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Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

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Sections

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

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle

This text is provided to you “as-is” without any warranty. No warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, are made to you as to the text or any medium it may be on, including but not limited to warranties of merchantablity or fitness for a particular purpose. This text was formatted from various free ASCII and HTML variants. See http:/ /spellbreaker.org/˜chrender/Sherlock Holmes for an electronic form of this text and additional information about it. This text comes from the collection’s version 1.19.

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

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

63

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

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

iii

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

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

583

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

659

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

iv

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

v

A Study In Scarlet

A Study In Scarlet

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

3

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

A Study In Scarlet

I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Study In Scarlet stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had occasion to observe when I watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments. The reader may set me down as a hopeless busybody, when I confess how much this man stimulated my curiosity, and how often I endeavoured to break through the reticence which he showed on all that concerned himself. Before pronouncing judgment, however, be it remembered, how objectless was my life, and how little there was to engage my attention. My health forbade me from venturing out unless the weather was exceptionally genial, and I had no friends who would call upon me and break the monotony of my daily existence. Under these circumstances, I eagerly hailed the little mystery which hung around my companion, and spent much of my time in endeavouring to unravel it. He was not studying medicine. He had himself, in reply to a question, confirmed Stamford’s opinion upon that point. Neither did he appear to have pursued any course of reading which might fit him for a degree in science or any other recognized portal which would give him an entrance into the learned world. Yet his zeal for certain studies was remarkable, and within eccentric limits his knowledge was so extraordinarily ample and minute that his observations have fairly astounded me. Surely no man would work so hard or attain such precise information unless he had some definite end in view. Desultory readers are seldom 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, 11 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 wellinformed. 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. 2. 3. 4. 5. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil. Philosophy.—Nil. Astronomy.—Nil. Politics.—Feeble. Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 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. 7. Chemistry.—Profound. 8. Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic.

A Study In Scarlet 9. 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. 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 slipshod 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 12 any of these nondescript individuals put in an appearance, Sherlock Holmes used to beg for the use of the sitting-room, and I would retire to my bedroom. He always apologized to me for putting me to this inconvenience. “I have to use this room as a place of business,” he said, “and these people are my clients.” Again I had an opportunity of asking him a point blank question, and again my delicacy prevented me from forcing another man to confide in me. I imagined at the time that he had some strong reason for not alluding to it, but he soon dispelled the idea by coming round to the subject of his own accord. It was upon the 4th of March, as I have good reason to remember, that I rose 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

A Study In Scarlet 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 armchair lounger who evolves all these neat little paradoxes in the seclusion of his own study. It is not practical. I should like to see him clapped down in a third class carriage on the Underground, and asked to give the trades of all his fellow-travellers. I would lay a thousand to one against him.” “You would lose your money,” 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 13 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,

