofs and grating . no doubt. endeavouring to imitate my companion’s processes.” a “P. And here he comes. 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.’ Now for the ‘Eg. It is in a German-speaking country–in Bohemia.’ Ha.” said Holmes. if I am not mistaken. ‘Remarkable as being the scene of the death of Wallenstein. Egria.’ which is the German for ‘Company.” “Peculiar–that is the very word.” He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves. not far from Carlsbad. or his monogram.“The man who wrote it was presumably well to do. “It is not an English paper at all.” “Not at all.’ of course.” I did so. Hold it up to the light. “What do you make of that?” asked Holmes. to discover what is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper and prefers wearing a mask to showing his face. Eglonitz–here we are.’ Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer. The ‘G’ with the small ‘t’ stands for ‘Gesellschaft. “The name of the maker.” I said. “The paper was made in Bohemia. rather. what do you make of that?” His eyes sparkled.” I remarked. my boy.’ A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. therefore. It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs. And the man who wrote the note is a German. and he sent up a great blue triumphant cloud from his cigarette.

followed by a sharp pull at the bell. if there is nothing else. and give us your best attention. paused immediately outside the door. Stay where you are. Doctor.wheels against the curb. Boots which extended halfway up his calves. I am lost without my Boswell. . and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur. completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance.” [164] “I think that I had better go. Holmes whistled. “A pair. And this promises to be interesting. hanging lip.” “But your client– –” “Never mind him. A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height. A hundred and fifty guineas apiece. “Yes. in England. There’s money in this case. I may want your help. Holmes. while he wore across the upper part of his face. Watson. His dress was rich with a richness which would. Doctor. “Come in!” said Holmes. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat. for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. and a long.” said he. Sit down in that armchair. glancing out of the window. with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. He carried a broadbrimmed hat in his hand. straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy. be looked upon as akin to bad taste.” he continued. and so may he. It would be a pity to miss it. Then there was a loud and authoritative tap. Here he comes. a black vizard mask.” “Not a bit.” A slow and heavy step. by the sound. 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. extending down past the cheekbones. which he had apparently adjusted that very moment. which had been heard upon the stairs and in the passage. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character. with a thick. “A nice little brougham and a pair of beauties.

who is occasionally good enough to help me in my cases. “Pray take a seat.” He looked from one to the other of us. Dr. “This is my friend and colleague.“You had my note?” he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German accent. Whom have I the honour to address?” . Watson.” said Holmes. “I told you that I would call. as if uncertain which to address.

“You may address me as the Count Von Kramm. but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair.” I rose to go.” said he.” said Holmes. “It is both. I understand that this gentleman. “Then I must begin. whom I may trust with a matter of the most extreme importance.” said he. your friend. To speak plainly.” The Count shrugged his broad shoulders. the matter implicates the great House of Ormstein.” . “The circumstances are of great delicacy.” said Holmes drily.” continued our strange visitor.” “I was aware of it. at the end of that time the matter will be of no importance. At present it is not too much to say that it is of such weight it may have an influence upon European history.” “You will excuse this mask. “The august person who employs me wishes his agent to be unknown to you. and every precaution has to be taken to quench what might grow to be an immense scandal and seriously compromise [165] one of the reigning families of Europe.” “I promise. If not. hereditary kings of Bohemia. or none. and I may confess at once that the title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own. I should much prefer to communicate with you alone. “And I. is a man of honour and discretion. a Bohemian nobleman. “by binding you both to absolute secrecy for two years. “You may say before this gentleman anything which you may say to me.

“I should be better able to advise you.” said our strange visitor. indeed?” murmured Holmes. Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein. “If your Majesty would condescend to state your case. Yet the matter was so delicate that I could not confide it to an agent without putting myself in his power. The name is no doubt familiar to you.” said Holmes.” murmured Holmes without . “you can understand that I am not accustomed to doing such business in my own person. during a lengthy visit to Warsaw.” “Then. pray consult.“I was also aware of that. Irene Adler. and hereditary King of Bohemia. “You are right. with a gesture of desperation.” he cried. Holmes slowly reopened his eyes and looked impatiently at his gigantic client. Why should I attempt to conceal it?” “Why.” The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable agitation. shutting his eyes once more. sitting down once more and passing his hand over his high white forehead. Our visitor glanced with some apparent surprise at the languid. settling himself down in his armchair and closing his eyes. Then.” murmured Holmes. “The facts are briefly these: Some five years ago. “Your Majesty had not spoken before I was aware that I was addressing Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein.” “Kindly look her up in my index. “I am the King. he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground.” he remarked. Doctor. lounging figure of the man who had been no doubt depicted to him as the most incisive reasoner and most energetic agent in Europe.” “But you can understand. I made the acquaintance of the well-known adventuress. I have come incognito from Prague for the purpose of consulting you.

” “Precisely so. “Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858.” “Then I fail to follow your Majesty. how is she to prove their authenticity?” “There is the writing. If this young person should produce her letters for blackmailing or other purposes. But how– –” “Was there a secret marriage?” “None. became entangled with this young person. then.” “But how?” . hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw–yes! Retired from operatic stage–ha! Living in London–quite so! Your Majesty.” said he.” “My own seal.” “It must be recovered.” “No sign of it?” “Absolutely none.” Holmes laughed.” “I was only Crown Prince then.” “Your Majesty must pay. I am but thirty now. and is now desirous of getting those letters back.” “Stolen.opening his eyes.” “My private note-paper. I was young.” returned the King reproachfully. pooh! Forgery. indeed. “Let me see!” said Holmes. Twice she has been waylaid. dear! That is very bad! Your Majesty has indeed committed an indiscretion. “Very. so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information. as I understand.” “Oh.” “Bought. Once we diverted her luggage when she travelled.” “I was mad–insane. It must be bought. Twice burglars in my pay ransacked her house.” “You have compromised yourself seriously. For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things. wrote her some compromising letters.” “No legal papers or certificates?” “None. “It is quite a pretty little problem.” [166] “Imitated. In this case I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had written a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes.” “My photograph. There has been no result.” “Pooh. Contralto–hum! La Scala.” “She will not sell.” “We have tried and failed.” “Five attempts have been made.” “We were both in the photograph. “But a very serious one to me. And what does she propose to do with the photograph?” “To ruin me.” “Stolen.

“That is very fortunate. “One other question.” “And for present expenses?” The King took a heavy chamois leather bag from under his cloak and laid it on the table. “Is Briony Lodge. second daughter of the King of Scandinavia.” “So I have heard.” he said. And good-night. as I have one or two matters of importance to look into just at present. I know that she will do it.” said he. She has the face of the most beautiful of women. And she will do it.” Holmes took a note of it. good-night. Watson.” “And Irene Adler?” “Threatens to send them the photograph. but she has a soul of steel. “There are three hundred pounds in gold and seven hundred in notes. “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. John’s Wood. and the mind of the most resolute of men.” “To Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen.” “Then. Holmes scribbled a receipt upon a sheet of his note-book and handed it to him.” said Holmes with a yawn. Rather than I should marry another woman. You may know the strict principles of her family. as to money?” “You have carte blanche. your Majesty. there are no lengths to which she would not go–none. That will be next Monday. as the wheels of the royal brougham rolled down the street.” “Then I shall drop you a line to let you know how we progress. “And Mademoiselle’s address?” he asked. She is herself the very soul of delicacy.” 2 .“I am about to be married. stay in London for the present?” “Certainly. Serpentine Avenue. then we have three days yet.” “Pray do so.” he added. You do not know her. St.” “And why?” “Because she has said that she would send it on the day when the betrothal was publicly proclaimed. of course.” [167] “Absolutely?” “I tell you that I would give one of the provinces of my kingdom to have that photograph.” “Then. and I trust that we shall soon have some good news for you. I shall be all anxiety. You will find me at the Langham under the name of the Count Von Kramm.” “Oh. 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. Your Majesty will. “Was the photograph a cabinet?” “It was.

and a drunken-looking groom. the nature of the case and the exalted station of his client gave it a character of its own. incisive reasoning.At three o’clock precisely I was at Baker Street. for. with an inflamed face and disreputable clothes. ill-kempt and side-whiskered. Indeed. It was close upon four before the door opened. but Holmes had not yet returned. walked into the room. The landlady informed me that he had left the house shortly after eight o’clock in the morning. Accustomed as I was to my friend’s amazing powers in the use of disguises. Putting his hands into his pockets. there was something in his masterly grasp of a situation. still. and his keen. however. he stretched out . subtle methods by which he disentangled the most inextricable mysteries. which made it a pleasure to me to study his system of work. I was already deeply interested in his inquiry. apart from the nature of the investigation which my friend had on hand. with the intention of awaiting him. So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head. I sat down beside the fire. With a nod he vanished into the bedroom. though it was surrounded by none of the grim and strange features which were associated with the two crimes which I have already recorded. and to follow the quick. as of old. whence he emerged in five minutes tweed-suited and respectable. I had to look three times before I was certain that it was indeed he. however long he might be.

“I then lounged down the street and found. if you are to understand the situation. and returns at seven sharp for dinner. as I expected. and what the object of his repeated visits? Was she his client. a glass of half and half. It was a delicate point. I am sure you could never guess how I employed my morning. she has turned all the men’s heads down in that part. but I have to let you see my little difficulties. two fills of shag tobacco. but without noting anything else of interest. “This Godfrey Norton was evidently an important factor in the matter. and perhaps the house. with long windows almost to the floor. She lives quietly. Godfrey Norton. I walked round it and examined it closely from every point of view.his legs in front of the fire and laughed heartily for some minutes. He is a Mr. Seldom goes out at other times. So say the Serpentine-mews. but whose biographies I was compelled to listen to. and then he choked and laughed again until he was obliged to lie back. He was a lawyer. and it widened the field of my inquiry. his friend. I lent the ostlers a hand in rubbing down their horses. or turn my attention to the gentleman’s chambers in the Temple. she had probably transferred the photograph to his keeping. See the advantages of a cabman as a confidant. of the Inner Temple. limp and helpless. I will tell you. and received in exchange twopence. to a man. It is a bijou villa. however.” “And what of Irene Adler?” I asked. but built out in front right up to the road. I suppose that you have been watching the habits. never calls less than once a day. They had driven him home a dozen times from Serpentine-mews. but the sequel was rather unusual. and you will know all that there is to know. save that the passage window could be reached from the top of the coachhouse. to say nothing of half a dozen other people in the neighbourhood in whom I was not in the least interested. and to think over my plan of campaign. two stories. really!” he cried. sings at concerts. or his mistress? If the former. it was less likely. drives out at five every day. except when she sings. When I had listened to all they had to tell.” “Quite so.” “I can’t imagine. Has only one male visitor. I began to walk up and down near Briony Lodge once more. Be one [168] of them. Large sitting-room on the right side. of Miss Irene Adler. “Oh. She is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet.” . I fear that I bore you with these details. and those preposterous English window fasteners which a child could open. and as much information as I could desire about Miss Adler. “What is it?” “It’s quite too funny. I left the house a little after eight o’clock this morning in the character of a groom out of work. What was the relation between them. “Well. He is dark. Behind there was nothing remarkable. On the issue of this question depended whether I should continue my work at Briony Lodge. handsome. and dashing. If the latter. with a garden at the back. in the chair. That sounded ominous. I soon found Briony Lodge. and knew all about him. that there was a mews in a lane which runs down by one wall of the garden. Chubb lock to the door. There is a wonderful sympathy and freemasonry among horsy men. and often twice. or what I ended by doing. but a good deal of him. well furnished.

“My cabby drove fast. or it won’t be legal. Of her I could see nothing. man. and of course it was clear enough what was in the wind.’ “This was quite too good to lose.’ he cried. ‘Drive like the devil. I paid the man and hurried into the church. ‘and half a sovereign if you reach it in twenty minutes. I don’t think I ever drove faster. but I jumped in before he could object. come. and Godfrey Norton came running as hard as he could towards me. and I could catch glimpses of him in the windows of the sitting-room. “He was in the house about half an hour. and brushed past the maid who opened the door with the air of a man who was thoroughly at home. ‘and half a sovereign if you reach it in twenty minutes. “‘The Church of St. talking excitedly. to my surprise. or whether I should perch behind her landau when a cab came through the street. Monica.’ said I. and his tie under his ear. and moustached–evidently the man of whom I had heard.’ It was twenty-five minutes to twelve. He was a remarkably handsome man. “‘Thank God.’ she cried. As he stepped up to the cab. ‘You’ll do. ‘first to Gross & Hankey’s in Regent Street. and then to the Church of St.’ . There was not a soul there save the two whom I had followed and a surpliced clergyman. Half a guinea if you do it in twenty minutes!’ “Away they went. and I was just wondering whether I should not do well to follow them when up the lane came a neat little landau. Monica in the Edgeware Road. aquiline. I only caught a glimpse of her at the moment. who seemed to be expostulating with them. I was just balancing whether I should run for it.’ he shouted.“I am following you closely. with a face that a man might die for. shouted to the cabman to wait. and waving his arms. and a gentleman sprang out. They were all three standing in a knot in front of the altar. Presently he emerged.” I answered. Monica. John. ‘The Church of St. Watson. Come! Come!’ “‘What then?’ I asked. “‘Come. but she was a lovely woman. he pulled a gold watch from his pocket and looked at it earnestly. dark. I lounged up the side aisle like any other idler who has dropped into a church. Suddenly. He appeared to be in a great hurry. the three at the altar faced round to me. pacing up and down. the coachman with his [169] coat only half-buttoned. but the others were there before us. looking even more flurried than before. The cab and the landau with their steaming horses were in front of the door when I arrived. while all the tags of his harness were sticking out of the buckles. The driver looked twice at such a shabby fare. “I was still balancing the matter in my mind when a hansom cab drove up to Briony Lodge. only three minutes. It hadn’t pulled up before she shot out of the hall door and into it.

“I was half-dragged up to the altar. and that my lucky appearance saved the bridegroom from having to sally out into the streets in search of a best man. to Godfrey Norton.” . and it was the thought of it that started me laughing just now. while the clergyman beamed on me in front. and I mean to wear it on my watch-chain in memory of the occasion. and vouching for things of which I knew nothing. It seems that there had been some informality about their license. and generally assisting in the secure tying up of Irene Adler. and there was the gentleman thanking me on the one side and the lady on the other. spinster. The bride gave me a sovereign. that the clergyman absolutely refused to marry them without a witness of some sort. It was the most preposterous position in which I ever found myself in my life. and before I knew where I was I found myself mumbling responses which were whispered in my ear. bachelor. It was all done in an instant.

” “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. or Madame. ringing the bell. I found my plans very seriously menaced.” . rather. for I have not much time. I shall want your cooperation.” “You don’t mind breaking the law?” “Not in the least.” he answered. the cause is excellent!” “Then I am your man. they separated. Doctor.” [170] “Nor running a chance of arrest?” “Not in a good cause. “and what then?” “Well. Turner has brought in the tray I will make it clear to you. We must be at Briony Lodge to meet her.“This is a very unexpected turn of affairs. “I have been too busy to think of food. They drove away in different directions. and so necessitate very prompt and energetic measures on my part. returns from her drive at seven. In two hours we must be on the scene of action. and I am likely to be busier still this evening.’ she said as she left him. It looked as if the pair might take an immediate departure.” “I shall be delighted. Now.” said I.” “But what is it you wish?” “When Mrs. “I must discuss it while I eat. however. he driving back to the temple. and she to her own house. ‘I shall drive out in the park at five as usual. By the way.” “Oh.” “I was sure that I might rely on you. At the church door. It is nearly five now. I heard no more. and I went off to make my own arrangements. Miss Irene.

” “You are to watch me. You are to station yourself close to that open window. I hope that I have made myself clear?” “I am to remain neutral. You understand?” “I am to be neutral?” “To do nothing whatever.“And what then?” “You must leave that to me. raise the cry of fire. You may then walk to the end of the street.” “It is nothing very formidable. it is almost time that I prepare for the new role I have to play. perhaps. to get near the window.” “Yes.” “Then you may entirely rely on me. Your task is confined to that.” “And when I raise my hand–so–you will throw into the room what I give you to throw. come what may. and at the signal to throw in this object.” . and to wait you at the corner of the street. fitted with a cap at either end to make it self-lighting. Four or five minutes afterwards the sitting-room window will open. Do not join in it. taking a long cigar-shaped roll from his pocket. There will probably be some small unpleasantness. “It is an ordinary plumber’s smoke-rocket. You must not interfere.” “Yes.” “Precisely. I have already arranged what is to occur. it will be taken up by quite a number of people.” he said. then to raise the cry of fire. and will. There is only one point on which I must insist. at the same time.” “That is excellent. for I will be visible to you. to watch you. It will end in my being conveyed into the house. You quite follow me?” “Entirely. and I will rejoin you in ten minutes. I think. When you raise your cry of fire.

his sympathetic smile. his baggy trousers. but the locality appeared to be less private than I expected. John Hare alone could have equalled. “You see. his white tie. It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume. waiting for the coming of its occupant. and it still wanted ten minutes to the hour when we found ourselves in Serpentine Avenue. The stage lost a fine actor. There was a group of shabbily dressed men smoking and laughing in a corner. as we paced to and fro in front of the house.” remarked Holmes. The chances are that she would be as averse . and several well-dressed young men who were lounging up and down with cigars in their mouths. His broad black hat. and general look of peering and benevolent curiosity were such as Mr. and the lamps were just being lighted as we paced up and down in front of Briony Lodge. On the contrary. when he became a specialist in crime. his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. two guardsmen who were flirting with a nursegirl. it was remarkably animated. The photograph becomes a double-edged weapon now. It was a quarter past six when we left Baker Street.He disappeared into his bedroom and returned in a few minutes in the character of an amiable and simple-minded Nonconformist clergyman. for a small street in a quiet neighbourhood. The house was just such as I had pictured it from Sherlock Holmes’s succinct description. It was already [171] dusk. his manner. even as science lost an acute reasoner. His expression. “this marriage rather simplifies matters. a scissorsgrinder with his wheel.

” “But she will refuse. We may take it. It was a smart little landau which rattled up to the door of Briony Lodge. looking back into the street.” “She will not be able to. Godfrey Norton. It must be where she can lay her hands upon it. . Now the question is. But I am inclined to think neither. It is cabinet size. had hurried up the steps. who had stepped from her carriage. while a number of better-dressed people.” “But how will you look?” “I will not look. Besides. Irene Adler. as I will still call her. and by the scissors-grinder. as our client is to its coming to the eyes of his princess. A blow was struck. who took sides with one of the loungers. and in an instant the lady. indeed?” “It is most unlikely that she carries it about with her. that she does not carry it about with her. which was increased by the two guardsmen. It must be in her own house. A fierce quarrel broke out. Holmes dashed into the crowd to protect the lady. was the centre of a little knot of flushed and struggling men. who had watched the scuffle without taking part in it. Now carry out my orders to the letter. Too large for easy concealment about a woman’s dress. but was elbowed away by another loafer.” As he spoke the gleam of the side-lights of a carriage came round the curve of the avenue. Why should she hand it over to anyone else? She could trust her own guardianship. who was equally hot upon the other side. Where are we to find the photograph?” “Where. who struck savagely at each other with their fists and sticks. Two attempts of the sort have already been made. who had rushed up with the same intention.” “Pshaw! They did not know how to look. one of the loafing men at the corner dashed forward to open the door in the hope of earning a copper. then. There is that double possibility. It is her carriage.” “But it has twice been burgled. Women are naturally secretive.” “Where.to its being seen by Mr. but just as he reached her he gave a cry and dropped to the ground. and they like to do their own secreting. She knows that the King is capable of having her waylaid and searched.” “What then?” “I will get her to show me. At his fall the guardsmen took to their heels in one direction and the loungers in the other. but she stood at the top with her superb figure outlined against the lights of the hall. remember that she had resolved to use it within a few days. But I hear the rumble of wheels. crowded in [172] to help the lady and to attend to the injured man. with the blood running freely down his face. As it pulled up. but she could not tell what indirect or political influence might be brought to bear upon a business man. then?” “Her banker or her lawyer.

“He is dead. May we bring him in. he’s breathing now.” “He can’t lie in the street. Bring him into the sitting-room.“Is the poor gentleman much hurt?” she asked. “They would have had the lady’s purse and watch if it hadn’t been for him.” cried several voices. “No. too. This way. and a rough one. They were a gang. “But he’ll be gone before you can get him to hospital. no.” “He’s a brave fellow. marm?” “Surely. There is a comfortable sofa. Ah.” said a woman. there’s life in him!” shouted another. please!” .

Holmes had sat up upon the couch. and took the smoke-rocket from under my ulster. and to get away from the scene of uproar. I caught a glimpse of rushing figures. and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend’s arm in mine. but the blinds had not been drawn. I hardened my heart. A maid rushed across and threw open the window. He walked swiftly and in . 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. and I saw him motion like a man who is in need of air. And yet it would be the blackest treachery to Holmes to draw back now from the part which he had intrusted to me. I thought.Slowly and solemnly he was borne into Briony Lodge and laid out in the principal room. ostlers. We are but preventing her from injuring another. and servant-maids–joined in a general shriek of “Fire!” Thick clouds of smoke curled through the room and out at the open window. well dressed and ill–gentlemen. The lamps had been lit. Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street. After all. so that I could see Holmes as he lay upon the couch. and a moment later the voice of Holmes from within assuring them that it was a false alarm. I do not know whether he was seized with compunction at that moment for the part he was playing. 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. or the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man. At the same instant I saw him raise his hand. while I still observed the proceedings from my post by the window. we are not injuring her.

I had a little moist red paint in the palm of my hand. 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. and. laughing. saw that everyone in the street was an accomplice. I rushed forward. I motioned for air. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse. and I have not seen her since. I shall call with the King to-morrow. She will not be up. I rose. an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box. clapped my hand to my face. I hesitated whether to attempt to secure the photograph at once. she replaced it. when the row broke out. making my excuses.” “Then they carried me in.” “Then. In the case of the Darlington substitution scandal it was of use to me. which was the very room which I suspected. The photograph is in a recess behind a sliding panel just above the right bellpull. “Our quest is practically finished. and as he was watching me narrowly it seemed safer to wait. if you care to come with us. glanced at the rocket. “Nothing could have been better. but it is probable that when she comes she may find neither us nor the photograph.” “I do not wish to make a mystery. rushed from the room.” “And when will you call?” “At eight in the morning. as I told you she would. We will be shown into the sitting-room to wait for the lady. so that we shall have a . She would rush to secure it. and became a piteous spectacle.” “And now?” I asked. Doctor. You. They laid me on a couch.” “I am still in the dark. fell down. and also in the Arnsworth Castle business. “You did it very nicely.” “You have the photograph?” “I know where it is. The alarm of fire was admirably done.” [173] “That also I could fathom. and I have more than once taken advantage of it. When a woman thinks that her house is on fire. It is an old trick. of course. When I cried out that it was a false alarm.” “I guessed as much. and I was determined to see which. and I caught a glimpse of it as she halfdrew it out.” “How did that help you?” “It was all-important. her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. What else could she do? And into her sitting-room. It is all right. escaped from the house. “The matter was perfectly simple. She was bound to have me in. A married woman grabs at her baby.” “And how did you find out?” “She showed me. and with you. She responded beautifully. She was there in an instant. They were all engaged for the evening. It lay between that and her bedroom. but the coachman had come in. and you had your chance.” he remarked. The smoke and shouting were enough to shake nerves of steel.silence for some few minutes until we had turned down one of the quiet streets which lead towards the Edgeware Road. It might be a satisfaction to his Majesty to regain it with his own hands.” said he. A little over-precipitance may ruin all. they were compelled to open the window.

for this marriage may mean a complete change in her life and habits. we must be prompt. “Now. come.” “But you have hopes?” “I have hopes.” . Mister Sherlock Holmes. but the greeting appeared to come from a slim youth in an ulster who had hurried by.” 3 I slept at Baker Street that night.” “We must have a cab.” There were several people on the pavement at the time.” We had reached Baker Street and had stopped at the door. I must wire to the King without delay. “You have really got it!” he cried. and we were engaged upon our toast and coffee in the morning when the King of Bohemia rushed into the room.” [174] “Then. staring down the dimly lit street. “Not yet. Besides. grasping Sherlock Holmes by either shoulder and looking eagerly into his face.” said Holmes. “I’ve heard that voice before. I wonder who the deuce that could have been. He was searching his pockets for the key when someone passing said: “Good-night. I am all impatience to be gone.clear field.

” “And the papers?” asked the King hoarsely. pulled out a photograph and a letter.” remarked Holmes. 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.” “Then that will simplify matters. Esq. The furniture was scattered about in every direction. Yet. If the lady loves her husband. looking at her with a questioning and rather startled gaze. She left this morning with her husband by the 5:15 train from Charing Cross for the Continent. To be left till called for. “All is lost.” “But she could not love him. The door of Briony Lodge was open. Sherlock Holmes. Holmes. “Irene Adler is married. my brougham is waiting.” “But to whom?” “To an English lawyer named Norton. and. I had been warned against you months ago. Holmes rushed at the bell-pull. with dismantled shelves and open drawers. when I found how I had betrayed myself.” “It is true. which was not broken until we drew up in Serpentine Avenue.” We descended and started off once more for Briony Lodge. white with chagrin and surprise. You took me in completely. she does not love your Majesty. I had been told that if the King employed an agent it would certainly be you.“No.” “And why in hopes?” “Because it would spare your Majesty all fear of future annoyance. The photograph was of Irene Adler herself in evening dress. “Mr. I believe?” said she. But then. and an elderly woman stood upon the steps. followed by the King and myself. SHERLOCK HOLMES: You really did it very well. Until after the alarm of fire. the letter was superscribed to “Sherlock Holmes.” “I am in hopes that she does. And your address had been given me. there is no reason why she should interfere with your Majesty’s plan. I had not a suspicion.” “What!” Sherlock Holmes staggered back.” My friend tore it open. I began to think. “Do you mean that she has left England?” “Never to return. “I am Mr. “Indeed! My mistress told me that you were likely to call.” answered my companion. tore back a small sliding shutter. It was dated at midnight of the preceding night and ran in this way: MY DEAR MR.” “We shall see. you made me reveal what .” He pushed past the servant and rushed into the drawingroom. with all this. as if the lady had hurriedly ransacked them before her flight. “Married! When?” “Yesterday. and we all three read it together. If she does not love your Majesty. plunging in his hand. She watched us with a sardonic eye as we stepped from the brougham.

Sherlock Holmes. as I call them. when we had all three read this epistle.” “I am immensely indebted to you. The photograph is now as safe as if it were in the fire. Very truly yours. I keep it only to safeguard myself. “nothing could be more successful.you wanted to know. the coachman. Pray tell me in what way I can reward you. This ring– –” He slipped an emerald snake ring from his finger and held it out upon the palm of his hand. “Your Majesty has something which I should value even more highly. rather imprudently. wished you good-night. née ADLER. Then I. and started for the Temple to see my husband. We both thought the best resource was flight. what a woman!” cried the King of Bohemia. “You have but to name it. Sherlock Holmes. so you will find the nest empty when you call to-morrow. when pursued by so formidable an antagonist. Even after I became suspicious. to watch you. you know.” cried the King. kind old clergyman. I know that her word is inviolate.” said Holmes.” said Holmes coldly. I found it hard to think evil of such a dear. “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. I sent John. and so made sure that I was really an object of interest to the celebrated Mr. your client may rest in peace. my dear sir. Male costume [175] is nothing new to me. “I am sorry that I have not been able to bring your Majesty’s business to a more successful conclusion. The King may do what he will without hindrance from one whom he has cruelly wronged. I leave a photograph which he might care to possess. IRENE NORTON. and to preserve a weapon which will always secure me from any steps which he might take in the future. I love and am loved by a better man than he. dear Mr. I often take advantage of the freedom which it gives. I followed you to your door. and came down just as you departed. “What a woman–oh. got into my walking-clothes.” “On the contrary. As to the photograph. Well. ran upstairs. But. I have been trained as an actress myself. and I remain.” “I am glad to hear your Majesty say so.” .

he set off in my company for his chambers. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. and how the best plans of Mr. Then there is no more to be done in the matter. And when he speaks of Irene Adler.” He bowed. and. if you wish it. or when he refers to her photograph. it is always under the honourable title of the woman. turning away without observing the hand which the King had stretched out to him. but I have not heard him do it of late. “Certainly. And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia. David Soucek. 1998 The Red-headed League . “Irene’s photograph!” he cried. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women. I have the honour to wish you a very good-morning.“This photograph!” The King stared at him in amazement.” “I thank your Majesty.

my dear Watson. Very much so. This gentleman. and occasionally. “Try the settee. which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination. “I was afraid that you were engaged. that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life. “You could not possibly have come at a better time. With an apology for my intrusion. just before we went into the very simple problem presented by Miss Mary Sutherland. where there is room for doubt whether any positive crime has been committed. with a quick little questioning glance from his small. Sherlock Holmes. but none the less you must come round to my view. 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.” “Your cases have indeed been of the greatest interest to me.” The stout gentleman half rose from his chair and gave a bob of greeting. but the course of events is certainly among the most singular that I have ever listened to.” said Holmes.” “Then I can wait in the next room. has been my partner and helper in many of my most successful cases.” “So I am. Perhaps. florid-faced.” I observed. and I have no doubt that he will be of the utmost use to me in yours also. . my dear Watson. As far as I have heard it is impossible for me to say whether the present case is an instance of crime or not. fatencircled eyes.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE I HAD called upon my friend. indeed. if you will excuse my saying so. Now. Wilson. I was about to withdraw when Holmes pulled me abruptly into the room and closed the door behind me. 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. Mr. “You will remember that I remarked the other day. and to begin a narrative which promises to be one of the most singular which I have listened to for some time. Mr. relapsing into his armchair and putting his finger-tips together. and. one day in the autumn of last year and found him in deep conversation with a very stout.” he said cordially. somewhat to embellish so many of my own little adventures.” “Not at all. elderly gentleman with fiery red hair. Mr. “I know. You have shown your relish for it by the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle.” “You did. as was his custom when in judicial moods.” “A proposition which I took the liberty of doubting. Jabez Wilson here has been good enough to call upon me this morning. that for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself. Doctor.

As a rule. In the present instance I am forced to admit that the facts are. unique. to read the indications which might be presented by his dress or appearance. Sherlock Holmes’s quick eye took in my occupation. I ask you not merely because my friend Dr. 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. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman. after the fashion of my companion. to the best of my belief. A frayed top-hat and a faded brown overcoat with a wrinkled velvet collar lay upon a chair beside him. and he shook his head with a smile as he noticed my questioning glances. pompous. with his head thrust forward and the paper flattened out upon his knee. a not over-clean black frock-coat. when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events. however. As he glanced down the advertisement column. I did not gain very much. that he is a Freemason. obese. I am able to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my [177] memory. and a drab waistcoat with a heavy brassy Albert chain. and that he has . you would have the great kindness to recommence your narrative. Altogether. and a square pierced bit of metal dangling down as an ornament. and slow. I took a good look at the man and endeavoured. that he takes snuff. He wore rather baggy gray shepherd’s check trousers. and the expression of extreme chagrin and discontent upon his features.Mr.” 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 great-coat. by my inspection. unbuttoned in the front. that he has been in China. look as I would. there was nothing remarkable about the man save his blazing red head. “Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour. Wilson.

the matter becomes even more simple. did you know all that. you use an arcand-compass breastpin.” “I begin to think. for I began as a ship’s carpenter. I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even contributed to the literature of the subject. You have worked with it. “Well. Can you not find the advertisement. and the left one with the smooth patch near the elbow where you rest it upon the desk?” “Well. will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid. But the writing?” “What else can be indicated by that right cuff so very shiny for five inches.” “Ah. Holmes?” he asked. I never!” said he. and my poor little reputation. I forgot that. for example.” “Well.” Mr. Wilson?” . Jabez Wilson laughed heavily. I see a Chinese coin hanging from your watch-chain. especially as. “How did you know. such as it is. Mr.’ you know. When. Watson.done a considerable amount of writing lately. and the Freemasonry?” “I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you how I read that. of course. with his forefinger upon the paper. but his eyes upon my companion. “I thought at first that you had done something clever. ‘Omne ignotum pro magnifico. but China?” “The fish that you have tattooed immediately above your right wrist could only have been done in China.” said Holmes. but I see that there was nothing in it. then. in addition. “that I make a mistake in explaining.” “Your hands. Mr. I can deduce nothing else. and the muscles are more developed.” Mr. Your right hand is quite a size larger than your left. That trick of staining the fishes’ scales of a delicate pink is quite peculiar to China. the snuff. that I did manual labour? It’s as true as gospel. in the name of good-fortune. Jabez Wilson started up in his chair. my dear sir. “How. after all. rather against the strict rules of your order.

All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind. 7 Pope’s Court. and above the age of twenty-one years. Fleet Street.” he answered with his thick red finger planted halfway down the column. of Lebanon. are eligible.. S.[178] “Yes. U. at eleven o’clock. Pennsylvania.” 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. You just read it for yourself. to Duncan Ross. at the offices of the League. “Here it is. there is now another vacancy open which entitles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. “What on earth does this mean?” I ejaculated after I had twice read over the extraordinary announcement. Apply in person on Monday. sir. A. I have got it now. . This is what began it all.

Mr.” said Jabez Wilson. “And now. off you go at scratch and tell us all about yourself. and I know very well that he could better himself and earn twice what I am able to give him. as was his habit when in high spirits. But. and the effect which this advertisement had upon your fortunes. 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.” “It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27. “It is a little off the beaten track. Wilson. Mr. I should not wish a smarter assistant. and he’s not such a youth. too. why should I put ideas in his head?” “Why.” “Oh. Wilson. Mr. he has his faults. near the City. “His name is Vincent Spaulding. Just two months ago. mopping his forehead. and of late years it has not done more than just give me a living. your household. indeed? You seem most fortunate in having an employee who comes under the full market price. Now.” “Very good. “I have a small pawnbroker’s business at Coburg Square. It’s not a very large affair. Mr. I used to be able to keep two assistants. but now I only keep one. Sherlock Holmes. but on the whole . It’s hard to say his age.” “What is the name of this obliging youth?” asked Sherlock Holmes.” said Mr. “Never was such a fellow for photography. That is his main fault. isn’t it?” said he. it is just as I have been telling you. Doctor. I don’t know that your assistant is not as remarkable as your advertisement. of the paper and the date. and then diving down into the cellar like a rabbit into its hole to develop his pictures. Wilson?” “Well. after all. You will first make a note. It is not a common experience among employers in this age. either. 1890. if he is satisfied.Holmes chuckled and wriggled in his chair. Holmes. Snapping away with a camera when he ought to be improving his mind.

. He and a girl of fourteen. Mr. “‘Why. who does a bit of simple cooking and keeps the place clean–that’s all I have in the house. and we keep a roof over our heads and pay our debts. Mr. If my hair would only change colour. sir. “‘Never. he came down into the office just this day eight weeks. There’s no vice in him. I was often weeks on end without putting my foot over the door-mat. here’s a nice little crib all ready for me to step into. I am a very stay-at-home man. and I understand that there are more vacancies than there are men. We live very quietly.’ “‘And what are they worth?’ I asked. Wilson. You see.’ “‘Why. what is it. if we do nothing more. and as my business came to me instead of my having to go to it. for you are eligible yourself for one of the vacancies. with this very paper in his hand.’ “‘Why. I presume?” “Yes. for I am a widower and never had any family. “‘Have you never heard of the League of the Red-headed Men?’ he asked with his eyes open. sir. In that way I didn’t know much of what was going on outside. and I was always glad of a bit of news.he’s a good worker. I wonder at that. so that the trustees are at their wits’ end what to do with the money. ‘here’s another vacancy on the League of the Redheaded Men. It’s worth quite a little fortune to any man who gets it. Spaulding.’ says he. that I was a red-headed man.’ [179] “‘Why that?’ I asks. the three of us.” “He is still with you. then?’ I asked. and he says: “‘I wish to the Lord. “The first thing that put us out was that advertisement. Holmes.

with instructions to apply the interest to the providing of easy berths to men whose hair is of that colour. There was a double stream upon the stair. or anything but real bright. Every shade of colour they were–straw. “‘Tell me all about it. From north. and he had a great sympathy for all red-headed men. Mr.“‘Oh.’ “‘Not so many as you might think. or dark red. who was very peculiar in his ways. Holmes. and it need not interfere very much with one’s other occupations. fiery red.’ said I. you can easily think that that made me prick up my ears. “I never hope to see such a sight as that again. orange. and right up to the steps which led to the office. I should not have thought there were so many in the whole country as were brought together by that single [180] advertisement.” remarked Holmes . I would have given it up in despair. Then.’ said I. again. clay. but perhaps it would hardly be worth your while to put yourself out of the way for the sake of a few hundred pounds. east. and he wanted to do the old town a good turn.” “Your experience has been a most entertaining one. and some coming back dejected. blazing. and to grown men. He was very willing to have a holiday. but the work is slight. Wilson. As far as I can make out. lemon. 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. and Pope’s Court looked like a coster’s orange barrow. for the business has not been over-good for some years. and an extra couple of hundred would have been very handy. This American had started from London when he was young. as you may see for yourselves. if you cared to apply. and west every man who had a shade of red in his hair had tramped into the city to answer the advertisement. some going up in hope. He was himself red-headed. south. so I just ordered him to put up the shutters for the day and to come right away with me. I have heard it is no use your applying if your hair is light red. ‘you can see for yourself that the League has a vacancy.’ he answered.’ said he. When I saw how many were waiting. Vincent Spaulding seemed to know so much about it that I thought he might prove useful. but Spaulding would not hear of it. gentlemen. Irish-setter. and there is the address where you should apply for particulars. From all I hear it is splendid pay and very little to do. it is a fact. but we wedged in as well as we could and soon found ourselves in the office.’ “‘But. that my hair is of a very full and rich tint. How he did it I could not imagine. ‘there would be millions of red-headed men who would apply. so when he died it was found that he had left his enormous fortune in the hands of trustees. so we shut the business up and started off for the address that was given us in the advertisement. liver. as Spaulding said. Fleet Street was choked with red-headed folk. Now. you would just walk in. ‘You see it is really confined to Londoners. there were not many who had the real vivid flame-coloured tint. merely a couple of hundred a year. but. “‘Well.’ “Now. Mr. the League was founded by an American millionaire. Ezekiah Hopkins. but he pushed and pulled and butted until he got me through the crowd.’ “Well. showing me the advertisement. brick.

‘I perceive that all is as it should be. “Pray continue your very interesting statement.’ He took a step backward. ‘and he is willing to fill a vacancy in the League. “‘It would be injustice to hesitate. But we have to be careful. I cannot recall when I have seen anything so fine.’ said he as he released me. Jabez Wilson. ‘There is water in your eyes. and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. for we have twice been deceived by wigs and once by paint.’ With that he seized my hair in both his hands. ‘He has every requirement. and he closed the door as we entered. and tugged until I yelled with the pain. Getting a vacancy did not seem to be such a very easy matter.” “There was nothing in the office but a couple of wooden chairs and a deal table. I could tell you tales of cobbler’s wax which would disgust you with human nature. behind which sat a small man with a head that was even redder than mine. A groan of disappointment came up from below. He said a few words to each candidate as he came up.’ said my assistant. Then suddenly he plunged forward.’ He stepped over to the window and shouted through it at the top of his voice that the vacancy was filled. . ‘You will. after all. so that he might have a private word with us. cocked his head on one side. and gazed at my hair until I felt quite bashful. wrung my hand. when our turn came the little man was much more favourable to me than to any of the others. However. and congratulated me warmly on my success. “‘This is Mr. I am sure. 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.’ the other answered. however.’ “‘And he is admirably suited for it.’ said he. excuse me for taking an obvious precaution.as his client paused and refreshed his memory with a huge pinch of snuff.

and by evening I was in low spirits again. Wilson!’ said Vincent Spaulding.’ said he. for the propagation and spread of the red-heads as well as for their maintenance.“‘My name. which is just before payday. or at least in the building.’ said he. and let me congratulate you once more on the important position which you have been fortunate enough to gain. Jabez Wilson.’ He bowed me out of the room. Duncan Ross. but we provide this table and chair. and I should not think of leaving. pens. “‘In the case of another. Mr.’ said I. so it would suit me very well to earn a little in the mornings. I knew that my assistant was a good man. ‘I should be able to look after that for you. Mr. but we must stretch a point in favour of a man with such a head of hair as yours. ‘And the pay?’ “‘Is £4 a week. “‘Oh. If you leave. ‘is Mr.’ said I. Holmes. I thought over the matter all day. and I am myself one of the pensioners upon the fund left by our noble benefactor.’ I answered. Mr. for I have a business already. “‘Ten to two. Wilson? Have you a family?’ “I answered that I had not. of course. you forfeit your whole position forever. Besides. “His face fell immediately.’ “‘And the work?’ “‘Is to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Are you a married man. and I went home with my assistant. for I thought that I was not to have the vacancy after all.’ “‘It’s only four hours a day. especially Thursday and Friday evening. ‘neither sickness nor business nor anything else.’ said Mr. it is a little awkward. Mr. good-bye.’ said I. ‘the objection might be fatal. You don’t comply with the conditions if you budge from the office during that time. Will you be ready to-morrow?’ “‘Certainly. “‘Then. When shall you be able to enter upon your new duties?’ [181] “‘Well. “‘No excuse will avail. There is the first volume of it in that press. I was so pleased at my own good fortune. ‘that is very serious indeed! I am sorry to hear you say that. The fund was. “‘That would suit me very well.’ “My face lengthened at this.’ “Now a pawnbroker’s business is mostly done of an evening. and blotting-paper.’ “‘And the work?’ “‘Is purely nominal. Holmes. never mind about that.’ “‘What would be the hours?’ I asked. for I had quite persuaded myself that the whole affair must . the whole time. and that he would see to anything that turned up. The will is very clear upon that point. You must find your own ink. Duncan Ross. It is exceedingly unfortunate that you should be a bachelor. There you must stay. you have to be in the office. but after thinking it over for a few minutes he said that it would be all right. “Well. hardly knowing what to say or do. or you lose your billet. Mr. “‘Dear me!’ he said gravely.’ “‘What do you call purely nominal?’ “‘Well.

However. of course.be some great hoax or fraud.” . I started off for Pope’s Court. with a little square of cardboard hammered on to the middle of the panel with a tack. in the morning I determined to have a look at it anyhow. or that they would pay such a sum for doing anything so simple as copying out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Vincent Spaulding did what he could to cheer me up. complimented me upon the amount that I had written. and then. “Well. and I had written about Abbots and Archery and Armour and Architecture and Attica. It seemed altogether past belief that anyone could make such a will. and with a quill-pen. I [182] never dared to leave the room for an instant. Duncan Ross was there to see that I got fairly to work. Mr. but by bedtime I had reasoned myself out of the whole thing. And then suddenly the whole business came to an end. that I would not risk the loss of it. He started me off upon the letter A. and suited me so well. and I had pretty nearly filled a shelf with my writings. It cost me something in foolscap. and on Saturday the manager came in and planked down four golden sovereigns for my week’s work. “This went on day after day. The table was set out ready for me. At two o’clock he bade me good-day. and you can read for yourself. Holmes. Here it is. Still. Every morning I was there at ten. but he would drop in from time to time to see that all was right with me. for I was not sure when he might come. everything was as right as possible. to my surprise and delight. but the door was shut and locked. and locked the door of the office after me. and hoped with diligence that I might get on to the B’s before very long. and the billet was such a good one. so I bought a penny bottle of ink. he did not come in at all. and then he left me. It was the same next week. and the same the week after. “Eight weeks passed away like this. and Mr.” “To an end?” “Yes. Duncan Ross took to coming in only once of a morning. after a time. though what its object might be I could not imagine. sir. and seven sheets of foolscap paper. And no later than this morning. I went to my work as usual at ten o’clock. and every afternoon I left at two. By degrees Mr.

“I really wouldn’t miss your case for the world. It is most refreshingly unusual.He held up a piece of white card-board about the size of a sheet of notepaper. but none of them seemed to know anything about it. no. It read in this fashion: THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED.” “No. Pray what steps did you take when you found the card upon the door?” “I was staggered. something just a little funny about it. He said that he had never heard of any such body. I can go elsewhere. flushing up to the roots of his flaming head. Finally. “I cannot see that there is anything very funny. shoving him back into the chair from which he had half risen. October 9. Then I called at the offices round. 1890. sir. But there is.” cried Holmes. Sherlock Holmes and I surveyed this curt announcement and the rueful face behind it. and I asked him if he could tell me what had become of the Redheaded League. I went to the landlord. until the comical side of the affair so completely overtopped every other consideration that we both burst out into a roar of laughter. Then I . if you will excuse my saying so. who is an accountant living on the groundfloor. “If you can do nothing better than laugh at me.” cried our client. I did not know what to do.

” “As far as you are personally concerned. He could only say that if I waited I should hear by post. Jabez Wilson.” remarked Holmes. richer by some £30. and no one in it had ever heard of either Mr. and what their object was in playing this prank–if it was a prank–upon me. But that was not quite good enough. ‘the gentleman at No. to say nothing of the minute knowledge which you have gained on every subject which comes under the letter A.” “What is he like. very quick in his ways.” said Holmes. Duncan Ross was. this Vincent Spaulding?” “Small. Wilson.” “And you did very wisely. and I shall be happy to look into it.” “At half-wages.’ “‘Where could I find him?’ “‘Oh. I have lost four pound a week. Yes. Paul’s. You have lost nothing by them.” “We shall endeavour to clear up these points for you. and I took the advice of my assistant. as I had heard that you were good enough to give advice to poor folk who were in need of it. Mr. He was a solicitor and was using my room as a temporary convenience until his new premises were ready. He did tell me the address. I came right away to you. This assistant of yours who first called your attention to the advertisement–how long had he been with you?” “About a month then. at his new offices. you are. “‘Well. 17 King Edward Street. “Your case is an exceedingly remarkable one. as I understand. [183] “I went home to Saxe-Coburg Square. But I want to find out about them. first. He answered that the name was new to him. William Morris or Mr. one or two questions. in fact. so.” “No. near St. ‘his name was William Morris. But he could not help me in any way. “I do not see that you have any grievance against this extraordinary league. sir.” “How did he come?” “In answer to an advertisement. Mr. He moved out yesterday. 4. From what you have told me I think that it is possible that graver issues hang from it than might at first sight appear. Mr. I had a dozen.’ “‘What. stout-built. I did not wish to lose such a place without a struggle. “Why.’ said he.asked him who Mr. for it cost them two and thirty pounds. and who they are.’ “‘Oh. no hair on his face.” “Grave enough!” said Mr.” “And what did you do then?” asked Holmes. Duncan Ross. Holmes.’ said I. the red-headed man?’ “‘Yes. And. Holmes.” “Yes. It was a pretty expensive joke for them.” “Was he the only applicant?” “No.” “Why did you pick him?” “Because he was handy and would come cheap.’ “I started off. though . but when I got to that address it was a manufactory of artificial knee-caps. On the contrary.

