The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (#15 in our series

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook. This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit the header without written permission. Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved. **Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts** **eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971** *****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!***** Title: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Release Date: March, 1999 [EBook #1661] [Most recently updated: November 29, 2002] Edition: 12 Language: English Character set encoding: iso-8859-1 *** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES ***

(Additional editing by Jose Menendez)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES BY SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONTENTS I. A Scandal in Bohemia II. The Red-Headed League III. A Case of Identity IV. The Boscombe Valley Mystery V. The Five Orange Pips VI. The Man with the Twisted Lip VII. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle VIII. The Adventure of the Speckled Band IX. The Adventure of the Engineer s Thumb X. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor XI. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet XII. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------ADVENTURE I. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA I. To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emot ions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirab ly balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing ma chine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sn eer. They were admirable things for the observer excellent for drawing the veil fr om men s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusion s into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distr acting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a s ensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not b e more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there w as but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory. I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted us away from each ot her. My own complete happiness, and the home-centred interests which rise up aro und the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment, were suffic ient to absorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambit ion, the drowsiness of the drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. H e was still, as ever, deeply attracted by the study of crime, and occupied his i mmense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in following out those clues, and clearing up those mysteries which had been abandoned as hopeless by t he official police. From time to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up o f the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, and finally of t he mission which he had accomplished so delicately and successfully for the reig ning family of Holland. Beyond these signs of his activity, however, which I mer ely shared with all the readers of the daily press, I knew little of my former f riend and companion.

One night it was on the twentieth of March, 1888 I was returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to civil practice), when my way led me through Baker Street. As I passed the well-remembered door, which must always be associa ted in my mind with my wooing, and with the dark incidents of the Study in Scarl et, I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again, and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. His rooms were brilliantly lit, and, even as I looked up, I saw his tall, spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette again st the blind. He was pacing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head sunk upon h is chest and his hands clasped behind him. To me, who knew his every mood and ha bit, his attitude and manner told their own story. He was at work again. He had risen out of his drug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of some new prob lem. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which had formerly been in part my own. His manner was not effusive. It seldom was; but he was glad, I think, to see me. With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to an armchair, t hrew across his case of cigars, and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in th e corner. Then he stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular intro spective fashion. Wedlock suits you, he remarked. I think, Watson, that you have put on seven and a h alf pounds since I saw you. Seven! I answered.

Indeed, I should have thought a little more. Just a trifle more, I fancy, Watson. And in practice again, I observe. You did not tell me that you intended to go i nto harness. Then, how do you know? I see it, I deduce it. How do I know that you have been getting yourself very wet lately, and that you have a most clumsy and careless servant girl? My dear Holmes, said I, this is too much. You would certainly have been burned, had you lived a few centuries ago. It is true that I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadful mess, but as I have changed my clothes I can t imagin e how you deduce it. As to Mary Jane, she is incorrigible, and my wife has given her notice, but there, again, I fail to see how you work it out. He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long, nervous hands together. It is simplicity itself, said he; my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left s hoe, just where the firelight strikes it, the leather is scored by six almost pa rallel cuts. 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. Henc e, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey. As to your practice, if a gentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform, with a black mark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger, and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his stethoscope, I must be dull, indeed, if I do not pronounce him to be an active member of the medica l profession. I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained his process of ded uction. When I hear you give your reasons, I remarked, the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until you explain your proce ss. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.

I remarked. The note was undated. The distinction is clear. P. Your rece nt services to one of the royal houses of Europe have shown that you are one who may safely be trusted with matters which are of an importance which can hardly be exaggerated. It is a customary contraction like our Co. which is the German for C any. pink-tinted notepaper which had been lying open upon the table. and without either signature or address. my boy. The name of the maker. rather. Quite so! You have not observed. Frequently. what do you make of that? His eyes sparkled. and saw a large E he texture of the paper. but you do not observe. Eglonitz here we are. And yet you have seen. or his monogram. you may be int erested in this. What do you deduce from it? I carefully examined the writing. Not at all. it said. Ha. Egria. a t woven What do you make of that? asked Holmes. How often? Well. Such paper could not be bought under half a crown a pac ket. No w. What do you imagine that it means? I have no data yet. I remarked. You see. He took down a heavy brown vo lume from his shelves. and for its numerous glass-factories and paper-mills. This account of you we have from all quarters received. stands for Papier. Be in yo ur chamber then at that hour. endeavouring to imitat e my companion s processes. and a large G with a small with a small g. at a quarter to eight o clock. By the way. a gentlema n who desires to consult you upon a matter of the very deepest moment. This is indeed a mystery. I know that there are seventeen steps. But the note itself. That is just my point. h a. because I have both seen and observed. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Then how many are there? How many? I don t know. lighting a cigarette. Inse nsibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories. instead of theories to suit f acts. Eglow. It is peculiarly strong and stiff.Quite so. It is not an English paper at all. The G with the small t stands for Gesellschaft. and the paper upon which it was written. Hold P. said Holmes. and he sent up a great bl . Peculiar that is the very word. It is in a German-speaki ng country in Bohemia. He threw over a sheet of thick. and since you ar e good enough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences. There will call upon you to-night. of course. some hundreds of times. and throwing himself down into an arm chair. not far from Carlsbad. since you are interested in these little problems. no doubt. The man who wrote it was presumably well to do. said he. Now f r the Eg. It came by the last post. I did so. Remarkable as being the scene of the death of Wallenstein. it up to the light. he answered. yo u have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room. and do not take it amiss if your visitor wear a ma sk. Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer. For example. Read it aloud.

with a thick. extending down past th e cheekbones. therefore. in England. Sit down in t hat armchair. and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur. a Bohemian nobleman. You had my note? he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked German acc ent. I am lost without my Boswell. Doctor. Yes. His dress was rich with a richness whi ch would. as if un certain which to address. said Holmes. followed by a sharp pull at the bell. by the sound. Boots which extended halfway up his calves. This is my friend and colleague. he continued. hanging lip. Whom have I the honour to addre ss? You may address me as the Count Von Kramm. while he wore across the upper part of his face. said he. which he had apparently adjusted that very mo ment. And the man who wrote the note is a German. completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. He looked from one to the other of us. Precisely. who is occasionally good enough to help me in my cases. I told you that I would call. Watson. Here he comes. Ther e s money in this case. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character. A slow and heavy step. whil e the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-c oloured silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single f laming beryl. Heavy bands of astrak han were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat. It only remains. I said. The paper was made in Bohemia. Do you note the peculiar c onstruction of the sentence This account of you we have from all quarters received. paused immediately outside the door. I may want your help. Watson. for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. Not a bit. As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses hoofs and grating wheels against the curb. I understand that . a black vizard mask. to discover what is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper and prefers wearing a mask to show ing his face. A hundred and fifty guineas apiece. if I am not mistaken. which had been heard upon the stairs and in the passage. Doctor. Holmes.ue triumphant cloud from his cigarette. if there is nothing else. Holmes whistled. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in h is hand. It would be a pity to miss it. Dr. and so may he. Stay where you are. to resolve all our doubts . And here he comes. It is the German who is so u ncourteous to his verbs. and give us your best attention. A pair. little brougham and a pair of beauties. And this pro mises to be interesting. straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obst inacy. A nice A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height . But your client Never mind him. and a long. be looked upon as akin to bad taste. A Frenchman or Russian could not have written that. Come in! said Holmes. Then there was a loud and authoritative tap . Pray take a seat. I think that I had better go. with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. glancing out of the window.

Grand Duke of CasselFelstein. continued our strange visitor. during a lengthy visit to Warsa w. Then.this gentleman. is a man of honour and discretion. said Holmes dryly. Then I must begin. 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. hereditary kings of Bohemia. by binding you both to absolute secrecy for two years. lounging figure of the man who had been no doubt depicted to him as the most incisive reasoner a nd most energetic agent in Europe. whom I may trus t with a matter of the most extreme importance. said Holmes. If your Majesty would condescend to state your case. shutting his eyes once more. indeed? murmured Holmes. Why should I a ttempt to conceal it? Why. your friend. pray consult. And I. and I may confess at once that th e title by which I have just called myself is not exactly my own. I have come incognito from Prague for the purpose of consulting you. I made the acquaintance of the well-known adventuress. Yet the matter was so delicate tha t I could not confide it to an agent without putting myself in his power. I promise. You may say before this gentleman anything which yo u may say to me. you can understand that I am not accust omed to doing such business in my own person. the matter implicates the gre at House of Ormstein. I was also aware of that. The august person who emp loys me wishes his agent to be unknown to you. At present it is not too much to say that it is of such wei ght it may have an influence upon European history. The circumstances are of great delicacy. I should be bette The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in uncontrollable a gitation. said Holmes. Holmes slowly reopened his eyes and looked im patiently at his gigantic client. said he. To speak plainly. I am the King. and hereditary King of Bohemia. You are right. It is both. If not. I should much prefer to communicate with you alone. said our strange visitor. I rose to go. said he. Our visitor glanced with some apparent surprise at the languid. Irene Adler. Your Majesty had not spoken before I was aware that I was addressing Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein. I was aware of it. The Count shrugged his broad shoulders. or none. You will excuse this mask. he cried. he remarked. at the end of that time the matter will be of no importance. but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair . . Then. The facts are briefly these: Some five years ago. But you can understand. sitting down once more and passi ng his hand over his high white forehead. he tore the mask from his face an d hurled it upon the ground. murmured Holmes. with a gesture of desperation. r able to advise you. settling himself down in his armchair a nd closing his eyes. The name is no doubt familiar to you.

Then I fail to follow your Majesty.Kindly look her up in my index. wrote her some compromising letters. I am but thirty now. In this case I found her biography sandw iched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had wr itten a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes. Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858. My private note-paper. I was mad insane. how is she to prove their authenticity? There is the writing. Let me see! said Holmes. We were both in the photograph. so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information. Precisely so. It must be recovered. If this young person should produce her lette rs for blackmailing or other purposes. I was young. as I understand. My own seal. She will not sell. Oh. murmured Holmes without opening his eyes. Imitated. became entangled with this young person. We have tried and failed. dear! That is very bad! Your Majesty has indeed committed an indiscretion. My photograph. But how Was there a secret marriage? None. I was only Crown Prince then. pooh! Forgery. and is now desirous of g etting those letters back. hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw yes! Retired from operatic stage ha ! Living in London quite so! Your Majesty. Stolen. It must be bought. Doctor. Contralto hum! La Scala. For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning me n and things. Pooh. You have compromised yourself seriously. . Your Majesty must pay. No legal papers or certificates? None. Bought.

said he. You do not know her. Very. Holmes laughed. Five attempts have been made. said Holmes with a yawn. She has the face of the most beautiful of women. You will find me at the Langham under the name of the Count Von Kramm. There ha s been no result. Once we diverted her luggage when she travelled. Then I shall drop you a line to let you know how we progress. Your Maj esty will. stay in London for the present? Certainly. then we have three days yet. So I have heard. But a very serious one to me. of course. second daughter of the King of Scandinavia . there are no lengths to which she would not go none. And why? Because she has said that she would send it on the day when the betrothal was pub licly proclaimed. Pray do so. Then. Twice burglars in my pay ransacked her house. And she will do it. as to money? You have carte blanche. But how? I am about to be married. Oh. That will be next Monday. A shadow of a doubt as to my conduct would bring the matter to an end. returned the King reproachfully. And what does she propose to do with the photograph? To ruin me.Stolen. indeed. No sign of it? Absolutely none. a s I have one or two matters of importance to look into just at present. You may know the strict principles of her family. then. It is quite a pretty little problem. That is very fortunate. Twice she has been waylaid. Absolutely? . but she has a soul of steel. I shall be all anxiety. To Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen. You are sure that she has not sent it yet? I am sure. She is herself the very soul of delicacy. and the mind of the most resolute of men. And Irene Adler? Threatens to send them the photograph. I know that she will d o it. Rather than I should marry another woman.

limp and helpless. Accustomed as I was to my friend s amazing powers in the use of di sguises. as of old. 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. The landlady informed me that he had left the house shortly after eight o clock i n the morning. Serpentine Avenue. subtle methods by which he disentangled the most inextric able mysteries. . there was something in his masterly grasp of a situation. however. or what I ended by doing. St. I sat down beside the fire. And Mademoiselle s address? he asked. which made it a pleasure to me to study his system of work. in the chair. W ith a nod he vanished into the bedroom. apart from the nature of the investigation which my friend had on hand. said he. And good-night. good-night. for. whence he emerged in five minutes tweedsuited and respectable. Indeed. the nat ure of the case and the exalted station of his client gave it a character of its own. he said. however long he might be. your Majesty. illkempt and side-whiskered. still. ? It was. and I trust that we shall soon have some good new s for you. And for present expenses? The King took a heavy chamois leather bag from under his cloak and laid it on th e table. I had to look three times before I was certain that it was indeed he. Watson. Holmes scribbled a receipt upon a sheet of his note-book and handed it to him. but Holmes had not yet returned. Is Briony Lodge. with the intention of awaiti ng him. It was close upon four before the door opened. really! he cried. Then. he added. I was already deeply interested in his inquiry . and then he choked and laughed again until he was obliged to lie back. an d to follow the quick. Holmes took a note of it. Was the photograph a cabinet II.I tell you that I would give one of the provinces of my kingdom to have that phot ograph. At three o clock precisely I was at Baker Street. I am sure you could never guess how I employed my morning. So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very poss ibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head. though it was surrounded by none of the grim and strange features which w ere associated with the two crimes which I have already recorded. walked into the room. as the wheels of the royal brougham rolled down the street. with an inflamed face and disreputable clothes. John s Wood. What is it? It s quite too funny. One other question. and a drunken-looking groom. There are three hundred pounds in gold and seven hundred in notes. in cisive reasoning. Well. and his keen. he stretc hed out his legs in front of the fire and laughed heartily for some minutes. Putting his hands into his pockets.

of the Inner Temple. but without noting anything else of interest. a glass of half-an d-half. There is a wonderful sympathy and freemasonry among horsey men. and what the obje ct of his repeated visits? Was she his client. handsome. I was still balancing the matter in my mind when a hansom cab drove up to Briony Lodge. He is a Mr. she has turned all the men s heads down in that part.I can t imagine. That sounded ominous. save that the passage window could be reached from the top of the coach-house. He was in the house about half an hour. and brushed past the maid who opened the door with the air of a man who was thoroughly at home. This Godfrey Norton was evidently an important factor in the matter. I then lounged down the street and found. and often twice. I walked round it and examined it closely from every point of view. He appeared to be in a great hurry. I left the house a little after eight o clock this morning in the character of a groom out o f work. pacing up and down. Behind there was nothin g remarkable. it was less likely. Has onl y one male visitor. dark. he pulled a gold watch from his pocket and looked at it earnestly. or turn my attention to the gentleman s chambe rs in the Temple. and dashing. but whose biographies I was compelled to listen to. and returns at seven sharp for dinner. Oh. talking excitedly. and a gentleman sprang out. she had probably transferred the photograph to his keeping. and you will know all that there is to know. Be one o f them. and I could catch glimpses of him in the windows of the sitting-room. and to think over my plan of campaign. They had drive n him home a dozen times from Serpentine-mews. Large sitting-room on the righ t side. and received in exchange twopence. and moustached evidently the man of whom I had heard. He was a law yer. I will tell you. to say nothing of half a dozen other people in the neighbourhood in whom I was not in the least interested. that there was a mews in a lane which runs down by one wall of the garden. I fear that I bore you with these details. I suppose that you have been watching the habits. except when she sings. to a man. drives out at five every day. of Miss Irene Adler. with a garden at the back. She is the daintiest thin g under a bonnet on this planet. but the sequel was rather unusual. or his mistress? If t he former. aquil ine. What was the relation between them. two fills of shag tobacco. I soon found Briony Lodge. I lent the ostlers a hand in rubbing down their horses. however. well furnished. I began to walk up and down near Briony Lodg e once more. and perhaps the house. Quite so. It is a bijou villa. See the advantages of a cabman as a confidant. but a good deal of him. He was a remarkably handsome man. as I expected. and as much information as I could desire abo ut Miss Adler. As he stepped up to the cab. and those prepost erous English window fasteners which a child could open. On the issue of this question depended whether I shoul d continue my work at Briony Lodge. When I ha d listened to all they had to tell. looking even more flu rried than before. He is dark. Of her I could see nothing. but I have to let you see my littl e difficulties. shouted to the cabman to wait. and knew all about him. Godfrey Norton. two stories. I am following you closely. And what of Irene Adler? I asked. first to Gross . So say the Serpentine-mews. sings at concerts. Drive like the devil. but built out in front right up to the road. and it widened the field of my inquir y. Seldom goes out at other times. his friend. I answered. n ever calls less than once a day. Presently he emerged. with long windows almost to the floor. he shouted. It was a delicate point. and waving h is arms. If the la tter. She lives quietly. if you are to understand the situation. Chubb lock to the door.

he driving back to the Temple. and Godfrey Norton came running as hard as he could towards me. I lounged up the side aisle like any other idler who has droppe d into a church. or whether I should perch behind her landau when a cab came through th e street. I was just balancing whether I should ru n for it. bachelor. There was not a soul there save the two whom I had followed and a surpliced clergyman. the coachman with his coat only half-buttoned. they separated. whil e the clergyman beamed on me in front. and generally assisting in the secure tying up of Irene Adle r. and what then? Well. It looked as if the pair might tak e an immediate departure. with a face that a man might die for. What then? he cried. and she to her own house. or it won t be legal. The Church of St. It was twenty-five minutes to twelve. while all the tags of his harness were sticking out of the buckles. The bride gave me a sovereign. and that my lucky appearance saved the bridegroom from having to sa lly out into the streets in search of a best man. Monica in the Edgeware Road. I asked. They drove away in different directio ns. and half a sovereign if you reach it in This was quite too good to lose. however. he answered. I paid the man and hurried into the church. Come! Come! Come. the three at the altar faced round to me. said I. and half a sovereign if you reac h it in twenty minutes. Half a guinea if you do it in twenty minutes! Away they went. This is a very unexpected turn of affairs. and I went off to make my own arrangements. but the others were there b efore us. It hadn t pulled up before she shot out of the hall door and into it. At the church door. and I mean to wear it on my watch chain in memory of the occasion. I was half-dragged up to the altar. but she was a lo vely woman. twenty minutes. I only caught a glimpse of her at the moment. It was the most preposterous position in which I ever found myself in my life. and I was just wondering whether I should not do well to follow t hem when up the lane came a neat little landau. and then to the Church of St. that the clergyman absolutely refused to marry them without a witness o f some sort. ringing the bell. spinster. and before I knew where I was I found myself mumbling responses which were whispered in my ear. It was all done in an instant. Thank God. I found my plans very seriously menaced. to my surprise. she cried. You ll do. I don t think I ever drove faster. They were all three standing in a knot in fro nt of the altar. Monica.& Hankey s in Regent Street. said I. who see med to be expostulating with them. she said as she left him. I heard no more. man. Watson. The driver looked twice at such a shabby fare. come. The Church of St. only three minutes. Which are? Some cold beef and a glass of beer. My cabby drove fast. It seems that there had been some informality about their license. and the re was the gentleman thanking me on the one side and the lady on the other. I have been too . and his tie under his ear. I shall drive out in the park at five as usual. and of course it wa s clear enough what was in the wind. John. Suddenly. and it was the thought of it that started me laughing just now. to Godfrey Norton. and vouching for things of wh ich I knew nothing. but I jumped in before he could object. and so necessitate very prompt and energetic measures on my part. Monica. The cab and the landau with their steaming horses were in front of the door when I arrived.

I hope that I have ma de myself clear? I am to remain neutral. I shall want your co-operation. it will be taken up by quite a number of people. for I have not much time. Oh. taking a long cigar-shaped roll from his p ocket. or Madame. Do not join in it. and I will rejoin you in ten minutes. There will probably be some small unpleasantness. Four or five minute s afterwards the sitting-room window will open. But what is it you wish? When Mrs. Yes. You are to station yourself clos e to that open window. It is an ordinary plumber s smoke-rocket.busy to think of food. You u nderstand? I am to be neutral? To do nothing whatever. returns from her drive at seven. and at the signal t o throw in this object. And what then? You must leave that to me. It is nothing very formidable. By the w ay. You quite follow me? Entirely. I have already arranged what is to occur. I must discuss it while I eat. he said as he turned hungrily on the simple fare that our landlady had provided. Now. the cause is excellent! Then I am your man. You are to watch me. Yes. Turner has brought in the tray I will make it clear to you. for I will be visible to you. at the same time. Nor running a chance of arrest? Not in a good cause. You may then walk to th e end of the street. When you raise your cry o f fire. It is nearly five now. Miss Irene. I shall be delighted. Doctor. raise the cry of fire. It will end in my being conveyed into the house. Your task is confined to that. an d will. We must be at Briony Lodge to meet her. You must not interfere. come what may. There is onl y one point on which I must insist. then to raise the cry of fire. fitted with a cap at either end to make it self-lighting. You don t mind breaking the law? Not in the least. and I am likely to be busier still this evening. In two hours we must be on the scene of action. to get near the window. he said. rather. and to wait you at the co . And when I raise my hand so you will throw into the room what I give you to throw. I was sure that I might rely on you. to watch you.

even as science lost an acute reasoner. this marria ge rather simplifies matters. We may take it. Godfrey Nor ton. But it has twice been burgled. then. There was a group of shabbily dressed men smoking and laughing in a corner. his baggy trousers. It was already du sk. for a small street in a quiet neighbourhood. Where are we to find the photograph? Where. and general look of peeri ng and benevolent curiosity were such as Mr. The chances are that she would be as averse to its being seen by Mr. You see. perhaps. remarked Holmes. But how will you look? I will not look. . Why should she hand it over to anyone else? She could trust her own guard ianship. The photograph becomes a double-edged weapon now. The house was just such as I had pictured it from Sherlock Holmes succinct description.rner of the street. as we paced to and fro in front of the house. his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. it was remarkably animated. She knows that the King is capabl e of having her waylaid and searched. His expression. On the contrary. indeed? It is most unlikely that she carries it about with her. It is cabinet size. Pshaw! They did not know how to look. that she does not carry it about with her. his sympathetic smile. waiting for the coming of its occupant. and they like to do their own secr eting. remember that she had resolved to us e it within a few days. and it still wanted ten min utes to the hour when we found ourselves in Serpentine Avenue. There is that double possibility. The stage l ost a fine actor. and the lamps were just being lighted as we paced up and down in front of Br iony Lodge. Besides. His broad black hat. But I am inclined to think neither. when he became a speci alist in crime. Women are naturally secretive. I think. Precisely. his white tie. He disappeared into his bedroom and returned in a few minutes in the character o f an amiable and simple-minded Nonconformist clergyman. It must be where she can lay her hands upon it. It was a quarter past six when we left Baker Street. then? Her banker or her lawyer. That is excellent. It was not merely that Holmes changed his costume. his manner. but she could not tell what indirect or political influence might be br ought to bear upon a business man. it is almost time that I prepare for the new role I have to play. as our client is to its coming to the eyes of his princess. Then you may entirely rely on me. John Hare alone could have equalled . a scissors-grinder with his wheel . but the locality appe ared to be less private than I expected. Two attempts of the sort have already been made. Now the questio n is. It must be in her own house. two guardsmen who were flirting with a nurse-girl. Where. Too l arge for easy concealment about a woman s dress. and several well-dressed yo ung men who were lounging up and down with cigars in their mouths.

said a woman. As he spoke the gleam of the sidelights of a carriage came round the curve of th e avenue. There is a comfortable sofa. She will not be able to. but she stood at the top with her superb f igure outlined against the lights of the hall. Bring him into the sitting-room. Now carry out my orders to the letter. It is her carriage. Holmes dashed into the crowd to protect the lady. so that I could see Holmes as he lay upon the couch. one of the loafing men at the corner dashed forward to ope n the door in the hope of earning a copper. while I still observed the proceedings from my post by the window. which was increased by the two guardsmen. she asked. A fierce quarrel broke out. with the blood running freely down his face. who struck savagely at each other with their fists and sticks. Ah. well dressed and ill gentlemen. we are not injurin g her. p lease! Slowly and solemnly he was borne into Briony Lodge and laid out in the principal room. He s a brave fellow. just as he reached her. Is the poor gentleman much hurt? He is dead. shouted another. who had rushed up with the same intention. May we bring him in. But she will refuse. crowded i n to help the lady and to attend to the injured man. who was equally hot upon the other side. Irene Adler. he s breathing now . But I hear the rumble of wheels. I do not know whether he was seized with compunction a t that moment for the part he was playing. looking back into the street. he gave a cry and dropped to the ground. cried several voices. there s life in him! to hospital. and servant maids joined in a general . I thought. but. and took the smoke-rocket from under my ulster. As it pulled up. It was a smart little landau which rattled up to the door of Briony Lo dge. was the ce ntre of a little knot of flushed and struggling men. but I know that I never felt more hea rtily ashamed of myself in my life than when I saw the beautiful creature agains t whom I was conspiring. They would have had the lady s purse and watch if it hadn t been for him. while a number of better dressed people. had hurried up the steps. A blow was s truck. But he ll be gone before you can get him No. He can t lie in the street. who had stepped from her carriage. and I saw him motion like a man who is in need of air. no. who took sides with one of the loungers. and in an instant the lady. as I will stil l call her. And yet it would be the blackest treachery to Holmes to draw ba ck now from the part which he had intrusted to me. marm? Surely. too. At his fall the guardsmen took to their heels in one direction and the loungers in the other. ostlers. After all. I hardened my heart. This way. an d by the scissors-grinder. We are but preventing her from injuring another. A maid rushed across and threw open the window.What then? I will get her to show me. The la mps had been lit. or the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man. They were a gang. Holmes had sat up upon the couch. and a rough one. but the blinds had not been drawn. but was elbowed away by another loaf er. who had watched the scuffle without taking part in it. At the same instant I s aw 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 specta tors.

I do not wish to make a mystery. she replaced it. and I have more than once taken advantage of it. Nothing could have been better. The matter was perfectly simple . 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. It is an old trick. I caught a glimpse of rushing figures. The smoke and shouting were eno ugh to shake nerves of steel. She was into her sitting-room. and I was ch. In the case of the Darlington Substitution Scandal it was of use to me. And now? I asked. I guessed as much. It is a perfectly overpo wering impulse. They laid me on a cou compelled to open the window. bound to have me in. making my excuses. her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. That also I could fathom. I had a little moist red paint in the palm of my ha nd. How did that help you? It was all-important. The alarm of fire was admirably done. She responded beautifully. and became a piteou s spectacle. Doctor. She would rush to secure it. it seemed s afer to wait. You have the photograph? I know where it is. but the coachman had come in. and. of course. when the row broke out. said he. A married woman grabs at her baby. They were a ll engaged for the evening. He walked swiftly and in silence for some few minutes until we had turned do wn one of the quiet streets which lead towards the Edgeware Road. I rushed forward. Then they carried me in. and a moment later the voice of Holmes from within assuring them that it was a false alarm. It lay betwee determined to see which.shriek of Fire! Thick clouds of smoke curled through the room and out at the open window. escape d from the house. It is . You. and you had your he remarked. What else could she do? And the very room which I suspected. and to get away from the scene of upro ar. clapped my hand to my face. and I caught a glimpse of it as she half drew it out. You did it very nicely. I am still in the dark. and also in the Arnswor th Castle business. The photograph is in a recess behind a sliding panel just above the right bell-pull. When I cried ou t that it was a false alarm. which was n that and her bedroom. as I told you she would. laughing. and I have not seen her since. She was there in a n instant. I motioned for air. I rose. all right. Slipping through the shouting crowd I made my way to the corner of the street. And how did you find out? She showed me. and as he was watching me narrowly. A little over-precipitance may ruin all. When a woman thinks that her house is on fire. an unmarried one reaches for her jewel-box. rushed from the room. Then. I hesitated whether to attempt to secure the photograph at onc e. they were chance. and in ten minutes wa s rejoiced to find my friend s arm in mine. fell down. saw that everyone in the street was an accomplice. glanced at the rocket.

I must wire to the King without delay. if you care to come with us. I am all impatience to be gone. There were several people on the pavement at the time. I ve heard that voice before. He was searching his po ckets for the key when someone passing said: Good-night. We will be shown into the sitting-room to wai t for the lady. It might be a satisfaction to his Majesty to regain it with h is own hands. Besides. said Holmes. so that we shall have a clear field. Irene Adler is married. Not yet. Mister Sherlock Holmes. You have really got it! he cried. But she could not love him. and with you. I shall call with the King to-morrow. come. my brougham is waiting. we must be prompt. She will not be up. No. Then. But you have hopes? I have hopes. for this marriage may mean a complete change in her life and habits. but the greeting appeared to come from a slim youth in an ulster who had hurried by. I III. staring down the dimly lit street. We must have a cab. Then that will simplify matters. And when will you call? At eight in the morning.Our quest is practically finished. We descended and started off once more for Briony remarked Holmes. . We had reached Baker Street and had stopped at the door. wonder who the deuce that could have been. Married! When? Yesterday. I slept at Baker Street that night. grasping Sherlock Holmes by either shoulder and looking eagerly into his face. Lodge. Now. and we were engaged upon our toast and coffe e in the morning when the King of Bohemia rushed into the room. but it is probable that when she comes she may find neither us n or the photograph. But to whom? To an English lawyer named Norton.

I began to think. The photograph was of Irene Adler herself in evening dress. looking at her with a questioning and rath er startled gaze. I had been warned against you months ago. she does not love your Majesty. It is true. Sherlock Holmes. I followed you to your door. Even after I became suspicious. Indeed! My mistress told me that you were likely to call. What! Sherlock Holmes staggered back. My friend tore it open. to watch you. SHERLOCK HOLMES. rather imprudently. But. and came down just as you depa rted. when I found h ow I had betrayed myself. As to the pho . Do you mean We shall see. and an elderly woman stood upon the steps. To be left till called for. answered my companion. and. so you will find the nest empty when you call to-morrow. followe d by the King and myself. If she does not love your Majest y. 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. plunging in his hand. as if the lady had hurriedly ransacked them before her flight. pulled out a photograph and a letter. Until after the alarm of fire. You really did it very well. ran upsta irs. The furniture was scattered about in every direction. I have been trained a s an actress myself. I found it hard to thi nk evil of such a dear.I am in hopes that she does. I believe? said she. And the papers? asked the King hoarsely. We both thought the best resource was flight. and so made sure that I was really an object o f interest to the celebrated Mr. white with chagrin and surprise. kind old clergyman. that she has left England? Never to return. I am Mr. I sent John. I often take advantage o f the freedom which it gives. the letter was superscr ibed to Sherlock Holmes. wi shed you good-night. But then. If the lady lov es her husband. The door of Briony Lodge was open. Sh e watched us with a sardonic eye as we stepped from the brougham. you made me reveal what you wanted to know. the coachman. You took me in completely . Holmes rushed at the bell-pull. I had been told that. with dismantled shelves and open drawers. It was dated at midnight of the preceding nig ht and ran in this way: MY DEAR MR. when pursued by so formidable an an tagonist. He pushed past the servant and rushed into the drawing-room. as I call them. Holmes. And why in hopes? Because it would spare your Majesty all fear of future annoyance. there is no reason why she should interfere with your Majesty s plan. with all this. Sherlock Holmes. tore back a small slidi ng shutter. Yet. And your address had been given me. I had not a suspicion. All is lost. Then I. Esq. Mr. got into my walking clothes. and we all three read it together. Well. it would certainly be you. which was not broken until we drew up in Serpentine Avenue. if the King employed an agent. and started for the Temple to see my husband. She left this morning w ith her husband by the 5:15 train from Charing Cross for the Continent. Male costume is nothing new to me. you know.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------ADVENTURE II.tograph. turning away without obser ving the hand which the King had stretched out to him. I k now that her word is inviolate. he set off in my company for his chambers. said Holmes coldly. Very truly yours. He bowed. and I remain. nothing could be more successful. to be on a very different l evel to your Majesty. if you wish it. Then there is no more to be done in the matter. or when he refers to her photograph. I thank your Majesty. I have the honour to wish you a very good morning. IRENE NORTON. Did I not tell you how quick and resolute she was? Would she not h ave made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity that she was not on my level? From what I have seen of the lady. when we had all three read this epistle. What a woman oh. I love and am loved by a better man than he. and. Irene s photograph! he cried. Certainly. I am sorry that I have not been able to bring your Majesty s business to a more successful conclusion. an d how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes . This r ing He slipped an emerald snake ring from his finger and held it out upon the palm of his hand. but I have not heard him do it of la te. Your Majesty has something which I should value even more highly. I leave a p hotograph which he might care to possess. it i s always under the honourable title of the woman. The photograph is now as safe as if it were in t he fire. And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman s wit. I am immensely indebted to you. cried the King. and to preserve a weapon which wil l always secure me from any steps which he might take in the future. This photograph! The King stared at him in amazement. indeed. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women. your client may rest in peace. Pray tell me in what way I can reward you. You have but to name it. I keep it only to safeguard myself. what a woman! cried the King of Bohemia. And when he speaks of Irene Adler. I am glad to hear your Majesty say so. dear Mr. my dear sir. THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE . née ADLER. The King may do what he will without hindrance from one whom he has cruelly wronged. said Holmes. On the contrary. she seems.

You could not possibly have come at a better time. The stout gentleman half rose from his chair and gave a bob of greeting. some what to embellish so many of my own little adventures. and occasionally. Your cases have indeed been of the greatest interest to me. and to begin a narrative which promises to be one of the most singular which I have listened to for some time. I was about to withdraw when Holmes pulled me abruptly into the room and closed the door behin d me. Not at all. Mr. Wilson.I had called upon my friend. The portly client puffed out his chest with an appearance of some little pride a nd pulled a dirty and wrinkled newspaper from the inside pocket of his greatcoat . but the course of events is certainly among the most sin gular that I have ever listened to. You have hea rd me remark that the strangest and most unique things are very often connected not with the larger but with the smaller crimes. and I have no doubt that he will be of the utmost use to me in yours also. but none the less you must come round to my view. With an apology for my intrusion. florid-faced. ly. that for strange effects and extraordinary combinations we must go to life itself. has been my partner and helper in many of my most successful cases. relapsing into his armchair and putting his fingertip s together. Watson has not heard the opening part but also because the peculiar nature o f the story makes me anxious to have every possible detail from your lips. I know. As a rule. Very much so. which is always far more daring than any effort of the imagination. elderly gentleman with fiery red hair. it is impossible for me to say whether the present case is an in stance of crime or not. So I am. Mr. Mr. tha t you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdr um routine of everyday life. I was afraid that you were engaged. unique. Doctor. You have shown your relish for it by the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle. A proposition which I took the liberty of doubting. I am abl e to guide myself by the thousands of other similar cases which occur to my memo ry. you would have the grea t kindness to recommence your narrative. Mr. Try the settee. I observed. my dear Watson. indeed. I ask you not merely because my friend Dr. Sherlock Holmes. one day in the autumn of last year and found him in deep conversation with a very stout. to the best of my belief. as was his custom when in judicial moods. As far a s I have heard. he said cordial You will remember that I remarked the other day. just before we went into the ver y simple problem presented by Miss Mary Sutherland. Then I can wait in the next room. when I have heard some slight indication of the course of events. said Holmes. This gentleman. Wilson. where there is room for doubt whether any positive crime has been committed. Perhaps. if you will excuse my saying so. You did. my dear Watson. Jabez Wilson here has been good enough to call upon me this morning. In the present instance I am forced to admit that the facts are. and. Now. 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. with a quick little questioning glance from his small fat-encircled eyes.

with his forefinger upon the paper. of course. there was nothing remarkable about the m an save his blazing red head. I can deduce nothing else. Can you not find the advertisement. Sherlock Holmes quick eye took in my occupation. the matter becomes even more simple. It s as true as gospel. I see a Ch inese coin hanging from your watch-chain. I have got it now. you know. I did not gain very much. a not over-clean black frock-co at. bu t his eyes upon my companion. Mr. I forgot that.. pompous. Altogether. I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even co ntributed to the literature of the subject. Wils on? Yes. I begin to think. that he is a Freemason. the snuff. and a drab waistcoat with a heavy brassy Albert cha in. How. Your right hand is quite a size larger than your left. you use an arc-and-compass breastpin . that I make a mistake in explaining. I never! said he. my dear sir. especially as. How did you know. and the expression of extreme chagrin and disconte nt upon his features. That trick of staining the fishes sca les of a delicate pink is quite peculiar to China. and my poor little reputation. Watson. and the Freemasonry? I won t insult your intelligence by telling you how I read that. such as it is. unbuttoned in the front. Holmes? he asked. and a square pierced bit of metal dangling down as an ornament. Ah. and slow. Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labour. however. and that he has done a considerable amount of writing late ly. that he takes snuff. for I began as a ship s carpenter. rat her against the strict rules of your order. that he has been in China. but China? The fish that you have tattooed immediately above your right wrist could only hav e been done in China. said Holmes. When. Well. for example. Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman. But the writing? What else can be indicated by that right cuff so very shiny for five inches. by my inspection. in the name of good-fortune. Omne ign otum pro magnifico. A frayed top -hat and a faded brown overcoat with a wrinkled velvet collar lay upon a chair b eside him. did you know all that. Mr. Your hands. that I did manual labour. to read the indications which might be presented by his dress or appearance. he answered with his thick red finger planted halfway down . Jabez Wilson started up in his chair. but I see that there was nothing in it after all. look as I would. and the muscles are more developed. and the left one with the smooth patch near the elbow where you rest it upon the des k? Well. I took a good look at the man and endeavo ured. will suffer shipwreck if I am so candid. Jabez Wilson laughed heavily. then. He wore rather baggy grey shepherd s check trousers. obese. I thought at first that y ou had done something clever. with his head thrust forward and the paper flattened out upon his knee. Well. Y ou have worked with it. after the fashion of my companion. in addition. As he glanced down the advertisement column. and he shook his head with a smi le as he noticed my questioning glances. Mr. Mr.

are eligible. U. indeed? You seem most fortunate in having an employé who comes under the full market price. nea r the City. and the effect w hich this advertisement had upon your fortunes. for I am a widower and never had any family. Very good. and he says: . sir. I used to be able to keep two assistants. It is a little off the beaten track. and I know very well t am able to give him. at eleven o clock. It is not a common experience among employers in this age. What on earth does this mean? I ejaculated after I had twice read over the extraor dinary announcement. He is still with you. Wilson. 1890. mopping his forehead. if we do nothing more. of Lebanon. All red-headed men who are sound in body and mind and above the age of twenty-on e years. your household. afte in his head? His name is Vincent Spaulding. It s not a very large affair. he came down i nto the office just this day eight weeks. and we keep a roof over our heads and pay our debts. Mr. isn t it? said he. S. 7 Pope s Court. I should not wish a smarter assistant. Mr. to Duncan Ros s. What is the name of this obliging youth? asked Sherlock Holmes. hat he could better himself and earn twice what I r all. And now. of the paper and the date. the three of us. This is what began it all. either. The first thing that put us out was that advertisement. I don t k now that your assistant is not as remarkable as your advertisement. I have a small pawnbroker s business at Coburg Square.the column. sir. at the offices of the League. with this very paper in his hand. Mr. a youth. Holmes chuckled and wriggled in his chair. That is his main fault. if he is satisfied. Apply in person on Monday. Snapping away with a camera when he ought to be improving his mind. Now. Just two months ago. there is now another vacancy open which enti tles a member of the League to a salary of £4 a week for purely nominal services. You just read it for yourself 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. Never was such a fellow for photograph y. Wilson? Well. Mr. why should I put ideas Why. We live very quietly. It s hard to say hi Holmes. off yo u go at scratch and tell us all about yourself. Wilson. and he s not such s age. it is just as I have been telling you. too. There s no vice in him . and I would have a job to pay him but that he is willing to come f or half wages so as to learn the business. who does a bit of simple cooking and keeps t he place clean that s all I have in the house. You will first make a note. but now I o nly keep one. sir. and then diving down into the cellar like a rabbit into its hole to develop his pictures. A. It is The Morning Chronicle of April 27. Fleet Street. Sherlock Holmes. said Jabez Wilso n. as was his habit when in high spirits . But. and of late years it has not done more t han just give me a living. Pennsylvania. Spaulding. but on the whole he s a good worker. said Mr. Doct or.. . Oh. he has his faults. Here it is. I presume? Yes. He and a girl of fourteen.

I wish to the Lord, Mr. Wilson, that I was a red-headed man. Why that? I asks.

Why, says he, here s another vacancy on the League of the Red-headed Men. It s worth qu ite a little fortune to any man who gets it, and I understand that there are mor e vacancies than there are men, so that the trustees are at their wits end what t o do with the money. If my hair would only change colour, here s a nice little cri b all ready for me to step into. Why, what is it, then? I asked. You see, Mr. Holmes, I am a very stay-at-home man, and as my business came to me instead of my having to go to it, I was often wee ks on end without putting my foot over the door-mat. In that way I didn t know muc h of what was going on outside, and I was always glad of a bit of news. Have you never heard of the League of the Red-headed Men? pen. Never. Why, I wonder at that, for you are eligible yourself for one of the vacancies. And what are they worth? I asked. he asked with his eyes o

Oh, merely a couple of hundred a year, but the work is slight, and it need not in terfere very much with one s other occupations. Well, you can easily think that that made me prick up my ears, for the business h as not been over good for some years, and an extra couple of hundred would have been very handy. Tell me all about it, said I.

Well, said he, showing me the advertisement, you can see for yourself that the Leag ue has a vacancy, and there is the address where you should apply for particular s. As far as I can make out, the League was founded by an American millionaire, Ezekiah Hopkins, who was very peculiar in his ways. He was himself red-headed, a nd he had a great sympathy for all red-headed men; so, when he died, it was foun d that he had left his enormous fortune in the hands of trustees, with instructi ons to apply the interest to the providing of easy berths to men whose hair is o f that colour. From all I hear it is splendid pay and very little to do. But, said I, there would be millions of red-headed men who would apply.

Not so many as you might think, he answered. You see it is really confined to Londo ners, and to grown men. This American had started from London when he was young, and he wanted to do the old town a good turn. Then, again, I have heard it is n o use your applying if your hair is light red, or dark red, or anything but real bright, blazing, fiery red. Now, if you cared to apply, Mr. Wilson, you would j ust walk in; but perhaps it would hardly be worth your while to put yourself out of the way for the sake of a few hundred pounds. Now, it is a fact, gentlemen, as you may see for yourselves, that my hair is of a very full and rich tint, so that it seemed to me that if there was to be any co mpetition in the matter I stood as good a chance as any man that I had ever met. Vincent Spaulding seemed to know so much about it that I thought he might prove useful, so I just ordered him to put up the shutters for the day and to come ri ght away with me. He was very willing to have a holiday, so we shut the business up and started off for the address that was given us in the advertisement.

I never hope to see such a sight as that again, Mr. Holmes. From north, south, ea st, and west every man who had a shade of red in his hair had tramped into the c ity to answer the advertisement. Fleet Street was choked with red-headed folk, a nd Pope s Court looked like a coster s orange barrow. I should not have thought ther e were so many in the whole country as were brought together by that single adve rtisement. Every shade of colour they were straw, lemon, orange, brick, Irish-sett er, liver, clay; but, as Spaulding said, there were not many who had the real vi vid flame-coloured tint. When I saw how many were waiting, I would have given it up in despair; but Spaulding would not hear of it. How he did it I could not im agine, but he pushed and pulled and butted until he got me through the crowd, an d right up to the steps which led to the office. There was a double stream upon the stair, some going up in hope, and some coming back dejected; but we wedged i n as well as we could and soon found ourselves in the office. Your experience has been a most entertaining one, remarked Holmes as his client pa used and refreshed his memory with a huge pinch of snuff. Pray continue your very interesting statement. There was nothing in the office but a couple of wooden chairs and a deal table, b ehind which sat a small man with a head that was even redder than mine. He said a few words to each candidate as he came up, and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. Getting a vacancy did not seem t o be such a very easy matter, after all. However, when our turn came the little man was much more favourable to me than to any of the others, and he closed the door as we entered, so that he might have a private word with us. This is Mr. Jabez Wilson, the League. said my assistant, and he is willing to fill a vacancy in

And he is admirably suited for it, the other answered. He has every requirement. I cannot recall when I have seen anything so fine. He took a step backward, cocked his head on one side, and gazed at my hair until I felt quite bashful. Then sudd enly he plunged forward, wrung my hand, and congratulated me warmly on my succes s. It would be injustice to hesitate, said he. You will, however, I am sure, excuse me for taking an obvious precaution. With that he seized my hair in both his hands, and tugged until I yelled with the pain. There is water in your eyes, said he as he released me. I perceive that all is as it should be. But we have to be careful , for we have twice been deceived by wigs and once by paint. I could tell you ta les of cobbler s wax which would disgust you with human nature. He stepped over to the window and shouted through it at the top of his voice that the vacancy was f illed. A groan of disappointment came up from below, and the folk all trooped aw ay in different directions until there was not a red-head to be seen except my o wn and that of the manager. My name, said he, is Mr. Duncan Ross, and I am myself one of the pensioners upon th e fund left by our noble benefactor. Are you a married man, Mr. Wilson? Have you a family? I answered that I had not. His face fell immediately. Dear me! he said gravely, that is very serious indeed! I am sorry to hear you say t hat. The fund was, of course, for the propagation and spread of the red-heads as well as for their maintenance. It is exceedingly unfortunate that you should be a bachelor. My face lengthened at this, Mr. Holmes, for I thought that I was not to have the

vacancy after all; but after thinking it over for a few minutes he said that it would be all right. In the case of another, said he, the objection might be fatal, but we must stretch a point in favour of a man with such a head of hair as yours. When shall you be able to enter upon your new duties? Well, it is a little awkward, for I have a business already, Oh, never mind about that, Mr. Wilson! look after that for you. What would be the hours? Ten to two. Now a pawnbroker s business is mostly done of an evening, Mr. Holmes, especially Th ursday and Friday evening, which is just before pay-day; so it would suit me ver y well to earn a little in the mornings. Besides, I knew that my assistant was a good man, and that he would see to anything that turned up. That would suit me very well, Is £4 a week. And the work? Is purely nominal. What do you call purely nominal? Well, you have to be in the office, or at least in the building, the whole time. If you leave, you forfeit your whole position forever. The will is very clear up on that point. You don t comply with the conditions if you budge from the office d uring that time. It s only four hours a day, and I should not think of leaving, said I. said I. And the pay? I asked. said I. I should be able to

said Vincent Spaulding.

No excuse will avail, said Mr. Duncan Ross; neither sickness nor business nor anyth ing else. There you must stay, or you lose your billet. And the work? Is to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There is the first volume of it in t hat press. You must find your own ink, pens, and blotting-paper, but we provide this table and chair. Will you be ready to-morrow? Certainly, I answered.

Then, good-bye, Mr. Jabez Wilson, and let me congratulate you once more on the im portant position which you have been fortunate enough to gain. He bowed me out of the room and I went home with my assistant, hardly knowing what to say or do, I was so pleased at my own good fortune. Well, I thought over the matter all day, and by evening I was in low spirits agai n; for I had quite persuaded myself that the whole affair must be some great hoa x or fraud, though what its object might be I could not imagine. It seemed altog ether past belief that anyone could make such a will, or that they would pay suc h a sum for doing anything so simple as copying out the Encyclopaedia Britannica . Vincent Spaulding did what he could to cheer me up, but by bedtime I had reaso

It cost me something in foolscap. and the same the week after. I went to my work as usual at ten o clock . to my surprise and delight. Every morning I was there at ten. 1890. something just a little funny abo when you found the card upon the door? . and with a quill-pen. This went on day after day. saying so. and I had pretty nearly filled a shelf with my writings. but the door was shut and locked. and the billet was such a good one. Sherlock Holmes and I surveyed this curt announcement and the rueful face behind it. cried Holmes. Holmes. and suited me so well. And no later than this morning. and then he left me. He held up a piece of white cardboard about the size of a sheet of note-paper. after a time. By degrees Mr. I t read in this fashion: THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED. if you will excuse my ut it. with a little square of cardboard hammered o n to the middle of the panel with a tack. no. but he would drop in from time to time to see that all was right with me. Mr. I cannot see that there is anything very funny. It is most refreshingly unusual. in the morning I determined to have a look at it anyhow. If you can do nothing better than laugh at me. To an end? Yes. However. No. October 9. I ca n go elsewhere. Duncan Ross was there to see that I got fairly to work. for I was not sure when he might com e. and you can read for yours elf. It was the same next week. cried our client.ned myself out of the whole thing. and I had written about Abbots and Archery and Armour and Architecture and Attica. that I would not r isk the loss of it. Duncan Ross took to coming in only once of a mo rning. complimented me upon the amount that I had written. and hoped with diligence that I might get o n to the B s before very long. And then suddenly the whole business cam e to an end. and every afterno on I left at two. I really wouldn t miss your case But there is. and Mr. everything was as right as possible. of course. At two o clock he ba de me good-day. Still. sir. Here it is. so I bought a penny bottle of ink. and locked t he door of the office after me. I ne ver dared to leave the room for an instant. he did not come in at all. flushing up to t he roots of his flaming head. I started off for Pope s Court. The table was set out ready for me. an d seven sheets of foolscap paper. until the comical side of the affair so completely overtopped every other c onsideration that we both burst out into a roar of laughter. Well. He started me off upon the letter A. shoving him . and on Saturday the manager came in and p lanked down four golden sovereigns for my week s work. and then. Eight weeks passed away like this. Pray what steps did you take back into the chair from which he had half risen for the world.