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

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

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

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

occasionally kneeling. in an offended voice. “You certainly have the credit of being the first of us to find this out.A Study In Scarlet “American Exchange. I have not had time to examine this room yet. and he was evidently in a state of suppressed exultation at having scored a point against his colleague. Stangerson?” “I did it at once. 18 “What do you think of that?” cried the detective. and occasionally applying his tape to the walls in an equally incomprehensible manner. The murderer has written it with his or her own blood. measuring with the most exact care the distance between marks which were entirely invisible to me. “I have just made a discovery of the highest importance. and refer to the sailing of their boats from Liverpool.” “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. Strand—to be left till called for. and said that we should be glad of any information which could help us. when all is said and done. “Mean? Why.” The little man’s eyes sparkled as he spoke. he whipped a tape measure and a large round magnifying glass from his pocket. Why was that corner chosen to write it on? I will tell you. I have remarked that the paper had fallen away in parts. “Now. who had been in the front room while we were holding this conversation in the hall. It was lit at the time.” “How did you word your inquiries?” “We simply detailed the circumstances. Mr. it bears every mark of having been written by the other participant in last night’s mystery. sir. With these two implements he trotted noiselessly about the room. You mark my words. with the air of a showman exhibiting his show. and one of my men has gone to the American Exchange. the atmosphere of which felt clearer since the removal of its ghastly inmate. whistles. In one place he gathered up very carefully a little pile of grey . reappeared upon the scene. See this smear where it has trickled down the wall! That disposes of the idea of suicide anyhow. and. and little cries suggestive of encouragement and of hope. “This was overlooked because it was in the darkest corner of the room.” “You did not ask for particulars on any point which appeared to you to be crucial?” “I asked about Stangerson. Sherlock Holmes chuckled to himself. stand there!” He struck a match on his boot and held it up against the wall. “Mr. “Look at that!” he said.” “And what does it mean now that you have found it?” asked Gregson in a depreciatory voice. For twenty minutes or more he continued his researches.” said Gregson. but the old hound is the best. groans. whining in its eagerness. Gregson. when Lestrade.” “Have you sent to Cleveland?” “We telegraphed this morning. It is clear that this unfortunate man was about to return to New York. They are both from the Guion Steamship Company. In this particular corner of the room a large piece had peeled off. as you say.” he said.” said Gregson. but was disturbed before he or she had time to finish. triumphantly. but with your permission I shall do so now. You may be very smart and clever. sometimes stopping. Across this bare space there was scrawled in blood-red letters a single word— RACHE. leaving a yellow square of coarse plastering. until it comes across the lost scent. keeping up a running fire of exclamations. rubbing his hands in a pompous and self-satisfied manner. Sherlock Holmes. and appeared to be about to make some remark. it means that the writer was going to put the female name Rachel. when this case comes to be cleared up you will find that a woman named Rachel has something to do with it. and no one thought of looking there. and once lying flat upon his face. “I have had advertisements sent to all the newspapers. So engrossed was he with his occupation that he appeared to have forgotten our presence.” he said. See that candle on the mantelpiece. but he has not returned yet. who had ruffled the little man’s temper by bursting into an explosion of laughter.” “Have you made any inquiries as to this man.” “I really beg your pardon!” said my companion. and one which would have been overlooked had I not made a careful examination of the walls. bustling back into the room. “Come here. As I watched him I was irresistibly reminded of a pure-blooded welltrained foxhound as it dashes backwards and forwards through the covert.” As he spoke. It’s all very well for you to laugh. for he chattered away to himself under his breath the whole time. and if it was lit this corner would be the brightest instead of the darkest portion of the wall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Country of the Saints.PART II. .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sign of the Four .

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

.

