The Complete Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle

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

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


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


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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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


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


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


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


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

A Study In Scarlet


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.

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Country of the Saints. .PART II.


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

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

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

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

” he said.” CHAPTER II. hunger. until the next summer saw the whole country golden with the wheat crop. 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. she soon became a pet with the women. In the meantime. Brigham Young has said it. and the child likewise. “If we take you with us. Then he turned to the two castaways. and the savage beast. planting and clearing. Having rallied. from the shock caused by her mother’s death. and soon the whole caravan was winding along once more. Brother Stangerson. Forward! On. and reconciled herself to this new life in her moving canvas-covered home. 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. fatigue. in solemn words. remember that now and forever you are of our religion. and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith. impressive expression. 41 In the town streets and squares sprang up.” he said. passing from mouth to mouth until they died away in a dull murmur in the far distance. as if by magic. “give him food and drink. with such emphasis that the grave Elders could not restrain a smile. The Elder to whose care the two waifs had been committed. Above all. Everything prospered in the strange settlement. and disease—every impediment which Nature could place in the way—had all been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity. on to Zion!” cried the crowd of Mormons. and the words rippled down the long caravan. “In a few days you will have recovered from your fatigues. on to Zion!” “On. The leader alone retained his stern. Let it be your task also to teach him our holy creed. which is the voice of God. and that these virgin acres were to be theirs for evermore. “Take him.A Study In Scarlet of the episode. 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. The tradesman was put to his trade and the artisan to his calling. a retreat which she shared with the Mormon’s three wives and with his son. All around farms were apportioned and allotted in proportion to the standing of each individual. “You shall remain here. “it can only be as believers in our own creed. Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful administrator as well as a resolute chief. John Ferrier and the little girl who had shared his fortunes and had been adopted as his daughter. In the country there was draining and hedging. accompanied the Mormons to the end of their great pilgrimage. The two castaways. with the elasticity of childhood. We have delayed long enough. where a meal was already awaiting them. The savage man. thirst.” said Ferrier. With a cracking of whips and a creaking of wheels the great waggons got into motion. 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. We shall have no wolves in our fold. Little Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in Elder Stangerson’s waggon. led them to his waggon. From the first blush of dawn until the closing of the twilight. the great temple which they had erected in the centre of the city grew ever taller and larger.” he said. a headstrong forward boy of twelve. The Flower Of Utah This is not the place to commemorate the trials and privations endured by the immigrant Mormons before they came to their final haven. In the meantime Ferrier having recovered . Yet the long journey and the accumulated terrors had shaken the hearts of the stoutest among them. Maps were drawn and charts prepared. in which the future city was sketched out. and learned from the lips of their leader that this was the promised land. Will you come with us on these terms?” “Guess I’ll come with you on any terms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sign of the Four .


