(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of JOHN H. WATSON, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)

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 pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines. Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lost in sending me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the troopship "Orontes," and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it.


I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freely than I ought. So alarming did the state of my finances become, that I soon realized that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere in the country, or that I must make a complete alteration in my style of living. Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive domicile. On the very day that I had come to this conclusion, I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when some one tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round I recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Barts. 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 wine-glass. "You don't know Sherlock Holmes yet," he said; "perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion." "Why, what is there against him?" "Oh, I didn't say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough." "A medical student, I suppose?" said I. "No—I have no idea what he intends to go in for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first-class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the way knowledge which would astonish his professors." "Did you never ask him what he was going in for?" I asked. "No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him." "I should like to meet him," I said. "If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?"


"He is sure to be at the laboratory," returned my companion. "He either avoids the place for weeks, or else he works there from morning to night. If you like, we shall drive round together after luncheon." "Certainly," I answered, and the conversation drifted away into other channels. As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particulars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as a fellow-lodger. "You mustn't blame me if you don't get on with him," he said; "I know nothing more of him than I have learned from meeting him occasionally in the laboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you must not hold me responsible." "If we don't get on it will be easy to part company," I answered. "It seems to me, Stamford," I added, looking hard at my companion, "that you have some reason for washing your hands of the matter. Is this fellow's temper so formidable, or what is it? Don't be mealy-mouthed about it." "It is not easy to express the inexpressible," he answered with a laugh. "Holmes is a little too scientific for my tastes—it approaches to cold-bloodedness. 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 further end a low arched passage branched away from it and led to the chemical laboratory. This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure. "I've found it! I've found it," he shouted to my companion, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand. "I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hoemoglobin, 4 and by nothing else." Had he discovered a gold mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features. "Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," said Stamford, introducing us. "How are you?" he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should 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 hoemoglobin. 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 Guiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain. So is the microscopic examination for blood corpuscles. The latter is valueless if the stains are a few hours old. Now, this appears to act as well whether the blood is old or new. Had this test been invented, there are hundreds of men now walking the earth who would long ago have paid the penalty of their crimes." "Indeed!" I murmured. "Criminal cases are continually hinging upon that one point. A man is suspected of a crime months perhaps after it has been committed. His linen or clothes are examined, and brownish stains discovered upon them. Are they blood stains, or mud stains, or rust stains, or fruit stains, or what are they? That is a question which has puzzled many an expert, and why? Because there was no reliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes' test, and there will no longer be any difficulty." His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he put his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some applauding crowd conjured up by his imagination. "You are to be congratulated," I remarked, considerably surprised at his enthusiasm. "There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frankfort last year. He would certainly have been hung had this test been in existence. Then there was Mason of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and Lefevre of Montpellier, and Samson of new Orleans. I could name a score of cases in which it would have been decisive." "You seem to be a walking calendar of crime," said Stamford with a laugh. "You might start a paper on those lines. Call it the 'Police News of the Past.'" "Very interesting reading it might be made, too," remarked Sherlock Holmes, sticking a small piece of plaster over the prick on his finger. "I have to be careful," he continued, turning to me with a smile, "for I dabble with poisons a good deal." He held out his hand as he spoke, and I noticed that it was all mottled over with similar pieces of plaster, and discoloured with strong acids. "We came here on business," said Stamford, sitting down on a high three-legged stool, and pushing another one in my direction with his foot. "My friend here wants to take diggings, and as you were complaining that you could get no one to go halves with you, I thought that I had better bring you together." Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me. "I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street," he said, "which would suit us down to the ground. You don't mind the smell of strong tobacco, I hope?" "I always smoke 'ship's' myself," I answered. "That's good enough. I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that annoy you?" "By no means." "Let me see—what are my other shortcomings. I get in the dumps at times, and don't open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It's just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together." I laughed at this cross-examination. "I keep a bull pup," I said, "and I object to rows because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I'm well, but those are the principal ones at present." "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.

WE met next day as he had arranged, and inspected the rooms at No. 221B, 5 Baker Street, of which he had spoken at our meeting. They consisted of a couple of comfortable bed-rooms and a single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows. So desirable in every way were the apartments, and so moderate did the terms seem when divided between us, that the bargain was concluded upon the spot, and we at once entered into possession. That very evening I moved my things round from the hotel, and on the following morning Sherlock Holmes followed me with several boxes and portmanteaus. For a day or two we were busily employed in unpacking and laying out our property to the best advantage. That done, we gradually began to settle down and to accommodate ourselves to our new surroundings. Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live with. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular. It was rare for him to be up after ten at night, and he had invariably breakfasted and gone out before I rose in the morning. Sometimes he spent his day at the chemical laboratory, sometimes in the dissecting-rooms, and occasionally in 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 endeavored 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 endeavoring 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 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 be to me 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.

1. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil. 2. Philosophy.—Nil. 3. Astronomy.—Nil. 4. Politics.—Feeble. 5. Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 6. Geology.—Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London


he had received them. Chemistry.—Profound. Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic. Sensational Literature.—Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. 10. Plays the violin well. 11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman. 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law. 7. 8. 9.
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 arm-chair 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, dark-eyed 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 grey-headed, seedy visitor, looking like a Jew pedlar, who appeared to me to be much excited, and who was closely followed by a slip-shod elderly woman. On another occasion an old white-haired 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 bed-room. 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 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 enquirer 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 boot, 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 enquirer 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 egg spoon 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 arm-chair 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," Sherlock 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 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 Allen 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." "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 text-book 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 villany 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 a salute, and was gone.

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 wondrously. There still remained some lurking suspicion in my mind, however, that the whole thing was a pre-arranged 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, lack-lustre 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 knew 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——

"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 opinion. Yours faithfully,

"Gregson is the smartest of the Scotland Yarders," my friend remarked; "he 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 house-tops, 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' 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, 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, flaxen-haired 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 dining-room, 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 light was hazy and uncertain, giving a dull grey 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 lightcoloured 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—8 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 purposes 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. "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 card-case, 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 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—

"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 backwards and forwards 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 grey 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 9 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' 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 was to presume to help 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 note-book. "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 Trichinopoly cigar. He came here with his victim in a four-wheeled cab, which was drawn by a horse with three old shoes and one new one on his off fore leg. In all probability the murderer had a florid face, and the finger-nails of his right hand were remarkably long. These are only a few indications, but they may assist you." Lestrade and Gregson glanced at each other with an incredulous smile. "If this man was murdered, how was it done?" asked the former. "Poison," said Sherlock Holmes curtly, and strode off. "One other thing, Lestrade," he added, turning round at the door: "'Rache,' is the German for 'revenge;' so don't lose your time looking for Miss Rachel." With which Parthian shot he walked away, leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him.

IT was one o'clock when we left No. 3, Lauriston Gardens. Sherlock Holmes led me to the nearest telegraph office, whence he dispatched a long telegram. He then hailed a cab, and ordered the driver to take us to the address given us by Lestrade. "There is nothing like first hand evidence," he remarked; "as a matter of fact, my mind is entirely made up upon the case, but still we may as well learn all that is to be learned." "You amaze me, Holmes," said I. "Surely you are not as sure as you pretend to be of all those particulars which you gave." "There's no room for a mistake," he answered. "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. Now, up to last night, we have had no rain for a week, so that those wheels which left such a deep impression must have been there during the night. There were the marks of the horse's hoofs, too, the outline of one of which was far more clearly cut than that of the other three, showing that that was a new shoe. Since the cab was there after the rain began, 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, and,ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ


ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿd down the pathway together as friendly as possible—arm-in-arm, in all probability. When they got inside they walked up and down the room—or rather, Patent-leathers stood still while Square-toes walked up and down. I could read all that in the dust; and I could read that as he walked he grew more and more excited. That is shown by the increased length of his strides. He was talking all the while, and working himself up, no doubt, into a fury. Then the tragedy occurred. I've told you all I know myself now, for the rest is mere surmise and conjecture. We have a good working basis, however, on which to start. We must hurry up, for I want to go to Halle's concert to hear Norman Neruda this afternoon." This conversation had occurred while our cab had been threading its way through a long succession of dingy streets and dreary by-ways. In the dingiest and dreariest of them our driver suddenly came to a stand. "That's Audley Court in there," he said, pointing to a narrow slit in the line of dead-coloured brick. "You'll find me here when you come back." Audley Court was not an attractive locality. The narrow passage led us into a quadrangle paved with flags and lined by sordid dwellings. We picked our way among groups of dirty children, and through lines of discoloured linen, until we came to Number 46, the door of which was decorated with a small slip of brass on which the name Rance was engraved. On enquiry we found that the constable was in bed, and we were shown into a little front parlour to await his coming. He appeared presently, looking a little irritable at being disturbed in his slumbers. "I made my report at the office," he said. Holmes took a half-sovereign from his pocket and played with it pensively. "We thought that we should like to hear it all from your own lips," he said. "I shall be most happy to tell you anything I can," the constable answered with his eyes upon the little golden disk. "Just let us hear it all in your own way as it occurred." Rance sat down on the horsehair sofa, and knitted his brows as though determined not to omit anything in his narrative. "I'll tell it ye from the beginning," he said. "My time is from ten at night to six in the morning. At eleven there was a fight at the 'White Hart'; but bar that all was quiet enough on the beat. At one o'clock it began to rain, and I met Harry Murcher—him who has the Holland Grove beat—and we stood together at the corner of Henrietta Street atalkin'. 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. It was precious dirty and lonely. Not a soul did I meet all the way down, though a cab or two went past me. I was a strollin' down, thinkin' between ourselves how uncommon handy a four of gin hot would be, when suddenly the glint of a light caught my eye in the window of that same house. Now, 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, though the very last tenant what lived in one of them died o' typhoid fever. I was knocked all in a heap therefore at seeing a light in the window, and I suspected as something was wrong. When I got to the door——" "You stopped, and then walked back to the garden gate," my companion interrupted. "What did you do that for?" Rance gave a violent jump, and stared at Sherlock Holmes with the utmost amazement upon his features. "Why, that's true, sir," he said; "though how you come to know it, Heaven only knows. Ye see, when I got up to the door it was so still and so lonesome, that I thought I'd be none the worse for some one with me. I ain't afeared of anything on this side o' the grave; but I thought that maybe it was him that died o' the typhoid inspecting the


"but never anyone so cryin' drunk as that cove. "I am afraid. All was quiet inside. That head of yours should be for use as well as ornament. "I've seen many a drunk chap in my time. though. "What became of him?" "We'd enough to do without lookin' after him." he said. Gregson or Mr. That brought Murcher and two more to the spot. sir. Then I pulled myself together and went back and pushed the door open. so I went into the room where the light was a-burnin'. "He was an uncommon drunk sort o' man." "How was he dressed?" "A brown overcoat. You walked round the room several times." my companion said. and you knelt down by the body. "I went back to the gate and sounded my whistle. "It seems to me that you knows a deal more than you should." muttered my companion. "You didn't happen to see or hear a cab after that?" "No. The thought gave me a kind o' turn. "I am one of the hounds and not the wolf. Lestrade will answer for that." "He must have left it behind." "There was no one in the street?" "Not a livin' soul." cried Holmes." "Had he a whip in his hand?" "A whip—no. with a red face.drains what killed him. a-leanin' up agin the railings." he said. standing up and taking his hat. and then you walked through and tried the kitchen door. Mr. "Where was you hid to see all that?" he cried." "Was the street empty then?" "Well. There was a candle flickerin' on the mantelpiece—a red wax one—and by its light I saw——" "Yes. John Rance appeared to be somewhat irritated at this digression. Go on." "What do you mean?" The constable's features broadened into a grin. I know all that you saw. Rance. What did you do next?" Rance resumed his seat. without however losing his mystified expression. "I should think I did notice them." he said. nor as much as a dog. and asingin' at the pitch o' his lungs about Columbine's New-fangled Banner. or some such stuff. the lower part muffled round——" "That will do. it was." "What sort of a man was he?" asked Sherlock Holmes." "There's a half-sovereign for you. He couldn't stand." the policeman said. He was a long chap. and then——" John Rance sprang to his feet with a frightened face and suspicion in his eyes." Holmes laughed and threw his card across the table to the constable. but there wasn't no sign of him nor of anyone else. He was at the gate when I came out. in an aggrieved voice. "Don't get arresting me for the murder. seeing that I had to prop him up—me and Murcher between us. that you will never rise in the force. far less help. "He'd ha' found hisself in the station if we hadn't been so took up. and I walked back to the gate to see if I could see Murcher's lantern. as far as anybody that could be of any good goes. "I'll wager he found his way home all right." "His face—his dress—didn't you notice them?" Holmes broke in impatiently. You might have gained 17 .

" "That's rather a broad idea. Every time that I closed my eyes I saw before me the distorted baboon-like countenance of the murdered man. "Just to think of his having such an incomparable bit of good luck. and whom we are seeking. 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. either for Holmes or myself. His quiet self-confident manner convinced me that he had already formed a theory which explained all the facts." he answered. I must thank you for it all. There is no use of arguing about it now. that I knew that the concert could not have detained him all the time. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood. and so have missed the finest study I ever came across: a study in scarlet." 18 . After Holmes' departure for the concert." "The ring. eh? Why shouldn't we use a little art jargon. My mind had been too much excited by all that had occurred. "What's the matter? You're not looking quite yourself. and I was tired out in the afternoon. "Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at.your sergeant's stripes last night. as he took his seat. What's that little thing of Chopin's she plays so magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay. Then. I felt that sleep would be no easy matter. Doctor—I'll lay you two to one that I have him. "One's ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature. and isolate it. Dinner was on the table before he appeared. again. the ring: that was what he came back for. they were certainly those of Enoch J. man. and our duty is to unravel it. and the strangest fancies and surmises crowded into it. It was a useless attempt. but obviously uncomfortable. The more I thought of it the more extraordinary did my companion's hypothesis. that the man had been poisoned. I remembered how he had sniffed his lips. though what it was I could not for an instant conjecture. And now for lunch. leaving our informant incredulous. Doctor. nor had the victim any weapon with which he might have wounded an antagonist. It is true that the description of this man tallies with your idea of the second party in this mystery. I lay down upon the sofa and endeavoured to get a couple of hours' sleep. as we drove back to our lodgings. There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life. Her attack and her bowing are splendid. I tell you that it is so." I remarked. This Brixton Road affair has upset you. As long as all these questions were unsolved." Holmes said. If we have no other way of catching him." Leaning back in the cab. if not poison. I might not have gone but for you. But why should he come back to the house after leaving it? That is not the way of criminals. I shall have him. Come along. of Cleveland. since there was neither wound nor marks of strangulation? But. and had no doubt that he had detected something which had given rise to the idea." he said. "The blundering fool. and then for Norman Neruda. OUR morning's exertions had been too much for my weak health. CHAPTER V OUR ADVERTISEMENT BRINGS A VISITOR. what had caused the man's death. and expose every inch of it. The man whom you held in your hands is the man who holds the clue of this mystery. whose blood was that which lay so thickly upon the floor? There were no signs of a struggle. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. bitterly. "It was magnificent. and that the depravity of the victim was no condonment 11 in the eyes of the law. If ever human features bespoke vice of the most malignant type. this amateur bloodhound carolled away like a lark while I meditated upon the manysidedness of the human mind." "I am rather in the dark still. on the other hand. and not taking advantage of it." We started off for the cab together. He was very late in returning—so late. we can always bait our line with the ring. appear. Drebber. Still I recognized that justice must be done.

" I answered. this man would rather risk anything than lose the ring." "Excuse my using your name. owing to his own folly in leaving the candle burning. "a plain gold wedding ring. If he does not come himself he will send an accomplice. "The plot thickens. it is as well to be ready for anything." "That is all right. He would be overjoyed." "Why. Baker Street. as I entered. What would he do. "But supposing anyone applies. you have. After leaving the house he discovered his loss and hurried back. It does not mention the fact that when the man was raised up. of course. It is just as well it does not. He will come. and want to meddle in the affair. It was the first announcement in the "Found" column. this morning. 19 . handing me one. and I have every reason to believe that it is. "Oh. My view of the case is the correct one. I have no ring." I said." he said. If my view of the case is correct." He threw the paper across to me and I glanced at the place indicated. but found the police already in possession."To tell the truth." I went to my bedroom and followed his advice." it ran. When I returned with the pistol the table had been cleared. "This will do very well. it must have occurred to him that it was possible that he had lost the ring in the road after leaving the house. 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. Apply Dr." "And that is?" I asked eagerly. You shall see him within an hour?" "And then?" I asked. According to my notion he dropped it while stooping over Drebber's body." he answered. and Holmes was engaged in his favourite occupation of scraping upon his violin. "In Brixton Road. found in the roadway between the 'White Hart' Tavern and Holland Grove. Watson. and did not miss it at the time. the man in the brown coat—our florid friend with the square toes. There is a mystery about this which stimulates the imagination. "If I used my own some of these dunderheads would recognize it. 221B. a woman's wedding ring fell upon the floor. He would come." "You had better clean it and load it. you can leave me to deal with him then." "Why?" "Look at this advertisement. "I ought to be more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences." "It gives a fairly good account of the affair. On thinking the matter over." "Would he not consider it as too dangerous?" "Not at all." "And who do you expect will answer this advertisement. between eight and nine this evening. would light upon this. Have you any arms?" "I have my old service revolver and a few cartridges. it has." said he. and though I shall take him unawares. I saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Maiwand without losing my nerve. It is almost a facsimile. "I had one sent to every paper this morning immediately after the affair. where there is no imagination there is no horror." he said. He will be a desperate man. then? He would eagerly look out for the evening papers in the hope of seeing it among the articles found. Now put yourself in that man's place. He had to pretend to be drunk in order to allay the suspicions which might have been aroused by his appearance at the gate. "I have just had an answer to my American telegram." "Oh yes. Have you seen the evening paper?" "No." "I can understand. His eye.

At my summons." With many mumbled blessings and protestations of gratitude the old crone packed it away in her pocket. If it please you. is written 'Ex libris Guliolmi Whyte. glancing at my watch. shaky fingers. Now put the key on the inside. The old crone drew out an evening paper."My fiddle would be the better for new strings. "a gold wedding ring in the Brixton Road. He will probably be here in a few minutes. "It's this as has brought me. she went to the circus last night along with——" "Is that her ring?" I asked. "Sally will be a glad woman this night. Mrs. Open the door slightly. he being short enough at the best o' times. Sawyer. Peckham. The footfall was an uncertain and shuffling one. and pointed at our advertisement. It came slowly along the passage. A weary way from here. in very faded ink. Houndsditch. and no steward in the company more thought of. "13." "And your name is——?" "My name is Sawyer—her's is Dennis. in 1642. Here comes our man." As he spoke there was a sharp ring at the bell. a very old and wrinkled woman hobbled into the apartment. She appeared to be dazzled by the sudden blaze of light." "The Brixton Road does not lie between any circus and Houndsditch. "Yes. clean lad." I said." "It is eight o'clock now. "Does Dr. It belongs to my girl Sally. Mayfield Place. When the fellow comes speak to him in an ordinary way. I think. "Sally lives in lodgings at 3. taking up a pencil.' I wonder who William Whyte was. good gentlemen." she said. as long as he's at sea. which her husband is steward aboard a Union boat. Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet the moment that she was gone and rushed into his room. and what he'd say if he come and found her without her ring is more than I can think. and shuffled off down the stairs. but the door closed. and some one began to ascend the stairs. 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." said Sherlock Holmes sharply. His writing has a legal twist about it. and after dropping a curtsey. she stood blinking at us with her bleared eyes and fumbling in her pocket with nervous. and I am glad to be able to restore it to the rightful owner. which Tom Dennis married her—and a smart. On the fly-leaf. Sherlock Holmes rose softly and moved his chair in the direction of the door. "it clearly belongs to your daughter. "The Lord be thanked!" cried the old woman. but more especially when he has the drink. Some pragmatical seventeenth century lawyer. instead of the man of violence whom we expected. That's the ring." "And what may your address be?" I inquired. dropping another curtsey. I glanced at my companion. and there was a feeble tap at the door. A look of surprise passed over the face of my companion as he listened to it. 20 . and the sharp click of the latch as she opened it. "Put your pistol in your pocket. Leave the rest to me." he said. in obedience to a sign from my companion. hurriedly. We could not hear the servant's reply. "Come in. I suppose." I cried. Charles' head was still firm on his shoulders when this little brown-backed volume was struck off. "I'll follow her. We heard the servant pass along the hall. Duncan Street. but when on shore. Watson live here?" asked a clear but rather harsh voice." I interrupted. The old woman faced round and looked keenly at him from her little red-rimmed eyes." she said. whoever he may have been." he remarked. "The gentleman asked me for my address. He returned in a few seconds enveloped in an ulster and a cravat. as was married only this time twelvemonth. That will do. what with the women and what with liquor shops——" "Here is your ring. Don't frighten him by looking at him too hard." "Who is the printer?" "Philippe de Croy. and his face had assumed such a disconsolate expression that it was all I could do to keep my countenance. too.

" I was certainly feeling very weary. Now. Each had a long account of the affair. besides being an incomparable actor. and hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. I had no idea how long he might be. and an active one. and will lead me to him.' she cried. for she sang it out loud enough to be heard at the other side of the street. the Marchioness de Brinvilliers. and I heard the footsteps of the maid as they pattered off to bed. and some had leaders upon it in addition. Take my advice and turn in. Eleven. infringed their unwritten laws. and the Ratcliff Highway murders. I hopped off before we came to the door." I thought to myself. Doctor. and strolled down the street in an easy. "We were the old women to be so taken in. and long into the watches of the night I heard the low. "I have chaffed them so much that they would never have let me hear the end of it. 'Drive to 13. "or else he will be led now to the heart of the mystery. named Keswick. sharply. too. bound for the same destination. That creature had gone a little way when she began to limp and show every sign of being foot-sore. and having seen her safely inside. It was close upon twelve before I heard the sharp sound of his latch-key. but has friends who are ready to risk something for him." he cried. aqua tofana. I perched myself behind. and giving vent to the finest assorted collection of oaths that ever I listened to. and never drew rein until we reached the street in question. I left Holmes seated in front of the smouldering fire. I still retain in my scrap-book numerous clippings and extracts bearing upon the case. and that no one of the name either of Sawyer or Dennis had ever been heard of there. The driver jumped down. I managed to be close to her so as to hear the address. melancholy wailings of his violin. 21 . Houndsditch. The get-up was inimitable. and been tracked down by them. feeble old woman was able to get out of the cab while it was in motion. the principles of Malthus. "that that tottering. Duncan Street. and I fear it will be some time before he gets his fare. for I felt that sleep was impossible until I heard the result of his adventure. That's an art which every detective should be an expert at. "Oh." There was no need for him to ask me to wait up for him. Wait up for me. the Darwinian theory. without either you or the driver seeing her?" "Old woman be damned!" said Sherlock Holmes. When I reached him he was groping about frantically in the empty cab. Presently she came to a halt. until the former suddenly carried the day. There was no sign or trace of his passenger. CHAPTER VI TOBIAS GREGSON SHOWS WHAT HE CAN DO THE papers next day were full of the "Brixton Mystery."she must be an accomplice." as they termed it. and the sinister inscription on the wall. It must have been a young man. all pointed to its perpetration by political refugees and revolutionists." Ten o'clock passed. I saw the cab pull up. Looking through the window I could see her walking feebly along the other side. Amusement and chagrin seemed to be struggling for the mastery. This begins to look genuine. Nothing came out though. dropping into his chair. no doubt. and the deceased had. and I saw him open the door and stand expectantly. On inquiring at Number 13 we found that the house belonged to a respectable paperhanger. The instant he entered I saw by his face that he had not been successful. "I wouldn't have the Scotland Yarders know it for the world. you are looking done-up. but I need not have been so anxious. I can afford to laugh. I thought. while her pursuer dogged her some little distance behind." "What is it then?" I asked. "Either his whole theory is incorrect. The German name of the victim. There was some information in them which was new to me." "You don't mean to say. He saw that he was followed. Well. Carbonari. and he burst into a hearty laugh. but I sat stolidly puffing at my pipe and skipping over the pages of Henri Murger's "Vie de Bohème. and knew that he was still pondering over the strange problem which he had set himself to unravel. away we rattled. the article concluded by admonishing the Government and advocating a closer watch over foreigners in England. no doubt. I don't mind telling a story against myself. because I know that I will be even with them in the long run." The hall door had hardly slammed behind our visitor before Holmes had descended the stair. in amazement. so I obeyed his injunction. and used this means of giving me the slip. After alluding airily to the Vehmgericht. The Socialists had many branches in America. the absence of all other motive. and the more stately tread of the landlady passed my door. lounging way. It was close upon nine when he set out. It shows that the man we are after is not as lonely as I imagined he was. 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." I cried.

You must keep on until you do. Lestrade and Mr. Stangerson." said one of the youths. and departed to Euston Station with the avowed intention of catching the Liverpool express. He had stayed at the boarding-house of Madame Charpentier. or how he met his fate.'" "What on earth is this?" I cried. 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. in Torquay Terrace. I know. it doesn't matter in the least. Every effort should be made to find the secretary. if he escapes. "Now. the 4th inst." "Oh. "In future you shall send up Wiggins alone to report. It's heads I win and tails you lose. "Yes. Yes. discovered in an empty house in the Brixton Road. 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. It is merely a matter of time. Gregson. Gregson of Scotland Yard. Joseph Stangerson. are questions which are still involved in mystery. "I told you that. Sherlock Holmes and I read these notices over together at breakfast. They are as sharp as needles. sir. off you go. They were afterwards seen together upon the platform. we hain't. and come back with a better report next time. How he came there. gravely. 'Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l'admire." He waved his hand. and the six dirty little scoundrels stood in a line like so many disreputable statuettes. Whatever they do. are both engaged upon the case. Drebber's body was." "Is it on this Brixton case that you are employing them?" I asked. Among these men there was a stringent code of honour. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of Stangerson. "It's the Baker Street division of the detective police force. and to ascertain some particulars of the habits of the deceased. accompanied by audible expressions of disgust upon the part of our landlady. and burst into our sitting-room. and the rest of you must wait in the street. "There's more work to be got out of one of those little beggars than out of a dozen of the force. all they want is organisation. for at this moment there came the pattering of many steps in the hall and on the stairs. Lestrade and Gregson would be sure to score. Have you found it. Bound for us. and we heard their shrill voices next moment in the street. and the consequent weakening of all authority. it will be in spite of their exertions. three steps at a time." 13 He handed each of them a shilling. they will have followers.The Standard commented upon the fact that lawless outrages of the sort usually occurred under a Liberal Administration. he is stopping. The Daily News observed that there was no doubt as to the crime being a political one. "'Tention!" cried Holmes. and they scampered away downstairs like so many rats. too. in a sharp tone." said my companion. Here are your wages. go everywhere and hear everything. The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental Governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone. The deceased was an American gentleman who had been residing for some weeks in the Metropolis. "I hardly expected you would. whatever happened. Camberwell. it will be on account of their exertions. many miles from Euston.. 22 . 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. and in a few seconds the fair-haired detective came up the stairs. bless you. "The mere sight of an official-looking person seals men's lips. We are glad to learn that Mr. Mr. as recorded. of Scotland Yard. however. If the man is caught. and they appeared to afford him considerable amusement. These youngsters. He was accompanied in his travels by his private secretary." Holmes remarked. and it is confidently anticipated that these well-known officers will speedily throw light upon the matter. There he is!" There was a violent peal at the bell. The two bade adieu to their landlady upon Tuesday. any infringement of which was punished by death. there is a point which I wish to ascertain." "That depends on how it turns out. Nothing more is known of them until Mr. They arose from the unsettling of the minds of the masses. Wiggins?" "No.

you understand. Not so much bodily exertion. wringing Holmes' unresponsive hand. "And how did you get your clue?" "Ah." "You do me too much honour." he cried. 23 ." he said. "I found her very pale and distressed. "you should never neglect a chance. Drebber. Torquay Terrace. Then suddenly he slapped his thigh in a paroxysm of amusement." cried Gregson." The idea tickled Gregson so much that he laughed until he choked. too—an uncommonly fine girl she is. "that that fool Lestrade. "The fun of it is. I went to Underwood." Gregson looked quite crest-fallen. I began to smell a rat. That didn't escape my notice. Camberwell Road. who had no more to do with the crime than the babe unborn. and relaxed into a smile." "Smart—very smart!" murmured Sherlock Holmes. "congratulate me! I have made the whole thing as clear as day. You will appreciate that. nothing is little. Thus I got at his address. gravely. Doctor Watson. He looked over his books. however small it may seem. residing at Charpentier's Boarding Establishment. Her daughter was in the room." continued the detective."My dear fellow. this is strictly between ourselves. for we are both brain-workers. pompously. Of course. "Do you mean that you are on the right track?" he asked." The detective seated himself in the arm-chair. and puffed complacently at his cigar." "And his name is?" "Arthur Charpentier. and asked him if he had sold a hat of that size and description." A shade of anxiety seemed to me to cross my companion's expressive face. "Take a seat. "We are anxious to know how you managed it. Sherlock Holmes gave a sigh of relief." the detective answered." "To a great mind. I have no doubt that he has caught him by this time. and try one of these cigars." said Holmes. she was looking red about the eyes and her lips trembled as I spoke to her." "Ha!" cried Gregson. "Let us hear how you arrived at this most gratifying result. in a relieved voice. I'll tell you all about it. "Well. "The right track! Why. That is not Tobias Gregson's way of going to work. sententiously. "I next called upon Madame Charpentier. we have the man under lock and key. has gone off upon the wrong track altogether." remarked Holmes. Mr. Some people would have waited until their advertisements were answered. "The tremendous exertions which I have gone through during the last day or two have worn me out. rubbing his fat hands and inflating his chest. Sherlock Holmes. and came on it at once. Mr. "I had no idea that you noticed that. as the strain upon the mind. 129. You remember the hat beside the dead man?" "Yes. He had sent the hat to a Mr. who thinks himself so smart. "by John Underwood and Sons. Will you have some whiskey and water?" "I don't mind if I do." he cried. or until parties came forward and volunteered information. sub-lieutenant in Her Majesty's navy. You know the feeling." said Holmes. too. "Have you been there?" "No. The first difficulty which we had to contend with was the finding of this American's antecedents. sir. He is after the secretary Stangerson." he said.

I acted for the best. Enoch J. and spoke to her more than once in a way which. They were paying a pound a day each—fourteen pounds a week. said that there were two trains—one at 9. showing that that had been their last stopping place. "'No good can ever come of falsehood. 'Have you heard of the mysterious death of your late boarder Mr.' she said. she is too innocent to understand. Stangerson. and I gave him notice to leave on account of it. 'I will tell you all. I noticed a "Copenhagen" label upon each of their trunks. you do not know how much we know of it. and then the daughter spoke in a calm clear voice. I grudged to lose the money. Besides. I am sorry to say. Alice!' cried her mother. "There was silence for a moment. I felt more than ever that these people knew something of the matter. 'Half-confidences are worse than none. This last was too much. Alice. after twelve o'clock in the day he could hardly ever be said to be sober. Stangerson.' "'On your head be it. however. sir. Drebber again.' "'It is your wisest course.' "Mrs. turning to me. of Cleveland?' I asked. 'I suppose that you can get rid of your boarders when you wish. if your son is innocent he will be none the worse. 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.' "'Your best way is to make a clean breast of the facts. Having once decided to speak. She didn't seem able to get out a word.15 and one at 11. you had better leave us together. Worst of all. He was coarse in his habits and brutish in his ways. gulping in her throat to keep down her agitation. and. and this is the slack season.' she continued. Stangerson was a quiet reserved man. We did see Mr. 'But it was a sore temptation. That was the reason of his going. "'Mr. but since my poor daughter has disclosed it I have no alternative.' "'Well?' 24 . Drebber leave your house for the train?' I asked. 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.' she said. 'Let us be frank with this gentleman.' I asked.' she said.' "'But why did you stand all this. 'Now.' she said. "'You had best tell me all about it now. Charpentier blushed at my pertinent question. My dread is. I will tell you all without omitting any particular. The daughter burst into tears.' "'Arthur would rather that we spoke the truth. that in your eyes and in the eyes of others he may appear to be compromised.' the girl answered firmly. and my boy in the Navy has cost me much. He was to catch the first. Mr. I am a widow. 'His secretary.' I answered. Alice. throwing up her hands and sinking back in her chair. That however is surely impossible. and her daughter withdrew. Mr. fortunately. his profession.' I said. 'Depend upon it. His manners towards the maid-servants were disgustingly free and familiar. Her features turned perfectly livid. He is utterly innocent of it.' "'God forgive you!' cried Madame Charpentier. his antecedents would all forbid it. The very night of his arrival he became very much the worse for drink. Drebber. and then.' said I. he speedily assumed the same attitude towards my daughter. His high character. when you come upon the right scent—a kind of thrill in your nerves. "'At what o'clock did Mr.Sherlock Holmes. but his employer. 'I had no intention of telling you all this. "'At eight o'clock. It was some seconds before she could get out the single word 'Yes'—and when it did come it was in a husky unnatural tone. "'And was that the last which you saw of him?' "A terrible change came over the woman's face as I asked the question.' "'Perhaps. 'Would to God that I had given him notice on the very day that he came. indeed. was far otherwise. had been travelling on the Continent. He and his secretary. Drebber has been with us nearly three weeks. mother. however. 'You have murdered your brother. "The mother nodded. sir.

" "What is your theory." he said. in less than an hour there was a ring at the bell. but come along with me now straight away. Drebber's mysterious death. Alas. and I learned that Mr. and made some incoherent remark about having missed his train. The next morning we heard of Mr. "I will just go after him and see what he does with himself. "I saw that the whole case hung upon one point. It was a stout oak cudgel. I asked her at what hour her son returned." With those words he took his hat and started off down the street.' "'So your son was gone at least two hours?' "'Yes. What happened then I do not know. then?" 25 ."'My heart grew light when I saw him drive away." "It's quite exciting. Fixing her with my eye in a way which I always found effective with women. At times she spoke so low that I could hardly catch the words. I made shorthand notes of all that she said. Never mind the old girl here. with a yawn. "'Not know?' "'No. he has a latch-key.' "'Possibly four or five?' "'Yes.' "'When did you go to bed?' "'About eleven. "and there is no law to stop you. I heard oaths and the confused sounds of a scuffle. however. When I touched him on the shoulder and warned him to come quietly with us. "Of course after that there was nothing more to be done. "I don't think that fine fellow will trouble us again. and he is passionately fond of his sister. When I did look up I saw Arthur standing in the doorway laughing. turning white to her very lips. so that his alluding to it had a most suspicious aspect. for his temper is violent." the detective continued." "Very. You shall live like a princess." Poor Alice was so frightened that she shrunk away from him." said Holmes. 'I suppose you are arresting me for being concerned in the death of that scoundrel Drebber. where I was sitting with my daughter. he answered us as bold as brass. but I did not tell him anything of all this. Charpentier paused. My son is on leave just now. We had said nothing to him about it." he said. I have money enough and to spare. "What happened next?" "When Mrs. He forced his way into the room. When I closed the door behind them a load seemed to be lifted from my mind. I found out where Lieutenant Charpentier was. and at that moment my son Arthur came into the room. and before my very face. He then turned to Alice. and he let himself in. "You are of age.' he said. took two officers with me.' she answered. I screamed. Drebber had returned. He was much excited.' "This statement came from Mrs. with a stick in his hand. proposed to her that she should fly with him. I was too terrified to raise my head." said Sherlock Holmes. "'I do not know.' "'What was he doing during that time?' "'I do not know. so that there should be no possibility of a mistake. Charpentier's lips with many gasps and pauses.' "'After you went to bed?' "'Yes. and arrested him. "He still carried the heavy stick which the mother described him as having with him when he followed Drebber. and evidently the worse for drink. but he caught her by the wrist and endeavoured to draw her towards the door.' she answered.

When there. and then to hang about the station again next morning. "I seem to have dropped into a sort of council of war. "Would you mind letting us know what you have seen and done?" "I have no objection. by Jove. I think the whole case fits together uncommonly well. while his clothes were disarranged and untidy. wanting. "I freely confess that I was of the opinion that Stangerson was concerned in the death of Drebber. who had ascended the stairs while we were talking. I argued that if Drebber and his companion had become separated. Joseph Stangerson. giving a description of the man. and took a long walk with him. Gregson. taking a chair. Lestrade!" cried Gregson. As to the candle. that we were all three fairly dumfoundered. they may all be so many tricks to throw the police on to the wrong scent." "Ah. We shall make something of you yet. you are getting along." he said at last—"a most incomprehensible affair." "We have been hearing Gregson's view of the matter." CHAPTER VII LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS THE intelligence with which Lestrade greeted us was so momentous and so unexpected. I am afraid he won't make much of 15 Why. seating himself. and what had become of him afterwards. "Stangerson too!" he muttered. At two in the morning Drebber had been found in the Brixton Road." said Lestrade gravely. in the course of which Drebber received a blow from the stick. who had started off upon the wrong scent. I telegraphed to Liverpool. and the ring. On being asked where this old shipmate lived. "I have just come from his room. You see. in which he said that after following Drebber some time. "was murdered at Halliday's Private Hotel about six o'clock this morning. you find it so. a fresh altercation arose between them." "I flatter myself that I have managed it rather neatly. I then set to work calling upon all the hotels and lodging-houses in the vicinity of Euston. here's the very man himself!" It was indeed Lestrade. Have you managed to find the Secretary." Holmes observed." "Are you—are you sure of this piece of intelligence?" stammered Gregson. I set myself to find out what had become of the Secretary." "Well done!" said Holmes in an encouraging voice." 26 . so Charpentier dragged the body of his victim into the empty house." the detective answered proudly. Mr. Full of the one idea. triumphantly. "The plot thickens." Lestrade answered. "I was the first to discover what had occurred. I stared in silence at Sherlock Holmes. "This is a most extraordinary case. "Really. and the writing on the wall. Mr. whose lips were compressed and his brows drawn down over his eyes. "The young man volunteered a statement. for on perceiving his colleague he appeared to be embarrassed and put out. What amuses me is to think of Lestrade. "I thought you would come to that conclusion. They had been seen together at Euston Station about half-past eight on the evening of the third. On his way home he met an old shipmate. which killed him without leaving any mark. my theory is that he followed Drebber as far as the Brixton Road. Joseph Stangerson?" "The Secretary." said Lestrade. in the pit of the stomach." grumbled Lestrade. however.30 and the time of the crime. perhaps. the latter perceived him. fumbling nervously with his hat and uncertain what to do. His face was disturbed and troubled."Well. The night was so wet that no one was about." "It was quite thick enough before. and warning them to keep a watch upon the American boats. This fresh development has shown me that I was completely mistaken. He had evidently come with the intention of consulting with Sherlock Holmes. and who now entered the room. and took a cab in order to get away from him. The question which confronted me was to find out how Stangerson had been employed between 8. Gregson sprang out of his chair and upset the remainder of his whiskey and water. Mr. the natural course for the latter would be to put up somewhere in the vicinity for the night. He stood in the centre of the room. and the blood. The assurance and jauntiness which generally marked his demeanour and dress were. he was unable to give any satisfactory reply.

Whatever the motives of these extraordinary crimes. He noticed that a ladder. And now comes the strangest part of the affair. robbery is certainly not one of them. He wished to be called at nine. written in letters of blood." remarked Holmes. The Boots volunteered to show me the room: it was on the second floor. for his limbs were rigid and cold. and beside the window. "So it proved. "'No doubt you are the gentleman whom he was expecting. and his pipe was on a chair beside him. and was dressed in a long. "The word RACHE. and had been for some time. he looked back and saw a man descend the ladder.' "'Where is he now?' I asked. There was something so methodical and so incomprehensible about the deeds of this unknown assassin. He has an impression that the man was tall. He was quite dead. beyond thinking in his own mind that it was early for him to be at work. What do you suppose was above the murdered man?" I felt a creeping of the flesh. and at eight o'clock I reached Halliday's Private Hotel.' I said. Stangerson had Drebber's purse in his pocket. "The man was seen. From under the door there curled a little red ribbon of blood. and containing the words.' they said. the Boots recognized him at once as being the same gentleman who had engaged the room under the name of Joseph Stangerson. passing on his way to the dairy. had a reddish face. The man's novel. however. He nearly fainted when he saw it."They would be likely to agree on some meeting-place beforehand. 'J. for we found bloodstained water in the basin. There was eighty odd pounds in it. "Nothing. where he had washed his hands. Stangerson was living there. which tallied so exactly with his own. dated from Cleveland about a month ago. and knocked it in. "Nothing of any importance. even before Sherlock Holmes answered. and there was a small corridor leading up to it. "A milk boy.' There was no name appended to this message.' "'I will go up and see him at once. and we were all silent for a while. and on the window-sill a small chip ointment box containing a couple of pills. There was a glass of water on the table. and marks on the sheets where he had deliberately wiped his knife. He came down so quietly and openly that the boy imagined him to be some carpenter or joiner at work in the hotel. "It seemed to me that my sudden appearance might shake his nerves and lead him to say something unguarded. they at once answered me in the affirmative. My nerves." said Lestrade. The window of the room was open. that it imparted a fresh ghastliness to his crimes. which were steady enough on the field of battle tingled as I thought of it. After passing. "'He is upstairs in bed. There were no papers or memoranda in the murdered man's pocket. H. but it seems that this was usual. and was about to go downstairs again when I saw something that made me feel sickish." 27 . On my enquiry as to whether a Mr. with which he had read himself to sleep was lying upon the bed." he said. no trace of exultation or satisfaction upon his face. I spent the whole of yesterday evening in making enquiries entirely without avail. and a presentiment of coming horror. in spite of my twenty years' experience. but we put our shoulders to it. 'He has been waiting for a gentleman for two days. which must have penetrated the heart." I glanced at Holmes on hearing the description of the murderer. He must have stayed in the room some little time after the murder. in Little George Street. is in Europe." continued Lestrade. He took no particular notice of him. "Did you find nothing in the room which could furnish a clue to the murderer?" he asked. which was wide open. I gave a cry. which had meandered across the passage and formed a little pool along the skirting at the other side. The Boots pointed out the door to me. "That was it. The door was locked on the inside. There was. all huddled up. in an awe-struck voice. which usually lay there. happened to walk down the lane which leads from the mews at the back of the hotel. lay the body of a man in his nightdress. as he did all the paying. was raised against one of the windows of the second floor. which brought the Boots back. except a single telegram." "And there was nothing else?" Holmes asked. When we turned him over. but nothing had been taken. The cause of death was a deep stab in the left side. This morning I began very early. brownish coat.

" As he spoke he turned the contents of the wine glass into a saucer and placed it in front of the terrier. "I have now in my hands." 28 . It's laboured breathing and glazing eye showed that it was not far from its end. Sherlock Holmes' earnest demeanour had so far convinced us that we all sat in silence. of course. intending to have them put in a place of safety at the Police Station. "The last link. Could you lay your hand upon those pills?" "I have them. I placed it upon a cushion on the rug. as if I had seen them with my own eyes. "Precisely so." answered Holmes. You perceive that our friend. drummed his fingers upon the table. "are those ordinary pills?" They certainly were not. and the other was entirely harmless. The very pills which I suspected in the case of Drebber are actually found after the death of Stangerson." said Lestrade. The dog continued to lie stretched upon tho 16 cushion. cut the other pill in two. Doctor. The other half I will place in this wine glass. by no means displeased at this check which he had met. my friend. I will give you a proof of my knowledge. and drawing his penknife he suited the action to the word. small. the Doctor. So great was his emotion. round. and on presenting it to the dog we find that he laps it up readily enough. and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. watching the animal intently. for I am bound to say that I do not attach any importance to them. breathing in a laboured way. and that it readily dissolves. but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught. I shall now add a little milk to make the mixture palatable. producing a small white box. "I will now cut one of these pills in two. The unfortunate creature's tongue seemed hardly to have been moistened in it before it gave a convulsive shiver in every limb. "It can't be a coincidence. in the injured tone of one who suspects that he is being laughed at. I ought to have known that before ever I saw the box at all. added milk. None such appeared. It is impossible! And yet this wretched dog is none the worse." he said.Sherlock Holmes sprang from his chair with an exclamation of delight." said Holmes. and showed every other symptom of acute impatience. "Now. it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation. from the time that Drebber parted from Stangerson at the station. at last springing from his chair and pacing wildly up and down the room. Holmes had taken out his watch. however." he cried. "I cannot see. patience! You will find in time that it has everything to do with it. and lay as rigid and lifeless as if it had been struck by lightning." I went downstairs and carried the dog upstair in my arms. Indeed. "all the threads which have formed such a tangle. however. an expression of the utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his features. confidently. "it is impossible that it should be a mere coincidence. I should imagine that they are soluble in water. What can it mean? Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot have been false. And yet they are inert. who speedily licked it dry. Joseph Stangerson. "I took them and the purse and the telegram. up to the discovery of the body of the latter. and expecting some startling effect. Sherlock Holmes drew a long breath. but I am as certain of all the main facts. "I ought to know by this time that when a fact appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions." "Patience. "From their lightness and transparency. and as minute followed minute without result. They were of a pearly grey colour." he cried. details to be filled in." "Give them here. He gnawed his lip." I remarked. what it has to do with the death of Mr. while the two detectives smiled derisively. I have it! I have it!" With a perfect shriek of delight he rushed to the box. There are. its snow-white muzzle proclaimed that it had already exceeded the usual term of canine existence. and almost transparent against the light. "Now would you mind going down and fetching that poor little devil of a terrier which has been bad so long. exultantly." The two detectives stared at him in amazement. "My case is complete. dissolved it. in which is a teaspoonful of water." said Lestrade. and which the landlady wanted you to put out of its pain yesterday. Of the two pills in that box one was of the most deadly poison. "I should have more faith. Ah." my companion said. "One half we return into the box for future purposes. that I felt sincerely sorry for him." turning to me. It was the merest chance my taking these pills. and presented it to the terrier." "This may be very interesting. is right." said Holmes.

"we are all ready to acknowledge that you are a smart man. however. There was the dead dog." remarked Lestrade. This I expect very shortly to do. and that is why I have not asked your assistance. sir. I am bound to say that I consider these men to be more than a match for the official force. It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. compared with the power of laying our hands upon him. blandly. You have thrown out hints here. Mr. Neither of them had time to speak. touching his forelock." continued Holmes. Hence things which have perplexed you and made the case more obscure." said Holmes." he said at last. As long as this man has no idea that anyone can have a clue there is some chance of securing him. who had listened to this address with considerable impatience. have served to enlighten me and to strengthen my conclusions. sir. "The cabman may as well help me with my boxes. to prove that his conjecture had been correct. He was busily engaged at it when the cabman entered the room. incur all the blame due to this omission. and this he pulled out and began to strap." he said." I was surprised to find my companion speaking as though he were about to set out on a journey. I shall do so. but if he had the slightest suspicion. introduced his insignificant and unsavoury person. Lestrade went after his man. They fasten in an instant. but it is a thing which needs delicate handling. and. It seemed to me that the mists in my own mind were gradually clearing away." he said. far from making the case more difficult." I observed. as was his habit when lost in thought. "might give him time to perpetrate some fresh atrocity. by another who is as clever as himself." Mr. "if we can only find the man to put them on. young Wiggins. and that you have your own methods of working. smiling. very good. of course. It is a case of taking the man. I have good hopes of managing it through my own arrangements." "Very good. "Please. he would change his name. could contain himself no longer. and hints there. indeed. "You can put that consideration out of the question. Can you name the man who did it?" "I cannot help feeling that Gregson is right. and we have both failed. though. and everything which has occurred since then has served to confirm my original supposition. for we have a shrewd and desperate man to deal with. and I began to have a dim. and it seems I was wrong. These strange details. "There will be no more murders. however." "Good boy. I do. was the logical sequence of it. 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." remarked Lestrade." "Any delay in arresting the assassin. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. "Why don't you introduce this pattern at Scotland Yard?" he continued. "Look here." "The old pattern is good enough. "We have both tried. I had the good fortune to seize upon that. stopping abruptly and facing us." Gregson and Lestrade seemed to be far from satisfied by this assurance. or by the depreciating allusion to the detective police.This last statement appeared to me to be so startling. He continued to walk up and down the room with his head sunk on his chest and his brows drawn down. who is supported. that I could hardly believe that he was in his sober senses. as I have had occasion to prove. since he had not said anything to me about it. "I have the cab downstairs." Thus pressed by us all. Just ask him to step up. 29 . Holmes showed signs of irresolution. however. Surely you will not withhold it any longer. We want something more than mere theory and preaching now. but that I am prepared for. Stangerson. have really had the effect of making it less so. There was a small portmanteau in the room. The mere knowing of his name is a small thing. taking a pair of steel handcuffs from a drawer. Young Charpentier could not have been engaged in this second affair. while the other's beady eyes glistened with curiosity and resentment. Without meaning to hurt either of your feelings. I have made my case out. At present I am ready to promise that the instant that I can communicate with you without endangering my own combinations. "See how beautifully the spring works. and seem to know more than we do. The former had flushed up to the roots of his flaxen hair." said Holmes. Sherlock Holmes. Wiggins. and vanish in an instant among the four million inhabitants of this great city. "All this seems strange to you. and it appears that he was wrong too. Gregson. If I fail I shall. You have remarked more than once since I have been in the room that you had all the evidence which you require. vague perception of the truth. "because you failed at the beginning of the inquiry to grasp the importance of the single real clue which was presented to you. You have asked me if I know the name of the assassin. 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. before there was a tap at the door. and the spokesman of the street Arabs.

of Holmes' triumphant expression and the ring of his voice. At that instant there was a sharp click. and Holmes sprang upon him like so many staghounds. savage face. and then commenced a terrific conflict. The fellow came forward with a somewhat sullen. And now. and even then we felt no security until we had pinioned his feet as well as his hands. His face and hands were terribly mangled by his passage through the glass. that the four of us were shaken off again and again. "we have reached the end of our little mystery." he continued. That done. and hurled himself through the window. "let me introduce you to Mr. and never turning his head. with an inarticulate roar of fury. He was dragged back into the room. Jefferson Hope. Gregson. For a second or two we might have been a group of statues. "We have his cab." The whole thing occurred in a moment—so quickly that I had no time to realize it."Just give me a help with this buckle. Woodwork and glass gave way before him. we rose to our feet breathless and panting. cabman. but loss of blood had no effect in diminishing his resistance. the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmes's grasp. with flashing eyes. You are very welcome to put any questions that you like to me now. He appeared to have the convulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit. and Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet again. defiant air. Then. I have a vivid recollection of that instant. gentlemen. and there is no danger that I will refuse to answer them. So powerful and so fierce was he." 30 ." he said. as he glared at the glittering handcuffs. "It will serve to take him to Scotland Yard. the jangling of metal. and put down his hands to assist." said Sherlock Holmes." he cried. kneeling over his task. but before he got quite through. of the cabman's dazed. with a pleasant smile. the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph Stangerson. Lestrade. It was not until Lestrade succeeded in getting his hand inside his neckcloth and halfstrangling him that we made him realize that his struggles were of no avail. which had appeared as if by magic upon his wrists. "Gentlemen.

That is hardly true. however. brown hair and beard were all flecked and dashed with white. for in lowering it. The former have belonged to oxen. It comprises snow-capped and lofty mountains.PART II The Country of the Saints. and that there. however. the buzzard flaps heavily through the air. which might indicate the presence of moisture. and on to this little elevation. which he had carried slung over his right shoulder. grey earth—above all. North. Looking down on this very scene. a solitary traveller. and examine them! They are bones: some large and coarse. There are swift-flowing rivers which dash through jagged cañons. which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilisation. Looking down from the Sierra Blanco. and picks up such sustenance as it can amongst the rocks. without a sign anywhere of plant or tree. In the whole world there can be no more dreary view than that from the northern slope of the Sierra Blanco. there is no shadow of a sound in all that mighty wilderness. which hung so baggily over his shrivelled limbs. the common characteristics of barrenness. one sees a pathway traced out across the desert. It is rutted with wheels and trodden down by the feet of many adventurers. It appeared to be somewhat too heavy for his strength. others smaller and more delicate. On the extreme verge of the horizon lie a long chain of mountain peaks. IN the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert. and to find themselves once more upon their prairies. Now the great salt plain stretched before his eyes. In this great stretch of country there is no sign of life. An observer would have found it difficult to say whether he was nearer to forty or to sixty. and stand out against the dull deposit of alkali. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska. which in winter are white with snow. Instantly there broke from the grey parcel a 31 . and intersected by clumps of the dwarfish chaparral bushes. As far as the eye can reach stretches the great flat plain-land. and the brown parchment-like skin was drawn tightly over the projecting bones. which winds away and is lost in the extreme distance. Here and there there are scattered white objects which glisten in the sun. The man was dying—dying from hunger and from thirst. and the latter to men. Nor is Nature always in one mood throughout this grim district. nor of anything appertaining to life. twenty years hence. and misery. all dusted over with patches of alkali. eighteen hundred and forty-seven. Listen as one may. These are the sole dwellers in the wilderness. no movement upon the dull. and the clumsy grizzly bear lumbers through the dark ravines. as he seated himself in the shelter of a boulder. He had toiled painfully down the ravine. on that barren crag. and dark and gloomy valleys. His face was lean and haggard. he leaned upon his weapon for support. with their rugged summits flecked with snow. his long. there stood upon the fourth of May. In all that broad landscape there was no gleam of hope. For fifteen hundred miles one may trace this ghastly caravan route by these scattered remains of those who had fallen by the wayside. and the distant belt of savage mountains. and yet his tall figure and the massive framework of his bones suggested a wiry and vigorous constitution. His appearance was such that he might have been the very genius or demon of the region. Approach. and his clothes. while the hand which grasped his rifle was hardly more fleshy than that of a skeleton. and in summer are grey with the saline alkali dust. and from the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south. is a region of desolation and silence. It has been said there is nothing appertaining to life upon the broad plain. CHAPTER I ON THE GREAT ALKALI PLAIN . They all preserve. and there are enormous plains. and also a large bundle tied up in a grey shawl. There are no inhabitants of this land of despair. it came down on the ground with some little violence. As he stood. but the hardiest of the braves are glad to lose sight of those awesome plains. and then he realized that his wanderings had come to an end. he was about to die. in the vain hope of seeing some signs of water. His gaunt face. Before sitting down. and burned with an unnatural lustre. as well as in a feather bed. his eyes were sunken in his head. There is no bird in the steel-blue heaven. there is absolute silence." he muttered. and east. A band of Pawnees or of Blackfeet may occasionally traverse it in order to reach other hunting-grounds. The coyote skulks among the scrub. nothing but silence—complete and heart-subduing silence. "Why not here. inhospitality. proclaimed what it was that gave him that senile and decrepit appearance. he had deposited upon the ground his useless rifle. and west he looked with wild questioning eyes.

Why. dearie. Water ran out. "No. we reckoned we'd strike another river soon." she said." said the man confidently. scared face." "And you too. compasses. and two little speckled. I was going to tell you though—you remember when we left the river?" "Oh. Say. she 'most always did if she was just goin' over to Auntie's for tea. Where's mother?" "Mother's gone. It ain't easy to talk when your lips is like leather. "Yes. she didn't say good-bye." "Why didn't you say so before?" she said. nor nothing to eat?" "No. laughing gleefully. "Kiss it and make it well. but her healthy arms and legs showed that she had suffered less than her companion. There's an almighty small chance for us now!" "Do you mean that we are going to die too?" asked the child. But there was somethin' wrong. and from it there protruded a small. and a lot of buckwheat cakes. staring up at his grimy visage. he was the fust to go. "You've hurt me!" said a childish voice reproachfully. Just except a little drop for the likes of you and—and——" "And you couldn't wash yourself. and then. and then you'll feel bullier. yes." interrupted his companion gravely. nor drink. shoving 19 the injured part up to him. What's that you've got?" "Pretty things! fine things!" cried the little girl enthusiastically. like Bob and me was fond of. and then Johnny Hones. of course." "Gone. there ain't nothing. "I guess that's about the size of it. with perfect gravity. Put your head up agin me like that. I guess you'll see her before long. so I heaved you over my shoulder and we tramped it together. You'll just need to be patient awhile. And Mr. it's awful dry. eh!" said the little girl. hot. you will. dearie. or somethin'. "Funny. and then Mrs. d'ye see. The child was pale and wan." As he spoke he unwrapped the grey shawl and extricated a pretty little girl of about five years of age. I'll bet she meets us at the door of Heaven with a big pitcher of water." "Yes. or map. "That's what mother used to do." "Then mother's a deader too." the man answered penitently." "You'll see prettier things than them soon. now as long as we die we'll be with mother again. for she was still rubbing the towsy golden curls which covered the back of her head. and now she's been away three days. "How is it now?" he answered anxiously. "When we goes back to home I'll give them to brother Bob. Then I thought there was some chance of water in this direction." "Well. How long will it be first?" 32 . your mother. ain't it? Ain't there no water. "You gave me such a fright. McGregor. and then Indian Pete. and raising her tear-stained face. whose dainty shoes and smart pink frock with its little linen apron all bespoke a mother's care. holding up two glittering fragments of mica. checking her sobs. and toasted on both sides. Bender. "You just wait a bit. "Have I though. with very bright brown eyes. It don't seem as though we've improved matters. and then you'll be all right.little moaning cry. "I didn't go for to do it. dearie. I'll tell her how awful good you've been. dimpled fists." cried the little girl dropping her face in her pinafore and sobbing bitterly. they all went except you and me. but I guess I'd best let you know how the cards lie. and it didn't turn up.

with wondering eyes." she answered. 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. and hardly to be distinguished from the mists of the distance. "To the right of the Sierra Blanco—so we shall reach the Rio Grande. I guess it's never too late. waggons and carts." said her companion."I don't know—not very long. clean-shaven man with grizzly hair. and the apparition revealed itself as being a great caravan upon its journey for the West. The prayer finished. very slight at first. "He made the country down in Illinois. "You've got to put your hands up like this. 33 . On reaching the base of the bluff they halted. Side by side on the narrow shawl knelt the two wanderers. a hard-lipped. For three days and three nights he had allowed himself neither rest nor repose. They forgot the water and the trees. They speedily resolved themselves into three large brown birds. But what a caravan! When the head of it had reached the base of the mountains. my brothers. clad in sombre homespun garments and armed with rifles. the little prattling child and the reckless. nestling upon the broad breast of her protector. and the head sunk lower and lower upon the breast. "Cocks and hens. Her chubby face. and held a short council among themselves. they resumed their seat in the shadow of the boulder until the child fell asleep. You say them out. and his haggard. "It ain't night yet. rather startled by this unexpected question. "I disremember them. It makes you feel kind o' good." said one. it was not sufficient to rouse the two tired wayfarers above them." he answered. In the blue vault of the heaven there had appeared three little specks which increased in size every moment. Loud as it was. while the two voices—the one thin and clear. "I hain't said none since I was half the height o' that gun. Right across the enormous plain stretched the straggling array. and clapping her hands to make them rise. and He made the Missouri. the canvas-covered tilts of waggons and the figures of armed horsemen began to show up through the haze. This was evidently no ordinary party of immigrants. "It don't matter. Had the wanderer remained awake for another half hour a strange sight would have met his eyes. They were buzzards. It ain't quite regular. but gradually growing higher and broader until it formed a solid. the other deep and harsh—united in the entreaty for mercy and forgiveness." she said. men on horseback. and children who toddled beside the waggons or peeped out from under the white coverings." "What would ye think of offering up prayer?" the man asked diffidently. Slowly the eyelids drooped over the tired eyes. angular visage were both turned up to the cloudless heaven in heartfelt entreaty to that dread being with whom they were face to face. Far away on the extreme verge of the alkali plain there rose up a little spray of dust. the rear was not yet visible on the horizon." It was a strange sight had there been anything but the buzzards to see it. but Nature proved to be too strong for him. "The wells are to the right. but rather some nomad people who had been compelled from stress of circumstances to seek themselves a new country. whose coming is the forerunner of death. so rapidly did they approach." cried the little girl gleefully. and me too." said another." "Why don't you say some yourself?" the child asked. This was obviously impossible in these arid wilds. At the head of the column there rode a score or more of grave ironfaced men. This cloud continued to increase in size until it became evident that it could only be raised by a great multitude of moving creatures. and then settled upon some rocks which overlooked them. and both slept the same deep and dreamless slumber. He watched over her slumber for some time. you bet." The man's eyes were fixed upon the northern horizon. and I'll stand by and come in on the choruses. "I guess somebody else made the country in these parts. until the man's grizzled beard was mixed with the gold tresses of his companion." "Then you'll need to kneel down. Innumerable women who staggered along under burdens." the little girl continued. and men on foot. There rose through the clear air a confused clattering and rumbling from this great mass of humanity. laying the shawl out for that purpose. hardened adventurer. with the creaking of wheels and the neighing of horses. but He won't mind that. pointing at their ill-omened forms. which circled over the heads of the two wanderers. It's not nearly so well done. As the whirl of dust drew nearer to the solitary bluff upon which the two castaways were reposing. did God make this country?" "In course He did. welldefined cloud. "Say. the vultures of the west. You say over them ones that you used to say every night in the waggon when we was on the Plains.

" said the elderly man who appeared to be in command." said the other sternly. The cries of the foul birds awoke the two sleepers who stared about 20 them in bewilderment. "me and that little un are all that's left o' twenty-one people. The man staggered to his feet and looked down upon the plain which had been so desolate when sleep had overtaken him. showing up hard and bright against the grey rocks behind." "Is she your child?" asked someone. sunburned rescuers. No man will take her from me. long-bearded and hard-featured." "I never heard tell on him." 34 . as though overcome with astonishment. His placid face and regular breathing showed that he was fast asleep. One of them seized the little girl. From its summit there fluttered a little wisp of pink. at the sight of the new comers uttered raucous screams of disappointment and flapped sullenly away. In a moment the young fellows had dismounted." cried a dozen voices. Her rosy lips were parted." said one of the young men." cried a third. The watchers from the plain below could see them flit from rock to rock until their figures stood out against the skyline." the Elder answered. They advanced rapidly and noiselessly. offered a strange contrast to the long shriveled members of her companion." "Do not jest at that which is sacred. "My name is John Ferrier. but of an excessive thinness. We have come from Nauvoo. The child stood beside him. "This is what they call delirium. though?" he continued. with the confidence and dexterity of practised scouts. "We have passed the Pawnees. even though it be the heart of the desert. "I guess she is now. Suddenly his followers saw him throw up his hands. and hoisted her upon his shoulder. Who are you. and on joining him they were affected in the same way by the sight which met their eyes. 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. Beside him lay a little child. while two others supported her gaunt companion. On the little plateau which crowned the barren hill there stood a single giant boulder." he muttered. The rescuing party was speedily able to convince the two castaways that their appearance was no delusion. "there seems to be a powerful lot of ye." "Nigh upon ten thousand. who. in the State of Illinois. At the sight there was a general reining up of horses and unslinging of guns." the wanderer explained. The rest is all dead o' thirst and hunger away down in the south. showing the regular line of snow-white teeth within. and assisted him towards the waggons. The word 'Redskins' was on every lip. Brother Stangerson. and there are no other tribes until we cross the great mountains. defiantly. glancing with curiosity at his stalwart. She's Lucy Ferrier from this day on." the other cried. and he passed his boney hand over his eyes. and against this boulder there lay a tall man. "Leave your horses below and we will await you here. where we had founded our temple. drawn in Egyptian letters on plates of beaten gold. On the ledge of rock above this strange couple there stood three solemn buzzards. Her plump little white legs terminating in white socks and neat shoes with shining buckles." "Shall I go forward and see. and were ascending the precipitous slope which led up to the object which had excited their curiosity. with her round white arms encircling his brown sinewy neck. holding on to the skirt of his coat. and a playful smile played over her infantile features. and her golden haired head resting upon the breast of his velveteen tunic. "He who could draw it from the rocks will not now abandon His own chosen people." said the wanderer. "There can't be any number of Injuns here." "and I. "We are of those who believe in those sacred writings. fastened their horses. and said nothing but looked all round her with the wondering questioning gaze of childhood. "He appears to have chosen a fair crowd of ye. We have come to seek a refuge from the violent man and from the godless. which were handed unto the holy Joseph Smith at Palmyra. and which was now traversed by this enormous body of men and of beasts. "And I."Fear not for water. The young man who had first given the alarm was leading them. while fresh horsemen came galloping up to reinforce the vanguard." "Amen! Amen!" responded the whole party. "she's mine 'cause I saved her. His face assumed an expression of incredulity as he gazed. "we are the persecuted children of God—the chosen of the Angel Merona." asked one of the band. I guess.

planting and clearing. and that these virgin acres were to be theirs for evermore. 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. and anxious earnest-eyed men. Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful administrator as well as a resolute chief. "If we take you with us. Then he turned to the two castaways. at most. remember that now and for ever you are of our religion. the great temple which they had erected in the centre of the city grew ever taller and larger. and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith. on to Zion!" "On. Many were the cries of astonishment and of commiseration which arose from them when they perceived the youth of one of the strangers and the destitution of the other." he said. as if by magic. in solemn words. strong laughing children. "In a few days you will have recovered from your fatigues. or. "it can only be as believers in our own creed. and disease—every impediment which Nature could place in the way. From the first blush of dawn until the closing of the twilight. Brother Stangerson. on to Zion!" cried the crowd of Mormons. In the meantime." he said. whereas the others were furnished with two. Beside the driver there sat a man who could not have been more than thirty years of age. Maps were drawn and charts prepared. Forward! On. 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. He shall say what is to be done with you. Will you come with us on these terms?" "Guess I'll come with you on any terms. the clatter of the hammer and the rasp of 35 ." "We are the Mormons. The hand of God is leading us under the person of our Prophet. and the savage beast. led them to his waggon. Their escort did not halt. Brigham Young has said it." answered his companions with one voice. With a cracking of whips and a creaking of wheels the great waggons got into motion. where a meal was already awaiting them. with such emphasis that the grave Elders could not restrain a smile. four a-piece. In the country there was draining and hedging. but pushed on. followed by a great crowd of Mormons. All around farms were apportioned and allotted in proportion to the standing of each individual. He was reading a brown-backed volume." said Ferrier. We shall have no wolves in our fold. "you are the Mormons. and the child likewise. The leader alone retained his stern. which is the voice of God." he said. impressive expression. Above all. "I see. "give him food and drink. and learned from the lips of their leader that this was the promised land. until the next summer saw the whole country golden with the wheat crop." CHAPTER II THE FLOWER OF UTAH. The Elder to whose care the two waifs had been committed. The tradesman was put to his trade and the artisan to his calling. "Take him. "And where are you going?" "We do not know. and listened attentively to an account of the episode. and were surrounded by crowds of the pilgrims—pale-faced meek-looking women. THIS is not the place to commemorate the trials and privations endured by the immigrant Mormons before they came to their final haven. in which the future city was sketched out. Six horses were yoked to it. There was not one who did not sink upon his knees in heartfelt prayer when they saw the broad valley of Utah bathed in the sunlight beneath them. thirst.The name of Nauvoo evidently recalled recollections to John Ferrier. The savage man. passing from mouth to mouth until they died away in a dull murmur in the far distance. which was conspicuous for its great size and for the gaudiness and smartness of its appearance. We have delayed long enough." he said. You must come before him. and soon the whole caravan was winding along once more. Yet the long journey and the accumulated terrors had shaken the hearts of the stoutest among them." They had reached the base of the hill by this time. Everything prospered in the strange settlement. In the town streets and squares sprang up. "You shall remain here. Let it be your task also to teach him our holy creed. but whose massive head and resolute expression marked him as a leader. however. hunger. and the words rippled down the long caravan. until they reached a waggon. but as the crowd approached he laid it aside. fatigue. had all been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity.

from the shock caused by her mother's death. It was not the father. He never gave reasons for this persistent refusal. with all the fearlessness of youth. and of a fair-haired girl who had pined away on the shores of the Atlantic. and gained the name of being an orthodox and straight-walking man. There are few who cannot recall that day and remember the one little incident which heralded the dawn of a new life. or met her mounted upon her father's mustang. before the beasts closed in behind her. in nine he was rich. and her step more elastic. and managing it with all the ease and grace of a true child of the West. and even the unemotional Indians. There was one way and only one in which he offended the susceptibilities of his co-religionists. were droves of sheep and bullocks coming in from the outlying pasture lands. So rapidly did he gain the esteem of his new companions. Ferrier remained strictly celibate. her cheek more ruddy. either by accident or design. journeying in with their pelties. again. In the fields and in the streets rose the same hum of human industry.the saw was never absent from the monument which the immigrants erected to Him who had led them safe through many dangers. accompanied the Mormons to the end of their great pilgrimage. She had reached the outskirts of the city when she found the road blocked by a great drove of cattle. and assisted her adopted father in all his undertakings. 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. It was a warm June morning. and of Stangerson. That mysterious change is too subtle and too gradual to be measured by dates. Johnston. keen in his dealings and skilful with his hands. that when they reached the end of their wanderings. Through all this motley assemblage. She had a commission from her father in the City. she soon became a pet with the women. who first discovered that the child had developed into the woman. Whatever the reason. and she learns. The travel-stained adventurers gazed after her in astonishment. driven by a half-dozen wild-looking herdsmen from the plains. So the bud blossomed into a flower. for the gold fever had broken out in California. and reconciled herself to this new life in her moving canvas-covered home. with the elasticity of childhood. that a new and a larger nature has awoken within her. and others who put it down to greed of wealth and reluctance to incur expense. Down the dusty high roads defiled long streams of heavily-laden mules. John Ferrier and the little girl who had shared his fortunes and had been adopted as his daughter. a headstrong forward boy of twelve. Having rallied. men and horses equally weary of their interminable journey. came in violent contact with the flank 36 . Unfortunately the horns of one of the creatures. and in twelve there were not half a dozen men in the whole of Salt Lake City who could compare with him. but contented himself by resolutely and inflexibly adhering to his determination. He was a man of a practical turn of mind. her fair face flushed with the exercise and her long chestnut hair floating out behind her. No argument or persuasion could ever induce him to set up a female establishment after the manner of his companions. The two castaways. all heading to the west. with a mixture of pride and of fear. however. too. It seldom is in such cases. In the meantime Ferrier having recovered from his privations. On the farm thus acquired John Ferrier built himself a substantial log-house. and she found herself completely imbedded in the moving stream of fierce-eyed. which received so many additions in succeeding years that it grew into a roomy villa. In every other respect he conformed to the religion of the young settlement. apart from its future influence on her destiny and that of many besides. in six he was well-to-do. Many a wayfarer upon the high road which ran by Ferrier's farm felt long-forgotten thoughts revive in their mind as they watched her lithe girlish figure tripping through the wheatfields. In the case of Lucy Ferrier the occasion was serious enough in itself. 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. Hence it came about that his farm and all that belonged to him prospered exceedingly. a retreat which she shared with the Mormon's three wives and with his son. and trains of tired immigrants. and Drebber. From the great inland sea to the distant Wahsatch Mountains there was no name better known than that of John Ferrier. In three years he was better off than his neighbours. however. spoke of some early love affair. relaxed their accustomed stoicism as they marvelled at the beauty of the pale-faced maiden. Little Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in Elder Stangerson's waggon. Lucy Ferrier grew up within the log-house. there galloped Lucy Ferrier. 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. Others. There. and the Overland Route lay through the City of the Elect. it was unanimously agreed that he should be provided with as large and as fertile a tract of land as any of the settlers. but took advantage of every opportunity to urge her horse on in the hopes of pushing her way through the cavalcade. and was dashing in as she had done many a time before. Accustomed as she was to deal with cattle. and the Latter Day Saints were as busy as the bees whose hive they have chosen for their emblem. longhorned bullocks. His iron constitution enabled him to work morning and evening at improving and tilling his lands. There were some who accused him of lukewarmness in his adopted religion. In her impatience she endeavoured to pass this obstacle by pushing her horse into what appeared to be a gap. distinguished himself as a useful guide and an indefatigable hunter. she was not alarmed at her situation. threading her way with the skill of an accomplished rider. who were the four principal Elders. As year succeeded to year she grew taller and stronger. Scarcely had she got fairly into it. with the exception of Young himself. Kemball. thinking only of her task and how it was to be performed.

and a trapper. my father and he were pretty thick. "he's awful fond of me. you are a friend now. anyhow. When you see him. John. On such occasions. yet a slip would mean a terrible death under the hoofs of the unwieldy and terrified animals. and many times again. "we've been in the mountains for two months. and could narrate many a strange tale of fortunes made and fortunes lost in those wild. If those cows had jumped on me he'd have never got over it. The situation was full of peril. and clad in the rough dress of a hunter. "I saw you ride down from his house. until his face was a familiar one at the farm-house. He had been a pioneer in California. Louis. He had been accustomed to succeed in all that he undertook. Choked by the rising cloud of dust and by the steam from the struggling creatures. The sight of the fair young girl. and are not over and above in visiting condition. and her grip upon the bridle to relax. "You! Well. I didn't mean that. mounted on a powerful roan horse. but they were assuredly not thrown away upon the man who had won her affections. demurely. The young fellow seemed pleased at the suggestion. her head began to swim. savage-looking young fellow. He swore in his heart that he would not fail in this if human effort and human perseverance could render him successful. He had been a scout too. You must come and see us. I hope. It was all that the girl could do to keep herself in the saddle. and bending over her little hand. miss. fierce passion of a man of strong will and imperious temper. soon brought her to the outskirts. Now I must push along. "I'll do so. In an instant it reared up upon its hind legs with a snort of rage. He soon became a favorite with the old farmer. "I guess you are the daughter of John Ferrier. he realized that a crisis had come in his life. as frank and wholesome as the Sierra breezes. When she had vanished from his sight. and excited it to madness. respectfully. and darted away down the broad road in a rolling cloud of dust. I don't see that it would make much matter to you." she answered." he said. she might have abandoned her efforts in despair. He was a tall." "Neither would I. gloomy and taciturn. "I'm awful frightened. had stirred his volcanic. showed only too clearly that her young heart was no longer her own. Her honest father may not have observed these symptoms. She looked up at his dark. raising his broad sombrero." "He has a good deal to thank you for. Every plunge of the excited horse brought it against the horns again. and in a style which interested Lucy as well as her father. "whoever would have thought that Poncho would have been so scared by a lot of cows?" "Thank God you kept your seat. Unaccustomed to sudden emergencies. She wheeled her mustang round. The love which had sprung up in his heart was not the sudden. 37 . and a ranchman. but rather the wild." the other said earnestly. and absorbed in his work." "Hadn't you better come and ask yourself?" she asked. He had been as keen as any of them upon the business until this sudden incident had drawn his thoughts into another channel." she said. All this Jefferson Hope was able to tell him." said her preserver. He must take us as he finds us. and that neither silver speculations nor any other questions could ever be of such importance to him as this new and all-absorbing one. and laughed saucily. Young Jefferson Hope rode on with his companions. "of course. "There. happy eyes." she said. fierce face. Lucy was silent. and his dark eyes sparkled with pleasure." he remarked. Wherever stirring adventures were to be had. untamed heart to its very depths." The young hunter's dark face grew so gloomy over this remark that Lucy Ferrier laughed aloud. a silver explorer. naively. or father won't trust me with his business any more. but for a kindly voice at her elbow which assured her of assistance. If he's the same Ferrier. and were returning to Salt Lake City in the hope of raising capital enough to work some lodes which they had discovered. and so have I. Jefferson Hope had been there in search of them. cooped up in the valley. and pranced and tossed in a way that would have unseated any but a most skilful rider.of the mustang. He called on John Ferrier that night. He and they had been among the Nevada Mountains prospecting for silver. gave it a cut with her riding-whip. "You're not hurt. You ain't even a friend of ours. At the same moment a sinewy brown hand caught the frightened horse by the curb. and goaded it to fresh madness. and forcing a way through the drove. with a long rifle slung over his shoulders. but her blushing cheek and her bright. halcyon days." said her companion. changeable fancy of a boy. ask him if he remembers the Jefferson Hopes of St. who spoke eloquently of his virtues. Good-bye!" "Good-bye. had had little chance of learning the news of the outside world during the last twelve years." he answered.

wished afterwards to pervert or to abandon it. having embraced the Mormon faith. Lucy. however. There's no one who can stand between us. Not the Inquisition of Seville. there's no more to be said. my own darling—good-bye. "He has given his consent. hoarsely.It was a summer evening when he came galloping down the road and pulled up at the gate." she whispered. and. Such a marriage he regarded as no marriage at all. and persecutors of the most terrible description. that nothing would ever induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon." "Oh. made this organization doubly terrible. At first this vague and terrible power was exercised only upon the recalcitrants who. They are waiting for me at the cañon. Yes. Then she walked back into the house. and polygamy without a female population on which to draw was a barren doctrine indeed. stooping and kissing her. but as a shame and a disgrace. a dangerous matter—so dangerous that even the most saintly dared only whisper their religious opinions with bated breath. well. provided we get these mines working all right. In two months you shall see me. Yet her bright and happy face reconciled him to the arrangement more than any argument could have done. She stood at the gate. Good-bye. galloped furiously away. "It is settled. and yet was neither seen nor heard. Its invisibility. "I won't ask you to come with me now. Strange rumours began to be bandied about—rumours of murdered immigrants and rifled camps 38 . but no father ever returned to tell them how he had fared at the hands of his secret judges. The man who held out against the Church vanished away. and bring down a swift retribution upon them. "I am off." "And how about father?" she asked. It appeared to be omniscient and omnipotent. then. my darling. and gazing tenderly down into her face. and of the impending loss of his adopted child. the happiest girl in all Utah. deep down in his resolute heart. "A couple of months at the outside. but will you be ready to come when I am here again?" "And when will that be?" she asked. with her cheek against his broad breast. Soon. John Ferrier's heart was sore within him when he thought of the young man's return. The victims of persecution had now turned persecutors on their own account. "Thank God!" he said. nor the German Vehm-gericht. and the mystery which was attached to it. and that even in the heart of the wilderness they dared not whisper the doubts which oppressed them. it took a wider range. A rash word or a hasty act was followed by annihilation. and came down to meet him. the harder it will be to go. taking her two hands in his. of course. blushing and laughing. The longer I stay. No wonder that men went about in fear and trembling. flinging himself upon his horse. lest something which fell from their lips might be misconstrued. however." he said. for to express an unorthodox opinion was a dangerous matter in those days in the Land of the Saints. and none knew whither he had gone or what had befallen him. His wife and his children awaited him at home. THREE weeks had passed since Jefferson Hope and his comrades had departed from Salt Lake City. He threw the bridle over the fence and strode up the pathway. were ever able to put a more formidable machinery in motion than that which cast a cloud over the State of Utah. I will come and claim you then. She was at the doorway. as though afraid that his resolution might fail him if he took one glance at what he was leaving." He tore himself from her as he spoke. I have no fear on that head. gazing after him until he vanished from her sight. never even looking round. CHAPTER III JOHN FERRIER TALKS WITH THE PROPHET. if you and father have arranged it all. nor the Secret Societies of Italy. and yet none knew what the nature might be of this terrible power which was suspended over them. He had always determined. upon that one point he was inflexible. Whatever he might think of the Mormon doctrines. The supply of adult women was running short. He had to seal his mouth on the subject.