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

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

and you now pretend to deduce this knowledge in some fanciful way. For example. staring up at the ceiling with dreamy.—destructive to the logical faculty. The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back. who inherited it from your father. You cannot expect me to believe that you have read all this from his old watch! It is unkind. he died.” “Right. so far. did you deduce the telegram?” “Why. no: I never guess. upon the back?” 69 “Quite so. He was left with good prospects. in the same pocket. however. and. taking to drink. 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. has a touch of charlatanism in it.” “Ah. That is all I can gather. and the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation. that is good luck. Viewing the matter as an abstract problem.” he answered.—very untidy and careless. for the test was. which robs me of my most suggestive facts. suggests your own name. I could only say what was the balance of probability. opened the back. but he threw away his chances. “it would prevent me from taking a second dose of cocaine.” I said.” “Then how in the name of all that is wonderful did you get these facts? They are absolutely correct in every particular. from the H. You have made inquires into the history of my unhappy brother. and examined the works. I should be delighted to look into any problem which you might submit to me. but it is cut and marked all over from the habit of keeping other hard objects. but to send a wire? Eliminate all other factors. Would yo think me impertinent if I were to put your theories to a more severe test?” “On the contrary. What could you go into the post-office for.” he observed. “I could not have believed that you would have descended to this. Jewelry usually descents to the eldest son. been in the hands of your eldest brother. The W. “pray accept my apologies.” In my heart I accused my companion of putting forward a most lame and impotent excuse to cover his failure. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man. “It was cleaned before being sent to me. Neither is it a very far-fetched inference . first with his naked eyes and then with a powerful convex lens.The Sign of the Four the neighborhood. then. been dead many years. and the one which remains must be the truth. Your father has. is.” “My dear doctor. lack-lustre eyes. I have here a watch which has recently come into my possession. What data could he expect from an uncleaned watch? “Though unsatisfactory. as I thought. of the simplest. W. “Subject to your correction. “The watch has been recently cleaned. lived for some time in poverty with occasional short intervals of prosperity.” said I. 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. It has.” “How. I could hardly keep from smiling at his crestfallen face when he finally snapped the case to and handed it back. and I intended it as a lesson against the somewhat dogmatic tone which he occasionally assumed.” “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. as you say. and finally. if I remember right.” I replied. I assure you. and he is most likely to have the same name as the father. “This is unworthy of you. I did not at all expect to be so accurate. “Anything else?” “He was a man of untidy habits. that I never even know that you had a brother until you handed me the watch. So much is observation. He balanced the watch in his hand. my research has not been entirely barren. no doubt.” “That you gather. I should judge that the watch belonged to your elder brother. Holmes. then. an impossible one. gazed hard at the dial.” I sprang from my chair and limped impatiently about the room with considerable bitterness in my heart. kindly.” I answered. “There are hardly any data. The rest is deduction.” said he. I began by stating that your brother was careless.“ “But it was not mere guess-work?” “No.” “In this case it certainly is so. I see also in your open desk there that you have a sheet of stamps and a thick bundle of postcards. It is a shocking habit. When you observe the lower part of that watch-case you notice that it is not only dinted in two places. after a little thought.” “You are right. of course I knew that you had not written a letter. Now. to speak plainly. however. “The thing. I had forgotten how personal and painful a thing it might be to you. such as coins or keys. therefore. since I sat opposite to you all morning.” he remarked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could there be. 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. to fall into error through the over-refinement of his logic. Can I rely upon you?” “Most certainly. or at 221b Baker Street.” it remarked. Further arrests may be expected at any moment. though Wiggins was despondent about it last night. Watson. and was surprised to find him standing by my bedside.” I tossed the paper down upon the table. . It ran in this way: “Lost. clad in a rude sailor dress with a pea-jacket. No fresh details were to be found. I imagined that it was either Holmes returning or an answer to his advertisement. I wonder what the fresh clue may be. ending at last in a smell which fairly drove me out of the apartment. He and the housekeeper. He would hardly reply to my questions. however. Smith. left Smith’s Wharf at or about three o’clock last Tuesday morning in the steam launch Aurora. and a coarse red scarf round his neck.—Whereas Mordecai Smith. and on my return I found Holmes dejected and somewhat morose. I had myself seen the evidence.” “That is satisfactory so far as it goes. or a sharp step passed in the street. I tried to read. Bernstone. I want you to open all notes and telegrams. “I am off down the river. Up to the small hours of the morning I could hear the clinking of his test-tubes which told me that he was still engaged in his malodorous experiment. boatman. “I have been turning it over in my mind. The Baker Street address was enough to prove that. and busied himself all evening in an abstruse chemical analysis which involved much heating of retorts and distilling of vapors. with all his well-known energy and sagacity.” This was clearly Holmes’s doing. I am loath to go. They all appeared to be rather hostile to the unfortunate Thaddeus Sholto. some radical flaw in my companion’s reasoning. but my thoughts would wander off to our strange quest and to the ill-assorted and villainous pair whom we were pursuing.” said he. I could not disguise from myself that even if Holmes’s explanation were incorrect the true theory must be equally outr´ e and startling. I found that there was a fresh allusion to the business. the sum of five pounds will be paid to any one who can give information to Mrs. Athelney Jones. at any rate. save that an inquest was to be held upon the following day. funnel black with a white band. many of them trivial in themselves. He was likely. however.” “Surely I can come with you. that the police have a clue as to 97 the real culprits. “With reference to the Upper Norwood tragedy. but at that moment my eye caught an advertisement in the agony column. at all events. It struck me as rather ingenious. and to act on your own judgment if any news should come. It was a long day. and I had heard the reasons for his deductions. When I looked back on the long chain of curious circumstances. and I can see only one way out of it. on the other hand. “No. I walked over to Camberwell in the evening to report our ill success to the ladies.” thought I. Mrs. Yet. I wondered. It is worth trying. If I am in luck. at Smith’s Wharf. and that it is being prosecuted by Mr. however. I thought. “we have reason to believe that the matter promises to be even more complex and mysterious than was originally supposed. Thaddeus Sholto could have been in any way concerned in the matter.The Sign of the Four Norwood tragedy. however. It is believed. but all tending in the same direction. you can be much more useful if you will remain here as my representative.—his preference for a subtle and bizarre explanation when a plainer and more commonplace one lay ready to his hand. Fresh evidence has shown that it is quite impossible that Mr. then?” said I. black with two red stripes. and yet the keenest reasoner may occasionally be deceived. “Friend Sholto is safe. Every time that a knock came to the door. In the early dawn I woke with a start. On opening the Standard. and his son.” I had heard nothing of him by breakfast-time. for it is quite on the cards that some message may come during the day. for I can hardly tell yet where I may find myself. Jim. I may not be gone so very long. I shall have news of some sort or other before I get back.” “I am afraid that you will not be able to wire to me. in any of them. of Scotland Yard. were both released yesterday evening. 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. though it seems to be a stereotyped form whenever the police have made a blunder. as to the whereabouts of the said Mordecai Smith and the launch Aurora.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes .

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A Scandal in Bohemia .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Red-Headed League .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

A Case of Identity .