I had come to the conclusion that he had dropped asleep. I shall be happy to give you an opinion upon the subject in the course of a day or two.” “Well. “I thought as much. and indeed was nodding myself. and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.” Holmes sat up in his chair in considerable excitement. Has a white splash of acid upon his forehead. sinking back in deep thought. sir. with his thin knees drawn up to his hawk-like nose. It is your commonplace. But I must be prompt over this matter.” “Hum!” said Holmes. To-day is Saturday. Mr. “the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. 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. just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.” said he. He told me that a gypsy had done it for him when he was a lad.” I answered frankly. featureless crimes which are really puzzling. “what do you make of it all?” “I make nothing of it.” he answered. then?” I asked. and I hope that by Monday we may come to a conclusion. Wilson.” “And has your business been attended to in your absence?” “Nothing to complain of. sir. sir.he’s not short of thirty.” said Holmes when our visitor had left us.” [184] “What are you going to do. and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting out like the bill of some strange bird. yes. “To smoke. “It is quite a three pipe problem.” He curled himself up in his chair. I have only just left him. There’s never very much to do of a morning. .” “As a rule.” “That will do.” said Holmes. “It is a most mysterious business. “Have you ever observed that his ears are pierced for earrings?” “Yes. Watson. “He is still with you?” “Oh.

and then down again to the corner. clean-shaven young fellow. It was a poky.” he remarked. James’s Hall this afternoon. little. still looking keenly at the houses. Come along!” We travelled by the Underground as far as Aldersgate. Three gilt balls and a brown board with “JABEZ WILSON” in white letters. I am going through the City first. announced the place where our red-headed client carried on his business. It was instantly opened by a bright-looking. where four lines of dingy two-storied brick houses looked out into a small railed-in enclosure. which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French.“Sarasate plays at the St. who asked him to step in. . My practice is never very absorbing. the scene of the singular story which we had listened to in the morning. and we can have some lunch on the way. having thumped vigorously upon the pavement with his stick two or three times.” “Then put on your hat and come. Then he walked slowly up the street. Finally he returned to the pawnbroker’s. and a short walk took us to Saxe-Coburg Square. he went up to the door and knocked. where a lawn of weedy grass and a few clumps of faded laurel-bushes made a hard fight against a smoke-laden and uncongenial atmosphere. with his eyes shining brightly between puckered lids. and I want to introspect. Watson? Could your patients spare you for a few hours?” “I have nothing to do to-day. shabby-genteel place. “What do you think. and. Sherlock Holmes stopped in front of it with his head on one side and looked it all over. upon a corner house. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme. It is introspective.

Wilson’s assistant counts for a good deal in this mystery of the Red-headed League.” “Evidently.” “Why did you beat the pavement?” “My dear doctor. “Smart fellow.“Thank you.” answered the assistant promptly. I am sure that you inquired your way merely in order that you might see him. We are spies in an enemy’s country. and for daring I am not sure that he has not a claim to be third. the fourth smartest man in London. this is a time for observation.” The road in which we found ourselves as we turned round the corner from the retired Saxe-Coburg Square presented as great a contrast to it as the front of a [185] picture does to the back.” said I. We know something of Saxe-Coburg Square.” “What then?” “The knees of his trousers. I have known something of him before. “I only wished to ask you how you would go from here to the Strand. while the foot-paths were black with the .” said Holmes.” “Third right.” “And what did you see?” “What I expected to see. closing the door.” observed Holmes as we walked away. Let us now explore the parts which lie behind it. that. The roadway was blocked with the immense stream of commerce flowing in a double tide inward and outward. in my judgment. “He is.” “Not him. It was one of the main arteries which conveyed the traffic of the City to the north and west. “Mr. fourth left. not for talk.

we’ve done our work. Holmes the relentless. And now. as I have often thought. he had been lounging in his armchair amid his improvisations and his black-letter editions.hurrying swarm of pedestrians. for days on end. All the afternoon he sat in the stalls wrapped in the most perfect happiness.” said Holmes. being himself not only a very capable performer but a composer of no ordinary merit. ready-handed criminal agent. It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London. as it was possible to conceive. There is Mortimer’s. In his singular character the dual nature alternately asserted itself. James’s Hall I felt that an evil time might be coming upon those whom he had set himself to hunt down. the reaction against the poetic and contemplative mood which occasionally predominated in him. thin fingers in time to the music. That carries us right on to the other block. “Let me see. standing at the corner and glancing along the line. It was difficult to realize 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. gently waving his long. dreamy eyes were as unlike those of Holmes. and McFarlane’s carriage-building depot. and then off to violin-land. so it’s time we had some play. . and his extreme exactness and astuteness represented. keen-witted. A sandwich and a cup of coffee. When I saw him that afternoon so enwrapped in the music at St. the little newspaper shop. “I should like just to remember the order of the houses here. the Coburg branch of the City and Suburban Bank.” My friend was an enthusiastic musician. The swing of his nature took him from extreme languor to devouring energy. as I knew well. 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. he was never so truly formidable as when. Doctor. Then it was that the lust of the chase would suddenly come upon him. the sleuthhound. the Vegetarian Restaurant. and. and that his brilliant reasoning power would rise to the level of intuition. and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums. while his gently smiling face and his languid. where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony. the tobacconist.

Doctor. it would be as well. “Yes. I trust that I am not more dense than my neighbours. This business at Coburg Square is serious. As I drove home to my house in Kensington I thought over it all. and the ominous words with which he had parted from me. I say. and yet from his words it was evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened but what was about to happen. I shall want your help to-night. I have every reason to believe that we shall be in time to stop it. from the extraordinary story of the redheaded copier of the Encyclopaedia down to the visit to Saxe-Coburg Square.” He waved his hand.” “I shall be at Baker Street at ten. while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque.” he remarked as we emerged.” “Very well. Here I had [186] heard what he had heard. I had seen what he had seen.“You want to go home. but I was always oppressed with a sense of my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes. And. and why should I go armed? Where were . no doubt. so kindly put your army revolver in your pocket. turned on his heel. But to-day being Saturday rather complicates matters.” “At what time?” “Ten will be early enough.” “Why serious?” “A considerable crime is in contemplation. What was this nocturnal expedition.” “And I have some business to do which will take some hours. Doctor. there may be some little danger. and disappeared in an instant among the crowd.

John Clay. and I agree with you that he is [187] at the head of his profession. and though we meet signs of him at every turn. It is not too much to say that once or twice. “Still.” said Holmes.we going. It was a quarter-past nine when I started from home and made my way across the Park.” “I think you will find.” “I hope a wild goose may not prove to be the end of our chase. and forger. and I would rather have my bracelets on him than on any criminal in London. but gave it up in despair and set the matter aside until night should bring an explanation. if you say so. buttoning up his pea-jacket and taking his heavy hunting crop from the rack. we never know where to find the man himself. it is all right. sir.” “Oh. just a little too theoretical and fantastic. On entering his room I found Holmes in animated conversation with two men. Merryweather. Holmes. is young John Clay. Two hansoms were standing at the door. He’s a remarkable man. I confess that I miss my rubber.” “John Clay. thin. Jones. “You may place considerable confidence in Mr. but he is at the head of his profession. His grandfather was a royal duke. and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next. and for you. the official police agent. 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. I’ve been on his track for years and have never set eyes on him yet. if he won’t mind my saying so. I’ve had one or two little turns also with Mr. you see. He’s a young man. It is past ten. Mr. thief. with a very shiny hat and oppressively respectable frock-coat. he has been more nearly correct than the official force. but he has the makings of a detective in him. who is to be our companion in to-night’s adventure.” Sherlock Holmes was not very communicative during the long drive . Mr. If you two will take the first hansom. sad-faced man. I tried to puzzle it out. “He has his own little methods. I think you know Mr. and that the play will be more exciting. He’ll crack a crib in Scotland one week. Jones. it will be the man upon whom you wish to lay your hands. however.000. which are.” said Jones in his consequential way. “Ha! our party is complete. one of whom I recognized as Peter Jones. “that you will play for a higher stake to-night than you have ever done yet. smasher. and as I entered the passage I heard the sound of voices from above. Watson and I will follow in the second. All he wants is an old dog to help him to do the running down.” “I hope that I may have the pleasure of introducing you to-night.” “We’re hunting in couples again. the stake will be some £30. Doctor. His brain is as cunning as his fingers. Jones. Merryweather.” said the police agent loftily. and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford. Merryweather gloomily. and so through Oxford Street to Baker Street. Merryweather. as in that business of the Sholto murder and the Agra treasure.” observed Mr. Mr. For you. It is the first Saturday night for seven-and-twenty years that I have not had my rubber.” said the stranger with deference. while the other was a long. “Our friend here is a wonderful man for starting a chase. and quite time that we started. “Watson. the murderer.” said Sherlock Holmes. of Scotland Yard? Let me introduce you to Mr.

which ended in a very massive iron gate. and. dear me. which he opened for us. “You are not very vulnerable from above.” Holmes remarked as he held up the lantern and gazed about him. Merryweather stopped to light a lantern. Merryweather. following the guidance of Mr. we passed down a narrow passage and through a side door.” my friend remarked. Merryweather. after opening a third door. “Nor from below. earth-smelling passage. Within there was a small corridor. and led down a flight of winding stone steps. Our cabs were dismissed.” We had reached the same crowded thoroughfare in which we had found ourselves in the morning. I thought it as well to have Jones with us also. and personally interested in the matter.and lay back in the cab humming the tunes which he had heard in the afternoon.” said Mr. though an absolute imbecile in his profession. and then conducted us down a dark. it sounds quite hollow!” he . He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone. He is not a bad fellow. striking his stick upon the flags which lined the floor. and so. “Why. Here we are. into a huge vault or cellar. He has one positive virtue. We rattled through an endless labyrinth of gas-lit streets until we emerged into Farrington Street. which was piled all round with crates and massive boxes. “We are close there now. and they are waiting for us. Mr. “This fellow Merryweather is a bank director. This also was opened. which terminated at another formidable gate.

and though we shall take them at a disadvantage. Merryweather. “And now it is time that we arranged our little plans. and that it is still lying in our cellar. A few seconds sufficed to satisfy him. close in swiftly. and the directors have had misgivings upon the subject. It has become known that we have never had occasion to unpack the money. I had brought a pack of cards in my pocket. we must choose our positions. 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. with the lantern and a magnifying lens. Then.remarked. as we were a partie carree. and not to interfere?” The solemn Mr. upon the top of the wooden case behind which I crouched. Mr. there was something .” whispered the director. for the sooner they do their work the longer time they will have for their escape. have no compunction about shooting them down. looking up in surprise. while Holmes fell upon his knees upon the floor and. In the meantime. and I thought that. they may do us some harm unless we are careful.” observed Holmes. Mr. We had occasion some months ago to strengthen our resources and borrowed for that purpose 30.” “It is our French gold. ready to flash out at a moment’s notice. The crate upon which I sit contains 2.” I placed my revolver. These are daring men. But I see that the enemy’s preparations have gone so far that we cannot risk the presence of a light. “for they can hardly take any steps until the good pawnbroker is safely in bed. for he sprang to his feet again and put his glass in his pocket. Might I beg that you would have the goodness to sit down upon one of those boxes.” “And sit in the dark?” “I am afraid so. “I must really ask you to be a little more quiet!” said Holmes severely. The smell of hot metal remained to assure us that the light was still there.000 napoleons from the Bank of France. “We have had several warnings that an attempt might be made upon it. Watson. Then they will not lose a minute. you might have your rubber after all. I shall stand behind this crate. Merryweather perched himself upon a crate. If they fire. Merryweather is the chairman of directors. when I flash a light upon them. “We have at least an hour before us.” he remarked. To me. with my nerves worked up to a pitch of expectancy.000 napoleons packed between layers of lead foil. cocked. we must put the screen over that dark lantern. and do you conceal yourselves behind those. We are at present. 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. I expect that within an hour matters will come to a head.” “Your French gold?” “Yes. Doctor–as no doubt you have divined–in the cellar of the City branch of one of the principal London banks. And. first of all. with a very injured expression upon his face. Our reserve of bullion is much larger at present than is [188] usually kept in a single branch office. began to examine minutely the cracks between the stones.” “Which were very well justified. “You have already imperilled the whole success of our expedition.

drew itself shoulder-high and waist-high. For a minute or more the hand.” he whispered. I hope that you have done what I asked you. however. and then. At first it was but a lurid spark upon the stone pavement. through which streamed the light of a lantern. With a rending. and in the cold dank air of the vault. The light flashed upon the barrel of a revolver. and I’ll swing for it!” Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seized the intruder by the collar. In another instant he stood at the side of the hole and was hauling after him a companion. but I could distinguish the deeper. “Have you the chisel and the bags? Great Scott! Jump. . protruded out of the floor. yet my nerves were worked up to the highest pitch of tension. The other dived down the hole.” whispered Holmes. And now we must be silent and wait. Then it lengthened out until it became a yellow line. for I feared to change my position. From my position I could look over the case in the direction of the floor.depressing and subduing in the sudden gloom. white stones turned over upon its side and left a square. jump. Archie. [189] “It’s all clear. a gash seemed to open and a hand appeared. Then it was withdrawn as suddenly as it appeared. which felt about in the centre of the little area of light. and I heard the sound of rending cloth as Jones clutched at his skirts. without any warning or sound. and all was dark again save the single lurid spark which marked a chink between the stones. but Holmes’s hunting crop came down on the man’s wrist. a white. until one knee rested upon the edge.” “Then we have stopped all the holes. sighing note of the bank director. Jones?” “I have an inspector and two officers waiting at the front door. Over the edge there peeped a clean-cut. Suddenly my eyes caught the glint of a light. one of the broad. with a pale face and a shock of very red hair. heavier in-breath of the bulky Jones from the thin. gaping hole. and the pistol clinked upon the stone floor. and then. and my hearing was so acute that I could not only hear the gentle breathing of my companions.” What a time it seemed! From comparing notes afterwards it was but an hour and a quarter. almost womanly hand. “They have but one retreat. yet it appeared to me that the night must have almost gone. which looked keenly about it. lithe and small like himself. My limbs were weary and stiff. and the dawn be breaking above us. with its writhing fingers. Its disappearance. boyish face. tearing sound. “That is back through the house into Saxe-Coburg Square. with a hand on either side of the aperture. was but momentary.

Merryweather as we followed them from the cellar. “I do not know how the bank can thank you or repay you.” said Jones.” remarked our prisoner as the handcuffs clattered upon his wrists. John Clay.” said Jones with a stare and a snigger.” Holmes answered.” the other answered with the utmost coolness.” “And I you. where we can get a cab to carry your Highness to the police-station?” “That is better. Mr. “I fancy that my pal is all right. also. “Oh. Just hold out while I fix the derbies.’” “All right.” “You’ll see your pal again presently. 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. I must compliment you. “I have been at some small expense over this matter. “You have no chance at all. John Clay. “He’s quicker at climbing down holes than I am. march upstairs.” said Holmes. when you address me always to say ‘sir’ and ‘please. Have the goodness. He made a sweeping bow to the three of us and walked quietly off in the custody of the detective.“It’s no use.” said John Clay serenely.” said Mr.” said Holmes. “Really.” “I beg that you will not touch me with your filthy hands.” “There are three men waiting for him at the door.” “I have had one or two little scores of my own to settle with Mr. “Well. indeed! You seem to have done the thing very completely. Holmes. though I see you have got his coat-tails. sir. . would you please.” “So I see.” said Holmes blandly. “Your red-headed idea was very new and effective. “You may not be aware that I have royal blood in my veins.

it was obvious to me that he had some strong motive for securing the situation. It must. that . and stained they were. “Well. and his trick of vanishing into the cellar. You must yourself have remarked how worn. I hardly looked at his face. must be to get this not over-bright pawnbroker out of the way for a number of hours every day. They spoke of those hours of burrowing. It was a curious way of managing it. The cellar! There was the end of this tangled clue.” “You see.” he explained in the early hours of the morning as we sat over a glass of whisky and soda in Baker Street. He was doing something in the cellar–something which took many hours a day for months on end. and. but we had never set eyes upon each other before. Then I rang the bell. really. Watson. and together they manage to secure his absence every morning in the week. wrinkled. then. was out of the question. I surprised you by beating upon the pavement with my stick. and what was it to them. We have had some skirmishes. I walked round the corner. I was ascertaining whether the cellar stretched out in front or behind. but. “it was perfectly obvious from the first that the only possible object of this rather fantastic business of the advertisement of the League. but beyond that I am amply repaid by having had an experience which is in many ways unique. once more? I could think of nothing save that he was running a tunnel to some other building. the assistant answered it. “So far I had got when we went to visit the scene of action. When you drove home after the concert I called upon Scotland Yard and upon the chairman of the bank directors. and such an expenditure as they were at. saw the City and Suburban Bank abutted on our friend’s premises. it would be difficult to suggest a better. What could it be? I thought of the assistant’s fondness for photography. The only remaining point was what they were burrowing for.which I shall expect the bank to refund. however. It was not in front. and the copying of the Encyclopaedia. That. I should have suspected a mere vulgar intrigue. and felt that I had solved my problem. who were playing for thousands? They put in the advertisement. From the time that I heard of the assistant having come for half wages. Jabez Wilson’s presence–in other words. as I hoped. What could it be. 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. His knees were what I wished to see. and by hearing the very remarkable narrative of the Red-headed League. with the result that you have seen. the other rogue incites the man to apply for it.” [190] “But how could you guess what the motive was?” “Had there been women in the house. one rogue has the temporary office. and there was nothing in his house which could account for such elaborate preparations. The method was no doubt suggested to Clay’s ingenious mind by the colour of his accomplice’s hair.” “And how could you tell that they would make their attempt to-night?” I asked. The man’s business was a small one. be something out of the house. when they closed their League offices that was a sign that they cared no longer about Mr. The £4 a week was a lure which must draw him.

” said I.” “It saved me from ennui. He shrugged his shoulders. as it would give them two days for their escape. For all these reasons I expected them to come to-night. “‘L’homme c’est rien–l’oeuvre c’est tout. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence.” “And you are a benefactor of the race. or the bullion might be removed.” David Soucek. “It is so long a chain. it is of some little use. yawning.” he remarked. as it might be discovered. and yet every link rings true. after all.” he answered. “Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me. perhaps. These little problems help me to do so.’ as Gustave Flaubert wrote to George Sand.” “You reasoned it out beautifully. Saturday would suit them better than any other day.they had completed their tunnel. “Well. But it was essential that they should use it soon.” I exclaimed in unfeigned admiration. 1998 A Case of Identity .

the crosspurposes. the wonderful chains of events. “This is wanting in the police report. hover over this great city. the strange coincidences. it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable. perhaps. where more stress is laid. the plannings. “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits. bald enough.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes A CASE OF IDENTITY “MY DEAR fellow. and vulgar enough. upon the platitudes of the magistrate than . and leading to the most outre results. and peep in at the queer things which are going on. working through generations.” I answered. We would not dare to conceive the things which are [191] really mere commonplaces of existence. neither fascinating nor artistic. and yet the result is.” “And yet I am not convinced of it.” “A certain selection and discretion must be used in producing a realistic effect. “The cases which come to light in the papers are.” remarked Holmes.” said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand. gently remove the roofs. it must be confessed. as a rule.

save for one rather intricate matter which has been referred to me from Marseilles. “I forgot that I had not seen you for some weeks. your example is an unfortunate one for your argument. though the matter in which I served them was of such delicacy that I cannot confide it even to you. of course. The crudest of writers could invent nothing more crude. “Some ten or twelve. Here is the first heading upon which I come. the push. but I know without reading it that it is all perfectly familiar to me. “Of course. Looking over his . In these cases. is not an action likely to occur to the imagination of the average story-teller. the bruise.” said he. Take a pinch of snuff. the drink. taking the paper and glancing his eye down it. the sympathetic sister or landlady. and. you will allow.” “And have you any on hand just now?” I asked with interest. however.upon the details. with a great amethyst in the centre of the lid. glancing at a remarkable brilliant which sparkled upon his finger. 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 hurling them at his wife.’ There is half a column of print. without being interesting. and acknowledge that I have scored over you in your example.” I said. for this is one of my clients. in your position of unofficial adviser and helper to everybody who is absolutely puzzled. “I can quite understand your thinking so. I was engaged in clearing up some small points in connection with it. you understand. [192] The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler.” “And the ring?” I asked. the blow. Depend upon it. Doctor.” said Holmes. which to an observer contain the vital essence of the whole matter.” He had risen from his chair and was standing between the parted blinds. as it happens. It is a little souvenir from the King of Bohemia in return for my assistance in the case of the Irene Adler papers. “This is the Dundas separation case. you are brought in contact with all that is strange and bizarre. there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace. there is nothing which presents any features of interest. but none which present any feature of interest. The husband was a teetotaler. is the motive. “Ah.” I smiled and shook my head. or I am much mistaken. ‘A husband’s cruelty to his wife.” “Indeed. It is possible. which. “It was from the reigning family of Holland. as a rule. throughout three continents. and for the quick analysis of cause and effect which gives the charm to an investigation.” He held out his snuffbox of old gold. who have been good enough to chronicle one or two of my little problems. there was no other woman. They are important. gazing down into the dull neutral-tinted London street. Its splendour was in such contrast to his homely ways and simple life that I could not help commenting upon it. There is. the other woman. Indeed. that I may have something better before very many minutes are over. for the bigger the crime the more obvious. I have found that it is usually in unimportant matters that there is a field for the observation. But here”–I picked up the morning paper from the ground–“let us put it to a practical test.

having closed the door and bowed her into an armchair. Suddenly. he looked her over in the minute and yet abstracted fashion which was peculiar to him. while her body oscillated backward and forward. I saw that on the pavement opposite there stood a large woman with a heavy fur boa round her neck. with a plunge.shoulder. Here we may take it that there is a love matter. “Do you not find. and her fingers fidgeted with her glove buttons.” said Holmes. She would like advice. “I have seen those symptoms before. as of the swimmer who leaves the bank.” As he spoke there was a tap at the door. hesitating fashion at our windows. From under this great panoply she peeped up in a nervous. but that the maiden is not so much angry as perplexed. When a woman has been seriously wronged by a man she no longer oscillates. and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat which was tilted in a coquettish Duchess of Devonshire fashion over her ear. But here she comes in person to resolve our doubts. but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication. and the usual symptom is a broken bell wire. “Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affaire de coeur. and. while the lady herself loomed behind his small black figure like a full-sailed merchant-man behind a tiny pilot boat. or grieved. and we heard the sharp clang of the bell. Sherlock Holmes welcomed her with the easy courtesy for which he was remarkable. throwing his cigarette into the fire.” he said. “that with your short sight it is a little trying to do so much typewriting?” . And yet even here we may discriminate. and the boy in buttons entered to announce Miss Mary Sutherland. she hurried across the road.

Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook. Holmes. but still I have a hundred a year in my own right.” I had expected to see Sherlock Holmes impatient under this rambling and inconsequential narrative. with what you earn into the bargain. besides the little that I make by the machine. but I can only touch the interest.” she said.” he asked. “else how could you know all that?” “Never mind. when she married again so soon after father’s death. Two thousand five hundred pounds was the amount. laughing. as he would do nothing and kept on saying that there was no harm done. sir. which wasn’t near as much as father could have got if he had been alive. but you understand that as long as I live at home I don’t wish to be a burden to them. but. “but now I know where the letters are without looking. “You’ve heard about me. Holmes. with fear and astonishment upon her broad. suddenly realizing the full purport of his words. Again a startled look came over the somewhat vacuous face of Miss Mary Sutherland. being a traveller in wines. for he is only five years and two months older than myself. the foreman. and I would give it all to know what has become of Mr. you no doubt travel a little and indulge yourself in every way. it made me mad. surely. and he left a tidy business behind him. Mr. on the contrary.” “And your mother is alive?” “Oh. though it sounds funny. but when Mr. Mr. “Your own little income. for he was very superior. yes. with his finger-tips together and his eyes to the ceiling.“I did at first. “it is my business to know things. It is quite separate and was left me by my uncle Ned in Auckland. no. whose husband you found so easy when the police and everyone had given him up for dead. Windibank came he made her sell the business. she gave a violent start and looked up.” said Holmes. I call him father. sir. and I just on with my things and came right away to you. Hosmer Angel. Mr. and he would not go to you. I did bang out of the house. It is in New Zealand stock. since the name is different.” “I could do with much less than that. why should you come to consult me?” “I came to you. Holmes. “Yes.” said Holmes. Windibank–that is.” “Why did you come away to consult me in such a hurry?” asked Sherlock Holmes. Father was a plumber in the Tottenham Court Road. Etherege. my father–took it all. good-humoured face.” “You interest me extremely. Oh. paying 4½ per cent. Hardy. I wish you would do as much for me. and a man who was nearly fifteen years younger than herself. If not. because I heard of you from Mrs. and so . “And since you draw so large a sum as a hundred a year. I believe that a single lady can get on very nicely upon an income of about £60. “does it come out of the business?” “Oh. my stepfather.” Then. mother is alive and well.” she cried. “your stepfather. Mr. “for it made me angry to see the easy way in which Mr. They got £4700 for the goodwill and interest.” “Your father. which mother carried on with Mr. too.” “Yes.” said Holmes. He would not [193] go to the police. I wasn’t best pleased. I’m not rich. he had listened with the greatest concentration of attention. Holmes. and so at last.” she answered.

“that when Mr. and I can often do from fifteen to twenty sheets in a day.” said Holmes. “I met him first at the gasfitters’ ball. Kindly tell us now all about your connection with Mr. Windibank draws my interest every quarter and pays it over to mother. It brings me twopence a sheet. Hosmer Angel. Mr. Hosmer Angel.” “I suppose. He never did wish us to go anywhere. for what right had he to prevent? He said the folk were not fit for us to know. and she picked nervously at the fringe of her jacket. Hardy. He would get quite mad if I wanted so much as to join a Sunday-school treat. he went off to France upon the business of the firm. “This is my friend.” she said. when all father’s friends were to be there. Mr.they have the use of the money just while I am staying with them. and I find that I can do pretty well with what I earn at typewriting. But this time I was set on going. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself. And he said that I had nothing fit to wear. Windibank did not wish us to go. Windibank came back from .” “You have made your position very clear to me. who used to be our foreman. and I would go. “They used to send father tickets when he was alive. with Mr. and then afterwards they remembered us. when nothing else would do. Of course. but we went. Watson. At last. mother and I.” said Holmes.” A flush stole over Miss Sutherland’s face. when I had my purple plush that I had never so much as taken out of the drawer. and it was there I met Mr. Dr. and sent them to mother. that is only just for the time.

Very retiring and gentlemanly he was. I met him twice for walks. for she would have her way.” “I see. Then at the gasfitters’ ball you met. He’d had the quinsy and swollen glands when he was young. so I offered to typewrite them. Hosmer Angel? Did he make no attempt to see you?” “Well. Angel–was a cashier in an office in Leadenhall Street–and– –” “What office?” “That’s the worst of it. Hosmer–Mr.” “And you don’t know his address?” “No–except that it was Leadenhall Street. father didn’t like anything of the sort. 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. he was very good about it.” “Where did you address your letters. and he used to say that a woman should be happy in her own family circle. Holmes. Hosmer Angel?” “He was a very shy man. Holmes. to be left till called for. Hosmer Angel could not come to the house any more. Mr. as I understand. so there was no need for father to know.” “Were you engaged to the gentleman at this time?” “Oh. then?” “He slept on the premises. Mr. Mr. a woman wants her own circle to begin with. but when they were typewritten he always felt that the machine had come between us. sir. But then. and I had not got mine yet. Holmes.” “But how about Mr. and said there was no use denying anything to a woman. and he used to write every day. and the little things that he would think of. and Mr. well. “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. We could write in the meantime. Holmes. That will just show you how fond he was of me. and shrugged his shoulders. Hosmer Angel. then?” “To the Leadenhall Street Post-Office. He laughed. but he wouldn’t have that. you know. Can you remember any other little things about Mr. He would rather walk with me in the evening than in the daylight. and he called next day to ask if we had got home all safe. for he said that he hated to be conspicuous. and after that we met him–that is to say.” “No?” “Well. I met him that night. he . Mr. He wouldn’t have any visitors if he could help it.” “Yes.” [194] “Oh. a gentleman called Mr. I don’t know. father was going off to France again in a week. yes.” “Where did he live. Holmes.France he was very annoyed at your having gone to the ball. as I used to say to mother. Even his voice was gentle. I remember.” “It was most suggestive.” said Holmes. like he did his. I took the letters in in the morning. and Hosmer wrote and said that it would be safer and better not to see each other until he had gone. We were engaged after the first walk that we took. Mr. for he said that when I wrote them they seemed to come from me. but after that father came back again.

It seemed funny that I should ask his leave. but I didn’t want to do anything on the sly.” “Ha! that was unfortunate. then. sir. and what happened when Mr. sir. but his eyes were weak. and that it was a sign of his passion. Then. It was to be at St. that whatever happened I would always be true to him. We got to the church first. your stepfather. but very quietly. .” “It missed him. Pancras Hotel. as he was only a few years older than me. Saviour’s. and he wore tinted glasses against the glare. I didn’t quite like that. returned to France?” “Mr. then?” “Yes. Mother said he was quite right to make me swear. very neat and plain. when they talked of marrying within the week. and it had left him with a weak throat. with [195] my hands on the Testament. Mr. He was always well dressed. Mother was all in his favour from the first and was even fonder of him than I was. Hosmer Angel came to the house again and proposed that we should marry before father came back. but they both said never to mind about father. for he had started to England just before it arrived.told me. just as mine are. He was in dreadful earnest and made me swear. near King’s Cross. whispering fashion of speech. but he never did. but the letter came back to me on the very morning of the wedding. for the Friday. but just to tell him afterwards. and when the four-wheeler drove up we waited for him to step out. Was it to be in church?” “Yes. I began to ask about father. so I wrote to father at Bordeaux. Your wedding was arranged. and mother said she would make it all right with him. Windibank.” “Well. where the company has its French offices. Hosmer came for us in a hansom. which happened to be the only other cab in the street. and we were to have breakfast afterwards at the St. Holmes. but as there were two of us he put us both into it and stepped himself into a four-wheeler. and a hesitating.

I believe that he foresaw some danger. Where is your father’s place of business?” “He travels for Westhouse & Marbank. Let the weight of the matter rest upon me now. I was to be true.” said she. no. “and I have no doubt [196] that we shall reach some definite result. or else he would not have talked so. Why. “Oh. And your address?” “No. and said that I was never to speak of the matter again.” “But you have no notion as to what it could have been?” “None. but what has happened since gives a meaning to it. and do not let your mind dwell upon it further. And yet.” She pulled a little handkerchief out of her muff and began to sob heavily into it. and he seemed to think.” “I advertised for him in last Saturday’s Chronicle. Above all. and that I should hear of Hosmer again. and I can’t sleep a wink at night. It seemed strange talk for a wedding-morning.” “Thank you. How did your mother take the matter?” “She was angry. if he had borrowed my money.” “Then what has happened to him?” “You will leave that question in my hands. and that he would claim his pledge sooner or later. sir. as he has done from your life.” “Mr. That was last Friday. Holmes.” “And your father? Did you tell him?” “Yes. and then leaving me? Now.” “Then you don’t think I’ll see him again?” “I fear not. whatever happened.” said Holmes.” “One more question. Hosmer Angel vanish from your memory. what interest could anyone have in bringing me to the doors of the church. then. As he said. or if he had married me and got my money settled on him. what could have happened? And why could he not write? Oh. sir! He was too good and kind to leave me so. “I shall glance into the case for you. there might be some reason. and that even if something quite unforeseen occurred to separate us.” “Most certainly it does. with me. that something had happened. rising.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. that some unforeseen catastrophe has occurred to him?” “Yes. 31 Lyon Place. I was always to remember that I was pledged to him.” said Holmes. Mr. it drives me half-mad to think of it. all the morning he was saying to me that. Your own opinion is. Camberwell. try to let Mr. but Hosmer was very independent about money and never would look at a shilling of mine. “Here is the slip and here are four letters from him. for he had seen him get in with his own eyes. I understand. I should like an accurate description of him and any letters of his which you can spare. Angel’s address you never had. and I have never seen or heard anything since then to throw any light upon what became of him. the great claret importers of .” “It seems to me that you have been very shamefully treated. And then I think that what he foresaw happened.

” “You are very kind. which. he leaned back in his chair. by the way. but I cannot do that. that maiden. I shall be true to Hosmer.” “Thank you. which was to him as a counsellor.” For all the preposterous hat and the vacuous face. Let the whole incident be a sealed book. and a look of infinite languor in his face. with a promise to come again whenever she might be summoned. You will leave the papers here. “Quite an interesting study. and do not allow it to affect your life. You have made your statement very clearly. He shall find me ready when he comes back. however. and his gaze directed upward to the ceiling. in Andover in ’77. Old as is the idea. there was something noble in the simple faith of our visitor which compelled our respect. there were one or two details which . You will find parallel cases. having lit it. with the thick blue cloud-wreaths spinning up from him. and there was something of the sort at The Hague last year. and. Then he took down from the rack the old and oily clay pipe. and remember the advice which I have given you. Mr. his legs stretched out in front of him. if you consult my index.Fenchurch Street. Holmes.” he observed. She laid her little bundle of papers upon the table and went her way. “I found her more interesting than her little problem. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for a few minutes with his finger-tips still pressed together. is rather a trite one.

with a feather of a brickish red. Now. rather darker than coffee colour. but only on the left arm. but I must go back to business. and you have a quick eye for colour.” “And what else?” I asked. I can never bring you to realize the importance of sleeves. You did not know where to look. You have really done very well indeed. the suggestiveness of thumb-nails. I was then much surprised and interested on glancing down to observe that. as I always was. she had a slate-coloured. I ventured a remark upon short sight and typewriting. they were really odd ones. and so you missed all that was important. was beautifully defined. by my friend’s incisive reasoning. Her boots I didn’t observe. but you have hit upon the method. In a man it is perhaps better first to take the knee of the trouser.” “You appeared to read a good deal upon her which was quite invisible to me. Her dress was brown. and a general air of being fairly well-to-do in a vulgar. Would you mind . and the other a plain one. half-buttoned. The sewing-machine.” “Well. “I noted.” Sherlock Holmes clapped his hands softly together and chuckled. surely. hanging gold earrings. But the maiden herself was most instructive. and on the side of it farthest from the thumb. All this is amusing. where the typewritist presses against the table. you are coming along wonderfully. Now. Watson. Her jacket was black. “‘Pon my word. and a fringe of little black jet ornaments. instead of being right across the broadest part. but concentrate yourself upon details. though the boots which she was wearing were not unlike each other. As you observe. as this was. otherwise neatly dressed. and the other at the first. leaves a similar mark. though rather elementary. It must have been this morning. and fifth. third. Never trust to general impressions. in passing. of the hand type.were new to me. or the mark would not remain clear upon the finger. My first glance is always at a woman’s sleeve. with a little purple plush at the neck and sleeves. easy-going way. comfortable. but you did not apparently see that both glove and finger were stained with violet ink.” “It surprised me. The double line a little above the wrist. or the great issues that may hang from a boot-lace. and. when you see that a young lady. this woman had plush upon her sleeves. which seemed to surprise her. that she had written a note before leaving home but after being fully dressed. the one having a slightly decorated toe-cap. One was buttoned only in the two lower buttons out of five. keenly interested. which is a most useful material for showing traces. with black beads sewn upon it. it was obvious. Watson.” I remarked. observing the dint of a pince-nez at either side of her nose. She had written in a hurry and dipped her pen too deep. “Not invisible but unnoticed. It is true that you have missed everything of importance. my boy. I then glanced at her face. Her gloves were grayish and were worn through at the right forefinger. it is no great deduction to say that she came away in a hurry. broad-brimmed straw hat. You observed that her right glove was torn at the forefinger.” “But. what did you gather from that woman’s appearance? Describe it. She had [197] small round. Watson. has come away from home with odd boots.

when last seen. bushy. I shall write two letters.” “No. we may call it conclusive. Doctor. and gray Harris tweed trousers. And now.” he continued. Absolutely no clue in them to Mr. Look at the neat little [198] ‘Hosmer Angel’ at the bottom. which is rather vague. About five feet seven inches in height. The point about the signature is very suggestive–in fact. which will no doubt strike you.” “Of what?” “My dear fellow. 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. black side-whiskers and moustache. I felt that it would be a strange tangle indeed which he could not unravel. in the case of the King of Bohemia and of the Irene Adler photograph. One is to a firm in the City.” said Holmes. but no superscription except Leadenhall Street. black waistcoat. Once only had I known him to fail. but when I looked back to the weird business of ‘The Sign of Four’. “Not only that. “As to the letters. with brown gaiters over elastic-sided boots. a little bald in the centre. we can do nothing until the answers to those letters come. strongly built. a gentleman named Hosmer Angel. However. and the whole of next day I was busy at the bedside of the . A professional case of great gravity was engaging my own attention at the time.” “They are typewritten. Angel.reading me the advertised description of Mr. save that he quotes Balzac once. asking him whether he could meet us here at six o’clock to-morrow evening. and the extraordinary circumstances connected with ‘A Study in Scarlet’. Was dressed. slight infirmity of speech. the other is to the young lady’s stepfather.” 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. tinted glasses. Hosmer Angel?” I held the little printed slip to the light. “they are very commonplace. but the signature is typewritten. I left him then. in black frock-coat faced with silk. There is one remarkable point. gold Albert chain. you see. glancing over them. which should settle the matter. It is just as well that we should do business with the male relatives. Mr. sallow complexion. Anybody bringing––” “That will do. 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. Known to have been employed in an office in Leadenhall Street. however. that was not the point.” I remarked. black hair. so we may put our little problem upon the shelf for the interim. still puffing at his black clay pipe. Windibank. “Missing [it said] on the morning of the fourteenth. There is a date.

“Oh. He shot a questioning glance at each of us. thin form curled up in the recesses of his armchair. middle-sized fellow.” “No. There was never any mystery in the matter. and sallow-skinned. and a pair [199] of wonderfully sharp and penetrating gray eyes. placed his shiny top-hat upon . “Well. though. no. when we heard a heavy footfall in the passage and a tap at the door. “He has written to me to say that he would be here at six. as I said yesterday. have you solved it?” I asked as I entered. some thirty years of age. with a bland. that! I thought of the salt that I have been working upon. some of the details are of interest. told me that he had spent his day in the chemical work which was so dear to him. with his long. “This is the girl’s stepfather. Come in!” The man who entered was a sturdy. the mystery!” I cried. then. It was the bisulphate of baryta. that can touch the scoundrel. A formidable array of bottles and test-tubes.” said Holmes. Mr.sufferer. The only drawback is that there is no law. James Windibank. and Holmes had not yet opened his lips to reply. I fear. half asleep. insinuating manner. with the pungent cleanly smell of hydrochloric acid. It was not until close upon six o’clock that I found myself free and was able to spring into a hansom and drive to Baker Street.” “Who was he. I found Sherlock Holmes alone. half afraid that I might be too late to assist at the denouement of the little mystery. however. and what was his object in deserting Miss Sutherland?” The question was hardly out of my mouth. clean-shaven. “Yes.

Unless they are quite new. Now. and with a slight bow sidled down into the nearest chair.” Mr. Windibank. Some letters get more worn than others. catch him. James Windibank. for I think it is far better not to wash linen of the sort in public. and she is not easily controlled when she has made up her mind on a point. “And now I will show you what is really a very interesting study. and let me know when you have done it.” Holmes continued.” “We do all our correspondence with this machine at the office. Mr. In each case. “I think that this typewritten letter is from you. that the fourteen other characteristics to which I have alluded are there as well. “It is a curious thing.” said Holmes quietly.” . Mr. It was quite against my wishes that she came. no two of them write exactly alike. but I am not quite my own master. “I think of writing another little monograph some of these days on the typewriter and its relation to crime. as you may have noticed. Mr. in which you made an appointment with me for six o’clock?” “Yes.” he said. but she is a very excitable. that in every case there is some little slurring over of the ‘e. I am sorry that Miss Sutherland has troubled you about this little matter. Of course. Windibank sprang out of his chair and picked up his hat. They are all typewritten.” remarked Holmes. “I cannot waste time over this sort of fantastic talk. Windibank. impulsive girl. “Good-evening.the sideboard.” said Holmes. “I have every reason to believe that I will succeed in discovering Mr. as you are not connected with the official police. but you will observe. it is a useless expense. if you care to use my magnifying lens. “I am delighted to hear it. Hosmer Angel.’ and a slight defect in the tail of the ‘r. Holmes. Besides. you know. Mr. I am afraid that I am a little late. It is a subject to which I have devoted some little attention. glancing keenly at Holmes with his bright little eyes. sir.” he said. I did not mind you so much. “that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man’s handwriting. “If you can catch the man. I have here four letters which purport to come from the missing man.” Mr. you remark in this note of yours. but it is not pleasant to have a family misfortune like this noised abroad. Windibank gave a violent start and dropped his gloves. not only are the ‘e’s’ slurred and the ‘r’s’ tailless. and no doubt it is a little worn.’ There are fourteen other characteristics. for how could you possibly find this Hosmer Angel?” “On the contrary. and some wear only on one side.” our visitor answered. but those are the more obvious.

The daughter was of a good. and you will contradict me if I go wrong. “I let you know. that I have caught him!” “What! where?” shouted Mr. stepping over and turning the key in the door. It was a considerable sum. “The man married a woman very much older than himself for her money. like one who is utterly crushed. and her little income. It was worth an effort to preserve it. leaning back with his hands in his pockets. “Oh. Windibank. rather to himself. turning white to his lips and glancing about him like a rat in a trap. But between ourselves. and the loss of it would have made a serious difference. Mr. with his head sunk upon his breast. “I am very much afraid that it is not.” [200] Our visitor collapsed into a chair. then.” The man sat huddled up in his chair. let me just run over the course of events. so that it was evident that with her fair personal advantages. and it was a very bad compliment when you said that it was impossible for me to solve so simple a question. it was as cruel and selfish and heartless a trick in a petty way as ever came before me. “It–it’s not actionable. “and he enjoyed the use of the money of the daughter as long as she lived with them. it won’t do–really it won’t. Windibank. for people in their position. It is quite too transparent. with a ghastly face and a glitter of moisture on his brow.” said he. “There is no possible getting out of it.“Certainly. began talking. Now. than to us. amiable disposition. as it seemed. That’s right! Sit down and let us talk it over.” said Holmes suavely. Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the mantelpiece and.” he stammered. Now her marriage would . but affectionate and warm-hearted in her ways. Windibank. she would not be allowed to remain single long.” said Holmes.

“It may be so. She became restive. Hosmer Angel. as he could go no farther. at any rate. With the connivance and assistance of his wife he disguised himself. of course. and hence also the allusions to a possibility of something happening on the very morning of the wedding. and so uncertain as to his fate.” said Holmes. By Jove!” he continued. Windibank!” Our visitor had recovered something of his assurance while Holmes had been talking. which would finally secure the girl’s affections from turning towards anyone else. covered those keen eyes with tinted glasses. and finally announced her positive intention of going to a certain ball. that for ten years to come. However that may be. I think that that was the chain of events. masked the face with a moustache and a pair of bushy whiskers. sunk that clear voice into an insinuating whisper. These pretended journeys to France were rather cumbrous. “yet there never was a man who deserved punishment more.” “It was only a joke at first. But soon he found that that would not answer forever. and doubly secure on account of the girl’s short sight. as you say. As far as the church door he brought her. but as long as you keep that door locked you lay yourself open to an action for assault and illegal constraint. “We never thought that she would have been so carried away. and he rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale face. insisted upon her rights. the young lady was very decidedly carried away. the suspicion of treachery never for an instant entered her mind. But the deception could not be kept up forever. and keeps off other lovers by making love himself. he ought to lay a whip across your shoulders. 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. for it was obvious that the matter should be pushed as far as it would go if a real effect were to be produced. having quite made up her mind that her stepfather was in France. Then Mr. unlocking and throwing open the door. and the effect was increased by the loudly expressed admiration of her mother.” groaned our visitor. I have done nothing actionable from the first. Mr. and. and not me. Angel began to call. or it may not. Holmes. “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. What does her clever stepfather do then? He conceives an idea more creditable to his head than to his heart. “it is not part of my . he conveniently vanished away by the old trick [201] of stepping in at one door of a four-wheeler and out at the other. 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. touch you. James Windibank wished Miss Sutherland to be so bound to Hosmer Angel. She was flattered by the gentleman’s attentions. he appears as Mr. flushing up at the sight of the bitter sneer upon the man’s face. and an engagement. There were meetings. Hence those vows of fidelity exacted upon a Testament.” said he.mean. If the young lady has a brother or a friend.” “The law cannot. she would not listen to another man. the loss of a hundred a year. and then.” “Very likely not. Mr.

