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A 



I 

THE RETURN OF SHEJ»' OCK HOLMES 



OTHER BOOKS 
BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

r 

•»««. Ihe Adventure* of Gerard, Z 




>«"• JONAS OLDAC 



The Return of 



Sherlock Holmes 



BY 



A. CONAN DOYLE 



WITH ILLUSTIIATIOAS BY C. R. MACA 



ULEY 



TORONTO 
MORANG & GO LIMITED 

PUBLISHERS 



Hos 






CONTENTS 



I The 
II The 

III The 

IV The 
V The 

VI The 
VII The 
VIII The 
IX The 
X The 
XI The 
XII The 
Xni The 



3 
31 
61 
93 

119 

159 



Adventitre of the Emmt House 
Adventtthe or the Norwood BriLDER 

Adventure or THE Dancing Men 

Adventure of the Solitary Cycust 

Adventure of the Priory School . 

Adventure op Bi^ck Pcter 

Adventure of Charles Augustus Mxlver^.. ,37 

Adventure of the Six Napoleons . . . ^Qg 

Adventure of the Three Students . . 237 

Adventure OF THE Golden P,xce-Nez . . ge, 

Advents, of the Missing Three-Quarter . 291 

Adventure of the Abbey Grange . .3,9 

Adventure of THE Second Stain . . . 349 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



I Mb. Jonas Oldache 



Frontispiece 



I KXOCKKO OOW. S.V.HAL BOOKS WH.CH „. WA. CABBV.O ''^ 
A 80UTABY CYCLIST WAS COMING TOWABDB UH 

An instant l.^tek. his feet were nv «^ 

*'*'* WERE ON MY SHOULDERS 



70 
110 
148 



I GOT A SHAKE WHEN I p,;t mY HFAn ,v^ 

house" . ^"^^ *^^ THAT LITTLE 

„ '■•••. 164 

«E PELL FORWARD UPON THE TA«,r. ^ 

AND CLAWINO AMONoThE p!pkrS ^^'^^ '^^^^^^^^^ 

W "^ . 206 

as 

Three yellow squares of light SHovr .„«, 

GATHERING GLOOM •^'' "'^^''^ ^''' ^'-^ THE 

, ■ • • . 850 

, ■■•••. 276. 

1 CAUGHT A GLIMPSE OF Dr. ARMSTRONG WITHIN . 3,4 

These three glasses upon the Hinp.»«, 

UNTOUCHED. I SUPPoSp" ^'^^^^O^RD HAVE BEEN 

„ • • • • . 330 

. .372 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 



THE ADVENTURE OF 
THE EMPTY HOUSE 

}j^J^ ^e jpnng of the year 1894 that aU London was 
mte«rted. and the fashionable worid dismayed, by the murZ 
of theHonourable Ronald Adair under most unusual andinex- 
^^ble circumstances. The public has abeady learned those 
particulars ^e cnme which came out in the poKce mvestiga- 
^n^t a good deal was suppressed upon that occasionTZe 
the case for the prosecution was so overwhehningly strong that 
It was not necessaiy to bring forward aUthefac^. Onlfnow. 
at the end of neariy ten years, am I aUowed to supply those 
mi^ hnks which make up the whole of that r^ble 
^. l^e cnme was of interest in itself . but that interest 

Zw u ""^^ ^ T """"P*^ ^ *^* inconceivable sequel, 
which Voided me the greatest shock and surprise of any^en 
m my adventurous life. Even now. after this long intivsl 1 
find myself thriUimr as I think of it «n^ *^i- *"««^w. i 

«iAaJ fl^ j /V^ ^^ ^ *°** fediDg once more that 
sudden flood of joy. amazement, and incredulity which utterly 
submerged my mind. Let me say to that public. w^rS 
^misome interest in those glimpses which I have occa- 
sio^y given them of the thoughts and actions of a very re- 
maricable man. that they are not to bhune me if I ha^not 



ii 

i 



< THE RETDRN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

Aand my knowledge with them, for I should have condderad 
It my fint duty to have done so. had I not been baned by a 
positive prohibition from his own lips, which was only with- 
drawn upon the third of last month. 

It can be imagined that my close intimacy with Sheriock 
Holmes had interested me deeply in crime, and that after his 
disappearance I never failed to read with care the various prob- 
lems which came before the public. And I even attempted, more 
than once, for my own private satisfaction, to employ his meth- 
ods in their solution, though with indifferent success. There 
was none, however, which appealed to me like this tragedy of 
Ronald Adair. As I read the evidence at the inquest, which led 
up to a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons 
unknown, I realized more cleariy than I had ever done the loss 
which the community had sustained by the death of Sherlock 
Hohnes. Therp were points about this strange business which 
would, I was sure, have speciaUy appealed to him, and the 
efforts of the police would have been supplemented, or more 
probably anticipated, by the trained observation and the alert 
mmd of tiie first criminal agent in Europe. All day, as I drove 
upon my round, I turned over the case in my mind, and found 
no explanation which appeared to me to be adequate. At the 
risk of telling a twice-told tale. I will recapitulate the facts as 
they were known to the public at the conclusion of the inquest. 

The Honourable Ronald Adair was the second son of the Eari 
of Maynooth, at that time governor of one of the Australian 
colonies. Adair's mother had returned from Australia to un- 
deigo the operation for cataract, and she, her son Ronald, and 
her daughter Hilda were living together at 427 Park Lane. The 
youth moved in tiie best society —had, so far as was known, 
no enemies, and no particular vices. He had been engaged to 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE EBIPTV HOUSE f 

Mi« Edith Woodley. of Cmt«». but the engiigement luul ^ 
broken off by mutual consent lome mon'hi before, and there 
wai no sign that it had left any veiy profc ^d feeUng behind it 
For the rest the man's life moved in a nanow and conventional 
arele. for his habits were quiet arid his nature unemotional. 
Yet It was upon Uiis easy-going young aristocrat that death 
ame. in most strange and unexpected form, between Uie houn 
often and eleven-twenty on Uie night of Mareh SO. 1894 
Ronald Adair was fond of card. - pUying continuaUy. but 

of tiie Baldwm tiie Cavendirii. and the Bagatelle caH clubs. 
I was shown that, after dimier on tiie day of his deatii. he had 
played a nibber of whist at the latter club. He had also pUyed 
there in Uiejfternoon. The evidence of tiiose who had pUyed 
w,tiihim--Mr. Murray. Sir John Hanly. and Colonel Moran- 
showed that the game was whist, and timt there was a fairly 
equal faU of the ca«ls. Adair might have lost five pounds, 
but not more. His fortune was a considerable one. and such 
• loss could not m any way affect him. He had played neariv 
eveiy day at one club or other, but he was a cautious player, 
•nd usually rese a wimier. It came out in evidence Aat. in 
partnership with Colonel M oran. he had actuaUy won as much 
as four hundred and twenty pounds in a sitting, some weeks 
before, from Godfrey MUner and Lord Bahnoral. So much 
for his recent history as it came out at the inquest. 

On the evening of tiie crime, he returned frt>m tiie club ex- 
actiyatten. His motiier and sister were out spending tiie even- 
ing with a relation. The servant deposed tiiat she hearxl him 
enter tiie front room on tiie second floor. generaUy used as his 

T^"^"^' . f" ^"^ "' * ^"^ *^^'*' *°^ " i* «°»oJ^«l she had 
opened tiie wmdow. No sound was heard fix>m tiie room until 



• TBI BrrURN OF 8HKRL0CK BOUfEB 

deren-twentj. Uie hour of the rehira ol LmI^ BlaTnoolh and 
herdwighter. Deriring to wy good-night, the attempted to 
•nter her lon'i room. The door wm locked on the huide. 
•od no aniwer could be got to their criei and knocking. Help 
was obtained, and the door forced. The unfortunate joung 
man waa found lying near the Ubie. Hit head had been 
horribly mutilated by an expanding revolver buUet. but no 
weapon of any sort was to be found in the room. On the 
table lay two banknotes for ten pounds each and seventeen 
pounds ten in sUver and gold, the money arranged in UtUe 
piles of vaiying amount. There were some figures also upon 
a sheet of paper, with the names of some dub friends opposite 
to them, from which it was conjectured that before his death he 
was endeavouring to make out his losses or winnings at cards. 

A minute examinaUon of the circumstances served only to 
make the case more complex. In the first place, no reason 
couW be given why the young man should have fastened the 
door upon the inside. There was the possibility tjat the mur- 
derer had done this, and had afterwaids escaped by the win- 
dow. The drop was at least twenty feet, however, and a bed of 
crocuses in fuD bloom lay beneath. Neither the flowere nor the 
earth showed any sign of having been disturbed, nor were there 
any marics upon the narrow strip of grass which separated the 
house from the road. Apparently, therefore, it was the young 
man himself who had fastened the door. But how did he come 
by his death ? No one could have cUmbed up to the window 
without leaving traces. Suppose a man had fired through the 
window, he would indeed be a remarkable shot who could with 
a revolver inflict so deadly a wound. Again. Paric Lane is a 
frequented thoroughfare; there is a cabstand within a hundred 
yards of the house. No one had heard a shot And yet there 



«■ ABVBnvu orm BMrry nooBi , 

Z^^m.""' -«*-"»«' bun-. will. Md «, iXri. 
"«»d which «uM h.« c««d i»tant«««. dJrSc^ 

w«.lh«cncuii»UB«,o»UiePtokUB,M«»WT .Ud.^ 
!»« -W. young A.hut WM not faK»n to i„„ *' ^; " ' 

*?<••/ 1 tamed lhMef«*.o«r fa my aiB<|.«dMTOurin, 

«drfP»ritUne. Ap«,poflorfe«iuponlhep.rane„rtn 

whKh I lud come to .ee. A UU. thin m«, wW «JoZd 
g^ whom I ^, ^p«^ ^ .ILS 

<i^»e. WM pomting out wme theoiy of hi owTwhilTZ 
oth.™ c»wd«l mund to listen to whJh. Jd.TJt^.^ 
h-n- I could, but hi. ob«™tion. «e»«) J^^ 
•b^rf. ~ I withdrew .grin fa wme diKu*. J^^Jt 
^ .g«m* „ eld«ly. defo^ed ^TZ 1-^ btntJ 
hmd me. «.d I l™ck«i down «venU book. wWch^ »^ 
«ny»g. I-«»™be,thirt«Ipckedlhemup.I.b«,^™ 
file of one of them. « The Origin of TW Wo,ZP^ 
•Uuck me th.t the feUow mu.. be «,m. poo, bibUoLe wh^ 

r^r *I '^^ " " • "obby. w« n,necto,ST^^' 
volumes I endeavoured to .pologi« for the «»ident b^ ft 
Z^ th.. these booh, wuTl h«. .o^^^^^ 
■wltrerted were veiy predou. object, fa the «^ ^ ,hS 



among the throng. ** «de-whi8kers disappear 

My observations of No 427P«,.ut 
tie P«.ble. ta which llTJ^'^ «"• «» e.e„ „p 

».o« U«,. five fee, high. hZJ^.T^- ^ "l""' -<* 
«"y one to get into fc ga«JenT«l tt^*?^^ ""^' *'"*""• '<" 
«««rible, rfnce there l^t; „1 ™''°'' "" "'««'j' «" 

««. I retraced my stens to S„ • T^ *^'"* P"^^*! "»n 
»««<iy five -inu Jwh» fte^T^l, ^""d «<" "-« in n.y 
desiredtoseeme. Tomy.l,rl H^ "^ "^ ««' « P««>n 

croaking voice. ' '''' *"d l»e. in a strange, 

lacfcaowledgedthatlwas. 

-yself. ru Just step in rs^^iTf'^*''^'"' ' *^«"«^* *« 
hini that if I was a bit ^ff^^ ^^ gentleman, and teU 
harm meant, and that iZ 7 Tf^"' *^^'* ^«« °ot any 
up my books. " ^ "^ '""^^ «»>%«d to him for picking 

' You make too much of a f ««» » • j ^ 
youknewwholwas?" ' '^'^^- "Maylaskhow 

" Wei], sir. if it isn't too great a lib^rf. t 



I heel, 
appear 

ar up 
sepa- 

le not 

B, for 

lyin- 

^hich 

than 

I my 

rson 

han 

ring 

s, a 

ge, 



ou 
to 
eU 

»g 

f 
1 




I KVOTKED DOWN SKVKRAI BOOKS W I, I r I. UK Wis C,» R R V I S , 



! 



i 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE EMPTY HOUSE § 

• The Holy War* — a bai^gain, every one of them. With five vol- 
umes you could just fill that gap on that second shelf. It looks 
untidy, does it not, sir ? " 

I moved my head to look at the cabinet behind me. When I 
turned again, Sherlock Holmes was standing smihng at me 
across my study table. I rose to my feet, stared at him for 
some s -onds in utter amazement, and then it appears that I 
must have fainted for the first and the last time in my life. 
Certainly a grey mist swirled before my eyes, and when it 
cleared I found my collar-ends undone and the tingling after- 
taste of brandy upon my lips. Hohnes was bending over my 
chair, his flask in his hand. 

" My dear Watson, " said the weU-remembered voice, " I owe 
you a thousand apologies. I had no idea that you would be so 
aflFected. " 

I gripped him by the arms. 

" Holmes ! " I cried. " Is it leaUy you ? Can it mdeed be 
that you are aUve ? Is it possible that you succeeded in climb- 
uig out of that awful abyss ? " 

"Wait a moment," said he. "Are you sure that you aw 
reaUy fit to discuss things ? I have given you a serious shock 
by my unnecessarily dramatic reappearance. " 

" I am aU right, but indeed, Hohnes, I can hardly beUeve my 
eyes. Good Heavens! to think that you— you of all men — 
should be standing in my study. " Again I gripped him by the 
sleeve, and felt the thin, sinewy arm beneath it. " WeU, you're 
not a spirit, anyhow, " said I. " My dear chap, I'm overjoyed 
to see you. Sit down, and tell me how you came alive out of 
that dreadful chasm. " 

He sat opposite to me, and lit a cigarette in his old, noncha- 
lant manner. He was dressed in the seedy frock-coat of the 



h; 



I : 



W ™E RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

book merchant, but the rest of that individual Irv in . -i , 

;i am glad to stretch myself, Watson." said he "It i« „„ 
explanations, we havi» it i »«-„ i * -«»«.w:* w uese 

;iamfulIofcuriosity. I should much prefer to hear now - 
You U come with me to-night ? " 
'• When you like and where you like. " 
"This is, indeed, like the old davs Wo «k„ii i. .. - 

the v«7 ampU mson that I B„er WM in ^ ' " 

I ou never were in it ? " 

pqreyMlCTchaiigedsomeremaAs with him, Iherd^ 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE EMPTY HOUSE U 

arms around me. He knew that his own game was up, and 
was only anxious to revenge himself upon me. We tottered 
together upon the brink of the faU. I have some knowledge, 
however, of baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling, 
which has more than once been veiy useful to me. I slipped 
through his grip, and he with a horrible scream kicked madly 
for a few seconds, and clawed the air with both his hands. 
But for all his eflForts he could not get his balance, and over 
he went. With my face over the brink, I saw him faU for a 
long way. Then he struck a rock, bounded off, and splashed 
into the water. " 

I listened with amazement to this explanation, which Hohues 
delivered between the puffs of his cigarette. 

"But the tracks!" I cried. "I saw. with my own eyes, 
that two went down the path and none returned. " 

" It came about in this way. The instant that the Profes- 
sor had disappeared, it struck me what a reaUy extniordmarily 
lucky chance Fate had placed in my way. I knew that Moriarty 
was not the only man who had sworn my death. There were 
at least three others whose desire for vengeance upon me would 
only be increased by the death of their leader. They were all 
most dangerous men. One or other would certamly get me. 
On the other hand, if all the worid was convinced that I was 
dead they would take liberties, these men. they would soon lay 
themselves open, and sooner or later I could destroy them. 
Then it would be time for me to announce that I was still in the 
land of the living. So rapidly does the brain act that I beUeve 
I had thought this all out before Professor Moriarty had reached 
the bottom of the Reichenbach Fall. 

"I stood up and examined the rocky wall behind me. la 
your picturesque account of the matter, which I read with great 



«<iff fa «. highttat u. o,.™iX« rr-°' " ''^- "^ 

«nd it wu equally m,D0Mihl.7 . *"™' "npoMibility. 

vewd my boob, „ I CT .^'"' " " '™«' »»« «- 

have sugjerted a decent O .1 ^f"" "o"" «rt»Wy 
that I Zu rUkTZ^ ^^ ''"'^ ?■"■• '■' -" »"» 

Pe«oa, but I give ^y^rf^H^ ; ' '°"'o"' '"oif-I 
art/» voice «,Lm« ^t 2Z^,u } """'^ "^ ''"' Mori- 
have been fatr^^'Z" Itf L" 2 J^"^"-^" 
"> my hand or my foot »I,„„J^- .1 »>«sof grass came out 

I though, that I wXt'^u.f r "^ *" ** ^t 

l-t 1 reached a ledge Tv^^ w di'™'*^^ "P'*""- "><1 •» 

8~n moss, wherel couM & Zl P '?'' ""^ "«' «>» 

fort. The«Iwa,s,XS^""^'""''*'*-.com. 

•U your foUowing wZ^^^ ^°"' "^ "'" Wat«», .„d 

e™nr;:tCyre^r.'r^^^*<-'^ 
lone. I Wimagin;d'r;nS^^:f^- »"-'«« 
ventures, but a very unexn«4^ *'"' of my ad- 

there were surp,ises^,,:;rSC:',„"^;-7Wed me a.a. 

from above, boomed past me J^ ^!L "** ™''' '"^"g 
over into the chasm ^. ■ "^ *' <«*' "«1 bo-nded 
acddcnt. but a mom J L^ '.^T ' ' *?«•" «»' » was an 
against the darkemng ,11 tJ "^ "P' ^ »" « ""n'' head 

-^ -.» Which i"^;^;r:^r^^r Lr -,^- 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE EMPTY HOUSE is 

Of couwe, the meaning of this was obvious. Moriarty had not 
been alone. A confederate -and even that one gJance had 
told me how dangerous a man that confederate was — had kept 
guard while the Professor had attacked me. From a distance, 
unseen by me, he had been a witness of his friend's death and 
of my escape. He had waited, and then laaking his way 
round to the top of the cliflF, he had endeavoured to succeed 
where his comrade had failed. 

- 1 did not take long to think about it, Watson. Again I saw 
that grim face look over the cUff, and I knew that it was the 
precursor of another stone. I scrambled down on to the path. 
I don't think I could have done it in cold blood. It was a hun- 
dred times more difficult than getting up. But I had no time 
to think of the danger, for another stone sang past me as I hung 
by my hands from the edge of the ledge. Half-way down I 
shpped, but, by the blessing of God, I landed, torn and bleed- 
ing, upon the path. I took to my heels, did ten miles over the 
mountains in the darkness, and a week later. I found myself in 
Florence, with the certainty that no one in the worid knew what 
had become of me. 

"Ihadonly one confidant -my brother Mycroft. I oweyou 
many apologies, my dear Watson, but it was all-important that 
It should be thought I was dead, and it is quite certain that you 
would not have written so convincing an account of my unhappy 
end had you not yourself thought that it was true. Several 
times during the last three years. I have taken up my pen to write 
to you. but always I feared lest your affectionate regard for me 
should tempt you to some indiscretion which would betray my 
secret. For that reason I turned away from you this evening 
when you upset my books, for I was in danger at the time, and 
any show of surprise and emotion upon your part might have 



1 



I: 



M ^™ "WTDBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

e«nt. in London did not ron » w.U ^TT J i, ^"1"" "* 

lor two yan m Tibet, Ountm. and amuied mndt bv ™«». 
"»».. «Hl .p«ding «,„. day. with lin^^TSl S* 

pen eMcUy u tliey had alwaw b«,n <^-. 7 ^ •"' 

«». tliat al two oyo^ tr J71dtv 7' "^ 'fj ''''- 
oI«irin ay own old ^„, „d o.^7:lK>^ 7 1 r" 
«» ^^o^Hend Wa.«.n in tbe ^^T^T^^ 

Such wa. U« «n.A.b,. .^ave to whid. I lirtenrf on 






THE ADVENTURE OP THE EBIPTY HOUSE 15 

that Apra evening - a nanative which would Uve been utteriy 

faCTedible to me had it not been confinned by the actual ttght 
of the taU, .pare figure and the keen, eager face, which Ihad 
never thought to see agam. In some manner he had learned 
of my own aad bereavement, and his sympathy waashownm hia 
manner rather than in hiS words. " Work is the best antidote 
to sonow. my dear Watson, - said he; "and I have a piece of 
work for us both to-night which, if we can bring it to a success- 
ful condusion, wiU in itself justify a man's life on this planet> 
In vam I begged him to teU me more. " You will hear and see 
enough before morning, "he answered. " We have three yean 
of the past to discuss. Let that suffice until half-past nine 
when we start upon the notable adventure of the empty house " 
It was indeed like old times when, at that hour. I found my- 

A T^ ^f""^ ^ * **»°~°»' »y "^^^J^' » '"y pocket. 

and the thnU of adventure in my heart. Hohnes was cold and 
stem and silent. As the gleam of the street-lamps flashed upon 
^ austere features, I saw that his brows were drawn downin 
thought and his thin lips compressed. I knew not what wild 
beast we were about to hunt down in the dark jungle of crimi- 
nal London, but I was weU assured, from the bearing of this 
master hmitsman, that the adventure was a mostgrave one- 
wlule the sardonic smUe which occasionaUy broke through his 
ascebc gloom boded little good for the object of our quest 

I had miagined that we were bound for Baker Street, but 
Hohnes stopped the cab at the comer of Cavendish Square I 
observed that as he stepped out he gave a most searehing glance 
to nght and left, and at every subsequent street comer he took 
the utmost pains to assure that he was not foUowed. Our route 
was certainly a singular one. Hohnes' knowledge of the by- 
ways of London was extraordinary, and on this occasion he 



! 



" TBt BBTDBJI OF SHERLOCK BOLMK 

««« «d rt.bfc^fte ^ «drt«ce of wluch 1 l«d new 
W W. «„«jgrf .. Urt into . mdl «u,. un«l with oM. 

then opewd with, key the bMk door of, IwuK. Weai^ 
««gether,«,dhecIo«ditbdnnd«.. W.«tmd 

«.«»ptyho««. 0«rf«tc«krf and c«dd.d over the i^ 
g^. «d my oulrt.«ch«l h«d touched . w Jl f„m which 
ttep.perw„h««ing in ribbon.. Hohne.' cold, thin flnp» 
eWd r«,nd n.y wmt „d fed me forw.H. down . longSl. 

Cli.^L"!;.'^. """^ '"^'" o™' «^ door. H«; 
f^ turned »ddenly to the right, .nd we found o««lv.. in 

1W« J' "■ «» «»«« '~m the light, of th. «,«, b^,d 
~ th« we could only jurt di««n ««J, other', figure within 

-Do you jtnow where we are?" hewhiMiercd. 
the ^Itl" ^ «*-*" » •-"-<'. -.Hng through 

" But why are we here ? " 

J«!^r vTT*." "•^* • ^«w of that pctnr- 
«quepJe. M^ht I trouble you. my dear Wrt«m, to Lw a 

youBelf, and then to lookup at our old rooa»-the rtwti^g. 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE EMPTY HOUSE IT 

point of so many of your Uttle fairy-talet ? We wiU lee if my 
three ytu» of absence have entirely taken away my power to 
surprise you." 

I crept forward an'< looked across at the familiar wbdow. 
As my eyes fell upon it, I gave a gasp and a ciy of amasement. 
The blind was down, and a strong light was burning in the room. 
The shadow of a man who was seated in a chair within was 
thrown in hard, black outline upon the luminous screen of the 
window. There was no mistaking the poise of the hf>ad, the 
squareness of the shoulders, the sharpness of the features. The 
face was turned half-round, and the effect was that of one of 
those black silhouettes which our grandparents loved to frame. 
It was a perfect reproduction of Hobnes. So amazed was I 
that I threw out my hand to make sure that the man himself was 
standing beside me. He was quivering with jilent laughter. 

-WeU?- saidhe. 

"Good Heavens!" I cried. " It u marvellous. " 

" I trust that age doth not wither nor custom stale my infinite 
variety, " said he, and I recognized in his voice the joy and pride 
which the artist takes in his own creation. ** It really is rather 
like me, is it not?** 

" I should be prepared to swear that it was you. " 

" The credit of the execution is due to Monsieur Oscar Meu- 
nier, of Grenoble, who spent some days in doing the moulding. 
It b a bust in wax. The rest I arranged myself during my visit 
to Baker Street this afternoon. " 

"But why?" 

" Because, my dear Watson, I had the strongest possible rea- 
son for wishing certain people to think that I was there when I 
was really eisewhe' " 

*• And you thought the rooms were watched ? " 



"• THB SnVRN OF SHBBLOCK HQLMB 

•I »iiw thai they were watched. - 
*B7wlloInr 

••By my old enemies. Watwo. By the charaiiiur .«nl^ 
S" thrt tli^ knnr, «Hl only thej- knew, tlat I WM rtiU J» 

"How do you know?** 

U» CUT a. met «.»ai,g „d d«s«^ Sd » Uk« 
tl»mMwhou,u.teuMw«tUl««rfterAi«.- 

R^'flS:^:^^^ sr'-ti: ""^ "'"«'«- 

-«^ "**^°^e«"«nt retreat, the watchers were beiiiff watched 

«^ m Uie darlmeM. .nd watched the hunytag «gu«i wta 
P««d«.d»p«Medu.f„,nt<rf„,. HotoT^ir,^ 
m<*«Je«; but I c««ld ten that h. w« ke^yXt^^ ^^ 

«-.WeJ. „d toUte«». night. «kJ the wind S^Lly 
down the long rt«et. M«,y people were moving to1.5fi» 
m«t of them „uiB«i in thd, oS.„ „d JZ^'^ 
tw,c.t^rfu,me that Ih«i ^ the wme ^Wo" 
•nd I ..peeuUy noticed two m«.who .ppe«edtoiSS^ 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE EBIPTY HOUSE M 

thenueWes from the wind in the doorway of fthouwMmediH 
tance up the street. I tried to dnw mj c(Hnp«nioo*t attentioD 
to them ; but he gave a little ejaculation of impatience, and con- 
tinued to stare into the street. More than once he fidgeted 
with his feet and tapped npidly with his fingers upon the 
wall. It was evident to me that he was becoming uneasy, ^ n^ 
that his plans were not working out altogether as he had hoped. 
At Ust, as midnight approached and the street gradually 
deared, he paced up and down the room in uncontrollable 
agitation. I was about to make some remark to him, when I 
raised my iytn to the lighted window, and again experienced 
almost as great a surprise as before. I clutched Holmes' arm, 
and pointed upwards. 

"The shadow has moved I" I cried. 

It was indeed no longer the profile, but the back, which was 
turned toward us. 

Three years had certainly not smoothed the asperities of his 
temper or his impatience with a less active intelligence than his 
own. 

"Of course it has moved, "said he. "Am I such afaidcal 
bungler, Watson, that I should erect an obvious dummy, and 
expect that some of the sharpest men in Europe would be de- 
ceived by it ? We have been in this room two hours, and Mrs. 
Hudson has made some change in that figure eight times, or 
once in every quarter of an hour. She works it from the front, 
so that her shadow may never be seen. Ah!" He drew in his 
breath with a shrill, excited intake. In the dim light I saw his 
head thrown forward, his whole attitude rigid with attention. 
Outside the street was absolutely deserted. Those two men 
might still be crouching in the doorway, but I could no longer 
see them. All was still and dark, save only that brilliant yd- 



» ™B BBTDBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

8t2 uZTk «.? ^" «ipp«»ed areitement. An in- 

tZ ^llEf "^ "'.'"^ »•• «■* '>'«'«« eo^e, rf t^ 
room, and I felt his warning hand uDon mv Km TI.0 « 

fall T"^ ■!: ^"^ ^^^«^- '^^ •^ 1^0^ 

«^y<l«t.ng««hed. AW, stealthy «,„„dc«ne to my ^ 
not from the diFection of Baker Street but fmm .k T 7 ff ' 
verrhni.^ :.»■.' I. . '"'*''>'»" "o™ the back of the 

I7iZrt7.t t"^^"""*^- Ado.rop«,ed«,dshut 
An instant later steps crept down the passaire-steiM whirh 

wereme|mttobesilen..b«twhichreverl^„trha,^tit 
tte empty house. Holmes crouched back again,, the wT^d 
Id.d tte «.m^ my hand closing upon theSdle S n^t^l 

ver. I'«™8«>roughthegloom,Isawthev.gueouta.nf. 
m«. a rimde bhuAer than the bhckness of thelL^Z bI 
•tood for an instant, «,d then he creot forw.^ \- 
-.racing, into the room. He ™X°^;^"j^' 
Um snuster figure, and I had b^ced myself tSS^sn^ 
^re I r^Uized that he had no ideaof ourprej^ He S* 
dose bes.de us, stole over to the window. L very soXTi 

gUss. feU Ml upon his face. The man seemed to be bS 

f«tar« were worfang convulsively. He was an elderly mT 
«a a aun. projecting nose, a high. bM forehead, and a W 
gmzled moustache. An „pe» hat was pushed to the bLkll 
in. he«.. and an evening dress shirt.f«,nt gleamed o„ Z^ 



THE ADVENTURE f P THE EMPTY HOUSE n 

his open overcoat. His ace was gaun and swarthy, scored 
with deep, savage Unes. ia his hand t • carried what appeared 
to be a stick, but as he laid It ^nvn.. upon the floor it gave a me- 
tallic clang. Then from the pocket of his overcoat he drew a 
bulky object, and he busied himself in some task which ended 
with a loud, sharp click, as if a spring or bolt had faUen into 
its place. Still kneeling upon the floe- he bent forward and 
threw all his weight and strength upon aome lever, with the re- 
sult that there came a long, whirling, grinding noise, ending 
once more in a powerful cKck. He straightened himself then, 
and I saw that what he held in his hand was a sort of a gun, with 
a curiously misshapen butt. He opened it at the breech, put 
something in, and snapped the breech-block. Then, crouch- 
ing down, he rested the end of the barrel upon the ledge of the 
open window, and I saw his long moustache droop over the stock 
«ind his eye gleam as it peered along the sights. I heard a little 
sigh of satisfaction as he cuddled the butt into his shoulder, and 
saw that amazing target, the black man on the yeUow ground, 
standing clear at the end of his fore-sight. For an instant he 
was rigid and motionless. Then his finger tightened on the trig- 
ger. There was a strange, loud whiz and a long, silvery tin- 
kle of broken glass. At that instant Holmes sprang like a 
tiger on to the marksman's back, and hurled him flat upon 
his face. He was up again in a moment, and with con- 
vulsive strength he seized Hohnes by the throat, but I struck 
hun on the head with the butt of my revolver, and he dropped 
again upon the floor. I feU upon him, and as I held him my 
comrade blew a shriU caU upon a whistle. There was the clat- 
ter of running feet upon the pavement, and two poUcemen in 
uniform, with one plain-dothes detective, rushed through the 
front entrance and into the room. 



/ 



« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"That you, Lestrade?" said Holmes. 

"Yes Mr Holmes. I took the job myself. It's good to see 
you back in London, sir. " '^ 

"I think you want a Httle unofficial help. Three undetected 
murders m one year won't do, Lestrade. But you handled the 

Mol^y Mysteiy with less than your usual - that's to say, you 
handled It fairly well." ^ ' 

We had aU risen to our feet, our prisoner breathing hard, with 
astelwartconstableoneachsideofhim. Already a few loiterers 
had begun to coUect in the street. Hohnes stepped up to the 
^dow^ closed it, and dropped the blinds. Lestrade had 
produced two candles, and the policemen had uncovered 
their lanterns. I was able at last to have agood look at our 
prisoner. 

It was a tremendously virile and yet sinister face which was 
turned towards us. With the brow of a philosopher above and 
the jaw of a sensualist below, the man must have started with 
gieatcapadtiesforgoodorforevil. But one could not look upon 
his cruel blue eyes, with their dreoping. cynical lids, or upon^he 
fi«^. aggressive nose and the threatening, deep-lined brow. 
m&ont readi^ Nature's plainest danger-signals. He took no 
heed of any of us, but his eyes were fixed upon Hohnes' face 
with an expi^ion in which hatred and amazement were equaUy 
blended. "You fiend!" he kept on muttering, "you clever 
clever fiend!" ^^ /"" ciever, 

^ "Ah, Colonel!" said Hohnes. arranging his rumpled coUar, 

journeys end m lover.' meetings,' as the old play says. I don't 

thmk I have had the pleasure of seeing you since you favoured 

mewrthtfiose attentions as I lay on the ledge above the Reichen- 

The Colonel stiU stared at my friend like a man in 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE EMPTY HOUSE 



fS 



a tnmce. *'You cunning, cunning fiend!" was all that he 
could say. 

" I have not introduced you yet, " said Holmes. " This gen- 
tlemen, is G>lonel Sebastian Moran, once of her Majesty's 
Indian Army, and the best heavy-game shot that our Eastern 
Empire has ever produced. I believe I am correct. Colonel, in 
saying that your bag of tigers still remains imrivalled ?" 

The fierce old man said nothing, but still glared at my com- 
panionist with his savage eyes and bristling moustache he was 
wonderfully like a tiger himself. 

" I wonder that my very simple stratagem could deceive so old 
a shikari," said Holmes. "It must be very familiar to you. 
Have you not tethered a young kid under a tree, lain above it 
with your rifle, and waited for the bait to bring up your tiger? 
This empty house is my tree, and you are my tiger. You have 
possibly had other gims in reserve in case there should be several 
tigers, or in the unlikely supposition of your own aim failing you. 
These, " he pointed around, " are my other guns. The paralld 
is exact." 

Colonel Moran sprang forward with a snarl of rage, but the 
constables dragged him back. The fury upon his face was ter^ 
rible to look at. 

"I confess that you had one small surprise for me," saii- 
Holmes. " I did not anticipate that you would yourself make 
use of this empty house and this convenient front window. I 
had imagined you as operating from the street, where my friend 
Lestrade and his meny men were awaiting you. With that 
exception, all has gone as I expected. " 

Colonel Moran turned to the official detective. 

" You may or may not have just cause for arresting me, " said 
he, " but at least there can be no reason why I should submit to 



•» ™«»WUBN OP SHEMX5CK HOLMS 

Moriarty. For yeaJJ w fi! <>"ke late Professor 

I have rever mI^^' '^'T'" °' ^ «■»•«■». though 
■»«ditverysS^o™''T^'^°''™'^''- I<»^- 

You can trust us to look «We» ik.i u ^ . 
trade, as the whole n.H^ 3^ ' ^- ^°'""' " ™d les- 
furthertoX""^ ""*"'"'«"• "Anything 

" mi'°K'^ '''^' '*^ yo" »'«■«' to prefer? •• 

"»*abIe.rL;ui^rL°fS^-^ «" ?"*' "' *" ^ 
«»tulate you ! With von, .„ . 7 ^''' ^^trade, I eon- 

audaoity. U haTetf ^^ ""' -^^ of c«uuh« and 

•;;^thhn!Gotwhom.Mr.Hohoes?" 

Ad^rwithanCn^Zii:'^*"' "?' «T"*" ""-^d 

window of a.e rndS^r: No'^Tp'^t «■"- 
the 80th of last month. That's thlZC^' f" ^^ "'"'' 

-ow.Watson.„youean^rttrh;^,r 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE EMPTY HOUSE «5 

window, I think that half an hour in my study over a dgar may 
afford you some profitable amusement. " 

Our old chambers had been left unchanged through the super- 
vision of Mycroft Holmes and the immediate care of Mre. Hud- 
son. As I entered I saw, it is true, an unwonted tidiness, but the 
old landmarks were aU in their place. There was the chemical 
comer and the acid-stained, deal-topped table. There upon a 
shelf was the row of formidable scrap-books and books of refer- 
ence which many of our fellow-citizens would have been so glad 
to bum. The diagrams, the violin-case, and the pipe-rack — 
even the Persian slipper which contained the tobacco — all met 
my eyes as I glanced round me. There were two occupants of 
the room — one, Mrs. Hudson, who beamed upon us both as we 
entered— the other, the strange dummy which had played so im- 
portant a part in the evening's adventures. It was a wax-col- 
oured model of my friend, so admirably done that it was a per- 
fect facsimile. It stood on a smaU pedestal table with an old 
dressing-gown of Holmes' so draped round it that the iUusion 
from the street was absolutely perfect. 

"I hope you preserved all precautions, Mrs. Hudson?" said 
Holmes. 

•' I went to it on my knees, sir, just as you told me. " 

" Excellent. You carried the thing out very well. Did you 
observe where the bullet went ? " 

" Yes, sir. I'm afraid it has spoilt your beautiful bust, for i t 
passed right through the head and flattened itself on the waU. I 
picked it up from the carpet. Here it is,' ** 

Hohnes held it out to me. " A soft revolver buDel, as you per- 
ceive, Watson. There's genius in that, for who would expect to ' 
find such a thing fired from an air-gun. All right, Mrs. Hudson, 



' ): 



f THE HETUHN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

lammuchobUgedforyoupassistanee. a^a tit 

He had thrown off the seedy frock^ywrt —J 
Holme, of old in the mou«^lZ-iT' " "«« I" ^ the 
took ftom hi, effigy. ^^'°"™' '''«»««-gO'™ which he 

tW sh..te«d fo^e^rf ^t';- "■"■ ' '^'■- » h' i-P«W 

^ ««- «e,ew^i„"'I.t'„:f»'»^'«*-""«PeC 
name?" ^naon. Have you heard the 

"No, I have not." 

" Well, well, such is fame! But thAn ;♦ t ^ 
had not heard the name ol^^:^Tjl'^"'"'^''^^'' ^°« 
one of thegreat brains of thV^X T* ""'^' "^" ^ 
indexofbiographiesfrom^eshr'^" '"^ ^"^^ ^^ ''^^ -^7 
He turned over the pages lazily, leaning back in hi« rh-- ^ 
blowmg great clouds from his cigar ^^ *'****' *°*^ 

-My coUection of M's is a fine one." said he -itr • -» 
hmiself is enough to jiakp an v i^ n . Monarty 

Mathews, who knocked or^j'e^T^J' "T"^' ""^ 

He handed over the book und I ~. j « .» "^"W- 
C<AW. Unemployed. F^n^ 1 ^^ »J^?"' *''"^- 
Bom London, 1840 Son T^^. B««»lore Koweis. 
British Minist;, to^en^ If'.'^T^ "<»«». CB.. once 

^«).She,nnS'c^^^Z-^-:;^(- 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE EMPTY HOUSE tT 

Western Himalayas' (1881); 'Three Months in the Jungle* 
(1884). Address: Conduit Street. Qubs: The Anglo-Indian, 
the Tankerville, the Bagatelle Card Club. " 

On the maigin was written, m Hohnes' precise hand: "The 
second most dangerous man in London. " 
^ "This is astonishing," said I, as I handed back the volume. 
" The man's career is that of an honourable soldier. " 

- It is true," Hohnes answered. " Up to a certain point he did 
weU. He was always a man of iron nerve, and the stoiy is stiU 
told in India how he crawled down a drain after a wounded man- 
eating tiger. There are some trees, Watson, which grow to a 
certain height, and then suddenly develop some unsightly eccen- 
tricity. You will see it often in humans. I have a theory that 
the mdividual represents in his development the whole procession 
of his ancestors, and that such a sudden turn to good or evil 
stands for some strong influence which came into the line of his 
pedigree. The person becomes, as it were, the epitome of the 
history of his own family. " 
"It is surely rather fanciful. " 

"WeU, I don't insist upon it. Whatever the cau:e. Colonel 

Moran began to go wrong. Without any open scandal, he still 

m««le India too hot to hold him. He retired, came to London. 

and agam acquired an evil name. It was at this time that he 

was sought out by Professor Moriarty, to whom for a time he was 

chief of the staff. Moriarty supplied him liberaUy with money. 

and used him only in one or two very high-class jobs, which no 

ordinary crmiinal could have undertaken. Y'^u may have some 

recoUection of the death of Mrs. Stewart, of Lauder, in 1887. 

Not? WeU, I am sure Moran was at the bottom of it, but noth- 

mg could be proved. So cleverly was the Colonel concealed that, 

even when the Moriarty gang was broken up, we could not in- 



rl <■- 



arty. «.d it wa8 undoubteirhT^ °"'"'"' " ""^ M»ri- 
«t« .« U>e ReichenCh mL '"' «""" "» •*- •rfl five min- 

"You may think t|,at j ,^ ., 
during my «>joum in France on .fc.'Tt" *"'* "°" •""«*»» 
laying him b/lhe heeb ^^ *\'~*-<»" '<" «y chmce of 
We would «i,y no, W ^^;:! ?' ™ '«« " ^■"'™' "y 

aWow would Lvebeero^n^^^dr"' ''f ""'' ""^ *« 
".us, have come. Wh., ^lT7f T"" °'- '*'" 1^ <i«nc« 

appeaUng to a magishST n^ ^"^^ ^"* "" »» >■« 
of wha, wouldapXru-eT^hT^"*^'" °" ''**-««■ 
donoUung. BwTwateh^tte ™w r*"™"- *'^«'"'<' 
jooner or later I should g^li^ T^ ■""'• '""'^ «»« 
Ron Jd Adair. MvcIm^J!^' ™'".°«"« «» deaU, „f Uu, 

Mw..i,„o,cerJnta^jM"'"r*- ^^o-^whatl 
played ca«ls wiA the wS^^Mr^L^t? '''""'" ^ehad 

"otadoubtofit iSb^J^., "P^™'''"'- ■"■"owa, 

-anoo.. Icame„:^t^iti r"'^'""'™'"""*' 

»'howould.Iknew.di«c,u.ec2n P T *" ""^ *' *»«»«'. 

He could no. fail ;. CS mv ^dr^!™""""^ P««"«- 

and to be torribly alarmS. T ^rt?."'"^ "''»'• 

an attempt to get me out of tl. "" ™« «'«" •» would make 

round hia »u.ie™uTwtpl 1 2.°"~'' "" ""^ "*« 
exceUent mark to the Sw l^L^"^- ' "^ "^ " 

«aow, and, having warned Uie police 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE EMPTY HOUSE m 

that they might be needed — by the way, Watson, you spotted 
their presence in that doorway with unerring accuracy — I took 
up what seemed to me to be a judicious post for observation, 
never dreaming that he ^^ould choose the same spot for his attack. 
Now, my dear Watson, dcas anything remain for me to explain ? " 
** Yes, " said I. " You have not made it clear what was Colo- 
nel Moran's motive in murdering the Honourable Ronald 
Adair?" 

"Ah I my dear Watson, there we come into those realms of 
conjecture, where the most logical mind may be at fault. Each 
may form his own hypothesis upon the present evidence, and 
yours is as likely to be correct as mine. " 
" You have formed one, then ? " 

" I think that it is not difficult to explain the facts. It came 
out in evidence that Colonel Moran and young Adair had, be- 
tween them, won a considerable amount of money. Now, Mo- 
ran undoubtedly played foul — of that I have long been aware. 
I believe that on the day of the murder Adair had discovered that 
Moran was cheating. Very likely he had spoken to him pri- 
vately, and had threatened to expose him unless he voluntarily 
resigned his membership of the club, and promised not to play 
cards again. It is unlikely that a youngster like Adair would 
at once make a hideous scandal by exposing a weU-known man 
so much older than himself. Probably he acted as I suggest. 
The exclusion from his clubs would mean ruin to Moran, who 
lived by his iU-gotten card-gains. He therefore murdered Adair, 
who at the time was endeavouring to work out how much money 
he should himself return, since he could not profit by his partner's 
foul play. He locked tlie door lest the ladies should surprise 
him and insist upon knowing what he was doing with these 
names and coins. Will it pass ? " 



IV. 

!* ■ 



» THE RETUBN OP SHERLOCK HOUIEB 

I] I have no doubt that you have hit upon the truth. " 
It wUI be verified or diapioved at the trial. Mewwhile 
come whjU may. Colond Mor«, wiD trouble u. no mo^lS 
ftunousau^nof Von Herder wiB embellirii the Scotland Yarf 

MuMum. and once agdn Mr. Sheriock Hohne. i. free to de^ 
h» l^to exa^ those intererting UtUe pioblem. which the 

complex hfe of London lo plentifully piwenti. - 



THE ADVENTURE OP 
THE NORWOOD BUILDER 

From the point of view of the crimin«l expert." said Mr. 
Sheriock Hohnes, "London has become a singulariy unin- 
teresting dty since the death of the late lamented I^fessor 
Moriarty." 