.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Boscombe Valley Mystery .

.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gold, became wealthy men, and made our way over to England without being suspected. There I parted from my old pals and determined to settle down to a quiet and respectable life. I bought this estate, which chanced to be in the market, and I set myself to do a little good with my money, to make up for the way in which I had earned it. I married, too, and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. Even when she was just a baby her wee hand seemed to lead me down the right path as nothing else had ever done. In a word, I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past. All was going well when McCarthy laid his grip upon me. “I had gone up to town about an investment, and I met him in Regent Street with hardly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot. “ ‘Here we are, Jack,’ says he, touching me on the arm; ‘we’ll be as good as a family to you. There’s two of us, me and my son, and you can have the keeping of us. If you don’t—it’s a fine, law-abiding country is England, and there’s always a policeman within hail.’ “Well, down they came to the west country, there was no shaking them off, and there they have lived rent free on my best land ever since. There was no rest for me, no peace, no forgetfulness; turn where I would, there was his cunning, grinning face at my elbow. It grew worse as Alice grew up, for he soon saw I was more afraid of her knowing my past than of the police. Whatever he wanted he must have, and whatever it was I gave him without question, land, money, houses, until at last he asked a thing which I could not give. He asked for Alice. “His son, you see, had grown up, and so had my girl, and as I was known to be in weak health, it seemed a fine stroke to him that his lad should step into the whole property. But there I was firm. I would not have his cursed stock mixed with mine; not that I had any dislike to the lad, but his blood was in him, and that was enough. I stood firm. McCarthy threatened. I braved him to do his worst. We were to meet at the pool midway between our houses to talk it over. “When I went down there I found him talking with his son, so I smoked a cigar and waited behind a tree until he should be alone. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bitter in me seemed to come uppermost. He was urging his son to marry my daughter with as little regard for what she might think as if she were a slut from

off the streets. It drove me mad to think that I and all that I held most dear should be in the power of such a man as this. Could I not snap the bond? I was already a dying and a desperate man. Though clear of mind and fairly strong of limb, I knew that my own fate was sealed. But my memory and my girl! Both could be saved if I could but silence that foul tongue. I did it, Mr. Holmes. I would do it again. Deeply as I have sinned, I have led a life of martyrdom to atone for it. But that my girl should be entangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suffer. I struck him down with no more compunction than if he had been some foul and venomous beast. His cry brought back his son; but I had gained the cover of the wood, though I was forced to go back to fetch the cloak which I had dropped in my flight. That is the true story, gentlemen, of all that occurred.” “Well, it is not for me to judge you,” said Holmes as the old man signed the statement which had been drawn out. “I pray that we may never be exposed to such a temptation.” “I pray not, sir. And what do you intend to do?” “In view of your health, nothing. You are yourself aware that you will soon have to answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes. I will keep your confession, and if McCarthy is condemned I shall be forced to use it. If not, it shall never be seen by mortal eye; and your secret, whether you be alive or dead, shall be safe with us.” “Farewell, then,” said the old man solemnly. “Your own deathbeds, when they come, will be the easier for the thought of the peace which you have given to mine.” Tottering and shaking in all his giant frame, he stumbled slowly from the room. “God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence. “Why does fate play such tricks with poor, helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words, and say, ‘There, but for the grace of God, goes Sherlock Holmes.’ ” James McCarthy was acquitted at the Assizes on the strength of a number of objections which had been drawn out by Holmes and submitted to the defending counsel. Old Turner lived for seven months after our interview, but he is now dead; and there is every prospect that the son and daughter may come to live happily together in ignorance of the black cloud which rests upon their past.

The Five Orange Pips

W

The Five Orange Pips cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime, while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves. My wife was on a visit to her mother’s, and for a few days I was a dweller once more in my old quarters at Baker Street. “Why,” said I, glancing up at my companion, “that was surely the bell. Who could come tonight? Some friend of yours, perhaps?” “Except yourself I have none,” he answered. “I do not encourage visitors.” “A client, then?” “If so, it is a serious case. Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour. But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady’s.” Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture, however, for there came a step in the passage and a tapping at the door. He stretched out his long arm to turn the lamp away from himself and towards the vacant chair upon which a newcomer must sit. “Come in!” said he. The man who entered was young, some twoand-twenty at the outside, well-groomed and trimly clad, with something of refinement and delicacy in his bearing. The streaming umbrella which he held in his hand, and his long shining waterproof told of the fierce weather through which he had come. He looked about him anxiously in the glare of the lamp, and I could see that his face was pale and his eyes heavy, like those of a man who is weighed down with some great anxiety. “I owe you an apology,” he said, raising his golden pince-nez to his eyes. “I trust that I am not intruding. I fear that I have brought some traces of the storm and rain into your snug chamber.” “Give me your coat and umbrella,” said Holmes. “They may rest here on the hook and will be dry presently. You have come up from the south-west, I see.” “Yes, from Horsham.” “That clay and chalk mixture which I see upon your toe caps is quite distinctive.” “I have come for advice.” “That is easily got.” “And help.” “That is not always so easy.” 175