” “I cannot now entirely see all the steps of your reasoning. “There’s a cold-blooded scoundrel!” said Holmes.” “And how did you verify them?” “Having once spotted my man. in some respects. and ends on a gallows. but here’s a hunting crop handy. and from the window we could see Mr.” I remarked. been not entirely devoid of interest. Having taken the printed description. . was the stepfather. Hosmer Angel must have some strong object for his curious conduct. James Windibank running at the top of his speed down the road. You see all these isolated facts. but that the one always appeared when the other was away. of course it was obvious from the first that this Mr. So were the tinted spectacles and the curious voice. the heavy hall door banged. laughing. and it was equally clear that the only man who really profited by the incident. was suggestive. “That fellow will rise from crime to crime until he does something very bad. but before he could grasp it there was a wild clatter of steps upon the stairs. as did the bushy whiskers.duties to my client. as he threw himself down into his chair once more. as far as we could see. which. My suspicions were all confirmed by his peculiar action in typewriting his signature. of course. which both hinted at a disguise. together with many minor ones. all pointed in the same direction. The case has. I knew the firm for which this man worked. and I think I shall just treat myself to– –” He took two swift steps to the whip. inferred that his handwriting was so familiar to her that she would recognize even the smallest sample of it. “Well. Then the fact that the two men were never together. it was easy to get corroboration.

to say that the description tallied in every respect with that of their employee. ‘There is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub. the voice. The same post brought me a letter from Westhouse & Marbank. and as much knowledge of the world.I eliminated everything from it which could be the result of a disguise–the whiskers. his reply was typewritten and revealed the same trivial but characteristic defects. 1998 The Boscombe Valley Mystery .’ There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace. the glasses. James Windibank. and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman. asking him if he would come here. with a request that they would inform me whether it answered to the description of any of their travellers. You may remember the old Persian saying. Voila tout!” “And Miss Sutherland?” “If I tell her she will not believe me. and I sent it to the firm. I had already noticed the peculiarities of the typewriter. As I expected. and I wrote to the man himself at his business address.” David Soucek. of Fenchurch Street.

for I have only half an hour.” said he. so that in less than the time stated I was in a cab with my valise.” “I should be ungrateful if I were not. If you will keep the two corner seats I shall get the tickets. It was from Sherlock Holmes and ran in this way: Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of England in connection with Boscombe Valley tragedy. with intervals of note-taking and of meditation. Sherlock Holmes’s cases. my wife and I. when the maid brought in a telegram. Local aid is always either worthless or else biassed. dear?” said my wife. rattling away to Paddington Station. “It is really very good of you to come. seeing what I gained through one of them. Air and scenery perfect. I have a fairly long list at present.” My experience of camp life in Afghanistan had at least had the effect of making me a prompt and ready traveller. Among these he rummaged and read. “Will you go?” “I really don’t know what to say.” We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of papers which Holmes had brought with him. Leave Paddington by the 11:15. I think that the change would do you good. “But if I am to go.” I answered. Shall be glad if you will come with me. gaunt figure made even gaunter and taller by his long gray travelling-cloak and close-fitting cloth cap. Sherlock Holmes was pacing up and down the platform. Then he suddenly rolled them all into a gigantic ball and tossed them up onto the rack. “It makes a considerable difference to me. and you are always so interested in Mr. . until we were past Reading. My wants were few and simple. looking across at me. Watson.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE BOSCOMBE VALLEY MYSTERY WE WERE seated at breakfast one morning. You have been looking a little pale lately.” “Oh. I must pack at once. having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely. his tall. “What do you say. Anstruther would do your work for you.

so McCarthy became his tenant but still remained. I have not seen a paper for some days. however. who made his money in Australia and returned some years ago to the old country. Charles McCarthy. One of the farms which he held. “Not a word. to be one of those simple cases which are so extremely difficult. in Herefordshire. upon terms of perfect equality. Turner was apparently the richer man. It seems. the more difficult it is to bring it home. but neither of them had wives . in a very few words. then?” “Well.” “It is a murder. they have established a very serious case against the son of the murdered man. it seems. a lad of eighteen. and Turner had an only daughter of the same age. I will explain the state of things to you. I shall take nothing for granted until I have the opportunity of looking personally into it. so that it was not unnatural that when they came to settle down they should do so as near each other as possible.” “But it is profoundly true. I have just been looking through all the recent papers in order to master the particulars. John Turner.” “The London press has not had very full accounts. as they were frequently together. from what I gather. McCarthy had one son. The men had known each other in the colonies. [203] “Boscombe Valley is a country district not very far from Ross. The largest landed proprietor in that part is a Mr. In this case. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is.“Have you heard anything of the case?” he asked. who was also an ex-Australian. Singularity is almost invariably a clue. that of Hatherley. it is conjectured to be so. as far as I have been able to understand it. was let to Mr.” “That sounds a little paradoxical.

whose name is not mentioned. and that she was afraid that they were going to fight. The Boscombe Pool is thickly wooded round. as he had an appointment of importance to keep at three. Turner. without either his gun or his hat. going the same way with a gun under his arm. though both the McCarthys were fond of sport and were frequently seen at the race-meetings of the neighbourhood. and two people saw him as he passed over this ground. The head had been beaten in by repeated blows of some heavy and blunt weapon. She states that while she was there she saw. She heard Mr. lost sight of them. He thought no more of the matter until he heard in the evening of the tragedy that had occurred. and the son was following him. with just a fringe of grass and of reeds round the edge. “From Hatherley Farmhouse to the Boscombe Pool is a quarter of a mile. McCarthy pass he had seen his son. They appear to have avoided the society of the neighbouring English families and to have led retired lives. From that appointment he never came back alive. McCarthy came running up to the lodge to say that he had found his father dead in the wood. James McCarthy. 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. and he had told the man that he must hurry. which was found lying on the grass within a few paces of the body. Those are the main facts of the case as they came out before the . To the best of his belief. A girl of fourteen. who have referred the case to the next assizes. on Monday last. McCarthy left his house at Hatherley about three in the afternoon and walked down to the Boscombe Pool. McCarthy and his son. She had hardly said the words when young Mr. he was on Wednesday brought before the magistrates at Ross. was in one of the woods picking flowers. Mr. the game-keeper. Both these witnesses depose that Mr. and his right hand and sleeve were observed to be stained with fresh blood. He was much excited. On following him they found the dead body stretched out upon the grass beside the pool. Under these circumstances the young man was instantly arrested. The gamekeeper adds that within a few minutes of his seeing Mr. and to ask for the help of the lodge-keeper. and the other was William Crowder. that is. “The two McCarthys were seen after the time when William Crowder. some half-dozen at the least. He had been out with his servingman in the morning at Ross. McCarthy the elder using very strong language to his son. and she saw the latter raise up his hand as if to strike his father. at the border of the wood and close by the lake. and that they appeared to be having a violent quarrel. a game-keeper in the employ of Mr. The injuries were such as might very well have been [204] inflicted by the butt-end of his son’s gun. That is as much as I have been able to gather about the families. McCarthy kept two servants–a man and a girl. which is a small lake formed by the spreading out of the stream which runs down the Boscombe Valley. Patience Moran. the father was actually in sight at the time. “On June 3d. who is the daughter of the lodge-keeper of the Boscombe Valley estate. McCarthy was walking alone. Now for the facts.living. and a verdict of ‘wilful murder’ having been returned at the inquest on Tuesday. Turner had a considerable household. Mr. One was an old woman.

being rather puzzled.” I remarked.” answered Holmes thoughtfully. Lestrade. you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.” “Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. “Besides.” “I could hardly imagine a more damning case. 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 .coroner and the police-court.” said I.” he answered. however.” “I am afraid. “It may seem to point very straight to one thing. and it is very possible that he is indeed the culprit. whom you may recollect in connection with ‘A Study in Scarlet’. who believe in his innocence. 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 is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. to work out the case in his interest. laughing. however. but if you shift your own point of view a little. “If ever circumstantial evidence pointed to a criminal it does so here. and among them Miss Turner. There are several people in the neighbourhood. Lestrade. that the case looks exceedingly grave against the young man. and who have retained Lestrade. has referred the case to me. the daughter of the neighbouring land-owner. we may chance to hit upon some other obvious facts which may have been by no means obvious to Mr. It must be confessed. “that the facts are so obvious that you will find little credit to be gained out of this case.

and which are worth considering. Had he appeared surprised at his own arrest. and yet I question whether Mr. To take the first example to hand.” I shook my head. he remarked that he was not surprised to hear it. to raise his hand as if to strike him. As to his remark about his deserts. And many men have been wrongfully hanged. I know the military neatness which characterizes you. I am afraid.” “What is the young man’s own account of the matter?” “It is. You shave every morning. However innocent he might be. I should have looked upon it as highly suspicious.” “On the contrary. for it was followed by a protestation of innocence. and yet might appear to be the best policy to a scheming man. Therein lies my métier. On the inspector of constabulary informing him that he was a prisoner.” “How on earth– –” “My dear fellow. “So they have. I very clearly perceive that in your bedroom the window is upon the righthand side.” I remarked. it was also not unnatural if you consider that he stood beside the dead body of his father. or feigned indignation at it. I could not imagine a man of your habits looking at himself in an equal light and being satisfied with such a result. or else as a man of considerable self-restraint and firmness. Lestrade would have noted even so self-evident a thing as that. until it becomes positively slovenly as we get round the angle of the jaw. and that it was no more than his deserts.” “It was a confession. but after the return to Hatherley Farm.” “What are they?” “It appears that his arrest did not take place at once.” [205] “Coming on the top of such a damning series of events. His frank acceptance of the situation marks him as either an innocent man. but since your shaving is less and less complete as we get farther back on the left side. “Many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence. The selfreproach 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. not very encouraging to his supporters. “No. and in this season you shave by the sunlight. 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. because such surprise or anger would not be natural under the circumstances.” said Holmes. I only quote this as a trivial example of observation and inference. he could not be such an absolute imbecile as not to see that the circumstances were very black against him. There are one or two minor points which were brought out in the inquest. and that there is no doubt that he had that very day so far forgotten his filial duty as to bandy words with him. it is surely very clear that that side is less illuminated than the other. “it is the brightest rift which I can at present see in the clouds. and even. or even of understanding. according to the little girl whose evidence is so important. though there . and it is just possible that it may be of some service in the investigation which lies before us. I know you well. it was at least a most suspicious remark.” I ejaculated.employing.

as far as I know. and had only just returned upon the morning of last Monday. no active enemies. Shortly after my return I heard the wheels of his trap in the yard. but he almost instantly expired. I left him and returned towards Hatherley Farm. but he had. but he is mistaken in thinking that I was following my father. the 3d. You will find it here.” He picked out from his bundle a copy of the local Herefordshire paper.” . [206] when I heard a hideous outcry behind me. I know nothing further of the matter. the gamekeeper. and found him standing by the pool. It ran in this way: Mr. and. with the intention of visiting the rabbit-warren which is upon the other side. My father was absent from home at the time of my arrival. I settled myself down in the corner of the carriage and read it very carefully. and I was informed by the maid that he had driven over to Ross with John Cobb. I had no idea that he was in front of me. I then took my gun and strolled out in the direction of the Boscombe Pool. was then called and gave evidence as follows: “I had been away from home for three days at Bristol. When about a hundred yards from the pool I heard a cry of ‘Cooee!’ which was a usual signal between my father and myself. with his head terribly injured. and I have no idea how he came by his injuries. I knelt beside him for some minutes. He was not a popular man.are one or two points in it which are suggestive. though I was not aware in which direction he was going. and then made my way to Mr. Seeing that his passion was becoming ungovernable. to ask for assistance. A conversation ensued which led to high words and almost to blows. being somewhat cold and forbidding in his manners. Turner’s lodge-keeper. I then hurried forward. looking out of my window. the groom. He appeared to be much surprised at seeing me and asked me rather roughly what I was doing there. I saw him get out and walk rapidly out of the yard. James McCarthy. I found my father expiring upon the ground. I saw no one near my father when I returned. the only son of the deceased. and may read it for yourself. however. which caused me to run back again. I had not gone more than 150 yards. for my father was a man of a very violent temper. On my way I saw William Crowder. 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. as he had stated in his evidence. his house being the nearest. I dropped my gun and held him in my arms.

that he uttered it before he saw you. . I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the sad tragedy which followed. Witness: I must still refuse. The Coroner: How was it. The Coroner: What was the point upon which you and your father had this final quarrel? Witness: I should prefer not to answer. The Coroner: What did you understand by that? Witness: It conveyed no meaning to me.The Coroner: Did your father make any statement to you before he died? Witness: He mumbled a few words. 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. but I could only catch some allusion to a rat. I need not point out to you that your refusal to answer will prejudice your case considerably in any future proceedings which may arise. I thought that he was delirious. The Coroner: I understand that the cry of “Cooee” was a common signal between you and your father? Witness: It was. The Coroner: That is for the court to decide. then. and before he even knew that you had returned from Bristol? Witness (with considerable confusion): I do not know. Witness: It is really impossible for me to tell you. The Coroner: I am afraid that I must press it.

And now here is my pocket Petrarch.” said Lestrade as we sat over a cup of tea. It seemed to me to be something gray in colour. very much against the son. was waiting for us upon the platform. but it was gone. and that you would not be happy until you . Don’t you see that you alternately give him credit for having too much imagination and too little? Too little.” “How far from the body?” “A dozen yards or so. “I knew your energetic nature. and the incident of the vanishing cloth. I had no difficulty in recognizing Lestrade. that I could think of nothing except of my father. and his singular account of his father’s dying words. In spite of the light brown dustcoat and leather-leggings which he wore in deference to his rustic surroundings. We lunch at Swindon. it was gone.” “Then if it was removed it was while you were within a dozen yards of it?” [207] “Yes. ferret-like man. No. They are all.” said he.” This concluded the examination of the witness. furtive and sly-looking. and with reason. “Do you mean that it disappeared before you went for help?” “Yes. as he remarks. if he evolved from his own inner consciousness anything so outre as a dying reference to a rat. also to his refusal to give details of his conversation with his father. of Scotland Yard. I shall approach this case from the point of view that what this young man says is true.” “You cannot say what it was?” “No. if he could not invent a cause of quarrel which would give him the sympathy of the jury.” Holmes laughed softly to himself and stretched himself out upon the cushioned seat. Yet I have a vague impression that as I ran forward something lay upon the ground to the left of me. A lean. found ourselves at the pretty little country-town of Ross. and over the broad gleaming Severn. but with my back towards it. and we shall see whither that hypothesis will lead us.” “And how far from the edge of the wood?” “About the same. and not another word shall I say of this case until we are on the scene of action. I had a feeling something was there. “I have ordered a carriage. He calls attention. a coat of some sort.” said I as I glanced down the column.” It was nearly four o’clock when we at last. after passing through the beautiful Stroud Valley. to the discrepancy about his father having signalled to him before seeing him. too much.The Coroner: What do you mean? Witness: I was so disturbed and excited as I rushed out into the open. “Both you and the coroner have been at some pains. When I rose from my father I looked round for it. “I see. “that the coroner in his concluding remarks was rather severe upon young McCarthy. and I see that we shall be there in twenty minutes. “to single out the very strongest points in the young man’s favour. With him we drove to the Hereford Arms where a room had already been engaged for us. or a plaid perhaps. sir.

” . already formed your conclusions from the newspapers.” Lestrade laughed indulgently. and the more one goes into it the plainer it becomes. too. Mr.” 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 I want you to start upon your work knowing it. Her violet eyes shining. a pink flush upon her cheeks. and not a cloud in the sky. Still.” “It was very nice and complimentary of you. “I do not quite follow.” he said. fastening upon my companion. I see. no doubt. “You have. of course. Such a charge is absurd to anyone who really knows him. I do not think that it is probable that I shall use the carriage to-night. and I know his faults as no one else does. Why. all thought of her natural reserve lost in her overpowering excitement and concern. and the sofa is very much superior to the usual country hotel abomination. No wind. We have known each other since we were little children. one can’t refuse a lady. “It is entirely a question of barometric pressure. and would have your opinion. bless my soul! here is her carriage at the door.had been on the scene of the crime. her lips parted. [208] “Oh. Never let yourself doubt upon that point. “I am so glad that you have come. and finally. “The case is as plain as a pikestaff.” he said. She had heard of you. though I repeatedly told her that there was nothing which you could do which I had not already done. and such a very positive one. I know it. I have a caseful of cigarettes here which need smoking. I know that James didn’t do it. too. I have driven down to tell you so. with a woman’s quick intuition. Sherlock Holmes!” she cried.” Holmes answered. “How is the glass? Twenty-nine. glancing from one to the other of us.” Lestrade looked startled. but he is too tender-hearted to hurt a fly.

but this has broken him down completely. “May I see your father if I call to-morrow?” “I am afraid the doctor won’t allow it. You have formed some conclusion? Do you not see some loophole. he was averse to it also. I am sure. Mr. I am sure that the reason why he would not speak about it to the coroner was because I was concerned in it. and this. No one but Mr. McCarthy was very anxious that there should be a marriage between us.“I hope we may clear him. was one of them.” said he. .” “The doctor?” “Yes. “Thank you for this information. He has taken to his bed.” he said. questioning glances at her. “You may rely upon my doing all that I can. and– and–well. “But he is right. have you not heard? Poor father has never been strong for years back. James never did it. “I am afraid that my colleague has been a little quick in forming his conclusions. Miss Turner. So there were quarrels. James and I have always loved each other as brother and sister. And about his quarrel with his father. Oh! I know that he is right. throwing back her head and looking defiantly at Lestrade. he naturally did not wish to do anything like that yet. now!” she cried. McCarthy was in favour of it.” “There.” “In what way?” asked Holmes.” “But you have read the evidence. some flaw? Do you not yourself think that he is innocent?” “I think that it is very probable. but of course he is young and has seen very little of life yet. James and his father had many disagreements about me. “It is no time for me to hide anything. “You hear! He gives me hopes. “Was he in favour of such a union?” “No.” said Sherlock Holmes.” A quick blush passed over her fresh young face as Holmes shot one of his keen.” Lestrade shrugged his shoulders.” “And your father?” asked Holmes.

Turner made his money. Watson.” “I must go home now.” said Holmes.and Dr. at the mines. The puny plot of the story was so thin. No doubt you will go to the prison to see James.” “I think that I see my way to clearing James McCarthy. if you do. and God help you in your undertaking.” “I will. Miss Turner.” She hurried from the room as impulsively as she had entered. but only for you and me.” “You will tell me if you have any news to-morrow. [209] Good-bye. Holmes. when compared to the deep mystery through which we were groping. “I am ashamed of you. certainly. but I call it cruel. at the gold-mines. and then wandered through the streets of the little town. but I shall only be away a couple of hours. “Why should you raise up hopes which you are bound to disappoint? I am not over-tender of heart. Willows says that he is a wreck and that his nervous system is shattered. do tell him that I know him to be innocent. We have still time to take a train to Hereford and see him to-night?” “Ample. where I lay upon the sofa and tried to interest myself in a yellow-backed novel.” “Quite so. You have been of material assistance to me. Holmes. where. Mr. and we heard the wheels of her carriage rattle off down the street.” I walked down to the station with them. “Have you an order to see him in prison?” “Yes. and I found my attention . finally returning to the hotel.” “Then let us do so.” “Yes. McCarthy was the only man alive who had known dad in the old days in Victoria. and he misses me so if I leave him.” “Yes. I fear that you will find it very slow.” “Then I shall reconsider my resolution about going out. Miss Turner. Mr. Oh.” “Thank you. as I understand. for dad is very ill.” said Lestrade with dignity after a few minutes’ silence. Mr.” “Ha! In Victoria! That is important. however.

No. though comely to look at and. Still. “if it is indeed a fact that he was averse to a marriage with so charming a young lady as this Miss Turner. and yet I had so much faith in Sherlock Holmes’s insight that I could not lose hope as long as every fresh fact seemed to strengthen his conviction of young McCarthy’s innocence. 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. That was to some extent in favour of the accused. I have seen young McCarthy. Still.” “Ah. drawn back by his screams. Then there was the peculiar dying reference to a rat. but I am convinced now that he is as puzzled as everyone else. he rushed into the glade? It was something terrible and deadly. for the older man might have turned his back before the blow fell. for Lestrade was staying in lodgings in the town. it was more likely to be an attempt to explain how he met his fate. a man should be at his very best and keenest for such nice work as that. then what hellish thing. what absolutely unforeseen and extraordinary calamity could have occurred between the time when he parted from his father. I marked the spot upon my own head. What a tissue of mysteries and improbabilities the whole thing was! I did not wonder at Lestrade’s opinion. But what could it indicate? I cudgelled my brains to find some possible explanation. insanely.” “Could he throw no light?” “None at all. This fellow is madly. . On the other hand. What could that mean? It could not be delirium. and the moment when. presumably his overcoat. “The glass still keeps very high.” I remarked. Supposing that this unhappy young man’s story were absolutely true. in his flight. A man dying from a sudden blow does not commonly become delirious. I should think. that I at last flung it across the room and gave myself up entirely to a consideration of the events of the day.” “I cannot admire his taste. And then the incident of the gray cloth seen by young McCarthy. it might be worth while to call Holmes’s attention to it. If that were true the murderer must have dropped some part of his dress. I was inclined to think at one time that he knew who had done it and was screening him or her. 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 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. He is not a very quick-witted youth.wander so continually from the fiction to the fact.” “And what did you learn from him?” “Nothing. it did not go for very much. thereby hangs a rather painful tale. He came back alone. sound at heart.” he remarked as he sat down. “It is of [210] importance that it should not rain before we are able to go over the ground. It was late before Sherlock Holmes returned. Clearly such a blow must have been struck from behind. and I did not wish to do it when fagged by a long journey. as when seen quarrelling he was face to face with his father. which contained a verbatim account of the inquest.

and.” There was no rain. and the morning broke bright and cloudless. Good has come out of evil. The daughter told us as much. however. yes! In a hundred other ways he has helped him. and his father.” said Holmes. It was with his barmaid wife that he had spent the last three days in Bristol. “About sixty. and that the someone could not have been his son. I may add. and he has been in failing health for some time.in love with her. but what he knows to be absolutely impossible. and we set off for Hatherley Farm and the Boscombe Pool. who is. a great benefactor to him. Do you not deduce . is so ill that his life is despaired of. as if it were merely a case of a proposal and all else would follow? It is the more strange. should still talk of marrying his son to Turner’s daughter.” [211] “Indeed! That is interesting. presumably. “It is said that Mr. This business has had a very bad effect upon him. but his constitution has been shattered by his life abroad. It is of importance. On the other hand. I presume?” said Holmes. he had no means of supporting himself. finding from the papers that he is in serious trouble and likely to be hanged. for I have learned that he gave him Hatherley Farm rent free. at their last interview.” “Really! Does it not strike you as a little singular that this McCarthy. when he was only a lad.” Lestrade observed. for his son was away. for the barmaid. and that in such a very cocksure manner. “There is serious news this morning. “Oh. has thrown him over utterly and has written to him to say that she has a husband already in the Bermuda Dockyard. of the Hall. and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow. and he did not know when he would return. and before he really knew her. but some two years ago. who has done it?” “Ah! who? I would call your attention very particularly to two points. who was by all accounts a very hard man. since we know that Turner himself was averse to the idea. was goading him on to propose to Miss Turner. and to have been under such obligations to Turner. Everybody about here speaks of his kindness to him. if you please. heiress to the estate. and his father did not know where he was.” “An elderly man. Mark that point. as Holmes had foretold. Turner. 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. One is that the murdered man had an appointment with someone at the pool. 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. The second is that the murdered man was heard to cry ‘Cooee!’ before he knew that his son had returned. It was sheer frenzy of this sort which made him throw his hands up into the air when his father. would have thrown him over utterly had he known the truth. who appears to have had little of his own. At nine o’clock Lestrade called for us with the carriage. I think that that bit of news has consoled young McCarthy for all that he has suffered.” “But if he is innocent. And now let us talk about George Meredith. for she had been away five years at a boardingschool. so that there is really no tie between them. He was an old friend of McCarthy’s. Those are the crucial points upon which the case depends.

gave it a stricken look. that is it. Having measured these very carefully from seven or eight different points. His face flushed and darkened. two-storied. while his eyes shone out from beneath them with a steely glitter. “But I am very much mistaken if this is not Hatherley Farm upon the left.” “You are right.” said Holmes demurely. winking at me.” “Yes. with great yellow blotches of lichen upon the gray walls. from which we all followed the winding track which led to Boscombe Pool. showed us the boots which her master wore at the time of his death. His brows were drawn into two hard black lines. comfortable-looking building.” replied Lestrade with some warmth. Holmes desired to be led to the court-yard. and also a pair of the son’s. “And that is– –” “That McCarthy senior met his death from McCarthy junior and that all theories to the contrary are the merest moonshine. at Holmes’s request.” “Well.” said Lestrade. when the maid. The drawn blinds and the smokeless chimneys.something from that?” “We have got to the deductions and the inferences. and the veins stood out like . Men who had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have failed to recognize him.” said Holmes. “I find it hard enough to tackle facts. We called at the door. though not the pair which he had then had. Holmes. however. “you do find it very hard to tackle the facts. as though the weight of this horror still lay heavy upon it. I have grasped one fact which you seem to find it difficult to get hold of. his lips compressed. laughing. without flying away after theories and fancies. moonshine is a brighter thing than fog.” It was a widespread. slate-roofed. His face was bent downward. his shoulders bowed. Sherlock Holmes was transformed when he was hot upon such a scent as this.” “Anyhow.

and. and his mind was so absolutely concentrated upon the matter before him that a question or remark fell unheeded upon his ears. jutting pinnacles which marked the site of the rich land-owner’s dwelling. so moist was the ground. . both upon the path and amid the short grass which bounded it on either side. as is all that district. [212] The Boscombe Pool. Sometimes Holmes would hurry on. and so by way of the woods to the Boscombe Pool. Lestrade showed us the exact spot at which the body had been found.whipcord in his long. Swiftly and silently he made his way along the track which ran through the meadows. indeed. sometimes stop dead. His nostrils seemed to dilate with a purely animal lust for the chase. impatient snarl in reply. marshy ground. sinewy neck. and once he made quite a little detour into the meadow. Turner. which is a little reed-girt sheet of water some fifty yards across. at the most. is situated at the boundary between the Hatherley Farm and the private park of the wealthy Mr. and there were marks of many feet. only provoked a quick. Lestrade and I walked behind him. the detective indifferent and contemptuous. On the Hatherley side of the pool the woods grew very thick. It was damp. Above the woods which lined it upon the farther side we could see the red. or. 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. that I could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the stricken man. 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.

and there it vanishes among the reeds. and perhaps .To Holmes. Twice he was walking. ha! What have we here? Tiptoes! tiptoes! Square. sometimes finding the track until we were well within the edge of the wood and under the shadow of a great beech. like a dog who is picking up a scent. very many other things were to be read upon the trampled grass. “These are young McCarthy’s feet. And this? Ha. and this also he carefully examined and retained. I thought there might be some weapon or other trace. He ran round. and once he ran swiftly. 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. Here is where the party with the lodge-keeper came. That bears out his story. how simple it would all have been had I been here before they came like a herd of buffalo and wallowed all over it. they go. where all traces were lost. and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the body. Now where did they come from?” He ran up and down. tut. tut! I have no time! That left foot of yours with its inward twist is all over the place.” He drew out a lens and lay down upon his waterproof to have a better view. A jagged stone was lying among the moss. Holmes traced his way to the farther side of this and lay down once more upon his face with a little cry of satisfaction. talking all the time rather to himself than to us. Oh. sometimes losing. “It has been a case of considerable interest. I think that I will go in and have a word with Moran. they come again–of course that was for the cloak. and then turned upon my companion. so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly visible.” he remarked. too. Then he followed a pathway through the wood until he came to the highroad. But here are three separate tracks of the same feet. Then here are the father’s feet as he paced up and down. as I could see by his eager face and peering eyes. A mole could trace it. “What did you go into the pool for?” he asked. “I fished about with a rake. returning to his natural manner. He ran when he saw his father on the ground. quite unusual boots! They come. For a long time he remained there. What is this. “I fancy that this gray house on the right must be the lodge. turning over the leaves and dried sticks. But how on earth– –” “Oh. the largest tree in the neighbourhood. then? It is the butt-end of the gun as the son stood listening.

where we found lunch upon the table. There are several other indications.” “All right. and I shall be with you presently. “The murder was done with it. Lestrade. “just sit down in this chair and let me preach to you for a little. finished. limps with the right leg.” said Holmes quietly. wears thick-soled shooting-boots and a gray cloak. now. Holmes was silent and buried in thought with a pained expression upon his face.” “Well. Holmes still carrying with him the stone which he had picked up in the wood. It had only lain there a few days. I should become the laughing-stock of Scotland Yard. and shall probably return to London by the evening train. and I should value your advice. Watson. and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket. Having done that.” he remarked. we drove to our hotel. smokes Indian cigars. but we have to deal with a hard-headed British jury.” he said. This is not such a populous neighbourhood.” “Nous verrons.” “Pray do so. “Look here.” “I see no marks.” Lestrade laughed. uses a cigarholder. “and I really cannot undertake to go about the country looking for a left-handed gentleman with a game-leg.” he said.” Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. Light a cigar and let me expound. “You work your own method. holding it out.” “And leave your case unfinished?” “No. left-handed. then?” “The gentleman I describe. I don’t know quite what to do. then?” “The grass was growing under it. I shall be busy this afternoon.” he said when the cloth was cleared.” answered Holmes calmly.” “How do you know. but these may be enough to aid us in our search. It corresponds with the injuries. “This may interest you.write a little note. I shall drop you a line before I leave. “I am afraid that I am still a sceptic.” [213] “There are none.” “But who is he?” “Surely it would not be difficult to find out. There was no sign of a place whence it had been taken. You may walk to the cab.” “Who was the criminal. and I shall work mine. in considering this case there are two points about young . Good-bye.” Having left Lestrade at his rooms.” It was about ten minutes before we regained our cab and drove back into Ross. Here are your lodgings. “Theories are all very well. “I have given you the chance. we may drive back to our luncheon. There is no sign of any other weapon.” “But the mystery?” “It is solved. as one who finds himself in a perplexing position.” “And the murderer?” “Is a tall man. “I am a practical man.

It is founded upon the observation of trifles. obviously it could not have been meant for the son.” “And one who was at home in the district. So and so. Why? Because he limped–he was lame. although they impressed me in his favour and you against him. cry ‘Cooee!’ before seeing him. they were peculiar boots. was in Bristol.” “What of this ‘Cooee!’ then?” “Well. might be told from their traces.” I read. The son. you see.” “His height I know that you might roughly judge from the length of his stride.” “What of the rat. “BALLARAT.” “Then comes our expedition of to-day. Now from this double point our research must commence. There is a strong presumption that the person whom [214] McCarthy expected to meet him at Boscombe Pool was someone who had been in Australia. He mumbled several words. and of which his son only caught the last two syllables. He was trying to utter the name of his murderer. granting the son’s statement to be correct. was a certainty. as far as he knew.” “But how did you gain them?” “You know my method.” he said. you understand. “I wired to Bristol for it last night. where strangers could hardly wander.” “Certainly.” “But his lameness?” “The impression of his right foot was always less distinct than his left. I had narrowed the field down considerably. The other was his singular dying reference to a rat.” . then?” Sherlock Holmes took a folded paper from his pocket and flattened it out on the table.McCarthy’s narrative which struck us both instantly. The ‘Cooee!’ was meant to attract the attention of whoever it was that he had the appointment with. The possession of a gray garment was a third point which. We have come now out of mere vagueness to the definite conception of an Australian from Ballarat with a gray cloak. And now. as to the personality of the criminal. according to his account.” “Quite so. His boots. One was the fact that his father should. That was the word the man uttered.” “It is wonderful!” I exclaimed. It was mere chance that he was within earshot. But ‘Cooee’ is a distinctly Australian cry.” “Yes. for the pool can only be approached by the farm or by the estate. By an examination of the ground I gained the trifling details which I gave to that imbecile Lestrade. “This is a map of the Colony of Victoria.” He put his hand over part of the map. too. and we will begin it by presuming that what the lad says is absolutely true.” “Quite so. “What do you read?” “ARAT. of Ballarat. He put less weight upon it. but that was all that caught the son’s ear.” “But his left-handedness. and one which is used between Australians. “It is obvious. “And now?” He raised his hand.

of the variety which are rolled in Rotterdam.” I said.” “Holmes. opening the door of our sitting-room. The culprit is– –” “Mr. which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enables me to pronounce as an Indian cigar. The blow was struck from immediately behind. I found the ash of a cigar. Therefore he used a holder. 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. devoted some attention to this. The tip had been cut off. and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 different varieties of pipe. I see the direction in which all this points. I have.“You were yourself struck by the nature of the injury as recorded by the surgeon at the inquest. Having found the ash. “you have drawn a net round this man from which he cannot escape. so I deduced a blunt pen-knife. It was an Indian cigar. and cigarette tobacco. John Turner. as you know. cigar. . I then looked round and discovered the stump among the moss where he had tossed it. and you have saved an innocent human life as truly as if you had cut the [215] cord which was hanging him.” cried the hotel waiter. but the cut was not a clean one.” “And the cigar-holder?” “I could see that the end had not been in his mouth. He had even smoked there. Now. and ushering in a visitor. and yet was upon the left side. not bitten off.

” The old man sank his face in his hands.” said Holmes gravely. while his lips and the corners of his nostrils were tinged with a shade of blue. but his face was of an ashen white. drooping eyebrows combined to give an air of dignity and power to his appearance. I give you my word that I would have spoken out if it went against him at the Assizes. “It is so.” said Holmes gently. “I would have spoken now had it not been for my dear girl.” said Holmes.The man who entered was a strange and impressive figure. It was clear to me at a glance that he was in the grip of some deadly and chronic disease. and yet his hard. “Yes. as though his question was already answered. “But I would not have let the young man come to harm. deep-lined. craggy features. limping step and bowed shoulders gave the appearance of decrepitude. His slow.” “And why did you wish to see me?” He looked across at my companion with despair in his weary eyes. “You had my note?” “Yes. “Pray sit down on the sofa.” . the lodge-keeper brought it up.” “I am glad to hear you say so. answering the look rather than the words. and his enormous limbs showed that he was possessed of unusual strength of body and of character. I know all about McCarthy. His tangled beard. It would break her heart–it will break her heart when she hears that I am arrested.” “I thought people would talk if I went to the Hall. “God help me!” he cried. grizzled hair. You said that you wished to see me here to avoid scandal. and outstanding.

but we emptied four of their saddles at the first volley. God keep you out of the clutches of such a man as he. and I am acting in her interests. so it matters little to me. . “One day a gold convoy came down from Ballarat to Melbourne. My doctor says it is a question whether I shall live a month. All was going well when McCarthy laid his grip upon me. He was a devil incarnate. to make up for the way in which I had earned it. I bought this estate. “Just tell us the truth. it has been a long time in the acting. who was this very man McCarthy. and our party is still remembered in the colony as the Ballarat Gang. though I saw his wicked little eyes fixed on my face. I understand that it was your daughter who required my presence here. however. before we got the swag. “What?” “I am no official agent.” he said. You will sign it. I promise you that I shall not use it unless it is absolutely needed. but I should wish to spare Alice the shock. however. I was a young chap then. And now I will make the thing clear to you. There were six of us. and I set myself to do a little good with my money. I wish to the Lord that I had shot him then. There I parted from my old pals and determined to settle down to a quiet and respectable life. and we lay in wait for it and attacked it. His grip has been upon me these twenty years. Even when she was just a baby her wee hand seemed to lead me down the right path as nothing else had ever done. and we had a wild. hotblooded and reckless. Young McCarthy must be got off. but I spared him. and I met him in Regent Street with hardly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot. I married. In a word. too. I tell you that. which chanced to be in the market. We got away with the gold. and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. I put my pistol to the head of the wagon-driver. and Watson here can witness it. sticking up a station from time to time. took to the bush. “I had gone up to town about an investment. and made our way over to England without being suspected. “You didn’t know this dead man.” Holmes rose and sat down at the table with his pen in his hand and a bundle of paper before him. as though to remember every feature. I’ll tell you first how I came to be in his power. and in a word became what you would call over here a highway robber. free life of it. “I have had diabetes for years. I got among bad companions. or stopping the wagons on the road to the diggings.” said Holmes. Yet I would rather die under my own roof than in a jail. and he has blasted my life.” said the old man. Three of our boys were killed. Black Jack of Ballarat was the name I went under. “I shall jot down the facts. There were six troopers and six of us. so it was a close thing. but will not take me long to tell.” “I am a dying man. had no luck with my claim. McCarthy. ready to turn my hand at anything. became wealthy men.“It may not come to that. Then I could produce your confession at the last extremity to save young McCarthy.” said old Turner. “It was in the early ’60’s at the diggings. I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past.” “It’s as well. took [216] to drink. “it’s a question whether I shall live to the Assizes.

McCarthy threatened. Though clear of mind and fairly strong of limb.’ says he. down they came to the west country. turn where I would. and there they have lived rent free on my best land ever since. Holmes. nothing. “I pray that we may never be exposed to such a temptation. Jack. and as I was known to be in weak health. I braved him to do his worst. And what do you intend to do?” “In view of your health. but his blood was in him. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bitter in me seemed to come uppermost. had grown up. But that my girl should be entangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suffer. it is not for me to judge you. so I smoked a cigar and waited behind a tree until he should be alone. houses. land. whether you be alive or dead. I did it. I struck him down with no more compunction than if he had been some foul and venomous beast.” said Holmes as the old man signed the statement which had been drawn out. and so had my girl. He asked for Alice.” “I pray not. There was no rest for me. and whatever it was I gave him without question. It grew worse as Alice grew up. and if McCarthy is condemned I shall be forced to use it. touching me on the arm. I will keep your confession. and that was enough. shall be safe with us. But my memory and my girl! Both could be saved if I could but silence that foul tongue. it seemed a fine stroke to him that his lad should step into the whole property. Could I not snap the bond? I was already a dying and a desperate man. There’s two of us.” . If not. for he soon saw I was more afraid of her knowing my past than of the police.” “Well. 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. I knew that my own fate was sealed. I stood firm. no forgetfulness. though I was forced to go back to fetch the cloak which I had dropped in my flight. there was no shaking them off. Mr. I would not have his cursed stock mixed with mine. of all that occurred. not that I had any dislike to the lad. His cry brought back his son. “When I went down there I found him talking with his son. ‘we’ll be as good as a family to you.“‘Here we are. money. Whatever he wanted he must have. 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. “His son. and your secret. and you can have the keeping of us. there was his cunning. Deeply as I have sinned. but I had gained the cover of the wood.’ “Well. it shall never be seen by mortal eye. grinning face at my elbow. I have led a life of martyrdom to atone for it. until at last he asked a thing which I could not give. sir. [217] I would do it again. That is the true story. But there I was firm. law-abiding country is England. You are yourself aware that you will soon have to answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes. and there’s always a policeman within hail. you see. We were to meet at the pool midway between our houses to talk it over. no peace. me and my son. gentlemen. If you don’t–it’s a fine.

“Your own deathbeds. but for the grace of God.“Farewell. 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.” Tottering and shaking in all his giant frame. “God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence. then. he stumbled slowly from the room. when they come. and say. 1998 The Five Orange Pips .” said the old man solemnly.’” 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. but he is now dead. ‘There. goes Sherlock Holmes. Old Turner lived for seven months after our interview. David Soucek. “Why does fate play such tricks with poor. will be the easier for the thought of the peace which you have given to mine. helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words.

It was in the latter days of September. As evening drew in. Among my headings under this one twelve months I find an account of the adventure of the Paradol Chamber. 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. Sherlock Holmes was able. but none of them present such singular features as the strange train of circumstances which I have now taken up my pen to describe. Some. have already gained publicity through the papers. by winding up the dead man’s watch. who held a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse. of which I retain the records. entirely cleared up. 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. like untamed beasts in a cage. as narratives. so that even here in the heart of great. and finally of the Camberwell poisoning case. beginnings without an ending. and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate. In the latter. and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree. Some. to prove that it had been wound up two hours before. have baffled his analytical skill. and would be. while others have been but partially cleared up. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime. of the singular adventures of the Grice Patersons in the island of Uffa. and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization. too. [218] The year ’87 furnished us with a long series of cases of greater or less interest. of the Amateur Mendicant Society. and have their explanations founded rather upon conjecture and surmise than on that absolute logical proof which was so dear to him. There is. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE FIVE ORANGE PIPS WHEN I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years ’82 and ’90. 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. of the facts connected with the loss of the British bark Sophy Anderson. and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the . and probably never will be. and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. however. 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. and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. as may be remembered. hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life. the storm grew higher and louder. All these I may sketch out at some future date. however.

My wife was on a visit to her mother’s. and for a few days I was a dweller once more in my old quarters at Baker Street. for there came a step in the passage and a tapping at the door. glancing up at my companion. “Come in!” said he. . Who could come to-night? Some friend of yours. Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour. however. He stretched out his long arm to turn the lamp away from himself and towards the vacant chair upon which a newcomer must sit.” said I. “I do not encourage visitors. then?” “If so. “that was surely the bell. “Why.long swash of the sea waves.” he answered.” “A client. it is a serious case. But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady’s.” Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture. perhaps?” “Except yourself I have none.

“Pray give us the essential facts from the commencement.” “That is easily got.” “Then you may be so with me.” said he.” said Holmes.” “But what is that compared with the number of your successes?” “It is true that I have been generally successful.” “And help. I must go back to the commencement of the affair. so in order to give you an idea of the facts. of course. well-groomed and trimly clad.” The young man pulled his chair up and pushed his wet feet out towards the blaze. “You must know that my grandfather had two sons–my uncle Elias and . like those of a man who is weighed down with some great anxiety. “My name.” “Ah. It is a hereditary matter.” “He said too much.” “None of those which come to me are. from Horsham. “I owe you an apology. I see. little to do with this awful business. The streaming umbrella which he held in his hand. in all your experience. I fear that I have brought some traces of the storm and rain into your snug chamber. “is John Openshaw.” he said. Holmes. He was wrongfully accused of cheating at cards.” “And yet I question. you have ever listened to a more mysterious and inexplicable chain of events than those which have happened in my own family.” “You fill me with interest. I am the last court of appeal.” “Give me your coat and umbrella. Mr. “I trust that I am not intruding. as far as I can understand. raising his golden pince-nez to his eyes.” “That you are never beaten.” said Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast how you saved him in the Tankerville Club scandal.” [219] “That clay and chalk mixture which I see upon your toe caps is quite distinctive.” “I have been beaten four times–three times by men. sir.” “I have heard of you. some two-and-twenty at the outside. You have come up from the southwest.” “I have come for advice. whether. He looked about him anxiously in the glare of the lamp.” “Yes.” “I beg that you will draw your chair up to the fire and favour me with some details as to your case. and I can afterwards question you as to those details which seem to me to be most important. “They may rest here on the hook and will be dry presently.” “He said that you could solve anything.” “That is not always so easy.The man who entered was young.” “It is no ordinary one. and once by a woman. and his long shining waterproof told of the fierce weather through which he had come. and I could see that his face was pale and his eyes heavy. but my own affairs have. with something of refinement and delicacy in his bearing.

This would be in the year 1878. where he was reported to have done very well. for his bills were all paid in ready money. so long as I did not disturb him in his privacy. ‘K. and there he would take his exercise. so that by the time that I was sixteen I was quite master of the house. and which he would never permit either me or anyone else to enter. He was a patentee of the Openshaw unbreakable tire. for at the time when he saw me first I was a youngster of twelve or so. and his dislike of the Republican policy in extending the franchise to them. and afterwards under Hood. He drank [220] a great deal of brandy and smoked very heavily. When Lee laid down his arms my uncle returned to his plantation. and he had no friends of any sort. out there jumped five little dried orange pips. 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.!’ he shrieked. There was one singular exception. but the laugh was struck from my lips at the sight of his face. my God. ‘From India!’ said he as he took it up. It was not a common thing for him to receive letters. About 1869 or 1870 he came back to Europe and took a small estate in Sussex. He begged my father to let me live with him. He was a singular man. and he was very kind to me in his way. ‘Pondicherry postmark! What can this be?’ Opening it hurriedly. where he remained for three or four years. his skin the colour of putty. At the time of the war he fought in Jackson’s army. after he had been eight or nine years in England. where he rose to be a colonel. “One day–it was in March. for he had a single room. and of a most retiring disposition. . I kept all the keys and could go where I liked and do what I liked. 1883–a letter with a foreign stamp lay upon the table in front of the colonel’s plate. “My uncle Elias emigrated to America when he was a young man and became a planter in Florida. my sins have overtaken me!’ “‘What is it. fierce and quick-tempered. and he would make me his representative both with the servants and with the tradespeople. K. which he enlarged at the time of the invention of bicycling. which was invariably locked.’ said he. though very often for weeks on end he would never leave his room. which pattered down upon his plate. very foul-mouthed when he was angry.my father Joseph. his eyes were protruding. and then. uncle?’ I cried. near Horsham. however. During all the years that he lived at Horsham. and his business met with such success that he was able to sell it and to retire upon a handsome competence. ‘My God. and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his trembling hand. He had a garden and two or three fields round his house. I doubt if ever he set foot in the town. and rising from the table he retired to his room. He had made a very considerable fortune in the States. His lip had fallen. When he was sober he used to be fond of playing backgammon and draughts with me. “‘Death. not even his own brother. he took a fancy to me. With a boy’s curiosity I have peeped through the keyhole. “He didn’t mind me. I began to laugh at this. K. a lumber-room up among the attics. and his reason for leaving them was his aversion to the negroes. but he would see no society and did not want any friends. My father had a small factory at Coventry. in fact.

though the sensation grew less keen as the weeks passed. screaming out that he was afraid of no man. glisten with moisture. well and good! If you find you cannot. in the other. as you may think. and he was less inclined for any sort of society. however. whence it will. no doubt. by man or devil. the Horsham lawyer. and in the grate there was a mass of black. with a start. John.’ “I did as he ordered. like a man who can brazen it out no longer against the terror which lies at the roots of his soul. Yet I could not shake off the vague feeling of dread which it left behind. What could be the reason of his overpowering terror? I left the breakfasttable. Fordham shows you. . to my brother. which must have belonged to the attic. When these hot fits were over. and that he was not to be cooped up.’ “I signed the paper as directed. the deepest impression upon me. The fire was burning brightly. like a sheep in a pen. There was nothing else save the five dried pips. but I’ll checkmate them still. 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. as though it were new raised from a basin. he would rush tumultuously in at the door and lock and bar it behind him. my boy. while the brass box stood open and empty beside it. as of burned paper. “‘I wish you. “‘They may do what they like.’ said he with an oath. like a cashbox. and nothing happened to disturb the usual routine of our lives. fluffy ashes. your father.leaving me palpitating with horror. descend to you. and a small brass box. At such times I have seen his face. and the lawyer took it away with him. just above the gum. in one hand. with the door locked upon the inside. and send down to Fordham. I took up the envelope and saw scrawled in red ink upon the inner flap. however. even on a cold day. and leave it to your deadliest enemy. ‘Tell Mary that I shall want a fire in my room to-day. If you can enjoy it in peace. with all its advantages and all its disadvantages. Kindly sign the paper where Mr. and [221] I pondered over it and turned it every way in my mind without being able to make anything of it. He drank more than ever. Most of his time he would spend in his room. the letter K three times repeated.’ said my uncle. I leave my estate. but I can’t say what turn things are going to take. and when the lawyer arrived I was asked to step up to the room. and as I ascended the stair I met him coming down with an old rusty key. that upon the lid was printed the treble K which I had read in the morning upon the envelope. I could see a change in my uncle. ‘to witness my will. take my advice. I am sorry to give you such a twoedged thing. The singular incident made. As I glanced at the box I noticed.