" I can hardly think that you would find many decent citizens 
to agree with you," I answered. 

" Well, well, I must not be selfish," said he, with a smile, as 
he pushed back his chair from the breakfast-table. " The com- 
munity is certainly the gainer, and no one the loser, save the 
poor out-of-work specialist, whose occupation has gone. With 
that man in the field, one's morning paper presented infinite 
possibilities. Often it was only the smallest trace, Watson, 
the faintest indication, and yet it was enough to tell me that 
the great malignant brain was there, as the gentlest tremors of 
the edges of the web remind one of the foul spider which lurks 
in the centre. Petty thefts, wanton assaults, purposeless out- 
rage — to the man who held the clue all could be worked into 
one connected whole. To the scientific student of the higher 
criminal world, no capital in Europe offered the advantages 
which London then possessed. But now — " He shrugged 



* IM HETOHN OF BOBBUXX UOLMB 

^^t^J' ""TT" <^'«»«<» of th. .Ut. of thing. 

m™.^''T,°'.1?'''' '■'*•''• ""■"•- '■"' "«•» '>«k '«-<»«« 

nM.«l Verner. I»d purd««d my .mall Ken.ington practir-. 
I ventumi to «k-,„ i„dd«,t which only explained il,d 

he*^ '^^,°' P'fr'^P ""^ "•' *^ "» ""'ve"""! « 
In^-^^' J ' *"•"• "" '°"'^'« »«' "y ■>»'«•. «»t thi. 

nature w„ alway. avene, h,we»er. from ,„y,hi„g i„ u,e L™ 
ofpubhc.ppIau«,,„dh.bou„dmei„U.em«t,Wn«nte^ 

-";;roLbr' t"1 " "r"'- ■"' -'"■<^- ■>' ^^^ 

renTo^ which, a. I have «cphuned. ha, only now been 

Mr Sherlocli Holme, w„ leaning back in hi, chair after hi, 

Wely f^h.on, when our attention wa, ane,t«l br. tre- 
mendou, nng at th bell. foUowed immediately by a holirw 

tte hJI t-A f. r'*"'^ *"* «""' • tumultuou, n..h into 

pdprtahng. burst mto the ,«,m. He looked from one to 
the other of u,. and under our gaze of inquiry he became 



TIIE ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUUJ)ER » 

con«aou. tut «,me apology wm needed for thi. uncewnu- 
nioui entry. unceremu- 

M'm .ony. Mr. Holme.." he cried. "You muin't bUm. 
dW.^ i!!S?h''"'T"'J'"'°"" "»«!»».■« «o« would o. 

.J^ T^- «'• M^F'*-"." "id he. parting hi. 
nT ^' '""■"« '^'' ««> your .ympioDtt; my Wend 
Dr. W.t«. h.„ wo^d p,^be . ^daHvi. lie w«^^ 

"** y"^ want. You mentioned your name na if T 

FMiuliar as I WM with my Mend's methods it wm nn. Aim 
cult for me to foUow hi, deductions. «,d tot^iZrltS' 
ness of attire, the sheaf of Ie«J p.™ ^ Z^T T .' 

the hi««i»i.i. I.- 1. V . ^>^ •"P*"' •" "oWi-chann, and 

Zr^T. ^ ^"^^ *^"'- O"' di«". how- 

tver, Stared m amazement. 

X T:TT .""" " "^ °"*°"'"' '" ^■"'o-'- For Heaven-' 
ttit I IT V^ ^^ "^ ""-y- "'«ke them give me lime, so 

■riknewthatyouwefeworkingformeoutside." 

Anest you!" said Holme. "Tkf ; •• 

' aomies. lh.j u really most grati — 



«■' i 



is I 



«4 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

mort intereatbg. On what chaige do you expect to be ar- 
rested ? " 

"Upon the charge of murdering Mr. Jonas Oldacre, of 
Lower Norwood." 

My companion's expressive face showed a sympathy which 
was not, I am afraid, entirely unmixed with satisfaction. 

"Dear me," said he, "it was only this moment at breakfast 
that I was saying to my friend, Dr. Watson, that sensational 
cases had disappeared out of our papers." 

Our visitor stretched forward a quivering hand and picked 
up the Daily TeUgraph, which stiU lay upon Hoknes' knee. 

" If you had looked at it, sir, you would have seen at a glance 
what the errand is on which I have come to you thb morning. 
I feel as if my name and my misfortune must be in eveiy man's 
mouth." He turned it over to expose the central page. "Here 
it b, and with your permission I wiU read it to you. Listen to 
this, Mr. Hohnes. The head-lines are: 'Mysterious Affair 
at Lower Norwood. Disappearance of a Well-known Builder. 
Suspicion of Murder and Arson. A Clue to the Criminal.' 
That is the clue which they are abeady following, Mr. Hohnes, 
and I know that it leads infallibly to me. I have been foUowed 
from London Bridge Station, and I am sure that they are only 
waiting for the warrant to arrest me. It wiU break my mother's 
heart — it will break her heart!" He wrung his hands in an 
agony of apprehension, and swayed backwards and forwards 
in his chair. 

I looked with interest upon this man, who was accused of 
being the perpetrator of a crime of violence. He was flaxen- 
haired and handsome, in a washed-out negative fashion, with 
frightened blue eyes, and a clean-shaven face, with a weak, 
sensitive mouth. His age may have been about twenty-seven. 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE NORWOOD BUILDER « 

of"hl^r'*'^'**^'°'*«*°*^*^'°«»- From the pocket 

of his hgh summer overeoat protruded the bundle of bdZ^ 

pape« which proclaimed his profession. "^ 

We must use what time we have," said Hohnes « Wo* 

builder for many years Mr S • .^ **™'** *"» *»" business as a 
and lives in Deep Sko^^'^J » ^«*". fifty-two years of ^ 
He ha, had the r^UbW ^ .^ *^ «<* <rf the road of that niS^ 
"tiring. For«,^y^'ieuir^°7°'.««=«tri^ 
whiThe is «ud to b^^^^^^'J^'^ ^ "^ h.n»nJX 
-till exists. howeverTthTJ^rfSr'^*^*?- ^ »»« timber-yLd 
o'clock, an alann wL, J^ th« one rf tt T ^^ ^' '^'' ••»"» ^^^ 
we«,«^nuponthespo?b^tt^%1i';^:S-^- ^^"^^ 
impossible to airest the conflaBraZn^^iTT!: T^ *^* ^'^' ««» it was 
»«med. Up to this point ttS^rdh "^^ ^^^^ been entirely con- 
dent, but fresh indiattioT^t L^r* *PP**~»«' <>' « o«iina,y »cd. 
P~»ed at the absence oJfte^toKll'^T"^*- ^^^'>' ex- 

bouse. An examination of his mnJZ^,^ ^^ disappeared from the 
in. that a sf^S'S^i^t^ro^tSL^ "^'^J^ °°* "^ "^ 
were scattered about the room. J? S2^ tJ^^ "" ^^'^' ^^ 
ous struggle, slurht tiaoM «f hL^ iL- 7 ' . "® ''"* "P» of a murder- 

wallS^Sc.Twlh^stt^^t^JZi'^'^ ?* "°'°- "d an S« 
tluu Mr. Jonas Old-a^CTlX^?^^*"-^^^"- 't-^n^^^ 
^U and the -tickTL^^asllldt^S^^en^i," "^ "^^ "P°° »^» 
who is a young London sohcitorTJfi i k « "** ^^^^ °' *»>i» P««on, 
ner of GrahTand Sl^ W oS G^ ^T',^<^^'^-^ ^'^o'^ 
bebevethatth,^havee."r^L*^*fi,^^„»^^ ^"I*"- • 

vmong motive for the crime, and ^Z^T^ f** ™PP''*» • ^^ mo- 

tional developmenu wiulSow ^ '* "^"^ ** ***»"''*«* «»* »«»- 

U^-It is rumoured as wego to press that Mr.John Hector McFarlaoe 



pi i 



IM 



: ! 



M! 



V; I.L 



S6 



THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 



1« tctuaUy been «wrted on the chMge <rf the murder of Mr. J<«.. 01d«^ 
It MrtleMtcertMn that. wammthM been i«ued. There have been further 
and nnisto developinents in the investigation at Norwood. Bendes the aisns 

ofa.fruggie m the room of the unfortunate builder it is now known thatthe 
ftench windows of his bedroom (which is on the ground floor) were found to 
be open, that th«e were marlcs as if some bulky object had been draned 
aa«» to tiie wood-pile. and. finaUy. it is asserted that charred mnains^ 
bem found among the charcoal ashes of the fire. The police theory is that a 
most sensational crime has been committed, that the victim was clubbed to 
death m his own bedroom, his papers rifled, and his dead body draered across 
Sk r^;'^' ''^'^ ''^ ^^'^ united so as to hide aU traces rfSe crime. 
The conduct of the mmmal investigation has been left in the experienced hands 
of Inspector Lestrade. of Scotland Yard, who is following uple due. with 
hu accustomed enagy and sagacity. «= «uai wim 

Sherlock Holmes listened with closed eyes and finger-tips 
together to this remarkable account. 

"The case has certainly some points of interest." said he, in 
his languid fashion. " May I ask. in the first place, Mr. Mc- 
Farlane, how it L- that you are stiU at Hberty, since there appears 
to be enough evidence to justify your arrest ?" 

"I live at Torrington Lodge, Blackheath, with my parents, 
Mr. Holmes, but last night, having to do business veiy late 
with Mr. Jonas Oldacre, I stayed at an hotel in Norwood, and 
came to my business from there. I knew nothing of this aflFair 
until I was in the train, when I read what you have just heard. 
I at once saw the horrible danger of my position, and I hurried 
to put the case into your hands. I have no doubt that I should 

have been arrested either at my city oflSce or at my home. A 
man followed me from London Bridge Station, and I have no 
doubt — Great Heaven ! what is that ? " 

It was a dang of the bell, followed instantly by heavy steps 
upon the stair. A moment later, our old friend Lestrade ap- 
peared in the doorway. Over his shoulder I caught a gUmpse 
of one or two uniformed policemen outside. 



S7 



IBE ADVENTURE OP THE NORWOOD BUILDER 
Mr. John Hector McFarlane ? " said Lestmde 
Our unfortunate client ,t«e with a ghastlX 

' •^t you for the wilful murder of Mr jZ' OM 
Lower Norwood." '^''"** Oldacre. of 

McFarlane turned to us with « «^» * j 
w« .bout Cve^ant^rt"?.^/™- "^ *e8»aen.« 

past, and we owe vo„ « Z^^ ^ °°** °' *^ce in the 

t™^;. ••rrreTfT*"'"!'^°«'^"^YaKi."saidL«. 

and I an, bound r^rnLlr ^T t" "^ P^^--' 
appear in evidence agaimtwl'^ "^"^ ^' "*^ ^*^ -^" 

-I wish nothing better." said our client "All t i, • . 
you should hear and recoim;,*. th \, ^^ ^ «k is that 

T ^* J , , ''^cognise the absolute truth " 

drifted .part. I wm v^T T"""«^ '"* "m. but thq- 
■ny office in the cir^BulTt '!?,'*™'»». ^ wJked iuto 






fP' 



I 1= 



88 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

sheets of a note-book, covered with scribbled writing — hew 

they are -- and he laid them on my table. 

Here is my will.' said he. ' I want you, Mr. McFarlanc. 
to cast It into proper legal shape. I wiU sit here whUe you do 
so.' 

*' I set myself to copy it, and you can imagine my astonish- 
ment when I found that, with some reservations, he had left aU 
his property to me. He was a strange Uttle ferret-like man, 
with white eyelashes, and when I looked up at him I found his 
keen, grey eyes fixed upon me with an amused expression. I 
could hardly beUeve my own senses as I read the terms of the 
will; but he explained t;hat he was a bachelor with hardly any 
Kving relation, that he had known my parents in his youth, and 
that he had always heard of me as a very deserving young man, 
and was assured that his money would be in worthy hands. 
Of course, I could only stammer out my thanks. The will was 
duly finished, signed, and witnessed by my clerk. This is it on 
the blue paper, and these sKps, as I have explained, are the 
rough draft. Mr. Jonas Oldacre then informed me that there 
were a number of documents - building leases, title-deeds, 
mortgages, scrip, and so forth — which it was necessary that I 
should see and understand. He said that his mind would not 

be easy until the whole thing was settled, and he begged me to 
come out to his house at Norwood that night, bringing the will 
with me, and to arrange matters. 'lUmember, my boy, not 
one word to your parents about the affair untU everything is 
settled. We wiU keep it as a littie surprise for them.' He was 
veiy insistent upon this point, and made me promise it faith- 
fully. 

" You can imagine, Mr. Holmes, that I was not in a humour 
to refuse him anything that he might ask. He was my bene- 



I : 



THE ADVENTUHE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER SO 
factor and aU my desire was to cany out his wishes in every 
particular. I sent a telegram home, therefore, to say that I 
had miportant business on hand, and that it was impossible 
for me to say how late I might be. Mr. Oldacre had toW me 
that he would hke me to have supper with him at nine, as he 
might not be home before that hour. I had some difficulty in 
findmg his house, however, and it was nearly half-past before 
I reached it. I found him—" k«' "«ore 

"One^omentr'said Holmes. "Who opened the door?" 
kee^r.^ "'^^ ''''°'''°' ^^"^ "''"' ^ '"PP*^' ^ ^''^ 

"And it was she, I presume, who mentioned your name?" 

"Exactiy."8aidMcFarlane. 

"Pray proceed." 

McFarlane wiped his damp brow, and then continued hb 
narrative: 

fnZr*" '^°^"' *"{ ^ ^°'°"* ^°*° * sitting-room, where a 
K/TITi"^ °"*- ^'^^'ds. Mr. Jonas Oldacre 
led me into his bedroom, in which there su ^ a heavy safe. 
This he opened and took out a mass of documents, which we 
went over togeAer. It was between eleven and twelve when 
wefimshed. He remarked that we must not disturb the house- 

^K\ ^^ ^^''^ ""^ **"* *^^"«^ ^ °^ French window, 
which had t>een open aU this time." 

" Was the blind down ? " asked Hohnes. 

" I wiU not be sure, but I believe that it was only half down. 
Y« I remember how he puUed it up in order to swing open tLe 
wmdow. I could not find my stick, and he said. ' Zer mind. 

my boy. I shal see a good deal of you now. I hope, and I will 
keep your sfack untU you come back to claim if I left hun 
there, the safe open, and the papers made up in packets upon 






I 
li 



!«l 



'11 



«► ^ RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

J^Ie. It waa so late that Icould not get back to Bla«k 
neath, so I spent the niirht at fi,- a i . uiack- 

nothing mope until 1 1!?/*? ? ^*'**^ ^™"' •"d I kn«w 

saidiSe wfc ^^''""^^"^"'^"^'^•Hohnc^- 
. Not unto I have been to Blackheath." 
You mean to Norwood." said Lestmde. 
un, yes, no doubt that is what T «„.»* k 
Hohnes. with his enigmatiad s^e d^T^ "^T" ^^ 
more experiences ZT w7uld^ ^T^" ^ '"*™^ ^^ 

m«>.Iilce b«un could c. Zl^at ^^7 "^ *^* *^* 
to him. IsawhimloolcZT 1 X ^**""P*°«*~We 

« T ♦i.;„u T 1. . . ^^oualy at my companion 
I think I should like to have a wo«l ^,u 
Mr. Sherlock Hohnes." said hT *nII m J^" P'^""^' 

of my constables a,.'at"edL a^d 1^" ""^"^"^^ *"^ 
waiting." The wr^trh^ J ^'^ '^ * four-wheeler 

conducted him to the cab h,.* t *_ j ^® officers 

. , ^ ^°» O"* Lestrade remained 

tmst upon his face. "»*' ™«™ wtn tlie keenest in- 

"There are some points about that document I...^j 
U-e no. ? •; ^ he. pushing a,em ove,.^** '^'^' "' 

»««.d page, and one o Zo^rirel^^'TL '^'^, " '^ 
print." said he "hnffi, "|"»®«°a- J^hose are as clear as 

S.ere a«X^ ph^ltreT "" '1 ''!r"^ " '^^ ^«^' -<* 

«• W^ K ^^'l! °^' "' **^** ^ " ^'^^^^ Holmes, 
wen, what do yow make of it ? " 



one. th.t tti. w« d„™ „p <„ , .u1K„T^ P'w.ounce « 
«ve in the immediate yiAJ^ ? '•'•'urbm Ime, „„„ „„,^ 

- oec«pi«, i„ d^J^rupSe^n"*^'^"!"!''-™^ 
"PreM. only stopping mcCLm *' '^" ""« 
Bridge." "^^^ " '*^~" Norwood Md London 

LMtrade b^an to laugli. 

th«.ri^" Mr. HoI^f-t^'^'T />" ^^■■' to get on you, 
case?" "• How does this bear on Um 

TesteHay. 1. ;, ^™ "I ^^if'r,^'^ » "■■' i<>— X 
draw „p ,. i„,p.rta„, , doJLlt LT. t ' ""^ '^°"" 
ft suggest, tl,at b. did nom t „ ?"^ " '""™- 
practical importance If . !!! / *°"« '"'«''' »"<* 
not intend e™, f te effec^,!T *?T "P ' '^" "Wch he did 
"Well 1..J ff^^'^nnglitdo tso." 

saidS^e "'""°""'"'*-"-* -ttes^neti™.-. 

"Oh, you think SO?" 
"Don't you?" 

Here is a yo«,^ Jl V I«l L T """' ""^ >« <^'«"- ? 
»..<^«,«s,ninlt^t-atS:it"it 






*> THE BETOBN OF SHEBIOCK HOLMES 

o» the Bw,', rom he mimlen him, bum. hi. body in the wood- 

pI..«ddq«j.lo.«ighbouringhoW. The Uood-rtm,. 

toped th.lrf the body were comumed it w™id hide dl i«« 
«* the method of hi. de.th-t»ce, which, for „me ^ 
mu^h.™ printed to hin,. boot J] thi.obvi«„?" ' 

It 'talte. me, my good Le.lnide, u being jiut . trifle too 
obv,o«,," ..id Hohne,. " yo« do not «ld imi^n.lionTyo« 
<^«J«t ,«diti« but if you could for one mTment ^n^jC 
«lf m tt. pl«e of Ihi. young mm, would you chooK a.e ^^ 
^TJ' -",H' b«n m«ie to cimi. y.„, ^iZ^, 
Worfd itm* «em d««ero«. to you to mJte «> vay clo« . 
rd.b.nbelwc«, the two incident.? Ag«n, would y™ choo« 
«occ«on when you i« known to be in the houi. when . 
«™nth«l.tyo«,n? And, finaUy, would you take the gret 
p«n, to cnced the body, »d yet leave your own nick «, a^Z 
U-^e.^^ criminal? Confer. I«t«de. that aU Z 

«A. to the .tick, Mr. Hohne,, you know .. wdl «i I do that 
a cnmmiJ „ often flumed. «,d doe, mch thing,, which a cool 
«»-"|davoid. Hewa,ve,ylikelyafraidrgobackt,1S» 
•oom. Give me another theory that would fit the f«*,." 
••R.»!T ^*^ f^^ «'™ '™ <»»« do«n." «id Hohne,. 
I ™T T'' ' " « ™y P»»rfbk «.<! even probable one. 
I nutke you a f«e present of it. The older m,^ i. .bowing 

docnm«it.wha,i are of evident value. A p««ng tr«np «J 
IZ '^'«^ *'',™-'°-. the blind of St onl^Z 
^U L '^*"- ^'■'«*'««'"P' He«»«,artick, 
^t W^™ ""^ '^ °"^' ""^ '•'P^ •«« bum- 



ii 



THE ADVENTURE OP TOE NORWOOD BUILDER « 
^ Why should the tramp burn the body ? " 
For Ae matter of that, why should McFarlane? " 
i o hide some evidence." 

^^CZ'^Z^r '-"«' - "<-• «-» "y »u«fc, « a 

j^ And why did the tramp take nothing ? " 

I ^T J*^."^ <"•*" "»« •« «»" »ot nqrotiate " 
I«^e ,h«,k hi, he«i, though it ..«n«i ^ela. hi. 

^ . « ■« "»»'"'«'y -""ml than before. 

S^Jl r^T^'i'"''""^'"^'"- ■'-"'"oti„thi.ZtX 
HoIm«: that ,0 far as we know, none of the pape„^~ „ 

mo^d. and that the pmoner U U.e one n«« inT woX^ 
had no reason for removing them, rince he wa. heir J-Uw Ind 
would come into them in any case." """Wlaw.and 

My friend seemed struck by this remark. 

^s^^ytfxrtht^^t^rhr"-- 

has a congemal task before him. oi a man who 

"My first movement, Watson." said he. as he bustled into 

Wrock-coat. ".ust. as I said, be in the direction ^fBi::^! 

" ^^ why not Norwood ? " 

"B««„e we have in this c«e one anguUr incident coming 



TOE HOTURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

•wood, bcouw it IttDDen. In iTTi. •"""«o» Upon the 
piOMh the caae i* to »-«•« u »__. "** "W*** '^ay to ap. 

«> unexpected an heir It m«v ^T "J*'^**^^ niade, and to 

I will be lAIe to J„K .u ??'"'"" ' «» you in ll,. ev«Z? 

Witt which h. ^rrtrf hr^"" '""; *" «■« %fc hop- 
raffled ,piriJ At h^r* f™""'«'°'~*«'^«™ 

■•»•• .u going zi:^^;""' r^'-'—- 

I kept . bold tZ befo« lI'^eTuf " """« """'So. 
that fo, one U,e Wow i. ™ S^ ^hur* "J ~-'- ' ''^ 
wrong- AUmvin,hnM. ^" ''»™ »"<' »« «re on the 

««« pitch of iatelli^„ :'h""si'T '""r ^ •««»«' 

my Iheorie, over iZ^^^X^ *"" "" P"''™'~ "^ 
" Did you go to Bhcldieath ? " 

'...^»rOMrwtlT"'""''-'.r''-'^^""«tthe 
n.e /.the, w„ ^^.,VZZ^Z'"^^t r*^- 

<»».-. iitue. fluff,. „.„^ ^; J^;^^™^ 



ifi 



TO ABVENTOM OF TOE NOBWOOD «um>H, „ 

•od to nunr a bettor ;» .JT ^^ ^^ '"V '">™ Wm. 
tamed . cat lo<Jfa .„ • *°"*^ "^ <* '«"' he lud 

pho.<*»ph^.^^^;X p««;"y *• P'^"'*' ' 

»» in that rtate^JhT. P'"*«"P''- ••» «i<l- " He«mt it to 
«« -I hi. P«>pe^,t.Xt^""«"™^»"-»---«h^ 

in H«,«n, Mr Hd^!, ' ?.? ^""^ "P"'- ' There i, . God 
that wiek^i^L^TCi^ a"- "^ ""' ■»• •-««• 
-•.h«.d,a„g^2.^7^\|^r ^ «- th- n,, 

'-5;!::l;^;':ri:f-''-'r"!<'*e'.tnotiu^wueh 

P»«. Ueep Dene House, i, a big modem villa of 






*• TBE RITURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

•t~% brtek. rtandiiig b«dt b it! own ground., with • kurd 
ch«.pedl.wnlnfro«»afit. To the ^d ^T^ ^dilt 
hade from the ro«J w« the timbe^ywd which hiwl been tS 

^Thi. wmdow on the left i. the one which op^ into 
Old«w.room. You en look into it from the rowi^J^ 
TTut i. .bout the only bit of con«,I.Uon I ha^'ZZ' 

^^^^1 *^r **"* ^ ^"^ ~"*»"« *d «»• honouiJ; 
They had jurt found a great treasure-trove. They had .pent 

^end decoloured metal di^m. I examined them witTo^ 

!^l^*«''"K"^^r**'*^*'***'y''*"'»~"^' button., i 
ev« duitongmshed ^at one of them wa. marked with the 
name of Hyam./ who wa. Oldacie's taUor. I then woriced 
tte Uwn very carefully for «gn. and trace-, but thi. drought 

^ej;frr'^"^r*"^"- Nothing wa. to be In 
«ve that«ome body or bundle had been dragged through a 
ow pnvet hedge which i. in a Une with the^d-pST.^!,* 

the kwn with an Augu.t .un on my back, but I got up at the 
end of an hour no wiwr than before. 

in^T; 1^ ^ ^^ ' ''*"* ^°*^ **»* ^"^^ "^d «am. 
^d c^, « Th«»>»-*'-*«i-werovei7slight.mere.mears 
and di.oolorat,on.. but undoubtedly fre.h. The stick had been 
removed, but there akK> the marks were slight. There is no 
doubt about the stick belonging to our client. HeaL^it 

none ofany thinl person, which again is a trick for tTother 
side. They were piling up their score aU the time, and we 
were at a standstill. 



TBf AOVENTVU OF IHB NOBWOOD BUIIM* „ 
»h«Al»d b«n tak«, out «d feft on th. Ubk. The p,p^ 

But .tj«««d u. n., Uul Jl a. p.p.„ ,.„ „^ U.«r?Z^ 

whKhlcouldBotand. Thfa, of cou«.B we could definitely 
P~« .t. would f«m L«,«le-. .,gun.«rt .g^n.1 lun«lf ; for 
J*. -«Jd -.- . tlung if he l™, Ui.. hTwould ^ Z 

««.t. I ln«J my luck witl, the hou«lt«^,. M«. L«dnL„ 
-h« .«,.-, Uttle. d.A. rilent pemn, will. .u,pici.u^d 
-ddong y^ She could tell u. «,n.ething if .he would - 1 

S^dtJf'-.^'f^* " " ^-^ ""'• She wid«i her 
k«dl«dw,the,«l before Aeh«l done «. She h«l go«, to 
b«i rt h.tf.p„t ten. Her r«,n. w« .t the other end%f the 

11^ ^ Lf ^J"*' "" '° "" **" <* l«"«K«f hi. rtick. 
mthehaU. She h«l been awakened by the .1.™ of fi». He; 

poor dor mjuter had cert«nly been munlered. Had he any 

"«««? Wen.ev.,y„u„,hadenenae,.butMr.01dacXt 
b^tf veo- much to hin>«lf. and only met people in the Z 
of bu«ne«. She h«l seen the buttons, and Zs«re that Z 
bd^jged to the clothes which he h«l worn last m, i. ^ 
wood.pUe was veiy dry. for it had not nuned for a month, it 
burned hke tinder, and by the time she reach«l the spoTnoth 



« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMBS 

wg could be seen but flames. She anJ all ♦§,« « 

P.F«.. nor of Mr. OkUc', pri™^ ^^ "°«^ <" «» 

uro.r.e«o„i^^r;?,rr.,nijv- --^ 

h«- 1^*^ Knows It. l^here was a sort of sulky defiance in 

i>i»ppe.^^:L':sr„rfi;:rj2.*^*'/7ood 

successes whinK T * x/^ ^^ ^** chromde of our 

"-^e^i""^ '^* • P^"* ^'^ ^ -oer o, 

"It is true." 

founV that the lowTte of ^ i^ "* *''''' '^^ ^'^^^'^^^^ ^ 

who this Mr r«l, r ^'*"*** ^ interested to know 

Who this Mr. Comehus ma^ be with whom a retired builder 



1) 



w. have fo™.d „, :*^'^ S^t^d'^S: ^ * '"^"- ""' 
"wnts. FaOine aav o»lL : "?"^P™"' ">* these luge p,.. 

««keth.dSrj^"Xttt;r rr**" "^'-^ 

«•»» our cue will end ■„!? ^' . . '"" "^ ''«" 'dUm. 

I do not know how far Sh!rf ^^"^ "' ^°°"^ ^'^■" 
■%!.«. but when I cle do^ttS'^l T^ "^ '^ «»' 
•»»"«1. !■& bright eve. A, kT^" """'"'""'•»'« "d 
«»»<1 them. 'fTc'^tunJ^V '" *" <^ »b«dow, 

«=«««««nd,«,dwith^jri^ "^t'u™ """«' '"■«' 
A«_opentel,gr«n..y„;^::::f^^te-°'"'''°'''"^'»f-- 
,J^.<.o,ou.hink„this.W..«,n,..,e.^,.^, 

•"TOKTAMT niESH EVIDENCE TO »,„„ 
CJBE.— LESnUDE." *°^™ »«>0 TO iaunWN 

"This sounds serious," said I 

to abandon the case AftJ-n • ^^* '' °»»y ">« Premature 

two-edged thingrd rn^^^^::^' ''"^ ^^'^"^ ^ * 
tion to that wWch I^trL^„ • ^'^ * "^^^^ ^««°* <««c- 
Watson. and we JT^tZT"'' 7"^' ^«" »>'«^ast. 

I feel as if I shaU nXou! ^ ""^ "^ ^^** '^^ «« do. 

^^^^ snau need your company and your moml support 

My friend had no breakfast himself tnr ♦ 

p-haHtiesth^inhismoreintT:::;:^-::-^^ 



f :! 



» THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

hixnsdf no food, and I have known him presume upon his iron 
"trength until he has fainted from pure inanition. "At present 
I cannot spare eneigy and nerve force for digestion," he would 
say in answer to my medical remonstrances. I was not sur- 
pnsed, therefore, when this morning he left his untouched meal 
behind him, and started with me for Norwood. A crowd of 
morbid sightseers were still gathered round Deep Dene House, 
which was just such a suburban viUa as I had pictured. With- 
in the gates Lestrade met us, his face flushed with victory, his 
manner grossly triumphant. 

"Well, Mr. Hohnes, have you proved us to be wrong yet? 
Have you found your tramp ? " he cried. 

"I have formed no conclusion whatever," my companion 
answered. 

"But we fonned ours yesterday, and now it proves to be 
correct, so you must acknowledge that we have been a little in 
front of you this time, Mr. Hohnes." 

"You certainly have the air of something unusual havinir 
occurred," said Holmes. 

Lestrade laughed loudly. 

"You don't like being beaten any more than the rest of us 
do," said he. « A man can't expect always to have it his own 
way, can he. Dr. Watson ? Step this way, if you please, gentle- 
men, and I think I can convince you once for aU that it was 
John McFarlane who did this crime." 

He led us through the passage and out into a dark haU 
beyond. 

This is where young McFarlane must have come out to get 
his hat after the crime was done," said he. "Now look at 
this." With dramatic suddenness he struck a match, and by 
Its light exposed a stain of blood upon the whitewashed waU. 



im ADVKNTOBE OF TBB NOBWOOD BMU)EB ., 
As he held the match nea»r T »-«, *u * v 

•• You «, aware that no two th,,n.b.m„fa are alike ? •• 
-y ori4 this mX^^T..*''^"'^' ' "«'" «■""">. taken by 

tunaledient was lost. " ™'''°"» "« that our unfor- 

"That is final," said Lestrade. 

•■«"-ti;f:d"koi:r"'^^'^««'- 
^-tojjiri':e:ro?L:^r---- 

be-^besure, t^li'a .-^^o X^rSn?"- ^ 
son^us not .o trust our „w/i„d|nen,!:it:'tLesS^;;f- 



9- ■ 



M THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

of it." Holmes was outwardly calm, but his whole body ga^ 
a wriggle of suppressed excitement as he spoke. " By the way, 
Lestrade, who made this remarkable discovery ? " 

"It was the housekeeper, Mrs. Lexington, who drew the 
night constable's attention to it." 

" Where was the night constable ? " 

"He remained on guard in the bedroom where the crime 
was committed, so as to see that nothing was touched." 

" But why didn't the police see this mark yesterday ? " 

" Well, we had no particular reason to make a careful exam- 
ination of the hall. Besides, it's not in a very prominent place, 
as you see." 

" No, no — of course not. I suppose there is no doubt that 
the mark was there yesterday ? " 

Lestrade looked at Holmes as if he thought he was going out 
of his mind. I confess that I was myself surprised both at his 
hilarious manner and at his rather wild observation. 

" I don't know whether you think that McFarlane came out 
of gaol in the dead oi the night in order to strengthen the evi- 
dence against himself," said Lestrade. " I leave it to any ex- 
pert in the world whether that is not the mark of his thumb." 

" It is unquestionably the mark of his thumb." 

"There, that's enough," said Lestrade. " I am a practical 
man, Mr. Holmes, and when I have got my evidence I come to 
my conclusions. If you have anything to say, you will find me 
writing my report in the sitting-room." 

Hohnes had recovered his equanimity, though I still seemed 
to detect gleams of amusement in his expression. 

" Dear me, this is a very sad development, Watson, is it not ? " 
said he. " And yet there are singular points about it which 
hold out some hopes for our client." 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE NORWOOD BUILDER m 

ta „ J^ ^' ^^ " "" ■•^y «"•"' flaw in thi, mdena 

Indeed, Holmes! What is il?" 
"Only this: that I fao«, a„, th., m„k ^ „„, «, . 
I^„eda..J«Ulyeste«i.y. And „,w. Wbon, iZI.™ 
« little stroU round in the sunshine" ""Mve 

w™* ", h "'^ ^"^- ''"' '^'^ • •■«»« »•» ""<* some 

rrlld r "S '^■^'«- ' •"'""P^ed my friend in . 
W.UI round the garden. Hohnes toolt each tact „f the house 
». tujn. „d e^^ued it with g«at inte«st He then I^T 

fteZ Hota^ • ^.JT" "'" -*™i»l>«i. but none 
tlK less Hohnes mspected them aU minutely. KnUIy, on the 
top^mdor. whid. «n outside throe untLnteHi^^ 
hej^„w«, seized with a sp«,m of merriment. 

There are reafly some very unique feature, about this case 
fri:^'"^.::'. "e. "I think it is time now a,at we tk^ 
fnend Lestr«l. „b, our confidence. He has h«l his IfWe 
smUe at our e^rem^, «,d perhaps we may do «, much by Z 

I ZJT*"! ■" *"' r""" P"'" «» be correct Y«.7S: 
I think I see how we should approach it" 

w J^'ifr"^^ '^'^ ™'*^'" ™ "«" ™«n« » the pariour 
when Hohnes mtemipted him. panour 

J^l^understood that you were writing a report of this case." 

"So I am." 

" Don't you think it may be a litUe premature f I c«.'t hdn 
Uunking that your evidence is not complete." '="""'? 



,1 

i! 



«♦ THE RETUBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

Lestrade knew my friend too weU to disregard his woids. 

He laid down his pen and looked curiously at him. 
" What do you mean, Mr. Holmes ? " 

"Only that there is an important witness whom you have 
not seen." 

" Can you produce him ? " 
"I think I can." 
"Then do so." 

"IwiUdomybest. How many constables have you ? *» 

" There are three within call." 

" Excellent ! " said Holmes. " May I ask if they are aU laree, 
able-bodied men with powerful voices ? " 

"I have no doubt they ar^, though I fail to see what their 
voices have to do with it." 

"Perhaps I can help you to see that and one or two other 
things as well," said Holmes. "Kindly summon your men 
and I will try." ^ 

Five minutes later, three policemen had assembled in the haU. 

"In the outhouse you wiU find a considerable quantity of 
straw," said Hohnes. " I will ask you to cany in two bundles 
of it. I think it wiU be of the greatest assistance in producing 
the witness whom I require. Thank you very much. I believe 
you have some matches in your pocket, Watson. Now, Mr. Lest- 
rade, I wiU ask you all to accompany me to the top landing. 

As I have said, there was a broad corridor there, which nm 
outside three empty bedrooms. At one end of the conidor we 
were aU marshaUed by Sheriock Holmes, the constables grin- 
ning and Lestrade staring at my friend with amazement, ex- 
pectation, and derision chasing each other across his features. 
Holmes stood before us with the air of a conjurer who is per- 
forming a trick. 



» 



M I 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER u 
hZ^^'^^ ^°" ^^^ "*°^ **"* ""^ y«"' constables for two 
f~m the waU on either side. Now I think that we a« aU 

Ustrade's face had begun to grow red and angiy. 

Sh.,i ^?° * ^^^ :*»***»«' yo" «« playing a game with us, Mr. 
Sherlock Holmes." said he. " If you know anything, yoi can 
surely say it without aU this tomfooleiy." "g- yo« can 

"I assure you. my good Lestrade. that I have an exceUent 
J^on for everything that I do. You may possibly remem^ 
that you chaffed me a littie. some hou« agTwhen the sun 
seemed on your side of the hedge, so you must not grudge me 
to ot'n^T . ceremony now. Might I ask you. W^„. 
^e Zw ? " ""* *° P"' * """^"^ *° ^^ ^^ ^ 

I ^d so. and driven by the draught, a coil of grey smoke 
Z^. ~"'"' "^^ "^^ ^ ^*-- cr^ed imd 

tJ^^^'J^Tf r ^ ^« «« fi"d this witness for you, Les- 
faade. MightlaskyouaUtojoinintheoyofFire!*? Now 
then ; one. two, three — " 

"Fire!"weaIlyeUed. 

" Thank you. I will trouble you once airain ** 
"Fire!" ^ 

"Just once more, gentlemen, and all together." 

'7t^ji T^'^'^^^^t'nust have rung over Norwood. 

LiTr !. ^, ^'" "P^" ""* "^ "^* appeared to £e solid 

Zf of V^V u^' ''™^"'' "^^ " ^**^«' ^^"«1 °^an darted 
out of It, hke a rabbit out of its burrow. 

"Capital!" said Hohnes, cahnly. "Watson, a bucket of 



•• THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLME8 

water over the straw. That wiU dol Lestnule. allow me to 

Sd^ "**" "^^ ^**" ^"^"^^ "^"^ '^*»«"' Mr. Jona. 

The detective stared at the newcomer with bUnk amaze- 
ment. TTie hitter was blinking in the bright light of the cor- 
ndor, and peering at us and at the smouldering fire. It was 
an odious face - crafty, vicious, malignant, with shifty, liirht- 
grey eyes and white lashes. / ' "8 * 

•• What's this, then ? " said Lestrade, at last. " What have 
you been doing all this time, eh ? " 

Oldacre gave an uneasy h»ugh, shrinking back from the furi- 
ous red face of the angry detectiye. 

" I have done no harm." 

"No ham ? You have done your best to get an innocent 
man hanged. If it wasn't for this gentleman here, I am not 
sure that you would not have succeeded." 

The wretched creature began to whimper. 

" I am sure, sir, it was only my practical joke." 

"Ohl a joke, was it? You won't find the laugh on your 
«de. I promise you. Take him down, and keep him in the 
Mtting.room until I come. Mr. Holmes." he continued, when 
aiey had gone, « I could not speak before the constables, but I 
don t mind saying, in the presence of Dr. Watson, that this is 
the bnghtest thing that you have done yet. though it is a mys- 
tery to me how you did it. You have saved an imiocent man's 
Me, and you have prevented a veiy grave scandal, which would 
nave rumed my reputation in the Foree." 
Hohnes smiled, and dapped Lestrade upon the shoulder. 

Instead of being ruined, my good sir, you wiU find that 
your reputation has been enormously enhanced. Just make a 
few alterations in that report which you were writing, and they 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE NORWOOD BUILDER „ 

•; And you don't want your name to appear ? " 
NotataU. The work ia its own reward P«4..«. t u .. 

Wrfl „^ I . ^ '°°'~'P "«* more -eh, Watoon? 

It was lit ^»v r ,. ***^' cunningly concealed in it. 

There's the advantage of being a builder" add H„I».-. 
a« we eame out. " He wiu «M- tr« ' . • "'<' "oUnes, 

Mi^-HoSI^r""'"- «-""-"" you know ofthiaphc 
h.2™t,!!T T"" ^ *« '"low wa, in hiding m the 

p-the^^^—strr^r^f 
but it aLtd ::rn^'z-rLsi"i!^T"s 

" Wdl dr. y^ cerbunly got equal with me on that But 

«w«.i..ve,di.e;^::r^ i^iriJL-i^t:: 



« THE BETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

the d«7 before. I pay a good deal of attention to matten of 
detaU. as you may have observed, and I had examined thehaU. 
and was sure that the waU was clear. Therefore, it had been 
put on during the night." 
"But how?" 

"Veiy simply. When those packets were sealed up, Jonas 
Oldacre got McFarlane to secure one of the seaU by putting 
his tiiumb upon Uie soft wax. It would be done so quickly and 
so naturally, tiiat I dare say tiie young man himself has no recol- 
lection of it. Very likely it just so happened, and Oldacre had 
himself no notion of tiie use he would put it to. Brooding over 
tiie case in tiiat den of his, i\ suddenly struck him what abso- 
lutely damning evidence he could make against McFarlane by 
using tiiat tiiumb-mark. It was tiie simplest tiling in tiie 
worid for him to take a wax impression from tiie seal, to moisten 
it in as much blood as he could get from a pin-prick, and to 
put tiie mark upon tiie waU during tiie night, eitiier witii his 
own hand or witii tiiat of his housekeeper. If you examine 
among tiiose documents which he took witii him into his retreat, 
I wiU lay you a wager tiiat you find tiie seal witii tiie tiiumb-' 
mark upon it." 

"Wonderful I" said Lestrade. "Wonderful! Ifs all as clear 
as crystal, as you put it. But what is tiie object of tiiis deep 
deception, Mr. Holmes ? " 

It was amusing to me to see how tiie detective's overbearing 
manner had changed suddenly to tiiat of a child asking ques- 
tions of its teacher. 

"WeU, I don't tiiink tiiat is very hard to explain. A very 
deep, maUdous, vindictive person is tiie gentieman who is now 
waiting us downstairs. You know tiiat he was once refused by 
McFarlane'smotiier? Youdon't! I told you tiiat you should 



THE ADVENIURE OP THE NORWOOD BUILDER M 
go to Blackheath first and Norwood afterw«d». WeU. this 
mjuiy. *i he would consider it. ha. rankled in his wicked. 
K^henung bnun and aU hi. life he has longed for vengeance 
but never seen his chance. During the last^L or t3^^ 
have gone against him -secret speculation. I think -and 
he finds himself .n « bad way. He determines to swindle 
bs cmlito„. and for this purpose he pays la,^ cheques 
to a certajn Mr. Cornelius, who is. I ima^, y^tf 

yet. but I have no doubt that they were banked under that 
name a^ some provincial town where Oldacre from time to 
time led a double existence. He intended to change his 
name altogether draw this money, and vanish, starti^ life 
again elsewhere. ^* 

" WeU. thafi? likely enough." 

vJ^iTu^"^'^ T' »° *««PP**"»« he might throw aU 
pursuit off his tmck. and at the same time have an ample and 
cnishmg revenge upon his old sweetheart, if h, could rive the 
mipression that he had been murdered by her only cMd. It 
was « masterfriece of villainy, and he carried it out like a master. 
The Idea of the will, which would give an obvious motive for 
the crune. the secret visit unknown to his own parents, the re- 
tention o! the stick, the blood, and the animal remains and but- 
tons in the wood-pile, all were admirable. It was a net from 
wbch It seemed to me. a few hours ago. that there was no pos- 

tt 1"^^^' ®f ^" ^ °°' '^' ^"P«"^« ^' ^ ^^ '^rtS. 
the knowledge of when to stop. He wished to improve that 

which was^ready perfect - to draw the rope tighter yet round 

the neck of his unfortunate victim -and so he ruined aU. Let 
us d^nd Lestrade. There are just one or two questions 
that I would ask him." 



«> THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMS 

The mahgoMai ciMtura wa. Muted b hi. own pvfour. wHh 
• pohoeman upon eMli aide orhim. 

k.'*'ir!!lV***' "y«^«*'-*P«c«i«J joke, nothing mow." 
h^J^in«M«Uy. •'I-«...yo«.dr.th«tI«»p|yco;. 
ceded mjrKlf in order to tee the effect of my diiappeimmce 

JVTu '" ' ^""^ *^ ^^^*'' •^^ ^'•"*~»«- "Anyhow, 
Id ^^"* ^"^^ **" • chi«geof conipirwy. if not for attempt- 

♦k'*;^!/'*"*" P"*^*y ^^ *^ y^" «**tor. wiU impound 
thebanlong account of Mr. ComeUu.." said Hoknet 

my tt^d* "*" '**^' "** *""*** *^ °****^* •y" "P*»° 

J I have to Aank you for a good deal." laid he. •^Perhaps 
m pay my debt some day." *^ 

Holmes smiled indulgently. 

