Camden House


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.


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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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 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

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:



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

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The Complete Sherlock Holmes
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The largest collection of Holmesian graphics online

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

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Music, musicians and composers in the Canon

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


The Complete Sherlock Holmes


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was no sign or trace of his passenger. I saw the cab pull up. and long into the watches of the night I heard the low melancholy wailings of his violin. too. Doctor. “that that tottering. and I saw him open the door and stand expectantly. “We were the old women to be so taken in. Now. When I reached him. It must have been a young man. feeble old woman was able to get out of the cab while it was in motion. On inquiring at Number 13 we found that the house belonged to a respectable paperhanger. 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. besides being an incomparable actor. and I fear it will be some time before he gets his fare. Take my advice and turn in. Nothing came out though. but has friends who are ready to risk something for him. I left Holmes seated in front of the smouldering fire.” “You don’t mean to say. sharply. so I obeyed his injunction. and knew that he was still pondering over the strange problem which he had set himself to unravel. no doubt. He saw that he was followed.” I was certainly feeling very weary.lounging way. 1998 Chapter 6 . and an active one.” I cried. in amazement. named Keswick. he was groping about frantically in the empty cab. you are looking done-up. and used this means of giving me the slip. The get-up was inimitable. and that no one of the name either of Sawyer or Dennis had ever been heard of there. The driver jumped down. David Soucek. and giving vent to the finest assorted collection of oaths that ever I listened to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 1 . 1998 Part 2.David Soucek.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and the savage beast. hunger.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. In the meantime Ferrier having recovered from his privations. she soon became a pet with the women. a headstrong. a retreat which she shared with the Mormon’s three wives and with his son. planting and clearing. distinguished himself as a useful guide and an indefatigable hunter. In the town streets and squares sprang up as if by magic. The two castaways. it was unanimously agreed that he should be provided with as large and as fertile a tract of land as any of the settlers. and that these virgin acres were to be theirs for evermore. the great temple which they had erected in the centre of the city grew ever taller and larger. in which the future city was sketched out. Yet the long journey and the accumulated terrors had shaken the hearts of the stoutest among them. fatigue. forward boy of twelve. All around farms were apportioned and allotted in proportion to the standing of each individual. Above all. and learned from the lips of their leader that this was the promised land. Maps were drawn and charts prepared. 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. with the exception of Young . Having rallied. thirst. and disease–every impediment which Nature could place in the way–had all been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity. So rapidly did he gain the esteem of his new companions. with the elasticity of childhood. until the next summer saw the whole country golden with the wheat crop. The tradesman was put to his trade and the artisan to his calling. Everything prospered in the strange settlement. 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. In the country there was draining and hedging. From the first blush of dawn until the closing of the twilight. that when they reached [59] the end of their wanderings. 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. John Ferrier and the little girl. accompanied the Mormons to the end of their great pilgrimage. Little Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in Elder Stangerson’s wagon. The savage man. who had shared his fortunes and had been adopted as his daughter. Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful administrator as well as a resolute chief. and reconciled herself to this new life in her moving canvas-covered home. from the shock caused by her mother’s death.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. Again he shouted. and then came crashing down into the valley beneath. and it was almost dark before he at last found himself in a defile which was familiar to him. At last. there stood a creature somewhat resembling a sheep in appearance. after two or three hours’ fruitless search. while the three animals stood motionless in the background. which clattered up the dreary. however. he was thinking of turning back in despair. The valley in which he found himself divided and sub-divided into many gorges. and took a long and steady aim before drawing the trigger. and the high cliffs on either side made the obscurity more profound. With this trophy over his shoulder. he judged that there were numerous bears in the vicinity. He walked for a couple of miles through one ravine after another without [72] success. Looking back. but armed with a pair of gigantic horns. On the edge of a jutting pinnacle. probably. and set out in search of whatever chance might throw in his way. 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. for the evening was already drawing in. Having tethered the horses. None came save his own cry. before he realized the difficulty which faced him. for the moon had not yet risen. as a guardian over a flock which were invisible to the hunter.was bitter and keen. and bid Lucy adieu. and it was no easy matter to pick out the path which he had taken. Even then it was no easy matter to keep to the right track. and had not perceived him. The big-horn–for so it is called–was acting. when casting his eyes upwards he saw a sight which sent a thrill of pleasure through his heart. from the marks upon the bark of the trees. three or four hundred feet above him. Weighed down with his burden. He paused and listened for an answer. They must. though. The creature was too unwieldy to lift. which were so like each other that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. He had hardly started. so the hunter contented himself with cutting away one haunch and part of the flank. he threw his gun over his shoulder. Lying on his face. he stumbled along. and weary from his exertions. and was borne back to his ears in countless repetitions. be awaiting him anxiously. but with the same result. but fortunately it was heading in the opposite direction. he reflected. The animal sprang into the air. Night was coming on rapidly. and other indications. 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. he saw the old man and the young girl crouching over the blazing fire. for he had been absent nearly five hours. he hastened to retrace his steps. Convinced that he had taken the wrong turn. Even in the darkness he could recognize the outline of the cliffs which bounded it. and that he carried with him enough to ensure them food for the remainder of their journey. tottered for a moment upon the edge of the precipice. Then the intervening rocks hid them from his view. He had now come to the mouth of the very defile in which he had left them. he tried another. keeping up his heart by the reflection that every step brought him nearer to Lucy. silent ravines. he rested his rifle upon a rock. In his eagerness he had wandered far past the ravines which were known to him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He would probably. it settled the question. unless he is very full-blooded. The answer was conclusive. that the blood which covered the floor had burst from the murderer’s nose in his excitement. then. 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. I could perceive that the track of blood coincided with the track of his feet. It is seldom that any man. Drebber’s former career. which confirmed me in my opinion as to the murderer’s height. from his point of view. and sent them systematically to every cab proprietor in London until they ferreted out the man that I wanted. and all that remained was to secure the murderer. “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. and that this same Hope was at present in Europe. who was sure to betray him. could the driver be. When the inscription was discovered [85] upon the wall. are still fresh in your recollection. named Jefferson Hope. It told me that Drebber had already applied for the protection of the law against an old rival in love. limiting my inquiry to the circumstances connected with the marriage of Enoch Drebber. The thing was too evidently a blind. unless he were inside the house? Again. I proceeded to do what Gregson had neglected. I telegraphed to the head of the police at Cleveland. 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. Events proved that I had judged correctly. He answered. There was no reason to suppose that he was going under an assumed name. which called for such a methodical revenge. in the negative. Lastly. however. you remember. there was no reason to believe that he had ceased to be. continue to perform his duties. as it were. for a time at least. When the ring was found. The murder of Stangerson was an incident which . since there were no signs of a struggle. so I hazarded the opinion that the criminal was probably a robust and ruddyfaced man. “Having left the house. Where. I was more inclined than ever to my opinion. On the contrary. it is absurd to suppose that any sane man would carry out a deliberate crime under the very eyes. any sudden change would be likely to draw attention to himself. of a third person. “If he had been one. supposing one man wished to dog another through London. Why should he change his name in a country where no one knew his original one? I therefore organized my street Arab detective corps. “I then proceeded to make a careful examination of the room. Clearly the murderer had used it to remind his victim of some dead or absent woman. How well they succeeded.must have been a private wrong. and not a political one. breaks out in this way through emotion. 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. I had already come to the conclusion. I knew now that I held the clue to the mystery in my hand. and how quickly I took advantage of it. and furnished me with the additional details as to the Trichinopoly cigar and the length of his nails.