One fine morning. is a sinister and an ill-omened one. looking round him. for this was none other than the great Brigham Young himself." said the leader of the Mormons. that you should embrace the true faith. and conform in every way to its usages. led you safe to the Chosen Valley. but he played nervously with his riding-whip. Is not this so?" "It is so. it is impossible that you." John Ferrier groaned internally. and we would not have her wed grey hairs. sandy-haired. These tales and rumours took substance and shape. Hence every man feared his neighbour. you have neglected. when he heard the click of the latch. Let her choose between them. that I may greet them. Fresh women appeared in the harems of the Elders—women who pined and wept. neither would we deprive her of all choice. "Brother Ferrier. "Call them in. and Drebber has a son. "In return for all this we asked but one condition: that was. They are young and rich. This must be the gossip of idle tongues." 39 . This you promised to do. and followed him with a stern face into the sitting-room. and eyeing the farmer keenly from under his light-coloured eyelashes." he said. "Upon this one point your whole faith shall be tested—so it has been decided in the Sacred Council of Four. the name of the Danite Band. 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. and either of them would gladly welcome your daughter to their house. None knew who belonged to this ruthless society." he said at last. "Have I not given to the common fund? Have I not attended at the Temple? Have I not——?" "Where are your wives?" asked Young. I was not a lonely man: I had my daughter to attend to my wants. we shared our food with you. Stangerson has a son. and bore upon their faces the traces of an unextinguishable horror." John Ferrier made no answer. "But women were few. We picked you up when you were starving in the desert. The latter. "You will give us time. saw a stout. "My daughter is very young—she is scarce of an age to marry. should suffer your daughter to violate it. for if she wed a Gentile. and none spoke of the things which were nearest his heart. and were corroborated and re-corroborated. 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. looking through the window. Belated wanderers upon the mountains spoke of gangs of armed men. The girl is young. "At the end of that time she shall give her answer. who flitted by them in the darkness. "There are stories of her which I would fain disbelieve—stories that she is sealed to some Gentile. The very friend to whom you communicated your misgivings as to the Prophet and his mission. Full of trepidation—for he knew that such a visit boded him little good—Ferrier ran to the door to greet the Mormon chief. and there were many who had better claims than I." said Young.' This being so. might be one of those who would come forth at night with fire and sword to exact a terrible reparation. masked. gave you a goodly share of land. taking a regions where Indians had never been seen. 29 but our children must also be provided. middle-aged man coming up the pathway. and this. until they resolved themselves into a definite name. and has found favour in the eyes of many who are high in the land. and allowed you to wax rich under our protection. however. stealthy. and. The names of the participators in the deeds of blood and violence done under the name of religion were kept profoundly secret. who profess the holy creed. or the Avenging Angels. and of the true faith. John Ferrier was about to set out to his wheatfields. in the lonely ranches of the West. received his salutations coldly." answered John Ferrier. "the true believers have been good friends to you. His heart leapt to his mouth." "She shall have a month to choose. if common report says truly. and noiseless. throwing out his hands in expostulation. rising from his seat. "She has grown to be the flower of Utah." "And how have I neglected it?" asked Ferrier. To this day." "It is of that daughter that I would speak to you. We Elders have many heifers. What say you to that?" Ferrier remained silent for some little time with his brows knitted. she commits a grievous sin." Ferrier answered." "It is true that I have not married.

of course not. and there's no danger at all. I guess we had best shin out of Utah. he'll be back here with a speed that would whip electro-telegraphs. than that you should put your weak wills against the orders of the Holy Four!" With a threatening gesture of his hand. "We'll fix it up somehow or another. and looking up. In the meantime. If I know anything o' that young man. with flushed face and flashing eyes. which is more than these folk here. he saw her standing beside him. We have a clear month before us. I'm a free-born American. drawing her to him. and don't get your eyes swelled up. To tell the truth. He's a likely lad. and that he carefully cleaned and loaded the rusty old shotgun which hung upon the wall of his bedroom. "It will be time to look out for squalls when we do. dear. my dearie. it isn't the first time I have thought of doing it. and we'll soon manage that. You don't find your fancy kind o' lessening for this chap. frightened face showed him that she had heard what had passed. 40 . considering how he should broach the matter to his daughter when a soft hand was laid upon his." her father answered. at the end of that. else he'll be walking into me when he sees you. I don't care about knuckling under to any man. If he comes browsing about this farm." "Leave Utah!" "That's about the size of it. "His voice rang through the house." he answered. and I'll manage to send him a message letting him know the hole we are in. "It were better for you." she said. father. Oh." Lucy laughed through her tears at her father's description. what shall we do?" "Don't you scare yourself. He was still sitting with his elbows upon his knees. rough hand caressingly over her chestnut hair. "No. One hears—one hears such dreadful stories about those who oppose the Prophet: something terrible always happens to them. and Ferrier heard his heavy step scrunching along the shingly path." John Ferrier uttered these consoling remarks in a very confident tone." "But the farm?" "We will raise as much as we can in money. "that you and she were now lying blanched skeletons upon the Sierra Blanco. "When he comes. One glance at her pale. don't you fret yourself." "But they won't let us leave. "I could not help it." he thundered. and let the rest go. and passing his broad. he turned from the door. But it is for you that I am frightened. "Wait till Jefferson comes. do you?" A sob and a squeeze of his hand was her only answer." "But we haven't opposed him yet. There's nothing to be afeared about. There's a party starting for Nevada to-morrow.He was passing through the door. Guess I'm too old to learn. father. and it's all new to me. in answer to his look. he will advise us for the best. I shouldn't care to hear you say you did. John Ferrier. Lucy. and he's a Christian. he might chance to run up against a charge of buckshot travelling in the opposite direction. as these folk do to their darned prophet. when he turned. but she could not help observing that he paid unusual care to the fastening of the doors that night." his daughter objected. in spite o' all their praying and preaching.

it appears to me that my claim is the stronger one. "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. Having done thus he felt easier in his mind." said the other. He had guessed who his visitors were." The two young Mormons stared at him in amazement.CHAPTER IV A FLIGHT FOR LIFE ON the morning which followed his interview with the Mormon Prophet. and returned home with a lighter heart. whistling a popular hymn. but how many we can keep. John Ferrier went in to Salt Lake City. and I am the richer man. John Ferrier had stood fuming in the doorway. and there is the window. sardonically. In it he told the young man of the imminent danger which threatened them." cried young Drebber." cried the other. My father has now given over his mills to me. nay. and how necessary it was that he should return. You shall rue it to the end of your days. "He will arise and smite you!" 41 ." he said. hardly able to keep his riding-whip from the backs of his two visitors. and the one in the rocking-chair commenced the conversation. Still more surprised was he on entering to find two young men in possession of his sitting-room. "there is the door. "We will leave it all to her decision. white with rage. "when my daughter summons you." During this dialogue. was leaning back in the rocking-chair. who was bound for the Nevada Mountains." he said. that his visitors sprang to their feet and beat a hurried retreat. with a long pale face. who travelled with you in the desert when the Lord stretched out His hand and gathered you into the true fold." cried Ferrier. "When the Lord removes my father." "As He will all the nations in His own good time. As he approached his farm. you can come. "You have defied the Prophet and the Council of Four. "He grindeth slowly but exceeding small. "We have come. and having found his acquaintance. a bull-necked youth with coarse bloated features." John Ferrier bowed coldly." "Nay. but until then I don't want to see your faces again. he entrusted him with his message to Jefferson Hope. smirking at his own reflection in the glass. with his feet cocked up upon the stove. "You shall smart for this!" Stangerson cried. Then I am your elder. I shall have his tanning yard and his leather factory. he was surprised to see a horse hitched to each of the posts of the gate. "Look here." "But my prospects are better. "There are two ways out of the room. and his gaunt hands so threatening. warmly." continued Stangerson." "It will be for the maiden to decide. The old farmer followed them to the door. Both of them nodded to Ferrier as he entered. "the question is not how many wives we have. As I have but four wives and Brother Drebber here has seven. was standing in front of the window with his hands in his pocket. "This here is the son of Elder Drebber. In their eyes this competition between them for the maiden's hand was the highest of honours both to her and her father. striding up to them. One." he said at last. Which do you care to use?" His brown face looked so savage. "Maybe you don't know us. The other." rejoined young Drebber. Brother Stangerson." "The hand of the Lord shall be heavy upon you. and I'm Joseph Stangerson. and am higher in the Church." said the other in a nasal voice. "Let me know when you have settled which it is to be.

occasionally they were on small placards stuck upon the garden gate or the railings. What was to happen then? All manner of vague and terrible fancies filled his imagination. and their goods given over to the Church. and the next day would be the last of the allotted time. In the centre of the ceiling was scrawled. A horror which was almost superstitious came upon him at the sight of them." It was. the old farmer hurried to the gate thinking that help had arrived at last. when he saw five give way to four and that again to three. Singlehanded. however. He expected that he would receive some message or remonstrance from Young as to his conduct. How this warning came into his room puzzled John Ferrier sorely." "Yes. shadowy terrors which hung over him. Still more shaken was he next morning. That morning had shown the figure 2 upon the wall of his house. He sank his head upon the table and sobbed at the thought of his own impotence. "The young canting rascals!" he exclaimed. Twenty had changed to fifteen and fifteen to ten. If minor errors were punished so sternly. He saw and he heard nothing. Others as well known and as rich as himself had been spirited away before now. saw plainly that he was ill at ease. On it was printed. He became haggard and restless. there appeared to be no avoiding the blow which hung over him. indeed. what would be the fate of this arch rebel." exclaimed Ferrier furiously. my girl. though it came in an unlooked-for manner. and that was for the arrival of the young hunter from Nevada. The sooner the better. the number 28. and abandoned all hope of escape. And his daughter—what was to become of her after he was gone? Was there no escape from the invisible network which was drawn all round them. but this suspense was unnerving. than the wife of either of them. he knew that he was powerless. Turn which way he would. To his daughter it was unintelligible. for we do not know what their next move may be. With all his vigilance John Ferrier could not discover whence these daily warnings proceeded. and would have rushed upstairs for his gun had not Lucy seized him by the arm and restrained him. He concealed his fears from his daughter. At last. The more-frequented roads were strictly watched and guarded. and with his limited knowledge of the mountains which surrounded the settlement. Any known danger he could face with a firm lip. In the whole history of the settlement there had never been such a case of rank disobedience to the authority of the Elders. a small square of paper pinned on to the coverlet of his bed just over his chest. and searching vainly for some way out of them. but he trembled at the vague. and he could never have known who had slain him. Upon rising next morning he found. He crumpled the paper up and said nothing to his daughter. 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. "but Jefferson will soon be here. He was a brave man. and his eyes had the troubled look of some hunted creature. and the doors and windows had all been secured. and yet in the morning a great 27 had been painted upon the outside of his door." "And so should I. and still there came no sign of him. Ferrier knew that his wealth and position would be of no avail to him. or a driver shouted at his team. Whenever a horseman clattered down the road. Before he could escape from her. and none could pass along them without an order from the Council. One by one the numbers dwindled down. They had sat down to their breakfast when Lucy with a cry of surprise pointed upwards. He was sitting alone one evening pondering deeply over his troubles. but the incident struck a chill into his heart. but there was no news of the absentee. with spirit. The twentynine days were evidently the balance of the month which Young had promised. father. to his surprise. and then——" The dash was more fear-inspiring than any threat could have been. and as sure as morning came he found that his unseen enemies had kept their register. wiping the perspiration from his forehead. the clatter of horses' hoofs told him that they were beyond his reach. and had marked up in some conspicuous position how many days were still left to him out of the month of grace. Sometimes the fatal numbers appeared upon the walls. he lost heart. He had but one hope in life now. 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 dishonor. with a burned stick apparently. and he was not mistaken. Thus day followed day. and affected to make light of the whole matter." she answered. high time that someone capable of giving advice and help should come to the aid of the sturdy old farmer and his adopted daughter. 42 . in bold straggling letters:— "Twenty-nine days are given you for amendment. with the keen eye of love. for his servants slept in an outhouse. "I would sooner see you in your grave. though she. That night he sat up with his gun and kept watch and ward."Then I'll start the smiting. It will not be long before he comes. sometimes upon the floors. and he did not enlighten her.

when he had satisfied his hunger. and filled a stoneware jar with water. How much money have you?" "Two thousand dollars in gold. "The front and back entrances are watched. He seized the young man's leathery hand and wrung it cordially. "You're a man to be proud of. By daybreak we should be half-way through the mountains. until happening to glance straight down at his own feet he saw to his astonishment a man lying flat upon his face upon the ground. like one who realizes the greatness of the peril. and revealed to the astonished farmer the fierce face and resolute expression of Jefferson Hope. preparing his daughter for the approaching journey. She does not know the danger." he said." asked Ferrier. but brief." the other said. but as he watched it he saw it writhe along the ground and into the hall with the rapidity and noiselessness of a serpent." John Ferrier felt a different man now that he realized that he had a devoted ally." "What if we are stopped. and unless you act to-night you are lost. "I have a respect for you. The house is watched on every side. but they're not quite sharp enough to catch a Washoe hunter. Outside all was calm and quiet. hoarsely. I have as much more to add to it. but with caution we may get away through the side window and across the fields. 43 . for he knew by experience that the mountain wells were few and far between. Was it some midnight assassin who had come to carry out the murderous orders of the secret tribunal? Or was it some agent who was marking up that the last day of grace had arrived. That is why I crawled my way up to it. but very distinct in the quiet of the night. "Does Lucy bear up well?" he asked. The little front garden lay before the farmer's eyes bounded by the fence and gate. for minutes were precious." "That will do. His first thought was that the prostrate figure was that of some wounded or dying man. Springing forward he drew the bolt and threw the door open. "How you scared me! Whatever made you come in like that. John Ferrier felt that instant death would be better than the suspense which shook his nerves and chilled his heart. but has steeled his heart to meet it. There was a pause for a few moments. With a sigh of relief. They may be darned sharp." the young hunter answered." "What are we to do?" "To-morrow is your last day. and before harm comes on her I guess there will be one less o' the Hope family in Utah. Once on the road we are only two miles from the Ravine where the horses are waiting. The night was fine." While Ferrier was absent. and devoured it voraciously. The greeting between the lovers was warm. and then the low insidious sound was repeated. and five in notes. pard. "That is well. 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. but if you were alone in this business I'd think twice before I put my head into such a hornet's nest. but neither there nor on the road was any human being to be seen. Ferrier looked to right and to left. closed the door. It's Lucy that brings me here. "There are not many who would come to share our danger and our troubles. and the stars were twinkling brightly overhead. "I have had no time for bite or sup for eight-and-forty hours. Once within the house the man sprang to his feet. It is as well that the servants do not sleep in the house." her father answered. Someone was evidently tapping very gently upon one of the panels of the door. Jefferson Hope packed all the eatables that he could find into a small parcel. It came from the door of the house." "Give me food." He flung himself upon the 21 cold meat and bread which were still lying upon the table from his host's supper. I have a mule and two horses waiting in the Eagle Ravine. He had hardly completed his arrangements before the farmer returned with his daughter all dressed and ready for a start. "Good God!" gasped John Ferrier." said Jefferson Hope. and there was much to be done.What was that? In the silence he heard a gentle scratching sound—low. Ferrier crept into the hall and listened intently. We must push for Carson City through the mountains. You had best wake Lucy. speaking in a low but resolute voice. with arms and legs all asprawl. "We must make our start at once." "You've hit it there. "Yes.

and uttered the plaintive signal cry again. "Hurry on! hurry on!" he gasped from time to time. and from him to the others. and his military challenge of "Who goes there?" rang through the silent ravine. 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. "To-morrow at midnight. stern. while Lucy had a small bundle containing a few of her more valued possessions. that it was difficult to realize that the spirit of murder lurked through it all. the hearts of the fugitives were light within them. led the way across the fields at the top of his speed. on which a second man appeared out of the obscurity. and the thought of the honour and happiness of his daughter outweighed any regret at his ruined fortunes. while Jefferson Hope led the other along the precipitous and dangerous path. where they lay silent and trembling. Ferrier carried the bag of gold and notes. On the other hand a wild chaos of boulders and debris made all advance impossible. with long basaltic columns upon its rugged surface like the ribs of some petrified monster. until he came to the retired corner. The instant that their footsteps had died away in the distance. At the same moment a vague shadowy figure emerged from the gap for which they had been making. It was a bewildering route for anyone who was not accustomed to face Nature in her wildest moods." said the first who appeared to be in authority. Nine to seven!" "Seven to five!" repeated the other. and gained the shelter of the hedge. "Travelers for Nevada. with his hand upon the rifle which hung by his saddle. "We are through the line of sentinels. 44 . and the two figures flitted away in different directions. They soon had a proof. The lights inside the house had all been extinguished. Their concluding words had evidently been some form of sign and countersign. Opening the window very slowly and carefully. and peering down at them as if dissatisfied at their reply. They could see the lonely watcher fingering his gun." returned the other. "Shall I tell Brother Drebber?" "Pass it on to him. Hurry on!" Once on the high road they made rapid progress. screened with rocks. He had long nerved himself to the sacrifice. The girl was placed upon the mule. black. so narrow in places that they had to travel in Indian file. Everything depends on speed. and so rough that only practised riders could have traversed it at all. "When the Whip-poor-Will calls three times. they waited until a dark cloud had somewhat obscured the night. for every step increased the distance between them and the terrible despotism from which they were flying. "If they are too many for us we shall take two or three of them with us. With bated breath and crouching figures they stumbled across it. Yet in spite of all dangers and difficulties. and then one by one passed through into the little garden. All looked so peaceful and happy." said Jefferson Hope. On a rock which overlooked the track. They had reached the very wildest and most desolate portion of the pass when the girl gave a startled cry. and old Ferrier upon one of the horses." he said with a sinister smile. and then they managed to slip into a field. and which he was now about to abandon for ever. with his money-bag. Jefferson Hope had the scanty provisions and water. and pointed upwards. and menacing. He saw them as soon as they perceived him. He and his friends had hardly crouched down before the melancholy hooting of a mountain owl was heard within a few yards of them.Hope slapped the revolver butt which protruded from the front of his tunic. which they skirted until they came to the gap which opened into the cornfields. and helping his companions through the gap. supporting and half-carrying the girl when her strength appeared to fail her. where the faithful animals had been picketed. and so avoid recognition. Two dark jagged peaks loomed above them through the darkness. Jefferson Hope sprang to his feet. that they were still within the jurisdiction of the Saints. however. and from the darkened window Ferrier peered over the fields which had been his own. They had just reached this point when the young man seized his two companions and dragged them down into the shadow. the rustling trees and the broad silent stretch of grain-land. Only once did they meet anyone. and the defile which led between them was the Eagle Cañon in which the horses were awaiting them. Between the two ran the irregular track. It was as well that his prairie training had given Jefferson Hope the ears of a lynx. there stood a solitary sentinel. On the one side a great crag towered up a thousand feet or more. which was immediately answered by another hoot at a small distance." "It is well. however. With unerring instinct Jefferson Hope picked his way among the great boulders and along the bed of a dried-up watercourse. Before reaching the town the hunter branched away into a rugged and narrow footpath which led to the mountains. showing out dark and plain against the sky.

when casting his eyes upwards he saw a sight which sent a thrill of pleasure through his heart." returned Jefferson Hope promptly. however." During the whole of that day they struggled on through the defiles. for there was game to be had among the mountains. he was thinking of turning back in despair. however. Beyond his post the path broadened out. The magnificent spectacle cheered the hearts of the three fugitives and gave them fresh energy. though from the marks upon the bark of the trees. after two or three hours' fruitless search. and to need only a gust of wind to come hurtling down upon them. and had not perceived him." cried the sentinel. but fortunately it was heading in the opposite direction. Choosing a sheltered nook. At night-time they chose the base of a beetling crag. like lamps at a festival. "The Holy Four. Even as they passed. until they were all ruddy and glowing. He walked for a couple of miles through one ravine after another without success. When morning broke. and by evening they calculated that they were more than thirty miles from their enemies. and took a long and steady aim before drawing the trigger. a great rock came thundering down with a hoarse rattle which woke the echoes in the silent gorges. remembering the countersign which he had heard in the garden. probably. Looking back. but Hope's intimate knowledge of the mountains enabled them to regain the track once more. Having tethered the horses. they were up and on their way once more. The big-horn—for so it is called—was acting. The 45 . and other indications. Once safe in Carson we may rest for the remainder of our lives. and he had frequently before had to depend upon his rifle for the needs of life. while they partook of a hasty breakfast. the caps of the great mountains lit up one after the other. they enjoyed a few hours' sleep. Looking back he saw the old man and the young girl crouching over the blazing fire. they could see the solitary watcher leaning upon his gun. In every direction the great snow-capped peaks hemmed them in. but Jefferson Hope was inexorable. This gave the hunter little uneasiness. and the horses were able to break into a trot. and knew that they had passed the outlying post of the chosen people. and startled the weary horses into a gallop. He little knew how far that iron grasp could reach." said the voice from above. he judged that there were numerous bears in the vicinity. peeping over each other's shoulders to the far horizon. he threw his gun over his shoulder. Lucy and her father would fain have rested longer. "They will be upon our track by this time. and set out in search of whatever chance might throw in his way. a scene of marvellous though savage beauty lay before them. Nor was the fear entirely an illusion. "Everything depends upon our speed. and Jefferson Hope began to think that they were fairly out of the reach of the terrible organization whose enmity they had incurred. Before daybreak. At last. As the sun rose slowly above the eastern horizon. while the three animals stood motionless in the back-ground. that the larch and the pine seemed to be suspended over their heads. at which his companions might warm themselves. where the rocks offered some protection from the chill wind. he piled together a few dried branches and made a blazing fire." answered Ferrier. His Mormon experiences had taught him that that was the highest authority to which he could refer. and the air was bitter and keen. for the barren valley was thickly strewn with trees and boulders which had fallen in a similar manner. or how soon it was to close upon them and crush them. and the Lord go with you. as a guardian over a flock which were invisible to the hunter."By whose permission?" he asked. there stood a creature somewhat resembling a sheep in appearance. On the edge of a jutting pinnacle. So steep were the rocky banks on either side of them. and bade Lucy adieu. for they were now nearly five thousand feet above the sea level. he rested his rifle upon a rock. Lying on his face. They had seen no signs of any pursuers. Then the intervening rocks hid them from his view. "Pass. and there huddled together for warmth. CHAPTER V THE AVENGING ANGELS ALL night their course lay through intricate defiles and over irregular and rock-strewn paths." he said. and that freedom lay before them. More than once they lost their way. "Nine from seven. "Seven from five. About the middle of the second day of their flight their scanty store of provisions began to run out. three or four hundred feet above him. but armed with a pair of gigantic horns. At a wild torrent which swept out of a ravine they called a halt and watered their horses.

The sturdy old man. by becoming one of the harem of the Elder's son. which clattered up the dreary silent ravines. he could at least devote his life to revenge. The creature was too unwieldy to lift. man. Lucy had been carried back by their terrible pursuers to fulfil her original destiny. and then came crashing down into the valley beneath. his active spirit shook off the lethargy which springs from despair. FORMERLY OF SALT LAKE CITY. but with the same result. and speedily recovered from his temporary impotence. he determined. For five days he toiled footsore and weary through the defiles which he had already traversed on horseback. he felt that the only one thing which could assuage his grief would be thorough and complete retribution. be devoted to that one end. They must. he wished that he. however. but it had evidently not been tended since his departure. 22 Died August 4th. Jefferson Hope looked wildly round to see if there was a second grave. but to the point: JOHN FERRIER. and yet had left no traces behind it. He was essentially a man of action. Again he shouted. and weary from his exertions. but there was no sign of one. With this trophy over his shoulder. however. dropping the precious food in his agitation. then. He had now come to the mouth of the very defile in which he had left them. and this was all his epitaph. maiden. Jefferson Hope felt his head spin round. tottered for a moment upon the edge of the precipice. Even in the darkness he could recognize the outline of the cliffs which bounded it. It was only too clear that some sudden and terrible disaster had occurred during his absence—a disaster which had embraced them all. was gone. he cooked enough to last him for a few days. At night he flung himself down among the rocks. and was borne back to his ears in countless repetitions. but before daybreak he was 46 . was lying with the old farmer in his last silent resting-place. His strong will and untiring energy should. 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. With a grim. Convinced that he had taken the wrong turn. he hurried on. He had hardly started. when his eye fell upon an object which made every nerve of his body tingle within him. and having stirred up the smouldering fire. A little way on one side of the camp was a low-lying heap of reddish soil. which were so like each other that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. None came save his own cry. There was no mistaking it for anything but a newly-dug grave. The inscription upon the paper was brief. Weighed down with his burden. As he stood by the desolate fire. With indomitable patience and perseverance. he blew it into a flame. he reflected. and had to lean upon his rifle to save himself from falling. showing that a large party of mounted men had overtaken the fugitives. and again no whisper came back from the friends whom he had left such a short time ago. With his fears all changed to convictions. for he had been absent nearly five hours. The ground was all stamped down by the feet of horses. he tried another. As the young hunter approached it. Again. whom he had left so short a time before. Even then it was no easy matter to keep to the right track. 1860. Bewildered and stunned by this blow. As the young fellow realized the certainty of her fate. and proceeded with its help to examine the little camp. In his eagerness he had wandered far past the ravines which were known to him. too. before he realized the difficulty which faced him. and. with a sheet of paper stuck in the cleft fork of it. The same dead silence still reigned all round. he stumbled along. Seizing a half-consumed piece of wood from the smouldering fire. Night was coming on rapidly. There was still a glowing pile of wood ashes there. which he may have learned from the Indians amongst whom he had lived. keeping up his heart by the reflection that every step brought him nearer to Lucy. Jefferson Hope possessed also a power of sustained vindictiveness. and it was almost dark before he at last found himself in a defile which was familiar to him. he retraced his steps to where he had dropped the food. even louder than before. so the hunter contented himself with cutting away one haunch and part of the flank. nameless dread came over him.animal sprang into the air. and it was no easy matter to pick out the path which he had taken. and the direction of their tracks proved that they had afterwards turned back to Salt Lake City. The valley in which he found himself divided and sub-divided into many gorges. and the high cliffs on either side made the obscurity more profound. which had assuredly not been there before. white face. There was no living creature near the remains of the fire: animals. for the evening was already drawing in. When he turned the corner. he perceived that a stick had been planted on it. for the moon had not yet risen. 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 paused and listened for an answer. and snatched a few hours of sleep. all were gone. however. This he made up into a bundle. he came full in sight of the spot where the fire had been lit. brought by his own hand upon his enemies. and he hurried onwards frantically. he hastened to retrace his steps. A vague. If there was nothing else left to him. and his own powerlessness to prevent it. be awaiting him anxiously. he set himself to walk back through the mountains upon the track of the avenging angels. and that he carried with him enough to ensure them food for the remainder of their journey. Had they carried back both of his companions with them? Jefferson Hope had almost persuaded himself that they must have done so. tired as he was.

he observed that there were flags in some of the principal streets.always well on his way. So strange and so brief was the episode. that the watchers might have found it hard to believe it themselves or persuade other people of it. he leaned upon his rifle and shook his gaunt hand fiercely at the silent widespread city beneath him. Once a bullet whistled through Stangerson's window and flattened itself upon the wall within a foot of him. "You remember me. while its eyes glowed with a baleful light. to whom he had rendered services at different times. Without a glance or a word to the cowering women. he pressed his lips reverently to her cold forehead. hold up. For God's sake. "Married. it was difficult to recognize in this tattered. satisfied himself as to his identity. and he only escaped a terrible death by 47 . There is a warrant against you from the Holy Four for assisting the Ferriers away. "Where are you going?" "Never mind. "It is as much as my own life is worth to be seen talking with you. at last. he reached the Eagle Cañon. and other signs of festivity. with the object of finding out what Lucy Ferrier's fate had been. Whether it was the terrible death of her father or the effects of the hateful marriage into which she had been forced. As he approached. I am off. so the Prophet gave her over to him. "You must know something of this matter." "Don't mind me." "I don't fear them." he said. and had sunk down on the stone against which he had been leaning. On the sixth day. On another occasion. he took the wedding-ring from her finger. and before an alarm could be raised sprang down the stairs and was gone. and nursing in his heart the fierce desire for vengeance which possessed him. Thence he could look down upon the home of the saints. Having. and saw a mounted man riding towards him. did not affect any great grief at his bereavement. who had married her principally for the sake of John Ferrier's property. He was still speculating as to what this might mean when he heard the clatter of horse's hoofs. She is more like a ghost than a woman." "What is it?" the Mormon asked uneasily. They were grouped round the bier in the early hours of the morning." said Jefferson Hope. so hard and set was its expression. from which they had commenced their illfated flight. Are you off. with ghastly white face and fierce. then?" "Yes. for I saw death in her face yesterday. "She shall not be buried in that. man. There was some words between young Drebber and young Stangerson as to which was to have her. As he looked at it. Hold up. as is the Mormon custom. who had risen from his seat. He therefore accosted him when he got up to him. the man's surprise changed to consternation. leading a strange wild life." he cried with a fierce snarl. Amongst them all there was none so fierce and so dangerous as himself. Worn and exhausted. earnestly. or their warrant. strode off down the gorge and so away into the heart of the mountains to the haunts of the wild beasts. snatching up her hand. unkempt wanderer." "What has become of Lucy Ferrier?" "She was married yesterday to young Drebber." said Hope faintly. The very rocks have ears and the trees eyes. "You are mad to come here. slinging his weapon over his shoulder. For some months Jefferson Hope lingered among the mountains. No one won't have her very long though. which seemed to give him the best claim. wild eyes. Tales were told in the City of the weird figure which was seen prowling about the suburbs. "I am Jefferson Hope." he cried. and Stangerson had shot her father. he walked up to the white silent figure which had once contained the pure soul of Lucy Ferrier. but his other wives mourned over her. His face might have been chiseled out of marble. poor Lucy never held up her head again. as Drebber passed under a cliff a great boulder crashed down on him. to their inexpressible fear and astonishment. the door was flung open. Drebber's party was the stronger. They'd both been in the party that followed them. he recognized him as a Mormon named Cowper." he answered." The Mormon looked at him with undisguised astonishment—indeed. don't refuse to answer me. We have always been friends. but pined away and died within a month. and. I conjure you by everything you hold dear to answer a few questions. when. and then. you have no life left in you. He was white to the very lips. weather-beaten man in tattered garments strode into the room." Hope said. The prediction of the Mormon was only too well fulfilled. and which haunted the lonely mountain gorges. you say?" "Married yesterday—that's what those flags are for on the Endowment House. but when they argued it out in council. Cowper. the spruce young hunter of former days. Her sottish husband. and a savage-looking. and sat up with her the night before the burial. Stooping over her. however. had it not been for the undeniable fact that the circlet of gold which marked her as having been a bride had disappeared. "Be quick.

to which we are already under such obligations. as to their whereabouts. however. while his companion. as long as he obtained what he knew to be justice. I'm not so light to lift as I used to be. There was no clue at all. When at last he was liberated. His intention had been to be absent a year at the most. That evening Jefferson Hope was taken into custody. accompanied by Stangerson. and expressed his hopes that he had not hurt any of us in the scuffle. but never overtaking the fugitives. having collected enough to keep life in him. "My cab's at the door. would have abandoned all thought of revenge in the face of such a difficulty. The two young Mormons were not long in discovering the reason of these attempts upon their lives. and that he had departed a wealthy man. He was. Then they adopted the precaution of never going out alone or after nightfall. At the end of that time. Among these had been Drebber and Stangerson. was detained for some weeks. but Jefferson Hope never faltered for a moment. and no one knew whither they had gone. however vindictive. it was only to find that Drebber's house was deserted. If he died like a dog among the mountains. working his way in any menial capacity. however. 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. what was to become of his revenge then? And yet such a death was sure to overtake him if he persisted. Year passed into year. careless what became of his own life. Watson's Journal." he remarked to Sherlock Holmes. saving every dollar for his approaching journey. Petersburg they had departed for Paris. had recognized the vagrant in the street. he smiled in an affable manner. but that one glance told him that Cleveland in Ohio possessed the men whom he was in pursuit of. but a combination of unforeseen circumstances prevented his leaving the mines for nearly five. "I guess you're going to take me to the police-station. however. CHAPTER VI A CONTINUATION OF THE REMINISCENCES OF JOHN WATSON. It chanced. The hunter's mind was of a hard. who had become his private secretary. and for some time he had to return to work.throwing himself upon his face. looking from his window. some of the younger members of the Church having rebelled against the authority of the Elders. there to recruit his health and to amass money enough to allow him to pursue his object without privation. but always without success. however. with his mind wholly set upon the one object upon which he had devoted his life. for nothing was either heard or seen of their opponent. but still he wandered on. Stangerson. and led repeated expeditions into the mountains in the hope of capturing or killing their enemy. and that he and his secretary had departed for Europe. he departed for Europe. After a time they were able to relax these measures. At the Danish capital he was again a few days late. If you'll loose my legs I'll walk down to it. where he at last succeeded in running them to earth. There he found evil tidings awaiting him. M. if anything. At last his perseverance was rewarded. it had. we cannot do better than quote the old hunter's own account. above all things practical. and the result had been the secession of a certain number of the malcontents. as duly recorded in Dr. that Drebber. He felt that that was to play his enemy's game." 48 . With the small competence he possessed. so he reluctantly returned to the old Nevada mines. for they had journeyed on to London. There had been a schism among the Chosen People a few months before. and had read murder in his eyes. his black hair turned grizzled.D OUR prisoner's furious resistance did not apparently indicate any ferocity in his disposition towards ourselves. a human bloodhound. Funds were wanting. eked out by such employment as he could pick up. and under an assumed name. and they hoped that time had cooled his vindictiveness. Rumour reported that Drebber had managed to convert a large part of his property into money. was comparatively poor. and not being able to find sureties. and represented to him that they were in danger of their lives from the jealousy and hatred of an old rival. who had left Utah and become Gentiles. Again the avenger had been foiled. He hurried before a justice of the peace. he travelled from town to town through the United States in quest of his enemies. however. augmented it. unyielding nature. Far from doing so. and of having their houses guarded. He returned to his miserable lodgings with his plan of vengeance all arranged. Many a man. As to what occurred there. he returned to Salt Lake City. and the predominant idea of revenge had taken such complete possession of it that there was no room for any other emotion. When he reached St. It was but a glance of a face in a window. and again his concentrated hatred urged him to continue the pursuit. He soon realized that even his iron constitution could not stand the incessant strain which he was putting upon it. and when he followed them there he learned that they had just set off for Copenhagen. for on finding himself powerless. and tracked his enemies from city to city. Exposure and want of wholesome food were wearing him out. At last. Disguised.

and how you use it is a matter of no consequence to me. "If there's a vacant place for a chief of the police. as I eyed him. sir. "Then put your hand here. "In that case it is clearly our duty. and he told me that it is bound to burst before many days passed. "This aneurism of mine makes me easily tired. I got it from over-exposure and underfeeding among the Salt Lake Mountains. Doctor. in the interests of justice. and brought us in a very short time to our destination." "You had better come with me." he said. and we all descended together. and the tussle we had half an hour ago has not mended matters. 23 He rose and stretched his legs." our prisoner said slowly. You too. Jefferson Hope." I cried. "I can drive you.Gregson and Lestrade exchanged glances as if they thought this proposition rather a bold one. "I want to tell you gentlemen all about it. have you anything that you wish to say? I must warn you that your words will be taken down. motioning with his manacled wrists towards his chest. and became at once conscious of an extraordinary throbbing and commotion which was going on inside. The official was a white-faced unemotional man. "I went to a Doctor last week about it. that there is immediate danger?" the former asked. I did so. that I had seldom seen a more powerfully built man. Our prisoner made no attempt at escape. and his dark sunburned face bore an expression of determination and energy which was as formidable as his personal strength. whipped up the horse. but stepped calmly into the cab which had been his. as though to assure himself that they were free once more." he said." I assented gladly. with a smile." "I'll sit down. "You needn't look startled." said Holmes to the two detectives. "I may never be tried. and loosened the towel which we had bound round his ancles. It has been getting worse for years." I answered. to take his statement. gazing with undisguised admiration at my fellow-lodger. suiting the action to the word. I remember that I thought to myself. It isn't suicide I am thinking of." The Inspector and the two detectives had a hurried discussion as to the advisability of allowing him to tell his story. "Good! and Greg son can come inside with me." he said. and we followed him. with your leave. and may be used against you. you have taken an interest in the case and may as well stick to us. "The prisoner will be put before the magistrates in the course of the week. Are you a Doctor?" He turned his fierce dark eyes upon me as he asked this last question." 49 . "Do you consider. I am. "Most certainly there is. which I again warn you will be taken down." "I've got a good deal to say. I'm on the brink of the grave." "Hadn't you better reserve that for your trial?" asked the Inspector. In the silence of the room I could hear a dull humming and buzzing noise which proceeded from the same source. "Yes. Doctor. "you have an aortic aneurism!" "That's what they call it. but Holmes at once took the prisoner at his word. who went through his duties in a dull mechanical way. I don't want to be remembered as a common cut-throat. Lestrade mounted the box. "Why. "The way you kept on my trail was a caution. Mr. I reckon you are the man for it. "You are at liberty." he answered. "in the mean time." said the Inspector. to give your account. and I don't care how soon I go. The walls of his chest seemed to thrill and quiver as a frail building would do inside when some powerful engine was at work." the prisoner said. We were ushered into a small chamber where a police Inspector noted down our prisoner's name and the names of the men with whose murder he had been charged. and I am not likely to lie to you. placidly. but I should like to leave some account of the business behind me. I've done my work now." he said. Every word I say is the absolute truth." said Lestrade." I answered.

so that it was no easy matter for me to follow them. I knew of their guilt though. They must have thought that there was some chance of their being followed. I can vouch for the accuracy of the subjoined account. and that if the other would wait for him he would soon rejoin him. so that I began to get behind hand with my employer. She was forced into marrying that same Drebber. and whatever was over that I might keep for myself. but I was not discouraged. and there was no chance of their recognizing me. but singly they were at my mercy. I could not catch what Stangerson said to that. "They were very cunning. and never once saw them separate. or to desire. I whipped up my horse and kept within sight of them. and broke her heart over it. with undue precipitation. "They were very near doing it for all that. It was only early in the morning or late at night that I could earn anything. when I saw a cab drive up to their door. and I determined that I should be judge. I watched them late and early. but the former was the best. I had a map beside me though. My plans were already formed. feeling very ill at ease. but I managed to scrape along somehow. Go where they would about London. to which Drebber answered that he would be back on the platform before eleven. and reminded him that he was nothing more than his paid servant. Jefferson Hope leaned back in his chair and began the following remarkable statement. On that the Secretary gave it up as a bad job. as though the events which he narrated were commonplace enough. I was determined that they should not escape me again. and I found that I must turn my hand to something for my living. and the guard answer that one had just gone and there would not be another for some hours. "They were rich and I was poor." he said. They thought to tire me out. If I die to-morrow. When I got to London my pocket was about empty. for something told me that the hour had almost come. My only fear was that this thing in my chest might burst a little too soon and leave my work undone. His companion remonstrated with him. I was always at their heels. Drebber said that he had a little business of his own to do. but never saw the ghost of a chance. Presently some luggage was brought out. "That girl that I spoke of was to have married me twenty years ago. There was seldom much over. I did not mind that. and by my hand. I had grown my beard. in which the prisoner's words were taken down exactly as they were uttered. so I applied at a cabowner's office. You'd have done the same. if you have any manhood in you. and why retribution has come upon him. I die knowing that my work in this world is done. and have followed him and his accomplice over two continents until I caught them. Sometimes I followed them on my cab. I was to bring a certain sum a week to the owner. After the lapse of time that has passed since their crime. Drebber answered that the matter was a delicate one. When once I found them out I knew that I had them at my mercy. as long as I could lay my hand upon the men I wanted. jury. I got on pretty well. "The moment for which I had waited so long had at last come. He spoke in a calm and methodical manner. It chanced 50 . and well done. I had my enemies within my power. but Drebber was rather pleased than otherwise. During two weeks I drove behind them every day. however. and followed them on to the platform. therefore. There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him. though. but they could not do it. but the other burst out swearing. forfeited their own lives. and soon got employment. over on the other side of the river. and made his way out of the station. and that he must not presume to dictate to him. There is nothing left for me to hope for. as the street was called in which they boarded. and I vowed that his dying eyes should rest upon that very ring. this city is the most confusing. and after a time Drebber and Stangerson followed it. I would dog them and follow them until I saw my opportunity. I did not act. and when once I had spotted the principal hotels and stations. "At last. for then they could not get away from me. and that he must go alone. but I inquired and inquired until at last I dropped across them. and that his last thoughts should be of the crime for which he was punished. They were at a boarding-house at Camberwell. They have perished. The hardest job was to learn my way about. if you had been in my place. but Stangerson was not to be caught napping. "it's enough that they were guilty of the death of two human beings—a father and a daughter—and that they had. and executioner all rolled into one. and simply bargained with him that if he missed the last train he should rejoin him at Halliday's Private Hotel. At Euston Station they got out. however. I have carried it about with me. and I left a boy to hold my horse. for I feared that they were going to shift their quarters. for I have had access to Lestrade's note-book. Driving and riding are as natural to me as walking. one evening I was driving up and down Torquay Terrace. "It don't much matter to you why I hated these men. I heard them ask for the Liverpool train. Drebber himself was drunk half the time. and reminded him that they had resolved to stick together. for they would never go out alone.With these words. Together they could protect each other. I took the marriage ring from her dead finger. as is likely enough. and never after nightfall. Stangerson seemed to be put out at that. and sometimes on foot. I got so close to them in the bustle that I could hear every word that passed between them. for I reckon that of all the mazes that ever were contrived. and drove off. I had my plans arranged by which I should have the opportunity of making the man who had wronged me understand that his old sin had found him out. "It was some time before I found out where my two gentlemen were living. it was impossible for me to secure a conviction against them in any court.

and when he came out he was so far gone that I knew the game was in my own hands. one on each side of the horse until I pulled up at the house in the Brixton Road. we found ourselves back in the Terrace in which he had boarded. and he hailed it. and had a duplicate constructed. "It was nearer one than twelve. "I suppose he thought we had come to the hotel that he had mentioned. As I drove. if you please. "When I had him fairly inside my cab. Give me a glass of water. stamping about. "'It's infernally dark. my gentlemen should each have a draw out of one of these boxes. seeing my cab. the father and the daughter were walking in front of us. I found Drebber all huddled together in a drunken sleep. All the way they were ahead of me. when suddenly there came a noise like people struggling inside the house. leaving word that I should wait for him. There he remained until closing time. my heart jumped so with joy that I feared lest at this last moment my aneurism might go wrong.' said he. for he was still a little top-heavy. for he got out without another word. I had almost decided upon this. and each pill I put in a box with a similar pill made without the poison. Among the many billets which I have filled in America during my wandering life. just as plain as I see you all in this room. and longed for it during twenty long years." I handed him the glass. 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. staying for nearly half-an-hour in the last of them. There was a hansom just in front of me. I helped myself to a little of it. soluble pills. until.' I said. and the time had now come when I was to use them. If any of you gentlemen have ever pined for a thing. shaking his stick at him. I opened it. I was glad within—so glad that I could have shouted out from pure exultation. while I ate the pill that remained. he hailed me and jumped in. which he had extracted from some South American arrow poison. I was a fairly good dispenser. you would understand my feelings. He ran as far as the corner. I had to walk beside him to keep him steady. I could not imagine what his intention was in returning there." he said. and then suddenly found it within your reach. My mouth gets dry with the talking. I spotted the bottle in which this preparation was kept. except the dripping of the rain. Dismal as it was outside. but I went on and pulled up my cab a hundred yards or so from the house. From that day I had always my pill boxes about with me. only that the cur staggered away down the road as fast as his legs would carry him. and a wild. "There was not a soul to be seen. He entered it. and a good deal less noisy than firing across a handkerchief. "That's better. I determined at the time that when I had my chance. When I looked in at the window. and the other was a young chap whom I had never seen before. "'All right. "He walked down the road and went into one or two liquor shops. "Well. nor a sound to be heard. It would be quite as deadly. We rattled across Waterloo Bridge and through miles of streets. but in the interval I had taken a molding of it. and returned. so I worked this alkaloid into small. and then. When we came to the door. I lit a cigar. as he called it. He went in. I shook him by the arm. I followed it so close that the nose of my horse was within a yard of his driver the whole way. or more. 'You hound. "Don't imagine that I intended to kill him in cold blood.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 could see old John Ferrier and sweet Lucy looking at me out of the darkness and smiling at me. I waited for a quarter of an hour. I might take him right out into the country. The craze for drink had seized him again.' said he. How to get Drebber to that house was the difficult problem which I had now to solve. and he drank it down. and was evidently pretty well on. This fellow had Drebber by the collar. and there in some deserted lane have my last interview with him. 'I'll teach you to insult an honest girl!' He was so hot that I think he would have thrashed Drebber with his cudgel. bleak night. I drove along slowly. and my temples throbbing with excitement. When he came out he staggered in his walk. but I could not bring myself to do it. 51 . I was once janitor and sweeper out of the laboratory at York College. when he solved the problem for me. I had long determined that he should have a show for his life if he chose to take advantage of it. 'It's time to get out. Next moment the door was flung open and two men appeared. one of whom was Drebber. One day the professor was lecturing on poisions. 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. and led him into the front room. and when they were all gone. blowing hard and raining in torrents.' he cried. but my hands were trembling. cabby. and followed me down the garden. I give you my word that all the way.' said he. 25 and he showed his students some alkaloid. and puffed at it to steady my nerves. and his hansom drove away. weighing in my own mind what it was best to do. to my astonishment. and which was so powerful that the least grain meant instant death. 'Drive me to Halliday's Private Hotel. and he ordered me to pull up outside a gin palace. It was claimed that same evening. It would only have been rigid justice if I had done so.

' I saw his coward lips tremble as I spoke. All I had to do then was to do as much for Stangerson. 'Punishment has been slow in coming. but I drew my knife and held it to his throat until he had obeyed me. I had always known that vengeance would be sweet. when you dragged her from her slaughtered father. turning to him. and I could see on his face that he thought I was mad.' I answered. and bore her away to your accursed and shameless harem. and held Lucy's marriage ring in front of his eyes. and early next morning I took advantage of some ladders which were lying in the lane behind the hotel. So I was for the time. and I gave him the same choice of the poisoned pills. but he never came out. he sprang from his bed and flew at my throat. It would have been the same in any case. 'who am I?' "He gazed at me with bleared.' I shrieked. and placed my hand upon his heart. I knew that he was staying at Halliday's Private Hotel.' I continued. and only managed to disarm his suspicions by pretending to be hopelessly drunk.' he cried. "'There is no murder. Now. He staggered back with a livid face. for I am about done up. and it's as well. 26 fancy that he suspected something when Drebber failed to put in an appearance. but I had taken no notice of it. or if we are ruled by chance. he threw his hands out in front of him. intending to keep at it until I could save enough to take me back to America. and then I saw a horror spring up in them. He would have begged for his life. I was thunderstruck at this. I turned him over with my foot. I walked right into the arms of a police-officer who was coming out. A spasm of pain contorted his features. which showed me that he knew me. "'What do you think of Lucy Ferrier now?' I cried. I guessed that what puzzled the New Yorkers would puzzle the Londoners. I remembered a German being found in New York with RACHE written up above him. for the action of the alkaloid is rapid. fell heavily upon the floor. and I believe I would have had a fit of some sort if the blood had not gushed from my nose and relieved me. I don't know what it was that put it into my head to write upon the wall with it. 'Who talks of murdering a mad dog? What mercy had you upon my poor darling. "'But it was you who broke her innocent heart. and holding the light to my own face. I went boldly up to the house—for I was ready to dare anything rather than lose the ring. so I dipped my finger in my own blood and printed it on a convenient place on the wall. for it was the only memento that I had of her. for either you or I shall never see to-morrow's sun rise. drunken eyes for a moment. and leaving my cab in a side street. I described Drebber's death to him. Then I swallowed the other. I had driven some distance when I put my hand into the pocket in which I usually kept Lucy's ring. "I have little more to say. striking a match and putting it to a wax candle which I had brought with me. thrusting the box before him. Instead of grasping at the chance of safety which that offered him. and convulse his whole features. Petersburg. "'You dog!' I said. I soon found out which was the window of his bedroom. for I felt light-hearted and cheerful. I drove back. Perhaps it was some mischievous idea of setting the police upon a wrong track. but he knew well that it was useless. and so pay off John Ferrier's debt. It was but for a moment. He was dead! "The blood had been streaming from my nose. 'I have hunted you from Salt Lake City to St. 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 said. staggered. Then I walked down to my cab and found that there was nobody about. for Providence would never have allowed his guilty hand to pick out anything but the poison. and shaking the key in his face. Enoch Drebber. 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. 'Let the high God judge between us. The pulses in my temples beat like sledge-hammers. Thinking that I might have dropped it when I stooped over Drebber's body. with a hoarse cry. 'Now. I shall take what you leave. and I saw the perspiration break out upon his brow. At the sight. I was standing in the yard when a ragged 52 . There was no movement.' "He cowered away with wild cries and prayers for mercy. was Stangerson. and always on his guard. Choose and eat. "That was how Enoch Drebber came to his end. but I had never hoped for the contentment of soul which now possessed me. at last your wanderings have come to an end. I leaned my back against the door and laughed loud and long. I went on cabbing it for a day or so. and I hung about all day. locking the door. and we stood facing one another in silence for a minute or more. He was cunning."'We'll soon have a light.' "'It was not I who killed her father. In self-defence I stabbed him to the heart. and found that it was not there. There is death in one and life in the other. but it has overtaken you at last. and it was argued at the time in the newspapers that the secret societies must have done it. and that the night was still very wild. and you have always escaped me. while his teeth chattered in his head. and then. Let us see if there is justice upon the earth.' He shrunk still further away as I spoke. and so made my way into his room in the grey of the dawn. "'Would you murder me?' he stammered. If he thought he could keep me off by staying indoors he was very much mistaken. When I arrived there. waiting to see which was to live and which was to die.

gentlemen. and your attendance will be required." the Inspector remarked gravely. appeared to be keenly interested in the man's story. Until then I will be responsible for him. as though he had been able in his dying moments to look back upon a useful life." "Not a doubt of that." he continued. Even the professional detectives. I saw your advertisement. bitterly. more brightly. and the next thing I knew. really." said I. smiling at my surprise. My friend volunteered to go and see. "Where will their grand advertisement be now?" "I don't see that they had very much to do with his capture. "Gregson and Lestrade will be wild about his death. "I would not have missed the investigation for anything. That's the whole of my story. and Jefferson Hope was led off by a couple of warders. gentlemen. suspecting no harm. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically. "There is only one point on which I should like a little more information. Never mind. but when the Thursday came there was no occasion for our testimony. after a pause. and he was found in the morning stretched upon the floor of the cell. there were several most instructive points about it. and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before a tribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him. while my friend and I made our way out of the Station and took a cab back to Baker Street." "Simple!" I ejaculated. but people do not practise it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards." said Sherlock Holmes. Simple as it was. "I have already explained to you that what is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance. On the very night after his capture the aneurism burst. this young man here had the bracelets on my wrists. or it might be the ring which I wanted. that without any help save a few very ordinary deductions I was able to lay my hand upon the criminal within three days. "The question is. with a placid smile upon his face. A higher Judge had taken the matter in hand." So thrilling had the man's narrative been. and on work well done. "Who was your accomplice who came for the ring which I advertised?" The prisoner winked at my friend jocosely. "the forms of the law must be complied with. CHAPTER VII." "That is true." he said. "I can tell my own secrets." 53 . and so the other comes to be neglected." Sherlock Holmes said at last.youngster asked if there was a cabby there called Jefferson Hope. and a very easy one. On Thursday the prisoner will be brought before the magistrates. as we chatted it over next evening." returned my companion. That is a very useful accomplishment. Baker Street. and I thought it might be a plant. "What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. but I hold that I am just as much an officer of justice as you are. There has been no better case within my recollection. and his manner was so impressive that we had sat silent and absorbed. When he finished we sat for some minutes in a stillness which was only broken by the scratching of Lestrade's pencil as he gave the finishing touches to his shorthand account. what can you make people believe that you have done." said Holmes heartily. "but I don't get other people into trouble. You may consider me to be a murderer. and as neatly snackled as ever I saw in my life. "Now." I answered. In solving a problem of this sort. I think you'll own he did it smartly. it can hardly be described as otherwise. I went round. the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards." Holmes remarked. THE CONCLUSION WE had all been warned to appear before the magistrates upon the Thursday. blasé as they were in every detail of crime." He rang the bell as he spoke. and said that his cab was wanted by a gentleman at 221B. "The proof of its intrinsic simplicity is. "Well.

would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result."I confess. or was it a woman? That was the question which confronted me. He answered. limiting my enquiry to the circumstances connected with the marriage of Enoch Drebber. I knew now that I held the clue to the mystery in my hand. There are few people. but the agitated expression upon his face assured me that he had foreseen his fate before it came upon him. It must have been a private wrong. however. "I had already determined in my own mind that the man who had walked into the house with Drebber. showing that he had been there all the time. I proceeded to do what Gregson had neglected. This murder had. one remarkable for his height (as I calculated from the length of his stride). and argue from them that something will come to pass. will occur at once to any toxicologist. It is seldom that any man. "I then proceeded to make a careful examination of the room. it settled the question. Robbery had not been the object of the murder. you remember. never by any chance exhibit agitation upon their features. however. on foot. been done most deliberately. They can put those events together in their minds. peculiarly suitable for taking impressions. so I hazarded the opinion that the criminal was probably a robust and ruddy-faced man. No doubt it appeared to you to be a mere trampled line of slush. because in places their marks had been entirely obliterated by the others coming upon the top of them. I approached the house." said I. or any sudden natural cause. It was at this point that I asked Gregson whether he had enquired in his telegram to Cleveland as to any particular point in Mr. who. "Having left the house. which. There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps. Men who die from heart disease. which told me that the nocturnal visitors were two in number. if murder there was. since there were no signs of a struggle. but to my trained eyes every mark upon its surface had a meaning. I satisfied myself that it was a cab and not a private carriage by the narrow gauge of the wheels. which called for such a methodical revenge. The forcible administration of poison is by no means a new thing in criminal annals. When the ring was found. which confirmed me in my opinion as to the murderer's height. Clearly the murderer had used it to remind his victim of some dead or absent woman. which happened to be composed of a clay soil. It told me that Drebber had already applied for the protection of the law against an old rival in love. or analytically. Again. must have been there during the night. in the negative. and the other fashionably dressed. I ascertained by inquiry. then. "And now came the great question as to the reason why. named Jefferson Hope. breaks out in this way through emotion. Do not imagine that it was a very unheard of idea. and of Leturier in Montpellier. I argued that it had been forced upon him from the hatred and fear expressed upon his face. unless he is very full-blooded. The ordinary London growler is considerably less wide than a gentleman's brougham. Having sniffed the dead man's lips I detected a slightly sour smell. I then walked slowly down the garden path. Political assassins are only too glad to do their work and to fly. The cases of Dolsky in Odessa. Was it politics. Let me see if I can make it clearer. I had already come to the conclusion. on the contrary. The answer was conclusive. and there. as I have already explained to you. and I came to the conclusion that he had had poison forced upon him. Events proved that I had judged correctly. "On entering the house this last inference was confirmed. When the inscription was discovered upon the wall I was more inclined than ever to my opinion. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards. as you know. but I saw also the track of the two men who had first passed through the garden. that the blood which covered the floor had burst from the murderer's nose in his excitement. I had arrived at this result. "that I do not quite follow you. then. "This was the first point gained. if you describe a train of events to them. The tall one. Drebber's former career. I naturally began by examining the roadway. and that this same Hope was at present in Europe. I was inclined from the first to the latter supposition. I saw clearly the marks of a cab. I saw the heavy footmarks of the constables. will tell you what the result would be. My well-booted man lay before me." said I. and with my mind entirely free from all impressions. By the method of exclusion. and all that remained was to secure the murderer. Most people. In this way my second link was formed. for nothing was taken. and not a political one. I could perceive that the track of blood coincided with the track of his feet. The thing was too evidently a blind. I telegraphed to the head of the police at Cleveland. to judge from the small and elegant impression left by his boots. It was easy to tell that they had been before the others. The marks in the road showed me that the horse had wandered on in 54 . Happily. had done the murder. if you told them a result." "I hardly expected that you would. was none other than the man who had driven the cab. for no other hypothesis would meet the facts. I have always laid great stress upon it. Now let me endeavour to show you the different steps in my reasoning." "I understand. To begin at the beginning. "Now this was a case in which you were given the result and had to find everything else for yourself. and much practice has made it second nature to me. and the perpetrator had left his tracks all over the room. There was no wound upon the dead man's person. and furnished me with the additional details as to the Trichinopoly cigar and the length of his nails.

at least. as it were. Through it. On the contrary.'" 55 . as you know. from his point of view. The murder of Stangerson was an incident which was entirely unexpected. in the rooms of a certain Mr. It is expected that a testimonial of some sort will be presented to the two officers as a fitting recognition of their services. Joseph Stangerson. Enoch Drebber and of Mr. and Hope. "look at this!" It was the Echo for the day. and the paragraph to which he pointed was devoted to the case in question." it said. and how quickly I took advantage of it. brings out in the most striking manner the efficiency of our detective police force. "I have all the facts in my journal. "That's the result of all our Study in Scarlet: to get them a testimonial!" "Never mind. it." "You may do what you like. to the Latter Day Saints. If the case has had no other effect. could the driver be. How well they succeeded. what better means could he adopt than to turn cabdriver. It is an open secret that the credit of this smart capture belongs entirely to the well-known Scotland Yard officials. "If he had been one there was no reason to believe that he had ceased to be." "It is wonderful!" I cried. You see the whole thing is a chain of logical sequences without a break or flaw. in which love and Mormonism bore a part. You should publish an account of the case. Why should he change his name in a country where no one knew his original one? I therefore organized my Street Arab detective corps. supposing one man wished to dog another through London. probably. like the Roman miser— "'Populus me sibilat. In the meantime you must make yourself contented by the consciousness of success. unless he were inside the house? Again. who was sure to betray him. I came into possession of the pills. Doctor. any sudden change would be likely to draw attention to himself. who was suspected of the murder of Mr. for a time at least." I answered. There was no reason to suppose that he was going under an assumed name. are still fresh in your recollection. All these considerations led me to the irresistible conclusion that Jefferson Hope was to be found among the jarveys of the Metropolis. "See here!" he continued." "Didn't I tell you so when we started?" cried Sherlock Holmes with a laugh. it appears. though we are informed upon good authority that the crime was the result of an old standing and romantic feud. "Your merits should be publicly recognized. It seems that both the victims belonged. of a third person. in their younger days. The details of the case will probably be never known now. the existence of which I had already surmised. hails also from Salt Lake City.a way which would have been impossible had there been anyone in charge of it. Sherlock Holmes. but which could hardly in any case have been prevented. Lastly. Messrs. who has himself. "The public. then. as an amateur. and who. Where. Lestrade and Gregson. at mihi plaudo Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplor in arca. the deceased prisoner. may hope in time to attain to some degree of their skill. "have lost a sensational treat through the sudden death of the man Hope. I will for you." he answered. and not to carry them on to British soil. If you won't. The man was apprehended. shown some talent in the detective line. it is absurd to suppose that any sane man would carry out a deliberate crime under the very eyes. with such instructors. handing a paper over to me. continue to perform his duties. and the public shall know them. He would. and will serve as a lesson to all foreigners that they will do wisely to settle their feuds at home. and sent them systematically to every cab proprietor in London until they ferreted out the man that I wanted.

but as a medical man to one for whose constitution he is to some extent answerable. "My mind. "My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. all made me diffident and backward in crossing him. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it." he said. for a mere passing pleasure." "But consider!" I said." 56 . But I abhor the dull routine of existence. but it is a pathological and morbid process. but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. brusquely. His great powers. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. and my conscience swelled nightly within me at the thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. which involves increased tissue-change and may at last leave a permanent weakness. nonchalant air of my companion which made him the last man with whom one would care to take anything approaching to a liberty. You know. like one who has a relish for conversation. "Which is it to-day?" I asked. Watson." He did not seem offended. pressed down the tiny piston. "Perhaps you are right. so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment. and the experience which I had had of his many extraordinary qualities. as you say. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession. and I am in my own proper atmosphere. indeed. too. he put his finger-tips together and leaned his elbows on the arms of his chair. I find it. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. "It is cocaine. whether it was the Beaune which I had taken with my lunch. Why should you. what a black reaction comes upon you." he said. I suddenly felt that I could hold out no longer. Surely the game is hardly worth the candle.—or rather created it. however. earnestly. be roused and excited. from day to day I had become more irritable at the sight. and rolled back his left shirtcuff. for I am the only one in the world. I crave for mental exaltation. "rebels at stagnation. solution. give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis. "I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. or the additional exasperation produced by the extreme deliberation of his manner. Would you care to try it?" "No. Again and again I had registered a vow that I should deliver my soul upon the subject. give me work. Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance. On the contrary." He smiled at my vehemence. "Count the cost! Your brain may. nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle." he said.THE SIGN OF FOUR Chapter I The Science of Deduction Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case.—"a seven-per-cent.—"morphine or cocaine?" He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened. risk the loss of those great powers with which you have been endowed? Remember that I speak not only as one comrade to another. Finally he thrust the sharp point home. On the contrary. Yet upon that afternoon. his masterly manner. and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction." I answered. With his long. Give me problems. white. but there was that in the cool.

the one at Riga in 1857. with stray "magnifiques. which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid. as an expert. didn't you know?" he cried. "I was consulted last week by Francois Le Villard. after a while. who.' In it I enumerate a hundred and forty forms of cigar-. sailors.—especially in cases of unclaimed bodies. My name figures in no newspaper. too. Here is the letter which I had this morning acknowledging my assistance. Detection is. I had a Jezail bullet through it some time before. however. has come rather to the front lately in the French detective service." I remonstrated. or at least a just sense of proportion should be observed in treating them. as you probably know." and "tours-de-force." all testifying to the ardent admiration of the Frenchman. The work itself. it obviously narrows your field of search. though it did not prevent me from walking. 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. and diamond-polishers. is their normal state— the matter is laid before me. catching a profusion of notes of admiration. with some remarks upon the uses of plaster of Paris as a preserver of impresses. compositors. but sat nursing my wounded leg. But you have yourself had some experience of my methods of work in the Jefferson Hope case. laughing. The only point in the case which deserved mention was the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes by which I succeeded in unraveling it."The only unofficial detective?" I said. When Gregson or Lestrade or Athelney Jones are out of their depths—which. for example. lightly. He is only wanting in knowledge. and pronounce a specialist's opinion. cordially. he rates my assistance too highly. "I could not tamper with the facts. "I was never so struck by anything in my life." "Your works?" "Oh. I claim no credit in such cases. But I weary you with my hobby. an exact science. 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. He has the power of observation and that of deduction. "Oh. "I glanced over it. by the way. "He speaks as a pupil to his master. or in discovering the antecedents of criminals." "Yes. He is now translating my small works into French. 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. with colored plates illustrating the difference in the ash.'" He shook his head sadly. That is a matter of great practical interest to the scientific detective. and pipe-tobacco. a crumpled sheet of foreign notepaper. the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers. If you can say definitely." 57 . "My practice has extended recently to the Continent. too. which have suggested to him the true solution. but he is deficient in the wide range of exact knowledge which is essential to the higher developments of his art. Louis in 1871. They are all upon technical subjects. "He has considerable gifts himself. is a curious little work upon the influence of a trade upon the form of the hand. as he spoke. filling up his old brier-root pipe. and possessed some features of interest. and that may come in time. I cannot congratulate you upon it. The case was concerned with a will." said Holmes." He tossed over. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism. Here is my monograph upon the tracing of footsteps. "Yes." I remarked. that some murder has been done by a man who was smoking an Indian lunkah. and the other at St. is one 'Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccoes. He has all the Celtic power of quick intuition." "coup-demaitres. raising my eyebrows." said I. "I appreciate their importance. corkcutters. "Honestly." "Some facts should be suppressed. Here. or ought to be. and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. it ached wearily at every change of the weather. He possesses two out of the three qualities necessary for the ideal detective. indeed. I examine the data. and. I was able to refer him to two parallel cases. I made no remark. and which is sometimes of supreme importance as a clue." "But the romance was there." I was annoyed at this criticism of a work which had been specially designed to please him." said Sherlock Holmes. I confess. for example. weavers. I have been guilty of several monographs. Here." "You have an extraordinary genius for minutiae." said he." said I. I glanced my eyes down it. "I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection. with lithotypes of the hands of slaters. cigarette-. "The only unofficial consulting detective. is my highest reward." he answered. It is a point which is continually turning up in criminal trials. I even embodied it in a small brochure with the somewhat fantastic title of 'A Study in Scarlet.

He was left with good prospects. so far. hardly. "There are hardly any data. suggests your own name. leaning back luxuriously in his arm-chair. no doubt. The rest is deduction. and the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation. Observation tells me that you have a little reddish mould adhering to your instep." I answered. Jewelry usually descends to the eldest son. It has." he answered. Your father has. "Anything else?" "He was a man of untidy habits. my research has not been entirely barren.—"so absurdly simple that an explanation is superfluous. It was a sudden impulse upon my part." "Why. as I thought. 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. "For example." "How. first with his naked eyes and then with a powerful convex lens. been dead many years. chuckling at my surprise. and he is most likely to have the same name as the father. however. The W. I have here a watch which has recently come into my possession. Surely the one to some extent implies the other. been in the hands of your eldest brother." "Right!" said I. Just opposite the Seymour Street Office they have taken up the pavement and thrown up some earth which lies in such a way that it is difficult to avoid treading in it in entering. "The thing. did you deduce the telegram?" "Why. he died." said I."Not at all." "In this case it certainly is so. So much is observation. and the one which remains must be the truth. if I remember right." he remarked. I could hardly keep from smiling at his crestfallen face when he finally snapped the case to and handed it back. and finally. What could you go into the post-office for. gazed hard at the dial. earnestly. lack-lustre eyes. from the H. The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back. "Right on both points! But I confess that I don't see how you arrived at it. What data could he expect from an uncleaned watch? "Though unsatisfactory." he remarked. "It was cleaned before being sent to me. The earth is of this peculiar reddish tint which is found.—very untidy and careless. He balanced the watch in his hand. upon the back?" "Quite so." "Right. which robs me of my most suggestive facts. opened the back. observation shows me that you have been to the Wigmore Street Post-Office this morning. but he threw away his chances. "it would prevent me from taking a second dose of cocaine. of the simplest. then. staring up at the ceiling with dreamy. an impossible one." "That you gather." 58 . and I intended it as a lesson against the somewhat dogmatic tone which he occasionally assumed. as far as I know. I see also in your open desk there that you have a sheet of stamps and a thick bundle of post-cards. therefore. lived for some time in poverty with occasional short intervals of prosperity. "Subject to your correction. but deduction lets me know that when there you dispatched a telegram." "It is simplicity itself. after a little thought. for the test was." "You are right. since I sat opposite to you all morning. That is all I can gather. then. Now." I replied. I should be delighted to look into any problem which you might submit to me. and examined the works. of course I knew that you had not written a letter. W. and I have mentioned it to no one. as you say. "The watch has been recently cleaned. and yet it may serve to define the limits of observation and of deduction. But you spoke just now of observation and deduction." I answered. taking to drink. "It is of the greatest interest to me. and sending up thick blue wreaths from his pipe." "I have heard you say that it is difficult for a man to have any object in daily use without leaving the impress of his individuality upon it in such a way that a trained observer might read it. I should judge that the watch belonged to your elder brother. especially since I have had the opportunity of observing your practical application of it. Would you think me impertinent if I were to put your theories to a more severe test?" "On the contrary." he answered. nowhere else in the neighborhood. but to send a wire? Eliminate all other factors. who inherited it from your father. is." he observed." In my heart I accused my companion of putting forward a most lame and impotent excuse to cover his failure.

What sober man's key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a drunkard's watch without them. I should prefer that you remain. There are no less than four such numbers visible to my lens on the inside of this case.—marks where the key has slipped. when with a crisp knock our landlady entered. I did not at all expect to be so accurate. Finally. in the same pocket. doctor. Hence the cocaine. Look at the thousands of scratches all round the hole. and he leaves these traces of his unsteady hand." "Then how in the name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely correct in every particular. and you now pretend to deduce this knowledge in some fanciful way.I sprang from my chair and limped impatiently about the room with considerable bitterness in my heart. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers. has a touch of charlatanism in it. and. "A young lady for you." 59 . I assure you." "But it was not mere guess-work?" "No. 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. unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-colored houses." "My dear doctor." I answered. For example. Holmes. to show that I followed his reasoning. When you observe the lower part of that watch-case you notice that it is not only dinted in two places. which contains the key-hole. bearing a card upon the brass salver. "Hum! I have no recollection of the name.—that he had occasional bursts of prosperity." I nodded. "Miss Mary Morstan." said he. existence is commonplace. to speak plainly. Secondary inference. doctor. I ask you to look at the inner plate. Hudson. "This is unworthy of you. I cannot live without brain-work. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man. 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. May I ask whether you have any professional inquiry on foot at present?" "None. that is good luck. "pray accept my apologies." he read. dismal. to scratch the number of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside of the case. Don't go. You have made inquires into the history of my unhappy brother. I had forgotten how personal and painful a thing it might be to you. Ask the young lady to step up. as there is no risk of the number being lost or transposed. no: I never guess. addressing my companion. I began by stating that your brother was careless. You cannot expect me to believe that you have read all this from his old watch! It is unkind. Mrs. kindly. It is more handy than a label. Viewing the matter as an abstract problem." "Ah. and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth. when they take a watch. when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace. sir." I said. Where is the mystery in all this?" "It is as clear as daylight. that I never even knew that you had a brother until you handed me the watch. I could only say what was the balance of probability. He winds it at night. Was ever such a dreary." I had opened my mouth to reply to this tirade. It is a shocking habit. I should have had more faith in your marvellous faculty. —that your brother was often at low water. Inference." she said. "I regret the injustice which I did you. "I could not have believed that you would have descended to this. however. such as coins or keys. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. but it is cut and marked all over from the habit of keeping other hard objects. or he could not have redeemed the pledge.—destructive to the logical faculty. "It is very customary for pawnbrokers in England.

In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents. She was much impressed by your kindness and skill. and was informed that Captain Morstan was staying there.Chapter II The Statement of the Case Miss Morstan entered the room with a firm step and an outward composure of manner. He telegraphed to me from London that he had arrived all safe. That night. and next morning we advertised in all the papers. and his eyes glistened. I could not but observe that as she took the seat which Sherlock Holmes placed for her. Our inquiry led to no result. hawklike features. he might be of inestimable service to me. I was placed." "She did not think so. 1878. giving the Langham Hotel as his address. But at least you cannot say the same of mine. well gloved. to find some peace." she continued. "would be good enough to stop." he repeated thoughtfully. To my surprise." "Mrs. I am sure." she said. There was. but that he had gone out the night before and had not yet returned." "Had he any friends in town?" 60 . "Briefly. as I remember. Cecil Forrester. He came home with his heart full of hope." I relapsed into my chair. I can hardly imagine anything more strange. I felt that my position was an embarrassing one. and her large blue eyes were singularly spiritual and sympathetic." said he. The case. His message. and she showed every sign of intense inward agitation. "I believe that I was of some slight service to her. dainty. My mother was dead. than the situation in which I find myself. as I remember it. to unravel a little domestic complication. My father was an officer in an Indian regiment who sent me home when I was quite a child. and a considerable number of curiosities from the Andaman Islands. business tones. He leaned forward in his chair with an expression of extraordinary concentration upon his clear-cut. and instead—" She put her hand to her throat. obtained twelve months' leave and came home. "State your case. and a choking sob cut short the sentence. She was a blonde young lady. There was nothing in it to suggest a clue. who was senior captain of his regiment. small. some comfort.—some clothes. her hand quivered. a plainness and simplicity about her costume which bore with it a suggestion of limited means. rising from my chair. "You will." Holmes rubbed his hands. and directed me to come down at once. "The date?" asked Holmes." she said.—nearly ten years ago. The dress was a sombre grayish beige. I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature. I waited all day without news of him. relieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the side. more utterly inexplicable. "the facts are these. Mrs. On reaching London I drove to the Langham. untrimmed and unbraided. I communicated with the police. "because you once enabled my employer." "His luggage?" "Remained at the hotel. however. "He disappeared upon the 3d of December. was full of kindness and love. and I had no relative in England. "I have come to you. on the advice of the manager of the hotel. Cecil Forrester. but her expression was sweet and amiable. opening his note-book. Her face had neither regularity of feature nor beauty of complexion. excuse me. in a comfortable boarding establishment at Edinburgh. He had been one of the officers in charge of the convict-guard there. some books. "If your friend. Holmes. the young lady held up her gloved hand to detain me. Mr." I said. In the year 1878 my father. and dressed in the most perfect taste. her lip trembled. however. and there I remained until I was seventeen years of age. and from that day to this no word has ever been heard of my unfortunate father. however. was a very simple one. and she wore a small turban of the same dull hue. in brisk.

without any clue as to the sender. then. 1882—an advertisement appeared in the Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward." said Sherlock Holmes." He spread out the papers upon the table. upon the 4th of May. "You are certainly a model client. Pray allow me to keep the papers. I watched her walking briskly down the street. "I have not yet described to you the most singular part. this is a very pretty little mystery. bring two friends." "You are both very kind. and showed me six of the finest pearls that I had ever seen. You have the correct intuition. Your correspondent says two friends." "Thank you.W. kindly glance from one to the other of us. please. By her advice I published my address in the advertisement column. fervently. "Your statement is most interesting. The same day there arrived through the post a small card-board box addressed to me. producing half a dozen pieces of paper. "but there can be no question as to the authorship. Hum! Man's thumbmark on corner. and lived at Upper Norwood." he said. Miss Morstan?" "That is exactly what I want to ask you. We shall look out for you. Envelopes at sixpence a packet." remarked Holmes. which you will perhaps read for yourself. I had at that time just entered the family of Mrs. He and I have worked together before." "I expected to hear you say so." "But would he come?" she asked. and." "A singular case. Postmark. except the letter. If I am here at six it will do. You are a wronged woman. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess." She opened a flat box as she spoke. You and I and—yes. London. "There is one other point. of his own regiment. but is there any resemblance between this hand and that of your father?" "Nothing could be more unlike." she answered." said Holmes. They are undoubtedly by the same person. Since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box. They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value. I suppose?" "You must not be later. now.—Major Sholto. "Has anything else occurred to you?" "Yes and no later than to-day. That is why I have come to you." "Au revoir. Date. If you are distrustful. It is only half-past three. S. You can see for yourselves that they are very handsome. then. I may look into the matter before then. presently. why. and have no friends whom I could appeal to. Let us see. "I should be proud and happy. 61 . turning to my companion. There was no name or address appended. at six. of course. About six years ago—to be exact. Do not bring police. The major had retired some little time before. which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl. Is this handwriting the same as that upon the pearl-box addresses?" "I have them here. Particular man in his stationery. the 34th Bombay Infantry. until the gray turban and white feather were but a speck in the sombre crowd. I should not like to suggest false hopes. all will be in vain. "if I can be of any service. however. "What a very attractive woman!" I exclaimed. If you do. and gave little darting glances from one to the other. really. Watson is the very man. Au revoir. This morning I received this letter. July 7." "Then we shall most certainly go." said our visitor. she replaced her pearlbox in her bosom and hurried away." said I. "I have led a retired life. What do you intend to do. and see the twirl of the final s. with a bright. "They are disguised hands. Dr.' Well. but he did not even know that his brother officer was in England. No address.—probably postman. "The envelope too."Only one that we know of. with something appealing in her voice and expression. and shall have justice." she answered. Your unknown friend. 'Be at the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre to-night at seven o'clock. Miss Morstan. No word of writing was enclosed. We communicated with him. Best quality paper. See how the irrepressible Greek e will break out. Standing at the window." said Holmes. containing a similar pearl.

" Holmes shook his head. An exception disproves the rule. however—" "I never make exceptions. The only person in London whom he could have visited is Major Sholto. "Look at his long letters. but I fail to see what this suggests. and in excellent spirits. Chapter III In Quest of a Solution It was half-past five before Holmes returned. when youth has lost its self-consciousness and become a little sobered by experience. I have some few references to make. A client is to me a mere unit. I have discovered a suggestive fact that is all. an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking-account. So I sat and mused." he said. languidly. "They hardly rise above the common herd." he said. and the most repellant man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor. a factor. Captain Morstan disappears. If my future were black.—nothing more.' I shall be back in an hour. Men of character always differentiate their long letters.—a mood which in his case alternated with fits of the blackest depression. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. My mind ran upon our late visitor. 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?" 62 .He had lit his pipe again. That d might be an a." "In this case. It is Winwood Reade's 'Martyrdom of Man. "A man of business habits and some force of character. What was I. on consulting the back files of the Times that Major Sholto. eager. "It is of the first importance. Four years later Sholto dies. late of the 34th Bombay Infantry. of Upper Norword. I am going out now." he said. "I did not observe. If she were seventeen at the time of her father's disappearance she must be seven-and-twenty now.—her smiles. Look at it in this way. What wrong can it refer to except this deprivation of her father? And why should the presents begin immediately after Sholto's death. Major Sholto denies having heard that he was in London." "What! you have solved it already?" "Well.—a sweet age. but my thoughts were far from the daring speculations of the writer." "I may be very obtuse. that I should dare to think of such things? She was a unit. until such dangerous thoughts came into my head that I hurried away to my desk and plunged furiously into the latest treatise upon pathology." I sat in the window with the volume in my hand.—one of the most remarkable ever penned. then. There is vacillation in his k's and self-esteem in his capitals. "The facts appear to admit of only one explanation. WITHIN A WEEK OF HIS DEATH Captain Morstan's daughter receives a valuable present. however illegibly they may write. VERY suggestive." He smiled gently. however." "You really are an automaton. and that l an e. that would be too much to say.—a calculating-machine!" I cried. 1882. and now culminates in a letter which describes her as a wronged woman. Holmes. "There is no great mystery in this matter. He was bright. "There is something positively inhuman in you at times. "Is she?" he said. Have you ever had occasion to study character in handwriting? What do you make of this fellow's scribble?" "It is legible and regular. and was leaning back with drooping eyelids.—a factor in a problem. I have just found. died upon the 28th of April. Let me recommend this book. The details are still to be added. the strange mystery which overhung her life." I answered." "No? You surprise me. I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money. "not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities. taking the cup of tea which I had poured out for him. 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. It is. which is repeated from year to year. the deep rich tones of her voice.

dark. in very rough and coarse characters. She must have been more than woman if she did not feel some uneasiness at the strange enterprise upon which we were embarking. "You will excuse me. there are certainly difficulties." she said. haggard and merry. combined to make me nervous and depressed.' in faded pencil-writing. but pale. 'The sign of the four. but I thought you might care to see it. brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us. the letter speaks of giving her justice. The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy. "Major Sholto was a very particular friend of papa's." Holmes unfolded the paper carefully and smoothed it out upon his knee. "It is paper of native Indian manufacture. He held his open note-book upon his knee. before a small. a curious paper was found in papa's desk which no one could understand. I don't suppose that it is of the slightest importance. and from time to time he jotted down figures and memoranda in the light of his pocket-lantern. By the way. In the left-hand corner is a curious hieroglyphic like four crosses in a line with their arms touching. Abdullah Khan. and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacant eye that he was thinking intently. yet her self-control was perfect." I picked up my hat and my heaviest stick. Like all human kind. There was.' No. for it may prove to be of use to us. and threw a murky. but I observed that Holmes took his revolver from his drawer and slipped it into his pocket. "I am Miss Morstan. but the dull. Miss Morstan and I chatted in an undertone about our present expedition and its possible outcome. We had hardly reached the third pillar. vaporous air. heavy evening. and her sensitive face was composed. and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city." he said with a certain dogged manner. and so back into the gloom once more. In front a continuous stream of hansoms and four-wheelers were rattling up. "But our expedition of tonight will solve them all. for the one side is as clean as the other. then. something eerie and ghost-like in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light. Ah. There is no other injustice in her case that you know of. "His letters were full of allusions to the major. I am not subject to impressions." he remarked. "It has at some time been pinned to a board. and passages.—Jonathan Small. for it is a little past the hour. It was clear that he thought that our night's work might be a serious one. should he write a letter now. and these two gentlemen are my friends.—sad faces and glad. Holmes alone could rise superior to petty influences. He bent a pair of wonderfully penetrating and questioning eyes upon us." "It was in his pocket-book that we found it. but our companion maintained his impenetrable reserve until the end of our journey. which was our rendezvous. Are you all ready? Then we had better go down. At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were already thick at the side-entrances." 63 . He then very methodically examined it all over with his double lens. but the day had been a dreary one. "Are you the parties who come with Miss Morstan?" he asked. be diamonded women."But what a strange compensation! And how strangely made! Why. It has been kept carefully in a pocket-book. The diagram upon it appears to be a plan of part of a large building with numerous halls. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. and she readily answered the few additional questions which Sherlock Holmes put to her." said Sherlock Holmes. here is a four-wheeler. and above it is '3. Mud-colored clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. so I brought it with me. too. What justice can she have? It is too much to suppose that her father is still alive. rather than six years ago? Again. It was a September evening." said she." "Preserve it carefully." "There are difficulties. corridors. Beside it is written. Miss Morstan. Miss Morstan was muffled in a dark cloak. At one point is a small cross done in red ink. and Miss Morstan is inside. pensively. I confess that I do not see how this bears upon the matter. and not yet seven o'clock. so they were thrown a great deal together. It is here. shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare." He leaned back in the cab. miss. Mahomet Singh. He and papa were in command of the troops at the Andaman Islands. discharging their cargoes of shirt-fronted men and beshawled. Dost Akbar.37 from left. with the strange business upon which we were engaged. Yet it is evidently a document of importance. to my mind. they flitted from the gloom into the light. "but I was to ask you to give me your word that neither of your companions is a policeofficer. I could see from Miss Morstan's manner that she was suffering from the same feeling. I begin to suspect that this matter may turn out to be much deeper and more subtle than I at first supposed. I must reconsider my ideas.

None of the other houses were inhabited. "Wordsworth Road. Cold Harbor Lane." it cried. and that at which we stopped was as dark as its neighbors. however." We had. and my own limited knowledge of London. I thought so. while we took our places inside. "Your servant. and knew nothing." said he. Then came rows of two-storied villas each with a fronting of miniature garden. the door was instantly thrown open by a Hindu servant clad in a yellow turban. "Now Vincent Square. and even as he spoke there came a high piping voice from some inner room. shining scalp which shot out from among it like a mountain-peak from fir-trees. The man who had addressed us mounted to the box. Robert Street. The situation was a curious one. "Priory Road. and then again interminable lines of new staring brick buildings. as did a huge hookah 64 ." Chapter IV The Story of the Bald-Headed Man We followed the Indian down a sordid and common passage. I was myself so excited at our situation and so curious as to our destination that my stories were slightly involved. and a too visible line of yellow and irregular teeth. We were driving to an unknown place. he gave the impression of youth."I give you my word on that.—or else we had good reason to think that important issues might hang upon our journey. I lost my bearings. At last the cab drew up at the third house in a new terrace. as into a bed of moss. In point of fact he had just turned his thirtieth year." she answered. A small place.—which was an inconceivable hypothesis. what with our pace. apparently. indeed. "Show them straight in to me. Our quest does not appear to take us to very fashionable regions. and was soon involved in a labyrinth of streets upon the other side. The richest and glossiest of curtains and tapestries draped the walls. Yet our invitation was either a complete hoax. save that we seemed to be going a very long way. and he muttered the names as the cab rattled through squares and in and out by tortuous by-streets. Sherlock Holmes was never at fault. Miss Morstan. At first I had some idea as to the direction in which we were driving. but our cab dashed on. but.— the monster tentacles which the giant city was throwing out into the country. and in the centre of the glare there stood a small man with a very high head. An oasis of art in the howling desert of South London. so soft and so thick that the foot sank pleasantly into it. Long lines of dull brick houses were only relieved by the coarse glare and tawdry brilliancy of public houses at the corner. in a thin. In that sorry house it looked as out of place as a diamond of the first water in a setting of brass. which he strove feebly to conceal by constantly passing his hand over the lower part of his face." said my companion. Yes. ill lit and worse furnished. high voice. There was something strangely incongruous in this Oriental figure framed in the commonplace door-way of a third-rate suburban dwelling-house. now scowling. "Show them in to me. Stockwell Place. I endeavored to cheer and amuse her by reminiscences of my adventures in Afghanistan. He gave a shrill whistle. Now we come out on the Vauxhall Bridge Road. and how I fired a double-barrelled tiger cub at it. looped back here and there to expose some richly-mounted painting or Oriental vase." We were all astonished by the appearance of the apartment into which he invited us. Pray step into my little sanctum. Lark Hall Lane. Nature had given him a pendulous lip. on which a street Arab led across a four-wheeler and opened the door. and a bald. and his features were in a perpetual jerk. Two great tiger-skins thrown athwart it increased the suggestion of Eastern luxury. and we plunged away at a furious pace through the foggy streets. but never for an instant in repose. We had hardly done so before the driver whipped up his horse. on an unknown errand. however. We are making for the Surrey side. save for a single glimmer in the kitchen window. reached a questionable and forbidding neighborhood. to tell the truth. He writhed his hands together as he stood. but furnished to my own liking." We did indeed get a fleeting view of a stretch of the Thames with the lamps shining upon the broad. In spite of his obtrusive baldness. silent water. "Your servant. white loose-fitting clothes. On our knocking. "Rochester Row. and a yellow sash." said he. 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. khitmutgar. "The Sahib awaits you." he kept repeating. which he threw open. misses. the fog. a bristle of red hair all round the fringe of it. The carpet was of amber-and-black. Now we are on the bridge. but soon. until he came to a door upon the right. now smiling. You can catch glimpses of the river. Miss Morstan's demeanor was as resolute and collected as ever. gentlemen. A blaze of yellow light streamed out upon us.

jerky little fellow." he answered. while the strange. I am partial to the modern French school. puffed uneasily in the centre. "That would hardly do. and he had orders. but also as witnesses to what I am about to do and say. to proceed no further in the matter. and I find my hookah an invaluable sedative. Thaddeus Sholto. as requested. In the 65 ." I listened to his heart. No. It is my weakness. tastes. I live." said he. "I am a great sufferer. Sherlock Holmes. We shall all go and try if we can get the better of Brother Bartholomew. But let us have no outsiders. Miss Morstan. still jerking and smiling. The landscape is a genuine Corot." I could have struck the man across the face. and the smoke bubbled merrily through the rose-water. A lamp in the fashion of a silver dove was hung from an almost invisible golden wire in the centre of the room. "That is well! That is well!" said he. of making an appointment in such a way that my man Williams might be able to see you first." he cried." "If we are to go to Norwood it would perhaps be as well to start at once. "May I offer you a glass of Chianti." said he." "A doctor. I am so glad to have your friends here. and. "I might have given you my address. without any interference. I took the liberty. I have a natural shrinking from all forms of rough materialism. "Have you your stethoscope? Might I ask you—would you have the kindness? I have grave doubts as to my mitral valve. Mr. Miss Morstan? Or of Tokay? I keep no other wines. He is very angry with me for taking the course which has seemed right to me. but I am a man of somewhat retiring. "I can give you every information. eh?" cried he. Had your father." said Holmes. "for we shall certainly have to go to Norwood and see Brother Bartholomew. but was unable to find anything amiss." said she. "You have no cause for uneasiness. therefore. You cannot imagine what a terrible fellow he is when he is angry. I have complete confidence in his discretion.which stood upon a mat in the corner. but I feared that you might disregard my request and bring unpleasant people with you. airily. "and. with our heads advanced." I nodded to show my agreement. as you see. The aortic I may rely upon. Sholto. I am delighted to hear that they are unwarranted. and I should desire the interview to be as short as possible. I can do you justice. I must prepare you by showing you how we all stand to each other. Miss Morstan sat down." "You will excuse my anxiety. he might have been alive now. and there is nothing more unaesthetic than a policeman. of course. Nothing would annoy Brother Bartholomew more than any publicity. "When I first determined to make this communication to you. if he were dissatisfied. I had quite high words with him last night. "but I am here at your request to learn something which you desire to tell me. so hot was I at this callous and off-hand reference to so delicate a matter. The three of us can show a bold front to Brother Bartholomew. "Mr. Shall I open a flask? No? Well. It is very late. "I knew in my heart that he was dead. shining head. He laughed until his ears were quite red. As it burned it filled the air with a subtle and aromatic odor. much excited. with his high. I am a little nervous." he remarked. and I might even say refined. then. if you would be so very good." I said. And these gentlemen—" "This is Mr. I trust that you have no objection to tobacco-smoke. "whatever you may choose to say will go no further. whatever Brother Bartholomew may say." said the little man. not only as an escort to you. I may call myself a patron of the arts. We sat all three in a semicircle. I seldom come in contact with the rough crowd." "You will excuse me. there cannot be the least question about the Bouguereau. and her face grew white to the lips. "For my part. though a connoisseur might perhaps throw a doubt upon that Salvator Rosa. Watson. to the mild balsamic odor of the Eastern tobacco. "That is my name. with some little atmosphere of elegance around me. and this is Dr. refrained from throwing a strain upon his heart. Miss Morstan. but I should value your opinion upon the mitral." said Miss Morstan. and our chins upon our hands." I ventured to remark. and I have long had suspicions as to that valve. We can settle everything satisfactorily among ourselves. "It appears to be normal. for he shivered from head to foot. and I will." He applied a taper to the great bowl. You will excuse these precautions. You are Miss Morstan.—no police or officials." "At the best it must take some time. what is more. too. "I don't know what he would say if I brought you in that sudden way." He sat down upon a low settee and blinked at us inquiringly with his weak. save indeed that he was in an ecstasy of fear. watery blue eyes.

He besought us to lock the door and to come upon either side of the bed. but he had a most marked aversion to men with wooden legs. who is now dead. Even that I could not bear to part with. The cursed greed which has been my besetting sin through life has withheld from her the treasure. and he fell backwards. came into possession of a considerable treasure.—that of all men he alone knew the fate of Arthur Morstan. but I could not but recognize that there was every chance that I would be accused of his murder.first place. When I stooped over him I found. Sahib. but he now became rapidly worse. I brought it over to England. "We did know. through a remarkable chain of circumstances. grasping our hands. his face turned a dusky hue. "'I have only one thing. We read the details in the papers. "I very well remember the sensation which was caused by the disappearance of Captain Morstan. Lal Chowdar shook his head and smiled. will give her a fair share of the Agra treasure. men have been as bad as this and have recovered." said he. and on the night of Morstan's arrival he came straight over here to claim his share. Williams. that some mystery—some positive danger—overhung our father. I must tell you that there are several points in the story of which I am myself ignorant. He nearly fainted at the breakfast-table when he opened it. Lal Chowder. cutting his head against the corner of the treasure-chest. who proved to be a harmless tradesman canvassing for orders. See that chaplet dipped with pearls beside the quinine-bottle. My twin-brother Bartholomew and I were the only children. My fault lies in the fact that we concealed not only the body. If my own servant could not believe my innocence. was one of them. "No one need know that you have killed him. knowing that he had been a friend of our father's. It is my treatment of poor Morstan's orphan. and. in a voice which was broken as much by emotion as by pain. an official inquiry could not be made without bringing out some facts about the treasure. in the doorway.' he said. a large collection of valuable curiosities. "Early in 1882 my father received a letter from India which was a great shock to him. to call for assistance. The mere feeling of possession has been so dear to me that I could not bear to share it with another. that he was dead. What was in the letter we could never discover. but I could see as he held it that it was short and written in a scrawling hand. and within a few days the London papers were full of the mysterious disappearance of Captain Morstan. who drove you to-night." said I." That was enough to decide me. "'I was still pondering over the matter. but he concealed it from every one. Let us hide him away. as you may have guessed. He was once light-weight champion of England. and a staff of native servants. 'He had suffered for years from a weak heart. of course. half at least of which should have been hers. "I heard it all. to my horror. and I heard the blow. I shall try and give it to you in his own very words. My first impulse was. After all.' he continued. looking up. and that he wished to make a last communication to us.—so blind and foolish a thing is avarice. And yet I have made no use of it myself. we discussed the case freely in his presence. he made a remarkable statement to us. "Do not fear. When in India. On one occasion he actually fired his revolver at a wooden-legged man. and the gash in his head. My brother and I used to think this a mere whim of my father's. wondering what I should do. But my lips are sealed. "My father was. He was very fearful of going out alone. "'For a long time I sat half distracted. All are asleep in the house. He had prospered in India. His death at the moment of a quarrel. he and I. and was admitted by my faithful Lal Chowdar. and came to live at Pondicherry Lodge in Upper Norwood. and who is the wiser?" "I did not kill him. Let us put him away together. once of the Indian army. We had to pay a large sum to hush the matter up. when he suddenly pressed his hand to his side. 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. There seemed to be no necessity why any soul ever should know. He stole in and bolted the door behind him. "'I will tell you how Morstan died. "I heard you quarrel. but events have since led us to change our opinion. Again. He retired some eleven years ago. I saw my servant. Sahib. He had suffered for years from an enlarged spleen. and brought back with him a considerable sum of money. when. Never for an instant did we suspect that he had the whole secret hidden in his own breast. You will see from what I say that I can hardly be blamed in the matter. With these advantages he bought himself a house. and from that day he sickened to his death. however. He walked over from the station. But send her nothing—not even the chaplet—until I am gone. Morstan had sprung out of his chair in a paroxysm of anger." he said. He used to join in our speculations as to what could have happened. "When we entered his room he was propped up with pillows and breathing heavily. I alone knew it. and towards the end of April we were informed that he was beyond all hope. and lived in great luxury. Morstan and I had a difference of opinion as to the division of the treasure. Our father would never tell us what it was he feared. You. I can only lay the facts before you as far as I know them myself. my sons. He had told me that no soul upon earth knew where he had gone. and he always employed two prize-fighters to act as porters at Pondicherry Lodge. and we came to heated words. but also the treasure. 'which weighs upon my mind at this supreme moment. which I was particularly anxious to keep secret. Major John Sholto. Then. would be black against me. although I had got it out with the design of sending it to her. and that I have clung to Morstan's 66 .