Holmes.” “Thank you. Others were of a date during the reconstruction of the Southern states.“Well. so that the jury. 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. Let me have the date of the reception by your uncle of the letter. which lay to his credit at the bank. These. for he had evidently taken a strong part in . had much ado to persuade myself that he had gone out of his way to meet it. Pray proceed.” “When my father took over the Horsham property. K. brought in a verdict of ‘suicide. there was nothing of much importance in the attic save a great many scattered papers and note-books bearing upon my uncle’s life in America. who knew how he winced from the very thought of death. and the date of his supposed suicide. Mr.” “The letter arrived on March 10. On the inside of the cover was a paper label. indicated the nature of the papers which had been destroyed by Colonel Openshaw. he. We found the brass box there. and my father entered into possession of the estate. we presume. I foresee. and were mostly concerned with politics.” Holmes interposed. however. 1883. The matter passed. His death was seven weeks later. which had been always locked up. and of some £14. receipts.’ But I. although its contents had been destroyed. and ‘Letters. We found him. upon the night of May 2d.” “One moment. there came a night when he made one of those drunken sallies from which he never came back. made a careful examination of the attic. face downward in a little green-scummed pool. to come to an end of the matter.000. K. with the initials of K. memoranda. For the rest. having regard to his known eccentricity. when we went to search for him. repeated upon it. There was no sign of any violence. which lay at the foot of the garden. “your statement is. at my request. and not to abuse your patience. and the water was but two feet deep. one of the most remarkable to which I have ever listened. and a register’ written beneath.

K.’ “‘Pooh!’ said he. 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. and all went as well as possible with us until the January of ’85. sitting with a newly opened envelope in one hand and five dried orange pips in the outstretched palm of the other one. “Well. ‘So it is. ‘Here are the very letters.’ . and we can’t have tomfoolery of this kind. K. There is no other. “‘The sundial in the garden. glancing at the postmark.’ said he. ‘but the papers must be those that are destroyed.’ said I.’ “‘Then let me do so?’ “‘No. “‘And be laughed at for my pains. I forbid you. “‘Why.’ he cried. There he was. Nothing of the sort.opposing the carpet-bag politicians who had been sent down from the North. it was the beginning of ’84 when my father came to live at Horsham. I won’t have a fuss made about such nonsense.. “My heart had turned to lead.’ said I.’ “‘I should certainly speak to the police.’ I answered. “‘Some preposterous practical joke. John?’ he stammered. ‘We are in a civilized land here. ‘It is K. what on earth does this mean.’ I read. ‘What have I to do with sundials and papers? I shall take no notice of such nonsense. But what is this written above them?’ “‘Put the papers on the sundial.’ I said. gripping hard at his courage. He had always laughed at what he called my cock-and-bull story about the colonel. but [222] he looked very scared and puzzled now that the same thing had come upon himself. “He looked inside the envelope. Where does the thing come from?’ “‘From Dundee. “‘What papers? What sundial?’ he asked. peeping over his shoulder.

“It was in January. who is in command of one of the forts upon Portsdown Hill. And yet I need not tell you that my mind was far from at ease. I had begun to take comfort too soon. no footmarks. and that it had ended with the last generation. There were no signs of violence. “In this sinister way I came into my inheritance. and that the danger would be as pressing in one house as in another.” . I went about. I hurried to him. Major Freebody. “On the third day after the coming of the letter my father went from home to visit an old friend of his. that my poor father met his end. no record of strangers having been seen upon the roads. My father had fallen over one of the deep chalk-pits which abound in the neighbourhood. Upon the second day of his absence I received a telegram from the major. You will ask me why I did not dispose of it? I answer. In that. however. been returning from Fareham in the twilight. for he was a very obstinate man. no robbery. and was lying senseless. because I was well convinced that our troubles were in some way dependent upon an incident in my uncle’s life. and two years and eight months have elapsed since then.“It was in vain to argue with him. and that I was well-nigh certain that some foul plot had been woven round him. for it seemed to me that he was farther from danger when he was away from home. however. with a heart which was full of forebodings. I was glad that he should go. and as the country was unknown to him. yesterday morning the blow fell in the very shape in which it had come upon my father. He had. I was unable to find anything which could suggest the idea of murder. and the chalk-pit unfenced. with a shattered skull.’ Carefully as I examined every fact connected with his death. but he passed away without having ever recovered his consciousness. imploring me to come at once. ’85. the jury had no hesitation in bringing in a verdict of ‘death from accidental causes. I was in error. During that time I have lived happily at Horsham. however. and I had begun to hope that this curse had passed away from the family. as it appears.

and were not to be connected with the warnings. and that the deaths of my relations were really accidents. I have felt like one of those poor rabbits when the snake is writhing towards it. and turning to the table he shook out upon it five little dried orange pips.” “Ah!” “But they listened to my story with a smile. as the jury stated. “They have.’. which no foresight and no precautions can guard against.” Again Holmes raved in the air.’” “What have you done?” asked Holmes. “This is the envelope. I seem to be in the grasp of some resistless.The young man took from his waistcoat a crumpled envelope. “Incredible imbecility!” he cried. allowed me a policeman. white hands–“I have felt helpless. “You must act.” “Tut! tut!” cried Sherlock Holmes. however.” “I have seen the police. K.” he continued. or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. I am convinced that the inspector has formed the opinion that the letters are all practical jokes. man. inexorable evil. This is no time for despair. His orders were to stay in the house. K.” “Nothing?” “To tell the truth”–he sank his face into his thin. who may remain in the house with me. “The postmark is London–eastern [223] division. .” “Has he come with you to-night?” “No.” Holmes shook his clenched hands in the air. and then ‘Put the papers on the sundial. “Nothing. Within are the very words which were upon my father’s last message: ‘K.

and that this is the only one which remains. and in that way has escaped destruction. perhaps. 12th.Visited Paramore. at present. Do you understand?” “Entirely. fluttered out from among the others. I think myself that it is a page from some private diary. It was only to-day that I spoke to Major Prendergast about my troubles and was advised by him to come to you.” “Do not think of revenge. drawing out a piece of discoloured. than that which you have placed before us–no suggestive detail which might help us?” “There is one thing. Augustine.“Why did you come to me. and. “March. 9th. “that on the day when my uncle burned the papers I observed that the small. unburned margins which lay amid the ashes were of this particular colour.McCauley cleared. or anything of the sort. as directed. he laid it out upon the table. It was headed. The first consideration is to remove the pressing danger which threatens you. why did you not come at once?” “I did not know. The writing is undoubtedly my uncle’s. It must be done at once. I shall certainly do as you . “You have given me fresh life and hope. You must also put in a note to say that all the other papers were burned by your uncle.” and beneath were the following enigmatical notices: 4th.” Holmes moved the lamp. and we both bent over the sheet of paper.” “I thank you. 7th. rising and pulling on his overcoat. You must assert that in such words as will carry conviction with them. while theirs is already woven. Having done this. “And now you must on no account lose another instant. you must at once put the box out upon the sundial. 1869. You must get home instantly and act. “I have some remembrance. Beyond the mention of pips. blue-tinted paper.” “What shall I do?” “There is but one thing to do. He rummaged in his coat pocket. I think that we may gain that by means of the law. Same old platform. We cannot spare time even to discuss what you have told me.” “It is really two days since you had the letter.John Swain cleared.” he cried.” said John Openshaw. and John Swain.” said he. folding up the paper and returning it to our visitor. of St.Set the pips on McCauley. The second is to clear up the mystery and to punish the guilty parties. which showed by its ragged edge that it had indeed been torn from a book. “and. 10th. I suppose. I do not see that it helps us much. [224] “Thank you!” said Holmes. We should have acted before this. All well. Paramore.” said the young man. and I am inclined to think that it may be one of the papers which has.Hudson came. but we have our web to weave. You must put this piece of paper which you have shown us into the brass box which you have described. I found this single sheet upon the floor of his room. above all. You have no further evidence.

Then he lit his pipe.” . To-morrow I shall set to work upon your case. above all. Outside the wind still screamed and the rain splashed and pattered against the windows. or in two days.advise. so I trust that you may be in safety.” “Then I shall call upon you in a day.” he remarked at last. I shall take your advice in every particular. The streets will be crowded. then?” “No. This strange. Sherlock Holmes sat for some time in silence. And yet you cannot guard yourself too closely. It is there that I shall seek it. How do you go back?” “By train from Waterloo. Watson.” “It is not yet nine. for I do not think that there can be a doubt that you are threatened by a very real and imminent danger. 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. “I think. And. take care of yourself in the meanwhile.” He shook hands with us and took his leave. and leaning back in his chair he watched the blue smoke-rings as they chased each other up to the ceiling.” “I shall see you at Horsham. with news as to the box and the papers. your secret lies in London.” “Do not lose an instant.” “I am armed. with his head sunk forward and his eyes bent upon the red glow of the fire.” “That is well. “that of all our cases we have had none more fantastic than this.

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. If I remember rightly. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses. a possession of all knowledge. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone.” “But have you.” he answered.“Save.” “Well. is a somewhat rare accomplishment. K. however. both before and after. that. which. perhaps. “formed any definite conception as to what these perils are?” “There can be no question as to their nature. yes. We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone can attain to. however. it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilize all the facts which have come to his knowledge. and this in itself implies. to its highest pitch. the Sign of Four. even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias. defined . you on one occasion. “The ideal reasoner. as you will readily see. with his finger-tips together. and why does he pursue this unhappy family?” Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair. “Then what are they? Who is this K.” he remarked. [225] when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings. perhaps. Save. “would. To carry the art.” I asked. in the early days of our friendship. And yet this John Openshaw seems to me to be walking amid even greater perils than did the Sholtos. that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work. so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents should be able to accurately state all the other ones. It is not so impossible.. K. and this I have endeavoured in my case to do.

” “But the letter had also a greater distance to come. we can only deduce that by considering the formidable letters which were received by himself and his successors. We have already a clue. and politics were marked at zero. where he can get it if he wants it. boxer. and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco. violin-player. It looks as if they always sent their singular warning or token before them when starting upon their mission. I think. lawyer. anatomy unsystematic. His extreme love of solitude in England suggests the idea that he was in fear of someone or something. astronomy. “Well. seven weeks elapsed between the threat and its fulfillment.” Holmes grinned at the last item. What do you deduce from that?” “They are all seaports. You see how quickly the deed followed the sign when it came from Dundee. Kindly hand me down the letter K of the American Encyclopaedia which stands upon the shelf beside you. seven weeks elapsed. as a matter of fact. the second from Dundee. “It was a singular document. for such a case as the one which has been submitted to us to-night. laughing.” “More than that.” he said. geology profound as regards the mud-stains from any region within fifty miles of town. Thank you.” [226] “Then I do not see the point.” “Excellent.my limits in a very precise fashion. Did you remark the postmarks of those letters?” “The first was from Pondicherry. we need certainly to muster all our resources.” “Yes. Philosophy. In the case of Pondicherry. that a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use. “I say now.” “From East London.” “It is possible. Those. Now. so we may assume as a working hypothesis that it was fear of someone or something which drove him from America. And now let us consider another point. Does that suggest anything?” “A greater distance to travel. chemistry eccentric. Botany variable. If they had come from Pondicherry in a steamer they would have arrived almost as soon as their letter. sensational literature and crime records unique. as I said then. and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library.” I answered. were the main points of my analysis.” “There is at least a presumption that the vessel in which the man or men are is a sailing-ship. It is probable. As to what it was he feared. Now let us consider the situation and see what may be deduced from it. There can be no doubt that the probability–the strong probability–is that the writer was on board of a ship. But. That the writer was on board of a ship. we may start with a strong presumption that Colonel Openshaw had some very strong reason for leaving America. In the first place. and the third from London. I remember. 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. in Dundee it was only some three or four days. And now you see the deadly urgency of . swordsman. 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.

be the holder of them who it may. There must have been several in it. and it rapidly formed local branches in different parts of the country.” “Good God!” I cried. It may well have been cause and effect.” said Holmes. “that the sudden breaking up of the society was coincident with the disappearance of Openshaw from America with their papers. that there is hardly a case upon record where any man succeeded in braving it with impunity. although there have been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date. ceases to be the initials of an individual and becomes the badge of a society. laying down the volume. In this way you see K. and why I urged young Openshaw to caution. death would unfailingly come upon him. A single man could not have carried out two deaths in such a way as to deceive a coroner’s jury. It is no wonder that he and his family have . and therefore we cannot count upon delay. “What can it mean. If he braved the matter out. Its power was used for political purposes. [227] “You will observe. and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner. principally for the terrorizing of the negro voters and the murdering and driving from the country of those who were opposed to its views. Georgia. Eventually. So perfect was the organization of the society. and Florida. Its outrages were usually preceded by a warning sent to the marked man in some fantastic but generally recognized shape–a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts. or might fly from the country. K. This terrible secret society was formed by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern states after the Civil War. K. or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. the Carolinas. and they must have been men of resource and determination. The blow has always fallen at the end of the time which it would take the senders to travel the distance.” “But of what society?” “Have you never–” said Sherlock Holmes.” Holmes turned over the leaves of the book upon his knee. this relentless persecution?” “The papers which Openshaw carried are obviously of vital importance to the person or persons in the sailing-ship. in the year 1869. But this one comes from London. notably in Tennessee. the movement rather suddenly collapsed. For some years the organization flourished in spite of the efforts of the United States government and of the better classes of the community in the South. I think that it is quite clear that there must be more than one of them. Louisiana.” said he presently: “Ku Klux Klan. and so systematic its methods. melon seeds or orange pips in others.this new case. A name derived from the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle. “Here it is. bending forward and sinking his voice–“have you never heard of the Ku Klux Klan?” “I never have. Their papers they mean to have. On receiving this the victim might either openly abjure his former ways.

“You will excuse me for not waiting for you. sent the society’s warning to them. 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 fellowmen. ‘sent the pips to A.” “What steps will you take?” I asked. and that there may be many who will not sleep easy at night until it is recovered. Doctor. Then there are successive entries that A and B cleared. and I believe that the only chance young Openshaw has in the meantime is to do what I have told him. and the sun was shining with a subdued brightness through the dim veil which hangs over the great city. I think.” “Then the page we have seen– –” “Is such as we might expect.” As I waited. B. a sinister result for C. I shall commence with the City. if I remember right. after all. I lifted the unopened newspaper from the table and glanced my eye over it. with. It ran. or left the country.” “You will not go there first?” “No.” It had cleared in the morning. . “It will very much depend upon the results of my first inquiries. Sherlock Holmes was already at breakfast when I came down.some of the more implacable spirits upon their track. Just ring the bell and the maid will bring up your coffee. You can understand that this register and diary may implicate some of the first men in the South. a very busy day before me in looking into this case of young Openshaw’s. It rested upon a heading which sent a chill to my heart. I fear. Well. I may have to go down to Horsham. and finally that C was visited. “I have.” said he. I foresee. and C’–that is. There is nothing more to be said or to be done to-night. that we may let some light into this dark place.

however. heard a cry for help and a splash in the water. The night. The body exhibited no traces of violence.” I cried.’ Here is the account: “Between nine and ten last night Police-Constable Cook. laying down his cup. as it appears from an envelope which was found in his pocket.” We sat in silence for some minutes. “you are too late. and. by the aid of the water-police. Holmes more depressed and shaken than I had ever seen him. the body was eventually recovered. however. That he . was given. of the H Division. I shall set my hand upon this gang. in spite of the help of several passers-by. but I could see that he was deeply moved.” he said at last. The alarm. “It is a petty feeling. and that in his haste and the extreme darkness he missed his path and walked over the edge of one of the small landing-places for river steamboats.” “Ah!” said he. and the heading ‘Tragedy Near Waterloo Bridge. and. if God sends me health. It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name. It is conjectured that he may have been hurrying down to catch the last train from Waterloo Station.“Holmes. “I feared as much. How was it done?” He spoke calmly. It becomes a personal matter with me now. Watson. was extremely dark and stormy. “That hurts my pride. on duty near Waterloo Bridge. no doubt. it was quite impossible to effect a rescue. “My eye caught the name of Openshaw. so that. and whose residence is near Horsham. was John Openshaw. but it hurts my pride. and there can be no doubt that the deceased had been the victim of an unfortunate accident. which [228] should have the effect of calling the attention of the authorities to the condition of the riverside landing-stages.

” “And how have you succeeded?” “Well. “Starving. but not before. Well. He walked up to the sideboard. The bridge. was too crowded. Sherlock Holmes had not come back yet. I had no time to think of it. even on such a night. washing it down with a long draught of water. “You are hungry.” “Nothing?” “Not a bite. and tearing a piece from the loaf he devoured it voraciously. Watson.” “You have a clue?” . with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands.should come to me for help. “They must be cunning devils. and that I should send him away to his death– –!” He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation.” All day I was engaged in my professional work. and it was late in the evening before I returned to Baker Street. looking pale and worn.” he exclaimed at last. “How could they have decoyed him down there? The Embankment is not on the direct line to the station. It was nearly ten o’clock before he entered. It had escaped my memory. no doubt. I am going out now!” “To the police?” “No. I have had nothing since breakfast. When I have spun the web they may take the flies. I shall be my own police.” I remarked. we shall see who will win in the long run. for their purpose.

since. I wired to Gravesend and learned that she had passed some time ago.” said he.” There is ever a flaw. and when I found that the bark Lone Star was there in January.” Then he sealed it and addressed it to “Captain James Calhoun. 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. let us put their own devilish trademark upon them. Why. Of these. in the best laid of human plans. I know. and tearing it to pieces he squeezed out the pips upon the table.“I have them in the hollow of my hand. “It may give him a sleepless night. I then inquired as to the vessels which lay at present in the port of London. the Lone Star. O. Georgia. but he first. the only native-born Americans in the ship. He will find it as sure a precursor of his fate as Openshaw did before him.” “I was not and am not sure which. as I learn. Bark Lone Star. There were thirtysix ships of fair tonnage which were reported there during those months. then?” He took a large sheet of paper from his pocket. On the inside of the flap he wrote “S. It is well thought of!” “What do you mean?” He took an orange from the cupboard. the name is that which is given to one of the states of the Union. are. that they were all three away from the ship last night.” “What will you do. although it was reported as having cleared from London. He and the two mates. I had it from the stevedore who has been loading their cargo. Young Openshaw shall not long remain unavenged. for J.” said he. I shall have the others. homeward bound to Savannah. my suspicion became a certainty. Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. H. instantly [229] attracted my attention. following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in ’83. Savannah.” “How did you trace it.” “And who is this Captain Calhoun?” “The leader of the gang.” “Texas.” “What then?” “I searched the Dundee records.” “That will await him when he enters port. also. but I knew that the ship must have an American origin. “I have spent the whole day. The others are Finns and Germans. chuckling. I have my hand upon him. one. then?” “Oh. By the time that their sailing-ship reaches Savannah the mail-boat will have carried this letter.” “Yes?” “The Lone Star had arrived here last week. ’85. all covered with dates and names. “over Lloyd’s registers and files of the old papers. I went down to the Albert Dock and found that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning. and the murderers of John Openshaw were never to receive the orange pips which . Watson. and the cable will have informed the police of Savannah that these three gentlemen are badly wanted here upon a charge of murder. I think. however.

Very long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year. 1998 The Man with the Twisted Lip . S.would show them that another.” carved upon it. We did at last hear that somewhere far out in the Atlantic a shattered stern-post of the boat was seen swinging in the trough of a wave. with the letters “L. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah. David Soucek. as cunning and as resolute as themselves. and that is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star. was upon their track. but none ever reached us.

“You’ll have to go out. George’s. I can see him now. One night–it was in June. with a black veil. an object of mingled horror and pity to his friends and relatives. and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug. to me as a doctor. “A patient!” said she.. from some foolish freak when he was at college.” “I didn’t know what to do. brother of the late Elias Whitney. It’s about Isa. How you startled me. pasty face. Kate! I had not an idea who you were when you came in. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?” “Oh. made use of an opium den in the farthest east of . I’m in such trouble!” she cried. D. “Oh.” she began. Did she know where her husband was? Was it possible that we could bring him back to her? It seems that it was. “it is Kate Whitney. I sat up in my chair. so I came straight to you. and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap and made a little face of disappointment. that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of. The habit grew upon him. as so many more have done. all huddled in a chair.” I groaned. with yellow. she ran forward. “It was very sweet of you to come. We heard the door open. he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. for I was newly come back from a weary day. entered the room. as I understand. He has not been home for two days.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP ISA WHITNEY. We soothed and comforted her by such words as we could find.” “Why. no! I want the doctor’s advice and help. you must have some wine and water.” said my wife. was much addicted to opium. Our own door flew open. Now. He found. Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a lighthouse. pulling up her veil. and then quick steps upon the linoleum. too. and a lady. “I do so want a little help. She had the surest information that of late he had. D. suddenly losing her self-control. I am so frightened about him!” It was not the first time that she had spoken to us of her husband’s trouble. threw her arms about my wife’s neck. Principal of the Theological College of St. to my wife as an old friend and school companion. for having read De Quincey’s description of his dreams and sensations. clad in some dark-coloured stuff. “You will excuse my calling so late. a few hurried words. about the hour [230] when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock. the wreck and ruin of a noble man. when the fit was on him. drooping lids. no. ’89–there came a ring to my bell. and sobbed upon her shoulder. and then.” That was always the way. and pin-point pupils.

and he lay there. And so in ten minutes I had left my armchair and cheery sitting-room behind me. But there was no great difficulty in the first stage of my adventure. and he had come back.the City. I could manage it better if I were alone. There he was to be found. and then suddenly tailing off into silence. Ordering my cab to wait. and was speeding eastward in a hansom on a strange errand. and chins pointing upward. I found the den of which I was in search. and of course there was but one way out of it. though the future only could show how strange it was to be. thin old man. as the burning poison waxed or waned in the bowls of the metal pipes. and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long. but some muttered to themselves. she was sure of it. as it seemed to me at the time. 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. The most lay silent. why should she come at all? I was Isa Whitney’s medical adviser. a young and timid woman. in Upper Swandam Lane. bent knees. But what was she to do? How could she. and as such I had influence over him. now faint. breathing in the poison or sleeping off the effects. in the evening. doubtless among the dregs of the docks. lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer. bowed shoulders. Out of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light. monotonous voice. with his jaw resting upon his two fists. At the farther end was a small brazier of burning charcoal. staring into the fire. But now the spell had been upon him eight-and-forty hours. Hitherto his orgies had always been confined to one day. beside which on a three-legged wooden stool there sat a tall. each mumbling out his own thoughts and paying little heed to the words of his neighbour. approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave. worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread [231] of drunken feet. low room. . and his elbows upon his knees. Might I not escort her to this place? And then. thick and heavy with the brown opium smoke. I passed down the steps. and terraced with wooden berths. with here and there a dark. make her way into such a place and pluck her husband out from among the ruffians who surrounded him? There was the case. twitching and shattered. their conversation coming in gushes. now bright. Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop. low. like the forecastle of an emigrant ship. 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. as a second thought. heads thrown back. at the Bar of Gold. Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fantastic poses. and others talked together in a strange.

and unkempt. and I wish to speak with him.” said I.” “Then I shall go in it. and looking about for the manager.” There was a movement and an exclamation from my right. “I say. “There is a friend of mine here. “I tell you that it is Friday. What d’you want to frighten the chap for?” He sank his face onto his arms and began to sob in a high treble key. Watson. four pipes–I forget how many. As I passed the tall man who sat by the brazier I felt a sudden pluck at my skirt. stupefying fumes of the drug. what o’clock is it?” “Nearly eleven.” “Of what day?” “Of Friday. pale. Give me your hand! Have you a cab?” “Yes. Watson. But you’ve got mixed. . Your wife has been waiting this two days for you. Watson. I can do nothing for myself. I have one waiting. You should be ashamed of yourself!” “So I am. I wouldn’t frighten Kate–poor little Kate.” I walked down the narrow passage between the double row of sleepers. staring out at me. a sallow Malay attendant had hurried up with a pipe for me and a supply of the drug. Mr. for I have only been here a few hours. man. Isa Whitney. I am all off colour. beckoning me to an empty berth.” “Good heavens! I thought it was Wednesday.As I entered. But I must owe something. I have not come to stay. holding my breath to keep out the vile. “Thank you. But I’ll go home with you. three pipes. haggard. and a low voice whispered. Find what I owe. with every nerve in a twitter. “My God! It’s Watson. June 19th. It is Wednesday.” said he. and peering through the gloom I saw Whitney. He was in a pitiable state of reaction.

very wrinkled. I felt. I shall be with you in five minutes. “I have excellent ears. “Holmes!” I whispered. and yet he sat now as absorbed as ever.“Walk past me. His form had filled out. They could only have come from the old man at my side. bent with age. for they were always so exceedingly definite.” The words fell quite distinctly upon my ear. as he turned his face half round to the company once more. I could not . He made a slight motion to me to approach him. It took all my self-control to prevent me from breaking out into a cry of astonishment. and there. loose-lipped senility. very thin.” he answered. subsided into a doddering. and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery. the [232] dull eyes had regained their fire. for he appears to be too limp to get into any mischief. an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees. 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. He had turned his back so that none could see him but I. and then look back at me.” “Then pray send him home in it. that when Whitney was once confined in the cab my mission was practically accomplished. his wrinkles were gone. I glanced down. I took two steps forward and looked back.” “I have a cab outside. was none other than Sherlock Holmes. however. “what on earth are you doing in this den?” “As low as you can. sitting by the fire and grinning at my surprise. If you will wait outside.” It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes’s requests. as though it had dropped in sheer lassitude from his fingers. 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. and for the rest. and instantly. You may safely trust him.

We have a seven-mile drive before us. Watson.” “The Cedars?” “Yes. my natural prey.” “Of course you are. and the rascally lascar who runs it has sworn to have vengeance upon me.” said Holmes.” “An enemy?” “Yes.” “But not more so than I to find you. we shall not need you. a trusty comrade is always of use. For two streets he shuffled along with a bent back and an uncertain foot. and seen him driven through the darkness. All right. Then. and all the other little weaknesses on which you have favoured me with your medical views. So long.wish anything better than to be associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the normal condition of his existence. as a tall dog-cart dashed up through the gloom. then?” “Near Lee. Watson.” “And I to find an enemy. paid Whitney’s bill. led him out to the cab. [233] throwing out two golden tunnels of yellow light from its side lanterns. “that you imagine that I have added opium-smoking to cocaine injections. as I have done before now. Watson. won’t you?” “If I can be of use. for I have used it before now for my own purposes. and a chronicler still more so. about eleven. Jump up here. near the corner of Paul’s Wharf. shall I say. Clair’s house. bodies. John. “I suppose. which could tell some strange tales of what has passed through it upon the moonless nights. Look out for me to-morrow. Watson. glancing quickly round. St.” He put his two forefingers between his teeth and whistled shrilly–a signal which was answered by a similar whistle from the distance. and I fear that Neville St. It is the vilest murdertrap on the whole riverside.” “Oh.” “I came to find a friend. Give her her head. I am staying there while I conduct the inquiry. followed shortly by the rattle of wheels and the clink of horses’ hoofs. My room at The Cedars is a double-bedded one. in Kent. or. that is Mr. Briefly. Here’s half a crown. he straightened himself out and burst into a hearty fit of laughter. Had I been recognized in that den my life would not have been worth an hour’s purchase. In a very short time a decrepit figure had emerged from the opium den.” “I was certainly surprised to find you there. then!” . and I have hoped to find a clue in the incoherent ramblings of these sots. one of my natural enemies. “You’ll come with me. Clair has entered it never to leave it more.” “Where is it. We should be rich men if we had £1000 for every poor devil who has been done to death in that den.” “But I am all in the dark.” said he. You’ll know all about it presently. In a few minutes I had written my note. “Now. I am in the midst of a very remarkable inquiry. and I was walking down the street with Sherlock Holmes. There is a trap-door at the back of that building. But our trap should be here.” “What! You do not mean bodies?” “Ay.

” said he. or the songs and shouts of some belated party of revellers. It seems absurdly simple. with his head sunk upon his breast. and yet. regular footfall of the policeman. while I sat beside him. it is a great thing for me to have someone to talk to. and a star or two twinkled dimly here and there through the rifts of the clouds. and we dashed away through the endless succession of sombre and deserted streets. no doubt. and the air of a man who is lost in thought. ‘Pon my word. until we were flying across a broad balustraded bridge. and were beginning to get to the fringe of the belt of suburban villas. shrugged his shoulders. but I can’t get the end of it into my hand. Holmes drove in silence.” “You forget that I know nothing about it. Now. for my own thoughts are not over-pleasant. Beyond lay another dull wilderness of bricks and mortar. A dull wrack was drifting slowly across the sky. “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.” .He flicked the horse with his whip. which widened gradually. I’ll state the case clearly and concisely to you. and yet afraid to break in upon the current of his thoughts. I can get nothing to go upon.” “I shall just have time to tell you the facts of the case before we get to Lee. “You have a grand gift of silence. Watson. with the murky river flowing sluggishly beneath us. curious to learn what this new quest might be which seemed to tax his powers so sorely. We had driven several miles. I was wondering what I should say to this dear little woman to-night when she meets me at the door. somehow. and lit up his pipe with the air of a man who has satisfied himself that he is acting for the best. There’s plenty of thread. when he shook himself. its silence broken only by the heavy. Watson. and maybe you can see a spark where all is dark to me.

Neville St. Have you followed me so far?” “It is very clear. There is no reason. started for the City. therefore. such as he had started to town in. she suddenly heard an ejaculation or cry. By degrees he made friends in the neighbourhood. While she was walking in this way down Swandam Lane. a good husband. 1884–there came to Lee a gentleman. Now. but was interested in several companies and went into town as a rule in the morning. and she distinctly saw his face.. St. One singular point which struck her quick feminine eye was that although he wore some dark coat. he had on neither collar nor necktie. returning by the 5:14 from Cannon Street every night.” “Some years ago–to be definite. remarking before he started that he had two important commissions to perform. He waved his hands frantically to her. Neville St. as far as we have been able to ascertain. . to think that money troubles have been weighing upon his mind. “Last Monday Mr. St. did some shopping. and found herself at exactly 4:35 walking through Swandam Lane on her way back to the station. amount to [234] £88 10s. Clair walked slowly. St. I may add that his whole debts at the present moment.” “If you remember. Clair by name. He had no occupation. which she describes as being terribly agitated. The window was open. by whom he now has two children. a very affectionate father. in May. Mr. which branches out of Upper Swandam Lane. Clair had her lunch. and a man who is popular with all who know him. Monday was an exceedingly hot day. while he has £220 standing to his credit in the Capital and Counties Bank. where you found me to-night. glancing about in the hope of seeing a cab. as she did not like the neighbourhood in which she found herself. Clair is now thirty-seven years of age. who appeared to have plenty of money. very shortly after his departure. He took a large villa. 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. and lived generally in good style. Clair went into town rather earlier than usual. proceeded to the company’s office. Now. beckoning to her from a second-floor window. and in 1887 he married the daughter of a local brewer. Mrs. laid out the grounds very nicely. and was struck cold to see her husband looking down at her and. and Mrs. then. 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. by the merest chance. his wife received a telegram upon this same Monday. if you are well up in your London.“Proceed. you will know that the office of the company is in Fresno Street. got her packet. is a man of temperate habits. and that he would bring his little boy home a box of bricks. as it seemed to her.

“Convinced that something was amiss with him. by rare good-fortune. St. who acts as assistant there. and had almost come to believe that Mrs. Filled with the most maddening doubts and fears. she sprang at a small deal box which lay upon the table and tore the lid from it. and the evident confusion which the cripple showed. There was no sign of him there. Both he and the lascar stoutly swore that no one else had been in the front room during the afternoon. The rooms were carefully examined. however. In fact. The inspector and two men accompanied her back. The front room was plainly furnished as a sitting-room and led into a small . in the whole of that floor there was no one to be found save a crippled wretch of hideous aspect. Out there fell a cascade of children’s bricks. it seems. who thrust her back and. “This discovery. she met this lascar scoundrel of whom I have spoken. pushed her out into the street. 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. At the foot of the stairs. who. aided by a Dane. and in spite of the continued resistance of the proprietor. met in Fresno Street a number of constables with an inspector. Clair had been deluded when. Clair had last been seen. and results all pointed to an abominable crime. with a cry. made his home there. they made their way to the room in which Mr. So determined was their denial that the inspector was staggered. St. all on their way to their beat. It was the toy which he had promised to bring home. made the inspector realize that the matter was serious. she rushed down the lane and.

There were no signs of violence upon any of these garments. His appearance. and his hideous face is one which is familiar to every man who goes much to the City. you see. by its contraction. does his wit. and his watch–all were there. His defense was one of absolute ignorance. which looked out upon [235] the back of one of the wharves. I have watched the fellow more than once before ever I thought of making his professional acquaintance. and several scattered drops were visible upon the wooden floor of the bedroom. Out of the window he must apparently have gone. but as. for he is ever ready with a reply to any piece of chaff which may be thrown at him by the passers-by. upon the left-hand side. and he protested that he had no knowledge as to the doings of Hugh Boone. his socks. Thrust away behind a curtain in the front room were all the clothes of Mr. which. This is the man whom we now learn to have been the lodger at the opium den. for the tide was at its very highest at the moment of the tragedy. 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. Here it is that this creature takes his daily seat. his lodger. A shock of orange hair. a pale face disfigured by a horrible scar. cross-legged. all mark him out from amid the common crowd of mendicants. a small angle in the wall. his hat. too. which is dry at low tide but is covered at high tide with at least four and a half feet of water. a bulldog chin. 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. and to have been the last man to see the gentleman of whom we are in quest. He is a professional beggar. Between the wharf and the bedroom window is a narrow strip. he could hardly have been more than an accessory to the crime. Some little distance down Threadneedle Street. Neville St. and a pair of very penetrating dark eyes. and there were no other traces of Mr. as you may have remarked. which present a singular contrast to the colour of his hair.” . His boots. with his tiny stock of matches on his lap. “So much for the lascar manager. for no other exit could be discovered. with the exception of his coat. Clair. The bedroom window was a broad one and opened from below. there is. and so. by Mrs. “And now as to the villains who seemed to be immediately implicated in the matter. Clair. though in order to avoid the police regulations he pretends to a small trade in wax vestas. has turned up the outer edge of his upper lip. and I have been surprised at the harvest which he has reaped in a short time. His name is Hugh Boone. The lascar was known to be a man of the vilest antecedents. is so remarkable that no one can pass him without observing him. and that he could not account in any way for the presence of the missing gentleman’s clothes. On examination traces of blood were to be seen upon the window-sill. and the ominous bloodstains upon the sill gave little promise that he could save himself by swimming. Now for the sinister cripple who lives upon the second floor of the opium den.bedroom. and who was certainly the last human being whose eyes rested upon Neville St. Clair’s story. St. Neville St. Clair.

“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. Surely your medical experience would tell you.” . that weakness in one limb is often compensated for by exceptional strength in the others.“But a cripple!” said I. but in other respects he appears to be a powerful and well-nurtured man.” “Pray continue your narrative. Watson.

though they hardly found upon the mud-bank what they had feared to find. without anything being found which could incriminate him. St. and he was seized and searched. “And it did. he declared that she must have been either mad or dreaming. it is true. Clair had fainted at the sight of the blood upon the window. St. loudly protesting. Neville St. and [236] she was escorted home in a cab by the police. who had charge of the case. to the police-station. made a very careful examination of the premises. but he pointed to his ring-finger. as he was allowed some few minutes during which he might have communicated with his friend the lascar. but without finding anything which threw any light upon the matter. adding that he had been to the window not long before. as her presence could be of no help to them in their investigations. Inspector Barton. One mistake had been made in not arresting Boone instantly. some blood-stains upon his right shirt-sleeve. Clair’s assertion that she had actually seen her husband at the window. and that the stains which had been observed there came doubtless from the same source.“Mrs. but this fault was soon remedied. which had been cut near the nail. There were. which lay uncovered as the tide receded. Clair’s coat. and not Neville St. As to Mrs. He denied strenuously having ever seen Mr. Clair and swore that the presence of the clothes in his room was as much a mystery to him as to the police. while the inspector remained upon the premises in the hope that the ebbing tide might afford some fresh clue. and explained that the bleeding came from there. Clair. He was removed. It was Neville St. And what do you think they found in the pockets?” .

. “We are on the outskirts of Lee. starting in Middlesex. I don’t think you would guess. He throws it out. But a human body is a different matter. Would the body be dressed in a coat alone?” “No. we will take it as a working hypothesis for want of a better. and beside that lamp sits a woman whose anxious ears have already. but his life appeared to have been a very quiet and innocent one. It was no wonder that it had not been swept away by the tide. but the facts might be met speciously enough. There is a fierce eddy between the wharf and the house. Suppose that this man Boone had thrust Neville St. where he has accumulated the fruits of his beggary. See that light among the trees? That is The Cedars. and ending in Kent. He rushes to some secret hoard.” While Sherlock Holmes had been detailing this singular series of events. when it would occur to him that it would swim and not sink.” said my companion. where is he now. then. we drove through two scattered villages. there is no human eye which could have seen the deed. was arrested and taken to the station.“I cannot imagine. where a few lights still glimmered in the windows. He had for years been known as a professional beggar. Clair was doing in the opium den.” “But I understand that all the other clothes were found in the room. It seemed likely enough that the weighted coat had remained when the stripped body had been sucked away into the river. as I have told you. and be in the act of throwing it out. and what Hugh Boone had to do with his disappearance– [237] are all as far from a solution as ever. Boone. we had been whirling through the outskirts of the great town until the last straggling houses had been left behind.” “Well. There the matter stands at present. and only just had time to close the window when the police appeared. He would seize the coat. He has little time. but it could not be shown that there had ever before been anything against him. “We have touched on three English counties in our short drive. Clair through the window.” “It certainly sounds feasible. What would he do then? It would of course instantly strike him that he must get rid of the tell-tale garments. and perhaps he has already heard from his lascar confederate that the police are hurrying up the street. Just as he finished. Every pocket stuffed with pennies and half-pennies–421 pennies and 270 half-pennies.” “But why are you not conducting the case from Baker Street?” I asked.” “No. 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. and he stuffs all the coins upon which he can lay his hands into the pockets to make sure of the coat’s sinking. There is not an instant to be lost. sir. what happened to him when there. and would have done the same with the other garments had not he heard the rush of steps below. however. caught the clink of our horse’s feet. I have little doubt. and the questions which have to be solved–what Neville St. passing over an angle of Surrey. and we rattled along with a country hedge upon either side of us. for he has heard the scuffle downstairs when the wife tried to force her way up.

when I have no news of her husband. If I can be of any assistance. I shall be indeed happy. “I should very much like to ask you one or two plain questions.” “Now. A stable-boy had run out to the horse’s head. seeing that there were two of us. “Well?” she cried. one half-raised in her eagerness. 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. with eager eyes and parted lips. Dr. He has been of most vital use to me in several of my cases. Clair has most kindly put two rooms at my disposal.” said I. a standing question. “I am an old campaigner.” “My dear madam. Whoa. upon the table of which a cold supper had been laid out. “well?” And then. and springing down I followed Holmes up the small. I simply wish to hear your real. either to you or to my friend here. St.” said she. As we approached. for you have had a long day. whoa!” We had pulled up in front of a large villa which stood within its own grounds. Mrs. I hate to meet her. Watson. and a little blonde woman stood in the opening.” “This is my friend.” said the lady as we entered a well-lit dining-room. pressing my hand warmly. the door flew open.“Because there are many inquiries which must be made out here. Sherlock Holmes. do you think that Neville is alive?” . and a lucky chance has made it possible for me to bring him out and associate him with this investigation. her head and face protruded. Here we are. “You will. “No good news?” “None. madam. when you consider the blow which has come so suddenly upon us. one hand upon the door. with a touch of fluffy pink chiffon at her neck and wrists.” “Upon what point?” “In your heart of hearts. nor given to fainting. her body slightly bent. She stood with her figure outlined against the flood of light. I am not hysterical. You must be weary. real opinion. and you may rest assured that she will have nothing but a welcome for my friend and colleague. Watson.” “Thank God for that. clad in some sort of light mousseline de soie.” “Certainly. forgive anything that may be wanting in our arrangements. I am sure. she gave a cry of hope which sank into a groan as she saw that my companion shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. But come in.” [238] “Do not trouble about my feelings.” “No bad?” “No.” “I am delighted to see you. winding gravel-drive which led to the house. Mr. there.

” “And on what day did he meet his death?” “On Monday.” “Then perhaps. you will be good enough to explain how it is that I have received a letter from him to-day. “Frankly. “Frankly.” Sherlock Holmes sprang out of his chair as if he had been galvanized. . now!” she repeated. then. madam.” “You think that he is dead?” “I do. Perhaps.” “Murdered?” “I don’t say that. standing upon the rug and looking keenly down at him as he leaned back in a basket-chair. Mr. I do not.Sherlock Holmes seemed to be embarrassed by the question. Holmes.

” She stood smiling. but there is nothing so important as trifles. which has dried itself. to-day. which shows that blotting-paper has been used. It is. or rather of the day before. “Yes. a trifle. Let us now see the letter. none would be of a deep black shade. and smoothing it out upon the table he drew over the lamp and examined it intently.” “I perceive also that whoever addressed the envelope had to go and inquire as to the address. Ha! there has been an enclosure here!” . which can only mean that he was not familiar with it. “Surely this is not your husband’s writing. of course. The envelope was a very coarse one and was stamped with the Gravesend postmark and with the date of that very day.” He snatched it from her in his eagerness. If it had been written straight off.” murmured Holmes. and there has then been a pause before he wrote the address. This man has written the name. holding up a little slip of paper in the air. and then blotted. The rest is of the grayish colour. madam. but the enclosure is. for it was considerably after midnight. I had left my chair and was gazing at it over his shoulder.” “No. “May I see it?” “Certainly. “Coarse writing. is in perfectly black ink. you see.” “How can you tell that?” “The name.“What!” he roared.

On the very day that I saw him last he cut himself in the bedroom. But if your husband is alive and able to write letters. however. And in this letter you certainly have a very strong piece of evidence to corroborate your view.“Yes. St. and yet I know it well.” “And on Monday he made no remarks before leaving you?” “No. if I am not very much in error. “NEVILLE.” “But he must be alive. the clouds lighten.” “Dearest do not be frightened. Ha! And the flap has been gummed. [239] Written in pencil upon the fly-leaf of a book. Neville wrote those words. It may have been taken from him. why should he remain away from you?” “I cannot imagine.” “If so. Mrs. you must not discourage me. as I understand. madam?” “None. It is very unlike his usual writing. much may have happened between.” “Unless this is a clever forgery to put us on the wrong scent. Clair. I know that all is well with him.” “Was the window open?” “Yes. by a person who had been chewing tobacco. Well. no.” “Oh. There is a huge error which it may take some little time to rectify.” “Then he might have called to you?” “He might. no water- mark.” “He only. after all. octavo size. and yet I in the dining-room rushed upstairs instantly with the utmost certainty that something had happened.” “One?” “His hand when he wrote hurriedly. it is his very own writing!” “Very well. Mr.” “And you are sure that this is your husband’s hand?” “One of his hands. And you have no doubt that it is your husband’s hand. His signet-ring. have been written on Monday and only posted to-day. gave an inarticulate cry?” .” “That is possible. It may.” “And they were posted to-day at Gravesend. The ring. proves nothing. Holmes. There is so keen a sympathy between us that I should know if evil came upon him. It is unthinkable. it is.” “No. though I should not venture to say that the danger is over. Hum! Posted to-day in Gravesend by a man with a dirty thumb.” “And you were surprised to see him in Swandam Lane?” “Very much so. All will come well. 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. Wait in patience. Holmes. Mr.

upon which he perched himself cross-legged. his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of the ceiling. Those are the principal points about which I wished to be absolutely clear. put on a large blue dressing-gown. the blue smoke curling up from him. In the dim light of the lamp I saw him sitting there. the smoke still curled upward. however. The pipe was still between his lips.” “He might have leaped back.“Yes.” “But it might have been a cry of surprise. and I was quickly between the sheets. who.” “A call for help.” “Had he ever spoken of Swandam Lane?” [240] “Never. motionless.” “Quite so. It was soon evident to me that he was now preparing for an all-night sitting. You did not see anyone else in the room?” “No. So he sat as I dropped off to sleep. We shall now have a little supper and then retire.” “Had he ever showed any signs of having taken opium?” “Never. with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him. He took off his coat and waistcoat. turning it over. Astonishment at the unexpected sight of you might cause him to throw up his hands?” “It is possible. I distinctly saw his bare throat. . and the room was full of a dense tobacco haze. for I was weary after my night of adventure. looking at it from every point of view until he had either fathomed it or convinced himself that his data were insufficient. Sherlock Holmes was a man. would go for days. and so he sat when a sudden ejaculation caused me to wake up. and even for a week. without rest. rearranging his facts. and the lascar was at the foot of the stairs. but this horrible man confessed to having been there. With these he constructed a sort of Eastern divan. St. and I found the summer sun shining into the apartment. but nothing remained of the heap of shag which I had seen upon the previous night. Mrs. and then wandered about the room collecting pillows from his bed and cushions from the sofa and armchairs. Your husband.” A large and comfortable double-bedded room had been placed at our disposal. when he had an unsolved problem upon his mind. silent. had his ordinary clothes on?” “But without his collar or tie. with the light shining upon his strong-set aquiline features. an old briar pipe between his lips.” “Thank you. for we may have a very busy day to-morrow.” “And you thought he was pulled back?” “He disappeared so suddenly. Clair. as far as you could see. He waved his hands. you thought?” “Yes.