"I fancy that, for some few yean, you will find your time very 
fuUyoc«upW,"saidhe. " By the way, what ^ it "ou^ 
mto the wood-pUe besides your old trousers? A d««d do« 

Wn'fi**'''*?''^*.? Youwon'tteU? Dear me, how very t^.' 
kmd of youf WeU, well, I dare say that a couple of r^bits 
would account both for the blood and for the charred ashes 
If ever you write an account. Watson, you can make nbbits 
•erve your turn." -«*« iwoiw 



Ill 

THE ADVENTURK OF 
THE DANCING %/EN 

h» long, thm back curved over .chemicri vc.ci in which 
he w«. brewing • particuUriy nulodorou. pnxluct. Hi. head 
WM ^ upon hi. b.e«t. «d he looked f«,m „y poi„t^ 

in:f:^inirk;;^t:.^2^^^^^ ^- ^^ -^ ^^ - 

H^tST * •"**^/ "toni.hment. Accurtomed « I wa. to 
Hdme. cunou. f^nilties. ihi. .udden intrurion into my mot 
intonate thoughto was utterly inexpUcable. 

** How on earth do you know that ? " I asked. 

He wh««led round upon his stool, with a steaming test-tube 

inhishand^^dagleam of amusement in his d^te^ 
^ Now.Watson. confess younelf utterly taken aback." said he. 
lam. 

1' J^"*^^'?.*** °^® y**" "^ * P»P«' to that effect." 
J Because in five mmutes you wm «iy that it is .11 so absurdly 



« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

n am sure that I shaU say nothing of the kind." 

L,,^ SL^t^l t!V' T ™P'^ '"^ <•"« «U the 
mnu inierences and presents one's audience with *h^ -f-^- 

I see no connection." ' 

<^- 1. You h«i chaU. bet^ntour 1^ 7"^ ""•"! 
thumb when you „*™ed f„m ftrdur^ Ihf*? ^ 
put d^aU. U,e„ when ,„„ ^..^ m^s^^^y ^ "^ 
S You never pUy billiarf, except with ThuiZ; 7 V 
told me, four weeks aeo that -n,,^ "•'"ton. 4. You 
aome <i»,.«l. A« • ^^' """ ihurston had an option on 

money in^ ^L •:..'^"'' "^ ■"* ^"^ 'o »ve,. your 

" How absurdly simple! ' I cried 

"Quite so!" said he, a little nettled. "Every nmhlpn. l^ ' 
comes veiy childish when on«. if .« . i • 7^ P«>blem be- 
an unexplained nn. Z. T explamed to you. Here is 

tu™edon.moLrhis\t:;ca1rar;is"^" ^'^ **"^' -' 



J«« ADVENTDBE OF THE DANCING MEN „ 

kjh, that s your idea I" 
** What else should it be ? " 

nZII*'-^ ''''" ^'' ^^"^"^ ^"^^«' °^ Riding Thorpe Manor 
JVorfolk, IS verjr anxious to know Thi. um 1^ ^®'' 

by the fi«t post, and he w^ to?^i« i^ ^"^^ eonundrum came 
a ring at thTbeU wLT 11 ^"^ *^^ °^^* *'^°- There's 
prSiftlSwtrf'he^^*'^" '^^-^^-'t-ve^muchsur- 

theltlLiT^'^::^^^^ ^"^ ?- -^ - ^°--* ^ater 
dear eyes and florid ^h^t^^wT^^^^^^^^ -^«- 

of Baker Street H. i. I * ^^ '^ '" ^~°» t^e fogs 

consist, ofTll;:,''^l'^,^„^»--W'*»hpn^^ I. 
paper „p.„ wluch t^ey^^™" ^,"1'^'**'^*' 

tern,, in he, eye, S, J, % ^ '""^' >»" I «" see 
l_^_^ _ reye,. Tiiai s why I „,nt to af t tl.e natter to the 



'I if 



•* THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

Holmes held up the paper so that the sunlight shone fuU upoa 
It was a page torn from a note-book. Themarkin«w« 



it. 



done in pencil, and ran in this way:— 



Hohnes examined it for some time, and then, folding it care- 
fully up, he placed it in his pocket-book. 

"This promises to be a most interesting and unusual case." 
SMd he. You gave me a few particulars in your letter Mr 
HUton Cubitt. but I should be ve.y much obli^ if y^wo^j 
WaSon^ over it aU again for the benefit oTmy fLd, Dr 

^Z^ °°'7"'^ **^* stoiy-teMer." said our visitor, nervously 
clasping and unclasping his great, strong hands. " You'll just 
ask me anything that 1 don't make clear. I'U begin at the 

tiiough I m not a nch man. my people have been at Biding 
Thorpe for a matter of five centuries, and there is no betted 
known family m the County of Norfolk. Last year I can^p 

l^tl *":!" »^"-'r ' I «*oPP-l at a boa'rding-house in 
RusseU Square, because Parker, the vicar of our Zrish, was 

Patnck was the name - Elsie Patrick. In s7me way we be- 
came fnends. until before my month was up I was as muchTn 
love as man could be^ We wc« quieUy married at a r^t^ 
office, and we returned to Norfolk a wedded couple. Tu5 

thinkit very mad. Mr.Holmes.thatamanofagooS old famUy 
should many a wife in this fashion, knowing nothing of her 



THE ADVENTCIE OP THE DANOMG MEN « 

""^.^uf ***'P***P**' ^"* » yo" «w h« and knew her. it 
would help you to undentand. 

J?^^ T^ ""^^ '*'*^«*'* *^"* '^ ^" *e. I can't say 
that ahe did not give me every chance of getting out of it if I 

w«hedtodoso 'I have had some very disag«eablea«oda. 
tions m my hfe.' said she, 'I wish to to^g^lZnt them. I 
would «ther never allude to the past, for it is ve^ painful to 

ri- fw ^' "' ™*^' y«" wiU take a wom^Twho ha. 
nothuig that she i eed be pe«onalIy ashamed of; but yw w« 
have to be content with my wohI for it, and to aUow mTto be 

sd«»tastodlthatpa«eduptothetimewhenIbecameyou«. 
If these conditions are too hard, then go back to Norfolk, and 

eave me to the lonely life in which ^ found me.' Itwaaoidv 

T /*^T """u ""^^"^ 'i-' *« -^d tho«. v«y words to 
me. I told her that I was content t. take her^ her own 

terms, and I have been as good as my wwd. 

"WeU, we have been married now for a year, airf verr hapwr 

Z^""^l' ^."**^**-«°*^-«o.atti««dTj3 
sawfor tiie fi«t time sig* of ti^We. One <W my wife ;e- 

^med deadly white, read the fetter, and th«w it Zie fi».. 

She made no aUusio. to it afterwards, ami I m^ „««, f«.. 

promise is a promise, but she has nenn- bowB an .mv h«r 

from that moment. There is always a l«k «f «e« unon her 
.7.* ^^'^^'^ ^^ waiting «id exp^tiT^Ste 
would do better to trust me. She wouW ferilSTT^as her 
bestfaend. But untU she speaks. I can say nothing. Mi«l 
you. she IS a truthful woman. Mr. Hohnes. andw^ver trou- 
ble there may have been in her past life it has been no fault of 
hers. I am on^y a simple Norfolk squire, but there is not a 
mm m Enghmd who ranks his family honour more highly than 



I- 



:; 



•» THE BETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

I do. aefaiows it well, and d« knew it weU before she m«. 

nedme. She would never bring any st«n upon it ~ of that I 

" Wen, now I come to the quMr part of my star. About a 
of thewmdow^B. a uumber of ab™d litUe da-cing ftn,« 

IU,«,ght that rt ™ the rtable-boy who h«I d»w, them, but 
the hid swore he knew nothing about it. Awho., ther had 
come there during the night 1 had them IZ^JTsTi 
<»iym«.,io.»d the mattertom, wife .ft.rw.ri.. t™,. 

p«.rf«to<*,tveo-«rioudy.^d begged meifanymorecame 

IT^^^- *'<""*<'"'-"«'°"«ek.«.<ithenye*r. 
day mormng I found thi. paper lying on the sun^^ the 

^en I sh.w«i it to EUie. «.d d«™ she d„,pped in a d«^ 
fa»t_ aaee aen she has looked like . womanT. ^ 
Wfdj«d „d with terror Jw.ys lurking in her eyes. 7«« 

r -r* \^ "^ 1 "uW take to the police, for they -ould 

have hmghed at me, but you will ,eU me what I. do. 7^ 

a nch man, but if there i, any d«,g.r threatening mrU^ 
wonum, I would spend my hist copper to shieW h«^ 

He was.fine«e.ture, this man of theold English soa-sim- 
pfe^ht. and genUe. wi«. his great, eamS blue ey^^l 
bre«l, c<mely face. His lo«for his wifeand his trusi in to 
^«»m Ins features. H.*«s h«l lis.««d to hisX J^ 
*^tac.t attention. «,d now he «t for some time in^'sfl^l 

-Don-t you tUnk, Mr. Cubitt," said he, at h«t. "that vonr 

to ask her to share her secret with you?" 



87 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE DANCING MEN 

Hilton Cubitt shook his massive head. 

•'A promise is a promise. Mr. Holmes. K Elsie wished to 
tjl me she would. If not. it is not for me to W her con^ 
fidenoe. But I am justified in taking my own line - ^Tl 

"Then I will help you with aU my heart. In the fint place 

ha^you heard of any stranger being seen in your neighbour: 

"No." 

"I presume that it is a veiy quiet place. Any fresh face 
would cause comment?" / «"»n lace 

^^^'r^^'^^^^^^^ood,yes. Butwehaveseveml 

^inT:^""^ °"' "'^ '" ™^- ^^ ^ ^«™- 

"These hieroglyphics have evidently a meaning. If it is 

In ^? r ^°'^' '* ^ ^y«*«°»»ti<^. I W no doubt that we 

K ^\u ^' ^'"""^ "^ '*• ^"' "^ Particular sample fa 
so short that I can do nothing, and the tZs which you Uve 

S«°''T";^^'^*''*^*"^^^^'»°b«^^oranin. 
r f J T ? '"*^* **^* y°" ^^^ to Norfolk, thrt 
I^v ^. ! ^" ^°"^"""*' "°^ '^^^ y^" *^« «° «»^ copy of 
«^f.^h dancing men which may appear. It is a thcnLd 
piti^ that we have not a reproduction of those which were done 
m chalk upon the window-sill. Make a discreet h^uZZ 

coUec^some fresh evidence, come to me again. That is the 
best advice which I can give you. Mr. Hilton Cubitt. If there 
are «,y pressing fresh developments. I shaU be always ready to 
nm down and see you in your Norfolk home" 
The interview left Sherlock Hohnes veiy thoughtful, and 



« THE BETDRN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

-e^ times in the next few days I saw him take his sLp of 
paper W h« note-book and look long and earnestly at thi 
cunous figures inscribed upon it. He made no aUusion to S: 
affair, however, until one afternoon a fortnight or so later I 
was going out when he caUed me back. "*'**' "° '•**'• * 

" You had better stay here, Watson." 

"Why?" 

"Because I had a wire from Hilton Cubitt this mominir 
Your«nemberHUtonCubitt.ofthedancingmen? HeZ^ 
1^ Liverpool Street at one-twenty. He^behe^rany 

new madents of importance." , 

from the .Uhon«fi«tM.h«Bom could bring him. HfeL 
1~W wom«i ^ depre««i. ^ ti«d eye-ld . linrf f^ 

he. «s he «uA, hke . wearied man, into an armchair. "If. 

^IZ , 'T'."""".'""'' "* ^"^ "P"» y°-'- •>•" when, in 
mche.. then .1 becomes a, much as flesh and blood can enduK 
aes w«„ng away under it -just weeing away before my 

" Has she said anything yet ? " 

tl™ \^:».^'**"''' "^^ ^ °°*- ^^ y«* «»«« J«ve been 
bm«when&epoorgirlhas wanted to speak, and yet could not 
qmte brmg herself to take the plunge. I have tried to help 
her.butldaresayl did it clumsily, and scared her fn,m it 
She has spoken about my old family, and our reputation in the 
county, and our pride in our unsullied honour, and I always 






f^^^^ENTITRE OP TOE DANCING MEN 

•• l?*!!!!.".^? '^"""^ °"* something for yourself ? " 
A good deal. Mr. Holmes. I have seve^^lh H • 
men pictures for you to examine and XI • • *"""«" 

I have seen the fellow." ' *^* " '"**'* import«it, 

"What, the man who draws them ? " 
Yes, I saw him at his worlr n..« t -n . .. 
thimt in order m»nT IT , ""* ' '"^ *«« jou everv- 

They h«| been dr.™ fa oWk u^ tt. M ? T"« ■°"- 



WMfTTXfr 



"Excellent!" said HolniM "i?,^ n .. « 

-men Ih«. UktT^py. I^wl^'Zf T" 
twamonunmlub^ . f— u • • ."""^o »"' ™e marks, but. 



^■fr^m^-^X 






IL 



70 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 



- 



About two in the morning I was seated by the window, all being 
dark save for the moonlight outside, when I heard steps behind 
me, and there was my wife in her dressing-gown. She implored 
me to come to bed. I told her frankly that I wished to see who 
it was who played such absurd tricks upon us. She answered 
that it was some senseless practical joke, and that I should not 
take any notice of it. 

" 'If it really annoys you, Hilton, we might go and travel, 
you and I, and so avoid this nuisance.* 

What, be driven out of our own house by a practical 
joker ? • said I. ' Why, we should have the whole county laugh- 
ing at us.* ) 

Well, come to bed,' said she, ' and we cai» discuss it in the 
morning.* 

" Suddenly, as she spoke, I saw her white face grow whiter 
yet in the moonlight, and her hand tightened upon my shoulder. 
Something was moving in the shadow of the tool-house. I saw 
a dark, creeping figure which crawled round the comer and 
squatted in front of the door. Seizing my pistol, I was rushing 
out, when my wife threw her arms round me and held me with 
convulsive strength. I tried to throw her off, but she clung to 
me moflt desperately. At last I got clear, but by the time I had 
opened the door smd leaclied the house the creature was gone. 
He had left a trne of his presence, however, for there on the 
door was the very same airangement of dancing men which had 
already twice appeared, and which I have copied on that paper. 
There was no oUier sign of the fellow anywhere, Aragh I ran 
all over the grotads. Aad yet the amazing thing is tiiat he 
must have been Aere afl the time, for when I examined the 
door agam in the miHriiin^ be had scrawled some more of hu 
pictures onder &s Sue which Ihad already seen.** 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE DANCINO MEN 
"Have you that fraih dnwingr " 
" Yei, it is veiy short, but I made a copy of it. and here it it. 
Agam he produced a pi^Mr. The new dance waa in this 
fonn:— 



•t 



U-ilT- 



"Tell me/' said Holmes — and I could see bj his eyes that 
he was much excited —"was this a mere addition to the fixst, 
or did it appear to be entirely separate ? " 

" It was cm a different panel dt the door." 

"Excellent I This is far the most important of all for our 
purpose. It fiUs me with hopes. Now, Mr. Hilton Cubitt, 
please continue your most interesting statement" 

" I have nothing more to say, Mr. Holmes, except that I was 
angiy with my wife that night for having hdd me back when I 
might have caught the skulking rascal. She said that she 
feared that I might come to harm. For an instant it had crossed 
my mind that periiaps what she really feared was that he 
might come to harm, for I could not doubt that she knew who 
this man was, and what he meant by these strange signals. But 
there is a tone in my wife's voice, Mr. Holmes, and a look in 
her eyes which forbid doubt, and I am sure that it was 
indeed my own safety that was in her mind. There's the 
whole case, and now I want your advice as to what I ought 
to do. My own inclination is to put half a dozen of my 
farm lads in the shrubbery, and when this fdlow comes 
again to give him such a hiding that he -rill leave us in peace 
for the future." 

" I fear it is too deep a case for such simple remedies," said 
Holmes. " How long can you stay in London ? " 

" I must go back to-day. I wQuld not leave my wife alone 



««<»ocory RisoiuTioN tbt chart 

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1653 Eo»t Morn StrMt 

Ro<:h«t«r N«. York 14609 USA 

(716) 482 - 0300 - Phone 

(716) 288- 5989 -Fo, 



inc 



72 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

at night for anything. She is very nervous, and b^ged me to 
come back." 

" I dare say you are right. But if you could have stopped, 
I might possibly have been able to return with you in a day or 
two. Meanwhile you will leave me these papers, and I think 
that it is very likely that I shall be able to pay you a visit shortly 
and to throw some light upon your case." 

Sherlock Holmes preserved his calm professional manner 

until our visitor had left us, although it was easy for me, who 

knew him so well, to see that he was profoundly excited. The 

moment that Hilton Cubitt's broad back had disappeared 

through the door my comrade rushed to the table, laid out all 

the slips of paper containing dancing men in front of him, and 

threw himself into an intricate and elaborate calculation. For 

two hours I watched him as he covered sheet after sheet of 

paper with figures and letters, so completely absorbed in his 

task that he had evidently forgotten my presence. Sometimes 

he was making progress and whistled and sang at his work; 

sometimes he was puzzled, and would sit for long spells with 

a furrowed brow and a vacant eye. Finally he sprang from 

his chair with a cry of satisfaction, and walked up and down 

the room rubbing his hands together Then he wrote a long 

td^ram upon a cable form. "K my answer to this is as I 

hope, you will have a very pretty case to add to your collection, 

Watson," said he. " I expect that we shall be able to go down 

to Norfolk to-morrow, and to take our friend some very definite 

news as to the secret of his annoyance." 

I confess that I was filled with curiosity, but I was aware 
that Holmes liked to make his disclosures at his own time and 
in his own way, so I waited until it should suit him to take me 
into his confidence. 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE DANCING MEN 9S 

But there was a delay in that answering telegram, and two 
days of impatience followed, during which Holmes pricked up 
Jus ears at every ring of the beU. On the evening of the second 
there came a letter from HUton Cubitt. All was quiet with 
him, save that a long inscription had appeared that morning 
upon the pedestal of the sun^liaL He inclosed a copy of it 
which is here reproduced : 

Holmes bent over this grotesque frieze for some minutes, and 
then suddenly sprang to his feet with an exclamation of sur- 
prise and dismay. His face was haggard with anxiety. 

• We have let this aflFair go far enough," said he. " Is there 
a train to North Walsham to-night ? " 
I turned up the time-table. The last had just gone. 
•• Then we shaU breakfast early and take the very first in the 
morning," said Holmes. "Our presence is most uigently 
needed. Ah! her* is our expected cablegram. One moment. 
Mrs. Hudson, there may be an answer. No, that is quite as I 
expected. This message makes it even more essential that we 
should not lose an hour in letting HUton Cubitt know how 
matters stand, for it is a singular and a dangerous web in which 
our simple Norfolk squire is entangled." 

So, indeed, it proved, and as I come to the dark conclusion 
of a story which had seemed to me to be only chOdish and bi- 
zarre, I experience once again the dismay and horror with which 
I was filled. Would that I had some brighter ending to com- 
mumcate to my readers, but these are the chronicles of fact 
and I must foUow to their dark crisis the strange Cham of events' 



■ i '1 



li 






W THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

which for some days made Riding Thorpe Manor a household 

word through the length ana breadth of England. 

We had hardly alighted at North Wabham, and mentioned 
the name of our destination, when the station-master hurried 
towards us. " I suppose that you are the detectives from Lon- 
don ? " said he. 
A look of annoyance passed over Holmes' face. 
" What makes you think such a thing ? " 
"Because Inspector Martin from Norwich has just passed 
through. But maybe you are the surgeons. She's not dead — 
or wasn't by last accounts. You may be in time to save her 
yet — though it be for the gallows." 
Holmes* brow was dark with anxiety. 
" We are going to Riding Thorpe Manor," said he, " but we 
have heard nothing of what has passed there." 

"It's a terrible business," said the station-master. "They 
are shot, both Mr. Hilton Cubitt and his wife. She shot him 
and then herself — so the servants say. He's dead and her 
life is despaired of. Dear, dear, one of the oldest families in 
the County of Norfolk, and one of the most honoured." 

Without a word Holmes hurried to a carriage, and during 
the long seven miles drive he never opened his mouth. Sel- 
dom have I seen him so utterly despondent. He had been 
uneasy during all our journey from town, and I had observed 
that he had turned over the morning papers with anxious atten- 
tion, but now this sudden realization of his worst fears left him 
in a blank melancholy. He leaned back in his seat, lost in 
gloomy speculation. Yet there was much around to interest 
us, for we were passing through as singular a countiy-side as 
any in England, where a few scattered cottages represented the 
population of to-day, while on every hand enormous square- 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE DANCING MEN 75 

towered churches brisUed qp from the flat, green landscape 
and told of the glory and prosperity of old East AngUa. At 
last the violet r,m of the German Ocean appeared over the 
green edge of the Norfolk coast, and the driver pointed with his 
whip to two old brick and timber gables which projected from 
a grove of trees. " That's Riding Thorpe Manor." said he. 

As we drove up to the porticoed front door, I observed in 
front of It beside the tennis lawn, the black tool-house and the 
pedestaUed sun-dial with which we had such strange assoda- 
tions A dapper little man. with a quick, alert manner and a 
waxed moustache, had just descended from a high dog-cart 
He mtroduced himself as Inspector Martin, of the Norfolk 
Constabulary, and he was cor^iderably astonished when he 
heard the name of my companion. 

"Why. Mr. Holmes, the crime was only committed at three 
this morning. How could you hear of it in London and iret 
to the spot as soon as I?" ® 

'' I anticipated it. I came in the hope of preventing it." 
' Then you must have important evidence, of which we are 
Ignorant, for they were said to be a most united couple " 

" j^^r^ ?1^ **1* ^'^^^'''^ °^ **** ^*"^^ "»«»•" 8"d Holmes. 

I will explain the matter to you later. Meanwhile, since it 
IS too late to prevent this tragedy. I am very anxious that I 
should use the knowledge which I possess in order to insure 
that justice be done. Will you associate me in your investiga- 
tion, or will you prefer that I should act independently ? " 

"I should be proud to feel that we were acting together. Mr 
Holmes," said the inspector, earnestly. 

"In that case I should be glad to hear the evidence and to 
examine the premises without an instant of unnecessary delay " 

Inspector Martin had the good sense to aUow my friend to 



nil 



I' i '1 



} 



I 

i 



h i 



W THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

fi^^noting the results. The local s«,^„. an old. white- 
hwred man had just come down from Mrs. Hilton Cubitfs 
~om. and he reported that her injuries were serious, but not 
nec^sanly fatal The bullet had passed through the W 
^ her bram. and ,t would probably be some time before she 
r^l^T "°"^°"«'»«»- On the question of whether she 
had been shot or had shot he«elf . he would not venture to ex- 

cwZt ."P"^'"- ^^'^^^^^y the bullet had been dis- 

tun^ ir"^ "^ ^"'^'"- '^^'^ ^^^ ''^y ^^ one pistol 

Mr. HUton Cubitt had been shot through the heart. It was 
equally conceivable that he had shot her and then himself, or 
Uiat she had been the criminal, for the revolver lay upon the 
floor midway between them. ^ P"n me 

" Has he been moved ? " asked Hohnes. 

\Z7^ ^^^ °»oved nothing except the lady. We could not 
leave her lymg wounded upon the floor." 

^' How long have you been here, doctor ? " 

"Since four o'clock." 

"Anyone else?" 

" Yes. the constable here." 

"And you have touched nothing?'* 

"Nothing." ^ 

;; You have acted with great discretion. Whosent for you ? - 
^^ 1 he housemaid, Saunders." 

" Was it she who gave the alarm ? " 

"She and Mrs. King, the cook." 

" Where are they now ? " 

"In the kitchen, I believe." 

"Then I think we had better hear their stoiy at once." 




life to Ihi, ™«i """ Jf*' " '^™ « «t puTx«e to derole hi, 
old. grey-i«ded col^j J^ '°''*^" ^Mtin, U,e 

w« quite d^^ N^r ^ ^.'° *.' "■"" »' "■« «»«'• He 

B..h ....en ZS»t '^^T'-Z^^ '^''■ 

occupiSXU L^ , ^V' "•' '■" ''•"'»°<' had 
i^icu uie oea. &iie was clad in her flrp««. k« • u- . 

>>>gg<mn.oTe,hisnighMolhe8 Ci. k^5 °'"''^- 
Uie study. So f .■• jflT T . ^°« "^ "«*» """ed in 

lb«n«„ve,yuui^tt;;^'- ^'^ "-i •'^^ '<»ked u^„ 
'n.esewerefteu..iup.i...„,U,.,^^.^^^ i. 



f- 






9t 



THE BETDRN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 



answer to Inspector Martin, they were dear that eveiy door was 
fastened upon the inside, and that no one could have escaped 
from the house. In answer to Holmes, they both remembered 
that they were conscious of the smell of powder from the mo- 
ment that they ran out of their rooms upon the top floor. " I 
commend that fact very carefully to your attention," said 
Holmes to his professional colleague. " And now I think that 
we are in a position to imdertake a thorough examination oi 
the room." 

The study proved to be a small chamber, lined on three sides 
with books, and with a writing-table facing an ordinary win- 
dow, which looked out iipon the garden. Our first attention 
was given to the body of the unfortunate squire, whose huge 
frame lay stretched across the room. His disordered dress 
showed that he had been hastily aroused from sleep. The 
bullet had been fired at him from the front, and had remained 
in his body after penetrating the heart. His death had cer- 
tainly been instantaneous and painless. There was no pow- 
der-maridng either upon his dressing-gown or on his hands. 
According to the country suigeon, the lady had stains upon 
her face, but none upon her hand. 

" The absence of the latter means nothing, though its presence 
may mean everything," said Holmes. " Unless the powder from 
a badly fitting cartridge happens to spurt backwards, one may 
fire many shots without leaving a sign. I would surest that 
Mr. Cubitt's body may now be removed. I suppose. Doctor, 
you have not recovered the bullet which wounded the lady ? " 

"A serious operation will be necessary before that can be 
done. But there are still four cartridges in the revolver. Two 
have been fired and two wounds inflicted, so that each bullet 
can be accounted for. 



THE ADVENTUBE OF THE DANCING MEN 99 

-So it would seem." add Holmes. "Perhap. vou e». 

to . hole which h«l b«n drfflrf right th««,gh Ih. low« ,ri^ 
dow.Md,.,jHmt«i inch above the bottom «'»"'™- 

JByG«„g.|" cried the topector. "How eve, did you ». 

'• Because I looked for it." 

Z^ ^ J^ ?^ *'* h" been &ed. «id therefore . 
have been, and how could he have got away ? " 

"^HMt is the problem which we ue now rfx,ut to wive " 
«.d Sheriock Holm... "You remember. Im»«ct.rM«^ 
wl^ fte ^rvanto »d U.a. on leaving a.ei, rSZyZT^l 
once cM»cou. of a meB of powder, I rem«ked that the poi^t 
waaanextremelyimportantonef" "ai uie pomt 

^ Yes, Mr J but 1 confess I did not quite foUow you." 

a, th! !J**^K*^ •"?* "^^ ^ "" «*W- a» ™dow a. wen 
« tt. door rffte room had been .p«,. Otherwise the fum« 
of powd« could not have been blown so rapidly througha" 

d«, and wmdow were only open for a ve^ d.ort tim., how! 

" How do you prove that ? " 

* Because the candle was not guttered." 

'* Capital ! " cried the inspector. " Capitall " 

ihlf^ T **^* ***" ^"^"^ ^ ^"^ ^^ «* the time of 
Ae b^y, I conceived that there might have been a third per. 
son m the affa«. who stood outside this opening and ^ 



11 





1 


'i 




! 

i 




i 
i 
1 
i 


^. 



m THE BETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

through it. Any ihot directed ^ this perwm might hit the auh. 
I looked, and there, sure oiou^-: was the bullet marie! '* 

" But how came the w. *>dow »^ be shut and fastened ? " 

" The woman's first instinct would be to shut and fasten the 
window. But, halloa ! what is this f " 

It was a lady's hand-bag which stood upon the study table — 
a trim little hand-bag of crocodile-skin and silver. Holmes 
opened it and turned the contents out. There were twenty 
fifty-pound lotes of the Bunk of England, held together by an 
india-rubber band — nothing else. 

"This must be preseiyed, for it will figure in the trial," said 
Holmes, as he handed the bag with its contents to the inspector. 
" It is now necessary that we should try to throw some light 
upon this third bullet, which has cleariy, from the splintering 
of the wood, been fired from inside the room. I should like 
to see Mrs. King, the cook, again. You eaid, Mrs. King, that 
you were awakened by a loud explosion. When you said that, 
did you mean that it seemed to you to be louder than the second 
one?" 

" Well, sir, it wakened me from my sleep, and so it b hard 
to judge. But it did seem very loud." 

" You don't think that it might have been two shots fired 
almost at the same instant ? " 

" I am sure I couldn't say, sir." 

" I believe that it was undoubtedly so. I rather think. In- 
spector Martin, that we have now exhausted all that this room 
can teach us. If you will kindly step round with l a, we shall 
see what fresh evidence the garden has to offer." 

A flower-bed extended up to the study window, and we all 
broke into an exclamation as we approached it. The flowers 
were trampled down, and the soft soil was imprinted all over 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE DANONO BIEN 81 

Jjath footmarics. Urg,, m^^Une feet they we«. with pecu- 
h«^y long ij«rp toe.. Holmes hunted .bout among the im. 
"'tlZ"'':!':ir"^^''^^^- mounded hM. ^en.^ 

he« ifth??i!!?'" ^ri*"*' "*^* """*"•' *-** " ^^^' -nd 
he« I. the third cartridge. I «aUy think. Inspector M«Un. 

that our case is almost complete." ««™«. 

The country inspector's face had shown his intense amaze- 
ment at the rapid and masterful progress of Holmes' investoVa- 

^Ln bur* ' K*" "'**"" ""• ^P-^«^» *° ^^ h^o- 
posibon. but now he was overtime with admiration, and ready 

to foHow without question wherever Holmes led. ^ 

' Whom do you suspect ? " he asked. 

I ''^'"^^V"*^'**** '«'«'• Thereai^several points in this prob- 
em which I have not been able to explain to you yet. Cw 

S^ncirrr^* ''•''"* P"^ - my own'lines. .:: 
then dear the wholn«tl..„p once and for ail." 
^^ Just as you wish. Mr lolmes. so long as we get our man." 
I have no desire to m.lce mysteries, but it is impossible at 
a.e moment of action to ^^ i„to bng and compl^HpW 

S2lL K M**^ n.^aifairaninmyhand^Even 
If this lady should nev*. «^ consciousness, we ca. stiU 
^nstr^ct the events of J.. «gb, and insure that justice be 
done. First of all. I wish to know whether there is any inn in 
this neighbourhood known as frige's'?" / " ^ 

1, Ji^ T'^T T^* "^'^'^ ^^' *^"* "^« o^ them had 
heard of such a place. The sf * hoy threw a light upon the 

miles oflF, in the direction of East i 
"Is it a lonely farm?" 



. il 









V 



[ r • • 
( 



•t THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBifES 

"Very lonely, sir." 

'* Perhaps they have not heard yet of all that happened her« 
during the night?" 
"Maybe not, MT." 

Holmes thought for a little, and then a curious smile played 
over his face. 

"Saddle a horse, my lad," said he. "I shall wish you to 
take a note to Elrige's Farm." 

He took from his pocket the various slips of the dancing men. 
With these in 'ront of him, he worked for some time at the 
study-Uble. Finally he handed a note to the boy, with direc- 
tions to put it into the hands of the person to whom it was ad- 
dressed, and especially to answer no questions of any sort which 
might be put to him. I saw the outside of the note, addressed 
in straggling, irregular characters, very unlike Holmes' usual 
precise hand. It was consigned to Mr. Abe Slaney, Elrige's 
Farm, East Ruston. Norfolk. 

" I think. Inspector," Hohnes remarked, " that you would do 
well to telegraph for an escort, as, if my calculations prove to 
be correct, you may have a particularly dangerous prisoner to 
convey to the county gaol. The boy who takes this note 
could no doubt forward your telegram. If there is an afternoon 
train to town, Watson, I think we should do well to take it, as 
I have a chemical analysis of some interest to finish, and this 
investigation draws rapidly to a close." 

When the youth had been dispatched with the note, Sherlock 
Holmes gave his instructions to the servants. If any visitor 
were to call asldng for Mrs. Hilton Cubitt, no information 
should be given as to her condition, but he was to be shown at 
once into the drawing-room. He impressed these points upon 
them with the utmost earnestness. Finally he led the way into 



^ 



IBE ADVENTURE OP THE DANCING MEN M 

the drmwing-room, with the remark that the busincM was now 
out of our hands, and that we must while away the time as best 
we might until we could see what was in store for us. The 
doctor had departed to his patients, and only the inspector and 
myself remained. 

" I think that I can help you to pass an hour m an interesting 
and profiUble manner." said Holmes, drawing his chair up to 
the Uble. and spreading out in front of him the various papers 
upon which were recorded the antics of the dancing men. " As 
to you. friend Watson, I owe you every atonement for having 
allowed you natural curiosity to remain so long unsatisfied. To 
you. Inspector, the whole incident may appeal as a remarkable 
professional study. I must teU you, firtt of aU, the interesting 
circumstances connected with the ppev'ous consultations which 
Mr. Hilton Cubitt has had with me in Baker Street." He 
then shortly recapitulated the facts which have already 
been recorded. "I have here in front of me these singular 
productions, at which one might smile, had they not 
proved themselves to be the forerunners of so terrible a 
tragedy. I am fairly famiUar with all forms of secret writ- 
ings, and am myself the author of a trifling monograph upon 
the subject, in which I analyse one hundred and sixty separate 
ciphers, but I confess that this is entirely new to me. The 
object of those who invented the system has apparently 
been to conceal that these characters convey a message, 
and to give the idea that they are Ae mere random sketches 
of children. 

"Having once recognised, however, that the symbols stood 
for letters, and having applied the rules which guide us in all 
forms of secret writings, the solution was easy enough. The 
first message submitted to me was so short that it was impos- 



fi 



III 



HI 



f ;■ 



I 



ki.. 



8* THE RETDBN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

sible for me to do more than to saj, with some confidence, that 
the symbol J stood for E. As you are aware. E is the most 
common letter in the English alphabet, and it predominates to 
so marked an extent that even in a short sentence one would 
expectto finditmost often. Out of fifteen symbols in the 
first message, four were the same, so it was reasonable to set 
tWsdownasE. It is true that in some cases the figure was 
bearing a flag, and in some cases not, but it was probable, 
from the way in which the flags were distributed, that they 
were used to break the sentence up into words. I accepted 
this as a hypothesis, an^ noted that E was represented by T 
"But now came the real difficulty of the inquiry. Tie 
order of the English letters after E is by no means weU marked, 
and any preponderance which may be shown in an averag^ 
of a prin^ sheet may be reversed m a single short sentence. 
Speaking roughly. T. A. O, I. N, S, H, R, D, and L are the 
numerical order in which letters occur; but T, A, O, and I are 
very neariy abreast of each other, and it would be an endless 
task to try each combination until a meaning was arrived at. 
I therefore waited for fresh material. In my second inter- 
view with Mr. HUton Cubitt he was able to give me two other 
short sentences and one message, which appeared — since 
^ere was no flag -to be a single word. Here are the symbols. 

Now, m the single word I have abeady got the two E's coming 
second and fourth in a word of five letters. It might be * sever,' 
or Mever.^ or 'never.' There can be no question that thelatte'r 
as a reply to an appeal is far the most probable, and the circum- 
stances pointed to its being a reply written by the lady. Accept- 
ing it as correct, we are now able to say that the symbols jf 4 T. 
stand respectively for N, V, and R. ^ ' ^ 

"Even now I was in considerable difficulty, but a happy 



im ADVENTDHE OP IHE DAKONG MEN u 

thought put me in po„ession of ieTeral other letteM Tf ~„ 
«1 to me that if the« .pp«J, c«ne. « I «^3^ Jl ~*^ 

cranbimition which contained two E'. with three left™ kJ™ 
"■igl.t «,7 weU stand for the mune ' E^ffi • (CT ^" 
I found that .ueh a combination f^the^S^"" 
the mcMage which wa.th«e time, „^ted. iHT^t 

the word must be 'COME.' I trieH «ll «f i, ^ . ^ 

i^ in E, but could find^ne LT^fo^'^Z^^ "'" 
P--ion of C. O. and M. and I wasTa pStTto ILk 
tiie fi«t message once more, dividing it into woH, «n^ !r 
dots for each symbol which was s JiuC^ So tt^r!?"f 
workedoutinthisfashion.- ^«°^own. So treated,,! 

.M .ERE ..E SL.NE. 
"Now the first letter can onlv be A w»,;«u • 
discove^.since it occurs no few^^'t^^J^^"^^ "f^ 

sentence, and the H is also aDDarentTfir^ T ^ '^*''' 
it becomes.- *" *^ *PP*^* «» the second word. Now 

AM HERE A.ESLANE. 

Or. filling in the obvious vacancies in the name.— 

AM HERE ABE SLANEY. 
I had so many letters now that I could proceed with n^ -^ 

A. ELBI.ES. 
He,eIco«Id«nty„j„..n«byputtingT«„lGft„themi» 






88 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

ing letters, and supposing that the name was that of some 
house or inn at which the writer was staying." 

Inspector Martin and I had listened with the utmost interest 
to the full and clear account of how my friend had produced 
results which had led to so complete a command over our diflS- 
culties. 

" What did you do then, sir ? " asked the inspector. 

" I had every reason to suppose that this Abe Slaney was an 
American, since Abe is an American contraction, and since a 
letter from America had been the starting-point of all the trou- 
ble. I had also every^ cause to think that there was some 
criminal secret in the matter. The lady's allusions to her past, 
and her refusal to take her husband into her confidence, both 
pointed in that direction. I therefore cabled to my friend, 
Wilson Haigreave, of the New York Police Bureau, who has 
more than once made use of my knowledge of London crime. 
I asked him whether the name of Abe SUney was known to 
him. Here is his reply: 'The most dangerous crook in 
Chicago.' On the very evening upon which I had his answer, 
Hilton Cubitt sent me the last message from Slaney. Working 
with known letters, it took this form: — 

ELSIE . RE . ARE TO MEET THY GO . 

The addition of a P and a D completed a message which showed 
me that the rascal was proceeding from persuasion to threats, 
and my knowledge of the crooks of Chicago prepared me to 
find that he might very rapidly put his words into action. I at 
once came to Norfolk with my friend and colleague. Dr. Wat- 
son, but, unhappily, only in time to find that the worst had 
already occurred." 
"It is a privilege to be associated with you in the handling 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE DANCING MEN 87 

of a case," said the inspector, warmly. " You wiU excuse me, 
however, ,f I speak frankly to you. You are only answerable 
to yourself, but I have to answer to my superiors. If this Abe 
Slimey hvmgat Elrige's. is indeed the murderer, and if he has 
nmde his escape whUe I am seated here, I should certainly iret 
mto senous trouble." ' *^ 

2 You need not be uneasy. He wiU not tiy to escape." 
How do you know ? " 

" To fly would be a confession of guilt." 

*' Then let us go to arrest him." 

" I expect him here every instant." 

" But why should he come ? " 

" Because I have written and asked him." 

"But this is incredible, Mr. Holmes! Why should he come 
because you have asked him? Would not such a request 
rather rouse his suspicions and cause him to fly ? " 

" I think I have known how to frame the letter," said Sherlock 
Hohnes In fact, if I am not very much mistaken, here is 
tile gentleman himself coining up the drive." 

A man was striding up the path which led to the door. He 
was a taU. handsome, swarthy feUow, clad in a suit of grey 
flannel, with a Panama hat, a bristling bhick beard, and a 
great, aggressive hooked nose, and flourishing a cane as he 
wiOked. He swaggered up the path as if the place belonged 
to him. and we heard his loud, confident peal at the beU 

"I think, gentlemen." said Hohnes, quietly, "that we had 
best take up our position behind the door. Every precaution 
IS necessary when dealing with such a feUow. You wiU need 
your handcuffs. Inspector. You can leave the talking to me " 

We waited in silence for a minute - one of those minutes 
which one can never forget. Then the door opened and the 



} \ 



» THE RETUBN OF SHEBLOCK HOLMES 

man stepped in. In an instant Holmes dapped a pirtol to his 
head, and Martin slipped the handcuffs over his wrists It 
was aU done so swiftly and deftly that the feUow was helpless 
before he knew that he was attacked. He ghired f rom one to 
the oAer of us with a pair of blazing black eyes. Then he 
burst into a bitter hiugh. 

-WeU. genUemen, you have the drop on me this time. I 
Beem to have knocked up against something hard. But I 
came here in answer to a letter from Mrs. Hilton Cubitt Don't 
teU me that she is in this? Don't tell me that she helped to 
set a trap for me?" *^ 

^ J Mrs. HUton Cubitt wtis seriously injured, and is at death's 

ho^* °**° *^*''* * ^**^ *^ ""^ ^*^' ""^^^ "^ *^"«^ *^« 
''You're crazy I" he cried, fiercely. "It was he that was 
hurt, not she. Who would have hurt little Elsie ? I may have 
teamed her- God forgive me!-but I would not have 
touched a hair of her pretty head. Take it back -you I Say 
that she is not hurt!" ^ 

huIl^V^^ '°"°*^ ^'^^ wounded, by the side of her dead 

He sank with a deep groan on to the settee, and buried his 
faoe m his manacled hands. For five minutes he was silent 
men he raised his face once more, and spoke with the cold 
composure of despair. 

"If J«w!r*^u *? ?^' '~°* y**"' ««°««°»en," said he. 
If I shot the man he had his shot at me. and there's no murder 
m timt But if you think I could have hurt that woman, then 
you don t know either me or her. I teU you, there was never 
a man m this world loved a woman more than I loved her I 



IBBAOTENTDBBaPIBEIMNCINOMEN m 

WMtti.Engh8hiii«tIi.t he diouM come between M? IteU 

you ti»t I h«l u» Itat right to her, «uJ U»t I w„ only cllh»- 
•Kg my own." ' ^^ 

»..?^ ^'°^'' """T ''™ y"» Muence when d>. found the 
»«n that you «," «dd Hdme,. rt«»ly. "She fled •«,». 
Amenc. to .yojd you. «rf Ae numied « h«»n»bl. genUe- 
n»nmEngtand. You d<«5«l her „d Mowed her «d^. 

^^ T^ .^ ■'"'•J" •"'" •» "<■»<» >■" «• ""-don the 
hu,b«,d wl«.m she loved «d respeeted in order to fly with you. 

I^rt-^VTl '"'""'«'• You h.™ ended by brinZ 
-««t the death of . nobU nnu. «.d drirfng hi. wife to S 
^t « you, record in thi. burine«. Mr. Abe Sl«iey. «,d you 
will answer for it to the hw." ;. "luyDu 

"If EUiedies. Icare nothing what becomes of me." «ud the 
An.er.Mn. He opened one of his huids. «id looked at a note 
cnnnpled up u, hi, pJm. "See he«,, mister." he cri«i? ^ 
a gle«n rf suspid™. in hi. ^, -y.„.„ .0, .^ ^ ^™ 
over thjs. are you? » the hdy fa hurt a, bad^u I^who 
™rtthatw«*ethi,„ote?" Heto^ditforwiLontothe 

" I wrote it, to bring you here." 
Jrl.'^to^r.'^ -ret of the dancing men. How came 

aolme,. There B a cab coming to conTQT you to Norwich, 
Ifc SUney. But. meanwhile, you have time to make som^ 
»maU ,^»r,t.on for the mjuiy you have wnraght Are vou 
aware that M». HBton Cubitt ha. her«lf lato und«g^ 
«Bp«»on of the murfer of her hud»nd, and that it w-^y 



I- 

I 



•• ™! M?nJHN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

my presence here, and the knowledge which I hann^,*^ ♦ 

po««-.whichha. saved her f„>n.racc:^^^ 

that you owe her is to make it dear to the whole worid Z! 

;J^w« ,n no way. directly or indirecUy. res^^^fort 

J*!^ nothing better." said the American. -^I g„ess the 
-yt^ case I can make for myself is the absol«nak^* 

J^\u ^^^ *° ""*" ^°" *^»' ^* ^ be used against you " 
Slaney shrugged his shoulders. 