I wish you. We could judge the splendor of the missing riches by the chaplet which he had taken out. We soon. and upon his chest was fixed a torn piece of paper. we might have thought that our imaginations had conjured up that wild. his jaw dropped. 'Le mauvais gout mene au crime." he said. Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair with an abstracted expression and the lids drawn low over his glittering eyes." said he. however. and then continued between the puffs of his overgrown pipe. between friends. As far as we can judge. fierce face. but it is still a complete mystery to us. with the words 'The sign of the four' scrawled across it. Thaddeus Sholto looked from one to the other of us with an obvious pride at the effect which his story had produced. for. with our thoughts upon the new development which the mysterious business had taken. earnestly." Our cab was awaiting us outside. it would have been such bad taste to have treated a young lady in so scurvy a fashion. too. Mr." Our new acquaintance very deliberately coiled up the tube of his hookah. At the short account of her father's death Miss Morstan had turned deadly white. We could see the whitening of the nose where it was pressed against the glass. I learn that an event of extreme importance has occurred. Holmes was the first to spring to his feet. As I glanced at him I could not but think how on that very day he had complained bitterly of the commonplaceness of life." "It was a kindly thought. much excited as to the treasure which my father had spoken of. hairy face. in a voice which I can never forget. and he was averse to part with them. 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. though Brother Bartholomew could not altogether see it in that light. none of my father's property had been actually stolen. Put your ears down to my mouth." said he. but found no sign of the intruder. But for that one trace. therefore. A face was looking in at us out of the darkness. "We were your trustees. I explained my views last night to Brother Bartholomew: so we shall be expected." Mr. "were. listening to his extraordinary narrative. Over this chaplet my brother Bartholomew and I had some little discussion. we never knew. 67 . "We searched the garden that night. Thaddeus Sholto talked incessantly. She rallied however. '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. it is late. as you may imagine. his eyes stared wildly.share as well as to my own. It was maddening to think that the hiding-place was on his very lips at the moment that he died. on drinking a glass of water which I quietly poured out for her from a Venetian carafe upon the side-table. and we had best put the matter through without delay. in a voice which rose high above the rattle of the wheels. my brother was himself a little inclined to my father's fault. When we returned to my father his head had dropped and his pulse had ceased to beat. My brother and I rushed towards the window. "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. so that at least she might never feel destitute. and our programme was evidently prearranged. "My health is somewhat fragile. "You have done well. We had all sat absorbed. He thought." The little man stopped to relight his hookah and puffed thoughtfully for a few moments. But. without discovering its whereabouts. sir. We had plenty of money ourselves. The treasure has been discovered. with wild cruel eyes and an expression of concentrated malevolence. We all remained silent. For weeks and for months we dug and delved in every part of the garden. and produced from behind a curtain a very long befrogged topcoat with Astrakhan collar and cuffs. and he yelled. in spite of the extreme closeness of the night. What the phrase meant. It was a bearded. The window of my father's room was found open in the morning. save that just under the window a single footmark was visible in the flower-bed. to make restitution. The pearls were evidently of great value. Besides. and for a moment I feared that she was about to faint. and sat twitching on his luxurious settee. My brother and I naturally associated this peculiar incident with the fear which haunted my father during his life. taking the old khitmutgar and Williams with me. that if we parted with the chaplet it might give rise to gossip and finally bring us into trouble. however. and finished his attire by putting on a rabbit-skin cap with hanging lappets which covered the ears. his cupboards and boxes had been rifled. "My brother and I. I desired no more. Thaddeus Sholto ceased. Yesterday. if not welcome. "It was extremely good of you. from first to last. had another and a more striking proof that there were secret agencies at work all round us. I instantly communicated with Miss Morstan. The treasure is hidden in—' At this instant a horrible change came over his expression." he remarked. as he led the way down the passage. as Miss Morstan remarked just now. but the man was gone." The little man waved his hand deprecatingly. "That was the view which I took of it." said our companion. "I am compelled to be a valetudinarian. visitors. Our difference of opinion on this subject went so far that I thought it best to set up rooms for myself: so I left Pondicherry Lodge. Here at least was a problem which would tax his sagacity to the utmost. though everything had been turned out. and it only remains for us to drive out to Norwood and demand our share. for the driver started off at once at a rapid pace.' The French have a very neat way of putting these things. or who our secret visitor may have been. This he buttoned tightly up. so that no part of him was visible save his mobile and peaky face.

You know very well that I must stick to regulations." This was an unexpected obstacle. Thaddeus Sholto looked about him in a perplexed and helpless manner. McMurdo. while I recommended strychnine in large doses as a sedative. that is enough for you. "If I guarantee them. too. In the centre stood the treasure-chest. Thaddeus? But who are the others? I had no orders about them from the master. he found that the height of the building was seventy-four feet. and made measurements everywhere. which had been sealed up and was known to no one. We had left the damp fog of the great city behind us. deaf to the babble of our new acquaintance. and yet no friends o' the master's. Chapter V The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge It was nearly eleven o'clock when we reached this final stage of our night's adventures. and I have no orders. and there. and that my heart turned as heavy as lead within me. "How do you think he found out where the treasure was? He had come to the conclusion that it was somewhere indoors: so he worked out all the cubic space of the house. as he handed her out. deep-chested man stood in the opening." said the porter. so that not one inch should be unaccounted for. inexorably. but on adding together the heights of all the separate rooms. "It is I. McMurdo!" he said. sure enough. "That you. There is the young lady. he could not bring the total to more than seventy feet. There were four feet unaccounted for. some of which he bore about in a leather case in his pocket. You surely know my knock by this time. with half a moon peeping occasionally through the rifts." "Very sorry. I don't know none o' your friends. Mr. I trust that he may not remember any of the answers which I gave him that night. resting upon two rafters. and was girt round with a very high stone wall topped with broken glass." "No. I can let you in. and the night was fairly fine. could we secure her rights. A single narrow iron-clamped door formed the only means of entrance. Among other things. Pondicherry Lodge stood in its own grounds. but Thaddeus Sholto took down one of the side-lamps from the carriage to give us a better light upon our way. A warm wind blew from the westward. Thaddeus. He was clearly a confirmed hypochondriac. Surely it was the place of a loyal friend to rejoice at such news." said Mr. He computes the value of the jewels at not less than half a million sterling. Thaddeus Sholto. and my duty I'll do. and there it lies. He pays me well to do my duty. he came upon another little garret above it. I stammered out some few halting words of congratulation." There was a grumbling sound and a clanking and jarring of keys." "He ain't been out o' his room to-day. She cannot wait on the public road at this hour. yet I am ashamed to say that selfishness took me by the soul. would change from a needy governess to the richest heiress in England. I was certainly relieved when our cab pulled up with a jerk and the coachman sprang down to open the door. Mr. "Folk may be friends o' yours. "This." 68 . These could only be at the top of the building. He lowered it through the hole. in the lath-and-plaster ceiling of the highest room." At the mention of this gigantic sum we all stared at one another open-eyed. However that may be. He knocked a hole." said he. McMurdo? You surprise me! I told my brother last night that I should bring some friends. Miss Morstan. and making every allowance for the space between. Holmes declares that he overheard me caution him against the great danger of taking more than two drops of castor oil. but your friends must just stop where they are. and then sat downcast. is Pondicherry Lodge. "This is too bad of you. Thaddeus."Bartholomew is a clever fellow. and heavy clouds moved slowly across the sky. It was clear enough to see for some distance. and a short. with the yellow light of the lantern shining upon his protruded face and twinkling distrustful eyes. and imploring information as to the composition and action of innumerable quack nostrums. Miss Morstan. On this our guide knocked with a peculiar postman-like rat-tat. therefore. "Who is there?" cried a gruff voice from within. The door swung heavily back. with my head drooped. Mr. which he ascertained by borings. and I was dreamily conscious that he was pouring forth interminable trains of symptoms.

that is the housekeeper's room. a gravel path wound through desolate grounds to a huge clump of a house. looking round. you have! You might have aimed high. I do not know what to make of it. You must remember that they were six years looking for it. So we stood hand in hand." "And from the same cause. I am so glad you have come! I am so glad you have come. He was the favorite son." said Holmes. Sherlock Holmes!" roared the prize-fighter. and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us. The vast size of the building. "I cannot understand it. Had to be certain of your friends before I let them in. I think." said Holmes. But hush! what is that?" He held up the lantern. Holmes swung it slowly round. between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed. and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. Mr. where the prospectors had been at work. "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. McMurdo.—you and your friends. But perhaps you would not mind waiting here for a minute or two." "None." 69 . "But I see the glint of a light in that little window beside the door." he answered. and sway with pleasure at the very sight of him. Even Thaddeus Sholto seemed ill at ease. Miss Morstan and I stood together. if you had joined the fancy." "Ah. Thaddeus. in you come. and knocked in his peculiar way. "What a strange place!" she said. and at the great rubbish-heaps which cumbered the grounds. I'd ha' known you without a question. and." said Sholto. Mr. I distinctly told Bartholomew that we should be here. sir!" We heard her reiterated rejoicings until the door was closed and her voice died away into a muffled monotone. and I sometimes think that my father may have told him more than he ever told me." He hurried for the door. Bernstone sits. Bernstone. yes you do. "Oh. and yet there is no light in his window. square and prosaic.—the shrill. struck a chill to the heart. "Very sorry. sir. and her hand was in mine. "It looks as though all the moles in England had been let loose in it. She can tell us all about it. That is Bartholomew's window up there where the moonshine strikes. and the lantern quivered and rattled in his hand. with its gloom and its deathly silence. "It is Mrs. straining our ears. Mr. and we all stood with thumping hearts." said Holmes. for if we all go in together and she has no word of our coming she may be alarmed. Thaddeus. he has followed my father's custom. but there is no light from within." cried Sherlock Holmes. I have seen something of the sort on the side of a hill near Ballarat. "She is the only woman in the house. Don't you remember the amateur who fought three rounds with you at Alison's rooms on the night of your benefit four years back?" "Not Mr. sir. Our guide had left us the lantern. Watson. "I don't think you can have forgotten me. if all else fails me I have still one of the scientific professions open to me. Thaddeus. I have marvelled at it since. genially. No wonder that the grounds look like a gravel-pit. for here were we two who had never seen each other before that day. I shall be back in a moment. but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so." "Does he always guard the premises in this way?" asked Holmes." he said. but orders are very strict. as she has often told me. there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection." Inside. broken whimpering of a frightened woman. "These are the traces of the treasure-seekers. you're one that has wasted your gifts. Miss Morstan seized my wrist. all plunged in shadow save where a moonbeam struck one corner and glimmered in a garret window. like two children. A wondrous subtle thing is love. That is where old Mrs. We could see a tall old woman admit him. "Our friend won't keep us out in the cold now. and peered keenly at the house. Ah. "Yes. laughing. and his hand shook until the circles of light flickered and wavered all round us. "There must be some mistake."Oh. It is quite bright." "You see. Wait here." "In you come. you know. I am sure. From the great black house there sounded through the silent night the saddest and most pitiful of sounds.

Watson. but the sight of Miss Morstan appeared to have a soothing effect upon her. Bartholomew Sholto in joy and in sorrow for ten long years. and instantly rose again with a sharp intaking of the breath. The third flight of stairs ended in a straight passage of some length." We all followed him into the housekeeper's room. but I have been sorely tried this day!" Our companion patted her thin. for all beneath was in shadow. so I went up and peeped through the key-hole. in a horrible smile. In the corners stood carboys of acid in wicker baskets." said he. Twice as we ascended Holmes whipped his lens out of his pocket and carefully examined marks which appeared to me to be mere shapeless smudges of dust upon the cocoa-nut matting which served as a stair-carpet. which in that still and moonlit room was more jarring to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. The key being turned. "God bless your sweet calm face!" she cried. Miss Morstan had remained behind with the frightened housekeeper. work-worn hand. Moonlight was streaming into the room. with his hands thrown forward and terror in his eyes. but I never saw him with such a face on him as that. and Thaddeus Sholto came running out. There was the same high. for his knees were trembling under him. as we could see when we set our lamp up against it. with an hysterical sob. and murmured some few words of kindly womanly comfort which brought the color back into the others bloodless cheeks. One of these appeared to leak or to have been broken. and by a broad and powerful bolt. however. Holmes advanced along it in the same slow and methodical way. Looking straight at me." she explained. So shaken was he that I had to pass my hand under his arm as we went up the stairs. which stood upon the left-hand side of the passage. He walked slowly from step to step. do!" pleaded Thaddeus Sholto. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned to us that his brother and he were twins. indeed. "Master has locked himself in and will not answer me." said Holmes. "There is something devilish in this." he answered. and the table was littered over with Bunsen burners. while we kept close at his heels. the same circular bristle of red hair. The third door was that which we were seeking. Sherlock Holmes bent down to it. in the midst of a litter of lath and plaster. and retorts." Sherlock Holmes took the lamp and led the way. however. holding the lamp. in the air. however. test-tubes. "Come into the house.At that moment the door of the house burst open. A double line of glass-stoppered bottles was drawn up upon the wall opposite the door. the hole was not entirely closed. "What is to be done?" "The door must come down. in his crisp. A set of steps stood at one side of the room. there hung a face. but did not yield. "All day I have waited to hear from him. and shooting keen glances to right and left. and the air was heavy with a peculiarly pungent. Together we flung ourselves upon it once more. Oh. for he often likes to be alone. It was locked on the inside. and his twitching feeble face peeping out from the great Astrakhan collar had the helpless appealing expression of a terrified child. and recoiled in horror. You must go up. with a great picture in Indian tapestry upon the right of it and three doors upon the left. half blubbering with fear. I have seen Mr. he put all his weight upon the lock. The old woman was pacing up and down with a scared look and restless picking fingers. as it were. Mr. and then tried to turn the handle and force it open. and it was bright with a vague and shifty radiance. "I am frightened! My nerves cannot stand it." He was. firm way. and. 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. a fixed and unnatural grin. for Thaddeus Sholto's teeth were chattering in his head. "What do you make of it?" I stooped to the hole. "Yes. "It does me good to see you. for a stream of dark-colored liquid had trickled out from it. At the foot of the steps a long coil of rope was thrown carelessly together. The features were set. It creaked and groaned. more moved than I had ever before seen him.—the very face of our companion Thaddeus. "This is terrible!" I said to Holmes. Thaddeus. tar-like odor. but an hour ago I feared that something was amiss. and suspended.—you must go up and look for yourself. and this time it gave way with a sudden snap. springing against it. shining head. Holmes knocked without receiving any answer. the same bloodless countenance. and we found ourselves within Bartholomew Sholto's chamber. "I really do not feel equal to giving directions. It appeared to have been fitted up as a chemical laboratory. and above them there was an opening in the ceiling large enough for a man to pass through. with our long black shadows streaming backwards down the corridor. 70 . "There is something amiss with Bartholomew!" he cried.

He was stiff and cold." I took it up between my finger and thumb." said Holmes. "It means murder. "They have robbed him of the treasure! There is the hole through which we lowered it." "Simple!" I ejaculated. And now he is dead. "This is all an insoluble mystery to me. Oh. "Ah. the very picture of terror. Let us make good use of it. the master of the house was seated all in a heap. dear! I know that I shall go mad!" He jerked his arms and stamped his feet in a kind of convulsive frenzy. with a significant raising of the eyebrows. Sholto. I am sure I shall. and had clearly been dead many hours. with a thrill of horror. yes." said he. stooping over the dead man.By the table." said Holmes. there may be something deeper underlying it. "The treasure is gone!" he said. It seemed to me that not only his features but all his limbs were twisted and turned in the most fantastic fashion. It came away from the skin so readily that hardly any mark was left behind. almost complete. wringing his hands and moaning to himself. Watson. close-grained stick." he answered. "Take my advice. Look here!" He pointed to what looked like a long. putting his hand upon his shoulder. dark thorn stuck in the skin just above the ear." "On the contrary. You may pick it out. We shall wait here until your return. and drive down to the station to report this matter to the police. But you don't think so. By his hand upon the table there lay a peculiar instrument." said I. he broke out into a sharp. as I have told you. One tiny speck of blood showed where the puncture had been. inscrutable smile upon his face. rudely lashed on with coarse twine. My case is. 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. 71 . querulous cry. Chapter VI Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration "Now. "You see. But be careful. kindly. "It grows darker instead of clearer. I only require a few missing links to have an entirely connected case. but we must not err on the side of over-confidence." said I. what does it all mean?" I asked. "it clears every instant. however. Suddenly. In the light of the lantern I read. with a stone head like a hammer. He was still standing in the door-way. Simple as the case seems now." "What time was that?" "It was ten o'clock. for it is poisoned. and we heard him stumbling down the stairs in the dark. with his head sunk upon his left shoulder." he said." "In God's name. Holmes glanced at it. "You have no reason for fear. "The sign of the four.—a brown. and then handed it to me. Mr. "It is a thorn. and that ghastly. dear! oh. Beside it was a torn sheet of note-paper with some words scrawled upon it. and I heard him lock the door as I came down-stairs. "It looks like a thorn. in a wooden arm-chair. and the police will be called in." The little man obeyed in a half-stupefied fashion. I helped him to do it! I was the last person who saw him! I left him here last night. I expected it. Offer to assist them in every way. rubbing his hands. "we have half an hour to ourselves." We had almost forgotten our companion's presence since we entered the chamber. and I shall be suspected of having had a hand in it.

" "Quite so. His hands were far from horny. "but the thing becomes more unintelligible than ever. Here is the print of a foot in mould upon the sill. He must have done so. "You will not apply my precept. "Of course he did. and. Watson! This is really a very pretty demonstration. Let us open it. shaking his head." "How then?" I persisted. in the same fashion." I looked at the round.—the secret room in which the treasure was found.— though parallel cases suggest themselves from India. Framework is solid. I think. "I had already considered that possibility. and your ally would draw up the rope." "How came he. and. Now to work! In the first place. It is the impression of a wooden stump. from Senegambia. shut the window. look where I would. fingering the rope. Then. There was no furniture of any sort. of course. Whence. "that our wooden-legged friend. and here again upon the floor. And here is a circular muddy mark. and get away in the way that he originally came. HOWEVER IMPROBABLE. "It is something much more valuable to us. then. did he come?" "He came through the hole in the roof. 72 . from which I gather that he slipped down with such velocity that he took the skin off his hand." I answered. "This is not a footmark. untie it from the hook. He lifts the case from the regions of the commonplace. No water-pipe near. Then. "It is absolutely impossible." said I. seizing a rafter with either hand." said I. How of the window?" He carried the lamp across to it. As a minor point it may be noted. The moon still shone brightly on that angle of the house. how did these folk come. and was evidently the inner shell of the true roof of the house. he swung himself up into the garret. wooden leg and all. the ally!" repeated Holmes. and the accumulated dust of years lay thick upon the floor. You might swarm up. but addressing them to himself rather than to me. and beside it is the mark of the timber-toe. then?" I reiterated. so that in walking one had to step from beam to beam. securing one end of it to this great hook in the wall. You would depart. well-defined muddy discs. muttering his observations aloud the while." "This is all very well. a heavy boot with the broad metal heel. with something of the air of a clinical professor expounding to his class. with thin lath-and-plaster between. "Just sit in the corner there. You see here on the sill is the boot-mark. My lens discloses more than one blood-mark. we shall now extend our researches to the room above. and. It rained a little last night. The floor was formed by the rafters. the window is inaccessible. "The door is locked. snib it on the inside. No hinges at the side. that your footprints may not complicate matters. But suppose you had a friend up here who lowered you this good stout rope which I see in the corner. was not a professional sailor. doctor?" I looked out of the open window." he continued. if you were an active man." he answered." He mounted the steps." I cried. The roof ran up to an apex. and how did they go? The door has not been opened since last night. See here. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room. If you will have the kindness to hold the lamp for me." said he. and here again by the table. nor as much as a crevice in the brickwork. "Window is snubbed on the inner side. he reached down for the lamp and held it while I followed him." "It is the wooden-legged man. lying on his face. pensively. though a fair climber. Could you scale that wall.—a very able and efficient ally." he said. "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains. the window. But there has been some one else. The chamber in which we found ourselves was about ten feet one way and six the other. How about this mysterious ally? How came he into the room?" "Yes. "There are features of interest about this ally. as there is no concealment possible. I fancy that this ally breaks fresh ground in the annals of crime in this country. or the chimney. We were a good sixty feet from the round. Yet a man has mounted by the window. Roof quite out of reach. must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door. Was it through the chimney?" "The grate is much too small. "Without aid it is so. I could see neither foothold."Surely. if my memory serves me. especially towards the end of the rope.

So swift.—clear. well defined. comparing." said Sherlock Holmes." Heavy steps and the clamor of loud voices were audible from below. "I think that there is nothing else of importance here. I can press it back. measuring. The floor was covered thickly with the prints of a naked foot. As you saw. The blunt end had been trimmed and rounded off with a knife. "Why. "but the thing is quite natural." I took it up gingerly and held it in the light of the lantern." he said. that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law. Number One has had the misfortune to tread in the creosote." "What is your theory. instead of exerting them in its defense. and hurried about the room on his knees. It was long. On getting into the room I at once looked for the means by which the poison had entered the system. The carboy has been cracked." "What then?" I asked." I answered. and the hall door shut with a loud crash." He whipped out his lens and a tape measure. like those of a trained blood-hound picking out a scent. "Before they come. 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. "just put your hand here on this poor fellow's arm. but I will look.' as the old writers called it. My memory failed me. Let us see if we can find any other traces of his individuality. "This is a trap-door which leads out on to the roof. when we had regained the lower room once more. this Hippocratic smile. and furtive were his movements. but scarce half the size of those of an ordinary man. examining. There is nothing more to be learned here. then. and it will be instructive to compare results. "a child has done the horrid thing. in a whisper. "My dear Watson. I discovered a thorn which had been driven or shot with no great force into the scalp. "We ought to have very little trouble now. is the way by which Number One entered. sharp. If a pack can track a trailed herring across a shire. as to those footmarks?" I asked. you see. silent.—"some strychnine-like substance which would produce tetanus." I answered. in an off-hand way. They are in a state of extreme contraction. This. 73 . far exceeding the usual rigor mortis. Coupled with this distortion of the face. we have got him. "It will be clear enough to you soon. how far can a specially-trained hound follow so pungent a smell as this? It sounds like a sum in the rule of three."Here you are." said he. and as he did so I saw for the second time that night a startled. he kept muttering to himself. try a little analysis yourself. surprised look come over his face. perfectly formed." I answered." "I cannot conceive anything which will cover the facts. then. what conclusion would it suggest to your mind?" "Death from some powerful vegetable alkaloid." said he. "Holmes." I said. or I should have been able to foretell it. and black." He had recovered his self-possession in an instant. Now examine the thorn. and his beady eyes gleaming and deep-set like those of a bird. "You know my methods. You see. "I know a dog that would follow that scent to the world's end. What do you feel?" "The muscles are as hard as a board. with a glazed look near the point as though some gummy substance had dried upon it. with his long thin nose only a few inches from the planks. and finally he broke out into a loud crow of delight. and here on his leg." He held down the lamp to the floor." said Holmes. For myself. "We are certainly in luck. and the stuff has leaked out. or 'risus sardonicus. Apply them. Let us go down. with a touch of impatience. "I was staggered for the moment. As he hunted about. The answer should give us the—But halloo! here are the accredited representatives of the law. eagerly. You can see the outline of the edge of his small foot here at the side of this evil-smelling mess. that's all." he said." said he." "That was the idea which occurred to me the instant I saw the drawn muscles of the face. putting his hand against the sloping wall. sloping at a gentle angle. "Quite so. as I followed his gaze my skin was cold under my clothes. and here is the roof itself.

Mr. "This splinter of wood." "It was a piece of very simple reasoning. which I have every reason to believe to be poisoned. was on the table. Man might have died in a fit. was in the man's scalp where you still see the mark. "He can find something. He was red-faced. How lucky that I happened to be out at Norwood over another case! I was at the station when the message arrived. but there are steps on the sill. The only question is." With great activity. How was the window?" "Fastened. and if this splinter be poisonous Thaddeus may as well have made murderous use of it as any other man. and a very stout. burly and plethoric. This Thaddeus Sholto WAS with his brother. it certainly is not. Ha! I have a theory. pompously. there WAS a quarrel. So much also we know.—Just step outside. How does all that fit into your theory?" "Confirms it in every respect." "With all these data you should be able to draw some just inference."Is that an English thorn?" he asked. "Why." said the fat detective. this is hardly a case for me to theorize over. so much we know. Holmes? Sholto was." "Well. "No." remarked Holmes. sergeant.—a blind. and immediately afterwards we heard his exulting voice proclaiming that he had found the trap-door. shrugging his shoulders. with his brother last night. "Here's a pretty business! But who are all these? Why. not attractive. Athelney Jones. on which Sholto walked off with the treasure. quietly. of course I do!" he wheezed. How's that?" "On which the dead man very considerately got up and locked the door on the inside." said Holmes. "No. The card is some hocus-pocus. "House is full of Indian curiosities. Sherlock Holmes. The net begins to close upon him. He was closely followed by an inspector in uniform." "Hum! There's a flaw there. as like as not. how did he depart? Ah. The brother is dead and the jewels are gone. "He has occasional glimmerings of reason. but you'll own now that it was more by good luck than good guidance.—no room for theories. The brother died in a fit. well. No one saw the brother from the time Thaddeus left him." said Holmes. Still. Sholto. come! Never be ashamed to own up. It's true you set us on the right track. but then the jewels are missing. and by the still palpitating Thaddeus Sholto. considering his bulk. on his own confession." "You are not quite in possession of the facts yet. His appearance is—well. here is a hole in the roof. What d'you think the man died of?" "Oh. and beside it lay this rather curious stone-headed instrument. Thaddeus is evidently in a most disturbed state of mind. Il n'y a pas des sots si incommodes que ceux qui ont de l'esprit!" 74 . we can't deny that you hit the nail on the head sometimes." "Oh." As he spoke. You see that I am weaving my web round Thaddeus. the house seems to be as full as a rabbit-warren!" "I think you must recollect me. But what is all this? Bad business! Bad business! Stern facts here. no. "Here's a business!" he cried. Your friend can remain. and you. Remember you! I'll never forget how you lectured us all on causes and inferences and effects in the Bishopgate jewel case. husky voice. Let us apply common sense to the matter.—What do you think of this. if it was fastened the steps could have nothing to do with the matter." said Holmes. come. "It's Mr. Dear me! Door locked. These flashes come upon me at times. Thaddeus brought this up. inscribed as you see it. portly man in a gray suit strode heavily into the room. Jewels worth half a million missing. the theorist. I understand. His bed had not been slept in. of course. this card. he sprang up the steps and squeezed through into the garret. dryly. Mr. That's common sense. But here are the regulars: so the auxiliary forces may beat a retreat. now. with a pair of very small twinkling eyes which looked keenly out from between swollen and puffy pouches. the steps which had been coming nearer sounded loudly on the passage. in a muffled.

His left boot has a coarse. after all. and has been a convict. "We shall work the case out independently. I will wait for you here if you will drive out again. turning upon his heel." from the passage. I suppose. square-toed sole. She lives with Mrs. "It is one now. if I can get a fresh horse. sir. however. to see the matter through with you. Or perhaps you are too tired?" "By no means. then. Mr. by the precision of the other's manner. I don't think I could rest until I know more of this fantastic business." said Holmes. There is a trap-door communicating with the roof. "Don't trouble yourself about it." "A dog." "There. You will bring Toby back in the cab with you. My view of the case is confirmed." "It was I who opened it. 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. "This unexpected occurrence. You will see a weasel holding a young rabbit in the window. "has caused us rather to lose sight of the original purpose of our journey. The other man—" "Ah! the other man—?" asked Athelney Jones. and tell him. "You may find it a harder matter than you think." he said. "Is a rather curious person.—Mr." He led me out to the head of the stair. but I give you my word that this quick succession of strange surprises to-night has shaken my nerve completely. then?" He seemed a little crestfallen at the discovery. Mr. He is a middle-aged man. whoever noticed it."You see!" said Athelney Jones. and wearing a wooden stump which is worn away upon the inner side. Theorist. down near the water's edge at Lambeth. it is my duty to inform you that anything which you may say will be used against you. I should like.—A word with you. as I could easily see." "I have just been thinking so. and it is partly open." said Sherlock Holmes. These few indications may be of some assistance to you. but impressed none the less. The third house on the right-hand side is a bird-stuffer's: Sherman is the name. "shall see what I can learn from Mrs. with an iron band round the heel. I have every reason to believe. Watson. "I hope before very long to be able to introduce you to the pair of them. I ought to be back before three. with a most amazing power of scent. "Well. Sholto. with his right leg off.—don't promise too much!" snapped the detective. Thaddeus tell me. reappearing down the steps again. throwing out his hands. now! Didn't I tell you!" cried the poor little man. "Facts are better than mere theories." "And I. 3 Pinchin Lane. that I want Toby at once. Sholto to step this way. His name. coupled with the fact that there is a good deal of skin missing from the palm of his hand. You must escort her home. Cecil Forrester. Bernstone." said I." he answered." "No. in a sneering voice. "I think that I can engage to clear you of the charge. Knock old Sherman up." said Holmes. indeed! You did notice it. Sholto. in Lower Camberwell: so it is not very far. Inspector!" "Yes." I answered. small. sleeps in the next garret. Mr. is Jonathan Small. I have seen something of the rough side of life. and from the Indian servant. When you have dropped Miss Morstan I wish you to go on to No. it shows how our gentleman got away. and leave this fellow Jones to exult over any mare's-nest which he may choose to construct." "Your presence will be of great service to me. Then I shall study the great Jones's methods and listen to his not too 75 ." "Don't promise too much. "Ask Mr." "Oh. I arrest you in the queen's name as being concerned in the death of your brother." "Not only will I clear him. much sunburned. Jones. I would rather have Toby's help than that of the whole detective force of London. and looking from one to the other of us. Mr. now that I have got so far.—a queer mongrel. He is a poorly-educated man. who." "I shall bring him." "Yes. with my compliments. active. "It is not right that Miss Morstan should remain in this stricken house.

the footsteps. the wilder and darker it grew. At last. I reviewed the whole extraordinary sequence of events as I rattled on through the silent gas-lit streets. The Indian treasure." Chapter VII The Episode of the Barrel The police had brought a cab with them." said the face. and Mrs. It was to take her at a disadvantage to obtrude love upon her at such a time. If Holmes's researches were successful. And the more I thought of what had happened. "If you kick up any more row I'll open the kennels and let out fortythree dogs upon you. the curious plan found among Morstan's baggage. she first turned faint. however. clinging figures. 3 before I could make my impression. shaken in mind and nerve. to a deeper and far more tragic mystery. corresponding with those upon Captain Morstan's chart. was it honorable. but an honored friend. she would be an heiress. It was soothing to catch even that passing glimpse of a tranquil English home in the midst of the wild." "But I want a dog. As we drove away I stole a glance back.delicate sarcasms. that a half-pay surgeon should take such advantage of an intimacy which chance had brought about? Might she not look upon me as a mere vulgar fortune-seeker? I could not bear to risk that such a thought should cross her mind. you drunken vagabond. but Mrs. The servants had retired hours ago." said I. the barometer. She opened the door herself. There was the original problem: that at least was pretty clear now. however. 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 then burst into a passion of weeping. I was introduced. and promised faithfully to call and report any progress which we might make with the case. My sympathies and my love went out to her. They had only led us. she was rich. I explained. there was the glint of a candle behind the blind. the words upon the card. the letter. Was it fair. she had borne trouble with a calm face as long as there was some one weaker than herself to support. This Agra treasure intervened like an impassable barrier between us. dark business which had absorbed us. even as my hand had in the garden. She has told me since that she thought me cold and distant upon that journey. Pinchin Lane was a row of shabby two-storied brick houses in the lower quarter of Lambeth. Yet there were two thoughts which sealed the words of affection upon my lips. the sending of the pearls. and the bright stair-rods. I had to knock for some time at No. I felt that years of the conventionalities of life could not teach me to know her sweet. Forrester earnestly begged me to step in and tell her our adventures. the two graceful. and I still seem to see that little group on the step.' Goethe is always pithy. She little guessed the struggle within my breast. She was weak and helpless. and a face looked out at the upper window. however." "If you'll let one out it's just what I have come for. Worse still. "I won't be argued with!" shouted Mr. It was nearly two o'clock when we reached Mrs. for when I say 'three. however.—so sorely had she been tried by the adventures of the night. The death of Captain Morstan. She was clearly no mere paid dependant. or the effort of self-restraint which held me back.—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 importance of my errand.' down goes the wiper. an' I'll drop it on your 'ead if you don't hook it. After the angelic fashion of women. a middle-aged. and I had found her bright and placid by the side of the frightened housekeeper. "Now stand clear. the very singular accompaniments to the crime." I cried. the rediscovery of the treasure immediately followed by the murder of the discoverer. In the cab. the advertisement. "Go on!" yelled the voice. Cecil Forrester's. brave nature as had this one day of strange experiences.—we had had light upon all those events. the strange scene at Major Sholto's death." 76 . "So help me gracious. graceful woman. 'Wir sind gewohnt das die Menschen verhoehnen was sie nicht verstehen. I have a wiper in the bag. Sherman. the hall light shining through stained glass. the half-opened door. 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. "Go on. the remarkable weapons. and in this I escorted Miss Morstan back to her home.

" "Yes." "Quite so. Sherlock is always welcome. then! Atheney Jones has gone. "to a child or a small woman. Watson. brown-and-white in color. Sherlock Holmes—" I began. Toby proved to an ugly." said my companion. I am going to do a little climbing. "Ah." said he. half spaniel and half lurcher. and was instantly conscious of a strong tarry smell. Sholto had been marched off to the station. though. a stringy neck. with his hands in his pockets." I did as he directed. We have had an immense display of energy since you left. What was it that Mr. Sherlock Holmes wanted. The other print has each toe distinctly divided. "Do you observe anything noteworthy about them?" "They belong. it followed me to the cab. save that a sheet had been draped over the central figure. That is the point. with stooping shoulders. 7 on the left here. Is there nothing else?" "They appear to be much as other footmarks. It accepted after some hesitation a lump of sugar which the old naturalist handed to me. And dip my handkerchief into the creasote. and. would you take a nip at the gentleman?" This to a stoat which thrust its wicked head and red eyes between the bars of its cage. and within a minute the door was unbarred and open." "Not at all. shadowy light I could see dimly that there were glancing. as I have this handkerchief in my hand. Look here! This is the print of a right foot in the dust. That will do. been arrested as an accessory."Mr. for it keeps the bettles down. for I'm guyed at by the children.—Just you carry them down with you." We clambered up through the hole. Now I must kick off my boots and stockings. you have him there!" said he. Two constables guarded the narrow gate. for he bites. and blue-tinted glasses." He moved slowly forward with his candle among the queer animal family which he had gathered round him. The room was as he had left it. Mr. Now I make one with my naked foot beside it. Thank you. naughty. In the uncertain. 77 ." "Toby lives at No. Bear that in mind. "Don't mind that. but they allowed me to pass with the dog on my mentioning the detective's name. Now. and the Indian servant. He has arrested not only friend Thaddeus. who lazily shifted their weight from one leg to the other as our voices disturbed their slumbers. lean old man. "A friend of Mr. but the gatekeeper. with a very clumsy waddling gait. What is the chief difference?" "Your toes are all cramped together. so as to hang it in front of me. and both he and Mr. glimmering eyes peeping down at us from every cranny and corner. Toby was the name." he said. and made no difficulties about accompanying me. the housekeeper. and come up." "Apart from their size. lop-eared creature. but the words had a most magical effect. "Now tie this bit of card round my neck. I found. but for a sergeant up-stairs." "Ah! that would be Toby. "Lend me your bull's-eye. Leave the dog here. You must not mind my bein' just a little short wi' you at first. "Good dog. and there's many a one just comes down this lane to knock me up. for the window instantly slammed down. Holmes turned his light once more upon the footsteps in the dust. "Step in. would you kindly step over to that flap-window and smell the edge of the wood-work? I shall stay here. Holmes was standing on the door-step. sir?" "He wanted a dog of yours. A weary-looking police-sergeant reclined in the corner. so I gives it the run o' the room. sergeant. Sherman was a lanky. Keep clear of the badger. Now come up into the garret with me for a moment. naughty. Ah. It had just struck three on the Palace clock when I found myself back once more at Pondicherry Lodge. sir. long-haired. and rescinded the stairs. It hain't got no fangs. sir: it's only a slow-worm. having thus sealed an alliance. We have the place to ourselves. Even the rafters above our heads were lined by solemn fowls. "I wish you particularly to notice these footmarks." We tied Toby to the hall table. The ex-prize-fighter McMurdo had. smoking his pipe." I said.

" The object which he held up to me was a small pocket or pouch woven out of colored grasses and with a few tawdry beads strung round it. and then vanished once more upon the opposite side. loose the dog. I should think that Toby will have no difficulty. with his nose on the ground. smell it!" He pushed the creasote handkerchief under the dog's nose. sharp at one end and rounded at the other. several bricks had been loosened. The square. "Look out that you don't prick yourself. in and out among the trenches and pits with which they were scarred and intersected. anyhow. The creature instantly broke into a succession of high. If YOU can trace him. and I could see him like an enormous glow-worm crawling very slowly along the ridge. There is the less fear of you or me finding one in our skin before long." "This is the place. and we could now see some distance in the cold gray light. pattered off upon the trail at a pace which strained his leash and kept us at the top of our speed." he said. whining eagerly. with its scattered dirt-heaps and ill-grown shrubs. as you doctors express it. Inside were half a dozen spines of dark wood."That is where he put his foot in getting out. doggy! Good old Toby! Smell it. In shape and size it was not unlike a cigarette-case. had a blighted." There was a scuffling of feet. "Yes. Watson?" he cried. while the creature stood with its fluffy legs separated. and look out for Blondin. On reaching the boundary wall Toby ran along. and in his hurry he had dropped this. sad and forlorn. Then with a light spring he came on to the barrel. "That you." "Top on it?" "Yes. behind us. and from there to the earth. Toby. I lost sight of him behind a stack of chimneys. and. drawing on his stockings and boots. and the lantern began to come steadily down the side of the wall. Watson?" "Certainly. like a connoisseur sniffing the bouquet of a famous vintage. massive house. ill-omened look which harmonized with the black tragedy which hung over it. but he presently reappeared. underneath its shadow. fastened a stout cord to the mongrel's collar. and the 78 . The east had been gradually whitening. with its black. bare walls. It confirms my diagnosis. empty windows and high. and with a most comical cock to its head. When I made my way round there I found him seated at one of the corner eaves. Now run down-stairs." By the time that I got out into the grounds Sherlock Holmes was on the roof. for the chances are that they are all he has. Where the two walls joined. yes. I ought to be able to come down where he could climb up. "It was easy to follow him. towered up. I would sooner face a Martini bullet." I answered." said he." "Here you are." "Confound the fellow! It's a most break-neck place. The whole place. and led him to the foot of the water-barrel. Here goes. "Tiles were loosened the whole way along. The water-pipe feels pretty firm." "No sign of a ladder?" "No. I'm delighted to have them. "They are hellish things. What is that black thing down there?" "A water-barrel. like that which had struck Bartholomew Sholto. and stopped finally in a corner screened by a young beech. Holmes then threw the handkerchief to a distance. Are you game for a six-mile trudge. myself. Our course led right across the grounds. and his tail in the air. "Your leg will stand it?" "Oh. tremulous yelps.

mark you. is the readiest and. It is the only hypothesis which covers the facts. then." 79 . since fortune has put it into our hands. something in the nature of an act of justice. and. Small could not find out. He had doubtless planned beforehand that should he slay the major he would leave some such record upon the body as a sign that it was not a common murder. Do you follow all this?" "Very clearly. Mrs. You remember that we saw the name upon the chart in Captain Morstan's possession. Jonathan Small did not get the treasure because he and his associates were themselves convicts and could not get away." "There is credit." said I. as though they had frequently been used as a ladder. What a lucky thing it is that we have had no very heavy rain since yesterday! The scent will lie upon the road in spite of their eight-and-twenty hours' start. It would not have been a surprise to him. 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. he enters the room that night." said Holmes. but for this too palpable clue. however. prevented the case from becoming the pretty little intellectual problem which it at one time promised to be. Then he receives a letter from India which gives him a great fright. now. for no one ever knew. —a white man. from the point of view of the four associates.crevices left were worn down and rounded upon the lower side. for example. I don't wish to be theatrical. leaving. "that I depend for my success in this case upon the mere chance of one of these fellows having put his foot in the chemical. but. save the major and one faithful servant who had died. Lal Rao." said I. taking the dog from me. he dropped it over upon the other side. "It is more than that. only one white man's name is on the chart. How. Clearly. Let us see how it fits in with the sequel. Now. and actually fires a pistol at him. Holmes. as I mounted up beside him." 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. I have knowledge now which would enable me to trace them in many different ways. the officers—or one of them—gets the treasure and brings it to England. What was that?" "A letter to say that the men whom he had wronged had been set free. but waddled on in his peculiar rolling fashion. for he would have known what their term of imprisonment was. Does the reasoning strike you as being faulty?" "No: it is clear and concise. Toby never hesitated or swerved. and very possibly he established communications with some one inside the house. I should be culpable if I neglected it. and to spare. Aided by this chart. why did not Jonathan Small get the treasure himself? The answer is obvious. That is much more likely. that I marvel at the means by which you obtain your results in this case. some condition under which he received it unfulfilled. Now. There is no other white man. There might have been some credit to be gained out of it. Mad with hate. however. let us put ourselves in the place of Jonathan Small. against the dead man. "There's the print of wooden-leg's hand. Holmes clambered up. He found out where Sholto lived. my dear boy! it was simplicity itself. What does he do then? He guards himself against a wooden-legged man. as he somewhat dramatically called it. "Do not imagine. It is all patent and above-board. Let us look at it from his point of view. and usually afford valuable indications as to the criminal. he runs the gauntlet of the guards. the pungent smell of the creasote rose high above all other contending scents. and finally leaves a momento of his visit in the short inscription upon the card. A map is drawn for them by an Englishman named Jonathan Small. The others are Hindoos or Mohammedans. There is this butler. happy in the possession of his treasure." "Or had escaped. My fears were soon appeased. "I assure you." he remarked. makes his way to the dying man's window. and is only deterred from entering by the presence of his two sons. even more than I did in the Jefferson Hope Murder." "Well. Two officers who are in command of a convict-guard learn an important secret as to buried treasure. The chart is dated at a time when Morstan was brought into close association with convicts. Therefore we may say with confidence that the wooden-legged man is identical with Jonathan Small. where the treasure was hid. Major Sholto remains at peace for some years. The thing seems to me to be deeper and more inexplicable. however. could you describe with such confidence the wooden-legged man?" "Pshaw. Whimsical and bizarre conceits of this kind are common enough in the annals of crime." "But that is mere speculation. "You see the slight smudge of blood upon the white plaster. He had signed it in behalf of himself and his associates. It has. however. however. This. In a frenzy lest the secret of the treasure die with him. Bernstone gives him far from a good character. Suddenly Small learns that the major is on his death-bed. whom we have not seen. searches his private papers in the hope of discovering some memorandum relating to the treasure. we will suppose. for he mistakes a white tradesman for him.—the sign of the four.

having loaded two of the chambers. who gets over this difficulty. there is no great mystery in that." "It is just possible that we may need something of the sort if we get to their lair. His hairiness was the one point which impressed itself upon Thaddeus Sholto when he saw him at the window. And rather to Jonathan's disgust. It argues. and the poison had done its work: so Jonathan Small left his record. That was the train of events as far as I can decipher them. We had traversed Streatham. to judge by the way he stamped about when he got into the room." "Quite so. The men whom we pursued seemed to have taken a curiously zigzag road. He makes one curious but profound remark. Then he waddled round in circles." "But it was the associate. Camberwell. or go off in a balloon. we were beginning to come among continuous streets. and. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of nature! Are you well up in your Jean Paul?" "Fairly so. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. well. whence comes Toby. There is much food for thought in Richter. Brixton. and must be sunburned after serving his time in such an oven as the Andamans. You have not a pistol." "The associate?" "Ah. He's off again. It shines on a good many folk. There was no help for it. He did not wish to put his head in a halter. as if to ask for sympathy in his embarrassment. lowered the treasure-box to the ground. Strange dogs sauntered up and stared wonderingly at us as we passed. I don't know that there is anything else. have you?" "I have my stick. but if the other turns nasty I shall shoot him dead. having borne away through the side-streets to the east of the Oval. Toby ceased to advance. Possibly he leaves England and only comes back at intervals. the very picture of canine indecision. At the foot of Kennington Lane they had edged away to the left through Bond Street and Miles Street. rubbing their sleeves across their beards after their morning wet. what could Jonathan Small do? He could only continue to keep a secret watch upon the efforts made to find the treasure. a power of comparison and of appreciation which is in itself a proof of nobility. But you will know all about it soon enough. "What the deuce is the matter with the dog?" growled Holmes. and he is instantly informed of it." I suggested. He bore no grudge against Bartholomew Sholto. He takes with him. who are on a stranger errand than you and I. They had never kept to the main road if a parallel side-street would serve their turn. I worked back to him through Carlyle. His height is readily calculated from the length of his stride." said my companion. looking up to us from time to time. and rough-looking men were emerging. "They surely would not take a cab. We had during this time been following the guidance of Toby down the half-rural villa-lined roads which lead to the metropolis. with the idea probably of escaping observation. with his wooden leg. We again trace the presence of some confederate in the household." "Perhaps they stood here for some time. Now. but on none. and would have preferred if he could have been simply bound and gagged. Where the latter street turns into Knight's Place." "That was like following the brook to the parent lake. Then comes the discovery of the garret. It is that the chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness. who committed the crime." He took out his revolver as he spoke. is utterly unable to reach the lofty room of Bartholomew Sholto. Of course as to his personal appearance he must be middle-aged. Jonathan. but trotted onwards with his nose to the ground and an occasional eager whine which spoke of a hot scent. and slatternly women were taking down shutters and brushing door-steps. where laborers and dockmen were already astir. but our inimitable Toby looked neither to the right nor to the left."Now. in a tone of relief. and a six-mile limp for a half-pay officer with a damaged tendo Achillis. and now found ourselves in Kennington Lane. I dare bet. however. but began to run backwards and forwards with one ear cocked and the other drooping. and we know that he was bearded. Jonathan I shall leave to you. "Ah! it's all right. you see. a rather curious associate. 80 . At the squaretopped corner public houses business was just beginning. How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. however: the savage instincts of his companion had broken out. but dips his naked foot into creasote. and followed it himself. he put it back into the right-hand pocket of his jacket. and not Jonathan. however.

The scent appeared to be much hotter than before. though he sniffed earnestly. curly-headed lad of six came running out." "We must get on the main scent again. whereas the barrel passed down the roadway. We took Toby round to each in turn.—a statement which was confirmed by a great pile of coke upon the jetty. On the dog raced through sawdust and shavings. Here the dog. Toby stood upon the cask. They seem to have covered their tracks. where the sawyers were already at work. And. It only remains to follow the other. Evidently what puzzled the dog at the corner of Knight's Place was that there were two different trails running in opposite directions. frantic with excitement. With lolling tongue and blinking eyes. On leading Toby to the place where he had committed his fault. It is much used now. and the whole air was heavy with the smell of creasote. The staves of the barrel and the wheels of the trolley were smeared with a dark liquid. I fear. red-faced woman with a large sponge in her hand. especially for the seasoning of wood. it is no great wonder that our trail should have been crossed. down an alley. for he had not even to put his nose on the ground." He was approaching the door of the house. "Mordecai Smith" was printed across it in large letters." "Yes. Chapter VIII The Baker Street Irregulars "What now?" I asked. running through Belmont Place and Prince's Street. "These fellows are sharper than I expected. followed by a stoutish. "Boats to hire by the hour or day. where there was a small wooden wharf. But you notice that he keeps on the pavement." "He acted according to his lights. "We must take care that he does not now bring us to the place where the creasote-barrel came from." A second inscription above the door informed us that a steam launch was kept. with a wooden placard slung out through the second window. At the end of Broad Street it ran right down to the water's edge. we are on the true scent now. "This looks bad." said Holmes. No. 81 . turned down through the side-gate into the enclosure." It tended down towards the river-side. underneath. I cold see by the gleam in Holmes's eyes that he thought we were nearing the end of our journey." said Holmes." I observed. fortunately.He was indeed off. but tugged at his leash and tried to break into a run. and then burst simultaneously into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. looking out on the dark current beyond. and finally. "We are out of luck. and his face assumed an ominous expression. with a triumphant yelp. I suppose. between two wood-piles. Poor Toby is not to blame. "I had thought of that. lifting him down from the barrel and walking him out of the timberyard. "If you consider how much creasote is carted about London in one day. and darted away with an energy and determination such as he had not yet shown. and there stood whining. we have no distance to go. Sherlock Holmes looked slowly round. he made no sign. There has. Close to the rude landing-stage was a small brick house. and. "They have taken to a boat here." There was no difficulty about this. "Toby has lost his character for infallibility. looking from one to the other of us for some sign of appreciation. round a passage. just past the White Eagle tavern. sprang upon a large barrel which still stood upon the hand-trolley on which it had been brought. for after sniffing round again he suddenly made up his mind." said he. Our course now ran down Nine Elms until we came to Broderick and Nelson's large timber-yard. Sherlock Holmes and I looked blankly at each other. and a little. been preconcerted management here. when it opened. We took the wrong one. Toby led us to the very edge of this. but. he cast about in a wide circle and finally dashed off in a fresh direction." Several small punts and skiffs were lying about in the water and on the edge of the wharf.

If he'd been away in the barge I'd ha' thought nothin'." "Dear little chap!" said Holmes. sir. then! Catch!—A fine child. She's been fresh painted. "Nothing you would like better?" "I'd like two shillin' better. he'll let us hear of it. But what good is a steam launch without coals?" "He might have bought some at a wharf down the river. sir. sir. I tell you straight.—that's my eldest." "Away. indeed. but it weren't his way. truth to tell. and. and forward. sir. "Here you are." "I wanted to hire his steam launch." said Holmes. "I'd like a shillin'. and. What did he want always knockin' about here for?" "A wooden-legged man?" said Holmes. monkey-faced chap that's called more'n once for my old man. what's more. sir. I didn't hear no one else." "I am sorry. strategically." the prodigy answered. for I know there ain't more coals in her than would take her to about Woolwich and back. bless you. I am sure.' says he: 'time to turn out guard. and I have heard good reports of the—Let me see. sir." "Ah! She's not that old green launch with a yellow line. Jack. shrugging his shoulders." "Why. it is in the steam launch that he has gone. without so much as a word to me. a brown." "But. for I wanted a steam launch. He tapped at the winder. after some thought. sir." "He's been away since yesterday mornin'. 'Show a leg. I don't feel easy in my mind about it. I knew his voice. It was him that roused him up yesternight. very broad in the beam?" "No. But if it was about a boat.—about three it would be. Mrs. That's what puzzles me. for he had steam up in the launch. She's as trim a little thing as any on the river. Smith. in a disappointed voice. "I am sorry for that. is he?" said Holmes."You come back and be washed. for many a time a job has taken him as far as Gravesend. Smith. for I wanted to speak to Mr." said he. my dear Mrs. Jack. 'specially when my man is away days at a time. and then if there was much doin' there he might ha' stayed over. black with two red streaks. "You are frightening yourself about nothing. matey. with bland surprise. for if your father comes home and finds you like that. sir. maybe I could serve as well. wi' his ugly face and outlandish talk." "He might. I don't like that wooden-legged man.' My old man woke up Jim. "Yes. my man knew he was comin'. "What a rosy-cheeked young rascal! Now.—and away they went. Smith!" "Lor' bless you. He gets a'most too much for me to manage. he is that. I could hear the wooden leg clackin' on the stones. I am beginnin' to feel frightened about him." 82 . you young imp." "His voice. Smith. which is kind o' thick and foggy." "And was this wooden-legged man alone?" "Couldn't say. sir. Besides. "Come back. sir. is there anything you would like?" The youth pondered for a moment." she shouted. 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. what is her name?" "The Aurora. Many a time I've heard him call out at the prices they charge for a few odd bags. Mrs.

If you listen to them under protest. as we sat in the sheets of the wherry. If you do. for he may be of use to us yet. That. it would be a colossal task. and could feel no intense antipathy to his murderers. as we landed near Millbank Penitentiary. Mrs. and the runaways will think that every one is off on the wrong scent. Smith. befogged in mind and fatigued in body. you are very likely to get what you want." said Holmes. "Whom do you think that is to?" he asked. Good-morning. if you set about it alone. cabby! We will keep Toby. belonged rightfully to Miss Morstan. Below the bridge there is a perfect labyrinth of landing-places for miles." We pulled up at the Great Peter Street post-office. She may have touched at any wharf on either side of the stream between here and Greenwich." It was between eight and nine o'clock now. 83 . "The main thing with people of that sort. if I found it it would probably put her forever beyond my reach." "You remember the Baker Street division of the detective police force whom I employed in the Jefferson Hope case?" "Well. sir. That wire was to my dirty little lieutenant." "Ah. I am going down the river. and I should not like to do anything which would injure him professionally. The treasure. "I am sure I don't know. I shall probably call Athelney Jones in at the last moment. It would take you days and days to exhaust them. I had not the professional enthusiasm which carried my companion on. but as long as they think they are perfectly safe they will be in no hurry. Smith." "My dear fellow. asking for information from wharfingers?" "Worse and worse! Our men would know that the chase was hot at their heels. and get an hour's sleep."Thanks. and Holmes despatched his wire. Wiggins. and they would be off out of the country. If they fail. A black funnel." "Employ the police. True." said I. "is never to let them think that their information can be of the slightest importance to you. We shall take it and cross the river. but I shall try them first. however. It was the sides which were black. now that we have gone so far. laughing. then?" I asked. But I have a fancy for working it out myself. then. drive home." "Our course now seems pretty clear." said I. was a different matter. and if I should see anything of the Aurora I shall let him know that you are uneasy. then?" "I would engage a launch and go down the river on the track of the Aurora. as it were. they will instantly shut up like an oyster. then. "This is just the case where they might be invaluable. of course. He is not a bad fellow. As far as the death of Bartholomew Sholto went. "What would you do. Stop at a telegraph-office. nor could I look at the matter as a mere abstract intellectual problem." "What are we to do.—There is a boatman here with a wherry. I had a tenfold stronger reason to urge me on to find the treasure. have some breakfast. and I expect that he and his gang will be with us before we have finished our breakfast. I had heard little good of him. "Take this hansom. While there was a chance of recovering it I was ready to devote my life to the one object. you say?" "No. as we resumed our journey. Watson. for his view of the case is sure to push itself into the daily press. I was limp and weary. Yet it would be a petty and selfish love which would be influenced by such a thought as that. It is quite on the cards that we may be afoot to-night again. As it is. Jones's energy will be of use to us there." "Could we advertise. Black with a white band. I hope that you will hear soon from Mr. If Holmes could work to find the criminals." "No. or part of it. they are likely enough to leave. I have other resources. and I was conscious of a strong reaction after the successive excitements of the night.

black with two red streaks. Mrs. "and brought 'em on sharp. Watson. Wiggins. and you to me. and I could hear Mrs. Hudson. 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. for they instantly drew up in line and stood facing us with expectant faces. One of their number. and pointing to an open newspaper. and away they buzzed down the stairs. "I believe that they are really after us. which was headed "Mysterious Business at Upper Norwood. happened to be at the Norwood Police Station. Thaddeus Sholto. The discovery was first made by Mr. Sholto's person. if he should happen to have another of his attacks of energy. Holmes. no actual traces of violence were found upon Mr. laughing. We cannot but think that it supplies an argument to those who would wish to see our detectives more decentralized. She is down the river somewhere. I cannot have the house invaded in this way. together with the housekeeper. as he rose from the table and lit his pipe. a clatter of high voices. and in rushed a dozen dirty and ragged little street-Arabs." "Here you are. Bernstone. taller and older than the others. Now off you go!" He handed them a shilling each. "If the launch is above water they will find her. sir." "So do I.A bath at Baker Street and a complete change freshened me up wonderfully. despite their tumultuous entry. "They can go everywhere. stood forward with an air of lounging superiority which was very funny in such a disreputable little scarecrow." I took the paper from him and read the short notice. When I came down to our room I found the breakfast laid and Homes pouring out the coffee. and do both banks thoroughly." said the Standard. producing some silver. Athelney Jones. This fact." said Wiggins." said Holmes. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. and a porter. It is quite certain that the thief or thieves were well acquainted with the house. I expect to hear before evening that they have spotted her. who had called at the house with Mr. However. see everything." said he. half rising. overhear every one. "In future they can report to you. but must have made their way across the roof of the building. "By heaven. Bartholomew Sholto. I want to find the whereabouts of a steam launch called the Aurora. with the gratifying result that the brother. "The energetic Jones and the ubiquitous reporter have fixed it up between them. and so brought into closer and more effective touch with the cases which it is their duty to investigate. "Mr. owner Mordecai Smith." At this moment there was a loud ring at the bell. "What do you think of it?" "I think that we have had a close shave ourselves of being arrested for the crime. our landlady." "No. 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. guv'nor. Mr. It is the unofficial force. or gatekeeper. for Mr. was found dead in his room under circumstances which point to foul play. and was on the ground within half an hour of the first alarm. proves conclusively that it was no mere haphazard burglary. it's not quite so bad as that. By a singular piece of good fortune. there came a swift pattering of naked feet upon the stairs. There was some show of discipline among them. Is that all clear?" "Yes. "Here it is. In 84 ." "About twelve o'clock last night. Better have your ham and eggs first. the well-known member of the detective police force. and a guinea to the boy who finds the boat. of Pondicherry Lodge. brother of the deceased. named McMurdo. Three bob and a tanner for tickets. which has been very clearly made out. an Indian butler named Lal Rao. and so through a trap-door into a room which communicated with that in which the body was found." "Isn't it gorgeous!" said Holmes. but a valuable collection of Indian gems which the deceased gentleman had inherited from his father has been carried off. and I saw them a moment later streaming down the street. grinning over his coffee-cup. Let me know the moment you have news. "Got your message." I said." said Holmes. But you have had enough of the case. it is just as well that you should all hear the instructions. As far as we can learn. I want one boy to be at Mordecai Smith's landing-stage opposite Millbank to say if the boat comes back. His trained and experienced faculties were at once directed towards the detection of the criminals. You must divide it out among yourselves. has already been arrested. Upper Norwood.—the Baker Street irregulars." said he. "The old scale of pay. Thaddeus Sholto. Here's a day in advance. funnel black with a white band. raising her voice in a wail of expostulation and dismay." As he spoke. I wouldn't answer for our safety now.

I dare say. convict-barracks. dreamy. The average height is rather below four feet. Wooden-legged men are not so common. I am going to smoke and to think over this queer business to which my fair client has introduced us. could only be shot in one way. Jonathan Small would give a good deal not to have employed him. until I found myself in dream-land. coral reefs.' Hum! hum! What's all this? Moist climate." said he. small poisoned darts. I fancy that. we had already determined that Small had come from the Andamans. be absolutely unique.' Nice. for he had a remarkable gift for improvisation. small. and intractable people. The Hindoo proper has long and thin feet. Lie down there on the sofa. where are we to find our savage?" "South American. then. I have a vague remembrance of his gaunt limbs. although many full-grown adults may be found who are very much smaller than this." He took up his violin from the corner. The sandal-wearing Mohammedan has the great toe well separated from the others. in the Bay of Bengal. He stretched his hand up. Their feet and hands. So intractable and fierce are they that all the efforts of the British official have failed to win them over in any degree. I have a curious constitution. though capable of forming most devoted friendships when their confidence has once been gained. we can do nothing but await results. and distorted features." "That other man again!" "I have no wish to make a mystery of him. morose. We cannot pick up the broken trail until we find either the Aurora or Mr. Diminutive footmarks. "This is the first volume of a gazetteer which is now being published. toes never fettered by boots. then. 'The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth. They are a fierce. it is not so very wonderful that this islander should be with him. and see if I can put you to sleep. fierce eyes. No doubt we shall know all about it in time. They have always been a terror to shipwrecked crews. Watson.the mean while. no doubt. however. They are from a blow-pipe. are remarkably small. though some anthropologists prefer the Bushmen of Africa. that is more than I can tell. do consider the data." "Toby could eat these scraps. "Perhaps one of those Indians who were the associates of Jonathan Small. "When first I saw signs of strange weapons I was inclined to think so. Now. Port Blair. What do you make of all this?" "A savage!" I exclaimed. Mordecai Smith. or shooting them with their poisoned arrows. anyway." "Hardly that. Are you going to bed. because the thong is commonly passed between. I never remember feeling tired by work. cottonwoods—Ah. even as it is. These massacres are invariably concluded by a cannibal feast. amiable people.—to you. you look regularly done. though idleness exhausts me completely. sharks. here we are. Some of the inhabitants of the Indian Peninsula are small men. But you must have formed your own opinion. Rutland Island. and the rise and fall of his bow. and the Terra del Fuegians. stone-headed wooden mace. but the remarkable character of the footmarks caused me to reconsider my views. his earnest face. the Digger Indians of America. What have we here? 'Andaman Islands. I should think. great agility. If ever man had an easy task. but the other man must. 'They are naturally hideous. but none could have left such marks as that. however. These little darts. It may be looked upon as the very latest authority. Since. misshapen heads. listen to this. having large. Holmes?" "No: I am not tired. 85 . and as I stretched myself out he began to play some low. this of ours ought to be." "But how came he to have so singular a companion?" "Ah. naked feet. with the sweet face of Mary Morstan looking down upon me. and took down a bulky volume from the shelf.—his own. Watson. situated 340 miles to the north of Sumatra." I hazarded. Look here. Watson! If this fellow had been left to his own unaided devices this affair might have taken an even more ghastly turn. Then I seemed to be floated peacefully away upon a soft sea of sound. melodious air. Now. too. braining the survivors with their stone-headed clubs.' Mark that. Now.

Chapter IX A Break in the Chain
It was late in the afternoon before I woke, strengthened and refreshed. Sherlock Holmes still sat exactly as I had left him, save that he had laid aside his violin and was deep in a book. He looked across at me, as I stirred, and I noticed that his face was dark and troubled. "You have slept soundly," he said. "I feared that our talk would wake you." "I heard nothing," I answered. "Have you had fresh news, then?" "Unfortunately, no. I confess that I am surprised and disappointed. I expected something definite by this time. Wiggins has just been up to report. He says that no trace can be found of the launch. It is a provoking check, for every hour is of importance." "Can I do anything? I am perfectly fresh now, and quite ready for another night's outing." "No, we can do nothing. We can only wait. If we go ourselves, the message might come in our absence, and delay be caused. You can do what you will, but I must remain on guard." "Then I shall run over to Camberwell and call upon Mrs. Cecil Forrester. She asked me to, yesterday." "On Mrs. Cecil Forrester?" asked Holmes, with the twinkle of a smile in his eyes. "Well, of course Miss Morstan too. They were anxious to hear what happened." "I would not tell them too much," said Holmes. "Women are never to be entirely trusted,—not the best of them." I did not pause to argue over this atrocious sentiment. "I shall be back in an hour or two," I remarked. "All right! Good luck! But, I say, if you are crossing the river you may as well return Toby, for I don't think it is at all likely that we shall have any use for him now." I took our mongrel accordingly, and left him, together with a half-sovereign, at the old naturalist's in Pinchin Lane. At Camberwell I found Miss Morstan a little weary after her night's adventures, but very eager to hear the news. Mrs. Forrester, too, was full of curiosity. I told them all that we had done, suppressing, however, the more dreadful parts of the tragedy. Thus, although I spoke of Mr. Sholto's death, I said nothing of the exact manner and method of it. With all my omissions, however, there was enough to startle and amaze them. "It is a romance!" cried Mrs. Forrester. "An injured lady, half a million in treasure, a black cannibal, and a woodenlegged ruffian. They take the place of the conventional dragon or wicked earl." "And two knight-errants to the rescue," added Miss Morstan, with a bright glance at me. "Why, Mary, your fortune depends upon the issue of this search. I don't think that you are nearly excited enough. 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. On the contrary, she gave a toss of her proud head, as though the matter were one in which she took small interest. "It is for Mr. Thaddeus Sholto that I am anxious," she said. "Nothing else is of any consequence; but I think that he has behaved most kindly and honorably throughout. It is our duty to clear him of this dreadful and unfounded charge." It was evening before I left Camberwell, and quite dark by the time I reached home. My companion's book and pipe lay by his chair, but he had disappeared. I looked about in the hope of seeing a note, but there was none.


"I suppose that Mr. Sherlock Holmes has gone out," I said to Mrs. Hudson as she came up to lower the blinds. "No, sir. He has gone to his room, sir. Do you know, sir," sinking her voice into an impressive whisper, "I am afraid for his health?" "Why so, Mrs. Hudson?" "Well, he's that strange, sir. After you was gone he walked and he walked, up and down, and up and down, until I was weary of the sound of his footstep. Then I heard him talking to himself and muttering, and every time the bell rang out he came on the stair head, with 'What is that, Mrs. Hudson?' And now he has slammed off to his room, but I can hear him walking away the same as ever. I hope he's not going to be ill, sir. I ventured to say something to him about cooling medicine, but he turned on me, sir, with such a look that I don't know how ever I got out of the room." "I don't think that you have any cause to be uneasy, Mrs. Hudson," I answered. "I have seen him like this before. He has some small matter upon his mind which makes him restless." I tried to speak lightly to our worthy landlady, but I was myself somewhat uneasy when through the long night I still from time to time heard the dull sound of his tread, and knew how his keen spirit was chafing against this involuntary inaction. At breakfast-time he looked worn and haggard, with a little fleck of feverish color upon either cheek. "You are knocking yourself up, old man," I remarked. "I heard you marching about in the night." "No, I could not sleep," he answered. "This infernal problem is consuming me. It is too much to be balked by so petty an obstacle, when all else had been overcome. I know the men, the launch, everything; and yet I can get no news. I have set other agencies at work, and used every means at my disposal. The whole river has been searched on either side, but there is no news, nor has Mrs. Smith heard of her husband. I shall come to the conclusion soon that they have scuttled the craft. But there are objections to that." "Or that Mrs. Smith has put us on a wrong scent." "No, I think that may be dismissed. I had inquiries made, and there is a launch of that description." "Could it have gone up the river?" "I have considered that possibility too, and there is a search-party who will work up as far as Richmond. If no news comes to-day, I shall start off myself to-morrow, and go for the men rather than the boat. But surely, surely, we shall hear something." We did not, however. Not a word came to us either from Wiggins or from the other agencies. There were articles in most of the papers upon the Norwood tragedy. They all appeared to be rather hostile to the unfortunate Thaddeus Sholto. No fresh details were to be found, however, in any of them, save that an inquest was to be held upon the following day. I walked over to Camberwell in the evening to report our ill success to the ladies, and on my return I found Holmes dejected and somewhat morose. He would hardly reply to my questions, and busied himself all evening in an abstruse chemical analysis which involved much heating of retorts and distilling of vapors, ending at last in a smell which fairly drove me out of the apartment. 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. In the early dawn I woke with a start, and was surprised to find him standing by my bedside, clad in a rude sailor dress with a pea-jacket, and a coarse red scarf round his neck. "I am off down the river, Watson," said he. "I have been turning it over in my mind, and I can see only one way out of it. It is worth trying, at all events." "Surely I can come with you, then?" said I. "No; you can be much more useful if you will remain here as my representative. I am loath to go, for it is quite on the cards that some message may come during the day, though Wiggins was despondent about it last night. I want you to open all notes and telegrams, and to act on your own judgment if any news should come. Can I rely upon you?" "Most certainly."


"I am afraid that you will not be able to wire to me, for I can hardly tell yet where I may find myself. If I am in luck, however, I may not be gone so very long. I shall have news of some sort or other before I get back." I had heard nothing of him by breakfast-time. On opening the Standard, however, I found that there was a fresh allusion to the business. "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. Fresh evidence has shown that it is quite impossible that Mr. Thaddeus Sholto could have been in any way concerned in the matter. He and the housekeeper, Mrs. Bernstone, were both released yesterday evening. It is believed, however, that the police have a clue as to the real culprits, and that it is being prosecuted by Mr. Athelney Jones, of Scotland Yard, with all his well-known energy and sagacity. Further arrests may be expected at any moment." "That is satisfactory so far as it goes," thought I. "Friend Sholto is safe, at any rate. I wonder what the fresh clue may be; though it seems to be a stereotyped form whenever the police have made a blunder." I tossed the paper down upon the table, but at that moment my eye caught an advertisement in the agony column. It ran in this way: "Lost.—Whereas Mordecai Smith, boatman, and his son, Jim, left Smith's Wharf at or about three o'clock last Tuesday morning in the steam launch Aurora, black with two red stripes, funnel black with a white band, the sum of five pounds will be paid to any one who can give information to Mrs. Smith, at Smith's Wharf, or at 221b Baker Street, as to the whereabouts of the said Mordecai Smith and the launch Aurora." This was clearly Holmes's doing. The Baker Street address was enough to prove that. It struck me as rather ingenious, because it might be read by the fugitives without their seeing in it more than the natural anxiety of a wife for her missing husband. It was a long day. Every time that a knock came to the door, or a sharp step passed in the street, I imagined that it was either Holmes returning or an answer to his advertisement. I tried to read, but my thoughts would wander off to our strange quest and to the ill-assorted and villainous pair whom we were pursuing. Could there be, I wondered, some radical flaw in my companion's reasoning. Might he be suffering from some huge self-deception? Was it not possible that his nimble and speculative mind had built up this wild theory upon faulty premises? I had never known him to be wrong; and yet the keenest reasoner may occasionally be deceived. He was likely, I thought, to fall into error through the over-refinement of his logic,—his preference for a subtle and bizarre explanation when a plainer and more commonplace one lay ready to his hand. Yet, on the other hand, I had myself seen the evidence, and I had heard the reasons for his deductions. When I looked back on the long chain of curious circumstances, many of them trivial in themselves, but all tending in the same direction, I could not disguise from myself that even if Holmes's explanation were incorrect the true theory must be equally outre and startling. At three o'clock in the afternoon there was a loud peal at the bell, an authoritative voice in the hall, and, to my surprise, no less a person than Mr. Athelney Jones was shown up to me. Very different was he, however, from the brusque and masterful professor of common sense who had taken over the case so confidently at Upper Norwood. His expression was downcast, and his bearing meek and even apologetic. "Good-day, sir; good-day," said he. "Mr. Sherlock Holmes is out, I understand." "Yes, and I cannot be sure when he will be back. But perhaps you would care to wait. Take that chair and try one of these cigars." "Thank you; I don't mind if I do," said he, mopping his face with a red bandanna handkerchief. "And a whiskey-and-soda?" "Well, half a glass. It is very hot for the time of year; and I have had a good deal to worry and try me. You know my theory about this Norwood case?" "I remember that you expressed one." "Well, I have been obliged to reconsider it. I had my net drawn tightly round Mr. Sholto, sir, when pop he went through a hole in the middle of it. He was able to prove an alibi which could not be shaken. From the time that he left his brother's room he was never out of sight of some one or other. So it could not be he who climbed over roofs and through trap-doors. It's a very dark case, and my professional credit is at stake. I should be very glad of a little assistance." "We all need help sometimes," said I.


"Your friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes is a wonderful man, sir," said he, in a husky and confidential voice. "He's a man who is not to be beat. I have known that young man go into a good many cases, but I never saw the case yet that he could not throw a light upon. He is irregular in his methods, and a little quick perhaps in jumping at theories, but, on the whole, I think he would have made a most promising officer, and I don't care who knows it. I have had a wire from him this morning, by which I understand that he has got some clue to this Sholto business. Here is the message." He took the telegram out of his pocket, and handed it to me. It was dated from Poplar at twelve o'clock. "Go to Baker Street at once," it said. "If I have not returned, wait for me. I am close on the track of the Sholto gang. You can come with us to-night if you want to be in at the finish." "This sounds well. He has evidently picked up the scent again," said I. "Ah, then he has been at fault too," exclaimed Jones, with evident satisfaction. "Even the best of us are thrown off sometimes. 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. But there is some one at the door. Perhaps this is he." A heavy step was heard ascending the stair, with a great wheezing and rattling as from a man who was sorely put to it for breath. Once or twice he stopped, as though the climb were too much for him, but at last he made his way to our door and entered. His appearance corresponded to the sounds which we had heard. He was an aged man, clad in seafaring garb, with an old pea-jacket buttoned up to his throat. His back was bowed, his knees were shaky, and his breathing was painfully asthmatic. As he leaned upon a thick oaken cudgel his shoulders heaved in the effort to draw the air into his lungs. He had a colored scarf round his chin, and I could see little of his face save a pair of keen dark eyes, overhung by bushy white brows, and long gray side-whiskers. Altogether he gave me the impression of a respectable master mariner who had fallen into years and poverty. "What is it, my man?" I asked. He looked about him in the slow methodical fashion of old age. "Is Mr. Sherlock Holmes here?" said he. "No; but I am acting for him. You can tell me any message you have for him." "It was to him himself I was to tell it," said he. "But I tell you that I am acting for him. Was it about Mordecai Smith's boat?" "Yes. I knows well where it is. An' I knows where the men he is after are. An' I knows where the treasure is. I knows all about it." "Then tell me, and I shall let him know." "It was to him I was to tell it," he repeated, with the petulant obstinacy of a very old man. "Well, you must wait for him." "No, no; I ain't goin' to lose a whole day to please no one. If Mr. Holmes ain't here, then Mr. Holmes must find it all out for himself. I don't care about the look of either of you, and I won't tell a word." He shuffled towards the door, but Athelney Jones got in front of him. "Wait a bit, my friend," said he. "You have important information, and you must not walk off. We shall keep you, whether you like or not, until our friend returns." The old man made a little run towards the door, but, as Athelney Jones put his broad back up against it, he recognized the uselessness of resistance. "Pretty sort o' treatment this!" he cried, stamping his stick. "I come here to see a gentleman, and you two, who I never saw in my life, seize me and treat me in this fashion!" "You will be none the worse," I said. "We shall recompense you for the loss of your time. Sit over here on the sofa, and you will not have long to wait."


He came across sullenly enough, and seated himself with his face resting on his hands. Jones and I resumed our cigars and our talk. Suddenly, however, Holmes's voice broke in upon us. "I think that you might offer me a cigar too," he said. We both started in our chairs. There was Holmes sitting close to us with an air of quiet amusement. "Holmes!" I exclaimed. "You here! But where is the old man?" "Here is the old man," said he, holding out a heap of white hair. "Here he is,—wig, whiskers, eyebrows, and all. I thought my disguise was pretty good, but I hardly expected that it would stand that test." "Ah, You rogue!" cried Jones, highly delighted. "You would have made an actor, and a rare one. You had the proper workhouse cough, and those weak legs of yours are worth ten pound a week. I thought I knew the glint of your eye, though. You didn't get away from us so easily, You see." "I have been working in that get-up all day," said he, lighting his cigar. "You see, a good many of the criminal classes begin to know me,—especially since our friend here took to publishing some of my cases: so I can only go on the war-path under some simple disguise like this. You got my wire?" "Yes; that was what brought me here." "How has your case prospered?" "It has all come to nothing. I have had to release two of my prisoners, and there is no evidence against the other two." "Never mind. We shall give you two others in the place of them. But you must put yourself under my orders. You are welcome to all the official credit, but you must act on the line that I point out. Is that agreed?" "Entirely, if you will help me to the men." "Well, then, in the first place I shall want a fast police-boat—a steam launch—to be at the Westminster Stairs at seven o'clock." "That is easily managed. There is always one about there; but I can step across the road and telephone to make sure." "Then I shall want two stanch men, in case of resistance." "There will be two or three in the boat. What else?" "When we secure the men we shall get the treasure. 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. Let her be the first to open it.—Eh, Watson?" "It would be a great pleasure to me." "Rather an irregular proceeding," said Jones, shaking his head. "However, the whole thing is irregular, and I suppose we must wink at it. The treasure must afterwards be handed over to the authorities until after the official investigation." "Certainly. That is easily managed. One other point. I should much like to have a few details about this matter from the lips of Jonathan Small himself. You know I like to work the detail of my cases out. There is no objection to my having an unofficial interview with him, either here in my rooms or elsewhere, as long as he is efficiently guarded?" "Well, you are master of the situation. I have had no proof yet of the existence of this Jonathan Small. However, if you can catch him I don't see how I can refuse you an interview with him." "That is understood, then?" "Perfectly. Is there anything else?"


"Only that I insist upon your dining with us. It will be ready in half an hour. I have oysters and a brace of grouse, with something a little choice in white wines.—Watson, you have never yet recognized my merits as a housekeeper."

Chapter X The End of the Islander
Our meal was a merry one. Holmes could talk exceedingly well when he chose, and that night he did choose. He appeared to be in a state of nervous exaltation. I have never known him so brilliant. He spoke on a quick succession of subjects,—on miracle-plays, on medieval pottery, on Stradivarius violins, on the Buddhism of Ceylon, and on the war-ships of the future,—handling each as though he had made a special study of it. His bright humor marked the reaction from his black depression of the preceding days. Athelney Jones proved to be a sociable soul in his hours of relaxation, and faced his dinner with the air of a bon vivant. For myself, I felt elated at the thought that we were nearing the end of our task, and I caught something of Holmes's gaiety. None of us alluded during dinner to the cause which had brought us together. When the cloth was cleared, Holmes glanced at his watch, and filled up three glasses with port. "One bumper," said he, "to the success of our little expedition. And now it is high time we were off. Have you a pistol, Watson?" "I have my old service-revolver in my desk." "You had best take it, then. It is well to be prepared. I see that the cab is at the door. I ordered it for half-past six." It was a little past seven before we reached the Westminster wharf, and found our launch awaiting us. Holmes eyed it critically. "Is there anything to mark it as a police-boat?" "Yes,—that green lamp at the side." "Then take it off." The small change was made, we stepped on board, and the ropes were cast off. Jones, Holmes, and I sat in the stern. There was one man at the rudder, one to tend the engines, and two burly police-inspectors forward. "Where to?" asked Jones. "To the Tower. Tell them to stop opposite Jacobson's Yard." Our craft was evidently a very fast one. We shot past the long lines of loaded barges as though they were stationary. Holmes smiled with satisfaction as we overhauled a river steamer and left her behind us. "We ought to be able to catch anything on the river," he said. "Well, hardly that. But there are not many launches to beat us." "We shall have to catch the Aurora, and she has a name for being a clipper. I will tell you how the land lies, Watson. You recollect how annoyed I was at being balked by so small a thing?" "Yes." "Well, I gave my mind a thorough rest by plunging into a chemical analysis. One of our greatest statesmen has said that a change of work is the best rest. So it is. When I had succeeded in dissolving the hydrocarbon which I was at work at, I came back to our problem of the Sholtos, and thought the whole matter out again. My boys had been up the river and down the river without result. The launch was not at any landing-stage or wharf, nor had it returned. Yet it could hardly have been scuttled to hide their traces,—though that always remained as a possible hypothesis if all else failed. I knew this man Small had a certain degree of low cunning, but I did not think him capable of anything in the nature of delicate finesse. That is usually a product of higher education. 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, but would need some little time, if it were only a day, to arrange his affairs. That was the balance of probability, at any rate." "It seems to me to be a little weak," said I. "It is more probable that he had arranged his affairs before ever he set out upon his expedition." "No, I hardly think so. 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. But a second consideration struck me. Jonathan Small must have felt that the peculiar appearance of his companion, however much he may have top-coated him, would give rise to gossip, and possibly be associated with this Norwood tragedy. He was quite sharp enough to see that. They had started from their head-quarters under cover of darkness, and he would wish to get back before it was broad light. Now, it was past three o'clock, according to Mrs. Smith, when they got the boat. It would be quite bright, and people would be about in an hour or so. Therefore, I argued, they did not go very far. They paid Smith well to hold his tongue, reserved his launch for the final escape, and hurried to their lodgings with the treasure-box. In a couple of nights, when they had time to see what view the papers took, and whether there was any suspicion, they would make their way under cover of darkness to some ship at Gravesend or in the Downs, where no doubt they had already arranged for passages to America or the Colonies." "But the launch? They could not have taken that to their lodgings." "Quite so. I argued that the launch must be no great way off, in spite of its invisibility. I then put myself in the place of Small, and looked at it as a man of his capacity would. 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. How, then, 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 could only think of one way of doing it. I might land the launch over to some boat-builder or repairer, with directions to make a trifling change in her. She would then be removed to his shed or yard, and so be effectually concealed, while at the same time I could have her at a few hours' notice." "That seems simple enough." "It is just these very simple things which are extremely liable to be overlooked. However, I determined to act on the idea. I started at once in this harmless seaman's rig and inquired at all the yards down the river. I drew blank at fifteen, 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, with some trivial directions as to her rudder. 'There ain't naught amiss with her rudder,' said the foreman. 'There she lies, with the red streaks.' At that moment who should come down but Mordecai Smith, the missing owner? He was rather the worse for liquor. I should not, of course, have known him, but he bellowed out his name and the name of his launch. 'I want her to-night at eight o'clock,' said he,—'eight o'clock sharp, mind, for I have two gentlemen who won't be kept waiting.' They had evidently paid him well, for he was very flush of money, chucking shillings about to the men. I followed him some distance, but he subsided into an ale-house: so I went back to the yard, and, happening to pick up one of my boys on the way, I stationed him as a sentry over the launch. He is to stand at water's edge and wave his handkerchief to us when they start. We shall be lying off in the stream, and it will be a strange thing if we do not take men, treasure, and all." "You have planned it all very neatly, whether they are the right men or not," said Jones; "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." "Which would have been never. This man Small is a pretty shrewd fellow. He would send a scout on ahead, and if anything made him suspicious lie snug for another week." "But you might have stuck to Mordecai Smith, and so been led to their hiding-place," said I. "In that case I should have wasted my day. I think that it is a hundred to one against Smith knowing where they live. As long as he has liquor and good pay, why should he ask questions? They send him messages what to do. No, I thought over every possible course, and this is the best." While this conversation had been proceeding, we had been shooting the long series of bridges which span the Thames. As we passed the City the last rays of the sun were gilding the cross upon the summit of St. Paul's. It was twilight before we reached the Tower. "That is Jacobson's Yard," said Holmes, pointing to a bristle of masts and rigging on the Surrey side. "Cruise gently up and down here under cover of this string of lighters." He took a pair of night-glasses from his pocket and gazed some time at the shore. "I see my sentry at his post," he remarked, "but no sign of a handkerchief."