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


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

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

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

He winds it at night. “I believe that I was of some slight service to her. I ask you to look at the inner plate. But at least you cannot say the same of mine. unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncolored houses.” “Mrs. The dress was a sombre grayish beige. and she showed every sign of intense inward agitation.” I answered. “It is very customary for pawnbrokers in England. to show that I followed his reasoning. She was much impressed by your kindness and skill. I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature. “Hum! I have no recollection of the name. existence is commonplace.” she said. Look at the thousands of scratches all round the hole. There was. 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 Sign of the Four that a man who inherits one article of such value is pretty well provided for in other respects. and he leaves these traces of his unsteady hand. her hand quivered. “I regret the injustice which I did you.—marks where the key has slipped.” “She did not think so. more utterly inexplicable. Cecil Forrester.” I nodded. small. Don’t go. and dressed in the most perfect taste. and her large blue eyes were singularly spiritual and sympathetic. I should have had more faith in your marvellous faculty. was a very simple one. I cannot live without brain-work.” Holmes rubbed his hands. Mrs. Secondary inference. There are no less than four such numbers visible to my lens on the inside of this case.—that your brother was often at low water.—that he had occasional bursts of prosperity. Mrs. It is more handy than a label. but her expression was sweet and amiable.” she said.” he read. Holmes. bearing a card upon the brass salver. sir. “I have come to you. and his eyes glistened. which contains the key-hole. when they take a watch. than the situation in which I find myself. when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace. however. dismal. Inference. Mr. Where is the mystery in all this?” “It is as clear as daylight. “A young lady for you. doctor. doctor. Her face had neither regularity of feature nor beauty of complexion. Was ever such a dreary.” CHAPTER II. I should prefer that you remain. He leaned forward in his chair with an expression of extraordinary concentration upon his 70 . Ask the young lady to step up. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here.” he repeated thoughtfully. as I remember it. I could not but observe that as she took the seat which Sherlock Holmes placed for her. What sober man’s key could have scored those grooves? But you will never see a drunkard’s watch without them. to unravel a little domestic complication. and she wore a small turban of the same dull hue. “because you once enabled my employer. however. I can hardly imagine anything more strange. or he could not have redeemed the pledge. Hence the cocaine. dainty. She was a blonde young lady. In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents. when with a crisp knock our landlady entered. relieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the side. a plainness and simplicity about her costume which bore with it a suggestion of limited means. her lip trembled. Hudson. untrimmed and unbraided. Finally. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers. addressing my companion. well gloved. The case. Cecil Forrester. and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth. to scratch the number of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside of the case. “Miss Mary Morstan. The Statement of the Case Miss Morstan entered the room with a firm step and an outward composure of manner. as there is no risk of the number being lost or transposed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes .


A Scandal in Bohemia .


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lamps had been lit. they were compelled to open the window. so that we shall have a clear field. and servantmaids—joined in a general shriek of “Fire!” Thick clouds of smoke curled through the room and out at the open window. Doctor. and I caught a glimpse of it as she half-drew it out. and I have not seen her since. It is all right. She was there in an instant. escaped from the house. “Nothing could have been better. They laid me on a couch. In the case of the Darlington substitution scandal it was of use to me. as I told you she would. It might be a satisfaction to his Majesty to regain it with his own hands. making my excuses. When a woman thinks that her house is on fire. They were all engaged for the evening. A maid rushed across and threw open the window. She will not be up.” “I guessed as much. which was the very room which I suspected. and I was determined to see which. for this marriage may mean a complete change in her life and habits. You. saw that everyone in the street was an accomplice. I must wire to the King without delay. I rose.” “And now?” I asked. if you care to come with us. 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. and in ten minutes was rejoiced to find my friend’s arm in mine. “The matter was perfectly simple. I caught a glimpse of rushing figures. The smoke and shouting were enough to shake nerves of steel. I rushed 131 forward. I hardened my heart. And yet it would be the blackest treachery to Holmes to draw back now from the part which he had intrusted to me. I hesitated whether to attempt to secure the photograph at once.” “How did that help you?” “It was all-important. glanced at the rocket. she replaced it. She responded beautifully. We will be shown into the sitting-room to wait for the lady. Holmes had sat up upon the couch. ostlers.” “That also I could fathom. After all.” “You have the photograph?” “I know where it is. and I saw him motion like a man who is in need of air. Besides. we must be prompt. I do not know whether he was seized with compunction at that moment for the part he was playing. I shall call with the King to-morrow.” “And how did you find out?” “She showed me. while I still observed the proceedings from my post by the window.” “And when will you call?” “At eight in the morning. her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most.” . What else could she do? And into her sitting-room. laughing. rushed from the room. and I have more than once taken advantage of it. The alarm of fire was admirably done. we are not injuring her. so that I could see Holmes as he lay upon the couch. and as he was watching me narrowly it seemed safer to wait. A little over-precipitance may ruin all. I thought. but the blinds had not been drawn. and also in the Arnsworth Castle business. and to get away from the scene of uproar. Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street. It is an old trick.A Scandal in Bohemia Slowly and solemnly he was borne into Briony Lodge and laid out in the principal room. The photograph is in a recess behind a sliding panel just above the right bell-pull. 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. and. an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box. but the coachman had come in.” “I am still in the dark. It lay between that and her bedroom. and became a piteous spectacle. I had a little moist red paint in the palm of my hand. fell down. and took the smokerocket from under my ulster. When I cried out that it was a false alarm. I motioned for air. but it is probable that when she comes she may find neither us nor the photograph. She was bound to have me in. and you had your chance. “You did it very nicely.” said he. 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. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse. She would rush to secure it.” “I do not wish to make a mystery. clapped my hand to my face. We are but preventing her from injuring another. and with you. A married woman grabs at her baby. or the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man. Now it was clear to me that our lady of to-day had nothing in the house more precious to her than what we are in quest of. and a moment later the voice of Holmes from within assuring them that it was a false alarm.” “Then. of course.” “Then they carried me in. when the row broke out. “Our quest is practically finished. well dressed and ill—gentlemen.” he remarked.