I had hardly finished when Holmes returned with the news that the boy was putting in the horse. my boy. We both sprang in. Watson?” he asked. bearing in vegetables to the metropolis. and we shall soon have the trap out. “I have just been there. [241] but the lines of villas on either side were as silent and lifeless as some city in a dream. “I want to test a little theory of mine.” “Then dress. and out into the bright morning sunshine. “Yes.” We made our way downstairs as quietly as possible. “It has been in some points a singular case. yes. No one is stirring yet. flicking the horse on into a gallop.“Awake. “I confess that I have been as blind as a mole. Come on.” He chuckled to himself as he spoke. In the road stood our horse and trap. his eyes twinkled. “In the bathroom.” said he. and we shall see whether it will not fit the lock. I deserve to be kicked from here to Charing Cross. and I have taken it out. smiling. and I have got it in this Gladstone bag. but .” “Game for a morning drive?” “Certainly. seeing my look of incredulity. It was twenty-five minutes past four. Watson. But I think I have the key of the affair now. As I dressed I glanced at my watch. but I know where the stable-boy sleeps. with the half-clad stable-boy waiting at the head.” he answered. A few country carts were stirring.” “And where is it?” I asked. pulling on his boots. that you are now standing in the presence of one of the most absolute fools in Europe. and he seemed a different man to the sombre thinker of the previous night. and away we dashed down the London Road. I am not joking. It was no wonder that no one was stirring. “I think.” he continued.” said Holmes. “Oh.

” “I should like to see him very much. coarsely clad as became his calling. and his face is as black as a tinker’s.” “Would you? That is easily done. so that three teeth were exposed in a perpetual snarl. “He is asleep. you would agree with me that he needed it. You have him here?” “In the cells. passed down a winding stair.” said he.” “Dirty?” “Yes. He was a middle-sized man. Clair. Mr. A broad wheal from an old scar ran right across it from eye to chin. I think that I’ll take it. if you please.” “So I heard. Mr. he gives no trouble.” “Very good. He was. when once his case has been settled. and I think.” said the inspector. sir. breathing slowly and heavily. The prisoner lay with his face towards us. and dashing up Wellington Street wheeled sharply to the right and found ourselves in Bow Street.” He led us down a passage. Sherlock Holmes was well known to the force. Come this way. with a huge ledger upon the table. as the inspector had said. Holmes?” “I called about that beggarman. Passing down the Waterloo Bridge Road we crossed over the river. and brought us to a whitewashed corridor with a line of doors on each side. how are you?” A tall. But he is a dirty scoundrel. Neville St. He was brought up and remanded for further inquiries. Come this way. opened a barred door. The inspector sat down at his desk. “I wish to have a quiet word with you. Boone–the one who was charged with being concerned in the disappearance of Mr. and by its contraction had turned up one side of the upper lip.” “Certainly. and the two constables at the door saluted him.” “Is he quiet?” “Oh. Bradstreet. “You can see him very well.” In town the earliest risers were just beginning to look sleepily from their windows as we drove through the streets of the Surrey side. office-like room. “What can I do for you. Bradstreet.” We both put our eyes to the grating. Step into my room here.” “Ah. “Inspector Bradstreet. “Who is on duty?” asked Holmes. “The third on the right is his.” “Yes. One of them held the horse’s head while the other led us in. with a coloured shirt protruding through the rent in his tattered coat. if you saw him. “Here it is!” He quietly shot back a panel in the upper part of the door and glanced through. but the grime which covered his face could not conceal its repulsive ugliness. You can leave your bag. in a very deep sleep. in a peaked cap and frogged jacket.” “No.” It was a small.it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it at all. Holmes. A shock of very bright red hair grew low over his eyes and forehead. Well. of Lee. he will have a regular prison bath. extremely dirty. it is all we can do to make him wash his hands. stout official had come down the stone-flagged passage. . and a telephone projecting from the wall.

” remarked Holmes. to my astonishment. of Lee. and then rubbed it twice vigorously across and down the prisoner’s face. too. Holmes stooped to the waterjug. was a pale.” “Well. and the twisted lip which had given the repulsive sneer to the face! A twitch brought away the tangled red hair. in the county of Kent. The man’s face peeled off under the sponge like the bark from a tree. Clair. a very large bath-sponge. “to Mr. if you will have the great goodness to open that door very quietly. and then settled down once more into a deep slumber. black-haired and smooth-skinned. “He! he! You are a funny one. refined-looking man. Gone was the coarse brown tint! Gone. “Let me introduce you.” He opened the Gladstone bag as he spoke. sitting up in his bed.” Never in my life have I seen such a sight. “He doesn’t look a credit to the Bow Street cells. and took out. “Now. I don’t know why not. isn’t he?” said the inspector. and there. and I took the liberty of bringing the tools with me. was the horrid scar which had seamed it across. Then suddenly realizing the exposure. we will soon make him cut a much more respectable figure.“He’s a beauty. he broke into a scream and threw himself . [242] “He certainly needs a wash. rubbing his eyes and staring about him with sleepy bewilderment. does he?” He slipped his key into the lock. Neville St. sad-faced. moistened his sponge.” chuckled the inspector.” said the inspector. The sleeper half turned. “I had an idea that he might. and we all very quietly entered the cell.” he shouted.

even execution. therefore. indeed. “God help me.” groaned the prisoner. “And pray. Inspector Bradstreet would. “You would have done better to have trusted your wife. Neville St. took [243] to the stage. “Well. but a very great error has been committed.” “No crime. “You are the first who have ever heard my story. On the other hand. I do not know that there is any reason that the details should find their way into the papers.” “It was not the wife. it was the children. if you convince the police authorities that there is no possible case against you. rather than have left my miserable secret as a family blot to my children. where I received an excellent education.” “God bless you!” cried the prisoner passionately.” The prisoner turned with the reckless air of a man who abandons himself to his destiny. I know him from the photograph. what am I charged with?” “With making away with Mr.” said he. “If you leave it to a court of law to clear the matter up. “it is. Clair. I am sure. the missing man. you can’t be charged with that unless they make a case of attempted suicide of it. make notes upon anything which you might tell us and submit it to the proper authorities. I am illegally detained. I travelled in my youth. I would not have them ashamed of their father. ay. “Great heavens!” cried the inspector.down with his face to the pillow. and finally became a . Neville St. then it is obvious that no crime has been committed.” said he. and that. The case would then never go into court at all. come. “Be it so. I have been twenty-seven years in the force. My father was a school-master in Chesterfield. “I would have endured imprisonment. – – Oh. but this really takes the cake.” said Holmes. “of course you can hardly avoid publicity. 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.” “If I am Mr.” said the inspector with a grin.

I painted my face. without anyone having a suspicion as to my real occupation. some time later. She little knew what. very soon I found that I was saving considerable sums of money. “Well. In ten days I had the money and had paid the debt. poured in upon me. Only one man knew my secret. ostensibly as a matchseller but really as a beggar. and I threw up reporting and sat day after day in the corner which I had first chosen. and also in a facility of repartee. 4d. and an appropriate dress. with her eyes fixed full upon me. I was at my wit’s end where to get the money. When an actor I had. “As I grew richer I grew more ambitious. 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. One day my editor wished to have a series of articles upon begging in the metropolis. the lascar. a lascar. I took my station in the business part of the city. It was a long fight between my pride and the money. 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 fleshcoloured plaster. but the dollars won at last. entreated him to prevent anyone from coming up to me. to my horror and astonishment. and had been famous in the greenroom for my skill. learned all the secrets of making up. and. and it was a very bad day in which I failed to take £2. and I volunteered to supply them. but a sudden idea came to me. threw up my arms to cover my face. which improved by practice and made me quite a recognized character in the City. I begged a fortnight’s grace from the creditor. He was the keeper of a low den in which I used to lodge in Swandam Lane. where I could every morning emerge as a squalid beggar and in the evenings transform myself into a well-dressed man about town. and when I returned home in the evening I found to my surprise that I had received no less than 26s. varied by silver. and spent the time in begging in the City under my disguise. but I . rushing to my confidant. There was the point from which all my adventures started. I backed a bill for a friend and had a writ served upon me for £25. I gave a cry of surprise. I heard her voice downstairs. 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. “I wrote my articles and thought little more of the matter until. This fellow.reporter on an evening paper in London. was well paid by me for his rooms. All day a stream of pennies. of course. For seven hours I plied my trade. laying my cap on the ground. that my wife was standing in the street. Then with a red head of hair. “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. so that I knew that my secret was safe in his possession. My dear wife knew that I had business in the City. inspiring pity by my ghastly face and filling my pockets with coppers. It was only by trying begging as an amateur that I could get the facts upon which to base my articles. and sitting still. took a house in the country. “Well. asked for a holiday from my employers. I took advantage now of my attainments. and eventually married.

1998 The Blue Carbuncle . together with a hurried scrawl.” “I have sworn it by the most solemn oaths which a man can take. and hence my preference for a dirty face.” “That note only reached her yesterday.” “That was it. Holmes. then all must come out. Probably he handed it to some sailor customer of his. I was determined to preserve my disguise as long as possible. Even a wife’s eyes could not pierce so complete a disguise. Then I seized my coat.” said Holmes. rather. that instead of being identified as Mr. who forgot all about it for some days. Knowing that my wife would be terribly anxious. however. “and I can quite understand that he might find it difficult to post a letter unobserved. and a few minutes after I found. “I have no doubt of it. Mr. But if you are found again. Watson. Neville St. “Good God! What a week she must have spent!” “The police have watched this lascar. I confess. “I do not know that there is anything else for me to explain. which was weighted by the coppers which I had just transferred to it from the leather bag in which I carried my takings. that we are very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up. reopening by my violence a small cut which I had [244] inflicted upon myself in the bedroom that morning. I was arrested as his murderer. telling her that she had no cause to fear.” said Holmes.” said my friend. Swiftly I threw off my clothes. nodding approvingly. I am sure. to my relief.” “I reached this one. But have you never been prosecuted for begging?” “Many times. “If the police are to hush this thing up. there must be no more of Hugh Boone. The other clothes would have followed. I wish I knew how you reach your results. but what was a fine to me?” “It must stop here.knew that she could not ascend. I slipped off my ring and confided it to the lascar at a moment when no constable was watching me.” said Inspector Bradstreet. and it disappeared into the Thames. but at that moment there was a rush of constables up the stair. Clair. I hurled it out of the window. and that the clothes might betray me. But then it occurred to me that there might be a search in the room. that if we drive to Baker Street we shall just be in time for breakfast.” “In that case I think that it is probable that no further steps may be taken. and put on my pigments and wig. I threw open the window. pulled on those of a beggar.” said Bradstreet. I think.” David Soucek. “by sitting upon five pillows and consuming an ounce of shag.

“perhaps I interrupt you. “You are engaged. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown. The matter is a perfectly trivial one”–he jerked his thumb in the direction of the old [245] hat–“but there are points in connection with it which are not entirely devoid of interest and even of instruction.” I remarked. and a pile of crumpled morning papers. and cracked in several places.” I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire. homely as it looks. “I suppose.” . “that. and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. Beside the couch was a wooden chair. 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. 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. evidently newly studied. for a sharp frost had set in. much the worse for wear.” said I. and on the angle of the back hung a very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat. near at hand. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE BLUE CARBUNCLE I HAD called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas. with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. a piperack within his reach upon the right.” “Not at all.

” “So much so. so that he was left in possession of the field of battle. as you know. he found it. One of the latter knocked off the man’s hat. Well. and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal.” I remarked. No crime. The facts are these: about four o’clock on Christmas morning. a tallish man. three have been entirely free of any legal crime. in the gaslight.” “It is to him that this trophy belongs. and also of the spoils of victory in the shape of this battered hat and a most unimpeachable Christmas goose. as to how it came here. Its owner is unknown. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity.“No. was returning from some small jollification and was making his way homeward down Tottenham Court Road. “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. Peterson had rushed forward to protect the stranger from his assailants. on which he raised his stick to defend himself and. It arrived upon Christmas morning. first. You know Peterson. who. laughing. smashed the shop window behind him. and vanished amid the labyrinth of small streets which lie at the back of Tottenham Court Road. to the singular case of Miss Mary Sutherland. but the man. You allude to my attempt to recover the Irene Adler papers. no. We have already had experience of such. As he reached the corner of Goodge Street. roasting at this moment in front of Peterson’s fire. and seeing an official-looking person in uniform rushing towards him. dropped his goose. shocked at having broken the window. The roughs had also fled at the appearance of Peterson. In front of him he saw. walking with a slight stagger.” . I have no doubt that this small matter will fall into the same innocent category. took to his heels. is a very honest fellow. Peterson. And. and to the adventure of the man with the twisted lip.” “Precisely. which is. I have no doubt. every possible combination of events may be expected to take place.” said Sherlock Holmes. swinging it over his head. “that of the last six cases which I have added to my notes.” “It is his hat. and carrying a white goose slung over his shoulder.” “No. I beg that you will look upon it not as a battered billycock but as an intellectual problem. a row broke out between this stranger and a little knot of roughs. the commissionaire?” “Yes. no. in company with a good fat goose.

to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose. but. while I continue to retain the hat of the unknown gentleman who lost his Christmas dinner. B. Henry Baker’ was printed upon a small card which was tied to the bird’s left leg.’ are legible upon the lining of this hat. The goose we retained until this morning. did Peterson do?” [246] “He brought round both hat and goose to me on Christmas morning.” were scrawled upon one side. B. what clue could you have as to his identity?” “Only as much as we can deduce.” “But you are joking. but was a good deal discoloured. therefore. there lies the problem.” “Did he not advertise?” “No. You know my methods. Its finder has carried it off. then.” “From his hat?” “Precisely. knowing that even the smallest problems are of interest to me. The lining had been of red silk. hard and much the worse for wear.” “What. as Holmes had remarked. What can you gather from this old battered felt?” “Here is my lens. It was a very ordinary black hat of the usual round shape. and some hundreds of Henry Bakers in this city of ours. There was no maker’s name. it would be well that it should be eaten without unnecessary delay. It is true that ‘For Mrs. in spite of the slight frost.” “Then. It was pierced in the . 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. it is not easy to restore lost property to any one of them. and it is also true that the initials ‘H. but as there are some thousands of Bakers. the initials “H. when there were signs that.“Which surely he restored to their owner?” “My dear fellow.

” he continued. and has had no hat since. “It is perhaps less suggestive than it might have been. is out of training entirely. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. He had foresight. exceedingly dusty. pointing to a moral retrogression.” said I. has grizzled hair which he has had cut within the last few days. how did you deduce that this man was intellectual?” [247] For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head. when I give you these results. then?” “This hat is three years old. but the elastic was missing. although there seemed to have been some attempt to hide the discoloured patches by smearing them with ink. Watson. “They are never . however. Holmes. but I must confess that I am unable to follow you. which. These are the more patent facts which are to be deduced from his hat. You fail. you are unable to see how they are attained?” “I have no doubt that I am very stupid. disregarding my remonstrance. It is a hat of the very best quality.brim for a hat-securer.” “My dear Holmes!” “He has. “Here is the foresight. that it is extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house.” “Well. by the way.” said he. and also that he was fairly well-to-do within the last three years. that is clear enough.” “You are certainly joking. These flat brims curled at the edge came in then. probably drink. although he has now fallen upon evil days. “It is a question of cubic capacity. however. Is it possible that even now. retained some degree of self-respect. “a man with so large a brain must have something in it. is middle-aged. But how about the foresight and the moral retrogression?” Sherlock Holmes laughed. then he has assuredly gone down in the world.” said he. it was cracked. This may account also for the obvious fact that his wife has ceased to love him. If this man could afford to buy so expensive a hat three years ago. For example.” he remarked.” “Not in the least. seems to indicate some evil influence. to reason from what you see. putting his finger upon the little disc and loop of the hat-securer. when taken with the decline of his fortunes. For the rest.” “Then. That the man was highly intellectual is of course obvious upon the face of it.” “The decline of his fortunes. “I can see nothing. goes out little. and which he anoints with lime-cream. but has less now than formerly. Look at the band of ribbed silk and the excellent lining. Also. You are too timid in drawing your inferences. handing it back to my friend. certainly. and a few others which represent at least a strong balance of probability. at work upon him. “He is a man who leads a sedentary life. “and yet there are a few inferences which are very distinct. 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. “On the contrary. and spotted in several places. you can see everything.

” Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply. since he went out of his way to take this precaution against the wind. or even two. and no harm done save the loss of a goose. which is a sign that he has not entirely lost his selfrespect. you will observe.” “But he might be a bachelor. and could therefore. and that he uses lime-cream. Are you satisfied?” “Well. This dust. it is obvious that he has less foresight now than formerly. he was bringing home the goose as a peace-offering to his wife. are all to be gathered from a close examination of the lower part of the lining. Holmes! The goose. and [248] Peterson. The lens discloses a large number of hair-ends. sir!” he gasped. and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state. he has endeavoured to conceal some of these stains upon the felt by daubing them with ink. which is a distinct proof of a weakening nature. with a week’s accumulation of dust upon your hat. “Eh? What of it. laughing. They all appear to be adhesive. but when I see no less than five. that his hair is grizzled. that it has been recently cut. Remember the card upon the bird’s leg. there has been no crime committed. 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.” “This hat has not been brushed for weeks.” said I. while the marks of moisture upon the inside are proof positive that the wearer perspired very freely. it is a sign of a certain amount of foresight. .” “But his wife–you said that she had ceased to love him. all this seems to be rather a waste of energy. 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. rushed into the apartment with flushed cheeks and the face of a man who is dazed with astonishment. “The goose. But since we see that he has broken the elastic and has not troubled to replace it. as you said just now. If this man ordered one. On the other hand. and there is a distinct odour of lime-cream.” “Your reasoning is certainly plausible. when the door flew open. clean cut by the scissors of the barber.” “Nay.” “You have an answer to everything. my dear Watson. gray dust of the street but the fluffy brown dust of the house. “but since. that he is middle-aged. When I see you. hardly be in the best of training. showing that it has been hung up indoors most of the time. might come by chance. But how on earth do you deduce that the gas is not laid on in his house?” “One tallow stain. I shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose your wife’s affection. Anyhow. it is very ingenious. the commissionaire. he never got tallow-stains from a gas-jet.sold upon hats. Mr.” “The further points. is not the gritty.

on December 22d. Peterson!” said he. rather smaller than a bean in size. “this is treasure trove indeed. at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. was brought up upon the charge of having upon the 22d inst.” I remarked. 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. “By Jove. 26. It is absolutely unique.” “It was lost. and read the following paragraph: “Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery. John Horner.“See here. I suppose you know what you have got?” “A diamond. seeing that I have read the advertisement about it in The Times every day lately. Sherlock Holmes sat up with a whistle. I ought to know its size and shape. until at last he smoothed one out. if I remember aright. a plumber. “That is the reward. The evidence against him was so strong that the case has been referred to the Assizes.” “It’s more than a precious stone. doubled it over. plumber. “Precisely so. just five days ago. sir? A precious stone. was accused of having abstracted it from the lady’s jewel-case. It cuts into glass as though it were putty. glancing over the dates. I believe.” He rummaged amid his newspapers. “Precisely so. It is the precious stone.” “Not the Countess of Morcar’s blue carbuncle!” I ejaculated. I have some account of the matter here.. and its value can only be conjectured. but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an electric point in the dark hollow of his hand. 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. John Horner. but the reward offered of £1000 is certainly not within a twentieth part of the market price.” “A thousand pounds! Great Lord of mercy!” The commissionaire plumped down into a chair and stared from one to the other of us. .

“Hum! So much for the police-court.” “Very. To do this. Mr. James Ryder. Horner. and the goose came from Mr. as it afterwards transpired.” “What will you say?” “Give me a pencil and that slip of paper. Catherine Cusack. Watson. Baker Street. Here is the stone. the stone came from the goose. Now. a goose and a black felt hat. who struggled [249] frantically. Ryder instantly gave the alarm. He was clearly so scared by his mischance in breaking the window and by the approach of Peterson that he thought of . You see. the loss was a heavy one. where she found matters as described by the last witness. who had shown signs of intense emotion during the proceedings. which was loose. since. but the stone could not be found either upon his person or in his rooms. deposed to having heard Ryder’s cry of dismay on discovering the robbery. to a poor man. “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. the Countess was accustomed to keep her jewel. upperattendant at the hotel. tossing aside the paper. and that the small morocco casket in which. I shall have recourse to other methods. but had finally been called away. So now we must set ourselves very seriously to finding this gentleman and ascertaining what part he has played in this little mystery. Inspector Bradstreet. On returning. we must try the simplest means first.” said Holmes thoughtfully. He had remained with Horner some little time. fainted away at the conclusion and was carried out of court. Evidence of a previous conviction for robbery having been given against the prisoner. maid to the Countess. and to having rushed into the room. then: “Found at the corner of Goodge Street. But will he see it?” “Well. Henry Baker. he is sure to keep an eye on the papers. but referred it to the Assizes. the gentleman with the bad hat and all the other characteristics with which I have bored you. gave evidence as to the arrest of Horner. and Horner was arrested the same evening. the magistrate refused to deal summarily with the offence. Henry Baker can have the same by applying at 6:30 this evening at 221B. 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 lying empty upon the dressing-table. and protested his innocence in the strongest terms. If this fail. That is clear and concise. B division. he found that Horner had disappeared.abstracted from the jewel-case of the Countess of Morcar the valuable gem known as the blue carbuncle. and these lie undoubtedly in an advertisement in all the evening papers. that the bureau had been forced open. our little deductions have suddenly assumed a much more important and less innocent aspect.

I shall determine by a very simple test if we have an answer to our advertisement. I believe. do you imagine that this other one. sir. Peterson. save that it is blue in shade instead of ruby red. And. for we must have one to give to this gentleman in place of the one which your family is now devouring. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime.” “And you can do nothing until then?” “Nothing.nothing but flight. I say. had anything to do with the matter?” “It is. run down to the advertising agency and have this put in the evening papers. It was found in the banks of the Amoy River in southern China and is remarkable in having every characteristic of the carbuncle. it has already a sinister history. yes. That. then. however. But I shall come back in the evening at the hour you have mentioned. much more likely that Henry Baker is an absolutely innocent man. a suicide. Echo. and it was a little after half-past six when I found myself in Baker Street once more. perhaps I ought to ask Mrs.” I had been delayed at a case. Thank you. I shall keep the stone.” “Very well. There is a woodcock. for I should like to see the solution of so tangled a business. Then. Hudson to examine its crop. St. By the way. And this stone?” “Ah. I think. “Just see how it glints and sparkles. in the Globe.” “In that case I shall continue my professional round. who had no idea that the bird which he was carrying was of considerably more value than if it were made of solid gold. In spite of its youth. Star. a vitriolthrowing. just buy a goose on your way back and leave it here with me. Peterson. This stone is not yet twenty years old. Every good stone is. the introduction of his name will cause him to see it.” said he. They are the devil’s pet baits. sir?” “Oh.” “In which. 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. and any others that occur to you. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed. James’s. Here you are.” “Well. again. Henry Baker. for everyone who knows him will direct his attention to it. Who would think that so pretty a toy would [250] 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. Just as I arrived the door was opened. Pall Mall.” “Do you think that this man Horner is innocent?” “I cannot tell. I dine at seven.” When the commissionaire had gone. Evening News Standard. in view of recent occurrences. but since then he must have bitterly regretted the impulse which caused him to drop his bird. and several robberies brought about for the sake of this forty-grain weight of crystallized charcoal. “It’s a bonny thing.” “Very glad to see you. Holmes took up the stone and held it against the light. There have been two murders. and we were shown up .

intelligent face. and I have seldom seen a better grown goose. we still have the feathers.” said Baker.” “Very naturally. Is that your hat. I am at a loss to know now why you did not advertise. I did not care to spend more money in a hopeless attempt at recovering them.” “To eat it!” Our visitor half rose from his chair in his excitement. and so on of your own bird. I believe. A touch of red in nose and cheeks. recalled Holmes’s surmise as to his habits. who had risen and tucked his newly gained property under his arm. His rusty black frockcoat was buttoned right up in front. with the collar turned up. “Pray take this chair by the fire.” answered Mr. “By the way. we were compelled to eat it.” Our visitor gave a rather shamefaced laugh.” “Certainly.” he remarked. By the way.together to Holmes’s room.” Sherlock Holmes glanced sharply across at me with a slight shrug of his shoulders. It is a cold night. Mr. Watson. near the Museum–we are to be found in the Museum itself during the . which is about the same weight and perfectly fresh. “because we expected to see an advertisement from you giving your address. “Of course. certainly.” said Holmes. “They might be useful to me as relics of my adventure.” said he. “There are a few of us who frequent the Alpha Inn. sir. “I had no doubt that the gang of roughs who assaulted me had carried off both my hat and the bird. I will confine my attentions to the excellent bird which I perceive upon the sideboard. Mr. No. But I presume that this other goose upon the sideboard. with your permission. “Yes. you have just come at the right time. sloping down to a pointed beard of grizzled brown. that is undoubtedly my hat. then. and a broad. “but beyond that I can hardly see what use the disjecta membra of my late acquaintance are going to be to me. “There is your hat.” He was a large man with rounded shoulders. would it bore you to tell me where you got the other one from? I am somewhat of a fowl fancier.” said he. “Mr. choosing his words with care. “Shillings have not been so plentiful with me as they once were. and gave the impression generally of a man of learning and letters who had had illusage at the hands of fortune. certainly. it would have been of no use to anyone had we not done so. rising from his armchair and greeting his visitor with the easy air of geniality which he could so readily assume. Baker with a sigh of relief. crop. Henry Baker. Baker?” “Yes. sir. He spoke in a slow staccato fashion. a massive head. will answer your purpose equally well?” [251] “Oh. sir. and there your bird. Ah. about the bird. legs. I think that. and his lank wrists protruded from his sleeves without a sign of cuff or shirt. so if you wish– –” The man burst into a hearty laugh. Baker. and I observe that your circulation is more adapted for summer than for winter.” said he. with a slight tremor of his extended hand. “We have retained these things for some days.

I was speaking only half an hour ago to Mr. you understand. “Your beer should be excellent if it is as good as your geese. I am much indebted to you. instituted a goose club. we were each to receive a bird at Christmas. and the breath of the passers-by blew out into smoke like so many pistol shots. My pence were duly paid. which is a small public-house at the corner of one of the streets which runs down into Holborn. Outside. Our footfalls rang out crisply and loudly as we swung through the doctors’ quarter. Are you hungry. so we drew on our ulsters and wrapped cravats about our throats. for a Scotch bonnet is fitted neither to my years nor my gravity.” said Holmes when he had closed the door behind him.” It was a bitter night. and so through Wigmore Street into Oxford Street. and the rest is familiar to you. “It is quite certain that he knows nothing whatever about the matter. sir. by which. Watson?” “Not particularly. who . In a quarter of an hour we were in Bloomsbury at the Alpha Inn. Henry Baker.” “By all means. Wimpole Street. “Yes.” said he. “So much for Mr.day. on consideration of some few pence every week. Henry Baker.” “Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clue while it is still hot. Holmes pushed open the door of the private bar and ordered two glasses of beer from the ruddy-faced. “My geese!” The man seemed surprised. This year our good host. the stars were shining coldly in a cloudless sky. white-aproned landlord. Harley Street. Windigate by name.” With a comical pomposity of manner he bowed solemnly to both of us and strode off upon his way.

Watson. too. a horsy-looking man.” he continued. The salesman nodded and shot a questioning glance at my companion. to hear the fuss that is made over them. “Sold out of geese. [252] “Now for Mr. then?” “Well. I sent him a couple of dozen. But you see. I see. I have no connection with any other people who have been . 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. landlord.was a member of your goose club. It is possible that our inquiry may but confirm his guilt. mister. and prosperity to your house. and the proprietor. “Good-evening.” “Well. yes. I got the two dozen from a salesman in Covent Garden. them’s not our geese. I shan’t tell you. we have a line of investigation which has been missed by the police. “Remember. sir. It’s a cold night. I see.” continued Holmes. with his head cocked and his arms akimbo. and which a singular chance has placed in our hands. and so through a zigzag of slums to Covent Garden Market. “Let you have five hundred to-morrow morning. “Now. in any case. When I pay good money for a good article there should be an end of the business.” “It is straight enough. we have at the other a man who will certainly get seven years’ penal servitude unless we can establish his innocence.” “Indeed! Whose. maybe. and quick march!” We passed across Holborn. there are some on the stall with the gas-flare. buttoning up his coat as we came out into the frosty air. So now!” “Oh.” “Ah! yes. with a sharp face and trim side-whiskers. Well.” “Fine birds they were. if you were as pestered as I am. Good-night. then.” “Who by?” “The landlord of the Alpha. “what are you driving at? Let’s have it straight.” “Well. Now where did you get them from?” To my surprise the question provoked a burst of anger from the salesman. then.” “Ah.” “Oh. but I don’t know why you should be so warm over such a trifle.” “That’s no good. it is a matter of no importance. pointing at the bare slabs of marble. down Endell Street.” “Ah! I don’t know him. One of the largest stalls bore the name of Breckinridge upon it. now. Let us follow it out to the bitter end. was helping a boy to put up the shutters.” “Indeed? I know some of them. then. Faces to the south.” said Holmes.” “Warm! You’d be as warm. but. here’s your good health. I should like to know who sold you the geese which you supplied to the Alpha.” “Well.” said he. Breckinridge. Which was it?” “Breckinridge is his name. but I was recommended to you. that though we have so homely a thing as a goose at one end of this chain.

” read Holmes. and the numbers after their names are where their accounts are in the big ledger. Now. “I thought that I was out of geese. then. “Now then. look at that third name.” [253] “Will you bet. D’you see? Well. who have handled them ever since I was a nipper? I tell you. then! You see this other page in red ink? Well.” “Well. here on this page are the country folk.” said he. for I know that I am right. “Bring me the books. but before I finish you’ll find that there is still one left in my shop. Cocksure. Mr. then. Now turn that up in the ledger. just to teach you not to be obstinate. But I’ll have a sovereign on with you.” The salesman chuckled grimly. “Here you are. The small boy brought round a small thin volume and a great greasybacked one. Now. for it’s town bred.” “D’you think you know more about fowls than I. that is a list of my town suppliers.” Holmes turned to the page indicated. Brixton Road–249.” snapped the salesman. You see this little book?” “Well?” “That’s the list of the folk from whom I buy.” said Holmes carelessly. that is all.” “I say it is. “It’s nothing of the kind. “If you won’t tell us the bet is off. laying them out together beneath the hanging lamp.” “Mrs. But I’m always ready to back my opinion on a matter of fowls. and I have a fiver on it that the bird I ate is country bred. . Oakshott. Bill. 117. Just read it out to me.” said the salesman.making inquiries. all those birds that went to the Alpha were town bred.” “You’ll never persuade me to believe that. ‘Mrs. you’ve lost your fiver.” “I don’t believe it. then?” “It’s merely taking your money. Oakshott. “Quite so.

“I daresay that if I had put £100 down in front of him. while Breckinridge.” Striding through the scattered knots of people who lounged round the flaring stalls. And underneath?” “ ‘Sold to Mr.” “She told me to ask you. If you come pestering me any more with your silly talk I’ll set the dog at you. and I could see in the gas-light that every vestige of colour had been driven from his face. 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.” he shouted.” whispered Holmes. egg and poultry supplier. I fancy. at 12s. Oakshott to-night. for all I care. He drew a sovereign from his pocket and threw it down upon the slab. then. “Come with me. 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. you can always draw him by a bet. Get out of this!” He rushed fiercely forward. you can ask the King of Proosia. He sprang round.” [254] “Well. “Ha! this may save us a visit to Brixton Road.’” “Quite so. I’ve had enough of it. It is my business to know what other . 6d. “I’ve had enough of you and your geese.117. and we will see what is to be made of this fellow. what’s the last entry?” “ ‘December 22d. It is clear from what that surly fellow said that there are others besides ourselves who are anxious about the matter. Twenty-four geese at 7s. then.” whined the little man. Oakshott here and I’ll answer her. and the only point which remains to be determined is whether we should go on to this Mrs. we are. 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. my companion speedily overtook the little man and touched him upon the shoulder. “Who are you. There you are. and the inquirer flitted away into the darkness.” said he. or whether we should reserve it for to-morrow. but one of them was mine all the same. “I wish you were all at the devil together. ask Mrs. turning away with the air of a man whose disgust is too deep for words. Brixton Road.’” “Now. framed in the door of his stall. the salesman. and I should– –” His remarks were suddenly cut short by a loud hubbub which broke out from the stall which we had just left. Windigate of the Alpha. “Well. Well. Watson. nearing the end of our quest. then? What do you want?” he asked in a quavering voice. “but I could not help overhearing the questions which you put to the salesman just now. You bring Mrs. A few yards off he stopped under a lamp-post and laughed in the hearty.’” “What have you to say now?” Sherlock Holmes looked deeply chagrined. “When you see a man with whiskers of that cut and the ‘Pink ‘un’ protruding out of his pocket.” said Holmes blandly. Oakshott for it. “You will excuse me. noiseless fashion which was peculiar to him. was shaking his fists fiercely at the cringing figure. I think that I could be of assistance to you.

” “Precisely so. the real name. before we go farther. “My name is John Robinson.” Sherlock Holmes hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. no.” said Holmes sweetly. to a salesman named Breckinridge. as one who is not sure whether he is on the verge of a windfall or of a catastrophe. Oakshott. sir.” he answered with a sidelong glance. by him in turn to Mr. “I can hardly explain to you how interested I am in this matter. “Well. Pray step into the cab.” The man hesitated for an instant. Henry Baker is a member. Head attendant at the Hotel Cosmopolitan.people don’t know.” “Oh. and by him to his club. you are the very man whom I have longed to meet. I know everything of it.” “But you can know nothing of this?” “Excuse me.” A flush sprang to the white cheeks of the stranger. and I shall soon be able to tell you everything which you would wish to know. “No. and in half an hour we were back in the sitting-room at Baker Street. Nothing . “But pray tell me. who it is that I have the pleasure of assisting. Then he stepped into the cab. “It is always awkward doing business with an alias.” The little man stood glancing from one to the other of us with halffrightened. of Brixton Road. then. of the Alpha.” said he. “my real name is James Ryder. You are endeavouring to trace some geese which were sold by Mrs.” said he. “In that case we had better discuss it in a cosy room rather than in this wind-swept market-place. Windigate.” cried the little fellow with outstretched hands and quivering fingers. of which Mr. half-hopeful eyes.

in which you were interested–white. uncertain whether to claim or to disown it. Now. 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. Pray take the basket-chair. the temptation of sudden wealth so easily acquired was too much for you. Give him a dash of brandy. “Here we are!” said Holmes cheerily as we filed into the room. You look cold. “I have almost every link in my hands. of that goose. It seems to me. Ryder. so there is little which you need tell me. but you were not very scrupulous in the means you used. Ryder stood glaring with a drawn face. and he sat staring with frightened eyes at his accuser. You knew that this man Horner. when he had left. with a cold. of this blue stone of the Countess of Morcar’s?” “It was Catherine Cusack who told me of it. brightest little blue egg that ever was seen.” [255] Ryder quivered with emotion. Then. raised the alarm. Watson. many-pointed radiance. Ryder. “The fire looks very seasonable in this weather. Mr. sir.” Our visitor staggered to his feet and clutched the mantelpiece with his right hand. as it has been for better men before you. What a shrimp it is.” said Holmes quietly. You then– –” . man. and that suspicion would rest the more readily upon him. Ryder. that little may as well be cleared up to make the case complete.” “Or rather. I will just put on my slippers before we settle this little matter of yours. thin breathing of our new companion. and all the proofs which I could possibly need. I fancy. the plumber. You had heard. So! Now he looks a little more human. I have it here in my museum. brilliant. “Oh. to be sure!” For a moment he had staggered and nearly fallen. “The game’s up. and a most remarkable bird it proved. spoke of the nervous tension within him. or you’ll be into the fire! Give him an arm back into his chair. Holmes unlocked his strong-box and held up the blue carbuncle.had been said during our drive. Still. “Hold up. It was one bird. Ryder. I imagine. “can you tell me where it went to?” “It came here. which shone out like a star.” said he in a crackling voice. Well. He’s not got blood enough to go in for felony with impunity. What did you do. sir. then! You want to know what became of those geese?” “Yes. but the high. with a black bar across the tail.” he cried. but the brandy brought a tinge of colour into his cheeks. “I see–her ladyship’s waiting-maid. had been concerned in some such matter before.” “Here?” “Yes. you rifled the jewel-case. It laid an egg after it was dead–the bonniest. and the claspings and unclaspings of his hands. and had this unfortunate man arrested. that there is the making of a very pretty villain in you. I don’t wonder that you should take an interest in it.

for all that it was a cold night. and wondered what it would be best to do. Oh. I swear it. for I did not know at what moment the police might not take it into their heads to search me and my [256] room. as if on some commission. Mr. and how came the goose into the open market? Tell us the truth. “Think of my father! of my mother! It would break their hearts.” “Hum! We will talk about that. and I made for my sister’s house. “I will tell you it just as it happened. sir. I never went wrong before! I never will again. I went out. I will leave the country. don’t bring it into court! For Christ’s sake. for there lies your only hope of safety. And now let us hear a true account of the next act. She had married a man named Oakshott. and lived in Brixton Road. “For God’s sake. “It is very well to cringe and crawl now. and. Holmes. don’t!” “Get back into your chair!” said Holmes sternly. How came the stone into the goose.” Ryder passed his tongue over his parched lips. but you thought little enough of this poor Horner in the dock for a crime of which he knew nothing.Ryder threw himself down suddenly upon the rug and clutched at my companion’s knees. There was no place about the hotel where it would be safe. Then I went into the back yard and smoked a pipe. and why I was so pale.” “I will fly. My sister asked me what was the matter. the sweat was pouring down my face before I came to the Brixton Road. “When Horner had been arrested.” said he. I’ll swear it on a Bible. All the way there every man I met seemed to me to be a policeman or a detective. where she fattened fowls for the market. sir. Then the charge against him will break down. it seemed to me that it would be best for me to get away with the stone at once. but I told her that I had been upset by the jewel robbery at the hotel. . have mercy!” he shrieked.

and I knew that some terrible mistake had occurred. I did what she said. right in the middle of the flock.’ “ ‘Never mind. It’s the big white one over yonder. There was not a bird to be seen there. and fell into talk about the ways of thieves. where he lived. prying its bill open. I knew that he would be true to me. ‘you said you’d give me one for Christmas. with a barred tail.’ said I. and I knew that she was always as good as her word. The bird gave a gulp. Maggie?’ I cried. ‘we’ve set yours aside for you–Jem’s bird.’ said I.’ said she.’ said she. One day he had met me. and I’ll take it now. ‘and we fattened it expressly for you. and behind this I drove one of the birds–a fine big one. so I made up my mind to go right on to Kilburn. we call it. and out came my sister to know what was the matter.’ “ ‘The other is a good three pound heavier. for I knew one or two things about him.’ . “ ‘Whatever were you doing with that bird. As I turned to speak to her the brute broke loose and fluttered off among the others. and has just been serving his time in Pentonville. I thrust the stone down its throat as far as my finger could reach.“I had a friend once called Maudsley. “ ‘Gone to the dealer’s. Jem?’ says she. “ ‘Oh.’ “ ‘Thank you. ‘but if it is all the same to you. of Covent Garden.’ “ ‘Which dealer’s?’ “ ‘Breckinridge. and in it I would carry my stone to Kilburn. Mr.’ “ ‘Oh. and one for us. white. and hurried into the back yard. He laughed until he choked. and how they could get rid of what they stole. But the creature flapped and struggled. I left the bird. I would take my goose now. I might at any moment be seized and searched. There’s twenty-six of them.’ says I. a little huffed. Holmes. [257] “ ‘Where are they all. ‘Which is it you want. and we got a knife and opened the goose. who went to the bad. rushed back to my sister’s. Kill it and take it with you. which makes one for you. then?’ “ ‘That white one with the barred tail. and two dozen for the market. and I felt the stone pass along its gullet and down into its crop. for he was a man that it was easy to tell a thing like that to. Jem. and there would be the stone in my waistcoat pocket.’ “Well. I’ll have the other. “ ‘Well. I told my pal what I had done. and I was feeling which was the fattest. and take him into my confidence. Maggie. and I carried the bird all the way to Kilburn. I was leaning against the wall at the time and looking at the geese which were waddling about round my feet. just as you like.’ says she. But how to get to him in safety? I thought of the agonies I had gone through in coming from the hotel. I caught it. There was a little shed in the yard. I’d rather have that one I was handling just now. and. for there was no sign of the stone. My heart turned to water. He would show me how to turn the stone into money.’ “ ‘Oh. and suddenly an idea came into my head which showed me how I could beat the best detective that ever lived. “My sister had told me some weeks before that I might have the pick of her geese for a Christmas present. very well.

in which. Besides. And now–and now I am myself a branded thief. with his face buried in his hands. “Get out!” said he. Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem. he has always answered me like that. also a bird will be the chief feature. and its solution is its own reward. ‘the same as the one I chose?’ “ ‘Yes. This fellow will not go wrong again. and not one word would he tell me as to where they had gone. without ever having touched the wealth for which I sold my character. there were two barred-tailed ones. Get out!” And no more words were needed. Doctor. God help me! God help me!” He burst into convulsive sobbing. and you make him a jail-bird for life.“ ‘But was there another with a barred tail?’ I asked.” said Holmes. Send him to jail now. we will begin another investigation. but he had sold the lot at once. “What. but this fellow will not appear against him. and the crisp rattle of running footfalls from the street. “After all. There was a long silence. it is the season of forgiveness. and I ran off as hard as my feet would carry me to this man Breckinridge. broken only by his heavy breathing. I suppose that I am commuting a felony. You heard him yourselves to-night. If Horner were in danger it would be another thing. “I am not retained by the police to supply their deficiencies. he is too terribly frightened. There was a rush. Watson. the bang of a door. reaching up his hand for his clay pipe. and the case must collapse. a clatter upon the stairs. and I could never tell them apart. Jem. My sister thinks that I am going mad. Then my friend rose and threw open the door. Heaven bless you!” “No more words. sir! Oh. If you will have the goodness to touch the bell. then. of course I saw it all.’ “Well. Sometimes I think that I am myself. but it is just possible that I am saving a soul.” . and by the measured tapping of Sherlock Holmes’s finger-tips upon the edge of the table. Well.

David Soucek. 1998 The Speckled Band .

by the side of my bed. She is waiting now in the sitting-room. I find many tragic.” “What is it. It was early in April in the year ’83 that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing. It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light. and I on you. I presume that it is something very pressing which they have to communicate. a client. and even the fantastic. for. fully dressed. The events in [258] question occurred in the early days of my association with Holmes. when we were sharing rooms as bachelors in Baker Street. but a promise of secrecy was made at the time. I would not miss it for anything. I blinked up at him in some surprise.” “My dear fellow. Now. she retorted upon me. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth. he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual. “Very sorry to knock you up. who insists upon seeing me. I rapidly threw on my clothes and was ready in a few minutes to accompany my friend down to the sitting- . It seems that a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement.” said he. and in admiring the rapid deductions. from which I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death of the lady to whom the pledge was given. when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning. however. and yet always founded on a logical basis. Watson. then–a fire?” “No. some comic. I thought. Mrs. “but it’s the common lot this morning. but none commonplace. and knock sleepy people up out of their beds. that I should call you and give you the chance. Hudson has been knocked up. Of all these varied cases. I am sure. a large number merely strange. as a rule. for I was myself regular in my habits. and as the clock on the mantelpiece showed me that it was only a quarter-past seven. Should it prove to be an interesting case. with which he unravelled the problems which were submitted to him. at any rate. for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr. and perhaps just a little resentment. working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth. wish to follow it from the outset.” I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE SPECKLED BAND ON 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. He was a late riser. 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 swift as intuitions. It is possible that I might have placed them upon record before. you would.