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

and the public shall know them. like the Roman miser– “Populus me sibilat. “I have all the facts in my journal. 1998 The Sign of Four . In the meantime you must make yourself contented by the consciousness of success.” I answered. “That’s the result of all our Study in Scarlet: to get them a testimonial!” “Never mind.“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.” David Soucek.

Chapter 12. Chapter 3. Blackett in Oct. Chapter 5. Philadelphia and London. 1890 Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 8. 1890. Chapter 11. Chapter 4. in February 1890. Chapter 10. . First book edition by S. Chapter 9. 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.The Complete Sherlock Holmes THE SIGN OF FOUR First edition in Lippincott’s Magazine. Chapter 6. Chapter 7.

The second book edition. 1998 . 1892 David Soucek.

but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. but there was that in the cool. all made me diffident and backward in crossing him. pressed down the tiny piston. Again and again I had registered a vow that I should deliver my soul upon the subject. and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. 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. His great powers. and my conscience swelled nightly within me at the thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. white. On the contrary. Finally. With his long. Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance. from day to day I had become more irritable at the sight. whether it was the Beaune which I had taken with my lunch or the additional exasperation produced by the extreme . 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. 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. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist. he thrust the sharp point home. his masterly manner. all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks.

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

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

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

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

Viewing the matter as an abstract problem. that is good luck. 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. It is more handy than a label as there is no risk of the number being lost or transposed. unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth. I could only say what was the balance of probability. in the same pocket. It is a shocking habit–destructive to the logical faculty. 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.” “My dear doctor. He winds it at night. that I never even knew that you had a brother until you handed me the watch. and he leaves these traces of his unsteady hand. I should have had more faith in your marvellous faculty. dismal. You cannot expect me to believe that you have read all this from [93] his old watch! It is unkind and. existence is commonplace. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers.” “Ah. Finally. has a touch of charlatanism in it. What sober man’s key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a drunkard’s watch without them.” I had opened my mouth to reply to this tirade when. Doctor. such as coins or keys. Where is the mystery in all this?” “It is as clear as daylight.” “Then how in the name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely correct in every particular. with a crisp knock. I did not at all expect to be so accurate. when they take a watch. I assure you. Inference–that your brother was often at low water. Hence the cocaine. Was ever such a dreary. to speak plainly. “pray accept my apologies. “I regret the injustice which I did you. I ask you to look at the inner plate.” “But it was not mere guesswork?” “No. no: I never guess. May I ask whether you have any professional inquiry on foot at present?” “None. which contains the keyhole.” said he kindly. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. . Look at the thousands of scratches all round the hole–marks where the key has slipped.” I nodded to show that I followed his reasoning. “It is very customary for pawnbrokers in England. to scratch the numbers of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside of the case. Secondary inference–that he had occasional bursts of prosperity. There are no less than four such numbers visible to my lens on the inside of this case. For example. 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.knowledge in some fanciful way. or he could not have redeemed the pledge. when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace. I had forgotten how personal and painful a thing it might be to you. I cannot live without brainwork. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man.” I answered. I began by stating that your brother was careless. however.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