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

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


The Red-Headed League .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Case of Identity .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Boscombe Valley Mystery .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

too.” “And the murderer?” “Is a tall man. tut. and I shall be with you presently. There was no sign of a place whence it had been taken. that I could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the stricken man. “The murder was done with it.” he said. “I fished about with a rake. but these may be enough to aid us in our search. uses a cigar-holder. where all traces were lost.” Lestrade laughed. and I shall work mine. On the Hatherley side of the pool the woods grew very thick. It corresponds with the injuries.” “Nous verrons. and shall probably return to London by the evening train. A mole could trace it. Now where did they come from?” He ran up and down. holding it out. “I fancy that this grey house on the right must be the lodge. Holmes still carrying with him the stone which he had picked up in the wood. tut! I have no time! That left foot of yours with its inward twist is all over the place.” . left-handed. quite unusual boots! They come. and. and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the body. very many other things were to be read upon the trampled grass. sometimes finding the track until we were well within the edge of 168 the wood and under the shadow of a great beech. ha! What have we here? Tiptoes! tiptoes! Square. 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. But here are three separate tracks of the same feet.” answered Holmes calmly. For a long time he remained there. A jagged stone was lying among the moss. the largest tree in the neighbourhood. “Theories are all very well. That bears out his story.” he remarked. “What did you go into the pool for?” he asked. I shall be busy this afternoon. we may drive back to our luncheon. and there it vanishes among the reeds. Holmes traced his way to the farther side of this and lay down once more upon his face with a little cry of satisfaction.” It was about ten minutes before we regained our cab and drove back into Ross. and this also he carefully examined and retained. as I could see by his eager face and peering eyes. Twice he was walking. I think that I will go in and have a word with Moran. There are several other indications. The Boscombe Pool. how simple it would all have been had I been here before they came like a herd of buffalo and wallowed all over it. then? It is the butt-end of the gun as the son stood listening. jutting pinnacles which marked the site of the rich landowner’s dwelling. and perhaps write a little note. “This may interest you.” He drew out a lens and lay down upon his waterproof to have a better view. “It has been a case of considerable interest. He ran when he saw his father on the ground. indeed. which is a little reed-girt sheet of water some fifty yards across. and once he ran swiftly. so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly visible.” “There are none. while I watched my friend with the interest which sprang from the conviction that every one of his actions was directed towards a definite end. and then turned upon my companion. Oh.” “I see no marks. Lestrade. “You work your own method. To Holmes. turning over the leaves and dried sticks. Turner. smokes Indian cigars.” “How do you know.” “But the mystery?” “It is solved. limps with the right leg. “I am afraid that I am still a sceptic. they come again—of course that was for the cloak. talking all the time rather to himself than to us. then?” “The grass was growing under it. finished. so moist was the ground.” “And leave your case unfinished?” “No. What is this. Having done that. You may walk to the cab. Then he followed a pathway through the wood until he came to the highroad. He ran round. and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket. is situated at the boundary between the Hatherley Farm and the private park of the wealthy Mr. Lestrade showed us the exact spot at which the body had been found. like a dog who is picking up a scent. but we have to deal with a hard-headed British jury. But how on earth—” “Oh. It had only lain there a few days. Here is where the party with the lodge-keeper came.The Boscombe Valley Mystery walked behind him.” he remarked. returning to his natural manner. Above the woods which lined it upon the farther side we could see the red. I thought there might be some weapon or other trace. And this? Ha. 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. “These are young McCarthy’s feet. they go. the detective indifferent and contemptuous. There is no sign of any other weapon. wears thick-soled shooting-boots and a grey cloak. Then here are the father’s feet as he paced up and down. sometimes losing.