"Suppose we go down-stream a short way and lie in wait for them," said Jones, eagerly. We were all eager by this time, even the policemen and stokers, who had a very vague idea of what was going forward. "We have no right to take anything for granted," Holmes answered. "It is certainly ten to one that they go downstream, but we cannot be certain. From this point we can see the entrance of the yard, and they can hardly see us. It will be a clear night and plenty of light. We must stay where we are. See how the folk swarm over yonder in the gaslight." "They are coming from work in the yard." "Dirty-looking rascals, but I suppose every one has some little immortal spark concealed about him. You would not think it, to look at them. There is no a priori probability about it. A strange enigma is man!" "Some one calls him a soul concealed in an animal," I suggested. "Winwood Reade is good upon the subject," said Holmes. "He remarks that, while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician. But do I see a handkerchief? Surely there is a white flutter over yonder." "Yes, it is your boy," I cried. "I can see him plainly." "And there is the Aurora," exclaimed Holmes, "and going like the devil! Full speed ahead, engineer. Make after that launch with the yellow light. By heaven, I shall never forgive myself if she proves to have the heels of us!" She had slipped unseen through the yard-entrance and passed behind two or three small craft, so that she had fairly got her speed up before we saw her. Now she was flying down the stream, near in to the shore, going at a tremendous rate. Jones looked gravely at her and shook his head. "She is very fast," he said. "I doubt if we shall catch her." "We MUST catch her!" cried Holmes, between his teeth. "Heap it on, stokers! Make her do all she can! If we burn the boat we must have them!" We were fairly after her now. The furnaces roared, and the powerful engines whizzed and clanked, like a great metallic heart. Her sharp, steep prow cut through the river-water and sent two rolling waves to right and to left of us. With every throb of the engines we sprang and quivered like a living thing. One great yellow lantern in our bows threw a long, flickering funnel of light in front of us. Right ahead a dark blur upon the water showed where the Aurora lay, and the swirl of white foam behind her spoke of the pace at which she was going. We flashed past barges, steamers, merchant-vessels, in and out, behind this one and round the other. Voices hailed us out of the darkness, but still the Aurora thundered on, and still we followed close upon her track. "Pile it on, men, pile it on!" cried Holmes, looking down into the engine-room, while the fierce glow from below beat upon his eager, aquiline face. "Get every pound of steam you can." "I think we gain a little," said Jones, with his eyes on the Aurora. "I am sure of it," said I. "We shall be up with her in a very few minutes." At that moment, however, as our evil fate would have it, a tug with three barges in tow blundered in between us. It was only by putting our helm hard down that we avoided a collision, and before we could round them and recover our way the Aurora had gained a good two hundred yards. She was still, however, well in view, and the murky uncertain twilight was setting into a clear starlit night. Our boilers were strained to their utmost, and the frail shell vibrated and creaked with the fierce energy which was driving us along. We had shot through the Pool, past the West India Docks, down the long Deptford Reach, and up again after rounding the Isle of Dogs. The dull blur in front of us resolved itself now clearly enough into the dainty Aurora. Jones turned our search-light upon her, so that we could plainly see the figures upon her deck. One man sat by the stern, with something black between his knees over which he stooped. Beside him lay a dark mass which looked like a Newfoundland dog. The boy held the tiller, while against the red glare of the furnace I could see old Smith, stripped to the waist, and shovelling coals for dear life. They may have had some doubt at first as to whether we were really pursuing them, but now as we followed every winding and turning which they took there could no longer be any question about it. At Greenwich we were about three hundred paces behind them. At Blackwall we could not have been more than two hundred and fifty. I have coursed many creatures in many countries during my checkered career, but never did sport give me such a wild thrill as this mad, flying man-hunt down the Thames. Steadily we drew in upon them,


yard by yard. In the silence of the night we could hear the panting and clanking of their machinery. The man in the stern still crouched upon the deck, and his arms were moving as though he were busy, while every now and then he would look up and measure with a glance the distance which still separated us. Nearer we came and nearer. Jones yelled to them to stop. We were not more than four boat's lengths behind them, both boats flying at a tremendous pace. It was a clear reach of the river, with Barking Level upon one side and the melancholy Plumstead Marshes upon the other. At our hail the man in the stern sprang up from the deck and shook his two clinched fists at us, cursing the while in a high, cracked voice. He was a good-sized, powerful man, and as he stood poising himself with legs astride I could see that from the thigh downwards there was but a wooden stump upon the right side. At the sound of his strident, angry cries there was movement in the huddled bundle upon the deck. It straightened itself into a little black man—the smallest I have ever seen—with a great, misshapen head and a shock of tangled, dishevelled hair. Holmes had already drawn his revolver, and I whipped out mine at the sight of this savage, distorted creature. He was wrapped in some sort of dark ulster or blanket, which left only his face exposed; but that face was enough to give a man a sleepless night. Never have I seen features so deeply marked with all bestiality and cruelty. His small eyes glowed and burned with a sombre light, and his thick lips were writhed back from his teeth, which grinned and chattered at us with a half animal fury. "Fire if he raises his hand," said Holmes, quietly. We were within a boat's-length by this time, and almost within touch of our quarry. I can see the two of them now as they stood, the white man with his legs far apart, shrieking out curses, and the unhallowed dwarf with his hideous face, and his strong yellow teeth gnashing at us in the light of our lantern. It was well that we had so clear a view of him. Even as we looked he plucked out from under his covering a short, round piece of wood, like a school-ruler, and clapped it to his lips. Our pistols rang out together. He whirled round, threw up his arms, and with a kind of choking cough fell sideways into the stream. I caught one glimpse of his venomous, menacing eyes amid the white swirl of the waters. At the same moment the wooden-legged man threw himself upon the rudder and put it hard down, so that his boat made straight in for the southern bank, while we shot past her stern, only clearing her by a few feet. We were round after her in an instant, but she was already nearly at the bank. It was a wild and desolate place, where the moon glimmered upon a wide expanse of marshland, with pools of stagnant water and beds of decaying vegetation. The launch with a dull thud ran up upon the mud-bank, with her bow in the air and her stern flush with the water. The fugitive sprang out, but his stump instantly sank its whole length into the sodden soil. In vain he struggled and writhed. Not one step could he possibly take either forwards or backwards. He yelled in impotent rage, and kicked frantically into the mud with his other foot, but his struggles only bored his wooden pin the deeper into the sticky bank. 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, over our side. The two Smiths, father and son, sat sullenly in their launch, but came aboard meekly enough when commanded. The Aurora herself we hauled off and made fast to our stern. A solid iron chest of Indian workmanship stood upon the deck. This, there could be no question, was the same that had contained the ill-omened treasure of the Sholtos. There was no key, but it was of considerable weight, so we transferred it carefully to our own little cabin. As we steamed slowly up-stream again, we flashed our search-light in every direction, but there was no sign of the Islander. Somewhere in the dark ooze at the bottom of the Thames lie the bones of that strange visitor to our shores. "See here," said Holmes, pointing to the wooden hatchway. "We were hardly quick enough with our pistols." There, sure enough, just behind where we had been standing, stuck one of those murderous darts which we knew so well. It must have whizzed between us at the instant that we fired. Holmes smiled at it and shrugged his shoulders in his easy fashion, but I confess that it turned me sick to think of the horrible death which had passed so close to us that night.

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


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


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


outward as a lever. The hasp sprang open with a loud snap. With trembling fingers I flung back the lid. We both stood gazing in astonishment. The box was empty! No wonder that it was heavy. The iron-work was two-thirds of an inch thick all round. It was massive, well made, and solid, like a chest constructed to carry things of great price, but not one shred or crumb of metal or jewelry lay within it. It was absolutely and completely empty. "The treasure is lost," said Miss Morstan, calmly. As I listened to the words and realized what they meant, a great shadow seemed to pass from my soul. I did not know how this Agra treasure had weighed me down, until now that it was finally removed. It was selfish, no doubt, disloyal, wrong, but I could realize nothing save that the golden barrier was gone from between us. "Thank God!" I ejaculated from my very heart. She looked at me with a quick, questioning smile. "Why do you say that?" she asked. "Because you are within my reach again," I said, taking her hand. She did not withdraw it. "Because I love you, Mary, as truly as ever a man loved a woman. Because this treasure, these riches, sealed my lips. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. That is why I said, 'Thank God.'" "Then I say, 'Thank God,' too," she whispered, as I drew her to my side. Whoever had lost a treasure, I knew that night that I had gained one.

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


are scattered over five miles or so, it may be a harder job. It went to my heart to do it, though. I was half mad when you came up with us. However, there's no good grieving over it. I've had ups in my life, and I've had downs, but I've learned not to cry over spilled milk." "This is a very serious matter, Small," said the detective. "If you had helped justice, instead of thwarting it in this way, you would have had a better chance at your trial." "Justice!" snarled the ex-convict. "A pretty justice! Whose loot is this, 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 feverridden swamp, all day at work under the mangrove-tree, all night chained up in the filthy convict-huts, bitten by mosquitoes, racked with ague, bullied by every cursed black-faced policeman who loved to take it out of a white man. That was how I earned the Agra treasure; 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, or have one of Tonga's darts in my hide, 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." Small had dropped his mask of stoicism, and all this came out in a wild whirl of words, while his eyes blazed, and the handcuffs clanked together with the impassioned movement of his hands. I could understand, as I saw the fury and the passion of the man, 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. "You forget that we know nothing of all this," said Holmes quietly. "We have not heard your story, and we cannot tell how far justice may originally have been on your side." "Well, sir, you have been very fair-spoken to me, though I can see that I have you to thank that I have these bracelets upon my wrists. Still, I bear no grudge for that. It is all fair and above-board. If you want to hear my story I have no wish to hold it back. What I say to you is God's truth, every word of it. Thank you; you can put the glass beside me here, and I'll put my lips to it if I am dry. "I am a Worcestershire man myself,—born near Pershore. I dare say you would find a heap of Smalls living there now if you were to look. I have often thought of taking a look round there, but the truth is that I was never much of a credit to the family, and I doubt if they would be so very glad to see me. They were all steady, chapel-going folk, small farmers, well known and respected over the country-side, while I was always a bit of a rover. At last, however, when I was about eighteen, I gave them no more trouble, 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 3d Buffs, which was just starting for India. "I wasn't destined to do much soldiering, however. I had just got past the goose-step, and learned to handle my musket, when I was fool enough to go swimming in the Ganges. Luckily for me, my company sergeant, John Holder, was in the water at the same time, and he was one of the finest swimmers in the service. A crocodile took me, just as I was half-way across, and nipped off my right leg as clean as a surgeon could have done it, just above the knee. What with the shock and the loss of blood, I fainted, and should have drowned if Holder had not caught hold of me and paddled for the bank. I was five months in hospital over it, and when at last I was able to limp out of it with this timber toe strapped to my stump I found myself invalided out of the army and unfitted for any active occupation. "I was, as you can imagine, pretty down on my luck at this time, for I was a useless cripple though not yet in my twentieth year. However, my misfortune soon proved to be a blessing in disguise. A man named Abelwhite, who had come out there as an indigo-planter, wanted an overseer to look after his coolies and keep them up to their work. He happened to be a friend of our colonel's, who had taken an interest in me since the accident. To make a long story short, the colonel recommended me strongly for the post and, as the work was mostly to be done on horseback, my leg was no great obstacle, for I had enough knee left to keep good grip on the saddle. What I had to do was to ride over the plantation, to keep an eye on the men as they worked, and to report the idlers. The pay was fair, I had comfortable quarters, and altogether I was content to spend the remainder of my life in indigoplanting. Mr. Abelwhite was a kind man, and he would often drop into my little shanty and smoke a pipe with me, for white folk out there feel their hearts warm to each other as they never do here at home. "Well, I was never in luck's way long. Suddenly, without a note of warning, the great mutiny broke upon us. One month India lay as still and peaceful, to all appearance, as Surrey or Kent; the next there were two hundred thousand black devils let loose, and the country was a perfect hell. Of course you know all about it, gentlemen,—a deal more than I do, very like, since reading is not in my line. I only know what I saw with my own eyes. Our plantation was at a place called Muttra, near the border of the Northwest Provinces. Night after night the whole sky was alight with the burning bungalows, and day after day we had small companies of Europeans passing through our estate with their wives and children, on their way to Agra, where were the nearest troops. Mr. Abelwhite was an obstinate man. He had it in his head that the affair had been exaggerated, and that it would blow over as suddenly as it had sprung up. There he sat on his veranda, drinking whiskey-pegs and smoking cheroots, while the country was in a blaze about him. Of course we stuck by him, I and Dawson, who, with his wife, used to do the book-work and the managing. Well, one fine day the crash came. I had been away on a distant plantation, and was riding slowly home in the evening, when my eye fell upon something all huddled together at the bottom of a steep nullah. I rode down to see what it was, and the cold struck through my heart


when I found it was Dawson's wife, all cut into ribbons, and half eaten by jackals and native dogs. A little further up the road Dawson himself was lying on his face, quite dead, with an empty revolver in his hand and four Sepoys lying across each other in front of him. I reined up my horse, wondering which way I should turn, but at that moment I saw thick smoke curling up from Abelwhite's bungalow and the flames beginning to burst through the roof. I knew then that I could do my employer no good, but would only throw my own life away if I meddled in the matter. From where I stood I could see hundreds of the black fiends, with their red coats still on their backs, dancing and howling round the burning house. Some of them pointed at me, and a couple of bullets sang past my head; so I broke away across the paddy-fields, and found myself late at night safe within the walls at Agra. "As it proved, however, there was no great safety there, either. The whole country was up like a swarm of bees. Wherever the English could collect in little bands they held just the ground that their guns commanded. Everywhere else they were helpless fugitives. It was a fight of the millions against the hundreds; and the cruellest part of it was that these men that we fought against, foot, horse, and gunners, were our own picked troops, whom we had taught and trained, handling our own weapons, and blowing our own bugle-calls. At Agra there were the 3d Bengal Fusiliers, some Sikhs, two troops of horse, and a battery of artillery. A volunteer corps of clerks and merchants had been formed, and this I joined, wooden leg and all. We went out to meet the rebels at Shahgunge early in July, and we beat them back for a time, but our powder gave out, and we had to fall back upon the city. Nothing but the worst news came to us from every side,—which is not to be wondered at, for if you look at the map you will see that we were right in the heart of it. Lucknow is rather better than a hundred miles to the east, and Cawnpore about as far to the south. From every point on the compass there was nothing but torture and murder and outrage. "The city of Agra is a great place, swarming with fanatics and fierce devil-worshippers of all sorts. Our handful of men were lost among the narrow, winding streets. Our leader moved across the river, therefore, and took up his position in the old fort at Agra. I don't know if any of you gentlemen have ever read or heard anything of that old fort. It is a very queer place,—the queerest that ever I was in, and I have been in some rum corners, too. First of all, it is enormous in size. I should think that the enclosure must be acres and acres. There is a modern part, which took all our garrison, women, children, stores, and everything else, with plenty of room over. But the modern part is nothing like the size of the old quarter, where nobody goes, and which is given over to the scorpions and the centipedes. It is all full of great deserted halls, and winding passages, and long corridors twisting in and out, so that it is easy enough for folk to get lost in it. For this reason it was seldom that any one went into it, though now and again a party with torches might go exploring. "The river washes along the front of the old fort, and so protects it, but on the sides and behind there are many doors, and these had to be guarded, of course, in the old quarter as well as in that which was actually held by our troops. We were short-handed, with hardly men enough to man the angles of the building and to serve the guns. It was impossible for us, therefore, to station a strong guard at every one of the innumerable gates. What we did was to organize a central guard-house in the middle of the fort, and to leave each gate under the charge of one white man and two or three natives. I was selected to take charge during certain hours of the night of a small isolated door upon the southwest side of the building. Two Sikh troopers were placed under my command, and I was instructed if anything went wrong to fire my musket, when I might rely upon help coming at once from the central guard. As the guard was a good two hundred paces away, however, and as the space between was cut up into a labyrinth of passages and corridors, I had great doubts as to whether they could arrive in time to be of any use in case of an actual attack. "Well, I was pretty proud at having this small command given me, since I was a raw recruit, and a game-legged one at that. For two nights I kept the watch with my Punjaubees. They were tall, fierce-looking chaps, Mahomet Singh and Abdullah Khan by name, both old fighting-men who had borne arms against us at Chilian-wallah. They could talk English pretty well, but I could get little out of them. They preferred to stand together and jabber all night in their queer Sikh lingo. For myself, I used to stand outside the gate-way, looking down on the broad, winding river and on the twinkling lights of the great city. The beating of drums, the rattle of tomtoms, and the yells and howls of the rebels, drunk with opium and with bang, were enough to remind us all night of our dangerous neighbors across the stream. Every two hours the officer of the night used to come round to all the posts, to make sure that all was well. "The third night of my watch was dark and dirty, with a small, driving rain. It was dreary work standing in the gateway hour after hour in such weather. I tried again and again to make my Sikhs talk, but without much success. At two in the morning the rounds passed, and broke for a moment the weariness of the night. Finding that my companions would not be led into conversation, I took out my pipe, and laid down my musket to strike the match. In an instant the two Sikhs were upon me. One of them snatched my firelock up and levelled it at my head, 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. "My first thought was that these fellows were in league with the rebels, and that this was the beginning of an assault. If our door were in the hands of the Sepoys the place must fall, and the women and children be treated as they were in Cawnpore. Maybe you gentlemen think that I am just making out a case for myself, but I give you my word that when I thought of that, though I felt the point of the knife at my throat, I opened my mouth with the intention of giving a scream, if it was my last one, which might alarm the main guard. The man who held me


seemed to know my thoughts; for, even as I braced myself to it, he whispered, 'Don't make a noise. The fort is safe enough. There are no rebel dogs on this side of the river.' There was the ring of truth in what he said, and I knew that if I raised my voice I was a dead man. I could read it in the fellow's brown eyes. I waited, therefore, in silence, to see what it was that they wanted from me. "'Listen to me, Sahib,' said the taller and fiercer of the pair, the one whom they called Abdullah Khan. 'You must either be with us now or you must be silenced forever. The thing is too great a one for us to hesitate. Either you are heart and soul with us on your oath on the cross of the Christians, or your body this night shall be thrown into the ditch and we shall pass over to our brothers in the rebel army. There is no middle way. Which is it to be, death or life? We can only give you three minutes to decide, for the time is passing, and all must be done before the rounds come again.' "'How can I decide?' said I. 'You have not told me what you want of me. But I tell you now that if it is anything against the safety of the fort I will have no truck with it, so you can drive home your knife and welcome.' "'It is nothing against the fort,' said he. 'We only ask you to do that which your countrymen come to this land for. We ask you to be rich. If you will be one of us this night, we will swear to you upon the naked knife, and by the threefold oath which no Sikh was ever known to break, that you shall have your fair share of the loot. A quarter of the treasure shall be yours. We can say no fairer.' "'But what is the treasure, then?' I asked. 'I am as ready to be rich as you can be, if you will but show me how it can be done.' "'You will swear, then,' said he, 'by the bones of your father, by the honor of your mother, by the cross of your faith, to raise no hand and speak no word against us, either now or afterwards?' "'I will swear it,' I answered, 'provided that the fort is not endangered.' "'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.' "'There are but three,' said I. "'No; Dost Akbar must have his share. We can tell the tale to you while we await them. Do you stand at the gate, Mahomet Singh, and give notice of their coming. The thing stands thus, Sahib, and I tell it to you because I know that an oath is binding upon a Feringhee, and that we may trust you. Had you been a lying Hindoo, though you had sworn by all the gods in their false temples, your blood would have been upon the knife, and your body in the water. But the Sikh knows the Englishman, and the Englishman knows the Sikh. Hearken, then, to what I have to say. "'There is a rajah in the northern provinces who has much wealth, though his lands are small. Much has come to him from his father, and more still he has set by himself, for he is of a low nature and hoards his gold rather than spend it. 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. Soon, however, it seemed to him that the white men's day was come, for through all the land he could hear of nothing but of their death and their overthrow. Yet, being a careful man, he made such plans that, come what might, half at least of his treasure should be left to him. That which was in gold and silver he kept by him in the vaults of his palace, 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 who, under the guise of a merchant, should take it to the fort at Agra, there to lie until the land is at peace. Thus, if the rebels won he would have his money, but if the Company conquered his jewels would be saved to him. Having thus divided his hoard, he threw himself into the cause of the Sepoys, since they were strong upon his borders. By doing this, mark you, Sahib, his property becomes the due of those who have been true to their salt. "'This pretended merchant, who travels under the name of Achmet, is now in the city of Agra, and desires to gain his way into the fort. He has with him as travelling-companion my foster-brother Dost Akbar, who knows his secret. Dost Akbar has promised this night to lead him to a side-postern of the fort, and has chosen this one for his purpose. Here he will come presently, and here he will find Mahomet Singh and myself awaiting him. The place is lonely, and none shall know of his coming. The world shall know of the merchant Achmet no more, but the great treasure of the rajah shall be divided among us. What say you to it, Sahib?' "In Worcestershire the life of a man seems a great and a sacred thing; but it is very different when there is fire and blood all round you and you have been used to meeting death at every turn. Whether Achmet the merchant lived or died was a thing as light as air to me, but at the talk about the treasure my heart turned to it, and I thought of what I might do in the old country with it, and how my folk would stare when they saw their ne'er-do-well coming back with his pockets full of gold moidores. I had, therefore, already made up my mind. Abdullah Khan, however, thinking that I hesitated, pressed the matter more closely.


"'Consider, Sahib,' said he, 'that if this man is taken by the commandant he will be hung or shot, and his jewels taken by the government, so that no man will be a rupee the better for them. Now, since we do the taking of him, why should we not do the rest as well? The jewels will be as well with us as in the Company's coffers. There will be enough to make every one of us rich men and great chiefs. No one can know about the matter, for here we are cut off from all men. What could be better for the purpose? Say again, then, Sahib, whether you are with us, or if we must look upon you as an enemy.' "'I am with you heart and soul,' said I. "'It is well,' he answered, handing me back my firelock. 'You see that we trust you, for your word, like ours, is not to be broken. We have now only to wait for my brother and the merchant.' "'Does your brother know, then, of what you will do?' I asked. "'The plan is his. He has devised it. We will go to the gate and share the watch with Mahomet Singh.' "The rain was still falling steadily, for it was just the beginning of the wet season. Brown, heavy clouds were drifting across the sky, and it was hard to see more than a stone-cast. A deep moat lay in front of our door, but the water was in places nearly dried up, and it could easily be crossed. It was strange to me to be standing there with those two wild Punjaubees waiting for the man who was coming to his death. "Suddenly my eye caught the glint of a shaded lantern at the other side of the moat. It vanished among the mound-heaps, and then appeared again coming slowly in our direction. "'Here they are!' I exclaimed. "'You will challenge him, Sahib, as usual,' whispered Abdullah. 'Give him no cause for fear. Send us in with him, and we shall do the rest while you stay here on guard. Have the lantern ready to uncover, that we may be sure that it is indeed the man.' "The light had flickered onwards, now stopping and now advancing, until I could see two dark figures upon the other side of the moat. I let them scramble down the sloping bank, splash through the mire, and climb half-way up to the gate, before I challenged them. "'Who goes there?' said I, in a subdued voice. "'Friends,' came the answer. I uncovered my lantern and threw a flood of light upon them. The first was an enormous Sikh, with a black beard which swept nearly down to his cummerbund. Outside of a show I have never seen so tall a man. The other was a little, fat, round fellow, with a great yellow turban, and a bundle in his hand, done up in a shawl. He seemed to be all in a quiver with fear, for his hands twitched as if he had the ague, and his head kept turning to left and right with two bright little twinkling eyes, like a mouse when he ventures out from his hole. It gave me the chills to think of killing him, but I thought of the treasure, and my heart set as hard as a flint within me. When he saw my white face he gave a little chirrup of joy and came running up towards me. "'Your protection, Sahib,' he panted,—'your protection for the unhappy merchant Achmet. I have travelled across Rajpootana that I might seek the shelter of the fort at Agra. I have been robbed and beaten and abused because I have been the friend of the Company. It is a blessed night this when I am once more in safety,—I and my poor possessions.' "'What have you in the bundle?' I asked. "'An iron box,' he answered, 'which contains one or two little family matters which are of no value to others, but which I should be sorry to lose. Yet I am not a beggar; and I shall reward you, young Sahib, and your governor also, if he will give me the shelter I ask.' "I could not trust myself to speak longer with the man. The more I looked at his fat, frightened face, the harder did it seem that we should slay him in cold blood. It was best to get it over. "'Take him to the main guard,' said I. The two Sikhs closed in upon him on each side, and the giant walked behind, while they marched in through the dark gate-way. Never was a man so compassed round with death. I remained at the gate-way with the lantern. "I could hear the measured tramp of their footsteps sounding through the lonely corridors. Suddenly it ceased, and I heard voices, and a scuffle, with the sound of blows. A moment later there came, to my horror, a rush of


twelve of which were set in a gold coronet. sixty-one agates.footsteps coming in my direction. but with the same disgust written upon their faces. I confess that I had now conceived the utmost horror of the man. We agreed to conceal our loot in a safe place until the country should be at peace again. deeply interested in the story. however. there's no use my telling you gentlemen what came of the Indian mutiny. Ere he could stagger to his feet the Sikh was upon him. If he had got out. When we had feasted our eyes we took them all out and made a list of them. We took him to a place which the Sikhs had already prepared. but even more for the somewhat flippant and careless way in which he narrated it. Then there were ninety-seven very fine emeralds. but lay were he had fallen. I think myself that he may have broken his neck with the fall. "It lay where he had dropped it when he was first attacked. having first covered him over with loose bricks. He went after him that night and saw him pass through the doorway. and close at his heels. with the loud breathing of a running man. Then we solemnly renewed our oath to stand by each other and be true to our secret. We carried the box. and he rolled twice over like a shot rabbit. our hopes were shattered by our being arrested as the murderers of Achmet. and then to divide it equally among ourselves. By the way." said Holmes. He may have observed it. and held out his manacled hands for the whiskey-and-water which Holmes had brewed for him. It was some distance off. into the same hall where we had buried the body. Akbar. and applied for admission there 102 . running like the wind. we carried him in. were small. but again the thought of his treasure turned me hard and bitter. A flying column under Colonel Greathed came round to Agra and cleared the Pandies away from it. There were forty carbuncles. and there. "Well. so that none might take advantage. that I am keeping my promise. In a moment. Besides this. straight passage. 'the Great Mogul' and is said to be the second largest stone in existence. Besides. and buried his knife twice in his side. gentlemen. the very names of which I did not know at the time. and a great quantity of beryls. whether it is in my favor or not. it was my life or his when once he was in the fort. however: so what does this rajah do but take a second even more trusty servant and set him to play the spy upon the first? This second man was ordered never to let Achmet out of his sight. The man never uttered moan nor moved muscle. shortly. When the rajah put his jewels into the hands of Achmet he did it because he knew that he was a trusty man. making a natural grave. 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. the whole business would come to light. and put the sign of the four of us at the bottom. I have never seen a man run so fast as that little merchant." said he. I cast my firelock between his legs as he raced past. one for each of us. and there was the fat man. for if gems of such value were found upon us it would cause suspicion. There was no use dividing it at present. the brick walls of which were all crumbling to pieces. Sherlock Holmes and Jones sat with their hands upon their knees. two hundred and ten sapphires." "Go on with your story. these last had been taken out of the chest and were not there when I recovered it. The box was the same which now lies open upon your table. For myself. we made a hollow and put our treasure. My heart softened to him. so we left Achmet the merchant there. After Wilson took Delhi and Sir Colin relieved Lucknow the back of the business was broken. and I. They are suspicious folk in the East. The earth floor had sunk in at one place. "It was all very bad. Abdullah. It was blinding to look upon them. and I could see that if he once passed me and got to the open air he would save himself yet. and other stones. with a smear of blood across his face. for all that he was so short. there were nearly three hundred very fine pearls. I believe. no doubt. with a knife flashing in his hand. This done. "Well. not only for this cold-blooded business in which he had been concerned. A fine weight he was. 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. "It came about in this way. for people were not very lenient at a time like that. and one hundred and seventy rubies. for there was a touch of defiance in his voice and manner as he proceeded. You see. There were one hundred and forty-three diamonds of the first water. That is an oath that I can put my hand to my heart and swear that I have never broken. and he followed him like his shadow. though I have become more familiar with them since. however. too. onyxes. some of which. I turned my lantern down the long. for we had sworn that we should each always act for all. Peace seemed to be settling upon the country. We opened it. including one which has been called. therefore. I felt that he might expect no sympathy from me. the great black-bearded Sikh. Fresh troops came pouring in. and Nana Sahib made himself scarce over the frontier. under certain bricks in the bestpreserved wall. and I should have been court-martialled and shot as likely as not. Whatever punishment was in store for him. we all went back to the treasure. and next day I drew four plans. bounding like a tiger. A key was hung by a silken cord to that carved handle upon the top. We made careful note of the place." He stopped. Mahomet Singh was left to guard the door. where a winding passage leads to a great empty hall. and there was no privacy in the fort nor any place where we could keep them. Of course he thought he had taken refuge in the fort. "After we had counted our treasures we put them back into the chest and carried them to the gate-way to show them to Mahomet Singh. "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. turquoises. cats'-eyes. He was gaining on the Sikh. I am telling you every work of the business just exactly as it happened.

as they passed my hut. I could hear their talk and watch their play. just to give him heart. They were bosom friends. fever-stricken place. but—' That was all I could hear. Somerton. The major was raving about his losses. "'Well. There was digging.—three of us because we had held the gate that night. when that gorgeous fortune was ready for him outside. but it is hundreds of miles from any other land. and. so I just held on and bided my time.' 103 . A very snug little party they used to make. but soon it came to notes of hand and for big sums.' he was saying. "'I wanted to ask you. those two. where I used to make up my drugs. The three Sikhs got penal servitude for life. Not a word about the jewels came out at the trial. I was changed from Agra to Madras. and never far apart. Captain Morstan. Night after night the soldiers got up poorer men. though in the evening we had a little time to ourselves. and there is little or no wind in those seas: so it was a terribly difficult job to get away.' said I. was a fast. but I was always a pretty stubborn one. standing there. I don't say that there was anything unfair. however. The murder. though my sentence was afterwards commuted into the same as the others. It is a dreary. I was given a hut in Hope Town. if I felt lonesome. was next to his sittingroom.' "'Nonsense. Small. for the rajah had been deposed and driven out of India: so no one had any particular interest in them. sporting young chap.' said I. 'who is the proper person to whom hidden treasure should be handed over. who were ready enough to blow a poisoned dart at us if they saw a chance. and. while the others just played to pass the time and threw their cards down anyhow. I used to turn out the lamp in the surgery. and Lieutenant Bromley Brown. which is a small place on the slopes of Mount Harriet. "The surgeon. Dr. and two or three prison-officials. 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. so we were busy enough all day. 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. I soon found myself a sort of privileged person. and then perhaps they would get my sentence shortened for me. "'I wish to have your advice. taking his cheroot from his lips. and then. 'I've had a nasty facer myself. and that was that the soldiers used always to lose and the civilians to win. with a small window between us. and they knew each other's game to a point. and there was the surgeon himself. This seemed to him so strange that he spoke about it to a sergeant of guides. and a dozen other things to be done. what is it?' he asked. major. who brought it to the ears of the commandant. was clearly made out. crafty old hands who played a nice sly safe game. and the poorer they got the more keen they were to play. Often. as I cannot use it myself. but could find no trace of Achmet. 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. There we were all four tied by the leg and with precious little chance of ever getting out again. I know where half a million worth lies. to have rice to eat and water to drink. but so it was. "Well. and ditching. "It was rather a queer position that we found ourselves in then. but it was enough to set me thinking. There are very few white convicts at this settlement. "'It's all up. and the other young officers would meet in his rooms of an evening and play cards. and picked up a smattering of his knowledge. I was sitting in my hut when he and Captain Morstan came stumbling along on the way to their quarters. "At last it seemed to me to have come. and the fourth because he was known to have been in the company of the murdered man. Mind. The surgery. as I had behaved well from the first. and the body was discovered. Among other things. and all beyond our little clearings was infested with wild cannibal natives. there was one thing which very soon struck me. Major Sholto was the hardest hit. and yam-planting. old chap!' said the other. I learned to dispense drugs for the surgeon. I am a ruined man. There was Major Sholto. and it was certain that we must all have been concerned in it. All day he would wander about as black as thunder. "One night he lost even more heavily than usual. sir. 'I shall have to send in my papers. These prison-chaps had done little else than play cards ever since they had been at the Andamans. He sometimes would win for a few deals. and I was left pretty much to myself. All the time I was on the lookout for a chance of escape. and he took to drinking a deal more than was good for him. and from there to Blair Island in the Andamans. slapping him upon the shoulder. and I was condemned to death. "A couple of days later Major Sholto was strolling on the beach: so I took the chance of speaking to him. He used to pay in notes and gold at first. and it was almost as good as having one to watch the others. just waiting to be picked up. It might have driven me mad. A thorough search was quickly made. I thought perhaps the best thing that I could do would be to hand it over to the proper authorities.himself next day. Morstan. and then the luck would set in against him worse than ever. I am fond of a hand at cards myself. who were in command of the native troops.

Do you bring one over. quietly. then. 'I have thought it all out to the last detail. "'Well.' "'To government. what price would you ask for it? We might be inclined to take it up. "'You think.' said he. There are plenty of little yachts and yawls at Calcutta or Madras which would serve our turn well.' "Two nights later he and his friend Captain Morstan came to my hut in the dead of the night with a lantern.' "'It's a dirty business. Let me hear all about it. sir. and I shall see you again soon. well. and no provisions to last us for so long a time. Give me the facts. and if you will drop us on any part of the Indian coast you will have done your part of the bargain. 'It's good enough to act upon?' "Captain Morstan nodded. which of course you have the power of disposing of as you think best. When I had finished he stood stock still and full of thought.' He tried to speak in a cool. We shall engage to get aboard her by night.' "'If there were only one.' "I told him the whole story. We shall then take you into partnership.' I answered. careless way.' said the major. the question is.—in jewels and pearls.' he said. "'This is a very important matter. or that you might repent. Small. looking hard at me to see if I was in earnest.' said he. And the queer thing about it is that the real owner is outlawed and cannot hold property.' I answered. Now. 'You must not say a word to any one about it. I shall want you to help me to my freedom. "'Quite that. my friend here and I. and I knew in my heart that I had got him.' said I. sir. "'But how can we gain your freedom? You know very well that you ask an impossibility. if we could agree as to terms.—'to government. and give you a fifth share to divide between you.' he stammered. The four of us must always act together. "'Why.' "'You see. "'I want you just to let Captain Morstan hear that story from your own lips. as to that. trying also to be cool. He does not flinch from his friend.' But he said it in a halting fashion. "'Look here. at last. Small. 'Yet. It lies there ready for any one.' "'Nothing of the sort. 'there is only one bargain which a man in my position can make. "I repeated it as I had told it before. Small. but his eyes were shining with excitement and greed. the money would save our commissions handsomely. gentlemen. and we have come to the conclusion that this secret of yours is hardly a government matter. eh?' said he. Small. "'It rings true. as you say.' I answered. you must not do anything rash. after all.' he said. but feeling as excited as he did. Small. 'A fifth share! That is not very tempting. Small?' he gasped."'Half a million.' "'It would come to fifty thousand apiece. with small changes so that he could not identify the places. and at least look into it.' the other answered.' "'Hum!' said he. 'We have been talking it over.' 104 . "'None or all. that I should give the information to the Governor-General?' said I. and to help my three companions to theirs. The only bar to our escape is that we can get no boat fit for the voyage. Morstan. 'We have sworn it. 'Small is a man of his word. I could see by the twitch of his lip that there was a struggle going on within him. but is a private concern of your own. I think we may very well trust him. so that it belongs to the first comer.

and Dost Akbar were all present. I thought of it by day and I nursed it by night. Even the Agra treasure had come to be a smaller thing in my mind than the slaying of Sholto. absorbing passion with me. As it chanced. I suppose. and there we were to have a final division of the treasure. One day when Dr. and I shall get leave of absence and go back to India in the monthly relief-boat to inquire into the affair. and owned a big. but was always hanging about my hut. trusting to luck. Tonga had brought all his earthly possessions with him. but I struck him full. "He was stanch and true. and myself. and never one which I did not carry out. and his carbine on his shoulder. however. he taking the major's share as well as his own. yet he could stoop to treat five men as he had treated us. at which Mahomet Singh. and there he was to pick me up.' "'Not so fast. I have told you that I had picked up something of medicine. if I were to tell you all the adventures that my little chum and I went through. I cared nothing for the law. A hundred times I have killed him in my sleep. and after a couple of months I got him all right and able to walk. I gave him directions to have several gourds of water and a lot of yams. to send out a small yacht provisioned for a voyage. there was one of the convict-guard down there. however. of course.' said I. his arms and his gods. though he was as venomous as a young snake. Then a queer thought came into my head and showed me where I could lay my hand on a weapon. If he found the box he was to leave it there. I saw my chance of escape. From that day I lived only for vengeance. as we expected. which was to lie off Rutland Island. try and meet you. but when I got up I found him still lying quiet enough. and he had left the army. 'What have three black fellows to do with our agreement?' "'Black or blue. Morstan went over to Agra shortly afterwards. and in an hour we were well out at sea. Here and there we drifted about the world.' said the major. I have set my mind on many things in this life. of Abdullah. was little Tonga. I learned a little of his lingo from him. I had always vowed vengeance.' said I. At the night named he had his boat at the wharf. I would dream of Sholto at night. We both went down together. and we all go together. with which I made a sort of sail. He was sick to death."'Well. growing colder as he got hot. I sat up all night with paper and ink. without carrying out one of the conditions on which we had sold him the secret. Jones is impatient to get me safely stowed in chokey. to track down Sholto. They had one very good quality: they let you alone and asked no questions.—a vile Pathan who had never missed a chance of insulting and injuring me. and by the morning I had the two charts all ready. for I would have you here until the sun was shining. cocoa-nuts. and I know that my friend Mr. signed with the sign of four. to meet us at Agra. The scoundrel had stolen it all. Tell me where the box is hid. The villain Sholto went off to India. "Well. Abdullah Khan. When I found that he was devoted to me and would do anything to serve me. It was as if fate had placed him in my way that I might pay my debt before I left the island. and now I had my chance. Among other things. But it was weary years before my time came. I talked it over with him. For ten days we were beating about. and would hardly go back to his woods. To escape.—that was my one thought. and some Andaman cocoa-nut matting. but he never came back again. I'll make it as short as I can. "Tonga—for that was his name—was a fine boatman. 'I must have the consent of my three comrades. gentlemen. but none could I see. and at last we came to an arrangement. and Tonga and I soon managed to settle down among them. test the truth of your story. Captain Morstan showed me his name among a list of passengers in one of the mail-boats very shortly afterwards. You can see the split in the wood now where I hit him. you would not thank me. With three long hops I was on him. and this made him all the fonder of me. the matter ended by a second meeting. We must first. We were to provide both the officers with charts of the part of the Agra fort and mark the place in the wall where the treasure was hid. He put his carbine to his shoulder. to have my hand upon his throat.' "Well. however. His uncle had died. 'we must. "Well. At last. some three or four years ago. 'they are in with me.' "'Nonsense!' he broke in. that the treasure was indeed gone. and sweet potatoes. I made for the boat. he had a long bamboo spear.—nothing for the gallows. All the time. for I could not keep my balance. I tell you that it is four or none with us. Small. roomy canoe of his own. leaving him a fortune. He was to bring his boat round on a certain night to an old wharf which was never guarded. It became an overpowering. All this we sealed by the most solemn oaths that the mind could think or the lips utter. we 105 . I never lost sight of my purpose. I took him in hand. Akbar. and knocked the whole front of his skull in. Mahomet. and had gone to a lonely place to die. He took a kind of fancy to me then.—that is. We talked the matter over again. 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 found. and finally to return to his duties. He stood on the bank with his back to me. Captain Morstan was then to apply for leave of absence. something always turning up to keep us from London. No man ever had a more faithful mate. and to which we were to make our way. Somerton was down with a fever a little Andaman Islander was picked up by a convict-gang in the woods. Major Sholto was to go to India to test our story. "Well. I looked about for a stone to beat out his brains with. I weary you with my long story. They were a rum crowd. I sat down in the darkness and unstrapped my wooden leg.

but duty is duty. and I knew that he was gone. and. Holmes. By the way. and then slid down myself. however. gentlemen both. "Well. The treasure had been found. gentlemen. He could climb like a cat. on guard over him.—for you have not done me a very good turn. All this is the truth. "I don't know that I have anything else to tell you. closed the window." "Is there any other point which you would like to ask about?" asked the convict. "You are a man to be humored. Sholto's supper-hour. It was up at the top of the house. so I thought she would be a handy craft for our escape. Small. except that you brought your own rope. I brought him out with me with a long rope wound round his waist. and for some years there was no news to hear.—I name no names. besides his sons and his khitmutgar." "Ah. after we had set some time smoking in silence. but let all the world know how badly I have myself been served by Major Sholto. "I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. and I have gone rather far in doing what you and your friend asked me. and I pinned it on his bosom. "I'll take particular care that you don't club me with your wooden leg. The cab still waits. "You first. thank you. though. I made friends with someone who could help me. At last. whatever you may have done to the gentleman at the Andaman Isles. and he soon made his way through the roof. Tonga then pulled up the rope. It was too much that he should be taken to the grave without some token from the men whom he had robbed and befooled. and there is the end of our little drama.—and I soon found that he still had the jewels. and also about Mr. for when I came up by the rope I found him strutting about as proud as a peacock. Then I tried to get at him in many ways. and made off the way that he had come. but. but I could not see how with my wooden leg I was to make my way up to it. but he was not in our secrets. I still heard all the news from Pondicherry Lodge. There was not a line." "He had lost them all. I engaged with old Smith." said Sherlock Holmes. and there are two inspectors down-stairs. and had always two prize-fighters. Miss Morstan has done me the honor to accept me as a husband in prospective. He knew. I hurried at once to the garden. I had no great difficulty in finding where Sholto lived." said Jonathan Small. however: so I came away. looking through the window. bitter and savage as a man could be. He would eat raw meat and dance his war-dance: so we always had a hatful of pennies after a day's work. "I had not thought of that." "Good-night. and I set to work to discover whether he had realized the treasure. however. as ill luck would have it. and was to give him a big sum if he got us safe to our ship. Tonga thought he had done something very clever in killing him. about a trap-door in the roof." "A very remarkable account. That I did not know. having first left the sign of the four upon the table. "We earned a living at this time by my exhibiting poor Tonga at fairs and other such places as the black cannibal." said Athelney Jones. to show that the jewels had come back at last to those who had most right to them. and we all know that you are a connoisseur of crime. and I searched his papers to see if there was any record of where he had hidden our jewels. I got into his room that same night." "Well. yet he managed to shoot one at us in the boat. however." remarked the wary Jones as they left the room. mad that he should slip out of my clutches like that." said Holmes.found ourselves in England. that there was some screw loose. I'd have come through and taken my chance with the three of them. I saw him lying in his bed. Of course you will be wanted at the trial. it is not to amuse you. with his sons on each side of him. as it had been on the chart. for I don't want to get any one else in a hole." my companion answered." I remarked. affably. no doubt. except the one which was in his blow-pipe at the time. "One day. and if I tell it to you. and how innocent I am of the death of his son. I took the treasure-box and let it down. I am much obliged to you both for your assistance. except that they were hunting for the treasure. Bartholomew Sholto was still in the room. I learned. to his cost. Before I left I bethought me that if I ever met my Sikh friends again it would be a satisfaction to know that I had left some mark of our hatred: so I scrawled down the sign of the four of us.—but it is because I believe the best defence I can make is just to hold back nothing. of course. only even as I looked at him his jaw dropped. It seemed to me that I could manage the thing easily through Tonga. I came at once and had a look at the place. Good-night to you. There is nothing at all new to me in the latter part of your narrative. Bartholomew Sholto's chemical laboratory. "A fitting wind-up to an extremely interesting case. I had heard a waterman speak of the speed of Smith's launch the Aurora. in Mr. or if he still had it. I shall feel more at ease when we have our story-teller here safe under lock and key. but he was pretty sly. I had hoped that Tonga had lost all his darts. came what we had waited for so long. sir. Very much surprised was he when I made at him with the rope's end and cursed him for a little blood-thirsty imp. I got word that he was dying. "I think not." 106 .

you see that they had. the butler: so Jones actually has the undivided honor of having caught one fish in his great haul. I should never marry myself. pray what remains for you?" "For me. "there still remains the cocaine-bottle. But love is an emotional thing. a confederate in the house." said Sherlock Holmes. as I surmised. "By the way.— Schade dass die Natur nur EINEN Mensch aus Dir schuf." "Yes." "I trust." I remarked. laughing." said I." "The division seems rather unfair. 107 . and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing." said he. I get a wife out of it. "You have done all the work in this business.He gave a most dismal groan. "there are in me the makings of a very fine loafer and also of a pretty spry sort of fellow. I shall be as limp as a rag for a week. Jones gets the credit. a propos of this Norwood business." said I. But you look weary. "Not at all. lest I bias my judgment. "how terms of what in another man I should call laziness alternate with your fits of splendid energy and vigor." he answered." "Strange. "Have you any reason to be dissatisfied with my choice?" I asked. "that my judgment may survive the ordeal. "I really cannot congratulate you. the reaction is already upon me. who could be none other than Lal Rao. and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. She had a decided genius that way: witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father. Denn zum wuerdigen Mann war und zum Schelmen der Stoff." And he stretched his long white hand up for it." "Yes. I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met. "I feared as much." I was a little hurt. I often think of those lines of old Goethe.

"To James Mortimer. Mortimer is a successful. though originally a very handsome one has been so knocked about that I can hardly imagine a town practitioner carrying it. following as far as I could the methods of my companion. M. elderly medical man. you excel yourself. was seated at the breakfast table. at least.THE HOUNDS OF BASKERVILLES \Chapter 1 Mr. what do you make of it?" Holmes was sitting with his back to me." "Really. and which has made him a small presentation in return.. tell me. Sherlock Holmes Mr. silver-plated coffee-pot in front of me. of the sort which is known as a "Penang lawyer. thick piece of wood. bulbous-headed." "Perfectly sound!" said Holmes." "I have." It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry—dignified." said I. so it is evident that he has done a great amount of walking with it." Just under the head was a broad silver band nearly an inch across. a well-polished. this accidental souvenir becomes of importance.." said Holmes.C. Sherlock Holmes. "Excellent!" "I think also that the probability is in favour of his being a country practitioner who does a great deal of his visiting on foot.S. Watson." said he." was engraved upon it." "I think. pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. and reassuring. "But. It was a fine. who was usually very late in the mornings. "that Dr. there is the 'friends of the C. The thick-iron ferrule is worn down. Watson. Let me hear you reconstruct the man by an examination of it.' I should guess that to be the Something Hunt. well-esteemed since those who know him give him this mark of their appreciation. Watson.H." "Why so?" "Because this stick. with the date "1884.R.C. "And then again. the local hunt to whose members he has possibly given some surgical assistance. "Well. and I had given him no sign of my occupation. what do you make of our visitor's stick? Since we have been so unfortunate as to miss him and have no notion of his errand." "Good!" said Holmes. solid. from his friends of the C. "How did you know what I was doing? I believe you have eyes in the back of your head.C. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have 108 . I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night.H.

to be frank. "Interesting.C. And he walks a good deal. then? If he was in the hospital and yet not on the staff he could only have been a house-surgeon or a housephysician—little more than a senior student.C. "I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?" "I am afraid. you will observe that he could not have been on the staff of the hospital. and carrying the cane to the window." "But that was all. that most of your conclusions were erroneous.' what further inferences may we draw?" "Do none suggest themselves? You know my methods. though elementary. and I must admit that his words gave me keen pleasure." I laughed incredulously as Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his settee and blew little wavering rings of smoke up to the ceiling. I would suggest." "Has anything escaped me?" I asked with some self-importance. stretching our inference too far to say that the presentation was on the occasion of the change?" "It certainly seems probable. I confess.H. What was he. not all—by no means all. When I said that you stimulated me I meant. for I had often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts which I had made to give publicity to his methods. he looked over it again with a convex lens. which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff. On what occasion would it be most probable that such a presentation would be made? When would his friends unite to give him a pledge of their good will? Obviously at the moment when Dr. supposing that 'C. to think that I had so far mastered his system as to apply it in a way which earned his approval. Not that you are entirely wrong in this instance. then. since only a man well-established in a London practice could hold such a position." "No. but you are a conductor of light. We believe there has been a change from a town hospital to a country practice. that a presentation to a doctor is more likely to come from a hospital than from a hunt. It gives us the basis for several deductions. We know there has been a presentation. unambitious." He had never said as much before. middle-aged family practitioner vanishes into thin air." "I think that we might venture a little farther than this. He now took the stick from my hands and examined it for a few minutes with his naked eyes. my dear Watson. and that when the initials 'C. And if we take this as a working hypothesis we have a fresh basis from which to start our construction of this unknown visitor. my dear fellow. Is it." said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee. no.habitually underrated your own abilities. I was proud." "The probability lies in that direction. too. my dear Watson." "To that extent. Look at it in this light. that I am very much in your debt. then. The man is certainly a country practitioner." "Now. for example. So your grave." "Then I was right.' does stand for 'Charing Cross Hospital. Apply them!" "I can only think of the obvious conclusion that the man has practised in town before going to the country. amiable. and such a one would not drift into the country." "Well." "You may be right. absent-minded. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. and there emerges a young fellow under thirty. It may be that you are not yourself luminous. 109 . and the possessor of a favourite dog. Mortimer withdrew from the service of the hospital in order to start a practice for himself. my dear Watson.' are placed before that hospital the words 'Charing Cross' very naturally suggest themselves. "There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick. that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. And he left five years ago—the date is on the stick. Then with an expression of interest he laid down his cigarette.

sir. Now is the dramatic moment of fate. I said. which jutted out between two keen. Being a heavy stick the dog has held it tightly by the middle. and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence. Watson. M. James Mortimer. from 1882 to 1884. Devon. He was a very tall."As to the latter part. you say?" "Yes. He is a professional brother of yours. I beg you. It may have been—yes. I would not lose that stick for the world.C. Medical Officer for the parishes of Grimpen. What does Dr. only an unambitious one who abandons a London career for the country. Dartmoor." "From Charing Cross Hospital?" "From one or two friends there on the occasion of my marriage. The dog's jaw. Thorsley. I read his record aloud." He had risen and paced the room as he spoke. with a long nose like a beak." "No mention of that local hunt. 'Do We Progress?' (Journal of Psychology." said Holmes with a mischievous smile. how can you possibly be so sure of that?" "For the very simple reason that I see the dog himself on our very door-step. when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life." "Dear. but only one who could be our visitor. There was such a ring of conviction in his voice that I glanced up in surprise.R. I married. it is a curly-haired spaniel. and you know not whether for good or ill. Watson. and he ran towards it with an exclamation of joy. since I had expected a typical country practitioner. amiable. and your presence may be of assistance to me." said I. It is my experience that it is only an amiable man in this world who receives testimonials. "Yes.Winner of the Jackson prize for Comparative Pathology. As to the adjectives. dear. the man of science. There were several Mortimers. James Mortimer—" 110 . that's bad!" said Holmes. It was necessary to make a home of my own.. and so left the hospital. Though young. "And now.S. I think that I am fairly justified in my inferences. sir. 1882. after all. the specialist in crime? Come in!" The appearance of our visitor was a surprise to me. and only an absent-minded one who leaves his stick and not his visiting-card after waiting an hour in your room. we are not so far wrong. and there is the ring of its owner. as you very astutely observed. and with it all hopes of a consulting practice. Your marriage. "but a country doctor. Author of 'Some Freaks of Atavism' (Lancet 1882). ask of Sherlock Holmes. if I remember right. and High Barrow. "but at least it is not difficult to find out a few particulars about the man's age and professional career. and the marks of his teeth are very plainly visible." "And the dog?" "Has been in the habit of carrying this stick behind his master. "Why was it bad?" "Only that you have disarranged our little deductions.with essay entitled 'Is Disease a Reversion?' Corresponding member of the Swedish Pathological Society. James. "My dear fellow. "Mortimer." "A presentation." said he. his long back was already bowed. Dr. at Charing Cross Hospital. Mortimer blinked through his glasses in mild astonishment. set closely together and sparkling brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. March. As he entered his eyes fell upon the stick in Holmes's hand. unambitious. gray eyes. I have no means of checking you. Watson. He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion. shaking his head. Dr. come. House-surgeon. Don't move. "I was not sure whether I had left it here or in the Shipping Office. for his frock-coat was dingy and his trousers frayed. thin man." "Come. by Jove. Now he halted in the recess of the window. and absent-minded." From my small medical shelf I took down the Medical Directory and turned up the name. "I am so very glad. I see." said Holmes. as shown in the space between these marks. Grimpen." said Holmes. 1883). is too broad in my opinion for a terrier and not broad enough for a mastiff.

Have no hesitation in lighting one. sir." Sherlock Holmes waved our strange visitor into a chair. though I am happy to have had the opportunity of doing that as well. "I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes. Mr. Holmes was silent." said he. sir." "And a man of precise mind. sir. but his little darting glances showed me the interest which he took in our curious companion. Holmes. "To the man of precisely scientific mind the work of Monsieur Bertillon must always appeal strongly." The man drew out paper and tobacco and twirled the one up in the other with surprising dexterity. "that it was not merely for the purpose of examining my skull that you have done me the honour to call here last night and again today?" "No. I have heard your name mentioned in connection with that of your friend. James Mortimer. that you are the second highest expert in Europe—" "Indeed.R. to the precisely scientific mind. as I am in mine. would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. Dr. no. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Mister—a humble M. quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect. sir. I presume that it is Mr. I trust." "A dabbler in science. "I think."Mister. that I have not inadvertently—" "Just a little." "Early eighteenth century. Mr. this is my friend Dr. Watson. sir?" 111 . sir. sir. Holmes.C. until the original is available." said Holmes. Mr. sir. as I do. "I observed it as you entered the room." "Glad to meet you. sir! May I inquire who has the honour to be the first?" asked Holmes with some asperity." "How can you say that. It is not my intention to be fulsome." "Then had you not better consult him?" "I said." said he at last. evidently. Holmes. "You are an enthusiast in your line of thought. a picker up of shells on the shores of the great unknown ocean." said Dr. Mortimer. unless it is a forgery. you would do wisely if without more ado you would kindly tell me plainly what the exact nature of the problem is in which you demand my assistance. I came to you. But as a practical man of affairs it is acknowledged that you stand alone." said Holmes. sir." Chapter 2 The Curse of the Baskervilles "I have in my pocket a manuscript. "It is an old manuscript. He had long. I perceive. but I confess that I covet your skull. because I recognized that I am myself an unpractical man and because I am suddenly confronted with a most serious and extraordinary problem. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull.S. Recognizing. "I presume. You interest me very much. Sherlock Holmes whom I am addressing and not—" "No.

But the manuscript is short and is intimately connected with the affair. Watson. scrawling figures: "1742. He was a strong-minded man. with five or six of his idle and wicked companions. whose sudden and tragic death some three months ago created so much excitement in Devonshire. would ever avoid him. It would be a poor expert who could not give the date of a document within a decade or so. yet as I come in a direct line from Hugo Baskerville. Mortimer turned the manuscript to the light and read in a high. seeing that saints have never flourished in those parts. old-world narrative: "Of the origin of the Hound of the Baskervilles there have been many statements. When they had brought her to the Hall the maiden was placed in an upper chamber. that those foul passions whereby our family has suffered so grievously may not again be loosed to our undoing. that the same Justice which punishes sin may also most graciously forgive it. Learn then from this story not to fear the fruits of the past. the alternative use of the long s and the short. and as unimaginative as I am myself. But the young maiden. nor can it be gainsaid that he was a most wild. practical. A most practical. placed his finger-tips together. I may say that I was his personal friend as well as his medical attendant. my sons. and that no ban is so heavy but that by prayer and repentance it may be removed." Dr. With your permission I will read it to you. for she feared his evil name. And I would have you believe. pressing matter. while Hugo and his friends sat down to a long 112 . who also had it from his. "This family paper was committed to my care by Sir Charles Baskerville. and his mind was prepared for just such an end as did eventually overtake him. indeed. with an air of resignation. and godless man."You have presented an inch or two of it to my examination all the time that you have been talking. This. and closed his eyes. You may possibly have read my little monograph upon the subject. I have set it down with all belief that it occurred even as is here set forth. "You will observe. At the head was written: "Baskerville Hall. "Know then that in the time of the Great Rebellion (the history of which by the learned Lord Clarendon I most earnestly commend to your attention) this Manor of Baskerville was held by Hugo of that name. as he well knew." Holmes stretched out his hand for the manuscript and flattened it upon his knee. I put that at 1730." Holmes leaned back in his chair. stole down upon the farm and carried off the maiden. Mortimer drew it from his breast-pocket." "The exact date is 1742." "Yes. so dark a passion may be known under so bright a name) the daughter of a yeoman who held lands near the Baskerville estate. sir. but rather to be circumspect in the future. his neighbours might have pardoned." and below in large. shrewd. her father and brothers being from home. It chanced that this Hugo came to love (if." I looked over his shoulder at the yellow paper and the faded script. It is one of several indications which enabled me to fix the date. it is a statement of a certain legend which runs in the Baskerville family. being discreet and of good repute. cracking voice the following curious." "It appears to be a statement of some sort. which must be decided within twenty-four hours. Dr. but there was in him a certain wanton and cruel humour which made his name a by-word through the West. and as I had the story from my father. profane. Yet he took this document very seriously. in truth. So it came to pass that one Michaelmas this Hugo." "But I understand that it is something more modern and practical upon which you wish to consult me?" "Most modern.

would have been right glad to have turned his horse's head. cried out that they should put the hounds upon her. there being three leagues betwixt the Hall and her father's farm.' said he. he became as one that hath a devil. as was their nightly custom. unable to understand all that had been done in such haste. had he been alone. for. it may be. upon the 113 . flagons and trenchers flying before him. was so crazed with fear that he could scarce speak. "Now. went past with trailing bridle and empty saddle. with the hounds upon her track. But at length some sense came back to their crazed minds. he swung them to the line. for there came a galloping across the moor. and the black mare. 'But I have seen more than that. dabbled with white froth. The moon shone clear above them. for they say that the words used by Hugo Baskerville. some for their horses. as we call it. the poor lass upstairs was like to have her wits turned at the singing and shouting and terrible oaths which came up to her from below. crying to his grooms that they should saddle his mare and unkennel the pack.carouse. and giving the hounds a kerchief of the maid's. taking that course which the maid must needs have taken if she were to reach her own home. rushing down the stairs into the dining-hall. as the story goes. "They had gone a mile or two when they passed one of the night shepherds upon the moorlands. and he cried aloud before all the company that he would that very night render his body and soul to the Powers of Evil if he might but overtake the wench. and so found the cage empty and the bird escaped. when he was in wine. though known for their valour and their breed. and some for another flask of wine. Riding slowly in this fashion they came at last upon the hounds. and so homeward across the moor. but at last he said that he had indeed seen the unhappy maiden. were whimpering in a cluster at the head of a deep dip or goyal. for some space the revellers stood agape. Whereat Hugo ran from the house. perchance—to his captive. Now. one more wicked or. and there ran mute behind him such a hound of hell as God forbid should ever be at my heels. for by the aid of the growth of ivy which covered (and still covers) the south wall she came down from under the eaves. took horse and started in pursuit. And the man. and the whole of them. At last in the stress of her fear she did that which might have daunted the bravest or most active man. but they still followed over the moor. he sprang upon the great table. And while the revellers stood aghast at the fury of the man. for a great fear was on them. 'for Hugo Baskerville passed me upon his black mare. But soon their skins turned cold. thirteen in number. These. and they rode swiftly abreast. Everything was now in an uproar. "It chanced that some little time later Hugo left his guests to carry food and drink—with other worse things. some calling for their pistols. Then the revellers rode close together. and so off full cry in the moonlight over the moor. and they cried to him to know if he had seen the hunt. though each. as it would seem. Then. But anon their bemused wits awoke to the nature of the deed which was like to be done upon the moorlands. more drunken than the rest. were such as might blast the man who said them.' So the drunken squires cursed the shepherd and rode onward.

And even as they looked the thing tore the throat out of Hugo Baskerville. across the moor. One. "The company had come to a halt. Our visitor readjusted his glasses and began: 114 .moor. more sober men. with starting hackles and staring eyes. Mr. The latter yawned and tossed the end of his cigarette into the fire. If I have set it down it is because that which is clearly known hath less terror than that which is but hinted at and guessed. standing over Hugo. Yet may we shelter ourselves in the infinite goodness of Providence. and mysterious. or it may be the most drunken. This is the Devon County Chronicle of May 14th of this year." Dr. the three shrieked with fear and rode for dear life. black beast. Now. but three of them. "Now. we will give you something a little more recent. gazing down the narrow valley before them. "Do you not find it interesting?" "To a collector of fairy tales. To that Providence. and I counsel you by way of caution to forbear from crossing the moor in those dark hours when the powers of evil are exalted. Mortimer drew a folded newspaper out of his pocket. there stood a foul thing. dead of fear and of fatigue. with instructions that they say nothing thereof to their sister Elizabeth. and plucking at his throat. The most of them would by no means advance. still screaming. But it was not the sight of her body. died that very night of what he had seen. rode forward down the goyal. Mortimer had finished reading this singular narrative he pushed his spectacles up on his forehead and stared across at Mr. which would not forever punish the innocent beyond that third or fourth generation which is threatened in Holy Writ. which have been sudden. than when they started. my sons.]" When Dr. as you may guess. my sons. it is said. as it turned its blazing eyes and dripping jaws upon them. on which. some slinking away and some. The moon was shining bright upon the clearing. Sherlock Holmes. Nor can it be denied that many of the family have been unhappy in their deaths. which raised the hair upon the heads of these three dare-devil roysterers. it opened into a broad space in which stood two of those great stones. shaped like a hound." My friend leaned a little forward and his expression became intent. "Such is the tale. but it was that. I hereby commend you. still to be seen there. "Well?" said he. bloody. Holmes. It is a short account of the facts elicited at the death of Sir Charles Baskerville which occurred a few days before that date. and there in the centre lay the unhappy maid where she had fallen. the boldest. "[This from Hugo Baskerville to his sons Rodger and John. nor yet was it that of the body of Hugo Baskerville lying near her. a great. which were set by certain forgotten peoples in the days of old. and the other twain were but broken men for the rest of their days. of the coming of the hound which is said to have plagued the family so sorely ever since. yet larger than any hound that ever mortal eye has rested upon.

and. in the course of which he was in the habit of smoking a cigar."The recent sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville. That night he went out as usual for his nocturnal walk. He never returned. or to imagine that death could be from any but natural causes. manifesting itself in changes of colour. Halfway down this walk there is a gate which leads out on to the moor. but at least enough has been done to dispose of those rumours to which local superstition has given rise. and it was at the far end of it that his body was discovered. and points especially to some affection of the heart. profit by his good fortune. and a man who may be said to have been in some ways of an eccentric habit of mind. It is only two years since he took up his residence at Baskerville Hall. has cast a gloom over the county. corroborated by that of several friends. In spite of his considerable wealth he was simple in his personal tastes. it was his openly expressed desire that the whole countryside should. the husband acting as butler and the wife as housekeeper. Being himself childless. The day had been wet. At twelve o'clock Barrymore. On the fourth of May Sir Charles had declared his intention of starting next day for London. whose name has been mentioned as the probable Liberal candidate for Mid-Devon at the next election. has given evidence to the same effect. he realized his gains and returned to England with them. made large sums of money in South African speculation. There is no reason whatever to suspect foul play. and his indoor servants at Baskerville Hall consisted of a married couple named Barrymore. finding the hall door still open. James Mortimer. breathlessness. "The circumstances connected with the death of Sir Charles cannot be said to have been entirely cleared up by the inquest. Sir Charles. Dr. as is well known. He then proceeded down the alley. tends to show that Sir Charles's health has for some time been impaired. His generous donations to local and county charities have been frequently chronicled in these columns. and acute attacks of nervous depression. Sir Charles was a widower. and it is common talk how large were those schemes of reconstruction and improvement which have been interrupted by his death. became alarmed. lighting a lantern. Though Sir Charles had resided at Baskerville Hall for a comparatively short period his amiability of character and extreme generosity had won the affection and respect of all who had been brought into contact with him. There were indications that Sir Charles had stood for some little time here. the friend and medical attendant of the deceased. and Sir Charles's footmarks were easily traced down the alley. within his own lifetime. More wise than those who go on until the wheel turns against them. went in search of his master. Their evidence. Sir Charles Baskerville was in the habit every night before going to bed of walking down the famous yew alley of Baskerville Hall. In these days of nouveaux riches it is refreshing to find a case where the scion of an old county family which has fallen upon evil days is able to make his own fortune and to bring it back with him to restore the fallen grandeur of his line. The evidence of the Barrymores shows that this had been his custom. and many will have personal reasons for bewailing his untimely end. and had ordered Barrymore to prepare his luggage. "The facts of the case are simple. One fact which has not been explained is the statement 115 .

" "Then let me have the private ones. if he be still alive. This article. I had the further motive that Baskerville Hall. and that he appeared from thence onward to have been walking upon his toes. it might have been difficult to find a tenant for Baskerville Hall. It is well that this is so. and many a charming evening we have spent together discussing the comparative anatomy of the Bushman and the Hottentot. the naturalist. and inquiries are being instituted with a view to informing him of his good fortune. Mortimer refused at first to believe that it was indeed his friend and patient who lay before him—it was explained that that is a symptom which is not unusual in cases of dyspnoea and death from cardiac exhaustion. but the chance of his illness brought us together.of Barrymore that his master's footprints altered their character from the time that he passed the moor-gate. "I am telling that which I have not confided to anyone. nothing would induce him to go out upon the moor at night. who had begun to show signs of some strong emotion. and those who live near each other are thrown very much together. This explanation was borne out by the post-mortem examination. One Murphy. and on more than one occasion he has asked me whether I had on my medical 116 . Holmes. "for calling my attention to a case which certainly presents some features of interest. Mr. "Within the last few months it became increasingly plain to me that Sir Charles's nervous system was strained to the breaking point. "The moor is very sparsely inhabited. put his finger-tips together. a gipsy horse-dealer. of Lafter Hall. I had observed some newspaper comment at the time. contains all the public facts?" "It does. It is understood that the next of kin is Mr. Sir Charles was a retiring man. and a community of interests in science kept us so. Henry Baskerville." Dr. and certainly the records which he was able to give of his ancestors were not encouraging. Mr. but with you there is no reason why I should not be perfectly frank. was on the moor at no great distance at the time. but he appears by his own confession to have been the worse for drink. but I was exceedingly preoccupied by that little affair of the Vatican cameos. For both these reasons I thought that I was justified in telling rather less than I knew. Stapleton. and in my anxiety to oblige the Pope I lost touch with several interesting English cases. With the exception of Mr. Had the prosaic finding of the coroner not finally put an end to the romantic stories which have been whispered in connection with the affair. as the paper says. My motive for withholding it from the coroner's inquiry is that a man of science shrinks from placing himself in the public position of seeming to indorse a popular superstition. although he would walk in his own grounds. he was honestly convinced that a dreadful fate overhung his family. He had brought back much scientific information from South Africa. Incredible as it may appear to you. Frankland. would certainly remain untenanted if anything were done to increase its already rather grim reputation. The young man when last heard of was in America. the son of Sir Charles Baskerville's younger brother. He had taken this legend which I have read you exceedingly to heart—so much so that. you say. which showed long-standing organic disease. in connection with the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. for it is obviously of the utmost importance that Sir Charles's heir should settle at the Hall and continue the good work which has been so sadly interrupted. Mortimer." said Dr. For this reason I saw a good deal of Sir Charles Baskerville. and though the doctor's evidence pointed to an almost incredible facial distortion—so great that Dr." said Sherlock Holmes." He leaned back. and assumed his most impassive and judicial expression. Holmes. and Mr. Mortimer refolded his paper and replaced it in his pocket. The idea of some ghastly presence constantly haunted him. since no practical good could result from it. there are no other men of education within many miles." "I must thank you. No signs of violence were to be discovered upon Sir Charles's person. He declares that he heard cries but is unable to state from what direction they came. "In doing so. "Those are the public facts. and the coroner's jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

however. dry glitter which shot from them when he was keenly interested. was of the same opinion. I whisked round and had just time to catch a glimpse of something which I took to be a large black calf passing at the head of the drive. and the constant anxiety in which he lived. they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!" Chapter 3 The Problem I confess at these words a shudder passed through me. Holmes leaned forward in his excitement and his eyes had the hard. "On the night of Sir Charles's death Barrymore the butler. Mortimer looked strangely at us for an instant. I stayed with him all the evening. his fingers dug into the ground. who made the discovery. sent Perkins the groom on horseback to me. At the last instant came this terrible catastrophe. and always with a voice which vibrated with excitement. I mention this small episode because it assumes some importance in view of the tragedy which followed. I followed the footsteps down the yew alley. "You saw this?" "As clearly as I see you. I knew. He did not observe any. So excited and alarmed was he that I was compelled to go down to the spot where the animal had been and look around for it. when I saw his eyes fix themselves over my shoulder and stare past me with an expression of the most dreadful horror. He said that there were no traces upon the ground round the body. "It was at my advice that Sir Charles was about to go to London. There was certainly no physical injury of any kind. however chimerical the cause of it might be. and the incident appeared to make the worst impression upon his mind. He chanced to be at his hall door. Holmes. Stapleton. that he confided to my keeping that narrative which I read to you when first I came. his arms out. I checked and corroborated all the facts which were mentioned at the inquest. and as I was sitting up late I was able to reach Baskerville Hall within an hour of the event. and his voice sank almost to a whisper as he answered. I noted that there were no other footsteps save those of Barrymore on the soft gravel. and his features convulsed with some strong emotion to such an extent that I could hardly have sworn to his identity. Mr. But I did—some little distance off. But one false statement was made by Barrymore at the inquest. There was a thrill in the doctor's voice which showed that he was himself deeply moved by that which he told us.journeys at night ever seen any strange creature or heard the baying of a hound. I had descended from my gig and was standing in front of him. It was gone. but fresh and clear. and finally I carefully examined the body." "And you said nothing?" "What was the use?" "How was it that no one else saw it?" 117 . affected. The latter question he put to me several times." "Footprints?" "Footprints. and it was on that occasion. "I can well remember driving up to his house in the evening some three weeks before the fatal event. was evidently having a serious effect upon his health. a mutual friend who was much concerned at his state of health. Sir Charles lay on his face." "A man's or a woman's?" Dr. I thought that a few months among the distractions of town would send him back a new man. which had not been touched until my arrival. "Mr. to explain the emotion which he had shown. I remarked the change in the shape of the prints after that point. I saw the spot at the moor-gate where he seemed to have waited. but I was convinced at the time that the matter was entirely trivial and that his excitement had no justification. His heart was.

Dr." "You interest me exceedingly." "Now. Was the wicket-gate closed?" 118 ." "There are many sheep-dogs on the moor?" "No doubt. Another point. tell me. I don't suppose I should have done so had I not known this legend. The walk in the centre is about eight feet across." "Were they on the same side of the path as the moor-gate?" "Yes. he lay about fifty yards from it. but this was no sheep-dog. there is a strip of grass about six feet broad on either side." "Is there anything between the hedges and the walk?" "Yes. Mortimer—and this is important—the marks which you saw were on the path and not on the grass?" "No marks could show on the grass." "What is the alley like?" "There are two lines of old yew hedge." "But not actually raining?" "No."The marks were some twenty yards from the body and no one gave them a thought." "Had Sir Charles reached this?" "No." "So that to reach the yew alley one either has to come down it from the house or else to enter it by the moorgate?" "There is an exit through a summer-house at the far end." "Is there any other opening?" "None. twelve feet high and impenetrable." "What sort of night was it?' "Damp and raw." "I understand that the yew hedge is penetrated at one point by a gate?" "Yes. the wicket-gate which leads on to the moor." "But it had not approached the body?" "No. they were on the edge of the path on the same side as the moor-gate." "You say it was large?" "Enormous.

" Sherlock Holmes struck his hand against his knee with an impatient gesture." "You mean that the thing is supernatural?" "I did not positively say so. Oh. Watson." "Then anyone could have got over it?" "Yes." "No." "And found nothing?" "It was all very confused." "Since the tragedy. luminous. I could discern no others. there have come to my ears several incidents which are hard to reconcile with the settled order of Nature. That gravel page upon which I might have read so much has been long ere this smudged by the rain and defaced by the clogs of curious peasants. Mortimer."Closed and padlocked. to think that you should not have called me in! You have indeed much to answer for. exactly corresponding to the hell-hound of the legend. They all agreed that it was a huge creature." "For example?" "I find that before the terrible event occurred several people had seen a creature upon the moor which corresponds with this Baskerville demon. Holmes. But the marks?" "He had left his own marks all over that small patch of gravel. and I have already given my reasons for not wishing to do so. one a farrier. I examined. myself. and one a moorland farmer. who all tell the same story of this dreadful apparition. I have cross-examined these men. without disclosing these facts to the world." "How high was it?" "About four feet high. "It is evidently a case of extraordinary interest. after our own heart. but you evidently think it. Besides. ghastly. and one which presented immense opportunities to the scientific expert. Mortimer." "And what marks did you see by the wicket-gate?" "None in particular." "Excellent! This is a colleague. Holmes." "Good heaven! Did no one examine?" "Yes. and which could not possibly be any animal known to science. I assure you that there is a reign of terror in the district." "How do you know that?" "Because the ash had twice dropped from his cigar. Dr. one of them a hard-headed countryman. besides—" "Why do you hesitate?" "There is a realm in which the most acute and most experienced of detectives is helpless." 119 . Dr. Mr. and that it is a hardy man who will cross the moor at night. Mr. Sir Charles had evidently stood there for five or ten minutes." "I could not call you in. "If I had only been there!" he cried. and spectral.

sir. But surely. that you take a cab. A devil with merely local powers like a parish vestry would be too inconceivable a thing." 120 . and that is why I bring the case before you and ask for your advice. Yet you must admit that the footmark is material." "I did not say that I desired you to do it. All the good work which has been done by Sir Charles will crash to the ground if there is no tenant of the Hall." "You put the matter more flippantly. I feel sure that if Sir Charles could have spoken with me before his death he would have warned me against bringing this. bleak countryside depends upon his presence." Holmes shrugged his shoulders. call off your spaniel who is scratching at my front door. how can I assist you?" "By advising me as to what I should do with Sir Henry Baskerville. tell me this." said he. He came of the old masterful Baskerville strain and was the very image. to that deadly place. I presume?" "None. then. What would you recommend?" "I recommend. In one hour and five minutes I meet him at Waterloo Station." "He being the heir?" "Yes. they tell me. I fear lest I should be swayed too much by my own obvious interest in the matter. the youngest of three brothers of whom poor Sir Charles was the elder. The second brother." "Exactly. and yet he was diabolical as well. "I have hitherto confined my investigations to this world. He comes in fifty minutes." Holmes considered for a little time. "In a modest way I have combated evil. fled to Central America. why have you come to consult me at all? You tell me in the same breath that it is useless to investigate Sir Charles's death. a trained man of science. and the heir to great wealth. I have had a wire that he arrived at Southampton this morning. the last of the old race. Mr. does it not? And yet. From the accounts which have reached us he is an excellent fellow in every way. but to take on the Father of Evil himself would. The third. Mortimer. who arrives at Waterloo Station"—Dr. Henry is the last of the Baskervilles. The only other kinsman whom we have been able to trace was Rodger Baskerville. Dr. is the father of this lad Henry. it could work the young man evil in London as easily as in Devonshire. But now. as I understand it. and proceed to Waterloo to meet Sir Henry Baskerville. "Put into plain words. and died there in 1876 of yellow fever. of the family picture of old Hugo. was the black sheep of the family. Mortimer looked at his watch—"in exactly one hour and a quarter. Mr. "In your opinion there is a diabolical agency which makes Dartmoor an unsafe abode for a Baskerville—that is your opinion?" "At least I might go the length of saying that there is some evidence that this may be so. be too ambitious a task. If you hold these views. Rodger. He made England too hot to hold him. if your supernatural theory be correct. Holmes. Holmes." said he." "The original hound was material enough to tug a man's throat out. I speak now not as a medical man but as a trustee and executor of Sir Charles's will."And you. than you would probably do if you were brought into personal contact with these things. is that the young man will be as safe in Devonshire as in London. Now. perhaps. who died young. Your advice. On the death of Sir Charles we inquired for this young gentleman and found that he had been farming in Canada. And yet it cannot be denied that the prosperity of the whole poor. the matter is this. consider that every Baskerville who goes there meets with an evil fate." "There is no other claimant." "I see that you have quite gone over to the supernaturalists. believe it to be supernatural?" "I do not know what to believe. and that you desire me to do it." "Then. what would you advise me to do with him?" "Why should he not go to the home of his fathers?" "It seems natural.

would you ask him to send up a pound of the strongest shag tobacco? Thank you. Mortimer. "Going out. Watson?" "Unless I can help you. But this is splendid. Dr. Good-morning. and made up his mind as to which points were essential and which immaterial." He scribbled the appointment on his shirt-cuff and hurried off in his strange. I perceive." "I suppose it is pretty thick. it is at the hour of action that I turn to you for aid." "Thank you." Holmes returned to his seat with that quiet look of inward satisfaction which meant that he had a congenial task before him. Mortimer. and it will be of help to me in my plans for the future if you will bring Sir Henry Baskerville with you. As I entered. Several rolls of paper lay around him. for it was the acrid fumes of strong coarse tobacco which took me by the throat and set me coughing. for the room was so filled with smoke that the light of the lamp upon the table was blurred by it."And then?" "And then you will say nothing to him at all until I have made up my mind about the matter. now that you mention it. absent-minded fashion." "My dear Holmes!" "Am I right?" 121 . "Only one more question." "No. peering. My first impression as I opened the door was that a fire had broken out. It was nearly nine o'clock when I found myself in the sitting-room once more. Then I should be very glad to compare impressions as to this most interesting problem which has been submitted to us this morning." "Open the window. I therefore spent the day at my club and did not return to Baker Street until evening. constructed alternative theories. Dr. then! You have been at your club all day. I will be much obliged to you if you will call upon me here." "Thick! It is intolerable. balanced one against the other." I knew that seclusion and solitude were very necessary for my friend in those hours of intense mental concentration during which he weighed every particle of evidence." "How long will it take you to make up your mind?" "Twenty-four hours. Holmes. When you pass Bradley's." "I will do so. it's this poisonous atmosphere. really unique from some points of view." "Did any see it after?" "I have not heard of any. Holmes stopped him at the head of the stair. At ten o'clock tomorrow. Watson?" said he. It would be as well if you could make it convenient not to return before evening. You say that before Sir Charles Baskerville's death several people saw this apparition upon the moor?" "Three people did. "No. my dear fellow. however. Mr. "Caught cold. my fears were set at rest. Through the haze I had a vague vision of Holmes in his dressing-gown coiled up in an armchair with his black clay pipe between his lips.

lifeless moor." "A large-scale map." "In spirit?" "Exactly. But we are bound to exhaust all other hypotheses before falling back upon this one. I have not pushed it to the length of getting into a box to think. it is rather obvious. though not marked under that name. the second is. Where do you think that I have been?" "A fixture also. if Dr. is the stage upon which tragedy has been played. the setting is a worthy one. Within a radius of five miles there are. as you see. I have thought a good deal of it in the course of the day. consumed in my absence two large pots of coffee and an incredible amount of tobacco." He unrolled one section and held it over his knee. My body has remained in this armchair and has. Mortimer's surmise should be correct. I fancy the yew alley. Mortimer has his headquarters. upon the right of it. A gentleman goes forth on a showery and miry day." "With a wood round it?" "Exactly. and we are dealing with forces outside the ordinary laws of Nature. I have been to Devonshire. I presume?" "Very large. could he have been? Is it not obvious?" "Well. He is not a man with intimate friends." "Yes. must stretch along this line. I flatter myself that I could find my way about. That is Baskerville Hall in the middle. but how?" He laughed at my bewildered expression. Between and around these scattered points extends the desolate. may they not? There are two questions waiting for us at the outset." "What do you make of it?" "It is very bewildering. This. After you left I sent down to Stamford's for the Ordnance map of this portion of the moor. where our friend Dr. but I find that a concentrated atmosphere helps a concentration of thought."Certainly. which makes it a pleasure to exercise any small powers which I possess at your expense. which was mentioned in the narrative. Watson. Have you turned the case over in your mind?" "Yes." "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. there is an end of our investigation. Where." 122 . It is a singular thing. if you don't mind. Then fourteen miles away the great convict prison of Princetown. Here is Lafter Hall. and upon which we may help to play it again." "It must be a wild place. I think we'll shut that window again. Here are two moorland farmhouses. This small clump of buildings here is the hamlet of Grimpen. He has been a fixture therefore all day. and my spirit has hovered over it all day. then. The one is whether any crime has been committed at all. with the moor. was his name. but that is the logical outcome of my convictions. If the devil did desire to have a hand in the affairs of men—" "Then you are yourself inclining to the supernatural explanation. High Tor and Foulmire. I regret to observe. then." "On the contrary. He returns immaculate in the evening with the gloss still on his hat and his boots. what is the crime and how was it committed? Of course. as you perceive. "Here you have the particular district which concerns us. if I remember right. There is a house indicated here which may be the residence of the naturalist—Stapleton. "There is a delightful freshness about you. only a very few scattered dwellings." "The devil's agents may be of flesh and blood.

" "Pray take a seat. Is it natural that he should stand for five or ten minutes. yes. It was the night before he made his departure for London. "Why. very sturdily built. Do I understand you to say that you have yourself had some remarkable experience since you arrived in London?" 123 . for example. "and the strange thing is. with more practical sense than I should have given him credit for." "How can you say that?" "I am presuming that the cause of his fears came to him across the moor. for the clock had just struck ten when Dr. Our clients were punctual to their appointment. and Holmes waited in his dressing-gown for the promised interview. Then. alert. He wore a ruddy-tinted tweed suit and had the weather-beaten appearance of one who has spent most of his time in the open air. that if my friend here had not proposed coming round to you this morning I should have come on my own account. Mortimer and Sir Henry Baskerville in the morning. What do you make of that?" "Mortimer said that the man had walked on tiptoe down that portion of the alley. and it seems most probable." "I think it unlikely that he waited at the moor-gate every evening." said he. That night he waited there." "Running from what?" "There lies our problem. The thing takes shape. the evidence is that he avoided the moor. It becomes coherent. Mortimer was shown up. Sir Henry. pugnacious face. running for his life. There are points of distinction about it. If the gipsy's evidence may be taken as true. whom was he waiting for that night. and we will postpone all further thought upon this business until we have had the advantage of meeting Dr. That change in the footprints. as Dr. I understand that you think out little puzzles." "He only repeated what some fool had said at the inquest. Might I ask you to hand me my violin. If that were so. running until he burst his heart—and fell dead upon his face." Chapter 4 Sir Henry Baskerville Our breakfast table was cleared early. We can understand his taking an evening stroll. The latter was a small. but the ground was damp and the night inclement."It has certainly a character of its own. Mr. Watson—running desperately. "This is Sir Henry Baskerville. followed by the young baronet. dark-eyed man about thirty years of age. he ran with cries for help in the direction where help was least likely to be. again." said Dr. and yet there was something in his steady eye and the quiet assurance of his bearing which indicated the gentleman. There are indications that the man was crazed with fear before ever he began to run. Mortimer. Sherlock Holmes. Mortimer. On the contrary. Why should a man walk on tiptoe down the alley?" "What then?" "He was running. with thick black eyebrows and a strong. Watson. and why was he waiting for him in the yew alley rather than in his own house?" "You think that he was waiting for someone?" "The man was elderly and infirm. and I've had one this morning which wants more thinking out than I am able to give it. only a man who had lost his wits would have run from the house instead of towards it. deduced from the cigar ash?" "But he went out every evening.

" He laid an envelope upon the table." said he. Holmes." "But Dr." and the date of posting the preceding evening. Mortimer looked at Holmes with an air of professional interest. diminish the value of our imports." "What business?" asked Sir Henry sharply." said Sir Henry Baskerville. Northumberland Hotel. Permit me to give you an extract from it. and we all bent over it. The word "moor" only was printed in ink. It was this letter. It was of common quality. if you can call it a letter. "We will confine ourselves for the present with your permission to this very interesting document. and lower the general conditions of life in this island. "Capital article this on free trade."Nothing of much importance. Dr." said Sherlock Holmes." Out of the envelope he took a halfsheet of foolscap paper folded into four." said the doctor. "Sir Henry Baskerville. glancing keenly across at our visitor. Watson?" "It is here in the corner. at any rate?" "No. We only decided after I met Dr. The address." "Hum! Someone seems to be very deeply interested in your movements. but it stands to reason that such legislation must in the long run keep away wealth from the country." was printed in rough characters. "Don't you think that is an admirable sentiment?" Dr. and Sir Henry Baskerville turned a pair of puzzled dark eyes upon me. "Who knew that you were going to the Northumberland Hotel?" asked Holmes. I promise you that. Across the middle of it a single sentence had been formed by the expedient of pasting printed words upon it. Mortimer? You must allow that there is nothing supernatural about this. grayish in colour. as like as not. "Now.' "What do you think of that. Watson?" cried Holmes in high glee. but it might very well come from someone who was convinced that the business is supernatural. This he opened and spread flat upon the table. "perhaps you will tell me. and who it is that takes so much interest in my affairs?" "What do you make of it. sir. which reached me this morning." "You shall share our knowledge before you leave this room. with the leading articles?" He glanced swiftly over it. "I don't know much about the tariff and things of that kind. "No one could have known. 'You may be cajoled into imagining that your own special trade or your own industry will be encouraged by a protective tariff. which must have been put together and posted yesterday evening. It ran: As you value your life or your reason keep away from the moor. Holmes. "It seems to me that all you gentlemen know a great deal more than I do about my own affairs. Mortimer." 124 . Sir Henry. Mr. Have you yesterday's Times. "but it seems to me we've got a bit off the trail so far as that note is concerned." "Might I trouble you for it—the inside page. Mortimer was no doubt already stopping there?" "No. I had been staying with a friend. "There was no possible indication that we intended to go to this hotel. Mr. Only a joke. what in thunder is the meaning of that. please. running his eyes up and down the columns. the post-mark "Charing Cross. rubbing his hands together with satisfaction.

therefore. gazing at my friend in amazement." "But how?" "Because that is my special hobby. and yet the utmost pains have been taken to remove all clues. pasted it with paste—" "Gum. since any letter 125 . and the differences are equally obvious." "So far as I can follow you. The detection of types is one of the most elementary branches of knowledge to the special expert in crime. the maxillary curve. if that isn't smart!" cried Sir Henry. my dear Watson. but that some are much higher than others.' 'your. The address.' 'your. but that you should name which. Doctor.' 'from the. Holmes?" "There are one or two indications. cut out the message with a pair of short-bladed scissors." "No. We may take it. 'Life.'" "That is so." said Dr. by you. The other words were all simple and might be found in any issue. Mr. and these words could have been taken from nothing else. now—so it is!" "Really. and add that it came from the leading article. "someone cut out this message with a scissors—" "Nail-scissors.' 'reason. there is so very close a connection that the one is extracted out of the other." "Why. As it was done yesterday the strong probability was that we should find the words in yesterday's issue. "I could understand anyone saying that the words were from a newspaper. I confess that I see no connection. that would explain it. 'You. If he were in a hurry it opens up the interesting question why he should be in a hurry. "If any possible doubt remained it is settled by the fact that 'keep away' and 'from the' are cut out in one piece. The supra-orbital crest. then. "With gum on to the paper. Mortimer. but 'moor' would be less common." "Well. the facial angle.' 'life. this exceeds anything which I could have imagined. since the cutter had to take two snips over 'keep away." said Holmes. Mr. or come to be known. The differences are obvious. that the letter was composed by an educated man who wished to pose as an uneducated one. that you could tell the skull of a negro from that of an Esquimau?" "Most certainly. But I want to know why the word 'moor' should have been written?" "Because he could not find it in print.' Don't you see now whence these words have been taken?" "By thunder. you're right! Well. I think we are particularly hot upon the trail. is really one of the most remarkable things which I have ever known. Again.' 'keep away. On the whole I incline to the latter view." "And yet. Have you read anything else in this message. But a Times leader is entirely distinctive.' for example is quite out of its proper place. There is as much difference to my eyes between the leaded bourgeois type of a Times article and the slovenly print of an evening half-penny paper as there could be between your negro and your Esquimau. How did you do it?" "I presume. Holmes. though I confess that once when I was very young I confused the Leeds Mercury with the Western Morning News. you will observe that the words are not gummed on in an accurate line. of course. "You can see that it was a very short-bladed scissors. Someone.' 'value. Sir Henry. Mr. Holmes. the—" "But this is my special hobby. and his effort to conceal his own writing suggests that that writing might be known." said Sir Henry Baskerville. and it is unlikely that the composer of such a letter would be careless." said Holmes. since the matter was evidently important. but I fear that even he has not quite grasped the significance of this sentence."On the contrary. you observe is printed in rough characters. then. That may point to carelessness or it may point to agitation and hurry upon the part of the cutter. But the Times is a paper which is seldom found in any hands but those of the highly educated. Watson here knows more about my methods than you do.

but I am almost certain that this address has been written in a hotel. Mr. I have very little hesitation in saying that could we examine the waste-paper baskets of the hotels around Charing Cross until we found the remains of the mutilated Times leader we could lay our hands straight upon the person who sent this singular message." "How in the world can you say that?" "If you examine it carefully you will see that both the pen and the ink have given the writer trouble. But you know the hotel ink and the hotel pen. I could get no sense out of the chap who cleans them. but we have always some material basis on which to start our speculation. "Say." "If you have never worn them. Halloa! Halloa! What's this?" He was carefully examining the foolscap. without even a water-mark upon it. You have nothing else to report to us before we go into this matter?" "Well. The worst of it is that I only bought the pair last night in the Strand. What is the use of troubling Mr. Now. where it is rare to get anything else. I think we have drawn as much as we can from this curious letter. Holmes." said our visitor.posted up to early morning would reach Sir Henry before he would leave his hotel. anyhow. mislaid it. and the combination of the two must be quite rare." said he. rather. "It is a blank half-sheet of paper. throwing it down. Holmes with trifles of this kind?" "Well. I put them both outside my door last night. "Why in thunder should anyone follow or watch me?" "We are coming to that. You will find it when you return to the hotel. "I don't know much of British life yet. and now. That was why I put them out. Now." "I think anything out of the ordinary routine of life well worth reporting." "Then I understand that on your arrival in London yesterday you went out at once and bought a pair of boots?" 126 . Mortimer. upon which the words were pasted. holding it only an inch or two from his eyes. and I have never had them on. has anything else of interest happened to you since you have been in London?" "Why." Sir Henry smiled." "You have not observed anyone follow or watch you?" "I seem to have walked right into the thick of a dime novel." said Holmes. you would call it a guess. Mortimer." said Dr. you say?" "Well. a private pen or ink-bottle is seldom allowed to be in such a state." cried Dr. But I hope that to lose one of your boots is not part of the ordinary routine of life over here. The pen has spluttered twice in a single word and has run dry three times in a short address. for I have spent nearly all my time in the States and in Canada. why did you put them out to be cleaned?" "They were tan boots and had never been varnished. Sir Henry. "it is only mislaid. Did the composer fear an interruption—and from whom?" "We are coming now rather into the region of guesswork. "however foolish the incident may seem. It is the scientific use of the imagination. no. I think not. Yes." "You have lost one of your boots?" "My dear sir. "Well?" "Nothing. You have lost one of your boots. he asked me for anything outside the ordinary routine. into the region where we balance probabilities and choose the most likely. and there was only one in the morning. it depends upon what you think worth reporting. showing that there was very little ink in the bottle. no doubt." "Exactly.