Wilson. He did tell me the address. and no one in it had ever heard of either Mr. as I understand. richer by some £30. Well. sir. I did not wish to lose s uch a place without a struggle. sir. for it cost them two and thirty pounds. And. Oh.I was staggered. But that was not quite good enough. Your case is an exceedingly remarkable one. Then I called at the offices rou nd. who is an accountant living on the ground floor. as I had heard that you were good enough to give advice to poor folk who were in need of it. his name was William Morris. He moved out yeste rday. From what you have told me I think that it is possible that graver issues hang from it than might at first sight appear. first. 17 King Edward Street. What. He answered t hat the name was new to him. This assistant of yours who first called your attention to the advertisement how long had he been with you? About a month then. We shall endeavour to clear up these points for you. As far as you are personally concerned. I went home to Saxe-Coburg Square. and who they are. William Mor ris or Mr. Mr. And you did very wisely. Duncan Ross. On the contrary. Where could I find him? Oh. and what their obje ct was in playing this prank if it was a prank upon me. . I started off. I have lost four pound a week. But he could not help me in any way. Holmes. I do not see that you have any grievance against this extraordinary league. at his new offices. to say nothing of the minute knowledge which you have gained on every subject which comes under the letter A. Mr. and I asked him if he c ould tell me what had become of the Red-headed League. the red-headed man? Yes. Holmes. He said that he had never heard of any such body. and I took the advice of my assistant. No. a nd I shall be happy to look into it. Why. said I. but none of them seemed to know anything about it. 4. Mr. you are. Yes. It was a pretty expensive jo ke for them. I went to the la ndlord. one or two quest ions. But I want to find out about them. I came right away to you. He could only say that if I waited I should hear b y post. He was a solicitor and was using my room as a temporary convenience until his new premises were ready. You have lost nothi ng by them. but when I got to that address it was a manufactory of artificial knee-caps. so. remarked Holmes. said he. Duncan Ross was. the gentleman at No. Jabez Wilson. I did not know what to do. And what did you do then? asked Holmes. How did he come? In answer to an advertisement. Grave enough! said Mr. Then I asked him who Mr. Paul s. Finally. said Holmes. n ear St.

Holmes sat up in his chair in considerable excitement. Yes. Why did you pick him? Because he was handy and would come cheap. stout-built. in fact.Was he the only applicant? No. and I beg that you won t spe ak to me for fifty minutes. I had a dozen. Wilson. and indeed was nodding myself. There s never very much to do of a morning. And has your business been attended to in your absence? Nothing to complain of. and we can have . and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting out like the bill of some strange bird. What is he like. I shall be happy to give you an opinion upon the subjec t in the course of a day or two. though he s not sh ort of thirty. To smoke. Mr. Sarasate plays at the St. It is quite a three pipe problem. He is still with you? Oh. Well. yes. sir. featureless crimes which are really puzzling. he remarked. Have you ever observed that his ears are pierced for earrings? Yes. My practice is never very absorbing. He told me that a gipsy had done it for him when he was a lad. just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify. What do you think . I answered frankly. Then put on your hat and come. sinking back in deep thought. and I hope that by Monday w e may come to a conclusion. with his thin knee s drawn up to his hawk-like nose. I had come to the conclusion that he had dropped asleep. when h e 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. What are you going to do. He curled himself up in his chair. As a rule. I make nothing of it. I have only just left him. I thought as much. That will do. To-day is Saturday. It is your commonplace. the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves t o be. said Holmes when our visitor had left us. no hair on his face. Has a white splash of acid upon his forehead. sir. Hum! said Holmes. what do you make of it all? It is a most mysterious business. this Vincent Spaulding? Small. I am going through the City first. said Holmes. Watson. he answered. James s Hall this afternoon. very quick in his ways. said he. then? I asked. Watson? Could your patients spare you for a few hours? I have nothing to do to-day. sir. At half wages. But I must be prompt o ver this matter.

the f ourth smartest man in London. We know something of Saxe-Coburg Square. closing the door. Let me see. where four lines of dingy two-storied brick houses looked out into a small railed-in enclosure. that. this is a time for observation. I have known something of him before. Why did you beat the pavement? My dear doctor. still looking keenly at the houses. I am sure that you inquired your way merely in order that you might see him. The road in which we found ourselves as we turned round the corner from the reti red Saxe-Coburg Square presented as great a contrast to it as the front of a pic ture does to the back. Then he walked slowly up the street. 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. not for talk. We are spies in an enemy s country. standing at the corner and glancing along the line. Evidently. having thumped vigorously upon the pavement with h is stick two or three times. said Holmes. Smart fellow. Three gilt balls and a brown board with JABEZ WILSON in white letters. Wilson s assistant counts for a good deal in this mystery of t he Red-headed League. Finally he ret urned to the pawnbroker s. Let us now explore the p arts which lie behind it. What then? The knees of his trousers. clean-shaven young fellow. with his eyes sh ining brightly between puckered lids. It is int rospective. said I. he went up to the door and knocked. answered the assistant promptly. The roadway was blocked with the immense st ream of commerce flowing in a double tide inward and outward. shabby-genteel place. It was one of the main arteries which conveyed the traffi c of the City to the north and west. He is. Not him. It was a poky. in my judgment. said Holmes. And what did you see? What I expected to see. the scene of the singular story which we had listened to i n the morning. I only wished to ask you how you would go from here to the Third right. which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French. observed Holmes as we walked away. announced the plac e where our red-headed client carried on his business. and. Come along! We travelled by the Underground as far as Aldersgate. I shou . fourth left. Strand. It was instantl y opened by a bright-looking. and t hen down again to the corner.some lunch on the way. wher e a lawn of weedy grass and a few clumps of faded laurel bushes made a hard figh t against a smoke-laden and uncongenial atmosphere. and a short walk took us t o Saxe-Coburg Square. Sherlock Holmes stopped i n front of it with his head on one side and looked it all over. upon a corner house. Mr. I observe that there is a good deal of German music on t he programme. and for daring I am not sure that he has not a cla im to be third. who asked him to step i n. little. while the footpath s were black with the hurrying swarm of pedestrians. Thank you. and I want to introspect.

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. and then off to violin-land. so kindly put you r army revolver in your pocket. And I have some business to do which will take some hours. Holmes the relentless. the littl e newspaper shop. the reaction against th e poetic and contemplative mood which occasionally predominated in him. That carries us right on to the other block. I had seen what he had seen. the Vegetaria n Restaurant. and. This business at Cobur g Square is serious. You want to go home. as I have often thought. and McFarlane s carriage-building depot. and the ominous words with which he had parted from me. There is Mortimer s. T hen it was that the lust of the chase would suddenly come upon him. Very well. we ve done our work. All the afternoon he sat in the sta lls wrapped in the most perfect happiness. gently waving his long. and that his brilliant reasoning power would rise to the level of intuition. ready-handed criminal agent. The swin g of his nature took him from extreme languor to devouring energy. He waved his hand. he was never so truly formidable as when. so it s time we had some pla y. the tobacconist. Doctor. I shall want your help to-night. as I kne w well. I trust that I am not more dense than my neighbours. And now. What was this nocturnal expedition. and disapp eared in an instant among the crowd. but I was always oppressed with a sense of my own stupidity in my dealings with Sherlock Holmes. it would be as well. At what time? Ten will be early enough. And. and why should I go armed? Where were we going. . A sandwich and a cup of coffee. as it was possible to conceive. As I drove home to my house in Kensington I thought over it all. thin fingers in time to the music. Why serious? A considerable crime is in contemplation. James s Hall I felt that an evil time might be coming upon those whom he had set himself to hunt down. being himself not only a very capable pe rformer but a composer of no ordinary merit. for days on end. and yet from his words it was evident that he saw clearly not only what had happened but what was about t o happen. while his gently smiling face and his languid. Doctor. keen-wi tted. turned on his heel. and he remarked as we emerged. where all is swe etness and delicacy and harmony. In his singul ar character the dual nature alternately asserted itself. It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London. he had been l ounging in his armchair amid his improvisations and his black-letter editions.ld like just to remember the order of the houses here. there may be some little danger. while to me the whole business was still confused and grotesque. and his extreme exactn ess and astuteness represented. Here I had heard what he had heard. from the extraordina ry story of the red-headed copier of the Encyclopaedia down to the visit to Saxe -Coburg Square. the Coburg branch of the City and Suburban Bank. and there are no red-headed clients to vex us w ith their conundrums. I say. But to-day being Saturday rather complicates matter s. When I saw him that afternoon so enwrap ped in the music at St. I shall be at Baker Street at ten. My friend was an enthusiastic musician. Yes. no doubt. Doctor. dreamy eyes were as unlike those of Holmes the sleuth-hound. I have every reason to believe that we shall be in time to stop it.

however. if he won t mind my saying so. sad-faced man. said the stranger with deference. Ha! Our party is complete. one o f whom I recognised as Peter Jones.000. and that the play will be more exciting. it w ill be the man upon whom you wish to lay your hands. Watson. but he is at the head of his profession. and I agree ead of his profession. Watson and I you to-night. said Sherlock Holmes. is young John Cl ay. He s a young man. All he wants is an old dog to help him to do the running down. 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. Two hansoms were standing at the door. smasher. the stake will be some £30. He s a remarkable man. and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford . I tried to puzzl e it out. said Jones in his consequential way . but gave it up in despair and set the matter aside until night should bring an explanation. It is past ten. said the police agent lo ftily. I ve been on his track for years and have never set eyes on him yet. I ve had one or tw with you that he is at the h quite time that we started. Oh. O n entering his room. Mr. the official police agent. I hope that I may have the pleasure of introducing o little turns also with Mr. you see. It was a quarter-past nine when I started from home and made my way across the P ark. I hope a wild goose may not prove to be the end of our chase. He has his own little methods. John Clay. with a very shiny hat and oppressively respectab le frock-coat. and for you. We rattled throu gh an endless labyrinth of gas-lit streets until we emerged into Farrington Stre et. but he has the makings of a detective in him. Mr. Jones. and as I entered the passage I heard the sound of voices from above. Merryweather. of Scotlan d Yard? Let me introduce you to Mr. Jones. His grandfather was a royal duke. We re hunting in couples again. thief. Holmes. I found Holmes in animated conversation with two men. Jones. I think you know Mr. John Clay. that you will play for a higher stake to-night than you have ever done yet. as in that business of the Sholto murder and the Agra treasure. he has been more nearly correct than the o fficial force. Mr. if you say so. thin. and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next. and forger. which are. jus t a little too theoretical and fantastic. the murderer. ill. who is to be our companion in to-night s adventure. Merryweather. said Holmes. Merrywea ther. It is the first Saturday night for seven-a nd-twenty years that I have not had my rubber. Our friend here is a wonderful man for starting a chase. and so through Oxford Street to Baker Street. I confess that I miss my rubber. it is all right. His brain is as cunning as his fingers. . and If you two will take the first hansom.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. observed Mr. will follow in the second. Doctor. St I think you will find. You may place considerable confidence in Mr. Merrywe ather gloomily. while the other w as a long. He ll crack a crib in Scotla nd one week. sir. F or you. buttoning up his pea-jacket and taking his heavy hunting crop from the rack. we never know where to find the man himself. and I would rather have my bracel ets on him than on any criminal in London. It is not too much to say that once or twice. and though we meet signs of him at eve ry turn.

which te rminated at another formidable gate. and personally interested in the matter. I expect that within an hour matters will come to a head. wit h the lantern and a magnifying lens. I must really ask you to be a little more quiet! said Holmes severely. dear me. Your French gold? Yes. Mr. Why. We have at least an hour before us. Merryweather. and not to interfere? The solemn Mr. We had occasion some months ago to strengthen our resources and borrowed for that purpose 30. into a huge vault or cellar. It has become known that we have never had occasion to unpack the money. And now it is time that we arrange d our little plans. In the meantime Mr. Holmes remarked as he held up the lantern Nor from below. and led down a flight of winding stone steps. Merryweather perched himself upon a crate. though an absolute imbecile in his profe ssion. We are at present. He is not a bad fellow.000 napoleons from the Bank of France. It is our French gold. following the guidance of Mr. began to examine minutely the cracks betwee n the stones. said Mr. This fellow Merryweather is a bank dire ctor. Our reserve of bullion is much larger at present than is usua lly kept in a single branch office. which was piled all round with cra tes and massive boxes. which ended in a very massive iron ga te. Merryweather is the chairman of directors. for they can hardly take any steps until the good pawnbroker is safely in bed. and so. Mr. we must put the screen over that dark lantern. You are not very vulnerable from above. which he opened for us. Might I beg that you would have the goodness to sit down upon one of those boxes. and they are waiting for us. and. This also was opened.000 napoleons packed between la yers of lead foil. attempt might be made upon it. We have had several warnings that an . Here we are. it sounds quite hollow! he remarked. We had reached the same crowded thoroughfare in which we had found ourselves in the morning. He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone. with a very injured ex pression upon his face. after openi ng a third door. and then conducted us down a dark. earth-smelling passage. whispered the director. Doctor as no doubt you have divined in the cellar of the City b ranch of one of the principal London banks. I thought it as well to have Jone s with us also. Then they will not lose a minute. Merryweather stopped to light a lantern . Our cabs were dismissed. and the directors have had misgivings upon t he subject. Within there was a small corridor. observed Holmes. Merrywe ather. we passed down a narrow passage and through a side door. striking his stick upon the flags which lin ed the floor. The crate upon which I sit contains 2. Merryweather. He has one positive virtue. and that it is still lying in o ur cellar. while Holmes fell upon his knees upon the floor and. A few seconds sufficed to satisfy him. and gazed about him. for he sprang to his feet a gain and put his glass in his pocket. my friend remarked. he remarked. looking up in sur prise. 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 prese nt. f or the sooner they do their work the longer time they will have for their escape . Which were very well justified. You have alr eady imperilled the whole success of our expedition.We are close there now.

. first of all. For a minute or more the hand. and then. we must choose our positions. and I ll swing for it! Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seized the intruder by the collar. The other dived down the hole. These are daring men. boyish face. But I see that th e enemy s preparations have gone so far that we cannot risk the presence of a ligh t. and th ough we shall take them at a disadvantage. Then we have stopped all the holes. but I could distinguish the deeper. with a hand o n either side of the aperture. I hope that you have done what I asked you. Then it was withdrawn as sud denly as it appeared. cocked. gaping hole. jump. and the daw n be breaking above us. yet it appeared to me that the night must have almost gone. and then. and the pistol clinked upon the stone floor. With a rending. but Holmes hunting crop came down on the man s wrist. In another instant he stood at the side of the hol e and was hauling after him a companion. a s we were a partie carrée. Then. when I flash a light upon them. with a pa le face and a shock of very red hair. wit h its writhing fingers. a white. protruded out of the floor. And now we must be silent and wait. with my nerves worked up to a pitch of expecta ncy. upon the top of the wooden case behind which I cro uched. Holmes shot the slide across the front of his lantern and left us in pitc h darkness such an absolute darkness as I have never before experienced. close in swiftly. until o ne knee rested upon the edge. Jones? I have an inspector and two officers waiting at the front door. And. on e of the broad. To me. Then it lengthened ou t until it became a yellow line. heavier in-breath of the bulky Jones from the thin. and in the cold dank air of the vault. and my hearing was so acute that I could not only hear the gentle breathing of my compa nions. I placed my revolver. whispered Holmes. without any warning or sound. they may do us some harm unless we ar e careful. My limbs were weary and stiff. At first it was but a lurid spark upon the stone pavement. sighing note of the bank director. which felt abo ut in the centre of the little area of light. a gash seemed to open and a hand appeared. however. Wa tson. Over the edge there peeped a clean-cut. It s all clear. The smell of hot metal remained to assure us that the light was still there. They have but one retreat. Ar chie. for I feared to change my position. drew itself shoulder-high and waist-high. almost womanly hand. What a time it seemed! From comparing notes afterwards it was but an hour and a quarter. white stones turned over upon its side and left a square. I had brought a pack of cards in my pocket. Suddenly my eyes caught the glint o f a light.And sit in the dark? I am afraid so. That is back through the house into Sa xe-Coburg Square. and do you conceal yourselves behind those. From my position I could look over the case in the direction of the floor. Its disappearance. If they fire. yet my nerves were worked up to the highest pitch of tension. Have you the chisel and the bags? Great Scott! Jump. The light flashed upon the barrel of a revolver. have no compunction about shooting them down. and all was dark again save the single lurid spark which m arked a chink between the stones. I shall stand behind this crate. and I thought that. tearing sound. which looked keenly about it. ready to fla sh out at a moment s notice. lithe and small like himself. there was something depressing and subduing in the sudden gloom. was but momentary. he whispered. and I heard the sound of rending cloth as Jones clutched at his skirts. through which streamed the light of a lantern. you might have your rubber after all.

said Jones with a stare and a snigger. marc h upstairs. however. There is no doubt that you ha ve detected and defeated in the most complete manner one of the most determined attempts at bank robbery that have ever come within my experience. it was perfectly obvious from the first that the only possible object of this rather fantastic business of the advertise ment of the League. And I you. The man s business was a small one. an I am. be something out of . That. then. He s quicker at climbing down holes th You ll see your pal again presently. little scores of my own to settle with Mr. also. an d together they manage to secure his absence every morning in the week. said John Clay serenely. when you address me always to say sir a nd please. Mr. sir. but which is in many ways he Red-headed League. I should have suspected a mere vulgar intrigue . There are three men waiting for him at the door. though I see you have got his coat-tails. I have had one or two olmes. where we can get a cab to carry your Highness to the police-station? That is better. But how could you guess what the motive was? Had there been women in the house. said Holmes. It must. John Clay. indeed! You seem to have done the thing very completely. Well. remarked our prisoner as the handcuffs clattered upon his wrists. It was a curious way of managing it. The method was no doubt suggested to Clay s ingenious mind by the colour of his accomplice s hair. said Jones. ight. and by hearing the very remarkable narrative of t You see. must be to get this no t over-bright pawnbroker out of the way for a number of hours every day. but. I must compliment yo u. Your red-headed idea was very new and effective. John Clay. From the time that I heard of the assistant having come for half wages. said Mr. Really. it would be difficult to suggest a be tter. Holmes answered. He made a sweeping bow to the three of us and walked quietly off in the custody of the detective. he explained in the early hours of the morning as we sat over a g lass of whisky and soda in Baker Street. which I shall expect t beyond that I am amply repaid by having had an experience unique. Merryweather as we followed them from the cellar. who were playing for thousands? They put in the advertisement. and there was nothing in his house which could account for such elaborate preparatio ns. The £4 a week was a lure which must draw him. Have the goodness. would you please. I beg that you will not touch me with your filthy hands. was out of the question.It s no use. I do not know how the bank can thank you or repay you. and such an expenditure as they were at. the other answered with the utmost coolness. said Holmes blandly. and the copying of the Encyclopaedia. Oh. the other rogue incites the man to apply for it. You may not be aware that I have royal b lood in my veins. You have no chance at all. said H some small expense over this matter. Watson. I have been at he bank to refund. I fancy that my pal is all r So I see. one rog ue has the temporary office. really. Just hold out while I fix the derbies. it was obvious t o me that he had some strong motive for securing the situation. Holmes. and what was it to them. All right.

and peep in at the queer t hings which are going on. And yet I am not convinced of it. Well. saw the City and Suburban Bank abutted on our friend s premises. it is of some little use. the plannings. The cellar! There was the end of t his tangled clue. life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. The cases which come to light in the papers are. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. working through generations. Saturday would suit them better than any other day. And you are a benefactor of the race. the cross-pur poses. but we had ne ver set eyes upon each other before. I walked round the corner. when they closed their League offices that was a sign that they cared no lo nger about Mr. and his trick of vanishing into the cellar. wrinkled. as it would give them two days for their escape. perhaps. a s I hoped. it would make all fiction with its conventionalities an d foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable. We have in our police rep . and. or the bullion might be removed. They spoke of those hours of burrowing. Then I made inquiries as to this mysterious assistant and foun d that I had to deal with one of the coolest and most daring criminals in London . He shrugged his shoulders. said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his l odgings at Baker Street. a chain. For all these reaso ns I expected them to come to-night. You reasoned it out beautifully. bald enough. and felt that I had solved my pro blem. yawning. with the result that you have seen. as a rule. as Gustave Flaubert wrote to George San -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ADVENTURE III. So far I had got when we went to visit the scene of action. It is so long It saved me from ennui. and vulgar enough. and leading to the most outré results. after all. I exclaimed in unfeigned admiration. And how could you tell that they would make their attempt to-night? I asked. said I. I surprised you by be ating upon the pavement with my stick. I was ascertaining whether the cellar str etched out in front or behind. as it might be disco vered. My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of ex istence. the assistant answered it. These little problems help me to do so. But it was essential that they should use it soon. Alas! I already feel it closing in up on me. I hardly looked at his face. I answered. You must yourself have remarked how worn. What could it be. the strange coincidences. We have had some skirmishes. Well. the wonderful chains of events. gently remove the roofs. Then I rang the bell. he answered. A CASE OF IDENTITY My dear fellow. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand. and s tained they were. It was not in front. His knees were what I wished to see. and yet every link rings true. that they had completed their tunnel. Jabez Wilson s presence in other words. he remarked.the house. He was doing something in the cellar something which took many hours a day for m onths on end. What could it be? I thought of the assistant s fondness for photography . once more? I could think of nothing save that he was running a tunnel to some other building. hover over this great city. When you drove home after the concert I called upon Scotland Yard and upon the chairman of the bank directors. L homme c est rien l oeuvre c est tout. The only remaining poi nt was what they were burrowing for.

I can quite understand your thinking so. the push. It is possible. said Holmes. but none which present any feature of interest. or I am much mistaken. who have been goo d enough to chronicle one or two of my little problems.orts realism pushed to its extreme limits. however. T ake a pinch of snuff. r emarked Holmes. neither fascinating nor artistic. which to a n observer contain the vital essence of the whole matter. The crudest of writers could invent nothing more crude. This is the Dundas separation case. perhaps. It is a little souven ir from the King of Bohemia in return for my assistance in the case of the Irene Adler papers. Indeed. The husband was a teetotaler. you are brought in contact with all that is strange and bizarre. and. the drink. that I may have s omething better before very many minutes are over. is not an action likely to occur to the imagination of the average story-teller. with a great amethyst in the centre of the lid. I said. He had risen from his chair and was standing between the parted blinds gazing do wn into the dull neutral-tinted London street. there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace. I was engaged in clearing up some small points in connection with it. and acknowledge that I have scored over you in you r example. save for one rather intr icate matter which has been referred to me from Marseilles. which. I have found that it i s usually in unimportant matters that there is a field for the observation. Doctor. the bruise. is the motive. where more stress is laid. I forgot that I had not seen you for some weeks. you will allow. In these cases. This is wanting in the police report. as it happens. Indeed. glancing at a remarkable brilliant which sparkled upon his finger. for this is one of my clients . throughout three continents. said he. A certain selection and discretion must be used in producing a realistic effect. without being interesting. the blow. There is. I smiled and shook my head. Of cou rse. There is half a column of print. Ah. I saw that on the pavement opposite there stood a large woman with a heavy fur boa rou . But here I picked up the morning paper from the ground le t us put it to a practical test. Here is the first heading upon which I come. as a rule. it must be con fessed. in your position of unofficial adviser and helper to everybody who is absol utely puzzled. and for the quick analysis of cause and effect which gives the charm to an investiga tion. though the matter in which I served t hem was of such delicacy that I cannot confide it even to you. Some ten or twelve. It was from the reigning family of Holland. but I know without r eading it that it is all perfectly familiar to me. The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler. Looking over his shoulder. He held out his snuffbox of old gold. of course. for the bigger the crime the more obvious. A h usband s cruelty to his wife. and the conduct com plained of was that he had drifted into the habit of winding up every meal by ta king out his false teeth and hurling them at his wife. your example is an unfortunate one for your argument. the othe r woman. the sympathetic sister or la ndlady. upon the platitudes of the magistrate than upon the details. And the ring? I asked. They are impo rtant. And have you any on hand just now? I asked with interest. Its splendour was in such contrast to his homely ways and simple life that I could not help commenting upon it. and yet the result is. there is nothing whi ch presents any features of interest. Depend upon it. taking the paper and glancing his eye down it. you understand. there was no other woman.

wh ile her body oscillated backward and forward. and a man who was nearly fifteen years you . having clo sed the door and bowed her into an armchair. She would lik e advice. when she marr ied again so soon after father s death. for he is onl y five years and two months older than myself. throwing his cigarette into the fi re. and we heard the sharp clang of the bell. I wish you would do as much for me. with h Again a startled look came over the somewhat vacuous face of Miss Mary Sutherlan d. He would not go to the p olice. she cried. Here we may take it that there is a love matter. it is my business to know things. and. but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication. Ho lmes. though it sounds funny. too. Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affaire de coeur. for it made me angry to see the easy way in which Mr. surely. Etherege. he looked her over in the minute an d yet abstracted fashion which was peculiar to him. since the name is different. Hosmer Angel. sir. Holmes. or grieved. whose husband you found so easy when the police and everyone had given him up for dead. and her fingers fidgeted with her glove buttons. because I heard of you from Mrs. suddenly realising the full purport of his words. I m not rich. If not. But here she comes in person to resolve our doubts. When a woman has been seriously wronged by a man she no longer oscillates. she gave a violent start and looked up. hesitating fashion at our windows. Suddenly. Yes. much typewriting? that with your short sight it is a little trying to do so I did at first. I did bang out of the house. Yes. it made me mad. as of the swimmer who leaves the bank. and the boy in buttons entered to annou nce Miss Mary Sutherland. but that the maiden is not so m uch angry as perplexed. but now I know where the letters are without looking. my father took it all. she answered. and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat which was ti lted in a coquettish Duchess of Devonshire fashion over her ear. but still I have a hundred a year in my own right. with fear and astonishment upon her broad. And yet even here we may discriminate. as he would do nothing and ke pt on saying that there was no harm done. with a plunge. Oh. my stepfather. else how could you know all that? Never mind. I call him father. As he spoke there was a tap at the door. Sherlock Holmes welcomed her with the easy courtesy for which he was remarkable. Mr. Do you not find. and so at last. I have seen those symptoms before. she said. and I wo uld give it all to know what has become of Mr. Holmes. Why did you come away to consult me in such a hurry? is finger-tips together and his eyes to the ceiling. laughing. yes. mother is alive and well. said Holmes. asked Sherlock Holmes. your stepfather. good-humoured face. Your father. Mr. why should you come to cons ult me? I came to you. I wasn t best pleased. and he would not go to you. Windibank that is. besides the little that I make by the machine. Then. he said. Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook. while the lady herself loomed behind his small black f igure like a full-sailed merchant-man behind a tiny pilot boat. s he hurried across the road. and the usual symptom is a broken bell wire. Mr. Yo u ve heard about me. said Holmes. said Holmes.nd her neck. And your mother is alive? Oh. and I just on with my things and came right away to you. From under this great panoply she peeped up in a nervous.

but. He never did wish us to g o anywhere. I suppose. He laughed. I met him twice fo r walks. Mr. and sen t them to mother. sir. Then at the gasfitters ball you met. but you understand that as long as I live at home I don t wish to be a burden to them. He would get quite mad if I wanted so much as to join a Sunday-schoo l treat. Hosmer Angel. and shrugged his sho ulders. said Holmes. for she would hav e her way. w hich wasn t near as much as father could have got if he had been alive. but I can only touch the interest. I met him that night. They used to send f ather tickets when he was alive. Father was a plumber in the Tottenham Court Road. he went off to France upon the business of the firm. Kindly tell us now all about your connection with Mr. but when Mr. and she picked nervously at the fringe of her jacket. Yes. I had expected to see Sherlock Holmes impatient under this rambling and inconseq uential narrative. a gentleman called Mr . being a traveller in wines. when n othing else would do. Windibank came he made her sell the business. and after that we met him that is to say. And since you draw so large a sum as a hund red a year. he had listened with the greatest conce ntration of attention. does it come out of the business? Oh. Hardy. Hosmer Angel. You interest me extremely. she said. Windibank did not wish us to go. It brin gs me twopence a sheet. when all father s frien ds were to be there. Holmes. It is in New Zealand stock. Mr. Of course. W atson. and said there was no use denying anything to a woman. paying 4½ per cent. Your own little income. with what you earn into the bargain. They got £4700 for the goodwill and interest. Hosmer Angel. At last. and I can often do from fifteen to twenty sheets in a da y. Dr. A flush stole over Miss Sutherland s face. as I understand. he was very good about it. said Holmes. Mr. for what right had he to prevent? He said the folk were not fit for us to know. I met him first at the gasfitters ball. and it was the re I met Mr. that is only just for t he time. no. Oh. the foreman . Windibank draws my interest every quarter and pays it over to mothe r. which mother carried on with Mr. he asked. I could do with much less than that. mother and I. And he said that I had nothing fit to wear. This is my friend. but after that father came back again. I see. But this time I was set on going. It is quite separate and was left me by my uncle Ned in Auckland. who used to be our foreman. before whom you can speak as freely as before myself. for he was very sup erior. with Mr. when I had my p urple plush that I had never so much as taken out of the drawer. Mr. and he called next day to ask if we had got home all safe. well. I believe that a single lady can get on very ni cely upon an income of about £60. and then afterwards they remembered us. Windibank came back from France he was very a nnoyed at your having gone to the ball. and I would go. on the contrary. and so they have the use of the money just while I am staying with them. said Holmes. sir. Holmes. You have made your position very clear to me. Hosmer Angel could not c ome to the house any more. and I find that I can do pretty well with what I earn at typewriting. and he left a tidy business behind him.nger than herself. and Mr. Two thousand five hundred pounds was the amount. but w e went. you no doubt travel a little an d indulge yourself in every way. I remember. . that when Mr. Hardy.

and he used to write every day. And you don t know his address? No except that it was Leadenhall Street. He was always well dressed. He was in dreadful earnest and made me swear. But then. a woman wants her own circ le to begin with. yes. We were engaged after the first walk that we took. he told me. to be left till called for. Holmes. for he said that when I wrote them they seemed to come fro m me. said Holmes. It has long been an axiom of mine that the lit tle things are infinitely the most important. and it had left him with a weak throat. but his eyes were weak. and what happened when Mr. Well. as I used to say to mother. He would rather walk with me in the evening th an in the daylight. and the lit tle things that he would think of. We cou ld write in the meantime. Very retiring a nd gentlemanly he was. and Hosmer wrote and said t hat it would be safer and better not to see each other until he had gone. Holmes. M . I took the letters in in the morning. your stepfather. Hosmer Angel? He was a very shy man. then? To the Leadenhall Street Post Office. just as mine are. He wouldn t have any visitors if he could help it. That will just show you how fond he was of me. very n eat and plain. with my hands o n the Testament. 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. Mr. so I offered to typewrite them.No? Well. Can you remember any other little things about Mr. but when they were typewritten he always felt that the machine had come be tween us. and he wore tinted glas ses against the glare. an d a hesitating. Hosmer Mr. Holmes. so there was no need for father to know. that whatever happened I would always be true to him. Hosmer Angel? Did he make no attempt to see you? Well. He d had the quinsy and swollen glands when he was young. Where did you address your letters. for he said that he hated to be conspicuous. Holmes. I don t know. but he wouldn t have that. returned to France? Mr. It was most suggestive. Hosmer Angel came to the house again and proposed that we should marry before father came back. Even his voice was gentle. Where did he live. Were you engaged to the gentleman at this time? Oh. Mr. Mr. then? He slept on the premises. But how about Mr. Mother sa id he was quite right to make me swear. and that it was a sign of his passion. and he used to say that a woman should be happy in her own family circle. you know father didn t like anything of the sort. like he did his. Angel was a cashier in an office in Leadenhall Street and What office? That s the worst of it. and I had not got mine yet. whispering fashion of speech. Windibank. father was going off to France again in a week. Mr.

But you have no notion as to what it could have been? None. and I can t sleep a wink at night. all the morning he was saying to me that. that something had happened. and mother said she would make it all right with him. then? Yes. for the Friday. As he said. it drives me half-mad to think of it. Mr. Why. Ha! that was unfortunate. but as there were two of us he put us both into it and stepped himse lf into a four-wheeler. It missed him. and said that I was never to speak of the matter again. near King s Cross. Was it to be in church? Yes. Saviour s. but just to tell him afterward s. I was always to remember that I wa s pledged to him. as he was only a few y ears older than me. or if he had married me and got my money settled on him. but the letter came b ack to me on the very morning of the wedding. and when the four-wheeler drove up we waited for him to step out. no. which happened to be the only other cab in the street. but Hosmer was very independent about money and never would look at a shilling of mine. Then. whatever happened. Oh. sir. One more question. Pancras Hotel. sir! He was too good and kind to leave me so. but what has happened since gives a meaning to it. It was to be at St. and we were to have breakfast afterwards at the St. . Your wedding was arranged. for he had started to England just before it arrived. and he seemed to think. but I didn t want to do anything on the sly. and that even if someth ing quite unforeseen occurred to separate us. then. but very quietly.other was all in his favour from the first and was even fonder of him than I was . and that he would claim his pledge sooner or later. Most certainly it does. Sh e pulled a little handkerchief out of her muff and began to sob heavily into it. there might be some reason. then. And then I think that what he foresaw happened. And yet. so I wrote to fat her at Bordeaux. with me. that some unforeseen catastrop he has occurred to him? Yes. Your own opinion is. sir. and then leaving me? Now. when they talked of marrying within the week. Holmes. sir. That was last Friday . but he never did. I was to be true. but they both said never to mind about father. Hosmer came for us i n a hansom. Holmes. I began to ask about fathe r. what could have happened? And why could he not wri te? Oh. Mr. said Holmes. or else he would not have talked so. what interest could anyone have in bringin g me to the doors of the church. It seemed funny that I should ask his leave. It seemed strange talk for a wedding-morning. I didn t quite like that. and that I sho uld hear of Hosmer again. for he had seen him get in with his own eyes. and I have never seen or heard anything since then to throw any li ght upon what became of him. I believe that he foresaw some danger. where the company has its French offices. and when the cabman got down from the box and loo ked there was no one there! The cabman said that he could not imagine what had b ecome of him. It seems to me that you have been very shamefully treated. if he had borrowed my money. How did your mother take the matter? She was angry. W e got to the church first. And your father? Did you tell him? Yes.

Holmes. Camberwell. and remember the advice which I have given you. which. Mr. and so you m issed all that was important.I shall glance into the case for you. Above all. Where is your father s place of busi ness? He travels for Westhouse & Marbank. H osmer Angel vanish from your memory. You did not know where to look. Then he took down from the rack the old and oily clay pipe. there were o ne or two details which were new to me. I can never bring you to realise the importance of . in Andover in 77. Let the weight of the matter rest upon me now. You have made your statement very clearly. and his gaze directed upward to the ceiling. if you consult my index. wit h the thick blue cloud-wreaths spinning up from him. I shall be true to Hosmer. and a look of infinite lang uor in his face. and do not let your mind dwell upon it further. Thank you. and. Then you don t think I ll see him again? I fear not. You are very kind. said Holmes. Old as is the idea. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for a few minutes with his fingertips still pressed t ogether. and there was somethi ng of the sort at The Hague last year. Then what has happened to him? You will leave that question in my hands. by the way. She laid her little bundle of papers upon the table and went her way. is rather a trite one. there was something noble in the simple faith of our visitor which compelled our respect. rising. For all the preposterous hat and the vacuous face. I remar said she. Watson. the great claret importers of Fenchurch Stree t. which was to him as a counsellor. I should like an accurate description o f him and any letters of his which you can spare. with a promise to come again whenever she might be summoned. 31 Lyon Place. as he has done from your life. but I cannot do that. and do not allow it to affect your life. Thank you. I advertised for him in last Saturday s Chronicle. Quite an interesting study. that maiden. try to let Mr. having lit it. ked. You appeared to read a good deal upon her which was quite invisible to me. he leaned back in his chair. Here is the slip and her Not invisible but unnoticed. and I have no doubt that we shall reach some definite result. his legs stretched out in front of him. Let the whole incident be a sealed book. Mr. You will leave the papers h ere. I found her more interesting than her little problem. But the maiden herself was most instruct ive. You will find parallel cases. And your address? No. I understand. he observed. e are four letters from him. however. Angel s address you never had. H e shall find me ready when he comes back.

easy-going way. I ventured a remark upon sh ort sight and typewriting. which is a most useful material for showing traces. but I must go back to business. with brown gaiters over elastic-sided boots. Her dress was brown. keenly interested. with black beads sewn upon it. About five ft. Hosmer Angel? I held the little printed slip to the light. it is no great deduction to say that she came away in a hurry. sallow complexion. and grey Harris twe ed trousers. You observed that her right glove was torn at the forefinger. Watson. Missing. Pon my word. surely. Known to have been emp loyed in an office in Leadenhall Street. and. My first glance is always at a woman s sleeve. he continued. my boy. but only on the l eft arm. Watson. and the other a plain one. I then glanced at her face. but you did not apparently see that both glove and finger were stained with vio let ink. but you h ave hit upon the method. ha lf-buttoned. in black fro ck-coat faced with silk. you are coming along wonderfully. that she had written a note before leaving home but after be ing fully dressed. they . As you observe. and fifth. Sherlock Holmes clapped his hands softly together and chuckled. Woul d you mind reading me the advertised description of Mr. it was obvious. or the great issues that may hang f rom a boot-lace. It surprised me. black side-whiskers and moustache. black waistcoat. the suggestiveness of thumb-nails. tinte d glasses. hanging gold earrings. this woman had plush upon her sleeves. though the boots which she was wearing were not unlike ea ch other.sleeves. You have really done very well indeed. gold Albert chain. by my friend s incisive I noted. And what else? reasoning. glancing over them. as this was. a little bald in the centre. Her boots I didn t observe. what did you gather from that woman s appearance? Describe i t. One was buttoned only in the two lower buttons out of five. Now. it said. Now. But. Never trust to gen eral impressions. though rather elementary. on the morning of the fourteenth. Her gloves were greyish an d were worn through at the right forefinger. or the mark would not remain clear upon the finger. as I always was. leaves a similar mark. I asked. The double line a little above the wrist. In a man it is perhaps better first to take the kn ee of the trouser. the one having a slightly decorated toe-cap . broad-brimmed straw hat. Her jacket was black. comfortable. seven in. She had s mall round. in passing. but concentrate yourself upon details. and you have a quick eye for colour. a gentleman named Hosmer Angel. has come away from home with odd boots. of the hand type. observing the dint of a pince-nez at either side of her nose. As to the letters. strongly built. with a little purple plush at the neck and sleeves. where the typewritist presses against the table. bushy. otherwise neatly dressed. third. Well. The sewing-machine. instead of being right a cross the broadest part. rather darker than coffee colour . I was then much surprised and interested on glancing down to observe that. and a fringe of l ittle black jet ornaments. was beautifully defined . slight infirmity of speech. Anybody bringing That will do. She had written in a hurry and dipped her pen too deep. when last seen. with a feather of a bric kish red. which seemed to surprise her. and the other at the first. when you see that a young lady. Was dressed. they were really odd ones. It must have be en this morning. in height. All this is amusing. black ha ir. It is true that you have missed everything of importance. and on the side of it farthest from the thumb. and a general air of being fairly well-to-do in a vulgar. she had a slate-coloured. said Holmes.

some of the details are of interest. It was the bisulphate of baryta. Doctor. A formidable array of bottles and test-tubes. as I said yesterday. but no superscription except Leadenh all Street. no. the other is to the young lady s step father. It was not until close upon six o clock that I found myself free and was able to spring into a hansom and drive to Baker Street. but the signature is typewritten. Windibank. asking him whether he could meet us here at six o clock tomorrow evening. still puffing at his black clay pipe. we may call it conclusive. however. and the extraordinary circums tances connected with the Study in Scarlet. A professional case of great gravity was engaging my own attention at the time. which is rather vague. Well. though. that was not the point. Yes. with the pungent cleanly smell of hydrochloric acid. I found Sherlock Holmes alone. we can do nothing until the answers to those letters com e. However. The point about the signature is very suggest ive in fact. but when I look ed back to the weird business of the Sign of Four.are very commonplace. Of what? My dear fellow. . is it possible you do not see how strongly it bears upon the case ? I cannot say that I do unless it were that he wished to be able to deny his signa ture if an action for breach of promise were instituted. It is just as well that we should do business with the male rela tives. And now. Once only had I known him to fail. half afraid that I might be too late to assi st at the dénouement of the little mystery. I shall write two letters. 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. told me that he had spent his day in the chemical work whi ch was so dear to him. I left him then. No. however . so we may put our little problem upon the shelf for the interim. No. There was never an y mystery in the matter. I remarked. with his long. The only drawback is that there is no law. that! I thought of the salt that I have been working upon. Mr. I felt that it would be a strange ta ngle indeed which he could not unravel. half asleep. the mystery! I cried. 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 w hich he had been called upon to fathom. which will no doubt stri ke you. have you solved it? I asked as I entered. I fear. Look at the neat little Hosmer An gel at the bottom. which should sett le the matter. They are typewritten. There is a date. that can touch the scoundrel. Not only that. There is one remarkable point. Angel. Absolutely no clue in them to Mr. thin form curled up in the recesses of his armchai r. and the whole of next day I was busy at the bedside of the sufferer. save that he quot es Balzac once. One is to a firm in the City. Oh. you see. in th e case of the King of Bohemia and of the Irene Adler photograph.

that a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a man s handwriting. for how could you possibly find this Hosmer Angel? On the contrary. Come in! said Holmes. I have here four letters which purport to come from th e missing man. Good-evening. It is a curious thing. and let me know when you have done it. if you care to use my magnifying lens. said Holmes quietly. Now. Mr. Besides. They are all typewritten. and a slight defect in the tail o f the r. that in every c ase there is some little slurring over of the e. then. as you are not connected with the official police. James Windibank. in which you made an appointment with me for six o clock? Yes. and a pair of wonderfully sharp and penetrating grey eyes. Hosmer Angel. but she is a very excitable. ow. placed his shiny top-hat upon the sideboard. Windibank. it is a useless expense. said Holmes. t hat the fourteen other characteristics to which I have alluded are there as well . then. with a bland. We do all our correspondence with this machine at the office. for I think it is far better not to wash linen of the sort in public. he said. not only are the e s slurred and the r s tailless. but those are the more obvious. that I have caught him! I let you kn . Unless they are quite new. when we heard a heavy footfall in the passage and a tap at the door. I did not mind you so much. Mr. and some wear only on one side. and no doubt it is a little worn. sir. cceed in discovering Mr. you remark in this note of yours. and sallow-skinned. I have every reason to believe that I will su I am delighted to hear Mr. said Holmes. There are fourteen other characteristics. impulsive girl. and what was his object in deserting Miss Sutherland? The question was hardly out of my mouth. Of course. I cannot waste time over this sort of fantastic talk. our visitor answered. I think that this typewritten lette r is from you. Windibank sprang out of his chair and picked up his hat. He shot a questioning glance at each of us.Who was he. but it is not pleasant to have a family misf ortune like this noised abroad. some thirty years of age. Some letters get more worn than others. insinuating manner. I am afraid that I am a little late. and Holmes had not yet opened his lips to reply. and with a slight bow s idled down into the nearest chair. c atch him. If you can catch the man. Windibank gave a violent start and dropped his gloves. I think of writing another little monograph some of these days on the typewriter and its relation to crime. stepping over and turning the key in the door. And now I will show you what is really a very interesting study. as you may have noticed. I am sorry that Miss Sutherland has troubled you about this little mat ter. you know. It wa s quite against my wishes that she came. middle-sized fellow. In each case. Ho lmes continued. Mr. but I am not quite my own master. Windibank. Mr. He has written to me The man who entered was a sturdy. Holmes. It is a subject to which I have devot ed some little attention. remarked Holmes. he said. Certainly. it. no two of them wr ite exactly alike. Mr. This is the girl s stepfather. clean-shaven. glancing keenly at Holmes with his bright li ttle eyes. and she is not easily controlled when she has mad e up her mind on a point. James Windibank. but you will observe. to say that he would be here at six. Mr.

Hosme r Angel. than to us. and the effect was increased by the loudly expressed admiration of her mother. She became restive. for it was obvious that the matter should be pushed as far as it would go if a real effect were to be p roduced. These pretended journeys to France were rather cumbrous. but affectionate and warm-hearted in her ways. Now. she would not be allowed to remain single long. having quite made up her mind that her stepfather was in France. Then Mr. Windibank. Windibank. so what does her stepfather d o to prevent it? He takes the obvious course of keeping her at home and forbiddi ng her to seek the company of people of her own age. insisted upon her rights. it was as cruel and selfish and heartless a trick in a petty way as ever came before me. Tha t s right! Sit down and let us talk it over. began talking. But soon he found that that would not answer forever. said he. and doubly secure on account of the girl s short sight. rather to hi mself. the young lady was very decidedly carried a way. the loss of a hundred a year. and so uncertain as to his fate. said Holmes suavely. with his head sunk upon his breast. with a ghastly face and a glitter of moistur e on his brow. It was only a joke at first. and he enjoyed the use of the money of the daughter as long as she lived with them. so that it was evident that with her fair personal advantages. it won t do really it won t. But between ourselves. The t hing 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. as it seemed. the s uspicion of treachery never for an instant entered her mind. and fin ally announced her positive intention of going to a certain ball. Hence those vows of fidelity exacted upon a Testament. which would finally secure the girl s affections from turning towards anyone else. of course. The man married a woman very much older than himself for her money. We never thought that she would h Very likely not. It it s not actionable. and it was a very bad complimen t when you said that it was impossible for me to solve so simple a question. and an engagement. Oh. and keeps off other lovers by making love himself. he stammered. Angel began to call. But the deception could not be kept up forever. and. The man sat huddled up in his chair. and hence also the allusions to a possibil ity of something happening on the very morning of the wedding. With the connivance and assistance of his wife he disguised himse lf. However that may be. and you will contradict me if I go wrong. There were meetings. at any rate. amiable disposition. for people in their position. leaning back with his hands in his pockets. like on e who is utterly crushed. What does her clever stepfather do then? He conceives an idea more creditable to his head than to his heart. groaned our visitor. Mr. It was worth an effort to preserve it. that for ten years to come. and the loss of it would have made a serious difference. It is quite too transparent. Our visitor collapsed into a chair. he appears as Mr. ave been so carried away. Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the mantelpi ece and. she would not listen to another . masked the face with a moustach e and a pair of bushy whiskers. Windibank. sunk that clear voice into an insinuating whispe r. It was a considerable sum. turning white to his lips and glancing about h im like a rat in a trap. James Windibank w ished Miss Sutherland to be so bound to Hosmer Angel. and her li ttle income. Now her marriage wo uld mean. She was flattered b y the gentleman s attentions. covered those keen eyes with tinted glasses. The daugh ter was of a good. There is no possible getting out of it.What! where? shouted Mr. let me just run over the course of events. I am very much afraid that it is not.

but here s a hunting crop handy. unlocking and throwing open th e door. And how did you verify them? Having once spotted my man. in some respects. As far as the church door he brought her. but before h e could grasp it there was a wild clatter of steps upon the stairs. t he voice. Having taken the printed description. but if you are so very sharp you ought to be sharp enough to know that it is you who are breaking the law now. and he rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale face. James Wi ndibank. and ends on a gallows. That fellow will rise from crime to crime until he does s omething very bad. yet there never was a man who deserved punishment more. inferred that his handwriting was so familiar t o her that she would recognise even the smallest sample of it. and I wrote to the man himself at hi s business address asking him if he would come here. I had already n oticed the peculiarities of the typewriter. he ought to lay a whip across your shoulders. i t is not part of my duties to my client. The case has. Windibank! Our visitor had recovered something of his assurance while Holmes had been talki ng. touch you. it was easy to get corroboration. My suspicions were all confirmed by his peculiar action in typewriting his signature. James Windibank running at the top of his speed down the road. or it may not. and it was equally clear that the only man who really profited by the incident. which both hinted at a disguise. as he threw himself down in to his chair once more. It may be so. The same post brought me a letter from Westhouse & Marbank. I think that was the chain of events. So were the tinted spect acles and the curious voice. to say that the description tallied in every respect with that of their employé. flushing up at the sight of the bitter sneer upon the man s face. I have done nothing actionable from the first. he conveniently vanished away by the old trick of stepping in at one door of a four-wheeler and out at the other. Holmes. the heavy ha ll door banged. and I th ink I shall just treat myself to He took two swift steps to the whip. was suggestive. Hosmer Angel must hav e some strong object for his curious conduct. of course. laughing. Mr. and from the window we could see Mr. I eliminated every thing from it which could be the result of a disguise the whiskers. an d not Then the fact that the two men were never together. of course it was obvious from the first that this Mr. was the st epfather. together with many minor ones. If the young lady has a brother or a friend. as you say. and then. the glasses. Th . as far as we could see. which. By Jov e! he continued. There s a cold-blooded scoundrel! said Holmes. I knew the firm for which this man worked. his reply wa s typewritten and revealed the same trivial but characteristic defects. been n ot entirely devoid of interest. and I sent it to the firm. said Holmes. I cannot now entirely see all the steps of your reasoning. but that the one a lways appeared when the other was away. You may remember the old Persian saying. as he could go no farth er. The law cannot. said he. but as long as you keep that door locked you lay yourself open to an action for assault and illegal con straint. of Fenchurch Street. with a request that they would inform me wh ether it answered to the description of any of their travellers. Mr. As I expected. as did the bushy w hiskers. I remarked. Voilà tout! And Miss Sutherland? If I tell her she will not believe me. all pointed in the same directio n. You see all these isolated facts. Well.

I have not seen a paper for some days. I have just been looking through all the recent papers in order to master the particulars. for I have only half an hour. If you will keep the two corner seats I shall get the tickets. so that in less t han the time stated I was in a cab with my valise. said he. seeing what I gained through one of them. It makes a considerable dif ference to me. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ADVENTURE IV. But if I am to go.ere is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub. gaunt fig ure made even gaunter and taller by his long grey travelling-cloak and close-fit ting cloth cap. Anstruther would do your work for you. Will you go? I really don t know what to say. There is as much sense in Hafiz as in Horace. until we were past Reading. My wants were few and simple. when the maid brought in a telegram. Sherlock Holmes was pacing up and down the platform. The London press has not had very full accounts. however. they have established a very serious case against the son of the murdered man. Air and scenery perfect. THE BOSCOMBE VALLEY MYSTERY We were seated at breakfast one morning. having someone with me on whom I can thoroughly rely. That sounds a little paradoxical. looking across at me. dear? said my wife. It is really very good of you to come. I think that the change would do you good. to be one of those simple cases which are so extremely difficult. Have you heard anything of the case? he asked. Then he suddenly rolled them all into a gigantic ball and tossed them up onto the rack. Shall be glad if you will come with me. rattling away to Paddington S tation. my wife and I. Leave Paddington by the 11:15. It was from Sherlock Holmes and ran in this way: Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of Eng land in connection with Boscombe Valley tragedy. It seems. and as much knowledge of the world. I Not a word. Local aid i s always either worthless or else biassed. from what I gather. What do you say. I should be ungrateful if I were not. Singularity is almost invariably a clue. . his tall. Sherlock Holmes cases. I n this case. with intervals of not e-taking and of meditation. You have been looking a little pale la tely. and you are always so intereste d in Mr. answered. The more feat ureless and commonplace a crime is. But it is profoundly true. Oh. I have a fairly long list at present. I must pack at once. Watson. 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. and danger also for whoso snatch es a delusion from a woman. the more difficult it is to bring it home. We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of papers which Holm es had brought with him.