.k "/«•"'• ""'.ElMe learned some of our w«™ hut 

Ae couldn't rtmd the burfne™, md d.e Juul . Ut ^ K ' . 

rr <" ■- o™. «> »he gave u, .U «!^ J^J^d^l^^ 
L»d«|. Sheh^beene.,5.gedU,me,«dsheCr^« 

brr::>JLlr:i4'td?x:r""''^'^- 
!Lru.t^d'r''r'^"-^^''«^*i-- 

able to find out where she was. I wrote tn hs>. k T \ 
answer Aft^r ♦».„♦ t *° "®'' b"* go* no 

answer. After that I came over. and. as letter were no use 

I put my m^es where she could read them. ' 

where fhir'^!^''l*'"°°*^°"^- IKvedinthatfarm. 
naght. and no one the wiser. I tried aU I could to coax S 



TBE ADVENTDBE OP IBE DANCING MEN fti 

away. I knew that she read the meMRi«« *«.« u 

^rf«.y^<Uld„»Id come upon Whu.b«id. She«" 

ZT V I ?r°«- ""^ '•** "* "o """Wk the end ^. 
^w rf I would go .w.y rfterward, „d le.« he, Tp^ 

."td^pun^^ r;,rr,indoV r£F'™ r 

muk down upon the floor, „d we w«, f«, to f«e~J t;? 
heeled aho, and I held up my nun to «»«. k._ JT^ j ■ 
getaway. He fi«d and S^ rTuX*!! 1? 
^ein^un, and down he dipped. I'^elt-^'S: 

„„ ' <^ » »™tl>. genUemen, eveo- wort of it; and I hearf 
no m,o„ d,out it until that Ud JL riding up "ft a !^ 
which made me walk in !,««« n • ^ '^ * °°'* 

your hl^ •■ m k«e. bke a ,.y. .nd give my«If into 

T^o'^^TT^ "^ "" *"'^°" luul been talking. 

and touched hupnsonep on the shoulder. 
' It is time for us to go." 

" Can I see her first ? " 

ho« If •,'' °°' ""^r- '*'• ^'"^"* =<^«. I only 
liope that, if ever again I have an important case 1 ,1, III 1,.™ 
the good fortune to have you by my sM^ >»». I -han have 

AsT tot^ K ' ?' ™'''"' ""■ """^ *' «* *i™ away. 
As I turned b«>k. my q-e caught the peUet ot paperwhichtto 



THE MOTBN OP anauOCK H0L11B8 
pn«mer lud towed upon the tidile. » -„ .u 
which Holme. I«dd«^h4. » *" «fc« »««• •«, 

* See if you CM iwd it, Wetroi," Mid he with . »,a. 
I. conub^, no wo«i. but thi. it«. iS.^o»'SXt._ 

was convinced that it »-. • . . * ^®'* •* o"**' I 

---. locet t:,d' n™ "^XTltud """"^ ■"* 
anyone but the ladv AnA T^ T^ ~"^*' ~°»« '^^ 
ended by turning ih/*daU„ ' 7 ^"^ ^•*»*»°' ''^ ^^^ 
often be^n tl^T^^ ^^^^^it^Tl:'? "^'^ ^^^^ ~ 

book. Th^e-fo^^^ortrT^r""*^':'^^"'-^ 
in Baker Street for din^" ' "^^ ^ '""^^ ^« "^'^-'d be back 

Only one word of epfloinie. Th*. A»^- 
waa condemned to deaTaT^^l J? Amencan. Abe Slaney. 
his penalty was cb^^^ T . "^ ** ^*»"^<*' »>»t 
^^inlaZ^Z^ ^ "*'^'"^* ^ considenrtion of 
l«d\^t^^7'^lf « <-Wnty that Hilton Cubitt 
that I have h^ It ^,^ ^*«° ^^^itt I only know 
remains a widowdetnL^^,*"**^^* ""^ *bat she still 

-a.the^hS^X'ttl^^""^'- 



IV 

THE ADVENTDRE OF 

THE SOUTABY CYCLBT 

•»"T««WtaldT irH^Tfu'"' '""* "■■■"'"•led in 

-««« wens some points about the case 






1i 






M THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

whfch inade it stand out in thoM long ncoids of crime fren 

which I gather the material for theM little narratim. 

On ref eniqg to my note-book for the year 1 80A, I find that it 
waiupon8aturday,the«8rdolApril,thatw flnt heaid of lilii. 
Violet Smith. Her visit was. I remember, extremely unwelcome 
to Hohnes, for he was immersed at the moment in a veiy ab- 
•truse and compUcated problem concerning the peculiar pene- 
cution to wUch John Vincent Harden, the weU-known tobacco 
millionaire had been subjected. My friend, who loved above aU 
things precision and concentration of thought, resented anything 
which distracted his attention from the matter in hand. And 
yet. without a harshness>which was foreign to his nature, it was 
impossible to refuse to listen to the stoiy of the young and beau- 
tiful woman. taU, graceful, and queenly, who presented herself 
at Baker Street late in the evening, and implored his assistance 
and advice. It was vain to urge that his time was already fuUy 
occupied, for the young kdy had come with the determination 
to tell her stoiy. and it was evident that nothing short of f one 
could get her out of the room until she had done so. With a 
resigned air and a somewhat weaiy smile. Hohnes begged the 
beautiful intruder to take a seat, and to inform us what it was 
that was troubling her. 

-At least it cannot be your health." said he. as his keen 
eyes darted over her; "so ardent a bicyclist must be full 
of energy." 

She glanced down m surprise at her own feet, and I observed 
the slight roughening of the side of the sole caused by the friction 
of the edge of the pedal. 

-Yes, I bicycle a good deal, Mr. Hohnes, and that has some- 
thing to do with my visit to you to-day. " 

My friend took the lady's ungloved hand, and examined it with 









^ ADVENTURE OF TOE SOUTABY CYCUW .« 

«clo«, «» irttentioi, «Kl •. little K«nlunenttt.Ki«»l- _ u 
■how toaipedmen. •«""«»« "•■ciertirtwouJd 

"Youwaiexciueme.I«m«ire. It i. my buain«. - «.m k 

jwi were typewntmg. Of course, it i. .tKjr^ • 

You ol«rve the .patulate &,jer;„d^. itLl. •"""'* 

montol«thp»fe«io„.? Th^^i-a-^i X'l^n! T" 

however--ri,e genUy turned it to^ ^J^*^ t^' 

the typewriter does not generate TiIL ^ *«^ ". '^'^ 

, Yes, Mr. Holmes, I teach music. " °»»-«Mi. 

. ^ the countiy I p,«„,„,e. fn,m yo,^ ««ptedo. - 

A^utiful neighbourhood, and full of the .nZ i„.e«,i^ 
•^ons You remember. Watson, t&at it wa. ^^^TSf 
we took Archie Stamford, the foiger. S<m Mi^i^^. 
h«happenedtoyou.ne..Famhr^;^^^ 

cue foUowmg cunous statement:— t*"-^ maoe 

-My father is dead. Mr. Hohnes. HewasJ«^ wa u 

mother andlwe,* left withoutaielationinTet^^^^ 
unde, Ralph Smith, who went to Afri^^en^^ ^ "*"• 
and we have never had a word from ht,^'^^" '^ 
died.wewer^leftven^rb^r^'^""'*- ^^ ^'^^ 

lawver whn«> «»~. "** ** once to the 

wwyer wnose name was given in the nanor Tu— 

t^o gentlemen. Mr. Carru^u,e« L Iff WooTv^hrw""* 

home on a visit from South Africa. ^yZf^tl ? 

was a friend of theirs that h/hL a-^^ my uncle 

ui meirs, tftat he had died some months befoi« 



ii 




M TBE BRDBN OP 8BBKL0CK BOLMIB 

in gmt pofvrijr in JoluuuMriiuig, and that he Iwd aiksd them 
with hii lart breath to hunt up his niatioos, and Me that thej 
were in no want It teemed itnu^ to ue that Unde Ralph, 
vhotooknonotioeofui when he was alive, ehould be eo careful 
to look after uf when he was dead, but Bir. Canuthen ex- 
plained that the reason was that mj unde had juat heard of the 
death of hi« brother, and so felt reeponsible for our fate. - 

''Ezaueme.''MidHohnei. "When was this interview?" 
"Last December — four months ago. ** 
"Fray proceed." 

"Mr.Woodlejrseemedtometobeamostodiouspenon. He 
was for ever making eyes at me -> a coarse, puflfy-faced. red- 
moustached young man. with his hair plastered down on Mch 
side of his forehead. I thought that he was perfectly hateful — 
and I was sure that Cyril would not wish me to know such a 
person. 

"Oh.Cyrilishianamer said Holmes, smiling. 

The young hdj blushed and laughed. 

" Yes, Mr. Holmes, Cyrfl Morton, an electrical engineer, and 
we hope to be married at the end of the summer. Dearme,how 
(fuflget talking about him? What I wished to say was that Mr. 
Woodley was perfectly odious, but that Mr. Carruthers, who was 
a much older man, was more agreeable. He was a daric, sallow, 
dean-shaven, sUent person, but he had poUte manners and a 
pleasant smile. He inquired how we were left, and on finding 
that we were very poor, he suggested that I should come and teach 
music to his only daughter, aged ten. I said that I did not like 
to leave my mother, on which he suggested that I should go home 
to her every week-end. and he offered me a hundred a year, 
which was certainly splendid pay. So it ended by my accepting, 
and I went down to Chiltera Giange, about six miles from Fam- 



™«*0VElm;B,0FTOE80UrAHVCVCU»r „ 

•nns one <Uy irfte, diimer-he wm hulT i . *" 

.«« J., he wouU «. fe. me ^ J:S f^'SlJS ~M ' 
Camithew came in and ton. hJm *^ ^^ '**™' ^'- 

WoodkydncT^ ™ " uuult .g«D. IIi,venot«enMr. 

"And now, Mr. Holnie», I come at tart to the .~rf.i .i.- 

whuA h« caused me to «k j^ur «lvfc» tol^ V„r^ i^ 
ft., evep, Spuria, ,.™„^ , n^^^ J^JT '»«- 

Stat.™, m orier to ge, U» 1«.„ u. Town/'SL f^r^T 

»5i.»d.hewo:d:wt;'rrn^'?s:;:«^"„^- 

other. You could nnt fl«^ „ i . **"" "*" «pon the 

^ reachthehigh-oadnearc JX;Trr::S»r 



iMii 



« THE BETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

I was passing this place, when I chanced to look back over my 
shoulder, and about two hundred yards behind me I saw a man, 
also on a bicycle. He seemed to be a middle-aged man, with a 
short, dark beard. I looked back before I reached Famham, 
but the man was gone, so I thought no more about it. But you 
can imagine how surprised I was, Mr. Hohnes, when, on my 
return on the Monday, I saw the same man on the same stretch 
of road. My astonishment was increased when the incident 
occurred again, exacUy as before, on the foUowing Saturday and 
Monday. He always kept his distance and did not molest me in 
any way, but still it certainly was veiy odd. I mentioned it to 
Mr. Carruthers, who seemed interested in what I said, and told 
me that he had ordered a horse and trap, so that in future I 
should not pass over these lonely roads without some companion. 
"The horse and trap were to have come this week, but for 
some reason they were not deUvered, and again I had to cycle to 
the station. That was this morning. You can think that I 
looked out when I came to Charlugton Heath, and there, sure 
enough, was the man, exactly as he had been the two weeks be- 
fore. He always kept so far from me that I could not clearly 
see his face, but it was certainly someone whom I did not know. 
He was dressed in a dark suit with a cloth cap. The only 
thing about his face that I could clearly see was his dark beard. 
To-day I was not alarmed, but I was filled with curiosity, and I 
determined to find out who he was and what he wanted. I 
slowed down my machine, but he slowed down his. Then I 
stopped altogether, but he stopped also. Then I laid a trap for 
him. There is a sharp turning of the road, and I pedaUed very 
quickly round this, and then I stopped and waited. I expected 
him to shoot round and pass me before he could stop. But he 
never appeared. Then I went back and looked round the 



IHEADVENTTOEOFraBSOUTATOCTCLBr - 

po^jo^ which h. «,K^. :- - -"• ««» •» tki. 

HohM. chuckled Md robbed his hand. "Tki. -- 
tune ehpKd between vnii. •. • IT °"- How much 

'Two or three minutes " 

"None." 
^en h. cert^nly u»k . f„<«p^ on on. ride „ 4. 

ha«lr^°'>" been on tterideof «„ h«.«.. o, I ^.ould 
^.^h.i.own^un^:^,-'^^'-^. 

M.Ta!;'be"C;:^i'tf "" -^^-^'^^ 

advice." '^PPy until I had seen you and had your 

IWmes sat in silence for some little time. 
askJ^L:: ""^ ^"'^"^ *^ -^-,^- - ««.«edP" he 

;;He « in a,e Midland Electrical Company, at Coventry - 

He would not pay you a surprise visit?*' *^- 

^^^Mr.Holmes! As if I should not know him I " 
^Have you had any other admirers?" 
^ Several before I knew Cyril. " 
"And since?" 






100 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

''There was this dreadful inan.Woodley, if you can caU him 
an admirer." 

"No one else?** 

Our fair client seemed a little confused. 

" Who was he ? " asked Holmes. 

" Oh, it may be a mere fancy of mine; but it had seemed to me 
sometmie. that my employer. Mr. Camithers. takes a great deal 
of mterest in me. We are thrown rather together. I play his 
woompa. ^ments in the evening. He has never said anything. 
He IS a perfect gentleman. But a giri always knows. " 
Kvi'^r ^""^^^ '"^^^ «~^«' "^^t does he do for a 

" He is a rich man. " 

"No carriages or horses ?** 

" WeU. at least he is fairly weU-to^io. But he goes into the 

afy two or ai,^ times a week. He is deeply interested in South 
African gold shares. " 

"You will let me know any fresh development. Miss Smith I 
am very busy just now. but I will find time to make some inqui- 

nesmto your case. In the meantime, take no step without let- 
ingmeknow. Good-bye. and I trust that we shaU have nothing 
but good news from you. " ^^ 

" It is pari: of the settled order of Nature that such a girl should 
have foUowers." said Hc» ^, as he puUed at his meditative 
pipe, but for choice not on bicycles in lonely country roads 
Some secretive lover, beyond aU doubt. But there are curious 
and suggestive details about the case, Watson. " 

" That he should appear only at that point ? " 

"ExacUy. Our first effort must be to find who are the tenants 
of Charhngton HaU. Then, again, how about the comiection 
between Carruthers and Woodley. since they appear to be men 



You will go down?" 
forthesakeofit Or.Ttr "**™y°"»«'»™Portant research 

yo« will come bl^ T^r ^ "^P™" °"^ HaU. 

point, wL^ ter:'irs^:?jr' ' t^-" ---^ 
through ft«o. nehruT^rij^b^"^ ^"^ 'r";« 

™™"f-f «» 'poke of gloomlTdl^" ^ "^ '""^ 






V» THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

Behind one of these clumps I took up my porition. so «a to com- 
mand both the gateway of the HaU and a long atretch of the iWMl 
upon either side. It had been deserted when I left it. but now I 
saw a cyclist riding down it from the opposite direction to that 
in which I had come. He was clad in a dark suit, and I saw that 
he had a black beard. On reaching the end of the Charlington 
grounds, he sprang from his machine and led it through agap in 
the hedge, disappearing from my view. 

A quarter of an hour passed, and then a second cyclist ap- 
peared. This time it was the young Udy coming from the sta^ 
bon. I saw her look about her as she came to the Charlington 
hedge. An instant Uter the man emeiged from his hiding-place 
sprang upon his cycle, and foUowed her. In aU the broad Umd- 
scape those were the only moving figures, the graceful girl sitting 
veiy straight upon her machine, and the man behind her bend- 
ing low over his handle-bar with a curiously furtive suggestion in 
every movement. She looked back at him and slowed her pace 
He slowed also. She stopped. He at once stopped, too. keep- 
ing two hundred yards behind her. Her next movement was as 
unexpected as it was spirited. She suddenly whisked her wheels 
round and dashed straight at him. He was as quick as she. how- 
ever, and darted off in desperate flight. PresenUyshecameback 

up the road again, her head haughtily in the air, not deigning to 
take any further notice of her silent attendant. He had turned 
also, and still kept his c«stance until the curve of the road hid 
them from my sight. 

I remained in my hiding-place, and it was weU that I did so 
for presently the man reappeared, cycling slowly back. He 
turned in at the HaU gates, and dismounted from his machine. 
For some minutes I could see him standing among the trees. His 
hands were raised,and beseemed to besettiing his necktfs. Then 



TOE ADVENTURE OF THE SOLTTABY CYCUSr m 

^^^^u'^f' "^ "^^ ™y ^" °»« *^«^ *»»« drive 
t^«d.thehaU. I ranacrosstheheathand peered tlm,ugh the 
to«». Far away I could catch glimpses of the old grey btllding 
with Its bnsthng Tudor chimneys, but the drive rL L,ugh1 
denaeshrubbeiy.andlsawnomoreofmyman 
However, it seemed to me that I had done a fairly good mom- 

u«s work, and I walked back in high spirits to FaiXm. The 
local house agent could teU mc nothing about CharHngton HaU. 
and referred me to a weU-known firm in PaU Mall There i 
halted on my way home, and met with courtesy from the repre- 
sentative. No. I could not have CharUngton Hall for the sum- 

Mr. Wdhamson was the name of the tenant. He was a resi^- 
able, elderly gentleman. The poUte agent was afraid he <Uid 
8ay no more, as the affairs of his cKents were not matters which 
he could discuss. 

Mr Sherlock Hohnes listened with attention to the long report 
which I was able to present to him that evening, but itdid not 
ehcit that word of curt praise which I had hoped for. and should 
have valued. On the contrary, his austere face was even more 
severe than usual as he commented upon the things that I had 
done and the things that I had not. ^^ 

-^ Your hiding-place, my dear Watson, was very faulty. You 
should have been behind the hedge, then you would live had 
a dose view of this interesting person. As it is. you were some 

s™^^ QK lu^ T^' '"'^^ "*" *^" "^^ ^^^^^ less than Miss 
Smia. Shetbnks she does not know the man: I am convinced 

t\T' u ^/' ''^^^'^' «»»o»ld he be so desperately anxious 
tiiat she should not get so near him as to see his features? You 
describe him as bending over the handle-bar. Concealment 
agam.yousee. You really have done remarkably badly. He 



JO* THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

returns to the house, and you want to find out who he is. You 
come to a London house-agent ! " 
1 What should I have done ? " I cried, with some heat. 
Gone to the nearest publichouse. That is the centre of 
country gossip They would have told you eve^ name, from 
themastertothescuUery-maid. Williamson P Itlnveys nX 
«gtomy^,d. If he is an elderly man he is not thi; active 
^t who spnntsaway from thatyounglady'sathletic pursuit. 
Whathavewegainedbyyourexpedition? The knowledge that 
1^2f Z"^'"'^'- I -^^^-^ doubted it. That thereisa con- 
dor "T^r^huT!^*"^*^^ "^^ I "--doubted that 
eitter That the HaU « tenanted by Williamson. Who's the 

betterfortlu^t? Well. weU. my dear sir. don't look so d^^ 
We can do httle more until next Saturxlay. and in the mSe 
1 may make one or two inquiries myself " 

the pith of the letter lay in the postscript :- 

J I am sure that you wiU respect my confidence. Mr. Hohnes. 
when I teU you that my place here has become difficult 
owing to the fa.t that my employer has proposed marriage 
to me^ I am convinced that his feelings are most deep Z 
most honoui^ble. At the same time, my promise is of Lr^ 
given. He took my refusal very seriously, but also ve^ 

f H»r w"^« understand, however, that the situation I 
a nttle strained. 

^;h R^'i '''''Ju ^"?i "^"^ *^ ^ S"**^"« ^°*<» ^^P waters." 
said Holmes, thoughtfully, as he finished the letter. " The «^e 

certainly presents more features of interest and more possibility 
of development than I had originally thought. I should be none 
the worse for a quiet. peax:eful day in the countiy. and I am in- 



■IHE ADVENTORE OP THE SOLITARY CYCUST los 

H«lm«; ^et y ,„ fte country h«l . a„g^ temim&m. 
to h. .m«d jrt IWcer »«.. W m fte evZg. with . cuil 
«nd . discoloured lump upon hi. fo«h««i, b«ride8 .ge»«a .^ 

o^o^ . ScotUnd Yard investigation. H. wa. imme™^ 
Udded^by h^ own adventu^. „, ^^^ ,^^ „ ^^ J 

-I get so little active e«rci«, tl»t it i, always a t«rt. - «ud he. 

Bril tTT.^* ' ""^ '""" P'»«°«''>' '» tte good oTd 
B„a«. spj,rtrf boring. Occ.si„„aUy, it is i servicefto^y 

for «,^p|e. I d.„^d have <x,n.e to vcy ignonuniou, g,;3 

I bqged him to tell me what had occurred 

'"""ndUwt country pub which I had already recommended 
toy.urnot.ce..ndthereIm«lemydiscreetinqLes.T™to 

wanted. Wilhamson u a white-bearded man, and he live, 
alone wift a ™j| staff of servants at the HaU. There fa so^ 

dentsofh. short re«denceattheHaU .truck measpcculiariyun- 
eccle«..t.<»l. I have abeady m«le some inquiri^ dS 

a^^ and they teU me that there ^ a ml of that m.^~ 
orde«,whose<^hasbcenasingulariydarkone. Thehnd- 
M further mformed me that there are usudly week-end^- 
tors- a warm lot. ..r'-at the HaU. and espedaUy one genths 
=«. mth a red mouBtache. Mr. Woodley by n«„e. who Zs al- 

way^there. Weh«^g,ta.far.sthis,whenwhoshouldwdkin 
but the gentleman hmiself. who had been drinking hfa beer in 

the tap-room and h«l heard the whole conveniatioa Whowa, 



I ^ - 



lOi THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

I? What did I want? What did I mean by asldng quertion. f 
He had a fine flow of language, and his adjectives were veiy vig- 
orous. He ended a string of abuse by a vidous back-hander, 
which I faUed to entirely avoid. The next few minutes were 
deUdous. It was a straight left against a slogging ruflBan. I 
emerged as you see me. Mr. Woodley went home in a cart. So 
ended my country trip, and it must be confessed that, however 
enjoyable, my day on the Srrrey border has not been much more 
profitable than your own. " 
The Thursday brought us another letter from our client. 
"You will not be surprised, Mr. Hohnes, " said she, "to hear 
that I am leaving Mr. Carruthers* employment. Even the high 
pay cannot reconcile me to ihe discomforts of my situation. On 
Saturday I come up to town, and I do not intend to return. Mr. 
Carruthers has got a trap, and so the dangere of the lonely road, 
if there ever were any dangers, are now over. 

"As to the spedal cause of my leaving, it is not mewJy the 
strained situation with Mr. Carruthers, but it is the reappearance 
of that odious man, Mr. Woodley. He was always hideous, but 
he looks more awful than ever now, for he appears to have had 
anacddent,andheismuchdis%ured. I saw him out of the win- 
dow, but I am glad to say I did not meet him. He had a long 
talk with Mr. Carruthers, who seemed much exdted afterwards. 
Woodley must be staying in the neighbourhood, for he did not 
sleep here, and yet I caught a glimpse of him again this morning, 
slinking about in the shrubbery. I would sooner have a savage 
wild animal loose about the place. I loathe and fear him more 
than I can say. How can Mr. Carruthers endure such a crea- 
ture for a moment ? However, aU my troubles will be over on 
Saturday." 

"So I trust, Watson, so I trust." said Hohnes, gravely. 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SOLITARY CYCLI8T vn 
- There is some deep intrigue going on round that Uttle woman, 
and it is our duty to see that no one molests her upon that kst 
journey. I think, Watson, that we must spare time to run down 
together on Saturday morning, and make sure that this curious 
and inclusive investigation has no untoward ending. " 

I confess that I had not up to now taken a very serious view of 
the case, which had seemed to me rather grotesque and bizarre 
than dangerous. That a man should lie in wait for and foUow 
a very handsome woman is no unheard-of thing, and if he has so 
little audacity that he not only dared not address her, but even 
fled from her approach, he was not a very formidable assailant 
The ruffian Woodley was a very different person, but, except on 
one occasion, he had not molested our client, and now he visited 
the house of Carruthers without intruding upon her presence. 
The man on the bicycle was doubtless a member of those week- 
end parties at the HaU of which the publican had spoken, but 
who he was, or what he wanted, was as obscure as ever. It was 
the severity of Holmes' manner, and the fact that he slipped a 
revolver into his pocket, before leaving our rooms which im- 
pressed ine with the feeling that tragedy might prove to lurk 
behind this curious train of events. 

A rainy night had been foUowed by a glorious morning, and 
the heath-covered country-side, with the glowing clumps of 
flowering gorse, seemed all the more beautiful to eyes which were 
weary of the duns and drabs and slate-greys of London. Holmes 
and I walked along the broad, sandy road inhaUng the fresh 
morning air, and rejoicing in the music of the birds and the 
fresh breath of the spring. From a rise of the road on the shoul- 
der of Crooksbury Hill, we could see the grim Hall bristUng out 
from amidst the ancient oaks, which, old as they were, were stiU 
younger than the buUding which they surrounded. Holmes 



^r 



« ™K »«nj|IN OF SHEHLOOC HOLMES 

hide moving in our di«^o! n i ^' '^^ «»^d -» • ve- 

impatience "• ^**^- «»^ "» «d«Mtion of 

*■' '^^ given •maigin of half tn hour, -«ud he -Wfk.» 
"her trap. Ae murt be making for the eaTe, toin It 
Watwn. that die wiU be past ^ J+lTj '*"• 

•ibiy meet her. " '^ ^harhngton before we can po.. 

entaiy Me began to teU upon me. and I wa. compeUed to fall 

«M« an empty dog-cart, the horae canterinff the i«'n. »*.:i 
;ng^^p««ed.und the curve of the „>ad^d^^^^ 

Z„i n. T; f °°' *^* ^ ''««• °°* to aUow for that eariier 
train! It s abduction, Watson- abduction » MunlJrTCT 
knows what! Block the r««rH «» *u f * ^"""' heaven 
N««r ,-..« • jf ^' ^*®P *he horae! That's riirht 
Wow. jump in. and let us see if I can wnaJ, ♦!,- ^ ^ 

my own blunder. " ^ " ^ «»» 'eP"' the comwquenccs of 

We had sprung into the dog-cart. and Holmes, after tumimr 
2-d^^^ntheHaUandtheheathwasopenedup. Ig„«ped 



100 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE 80UTABY CYCLOT 
"ThiU'tthenMMi!- Iguped. 

d^and lu. .houlde™ „>u„d«|. „ he put every 0^0*" 

eneigy that he powewed on to the ped.1.. He WMflyinff Uke 

. r^r. Suddenly he raW hi. b^ ,^. ^^Z^J^ 

h^m. and puUed up. .prfngi,^ f„„. hi. nu«jbine. That cool- 

bUck be«d w. in ringuUircontmttothe pUlorof hi.^ 

and h,. eye. were M bright M if he hwlafeveT HertaJ^t 
u^and^atthedc^^. H^en a look of .n^eS-J^^: 

••Halloa! Stop therel- he rfiouted. holding hi. bicycle to 

JliTlt ;^*-*<iyo»««tthatdog^P Suu^ 

manIheyeUedd«wing»pi.tolf,omhi..idepocket. "PuU 
up. I jay, or. by Geoige. FU put . buUet into youVhone " 

^ Hota^e. th«w the mn. into my Up. «„i .p„u^ down f«,m 

SmitM^'t **'*]T,r ''•"* ^ ««• ^e« " Mi« Violet 
Smith? he «ud. in his quick, clear way. 

-That', what I'm asking you. You're in her do«Krart You 
ought to know where .he i.. " "og-can. You 

- We met the dcjg-cart on the road. There wa. no one in it. 
We drove back to help the young lady. " 
••Good LordI Good Lord! what shaU I do?" cried the 

H^w*^"***"^"'**"!*^'- "They've got her. that heU- 
hound Woodley and the blackguard parsof Come, min, 

come, f you rea^y are her friend. Stand by me and we'U «ive 
ner, if l have to leave my carcaw in Cbarlington Wood " 
tJlT ^'^T^y- ^ P«tol in hi. hand, toward, a gap in 

"^.^''^'' '""^^^^ ^°»' *"<* '• »«^ving the horse 
grazing beside the road, followed Holmes. 

- This b where they came through, " said he. pointing to the 



TBg RETURN Of mEBLOCK BQUOi 

aiMki of iiem«l feet upon the muddr path. "H.Uo.l ft««. 
minutef Who', thi. In the bud,r ^^* 

wlfh T".!! ^**""L''"^ ^^^ -^*^' <»'-«* like M ortler 

her. The be«U have puUed him off and chibbed him. lZ 
hm he; we can't do him any good, but we may «ve he, h«m 
the wont fate that can befall a woman. - 
We "J '""tically down the path, which wound «nong the 

^. We had reached the .hrubbeiy which .urround^ the 

house when Holmes pulled up. 

"They didn-tgo to the house. He« are their mark, on the 
left - heie. beside the laurel bushes. Ah 1 1 said so " 

vihtfL* '^.!'*' ? ''''"*"'" '**"" ««am-a scream which 
^brated with a fenzy of horror -bu«.t from the thick. Ire^ 
dump of bush« in frent of us. It ended sudd«^y oTT,; 
highest note with a choke and a gui^le 
"This way! This way! They are in the bowHng^ley. -cried 

d^! FoUowme.gentiemen! TooUte! too late! by the living 

We had broken suddenly into a lovely glade of ineensward 
surrounded by ancient trees. On the faXr side Sl^. uIS^ 
theshadow of a mighty oak. there stood a singular g;,up o 

t^t aT H. r 7" '^ "*^°"^"' ^"' client!dreop1^ Ld 
! K V. ^^""^J^^ «>"°d her mouth. Opposite her stood 

legs parted wide, one arm akimbo, the other waving a riding- 




-<.t.r.«vcvc...x,v..coM..oTow..o.„. 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SOLTTAHY CYCLIST in 
crop, his whole attitude suggestive of triumphant bravado. Be- 
tween them an elderly, grey-bearded man, wearing a short sur- 
phoe over a hght tweed suit, had evidently just completed the 
wedding service, for he pocketed his prayer-book as we ap- 
peared, and slapped the sinister bridegroom upon the back in 
jovfal congratulation. 

"They're married!" I gasped. 

"Come on!" cried our guide; "come on!" He rushed 
j acro8stheglade,HolmesandIathisheels. At we approached, 

the lady staggered against the trunk of the tree for support. 
Wilhamson, the ex-clergyman, bowed to us with mock poMte- 
ness, and the bully, Woodley, advanced with a shout of brutal 
and exultant laughter. 

" You can take your beard off. Bob, " said he. " I know you 
right enough. Well, you and your pals have just come in time' 
for me to be able to introduce you to Mrs. Woodley. " 

Our guide's answer was a singular one. He snatched off 
the dark beard which had disguised him and threw it on the 
^und, disclosing a long, sallow, clean-shaven face below it 
Then he raised his revolver and covered the young ruffian, who 
was advancing upon him with his dangerous riding-crop 
swinging in his hand. 

" Yes. " said our aUy. « I am Bob Camithere, and I'll see this 
woman righted, if I have to swing for it. I told you what I'd do 
If you molested her. and, by the Lord! I'll be as good as my 
word. " o J 

" You're too late. She's my wife. " 

*' No. she's your widow. " 

His revolver cracked, and I saw the blood spurt from the 
front of Woodley's waistcoat. He spun round with a scream 
and feU upon his back, his hideous red face turning suddenly to 



y, ■' 






lis THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

a dreadful mottled pallor. The old man, still clad in his sur- 
plice, buret into such a string of foul oaths as I have never heard, 
and pulled out a revolver of his own, but, before he could raise 
it, he was looking down the barrel of Holmes' weapon. 

" Enough of this, said my friend, coldly. " Drop that pistol ! 
Watson, pick it up! Hold it to his head! Thank you. You, 
Carruthere, give me that revolver. We'll have no more vio- 
lence. Come, hand it over!" 
"Who are you, then?" 
" My name is Sherlock Holmes. " 
"Good Lord!" 

"You have heard of me, I see. I will represent the official 
police until their arrival. Here, you ! " he shouted to a fright- 
ened groom, who had appeared at the edge of the glade. " Come 
here. Take this note, as hard as you can ride, to Famham. " 
He scribbled a few words upon a leaf from his note-book. " Give 
it to the superintendent at the police-station. Until he comes, 
I must detain you all under my personal custody. " 

The strong, masterful pereonality of Hohnes dominated the 
tragic scene, and all were equally puppets in his hands. Wil- 
liamson and Carruthere found thamselves carrying the wound- 
ed Woodley into the house, and I gave my arm to the fright- 
ened giri. The injured man was laid on his bed, and at 
Holmes' request I examined him. I carried my report to 
where he sat in the old tapestry-hung dining-room with his two 
prisonere before him. 
"He will live, "said I. 

"What!" cried Carruthere, springing out of his chair. "I'll 
go upstaire and finish him firet. Do you tell me that that giri, 
that angel, is to be tied to Roaring Jack Woodley for life ? " 
"You need not concern youreelf about that," said Holmes. 



Tin: ADVENTURE OF THE SOLITARY CYCLIST ,„ 

There are two very good reasons why she should under n« 

circumstences, be his wife Tn th^ « » i "*°* "°°*' "• 

^ I have been ordained. » cried the old rascal. ^' 

And abo unfrocked. " 
•' Once a cleigjrman, always a cleigyimui. " 

I think not. How about the licence f " 
^ We h«l a Ucence for the nmrriage. I have it he« i, „y 

" men you got it by a trick. But. in any case, a forced ma,. 
^ « no nu.mage, but it is a ve.y serious felony, as^^J 
d»»ver before you have fiiushcd. You'll have Le Tu^ 
tt«^.ut out dunng the next ten yea« or so. unless I an.^ 

token. A» to you. Camithers. you would have done better to 
keep your pistol in your pocket. » 

" 1 1^" *" «""nk so. Mr. Holmes, but when I thought of all 
the precaution I had taken to shield this eiri- for nf LI 
^. Hohne, and it is the only «n.e that e^el 1 ,1°:^ ^C^ ,t'^ 

WM- rt f«riy drove me mad to think that she was in the www 
•f the g,e.t«t brute and bully in Soufl, Africa-a m^T^Z 
^e » a holy ter^r from Kimberley to JohamiesbuT wT 
^. Hdmes. you-U hardly believe it. but ever since^'thar^ri 
has been m my employment I never once let her go Zt Su 

.X:t mv b : *' "^ "'" '""^'«- -thouUoUot 
L™t 1 ^-7 ^f'- ^ •" '" '^* "-^ "=»"" to no harm. I 
^my distance from her. and I wo.« a beard, so tl^she 
■hould not recognise me. for she is a good and hi^h soirif JS T 

_ Why didnt you ten her of her danger?" J^ "««"• 

" Because, then, again, she would have left me, wid I couldn't 



11« THE BETDRN OF SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

bear to face that. Even if she couldn't love me, it was a great 
deal to me just to see her dainty form about the house, and to 
hear the sound of her voice. " 

"Well, said I, "you call that love, Mr. Camithers, but I 
should call it selfishness. " 

"Maybe the two things go together. Anyhow, I couldn't 
let her go. Besides, with this crowd about, it was well that she 
should have someone near to look after her. Then, when the 
cable came, I knew they were bound to make a move. " 

"What cable?" 

Carruthers took a telegram from his pocket. 

"That's it," said he. > 

It was short and concise: — 

"The old man is dead." 

"Hum!" said Holmes. " I think I see how things worked, 
and I can understand how this message would, as you say, bring 
them to a head. But while you wait, you might tell me what 
you can. " 

The old reprobate with the surplice burst into a volley of bad 
language. 

"By Heaven!" said he, if you squeal on us, Fob Carruthers, 
I'll serve you as you served Jack Woodley. You can bleat 
about the girl to your heart's content, for that's your own affair, 
but if you round on your pals to this plain-clothes copper, it will 
be the worst day's work that ever you did. " 

" Your reverence need not be excited, " said Hohnes, lighting 
a cigarette. "The case is clear enough against you, and 
all I ask is a few details for my private curiosity. However, 
if there's any difficulty in your telling me, I'll do the talk- 
ing, and then you will see how far you have a chance of 
holding back your secrets. In the first place, three of you 



THE ADVENTDRB OF THE SOLITARY CYCLBT llf 

cm from SouA Africa on thi. g«ne -you Willi*m«>n. you 
Canuthera. and Woodley.** ^ 

thZir!!?^'**"*^"^*'*^""^^"^' "Ineversawdtherof 
ttem untU two months ago. and I have never been in Africa in 

wj^Sorrr'"*'^*"''"^^'"'"'''""'^^*'^^'- »-^- 

" What he says is true, " said Carruthers. 

hoZ^J^'J^r^T'^'^^'''''''- Hi««verenceisourown 
Wmade arbcle. You had known Ralph Smith in South 

Africa. You had reason to believe he would not live long. You 
found^out thai hw niece would inherit his fortune. Ho^s that 

Carruthers nodded and Williamson swore. 
J She was n«rt of kin, no doubt, and you were aware that the 
Old fellow would make no will. " 

•'Couldn't read or write, " said Camithew. 

•'So you came over the two of you. and hunted up the giri. 
The Idea was Umt one of you was to many her. and the oAer 
have a share of the plunder. For some reason. Woodley was 
chosen as the husband. Why was that?" 

•^WepUyedcardsforberonthevoyage. Hewon." 

WoocMey was to do the courting. She recognised the drunken 
brute that he was, and would have nothing to do with him. 
Meanwhile, your arrangement was rather upset by the fact that 
you had you«elf faUen in love with the Udy. You could no 

longer bear the idea of this ruffian owmng her ? •• 
"No, by George. I couldn't!" 

There was a quarrel between you. He left you in a rage, and 
b««an to make his own plans independenUy of you. " 

It strikes me, WiUiamson. tht re isn't very much that we can 



'J 

If 



I 
ii 

' '1 



-''■S 



116 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

tell this gentleman," cried Camithen, with a bitter laugh. 
*' Yea, we quarrelled, and he knocked me down. I am level 
with him on that, anyhow. Then I lost sight of him. That 
was when he picked up with this cast padre here. I found 
that they had set up housekeeping together at this place on the 
line that she had to pass for the station. I kept my eye on her 
after that, for I knew there was some devilry in the wind. I 
saw them from time to time, for I was anxious to know what 
they were after. Two days ago Woodley came up to my house 
with this cable, which showed that Ralph Smith was dead. He 
asked me if I would stand by the bai^ain. I said I would not. 
He asked me if I would marry the girl myself, and give him a 
share. I said I would willingly do so, but that she would not 
have me. He said, 'Let us get her married first, and after a 
week or two she may see things a bit different.' I said I would 
have nothing to do with violence. So he went off cursing, like 
the foul-mouthed blackguard that he was, and swearing that 
he would have her yet. She was leaving me this week-end, and 
I had got a trap to take her to the station, but I was so uneasy 
in my mind that I followed her on my bicycle. She had got a 
start, however, and before I could catch her, the misjhief was 
done. The first thing I knew about it was when I saw you two 
gentlemen driving back in her dog-cart. " 

Holmes rose and tossed the end of his cigarette into the grate. 
" I have been very obtuse, Watson, " said he. " When in your 
report you said that you had seen the cyclist as you thought ar- 
range his necktie in the shrubbery, that alone should have told 
me all. However, we may congratulate ourselves upon a curi- 
ous and, in some respects, a unique case. I perceive three of the 
county constabulary in the drive, and I am glad to see that the 
little ostler is able \p keep pace with them, so it is likely that 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SOLITARY CYCUOT I17 
ndtherhe nor the interesting bridegroom will be permanenUy 
dama^ by their morning's adventures. I think. Watson, that 
nyour medical capacity, you might wait upon Miss Smith and 
tell her that if she is sufficiently recovered, we shall be happy to 
escort her to her mother's home. U she is not quite convales- 
cent, you will find that a hint that we were about to telegraph to 
a young electrician in the Midlands would probably ^mplete 
Je cure. As to you. Mr. Carruthen.. I think thai you Le 
done what you could to make amends for your share in an evU 
plot. There IS my card. sir. and if my evidence can be of help 
to you in your trial, it shall be at your disposal. - 

In the whiri of our incessant activity, it has often been diffi- 
cult for me. as the reader has probably observed, to round off 
my narratives, and to give those final details which the curious 
might expect. Each case has been the prelude to another, and 
^ecnsis once over the actors have passed for ever out of our 
busy hves I find, however, a short note at the end of my manu- 

Ina T. ^ ^^°^^^^*^ ^^ indeed inherit a laige fortune, 
and that she is now the wife of Cyril Morton, the senior partner 
of Morton & Kennedy, the famous Westminster electricians. 
WiUiainson and Woodley were both tried for abduction and 
assault, the former getting seven years and the latter ten. Of 
the fate of Carruthers. I have no record, but I am sure that his 
assault was not viewed very gravely by the court, since Woodley 
had^e reputation of being a most dangerous ruffian, and I 
think that a few months were sufficient to satisfy the demands of 



, I . 



THE ADVENTURE OF 
THE PRIORY SCHOOL 

We have had some dramatic entrances and exits upon our 
smaU stage at Baker Street, but I cannot recoUect any- 
thing more sudden and startling than the firet appearance of 
Dr. Thomeycroft Huxtable, M.A.. Ph.D.. etc. His card, 
which seemed too smaU to carry the weight of his academic 
distinctions, preceded him by a few seconds, and then he entered 
hiniaelf — so large, so pompous, and so dignified that he was 
the very embodiment of self-possession and solidity. And yet 
his first action, when the door had closed behind him, was to 
stagger against the table, whence he sUpped down upon the 
floor, and there was that majestic figure prostrate and insen- 
sible upon our bearskin hearthrug. 

We had sprung to our feet, and for a few moments we stared 
in sUent amazement at this ponderous piece of wreckage, 
which told of some sudden and fatal storm far out on the ocean 
of life. Then Holmes hurried with a cushion for his head, and 
I with brandy for his Ups. The heavy, white face was seamed 
with lines of trouble, the hanging pouches under the closed 
eyes were leaden in colour, the loose mouth drooped dolorously 
at the comers, the rolling chins were unshaven. Collar and 



liO THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

•hilt bore the grime of • long journey, and the hair brirtled 
unkempt from the weU-shapedhewi. It wm • widy stricken 
man who Uy before us. 
•• What is it, Watson ? " asked Holmes. 
" Absolute exhaustion — possibly mere hunger and fatigue." 
•aid I, with my finger on the thready pulse, where the stream 
of life trickled thin and small. 

"Return ticket from Mackleton. in the North of England," 
•aid Holmes, drawing it from the watch-pocket. "It is not 
twelve o'clock yet. He has certainly been an early starter." 

The puckered eyelids had begun to quiver, and now 
a pair of vacant, grey eyes looked up at us. An instant 
later the man had scrambled on to his feet, his face crimson 
with shame. 

"Foigive this weakness, Mr. Holmes, I have been a little 
overwrought. Thank you, if I might have a glass of milk and 
a biscuit, I have no doubt that I should be better. I came per- 
sonally, Mr. Hohnes, in order to insure that you would return 
with me. I feared that no telegram would convince you of the 
absolute uigency of the case." 
" When you are quite restored — " 

"I am quite weU again. I cannot imagine how I came to 
be so weak. I wish you. Mr. Hohnes, to come to Mackleton 
with me by the next train." 
My friend shook his head. 

"My coUeague. Dr. Watson, could tell you that we are veiy 
busy at present. I am retained in this case of the Ferrers 
Documents, and the Abeigavenny murder is coming up for 
trial. Only a very important issue could call me from London 
at present." 

"Important!" Our visitor threw up his hands. "Have 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE PRIORY SCHOOL ltl 

jTou heftid DoUung of the abduction of the only son of the Duke 
orHoldcraeue?" 

" What I the late Cabinet Minister ? " 

"ExacUy. We had tried to keep it out of the papen. but 
there was some rumour in the Globe last night. I thought it 
might have reached your ears." 

M ^,?!™*^ "**°* °"* *"■ ^^^' **^ *"° •"^ P'<^^«J o"* Volume 
" H " in his encyclopedia ol reference. 

"•Holdemesse, 6th Duke. K.G.. P.C. '- half the alphabet! 
'Baron Beverley, Eari of Carston '— dear me, what a list! 
• Lord Lieutenant of Hallamshire since J 900. Married Edith, 
daughter of Sir Charles Appledore, 1888. Heir and only child. 
Lord Saltire. Owns about two hundred and fifty thousand 
acres. Blinerals in Lancashire and Wales. Address: Carl- 
ton House Terrace; Holdemesse HaU, Hallamshire; Carston 
Castle, Bangor, Wales. Lord of the Admiralty, 187«; Chief 
Secretaiy of State for-' WeU. well, this man is cerUinly 
one of the greatest subjects of the Crown ! " 

"The greatest and perhaps the wealthiest. I am aware, 
Mr. Holmes, that you take a veiy high line in professional mat- 
ters, and that you are prepared to work for the work's sake. 
I may teU you, however, that his Grace has already intimated 
that a cheque for five tiiousand pounds will be handed over to 
the person who can tell him where his son is, and another thou- 
sand to him who can name the man or men who have taken 
hun." 