embarking. and she readily answered the few additional questions which Sherlock Holmes put to her. in very rough and coarse characters. There was. Holmes alone [99] could rise superior to petty influences. He then very methodically examined it all over with his double lens.” “It was in his pocketbook that we found it. with the strange business upon which we were engaged. but I thought you might care to see it. for it may prove to be of use to us. It was a September evening and not yet seven o’clock. so they were thrown a great deal together.” Holmes unfolded the paper carefully and smoothed it out upon his knee. Yet it is evidently a document of importance. The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy. I must reconsider my ideas. I don’t suppose that it is of the slightest importance. “Major Sholto was a very particular friend of Papa’s. “It is paper of native Indian manufacture.’ No. but the dull.” “Preserve it carefully. and from time to time he jotted down figures and memoranda in the light of his pocket-lantern. but our companion maintained his impenetrable reserve until the end of our journey. yet her self-control was perfect. Abdullah Khan. It has been kept carefully in a pocketbook. corridors. I am not subject to impressions. they flitted from the gloom into the light and so back into the gloom once more. a curious paper was found in Papa’s desk which no one could understand. “It has at some time been pinned to a board. haggard and merry. so I brought it with me. Mahomet Singh. and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city. and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacant eye that he was thinking intently.” she said. and passages. something eerie and ghostlike in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light–sad faces and glad.” He leaned back in the cab. By the way. heavy evening. and above it is ‘3.37 from left. shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. At one point is a small cross done in red ink. Miss Morstan. I begin to suspect that this matter may turn out to be much deeper and more subtle than I at first supposed. Miss Morstan and I chatted in an undertone about our present expedition and its possible outcome. Dost Akbar.’ in faded pencil-writing. Mud-coloured clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets.” he remarked. He and Papa were in command of the troops at the Andaman Islands. At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side- . Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. Beside it is written. vaporous air and threw a murky. then. In the left-hand corner is a curious hieroglyphic like four crosses in a line with their arms touching. I could see from Miss Morstan’s manner that she was suffering from the same feeling. He held his open notebook upon his knee. I confess that I do not see how this bears upon the matter. It is here. ‘The sign of the four–Jonathan Small. Like all humankind. to my mind. combined to make me nervous and depressed. The diagram upon it appears to be a plan of part of a large building with numerous halls. but the day had been a dreary one. “His letters were full of allusions to the major. for the one side is as clean as the other.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thaddeus Sholto as he handed her out.castor-oil. David Soucek. is Pondicherry Lodge. while I recommended strychnine in large doses as a sedative.” said Mr. Miss Morstan. “This. 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. 1998 Chapter 5 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we were beginning to come among continuous streets. having borne away through the side streets to the east of the [122] Oval. At the square-topped corner publichouses business was just beginning.“Fairly so. We had traversed Streatham. rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet. he put it back into the right-hand pocket of his jacket. 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. and rough-looking men were emerging. The men whom we pursued seemed to have . There is much food for thought in Richter. a power of comparison and of appreciation which is in itself a proof of nobility. where labourers and dockmen were already astir. We had during this time been following the guidance of Toby down the half-rural villa-lined roads which lead to the metropolis. It argues. Jonathan I shall leave to you. but if the other turns nasty I shall shoot him dead. It is that the chief proof of man’s real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness. Camberwell. He makes one curious but profound remark. and. I worked back to him through Carlyle. you see. however. having loaded two of the chambers.” “That was like following the brook to the parent lake.” “It is just possible that we may need something of the sort if we get to their lair. and now found ourselves in Kennington Lane. have you?” “I have my stick.” He took out his revolver as he spoke. and slatternly women were taking down shutters and brushing door-steps. You have not a pistol. Brixton. Strange dogs sauntered up and stared wonderingly at us as we passed. Now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

as though the climb were too much for him. but at last he made his way to our door and entered. “And a whisky and soda?” “Well. by which I understand that he has got some clue to this Sholto business. when pop he went through a hole in the middle of it. “He’s a man who is not to be beat. Altogether . As he leaned upon a thick oaken cudgel his shoulders heaved in the effort to draw the air into his lungs. Here is his message. and I have had a good deal to worry and try me.” said he in a husky and confidential voice. If I have not returned.” “Thank you. Take that chair and try one of these cigars. I am close on the track of the Sholto gang. He is irregular in his methods and a little quick perhaps in jumping at theories. You know my theory about this Norwood case?” “I remember that you expressed one. mopping his face with a red bandanna handkerchief. on the whole. 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. Perhaps this is he. He was able to prove an alibi which could not be shaken. but I never saw the case yet that he could not throw a light upon. with an old pea-jacket buttoned up to his throat.” A heavy step was heard ascending the stair. From the time that he left his brother’s room he was never out of sight of someone or other. sir. his knees were shaky. and his breathing was [133] painfully asthmatic. He has evidently picked up the scent again. “Your friend. But there is someone at the door. He was an aged man. and my professional credit is at stake. Go to Baker Street at once [it said]. “Even the best of us are thrown off sometimes. You can come with us to-night if you want to be in at the finish. is a wonderful man. Sholto. It is very hot for the time of year. He had a coloured scarf round his chin. Mr. I have had a wire from him this morning.” said he. I have been obliged to reconsider it.” said I.” “Well. I should be very glad of a little assistance. His back was bowed. overhung by bushy white brows and long gray side-whiskers. wait for me.” exclaimed Jones with evident satisfaction. I think he would have made a most promising officer.” “We all need help sometimes. “Ah. half a glass.” He took the telegram out of his pocket and handed it to me. and I could see little of his face save a pair of keen dark eyes.would care to wait. I have known that young man go into a good many cases. Once or twice he stopped. but. “This sounds well. sir. It’s a very dark case. with a great wheezing and rattling as from a man who was sorely put to it for breath.” said I. His appearance corresponded to the sounds which we had heard. It was dated from Poplar at twelve o’clock. I had my net drawn tightly round Mr. Sherlock Holmes. and I don’t care who knows it. clad in seafaring garb. So it could not be he who climbed over roofs and through trapdoors. then he has been at fault too. I don’t mind if I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. I take it. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. He was. would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. I had seen little of Holmes lately. and that woman was the late Irene Adler. and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. And yet there was but one woman to him. as ever. All emotions. and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. They were admirable things for the observer–excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses. and occupied his immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clues. save with a gibe and a sneer. and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment. however. which I merely shared with all the readers of the daily press. Grit in a sensitive instrument. 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. buried among his old books. the drowsiness of the drug. were abhorrent to his cold. My own complete happiness. of dubious and questionable memory. and that one particularly. of his clearing up of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA TO SHERLOCK HOLMES she is always the woman. and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition. the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen. while Holmes. Beyond these signs of his activity. deeply attracted by the study of crime. precise but admirably balanced mind. 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. were sufficient to absorb all my attention. remained in our lodgings in Baker Street. I knew little of my former friend and companion. He was still. but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.