This is my intimate friend and associate. It is terror. Pray draw up to it.” She raised her veil as she spoke. like those of some hunted animal. The marks are perfectly fresh. A lady dressed in black and heavily veiled. “You must not fear. Watson. madam. before you reached the station. smiling. along heavy roads.” “It is not cold which makes me shiver. “What. “There is no mystery. and then only when you sit on the left-hand . and yet you had a good drive in a dog-cart. You have come in by train this morning.” “You know me. “Good-morning.” The lady gave a violent start and stared in bewilderment at my companion. and we could see that she was indeed in a pitiable state of agitation. her face all drawn and gray. then?” “No. Dr. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself. There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way. for I observe that you are shivering. Mr. You must have started early. who had been sitting in the window. Her features and figure were those of a woman of thirty. but her hair was shot with premature gray. Holmes.” said he soothingly. but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left [259] glove.” said the woman in a low voice. I have no doubt. “The left arm of your jacket is spattered with mud in no less than seven places. with restless.” said he. Sherlock Holmes ran her over with one of his quick. I see. rose as we entered. and her expression was weary and haggard. allcomprehensive glances.room. “We shall soon set matters right.” said Holmes cheerily. frightened eyes. Ha! I am glad to see that Mrs. and I shall order you a cup of hot coffee. bending forward and patting her forearm. then?” “It is fear. “My name is Sherlock Holmes. Hudson has had the good sense to light the fire. changing her seat as requested. my dear madam.

I have heard of you. It was from her that I had your address.” “Alas!” replied our visitor. Farintosh. save only one. which might seem trivial to another. 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. and the two-hundred-year-old house. Mr. Sir. unlocking it. however. Mr. at the time which suits you best. I think it was before your time. whom you helped in the hour of her sore need. In a fit of anger. with the control of my own income. The last squire dragged out his existence there. the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. and I am living with my stepfather. But I have heard. “Farintosh. and the family ruin was eventually completed by a gambler in the days of the Regency. 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. and the estates extended over the borders into Berkshire in the north. poor fellow. As to reward.side of the driver. madam. you are perfectly correct. Watson. but I can read it from his soothing answers and averted eyes. do you not think that you could help me. can be of little aid. and came in by the first train to Waterloo. You may advise me how to walk amid the dangers which encompass me. caused by some robberies which had . that I shall be happy to devote the same care to your case as I did to that of your friend. Holmes.” said she. and he.” Holmes nodded his head. sir. I have heard of you from Mrs. And now I beg that you will lay before us everything that may help us in forming an opinion upon the matter. four successive heirs were of a dissolute and wasteful disposition. seeing that he must adapt himself to the new conditions. which is itself crushed under a heavy mortgage. I have no one to turn to–none. but you are at liberty to defray whatever expenses I may be put to. and my suspicions depend so entirely upon small points. “The name is familiar to me. who cares for me. In the last century. madam. but his only son. “The family was at one time among the richest in England. I can only say. which enabled him to take a [260] medical degree and went out to Calcutta. “Ah yes. Oh. which he consulted. I shall go mad if it continues. who is the last survivor of one of the oldest Saxon families in England. reached Leatherhead at twenty past. by his professional skill and his force of character. on the western border of Surrey. “I started from home before six.” said he. it was concerned with an opal tiara. however. I recall the case.” “I am all attention. drew out a small casebook. living the horrible life of an aristocratic pauper. and Hampshire in the west.” said he. obtained an advance from a relative. Holmes. where.” Holmes turned to his desk and. I can stand this strain no longer. “the very horror of my situation lies in the fact that my fears are so vague. but in a month or six weeks I shall be married. he established a large practice. Nothing was left save a few acres of ground. too. that you can see deeply into the manifold wickedness of the human heart. He does not say so. my profession is its own reward. and then at least you shall not find me ungrateful. my stepfather.” “Whatever your reasons may be.” “My name is Helen Stoner.

who had at first been overjoyed to see a Roylott of Stoke Moran back in the old family seat. Roylott was in India he married my mother. and the folks would fly at his approach. he shut himself up in his house and seldom came out save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with whoever might cross his path. and we were only two years old at the time of my mother’s re-marriage. I believe. he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence. for he is a man of immense strength. until at last he became the terror of the village. and in my stepfather’s case it had. She had a considerable sum of money–not less than £1000 a year –and this she bequeathed to Dr. The money which my mother had left was enough for all our wants. and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger. with a provision that a certain annual sum should be allowed to each of us in the event of our marriage. of the Bengal Artillery. My sister Julia and I were twins. 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. Instead of making friends and exchanging visits with our neighbours. the young widow of Major-General Stoner. he suffered a long term of imprisonment and afterwards returned to England a morose and disappointed man. Mrs. and there seemed to be no obstacle to our happiness. . “But a terrible change came over our stepfather about this time. Shortly after our return to England my mother died –she was killed eight years ago in a railway accident near Crewe. Violence of temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family. Dr. As it was. two of which ended in the police-court. been intensified by his long residence in the tropics. A series of disgraceful brawls took place.been perpetrated in the house. “When Dr. Roylott entirely while we resided with him. Stoner.

even as mine has. Julia went there at Christmas two years ago. then?” “She died just two years ago. living the life which I have described. She was but thirty at the time of her death. which are sent over to him by a correspondent. and it is of her death that I wish to speak to you. We had. and would accept in return the hospitality of their tents. my mother’s maiden sister.“Last week he hurled the local blacksmith over a parapet into a stream. No servant would stay with us. and yet her hair had already begun to whiten. My stepfather learned of the engagement when my sister [261] returned and offered no objection to the marriage. we were little likely to see anyone of our own age and position. and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon. which wander freely over his grounds and are feared by the villagers almost as much as their master. You can understand that. and he would give these vagabonds leave to encamp upon the few acres of bramble-covered land which represent the family estate. and we were occasionally allowed to pay short visits at this lady’s house. who lives near Harrow. “You can imagine from what I say that my poor sister Julia and I had no great pleasure in our lives. an aunt. but within a fortnight of the day . to whom she became engaged. Miss Honoria Westphail. and it was only by paying over all the money which I could gather together that I was able to avert another public exposure. He had no friends at all save the wandering gypsies. wandering away with them sometimes for weeks on end. however. He has a passion also for Indian animals. and for a long time we did all the work of the house. and met there a half-pay major of marines.” “Your sister is dead.

Of these bedrooms the first is Dr. The manor-house is. and a few moments later I heard her key turn in the lock.” “Indeed.” said Holmes. Helen. It must be those wretched gypsies in the plantation.’ “ ‘No. I cannot tell where it came from–perhaps from the next room. at any rate. but I sleep more heavily than you. Do I make myself plain?” “Perfectly so.” . the sitting-rooms being in the central block of the buildings.” “And why?” “I think that I mentioned to you that the doctor kept a cheetah and a baboon.’ “ ‘Ah. Pray proceed with your statement. the second my sister’s. about three in the morning. “Was it your custom always to lock yourselves in at night?” “Always. in your sleep?’ “ ‘Certainly not. “ ‘Tell me. The bedrooms in this wing are on the ground floor.” “The windows of the three rooms open out upon the lawn. I thought that I would just ask you whether you had heard it. But why?’ “ ‘Because during the last few nights I have always. it is of no great consequence. We had no feeling of security unless our doors were locked.which had been fixed for the wedding. though we knew that he had not retired to rest. That fatal night Dr. I am a light sleeper. and only one wing is now inhabited. She left her room. but she paused at the door and looked back. very old. ‘have you ever heard anyone whistle in the dead of the night?’ “ ‘Never. Roylott had gone to his room early. clear whistle. I wonder that you did not hear it also. where she sat for some time. And yet if it were on the lawn. “ ‘I suppose that you could not possibly whistle. yourself. and the third my own. “Pray be precise as to details. perhaps from the lawn. but they all open out into the same corridor. “It is easy for me to be so. for my sister was troubled by the smell of the strong Indian cigars which it was his custom to smoke.’ “ ‘Very likely. I have not. chatting about her approaching wedding. the terrible event occurred which has deprived me of my only companion. heard a low. and came into mine.’ She smiled back at me. closed my door.’ “ ‘Well.” “Quite so. There is no communication between them. Roylott’s. for every event of that dreadful time is seared into my memory.” said he. as I have already said.’ said she.” Sherlock Holmes had been leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed and his head sunk in a cushion. and it has awakened me.’ said I. therefore. At eleven o’clock she rose to leave me. but he half opened his lids now and glanced across at his visitor.

When he reached my sister’s side she was unconscious. calling loudly for my stepfather. My sister and I. and her limbs were dreadfully convulsed. It was a wild night. amid all the hubbub of the gale.” . I sprang from my bed. her whole figure swaying to and fro like that of a drunkard. and she stabbed with her finger into the air in the direction of the doctor’s room. I stared at it horror-stricken. By the light of the corridor-lamp I saw my sister appear at the opening. and a few moments later a clanging sound. her hands groping for help. my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!’ There was something else which she would fain have said. ‘Oh. wrapped a shawl round me. as if a mass of metal had fallen. and though he poured brandy down her throat and sent for medical aid from the village. all efforts were in vain. for she slowly sank and died without having recovered her consciousness. I rushed out. and you know how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied. At first I thought that she had not recognized me. not knowing what was about to issue from it. but a fresh convulsion seized her and choked her words. Suddenly. and the rain was beating and splashing against the windows. As I [262] opened my door I seemed to hear a low whistle. A vague feeling of impending misfortune impressed me. Such was the dreadful end of my beloved sister. her face blanched with terror. As I ran down the passage. such as my sister described. I ran to her and threw my arms round her. but at that moment her knees seemed to give way and she fell to the ground. there burst forth the wild scream of a terrified woman.“I could not sleep that night. I knew that it was my sister’s voice. but as I bent over her she suddenly shrieked out in a voice which I shall never forget. you will recollect. and rushed into the corridor. The wind was howling outside. my sister’s door was unlocked. and I met him hastening from his room in his dressing-gown. and revolved slowly upon its hinges. She writhed as one who is in terrible pain. were twins.

and in her left a match-box. but is barred up by four large staples. but without success. Besides. The walls were carefully sounded. It is my strong impression that I heard it.” “How about poison?” “The doctors examined her for it. she was in her night-dress.” . for Dr. And what conclusions did the coroner come to?” “He investigated the case with great care. The chimney is wide.“One moment.” “Was your sister dressed?” “No. then?” “It is my belief that she died of pure fear and nervous shock. there were no marks of any violence upon her. which were secured every night. and were shown to be quite solid all round.” “What do you think that this unfortunate lady died of. among the crash of the gale and the creaking of an old house. and the flooring was also thoroughly examined. Roylott’s conduct had long been notorious in the county. It is certain. That is important. therefore.” “Showing that she had struck a light and looked about her when the alarm took place. but he was unable to find any satisfactory cause of death. “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. and the windows were blocked by oldfashioned shutters with broad iron bars. In her right hand was found the charred stump of a match.” said Holmes. I may possibly have been deceived. that my sister was quite alone when she met her end. My evidence showed that the door had been fastened upon the inner side. with the same result. though what it was that frightened her I cannot imagine. and yet.

“He is a hard man. 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.” she said. and my life has been until lately lonelier than ever.” There was a long silence.” he said at last. which is opposite. so that I have had to move into the chamber in which my sister died. all. you have not. Two days ago some repairs were started in the west wing of the building. would it be possible for us to see over these rooms without the knowledge of your stepfather?” “As it happens. You are screening your stepfather. sometimes that it may have referred to some band of people. then. has done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage. It is probable that he will be away all day. my thrill of terror when last night. from whence I have come on this morning with the one object of seeing you and asking your advice. If we were to come to Stoke Moran to-day. so I dressed. I sprang up and lit the lamp. I was too shaken to go to bed again.” “You have done wisely. however. near Reading. during which Holmes leaned his chin upon his hands and stared into the crackling fire. “and perhaps he hardly knows his own strength. 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. he spoke of coming into town to-day upon some most important business. but nothing was to be seen in the room. and that there would be nothing to disturb you.” “Why.” said Holmes. the marks of four fingers and a thumb. I do not know whether the spotted handkerchiefs which [263] so many of them wear over their heads might have suggested the strange adjective which she used. were printed upon the white wrist.” said my friend. and to sleep in the very bed in which she slept.” Holmes shook his head like a man who is far from being satisfied. We have a housekeeper now. whom I have known for many years. and we are to be married in the course of the spring. Imagine.” “Ah. however. The lady coloured deeply and covered over her injured wrist.” “Miss Roylott. thinking over her terrible fate. a dear friend. “This is a very deep business. “pray go on with your narrative.” said he. but . there are nearly always some there. and my bedroom wall has been pierced. A month ago. of Crane Water. and drove to Leatherhead.“Were there gypsies in the plantation at the time?” “Yes. “There are a thousand details which I should desire to know before I decide upon our course of action.” “Two years have passed since then. My stepfather has offered no opposition to the match. His name is Armitage–Percy Armitage–the second son of Mr. “These are very deep waters. Five little livid spots. “You have been cruelly used. as I lay awake. got a dog-cart at the Crown Inn. “But have you told me all?” “Yes. I suddenly heard in the silence of the night the low whistle which had been the herald of her own death. Armitage. perhaps to these very gypsies in the plantation. and as soon as it was daylight I slipped down. Yet we have not a moment to lose.

” “Then we shall both come. “It seems to me to be a most dark and sinister business.she is old and foolish. fleshless nose. A large face. Watson?” “By no means. the presence of a band of gypsies who are on intimate terms with this old doctor. the fact that Miss Helen Stoner heard a metallic clang.” She dropped her thick black veil over her face and glided from the room. leaning back in his chair. and his high.” “And you may expect us early in the afternoon. and what of the very peculiar words of the dying woman?” “I cannot think. I must go. so as to be there in time for your coming. and chimney are impassable. the fact that we have every reason to believe that the doctor has an interest in preventing his stepdaughter’s marriage. finally.” “Dark enough and sinister enough. which might have been caused by one of those metal bars that secured the shutters falling back into its place.” “Excellent. then her sister must have been undoubtedly alone when she met her mysterious end. with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand. did the gypsies do?” “I cannot imagine. of these nocturnal whistles. was turned from one to the other of us. “And what do you think of it all. thin. 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. and his breadth seemed to span it across from side to side. Watson?” asked Sherlock Holmes. and marked with every evil passion. It is precisely for that reason that we are going to Stoke Moran this day. then.” “Yet if the lady is correct in saying that the flooring and walls are sound. I want to see whether the objections are fatal. I have myself some small business matters to attend to. or if they may be explained away.” “When you combine the ideas of whistles at night. Will you not wait and breakfast?” [264] “No. I shall look forward to seeing you again this afternoon. a long frockcoat.” “But what.” “And so do I. window. burned yellow with the sun. gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey. I think that there is good ground to think that the mystery may be cleared along those lines. while his deep-set. and. the dying allusion to a band. and a pair of high gaiters. and that the door. But I shall return by the twelve o’clock train. having a black top-hat. My heart is lightened already since I have confided my trouble to you. bile-shot eyes. You are not averse to this trip. His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural. So tall was he that his hat actually brushed the cross bar of the doorway. and that a huge man had framed himself in the aperture.” “What becomes. seared with a thousand wrinkles. and I could easily get her out of the way. then.” “I see many objections to any such theory. . 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.

” “I will do nothing of the kind. My stepdaughter has been here.” “I will go when I have said my say. I know that Miss Stoner has been here. you scoundrel! I have heard of you before. the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office!” Holmes chuckled heartily. “What has she been saying to you?” screamed the old man furiously. “See that you keep yourself out of my grip.” said Holmes.” he snarled.” He stepped swiftly forward. “But I have heard that the crocuses promise well. Don’t you dare to meddle with my affairs.” continued my companion imperturbably. of Stoke Moran. Doctor.” “Indeed. do you?” said our new visitor. “Holmes. “Pray take a seat. for there is a decided draught. I traced her! I am a dangerous man to fall foul of! See here.” said he. and hurling the twisted poker into the fireplace he strode out of the room. taking a step forward and shaking his hunting-crop. You are Holmes.” said my companion quietly.“Which of you is Holmes?” asked this apparition. the busybody!” His smile broadened. What has she been saying to you?” “It is a little cold for the time of the year. “Your conversation is most entertaining. “I know you. I have traced her. “When you go out close the door. and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands. “I am Dr. Grimesby Roylott. “Holmes. “My name. .” said Holmes blandly. but you have the advantage of me. seized the poker.” [265] My friend smiled. sir. “Ha! You put me off. the meddler.

that be the house of Dr. My companion sat in the front of the trap. straightened it out again. The total income. “that is where . his arms folded.” said Holmes. is now. “Fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official detective force! This incident gives zest to our investigation. while even one of them would cripple him to a very serious extent.” said Holmes.” At Waterloo we were fortunate in catching a train for Leatherhead. buried in the deepest thought. with a sudden effort. “There is some building going on there. all that we need. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots. A heavily timbered park stretched up in a gentle slope. his hat pulled down over his eyes. I think.” remarked the driver. and the air was full of the pleasant smell of the moist earth. The trees and wayside hedges were just throwing out their first green shoots. tapped me on the shoulder. thickening into a grove at the highest point. laughing. Each daughter can claim an income of £250. It was a perfect day. he started. “Yes. It is evident. That and a tooth-brush are. He held in his hand a sheet of blue paper. this beauty would have had a mere pittance. since it has proved that he has the very strongest motives for standing in the way of anything of the sort. Grimesby Roylott. and afterwards I shall walk down to Doctors’ Commons. not more than £750.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and. and his chin sunk [266] upon his breast.“He seems a very amiable person. therefore. I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. And now. “Look there!” said he. sir. in case of marriage. however. we shall call a cab and drive to Waterloo. however. “To determine its exact meaning I have been obliged to work out the present prices of the investments with which it is concerned. this is too serious for dawdling. My morning’s work has not been wasted. Suddenly. Watson.” said he.” It was nearly one o’clock when Sherlock Holmes returned from his excursion. “I am not quite so bulky. but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own. through the fall in agricultural prices. scrawled over with notes and figures. we shall order breakfast. An Eley’s No. so if you are ready. where we hired a trap at the station inn and drove for four or five miles through the lovely Surrey lanes. which at the time of the wife’s death was little short of £1100. where I hope to get some data which may help us in this matter. and I only trust that our little friend will not suffer from her imprudence in allowing this brute to trace her. especially as the old man is aware that we are interesting ourselves in his affairs. Watson. “I have seen the will of the deceased wife. with a bright sun and a few fleecy clouds in the heavens. From amid the branches there jutted out the gray gables and high roof-tree of a very old mansion. and pointed over the meadows. “Stoke Moran?” said he. 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. that if both girls had married. And now.

I fancy. Now. “I have been waiting so eagerly for you. and the trap rattled back on its way to Leatherhead. It may stop his gossip.” “There’s the village. Dr.we are going. Roylott has gone to town.” she cried. I think we had better do as you suggest. shading his eyes.” “So it appears. you’ll find it shorter to get over this stile. pointing to a cluster of roofs some distance to the left. so kindly take us at once to the rooms which we are to examine. “Yes. “he has followed me. You must lock yourself up from him to-night.” said the driver.” Our client of the morning had hurried forward to meet us with a face which spoke her joy. If he is violent. for he may find that there is someone more cunning than himself upon his track. then. Good-afternoon. “that this fellow should think we had come here as architects.” . and it is unlikely that he will be back before evening.” “And the lady.” observed Holmes. where the lady is walking. is Miss Stoner. There it is. and in a few words he sketched out what had occurred. Miss Stoner. “Good heavens!” she cried. paid our fare. “I thought it as well.” said Holmes. “but if you want to get to the house. “All has turned out splendidly.” said Holmes as we climbed the stile. or on some definite business. Miss Stoner turned white to the lips as she listened. shaking hands with us warmly. we must make the best use of our time.” “We have had the pleasure of making the doctor’s acquaintance. What will he say when he returns?” “He must guard himself.” We got off.” “He is so cunning that I never know when I am safe from him. You see that we have been as good as our word. and so by the foot-path over the fields. we shall take you away to your aunt’s at Harrow.

a picture of ruin.The building was of gray. your rooms were unapproachable from that side. Some scaffolding had been erected against the end wall. But I am now sleeping in the middle one. with a high central portion and two curving wings. like the claws of a crab. of course?” “Yes. and the blinds in the windows. there does not seem to be any very pressing need for repairs at that end wall. There are windows in it. “This. while the roof was partly caved in. but very small ones. thrown out on each side. belongs to the room in which you used to sleep. and the stone-work had been broken into. In one of these wings the windows were broken and blocked with wooden boards. Holmes walked slowly up and down the ill-trimmed lawn and examined with deep attention the outsides of the windows. I believe that it was an excuse to move me from my room. but the right-hand block was comparatively modern. I take it. Now. on the other side of this narrow wing runs the corridor from which these three rooms open. Now. Roylott’s chamber?” “Exactly so. showed that this was where the family resided. with the blue smoke curling up from the chimneys.” “There were none. as I understand. but there were no signs of any workmen at the moment of our visit. lichen-blotched stone. would you have the kindness to go . the centre [267] one to your sister’s. The central portion was in little better repair.” “Pending the alterations.” “As you both locked your doors at night. and the one next to the main building to Dr. By the way. Too narrow for anyone to pass through.” “Ah! that is suggestive.

There was no slit through which a knife could be passed to raise the bar. so we passed at once to the second. built firmly into the massive masonry. so old and discoloured that it may have dated from the original building of the house. “There are one or two very singular points about this room.into your room and bar your shutters?” Miss Stoner did so. what a fool a builder must be to open a ventilator into another room. For example. “It goes to the housekeeper’s room. You can see now that it is fastened to a hook just above where the little opening for the ventilator is. A brown chest of drawers stood in one corner. You will excuse me for a few minutes while I satisfy myself as to this floor.” He threw himself down upon his face with his lens in his hand and crawled swiftly backward and forward. We used always to get what we wanted for ourselves.” “It looks newer than the other things?” “Yes. examining minutely the cracks between the boards. and Holmes. it’s a dummy. the tassel actually lying upon the pillow.” “Indeed. I suppose?” “No. Holmes drew one of the chairs into a corner and sat silent. Then with his lens he tested the hinges. Holmes refused to examine the third chamber. with the . scratching his chin in some perplexity. Well.” “Very strange!” muttered Holmes. with a low ceiling and a gaping fireplace. “Why. after the fashion of old country-houses.” “Your sister asked for it. after a careful examination through the open window. made up all the furniture in the room save for a square of Wilton carpet in the centre. that in which Miss Stoner was now sleeping. but without success. I never heard of her using it. endeavoured in every way to force the shutter open. “my theory certainly presents some difficulties. “Hum!” said he. taking in every detail of the apartment. 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. worm-eaten oak. pulling at the rope. but they were of solid iron. Then he did the same with the wood-work with which the chamber was panelled.” “How very absurd! I never noticed that before. [268] “Won’t it ring?” “No. when. with two small wicker-work chairs. while his eyes travelled round and round and up and down. a narrow white-counterpaned bed in another. It was a homely little room. The boards round and the panelling of the walls were of brown.” said he. and in which her sister had met with her fate. No one could pass these shutters if they were bolted. it was only put there a couple of years ago. it is not even attached to a wire.” A small side door led into the whitewashed corridor from which the three bedrooms opened. pointing to a thick bell-rope which hung down beside the bed. we shall see if the inside throws any light upon the matter. Finally he took the bell-rope in his hand and gave it a brisk tug. and a dressing-table on the left-hand side of the window. it seemed unnecessary to put so nice a bell-pull there. “Where does that bell communicate with?” he asked at last. This is very interesting. These articles.

but was as plainly furnished. a plain wooden chair against the wall. Watson?” . a round table. for example?” “No. there were several little changes carried out about that time. The lash. rising and putting his lens in his pocket. Holmes walked slowly round and examined each and all of them with the keenest interest.” “They seem to have been of a most interesting character–dummy bellropes. “What do you make of that.” “Ah. some years ago. There is one point which I should wish to determine.” He squatted down in front of the wooden chair and examined the seat of it with the greatest attention.same trouble. A camp-bed.” said the lady. we shall now carry our researches into the inner apartment. a small wooden shelf full of books. “What’s in here?” he asked. “Hello! Here is something interesting!” The object which had caught his eye was a small dog lash hung on one corner of the bed.” “There isn’t a cat in it. a cheetah is just a big cat. and ventilators which do not ventilate. But there is a cheetah and a baboon. “Yes. mostly of a technical character. tapping the safe.” “Oh! you have seen inside. Grimesby Roylott’s chamber was larger than that of his stepdaughter. and a large iron safe were the principal things which met the eye. look at this!” He took up a small saucer of milk which stood on the top of it. yes. he might have communicated with the outside air!” “That is also quite modern. Miss Stoner. “No. “Done about the same time as the bell-rope?” remarked Holmes. “Thank you. I daresay. What a strange idea!” “Well. however. of course! Well. was curled upon itself and tied so as to make a loop of whipcord. and yet a saucer of milk does not go very far in satisfying its wants. That is quite settled. “My stepfather’s business papers. With your permission. an armchair beside the bed.” Dr. I remember that it was full of papers. then?” “Only once. we don’t keep a cat.” said he.

We had walked several times up and down the lawn. I think that I have seen enough now. for if Dr. Mr.” “I shall most certainly do so.” 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. Then when you hear him retire for the night. you could manage there for one night.” “I should prefer to have clearer proofs before I speak. and then withdraw quietly with everything which you are likely to want into the room which you used to occupy. “Yes. it must be so. and if she died from some sudden fright. you must open the shutters of your window. But I don’t know why it should be tied. that you have already made up your mind. I do not think so. laying her hand upon my companion’s sleeve.” “Very good. I have no doubt that. and we shall investigate the cause of this noise which has disturbed you. “Perhaps I have. and when a clever man turns his brains to crime it is the worst of all. tell me what was the cause of my sister’s death. Good-bye.” “That is not quite so common. yes.” “The matter is too serious for any hesitation.” “I assure you that I am in your hands. “that you should absolutely follow my advice in every respect. on pretence of a headache. Let me explain. Miss Stoner. and be brave. [269] “It is very essential. me! it’s a wicked world. Miss Stoner.” “In the first place. undo the hasp. Your life may depend upon your compliance. that is the Crown.” “The rest you will leave in our hands. I believe that that is the village inn over there?” “Yes.” “I believe.” Both Miss Stoner and I gazed at him in astonishment. for if you will do what I have told you you may rest assured that we shall soon drive away the dangers that threaten you.” “You must confine yourself to your room. for pity’s sake.” said Miss Stoner. and with your permission we shall walk out upon the lawn. is it? Ah. in spite of the repairs. Holmes.” . easily. I think that there was probably some more tangible cause.” “No. Miss Stoner. Roylott returned and saw us our journey would be in vain.“It’s a common enough lash. put your lamp there as a signal to us.” said he.” “But what will you do?” “We shall spend the night in your room. Your windows would be visible from there?” “Certainly. neither Miss Stoner nor myself liking to break in upon his thoughts before he roused himself from his reverie.” “Then.” “You can at least tell me whether my own thought is correct. both my friend and I must spend the night in your room. when your stepfather comes back. And now. we must leave you.” “Oh.

“I have really some scruples as to taking you to-night. You have evidently seen more in these rooms than was visible to me.” “Can I be of assistance?” [270] “Your presence might be invaluable. “Do you know.” “You speak of danger. At dusk we saw Dr. his huge form looming up beside the little figure of the lad who drove him. The trap drove on. and what purpose that could answer I confess is more than I can imagine. and we heard the hoarse roar of the doctor’s voice and saw the fury with which he shook his clinched fists at him. The boy had some slight difficulty in undoing the heavy iron gates. and from our window we could command a view of the avenue gate. Watson.Sherlock Holmes and I had no difficulty in engaging a bedroom and sitting-room at the Crown Inn.” “Then I shall certainly come.” “You saw the ventilator. There is a distinct element of danger. 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. but I fancy that I may have deduced a little more.” “No. and of the inhabited wing of Stoke Moran Manor House.” “It is very kind of you.” “I saw nothing remarkable save the bell-rope. Grimesby Roylott drive past. They were on the upper floor.” said Holmes as we sat together in the gathering darkness. I imagine that you saw all that I did. too?” .

and then. “I seem to see dimly what you are hinting at. yes. It was so small that a rat could hardly pass through. or it would have been remarked upon at the coroner’s inquiry. for unrepaired breaches [271] gaped in the old park wall. a single bright light shone out right in front of us. crossed it. but I think. Watson. there is at least a curious coincidence of dates. Roylott’s cigar. suddenly.” “Subtle enough and horrible enough.” “Holmes. Now. a chill wind blowing in our faces. that we shall be able to strike deeper still. a cord is hung.” “I knew that we should find a ventilator before ever we came to Stoke Moran. and one yellow light twinkling in front of us through the gloom to guide us on our sombre errand. Palmer and Pritchard were among the heads of their profession.” “But what harm can there be in that?” “Well. This man strikes even deeper. There was little difficulty in entering the grounds. Two hours passed slowly away. Does not that strike you?” “I cannot as yet see any connection. When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. Did you ever see a bed fastened like that before?” “I cannot say that I have. but I do not think that it is such a very unusual thing to have a small opening between two rooms. A moment later we were out on the dark road. and that it was possible that we might spend the night there.” “My dear Holmes!” “Oh. and were about to enter through the . I deduced a ventilator. I did.” As we passed out he exchanged a few words with the landlord.“Yes. You remember in her statement she said that her sister could smell Dr.” “The lady could not move her bed.” “It was clamped to the floor. But we shall have horrors enough before the night is over. for goodness’ sake let us have a quiet pipe and turn our minds for a few hours to something more cheerful. and all was dark in the direction of the Manor House. we reached the lawn. springing to his feet.” said Holmes. “it comes from the middle window. It could only be a small one.” “Did you observe anything very peculiar about that bed?” “No. of course that suggested at once that there must be a communication between the two rooms. It must always be in the same relative position to the ventilator and to the rope–or so we may call it. He has nerve and he has knowledge. Making our way among the trees. explaining that we were going on a late visit to an acquaintance. and a lady who sleeps in the bed dies. since it was clearly never meant for a bell-pull. A ventilator is made. We are only just in time to prevent some subtle and horrible crime.” I cried. just at the stroke of eleven. “That is our signal.” About nine o’clock the light among the trees was extinguished.

perhaps we might find it upon our shoulders at any moment. “did you see it?” Holmes was for the moment as startled as I.” I nodded again. He would see it through the ventilator. “It is a nice household. and cast his eyes round the room. I found myself inside the bedroom. your very life may depend upon it. “Do not go asleep. His hand closed like a vise upon my wrist in his agitation. too. Then creeping up to me and making a trumpet of his hand. who threw itself upon the grass with writhing limbs and then ran swiftly across the lawn into the darkness. Then he broke into a low laugh and put his lips to my ear.” he murmured. There was a cheetah. after following Holmes’s example and slipping off my shoes. and you .” I had forgotten the strange pets which the doctor affected. My companion noiselessly closed the shutters. “We must sit without light. “That is the baboon.window when out from a clump of laurel bushes there darted what seemed to be a hideous and distorted child. “My God!” I whispered. I confess that I felt easier in my mind when. I will sit on the side of the bed.” I nodded to show that I had heard. 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. moved the lamp onto the table. All was as we had seen it in the daytime.

From outside came the occasional cry of a night-bird. and we waited in absolute darkness. and one and two and three. within a few feet of me. and this he placed upon the bed beside him. Watson?” he yelled.in that chair. How shall I ever forget that dreadful vigil? I could not hear a sound. and we were left in darkness. I heard a gentle sound of movement. though the smell grew stronger. and then all was silent once more. soothing sound. Holmes sprang from the bed. not even the drawing of a breath. which vanished immediately. and yet I knew that my companion sat openeyed. which told us that the cheetah was indeed at liberty. but was succeeded by a strong smell of burning oil and heated metal. “You see it?” But I saw nothing. those quarters! Twelve struck. Holmes had brought up a long thin cane. struck a match. Suddenly there was the momentary gleam of a light up in the direction of the ventilator. like that of a small jet of steam escaping continually from a kettle. Someone in the next room had lit a dark-lantern. The instant that we heard it. in the same state of nervous tension in which I was myself. The shutters cut off the least ray of light. By it he laid the box of matches and the stump of a candle. Far away we could hear the deep tones of the parish clock. For half an hour I sat with straining ears. At the moment when Holmes struck the light I heard a low. clear whistle. “You see it. and once at our very window a long drawn catlike whine. and lashed furiously with his cane at the bell-pull. which boomed out every quarter of an hour. Then he turned down the lamp. Then suddenly another sound became audible–a very gentle.” I took out my revolver and laid it on the corner of the table. and still we sat waiting silently for whatever might befall. but the sudden glare flashing into my weary eyes . How long they seemed.

his bare ankles protruding beneath. Across his lap lay the short stock with the long lash which we had noticed during the day. “What can it mean?” I gasped. throwing a brilliant beam of light upon the iron safe. the door of which was ajar. As we entered he made neither sound nor motion. and I stood gazing at Holmes. I took a step forward. Then he turned the handle and entered. It was a singular sight which met our eyes. however. It struck cold to our hearts. It swelled up louder and louder. and even in the distant parsonage. see that his face was deadly pale and filled with horror and loathing. On the table stood a darklantern with the shutter half open. and his feet thrust into red heelless Turkish slippers.” With a grave face he lit the lamp and led the way down the corridor. “The band! the speckled band!” whispered Holmes. His chin was cocked upward and his eyes were fixed in a dreadful. Beside this table. Roylott’s room. clad in a long gray dressing-gown. I at his heels. Take your pistol. it is for the best. sat Dr. “It means that it is all over. rigid stare at the corner of the ceiling. which seemed to be bound tightly round his head. Round his brow he had a peculiar yellow band. until the last echoes of it had died away into the silence from which it rose. with the cocked pistol in my hand. Grimesby Roylott. on the wooden chair. 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. after all. that cry raised the sleepers from their beds. and we will enter Dr. In an instant his strange headgear began to move.made it impossible [272] for me to tell what it was at which my friend lashed so savagely. a hoarse yell of pain and fear and anger all mingled in the one dreadful shriek. I could. They say that away down in the village. with brownish speckles. and he at me. “And perhaps. Twice he struck at the chamber door without any reply from within.” Holmes answered. and there reared itself from among his hair the squat diamond-shaped .

The little which I had yet to learn of the case was told me by Sherlock Holmes as we travelled back next day. The discovery that this was a dummy. from his point of view. and that the bed was clamped to the floor. probably by the use of the milk which we saw. indeed. my dear Watson. Grimesby Roylott.” said he. Then I thought of the whistle. and the use of the word ‘band. as I have already remarked to you. 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. It might or might not bite the occupant. in truth. He has died within ten seconds of being bitten. The idea 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. and when I coupled it with my knowledge that the doctor was furnished with a supply of creatures from India. of Stoke Moran.’ which was used by the poor girl. He would put it through this ventilator at the hour that he thought best. however. and to the bell-rope which hung down to the bed. Violence does. how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. “come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows. threw it into the iron safe. to this ventilator. recoil upon the violent. carrying it at arm’s length. and we can then remove Miss Stoner to some place of shelter and let the county police know what has happened. The rapidity with which such a poison would take effect would also. Let us thrust this creature back into its den. 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. with the certainty that it would crawl down the rope and land on the bed. The presence of the gypsies. I felt that I was probably on the right track. were sufficient to put me upon an entirely wrong scent.” As he spoke he drew the dog-whip swiftly from the dead man’s lap. He had trained it. “It is a swamp adder!” cried Holmes. Such are the true facts of the death of Dr. be an advantage. no [273] doubt to explain the appearance which she had caught a hurried glimpse of by the light of her match. and throwing the noose round the reptile’s neck he drew it from its horrid perch and. Of course he must recall the snake before the morning light revealed it to the victim. I can only claim the merit that I instantly reconsidered my position when. which he closed upon it. who could distinguish the two little dark punctures which would show where the poison fangs had done their work. “I had. to return to him when summoned. it became clear to me that whatever danger threatened an occupant of the room could not come either from the window or the door. “the deadliest snake in India. The idea of a snake instantly occurred to me.head and puffed neck of a loathsome serpent. and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. My attention was speedily drawn. how we conveyed her by the morning train to the care of her good aunt at Harrow. It would be a sharp-eyed coroner. perhaps she might escape every night for a week. but sooner . 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.

” David Soucek. In this way I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr. “I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room.or later she must fall a victim. 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 saucer of milk.” “With the result of driving it through the ventilator. you know the steps which I took in order to put the matter to the proof. and the loop of whipcord were enough to finally dispel any doubts which may have remained. Some of the blows of my cane came home and roused its snakish temper. An inspection of his chair showed me that he had been in the habit of standing on it. so that it flew upon the first person it saw. Grimesby Roylott’s death. and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience. and I instantly lit the light and attacked it. which of course would be necessary in order that he should reach the ventilator. I heard the creature hiss as I have no doubt that you did also. 1998 The Engineer’s Thumb . Having once made up my mind. The sight of the safe.” “And also with the result of causing it to turn upon its master at the other side.

my old ally. without even giving me time to thank him. I had returned to civil practice and had finally abandoned Holmes in his Baker Street rooms. Of these the latter may have afforded a finer field for an acute and original observer. there were only two which [274] I was the means of introducing to his notice–that of Mr. that the events occurred which I am now about to summarize. the guard. I believe.” he whispered. One of these. 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. Doctor. then he couldn’t slip away. “I’ve got him here. then?” I asked. all safe and sound. I entered my consulting-room and found a gentleman seated by the . My practice had steadily increased.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE ENGINEER’S THUMB OF ALL the problems which have been submitted to my friend. I must go now. and as I happened to live at no very great distance from Paddington Station. 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. jerking his thumb over his shoulder. for solution during the years of our intimacy. even if it gave my friend fewer openings for those deductive methods of reasoning by which he achieved such remarkable results. It was in the summer of ’89. for I knew by experience that railway cases were seldom trivial. for his manner suggested that it was some strange creature which he had caged up in my room.” he whispered. not long after my marriage. at a little before seven o’clock. Sherlock Holmes. been told more than once in the newspapers. this trusty tout. but. I dressed hurriedly. and hastened downstairs. I got a few patients from among the officials. “I thought I’d bring him round myself. like all such narratives. As I descended. was never weary of advertising my virtues and of endeavouring to send me on every sufferer over whom he might have any influence. and that of Colonel Warburton’s madness. Mr.” “What is it. came out of the room and closed the door tightly behind him. although I continually visited him and occasionally even persuaded him to forego his Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us. The story has. There he is. and the mystery clears gradually away as each new discovery furnishes a step which leads on to the complete truth. Hatherley’s thumb. 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 off he went. just the same as you. “It’s a new patient. One morning. At the time the circumstances made a deep impression upon me. whom I had cured of a painful and lingering disease. I have my dooties. and the lapse of two years has hardly served to weaken the effect. “he’s all right.

with a soft cloth cap which he had laid down upon my books. He was quietly dressed in a suit of heather tweed. “I regret that I have kept you waiting. and the colour began to come back to his bloodless cheeks. He laughed very heartily. which it took all his strength of mind to control. masculine face. with a strong. 16A.” said I. but he was exceedingly pale and gave me the impression of a man who was suffering from some strong agitation. a worthy fellow very kindly escorted me here. my night could not be called monotonous. It was useless.table. I came in by train this morning. leaning back in his chair and shaking his sides. style. I should say. Drink this. “That’s better!” said he.” That was the name. “You are fresh from a night journey. Doctor. “Not at all.” he gasped. “And now.” .” “Oh. All my medical instincts rose up against that laugh. “I am sorry to knock you up so early. “Stop it!” I cried.” I dashed some brandy into the water. I gave the maid a card. with a high. but I see that she has left it upon the side-table. or rather to the place where my thumb used to be.” I took it up and glanced at it. “but I have had a very serious accident during the night. “Mr. Victoria Street (3d floor). perhaps you would kindly attend to my thumb. Doctor. Victor Hatherley. not more than five-and-twenty.” said he. and abode of my morning [275] visitor. and laughed. hydraulic engineer. sitting down in my library-chair. Presently he came to himself once more. “pull yourself together!” and I poured out some water from a carafe. I understand. which is in itself a monotonous occupation. “I have been making a fool of myself.” said he. very weary and palelooking. which was mottled all over with bloodstains. ringing note. Round one of his hands he had a handkerchief wrapped. He was young. however. He was off in one of those hysterical outbursts which come upon a strong nature when some great crisis is over and gone. and on inquiring at Paddington as to where I might find a doctor.

and I think that I must have been senseless for a long time. “this is a terrible injury. but I have had a good deal to go through. “Good heavens!” I cried. though he bit his lip from time to time.” “A thing like a cleaver.” said he.” “It is a question of hydraulics. I fainted when it was done.” “What! a murderous attack?” “Very murderous indeed.” “You horrify me. not now. It must have bled considerably.” “Yes. you see.” I sponged the wound. it did. and finally covered it over with cotton wadding and carbolized bandages. examining the wound. dressed it.He unwound the handkerchief and held out his hand. It had been hacked or torn right out from the roots. between . I shall have to tell my tale to the police. There were four protruding fingers and a horrid red. When I came to I found that it was still bleeding. I presume?” “By no means. It is evidently trying to your nerves. but. “An accident. no. He lay back without wincing. spongy surface where the thumb should have been.” “Oh. I was very weak. I feel a new man. “by a very heavy and sharp instrument. and came within my own province.” “Excellent! You should have been a surgeon. “How is that?” I asked when I had finished. It gave even my hardened nerves a shudder to look at it.” said I. cleaned it.” “Perhaps you had better not speak of the matter.” “This has been done. “Capital! Between your brandy and your bandage. so I tied one end of my handkerchief very tightly round the wrist and braced it up with a twig.

“It is easy to see that your experience has been no common one. I’ll take you round to him myself. and I have not much in the way of proof with which to back it up. placed a pillow beneath his head. as I expected.” “We’ll call a cab and go together. and I shall be with you in an instant.” I rushed upstairs. all carefully dried and collected on the corner of the mantelpiece. I shall not feel easy until I have told my story.” “Oh. if it were not for the convincing evidence of this wound of mine. We shall just be in time to have a little breakfast with him. Do you feel equal to it?” “Yes. Sherlock Holmes was. When it was concluded he settled our new acquaintance upon the sofa. Would you give me an introduction to him?” “I’ll do better.” “Then my servant will call a cab. reading the agony column of The Times and smoking his before-breakfast pipe. explained the matter shortly to my wife. Mr.” answered my visitor. and in five minutes was inside a hansom. before you go to the official police. which was composed of all the plugs and dottles left from his smokes of the day before. Sherlock Holmes. and joined us in a hearty meal. for it is a very extraordinary one. the clues which I can give them are so vague that it is a question whether justice will be done. “and I should be very glad if he would take the matter up. lounging about his sitting-room in his dressing-gown.” “I should be immensely obliged to you. and laid a glass of brandy and water within his reach. driving with my new acquaintance to Baker Street.ourselves.” “Ha!” cried I. even if they [276] believe me. I have heard of that fellow. ordered fresh rashers and eggs. and. I should strongly recommend you to come to my friend. I should be surprised if they believed my statement. though of course I must use the official police as well. “if it is anything in the nature of a problem which you desire to see solved. He received us in his quietly genial fashion. Mr. .

Every day. [277] “Yesterday. but stop when you are tired and keep up your strength with a little stimulant.Hatherley. By profession I am a hydraulic engineer. During two years I have had three consultations and one small job. of Greenwich. however. I shall take up as little of your valuable time as possible. and having also come into a fair sum of money through my poor father’s death. and we listened in silence to the strange story which our visitor detailed to us. I should judge. I determined to start in business for myself and took professional chambers in Victoria Street.” said he. too. and his age. and I think that your breakfast has completed the cure. “Pray. residing alone in lodgings in London. just as I was thinking of leaving the office. “but I have felt another man since the doctor bandaged me. the wellknown firm. “that I am an orphan and a bachelor. He brought up a card. I waited in my little den. My gross takings amount to £27 10s. a man rather over the middle size. with the name of ‘Colonel Lysander Stark’ engraved upon it. from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon. Close at his heels came the colonel himself. his step brisk. having served my time. heavy-lidded expression which veiled his keen and eager nature. until at last my heart began to sink. To me it has been exceptionally so. “I suppose that everyone finds his first independent start in business a dreary experience.” “Thank you. for his eye was bright. Yet this emaciation seemed to be his natural habit. my clerk entered to say there was a gentleman waiting who wished to see me upon business. I do not think that I have ever seen so thin a man. .” said he. but of an exceeding thinness. His whole face sharpened away into nose and chin. and that is absolutely all that my profession has brought me. lie down there and make yourself absolutely at home. He was plainly but neatly dressed. and I came to believe that I should never have any practice at all.” Holmes sat in his big armchair with the weary. so I shall start at once upon my peculiar experiences. and due to no disease. while I sat opposite to him. and his bearing assured. and I have had considerable experience of my work during the seven years that I was apprenticed to Venner & Matheson. Two years ago. would be nearer forty than thirty. “You must know.” said my patient. and the skin of his cheeks was drawn quite tense over his outstanding bones. Tell us what you can.

’ “ ‘If I promise to keep a secret. perhaps it is better that I should not tell you that just at this moment. as being a man who is not only proficient in his profession but is also discreet and capable of preserving a secret. Hatherley?’ said he.’ “ ‘That is quite correct. But you will find that all I say is really to the point. ‘You have been recommended to me.’ I answered. I understand that it was on a professional matter that you wished to speak to me?’ “ ‘Undoubtedly so. with something of a German accent. I have it from the same source that you are both an orphan and a bachelor and are residing alone in London.’ . Hatherley. and it seemed to me that I had never seen so suspicious and questioning an eye. I have a professional commission for you.’ “He looked very hard at me as I spoke. feeling as flattered as any young man would at such an address. ‘May I ask who it was who gave me so good a character?’ “ ‘Well.’ “I bowed. I promise. 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. you understand. ‘but you will excuse me if I say that I cannot see how all this bears upon my professional qualifications.’ said I. “ ‘Yes. Mr. then?’ said he at last.“ ‘Mr. “ ‘Do you promise. ‘you may absolutely depend upon my doing so. but absolute secrecy is quite essential–absolute secrecy.