"It is a princely offer," said Holmes. "Watson, I think 
that we shall accompany Dr. Huxteble back to the North of 
England. And now. Dr. Huxtable, when you have consumed 
that milk, you wiU kindly teU me what has happened, when it 
happened, how it happened, and, finally, what Dr. Thomey- 



11 

if i 



U* 



IM THE RBTUBN OF BHERLOCX HO* JOB 

CToft Hntehk «l tlw Pricny School, nmr BiMkleton. baa to 

do with the matter, and why he comet three days after an 

event — the rtate of your chin gi vet the date — to atk for my 
humble tervicet." ' 

Our vi«tor had consumed hit milk and bitcuiU. The light 
had come back to his eyes and the colour to his cheeks, as he set 
himself with great vigour and lucidity to explaia the situation. 
•• I must inform you, genUeu.en. that the Prioiy is a prepar- 
atoiy school, of which I am the founder and principal. • Hux- 
table's Sidelights on Horace' may possibly recaU my name to 
your memories. The Priory is. without exception, the best 
and most select preparatoty school in England. Lord Lever- 
stoke, the Eari of Blackwater, Sir Cathcart Soames - Uiey aU 
have intrusted their sons to me. But I felt that my school 
had reached ito zenith when, three weeks ago. the Duke of 
Holdemesse sent Mr. James Wilder, his secretary, with the 
mtimation that young Lord Saltire. ten yean old. his only son 
and heir, was about to be committed to my chaige. Little did 
I think that this would be the preluue to the most crushing 
misfortune of my life. 

" On May 1st the boy arrived, that being the beginning of the 
summer term. He was a charming youth, and he soon feU 
mto our ways. I may teU you - 1 trust that I am not indis- 
creet, but half-confidences are absurd in such a case — that 
he was not entirely happy at home. It is an open secret that 
the Duke's married life had not been a peaceful one. and the 
matter had ended in a separation by mutual consent, the 
Duchess taking up her residence in the South of France. This 
had occurred veiy shortly before, and the boy's sympathies are 
known to have been strongly with his mother. He moped 
after her departure from Holdemesse HaU. and it was for this 



TBI ADVBNTUBB OF THB PRIOSY SCHOOL 

thattbeDokeikiivBdtDnBdkimiDB^i 

In a fortnight the hoy wm quite at home with us, and was 
apparently abedutely happy. 

"He was laat seen on the night of May 18th — that ii, the 
night of hut Mraday. Hia room was on the second floor, and 
was approached through another larger room, in which two 
boys were sleeping. These boys saw and heard nothing, so 
that it is certain that young Saltire did not pass out that way. 
His window was open, and there is a stout ivy plant leading to 
the ground. We could trace no footmarks below, but it is sure 
that this is the only possible exit. 

"His absence was discovered at seven o'clock on Tuesday 
morning. His bed had been slept in. He had dressed him- 
self fully, before going off, in his usual school suit of black Eton 
jacket and daric gr^ trousers. There were no signs that any- 
one had entered the room, and it is quite certain that anything 
in the nature of cries or a struggle would have been heard, 
since Gaunter, the elder boy in the inner room, is a very light 
sleeper. 

"When Lord Saltire's disappearance was discovered, I at 
once called a roll <rf the whole establishment— boys, masters, 
and servants. It was then that we ascertained that Lord Sal- 
tire had not been alone in his flight. Heidq;ger. the German 
master, was missing. His room was on the second floor, at the 
farther end of the building, facing the same way as Lord Sal- 
tire's. His bed had also been slept in, but he had apparently 
gone away partly dressed, since his shirt and socks were lying 
on the floor. He had undoubtedly let himself down by the 
ivy, for we could see the marks of his feet where he had landed 
<m the lawn. His bicycle was kept in a small shed beside this 
lawn. Mid it also was gone. 






H 



'ii 



M* THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

" He had been with me for two years, and came with the best 
rrfeiences but he was a sUent, morose man, not very popular 

either with masters or boys. No trace could be found erf the 
fugitives, and now. on Thursday moming, we are as ignorant as 
wewereon'ni«day. Inquiry was. of course, made at once at 
Holdernesse Hall. It is only a few mUes away, and we imag- 
ined Uiat in some sudden attack of homesickness, he had gone 
bade to his father, but nothing had been heard of him. The 
Duke IS greatiy agitated, and. as to me. you have seen your- 
8elv« the state of nervous prostration to which the suspense 
and the responsibility have reduced me. Mr. Hohnes, if^ver 
you put forward your full powers. I implore you to do so now. 
for never m your life could you have a case which is more 
worthy of them." 

Sheriock Holmes had Ustened with the utmost intentness to 
the statement of the unhappy schoohnaster. His drawn brows 
and the deep furrow between them showed that he needed no 
exhortation to concentrate aU his attention upon a problem 
which apart from the tremendous interests involved, must 
appeal so direcUy to his love of the complex and the unusual. 
He now drew out his note-book, and jotted down one or two 
memoranda. 

; You have been very remiss in not coming to me sooner." 
said he, severely. " You start me on my investigation with a 
very senous handicap. It is inconceivable, for example, that 
this ivy and this lawn would have yielded nothing to an expert 
observer." *^ 

"I am not to blame. Mr. Holmes. His Grace was extremely 
desirous to avoid aU pubUc scandal. He was afraid of his 
family unhappiness being dragged before the world. He has 
a deep horror of anything of the kind." 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE PRIORY SCHOOL lt5 

* But there has been some official iu/estigatioii ? " 

" Yes, sir, and it has proved most disappointing. An appar- 
ent clue was at once obtained, since a boy and a young man 
were reported to have been seen leaving a neighbouring station 
by an early train. Only last night we had news that the couple 
had been hunted down in Liverpool, and they prove to have no 
connection whatever with the matter in hand. Then it was 
that in my despair and disappointment, after a sleepless night, 
I came straight to you by the early train." 

"I suppose the local investigation was relaxed while this 
false clue was being followed up ? " 

" It was entirely dropped." 

** So that three days have been wasted. The affair has been 
most deplorably handled." 

"I feel it, and admit it." 

"And yet the problem should be capable of ultimate solu- 
tion. I shall be very happy to look into it. Have you been 
able to trace any connection between the missing boy and this 
German master ? " 

"None at all." 

" Was he in the master's class ? " 

" No, he never exchanged a word with him, so far as I know." 

" That is certainly very singular. Had the boy a bicycle ? " 

"No." 

" Was any other bicycle missing ? '* 

"No." 

"Is that certain?" 

"Quite." 

"Well,'^ow, you do not mean to seriously suggest that this 
German ro^e off upon a bicycle in the dead of the night, bearing 
the boy in his arms ? " 



I 

( 



"• THE BETDBN OP SHERLOCK HOUOB 

"Certainly not" 

*• Then what is the theoiy in your mind ? •• 

-The bicyde may have been a blind. It may have been 
hidden somewhere, and the pair gone off on foot." 

" Qmte so but it seems rather an absurd blind, does it not ? 
Were there other bicycles in this shed ? " 

-Several." 

•K "Y^'^Iu ^\°'* ^*''* ^*****'* " «^P^' ^ J»« d«i«d to give 
the Idea that they had gone off upon them ? " 

"I suppose he would." 

'; Of course he would. The blind theory won't do But the 
madent « an admirable, starting-point for «. investigation. 

After aU. a bicycle is not an easy thing to conceal or to destroy. 
One other question. Did anyone caU to see the boy on the day 
before he disappeared ? " / ^^ u»jr 

"No." 

-Did heget any letters?* 
-Yes, one letter." 
-From whom?" 
-From his father." 

- Do you open the boys* letters ?*» 
-No." 

- How do you know it was from the father ?" 

• "J^r?'*°'"°"^'"«'»*^««»^e»<>Pe. and it was addressed 
m the Dukes peculiar stiff hand. Besides, the Duke lemem- 
bers havmg written." 

- When had he a letter before that ? " 
-Not for several days." 

- Had he ever one from France ? " 
-No, never." 

-You see the point of my questions, of course. Either the 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE PRIOBY SCHOOL lt7 

boy was carried off by force or he went of his own free-will. 
In the latter case, you would expect that some prompting from 
outside would be needed to make so young a lad do such a 
thing. If he has had no visitors, that prompting must have 
come m letters; hence I try to find out who were his corre- 
spondents." 

" I fear I cannot help you much. His only correspondent, so 
far as I know, was his own father." 

"Who wrote to him on the very day of his disappearance. 
Were the relations between father and son veiy friendly ? " 

'• His Grace is never very friendly with anyone. He is com- 
pletely immersed in large public questions, and is rather in- 
accessible to all ordinary emotions. But he was always kind 
to the boy in his own way." 

•* But the sympathies of the latter were with the mother?" 
"Yes." 

"Did he say so?" 
"No." 

" The Duke, then? " 

"Good Heavens, no!** 

" Then how could you know ? ** 

" I have had some confidential talks with Mr. James Wilder, 
his Grace's secretary. It was he who gave me the infor- 
mation about Lord Saltire's feelings." 

" I see. By the way, that last letter of the Duke's — was it 
found in the boy's room after he was gone ? " 

" No, he had taken it with him. I think. Mr. Hohnes, it is 
time that we were leaving for Euston." 

" I will order a four-wheeler. In a quarter of an hour, we 
shall be at your service. If you are telegraphing home, Mr. 
Huxtable, it would be well to allow the people in your neigh- 



I- 



1« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

bourhood to imagine that the inquiiy is stiU going on in Uwt- 
pool, or wherever else that red herring led your pack. In the 
meantime I wiU do a Uttle quiet work at your own doors, and 
perhaps the scent is not so cold but that two old hounds Uke 
Watson and myself may get a sniff of it." 

That evening found us in the cold, bracing atmosphere of the 
Peak country, in which Dr. Huxtable's famous school is situ- 
ated. It was already dark when we reached it. A card was 
lying on the haU table, and the butler whispered something to 
his master, who turned to us with agitation in every heavy 
feature. 

" The Duke is here," said he. " The Duke and Mr. Wilder 
are in the study. Come, gentlemen, and I will introduce 
you." 

I was, of course, famiUar with the pictures of the famous 
statesman, but the man h' 'elf was very different from his 
representation. I' was a t and stately person, scrupulously 
dressed, with a drawn, thin lace, and a nose which was gro- 
tesquely curved and long. His complexion ^ - of a dead 
pallor, which was more startling by contrast with a long, 
dwindling beard of vivid red, which flowed down over his white 
waistcoat, with his watch-chain gleaming through its fringe. 
Such was the stately presence who looked stonily at us from the 
centre of Dr. Huxtable's hearthrug. Beside him stood a very 
young man, whom I understood to be Wilder, the private 
secretary. He was small, nervous, alert, with intelligent, light- 
blue eyes and mobUe features. It was he who at once, in an 
incisive and positive tone, opened the conversation. 

"I called this morning. Dr. Huxtable, too late to prevent 
you from startmg for London. I learned thut your object 
was to invite Mr. Sherlock Holmes to undertake the conduct 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE PRIORY SCHOOL m 

of this case. His Grace is surprised. Dr. Huxtable, that you 
should have taken such a step without consulting him." 
" When I learned that the police had failed — " 

"His Grace is by no means convinced that the police have 
failed." '^ 

" But surely, Mr. WUder — '* 

"You are weU aware, Dr. Huxtable, that his Grace is par- 
ticularly amdous to avoid all public scandal. He prefers to 
take as few people as possible into his confidence." 

"The matter can be easily remedied." said the biow-beaten 
doctor; '•Mr. Sherlock Hohnes can return to London by the 
morning train." 

"Hardly that, doctor, hardly that," said Hohnes, in his 
blandest voice. "This northern air is invigorating and pleas- 
ant, so I propose to spend a few days upon your moors, 
and to occupy my mind as best I may. Whether I have 
the shelter of your roof or of the viUage inn is. of couwe, for 
you to decide." 

I could see that the unfortunate doctor was in the kst stage 
of indecision, from which he was rescued by the deep, sonorous 
voice of the red-bearded Duke, which boomed out like a din- 
ner-gong. 

"I agree with Mr. WHder, Dr. Huxtable, that you would 
have done wisely to consult me. But since Mr. Hohnes has 
already been taken into your confidence, it would indeed be 
absurd that we should not avail ourselves of his services. Far 
from going to the inn, Mr. Holmes, I should be pleased if you 
would come and stay with me at Holdemesse HaU." 

" I thank your Grace. For the purposes of my investigation, 
I think that it would be wiser for me to remain at the scene of 
the mystery." 



m 



MO THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"JiMt M you like, Mr. Holmes. Any information which 
Mr. WUder or I can give you is, of course, at your disposal." 

'• It will probably be necessary for me to see you at the Hall," 
said Hohnes. **l would only ask you now, sir, whether you 
have formed any explanation in your own mmd as to the mys- 
terious disappearance of your son ? " 

"No, sir, I have not." 

"Excuse me if I aUude to that which is painful to you, but 
I have no alternative. Do you tiiink tiiat the Duchess had 
anything to do with the matter ? ** 

The great Minister showed perceptible hesitation. 

" I do not think so," he said, at last. 

"The other most obvious explanation is that the child has 

been kidnapped for the purpose of levying ransom. You have 
not had any demand of the sort ? " 
"No. sir." 

"One more question, your Grace. I understand that 
you wrote to your son upon tiie day when tiiis incident 
occurred." 

"No, I wrote upon the day before." 

"Exactiy. But he received it on that dav ? " 
"Yes." ^ 

"Was there anything in your letter which might have un- 
balanced him or induced him to take such a step ? " 

" No, sir, certainly not." 

" Did you post that letter yourself ? " 

The nobleman's reply was interrupted by his secretary, who 
broke m with some heat. 

u " ^o?^"^ " ''°* ^ ^^ ****"" °^ P°'*^°« *«««« himself," said 
He. This letter was laid with oUiers upon the study table, 
and I mysdf put them in the post-bag." 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE PRIORY SCHOOL 181 

" You are sure this one was among them ? " 
"Yes, I observed it." 

" How many letters did your Grace write that da- ? " 
"Twenty or thirty. I have a large correspondence. But 
surely this is somewhat irrelevant ? " 
"Not entirely," said Holmes. 

"For my own part," the Duke continued, "I have advised 
the police to turn their attention to the South of Fiance. I 
have already said that I do not beUeve that the Duchess would 
encourage so monstrous an action, but the lad had the most 
wrong-headed opinions, and it is possible that he may have 
fled to her, aided and abetted by this German. I thmk, Dr. 
Huxtable, that we will now return to the Hall." 

I could see that there were other questions which Holmes 
would have wished to put, but the nobleman's abrupt manner 
showed that the interview was at an end. It was evident that 
to his intensely aristo ratic na. ^ this discussion of his intimate 
family aflFairs with a stranger was most abhorrent, and that he 
feared lest every fresh question would throw a fiercer light into 
the discreetly shadowed comers of his ducal history. 

When the nobleman and his secretary had left, my friend 
flung himself at once with characteristic eagerness into the 
investigation. 

The boy's chamber was carefuUy examined, and yielded 
nothing save the absolute conviction that it was only through 
the window that he could have escaped. The German mas- 
ter's room and eflFects gave no further clue. In his case a 
trailer of ivy had given way under his weight, and we saw by 
the light of a lantern the mark on the lawn where hh heels had 
come down. That one dint in the short, green grass was the 
only material witness left of this inexplicable nocturnal flight. 



THE RETDBN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 
Sheriock Holmes left the house alone, and only returned after 
eleven. He had obtained a lai^^ ordnance map of the neigh- 
bourhood, and this he brought into my room, where he laid it 
out on the bed, and. having balanced the lamp in the middle 




X^C^tAim, 



^u \ 



^fca^ 










i •■ • • •. • ' - 

• .• • • « mT 



«rf*J!>» 




HOLMBS* MAP OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF THE SCHOOL 

of it, he began to smoke over it, and occasionaUy to point out 
objects of interest with the reeking amber of his pipe. 

" This case grows upon me, Watson," said he. " There are 
decidedly some points of interest in connection with it In 
this early stage, I want you to realize those geograpWcal features 
which may have a good deal to do with our investigation. 

" Look at this map. This dark square is the prioiy school. 



THE ADVENTDHE OP THE PMORY SCHOOL us 

raputapminit Now. thia line ia the main road. You «« 
Ihat It runs east and west past the school, and you see also that 
there IS no side road for a mile either way. If these two folk 
passed away by road, it was thU road." 
"ExacUy." 

"By a singular and happy chance, we are able to some extent 
to check what passed along this road during the night in ques- 
tion At this point, where my pipe is now resting, a county 
constable was on duty from twelve to six. It is. as you perceive. 
Ihe first cross-road on the east side. This man declares that 
he was not absent from his post for an instant, and he is posi- 
tive that neither boy nor man could have gone that way un- 
■een. I have spoken with this policeman to-night, and he 
appears to me to be a perfecUy reliable person. That blocks 
this end. We have now to deal with the other. There is an 
inn here, the Bed Bull, the landlady of which was ill. She had 
sent to Mackleton for a doctor, but he did not arrive until morn- 
ing, bemg absent at another case. The people at the inn were 
alert aU night, awaiting his coming, and one or other of them 
seems to have continuaUy had an eye upon the road. They 
declare that no one passed. If their evidence is good, then wi 
are fortunate enough to be able to block the west, and also to 
be able to say that the fugitives did no< use the road at alL" 
" But the bicycle ? " I objected. 

"Quite so. We will come to the bicycle presently. Tocon- 
tanue our reasoning: if these people did not go by the road 
they must have traversed the country to the north of the house 
or to the south of the house. That is certain. Let us veigh 
the one against the other. On the south of the house isTas 
you perodve. a large district of arable land, cut up into small 
fields, with stone walls between them. There, I admit that a 



>»♦ THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

bi^e i. impoMible. We am diimiw the idea. We turn to 
the countiy o„ the north. Here the« lie. a grove of tJT 
n»Aed as the • Ragged Shaw/ .nd on the farth^de .T^^^ 
SH"^^ »«". Lower GiU Moor, extending for ten mile, 
•nd .loping gmduaUy upward.. Here, at one .ide of thi. 

^tTlh" "°*'*"i"f« H'" t- »ii- by road, but only 
««acroM the moor. It i. a peculiarly de«,hite plain. A fe^ 
moor famier. have .mall holding., where they r^r .heep and 
cattle. Except the«.. the plover and the curiew are the oZ 
inhabitant, until you come to the Che.terfield high road. There 

that the hill, become precipitou.. Surely it i. here to the north 
that our quest must lie." "uunn 

"But the bicycle ? " I persisted. 

-Well. weU!" said Holmes, impatiently. "A good cycMst 
do^notneedahighH^d. The m^r is inter.ected':^! ^t 
and the moon was at the fuU. HaUoal what is this?- 

There was an agitated knock at the door, and an 
jnstant afterwaH. Dr. Huxtable was in the ro^l Z 

o^^e"^k. '^^' • ""* ^^^-^^P' ^^ • -^^ chevron 

"At last we have a clue!" he cried. "Thank Heaven! at 
hirt we are on the dear boy's track! It is hi. cap." 
Where was it found ? " 

J tT'''r'*^^^P'^''^^^^"°P^<»»'h« «»«>'• They 
^n Tuesday. Tonlay the police traced them down and 
examined their caravan. This was found." 

" How do they account for it ? " 

"They shuffled and lied -said that they found it on the 
X' mr'L"°™T ^^^^o-bereheis th:,^! 
cals! Thank goodness, they are aU safe under lock and key. 



THE ADVENTOBE OF THf PRioRy SCBOOL im 

out of them «U that they know." "'nwu/gei 

;So far, «, good." said Holmes, when the doctor had at M 

U ^A T^u' t'*^' •* ^'^'^ ^^^ **«* «»« '»»«>'7 that it i. on 
tt.e «de of ^e Lower GUI Moor that we must hope for «iult.. 
The pohce have reidly done nothing locally, save the ar«st of 
ih^gipsies. IxK>k he«. Watsonl The« is a waterco«»e 
•cross the moor You see it marked here in the map. In 
some parts ,t widens into a moras.. This is particulariy so in 
^lTr^7""l Holdemesse HaU and the school. It i. 
^n to look ekewhere for tracks in this dry weather, but at 

J^pomt there « certainly a chance of some record being left 
I w,U caU you early to-mor„,w morning, and you and I wiU 
try rf we can throw some Uttle light upon the mystery." 

The day was just breaking when I woke to find the lomr 
thin form of Holmes by my bedside. He was fuUy dressed.' 
•nd had apparently already been out. ^^ 

" I have done the lawn and the bicycle shed." said he «* I 
have also had a ramble th«,ugh the Ragged Shaw. Now, 
Watson, tiiere IS cocoa ready in the next room. I must beg you 
to hurry, for we have a great day before us." 

His ey« shone, and his cheek was flushed with the exhihi- 
rabon of the master workman who sees his work lie ready befort* 
him. A very different Holmes, this active, alert man. from thi 
m rosp«^ve and palUd dreamer of Baker Street. I felt as 

ilu^ "?!rJf** '"PP^* ^''' *"^« ^"^ nervous ene;gy. 
that It was indeed a strenuous day that awaited us. 

j^d yet It opened in the blackest disappointment. With 

with a thousand sheep paths, until we came to the broad, light- 
green belt which marked the morass between us anTSoldel 






"• THE BETURN OF BHEHLOCK MULM£8 

^ CerUinly, if the W hid gone homewanU, he mu.t 
k«^pM^ thi.. «,d he could not pu, it without leaving hi. 

SJT :f"i"'? -^ "^ i»i» or the Genn«i could be len. 
With • darkening f«» my friend strode along the nunrin 

aeqwn«i„ there wew in pmfudon. and at one plL. «,me 

mila, down. cow. had left their tr«d„. Nothing mow. 

Check number one." «id Hohne.. looking gloomUy over 

^•rolhng expanse of the moor, ^eie ullnother mora.. 

down yonder, and a narrow neck between. HaUoal haUoal 
haUoal what have we here?- 

»i^!^.rT!r'"°*^*^^'*^^"*»»»«°°'l««J>^*y- In the 
S^^ bfc^le ^ ^ '"*'** "" *^* •^*'*" "^^ ™ *»»' '""^ 
"Hurrah!" I cried. "We have it." 

anl?"l^^? T '***^ ^ ^^' "«* J*^ '«» wa. puzzled 
«nd expectant rather than joyous. i^»««i 

"A bicycle, certainly, but not the bicycle." wid he. "I am 
f^ w,th forty-two different imprewion. left by tyres. 

cover Heidjgger s tyres were Pahner's. leaving longitudinal 
^pes. Avelmg, the mathematical master, was surelpon the 
pomt. Therefore, it is not Heidegger's track." 
"The boy's, then?'* 

"Possibly, if we could prove a bicycle to have been in his 
possession. But this we have utterly failed to do. This track 
«s you perceive, was made by a rider who was going from the 
direction of the school." 

"Or towards it?'* 

"No. no. my dear Watson. The more deeply sunk impres- 
«on IS. of course, the hind wheel, upon which the weight rests. 



THE ADVENTOM Or m FHIOBY SCHOOL |„ 

From tlus wood the cycle must have emeiged. HohnL^t 

smoked two cigarettes before he moved. 
"Well, well," said he. at liut ««t» :- « 

w. rr^^' "" ™ •»« 'eft • good <i«i un„;^:^!' 

d Jl,T T* u"" '''*"^« ""^ of the edge of the^. 
noudy «wjml«j. Right „^ y,^ ^^ fte W 1.^ 

.t. ^^"oP««on like, fine bundle ^lel<««ph^^ 
downthecentarfit It wa. the Palmer tyre ^ 

«.llv ™ M °*':''«K"' "•« «o««l' f" cried Holme,. e>mlt. 
»%. %««>».■« «em. to We been pretty «„„d. Wat- 

" I congratulate you." 



^•j! 



M8 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"But we have a long waj sfiU to gp. Kindly walk clear 
of the path. Now let us foUojr the trail. I fear that it will 
not lead veiy far." • 

We found, however, as we advanced thdt this portion of the 
moor is intersected with soft patches, and, though we frequently 
lost sight of the track, we always succeeded in picking it up 
once more. 

"Do you observe," said Hohnes, "that the rider is now un- 
doubtedly forcing the pace? There can be no doubt of it. 
Look at this impression, where you get both tyres clear. The 
one is as deep as the other. That can only mean that the rider 
is throwing his weight on to the handle-bar. as a man does when 
he is sprinting. By Jo • he has had a fall." 

There was a broad, irregular smudge covering some yards 
of the track. Then there were a few footmarks, and the tyre 
reappeared once more. 
"A side-slip," I suggested. 

Hohnes held up a crumpled branch of flowering gorse. To 
my horror, I perceived that the yellow blossoms were aU dab- 
bled with crimson. On the path, too, and among the heather 
were dark stains of clotted blood. 

"Bad!" said Holmes. "Bad! Stand clear, Watson! Not 
an unnecessary footstep! What do I read here? He feU 
wounded — he stood up — he remounted — he proceeded. But 
there is no other track. Cattle on this side path. He was 
surely not gored by a buU? Impossible! But I see no traces 
of anyone else. We must push on, Watson. Surely, with 
stains as well as the track to guide us, he cannot escape us now." 
Our search was not a very long one. The tracks of the tyre 
began to curve fantastically upon the wet and shining path. 
Suddenly, as I looked ahead, the gleam of metal caughf. my eye 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE PBIORY SCHOOL 139 

from amid the thick gorse-bushes. Out of them we dragged 
a bicycle, Palmer-tyred, one pedal bent, and the whole front of 
it horribly smeared and slobbered with blood. On the other 
side of the bushes, a shoe was projecting. We ran round, and 
there lay the unfortunate rider. He was a tall man, full-beard- 
ed, with spectacles, one glass of which had been knocked out. 
The cause of his death was a frightful blow upon the head, 
which had crushed in part of his skull. That he could have 
gone on after receiving such an injury said much for the vitality 
and courage of the man. He wore shoes, but no socks, and his 
open coat disclosed a night-shirt beneath it. It was undoubt- 
edly the German master. 

Holmes turned the body over reverently, and examined it 
with great attention. He then sat in deep thought for a time, 
and I could see by his ruffled brow that this grim discovery had 
not, in his opinion, advanced us much in our inquiry. 

" It is a little difficult to know what to do, Watson," said he, 
at last. " My own inclinations are to push this inquiry on, for 
we have already lost so much time that we cannot afiPord to 
waste another hour. On the other hand, we are bound to 
inform the police of the discovery, and to see that this poor 
fellow's body is looked after." 

" I could take a note back." 

"But I need your company and assistance. Wait a bit! 
There is a fellow cutting peat up yonder. Bring him over here, 
and he will guide the police." 

I brought the peasant across, and Holmes dispatched the 
frightened man with a note to Dr. Huxtable. 

"Now, Watson," said he, "we have picked up two clues 
this morning. One is the bicycle with the Palmer tyre, and we 
see what that has led to. The other is the bicycle with the 



f 



n 



1« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

patched Dunlop. Before we start to investigate that. let us 
by to reahze what we do know, so as to make the most of it. and 
to separate the essential from the accidental. ** 

1 J ^^^ ""^ *"' ' "^^ *° ^^"^ "P*'" y*" *^* «»e boy certainly 
left of his own free-wiU. He got down from his window and 
he went off, either alone or with someone. That is sure." 
I assented. 

" WeU. now, let us turn to this unfortunate German master. 
The boy was fuUy dressed when he fled. Therefore, he fore- 
saw what he would do. But the German went without his 
socks. He certainly acted on very short notice." 

"Undoubtedly." 

. T'^fl^u ^\^V ®*^"'*' '""^ ^ ^^^ window, he 
saw tiie flight of the boy; because he wished to overtake him 
and bring him back. He seized his bicycle, pursued the lad. 
and m pursmng him met his death." 
**So it would seem." 

"Now I come to the critical part of my ailment. The 
natural action of a man in pursuing a little boy would be to run 
after him. He would know tiiat he could overtake him. But 
the German does not do so. He turns to his bicycle. lam 
told that he was an exceUent cyclist. He would not do this, if 
he did not see that the boy had some swift means of escape." 
* The other bicycle." 

"Let us continue our reconstruction. He meets Ws death 
five mUes from the school - not by a buUet. mark you. which 
even a lad n^ht conceivably discharge, but by a savage blow 
dealt by a vigorous arm. The lad, tiien. Aorf a companion in 
his flight And the flight was a swift one. since it took five 
miles before an expert cycUst could overtake them. Yet we 
survey the ground round the scene of tiie tragedy. What do 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE PRIORY SCHOOL 141 

we find ? A few cattle-tracks, nothing more. I took a wide 
sweep round, and there is no path within fifty yards. Another 
cyclist could have had nothing to do with the actual murder, 
nor were there any human footmarks." 
"Hohnes," I cried, "this is impossible." 
"Admirable!" he said. "A most illuminating remark. It 
w impossible as I state it, and therefore I must in some 
respect have stated it wrong. Yet you saw for yourself. Can 
you surest any fallacy ? " 
" He could not have fractured his skull in a fall ? " 
" In a morass, Watson ? " 
" I am at my wits' end." 

"Tut, tut, we have solved some worse problems. At least 
we have plenty of material, if we can only use it. Come, then, 
and, having exhausted the Palmer, let us see what the Dunlop 
with the patched cover has to offer us." 

We picked up the track and followed it onwards for some 
distance, but soon the moor rose into a long, heather-tufted 
curve, and we left the watercourse behind us. No further 
help from tracks could be hoped for. At the spot where we saw 
the last of the Dunlop tyre it might equally have led to Holder- 
nesse Hall, the stately towers of which rose some miles to our 
left, or to a low, grey village which lay in front o* us, and 
marked the position of the Chesterfield high road. 

As we approached the forbidding and squalid inn, with the 
sign of a game-cock above the door. Holmes gave a sudden 
groan, and clutched me by the shoulder to save himself from 
falling. He had had one of those violent strains of the ankle 
which leave a man helpless. With difficulty he limped up to 
the door, where a squat, dark, elderly man was smoking a black 
clay pipe. 



:«7,„.. 



I« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

'^ How are you, Mr. Reuben Hayes ? " said Holmes. 
"Who are you, and how do you get my name so pat?'*the 
countryman answered, with a suspicious flash of a pair of cun- 
ning eyes. 

"WeU, it's printed on the board above your head It's 
easy to see a man who is master of his own house, 
stawi^^ ^*'" ^*''^°'' ""^ » **»^ «« • ««ri«ge in your 
"No, I have not." 

" I can hardly put my foot to the ground." 
" Don't put it to the ground." 
"But I can't walk." 
"WeU, then, hop." ' 

Mr. Reuben Hayes' manner was far from gracious, but 
Holmes took it with admirable good-humour. 

" Look here my man," said he. -This is really rather an 
awkward fix for me. I don't mind how I get on." 
"Neither do I," said the morose landlord. 
" The matter is very important. I would offer you a sover- 
c^ for the use of a bicycle." 
The landlord pricked up his ears. 
" Where do you want to go ? " 
" To Holdemesse Hall. " 
"Pals of the Dook, I suppose?" said the landlord, survey- 

ing our mud-stained garments with ironical eyes. 
Holmes laughed good naturedly. 
" He'll be glad to see us, anyhow." 
"Why?" 

" Because we bring him news of his lost son.** 
The landlord gave a very visible start 
" What, you're on his track ? " 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE PRIORY SCHOOL 148 

**He has been heard of in Liverpool. They expect to set 
him eveiy hour." 

Again a swift change passed over the heavy, unshaven face. 
His manner was suddenly genial. 

"I've less reason to wish the Dook weU than most men," 
said he, "for I was his head coachman once, and cruel bad he 
treated me. It was him that sacked me without a character 
on the word of a lying corn-chandler. But I'm glad to hear 
that the young lord was heard of in Liverpool, and I'U help you 
to take the news to the Hall." 

"Thank you," said Holmes. "We'U have some food first. 
Then you can bring round the bicycle." 
" I haven't got a bicycle." 
Holmes held up a sovereign. 

" I tell you, man, that 1 1 .ven't got one. I'U let you have 
two horses as far as the Hall." 

"WeU, weU," said Hohnes, "we'U taUc about it when we've 
had something to eat" 

When we were left alone in the stone-flagged kitchen, it was 
astonishing how rapidly that sprained ankle recovered. It 
was nearly nightfaU, and we had eaten nothing since early 
morning, so that we spent some time over our meal. Holmes 
was lost in thought, and once or twice he waUced over to the 
window and stared earnestly out. It opened on to a squaUd 
courtyard. In the far comer was a smithy, where a grimy hid 
was at work. On the other side were the stables. Hohnes 
had sat down again after one of these excursions, when he sud- 
denly sprang out of his chair with a loud exclamation. 
^ "By Heaven, Watson, I beUeve that I've got it!" he cried. 
"Yes, yes, it must be so. Watson, do you remember seeing 
any cow-tracks to-day ? ** 



1 ' 



Hi I 

II 



»** ^E RCTDBN OP SHBBLOCK HOLMES 

"Yes, several." 
"Where?" 

death." P****' Heidegger met his 

.n a^;,-""*"' -"• '"^- '«- -y c.™ did ^ «. 
"I don't remember seeing any." 
"Strange, Watson, that we should see trarlri. .11 i 

"Yes, it is strange." 

"Yes, lean." 

f^r^: *"^; """^' ^' bread-crumbs iniS 
T° • •; • - *"**«>metimeslikethia»— • . 

— and occasionally like this"— • • . ..r- 

member that?" • • . . Can you re- 

"No, I cannot." 

not to draw my conclusion ! " °* 

" And what is your conclusion ? " 

" Only ^at it is a remarkable cow which walks canters .nA 
gallops. By George! Watson, it was no h^' T 

publican that thought out such a^I^d as^^t Thrc2 

seems to be clear, save for that lad in theses; wTp 
out and see what we can see" ^^i us slip 

The« we« h,o ,ough.h«r«I, unkemp, ho»« in Uie tumble. 



ran ADTENTDHB OP IHB PBIOBY SCHOOL u$ 

smithy." '»•>'» auae. Let in go .oom to the 

The M contintied hi. woA without warfi™ „ j „_ 
Hdm„' ^ d«ti.« to right „d left^oTuriitL rf 
|«» «d wood which w« «..u>«i .bou: Z fl^r ^«d 

^-Y;»i»'«n»I.pi..r,hen»ncri«l «Wh.t.,. you doing 

"W^.Mr.Reube«H.y„...«adHoIm«,.c«,ny, -onenright 
tt^ that you were afridd of our finding ^mrthiii out." 

The man nuulered himself with a violent effort .„Ai. • 
mouth loosened into a false UmA^^ *""' 

than his frown. ^ ' * ™ "'°'* """"^ 

he" ^" B^ lilt"" "^ ^ ^ "" ^"'^ <"■* " "y "^a-y." s«d 

«; „i ^ "°' "''^' ^ '*'»''' «« '"' folk pokiZ aboit 
my ^ wUiout my leave, so the sooner yon pay yo« =^^ 

«.d getoutof thi.thebetterId«UI beple.sl^."'^^ ^ ^ 

AU nght, J&. Hayes, no harm meant," said Holmes 

waiK, after aU. Ifs not far, I believe." 
"Not more than two nules to the HaU irates Tl,-»'. ,u 



»<• ™S MTDRN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

• fK ^* ^V? ««/«7 '"• «Jong the w«|, fo. Holmes rtopDed 
the ujrt^t that the cum hid «. fK>n, the landlord^^eT 

I seem to grow colder eveiy step that I take awav fm« ^7 
No. no, I can't possibly leave it." ^"°^'^'^'' •^•^ '~«» »t. 

air/j^r?"^'" "^^ '• "*^* ^ ^^ Hayes know. 
•UahoutU. Amoreself^dentviUainlneversaw." 

"i» I he impressed you in that way. did he? There areth* 
ho««.the«« the smithy. Yes. it is' an interesting ;7ar,Ss 

^::?si^y;*^-'^^--*^-'<>o^ 

rti^ched behmd us. We |,ad turned off the road, and ^« 

HcJd«B««, HaU^I saw a cyclist coming swiftly along. 

Get down Watson!" cried Hohnes. with a hLvy hand 
upon my shoulder. We had hardly sunk f„,m view Jen ^e 
man flew p«t us on the road. Amid a rolling cloud of dust I 
^^Sht aghmpse of a pale. «Hitated face-7face wirhot 
m e^eiy hnean^ent. the mouth open, the eyes staring wildlyT 
front. ItwashkesomestrangecaricatureofthedaLrJaitt 
Wilder whom we had seen the night before PP^'J^na 

"The Duke's secretary!" cried Hohnes. "Come Watson 
let us see what he does." ' ^*t^°» 

h J^!^"^""^ '~"' «>ck to rock, until in a few moments we 
had made our way to a point from which we could see th*. tJZ 

b«»de It No one w« moving Am the house, nor could we 

^t crept down « the »n «„i behind the higrC™^ 
Hold«n.»e Hdl Hen, in the gloon.. wc «wl,e tTrid^ 



"^E ADVENTDRE OP THE PMORY SCHOOL ,47 

lunps of a trap light up in the steble-yaid of the i«m and A«hi. 

^ and to« off at a funous pace in the direction of Chester- 

" What do you make of that. Watson ? " H/.i»^ u- 

•• It looks like a flight •' ^" whispered. 

••A single man in a dog^rt. so far as I could see Well it 
certam^ywasnotMr.JamesWilder.fortherehirthe^^^ 

Ared square of l^ht had sprung out of the darknl^I^^^ 
o^ddle of ,t was the black figure of the secretary, his h«^ 

^a^rlr'*""*"';?^^^*- ItwaseXlaatt 
^^pecting someone. Then at last there were steps in the 
road, a second figure was visible for an instant against tte h2 
thedoorshut.andaUwasblackoncemo«. I^TiSiut^^te; 
a lamp was lit in a room upon the first floor. *'"" "^"'^^ '»*«' 

" The bar is on the other side." 

" Quite so. These are what one may caU the private imests 
Now^what m the world is Mr. James Wilder doi^ i^ ^ tn 
at this hour of mght. and who is the companion who ^^Z 
m^thimthereP Come. Watson, we muTr^"li;tkrrisr 
and try to mvestigate this a little more closely." 

Together we stole down to the road and crept across tn *h. 
door of tlie mn. The bicycle stiU leanedl^lslTe w^'^ 
Holm^ struck a match and held it to the back wheel aid T 

h^idhimchucyeasthelightfeUuponapa^eSS^^^^^ 
Up above us was the lighted window. ^ ^' 

J^^^'v ^r * P^P **^"«^ *^**' Watson. If you bend 



MS THE RETURN OF SBERLOdC HOLMES 

An insUnt liter, hi* feet were on mj ilioulden* but he wm 
hardlj up bdoie he wu down again. 

"Come, my friend," said he, "our day's work has been 
quite long enough. I think that we have gathered all that we 
can. It's a long walk to the school, and the sooner we get 
started the better." 

He hardly opened his lips during that weaiy trudge across 
the moor, nor would he enter the school when he reached it. 
but went on to Mackletcn Station, whence he could send some 
telegrams. Late at night I heard him consoling Dr. Huxtable, 
prostrated by the tragedy of his master's death, and Uter still 
he entered my room as alert and vigorous as he had been when 
he started in the momfaig. "All goes well, my friend." said he. 
*'I promise that before to-morrow evening we shall have 
reached the solution of the mysteiy." 

At eleven o'clock next morning my frioid and I were walk- 
ing up the famous yew avenue of Holdemesse Hall. We were 
ushered through the magnificent Elizabethan doorway and 
into his Grace's study. There we found Mr. James Wilder, 
demure and courtly, but with some trace of that wild terror 
of the night before still luridng in his furtive eyes and in his 
twitching features. 

" You have come to see his Grace ? I am sorry, but the fact 
is that the Duke is far from well. He has been very much 
upset by the tragic news. We received a telegram from Dr 
Huxtable yesterday afternoon, which told us of your discoveiy." 

" I must see the Duke, Mr. Wilder." 

" But he is in his room." 

"Then I must go to his room." 

" I beUeve he is in his bed." 




4«f INST*\T lATKR. HI 



5 rrET WEHK U.N MV HIIUULUKI 



TBE ADVINTVRI QP IHI PUORY 8CB0QL 
"IwfflMehimtlMTO.'* 

HoJii«»cold and inesonble mwner ihowed the •ecwtMT 
that H WM umIms to ugue with him. 

•• Veiy good. Mr. Hohnci, I wiD tdl him that yo.i aw 

nttV. 

After an hour*! delay, the great nobleman appeaml. Hit 
face wa. more cadaverous than ever, hii ihoulden had rounded. 

and he aeemed to me to be an altogether older man than he had 
been the morning before. He greeted u. with a .Utely cour- 
te-y and reated hmuielf at hi. dedt. hi. red beard .treaming 
down on the table. • 

• "WeU.Mr.Holme.p-wudhe. 

wiiLt^i^.-""'*^*'^^'^--'^^-^- 

^e man turned a diade paler and cart a malignant gknce 
at Hoknes. * »"»««» 

"If your Grace wishes •— " 

"Ye^ yes, you had better go. Now, Mr. Hohnes. what 
have you to say?" 

My friend waited unta the door had closed behind the retreat, 
ing secretary. 

"The fact is. your Grace. « said he, « that my colleague. Dr. 
Watson. «id myself had an assurance from Dr. Huxtable that 
a reward had been offered in this case. I should like to have 
Uus confirmed from your own lips. " 

"Certainly, Mr. Holmes." 

"It amounted, if I am correctly infonned, to five thousand 



MO THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"And another thousand to the man who wiU name the per^ 

son or persons who keep him in custody?" • 
"Exactly." 

"Under the latter heading is included, no doubt, not only 
those who may have taken him away, but ako those who con- 
spire to keep him in his present position ? " 

" Yes, yes," cried the Duke, impatiently. " If you do your 
work well, Mr. Sherlock Hohnes, you will have no reason to 
complain of niggardly treatment." 

My friend rubbed his thin hands together with an appear- 
ance of avidity which was a surprise to me, who knew his frugal 
tastes. 

"I fancy that I see your, Grace's cheque-book upon the 
table," said he. " I should be glad if you would make me out 
a cheque for six thousand pounds. It would be as weU, per- 
haps, for you to cross it. The Capital and Counties Bank, 
Oxford Street branch, are my agents." 

His Grace sat very stem and upright in his chair, and looked 
stonily at my friend. 

"Is this a joke, Mr. Hohnes? It is hardly a subject for 
pleasantry." 

" Not at all, your Grace. I was never more earnest in mv 
Ufe." ^ 

" What do you mean, then ? " 

" I mean that I have earned the reward. I know where your 
son is, and I know some, at least, of those who are holding him." 

The Duke's beard had turned more aggressively red than 
ever against his ghastly white face. 

"Where is he? "he gasped. 

"He is, or was last night, at the Fighting Cock Lm, about 
two miles from your park gate." 



THE AOVENTDBE OP THE FUOBY SCHOOL mi 

The Duke fell back in his chair. 

' And whom do you accuse ? ** 

Sherlock Hohnes* answer was an astounding one. He 
stepped swiftly forward and touched the Duke upon the 
shoulder. '^ 

" I accuse you." said he. " And now. your Gmce. FU trouble 
you for that cheque." 

Never shall I foiget the Duke's appearance as he sprang up 

and clawed with his hands, like one who is sinking into anXss 

Then, with an extraordinary effort of aristocratic self H»mmand. 

he sat down and sank his face in his hands. It was some min- 
utes before he spoke. 

" How much do you know? "he asked at kst. without raia- 
mg his head. 

" I saw you together last night." 

" Does anyone else beside your friend know ? •* 

" I have spoken to no one." 

The Duke took a pen in his quivering fingers and opened 
nis cheque-book. 

" I shaU be as good as my word. Mr. Hohnes. lamabout 
to write your cheque, however unwelcome the information 
which you have gained may be to me. When the offer was 
first made, I Uttle thought the turn which events might 
take. But you and your friend are men of discrSn. 
Mr. Holmes?" 