" said the baronet with decision. and there is no man upon earth who can prevent me from going to the home of my own people." "Whichever it is. that is possible also. I suppose that fits into its place. Dr. to scare me away. I'll be able to tell you more clearly then how this thing strikes me. Mortimer's belief that it will not be long before the missing boot is found. is whether it is or is not advisable for you to go to Baskerville Hall." said he when the long narrative was finished. You don't seem quite to have made up your mind whether it's a case for a policeman or a clergyman. Holmes. come round and lunch with us at two. our scientific friend drew his papers from his pocket and presented the whole case as he had done upon the morning before. it all seems boiling up in my head. "that someone is not ill-disposed towards you." Holmes answered." "Your request is a very reasonable one."I did a good deal of shopping. and I can't get it clear yet. Sir Henry Baskerville listened with the deepest attention and with an occasional exclamation of surprise. it's half-past eleven now and I am going back right away to my hotel. Mr." said Dr. my answer is fixed." "It seems to show that someone knows more than we do about what goes on upon the moor. Dr. But the practical point which we now have to decide. It is time that you kept your promise and gave me a full account of what we are all driving at." said Holmes. gentlemen. Dr." His dark brows knitted and his face flushed to a dusky red as he spoke. Mortimer. for introducing me to a problem which presents several interesting alternatives. for this affair has flurried me rather. if I am to be squire down there I must dress the part. "Meanwhile. Mr. Mortimer. It was evident that the fiery temper of the Baskervilles was not extinct in this their last representative. It's the pet story of the family. I think you could not do better than to tell your story as you told it to us. "Of course. There is no devil in hell. I seem to have come into an inheritance with a vengeance. It's a big thing for a man to have to understand and to decide at one sitting. I am very much indebted to you." "Or it may be that they wish. though I never thought of taking it seriously before. "I confess that I share Dr. Shall I have a cab called?" "I'd prefer to walk. Suppose you and your friend. and you may take that to be my final answer. since they warn you of danger." "And now there's this affair of the letter to me at the hotel. "it seems to me that I have spoken quite enough about the little that I know. You see." Thus encouraged. look here." "And. of course. Among other things I bought these brown boots—gave six dollars for them—and had one stolen before ever I had them on my feet." "It seems a singularly useless thing to steal. I've heard of the hound ever since I was in the nursery. Watson?" "Perfectly. "And also. and it may be that I have got a little careless in my ways out West. Mortimer here went round with me." "Do you mean danger from this family fiend or do you mean danger from human beings?" "Well. Sir Henry. "Well. I should like to have a quiet hour by myself to make up my mind." "Then you may expect us. that is what we have to find out." "Why should I not go?" "There seems to be danger. Now. for their own purposes. now." said Sherlock Holmes." "Is that convenient to you." 127 . Watson." said he. But as to my uncle's death—well. Holmes." "Well." "Precisely. "I have hardly had time to think over all that you have told me. Mortimer. "Dr.

it was evident from what we have heard that Baskerville has been very closely shadowed by someone since he has been in town. Then. Dr. and already the cab was out of sight. one obvious disadvantage. if we can do no more. for it is certainly a very fine morning for a walk. quick! Not a moment to lose!" He rushed into his room in his dressing-gown and was back again in a few seconds in a frock-coat. but the start was too great. It has." "Exactly." He quickened his pace until we had decreased the distance which divided us by about half. upon which Holmes did the same. I remember. "Was ever such bad luck and such bad management. however. Watson. I am perfectly satisfied with your company if you will tolerate mine. something was screamed to the driver. too? Watson. you surely do not seriously imagine that I neglected to get the number? No."I'll join you in a walk. I saw that a hansom cab with a man inside which had halted on the other side of the street was now proceeding slowly onward again." At that instant I was aware of a bushy black beard and a pair of piercing eyes turned upon us through the side window of the cab. Mortimer was reading his legend. In an instant Holmes had changed from the languid dreamer to the man of action." said his companion. You may have observed that I twice strolled over to the window while Dr. and. and the cab flew madly off down Regent Street. Instantly the trapdoor at the top flew up. Watson." "What a pity we did not get the number!" "My dear Watson." "Yes. Watson. Au revoir. my dear Watson. with pleasure. 2704 is our man. following the direction of his eager eyes. still keeping a hundred yards behind. Mortimer and Baskerville were still visible about two hundred yards ahead of us in the direction of Oxford Street. clumsy as I have been. "Then we meet again at two o'clock. if you are an honest man you will record this also and set it against my successes!" "Who was the man?" "I have not an idea. we followed into Oxford Street and so down Regent Street. "There now!" said Holmes bitterly as he emerged panting and white with vexation from the tide of vehicles." 128 . But that is no use to us for the moment. Watson! Come along! We'll have a good look at him. but no empty one was in sight. "Shall I run on and stop them?" "Not for the world. So wily was he that he had not trusted himself upon foot. This matter cuts very deep. Once our friends stopped and stared into a shop window. We hurried together down the stairs and into the street. An instant afterwards he gave a little cry of satisfaction. and though I have not finally made up my mind whether it is a benevolent or a malevolent agency which is in touch with us. "Your hat and boots. I am conscious always of power and design. but I saw none. When our friends left I at once followed them in the hopes of marking down their invisible attendant." "A spy?" "Well. We are dealing with a clever man. How else could it be known so quickly that it was the Northumberland Hotel which he had chosen? If they had followed him the first day I argued that they would follow him also the second." "It puts him in the power of the cabman. "There's our man. His method had the additional advantage that if they were to take a cab he was all ready to follow them. Our friends are wise. and good-morning!" We heard the steps of our visitors descend the stair and the bang of the front door. Then he dashed in wild pursuit amid the stream of the traffic." "I was looking out for loiterers in the street. but he had availed himself of a cab so that he could loiter behind or dash past them and so escape their notice. Holmes looked eagerly round for another.

" "You will tell him that you want to see the waste-paper of yesterday. Here are twentythree shillings. Here is a copy of the Times. Mortimer. sir." said Holmes. I should then at my leisure have hired a second cab and followed the first at a respectful distance." "My dear fellow." "Could you ring him up?—thank you! And I should be glad to have change of this five-pound note." "On observing the cab I should have instantly turned and walked in the other direction. where he was warmly greeted by the manager." "Yes." "But what you are really looking for is the centre page of the Times with some holes cut in it with scissors. You will say that an important telegram has miscarried and that you are looking for it." "You will begin in each case by giving the outside porter one shilling. who showed some ability during the investigation. He stood now gazing with great reverence at the famous detective. "Thank you! Now. Watson!" He turned into one of the district messenger offices. You saved my good name. there are the names of twentythree hotels here." "In each case the outside porter will send for the hall porter." We had been sauntering slowly down Regent Street during this conversation. Could you swear to that man's face within the cab?" "I could swear only to the beard. or. I have some recollection. You could easily recognize it. we have betrayed ourselves and lost our man. It is this page. indeed I have not. Wilson."I fail to see how you could have done more. that you had among your boys a lad named Cartwright. sir." A lad of fourteen. Wilson. "The shadow has departed and will not return. and Dr. could you not?" "Yes." said Holmes. had long vanished in front of us. and perhaps my life. When our unknown had followed Baskerville home we should have had the opportunity of playing his own game upon himself and seeing where he made for. to whom also you will give a shilling." "You will visit each of these in turn. Here are twenty-three shillings. Do you see?" "Yes. had obeyed the summons of the manager. he is still with us. You will then learn in possibly twenty cases out of the twenty-three that the waste of the day before 129 . keen face. all in the immediate neighbourhood of Charing Cross. You understand?" "Yes. "There is no object in our following them. As it is. sir." "Yes. with a bright. with his companion. sir." "And so could I—from which I gather that in all probability it was a false one. which was taken advantage of with extraordinary quickness and energy by our opponent. Cartwright. you exaggerate. sir." "Yes. "Ah. have driven to the Northumberland Hotel and waited there. better still. "Let me have the Hotel Directory. sir. I see you have not forgotten the little case in which I had the good fortune to help you?" "No. by an indiscreet eagerness. sir. We must see what further cards we have in our hands and play them with decision. A clever man upon so delicate an errand has no use for a beard save to conceal his features. Come in here.

this is a most suggestive fact." said the clerk." "Thank you. gray-headed. He would talk of nothing but art. Holmes. sir." he continued in a low voice as we went upstairs together. sir! he has used this hotel for many years. is he not. of which he had the crudest ideas. they are equally anxious that he should not see them." he cried. but they've got a bit over the mark this time. and when he did speak it was in a much broader and more Western dialect than any which we had heard from him in the morning. in a very remarkable degree.has been burned or removed. His face was flushed with anger. the coal-owner. No. "We know now that the people who are so interested in our friend have not settled down in his own hotel. but often in calling upon one friend one finds another. For two hours the strange business in which we had been involved appeared to be forgotten. of High Lodge. Excuse my curiosity." "Surely you are mistaken about his trade?" "No. I can take a joke with the best. the power of detaching his mind at will." 130 . Let me have a report by wire at Baker Street before evening. One was Theophilus Johnson and family. and he was entirely absorbed in the pictures of the modern Belgian masters. Watson. I am afraid I cannot claim her acquaintance. Her husband was once mayor of Gloucester. not older than yourself. And now. that settles it." said Holmes to the porter. and walks with a limp?" "No. "Surely that must be the same Johnson whom I used to know. "Sir Henry Baskerville is upstairs expecting you. the other Mrs." The book showed that two names had been added after that of Baskerville. Oldmore and maid. this is Mr. The odds are enormously against your finding it. Mrs. if that chap can't find my missing boot there will be trouble. So furious was he that he was hardly articulate. "Seems to me they are playing me for a sucker in this hotel. By thunder." "Have you any objection to my looking at your register?" said Holmes. my dear fellow. of Newcastle. Watson. We have established a most important fact by these questions. Johnson. it only remains for us to find out by wire the identity of the cabman. "Not in the least. Oldmore." "She is an invalid lady. I seem to remember the name. sir. "He asked me to show you up at once when you came." Chapter 5 Three Broken Threads Sherlock Holmes had. as we have seen. very anxious to watch him. and he is very well known to us." "Ah. 2704. That means that while they are. too. In the three other cases you will be shown a heap of paper and you will look for this page of the Times among it. "They'll find they've started in to monkey with the wrong man unless they are careful. from our leaving the gallery until we found ourselves at the Northumberland Hotel. a very active gentleman. and he held an old and dusty boot in one of his hands. There are ten shillings over in case of emergencies. She always comes to us when she is in town. Now. Alton. "A lawyer. and then we will drop into one of the Bond Street picture galleries and fill in the time until we are due at the hotel. what on earth is the matter?" As we came round the top of the stairs we had run up against Sir Henry Baskerville himself." "What does it suggest?" "It suggests—halloa. Mr.

that you were followed this morning from my house?" Dr." "The queerest perhaps—" said Holmes thoughtfully. It seems the very maddest. either that boot comes back before sundown or I'll see the manager and tell him that I go right straight out of this hotel. But we hold several threads in our hands. the old black. I have made inquiry all over the hotel. which I am wearing. And now it's an old black one. When taken in conjunction with your uncle's death I am not sure that of all the five hundred cases of capital importance which I have handled there is one which cuts so deep. It was in the private sitting-room to which we afterwards repaired that Holmes asked Baskerville what were his intentions. you said that it was a new brown boot?" "So it was. Sir Henry."Still looking for your boot?" "Yes. and mean to find it." "What! you don't mean to say—?" "That's just what I do mean to say. and the odds are that one or other of them guides us to the truth. and amid the millions of this great city it is difficult to discover who these people are or what their object can be. Holmes. but I can hear no word of it. sir. "I think that your decision is a wise one. Mr." "And when?" "At the end of the week. Mortimer started violently. man. sir—I promise you that if you will have a little patience it will be found. "No." "Well. I have ample evidence that you are being dogged in London. "Followed! By whom?" 131 . but sooner or later we must come upon the right. sir." "Mind it is. I only had three pairs in the world—the new brown. Last night they took one of my brown ones. and we should be powerless to prevent it. "What do you make of it yourself?" "Well. Mortimer. queerest thing that ever happened to me." "How do you explain it?" "I just don't attempt to explain it." "Why. "To go to Baskerville Hall. You did not know. for it's the last thing of mine that I'll lose in this den of thieves. This case of yours is very complex. Dr. and don't stand staring!" An agitated German waiter had appeared upon the scene." "On the whole. and the patent leathers. Well. If their intentions are evil they might do you a mischief. Well." We had a pleasant luncheon in which little was said of the business which had brought us together. well. have you got it? Speak out." said Holmes." "But." "It shall be found. and today they have sneaked one of the black. I don't profess to understand it yet. sir. We may waste time in following the wrong one. surely. you look very serious over it. you'll excuse my troubling you about such a trifle—" "I think it's well worth troubling about.

is a man with a full. "By the way." "Ha! Where is Barrymore?" "He is in charge of the Hall. "that you do not look with suspicious eyes upon everyone who received a legacy from Sir Charles." said Baskerville. let me see—why. or if by any possibility he might be in London. yes." "We had best ascertain if he is really there. What is the nearest telegraph-office? Grimpen. Mortimer." "That is true. we will send a second wire to the postmaster." Holmes raised his eyebrows in surprise. So far as I know." "How can you do that?" "Give me a telegraph form. Dr. "I had no idea that so gigantic a sum was involved. They have looked after the Hall for four generations now. Sir Charles was very fond of talking about the provisions of his will. "it's clear enough that so long as there are none of the family at the Hall these people have a mighty fine home and nothing to do." "That is very interesting. If absent. but we did not know how very rich he was until we came to examine his securities. Supposing that anything happened to our young friend here—you will forgive the unpleasant hypothesis!—who would inherit the estate?" 132 . he and his wife are as respectable a couple as any in the county. who is dead." "At the same time. who is this Barrymore. Dr. "Sir Charles had the reputation of being rich. please return wire to Sir Henry Baskerville." "That's so." "Did Barrymore profit at all by Sir Charles's will?" asked Holmes." "And how much was the residue?" "Seven hundred and forty thousand pounds.' That should let us know before evening whether Barrymore is at his post in Devonshire or not. for I also had a thousand pounds left to me." "I hope. Very good. And one more question. 'Is all ready for Sir Henry?' That will do." "Indeed! And anyone else?" "There were many insignificant sums to individuals. Barrymore." said Dr. unfortunately." said he. anyhow?" "He is the son of the old caretaker. Barrymore. full beard?" "No—or. Grimpen: 'Telegram to Mr." said Baskerville. The total value of the estate was close on to a million. Barrymore to be delivered into his own hand." "Dear me! It is a stake for which a man might well play a desperate game. Mortimer. Baskerville Hall." "Ha! Did they know that they would receive this?" "Yes. Northumberland Hotel. is what I cannot tell you. Sir Charles's butler. black beard. The residue all went to Sir Henry. and a large number of public charities."That. "He and his wife had five hundred pounds each. Mortimer. Have you among your neighbours or acquaintances on Dartmoor any man with a black. Address to Mr.

I suppose that by Saturday all might be ready?" "Would that suit Dr. for it was only yesterday that I learned how matters stood." "Is it possible that you could come yourself. Holmes?" "If matters came to a crisis I should endeavour to be present in person."Since Rodger Baskerville. with my extensive consulting practice and with the constant appeals which reach me from many quarters. "I will come." 133 . How is the owner going to restore the glories of the Baskervilles if he has not money enough to keep up the property? House. then?" Holmes laid his hand upon my arm. Mortimer returns with me." "But Dr. That was my poor uncle's idea. and his house is miles away from yours. Sir Charles's younger brother died unmarried. Baskerville seized me by the hand and wrung it heartily." "Whom would you recommend. the estate would descend to the Desmonds. as it will do. and dollars must go together. James Desmond?" "Yes. "I do not know how I could employ my time better. No one can say so more confidently than I." "Then on Saturday." The proposition took me completely by surprise." "Quite so." "Dr. Watson?" "Perfectly. who will be always by your side. we shall meet at the ten-thirty train from Paddington. But in any case I feel that the money should go with the title and estate. No. and you know just as much about the matter as I do. now." "And you will report very carefully to me. a trusty man. You will see how impossible it is for me to go to Dartmoor. and only I can stop a disastrous scandal. with pleasure. he once came down to visit Sir Charles. "Well. There is only one provision which I must make. though he pressed it upon him. I've had no time. Mr. "You see how it is with me." "And have you made your will. These details are all of great interest. and I was complimented by the words of Holmes and by the eagerness with which the baronet hailed me as a companion." "He would be the heir to the estate because that is entailed. You certainly must not go alone. I have not. but you can understand that. Well. "When a crisis comes. Mortimer has his practice to attend to. I am of one mind with you as to the advisability of your going down to Devonshire without delay. James Desmond is an elderly clergyman in Westmoreland. you must take with you someone. but before I had time to answer." said he. Mr. do what he likes with it." said I. I remember that he refused to accept any settlement from Sir Charles. Sir Henry?" "No. land. He would also be the heir to the money unless it were willed otherwise by the present owner." said Holmes. At the present instant one of the most revered names in England is being besmirched by a blackmailer. He is a man of venerable appearance and of saintly life. With all the goodwill in the world he may be unable to help you. Sir Henry. who can." "And this man of simple tastes would be the heir to Sir Charles's thousands. Watson. unless you hear to the contrary." The promise of adventure had always a fascination for me. that is real kind of you. of course. If you will come down to Baskerville Hall and see me through I'll never forget it. I will direct how you shall act. Dr. Sir Henry. Holmes. it is impossible for me to be absent from London for an indefinite time. who are distant cousins." "Thank you. "If my friend would undertake it there is no man who is better worth having at your side when you are in a tight place. Have you met Mr.

the black-bearded spy in the hansom. "But it is a very singular thing." "Exactly. which included the receipt of the printed letter. "Now. the Borough. I have half a sovereign for you if you will give me a clear answer to my questions. for the door opened and a rough-looking fellow entered who was evidently the man himself. "On the contrary. Watson." "Well. but sorry. my good man. "There go two of my threads. BASKERVILLE. Another item had been added to that constant and apparently purposeless series of small mysteries which had succeeded each other so rapidly." 134 . like my own." The ring at the bell proved to be something even more satisfactory than an answer. I've had a good day and no mistake. the loss of the new brown boot. I came here straight from the Yard to ask you to your face what you had against me. in case I want you again. "I got a message from the head office that a gent at this address had been inquiring for No." "In that case the waiter must have placed it there while we were lunching." "We have still the cabman who drove the spy." Dr. tell me all about the fare who came and watched this house at ten o'clock this morning and afterwards followed the two gentlemen down Regent Street. of triumph. and now the return of the new brown boot." said Baskerville. The first ran: Have just heard that Barrymore is at the Hall. "Every inch of it. There is nothing more stimulating than a case where everything goes against you. to report unable to trace cut sheet of Times. and diving into one of the corners of the room he drew a brown boot from under a cabinet." said Holmes. Clayton. All afternoon and late into the evening he sat lost in tobacco and thought. I have wired to get his name and address from the Official Registry. Holmes sat in silence in the cab as we drove back to Baker Street. "What was it you wanted to ask. Setting aside the whole grim story of Sir Charles's death. "May all our difficulties vanish as easily!" said Sherlock Holmes." "There was certainly no boot in it then. 3 Turpey Street. 2704. however. "My missing boot!" he cried." "John Clayton." "I have nothing in the world against you. near Waterloo Station. the loss of the old black boot. was busy in endeavouring to frame some scheme into which all these strange and apparently disconnected episodes could be fitted. and I knew from his drawn brows and keen face that his mind. We must cast round for another scent. Just before dinner two telegrams were handed in. CARTWRIGHT. The second: Visited twenty-three hotels as directed. we had a line of inexplicable incidents all within the limits of two days." "And so did I. I should not be surprised if this were an answer to my question. "I searched this room carefully before lunch. sir?" "First of all your name and address.We had risen to depart when Baskerville gave a cry." said the cabman with a grin. Mortimer remarked." Sherlock Holmes made a note of it." The German was sent for but professed to know nothing of the matter." said he. "I've driven my cab this seven years and never a word of complaint. nor could any inquiry clear it up. My cab is out of Shipley's Yard.

He said that he was a detective. He was dressed like a toff. like a good one." "Did he say anything more?" "He mentioned his name." "And how would you describe Mr. and he offered me two guineas if I would do exactly what he wanted all day and ask no questions. I was glad enough to agree. walking.' That's how I come to know the name. Then the two gentlemen passed us. sir. this is a very serious business. Only just as he was leaving he turned round and he said: 'It might interest you to know that you have been driving Mr. Then my gentleman threw up the trap. And you saw no more of him?" "Not after he went into the station." "When did he say this?" "When he left me. and we followed down Baker Street and along—" "I know. We pulled up halfway down the street and waited an hour and a half.The man looked surprised and a little embarrassed." said Holmes." said he. What was the name that he mentioned?" "His name. but I dare say my fare knew all about it. Watson—an undeniable touch!" said he." "He hailed me at half-past nine in Trafalgar Square." said Holmes. and he was of a middle height. two or three inches shorter than you. I couldn't be sure of that. I don't know as I could say more than that. he mentioned his name. sir. that was the gentleman's name. for you seem to know as much as I do already. "Well. First we drove down to the Northumberland Hotel and waited there until two gentlemen came out and took a cab from the rank. He got home upon me very prettily that time." "I see. and away he went into the station. So his name was Sherlock Holmes. he wasn't altogether such an easy gentleman to describe. "The truth is that the gentleman told me that he was a detective and that I was to say nothing about him to anyone." Never have I seen my friend more completely taken aback than by the cabman's reply. Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes?" The cabman scratched his head." "Excellent! Tell me where you picked him up and all that occurred. "A touch." "My good fellow." "This very door. there's no good my telling you things. "was Mr. cut square at the end. "I feel a foil as quick and supple as my own. "Why. and a pale face. For an instant he sat in silent amazement. "Well. and he cried that I should drive right away to Waterloo Station as hard as I could go. "Until we got three-quarters down Regent Street. I'd put him at forty years of age. Then he paid up his two guineas. I whipped up the mare and we were there under the ten minutes." "Colour of his eyes?" 135 ." Holmes cast a swift glance of triumph at me. he did. was it?" "Yes. We followed their cab until it pulled up somewhere near here. did he? That was imprudent." said the cabman. and he had a black beard. Sherlock Holmes. and you may find yourself in a pretty bad position if you try to hide anything from me. You say that your fare told you that he was a detective?" "Yes. "Oh. Then he burst into a hearty laugh.

an ugly dangerous business. of Lafter Hall. but the results have. I can't say that. and there is his sister. "Snap goes our third thread. and so sent back this audacious message. so that this persecution does not arise from him. There is our friend Dr." "Well. my dear fellow. These are the folk who must be your very special study. and especially the relations between young Baskerville and his neighbours or any fresh particulars concerning the death of Sir Charles. I have made some inquiries myself in the last few days. and there is his wife. who is the next heir. and thank you!" John Clayton departed chuckling. You could not make a greater mistake. There remain the people who will actually surround Sir Henry Baskerville upon the moor. is an elderly gentleman of a very amiable disposition. Mortimer were ready upon the appointed day. I've been checkmated in London. and we started as arranged for Devonshire. and you can leave me to do the theorizing. "The cunning rascal! He knew our number. I can only wish you better luck in Devonshire. but I give you my word that I shall be very glad to have you back safe and sound in Baker Street once more. I fear. then. "Anything which may seem to have a bearing however indirect upon the case. and Holmes turned to me with a shrug of his shoulders and a rueful smile." "Nothing more that you can remember?" "No. here is your half-sovereign. and there are one or two other neighbours. Stapleton. whom I believe to be entirely honest. "I wish you simply to report facts in the fullest possible manner to me. Sherlock Holmes drove with me to the station and gave me his last parting injunctions and advice. No." "I will do my best. who is said to be a young lady of attractions." "Would it not be well in the first place to get rid of this Barrymore couple?" "By no means. sir. Then there is a groom at the Hall. been negative. and that is that Mr. There is Mr. Good-night!" "Good-night. But I'm not easy in my mind about it. sir. There's another one waiting for you if you can bring any more information. and we end where we began. we will preserve them upon our list of suspects." "About what?" "About sending you. I tell you. There is this naturalist. One thing only appears to be certain. spotted who I was in Regent Street. Watson." 136 . this time we have got a foeman who is worthy of our steel. of whom we know nothing."No. I really think that we may eliminate him entirely from our calculations." said he. Watson. who is also an unknown factor. no. you may laugh." said he. There are two moorland farmers. Watson. It's an ugly business. James Desmond. and the more I see of it the less I like it. Frankland." Chapter 6 Baskerville Hall Sir Henry Baskerville and Dr." "What sort of facts?" I asked. Mr. Mortimer. and if they are guilty we should be giving up all chance of bringing it home to them. "I will not bias your mind by suggesting theories or suspicions. If they are innocent it would be a cruel injustice. knew that Sir Henry Baskerville had consulted me. nothing. conjectured that I had got the number of the cab and would lay my hands on the driver. Yes. if I remember right.

Sir Henry. Poor Sir Charles's head was of a very rare type." said Dr. we have no news of any kind. for he lived in a little cottage on the South Coast. I thought it as well to take them. and avoid the moor in those hours of darkness when the powers of evil are exalted. "but I have never seen a place to compare with it. with his tweed suit and his American accent. and that is that we have not been shadowed during the last two days. Some great misfortune will befall you if you do. one of the phrases in that queer old legend which Dr." said Dr. in the corner of a prosaic railway-carriage. and red cows grazed in well-hedged fields where the lush grasses and more luxuriant vegetation spoke of a richer. it is gone forever." "Most certainly. "I've been over a good part of the world since I left it. "It depends upon the breed of men quite as much as on the county. his sensitive 137 . In a very few hours the brown earth had become ruddy. Dr. dim and vague in the distance. We have never gone out without keeping a sharp watch. and yet as I looked at his dark and expressive face I felt more than ever how true a descendant he was of that long line of high-blooded. I usually give up one day to pure amusement when I come to town." "You have always kept together." I remarked." "It was imprudent." "And I went to look at the folk in the park. "But we had no trouble of any kind. like some fantastic landscape in a dream. good-bye. and strength in his thick brows. There were pride. and masterful men." "I never saw a Devonshire man who did not swear by his county. Mortimer. Watson. The journey was a swift and pleasant one. "No. "I can swear to one thing." said Holmes." he added as the train began to glide down the platform. Mortimer's spaniel. fiery. "Bear in mind. Over the green squares of the fields and the low curve of a wood there rose in the distance a gray. Mortimer. so I spent it at the Museum of the College of Surgeons. and I read upon his eager face how much it meant to him. Did you get your other boot?" "No. and no one could have escaped our notice. "A glance at our friend here reveals the rounded head of the Celt. I tell you it is all as new to me as it is to Dr. half Ivernian in its characteristics. I suppose?" "Yes. if a damper. and I spent it in making the more intimate acquaintance of my two companions and in playing with Dr. austere figure of Holmes standing motionless and gazing after us. But you were very young when you last saw Baskerville Hall." Our friends had already secured a first-class carriage and were waiting for us upon the platform. "I beg." "Indeed. that you will not go about alone. climate." said he." said Baskerville. There he sat. Mortimer in answer to my friend's questions. all the same. Watson. half Gaelic." I looked back at the platform when we had left it far behind and saw the tall." said Dr. pointing out of the carriage window. and never relax your precautions." "Are you? Then your wish is easily granted. the brick had changed to granite. which carries inside it the Celtic enthusiasm and power of attachment. with a strange jagged summit. Sir Henry. That is very interesting. melancholy hill. his eyes fixed upon it. Baskerville sat for a long time. Well. Keep your revolver near you night and day. Mortimer has read to us."You have arms. and I'm as keen as possible to see the moor. valour. were you not?" "I was a boy in my teens at the time of my father's death and had never seen the Hall. Thence I went straight to a friend in America. shaking his head and looking very grave. this first sight of that strange spot where the men of his blood had held sway so long and left their mark so deep. I presume?" "Except yesterday afternoon. sir. for there is your first sight of the moor. Young Baskerville stared eagerly out of the window and cried aloud with delight as he recognized the familiar features of the Devon scenery.

white fence. hard and clear like an equestrian statue upon its pedestal. the slanting rays of a low sun turning the streams to threads of gold and glowing on the red earth new turned by the plough and the broad tangle of the woodlands. If on that forbidding moor a difficult and dangerous quest should lie before us. an outlying spur of the moor. the Notting Hill murderer. sprinkled with giant boulders. lay in front of us. Both road and stream wound up through a valley dense with scrub oak and fir. The driver pointed with his whip. for it was one in which Holmes had taken an interest on account of the peculiar ferocity of the crime and the wanton brutality which had marked all the actions of the assassin. but they've had no sight of him yet. with no creeper to break its harsh outline. Yellow leaves carpeted the lanes and fluttered down upon us as we passed. was a mounted soldier. "What is this. for Nature to throw before the carriage of the returning heir of the Baskervilles. We had left the fertile country behind and beneath us. Our driver half turned in his seat. Bronzing bracken and mottled bramble gleamed in the light of the sinking sun.nostrils. A cold wind swept down from it and set us shivering. so atrocious was his conduct. foaming and roaring amid the gray boulders. was lurking this fiendish man. The commutation of his death sentence had been due to some doubts as to his complete sanity. Even Baskerville fell silent and pulled his overcoat more closely around him. gloomy curve of the moor. and in a few minutes we were flying swiftly down the broad. patched with stunted oaks and firs which had been twisted and bent by the fury of years of storm. looking eagerly about him and asking countless questions. The rattle of our wheels died away as we drove through drifts of rotting vegetation—sad gifts. but behind the peaceful and sunlit countryside there rose ever. "There's a convict escaped from Princetown. on that desolate plain. The coachman. sir. broken by the jagged and sinister hills. which bore so clearly the mark of the waning year. and the warders watch every road and every station. Still steadily rising. heavy with dripping moss and fleshy hart's-tongue ferns. as it seemed to me. Our wagonette had topped a rise and in front of us rose the huge expanse of the moor." "Who is he. Our coming was evidently a great event. The train pulled up at a small wayside station and we all descended. the chilling wind. Two high. it isn't like any ordinary convict. 138 . sir. gnarled little fellow. beyond the low. Suddenly we looked down into a cuplike depression. his heart full of malignancy against the whole race which had cast him out. hiding in a burrow like a wild beast. It was a sweet. and we curved upward through deep lanes worn by centuries of wheels. Perkins?" asked Dr. Outside. and the darkling sky." said he. Mortimer." "Yes. This is a man that would stick at nothing. for station-master and porters clustered round us to carry out our luggage. this was at least a comrade for whom one might venture to take a risk with the certainty that he would bravely share it. You see. It needed but this to complete the grim suggestiveness of the barren waste. dark against the evening sky. a wagonette with a pair of cobs was waiting. then?" "It is Selden. He's been out three days now. narrow towers rose over the trees. The farmers about here don't like it. I understand that they get five pounds if they can give information. we passed over a narrow granite bridge and skirted a noisy stream which gushed swiftly down. He was watching the road along which we travelled. saluted Sir Henry Baskerville. Mortimer. "Halloa!" cried Dr. but I was surprised to observe that by the gate there stood two soldierly men in dark uniforms who leaned upon their short rifles and glanced keenly at us as we passed. but to me a tinge of melancholy lay upon the countryside. simple country spot. "what is this?" A steep curve of heath-clad land. sir." "Well." I remembered the case well. a hard-faced. Now and then we passed a moorland cottage. white road. and old gabled houses peeped out from amid the thick green foliage. "Baskerville Hall. mottled with gnarled and craggy cairns and tors. We looked back on it now. walled and roofed with stone. dark and stern. his rifle poised ready over his forearm. and his large hazel eyes. but the chance of five pounds is but a poor thing compared to the chance of having your throat cut. To his eyes all seemed beautiful. At every turn Baskerville gave an exclamation of delight. the long. The wagonette swung round into a side road. The road in front of us grew bleaker and wilder over huge russet and olive slopes. and that's a fact. Somewhere there. On the summit. Rolling pasture lands curved upward on either side of us. high banks on either side.

the yew alley is on the other side. and the old trees shot their branches in a sombre tunnel over our heads. tall. the coats of arms upon the walls. The light beat upon him where he stood. "It's enough to scare any man." 139 . with a square black beard and pale. She came out and helped the man to hand down our bags. Sir Henry?" said Dr. Through the gateway we passed into the avenue. In the fading light I could see that the centre was a heavy block of building from which a porch projected. and never hesitate night or day to send for me if I can be of service. and the house lay before us. Sir Henry! Welcome to Baskerville Hall!" A tall man had stepped from the shadow of the porch to open the door of the wagonette. large. "No. He stood in front of us now with the subdued manner of a well-trained servant. I must go. thin window of old stained glass. the first fruit of Sir Charles's South African gold. Baskerville shuddered as he looked up the long.Its master had risen and was staring with flushed cheeks and shining eyes. and pierced with many loopholes. but Barrymore will be a better guide than I. and surmounted by the boars' heads of the Baskervilles. and you won't know it again. From this central block rose the twin towers. no. "It's no wonder my uncle felt as if trouble were coming on him in such a place as this. blotched with lichens. You will find hot water in your rooms." The young heir glanced round with a gloomy face. "My wife is expecting me." said he. dark drive to where the house glimmered like a ghost at the farther end. and from the high chimneys which rose from the steep. "Was it here?" he asked in a low voice. with a patch clipped bare here and there where a window or a coat of arms broke through the dark veil. all dim and sombre in the subdued light of the central lamp. I shall probably find some work awaiting me. crenelated. The whole front was draped in ivy. Mortimer. Good-bye. "Welcome." "Surely you will stay and have some dinner?" "No. for we were numb from our long drive. sir. where the wheels were again hushed amid the leaves. ancient. high-angled roof there sprang a single black column of smoke. but facing it was a new building." The wheels died away down the drive while Sir Henry and I turned into the hall. sir?" "Is it ready?" "In a very few minutes. but you will understand that under the new conditions this house will require a considerable staff. to stay with you until you have made your fresh arrangements. "It's just as I imagined it. It strikes me solemn to think of it. but long shadows trailed down the walls and hung like a black canopy above him. "Would you wish dinner to be served at once. He was a remarkable-looking man. The figure of a woman was silhouetted against the yellow light of the hall. It was a fine apartment in which we found ourselves. the oak panelling. "Is it not the very picture of an old family home? To think that this should be the same hall in which for five hundred years my people have lived. My wife and I will be happy. To right and left of the turrets were more modern wings of black granite. distinguished features. I would stay to show you over the house. with a thousand candle-power Swan and Edison right here in front of the hall door. In the great old-fashioned fireplace behind the high iron dogs a log-fire crackled and snapped. a maze of fantastic tracery in wrought iron. handsome. with weather-bitten pillars on either side. "You don't mind my driving straight home. Sir Henry. the stags' heads." The avenue opened into a broad expanse of turf. and heavily raftered with huge baulks of age-blackened oak. A few minutes later we had reached the lodge-gates. A dull light shone through heavy mullioned windows. lofty. Sir Henry and I held out our hands to it." I saw his dark face lit up with a boyish enthusiasm as he gazed about him. and the door clanged heavily behind us. Then we gazed round us at the high. half constructed. I'll have a row of electric lamps up here inside of six months. Barrymore had returned from taking our luggage to our rooms." said Sir Henry. The lodge was a ruin of black granite and bared ribs of rafters.

that Sir Charles led a very retired life. sir. sir. from which all the bedrooms opened. 140 . and I for one was glad when the meal was over and we were able to retire into the modern billiardroom and smoke a cigarette. and so does my wife. two copses of trees moaned and swung in a rising wind. tossing restlessly from side to side." "But your family have been with us for several generations. "I suppose one can tone down to it. that we shall succeed in establishing ourselves in some business. These rooms appeared to be much more modern than the central part of the house. I closed the curtain. have they not? I should be sorry to begin my life here by breaking an old family connection. from the Elizabethan knight to the buck of the Regency. sir. wish to have more company. And then suddenly. Far away a chiming clock struck out the quarters of the hours." A square balustraded gallery ran round the top of the old hall. perhaps I had best show you to your rooms. approached by a double stair. "My word. low curve of the melancholy moor. We talked little. in the very dead of the night. A dim line of ancestors. and the long. It was the sob of a woman. there came a sound to my ears. Black beams shot across above our heads. and the colour and rude hilarity of an old-time banquet. we will retire early tonight. and unmistakable. And yet it was not quite the last. clear." I seemed to discern some signs of emotion upon the butler's white face. with a smoke-darkened ceiling beyond them. It opened upon the grassy space which lay in front of the hall door. strangling gasp of one who is torn by an uncontrollable sorrow. sir. For half an hour I waited with every nerve on the alert. naturally. In its cold light I saw beyond the trees a broken fringe of rocks. and the bright paper and numerous candles did something to remove the sombre impression which our arrival had left upon my mind. The noise could not have been far away and was certainly in the house. A half moon broke through the rifts of racing clouds. And now. one's voice became hushed and one's spirit subdued. Beyond. and we were able to look after his wants. stared down upon us and daunted us by their silent company. it isn't a very cheerful place. It was a long chamber with a step separating the dais where the family sat from the lower portion reserved for their dependents. the muffled. At one end a minstrel's gallery overlooked it. but I feel a bit out of the picture at present. we were both very much attached to Sir Charles. With rows of flaring torches to light it up." I drew aside my curtains before I went to bed and looked out from my window. if it suits you. but otherwise a deathly silence lay upon the old house."What new conditions?" "I only meant. but there came no other sound save the chiming clock and the rustle of the ivy on the wall. I sat up in bed and listened intently. You would. seeking for the sleep which would not come. and so you will need changes in your household. Sir Charles's generosity has given us the means to do so. sir." "But what do you intend to do?" "I have no doubt. feeling that my last impression was in keeping with the rest." "Do you mean that your wife and you wish to leave?" "Only when it is quite convenient to you. sir. it might have softened. My own was in the same wing as Baskerville's and almost next door to it." said Sir Henry. but now. "I feel that also. But the dining-room which opened out of the hall was a place of shadow and gloom. and perhaps things may seem more cheerful in the morning. in every variety of dress. I fear that we shall never again be easy in our minds at Baskerville Hall. resonant. I found myself weary and yet wakeful. and his death gave us a shock and made these surroundings very painful to us. I don't wonder that my uncle got a little jumpy if he lived all alone in such a house as this. From this central point two long corridors extended the whole length of the building. However. But to tell the truth. when two black-clothed gentlemen sat in the little circle of light thrown by a shaded lamp.

"I guess it is ourselves and not the house that we have to blame!" said the baronet. but there was no more of it. who was also the village grocer. handsome. so I concluded that it was all a dream. James. It was she." 141 . "Well. Mortimer. Barrymore's hands. and it was hard to realize that this was indeed the chamber which had struck such a gloom into our souls upon the evening before. happen to hear someone. whom we had seen in the cab in Regent Street? The beard might well have been the same. he was up in the loft at the time. and she promised to deliver it at once. and we had only his word for all the circumstances which led up to the old man's death. "We were tired with our journey and chilled by our drive. after all. then. Why had he done this? And why did she weep so bitterly? Already round this pale-faced. I delivered it. Yet he had taken the obvious risk of discovery in declaring that it was not so. Was it possible that it was Barrymore. throwing watery patches of colour from the coats of arms which covered them. who wept in the night. It seemed to me that the pallid features of the butler turned a shade paler still as he listened to his master's question. It was a pleasant walk of four miles along the edge of the moor. Now we are fresh and well. who sleeps in the other wing. so we took a gray view of the place." he answered. I should at least have something to report to Sherlock Holmes. But her telltale eyes were red and glanced at me from between swollen lids. leading me at last to a small gray hamlet. I waited quite a time. black-bearded man there was gathering an atmosphere of mystery and of gloom." "Into his own hands?" I asked." And yet he lied as he said it. "I had the telegram delivered to Mr. "One is the scullery-maid. in which two larger buildings. so that I could not put it into his own hands. sir. for example. but I gave it into Mrs. heavy-featured woman with a stern set expression of mouth. "There are only two women in the house. Barrymore at the Hall last week. "Did you. you delivered that telegram to Mr.Chapter 7 The Stapletons of Merripit House The fresh beauty of the following morning did something to efface from our minds the grim and gray impression which had been left upon both of us by our first experience of Baskerville Hall. Barrymore in the long corridor with the sun full upon her face. a woman I think." "We must ask about this right away. had a clear recollection of the telegram. for I did when I was half asleep fancy that I heard something of the sort. "Certainly. stood high above the rest." "And yet it was not entirely a question of imagination. impassive. The cabman had described a somewhat shorter man. sobbing in the night?" "That is curious. which proved to be the inn and the house of Dr." "Who delivered it?" "My boy here. but such an impression might easily have been erroneous. Barrymore exactly as directed." He rang the bell and asked Barrymore whether he could account for our experience. Sir Henry had numerous papers to examine after breakfast." I answered. How could I settle the point forever? Obviously the first thing to do was to see the Grimpen postmaster and find whether the test telegram had really been placed in Barrymore's own hands. The dark panelling glowed like bronze in the golden rays. She was a large." "I heard it distinctly. and I am sure that it was really the sob of a woman. The other is my wife. and if she did so her husband must know it. did you not?" "Yes. for it chanced that after breakfast I met Mrs." said he. so that the time was propitious for my excursion. father. It was he who had been the first to discover the body of Sir Charles. and I can answer for it that the sound could not have come from her. so it is all cheerful once more. The postmaster. Be the answer what it might. Sir Henry. As Sir Henry and I sat at breakfast the sunlight flooded in through the high mullioned windows.

Mortimer. slim. of Merripit House. that my friend might soon be freed from his preoccupations and able to come down to take this heavy burden of responsibility from my shoulders. As our road lay the same way I thought that I would overtake you and introduce myself. that if the family could be scared away a comfortable and permanent home would be secured for the Barrymores. but I need not tell you that it means a very great deal to the countryside. Watson. It is asking much of a wealthy man to come down and bury himself in a place of this kind. expecting to see Dr. I am sure. sir. flaxen-haired and leanjawed. but I seemed to read in his eyes that he took the matter more seriously. Holmes himself had said that no more complex case had come to him in all the long series of his sensational investigations. A tin box for botanical specimens hung over his shoulder and he carried a green butterfly-net in one of his hands. for I was very fond of the old man. Mortimer. lonely road. I turned." "It is extraordinary how credulous the peasants are about here! Any number of them are ready to swear that they have seen such a creature upon the moor. between thirty and forty years of age. but to my surprise it was a stranger who was pursuing me. thank you." It seemed hopeless to pursue the inquiry any farther. excuse my presumption." said I. prim-faced man." "Your net and box would have told me as much. Stapleton was a naturalist. I prayed. surely his own wife ought to know where he is. What then? Was he the agent of others or had he some sinister design of his own? What interest could he have in persecuting the Baskerville family? I thought of the strange warning clipped out of the leading article of the Times."Did you see Mr. and I have no doubt that it led to his tragic end. I suppose." "We were all rather afraid that after the sad death of Sir Charles the new baronet might refuse to live here. Barrymore himself to complain. I trust that Sir Henry is none the worse for his journey?" "He is very well. But how did you know me?" "I have been calling on Mortimer. but it was clear that in spite of Holmes's ruse we had no proof that Barrymore had not been in London all the time. clean-shaven." He spoke with a smile. dressed in a gray suit and wearing a straw hat. Sir Henry has." "If you didn't see him. I feared that some disaster might occur. "Didn't he get the telegram? If there is any mistake it is for Mr. as I walked back along the gray. and the first to dog the new heir when he returned to England. Was that his work or was it possibly the doing of someone who was bent upon counteracting his schemes? The only conceivable motive was that which had been suggested by Sir Henry. I am Stapleton. "Here on the moor we are homely folk and do not wait for formal introductions." said he as he came panting up to where I stood. "You will. I tell you he was in the loft." "How did you know that?" 142 . no superstitious fears in the matter?" "I do not think that it is likely. "The story took a great hold upon the imagination of Sir Charles. "for I knew that Mr. I fancy that he really did see something of the kind upon that last night in the yew alley. You may possibly have heard my name from our mutual friend. and I knew that his heart was weak. But surely such an explanation as that would be quite inadequate to account for the deep and subtle scheming which seemed to be weaving an invisible net round the young baronet. Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of running feet behind me and by a voice which called me by name. Suppose that it were so—suppose that the same man had been the last who had seen Sir Charles alive." "But how?" "His nerves were so worked up that the appearance of any dog might have had a fatal effect upon his diseased heart. Barrymore?" "No. and he pointed you out to me from the window of his surgery as you passed. He was a small." said the postmaster testily. Dr. how do you know he was in the loft?" "Well." "Of course you know the legend of the fiend dog which haunts the family?" "I have heard it.

and you could not celebrate him without being known yourself." "What a pity! He might throw some light on that which is so dark to us. for example. and I promise you that I will not mention the matter again. if there is any possible way in which I can be of service to you I trust that you will command me." My first thought was that I should be by Sir Henry's side. I am justly reproved for what I feel was an unjustifiable intrusion." said he. Do you observe anything remarkable about that?" 143 . and we turned together down the path. and that he died of fright in consequence?" "Have you any better explanation?" "I have not come to any conclusion. and so barren. with crests of jagged granite foaming up into fantastic surges. this great plain to the north here with the queer hills breaking out of it. "The records of your detective have reached us here. "It is useless for us to pretend that we do not know you. If you are here. And Holmes had expressly said that I should study the neighbours upon the moor. long green rollers." We had come to a point where a narrow grassy path struck off from the road and wound away across the moor. It was certain that I could not help with those. "You never tire of the moor. But then I remembered the pile of papers and bills with which his study table was littered." "You know it well. with ferns and brambles growing in its niches. But as to your own researches. then?" "I have only been here two years. You see. "Perhaps you will spare an hour that I may have the pleasure of introducing you to my sister." "Excellent!" said Stapleton." "I am afraid that I cannot answer that question. and that I need no help of any kind. From over a distant rise there floated a gray plume of smoke. and I am naturally curious to know what view he may take."My friend Mortimer told me. The residents would call me a newcomer. looking round over the undulating downs. then. But my tastes led me to explore every part of the country round." "May I ask if he is going to honour us with a visit himself?" "He cannot leave town at present. We came shortly after Sir Charles settled. "You are perfectly right to be wary and discreet." "Has Mr." "Is it hard to know?" "Very hard. that some dog pursued Sir Charles. He has other cases which engage his attention." said he. It is so vast. I might perhaps even now give you some aid or advice. "It is a wonderful place. "A moderate walk along this moor-path brings us to Merripit House. the moor. Dr. Sir Henry. I accepted Stapleton's invitation. Sherlock Holmes is interesting himself in the matter. and I should think that there are few men who know it better than I do. You cannot think the wonderful secrets which it contains. The face which was turned towards us formed a dark cliff. Watson. boulder-sprinkled hill lay upon the right which had in bygone days been cut into a granite quarry. and so mysterious. A steep. then it follows that Mr. Sherlock Holmes?" The words took away my breath for an instant but a glance at the placid face and steadfast eyes of my companion showed that no surprise was intended. If I had any indication of the nature of your suspicions or how you propose to investigate the case." "I assure you that I am simply here upon a visit to my friend." "You think. When Mortimer told me your name he could not deny your identity." said he.

" "But why should you wish to go into so horrible a place?" "Well. Even in dry seasons it is a danger to cross it." I looked round. or the water rising. "The mire has him. It's the mud settling." said he. Stapleton looked at me with a curious expression in his face. mottled with the green patches of rushes." Stapleton laughed. It's a bad place. no. Only yesterday I saw one of the moor ponies wander into it. but after these autumn rains it is an awful place. at the huge swelling plain. "It's gone!" said he. which has crawled round them in the course of years. Nothing stirred over the vast expanse save a pair of ravens. indescribably sad. and many more. the moor!" said he. It is only by remembering certain complex landmarks that I am able to do it. "What do you think is the cause of so strange a sound?" "Bogs make queer noises sometimes." "You would naturally think so and the thought has cost several their lives before now. if you have the wit to reach them. I saw his head for quite a long time craning out of the bog-hole. Then a long. He never came out. and then sank back into a melancholy. but my companion's nerves seemed to be stronger than mine. I've heard it once or twice before. And yet I can find my way to the very heart of it and return alive. there are one or two paths which a very active man can take. "A false step yonder means death to man or beast. for they get in the way of going there in the dry weather and never know the difference until the mire has them in its clutches. "Your blood would be upon my head. It filled the whole air. low moan. with a chill of fear in my heart. perhaps it was. "But what is it?" "The peasants say it is the Hound of the Baskervilles calling for its prey. "Queer place. but never quite so loud. throbbing murmur once again. you see the hills beyond? They are really islands cut off on all sides by the impassable mire." "I shall try my luck some day. I have found them out. By George. the great Grimpen Mire. It turned me cold with horror. From a dull murmur it swelled into a deep roar. Did you ever hear a bittern booming?" 144 ." "Well." He looked at me with a surprised face. You don't believe such nonsense as that?" said I. agonized. that was a living voice. they seem more fertile than the rest. and yet it was impossible to say whence it came. "You are an educated man. "That is the great Grimpen Mire." "Halloa!" I cried. That is where the rare plants and the butterflies are." "And you say you can penetrate it?" "Yes. writhing neck shot upward and a dreadful cry echoed over the moor. "For God's sake put such an idea out of your mind. there is another of those miserable ponies!" Something brown was rolling and tossing among the green sedges." said he. perhaps."It would be a rare place for a gallop. but it sucked him down at last. I assure you that there would not be the least chance of your coming back alive. which croaked loudly from a tor behind us. "What is that?" A long. or something. Two in two days." "No. swept over the moor. You notice those bright green spots scattered thickly over it?" "Yes.

with a curious lisp in her utterance. "Go straight back to London. we find all his little arrangements exactly as he left them. Oh. She had a proud. turning round. but all things are possible upon the moor." "It's the weirdest. you are rather late to see the beauties of the place. and she tapped the ground impatiently with her foot. "But it is quite a town. That is his mark. and my acquaintance never paused for an instant. To my dismay the creature flew straight for the great mire. found a woman near me upon the path. a strange apparition upon a lonely moorland path. I was standing watching his pursuit with a mixture of admiration for his extraordinary activity and fear lest he should lose his footing in the treacherous mire. and he learned to dig for tin when the bronze sword began to supersede the stone axe. though. Prehistoric man lived thickly on the moor. I had raised my hat and was about to make some explanatory remark when her own words turned all my thoughts into a new channel." I could only stare at her in stupid surprise." "What did he do?" "He grazed his cattle on these slopes." "It's a very rare bird—practically extinct—in England now. When was it inhabited?" "Neolithic man—no date. Go back and never set foot upon the moor again. Look at the hillside yonder. Would you mind getting that orchid for me among the mare's-tails yonder? We are very rich in orchids on the moor. I could not doubt that this was the Miss Stapleton of whom I had been told. She had come from the direction in which the plume of smoke indicated the position of Merripit House. when I heard the sound of steps and. irregular progress made him not unlike some huge moth himself. zigzag. and I remembered that I had heard someone describe her as being a beauty." "But I have only just come. and then she quickened her pace towards me. with light hair and gray eyes. There could not have been a greater contrast between brother and sister. they are the homes of our worthy ancestors. With her perfect figure and elegant dress she was." She spoke in a low. What do you make of those?" The whole steep slope was covered with gray circular rings of stone. of course. and as no one in particular has lived there since." "Man." 145 . instantly. his green net waving in the air. my brother is coming! Not a word of what I have said. and tall. bounding from tuft to tuft behind it. Dr. Her eyes blazed at me. I should not be surprised to learn that what we have heard is the cry of the last of the bitterns. you will find some very singular points about the moor. Her eyes were on her brother as I turned. excuse me an instant! It is surely Cyclopides. and in an instant Stapleton was rushing with extraordinary energy and speed in pursuit of it. "Can you not tell when a warning is for your own good? Go back to London! Start tonight! Get away from this place at all costs! Hush. indeed. You can even see his hearth and his couch if you have the curiosity to go inside. it's rather an uncanny place altogether. finely cut face. while she was darker than any brunette whom I have seen in England—slim. His gray clothes and jerky. elegant. "Why should I go back?" I asked."No. The woman who approached me was certainly that. "I cannot explain. Watson." "Yes. These are his wigwams with the roofs off. eager voice. "Go back!" she said. "But for God's sake do what I ask you. Look at the great trench in the opposite hill. but the dip of the moor had hid her until she was quite close. and of a most uncommon type. since ladies of any sort must be few upon the moor. so regular that it might have seemed impassive were it not for the sensitive mouth and the beautiful dark. eager eyes. Yes. I never did. for Stapleton was neutral tinted. a score of them at least." A small fly or moth had fluttered across our path. man!" she cried. Yes. "What are they? Sheep-pens?" "No. strangest thing that ever I heard in my life.

with my strong tastes for botany and zoology." said she quickly. "Only a humble commoner. as is usual upon the moor. of helping to mould those young minds. Jack. but his small light eyes glanced incessantly from the girl to me. "Why. wizened. and it seemed to me that the tone of his greeting was not altogether a cordial one. "I had a school. but the privilege of living with youth." said I." "Why. Dr. "Halloa. Beryl?" "Quite happy. As I looked from their windows at the interminable granite-flecked moor rolling unbroken to the farthest horizon I could not but marvel at what could have brought this highly educated man and this beautiful woman to live in such a place." "Yes. were stunted and nipped. there were large rooms furnished with an elegance in which I seemed to recognize the taste of the lady. "It cannot much matter to him whether it is early or late for the orchids. the fates were against us. I could rejoice over my own misfortune. An orchard surrounded it." A flush of vexation passed over her expressive face. if it were not for the loss of the charming companionship of the boys. we have our studies. I was chasing a Cyclopides. He is very rare and seldom found in the late autumn. Beryl!" said he. and my sister is as devoted to Nature as I am. has been brought upon your head by your expression as you surveyed the moor out of our window. The work to a man of my temperament was mechanical and uninteresting. "And yet we manage to make ourselves fairly happy.Stapleton had abandoned the chase and came back to us breathing hard and flushed with his exertions." her brother remarked with the same questioning eyes. and much of my capital was irretrievably swallowed up. Dr. A serious epidemic broke out in the school and three of the boys died. 146 . Do you think that I should intrude if I were to call this afternoon and make the acquaintance of Sir Henry?" "I am sure that he would be delighted. rusty-coated old manservant. And yet. and the effect of the whole place was mean and melancholy. perhaps. It never recovered from the blow. but there was no ring of conviction in her words. and of impressing them with one's own character and ideals was very dear to me." said she. I was telling Sir Henry that it was rather late for him to see the true beauties of the moor. "I talked as if Dr. but now put into repair and turned into a modern dwelling. I am never dull. What a pity that I should have missed him!" He spoke unconcernedly." said Stapleton. Watson. "You have introduced yourselves. but his friend. I can see. We may in our humble way do something to make things more easy for him until he becomes accustomed to his new surroundings. for. Watson were a resident instead of being merely a visitor. than for your sister. I find an unlimited field of work here. however. a bleak moorland house. but the trees. no." "Then perhaps you would mention that I propose to do so. will you not." said she. you are very hot. who seemed in keeping with the house. Watson. "Well. Mortimer is a most learned man in his own line. who do you think this is?" "I imagine that it must be Sir Henry Baskerville. no. But you will come on. "We have been talking at cross purposes. "Queer spot to choose. My name is Dr. Dr. "It was in the north country. do we not. However. Will you come upstairs." said she. We were admitted by a strange." "It certainly did cross my mind that it might be a little dull—less for you. and we have interesting neighbours. All this. and see Merripit House?" A short walk brought us to it. is it not?" said he as if in answer to my thought. you had not very much time for talk. once the farm of some grazier in the old prosperous days. "We have books. We knew him well and miss him more than I can tell." "No. Inside." "No." "Yes. Poor Sir Charles was also an admirable companion.

Tell me why it was that you were so eager that Sir Henry should return to London. or he will miss me and suspect that I have seen you. "I have run all the way in order to cut you off. I remember the thrill in your voice. and I set off at once upon my return journey. which have no application whatever to you. no. Watson. 147 . take him away from a place which has always been fatal to his family. I was distressed therefore when another member of the family came down to live here. Good-bye!" She turned and had disappeared in a few minutes among the scattered boulders. I fear that unless you can give me some more definite information than this it would be impossible to get him to move. why should you not wish your brother to overhear what you said? There is nothing to which he. "But what is the danger?" "You know the story of the hound?" "I do not believe in such nonsense. Her face was beautifully flushed with her exertions and she held her hand to her side. for before I had reached the road I was astounded to see Miss Stapleton sitting upon a rock by the side of the track. for ever since I have been here I have been conscious of shadows all round me.Watson. Life has become like that great Grimpen Mire. "You make too much of it." An expression of irresolution passed for an instant over her face. He was deeply impressed with the curse which hung over the family. That was all which I intended to convey. for I do not know anything definite. By the time that you have looked through them lunch will be almost ready. or my brother may miss me. When you know me better you will understand that I cannot always give reasons for what I say or do. that there must have been some short cut for those who knew it. taking the grass-grown path by which we had come. pursued my way to Baskerville Hall. But I have done my duty now and I will say no more. and I felt that he should be warned of the danger which he will run. "I had not even time to put on my hat. I must go back. delivered with such intense earnestness that I could not doubt that some grave and deep reason lay behind it. but her eyes had hardened again when she answered me. Please. with my soul full of vague fears. however. the weird sound which had been associated with the grim legend of the Baskervilles." "A woman's whim. Then on the top of these more or less vague impressions there had come the definite and distinct warning of Miss Stapleton." "I would ask you one more question. could object. Miss Stapleton. Miss Stapleton. We knew him very intimately. Watson. He would be very angry if he knew that I have said anything which might induce Sir Henry to go away. Dr. Miss Stapleton. The melancholy of the moor. It seems. "I am Sir Henry's friend. I wanted to say to you how sorry I am about the stupid mistake I made in thinking that you were Sir Henry." said she." said I." "No. "My brother and I were very much shocked by the death of Sir Charles. Why should he wish to live at the place of danger?" "Because it is the place of danger. I resisted all pressure to stay for lunch. and his welfare is a very close concern of mine. and I will promise to convey your warning to Sir Henry." "My brother is very anxious to have the Hall inhabited." "But I do. I remember the look in your eyes. with little green patches everywhere into which one may sink and with no guide to point the track." said she. Tell me then what it was that you meant." "I cannot say anything definite." "But I can't forget them. the death of the unfortunate pony. or anyone else. If you meant no more than this when you first spoke to me. I must not stop. and when this tragedy came I naturally felt that there must be some grounds for the fears which he had expressed. please. Dr. be frank with me. for he thinks it is for the good of the poor folk upon the moor. while I. The world is wide. and inspect my collection of Lepidoptera? I think it is the most complete one in the south-west of England. for his favourite walk was over the moor to our house. Watson." But I was eager to get back to my charge. Dr. all these things tinged my thoughts with sadness. That is Sir Henry's nature. Please forget the words I said. If you have any influence with Sir Henry.

therefore. and it was suggested that Perkins the groom should go over to sleep there. They would be helpless in the hands of a desperate fellow like this Notting Hill criminal if he could once effect an entrance. Let me. but otherwise they are exactly as written and show my feelings and suspicions of the moment more accurately than my memory. Sir Henry was much interested and asked Stapleton more than once whether he did really believe in the possibility of the interference of the supernatural in the affairs of men. with their graves and the huge monoliths which are supposed to have marked their temples. In every way it corresponded with the scene of the old tragedy. It is surely inconceivable that he could have held out upon the moor during all that time. There is something tropical and exotic about her which forms a singular contrast to her cool and unemotional brother. Of course. which I shall tell you in due course. I must keep you in touch with some of the other factors in the situation. is the escaped convict upon the moor. We think. but. so far as his concealment goes there is no difficulty at all. You would find him an interesting study. Sherlock Holmes which lie before me on the table. but I could imagine that they were some unwarlike and harried race who were forced to accept that which none other would occupy. When you are once out upon its bosom you have left all traces of modern England behind you. so that we could take good care of ourselves. which is a considerable relief to the lonely householders of this district. worn and sharpened at the upper end until they looked like the huge corroding fangs of some monstrous beast. Both Sir Henry and I were concerned at their situation. Yet he also gives the idea of hidden fires. We found a short valley between rugged tors which led to an open. begins to display a considerable interest in our fair neighbour. October 13th. There are one maid. its vastness. you would feel that his presence there was more natural than your own. can possibly do. In the middle of it rose two great stones. He came over to call upon Baskerville on that first day. grassy space flecked over with the white cotton grass. on the other hand. As you look at their gray stone huts against the scarred hillsides you leave your own age behind you. Watson From this point onward I will follow the course of events by transcribing my own letters to Mr. The longer one stays here the more does the spirit of the moor sink into one's soul. One page is missing. but it was evident that he was very much in earnest. and if you were to see a skin-clad. the sister. I can still remember your complete indifference as to whether the sun moved round the earth or the earth round the sun. One of these. but Stapleton would not hear of it. return to the facts concerning Sir Henry Baskerville. But there is nothing to eat unless he were to catch and slaughter one of the moor sheep. and also its grim charm. but I confess that I have had uneasy moments when I have thought of the Stapletons. It was an excursion of some miles across the moor to a place which is so dismal that it might have suggested the story. and the very next morning he took us both to show us the spot where the legend of the wicked Hugo is supposed to have had its origin. Then a very surprising circumstance occurred. clear as it is upon these tragic events. There is strong reason now to believe that he has got right away. 148 . He has certainly a very marked influence over her. first of all. the baronet. They live miles from any help. He spoke lightly. Baskerville Hall. for I have seen her continually glance at him as she talked as if seeking approbation for what she said. and the outlying farmers sleep the better in consequence. and the brother. that he has gone. It is not to be wondered at. which goes with a positive and possibly a harsh nature. But. We are four able-bodied men in this household. If you have not had any report within the last few days it is because up to today there was nothing of importance to relate. and she is a very fascinating and beautiful woman. MY DEAR HOLMES: My previous letters and telegrams have kept you pretty well up to date as to all that has occurred in this most God-forsaken corner of the world. On all sides of you as you walk are the houses of these forgotten folk. I am no antiquarian. however. Any one of these stone huts would give him a hiding-place.Chapter 8 First Report of Dr. the latter not a very strong man. therefore. is foreign to the mission on which you sent me and will probably be very uninteresting to your severely practical mind. There is a dry glitter in his eyes and a firm set of his thin lips. All this. A fortnight has passed since his flight. The fact is that our friend. I trust that he is kind to her. during which he has not been seen and nothing has been heard of him. you are conscious everywhere of the homes and the work of the prehistoric people. The strange thing is that they should have lived so thickly on what must always have been most unfruitful soil. for time hangs heavily in this lonely spot to an active man like him. hairy man crawl out from the low door fitting a flint-tipped arrow on to the string of his bow. concerning which I have said little. an old manservant.

and the good doctor took us all to the yew alley at Sir Henry's request to show us exactly how everything occurred upon that fatal night. Beyond it lies the wide moor. Halfway down is the moor-gate. and I have several times observed that he has taken pains to prevent them from being tete-a-tete. He referred to her again and again on our walk home. defying the owner to prosecute him for trespass. no doubt. and I only mention him because you were particular that I should send some description of the people who surround us. of Lafter Hall. and monstrous? Was there a human agency in the matter? Did the pale. I remembered your theory of the affair and tried to picture all that had occurred. and especially about the surprising development of last night." 149 . dismal walk. red-faced. where families had suffered from some evil influence. Mortimer.Stapleton was guarded in his replies. and he applies his knowledge sometimes in favour of the villagers of Fernworthy and sometimes against them. where the old gentleman left his cigar-ash. and he left us with the impression that he shared the popular view upon the matter. Yet I am certain that he does not wish their intimacy to ripen into love. which you sent from London in order to make sure that Barrymore was really here. At the far end is an old tumble-down summer-house. which will probably swallow up the remainder of his fortune and so draw his sting and leave him harmless for the future. I told Sir Henry how the matter stood. At others he will with his own hands tear down some other man's gate and declare that a path has existed there from time immemorial. the Stapletons. and I am much mistaken if the feeling was not mutual. From the first moment that he saw her he appeared to be strongly attracted by her. and that he would not express his whole opinion out of consideration for the feelings of the baronet. It is a long. black. His passion is for the British law. and considered for a little time. so that it is no wonder that he has found it a costly amusement. He helps to keep our lives from being monotonous and gives a little comic relief where it is badly needed. and he has spent a large fortune in litigation. but it would seem the height of selfishness if he were to stand in the way of her making so brilliant a marriage. Barrymore looked surprised. He is much attached to her. between two high walls of clipped hedge. and there is some talk of our going to them next week. having brought you up to date in the escaped convict. If he would confine his energies to this all would be well. of Lafter Hall. They dine here tonight. There was the long. One would imagine that such a match would be very welcome to Stapleton. Apart from the law he seems a kindly. for. with a narrow band of grass upon either side. had Barrymore up and asked him whether he had received the telegram himself. He told us of similar cases. He is learned in old manorial and communal rights. He is said to have about seven lawsuits upon his hands at present. Barrymore said that he had. This is Mr. And now. The other day—Thursday. First of all about the test telegram. gloomy tunnel down which he fled. and he at once. It is a white wooden gate with a latch. good-natured person. but it was easy to see that he said less than he might. My popularity would soon suffer if I were to carry out your orders to the letter. and it was there that Sir Henry made the acquaintance of Miss Stapleton. Mortimer lunched with us. "No. By the way. let me end on that which is most important and tell you more about the Barrymores. and since then hardly a day has passed that we have not seen something of the brother and sister. As the old man stood there he saw something coming across the moor. "I was in the box-room at the time. and Frankland. He has been excavating a barrow at Long Down and has got a prehistoric skull which fills him with great joy. I have already explained that the testimony of the postmaster shows that the test was worthless and that we have no proof one way or the other. in his downright fashion. And from what? A sheep-dog of the moor? Or a spectral hound. He is an elderly man. He fights for the mere pleasure of fighting and is equally ready to take up either side of a question. "Did the boy deliver it into your own hands?" asked Sir Henry. but there are rumours that he intends to prosecute Dr. Frankland. who lives some four miles to the south of us. Never was there such a single-minded enthusiast as he! The Stapletons came in afterwards. the yew alley. One other neighbour I have met since I wrote last. your instructions to me never to allow Sir Henry to go out alone will become very much more onerous if a love affair were to be added to our other difficulties. to be more exact—Dr. watchful Barrymore know more than he cared to say? It was all dim and vague. being an amateur astronomer. and would lead a lonely life without her. On our way back we stayed for lunch at Merripit House. Dr. something which terrified him so that he lost his wits and ran and ran until he died of sheer horror and exhaustion." said he. Sometimes he will shut up a right of way and defy the parish to make him open it. and my wife brought it up to me. he has an excellent telescope. He is curiously employed at present. white-haired. so that he is periodically either carried in triumph down the village street or else burned in effigy. according to his latest exploit. with which he lies upon the roof of his own house and sweeps the moor all day in the hope of catching a glimpse of the escaped convict. and choleric. silent. Mortimer for opening a grave without the consent of the next of kin because he dug up the Neolithic skull in the barrow on Long Down. and yet I have more than once caught a look of the strongest disapprobation in his face when Sir Henry has been paying some attention to his sister. but always there is the dark shadow of crime behind it.

unless I am much mistaken. very limited. MY DEAR HOLMES: If I was compelled to leave you without much news during the early days of my mission you must acknowledge that I am making up for lost time. the London outfit having now all arrived." In the evening he recurred to the subject of his own accord. I have always felt that there was something singular and questionable in this man's character. Before breakfast on the morning following my adventure I went down the corridor and examined the room in which Barrymore had been on the night before. Sometimes I wonder if she has a guilty memory which haunts her. and since then I have more than once observed traces of tears upon her face. In my last report I ended upon my top note with Barrymore at the window. considerably surprise you. I have had a long talk with Sir Henry this morning. A long black shadow was trailing down the corridor. Some deep sorrow gnaws ever at her heart. and peeped out. but there is some secret business going on in this house of gloom which sooner or later we shall get to the bottom of. and we have made a plan of campaign founded upon my observations of last night. and very shortly came the stealthy steps passing once more upon their return journey. You are aware that I am not a very sound sleeper. I crept down the passage as noiselessly as I could and peeped round the corner of the door. about two in the morning. for you asked me to furnish you only with facts. I do not trouble you with my theories. In some ways they have within the last forty-eight hours become much clearer and in some ways they have become more complicated. When I came round the balcony he had reached the end of the farther corridor. 150 . Barrymore is of interest to me. Instantly I made my way back to my room. Long afterwards when I had fallen into a light sleep I heard a key turn somewhere in a lock. I have told you that the corridor is broken by the balcony which runs round the hall. For some minutes he stood watching intently. Last night. I told my wife what to answer and she went down to write it. and sometimes I suspect Barrymore of being a domestic tyrant. Chapter 9 The Light upon the Moor [Second Report of Dr. He was in shirt and trousers. but it should make my next report interesting reading. It was thrown by a man who walked softly down the passage with a candle held in his hand. His profile was half turned towards me."Did you answer it yourself?" "No. 15th. but the adventure of last night brings all my suspicions to a head. Barrymore was crouching at the window with the candle held against the glass. opened my door. on the first night here. Yet I have told you how. The light shone steadily as if he were standing motionless. I waited until he had passed out of sight and then I followed him. You could hardly conceive a less emotional subject." said he. with no covering to his feet. and since I have been on guard in this house my slumbers have been lighter than ever. all these rooms are unfurnished and unoccupied so that his expedition became more mysterious than ever. and I could see from the glimmer of light through an open door that he had entered one of the rooms. But I will tell you all and you shall judge for yourself. I will not speak about it just now. The western window through which he had stared so intently has. I was aroused by a stealthy step passing my room. intensely respectable. and his face seemed to be rigid with expectation as he stared out into the blackness of the moor. Things have taken a turn which I could not have anticipated. I heard her sobbing bitterly. "I could not quite understand the object of your questions this morning. Now. but I could not tell whence the sound came. and that events are now crowding thick and fast upon us. I could merely see the outline. He walked very slowly and circumspectly. And yet it may seem a small matter in itself. solid person. What it all means I cannot guess. Mrs. and there was something indescribably guilty and furtive in his whole appearance. Then he gave a deep groan and with an impatient gesture he put out the light. Oct. and now I have quite a budget already which will. but that it is resumed upon the farther side. "I trust that they do not mean that I have done anything to forfeit your confidence?" Sir Henry had to assure him that it was not so and pacify him by giving him a considerable part of his old wardrobe. Watson] Baskerville Hall. Sir Henry. I rose. She is a heavy. but his height told me that it was Barrymore. and inclined to be puritanical.

so that I can hardly imagine how he could have hoped to see anyone. "What. very well equipped to steal the heart of a country girl. It follows. I wonder what your friend Holmes would do if he were here. I am sorry to intrude. however much the result may have shown that they were unfounded. and I had a mind to speak to him about it." Sir Henry rubbed his hands with pleasure." said he. are you coming. must have been looking out for something or somebody upon the moor. That would have accounted for his stealthy movements and also for the uneasiness of his wife." said I. and it was evident that he hailed the adventure as a relief to his somewhat quiet life upon the moor. "Holmes. When the house is renovated and refurnished. So I reasoned with myself in the morning. "Two or three times I have heard his steps in the passage. looking at me in a curious way. I felt that the responsibility of keeping them to myself until I could explain them was more than I could bear. and it is evident that our friend has large ideas and means to spare no pains or expense to restore the grandeur of his family. And yet the course of true love does not run quite as smoothly as one would under the circumstances expect. Watson?" he asked." "Then we shall do it together. "Perhaps he does. "My dear fellow." "But surely he would hear us. Miss Stapleton. you know what my instructions are. and I tell you the direction of my suspicions." "Well. Between ourselves there are pretty clear signs that this will not be wanting if the lady is willing. We'll sit up in my room tonight and wait until he passes. "I knew that Barrymore walked about nights. He was less surprised than I had expected. that Barrymore. That opening of the door which I had heard after I had returned to my room might mean that he had gone out to keep some clandestine appointment. If so." "I believe that he would do exactly what you now suggest. The man is a striking-looking fellow. for example. You understand me? I am sure that you are the last man in the world who would wish to be a spoil-sport. and especially that you should not go alone upon the moor. It had struck me that it was possible that some love intrigue was on foot. we should be able to shadow him and see what it is that he is after. therefore. The baronet has been in communication with the architect who prepared the plans for Sir Charles. I am. which has caused our friend considerable perplexity and annoyance. Today." I suggested. "Yes. while from all the other windows it is only a distant glimpse which can be obtained. "He would follow Barrymore and see what he did. I had an interview with the baronet in his study after breakfast. After the conversation which I have quoted about Barrymore. There is an opening between two trees which enables one from this point of view to look right down upon it. and in any case we must take our chance of that. with all his wisdom." said I.I noticed. one peculiarity above all other windows in the house—it commands the nearest outlook on to the moor. and with a contractor from London. There have been decorators and furnishers up from Plymouth." 151 . and I told him all that I had seen. its surface was broken by a very unexpected ripple. "That depends on whether you are going on the moor. I must go out alone. Sir Henry put on his hat and prepared to go out. just about the hour you name. since only this window would serve the purpose." "Perhaps then he pays a visit every night to that particular window. all that he will need will be a wife to make it complete." Sir Henry put his hand upon my shoulder with a pleasant smile." said he. As a matter of course I did the same. The night was very dark. coming and going. so that we may expect great changes to begin here soon. did not foresee some things which have happened since I have been on the moor. for I have seldom seen a man more infatuated with a woman than he is with our beautiful neighbour." "The man is rather deaf. But whatever the true explanation of Barrymore's movements might be. so that this theory seemed to have something to support it. but you heard how earnestly Holmes insisted that I should not leave you.

and another glance showed me that it was carried on a stick by a man who was moving among the broken ground. There. by thunder. but it seemed to me that Stapleton was abusing Sir Henry. I mounted a hill from which I could command a view—the same hill which is cut into the dark quarry. It is true that if any sudden danger had threatened him I was too far away to be of use. But when I came to think the matter over my conscience reproached me bitterly for having on any pretext allowed him to go out of my sight. and that there was nothing more which I could do. fearing that perhaps I had come in the wrong direction after all. The lady stood by in haughty silence. until I came to the point where the moor path branches off. Stapleton was the cause of the interruption. who offered explanations. I assure you my cheeks flushed at the very thought. The baronet stood for a minute looking after them. To follow them and break into their intimate conversation seemed to be an outrage. and yet I am sure that you will agree with me that the position was very difficult. He was on the moor path about a quarter of a mile off. after an irresolute glance at Sir Henry. He was very much closer to the pair than I was. his head hanging." 152 . I imagined what my feelings would be if I had to return to you and to confess that some misfortune had occurred through my disregard for your instructions. and she raised one hand as if in protest. so I set off at once in the direction of Merripit House. and once or twice shook his head in strong dissent. while he listened intently. It might not even now be too late to overtake him. when I was suddenly aware that I was not the only witness of their interview. Sir Henry. I stood among the rocks watching them. At this instant Sir Henry suddenly drew Miss Stapleton to his side. For an instant his eyes blazed at me. Did you see him come out on us?" "Yes. His face was flushed with anger and his brows were wrinkled. which became more angry as the other refused to accept them. and a lady was by his side who could only be Miss Stapleton. "You don't mean to say that you came after me in spite of all?" I explained everything to him: how I had found it impossible to remain behind. and before I had made up my mind he picked up his cane and was gone. "but. Thence I saw him at once. and yet my clear duty was never for an instant to let him out of my sight. like one who is at his wit's ends what to do. Our friend. I hurried along the road at the top of my speed without seeing anything of Sir Henry. I was at a loss what to say or what to do. I ran down the hill therefore and met the baronet at the bottom. but I was deeply ashamed to have witnessed so intimate a scene without my friend's knowledge. Watson! Where have you dropped from?" said he. who. It was clear that there was already an understanding between them and that they had met by appointment. To act the spy upon a friend was a hateful task. and he appeared to be moving in their direction. the very picture of dejection. and the lady had halted on the path and were standing deeply absorbed in their conversation. It was Stapleton with his butterfly-net. and then he walked slowly back the way that he had come. walked off by the side of her brother. the whole countryside seems to have been out to see me do my wooing—and a mighty poor wooing at that! Where had you engaged a seat?" "I was on that hill. how I had followed him. very much puzzled as to what I should do next.It put me in a most awkward position. He was running wildly towards them. He stooped his head to hers. Finally Stapleton turned upon his heel and beckoned in a peremptory way to his sister. but it seemed to me that she was straining away from him with her face averted. "Halloa. A wisp of green floating in the air caught my eye. his absurd net dangling behind him. and to clear my conscience by confessing to him afterwards what I had done. They were walking slowly along in deep conversation. He gesticulated and almost danced with excitement in front of the lovers. His arm was round her. I could see no better course than to observe him from the hill. I did." said he. eh? But her brother was well up to the front." "Quite in the back row. and how I had witnessed all that had occurred. "You would have thought the middle of that prairie a fairly safe place for a man to be private. Still." "Did he ever strike you as being crazy—this brother of hers?" "I can't say that he ever did. The naturalist's angry gestures showed that the lady was included in his displeasure. and I saw her making quick little movements of her hands as if she were very earnest in what she was saying. and he broke at last into a rather rueful laugh. Next moment I saw them spring apart and turn hurriedly round. but my frankness disarmed his anger. What all this meant I could not imagine. What the scene meant I could not imagine.

as you saw. that I was becoming attached to her. Watson. He had not understood. and I'll owe you more than ever I can hope to pay. considering that she was standing by. and so the matter rests. it was by two nights' work. but when he saw with his own eyes that it was really so. so that the thought of losing her was really terrible to him." "Did he say so?" "That. and those light eyes of his were blazing with fury. and I am glad that he should understand her value. If she had to leave him he had rather it was to a neighbour like myself than to anyone else. anyhow? You've lived near me for some weeks. and that she would never be happy until I had left it. the only way to work it was for her to arrange to go with me." but. I tell you. It is something to have touched bottom anywhere in this bog in which we are floundering. Watson."I dare say not. "I can't forget the look in his eyes when he ran at me this morning. now! Is there anything that would prevent me from making a good husband to a woman that I loved?" "I should say not. too—she was happy when she was with me. "I don't say now that he isn't a crazy man. Congratulate me. but you can take it from me that either he or I ought to be in a straitjacket. my dear Holmes. it gave him such a shock that for a time he was not responsible for what he said or did. He was very sorry for all that had passed. I have said "by one night's work. There's a light in a woman's eyes that speaks louder than words." So there is one of our small mysteries cleared up. and she. I was completely puzzled myself. That seemed to make the matter no better." said Sir Henry. but I must allow that no man could make a more handsome apology than he has done. As it was I told him that my feelings towards his sister were such as I was not ashamed of. But in any case it was a blow to him and it would take him some time before he could prepare himself to meet it. He had come to offer apologies for his rudeness of the morning. our conjectures were set at rest by a visit from Stapleton himself that very afternoon." "Did he give any explanation of his conduct?" "His sister is everything in his life. and that we are to dine at Merripit House next Friday as a sign of it. So it ended by his going off with her. so it must be myself that he has this down on. And now I pass on to another thread which I have extricated out of the tangled skein. and that I hoped that she might honour me by becoming my wife. That his advances should be rejected so brusquely without any reference to the lady's own wishes and that the lady should accept the situation without protest is very amazing. but no sound of any sort did we hear 153 . and tell me that I have not disappointed you as an agent—that you do not regret the confidence which you showed in me when you sent me down. and according to his account he has been a very lonely man with only her as a companion. She was glad to meet me." I tried one or two explanations. and here am I as badly puzzled a man as any in this county. Just tell me what it all means. but when she did it was not love that she would talk about. and a deal more. but. he says. He was just white with rage. I've only known her these few weeks. They have always been together. of the secret journey of the butler to the western lattice window. Barrymore. Tell me straight. I told her that since I had seen her I was in no hurry to leave it. so then I lost my temper too. This I promised. down came this brother of hers. but before she could answer. But he has never let us get together and it was only today for the first time that I saw a chance of having a few words with her alone." "He can't object to my worldly position. and after a long private interview with Sir Henry in his study the upshot of their conversation was that the breach is quite healed. running at us with a face on him like a madman. and that she might be taken away from him. for on the first we drew entirely blank. and I answered him rather more hotly than I should perhaps. his character. in truth. and he recognized how foolish and how selfish it was that he should imagine that he could hold a beautiful woman like his sister to himself for her whole life. However. We know now why Stapleton looked with disfavour upon his sister's suitor—even when that suitor was so eligible a one as Sir Henry. of the tear-stained face of Mrs. his age. All these things have by one night's work been thoroughly cleared. I always thought him sane enough until today. He would withdraw all opposition upon his part if I would promise for three months to let the matter rest and to be content with cultivating the lady's friendship during that time without claiming her love. Watson. indeed. And yet he would not so much as let me touch the tips of her fingers. What was I doing with the lady? How dared I offer her attentions which were distasteful to her? Did I think that because I was a baronet I could do what I liked? If he had not been her brother I should have known better how to answer him. and that I'll swear. What's the matter with me. She kept coming back to it that this was a place of danger. the mystery of the sobs in the night. and that if she really wanted me to go. and she wouldn't have let me talk about it either if she could have stopped it. What has he against me? I never hurt man or woman in my life that I know of. That is natural enough. he said. and I know nothing against him unless it be this dark fate which runs in his family. Our friend's title. and his appearance are all in his favour. but from the first I just felt that she was made for me. I sat up with Sir Henry in his rooms until nearly three o'clock in the morning. his fortune. With that I offered in as many words to marry her.

that it is not my secret. were full of horror and astonishment as he gazed from Sir Henry to me. and the light of the candle framed it in the darkness and shot one single yellow beam across the gloom of the corridor. I go round at night to see that they are fastened. and that I cannot tell it. And then I gave a cry of exultation. Barrymore. and as he did so Barrymore sprang up from the window with a sharp hiss of his breath and stood. for the moon was behind the clouds. One struck. Fortunately we were not discouraged. Already our man had gone round the gallery and the corridor was all in darkness. glaring out of the white mask of his face. do you deny that it is a signal? Come. "Let us see if there is any answer. all the windows. blackbearded figure. We had heard the creak of a step in the passage." A sudden idea occurred to me. If it concerned no one but myself I would not try to keep it from you. "I was doing no harm. sir. sir—" "Move your light across the window. When at last we reached the door and peeped through we found him crouching at the window. I was holding a candle to the window. and we had almost for the second time given it up in despair when in an instant we both sat bolt upright in our chairs with all our weary senses keenly on the alert once more. exactly as I had seen him two nights before. sir. livid and trembling. sir. no. "we have made up our minds to have the truth out of you. Sir Henry—don't ask me! I give you my word. Come. Then he passed through the same door as before. and not yours. and yet we were helped through it by the same sort of patient interest which the hunter must feel as he watches the trap into which he hopes the game may wander.except the chiming clock upon the stairs. We had arranged no plan of campaign. Watson!" cried the baronet. The next night we lowered the lamp and sat smoking cigarettes without making the least sound. and two. We were just in time to catch a glimpse of the tall. the other moves also! Now. intent face pressed against the pane. It was incredible how slowly the hours crawled by. "No." I held it as he had done. but the baronet is a man to whom the most direct way is always the most natural. sir. now! No lies! What were you doing at that window?" The fellow looked at us in a helpless way. sir. We had taken the precaution of leaving our boots behind us. Vaguely I could discern the black bank of the trees and the lighter expanse of the moor. speak up! Who is your confederate out yonder. "It is my business. His dark eyes. candle in hand. Barrymore?" "Nothing. and what is this conspiracy that is going on?" The man's face became openly defiant. and I took the candle from the trembling hand of the butler. and he wrung his hands together like one who is in the last extremity of doubt and misery. the old boards snapped and creaked beneath our tread. and he was entirely preoccupied in that which he was doing. "There it is!" I cried. so it will save you trouble to tell it sooner rather than later. but. it is nothing—nothing at all!" the butler broke in. and stared out into the darkness of the night. "See. Softly we stole along until we had come into the other wing. before us. However." said Sir Henry sternly." said I. He walked into the room." "Look here. and we determined to try again. sir. the man is fortunately rather deaf. "He must have been holding it as a signal." 154 ." His agitation was so great that he could hardly speak. "What are you doing here. and the shadows sprang up and down from the shaking of his candle." "And why were you holding a candle to the window?" "Don't ask me. and glowed steadily in the centre of the black square framed by the window. I will not tell. his shoulders rounded as he tiptoed down the passage. It was a most melancholy vigil and ended by each of us falling asleep in our chairs. Very stealthily we heard it pass along until it died away in the distance. trying every plank before we dared to put our whole weight upon it. you rascal. even so. for a tiny pinpoint of yellow light had suddenly transfixed the dark veil. his white. "It was the window. We shuffled cautiously towards it. "I assure you. Then the baronet gently opened his door and we set out in pursuit. Sometimes it seemed impossible that he should fail to hear our approach." "On the second floor?" "Yes.