hen I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years ’82 and ’90, I am faced by so many which present strange and interesting features that it is no easy matter to know which to choose and which to leave. Some, however, have already gained publicity through the papers, and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree, and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate. Some, too, have baffled his analytical skill, and would be, as narratives, beginnings without an ending, while others have been but partially cleared up, and have their explanations founded rather upon conjecture and surmise than on that absolute logical proof which was so dear to him. There is, however, one of these last which was so remarkable in its details and so startling in its results that I am tempted to give some account of it in spite of the fact that there are points in connection with it which never have been, and probably never will be, entirely cleared up.

The year ’87 furnished us with a long series of cases of greater or less interest, of which I retain the records. Among my headings under this one twelve months I find an account of the adventure of the Paradol Chamber, of the Amateur Mendicant Society, who held a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse, of the facts connected with the loss of the British barque “Sophy Anderson”, of the singular adventures of the Grice Patersons in the island of Uffa, and finally of the Camberwell poisoning case. In the latter, as may be remembered, Sherlock Holmes was able, by winding up the dead man’s watch, to prove that it had been wound up two hours before, and that therefore the deceased had gone to bed within that time—a deduction which was of the greatest importance in clearing up the case. All these I may sketch out at some future date, but none of them present such singular features as the strange train of circumstances which I have now taken up my pen to describe. It was in the latter days of September, and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life and to recognise the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilisation, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He took a large sheet of paper from his pocket, all covered with dates and names. “I have spent the whole day,” said he, “over Lloyd’s registers and files of the old papers, following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in ’83. There were thirty-six ships of fair tonnage which were reported there during those months. Of these, one, the Lone Star, instantly attracted my attention, since, although it was reported as having cleared from London, the name is that which is given to one of the states of the Union.” “Texas, I think.” “I was not and am not sure which; but I knew that the ship must have an American origin.” “What then?” “I searched the Dundee records, and when I found that the barque Lone Star was there in January, ’85, my suspicion became a certainty. I then inquired as to the vessels which lay at present in the port of London.” “Yes?” “The Lone Star had arrived here last week. I went down to the Albert Dock and found that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning, homeward bound to Savannah. I wired to Gravesend and learned that she had

passed some time ago, and as the wind is easterly I have no doubt that she is now past the Goodwins and not very far from the Isle of Wight.” “What will you do, then?” “Oh, I have my hand upon him. He and the two mates, are as I learn, the only native-born Americans in the ship. The others are Finns and Germans. I know, also, that they were all three away from the ship last night. I had it from the stevedore who has been loading their cargo. By the time that their sailing-ship reaches Savannah the mail-boat will have carried this letter, and the cable will have informed the police of Savannah that these three gentlemen are badly wanted here upon a charge of murder.” There is ever a flaw, however, in the best laid of human plans, and the murderers of John Openshaw were never to receive the orange pips which would show them that another, as cunning and as resolute as themselves, was upon their track. Very long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah, but none ever reached us. We did at last hear that somewhere far out in the Atlantic a shattered stern-post of a boat was seen swinging in the trough of a wave, with the letters “L. S.” carved upon it, and that is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star.