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


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


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

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

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

very shortly after his departure. which she describes as being terribly agitated. his hat. Neville St. if you are well up in your London. such as he had started to town in. and the ominous bloodstains upon the sill gave little promise that he could save himself by swimming. who acts as assistant there. as it seemed to her. Monday was an exceedingly hot day. Now. as she did not like the neighbourhood in which she found herself. 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. his socks. Clair had her lunch. Have you followed me so far?” “It is very clear. Neville St. by the merest chance. therefore. to think that money troubles have been weighing upon his mind. 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. Clair went into town rather earlier than usual. Out there fell a cascade of children’s bricks. Between the wharf and the bedroom window is a narrow strip. The bedroom window was a broad one and opened from below. who. Both he and the Lascar stoutly swore that no one else had been in the front room during the afternoon. met in Fresno Street a number of constables with an inspector. beckoning to her from a second-floor window. by Mrs. St. they made their way to the room in which Mr. and that he would bring his little boy home a box of bricks. Now. but as. and his watch—all were there. he could hardly have been more than an accessory to the crime. for the tide was at its very highest at the moment of the tragedy. and in spite of the continued resistance of the proprietor. and was struck cold to see her husband looking down at her and. Thrust away behind a curtain in the front room were all the clothes of Mr. 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. which looked out upon the back of one of the wharves. and he protested that he had no knowledge as to the doings of Hugh Boone.” “If you remember. St. and found herself at exactly 4. “Convinced that something was amiss with him. she met this Lascar scoundrel of whom I have spoken. where you found me to-night. Clair. and she distinctly saw his face. it seems. The rooms were carefully examined. There is no reason. . and there were no other traces of Mr. while he has £220 standing to his credit in the Capital and Counties Bank. In fact. his wife received a telegram upon this same Monday. made the inspector realise that the matter was serious. One singular point which struck her quick feminine eye was that although he wore some dark coat. made his home there. and the evident confusion which the cripple showed. which branches out of Upper Swandam Lane. His boots. 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 window was open. “Last Monday Mr. Clair. by rare goodfortune. St. and Mrs. amount to £88 10s. in the whole of that floor there was no one to be found save a crippled wretch of hideous aspect. Clair’s story. While she was walking in this way down Swandam Lane. and several scattered drops were visible upon the wooden floor of the bedroom. At the foot of the stairs. did some shopping. all on their way to their beat. which is dry at low tide but is covered at high tide with at least four and a half feet of water. pushed her out into the street. she suddenly heard an ejaculation or cry. he had on neither collar nor necktie. aided by a Dane. and results all pointed to an abominable crime. Clair had been deluded when. she sprang at a small deal box which lay upon the table and tore the lid from it. you will know that the office of the company is in Fresno Street. remarking before he started that he had two important commissions to perform. So determined was their denial that the inspector was staggered. Out of the window he must apparently have gone for no other exit could be discovered. Filled with the most maddening doubts and 190 fears. Clair walked slowly. On examination traces of blood were to be seen upon the windowsill. There were no signs of violence upon any of these garments. who thrust her back and. “This discovery. The front room was plainly furnished as a sitting-room and led into a small bedroom. started for the City. she rushed down the lane and. The inspector and two men accompanied her back. “And now as to the villains who seemed to be immediately implicated in the matter. The Lascar was known to be a man of the vilest antecedents. Clair had last been seen. Neville St. It was the toy which he had promised to bring home. with the exception of his coat.. however. There was no sign of him there. glancing about in the hope of seeing a cab. He waved his hands frantically to her. His defence was one of absolute ignorance.35 walking through Swandam Lane on her way back to the station. got her packet.The Man with the Twisted Lip as we have been able to ascertain. St. Mrs. and had almost come to believe that Mrs. with a cry. proceeded to the company’s office. St.