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

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

and throwing himself down into an armchair. and do not take it amiss if your visitor wear a mask. “It came by the last post.” he answered. The distinction is clear.” “Frequently.a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger.” said he.” I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of deduction. “There will call upon you to-night. if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medical profession. and the paper upon which it was written. 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. I know that there are seventeen steps.” I remarked. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. For example. and without either signature or address. That is just my point. you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room. “You see. indeed. Now. But the note itself. and since you are good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences. What do you deduce from it?” I carefully examined the writing. though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your process. By the way. some hundreds of times. at a quarter to eight o’clock [it said]. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories.” The note was undated. pink-tinted note-paper which had been lying open upon the table. lighting a cigarette.” He threw over a sheet of thick. but you do not observe. “When I hear you give your reasons. “What do you imagine that it means?” “I have no data yet. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours. And yet you have seen. “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself.” “Then how many are there?” “How many? I don’t know. . and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope.” “How often?” “Well. This account of you we have from all quarters received. Be in your chamber then at that hour.” I remarked. you may be interested in this. “Read it aloud. because I have both seen and [163] observed.” “Quite so. I must be dull. since you are interested in these little problems.” “Quite so! You have not observed. instead of theories to suit facts. a gentleman who desires to consult you upon a matter of the very deepest moment. “This is indeed a mystery.

what do you make of that?” His eyes sparkled. “What do you make of that?” asked Holmes. if I am not mistaken.” He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves. endeavouring to imitate my companion’s processes. rather.” said Holmes.” “Peculiar–that is the very word. And the man who wrote the note is a German. ‘Remarkable as being the scene of the death of Wallenstein. The ‘G’ with the small ‘t’ stands for ‘Gesellschaft. It is peculiarly strong and stiff. and he sent up a great blue triumphant cloud from his cigarette. to discover what is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper and prefers wearing a mask to showing his face. ha. “Eglow. And here he comes.’ A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that.” and a large “G” with a small “t” woven into the texture of the paper. Egria. not far from Carlsbad. “Precisely. and saw a large “E” with a small “g. It is the German who is so uncourteous to his verbs. Hold it up to the light. “It is not an English paper at all.’ Ha. therefore.’ ‘P. Eglonitz–here we are. It only remains. It is in a German-speaking country–in Bohemia.’ Now for the ‘Eg.” “Not at all.’ of course.” I said.” a “P. to resolve all our doubts.“The man who wrote it was presumably well to do. Do you note the peculiar construction of the sentence–‘This account of you we have from all quarters received.’ Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer. “The paper was made in Bohemia. no doubt.” I did so.’ which is the German for ‘Company. and for its numerous glass-factories and paper-mills. or his monogram. stands for ‘Papier.” I remarked. my boy. “Such paper could not be bought under half a crown a packet. “The name of the maker.’ It is a customary contraction like our ‘Co.” As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses’ hoofs and grating .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

as our client is to its coming to the eyes of his princess. who had watched the scuffle without taking part in it. She knows that the King is capable of having her waylaid and searched.” “But she will refuse. looking back into the street. Why should she hand it over to anyone else? She could trust her own guardianship. Now the question is. that she does not carry it about with her.” “What then?” “I will get her to show me. and by the scissors-grinder. It must be where she can lay her hands upon it. but she could not tell what indirect or political influence might be brought to bear upon a business man. as I will still call her. . with the blood running freely down his face. Where are we to find the photograph?” “Where.” As he spoke the gleam of the side-lights of a carriage came round the curve of the avenue. It is her carriage. crowded in [172] to help the lady and to attend to the injured man. As it pulled up. which was increased by the two guardsmen. But I am inclined to think its being seen by Mr. who had stepped from her carriage. Besides. A fierce quarrel broke out. But I hear the rumble of wheels. It was a smart little landau which rattled up to the door of Briony Lodge. Irene Adler. who struck savagely at each other with their fists and sticks. Women are naturally secretive. It must be in her own house. There is that double possibility.” “Where. but just as he reached her he gave a cry and dropped to the ground. but was elbowed away by another loafer. and in an instant the lady. It is cabinet size. then. A blow was struck. Now carry out my orders to the letter.” “Pshaw! They did not know how to look. while a number of better-dressed people. had hurried up the steps. was the centre of a little knot of flushed and struggling men. but she stood at the top with her superb figure outlined against the lights of the hall.” “She will not be able to. Too large for easy concealment about a woman’s dress. Two attempts of the sort have already been made.” “But how will you look?” “I will not look. and they like to do their own secreting. At his fall the guardsmen took to their heels in one direction and the loungers in the other. then?” “Her banker or her lawyer. remember that she had resolved to use it within a few days. Holmes dashed into the crowd to protect the lady. We may take it.” “But it has twice been burgled. Godfrey Norton. who had rushed up with the same intention. indeed?” “It is most unlikely that she carries it about with her. who was equally hot upon the other side. one of the loafing men at the corner dashed forward to open the door in the hope of earning a copper. who took sides with one of the loungers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