" I hardly understand your Grace." 

" I must put it plainly. Mr. Hohnes. If only you two know 
of Uiis incident, there is no reason why it should go any farther. 
I think twelve thousand pounds is the sum that I owe vou 
is it not?" ^ ' 

But Hohnes smiled and shook his head. 



M« ra* MfTURN OP SmBLOCK BQLBiES 

*Ifc«r. yonr Grace, that matten can liBiilv be •r««»^ ^ 
eaaUy. There is the death a#tlu.«AodJirtetr^!! 

"But James knewr nothii^ of that Y«i aMB«n.«Li u- 

whom he luKl the Birfortime to employ" ■»«« "-iM 

n mu^take Ih. ri«. j^ar G»oe. Umt wh«. . „.„ .^ 

™^"S«!fe^=:}rj\^''"°"'"*- -' 

for«mi.«w!7 T\v A"»"<»m>otbecoo4Bimed 

«drf,hoB«much«y.„4o. Thei«UntU«*heh«r^ 
•t h. m«le . complete corfession I. me. «, m^^T^t 

mth the murierer. Oh. M,. Hoh«. you mui^^'^ 

Duke hjjd .bopped the 1«. .Hempt „ .l,.^..^ ^ ^ 
P«mg the ™om with . «,„v„b«, he. .nd wiih hit^cZ 

h«.d,«™gmthe«r. At 1- h. m«h«d hi-»lf ^T^ 
down once more at his SmA ** t - • . ' " ** 

^^Herehefore^t^ieJa::^^,-^^ 

"ExacOy." said Hohnes. «I thiii, jmxv Gtaaa. tW ibU 
can only be done by absolute fmnkneibetwer;,- T 
d.^ to hel, your Grace to ^^Jt;^^: ,1,^ 

teTHtands I reahze that your words applied to Mr 
Wdder, and that he is not the murderer r-^^ ^ '^' 

"No, the murderer has escaped." 



. »» 



IHE ADVENTDHE OP THE PRIORY SCHOOL IM 

Sheriock Holmes smiled demurelj. 

J Your Grace can hardly have heard of any small reputation 
Which I possess, or you would not imagine that it is so easy to 
e«capeme. Mr. Reuben Hayes was arrested at Chesterfield, 
on my mformation. at eleven o clock last night. I had a tele- 

^ from the head of the local police before I left the school 
this morning." 

The Duke leaned back in his chair and stMed with amaze- 
ment at my frioid. 

.. ^^"^ !**" *** ^""^ P°^*" ***** "* **«"y human." said he. 
So Keuben Hayes is taken? I am right glad to hear it. if it 
will not react upon the fate of James." 
"Yowsecretaiy?" 
"No, sir, arvsoi." 

» ^» Hnhatu ' turn to look astonished. 
I eoafcss tkat this is entirely new to me, your Grace. I 
™m* ^g you to be more explicit" 

•I mU co«jeal nothing from you. I agree with you that 
complete frankness, however painful it may be to me. is the 
bea* pohcy m this desperate situation to which James' foUy 
and j^lousy have reduced us. When I was a very young man. 
Mr. Holms. I knped with such a love as comes only once in a 
hfetm»^ I «ff«dAe lady marriage, but she refused it on the 
grounA Aat SUA a match might mar my career. Had she 

7^* TT?** ""^^^ """^ *^^ °»"^«* «»yo«»e ^' She 
di«l. and left thi. « child, whom for her sake I have cherished 
and cared for. I could not acknowledge the paternity to the 
world, but I gave him the best of educations, and since he came 
to; anhood I have kept him MM my person. Hesuiprisedmy 
secret, and has presumed ever since upon the claim which he 
b»B upon me, and upon y. power of provoking a scandal 



M* THE RETDRN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

which would be abhorrent to me. His prewmce h«l something 
to do with the unhappy iasue of my marriage. Afcove aU, he 
hated my young legitimate heir from the fint with a peniatent 
hatred. You may weU ask me why, under these cireumatanees, 
I stiU kept James under my roof. I answer that it was because 
I could see his mother's face in his, and that for her dear sake 
there was no end to my long-suflFering. AU her pretty ways 
too — there was not one of them which he could not suggest 
and bring back to my memoiy. I wuld not send him away. 
But I feared so much lest he should do Arthur — that is. Lord 
Saltire — a mischief, that I dispatched him for safety to Dr. 
Huxtable's school. 

"James came into contact with this feUow Hayes, because 
the man was a tenant of mine, and James acted as agent. The 
feUow was a rascal from the beginning, but, in some extraordi- 
naiy way, James became intimate with him. He had always a 
taste for low company. When James deteimined to kidnap 
Lord Saltire, it was of this man's service that he availed himself. 
You remember that I wrote to Arthur upon that last day. Well, 
James opewid the letter and inserted a note asking Arthur to 
meet him in a Uttle wood called the Ragged Shaw, which is 
near to the school. He used the Duchess' name, and in that 
way got the boy to come. That evening James bicycled over 

— I am teUing you what he has himself confessed to me — and 
he told Arthur, whom he met in the wood, that his motker 
longed to see him, that she was awaiting him on ^ mDor, and 
that if he would come back into the wood at midngfat he wookl 
find a man with a horse, who would take him to her. Poor 
Arthur feU into the trap. He came to the appointment, and 
found this feUow Hayes with a led pony. Arthur mounted, 
and they set off together. It appears — though this James 



TBE ADVENTCB OF THE PnOBT KBOOL i<5 

only hcwd yesterday — fhit they wese punned, that Hayes 
■truck the pursuer with his rtick, and tiwt tie man died of his 
injuries. Hayes biwight Artlnir to his pid>lic-hmiM, the Fight- 
ing Cock, whete he was cwtf^d in an upper room, unde the 

care of Mrs. Hayes, who is a kimfly worn... but entirely under 
the ccnitrol oi her brutal husband. 

"Well, Mr. Holmes, that waa the state of affairs when I fint 
aaw you two days ago. I had no more idea of the truth than 
you. You will ask me what was James' motive in doing such 
a deed. I answer that there was a great deal which was un- 
reasoning and fanatical in the hatred which he bore my heir. 
In his view he should himself have been heir of all my estotes, 
«id he deeply wented those sodal kw« which made it im- 
pOBsiUc. AttheiKne time, he had a dei«te motive also. He 
waa mgtT tfast I should break the entail, andhe was of opinion 
that it % im aj powerto do so. He intended to make a bar- 
gain wiih me — to restwe Ardmr if I would break the entail, 
andao make it poasiblefor the^wtate to be kft to him by wML 
He knew weftiiwt I abonld nnmr wilfi^lji mmikii <hr mi Tif *t 
poliee^gMnst han. I say that jhe wonU iiaoe anoMid — j, 
a batgun to me; but he did aot nrliiiiili dbaa^ farereato 

moved too quickly fcr him, aadhekKlaiot timrto p^ his pbna 
into praetiee. 

"What btou^ al his wid»l MJieme to wreok was yoia> 
discovery of this man Heidegger's doKl bo^. James was 
seized with horror at the oewB. It case to us yesterday, as we 
sat together in this study. Br. HuxtaUe had sent a telegram. 
James wss so overwhehned with grief and agitatiaa that my 
suspicions, which had never been entirely absent, rose instantly 
b a certainty, and I taxed him with the deed. HenuKleaeam- 
plete voluntary confession. Then he implored me to keep his 






>M THE RETUBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMIS 

secret for three days longer, so as to give his wretched accom- 
plice a chance of saving his gmltyUfe. I yielded - as I have 
always yielded -to hh. praye». «nd instantly James hurried 
off to ^e Fighting Cock to warn Hayes and give him the means 
of flight. I could not go there by daylight without provoldnir 
comment but as soon as night feU I hurried off to see my dear 
Arthur. I found him safe and weU, but horrified beyond ex- 
pression by the dreadful deed he had witnessed. In deference 
to my promise, and much against my wiU, I consented to leave 
him there for three days, under the charge of Mw. Hayes, since 
It was evident that it was impossible to inform the poKce where 
he was without telling them also who was the murderer, and I 
could not see how that murderer could be punished without 
nun to my unfortunate James. You asked for frankness, Mr 
Holmes, and I have taken you at your word, for I have now 
told you everything without an attempt at circumlocution or 
concealment. Do you in your turn be as frank with me." 

I WiU " said Hohnes. "In the firat place, your Grace, I 
am bound to teU you that you have placed yourself in a most 
senous p<wition in the eyes of the law. You have condoned a 
felony, and you have aided the escape of a murderer, for I can- 
not doubt that any money which was taken by James Wilder 
to aid his accomplice in his flight came from your Grace's 
purse. 

The Duke bowed his assent. 

"This is. indeed, a most serious matter. Even more culpable 
in my opinion, your Grace, is your attitude towards your 
younger son. You leave him in this den for three days." 

* Under solemn promises — " 

"What are promises to such people as these? You have 
no guarantee that he wiU not be spirited awpy again. To 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE PBIOBY SCHOOL W7 

humour your guilty dder son, you have exposed your innocent 
younger son to imminent and unnecessaiy danger. It was a 
most unjustifiable action." 

The proud lord of Holdemesse was not accustomed to be 
so rated in his own ducal hall. The blood flushed into his high 
forehead, but his conscience held him dumb. 

*' I will help you, but on one condition only. It is that you 
ring for the footman, and let me give such orders as I like." 

Without a word, the Duke pressed the electric bell. A ser- 
vant entered. 

"You will be glad to hear," said Hohnes, "that your young 
master is found. It is the Duke's desire that the carriage shall 
go at once to the Fighting Cock Inn to bring Lord Saltire home. 
"Now," said Holmes, when the rejoicing lackey had dis- 
appeared, "having secured the future, we can afford to be 
more lenient with the past. I am not in an official position, 
and there is no reason, so long as the ends of justice are served, 
why I should disclose all that I know. As to Hayes, I say noth- 
ing. The gallows awaits him, and I would do nothing to save 
him from it. What he will divulge I cannot tell, but I have no 
doubt that your Grace could make him understand that it is to 
his interest to be silent. From the police point of view he will 
have kidnapped the boy for the purpose of ransom. If they 
do not themselves find it out, I see no reason why I should 
prompt them to take a broader point of view. I would warn 
your Grace, however, that the continued presence of Mr. James 
Wilder in your household can only lead to misfortune." 

"I understand that, Mr. Holmes, and it is already settled 
that he shall leave me forever, and go to seek his fortune in 
Australia." 

" In that case, your Grace, unce you have yourself stated that 



M» THE BETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

any unhappinew in your married lif e wai cuaed bv !„.«,«. 
ence I would .uggest that you make such amend, as you am 
to the Duche«. and that you tiy to resume those relations 
wmch have been so unhappily interrupted." 

"That also I have arranged. Mr. Holmes. I wrote to the 
Duchess this morning." ««» w me 

*• Li that case." said Hohnes. rising. " I think that my friend 
*nd I can congratuUte ourselves upon several most happy re- 
«ilt. from our Kttie visit to the North. There is one other 

Si w' l^V^^ ' ^**^" •""*• ^^*- TW- fellow 
♦K I ^ / "** ^ ^"""^ ^*^ ■^«* '^^^^ counterfeited 
the tajcks of cows. Was it from Mr. WUder that he learned 
TO extraordinary a device ? ** 

The Duke stood in thought for a moment, with a look of in- 
tense aurpnse on his face. Then he opened a door and showed 
us mto a laige room furnished as a museum. He led the way 
to a jjass case in a comer, and pointed to the inscription. 

Tl^ sho«/' it ran. " were dug up in the moat of Holder- 
Tli^- ^•y««fe'«»eu-eofho«es.buttheyare 

off tibe track. They are supposed to have belonged to some 

of U»e marauding Barons of Holdemesse in the Middle Aires " 

Hohn« opened the case, and moistening his finger he pLed 

itdong the shoe. A thin fihn of recent mud wasleft u,^^ 

"1^you."8aidhe.asherepUK«ltheghiss. *'Itisthe 
second most interesting object that I have seen in the North." 
And the first?" 

Holmes folded up his cheque and pUiced it carefully in his 
note-booK. I am a poor man." said he. as he patted it affec- 
tionately. and thrust it into the depths of his inner pocket 



VI 

THE ADVENTURE OP 

BLACK PETER 

I HAVE never known my friend to be in better fonn.both 
mental and physical, than in the year '95. His incieaaing 
fame had brought with it an immense practice, and I should be 
guilty of an indiscretion if I were even to hint at the identity of 
some of the iUustrious dients who crossed our humble threshold 
in Baker Street. Hohnes, however, like aU great artists. Kved 
for his art's sake, and, save in the case of the Duke of Holder^ 
nesse, I have seldom known him chum any laige reward for his 
inestimable services. So unworldly was he — or so capricious — 
that he frequently refused Us help to the powerful and wealthy 
where the problem made no appeal to his sympatiiies, while he 
would devote weeks of most intense application to the affairs of 
some humble client whose case presented tiiose strange and dra- 
matic qualities which appealed to his imagination and chal- 
lenged his ingenuity. 

In this memorable year '95, a curious and incongruous succes- 
sion of cases had engaged his attention, ranging from his famous 
investigation of the sudden death of Canlinal Tosca — an in- 
quiry which was carried o\A by him at the express desire of His 
Hdiness the Pbpe— down to his arrest of Wilson, the notorious 



"» TM MiTOw or aamLoa i mr jw 

21^*? Jf Wood™.'. U,, «,d Ih. T«y rt»c»« d.^ 
•tance. wlueh nmouiKM the d«uh of CpUlo IW, cJ» 

22w«"ol' <M no* i»d»d. «Mne «.o«nt of thi. ™, ^ j;, 

ofta "J " long fcom o«r lodging, lh.1 1 k«w he lutd «»«. 
UuAgonlund. Thef«|tt.,.,„„a fc.,„<j. ^ 

rt«,dlh.HoUn..™woridog«,„^h«,«^„^^U^„^ 

m.«H^ a.gu«. „d lUHte. with which h. coBceAd hi. „^ 
fonmd.bIeid«.Uty. Bth^,th.Han«nM„t,JZ^. 
f««, part, ol Load™., io which h. «. .U, to S^i^l 
wnJ.^. H. «id n,thi,« of hi. b»i«« to ,«,tSh wi'^I 
«7l-b.ltoforc..co,did««. tletotpodliwrfgnw^to 
g.«n»,rf|h.di»cli«, which hi. in«apL,wXSX 
««=rt».rtm.,yone Heh«Jg«,eo«lbrfo»bre^ JJ 

i^K^k T *? "?' """ >» "t"* into tte «,„. hi. to 

«y U«t you hive be™ wrfldng Aoat London with thrt Um« f • 
IdioTetothebutoho'.andbtcfc.'' ^^ 

"Thebutohoi'.f" 

oul^^'"*?"!*"""*^' •"*«»«• Th.« cttb.no 
,««...„ n,yd.a,W.^, of a. v.l«eof„.«i.b.fo«b«.lc. 
f«t. B''H»f>P«pamitob«tU»tjroowinno»g««th.fonn 
that my exodMhw taken." «— uioiorm 

"I will not attempt it' 



THE ADVENTURE OF BLACK PETER Ml 

He chuckled as he pound out the coffee. 
- If you could have looked into Allaidyce's back shop, you 
would have seen a dead pig swung from a hook in the ceiling, 
and a gentleman in his shirt sleeves furiously stabbing at it with 
this weapon. I was that eneigetic person, and I have satisfied 
myself that by no exertion of my strength can I transfix the pig 
with a single blow. Perhaps you would care to tiy P •• 
" Not for worids. But why were you doing this ? •* 
" Because it seemed to me to have an indirect bearing upon 
the mystery of Woodman's Lee. Ah, Hopkins. I got your wire 
last night, and I have been expecting you. Come and join us." 
Our visitor was an exceedingly alert man, thirty years of age. 
dressed in a quiet tweed suit, but retaining the erect bearing of 
one who was accustomed to official uniform. I recognised him 
at once as Stanley Hopkins, a young poUce inspector, for whose 
future Holmes had high hopes, while he in turn professed the 
admiration and respect of a pupil for the scientific methods of 
the famous amateur. Hopkins* brow was doudod, and he sat 
downwith an air of deep dejection. 

"No. thank you. sir. I breakfasted before I cam- round. I 
spent the night in town, for I came up yesterday to report. " 
" And what had you to report ? '* 
" Failure, sir, absolute failure. '* 
" You have made no progress ? " 
"None." 

" Dear me! I must have a look at the matter. ** 
"I wish to Heavens that you would. Mr. Holmes. It's my 
first big chance, and I am at my wite' end. For goodness' sake, 
come down and lend me a hand. " 

"Well, well, it just happens that I have already read all the 
available evidence, including the report of the inquest, with 



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1« THB RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

■ome care. By the way, what do you make of that tobaooo- 

pouch, found on the scene of the crime? Is there no due 

there?" 

Hopkins looked surprised. 

**It was the man's own pouch, sir. His initials were inside 
it And it was of sealskin — and he was an old sealer. " 

"But he had no pipe." 

"No, sir, we could find no pipe. Indeed, he smoked very 
Kttle, and yet he might have kept some tobacco for his 
friends. " 

" No doubt. I only mention it because, if I had been hand- 
ling the case, I should have been inclined to make that the start- 
ing-point of my investigation. J wever, my friend. Dr. Wat- 
son, knows nothing of this matter, and I should be none the 
worse for hearing the sequence of events once more. Just 
give us some short sketches of the essentiak. " 

Stanley Hopkins drew a slip of paper from his pocket. 

** I have a few dates here which will give you the career of the 
dead man, Captain Peter Carey. He was bom in '45— fifty 
years of age. He was a most daring and successful seal and 
whale fisher. In 1883 he commanded the steam sealer Sea 
Unicom, of Dundee. He had then had several successful 
voyages in succession, and in the following year, 1884, he re- 
tired. After that he travelled for some years, and finaUy he 
bought a small place called Woodman's Lee, near Forest Row, 
in Sussex. There he has lived for six years, and there he died 
just a week ago to-day. 

"There were some most singular points about the man. In 
ordinary hfe, he was a strict Puritan — a silent, gloomy fellow. 
His household consisted of his wife, his daughter, aged twenty, 
and two female servants. These last were continually chan^ 



THE ADVENTUHE OF BLACK PETER i«s 

ing. for it was never a very cheeiy situation, and someHmes it 
became past aU bearing. The man was an intermittent drunk- 
ard, and when he had the fit on him he was a perfect fiend. He 
has been known to drive Ws wife pnd daughter out of doors in 
the middle of the night, and flog tJ em through the park until 
the whole village outside the gates was aroused by their 
screams. 

"He was summoned once for a savage assault upon the old 
vicar, who had caUed upon him to remonstrate with him upon 
his conduct. In short, Mr. Hohnes, you would go far before 
you found a more dangerous man than Peter Carey, and I have 
heard that he bore the same character when he commanded his 
ship. He was knoWn in the trade as Black Peter, and the 
name was given him, not only on account of his swarthy features 
and the colour of his huge beard, but for the humours which 
were the terror of aU around him. I need not say that he 
was loathed and avoided by every one of his neighboura. 
and that I have not heard one single word of sorrow about 
his terrible end. 

" You must have read in the account of the inquest about the 
man s cabin, Mr. Holmes, but perhaps your friend here has not 
heard of it. He had built himself a wooden outhouse — he al- 
ways caUed it the ' cabm'- a few hundred yards from his house, 
and It was here that he slept eveiy night. It was a UtUe. single- 
roomed hut. sixteen feet by ten. He kept the key in his pocket, 
made his own bed, cleaned it himself, and allowed no other foot 
to cross the threshold. There are small windows on each side 
which werecovered by curtains and never opened. One of these 
windows was turned towards the high road, and when the light 
burned m it at night the folk used to point it out to each other 
and wonder what Black Peter was doing in there. That's the 



■<^ 



',1 ; 



(^ , 



164 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

window, Mr. Holmes, which gave us one of the few bits of posi- 

tive evidence that came out at the inquest. 

"You remember that a stonemason, named Slater, walking 
from Forest Row about one o'clock in the morning - two days 
before the murder -stopped as he passed the grounds and 
looked at the square of light still shining among the trees. He 
swears that the shadow of a man's head turned sideways was 
clearly visible on the blind, and that this shadow was certainly 
not that of Peter Carey, whom he knew well. It was that of a 
bearded man, but the beard was short and bristled forwards in 
a way very different from that of the captain. So he says, but 
he had been two hours in the pubUc-house, and it is some dis- 
tance from the road to the window. Besides, this refers to the 
Monday, and the crime was done upon the Wednesday. 

"On the Tuesday, Peter Carey was in one of his blackest 
moods, flushed with drink and as savage as a dangerous wild 
beast. He roamed about the house, and the women ran for it 
when they heard him coming. Late in the evening, he went 
down to his own hut. About two o'clock the foUowing morn- 
ing, his daughter, who slept with her window open, heard a most 
fearful yeU from that direction, but it was no unusual thing for 
him to bawl and shout when he was in drink, so no notice was 
taken. On rising at seven, one of the maids noticed that the 
door of the hut was open, but so great was the terror which the 
man caused that it was midday before anyone would venture 
down to see what had become of him. Peeping into the open 
door, they saw a sight which sent them flying, with white faces, 
into the village. Within an hour, I was on the spot and had 
taken over the case. 

" Well, I have fairly steady nerves, as you know, Mr. Hohnes, 
but I give you my word, that I got a shake when I put my head 




' — «„.K, ,,„,,. ,,^ ,,^ ,,^^^ ^_^^^ ^^^^^ ___^^^^ ^^^^ 



THE ADVENTURE OP BLACK PETER it5 

into tliat little house. It was droning Uke a harmonium with 

the flies and bluebottles, and the floor and walls were like a 

slaughter-house. He had called it a cabin, and a cabin it was, 

sure enough, for you would have thought that you were in a 

ship. There was a bunk at one end, a sea-chest, maps and 

charts, a picture of the Sea Unicom, a Hne of logbooks on a 

shelf, all exactly as one would expect to find it in a captain's 

room. And there, in the middle of it, was the man himself —his 

face twisted like a lost soul in torment, and his great brindled 

beard stuck upwards in his agony. Right through his broad 

breast a steel harpoon had been driven, and it had sunk deep 

into the wood of the waU behind him. He was pinned like a 

beetle on a card. Of course, he was quite dead, and had been 

so from the instant that he had uttered that last yell of agony. 

" I know your methods, sir, and I appUed them. Before I 
permitted anything to be moved, I examined most carefully the 
ground outside, and also the floor of the room. There were no 
footmarks. " 
" Meaning that you saw none ? '* 
" I assure you, sir, that there were none. •* 
" My good Hopkins, I have investigated many crimes, but I 
have never yet seen one which was committed by a flying crea- 
ture. As long as the criminal remains upon two legs so long 
must there be some indentation, some abrasion, some trifling 
displacement which can be detected by the scientific searcher. 
It is incredible that this blood-bespattered room contained no 
trace which could have aided us. I understand, however, from 
the inquest that there were some objects which you failed to 
overlook ? " 

The young inspector winced at my companion's ironical 
comments. 



II 



a Hi'- 



IM THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

" I was a fool not to call you in at the time, Mr. Holmes. How- 
ever, that's past praying for now. Yes, there were several ob- 
jects m the room which called for special attention. One was 
the harpoon with which the deed was committed. It had been 
snatched down from a rack on the wall. Two others remained 
there, and there was a vacant place for the third. On the stock 
was engraved 'Ss. Sea Unicom, Dundee.' This seemed to 
establish that the crime had been done in a moment of fury 
and that the murderer had seized the first weapon which came 
m his way. The fact that the crime was committed at two in 
the morning, and yet Peter Carey was fully dressed, suggested 
that he had an appointment with the murderer, which is borne 
out by the fact that a bottle of rum and two dirty glasses stood 
upon the table." 

" Yes. " said Holmes; " I think that both inferences are per- 
missible. Was there any other spirit but rum in the room ? " 

" Yes, there was a tantalus containing brandy and whisky on 
the sea-chest. It is of no importance to us, however, since the 
decanters wen; full, and it had therefore not been used. " 

"For all tiiat, its presence has some significance," said 
Holmes. " However, let us hear some more about the objects 
which do seem to you to bear upon the case. " 

"There was this tobacco-pouch upon the table. " 

" What part of the table ? " 

"It lay in the middle. It was of coarse sealskin— the 
straight-haired skin, with a leather thong to bind it. Inside 
was 'P. C on the flap. There was half an ounce of strong 
ship's tobacco in it. " 

" Excellent ! What more ? " 

Stanley Hopkins drew from his pocket a drab-covered note- 
book. The outside was rough and worn, the leaves discoloured. 



THE ADVENTURE OP BLACK PETEB m 

On the first page were written the initials "J. H. N. " and the 
date " 1888. " Holmes laid it on the Uble and examined it in 
his minute way, while Hopkins and I gazed over each shoulder. 
On the second page were the printed letters "C. P. R.," and 
then came several sheets of numbers. Another heading was 
" Argentine," another "Costa Rica," and another " San Paulo," 
each with pages of signs and figures after it. 
"What do you make of these?" asked Hohnes. 
"They appear to be lists of Stock Exchange securities. I 
thought that 'J. H. N.* were the initials of a broker, and that 
• C. P. R.' may have been his client. " 

"Try Canadian Pacific Railway," said Holmes. 
Stanley Hopkins swore between his teeth, and struck his 
thigh with his clenched hand. 

"What a fool I have been!" he cried. " Of course, it is as 
you say. Then ' J. H. N.' are the only initials we have to solve. 
I have already exanuned the old Stock Exchange lists, and I can 
find no one in 1883, either in the house or among the outside 
brokers, whose initials correspond with these. Yet I feel that 
the clue is the most important one that I hold. You will ad- 
mit, Mr. Hohnes, that there is a possibihty that these initials are 
those of the second person who was present — in other words, of 
the murderer. I would also urge that the introduction into 
the case of a doaiment relaUng to large masses of valuable secu- 
rities gives us for the first time some indication of a motive 
for the crime. " 

Sherlock Hohnes' face showed that he was thoroughly taken 
aback by this new development. 

" I must admit both your points, " said he. " I confess that 
this note-book, which did not appear at the inquest, modifies 
any views which I may have formed. I had come to a theoiy 






1« THE RETURN OE SHERLOCK HOLMES 

of the crime in which I can find no place for this. Have you 

endeavoured to trace any of the securities here mentioned ? " 

Inquiries are now being made at the offices, but I fear that 
the complete register of the stockholders of these South Ameri- 
can concerns is in South America, and that some weeks must 
elapse before we can trace the shares. " 

Hohnes had been examining the cover of the notebook with 
his magnifying lens. 

••Surely there is some discolouratioi) here, " said he 

bcJS t '^^'^■^- I «<"•' ^™ *'. I r W, the 

*• Was the blood-stain above or below ? " 
" On the side next the boards. " 

•• Which proves, of course, that the book was dropped after 
the crime was committed. " 

" ExacUy. Mr. Holmes. I appreciated that point, and 1 
conjectured that it was dropped by the muitlerer i^his hurried 
night. It lay near the door. " 

••I suppose that none of these securities have been found 
among the property of the dead man ? " 
••No, sir." 

•' Have you any reason to suspect robbery ? " 
" No, sir. Nothing seemed to have been touched. " 
Dear me, it is certainly a very interesting case. Then there 
was a knife, was there not ? " 

••A sheath-knife still in its sheath. It lay at the feet of the 
dead man. Mrs. Carey has identified it as being her husband's 

Hohnes was lost in thought for some time. 
" WeU. " said he. at last. " I suppose I shaU have to come out 
and have a look at it. " 



4! !i; 



THE ADVENTURE OF BLACK PETEH ifls 

SUnley Hopkina gave a ciy of joy. 
^•Jhank you. .ir. That will, indeej. be a weight off ay 

Holmes shook his finger at the iMpector. 
^ It would have been an easier task a week ago. - said he. 
But even now my visit may not be entirely frui««s. Watson 

Lrt or11"?L'°"-"'^ «^P^"^' - ^^^ ^ ^y to 
Stan for ioresl Bow in« quarter of «n hour." 

AUghUug rt the .m.U wayside sUtion. w. drove for son.. 

o"::« l^i'u.*^' "rr ■" ^"-^ -•^- ""^ "- 

tavX at l!^ T • "" ""'■' '°"°''"« '"'•'"" Saxon 

invader, at bay -the unpenetrable '• weald, " for .uty yeam 

he bulwa* of Britain. Va,t action, of it have beZlel^ 

forthj,Bthe«.t„f,h.fi«,ir.n.workaofthecoun,r?.S 
<* the North have absorbed the t«de. «,d nothing «ive th«« 

stood a long, low. rtone hou«,, approached by a cuning driv.^ 

on three ade, by bushes, was a smaU outhouse, one window 
andfte door facing in our direction. It was the scene TZ 

us to a haggard, grey-haired woman, the widow of the mur- 

look of terror m the depths of her rod-rinnned eyes, told of the 

yea« of harfsbp and ill-usage which she had Jdured. Wift 
her was her daiighter. a pale, fair-haircd girl, whose eyes blazed 



M 

I, 



If 



m lUE KETURN OF 8H£RL0CK HOLMES 

deTiftntly at us as she told us that she was glad that her father 
was dead, and that she blessed the hand which had struck him 
down. It was a terrible household that Black Peter Carey had 
made for himself, and it was with a sense of relief that we found 
ourselves in the sunlight again, and making our way along a 
path which had been worn across the fields by the feet of the 
dead man. 

The outhouse was the simplest of dwellings, wooden-walled, 
shingle-roofed, one window beside the door and one on the far- 
ther side. Stanley Hopkins drew the key from his pocket and 
had stooped to the lock, when he paused with a look of attention 
and surprise upon his face. 

'* Someone has been tampering with it, *• he said. 

There could be no doubt of the fact. The woodwork was cut, 
and the scratches showed white through the paint, as if they had 
been that instant done. Hohnes had been examining the win- 
dow. 

" Someone has tried to force this also. Whoever it was has 
failed to make his way in. He must have been a very poor 
burglar." ' *^ 

^^ "This is a most extraordinary thing," said the inspector, 
"I could swear that these marks were not here yesterday 
evening. " 

"Some curious person from the village, perhaps," I sug- 
gested. 

" Very unlikely. Few of them would dare to set foot in the 
grounds, far less try to force their way into the cabin. What 
do you think of it, Mr. Hohnes ? " 
" I think that fortune is very kind to us. " 
" You mean that the person will come again ? '* 
"Itisveiy probable. He came expecting to find the door 



THE ADVENTURE OP BLACK PETER ]7i 

Open. He tried to get in with the blade of a very small penknife. 
He could not manage it. What would he do ? " 
'* Come again next night with a more useful tool. " 
- So I should Hay. It will be our fault if we are not there to 
receive him. Meanwhile, let me sec the inside of the cabin. " 
The traces of the tragedy had been removed, but the furniture 
within the little room still stood as it had been on the night of 
the crime. For two hours, with most intense concentration. 
Holmes examined every object in turn, but his face showed that 
his quest was not a successful one. Once only he paused in his 
patient investigation. 
" Have you taken anything of! this shelf, Hopkins ? " 
" No, I have moved nothing. " 

" Something has been taken. There is less dust in this cor- 
ner of the shelf than elsewhere. It may have been a book lying 
on its side. It may have been a box. WeU, well, I can do noth- 
ing more. Let us walk in these beautiful woods, Watson, and 
give a few hours to the birds and the flowers. We shall meet 
you here later, Hopkins, and see if we can come to closer quar- 
ters with the gentleman who has paid this visit in the night. " 

It was past eleven o'clock when we formed our little ambus- 
cade. Hopkins was for leaving the door of the hut open, but 
Holmes was of the opinion that this would rouse the suspicions 
of the stranger. The lock was a perfectly simple one, and only 
a strong blade was needed to push it back. Holmes abo sug- 
gested that we should wait, not inside the hut, but outside it 
anaong the bushes which grew round the farther window. In 
this way we should be able to watch our man if he struck a light, 
and see what his object was in this stealthy nocturnal visit. 

It was a long and melancholy vigil, and yet brought with it 
something of the thriU which the hunter feels when he lies be- 



I 



m THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

side the water-pool, and waits for the coming of the thirsty beast 
of prey. What savage creature was it which might steal upon 
us out of the darkness ? Was it a fierce tiger of crime, which 
could only be taken fighting hard with flashing fang and daw, 
or would it prove to be some skulking jackal, dangerous only to 
the weak and unguarded r 

In absolute silence we crouched amongst the bushes, waiting 
for whatever might come. At first the steps of a few belated 
villagers, or the sound of voices from the village, lightened our 
vigil, but one by one these interruptions died away, and an abso- 
lute stillness fell upon us, save for the chimes of the distant 
church, which told us of the progress of the night, and for the 
rustle and whisper of a fine rain falling amid the foliage which 
roofed us in. 

Half-past two had chimed, and it was the darkest hour which 
precedes thf: dawn, when we all started as a low but sharp click 
came from the direction of the gate. Someone had entered the 
drive. Again there was a long silence, and I had b^un to fear 
that it was a false alarm, wh<;n a stealthy step wps heard upon 
the other side of the hut, and u moment later a metallic scraping 
and clinking. The man was trying to force the lock. This time 
his skill was greater or his tool was better, for there was a sud- 
den snap and the creak of the hinges. Then a match was 
struck, and next instant the steady light from a candle filled 
the interior of the hut. Through the gauze curtain our eyes 
were all riveted upon the scene within. 

The nocturnal visitor was a young man, frail and thin, with a 
black moustache, which intensified the deadly pallor of his face. 
He could not have been much above twenty years of age. I 
have never seen any human being who appeared to be in such a 
pitiable fright, for his teeth were visibly chattering, and he was 



THE ADVENTURE OP BLACK PETER 178 

shaking in eveiy limb. He was dressed like a gentleman, in 
Norfolk jacket and knickerbockers, with a cloth cap upon his 
head. We watched him staring round with frightened eyes. 
Then he laid the candle-end upon the table, and disappeared 
from our view into one of the comers. He returned with a large 
book, one of the logbooks which formed a line upon the shelves. 
Leaning on the table, he rapidly turned over the leaves of this 
volume until he came to the entry which he sought. Then, 
with an angry gesture of his clenched hand, he closed the book, 
replaced it in the comer, and put out the light. He had hardly 
tumed to leave the hut when Hopkins* hand was on the fellow's 
collar, and I heard his loud gasp of terror as he understood that 
he was taken. The candle was relit, and there was our wretched 
captive, shivering and cowering in the grasp of the detective. 
He sank down upon the 3a-chest, and looked helplessly from 
one of us to the other. 

" Now, my fine fellow, " said Stanley Hopkins, " who are you, 
and what do you want here ? " 

The man pulled himself together, and faced us with an eflFort 
at self-composure. 

"You are detectives, I suppose?" said he. "You imagine 
I am connected with the death of Captain Peter Cai«y. I 
assure you that I am innocent. " 

" We'll see about that, " said Hopkins. " First of all, what 
is your name ? " 

" It is John Hopley Neligan. " 

I saw Holmes and Hopkins exchange a quick gl«.t | c«> , 

"What are you doing here?" 

" Can I speak confidentially ? " 

" No, certainly not. " 

" Why should I teU you?" 



174 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

^ you have no answer, it may go badly with you at the trial. " 
The young man winced. 

"Well. I will tell you, "he said. "Why should I not? And 
yet I hate to think of this old scandal gaining a new lease of life 
Uid you ever hear of Dawson and Neligan ? " 

I could see. from Hopkins' face, that he never had. but 
Holmes was keenly interested. 

"You mean the West-country bankers." said he. "Thev 
failed for a million, ruined half the county families of Com- 
waU. and Ne%an disappeared. " 
" Exactly. Neligan was my father. " 
At last we were getting something positive, and yet it seemed 
a long gap between an absconding banker and Captain Peter 
Carey pinned against the waU with one of his own harpoons. 
We aU hstened mtently to the young man's words. 

•ft was my father who was reaUy concerned. Dawson had 
retired. I was only ten years of age at the tune, but I was old 
enough to feel the shame and horror of it aU. ft has always 
been said that my father stole aU the securities and fled ft is 
nottrue It was his belief that if he were given time in which to 

He started m his httle yacht for Norway just before the warrant 
was issu«l for his arrest. I can remember that last night, when 
he bade farewell to my mother. He left us a list of the securi- 
ties he was taking, and he swore that he would come back with 
his honour c eared, and that none who had trusted him would 
suffer. WeU. no word was ever heard from him again. Both 
the yacht and he vanished utterly. We believed, my mother 
and I. that he and it. with the securities that he had taken with 
him. were at the bottom of the sea. We had a faithful friend 
however, who is a business man. and it was he who discovered 



THE ADVENTURE OF BLACK PCTER 17, 

■ome time ago that some of the securities which my father had 
with him had reappeared on the London market. You can 
imagme our amazement. I spent months in tiying to trace 
them, and at last, after many doubtings and difficulties, I dis- 
covered that the original seUer had been Captain Peter Carey 
the owner of this hut. ^* 

*u "*^u**T!!^: ^ °'*^* "^"^ ^°^"^"«" «*>*>"* *»»« ">«»• I found 
that he had been in command of a whaler which was due to 
return from the Arctic seas at the very time when my father was 
crossmg to Norway. The autumn of that year was a stormy 
one. and there was a long succession of southerly gales. My 
fathers yacht may well have been blown to the north, and 
there met by Captain Peter Carey's ship. If that were so, 
what had become of my father ? In any case, if I could prove 
from Peter Carey's evidence how these securities came on 
the market it would be a proof that my father had not 
sold them and that he had no view to personal profit when 
ne took them. 

•• I came down to Sussex with the intention of seeing the cap- 
tain, but It was at this moment that his terrible death occurred. 
I reiMl at the inquest a description of his cabin, in which it 
steted that the old logbooks of his vessel were preserved in it 
It struck me that if I could see what occurred in the month of 
August. 1883. on board the Sea Unworn, I might settle the mys- 
teiy of my father's fate. I tried last night to get at these log- 
books, but was unable to open the door. To-night I tried agi^ 
and succeeded, but I find that the pages which deal withlhat 
month have been torn from the book. It was at that moment I 
found myself a prisoner in your hands. " 

"IsthataU?" asked Hopkins. 

"Yes, that is aU." His eyes shifted as he said it 



>W THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

" You have nothing else to tell ua ? ** 
He hesiUted. 

**No, there is nothing. " 

"You have not been here before last niffht?" 
"No." ^ 

"Then how do you account for that f " cried Hopkins, as he 
held up the damning note-book, with the initials of our prisoner 
on the fint leaf and the blood-stain on the cover. 

Tlie wretched man coUapsed. He sank his face in his 
rands, and trembled all over. 

-mere did you get it?" he groaned. "Ididnotknow. I 
thought I had lost it at the hotel. " 

" That is enough, " said Hopkins, sternly. " Whatever else 
you have to say, yovz^ -St say in court. You will walk down 
with me now to the police-station. WeU, Mr. Holmes, I am 
ve^ much obliged to you and to your friend for coming down 
to help me. As it turns out your presence was unnecessary, and 
I would have brought the case to this successful issue without 
you, but. none the less, I am grateful. Rooms have been re- 
served for you at the Brambletye Hotel, so we can aU walk down 
to the village together. " 

"WeU, Watson, what do you thinkofit?" askedHohnes as 
we travelled back next morning. 

"I caL see that you are not satisfied. " 

"Oh, yes, my dear Watson, I am perfecUy satisfied. At the 
same tune, Stanley Hopkins* methods do not commend them- 
selves to me. I am disappointed in Stanley Hopkins. I had 
hoped for better things from him. One should always look for 

apo8siblealtemative,andprovideagainstit It is the firat rule 
of cnimnal investigation. " 

" What, then, is the alternative ? •* 



(CI 



THE ADVENTURE OP BLACK PETER ,77 

.uiJ'Nf" ""' !»^«««»«°° ^Wch I have myself been pur- 
«mng It may grve us nothing. I cannot teU. But at lei^ I 
shall follow it to the end. " 

«„!rr!f ^"''^r r"* ''"'^"« ^^' ^^^^^^ »* B^^er street. He 

snatched one of them up. opened it. and burst out into a trium! 
phant chuckle of laughter. 

t.ll^f f • ^f*'r ' T»»e alternative develops. Have you 

o!Tl±'r*'^'°*'''^*^"^^^"*y- s3th«emen 
on. to amve ten to-morrow morning. - BasU.* That's mv 

namemthosepart, Theotheris: 'Inspector Stanley Hopki^' 
^. Lord Street. Bnxton. Come breakfast to-morrow at^nine- 
ttirty. Important. Wire if unable to come. - Sherlock 

for ten days. I hereby banish it completely from my presence 
Tomorrow. I trust, that we shaU hear the last of it for ever. " 
J^ *!i ^''"' "'^"'"^ ^^P^^' Stanley Hopkins ap- 

^^h > fr^'^P'P^- The young detective was 
in high spmts at his success. 

H Jllr "^^ "^ *^' ^°" '''^"**°'' '"'"* ^ «»"^ ? " «ked 

^* I could not imagine a more complete case. •* 
** It did not saem to me conclusive. " 
J You astonish me. Mr. Hohnes. What more could one ask 

" Does your explanation cover every point ? " 

Brambletye Hotel on the very day of the crime. He came on 
th. pretence of playing golf. His room was on th. ground- 



„ - . o o — .^^iu nuo uu me irroui 

floor, and he could get out when he liked. That very night 



he 



m THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

went down to Woodman's Lee, saw Peter Carey at the hut, 
quarreUed with him, and killed him with the harpoon. Then, 
horrified by what he had done, he fled out of the hut, dropping 
the note-book which he had brought with him in order to ques- 
tion Peter Carey about these different securities. You may 
have observed that son-e of them were marked with ticks, and 
the othen — the great majority — were not. Those which are 
ticked have been traced on the London market, but the others, 
presumably, were stiU in the possession of Carey, and young 
Neligan, according to his own account, was anxious to recover 
them in order to do tiie right thing by his father's creditors. 
After his flight he did not dare to approach the hut agam for 
some time, but at last he forced himself to do so in order to ob- 
tain the information which he needed. Surely tiiat is all simple 
and obvious ? " 
Holmes smiled and shook his head. 

"It seems to me to have only one drawback, Hopkins, and 
that is that it is intrinsicaUy impossible. Have you tried to drive 
a harpoon tiirough a body? No? Tut, tut, my dear sir, you 
must reaUy pay attention to these details. My friend Watson 
could tell you that I spent a whole morning in that exercise. It 
is no easy matter, and requires a strong and ^ ractised arm. But 
this blow was delivered with such violence that the head of the 
weapon sank deep into tiie waU. Do you unagine tiiat thir 
amemic youtii was capable of so frightful an assault ? Is he the 
man who hobnobbed in rum and water with Black Peter in the 
dead of tiie night ? Was it his profile tiiat was seen on tiie blind 
two nights before ? No, no, Hopkins, it is anotiier and more 
formidable person for whom we must seek. " 

The detective's face had grown longer and longer dicing 
Holmes' speech. His hopes and his ambitions were all crum- 



THE ADVENTURE OF BLACK PETER 179 

bling ftbout him. But he would not abudon his position with- 
out a struggle. 

"You can't deny that Neligan was present that night, Mr. 
Holmes. The book will prove that. I fancy that I have evi- 
dence enough to satisfy a jury, even if you are able to pick a hole 
in it. Besides, Mr. Holmes, I have laid my hand upon my man. 
As to this terrible person of yours, where is he ? " 
^^ " I rathar fancy that he is on the stair, " said Hohnes, serenely. 
" I think, Watson, that you would do well to put that revolver 
where you can reach it. " He rose and laid a written paper 
upon a side-table. *' Now we are ready, " said he. 

There had been some talking in gruff voices outside, and now 
Mrs. Hudson opened the door to say that there were three men 
inquiring for Captain Basil. 
" Show them in one by one, " said Hohnes. 
The first who entered was a little ribston-pippin of a man, 
with ruddy cheeks and fluffy white side-whiskers. Hohnes had 
drawn a letter from his pocket. 
"What name?" he asked. 
"James Lancaster. " 

" I am sorry, Lancaster, but the berth is full. Here is half a 
sovereign for your trouble. Just step into this room, and wait 
there for a few minutes. " 

The second man was a long, dried-up creature, with hmk 
hair and sallow cheeks. His name was Hugh Pattins. He also 
received his dismissal, his half-sovereign, and the order to wait. 
The third applicant was a man of remarkable appearance. 
A fierce bull-dog face was framed in a tangle of hair and beard, 
and two bold, dark eyes gleamed behind the cover of thick, 
tufted, overhung eyebrows. He saluted and stood sailor-fash- 
ion, turning his cap round in his hands. 