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

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

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

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

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

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

telling her that she had no cause to fear. however. I hurled it out of the window. Holmes. then all must come out. “If the police are to hush this thing up.” “In that case I think that it is probable that no further steps may be taken.” said my friend. The other clothes would have followed. Probably he handed it to some sailor customer of his. together with a hurried scrawl. and that the clothes might betray me. Clair.” “I have sworn it by the most solemn oaths which a man can take. I heard her voice downstairs. I was arrested as his murderer.” said Bradstreet. “I have no doubt of it. rather. that if we drive to Baker Street we shall just be in time for breakfast. I confess.” . I was determined to preserve my disguise as long as possible. Then I seized my coat.” “I reached this one. and put on my pigments and wig. I wish I knew how you reach your results. Watson. who forgot all about it for some days. reopening by my violence a small cut which I had inflicted upon myself in the bedroom that morning. to my relief.” said Holmes. that we are very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up. but at that moment there was a rush of constables up the stair.entreated him to prevent anyone from coming up to me.” said Holmes. Knowing that my wife would be terribly anxious. nodding approvingly. “by sitting upon five pillows and consuming an ounce of shag. but what was a fine to me?” “It must stop here. I threw open the window. But if you are found again. Mr. But then it occurred to me that there might be a search in the room. Swiftly I threw off my clothes.” “That note only reached her yesterday. and a few minutes after I found. 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. Neville St. “and I can quite understand that he might find it difficult to post a letter unobserved. pulled on those of a beggar. I am sure. and hence my preference for a dirty face. Even a wife’s eyes could not pierce so complete a disguise. I slipped off my ring and confided it to the Lascar at a moment when no constable was watching me. that instead of being identified as Mr.” “That was it. and it disappeared into the Thames. but I knew that she could not ascend. I think. “I do not know that there is anything else for me to explain. there must be no more of Hugh Boone.” said Inspector Bradstreet. “Good God! spent!” What a week she must have “The police have watched this Lascar.


The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adventure of the Speckled Band .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 t´ de foie gras pie with a group of ancient ae 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