However. for we have twice been deceived by wigs and once by paint. and congratulated me warmly on my success. ‘and he is willing to fill a vacancy in the League. A groan of disappointment came up from below. “‘It would be injustice to hesitate. after all.’ said he.’ He took a step backward.’ the other answered. ‘You will. ‘He has every requirement. “‘This is Mr. and he closed the door as we entered. I am sure. Jabez Wilson. wrung my hand.’ said he as he released me.’ He stepped over to the window and shouted through it at the top of his voice that the vacancy was filled.’ “‘And he is admirably suited for it. ‘There is water in your eyes. when our turn came the little man was much more favourable to me than to any of the others. I cannot recall when I have seen anything so fine. He said a few words to each candidate as he came up. 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. cocked his head on one side. . 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. 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. so that he might have a private word with us. however. Then suddenly he plunged his client paused and refreshed his memory with a huge pinch of snuff.’ said my assistant. excuse me for taking an obvious precaution. and gazed at my hair until I felt quite bashful. But we have to be careful. ‘I perceive that all is as it should be. and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. “Pray continue your very interesting statement.’ With that he seized my hair in both his hands. and tugged until I yelled with the pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the meantime.” “And sit in the dark?” “I am afraid so. for the sooner they do their work the longer time they will have for their escape. “You have already imperilled the whole success of our expedition. “We have had several warnings that an attempt might be made upon it. began to examine minutely the cracks between the stones. as we were a partie carree. there was something . The crate upon which I sit contains 2. ready to flash out at a moment’s notice. “I must really ask you to be a little more quiet!” said Holmes severely. To me. and though we shall take them at a disadvantage. But I see that the enemy’s preparations have gone so far that we cannot risk the presence of a light. We are at present. you might have your rubber after all.” whispered the director. we must choose our positions. and the directors have had misgivings upon the subject.” observed Holmes. and not to interfere?” The solemn Mr. Mr. 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. looking up in surprise.” he remarked. “We have at least an hour before us. Watson. upon the top of the wooden case behind which I crouched. Then they will not lose a minute. for he sprang to his feet again and put his glass in his pocket. Merryweather. A few seconds sufficed to satisfy him. when I flash a light upon them. I shall stand behind this crate. Merryweather is the chairman of directors. with the lantern and a magnifying lens. These are daring men. Our reserve of bullion is much larger at present than is [188] usually kept in a single branch office. Mr.000 napoleons packed between layers of lead foil. Doctor–as no doubt you have divined–in the cellar of the City branch of one of the principal London banks. And. I expect that within an hour matters will come to a head. cocked. Then. and I thought that. we must put the screen over that dark lantern. Might I beg that you would have the goodness to sit down upon one of those boxes.” “Your French gold?” “Yes. 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. have no compunction about shooting them down. and that it is still lying in our cellar. while Holmes fell upon his knees upon the floor and. If they fire. close in swiftly.” “It is our French gold. The smell of hot metal remained to assure us that the light was still there. with my nerves worked up to a pitch of expectancy. “And now it is time that we arranged our little plans.remarked. with a very injured expression upon his face. We had occasion some months ago to strengthen our resources and borrowed for that purpose 30.000 napoleons from the Bank of France. first of all.” I placed my revolver.” “Which were very well justified. It has become known that we have never had occasion to unpack the money. I had brought a pack of cards in my pocket. “for they can hardly take any steps until the good pawnbroker is safely in bed. Merryweather perched himself upon a crate. they may do us some harm unless we are careful. and do you conceal yourselves behind those.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish to the Lord that I had shot him then.” said Holmes. though I saw his wicked little eyes fixed on my face. to make up for the way in which I had earned it.” Holmes rose and sat down at the table with his pen in his hand and a bundle of paper before him. “It was in the early ’60’s at the diggings.” “It’s as well. In a word. His grip has been upon me these twenty years. had no luck with my claim. ready to turn my hand at anything. but we emptied four of their saddles at the first volley. too. free life of it. and we lay in wait for it and attacked it. McCarthy. but will not take me long to tell. I tell you that.” he said. and our party is still remembered in the colony as the Ballarat Gang. I’ll tell you first how I came to be in his power. . Yet I would rather die under my own roof than in a jail. who was this very man McCarthy. however. I got among bad companions. and in a word became what you would call over here a highway robber. “What?” “I am no official agent. hotblooded and reckless. sticking up a station from time to time. I was a young chap then. and I met him in Regent Street with hardly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot. however. Then I could produce your confession at the last extremity to save young McCarthy.” said the old man. I understand that it was your daughter who required my presence here. I put my pistol to the head of the wagon-driver. I promise you that I shall not use it unless it is absolutely needed. which chanced to be in the market. took [216] to drink.” “I am a dying man. There were six of us. And now I will make the thing clear to you. “One day a gold convoy came down from Ballarat to Melbourne. and we had a wild. and I set myself to do a little good with my money. it has been a long time in the acting. 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 made our way over to England without being suspected. “You didn’t know this dead man. or stopping the wagons on the road to the diggings. We got away with the gold. and Watson here can witness it. I bought this estate. “it’s a question whether I shall live to the Assizes. Black Jack of Ballarat was the name I went under. before we got the swag. God keep you out of the clutches of such a man as he. Young McCarthy must be got off.” said old Turner. and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. Three of our boys were killed. but I should wish to spare Alice the shock. I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past. He was a devil incarnate. There were six troopers and six of us. You will sign it. and he has blasted my life. “Just tell us the truth. and I am acting in her interests. “I shall jot down the facts. “I have had diabetes for years. as though to remember every feature. I married. became wealthy men. “I had gone up to town about an investment. but I spared him. There I parted from my old pals and determined to settle down to a quiet and respectable life. so it matters little to me.“It may not come to that. My doctor says it is a question whether I shall live a month. All was going well when McCarthy laid his grip upon me. so it was a close thing. took to the bush.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

who knew how he winced from the very thought of death. and ‘Letters. for he had evidently taken a strong part in . with the initials of K. when we went to search for him.” “One moment. 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.000. Pray proceed. at my request. having regard to his known eccentricity. and were mostly concerned with politics. Let me have the date of the reception by your uncle of the letter.” “Thank you. so that the jury.“Well. which lay at the foot of the garden.” “When my father took over the Horsham property. Others were of a date during the reconstruction of the Southern states. Mr. and the water was but two feet deep. had much ado to persuade myself that he had gone out of his way to meet it. I foresee. to come to an end of the matter. On the inside of the cover was a paper label. The matter passed. one of the most remarkable to which I have ever listened. repeated upon it. which had been always locked up. although its contents had been destroyed. receipts. we presume. however. upon the night of May 2d. and of some £14. Holmes. memoranda. His death was seven weeks later. brought in a verdict of ‘suicide. and a register’ written beneath.’ But I.” “The letter arrived on March 10. made a careful examination of the attic. 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. face downward in a little green-scummed pool. We found the brass box there. We found him. and my father entered into possession of the estate.” Holmes interposed. and not to abuse your patience. There was no sign of any violence. For the rest. and the date of his supposed suicide. These. he. 1883. K. there came a night when he made one of those drunken sallies from which he never came back. indicated the nature of the papers which had been destroyed by Colonel Openshaw. “your statement is. which lay to his credit at the bank. K.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