The Man with the Twisted Lip

I

The Man with the Twisted Lip was? Was it possible that we could bring him back to her? It seems that it was. She had the surest information that of late he had, when the fit was on him, made use of an opium den in the farthest east of the City. Hitherto his orgies had always been confined to one day, and he had come back, twitching and shattered, in the evening. But now the spell had been upon him eight-and-forty hours, and he lay there, doubtless among the dregs of the docks, breathing in the poison or sleeping off the effects. There he was to be found, she was sure of it, at the Bar of Gold, in Upper Swandam Lane. But what was she to do? How could she, a young and timid woman, make her way into such a place and pluck her husband out from among the ruffians who surrounded him? There was the case, and of course there was but one way out of it. Might I not escort her to this place? And then, as a second thought, why should she come at all? I was Isa Whitney’s medical adviser, and as such I had influence over him. I could manage it better if I were alone. I promised her on my word that I would send him home in a cab within two hours if he were indeed at the address which she had given me. And so in ten minutes I had left my armchair and cheery sittingroom behind me, and was speeding eastward in a hansom on a strange errand, as it seemed to me at the time, though the future only could show how strange it was to be. But there was no great difficulty in the first stage of my adventure. Upper Swandam Lane is a vile alley lurking behind the high wharves which line the north side of the river to the east of London Bridge. Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop, approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mouth of a cave, I found the den of which I was in search. Ordering my cab to wait, I passed down the steps, worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of drunken feet; and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long, low room, thick and heavy with the brown opium smoke, and terraced with wooden berths, like the forecastle of an emigrant ship. Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fantastic poses, bowed shoulders, bent knees, heads thrown back, and chins pointing upward, with here and there a dark, lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer. Out of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light, now bright, now faint, as the burning poison waxed or waned in the bowls of 187

sa Whitney, brother of the late Elias Whitney, D.D., Principal of the Theological College of St. George’s, was much addicted to opium. The habit grew upon him, as I understand, from some foolish freak when he was at college; for having read De Quincey’s description of his dreams and sensations, he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. He found, as so many more have done, that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of, and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug, an object of mingled horror and pity to his friends and relatives. I can see him now, with yellow, pasty face, drooping lids, and pin-point pupils, all huddled in a chair, the wreck and ruin of a noble man.

One night—it was in June, ’89—there came a ring to my bell, about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock. I sat up in my chair, and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap and made a little face of disappointment. “A patient!” said she. “You’ll have to go out.” I groaned, for I was newly come back from a weary day. We heard the door open, a few hurried words, and then quick steps upon the linoleum. Our own door flew open, and a lady, clad in some darkcoloured stuff, with a black veil, entered the room. “You will excuse my calling so late,” she began, and then, suddenly losing her self-control, she ran forward, threw her arms about my wife’s neck, and sobbed upon her shoulder. “Oh, I’m in such trouble!” she cried; “I do so want a little help.” “Why,” said my wife, pulling up her veil, “it is Kate Whitney. How you startled me, Kate! I had not an idea who you were when you came in.” “I didn’t know what to do, so I came straight to you.” That was always the way. Folk who were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light-house. “It was very sweet of you to come. Now, you must have some wine and water, and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. Or should you rather that I sent James off to bed?” “Oh, no, no! I want the doctor’s advice and help, too. It’s about Isa. He has not been home for two days. I am so frightened about him!” It was not the first time that she had spoken to us of her husband’s trouble, to me as a doctor, to my wife as an old friend and school companion. We soothed and comforted her by such words as we could find. Did she know where her husband

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adventure of the Speckled Band .

.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb .

.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the direction of Reading, but there all traces of the fugitives disappeared, and even Holmes’ ingenuity failed ever to discover the least clue as to their whereabouts. The firemen had been much perturbed at the strange arrangements which they had found within, and still more so by discovering a newly severed human thumb upon a window-sill of the second floor. About sunset, however, their efforts were at last successful, and they subdued the flames, but not before the roof had fallen in, and the whole place been reduced to such absolute ruin that, save some twisted cylinders and iron piping, not a trace remained of the machinery which had cost our unfortunate acquaintance so dearly. Large masses of nickel and of tin were discovered stored in an out-house, but no coins were to be found, which may have explained the presence of those bulky boxes which have been already referred to. How our hydraulic engineer had been con-

veyed from the garden to the spot where he recovered his senses might have remained forever a mystery were it not for the soft mould, which told us a very plain tale. He had evidently been carried down by two persons, one of whom had remarkably small feet and the other unusually large ones. On the whole, it was most probable that the silent Englishman, being less bold or less murderous than his companion, had assisted the woman to bear the unconscious man out of the way of danger. “Well,” said our engineer ruefully as we took our seats to return once more to London, “it has been a pretty business for me! I have lost my thumb and I have lost a fifty-guinea fee, and what have I gained?” “Experience,” said Holmes, laughing. “Indirectly it may be of value, you know; you have only to put it into words to gain the reputation of being excellent company for the remainder of your existence.”