" "Speak out. so he lay in hiding there." "Then your brother is—" "The escaped convict. you two." "Very good. Every day we hoped that he was gone. you may well be ashamed of yourself. Sir Henry. sir. and his light out yonder is to show the spot to which to bring it. weary and starving. sir. sir. By thunder. John." 155 ." "And you go in disgrace. "Oh. and he is my younger brother. That was why he broke prison. and you will see that if there was a plot it was not against you. no. Then as he grew older he met wicked companions." When they were gone we looked out of the window again. was the explanation of the stealthy expeditions at night and the light at the window." "That's the truth. but as long as he was there we could not desert him. He knew that I was here and that we could not refuse to help him. Your family has lived with mine for over a hundred years under this roof. "We have to go. Barrymore?" "Yes. and we shall talk further about this matter in the morning. The light is a signal to him that food is ready for him. not against you!" It was a woman's voice. and the devil entered into him until he broke my mother's heart and dragged our name in the dirt. You can pack our things. We cannot let him perish at our very gates. He has done nothing except for my sake and because I asked him. then! What does it mean?" "My unhappy brother is starving on the moor. But every second night we made sure if he was still there by putting a light in the window. as I am an honest Christian woman and you will see that if there is blame in the matter it does not lie with my husband but with me. and Mrs. "Is this true. for whose sake he has done all that he has. my name was Selden. and the cold night wind beat in upon our faces. he was always the little curly-headed boy that I had nursed and played with as an elder sister would. Sir Henry had flung it open. "I said that it was not my secret and that I could not tell it to you. "I wonder he dares. Every word of it. John. If I must I must. Her bulky figure in a shawl and skirt might have been comic were it not for the intensity of feeling upon her face. sir. sir." said Sir Henry. sir. Sir Henry—all mine." said the butler. what could we do? We took him in and fed him and cared for him." "No. but to me. the criminal. Barrymore. Sir Henry and I both stared at the woman in amazement. Forget what I have said. and that he could do what he liked in it. sir. Eliza." This. I cannot blame you for standing by your own wife. sir—Selden. When he dragged himself here one night. Far away in the black distance there still glowed that one tiny point of yellow light. "It may be so placed as to be only visible from here. That is the whole truth. and if there was an answer my husband took out some bread and meat to him. with the warders hard at his heels. was standing at the door. But now you have heard it. paler and more horror-struck than her husband." "Well."Then you leave my employment right away. and my brother thought he would be safer on the moor than anywhere else until the hue and cry was over. We humoured him too much when he was a lad and gave him his own way in everything until he came to think that the world was made for his pleasure. no. Then you returned. From crime to crime he sank lower and lower until it is only the mercy of God which has snatched him from the scaffold. and here I find you deep in some dark plot against me. have I brought you to this? It is my doing." The woman's words came with an intense earnestness which carried conviction with them. Was it possible that this stolidly respectable person was of the same blood as one of the most notorious criminals in the country? "Yes. This is the end of it." said Barrymore. Go to your room. then.

By thunder. The baronet caught my sleeve and his face glimmered white through the darkness." said the baronet. I think. as the fellow may put out his light and be off. but nothing came. The sooner we start the better. "I have a hunting-crop. I am going out to take that man!" The same thought had crossed my own mind. The light still burned steadily in front. The night air was heavy with the smell of damp and decay. Again and again it sounded." said I. for example. It came with the wind through the silence of the night. "I will come. The man was a danger to the community. "Are you armed?" I asked." "Not more than a mile or two off. How far do you think it is?" "Out by the Cleft Tor. the whole air throbbing with it. wild. what's that. an unmitigated scoundrel for whom there was neither pity nor excuse. a long." said the baronet." "We must close in on him rapidly. deep mutter. With his brutal and violent nature. Their secret had been forced from them. and then the sad moan in which it died away." "I say." My blood ran cold in my veins. beside that candle. for there was a break in his voice which told of the sudden horror which had seized him. Watson. We were only doing our duty in taking this chance of putting him back where he could do no harm." 156 ." "Hardly that." In five minutes we were outside the door. it cannot be far if Barrymore had to carry out the food to it. and menacing. and just as we came out on the moor a thin rain began to fall. and it may have been the thought of this which made Sir Henry so keen upon the adventure. "Then get your revolver and put on your boots. "Who?" "The folk on the countryside. Any night. Now and again the moon peeped out for an instant. but clouds were driving over the face of the sky. our neighbours the Stapletons might be attacked by him. amid the dull moaning of the autumn wind and the rustle of the falling leaves. this villain. It's a sound they have on the moor. "What do they call this sound?" he asked. We shall take him by surprise and have him at our mercy before he can resist. "Watson. We stood straining our ears. and an absolute silence closed in upon us. Watson. starting upon our expedition. It was not as if the Barrymores had taken us into their confidence. We hurried through the dark shrubbery. for he is said to be a desperate fellow. I heard it once before." It died away. strident. "what would Holmes say to this? How about that hour of darkness in which the power of evil is exalted?" As if in answer to his words there rose suddenly out of the vast gloom of the moor that strange cry which I had already heard upon the borders of the great Grimpen Mire. And he is waiting. "My God." "Well. Watson?" "I don't know. others would have to pay the price if we held our hands. "it was the cry of a hound. then a rising howl."Very likely.

But at last we could see whence it came. I think. it might well have belonged to one of those old savages who dwelt in the burrows on the hillsides. A boulder of granite concealed our approach." he said at last." "It rose and fell with the wind. Why should you mind what they call it?" "Tell me." "Well. "Wait here. It was strange to see this single candle burning there in the middle of the moor. There is nothing so deceptive as the distance of a light upon a pitch-dark night. Watson?" "No. and we will do it. and sometimes the glimmer seemed to be far away upon the horizon and sometimes it might have been within a few yards of us." "No. The light beneath him was reflected in his small. What do you advise that we do now?" "Shall we turn back?" "No. didn't you think yourself that it was the cry of a hound? I am not a child. You need not fear to speak the truth. "A hound it was. "What shall we do now?" whispered Sir Henry. "You'll be all right tomorrow." "And yet it was one thing to laugh about it in London. no. it is. save in the direction of Baskerville Hall. and then we knew that we were indeed very close." The words were hardly out of my mouth when we both saw him. and hung with matted hair. "They say it is the cry of the Hound of the Baskervilles." He groaned and was silent for a few moments. cunning eyes 157 . and a hell-hound. in the crevice of which the candle burned. Come now. no. "but it seemed to come from miles away. Isn't that the direction of the great Grimpen Mire?" "Yes. with the black loom of the craggy hills around us. can there be some truth in all these stories? Is it possible that I am really in danger from so dark a cause? You don't believe it. A guttering candle was stuck in a crevice of the rocks which flanked it on each side so as to keep the wind from it and also to prevent it from being visible." "It was hard to say whence it came. Feel my hand!" It was as cold as a block of marble. I don't think that I am a coward." We stumbled slowly along in the darkness. Watson. and it is another to stand out here in the darkness of the moor and to hear such a cry as that. and crouching behind it we gazed over it at the signal light. Let us see if we can get a glimpse of him. He must be near his light." "Stapleton was with me when I heard it last." "I don't think I'll get that cry out of my head. all seamed and scored with vile passions. My God. we have come out to get our man. It all fits together. He said that it might be the calling of a strange bird. as likely as not. they are ignorant people. Come on! We'll see it through if all the fiends of the pit were loose upon the moor. What do they say of it?" I hesitated but could not escape the question. We after the convict. it was up there. and the yellow speck of light burning steadily in front. with a bristling beard. with no sign of life near it—just the one straight yellow flame and the gleam of the rock on each side of it. by thunder. over yonder. Over the rocks. Watson. a terrible animal face. there was thrust out an evil yellow face. but that sound seemed to freeze my very blood. do you. it was a hound."Oh. Foul with mire. And my uncle! There was the footprint of the hound beside him as he lay. after us. Watson.

So far as the Barrymores go we have found the motive of their actions. perhaps his explanation may be the right one. aided by the diary which I kept at the time. Perhaps in my next I may be able to throw some light upon this also. silver veins upon the sides of the hills. It may have been that Barrymore had some private signal which we had neglected to give. but I should like to have some further proof of it. "A warder. A dull and foggy day with a drizzle of rain. with thin. We rushed over the brow of the hill. or the fellow may have had some other reason for thinking that all was not well. Do not think that it was a delusion. I saw the figure of a man upon the tor. Besides. from the morning which followed our abortive chase of the convict and our other strange experiences upon the moor. and he was not in the mood for fresh adventures. I wished to go in that direction and to search the tor. With a cry of surprise I pointed him out to the baronet. but I had brought it only to defend myself if attacked and not to shoot an unarmed man who was running away. Chapter 10 Extract from the Diary of Dr. I proceed. Such are the adventures of last night. Today we mean to communicate to the Princetown people where they should look for their missing man. having abandoned the hopeless chase. outlined as black as an ebony statue on that shining background. The moon was low upon the right. I assure you that I have never in my life seen anything more clearly. In any case you will hear from me again in the course of the next few days. but it was some distance away. But the moor with its mysteries and its strange inhabitants remains as inscrutable as ever. At the same moment the convict screamed out a curse at us and hurled a rock which splintered up against the boulder which had sheltered us. but its peak bore no trace of that silent and motionless figure. and the jagged pinnacle of a granite tor stood up against the lower curve of its silver disc. thin man. as if he were brooding over that enormous wilderness of peat and granite which lay before him. Holmes. We ran and ran until we were completely blown. which recalled the dark story of his family.which peered fiercely to right and left through the darkness like a crafty and savage animal who has heard the steps of the hunters. which rise now and then to show the dreary curves of the moor. It was not the convict. Now. then. squat. Any instant he might dash out the light and vanish in the darkness. and Sir Henry did the same. springing over the stones in his way with the activity of a mountain goat. We had risen from our rocks and were turning to go home. however." said he. strongly built figure as he sprang to his feet and turned to run. his arms folded. This man was far from the place where the latter had disappeared. but I could read his fears upon his wicked face. "The moor has been thick with them since this fellow escaped." Well. And it was at this moment that there occurred a most strange and unexpected thing. We are certainly making some progress. and the 158 . I have arrived at a point in my narrative where I am compelled to abandon this method and to trust once more to my recollections. Watson So far I have been able to quote from the reports which I have forwarded during these early days to Sherlock Holmes. that I have done you very well in the matter of a report. As far as I could judge. I sprang forward therefore. He stood with his legs a little separated. and you must acknowledge. Much of what I tell you is no doubt quite irrelevant. He had not seen this lonely man upon the tor and could not feel the thrill which his strange presence and his commanding attitude had given to me. Something had evidently aroused his suspicions. A few extracts from the latter will carry me on to those scenes which are indelibly fixed in every detail upon my memory. A lucky long shot of my revolver might have crippled him. his head bowed. October 16th. no doubt. The baronet's nerves were still quivering from that cry. I caught one glimpse of his short. the figure was that of a tall. There. but we soon found that we had no chance of overtaking him. Finally we stopped and sat panting on two rocks. but still I feel that it is best that I should let you have all the facts and leave you to select for yourself those which will be of most service to you in helping you to your conclusions. There was the sharp pinnacle of granite still cutting the lower edge of the moon. At the same moment by a lucky chance the moon broke through the clouds. while we watched him disappearing in the distance. but in the instant during which I had turned to grasp his arm the man was gone. Best of all would it be if you could come down to us. He might have been the very spirit of that terrible place. The house is banked in with rolling clouds. and there was our man running with great speed down the other side. but the space between us grew ever wider. We were both swift runners and in fairly good training. and that has cleared up the situation very much. my dear Holmes. he was a much taller man. We saw him for a long time in the moonlight until he was only a small speck moving swiftly among the boulders upon the side of a distant hill. but it is hard lines that we have not actually had the triumph of bringing him back as our own prisoner.

The baronet is in a black reaction after the excitements of the night." said the baronet. I beg of you not to let the police know that he is still on the moor. "If he were safely out of the country it would relieve the tax-payer of a burden. the man in the cab. But he will never trouble anyone in this country again. sir." said he. This at least was real. that would go far to explain everything. how was it that no one saw it by day? It must be confessed that the natural explanation offers almost as many difficulties as the other. Stapleton may fall in with such a superstition. apart from the hound." "I didn't think you would have taken advantage of it. And have I not cause for such a feeling? Consider the long sequence of incidents which have all pointed to some sinister influence which is at work around us. Stapleton's house. for example. My second and wisest one is to play my own game and speak as little as possible to anyone. Where is that friend or enemy now? Has he remained in London." "If you had told us of your own free will it would have been a different thing. with no one but himself to defend it. "He thinks that it was unfair on our part to hunt his brother-in-law down when he. To this one purpose I must now devote all my energies." The butler was standing very pale but very collected before us. After a time the baronet opened his door and called for me. but it might have been the work of a protecting friend as easily as of an enemy. where did it come from. We had a small scene this morning after breakfast. His nerves have been strangely shaken by that sound upon the moor. and he can lie quiet until the ship is ready for him. Twice I have with my own ears heard the sound which resembled the distant baying of a hound. Watson?" I shrugged my shoulders. There is the death of the last occupant of the Hall. fulfilling so exactly the conditions of the family legend. and I have twice heard this crying upon the moor. sir. and I am his agent. Suppose that there were really some huge hound loose upon it. and I have now met all the neighbours. He is no one whom I have seen down here. "you only told us. or rather your wife only told us. and nothing will persuade me to believe in such a thing. and the letter which warned Sir Henry against the moor. And always. There's no safety for anyone until he is under lock and key. just as a stranger dogged us in London. and there are the repeated reports from peasants of the appearance of a strange creature upon the moor." "What do you say. that it should really be outside the ordinary laws of nature. The poor fellow has enough to fight against without my putting more upon his track. They have given up the chase there. "Barrymore considers that he has a grievance. sir. but I will take my own steps to attain my own end. We have never shaken him off. But facts are facts.distant boulders gleaming where the light strikes upon their wet faces. There are lonely houses scattered over the moor. I was very much surprised when I heard you two gentlemen come back this morning and learned that you had been chasing Selden. I give you my solemn word upon that. impossible. Barrymore it might possibly have been. You only want to get a glimpse of his face to see that. A spectral hound which leaves material footmarks and fills the air with its howling is surely not to be thought of. but we had left him behind us." he said. The figure was far taller than that of Stapleton. which is the more terrible because I am unable to define it. I beg you. or has he followed us down here? Could he—could he be the stranger whom I saw upon the tor? It is true that I have had only the one glance at him. Holmes would not listen to such fancies. For God's sake. I will say nothing to add to his anxieties. At the same time. and they were closeted in his study some little time. I assure you. You can't tell on him without getting my wife and me into trouble. I am conscious myself of a weight at my heart and a feeling of impending danger—ever present danger. But where could such a hound lie concealed. when it was forced from you and you could not help yourself. "I may have spoken too warmly. To do so would be to descend to the level of these poor peasants. had told us the secret. who are not content with a mere fiend dog but must needs describe him with hell-fire shooting from his mouth and eyes. Sir Henry—indeed I didn't. to say nothing to the police. I am sure that I beg your pardon. there is the fact of the human agency in London. and I had a pretty good idea what the point was which was under discussion. and Mortimer also. and he is a fellow who would stick at nothing. "and if I have. He is silent and distrait. Look at Mr. far thinner than that of Frankland. of his own free will. A stranger then is still dogging us. It is incredible. and I am certain that he could not have followed us." 159 . Barrymore asked leave to speak with Sir Henry. Sitting in the billiard-room I more than once heard the sound of voices raised. It is melancholy outside and in. but if I have one quality upon earth it is common sense. then at last we might find ourselves at the end of all our difficulties. sir." "The man is a public danger. where did it get its food. and yet there are some things to which I am ready to swear. If I could lay my hands upon that man." "He'll break into no house. Sir Henry. that in a very few days the necessary arrangements will have been made and he will be on his way to South America. My first impulse was to tell Sir Henry all my plans.

sir. and perhaps I should have said it before. you can go. though it was gray on a black ground. after what we have heard I don't feel as if I could give the man up. "You've been so kind to us. the end of a page. But that morning. and the writing could still be read. sir. Barrymore. I don't know that. burn this letter."But how about the chance of his holding someone up before he goes?" "He would not do anything so mad. Barrymore?" "Well. and thank you from my heart! It would have killed my poor wife had he been taken again. sir." "And you have no idea who L. Only a few weeks ago she was cleaning out Sir Charles's study—it had never been touched since his death—and she found the ashes of a burned letter in the back of the grate. only it happened to come alone. hung together. "Well. sir. It was from Coombe Tracey. "Do you know how he died?" "No. We have provided him with all that he can want. as it chanced. Sir Henry. Beneath it were signed the initials L. I thought no more of the matter." said Sir Henry." "How do you know this. sir. and never would have done had it not been for my wife. so I took the more notice of it. The greater part of it was charred to pieces." "I guess we are aiding and abetting a felony. Her initials were L. but one little slip. as you are a gentleman. is?" 160 . sir." "What then?" "I know why he was at the gate at that hour. but he hesitated and then came back." With a few broken words of gratitude the man turned. All right. but I can give you the initials. your uncle had a letter that morning. sir. sir. and be at the gate by ten o clock. It was to meet a woman. for he was a public man and well known for his kind heart. It seemed to us to be a postscript at the end of the letter and it said: 'Please." "Well?" "Well. I've never breathed a word about it yet to mortal man. He had usually a great many letters. and it was addressed in a woman's hand." "Have you got that slip?" "No. sir. Watson? But. there was only this one letter." "Had Sir Charles received any other letters in the same writing?" "Well. L." "To meet a woman! He?" "Yes. It's about poor Sir Charles's death. Sir Henry. please. I should not have noticed this one. Barrymore—" "God bless you." "And the woman's name?" "I can't give you the name. but it was long after the inquest that I found it out. I know something. To commit a crime would be to show where he was hiding. so there is an end of it. so that everyone who was in trouble was glad to turn to him." The baronet and I were both upon our feet." "That is true. L. that I should like to do the best I can for you in return. it crumbled all to bits after we moved it. I took no particular notice of his letters. L.

Was he also out in that deluged—the unseen watcher. "I suppose there are few people living within driving distance of this whom you do not know?" "Hardly any. It had wandered on to the moor and had never come back. but among the farmers or gentry there is no one whose initials are those. I am much mistaken if it does not bring him down. shelterless moor. sir. the rain beating upon my face and the wind whistling about my ears."No." "So I think. L. he has suffered something to atone for them. trailing in gray wreaths down the sides of the fantastic hills. But now you have been kind to us. They were the only signs of human life which I could see. save only those prehistoric huts which lay thickly upon the slopes of the hills. half hidden by the mist. but I thought of the pony on the Grimpen Mire. Wait a bit though. He insisted upon my climbing into his dog-cart. Even the best of us—" "You thought it might injure his reputation?" "Well. "No. I think." said I as we jolted along the rough road. "There is Laura Lyons —her initials are L. No doubt his blackmailing case is absorbing all his faculties. then. He has been very attentive to us. L. how you came to conceal this important information. for the notes which I had from Baker Street were few and short. It will give him the clue for which he has been seeking. you can go. "By the way. and hardly a day has passed that he has not called at the Hall to see how we were getting on. "Well." "Well. and from its craggy summit I looked out myself across the melancholy downs. and it's well to go carefully when there's a lady in the case. tell me the name of any woman whose initials are L. L. I gave him such consolation as I might. And then I thought of that other one—the face in the cab. I thought of the convict out upon the bleak. sir. with no comments upon the information which I had supplied and hardly any reference to my mission. Rain squalls drifted across their russet face. God help those who wander into the great mire now. And yet this new factor must surely arrest his attention and renew his interest. I found the black tor upon which I had seen the solitary watcher. Mortimer. sir. for even the firm uplands are becoming a morass. To rake this up couldn't help our poor master." 161 . it was immediately after that our own trouble came to us." I went at once to my room and drew up my report of the morning's conversation for Holmes. rustling on the ivy and dripping from the eaves. But I expect if we could lay our hands upon that lady we should know more about Sir Charles's death. Barrymore. We have gained that much. and he gave me a lift homeward." said he. the man of darkness? In the evening I put on my waterproof and I walked far upon the sodden moor. I found him much troubled over the disappearance of his little spaniel. I wish that he were here. Poor devil! Whatever his crimes. Mortimer driving in his dog-cart over a rough moorland track which led from the outlying farmhouse of Foulmire. slate-coloured clouds hung low over the landscape. what do you think of this new light?" "It seems to leave the darkness rather blacker than before. No more than you have. full of dark imaginings." "I cannot understand. "There are a few gipsies and labouring folk for whom I can't answer. the figure against the moon. October 17th. and I do not fancy that he will see his little dog again. All day today the rain poured down. the two thin towers of Baskerville Hall rose above the trees. As I walked back I was overtaken by Dr. And then again.?" He thought for a few minutes. Barrymore." When the butler had left us Sir Henry turned to me. as we well might be considering all that he has done for us. In the distant hollow on the left. We know that there is someone who has the facts if we can only find her. cold." he added after a pause.—but she lives in Coombe Tracey." "Can you. It was evident to me that he had been very busy of late. Watson. sir. we were both of us very fond of Sir Charles. it should clear up the whole business. What do you think we should do?" "Let Holmes know all about it at once." "Very good. I thought no good could come of it. Nowhere was there any trace of that lonely man whom I had seen on the same spot two nights before. and I feel as if it would be treating you unfairly not to tell you all that I know about the matter. But if we can only trace L. and the heavy.

I have not lived for years with Sherlock Holmes for nothing. It was to set her up in a typewriting business. "You know that there is another man then?" "Yes. Her father refused to have anything to do with her because she had married without his consent and perhaps for one or two other reasons as well. Dr. sir. a long step will have been made towards clearing one incident in this chain of mysteries. and several of the people here did something to enable her to earn an honest living. Mortimer had stayed to dinner. I hope to heaven that he has gone. between the old sinner and the young one the girl has had a pretty bad time. but I managed to satisfy his curiosity without telling him too much. She married an artist named Lyons. unless it was the other man who took it. that I don't like it. there is another man upon the moor. sir. sir. for he has brought nothing but trouble here! I've not heard of him since I left out food for him last. Whatever she may have deserved one could not allow her to go hopelessly to the bad. and that was three days ago. for there is no reason why we should take anyone into our confidence. So. and if I can see this Mrs." He spoke with a sudden passion of earnestness. I am certainly developing the wisdom of the serpent. "Well. This was my conversation with Barrymore just now. "She is Frankland's daughter. for when Mortimer pressed his questions to an inconvenient extent I asked him casually to what type Frankland's skull belonged. 162 . I have only one other incident to record upon this tempestuous and melancholy day. which gives me one more strong card which I can play in due time. He's in hiding. Watson—I tell you straight. Her story got about. of equivocal reputation. who came sketching on the moor." "How does she live?" "I fancy old Frankland allows her a pittance. He proved to be a blackguard and deserted her." "Have you seen him?" "No. Laura Lyons. but the food was gone when next I went that way."Who is she?" I asked. The butler brought me my coffee into the library." said I." "Then he was certainly there?" "So you would think. and he and the baronet played ecarte afterwards. and Sir Charles for another. "has this precious relation of yours departed. Tomorrow morning I shall find my way to Coombe Tracey. I don't like it." "Did you see him then?" "No. sir. and so heard nothing but craniology for the rest of our drive. sir. and I took the chance to ask him a few questions." He wanted to know the object of my inquiries." "How do you know of him then?" "Selden told me of him. sir." I sat with my coffee-cup halfway to my lips and stared at Barrymore. sir. but he's not a convict as far as I can make out. or is he still lurking out yonder?" "I don't know. Stapleton did for one." "What! Old Frankland the crank?" "Exactly. but it cannot be more. for his own affairs are considerably involved. The fault from what I hear may not have been entirely on one side. a week ago or more. I gave a trifle myself. too.

and what must it be in a stone hut upon the moor. There's not a man would cross it after sundown if he was paid for it. The incidents of the next few days are indelibly graven upon my recollection. and I looked through a blurred pane at the driving clouds and at the tossing outline of the windswept trees. "There's foul play somewhere. in that hut upon the moor. Tell me. and watching and waiting! What's he waiting for? What does it mean? It means no good to anyone of the name of Baskerville. Look at the noises on the moor at night. and there's black villainy brewing. the other that the lurking man upon the moor was to be found among the stone huts upon the hillside. I start them from the day which succeeded that upon which I had established two facts of great importance. but soon he found that he had some lay of his own. At breakfast. Mortimer remained with him at cards until it was very late. Barrymore! I have no interest in this matter but that of your master." said I. We may talk further of this some other time. At first he thought that he was the police. or what he was doing?" "He saw him once or twice. and I can tell them without reference to the notes made at the time. With these two facts in my possession I felt that either my intelligence or my courage must be deficient if I could not throw some further light upon these dark places. A kind of gentleman he was. I have come here with no object except to help him. however. Laura Lyons of Coombe Tracey had written to Sir Charles Baskerville and made an appointment with him at the very place and hour that he met his death. Barrymore. I swear that another day shall not have passed before I have done all that man can do to reach the heart of the mystery. "It's all these goings-on." "But how about his food?" "Selden found out that he has got a lad who works for him and brings all he needs." Barrymore hesitated for a moment." he cried at last. but what he was doing he could not make out. sir. At first he was very eager 163 . Chapter 11 The Man on the Tor The extract from my private diary which forms the last chapter has brought my narrative up to the eighteenth of October. seems to lie the very centre of that problem which has vexed me so sorely." When the butler had gone I walked over to the black window. what it is that you don't like. as far as he could see." "And where did he say that he lived?" "Among the old houses on the hillside—the stone huts where the old folk used to live. to see Sir Henry on his way back to London again!" "But what is it that alarms you?" "Look at Sir Charles's death! That was bad enough. but he is a deep one and gives nothing away. It is a wild night indoors. for all that the coroner said. Lyons upon the evening before. the one that Mrs. I informed him about my discovery and asked him whether he would care to accompany me to Coombe Tracey. sir. What passion of hatred can it be which leads a man to lurk in such a place at such a time! And what deep and earnest purpose can he have which calls for such a trial! There."Now. listen to me. "Can you tell me anything about him? What did Selden say? Did he find out where he hid." "Very good. waving his hand towards the rain-lashed window which faced the moor. as if he regretted his outburst or found it difficult to express his own feelings in words. frankly. a time when these strange events began to move swiftly towards their terrible conclusion." "But about this stranger. I dare say he goes to Coombe Tracey for what he wants. for Dr. to that I'll swear! Very glad I should be. and very glad I shall be to be quit of it all on the day that Sir Henry's new servants are ready to take over the Hall. I had no opportunity to tell the baronet what I had learned about Mrs. Look at this stranger hiding out yonder.

Lyons was one of extreme beauty. "of knowing your father. are afterthoughts. I had no difficulty in finding her rooms. sprang up with a pleasant smile of welcome." It was a clumsy introduction. When I reached Coombe Tracey I told Perkins to put up the horses. Her eyes and hair were of the same rich hazel colour." She was silent and her face was still very pale. "What are your questions?" "Did you correspond with Sir Charles?" "I certainly wrote to him once or twice to acknowledge his delicacy and his generosity. the dainty pink which lurks at the heart of the sulphur rose. and she sat down again and asked me the object of my visit. and he preferred to do good by stealth. who was sitting before a Remington typewriter. of course. I repeat. did you not?" "I have already said that I owe a great deal to his kindness. I left Sir Henry behind. and her fingers played nervously over the stops of her typewriter. But the second was criticism. when she saw that I was a stranger." she said. when he came into Coombe Tracey. A maid showed me in without ceremony." "Did you correspond with him?" The lady looked quickly up with an angry gleam in her hazel eyes. though considerably freckled." "Have you the dates of those letters?" "No. "What is the object of these questions?" she asked sharply. Admiration was. and as I entered the sitting-room a lady. The first impression left by Mrs. "I have the come. and his friends are not mine. which were central and well appointed. were flushed with the exquisite bloom of the brunette." The freckles started out on the lady's face. and her cheeks. some coarseness of expression. But these." "Have you ever met him?" "Yes. He was a very retiring man. It is better that I should ask them here than that the matter should pass outside our control. "The object is to avoid a public scandal. If it were not for the late Sir Charles Baskerville and some other kind hearts I might have starved for all that my father cared. not without some prickings of conscience. of eye." she said. and I made inquiries for the lady whom I had come to interrogate. The more formal we made the visit the less information we might obtain. the first impression. and the lady made me feel it. some looseness of lip which marred its perfect beauty. perhaps." said I. some hardness. "You knew him. "There is nothing in common between my father and me. If I am able to support myself it is largely due to the interest which he took in my unhappy situation. "What can I tell you about him?" she asked. At last she looked up with something reckless and defiant in her manner. Her face fell. therefore. "I owe him nothing. once or twice. "Well. There was something subtly wrong with the face. I had not quite understood until that instant how delicate my mission was. I'll answer." "It was about the late Sir Charles Baskerville that I have come here to see you. and drove off upon my new quest. but on second thoughts it seemed to both of us that if I went alone the results might be better." 164 . however. and that she was asking me the reasons for my visit. At the moment I was simply conscious that I was in the presence of a very handsome woman.

how did he know enough about your affairs to be able to help you. I cannot tell it. this is a very extraordinary question. "Is there no such thing as a gentleman?" she gasped. He did burn the letter. and be at the gate by ten o'clock. I never went. I did write it." "Then I answer. Stapleton. and a deathly face was before me." "Mrs. burn this letter." "But why a rendezvous in the garden instead of a visit to the house?" "Do you think a woman could go alone at that hour to a bachelor's house?" "Well." 165 . "I could even quote a passage of your letter. I swear it to you on all I hold sacred. You acknowledge now that you wrote it?" "Yes. Lyons flushed with anger again. so the lady's statement bore the impress of truth upon it." "Not on the very day of Sir Charles's death?" The flush had faded in an instant." she cried. certainly not.'" I thought that she had fainted. sir. Mrs. But sometimes a letter may be legible even when burned. Why should I deny it? I have no reason to be ashamed of it. and it was through him that Sir Charles learned about my affairs. madam. but I must repeat it." "But why at such an hour?" "Because I had only just learned that he was going to London next day and might be away for months. "I did write it. Her dry lips could not speak the "No" which I saw rather than heard." I knew already that Sir Charles Baskerville had made Stapleton his almoner upon several occasions. He was exceedingly kind. I believed that if I had an interview I could gain his help." "What was that?" "That is a private matter. as you are a gentleman. "Really. please. "Did you ever write to Sir Charles asking him to meet you?" I continued. Something intervened to prevent my going. I wished him to help me. as you say that he has done?" She met my difficulty with the utmost readiness. Lyons!" "No. It ran 'Please. There were reasons why I could not get there earlier. so I asked him to meet me. but she recovered herself by a supreme effort. "You do Sir Charles an injustice. One was Mr." said I. a neighbour and intimate friend of Sir Charles's."But if you saw him so seldom and wrote so seldom. pouring out her soul in a torrent of words. "There were several gentlemen who knew my sad history and united to help me." "I am sorry. "Surely your memory deceives you. what happened when you did get there?" "I never went.

" The woman's story hung coherently together. I came away baffled and disheartened. for a trap would be necessary to take her there. Such an excursion could not be kept secret. It meant everything to me—peace of mind. It was unlikely that she would dare to say that she had not been to Baskerville Hall if she really had been. and every day I am faced by the possibility that he may force me to live with him. Why should she turn so pale? Why should she fight against every admission until it was forced from her? Why should she have been so reticent at the time of the tragedy? Surely the explanation of all this could not be as 166 . I knew Sir Charles's generosity. as I said. instituted divorce proceedings against her husband at or about the time of the tragedy. If you have heard anything of my unhappy history you will know that I made a rash marriage and had reason to regret it. therefore. that she was telling the truth." "That is the truth. At the time that I wrote this letter to Sir Charles I had learned that there was a prospect of my regaining my freedom if certain expenses could be met." "The matter is a very private one. self-respect—everything." "I did not say that I had read all the letter." "The more reason why you should avoid a public investigation." "Then how is it that you did not go?" "Because I received help in the interval from another source." "I quoted the postscript. happiness. "you are taking a very great responsibility and putting yourself in a very false position by not making an absolutely clean breast of all that you know." Again and again I cross-questioned her. If your position is innocent. but you deny that you kept the appointment."You acknowledge then that you made an appointment with Sir Charles at the very hour and place at which he met his death. a part of the truth. The probability was. and I thought that if he heard the story from my own lips he would help me." "My life has been one incessant persecution from a husband whom I abhor. why did you in the first instance deny having written to Sir Charles upon that date?" "Because I feared that some false conclusion might be drawn from it and that I might find myself involved in a scandal. And yet the more I thought of the lady's face and of her manner the more I felt that something was being held back from me." said I as I rose from this long and inconclusive interview." "You quoted some of it. or. I ask you once again why it was that you were so pressing that Sir Charles should destroy this letter which he received on the day of his death." "I will tell you. but I could never get past that point. Once again I had reached that dead wall which seemed to be built across every path by which I tried to get at the object of my mission. been burned and it was not all legible. and all my questions were unable to shake it. and could not have returned to Coombe Tracey until the early hours of the morning. indeed. The law is upon his side. Lyons. If I have to call in the aid of the police you will find how seriously you are compromised. The letter had. "Mrs." "Why then. did you not write to Sir Charles and explain this?" "So I should have done had I not seen his death in the paper next morning. I could only check it by finding if she had. then." "And why were you so pressing that Sir Charles should destroy your letter?" "If you have read the letter you will know. at least." "I have heard so much.

It would indeed be a triumph for me if I could run him to earth where my master had failed. He might slip away from us in the crowd of Regent Street. For the moment I could proceed no farther in that direction. but I was anxious to send Perkins and the wagonette home. But I had my own experience for a guide since it had shown me the man himself standing upon the summit of the Black Tor. sir. and already my words have come true. "Ha. and it has not afforded me the protection to which I am entitled. It will repay reading—Frankland v. which opened on to the highroad along which I travelled. I told them that they would have occasion to regret their treatment of me. Then I followed Frankland into his diningroom. Dr. "You don't mean that you know where he is?" said I. I have established a right of way through the centre of old Middleton's park. none. It cost me 200 pounds." "How on earth did you do that?" "Look it up in the books. and that they can swarm where they like with their papers and their bottles. however long the vigil. and many hundreds of them are scattered throughout the length and breadth of the moor. a very much more important matter than that! What about the convict on the moor?" I stared." I had been casting round for some excuse by which I could get away from his gossip. gray-whiskered and red-faced. On the other hand. And that was a most vague direction. I act entirely from a sense of public duty. From there I should explore every hut upon the moor until I lighted upon the right one. no doubt?" said I with an indifferent manner." "How so?" I asked. sir. outside the gate of his garden." My feelings towards him were very far from being friendly after what I had heard of his treatment of his daughter. The County Constabulary is in a scandalous state. but I got my verdict." cried he with unwonted good humour." "Did it do you any good?" "None. should be the centre of my search. who was standing. 167 . I have no doubt. I mean to teach them in these parts that law is law. "you must really give your horses a rest and come in to have a glass of wine and to congratulate me. that the Fernworthy people will burn me in effigy tonight. if I should find the hut and its tenant should not be within it I must remain there. ha. What do you think of that? We'll teach these magnates that they cannot ride roughshod over the rights of the commoners. Barrymore's only indication had been that the stranger lived in one of these abandoned huts. I haven't had such a day since I had Sir John Morland for trespass because he shot in his own warren. Regina will bring the matter before the attention of the public. Holmes had missed him in London. Frankland. Watson. but must turn back to that other clue which was to be sought for among the stone huts upon the moor.innocent as she would have me believe. sir—one of the red-letter days of my life. until he returned. sir. Watson. within a hundred yards of his own front door. who he was and why he had dogged us so long. at the point of my revolver if necessary. but now I began to wish to hear more of it. "Because I could tell them what they are dying to know. I had seen enough of the contrary nature of the old sinner to understand that any strong sign of interest would be the surest way to stop his confidences." he cried with many chuckles. "Good-day. confound them! And I've closed the wood where the Fernworthy folk used to picnic. These infernal people seem to think that there are no rights of property. "I have brought off a double event. The case of Frankland v. "Some poaching case. but it would puzzle him to do so upon the lonely moor. Morland. slap across it. I alighted and sent a message to Sir Henry that I should walk over in time for dinner. If this man were inside it I should find out from his own lips. and the opportunity was a good one. then. I told the police last time they did it that they should stop these disgraceful exhibitions. my boy. I realized it as I drove back and noted how hill after hill showed traces of the ancient people. and that there is a man here who does not fear to invoke it. I am proud to say that I had no interest in the matter. Luck had been against us again and again in this inquiry. Court of Queen's Bench. Both cases decided. That. but nothing would induce me to help the rascals in any way. and both in my favour. but now at last it came to my aid. for example. sir. Dr. "It is a great day for me. The old man put on a very knowing expression. And the messenger of good fortune was none other than Mr.

sir!" said he. sir. which these rascals burned at the stake." My heart sank for Barrymore. and not upon the convict's. that I have very good grounds before I come to an opinion. and I bind you to secrecy also. a formidable instrument mounted upon a tripod. Then he vanished over the hill." The telescope."I may not know exactly where he is. "You will see with your own eyes and judge for yourself. sure enough. instead of my effigy. For all they cared it might have been me. Dr. or is there at the present moment something moving upon that hillside?" It was several miles off. Regina I venture to think that a thrill of indignation will run through the country." The least appearance of opposition struck fire out of the old autocrat. but I am quite sure that I could help the police to lay their hands on him. "You'll be surprised to hear that his food is taken to him by a child. "Come. "Well! Am I right?" "Certainly. "You may be sure. I have been able—but wait a moment." "They have treated me shamefully—shamefully. Every day. sir. Frankland clapped his eye to it and gave a cry of satisfaction. Do my eyes deceive me. Dr. "but how do you know that he is anywhere upon the moor?" "I know it because I have seen with my own eyes the messenger who takes him his food. and to whom should he be going except to the convict?" Here was luck indeed! And yet I suppressed all appearance of interest. His eyes looked malignantly at me. Has it never struck you that the way to catch that man was to find out where he got his food and so trace it to him?" He certainly seemed to be getting uncomfortably near the truth. a small urchin with a little bundle upon his shoulder. But his next remark took a weight from my mind. But not one word shall they have from me. I have seen the boy again and again with his bundle. and his gray whiskers bristled like those of an angry cat. I see him every day through my telescope upon the roof. quick. He looked round him with a furtive and stealthy air. stood upon the flat leads of the house. If I could get his knowledge it might save me a long and weary hunt. sir. He passes along the same path at the same hour." I meekly answered that I had spoken without knowing all the facts. It was a serious thing to be in the power of this spiteful old busybody." said I. do you see the low hill beyond with the thornbush upon it? It is the stoniest part of the whole moor. But incredulity and indifference were evidently my strongest cards. pointing out over the wide-stretching moor. but I could distinctly see a small dark dot against the dull green and gray. Is that a place where a shepherd would be likely to take his station? Your suggestion. "Do you see that Black Tor over yonder? Well. toiling slowly up the hill. before he passes over the hill!" There he was. and sometimes twice a day. When the facts come out in Frankland v. My submission pleased him and led him to further confidences. come!" cried Frankland. is a most absurd one. Surely you are not going! You will help me to empty the decanter in honour of this great occasion!" 168 . that Frankland had stumbled. "I should say that it was much more likely that it was the son of one of the moorland shepherds taking out his father's dinner. Watson." "And what the errand is even a county constable could guess. Not a word! You understand!" "Just as you wish. Watson. rushing upstairs. A child! Barrymore had said that our unknown was supplied by a boy. "No doubt. "Quick. there is a boy who seems to have some secret errand. as one who dreads pursuit. Nothing would induce me to help the police in any way. Watson. It was on his track. "Indeed. When he reached the crest I saw the ragged uncouth figure outlined for an instant against the cold blue sky. Dr.

but he had set an agent—the boy. The unknown might be lurking there. save that he must be of Spartan habits and cared little for the comforts of life. of anything of the kind. He and I seemed to be the only living things between the huge arch of the sky and the desert beneath it. The boy was nowhere to be seen. "I really think that you will be more comfortable outside than in. And then at last I heard him. nor could I discover any sign which might indicate the character or intentions of the man who lived in this singular place. as my eyes became accustomed to the checkered light. Always there was this feeling of an unseen force. and there a distant blur of smoke which marked the village of Grimpen. a tinned tongue. The sun was already sinking when I reached the summit of the hill. Some blankets rolled in a waterproof lay upon that very stone slab upon which Neolithic man had once slumbered. and the mystery and urgency of my task all struck a chill into my heart. My nerves tingled with the sense of adventure. my heart leaped to see that beneath it there lay a sheet of paper with writing upon it. walking as warily as Stapleton would do when with poised net he drew near the settled butterfly. In the middle of the hut a flat stone served the purpose of a table. A litter of empty tins showed that the place had been occupied for some time. I looked in. no doubt. so I looked round the hut in search of them. I sat in the dark recess of the hut and waited with sombre patience for the coming of its tenant. The ashes of a fire were heaped in a rude grate. I satisfied myself that the place had indeed been used as a habitation. Everything was working in my favour. and yet as I looked at them my soul shared none of the peace of Nature but quivered at the vagueness and the terror of that interview which every instant was bringing nearer. But there were ample signs that I had not come upon a false scent. coming nearer and nearer. after having examined it. who was being dogged by this secret man. determined not to discover myself until I had an opportunity of seeing something of the stranger. or was he by chance our guardian angel? I swore that I would not leave the hut until I knew. One great gray bird. Between the two. I kept the road as long as his eye was on me. Over the wide expanse there was no sound and no movement. or he might be prowling on the moor. I raised it. It was I. walking swiftly up to the door. A haze lay low upon the farthest sky-line. Far away came the sharp clink of a boot striking upon a stone. I closed my hand upon the butt of my revolver and. was the house of the Stapletons. It contained a loaf of bread. a pannikin and a half-full bottle of spirits standing in the corner." 169 . The place was empty. which I had seen through the telescope upon the shoulder of the boy. Outside the sun was sinking low and the west was blazing with scarlet and gold. behind the hill. a fine net drawn round us with infinite skill and delicacy. There was a long pause which showed that he had stopped. perhaps—upon my track. If there was one report there might be others. and this was what I read. and this was his report. He had not followed me himself. All was sweet and mellow and peaceful in the golden evening light. and in the middle of them there was one which retained sufficient roof to act as a screen against the weather. There was no trace. and then I struck off across the moor and made for the stony hill over which the boy had disappeared. But down beneath me in a cleft of the hills there was a circle of the old stone huts. and two tins of preserved peaches. There were the two towers of Baskerville Hall. however. roughly scrawled in pencil: "Dr. As I approached the hut. soared aloft in the blue heaven. As I set it down again. and the long slopes beneath me were all golden-green on one side and gray shadow on the other. Its reflection was shot back in ruddy patches by the distant pools which lay amid the great Grimpen Mire. A vague pathway among the boulders led to the dilapidated opening which served as a door. Then another and yet another. Was he our malignant enemy. This was certainly where the man lived. the sense of loneliness. Then once more the footsteps approached and a shadow fell across the opening of the hut. Watson has gone to Coombe Tracey. my dear Watson.But I resisted all his solicitations and succeeded in dissuading him from his announced intention of walking home with me. "It is a lovely evening." said a well-known voice. and I swore that it should not be through lack of energy or perseverance that I should miss the chance which fortune had thrown in my way. The barren scene. and not Sir Henry. then. Beside it lay some cooking utensils and a bucket half-full of water. When I thought of the heavy rains and looked at the gaping roof I understood how strong and immutable must be the purpose which had kept him in that inhospitable abode. I shrank back into the darkest corner and cocked the pistol in my pocket. and upon this stood a small cloth bundle—the same. At last my foot was on the threshold of his hiding place—his secret was within my grasp." For a minute I stood there with the paper in my hands thinking out the meaning of this curt message. Throwing aside my cigarette. out of which jutted the fantastic shapes of Belliver and Vixen Tor. a gull or curlew. My heart leaped within me as I saw it. This must be the burrow where the stranger lurked. All was silent within. holding us so lightly that it was only at some supreme moment that one realized that one was indeed entangled in its meshes. Possibly I had taken no step since I had been upon the moor which had not been observed and reported. and I saw. With tingling nerves but a fixed purpose.

waiting for the tenant to return. your boy had been observed." said I as I wrung him by the hand." said he. and that gave me a guide where to look." "To see Mrs. when I was so imprudent as to allow the moon to rise behind me?" "Yes." "The old gentleman with the telescope. for when I see the stub of a cigarette marked Bradley. a weapon within reach. I know that my friend Watson is in the neighbourhood. You will see it there beside the path. What's this paper? So you have been to Coombe Tracey. but I was determined to find out. That cold. Then my senses and my voice came back to me. incisive." He rose and peeped into the hut. until I was within twenty paces of the door. Watson. while a crushing weight of responsibility seemed in an instant to be lifted from my soul. "and please be careful with the revolver. Laura Lyons?" 170 . "Or more astonished. with that catlike love of personal cleanliness which was one of his characteristics. but clear and alert. I must confess to it. eh?" "Well." "My footprint." "Excellent." "Exactly. I saw you then. I fear that I could not undertake to recognize your footprint amid all the footprints of the world. have you?" "Yes. no doubt. I see that Cartwright has brought up some supplies. ironical voice could belong to but one man in the entire world. and there he sat upon a stone outside. He was thin and worn. no doubt. In his tweed suit and cloth cap he looked like any other tourist upon the moor. Oxford Street. "Holmes!" I cried—"Holmes!" "Come out." I stooped under the rude lintel. So you actually thought that I was the criminal?" "I did not know who you were. I could not make it out when first I saw the light flashing upon the lens. "Ha. I had no idea that you had found my occasional retreat. I presume?" "No. still less that you were inside it. perhaps. his gray eyes dancing with amusement as they fell upon my astonished features. I assure you. If you seriously desire to deceive me you must change your tobacconist." "I thought as much—and knowing your admirable tenacity I was convinced that you were sitting in ambush.Chapter 12 Death on the Moor For a moment or two I sat breathless. You threw it down. that his chin should be as smooth and his linen as perfect as if he were in Baker Street. at that supreme moment when you charged into the empty hut. "I never was more glad to see anyone in my life. Watson! And how did you localize me? You saw me. hardly able to believe my ears. his keen face bronzed by the sun and roughened by the wind." "The surprise was not all on one side." "And have no doubt searched all the huts until you came to this one?" "No. and he had contrived. on the night of the convict hunt.

"Exactly." "Well done! Our researches have evidently been running on parallel lines, and when we unite our results I expect we shall have a fairly full knowledge of the case." "Well, I am glad from my heart that you are here, for indeed the responsibility and the mystery were both becoming too much for my nerves. But how in the name of wonder did you come here, and what have you been doing? I thought that you were in Baker Street working out that case of blackmailing." "That was what I wished you to think." "Then you use me, and yet do not trust me!" I cried with some bitterness. "I think that I have deserved better at your hands, Holmes." "My dear fellow, you have been invaluable to me in this as in many other cases, and I beg that you will forgive me if I have seemed to play a trick upon you. In truth, it was partly for your own sake that I did it, and it was my appreciation of the danger which you ran which led me to come down and examine the matter for myself. Had I been with Sir Henry and you it is confident that my point of view would have been the same as yours, and my presence would have warned our very formidable opponents to be on their guard. As it is, I have been able to get about as I could not possibly have done had I been living in the Hall, and I remain an unknown factor in the business, ready to throw in all my weight at a critical moment." "But why keep me in the dark?" "For you to know could not have helped us and might possibly have led to my discovery. You would have wished to tell me something, or in your kindness you would have brought me out some comfort or other, and so an unnecessary risk would be run. I brought Cartwright down with me—you remember the little chap at the express office—and he has seen after my simple wants: a loaf of bread and a clean collar. What does man want more? He has given me an extra pair of eyes upon a very active pair of feet, and both have been invaluable." "Then my reports have all been wasted!"—My voice trembled as I recalled the pains and the pride with which I had composed them. Holmes took a bundle of papers from his pocket. "Here are your reports, my dear fellow, and very well thumbed, I assure you. I made excellent arrangements, and they are only delayed one day upon their way. I must compliment you exceedingly upon the zeal and the intelligence which you have shown over an extraordinarily difficult case." I was still rather raw over the deception which had been practised upon me, but the warmth of Holmes's praise drove my anger from my mind. I felt also in my heart that he was right in what he said and that it was really best for our purpose that I should not have known that he was upon the moor. "That's better," said he, seeing the shadow rise from my face. "And now tell me the result of your visit to Mrs. Laura Lyons—it was not difficult for me to guess that it was to see her that you had gone, for I am already aware that she is the one person in Coombe Tracey who might be of service to us in the matter. In fact, if you had not gone today it is exceedingly probable that I should have gone tomorrow." The sun had set and dusk was settling over the moor. The air had turned chill and we withdrew into the hut for warmth. There, sitting together in the twilight, I told Holmes of my conversation with the lady. So interested was he that I had to repeat some of it twice before he was satisfied. "This is most important," said he when I had concluded. "It fills up a gap which I had been unable to bridge in this most complex affair. You are aware, perhaps, that a close intimacy exists between this lady and the man Stapleton?" "I did not know of a close intimacy." "There can be no doubt about the matter. They meet, they write, there is a complete understanding between them. Now, this puts a very powerful weapon into our hands. If I could only use it to detach his wife—" "His wife?"


"I am giving you some information now, in return for all that you have given me. The lady who has passed here as Miss Stapleton is in reality his wife." "Good heavens, Holmes! Are you sure of what you say? How could he have permitted Sir Henry to fall in love with her?" "Sir Henry's falling in love could do no harm to anyone except Sir Henry. He took particular care that Sir Henry did not make love to her, as you have yourself observed. I repeat that the lady is his wife and not his sister." "But why this elaborate deception?" "Because he foresaw that she would be very much more useful to him in the character of a free woman." All my unspoken instincts, my vague suspicions, suddenly took shape and centred upon the naturalist. In that impassive colourless man, with his straw hat and his butterfly-net, I seemed to see something terrible—a creature of infinite patience and craft, with a smiling face and a murderous heart. "It is he, then, who is our enemy—it is he who dogged us in London?" "So I read the riddle." "And the warning—it must have come from her!" "Exactly." The shape of some monstrous villainy, half seen, half guessed, loomed through the darkness which had girt me so long. "But are you sure of this, Holmes? How do you know that the woman is his wife?" "Because he so far forgot himself as to tell you a true piece of autobiography upon the occasion when he first met you, and I dare say he has many a time regretted it since. He was once a schoolmaster in the north of England. Now, there is no one more easy to trace than a schoolmaster. There are scholastic agencies by which one may identify any man who has been in the profession. A little investigation showed me that a school had come to grief under atrocious circumstances, and that the man who had owned it—the name was different—had disappeared with his wife. The descriptions agreed. When I learned that the missing man was devoted to entomology the identification was complete." The darkness was rising, but much was still hidden by the shadows. "If this woman is in truth his wife, where does Mrs. Laura Lyons come in?" I asked. "That is one of the points upon which your own researches have shed a light. Your interview with the lady has cleared the situation very much. I did not know about a projected divorce between herself and her husband. In that case, regarding Stapleton as an unmarried man, she counted no doubt upon becoming his wife." "And when she is undeceived?" "Why, then we may find the lady of service. It must be our first duty to see her—both of us—tomorrow. Don't you think, Watson, that you are away from your charge rather long? Your place should be at Baskerville Hall." The last red streaks had faded away in the west and night had settled upon the moor. A few faint stars were gleaming in a violet sky. "One last question, Holmes," I said as I rose. "Surely there is no need of secrecy between you and me. What is the meaning of it all? What is he after?" Holmes's voice sank as he answered: "It is murder, Watson—refined, cold-blooded, deliberate murder. Do not ask me for particulars. My nets are closing upon him, even as his are upon Sir Henry, and with your help he is already almost at my mercy. There is but one danger which can threaten us. It is that he should strike before we are ready to do so. Another day—two


at the most—and I have my case complete, but until then guard your charge as closely as ever a fond mother watched her ailing child. Your mission today has justified itself, and yet I could almost wish that you had not left his side. Hark!" A terrible scream—a prolonged yell of horror and anguish—burst out of the silence of the moor. That frightful cry turned the blood to ice in my veins. "Oh, my God!" I gasped. "What is it? What does it mean?" Holmes had sprung to his feet, and I saw his dark, athletic outline at the door of the hut, his shoulders stooping, his head thrust forward, his face peering into the darkness. "Hush!" he whispered. "Hush!" The cry had been loud on account of its vehemence, but it had pealed out from somewhere far off on the shadowy plain. Now it burst upon our ears, nearer, louder, more urgent than before. "Where is it?" Holmes whispered; and I knew from the thrill of his voice that he, the man of iron, was shaken to the soul. "Where is it, Watson?" "There, I think." I pointed into the darkness. "No, there!" Again the agonized cry swept through the silent night, louder and much nearer than ever. And a new sound mingled with it, a deep, muttered rumble, musical and yet menacing, rising and falling like the low, constant murmur of the sea. "The hound!" cried Holmes. "Come, Watson, come! Great heavens, if we are too late!" He had started running swiftly over the moor, and I had followed at his heels. But now from somewhere among the broken ground immediately in front of us there came one last despairing yell, and then a dull, heavy thud. We halted and listened. Not another sound broke the heavy silence of the windless night. I saw Holmes put his hand to his forehead like a man distracted. He stamped his feet upon the ground. "He has beaten us, Watson. We are too late." "No, no, surely not!" "Fool that I was to hold my hand. And you, Watson, see what comes of abandoning your charge! But, by Heaven, if the worst has happened we'll avenge him!" Blindly we ran through the gloom, blundering against boulders, forcing our way through gorse bushes, panting up hills and rushing down slopes, heading always in the direction whence those dreadful sounds had come. At every rise Holmes looked eagerly round him, but the shadows were thick upon the moor, and nothing moved upon its dreary face. "Can you see anything?" "Nothing." "But, hark, what is that?" A low moan had fallen upon our ears. There it was again upon our left! On that side a ridge of rocks ended in a sheer cliff which overlooked a stone-strewn slope. On its jagged face was spread-eagled some dark, irregular object. As we ran towards it the vague outline hardened into a definite shape. It was a prostrate man face downward upon the ground, the head doubled under him at a horrible angle, the shoulders rounded and the body hunched together as if in the act of throwing a somersault. So grotesque was the attitude that I could not for the instant realize that that moan had been the passing of his soul. Not a whisper, not a rustle, rose now from the dark figure over which we stooped. Holmes laid his hand upon him and held it up again with an exclamation of horror. The gleam of the match which he struck shone upon his clotted fingers and upon the ghastly pool which


widened slowly from the crushed skull of the victim. And it shone upon something else which turned our hearts sick and faint within us—the body of Sir Henry Baskerville! There was no chance of either of us forgetting that peculiar ruddy tweed suit—the very one which he had worn on the first morning that we had seen him in Baker Street. We caught the one clear glimpse of it, and then the match flickered and went out, even as the hope had gone out of our souls. Holmes groaned, and his face glimmered white through the darkness. "The brute! The brute!" I cried with clenched hands. "Oh Holmes, I shall never forgive myself for having left him to his fate." "I am more to blame than you, Watson. In order to have my case well rounded and complete, I have thrown away the life of my client. It is the greatest blow which has befallen me in my career. But how could I know—how could I know—that he would risk his life alone upon the moor in the face of all my warnings?" "That we should have heard his screams—my God, those screams!—and yet have been unable to save him! Where is this brute of a hound which drove him to his death? It may be lurking among these rocks at this instant. And Stapleton, where is he? He shall answer for this deed." "He shall. I will see to that. Uncle and nephew have been murdered—the one frightened to death by the very sight of a beast which he thought to be supernatural, the other driven to his end in his wild flight to escape from it. But now we have to prove the connection between the man and the beast. Save from what we heard, we cannot even swear to the existence of the latter, since Sir Henry has evidently died from the fall. But, by heavens, cunning as he is, the fellow shall be in my power before another day is past!" We stood with bitter hearts on either side of the mangled body, overwhelmed by this sudden and irrevocable disaster which had brought all our long and weary labours to so piteous an end. Then as the moon rose we climbed to the top of the rocks over which our poor friend had fallen, and from the summit we gazed out over the shadowy moor, half silver and half gloom. Far away, miles off, in the direction of Grimpen, a single steady yellow light was shining. It could only come from the lonely abode of the Stapletons. With a bitter curse I shook my fist at it as I gazed. "Why should we not seize him at once?" "Our case is not complete. The fellow is wary and cunning to the last degree. It is not what we know, but what we can prove. If we make one false move the villain may escape us yet." "What can we do?" "There will be plenty for us to do tomorrow. Tonight we can only perform the last offices to our poor friend." Together we made our way down the precipitous slope and approached the body, black and clear against the silvered stones. The agony of those contorted limbs struck me with a spasm of pain and blurred my eyes with tears. "We must send for help, Holmes! We cannot carry him all the way to the Hall. Good heavens, are you mad?" He had uttered a cry and bent over the body. Now he was dancing and laughing and wringing my hand. Could this be my stern, self-contained friend? These were hidden fires, indeed! "A beard! A beard! The man has a beard!" "A beard?" "It is not the baronet—it is—why, it is my neighbour, the convict!" With feverish haste we had turned the body over, and that dripping beard was pointing up to the cold, clear moon. There could be no doubt about the beetling forehead, the sunken animal eyes. It was indeed the same face which had glared upon me in the light of the candle from over the rock—the face of Selden, the criminal. Then in an instant it was all clear to me. I remembered how the baronet had told me that he had handed his old wardrobe to Barrymore. Barrymore had passed it on in order to help Selden in his escape. Boots, shirt, cap—it was all Sir Henry's. The tragedy was still black enough, but this man had at least deserved death by the laws of his country. I told Holmes how the matter stood, my heart bubbling over with thankfulness and joy.


"Then the clothes have been the poor devil's death," said he. "It is clear enough that the hound has been laid on from some article of Sir Henry's—the boot which was abstracted in the hotel, in all probability—and so ran this man down. There is one very singular thing, however: How came Selden, in the darkness, to know that the hound was on his trail?" "He heard him." "To hear a hound upon the moor would not work a hard man like this convict into such a paroxysm of terror that he would risk recapture by screaming wildly for help. By his cries he must have run a long way after he knew the animal was on his track. How did he know?" "A greater mystery to me is why this hound, presuming that all our conjectures are correct—" "I presume nothing." "Well, then, why this hound should be loose tonight. I suppose that it does not always run loose upon the moor. Stapleton would not let it go unless he had reason to think that Sir Henry would be there." "My difficulty is the more formidable of the two, for I think that we shall very shortly get an explanation of yours, while mine may remain forever a mystery. The question now is, what shall we do with this poor wretch's body? We cannot leave it here to the foxes and the ravens." "I suggest that we put it in one of the huts until we can communicate with the police." "Exactly. I have no doubt that you and I could carry it so far. Halloa, Watson, what's this? It's the man himself, by all that's wonderful and audacious! Not a word to show your suspicions—not a word, or my plans crumble to the ground." A figure was approaching us over the moor, and I saw the dull red glow of a cigar. The moon shone upon him, and I could distinguish the dapper shape and jaunty walk of the naturalist. He stopped when he saw us, and then came on again. "Why, Dr. Watson, that's not you, is it? You are the last man that I should have expected to see out on the moor at this time of night. But, dear me, what's this? Somebody hurt? Not—don't tell me that it is our friend Sir Henry!" He hurried past me and stooped over the dead man. I heard a sharp intake of his breath and the cigar fell from his fingers. "Who—who's this?" he stammered. "It is Selden, the man who escaped from Princetown." Stapleton turned a ghastly face upon us, but by a supreme effort he had overcome his amazement and his disappointment. He looked sharply from Holmes to me. "Dear me! What a very shocking affair! How did he die?" "He appears to have broken his neck by falling over these rocks. My friend and I were strolling on the moor when we heard a cry." "I heard a cry also. That was what brought me out. I was uneasy about Sir Henry." "Why about Sir Henry in particular?" I could not help asking. "Because I had suggested that he should come over. When he did not come I was surprised, and I naturally became alarmed for his safety when I heard cries upon the moor. By the way"—his eyes darted again from my face to Holmes's—"did you hear anything else besides a cry?" "No," said Holmes; "did you?" "No." "What do you mean, then?"


"Oh, you know the stories that the peasants tell about a phantom hound, and so on. It is said to be heard at night upon the moor. I was wondering if there were any evidence of such a sound tonight." "We heard nothing of the kind," said I. "And what is your theory of this poor fellow's death?" "I have no doubt that anxiety and exposure have driven him off his head. He has rushed about the moor in a crazy state and eventually fallen over here and broken his neck." "That seems the most reasonable theory," said Stapleton, and he gave a sigh which I took to indicate his relief. "What do you think about it, Mr. Sherlock Holmes?" My friend bowed his compliments. "You are quick at identification," said he. "We have been expecting you in these parts since Dr. Watson came down. You are in time to see a tragedy." "Yes, indeed. I have no doubt that my friend's explanation will cover the facts. I will take an unpleasant remembrance back to London with me tomorrow." "Oh, you return tomorrow?" "That is my intention." "I hope your visit has cast some light upon those occurrences which have puzzled us?" Holmes shrugged his shoulders. "One cannot always have the success for which one hopes. An investigator needs facts and not legends or rumours. It has not been a satisfactory case." My friend spoke in his frankest and most unconcerned manner. Stapleton still looked hard at him. Then he turned to me. "I would suggest carrying this poor fellow to my house, but it would give my sister such a fright that I do not feel justified in doing it. I think that if we put something over his face he will be safe until morning." And so it was arranged. Resisting Stapleton's offer of hospitality, Holmes and I set off to Baskerville Hall, leaving the naturalist to return alone. Looking back we saw the figure moving slowly away over the broad moor, and behind him that one black smudge on the silvered slope which showed where the man was lying who had come so horribly to his end.

Chapter 13 Fixing the Nets
"We're at close grips at last," said Holmes as we walked together across the moor. "What a nerve the fellow has! How he pulled himself together in the face of what must have been a paralyzing shock when he found that the wrong man had fallen a victim to his plot. I told you in London, Watson, and I tell you now again, that we have never had a foeman more worthy of our steel." "I am sorry that he has seen you." "And so was I at first. But there was no getting out of it." "What effect do you think it will have upon his plans now that he knows you are here?"


"It may cause him to be more cautious, or it may drive him to desperate measures at once. Like most clever criminals, he may be too confident in his own cleverness and imagine that he has completely deceived us." "Why should we not arrest him at once?" "My dear Watson, you were born to be a man of action. Your instinct is always to do something energetic. But supposing, for argument's sake, that we had him arrested tonight, what on earth the better off should we be for that? We could prove nothing against him. There's the devilish cunning of it! If he were acting through a human agent we could get some evidence, but if we were to drag this great dog to the light of day it would not help us in putting a rope round the neck of its master." "Surely we have a case."

"Not shadows of one—only surmise and conjecture. We should be laughed out of court if we came with such a story and such evidence."
"There is Sir Charles's death." "Found dead without a mark upon him. You and I know that he died of sheer fright, and we know also what frightened him, but how are we to get twelve stolid jurymen to know it? What signs are there of a hound? Where are the marks of its fangs? Of course we know that a hound does not bite a dead body and that Sir Charles was dead before ever the brute overtook him. But we have to prove all this, and we are not in a position to do it." "Well, then, tonight?" "We are not much better off tonight. Again, there was no direct connection between the hound and the man's death. We never saw the hound. We heard it, but we could not prove that it was running upon this man's trail. There is a complete absence of motive. No, my dear fellow; we must reconcile ourselves to the fact that we have no case at present, and that it is worth our while to run any risk in order to establish one." "And how do you propose to do so?" "I have great hopes of what Mrs. Laura Lyons may do for us when the position of affairs is made clear to her. And I have my own plan as well. Sufficient for tomorrow is the evil thereof; but I hope before the day is past to have the upper hand at last." I could draw nothing further from him, and he walked, lost in thought, as far as the Baskerville gates. "Are you coming up?" "Yes; I see no reason for further concealment. But one last word, Watson. Say nothing of the hound to Sir Henry. Let him think that Selden's death was as Stapleton would have us believe. He will have a better nerve for the ordeal which he will have to undergo tomorrow, when he is engaged, if I remember your report aright, to dine with these people." "And so am I." "Then you must excuse yourself and he must go alone. That will be easily arranged. And now, if we are too late for dinner, I think that we are both ready for our suppers." Sir Henry was more pleased than surprised to see Sherlock Holmes, for he had for some days been expecting that recent events would bring him down from London. He did raise his eyebrows, however, when he found that my friend had neither any luggage nor any explanations for its absence. Between us we soon supplied his wants, and then over a belated supper we explained to the baronet as much of our experience as it seemed desirable that he should know. But first I had the unpleasant duty of breaking the news to Barrymore and his wife. To him it may have been an unmitigated relief, but she wept bitterly in her apron. To all the world he was the man of violence, half animal and half demon; but to her he always remained the little wilful boy of her own girlhood, the child who had clung to her hand. Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him. "I've been moping in the house all day since Watson went off in the morning," said the baronet. "I guess I should have some credit, for I have kept my promise. If I hadn't sworn not to go about alone I might have had a more lively evening, for I had a message from Stapleton asking me over there."


"I have no doubt that you would have had a more lively evening," said Holmes drily. "By the way, I don't suppose you appreciate that we have been mourning over you as having broken your neck?" Sir Henry opened his eyes. "How was that?" "This poor wretch was dressed in your clothes. I fear your servant who gave them to him may get into trouble with the police." "That is unlikely. There was no mark on any of them, as far as I know." "That's lucky for him—in fact, it's lucky for all of you, since you are all on the wrong side of the law in this matter. I am not sure that as a conscientious detective my first duty is not to arrest the whole household. Watson's reports are most incriminating documents." "But how about the case?" asked the baronet. "Have you made anything out of the tangle? I don't know that Watson and I are much the wiser since we came down." "I think that I shall be in a position to make the situation rather more clear to you before long. It has been an exceedingly difficult and most complicated business. There are several points upon which we still want light—but it is coming all the same." "We've had one experience, as Watson has no doubt told you. We heard the hound on the moor, so I can swear that it is not all empty superstition. I had something to do with dogs when I was out West, and I know one when I hear one. If you can muzzle that one and put him on a chain I'll be ready to swear you are the greatest detective of all time." "I think I will muzzle him and chain him all right if you will give me your help." "Whatever you tell me to do I will do." "Very good; and I will ask you also to do it blindly, without always asking the reason." "Just as you like." "If you will do this I think the chances are that our little problem will soon be solved. I have no doubt—" He stopped suddenly and stared fixedly up over my head into the air. The lamp beat upon his face, and so intent was it and so still that it might have been that of a clear-cut classical statue, a personification of alertness and expectation. "What is it?" we both cried. I could see as he looked down that he was repressing some internal emotion. His features were still composed, but his eyes shone with amused exultation. "Excuse the admiration of a connoisseur," said he as he waved his hand towards the line of portraits which covered the opposite wall. "Watson won't allow that I know anything of art but that is mere jealousy because our views upon the subject differ. Now, these are a really very fine series of portraits." "Well, I'm glad to hear you say so," said Sir Henry, glancing with some surprise at my friend. "I don't pretend to know much about these things, and I'd be a better judge of a horse or a steer than of a picture. I didn't know that you found time for such things." "I know what is good when I see it, and I see it now. That's a Kneller, I'll swear, that lady in the blue silk over yonder, and the stout gentleman with the wig ought to be a Reynolds. They are all family portraits, I presume?" "Every one." "Do you know the names?" "Barrymore has been coaching me in them, and I think I can say my lessons fairly well."


"Who is the gentleman with the telescope?" "That is Rear-Admiral Baskerville, who served under Rodney in the West Indies. The man with the blue coat and the roll of paper is Sir William Baskerville, who was Chairman of Committees of the House of Commons under Pitt." "And this Cavalier opposite to me—the one with the black velvet and the lace?" "Ah, you have a right to know about him. That is the cause of all the mischief, the wicked Hugo, who started the Hound of the Baskervilles. We're not likely to forget him." I gazed with interest and some surprise upon the portrait. "Dear me!" said Holmes, "he seems a quiet, meek-mannered man enough, but I dare say that there was a lurking devil in his eyes. I had pictured him as a more robust and ruffianly person." "There's no doubt about the authenticity, for the name and the date, 1647, are on the back of the canvas." Holmes said little more, but the picture of the old roysterer seemed to have a fascination for him, and his eyes were continually fixed upon it during supper. It was not until later, when Sir Henry had gone to his room, that I was able to follow the trend of his thoughts. He led me back into the banqueting-hall, his bedroom candle in his hand, and he held it up against the time-stained portrait on the wall. "Do you see anything there?" I looked at the broad plumed hat, the curling love-locks, the white lace collar, and the straight, severe face which was framed between them. It was not a brutal countenance, but it was prim, hard, and stern, with a firm-set, thinlipped mouth, and a coldly intolerant eye. "Is it like anyone you know?" "There is something of Sir Henry about the jaw." "Just a suggestion, perhaps. But wait an instant!" He stood upon a chair, and, holding up the light in his left hand, he curved his right arm over the broad hat and round the long ringlets. "Good heavens!" I cried in amazement. The face of Stapleton had sprung out of the canvas. "Ha, you see it now. My eyes have been trained to examine faces and not their trimmings. It is the first quality of a criminal investigator that he should see through a disguise." "But this is marvellous. It might be his portrait." "Yes, it is an interesting instance of a throwback, which appears to be both physical and spiritual. A study of family portraits is enough to convert a man to the doctrine of reincarnation. The fellow is a Baskerville—that is evident." "With designs upon the succession." "Exactly. This chance of the picture has supplied us with one of our most obvious missing links. We have him, Watson, we have him, and I dare swear that before tomorrow night he will be fluttering in our net as helpless as one of his own butterflies. A pin, a cork, and a card, and we add him to the Baker Street collection!" He burst into one of his rare fits of laughter as he turned away from the picture. I have not heard him laugh often, and it has always boded ill to somebody. I was up betimes in the morning, but Holmes was afoot earlier still, for I saw him as I dressed, coming up the drive.


"Yes, we should have a full day today," he remarked, and he rubbed his hands with the joy of action. "The nets are all in place, and the drag is about to begin. We'll know before the day is out whether we have caught our big, leanjawed pike, or whether he has got through the meshes." "Have you been on the moor already?" "I have sent a report from Grimpen to Princetown as to the death of Selden. I think I can promise that none of you will be troubled in the matter. And I have also communicated with my faithful Cartwright, who would certainly have pined away at the door of my hut, as a dog does at his master's grave, if I had not set his mind at rest about my safety." "What is the next move?" "To see Sir Henry. Ah, here he is!" "Good-morning, Holmes," said the baronet. "You look like a general who is planning a battle with his chief of the staff." "That is the exact situation. Watson was asking for orders." "And so do I." "Very good. You are engaged, as I understand, to dine with our friends the Stapletons tonight." "I hope that you will come also. They are very hospitable people, and I am sure that they would be very glad to see you." "I fear that Watson and I must go to London." "To London?" "Yes, I think that we should be more useful there at the present juncture." The baronet's face perceptibly lengthened. "I hoped that you were going to see me through this business. The Hall and the moor are not very pleasant places when one is alone." "My dear fellow, you must trust me implicitly and do exactly what I tell you. You can tell your friends that we should have been happy to have come with you, but that urgent business required us to be in town. We hope very soon to return to Devonshire. Will you remember to give them that message?" "If you insist upon it." "There is no alternative, I assure you." I saw by the baronet's clouded brow that he was deeply hurt by what he regarded as our desertion. "When do you desire to go?" he asked coldly. "Immediately after breakfast. We will drive in to Coombe Tracey, but Watson will leave his things as a pledge that he will come back to you. Watson, you will send a note to Stapleton to tell him that you regret that you cannot come." "I have a good mind to go to London with you," said the baronet. "Why should I stay here alone?" "Because it is your post of duty. Because you gave me your word that you would do as you were told, and I tell you to stay." "All right, then, I'll stay."


"One more direction! I wish you to drive to Merripit House. Send back your trap, however, and let them know that you intend to walk home." "To walk across the moor?" "Yes." "But that is the very thing which you have so often cautioned me not to do." "This time you may do it with safety. If I had not every confidence in your nerve and courage I would not suggest it, but it is essential that you should do it." "Then I will do it." "And as you value your life do not go across the moor in any direction save along the straight path which leads from Merripit House to the Grimpen Road, and is your natural way home." "I will do just what you say." "Very good. I should be glad to get away as soon after breakfast as possible, so as to reach London in the afternoon." I was much astounded by this programme, though I remembered that Holmes had said to Stapleton on the night before that his visit would terminate next day. It had not crossed my mind however, that he would wish me to go with him, nor could I understand how we could both be absent at a moment which he himself declared to be critical. There was nothing for it, however, but implicit obedience; so we bade good-bye to our rueful friend, and a couple of hours afterwards we were at the station of Coombe Tracey and had dispatched the trap upon its return journey. A small boy was waiting upon the platform. "Any orders, sir?" "You will take this train to town, Cartwright. The moment you arrive you will send a wire to Sir Henry Baskerville, in my name, to say that if he finds the pocketbook which I have dropped he is to send it by registered post to Baker Street." "Yes, sir." "And ask at the station office if there is a message for me." The boy returned with a telegram, which Holmes handed to me. It ran: Wire received. Coming down with unsigned warrant. Arrive five-forty. Lestrade. "That is in answer to mine of this morning. He is the best of the professionals, I think, and we may need his assistance. Now, Watson, I think that we cannot employ our time better than by calling upon your acquaintance, Mrs. Laura Lyons." His plan of campaign was beginning to be evident. He would use the baronet in order to convince the Stapletons that we were really gone, while we should actually return at the instant when we were likely to be needed. That telegram from London, if mentioned by Sir Henry to the Stapletons, must remove the last suspicions from their minds. Already I seemed to see our nets drawing closer around that leanjawed pike. Mrs. Laura Lyons was in her office, and Sherlock Holmes opened his interview with a frankness and directness which considerably amazed her. "I am investigating the circumstances which attended the death of the late Sir Charles Baskerville," said he. "My friend here, Dr. Watson, has informed me of what you have communicated, and also of what you have withheld in connection with that matter." "What have I withheld?" she asked defiantly.


"You have confessed that you asked Sir Charles to be at the gate at ten o'clock. We know that that was the place and hour of his death. You have withheld what the connection is between these events." "There is no connection." "In that case the coincidence must indeed be an extraordinary one. But I think that we shall succeed in establishing a connection, after all. I wish to be perfectly frank with you, Mrs. Lyons. We regard this case as one of murder, and the evidence may implicate not only your friend Mr. Stapleton but his wife as well." The lady sprang from her chair. "His wife!" she cried. "The fact is no longer a secret. The person who has passed for his sister is really his wife." Mrs. Lyons had resumed her seat. Her hands were grasping the arms of her chair, and I saw that the pink nails had turned white with the pressure of her grip. "His wife!" she said again. "His wife! He is not a married man." Sherlock Holmes shrugged his shoulders. "Prove it to me! Prove it to me! And if you can do so—!" The fierce flash of her eyes said more than any words. "I have come prepared to do so," said Holmes, drawing several papers from his pocket. "Here is a photograph of the couple taken in York four years ago. It is indorsed 'Mr. and Mrs. Vandeleur,' but you will have no difficulty in recognizing him, and her also, if you know her by sight. Here are three written descriptions by trustworthy witnesses of Mr. and Mrs. Vandeleur, who at that time kept St. Oliver's private school. Read them and see if you can doubt the identity of these people." She glanced at them, and then looked up at us with the set, rigid face of a desperate woman. "Mr. Holmes," she said, "this man had offered me marriage on condition that I could get a divorce from my husband. He has lied to me, the villain, in every conceivable way. Not one word of truth has he ever told me. And why—why? I imagined that all was for my own sake. But now I see that I was never anything but a tool in his hands. Why should I preserve faith with him who never kept any with me? Why should I try to shield him from the consequences of his own wicked acts? Ask me what you like, and there is nothing which I shall hold back. One thing I swear to you, and that is that when I wrote the letter I never dreamed of any harm to the old gentleman, who had been my kindest friend." "I entirely believe you, madam," said Sherlock Holmes. "The recital of these events must be very painful to you, and perhaps it will make it easier if I tell you what occurred, and you can check me if I make any material mistake. The sending of this letter was suggested to you by Stapleton?" "He dictated it." "I presume that the reason he gave was that you would receive help from Sir Charles for the legal expenses connected with your divorce?" "Exactly." "And then after you had sent the letter he dissuaded you from keeping the appointment?" "He told me that it would hurt his self-respect that any other man should find the money for such an object, and that though he was a poor man himself he would devote his last penny to removing the obstacles which divided us." "He appears to be a very consistent character. And then you heard nothing until you read the reports of the death in the paper?"


"No." "And he made you swear to say nothing about your appointment with Sir Charles?" "He did. He said that the death was a very mysterious one, and that I should certainly be suspected if the facts came out. He frightened me into remaining silent." "Quite so. But you had your suspicions?" She hesitated and looked down. "I knew him," she said. "But if he had kept faith with me I should always have done so with him." "I think that on the whole you have had a fortunate escape," said Sherlock Holmes. "You have had him in your power and he knew it, and yet you are alive. You have been walking for some months very near to the edge of a precipice. We must wish you good-morning now, Mrs. Lyons, and it is probable that you will very shortly hear from us again." "Our case becomes rounded off, and difficulty after difficulty thins away in front of us," said Holmes as we stood waiting for the arrival of the express from town. "I shall soon be in the position of being able to put into a single connected narrative one of the most singular and sensational crimes of modern times. Students of criminology will remember the analogous incidents in Godno, in Little Russia, in the year '66, and of course there are the Anderson murders in North Carolina, but this case possesses some features which are entirely its own. Even now we have no clear case against this very wily man. But I shall be very much surprised if it is not clear enough before we go to bed this night." The London express came roaring into the station, and a small, wiry bulldog of a man had sprung from a firstclass carriage. We all three shook hands, and I saw at once from the reverential way in which Lestrade gazed at my companion that he had learned a good deal since the days when they had first worked together. I could well remember the scorn which the theories of the reasoner used then to excite in the practical man. "Anything good?" he asked. "The biggest thing for years," said Holmes. "We have two hours before we need think of starting. I think we might employ it in getting some dinner and then, Lestrade; we will take the London fog out of your throat by giving you a breath of the pure night air of Dartmoor. Never been there? Ah, well, I don't suppose you will forget your first visit."

Chapter 14 The Hound of the Baskervilles
One of Sherlock Holmes's defects—if, indeed, one may call it a defect—was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfilment. Partly it came no doubt from his own masterful nature, which loved to dominate and surprise those who were around him. Partly also from his professional caution, which urged him never to take any chances. The result, however, was very trying for those who were acting as his agents and assistants. I had often suffered under it, but never more so than during that long drive in the darkness. The great ordeal was in front of us; at last we were about to make our final effort, and yet Holmes had said nothing, and I could only surmise what his course of action would be. My nerves thrilled with anticipation when at last the cold wind upon our faces and the dark, void spaces on either side of the narrow road told me that we were back upon the moor once again. Every stride of the horses and every turn of the wheels was taking us nearer to our supreme adventure. Our conversation was hampered by the presence of the driver of the hired wagonette, so that we were forced to talk of trivial matters when our nerves were tense with emotion and anticipation. It was a relief to me, after that unnatural restraint, when we at last passed Frankland's house and knew that we were drawing near to the Hall and to the scene of action. We did not drive up to the door but got down near the gate of the avenue. The wagonette was paid off and ordered to return to Coombe Tracey forthwith, while we started to walk to Merripit House.


"Are you armed, Lestrade?" The little detective smiled. "As long as I have my trousers I have a hip-pocket, and as long as I have my hippocket I have something in it." "Good! My friend and I are also ready for emergencies." "You're mighty close about this affair, Mr. Holmes. What's the game now?" "A waiting game." "My word, it does not seem a very cheerful place," said the detective with a shiver, glancing round him at the gloomy slopes of the hill and at the huge lake of fog which lay over the Grimpen Mire. "I see the lights of a house ahead of us." "That is Merripit House and the end of our journey. I must request you to walk on tiptoe and not to talk above a whisper." We moved cautiously along the track as if we were bound for the house, but Holmes halted us when we were about two hundred yards from it. "This will do," said he. "These rocks upon the right make an admirable screen." "We are to wait here?" "Yes, we shall make our little ambush here. Get into this hollow, Lestrade. You have been inside the house, have you not, Watson? Can you tell the position of the rooms? What are those latticed windows at this end?" "I think they are the kitchen windows." "And the one beyond, which shines so brightly?" "That is certainly the dining-room." "The blinds are up. You know the lie of the land best. Creep forward quietly and see what they are doing—but for heaven's sake don't let them know that they are watched!" I tiptoed down the path and stooped behind the low wall which surrounded the stunted orchard. Creeping in its shadow I reached a point whence I could look straight through the uncurtained window. There were only two men in the room, Sir Henry and Stapleton. They sat with their profiles towards me on either side of the round table. Both of them were smoking cigars, and coffee and wine were in front of them. Stapleton was talking with animation, but the baronet looked pale and distrait. Perhaps the thought of that lonely walk across the ill-omened moor was weighing heavily upon his mind. As I watched them Stapleton rose and left the room, while Sir Henry filled his glass again and leaned back in his chair, puffing at his cigar. I heard the creak of a door and the crisp sound of boots upon gravel. The steps passed along the path on the other side of the wall under which I crouched. Looking over, I saw the naturalist pause at the door of an out-house in the corner of the orchard. A key turned in a lock, and as he passed in there was a curious scuffling noise from within. He was only a minute or so inside, and then I heard the key turn once more and he passed me and reentered the house. I saw him rejoin his guest, and I crept quietly back to where my companions were waiting to tell them what I had seen. "You say, Watson, that the lady is not there?" Holmes asked when I had finished my report. "No." "Where can she be, then, since there is no light in any other room except the kitchen?" "I cannot think where she is."