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

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

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

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

and I trust.” “I fully share your opinion. is such a theory tenable?” “But what other is there?” cried the banker with a gesture of despair. and he even broke into a desultory chat with me over his business affairs. and then returned with the other thirtysix into the room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered. stretched down in front to two large iron gates which closed the entrance. standing back a little from the road. and it was the more striking in her as she was evidently a woman of strong character. Oh. 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. I have brought a gentleman down from London to inquire more deeply into it. You know what woman’s instincts are. his friend. which I was eager enough to do. and was not itself within the grounds at all. my girl. We were sitting there in silence when the door opened and a young lady came in. “If his motives were innocent. with such skill that nobody can find them. going back to the mat to knock the snow from his shoes. “No. Fairbank was a good-sized square house of white stone. the modest residence of the great financier. if it may help to clear this horrible affair up. down the tradesmen’s path. for my curiosity and sympathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. Holder and I went into the dining-room and waited by the fire until he should return.” “Why is he silent. “What can he hope to find there? Ah! this. is he. with you. that we may prove it. we will set off for Streatham together. concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine.” “The stable lane?” She raised her dark eyebrows. “You have given orders that Arthur should be liberated. Let the matter drop and say no more. 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. have you not. A short railway journey and a shorter walk brought us to Fairbank.” “But I am so sure that he is innocent. sunk in the deepest thought. she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress. A double carriage-sweep. do take my word for it that he is innocent. with a snow-clad lawn.” My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition. “I believe I have the honour of addressing Miss Mary Holder. being a public. that you will succeed in proving. dad?” she asked. across the front. but her eyes were flushed with crying. were bloodless. Mary! Your affection for Arthur blinds you as to the awful consequences to me. She was rather above the middle height. if you please. Disregarding my presence. thoroughfare. “so now.” . why does he not explain them?” “It is our task to find that out. too. though little used. I ask you now. and devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into details. with immense capacity for self-restraint.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet to some other place. Mr. slim. I trust. 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.” “This gentleman?” she asked. Holmes left us standing at the door and walked slowly all round the house. the matter must be probed to the bottom. that my cousin Arthur is innocent of this crime. sir.” replied Holmes. if he is innocent?” “Who knows? Perhaps because he was so angry that you should suspect him. what I feel sure is the truth. Her lips. with dark hair and eyes. “No. and so round by the garden behind into the stable lane. then. no. but sat with his chin upon his breast and his hat drawn over his eyes. As she swept silently into the room she impressed me with a greater sense of grief than the banker had done in the morning. and forming the tradesmen’s entrance. I suppose. 256 which seemed the darker against the absolute pallor of her skin.” “How could I help suspecting him. I do not think that I have ever seen such deadly paleness in a woman’s face. On the left ran a lane which led to the stables. Far from hushing the thing up. sir. which led into a narrow path between two neat hedges stretching from the road to the kitchen door. but he had only picked it up to look at it. So long was he that Mr. He hardly spoke a word the whole way out to the southern suburb. do. On the right side was a small wooden thicket.” returned Holmes. Holder. Our client appeared to have taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope which had been presented to him. facing round to me. I confess that the guilt of the banker’s son appeared to me to be as obvious as it did to his unhappy father. Might I ask you a question or two?” “Pray do. He is round in the stable lane now. when I actually saw him with the coronet in his hand?” “Oh.

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

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

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

and he. and had just observed that the coronet had been twisted in the struggle and was endeavouring to straighten it when you appeared upon the scene. and in the light of the passage-lamp your son saw that she carried the precious coronet in her hands. so he rose and. which I took to be the police. and his opponent at the other. and preserved her secret. hand out the coronet to someone in the gloom. Sir George Burnwell tried to get away. He took the more chivalrous view. to show me that I was not mistaken. “I at once went very carefully round it to observe if there were any traces in the snow which might help me. it was obvious that he had passed after the other. When he came to the highroad at the other end. rushed back. and ran down the lane. on which she closed the window rapidly and told you about one of the servants’ escapade with her wooden-legged lover. the lad slipped on some clothes and waited there in the dark to see what would come of this strange affair. “There was a double line of tracks of a booted man. and your son.” “And that was why she shrieked and fainted when she saw the coronet. in his bare feet. I followed them up and found they led to the hall window. whose round impressions on one side showed that he had a wooden leg. went to bed after his interview with you but he slept badly on account of his uneasiness about his club debts. I found that the pavement had been cleared. I thought at the time that this might be the maid and her sweetheart. was surprised to see his cousin walking very stealthily along the passage until she disappeared into your dressingroom. however. The first had walked both ways.” continued Holmes. In the scuffle. looking out. as was shown by the deep toe and light heel marks. for the woman had run back swiftly to the door. and then closing it once more hurry back to her room. and inquiry showed it was so. where the snow was cut up as though there had been a struggle. I could even tell that they had been disturbed. finding that he had the coronet in his hands. but found it all trampled down and indistinguishable. Then I walked to the other end. I saw where Boots had faced round. ascended to your room. How cruelly I have misjudged him!” “When I arrived at the house. Arthur. but the other had run swiftly. where a few drops of blood had fallen. Holder.The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet lover extinguishes all other loves. thrilling with horror. I knew that none had fallen since the evening before. and also that there had been a strong frost to preserve impressions. at the far side of the kitchen door. Boots had then run down the lane. a woman had stood and talked with a man. and. I passed round the garden without seeing anything more than random tracks. In the middle of the night he heard a soft tread pass his door. closed the window. which was a hundred yards or more down the lane. Petrified with astonishment. “You then roused his anger by calling him names at a moment when he felt that he had deserved your warmest thanks. sprang out into the snow. ran along and slipped behind the curtain near your door. Presently she emerged from the room again. your lad tugging at one side of the coronet. where he could see a dark figure in the moonlight. “Oh. “As long as she was on the scene he could not take any action without a horrible exposure of the woman whom he loved. He rushed down. “Your boy.” cried Mr.” “Is it possible?” gasped the banker. just as he was. which was all perfectly true. and how all-important it was to set it right. But the instant that she was gone he realised how crushing a misfortune this would be for you. but when I got into the stable lane a very long and complex story was written in the snow in front of me. whence he could see what passed in the hall beneath. She passed down the stairs. passing quite close to where he stood hid behind the curtain. while Wooden-leg had waited a little. I was at once convinced from what you had told me that the latter was your son. and another little smudge of blood showed that it was he who had been hurt. and as his tread was marked in places over the depression of the boot. and a second double line which I saw with delight belonged to a man with naked feet. however. He could not explain the true state of affairs without betraying one who 260 certainly deserved little enough consideration at his hands. and there was a struggle between them. He saw her stealthily open the window. Just beyond it. of whom you had already spoken to me. Then something suddenly snapped. I passed along the tradesmen’s path. finally. and then had gone away. my God! what a blind fool I have been! And his asking to be allowed to go out for five minutes! The dear fellow wanted to see if the missing piece were at the scene of the struggle. She had hardly listened to his instructions when she saw you coming downstairs. . where Boots had worn all the snow away while waiting. opened the window. and I think that she must have been one. so there was an end to that clue. but Arthur caught him. your son struck Sir George and cut him over the eye.