Mr. That is as much as I have been able to gather about the families. She had hardly said the words when young Mr. McCarthy came running up to the lodge to say that he had found his father dead in the wood. who made his mon ey in Australia and returned some years ago to the old country. it is conjectured to be so. a game-keeper in the employ of Mr. was in one o f the woods picking flowers. the game-keeper. He was much excited.It is a murder. which was found lying on the grass within a few paces of t . McCarthy pass he h ad seen his son. though both the McCarthys were fond of sport and were frequen tly seen at the race-meetings of the neighbourhood. and that she was afraid that they were going to fight. and Turner had a n only daughter of the same age. A girl of fourteen. To the best of his belief. was let to Mr. and he had told t he man that he must hurry. at the border of the wood and close by the lake. From Hatherley Farmhouse to the Boscombe Pool is a quarter of a mile. the father was actually in sight at the time. Mr. One was an old woman. McCarthy the elder usi ng very strong language to his son. I shall take nothing for granted until I have t he opportunity of looking personally into it. She states that while she was there she saw. McCarthy and his son. as he had an appointment of importance to keep at thr ee. as they wer e frequently together. it seems. They appe ar to have avoided the society of the neighbouring English families and to have led retired lives. He thought no more of the matter until he heard in the evening of the tragedy that had occurred. The two McCarthys were seen after the time when William Crowder. and that th ey appeared to be having a violent quarrel. on Monday last. The head had been beaten in by repeated blows of some heavy and blunt weapon. From that appointment he never came back alive. McCarthy kept two servants a m an and a girl. without either his gun or his hat. and his right hand and sleeve were observed to be stained with fresh blood . in a very few words. Turner was apparently the richer man. who was also an ex-Australian. going the same way with a gun under his arm . The Boscombe Pool is thickly wooded round. that is. and she saw the latter raise up his hand as if to strike his father. Both these witnesses depose that Mr. who is the daughter of the lodge-keeper of the Boscombe Valley estate. I will explain the state of things to you. James McCarthy. The men had known each other in the colonies. but neither of them had wives living. Turner. She heard Mr. with just a frin ge of grass and of reeds round the edge. She was so frightened by their violence that she ran aw ay and told her mother when she reached home that she had left the two McCarthys quarrelling near Boscombe Pool. and t he son was following him. T he largest landed proprietor in that part is a Mr. McCarthy was walking alone. On following him they found the dead body stretched out upon the grass beside the pool. whose name is n ot mentioned. a lad of eighteen. Boscombe Valley is a country district not very far from Ross. so that it was not unnatural that when they came to settle down they should do so as near each other as possible. as far as I have been able to understand it. which is a small la ke formed by the spreading out of the stream which runs down the Boscombe Valley . The injuries were such as might very well have been inflicted by the but t-end of his son s gun. John Turner. and to ask for the help of the lodge-keeper. then? Well. Patience Moran. McCarthy had one son. so McCarthy became his tenant but still remained. upon terms of perfect equality. that of Hatherley. Now for the facts. McCarthy left his house at Hatherley about three in the afternoon and walked down to the Boscombe Pool. and the other was William Crowder. some half-dozen at the least . Charles McCarthy. One of the farms which he held. On June 3rd. The game-keeper adds that within a few minutes of his seeing Mr. He had been out with his serving-man in the morning at Ross. Turner had a considerable household. in Herefordshire. and two peo ple saw him as he passed over this ground. lost sight of them.

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. Those are the main facts of the case as they came out before t he coroner and the police-court. There are one or two minor points which were brought out in the inquest. he remarked that he was not surprised to hear it. What are they? It appears that his arrest did not take place at once. who believe in hi s innocence. . you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to so mething entirely different. I remarked. for it was followed by a protestation of innocence. No. 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. On the inspector of constabulary informing him that he was a priso ner. I know the military neatness which characterises you. however. to work out the case in his interest. If ever circumstantial evid Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. or even of understanding. I could hardly imagine a more damning case. Under these circumstances the young man was instantly arrested. and hence it is that two middleaged gentlemen are flying westward at fifty miles an hour instead of quietly dig esting their breakfasts at home.he body. who have referred the case to the next Assizes. and it is just possible that it ma y be of some service in the investigation which lies before us. Lestrade. To take the first exam ple to hand. I very clearly perceive that in your bedroom the window is upon the right-hand side. You shave every morning. ence pointed to a criminal it does so here. How on earth My dear fellow. but after the return to Ha therley Farm. Beside s. the daughter of the neighbouring landowner. Therein lies my métier. 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 i s quite incapable of employing. and who have retained Lestrade. laughing. and that it was no more t han his deserts. it is surely very clear that that side is less illuminated than the other. but if you shift your own point of v iew a little. and yet I question whether Mr. It was a confession. It must be confessed. It ma y seem to point very straight to one thing. said I. he was on Wednesday brought before the magistrates at Ross. I know you well. There are several people in the neighbourhood. that the facts are so obvious that you will find little credit to be gained out of this case. and it is very possible that he is indee d the culprit. and which are worth con sidering. and a v erdict of wilful murder having been returned at the inquest on Tuesday. I c ould not imagine a man of your habits looking at himself in an equal light and b eing satisfied with such a result. but since your shaving is less and less complete as we get farther back on the left side. Lestrade. Lestrade would have noted even so self-evident a thing as that. that the case looks e xceedingly grave against the young man. I am afraid. has referred the case to me. bei ng rather puzzled. answered Holmes thoughtfully. until it becomes positively slovenly as we get round the angle of the jaw . we may chance to hit upon some other obvious facts which may have been by no means obvious to Mr. I only quote this as a trivial example of obs ervation and inference. however. and among them Miss Turner. I ejaculated. and in this season you shave by the sunlight. whom you may recollect in connectio n with the Study in Scarlet. he answered.

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

How far from the body? A dozen yards or so. The Coroner: How was it.The Coroner: Did your father make any statement to you before he died? Witness: He mumbled a few words. Yet I have a vague impression that as I ran forward something lay upon the ground to the left of me. Do you mean that it disappeared before you went for help? Yes. The Coroner: I understand that the cry of your father? Witness: It was. Witness: It is really impossible for me to tell you. that I cou ld think of nothing except of my father. Cooee was a common signal between you and . that he uttered it before he saw you. When I ro se from my father I looked round for it. a coat of some sort. The Coroner: What do you mean? Witness: I was so disturbed and excited as I rushed out into the open. You cannot say what it was? No. The Coroner: I am afraid that I must press it. I had a feeling something was there. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with the sad tragedy which followed. but I could only catch some allusion to a rat. The Coroner: That is for the court to decide. and before h e even knew that you had returned from Bristol? Witness (with considerable confusion): I do not know. but it was gone. I thought that he was delirious. then. The Coroner: What did you understand by that? Witness: It conveyed no meaning to me. 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. or a plaid perhaps. It seemed to me to be something grey in colour. I need not point out to you that yo ur refusal to answer will prejudice your case considerably in any future proceed ings which may arise. Witness: I must still refuse. it was gone. The Coroner: What was the point upon which you and your father had this final qua rrel? Witness: I should prefer not to answer.

and such a very positive one. and I see that we shall be there in twe nty minutes. said I as I glanced down the column. wa s waiting for us upon the platform. And now here is my pocket Petrarch. She has heard of you. after passing through the beautiful St roud Valley. furtive and sly-looking. He calls attention. I do not think that it is probable that I shall use the carriage to-night. but with my back towards it. I see. We lunch at Swindon. said he. to single out the ve ry strongest points in the young man s favour. already formed your conclusions from the newspapers. as he remarks. a lso to his refusal to give details of his conversation with his father. Then if it was removed it was while you were within a dozen yards of it? Yes. It was nearly four o clock when we at last. of course. and not another word shall I say of this case until we are on t he scene of action. I had no di fficulty in recognising Lestrade. if he could not invent a cause of quarrel which would give him the sympathy of the jur y. You have. and the sofa is very much supe rior to the usual country hotel abomination. I have ordered a carriage. said Lestrade as we sat over a cup of tea. one can t refuse a lady. no doubt. Holmes laughed softly to himself and stretched himself out upon the cushioned se at. too much. It is entirely a questi he said. very mu ch against the son. No. and the more o ne goes into it the plainer it becomes. . and we shall see whither that hypothesis will lead us. The case is as plain as a pikestaff. bless my soul! here is her carriage at the door . Holmes answered. though I repeatedly told her that there was nothing which you could do wh ich I had not already done. I see. Why. of Scotland Yard. sir.And how far from the edge of the wood? About the same. and not a cloud in the sky. that the coroner in his concluding rema rks was rather severe upon young McCarthy. I do not quite follow. With him we drove to the Her eford Arms where a room had already been engaged for us. Both you and the coroner have been at some pains. How is the glass? Twenty-nine. Lestrade looked startled. if he evolved from his own inner consciousness anything so outré as a dying reference to a rat. and that you would not be happy until you had been on the scene of the crime. Don t you see that you alternately gi ve him credit for having too much imagination and too little? Too little. This concluded the examination of the witness. I knew your e nergetic nature. In spite of the light brown dustcoat and lea ther-leggings which he wore in deference to his rustic surroundings. on of barometric pressure. to the discrepancy about his father having signalled to him before seeing him. Lestrade laughed indulgently. too. A lean. I have a caseful of cigarettes here which need smoking. Still. and over the broad gleaming Severn. found ourselves at the pretty l ittle country-town of Ross. No wind. he said. and his singular account of his father s dying words. and would have your op inion. and the incident of the vanishing cloth. and with reason. They are all. ferret-like man. It was very nice and complimentary of you. I s hall approach this case from the point of view that what this young man says is true.

May I see your father if I call to-morrow? I am afraid the doctor won t allow it. Oh. But he is right. and I know his faults as no one else does. Miss Turner. Mr. some flaw? Do you not yourself think that he is innocent? I think that it is very probable. I know it. said he. And about his q uarrel with his father. He has taken to his bed. James and his father had many disagreement s about me. glancing from one to the other of us. No one but Mr. but he is too tender-hearted to hurt a fly. McCarthy was t he only man alive who had known dad in the old days in Victoria. but th is has broken him down completely. You may rely upon my do But you have read the evidence. Yo u hear! He gives me hopes. And your father? asked Holmes. and fina lly. and this. he was averse to it also. fastening upon my companion. Mr. There. and I want you to start upon your work knowing it. and and well. and Dr. Oh! I know that he is right. have you not heard? Poor father has never been strong for years back. but of cou rse he is young and has seen very little of life yet. Such a charge is absurd to anyone who really knows him. ing all that I can. James never did it. Was he in favour of such a union? No. . throwing back her head and looking defiantly at Lestrade. Mr. We have known each other since we were little chil dren. question ing glances at her. her lips pa rted. I know that James didn t do it. he naturally did not wish to do anything like that yet. at the mines. I am sure that the reason why he would not speak about i t to the coroner was because I was concerned in it. a pink flush upon her cheeks. Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. he said. Ha! In Victoria! That is important. with a woman s quick intuition. Sherlock Holmes! she cried. I have driven down to tell you so.He had hardly spoken before there rushed into the room one of the most lovely yo ung women that I have ever seen in my life. So there were quarrels. James and I have always loved each other as brother and sister. Thank you for this information. A quick blush passed over her fresh young face as Holmes shot one of his keen. It is no time for me to hide anything. I am s ure. Never let yo urself doubt upon that point. You have formed some conclusion? Do you not see s ome loophole. Yes. In what way? asked Holmes. McCarthy was in favour of it. I am so glad that you have come. was one of them. too. Her violet eyes shining. McCarthy was very anxious that there should be a marriage betwee n us. I hope we may clear him. The doctor? Yes. now! she cried. I am afraid that my colleague has been a little quick in forming his conclusions. Willows says that he is a wreck and that his nervous system is shattered. all thought of her natural reserve lost in h er overpowering excitement and concern. said Sherlock Holmes.

Oh. I will. Still. Miss Turner. said Lestrade with dignity after a few minutes silence . said Holmes. for dad is very ill. Mr. and God help you in your undertaking. drawn back by his screams. r to see him in prison? Yes.Quite so. finally returning to the hotel. when compared to the deep mystery through which we were grop ing. I fear that you will find it very slow. Then let us do so. if you do. and I found my attention wander so continually from the action to the fact. No. Yes. What could it be? Might not the nature o f the injuries reveal something to my medical instincts? I rang the bell and cal led for the weekly county paper. I am ashamed of you. A man dying from a sudden blow does not commonly become del irious. Holmes. I must go home now. for the older man might have turned his back befor e the blow fell. and he misses me so if I leave him. it was more likely to be an attempt to explain how he met his fate. it did not go for very much. where I lay upon the sofa and tried to interest myself in a yellow-backed novel. that I at last flung it across the room and gave myself up entirely to a consid eration of the events of the day. We have still time to take a train to Hereford and see him to-night? Ample. he rushed into the glade ? It was something terrible and deadly. The puny plot of the story wa s so thin. But what could it indicate? I cudgelled my brains to find some possible explanat ion. Mr. What could that mean? It co uld not be delirium. and the moment when. as when seen quarrelling he was face to face with his father. and we heard the wheels of her carriage rattle off down the street. Clearly such a blow must have been struck from behind. Turner made his money. however. where. and then wandered through the streets of the little town. I walked down to the station with them. You have been of material assistance to me. She hurried from the room as impulsiv ely as she had entered. You will tell me if you have any news to-morrow. And then the incident of the grey cloth seen by young McCarthy. Good -bye. but only for you and me. Then I shall reconsider my resolution about going out. Holmes. at the gold-mines. Thank you. That was to some extent in favour of t he accused. No doubt you will go to the pris on to see James. what absolutely unforeseen and extr aordinary calamity could have occurred between the time when he parted from his father. as I understand. which contained a verbatim account of the inque st. Supposing that this unhappy young man s story we re absolutely true. I think that I see my way to clearing James McCarthy. then what hellish thing. but I call it cruel. I marked the spot upon my own head. do tell him that I know him to be in nocent. T hen there was the peculiar dying reference to a rat. certainly. 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 h eavy blow from a blunt weapon. Miss Turner. Still. If that wer Have you an orde . Why should you raise up hopes which you are bound to disappoint? I am not overtender of heart. but I shall on ly be away a couple of hours. Watson. it might be worth while to call Holmes attention to it.

presumably his ove rcoat. Those are the crucial points upon which the case depends. I cannot admire his taste. thereby hangs a rather painful tale. and he did not know when he would return. but I am convinced now that he is as puzzled as every one else. Go od has come out of evil. an d his father did not know where he was. I think that that bit of news h as consoled young McCarthy for all that he has suffered. insanely. He came back alone. And what did you learn from him? Nothing. and yet I had so much faith in Sherlock Holm es insight that I could not lose hope as long as every fresh fact seemed to stren gthen his conviction of young McCarthy s innocence. It was sheer frenzy of this sort which made him throw his hands up into the air when his father. But if he is innocent. has thrown him over utterly an d has written to him to say that she has a husband already in the Bermuda Dockya rd. I was inclined to think at one time that he knew who had done it and was screening him or her. It at it should not rain before we are able to go over the ground. a man should be at his very best and keenest for such nice work I did not wish to do it when fagged by a long journey. at the ir last interview. The glass still keeps very high. if you please. finding from the papers that he is in serious trouble and likely to be hanged. Mark that point. It is of importance. was goading him on to propose to Miss Turner.e true the murderer must have dropped some part of his dress. and that the some one could not have been his son. who was by all accoun ts a very hard man. for the barmaid. It was late before Sherlock Holmes returned. What a tissue of mysteries and improbabilities the whole thing was! I did not wonder at Lestrade s opinion. I remarked. for his son was away. however. On d. and his father. for Lestrade wa s staying in lodgings in the town. for she had been away five years at a boarding-school. Ah. And now let us talk about George Meredith. is of importance th the other han as that. would have thrown him over utterly had he known the truth. One is that the murdered man had an appointment with someone at the pool. if it is indeed a fact that he was averse to a marriage with so charming a young lady as this Miss Turner. I have seen y. On the other ha nd. he remarked as he sat down. and before he really k new her. he had no means of supporting himself. sound at heart. what does the id iot do but get into the clutches of a barmaid in Bristol and marry her at a regi stry office? No one knows a word of the matter. The second is that the murdered man was heard to cry Cooee! befor e he knew that his son had returned. so that there is really no tie between them. and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow. in love with her. in his flight. Could he throw no light? None at all. This fellow is madly. but some two years ago. 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 p aces off. but you can imagine how maddenin g it must be to him to be upbraided for not doing what he would give his very ey es to do. when he was only a lad. He is not a very quick-witted youth. who has done it? Ah! who? I would call your attention very particularly to two points. but what he knows to be absolutely impossible. I t was with his barmaid wife that he had spent the last three days in Bristol. and young McCarth . though comely to look at and. I s hould think.

He was an old friend of to him. and. ind it hard enough to tackle facts. At nine o clock Lestrade called for us with the carriage. There is serious news this morning. I presume? said Holmes. winking at me. without flying away after theories a nd fancies. An elderly man. however. And that is That McCarthy senior met his death from McCarthy junior and that all theories to the contrary are the merest moonshine. heiress to the estate. as if it were merely a case of a proposal and all else would follow? It is the more strange. gave it a stricken look. I have grasped one fact which you seem to find it difficult to get hold o f. s late-roofed. We called at the door. Anyhow. It was a widespread. Having measured these very carefully from seven or eight different points. his lips compressed. showed us the boots which her master wore at the time of his death. said Lestrade. I f you do find it very hard to tackle the facts. as though the weight of this horror still lay heavy upon it. has been shattered by his life abroad. It is said that Mr. sinewy neck. and the veins stood out like whipcord in his long. Sherlock Holmes was transformed when he was hot upon such a scent as this. laughing. This business has had a very bad effect McCarthy s. replied Lestrade with some warmth. said Holmes. who appea rs to have had little of his own. presumabl y. two-storied. said Holmes demurely. His face was bent downward. from which we all followed the wind ing track which led to Boscombe Pool. his shoulders bowed. His nostrils seemed . with great yellow blotches of lichen upon the grey walls. Everybody about here speaks o f his kindness to him. and also a pair of the son s. His face flushed and darkened. About sixty. but his constitution as been in failing health for some upon him. though not the pair which he had then had. and he h time. Well. Oh. Holmes desired to be led to the court-yard. But I am very Yes. that is it. a great benefactor gave him Hatherley Farm rent free. yes! In a hundred other ways he has helped him. at Holmes request. and the morning broke bright and clou dless. The drawn blinds and the smokeless chimneys. The daughter told us a s much. Really! Does it not strike you as a little singular that this McCarthy. Do you not deduce something from that? We have got to the deductions and the inferences. as Holmes had foretold. said Holmes. Men w ho had only known the quiet thinker and logician of Baker Street would have fail ed to recognise him. I may add. and to have been under such obligations to Tur ner. and that in such a very cocksure manner. moonshine is a brighter thing than fog. when t he maid. of the Hall.There was no rain. You are right. comfortable-looking building. Holmes. Lestrade observed. much mistaken if this is not Hatherley Farm upon the left. Turner. since we know that Turner himself was averse to the idea. who is. and we set off fo r Hatherley Farm and the Boscombe Pool. while his eyes shone out from beneath them with a steely gli tter. for I have learned that he Indeed! That is interesting. is so ill that his life is despaired of. His brows were drawn into tw o hard black lines. should still talk of marrying his son to Turner s daughter.

He ran round. and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the bod y. and this also he carefully examined and retained. But how on earth Oh. That bears out his story. For a long ti me he remained there. he remarked. I fancy that this grey house on the right must be the lodge. Havi ng done that. and there were marks of many feet. tut. ha! What have we h ere? Tiptoes! tiptoes! Square. like a dog who is picking up a scent. I fished about with a rake. both upon the pa th and amid the short grass which bounded it on either side. and once he made quite a little detour into t he meadow. A mole could trace it. and perhaps write a little note. while I watched my friend with the interest which sprang from the convi ction that every one of his actions was directed towards a definite end. and his mind was so absolutel y concentrated upon the matter before him that a question or remark fell unheede d upon his ears. Here is where the party with the lodge-k eeper came. then? It is the butt-end of the gun as the son stood listening. at the most. The Boscombe Pool. Oh. I think tha t I will go in and have a word with dilate with a purely animal lust for the chase. and so by way of the woods to the Boscombe Pool. or. which is a little reed-girt sheet of water some fifty yards a cross. and then turned upon my companion. we may drive back to our luncheon. and. that I could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the stricken ma n. Swiftly and silently he made his way along the track which ran through the me adows. Above the woods which lined it upon the farther si de we could see the red. talking all the time rather to himself than to us. Turner. sometimes stop dead. Sometimes Holmes wo uld hurry on. It was damp. they go. marshy grou nd. Now where did they come from? He ran up and down. is situated at the boundary between the Hatherley Farm and the private pa rk of the wealthy Mr. Lestrade and I walked behind him. What did you go into the pool for? he asked. Holmes traced his way to the farther side of this and l ay down once more upon his face with a little cry of satisfaction. And this? Ha. gathering up wha t 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. and I shall be with you presently. Lestrade showed us the exact spo t at which the body had been found. jutting pinnacles which marked the site of the rich lan downer s dwelling. What is this. where a ll traces were lost. the detective indifferent and conte mptuous. . Then here are the father s feet as he paced up and down. an d there was a narrow belt of sodden grass twenty paces across between the edge o f the trees and the reeds which lined the lake. He drew out a lens and la y down upon his waterproof to have a better view. He ran when he saw his father on the ground. only provoked a quick. very many other things were to be read upon the trampled grass. indeed. On the Hatherley side of the pool the woods grew very thick. These are young McCarthy s feet. A jagged ston e was lying among the moss. impatient snarl in repl y. sometimes finding the track until we were well w ithin the edge of the wood and under the shadow of a great beech. Twice he was walking. as I could see by his eager face and peering eyes. the largest tr ee in the neighbourhood. To Holmes. the y come again of course that was for the cloak. how simple it would all have been had I been here before they came like a he rd of buffalo and wallowed all over it. sometimes losing. tut! I have no time! That left foot of yours with its inward twist is al l over the place. so moist was the ground. quite unusual boots! They come. as is all that district. returning to his natural manner. turning over the leaves and dried sticks. It has been a case of considerable interest. so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly visib le. Th en he followed a pathway through the wood until he came to the highroad. and onc e he ran swiftly. You may walk to the cab. and there it vanishes among the reeds. I thought there might be some weapon or other trace. too. But here are three separate tracks of the same feet.

There are none. but these m ay be enough to aid us in our search. and shall probably return to London by the e vening train. But the mystery? It is solved. then? The grass was growing under it. Watson.It was about ten minutes before we regained our cab and drove back into Ross. There are several other indications. How do you know. uses a cigar-holder. left-handed. he said when the cloth was cleared just sit down in this chair a . said Holmes quietly. holding it out. and I really cannot undertake to go about the country looking for a left-handed gentleman with a ga me leg. Having left Lestrade at his rooms. very well. and carries a blunt pen-knife in his pocket. we drove to our hotel. and I shall work mi ne. And leave your case unfinished? No. Theories are all he remarked. answered Holmes calmly. This is not such a populous neighbo urhood. as one who finds himself in a perplexing position. limps with the right leg. Here are your lodgings . Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. Ho lmes still carrying with him the stone which he had picked up in the wood. There was no s ign of a place whence it had been taken. I have given you the chance. but we have to deal with a hard-headed British jury. Good-bye. smokes Indian cigars. This may interest you. The murder was done w Nous verrons. It corresponds with the injuries. I see no marks. I am afraid that I am still a sceptic. I am a practical man. where we found lunch u pon the table. Holmes was silent and buried in thought with a pained expression upon his face. And the murderer? Is a tall man. he said. There is no sign of any other weapon. All right. I shall drop you a line before I leave. Look here. ith it. wears thick-soled shootingboots and a grey cloak. finished. You work your own method. then? The gentleman I describe. I should become the laughing-stock of Scotland Yard. Lestrade. he said. Who was the criminal. Lestrade laughed. I shall be busy this afternoon. It had only lain there a few days. But who is he? Surely it would not be difficult to find out.

What do you read? ARAT. The son. He raised his hand. . in considering this case there are two points about young McCarthy s nar rative which struck us both instantly. was in Bristol. you understand. And now. then? Sherlock Holmes took a folded paper from his pocket and flattened it out on the table. Then comes our expedition of to-day. One was the fact that his father should. where strangers could hardly wander. Well. There is a strong presumption that the person whom McCarthy expected to m eet him at Boscombe Pool was someone who had been in Australia. and one which is used between Austra lians. Quite so. Certainly. He was trying to utter the name of his murderer. as far as he k new. I read. cry Cooee! before seeing him. Light a cigar and let me expound. for the pool can only be approached by t he farm or by the estate. But how did you gain them? You know my method. granting the son s statement to be correct.nd let me preach to you for a little. It was mere chance that he was within earshot. you see. he said. now. as to the personality of the criminal. What of the rat. I wired to Bristol for it last night. We have come now out of mere vagueness to the d efinite conception of an Australian from Ballarat with a grey cloak. Pray do so. That was the word the man uttered. although they impressed me in his favour and you against him. and of which his son only caught the last two syllables. It is obvious. But Cooee is a distinctly Australian cry. I had narrowed the field down considerably. This is a map of the Colony of Victoria. Quite so. obviously it could not have been meant for the son. was a certainty. By an examination of the ground I gained the trifling details which I gave to that imbecile Lestrade. The possession of a grey garment was a third point which. The Cooee! was meant to attract the attention of whoever it was that he had the appointment wi th. He put his hand over part of the map. It is founded upon the observation of trifles. And one who was at home in the district. and we will begin it by presuming that what the lad says is absolutely true. but that was all that caught the son s ear. Now from this double point our research must commence. and I should value your advice. And now? BALLARAT. He mumbled several words. according to his a ccount. It is wonderful! I exclaimed. The other was his singular dying reference t o a rat. What of this Cooee! then? Well. So and so. I don t know quite what to do. of Ballarat.

The old man sank his face in his hands. The man who entered was a strange and impressive figure. It was an Indian cigar. grizzled hair. opening the door of our sitting-room. I have. and o utstanding. as you know. He put l ess weight upon it. Pray sit down on the sofa. and his enormous limbs showed that he was possessed of un usual strength of body and of character. His slow. I said. and written a little monograph on the ashes of 140 diffe rent varieties of pipe. craggy features. You had my note? Yes. John Turner. Therefore he used a holder. and yet his hard. The blow was struck from immediately behind. said Holmes. drooping eyebrows combined to give an air of dignity and power to hi s appearance. But his lameness? The impression of his right foot was always less distinct than his left. the lodge-keeper brought it up. an d you have saved an innocent human life as truly as if you had cut the cord whic h was hanging him. Yes. cried the hotel waiter. devoted some attention to this. while his lips and the corners of his nostrils were tinged with a shade of blue. And the cigar-holder? I could see that the end had not been in his mouth. and cigarette tobacco. not bitten off. but his face was of an ashen white. so I d educed a blunt pen-knife. how can that be unless it were by a left-handed man? He had sto od behind that tree during the interview between the father and son. cigar. too. But I would not have let the young man come to harm. I th en looked round and discovered the stump among the moss where he had tossed it. His boots. But his left-handedness. And why did you wish to see me? He looked across at my companion with despair in h is weary eyes. It is so. you have drawn a net round this man from which he cannot escape. You said that you wished to see me here to a void scandal. I know all ab out McCarthy. T he tip had been cut off. answering the look rather than the words. The culprit is Mr. might be told from their traces. Now. God help me! he cried. and ushering in a visitor. Holmes. but the cut was not a clean one. I give you my word that I would have spoken out .His height I know that you might roughly judge from the length of his stride. said Holmes gently. I thought people would talk if I went to the Hall. they were peculiar boots. Yes. which my special knowledge of tobacco ashes enables me to pronounce as an Indian cigar. limping step and bowed shoulders gave the appearance of decrepitude. as though his question was already answered. deep-l ined. He had even smoked there. It was clear to me at a glanc e that he was in the grip of some deadly and chronic disease. Why? Because he limped he was lame. I found the ash of a cigar. I see the direction in which all this points. and yet was upon the left side. His tangled beard. of the variety which are rolled in Rotterdam. You were yourself struck by the nature of the injury as recorded by the surgeon a t the inquest. Having found the ash.

it s a question whether I shall live to the Assizes. so it was a close t hing. which chanced to be in the market. McCarthy. and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. It would break her hear t it will break her heart when she hears that I am arrested. who was this very man McCarthy. And now I will make the thing clear to you. said Holmes. said Holmes gravely. Yet I would rather die under my own roof than in a gaol. I was a young chap then. His grip has been upon me these twenty years. took to the bush. ready to turn my hand at anything. had no luck with my claim. It may not come to that. I tell you that. He was a devil incarnate. but I spared him. My doctor says it is a question whether I shall live a month. said the old man. I have had diabetes for years. I ll tell you first how I came to be in his power. I promise you that I shall not u se it unless it is absolutely needed. Just tell us the truth. but I should wish to spare Alice the shock. Holmes rose and sat down at the table with his pen in his hand and a bundle of p aper before him. We got away with the gold. but wil l not take me long to tell. I got among bad companions. I would have spoken now had it not been for my dear girl. and we lay in wait fo r it and attacked it. It was in the early 60 s at the diggings. too. and I set myself to do a little good with my money. You w ill sign it. before we got the swag. however. but we emptied four of their saddles at the first volley. There were six troopers and six of us. I understand that it was your daughter who required my pr esence here. he said. What? I am no official agent. free life of it. One day a gold convoy came down from Ballarat to Melbourne. Three of our boy s were killed. sticking up a station from time to time. it has been a long time in the acting. You didn t know this dead man. I wish to the Lord that I had s hot him then. I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past. said old Turner. and made our way over to England without being suspected. Then I could produce your confessio n at the last extremity to save young McCarthy. Even when she was just a baby her wee hand seemed to lead me down the right pat h as nothing else had ever done. hot-blooded and r eckless. and in a word became what yo u would call over here a highway robber. I bought this estate. took to drink. God keep you out of the clutches of such a man as he. and our party is still remembered in the colony as the Ballarat Gang. and he has blasted my life. and we had a wild . All was going well when McCarthy laid his grip upo n me. became wea lthy men. I am glad to hear you say so. or stopping the wago ns on the road to the diggings. and Watson here can witness it. I shall jot down the facts. I put my pistol to the head of t he wagon-driver. and I am acting in her interests. I am a dying man. though I saw his wicked little eyes fixed on my face.if it went against him at the Assizes. h owever. Black Jack of Ballarat was the name I went under . In a word. as though to remember every feature. so it matters little to me. Young McCarthy must be got off. I married. to make up for the way in which I had earned it. There I part ed from my old pals and determined to settle down to a quiet and respectable lif e. . There were six of us. It s as well.

There was no rest for me . Whatever he wanted he must have . and you can have the keeping of us. Hol mes. Could I not snap th e bond? I was already a dying and a desperate man. says he. you see. But that my girl should be entangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suffer. and so had my girl. so I smoked a cigar and waited behind a tree until he should be alone. Farewell. Here we are. sir. then. His cry brought back his son . land. His son. helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter s words. me and my son. I knew that my own fate was sealed. McCarthy threatened. s hall be safe with us. I would not have his cursed stock mixed with mine. not that I had any dislike to the lad. I would do it again. though I was forced to go back to fetc h the cloak which I had dropped in my flight. but for the grace of God. there was no shaking them off. If you d on t it s a fine. I stood firm. there was his cunning. gentlemen. and say. and ther e they have lived rent free on my best land ever since. I pray that we may never be exposed to such a tempta tion. He asked for Alice. He was urging his son to marry my daughter with as little regard for what she might think as if she w ere a slut from off the streets. it seemed a fine stroke to him that his lad should step into the who le property. And what do you intend to do? In view of your health. had grown up. Deeply as I have sinned. of all that occurred. Your own deathbeds. for he soon saw I was more a fraid of her knowing my past than of the police. 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. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bitter in me seemed to come uppermost. touching me on the arm. houses. but I had gained the cover of the wood. and as I was known to be in w eak health. I braved him to do his worst. God help us! said Holmes after a long silence. Well. But my memory and my girl ! Both could be saved if I could but silence that foul tongue. Jack. and if McCarthy is condemned I shall be forced to use it. I did it. and your secret. but his blood was in him. nothing. Totteri ng and shaking in all his giant frame. We were to meet at the pool midway between our houses to talk it over. I have led a life of martyrdo m to atone for it. That is the true story. and there s always a policeman within hail. goes Sherlock Holmes. When I went down there I found him talking with his son. I struck him down with no more compunctio n than if he had been some foul and venomous beast. Mr. said the old man solemnly.I had gone up to town about an investment. no forgetfulness. turn where I would. it is not for me to judge you. said Holmes as the old man signed the stateme nt which had been drawn out. If not. down they came to the west country. There s two of us. There. when they come. I pray not. Why does fate play such tricks with poor. until at last he asked a thing which I could not give. It grew worse as Alice grew up. grinnin g face at my elbow. But there I was firm. Though clear of mind and fair ly strong of limb. whether you be alive or dead. it sha ll never be seen by mortal eye. no peace. money. and whatever it was I gave him without question. Well. . law-abiding country is England. You are yourself aware that you will soon have t o answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes. and that was enough. he stumbled slowly from the room. I will keep your conf ession. and I met him in Regent Street with ha rdly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot. we ll be as good as a family to y ou. will be the easier for the thought of the peace which you have given to mine.

James McCarthy was acquitted at the Assizes on the strength of a number of objec tions 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 toget her in ignorance of the black cloud which rests upon their past.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------ADVENTURE V. THE FIVE ORANGE PIPS When 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 feat ures 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 hig h 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 with out an ending, while others have been but partially cleared up, and have their e xplanations founded rather upon conjecture and surmise than on that absolute log ical 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 tempt ed to give some account of it in spite of the fact that there are points in conn ection with it which never have been, and probably never will be, entirely clear ed 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 Mendica nt Society, who held a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehous e, 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 final ly of the Camberwell poisoning case. In the latter, as may be remembered, Sherlo ck 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 withi n that time a deduction which was of the greatest importance in clearing up the ca se. All these I may sketch out at some future date, but none of them present suc h 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 wit h exceptional violence. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten ag ainst 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 r ecognise the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind th rough the bars of his civilisation, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening dr ew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a ch ild in the chimney. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cro ss-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 o f 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, to-night? Some friend of yours, perhaps? Except yourself I have none, he answered. that was surely the bell. Who could come 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 l andlady s. Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture, however, for there came a step in t he 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 s it. Come in! said he.

The man who entered was young, some two-and-twenty at the outside, well-groomed and trimly clad, with something of refinement and delicacy in his bearing. The s treaming umbrella which he held in his hand, and his long shining waterproof tol d 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 h eavy, 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 th at I am not intruding. I fear that I have brought some traces of the storm and r ain into your snug chamber. Give me your coat and umbrella, said Holmes. They may rest here on the hook and wil l 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. 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 detail

s 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 happ ened in my own family. You fill me with interest, said Holmes. Pray give us the essential facts from the c ommencement, 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 unders tand, little to do with this awful business. It is a hereditary matter; so in or der 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 up on 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 a col onel. 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 for tune in the States, and his reason for leaving them was his aversion to the negr oes, 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 wa s 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 b randy 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 f irst 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 wit h him and he was very kind to me in his way. When he was sober he used to be fon d of playing backgammon and draughts with me, and he would make me his represent ative 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 priv acy. There was one singular exception, however, for he had a single room, a lumb er-room up among the attics, which was invariably locked, and which he would nev er 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 fro nt of the colonel s plate. It was not a common thing for him to receive letters, f

like a man who can brazen it out no longer against the terror which lies at the roots of his so ul. John. as you may think. in the other. but I ll checkmate them still. I am sorry to give you such a two-edged thing. no doubt. f luffy ashes. uncle? I cried. my sins have over taken me! What is it. The singula r incident made. and then. said he. glisten with moistur e. like a cashbox. The fire was burning brightly. K. which must have belonged to the attic. I leave my estate. as though it were new raised from a basin. but the laugh was struck from my lip s at the sight of his face. and the lawyer took it away with him. and he was less inclined for any sort of society. Kindly sign the paper where Mr. which pattered dow n upon his plate. which lay at the foot of the garden. face downward in a l ittle green-scummed pool. the deepest impression upon me. and rising from the table he retired to his room. by man or devil. and the water was but two feet deep. he would rush tumultuously in at the door and lock and bar it behind him. and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his trembling hand. Most of his time he would spend in his room. well and good! If yo u find you cannot. his eyes were protruding. Fro m India! said he as he took it up. descend to you. while the brass box stood open and empty beside it. and a small brass box. having regard to his known eccentricity. Well. and that he was not to be cooped up. and when the lawyer arrived I was asked to step up to the ro om. leaving me palpi tating with horror. Mary that I shall want a fire in my room to-day. so that the jury. with the door locked upon the insi de. At such times I have seen his face. screaming out that he was afraid of no man. to my brother. Holmes. and not to abuse your patience . my boy. his sk in the colour of putty. who knew how he winced from the very thought of death. however. and send down to Fordham. Fordham shows you. There was no sign of any violence. how ever. my God. Death. I could see a change in my uncle. What could be the reason of his overpowering terror? I left the breakfast-table. My God. but sometimes he would emerge in a sort of drunken frenzy and would burst ou t of the house and tear about the garden with a revolver in his hand. when we went to search for him. I did as he ordered. but I can t say what turn things a re going to take. though the sensation grew less keen as the weeks passed and nothing happened to disturb the usual routine of our lives. and he had no friends of any sort. that upon the lid was prin ted the treble K which I had read in the morning upon the envelope. Yet I could not shake off the vague feeling of dread which it left behin d. and in the grate there was a mass of black. to come to an end of the matter. with all it s advantages and all its disadvantages. I took up the envelope and saw scrawled in red ink upon the inner flap. K. to witness my will.! he shrieked. and leave it to your deadliest enemy. I signed the paper as directed. there came a night when he made one of those drunken sallies from which he nev er came back. There was not hing else save the five dried pips. His lip had fallen. Pondicherry postmark! What can this be? Opening it hurriedly. If you can enjoy it in peace. had much ado to persuade myself t Tell . just above the gum. As I glanced at the box I noticed. brought in a verdict of suicide. whence it wi ll. I began to laugh at this. I wish you. the Horsham lawyer. with a start. When these hot fits were over. We found him. your father. said he with an oath. But I. Mr. and I pondere d over it and turned it every way in my mind without being able to make anything of it. like a sh eep in a pen. in one hand . He drank more than ever. out there jumped five little dried orange pips. even on a cold day. They may do what they like. and as I ascended the stair I met him comin g down with an old rusty key. as of burned paper. the letter K three times repeated. K. take my advice. said my uncle.or his bills were all paid in ready money.

The letter arrived on March 10. Let me have the date of the reception by you r uncle of the letter. What papers? What sundial? So it is. Where does the thing come from? From Dundee. There he was. Pray proceed. although its contents had been destroyed. said he.000. that are destroyed. I should certainly speak to the police. and Letters. but the papers must be those The sundial in the garden. Well. K. and were mostly concerned with politics. Why. which lay to his credit at the bank. one of the most remark able to which I have ever listened. at is this written above them? Put the papers on the sundial. On the fourth day after the new year I heard my father give a sharp cry of surprise as we sat together a t the breakfast-table. and my fa ther entered into possession of the estate. I answered. But wh My heart had turned to lead. peeping over his shoulder. Holmes interposed. repeated upon it. I foresee. he cried. Some of them were of the war time and showed that he had done his duty well and had borne the repu te of a brave soldier. glancing at the postmark. K. with the initials of K. Thank you. however. One moment. and of some £14. indicated th e nature of the papers which had been destroyed by Colonel Openshaw. What have I to do with sundials and pape rs? I shall take no notice of such nonsense. Others were of a date during the reconstruction of the So uthern states. and w e can t have tomfoolery of this kind. said I. He looked inside the envelope. and the date of his supposed suicide. John? he stammered.hat he had gone out of his way to meet it. Pooh! said he. When my father took over the Horsham property. The matter passed. There is no other. and all w ent as well as possible with us until the January of 85. K. receipts. upon the n ight of May 2nd.. your statement is. there was nothing of much importance in the attic save a great many scattered papers and note-books bearing upon my uncle s life in America. We are in a civilised land here. His death was seven weeks later. . I said. For the res t. which had been always locked up. Some preposterous practical joke. He h ad always laughed at what he called my cock-and-bull story about the colonel. We found the brass bo x there. It is K. 1883. Here are the very letters. at my request. for he had evidently tak en a strong part in opposing the carpet-bag politicians who had been sent down f rom the North. bu t he looked very scared and puzzled now that the same thing had come upon himsel f. he asked. we presume. K. I read. it was the beginning of 84 when my father came to live at Horsham. gripping hard at his courage. said I. On the inside of the cover wa s a paper label. and a register written beneath. These. made a careful examination of the attic. sitting with a newly opened envelope in one hand and five dried orange pips in the outstretched palm of the other one. what on earth does this mean. mem oranda. he.

It was in January. Nothing of the sort. Within a re the very words which were upon my father s last message: K. and that the danger would be as pressing in one house as in another. that my poor father met his end. the jury had no h esitation in bringing in a verdict of death from accidental causes. 85. My father had fallen over one of the deep chalk-pits wh ich abound in the neighbourhood. . but he passed away without having ever recovered his conscio usness. yesterday morning the blow fell in the very shape in which it had come u pon my father. for he was a very obstinate man. Tut! tut! cried Sherlock Holmes. which no foresight and no precautions can guard against. white hands I have felt helpless. for it seemed to me that he was farther from danger when he was away from home. I seem to be in the grasp of some resistless. and as the country was unknown to him. I went about. as it appears. You will ask me why I did not di spose of it? I answer. . no robbery. I h ave felt like one of those poor rabbits when the snake is writhing towards it. You must act. with a heart which was full of forebodings. and turning to the ta ble he shook out upon it five little dried orange pips. Then let me do so? No. I hurried to him. There were no signs of violence. with a shattered skull . This is the envelope. and I had begun to hope that this curse had passed away from the family. implo ring me to come at once. and tha t it had ended with the last generation. and the chalk-pit unfenced. What have you done? Nothing. I won t have a fuss made about such nonsense. or you are lost. because I was well convinced that our troubles were in so me way dependent upon an incident in my uncle s life. he continued. The young man took from his waistcoat a crumpled envelope. h owever. I was in error . The postmark is London eastern division. I forbid you. I had begun to take comfort too soon. inexorable evil. however. It was in vain to argue with him. man. He had. been returning from Fareham in the twilight. During that time I have lived happily at Horsham. On the third day after the coming of the letter my father went from home to visit an old friend of his. I have seen the police. and that I was well-nigh certain that some foul plot had been woven round him. however. In that. Nothing? To tell the truth he sank his face into his thin. no footmar ks. and was lying senseless. Upon the second day of his absence I received a telegram from the major. And yet I need not tell you that my mind was far from at ease. Major Freebody. and two years and eight mo nths have elapsed since then. In this sinister way I came into my inheritance. I was glad that he should go. K. and then Put th e papers on the sundial. I was unable to find anything whi ch could suggest the idea of murder. K.And be laughed at for my pains. no record of strangers having been seen upon the roads. This is no time for despair. asked Holmes. who is in command of one of the forts upo n Portsdown Hill. Nothing but en ergy can save you. Carefully as I examined every fact connected with his death.

Holmes shook his clenched hands in the air. as the jury stated. We should have acted before this. 1869. unburned margins which lay amid the ashes were of thi s particular colour. Set the pips on McCauley. 7th. Has he come with you to-night? No. John Swain cleared. What shall I do? There is but one thing to do. than that which you have placed before us no suggestive detail which might help us? There is one thing. perhaps. You must get home instantly and act. blue-tinted paper. You must put this piece of . Hudson came. It was headed. that on the day when my uncle burned the papers I observed that the small. It was only to-day that I spoke to Major Prendergast about my tro ubles and was advised by him to come to you. allowed me a policeman. who may remain in the house with me. Thank you! said Holmes. Holmes moved the lamp. McCauley cleared. he laid it out upon the table. He rummaged in his coat pocket. We cannot spare time even to dis cuss what you have told me. and we both bent over the sheet of paper. Incredible imbecility! he cried. His orders were to stay in the house. and in that way has escaped destruction. and. however. which showed by its ragged edge that it had indeed been torn from a book.Ah! But they listened to my story with a smile. 10th. above all. The writing is undoubtedly my uncle s. said John Openshaw. why did you not come at once? I did not know. flutt ered out from among the others. 12th. and beneath were the following enigmatical notices: 4th. You have no further evidence. I suppose. It must be done at once. I do not see that it helps us much. Beyond the mention of pips. Again Holmes raved in the air. he cried. All well. Visited Paramore. I am convinced that the inspector has formed the opinion that the letters are all practical jokes. drawi ng out a piece of discoloured. of St. and I am inclined to think that it may be one of the papers which has. Same old platform. and. and John Swain. folding up the paper and returning it to our visitor. I have some remembrance. and were not to be connected with the warnings. I found this single sheet upon the floor of his room. I think myself that it is a page from some private diary. Why did you come to me. Paramore. March. And n ow you must on no account lose another instant. and that the death s of my relations were really accidents. Augustine. said he. 9th. They have. It is really two days since you had the letter.

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 unc le, and that this is the only one which remains. You must assert that in such wo rds as will carry conviction with them. Having done this, you must at once put t he 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 al ready woven. The first consideration is to remove the pressing danger which thre atens you. The second is to clear up the mystery and to punish the guilty partie s. I thank you, said the young man, rising and pulling on his overcoat. me fresh life and hope. I shall certainly do as you advise. You have given

Do not lose an instant. And, above all, take care of yourself in the meanwhile, f or I do not think that there can be a doubt that you are threatened by a very re al 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 sa fety. 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 pa ttered against the windows. This strange, wild story seemed to have come to us f rom amid the mad elements blown in upon us like a sheet of sea-weed in a gale and no w to have been reabsorbed by them once more. 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 th e ceiling. I think, Watson, he remarked at last, antastic than this. Save, perhaps, the Sign of Four. Well, yes. Save, perhaps, that. And yet this John Openshaw seems to me to be walk ing amid even greater perils than did the Sholtos. But have you, I asked, formed any definite conception as to what these perils are? he answered. that of all our cases we have had none more f

There can be no question as to their nature,

Then what are they? Who is this K. K. K., and why does he pursue this unhappy fam ily?

Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair , with his finger-tips together. The ideal reasoner, he remarked, would, when he ha d 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 fol low from it. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplat ion 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, bot h before and after. We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone c an attain to. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those w ho 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 utili se all the facts which have come to his knowledge; and this in itself implies, a s 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 lik ely to be useful to him in his work, and this I have endeavoured in my case to d o. If I remember rightly, you on one occasion, in the early days of our friendsh ip, defined my limits in a very precise fashion. Yes, I answered, laughing. It was a singular document. Philosophy, astronomy, and p olitics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as re gards the mud-stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccen tric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, vio lin-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 m an 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, w here he can get it if he wants it. Now, for such a case as the one which has bee n submitted to us to-night, we need certainly to muster all our resources. Kindl y 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 t hat 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 extre me 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 someo ne or something which drove him from America. As to what it was he feared, we ca n 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 s trong probability is that the writer was on board of a ship. And now let us consid er another point. In the case of Pondicherry, seven weeks elapsed between the th reat and its fulfilment, in Dundee it was only some three or four days. Does tha t 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 looks as if they always send their singular warning or token be fore them when starting upon their mission. You see how quickly the deed followe d the sign when it came from Dundee. If they had come from Pondicherry in a stea mer 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 differ ence 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 ca se, 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 thi s 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 t o 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 ne ver heard of the Ku Klux Klan? I never have. Holmes turned over the leaves of the book upon his knee. ntly: Here it is, said he prese

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-Confedera te soldiers in the Southern states after the Civil War, and it rapidly formed lo cal 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 drivi ng from the country of those who were opposed to its views. Its outrages were us ually preceded by a warning sent to the marked man in some fantastic but general ly recognised shape a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts, melon seeds or orange pip s 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 un failingly come upon him, and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner. So p erfect 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 im punity, or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. Fo r some years the organisation flourished in spite of the efforts of the United S tates government and of the better classes of the community in the South. Eventu ally, in the year 1869, the movement rather suddenly collapsed, although there h ave been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date. You will observe, said Holmes, laying down the volume, that the sudden breaking up

I fear. You will excuse me for not waiting for you. by the aid of the water-police. I may have to go down to Horsham. Doctor. I shall commence with the City. It is no wonder that he and his family have some of the more implacable spirits upon their track. and that in his haste and the extreme darknes s he missed his path and walked over the edge of one of the small landing-places for river steamboats. laying down his cup. You will not go there first? No. you are too late. on duty near Waterloo Bridge. was extremely dark and stormy. and that there may be many who will not sleep easy at night until i t is recovered. It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name. Just ring the bell and the maid will bring up your coffee. How was it done? He spoke calmly . and there can b . however. it was quite impossible to effect a rescue. said he. You c an understand that this register and diary may implicate some of the first men i n the South. that we may let some ligh t into this dark place.of the society was coincident with the disappearance of Openshaw from America wi th their papers. B. There is nothing more to be said or to be done to-night. It will very much depend upon the results of my first inquiries. Holmes. and the sun was shining with a subdued brightness through the dim veil which hangs over the great city. I feared as much. however. H Between nine and ten last night Police-Constable Cook. if I remember right. but I could see that he was deeply moved. so that. It may well have been cause and effect. The alarm. I lifted the unopened newspaper from the table and glanced my eye o ver it. The night . in spite of the help of sever al passers-by. and finally that C was visited. after all. I think. of the H Division. an d C that is. My eye caught the name of Openshaw. heard a cry for help and a splash in the water. or left the country. It rested upon a heading which sent a chill to my heart. It ran. a very busy day before me in looking into this case of young Openshaw s. as it appears from an en velope which was found in his pocket. It had cleared in the morning. Then there are successive entries th at A and B cleared. sent the society s warning to them. I foresee. the body was eventually recovered . Ah! said he. w as given. What steps will you take? I asked. Well. It is conjectured that he may have been hurrying down to catch the last train from Waterloo Station. I cried. sent the pips to A. I have. a sinister result for C. Sherlock Holmes was alrea dy at breakfast when I came down. and whose residence is near Horsham. and the heading ere is the account: Tragedy Near Waterloo Bridge. and I believe that the only chance young Openshaw has in the meantime is to do what I have told him. Then the page we have seen Is such as we might expect. The body exhibited no traces of violence. with. was John Openshaw. As I waited. so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for hal f an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellow men. and.