I have said that over the great Grimpen Mire there hung a dense, white fog. It was drifting slowly in our direction and banked itself up like a wall on that side of us, low but thick and well defined. The moon shone on it, and it looked like a great shimmering ice-field, with the heads of the distant tors as rocks borne upon its surface. Holmes's face was turned towards it, and he muttered impatiently as he watched its sluggish drift. "It's moving towards us, Watson." "Is that serious?" "Very serious, indeed—the one thing upon earth which could have disarranged my plans. He can't be very long, now. It is already ten o'clock. Our success and even his life may depend upon his coming out before the fog is over the path." The night was clear and fine above us. The stars shone cold and bright, while a half-moon bathed the whole scene in a soft, uncertain light. Before us lay the dark bulk of the house, its serrated roof and bristling chimneys hard outlined against the silver-spangled sky. Broad bars of golden light from the lower windows stretched across the orchard and the moor. One of them was suddenly shut off. The servants had left the kitchen. There only remained the lamp in the dining-room where the two men, the murderous host and the unconscious guest, still chatted over their cigars. Every minute that white woolly plain which covered one-half of the moor was drifting closer and closer to the house. Already the first thin wisps of it were curling across the golden square of the lighted window. The farther wall of the orchard was already invisible, and the trees were standing out of a swirl of white vapour. As we watched it the fog-wreaths came crawling round both corners of the house and rolled slowly into one dense bank on which the upper floor and the roof floated like a strange ship upon a shadowy sea. Holmes struck his hand passionately upon the rock in front of us and stamped his feet in his impatience. "If he isn't out in a quarter of an hour the path will be covered. In half an hour we won't be able to see our hands in front of us." "Shall we move farther back upon higher ground?" "Yes, I think it would be as well." So as the fog-bank flowed onward we fell back before it until we were half a mile from the house, and still that dense white sea, with the moon silvering its upper edge, swept slowly and inexorably on. "We are going too far," said Holmes. "We dare not take the chance of his being overtaken before he can reach us. At all costs we must hold our ground where we are." He dropped on his knees and clapped his ear to the ground. "Thank God, I think that I hear him coming." A sound of quick steps broke the silence of the moor. Crouching among the stones we stared intently at the silvertipped bank in front of us. The steps grew louder, and through the fog, as through a curtain, there stepped the man whom we were awaiting. He looked round him in surprise as he emerged into the clear, starlit night. Then he came swiftly along the path, passed close to where we lay, and went on up the long slope behind us. As he walked he glanced continually over either shoulder, like a man who is ill at ease. "Hist!" cried Holmes, and I heard the sharp click of a cocking pistol. "Look out! It's coming!" There was a thin, crisp, continuous patter from somewhere in the heart of that crawling bank. The cloud was within fifty yards of where we lay, and we glared at it, all three, uncertain what horror was about to break from the heart of it. I was at Holmes's elbow, and I glanced for an instant at his face. It was pale and exultant, his eyes shining brightly in the moonlight. But suddenly they started forward in a rigid, fixed stare, and his lips parted in amazement. At the same instant Lestrade gave a yell of terror and threw himself face downward upon the ground. I sprang to my feet, my inert hand grasping my pistol, my mind paralyzed by the dreadful shape which had sprung out upon us from the shadows of the fog. A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog. With long bounds the huge black creature was leaping down the track, following hard upon the footsteps of our friend. So paralyzed were we by the apparition that we allowed him to pass before we had recovered our nerve. Then Holmes and I both fired together, and the creature gave a hideous howl, which showed that one at least had hit him. He did not pause, however, but bounded onward. Far away on the path we saw Sir Henry looking back,


his face white in the moonlight, his hands raised in horror, glaring helplessly at the frightful thing which was hunting him down. But that cry of pain from the hound had blown all our fears to the winds. If he was vulnerable he was mortal, and if we could wound him we could kill him. Never have I seen a man run as Holmes ran that night. I am reckoned fleet of foot, but he outpaced me as much as I outpaced the little professional. In front of us as we flew up the track we heard scream after scream from Sir Henry and the deep roar of the hound. I was in time to see the beast spring upon its victim, hurl him to the ground, and worry at his throat. But the next instant Holmes had emptied five barrels of his revolver into the creature's flank. With a last howl of agony and a vicious snap in the air, it rolled upon its back, four feet pawing furiously, and then fell limp upon its side. I stooped, panting, and pressed my pistol to the dreadful, shimmering head, but it was useless to press the trigger. The giant hound was dead. Sir Henry lay insensible where he had fallen. We tore away his collar, and Holmes breathed a prayer of gratitude when we saw that there was no sign of a wound and that the rescue had been in time. Already our friend's eyelids shivered and he made a feeble effort to move. Lestrade thrust his brandy-flask between the baronet's teeth, and two frightened eyes were looking up at us. "My God!" he whispered. "What was it? What, in heaven's name, was it?" "It's dead, whatever it is," said Holmes. "We've laid the family ghost once and forever." In mere size and strength it was a terrible creature which was lying stretched before us. It was not a pure bloodhound and it was not a pure mastiff; but it appeared to be a combination of the two—gaunt, savage, and as large as a small lioness. Even now in the stillness of death, the huge jaws seemed to be dripping with a bluish flame and the small, deep-set, cruel eyes were ringed with fire. I placed my hand upon the glowing muzzle, and as I held them up my own fingers smouldered and gleamed in the darkness. "Phosphorus," I said. "A cunning preparation of it," said Holmes, sniffing at the dead animal. "There is no smell which might have interfered with his power of scent. We owe you a deep apology, Sir Henry, for having exposed you to this fright. I was prepared for a hound, but not for such a creature as this. And the fog gave us little time to receive him." "You have saved my life." "Having first endangered it. Are you strong enough to stand?" "Give me another mouthful of that brandy and I shall be ready for anything. So! Now, if you will help me up. What do you propose to do?" "To leave you here. You are not fit for further adventures tonight. If you will wait, one or other of us will go back with you to the Hall." He tried to stagger to his feet; but he was still ghastly pale and trembling in every limb. We helped him to a rock, where he sat shivering with his face buried in his hands. "We must leave you now," said Holmes. "The rest of our work must be done, and every moment is of importance. We have our case, and now we only want our man. "It's a thousand to one against our finding him at the house," he continued as we retraced our steps swiftly down the path. "Those shots must have told him that the game was up." "We were some distance off, and this fog may have deadened them." "He followed the hound to call him off—of that you may be certain. No, no, he's gone by this time! But we'll search the house and make sure." The front door was open, so we rushed in and hurried from room to room to the amazement of a doddering old manservant, who met us in the passage. There was no light save in the dining-room, but Holmes caught up the lamp and left no corner of the house unexplored. No sign could we see of the man whom we were chasing. On the upper floor, however, one of the bedroom doors was locked. "There's someone in here," cried Lestrade. "I can hear a movement. Open this door!"


everything. "He may find his way in. Her eyes and teeth gleamed with fierce merriment." She gave a long sigh of satisfaction. no. Another covered the lower part of the face. Meanwhile we left Lestrade in possession of the house while Holmes and I went back with the baronet to Baskerville Hall. and before morning he lay delirious 187 . and the walls were lined by a number of glass-topped cases full of that collection of butterflies and moths the formation of which had been the relaxation of this complex and dangerous man." She opened her eyes again. and Mrs. "No one could find his way into the Grimpen Mire tonight.A faint moaning and rustling came from within. madam. "Has he escaped?" "He cannot escape us. As her beautiful head fell upon her chest I saw the clear red weal of a whiplash across her neck. One towel passed round the throat and was secured at the back of the pillar. "There is an old tin mine on an island in the heart of the mire. Pistol in hand. but never out. The story of the Stapletons could no longer be withheld from him. which had been placed at some period as a support for the old worm-eaten baulk of timber which spanned the roof. he and I. That is where he would fly." "No." she answered. we all three rushed into the room." "And the hound?" "It is dead." She laughed and clapped her hands. as long as I could still cling to the hope that I had his love. this villain! See how he has treated me!" She shot her arms out from her sleeves. "Is he safe?" she asked. "Here." said he. to mark the pathway through the mire. But the shock of the night's adventures had shattered his nerves. a life of deception." she cried. but now I know that in this also I have been his dupe and his tool. If you have ever aided him in evil. "Thank God! Thank God! Oh. In the centre of this room there was an upright beam. Stapleton sank upon the floor in front of us. your brandy-bottle! Put her in the chair! She has fainted from ill-usage and exhaustion. I did not mean my husband. But there was no sign within it of that desperate and defiant villain whom we expected to see. Instead we were faced by an object so strange and so unexpected that we stood for a moment staring at it in amazement. "The brute!" cried Holmes. Then indeed you would have had him at your mercy!" It was evident to us that all pursuit was in vain until the fog had lifted. ill-usage. The room had been fashioned into a small museum. "You bear him no good will. and we saw with horror that they were all mottled with bruises." said Holmes. unswathed the bonds. In a minute we had torn off the gag. and over it two dark eyes—eyes full of grief and shame and a dreadful questioning—stared back at us. help us now and so atone. so swathed and muffled in the sheets which had been used to secure it that one could not for the moment tell whether it was that of a man or a woman." She broke into passionate sobbing as she spoke. It was there that he kept his hound and there also he had made preparations so that he might have a refuge. "But this is nothing—nothing! It is my mind and soul that he has tortured and defiled. Lestrade. "See. but he took the blow bravely when he learned the truth about the woman whom he had loved. solitude. Holmes struck the door just over the lock with the flat of his foot and it flew open." "There is but one place where he can have fled. Holmes held the lamp towards it. "Tell us then where we shall find him. Oh. if I could only have plucked them out today." The fog-bank lay like white wool against the window. I could endure it all. Sir Henry? Is he safe?" "Yes. "How can he see the guiding wands tonight? We planted them together. To this post a figure was tied. madam.

Its tenacious grip plucked at our heels as we walked. and it was only on the supreme day. Holmes sank to his waist as he stepped from the path to seize it. In one of these a staple and chain with a quantity of gnawed bones showed where the animal had been confined. and hence came those cries which even in daylight were not pleasant to hear. as many have done. "Meyers. upon the moor? I said it in London. this cold and cruel-hearted man is forever buried. I do not know that this place contains any secret which we have not already fathomed. for. "It is worth a mud bath. but he could not hush its voice. even as our friend did. but as we at last reached firmer ground beyond the morass we all looked eagerly for them. It was a cunning device. If the earth told a true story. Many traces we found of him in the bog-girt island where he had hid his savage ally. and as we ourselves might have done. Toronto." "Exactly. and when we sank into it it was as if some malignant hand was tugging us down into those obscene depths. And now I come rapidly to the conclusion of this singular narrative. A huge driving-wheel and a shaft half-filled with rubbish showed the position of an abandoned mine. We know at least that he came so far in safety. Stapleton to the point where they had found a pathway through the bog. Somewhere in the heart of the great Grimpen Mire. peaty soil which tapered out into the widespread bog. On the morning after the death of the hound the fog had lifted and we were guided by Mrs. And he hurled it away at this point of his flight. Once only we saw a trace that someone had passed that perilous way before us." was printed on the leather inside. slimy water-plants sent an odour of decay and a heavy miasmatic vapour onto our faces. hearty man that he had been before he became master of that ill-omened estate. when he saw such a creature bounding through the darkness of the moor upon his track. He fled when he knew the game was up." But more than that we were never destined to know. "It is our friend Sir Henry's missing boot. Well. We left her standing upon the thin peninsula of firm. From amid a tuft of cotton grass which bore it up out of the slime some dark thing was projecting. Rank reeds and lush. that never yet have we helped to hunt down a more dangerous man than he who is lying yonder"—he swept his long arm towards the huge mottled expanse of green-splotched bog which stretched away until it merged into the russet slopes of the moor. He held an old black boot in the air." said he. "A dog!" said Holmes. and I say it again now. Poor Mortimer will never see his pet again. It helped us to realize the horror of this woman's life when we saw the eagerness and joy with which she laid us on her husband's track. apart from the chance of driving your victim to his death. which shook for yards in soft undulations around our feet. so grim and purposeful was the clutch in which it held us. The two of them were destined to travel together round the world before Sir Henry had become once more the hale. Mortimer. "By Jove. for the rising mud oozed swiftly in upon them. in which I have tried to make the reader share those dark fears and vague surmises which clouded our lives so long and ended in so tragic a manner. It was suggested. quivering mire. driven away no doubt by the foul reek of the surrounding swamp. what peasant would venture to inquire too closely into such a creature should he get sight of it. Beside it were the crumbling remains of the cottages of the miners. while a false step plunged us more than once thigh-deep into the dark. He could hide his hound. He retained it in his hand after using it to set the hound upon the track. This paste in the tin is no doubt the luminous mixture with which the creature was daubed. though there was much which we might surmise. still clutching it. Watson." "Thrown there by Stapleton in his flight. But no slightest sign of them ever met our eyes. that he dared do it. and by the desire to frighten old Sir Charles to death. but it was always a risk. From the end of it a small wand planted here and there showed where the path zigzagged from tuft to tuft of rushes among those green-scummed pits and foul quagmires which barred the way to the stranger. A skeleton with a tangle of brown hair adhering to it lay among the debris. which he regarded as the end of all his efforts. a curly-haired spaniel. of course. by the story of the family hell-hound. On an emergency he could keep the hound in the out-house at a high fever under the care of Dr. There was no chance of finding footsteps in the mire. and had we not been there to drag him out he could never have set his foot upon firm land again. Chapter 15 A Retrospection 188 . then Stapleton never reached that island of refuge towards which he struggled through the fog upon that last night. No wonder the poor devil of a convict ran and screamed. down in the foul slime of the huge morass which had sucked him in.

been the first to describe. and that this fellow was indeed a Baskerville. the younger brother of Sir Charles. knew that the old man's heart was weak and that a shock would kill him. and had one child. as it will be remembered. I will give you the course of events as nearly as I can." "Perhaps you would kindly give me a sketch of the course of events from memory. as I will continue to call him. The barrister who has his case at his fingers' ends and is able to argue with an expert upon his own subject finds that a week or two of the courts will drive it all out of his head once more. "from the point of view of the man who called himself Stapleton was simple and direct. died however. Sir Henry and Dr. I have had the advantage of two conversations with Mrs. Mortimer. and he brought the remains of his fortune. Tomorrow some other little problem may be submitted to my notice which will in turn dispossess the fair French lady and the infamous Upwood. the young lady who. His ingenious mind instantly suggested a way by which the baronet could be done to death. in the first of which he had exposed the atrocious conduct of Colonel Upwood in connection with the famous card scandal of the Nonpareil Club. so that it was natural that the subject should come up for discussion. on either side of a blazing fire in our sitting-room in Baker Street. though I cannot guarantee that I carry all the facts in my mind. He had already on his insect hunts learned to penetrate the Grimpen Mire. in his Yorkshire days. and the school which had begun well sank from disrepute into infamy. and you will suggest anything which I may have forgotten." "Certainly. the tutor. Mortimer were. Carere has blurred my recollection of Baskerville Hall. as a matter of fact. and that his clear and logical mind would not be drawn from its present work to dwell upon memories of the past. the dealers in Fulham Road. it all appeared exceedingly complex. Intense mental concentration has a curious way of blotting out what has passed. He married Beryl Garcia. When he went to Devonshire his plans were. The use of artificial means to make the creature diabolical was a flash of genius upon his part. his schemes for the future. who fled with a sinister reputation to South America. You will find a few notes upon the matter under the heading B in my indexed list of cases. He had heard also that Sir Charles was superstitious and had taken this grim legend very seriously. was found six months later alive and married in New York. The dog he bought in London from Ross and Mangles. Stapleton. although to us. I had waited patiently for the opportunity for I was aware that he would never permit cases to overlap. where he was said to have died unmarried. and. It was the strongest and most savage in their possession. Fraser. and that he had used this man's ability to make the undertaking a success. Here he kennelled it and waited his chance. on their way to that long voyage which had been recommended for the restoration of his shattered nerves. Carere. though he may not have been certain how the details of his plot were to be arranged. however. I believe. His reason for attempting this special line of business was that he had struck up an acquaintance with a consumptive tutor upon the voyage home. "The baronet himself told him about the family hound. His first act was to establish himself as near to his ancestral home as he could. in London. having purloined a considerable sum of public money. "We now come to that portion of his life which has proved to be of such intense interest to us. My friend was in excellent spirits over the success which had attended a succession of difficult and important cases. he changed his name to Vandeleur and fled to England. He meant in the end to have the estate. and his second was to cultivate a friendship with Sir Charles Baskerville and with the neighbours. I learned at the British Museum that he was a recognized authority upon the subject. this fellow. An ordinary schemer would have been content to work with a savage hound. The fellow had evidently made inquiry and found that only two lives intervened between him and a valuable estate. but that he meant mischief from the first is evident from the way in which he took his wife with him in the character of his sister. The idea of using her as a decoy was clearly already in his mind.It was the end of November. however." said Holmes. who had no means in the beginning of knowing the motives of his actions and could only learn part of the facts. The Vandeleurs found it convenient to change their name to Stapleton. and Mlle. while in the second he had defended the unfortunate Mme. "The whole course of events. and so had found a safe hiding-place for the creature. upon a raw and foggy night. "My inquiries show beyond all question that the family portrait did not lie. and he was ready to use any tool or run any risk for that end. exceedingly hazy. Montpensier from the charge of murder which hung over her in connection with the death of her step-daughter. and so prepared the way for his own death. Stapleton. He was a son of that Rodger Baskerville. whose real name is the same as his father's. Mlle. where he established a school in the east of Yorkshire. and Holmes and I sat. one of the beauties of Costa Rica. and yet it would be hardly possible to bring home the guilt to the real murderer. He brought it down by the North Devon line and walked a great distance over the moor so as to get it home without exciting any remarks. So much he had learned from Dr. marry. and that the name of Vandeleur has been permanently attached to a certain moth which he had. so that I was able to induce him to discuss the details of the Baskerville mystery. "Having conceived the idea he proceeded to carry it out with considerable finesse. They had called upon us that very afternoon. So far as the case of the hound goes. Since the tragic upshot of our visit to Devonshire he had been engaged in two affairs of the utmost importance. and the case has now been so entirely cleared up that I am not aware that there is anything which has remained a secret to us. He did. So each of my cases displaces the last. 189 . and his taste for entomology to the south of England.

It is suggestive that during the last three years there have been four considerable burglaries in the west country. alarmed the countryside. However. By chance. both of them were under his influence. Stapleton and Mrs. Mrs. made him the minister of his charity in the case of this unfortunate woman. and he had nothing to fear from them. Lyons to write this letter. at the Mexborough Private Hotel. and he was told by the latter all details about the arrival of Henry Baskerville. "So much for the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. and he gave her to understand that in the event of her obtaining a divorce from her husband he would marry her. and finally brought the case within the scope of our observation. He had hoped that his wife might lure Sir Charles to his ruin. for really it would be almost impossible to make a case against the real murderer. since it proved conclusively to my mind that we were dealing with a real hound. "Driving back in the evening from Coombe Tracey he was in time to get his hound. which was actually one of those called upon by my agent in search of evidence. On seeing him lying still the creature had probably approached to sniff at him. however. I find. and addressing the letter in a disguised hand. incited by its master. useless for his purpose. The dog. In any case he would very soon learn it from his friend Dr. It reached the baronet."But it was some time coming. The old gentleman could not be decoyed outside of his grounds at night. and he dared not leave her long out of his sight for fear he should lose his influence over her. The first half of his task was successfully accomplished but the more difficult still remained. was seen by peasants. You perceive the devilish cunning of it. the first boot which was procured for him was a new one and. Mrs. They lodged. His only accomplice was one who could never give him away. "It was very essential for Stapleton to get some article of Sir Henry's attire so that. but had been impressed by the death occurring at the time of an uncancelled appointment which was only known to him. The hound was called off and hurried away to its lair in the Grimpen Mire. Mortimer. in Craven Street. It was for this reason that he took her to London with him. It was during these fruitless quests that he. who had conceived a friendship for him. and a mystery was left which puzzled the authorities. she adopted the expedient of cutting out the words which would form the message. but finding him dead had turned away again. He therefore put pressure upon Mrs. With characteristic promptness and audacity he set about this at once. From his knowledge of our rooms and of my appearance. He then. with its flaming jaws and blazing eyes. He must act at once. but without avail. as we know. therefore. with whose opinion he himself pretended to coincide. His plans were suddenly brought to a head by his knowledge that Sir Charles was about to leave the Hall on the advice of Dr. but she had such a fear of her husband—a fear founded upon brutal ill-treatment—that she dare not write to warn the man whom she knew to be in danger. Mortimer. In that gloomy tunnel it must indeed have been a dreadful sight to see that huge black creature. inconceivable nature of the device only served to make it more effective. The hound had kept upon the grassy border while the baronet had run down the path. or rather his ally. She would not endeavour to entangle the old gentleman in a sentimental attachment which might deliver him over to his enemy. but here she proved unexpectedly independent. and for a time Stapleton was at a deadlock. I am inclined to think that Stapleton's career of crime has been by no means limited to this single Baskerville affair. imploring the old man to give her an interview on the evening before his departure for London. "It is possible that Stapleton did not know of the existence of an heir in Canada. bounding after its victim. were left with a strong suspicion against Stapleton. followed Dr. and to bring the beast round to the gate at which he had reason to expect that he would find the old gentleman waiting. Laura Lyons. as well as from his general conduct. "He found a way out of his difficulties through the chance that Sir Charles. Both of the women concerned in the case. for none of which 190 . Threats and even. to treat it with his infernal paint. he might always have the means of setting him upon his track. It was then that it left the print which was actually observed by Dr. Eventually. He fell dead at the end of the alley from heart disease and terror. and we cannot doubt that the boots or chamber-maid of the hotel was well bribed to help him in his design. as no other supposition could explain this anxiety to obtain an old boot and this indifference to a new one. "Then we had the visit from our friends next morning. by a specious argument. shadowed always by Stapleton in the cab. and also of the existence of the hound. She would have nothing to do with it. I am sorry to say. If the letter should fall into Stapleton's hands her own life would not be safe. Stapleton's first idea was that this young stranger from Canada might possibly be done to death in London without coming down to Devonshire at all. and the grotesque. in case he was driven to use the dog. and so had the chance for which he had waited. sprang over the wicket-gate and pursued the unfortunate baronet. prevented her from going. Mrs. blows refused to move her. The more outre and grotesque an incident is the more carefully it deserves to be examined. Several times Stapleton lurked about with his hound. Mrs. so that no track but the man's was visible. Laura Lyons. Mortimer. Mortimer to Baker Street and afterwards to the station and to the Northumberland Hotel. His wife had some inkling of his plans. disguised in a beard. and that the legend of the demon dog received a new confirmation. By representing himself as a single man he acquired complete influence over her. He then had it returned and obtained another—a most instructive incident. the one which is most likely to elucidate it. or his victim might get beyond his power. and the very point which appears to complicate a case is. He distrusted his wife ever since she had refused to help him in laying a trap for the old man. who fled screaming down the yew alley. Stapleton knew that he had designs upon the old man. Lyons knew neither of these things. when duly considered and scientifically handled. Here he kept his wife imprisoned in her room while he. and gave him the first warning of his danger.

It is suggestive that Anthony is not a common name in England. whither they were soon followed by Sir Henry and you. and to him the saddest part of all this black business was that he should have been deceived by her. and was conscious of a faint smell of the scent known as white jessamine. and I came down secretly when I was supposed to be in London. that I could not do this if I were with you. which it is very necessary that a criminal expert should be able to distinguish from each other. was remarkable for the coldblooded pistolling of the page. We did so. I must confess. therefore." "One moment!" said I. In doing so I held it within a few inches of my eyes. and that for years he has been a desperate and dangerous man. since he would be keenly on his guard. The scent suggested the presence of a lady. and cases have more than once within my own experience depended upon their prompt recognition. described the sequence of events correctly. yourself included. or very possibly both. They were of great service to me. It was evident. She was ready to warn Sir Henry so far as she could without implicating her husband. One word now as to how I stood myself at that time. nor could we predict the fog which enabled him to burst upon us at such short notice. and especially that one incidentally truthful piece of biography of Stapleton's. and only used the hut upon the moor when it was necessary to be near the scene of action. so that he must have been aware that his master and mistress were really husband and wife. There was an old manservant at Merripit House. and also of his audacity in sending back my own name to me through the cabman. He returned to Dartmoor and awaited the arrival of the baronet. but I had not a case which could go to a jury. There are seventy-five perfumes. I have myself seen this old man cross the Grimpen Mire by the path which Stapleton had marked out. A long journey may enable our friend to recover not only from his shattered nerves but also from his wounded feelings. and that therefore there was no chance for him there. and already my thoughts began to turn towards the Stapletons. so that I was able to keep my hand upon all the strings. "It was my game to watch Stapleton. This also you cleared up in a very effective way. and had guessed at the criminal before ever we went to the west country. My hardships were not so great as you imagined. whose name was Anthony. and again and again she tried to do so. "The Stapletons then went down to Devonshire. and at the cost of a severe shock to our client we succeeded in completing our case and driving Stapleton to his destruction. no doubt. When I was watching Stapleton. It was. as a bait. His love for the lady was deep and sincere. though such trifling details must never interfere with the investigation of a case. Cartwright had come down with me. therefore.was any criminal ever arrested. That Sir Henry should have been exposed to this is. "We had an example of his readiness of resource that morning when he got away from us so successfully. There can be no question that Stapleton had a confidant. but there is one point which you have left unexplained. at least. "It only remains to indicate the part which she had played throughout. however. and to do so we had to use Sir Henry. in May. "You have. spoke good English. being forwarded instantly from Baker Street to Coombe Tracey. At his command she consented to pass as his sister. Thus I had made certain of the hound. The last of these. though he may never have known the purpose for which the beast was used. The case had been considerably complicated through the incident of the escaped convict and the relations between him and the Barrymores. It is very probable. while Antonio is so in all Spanish or Spanish-American countries. and when he 191 . I cannot doubt that Stapleton recruited his waning resources in this fashion. but we had no means of foreseeing the terrible and paralyzing spectacle which the beast presented. a reproach to my management of the case. as far back as the school-mastering days. who surprised the masked and solitary burglar. From that moment he understood that I had taken over the case in London. What became of the hound when its master was in London?" "I have given some attention to this matter and it is undoubtedly of importance. I was dependent upon him for food and clean linen. alone and apparently unprotected. Stapleton himself seems to have been capable of jealousy. Mortimer assure me will be a temporary one. since they are by no means incompatible emotions. His connection with the Stapletons can be traced for several years. at Folkestone Court. I stayed for the most part at Coombe Tracey. though he found the limits of his power over her when he endeavoured to make her the direct accessory to murder. Cartwright was frequently watching you. but with a curious lisping accent. Even Stapleton's attempt upon Sir Henry that night which ended in the death of the unfortunate convict did not help us much in proving murder against our man. like Mrs. that in the absence of his master it was he who cared for the hound. There seemed to be no alternative but to catch him red-handed. We succeeded in our object at a cost which both the specialist and Dr. This man has disappeared and has escaped from the country. "By the time that you discovered me upon the moor I had a complete knowledge of the whole business. The man. "I have already told you that your reports reached me rapidly. and in his disguise as a country boy he was of great assistance to me. I was able to establish the identity of the man and the woman and knew at last exactly how I stood. I deceived everybody. Stapleton herself. absolutely effective. There can be no doubt that Stapleton exercised an influence over her which may have been love or may have been fear. though I had already come to the same conclusions from my own observations. It may possibly recur to your memory that when I examined the paper upon which the printed words were fastened I made a close inspection for the water-mark. though it is unlikely that he ever placed himself in his power by sharing all his plans with him.

and she knew that the hound was being kept in the outhouse on the evening that Sir Henry was coming to dinner. and he hoped. however. establish his identity before the British authorities there and so obtain the fortune without ever coming to England at all. we have had some weeks of severe work. and retaining a claim upon some proportion of his income. had been living unannounced under another name so close to the property? How could he claim it without causing suspicion and inquiry?" "It is a formidable difficulty. In this I fancy that in any case he made a miscalculation.saw the baronet paying court to the lady. There only remains one difficulty." "He could not hope to frighten Sir Henry to death as he had done the old uncle with his bogie hound. She taxed her husband with his intended crime. his wife turned suddenly against him. We cannot doubt from what we know of him that he would have found some way out of the difficulty. but what a man may do in the future is a hard question to answer. the heir. And now. and he saw that she would betray him." "The beast was savage and half-starved." "No doubt. my dear Watson. He tied her up. and that. I cannot give you a more detailed account of this curious case. If Stapleton came into the succession. we may turn our thoughts into more pleasant channels. again. Her fidelity turned in an instant to bitter hatred. He might claim the property from South America. A woman of Spanish blood does not condone such an injury so lightly. that she might have no chance of warning Sir Henry.' Have you heard the De Reszkes? Might I trouble you then to be ready in half an hour. without referring to my notes. his doom would none the less have been sealed. On the day of the crisis. I think. that when the whole countryside put down the baronet's death to the curse of his family. She had learned something of the death of the convict. I do not know that anything essential has been left unexplained. or. he might furnish an accomplice with the proofs and papers. still he could not help interrupting with a passionate outburst which revealed the fiery soul which his self-contained manner so cleverly concealed. and I fear that you ask too much when you expect me to solve it. even though it was part of his own plan. and a furious scene followed in which he showed her for the first time that she had a rival in his love. as they certainly would do. or he might adopt an elaborate disguise during the short time that he need be in London. how could he explain the fact that he. putting him in as heir. he could win his wife back to accept an accomplished fact and to keep silent upon what she knew. and we can stop at Marcini's for a little dinner on the way?" 192 . and for one evening. The past and the present are within the field of my inquiry. therefore. Mrs. if we had not been there. There were three possible courses. By encouraging the intimacy he made it certain that Sir Henry would frequently come to Merripit House and that he would sooner or later get the opportunity which he desired. no doubt. And now. If its appearance did not frighten its victim to death. Stapleton has heard her husband discuss the problem on several occasions. at least it would paralyze the resistance which might be offered. I have a box for 'Les Huguenots. my dear Watson.

and very carefully studied both the exterior and the flap. That is where he comes within my purview. but I'll admit that I was annoyed at the sardonic interruption. as famous among crooks as—" PART 1 193 . the jackal with the lion—anything that is insignificant in companionship with what is formidable: not only formidable. is a nom-de-plume. "I can hardly doubt that it is Porlock's writing. "Really. "It is Porlock's writing. but sinister—in the highest degree sinister. The Greek e with the peculiar top flourish is distinctive. Watson. but behind it lies a shifty and evasive personality. "I should do so. Watson. with his untasted breakfast before him. but for the great man with whom he is in touch. He leaned upon his hand. Holmes." He was too much absorbed with his own thoughts to give any immediate answer to my remonstrance. You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?" "The famous scientific criminal. Porlock is important.THE VALLEY OF FEAR The Tragedy of Birlstone Chapter 1 The Warning "I am inclined to think—" said I. "Porlock. but my vexation disappeared in the interest which the words awakened. a mere identification mark. and he stared at the slip of paper which he had just drawn from its envelope. then it must be something of the very first importance. But if it is Porlock. Picture to yourself the pilot fish with the shark. I believe that I am one of the most long-suffering of mortals. "you are a little trying at times." said he thoughtfully. though I have seen it only twice before. and defied me ever to trace him among the teeming millions of this great city. Then he took the envelope itself." said I severely. "Who then is Porlock?" I asked. In a former letter he frankly informed me that the name was not his own. not for himself. held it up to the light." He was speaking to himself rather than to me." Sherlock Holmes remarked impatiently.

Watson. against which I must learn to guard myself. "You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour. none at all. "But you were speaking of this man Porlock." "Exactly." "But what is the use of a cipher message without the cipher?" "In this instance. that innate cunning which is the delight of your friends." "Ah." Again Holmes flattened out the paper upon his unused plate. Should it miscarry. But in calling Moriarty a criminal you are uttering libel in the eyes of the law—and there lie the glory and the wonder of it! The greatest schemer of all time. that for those very words that you have uttered he could hale you to a court and emerge with your year's pension as a solatium for his wounded character. both have to go wrong before any harm comes from it. Led on by some rudimentary aspirations towards right." "But no chain is stronger than its weakest link. But if I am spared by lesser men. a brain which might have made or marred the destiny of nations—that's the man! But so aloof is he from general suspicion." "Why do you say 'in this instance'?" "Because there are many ciphers which I would read as easily as I do the apocrypha of the agony column: such crude devices amuse the intelligence without fatiguing it." "But why 'Douglas' and 'Birlstone'?" "Clearly because those are words which were not contained in the page in question. Holmes?" "It is obviously an attempt to convey secret information. As it is. we should find that this communication is of the nature that I indicate." "May I be there to see!" I exclaimed devoutly. so admirable in his management and self-effacement. I cannot doubt that." Holmes's calculation was fulfilled within a very few minutes by the appearance of Billy." "Then why has he not indicated the book?" "Your native shrewdness. which ran as follows: 534 C2 13 127 36 31 4 17 21 41 DOUGLAS 109 293 5 37 BIRLSTONE 26 BIRLSTONE 9 47 171 "What do you make of it. It is clearly a reference to the words in a page of some book. yes—the so-called Porlock is a link in the chain some little way from its great attachment. or."My blushes. as he is unknown to the public. as is more probable." "A touch! A distinct touch!" cried Holmes. Our second post is now overdue. I rose and. and encouraged by the judicious stimulation of an occasional ten-pound note sent to him by devious methods. the controlling brain of the underworld. Until I am told which page and which book I am powerless. with the very letter which we were expecting. if we had the cipher. leaning over him. 194 . stared down at the curious inscription. would surely prevent you from inclosing cipher and message in the same envelope. so immune from criticism. Watson. "I was about to say. a book which ascends to such rarefied heights of pure mathematics that it is said that there was no man in the scientific press capable of criticizing it? Is this a man to traduce? Foul-mouthed doctor and slandered professor—such would be your respective roles! That's genius. He is the only flaw in that chain so far as I have been able to test it. my dear Watson. you are undone. Is he not the celebrated author of The Dynamics of an Asteroid. the organizer of every deviltry. my dear Watson! Hence the extreme importance of Porlock. our day will surely come. But this is different. and I shall be surprised if it does not bring us either a further letter of explanation. he has once or twice given me advance information which has been of value—that highest value which anticipates and prevents rather than avenges crime. Porlock is not quite a sound link—between ourselves. the very volume to which these figures refer. Watson!" Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice. the page.

What indications have we as to this book?" "None."The same writing. no doubt. "DEAR MR." Holmes sat for some little time twisting this letter between his fingers. "there may be nothing in it." said I. we are getting on. there are infinite possibilities." "But what can he do?" "Hum! That's a large question. But I read suspicion in his eyes. as he stared into the fire. well. Watson. and possibly bring trouble on him. leaning back and staring at the ceiling. Knowing himself to be a traitor. There is one predominant 'He' for all of them. Let us consider the problem in the light of pure reason. which is surely something gained. The cipher message begins with a large 534. As I focus my mind upon it." "A somewhat vague one. "It's pretty maddening to think that an important secret may lie here on this slip of paper. HOLMES [he says]: "I will go no further in this matter. it seems rather less impenetrable." he said at last." His brow clouded. Professor Moriarty. The other hardly legible." Sherlock Holmes had pushed away his untasted breakfast and lit the unsavoury pipe which was the companion of his deepest meditations. I am sure. it would have gone hard with me. "and actually signed. I can see that he suspects me. Watson?" "Chapter the second. "I wonder!" said he." "Well. the number of the chapter is immaterial. as he glanced over the contents. "After all. this is very disappointing! I fear. as he opened the envelope. I was able to cover it up. The one is clear and firm. It is too dangerous—he suspects me. I trust that the man Porlock will come to no harm. This man's reference is to a book. however. before this ill-omened visit. that all our expectations come to nothing. Also that if page 534 finds us only in the second chapter." "Hardly that. which can now be of no use to you. When you have one of the first brains of Europe up against you. What other indications have we as to the nature of this large book? The next sign is C2. What do you make of that." 195 . "Come. "Of course." "No doubt." "No less! When any of that party talk about 'He' you know whom they mean. "FRED PORLOCK. Please burn the cipher message. "Dear me. It may be only his guilty conscience. "Perhaps there are points which have escaped your Machiavellian intellect. he tells us." I had picked up the original cipher message and was bending my brows over it." "Let us see then if we can narrow it down." remarked Holmes. does it not? We may take it as a working hypothesis that 534 is the particular page to which the cipher refers." "The other being. Watson. Watson. the length of the first one must have been really intolerable. it is surely not quite so bad as that. That is our point of departure. So our book has already become a LARGE book. and that it is beyond human power to penetrate it." "Why did he write at all? Why did he not simply drop it?" "Because he feared I would make some inquiry after him in that case. I presume. and frowning. He came to me quite unexpectedly after I had actually addressed this envelope with the intention of sending you the key to the cipher. You will." he added in an exultant voice as he unfolded the epistle. he may have read the accusation in the other's eyes. Anyhow. If he had seen it. which was done. Friend Porlock is evidently scared out of his senses—kindly compare the writing in the note to that upon its envelope. agree with me that if the page be given. and all the powers of darkness at his back.

too.' which is much more promising. and suffer the usual penalties. This is clearly a book which is standardized." "Bradshaw!" "There are difficulties. Watson. "Here is page 534.' Ha! Ha! Capital! Put that down. column two. we begin to visualize a large book printed in double columns which are each of a considerable length. The dictionary is. for being too up-to-date!" he cried. Have we reached the limits of what reason can supply?" "I fear that we have. good! But not. Now let us see what page 534 has in store for us. Watson! I am very much mistaken if you have not touched the spot." "Surely you do yourself an injustice. Number one hundred and twenty-seven is 'is'—'There is' "—Holmes's eyes were gleaming with excitement. though somewhat irrelevant to ourselves and Professor Moriarty.' Not. I should send Billy round for it. He had it—and he imagined that I would have it. Watson. he had intended. What does the Mahratta government do? Alas! the next word is 'pig's-bristles. staring into the fire. The selection of words would hardly lend itself to the sending of general messages. inadmissible for the same reason. a substantial block of print dealing. Watson. my dear Watson—yet another brain-wave! Had the volume been an unusual one. "Good. In short. I fear. A long silence was broken by a sudden exclamation from Holmes. which at least makes sense. I perceive. What then is left?" "An almanac!" "Excellent. So now. Number thirteen is 'There. I fear. Besides. before his plans were nipped.' Then we have the name 'Douglas'—'rich— country—now—at Birlstone—House—Birlstone—confidence—is—pressing. Jot down the words. It is in double column. but limited. Our search is narrowed down to standardized books which anyone may be supposed to possess." "Exactly. 'There is danger—may—come—very soon—one. We will eliminate Bradshaw. "Brilliant. it becomes. "We are before our time. Watson. Therein lies our salvation. quite good enough! Even if I accepted the compliment for myself I could hardly name any volume which would be less likely to lie at the elbow of one of Moriarty's associates. It is more than likely that Porlock took his message from the old one. and his thin." He picked the volume from his desk. since one of the words is numbered in the document as the two hundred and ninety-third. then I am very much deceived." "The Bible!" I cried triumphantly." 196 . Number one hundred and twenty-seven is 'Government'. The vocabulary of Bradshaw is nervous and terse. quite garrulous towards the end. One more coruscation. It has the requisite number of pages. you see. "We pay the price.' There. to send me the clue in this envelope. No doubt he would have told us so had his letter of explanation been written. if I remember right. we have very properly laid in the new almanac.' We are undone. This would seem to indicate that the book is one which he thought I would have no difficulty in finding for myself. He says so in his note. from which he emerged with a second yellow-covered volume in his hand. with the trade and resources of British India. I sat helpless and unhappy. It is in common use. Being the seventh of January. An almanac! Let us consider the claims of Whitaker's Almanac. the editions of Holy Writ are so numerous that he could hardly suppose that two copies would have the same pagination. it is a very common book. but the twitching of his bushy eyebrows bespoke his disappointment and irritation. he would have sent it to me. who dashed at a cupboard. nervous fingers twitched as he counted the words—"'danger."Column!" I cried. Now let us try again. a very auspicious beginning. He knows for certain that his page 534 will exactly agree with my page 534. printed in double columns and in common use." "But very few books would correspond with that. If it is not column. You are scintillating this morning." "So we have contracted our field of search to a large book. Watson! What do you think of pure reason and its fruit? If the green-grocer had such a thing as a laurel wreath. Watson. my good Watson! It is finished!" He had spoken in jesting vein. Watson. Instead of that." "What you say certainly sounds plausible. if I may say so. Watson! Number thirteen is 'Mahratta. Though reserved in its earlier vocabulary.

while his great cranium and deep-set. His tall. Holmes. it's witchcraft! Where in the name of all that is wonderful did you get those names?" "It is a cipher that Dr. lustrous eyes spoke no less clearly of the keen intelligence which twinkled out from behind his bushy eyebrows. "Douglas!" he stammered. Mr. a rich country gentleman. as no man knows better than your own self. but he was tolerant of the big Scotchman. Without having a tinge of cruelty in his singular composition. But why—what's amiss with the names?" The inspector looked from one to the other of us in dazed astonishment. even as he mourned darkly when it fell below the high level to which he aspired. "Birlstone! What's this. "Well." said he. "You are an early bird. He was still chuckling over his success when Billy swung open the door and Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard was ushered into the room. Twice already in his career had Holmes helped him to attain success.I was staring at the strange message which I had scrawled. his own sole reward being the intellectual joy of the problem. "I wish you luck with your worm. There was no trace then of the horror which I had myself felt at 197 . his intellectual perceptions were exceedingly active. "Just this. maybe a wee nip would keep out the raw morning chill. for the early hours of a case are the precious ones. who had distinguished himself in several cases which had been intrusted to him. Douglas of Birlstone Manor House was horribly murdered last night!" Chapter 2 Sherlock Holmes Discourses It was one of those dramatic moments for which my friend existed. I fear this means that there is some mischief afoot." said Holmes. Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself." the inspector answered. Those were the early days at the end of the '80's. Yet. No. scrambling way of expressing his meaning!" said I. You are bound to leave something to the intelligence of your correspondent. For this reason the affection and respect of the Scotchman for his amateur colleague were profound. when Alec MacDonald was far from having attained the national fame which he has now achieved.' it would be nearer the truth. Holmes was not prone to friendship. I won't smoke. He was a young but trusted member of the detective force. residing as stated. But—but—" The inspector had stopped suddenly. He was a silent." "If you said 'hope' instead of 'fear. but talent instantly recognizes genius. It would be an overstatement to say that he was shocked or even excited by the amazing announcement. Holmes? Man. upon a sheet of foolscap on my knee. "When you search a single column for words with which to express your meaning. you can hardly expect to get everything you want. Mr. "What a queer. precise man with a dour nature and a hard Aberdonian accent. bony figure gave promise of exceptional physical strength. "that Mr." said he. It was the sheet upon which I had scrawled the enigmatic message. and he showed them by the frankness with which he consulted Holmes in every difficulty. Watson and I have had occasion to solve. I'll have to be pushing on my way. and was staring with a look of absolute amazement at a paper upon the table. The purport is perfectly clear. he has done quite remarkably well. and smiled at the sight of him. whoever he may be. There is our result—and a very workmanlike little bit of analysis it was!" Holmes had the impersonal joy of the true artist in his better work. He is sure—'confidence' was as near as he could get to 'confident'—that it is pressing. I'm thinking. with a knowing grin. "On the contrary. if his emotions were dulled. as he deciphered it. he was undoubtedly callous from long overstimulation. Mr. I thank you. and MacDonald had talent enough for his profession to enable him to perceive that there was no humiliation in seeking the assistance of one who already stood alone in Europe. both in his gifts and in his experience. Some deviltry is intended against one Douglas. Mac.

"I won't conceal from you. Mr. "I was going down to Birlstone this morning. and his eyelid quivered as he glanced towards me. He seems to be a very respectable. is assumed. Name. MacDonald sat with his chin on his hands and his great sandy eyebrows bunched into a yellow tangle. "Remarkable!" said he. Holmes. but he had out a reflector lantern and a globe. "I had come to ask you if you cared to come with me—you and your friend here. I had promised when he first wrote that I would not try to trace him. but I don't mind saying that it was a bit above my head. but. and the rest will follow. but where's the mystery if there is a man in London who prophesied the crime before ever it occurred? We have only to lay our hands on that man. Mac. certainly." "This professor that I've heard you mention?" "Exactly!" Inspector MacDonald smiled." "I'm glad you've got so far as to recognize the talent. learned.D. Mac. Mr. "Posted in Camberwell—that doesn't help us much. But from what you say we might perhaps be doing better work in London. I made some inquiries myself about the matter." said Holmes." "Interested. you say. that you have a wee bit of a bee in your bonnet over this professor." The inspector looked surprised and a little shocked." said he." In a few short sentences he explained to the inspector the facts about the letter and the cipher. How the talk got that way I canna think. He'd have made a grand meenister with his thin face and gray hair and solemn-like way of 198 . you can't but recognize it! After I heard your view I made it my business to see him. "Why not?" "Because I always keep faith. that we think in the C." "Man. Why should I be surprised? I receive an anonymous communication from a quarter which I know to be important. warning me that danger threatens a certain person. Within an hour I learn that this danger has actually materialized and that the person is dead. "Remarkable!" "You don't seem surprised. as you observe.I. Holmes!" cried the inspector. "The papers will be full of the Birlstone mystery in a day or two. though I had a good Aberdeen upbringing. "Hang it all. I am interested. Mr." "You think there is someone behind him?" "I know there is." "No doubt." "I rather think not.this curt declaration. and made it all clear in a minute. I had a chat with him on eclipses. But how do you propose to lay your hands on the so-called Porlock?" MacDonald turned over the letter which Holmes had handed him." "And how?" "In notes to Camberwell post office. Mr. I am not surprised. but his face showed rather the quiet and interested composure of the chemist who sees the crystals falling into position from his oversaturated solution. but hardly surprised. Didn't you say that you have sent him money?" "Twice." "Did you ever trouble to see who called for them?" "No. and talented sort of man. Not much to go on. He lent me a book.

" The inspector endeavoured to look interested." said the inspector thoughtfully." "A fine room. "was a French artist who flourished between the years 1750 and 1800. is it not?" "Very fine—very handsome indeed. this pleasing and touching interview was." "It would be. Did you happen to observe a picture over the professor's head?" "I don't miss much. and I can't get over the gap. cruel world." Holmes interrupted. Maybe I learned that from you. "Talk away. I suppose. He was always warmed by genuine admiration—the characteristic of the real artist. Mr. I saw the picture—a young woman with her head on her hands. it was like a father's blessing before you go out into the cold. "Jean Baptiste Greuze. but I mind that the lamp was turned on my face." "That painting was by Jean Baptiste Greuze. "Great!" he said. What in the whole wide world can be the connection between this dead painting man and the affair at Birlstone?" "All knowledge comes useful to the detective. You leave out a link or two. "Your thoughts move a bit too quick for me. peeping at you sideways. Holmes. Mr." "Sun in your eyes and his face in the shadow?" "Well. Modern criticism has more than indorsed the high opinion formed of him by his contemporaries. "What about Birlstone?" he asked. "Great! Tell me. When he put his hand on my shoulder as we were parting." "You sat in front of his writing desk?" "Just so. I allude. Yes." It was clear that it did. 199 . Mr. joining his finger tips and leaning well back in his chair. "I may remind you. The inspector looked honestly interested. I'm just loving it." Holmes continued. "that the professor's salary can be ascertained in several trustworthy books of reference." remarked Holmes. and looked appealingly to me." The inspector's eyes grew abstracted." Holmes continued. "Hadn't we better—" he said. it was evening. In fact. in the professor's study?" "That's so.talking. Holmes. It is seven hundred a year. Mr." Holmes chuckled and rubbed his hands." MacDonald smiled feebly. Holmes. Friend MacDonald. of course to his working career. that's remarkable. "All that I am saying has a very direct and vital bearing upon what you have called the Birlstone Mystery." "Then how could he buy—" "Quite so! How could he?" "Ay. Holmes. It's fine!" Holmes smiled. "Even the trivial fact that in the year 1865 a picture by Greuze entitled La Jeune Fille a l'Agneau fetched one million two hundred thousand francs—more than forty thousand pounds—at the Portalis sale may start a train of reflection in your mind. it may in a sense be called the very centre of it. "We are doing so.

" "You found something compromising?" "Absolutely nothing. I have been three times in his rooms. "I've a cab at the door. the name has a familiar sound." "Then he's no use to me. coining. I can hardly tell about the once to an official detective. I admit that what you say is interesting: it's more than interesting—it's just wonderful. commission." "Well?" "Surely the inference is plain. that's another matter. Mr. you see—the American business principle. He was a master criminal. The old wheel turns. I learned that detail quite by chance. That was what amazed me. pickpockets. was he not? I don't take much stock of detectives in novels—chaps that do things and never let you see how they do them. Another point: I made it my business to hunt down some of Moriarty's checks lately— just common innocent checks that he pays his household bills with. That's just inspiration: not business. certainly! But what do you gather from it?" 200 . It's more than the Prime Minister gets. But let us have it a little clearer if you can." "Six thousand a year. with every sort of crime in between. Holmes. and will be again. Is it forgery. It was on the last occasion that I took the liberty of running over his papers—with the most unexpected results." "You'll interest me. I only mention the Greuze because it brings the matter within the range of your own observation." "Well. It's all been done before. It shows him to be a very wealthy man. However. Does that make any impression on your mind?" "Queer. and he lived last century— 1750 or thereabouts. twice waiting for him under different pretexts and leaving before he came. They were drawn on six different banks. glancing at his watch. as aloof and guarded and inaccessible to the law as himself. motionless creature is lurking. and a hundred broken fighting men. and it won't take us twenty minutes to Victoria." "No. Someone in a novel. Jonathan Wild was the hidden force of the London criminals. That's paying for brains. and the same spoke comes up. Once—well. I'm a practical man. Mr. Of course I have other reasons for thinking so—dozens of exiguous threads which lead vaguely up towards the centre of the web where the poisonous." "Mr. you have now seen the point of the picture. His chair is worth seven hundred a year. How did he acquire wealth? He is unmarried." "Then how do you know about his rooms?" "Ah. That gives you an idea of Moriarty's gains and of the scale on which he works." "I happen to know who is the first link in his chain—a chain with this Napoleon-gone-wrong at one end. Everything comes in circles—even Professor Moriarty. What do you think he pays him?" "I'd like to hear. that you had never met Professor Moriarty. Mac." "You mean that he has a great income and that he must earn it in an illegal fashion?" "Exactly. His chief of staff is Colonel Sebastian Moran. But about this picture: I thought you told me once."We've time yet." "Jonathan Wild wasn't a detective." said the inspector. I'll tell you one or two things about Moriarty which may interest you. to whom he sold his brains and his organization on a fifteen per cent. And he owns a Greuze. Holmes. I never have. the most practical thing that you ever did in your life would be to shut yourself up for three months and read twelve hours a day at the annals of crime. His younger brother is a station master in the west of England. and he wasn't in a novel. right enough. and card sharpers at the other. blackmailers. burglary—where does the money come from?" "Have you ever read of Jonathan Wild?" "Well.

his pale cheeks took a warmer hue." said he. have you anything more?" 201 . for he will find something after his own heart. or at least an unexplained." "And ample for us both. If you can bring Mr. A long series of sterile weeks lay behind us. as he sprang up and hastened to change from his dressing gown to his coat. "My word! it's later than I thought. What really counts is your remark that there is some connection between the professor and the crime. of course. This is for your private eye. was a personal friend. sir. anyhow. Holmes. "You've got us side-tracked with your interesting anecdotes. "While we are on our way. and his whole eager face shone with an inward light when the call for work reached him. It is a very cold scent upon which the Metropolitan expert is generally asked to run. "He can keep. as I gather from your original remarks. and that is all. He brightened and rubbed his thin hands together as he listened to the meagre but remarkable details. Mr. an inexplicable. and would be known to all—if only to put the fear of death into them. I know our man too well to suppose that he has left anything up here which may lead us to him. as he explained to us. the bulk of his fortune abroad in the Deutsche Bank or the Credit Lyonnais as likely as not. Sometime when you have a year or two to spare I commend to you the study of Professor Moriarty. The inspector was himself dependent. it would. In the first place. the local officer. Mac. Leaning forward in the cab. This case is a snorter." remarked Holmes. Now. His discipline is tremendous." "Your friend seems to be no fool. upon a scribbled account forwarded to him by the milk train in the early hours of the morning. Don't waste a moment in getting started. presuming that the source of the crime is as we suspect it to be. Wire me what train in the morning you can get for Birlstone. jumping from his chair. it is down at Birlstone that we must seek the solution. Mr. Now we might suppose that this murdered man—this Douglas whose approaching fate was known by one of the arch-criminal's subordinates—had in some way betrayed the chief. Holmes. murder. White Mason is a very live man." "All about it" proved to be disappointingly little. become irksome to their owner when they are not in use. and here at last there was a fitting object for those remarkable powers which. like all special gifts. be against the first hypothesis and in favour of the second. White Mason." said Holmes. "DEAR INSPECTOR MACDONALD [said the letter which he read to us]: "Official requisition for your services is in separate envelope. I may tell you that Moriarty rules with a rod of iron over his people. please do so. and hence MacDonald had been notified much more promptly than is usual at Scotland Yard when provincials need their assistance. It is." "Well. It is death. His punishment followed." "Well. or he may have been paid so much down to manage it." "The other is that it has been engineered by Moriarty in the ordinary course of business. if I am any judge. gentlemen. Now his practical Scotch intelligence brought him back with a snap to the matter in hand. or if it is some third combination." "If so. But whichever it may be. and yet there was enough to assure us that the case before us might well be worthy of the expert's closest attention. Either is possible. Can we for our present practical needs get any further than that?" "We may form some conception as to the motives of the crime." Inspector MacDonald had grown steadily more impressed as the conversation proceeded. There is only one punishment in his code. that is one suggestion. Was there any robbery?" "I have not heard. Moriarty may have been engaged to engineer it on a promise of part spoils. That razor brain blunted and rusted with inaction. five minutes for preparation."That he wanted no gossip about his wealth. I can give you." "Then to Birlstone we must go!" cried MacDonald. I have no doubt that he has twenty banking accounts. He had lost himself in his interest. he listened intently to MacDonald's short sketch of the problem which awaited us in Sussex. Holmes. We would think the whole had been fixed up for theatrical effect if there wasn't a dead man in the middle of it. there might be two different motives. I will ask you to be good enough to tell me all about it. Mr. "No. That you get from the warning received through the man Porlock. My word! it IS a snorter. No single man should know what he had. and I will meet it—or have it met if I am too occupied. Sherlock Holmes's eyes glistened.

we will leave it at that. standing in an old park famous for its huge beech trees. peculiarly keen gray eyes. is the ancient Manor House of Birlstone. The village of Birlstone is a small and very ancient cluster of half-timbered cottages on the northern border of the county of Sussex. Douglas was a remarkable man. These woods are locally supposed to be the extreme fringe of the great Weald forest. though turbid. was still much as the builder had left it in the early seventeenth century. but somewhat offhand in his manners. so there seems some prospect that Birlstone may soon grow from an ancient village into a modern town. but that no arrest had been made. a grizzling moustache."Only that he will give us every detail when we meet. however. It didn't say 'horrible': that's not a recognized official term. The latest tenants of the Manor House had. The Manor House. In age he may have been about fifty. For centuries it had remained unchanged. both in character and in person. and the drawbridge was not only capable of being raised. The ground floor windows were within a foot of the surface of the water. It added that the case was undoubtedly one of murder. over the borders of Kent. That's absolutely all we have at present. though now only a few feet in depth." "Then." Chapter 3 The Tragedy of Birlstone Now for a moment I will ask leave to remove my own insignificant personality and to describe events which occurred before we arrived upon the scene by the light of knowledge which came to us afterwards. Mr. Holmes. from the discharge of a shotgun. but actually was raised every evening and lowered every morning. round the whole house. with your permission. giving the impression that he had seen life in social strata on some far lower horizon than the county society of Sussex. which thins away until it reaches the northern chalk downs. The inner one was still there. and lay forty feet in breadth. A number of small shops have come into being to meet the wants of the increased population. but within the last few years its picturesque appearance and situation have attracted a number of well-to-do residents. 202 . It mentioned that his injuries had been in the head. and a wiry. the outer had been allowed to dry up. was never ditchlike or unhealthy. By thus renewing the custom of the old feudal days the Manor House was converted into an island during the night—a fact which had a very direct bearing upon the mystery which was soon to engage the attention of all England. It also mentioned the hour of the alarm. and served the humble function of a kitchen garden. Douglas and the fact that he had been horribly murdered?" "That was in the inclosed official report. with its many gables and its small diamond-paned windows. Mac. the nearest place of importance. and a dead man in Sussex. I can see only two things for certain at present—a great brain in London. which was close on to midnight last night. so that the sheet of water. The house had been untenanted for some years and was threatening to molder into a picturesque decay when the Douglases took possession of it. Of the double moats which had guarded its more warlike predecessor. and that the case was one which presented some very perplexing and extraordinary features. which had been granted to him by the Red King. with a strong-jawed. is ten or twelve miles to the eastward. set this right. The only approach to the house was over a drawbridge. with characteristic energy. vigorous figure which had lost nothing of the strength and activity of youth. About half a mile from the town. The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of our profession. and some of its smoke-blackened corner stones were used when. He was cheery and genial to all. a brick country house rose upon the ruins of the feudal castle." "Then how did you get at Mr. Mr. This was destroyed by fire in 1543. A small stream fed it and continued beyond it. It is the centre for a considerable area of country. whose villas peep out from the woods around. when Hugo de Capus built a fortalice in the centre of the estate. since Tunbridge Wells. the chains and windlass of which had long been rusted and broken. Only in this way can I make the reader appreciate the people concerned and the strange setting in which their fate was cast. rugged face. It's the chain between that we are going to trace. Part of these venerable building dates back to the time of the first crusade. in Jacobean times. It gave the name John Douglas. This family consisted of only two individuals—John Douglas and his wife.

subscribing handsomely to all local objects. He appeared to be a man of considerable wealth. It was remarked sometimes. tall. followed within a few minutes by the police sergeant. so that even the servants were able to perceive his annoyance. dark. Douglas in London. He appeared to have plenty of money. the callers upon a stranger who settled in the county without introductions were few and far between. and it bulked larger upon people's memory when the events arose which gave it a very special significance. When the vicarage caught fire he distinguished himself also by the fearlessness with which he reentered the building to save property. much excited. having a remarkably rich tenor voice. prize-fighter face. This mattered the less to her. even without the aid of his very capable hands. In age he was rather younger than Douglas—forty-five at the most—a tall. in charge of Sergeant Wilson of the Sussex Constabulary. this weakness of the lady of the Manor House did not pass without remark. and a pair of masterful black eyes which might. and it was clear from his own talk and that of his wife that he had spent a part of his life in America. a buxom and cheerful person. respectable. too. it will suffice out of a large household to mention the prim. a brisk and capable general practitioner from the 203 . and took the most amazing falls in his determination to hold his own with the best. who arrived at the scene of the crime a little after twelve o'clock. and John Douglas had been murdered. with the frightened butler wringing his hands in the doorway. where. loose-jointed figure was a familiar one in the main street of Birlstone village. he soon acquired a great popularity among the villagers. which was said to have been gained in the California gold fields. It was at eleven forty-five that the first alarm reached the small local police station. He neither rode nor shot. where all gossip is welcome. Thus it came about that John Douglas of the Manor House had within five years won himself quite a reputation in Birlstone. as seemed more likely. by those who knew them best. and he was no less friendly with his wife—a friendship which more than once seemed to cause some irritation to the husband. but whose presence at the time of the strange happenings which will now be narrated brought his name prominently before the public. it is true. The other six servants in the house bear no relation to the events of the night of January 6th. As to the other denizens of the old building. but spent his days in wandering round the old village with his pipe in his mouth. or in driving with his host. the windows lighted up. Only Cecil Barker seemed to be master of himself and his emotions. clear a way for him through a hostile crowd. since the wife was either very reticent about her husband's past life. had rushed up to the door and pealed furiously upon the bell. he was always ready to oblige with an excellent song. a disparity which seemed in no wise to mar the contentment of their family life. but by his remarks it was clear that he had first known Douglas in America and had there lived on intimate terms with him. he had opened the door which was nearest to the entrance and he had beckoned to the sergeant to follow him. "But. Wood. Douglas. His wife. though looked at with some curiosity and reserve by his more cultivated neighbours. Allen. On reaching the Manor House. He was the more noticed as being the only friend of the past unknown life of Mr. broad-chested fellow with a clean-shaved. or in his absence with his hostess. That was the breathless burden of his message. over the beautiful countryside. and that she would display acute uneasiness if her absent husband should ever be particularly late in his return. Hampstead. It was known that she was an English lady who had met Mr. The white-faced servants were huddling together in the hall. the butler. Douglas who was ever seen in his new English surroundings. my word! I had rather not be the man that crossed him!" He was cordial and intimate with Douglas. A terrible tragedy had occurred at the Manor House. She was a beautiful woman. some twenty years younger than her husband. Cecil Barker. for he was a frequent and welcome visitor at the Manor House. The good impression which had been produced by his generosity and by his democratic manners was increased by a reputation gained for utter indifference to danger. Such was the third person who was one of the family when the catastrophe occurred. and Mrs. and was reputed to be a bachelor." said Ames. after the English fashion. thick. and the whole household in a state of wild confusion and alarm. It had also been noted and commented upon by a few observant people that there were signs sometimes of some nerve-strain upon the part of Mrs. This was Cecil James Barker. strong. he turned out at every meet. Cecil Barker's tall. Though a wretched rider. straight. There was yet another individual whose residence under that roof was. was popular with those who had made her acquaintance. and attending their smoking concerts and other functions. after the local fire brigade had given it up as impossible. only an intermittent one. in her husband and her domestic duties. after taking prompt steps to warn the county authorities that something serious was afoot. "An easy-going. and capable Ames. as she was retiring by disposition. that the confidence between the two did not appear to be complete. He had hurried back to the house. he being at that time a widower. to all appearance. who relieved the lady of some of her household cares. however. black eyebrows. and very much absorbed. and slender. At that moment there arrived Dr. or else. On a quiet countryside. was imperfectly informed about it. of Hales Lodge. the sergeant had found the drawbridge down. Barker was himself an undoubted Englishman. though. free-handed gentleman.Yet.

and I was sitting by the fire in my bedroom when I heard the report. staring in horror at the dreadful head. bucolic common sense was still pondering the open window. I had not begun to undress. which covered his night clothes. diamond-paned window was open to its full extent." "Then how could any murderer have got away? It is out of the question! Mr." "I have not a doubt of it. Douglas must have shot himself. and so it never occurred to me. that's the question. "I'll answer for that. You see it all exactly as I found it." said Cecil Barker. The dead man lay on his back." said Barker. looking at the shattered head and the terrible marks which surrounded it. Poor Douglas was lying as you see him. It was I who lit the lamp some minutes afterward. "I've never seen such injuries since the Birlstone railway smash. It was not very loud—it seemed to be muffled. "Nothing has been touched up to now. blowing his head almost to pieces. whose slow. "We will touch nothing until my superiors arrive. and showed that the long. I wish to heaven that I had rushed to the window! But the curtain screened it. There were carpet slippers on his bare feet." remarked the police sergeant." he said in a hushed voice. while the horror-stricken butler followed at their heels. I rushed down—I don't suppose it was thirty seconds before I was in the room. it was open. His bedroom candle was burning on the table. "And look at this!" He held the lamp down and illuminated a smudge of blood like the mark of a boot-sole upon the wooden sill. Douglas. I heard Mrs. "It was just half-past eleven." "When was that?" The sergeant had drawn out his notebook. Lying across his chest was a curious weapon. "Someone has stood there in getting out. came and took her away." "Was the door open?" "Yes. One glance at the victim was enough to show the healer that his presence could be dispensed with. It would have been too horrible. closing the door behind him to shut out the terrible scene from the maid servants. The doctor knelt beside him and held down the hand lamp which had stood on the table. the housekeeper. so as to make the simultaneous discharge more destructive. 204 ." "Horrible enough!" said the doctor. he must have been in the water at that very moment." "But. The triggers had been wired together." "Yes. I say. "It's all very well your saying that a man escaped by wading this moat. He was clad only in a pink dressing gown. Then I heard the step of Mrs. and I could not let her enter the room. it was up until I lowered it. how did he ever get into the house at all if the bridge was up?" "Ah. Allen." "Did you see no one?" "No. The country policeman was unnerved and troubled by the tremendous responsibility which had come so suddenly upon him." "You mean that someone waded across the moat?" "Exactly!" "Then if you were in the room within half a minute of the crime. Ames had arrived. The three men entered the fatal room together. and I rushed out to prevent her from seeing this dreadful sight. The man had been horribly injured.village." "But surely I have heard that the drawbridge is kept up all night. and we ran back into the room once more. but what I ask you is. Douglas coming down the stair behind me. a shotgun with the barrel sawed off a foot in front of the triggers. It was clear that this had been fired at close range and that he had received the whole charge in the face." "That was our first idea. as you can see. But see!" Barker drew aside the curtain. sprawling with outstretched limbs in the centre of the room. Mrs.

the butler.V. excitedly. Anyhow. "I've heard." said Ames. Barker looked at it with curiosity. and the marks of muddy boots were very visible in the corner. "There are no trains before six in the morning." He held down the light. aren't we wasting precious time? Couldn't we start out and scout the country before the fellow gets away?" The sergeant considered for a moment. and before six when the bridge was raised. It looks as if the man got into the house after four when the curtains were drawn. "What's this mark?" he asked." he said. "What's V. Barker. sure enough. "But. About halfway up the forearm was a curious brown design. so he murdered him and escaped. for nothing else will fit the facts. because it was the first that he saw. Mr." "V." "That is so! Mr." said the sergeant: "If anyone came from outside—IF they did—they must have got in across the bridge before six and been in hiding ever since. Douglas was altering the pictures yesterday. That's how I read it. "I couldn't raise it until they went." said Ames. "Mr.? Somebody's initials. "It will want the best brains in the force to get to the bottom of this thing. workmanlike hammer. standing out in vivid relief upon the lard-coloured skin. so he can't get away by rail.V. 205 . "Hullo!" he cried. I can make no sense of that. but Mr. Dr. But I think none of you should go until we see more clearly how we all stand. standing upon that chair and fixing the big picture above it. Wood?" It was a good-sized hammer which had been lying on the rug in front of the fireplace—a substantial. The initials V. "I saw him myself. That all seems clear enough. "I never noticed it before. maybe. I say. Cecil Barker pointed to a box of brass-headed nails upon the mantelpiece. That brought him in here." He raised the hand lamp and walked slowly round the room." The sergeant picked up a card which lay beside the dead man on the floor. "It would be shortly after four. "I'm bound to say this bears out your theory." The doctor had taken the lamp and was narrowly scrutinizing the body. If he goes by road with his legs all dripping." said the sergeant. It will be a London job before it is finished. The man was waiting and shot him. Then I wound it up myself." said the butler. Douglas came into the room after eleven. "The murderer must have left it behind him." "That's how I read it. until Mr. I can't leave here myself until I am relieved. "What's this?" he asked.—341. That accounts for the hammer.V."At what o'clock was it raised?" "It was nearly six o'clock. Then he got away through the window and left his gun behind him." "We'd best put it back on the rug where we found it. drawing the window curtain to one side. Douglas chanced to come upon him. scratching his puzzled head in his perplexity. "Could this have any connection with the crime?" The dead man's right arm was thrust out from his dressing gown." The sergeant kept turning it over in his big fingers. What have you got there." said Barker. Douglas had visitors to tea. and exposed as high as the elbow. It is likely that his main idea was to burgle the house. and under them the number 341 were rudely scrawled in ink upon it. so he popped in behind this curtain." said the sergeant. "What o'clock were those curtains drawn?" "When the lamps were lit." he said. holding it up. That would be nearer half-past four than six at this time of year. "that it was usually raised at sunset. There was no other place where he could hide. He slipped into this room." "Then it comes to this." "Someone had been hiding here." "Mrs. a triangle inside a circle. it's odds that someone will notice him. Douglas went round the house every night the last thing before he turned in to see that the lights were right.

" "That is so!" The worthy country policeman shook his head. That ring with the rough nugget on it was above it. Watson. "Do you tell me." "He's right. if you please. peering through his glasses. looking like a small farmer. The man has been branded at some time as they brand cattle. "but I have seen the mark on Douglas many times this last ten years. for the medicos will have a word to say before we finish. "What!" "Yes. "White Mason is a smart man. obeying the urgent call from Sergeant Wilson of Birlstone. this Sussex detective. In ten more we were seated in the parlour of the inn and being treated to a rapid sketch of those events which have 206 . "that the wedding ring was BELOW the other?" "Always!" "Then the murderer. There's no other place. or I am mistaken." "Then it has nothing to do with the crime. arrived from headquarters in a light dog-cart behind a breathless trotter. There has been nothing like this that I can remember. But I expect we'll have to look to London before we are through. and afterwards put the nugget ring back again. White Mason was a quiet. By the five-forty train in the morning he had sent his message to Scotland Yard. It won't be long now before he is here to help us. and powerful bandy legs adorned with gaiters. or whoever it was." Chapter 4 Darkness At three in the morning the chief Sussex detective. Mr." said the butler." "And so have I. "Many a time when the master has rolled up his sleeves I have noticed that very mark." said the sergeant. Mr. Dr. a stoutish body." said Cecil Barker. What is the meaning of this?" "I don't profess to know the meaning of it." He was a very bustling and genial person." said he." said Barker. "They've taken his wedding ring!" he gasped. first took off this ring you call the nugget ring. what is it now?" The butler had given an exclamation of astonishment and was pointing at the dead man's outstretched hand. In ten minutes we had all found our quarters." said the sergeant. then the wedding ring. I've often wondered what it could be. indeed. MacDonald!" he kept repeating. and the twisted snake ring on the third finger. with a clean-shaved. The man will carry your bags. Anyhow. but the wedding ring is gone. anyhow. No local job has ever been too much for White Mason. Well."It's not tattooed. or anything upon earth except a very favourable specimen of the provincial criminal officer." said the doctor. There's the nugget and there's the snake. "A real downright snorter. And you also. ruddy face. but I hear that it is clean and good. "But it's a rum thing all the same. "We'll have the pressmen down like flies when they understand it. gentlemen. There are some bits that will come home to you. a retired gamekeeper. Your room is at the Westville Arms. "I never saw anything like it. comfortable-looking person in a loose tweed suit. I'm not ashamed to say that it is a deal too thick for the likes of me. I'm hoping we will get our work done before they get poking their noses into it and messing up all the trails. and he was at the Birlstone station at twelve o'clock to welcome us. Everything about this case is rum. Holmes. This way. Master always wore his plain gold wedding ring on the little finger of his left hand. "Seems to me the sooner we get London on to this case the better.

Barker. as it turned out. for there was nothing immediate that I could do. as Sergeant Wilson pointed out. "Exactly. But there might have been stains. E and N smaller?" asked Holmes. He has been with Douglas ever since he took the Manor House five years ago. But there was no stain. There is some evidence then. "Well. and that would have helped us. both barrels were discharged. while Holmes sat absorbed." "That. Then I examined the gun. Wood there to help me." "Quite so. the queer card. They were buckshot cartridges. There was no complete maker's name. It doesn't prove it wasn't used. Holmes. As a matter of fact there were none. proves nothing at all. "There has been many a hammer murder and no trace on the hammer. Douglas defended himself with the hammer." "I thought you would say so. Whoever fixed that up had made up his mind that he was going to take no chances of missing his man. Mr. Mr. and. with the expression of surprised and reverent admiration with which the botanist surveys the rare and precious bloom. if you pulled on the hinder one. "Man." remarked Inspector MacDonald." "Ames. the marks of boots in the corner. "Remarkable!" he said." said Holmes. the blood on the sill. There was Dr." 207 . "I seem to have read that a sawed-off shotgun is a weapon used in some parts of America. The sawed gun was not more than two foot long—one could carry it easily under one's coat. "We're well up with the times in Sussex. "most remarkable! I can hardly recall any case where the features have been more peculiar. that this man who entered the house and killed its master was an American. "No doubt it is an American shotgun. I've told you now how matters were. of course." "What were they?" asked Holmes eagerly. We found no signs of violence upon it." said White Mason in great delight. he might have left his mark upon the murderer before he dropped it on the mat. Holmes." "The open window. My word! I made the old mare go! But I need not have been in such a hurry. you are surely travelling overfast. He has never seen a gun of this sort in the house. Apart from the name upon the barrel. White Mason gazed at my friend as the little village practitioner looks at the Harley Street specialist who by a word can solve the difficulties that perplex him. So had Mr." White Mason continued. Wonderful! Wonderful! Do you carry the names of all the gun makers in the world in your memory?" Holmes dismissed the subject with a wave. I first had the hammer examined. the gun!" "Nothing there that could not have been arranged. "That is very helpful. and the rest of the name had been cut off by the saw. the idea had occurred to me." said he." "Pennsylvania Small Arms Company—well-known American firm. Douglas was an American. MacDonald made an occasional note. the triggers were wired together so that. No doubt you are right. Sergeant Wilson had all the facts." MacDonald shook his head. You don't need to import an American from outside in order to account for American doings. up to the time when I took over from Sergeant Wilson between three and four this morning. "I have heard no evidence yet that any stranger was ever in the house at all. I was hoping that if Mr." "A big P with a flourish above it. but the printed letters P-E-N were on the fluting between the barrels. Mr. the butler—" "What about him? Is he reliable?" "Ten years with Sir Charles Chandos—as solid as a rock. when the story was unfolded.been outlined in the previous chapter. I checked them and considered them and maybe added a few of my own. or had lived long in America.

anyhow." said Holmes in his most judicial style. "Come along. Mr. Strange that now in its old age this dark business should have cast its shadow upon the venerable walls! And yet those strange. Mr." said Holmes. water-lapped front. That's why the barrels were sawed." "I was going to propose it. White Mason. knowing well that it will fetch every human being in the house to the spot as quick as they can run. it's just inconceivable! It's clean against common sense! I put it to you. How could he swear there was no such gun in the house?" "Well. As I looked at the deep-set windows and the long sweep of the dullcoloured. Here is a man who slips into a house with the deliberate intention of committing murder. I have no wish ever to score at their expense." MacDonald shook his obstinate Scotch head. Mr. as the house is surrounded with water." said White Mason cordially." "My own idea of the game. Very good. to wade the moat. Holmes. to our going down to the house at once? There may possibly be some small point which might be suggestive." We walked down the quaint village street with a row of pollarded elms on each side of it. "I have worked with Mr. As we approached it. White Mason. but I thought it well to put you in touch with all the facts before we go. Holmes?" "Well." "No tracks or marks?" "None. peaked roofs and quaint. Oh." "I am sure we are honoured by your presence and to show you all we know. Mac. If I have ever separated myself from the official force. that he will have a deeficulty in making his escape. Mr. White Mason. I suppose if anything should strike you—" White Mason looked doubtfully at the amateur. low Jacobean house of dingy. state your case. you put the case strongly. A short walk along the winding drive with such sward and oaks around it as one only sees in rural England. centuries of births and of homecomings. Then he could hope when the deed was done to slip quickly from the window. it is because they have first separated themselves from me. Mr. and that it is all odds that he will be seen before he can get across the moat? Is that credible. weather-stained and lichen-blotched. and that all these strange things were done by a person from outside. "I'm not convinced yet that there was ever anyone in the house." "Ha! Would there be any objection. he had never seen one. "He plays the game. Three centuries had flowed past the old Manor House."The gun was made to conceal. "The man is not a burglar. supposing that he ever existed. of country dances and of the meetings of fox hunters. bearing upon their summits a shapeless something which had once been the rampant lion of Capus of Birlstone. liver-coloured brick lay before us. judging it by what we have heard. then a sudden turn. It would fit into any box. and to get away at his leisure. there was the wooden drawbridge and the beautiful broad moat as still and luminous as quicksilver in the cold. Just beyond were two ancient stone pillars. winter sunshine." said Inspector MacDonald." my friend replied thoughtfully. But is it understandable that he should go out of his way to bring with him the most noisy weapon he could select. Holmes before. Holmes. with an old-fashioned garden of cut yews on each side of it. Mr. Dr." "Well. 208 . if he knows anything. I claim the right to work in my own way and give my results at my own time—complete rather than in stages. whether you examined the farther side of the moat at once to see if there were any signs of the man having climbed out from the water?" "There were no signs. Holmes. man. Mr. with a smile. "I go into a case to help the ends of justice and the work of the police. The ring business and the card point to premeditated murder for some private reason. and the long. What weapon would he choose? You would say the most silent in the world. and one could hardly expect them. At the same time. But it is a stone ledge." said he. and when the time comes we'll all hope for a place in your book. overhung gables were a fitting covering to grim and terrible intrigue. That's understandable. "It certainly needs a good deal of justification. He knows. I felt that no more fitting scene could be set for such a tragedy. at any rate. May I ask. "I'm asking you to conseedar" (his accent became more Aberdonian as he lost himself in his argument) "I'm asking you to conseedar what it involves if you suppose that this gun was ever brought into the house. Mr. Watson.

" said MacDonald. which should take him some way in his profession. then we have to believe that this man began by taking off his wedding ring and concealing it. and the housekeeper that we may want a word with them presently. or is it murder—that's our first question. and were admitted by a quaint. sir. gentlemen. We will suppose first that some person or persons inside the house did the crime. "No. Cecil Barker. does it?" "No."That's the window. whether it was done by someone outside or inside the house. dried-up person. The butler had better wait outside. Now. The poor old fellow was white and quivering from the shock. Mr." "It looks rather narrow for a man to pass. gnarled. trampled mud into a corner behind the curtain in order to give the idea someone had waited for him. common-sense brain. Sergeant Wilson?" asked White Mason." "No. Holmes listened to him intently. Ames. But you or I could squeeze through all right. to tell us that." "So we can put aside all idea of the man having been drowned in crossing. this country specialist. a child could not be drowned in it. "that one on the immediate right of the drawbridge. anyhow. no sign that anyone has landed— but why should he leave any sign?" "Exactly. Holmes. "There is nothing there. Then he examined the stone ledge and the grass border beyond it. is it not? If it were suicide. "I've had a good look. "Anything fresh. opened the window. They then did the deed with the queerest and noisiest weapon in the world so as to tell everyone what had happened—a weapon that was never seen in the house before." "There are considerable difficulties both ways. "So I think. You've had enough. let's hear the argument. melancholy man. Then a murder has been done. The stream brings down the clay. and then you will be able to arrive at your own. That does not seem a very likely start. The doctor had departed. Holmes." said White Mason. We can send for you if we want you. who was the butler. with no sign of that impatience which the official exponent too often produced. We don't need your deductions. put blood on the—" "We can surely dismiss that. Mrs. Why should he? Is the water always turbid?" "Generally about this colour. gentlemen. It's open just as it was found last night. What we have to determine is. it wasn't a fat man. and yet one or the other it must be. The village sergeant. Suicide is out of the question. it does not. They got this man down here at a time when everything was still and yet no one was asleep. still held his vigil in the room of Fate." 209 . "Is it suicide. a tall." "Well. Mr. clear." "Then you can go home. perhaps you will allow me to give you the views I have formed first. Tell him to warn Mr. He had a solid grip of fact and a cool." Holmes walked to the edge of the moat and looked across." "Well." He impressed me." We walked across the drawbridge." "How deep is it?" "About two feet at each side and three in the middle. formal. that he then came down here in his dressing gown." said White Mason. Douglas.

sir. but anyhow they have ceased to be impossibilities. Douglas enters the room. it would be absolute nonsense if it wasn't that anything else is even worse!" cried MacDonald. Mr. "Dear me! these injuries are really appalling." "Did you ever know him to cut himself in shaving before?" "Not for a very long time. Holmes?" "Very interesting. At that time Mr. I understand that you have often seen this very unusual mark—a branded triangle inside a circle—upon Mr. 341. though he claims to have been the first. Douglas's forearm?" "Frequently. sir. open the window. Do you tell me that in that time the guilty person managed to make footmarks in the corner. Ames. Mr. He dropped his gun and also it would seem this queer card—V. I observe. A man appears from behind the curtain.. that there is a small piece of plaster at the angle of Mr." said he." "Well. He demands the wedding ring—Heaven only knows why. and his forehead wrinkled with speculation. When Mr. and he hid behind the curtain. "I should like a few more facts before I get so far as a theory. "I am inclined to agree with you." "That's all clear enough." "Well. mark the sill with blood. between dusk and the time when the bridge was raised. it would have fallen when he fell. that is to say. Douglas's jaw. Holmes. for Mrs. He is armed with this gun. Since Mr. Barker arrived the candle was lit and the lamp was out. so there was nothing to prevent him. it's up to you to give us a lead. "Exactly. with his keen eyes darting to right and to left. is not burned more than half an inch. since you say Mr. and this shotgun seems to be an American weapon." "Man. then. now. Douglas has spent most of his life in America. Douglas. Mr. He puts down the candle. White Mason's theory is unconvincing." "The candle shows that. Mr. There he remained until past eleven at night. We are still faced with some big difficulties." Holmes had sat intently observant during this long discussion. He slipped into this room because it was the first he came to. Did you observe that in life?" "Yes. and whoever it was I could clearly prove to you that he should have done it some other way.V. we are driven back to the theory that it was done by someone from outside. or he may have had some private grudge against Mr." said Holmes. if there were any interview at all. "Somebody killed the man. Then either in cold blood or in the course of a struggle—Douglas may have gripped the hammer that was found upon the mat—he shot Douglas in this horrible way. Ames. we can reconstruct things on those lines. Mr. Douglas gave it up. but Ames and all of them were on the spot. It is undoubtedly a burn. but so it must have been." "You never heard any speculation as to what it meant?" "No. which was a new one." "It must have caused great pain when it was inflicted. Can we have the butler in for a moment?.. He must have placed it on the table before he was attacked. of course." said Holmes. This shows that he was not attacked the instant that he entered the room. It was a short interview. whatever that may mean—and he made his escape through the window and across the moat at the very moment when Cecil Barker was discovering the crime. everyone is agreed that after the alarm was given only a minute at the most had passed before the whole household—not Mr. and all the rest of it? It's impossible!" "You put it very clearly. How's that. Douglas declares that her husband had not left her more than a few minutes when she heard the shot. sir. otherwise. and the door was open. What does he mean by allowing his retreat to be cut off like that? What does he mean by using a shotgun when silence was his one chance of escape? Come. Douglas entered the room." 210 ."Well. take the wedding ring off the dead man's finger. it would seem that the private grudge is the more likely theory. then. Now. There had been some visitors. sir. Mac. The candle. The man got into the house between four-thirty and six. but just a little unconvincing. He may have been a common burglar. Cecil Barker alone. kneeling down beside the body. he cut himself in shaving yesterday morning. missing no word that was said.

It was done by a thick pen. of course. unless he has a burrow close by or a change of clothes ready. Douglas's dumb-bells. Holmes. 211 ." he said. waits for Mr. I take it for granted that since dawn every constable within forty miles has been looking out for a wet stranger?" "That is so." "That's my idea. Mr. Holmes. sunburned. We do seem to make a little progress. Can you make anything of the inscription. Holmes. "It was not printed in this room. "It may. Had you noticed anything unusual in his conduct." "One dumb-bell—" Holmes said seriously. No. Have you any of the sort in the house?" "I don't think so. nothing.V. I should say. Curious. when mentioned in the papers." "Ha! The attack may not have been entirely unexpected. An agent from such a society makes his way into the house. capable-looking. I have not noticed them for months. There may have been only one. Douglas. then. Ames?" "It struck me that he was a little restless and excited." "And why no arrest? It's past two now. I had no difficulty in guessing that it was the Cecil Barker of whom I had heard. And yet they HAVE missed him up to now!" Holmes had gone to the window and was examining with his lens the blood mark on the sill. but his remarks were interrupted by a sharp knock at the door. a splay-foot. Mr." said White Mason. It is rough cardboard. one would say. we will pass to this card—V. "It is clearly the tread of a shoe. Mr."Suggestive!" said Holmes. yesterday. one would say it was a more shapely sole." said Ames. A tall. which will. Mr. sir. or it may point to some nervousness which would indicate that he had reason to apprehend danger. That all hangs together. so far as one can trace any footmark in this mud-stained corner. "this is black ink and the other purplish. after leaving a card beside the dead man. Where's the other?" "I don't know. His masterful eyes travelled quickly with a questioning glance from face to face." "What do you think. It is remarkably broad. do we not? Perhaps you would rather do the questioning. However. Ames?" "No. they can hardly miss him." Holmes walked across to the desk and dabbed a little ink from each bottle on to the blotting paper. be a mere coincidence. What's this under the side table?" "Mr. clean-shaved man looked in at us." "Well. and these are fine. the same with his badge upon the forearm. sir. 341. blows his head nearly off with this weapon. Mr. it was done elsewhere. Mac?" "It gives me the impression of a secret society of some sort. tell other members of the society that vengeance has been done. Mac?" "No. we can adopt it as a working hypothesis and then see how far our difficulties disappear. they are certainly very indistinct." "Well. "Well. too. because. "Dumb-bell—there's only one." "And why the missing ring?" "Quite so. of all weapons?" "Exactly. But why this gun. it's in better hands than mine. and escapes by wading the moat.