M8 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"Your name?" aaked Holmes. 
"Patrick Cairns." 
"Harpooner?" 

"Yes, sir. Twenty-six voyages. " 
" Dundee, I suppose ? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"And ready to stort with an exploring shin?* 
"Yes. sir." f "6 F 

"What wages?" 

" Eight pounds a month. " 

" Could you start at once ? *• 

" As soon as I get my kit. " 

" Have you your papers ? " 

"Yes, sir." He took a sheaf of worn and greasy forms 
from his pocket. Hohnes glanced over them and returned 
them. 

" You are just the man I want, " said he. " Here's the agree- 
ment on the side-table. If you sign it the whole matter will be 
settled." 

The seaman lurched across the room and took up the pen. 
" ShaU I sign here ? " he asked, stooning over the table. 
Hohnes leaned over his shoulder and passed both hands over 
his neck. 

"ThiswiUdo,*»8aidhe. 

I heard a cUck of steel and a beUow like an enraged bull. The 
next instant Hohnes and the seaman were rolling on the ground 
together. He was a man of such gigantic strength that, even 
with the handcuflPs which Holmes had so deftly fastened upon 
his wrists, he would have very quickly overpowered my friend 
had Hopkins and I not rushed to his rescue. Only when I 
pressed the cold muzzle of the revolver to his temple did he at 



THE ADVENTURE OF BLACK PETER ig] 

ImI understand that resistance was vain. We lashed his ankles 
with cord, and rose breathless from the struggle. 

"I must really apologia. Hopkins," said Sherlock Hohnes, 

• I fear that the scrambled eggs are cold. However, you will 

enjoy the rest of your breakfast all the better. wiU you not. for 

the thought that you have brought your case to a triumphant 

conclusion. " 

Stanley Hopkins was speechless with amazement. 
"I don't know what to say. Mr. Holmes, he blurted out at 
last, with a very red face. " It seems to me that I have been 
making a fool of myself from the beginning. I understand 
now, what I should never have foi^gotten. that I am the pupU 
and you are the master. Even now I see what you have done, 
but I don't know how you did it, or what it signifies. " 

"Well, well," said Hohnes. good humouredly. "We all 
learn by experience, and your lesson this time is that you should 
never lose sight of the alternative. You were so absorbed in 
young Neligan that you could not spare a thought to Patrick 
Cairns, the true murderer of Peter Carey. " 
The hoarse voice of the seaman broke in on our conversation. 
" See here, mister, " said he, " I make no complaint of being 
man-handled in this fashion, but I would have you caU things 
by their right names. You say I murdered Peter Carey. I 
say I kiUed Peter Carey, and there's all the difference. Maybe 
you don't believe what I say. Maybe you tiiink I am just sling- 
ing you a yam. " 

" Not at aU. " said Hohnes. " Let us hear what you have to 
say. " • 

"It's soon told. and. by the Lord, every word of it is truth. 
I knew Black Peter, and when he puUed out his knife I whipped 
a harpoon through him sharp, for I knew that it was him or me. 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOUfES 
That's how he died. You can call it muider. Anyhow, I'd as 
■oon die with a rope round my neck at with Black Peter's knife 
in my heart. " 
"How came you there?" asked Holmes. 
" I'll tell it you from the bepnning. Just sit me up a little, so 
as I can speak easy. It was in '83 that it happened — August of 
that year. Peter Carey was master of the Sea Unicom, and I 
was spare harpooner. We were coming out of the ice-pack on 
our way home, with head winds and a week's southerly gale, 
when we picked up a little craft that had been blown north. 
There was one man on her— a landsman. The crew had 
thought she would founder, and had made for the Norwegian 
coast in the dinghy. I guess they were aU drowned. WeU,we 
took him on board, this man, and he and the skipper had some 
long talks in the cabin. All the baggage we took off with him 
was one tin box. So far as I know, the man's name was never 
mentioned, and on the second night he disappeared as if he had 
never been. It was given out that he had either thrown him- 
self overboard or f aUen overboard in the heavy weather that we 
were having. Only one man knew what had happened to him, 
and that was me, for, with my own eyes, I saw the skipper tip 
up his heels and put him over the raU in the middle watch of 
a dark night, two days before we sighted the Shetland Lights. 
"Well, I kept my knowledge to myself, and waited to see 
what would come of it. When we got back to Scotland it was 
easily hushed up, and nobody asked any questions. A stranger 
died by accident, and it was nobody's business to inquire. 
Shortly after Peter Carey gave up the sea, and it was long years 
before I could find where he was. I guessed that he had done 
the deed for the sake of what was in that tin box, and that he 
could afford now to pay me well for keeping my mouth shut 



THE ADVENTURE OP BLACK PETER im 

I found out where he wm through a sailor man that had met 
him in London, and down I went to squeese him. The first 
night he was reasonable enough, and was ready to give me what 
would make me free of the sea for life. We were to fix it - .two 
nights Uter. When I came. I found him three parts drunk and 
in a vUe temper. We sat down and we drank and we yarned 
about old times, but the more he drank the less I Uked the look 
on his face. I spotted that harpoon upon the waU. and I 
thought I might need it before I was through. Then at last he 
broke out at me, spitting and cursing, with murder in his eyes 
and a great clasp-knife in his hand. He had not time to get it 
from the sheath before I had the harpoon through him. Heav- 
ens I what a yeU he gave ! and his face gets between me and my 
sleep. I stood there, with his blood splashing round me. and I 
waited for a bit, but aU was quiet, so I took heart once more. I 
looked round, and there was the tin box on the shelf. I had as 
much right to it as Peter Carey, anyhow, so I took it with me 
and left the hut. Like a fool I left my baccy-pouch upon the 
table. 

" Now I'U ten you the queerest part of the whole story. I 
had hardly got outside the hut when I heard someone coming, 
and I hid among the bushes. A man came sUnking along, went 
into the hut, gave a cry as if he had seen a ghost, and legged it as 
hard as he could run until he was out of sight. Who he was or 
what he wanted is more than I can tell. For my part I walked 
ten miles, got a train at Tunbridge Wells, and so reached Lon- 
don, and no one the wiser. 

" Well, when I came to examine the box I found there was no 
money in it. and nothing but papers that I would not dare to 
seU. I had lost my hold on Black Peter, and was stranded in 
London without a shilling. There was only my trade left. I 



"♦ ™» "wnniN OF sHEwxxac Houm 

"««n!« . proportion d our c«p^. - '^'^ """P- »~ 

"Mr.Holiii«f,",,i<lHopkiiu,''Idom>«lr~>_i. . 



the 



Simply by Uving the good fortune to gel the right clue f»» 
^leguuung. It ia veiy pogsible if I ^A v * T " 
note-book itm.»i.f K- Yj*^ w I had known about this 
uwe-oooK It might have led airay my thouirhlg ^mI^ma 
But all I heaH pointed in the one Son ' T^. ^*^"'' 
■tiength, the skill in the use of th« h!,!^.?' ""*""« 

»d » pip. ™ fr:[L^^""~^^'^x't^; 

certain it was a seaman." '^^ les.Iwas 

" And how did you find him ? " 
" My dear sir. the problem had become a veiy simple on. If 



THE ADVENTURE OF BUCK IVm u, 

2aT^„^'""*'*~^»«'«^ »««•»» the crew 

;Wond«full" cri«l HopldM. "Wonderfull- 

poMible, M,d Holma, " I confeM lUl I Uimk vou ow« him 
■«ne.pdoB,. The ti»b«o.«, be «lum«lu, tollers 

««. ^•"'•o.b. Hopkil»,Mdyou«ui™,o«vo«, 
«»waib.«,»wh«toNor«y-ri|,.dp.rtie„h„'^t 



vn 

THE ADVENTURE OF 
CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON 

IT is years since the incidents of which I speak took place, 
and yet it is with diffidence that I aUude to them. For a long 
time, even with the utmost discretion and reticence, it would 
have been impossible to make the facts public, but now the 
principal peison concerned is beyond the reach of human law, 
and with due suppression the story may be told in such fashion 
as to injure no one. It records an absolutely unique experience 
in the career both of Mr. Sherlock Hohnes and of myself. The 
reader will excuse me if I conceal the date or any other fact by 
which he might trace the actual occurrence. 

We had been out for one of our evening rambles, Hohnes and 
I, and had returned about six o'clock on a cold, frosty, winter's 
evening. As Hohnes turned up the lamp the light feU upon a 
card on the table. He glanced at it, and then, with an ejacuhi- 
tion of disgust, threw it on the floor. I picked it up and read :— 

Chables Augustus Milverton, 
Appledore Towers, 
^°*^- Hampstead. 

••Who is he?" I asked. 



188 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"The worst man in London," Holmes answered, as he sat 
down and stretched his legs before the fire. " Is anything on 
the back of the card?" 
I turned it over. 

" WiU caU at 6.80 — C. A. M., " I read. 
"Hum! He's about due. Do you feel a creeping, shrink- 
ing sensation, Watson, when you stand before the serpents in 
the Zoo, and see the slithery, gliding, venomous creatures, with 
their deadly eyes and wicked, flattened faces? Well, that's 
how Milverton impresses me. I've had to do with fifty mur- 
derers in my career, but the worst of them never gave me the 
repulsion which I have for this fellow. And yet I can't get out 
of doing business with him — indeed, he is here at my invita- 
tion." 

"But who is he?" 

" I'll tell you, Watson. He is the king of aU the blackmail- 
ers. Heaven help the man, and still more the woman, whose 
secret and reputation come into the power of Milverton ! With 
a smiling face and a heart of marble, he will squeeze and squeeze 
until he has drained them dry. The feUow is a genius in his 
way, and would have made his mark in some more savoury 
trade. His method is as follows: He aUows it to be known that 
he is prepared to pay very high sums for letters which compro- 
mise people of wealth and position. He receives these wares 
not only from treacherous valets or maids, but frequently from 
genteel ruffians, who have gamed the confidence and aflFection of 
trusting women. He deals with no niggard hand. I happen 
to know that he paid seven hundred pounds to a footman for a 
note two lines in length, and that the ruin of a noble family was 
the result. Everything which is in the market goes to Milverton, 
and there are hundreds in this great city who turn white at 



THE ADVENTURE OP MILVERTON i8» 

his name. No one knows where his grip may fall, for he is 
far too rich and far too cunning to work from hand to mouth. 
He wiU hold a card back for years in order to play it at the mo^ 
ment when the stake is best worth winning. I have said that 
he is the worst man in London, and I would ask you how could 
one compare the ruffian, who in hot blood bludgeons his mate, 
with this man, who methodicaUy and at his leisure tortures the 
soul and wrings the nen a in order to add to his already swollen 
money-bags?" 

I had seldom heard my friend speak with such intensity of 
feeling. 

" But surely. " said I, " the feUow must be within the grasp of 
thekw?" * ^ 

" TechnicaUy. no doubt, but practically not. What would it 
profit a woman, for example, to get him a few months' impris- 
onment, if her own rum must immediately foUow ? His victims 
dare not hit back. If ever he blackmailed an innocent person. 
th«i indeed we should have him, but he is as cunning as the 
Evil One. No, no, we must find other ways to fight him. " 

** And why is he here?" 

* Because an iUustrious client has placed her piteous case in 
my hands. It is the Lady Eva BlackweU, the most beautiful 
debutante of last season. She is to be m-- led in a fortnight to 
the Earl of Dovercourt. This fiend has several imprudent let- 
ters —imprudent, Watson, nothing worse — which were written 
to an impecunious young squire in the country. They would 
suffice to break off the match. Milverton wiU send the letters 
to the Eari unless a large sum of money is paid him. I have 
been commissioned to meet him. and — to make the best terms 
lean." 

At that instant there was a clatter and a rattle in the street 



I«0 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

bdow. Lookbg down I saw a stately carriage and pair, the 
brilliant lamps gleaming on the glossy haunches of the noble 
chestnuts. A footman opened the door, and a small, stout man 
in a shaggy astrakhan overcoat descended. A minute later he 
was in the room. 

Charles Augustus Milverton was a man of fifty, with a large, 
intellectual head, a round, plump, hairless face, a perpetual, 
frozen smile, and two keen grey eyes, which gleamed brightly 
from behind broad, gold-rimmed glasses. There was some- 
thing of Mr. Pickwick's benevolence in his appeaiance, marred 
only by the insincerity of the fixed smile and by the hard glitter 
of those restless and penetrating eyes. His voice was as smooth 
and suave as his countenance, as he advanced with a plump 
little hand extended, murmuring his regret for having missed 
us at his first visit. Hohnes disregarded the outstretched hand 
and looked at him with a face of granite. Milverton's smile 
broadened, he shrugged his shoulders, removed his overcoat, 
folded it with great deliberation over the back of a chair, and 
then took a seat. 

"This gentleman?" said he, with a wave in my direction. 
" Is it discreet ? Is it right ? " 
" Dr. Watson is my friend and partner. " 
" Very good, Mr. Hohnes. It is only in your client's interests 
that I protested. The matter is so very deUcate — " 
" r»r. Watson has already heard of it. " 
"Then we can proceed to business. You say that you are 
acting for Lady Eva. Has she empowered you to accept my 
terms?" ^ ' 

" What are your terms ? " 
" Seven thousand pounds. " 
"And the alternative. " 



THE ADVENTURE OP MILVEirroN 191 

•*My dear sir, it is painful for me to discuss it, but if the 

money is not paid on the 1 4th, there certainly will be no marriage 

on the 18th. - His insufferable smile was more complacent 

than ever 

Holmes thought for a little. 

- You appear to me, " he said, at last, " to be taking matters 
too much for granted. I am. of course, familiar with the con- 
tents of these letters. My client will certably do what I may 
advise. I shaU counsel her to tell her future husband the 
whole stovv, and to trust to his generosity. " 

Milverton chuckled. 

" You evidently do not know the Earl. " said he. 

From the baffled look upon Holmes* face, I could see clearly 
that he did. 

" What harm is there m the letters ? " he asked. 
u Jl^^^ *" sprightiy - very sprighUy, " Milverton answered. 

The lady was a charming correspondent. But I can assure 
you that the Eari of Dovercourt would faU to appreciate them. 
However, since you think otherwise, we wUl let it rest at that. 
It is purely a matter of business. If you think that it is in the 
Iwst mterests of your cUent that these letters should be placed 
in the hands of the Earl, then you would indeed be foolish to 
pay so large a sum of money to regain them. " He rose and 
seized his astrakhan coat. 

Hohnes was grey with anger and mordfication. 

•'WaitaUttie."hesaid. " You go too fast. We should cer- 
tainly make every effort to avoid scandal in so delicate a mat- 
ter. • 

Milverton relapsed into his chair. 

1^ I was sure that you would see it in that light, " he purred. 

"At the same time, " Eohnes continued, " Lady Eva is not a 



>»• Tt RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

wedthywoman. I assure you that two thousand pounds would 
bea drain upon her resources, and that the sum you name is 
utterly beyond her power. I beg. therefore, that you will mod- 
erate your demands, and that you wiU return the lette« at the 

pnce I mdicate. which is. I assure you. the highest that you can 
^ Jiiilverton's smile broadened and his eyes twinkled humor- 

"I am aware that what you say is true about the lady's re- 
«>urces. '• said he. "At the .ame time you must admU th^ 

fri!„T"T 1 1"^''' "^"^^ "" " ^'^ «"^**ble time for her 
faends and relatives to make some litUe eflfort upon her behalf. 
They may hesitate as to an acceptable wedding present Let 
me a^ure them that this little bundle of lettei^ould give more 
joy ^ all the candelabra and butternlishes in London. " 
^^ It IS impossible. " said Holmes. 

"Dear me dear me. how unfortunate!" cried Milverton. 
^outabu%pocket.book. " I cannot help thinking^ 
^es are ill.ad^i„„ot making an effort L^kaTLl" 
?T^1tT '^ T "'''.r^*^ " ^oat-of-arms upon the envelope, 
nl^ .^.T ''^' ^'^^ '' ^ ^"^y '*i' to tell Ae 

name until to-morrow morning. But at that time it will be in 
tt^ehandsof the lady's husband. And aU because she wiU nS 
find a b^arly sum which she could get by turning her dia- 
rnon^mtop^te It«suchapity! Now. you i^nLber the 
sudden end of the engagement between the Honourable Miss 
Miies and Colonel Dorking? Only two days before the ^! 
ding. Aere was a paragraph in the Morning Post to say that it 

s^fff'l .^"?i:^ It^ahnostincredible.butthe'^absurd 
sum of twelve hundred pounds would have setUed the whole 
question. Is it not pitiful? And here I find you. a man oj 



THE ADVENTURE OP BULVEMON ug 

•»». b^.«.b«.tt™,., wh«, j™,, cU«f. future «,d hoo- 

.um wtach I offer th^ u, nan thi. wom«-, c™.,, which c^ 
pro&t you in no way ? " » « wu* 

"There you rwke . nOrtdce, Mr. Hohne.. An eipo.ur« 

S^lT'irf'T"^"**- »»w«ci,e«I.tad«n«^ 
A»Idflnd.llofU.en,n,uehn>ore.pen'»o,e«on. Y^X 

Holmes sprang from his chair. 

"Getbehind him. Watson!" Don't let him out! Now sir 
let us see the contents of that note-book" ' 

•no stood with hu back against the wall 

uic insiae pocket. I have been expecting you to do 
»meU„ng original This ha, been doneT^.^ wW 
P^h«.veroo«e,romi.? I assure you that !.„.„«, to S^ 

that tte law wUl suppoH me. Besides, your suppodtion that I 

H^Ftead. He stepped forw«d,tooIc up his e<!S. laid to 
hand on h« revolver, and turned to the.door. I picked un . 
^, but Hohnes shook hi, head, and I laid it ZT^' 
W.th . bow. a snule. and a twinkle, MOverton was out rf th. 



'•• THE BOTDBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

«^. «d . few momrat. rfte, w. he«d the d.„, rf Uie c«w 

n^ door «rf Ui. »,U. of ft. wheeb „ he drove .„,' 

Hrfme, „. j„<,a.ri«„ by th. fi„, hi. h«,d, b«ri Jdeen in 
h«^«,r pocket., hi. chin ,u„k upon hi. b™.t. hHylTx^ 

»"i. inen. with the gesture of a man who has taken hi- A^ 

r^r ••,■■■ Lk^ ?** *' "" "^P Wo^de^^ending into ftt 
sweet. I u be back wme time Watann " ..:j i. j 

i.h«.in.othenigh.. I unde^:::;, ftt^^ "bXl^X Z" 
For X^^ „ , ^' '""'P^ "" ''"«»«' to take. " 

Stead and fK-f •» *"^ *'°'® ^"^ «P«°t «« Hamp- 

it^'oW ^t Ln ""* "'"*"*' ' '"^^ -*^^»g o' what h^ 

When Jwhfd'ii^z:^' :tr^i::c^T^T 

fnw^ faTin *'''" ^'^^ ^*"«^^ heartily in his silent 

'•N^ird:!^^"""^*"'*'^^"^-'^'^*-'^^- 

;; You'll be interested to hear that I'm engaged. « 

JSiydearfellow! Icongrat— " "^"»^- 

''To Milverton's housemaid. " 

" Good Heavens, Hohnes ! " 

" I wanted information, Watson. •* 

" Surely you have gone too far ? " 



THE ADVENTURE OP MILVERTON ^i 

But the girl. Holmes?" 
He shrugged his shouldera. 

"You can't help it, my dear Watson v«„ » . 
cards as best you L when such;?^ke is I Juh,'^ "T" 
ever. I rejoice to say that I have a ha^eS nVa, ^ho^" r^T 
cut me out the instant that mv back is tu™I^ v^^ f""'^ 
night it is!" "»»". o»ck IS turned. Whatasplendid 

" You like this weather ? ** 

^iT:^^Ty^\^z r '•=' -"* •* "' 

JJ.r Heaven-.^. Hotae.. Uud. what you a« doing." I 



>•• THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

I turned it over in my mind. 

I !'^~'"'*^**'''**"°*>'^yi"''*ifi*W««oIongMouroMect 
fa to take no articles save those which are used for an iU«al 
purpose. " ^ 

•• ExacUy. Since it is morally justifiable. I have only to con- 
«der the question of per«,nal risk. Surely a genUeman should 

" You will be in such a false position. " 
•• Well, that is part of the risk. There is no other possible 
way of regaining these letters. The unfortunate lady has not 

^^°°*^J^** ****" "* "*'"* °' ^«' P*«P»« « ^^om she could 
confide. To-morrow is the last day of grace, and unless we can 
get the letters to-night, this viUain wiU be as good as his word 
and wiU bring about her ruin. I must, therefore, abandon my 
chent to her fate or I must play this last card. Between ou^ 
■elves. Watson, it's a sporting duel between this feUow MUver- 
tonandme. He had. as you saw, the best of the first exchanges 
but my self-respect and my reputation are concerned to fiffht it 
to a finish. " ^ 

..«?^®"* ^ *^°°'* ^* **' **"* ' ™PP«»« »t must be.** said I 
"When do we start?" 

" You are not coming. ** 

" Then you are not going. ** said I. " I give you my word of 
honour-and I never broke it in my life-that I wiU take a 
cab straight to the poUce-station and give you away, unless 
you let me share this adventure with you. " 

"You can't help me." 

" How do you know that ? You can't teU what may happen 
Anyway, my resolution is taken. Other people beside you have 
self-respect, and even reputations. " 



THE ABVEtmniB OP WLVHmiN „ 

Mm« 1>«| looked *oiH7ed. but tiU bio» dnml ^ k. 

oer or shining instrumenta. "ThM in r a^t^i 7 . 

tl.* J.!^\* . ^f^"'.*"** «^«'y modern improvement which 
the march of avilization demands. Here too i. mlT2 
lantern. Eveiythinir is in ard^r n *«>•»» n»y d*A 

Aoes?" '"T"**^ » "» o«»er. Have you a pair of rilent 

^ I have nibber-soled tennis shoes. " 
"Excellent I And a mask?" 

^I can make a couple out of black silk. - 

thint ^^^'^ '^^''': ^''^ ' "*~'«* »»*"«' «"™ 'or this sort of 
*»»««. Very good, do you make the masks. We sUuTt e 

ZL~"nr.*^^'*"*'*-^- Itisnownin^tS^."! 
dei^weshaUdnveasfarasChurchRow. Itisaquitero 

be at work before midnight. MUvertonisaheavysleeDer^ 
jetir« punctually at ten-thirty. With any lu^TeSd^ 

.P^to ^ t '^K '° '* <^««-lo«»es. so tlit'Tnught 
t!^tZ *^o theatregoers homeward bound. InX 

m Hampstead. Here we paid off our cab and w,^ 
l^t coats buttoned up. forfwas bitterly^^dtd L'^w^d' 



"• THE BETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

JhTh^ "*^ *^"^^ "*• ''• ^'^'^ •****« the edge of 

u y* • »>«^~ ^^ ne«l» deUcete treatment. - Mid Holmet. 
1Ti«e document! are contained in a safe in the feUow'i study 
and the rtudy b the ante-ioom of hi. bedchamber. On the 
other hand, hke aU these stout, little men who do themselves 
weU, he u a plethoric sleeper. Agatha - that's my fianefe — 
says It IS a joke in the servants' hall that it's impossible to wake 
tlie master. He has a secretoiy who is devoted to his interests, 
and never budges from the study aU day. That's why we are 
goingatmght. Then he has a beast of a dog which roams the 
garden. I met Agatha late the last two evenings, and she locks 
the brute up so as to give me a clear run. This is the house 
this big one in its own grounds. Through the gate - now to 
Uie nght among the laurels. We might put on our masks here. 
Ithmk. You see. there is not a gUmmer of light in any of the 
wmdows. and everything is working splendidly. " 

With our bUck silk face^verings. which turned us into two 
of the most truculent figures in London, we stole up to the sUent. 
gloomy house. A sort of tiled veranda extended along one side 
of lit. hned by several windows and two doois. 

"That's his bedroom." Hohnes whispered. "This door 
opens straight into the study. It would suit us best, but it is 
bolted as well as locked, and we should make too much noise 
getting m. Come round here. There's a greenhouse which 
opens mto the drawing-room. " 

The place was locked, but Holmes removed a circle of riass 
and turned the key from the inside. An instant afterward he 
had closed the door behind us. and we had become felons in the 
eyes of the law. The thick, warm air of the conservatoiy and 
the nch. chokmg fragrance of exotic plants took us by the throat 



TOB ADVENTURE OP IHLVBRTON ut 

b«Ut.<rf.h™b. which bn..l»d.g.fa„.o«rf««. J!ZihS 
Sl"^ Po™*. ««ft.ny eulti,.w. of «tag fa u» d«k. 
8UU hold»g my h«<l fa one of hi., he op«,ri . dS„. ^ 1°;^ 

Pulfog out my h«d I felt Mve«l CO.U h««fag f„„ m 
«d I unde«U»d th.. I w« fa . P«.g.!we^p^2rS; 

Somrthing rud,«l o«. .1 „. „d my he«t .pnu^iL mv m™ih 
but I could have U«gh«i when I ,..U«d Z iiZ^S^^' 

h«vyw.a.toUeco.moke. H.to,e. ent«edl Uptoe,"^W 
for m. to follow. „d then ve.y g«.Uy clo.«. oJZrVe 
were m Mdverton'. .hidy. «d . port*™ „ fte (.rther ri* 
•bowed the entrance to hi. bedroom 

It WM , good fire, and the room wa. illuminated by it. Near 
the door 1 Mw the gl«un of «, electric witch, but it wa. Z 

fte firepUc. wa. . heavy curtafa which cove«d the bay rtn- 
d.wweh«l«enfromo«l.id.. Ontheoth«.ridew.,th'rr 

r«tt^r"r'*'1* *•""»*'• AOe^-oodinZ 
centre w,th . lummg^h«r of difaing rod leather. OpDosite 

wa, a I.^ bookc^e. with a marblel.. of Athene on^C 

In the comer, between the bookca.e and the waU. thero .3 

a tan. green »fe. the firolight flashing back from the H 22 

b»« knob, upon it, face Holme, .tole aero., „d 1^1^^ 

LhW^ A "^ ^ *' ''"" °' *' ^'^ "■<' »«»«' with 
.lanhng he«^ hstemng intently. No ™.nd came from within 

MeanwhWe .t had rtruck me that it would be wi» to «^ 






THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 
our reweat through the outer door, so I examined it. To 
my amazement, it was neither locked nor bolted. I touched 
Holmes on the ann, and he turned his masked face in that 
direction. I saw him start, and he was evidenUy as sur- 
prised as I. 

"I don't like it, " he whispered, putting his Hps to my very 

ear. " I can't quite make it out. Anyhow, we have no time to 
lose." 

" Can I do anything ? " 

" Yes, stand by the door. If you hear anyone come, bolt it 
on the inside, and we can get away as we came. If they come 
the other way, we can get through the door if our job is done, or 
hide behind these window curtains if it is not. Do you under- 
stand?" 

I nodded, and stood by the door. My first feehng of fear had 
passed away, and I thriUed now with a keener zest than I had 
ever enjoyed when we were the defenders of the law instead 
of its defiers. The high object of our mission, the conscious- 
ness that it was unselfish and chivalrous, the villainous char- 
acter of our opponent, aU added to the sporting interest of the 
adventure. Far from feeling guilty, I rejoiced and exulted in 
our dangers. With a glow of admiration I watched Hohnes 
unrolling his case of instruments and choosing his tool with the 
calm, scientific accuracy of a surgeon who performs a delicate 
operation. I knew that the opening of safes was a particular 
hobby with him, and I understood the joy which it gave him 
to be confronted with this green and gold monster, the dragon 
which held in its maw the reputations of many fair ladies. 
Turning up the cuflFs of his dress-coat — he had placed his 
overcoat on a chair —Hohnes laid out two drills, a jemmy, 
and several skeleton keys. I stood at the centre door with my 



SOI 



THE ADVENTDBE OP ML'/vEl?TON 
eyes glandng at each of the othen ready for an emeigency. 
though, indeed, my plans were so yewhat vagi J as to what I 
should do if we were interrupted, r oi h Jf ar hour. Holmes 
worked with concentrated energy, laying down one tool, picking 
up another, handling each with the strength and delicacy of the 
trained mechanic. Finally I heard a click, the broad green 
door swung open, and inside I had a gUmpse of a number of 
paper packets, each tied, sealed, and inscribed. Holmes picked 
one out. but it was hard to read by the flickering fire, and he 
drew out his Ultle dark lantern, for it was too dangerous, with 
Maverton in the next room, to switch on the electric light 
Suddenly I saw him halt, listen intently, and then in an instant 
he had swung the door of the safe to, picked up his coat, stuffed 
his tools into the pockets, and darted behind the window 
curtam, motioning me to do the same. 

It was only when I had joined him there that I heard what 
had alarmed his quicker senses. There was a noise some- 
where within the house. A door slammed in the distance. 
Then a confused, duU murmur broke itself into the measured 
thud of heavy footsteps rapidly approaching. They were in 
the passage outside the room. They paused at the door. The 
door opened. There was a sharp snick as the electric light 
was turned on. The door closed once more, and the pungent 
reek of a strong cigar was borne to our nostrils. Then the foot- 
steps continued backwards and forwards, backwards and for- 
wards, within a few yards of us. Finally there was a creak 
from a chair, and the footsteps ceased. Then a key dicked 
in a lock, and I heard the rustle of papers. 

So far I had not dared to look out, but now I gently parted 
the division of the curtains in front of me and peeped through. 
Prom the pressure of Hoknes' shoulder against mine, I knew 






•M THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

that he was sharing my observations. Right in front of 
us, and almost within our reach, was the broad, rounded 
back of Milverton. It was evident that we had entirely 
miscalculated his movements, that he had never been to 
his bedroom, but that he had been sitting up in some 
smoking or bUliard room in the farther wing of the house, 
the windows of which we had not seen. His broad, grizzled 
head, with its shining patch of baldness, was in the immedi- 
ate foreground of our vision. He was leaning far back in 
the red leather chair, his legs outstretched, a long, black 
cigar projecting at an angle from his mouth. He wore a 
semi-military smoking jacket, claret-coloured, with a black 
velvet collar. In his hand he held a long, legal document 
which he was reading in an indolent fashion, blowing rings of 
tobacco smoke from his lips as he did so. There was no 
promise of a speedy departure in his composed bearing and 
his comfortable attitude. 

I felt Holmes' hand steal into mine and give me a reassuring 
shake, as if to say that the situation was within his powers, and 
that he was easy in his mind. I was not sure whether he had 
seen what was only too obvious from my position, that the door 
of the safe was imperfectly closed, and that MUverton might at 
any moment observe it. In my own mind I had determined 
that if I were sure, from the rigidity of his gaze, that it had 
caught his eye, I would at once spring out, throw my great coat 
over his head, pinion him, and leave the rest to Holmes. But 
Milverton never looked up. He was languidly interested by 
the papers in his hand, and page after page was turned as he 
foUowed the ai^ument of the lawyer. At least, I thought, when 
he had finished the document and the cigar he wiU go to his 
room, but before he had reached the end of either, there came a 



THE ADVENTUBE OP MILVEHTON sos 

remarkable development, which turned our thoughts into quite 
another channel. 

Several times I had observed that Milverton looked at his 
watch, and once he had risen and sat down again, with a ges- 
ture of impatience. The idea, however, that he might have an 
appointment at so strange an hour never occurred to me until 
a faint sound reached my ears from the veranda outside. Mil- 
verton dropped his papers and sat rigid in his chair. The 
sound was repeated, and then there came a gentle tap at the 
door. Milverton rose and opened it. 

" Well, " said he, curtly, " you are nearly half an hour late. " 

So this was the explanation of the unlocked door and of the 
nocturnal vigil of Milverton. There was the gentle rustle of a 
woman's dress. I had closed the slit between the curtains as 
Milverton's face had turned in our direction, but now I ventured 
very carefully to open it once more. He had resumed his seat, 
the cigar still projecting at an insolent angle from the comer of 
his mouth. In front of him, in the full glare of the electric 
light, there stood a tall, slim, dark woman, a veil over her face, 
a mantle drawn round her chin. Her breath came quick and 
fast, and every inch of the lithe figure was quivering with strong 
emotion. 

" Well, " said Milverton, " you've made me lose a good night's 
rest, my dear. I hope you'll prove worth it. You couldn't 
come any other time — eh ? " 

The woman shook her head. 

"Well, if you couldn't you couldn't. U the Countess is a 
hard mistress, you have your chance to get level with her now. 
Bless the giri, what are you shivering about? That's right. 
Pull yourself together. Now, let us get down to business. " He 
took a note-book from the drawer of his desk. " You say that 



r-- 



f if 



«M THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBiES 

you have five letters which compromise the Countess d'Albert 
You want to sell them. I want to buy them. So far so good 
It only remains to fix a price. I should want to inspert the 
letters, of course. If they are reaUy good specimens -- Great 
Heavens, is it you ? " 

The woman, without a word, had raised her veil and dropped 
the ' iantle from her chin. It was a dark, handsome, clear-cut 
face which confronted Milverton-a face with a curved nose 
strong, dark eyebrows shading hard, glittering eyes, and a 
straight, thin-lipped mouth set in a dangerous snule. 
" It is I. " she said. " the woman whose life you have rumed " 
Milvertca laughed, but fear vibrated in his voice. " You were 
so very obstinate. " said he. « Why did you drive me to such 
extremities ? I assure you I wouldn't hurt a fly of my own 
accord, but every man has his business, and what was I to do ? 
I put the price weU within your means. You would not pay " 
"So you sent the letters to my husband, and hc-the noblest 
gentleman that ever Uved, a man whose boots I was never 
worthy to lace -he broke his gaUant heart and died. You 
remember that last night, when I came through that door I 
begged and prayed you for merey, and you hiughed in my 
face as you are trying to laugh now, only your coward heart 
cannot keep your Ups from twitching ? Yes. you never thought 
to see me here again, but it was that night which taught me 

how I could meet you face to face, and alone. Well, Charies 
Milverton, what have you to say ? " 

" Don't imagine that you can buUy me, " said he. rising to his 
feet. « I have only to raise my voice, and I could call my serv- 
ants and have you arrested. But I will make aUowance for 

your natural anger. Leave the room at once as you came, and 
I will say no more. " 



THE ADVENTURE OF MILVERTON 205 

The woman stood with her hand buried in her bosom, and the 
same deadly smile on her thin lips. 

" You will ruin no more lives as you have ruined mine. You 
will wring no more hearts as you wrung mine. I will free the 
world of a poisonous thing. Take that, you hound — and that ! 
— and that! —and that! — and that!" 

She had drawn a little gleaming revolver, and emptied barrel 
after barrel mto Milverton's body, the muzzle within two feet of 
his shirt front. He shrank away and then fell forward upon the 
table, coughing furiously and clawing among the papers. Then 
he staggered to his feet, received another shot, and rolled 
upon the floor. " You've done me," he cried, and lay still. The 
woman looked at him intently, and ground her heel into his 
upturned face. She looked again, but there was no sound 
or movement. I heard a sharp rustle, the night air blew into 
the heated room, and the avenger was gone. 

No interference upon our part could have saved the man from 
his fate, but, as the woman poured bullet after bullet into Mil- 
verton's shrinking body I was about to spring out, when I 
felt Holmes' cold, strong grasp upon my wrist. I understood 
the whole argument of that firm, restraining grip — that it 
was no affair of ours, that justice had overtaken a villain, that 
we had our own duti» and our own objects, which were not to 
be lost sight of. But hardly had the woman rushed from the 
room when Holmes, with swift, silent steps, was over at the 
other door. He turned the key in the lock. At the same 
instant we heard voices in the house and the sound of hurrying 
feet. The revolver shots had roused the household. With 
perfect coohiess Holmes slipped across to the safe, filled his 
two arms with bundles of letters, and poured them all into the 
fire. Again and again he did it, until the safe was empty. 



M 



4 



«• THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

Someone turned the handle, and beat upon the outside of th< 
door. Holmes looked swifUy round. The letter which had 
T ^^^"^"^"^ o' d«»«» 'or Milverton lay, aU mottled 
with his blood, upon the table. Hohnes tossed it in amon, 
the blazing papers. Then he drew the key from the outer door 
passed through after me. and locked it on the outside. " This 

^^^n*^°' " "^^ ^*' " """ "*" "^'^^ *^' «^'^*° ^^ »° "^^ 
I could not have believed that an alarm could have spread so 
swiftly. Lookmg back, the huge house was one blaze of light. 
The front door was open, and figures were rushing down the 
drive. The whole garden was aUve with people, and one fel- 
low mised a view-halloa as we emerged from the veranda and fol- 
lowed hard at our heels. Holmes seemed to know the grounds 
perfectly and he threaded his way swiftly among a plantation 
of «^aU trees I close at hi's heels, and our foremost pursuer 
pantmg behind us. It was a six-foot wall which barred our 
path but he sprang to the top and over. As I did the same I 
felt Ae hand of the man behind me grab at my ankle, but I 
kicked myself free and scrambled over a grass-strewn coping. 
I fell upon my face amonqr some bushes, but Holmes had me 
on my feet in an instant, and together we dashed away.across 
the huge expanse of Hampstead Heath. We had run two mUes 
I suppose before Hohnes at last halted and listened intently! 
All was absolute sUence behind us. We had shaken off our 
pursuers and were safe. 

We had breakfasted and were smoking our morning pipe on 
the day after the remarkable experience which I havTrecorded. 
when Mr. Lestrade. of Scotland Yard, very solemn and im- 
piessive. was ushered into our modest sitting-room. 




HE FELL FORWAHD IPOS THK TABLE, lOl (iHlSG HRI018LV 
AXn I'LAWINIi AMONG THE PAPKR!) 



THE ADVENTURE OF BOLVERTON m/t 

"Good morning, Mr. Holmes,** said he; "good morning. 
May I ask if you are very busy just now ? ** 
" Not too busy to listen to you. ** 

" I thought that, perhaps, if you had nothing particular on 
hand, you might care to assist us in a most remarkable case, 
which occurred only last night at Hampstead. '* 
"Dear me!" said Holmes. " What was that ? ** 
"A murder — a most dramatic and remarkable murder. I 
know how keen you are upon these things, and I would take it 
as a great favour if you would step down to Appledore Towers, 
and give us the benefit of your advice. It is no ordinary crime. 
We have had our eyes upon this Mr. Milverton for some time, 
and, between ourselves, he was a bit of a villain. He is known 
to have held papers which he used for blackmailing purposes. 
These papers have all been burned by the murderers. No ar- 
ticle of value was taken, as it is probable that the criminals were 
men of good position, whose sole object was to prevent social 
exposure." 

"Criminals?" saidHobnes. "Plural?" 

" Yes, there were two of them. They were as neariy as pos- 
sible captured red-handed. We have their footmarks, we 
have their description, it's ten to one that we trace them. The 
first fellow was a bit too active, but the second was caught by 
the under-gardner, and only got away after a stru^le. He 
was a middle-sized, strongly built man — square jaw, thick 
neck, moustache, a mask over his eyes. " 

"That's rather vague," said Sherlock Holmes. "Why, it 
might be a description of Watson! " 

" It's true, " said the inspector, with amusement. " It might 
be a description of Watson. " 

" Well, I'm afraid I can't help you, Lestrade, " said Hohnes. 



'I' 



THE RETOHN OP SHEBUXX HOLMES 
" m f«* a Uh.t I kMw Uu. fdl w MOyaton, ih., I «^ j,^ 
h«n o„. <rf uie met d«««ou. m«, i. Umdon. ««! uTl 
tok th«, «. c«Wn crim« which U» Uw c«»ot t<H.ch. «d 
which lh.«f„„ to wm. «*„,. j„M,y pri„„ „„„^ ^ 

:sn.„Th::raL':rr' "'^" "-• -"" '^ -'-^^^ 

HotoiM h«l not Mid one word to me .bout the tnuedy wUeh 
we h«l w,toe«ed, but I ob«rved M the mon«ug Z^™^ 
^most thoughtful mood. «,dh.g.veme,he,mp^°;™" 
hB vaamt eye, »d hi, .b,t«ctod mimuer, ol I man ^ZZ 

S r T" r"°f^'« *" "^^ ™'""y- We we« i„ the 
middle of ourluuch. when he ,uddeniy .p«« to hi, feet. "By 

i^rJt^n ^«°?' '""'«'• "T.keyourh.t.. Come 

r rt, J'c ^""^ *' "^ •»? 'P"" 'i'"™ B^" Street «d 
.Jong Orford Street, uata w. h«l .l.nu.t re«hed lUgent O^ 

7ti, „KT-'"';f"f?""*'^«»»«<l»«»>>opMXw filled 
jnth photograph, of the celebritie, Md beautie, of the d.T 
Holme, ey« fixed them,elve, upon one of them, md foUow 

mg h» g.« I „w the picture rf a «g.l and ,t,uely hdy in C«irt 
d.^. w,th a high di«n.nd tia» upon her /oble h«d ^ 

^the ,tnught mouth, and the rtreng little chin beneath it 
Then I caugh my breath a, 1 re«l the time-honoured liUe of 
the great nobleman and rtatcman whoM wife ,he had been 
My eye, met tho« of Holme,, «>d he put hi, finger to tei 
hp, a, we turned away from the window. -"V^ «"»> 



vm 

THE ADVENTURE OP 
THE SIX NAPOLEONS 

It was no very unusual thing for Mr. Lestrade. of Scotland 
Yard, to look in upon us of an evening, and his visits were 
welcome to Sherlock Hohnes, for they enabled him to keep in 
touch with all that was going on at the poli'w headquarters. 
In return for the news which Lestrade would bring. Holmes 
was always ready to listen with attention to the details of any 
case upon which the detective was engaged, and was able occa- 
sionally, without any active interference, to give some hint or 
suggestion drawn from his own vast knowledge and experience. 

On this particular evening, Lestrade had spoken of the 
weather and the newspapers. Then he had fallen silent, puf- 
fing thoughtfully at his cigar. Holmes looked keenly at him. 

" Anythmg remarkable on hand ? " he asked. 

"Oh, no, Mr. Holmes — nothing veiy particular." 

•' Then teU me about it." 

Lestrade laughed. 

"WeU, Mr. Holmes, there is no use denying that there is 
something on my mind. And yet it is such an absurd business, 
that I hesitated to bother you about it. On the other hand, 
although it is trivial, it is undoubtedly queer, and I know that 



•» THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBIE8 

you h.ve . Urte for dl tUt i. out of the common. But. in my 
opuuon. .t come. mo« in Dr. W.t«,n'. line thw our.." ^ 

Di«eMe?"MudI. 

wouldn t think the« w« anyone Uving .t thi. Ume of d.y who 
h«i .uch . ha red of Napoleon the Fi«t that he would b«ak 
any image of him that he could «*." 

Holmes sank back in his chair. 

" That's no business of mine," said he 

conumts buiKlary in oHer to bieak images which a« not ^ 
own, that bnngs ,t away from the doctor and on tc. the poUce- 

Holmes sat up again. 

Leslnd. look out hi, offlaal Bole-book. M,d «fre.h«l hi. 
memoiy from ib pages. 

w«!! .h 'k "^^ S"'^ ™ '""' '^"^ "8»'" "M •»• " It 
w„ ^ th. d,.p of Mo« Hud«,„, who h« . place for the «1. 

ofp,*.«,.„d Statue, in the K«,m„gto„ Road The arista,,, 

h^ Wt the f^t shop for «. h,su.„t. when he heart . o«d,. 

™d hunyn^ „ he found . ph«te, bust of Napoleon, which 

stood w.th sevemi other works of art upon the »unte^J^ 

.luvered .nto f»gn.ents. He rushea out into a,. rr.iXt 

although several p«ser.-by decl««J that they h«i noticed 

could he find any n>eM,s of identifying the rascal. It sLm«J to 
be one o! those senseless acts of Hoohganisn, which occur from 

^1 ^ "1 '.' ™ "'"'^ •" "" «"■"••''' »» *« ••«« 
as such. The pUster cast wa. not worth more than a few shU- 



m 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS flll 

lings, and the whole affair appeared to be too childish for anj 
particular investigation. 

" The second case, however, was more serious, and also more 
singular. It occurred only last night. 