’ “ ‘Where to?’ “ ‘To Eyford. I simply want your opinion about a hydraulic stamping machine which has got out of gear. What do you think of such a commission as that?’ “ ‘The work appears to be light and the pay munificent.’ “ ‘Very good. ‘I know the clerks are sometimes curious as to their master’s affairs. and after? No reference to the matter at all. ‘my time is of value. We shall want you to come to-night by the last train. “ ‘How would fifty guineas for a night’s work suit you?’ he asked. The passage outside was empty.’ said he. “ ‘That’s all right. and darting like lightning across the room he flung open the door. but the words came to my lips.’ said I. Now we can talk in safety. but an hour’s would be nearer the mark. either in word or writing?’ “ ‘I have already given you my word.’ “ ‘I say a night’s work. “ ‘Most admirably. sir. and of something akin to fear had begun to rise within me at the strange antics of this fleshless man.’ He drew up his chair very close to mine and began to stare at me again with the same questioning and thoughtful look. coming back. in Berkshire.’ “ ‘Precisely so. during.’ He suddenly sprang up.’ Heaven forgive me for that last sentence.“ ‘Absolute and complete silence before. “ ‘I beg that you will state your business. It is a little place near the borders of . If [278] you show us what is wrong we shall soon set it right ourselves. Even my dread of losing a client could not restrain me from showing my impatience. “A feeling of repulsion.

however. ‘I shall be very happy to accommodate myself to your wishes. a young and unknown man. if you would like to draw out of the business. however. to understand a little more clearly what it is that you wish me to do. We guard our secret very jealously. It is very natural that the pledge of secrecy which we have exacted from you should have aroused your curiosity. These good people were absolutely ignorant that their land contained that which was quite as valuable as a gold-mine. I should like. if the facts came out.’ “ ‘Very good. and that it is only found in one or two places in England?’ “ ‘I have heard so. and then. You are probably aware that fuller’searth is a valuable product.’ “ ‘That is very awkward. Could I not come at some more convenient hour?’ “ ‘We have judged it best that you should come late. there is plenty of time to do so. it was to my interest to buy their land before they discovered its true value. and within seven miles of Reading. and in order to help us in our operations we erected a hydraulic press. our little place is quite out in the country. This press.’ “ ‘There is a drive.’ said I. I was fortunate enough to discover that there was a deposit of fuller’s-earth in one of my fields.’ “ ‘Then we can hardly get there before midnight. I took a few of my friends into the secret. It is a good seven miles from Eyford Station. ‘Not at all. and if it once became known that we had hydraulic engineers coming to our little house.’ “ ‘Some little time ago I bought a small place–a very small place– within ten miles of Reading. On examining it. Still. it would be good-bye to any .’ “ ‘Quite so.’ “ ‘I shall come down in a carriage to meet you. a fee which would buy an opinion from the very heads of your profession. of course. and we wish your advice upon the subject. It is to recompense you for any inconvenience that we are paying to you. and they suggested that we should quietly and secretly work our own little deposit. then?’ “ ‘Yes. we could easily give you a shake-down. and of how very useful they would be to me. and that in this way we should earn the money which would enable us to buy the neighbouring fields. This we have now been doing for some time. I suppose there would be no chance of a train back. but unfortunately I had no capital by which I could do this. in the grounds of my neighbours. and that it formed a link between two very much larger ones upon the right and left–both of them. however.’ “ ‘Yes. [279] it would soon rouse inquiry.’ “I thought of the fifty guineas. I have no wish to commit you to anything without your having it all laid before you. I should be compelled to stop the night.’ “ ‘Then the matter stands thus. I found that this deposit was a comparatively small one. however. as I have already explained. I suppose that we are absolutely safe from eavesdroppers?’ “ ‘Entirely. There is a train from Paddington which would bring you there at about 11:15. Naturally. has got out of order.Oxfordshire. however.

as I understand. dank grasp. I was in time for the last train to Eyford. but I should think. is dug out like gravel from a pit. and it was possible that this order might lead to other ones. “Well. and I reached the little dim-lit station after eleven o’clock. long. and away we went as fast as the horse could go. when I came to think it all over in cool blood I was very much astonished. and we drove for at least an hour. as you may both think. then. But that is a mere detail. so as to remove them without revealing what they are. I was glad. . “Yes. ‘The only point which I could not quite understand was what use you could make of a hydraulic press in excavating fuller’s-earth. he hurried from the room. I saw it by the side-lights when I was stepping into the carriage.’ “ ‘And not a word to a soul.’ “ ‘Ah!’ said he carelessly. Hatherley. at this sudden commission which had been intrusted to me. which. It was a chestnut. the face and manner of my patron had made an unpleasant impression upon me. I have taken you fully into my confidence now. We compress the earth into bricks. Pray continue your most interesting statement. the door of which was standing open.’ He rose as he spoke. On the other hand. and his extreme anxiety lest I should tell anyone of my errand.” “One horse?” interjected Holmes. Without a word he grasped my arm and hurried me into a carriage. and started off.chance of getting these fields and carrying out our plans. On the one hand.” “Thank you. pressing my hand in a cold. fresh and glossy. ‘I shall expect you.’ said I. questioning gaze. and then.” “Tired-looking or fresh?” “Oh.’ “ ‘I shall certainly be there. ‘we have our own process. and I have shown you how I trust you. As I passed out through the wicket gate. for the fee was at least tenfold what I should have asked had I set a price upon my own services. However. I was the only passenger who got out there. I am sorry to have interrupted you. Colonel Lysander Stark had said that it was only seven miles. I hope that I make it all plain?’ “ ‘I quite follow you. Mr.” “Did you observe the colour?” “Yes. having obeyed to the letter the injunction as to holding my tongue. drove to Paddington. I threw all fears to the winds. “At Reading I had to change not only my carriage but my station. of course. only one. at Eyford at 11:15. ate a hearty supper. I found my acquaintance of the morning waiting in the shadow upon the other side. He drew up the windows on either side. however. 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. and there was no one upon the platform save a single sleepy porter with a lantern.’ He looked at me with a last. and I could not think that his explanation of the fuller’s-earth was sufficient to explain the necessity for my coming at midnight.” “Away we went then. tapped on the wood-work. However.

Then I walked across to the window. however. Now and then I hazarded some remark to break the monotony of the journey. were within that radius. and in spite of my ignorance of German I could see that two of them were treatises on science. as it were. I could see that she was pretty. She spoke a few words in a foreign tongue in a tone as though asking a question. “I glanced at the books upon the table. It was a wonderfully silent house. but whether north. east. It was a quiet.from the rate that we seemed to go. that was all I knew. hoping that I might catch some glimpse of the country-side. It grew broader. ‘I shall not keep you waiting an instant. The instant that I had crossed the threshold the door slammed heavily behind us. throwing open another door. and a long. and from the time that we took. plainly furnished room. and the conversation soon flagged. was folded across it. more than once when I glanced in his direction. so the place might . Colonel Stark went up to her. pushing her face forward and peering at us. but an oak shutter. For that matter. but the colonel answered only in monosyllables. he walked towards me again with the lamp in his hand. that it must have been nearer twelve. pushing her back into the room from whence she had come. Reading. pulled me swiftly into a porch which gaped in front of us. and vanished into the darkness. that he was looking at me with great intensity. Colonel Lysander Stark sprang out. He sat at my side in silence all the time. I tried to look out of the windows to see something of where we were. and what were they doing living in this strange. “ ‘Perhaps you will have the kindness to wait in this room for a few minutes. the others being volumes of poetry. as I followed after him. south. little. which she held above her head. and then. or west I had no idea. right out of the carriage and into the hall. At last. golden bar of light shot out in our direction. so that I failed to catch the most fleeting glance of the front of the house. but they were made of frosted glass. and. Who were these German people. out-of-the-way place? And where was the place? I was ten miles or so from Eyford. [280] The country roads seem to be not very good in that part of the world. “It was pitch dark inside the house. but otherwise everything was deadly still. We stepped. the bumping of the road was exchanged for the crisp smoothness of a gravel-drive. and I could make out nothing save the occasional bright blur of a passing light. and possibly other large towns. Colonel Stark laid down the lamp on the top of a harmonium beside the door. and the carriage came to a stand. heavily barred. There was an old clock ticking loudly somewhere in the passage. A vague feeling of uneasiness began to steal over me.’ said he. and when my companion answered in a gruff monosyllable she gave such a start that the lamp nearly fell from her hand. and I was aware. whispered something in her ear. and a woman appeared with a lamp in her hand. and the colonel fumbled about looking for matches and muttering under his breath. with a round table in the centre. on which several German books were scattered. for we lurched and jolted terribly. and from the gloss with which the light shone upon her dark dress I knew that it was a rich material. and I heard faintly the rattle of the wheels as the carriage drove away. Suddenly a door opened at the other end of the passage.’ said he.

the darkness of the hall behind her. I should not stay here.’ said I. without any preliminary sound in the midst of the utter stillness. ‘get away from here before it is too late!’ “But I am somewhat headstrong by nature. and of the unpleasant . I thought of my fifty-guinea fee.’ “ ‘It is not worth your while to wait. into the gloom behind her. ‘I would go. and she shot a few whispered words of broken English at me. that we were in the country. as it seemed to me.’ And then. trying hard. “ ‘I would go. I could see at a glance that she was sick with fear. she suddenly threw aside her constraint and made a step forward. ‘For the love of Heaven!’ she whispered. She held up one shaking finger to warn [281] me to be silent. like those of a frightened horse. seeing that I smiled and shook my head. I paced up and down the room. the door of my room swung slowly open. “Suddenly.’ “ ‘But. madam. and the more ready to engage in an affair when there is some obstacle in the way. There is no good for you to do. humming a tune under my breath to keep up my spirits and feeling that I was thoroughly earning my fifty-guinea fee. and the sight sent a chill to my own heart. to speak calmly. ‘I have not yet done what I came for.’ said she. The woman was standing in the aperture.not be so secluded. from the absolute stillness. with her hands wrung together.’ she went on. ‘You can pass through the door. no one hinders. after all. her eyes glancing back. Yet it was quite certain. I cannot possibly leave until I have seen the machine. of my wearisome journey. the yellow light from my lamp beating upon her eager and beautiful face.

and vanished as suddenly and as noiselessly as she had come. It was a labyrinth of an old house.’ said the colonel. I fear that you have felt the draught. unhealthy blotches. then. you dig fuller’s-earth in the house?’ “ ‘No. ‘By the way. I still shook my head and declared my intention of remaining where I was. therefore. and little low doors. “Colonel Lysander Stark stopped at last before a low door. even though I disregarded them. while the plaster was peeling off the walls. ‘Mr. All we wish you to do is to examine the machine and to let us know what is wrong with it. Was it all to go for nothing? Why should I slink away without having carried out my commission. I suppose. and the damp was breaking through in green. which he unlocked. for all I knew. Ferguson and I will take you up to see the machine. and it would be a particularly unpleasant thing for us if anyone were to turn it on. who was introduced to me as Mr. Ferguson. be a monomaniac. “ ‘This is my secretary and manager. no.’ said he. There were no carpets and no signs of any furniture above the ground floor. She listened for an instant. threw up her hands with a despairing gesture. I tried to put on as unconcerned an air as possible. and the sound of several footsteps was heard upon the stairs. Ferguson remained outside. the fat manager and I behind him.’ “We went upstairs together. and the colonel ushered me in. I was under the impression that I left this door shut just now. There are small lateral columns of water outside which receive the force.’ “ ‘On the contrary. and I kept a keen eye upon my two companions.night which seemed to be before me. though her manner had shaken me more than I cared to confess. ‘I opened the door myself because I felt the room to be a little close. narrow winding staircases. but I had not forgotten the warnings of the lady. The ceiling of this small chamber is really the end of the descending piston. This is only where we compress it. “ ‘We are now. ‘Perhaps we had better proceed to business. passages. in which the three of us could hardly get at one time. no.’ “He shot one of his suspicious looks at me.’ “ ‘Oh. it is in the house. [282] Within was a small. Ferguson appeared to be a morose and silent man.’ “ ‘I had better put my hat on. “The newcomers were Colonel Lysander Stark and a short thick man with a chinchilla beard growing out of the creases of his double chin. She was about to renew her entreaties when a door slammed overhead.’ said he. and which transmit and multiply it in the manner which is familiar . the colonel first with the lamp. ‘actually within the hydraulic press. square room.’ “ ‘What.’ said I. But never mind that. but I could see from the little that he said that he was at least a fellowcountryman. with corridors. With a stout bearing. and without the payment which was my due? This woman might. the thresholds of which were hollowed out by the generations who had crossed them. and it comes down with the force of many tons upon this metal floor.

I returned to the main chamber of the machine and took a good look at it to satisfy my own curiosity.’ “I took the lamp from him. and turned the key in the lock. ‘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.’ said he. ‘you shall know all about the machine. ‘Hello!’ I yelled. and I examined the machine very thoroughly. It was indeed a gigantic one. which allowed a regurgitation of water through one of the side cylinders. ‘Hello! Colonel! Let me out!’ . The machine goes readily enough. and did not give in the least to my kicks and shoves. however. “ ‘What are you doing there?’ he asked. who followed my remarks very carefully and asked several practical questions as to how they should proceed to set it right. His face set hard. I knew at once by the whishing sound that there was a slight leakage. ‘I was admiring your fuller’s-earth.’ He took a step backward. “ ‘Very well. 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. The walls were of wood. and a baleful light sprang up in his gray eyes. and it has lost a little of its force. An examination showed that one of the indiarubber bands which was round the head of a driving-rod had shrunk so as not quite to fill the socket along which it worked. This was clearly the cause of the loss of power.’ said I.to you. and I pointed it out to my companions. “I felt angry at having been tricked by so elaborate a story as that which he had told me. When I passed outside. slammed the little door. I rushed towards it and pulled at the handle. When I had made it clear to them. but it was quite secure.’ “The instant that I uttered the words I regretted the rashness of my speech. Perhaps you will have the goodness to look it over and to show us how we can set it right. It was obvious at a glance that the story of the fuller’s-earth was the merest fabrication. and when I came to examine it I could see a crust of metallic deposit all over it. and pressed down the levers which controlled it. but there is some stiffness in the working of it. and capable of exercising enormous pressure. but the floor consisted of a large iron trough. for it would be absurd to suppose that so powerful an engine could be designed for so inadequate a purpose.

but the crash of the lamp. perhaps. but the remorseless clanking of the levers drowned my cries.“And then suddenly in the silence I heard a sound which sent my heart into my mouth. Then it flashed through my mind that [283] the pain of my death would depend very much upon the position in which I met it. The ceiling was only a foot or two above my head. and with my hand upraised I could feel its hard. As I gave a last hurried glance around. which broadened and broadened as a small panel was pushed backward. The lamp still stood upon the floor where I had placed it when examining the trough. and a . He had set the engine at work. with a force which must within a minute grind me to a shapeless pulp. Easier the other way. I saw a thin line of yellow light between two of the boards. and dragged with my nails at the lock. when my eye caught something which brought a gush of hope back to my heart. as none knew better than myself. “I have said that though the floor and ceiling were of iron. the walls were of wood. The panel had closed again behind me. jerkily. and yet. and I shuddered to think of that dreadful snap. but. If I lay on my face the weight would come upon my spine. It was the clank of the levers and the swish of the leaking cylinder. For an instant I could hardly believe that here was indeed a door which led away from death. screaming. The next instant I threw myself through. I threw myself. 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. and lay half-fainting upon the other side. I implored the colonel to let me out. slowly. against the door. rough surface. By its light I saw that the black ceiling was coming down upon me.

pushing his way past her. “ ‘Fritz! Fritz!’ she cried in English. but she threw her arms round him and tried to hold him back. and was hanging by the hands to the sill. They will see that you are not there. “I was recalled to myself by a frantic plucking at my wrist. If she were ill-used. I staggered to my feet and ran with her along the corridor and down a winding stair. told me how narrow had been my escape. while she held a candle in her right. but it may be that you can jump it. ‘You will be the ruin of us. The thought had hardly flashed through my mind before he was at the door. and it could not be more than thirty feet down. ‘remember your promise after the last time. then at any risks I was determined to go back to her assistance.’ “As she spoke a light sprang into view at the further end of the passage. Elise!’ he shouted. My guide stopped and looked about her like one who is at her wit’s end. You said it should not be again. one answering the other from the floor on which we were and from the one beneath. I say!’ He dashed her to one side. but come!’ “This time. and. Let me pass. 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. “ ‘Come! come!’ she cried breathlessly. ‘It is high. I was conscious of a dull pain. while a woman bent over me and tugged at me with her left hand. my grip loosened. through the window of which the moon was shining brightly. Oh. He will be silent! Oh. rushing to the window.few moments afterwards the clang of the two slabs of metal. when his blow fell.’ said she. and looked out. and I found myself lying upon the stone floor of a narrow corridor. “ ‘It is your only chance. do not waste the soprecious time. at least. The latter led to another broad passage. struggling to break away from her. I rushed across the bedroom. but I hesitated to jump until I should have heard what passed between my saviour and the ruffian who pursued me. and just as we reached it we heard the sound of running feet and the shouting of two voices. . I had let myself go. cut at me with his heavy weapon. It was the same good friend whose warning I had so foolishly rejected. ‘They will be here in a moment. How quiet and sweet and wholesome the garden looked in the moonlight. He has seen too much. and I fell into the garden below. I did not scorn her advice. he will be silent!’ “ ‘You are mad. flung open the window. I clambered out upon the sill.

The smarting of it recalled in an instant all the particulars of my night’s adventure. all that had passed during those dreadful hours might have been an evil dream. however. Were it not for the ugly wound upon my hand.“I was shaken but not hurt by the fall. to be the very station at which I had arrived upon the previous night. saw that my thumb had been cut off and that the blood was pouring from my wound. There would be one to Reading in less than an hour. upon my approaching it. for the first time. for the moon had sunk. as I ran. and next moment I fell in a dead faint among the rosebushes. I endeavoured to tie my handkerchief round it. My clothes were all sodden with dew. and a bright morning was breaking when I came to myself. which was throbbing painfully. Suddenly. and my coat-sleeve was drenched with blood from my wounded thumb. But to my astonishment. I went into the station and asked about the morning train. “Half dazed. and then. for I understood that I was far from being out of danger yet. and I sprang to my feet with the feeling that I might hardly yet be safe from my pursuers. neither house nor garden were to be seen. when I came to look round me. and just a little lower down was a long building. “How long I remained unconscious I cannot tell. a deadly dizziness and sickness came [284] over me. I glanced down at my hand. but there came a sudden buzzing in my ears. I had been lying in an angle of the hedge close by the highroad. It must have been a very long time. so I picked myself up and rushed off among the bushes as hard as I could run. which proved. The same porter was .

“It appeared in all the papers about a year ago. “That circle is drawn at a radius of ten miles from the village.” said I. so I went first to have my wound dressed. bound from Reading to the little Berkshire village. every moment now is precious. of having been lifted and conveyed somewhere.” “I hardly think that likely. weak and ill as I was. “It was too far for me to go. Had he observed a carriage the night before waiting for me? No. Was there a police-station anywhere near? There was one about three miles off. on the 9th inst. Inspector Bradstreet. Was dressed in– etc. who was absolutely determined that nothing should stand in the way of his little game. I never saw a more inexorable face in my . Left his lodgings at ten o’clock at night.” “It was an hour’s good drive. “Here is an advertisement which will interest you.” Some three hours or so afterwards we were all in the train together. The name was strange to him. I think. [285] 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. Ha! That represents the last time that the colonel needed to have his machine overhauled. etc. and then the doctor was kind enough to bring me along here. the hydraulic engineer. It is quite clear that the colonel was a cool and desperate man... I fancy.” “And you think that they brought you back all that way when you were unconscious?” “They must have done so.” “Good heavens!” cried my patient. sir. a plain-clothes man. Perhaps the villain was softened by the woman’s entreaties.” said he. Then Sherlock Holmes pulled down from the shelf one of the ponderous commonplace books in which he placed his cuttings. of Scotland Yard. so if you feel equal to it we shall go down to Scotland Yard at once as a preliminary to starting for Eyford. “There you are.” We both sat in silence for some little time after listening to this extraordinary narrative.” “Undoubtedly.” said he. too. The place we want must be somewhere near that line. Well. I put the case into your hands and shall do exactly what you advise. and has not been heard of since. It was a little past six when I arrived. I determined to wait until I got back to town before telling my story to the police. like those out-and-out pirates who will leave no survivor from a captured ship.on duty. Jeremiah Hayling.” “What I cannot understand. aged twenty-six. and myself. “Then that explains what the girl said. as had been there when I arrived. There were Sherlock Holmes. he had not. I inquired of him whether he had ever heard of Colonel Lysander Stark. “is why they should have spared you when they found you lying fainting in the garden. Mr. You said ten miles. I have a confused memory. a hydraulic engineer. Listen to this: “Lost. I found.

“Six out and six back.” “And I am for north. and have used the machine to form the amalgam which has taken the place of silver. “This is where we shall find them.” said my patient. now. 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. We even traced them as far as Reading. “it’s a very pretty diversity of opinion.” said Bradstreet. we shall see who agrees with you. laughing. “Well. “Really.” But the inspector was mistaken. for they had covered their traces in a way that showed that they were very old hands. .” remarked the plain-clothes man. “I am for west. “They have been turning out half-crowns by the thousand. “They are coiners on a large scale.” “Oh. yes.” “None at all. Nothing simpler.” said Holmes quietly. But now.” “But the twelve-mile drive?” gasped Hatherley.” “We have known for some time that a clever gang was at work. for those criminals were not destined to fall into the hands of justice.life.” said I. I think that we have got them right enough.” “And I say east.” “Oh.” said Holmes. “because there are no hills there. now!” cried the inspector. This is my point. You say yourself that the horse was fresh and glossy when you got in.” “Come. and I only wish I knew at what point upon it the folk that we are in search of are to be found.” cried the inspector. We have boxed the compass among us. “you have formed your opinion! Come.” observed Bradstreet thoughtfully.” said the inspector. it is a likely ruse enough.” “But we can’t all be. “There are several quiet little villages up there. for the country is more deserted there. How could it be that if it had gone twelve miles over heavy roads?” “Indeed. I have drawn my circle. we shall soon clear up all that. Who do you give your casting vote to?” “You are all wrong. you can. I say it is south. but could get no farther.” He placed his finger in the centre of the circle.” “I think I could lay my finger on it. and our friend says that he did not notice the carriage go up any. “Of course there can be no doubt as to the nature of this gang. thanks to this lucky chance.

sharp nose?” The station-master laughed heartily.” “Tell me. while in the garden in front three fire-engines were vainly striving to keep the flames under. who is a foreigner. Dr. and there was a great widespread whitewashed building in front of us. “Yes. spouting fire at every chink and window. and he looks as if a little good Berkshire beef would do him no harm. Becher a German.[286] “A house on fire?” asked Bradstreet as the train steamed off again on its way. and there isn’t a man in the parish who has a better-lined waistcoat. and there are the rose-bushes where I lay.” “Whose house is it?” “Dr. Becher’s. and the whole place is in a blaze. when it was crushed in the press. “That’s it!” cried Hatherley. “No.” The station-master had not finished his speech before we were all hastening in the direction of the fire. “you have had your revenge upon them. set fire to the wooden walls. Becher is an Englishman. a patient. sir!” said the station-master. sir. in intense excitement.” broke in the engineer.” “Well. sir. though no doubt they . But he has a gentleman staying with him. “When did it break out?” “I hear that it was during the night. “is Dr.” said Holmes. as I understand. The road topped a low hill. very thin. There can be no question that it was your oil-lamp which. with a long. That second window is the one that I jumped from. at least. “There is the graveldrive. but it has got worse.

you know. “it has been a pretty business for me! I have lost my thumb and I have lost a fifty-guinea fee. had assisted the woman to bear the unconscious man out of the way of danger. or the morose Englishman. “Indirectly it may be of value. you have only to put it into words to gain the reputation of being excellent company for the remainder of your existence. How our hydraulic engineer had been conveyed from the garden to the spot where he recovered his senses might have remained forever a mystery were it not for the soft mould.” said our engineer ruefully as we took our seats to return once more to London. but there all traces of the fugitives disappeared. the sinister German. save some twisted cylinders and iron piping. [287] “Well. and even Holmes’s ingenuity failed ever to discover the least clue as to their whereabouts. laughing. but no coins were to be found. one of whom had remarkably small feet and the other unusually large ones. which may have explained the presence of those bulky boxes which have been already referred to. their efforts were at last successful. and still more so by discovering a newly severed human thumb upon a window-sill of the second floor. On the whole. He had evidently been carried down by two persons. though I very much fear that they are a good hundred miles off by now.” David Soucek. and they subdued the flames. not a trace remained of the machinery which had cost our unfortunate acquaintance so dearly. The firemen had been much perturbed at the strange arrangements which they had found within. and the whole place been reduced to such absolute ruin that. 1998 The Noble Bachelor . but not before the roof had fallen in. Early that morning a peasant had met a cart containing several people and some very bulky boxes driving rapidly in the direction of Reading.” said Holmes. however. Large masses of nickel and of tin were discovered stored in an out-house. it was most probable that the silent Englishman.” And Holmes’s fears came to be realized. Now keep your eyes open in this crowd for your friends of last night. and what have I gained?” “Experience. About sunset. being less bold or less murderous than his companion. which told us a very plain tale.were too excited in the chase after you to observe it at the time. for from that day to this no word has ever been heard either of the beautiful woman.

during the days when I was still sharing rooms with Holmes in Baker Street. I tossed them all aside and lay listless.” he answered. This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie. and their more piquant details have drawn the gossips away from this four-year-old drama. however. and its curious termination. were from a fish-monger and a tidewaiter. 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. With my body in one easy-chair and my legs upon another. I had remained indoors all day. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it. my correspondence has certainly the charm of variety. if I remember right. saturated with the news of the day. “and the humbler are usually the more interesting. SIMON marriage. with high autumnal winds. that the full facts have never been revealed to the general public. that he came home from an afternoon stroll to find a letter on the table waiting for him.” “Yes. smiling. .” He broke the seal and glanced over the contents. I feel that no memoir of him would be complete without some little sketch of this remarkable episode.” I remarked as he entered. “Here is a very fashionable epistle. have long ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegroom moves. watching the huge crest and monogram upon the envelope upon the table and wondering lazily who my friend’s noble correspondent could be. It was a few weeks before my own marriage. “Your morning letters. for the weather had taken a sudden turn to rain. and as my friend Sherlock Holmes had a considerable share in clearing the matter up.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE NOBLE BACHELOR THE LORD ST. As I have reason to believe. I had surrounded myself with a cloud of newspapers until at last.

The latter is always instructive. and that he even thinks that it might be of some assistance. Simon. that that also may not be wanting in this new investigation. I will read it to you. Mr. Watson. The letter which I hold in my hand is from Lord St. but he assures me that he sees no objection to your cooperation. after all. without affectation.“Oh. that the status of my client is a matter of less moment to me than the interest of his case. then?” “No. and in return you must turn over these papers and let me have whatever bears upon the matter. should you have any other . however. for you will perhaps be able to post me up. You have been reading the papers diligently of late. I read nothing except the criminal news and the agony column.” “Not social.” “That is well. with the deepest interest. have you not?” [288] “It looks like it. This is what he says: “MY DEAR MR. distinctly professional. I congratulate you.” “I assure you. pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. is acting already in the matter. and. Lestrade. I will call at four o’clock in the afternoon. therefore. SHERLOCK HOLMES: “Lord Backwater tells me that I may place implicit reliance upon your judgment and discretion. of Scotland Yard. “I have had nothing else to do.” “It is fortunate. Simon and his wedding?” “Oh. come. to call upon you and to consult you in reference to the very painful event which has occurred in connection with my wedding. it may prove to be something of interest.” “And from a noble client?” “One of the highest in England. But if you have followed recent events so closely you must have read about Lord St. I have determined. yes. It is just possible.” said I ruefully.” “My dear fellow.

for something more solid. “He says four o’clock. “Here he is. I feared to .” said he. Hum! Arms: Azure. “Lord Robert Walsingham de Vere St. Yours faithfully. Was Under-Secretary for the colonies in a late administration.” remarked Holmes as he folded up the epistle. written with a quill pen. ST.” said I. and the noble lord has had the misfortune to get a smear of ink upon the outer side of his right little finger.engagement at that time.” He picked a redcovered volume from a line of books of reference beside the mantelpiece. there is nothing very instructive in all this. Watson. second son of the Duke of Balmoral. It is three now.” “I have very little difficulty in finding what I want. They inherit Plantagenet blood by direct descent. and the matter struck me as remarkable.” “Then I have just time. Simon. was at one time Secretary for Foreign Affairs. as this matter is of paramount importance. Born in 1846. and Tudor on the distaff side. while I take a glance as to who our client is. “for the facts are quite recent. Turn over those papers and arrange the extracts in their order of time. to get clear upon the subject. I think that I must turn to you. with your assistance. “It is dated from Grosvenor Mansions. He’s forty-one years of age. I hope that you will postpone it. Ha! Well. He will be here in an hour. his father. SIMON. sitting down and flattening it out upon his knee. which is mature for marriage. three caltrops in chief over a fess sable. The Duke.

.refer them to you. Aloysius Doran. and dates. is an only child.” “Here is the first notice which I can find.” “Anything else?” asked Holmes. you mean the little problem of the Grosvenor Square furniture van. however. it was obvious from the first. with expectancies for the future. thin legs towards the fire. that only half a dozen intimate friends would be invited. stretching his long. and it is currently reported that her dowry will run to considerably over the six figures. for the present free-trade principle appears to tell heavily against our home product. second son of the Duke of Balmoral. Simon has no property of his own save the small estate of Birchmoor. That is all. S. yawning. Then there is another note in the Morning Post to say that the marriage would be an absolutely quiet one. and that the honeymoon would be passed at . has now definitely announced his approaching marriage with Miss Hatty Doran. 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. some weeks back: [289] “A marriage has been arranged [it says] and will. as you see. 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. here it is: “There will soon be a call for protection in the marriage market. A. Simon. of San Francisco. yes. Pray give me the results of your newspaper selections. Lord St. As it is an open secret that the Duke of Balmoral has been compelled to sell his pictures within the last few years.” “Terse and to the point. whose graceful figure and striking face attracted much attention at the Westbury House festivities. George’s. if rumour is correct. Esq. That is quite cleared up now–though. very shortly take place. indeed. and as Lord St. as I knew that you had an inquiry on hand and that you disliked the intrusion of other matters. Ah. and Miss Hatty Doran.” remarked Holmes. Hanover Square. on Wednesday last–there is a curt announcement that the wedding had taken place. “Oh. Cal. plenty. “There was a paragraph amplifying this in one of the society papers of the same week. Simon. between Lord Robert St. the only daughter of Aloysius Doran. Two days later–that is. 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.. who has shown himself for over twenty years proof against the little god’s arrows.” “Oh. Miss Doran. that it would be at St. and that the party would return to the furnished house at Lancaster Gate which has been taken by Mr. the fascinating daughter of a California millionaire. It is in the personal column of the Morning Post.

occurred on the previous morning. In spite of the attempts of the friends to hush the matter up. in fact. “The vanishing of the lady.” “I warn you that they are very incomplete. This is more interesting than it promised to be. 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. quite dramatic.Lord Backwater’s place. Pray let me have the details. near Petersfield. Those are all the notices which appeared before the disappearance of the bride. It is headed. ‘Singular Occurrence at a Fashionable Wedding’: “The family of Lord Robert St.” “They often vanish before the ceremony. as shortly announced in the papers of yesterday.” “Such as they are. then?” “At the wedding breakfast.” [290] “Perhaps we may make them less so. Simon has been thrown into the greatest consternation by the strange and painful episodes which have taken place in connection with his wedding. but it is only now that it has been possible to confirm the strange rumours which have been so persistently floating about.” “When did she vanish. it struck me as being a little out of the common. .” “Indeed.” “Before the what?” asked Holmes with a start. The ceremony. which I will read to you.” “Yes. but I cannot call to mind anything quite so prompt as this. they are set forth in a single article of a morning paper of yesterday. and occasionally during the honeymoon.

which will probably result in a speedy clearing up of this very singular . was a very quiet one. in conjunction with the bridegroom. Hanover Square. The whole party proceeded afterwards to the house of Mr. It was only after a painful and prolonged scene that she was ejected by the butler and the footman. but had refused to credit that it was his mistress. had sat down to breakfast with the rest. believing her to be with the company. The bride. the Duchess of Balmoral. Aloysius Doran. Simon. at Lancaster Gate. Aloysius Doran. George’s. when she complained of a sudden indisposition and retired to her room. and hurried down to the passage. Mr. but learned from her maid that she had only come up to her chamber for an instant. where breakfast had been prepared. no one being present save the father of the bride. Aloysius Doran. who had fortunately entered the house before this unpleasant interruption. Lord Eustace. whose name has not been ascertained. instantly put themselves in communication with the police. and very energetic inquiries are being made. Simon (the younger brother and sister of the bridegroom). who endeavoured to force her way into the house after the bridal party. her father followed her. It appears that some little trouble was caused by a woman.“The ceremony. One of the footmen declared that he had seen a lady leave the house thus apparelled. caught up an ulster and bonnet. and Lady Alicia Whittington. alleging that she had some claim upon Lord St. Lord Backwater. and Lady Clara St. Mr. which was performed at St. Her prolonged absence having caused some comment. On ascertaining that his daughter had disappeared.

and it is said that the police have caused the arrest of the woman who had caused the original disturbance. if only as a check to my own memory. Watson.business. for I very much prefer having a witness. and that [291] she has known the bridegroom for some years. Simon.” “And it is– –” “That Miss Flora Millar. and as the clock makes it a few minutes after four. nothing had transpired as to the whereabouts of the missing lady. throwing open the . There are no further particulars. Up to a late hour last night. and the whole case is in your hands now–so far as it has been set forth in the public press. I have no doubt that this will prove to be our noble client. There are rumours of foul play in the matter. It appears that she was formerly a danseuse at the Allegro. however.” “And an exceedingly interesting case it appears to be.” announced our page-boy. in the belief that. But there is a ring at the bell.” “And is that all?” “Only one little item in another of the morning papers. but it is a suggestive one. the lady who had caused the disturbance. I would not have missed it for worlds.” “Lord Robert St. from jealousy or some other motive. she may have been concerned in the strange disappearance of the bride. Watson. has actually been arrested. Do not dream of going.

and we will talk this matter over. Lord St. yellow gloves. His hair. high-nosed and pale. and yet his general appearance gave an undue impression of age. This is my friend and colleague. Simon. well-opened eye of a man whose pleasant lot it had ever been to command and to be obeyed. Draw up a little to the fire.” “Thank you. “Good-day. and with the steady. it was careful to the verge of foppishness. I am descending. I think that I may arrive at my facts most directly by questioning you. and she could see that I was amused. And which king?” “The King of Scandinavia.” .” “You were travelling in the States?” “Yes. with a pleasant. with something perhaps of petulance about the mouth. turning his head from left to right.” “What! Had he lost his wife?” “You can understand. cultured face.” “My last client of the sort was a king. nothing more. As to my own case. As to his dress. as you can most readily imagine. really! I had no idea. A gentleman entered. rising and bowing. though I presume that they were hardly from the same class of society.” “But you were on a friendly footing?” “I was amused by her society. with high collar. was grizzled round the edges and thin upon the top. as far as it goes. I am ready to give you any information which may assist you in forming an opinion. as he swept off his very curly-brimmed hat. it is correct.” “Did you become engaged then?” [292] “No. I understand that you have already managed several delicate cases of this sort. as to the disappearance of the bride. Mr. and swinging in his right hand the cord which held his golden eyeglasses. white waistcoat. a year ago. I have already learned all that is in the public prints.” “Pray do so. Watson. Simon glanced over it.” “But it needs a great deal of supplementing before anyone could offer an opinion. too.” “Her father is very rich?” “He is said to be the richest man on the Pacific slope. for example. and light-coloured gaiters.” “A most painful matter to me.” “No.” “When did you first meet Miss Hatty Doran?” “In San Francisco. “that I extend to the affairs of my other clients the same secrecy which I promise to you in yours.” “I beg pardon. Dr.” “Of course! Very right! very right! I’m sure I beg pardon. I presume that I may take it as correct–this article.door. His manner was brisk. for he had a slight forward stoop and a little bend of the knees as he walked. black frock-coat. He advanced slowly into the room. Holmes. “Pray take the basket-chair. patent-leather shoes.” “Oh.” Lord St. I have been cut to the quick.” said Holmes suavely. “Yes.” said Holmes. sir.

then. was too trivial to relate and can have no possible bearing upon the case.” “Pray let us have it. with a strong nature. “my wife was twenty before her father became a rich man. On the other hand. and it fell over into the . Holmes. It was not a photograph but an ivory miniature. 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. to tell the truth. I met her several times. the large dark eyes.” “Very naturally not.” “Indeed! That is very interesting. He had nothing a few years ago. The incident. of course. invested it. Did you see Miss Doran on the day before the wedding?” “Yes. “You see.” “Was she in good spirits?” “Never better. remains to you. She kept talking of what we should do in our future lives. wild and free.“And how did he make his money?” “In mining. Then he closed the locket and handed it back to Lord St.” “And did you observe any change in her then?” “Well.” said he. She is what we call in England a tomboy. so that her education has come from Nature rather than from the schoolmaster. a considerable dowry?” “A fair dowry. unfettered by any sort of traditions.” “And this. and came up by leaps and bounds. During that time she ran free in a mining camp and wandered through woods or mountains. Then he struck gold. She is impetuous–volcanic. for all that.” “Oh. it is childish. Holmes gazed long and earnestly at it. what is your own impression as to the young lady’s–your wife’s character?” The nobleman swung his glasses a little faster and stared down into the fire. Not more than is usual in my family.” “Have you her photograph?” “I brought this with me. “The young lady came to London. since the marriage is a fait accompli?” “I really have made no inquiries on the subject. and you renewed your acquaintance?” “Yes. and have now married her. Simon.” He opened a locket and showed us the full face of a very lovely woman. her father brought her over for this last London season. She is swift in making up her mind and fearless in carrying out her resolutions. I understand. and the exquisite mouth. And on the morning of the wedding?” “She was as bright as possible–at least until after the ceremony. I was about to say. She was passing the front pew at the time. became engaged to her. I believe that she is capable of heroic self-sacrifice and that anything dishonourable would be repugnant to her. and the artist had brought out the full effect of the lustrous black hair. Mr. She dropped her bouquet as we went towards the vestry.” “She brought.” “Now. however. I saw then the first signs that I had ever seen that her temper was just a little sharp.

But really I think that we are wandering rather far from the point.” “Indeed! You say that there was a gentleman in the pew. but the gentleman in the pew handed it up to her again. on our way home. and in the carriage. then. It is impossible to exclude them when the church is open. I call him a gentleman by courtesy.pew. I hardly noticed his appearance. It seemed to me that her mistress allowed her to take great liberties. no.” “Lady St. she seemed absurdly agitated over this trifling cause. in America they look upon these things in a different way. a few minutes.” “A confidential servant?” “A little too much so. yes. Simon.” “How long did she speak to this Alice?” “Oh.” . she answered me abruptly. Still.” “And who is her maid?” “Alice is her name. then?” “Oh. but he was quite a common-looking person. of course. and it did not appear to be the worse for the fall.” “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. Yet when I spoke to her of the [293] matter. I had something else to think of. She is an American and came from California with her. What did she do on reentering her father’s house?” “I saw her in conversation with her maid. There was a moment’s delay. Some of the general public were present.

” “But this maid. as I understand. “We have been on a friendly footing for some years–I may say on a very friendly footing. Since you ask me. and she endeavoured to push her way in. She used to be at the Allegro. Doran’s door just after we returned. and. Then.’ She was accustomed to use slang of the kind. muttered some words of apology. Simon shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows.” “Well. and even threatening her.” “On your arm?” “No. I should like a few particulars as to this young lady.” “Quite so. Doran’s house that morning. jealousy is a strange transformer of characters. but you know what women are. That is what Mr. alone. she rose hurriedly.“You did not overhear what they said?” “Lady St. She was quiet when she saw that there was no good in making a row. Flora was a dear little thing. yes. and went out. after we had sat down for ten minutes or so. however.” “And she was seen walking with this very woman afterwards?” “Yes. too?” “I did not say a probable one.” “Still. thank goodness. and I had two police fellows [294] there in private clothes. not to propound one. She never came back. Lestrade. really. a woman who is now in custody. She was very independent in little matters like that. she did not. And she was afterwards seen walking into Hyde Park in company with Flora Millar. I have not treated her ungenerously. the .” “Did your wife hear all this?” “No. deposes that she went to her room. to tell the truth. covered her bride’s dress with a long ulster. I have given you all the facts. but exceedingly hot-headed and devotedly attached to me. I came to seek a theory.” “You think so. She came to Mr. She wrote me dreadful letters when she heard that I was about to be married. it is a possible supposition.” Lord St. the reason why I had the marriage celebrated so quietly was that I feared lest there might be a scandal in the church. of Scotland Yard. Mr. But you do not yourself look upon this as likely?” “I do not think Flora would hurt a fly. I may say that it has occurred to me as possible that the excitement of this affair. Alice. Holmes. but I had foreseen the possibility of something of the sort. and who had already made a disturbance at Mr. and your relations to her. and she had no just cause of complaint against me. looks upon as so serious. Pray what is your own theory as to what took place?” “Well.” “American slang is very expressive sometimes. uttering very abusive expressions towards my wife. Simon said something about ‘jumping a claim. put on a bonnet. who soon pushed her out again. And what did your wife do when she finished speaking to her maid?” “She walked into the breakfast-room. It is thought that Flora decoyed my wife out and laid some terrible trap for her. I have no idea what she meant. and left the room.” “Ah.

then?” asked Holmes with a twinkle in his eye.” “Eh? What was that?” “I say that I have solved it. smiling.” “Without. “I am afraid that it will take wiser heads than yours or mine.” “My dear Holmes!” “I have notes of several similar cases. which were quite as prompt. that she had become suddenly deranged?” “Well. “You look dissatisfied. when I consider that she has turned her back–I will not say upon me. I had formed my conclusions as to the case before our client came into the room. Lord St.” “But I have heard all that you have heard. though none. Simon marriage case. is my wife?” “That is a detail which I shall speedily supply. Simon.” “And I feel dissatisfied. oldfashioned manner he departed.” Lord St. really. I shall communicate with you. “I think that I shall have a whisky and soda and a cigar after all this cross-questioning. hello.” he remarked. rising. and he carried a black canvas bag in his hand. My whole examination served to turn my conjecture into a certainty.” The official detective was attired in a pea-jacket and cravat. [295] There was a parallel instance in Aberdeen some years back.” said Sherlock Holmes. “What’s up.” “Where. I think that I have nearly all my data. had the effect of causing some little nervous disturbance in my wife. and something on very much the same lines at Munich the year after the Franco-Prussian War.” said our client. and there are cigars in the box. the knowledge of preexisting cases which serves me so well. It is one of these cases–but.” “Quite so. Simon shook his head.” said Holmes.” “In short. With a short greeting he seated himself and lit the cigar which had been offered to him. Lestrade! You will find an extra tumbler upon the sideboard. as when you find a trout in the milk.” . “I have solved it. certainly that is also a conceivable hypothesis. Simon to honour my head by putting it on a level with his own. as I remarked before. 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. laughing. It is this infernal St. “It is very good of Lord St. which gave him a decidedly nautical appearance. but upon so much that many have aspired to without success–I can hardly explain it in any other fashion. “And now. Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing.” “Well. here is Lestrade! Good-afternoon. to quote Thoreau’s example. however. and bowing in a stately.consciousness that she had made so immense a social stride. I can make neither head nor tail of the business.” “Should you be fortunate enough to solve this problem. then. Then I do not think that I need to detain you longer.

indeed! Then you think that the Serpentine plays no part in the matter?” “I think it very unlikely.” said he. “Why? What do you mean?” “Because you have just as good a chance of finding this lady in the one as in the other.” “And very wet it seems to have made you. putting a new wedding-ring upon the top of the pile. every man’s body is to be found in .” Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily. what for?” “In search of the body of Lady St. but my mind is made up. “Yes. “Well. “You dragged them from the Serpentine?” “No. and a bride’s wreath and veil.” “Who ever heard of such a mixed affair? Every clue seems to slip through my fingers. indeed!” said my friend. I have only just heard the facts. “Have you dragged the basin of Trafalgar Square fountain?” he asked. blowing blue rings into the air.” he snarled. They have been identified as her clothes. and tumbled onto the floor a weddingdress of watered silk.” Lestrade shot an angry glance at my companion.” “Oh. “There. and it seemed to me that if the clothes were there the body would not be far off. I have been dragging the Serpentine. Master Holmes. “I suppose you know all about it. “There is a little nut for you to crack. a pair of white satin shoes. laying his hand upon the arm of the pea-jacket.“Really! You surprise me. They were found floating near the margin by a park-keeper.” “Oh.” “By the same brilliant reasoning. I have been at work upon it all day.” said Holmes. all discoloured and soaked in water.” “In heaven’s name.” “Then perhaps you will kindly explain how it is that we found this in it?” He opened his bag as he spoke. Simon.

now?” cried Lestrade with some bitterness. This dress does implicate Miss Flora Millar. . [296] And here is the very note.the neighbourhood of his wardrobe.” “I am afraid that you will find it difficult. Here. And pray what did you hope to arrive at through this?” “At some evidence implicating Flora Millar in the disappearance. Come at once. Lestrade.” said he. Now my theory all along has been that Lady St. M. Let me see it.” said Holmes.” “Very good. “I am afraid.” He took up the paper in a listless way. with confederates. indeed. “F. Simon was decoyed away by Flora Millar. and that she.” “Are you. “You really are very fine indeed. H. was responsible for her disappearance.” “And how?” “In the dress is a pocket. is the very note which was no doubt quietly slipped into her hand at the door and which lured her within their reach. “Listen to this: “You will see me when all is ready. and he gave a little cry of satisfaction. that you are not very practical with your deductions and your inferences. In the card-case is a note. no doubt. In the pocket is a card-case. “This is indeed important. Holmes. but his attention instantly became riveted. signed with her initials.” He slapped it down upon the table in front of him. laughing. You have made two blunders in as many minutes.

and made for the door. Ha! I fancy that I hear his step now upon the stairs.“Ha! you find it so?” “Extremely so. “you’re looking at the wrong side!” “On the contrary. Simon is a myth.” said Lestrade. rubbing his hands. thrust them into the bag. but I had no time to be lonely. a pâte de foie gras pie with a group of ancient and cobwebby bottles. They have laid for five.” It was after five o’clock when Sherlock Holmes left me. breakfast 2s.” “And over here is what appears to be the fragment of a hotel bill.” “I’ve wasted time enough. then. so I congratulate you again. Then he turned to me. a quite epicurean little cold supper began to be laid out upon our humble lodging-house mahogany. and hurried away.” . “There is something in what the fellow says about outdoor work. lunch 2s. There is not. [297] Just before nine o’clock Sherlock Holmes stepped briskly into the room. I looked at it before. tapped his forehead three times. “so I think. all the same. “They have laid the supper. Having laid out all these luxuries. or at least the initials are.” said Lestrade.” said he. which interests me deeply. my two visitors vanished away. 8d.” he shrieked. “Just one hint to you. He had hardly shut the door behind him when Holmes rose to put on his overcoat. This he unpacked with the help of a youth whom he had brought with him. “I am surprised that Lord St. As to the note. Lestrade.” Lestrade rose in his triumph and bent his head to look. Lady St. Simon has not already arrived..” Lestrade looked sadly at my companion. I fancy we may have some company dropping in. There were a couple of brace of cold woodcock. 6d.. glass sherry.” “There’s nothing in it. this is the right side. Good-day. His features were gravely set.. a pheasant. but there was a light in his eye which made me think that he had not been disappointed in his conclusions. to my very great astonishment. rooms 8s. I congratulate you warmly. “You seem to expect company. Holmes. shook his head solemnly. 4th. and we shall see which gets to the bottom of the matter first. any such person. like the genii of the Arabian Nights. “I believe in hard work and not in sitting by the fire spinning fine theories. for within an hour there arrived a confectioner’s man with a very large flat box. “I will tell you the true solution of the matter.” “Yes. “Why. cocktail 1s. Watson. 6d. and there never has been.” “The right side? You’re mad! Here is the note written in pencil over here. and presently.” he said. “Oct.” He gathered up the garments.. I see nothing in that. rising.” “Very likely not.” drawled Holmes before his rival vanished. that I must leave you to your papers for a little. it is important also. It is most important. with no explanation save that the things had been paid for and were ordered to this address.” he remarked. Mr.

you have already met.” “Ah.” “I will make no allowance. placed in so unprecedented a position. then?” asked Holmes. a picture of offended dignity.” said he. Simon. Having no mother. Have you good authority for what you say?” “The best possible. and with a very perturbed expression upon his aristocratic features. “when he hears that one of the family has been subjected to such humiliation?” “It is the purest accident.” “It was a slight. there are steps on the landing.” “I think that I heard a ring. “allow me to introduce you to Mr. Simon sank into a chair and passed his hand over his forehead. . and I have been shamefully used. a public slight.” He opened the door and ushered in a lady and gentleman. If I cannot persuade you to take a lenient view of the matter. but he still refused to raise his eyes. I can hardly see how the lady could have acted otherwise. tapping his fingers upon the table. The lady. Simon.” said Holmes. Lord St. I cannot allow that there is any humiliation. It was as well for his resolution. sir. Simon.” Lord St. and Mrs. “Yes. I think. for her pleading face was one which it was hard to resist. dangling his glasses more vigorously than ever. “You must make allowance for this poor girl. though her abrupt method of doing it was undoubtedly to be regretted. “My messenger reached you. “Yes. The lady had taken a quick step forward and had held out her hand to him. perhaps. I have brought an advocate here who may be more successful. “What will the Duke say. you look on these things from another standpoint.” “I fail to see that anyone is to blame. “Lord St. Francis Hay Moulton. with his eyes cast down and his hand thrust into the breast of his frock-coat. she had no one to advise her at such a crisis.” he murmured. I am very angry indeed. and I confess that the contents startled me beyond measure.” said Lord St.” At the sight of these newcomers our client had sprung from his seat and stood very erect.It was indeed our visitor of the afternoon who came bustling in.

and . “Well. too. with a clergyman all ready in waiting. and I won’t claim to be your husband until I come back?’ Well. and then Frank went off to seek his fortune. “Frank here and I met in ’84. so we just fixed it all up for ourselves. Frank said that he would go and make his pile.” “Perhaps. yes. in McQuire’s camp. that we just did it right there. but then one day father struck a rich pocket and made a pile. and he saw me without pa knowing anything about it.” remarked the strange gentleman. Mrs.’ said he. The richer pa grew the poorer was Frank. We were engaged to each other. clean-shaven. I guess you have every cause to be. we talked it over. and never come back to claim me until he had as much as pa. and he took me away to ’Frisco. where pa was working a claim. and he had fixed it all up so nicely. I know that I have treated you real bad and that I should have spoken to you before I went. near the Rockies.” said the lady. Simon bitterly. Robert. So then I promised to wait for him to the end of time and pledged myself not to marry anyone else while he lived. Frank and I.” “Pray make no apology to me. so at last pa wouldn’t hear of our engagement lasting any longer. “Then I’ll tell our story right away. Frank wouldn’t throw up his hand. For my part. ‘and then I will feel sure of you. “we’ve had just a little too much secrecy over this business already. and from the time when I saw Frank here again I just didn’t know what I was doing or saying. It would only have made him mad to know. wiry. though. sunburnt man. with a sharp face and alert manner. Moulton.“You’re angry. you would like my friend and me to leave the room while you explain this matter?” [298] “If I may give an opinion. ‘Why shouldn’t we be married right away. I only wonder I didn’t fall down and do a faint right there before the altar. but I was kind of rattled. “Oh. I should like all Europe and America to hear the rights of it. so he followed me there.” said she. while poor Frank here had a claim that petered out and came to nothing.” He was a small.” said Lord St. then.