She made no outcry whatever. "Poor Jack is dead! You can do nothing. They had gone to the front of the house together. We could use the dining room. No. If we can't find where he went to." "An arrest?" "No such luck. "For the time. where Ames had turned the windlass which lowered the drawbridge. Such. Please come yourself first and tell us what you know. It was a well used Rudge-Whitworth. when Douglas first came to Birlstone. for he had seemed impatient and irritable. Douglas: on the contrary. For God's sake. in its essentials. where they had found everything exactly as the police had seen it. Just as she reached the bottom of the stair Mr. putting away the silver. "It would be a grand help to the police. and he liked to keep the old ways up. the housekeeper. It is within a hundred yards of the hall door. The housekeeper had come out of her room." said he." said the inspector. He had been engaged five years before. Barker had then returned to the study. Douglas was a rich gentleman who had made his money in America. 212 . when he heard the bell ring violently. but it was hardly possible he would. "if these things were numbered and registered. as the pantry and kitchens were at the very back of the house and there were several closed doors and a long passage between. Mrs."Sorry to interrupt your consultation. Barker had then hurried off to get the police. at least we are likely to get where he came from. splashed as from a considerable journey. Mr. and Holmes nodded. had taken her upstairs and stayed with her in the bedroom. she was not hurrying. He understood that Mr. go back to your room!" he cried. was the evidence of the butler." We found three or four grooms and idlers standing in the drive inspecting a bicycle which had been drawn out from a clump of evergreens in which it had been concealed. Douglas coming down it. and he gave a convincing impression of sincerity. he was the most fearless man he had ever known. But what in the name of all that is wonderful made the fellow leave it behind? And how in the world has he got away without it? We don't seem to get a gleam of light in the case. Allen. He had been a kind and considerate employer—not quite what Ames was used to. Come and have a look. it did not seem to him that she was particularly agitated. but was in the pantry at the back of the house. He (Ames) had observed some restlessness and excitement on the part of Mr. Barker had rushed out of the study. but on the day before the crime he had been shopping at Tunbridge Wells. He ordered the drawbridge to be pulled up every night because it was the ancient custom of the old house. She did not scream. He had not gone to bed that night. "I wonder!" Chapter 5 The People of the Drama "Have you seen all you want of the study?" asked White Mason as we reentered the house." The butler's account was a simple and a clear one. Holmes. Douglas that day. Douglas had gone back. Mr." "Don't we?" my friend answered thoughtfully. go back!" After some persuasion upon the stairs Mrs. There was a saddlebag with spanner and oilcan. The fellow left his bicycle behind him. Douglas and begged her to go back. attracted by the violent ringing of the bell. Mr. but no clue as to the owner. "Then perhaps you would now like to hear the evidence of some of the people in the house. perhaps. But we must be thankful for what we've got. He never saw any signs of apprehension in Mr. but the night was very dark and nothing could be seen or heard. They had looked out of the window." said the inspector. "but you should hear the latest news. Douglas seldom went to London or left the village. "For God's sake. But they've found his bicycle. They had then rushed out into the hall. He heard no shot. He had stopped Mrs. but one can't have everything. As they reached the bottom of the stairs he had seen Mrs. but the lamp was burning. which was unusual with him. Ames and Mr. Ames. The candle was not lit at that time.

which was at no place more than three feet deep. He had prospered well. She was a little hard of hearing. She saw Mr. She was greatly excited. he had very little to add to what he had already told the police. That was a good deal earlier—half an hour at least before the ringing of the bell. He knew that city well and had worked there. Allen as a witness. with her head sunk in her hands. As to the other servants. and he had always looked upon his sudden departure from California." "You don't associate his past with any particular part of America?" "I have heard him talk of Chicago. She died of typhoid the year before I met him." "He was a bachelor. He could not explain what had become of the assassin or why he had not taken his bicycle. I remember his saying that she was of German extraction. He was a widower at that time. He entreated her to go back. I have heard him talk of the coal and iron districts. he cared nothing about politics. and I have seen her portrait. which would never rest until it killed him. come out of the study. there was no other possible way of escaping. as the bridge was up. where they had become partners in a successful mining claim at a place called Benito Canon. some implacable organization. who was coming down the stairs. Douglas. "Five years altogether. Personally. and also his renting a house in so quiet a place in England. was. though he had never told him what the society was. "How long were you with Douglas in California?" asked Inspector MacDonald. Douglas had given him the impression that some danger was hanging over his head. When Mr. and she answered him. and the alarm did not reach them until just before the police arrived. Ames ran to the front she went with him. Thus they had renewed their friendship. She just sat in her dressing gown by her bedroom fire. they had all gone to bed. Allen. So far the housekeeper could add nothing on cross-examination save lamentations and expressions of amazement. and Barker had first met him in California. He had emigrated to America when he was a very young man. She had therefore taken her to the bedroom. trembling all over. as being connected with this peril." "Was he a politician? Had this secret society to do with politics?" "No. Perhaps that was why she had not heard the shot. He intercepted Mrs. He had travelled a good deal in his time. but in any case the study was a long way off. in his opinion. He could not possibly have been drowned in the moat. Besides. The bloodstain was conclusive. but what she said could not be heard. and endeavoured to soothe her. In his own mind he had a very definite theory about the murder. She was a very beautiful woman. They had done very well. "Take her up! Stay with her!" he had said to Mrs. Douglas was a reticent man. Cecil Barker succeeded Mrs. very pale and excited.The account of Mrs. As to the occurrences of the night before." 213 . Allen. They slept at the extreme back of the house. He could only suppose that the legend upon the placard had some reference to this secret society. on that point. was on Douglas's track. Barker. you say?" "A widower. and could not possibly have heard anything. Barker had afterwards realized his money and come to live in London. but Douglas had suddenly sold out and started for England. so far as it went. the housekeeper. Allen stayed with her most of the night. Mrs. The housekeeper's room was rather nearer to the front of the house than the pantry in which Ames had been working. She was preparing to go to bed when the loud ringing of the bell had attracted her attention. He imagined that some secret society. and there were some chapters in his life of which he never spoke. he was convinced that the murderer had escaped by the window. a corroboration of that of her fellow servant. nor how he had come to offend it. if it were indeed his. but made no other attempt to go downstairs. She remembered hearing some sound which she imagined to be the slamming of a door. Some remarks of his had given him this idea." "Have you ever heard where his first wife came from?" "No.

"I have seen a good deal of HIM since. He would never go where other men were if he could help it. I was his best man. Douglas before her marriage?" "No. I don't know about Californians. I don't know what they were. Once the bridge was up." "But you have seen a good deal of her since." "And he had been married five years. You followed him next year." "Was there anything curious about his life in California?" "He liked best to stay and to work at our claim in the mountains. by bad luck. I told them that he was gone to Europe and that I did not know where to find him." Barker looked sternly at the detective." he answered. But they were not miners. They meant him no good—it was easy to see that. I believe that he had a warning of some sort. It was never quite out of his mind." "And then you were together five years in California. They were Americans. Within a week of his leaving half a dozen men were inquiring for him. don't you think he would turn to the police for protection?" "Maybe it was some danger that he could not be protected against. If you imagine there is any connection—" 214 . I guess he thought he was safe. They came up to the claim and wanted to know where he was." "That was six years ago?" "Nearer seven."You have no reason to think it was criminal?" "On the contrary. His revolver was never out of his pocket. and was very glad to see their backs. and knew what it was. Then when he left so suddenly for Europe I made sure that it was so. I did not." "What sort of men?" "Well." "I should like these dates a little clearer. That's why I first thought that someone was after him. It would be no light thing that would give rise to it. did you not?" "That is so." "Did you know Mrs. it is because you cannot visit a man without knowing his wife. he was in his dressing gown and had left it in the bedroom last night." "About a month before. "If I have seen her." "I think it shadowed his whole life." said MacDonald. "It is quite six years since Douglas left California. I had been away from England for ten years." "It must be a very serious feud that would be kept up with such earnestness for as long as that. But. You must have returned about the time of his marriage. so that this business dates back not less than eleven years at the least?" "That is so. they were a mighty hard-looking crowd. I never met a straighter man in my life. He always went about armed. There's one thing you should know. all right." "Were these men Americans—Californians?" "Well." "But if a man had a danger hanging over him.

"It's only the facts that we want. And he was devoted to his wife. He loved me to come here. that was so." "Some inquiries are offensive. "What do you mean by 'appears'? You know it as a fact." "By its light you saw that some terrible incident had occurred?" "Exactly. "There was one small point." 215 . "that the dead man's wedding ring has been taken from his finger?" "So it appears. and yet Inspector MacDonald could not dismiss the subject." "You at once rang for help?" "Yes. Then he looked up with a smile." "You can refuse to answer. "When I said 'appears' I meant that it was conceivable that he had himself taken off the ring." said MacDonald. "When you entered the room there was only a candle lighted on the table. strong hands were clasped convulsively together. and was forever sending for me." "Well." he answered. you are on the wrong track. Douglas entirely approve your friendship with his wife?" Barker grew paler. a kind of wave of jealousy would pass over him." "The mere fact that the ring should be absent." Barker stood for a moment with his face set grimly and his strong black eyebrows drawn low in intense thought. and I have no right to stand in the way of it. And yet if his wife and I talked together or there seemed any sympathy between us. imploring letters that I just had to. "You have no right to ask such questions!" he cried."I imagine nothing. But you can take it from me. gentlemen. would it not. But I mean no offense. that's all. Mr. and then he would write me such penitent. would suggest to anyone's mind. Did Mr. I refuse to answer. that the marriage and the tragedy were connected?" Barker shrugged his broad shoulders. and that was his jealousy. Barker. for she has enough upon her just now. and his great." "I don't know that I've anything else to ask you at present. and then with an evident effort he got a grip upon his own emotions—"well. I guess you gentlemen are only doing your clear duty after all. It is in your interest and everyone's interest that they should be cleared up." Barker answered angrily. I'd only ask you not to worry Mrs. faithful wife—and I can say also no friend could be more loyal than I!" It was spoken with fervour and feeling." said Barker. I may tell you that poor Douglas had just one fault in the world. and he would be off the handle and saying the wildest things in a moment. if it was my last word." The man seemed confused and undecided. that no man ever had a more loving. "Well. for you would not refuse if you had not something to conceal. More than once I've sworn off coming for that reason." remarked Sherlock Holmes. was there not?" "Yes. "I can't profess to say what it means. "You are aware. coldly. I am bound to make every inquiry which can bear upon the case." said he. Douglas over this matter. but you must be aware that your refusal is in itself an answer. whoever may have removed it. "What has this to do with the matter you are investigating?" "I must repeat the question. He was fond of me—no man could be fonder of a friend. "But if you mean to hint that it could reflect in any way upon this lady's honour"—his eyes blazed for an instant.

"The candle threw a very bad light. Inspector MacDonald had sent up a note to the effect that he would wait upon Mrs. led me upstairs again. which had. It was all like some dreadful dream." "Perhaps you can tell us something which may throw some light upon the matter. reserved and self-possessed to a remarkable degree. Mrs. but her manner was composed. the housekeeper. She entered now. It is so hard to reckon time at such a moment. but all I know is at your service. That seems very remarkable. a tall and beautiful woman of thirty. like that of one who has endured a great shock. "It is my desire that every possible effort should be made. with a deliberate look from one to the other of us. You have known your husband only in England. I cannot say. Her sad. appealing eyes travelled from one to the other of us with a curiously inquisitive expression. He begged me to return to my room. "You may rest assured that nothing will be neglected. He did the round of the house every night. "I don't see that it was remarkable."And it arrived very speedily?" "Within a minute or so." she said in a dead. as it seemed to me. "Have you found anything out yet?" she asked. Douglas. Then Mrs. have you not?" 216 ." Again Barker showed some signs of indecision." "How long was it after hearing the shot that you were stopped on the stair by Mr." "And yet when they arrived they found that the candle was out and that the lamp had been lighted." said the inspector." "I fear not. very different from the tragic and distracted figure I had pictured. even tone. Cecil Barker that you did not actually see—that you were never in the room where the tragedy occurred?" "No. and the finely moulded hand which she rested upon the edge of the table was as steady as my own. My first thought was to get a better one." "Spare no money. Douglas in her room. and you had at once come down. Mrs." he answered after a pause. turned and left the room. but she had replied that she would meet us in the dining room. and Barker." "We have heard from Mr. Barker?" "It may have been a couple of minutes. for he was nervous of fire. Holmes. and I did not hear him go. He went from his dressing room. The lamp was on the table. Mr." "I put on my dressing gown and then came down." "That is just the point which I want to come to. he turned me back upon the stairs." "Can you give us any idea how long your husband had been downstairs before you heard the shot?" "No." Holmes asked no further question. Douglas. He assured me that I could do nothing. That questioning gaze transformed itself suddenly into abrupt speech." "Quite so. so I lit it. He implored me not to go on. It is the only thing that I have ever known him nervous of. Was it my imagination that there was an undertone of fear rather than of hope in the question? "We have taken every possible step. Allen." "And blew out the candle?" "Exactly. It is true that her face was pale and drawn. something of defiance in it. You had heard the shot.

I knew it by the way he looked at unexpected strangers.' he has answered." "Might I ask. "What impression has my evidence made upon you?" The question might as well have been spoken. "Yes." the lady answered. no doubt." She rose. He refused to discuss it with me. 'Sometimes I think that we never shall. with a bow. I am not out of it yet. There is always romance. we will not detain you any longer. 217 . But there is a connection between Bodymaster McGinty and the Valley of Fear. "It is certainly a most extraordinary thing.' he said. and so he was silent. what possible reason could he have for taking his wedding ring?" For an instant I could have sworn that the faintest shadow of a smile flickered over the woman's lips." "And he never mentioned any names?" "Yes. I knew it by certain words he let fall. "I have always felt that there was a danger hanging over him. He thought I should brood over it if I knew all. that his wedding ring has been taken." asked Holmes. "There are some other points. I was perfectly certain that he had some powerful enemies. 'Please God it shall never fall upon you!' It was some real valley in which he had lived and in which something terrible had occurred to him. but I can tell you no more. Douglas's face lit with a quick smile." "Surely you asked him what he meant by the Valley of Fear?" "I did. "what the words were which attracted your attention?" "The Valley of Fear. then?" Mrs. of that I am certain." "Have you heard him speak of anything which occurred in America and might bring some danger upon him?" Mrs. we have been married five years."Yes. He spoke it with anger and a sort of horror. "I really cannot tell. Then. but his face would become very grave and he would shake his head. thank God!' he answered with a laugh. I was quite free. and became engaged to him there? Was there any romance. I knew it by certain precautions he took. Then I remember that there was a name that came continually to his lips. Douglas thought earnestly before she answered." she said at last. and we are sorry to have put you to this trouble at such a time. It was not from want of confidence in me—there was the most complete love and confidence between us—but it was out of his desire to keep all alarm away from me. 'I have been in the Valley of Fear. 'It is bad enough that one of us should have been in its shadow. Douglas in a boarding house in London." "There is one other point." "You have heard. anything secret or mysterious." "Well. I was so sure of it that for years I have been terrified if ever he came home later than was expected. I asked him when he recovered who Bodymaster McGinty was." "He had no rival?" "No. no doubt." said Inspector MacDonald. and that he was always on his guard against them. she swept from the room. Does that suggest anything to you? Suppose that some enemy of his old life had tracked him down and committed this crime. 'Never of mine. he was delirious with fever once when he had his hunting accident three years ago. McGinty was the name—Bodymaster McGinty. and I was again conscious of that quick. "That was an expression he has used when I questioned him. and whose body he was master of. questioning glance with which she had just surveyed us. There was nothing mysterious. did you not. and that was all I could get from him." "How did you know it. "Can a husband ever carry about a secret all his life and a woman who loves him have no suspicion of it? I knew it by his refusal to talk about some episodes in his American life." she answered. but we can refer to you as they arise.'—'Are we never to get out of the Valley of Fear?' I have asked him when I have seen him more serious than usual. that he believed they were on his track. "You met Mr. about the wedding?" "There was romance." said the inspector.

Barker's and which from outside." He came back in a moment to say that Barker was in the garden. Cecil Barker now?" "I'll see. I mind that you said it was a splay-foot." A few minutes later we were in the study. It is. Holmes?" My friend had sat with his head upon his hands. and maybe he knew best himself what cause he had for jealousy. Ames. as he stood in the light of the window and examined them minutely. 218 . "Man. The inspector was transfigured with excitement. Inside was a beautiful stretch of lawn with an old sundial in the middle. when the butler entered." "Very good. important for us to know which tracks may be Mr. You can't get past that. It exactly corresponded. Ames. Very good. sir. Holmes had brought with him the carpet slippers from the hall. The man who tears a wedding ring off a dead man's—What do you say to it. the whole effect so soothing and restful that it was welcome to my somewhat jangled nerves. His native accent rattled like a stick upon railings. Mr. considering the condition of the room. White Mason chuckled and rubbed his fat hands together in his professional satisfaction. "I said it was a snorter!" he cried. He admits that the dead man was jealous. sir. "where is Mr." he cried. But before doing so I took a stroll in the curious old-world garden which flanked the house. Barker had on his feet last night when you joined him in the study?" "Yes. Mr. the soles of both were dark with blood. I brought him his boots when he went for the police. He had a pair of bedroom slippers." he said. what Mr. But what's the game. Holmes. Rows of very ancient yew trees cut into strange designs girded it round. so I returned alone to our modest quarters at the village inn. Mr. We will ring if we want you. "Very strange indeed!" Stooping with one of his quick feline pounces. after the door had closed behind her. "This man Barker has certainly been down here a good deal." "Where are the slippers now?" "They are still under the chair in the hall. and here's the explanation. sunk in the deepest thought." "That is natural enough." said MacDonald thoughtfully. "Strange!" murmured Holmes. Then there's that wedding ring. Now he rose and rang the bell."She's a beautiful woman—a very beautiful woman." "Yes. "there's not a doubt of it! Barker has just marked the window himself. what's the game?" my friend repeated thoughtfully. He is a man who might be attractive to a woman. "Ames. I may say that I noticed that the slippers were stained with blood—so indeed were my own. "Can you remember. "And a real snorter it is!" Chapter 6 A Dawning Light The three detectives had many matters of detail into which to inquire. Holmes—what's the game?" "Ay. of course. It's a good deal broader than any bootmark. Ames. As Ames had observed. He smiled in silence at his colleagues. he placed the slipper upon the blood mark on the sill.

that darkened study with the sprawling. "but am I addressing Dr. An instant later I had come round the end of the hedge and my eyes lit upon Mrs. Holmes and his relations with the police better than anyone else can." I said. answered by a little ripple of feminine laughter. and I would refer you to Mr. Dr. In an instant—but it was just one instant too late—they resumed their solemn masks as my figure came into view." said Barker quickly. Douglas for one instant?" I followed him with a dour face. Sherlock Holmes is so well known. Her eyes shone with the joy of living. Watson. "He is his own master. is it absolutely necessary that he should pass it on to the detectives?" "Yes. Would you mind coming over and speaking to Mrs. He sat forward." "Exactly. "Perhaps some day you will do me justice. On the other side of this hedge. At the end farthest from the house they thickened into a continuous hedge. bloodstained figure on the floor." "One moment. as your friendship with Mr. sir.In that deeply peaceful atmosphere one could forget." said Barker eagerly. As I approached the spot I was aware of voices. "As he has himself said. I greeted the lady with reserve. And yet. Now I met her appealing gaze with an unresponsive eye. he would naturally feel loyalty towards the officials who were working on the same case. Beyond this I can say nothing. At the same time. I shrugged my shoulders. "Excuse me. Holmes himself if you wanted fuller information." said I. handsome face. Now all pretense of grief had passed away from her. Watson should realize. "and so I will beg leave to resume my walk. and it may make a very great difference to me. I dare say. You know Mr. Douglas and the man Barker before they were aware of my presence. there was a stone seat. Dr. and would act as his own judgment directed. If you only realized—" "There is no need why Dr. his hands clasped and his forearms on his knees. A hurried word or two passed between them. with an answering smile upon his bold. very plainly the impression which had been produced upon my mind. Watson?" I bowed with a coldness which showed. "Is he on his own or is he entirely in with them?" "I really don't know that I should be justified in discussing such a point. "It is no business of mine. which brought me back to the tragedy and left a sinister impression in my mind. a strange incident occurred." said she." There was such a ring of sincerity in the woman's voice that for the instant I forgot all about her levity and was moved only to do her will. "Mr." said I. Here within a few hours of the tragedy were his wife and his nearest friend laughing together behind a bush in the garden which had been his. that's it. Very clearly I could see in my mind's eye that shattered figure on the floor. and then Barker rose and came towards me." "I beg—I implore that you will. Supposing that a matter were brought confidentially to his knowledge. I have said that a decoration of yew trees circled the garden. and her face still quivered with amusement at some remark of her companion. some remark in the deep tones of a man. I had grieved with her grief in the dining room. concealed from the eyes of anyone approaching from the direction of the house. "We thought that it was probably you." said he." cried the woman in a pleading voice. and he would not conceal from them anything which would help them in bringing a criminal to justice. "There is one question which you can answer with more authority than anyone else in the world. or remember only as some fantastic nightmare. In the dining-room she had been demure and discreet. Watson! I assure you that you will be helping us—helping me greatly if you will guide us on that point. "I fear that you think me callous and hard-hearted. Her appearance gave me a shock. Holmes is an independent investigator. as I strolled round it and tried to steep my soul in its gentle balm." 219 . it is no possible business of his.

and yet in the silence of the night it should have easily penetrated to Mrs. It is not so far down the corridor. Was Douglas. for between ourselves I don't think that either Inspector Mac or the excellent local practitioner has grasped the overwhelming importance of this incident. I don't say that we have fathomed it—far from it—but when we have traced the missing dumb-bell—" "The dumb-bell!" "Dear me. I have been trying some experiments after you left us this afternoon. One dumb-bell. uncompromising lie—that's what meets us on the threshold! There is our starting point. Why are they lying. and I find that no noise which MacDonald can make in the study can penetrate to me in the pantry when the doors are all shut. "Now we have to ask ourselves at what hour the murder actually did occur. who was in the pantry. I looked back as I rounded the far end of it. Up to half-past ten the servants were moving about the house. Watson. "I wish none of their confidences. Consider! According to the story given to us. when I have exterminated that fourth egg I shall be ready to put you in touch with the whole situation. when I reported to him what had occurred. Allen's room.So saying I raised my hat and went upon my way. rather as one who thinks aloud than as one who makes a considered statement. It would not be very loud. I say that this was obviously impossible. "A lie. We are in the presence. it was clear that it was our interview that was the subject of their debate. "You may argue—but I have too much respect for your judgment. "How do I know that they are lying? Because it is a clumsy fabrication which simply could not be true. the assassin was alone with the dead man for some time with the lamp lit. however. eager features became more attenuated with the asceticism of complete mental concentration. So now we have the clear problem. He had spent the whole afternoon at the Manor House in consultation with his two colleagues. "But the gunshot was apparently the cause of death. which was under another ring. the assassin had less than a minute after the murder had been committed to take that ring. the imminent danger of a spinal curvature. Of that I have no doubt at all." said Holmes. Watson. is it possible that you have not penetrated the fact that the case hangs upon the missing dumb-bell? Well. and what is the truth which they are trying so hard to conceal? Let us try. from what we hear of his fearless character. to think that you will do so—that the ring may have been taken before the man was killed. if we can get behind the lie and reconstruct the truth. "My dear Watson. Finally he lit his pipe. The whole story told by Barker is a lie. The sound from a shotgun is to some extent muffled when the discharge is at very close range. watching my intellectual entanglement. and sitting in the inglenook of the old village inn he talked slowly and at random about his case. Watson! Consider an athlete with one dumb-bell! Picture to yourself the unilateral development. When on the top of this I am able to show that the blood mark on the windowsill was deliberately placed there by Barker. and from it I could vaguely hear a voice when it was very loudly raised. and in a conspiracy. so it was certainly not before that time. a man who would be likely to give up his wedding ring at such short notice. when his baffled mind had chafed before some problem while his thin. you will admit that the case grows dark against him. leaving them still seated behind that concealing hedge. Shocking. Watson—a great. and returned about five with a ravenous appetite for a high tea which I had ordered for him. for they are mighty awkward if it comes to an arrest for conspiracy and murder. as they were gazing after me. shocking!" He sat with his mouth full of toast and his eyes sparkling with mischief. or could we conceive of his giving it up at all? No. from the dead man's finger. of a deliberate conspiracy upon the part of the two people who heard the gunshot—of the man Barker and of the woman Douglas. At a quarter to eleven they had all gone to their rooms with the exception of Ames. from the housekeeper's room. Douglas. well. for I had very clear recollections of days and nights without a thought of food. obtrusive. "No confidences. as she has told us. as it undoubtedly was in this instance." "You think it will come to that?" He was in his most cheerful and debonair humour. The fact that the candle had been lit only a short time shows that there had been no lengthy interview. you need not be downcast. therefore. But Barker's story is corroborated by Mrs. But there could be no mistake about such a matter as that. 220 . and saw that they were still talking very earnestly together. Therefore the shot must have been fired some time earlier than we are told. and. "It is otherwise. in order to give a false clue to the police. Watson. thumping. Watson. The mere sight of his excellent appetite was an assurance of success. Watson. Watson. big. to replace the other ring—a thing which he would surely never have done—and to put that singular card beside his victim. no. you and I. They are both lying. Therefore she is lying also. She is.

Why a cut-off shotgun of all weapons—and an American one at that? How could they be so sure that the sound of it would not bring someone on to them? It's a mere chance as it is that Mrs. and that they have determined to get rid of the man who stands between them. Watson. Why did your guilty couple do all this. Watson. or Valley of Fear." 221 .somewhat deaf. "Well at least they gave that impression." "I am convinced myself. definitely. "They come at me like bullets. there is a good deal of evidence that the Douglases were very attached to each other. He happens to be a man over whose head some danger hangs—" "We have only their word for that. Watson. we will suppose that they are an extraordinarily astute couple. presuming that they are not the actual murderers. as you are aware. I have no doubt that what she heard was the report of the gun. and when it has been answered we shall surely have gone some way to solve our problem. until quarter past eleven. "that there is an understanding between those two people. thinking of the beautiful smiling face in the garden. this incident alone would have suggested a prearranged conspiracy to my mind. Douglas are guilty of the murder?" "There is an appalling directness about your questions." said I. Well. we have now to determine what Barker and Mrs. would it really have seemed worth doing when the dullest detective would naturally say this is an obvious blind. It is a large supposition. Let us for a moment consider the difficulties which stand in the way." "You think then. Watson?" "No. for discreet inquiry among servants and others has failed to corroborate it in any way. and why did they not instantly give the alarm? That is the question which faces us. "We will suppose that this couple are united by the bonds of a guilty love. which might have been prepared in the house. if a woman and her lover conspire to murder a husband. for even the rawest investigators must be struck by the absence of the usual feminine ululation. So does the card on the body. If there had been nothing else. shaking his pipe at me. On the contrary. who would let any man's spoken word stand between them and that husband's dead body. that Barker and Mrs." "Then again. it does not. Should I ever marry." said I. having any regard for their husbands. "If this is so." said Holmes. I should hope to inspire my wife with some feeling which would prevent her from being walked off by a housekeeper when my corpse was lying within a few yards of her. Let us see what that brings us to. Allen did not start out to inquire for the slamming door. Watson. who deceive everyone upon this point. and that this was the real instant of the murder. That all fits into your hypothesis. According to your idea. I am not a whole-souled admirer of womankind. However. or anything else." "And once again. then I can give you a whole-souled answer. there was never any hidden menace. She does not shine as a wife even in her own account of what occurred. as the bicycle is the first thing which the fugitive needed in order to make his escape. and conspire to murder the husband. if the thought of leaving a bicycle concealed outside had occurred to you. and are conspiring to conceal it." "That. But your more deadly proposition is not so clear. when the sound of the shot brought them down. when they rang the bell and summoned the servants. What were they doing. They invent this theory to account for the crime." "Exactly. that is a good sweeping generalization. Douglas. If you put it that Mrs. are they going to advertise their guilt by ostentatiously removing his wedding ring after his death? Does that strike you as very probable. Watson?" "I confess that I can't explain it. It was badly stage-managed. Douglas and Barker know the truth about the murder. I am sure they do. or Boss MacSomebody. You are sketching out a theory by which everything they say from the beginning is false. The stain on the windowsill conveys the same idea. But now we come on the nasty. or secret society. "I see." Holmes looked thoughtful. She must be a heartless creature to sit laughing at some jest within a few hours of her husband's murder. Watson. could have been doing from quarter to eleven. but none the less she mentioned in her evidence that she did hear something like a door slamming half an hour before the alarm was given. Half an hour before the alarm was given would be a quarter to eleven. They then play up to the idea by leaving this bicycle in the park as proof of the existence of some outsider. angular. cannot be true. but my experience of life has taught me that there are few wives. uncompromising bits which won't slip into their places. I am sure.

my dear Watson. you have that big umbrella of yours. You smile. By the way. he may be traced and taken. without any assertion that it is true." "Well. a really shameful secret in the life of this man Douglas. and preferred to let him go. I admit. if there were an outsider. I have arranged it with the estimable Ames. We've had the bicycle identified. someone from outside. it is possible. Barker and the wife had reached the room." said Holmes. "Man. now. so that's a long step on our journey. They obviously were the two who must have heard the sound of the gun. I started from the fact that Mr. we shall see." "It sounds to me like the beginning of the end. and we have a description of our man. Watson. I think that an evening alone in that study would help me much. I'm a believer in the genius loci. no doubt. It was clear. Simply as a mental exercise. and for some reason thought that he could do so more safely on foot than on the bicycle. But I'll take the umbrella. "I'm sure I congratulate you both with all my heart. to continue our supposititious case. we will suppose. reporting a great advance in our investigation. that whatever occurred is certainly something very extraordinary." "And yet there should be no combination of events for which the wit of man cannot conceive an explanation. that if a man had come over with a bicycle it was from Tunbridge Wells that he might be expected to have come. It is. are we not?" "Well." "Well. with some reserve. have you not?" "It is here." "Certainly—but what a wretched weapon! If there is danger—" "Nothing serious. This leads to his murder by someone who is. We took the bicycle over with us and showed it at the hotels. where they are at present engaged in trying for a likely owner to the bicycle. the couple—not necessarily a guilty couple—realize after the murderer is gone that they have placed themselves in a position in which it may be difficult for them to prove that they did not themselves either do the deed or connive at it. mere imagination. which can be done quite noiselessly. for some reason which I confess I am still at a loss to explain. It was identified at once by the manager of the Eagle Commercial as belonging to a man named Hargrave. He therefore left his machine where it would not be discovered until he had got safely away. let me indicate a possible line of thought. He made his escape. took the dead man's wedding ring. At present I am only awaiting the return of our colleagues from Tunbridge Wells. but how often is imagination the mother of truth? "We will suppose that there was a guilty secret. Friend Watson. Well. and the ring be taken for some such reason." It was nightfall before Inspector MacDonald and White Mason came back from their expedition. the resources of science are far from being exhausted. The vendetta might conceivably date back to the man's first marriage. therefore. so they gave the alarm exactly as they would have done. an avenger. who is by no means wholehearted about Barker. I'll admeet that I had my doubts if there was ever an outsider." said I. who had taken a room there two days before. They rapidly and rather clumsily met the situation. Douglas had seemed disturbed since the day before. I'll borrow that if I may. 222 . when he had been at Tunbridge Wells. For this purpose they probably lowered the bridge. They were converted to this idea. and then raised it again. So far we are within the bounds of possibility." "And how do you propose to prove all this?" "Well. It was at Tunbridge Wells then that he had become conscious of some danger. "but that's all past now. This avenger. but a good half hour after the event. I shall sit in that room and see if its atmosphere brings me inspiration. "Before this avenger got away. But if not—well. That would be the most effective of all proofs."I can conceive of no explanation. Well. or I should certainly ask for your assistance. "We have to remember. The mark was put by Barker's bloodstained slipper upon the windowsill to suggest how the fugitive got away." "An evening alone!" "I propose to go up there presently." said MacDonald. The assassin convinced them that any attempt to arrest him would lead to the publication of some hideous scandal. and they arrived exultant.

He waited until quarter-past eleven." said the inspector with satisfaction. so he left it there and made his way by some other means to London or to some safe hiding place which he had already arranged. He had registered his name as coming from London. But his description—what of that?" MacDonald referred to his notebook." I remarked. when Mr. at any rate." "Well. bar the expression. and he wore a short yellow overcoat and a soft cap. but he had intended to use it outside. so far as we can learn. Presumably he at once concealed his cycle among the laurels where it was found." "What about the shotgun?" "It is less than two feet long. the clerk. with his eye on the house. Yesterday morning he set off for this place on his bicycle. his hair slightly grizzled. Holmes." said White Mason. A cycle map of the county lay on his bedroom table. and no more was heard of him until our inquiries.This bicycle and a small valise were his whole belongings. In the latter was a sawed-off shotgun. Douglas upon his usual nightly round came into the room. They don't seem to have taken any very particular stock of him. Mac. "Here we have it so far as they could give it. Mr. But. Mr. to make some excuse if he met anyone. Was there nothing to identify this man?" "So little that it was evident that he had carefully guarded himself against identification. waiting for Mr. He had left the hotel after breakfast yesterday morning on his bicycle. even as it stands. a curved nose. He found the bridge down and no one about. The shotgun is a strange weapon to use inside a house. The valise was London made." said Holmes. He took his chance. He could have carried it inside his overcoat without difficulty. "But this may all fit in with your theories. Holmes. As it is. no doubt." "So one would imagine. and no marking upon the clothes. and about the same height. Mr. "Well. and he knew that his only escape was through the moat. No one saw him arrive." "Well. that might almost be a description of Douglas himself." "That is all very clear. We know that an American calling himself Hargrave came to Tunbridge Wells two days ago with bicycle and valise. He slipped into the first room that he saw. a grayish moustache. How is that. with grizzled hair and moustache. Holmes. Mac. but the man himself was undoubtedly an American. Still. and there are many cyclists upon the road. Did you get anything else?" "He was dressed in a heavy gray suit with a reefer jacket. and there it has very obvious advantages. with his gun concealed in his overcoat. as arranged. Douglas to come out. Mr. "If the fellow did not want the hue and cry raised over him. since he has not been taken. Thence he could see the drawbridge go up. He was a man about five foot nine in height. but he need not pass through the village to reach the park gates. but had given no address. Mr. He shot him and escaped. There were no papers or letters. he has been justified of his wisdom up to date. It could very well have fitted into his valise." "And how do you consider that all this bears upon the general case?" "Well. fifty or so years of age. and a face which all of them described as fierce and forbidding. But let us hear the end." said Holmes gleefully. Mr. and concealed himself behind the curtain. What was he to do next? He left his bicycle and approached the house in the twilight. and possibly lurked there himself. Douglas did not appear. "you have indeed done some solid work while I have been sitting spinning theories with my friend! It's a lesson in being practical. and the sound of shots is so common in an English sporting neighbourhood that no particular notice would be taken. "That may or may not be. so he came with the deliberate purpose of crime. we have surely gone a long way." said Holmes. but still the porter. as it would be impossible to miss with it. one would imagine that he would have returned and remained at the hotel as an inoffensive tourist. he must know that he will be reported to the police by the hotel manager and that his disappearance will be connected with the murder." "That's what puzzles me." said MacDonald. He met no one. "when we have got our man—and you may be sure that I had his description on the wires within five minutes of hearing it—we shall be better able to judge." "Ay. He was aware that the bicycle would be described by the hotel people and be a clue against him. intending. well. Mr. "He is just over fifty. and the chambermaid are all agreed that this about covers the points. it's just that. Holmes?" 223 . and the contents were British.

White Mason. Derby. In three of them—East Ham. Mac. "Now. if this is true. and I do not think it is a fair game to allow 224 . no doubt he will stretch a point for me. that's lucky. Holmes?" "No. We slept in a double-bedded room. that I should not present you with half-proved theories. which they were carefully sorting and docketing. Leicester. Then the tall. Chapter 7 The Solution Next morning. I wish to give you a very earnest piece of advice. "I propose to make a little investigation of my own to-night. On the other hand." said Holmes. which was the best that the little country inn could do for us. we found Inspector MacDonald and White Mason seated in close consultation in the small parlour of the local police sergeant. an idiot whose mind has lost its grip?" "Not in the least. and Liverpool—there is a clear case against him. Watson's umbrella—my wants are simple." I murmured. That is your end of the story. Mr. I was already asleep when I was partly awakened by his entrance." he whispered." said the London inspector. that Mrs. And Ames. "What is the latest news of the ruffian?" MacDonald pointed ruefully to his heap of correspondence. and he has actually been arrested. That's my reading of the first half. Southampton. that they aided the murderer's escape—or at least that they reached the room before he escaped—and that they fabricated evidence of his escape through the window. On the table in front of them were piled a number of letters and telegrams. it is very good and very clear so far as it goes. lean figure inclined towards me. The country seems to be full of the fugitives with yellow coats. Mr. I said that I would play the game fairly by you. "have you found anything out?" He stood beside me in silence. "Ah." "Can we help you." added White Mason. Mr. but that I should retain and work out my own ideas until I had satisfied myself that they were correct. My end is that the crime was committed half an hour earlier than reported. Nottingham." The two detectives shook their heads. "And in some ways a worse one. after breakfast. "He is at present reported from Leicester. "The lady has never been in America in all her life. Douglas and Barker are both in a conspiracy to conceal something. and it is just possible that it may contribute something to the common cause. and not another word would he utter that night. When I went into this case with you I bargained. Mac and you. and fourteen other places. "Well. his candle in his hand. no! Darkness and Dr. "would you be afraid to sleep in the same room with a lunatic. as you will no doubt remember. Three had been placed on one side. whereas in all probability they had themselves let him go by lowering the bridge. Watson. "Well. the faithful Ames. "I say. Mr. What possible connection could she have with an American assassin which would cause her to shelter him?" "I freely admit the difficulties." I answered in astonishment. For this reason I am not at the present moment telling you all that is in my mind. All my lines of thought lead me back invariably to the one basic question—why should an athletic man develop his frame upon so unnatural an instrument as a single dumb-bell?" It was late that night when Holmes returned from his solitary excursion. Holmes. we only tumble out of one mystery into another. Mr. "Still on the track of the elusive bicyclist?" Holmes asked cheerfully. Holmes."Well. a man with softening of the brain. East Ham." "Dear me!" said Holmes sympathetically." he said. Richmond.

for I assure you that even so bald an account as this raises some sort of picture of the past in one's mind. but you have such a deuced round-the-corner way of doing it. Mr. Mr. Mac. I did not see either Barker or Mrs. I'll drop past history and get down to present-day facts. Holmes. Mr. "You get to your point. Don't look so impatient. for in all my experience I cannot recall any more singular and interesting study. is one of the essentials of our profession. Mac!—the first sign of temper I have detected in you. tut. Permit me to give you a sample. but I would not have you waste your energies in East Ham or Liverpool." "You are holding something back. you will admit that there are various associations of interest connected with this ancient house. at the Manor for one unnecessary moment to waste your energies upon a profitless task. the Manor House of Birlstone presents one of the finest surviving examples of the moated Jacobean residence—'" "You are making fools of us. I can only give you a very general answer to that for the moment. is still rather older and perhaps more experienced than yourself. We saw you when we returned from Tunbridge Wells last night. well. my dear Mr. I admit. Douglas. Mac. Holmes." "But this cyclist. his bicycle. "You know my methods of work. what happened?" "Ah. I owe you too much to act otherwise. It's hardly fair of you." Here Holmes drew a small tract. but I was pleased to hear that the lady was not visibly pining and that she had partaken of an excellent dinner. from his waistcoat pocket. Mr. We have his description. "You consider it hopeless!" cried the inspector. and my advice to you is summed up in three words—abandon the case." "I don't doubt it. I spent. "It immensely adds to the zest of an investigation. The interplay of ideas and the oblique uses of knowledge are often of extraordinary interest. I called last night." "This is clean beyond me. I only wish to verify my details in one way. Why should we not get him?" "Yes. Mac. his valise. no doubt he is somewhere. Holmes!" "Tut." The inspector was annoyed. Holmes. as I have already said. You will excuse these remarks from one who." "Well. Mr. I do not consider that it is hopeless to arrive at the truth. Mr. and standing upon the site of a much older building. and no doubt we shall get him. The fellow must be somewhere. when one is in conscious sympathy with the historical atmosphere of one's surroundings. since you feel so strongly upon the subject. He is not an invention. which can very readily be done. Therefore I am here to advise you this morning." "I'm the first to admit that. since you ask me. and finally of a visit there by the second George. my dear Mr. but that is no business of ours. leaving my results entirely at your service. By the way. 'Erected in the fifth year of the reign of James I. What has happened since then to give you a completely new idea of the case?" "Well. Well." "Well. But I will hold it back for the shortest time possible." "Is it not? Is it not? Breadth of view. But when I tell you that there is some account of the taking of the place by a parliamentary colonel in 1644. My visit was 225 . "I consider your case to be hopeless. of the concealment of Charles for several days in the course of the Civil War. and you were in general agreement with our results. embellished with a rude engraving of the ancient Manor House. as I told you that I would. I have been reading a short but clear and interesting account of the old building. and then I make my bow and return to London. some hours last night at the Manor House. I saw no necessity to disturb them. though a mere connoisseur of crime. purchasable at the modest sum of one penny from the local tobacconist." MacDonald and White Mason stared in amazement at their celebrated colleague. yes. I am sure that we can find some shorter cut to a result." said the detective heartily. I won't read it verbatim.

"Do what you like and go where you will. before we part. without reference to anyone else. But don't trouble to trace the mysterious gentleman upon the bicycle." "That sounds more like sanity. patting him cheerfully upon the shoulder. we're bound to take you on your own terms. The room was in its normal state." "Well. No doubt lunch could be got at some suitable hostelry. not to make a mystery of so simple a matter. though my ignorance of the country prevents me from recommending one. "Well. then. this is getting past a joke!" cried MacDonald." said Holmes. "but when it comes to telling us to abandon the case—why in the name of goodness should we abandon the case?" "For the simple reason. I assure you that it won't help you. I'll do what you advise. that you have not got the first idea what it is that you are investigating. so long as you are here when I need you. my dear Mr. a very little further. tired but happy—" "Man." "We are investigating the murder of Mr. They tell me that the views from Birlstone Ridge over the Weald are very remarkable. everything is now in order. and in it I passed an instructive quarter of an hour. It has always bulked rather large in my estimate of the case." said the inspector. White Mason?" The country detective looked helplessly from one to the other.specially made to the good Mr. and I will promise that you shall share everything that I know. You gave permission for that. "Capital!" said Holmes. if you will do it. I'm bound to say I've always found you had reason behind all your queer ways. Holmes and his methods were new to him. Mr. John Douglas of Birlstone Manor. if you like." "What were you doing?" "Well. to sit alone for a time in the study. Mac. Mr. I was looking for the missing dumb-bell." he said at last." "Yes. Mac. cheery country walk for both of you. which culminated in his allowing me. Let me go a little further. "Well. But now. I should recommend a nice. but I don't insist." "All of it was excellent advice. so you are. "Well. Mac. Mr. in the hope that we may find some—" 226 . In the evening. well. with whom I exchanged some amiabilities. I want you to write a note to Mr." "And you." "Well." "Where?" "Ah. I ended by finding it. no. spend the day as you like. there we come to the edge of the unexplored." "Well?" "I'll dictate it." "Then what do you suggest that we do?" "I will tell you exactly what to do. if it is good enough for the inspector. as I am informed. Barker. it is good enough for me. Ready? "Dear Sir: "It has struck me that it is our duty to drain the moat. but meet me here before dusk without fail—without fail. "No. Ames. rising angrily from his chair. yes." "What! With that?" I ejaculated.

I have made arrangements. Presently it was thrown open with a whining of hinges. "I am asking you now to put everything to the test with me." "Tut. as one who wishes to be assured that he is unobserved. and we could dimly see the dark outline of a man's head and shoulders looking out into the gloom." We passed along the outer bounds of the Manor House park until we came to a place where there was a gap in the rails which fenced it. For some minutes he peered forth in furtive. Until then we may each do what we like. and then in the gathering gloom we followed Holmes until we had reached a shrubbery which lies nearly opposite to the main door and the drawbridge. and we all three followed his example. and send it by hand about four o'clock. would be a drab and sordid one if we did not sometimes set the scene so as to glorify our results. Where would be that thrill if I had been as definite as a timetable? I only ask a little patience. for I can assure you that this inquiry has come to a definite pause. The latter had not been raised. I hope the pride and justification and the rest of it will come before we all get our death of cold." Evening was drawing in when we reassembled. "And what is it we are watching for?" "I have no more notion than you how long it is to last. sombre face of the old house. Holmes was very serious in his manner." "Well. Everything else was dark and still. The blunt accusation. stealthy fashion. Holmes crouched down behind the screen of laurels. A cold. It is of the first importance that we should be in our places before it grows dark. the clever forecast of coming events. Then he leaned forward." Holmes laughed. The laurels among which we lay were immediately opposite the window and not more than a hundred feet from it. Slowly the shadows darkened over the long. and all will be clear to you. "Now sign that." said the London detective with comic resignation. Mac." "Well. At that hour we shall meet again in this room. go on. and the detectives obviously critical and annoyed. and you will judge for yourselves whether the observations I have made justify the conclusions to which I have come. and calls insistently for a well-staged performance. the brutal tap upon the shoulder—what can one make of such a denouement? But the quick inference." Holmes answered with some asperity." "—in the hope that we may find something which may bear upon our investigation." said he. please do what I ask you. and the workmen will be at work early to-morrow morning diverting the stream—" "Impossible!" "—diverting the stream. Mr. so with your permission we shall get started at once. it would certainly be more convenient for all of us. the subtle trap. There was a single lamp over the gateway and a steady globe of light in the fatal study. and I do not know how long our expedition may last. Through this we slipped. for our vigil was a long and bitter one. THAT'S what we are watching for!" As he spoke the bright. what are we to do now?" asked MacDonald with some gruffness. "Possess our souls in patience and make as little noise as possible. We all had good reason to join in the aspiration. gentlemen. "Watson insists that I am the dramatist in real life. It is a chill evening."It's impossible. so I thought it best to explain matters beforehand. Mac." said the inspector. yellow light in the study was obscured by somebody passing to and fro before it. Mr. myself curious. "What are we here for at all? I really think that you might treat us with more frankness." Holmes answered. "I've made inquiry. Surely our profession. so I beg that you will wear your warmest coats. and in the intense silence we were 227 . the triumphant vindication of bold theories—are these not the pride and the justification of our life's work? At the present moment you thrill with the glamour of the situation and the anticipation of the hunt. "How long is this to last?" asked the inspector finally. As to what it is we—Well. "Well. "Well. "If criminals would always schedule their movements like railway trains. "Some touch of the artist wells up within me. damp reek from the moat chilled us to the bones and set our teeth chattering." said my friend gravely. tut! My dear sir.

which had. "Here. Anger. Mr. which you have just raised from the bottom of the moat. comprising a complete set of underclothes. and indecision swept over it in turn.A. The idea was at least worth testing.S. however. Mr. I drew your attention to it. who admitted me to the room. amazement. When water is near and a weight is missing it is not a very far-fetched supposition that something has been sunk in the water. perhaps you had better tell us some more. upon the card by the dead body might stand for Vermissa Valley. Mr. as you perceive. "It was of the first importance. clean-shaved face and his menacing eyes. and so. It was now in the hand of Cecil Barker. and a short yellow overcoat. who held it towards us as we entered." It was a sight to see Cecil Barker's expressive face during this exposition of the great detective. "How in thunder came you to know anything about it?" he asked." he sneered. Barker. We have no less than four witnesses as to who it was who took advantage of the opportunity. a gray tweed suit. that I was somewhat struck by the absence of a dumb-bell.V. I have some recollection." Barker stared at Holmes with amazement in his face. "Now!" We were all upon our feet.' I have spent an instructive afternoon in the rector's library. and the amazed Ames stood in the entrance. The oil lamp on the table represented the glow which we had seen from outside. Next he drew forth a pair of boots." "You put it there! You!" "Perhaps I should have said 'replaced it there. Barker. Then he laid upon the table a long. This we accomplished by the very obvious device of announcing that the moat would be dried to-morrow. but with the pressure of other events you had hardly the time to give it the consideration which would have enabled you to draw deductions from it. and the crook of Dr. The tailor's tab is on the neck—'Neal. Barker. that we should be able to prove who placed it there. Finally he unravelled a bundle of clothing. which is full of suggestive touches. and then pounced upon a sodden bundle tied together with cord which lay where it had been thrust under the writing table. sheathed knife. that you associated the coal districts with Mr. Outfitter. so with the help of Ames. I seem to be standing rather in the way of your explanation." remarked Holmes. is the inner pocket prolonged into the lining in such fashion as to give ample space for the truncated fowling piece. Finally he took refuge in a somewhat acrid irony. "save only the overcoat. "The clothes are commonplace. I think the word lies now with you. consternation. Watson's umbrella. So much is fairly clear. Douglas's first wife. "You will remember. "What are you after. And now. "This is what we are after. or that this very valley which sends forth emissaries of murder may be that Valley of Fear of which we have heard. resolute. which he tossed down to its fellow in the corner. and have enlarged my knowledge by adding the fact that Vermissa is a flourishing little town at the head of one of the best known coal and iron valleys in the United States. deadly.'" said Holmes. "You know such a lot. while he ran swiftly across the bridge and rang violently at the bell. "Simply that I put it there. anyhow?" Holmes took a swift glance round. staggering after him with our stiffened limbs." he remarked. "What the devil is the meaning of all this?" he cried. Inspector MacDonald. Its light shone upon his strong. pointing to the toes. He seemed to be stirring up the moat with something which he held in his hand. Mr. 228 .aware of the soft lapping of agitated water. From within he extracted a dumb-bell. of course. I was able last night to fish up and inspect this bundle." Sherlock Holmes put the sopping bundle upon the table beside the lamp and undid the cord which bound it. socks. Holmes. Then suddenly he hauled something in as a fisherman lands a fish—some large. the effect that whoever had hidden the bundle would most certainly withdraw it the moment that darkness enabled him to do so. Vermissa. U. round object which obscured the light as it was dragged through the open casement. There was the rasping of bolts from the other side. as you perceive. Mr. Holmes brushed him aside without a word and. rushed into the room which had been occupied by the man whom we had been watching. weighted with a dumb-bell. "Now!" cried Holmes. and it would surely not be too far-fetched an inference that the V. "American." He held it tenderly towards the light. followed by all of us. Barker—this bundle.

Douglas. Mrs. "I am sure that it is best. "I've heard of you. when we were aware of a man who seemed to have emerged from the wall. and a humorous mouth. grizzled moustache. "I've heard of you." he nodded at my papers. this fairly beats me!" he cried at last. Now I am assured that this is not so. and I'll lay my last dollar on that. "It's best this way. by a woman's voice. Mr. shaking a reproving forefinger." said he in a voice which was not quite English and not quite American. and should strongly urge you to have some confidence in the common sense of our jurisdiction and to take the police voluntarily into your complete confidence." said the inspector quietly. At the same time. Mr. however. and you'll guess what it is to be sitting for two days with tobacco in your pocket and afraid that the smell will give you away. "May I smoke as I talk? Well."I have no doubt that I could tell you a great deal more. Barker. at that time I had every reason to believe that you were directly concerned in the crime." "That's the past." Mrs. and you can't miss the public so long as you have those. It was a remarkable face. Mrs." remarked Sherlock Holmes gravely. and the hiding place that has once been used may be again. Dr. Mr. Watson." said Sherlock Holmes. and I am not the man to give it away. a square." his wife repeated. I've been cooped up two days. Well. "What we desire now is to hear your story of the present. if I remember right." "Enough and more than enough. "If you are Mr. Barker." said Douglas. John Douglas of Birlstone Manor. you have done enough." "Indeed. but was altogether mellow and pleasing. "I have every sympathy with you. Jack. if you take that line. Douglas under this roof." said she. a strong. for one had only to look at that granite face to realize that no peine forte et dure would ever force him to plead against his will. projecting chin. "you will say I've brought you something fresh. It may be that I am myself at fault for not following up the hint which you conveyed to me through my friend. and I've spent the daylight hours—as much daylight as I could get in that rat trap—in putting the thing into words. People did not hide in those days without excellent hiding places. do you? Well. Mr. Holmes. "You have done enough for now. Dr." 229 . I never guessed that I should meet you. madam. yes. but. all I can say is that if there's any secret here it is not my secret. "Well. The detectives and I must have echoed it. but there are the facts. and in an instant her arms were round him. Douglas to tell us his own story. He took a good look at us all." "You'll have it. I had persuaded myself that we should find Mr. "you would not read that excellent local compilation which described the concealment of King Charles." "Ah." "Oh. Douglas had been standing listening at the half opened door. You're a smoker yourself. "we must just keep you in sight until we have the warrant and can hold you. But before you are through with that. sir. and I should strongly recommend that you ask Mr. There's the story of the Valley of Fear." "You can do what you damn please about that. Douglas. you think so. and then to my amazement he advanced to me and handed me a bundle of paper. Mr. Mac. but it would come with a better grace from you. thank you. The deadlock was broken. You're welcome to them—you and your public. Tell it your own way. The proceedings seemed to have come to a definite end so far as he was concerned." said Sherlock Holmes quietly." said Barker defiantly." The man stood blinking at us with the dazed look of one who comes from the dark into the light. "I am sure that you will find it best." Inspector MacDonald had been staring at the newcomer with the greatest amazement. bold gray eyes. Watson. Douglas turned. then whose death have we been investigating for these two days. and now she entered the room. who advanced now from the gloom of the corner in which he had appeared. there is much that is unexplained." He leaned against the mantelpiece and sucked at the cigar which Holmes had handed him. Barker had seized his outstretched hand." "Well. you've never had such a story as that pass through your hands before." said Holmes. "Whatever comes of it in the future. and where in the world have you sprung from now? You seemed to me to come out of the floor like a jack-in-a-box. Mr. Mr. Holmes. "You are the historian of this bunch. Douglas gave a cry of astonishment at Holmes's words. short-clipped. Cecil.

But when I made my round in my dressing gown. I guessed I'd fight through it all right on my own. Holmes?" said the inspector angrily. and a moment later he'd got his gun from under his coat. after you gentlemen had seen her. but I fairly turned sick at the sight of him. and I would have been a wiser man if I had told her sooner. I heard my wife coming. dear. I put down the candle and jumped for a hammer that I'd left on the mantel. "and I acted for the best. I had it by the barrel. So long as I am alive and they are alive." he indicated my bundle of papers. gentlemen. I never doubted that it would be with me still. I knew there was trouble coming. But there was no sign of them. and never went out into the park. Pray what more could I do? When I found the suit of clothes in the moat. Next instant I spotted a boot under the window curtain. and I ran to the door and stopped her. No other conclusion was possible. and awaiting quieter times when he could make his final escape. "He never lost his grip. I invited you and your colleague to take a holiday for the day. After the bridge was up—my mind was always more restful when that bridge was up in the evenings—I put the thing clear out of my head. It was the worst enemy I had among them all—one who has been after me like a hungry wolf after a caribou all these years. Inspector: I'm ready to stand pat upon the truth. but his own mother wouldn't recognize him as I saw him then. my dear Mr. for on the night when this thing happened there was mighty little time for explanations. but you'll judge that for yourselves when I tell you my story. she never knew the rights of the matter. but until yesterday. I saw the glint of a knife. Anyhow. They hunted me from Chicago to California. I'd recognized him in the township. "I'd just the one candle that was in my hand. "I was on my guard all that next day. and there I was. but must be that of the bicyclist from Tunbridge Wells. At the same moment he sprang at me. Therefore I had to determine where Mr. It was no sight for a woman. "I never explained to my wife how things were. Then we understood that they could hear nothing. it at once became apparent to me that the body we had found could not have been the body of Mr. See here!" 230 ." he took her hand for an instant in his own. Never mind warning me. and I got a glimpse of a man in the street. and yet I couldn't tell you why. and again when he sprang for me. and the balance of probability was that with the connivance of his wife and his friend he was concealed in a house which had such conveniences for a fugitive. That's all there." "Well. he got both barrels in the face. She told you all she knew. She knows everything now. Why should I pull her into it? She would never have a quiet moment again. "Well. and I never doubted who it was. "It was at that instant that the idea came to me. as was my habit. and that all that had happened was known only to ourselves. but when I married and settled down in this quiet spot I thought my last years were going to be peaceable. and then I saw why plain enough. and we wrestled for it all ends up for a minute or more. and so did Barker here. but I had got hold of it before he could fire. Maybe we just jolted it off between us. I fancy she knew something. and nothing that I would not do again." said Douglas approvingly. but would always be imagining trouble. Only last night did I form my views of the case. It was death to the man that lost his grip. and I lashed at him with the hammer. staring down at all that was left of Ted Baldwin. my luck was a proverb in the States about '76. Maybe it was I that pulled the trigger. I heard him cock it. It all comes down to this: That there are some men that have good cause to hate me and would give their last dollar to know that they had got me. The man's sleeve had slipped up and there was the branded mark of the lodge upon his forearm. John Douglas at all. I'm used to rough work. and also I saw my chance to throw these hounds once for all off my track. then they chased me out of America. I said a word or two to Barker —he took it all in at a glance—and we waited for the rest to come along."And how long have you been playing this trick upon us. It was only a glimpse. "I thought I'd dodge your British law. but he got it butt downward for a moment too long. "How long have you allowed us to waste ourselves upon a search that you knew to be an absurd one?" "Not one instant. I had no sooner entered the study than I scented danger. He dodged round the table as quick as an eel. I got him somewhere. but I have a quick eye for these things. and I came home and made ready for it. I saw the signal clear enough. Mac. for I may have dropped a word here or a word there. you figured it out about right. Mind you. or he'd have had the drop on me with that buckshot gun of his before ever I could draw on him. Mr. John Douglas himself could be. But it was a hard question. "and a mighty queer yarn you'll find it. I never dreamed of his getting into the house and waiting for me. I promised I'd come to her soon. but there was a good light from the hall lamp through the open door. from first to last I have done nothing to be ashamed of. for I was not sure how I stood under it. the day before these happenings I was over in Tunbridge Wells. I was fairly dazzled by the brilliance of it. there is no safety in this world for me. As they could not be put to the proof until this evening. I guess when a man has had dangers in his life—and I've had more than most in my time—there is a kind of sixth sense that waves the red flag. It's as well. for the knife tinkled down on the floor. "I'm not going to begin at the beginning. "I was hanging on the side of the table when Barker came hurrying down.

It was a tall order. Douglas. or even than your enemies from America. "It was the sight of that which started me on it. Do not think that I intrude one story before another is finished. we shall meet once more in those rooms on Baker Street. and it was up to Barker to do the rest. and far also from the year of grace in which we made our eventful journey which ended with the strange story of the man who had been known as John Douglas. You'll take my advice and still be on your guard. and I weighted them with the only weight I could find and put them through the window. far from the Sussex Manor House of Birlstone. 231 . As you read on you will find that this is not so.The man whom we had known as Douglas turned up his own coat and cuff to show a brown triangle within a circle exactly like that which we had seen upon the dead man. or where to hide to get you?" "I know nothing of this. "I guess you can fill in for yourselves what he did. "The story is not over yet. So we just had to leave that detail to take care of itself. You will get no worse than your deserts from that. And so. like so many other wonderful happenings. or how to get into your house. my long-suffering readers. We tied all his things into a bundle. where this. that I should have cared to part with it. but they understood enough to be able to help me. Holmes. that was the situation." he held out his muscular hand. and it would have taken a file to get it off. The card he had meant to lay upon my body was lying beside his own. But I would ask you how did this man know that you lived here. I knew all about this hiding place. On the other hand. I see trouble before you. so did Ames. Mr. but if I had wanted to I couldn't. Then. poor devil! I brought down this suit of clothes. clever as you are." Holmes's face was very white and grave. And when I have detailed those distant events and you have solved this mystery of the past. that I may lay before you a singular and terrible narrative—so singular and so terrible that you may find it hard to believe that even as I tell it. There were his height and hair and figure. I will ask you to come away with me for a time. so help me God! What I ask you now is how do I stand by the English law?" There was a silence which was broken by Sherlock Holmes. but I've told you the truth and the whole truth. These devils would give me no rest so long as I was above ground. I fear. You slipped up there. Mr. even so did it occur. Douglas. "The English law is in the main a just law. but it never entered his head to connect it with the matter. you can do what you please. I retired into it. I wish you to journey back some twenty years in time. I hadn't much time to make it all clear to Barker and to my wife. "Well." And now. that. I seemed to see it all clear at a glance. Mr. I have not moved it since the day I was married. He opened the window and made the mark on the sill to give an idea of how the murderer escaped. but when it came to the wedding ring." said he. gentlemen. If I could lie low for a while and then get away where I could be joined by my 'widow' we should have a chance at last of living in peace for the rest of our lives. I don't know. No one could swear to his face. will find its end. but if they saw in the papers that Baldwin had got his man. I brought a bit of plaster down and put it where I am wearing one myself at this instant. What happened afterward you know. for if you had chanced to take off that plaster you would have found no cut underneath it. "My rings were put on his finger. when everything was fixed. there would be an end of all my troubles. about the same as my own. "you can see for yourselves that I had struck the limit. he rang the bell for all he was worth. anyhow. but as the bridge was up there was no other way. "You may find worse dangers than the English law. and westward some thousands of miles in space. and in a quarter of an hour Barker and I had put my dressing gown on him and he lay as you found him.

the windows of which were beginning to outline themselves in light. gruff replies. which showed that the scene was new to him. The steam ploughs had. And yet the man who studied him more closely might discern a certain firmness of jaw and grim tightness about the lips which would warn him that there were depths beyond. Take a good look at him. with a quick wit and a ready smile. and jagged rock towered upon each flank. Having made one or two tentative remarks to the nearest miner. He has large. the central township which lies at the head of Vermissa Valley. For desolate it was! Little could the first pioneer who had traversed it have ever imagined that the fairest prairies and the most lush water pastures were valueless compared to this gloomy land of black crag and tangled forest. It had been a severe winter. bare carriage in which some twenty or thirty people were seated. Several women of the labouring class and one or two travellers who might have been small local storekeepers made up the rest of the company. and on the margins of which he scribbled some notes. It was a single track railroad.PART 2 The Scowrers Chapter 1 The Man It was the fourth of February in the year 1875. middle-sized young man. the high. and the rude. At intervals he drew from his pocket a bulky letter to which he referred. kept the railroad open. These sat smoking in a group and conversed in low voices. bare crowns of the mountains. not far. It was a navy revolver of the 232 . wooden houses. by their grimed faces and the safety lanterns which they carried. The iron and coal valleys of the Vermissa district were no resorts for the leisured or the cultured. humorous gray eyes which twinkle inquiringly from time to time as he looks round through his spectacles at the people about him. and the purely agricultural county of Merton. a long. Anyone could pick him at once as gregarious in his habits and communicative in his nature. staring moodily out of the window at the fading landscape. The young traveller gazed out into this dismal country with a face of mingled repulsion and interest. and the snow lay deep in the gorges of the Gilmerton Mountains. one would guess. At least a dozen. From this point the track sweeps downward to Bartons Crossing. tortuous valley in the centre. and that this pleasant. Above the dark and often scarcely penetrable woods upon their flanks. Huddled groups of mean. glancing occasionally at two men on the opposite side of the car. but at every siding—and they were numerous—long lines of trucks piled with coal and iron ore told of the hidden wealth which had brought a rude population and a bustling life to this most desolate corner of the United States of America. Everywhere there were stern signs of the crudest battle of life. Up this the little train was slowly crawling. and receiving only short. proclaimed themselves miners. with the exception of one young man in a corner by himself. Helmdale. with the high shafts of the collieries towering above them. white snow. brown-haired young Irishman might conceivably leave his mark for good or evil upon any society to which he was introduced. It was not a cheering prospect. however. Through the growing gloom there pulsed the red glow of the furnaces on the sides of the hills. Once from the back of his waist he produced something which one would hardly have expected to find in the possession of so mild-mannered a man. winding. He is a fresh-complexioned. It is easy to see that he is of a sociable and possibly simple disposition. Great heaps of slag and dumps of cinders loomed up on each side. the traveler resigned himself to uncongenial silence. whose uniforms and badges showed them to be policemen. leaving a long. and the frequent halting places were crowded with their swarthy inhabitants. were scattered here and there along the line. The greater number of these was workmen returning from their day's toil in the lower part of the valley. The oil lamps had just been lit in the leading passenger car. and the evening train which connects the long line of coal-mining and iron-working settlements was slowly groaning its way up the steep gradients which lead from Stagville on the plain to Vermissa. for he is worth it. anxious to be friendly to all men. from his thirtieth year. shrewd. the rude work to be done. It is with this man that we are concerned. strong workers who did it.

but I have the means of making them. Have you any friends?" "Not yet." "Then you'll get your job. What made you come here?" "I heard there was always work for a willing man. He glanced round suspiciously at the others in the car. and where there is a lodge I'll find my friends." The young man smiled with an air of embarrassment." He raised his right hand to his right eyebrow. "Have you heard nothing of doings hereabouts?" "Nothing out of the way. "Dark nights are unpleasant." the other answered. The two police officers were dozing." The remark had a singular effect upon his companion. "That's good enough." said the workman. Lodge 341.largest size." "And where may that be?" "I'm last from Chicago." "How's that." "Why. seated himself close to the young traveller." he said. for strangers to travel. Vermissa Valley. He came across." said the workman. "Put it there." said he. "Yes. "I see you speak the truth." "A stranger in these parts?" "Yes. I thought the country was full of it. He quickly restored it to his secret pocket." "Are you a member of the union?" "Sure. the glint upon the rims of the copper shells within the drum showed that it was fully loaded. "Yes. "Ah! is that so?" The young man seemed interested." 233 . "But it's well to make certain. I'm Brother Scanlan. "we need them sometimes in the place I come from. I guess. "Hullo. The miners were still whispering among themselves. mate!" said he." said the workman. Glad to see you in these parts. but not before it had been observed by a working man who had seated himself upon the adjoining bench. and held out his hand. You'll hear quick enough. then?" "I am one of the Eminent Order of Freemen. A hand-grip passed between the two. The traveller at once raised his left hand to his left eyebrow." "You may find you need it here. "You seem heeled and ready. As he turned it slantwise to the light. There's no town without a lodge.

Who are you that you should take it on yourself to ask such things?" His gray eyes gleamed with sudden and dangerous anger from behind his glasses. "In trouble?" he asked in a whisper. I guess you are new to this part. and nothing can happen in these parts unless Black Jack McGinty wants it. "Then why did you leave?" McMurdo nodded towards the policemen and smiled." 234 . go straight to the Union House and see Boss McGinty." said McMurdo with the air of a man who had been surprised into saying more than he intended." said a voice. that I should advise you to be careful in choosing your friends. but Vermissa is out of my beat. If there are worse devils down yonder than some we could name." "Well.H. You won't find the order more flourishing anywhere in the States than right here in Vermissa Valley. no offense meant. "I allow that hell must BE something like that. I live at Hobson's Patch. and that's here where we are drawing up. Against their lurid background dark figures were bending and straining. there are plenty of us about. Scanlan groaned sympathetically. But. it's more than I'd expect. and McMurdo was left once again to his thoughts. "I guess hell must look something like that. whatever you may have done. what if I am?" McMurdo answered in a surly voice." "A penitentiary job?" "And the rest. But mind my words: If you are in trouble. say. Night had now fallen." said McMurdo. Bodymaster J." "That's the third halt down the line. to the rhythm of an eternal clank and roar. with the motion of winch or of windlass. and the flames of the frequent furnaces were roaring and leaping in the darkness. Lodge 29. Where are you bound for now?" "Vermissa. "For that matter." he said. mister. "All right. He is the Bodymaster of Vermissa Lodge. Sheridan Street. and let that be enough for you. But we could do with some lads like you. I can't understand a spry man of the union finding no work to do in Chicago. So long. "Deep." "I found plenty of work to do. I don't think I'd begin with Mike Scanlan or his gang if I were you. twisting and turning. I don't know it." Scanlan descended. "I've my own good reasons for leaving Chicago. go to Boss McGinty. Where are you staying?" McMurdo took out an envelope and held it close to the murky oil lamp." said the other policeman. young man?" "Well. "Just this. The boys will think none the worse of you." "Not a killing!" "It's early days to talk of such things." "Well. there's one bit of advice I'll give you before we part: If you're in trouble in Vermissa. "I guess those chaps would be glad to know. McMurdo turned and saw that one of the policemen had shifted in his seat and was staring out into the fiery waste. "Here is the address—Jacob Shafter. I'm Brother John McMurdo."Thank you. It's a boarding house that was recommended by a man I knew in Chicago. Chicago. But I am in luck to meet a brother so early. Scott. mate. mate! Maybe we'll meet in lodge one of these evenings.

and don't you think it!" cried McMurdo. good-natured men. "By Gar. but I'm not new to you and your kind!" cried McMurdo in cold fury. I thought his name was known clear across the country. and there was a general clearing. seeing that you are." said one of the patrolmen with a grin. in which the miners spent their hard-earned but generous wages. am I? Day or night I dare to look the like of you in the face—don't make any mistake about that!" There was a murmur of sympathy and admiration from the miners at the dauntless demeanour of the newcomer. Let me carry your grip and show you the road. McMurdo picked up his leather gripsack and was about to start off into the darkness. were taken aback by the extraordinary vehemence with which their friendly advances had been rejected. "It was a warning for your own good. or did you think me such a sucker that I couldn't move without it? You speak when you are spoken to." "What sort of a man is he?" McMurdo asked." "I'm new to the place. The two policemen. "I guess you're the same in all places. for Vermissa was by far the largest town on the line. Vermissa. McMurdo the turbulent had become a character in Vermissa. stranger." he said in a voice of awe. It's been in the papers often enough. heavy. you'll find me at Jacob Shafter's on Sheridan Street. The broad street was churned up by the traffic into a horrible rutted paste of muddy snow. As they approached the centre of the town the scene was brightened by a row of well-lit stores. while the two policemen shrugged their shoulders and renewed a conversation between themselves. "It was grand to hear you. and even more by a cluster of saloons and gaming houses." "What for?" "Well. A few minutes later the train ran into the ill-lit station. pointing to one saloon which rose almost to the dignity of being a hotel." "What affairs?" 235 . "You're a real hand-picked one. Before ever he had set foot in it. "No offense." "Maybe we'll see more of you before very long. But the town showed a dead level of mean ugliness and squalor. Down that long valley there was at least a certain gloomy grandeur in the huge fires and the clouds of drifting smoke. "That's the Union House." There was a chorus of friendly "Good-nights" from the other miners as they passed from the platform." said the guide. each with its veranda facing the street. "I guess we may meet again. The sidewalks were narrow and uneven. so I'm not hiding from you. "What! have you never heard of the boss?" "How could I have heard of him when you know that I am a stranger in these parts?" "Well." "I'm not afraid of you. unkempt and dirty."What the hell is it to you who are my friends?" roared McMurdo in a voice which brought every head in the carriage round to witness the altercation. "My name's Jack McMurdo—see? If you want me. if I am a judge. while the strength and industry of man found fitting monuments in the hills which he had spilled by the side of his monstrous excavations." said one. mate! you know how to speak to the cops. and by the Lord you'd have to wait a long time if it was me!" He thrust out his face and grinned at the patrolmen like a snarling dog." "I was thinking the same. The numerous gas-lamps served only to show more clearly a long line of wooden houses. by your own showing. shoving your advice in when nobody asks for it. The country had been a place of terror. but the town was in its way even more depressing. when one of the miners accosted him." remarked the other. "Did I ask you for your advice. new to the place. I'm passing Shafter's on the way to my own shack." the miner lowered his voice—"over the affairs. "Jack McGinty is the boss there.

"Good Lord. There's only one set of affairs that you'll hear of in these parts. It's only what I have read. I know nothing about them. stranger. "Did you come to see him? He is down town. miss. Shafter's daughter. My mother's dead. up the path which led to the dwelling house. You'll find old Jacob Shafter that runs it as honest a man as lives in this township. 236 . and it was she who broke the silence. it seemed to McMurdo that he had never seen a more beautiful picture. "If killing is murder." "I thank you. that one standing back from the street. "I'm in no hurry to see him. He in turn had had it from someone else. the first step which was to lead to so long and dark a train of events. I seem to have read of the Scowrers in Chicago. "No. peering into the shadows as if he feared to see some lurking danger. Now. She laughed at the compliment." McMurdo continued to gaze at her in open admiration until her eyes dropped in confusion before this masterful visitor. you won't live long in these parts if you speak in the open street like that." she said. with the piquant contrast of a pair of beautiful dark eyes with which she surveyed the stranger with surprise and a pleasing embarrassment which brought a wave of colour over her pale face. A lovely violet growing upon one of those black slag-heaps of the mines would not have seemed more surprising. "Anyone but a blind man could do as much. took up his abode under the roof of the Shafters. elderly man came plodding up the path. and that's the affairs of the Scowrers. For seven dollars a week paid in advance he was to have board and lodging. A gang of murderers. But don't you dare to breathe the name of Jack McGinty in connection with it. Many a man has had the life beaten out of him for less. gripsack in hand. In a few words McMurdo explained his business. here he is! So you can fix things with him right away. I thought it might suit me—and now I know it will." A heavy. She was of the German type. Old Shafter was quite ready. if I must say it without offense. and he is not one that is likely to let it pass. are they not?" "Hush. blonde and fair-haired. It was opened at once by someone very different from what he had expected. and shaking hands with his new acquaintance he plodded. ending in a far distant land. the self-confessed fugitive from justice. at the door of which he gave a resounding knock." "And I'm not saying that you have not read the truth." said she with a smile. It was a woman." The man looked nervously round him as he spoke. I expect him back every minute. Framed in the bright light of the open doorway. then God knows there is murder and to spare. and was apparently fairly flush of money. and I run the house. standing still in alarm. agreed at once to every condition. and gazing in amazement at his companion." he said at last. "I thought it was father. But your house was recommended to me for board. "Man. Mr. So it was that McMurdo. You can sit down by the stove in the front room until father comes along—Ah. that's the house you're after. So entranced was he that he stood staring without a word." the other answered. "Come right in." said she with a pleasing little touch of a German accent." "You are quick to make up your mind. A man of the name of Murphy had given him the address in Chicago. mister! you are queer." "Well. sir. for every whisper goes back to him. "I'm Miss Ettie Shafter. The stranger made no bones about terms." said McMurdo. young and singularly beautiful." "Why. the more attractive for its contrast with the sordid and gloomy surroundings. on your life!" cried the miner.

" "Is it?" Scanlan looked at him long and fixedly. of Detroit. On the second day he told her that he loved her. man! you're a fool not to have been down to the Union House and registered your name the first morning after you came here! If you run against him —well. I had to find a job. her dark eyes gleaming with pity and with sympathy—those two qualities which may turn so rapidly and so naturally to love. I have been busy. McMurdo had obtained a temporary job as bookkeeper for he was a well-educated man. "Someone else?" he would cry. by his open admiration. the small. and all who were connected with it. as he had shown in the railway carriage. There was about him also that glamour of experience and of mystery which attracts a woman's interest. and Ettie listened. with a magnetism which drew good humour from all around him. that the daughter of the house had won his heart from the instant that he had set eyes upon her beauty and her grace. however. Why haven't you seen Boss McGinty yet?" "Well. so I made bold to call. a flight into a strange world. "Well. 237 . of a very different calibre from the young Irishman. Of an evening when they gathered together his joke was always the readiest. And yet he showed again and again. you mustn't. There was something sinister in his eyes. but I never heard that duties were so pressing as all that. his conversation the brightest. and his pretty. Wherever he was the folk around soon knew it." said he. I'm surprised that you've not reported to the Bodymaster. but they were honest foremen or commonplace clerks from the stores. He was no backward suitor. He was a born boon companion. the feeling that strange things had happened to him in that great city. a capacity for sudden. He was reminded of his omission. which compelled the respect and even the fear of those who met him. and the lumber camps of Michigan. and he had not found occasion yet to report himself to the head of the lodge of the Eminent Order of Freemen. There were ten or a dozen boarders there. the low hills and green meadows of which seemed the more beautiful when imagination viewed them from this place of grime and snow. and finally her love.Chapter 2 The Bodymaster McMurdo was a man who made his mark quickly. McMurdo. he exhibited a bitter contempt which delighted some and alarmed others of his fellow boarders. Scanlan. "Say. it's the same society here. He could talk of the sweet valleys of County Monaghan from which he came." "Well. And afterwards came the hint of romance. coaxing ways. black-eyed man. Ettie: the day will come when you will say yes. For the law. Scanlan. distant island. sharp-faced. a breaking of old ties. nervous. the fellow member whom he had met in the train. where he had worked in a planing mill. by a visit one evening from Mike Scanlan. the worse luck for someone else! Let him look out for himself! Am I to lose my life's chance and all my heart's desire for someone else? You can keep on saying no. fierce anger. Then he was versed in the life of the cities of the North. After a glass or two of whisky he broached the object of his visit. that's all!" McMurdo showed mild surprise. and I'm young enough to wait. Within a week he had become infinitely the most important person at Shafter's. too. "I've been a member of the lodge for over two years. ending in this dreary valley. and finally of Chicago. of the lovely. This kept him out most of the day. with his glib Irish tongue." "You must find time for him if you have none for anything else. and his song the best. "I remembered your address." "Maybe not in Chicago. seemed glad to see him once more." He was a dangerous suitor. so strange and so intimate that they might not be spoken of. and from then onward he repeated the same story with an absolute disregard of what she might say to discourage him. Good Lord. He spoke wistfully of a sudden leaving. From the first he made it evident.

does he hate the police too?" Scanlan burst out laughing. as everyone did who talked about that terrible society. "that you are gettin' set on my Ettie." said he. I told the hounds what I thought of them." "And who the devil is he?" "He is a boss of Scowrers. There's someone slipped in afore you. But did she tell you who it vas?" "No. "It seems to me." "She told me so. "Vell. I hear you had a talk with the patrolmen after I left the train. that is so." "How did you know that?" "Oh. yes. "It's not the police but you that he'll hate if you don't! Now." "Vell. and always in a whisper! What are you all afraid of? Who are the Scowrers?" The boarding-house keeper instinctively sank his voice. whatever the cause. the leetle baggage! Perhaps she did not vish to frighten you avay. It is Teddy Baldwin. I vant to tell you right now that it ain't no manner of use. It's Scowrers here and Scowrers there." "Frighten!" McMurdo was on fire in a moment." "Scowrers! I've heard of them before. It may have been that his attentions to Ettie had been more evident than before. or that they had gradually obtruded themselves into the slow mind of his good German host. it got about—things do get about for good and for bad in this district. my lad."Isn't it?" "You'll tell me that in a month's time." "I dare say not. mister." "You! I vould never have had you in my house if I had known it—not if you vere to pay me a hundred dollar a veek. I asked her. "Why. "are the Eminent Order of Freemen!" The young man stared. or am I wrong?" "Yes. take a friend's advice and go at once!" It chanced that on the same evening McMurdo had another more pressing interview which urged him in the same direction. The rules say so. "The Scowrers." said he. my friend! You need not be ashamed to be frightened of him. Not here!" "What is it here?" 238 ." said he as he took his leave. you can lay that she told you truth. "Ah. but. I am a member of that order myself. but she wouldn't tell. the boarding-house keeper beckoned the young man into his private room and started on the subject without any circumlocution." "By the Lord." the young man answered. Ain't that so. "You go and see him." "Maybe in some places." "Well. you'll be a man after McGinty's heart!" "What. yes." "What's wrong with the order? It's for charity and good fellowship.

" "I can but tell you vat the whole vorld knows. you tell me that it is the same as a murder society called the Scowrers. "I have told you. "Sure. and the others? Prove it! Is there a man or a voman in this valley vat does not know it?" "See here!" said McMurdo earnestly. "If you live here long you vill get your proof. hush." "That's just gossip—I want proof!" said McMurdo. McMurdo. your father is after giving me notice. don't speak so!" said the girl. but always as an innocent one. If you offend the one. and little Billy James. "It could not be here. but that I should have another for my boarder? Yes. McMurdo was down on his knees before her in an instant. The bosses of the one are the bosses of the other. "I wish to heaven that you had been first!" she sobbed. "How can you prove that?" he asked. and old Mr. let it stand at that!" he cried." McMurdo laughed incredulously. Put yourself in my place. mister." "No. Besides. I belong to a society that I know only as an innocent one. "For God's sake. Ettie. at least I can promise no one else. and the Nicholson family. Hyam. it is the other vat vill strike you. here. or else make it good. You vill soon be as bad as the rest. and he poured his troubles into her ear. but it ended by setting like granite. no. I guess you owe me either an apology or else an explanation. But I forget that you are yourself one of them. "No. and we will face it out together!" "Not here?" "Yes. "Will you ruin your life and my own for the sake of this promise? Follow your heart. and I can't live without you!" "Oh. "I'll hold you against the world. you are the very breath of life to me. though it's only a week that I've known you. a stranger in the town. here. But you vill find other lodgings. have I not. Now. "It's little I would care if it was just my room. Ettie. but indeed."It's a murder society. "Prove it! Are there not fifty murders to prove it? Vat about Milman and Van Shorst. I cannot have you here. and I you. "I want you to take back what you've said. Jack!" His arms were round her now. Shafter. Is it not bad enough that one of these people come courting my Ettie. Mr. you shall not sleep here after to-night!" McMurdo found himself under sentence of banishment both from his comfortable quarters and from the girl whom he loved. You'll find it through the length and breadth of the States. that you are too late? There is another." he said. Ettie. mister. Ettie. who will dare to come between?" 239 ." He had seized Ettie's white hand between his own strong brown ones. Mr. what is there to be afraid of? Are we not free folks in a free country? If you love me. He found her alone in the sitting-room that same evening. Here am I. when I am counting upon joining it here." "But why?" "I'd never hold my head up again if I felt that I had been driven out. I can't leave here. would I have had a chance?" The girl sank her face into her hands. Ettie. Could you take me away?" A struggle passed for a moment over McMurdo's face." "Suppose I had been first. right here where we are!" "Why should we not leave together?" "No. and if I have not promised to marry him at once. indeed. "Say that you will be mine. acushla! 'Tis a safer guide than any promise before you knew what it was that you were saying. that's vat it is. and that I dare not turn him down. One or the other you must do before I quit this room." he said. We have proved it too often.

Jack. don't let me hear you speak so! That is how he speaks—the other one!" "Baldwin—he speaks like that. Baldwin. I loathe him with all my heart. you can understand it now. but I had thought it was a story." "Well. I am in no humour for a walk." "No. But. As to wicked men." said she. "Maybe you are in a humour for a fight. You can take it from me that this young lady is mine. how comes it that none are brought to justice? You answer me that. "Maybe Miss Ettie has told you how it is with us?" said Baldwin. you must have read all this. Jack." "Oh. Baldwin?" The young men nodded in surly fashion to each other. But if you would fly with me. Jack! I would trust you anywhere. "Good Lord! how little you know of me! Your innocent soul. Under his broadbrimmed black felt hat. Come and sit down."You don't know. Ettie!" "Because no witness dares to appear against them. does he?" "And that is why I loathe him so. It was in real truth our only hope. You've been here too short a time. dashing young man of about the same age and build as McMurdo himself. Mr. my darling. who's the visitor?" The door had opened suddenly. may I introduce you to Mr. and if everyone knows them by name. domineering eyes and a curved hawk-bill of a nose looked savagely at the pair who sat by the stove. He would not live a month if he did. He was a handsome. but I fear him also. You don't know McGinty and his Scowrers. Mr. But surely. "You're earlier than I had thought. hullo. Maybe they are wronged and have no other way to help themselves. Maybe these men have some reason in what they do. and I don't believe in them!" said McMurdo. McMurdo. I had understood that every paper in the United States was writing about it. a new boarder here. That is why I have put him off with half-promises. You don't know this Baldwin. and instead of fearing them it has always ended that they have feared me—always." Baldwin stood with his hands on his hips looking at McMurdo. Ettie —nor to your father either. "I'm glad to see you. Mr." 240 ." Again there was the struggle upon McMurdo's face. Ettie had jumped to her feet full of confusion and alarm. "I've lived among rough men. I fear him for myself. I have read something." "Didn't you? Well." "Aren't you?" The man's savage eyes were blazing with anger. which he had not troubled to remove. and I don't fear them. springing to his feet. "You never said a more welcome word. Jack. It's mad on the face of it! If these men. Ettie. I don't know them." "No. Jack. Boarder!" "That I am!" cried McMurdo. Baldwin. have done crime after crime in the valley. "No harm shall come to you. "Who is this?" he asked curtly. "I didn't understand that there was any relation between you. we could take father with us and live forever far from the power of these wicked men. and again it set like granite. my darling. a handsome face with fierce. Jack. now I can tell you the truth. I expect you may find that I am as bad as the worst of them before we're through. it is true. Oh. and a young fellow came swaggering in with the air of one who is the master. I know that some great sorrow would come upon us if I dared to say what I really felt. "It's a friend of mine. no. but above all I fear him for father. as your father says. Mr." "Thank you. could not even guess what is passing in mine. Also because they have always their own men to swear that the accused one was far from the scene of the crime." McMurdo laughed bitterly. and you'll find it a very fine evening for a walk.

with Boss McGinty and all the power of the lodge behind them?" McMurdo disengaged her hands. he will hurt you!" "Oh. year by year." said McMurdo." said his enemy. hurry. What chance have you against a dozen of them. a municipal councillor. I'm a Freeman myself. Then she threw her arms around him. See here!" He suddenly rolled up his sleeve and showed upon his forearm a peculiar sign which appeared to have been branded there. for it was the favourite loafing place of all the rougher elements of the town. Boss McGinty's diamond pins became more obtrusive. Ted. be big-hearted and forgiving!" "I think. you'll come back to me on your knees—d'ye hear. for God's sake!" cried poor. Maybe I am no better than the others. so don't make a saint of me. he was a high public official. have you?" "Oh. You can tell your father that I'll sleep here to-night and find some other quarters in the morning. You've sowed—and by the Lord. Then he turned upon his heel. the fear in which he was held throughout the township. was enough in itself to fill his bar. is it?" said Baldwin with an oath. and gently pushed her back into a chair. and the huge. "Oh. Baldwin. "Oh. that if you were to leave us alone we could get this thing settled. you will know. and his saloon stretched farther and farther. be reasonable—be kind! For my sake. Perhaps you hate me too. now that I've told you as much?" "Hate you. Ettie. until it threatened to absorb one whole side of the Market Square. acushla. and holding his tongue lest some worse thing befall him." The bar of McGinty's saloon was crowded as usual. It's a fine evening. It was a circle with a triangle within it. elected to the office through the votes of the ruffians who in turn expected to receive favours at his hands. "I'll go right now and fix it. I'm after telling your father about it. kissed her. The man was popular. Besides those secret powers which it was universally believed that he exercised in so pitiless a fashion. Perhaps Miss Ettie can tell you something about it. it's Jack. I'll see that you reap!" He glanced at them both in fury. You can leave the time to me. Jack. "You'll wish you had never set foot in this house before I am through with you!" "No time like the present. I read it in his horrible eyes. through an atmosphere blurred with tobacco smoke and heavy with the smell of spirits. "I'll choose my own time. and a commissioner of roads. Jack? While life lasts I could never do that! I've heard that there is no harm in being a Freeman anywhere but here. Ettie. you will take a turn down the street with me. McMurdo pushed open the swinging door of the saloon and made his way amid the crowd of men within. I'll promise you that. you must fly! To-night—Jack—to-night! It's your only hope. so why should I think the worse of you for that? But if you are a Freeman. or the hounds will be on your trail." said McMurdo quietly. "Or maybe. "You've come to that already. He will have your life. Jack. either. "There. "D'you know what that means?" "I neither know nor care!" "Well. girl?—on your knees—and then I'll tell you what your punishment may be. Jack. his gold chains more weighty across a more gorgeous vest. mister. Thus it was that. how brave you were! But it is no use." "I was thinking the same thing. for he had a rough. Mr. the accounts were slurred over by bribed auditors. Jack." "I'll get even with you without needing to dirty my hands. covering a great deal which lay behind it. For a few moments McMurdo and the girl stood in silence."For God's sake. Jack! Oh. and there's some open ground beyond the next block. distracted Ettie. and the decent citizen was terrorized into paying public blackmail. As to you. You won't be much older. Assessments and taxes were enormous. hurry! Get your word in first. the public works were notoriously neglected. and indeed down the whole thirty miles of the valley and past the mountains on each side of it. there! Don't be disturbed or fear for me. But apart from