Starving. He will find it as sure a precursor of his fate as Openshaw did bef ore him. That will await him when he enters port. Sherlock Holmes had not come back yet. Young Openshaw shall not long remain unaven ged. washing i t down with a long draught of water. b ut not before. with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands. and that I should send him away to his death ! He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation. Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. Nothing? Not a bite. All day I was engaged in my professional work. How could they have decoyed him down there? The Embankment is not on the direct line to the station. we shall see who will win in the long run. It is well thought of! What do you mean? He took an orange from the cupboard. It is a petty feeling. And who is this Captain Calhoun? . It was n early ten o clock before he entered. H. You have a clue? I have them in the hollow of my hand. Watso n. And how have you succeeded? Well. Holmes more depressed and shaken than I had ever seen him. and. whi ch should have the effect of calling the attention of the authorities to the con dition of the riverside landing-stages. That he should come to me for help . said he. but it hurts my pride. It had escaped my memory. They must be cunning devils. I have had nothing since breakfast. for J. The bridge. When I have spun the web they may take the flies. I am going out now! To the police? No. Watson. Watson. I shall set my hand upon this gang. he said at last. chuckling. for their purpose. even on such a night. looking pale and worn. no doubt.e no doubt that the deceased had been the victim of an unfortunate accident. let us put their own devilish trade-mark upon them. no doubt. O. You are hungry. Why. and it was late in the evening be fore I returned to Baker Street. I had no time to think of it. It becomes a personal matter with me now. Georgia. was too crowded. and tearing it to pieces he squeezed out th e pips upon the table. We sat in silence for some minutes. That hurts my pride. O n the inside of the flap he wrote S. he exclaimed at last. He walked up to the si deboard. I shall be my own police. I remarked. Savannah. Barque Lone Star. if God sends m e health. Then he sealed it and addressed it to Captain James Calhoun. Well. and tearing a piece from the loaf he devoured it voraciously. It may give him a slee pless night.

85. since.The leader of the gang. th at they were all three away from the ship last night. There were thirty-six ships of fair tonnage which wer e reported there during those months. however. as cunning and as resolute as themselves. What then? I searched the Dundee records. I shall have the others. following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in 83. but he first. I had it from the stevedor e who has been loading their cargo. the Lone Star. We did at last hear that somewhere far out in the Atlantic a shattered stern-post of a boat was see n swinging in the trough of a wave. I have spent the whole day. but I knew that the ship must have an American o rigin. one. homewar d bound to Savannah. There is ever a flaw. then? He took a large sheet of paper from his pocket. but none ever reached us. and when I found that the barque Lone Star was the re in January. What will you do. and the murderer s of John Openshaw were never to receive the orange pips which would show them t hat another. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------ADVENTURE VI. in the best laid of human plans. I think. over Lloyd s registers and files of the old pape rs. instantly at tracted my attention. are as I learn. THE MAN WITH THE TWISTED LIP . I wired to Gravesend and learned that she had passed some t ime ago. I went down to the Albert Dock and foun d that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah. The others are Finns and Germans. I know. S. said he. was upon their track. the only nativ e-born Americans in the ship. Of these. I then inquired as to the ves sels which lay at present in the port of London. and the cable will have in formed the police of Savannah that these three gentlemen are badly wanted here u pon a charge of murder. also. then? Oh. Ver y long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year. carved upon it. although it was reported as having cleared from Lon don. I have my hand upon him. with the letters L. By the time that their sailing-ship reaches Savannah the mail-boat will have carried this letter. all covered with dates and names . Yes? The Lone Star had arrived here last week. and tha t is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star. and as the wind is easterly I have no doubt that she is now past the Go odwins and not very far from the Isle of Wight. I was not and am not sure which. Texas. He and the two mates. How did you trace it. my suspicion became a certainty. the name is that which is given to one of the states of the Union.

no. in Upper Swandam Lane. why should she come at a ll? I was Isa Whitney s medical adviser.. threw her arms about my wife s neck. for having read De Quincey s description of his dreams and sensations. Principal of the Theologic al College of St. She had the surest information that of late he had. and sit here comfortably and tell us all about it. George s. pasty fac e. Why. so I came straight to you. and sobbed upon her shoulder. as so many m ore have done. at the Bar of Gold. she ran forward. about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock. entered the room. when t he fit was on him. the wreck and ru in of a noble man. with a black veil. and then.Isa Whitney. It was very sweet of you to come. I do so want a little help. in the evening. We heard the door open. twi tching and shattered. D. and pin-point pupils. I groaned. make her way into such a place and pluc k her husband out from among the ruffians who surrounded him? There was the case. I promised her on my word that I would se nd him home in a cab within two hours if he were indeed at the address which she . he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. He has not been home for two days. a young and timid woman. she began. It s about Isa. One night it was in June. I m in such trouble! she cried. I c ould manage it better if I were alone. as a second thought. from some foolish freak when he was at college. a few hurried words. A patient! said she. suddenly losing her selfcontrol. You will excuse my calling so late. brother of the late Elias Whitney. and he lay there. too. Our own door flew open. an object of mingled horror and pity to his friends and relatives. said my wife. made use of an opium den in the farthest east of the City. that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of. How you startled me. I can see him now. and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug. no! I want the doctor s advice and help. to my wife as an old friend and school companion. The habit grew upon him. she wa s sure of it. Might I not e scort her to this place? And then. I am so frightened about him! It was not the first time that she had spoken to us of her husband s trouble. He found. and my wife laid her needle-work down in her lap and made a little face of disappointment. doubtless among the dregs of the docks. Folk w ho were in grief came to my wife like birds to a light-house. Hi therto his orgies had always been confined to one day. you must have some wine and water. breat hing in the poison or sleeping off the effects. We soothed and comforted her by such words as we could find. and a lady. I didn t know what to do. But what was she to do? How could she. You ll have to go out. all huddled in a chair. drooping lids. clad in some dark-coloured stuff. it is Kate Whitney. for I was newly come back from a weary day. a s I understand. was much addicted to opium. Ka te! I had not an idea who you were when you came in. But now the spell had been upon him eightand-forty hours. Or should you rather that I sent Jam es off to bed? Oh. and of course there was but one way out of it. with yellow. and then quick steps upon the linol eum. Oh. Now. That was always the way. and as such I had influence over him. and he had come back.D. I sat up in my chair. 89 there came a ring to my bell. pulling up her veil. to m e as a doctor. Did she know where her husband was ? Was it possible that we could bring him back to her? It seems that it was. There he was to be found.

as it seemed to me at the time. worn hollow in the centre by the ceaseless tread of dr unken feet. Thank you. I saw Whitney. low room. said I. bent knees. heads thrown back. I say. There was a movement and an exclamation from my right. Ordering my cab to wait. four pipes I forget how many. what o clock is it? Nearly eleven. Mr. O ut of the black shadows there glimmered little red circles of light. a sallow Malay attendant had hurried up with a pipe for me and a s upply of the drug. Watson. I have not come to stay. lack-lustre eye turned upon the newcomer. As I entered. and chins pointing upward. But there was no great difficulty in the first stage of my adventure. thick and heavy with the brown opi um smoke. though the future only could show how strange it was t o be. now faint. thin old man. bowed shoulders. said he. It is Wednesday. now bright. approached by a steep flight of steps leading down to a black gap like the mou th of a cave. But I ll go home with you. At the farther end was a small brazier of burning charcoal. I tell you that it is Friday. and was speeding eastward in a hansom on a strange errand. as the burning poison waxed or waned in the bowls of the metal pipes . each mumbling out his own thoughts and paying little heed to the words of his neighbour. with here and there a dark. My God! It s Watson. and his elbow s upon his knees. three pipes. What d you want to frigh ten a chap for? He sank his face onto his arms and began to sob in a high treble key. Through the gloom one could dimly catch a glimpse of bodies lying in strange fan tastic poses.had given me. like the forecastle of an emigrant sh ip. with every ner ve in a twitter. Give me your hand! Have you a cab? Yes. beside which on a three-legged wooden stool there sat a tall. But you ve got mixed. with his jaw resting upon his two fists. and I wish to speak with him. haggard. Upper Swan dam Lane is a vile alley lurking behind the high wharves which line the north si de of the river to the east of London Bridge. for I have only been here a few hours. their conversation coming in gushes. and terraced with wooden berths. Watson. Your wife has been waiting this two days for y ou. but some muttered to themselves. Good heavens! I thought it was Wednesday. and then suddenly tailing off into silence. monotonous voice. . There is a friend of mine here. Of what day? Of Friday. I passed down the steps. The most lay silent. staring out at me. Isa Whitney. beckoning me to an empty berth. and unkempt. I wouldn t frighten K ate poor little Kate. low. He was in a pitiable state of reaction. and peering through the g loom. staring into the fire. Between a slop-shop and a gin-shop . and by the light of a flickering oil-lamp above the door I found the latch and made my way into a long. I found the den of which I was in search. I have one waiting. And so in ten minutes I had left my armchair and cheery sitting-r oom behind me. pale. You should be ashamed of yourself! So I am. man. and others talked togeth er in a strange. June 19th.

subsided into a doddering. sitting by the fire and grinning at my su rprise. what on earth are you doing in this den? As low as you can. As I passed the tall man who sat by the brazier I felt a sudden pl uck at my skirt. I came to find a friend. and seen him driven through the darkness. It took all my self-control to prevent me fro m breaking out into a cry of astonishment. or. for he appears to be too limp to get into any mischief. You may safely trust him. I should recommend you also to send a note by th e cabman to your wife to say that you have thrown in your lot with me. he straigh tened himself out and burst into a hearty fit of laughter. Find what I owe. An enemy? Yes. an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees. He had turned his back so that none c ould see him but I. ve ry thin. my natural prey. and I was walking down the street with Sherlock Holmes. Walk past me. for they were always so exceedingly definite. But not more so than I to find you. I fel t. I took two steps forward and looked back. very wrinkled. and all the other little weaknesses on which you have favoured me with your medical views. that you imagine that I have added opium-smoking to coc aine injections. holding my breath to keep out the vile. and instantly. however. that when Whitney was once confined in the cab my mission was practi cally accomplished. I can do nothing for myself. Briefly. The words fell quite distinctly upon my ear. Then pray send him home in it. If you wi ll wait outside. loose-lipped senility. the dull ey es had regained their fire. stupefying fumes of the drug. and I have hoped to find a clu . I am al l off colour. he answered. I have a cab outside. I could not wish anything better than to b e associated with my friend in one of those singular adventures which were the n ormal condition of his existence. He made a slight motion to me to ap proach him. and put forward with such a quiet air of mastery. I shall be with you in five minutes. His form had filled out. I n a very short time a decrepit figure had emerged from the opium den. I walked down the narrow passage between the double row of sleepers. and then look back at m e.Then I shall go in it. I glanced down. and yet he sat now as absorbed as ever. as though it had dropped in sheer lassitude from his fingers. In a few minutes I had written my note. and there. and for the rest. and a low voice whispered. I suppose. I am in the midst of a very remarkable inquiry. glancing quickly round. paid W hitney s bill. Then. They could only h ave come from the old man at my side. Watson . was none other than Sherlock Holmes. I have excellent ears. Watson. led him out to the cab. 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. bent with age. And I to find an enemy. shall I say. his wrinkles were gone. But I must owe something. It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes requests. I was certainly surprised to find you there. For two streets he shuffled along with a bent back and an uncertain foot. and looking about for the manager. Holmes! I whispered. as he turned his face half round to the company once more. Watson. said he. one of my natural enemies.

Pon my word. It is the vilest murder-trap on the whole ri verside. . a trusty comrade is always of use. There is a trap-door at the back of th at building. We have a seven-mile drive before us. until we were fly ing across a broad balustraded bridge. I was wondering what I should say to this dear little woman to-night when she meets me at the door. But I am all in the dark. He put his two forefingers between his teeth and w histled shrilly a signal which was answered by a similar whistle from the distance . said Holmes. near the corner of Paul s Wharf. Where is it. said he. and a chronicler still more so. Of course you are. Clair s house. Clair has entered it never to leave it more . and lit up his pipe with the air of a man who has satisfied himself that he is acting for the best. a nd were beginning to get to the fringe of the belt of suburban villas. with his head sunk upon his breast. that is Mr. Jump up here. then! He flicked the horse with his whip. its silence broken only by the heavy. and the rascally Lascar who run s it has sworn to have vengeance upon me. and the air of a man who is lost in thought. shrugged his shoulders. Beyond lay another dull wilderness of bricks and mortar. and a star or two twinkled dimly here and there through the rifts of t he clouds. Oh. Had I be en recognised in that den my life would not have been worth an hour s purchase. Watson. in Kent. won t you? If I can be of use. You ll come with me . then? Near Lee. You ll know all about it presently. St. or the songs and sh outs of some belated party of revellers. followed shortly by the rattle of wheels and the clink of horses hoofs. My room at The Cedars is a double-bedded one. which widened gradually. and yet afr aid to break in upon the current of his thoughts. with the murky river flowing sluggishly b eneath us. regular footfall of the policeman. We should be rich men if we had £1000 for every poor devil who has been done to death in that den. as a tall dog-cart dashed up through the gloom. Joh n. Now. You have a grand gift of silence. about el even. The Cedars? Yes. A dull wrack was drifting slowly across the sky. What! You do not mean bodies? Ay. as I have done before now. All right. it is a great thing for me to have someone to talk to. Watson. Give her her head. So long. when he s hook himself. we shall not need you. You forget that I know nothing about it. fo r I have used it before now for my own purposes. But our trap should be here. bodies. for my own thoughts are not over-pleasant. and we dashed away through the endless succe ssion of sombre and deserted streets. Look out for me to-morrow. Holmes drove in silence.e in the incoherent ramblings of these sots. which could tell some strange tales of what has passed through it upon the moonless nights. I am staying there while I conduct the inquiry. We had driven several miles. Here s half a crown. while I sat beside him. Watson. and I fear that Neville St. curious to learn wh at this new quest might be which seemed to tax his powers so sorely. throwing out two golden tunnels of yellow light from its side lanterns. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.

all on their way to their beat. and maybe you can see a spark wh ere all is dark to me. He had no occupation. Have yo u followed me so far? It is very clear.. she suddenly heard an ejaculation or cry. I ll state the case clearly and concisely to you. and she distinctly saw his face. St. and was struck cold to see her husband looking down at her and. no doubt. Clair had . and found herself at e xactly 4:35 walking through Swandam Lane on her way back to the station. and a man who is popular with all who know him. to the effect that a small parcel of considerable value which she had bee n expecting was waiting for her at the offices of the Aberdeen Shipping Company. Clair walked slo wly. Last Monday Mr. to think that money troubles have been weighing upon his mind. she met this Lascar scoundrel of whom I have spoken. did some s hopping. proceeded to the company s office. which she describes as being terribly agitated. you will know that the office of the co mpany is in Fresno Street. by rare good-fortune. and lived generally in good style. Now. Clair by name. Clair went into town rather earlier than usual. 1884 there came to Lee a gentleman. started for the City. however. beckoning to her from a s econd-floor window. pushed her out into the street. While she was walking in this way down Swanda m Lane. as she did not like the neighbo urhood in which she found herself. therefore. a very affectionate f ather. by the merest chance. Neville St. met in Fresno Street a number of constables with an inspector. returning by the 5:14 from Cannon Street every night. which branches out of Upper Swandam Lane. and Mrs. very shortly after his depa rture. If you remember. Convinced that something was amiss with him. Watson. but was intere sted in several companies and went into town as a rule in the morning. they made their way to the room in which Mr. The ins pector and two men accompanied her back. but I can t get the end of it into my hand. There s ple nty of thread. Clair is now thirty-seven y ears of age. remar king before he started that he had two important commissions to perform. Now. la id out the grounds very nicely. his wife received a telegram upon this same Monday. he had on neither collar nor necktie. St. and tha t he would bring his little boy home a box of bricks. and in spite of the continued resistanc e of the proprietor. Mrs. who acts as assistant th ere. Neville St . There is no reason. He took a large villa. got her packet. Filled with the most maddening doubts and f ears. By degrees he made friends in the neighbourhood. Mr. At the foot of the stairs. 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. Clair had her lunch. such as he had started to town in. who thrust her back and. she rushed down the lane and. she rushed down the steps for the hous e was none other than the opium den in which you found me to-night and running thr ough the front room she attempted to ascend the stairs which led to the first fl oor. He waved his hands frantically to her. as far as we have been able to ascertain. in May. then. a good husband. Proceed. as it seemed to her. while he has £220 standing to his credit in the Capital and Counties Bank . glancing about in the hope of seeing a cab. where you f ound me to-night. Monday was an exceedingly hot day. One singular point wh ich struck her quick feminine eye was that although he wore some dark coat. is a man of temperate habits. Some years ago to be definite.I shall just have time to tell you the facts of the case before we get to Lee. St. amount to £88 10s. who appeared to have plenty of money. if you are well up in your London. St. I may add that his whole debts at the present moment. and in 1887 he married the daughter of a loc al brewer. Now. somehow I can get nothing to go upon. aided by a Dane. by whom he now has two children. and yet. It seems absurdly simple. The window was open.

all mark him out from am id the common crowd of mendicants and so. there is. His boots. too. is so remarkable that no one can pass him without observing him. So determined was their de nial that the inspector was staggered. though in order to avoid the police regulations he pretends to a s mall trade in wax vestas. does his wit. by Mrs. which looked out upon the bac k of one of the wharves. but as. which is dry at low tide but is covered at high tide with at least four and a half feet of water. cross-legged with his tiny stock of matches on his lap. St. Both he and the Lascar stoutly swore that no one else had been in the front room during the afternoon. Clair s story. with the exception of his coat. his socks. There were no signs of violence upon any of these garments. His appearance. and his hideous face is one which is familiar to every man who goes much to the City. who. A shock of orange hair. and the evident confusion which the cripple showed. I have watched the fellow more than once before ever I thought of making his professional acquaintance. Neville St. an d results all pointed to an abominable crime. and a pair of very penetrating dark eyes. and his watch all were there. Thrust away behind a curtain in the front room were all the clothes of Mr. His name is Hugh Boone. Clair. and I have been surprised at the harvest which he ha s reaped in a short time. He is a profess ional beggar. with a cry. On examination traces of blood were to be seen upon the windowsill. and had almost come to believe that Mrs. as you may have remarked. he was known to have been at the foot of the stair within a very f ew seconds of her husband s appearance at the window. It was the toy which he had promised to bring home. In fact. a pale face disfigur ed by a horrible scar. she sprang at a small deal box whic h lay upon the table and tore the lid from it. The bedroom window was a broad one and opened from below. Clair. and as he is a piteous spectacle a small rain of ch arity descends into the greasy leather cap which lies upon the pavement beside h im. Clair . a nd to have been the last man to see the gentleman of whom we are in quest. made the insp ector realise that the matter was serious. and the re were no other traces of Mr. a bulldog chin. fo r the tide was at its very highest at the moment of the tragedy. But a cripple! rime of life? said I. which present a singular contrast to the colour of his hair. and several scattered drops were visible upon the wooden floor of the bedroom. you see. he could hardly have been mo re than an accessory to the crime. So much for the Lascar manager. St. upon th e left-hand side. The front room was plainly furnish ed as a sitting-room and led into a small bedroom. This discovery. and the ominous bloodsta ins upon the sill gave little promise that he could save himself by swimming. This is the man whom we now learn to have been the lodger at the opium den.last been seen. Neville St. which. And now as to the villains who seemed to be immediately implicated in the matter. and that he could not account in any way for the presence of the missing gen tleman s clothes. and who was certainly the last human being whose e yes rested upon Neville St. Some little distance down Threadneedle Street. an d he protested that he had no knowledge as to the doings of Hugh Boone. Now for the sinister cripple who lives upon the s econd floor of the opium den. it seems. his hat. Here it is that this creature takes his daily seat. His defence was one of absolute ignorance. made his home there. Out of the window he must appa rently have gone for no other exit could be discovered. in the whole of that fl oor there was no one to be found save a crippled wretch of hideous aspect. a small angle in the wall. What could he have done single-handed against a man in the p . Out there fell a cascade of child ren s bricks. Clair had been deluded when. has turned up the outer edge o f his upper lip. The Lascar was known to be a man of the vilest antecedents. by its contraction. The rooms were carefully examined. for he is ever read y with a reply to any piece of chaff which may be thrown at him by the passers-b y. Between the wharf and the bedroom window is a narrow st rip. his lodg er. There was no sign of him there.

He has little time. Th ere were. but he poin ted to his ring-finger. where he has accumula ted the fruits of his beggary. and perhaps he has already heard f rom his Lascar confederate that the police are hurrying up the street. Clair s coat. Clair through the window. St. made a very careful examination of the premises. He would seize the coat. and she was escorted home in a cab by the police. Surely your medical experience w ould tell you. But a human body is a different matter. which had been cut near the nail. but in other respects he appears to be a powerful and well-nurtured man. It certainly sounds feasible. There is a fierce eddy between the wharf and the house. Neville St. Suppose that this man Boon e had thrust Neville St. some blood-stains upon his right shirt-sleeve. It was no wonder that it had not been swept a way by the tide. and explained that the bleeding came from there. as her presence could be of no help to th em in their investigations. Would the bod y be dressed in a coat alone? No. it is true.He is a cripple in the sense that he walks with a limp. It was Neville St. sir. as I h . Clair. Pray continue your narrative. he declared that she must have been either mad or dreaming. though they hardly found upon the mud-bank what they had feared to fi nd. without anything being found which could incriminate him. But I understand that all the other clothes were found in the room. Well. Every pocket stuffed with pennies and half-penni es 421 pennies and 270 half-pennies. Clair and swore that the presence of the clothes in his room was as much a mystery to him as to the police. there is no human eye which c ould have seen the deed. There is not an instant to be lost. Boone. as he was allowed some few minutes during which he might have communi cated with his friend the Lascar. It seemed likely enough that the weighted coat had remained when the stripped body had been sucked away into the river. As to Mrs. and he was s eized and searched. He was removed. He rushes to some secret hoard. Clair s assertion that she had actually seen her husban d at the window. Clair had fainted at the sight of the blood upon the window. and he stuffs all the coins upon which he can lay his hands into the pockets to make sure of the coat s sinking. we will take it as a working hypothesis for want of a better. and not Neville St. and would have done the same with the other garments had not he heard the rush o f steps below. then. and be in the act of throwing it out. for he has heard the scuffle downst airs when the wife tried to force her way up. while the inspector remai ned upon the premises in the hope that the ebbing tide might afford some fresh c lue. St. that weakness in one limb is often compensated for by exc eptional strength in the others. adding that he had been to the window not long before . loudly protesting. who had charge of the case. One mistake had been made in not arresting Boone instantly. Inspector Barton. He denied strenuously having ever seen Mr. Mrs. He throws it out. when it would occur to him that it would swim and not sink. but without finding anything which th rew any light upon the matter. And what do you think they found in the pockets? I cannot imagine. but the facts might be met speciously enough. and only just had time to close the window when the police appear ed. but this fault was soon remedied. which lay uncovere d as the tide receded. Watson. What would he do then? It would of course instantly str ike him that he must get rid of the tell-tale garments. and that the stains which had been observed there came doubtless from the same source. No. to the police-station. I don t think you would guess. And it did.

we had been whirling through the outskirts of the great town until the last straggling houses had been left behind. for you have had a long day. I am delighted to see you. where is he now. a standing question. I hate to meet her. A stable-boy had run out to the horse s head. with eager eyes and parted lips. But why are you not conducting the case from Baker Street? I asked. We are on the outskirts of Lee. While Sherlock Holmes had been detailing this singular series of events. caught the clink of our horse s feet. . Clair has most kindly put two rooms at my disposal. he r head and face protruded. and you may rest assured that she will have nothing but a welcome for my friend and colleague. Because there are many inquiries which must be made out here. Here we are. where a few lights still glimmered in the windows. clad in some s ort of light mousseline de soie. well? And then. There the matter stands at present. but it could not be shown t hat there had ever before been anything against him. and ending in Kent. with a touch of fluffy pink chiffon at her neck and wrists. one half-raised in her eagerness. said she. You will. But come in. and a lucky chance has made it possible for me to bring him out and as sociate him with this investigation. however. passing over an angle of Su rrey. Wat son. what happened to him when there. said my companion. she gave a cry of hope which sank into a groan as she saw that my companion shook his head and sh rugged his shoulders. No good news? None. when you consider the blow which has come so suddenly upon us. her body slightly bent. and a little blonde woman stood in the opening. Watson. when I have no news of her husband. seeing that there were two of us. This is my friend. winding gravel-drive which led to the house. and what Hugh Boone had to do with his disappearan ce are all as far from a solution as ever. one hand upon the door. th e door flew open. Clair was doing in the opium den. was arrested and taken to the station. we drove through two scattered vill ages. You must be weary. St. Mrs. there. No bad? No. Whoa. but his life appeared to have been a very quiet and i nnocent one. He has been of most vital use to me in several of my cases. We have touched on three English counties in our short drive. whoa! We had pulled up in front of a large villa which stood within its own grounds. an d beside that lamp sits a woman whose anxious ears have already. Thank God for that. He had for years been known as a professional beggar. Just as he finished. Well? she cried. pressing my hand warmly. I am sure. I have little d oubt. and the questions which have to be solved what Neville St. As we approached. forgive anything that may be wanting in our arrangements. and we rattled along with a country hedge upon eith er side of us. I confess that I cannot recall any case within my experience which looked at the first glance so simple and yet which p resented such difficulties.ave told you. and springing down. See that light among the trees? That is The Cedars. Dr. starting in Middlesex. I followed Holmes up the small. She stood with her figure outlined against the flood of light.

Mr. madam. Then perhaps. nor given to fainting. He snatched it from her in his eagerness. Frankly. upon the table of which a cold supper had been laid out. but the enclosure is. said the lady as we entered a well-lit dining-room. Surely this is not your husband s writing. Mr. Certainly. I had left my chair and was gazing at it over his shoulder. to-day. and if I were not I can very well se e that no apology is needed. Now. Frankly. I s imply wish to hear your real. You think that he is dead? I do. Murdered? I don t say that. May I see it? Certainly. to which I beg that you will give a plain ans wer. Yes. The envelope was a very coarse one and was stamped wit h the Gravesend postmark and with the date of that very day. Perhaps. either to you or to my friend here. I do not. She stood smiling. Do not trouble about my feelings. Sherlock Holmes. I shall be indeed happy. And on what day did he meet his death? On Monday. now! she repeat ed. I should very much like to a sk you one or two plain questions. What! he roared. I am an old campaigner. madam. I am not hysterical. real opinion. Holmes. said I. holding up a little slip of paper in the air. No. standing upon the rug and looking keenly down at him as he leaned back in a basket-chair. Upon what point? In your heart of hearts.My dear madam. Sherlock Holmes sprang out of his chair as if he had been galvanised. you will be good enough to explain how it is that I hav e received a letter from him to-day. or rather of the da y before. murmured Holmes. madam. If I can be of any assistance. do you think that Neville is alive? Sherlock Holmes seemed to be embarrassed by the question. and smoothing it out upon the table he drew over the lamp and examined it intently. Coarse writing. for it was considerably after midnight. . then.

of c ourse. and yet I in th e dining-room rushed upstairs instantly with the utmost certainty that something had happened. The re is so keen a sympathy between us that I should know if evil came upon him. though I should not venture to say that the danger is over. there was a ring.I perceive also that whoever addressed the envelope had to go and inquire as to t he address. If it had been written straight off. That is possible. There is a huge error which it may take some little time to rectify. and yet I know it well. which has dried itself. is in perfectly black ink. Neville wrote those words. madam? None. Well. Clair. you must not discourage me. a trifle. If so. and then blotted. And you have n o doubt that it is your husband s hand. How can you tell that? The name. It is. which shows that blotting-paper has been used. however. But he must be alive. Hum! Posted to-day in G ravesend by a man with a dirty thumb. it is. after all . Let us now see th e letter. Mr. it is his very own writing! Very well. Holmes. Ha! And the flap has been gummed. Mrs. It is very unlike his usual writing. but there is nothing so important as trifles. if I am not very much in error. Written in pencil upon the fly-leaf of a book. No. NEVILLE. none would be of a deep black shad e. The rest is of the greyish colour. His signet-ring. Oh. On the very day that I saw him last he cut himself in the bedroom. And they were posted to-day at Gravesend. no. The ring. Mr. But if your h usband is alive and able to write letters. It may have been taken from him. I know that all is well with him. It may. This man has written the name. And in this letter you certai nly have a very strong piece of evidence to corroborate your view. All will come well. Unless this is a clever forgery to put us on the wrong scent. One? His hand when he wrote hurriedly. why should he remain away from you? . octavo size. by a person who had been chewing tobacco. have been written on Monday and only posted to-day. St. you see. the clouds lighte n. Holmes. which can only mean that he was not familiar with it. much may have happened between. and there has then been a pause before he wrot e the address. Wait in patience. no water-mark. Do you think that I would respond to such a trifle and yet be ign orant of his death? I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valua ble than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner. Dearest do not be frightened. proves nothing. And you are sure that this is your husband s hand? One of his hands. Ha! there has been an enclosure here! Yes.

Quite so. Those are the principal points about which I wished to be absolutely clear. Mrs. He might have leaped back. for we may have a very busy day to-morrow. but this horrible man confessed to having been there. It is unthinkable. A call for help. however. I distinctly saw his bare throat. And you thought he was pulled back? He disappeared so suddenly. and the Lascar was at t he foot of the stairs. Your husband. And on Monday he made no remarks before leaving you? No. Was the window open? Yes. And you were surprised to see him in Swandam Lane? Very much so. Had he ever showed any signs of having taken opium? Never. Clair. and I was quickly between the sheets. He waved his hands. as far as you could see. when he had an unsolved problem upon his . gave an inarticulate cry? Yes. St. Thank you. Then he might have called to you? He might. you thought? Yes. for I was weary after my night of adventure. Had he ever spoken of Swandam Lane? Never. You did not see anyone else in the room? No. S herlock Holmes was a man.I cannot imagine. who. But it might have been a cry of surprise. A large and comfortable double-bedded room had been placed at our disposal. He only. We shall now have a little supper and then retire. had his ordinary clothes on? But without his collar or tie. Astonishment at the unexpected sight of you might cause him to throw up his hands? It is possible. as I understand.

I deserve to be kicked from here to Charing Cross. silent. seeing my look of incredulity. As I dressed I glanced at my watch. The pipe was still between his lips. said he. Watson? Yes. and away we dashed down the London Road . he continued. and he seemed a different man to the sombre thinker of the previous night. I have just been there. In the bathroom. looking at it from every point of view until he had either fathomed it or convinced himself that his data were insufficient. put on a large blue dressing-gown. the smoke s till curled upward. with the half-clad stable-boy waiting at the head. turning it over. flicking the horse on int o a gallop. Then dress. We both sprang in. he asked. So he sat as I dropped off to sleep. No one is stirring yet. He chuckled to himself as he spoke. Awake. Passing down the Waterlo o Bridge Road we crossed over the river. that you are now standing in the presence of one of the most absolute fools in Europe. and then wandered about t he room collecting pillows from his bed and cushions from the sofa and armchairs . would go for days. It was no wonder that no one was stirring. A few country carts were stirring. I want to test a little theory of mine. and w e shall soon have the trap out. said Holmes. pulling on his boots. In the dim light of the lamp I saw him sitting there. his eyes twin kled. and I found the summer sun shining into the apartment. and I have taken it out. the blue smoke curling up from him. We made our way downstairs as quietly as possible. I had hardly finished when Holmes returned with the news that the boy was putting in the horse. Come on. smiling. his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of the ceiling. and the room was full of a dense tobacco haze. and out into the bright morni ng sunshine. motionless. but nothing r emained of the heap of shag which I had seen upon the previous night. I confess that I have been as blind as a mole. without rest. and dashing up Wellington Street wheele . with the light shining u pon his strong-set aquiline features. Wat son. And where is it? I asked. bearing in vegetables to the metropolis. my boy. bu t the lines of villas on either side were as silent and lifeless as some city in a dream. but it is better to le arn wisdom late than never to learn it at all. I think. yes. and we shall see whether it will not fit the lock. In town the earliest risers were just beginning to look sleepily from their wind ows as we drove through the streets of the Surrey side.mind. but I know where the stable-boy sleeps. upon which he perched himse lf cross-legged. he answered. He took off his coat and waistcoat. It has been in some points a singular case. and even for a week. In the road stood our horse and trap. and s o he sat when a sudden ejaculation caused me to wake up. It was soon ev ident to me that he was now preparing for an all-night sitting. I am not joking. But I think I hav e the key of the affair now. re arranging his facts. Game for a morning drive? Certainly. and I have got it in this Gladstone bag. Oh. with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him. I t was twenty-five minutes past four. With these he constructed a sort of Eastern divan. an old briar pipe between his lips.

and brought us to a whitewashed corridor wit h a line of doors on each side. Well. and a telephone projecting from the wall. Clair. extremely dirty. but the grime which covered his face could not conceal its repulsive ugliness. said the inspector. Bradstreet. One of th em held the horse s head while the other led us in. and I think. You have him here? In the cells. You can leave your bag. breathing slowly and heavily. What can I do for you. passed down a winding stair. c oarsely clad as became his calling. Come this way. Boone the one who was charged with being concerned i n the disappearance of Mr. Inspector Bradstreet. in a peaked cap and frogged jacket. I should like to see him very much. The prisoner lay with his face towards us. Step into my room here. Dirty? Yes. Is he quiet? Oh. how are you? A tall. stout official had come down the stone-flagge d passage. if you saw him. you would agree with me that he needed it. Ah. of Lee. and his face is as black as a tinker s. if you please. Here it is! a panel in the upper part of the door and glanced through. Who is on duty? asked Holmes. . it is all we can do to make him wash his hands. It was a small. But he is a dirty scoundrel. in a very deep sleep. said he. Neville St. and by its c ontraction had turned up one side of the upper lip. Bradstreet. I wish to have a quiet word with y ou. You can see him very well. He was a middle-sized man. I think that I ll take it. The third on the right is his. so that three teeth were exp osed in a perpetual snarl. Yes. Mr. he will have a regular pris on bath.d sharply to the right and found ourselves in Bow Street. A broad wheal from an old scar ran right across it from eye to chin. Holmes? I called about that beggarman. as the inspector had said. when once his case has been settled. Certainly. and the two constables at the door saluted him. with a coloured shirt protruding through the rent in his tattered coat. Holmes. Mr. Would you? That is easily done. he gives no trouble. No. The inspector sat down at his desk. sir. Very good. He was. opened a barred door. He was brought up and remanded for further inquiries. Come this way. A shock of very bright red hair grew low over his eye s and forehead. Sherlock Holmes was we ll known to the force. So I heard. He quietly shot back We both put our eyes to the grating. offi ce-like room. He is asleep. He led us down a passage. with a huge ledger upon the table.

and took out. said he. therefore. refined-looking man. Then suddenly realising the exposure. groaned the prisoner. of Lee. Inspector Bradstr eet would. I am illegally detained. and then settled down once more into a d eep slumber. but a very great error has been committed. Well. said the inspector. was a pale. The man s face peeled off under the spo nge like the bark from a tree. then it is obvious that no crime has been committe d. you can t be charged with that unles s they make a case of attempted suicide of it. sitting up in his bed. chuckled the inspector. but this really takes the cake. Clair. too. moistened his sponge. and that. The prisoner turned with the reckless air of a man who abandons himself to his d estiny. rubbing his eyes and staring about him with sleepy bew ilderment. Clair. sad-faced. I don t know why not. remarked Holmes. he shouted. I had an idea that he might. I know him from the photograph. and we all very quietly ent ered the cell. Be it so. My God! What an exposure! What can I do ? Sherlock Holmes sat down beside him on the couch and patted him kindly on the sh oulder.He s a beauty. we will soon make him cut a much more respectable figure. Great heavens! cried the inspector. Oh. and t here. The case would then never go into court at all. come. You would have do It was not the wife. make notes upon anything which you might tell us and submi t it to the proper authorities. and I took the liberty of bringing the tools with me. If you leave it to a court of law to clear the matter up. Now. No crime. in the county o Never in my life have I seen such a sight. God bless you! cried the prisoner passionately. Holmes stooped to the water-jug. of course you ca n hardly avoid publicity. He certainly needs a wash. said Holmes. Wel l. the missing man. If I am Mr. I have been twenty-seven years in the force. He opened the Gladstone bag as he spo ke. isn t he? said the inspector. and the twisted lip which had given th e repulsive sneer to the face! A twitch brought away the tangled red hair. said he. indeed. does he? He slipped his key into the lock. and then rub bed it twice vigorously across and down the prisoner s face. he broke into a scream and thre w himself down with his face to the pillow. it is. f Kent. Let me introduce you. And pray what am I charged with? With making away with Mr. said the inspector with a grin. a very large bath-sponge. it was the children. He! he! You are a funny one. if you convince the police authorit ies that there is no possible case against you. Neville St. He doesn t look a credit to the Bow Str eet cells. was th e horrid scar which had seamed it across. Neville St. I would have endured imprisonment. I am sure. to Mr. black-h aired and smooth-skinned. Neville St. God help me. ne better to have trusted your wife. Gone was the coarse brown tint! Gone. if you will have the great goodness to open that door very quietly. . I do not know that there is any reason that the details should find their way into the papers. On the other hand. I woul d not have them ashamed of their father. to my astonishment. The sleeper half turned.

There was the point from which all my adv entures started. and put on my pigments and wig. 4d. varied by silver . My dear wife knew that I had business in the City. which improved by practice and made me quite a recognised character in the City. and spent the time in begging in the City under my disguise. threw up my arms to cover my face. so that I knew that my secret was safe in his possession. but I knew that she could not ascend. I thr ew open the window. Well. But then it occurred to me that there might be a search in the room. Last Monday I had finished for the day and was dressing in my room above the opiu m den when I looked out of my window and saw. I heard her voice downstairs. even execution. When an actor I had.ay. This fellow. and I volunteered to supply them. entreated him to prevent anyone from coming up to me. inspiring pity by my ghastly face and filling my pockets with coppers. and that the clothes might betray me. without anyone having a suspicion as to my real occupation. I painted my face. I begged a fortnigh t s grace from the creditor. tha t my wife was standing in the street. to my horror and astonishment. very soon I found that I was saving considerable sums of money. ostensibly as a match-seller but really as a beggar. In ten days I had the money and h ad paid the debt. As I grew richer I grew more ambitious. rather than have left my miserable secret as a family blot t o my children. For seven hours I plie d my trade. but a sudden idea came to me. laying my cap on the ground. and when I returned home in the evening I found to my surprise that I had received no less than 26s. of course. wher e I could every morning emerge as a squalid beggar and in the evenings transform myself into a well-dressed man about town. rushing to my confidan t. learned all the secrets of making up. with her eyes fixed full upon me. Even a wif e s eyes could not pierce so complete a disguise. Then I seized my coat. Well. I was at my w it s end where to get the money. but the dollars won at last. I travelled in my youth. and sitting still. Then with a red head of hair. the Lascar. which was weighte d by the coppers which I had just transferred to it from the leather bag in whic . I gave a cry of surprise. He was the keeper of a low den in which I used to lodge in Swandam Lane. I backed a bill for a friend and had a writ served upon me for £25. Only one man knew my secre t. I took advantage now of my attainments. reopening by my violence a small cut which I had inflicted u pon myself in the bedroom that morning. It was only by trying begging as an amateur that I could get th e facts upon which to base my articles. a Lascar. You are the first who have ever heard my story. She little knew what. where I received an excellent education. and to make myself as pitiable as possible I made a good scar and fixed one side of my lip in a twi st by the aid of a small slip of flesh-coloured plaster. and eventual ly married. was well paid by me for his rooms. My father was a schoolmaster in C hesterfield. an d also in a facility of repartee. I wrote my articles and thought little more of the matter until. some time later. All day a stream of pennies. and it was a very bad day in which I failed to take £2. I took my station in the business part of the c ity. you can imagine how hard it was to settle down to arduous work at £2 a week w hen I knew that I could earn as much in a day by smearing my face with a little paint. Swiftly I threw off my clothes. O ne day my editor wished to have a series of articles upon begging in the metropo lis. and had been famous in the green-room for my skill . t ook to the stage. and. poured in upon me. asked for a holiday from my employers. and an appropriate dress. It was a long fight betwe en my pride and the money. and I threw up reporting and sat day after day in the corner which I had first chosen. I do not me an that any beggar in the streets of London could earn £700 a year which is less tha n my average takings but I had exceptional advantages in my power of making up. pulled on those of a beggar. and finally became a reporter on an evening paper in London. took a house in the country.

I am sure. telling her that she had no cause to fear. You are engaged. but at that moment there was a rush of constables up the stair. I wish I knew how you reach your results. I reached this one. A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair sugg ested that the hat had been suspended in this manner for the purpose of examinat ion. evidently newly studied. rather. That note only reached her yesterday. Holmes. and a pile of crumpled morning papers. who forgot all about it for some days . said Inspector Bradstreet. that we a re very much indebted to you for having cleared the matter up. that instead of being identified as Mr. then all must come out. I think. Good God! What a week she must have spent! The police have watched this Lascar. that if we drive to Baker Street we shall just be in time for breakfast. The ma .h I carried my takings. much the worse for wear. said I. But if you are found again. He was lou nging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown. near at hand. Knowing that my wife would be terribly anxious. together with a hurried scrawl. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results. said Holmes. perhaps I interrupt you. That was it. Not at all. said my friend. and on the angle of the back hung a very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat. a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right. I was determined to preserve my disguise as long as possible. but what was a fine to me? It must stop here. Watson. I do not know that there is anything else for me to explain. Mr. there must be no more of Hugh Boone. If the police are to hush this thing u p. to my relief. But have you -------------------------------------------------------------------------------VII. I con fess. nodding approvingly. and crack ed in several places. Clair. I have no doubt of it. and I can quite und erstand that he might find it difficult to post a letter unobserved. In that case I think that it is probable that no further steps may be taken. I hurled it out of the window. I slipped off my ring and co nfided it to the Lascar at a moment when no constable was watching me. The other clothes would have followed. Neville St. said Bradstreet. and a few minutes after I found. Beside the couch was a wooden chair. said Holmes. Probably he handed it to some sailor customer of his. THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLUE CARBUNCLE I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christ mas. however. never been prosecuted for begging? Many times. with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. I have sworn it by the most solemn oaths which a man can take. by sitting upon five pillows and consuming an o unce of shag. and hence my preference for a dirty fa ce. I was arrested as his murderer. and it disappeared into t he Thames.

and vanished amid the labyri nth of small streets which lie at the back of Tottenham Court Road. It is his hat. I beg that you will look upon it not a s a battered billycock but as an intellectual problem. laughing. I suppose. smashed the shop window behind him. shocked at ha ving broken the window. One of the latter knocked off the man s hat. every possible combination of events may be expected to take place. it is not easy to restore lost property to any one of them. and to the adventure of the man with the twi sted lip. a tallish man. It is true that For Mrs. to the sin gular case of Miss Mary Sutherland. and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal. . and seeing an official-looking person in uniform rushing towards him. No. And. three have been entirely free of any legal crime. is a very honest fellow.tter is a perfectly trivial one he jerked his thumb in the direction of the old hat bu t there are points in connection with it which are not entirely devoid of intere st and even of instruction. I remarked. that. first. was returning from some small jollification and w as making his way homeward down Tottenham Court Road. and it is also true that the initials H. The roughs h ad also fled at the appearance of Peterson. As he reached the corner of Goodge Street. Its owner is unknown. You allude to my attempt to recover the Irene Adler papers. B. and also of the spoils of victory in the shape of this bat tered hat and a most unimpeachable Christmas goose. as to how it came here. Peterson had rushed forward to protect the stranger from his assailants. f or a sharp frost had set in. Th e facts are these: about four o clock on Christmas morning. on which he raised his stick to defend himself and. which is. said Sherlock Holmes. We have already had experience of such. no. So much so. Which surely he restored to their owner? My dear fellow. I have no doubt. but as there are some thousands of Bakers. Precisely. and carrying a whit e goose slung over his shoulder. and some hundreds of Henry Bakers in this city of our s. he found it. so that he was left in possession of the field of battle. Henry Baker was pr inted upon a small card which was tied to the bird s left leg. a ro w broke out between this stranger and a little knot of roughs. dropped his goose. I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire. homely as it looks. in company with a good fat goose. It is to him that this trophy belongs. roasting at this moment in front of Peterson s fire. this thing has some deadly story li nked on to it that it is the clue which will guide you in the solution of some mys tery and the punishment of some crime. and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. No. the commissionaire? Yes. as you know. I have no doubt that this small matter will fall into the same i nnocent category. are legible upon the lining of this hat. I remarked. Well. walking with a slight stagger. It arrived upon Christmas morning. but the man. No crime. In front of him he saw. You know Peterson. no. took to his heels. that of the last six cases which I have added to my notes. who. Peterson. in the gaslight. sw inging it over his head. Amid the action and reacti on of so dense a swarm of humanity. there lies the problem. Only one of those whimsical littl e incidents which will happen when you have four million human beings all jostli ng each other within the space of a few square miles.

however. You fail. to reason fro m what you see. My dear Holmes! He has. That the man was highly intellectual is of course obvious upon the face of it. There was no maker s name. 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. exceedingly dusty.What. although there seemed to have been some attempt to hide the discoloured patches by smearing them with ink. the initials H. handing it back to my friend. and spotted in several places. From his hat? Precisely. but has less now than formerly. however. what clue could you have as to his identity? Only as much as we can deduce. He had foresight. knowing that even the smallest problems are of interest to me. Watson. I can see nothing. that it is . Did he not advertise? No. it was cracked. he r emarked. You know my methods. it would be we ll that it should be eaten without unnecessary delay. Then. Then. then. but. But you are joking. and which he anoints with lime-cream. is middle-aged. to fulfil the ultimate destiny of a goose. you can see everything. which. were scrawled u pon one side. did Peterson do? He brought round both hat and goose to me on Christmas morning. said I. It was pierced in the brim for a hat-securer. and a few ot hers which represent at least a strong balance of probability. although he has now fallen upo n evil days. The goose we retained until this m orning. He is a man who leads a sedentary life. but was a good deal discoloured. when there were signs that. as Holmes had remarked. B. This may account also for the obvious fact that his wife has ceased to love him. These are the more patent facts which are to be deduced from his hat. when taken with the decline of his fortunes. For the rest. You are too timid in drawing your inferences. goes out little. It wa s a very ordinary black hat of the usual round shape. Its finder has carried it off. What can you gather from this old battered felt? Here is my lens. and yet there are a few inferences which are very distinct. retained some degree of self-respect. The lining had been of red silk. seems to i ndicate some evil influence. Also. disregarding my remonstrance. by the way. probably drink. he continued. It is perhaps less suggestive than it might have been. On the contrary. therefore. in spite of the slight frost. is out of training entirely. but the elastic was missing. hard and much the worse fo r wear. What can you gather yourself as to the indi viduality of the man who has worn this article? I took the tattered object in my hands and turned it over rather ruefully. pointing to a mor al retrogression. while I continue to r etain the hat of the unknown gentleman who lost his Christmas dinner. has grizzled hair which he has had cut wit hin the last few days. and also that he w as fairly well-to-do within the last three years. at work upon him.

Is it possible that even now. which is a sign that he has not entirely lost his self-respect. but I must confess that I am unable to fol low you. which is a distinct proof of a weakening nature. Holmes. with a w eek s accumulation of dust upon your hat. that it ha s been recently cut. since he went o ut of his way to take this precaution against the wind. and hat is three years old. For example. and that he uses lime-cream. The decline of his fortunes. and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state. I shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose your wife s affection. then he has assuredly gone down in the world. But how on earth do you deduce that the gas is not laid on in his house? . that he is middle-aged. and there is a distinct odour of lime-cream. It hat of the very best quality. Your reasoning is certainly plausible. then? This is a llent . a man with so large a brain must have something in it. is not the gritty. They all appear to b e adhesive. said he. grey dust of the street but the fluffy brown dust of th e house. But his wife you said that she had ceased to love him. On the other hand. This hat has not been brushed for weeks. how did you deduce that this man was intellectual? For answer Holmes clapped the hat upon his head. it is obvious that h e has less foresight now than formerly. yo u are unable to see how they are attained? I have no doubt that I am very stupid. that his hair is grizzled. Well. it is a sign of a certain amount of foresight. They are never sold upon hats. and could therefore. he was bringing home the goose as a peace-offering to his wife. When I see you. my dear Watson. It came right over the forehead and settled upon the bridge of his nose. But how about the foresight and the moral retrogression? Sherlock Holmes laughed. you will obs erve. showing that it has been hung up indoors most of the time. clean cut by the scissors of the barber. that is clear enough.extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house. The lens discloses a large nu mber of hair-ends. But he might be a bachelor. It is a question of cubic capacity. while the ma rks of moisture upon the inside are proof positive that the wearer perspired ver y freely. said he putting his finger upon th e little disc and loop of the hat-securer. are all to be gathered from a close examination of the lower part of the lining. If this man ordered one. These flat brims curled at the edge came in then. hardly be in the best of training. Not in the least. he has endeavoured to conceal some of these stains u pon the felt by daubing them with ink. certainly. You are certainly joking. when I give you these results. You have an answer to everything. This dust. If this man could afford to buy so expensive a hat three years ago has had no hat since. Remember the card upon the bird s leg. The further points. Nay. Look at the band of ribbed silk and the exce lining. But since we see that he has broken the elastic and has not troubled to replace it. Here is the foresight.

all th is seems to be rather a waste of energy. Mr. or even two. it is very ingenious. John Horner. upp er-attendant at the hotel. was a ccused of having abstracted it from the lady s jewel-case. laughing. if I remember aright. and no harm done save the loss of a goose. ther e has been no crime committed. Sherlock Holmes sat up with a whistle. Precisely so. and Pete rson. A thousand pounds! Great Lord of mercy! The commissionaire plumped down into a cha ir and stared from one to the other of us. It s more than a precious stone. It cuts into glass as though it were putty. I believe. Peterson! said he. on December 22nd. but when I see no less than five. I remarked. Are you satisfied? Well. Anyhow. said I. he never got tal low-stains from a gas-jet. until at last he smoothed one out. It is absolutely unique. doubled it over. I suppose you know what you have got? this is treasure A diamond. and read the fol lowing paragraph: Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery. He rummaged amid his newspapers. It was lost. a plumber. Eh? What of it. rushed into the apartment with flushed cheeks and the face of a man who is dazed with astonishment. sir? A precious stone. Precisely so. as you said just now. at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. The goose.One tallow stain. the commissionaire. 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 h is hat in one hand and a guttering candle in the other. Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply. See here. 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 m an s excited face. just five days ago. By Jove. abstracted from the jewel-case of the C ountess of Morcar the valuable gem known as the blue carbuncle.. and I have reason to know that there are sentimental consider ations in the background which would induce the Countess to part with half her f ortune if she could but recover the gem. I ought to know its size and shape. It is the precious stone. but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled lik e an electric point in the dark hollow of his hand. That is the reward. Not the Countess of Morcar s blue carbuncle! I ejaculated. but the reward offered of £1000 is certainly no t within a twentieth part of the market price. was brought up upon t he charge of having upon the 22nd inst. seeing that I have read the adv ertisement about it in The Times every day lately. The evidence against hi m was so strong that the case has been referred to the Assizes. rather s maller than a bean in size. John Horner. I have some acco unt of the matter here. plumber. when the door flew open. gave his evidence to the effect that he had shown Hor . but since. sir! he gasped. James Ryder. might come by chance. glancing over the dates. 26. sir! See what my wife found in its crop! He held out his hand and displa yed upon the centre of the palm a brilliantly scintillating blue stone. Holmes! The goose. trove indeed. and its value can only be conjectured.