He beckoned to me and then began walking into the Park. Some woman came talking something or other about Lord St. and I determined to do just whatever he might direct. “Still. and a marriage was arranged. followed me there. Of course I never doubted for a moment that my first duty was now to him. came on to ’Frisco. “When I got back I told my maid. Not a word of news came for a year and more. and then I heard of him from New Mexico. but to get a few things packed [299] and my ulster ready. I thought it was his ghost at first. “The next I heard of Frank was that he was in Montana. and that was my true wedding after all those years of waiting. if I had married Lord St. I fainted dead away. I didn’t know what to do. 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. As I passed his pew on the way out I dropped my bouquet over to him. It was only a line asking me to join him when he made the sign to me to do so. Then Lord St. I just made up my mind to run away and explain afterwards. with a kind of question in his eyes. and I knew that he was writing me a note. and had always been his friend. Pa thought I had a decline and took me to half the doctors in ’Frisco. Then I saw him scribble on a piece of paper. as if to ask me whether I were glad or sorry to see him. But you may imagine what I felt when. Simon. After that came a long newspaper story about how a miners’ camp had been attacked by Apache Indians. 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. and the words of the clergyman were just like the buzz of a bee in my ear. and pa was very pleased. and followed him.” . for he raised his finger to his lips to tell me to be still. but it was dreadful hard before his mother and all those great people. but when I looked again there he was still. and he seemed to know what I was thinking. 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 glanced back and saw Frank standing and looking at me out of the first pew. I know I ought to have spoken to Lord St. so that I never doubted that Frank was really dead. just as I came to the altar rails. I ordered her to say nothing. I wonder I didn’t drop. We got into a cab together. and there was my Frank’s name among the killed. and had come upon me at last on the very morning of my second wedding. and away we drove to some lodgings he had taken in Gordon Square. I slipped out. but we can our actions. found that I had given him up for dead and had gone to England. Simon. Should I stop the service and make a scene in the church? I glanced at him again. and then he went prospecting in Arizona. Frank had been a prisoner among the Apaches. and we came to London.I went back to pa. who had known him in California. I hadn’t been at the table ten minutes before I saw Frank out of the window at the other side of the road. I know that everything was turning round. Simon came to ’Frisco. We can’t command our love. of course I’d have done my duty by him. and he slipped the note into my hand when he returned me the flowers. and I was very sick for months after. had escaped. put on my things.

came round to us this evening. and so we came right away round to his rooms at once. Simon had by no means relaxed his rigid attitude. So Frank took my wedding-clothes and things and made a bundle of them. though how he found us is more than I can think. and I hope that you do not think very meanly of me. “Excuse me. and he showed us very clearly and kindly that I was wrong and that Frank was right.” he said.” Lord St. to show him that I was alive. but had listened with a frowning brow and a compressed lip to this long narrative. Now.“I saw it in a paper. and I am very sorry if I have given you pain. only that this good gentleman. Simon alone. “It gave the name and the church but not where the lady lived. and Frank was all for openness. It was awful to me to think of all those lords and ladies sitting round that breakfast-table and waiting for me to come back.” “Then we had a talk as to what we should do. so that I should not be traced. It is likely that we should have gone on to Paris to-morrow. Mr. perhaps. 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. Then he offered to give us a chance of talking to Lord St. and dropped them away somewhere where no one could find them. Robert. Holmes. “but it is not my custom to discuss my most intimate personal affairs in this public manner.” explained the American. you have heard it all.” . and that we should be putting ourselves in the wrong if we were so secret.

” He included us all in a sweeping bow and stalked out of the room. . certainly. “I may be forced to acquiesce in these recent developments. “that you would have joined us in a friendly supper. I think that with your permission I will now wish you all a very good-night.” suggested Holmes.“Then you won’t forgive me? You won’t shake hands before I go?” “Oh. if it would give you any pleasure.” He put out his hand and coldly grasped that which she extended to him. but I can hardly be expected to make merry over them. “I had hoped.” responded his Lordship.” “I think that there you ask a little too much.

” “The case has been an interesting one. Nothing could be more natural than the sequence of events as narrated by this lady. for she had been in the company of the bridegroom. Her young womanhood had. the one that the lady had been quite willing to undergo the wedding ceremony. Lestrade. Then who could this American be. two facts were very obvious to me. Had she seen someone.” remarked Holmes when our visitors had left us. then? If she had. What could that something be? She could not have spoken to anyone when she was out. I knew. Obviously something had occurred during the morning. then?” “From the first. it might be a husband. So far I had got before I ever heard Lord St. and nothing stranger than the result when viewed. and why should he possess so much influence over her? It might be a lover. of Scotland Yard. Simon’s . Mr. at the idea that she might have seen an American. “It is always a joy to meet an American.” “You were not yourself at fault at all. for instance. the other that she had repented of it within a few minutes of returning home. You see we have already arrived. “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. Moulton. by a process of exclusion.” said Sherlock Holmes. been spent in rough scenes and under strange conditions. by Mr.“Then I trust that you at least will honour me with your company. 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. then. 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 [300] same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes. to cause her to change her mind.

of her resort to her confidential maid. Simon very mercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. but friend Lestrade held information in his hands the value of which he did not himself know. you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune. of course. Moulton. after all the trouble of wooing and wedding. Watson. as you see. 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. I came upon the very items which I had seen in the duplicate bill. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin. had left only the day before.narrative. and on looking over the entries against him. so thither I travelled.” David Soucek. His letters were to be forwarded to 226 Gordon Square. an American gentleman. of the highest importance.” [301] “But with no very good result. I invited them to meet him here. There are not many in London which charge at that rate. of so transparent a device for obtaining a note as the dropping of a bouquet.” “And how in the world did you find them?” “It might have been difficult. I think that we may judge Lord St. smiling. Eight shillings for a bed and eightpence for a glass of sherry pointed to one of the most expensive hotels. Simon in particular. 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. In the second one which I visited in Northumberland Avenue. I made him keep the appointment.” I remarked. for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings. When he told us of a man in a pew. and the man was either a lover or was a previous husband–the chances being in favour of the latter. and.” “How did you deduce the select?” “By the select prices. and being fortunate enough to find the loving couple at home. I learned by an inspection of the book that Francis H. “His conduct was certainly not very gracious. She had gone off with a man. of the change in the bride’s manner. 1998 The Beryl Coronet . 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. The initials were.” “Ah.” said Holmes. if. “perhaps you would not be very gracious either.

Ha! did I not tell you?” As he spoke. He was a man of about fifty.” My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown. He was dressed in a sombre yet rich style. but at either side and on the heaped-up edges of the foot-paths it still lay as white as when it fell. with occasional little springs. portly. Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features. “He is looking up at the numbers of the houses. looking over my shoulder. “What on earth can be the matter with him?” I asked.” “I believe that he is coming here.” said I as I stood one morning in our bow-window looking down the street. I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. rushed at our door and pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging. Indeed. It was a bright. and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground. The gray pavement had been cleaned and scraped. . and well-cut pearl-gray trousers. “Here?” “Yes. It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to come out alone. such as a weary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. As he ran he jerked his hands up and down. rubbing his hands. waggled his head. neat brown gaiters. from the direction of the Metropolitan Station no one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric conduct had drawn my attention. Down the centre of Baker Street it had been ploughed into a brown crumbly band by the traffic. tall. for he was running hard. and writhed his face into the most extraordinary contortions. shimmering brightly in the wintry sun. with a massive. and imposing. “here is a madman coming along. in black frock-coat. the man. so that there were fewer passengers than usual. strongly marked face and a commanding figure. I think that I recognize the symptoms. crisp February morning. puffing and blowing.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE BERYL CORONET “HOLMES. but was still dangerously slippery.” said Holmes. shining hat.

“God knows I have!–a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason. Public disgrace I might have faced. although I am a man whose character has never yet borne a stain. sitting beside him. fighting against his emotion. “You have come to me to tell your story. suddenly springing to his feet. still gesticulating.” “My name. soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ.” “Pray compose yourself. and turned his face towards us. Then he passed his handkerchief over his brow.” said Holmes.A few moments later he was in our room. “is probably familiar to your ears. and in so frightful a form. Then. but the two coming together. have been enough to shake my very soul. of the banking firm of Holder & Stevenson. of Threadneedle Street. For a while he could not get his words out. still puffing. patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy.” The name was indeed well known to us as belonging to the senior . “and let me have a clear account of who you are and what it is that has befallen you. he beat his head [302] against the wall with such force that we both rushed upon him and tore him away to the centre of the room. “I see that you have had some great trouble. set his lips tight. I am Alexander Holder. 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. it is not I alone. and then I shall be most happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me.” The man sat for a minute or more with a heaving chest. Private affliction also is the lot of every man. but swayed his body and plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme limits of his reason. Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and. so sudden and so terrible is it. “No doubt you think me mad?” said he. “You are fatigued with your haste.” answered our visitor.” responded Holmes. sir. have you not?” said he. Besides. The very noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair. Pray wait until you have recovered yourself.

but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task. when he entered. Holder. libraries. I came to Baker Street by the Underground and hurried from there on foot. raising up a square. for the cabs go slowly through this snow.’ said he. “ ‘It is absolutely essential to me.’ “ ‘The firm does so when the security is good. “Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks. borrow so trifling a sum ten times over from my friends. That is why I was so out of breath. then.’ I answered. flesh- . may I ask. I started when I saw the name. I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted. I feel better now. and there. then in justice to my partner I must insist that. every businesslike precaution should be taken.’ said he.’ said I. to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We waited.’ “ ‘I should much prefer to have it so.” said he. ‘were it not that the strain would be rather more than it could bear. One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans. 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. for it was that of none other than–well. noblest. “ ‘Precisely. or plate. I am to do it in the name of the firm. “I feel that time is of value. most exalted names in England.’ said I. imbedded in soft.000 at once. I could.partner in the second largest private banking concern in the City of London. even in your case. and I shall then most certainly repay what you advance. “ ‘Next Monday I have a large sum due to me. ”It is. on the other hand. of course. of course.’ said he. with whatever interest you think it right to charge. and I will put the facts before you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can. for I am a man who takes very little exercise. black morocco case which he had laid beside his chair. but I much prefer to make it a matter of business and to carry out that business myself. until with another effort he braced himself to tell his story. well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors. ‘You have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coronet?’ “ ‘One of the most precious public possessions of the empire. where the security is unimpeachable. If. But it is very essential to me that the money should be paid at once. ‘that I should have £50. What could have happened. all curiosity.’ “ ‘I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my own private purse. In my position you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one’s self under obligations. do you want this sum?’ I asked. “that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your cooperation. [303] “ ‘Mr. ‘I have been informed that you are in the habit of advancing money. to say so. We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years.’ He opened the case. and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures.’ “ ‘For how long.

calling for my cashier. I should not dream of doing so were it not absolutely certain that I should be able in four days to reclaim it. founded upon all that I have heard of you.’ “I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to my illustrious client.coloured velvet. with the precious case lying upon the table in . I only doubt– –’ “ ‘The propriety of my leaving it. that I am giving you a strong proof of the confidence which I have in you. I ordered him to pay over fifty £1000 notes. I said no more. with every confidence. however. When I was alone once more. The lowest estimate would put the worth of the coronet at double the sum which I have asked. above all. You may set your mind at rest about that. however. “ ‘You doubt its value?’ he asked. I leave it with you. I am prepared to leave it with you as my security. and it would be impossible to replace them. ‘There are thirty-nine enormous beryls. Is the security sufficient?’ “ ‘Ample. I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but. ‘and the price of the gold chasing is incalculable. but. Holder. “ ‘Not at all. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss. It is a pure matter of form.’ “ ‘You understand. and I shall call for it in person on Monday morning. lay the magnificent piece of jewellery which he had named. for there are no beryls in the world to match these.’ “Seeing that my client was anxious to leave.’ said he. Mr. 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 have three maid-servants who have been with me a number of years and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. People tell me that I have spoiled him. However. My groom and my page sleep out of the house. He has been a disappointment to me. and why should not mine be? If so. however. “And now a word as to my household. “So much for the servants. has only been in my service a few months. that for the next few days I would always carry the case backward and forward with me. He learned to play heavily at cards and to squander money on the turf. but he was not of a business turn. the second waiting-maid. Very likely I have. and I have found myself that I could hardly . I have never denied him a wish. I have no doubt that I am myself to blame. that he might settle his debts of honour. carrying the jewel with me. he was soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expensive habits. With this intention. and may be set aside altogether. for I wish you to thoroughly understand the situation. When he was young he became a member of an aristocratic club. I could not trust him in the handling of large sums of money. Mr. I am a widower and have an only son. Another. but we believe her to be a thoroughly good girl in every way. “When evening came I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a thing in the office behind me. as it was a national possession. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment from his face. therefore. it was too late to alter the matter now. Bankers’ safes had been forced before now. Holmes. Lucy Parr. Sir George Burnwell. having charming manners. so I locked it up in my private safe and turned once more to my work. until he had again and again to come to me and implore me to give him an advance upon his allowance. a horrible [304] scandal would ensue if any misfortune should occur to it. He was wild. wayward. was enough to draw him back again. and has always given me satisfaction. for he has frequently brought him to my house. I already regretted having ever consented to take charge of it.front of me. but each time the influence of his friend. “And. I called a cab and drove out to my house at Streatham. There could be no doubt that. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had to love. to speak the truth. She is a very pretty girl and has attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place. Perhaps it would have been better for both of us had I been sterner. I did not breathe freely until I had taken it upstairs and locked it in the bureau of my dressing-room. “It was naturally my intention that he should succeed me in my business. and there. I could not wonder that such a man as Sir George Burnwell should gain an influence over him. I could not but think with some misgivings of the immense responsibility which it entailed upon me. but I meant it for the best. He tried more than once to break away from the dangerous company which he was keeping. indeed. and. how terrible would be the position in which I should find myself! I determined. My family itself is so small that it will not take me long to describe it. She came with an excellent character. so that it might never be really out of my reach. That is the only drawback which we have found to her. Holmes–a grievous disappointment. Arthur. Mr.

She is a sunbeam in my house– sweet. and have looked upon her ever since as my daughter. “ ‘Where have you put it?’ asked Arthur. but each time she has refused him. I hope to goodness the house won’t be burgled during the night. . had. Mary and Arthur were much interested and wished to see the famous coronet.’ “ ‘Well. and that his marriage might have changed his whole life. In only one matter has she ever gone against my wishes. loving. and of the precious treasure which we had under our roof. “ ‘In my own bureau. a brilliant talker. He is older than Arthur. She is my niece. I do not know what I could do without her. I told Arthur and Mary my experience. yet as tender and quiet and gentle as a woman could be. but I cannot swear that the door was closed. and I shall continue with my miserable story. who has a woman’s quick insight into character. alas! it is too late–forever too late! “Now. I think that if anyone could have drawn him into the right path it would have been she. [305] “And now there is only she to be described. you know the people who live under my roof. but I thought it better not to disturb it. one who had been everywhere. too. but when my brother died five years ago and left her alone in the world I adopted her. who had brought in the coffee.’ I answered. far away from the glamour of his presence. thinks my little Mary. a man of the world to his finger-tips. She is my right hand. beautiful. and a man of great personal beauty. Lucy Parr. a wonderful manager and housekeeper. “When we were taking coffee in the drawing-room that night after dinner. suppressing only the name of my client. So I think.resist the fascination of his manner. “ ‘It is locked up. Holmes. left the room. and so. 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. for he loves her devotedly. seen everything. Mr. Twice my boy has asked her to marry him. Yet when I think of him in cold blood. I am sure.’ said he. but now.

He followed me to my room. “When he was gone I unlocked my bureau. on which he bowed and left the room without another word. ‘did you give Lucy.“ ‘Oh. however. the maid. ‘I could not bear the disgrace. for this was the third demand during the month. but you would not have me leave it a dishonoured man.’ said he with his eyes cast down. or else I can never show my face inside the club again. When I was a youngster I have opened it myself with the key of the box-room cupboard. a little disturbed. which she closed and fastened as I approached. As I came down the stairs I saw Mary herself at the side window of the hall. any old key will fit that bureau. “ ‘Tell me.’ said he.’ “ ‘You have been very kind. ‘I have been far too generous with you in money matters. 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. I thought.’ said he. that night with a very grave face. ‘but I must have this money. dad. and if you will not let me have it. dad. leave to go out to-night?’ . I must raise the money in some way. I cannot!’ I answered sharply. too!’ I cried. so that I thought little of what he said.’ I cried. made sure that my treasure was safe. then I must try other means.’ “I was very angry.’ “ ‘And a very good thing. “ ‘Look here. ‘You shall not have a farthing from me.’ “He often had a wild way of talking.’ said she. and locked it again. looking. ‘can you let me have £200?’ “ ‘No. “ ‘Yes.

It had ceased ere I was wide awake. “I am endeavouring to tell you everything. where I was soon asleep. Suddenly. dressed only in his shirt and trousers. Mr.“ ‘Certainly not. to my horror. dad. which may have any bearing upon the case. I was awakened by some sound in the house. . and peeped round the corner of my dressing-room door. and the anxiety in my mind tended. as I had left it. I have no doubt that she has only been to the side gate to see someone. no doubt.’ [306] “ ‘You must speak to her in the morning.’ “ ‘She came in just now by the back door. He appeared to be wrenching at it. was missing. good-night. then. but I beg that you will question me upon any point which I do not make clear. holding the coronet in his hands. to make me even less so than usual. your statement is singularly lucid. I snatched it up and examined it. or bending it with all his strength. and my unhappy boy. with three of the beryls in it. Holmes.” “I come to a part of my story now in which I should wish to be particularly so. I slipped out of bed. but it had left an impression behind it as though a window had gently closed somewhere.’ I kissed her and went up to my bedroom again. ‘you villain! you thief! How dare you touch that coronet?’ “The gas was half up. Are you sure that everything is fastened?’ “ ‘Quite sure. all palpitating with fear. One of the gold corners. was standing beside the light.’ “ ‘Then. or I will if you prefer it.” “On the contrary. there was a distinct sound of footsteps moving softly in the next room. I lay listening with all my ears. “ ‘Arthur!’ I screamed. but I think that it is hardly safe and should be stopped. I am not a very heavy sleeper. At my cry he dropped it from his grasp and turned as pale as death. About two in the morning.

‘I shall have this matter probed to the bottom. she read the whole story and. but had become a public one. since the ruined coronet was national property.’ said he. I shall not say another word about this business. half-mad with grief and rage. I will leave your house in the morning and make my own way in the world.“ ‘You blackguard!’ I shouted. When the inspector and a constable entered the house. 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. let the police find what they can. I sent the house-maid for the police and put the investigation into their hands at once. since you have chosen to insult me. at the sight of the coronet and of Arthur’s face. I was . Mary was the first to rush into my room. asked me whether it was my intention to charge him with theft. ‘If you choose to call the police.’ “ ‘You shall learn nothing from me. Arthur. thief!’ I roared.’ said he.’ “By this time the whole house was astir. beside myself with rage. And you know where they are. for I had raised my voice in my anger. There cannot be any missing. I answered that it had ceased to be a private matter. ‘I will not stand it any longer.’ “ ‘You shall leave it in the hands of the police!’ I cried. “ ‘There are three missing. who had stood sullenly with his arms folded. fell down senseless on the ground. “ ‘Yes. with a scream. “ ‘There are none missing. and. shaking him by the shoulder. ‘You have destroyed it! You have dishonoured me forever! Where are the jewels which you have stolen?’ “ ‘Stolen!’ he cried.’ said he with a passion such as I should not have thought was in his nature.

realizing the dreadful position in which I was placed. and my son in one night.’ said I. she is not so very young. He might avert it all if he would but tell me what he had done with the three missing stones. what shall I do! I have lost my honour. This morning he was removed to a cell. or perhaps that you may conceal what you have stolen. I think. We neither of us care for it. She is fourand-twenty. You may go to any expense which you think necessary. my gems. No one else. I have already offered a reward of £1000.’ “ ‘That you may get away. There was but one way for it. have hurried round to you to implore you to use your skill in unravelling the matter. and no confession could make your guilt more heinous. I called in the inspector and gave him into custody.” “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.” “This matter. what shall I do!” He put a hand on either side of his head and rocked himself to and fro. turning away from me with a sneer.’ said I.” “That is unusual in a young girl. 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. Besides. And then. Was the remainder of the coronet at all injured?” . with his brows knitted and his eyes fixed upon the fire. “Do you receive much company?” he asked.” “She is of a quiet nature. seems to have been a shock to her also.” “Do you go out much in society?” “Arthur does. and that he threatened to raise a scandal which would convulse the nation.” “Terrible! She is even more affected than I.” “I hardly consider that a conclusive proof. nor would the wretched boy open his mouth for all our persuasions and our threats. I implored him to remember that not only my honour but that of one who was far greater than I was at stake. “ ‘You may as well face the matter. I saw that he was too hardened for any words of mine to influence him. after going through all the police formalities.’ said he. “None save my partner with his family and an occasional friend of Arthur’s. Sir George Burnwell has been several times lately. and I.determined that the law should have its way in everything. Mary and I stay at home. If you but make such reparation as is in your power. from what you say. My God. It would be to your advantage as well as mine if I might leave the house for five minutes.’ “ ‘Keep your forgiveness for those who ask for it. [307] “ ‘At least. ‘you will not have me arrested at once. Oh.’ he answered. all shall be forgiven and forgotten. The police have openly confessed that they can at present make nothing of it. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes. but no trace of them could be found. droning to himself like a child whose grief has got beyond words. by telling us where the beryls are. ‘you have been caught in the act.

we will set off for Streatham together. but sat with his chin upon his breast and his hat drawn over his eyes. Consider what is involved by your theory.” “A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his door so as to wake a household.” My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition. to your dressing-room. with such skill that nobody can find them. concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine. they have shown extraordinary energy. And if it were guilty. The whole garden has already been minutely examined. went off to some other place. which I was eager enough to do. There are several singular points about the case.” “Now. then. sunk in the deepest thought. I confess that the guilt of the banker’s son appeared to me to be as obvious as it did to his unhappy father. I ask you now. then. A short railway journey and a shorter walk brought us to Fairbank. at great risk. What was he doing there at all? If his purpose were innocent. What did they say. 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. and he even broke into a desultory chat with me over his business affairs. . that he might have been trying to straighten it?” “God bless you! You are doing what you can for him and for me. took out your coronet. but still I had such faith in Holmes’s judgment that I felt that there must be some grounds for hope as long as he was dissatisfied with the accepted explanation.” “Do you not think. Mr. of the disappearance of these gems?” “They are still sounding the planking and probing the furniture in the hope of finding them.” replied Holmes.” said Holmes. “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 his motives were innocent. to me it seems exceedingly complex. and devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into details. why did he not say so?” [308] “Precisely. Our client appeared to have taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope which had been presented to him. But it is too heavy a task. why did he not invent a lie? His silence appears to me to cut both ways. it was twisted.” “Have they thought of looking outside the house?” “Yes. if you please.“Yes. went. broke off by main force a small portion of it. the modest residence of the great financier. why does he not explain them?” “It is our task to find that out. He hardly spoke a word the whole way out to the southern suburb. Holder. “so now. You suppose that your son came down from his bed. my dear sir. is such a theory tenable?” “But what other is there?” cried the banker with a gesture of despair. and then returned with the other thirty-six into the room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered. for my curiosity and sympathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. opened your bureau.

standing back a little from the road. She was rather above the middle height. and it was the more striking in her as she was evidently a woman of strong character. no. We were sitting there in silence when the door opened [309] and a young lady came in. the matter must be probed to the bottom. which led into a narrow path between two neat hedges stretching from the road to the kitchen door. too. which seemed the darker against the absolute pallor of her skin. with dark hair and eyes. You know what woman’s . Disregarding my presence. Holmes left us standing at the door and walked slowly all round the house. with a snow-clad lawn. being a public. down the tradesmen’s path.” “But I am so sure that he is innocent. though little used. “No.Fairbank was a good-sized square house of white stone. On the right side was a small wooden thicket. As she swept silently into the room she impressed me with a greater sense of grief than the banker had done in the morning. my girl. slim. “You have given orders that Arthur should be liberated. Holder and I went into the dining-room and waited by the fire until he should return. I do not think that I have ever seen such deadly paleness in a woman’s face. and forming the tradesmen’s entrance. On the left ran a lane which led to the stables. thoroughfare. across the front. with immense capacity for self-restraint. dad?” she asked. have you not. stretched down in front to two large iron gates which closed the entrance. Her lips. and so round by the garden behind into the stable lane. but her eyes were flushed with crying. she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress. were bloodless. So long was he that Mr. and was not itself within the grounds at all. A double carriage-sweep.

“when I have told you that I saw Arthur with the coronet in his hands?” “Wait a little. I know that he has done no harm and that you will be sorry for having acted so harshly. His . facing round to me. but he had only picked it up to look at it. and she was the girl who waited in the drawing-room.” “I fully share your opinion. his friend. Did you fasten all the windows?” “Yes. I saw the man. “I believe I have the honour of addressing Miss Mary Holder. sir. do.” “Why is he silent.” [310] “I see.” “This gentleman?” she asked. and I came down. if he is innocent?” “Who knows? Perhaps because he was so angry that you should suspect him.” returned Holmes. He wished us to leave him alone.” “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. Holder.” “The stable lane?” She raised her dark eyebrows. “What can he hope to find there? Ah! this. “No. About this girl. with you. that my cousin Arthur is innocent of this crime.instincts are. Oh.” “You shut up the windows and doors the night before. until my uncle here began to speak loudly. I have brought a gentleman down from London to inquire more deeply into it. We must come back to that. is he.” “But what is the good of all these vague theories. if it may help to clear this horrible affair up. Mary! Your affection for Arthur blinds you as to the awful consequences to me. what I feel sure is the truth. I suppose. You saw her return by the kitchen door. when I went to see if the door was fastened for the night I met her slipping in. Let the matter drop and say no more. going back to the mat to knock the snow from his shoes. yes! he is the green-grocer who brings our vegetables round. I trust. then. Far from hushing the thing up. I presume?” “Yes. He is round in the stable lane now. in the gloom. when I actually saw him with the coronet in his hand?” “Oh. Might I ask you a question or two?” “Pray do. that we may prove it. that you will succeed in proving. I heard that.” cried the banker impatiently. You infer that she may have gone out to tell her sweetheart. and who may have heard uncle’s remarks about the coronet. do take my word for it that he is innocent. Miss Holder.” “Were they all fastened this morning?” “Yes. too. and that the two may have planned the robbery.” “You heard nothing yourself last night?” “Nothing.” “How could I help suspecting him. and I trust. sir. It is so dreadful to think of our dear Arthur in prison!” “I shall never let it drop until the gems are found–never.” “Do you know him?” “Oh. Mr.

.” said he. a large bureau. but there was no answering smile in Holmes’s thin.name is Francis Prosper. This he opened and made a very careful examination of the sill with his powerful magnifying lens.” Sherlock Holmes took it up and opened the bureau.” “Have you it here?” “That is it on the dressing-table. you are like a magician. “I shall probably wish to go over the outside of the house again. pausing only at the large one which looked from the hall onto the stable lane. “I should be very glad now to go upstairs. and a long mirror.” “And he is a man with a wooden leg?” Something like fear sprang up in the young lady’s expressive black eyes. Perhaps I had better take a look at the lower windows before I go up.” said Holmes. Holmes went to the bureau first and looked hard at the lock. “Why. eager face. with a gray carpet.” He walked swiftly round from one to the other. farther up the path than is necessary to reach the door?” “Yes. he did.” said he at last. “Which key was used to open it?” he asked.” “He stood. “Now we shall go upstairs. The banker’s dressing-room was a plainly furnished little chamber. “That which my son himself indicated–that of the cupboard of the lumber-room.” said she. “How do you know that?” She smiled. “to the left of the door–that is to say.

” Holmes suddenly bent his strength upon it. It is all dark to me. it would take me all my time to break it. Mr.” “Then. It was a magnificent specimen of the jeweller’s art. provided only that I get back the gems. Goodbye. With your permission. I shall now continue my investigations outside. “I shall never see them again!” he cried. “And my son? You give me hopes?” “My opinion is in no way altered.” “Thank you. what do you think would happen if I did break it. For an hour or more he was at work. “I feel it give a little. Holder? There would be a noise like a pistol shot. but without result.” “Very good.” said he. Now. 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. for God’s sake. Where are they?” “I cannot tell. and it will be entirely our own fault if we do not succeed in clearing the matter up. and the thirtysix stones were the finest that I have ever seen. We must have a look at it.” said he. Holder. This case.” said Holmes. Do you tell me that all this happened within a few yards of your bed and that you heard nothing of it?” [311] “I do not know what to think. contains the coronet. Mr.” The banker wrung his hands.” “I would give my fortune to have them back.“It is a noiseless lock.” “Your son had no shoes or slippers on when you saw him?” “He had nothing on save only his trousers and shirt. “Now. and taking out the diadem he laid it upon the table. “I can serve you best by returning to my rooms. “It is no wonder that it did not wake you. I shall look into the matter between this and then. and that you place no limit on the sum I may draw. Holder. Might I beg that you will break it off. at his own request. We have certainly been favoured with extraordinary luck during this inquiry. “Then I will. returning at last with his feet heavy with snow and his features as inscrutable as ever. “I think that I have seen now all that there is to see. it is just possible that I may have to come over here again before .” He opened the case. “I should not dream of trying. Mr. where a corner holding three gems had been torn away. Holmes. Holder.” The banker recoiled in horror.” He went alone. At one side of the coronet was a cracked edge.” “But the gems. I understand that you give me carte blanche to act for you. for he explained that any unnecessary footmarks might make his task more difficult. An ordinary man could not do it. though I am exceptionally strong in the fingers. “here is the corner which corresponds to that which has been so unfortunately lost.” said he.” said he. Mr. Mr. Miss Holder?” “I confess that I still share my uncle’s perplexity.” “But perhaps it may grow lighter as we go. I presume. What do you think. “but.

I may be on the trail in this matter. he was a perfect sample of the class.” said he. but I fear that it won’t do. “I am going right on. It was not yet three when we found ourselves in our room once more. “I only wish that you could come with me. evidently in excellent spirits. until at last I gave it over in despair. his red cravat. but I shall soon know which it is. and was down again in a few minutes dressed as a common loafer. Several times during our homeward journey I endeavoured to sound him upon the point. but he always glided away to some other topic. Watson. to the other side of the West End.” “Where to?” [312] “Oh. swinging an old elastic-sided boot in his hand.” He cut a slice of beef from the joint upon the sideboard. although what his conclusions were was more than I could even dimly imagine. I had just finished my tea when he returned. “I only looked in as I passed. his shiny.evening. sandwiched it between two rounds of bread. seedy coat. “I think that this should do. He chucked it down into a corner and helped himself to a cup of tea. or I may be following a will-o’-the-wisp. and thrusting this rude meal into his pocket he started off upon his expedition. He hurried to his chamber. With his collar turned up. glancing into the glass above the fireplace.” It was obvious to me that my companion’s mind was now made up about the case.” said he. I hope that I may be back in a few hours. It may be some time . and his worn boots.

However. and there was even a touch of colour upon his sallow cheeks. Don’t wait up for me in case I should be late. “I should not be surprised if that were he. “Only two days ago I was a happy and prosperous man. I have been out to Streatham since I saw you last.” “Why. “but you remember that our client has rather an early appointment this morning. I do not know at what hour he came in. for it will be fruitless labour and an illservice to me. and a note for me lay upon the hall table. so I retired to my room. and I feel that I must leave you forever. our friend the financier. for that is provided for. above all. so so. Do not worry about my future. He entered with a weariness and lethargy which was even more painful than his violence of the morning before.before I get back. Watson. but must get these disreputable clothes off and return to my highly respectable self. Nothing to complain of. without a care in the world. Mary. do not search for me. I was shocked by the change which had come over him. indeed. for his face which was naturally of a broad and massive mould. ever again be happy under your roof. “I do not know what I have done to be so severely tried.” It was. I thought I heard a ring. as fresh and trim as possible. I cannot. It is to that remark that she refers in this note: “MY DEAREST UNCLE: “I feel that I have brought trouble upon you.” “How are you getting on?” “Oh. My niece. and a few minutes later I heard the slam of the hall door. Her bed this morning had not been slept in.” I could see by his manner that he had stronger reasons for satisfaction than his words alone would imply. with this thought in my mind. One sorrow comes close upon the heels of another.” said he. 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. I must not sit gossiping here. and he dropped heavily into the armchair which I pushed forward for him. It was no uncommon thing for him to be away for days and nights on end when he was hot upon a scent. He hastened upstairs. while his hair seemed to me at least a shade whiter. In life or in death.” “Deserted you?” “Yes. in sorrow and not in anger. was now pinched and fallen in. which told me that he was off once more upon his congenial hunt. His eyes twinkled. her room was empty. I am ever “Your loving . I had said to her last night. I waited until midnight. Now I am left to a lonely and dishonoured age. but I did not call at the house. it is after nine now. It is a very sweet little problem. that if she had married my boy all might have been well with him. and I would not have missed it for a good deal.” I answered. so that his lateness caused me no surprise.” said he. and that if I had acted differently this terrible misfortune might never have occurred. and. “You will excuse my beginning without you. but there was no sign of his return. Perhaps it was thoughtless of me to say so. has deserted me.

The devil knows best what he said. a man without heart or conscience. tell me. and he hugged his recovered gems to his bosom. however. and finding that he would not tell me the story. I fancy. took out a little triangular piece of gold with three gems in it.” “Then it was not Arthur who took them?” “I told you yesterday. Your news of this morning. Have you your check-book? Here is a pen. And there is a little reward. Mr. 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. Mr. that it was not. Your niece knew nothing of such men.” With a dazed face the banker made out the required check.” “For heaven’s sake. the debt is not to me. “Owe!” He caught up a pen. You owe a very humble apology to that noble lad. “You have it!” he gasped.“MARY. Mr. who has carried himself in this matter as I should be proud to see my own son do. she flattered herself that she alone had touched his heart. “I am saved! I am saved!” The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been. Holmes. you have learned something! Where are the gems?” “You would not think £1000 apiece an excessive sum for them?” “I would pay ten. With a shriek of joy our client clutched it up. Holmes? Do you think it points to suicide?” “No. but at least she became his tool and was in the habit of seeing him nearly . first. it is certain. then. Holder. Mr. 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. [313] “What could she mean by that note.” “No. and I will pay it. He is one of the most dangerous men in England–a ruined gambler. nothing of the kind. They have now fled together. I trust. Holmes walked over to his desk. When I had cleared it all up I had an interview with him. your son. And let me say to you. Three thousand will cover the matter.” “That would be unnecessary.” “You are sure of it! Then let us hurry to him at once to let him know that the truth is known. may open his lips. Holder. an absolutely desperate villain.” said Sherlock Holmes rather sternly. “There is one other thing you owe. and I will show you the steps by which I reached it.” “My Mary? Impossible!” “It is unfortunately more than possible.” “Ha! You say so! You have heard something. what is this extraordinary mystery!” “I will do so. that you are nearing the end of your troubles. Better make it out for £4000. and threw it down upon the table. Neither you nor your son knew the true character of this man when you admitted him into your family circle. no. “Name the sum. I told it to him. When he breathed his vows to her. and I repeat to-day. as he had done to a hundred before her.” “He knows it already. It is perhaps the best possible solution. should I ever chance to have one.

and ran down the lane. In the scuffle. and I will not. She had hardly listened to his instructions when she saw you coming downstairs. whence he could see what passed in the hall beneath. so he rose and. then. and then closing it once more hurry back to her room. passing quite close to where he stood hid behind the curtain.” “I cannot. believe it!” cried the banker with an ashen face. “Your boy. so long had he stood there. “I will tell you. your son struck Sir George and cut him over the eye. as she thought. hand out the coronet to someone in the gloom. gone to your room. and had just observed that the coronet had been twisted in the struggle and was endeavouring to straighten it when you appeared upon the scene. on which she closed the window rapidly and told you about one of the servants’ escapade with her wooden-legged lover. ascended to your room. which was all perfectly true. and there was a struggle between them. and he bent her to his will. Your niece. But the instant that she was gone he realized how crushing a misfortune this would be for you. He rushed down. but Arthur caught him. Petrified with astonishment. opened the window. but there are women in whom the love of a lover extinguishes all other loves. was surprised to see his cousin walking very stealthily along the passage until she disappeared into your dressing-room. Presently she emerged from the room again. His footmarks had pressed right through the snow. your lad tugging at one side of the coronet. thrilling with horror.” . She passed down the stairs. ran along and slipped behind the curtain near your door. and in the light of the passage-lamp your son saw that she carried the precious coronet in her hands. “As long as she was on the scene he could not take any action without a horrible exposure of the woman whom he loved. and he. She told him of the coronet. Then something suddenly snapped. closed the window.every evening. He saw her stealthily open the window. Sir George Burnwell tried to get away. the lad slipped on some clothes and waited there in the dark to see what would come of this strange affair. just as he was. Arthur. went to bed after his interview with you. In the middle of the night he heard a soft tread pass his door. His wicked lust for gold kindled at the news. and how all-important it was to set it right. and his opponent at the other. when you had. rushed back. I have no doubt that she loved you. sprang out into the snow. where he could see a dark figure in the moonlight. slipped down and talked to her lover [314] through the window which leads into the stable lane. but he slept badly on account of his uneasiness about his club debts. looking out. finding that he had the coronet in his hands. in his bare feet. and I think that she must have been one. what occurred in your house last night. and your son.

I thought at the time that this might be the maid and her sweetheart. “Oh. “I at once went very carefully round it to observe if there were any traces in the snow which might help me. a woman had stood and talked with a man. . [315] however.” “And that was why she shrieked and fainted when she saw the coronet. He took the more chivalrous view. which I took to be the police. How cruelly I have misjudged him!” “When I arrived at the house. and also that there had been a strong frost to preserve impressions.” cried Mr. whose round impressions on one side showed that he had a wooden leg. and then had gone away. I could even tell that they had been disturbed. however. Just beyond it. “You then roused his anger by calling him names at a moment when he felt that he had deserved your warmest thanks. but found it all trampled down and indistinguishable.” continued Holmes. and preserved her secret. as was shown by the deep toe and light heel marks. my God! what a blind fool I have been! And his asking to be allowed to go out for five minutes! The dear fellow wanted to see if the missing piece were at the scene of the struggle. for the woman had run back swiftly to the door. I knew that none had fallen since the evening before. and inquiry showed it was so. I passed round the garden without seeing anything more than random tracks. Holder. I passed along the tradesmen’s path. He could not explain the true state of affairs without betraying one who certainly deserved little enough consideration at his hands.“Is it possible?” gasped the banker. but when I got into the stable lane a very long and complex story was written in the snow in front of me. at the far side of the kitchen door. while Wooden-leg had waited a little. of whom you had already spoken to me.

they had each tugged at the coronet. however improbable. and a second double line which I saw with delight belonged to a man with naked feet. where the snow was cut up as though there had been a struggle. someone had brought the gems. must be the truth. as you remember. where Boots had worn all the snow away while waiting. “And who could it be who was her confederate? A lover evidently. The question now was. finally. Then I walked to the other end. I was then beginning to be able to form an opinion as to what had occurred. Even though he knew that Arthur had discovered him.“There was a double line of tracks of a booted man. however. When he came to the highroad at the other end. [316] he might still flatter himself that he was safe. but had left a fragment in the grasp of his opponent. I followed them up and found they led to the hall window. Boots had then run down the lane. I went in the shape of a loafer to Sir George’s house. I examined. and how she had fainted on seeing the coronet again. learned that his master had cut his head . But among them was Sir George Burnwell. When I remembered that you had seen her at that window. I could distinguish the outline of an instep where the wet foot had been placed in coming in. so there was an end to that clue. where a few drops of blood had fallen. he had pursued the thief. “Well. So far I was clear. Now. who was the man and who was it brought him the coronet? “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible. He had returned with the prize. it was obvious that he had passed after the other. and. I was at once convinced from what you had told me that the latter was your son. there was a