As he loved his cousin. after what I may call a really hard day’s work. So far I was clear.” “I saw an ill-dressed vagabond in the lane yesterday evening. and eventually got to my bed about two o’clock. too. The question now was. I went and saw him. he denied everything. your own good sense will suggest what measures I took next. I knew that it was not you who had brought it down. I was then beginning to be able to form an opinion as to what had occurred. managed to pick up an acquaintance with his valet. and after much chaffering I got our stones at 1000 pounds apiece. and. so I came home and changed my clothes.” returned Holmes. on promising him that there would be no prosecution. A man had waited outside the window.” said Mr. who was the man and who was it brought him the coronet? “It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible. I cannot find words to thank you. and that your circle of friends was a very limited one. It was I. and how she had fainted on seeing the coronet again. But if it were the maids. my conjecture became a certainty. and I could at once see that someone had passed out. they will soon receive a more than sufficient punishment. made all sure by buying a pair of his cast-off shoes. Off I set to him. I had heard of him before as being a man of evil reputation among women. I went in the shape of a loafer to Sir George’s house. learned that his master had cut his head the night before. he had pursued the thief. That brought out the first signs of grief that he had shown. it goes to my very heart. the sill and framework of the hall window with my lens. Not even your skill can inform me where she is now. I found that I had my man. rising. so there only remained your niece and the maids. there was an excellent explanation why he should retain her secret—the more so as the secret was a disgraceful one. that whatever her sins are. At first. He had returned with the prize. but had left a fragment in the grasp of his opponent. the deed had been overseen by your son. Now. “Well. I could distinguish the outline of an instep where the wet foot had been placed in coming in. however. “And who could it be who was her confederate? A lover evidently. however. finally. I knew my man. With these I journeyed down to Streatham and saw that they exactly fitted the tracks. ‘I’ve let them go at six hundred for the three!’ I soon managed to get the address of the receiver who had them. whatever remains. at the expense of six shillings. must be the truth. someone had brought the gems.” “A day which has saved England from a great public scandal. of course. as you remember. Even though he knew that Arthur had discovered him. for the lad could not say a word without compromising his own family. for who else could outweigh the love and gratitude