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

T

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor this new investigation. You have been reading the papers diligently of late, have you not?” “It looks like it,” said I ruefully, pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. “I have had nothing else to do.” “It is fortunate, for you will perhaps be able to post me up. I read nothing except the criminal news and the agony column. The latter is always instructive. But if you have followed recent events so closely you must have read about Lord St. Simon and his wedding?” “Oh, yes, with the deepest interest.” “That is well. The letter which I hold in my hand is from Lord St. Simon. I will read it to you, and in return you must turn over these papers and let me have whatever bears upon the matter. This is what he says: “ ‘My dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes: “ ‘Lord Backwater tells me that I may place implicit reliance upon your judgment and discretion. I have determined, therefore, to call upon you and to consult you in reference to the very painful event which has occurred in connection with my wedding. Mr. Lestrade, of Scotland Yard, is acting already in the matter, but he assures me that he sees no objection to your co-operation, and that he even thinks that it might be of some assistance. I will call at four o’clock in the afternoon, and, should you have any other engagement at that time, I hope that you will postpone it, as this matter is of paramount importance. “ ‘Yours faithfully, “ ‘St. Simon.’ “It is dated from Grosvenor Mansions, written with a quill pen, and the noble lord has had the misfortune to get a smear of ink upon the outer side of his right little finger,” remarked Holmes as he folded up the epistle. “He says four o’clock. It is three now. He will be here in an hour.” “Then I have just time, with your assistance, to get clear upon the subject. Turn over those papers and arrange the extracts in their order of time, while I take a glance as to who our client is.” He picked a red-covered volume from a line of books of reference beside the mantelpiece. “Here he is,” said he, sitting down and flattening it out upon his knee. “ ‘Lord Robert Walsingham de Vere 239

he Lord St. Simon marriage, and its curious termination, have long ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegroom moves. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it, and their more piquant details have drawn the gossips away from this four-year-old drama. As I have reason to believe, however, that the full facts have never been revealed to the general public, and as my friend Sherlock Holmes had a considerable share in clearing the matter up, I feel that no memoir of him would be complete without some little sketch of this remarkable episode. It was a few weeks before my own marriage, during the days when I was still sharing rooms with Holmes in Baker Street, that he came home from an afternoon stroll to find a letter on the table waiting for him. I had remained indoors all day, for the weather had taken a sudden turn to rain, with high autumnal winds, and the Jezail bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my Afghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence. With my body in one easy-chair and my legs upon another, I had surrounded myself with a cloud of newspapers until at last, saturated with the news of the day, I tossed them all aside and lay listless, watching the huge crest and monogram upon the envelope upon the table and wondering lazily who my friend’s noble correspondent could be. “Here is a very fashionable epistle,” I remarked as he entered. “Your morning letters, if I remember right, were from a fish-monger and a tidewaiter.” “Yes, my correspondence has certainly the charm of variety,” he answered, smiling, “and the humbler are usually the more interesting. This looks like one of those unwelcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie.” He broke the seal and glanced over the contents. “Oh, come, it may prove to be something of interest, after all.” “Not social, then?” “No, distinctly professional.” “And from a noble client?” “One of the highest in England.” “My dear fellow, I congratulate you.” “I assure you, Watson, without affectation, that the status of my client is a matter of less moment to me than the interest of his case. It is just possible, however, that that also may not be wanting in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Then I trust that you at least will honour me with your company,” said Sherlock Holmes. “It is always a joy to meet an American, Mr. Moulton, for I am one of those who believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being some day citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.” “The case has been an interesting one,” remarked Holmes when our visitors had left us, “because it serves to show very clearly how simple the explanation may be of an affair which at first sight seems to be almost inexplicable. Nothing could be more natural than the sequence of events as narrated by this lady, and nothing stranger than the result when viewed, for instance, by Mr. Lestrade of Scotland Yard.” “You were not yourself at fault at all, then?” “From the first, two facts were very obvious to me, the one that the lady had been quite willing to undergo the wedding ceremony, the other that she had repented of it within a few minutes of returning home. Obviously something had occurred during the morning, then, to cause her to change her mind. What could that something be? She could not have spoken to anyone when she was out, for she had been in the company of the bridegroom. Had she seen someone, then? If she had, it must be someone from America because she had spent so short a time in this country that she could hardly have allowed anyone to acquire so deep an influence over her that the mere sight of him would induce her to change her plans so completely. You see we have already arrived, by a process of exclusion, at the idea that she might have seen an American. Then who could this American be, and why should he possess so much influence over her? It might be a lover; it might be a husband. Her young womanhood had, I knew, been spent in rough scenes and under strange conditions. So far I had got before I ever heard Lord St. Simon’s narrative. When he told us of a man in a pew, of the change in the bride’s manner, of so transparent a device for obtaining a note as the dropping of a bouquet, of her resort to her confidential maid, and of her very significant allusion to