was upon their track. David Soucek. and that is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah. Very long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year. 1998 The Man with the Twisted Lip . 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.” carved upon it. S. but none ever reached us.would show them that another. with the letters “L. as cunning and as resolute as themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve had enough of it.’” “What have you to say now?” Sherlock Holmes looked deeply chagrined. ask Mrs. “Ha! this may save us a visit to Brixton Road.’” “Quite so. A few yards off he stopped under a lamp-post and laughed in the hearty. It is my business to know what other . If you come pestering me any more with your silly talk I’ll set the dog at you. 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. Windigate of the Alpha. “When you see a man with whiskers of that cut and the ‘Pink ‘un’ protruding out of his pocket. you can always draw him by a bet.” [254] “Well. was shaking his fists fiercely at the cringing figure. and the only point which remains to be determined is whether we should go on to this Mrs. what’s the last entry?” “ ‘December 22d. but one of them was mine all the same. “but I could not help overhearing the questions which you put to the salesman just now. for all I care.” said he. my companion speedily overtook the little man and touched him upon the shoulder. turning away with the air of a man whose disgust is too deep for words. nearing the end of our quest. “Who are you. “I’ve had enough of you and your geese. noiseless fashion which was peculiar to him. “Come with me. Oakshott to-night. And underneath?” “ ‘Sold to Mr. “I wish you were all at the devil together. Oakshott for it. while Breckinridge. you can ask the King of Proosia. then.” whispered Holmes.” “She told me to ask you. Well. and I should– –” His remarks were suddenly cut short by a loud hubbub which broke out from the stall which we had just left.” “You? Who are you? How could you know anything of the matter?” “My name is Sherlock Holmes.” whined the little man. I fancy. He sprang round. egg and poultry supplier. or whether we should reserve it for to-morrow. Watson. then? What do you want?” he asked in a quavering voice. then. Brixton Road.” Striding through the scattered knots of people who lounged round the flaring stalls. at 12s. the salesman.” he shouted.117. Twenty-four geese at 7s. Oakshott here and I’ll answer her. It is clear from what that surly fellow said that there are others besides ourselves who are anxious about the matter. I think that I could be of assistance to you. framed in the door of his stall. and I could see in the gas-light that every vestige of colour had been driven from his face. There you are. Get out of this!” He rushed fiercely forward. You bring Mrs. “Well. but what have you to do with it? Did I buy the geese off you?” “No. 6d. “I daresay that if I had put £100 down in front of him. and we will see what is to be made of this fellow. 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. we are. and the inquirer flitted away into the darkness. “You will excuse me. He drew a sovereign from his pocket and threw it down upon the slab.’” “Now.” said Holmes blandly.

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

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

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

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

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

David Soucek. 1998 The Speckled Band .

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

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

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

of the Bengal Artillery. and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger. Roylott entirely while we resided with him. 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. and we were only two years old at the time of my mother’s re-marriage. “When Dr.been perpetrated in the house. The money which my mother had left was enough for all our wants. 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. he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence. and the folks would fly at his approach. My sister Julia and I were twins. with a provision that a certain annual sum should be allowed to each of us in the event of our marriage. . I believe. who had at first been overjoyed to see a Roylott of Stoke Moran back in the old family seat. for he is a man of immense strength. Roylott was in India he married my mother. been intensified by his long residence in the tropics. She had a considerable sum of money–not less than £1000 a year –and this she bequeathed to Dr. Instead of making friends and exchanging visits with our neighbours. Violence of temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family. he shut himself up in his house and seldom came out save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with whoever might cross his path. Stoner. Shortly after our return to England my mother died –she was killed eight years ago in a railway accident near Crewe. two of which ended in the police-court. Dr. “But a terrible change came over our stepfather about this time. the young widow of Major-General Stoner. A series of disgraceful brawls took place. and in my stepfather’s case it had. until at last he became the terror of the village. As it was.