Every good stone is. Peterson. our little deductions have suddenly assumed a much more important and less innocent aspect. who struggled frantically. So now we must set ourselves very seriously to finding this gentleman and ascertaining what part he has played in this little mystery.ner up to the dressing-room of the Countess of Morcar upon the day of the robber y in order that he might solder the second bar of the grate. but since then he must have bitterly regretted the impulse which caused him to drop his bi rd. Here is the stone. Evening News. I shall keep the stone. tossing aside the pap er. I say. fainted away at the conclusion and was carried out of court. maid to the Countess. in the Globe. and to having rushed into the room. And this stone? Ah. Henry Baker. On returning. said Holmes thoughtfully. Very. the gentleman with the bad hat an d all the other characteristics with which I have bored you. Horner. Holmes took up the stone and held it against t he light. who had shown sign s of intense emotion during the proceedings. yes. was lying empty upon the dressin g-table. Watson. where she found matters as described by the last witness. Standard. He was clearly so scared by his mischance in breaking the window a nd by the approach of Peterson that he thought of nothing but flight. we must try the simplest means f irst. for we must have one to give to th is gentleman in place of the one which your family is now devouring. But will he see it? Well. Thank you. The question for us now to solve is the sequence of events leading from a rif led jewel-case at one end to the crop of a goose in Tottenham Court Road at the other. You see. Hum! So much for the police-court. then: Found at the corner of Goodge Street. since. as it afterwards transpired. for ever yone who knows him will direct his attention to it. Baker Street. which was loose. said he. he is sure to keep an eye on the papers. That is clear and concise. Inspector Bradstreet. Mr. It s a bonny thing. Then. Ryder instantly gave the alarm. To do this. Cath erine Cusack. Pall Mall. Echo. James s. and the goose came from Mr. and a ny others that occur to you. What will you say? Give me a pencil and that slip of paper. the stone came from the g oose. and Horner was arrested the same evenin g. the magistrate refused to deal summar ily with the offence. Here you are. Very well. And. Now. St. Of course it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Henry Baker can have the same by apply ing at 6:30 this evening at 221B. a goose and a black felt hat. Evidence of a previous conviction for robbe ry having been given against the prisoner. the Countess was accustomed to keep her jewel. sir. Star. They are the devil s pet . Peterson. When the commissionaire had gone. to a poor man. that the bureau had been force d open. B division. but referred it to the Assizes. I f this fail. but had finally been called away. deposed to having heard Ryder s cry of dismay on discovering the robbery. and these lie undoubtedly in an advertisement in all the evening papers. just buy a goos e on your way back and leave it here with me. the introduction of his name will cause him to see it. In which. again. He had remained with Horner some little time. and protested h is innocence in the strongest terms. gave evidence as to the arrest of Horner. the loss was a heavy one. but the stone could not be found either upon his person or in his rooms. and that the small morocco casket in which. run down to the advertising agency and have this put in the evening papers. I shall have recourse to other methods. he found that Horner had disappeared. Just see how it glints and sparkles. sir? Oh.

He was a large man with rounded shoulders. Ah. a vitriol-thr owing. There is a woodcock. In the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody deed. and gave the impression generally of a man of learning and letters who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune. I think. Do you think that this man Horner is innocent? I cannot tell. I believe.baits. then. that is undoubtedly my hat. I believe. choosing his word s with care. It was found in the banks of the Amoy Ri ver in southern China and is remarkable in having every characteristic of the ca rbuncle. sloping down to a pointed beard of grizzled brown. I am at a loss to know now why you did not advertise. sir. said Holmes. intellig ent face. however. We have retained these things for some days. I had been delayed at a case. a suicide. In spite of its yout h. and a broad. and I observe that your ci rculation is more adapted for summer than for winter. much more likely that Henry Baker is an absolutely innocent man. Henry Baker. Is that your hat. who had no idea that the bird which he was carrying was of considerably more val ue than if it were made of solid gold. Mr. Hudson to examine i ts crop. had anything to do w ith the matter? It is. Pray take t his chair by the fire. and we were shown up together to Holmes room. and several robberies brought about for the sake of this forty -grain weight of crystallised charcoal. A touch of red in n ose and cheeks. you have just come at the right time. it has already a sinister history. Baker. because we expected to se e an advertisement from you giving your address. Watson. save that it is blue in shade instead of ruby red. I dine at seven. Very glad to see you. That. It is a cold night. Mr. recalled Holmes surmis e as to his habits. perhaps I ought to ask Mrs. rising from his armchair and greeting his vis itor with the easy air of geniality which he could so readily assume. w ith the collar turned up. I shall determine by a ver y simple test if we have an answer to our advertisement. Mr. in view of recent occurrences. for I should like to see the solution o f so tangled a business. But I shall come back in the evening at the hour you have mentioned. a massive head. Well. and his lank wrists protruded from his sleeves without a sign of cuff or shirt. There have been two murders. His rusty black frock-coat was buttoned right up in front. and it was a little after half-past six when I fou nd myself in Baker Street once more. In that case I shall continue my professional round. This stone is not yet twenty years old. do you imagine that this other one. said he. . And you can do nothing until then? Nothing. Who would think that so pretty a toy wou ld be a purveyor to the gallows and the prison? I ll lock it up in my strong box n ow and drop a line to the Countess to say that we have it. He spoke in a slow staccato fashion. Just as I arrived the door was opened. Baker? Yes. 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. By the way . with a slight tremor of his extended hand. Henry Baker.

near the Museum we ar e to be found in the Museum itself during the day. Our footfalls rang out crisply and loudly as we swung through the doctors quarter. Sherlock Holmes glanced sharply across at me with a slight shrug of his shoulder s. which is a small public-ho use at the corner of one of the streets which runs down into Holborn. Harley Street. With a comical pomposity of manner he bowed solemnly to both of us and strode off upon his way. This year our good host. said he. But I presume tha t this other goose upon the sideboard. we were compelled to eat it. To eat it! Our visitor half rose from his chair in his excitement. and I have seldom seen a better grown goose. It was a bitter night. Shillings have not been so plentiful with me as they once were. certainly. and so on of your own bird. Very naturally. Then I suggest that we turn our dinner into a supper and follow up this clue whil e it is still hot. he remarked. There are a few of us who frequent the Alpha Inn. said Holmes when he had closed the door behind him. we still have the feathers. who had risen and tucked his newly gained property und er his arm. I will confine my attentions to the excellent bird which I perceive upo n the sideboard. and the breat h of the passers-by blew out into smoke like so many pistol shots. Henry Baker. There is your hat. and the rest is familiar to you. it would have been of no use to anyone had we not done so. Of course. said Baker. certainly. said he. so we drew on our ulsters and wrapped cravats about our t hroats. will answer your purpose equally well? Oh. by which. but beyond that I can hardly see what use the disjecta membra of my late acquaintance are going to be to me. Are you hungr y. So much for Mr. I am much indebted to yo u. Watson? Not particularly. with your per mission. we were each to receive a bird at Christmas. so if you wish The man burst into a hearty laugh. Outside. I think that. and there your bird. the stars were shining coldly in a cloudless sky. I had no doubt that the gang of roughs who assaulted me had carried off both my hat and the bird. crop. Holmes pus It . By the way. instituted a goose club. My pence were duly paid. Windigate by name. Certainly. By the way. By all means. for a Scotch bonnet is fitted neither to my years nor my gravity. which is about the same weight and perfec tly fresh. sir. about the bird. on considerati on of some few pence every week. Baker with a sigh of relief. then. is quite certain that he knows nothing whatever about the matter. Wimpole Str eet. sir. and so through Wigmore Street into Oxford Street. In a quart er of an hour we were in Bloomsbury at the Alpha Inn. answered Mr. No. sir. would it bore yo u to tell me where you got the other one from? I am somewhat of a fowl fancier. you understand. I did not care to spend more money in a hopeless attempt at recovering them. They might be useful to me as relics of my adv enture.Our visitor gave a rather shamefaced laugh. legs. Yes.

One of the largest stalls bore the name of Breckinridge upon it. white-aproned landlord. Let you have five hundred to-morrow morning. too. who was a member of your goose club. Who by? The landlord of the Alpha. we have at the other a man who will certainly get sev en years penal servitude unless we can establish his innocence. Now for Mr. My geese! The man seemed surprised. then? Well. Ah! I don t know him. continued Holmes. he continued. and prosperity to your house. down Endell Street. I see. Breckinridge. I was speaking only half an hour ago to Mr. pointing at the bare slabs of marble. It is possible th at our inquiry may but confirm his guilt. Indeed! Whose. in any case. Ah! yes. but. Your beer should be excellent if it is as good as your geese. But you see. then. It s a cold night. buttoning up his coat as we came out into the frosty air. I see. Ah. sir. but I was recommended to you. Well. Well.hed open the door of the private bar and ordered two glasses of beer from the ru ddy-faced. and which a singular chance has placed in our hands. I sent him a couple of dozen. them s not our geese. Fine birds they were. . Good-night. there are some on the stall with the gas-flare. we have a line of in vestigation which has been missed by the police. Which was it? Breckinridge is his name. Faces to the south . That s no good. Good-evening. with a sharp face and trim sid e-whiskers was helping a boy to put up the shutters. Oh. and so through a zigzag of slums t o Covent Garden Market. Henry Baker. and quick march! We passed across Holborn. Let us follow it out to the bitter end. The salesman nodded and shot a questioning glance at my companion. yes. Yes. I got the two dozen from a salesman in Covent Garden. and the proprietor a horsey-looking man. said he. Sold out of geese. here s your good health landlord. Now where did you get them from? To my surprise the question provoked a burst of anger from the salesman. Indeed? I know some of them. Remember. Watson that though we have so homely a thing as a goose at one end of this chain. said Holmes.

D you see? Well. look at that third name. l aying them out together beneath the hanging lamp. for I know that I am right. then! You see this other page in red ink? Well. what are you It is straight enough. D you think you know more about fowls than I. Now. then. now. I thought that I was out of geese. just to teach you not to be obstinate. you ve lost your fiver. but I don t know why you should be so warm ove r such a trifle. Will you bet. but b efore I finish you ll find that there is still one left in my shop. You see this l ittle book? Well? That s the list of the folk from whom I buy. to hear the fuss that is mad e over them. maybe. here on this page are the country folk. It s nothing of the kind. Now then. I say it is. driving at? Let s have it straight. Mr. and the numbers after their names are where their account s are in the big ledger. if you were as pestered as I am. . Bill. snapped the salesman.Now. I don t believe it. but it s Where are th e geese? and Who did you sell the geese to? and What will you take for the geese? would think they were the only geese in the world. Well. for it s town bred. th at is a list of my town suppliers. But I m alwa ys ready to back my opinion on a matter of fowls. Well. said he. I have no connection with any other people who have been making inquiries. 117. then? It s merely taking your money. I shan t tell you. that is all. then. s aid Holmes carelessly. The salesman chuckled grimly. Mrs. Brixton Road 249. all those birds that went to the Alpha were town bred. then. One The small boy brought round a small thin volume and a great greasy-backed one. mister. Well then. said he. read Holmes. with his head cocked and his arms akimbo. When I pay good mon ey for a good article there should be an end of the business. it is a matter of no importance. I should like to know who sold you the geese which you sup plied to the Alpha. who have handled them ever since I wa s a nipper? I tell you. said the salesman. Now. But I ll have a sovereign on with you. Warm! You d be as warm. So now! Oh. Bring me the books. Cocksure. and I have a fiver on it that the bird I ate is country bred. You ll never persuade me to believe that. Just read it ou t to me. Oakshott. If you won t tell us the bet is off.

She told me to ask you. said he. Well. and I could see in the gas-light that every vestige of colour had been driven from his face. I wish you were all at the devil t ogether. He sprang round. Now turn that up in the ledger. and the only point which remains to be determined is whether we should go on to this Mrs. or whether we should reserve it for to-morrow. then. Watson. egg and poultry supplier. that man would not have given me such complete information as was drawn from him by the idea that he was doing me on a wager. Oakshott for it. and I should His remarks were suddenly cut short by a loud hubbub which broke out from the st all which we had just left. Now. Come with me. Striding through the scattered knot s of people who lounged round the flaring stalls. whispered Holmes. and w e will see what is to be made of this fellow. 6d. A few yards off he stopped under a lamp-post and laughed i n the hearty. Mrs. Ha! this may save us a visit to Brixton Road. the salesman. Windigate of the Alpha. he shouted. Well. and the inquirer flitted away into the da rkness. 117. I ve had enough of it. Quite so. for all I care. we are. turning away with the air of a man whose disgust i s too deep for words. Oakshott. Oakshott to-night. but one of them was mine all the same. You bring Mrs. ask Mrs. Well. at 12s. Who are you. He drew a sovereign from his pocket and threw it down upon the slab. but what have you to do w ith it? Did I buy the geese off you? No. you can ask the King of Proosia. was sh aking his fists fiercely at the cringing figure. framed in the door of his stall. Oakshott here and I ll answer her. my companion speedily overtook the little man and touched him upon the shoulder. When you see a man with whiskers of that cut and the Pink un protruding out of his p ocket. I ve had enough of you and your geese. Twenty-four geese at 7s. And underneath? Sold to Mr. Turning round we saw a little rat-faced fellow stand ing in the centre of the circle of yellow light which was thrown by the swinging lamp.Quite so. noiseless fashion which was peculiar to him. What have you to say now? Sherlock Holmes looked deeply chagrined. what s the last entry? December 22nd. Holmes turned to the page indicated. while Breckinridge. whined the little man. nearing the end of our quest. then? What do you want? he asked in a quavering voice. you can always draw him by a bet. I daresay that if I had put £100 d own in front of him. then. I fancy. Brixton Roa . If you come pestering me any more with your silly talk I ll set the dog a t you. It is clear from what that surly fel low said that there are others besides ourselves who are anxious about the matte r. Get o ut of this! He rushed fiercely forward. There you are. d. Here you are.

you are the very man whom I have longed to meet. I can hardly explain to you how in terested I am in this matter. sir. of that goose. I think that I could be of assistan ce to you. he cried. of which Mr. But pray tell me. Oh. can you tell me where it went to? . I imagine in which you were i nterested white. It was one bird. thin breathing of our new companion. In that case we had bett er discuss it in a cosy room rather than in this wind-swept market-place. It is always awkward doing business wit Well then. said he . It is my business to know what other people don t know. Sherlock Holmes hailed a four-wheeler which was passing. Precisely so.You will excuse me. Here we are! said Holmes cheerily as we filed into the room. The little man stood glancing from one to the other of us with half-frightened. e is James Ryder. Pray take the basket-chair. sir. The man hesitated for an instant. then! You want to know what became of those geese? Yes. spoke of the nervous tension within him. Mr. of Brixton Road. I will just put on my slippers before we settle this little matter of yours. but the high. I know everything of it. with a black bar across the tail. as one who is not sure whether he is on the verge of a windfa ll or of a catastrophe. Now . h an alias. You are endeavouring to trace some geese whic h were sold by Mrs. You? Who are you? How could you know anything of the matter? My name is Sherlock Holmes. and the claspings and unc laspings of his hands. by him in turn to Mr. Or rather. and by him to his club. sir. but I could not help overhearing the quest ions which you put to the salesman just now. Then he stepped into the cab. You look cold. who it is that I have the pleasure of a ssisting. a nd I shall soon be able to tell you everything which you would wish to know. My name is John Robinson. no. Pray step into the cab. Ryder. before we go farther. I don t wonder that you should take an i Oh. Windigate. Here? Yes. It came here. to a salesman named Breckinridge. I fancy. Nothing had been said during our dri ve. Ryder quivered with emotion. elong glance. The fire looks very se asonable in this weather. and a most remarkable bird it proved. Oakshott. said Holmes blandly. he answered with a sid said Holmes sweetly. my real nam A flush sprang to the white cheeks of the stranger. half-hopeful eyes. No. Henry Baker is a member. and in half an hour we wer e back in the sitting-room at Baker Street. the real name. But you can know nothing of this? Excuse me. said he. cried the little fellow with outstretched hands and quivering fingers. Head attendant at the Hotel Cosmopolitan. of the Alpha.

She had married a man named Oakshot t. and I made for my sister s house. and he sat staring with frightened eyes at his accuse r. many-pointed radiance. and why I was so pa . And now let us hear a true account of the next act. I ll swear it on a Bible. but you thought little enough of this poor Horner in the dock for a crime o f which he knew nothing. sir. and. the sweat was pouring down my face before I came to the Brixton Road. where she fattened fowls for the market. The game s up. What did you do. Hold up. and lived in Brixton Road. Ryder. You then Ryder threw himself down suddenly upon the rug and clutched at my companion s knee s. So! Now he looks a little more human. the temptation of sudden wealth so easily ac quired was too much for you. raised the alarm. then? You made some small j ob in my lady s room you and your confederate Cusack and you managed that he should be the man sent for. when he had left. It laid an egg after it was dead the bonniest. Ryder. said he. which shone o ut like a star. or you ll be into the fire! Gi ve him an arm back into his chair. He s not got blood enough to go in for felony with impunity. said Holmes quietly. I never went wrong before! I never will again. had been concerned in some such matter before. You had heard. and all the proofs which I could possibly n eed. I went out. that there is the making of a very pretty villain in you. for I did not know at what mom ent the police might not take it into their heads to search me and my room. I have almost every link in my hands. as if on some commission. All the w ay there every man I met seemed to me to be a policeman or a detective. Holmes unlocked his strong-box and held up the blue carbuncle. Watson. you rifled the jewel-case. I swear it. When Horner had been arrested. don t! Get back into your chair! said Holmes sternly. It is very well to cringe and crawl now. Still. man. Ther e was no place about the hotel where it would be safe. Ryder. said he in a crackling voice. I have it here in my museum. It seems to me. uncertain whether to claim or to disown it. brilliant. with a cold.nterest in it. that little may as well b e cleared up to make the case complete. Then the charge against hi m will break down. Ryder passed his tongue over his parched lips. My sister asked me what was the matter. but the brandy brought a tinge of colour into his cheeks. for all that it was a cold night. have mercy! he shrieked. I will fly. I will leave the country. don t bring it into court! For Christ s sake. Well. You knew that this man Horner. What a shrimp it is. How came the stone into the goose. and had this unfortunate man arrested. t he plumber. of this blue stone of the Countess of Morcar s? It was Catherine Cusack who told me of it. Hum! We will talk about that. for there lies your only hope of safety. Think of my father! Of my mother! It woul d break their hearts. so there is little which you need tell me. Oh. to be sure! For a moment he had staggered and nearly fallen. it seemed to me that it would b e best for me to get away with the stone at once. Ryder stood glari ng with a drawn face. Then. brightest little blu e egg that ever was seen. sir. Holmes. I will tell you it just as it happ ened. and how came the goose into the open market? Tell us the truth. as it has been for better men before you. I see her ladyship s waiting-maid. Give him a dash of brandy. For God s sake. Our visitor staggered to his feet and clutched the mantelpiece with his right ha nd. Mr. but you w ere not very scrupulous in the means you used. and that suspicion wo uld rest the more readily upon him.

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

I find many tra gic. . I can not recall any which presented more singular features than that which was associ ated with the well-known Surrey family of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. I am not re tained by the police to supply their deficiencies. but it is just possible that I am saving a soul. reaching up his hand for his clay pipe. Doctor. and even the fantastic. some comic. Heaven bless you! No more words. We ll. and its solution is its own reward. and the case must collapse. This fellow will not go wrong again. but this fellow will not appear against him. THE ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the la st eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes. there were two barred-tailed ones. Get out! said he. The event s in question occurred in the early days of my association with Holmes. Beside s. broken only by his heavy breathing and by the measured tapping of Sherlock Holmes finger-tips upon the edge of the table. But was there another with a barred tail? I asked. the bang of a door. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------VIII. wi thout ever having touched the wealth for which I sold my character. There was a rush. of course I saw it all. sir! Oh. he has always answered me like that. but a promise of secrecy was made at the time. when we were sharing rooms as bachelors in Baker Street. God help me! God help me! He burst into convulsive sobbing. If Horner were in danger it w ould be another thing. said Holmes. and you make him a gaol-bird for life. There was a long silence. then. of Covent Garden. the same as the one I chose? Yes. You heard him yourselves to-night. Then my frien d rose and threw open the door. And now and now I am myself a branded thief. however. I suppose that I am commuting a felony. he is too terribly frightened. Watson. and I could never tell them apart. It is possible that I might hav e placed them upon record before. worki ng as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth. and I ran off as hard as my feet would carry me to this man Breckinridge. Well. for. a large number merely strange. it is the season of forgiveness. Of all these varied cases. but none commonplace. Chance has put in our way a most singular an d whimsical problem. My sister thinks that I am going mad. and the crisp rattle of running footfalls from the street. What. Jem. in which. If you will have the go odness to touch the bell. Get out! And no more words were needed.Which dealer s? Breckinridge. but he had sold the lot at once. we will begin another investigation. After all. Send him to gaol now. S ometimes I think that I am myself. and not one word w ould he tell me as to where they had gone. also a bird will be the chief feature. with his face buried in his hands . a clatter upon the stairs. he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend toward s the unusual.

then? No. You have come in by train this mo rning. for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rum ours as to the death of Dr. who insists upon seeing me. then a fire? No. for I was myself regular in my habits. by the side of my bed. you would. What. I would not miss it for anything. I have no doubt. all-comprehensive glances. My dear fellow. and we cou ld see that she was indeed in a pitiable state of agitation. You know me. said Holmes cheerily. and her expression was weary and haggard. N ow. Watson. with restless frightened eyes. I see. Mr s. fully dressed. as swift as intuitions. It is terror. and I shall order or I observe that you are shivering. What is it. f It is not cold which makes me shiver. Mr. Very sorry to knock you up. I am sure. and I on you. at any rate. alo . You must not fear. like those of some hunted animal. wish to follow it from the outset. Holmes. said he soothingly. She is waiting now in the sitting-room. but her hair was shot with p remature grey. I rapidly threw on my clothes and was ready in a few minutes to accompany my friend down to the sitting-room. We shall soon set matters right. Should it prove to be an interesting c ase. but it s the common lot this morning. who had been sitting in the window. madam. that I should call you and give you the chance. and as the clock on the mantelpiece showed me that it was only a quarter-pas t seven. and in admiring the rapid deductions. is Sherlock Holmes. My name ntimate friend and associate. as a ru le. rose as we entered. said he. Her f eatures and figure were those of a woman of thirty. a nd knock sleepy people up out of their beds. This is my i you can speak as freely as has had the good sense to you a cup of hot coffee. It seems that a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of e xcitement. a client. Dr. It is perhaps as well that the facts sh ould now come to light. bending forward and patting her forearm. and yet alwa ys founded on a logical basis with which he unravelled the problems which were s ubmitted to him.from which I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death o f the lady to whom the pledge was given. He was a late riser. her face all drawn and grey. Pray draw up to it. Hudson light the fire. when young ladies wander about the metropolis at this hour of the morning. changing her seat as requested. Hudson has been knocked up. she retorted upon me. You must have started early. and perhaps just a little resentm ent. and yet you had a good drive in a dog-cart. Sherlock Holmes ran her over with one of his quick. before whom before myself. I presume that it is something very pressing which they have to communicate. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth. I thought. She raised her veil as she spoke. It was early in April in the year 83 that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Hol mes standing. I blinked up at him in some surprise. Ha! I am glad to see that Mrs. Good-morning. but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glo ve. said the woman in a low voice. I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigat ions. Watson. A lady dressed in black and heavi ly veiled. then? It is fear.

and the family ruin was eventually completed by a gambler in the day s of the Regency. the Roylotts of Stoke Moran . too. madam. It was from her that I had your address. he established a large practice. how . The last squi re dragged out his existence there. and the estates extended over the borders into Berkshire in the north. whi ch might seem trivial to another. As but you are at liberty to defray wha which suits you best. tever expenses I may be put to. In the last century. Mr. There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way. po or fellow. Farintosh. by his professional skill and his force of heavy roads. it was concerned with an opal tiara. smiling. with the control of my own income. however. four successive heirs were of a dissolute and wasteful d isposition. reached Leatherhead at twenty past. case. There is no mystery. living the horrible life of an aristocratic pauper. The lady gave a violent start and stared in bewilderment at my companion. Holmes nodded his head. you are perfectly correct. who is the last surv ivor of one of the oldest Saxon families in England. madam. Mr. The marks are perfectly fresh . drew out a small case-book. and then only when you sit on the left-hand side of the driver. And now I beg may help us in forming an opinion up Alas! replied our visitor. my profession is its own reward. a nd then at least you shall not find me ungrateful. The family was at one time among the richest in England. can be of little aid. who cares for me. and my suspicions depend so entirely upon small points. which h e consulted. and Hampshire in the west. Whatever your reasons may be. that even he to whom of all others I have a ri ght to look for help and advice looks upon all that I tell him about it as the f ancies of a nervous woman. but in a month or six weeks I shall be married. that I shall be as I did to that of your friend. Nothing was left save a few acres of ground. Farintosh. said he. which is itself crushed under a heavy mortgage. and at least throw a little light through the dense darkness which surr ounds me? At present it is out of my power to reward you for your services. I have heard of you. Holmes. The name is familiar to me. seeing that he must adapt himself to th e new conditions. In a fit of anger. my dear madam. I started from h ome before six. and the two-hundr ed-year-old house. do you not think that you could help me. and he. can only say. on the western border of Surrey. But I have heard. unlocking it. I am all attention. You may advise me how to wal k amid the dangers which encompass me. said he. but his only son. obtained an advance from a relative. save only one. Watson. Holmes turned to his desk and. Sir. I can stand this strain no longer. Ah yes. I have no one to turn to none. said he. said she. and came in by the first tra in to Waterloo. I happy to devote the same care to your case to reward. My name is Helen Stoner. where. the very horror of my situation lies in the fact that my fears are so vague. which enabled him to take a medical degree and went out to Calcutta. whom you helped in the hour of her sore need. Holmes. I recall the I think it was before your time. I have heard o f you from Mrs. sir. at the time that you will lay before us everything that on the matter. He does not say so. The left arm of your jacket i s spattered with mud in no less than seven places. before you reached the station. I shall go mad if it con tinues. and I am living with my stepfather. Oh. that you can see deep ly into the manifold wickedness of the human heart. but I can read it from his soothi ng answers and averted eyes. my stepfather.

and the folks would fly at his approach. and would accept in retu rn the hospitality of their tents. The money which my mother had left was enough for all our wan ts. Roylott then abandoned his attempts to establish him self in practice in London and took us to live with him in the old ancestral hou se at Stoke Moran. the young widow of Major-General Stoner. and for a long time we did all the work of the house. He has a passion also for Indian animals. two of which ended in the police-court. caused by some robberies which had been perpetrated in the house. Roylott was in India he married my mother. We had. then? She died just two years ago. and yet her hair had already begun to whiten. but he half opened his lids now and glanced across at hi s visitor.ever. h e suffered a long term of imprisonment and afterwards returned to England a moro se and disappointed man. and he would give these vagabonds leave to encamp upon the few acres of bramble-covered land which represent the family estate. She had a considerable sum of money not less than £1000 a year and this she bequeathed to Dr. my m other s maiden sister. A series of disgraceful brawls took place. until at last he beca me the terror of the village. but within a fortnight of the day whi ch had been fixed for the wedding. been intensified by his long residence in the tropics. which wander freely over his grounds and are feared by the villagers almost as much as their master. When Dr. My stepfather learned of the engagement when my sister returned and offered no objection to the marriage. for he is a man of immense strength. You can imagine from what I say that my poor sister Julia and I had no great plea sure in our lives. he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence. She was but thirty at the time of her death. and we were only two years old at the time of my mother s re-marriage. . wandering away with them sometimes for weeks on end. Your sister is dead. and it was only by paying over all the money which I could gather together that I was able to avert another public exposure. You can understand that. living the life which I have described. Last week he hurled the local blacksmith over a parapet into a stream. Roylott entirely while we resided with him. he shut himself up in his house and seldom came out save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with whoever might cross his path. As it was. who lives near Harrow. however. and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon. and it is of her death that I wish to speak to you. and in my stepfather s case it had. and met there a half-pay major of marines. which are sent over to him by a correspondent. who had at first been overjo yed to see a Roylott of Stoke Moran back in the old family seat. I believe. Dr. Sherlock Holmes had been leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed and his head sunk in a cushion. of the Bengal Artillery. and we were occasionally allowed to pay short visits at this lady s house. Mrs. with a provision that a certain ann ual sum should be allowed to each of us in the event of our marriage. Violence of temper approaching to mania has been h ereditary in the men of the family. we were little likely to see anyone of our own age and position. But a terrible change came over our stepfather about this time. and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger. an aunt. Julia went there at Christmas two years ago. No servant would stay with us. He had no friends at all save the wandering g ipsies. Miss Honoria Westphail. Instead of making friends and exchanging visits with our neighbours. Shortly af ter our return to England my mother died she was killed eight years ago in a railw ay accident near Crewe. even as mine has. Stoner. the terrible event occurred which has deprive d me of my only companion. to whom she became engaged. and there seemed to be no obstacle to our happiness. My sister Julia and I were twi ns.

it is of no great consequence. Always. Of these bedrooms the fir st is Dr. perhaps from the lawn. Suddenly. though we knew that he had not retired to rest. That fatal night Dr. have you ever heard anyone whistle in the dead of the nig I suppose that you could not possibly whistle. yourself. hea rd a low. Helen. The manor-house is. the sitt ing-rooms being in the central block of the buildings. said I. I cannot tell where it came from perhaps from the next room. at any rate. Well. I have not. but they all open out into the same corridor. and you the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied. But why? Because during the last few nights I have always. in your sleep? Certainly not. and came into mine. The bedrooms in this wing are on the ground floor. but she paused at the door and looked back. where she sat for some time. No. I could not sleep that night. ht? Never. And yet if it were on the lawn. said she. Was it your custom always to lock yourselves in at night? .Pray be precise as to details. chatting about her approaching wedding. about three in the morning. Do I make m yself plain? Perfectly so. She left her room. Ah. the second my sister s. and only one wi ng is now inhabited. Roylo tt had gone to his room early. very old. and it has awakened me. Quite so. Tell me. The windows of the three rooms open out upon the lawn. closed my door. but I sleep more heavily than you. therefore. Pray proceed with your statement. I am a light sleeper. She smiled back at me. there misfortune impressed m know how subtle are It was a wild night. for every event of that dreadful time is seared into my memory. The wind was howling outside. were twins. f or my sister was troubled by the smell of the strong Indian cigars which it was his custom to smoke. you will recollect. Roylott s. We h ad no feeling of security unless our doors were locked. It is easy for me to be so. My sister and I. At eleven o clock she rose to leave me. as I have already said. I wonder that you did not hear it al so. A vague feeling of impending e. amid all the hubbub of the gale. It must be those wretched gipsies in the plantation. There is no commu nication between them. and a few moments later I heard her key turn in the lock. And why? I think that I mentioned to you that the doctor kept a cheetah and a baboon. Indeed. and the rain was beating and e windows. clear whistle. splashing against th burst forth the wild said Holmes. I thoug ht that I would just ask you whether you had heard it. Very likely. and the third my own. said he.

It is ce rtain. Roylott s conduct had long been n otorious in the county. said Holmes. but without success. And what conclusions did the coroner come to? He investigated the case with great care. wrapped a shawl round me. that my sister was quite alone when she met her end. my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band! There was something else which she would fain have said. I ran to her and threw my arms round her. with the sa me result. As I opened my d oor I seemed to hear a low whistle. all efforts were in vain. but is barred up by four large staples. there are nearly always some there. I knew that it was my sister s voice. and t he windows were blocked by old-fashioned shutters with broad iron bars. My evidence showed that the door had been fastened upon the inner side. Was your sister dressed? No. By the li ght of the corridor-lamp I saw my sister appear at the opening. for she slowly sank and died without having recovered her consciousness. bu t a fresh convulsion seized her and choked her words. which we re secured every night. Oh. I star ed at it horror-stricken. among the crash of the gale and the creaking of an old house. but as I bent over her she suddenly shriek ed out in a voice which I shall never forget. such as my sister described. The chimney is wide. and were shown to be q uite solid all round. One moment. there were no marks of any violence upon her. Showing that she had struck a light and looked about her when the alarm took plac e. In her right hand was found the charred stump of a match. her hands groping for help. When he reached my sister s side she was unconscious. The walls were carefully sounded. As I ran down the p assage. she was in her night-dress. calling loud ly for my stepfather. and rushed into the corridor. and she stabbed with her finger into the air in the direction of the doctor s room. Besides. and though he poured brand y down her throat and sent for medical aid from the village. and a few momen ts later a clanging sound. but he was unable to find any satisfactory cause of deat h. as if a mass of metal had fallen. but at that mo ment her knees seemed to give way and she fell to the ground. and the flooring was also thoroughly examined. and her limbs were dreadfully convulsed. What do you think that this unfortunate lady died of. and yet. and I met him hastening from his room in his dressing-gown . I sprang from my bed. her whole figure swaying to and fro l ike that of a drunkard. Were there gipsies in the plantation at the time? Yes. That is important. though what it was that frightened her I cannot imagine. and revolved slowly upon its hinges. At first I th ought that she had not recognised me. How about poison? The doctors examined her for it. . therefore. then? It is my belief that she died of pure fear and nervous shock. 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.scream of a terrified woman. her face blanche d with terror. Such was the dreadful end of my beloved sister. She writhed as one who is in terrible pain. It is my strong impress ion that I heard it. I rushed out. I may possibly have been deceived. not knowing what was about to issue from it. for Dr. and in her left a match-box. my sister s door was unlocked.

Holmes shook his head like a man who is far from being satisfied. you have not. said he. however. Yet we have no t a moment to lose. he said at last. Excellent. of Crane Water. and we are to be married in the course of t he spring. the marks of four fingers and a thumb. and that there would be nothin g to disturb you. from whence I have come on this morning with the one object of seeing you and asking your advice. got a dog-cart at the Crown Inn. Miss Roylott. If we were to come to Stoke Moran to-day. were printed upon the white wrist. You are not averse to this trip. but nothing was to be seen in the room. Two years have passed since then. but she is old and foolish. I was too shaken to go to bed again. and drove to Leatherhead. and my bedroom wall has been pierced. We have a housekeeper now. It is probable that he will be away all day. and I c ould easily get her out of the way. His name is Armitage Percy Armita ge the second son of Mr. 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. all. This is a very deep business. Armitage. A month ago. and my life has been until lately lonelier than ever. There was a long silence. perhaps to these very gipsies in the plantation. as I lay awake. ha s done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage. near Reading. Two days ago some repairs were started in the west wing of the buildi ng. Imagine. he spoke of coming into town to-day upon some most important busin ess. during which Holmes leaned his chin upon his hands and stared into the crackling fire. These are very deep waters. thinking ove r her terrible fate. whom I have known for many years. I suddenly heard in the silence of the night the low whistl e which had been the herald of her own death. however . said. Why. My stepfather has offered no opposition to the match. would it be possib le for us to see over these rooms without the knowledge of your stepfather? As it happens. my thrill of terror when last night. so that I have had to move into the ch amber in which my sister died. You are screening your stepfather. said my friend. Watson? . There are a thousand details which I should desire to know before I decide upon our course of action. You have done wisely. 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. she But have you told me all? The lady coloured deeply and covered over her injured wrist. I sprang up and lit the lamp. Five little livid spots. He is a hard man. sometimes that it may have referred to some band of people. what do you mean? For answer Holmes pushed back the frill of black lace which fringed the hand tha t lay upon our visitor s knee. You have been cruelly used. said Holmes. then. and to sleep in the very bed in which she slept. and as soon as it was daylight I slipped down. and perhaps he hardly knows his own strength. pray go on with your narrative.Ah. a dear friend. Yes. which is opposite. so I dressed.

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

He hel d in his hand a sheet of blue paper. where I hope to get some data which may help us in this matter. which at the time of the wife s death was litt . and I only trust that ou r little friend will not suffer from her imprudence in allowing this brute to tr ace her. As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and. You ar e Holmes. Fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official detective force! This incident gives zest to our investigation. I know that Miss Stoner has been here. and hurling the twisted pok er into the fireplace he strode out of the room. said my companion quietly. you scoundrel! I have heard of you before. I am Dr. he snarled. laughing. Holmes. It was nearly one o clock when Sherlock Holmes returned from his excursion. And now. What has she been saying to you? screamed the old man furiously. with a sudden effort . straightened it out again. but you have the advantage of me. bly. I am not quite so bulky. I have traced her. we shall order breakfast. said Holmes. and afterwards I shall walk down to Doctors Commons. but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own. said Holmes blandly. I will do nothing of the kind. taking a step forward and shakin g his hunting-crop. the busybody! His smile broadened. said he.My name. however. I traced her! I am a dangerous man to fall foul of! See here. Your conversation is most entertaining. My stepdaughter has been here. He stepped swiftly forward. continued my companion imperturba But I have heard that the crocuses promise well. for there is a decided draught. The total income. said he. See that you keep yourself out of my grip. do you? said our new visitor. When you I will go when I have said my say. said Holmes. sir. Holmes. Indeed. Grimesby Roylott. scrawled over with notes and figures. Watson. Ha! You put me off. of Stoke Moran. and bent it into a c urve with his huge brown hands. the meddler. go out close the door. What has she been saying to you? It is a little cold for the time of the year. seized the poker. I know you. Doctor. To determine its exact meaning I have been obliged to work out the present prices of the investments with which it is concerned. the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office! Holmes chuckled heartily. Don t you dare to meddle with my affairs. He seems a very amiable person. My friend smiled. I have seen the will of the deceased wife. Pray take a seat.

since it has proved that he has the very stronge st motives for standing in the way of anything of the sort. said Holmes. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who ca n twist steel pokers into knots. shading his eyes. tapped me on the shoulder. A heavily timbered park stretched up in a gentle slope. We have had the pleasure of making the doctor s acquaintance. Our client of the morning had hurried forward to meet us with a face which spoke her joy. Each daughter can claim an income of £250. paid our fare. I th We got off. and so by the foot-path over the fields. his hat pulled down over his eyes. I have been waiting so eagerly for you. Suddenly. Roylott has gone to town. and the air was full of the pleasant smell of the moist earth.le short of £1100. There s the village. To me at least there was a strange contrast between the sweet promise of the spring a nd this sinister quest upon which we were engaged. Look there! said he. Yes. Miss Stoner turned white to the lip s as she listened. Dr. and his chin s unk upon his breast. but if you want to get to the house. It is evident. and it is u nlikely that he will be back before evening. shaking hands with us warmly. That and a tooth-brush are. however. At Waterloo we were fortunate in catching a train for Leatherhead. he starte d. You see that we have been as good as ou r word. Grimesby Roylott. And now. remarked the driver. From amid the branches there jutted out the grey gables an d high roof-tree of a very old mansion. It was a perfect day. buried in the deepest thought. this beauty would have had a mere pi ttance. that if both girls had married. or on some definite business. and the trap rattled back on its way to Leatherhead. thickening into a grove at the highest point. all that w e need. she cried. said Holmes as we climbed the stile. thi s is too serious for dawdling. that this fellow should think we had come here as architects. I think. said the driver. is Miss Stoner. There is some building going on there. his arms folded. with a bright sun and a few fleecy clouds in the heavens. said Holmes. in case of marriage. . that be the house of Dr. It may stop his gossip. Miss Stoner. you ll find it shorter to get over this stile. Yes. I fancy. observed Holmes. is now. we shall call a cab and drive to Waterloo. I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolve r into your pocket. The trees and wayside hedges were just throwing out their first gr een shoots. that is where we are going. ink we had better do as you suggest. where we hire d a trap at the station inn and drove for four or five miles through the lovely Surrey lanes. not more than £7 50. and pointed over the meadows. and in a few words he sketched out what had occurred. through the fall in agricultural prices. Good-afternoon. I thought it as well. Watson. And the lady. sir. so if you are ready. pointing to a cluster of roofs some distance t o the left. An Eley s No. My companion sat in the front of the trap. especially as the old man is aware that we are in teresting ourselves in his affairs. Stoke Moran? said he. while even one of them would cripple him to a very serious extent. All has turned out splendidly. where the lad y is walking. There it is. therefore. My mo rning s work has not been wasted.

worm-eaten oak. Roylott s chamber? Exactly so. Th ere was no slit through which a knife could be passed to raise the bar. Too narrow for anyone to pass through. and the blinds i n the windows. my theor y certainly presents some difficulties. so old and discoloured that it may have dated from the orig . after the fashion of old country-houses. and Holmes. If he is viol your aunt s at Harrow. and in which her sister h ad met with her fate. would you have the kindness to go into your room and bar your shutter s? Miss Stoner did so. Now. But I am now sleeping in the middle one. showed that thi s was where the family resided. The boards round and the panelling of the walls were of br own. In one of these wings the windows were broken and blocked with wooden boards.Good heavens! she cried. endeavoured in every way to force the shutter open. He is so cunning that I never know when I am safe from him. No one could pass these shutters if they were bolted. A brown chest of drawers stood in one corner. Now. It was a homely little room. so we passed at once to t he second. on the other side of this narrow wing runs the corri dor from which these three rooms open. lichen-blotched stone. there does not seem to be a ny very pressing need for repairs at that end wall. but without success. but very small ones. while the r oof was partly caved in. Holmes walked slowly up and down the ill-tri mmed lawn and examined with deep attention the outsides of the windows. built firmly into the massive masonry. By the way. but the right-hand block was comparatively modern. Now. There are windows in it. he has followed me. A small side door led into the whitewashed corridor from which the three bedroom s opened. These articles. There were none. This. like the claws of a crab. and a dressingtable on the left-hand side of the window. So it appears. As you both locked your doors at night. with two small wicker -work chairs. scratching his chin in some perplexity. and the one next to the main building to Dr. we shall see if the inside throws any light upon the matter. The building was of grey. I take it. as I understand. I believe that it was an excuse to move me from my room. with a low ceiling and a gapi ng fireplace. with a high central portion and two curving wings. Then wit h his lens he tested the hinges. What will he say when he returns? He must guard himself. Hum! said he. that in which Miss Stoner was now sleeping. The central portion was in little be tter repair. Some scaffolding had been erected against the en d wall. for he mself upon his track. a narrow white-counterpaned bed in another. the centre one t o your sister s. then. we must make the best u us at once to the rooms which we are to examine. Ah! that is suggestive. made up all the furniture in the room save for a square of Wilton carpet in the centre. a picture of ruin. your rooms were unapproachable from that side. thrown out on each side. of course? Yes. Well. so kindly take may find that there is someone more cunning than hi lock yourself up from him to-night. but they were of solid iron. after a careful examination through the open win dow. but there were no signs of any workmen at the moment of our visit. You must ent. we shall take you away to se of our time. and the stone-work had been broken into. belongs to the room in which you used to sleep. with the blue smoke curling up from the chimneys. Holmes refused to examine the third chamber. Pending the alterations.

Won t it ring? No. Done about the same time as the bell-rope? Yes. Holmes walked slowly round and examined each and all of them with th e keenest interest. Very strange! muttered Holmes. said the lady. For example. You will excuse m e for a few minutes while I satisfy myself as to this floor. Indeed. said he. Grimesby Roylott s chamber was larger than that of his step-daughter. Holmes drew one of the chairs into a corner and sat silent. with the same trouble. there were several little changes carried out about that time. It goes to the housekeeper s room. but was as plainly furnished. examining minutely the cracks between the boards. when. tapping the safe. a round table. we shall now ca rry our researches into the inner apartment. it s a dummy. it is not even attached to a wire. taking in ever y detail of the apartment. Finally he walked over to the bed and spent some time in staring at it and in running his eye up and down the wall. Where does that bell communicate with? he asked at last pointing to a thick bell-r ope which hung down beside the bed. a small wooden shelf full of books. How very absurd! I never noticed that before. Miss Stoner. it seemed unnecessary to put so nice a bell-pull there. and ventil ators which do not ventilate. Then he did the same with the wood-work with which the chamber was panelled. he might have commun icated with the outside air! That is also quite modern. You can see now that it is fastened to a hook just above where the little opening for the ventil ator is. it was only put there a couple of years ago. the tassel actually lying upon the pillow. He threw himself dow n upon his face with his lens in his hand and crawled swiftly backward and forwa rd. With your permission. There are one or two very singu lar points about this room. A camp-bed. I suppose? No. Why. and a large iron safe were the principal things which m et the eye. It looks newer than the other things? Yes. while his eyes travelled round and round and up and down. I never heard of her using it. They seem to have been of a most interesting character dummy bell-ropes. Dr. what a fool a builder must be to open a ventilator into another room. . Your sister asked for it. We used always to get what we wanted for ourse lves. Finally he took the bell-rope in his hand and gave it a brisk tug. an armchair beside the bed. pulling at the rope. remarked Holmes. What s in here? he asked.inal building of the house. a plain wooden chair against the wall. This is very interesting. mostly of a technical character.

Watson? It s a common enough lash. He squatted down in front of the wooden chair and ex amined the seat of it with the greatest attention. Both Miss Stoner and I gazed at him in astonishment. I assure you that I am in your hands. The matter is too serious for any hesitation. Miss Stoner. Hullo! Here is something interesting! The object which had caught his eye was a small dog lash hung on one corner of t he bed. That is not quite so common. But I don t know why it should be tied. He took up a small saucer of milk which stood on the top of it No. and with your permission we shall walk out upon the lawn . said he. Yes. for example? No. yes. The lash. me! it s a wicked world. We had walked several times up and do wn the lawn. and yet a saucer of milk d oes not go very far in satisfying its wants. a cheetah is just a big cat. There is one point which I should wish to determine. said he. Oh! you have seen inside. But there is a cheetah and a baboon.My stepfather s business papers. that you should absolutely follow my ad . then? Only once. we don t keep a cat. Your life may depend upon your comp liance. I shall most certainly do so. What do you make of that. I think that I have seen e nough now. was curled upon itself and tied so as to make a loop of whipcord. rising and putting his lens in his pock et. Ah. It is very essential. Let me explain. some years ago. That is quite settled. however. it must be so. Thank you. Miss Stoner. I daresay. neither Miss Stoner nor myself liking to break in upon his thoughts before he roused himself from his reverie. that is the Crown. and when a clever man turns his brains to crime it is the worst of all. is it? Ah. In the first place. What a strange idea! Well. There isn t a cat in it. I remember that it was full of papers. look at this! . vice in every respect. of course! Well. both my friend and I must spend the night in your room. I had never seen my friend s face so grim or his brow so dark as it was when we tu rned from the scene of this investigation. I believe that that is the village inn over t here? Yes.

Watson. I have no doubt that. laying her hand upon my companion s sleeve. Roylott returned and saw us o ur journey would be in vain. easily. put your lamp there as a signal to us. Good-bye. and be brave. and from our window we could comm and a view of the avenue gate. and then withdraw quietly with everything which you are likely to want into the room which you used to occupy. on pretence of a headache. No. Perhaps I have. Then I shall certainly come. Your windows would be visible from there? Certainly. The trap d rove on. when your step father comes back. The rest you will leave in our hands.Very good. I should prefer to have clearer proofs before I speak. I do not think so. I believe. Grimesby Roylott drive past. Holmes. You must confine yourself to your room. and we heard the hoarse roar of the doctor s voice and saw the fury with which he shook his clinched fists at him. we must leave you for if Dr. Miss Stoner. Oh. And now. and we shall investigate the cause of this noise which has disturbed you. y ou could manage there for one night. said Holmes as we sat together in the gathering darkness. said Miss Stoner. and of the inhabited wing of Stoke Moran Manor Ho use. But what will you do? We shall spend the night in your room. I ha ve really some scruples as to taking you to-night. in spite of the repairs. Mr. that you have already made up your mind. for if you will do what I h ave told you. and if she died from some sudden fright. At dusk we saw Dr. You can at least tell me whether my own thought is correct. The boy had some slight difficu lty in undoing the heavy iron gates. Do you know. Then when you hear him retire for the night. you may rest assured that we shall soon drive away the dangers tha t threaten you. for pity s sake. Then. There is a distinct element o f danger. It is very kind of you. you must open th e shutters of your window. Sherlock Holmes and I had no difficulty in engaging a bedroom and sitting-room a t the Crown Inn. tell me what was the cause of my sister s death. 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. They were on the upper floor. undo the hasp. Can I be of assistance? Your presence might be invaluable. . I think that there was probably some more tangible cause. yes. his huge form looming up be side the little figure of the lad who drove him.

But what harm can there be in that? Well. My dear Holmes! Oh. You saw the ventilator. Roylott s cigar. I seem to see dimly what you are hinting at. A ventilator is made. but I think. Subtle enough and horrible enough. since it was clearly never meant for a bell-pull. I knew that we should find a ventilator before ever we came to Stoke Moran. About nine o clock the light among the trees was extinguished. a single bright light shone out right in fron t of us. and what purpose that could answer I confess is more than I can imagine. It could only be a small one. and all was dark in the direction of the Manor House. Palmer and Pritchard were among t he heads of their profession. but I fancy that I may have deduced a little more. it comes from the middle wi . When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. and then. for goodness sake let us have a quiet pipe and turn our minds for a few hours to something more cheerful. Two hours passed slowly away. You remember in her statement she said that her sister could smel l Dr. I deduced a ventilator. Watson. too? Yes. Does not that strike you? I cannot as yet see any connection. I imagine that you saw all that I did. This man strikes even deeper. But we shall have horrors enough before the night is over. Did you ever see a bed fastened like that before? I cannot say that I have. Now. sudde nly. Holmes. that we shall be able to strike deeper still. yes. No. of course that suggested at once that there must be a communication between the two rooms. It was so small that a rat could hardly pass through.You speak of danger. It was clamped to the floor. said Holmes. or it would h ave been remarked upon at the coroner s inquiry. Did you observe anything very peculiar about that bed? No. We are only just in t ime to prevent some subtle and horrible crime. You have evidently seen more in these rooms than was visible to me. a c ord is hung. springing to his feet. but I do not think that it is such a very unusual thing to have a small open ing between two rooms. and a lady who sleeps in the bed dies. It must always be in the same relative position to the ventilator and to the rope or so we may call it. there is at least a curious coincidence of dates. I saw nothing remarkable save the bell-rope. The lady could not move her bed. I did. That is our signal. He has nerve and he has knowledge. just at the stroke of eleven. I cried.