claim-jumping—which in miners’ parlance means taking possession of that which another person has a prior claim to—the whole situation became absolutely clear. She had gone off with a man, and the man was either a lover or was a previous husband—the chances being in favour of the latter.” “And how in the world did you find them?” “It might have been difficult, but friend Lestrade held information in his hands the value of which he did not himself know. The initials were, of course, of the highest importance, but more valuable still was it to know that within a week he had settled his bill at one of the most select London hotels.” “How did you deduce the select?” “By the select prices. Eight shillings for a bed and eightpence for a glass of sherry pointed to one of the most expensive hotels. There are not many in London which charge at that rate. In the second one which I visited in Northumberland Avenue, I learned by an inspection of the book that Francis H. Moulton, an American gentleman, had left only the day before, and on looking over the entries against him, I came upon the very items which I had seen in the duplicate bill. His letters were to be forwarded to 226 Gordon Square; so thither I travelled, and being fortunate enough to find the loving couple at home, I ventured to give them some paternal advice and to point out to them that it would be better in every way that they should make their position a little clearer both to the general public and to Lord St. Simon in particular. I invited them to meet him here, and, as you see, I made him keep the appointment.” “But with no very good result,” I remarked. “His conduct was certainly not very gracious.” “Ah, Watson,” said Holmes, smiling, “perhaps you would not be very gracious either, if, after all the trouble of wooing and wedding, you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune. I think that we may judge Lord St. Simon very mercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin, for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings.”

The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

olmes,” said I as I stood one morning in our bow-window looking down the street, “here is a madman coming along. It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to come out alone.” My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressinggown, looking over my shoulder. It was a bright, crisp February morning, and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground, shimmering brightly in the wintry sun. Down the centre of Baker Street it had been ploughed into a brown crumbly band by the traffic, but at either side and on the heaped-up edges of the foot-paths it still lay as white as when it fell. The grey pavement had been cleaned and scraped, but was still dangerously slippery, so that there were fewer passengers than usual. Indeed, from the direction of the Metropolitan Station no one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric conduct had drawn my attention. He was a man of about fifty, tall, portly, and imposing, with a massive, strongly marked face and a commanding figure. He was dressed in a sombre yet rich style, in black frock-coat, shining hat, neat brown gaiters, and well-cut pearl-grey trousers. Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features, for he was running hard, with occasional little springs, such as a weary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. As he ran he jerked his hands up and down, waggled his head, and writhed his face into the most extraordinary contortions. “What on earth can be the matter with him?” I asked. “He is looking up at the numbers of the houses.” “I believe that he is coming here,” said Holmes, rubbing his hands. “Here?” “Yes; I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. I think that I recognise the symptoms. Ha! did I not tell you?” As he spoke, the man, puffing and blowing, rushed at our door and pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging. A few moments later he was in our room, still puffing, still gesticulating, but with so fixed a look of grief and despair in his eyes that our smiles were turned in an instant to horror and pity. For a while he could not get his words out, but swayed his body and plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme limits of his reason. 251

H

The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet Then, suddenly springing to his feet, he beat his head against the wall with such force that we both rushed upon him and tore him away to the centre of the room. Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and, sitting beside him, patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy, soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ. “You have come to me to tell your story, have you not?” said he. “You are fatigued with your haste. Pray wait until you have recovered yourself, and then I shall be most happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me.” The man sat for a minute or more with a heaving chest, fighting against his emotion. Then he passed his handkerchief over his brow, set his lips tight, and turned his face towards us. “No doubt you think me mad?” said he. “I see that you have had some great trouble,” responded Holmes. “God knows I have!—a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason, so sudden and so terrible is it. Public disgrace I might have faced, although I am a man whose character has never yet borne a stain. Private affliction also is the lot of every man; but the two coming together, and in so frightful a form, have been enough to shake my very soul. Besides, it is not I alone. The very noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair.” “Pray compose yourself, sir,” said Holmes, “and let me have a clear account of who you are and what it is that has befallen you.” “My name,” answered our visitor, “is probably familiar to your ears. I am Alexander Holder, of the banking firm of Holder & Stevenson, of Threadneedle Street.” The name was indeed well known to us as belonging to the senior partner in the second largest private banking concern in the City of London. What could have happened, then, to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We waited, all curiosity, until with another effort he braced himself to tell his story. “I feel that time is of value,” said he; “that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your co-operation. I came to Baker Street by the Underground and hurried from there on foot, for the cabs go slowly through this snow. That is why I was so out of breath, for I am a man who takes very little exercise. I feel better now, and I will put the facts before you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can. “It is, of course, well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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