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

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

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

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

My stepfather has offered no opposition to the match. 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. so that I have had to move into the chamber in which my sister died. If we were to come to Stoke Moran to-day. “He is a hard man. near Reading. has done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage.” she said. but . which is opposite. 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. “There are a thousand details which I should desire to know before I decide upon our course of action.” “Why.” Holmes shook his head like a man who is far from being satisfied. I sprang up and lit the lamp. and as soon as it was daylight I slipped down. then. you have not. The lady coloured deeply and covered over her injured wrist. there are nearly always some there. so I dressed. thinking over her terrible fate. and that there would be nothing to disturb you. however. 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.” said Holmes. got a dog-cart at the Crown Inn.” “Miss Roylott. perhaps to these very gypsies in the plantation.” said he. I was too shaken to go to bed again. during which Holmes leaned his chin upon his hands and stared into the crackling fire. It is probable that he will be away all day. sometimes that it may have referred to some band of people.“Were there gypsies in the plantation at the time?” “Yes. and my bedroom wall has been pierced. “pray go on with your narrative. 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. “But have you told me all?” “Yes.” “You have done wisely. A month ago. as I lay awake. Armitage. Two days ago some repairs were started in the west wing of the building. my thrill of terror when last night.” There was a long silence. all. whom I have known for many years. he spoke of coming into town to-day upon some most important business. and drove to Leatherhead. I suddenly heard in the silence of the night the low whistle which had been the herald of her own death.” “Two years have passed since then. and we are to be married in the course of the spring. and my life has been until lately lonelier than ever. “These are very deep waters. were printed upon the white wrist.” said my friend. from whence I have come on this morning with the one object of seeing you and asking your advice. His name is Armitage–Percy Armitage–the second son of Mr. We have a housekeeper now. a dear friend. “This is a very deep business. Imagine. Five little livid spots. of Crane Water.” “Ah.” he said at last. the marks of four fingers and a thumb. “You have been cruelly used. but nothing was to be seen in the room. however. “and perhaps he hardly knows his own strength. and to sleep in the very bed in which she slept. Yet we have not a moment to lose.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor. “I thought I’d bring him round myself. like all such narratives. 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. at a little before seven o’clock. been told more than once in the newspapers. my old ally. for I knew by experience that railway cases were seldom trivial.” he whispered. there were only two which [274] I was the means of introducing to his notice–that of Mr.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE ENGINEER’S THUMB OF ALL the problems which have been submitted to my friend. “I’ve got him here. I believe. It was in the summer of ’89. Hatherley’s thumb. One of these. whom I had cured of a painful and lingering disease. jerking his thumb over his shoulder. for his manner suggested that it was some strange creature which he had caged up in my room. and the mystery clears gradually away as each new discovery furnishes a step which leads on to the complete truth. 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. the guard. and hastened downstairs. then?” I asked. this trusty tout. and the lapse of two years has hardly served to weaken the effect. but.” he whispered.” “What is it. even if it gave my friend fewer openings for those deductive methods of reasoning by which he achieved such remarkable results. “It’s a new patient. that the events occurred which I am now about to summarize. Sherlock Holmes. 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. for solution during the years of our intimacy. Mr. I got a few patients from among the officials. The story has. One morning. not long after my marriage. “he’s all right. then he couldn’t slip away. came out of the room and closed the door tightly behind him. At the time the circumstances made a deep impression upon me. all safe and sound. As I descended. just the same as you. I had returned to civil practice and had finally abandoned Holmes in his Baker Street rooms. I must go now. My practice had steadily increased. I dressed hurriedly. Of these the latter may have afforded a finer field for an acute and original observer. was never weary of advertising my virtues and of endeavouring to send me on every sufferer over whom he might have any influence. although I continually visited him and occasionally even persuaded him to forego his Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us. There he is. I entered my consulting-room and found a gentleman seated by the .” And off he went. and that of Colonel Warburton’s madness. without even giving me time to thank him. I have my dooties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We waited. I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted. and there. What could have happened. then. then in justice to my partner I must insist that. “that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your cooperation. but I much prefer to make it a matter of business and to carry out that business myself.’ “ ‘The firm does so when the security is good. In my position you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one’s self under obligations. One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans. every businesslike precaution should be taken. libraries. for I am a man who takes very little exercise. when he entered. or plate. ‘that I should have £50.’ said I. may I ask. ”It is. of course. all curiosity. and I will put the facts before you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can.’ said he. I feel better now. 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.’ said I. borrow so trifling a sum ten times over from my friends.000 at once. “ ‘It is absolutely essential to me. “ ‘Next Monday I have a large sum due to me.” said he.’ said he. and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures. but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task.partner in the second largest private banking concern in the City of London. until with another effort he braced himself to tell his story. do you want this sum?’ I asked. We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years. I came to Baker Street by the Underground and hurried from there on foot.’ He opened the case. ‘I have been informed that you are in the habit of advancing money. flesh- . on the other hand. where the security is unimpeachable. most exalted names in England. “I feel that time is of value. of course. If. for the cabs go slowly through this snow. That is why I was so out of breath. But it is very essential to me that the money should be paid at once. I could. Holder. “ ‘Precisely. I started when I saw the name. “Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks. ‘You have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coronet?’ “ ‘One of the most precious public possessions of the empire. noblest. I am to do it in the name of the firm.’ said he. and I shall then most certainly repay what you advance.’ I answered. perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it was a name which is a household word all over the earth–one of the highest.’ “ ‘I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my own private purse. with whatever interest you think it right to charge. to say so. raising up a square.’ “ ‘For how long. imbedded in soft. [303] “ ‘Mr.’ “ ‘I should much prefer to have it so. even in your case. for it was that of none other than–well. ‘were it not that the strain would be rather more than it could bear. black morocco case which he had laid beside his chair.

for there are no beryls in the world to match these. It is a pure matter of form.’ “ ‘You understand.’ “Seeing that my client was anxious to leave. that I am giving you a strong proof of the confidence which I have in you. with every confidence. You may set your mind at rest about that. “ ‘You doubt its value?’ he asked. I am prepared to leave it with you as my security. ‘There are thirty-nine enormous beryls. “ ‘Not at all. When I was alone once more. calling for my cashier. above all. I only doubt– –’ “ ‘The propriety of my leaving it. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss. founded upon all that I have heard of you. lay the magnificent piece of jewellery which he had named. I said no more. with the precious case lying upon the table in . I should not dream of doing so were it not absolutely certain that I should be able in four days to reclaim it. ‘and the price of the gold chasing is incalculable. I ordered him to pay over fifty £1000 notes. The lowest estimate would put the worth of the coronet at double the sum which I have asked. Holder.’ “I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to my illustrious client. however. Mr. and I shall call for it in person on Monday morning. however.’ said he. Is the security sufficient?’ “ ‘Ample. and it would be impossible to replace them. I leave it with you. I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but.coloured velvet. 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. but.

“And. so that it might never be really out of my reach. so I locked it up in my private safe and turned once more to my work.front of me. but I meant it for the best. That is the only drawback which we have found to her. a horrible [304] scandal would ensue if any misfortune should occur to it. However. When he was young he became a member of an aristocratic club. I could not wonder that such a man as Sir George Burnwell should gain an influence over him. and may be set aside altogether. that he might settle his debts of honour. was enough to draw him back again. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had to love. “It was naturally my intention that he should succeed me in my business. People tell me that I have spoiled him. I have no doubt that I am myself to blame. I called a cab and drove out to my house at Streatham. Very likely I have. however. indeed. He learned to play heavily at cards and to squander money on the turf. and I have found myself that I could hardly . “When evening came I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a thing in the office behind me. Perhaps it would have been better for both of us had I been sterner. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment from his face. for he has frequently brought him to my house. Mr. and has always given me satisfaction. for I wish you to thoroughly understand the situation. Another. My groom and my page sleep out of the house. Mr. She came with an excellent character. I could not but think with some misgivings of the immense responsibility which it entailed upon me. There could be no doubt that. but he was not of a business turn. the second waiting-maid. With this intention. therefore. Holmes–a grievous disappointment. that for the next few days I would always carry the case backward and forward with me. has only been in my service a few months. but each time the influence of his friend. “And now a word as to my household. He was wild. and there. Sir George Burnwell. My family itself is so small that it will not take me long to describe it. “So much for the servants. I could not trust him in the handling of large sums of money. He has been a disappointment to me. I did not breathe freely until I had taken it upstairs and locked it in the bureau of my dressing-room. it was too late to alter the matter now. wayward. and why should not mine be? If so. carrying the jewel with me. He tried more than once to break away from the dangerous company which he was keeping. how terrible would be the position in which I should find myself! I determined. I already regretted having ever consented to take charge of it. She is a very pretty girl and has attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place. Lucy Parr. he was soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expensive habits. until he had again and again to come to me and implore me to give him an advance upon his allowance. having charming manners. to speak the truth. I am a widower and have an only son. Holmes. as it was a national possession. Bankers’ safes had been forced before now. Arthur. I have three maid-servants who have been with me a number of years and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. and. but we believe her to be a thoroughly good girl in every way. I have never denied him a wish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