His hand closed like a vice upon my wrist in his agitation. and you in that chair. Then creeping up to me and making a trumpet of his hand. and once at our very windo w a long drawn catlike whine. I nodded to show that I had heard. I took out my revolver and laid it on the corner of the table. I nodded again. those quarters! Twelve struck. and were about to enter through the window when out from a clump of la urel bushes there darted what seemed to be a hideous and distorted child. I will sit on the side of the bed. My companion noiselessly closed the s hutters. That is the baboon. moved the lamp onto the table. which told us that the cheetah was indeed at liber ty. explaining that we were going on a late visit to an acquaintance. It is a nice household. I had forgotten the strange pets which the doctor affected. and we were left in darkness. within a few feet of me. and we waited in absolute darkness. in the same state of nervous tension in which I was myself. Holmes had brought up a long thin cane. we reached the lawn. he murmured. cr ossed it. By it he laid the box of matches and the stump of a candle. Then he broke into a low laugh and put his lips to my ea r. From outside came the occasional cry of a night-bird. Do not go asleep. Making our way among the trees. did you see it? Holmes was for the moment as startled as I. for unrepaired breaches gap ed in the old park wall. Have your pistol ready in ca se we should need it. and this he placed upon the bed beside h im. too.ndow. and one yellow light twinkling in front of us throu gh the gloom to guide us on our sombre errand. All wa s as we had seen it in the daytime. There was a cheetah. As we passed out he exchanged a few words with the landlord. How shall I ever forget that dreadful vigil? I could not hear a sound. he whispered into my ear again so gently that it was all that I cou ld do to distinguish the words: The least sound would be fatal to our plans. perhaps we might find it upon our shoulders at any moment. and cast his eyes round the room. who th rew itself upon the grass with writhing limbs and then ran swiftly across the la wn into the darkness. We must sit without light. after following Holmes example and slipping off my shoes. and yet I knew that my companion sat open-eyed. There was little difficulty in entering the grounds. and still we sat waiting silently for whatever might b efall. I confess that I felt easier in my mind when. How long they seemed. a chil l wind blowing in our faces. and that it was possible that we might spend the night there. He would see it through the ventilator. My God! I whispered. I found myself inside the bedroom. not even the drawing of a breath. . a nd one and two and three. Far away we could hear the deep tones of the parish clock. your very life may depend upon it. A moment later we were out on the dark road. which boomed out every quarter of an hour. Th e shutters cut off the least ray of light. Then he turned d own the lamp.

struck a match. in truth. In an instant his strange headgear began to move. At the moment when Holmes struck the light I heard a low.Suddenly there was the momentary gleam of a light up in the direction of the ven tilator. Holmes sprang from the bed. an d even in the distant parsonage. And perhaps. What can it mean? I gasped. He has died within ten seconds of being bitten. though the sme ll grew stronger. 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. Holmes answered. His chin was cocked upward and his eyes were fixed in a dreadful. which vanished immediately. and throwing the noose round the reptile s neck he drew it from its horrid perch and. The instant that we heard it. and the re reared itself from among his hair the squat diamond-shaped head and puffed ne ck of a loathsome serpent. it is for th e best. after all. and lashed furiously with his cane at the bell-pull. I t struck cold to our hearts. Gri mesby Roylott clad in a long grey dressing-gown. It swelled up louder and louder. Then he turned the handl e and entered. Across his lap lay the short stock with the long lash which we had noticed during the day. his bare ankles protruding bene ath. until t he last echoes of it had died away into the silence from which it rose. It means that it is all over. It is a swamp adder! cried Holmes. I took a step forward. see that his face was deadly pale and filled with horror and loathing. Twice he st ruck at the chamber door without any reply from within. howev er. throwing a brilliant beam of light upon the iron safe. Take your pistol. As we entered he made neither sound nor motion. You see it. He ha d 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 listen ed. cle ar whistle. the deadliest snake in India. Then suddenly anot her sound became audible a very gentle. Roylott s room. with the cocked pistol in my hand. As he spoke he drew the dog-whip swiftly from the dead man s lap. Beside this table. on the wooden chair. and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. It was a singular sight which met our eyes. With a grave face he lit the lamp and led the way down the corridor. with brownish speckles. Watson? he yelled. Violence does. threw it into the iron safe. On the table stood a dark-lantern wi th the shutter half open. . I at his heels. Someone in the next room had lit a dark-lantern. recoil upon the violent. and his feet thrust into red heelless Turkish slippers. and we can then remove Miss Stoner to some place of shelter and let the county police know what has happened. I could. The band! the speckled band! whispered Holmes. that cry raised the sleepers from their beds. soothing sound. Round his brow he had a peculiar yellow band. They say that away down in the village. I hea rd a gentle sound of movement. which he closed upon it. carrying it at arm s length. and I stood gazing at Holmes. sat Dr. and then all was silent once more. like that of a small jet o f steam escaping continually from a kettle. Let us thrust this creature back into its den. the door of which was ajar. For half an hour I sat with straining ears. but was succeeded by a strong smell of burn ing oil and heated metal. You see it? But I saw nothing. which seemed to be bound tightly round his head. and he at me. a hoarse yell of pain and fear and anger al l mingled in the one dreadful shriek. and we will enter Dr. rigid stare at the cor ner of the ceiling.

It might or might n ot bite the occupant.Such are the true facts of the death of Dr. And also with the result of causing it Some of the blows of my cane came home t flew upon the first person it saw. The presence of the gipsies. The si ght of the safe. and when I coupled it with my know ledge that the doctor was furnished with a supply of creatures from India. from his point of view. who could disti nguish the two little dark punctures which would show where the poison fangs had done their work. 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. how we conveyed her by the morning train to the care of her good aunt at Harrow. I had. how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. and I instantly lit the light and attacked it. perhaps she might escape every night for a week. The idea of using a form of poison whi ch 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 heard the creature hiss as I have no doubt that you did also. The idea of a snake instantly occurred to me. indeed. He had trained it. to this ventilator. as I have already remarked to you. h very heavily upon my conscience. I had come to these conclusions before ever I had entered his room. however. Then I thought of the whistle. to return to him when summoned. no dou bt. you know the steps which I took in order to put the matter to the proof. My attention was speedily drawn. The discovery that this was a dummy. of Stoke Moran. but soone r or later she must fall a victim. He woul d put it through this ventilator at the hour that he thought best. come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows. I can only claim the merit that I instantly reconsidered my position when. Grimesby Roylott s death. The little which I had yet to learn of the case was told me by Sherlock Holmes as we travelled bac k next day. and that the bed w as clamped to the floor. I fel t that I was probably on the right track. proba bly by the use of the milk which we saw. with the cert ainty that it would crawl down the rope and land on the bed. and roused its snakish temper. In sible for Dr. Grimesby Roylott. and the use of the word band. my dear Watso n. and to the bell-rope whi ch hung down to the bed. i t became clear to me that whatever danger threatened an occupant of the room cou ld not come either from the window or the door. to turn upon its master at the other side. which was used by the poor girl. so that i this way I am no doubt indirectly respon and I cannot say that it is likely to weig . 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. to explain the appearance which she had caught a hurried glimpse of by the l ight of her match. Having once made up my mind. were sufficient to put me upon an entirely wrong scent. the saucer of milk. With the result of driving it through the ventilator. It would be a sharp-eyed coroner. Of course he must recall the sn ake before the morning light revealed it to the victim. The ra pidity with which such a poison would take effect would also. An inspection of his chair showed me that he had been in the habit of standing on it. said he. and the loop of whipcord were enough to fin ally dispel any doubts which may have remained. 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. be an advantage. The metallic clang heard by Miss Stoner was obviously caused by her stepfather hastily closing the door of his s afe upon its terrible occupant. which o f course would be necessary in order that he should reach the ventilator.

As I descended. at a little before seven o clock. just the same as you. not more than five-and-tw enty. I entered my consulting-room and found a gentleman seated by the table. whic h was mottled all over with bloodstains. which it took all his strength of mind to control. I dressed hurriedly. with a strong. I gave the maid a card. accident during the night. It was in the summer of 89. The story has. Sherlock Holmes. jerking his thumb over his shoulder. ted me here. I thought I d bring him round myself. but I have this morning. One morning. then? I asked. Hatherley s thumb. for I knew by experience that railwa y cases were seldom trivial. I was awakened by the maid tapping at the door to announce that two men had come from Paddington and were waiting i n the consulting-room. been told more than once in the newspapers. One of these. He was young. I came in by train Paddington as to where I might find a doctor. I got a few patients from a mong the officials. I ve got him here. for his manner suggested that it was some strange creat ure which he had caged up in my room. My practice had steadily increased. Of these the latter may have afforded a finer field for an acute and original observer. Mr. like all such narratives. There he is. but I see e-table. I am sorry to knock you up so early. my old all y. I belie ve. He was q uietly dressed in a suit of heather tweed with a soft cloth cap which he had lai d down upon my books. I should say. and on a worthy fellow very that she has left it had a very serious inquiring at kindly escor upon the sid .-------------------------------------------------------------------------------IX. masculine face. was never weary of advertising my virtues and of endeavouring to send me on every sufferer over whom he might have any influence. I must go now. even if it gave my friend fewer openings for those deductive methods o f reasoning by which he achieved such remarkable results. And off he went. I have my doo ties. Doctor. It s a new patient. said he. came out of the room and closed the door tightly behind him. he whispered. all safe and sound. he whispered. although I continually visited h im and occasionally even persuaded him to forgo his Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us. not long after my marriage. Round one of his hands he had a handkerchief wrapped. there were only two which I was the means of introducing to his notice that of Mr. I had returned to civil practice and had fina lly abandoned Holmes in his Baker Street rooms. i ts effect is much less striking when set forth en bloc in a single half-column o f print than when the facts slowly evolve before your own eyes. and as I happened to liv e at no very great distance from Paddington Station. and the lapse of two years has hardly served to weaken the effect. for solution during the years of our intimacy. but the other was so strange in its inception a nd so dramatic in its details that it may be the more worthy of being placed upo n record. At the time the circumstances made a deep impression upon me. without even givin g me time to thank him. Doctor. and hastened downstairs. but. this trusty tout. whom I had cured of a painful and lingering di sease. that the events occurred which I am now about to summarise. he s all right. and the mystery clears gradually away as each new discovery furnishes a step which leads on to t he complete truth. THE ADVENTURE OF THE ENGINEER S THUMB Of all the problems which have been submitted to my friend. and that of Co lonel Warburton s madness. What is it. but he was exceedingly pale a nd gave me the impression of a man who was suffering from some strong agitation. then he couldn t slip away. the guard.

I took it up and glanced at it. Mr. Victor Hatherley, hydraulic engineer, 16A, Vi ctoria Street (3rd floor). That was the name, style, and abode of my morning visi tor. I regret that I have kept you waiting, said I, sitting down in my library-cha ir. You are fresh from a night journey, I understand, which is in itself a monoto nous occupation. Oh, my night could not be called monotonous, said he, and laughed. He laughed very heartily, with a high, ringing note, leaning back in his chair and shaking his sides. All my medical instincts rose up against that laugh. Stop it! . I cried; pull yourself together! and I poured out some water from a caraffe

It was useless, however. He was off in one of those hysterical outbursts which c ome upon a strong nature when some great crisis is over and gone. Presently he c ame to himself once more, very weary and pale-looking. I have been making a fool of myself, he gasped.

Not at all. Drink this. I dashed some brandy into the water, and the colour began to come back to his bloodless cheeks. That s better! said he. And now, Doctor, perhaps you would kindly attend to my thumb, or rather to the place where my thumb used to be. He unwound the handkerchief and held out his hand. It gave even my hardened nerv es a shudder to look at it. There were four protruding fingers and a horrid red, spongy surface where the thumb should have been. It had been hacked or torn rig ht out from the roots. Good heavens! I cried, this is a terrible injury. It must have bled considerably.

Yes, it did. I fainted when it was done, and I think that I must have been sensel ess for a long time. When I came to I found that it was still bleeding, so I tie d one end of my handkerchief very tightly round the wrist and braced it up with a twig. Excellent! You should have been a surgeon. It is a question of hydraulics, you see, and came within my own province. This has been done, nt. said I, examining the wound, by a very heavy and sharp instrume said he.

A thing like a cleaver, An accident, I presume? By no means. What! a murderous attack? Very murderous indeed. You horrify me.

I sponged the wound, cleaned it, dressed it, and finally covered it over with co tton wadding and carbolised bandages. He lay back without wincing, though he bit his lip from time to time.

How is that?

I asked when I had finished.

Capital! Between your brandy and your bandage, I feel a new man. I was very weak, but I have had a good deal to go through. Perhaps you had better not speak of the matter. It is evidently trying to your ne rves. Oh, no, not now. I shall have to tell my tale to the police; but, between ourselv es, if it were not for the convincing evidence of this wound of mine, I should b e surprised if they believed my statement, for it is a very extraordinary one, a nd I have not much in the way of proof with which to back it up; and, even if th ey believe me, the clues which I can give them are so vague that it is a questio n whether justice will be done. Ha! cried I, if it is anything in the nature of a problem which you desire to see s olved, I should strongly recommend you to come to my friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes , before you go to the official police. Oh, I have heard of that fellow, answered my visitor, and I should be very glad if he would take the matter up, though of course I must use the official police as well. Would you give me an introduction to him? I ll do better. I ll take you round to him myself. I should be immensely obliged to you. We ll call a cab and go together. We shall just be in time to have a little breakfa st with him. Do you feel equal to it? Yes; I shall not feel easy until I have told my story. Then my servant will call a cab, and I shall be with you in an instant. I rushed u pstairs, explained the matter shortly to my wife, and in five minutes was inside a hansom, driving with my new acquaintance to Baker Street. Sherlock Holmes was, as I expected, lounging about his sitting-room in his dress ing-gown, reading the agony column of The Times and smoking his before-breakfast pipe, which was composed of all the plugs and dottles left from his smokes of t he day before, all carefully dried and collected on the corner of the mantelpiec e. He received us in his quietly genial fashion, ordered fresh rashers and eggs, and joined us in a hearty meal. When it was concluded he settled our new acquai ntance upon the sofa, placed a pillow beneath his head, and laid a glass of bran dy and water within his reach. It is easy to see that your experience has been no common one, Mr. Hatherley, said he. Pray, lie down there and make yourself absolutely at home. Tell us what you can, but stop when you are tired and keep up your strength with a little stimula nt. Thank you, said my patient. but I have felt another man since the doctor bandaged m e, and I think that your breakfast has completed the cure. I shall take up as li ttle of your valuable time as possible, so I shall start at once upon my peculia r experiences. Holmes sat in his big armchair with the weary, heavy-lidded expression which vei led his keen and eager nature, while I sat opposite to him, and we listened in s ilence to the strange story which our visitor detailed to us.

You must know, said he, that I am an orphan and a bachelor, residing alone in lodgi ngs in London. By profession I am a hydraulic engineer, and I have had considera ble experience of my work during the seven years that I was apprenticed to Venne r & Matheson, the well-known firm, of Greenwich. Two years ago, having served my time, and having also come into a fair sum of money through my poor father s deat h, I determined to start in business for myself and took professional chambers i n Victoria Street. I suppose that everyone finds his first independent start in business a dreary ex perience. To me it has been exceptionally so. During two years I have had three consultations and one small job, and that is absolutely all that my profession h as brought me. My gross takings amount to £27 10s. Every day, from nine in the mor ning until four in the afternoon, I waited in my little den, until at last my he art began to sink, and I came to believe that I should never have any practice a t all. Yesterday, however, just as I was thinking of leaving the office, my clerk entere d to say there was a gentleman waiting who wished to see me upon business. He br ought up a card, too, with the name of Colonel Lysander Stark engraved upon it. Cl ose at his heels came the colonel himself, a man rather over the middle size, bu t of an exceeding thinness. I do not think that I have ever seen so thin a man. His whole face sharpened away into nose and chin, and the skin of his cheeks was drawn quite tense over his outstanding bones. Yet this emaciation seemed to be his natural habit, and due to no disease, for his eye was bright, his step brisk , and his bearing assured. He was plainly but neatly dressed, and his age, I sho uld judge, would be nearer forty than thirty. Mr. Hatherley? said he, with something of a German accent. You have been recommende d to me, Mr. Hatherley, as being a man who is not only proficient in his profess ion but is also discreet and capable of preserving a secret. I bowed, feeling as flattered as any young man would at such an address. May I ask who it was who gave me so good a character? Well, perhaps it is better that I should not tell you that just at this moment. I have it from the same source that you are both an orphan and a bachelor and are residing alone in London. That is quite correct, I answered; but you will excuse me if I say that I cannot se e how all this bears upon my professional qualifications. I understand that it w as on a professional matter that you wished to speak to me? Undoubtedly so. But you will find that all I say is really to the point. I have a professional commission for you, but absolute secrecy is quite essential absolute secrecy, you understand, and of course we may expect that more from a man who i s alone than from one who lives in the bosom of his family. If I promise to keep a secret, said I, you may absolutely depend upon my doing so.

He looked very hard at me as I spoke, and it seemed to me that I had never seen s o suspicious and questioning an eye. Do you promise, then? Yes, I promise. Absolute and complete silence before, during, and after? No reference to the matt er at all, either in word or writing? I have already given you my word. said he at last.

in Berkshire. and of something akin to fear had begun to rise within me at the strange antics of this fleshless man. and of how very useful they would be to me. of course. however. he asked. I should like. It is a little place near the borders of Oxfordshire. I suppose there would be no chance of a train back. I shall come down in a carriage to meet you. Not at all. but the words came to my lips. He drew up his chair very clos e to mine and began to stare at me again with the same questioning and thoughtfu l look. I know that clerks are sometimes curious as t o their master s affairs. if you would like to draw out of the business. our little place is quite out in the country. Where to? To Eyford. Could I not come at some more convenient hour? We have judged it best that you should come late. I shall be very happy to accommodate myself to your wishes. He suddenly sprang up. Then we can hardly get there before midnight. we could easily give you a shake-down. a young and unknown man. I simply want your opin ion about a hydraulic stamping machine which has got out of gear. There is a train from Paddington which would br ing you there at about 11:15. Still. and darting like lightning across the room he fl ung open the door. a fee which w ould buy an opinion from the very heads of your profession. an d within seven miles of Reading. said I. The passage outside was empty. A feeling of repulsion. How would fifty guineas for a night s work suit you? Most admirably. coming back. If you show us what is wrong we shall soon set it right ourselves.Very good. said he. Very good. Even my dread of losing a client c ould not restrain me from showing my impatience. There is a drive. I should be compelled to stop the night. then? Yes. said I. Heaven fo . but an hour s would be nearer the mark. rgive me for that last sentence. That is very awkward. sir. to understand a little more clearly what it is that you wish me to do. Now we can talk in safety. I say a night s work. Precisely so. That s all right. What do you think of such a commission as that? The work appears to be light and the pay munificent. It is to recompense you for any inconvenience that we are paying to you. there is plenty of time to do so. I beg that you will state your business. my time is of value. I thought of the fifty guineas. Yes. We shall want you to come to-night by the last train. It is a good seven miles from Eyford Station.

and we wish your advice upon the subject. it would be good-bye to any chance of getting these fields and carrying out our plans. I found that this deposit was a comparatively small one. However. the face and manner of my patron had made an unpleasant impression upon me. You are probably aware that fuller s-earth is a valuab le product. I was fortunate enough to discover that there was a deposit of fuller s-ear th in one of my fields. On the one hand. and I have shown you how I trust you. and that it formed a link between two very much large r ones upon the right and left both of them. drove to Paddington. and it was possible t hat this order might lead to other ones. but unfortunately I had no capital by which I could do this. We guard our secret very jealously. in the grounds of my neighbo urs. Well. we have our own process. Some little time ago I bought a small place a very small place within ten miles of Re ading. Then the matter stands thus. This we have now been doing for some time. I have no wish to commit you to anythi ng without your having it all laid before you. at this sudden commission which had been intrusted to me. I have taken you fully into my confidence now. it would soon rou se inquiry. if the facts came out. I was glad. And not a word to a soul. and I could not think th at his explanation of the fuller s-earth was sufficient to explain the necessity f or my coming at midnight. so as to remove them without revealing what they are. of course. He looked at me with a last long. then. The only point which I could not quite understand was w hat use you could make of a hydraulic press in excavating fuller s-earth. when I came to think it all over in cool blood I was very much astonished. however. as you may both think. he hurried from the room.Quite so. I suppose that we are absolutely safe from eavesdroppers? Entirely. These good people were absolutely ignorant that their land contained that w hich was quite as valuable as a gold-mine. That is why I have made you promise me that you will not tell a human being that you are going to Eyford tonight. and that it is only found in one or two places in England? I have heard so. Ah! said he carelessly. and they suggested that we should quietly and secretly work our own littl e deposit and that in this way we should earn the money which would enable us to buy the neighbouring fields. I threw all fears to the winds. ate a hearty supper. and started off. This press. On examining it. and then. and in order to help us in our operations we erected a hydraulic press. It is very natural that the pledge of secrecy which we have exacted fro m you should have aroused your curiosity. which. But that is a mere detail . Naturally. however. ho wever. and then. a s I understand. dank grasp. and if it once became kno wn that we had hydraulic engineers coming to our little house. for the fee was at least tenfold what I should have asked had I set a price upon my own services. I shall certainly be there. and his extreme anxiety lest I should tell anyone of m y errand. as I have already explained. it was to my interest to b uy their land before they discovered its true value. has got out of order. I shall expect you. . pressing my hand in a cold. questioning gaze. is dug out like gravel from a pit. having obeyed to the letter the injunction as to h olding my tongue. On the other hand. Mr. I hope that I make it all plain? I quite follow you. He rose as he spoke. said I. Hatherley. at Eyford at 11:15. We compress the earth into bricks. I took a few of my friends into the secret. however.

right out of the carriage and into the hall. but they were made of frosted glass. and I heard faintly the ra ttle of the wheels as the carriage drove away. and the colonel fumbled about looking for mat ches and muttering under his breath. only one. the door of which was standing open. The country roads seem to be not very good in that part of the world. pulled me swiftly into a porch which gaped in front of us. for we lurche d and jolted terribly. It was pitch dark inside the house. Pray continue your most interestin g statement. I could see that she was prett y. and from the time that we took. I was in time for the last train to Eyford. Did you observe the colour? Yes. more than once when I glanced in his direction. It grew broader. Colonel Lysander Stark had said that it was only seven miles. and. and a long. Away we went then. As I passed out through the wicket gate. as I followed afte r him. from the rate that we see med to go. he walked towards me again with the lamp in his hand. that it must have been nearer twelve. and when my companion answered in a gruff monosyllable she gave such a start that the lamp nearly fell from her hand. and a woman appeared with a lamp in her hand. as it were. Tired-looking or fresh? Oh. Colonel Stark we nt up to her. which she held above her head. fresh and glossy. She spoke a few words in a foreign tongue in a tone as though asking a question. Now and then I hazarded some remark to break the monotony of the journey. however. Thank you. however. but I should think. so that I failed to catch the most fleeting glance of the front of the house. The instant that I had cros sed the threshold the door slammed heavily behind us. but the colonel answered only in mo nosyllables. Perhaps you will have the kindness to wait in this room for a few minutes. It was a chestnut. whispered something in her ear. Suddenly a door opened at the other end of the passage. and the conversation soon flagged. I found my acquaintance of the morning waiting in the shadow upon the other side. Yes. I was the only passenger who got out there. He sat at my side in silence all the time. He drew up the windows on either side. said he .At Reading I had to change not only my carriage but my station. tapped on the wood-work. I am sorry to have interrupted you. and there was no on e upon the platform save a single sleepy porter with a lantern. that he was looking at me with great intensity. pushing her back into th e room from whence she had come. and we drove for at least an hour. and I reached the little dim-lit station aft er eleven o clock. However. Colonel Lysander Stark sprang out. golden bar of light shot out in our direction. We stepped. At last. One horse? interjected Holmes. the bumping of the road was exchanged for the crisp smoothness of a gravel-drive. and I was aware. and from the gloss with which the light shone upon her dark dress I knew that it was a rich material. I saw it by the side-lights when I was stepping into the carriage. and away we went as fast as the horse could go. and the carr iage came to a stand. and then. I tried to look out of the windows to see something of wh ere we were. pushing her face forward and peering at us. and I could make out nothing s ave the occasional bright blur of a passing light. Without a word he grasped my arm and hurried me into a carriage.

throwing open another door. of my wearisome journey. get away from here before it is too late! But I am somewhat headstrong by nature. an d the sight sent a chill to my own heart. so the place might not be so secluded. be a monomaniac. seeing that I smiled and shook my head. into the gloom behind he r. I paced up and down the room. and of the unpleasant night which seemed to be before me. But. She listened for an instant. There was an old clock ticking loudly some where in the passage. said I. You can pass through the door. but otherwise everything was deadly still. without any preliminary sound in the midst of the utter stillness. Ferguson. little. who was introduced to me a s Mr. said the colonel. I fear that you have felt the draug ht. I thought of my fifty-guinea fee. were within that radius. threw up her hands with a despairing gesture. no one hinders. It was a quiet. It is not worth your while to wait. I cannot possibly leave un til I have seen the machine. madam. and in spite of my ignorance of German I c ould see that two of them were treatises on science. By the way. and what we re they doing living in this strange. I would go. Wa s it all to go for nothing? Why should I slink away without having carried out m y commission. and she shot a few whispered words of broken English at me. for al l I knew. as it seemed to me. she went on. though her manner ha d shaken me more than I cared to confess. Co lonel Stark laid down the lamp on the top of a harmonium beside the door. from the absolute stillness. that we were in the country. With a stout bearing. with her hands wrung together. the d arkness of the hall behind her. I shall not keep you waiting an instant. af ter all. Then I walked across to the window. There is no good for you to do. on which several German books were scattered. I have not yet done what I came for. Suddenly. This is my secretary and manager. plainly furnished room. the door of my room swung slowly open. to speak calmly. It was a wonderfully silent house. like those of a frightened horse.. Who were these German people. and vanished as suddenly and as noiselessly as she had come. therefore. heavily barred. said he. She held up one shaking finger to warn me to be silent. The newcomers were Colonel Lysander Stark and a short thick man with a chinchilla beard growing out of the creases of his double chin. humming a tune under my breath to kee p up my spirits and feeling that I was thoroughly earning my fifty-guinea fee. For that matter. I still shook my head and declared my intention of remaining where I was. out-of-the-way place? And where was the pl ace? I was ten miles or so from Eyford. and the more ready to engage in an affair when there is some obstacle in the way. Yet it was quite certain. I was under the imp ression that I left this door shut just now. and vanished into the darkness. For the love of Heaven! she whispered. she suddenly threw aside her constraint and made a step forward. said she. trying hard. he r eyes glancing back. the others being volumes of poetry. that was all I knew. was folded across i t. and without the payment which was my due? This woman might. and the sound of several footsteps was heard upon the st airs. A vague feeling of uneasiness began to steal over me. hoping that I might catch some glim pse of the country-side. I could see at a glance that she was sick with fear. . She was about to renew her entreaties when a door slammed overhead. but whether north. south. And then. Reading. but an oak shutter. wi th a round table in the centre. I glanced at the books upon the table. I should not stay here. the yellow light from my lamp beating upon her e ager and beautiful face. or west I had no idea. and possibly other large towns. The woman was standing in the aperture. east. I would go.

and the damp was breaking through in green. . There are small lateral columns o f water outside which receive the force. for it would be absurd to suppose that so powerful an engine coul d be designed for so inadequate a purpose. There were no carpets and no sign s of any furniture above the ground floor. I took the lamp from him. with corridors. It was a labyrinth of an old house. When I passed ou tside. the thresholds of which were hollowe d out by the generations who had crossed them. the colonel first with the lamp. in which the three of us could hardly get at one ti me. The walls were of wood. passages. said he. and I examined the machine very thoroughly. What are you doing there? he asked. But never mind that. What. When I had made it clear to them. square room. and I pointed it out to my companions. which he unlocked. I had stooped and was scraping at this to see exactly what it was when I heard a muttered exclamation in German and saw th e cadaverous face of the colonel looking down at me. Mr. and I kept a keen eye upon my two companions. and it would be a particu larly unpleasant thing for us if anyone were to turn it on. and when I came to examine it I could see a c rust of metallic deposit all over it. ittle close. All we wish you t o do is to examine the machine and to let us know what is wrong with it. said he. and little low doors. said I. We went upstairs together. unhealthy blotches. even though I disregarded them. Perhaps we had better proceed to busine ss. We are now. it is in the house. no. while the plaster was peeling off the walls. but the floor consisted of a large iron trough. The machine goes readily enough. This was clearly the ca use of the loss of power. I returned to the main chamber of the machine and took a good look at it to satisfy my own curios ity. An examination showed that one of the india-rubber bands which was round the head of a driving-rod had shrunk s o as not quite to fill the socket along which it worked. you dig fuller s-earth in the house? No. and it comes down with the force of many tons upon this metal floor. It was obvious at a glance that the story of the fuller s-earth was the meres t fabrication. Ferguson appeared to be a morose and silent man. actually within the hydraulic press. I knew at once by the whishing sound that there was a slight leakage. Oh. I suppose. I had better put my hat on. The ceiling of this small chamber is really the end of the descending piston. and it has lost a little of its force. It was inde ed a gigantic one. Colonel Lysander Stark stopped at last before a low door. no. then. but I could see fr om the little that he said that he was at least a fellow-countryman. the fat manager and I behind him. which allowed a regurgita tion of water through one of the side cylinders. Ferguson remained outside. and pressed down the levers which controlled it. Ferguson and I will take you up to see the machine. and capable of exercising enormous pressure. I tried to put on as unconcerned an air as possible. This is only where we compress it. narro w winding staircases. however. and the colonel ushered me in. who followed my remarks very carefully and asked several practical questions as to how they sho uld proceed to set it right. With in was a small. Pe rhaps you will have the goodness to look it over and to show us how we can set i t right.On the contrary. I opened the door myself because I felt the room to be a l He shot one of his suspicious looks at me. but there i s some stiffness in the working of it. but I had not forgotten the warning s of the lady. and which transmit and multiply it in t he manner which is familiar to you.

and with my hand upraised I could feel its hard. at least. Then she threw open a door which led into a bedroom. and just as we reached it we heard the sound of running feet and t he shouting of two voices. My guide stopped and looked about her like one who is at her wit s end. as none knew better than myself. He had set the engine at work. As she spoke a light sprang into view at the further end of the passage. scr eaming. The instant that I uttered the words I regretted the rashness of my speech. and I shuddered to think of that dreadful snap. said I. but it was quite secure. The panel had closed again behind me. I was admiring your fuller s-earth. and a baleful light sprang up in his grey eyes. The latter led to another b road passage. but it may be that you can jump it. The lamp still stood upon the floor where I had placed i t when examining the trough. Hullo! I yelled. the walls were of woo d. For an instant I could hardly believe that here was indeed a door wh ich led away from death. It is your only chance. against the door. jerkily. told me how narrow had been my escape. They will see th at you are not there. I think that I should be better able to advise you as to your machine if I knew what the exact purpose was for w hich it was used. I staggered to my feet and ran w ith her along the corridor and down a winding stair. I was recalled to myself by a frantic plucking at my wrist.I felt angry at having been tricked by so elaborate a story as that which he had told me. Come! come! she cried breathlessly. said she. and I found myself ly ing upon the stone floor of a narrow corridor. and did not give in the least to my kicks and shoves. rough surface. It was the same good friend whose warning I had so foolishly rejected. I have said that though the floor and ceiling were of iron. with a fo rce which must within a minute grind me to a shapeless pulp. I rushed towards it and pulled at the handle. Very well. Oh. but come! This time. They will be here in a moment. and lay half-f ainting upon the other side. through the window of which the moon was shining brightly. s lammed the little door. and I sa w the lean figure of Colonel Lysander Stark rushing forward with a lantern in on . The ceiling was only a foot or two above my head. I threw myself. slowly. but the crash of the lamp. If I lay on my face the weight would come upon my spine. Easier the other way. I saw a thin line of yellow light bet ween two of the boards. while a woman bent over me and tu gged at me with her left hand. His f ace set hard. one answering the other from the floor on which we we re and from the one beneath. The next instant I threw myself through. Hullo! Colonel! Let me out! And then suddenly in the silence I heard a sound which sent my heart into my mout h. and turned the key in the lock. It was the clank of the levers and the swish of the leaking cylinder. and dragged with my nails at the lock. perhaps. and yet. He took a step backward. 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. I implored the colonel to let me out. you shall know all about the machine. but the remorseless clanking of the levers drowned my cri es. when my eye caught something which brought a gush of hop e back to my heart. I did not scorn her advice. which broadened and broadened as a small panel was pushe d backward. It is high. As I gave a last hurried glance around. By its light I saw that the black ceiling was comin g down upon me. while she held a candle in her right. Then it flashed through my mind that the p ain of my death would depend very much upon the position in which I met it. but. and a few moments afterwards the clang of the two slabs of metal. do not waste the so-precious time. said he.

when his blow fell. It appeared in all the p apers about a year ago. But to my astonishment. I was conscious of a dull pain. rushing to the window. The th ought had hardly flashed through my mind before he was at the door. and a bright morning was breaking when I came to myself . and my coat-sleeve was drenched with bloo d from my wounded thumb. struggling to break away from her. said he. saw that my thumb had been cut off and that the blood was p ouring from my wound. He has seen too much. and I fell into the garden below. Elise! he shouted.e hand and a weapon like a butcher s cleaver in the other. upon my approaching it. which proved. We both sat in silence for some little time after listening to this extraordinar y narrative. It was too far for me to go. Half dazed. Suddenly. Jeremiah Hayl ing. I rushed across the bed room. then at any risks I was determined to go back to her assistance. Then Sherlock Holmes pulled down from the shelf one of the ponderou s commonplace books in which he placed his cuttings. and looked out. as I ran. and I sprang to my feet with the feeling that I mi ght hardly yet be safe from my pursuers. How quiet and sweet and wholesome t he garden looked in the moonlight. remember your promise after the last time. The same porter was on duty. and then the doctor w as kind enough to bring me along here. I had been lying in an angle of the hedge close by the highroad. but she threw her arms round him and tried to hold him back. I glanced down at my hand. He will be silent! Oh. My clothes were all sodden with dew. The smarting of it recalled in an instant all the parti culars of my night s adventure. a hydraulic engineer. weak and ill as I was. flung open the window. pushing his way past her. for the first time. There woul d be one to Reading in less than an hour. but I hesitated to jump until I should have he ard what passed between my saviour and the ruffian who pursued me. however. Let me pass. I endeavoured to tie my handkerchief round it. You said it should not be again. Listen to this: Lost. which was throbbing painfully. How long I remained unconscious I cannot tell. I put the case into your hands and shall do exactly what you advise. I determined to wait until I got back to town before telling my story to the police. I had let myself go . Fritz! Fritz! she cried in English. and just a little lower down was a lon g building. Had he observed a carriage the night before waiting for me? No. The name was strange to him. so I went first to have my wound dressed. for I understood that I was far from being o ut of danger yet. If she were i ll-used. as had been there when I arrived. It was a little past six when I arrived. Left his lodgings at ten o clock at ni . when I came to look round me. all that had passed during those dreadful hours might have been an evil dr eam. a deadly dizziness and sickness c ame over me. and next moment I fell in a dead faint among th e rose-bushes. my grip loosened. cut at me with his heavy weapon. aged twenty-six. Was there a police-station any where near? There was one about three miles off. I was shaken but not hurt by the fall. I found. and. to be the very station at whic h I had arrived upon the previous night. he had not. for the moon had sunk. neither house nor garden were to be seen. Mr. he will be silent! You are mad. Here is an advertisement which will interest you. I clambered out upon the sill. on the 9th inst. It must have been a very long time . I say! He dashed her to one side. Were it not for the ugly wound upon my hand. I inquired of him whether he had ever heard of Colonel Lysander Stark. You will be the ruin of us. and was hanging by the hands to the sill. but there c ame a sudden buzzing in my ears.. and then. and it could not be more than thirty feet dow n. I went into the station and asked about the morning train. so I picked myself up and rushed off among the bushes as hard as I could run.

Undoubtedly. Inspector Bradstreet. because there are no hills there. said I. And I say east. And you think that they brought you back all that way when you were unconscious? They must have done so. There were Sherlock Holmes. and my self. every moment now is precious. I have a confused memory. The place we want must be somewhere near that line. cried the inspector. remarked the plain-clothes man. What I cannot understand. I never saw a more inexorable face in my life. we shall see who agrees with you. said I. laughing. sir. and I only wish I knew at what point upon it the folk that we are in search of are to be found. a plain-clothes man. I am for west. we shall soon clear up all that. said he. too. Then that explains what the girl said. ges up there. Well. for the country is more deserted th ere. I have drawn my circle. Perhaps the villain was softened by the woma n s entreaties. said Holmes quietly. I hardly think that likely. Well. There you are. said my patient. It was an hour s good drive. That circle is drawn at a radius of ten miles from the vill age. like those out-and-out pirates who will leave no survivor from a captured sh ip. so if you feel equal to it we shall go d own to Scotland Yard at once as a preliminary to starting for Eyford. We have boxed the compass among us. I think I could lay my finger on it. etc. But we can t all be. bound from Reading to the little Berkshire village. etc. There are several quiet little villa And I am for north. and has not been heard of since. said Bradstreet. and our friend says t hat he did not notice the carriage go up any.ght. Some three hours or so afterwards we were all in the train together. Come. Who do you give your casting vote to? You are all wrong. of having been lifted and conveyed somewhere. now. I fanc y. the hydraul ic engineer. You said ten miles. it s a very pretty diversity of opinion. who was absolutely determined that nothing should stand in the way of his little ga me. Oh. Good heavens! cried my patient. I t hink. Ha! That represe nts the last time that the colonel needed to have his machine overhauled. . Was dressed in. now! cried the inspector.. is why they should have spared you when they foun d you lying fainting in the garden. Really. of Scotland Yard. I say it is south. It is quite clear that the colonel was a cool and desperate man. 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. you have formed your opinion! Come.

but could get no farther. Becher is an Englishman. I think that we have got them right enough. Whose house is it? Dr. and he lo oks as if a little good Berkshire beef would do him no harm. That second window is the one that I jumped from. You say yourself that the horse was fresh and glossy when you got in. a patient. That s it! cried Hatherley. sha The station-master laughed heartily. But now. Six out and six back. Well. and the re are the rose-bushes where I lay. re can be no doubt as to the nature of this gang. said the inspector. Tell me. sir. for those criminals were not destined to fall in to the hands of justice. while in the garden in front three fire-engines were vainly striving to kee p the flames under. This is my point. and the whole pla ce is in a blaze. But he has a gentl eman staying with him. with a long. for they had covered their traces in a way that showed that they were very old hands. you have had your revenge upon them. at least. The y have been turning out half-crowns by the thousand. sir. thanks to this lucky chance . set f ire to the wooden walls. A house on fire? asked Bradstreet as the train steamed off again on its way. How could it be that if it had gone twelve miles ove r heavy roads? Indeed. Becher s. and have used the mach ine to form the amalgam which has taken the place of silver.Oh. rp nose? broke in the engineer. This is where we shall find them. When did it break out? I hear that it was during the night. you can. sir! said the station-master. said Holmes. Dr. it is a likely ruse enough. said Holmes. though no doubt they were too excited in the chase afte . The station-master had not finished his speech before we were all hastening in t he direction of the fire. but it has got worse. and th ere isn t a man in the parish who has a better-lined waistcoat. when it was crushed in the press. No. spouting fire at every chink and win dow. and there was a great wide spread whitewashed building in front of us. in intense excitement. We have known for some time that a clever gang was at work. There can be no q uestion that it was your oil-lamp which. who is a foreigner. Becher a German. There is the gravel-drive. We even traced them as far as Reading. But the inspector was mistaken. observed Bradstreet thoughtfully. He placed his finger in the centre of the circ le. as I understand. But the twelve-mile drive? gasped Hatherley. Nothing simpler. yes. Yes. They are coiners on a large scale. Of course the None at all. very thin. The road topped a low hill. is Dr. As we rolled into Eyford Station we saw a gigantic colu mn of smoke which streamed up from behind a small clump of trees in the neighbou rhood and hung like an immense ostrich feather over the landscape.

I had remained indoors all day. however. and its curious termination. THE ADVENTURE OF THE NOBLE BACHELOR The Lord St. laughing. it has been a pretty business for me! I have lost my thumb and I have lost a f ifty-guinea fee. As I have reason to believ e. it was most probable that the silent Englishman. or the morose Eng lishman. not a trace remained of the machinery which had co st our unfortunate acquaintance so dearly. but not before the roof had fallen in. said Holmes. have long ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegr oom moves. It was a few weeks before my own marriage. and the Jezail bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my A fghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence. and the whole place been reduced to such absolute ruin that. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it. one of whom had remarkably small feet and the other unusually l arge ones. About sunset. Large masses of nickel and of tin wer e discovered stored in an out-house. And Holmes fears came to be realised. and as my friend Sherlock Holmes had a considerable share in clearing the matter up. On the whole. their efforts were at l ast successful. I feel that no memoir of him would be complete without some little sketch o f this remarkable episode. and even Holmes ingenuity failed ever to discover the least clue as to their whereabouts. though I very much fear that they are a good hundred mile s off by now. the sinister German. but there all traces of the fugitives disappeared. you hav e only to put it into words to gain the reputation of being excellent company fo r the remainder of your existence. but no coins were to be found. Well. Early that morning a peasant had met a cart containing several people a nd some very bulky boxes driving rapidly in the direction of Reading. Simon marriage. for the weather had taken a sudden turn to rain. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------X. and what have I gained? Experience. that the full facts have never been revealed to the general public. and still more so by discovering a newly severed human thumb upon a window-sill of the second floor. had assisted the woman to bear t he unconscious man out of the way of danger. said our engineer ruefully as we took our seats to return once more to Londo n. He had evidently been carried down by two persons. during the days when I was still shar ing rooms with Holmes in Baker Street. and their more piquant details have drawn the gossips away from this four-year-old drama. which may ha ve explained the presence of those bulky boxes which have been already referred to. With my body in one easy-chair an . How our hydraulic engineer had been conveyed from the garden to the spot where h e recovered his senses might have remained forever a mystery were it not for the soft mould. however. save some twist ed cylinders and iron piping. and they subdued the flames. for from that day to this no word has ever been heard either of the beautiful woman. which told us a very plain tale. being less bold or less murderous than his companion. Now keep your eyes open in this crowd for your friends of last night. The firemen had been much perturbed at the strange arrangements which they had f ound within.r you to observe it at the time. you know. Indirectly it may be of value. that he came home from an afternoon strol l to find a letter on the table waiting for him. with high autumnal winds.

that the status of my client is a matt er of less moment to me than the interest of his case. as this matter is of paramount importan ce. I assure you. with the deepest interest. without affectation. I will call a t four o clock in the afternoon. if I remember right. Mr. This looks like one of those unw elcome social summonses which call upon a man either to be bored or to lie. had nothing else to do. I have an It is fortunate. yes. therefore. and.d my legs upon another. he answered. That is well. I have determined. my correspondence has certainly the charm of variety. . It is just possible. I remarked as he entered. Lestrade. I will r ead it to you. d the humbler are usually the more interesting. howe ver. ST. Not social. You have been reading the papers diligently of late. Yours faithfully. for you will perhaps be able to post me up. have you not? It looks like it. and that he even thinks that it might be of some assistance. I congratulate you. is acting alr eady in the matter. but he assures me that he sees no objection to your co-opera tion. to call up on you and to consult you in reference to the very painful event which has occur red in connection with my wedding. I hope that you will postpone it. Simon. Watson. it may prove to be something of interest. that that also may not be wanting in this new investigation. and in return you must turn over these papers and let me have wha tever bears upon the matter. Simon and his wedding? Oh. Oh. Here is a very fashionable epistle. I tossed them all aside and lay li stless. And from a noble client? One of the highest in England. I had surrounded myself with a cloud of newspapers until at last. saturated with the news of the day. SHERLOCK HOLMES: Lord Backwater tells me that I may place implicit reli ance upon your judgment and discretion. of Scotland Yard. I read nothing excep t the criminal news and the agony column. pointing to a huge bundle in the corner. come. But if you have followed recent events so closely you must have read about Lord St. then? No. He broke the seal and glanced over the contents. Your morning letters. Yes. were from a fish-monger and a tide-waiter. distinctly professional. watching the huge crest and monogram upon the envelope upon the table an d wondering lazily who my friend s noble correspondent could be. SIMON. said I ruefully. smiling. The latter is always instructive. should you have any other engagement at that time. My dear fellow. This is what he says: MY DEAR MR. The letter which I hold in my hand is from Lord St. after all.

it says. Then I have just time. They inherit Plantagenet blood by direct descent. indeed. and the matter struck me as remarkable. with your assistance. as you see. Turn over those papers and arrange the extracts in their order of time. whose graceful figure and striking f ace attracted much attention at the Westbury House festivities. of San Francisco. and dates. second s on of the Duke of Balmoral. here it is: There will soon be a call for protection in the marriage mark et. said he. if rumour is correct. Pray give me the results of your newspaper selections. Ha! Well. I have very little difficulty in finding what I want. Here he is. Here is the first notice which I can find. for the present free-trade principle appears to tell heavily against our hom e product. with expectancies for the future. three caltrops in chief over a fess sable. One by one the management of the noble houses of Great Britain is pas sing into the hands of our fair cousins from across the Atlantic. As it is an open secret that the Duke of Balmoral has been compelled to sell his pictures within the last few yea rs. has now definitely announced his approaching marriage with Miss Hatty Doran. Simon. Miss Doran. I feared to refer them to you . He will be here in an hour. Ah. Simon. Lord Robert Walsingham de Vere St. He picked a red-covered volume from a line of b ooks of reference beside the mantelpiece. remarked Holmes. while I take a glance as to who our client is. and the noble lord has had the misfortune to get a smear of ink upon the outer side of his right l ittle finger. It is three now. Oh. He says four o clock.It is dated from Grosvenor Mansions. . Cal. is an only child . however. An important a ddition has been made during the last week to the list of the prizes which have been borne away by these charming invaders.. and Tudor on the distaff side. That is qu ite cleared up now though. remarked Holmes as he folded up the epistle. some weeks back: A marriage has been arranged. 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 Re publican lady to a British peeress. which is mature for marriage. the fascinating daught er of a California millionaire. and it is currently reported that her dowry will run to considerably over the six figures. U. I think that I must turn to you Watson.S. It is in the personal column of the Mo rning Post. it was obvious from the first. written with a quill pen. you mean the little problem of the Grosvenor Square furniture van. Hum! Arms: Azure. very shortly take place. Was Under-Secretary for the colonies in a late administration. and Miss Hatty Doran. thin legs towards th There was a paragraph amplifying this in one of the society papers of the same we ek. his father . sitting down and fl attening it out upon his knee. for something more solid. was at one time Secretary for Foreign Affairs.. Born in 1846. said I. there is nothing ver y instructive in all this. The Duke. Simon has no property of his own save the small estate of Bi rchmoor. and will. between Lord Ro bert St. to get clear upon the subject. That is all. Simon. Terse and to the point. Anything else? asked Holmes. yawning. e fire. the on ly daughter of Aloysius Doran. stretching his long. who has shown himsel f for over twenty years proof against the little god s arrows. for the facts are qui te recent. He s forty-one years of age. Lord St. and as Lord St.A. as I knew that you had an inquiry on hand and that you disliked the i ntrusion of other matters. Esq. second son of the Duke of Balmoral.

quite dramatic. so much public attenti on has now been drawn to it that no good purpose can be served by affecting to d isregard what is a common subject for conversation. where breakfast had been prepared. Then there is another note in the Morning Post to say that the m arriage would be an absolutely quiet one. The vanishing of the lady. it struck me as being a little out of the common. but had refused to credit that it was his mistress. and that the party would return to the furnished house at Lancaster Gate which has been take n by Mr. The ceremony. her father followed her. Aloysius Doran. who had fortunately ent ered the house before this unpleasant interruption. had sat down to breakfast wi th the rest. Aloysius Doran. When did she vanish. One of the fo otmen declared that he had seen a lady leave the house thus apparelled. On ascertaining that his daughter had disappeared. Simon. Aloysius Doran. occ urred on the previous morning. they are set forth in a single article of a morning paper of ye sterday. the Duchess of Balmoral. caught up an ulster and bonnet. when she complained of a sudden indisposition and retired to her ro om. Before the what? asked Holmes with a start. George s. and that the honeymoon would be pa ssed at Lord Backwater s place. They often vanish before the ceremony. Indeed. no one being present save the father of the bride. Those are all the notices which appeared before the disappearance of the bride. but I cannot call to mind anything quite so prompt as this. which was performed at St. that it would be at St. Pray let me have the de tails. The bride. alleging that she had some c laim upon Lord St. I warn you that they are very incomplete. Hanove r Square. but it is only now that it has been possible to c onfirm the strange rumours which have been so persistently floating about. Two days later that is. Yes. in conj . was a very quiet one. whose name has not been ascertained. Such as they are. Perhaps we may make them less so. at Lancast er Gate. It appears that some little trouble was caused by a woman. yes. The whole party proceeded afterwards to the house of Mr. near Petersfield. Hanover Square. believing her to be with the company . It was only after a painful and prolonged scene that s he was ejected by the butler and the footman. Simon has been thrown into the greatest consternati on by the strange and painful episodes which have taken place in connection with his wedding. Simon (the younger brother and sister of the bridegroom). who endeavoured to f orce her way into the house after the bridal party. Her prolonged absence having caused some comment. and occasionally during the honeymoon. Mr. on Wednesday last there is a curt a nnouncement that the wedding had taken place. then? At the wedding breakfast. Lord Eustace and Lady Clara St. that only half a dozen intimate friends would be invited. George s. in fact. and Lady Alicia Whittington. plenty.Oh. It is headed. as shortly announced in the papers of yesterday. Mr. b ut learned from her maid that she had only come up to her chamber for an instant . Lord Backwater. which I will read to you. The ceremony. and hurried down to the passage. Singular Occurrence at a Fashion able Wedding : The family of Lord Robert St. In sp ite of the attempts of the friends to hush the matter up. Aloysius Doran. This is more interesting than it promised to be.