must be the truth. for who else could outweigh the love and gratitude which she must feel to you? I knew that you went out little. why should your son allow himself to be accused in their place? There could be no possible reason. The question now was. I was then beginning to be able to form an opinion as to what had occurred. which was a hundred yards or more down the lane. A man had waited outside the window. Then I walked to the other end. [316] he might still flatter himself that he was safe. finally. It must have been he who wore those boots and retained the missing gems. I was at once convinced from what you had told me that the latter was your son. the sill and framework of the hall window with my lens. managed to pick up an acquaintance with his valet. He had returned with the prize. As he loved his cousin. “And who could it be who was her confederate? A lover evidently. there was an excellent explanation why he should retain her secret–the more so as the secret was a disgraceful one. I found that the pavement had been cleared. they had each tugged at the coronet. where the snow was cut up as though there had been a struggle. and I could at once see that someone had passed out. I went in the shape of a loafer to Sir George’s house. and as his tread was marked in places over the depression of the boot. The first had walked both ways. “On entering the house. but had left a fragment in the grasp of his opponent. so there only remained your niece and the maids. where Boots had worn all the snow away while waiting. for the lad could not say a word without compromising his own family. had struggled with him.“There was a double line of tracks of a booted man. whatever remains. I saw where Boots had faced round. to show me that I was not mistaken. When I remembered that you had seen her at that window. 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. where a few drops of blood had fallen. so there was an end to that clue. I knew that it was not you who had brought it down. their united strength causing injuries which neither alone could have effected. however improbable. But among them was Sir George Burnwell. “Well. Boots had then run down the lane. but the other had run swiftly. he had pursued the thief. it was obvious that he had passed after the other. When he came to the highroad at the other end. the deed had been overseen by your son. I could distinguish the outline of an instep where the wet foot had been placed in coming in. I followed them up and found they led to the hall window. and a second double line which I saw with delight belonged to a man with naked feet. But if it were the maids. Now. someone had brought the gems. however. my conjecture became a certainty. I had heard of him before as being a man of evil reputation among women. Even though he knew that Arthur had discovered him. however. learned that his master had cut his head . as you remember. your own good sense will suggest what measures I took next. I examined. and that your circle of friends was a very limited one. and. and how she had fainted on seeing the coronet again. and another little smudge of blood showed that it was he who had been hurt. So far I was clear.

the night before. “Sir.” said the banker. ‘I’ve let them go at six hundred for the three!’ I soon managed to get the address of the receiver who had them. With these I journeyed down to Streatham and saw that they exactly fitted the tracks. Your skill has indeed exceeded all that I have heard of it. It was I. As to what you . made all sure by buying a pair of his cast-off shoes. and I clapped a pistol to his head before he could strike. I cannot find words to thank you.” “A day which has saved England from a great public scandal. I went and saw him. Then he became a little more reasonable. I knew my man. for I saw that a prosecution must be avoided to avert scandal. It was a delicate part which I had to play then. so I came home and changed my clothes.” “I saw an ill-dressed vagabond in the lane yesterday evening. Off I set to him. but you shall not find me ungrateful for what you have done. rising. ‘Why. he tried to bluster and took down a life-preserver from the wall. and. I found that I had my man. however. “Precisely. That brought out the first signs of grief that he had shown. of course. he denied everything. at the expense of six shillings. finally.” said Mr. I told him that we would give him a price for the stones he held–£1000 apiece. and I knew that so astute a villain would see that our hands were tied in the matter. and after much chaffering I got our stones at £1000 apiece. Holder. dash it all!’ said he. told him that all was right. And now I must fly to my dear boy to apologize to him for the wrong which I have done him. and eventually got to my bed about two o’clock. on promising him that there would be no prosecution. At first. Then I looked in upon your son. after what I may call a really hard day’s work. But when I gave him every particular that had occurred.

” David Soucek.” “I think that we may safely say. It is equally certain. 1998 The Copper Beeches . Not even your skill can inform me where she is now.” returned Holmes.tell me of poor Mary. “that she is wherever Sir George Burnwell is. it goes to my very heart. they will soon receive a more than sufficient punishment. too. that whatever her sins are.

“it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. I am bound to say.” remarked Sherlock Holmes. tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph. taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood–“you have erred perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your statements instead of confining yourself to the task of placing upon record that severe reasoning from cause to effect which is really the only notable feature about the thing.” he observed. Watson.” “And yet. [317] but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province.The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes THE COPPER BEECHES “TO THE man who loves art for its own sake.” I remarked with some coldness. and. that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up. you have given prominence not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves. It is pleasant to me to observe.” “You have erred. for I was repelled by the egotism which I . perhaps. “I cannot quite hold myself absolved from the charge of sensationalism which has been urged against my records.” said I. smiling.” “It seems to me that I have done you full justice in the matter. occasionally to embellish.

has lost all enterprise and originality. and the opposing windows loomed like dark. as was hi