A gentleman entered. I beg pardon. white waistcoat. and swinging in his right hand the cord which h eld his golden eyeglasses. It appears that she was formerly a danseuse at the Allegro. in th e belief that. nothing had transpired as to the whereabouts of the missing lady. and light-coloured gaiters. There are rumours of foul play in the matter. sir. as you can most readily imagine. I have been cut to the quick. and it is said that the police ha ve caused the arrest of the woman who had caused the original disturbance. rising and bowing. and the whole case is in your hands now so far as it has been set forth in the pub lic press.unction with the bridegroom. if only as a check to my own memory. Mr. And an exceedingly interesting case it appears to be. I have no doubt that this will prove to be our noble cl ient. His hair . but it is a suggestive one . This is my friend and colleague. Oh. Dr. Do not dream of going. for I very much prefer having a witness. Up to a late hour last n ight. too. I understand that you have already managed several delica te cases of this sort. with a pleasant. and yet his general appearance gave an undue impression of age. But there is a ring at the bell. really! I had no idea. A most painful matter to me. . and that she has known the bridegroom for some years. announced our page-boy. turn ing his head from left to right. No. however. she may have been concerned i n the strange disappearance of the bride. the lady who had caused the disturbance. said Holmes. has actually bee n arrested. it was careful to the verge of foppishne ss. His manner wa s brisk. as he swept off his very curly-brimmed hat. Draw up a little to the fire. and as the clock makes it a few minutes after four. and with the steady. patent-l eather shoes. was grizzled round the edges and thin upon the top. with high collar. throwing open the door. My last client of the sort was a king. I would not have missed it for worlds. And it is That Miss Flora Millar. Simon. Holmes. well-opened eye of a ma n whose pleasant lot it had ever been to command and to be obeyed. with something pe rhaps of petulance about the mouth. As to his dress. There are no further particulars. I am descending. Lord St. Watson. and very energetic inquiries are being made. though I presume that they were hardly from the same class of society. Pray take the basket-chai r. an d we will talk this matter over. And which king? The King of Scandinavia. And is that all? Only one little item in another of the morning papers. high-nosed and pale. Good-day. cultured face. Simon. He advanced slowly into the room. instantly put themselves in communication with the police. Watson. from jealousy or some other motive. yellow gloves. for he had a slight forward stoop and a little bend of the knees as he walked. Watson. black frock-coat. Lord Robert St. which will probably result in a speedy clearing up of this very singular business.

She is what we call in England a tomboy. I think that I may arrive at my facts most directly by questioning you. and she could see that I was amused. Then he struck gold. When did you first meet Miss Hatty Doran? In San Francisco. Of course! Very right! very right! I m sure I beg pardon. and came up by leaps and bounds. as far as it goes. nothing more. it is correct. You were travelling in the States? Yes. as to the disa ppearance of the bride. But you were on a friendly footing? I was amused by her society. Holmes. my wife was twenty before her father became a rich man. with a strong nature. Pray do so. I have already learned all that is in the public prints. She is swift in making up her mind and fearless in carrying out her reso lutions. so that her education has come from Nature rather than from the schoolm aster. wild and f ree. Did you become engaged then? No. I presume that I may take it as correct this article. Now. unfettered by any sort of traditions.What! Had he lost his wife? You can understand. I was about to say. And how did he make his money? In mining. said he. As to my own case. During that time she ran free in a mining camp and wandered through woods or mo untains. But it needs a great deal of supplementing before anyone could offer an opinion. On the other hand. I am r eady to give you any information which may assist you in forming an opinion. Mr. said Holmes suavely. Lord St. for example. Have you her photograph? . invested it. I would not have given her the name which I have the honour to bear he gave a little stately cough had I not thought her to be at bottom a noble woman. a year ago. He had nothing a few years ago. You see. I believe that she is capable of heroic self-sacrifice and that an ything dishonourable would be repugnant to her. Yes. Simon glanced over it. Her father is very rich? He is said to be the richest man on the Pacific slope. Thank you. She is impetuous volcanic. what is your own impression as to the young lady s your wife s character? The nobleman swung his glasses a little faster and stared down into the fire. that I extend to the affairs of my other c lients the same secrecy which I promise to you in yours.

on our way home. It was not a photograph but an ivory miniature. There was a moment s delay. Some of the general public were present. Holmes gazed long and earnestly at it. The incident however. and the artist had brought out the full effect of the lustrous black hair. The young lady came to London. And this. Indeed! You say that there was a gentleman in the pew. Lady St. then? Oh. and it did not appear to be the worse for the fall. Did you see Miss Doran on the day before the wedding? Yes. It is impossible to exclude them when the church is open. Was she in good spirits? Never better. a considerable dowry? A fair dowry. the large dark eyes.I brought this with me. her father brought her over for this last London season. I call him a gentleman by courtesy. yes. Indeed! That is very interesting. Oh. and in the carriage. Very naturally not. she answered me abruptly. remains to you. She dropped her bouquet as we went towards the vestry. and it fell over into the pew. But really I think that we are wandering r ather far from the point. He opened a locket and showed us the full face of a very l ovely woman. of course. to tell the truth. and have now married her. What did she do on re-entering her father s house? . she seemed absu rdly agitated over this trifling cause. Then he closed the locket and handed it back to Lord St. was too trivial to relate and can have no possible bearing upon the case. and you renewed your acquaintance? Yes. I saw then the first signs that I had ever seen that her temper was just a little sharp. for all that. but the gentleman in the pew handed it up to her again. then. Not more than is usual in my family. I hardly noticed his appearance. And did you observe any change in her then? Well. then. no. Simon. became engaged to her. Pray let us have it. She kept talking of what we should do in our future lives. Yet when I spoke to her of the matter. She brought. Simon. She wa s passing the front pew at the time. but he was quite a common-looking per son. And on the morning of the wedding? She was as bright as possible at least until after the ceremony. it is childish. This gentleman was not one of your wife s friends? No. I understand. and the exquisite mouth. I met her several t imes. returned from the wedding in a less cheerful frame of mind than she had gone to it. since the marriage is a fait accompli? I really have made no inquiries on the subject.

I had something else to think of. Doran s house that morning. as I understand. She wrote me dreadful letters when she heard that I was about to be married. Lord St. deposes that she went to her room. a few minutes. She was very independent in little matters like that. and went out. and left the room. and I had two police fellows there in private clothes. after we h ad sat down for ten minutes or so. Alice. uttering very abusive expressions towards my wife. Flora was a dear little thing. a woman who is now in custody. I have not treated her ungenerously. but you know what women are. . but I had forese en the possibility of something of the sort. American slang is very expressive sometimes. in America they look upon these things in a differ ent way. she rose hurriedly. A confidential servant? A little too much so. But this maid. put on a bonnet. to tell the truth. of course. Doran s do or just after we returned. muttered some words of ap ology. she did not. Then. the reason why I had the marriage celebrated so quietly was tha t I feared lest there might be a scandal in the church. but exceedingly hot-headed and devotedly attached to me. Still. and who had already made a disturbance at Mr. Mr. It seemed to me that her mistress allowed her to take great liberties. I should like a few particulars as to this young lady. Ah. Did your wife hear all this? No. and. Simon shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows. and she endeavoured to push her way in. Simon said something about jumping a claim. thank goodness. alone. And what did your wife do when she f inished speaking to her maid? She walked into the breakfast-room. She was accustomed to use slan g of the kind. She was quiet when she saw th at there was no good in making a row. And who is her maid? Alice is her name.I saw her in conversation with her maid. yes. and your relation s to her. who soon pushed her out again. and she had no just caus e of complaint against me. I have no idea what she meant. We have been on a friendly footing for some years I may say on a very friendly footing. and even threatening her. She used to be at the Allegro. She never came back. Quite so. You did not overhear what they said? Lady St. Holmes. covered her bride s dress with a long ulster. On your arm? No. She came to Mr. And she was afterwards seen walking into Hyde Park in company with Flor a Millar. She is an American and came from California with her. How long did she speak to this Alice? Oh.

looks upon as so serious. old-fashioned manner he departe d. of Scotland Yard. Simon to honour my head by putting it on a level with his own. rising. It is thought that Flora decoyed my wife out and laid some terrible trap for her. that she had become suddenly deranged? Well. And no w. In short. That is what Mr. I think that I shall have a whisky and s oda and a cigar after all this cross-questioning. Lord St. really. had the effect of causing some little nervous disturb ance in my wife. he remarked. You think so. Eh? What was that? I say that I have solved it. I may say that it has occurred to me as po ssible that the excitement of this affair. is my wife? That is a detail which I shall speedily supply. smiling. 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. the consciousness that she had made s o immense a social stride. But you do not yourself look upon this as likely? I do not think Flora would hurt a fly. Well. Should you be fortunate enough to solve this problem. then. I think that I have nearly all my data. and bowing in a stately. Still. Pray what is your own the ory as to what took place? Well. Simon shook his head. I have solved it. said Holmes. Well. Simon. Quite so. My dear Holmes! . I came to seek a theory. said Sherlock Holmes.And she was seen walking with this very woman afterwards? Yes. jealousy is a strange transformer of characters. Then I do not think that I need to detain you longer. I am afraid that it will take wiser heads than you rs or mine. Lord St. it is a possible supposition. really. when I consider that she has turned her back I will not say upon me. Lestrade. I have given you all the facts. Since you ask me. I had formed my conclusions as to the case before our client came into the room. not to propound one. but upon so much that many have aspired to without success I can hardly explain it in any other fashion. certainly that is also a conceivable hypothesis. laughing. Where. however. It is very good of Lord St. too? I did not say a probable one. said our client. I shall communica te with you.

Have you dragged the basin of Trafalgar Square fountain? Why? What do you mean? Because you have just as good a chance of finding this lady in the one as in the other. all discoloured and s oaked in water. as when you fi nd a trout in the milk. indeed! Then you think that the Serpentine plays no part in the matter? I think it very unlikely. he he asked. Wi th a short greeting he seated himself and lit the cigar which had been offered t o him. which w ere quite as prompt. Really! You surprise me. then? asked Holmes with a twinkle in his eye. putting a new wedding-ring upon the top of the pil e. Then perhaps you will kindly explain how it is that we found this in it? He opened his bag as he spoke. f the pea-jacket. The official detective was attired in a pea-jacket and cravat. In heaven s name. snarled. Lestrade! You will fin upon the sideboard. as I remarked before. and he carried a black canvas bag in his hand. said Holmes laying his hand upon the arm o Well. and tumbled onto the floor a wedding-dress of watered silk . ere was a parallel uch the same lines f these cases but. Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily. what for? In search of the body of Lady St. I have only just heard the facts. You look dissatisfied. But I have heard all that you have heard. There is a little nut for you to crack. Circumstantial evidence is occasionally very convincing. And I feel dissatisfied. Lestrade shot an angry glance at my companion. to quote Thoreau s example. It is this infernal St. which gave him a decidedly nautical appearance. and something on very m at Munich the year after the Franco-Prussian War. Th instance in Aberdeen some years back. Simon. My whole examination served to turn my conjecture into a ce rtainty. . Simon marriage case. Who ever heard of such a mixed affair? Every clue seems to slip through my finger s. though none. but my mind is made up. There. Without. It is one o hullo. Oh. and there are cigars in the box. however. And very wet it seems to have made you. a pair of white satin shoes and a bride s wreath and veil. What s up. Yes. I have been dragging the Serpentine. I suppose you know all about it. I have been at work upon it all day. I can make neither head nor tail of the business. Master Holmes.I have notes of several similar cases. here is Lestrade! Good-afternoon. said he. d an extra tumbler the knowledge of pre-existing cases which serves me so well.

4th. Come at once. it is import ant also. He gathered up the garments. no doubt. is the very note which was no doubt quietly slip ped into her hand at the door and which lured her within their reach. And how? In the dress is a pocket. every man s body is to be found in the neighbourho od of his wardrobe. I see nothing in t hat. There s nothing in it. rooms 8s. Let me see it. lunch 2s. and he gave a little cry of satisfaction. said Lestrade. In the pocket is a card-case. Very good. Here. I am afraid that you will find it difficult. now? cried Lestrade with some bitterness.. Holmes. Very likely not. thrust them into the bag. And over here is what appears to be the fragment of a hotel bill. indeed! said my friend. This is indeed important. L isten to this: You will see me when all is ready. They were found floating near the margin by a park-keeper. In the card-case is a not e. bre akfast 2s. was responsible for her disappearance. you re look . Why. As to the note. an d that she. I looked at it before. glass sherry. By the same brilliant reasoning. said Lestrade. You have made two blunders in as many minutes. And pray what did you hope to arrive at through this? At some evidence implicating Flora Millar in the disappearance. and it seemed to me that if the clothes were there the b ody would not be far off. This dress does implicate Miss Flora Milla r. this is the right side. and we shall see which gets to the bottom of the matter first. rising. The right side? You re mad! Here is the note written in pencil over here. I ve wasted time enough. Good-day. said Holmes. You really are very fine indeed.Oh. he shrieked. cocktail 1s. signed with her initials. H. 6d. It is most important. indeed. Lestrade. Simon was decoyed away by Flora Millar. Are you. and made for the door. I am afraid.. I believe in hard work and not in sit ting by the fire spinning fine theories. Lestrade rose in his triumph and bent his head to look. ing at the wrong side! On the contrary. I congratulate you warmly. F. He slapped it down upon the table in front of him. so I congratulate you again. Oct. 8d. And here is the very note. Ha! you find it so? Extremely so. Mr. Holmes. with confederates. or at least the initials are. which interests me deeply. They have been ide ntified as her clothes. M. He took up the paper in a listless way. laughing. all the same... Now my th eory all along has been that Lady St. blowing blue rings into the air. but his attention instantly beca me riveted. 6d. sa id he. tha t you are not very practical with your deductions and your inferences. You dragged them from the Serpentine? No.

I will te ll you the true solution of the matter. my two visitors v anished away. I cannot allow that there is any humiliation. They have laid the supper. It was a slight. a pheasant. They have laid for five. There were a coupl e of brace of cold woodcock. a quite epicurean little cold supper began to be laid out upon our humble lodging-house mahogany. There is not. It was after five o clock when Sherlock Holmes left me. Watson.Just one hint to you. Simon has not already arrived. This he unpacked with the help of a youth whom he had brought with him. for within an hour there arrived a confectioner s man with a very large flat box. when he hears that one of the family has been subjected to such humiliation? It is the purest accident. then? asked Holmes. like the genii of the Arabian Nights. Lestrade. Then he turned to me. He had hardly shut the door behind him when Holmes rose to put on his overcoat. he remarked. and I confess that the contents startled me beyond measure. Simon sank into a chair and passed his hand over his forehead. dangling his gl asses more vigorously than ever. said he. Lestrade looked sadly at my companion. I am surprised that Lor d St. Lord St. he murmured. so I th ink. Simon. sir. I fail to see that anyone is to blame. that I must leave you to your papers for a little. on the table. You seem to expect company. but I had no time to be lo nely. though her abrupt method of doing it was undoubtedly to be regre tted. but there was a light in his eye which made me think that h e had not been disappointed in his conclusions. a public slight. Lady St. I fancy we may have some company dropping in. Having laid out all these luxuries. My messenger reached you. I can hardly see how the lady could have a cted otherwise. Have you good au thority for what you say? The best possible. any such person. she had no one to advise her at such a crisis. tapped his forehead three times. shook his head solemnly. It was indeed our visitor of the afternoon who came bustling in. a pâté de foie gras pie with a group of anc ient and cobwebby bottles. you look on these things from another standpoint. and hurried away. said Lord St. Having no mother. then. Yes. Ha! I fancy that I hear his step now upon t he stairs. drawled Holmes before his rival vanished. What will the Duke say. tapping his fingers up . he said. Ah. Simon is a myth. to my very great astonishment. Just before nine o clock Sherlock Holmes stepped briskly into the room. Yes. with no explanation save tha t the things had been paid for and were ordered to this address. His featur es were gravely set. rubbing his hands. and with a very perturbed expression upon his a ristocratic features. and there never has been. T here is something in what the fellow says about outdoor work. an d presently.

It was as well for his resolution. Francis Hay Moulton. and never come b ack to claim me until he had as much as Pa. and he had fixed it all up so nicely. said the lady. Yes. Frank and I. for her pleading face was one which it was hard to resist. said Holmes. We were engaged to ea ch other. I guess you have every cause to be. Well. with a sharp face and alert manner. and then Frank went off to seek his fortune. Pray make no apology to me. placed in so unprecedented a position . Simon. If I cannot persuade you to take a lenient view of the matter. The lady had taken a quick step forward and had held out her hand to him. with a clergyman all ready in waiting. so we just fixed it all up for ourselves. and then I heard of him from New Mexico.You must make allowance for this poor girl. clean-s haven. Perhaps. and I went back to Pa. remarked the strange gentleman. Moulton. The lady. we ve had just a little too much secrecy over this business already. perhaps. said he. then. so he followed me there. too. and I won t claim to be your husband until I come back? Well. near the Rockies. but he still refused to raise his eyes. Lord St. It would only have made him mad to know. we talked it over. yes. He opened the door and ush ered in a lady and gentleman. So then I promised to wait for him t o the end of time and pledged myself not to marry anyone else while he lived. Then I ll tell our story right away. and he took me away to Frisco. while poor Frank here had a claim that petered out and came to nothing. I think that I heard a ring. Simon. there are steps on the landing. said Lord St. with his eyes cast down and his hand thrust into the breast of his fro ck-coat. The next I heard of Frank was that he was in Montana. you would like my friend and me to leave the room while yo u explain this matter? If I may give an opinion. Oh. and then I will feel sure of you . For my part. I only wonder I didn t f all down and do a faint right there before the altar. He was a small. Simon bitterly. At the sight of these newcomers our client had sprung from his seat and stood ve ry erect. and I was very sick for months after. I fainted dead away. and then he went prospectin g in Arizona. said she. where Pa was working a claim. but then one day father struck a rich pocket and made a p ile. tha t we just did it right there. I know that I have treated you real bad and that I should have spoken to you before I went. you have already met. I hav e brought an advocate here who may be more successful. in McQ uire s camp. sunburnt man. After that came a long ne wspaper story about how a miners camp had been attacked by Apache Indians. Frank wouldn t throw up his ha nd. a picture of offended dignity. and from the time when I saw Fran k here again I just didn t know what I was doing or saying. Not a word of news came for a year and more. but I was kind of rattled. I think. and th ere was my Frank s name among the killed. You re angry. so that I never doubted tha . wiry. Why shouldn t we be married right away. Frank said that he would go and make his pile. said he allow me to introduce you to Mr. and I have been shamefully used . so at last Pa wouldn t hear of our engagemen t lasting any longer. I will make no allowance. Pa thought I had a decline and took me to half the doctors in Frisco. Robert. Lord St. I am very angry indeed. I should like all Europe and America to hear the rights of it. though. The richer Pa grew the poorer was Frank. and he saw me without Pa knowing anything a bout it. Frank here and I met in 84. Mrs. and Mrs.

and follo wed him. Simon alone. but to get a few things packed and my ulster ready. an d dropped them away somewhere where no one could find them. We can t command our love. I saw it in a paper. but it was dr eadful hard before his mother and all those great people. and he slipped the note into my hand when he returned me the flowers. Now. It was only a line asking me to join him when he made the sign to me t o do so. and the words of the clergyman were just like the buzz of a bee in my ear. I know I ought to have spoken to Lord St. and I determined to do just whatever he might direct. As I passed his pew on the way out I dropped my b ouquet over to him. followed me there. put on my things. I glanced back and saw Frank standing and looking at me out of the first pew. I ordered her to say nothing. as if to ask me whether I were glad or sorry to see him. and that we should be putting ourselves in the wrong if we were so secre t. Lord St. and had com e upon me at last on the very morning of my second wedding. had escaped. perhaps. I just made up my mind to run away and explain afterwards. Robert. and I am very sorry if I have given you pain. He beckoned to me and then began walking into the Park. and Frank was all for openness. I thought it was his ghost at first. I didn t know what to do. It is likely that we should have gone on to Paris to-morrow. and I knew that he was writing me a note. if I had married Lord St. who had known him in California. and away we drove to some lodgings he had taken in Gordon S quare. just as I came to the altar rails. Sh ould I stop the service and make a scene in the church? I glanced at him again.t Frank was really dead. Mr. Then I saw him scribble on a piece of paper. I know that everything was turning round. though how he found us is more than I can thi nk. and Pa was very pleased. but I was so ashamed of it all that I felt as if I should like to vanish away and nev er see any of them again just sending a line to Pa. Holm es. and s o we came right away round to his rooms at once. Simon had by no means relaxed his rigid attitude. It gave the name and the church but no Then we had a talk as to what we should do. and we came to Londo n. I slipped out. Then he offered to give us a chance of talking to Lord St. So Frank took my weddingclothes and things and made a bundle of them. of course I d have done my duty by him. but had listened with a frowning brow and a compressed lip to this long narrative. explained the American. but we can our actions. and I hope that you do not th ink very meanly of me. Of course I never doubted for a moment that my first duty was now to hi m. I hadn t been at the table ten minutes before I saw Frank out of the window at the other side of the road. Simon. Some woman came talking something or other about Lord St. but I felt all the time that no man on this earth would ever take the place in my heart that had been g iven to my poor Frank. only that this good gentleman. Then Lord St. with a kind of ques tion in his eyes. and he showed us very clearly and kindly that I was wrong and that Frank was right. But you may imagine what I felt when. Simon to me see med 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. so that I should not be traced. but when I looked again there he was still. you have heard it all. We got into a cab together. Still. Simon. Simon came to Frisco. to show him that I wa s alive. found that I h ad given him up for dead and had gone to England. and had always b een his friend. and that was my true wedding after all those years of waiting. and he seemed to know what I was thinking. came on to Frisco. I won der I didn t drop. When I got back I told my maid. Frank had been a prisoner among the Apaches. It was awful to me to think of all those lords and ladies sitting round that breakfast-table and waiting for me to come back. . 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. t where the lady lived. and a marriage was arranged. for he raised his finger to his lips to tell me to be still. came round to us this evening.

Moulton. by Mr. at the idea that sh e might have seen an American. So far I had got before I ever heard Lord St. 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. What could that someth ing be? She could not have spoken to anyone when she was out. certainly. then? From the first. said Sherlock Hol mes. and of her very significant allusion to claim-jumping which in miners parlance means taking possession of that which another person has a pr ior claim to the whole situation became absolutely clear. then? If she had. it might be a husband . And how in the world did you find them? It might have been difficult. Then I trust that you at least will honour me with your company. Had she seen someone. for she had been i n the company of the bridegroom. been spent in rough scenes and under strange conditions. of her resort to her confidential maid. he said. I may be forc ed to acquiesce in these recent developments. Her young womanhood had. remarked Holmes when our visitors had left u s. and nothing st ranger than the result when viewed. by a process of exclusion. the one that the lady had been quite willing to undergo the wedding ceremony. if it would give you any pleasure. for instance. I knew. He included us all in a sweeping bow and stalked out of the room . The case has been an interesting one. but friend Lestrade held information in his hands t . responded his Lordship.Excuse me. of so transpare nt a device for obtaining a note as the dropping of a bouquet. Obviously something had occurred d uring the morning. but I can hardly be expected to ma ke merry over them. I think that there you ask a little too much. suggested Holmes. that you would have joined us in a friendly supper. I had hoped. Simon s narrative. It is always a joy to meet an American. it must be someone from America because she had spent so short a time in this country t hat she could hardly have allowed anyone to acquire so deep an influence over he r that the mere sight of him would induce her to change her plans so completely. and why should h e possess so much influence over her? It might be a lover. then. Mr. Nothing could be m ore natural than the sequence of events as narrated by this lady. I think that with your permission I will now wish you all a very good-night. When he told us of a man in a pew. the other that she had repented of it within a few minutes of returning home. but it is not my custom to discuss my most intimate personal af fairs in this public manner. You see we have already arrived. two facts were very obvious to me. You were not yourself at fault at all. Then you won t forgive me? You won t shake hands before I go? Oh. of the change in the bride s manner. and the man was either a lover or was a previous husband the chances being in favour of the latter. He put out his hand and coldly g rasped that which she extended to him. Lestrade of Scotland Ya rd. to cause her to change her mind. Then who could this American be. She had gone off with a man. for I am one of those w ho believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-g one 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 w ith the Stars and Stripes.

and bei ng fortunate enough to find the loving couple at home. As he ran he jerked his hands up and down. I remarked. so that there were fewer passengers than usual. Draw your chair up and hand me my violin. and on looking over the entries agains t him. Indeed. I think that we may judge Lord St. as you see. for the only problem we have still to solve is how to while away these bleak autumnal evenings. and imposing. It was a bright. I made him keep the appointment. said Holmes. I learned by an inspection of the book that Francis H. strongl y marked face and a commanding figure. but at either side and on the heap ed-up edges of the foot-paths it still lay as white as when it fell. Down the centre of Baker Street it had been ploug hed into a brown crumbly band by the traffic. so thither I travelled. he re is a madman coming along. Moulton. had left only the day before. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------XI. He was dressed in a sombre yet rich style . There are not many in London wh ich charge at that rate. He was a man of about fifty. for he was running hard. smiling. The grey pa vement had been cleaned and scraped. crisp February morning. His le tters were to be forwarded to 226 Gordon Square. with occasional little springs. perhaps you would not be very gracious either. THE ADVENTURE OF THE BERYL CORONET Holmes. shining hat. How did you deduce the select? By the select prices. and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground.he value of which he did not himself know. . In the second one which I visited in Northumberland Ave nue. of course. said I as I stood one morning in our bow-window looking down the street. tall. It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to come out alone. Simon in particular. of the highest importance. shimmeri ng brightly in the wintry sun. His conduct was certainly not very gracio Ah. from the direction of the Metro politan Station no one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric cond uct had drawn my attention. and. But with no very good result. I came upon the very items which I had seen in the duplicate bill. I ventured to give them s ome paternal advice and to point out to them that it would be better in every wa y that they should make their position a little clearer both to the general publ ic and to Lord St. 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. My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown. The initials were. after all the trouble of wooing and wedding. Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress an d features. Eight shillings for a bed and eightpence for a glass of she rry pointed to one of the most expensive hotels. looking over my shoulder. if . you found yourself deprived in an instant of wife and of fortune. and writhed his face into the most extraordinary contortions. Watson. in black frock-coat. an American gentleman. waggled his head. Simon very m ercifully and thank our stars that we are never likely to find ourselves in the same position. with a massive. us. portly. but was still dangerously slippery. I invited them to meet him here. neat brown gaiters. such as a w eary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. and well-cut pearl-grey trousers.

Pray wait until you have recovered yourself. sitting beside him. of the banking firm of Holder & Stevenson. I am Alexander Ho lder. said Holmes. and in so frightful a form. and then I shall be m ost happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me. Besides. for I am a man who takes ver y little exercise. The name was indeed well known to us as belonging to the senior partner in the s econd largest private banking concern in the City of London. and I will put the facts before you as sho rtly and yet as clearly as I can. although I am a man whose cha racter has never yet borne a stain. Then. puffing and bl owing. and let me have a clear account of who you are and what it is that has befallen you. is probably familiar to your ears. rubbing his hands. for the cabs go slowly thr ough this snow. I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. You have come to me to tell your story. My name. 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. The very noblest in the land m ay suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair. all curiosity. For a while he could not get his words out. God knows I have! a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason. have you not? said he. A few moments later he was in our room. said he. still puffing. to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiab le pass? We waited. Public disgrace I might have faced. of Threadneedle Street. . I see that you have had some great trouble. I feel better now. but the two coming together. No doubt you think me mad? said he. of the houses. still gesticulating. and turn ed his face towards us. Ha! did I not tell you? As he spoke. suddenly springing to his feet. until with another effort he braced himself t o tell his story. have been enough t o shake my very soul. fighting against his emot ion. Private affliction also is the lot of every man. sir. but swayed his body and plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme limits of his reason. Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-ch air and. rushed at our door and pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging. it is not I alone. Here? Yes. said Holmes. s oothing tones which he knew so well how to employ.What on earth can be the matter with him? I asked. That is why I was so out of breath. He is looking up at the numbers I believe that he is coming here. You are fatigued wit h your haste. but with so fixed a look of grief and despair in his eyes that our smiles were turne d in an instant to horror and pity. so sudden and so t errible is it. I came to Baker Stre et by the Underground and hurried from there on foot. Pray compose yourself. patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy. What could have hap pened. set his lips tight. then. answered our visitor. the man. The man sat for a minute or more with a heaving chest. I feel that time is of value. responded Holmes. Then he passed his handkerchief over his brow. I think that I rec ognise the symptoms. that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your co-operation.

You have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coro net? One of the most precious public possessions of the empire. and I shall then most certainly repay w hat you advance. but I muc h prefer to make it a matter of business and to carry out that business myself. I was overwhelmed by the honour and attempted. of course. said he. Not at all. It is absolutely essential to me. borrow so trifling a sum ten times over from my friends. said he. of course. or plate. do you want this sum? I asked. that I should have £50. lay the magnificent piece of jewellery which he had named.000 at once. justice to my precaution sho I should much prefer to have it so. w hen he entered. In my position you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one s self un der obligations. to say so. and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large su ms upon the security of their pictures. Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought i n to me by one of the clerks. said I. But it is very essential to me that the money should be paid at once. If. then in partner I must insist that. I coul d. Holder. well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as u pon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors. own private purse.It is. I shoul d not dream of doing so were it not absolutely certain that I should be able in . were it not that the strain would be rather more than it on the other hand. where the secu rity is unimpeachable. You may set your mind at rest about that. every businesslike uld be taken. and the price of the gold chasing is incalculable. I am prepared to leave it with you as my security. ney. for it was that of none other than well. I started when I saw the name. Mr. with whatever interest you think it right to charge. perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it wa s a name which is a household word all over the earth one of the highest. imbedded in soft. We have done a good deal in this direction during the las t few years. I am to do it in the name of the firm. raising up a square. I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to m y illustrious client. Next Monday I have a large sum due to me. could bear. flesh-coloured velvet. libraries. even in your case. said he. noblest. I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my said I. may I ask. The lowest estimate would put the worth of the coronet at double the sum which I hav e asked. He opened the case. said he. and there. One of our m ost lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans. I answered. most exalted names in England. black morocco ca se which he had laid beside his chair. Precisely. You doubt its value? he asked. There are thirty-nine enormous beryls. For how long. I only doubt The propriety of my leaving it. but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task. I have been informed that you are in the habit of advancing mo The firm does so when the security is good.

and. It is a pure matter of form. and may be set aside altogether. Bankers safes had been forced before now. I could not trust him in the handling of large sums of money. to preserve this coronet with every possible precaution because I need n ot say that a great public scandal would be caused if any harm were to befall it . has only been in my service a few months. but we believe her to be a thoroughly good girl in every way. the second waiting-maid. When he was young he beca me a member of an aristocratic club. Holmes a grievous disappointment. Very likely I have. a horrible scandal would ensue if any misfortune should occur to it. I have three maid-servants who have been with me a number of years and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. and why sh ould not mine be? If so. It was naturally my intention that he should succeed me in my business. And now a word as to my household. I ordered him to pay over fifty £1000 notes. Is the security sufficient ? Ample. My family itself is so small that it will not take me l ong to describe it. and there. but he wa s not of a business turn. therefore. She i s a very pretty girl and has attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place. I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but. abo ve all. I have no doubt that I am myself to blame. I have never denied him a w ish. that for the next few days I would always ca rry the case backward and forward with me. however. People tell me that I have spoiled him. with the precious case lying upon the table in front of me. When I was alone once more. Lucy Par r. and I shall call for i t in person on Monday morning. I could not b ut think with some misgivings of the immense responsibility which it entailed up on me. I said no more but. When evening came I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a th ing in the office behind me. carrying the jewel with me. She came w ith an excellent character. as it was a national possession. He has been a d isappointment to me. So much for the servants. that I am giving you a strong proof of the confidence which I have in you. I already regretted h aving ever consented to take charge of it. calling for my ca shier. Mr. with every confidence. He l earned to play heavily at cards and to squander money on the turf. I leave it with you. Another. for there ar e no beryls in the world to match these. He was wild. so I locked it up in my private safe and turned once more to my wor k. With this intention. Mr. until he had again and again to come to me and implore me to give him an advance upon his all . I am a widower and have an only son. having charming manners. I called a cab and drove out to my house at St reatham. Holmes. however. for I wish you to thoroughly under stand the situation. However. I did not breathe freely until I had taken it upstairs and locked it in the bureau of my dressing-room. wayward. and it would be impossible to replace t hem. it was too late to alter the matter now. Perhaps it would have been better for both of us had I been sterner. Arthur. ho wever. so that it might never be really out of my reach. Seeing that my client was anxious to leave. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had to love. You understand. Mr. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment from his face. he was soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expensive habits. to speak the truth. and has always given me satisfaction. how terrible would be the position in which I should fi nd myself! I determined. There could be no doubt that. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss. Holder.four days to reclaim it. but I meant it for the best. That is the only drawback which we have found to her. My groom and my page sleep out of the house. founded upon all that I have heard of you.

and that his marriage might have changed his whole life. but no w. Holmes. I have been far too generous with you in money ma You have been very kind. and I shall continue with my miserable story. He followed me to my room. Mr. who had brought in the coffee. but each time she has refu sed him. too. but I cannot swear that the door was clo sed. or else I can never s how my face inside the club again. Lucy Parr. a brilliant talker. but I thought it better not to disturb it. however. I could not wonder that such a man as Sir George Burnwell should gai n an influence over him. She is my right hand. so that I thought little of what he said. Look here. can you let me have £200? I answered sharply. a wonderful manager and housekeeper. He tried more than once to bre ak away from the dangerous company which he was keeping. you know the people who live under my roof. for he has frequently brought him to my house. one who had been every where. When I was a youngster I have opened it mys elf with the key of the box-room cupboard. alas! it is too late forever too late! Now. but I must have this money. She is a sunbeam in my house sweet. a man of the world to his finger-tips. and I ha ve found myself that I could hardly resist the fascination of his manner. and have looke d upon her ever since as my daughter. Yet when I think of him in cold blood. that night with a very grave face. any old key will fit that bureau. No. left the room. Yes. loving. And. far away from the glamour of his presence . I am sure. but each time the influ ence of his friend. said he. too! I cried. said he. Well. and of the precious treasure which we had under our roof. So I think. Where have you put it? In my own bureau. He is older than Arthur. I think that if anyone could have drawn him into the right path it woul d have been she. but when my brother d ied five years ago and left her alone in the world I adopted her. Twice my boy ha s asked her to marry him. yet as tender and quiet and gent le as a woman could be. I do not know what I could do with out her. Mary and Arthur were much interested and wished to see the famous coronet. seen everything. And a very good thing. was enough to draw him back again. who has a woman s quick insight into character. had. for he loves her devotedly. beautiful. Sir George Burnwell. He often had a wild way of talking. I answered.owance. I cannot! tters. She is my niece. I could not bea . In only one matter has she ever gone against my wishes. Oh. 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. but you would not have me leave it a dishonoured man. indeed. that he might settle his debts of honour. said he. I hope to goodness the house won t be burgled during the night. dad. said he with his eyes cast down. and so. and a man of great personal beauty. t hinks my little Mary. suppressing only the name of my client. I told Ar thur and Mary my experience. When we were taking coffee in the drawing-room that night after dinner. It is locked up. asked Arthur. And now there is only she to be described.

there was a distinct sound of foo tsteps moving softly in the next room. dad. made sure that my treasure was safe. One of the gold corners. then I must try other means. On the contrary. which she closed and fastened as I approached. I was awakened by some sound in the house. You have destroyed it! You have dishonoured me forever! Where are the jewels which you have stolen? Stolen! he cried. I am endeavouring to tell you everything. for this was the third demand during the month. You blackguard! I shouted. as I had left it. I cried. Tell me. was mi ssing. I kissed her and went up to my bedroom again. thief! I roared. to mak e me even less so than usual. which may have any bearing upon the case. At my cry he dropped it from his grasp and turned as pale as death. sleep. He appeared to be wrenching at it. I am not a very heavy sleeper. She came in just now by the back door. I have no doubt that she has only been to the side gate to see someone. When he was gone I unlocked my bureau. but I think that it is hardly safe and should be s topped. As I came down the stairs I saw Mary herself at the side window of the hall. You shall not ha ve a farthing from me. but I beg that you will question me upon any point which I do not make clear. or bending it with all his strength. I slipped out of bed. shaking him by the shoulder. your statement is singularly lucid.r the disgrace. I come to a part of my story now in which I should wish to be particularly so. Then. Arthur! I screamed. a little disturbed. I was very angry. I thought. but it had left an impression behind it as though a window had gently closed somewhere. dad. It had ceased ere I was wide awake. and l ocked it again. all palpitating wit h fear. Yes. and the anxiety in my mind tended. no doubt. dressed only in his sh irt and trousers. About two in the morning. I lay liste ning with all my ears. Mr. the maid. holding the coronet in his hand s. on which he bowed and left the room without anoth er word. looking. Suddenly. leave to go out to-night? Certainly not. Holmes. you villain! you thief! How dare you touch that coronet? The gas was half up. and if you will not let me h ave it. good-night. and my unhappy boy. said she. or I will if you prefer it. to my horror. I snatched it up and examined it. where I was soon a did you give Lucy. . I must raise the money in some way. 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. was standing beside the light. beside myself with rage. and peeped round the corner of my dressing-room door. You must speak to her in the morning. then. Are you sure th at everything is fastened? Quite sure. with three of the beryls in it.

And you know where they are. I will not stand it any longer. you have been caught in the act. and no co nfession could make your guilt more heinous. said he. turning away from me with a sneer. It would be to your advan tage as well as mine if I might leave the house for five minutes. with a scream. The police have openly c onfessed that they can at present make nothing of it. fell down senseless on the ground. That you may get away. and that he threatened to raise a scandal which would convulse t he nation. Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes. what sh all I do! He put a hand on either side of his head and rocked himself to and fro. He might avert it all if he would but tell me what he had done with t he three missing stones. Keep your forgiveness for those who ask for it. I sent the house-maid for the police and put the investigation into their hands at once. There are three missing. I called in the inspector and gave him into c ustody. At least. but no trace of them could be found. my gems. and my son in one night. I was determined that the law should have its way in everything. I have already offered a reward of £1000. I saw that he was too hardened for any words of mine to influence him. You may as well face the matter. I answered that it had ceased to be a private mat ter. by telling us where the beryls are. at the sight of the coronet and of A rthur s face. Oh. you will not have me arrested at once. have hurried round to you to i mplore you to use your skill in unravelling the matter. Arthu r. for I had raised my voice in my anger. 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. or perhaps that you may conceal what you have stolen. If you choose to call the police. I implored h im to remember that not only my honour but that of one who was far greater than I was at stake. This morning he was removed to a cell. There was but one way for it. You may go to any expense which you think necessary. There cannot be any missing. said he with a passion such as I should not have thought was in his nature. Must I call you a liar as w ell as a thief? Did I not see you trying to tear off another piece? You have called me names enough. said he. but had become a public one.There are none missing. said he. and. she read the whole story and. he answered. You shall leave it in the hands of the police! I cried half-mad with grief and rag e. with his brows knitted and his . since the ruined coronet was national property . droning to himself like a child whose grief has got beyond words. I shall have this matter probed to the bottom. what shall I do! I have lost my honour. who had stood sullenly with his arms folded. My God. Ma ry was the first to rush into my room. said I. You shall learn nothing from me. after going through all the police formalities. When the inspector and a constable entered the house. all shall be forgiven and forgotten. realising the dreadful position in which I was placed. And then. If you but make such reparation as is in your power. and I . let the police find what they can. I w ill leave your house in the morning and make my own way in the world. since you have chosen to insult me. I shall n ot say another word about this business. nor would the wretched boy open his mouth for a ll our persuasions and our threats. asked me whether it was my inten tion to charge him with theft. said I. By this time the whole house was astir.

That is unusual in a young girl. Sir Geor ge Burnwell has been several times lately.eyes fixed upon the fire. I think. took out your coronet. Do you receive much company? he asked. and then returned with the other thirty-six into th . to me it seems exceedingly comp lex. opened your bureau. Consider what is involved by your theory. No one else. Terrible! She is even more affected than I. why did h e not say so? Precisely. Mary and I stay at home. I hardly consider that a conclusive proof. 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 t o think? It appeared to you to be a simple case. You suppose that your son came do wn from his bed. she is not so very young. 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. with such skil l that nobody can find them. This matter. why did he not invent a lie? His silence appear s to me to cut both ways. concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine. to your dressing-room. But it is too heavy a task. my dear sir. Was the remainder of the coronet at al l injured? Yes. Do you not think. Now. 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. She is four-and-twen ty. Do you go out much in society? Arthur does. it was twisted. broke off by main force a small portion of it. went off to some other place. seems to have been a shock to her also. What did they say. that he might have been trying to straighten it? God bless you! You are doing what you can for him and for me. then. And if it were guilty. of the disappearance of these gems? They are still sounding the planking and probing the furniture in the hope of fin ding them. Have they thought of looking outside the house? Yes. None save my partner with his family and an occasional friend of Arthur s. from what you say. There are several singular points about the case. Besides. they have shown extraordinary energy. A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his door so as to wake a ho usehold. said Holmes. at great risk. then. What was he doing there at all? If his purpose were innocent. The whole garden has already been minu tely examined. We neither of us care for it. She is of a quiet nature. went.

How could I help suspecting him. which I was ea ger enough to do. and devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into details. He hardly spoke a word th e whole way out to the southern suburb. Holder. were innocent. She was rather above the middle height. have you not. but he had only picked it up to look at it. sunk in the deepest thought. and it was the more striking in her as she was ev idently a woman of strong character. we will set off for Streatham together. the matter must be probed to the bottom. and was not itself within the grou nds at all. I do not think that I have ever seen such deadly paleness in a woman s face. she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress. is such a theory tenable? But what other is there? cried the banker with a gesture of despair. do take my word for it th . which led into a narrow path between two neat hedges stret ching from the road to the kitchen door. Why is he silent. A double carriage-sweep. and forming the tradesmen s entrance. no. but still I had such fait h in Holmes judgment that I felt that there must be some grounds for hope as long as he was dissatisfied with the accepted explanation. which seemed the darker against the absolute pallor of her skin . but her eyes were flushed with crying. if he is innocent? Who knows? Perhaps because he was so angry that you should suspect him. the modes t residence of the great financier. You have given orders that Arthur should be liberated. and so round by the garden behind into the stable lane. Oh. Her lips. On the right side was a small wooden thicket. for my curiosity and sympathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. I know t hat he has done no harm and that you will be sorry for having acted so harshly. Fairbank was a good-sized square house of white stone. then.e room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered. replied Holmes. Holmes left us sta nding at the door and walked slowly all round the house. We were sitting there in silence when the door opened and a young lady came in. I ask you now. Our client appeared to have taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope which had been presented to him. dad? she aske d. thoroughfare. D isregarding my presence. My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition. with a snow-clad lawn. but sat with his chin upon his breast an d his hat drawn over his eyes. were bloodless. Mr. too. stretched down in f ront to two large iron gates which closed the entrance. But I am so sure that he is innocent. standing back a little fr om the road. A short railway journey and a shorter walk brought us to Fairbank. if you please. As she swept silently into the room she impressed me with a greater sense of grief than the b anker had done in the morning. and he even broke into a desultory chat with me over his business affai rs. across the front. my girl. do. when I actually saw him with the coronet in his hand? Oh. so now. why does he not explain them? If his motives It is our task to find that out. though little used. On the left ran a lane which led to the stables. slim. I confess that the guilt of the banker s son appeared t o me to be as obvious as it did to his unhappy father. being a public. Holder and I went into the dining-room and waited by the fir e until he should return. You know what woman s instincts are. down the tradesmen s path. So l ong was he that Mr. with dar k hair and eyes. No. with immense capacity for self-restraint.

I trust. His name is Fran cis Prosper. that you will succeed in proving. But what is the good of all these vague theories. It is so dreadful to thi nk of our dear Arthur in prison! I shall never let it drop until the gems are found never. said Holmes. returned Holmes. until my uncle here began to speak loudly. You have a maid who has a sweetheart? I think that you remarked to your uncle las t night that she had been out to see him? Yes. He is round in the stable lane n ow. n I have told you that I saw Arthur with the coronet in his hands? Wait a little. You heard nothing yourself last night? Nothing. with you. what I f eel sure is the truth. We must come back to that. This gentleman? she asked. and that the two may have planned the robbery. The stable lane? She raised her dark eyebrows. I fully share your opinion. sir. when I went to see if the door was fastened for the night I met her slipping in. What can he hope to find there? Ah! this. that we may prove it. Do you know him? Oh. to the left of the door that is to say. Far from hushing the thing up. You saw her return by the kitchen he is innocent. yes! he is the green-grocer who brings our vegetables round. and I came down . I presume? Yes. if it may help to clear this horrible affair up. going back to the mat to knock the snow from his shoes. is he. Let the matter drop and say no more. and who may have heard uncle s remarks about the coronet. in the gloom. sir. that my cousin Arthur is innocent of this crime. Miss Holde r. I believe I have the honour of addressing Miss Mary Holder. and I trust. Mr. farther up the path th whe . About this girl. No. cried the banker impatiently. You shut up the windows and doors the night before. Mary! Your affection for Arthur blinds you as to the awful consequences to me. I suppose. Were they all fastened this morning? Yes. I heard that. You infer that she may have gone out to tell her sweetheart. too. I see. Holder. and she was the girl who waited in the drawing-room. I saw the man. Might I ask you a question or two? Pray do. facing round to me. his friend. He wished us to leave him alone. Did you fasten all the window s? Yes. I have brought a gentleman down from London to inquire more deeply into it. He stood.

The banker recoiled in horror. contains the coronet. said he. Perhaps I had better take a look at the lower w indows before I go up. The banker s dressing-room was a plainly furnished little chamber. Which key was used to open it? he asked. Now. He walked swiftly round from one to the other. a large bureau. It is a noiseless lock. Holmes went to the bureau first and look ed hard at the lock. Why. This cas e. Then I will. said he at last. I should not dream of trying. he did. We must have a look at it. but. said he. said he. It is all dark to me. That which my son himself indicated that of the cupboard of the lumber-room. This he opened and made a very car eful examination of the sill with his powerful magnifying lens. At one side of the coronet was a cracked edge. He opened the case . w hat do you think would happen if I did break it. Now we shall go u pstairs. Holder. said Holmes. I shall probably wish to go over the outside of the house again. and a long mirror. Holder? There would be a no ise like a pistol shot. Holmes suddenly bent his strength upon it. An ordinary man could not do it. you a re like a magician. i t would take me all my time to break it. pausing only at the large one whi ch looked from the hall onto the stable lane. and the thirty-six stones were the finest that I have ever seen. Miss Holder? I confess that I still share my uncle s perplexity. Might I beg that you will break it off. eager face. but there was no an swering smile in Holmes thin. What do you think. But perhaps it may grow lighter as we go. How do you know that? She smiled. I should be very glad now to go upstairs. where a corner holding three gems had been torn away. said he. I feel it give a little. It was a magnificent spec imen of the jeweller s art. I presume. Sherlock Holmes took it up and opened the bureau. Your son had no shoes or slippers on when you saw him? . with a grey car pet. Now. Have you it here? That is it on the is necessary to reach the door? Yes. said she. 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. Mr. and taking out the diadem he laid it upon the table. Mr. here is the corner which corresponds to that which ha s been so unfortunately lost. though I am exceptionally strong in the fingers. And he is a man with a wooden leg? Something like fear sprang up in the young lady s expressive black eyes. It is no wonder that it did not wake you. but without result.

But the gems. I had just finished my tea when he returned. it is ju st possible that I may have to come over here again before evening. . or I may be following a will-o -the-wisp. I ma y be on the trail in this matter. swi nging an old elastic-sided boot in his hand. With his collar turned up. I shall look into the matter between this and then. for he explained that any unnecessary footmar ks might make his task more difficult. Thank you. erve you best by returning to my rooms. Then. Several times during our homeward journey I endeavoured to sound him upon the point. I shall now continue my investiga tions outside. and thrusting this rude meal into his pocket he started off upon his expedition. I think that this should do. his red cravat. and it will be entirely our own fault if we do not succeed in clearing th e matter up. evidently in excellent spirits. The banker wrung his hands. I understand that y ou give me carte blanche to act for you. glancing into the glass above the fireplace. I hope that I may be back in a few hours. bu t he always glided away to some other topic. Holmes. I would give my fortune to have them back. seedy coat. sandwiched it between two rounds of bread. his shiny. I only looked in as I passed. It was obvious to me that my companion s mind was now made up about the case.He had nothing on save only his trousers and shirt. And my son? You said he. and that you place no limit on the sum I may draw. I can s My opinion is in no way altered. Mr. Holder. alth ough what his conclusions were was more than I could even dimly imagine. he was a perfect sample of the class. For an hour or more he was at work. Mr. Good-bye. until at last I gave it over in des pair. He hu rried to his chamber and was down again in a few minutes dressed as a common loa fer. Holder. but I shall soon know which it is. provided only that I get back the gems. for God s sake. and his w orn boots. 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 a nd ten I shall be happy to do what I can to make it clearer. He went alone. give me hopes? I shall never see them again! he cried. He chucked it down into a corner an d helped himself to a cup of tea. We have certainly been favoured with extraordinary luck during this in quiry. With your permission. He cut a s lice of beef from the joint upon the sideboard. retur ning at last with his feet heavy with snow and his features as inscrutable as ev er. I think that I have seen now all that there is to see. Watson. said he. I only wish that you could come with me. Very good. I am going right on. at his own request. said he. It was not yet three when we found ourselves in our rooms once more. Mr. Where are they? I cannot tell. but I fear that it won t do.

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

And there is a l ittle reward. nothing of the kind. first. Your news of this morning. Ha! You say so! You have heard something. You owe a very humble apology to that noble lad. you have learned something! Where are the gems? You would not think £1000 apiece an excessive sum for them? I would pay ten. and I will pay it. Holmes. No. took out a little triangular piece of gold with three gems in it. I told it to him. With a dazed face the banker made out the required check. that it was not. Mr. It is perhaps the best possible solution. Three thousand will cover the matter. who has carried himself in this matter as I should be proud to see my own s on do. M r. may open his lips. Then it was not Arthur who took them? I told you yesterday. What could she mean by that note. There is one other thing you owe. and threw it down upon the table. then. That would be unnecessary. I fancy. no. your son. With a shriek of joy our client clutched it up. what is this extraordinary mystery! I will do so. Holmes? Do you think it points to suicide? No. You are sure of it! Then let us hurry to him at once to let him know that the tru th is known. tell me. and I repeat to-day. and he hugged his r ecovered gems to his bosom. The y have now fled together. For heaven s sake. Owe! He caught up a pen. . Name the sum. Mr. Mr. He knows it already. 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. And let me say to you. said Sherlock Holmes rather sternly. When I had cleared it all up I had an interview with him. and I will show you the steps by which I reached it. however. that which it is hardest for me to say and for you to hear: ther e has been an understanding between Sir George Burnwell and your niece Mary. the debt is not to me. Have you your check-book? Here is a pen. Holder. an d finding that he would not tell me the story.MARY. I trust. that you are nearing the end of your troubles. Holmes walked over to his desk. You have it! he gasped. Holder. should I ever chance to have one. I am saved! I am saved! The reaction of joy was as passionate as his grief had been. Better make it o ut for £4000.

and preserved her secret. and I will not. and how all-important it was to set it right. an d then closing it once more hurry back to her room. His footmarks had pressed r ight through the snow. was surprised to se e his cousin walking very stealthily along the passage until she disappeared int o your dressing-room. Is it possible? gasped the banker. a man without heart or conscience. whence he could see what passed in the hall beneath. closed the window. His wicked lust for gold kindled at the news. when y ou had. Your niece. in his bare feet. But the instant that she was gone he realise d how crushing a misfortune this would be for you. on which s he closed the window rapidly and told you about one of the servants escapade with her wooden-legged lover. your lad tugging at one side of t he coronet. He could not explain the true state of affairs without betraying one who certainly deserved little enough consideration at his hands. The devil knows best what he said. P resently she emerged from the room again. and he. asc ended to your room. but there are women in whom the love of a lover e xtinguishes all other loves. She had ha rdly listened to his instructions when she saw you coming downstairs. Arthur. your son struck Sir G eorge and cut him over the eye. and your son. opened the wi ndow. an absolutely d esperate villain. I hav e no doubt that she loved you. She passed down the stairs. and had just observed that the coronet had been twisted in t he struggle and was endeavouring to straighten it when you appeared upon the sce ne. In the middle of the night he he ard a soft tread pass his door. as she thought. passing quite close to where he stood hid behind the curtain. Petrified with astonishment. When he breathed his vows to her. and ran down the lane. believe it! cried the banker with an ashen face. what occurred in your house last night. she flattered herself that she alone had touched his heart. it is certain. so long had he stood there. but Arthur caug ht him. and there was a struggle between them. thrilling with horror. Sir George Burnwell tried to get away. the lad slipped on some cloth es and waited there in the dark to see what would come of this strange affair. however. and I think that she must have been one. ran along and slipped behind the curt ain near your door. He saw her stealthily open the window. You then roused his anger by calling him names at a moment when he felt that he h ad deserved your warmest thanks. so he rose and. hand out the coronet to someone in the gloom. I will tell you. Neither you nor your son k new the true character of this man when you admitted him into your family circle . In the scuffle. f inding that he had the coronet in his hands. Your niece knew nothing of such men. then. and he bent her to his will. rushed back. just as he was. went to bed after his interview with you but he slept badly on account of his uneasiness about his club debts. . gone to your room. but at least she became his tool and was in the habit of seei ng him nearly every evening. As long as she was on the scene he could not take any action without a horrible e xposure of the woman whom he loved. He rushed down. slipped down and talked to her lover through the window which leads into the stable lane. I cannot. She told him of the coronet. and his opponent at the other. He took the more chivalrous view. sprang out into the snow. which was all perfectly true. looking out. as he had done to a hundred before h er. and in the light of the passage-lamp y our son saw that she carried the precious coronet in her hands. He is one of the most dangerous men in England a ruined gambler. Your boy. where he could see a dark figure in the moonlight. Then something suddenly snapped.My Mary? Impossible! It is unfortunately more than possible.

I at once went very carefully round it to observe if there were any traces in the snow which might help me. they had each tugged at the coronet. however. I was at once convinced f rom what you had told me that the latter was your son. A man had waited outside the window. And who could it be who was her confederate? A lover evidently. as was s hown by the deep toe and light heel marks. I was then beginning to be able to form an opinion as to what had occurred. where Boots had worn a ll the snow away while waiting. however improbable. I could even tell that t hey had been disturbed. cried Mr. so there was an end to that clue. their united strength causi ng injuries which neither alone could have effected. and I could at once see that someone had pas sed out. where a few dro ps of blood had fallen. Hold er. I found that the paveme nt had been cleared. I knew that it was not you w ho had brought it down. why should your son allow himself to be accused in their plac e? There could be no possible reason. I passed along the tradesmen s path.And that was why she shrieked and fainted when she saw the coronet. I saw where Boots had faced round. So far I was clear. wh ich I took to be the police. But if it were the maids. I thought at the time that this might be the maid and h er sweetheart. he had pursued the thief. On entering the house. and how she had fainted on seeing the coronet again. someone had brought the gems. How cruelly I have misjudged him! When I arrived at the house. whose round i mpressions on one side showed that he had a wooden leg. however. had stru ggled with him. Now. whatever r emains. I knew t hat none had fallen since the evening before. There was a double line of tracks of a booted man. it was obvious that he had passed after the other. It must have been he who wore those boots and retained t . I could distinguish the outline of an instep where the wet foot had bee n placed in coming in. I followed them up and found they led to the hall window. The first had walked both ways. When he came to the highroad at the other end. continued Holmes. but had left a fragment in the grasp of his opponent. however. 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. T he question now was. I passed round the garden without seeing anything more than random tracks. Then I walked to the other end. As he loved his cousin. 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 a t the scene of the struggle. there was an excellent explanation why he should retain her secret the more so as the secre t was a disgraceful one. as you remember. for who else coul d outweigh the love and gratitude which she must feel to you? I knew that you we nt out little. which was a hund red yards or more down the lane. but when I got into the stable lane a very long and complex story was written in the snow in front of me. my conjecture became a cer tainty. finally. and inquiry showed it was s o. But among them was Sir George Burnwell. must be the truth. Boots had then run d own the lane. and another little smudge of blood showed that it was he who had b een hurt. I had heard of him before as being a man of evil reputation among women. at the far side of the kitchen door. and. He had returned with the pr ize. while Wooden-leg had waited a little. and a second double line which I saw with delight belonged to a man with naked feet. a woman had stood and talked with a man. the sill and framewo rk of the hall window with my lens. I examined. where the sn ow was cut up as though there had been a struggle. so there only remained your niece and the maids. but found it all trampled down and indistinguishable. to show me that I was not mistaken. When I remembered that you had seen her at that window. Oh. the deed had been overseen by your son. Just beyond it. and then had gone away. but the other had run swiftly. and also that there had been a str ong frost to preserve impressions. and that your circle of friends was a very limited one. and as his tread was marked in places over the depression of the boot. for the woman had run back swiftly to the door. of whom you had already spoken to me.

at the expense of six shillings. . they will soo n receive a more than sufficient punishment. It is pleasant to me to observe. THE ADVENTURE OF THE COPPER BEECHES To the man who loves art for its own sake. and eventually got to my bed about two o clock. At first. and. he might st ill flatter himself that he was safe. Even though he knew that Arthur had discovered him. he tried to bluster and took down a life-preserver from the wall. I am bound to say. I knew my m an. And now I must fly to my dear boy to apologise to him for the wrong which I hav e done him. But when I gave him every particular that had occurre d. I found that I had my man. Sir. A day which has saved England from a great public scandal. I cannot quite hold myself absolved from the charge of se nsationalism which has been urged against my records. for I saw that a prosecut ion must be avoided to avert scandal. that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to dr aw up. Well. said Mr. It was a delicate part which I had to play then. I saw an ill-dressed vagabond in the lane yesterday evening. for the lad could not say a word without c ompromising his own family. made all sure by buying a pair of his cast-of f shoes. rising . told him that all was right. I went and saw him.he missing gems. but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthe sis which I have made my special province. and I knew that so astute a villain would see that our hands were tied in the matter. returned Holmes. after what I may call a really hard day s work. remarked Sherlock Holmes. said I. that she is wherever Sir George Bu rnwell is. Then I looked in upon your son. Precisely. so I came home and changed my clo thes. Not e ven your skill can inform me where she is now. That brought out the first signs of grief that he ha d shown. and after much chaffering I got our stones at £1000 apiece. smiling. Then he became a little more reasonable. said the banker. that whatever her sins are. but you shall not find me ungrateful for what you have done. on promising him th at there would be no prosecution. too. tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph. It was I. And yet. I told him that we would give him a price for t he stones he held £1000 apiece. however. With these I journeyed down to Streatham and saw that they exactly fitt ed the tracks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------XII. occasionally to embellish. I went in the s hape of a loafer to Sir George s house. I cannot find words to thank you. learned that his master had cut his head the night before. It is equally certain. As to what you tell me of poor Mary. Your skill has indeed exceeded all that I have heard of it. I think that we may safely say. he denied everything. finally . it goes to my very heart. Holder. Watson. dash it all! said he. Off I set to him. managed to pick up an acquaintance with hi s valet. and. it is frequently in its least im portant and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. and I clapped a pistol to his head before he could strike. you have given promine nce not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have f igured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves. Why. of cou rse. your own good sense will suggest what measures I took next. I ve let them go at six hundred for the three! I s oon managed to get the address of the receiver who had them.

Yours faithfully. and the opposing windows loomed like da rk. Our gas was lit and shone on the white cloth and glimmer of china and metal. It was dated from Montague Place upon the preceding evening. Logic is rare. I answered. I remarked with so me coldness. having apparently given up his search. it seems to be degenerating into an agency for recovering lost lead pencils a nd giving advice to young ladies from boarding-schools. I think that I have touc hed bottom at last. the great unobservant public. indeed. he observed. during which he had sat puffing at hi s long pipe and gazing down into the fire. or at least cr iminal man. At the same time. I cannot blame you. has lost all enterprise and originality. were all matters whic h are outside the pale of the law. however. for the days of the great cases are past. . what do the public. of interest. ghts s an fore have it is not selfishness or conceit. A thick fog rolled down b etween the lines of dun-coloured houses. he remarked after a pause. Read it! He tossed a crumpled letter across to me. I fear that you may have bordered on the trivial. dipping continuously into the advertisement columns of a succession of papers until at last. But in avoiding the sensational. taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs an d lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood you have erred perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your statements instead of con fining yourself to the task of placing upon record that severe reasoning from ca use to effect which is really the only notable feature about the thing. who coul d hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb. in its legal sense. This note I had this morning marks my zero-point. HOLMES: I am very anxious to consult you as to whether I should or should not accept a situation which has been offered to me as governess. I shall call a t half-past ten to-morrow if I do not inconvenience you. You degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales. but the methods I hold to have been novel and Pshaw. he had emerged in no very sweet temper to lectur e me upon my literary shortcomings. for I was repelled by the egotism which I had more than once observ ed to be a strong factor in my friend s singular character. Sherlock Holmes had been silent all the morning. at a ll. There it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. you can hardly be open to a charge of sensationalism. and the incident of the noble bachelor. and we sat after breakfast on either side of a cheery fire in the old room at Baker Street. and ran thus: DEAR MR. care abou t the finer shades of analysis and deduction! But. it is because it i impersonal thing a thing beyond myself. The small matter in which I endeavoured to help the King of Bohemia. It was a cold morning of the early spring. If I claim full justice for my art.You have erred. as was his wont. for out of these cases which you have been so kind as to interes t yourself in. shapeless blurs through the heavy yellow wreaths. my dear fellow. No. the problem connected with the man wit h the twisted lip. I fancy. It seems to me that I have done you full justice in the matter. said he. answering. Crime is common. the sin gular experience of Miss Mary Sutherland. if you are trivial. perhaps. As to my own little practic e. The end may have been so. for the table had not been cl eared yet. Man. a fair proportion do not treat of crime. my thou rather than my words.

Westaway was the name of the founder of the business . It may turn out to be of more interest than you think. an d the ladies who are seeking employment wait in an anteroom. Miss Hunter. I asked. I shall be happy to do anything that I can to serv e you. also. unless I am much mistaken. so that I found myself without a situation. freckled like a plover s egg. and are then shown in one by one. A prodigiously stout man with a very smili ng face and a great heavy chin which rolled down in fold upon fold over his thro at sat at her elbow with a pair of glasses on his nose. That will do. I could see that Holmes was favourably impressed by the manner and speech of his new client. and as I have no parents or rel ations of any sort from whom I could ask advice. but two months ago the colonel received an appointment at Halifax. in the family of Colonel Spence M unro. said he. At last the little money which I had saved began to run short. and I was at my wit s end as to what I should do. As he spoke the door opened and a young lady entered the room. and took his children over to America with him. He looked her over in his searching fashion. I have been a governess for five years. but I have had a very strange experience. let us hope so. to listen to her story . said she. and then composed hims elf. and wi th the brisk manner of a woman who has had her own way to make in the world. looking very earnestly a t the ladies who entered. I am sure. developed i nto a serious investigation. and there I used to call about once a week in order to see whether anything had tur ned up which might suit me. She sits in her own little office. but I found that Miss Stoper was not alone. as my companion rose to gre et her. She was plainly b ut neatly dressed. Well. which appeared to be a mere whim at first. with his lids drooping and his finger-tips together. when I called last week I was shown into the little office as usual.VIOLET HUNTER. I could not ask for anything better. and I have no doubt that is her ring. There is a well-known agency for governesses in the West End called Westaway s. . but without su ccess. for here. said she. is the person in question. but it is really managed by Miss Stoper. Capital! capital! He see med quite enthusiastic and rubbed his hands together in the most genial fashion. Do you know the young lady? Not I. It is half-past ten now. It may be so in this case. with a bright. But our doubts will very soon be solved. As I came in he gave quite a jump in his chair and tur ned quickly to Miss Stoper. I thought that perhaps you woul d be kind enough to tell me what I should do. quick face. I advertised. You remember that the affa ir of the blue carbuncle. You will excuse my troubling you. Yes. in Nova Scotia. and I answered advertisements. Pray take a seat. when she consults her ledgers and sees whether she has anything w hich would suit them. Well.

It is also my custom. tut. the advance was a great convenience. Charming rural place. Mr. But if you have why. may be less than you imagine. One child one dear little romper just six years old. seeing perhaps the look of incredulity upon my face. but the father s laug hter made me think that perhaps he was joking. tut! sweating rank sweating! he cried. You are looking for a situation. five miles on the far side o f Winchester. It seemed to me that I had never met so fascinating and so thoughtful a man. miss? Yes. Oh. how could any gentleman ask you to condescend to accept anything under the th ree figures? Your salary with me. and the dearest old country-house. Oh. sir. throwing his fat hands out into the air like a man who is in a boiling passion. you are not fitted for the rearing of a child who may some day play a considerable part in the history of the country. such an offer seemed almost too good to be true. sir. my dear young lady. sir? I should be glad to know what they would be. tut! he cried. I was a little startled at the nature of the child s amusement. if you could see him killi ng cockroaches with a slipper! Smack! smack! smack! Three gone before you could wink! He leaned back in his chair and laughed his eyes into his head again. A little French. The gentleman. As I was already in debt to my tradesmen. And what salary do you ask? I had £4 a month in my last place with Colonel Spence Munro. said he. a l he asked. Holmes. to advanc e to my young ladies half their salary beforehand. The point is. sir. My sole duties. that to me. have you o r have you not the bearing and deportment of a lady? There it is in a nutshell. smiling in the most pleasant fashion until his eyes were just two little shining slits amid the white creases of his face. If you have not. madam. sir? said I. then. This is all quite beside the question. and drawing said I. Hampshire. would commence at £100 a year. The Copper Beeches. are to take charge of a single child? . And my duties. opened a pocket-book and took out a note. destitute as I was.He was such a comfortable-looking man that it was quite a pleasure to look at h im. It is the most lovely country. music. and y et there was something unnatural about the whole transaction which made me wish to know a little more before I quite committed myself. May I ask where you live. As governess? Yes. Tut. I asked. the n. You may imagine. How could anyone offer so pitiful a s um to a lady with such attractions and accomplishments? My accomplishments. however. so that they may meet any lit tle expenses of their journey and their wardrobe. ittle German.

as I am sure your good sense would suggest. my dear young lady. said he. considerably astonished at his words. Do you desire your name to be kept upon the books? If you please. I could not dream of sacrificing it in this offhand fashion. Well. I really could not. Miss Stoper. It is a little fancy of my wife s. Or to cut your hair quite short before you come to us? I could hardly believe my ears. Well. Next day I was inclined to t hink that I had made a mistake. or sit there. if these people had strange fads a nd expected obedience on the most extraordinary matters. heh? I should be happy to make myself useful. Mr. then that quite settles the matter. I am afraid that that is quite impossible. provided always that they were such commands as a lady might with propriety obey. you would n ot object to our little whim. Your duty would b e. and I was shown out by the page. It has been considered artistic. and I could see a shadow pass over his face as I spoke. Miss Hunter. he cried. really. said I. and two or three bills upon the table. You see no difficulty. She struck a go ng upon the table. but she glanced at me now with so much annoyance upon her face that I could not help suspecting that she had lost a handsome commission through my ref usal. because in other respects you would really have done very nicely. I am afraid that it is quite essential. Or to sit here. After all. and of a rather peculiar tint of chestnut. and by the day after I was sure of it. Good-day to you. Holmes. that would not be offensive to you? Oh. you know faddy but kind-h earted. Very few governesses in England are getting £100 a year. when I got back to my lodgings and found little enough in the c upboard. If you were asked to wear any dress which we might give you. said I. Quite so. what use was my hair to me? Many people are improved by wearing it short and perhaps I should be among the number. The manageress had sat all this while busy with her papers without a word to eith er of us. ladies fancies must be consulted. I answered firmly. my hair is somewh at luxuriant. Holmes. I h ad best inspect a few more of your young ladies. sir. not the sole. And so you w on t cut your hair? No. they were at least read y to pay for their eccentricity. to obey any little commands my wi fe might give. It is a pity. not the sole. Mr. I she asked. said she sharply. In dress now.No. since you refuse the most excellent offers in this fashion. a nd ladies fancies. Miss Stoper. it seems rather useless. no. you know. very well. I had alm ost overcome my pride so far as to go back to the agency and inquire whether the place was still open when I received this letter from the gentleman himself. madam. I began to ask myself whether I had not done a very foolish thing. no. In that case. for example. Ah. . Besides. We are faddy people. He had been watching me eagerly out of his small eyes. As you may observe. Heh? No. You can hardly expect us to exert ourselves to find another such opening for you.

as matters stand. fit you very well. there seems to me to be only one possible solution. near Winchester. however . as to sitting here or there. Why sh ould they give you £120 a year. That is the letter which I have just received. that settles the question. I thought that if I told you the circumstances you would understand afterwards if I wanted your help. Well. that before taking the final step I should like to submit the whole matter to your consideration. and that he humours her fancies in every way in order to prevent an outbrea k? That is a possible solution in fact. Mr. the money! Well. Let me know your train. As regards your hair. and I only hope tha t the increased salary may recompense you for the loss. and my mind is made up that I will accept it. it is no doubt a pi ty. Mr. so as to recompense yo u for any little inconvenience which our fads may cause you. But the money. We are willing to give £30 a quarter. But in any case it does not seem to be a nice household for a young lady.have it here and I will read it to you: The Copper Beeches. as we have one belonging to my dear daugh ter Alice (now in Philadelphia). which would. or £120 a year. That is what makes me uneasy. I have no data. What is the meaning of it all. But you would not advise me to refuse? I confess that it is not the situation which I should like to see a sister of min e apply for. Now do try to come. I cannot tell. go to the expense of purchasing one. after all. as far as t he child is concerned. smiling. I should think. You need not. especially as I could not help remarking its beauty during our short intervi ew. Holmes. or amusing yourself in any manner indicated. good-natured man. My wife is very anxious that you should come. DEAR MISS HUNTER: Miss Stoper has very kindly given me your address. Then. . Is it not possible that his wife is a lunatic. it is the most probable one. Mr. JEPHRO RUCASTLE. for she has been much attracted by my description of you. but I am afraid that I must remain firm upon this point. of course the pay is good too good. Holmes? Ah. when they could have their pick for £40? There must be some strong reason behind. that he desires to keep the matter quiet for fear she should be taken to an asy lum. are very light. Holmes. Mr. My wife is fond of a particular shade of electric blue and w ould like you to wear such a dress indoors in the morning. if your mind is made up. They are not very e xacting. and I shall meet you with the dog-cart at Winchester. yes. however. Yours faithfully. Miss Hunter. that need cause you no inconvenience. I should feel so much stronger if I felt that you were at t said Holmes . and I write fr om here to ask you whether you have reconsidered your decision. Your duties. Perhaps you have yourself formed some opinion? Well. Rucastle seemed to be a very kind. I thought.

And yet he would always wind up by muttering that no sister of his should ever have accepted such a situation. or whether the man were a philanthropist or a villain. though whether a fad or a plot. a telegram would bring me down to your help. At least. I assure you that your little probl em promises to be the most interesting which has come my way for some months. The summons was a brief and urgent one. It would cease to be a danger if we could define i t. said he. As t o Holmes. And she would need to be. she seems I am much mistaken if we do not hear It was not very long before my friend s prediction was fulfilled. Rucastle at once. from her before many days are past. . I can t make bricks without clay. during which I frequently found my thoughts turning in her direction and wo ndering what strange side-alley of human experience this lonely woman had straye d into. it was quite beyond my powers to determine. She rose briskly from her chair with the anxiety all swept from he r face. HUNTER. Just look up the trains in Bradshaw. said Holmes gravely. With a few grateful words to Holmes she bade us both good-night and bu stled off upon her way. glancing up. it said. The telegram which we eventually received came late one night just as I was thin king of turning in and Holmes was settling down to one of those all-night chemic al researches which he frequently indulged in. said I as we heard her quick. said he. the light duties. sacrifice my poor hair to-night. Do co Will you come with me? asked Holmes. day or night. and then. when I would leave him stooping o ver a retort and a test-tube at night and find him in the same position when I c ame down to breakfast in the morning. The unusual salary. and turned back to his chemical stud Please be at the Black Swan Hotel at Winchester at midday to-morrow. If you should find yourself in doubt or in danger Danger! What danger do you foresee? Holmes shook his head gravely. and start for Winchester to-morrow. But at any time. I shall write to Mr. threw it across to me. Data! data! data! he cried impatiently. Th ere is something distinctly novel about some of the features. firm steps descending the stairs. I observed that he sat frequently for half an hour on end. A fortnight went by. Oh. I shall go down to Hampshire quite easy in my mind now. to be a young lady who is very well able to take care of herself. me! I am at my wit s end. g lancing at the message. He opened the yellow envelope. all pointe d to something abnormal. with knitte d brows and an abstracted air.he back of me. That is enough. but he swept the matter away with a wave of his h and when I mentioned it. the curious conditions. ies. you may carry that feeling away with you.

She has her freedom. then? Can you suggest no explanation? . Watson. By eleven o clock the next day we were well upon our way to the old English capita l. that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside. Are they not fresh and beautiful? I cried with all the enthusiasm of a man fresh f rom the fogs of Baker Street. It is the five miles of country which makes the danger. The sun was shining very brightly. and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. Winchester at 11:30. founded upon my experience. Then perhaps I had better postpone my analysis of the a cetones. Holmes had been buried in the morning papers all the way down. or the thud of a drunkard s blow. and none the wiser. Watson. a light blue sky. a nd yet there was an exhilarating nip in the air. glancing over my Bradshaw. Still. each in its own fields . in such places. said I. It is my belief. Had this lady who appeals to us for help gone to live in Winchester. There is a train at half-past nine. Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads? They always fill me with a certain horror. All over the countryside. What can be the matter. and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. Quite so. and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolati on and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there. said he. flecked with little fleecy whit e clouds drifting across from west to east. If she can come to Winchester to meet us she can get away.I should wish to. then. the hidden wickedness which may go on. year out. as we may need to be at our best in the morning. T hink of the deeds of hellish cruelty. yea r in. But Holmes shook his head gravely. that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn li ke mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. away to the rolling hills around Aldershot. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a t ortured child. Do you know. does not beget sympathy and indig nation among the neighbours. I lo ok at them. Just look it up. Good heavens! I cried. it is clear that she is not personally threatened. No. You horrify me! But the reason is very obvious. which set an edge to a man s ener gy. But look at these lonely houses. the li ttle red and grey roofs of the farm-steadings peeped out from amid the light gre en of the new foliage. filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. I should never have had a fear for her. but after we h ad passed the Hampshire border he threw them down and began to admire the scener y. It was an ideal spring day. and you are impressed by their beauty. You look at these scattered houses. It is due at That will do very nicely.

The Black Swan is an inn of repute in the High Street. There was no truth. and our lunch awaited us upon the table. Mrs. that he was a widower. Your advice will be altogether invaluable to me. which curves past about a hundred yards from the front door. W hen I came down. It is. Rucastle seemed to me to be colourless in mind as well as in feature. and that his only chil d by the first wife was the daughter who has gone to Philadelphia. Mr. for I have promised Mr. Mrs. much y ounger than her husband. In the first place. noting every little want and forestalling it if possible.I have devised seven separate explanations. and Mrs. I should think. I am so delighted that you have come. and we shall soon learn all that Miss Hunter has to tell. though he little kne w for what purpose. woods on t hree sides. What can you not understand? Their reasons for their conduct. She had engaged a sitt ing-room. Her light grey eyes wandered continually from one to the other. She was a nonentity. And y . I may say that I have met. I got his leave to come into town this morning. But you shall have it all just as it occurred. i n the conjecture which seemed to us to be probable in your rooms at Baker Street . Rucastle told me in private that the reason why she had left them was that she had an unr easoning aversion to her stepmother. at no distance from the s tation. as he said. and was introduced by him that evening to his wife and the child. whitewashed. there is the tower of the cathedral. It is so very kind of you both. Mr. while he can hard ly be less than forty-five. But I cannot understand them. I can quite imagine that her position must have been uncomfortable wi th her father s young wife. She im pressed me neither favourably nor the reverse. He was kind to her also in his blu ff. Holmes. A clump of copper beeches immediately in front of the hall door has given its name to the place. and I must be quick. Well. This ground in front belongs to the house. not more than thirty. and there we found the young lady waiting for us. From their conversation I have gathered that they ha ve been married about seven years. I was driven over by my employer. and on the whole they seemed to be a happy couple. but all staine d and streaked with damp and bad weather. who was as amiable as ever. Rucastle to be back be fore three. Let us have everything in its due order. but the woods all round are part of Lord Southerton s preserves. and I am not easy in my mind about them. she said earnestly. for it is a large square block of a house. There are grounds round it. on the whole. and on the fourth a field which slopes down to the Southampton highr oad. Mr. but it is not beautiful i n itself. I found her to be a silent. beautifully situated. Rucastle is not mad. but indeed I do not know what I should do. Pray tell us what has happened to you. It is only fair to them to say that. each of which would cover the facts a s far as we know them. It was easy to see that she was passionately devoted both to her husband and to her little s on. As the daughter could not have been less th an twenty. boisterous fashion. Holmes thrust his long thin legs out towa rds the fire and composed himself to listen. But which of these is correct can only be determined by t he fresh information which we shall no doubt find waiting for us. Rucastle. I will do so. with no actual ill-t reatment from Mr. pale-faced woman. Rucastle met me here and drove me in his dog-cart to the Co pper Beeches.

B ut I would rather not talk about the creature. again I sat in the window. who has evidently no sense of humour. Rucastle suddenly remarked that it was time to commence the duties of the day. Mr. which are next to each other in one corner of the building. Rucastle expressed a delight at the look of it. little birds. nt or not. There are only two. Rucastle. indeed. He is small for his age. began to tell me a series of the funniest stories that I have ever listened to. but sat with her hands in her lap. anxious look upon her face. You will find it laid out upon the bed in y our room. The one unpleasant thing about th e house. on th e third. and then Mr. You cannot imagine how comical he was. beginning in the heart of a chapter. Holmes. It could not have been a better fit if I had been measured for it. and m oving my chair a little sideways. with grizzled hair and whiskers. a man and his wife. for I have never met so utterly spoiled and so ill-natured a little creature. Miss Hunter. Again I changed my dress. M rs. and Mrs. is a rou gh. and. which struck me at once. Oh. and which he told inimitably. said he. he orde . Toller. A chair had been placed clo se to the central window. and that I might change my dress and go to little Edward in the nursery. In this I was asked t o sit. and if you would be so good as to put it on we should both be extremel y obliged. Rucastl e seemed to take no notice of it. She would often be lost in deep thoug ht. however. Rucastle. They are a most u npleasant couple. this woman. More than once I have surprised her in tears. he has l ittle to do with my story. yes. and I laughed until I was quite weary. Mrs. walking up and down on the other side of the room. turning to me. uncouth man. Mr. The dress which I found waiting for me was of a peculiar shade of blue. We shall now see how the electric-blue dress will become you. but it bore unmistakable signs of having b een worn before. and then suddenly. never so much as sm iled. Both Mr. with three long windows reaching down to the floor. in the middle of a sentence. I am glad of all details. and yet Mr. It was of excellent material. I have thought sometimes that it was the disposition of her child which w eighed upon her mind. Giving pain to any creatu re weaker than himself seems to be his one idea of amusement. I assure you that it has n ot detracted in the tiniest iota from your appearance. His wife is a very tall and strong woman with a sour she had some secret sorrow. Two days later this same performance was gone through under exactly similar circu mstances. which is a very large room. and a sad. and a perpetual smell of drink . and he shows quite remarkable talent in planning the capture of mice. His whole life appears to be spent in an alternation between s avage fits of passion and gloomy intervals of sulking. stretching along the entire front of the house. for that is his name. was the appearance and conduct of the servants . They were waiting for me in the drawing-r oom. Twice since I have been with them he has been quite drunk. with its back turned towards it. After an hour or so. Rucastle came down just after breakfast and whispered something to her husband. a sort of beige. we are very much obliged to you. Then he handed me a yellow-backed novel. whether they seem to you to be releva I shall try not to miss anything of importance. remarked my friend. as silent as Mrs. and again I laugh ed very heartily at the funny stories of which my employer had an immense répertoi re. with a head which is quite dispropo rtionately large. that my own shadow might not fall upon the pag e. he begged me to read aloud to him. I read for about ten minutes. which seem ed quite exaggerated in its vehemence. for falling in with our whims so far as to cut your hair. with the saddest look upon her face. and insects. For two days after my arrival at the Copper Beeches my life was very quiet. but fortunately I spend most of my time in the nursery and my own room. Rucastle and much less amiable.

Holmes. We feed him once a day. we should have him loitering here always. and not too much t hen. I fear. For goodness sake don t y ou ever on any pretext set your foot over the threshold at night. Dear me! How very impertinent! Kindly turn round and motion to him to go away. showing me a slit between two me to cease and to change my dress. . and I concealed a piece of the glass in my handkerchief. I call him mine. I observed. She said nothing. said Holmes. there is an impertinent fellow upon the road there who stares up he asked. I put my handkerchief up to m y eyes. nor h ave I worn the blue dress. Your narrative promises to be a most interesting one. I lowered my handkerchief and g lanced at Mrs. Look in here! beauty? said Mr. and was able with a little management to see all that there was behind m e. and God help the trespasser whom he lays his fangs upon. This man. was leaning against the railings which bordered our field and was looking earnestly up. You can easily imagine. and there may prove to be little re lation between the different incidents of which I speak. how curious I became as to what the meaning o f this extraordinary performance could possibly be. I know no one in these parts. however. and from that time I have not sat again in the window. Kindly turn round and wave him away like that. and the sound as of a large animal moving about. said my employer. is the o nly man who can do anything with him. at Miss Hunter. Pray continue. At the second glance. Surely it would be better to take no notice. and there are usually people there. Rucastle took me to a small outhouse which stands near the kitchen door. but I soon devised a means. my mastiff. and of a vague figure hud dled up in the darkness. T hat was a week ago. so that he is always as keen as mustard. Jephro. so a ha ppy thought seized me. It s on ly Carlo. Toller lets him loose every night. On the very first day t hat I was at the Copper Beeches. No friend of yours. My hand-mirror had been broken. Rucastle. As we approached it I heard the sharp rattling of a chain. Mr. Is he not a I looked through and was conscious of two glowing eyes. I perceived that there was a man standing in the Southampton Road. I did as I was told. The road is an important highway. but I am convinced that she had divined that I had a mirror in my hand and had seen what was behind me. to turn my face away from the window. a small bearded man in a grey suit. Miss Hunter? No. Mr. At first it seemed to be impossible. who seemed to be looking in my direction. I confess that I was disappointed. At least that was my fi rst impression. Rucastle to find her eyes fixed upon me with a most searching gaz e. laughing at the start which I had given. On the next occasion. They were always very carefu l. and at the same instant Mrs. no. nor seen the man in the road. said she. but really old Toller. Don t be frightened. You will find it rather disconnected. Rucastle drew down the blind. in the midst of my laughter. my groom. No. for it s as much as your life is worth. however. She rose at once. There was nothing. so that I became consumed w ith the desire to see what was going on behind my back.

Mr. Was it not extraordi nary? Puzzle as I would. As I strolled up and down. By the way. The very first key fitted to perfection. and huge projecting bones. He locked the door and hurried past me without a word or a l ook. It walked slowly across the lawn and vanished into the shadow upon the other side. his keys in his hand. That dr eadful sentinel sent a chill to my heart which I do not think that any burglar c ould have done. as I ascended the stair. you seem to have quite a suite of spare rooms up there. I had. while the fourth was shuttered up. But then the impossibility of the thing obtruded itself upon me. They were evidently all deserted. I returne d the strange hair to the drawer. a little startled at my remark. Ah! said he. I have made my dark room up there. and I said nothing of the matter to the Rucast les as I felt that I had put myself in the wrong by opening a drawer which they had locked. But. and a look on his face which made him a very different person to the round. tawn y tinted. jovial man to whom I was accustomed. I met Mr. Photography is one of my hobbies. A door which faced that which led into t he quarters of the Tollers opened into this suite. I took it up and examined it. I laid the two t resses together. It was a beautiful moonlight night. my dear you ng lady. glancing at them occasionally. rapt in the peaceful beauty of the scene. and the same thic kness. It was my coil of hair. I assured him that I was not offended. for two nights later I happened to look out of my be droom window about two o clock in the morning. and drew from the bottom my own hair. with hanging jowl. as large as a calf. whi ch appeared not to be inhabited at all. I began to amuse myself by examining the furniture of my room and by rearranging my own little things. Mr. This aroused my curiosity. There was one wing. It struck me that it might have been fastened by a mere oversight. His cheeks w ere red. the lower o ne locked. As it emerged in to the moonshine I saw what it was. I strolled round to the side from which I could see the windows of this p art of the house. There was an old chest of drawers in the room. three of which were simply d irty. and I soon had a pretty good plan of the whole house in my head. and I had placed it in a great coil at the bottom of my trun k. so I took out my bunch of keys and tried to open it. so when I went out for a walk in the grounds with my c harge. but it was invariably locked. and the veins stood out at his te mples with passion. but I am sure that you would never guess what it was. I had filled the first two with my linen. looking as merry and jovial as ever. There was only one thing in it. It was of the same peculiar tint. He looked surprised and. however. cut off my hair in London. when I was aware th at something was moving under the shadow of the copper beeches. How coul d my hair have been locked in the drawer? With trembling hands I undid my trunk. said I. . There were four of them in a row. and as I had still much to pack away I was naturally annoyed at not having the use of the third drawer. Rucastle coming out throug h this door. It was a giant dog. as it seemed to me. and one of them has the shutters up. I was standing. as you know. black muzzle. and I assure you that they were identical. after the child was in bed. an d I drew the drawer open. I was preoccupied with business matters. Holmes. you must not think me rude if I passed you without a word. One evening. And now I have a very strange experience to tell you. I could make nothing at all of what it meant. One day. turned out the contents. as you may have remarked. his brow was all crinkled with anger. I am naturally observant. and the lawn in front of the house was silvered over and almost as bright as da y. Rucastle came out to me . said he. however. the two upper ones empty and open.The warning was no idle one.

I read suspicion there and annoyance. then. both Toller and his wife find something to do in these deserted rooms. I asked. it was there. Mr. It was more a feeli ng of duty a feeling that some good might come from my penetrating to this place. Rucastle were both downstairs. and yesterday evening he was very drunk. looking at me keenly. unreasoning terror rose up in me at the sight. perhaps it was woman s instinct which gave me that fe eling. As I stood in the passage gazing at the sinister door and wondering what secret it might ve il. I rushed down the passage. I turned the key gently in t he lock. but no jest. but there was n o jest in his eyes as he looked at me. and the child was with them. Evidently there was a skylight which let in light from above. He overdid it. The centre door was closed. and across the outside of it had been fastened one of the broad bars of an iron bed. and Mrs. Holmes. A mad. and fastened at the ot her with stout cord. Mr. though I have my share of that. It was only yesterday that the chance came. I was keenly on my gu ard against him. through the door. Mr. what did you think? . padlocked at one end to a ring in the wall. But it is so lonely and eerie in this dim light that I was frightened and ran out again. and whe n I came upstairs there was the key in the door. unpapered and uncarpeted. There was a little passage in front of me. I am so frightened! I panted. said he. my dear young lady? But his voice was just a little too coaxing. the first and third of which were open. M y overstrung nerves failed me suddenly. Well. Holmes. it was you. so thick wi th dirt that the evening light glimmered dimly through them. So. smiling. I may tell you that. which turned at a right angle at the farther end. and straight into the arms of Mr. Ruca stle. This barricaded door corresponded clearly with the shuttered window outside. They talk of woman s instinct. Why. and the key was not the re. besides Mr. and I once saw him carrying a large black linen bag with him through the door. I answered. or open. who was waiting outside. They each led into an empty room. My dear young lady! my dear young lady! you cannot think how caressing and soothing his manner was and what has frightened you. Rece ntly he has been drinking hard. and I turned and ran ran as though some dr eadful hand were behind me clutching at the skirt of my dress. du sty and cheerless. Rucastle. from the moment that I understood that there was something abou t that suite of rooms which I was not to know. Round this corner were three doors in a li ne. I thought that it must be when I saw the do Oh. I was foolish enough to go into the empty wing. and yet I could see by the glimmer from beneath it that the room was not in dar kness. and slipped through. It was not mere curiosity. and I was keenly on the lookout for any chance to pass the forbidden door. so that I had an admirable opportunity. I have no doubt at all that he had left it there. Oh. The door itself was locked as well. opened the door. I was all on fire to go over them . I suddenly heard the sound of steps within the room and saw a shadow pass ba ckward and forward against the little slit of dim light which shone out from und er the door. At any rate. Who would have believed it? Who would have ever believed it? He spoke in a jesting tone. it is so d readfully still in there! Only that? said he. with two windows in the one and one in the other.dear me! what an observant young lady we have come upon.

so that I must look after the child. the wine-cellar. Rucastle that she could do nothing with him. you know now. It is to keep people out who have no business there. went down to the office. I suppose that I must have rush ed past him into my room. but my curiosity was almost as strong as my fears. above all. My mind was soon made up . My friend rose now and paced up and down the room. feeling very much e asier. and I should be ve ry glad if you could tell me what it all means. Miss Hunter. who might give the alarm. Mr. And the Rucastles go out to-night? Yes. for Mr. I was frightened of the house. The Rucastles will be gone by that time. Now I have told you all my adventures. I would send you a wire. And if you ever put your foot over that threshold again re in an instant the smile hardened into a grin of rage. of the servants. I remember nothing until I found myself lying on my be d trembling all over. but I must be back before three o clock. and then returned. and I knew that he was the only one in the household who had any influence with the savage creature. I could not live there longer without some advice. he He was still smil Yes. I had no difficulty in getting leave to come into Winchester t his morning. or who would venture to set him free. w hich is about half a mile from the house. and he glared down at m e with the face of a demon I ll throw you to the mastiff. be incapable. of the wo man. even of the child. Holmes. They were all horrible to me. A horrible doubt came into my mind as I approached the door lest the dog might be loose. Holmes. That is well. but I remembered that Toller had drunk himself into a state of i nsensibility that evening. Is Toller still drunk? he asked. and Toller will. What is it? We shall be at the Copper Beeches by seven o clock. Of course I might have fled from the ho use.Why do you think that I lock this door? I am sure that I do not know. Holmes and I had listened spellbound to this extraordinary story. If you could send her into the cell . I heard his wife tell Mrs. Is there a cellar with a good strong lock? Yes. There only re mains Mrs. I will try. of the man. and Mrs. Rucastle ar e going on a visit. I put on my hat and cloak. Do you think that you could perform one more feat? I shoul d not ask it of you if I did not think you a quite exceptional woman. Then I thought of you. what I should do . his hands in his pockets. and. I am sure if I had known Well. I slipped in in safety and lay awake half the night in my joy at the thoug ht of seeing you. Do you see? ing in the most amiable manner. I was so terrified that I do not know what I did. and an expression of the most profound gravity upon his face. If I coul d only bring you down all would be well. we hope. my friend and I. then. You seem to me to have acted all through this matter like a very brave and sensib le girl. Mr. Toller. and will be away all the evening.

were sufficient to mark the house even had Miss Hunter not been standing smili ng on the door-step. if I remember right. I will do it. and then turn the key upon her. Holmes. cried our client. and at the silence Holmes f ace clouded over. or from his mother. At that hour we shall be with you. We were as good as our word. . Oh. Then he tried the various keys in the lock. This child s disposition is abnormally cru el. You have done well indeed! cried Holmes with enthusiasm. By a curious chance you came upon her tresses. let us lose not an in stant in bringing help to this poor creature. which are the duplicates of Mr. The dog is let loose at night to prevent him from endeavouring to communicate with her. Hers had bee n cut off. that Miss Rucastle was perfectly happy. No sound came from within. You have been brought there to personate someone. for it was just seven when we reached the Copper Be eches. followed on down a passage. unlocked the door. I have no doubt that it is the daughter. What on earth has that to do with it? I ejaculated. The group of trees. and that she no longer desired his attentions . You were chosen. yours had to be sacrificed also. I am sure that you are right. and we s We passed up the stair. As to who this prisoner is. Have you managed it? asked Holmes. Her husband lies snoring on the kitchen rug. and the real person is imprisoned in this on some errand. and the colour of your hair. That is obvious. whenever he saw you. hall soon see the end of this black business. you as a medical man are continually gaining light as to the tend encies of a child by the study of the parents. for we are dealing with a very cunning man. he was convinced from your laughter. and whether he derives this from his smiling father . as resembling her in height. Rucastle s. My dear Watson. The most serious point in the case is the dis position of the child. and it will not be lo ng before we solve the mystery. said she. and afterwards from your gesture. A loud thudding noise came from somewhere downstairs. having put up our trap at a wayside public-house. but without success. who was said to have gone to America. as I should suspect. Of course there is only one feasible explanation. Now lead the way. it bodes evil for the poor girl who i s in their power. The man in the road was undoubtedly some friend of hers possibly her fia ncé and no doubt. you would facilitate matters immensely. That is Mrs. wit h their dark leaves shining like burnished metal in the light of the setting sun . Excellent! We shall then look thoroughly into the affair. o f course. A thousand things come back to me which make me certain that you have hit it. Mr. merely for cruelty s sake. very possibly in some illness through which she has passed. and found ourselves in front of the barricade which Miss Hunter had described. Here are his keys. We must be circumspect. So much is fairly clear. and so. as you wore the girl s dress and were so like her. Toller in the cellar. Miss Alice Rucastle. I have frequently gained my first real insight into the character of parents by studying their children. doubtless . We can do not hing until seven o clock. Holmes cut the cord and removed the transverse bar. Don t you see that the converse is equally valid. figure.

Watson. I blew its b rains out. while he writhed and screamed upon the ground. We were all assembled round him when the door open . We laid him upon the drawing-room sofa. quick. My God! he cried. with Toller hurrying b ehind us. It was an old rickety door and gave at once before our united strength. Someone has loosed the dog. but Sherlock Holmes sprang forward and confronted him. this beauty has guessed Miss Hunter s intentions and has carried his victim off. The skylight above was open. a nd having dispatched the sobered Toller to bear the news to his wife. The words were hardly out of his mouth before a man appeared at the door of the room. An elderly man with a red face and shaking limbs came staggering out at a side door. and we all rushed down the stairs toget her. with a heavy stick in his hand. I think. With much labour we separated them and carried him. where s your daughter? The fat man cast his eyes round. its black muzzle buried in Rucastle s throat. He s gone for the dog! I have my revolver. he cried. he shrieked. said Holmes. yes. and it fell over with its keen white teeth still meeting in the great creases of his neck. That is how he did it. cried Holmes. Together we rushed into the room. you thieves! Spies and thieves! I have c aught you. I tell you that he is a clever and dangerous man. or it ll be too late! Holmes and I rushed out and round the angle of the house. that it would be as well for you to have your pistol r eady. I should not be very much surprised if this were he whose step I hear now upon th e stair. It s not been fed for two days. I think. living but horribly mangled. here s the end of a long light ladder against the eave s. and we shall see wheth er we cannot make our way in. He swung himself up ont o the roof. You villain! said he. I did what I could to relieve his pain. a nd the prisoner gone. the ladder was not there when the Rucastles He has come back and done it. Miss Hunter scre amed and shrunk against the wall at the sight of him. Better close the front door. There has been some villainy here. It was empty. a very fat and burly man. There was no furniture save a little pal let bed. It is for me to ask you that. We shall soon see how he managed it. and a basketful of linen. Running up. put your shoulder to it. There was the huge famished brute. into the house. Watson. said he. that we had better go in without you. said I. and then up at the open skylight. and the n a scream of agony. Quick. with a horrible worrying sound which it was dreadful to lis ten to. Now. have I? You are in my power. cried Miss Hunter. But how? Through the skylight. Miss Hunter.I trust that we are not too late. Ah. a small table. I ll serve you! He turned and clattered dow n the stairs as hard as he could go. said Miss Hunter. We had hardly reached the hall when we heard the baying of a hound. went away. But it is impossible.

And in this way he managed that your good man should have no want of drink. sir. As well as I could learn. Toller! cried Miss Hunter. Mr. he kept on worrying her until she got brain-fever. I do. but she was so quiet an d patient. I will soon make it clear to you. who would ask for all that the law would give h im. sir. and a tall. sir. and that I can deduce all that remains. Mr. Miss Alice wasn t. It is clear that Mrs. I presume. Fowler being a persevering man. said Holmes. in convincing you that your interests were the same as his. Miss Alice had rights of her own by will. gaunt woman entered the room. Mrs. Fowler at a friend s house. free-handed gentleman. then her father thought it time to put a stop on it. sit down. and he stuck to her as true as man could be. from the time that her father marri ed again. blockaded the house. and I d have done so before now if I coul d ha got out from the cellar. Then she got better at last. Fowler was a very kind-spoken. that she never said a word about them but just left everythi ng in Mr. she was. That was it. Then. Toller. he could use her money. but that didn t make no change in her young man. pray. You have it. so that whether she married or not. Mr. If there s police-court business over this. just as it happened. Ha! said Holmes. He wanted her to sign a paper. And brought Miss Hunter down from London in order to get rid of the disagreeable persistence of Mr. Yes. and having met you succeeded by certain arguments. and that I was Miss Alice s friend too. as a good seaman should be. Ah. said Holmes. Ah . and for six weeks was at death s door. took to this system of imprisonment? Yes. sir. Mrs. He knew he was safe with her. Toller serenel y. metallic or otherwise . you ll reme mber that I was the one that stood your friend. Rucastle s hands. all worn to a shadow. But Mr. it is a pity you didn t let me know what you were planning. I think that what you have been good enough to tell us makes the m atter fairly clear. Fowler. Rucastle then. I am sure we owe you an apology. but it never really became bad for her until after she met Mr. and let us hear it for there are several points on which I must confess that I am still in the dark. but when there was a cha nce of a husband coming forward. for I would ha ve told you that your pains were wasted.ed. Toller knows more abo ut this matter than anyone else. She was never happy at home. for you have certainly c leared up everything which puzzled us. looking keenly at her. and with h er beautiful hair cut off. And here comes the country surgeon and Mr . Yes. said Mrs. She was slighted like and had no say in anything. and I am ready enough to tell what I know. said she. When she wou ldn t do it. Rucastle let me out when he came back before he went up to you. miss. and t hat a ladder should be ready at the moment when your master had gone out. miss.

Central Time. They still live with their old s ervants. kept ali ve solely through the care of his devoted wife. A preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion. so I think. as the indexes our cataloguers produce obviously take a while after an announcement goes out in the Project Gutenberg Newsletter. but was always a broken man.ibiblio. and she is no w the head of a private school at Walsall. by special lic ense.s. Most people start at our Web sites at: http://gutenberg.txt Project Gutenberg eBooks are often created from several printed editions. Mr. The official release date of all Project Gutenberg eBooks is at Midnight. Mr. Rucastle survived. advsh13h. where I believe that she has met with considerable success. This is also a good way to get them instantly upon announcement. Those of you who want to download any eBook before announcement can get to them as follows. we usually do not keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition. Please be encouraged to tell us about any error or corrections. including how to Corrected EDITIONS of our eBooks get a new NUMBER. advsh12ah.txt VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER. and just download by date. We are now trying to release all our eBooks one year in advance of the official release dates. Please note neither this listing nor its contents are final til midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement. and he is now the holder of a g overnment appointment in the island of Mauritius. Thus. that we had best escort Miss Hunter back to Win chester. in Southampton the day after their flight. comment and editing by those who wish to do so. who probably know so much of Rucastle s past life that he finds it diffic ult to part from them. or http://promo. And thus was solved the mystery of the sinister house with the copper beeches in front of the door. and how to subscribe to our email newsletter (free!). Rucastle. http://www. my f riend Holmes. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES *** This file should be named advsh12h. Fowler and Miss Rucastle were married. leaving time for better editing. rather to my These Web sites include award-winning information about Project Gutenberg. as it seems to me that our locus standi now is rather a questionable on e.htm or advsh12h. even years after the official publication date. As to Miss Violet Hunter. all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the US unless a copyright notice is included. of the last day of the stated month. how to help produce our new eBooks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------*** END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK. manifested no further interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his or .

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