"In Kennington Road, and within a few hundred yards of 
Morse Hudson's shop, there lives a well-known medical prac- 
titioner, named Dr. Bamicot, who has one of the laigest prac- 
tices upon the south side of the Thames. His residence and 
principal consulting-room is at Kennington Road, but he has 
a branch surgery and dispensary at Lower Brixton Road, two 
miles away. This Dr. Bamicot is an enthusiastic admirer of 
Napoleon, and his house is full of books, pictures, and relics 
of the French Emperor. Some little time ago he purchased 
from Morse Hudson two duplicate plaster casts of the famous 
head ol Napoleon by the Trench sculptor, Devine. One of 
these he placed in his hall in the house at Kennington Road, 
and the other on the mantelpiece of the sui^ery at Lower Brix- 
ton. Well, when Dr. Bamicot came down this morning he 
was astonished to find that his house had been buigled during 
the night, but that nothing had been taken save the plaster 
head from the hall. It had been carried out and had been 
dashed savagely against the garden wall, under which its 
splintered fragments were discovered." 
Holmes mbbed his hands. 
" This is certainly very novel," said he. 
" I thought it would please you. But I have not got to the 
end yet. Dr. Bamicot was due at his surgery at twelve o'clock, 
and you can imagine his amazement when, on arriving there, 
he found that the window had been opened in the night, and 
that the broken pieces of his second bust were strewn all over 
the room. It had been smashed to atoms where it stood. In 



I ' I 



fl 



iiil 



«« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

ndAer cj« were there any sign* which could give us a due M 
to the cnminal or lunatic who had done the mischief. Now 
Mr. Holmes, you have got the facts." * 

"M^r T tT^"i "*** ^ "^ grotesque." said Holmes. 

May I ask whether the two busts smashed in Dr. Baraicot's 

rooms were the exact duplicates of the one which was destroyed 

m Morse Hudson's shop ? " a«iroyea 

" They were taken from the same mould." 

"SucA a fact must teU against the theoty that the man who 
breaks them « mfluenced by any genenU hatred of Napoleon. 
Considenng how many hundreds of statues of the great Em- 
peror must exist in London, it is too much to suppL such a 
comodence as that a promiscuous iconoclast slSuld chance 
to begm upon three specimens of the same bust " 

J7^''^'*'**'iL"/^"^**'"^^^««^«- "On the other 
hand, aus Morse Hudson is the purveyor of busts in that pari 
of London, and these three were the only ones which had be^ 
inh^shopforyears. So, although, as you say. there are many 
hundreds of statues in London, it is veiy probable that these 
three were the only ones in that district. Therefore, a local 
^^^jould heffn with them. What do you think. Dr. 

"There are no Kmits to the possibiHties of monomania." I 
answered. "There is the condition which the modem French 
psycAologwts have caUed the 'id^ fixe.' which may be triflinir 
in character, and accompanied by complete sanity in ev«T 
otiher way. A man who had read deeply about Napoleon, or 
who had possibly received some hereditary family injury 
«m>ugh the great war. might conceivably form such an 'id^ 
fixe and mider its influence be capable of any fantastic out- 
rage. 



r 

I 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SIX NAPOLEONS <18 

-That won't do, my dear Watson," said Holmes, shaking 
his head, "for no amount of 'id^ fixe' would enable your in- 
teresting monomaniac to find out where these busts were situ- 
ated." 

" Well, how do y<m explain it ? ** 

"I don't attempt to do so. I would only observe that there 
is a certain method in the genUeman's eccentric proceedings. 
For example, in Dr. Bamicot's haU, where a sound might 
arouse the family, the bust was taken outside before being 
broken, whereas in the surgeiy, where there was less danger 
of an alarm, it was smashed where it stood. The affair seems 
absurdly trifling, and yet I dare caU nothing trivial when I 
reflect that some of my most classic cases have had the least 
promising commencement. You wiU remember, Watson, how 
the dreadful business of the Abemetty family was firet brought 
to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the 
butter upon a hot day. I can't afford, therefore, to smile at 
your three broken busts, Lestrade, and I shaU be very much 
obliged to you if you wiU let me hear of any fresh develop- 
ment d so singular a chain of events." 

The development for which my friend had asked came in a 
quicker and an infinitely more tragic form than he could have 
imagined. I was still dressing in my bedroom next morning, 
when there was a tap at the door and Holmes entered, a tele- 
gram in his hand. He read it aloud: — 

" Come instantly, 131, Pitt Street, Kensington. — Lestrade." 

- What is it, then ?" I asked. 

*• Don't know — may be anything. But I suspect it is the 
sequel of the story of the statues. In that case our friend, the 
image-breaker, has begun operations in another quarter of 



•M THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

London. There's coffee on the table, Watson, and I have a 
cab at the door." 

In half an hour we had reached Pitt Street, a quiet little 
backwater just beside one of the briskest currents of London 
b'fe. No. 131 was one of a row, all flat-chested, respectable, 
and most unromantic dwellings. As we drove up, we found the 
railings in front of the house lined by a curious crowd. Hohnes 
whistled. 

"By Geoige! it's attempted murder at the least. Nothing 
less will hold the London message-boy. There's a deed of 
violence indicated in that fellow's round shoulders and out- 
stretched neck. What's this, Watson? The top steps swilled 
down and the other ones dry. Footsteps enough, anyhow! 
Well, well, there's Lestrade at the front window, and we shall 
soon know all about it." 

The official received us with a very grave face and showed 
us into a sitting-room, where an exceedingly unkempt and 
agitated elderly man, clad in a flannel dressing-gown, was 
pacing up and down. He was introduced to us as the owner of 
the house ~ Mr. Horace Harker, of the Central Press Syndi- 
cate. 

"It's the Napoleon bust business again," said Lestrade. 
"You seemed interested last night, Mr. Hohnes, so I thought 
perhaps you would be ghid to be present now that the affair 
has taken a very much graver turn." 

" What has it turned to, then ? " 

"To murder. Mr. Harker, will you tell these gentlemen 
exactly what has occurred ? " 

The man in the dressing-gown turned upon us with a most 
melancholy face. 

"It's an extraordinary thing," said he, "that all my life I 



THE ADVENTX7RE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS SIA 

have been collecting other people's news, and now that a real 
piece of news has come my own way I am so confused and 
bothered that I can't put two words together. If I had come 
in here as a journalist, I should have interviewed myself and 
had two columns in every evening paper. As it is, I am giving 
away valuable copy by telling my story over and over to a 
string of di£Ferent people, and I can make no use of it myself. 
However, I've heard your name, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and 
if you'll only explain this queer business, I shall be paid for my 
trouble in telling you the story." 

Holmes sat down and listened. 

" It all seems to centre round that bust of Napoleon which 
I bought for this very room about four months ago. I picked 
it up cheap from Harding Brothers two doors from the High 
Street Station. A great deal of wy journalistic work is done 
at night, and I often write until the eariy morning. So it was 
to-day. I was sitting in my den, which is at the back of the 
top of the house, about three o'clock, when I was convinced 
that I heard some sounds downstairs. I listened, but they 
were not repeated, and I concluded that they came from 
outside. Then suddenly, about five minutes later, there came 
a most horrible yell — the most dreadful sound, Mr. Holmes, 
that ever I heard. It will ring in my ears as long as I live. I 
sat frozen with horror for a minute or two. Then I seized the 
poker and went downstairs. When I entered this room I found 
the window wide open, and I at once observed that the bust 
was gone from the mantelpiece. Why any burglar should take 
such a thing passes my understanding, for it was only a 
plaster cast, and of no real value whatever. 

"You can see for yourself that anyone going out through 
that open window could reach the front doorstep by taking a 



(J 



»M IHE HBTUBN OF SHEKLOCac HOLMES 

ft~««d the whol.pl«e.wi,..^i. blood. Hehvonhi. 
b^. lu. kae« d»™ up. „d hi. mouth hombly oL. I 
A^».lummmyd««„. Ih«ljurttim.u,bU,w« J 
pohce-whBtle, <uid theu I mm have f«„t«l. for I kn«, noZ 
j;* mo« unm I ,ou»d the poB«™u. ^^.dii^ oveTrrt 

1 Wdl. who wa. the murdered man ? " wked Hohne.. 

.1. ,, "t'"^'°»^<""'''ohew..,"«udLe.ti»de. "You 
AJl 8.e the body ,1 the mortuaiy. but we have m«ie nothiug 
of It up to now. Hefaat.Um«.,«mbumed.ven-p„w3 

appeartobe.UbouBsr. A hom-handled dasp kjfe wa, Irine 

Lfin ?• J^ ^™ "" no nam. on hi, clothmg. and nothl 
»g m im pockefa «ve an apple, «,me *ing. a^Sng map of 
London, and a photograph. Here it is." ^^ 

» wa, «dd«Uy taken by a ma,vd,ot frem a «nan ounenL 
»«I»«enled u, .]«*. Aarp-featured dmian m«,, with thick 
^n>w, „d a ve,y peculiar projection of the bwer part o« 
the face, hke the muzde of a baboon 

JnT' *"!? T' °^ ^* ^'"'* ^"'^ y«" «"»«• It has been 
found m the front garden of an empty house in Campden 

Hou^Road. It was broken into fragments. I am ^ 
romidnowtoseeit. WiU you come ? " 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS tl7 

-Certainly. I must just take one look round." He examined 
the carpet and the window. " The feUow had either very long 
1^ or was a most active man," said he. " With an area be- 
neath, it was no mean feat to reach that window-ledge and open 
that window. Getting back was comparatively simple. Are 
you coming with us to see the remains of your bust, Mr. Bar- 
ker ?" 

The disconsolate journalist had seated himself at a writinff- 
Uble. ^ 

"I must try and make something of it," said he, "though 
I have no doubt that the first editions of the evening papers are 
out already with fuU details. It's like my luck! You remem- 
ber when the stand fell at Doncaster? Well, I was the only 
journalist in the stand, and my journal the only one that had no 
account of it, for I was too shaken to write it. And now I'll 
be too late with a murder done on my r -» doorstep." 

As we left the room, we L rd his | travelling shrilly over 
the foolscap. 

The spot where the fragments of the bust had been fc- i 
was only a few hundred yards away. For the first time our ey«i 
rested upon this presentment of the great Emperor, which 
seemed to raise such frantic and destructive hatred in the mind 
of the unknown. It lay scattered, in splintered shards, upon 
the grass. Holmes picked up several of them and examined 
them carefully. I was convinced, from his intent face and his 
purposeful manner, that at last he was upon a due. 

"WeU?" asked Lestrade. 

Holmes shrugged his shoulders. 

" We have a long way to go yet," said he. " And yet — and 
yet — well, we have some suggestive facts to act upon. The 
possession of this trifling bust was worth more, in Uie eyes of 



m 



I 






*W THE RETUBN OP SBEBUOCK HOLMES 

thia strange criminal, than a human life. That is one point. 
Then there is the singular fact that he did not break it in the 
house, or immediately outside the house, if to break it was his 
sole object." 

"He was rattled and bustled by meeting this other fellow. 
He hardly knew what he was doing." 

WeU, that's likely enough. But I wish to caU your atten- 
tion very particularly to the position of this house in the garden 
of which the bust was destroyed." 

Lestrade looked about him. 

"It was an emply house, and so he knew that he wouU not 
be disturbed in the garden." 

" Yes, but there is another empty house farther up the street 
which he must have passed before he came to this one. Why 
did he not break it theie, since it is evident that every yard 
that he carried it increased the risk of someone meeting him ? " 

" I give it up," said Lestrade. 

Hohnes pointed to the street lamp above our heads. 

"He could see what he was doing here, and he could not 
there. That was his reason." 

"By Jove! that's true," said the detective. "Now that I 
come to think of it. Dr. Bamicot's bust was broken not far 

from his red Uunp. WeU, Mr. Hohnes, what are we to do with 
that fact?" 

" To remember it — to docket it. We may come on some- 
thing later which wiU bear upon it. What steps do you pro- 
pose to take now, Lestrade ? " 

•The most practical way of getting at it, in my opinion, is 
to identify the dead man. There should be no difficulty about 
that. When we have found who he is and who his associates 
are, we should have a good start in learning what he was doing 



THE ADVENTDBE OF THE SQ NiJOLEONS tl8 

in Pitt Street last night, and who it was who met him and killed 
him on the doorstep of Mr. Horace Barker. Don't you think 
so?" 

" No doubt; and yet it is not quite the way in which I should 
approach the case." 
" What would you do then ? " 

" Oh, you must not let me influence you in any way. I sug- 
gest that you go on your line and I on mine. We can compare 
notes afterwards, and each will supplement the other." 
" Very good," said Lestrade. 

"If you are going back to Pitt Street, you might see Mr. 
Horace Harker. Tell him from me that I have quite made up 
my mind, and that it is certain that a dangerous homidddl 
lunatic, with Napoleonic delusions, was in his house last night 
It will be useful for his article." 
Lestrade stared. 

" You don't seriously believe that ? ** 
Holmes smiled. 

"Don't I? Well, perhaps I don't. But I am sure that it 
will interest Mr. Horace Harker and the subscribers of the 
Central Press Syndicate. Now, Watson, I think that we shall 
find that we have a long and rather complex day's work before 
us. I should be glad, Lestrade, if you could make it convenient 
to meet us at Baker Street at six o'clock this evening. Until 
then I should like to keep this phoU^raph, found in the dead 
man's pocket. It is possible that I may have to ask your com- 
pany and assistance upon a small expedition which will have 
to be undertaken to-nigjit, if my chain of reasoning should 
prove to be correct. Until then, good-bye and good luck ! " 

Sherlock Hohnes and I walked together to the High Street, 
where we stopped at the shop of Harding Brothers, whence 



\ ' 



f 









«» THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

^l^T «"1I^" P"«*"«l. A young «ai.tant informed u. 

that Mr. Harding would be absent until after noon, and that he 

was himself a newcomer, who could give us no information. 

^ n. ''*^„'*°^«» ^ disappointment and annoyance. 

Well. weU. we can't expect to have it aU our own way. Wat- 

tfMrH'::;'"*'.';?' •^'^---^^-backintheaftLoon. 
If Mr. Harding will not be here until then. I am. as you have 
no doubt surmised, endeavouring to trace these busts to their 
souree. m order to find if there is not something peculiar which 
may account for tiieir remarkable fate. Let us make for Mr 
Morse Hudson, of Uie Kennington Road, and see if he can 
throw any light upon tiie problem." 

A drive of an hour brought us to the pictureKlealer-s estab- 
hshment. He was a small, stout man with a red face and a 
peppery manner. 

"Yes, sir. On my very counter, sir." said he. "What we 
pay rates and taxes for I don't know, when any ruffian can 
come m and break one's goods. Yes. sir. it was I who «>ld 
Dr. Bimucot his two statues. Disgniceful sir! A Nihilist 
plot- that s what I make it. No one but an anarchist would 
go about breaking statues. Red republicans - that's what I 
call em. Who did I get the statues frem ? I don't see what 
that has to do with it. WeU. if you reaUy want to know. I got 
them from Gelder and Co.. in Chureh Street. Stepney. TbTy 
are a well-known house in the trade, and have been this twenty 
years How many had I? Three - two and one are three -- 
two of Dr. Bamicot's. and one smashed in broad day%ht on 
my own counter. Do I know that photograph ? No. I don't. 
Yes. I do. though. Why. it's Beppo. He was a kind of 
Italian piece-work man. who made himself useful in the shop. 
He could carve a bit and gUd and frame, and do odd jobs. The 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SIX NAPOLEONS m 

fellow left me last week, and I've heard nothing of him since. 
No. I don't know where he came from nor where he went to. 
I had nothing against him while he was here. He was gone 
two days before the bust was smashed." 

"Well, that's all we could reasonably expect from Morse 
Hudson," said Holmes, as we emerged from the shop. "We 
have this Beppo as a common factor, both in Kennington and 
in Kensington, so that is worth a ten-mile drive. Now, Wat- 
son, let us make for Gelder and Co., of Stepney, the source 
and origin of the busts. I shall be surprised if we don't get 
some help down there." 

In rapid succession we passed through the fringe of fashion- 
able London, hotel London, theatrical London, literary Lon- 
don, commercial London, and, finally, maritime London, till 
we came to a riverside city of a hundred thousand souls, where 
the tenement houses swelter and reek with the outcasts of 
Europe. Here, in a broad thoroughfare, once the abode of 
wealthy City merchants, we found the sculpture works for 
which we searched. Outside was a considerable yard full of 
monumental masonry. Inside was a large room in which 
fifty workers were carving or moulding. The manager, a big 
blonde German, received us civilly, and gave a clear answer to 
aU Hohnes' questions. A reference to his books showed 
that hundreds of casts had been taken from a marble copy of 
Oevine's head of Napoleon, but that the three which had been 
sent to Morse Hudson a year or so before had been half of a 
batch of six, the other three being sent to Harding Brothers, of 
Kensington. There was no reason why those six should be 
different to any of the other casts. He could suggest no pos- 
sible cause why anyone should wish to destroy them — in 
fact, he laughed at the idea. Their wholesale price was six 



\f 



i 



•• , THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOUfES 

•hillings, but the retaUer would get twelve or more. The cut 
WM tdiep in two moulds from each side of the face, and then 
these two profiles of pUster of Paris were joined together to 
make the complete bust. The woric was usuaUy done by 
Italians, in the room we were in. When finished, the busU 
were put on a Uble in the passage to dry. and afterwards 
stored. That was all he could tell us. 

But the production of the photograph had a remaricable 
effect upon the manager. His face fiushed with anger, and 
his brows knotted over his blue Teutonic eyes. 

"Ah, the rascal!" he cried. "Yes, indeed. I know him 
very weU. This has always been a respectable establishment, 
and the only time that we have ever had the police in it was 
over this very feUow. It was more than a year ago now. He 
knifed another Italian in the street, and then he came to the 
works with the police on his heeb, and he was taken here. 
Beppo was his name — his second name I never knew. Serve 
me right for engaging a man with such a face. But he was a 
good workman — one of the best." 
"What did he get?" 

"The man lived and he got off with a year. I have no 
doubt he is out now, but he has not dared to show his nose 
here. We have a cousin of his here, and I dare say he could 
teU you where he is.* 

"No, no," cried Hohnes, "not a word to the cousin — not 
a word, I beg of you. The matter is veiy important, and the 
farther I go with it, the more important it seems to grow. When 
you referred in your ledger to the sale of those casts I observed 
that the date was June Srd of last year. Could you give me 
the date when Beppo was arrested ? " 
"I could teU you roughly by the pay-list," the manager 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SIX NAFOLEON8 

answered. "Yes," he continued, after wme turning oyer of 
pages. " he was paid hut on May 20th." 

•• Thank you." said Holmes. " I don't flunk that I need in- 
trude upon your time and patience any more." With a last 
word of caution that he should say nothing as to our re- 
searches, we turned our faces westward once more. 

The afternoon was far advanced before we were able to 
snatch a hasty luncheon at a restaurant. A news-bill at the 
entrance announced "Kensington Outrage. Murder by a 
Madman," and the contents of the paper showed that Mr. 
Horace Harker had got his account into print after all. Two 
columns were occupied With a highly sensational and floweiy 
rendering of the whole incident. Holmes propped it against 
the cruet-stand and read it while he ate. Once or twice he 
chuckled. 

"This is all right, Watson," said he. "Listen to this: 'It 
is satisfactory to know that there can be no difference of opinion 
upon this case, since Mr. Lestrade, one of the most experienced 
members of the official force, and Mr. Sheriock Holmes, the 
well-known consulting expert, have each come to the conclu- 
sion that the grotesque series of incidents, which have ended in 
so tragic a fashion, arise from lunacy rather than from delib- 
erate crime. No explanation save mental aberration can cover 
the facts.' The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, 
if you only know how to use it. And now, if you have quite 
finished, we will hark back to Kensington, and see what the 
manager of Harding Brothers has to say on the matter." 

The founder of that great emporium proved to be a brisk, 
crisp littie person, veiy dapper and quick, with a dear head 
and a ready tongue. 
"Yes, sir, 1 have ah»ady read the account in the evening 



iM IBB UTUBN OF aHBRLOCK HOUOB 

(wpen. Mr. Horace Barker b a cuftomer of oun. We rap- 
plied him with the biut Mmie monthi ego. We oideied three 
biMto of that Mrt from Gelder and Ca, of Stepney. Thejaie 
all Mid now. To whom ? Oh, I dare lay hj conrahing our 
•ale^book we could rtrj eadly tell you. Yee, we have the 
entries here. One to Mr. Haricer, you eee. and one to Mr. 
Josiah Brown, of Laburnum Lodge, Laburnum Vale. Chiewick. 
and one to Mr. Sandeford, of Lower Grove Road, Reading. 
No, I have never leen this face which you show me in the 
photograph. You would hardly foiget it, would you, eir, for 
I've seldom wen an uglier. Have we any Italians on the staff ? 
Yes. sir, we have several among our woricpeople and deanen. 
I dare say they might get a peep at that sales-book if they 
wanted to. There is no particular reason for keeping a watch 
upon that book. Well, well, it's a very strange business, and 
I hope that you wiU let me know if anything comet of your 
inquiries." 

Holmes had taken several notto during Mr. Harding's evi- 
dence, and I could see that he was thoroughly satisfied by the 
turn which affairs were taking. He made no remark, however, 
save that, unless we hurried, we should be late for our appoint- 
ment with Lestrade. Sure enough, when we reached Baker 
Street the detective was already there, and we found him pacing 
up and down in a fever of impatience. His look of importance 
showed that his day's woric had not been in vain. 

"WeU?" he asked. "What luck, Mr. Hohnes?" 

"We have had a very busy day, and not entirely a wasted 
one," my friend explained. " We have seen both the retailers 
and also the wholesale manufacturers. I can trace each of 
the busts now from the bc^nning." 

"The busts ! " cried Lestrade. " WeU, weU, you have your 



THE ADVENTUBE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS ffA 

own metliodi, Mr. Sheriock Holmea, and it U not for me to 
My a word agaimt them, but I think I have done a better day's 
work than you. I have identified the dead man." 
"You don't say so?" 
" And found a cause for the crime." 
"Splendid!" 

" We have an inspector who makes a speciality of Saffron 
Hill and the Italian Quarter. Well, this dead man had some 
Catholic emblem round his neck, and that, along with his col- 
our, made me think he was from the South. Inspector Hill 
knew him the moment he caught sight of him. His name is 
Pietro Venucci, from Naples, and he is one of the greatest 
cut-throats in London. He is connected with the Mafia, 
which, as you know, is a secret political society, enforcing its 
decrees by murder. Now. you see how the affair b^ins to 
clear up. The other fellow is probably an Italian also, and 
a member of the Mafia. He has broken the rules in some 
fashion. Pietro is set upon his track. Probably the photo- 
graph we found in his pocket is the man himself, so that he 
may not knife the wrong person. He dogs the fellow, he sees 
him enter a house, he waits outside for him, and in the scuffle 
he receives his own death-wound. How is that, Mr. Sherlock 
Holmes?" 
Holmes clapped his hands approvingly. 
"Excellent. Lestrade. excellent!" he cried. "But I didn't 
quite follow your explanation of the destruction of the busts." 

"The busts! You never can get those busts out of your 

head. After all, that is nothing; petty larceny, six months at 

the most. It is the murder that we are really investigating, an«. 

I tell you that I am gathering all the threads into my hands." 

"And the next stage?" 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 
"li a very simple one. I shall go down with Hill to the 
Italian quarter, find the man whose photograph we have got, 
and arrest him on the charge of murder. Will you come with 
us?" 

"I think not. I fancy we can attain our end in a simfJer 
way. I can't say for certain, because it all depends — weU, 
it all depends upon a factor which is completely outside our 
control. But I have great hopes — in fact, the betting is 
exactly two to one — that if you wiU come with us to-night 
I shall be able to help you to lay him by the heels." 
" In the Italian Quarter ? " 

"No, I fancy Chiswick is an address which is more likely 
to find him. If you will come with me to Chiswick to-n^ht, 
Lestrade, I'll promise to go to the Italian Quarter with you 
to-morrow, and no harm will be done by the delay. And now 
I think that a few hours' sleep would do us all good, for I do 
not propose to leave before eleven o'clock, and it is unlikely 
that we shall be back before morning. You'll dine with us, 
Lestrade, and then you are welcome to the sofa until it is time 
for us to start. In the meantime, Watson, I should be glad if 
you would ring for an express messenger, for I have a letter to 
send, and it is important that it should go at once." 

Holmes spent the evening in rummaging among the files of 
the old daily papers with which one of our lumber-rooms was 
packed. When at last he descended, it was with triumph in 
his eyes, but he said nothing to either of us as to the result of 
his researches. For my own part, I had followed step by step 
the methods by which he had traced the various windings of 
this complex case, and, though I could not yet perceive the goal 
which we would reach, I understood clearly that Holmes ex- 
pected this grotesque criminal to make an attempt upon the 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS 9X1 

two remaining busts, one of which, I remembered, was at Chis- 
wick. No doubt the object of our journey was to catch him in 
the very act, and I could not but admire the cunning with which 
my friend had inserted a wrong clue in the evening paper, so 
as to give the fellow the idea that he could continue his scheme 
with impunity. I was not surprised when Holmes suggested 
that I should take my revolver with me. He had himself 
picked up the loaded hunting-crop, which was his favourite 
weapon. 

A four-wheeler was at the door at eleven, and in it we drove 
to a spot at the other side of Hanunersmith Bridge. Here the 
cabman was directed to wait. A short walk brought us to a 
secluded road fringed with pleasant houses, each standing in 
its own grounds. In the light of a street lamp we read " Labur- 
num Villa" upon the gate-post of one of them. The occu- 
pants had evidently retired to rest, for all was dark save for a 
fanlight over the hall door, which shed a single blurred circle 
on to the garden path. The wooden fence which separated 
the grounds from the road threw a dense black shadow upon 
the inner side, and here it was that we crouched. 

"I fear that you'll have a long wait," Holmes whispered. 
** We may thank our stars that it is not raining. I don't think 
we can even venture to smoke to pass the time. However, 
it's a two to one chance that we get something to pay us for our 
trouble." 

It proved, however, that our vigil was not to be so long as 
Holmes had led us to fear, and it ended in a very sudden and 
singular fashion. In an instant, without the least sound to 
warn us of his coming, the garden gate swung open, and a 
lithe, dark %ure, as swift and active as an ape, rushed up t'ae 
garden path. We saw it whisk past the light thrown from 






M8 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

over the door and disappear against the black shadow of the 
house. There was a long pause, during which we held our 
breath, and then a very gentle creaking sound came to our 
ears. The window was being opened. The noise ceased, 
and again there was a long silence. The fellow was making 
his way into the house. We saw the sudden flash of a dark 
lantern inside the room. What he sought was evidently not 
there, for again we saw the flash through another blind, and 
then through another. 

" Let us get to the open window. We will nab him as he 
climbs out," Lestrade whispered. 

But before we could move, the man had emerged again. As 
he came out into the glimmering patch of light, we saw that he 
carried something white under his arm. He looked stealthily 
aU round him. The silence of the deserted street reassured 
him. Tunung his back upon us he laid down his buiden, 
and the next instant there was the sound of a sharp tap, followed 
by a clatter and rattle. The man was so intent upon what he 
was doing that he never heard our steps as we stole across the 
grass plot. With the bound of a tiger Holmes was on his back, 
and an instant later Lestrade and I had him by either wrist, 
and the handcuffs had been fastened. As we turned him over 
I saw a hideous, sallow face, with writhing, furious features, 
glaring up at us, and I knew that it was indeed the man of the 
photograph whom we had secured. 

But it was not our prisoner to whom Holmes was giving his 
attention. Squatted on the doorstep, he was engaged in most 
carefully examining that which the man had brought from the 
house. It was a bust of Napoleon, like the one which we had 
seen that morning, and it had been broken into similar frag- 
ments. Carefully Holmes held each separate shard to the light. 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS m 

but in no way did it differ from any other shattered piece of 
plaster He had just completed his examination when the 
haU hghts flew up. the door opened, and the owner of the house, 
a jovial, rotund *;„'ure m shirt and trousera. presented himself. 
^^ Mr. Josiah Brown, I suppose ? " said Holmes. 
"Yes. sir; and you, no doubt, are Mr. Sherlock Holmes ? I 
had the note which you sent by the express messenger, and I did 
exactly what you told me. We locked every door on the inside 
and awaited developments. WeU. I'm very glad to see that you 
have got the rascal. I hope, gentlemen, that you will come 
m and have some refreshment." 

However. Lestrade was anxious to get his man mto safe 
quarters, so within a few minutes our cab had been summoned 
and we were aU four upon our way to London. Not a word 
would our captive say. but he glared at us from the shadow of 
his matted hair, and once, when my hand seemed within his 
reach, he snapped at it like a hungiy wolf. We stayed long 
enough at the police-station to learn that a search of his cloth- 
ing revealed nothing save a few shillings and a long sheath 
knife, the handle of which bore copious traces of recent blood 

"That's aU right." said Lestrade. as we parted. "Hill 
knows aU these gentry, and he wiU give a name to him. You'U 
find that my theory of the Mafia wiU work out all right. But 
I'm sure I am exceedingly obliged to you, Mr. Holmes, for 
the workmanUke way in which you laid hands upon him. I 
don't quite understand it all yet." 

"I fear it is rather too late an hour for explanations." said 
Holmes. " Besides, there are one or two details which are not 
finished off, and it is one of those cases which are worth work- 
ing out to the very end. If you will come round once more 
to my rooms at six o'clock to-morrow, I think I shaU be able 



^:^J 



880 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

to show you that even now you have not grasped the entire 
meaning of this business, which presents some features which 
make it absolutely original in the history of crime. If ever I 
permit you to chronicle any more of my I'ttle problems, Wat- 
son, I foresee that you will enliven your pages by an account of 
the singular adventure of the Napoleonic busts." 

When we met again next evening, Lestrade was furnished 
with much information concerning our prisoner. His name, 
it appeared was Beppo, second name unknown. He was a 
well-known ne'er-do-well among the Italian colony. He had once 
been a skilful sculptor and had earned an honest living, but he 
had taken to evil courses and had twice already been in gaol — 
once for a petty theft, and once, as we had already heard, for 
stabbing a fellow-countryman. He could talk EngUsh perfect- 
ly well. His reasons for destroying the busts were still un- 
known, and he refused to answer any questions upon the sub- 
ject, but the police had discovered that these same busts might 
very well have been made by his own hands, since he was 
engaged in this class of work at the establishment of Gelder 
and Co. To all this information, much of which we already 
knew. Holmes listened with polite attention, but I, who knew 
him so well, could clearly see that his thoughts were elsewhere, 
and I detected a mixture of mingled uneasiness and expecta- 
tion beneath that mask which he was wont to assume. At 
last he started in his chair, and his eyes brightened. There 
had been a ring at the bell. A minute later we heaid 
steps upon the stairs, and an elderly, red-faced man with 
grizzled side-whiskers was ushered in. In his right hand 
he carried an old-fashioned carpet-bag, which he placed 
upon the table. 
" Is Mr. Sherlock Hoknes here ? " 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS 8S1 

My friend bowed and smUed. "Mr. Sandeford, of Read- 
ing, I suppose ? " said he. 

"Yes, sir, I fear that I am a little late, but the trains were 
awkward. You wrote to me about a bust that is in my pos- 
session." 

"ExacUy." 

"I have your letter here. You said, 'I desire to possess a 
copy of Devine's Napoleon, and am prepared to pay you ten 
pounds for the one which is in your possession. ' Is that right ? " 

"Certainly." 

"I was very much surprised at your letter, for I could not 
imagine how you knew that I owned such a thing." 

" Of course you must have been surprised, but the expla- 
nation is very simple. Mr. Harding, of Harding Brothers, 
said that they had sold you their last copy, and he gave me 
your address." 

" Oh, that was it, was it ? Did he tell you what I paid for 
it?" 

"No, he did not." 

" WeU, I am an honest man, though not a very rich one. I 
only gave fifteen shillings for the bust, and I think you ought 
to know that before I take ten pounds from you." 

"I am sure the scruple does you honour, Mr. Sandeford. 
But I have named that price, so I intend to stick to it." 

" Well, it is very handsome of you, Mr. Holmes. I brought 
the bust up with me, as you asked me to do. Here it is ! " He 
opened his bag, and at last we saw placed upon our table a 
complete specimen of that bust which we had already seen more 
than once in fragments. 

Holmes took a paper from his pocket and laid a ten-pound 
note upon the table. 



J 



«« THE RETIURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"You will kindly sign that paper, Mr. Sandeford, in the 
presence of these witnesses. It is simply to say that you trans- 
fer every possible right that you ever had in the bust to me I 
am a methodical man. you see. and you never know what 
turn events might take afterwards. Thank you. Mr. Sande- 
ford ; here is your money, and I wish you a very good evening " 
When our visitor had disappeared. Sherlock Holmes* move- 
ments were such as to rivet our attention. He began by taking 
a clean white cloth from a drawer and laying it over the table. 
Then he placed his newly acquired bust in the centre of the 
doth. Finally, he picked up his hunting-crop and struck 
Napoleon a sharp blow on the top of the head. The figure 
broke mto fragments, and Holmes bent eagerly over the shat- 
tered remains. Next instant, with a loud shout of triumph 
he held up one spUnter. in which a round, dark object was fixed 
uke a plum in a pudding. 

^ " Gentlemen." he cried. " let me introduce you to the famous 
black pearl of the Boi^as." 

Lestrade and I sat silent for a moment, and then, with a 
spontaneous impulse, we both broke out clapping, as at the weU- 
wrought crisis of a play. A flush of colour sprang to Holmes' 
pale cheeks, and he bowed to us Uke the master dramatist who 
receives the homage of his audience. It was at such moments 
that for an mstant he ceased to be a reasoning machine, and 
betrayed his human love for admiration and applause. The 
same singularly proud and reserved nature which turned away 
with disdain from popular notoriety was capable of being 
moved to its depths by spontaneous wondci and praise from a 
friend. 

"Yes, gentlemen," said he, "it is the most famous peari 
now existing in the world, and it has been my good fortune, 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SIX NAPOLEONS ns 

by a connected chain of inductive reasoning, to trace it from 
the Prince of Colonna's bedroom at the Dacre Hotel, where it 
was lost, to the interior of this, the last of the six busts of Napo- 
leon which were manufactured by Gelder and Co., of Stepney. 
You wiU remember, Lestrade, the sensaUon caused by the dis- 
appearance of this valuable jewel, and the vain efforts of the 
London poUce to recover it. I was myself consulted upon the 
case, but I was unable to throw any light upon it. Suspicion 
feU upon the maid of the Princess, who was an ItaUan. and it 
was proved that she had a brother in London, but we faUed 
to trace any connection between them. The maid's name was 
Lucretia Venucd. and there is no doubt in my mind that this 
Pietro who was murdered two nights ago was the brother. I 
have been looking up the dates in the old files of the paper, 
and I find that the disappearance of the peari was exactiy two 
days before the arrest of Beppo. for some crime of violence ~ an 
event which took place in the factory of Gelder and Co., at the 
very moment when these busts were being made. Now you 
clearly see the sequence of events, though you see them, of 
course, in the inverse order to the way in which they presented 
themselves to me. Beppo had the peari in his possession. He 
may have stolen it from Pietro, he may have been Pietro's 
confederate, he may have been the go-between of Pietro and 
his sister. It is of no consequence to us which is the correct 
solution. 

" The main fact is that he had the peari, and at that moment, 
when it was on his person, he was pursued by the police. He 
made for the factory in which he worked, and he knew that he 
had only a few minutes in which to conceal this enormously 
valuable prize, which would otherwise be found on him when he 
was searched. Six plaster casts of Napoleon were drying in 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

*^*P!^* OneofthemwMsUUwft. In an insUnt B«mo, 
• skilful workman, made a smaU hole in the wet plaster 
dropped in the pearl, and with a few touches covered over the 
aperture once more. It was an admirable hiding-pUce No 
one could powibly find it. But Beppo was condemned to a 
years imprisonment, and in the meanwhile his six busts were 
scattered over London. He could not teU which contained 
histoeasure. Only by breaking them could he see. Even 
•hakmg would teU him nothing, for as the plaster was wet it 
was probable that the pearl would adhere to it — as, in fact 
It has done. Beppo did not despair, and he conducted hii 
search with considerable ingenuity and perseverance. Through 
a cousm who works with Gelder. he found out the letaU firms 
who had bought the busts. He managed to find employment 
with Morse Hudson, and in that way tracked down three of 
ttem. The pearl was not there. Then, with the help of some 
Itahan employ^, he succeeded in finding out where the other 
three busts had gone. The first was at Harker's. There he 
was dogged by his confederate, who held Beppo responsible for 
the loss of the pearl, and he stabbed him in the scuffle which 
followed." 

"If he was his confederate, why should he cany his photo- 
graph ?" I asked. ^ r 

"As a means of tracing him, if he wished to inquire about 
him from any third person. That was the obvious reason. 
WeU. after the murder I calculated that Beppo would probably 
huny rather than delay his movements. He would fear that 
the police would read his secret, and so he hastened on before 
they should get ahead of him. Of course, I could not say that 
he had not found the pearl in Harker's bust. I had not even 
concluded for certain that it was the pearl, but it was evident 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SIX NAPOLEONS t95 

to me that he wm looking for somethuig. since he cftrried the 
bust past the other houses in order to break it in the garden 
which h&d a lamp overlooking it. Since Harker's bust was one 
in three, the chances were exacUy as I told you — two to one 
against the peari being inside it. There remained two busts, 
and it was obvious that he would go for the London one fiwt. 
I warned the inmates of the house, so as to avoid a second 
tragedy, and we went down with the happiest results. By that 
time, of course, I knew for certain that it ^as the Boigia peari 
that we were after. The name of the murdered man linked 
the one event with the other. There only remained a single 
bust — the Reading one — and the peari must be there. I 
bought it in your presence from the owner — and there it lies." 
We sat in silence for a moment. 

•• WeU," said Lestrade, " I've seen you handle a good many 
cases, Mr. Holmes, but I don't know that I ever knew a more 
workmanlike one than that. We're not jealous of you at Scot- 
land Yard. No, sir, we are very proud of you, and if you come 
down to-morrow, there's not a man. from the oldest ins'.«ctor 
to the youngest constable, who wouldn't be glad to shake you 
by the hand." 

"Thank you!" said Holmes. "Thank you!" and as he 
turned away, it seemed to me that he was more neariy moved 
by the softer human emotions than I had ever seen him. A 
moment later he was the cold and practical thinker once more. 
" Put the pearl in the safe, Watson," said he, " and get out the 
papers of the Conk-Singleton foi^ery case. Good-bye, Les- 
trade. If any little problem comes your way, I shaU be happy, 
if I can, to give you a hint or two as to its solution." 



THE ADVENTURE OF 
THE THREE STUDENTS 

It waa in the year '95 that a combination of events, u,o 
which I need not enter, caused Mr. Sheriock Holmes r^nd 
myself to spend some weeks in one of our great Uni . rsity 
towns, and it was during this time that the small but instruc- 
tive adventure which I am about to relate befeU us. It will be 
obvious that any detail which would help the reader to exactly 
identify the coUege or the criminal would be injudicious and 
offensive. So painful a scandal may well be allowed to die out. 
With due discretion the incident itself may, however, be de- 
scribed, since it serves to illustrate some of those qualities for 
which my friend was remaricable. I wiU endeavour, in my 
statement, to avoid such terms as would serve to limit the 
events to any particular place, or give a clue as to the people 
concerned. 

We were residmg at the time in furnished lodgings close to 
a library where Sherlock Holmes was pursuing some laborious 
researehes in early English charters — researches which led to 
results so striking that they may be the subject of one of my 
future narratives. Here it was that one evening we received 
a visit from an acquaintance, Mr. Hilton Soames, tutor and 



ilii 

i 



Mi THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

lecturer at the College of St. Luke's. Mr. Soames was a tall, 
spare man, of a nervous and excitable temperament. I had 
always known him to be restless in his manner, but on this 
particular occasion he was in such a state of uncontrollable 
agitation that it was clear something very unusual had occurred. 
" I trust, Mr. Holmes, that you can spare me a few hours of 
your valuable time. We ha' e had a very painful incident 
at St. Luke's, and really, but for the happy chance of your 
being in town, I should have been at a loss what to do." 

"I am very busy just now, and I desire no distractions," 
my friend answered. " I should much prefer that you called 
in the aid of the police." 

"No, no, my dear sir; such a course is utterly impossible. 
When once the law is evoked it cannot be stayed again, and 
this is just one of those cases where, for the credit of the college, 
it is most essential to avoid scandal. Your discretion is as well 
known as your powers, and you are the one man in the worid 
who can help me. I b^ you, Mr. Holmes, to do what you 



» 



can. 

My friend's temper had not improved since he had been 
deprived of the congenial surroundings of Baker Street. With- 
out his scrap-books, his chemicak, and his homely untidiness, 
he was an uncomfortable man. He shrugged his shoulders in 
ungracious acquiercence, while our visitor in hurried words 
and with much excitable gesticulation poured forth his story. 

" I must explam to you, Mr. Holmes, that to-morrow is the 
first day of the examination for the Fortescue Scholarship. I 
am one of the examiners. My subject is Greek, and the first 
of the papers consists of a large passage of Greek translation 
which the candidate has not seen. This passage is printed on 
the examination paper, and it would naturally be an immense 



989 

For 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE THREE STUDENTS 
•dyantage if the candidate could prepare it in advance, 
this reason, great care is taken to keep the paper secret. 

" To-day, about three o'clock, the proofs of this paper arrived 
from the printers. The exercise consists of half a chapter of 
Thucydides. I had to read it over carefuUy, as the text must 
be absolutely correct. At four-thirty my task was not yet com- 
pleted. I had, however, promised to take tea in a friend's 
rooms, so I left the proof upon my desk. I was absent rather 
more than an hour. 

"You are aware. Mr. Holmes, that our college doors are 
double — a green baize one within and a heavy oak one with- 
out. As I approached my outer door, I was amazed to see a 
key in it. For an instant I imagined that I had left my own 
there, but on feeling in my pocket I found that it was aU right. 
The only duplicate which existed, so far as I knew, was that 
which belonged to my servant. Bannister — a man who has 
looked after my room for ten years, and whose honesty is abso- 
lutely above suspicion. I found that the key was indeed his, 
that he had entered my room to know if I wanted tea, and that 
he had yeiy carelessly left the key in the door when he came 
out. His visit to my room must have been within a veiy few 
mmutes of my leaving it. His foigetfuhiess about the key 
would have mattered Uttle upon any other occasion, but on 
this one day it has produced the most deplorable con- 
sequences. 

"The moment I looked at my table, I was aware that some- 
one had rummaged among my papers. The proof was in three 
longsUps. I had left them all together. Now. I found that 
one of them was lying on the floor, one was on the side table 
near the window, and the third was where I had left it." 

Holmes stirred for the first time. 



THE RETUBN OF SHERLOCK UOLBIES 

"The first page on the floor, the second in the window, the 
third where you left it," said he. 

"Exactly, Mr. Holmes. You amaze me. How could you 
possibly know that ? " 

" Pray continue your very interesting statement." 

" For an instant I imagined that Bannister had taken the 
unpardonable liberty of examining my papers. He denied it, 
however, with the utmost earnestness, and I am convinced 
that he was speaking the truth. The alternative was that 
someone passing had observed the key in the door, had known 
that I was out, and had entered to look at the papers. A large 
sum of money is at stake, for the scholarship is a very valuable 
one, and an unscrupulous man might very well run a risk in 
order to gain an advantage over his fellows. 

"Bannister was very much upset by the incident. He had 
neariy fainted whoi we found that the papers had undoubt- 
edly been tampered with. I gave him a little brandy and left 
him collapsed in a chair, while I made a most careful examina- 
tion of the room. I soon saw that the intruder had left other 
traces of his presence besides the rumpled papers. On the 
table in the window were several shreds from a pencil which 
had been sharpened. A broken tip of lead was lying there 
also. Evidently the rascal had copied the paper in a great 
hurry, had broken his pencil, and had been compelled to put a 
fresh point to it." 

"Excellent!" said Holmes, who was recovering his good- 
humour as his attention became more engrossed by the case. 
" Fortune has been your friend." 

"This was not all. I have a new writing-table with a fine 
surface of red leather. I am prepared to swear, and so is Ban- 
nuter, that it was smooth and unstained. Now I found a clean 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE STUBBTTS ui 
cut m it about three inches long — not a mere Kartch, but a 
positive cut. Not only this, but on the taUe I §mmid a snail 
ball of black dough or clay, with specks of somatfaing which 
looks like sawdust in it. I am convinced that these marin 
were left by the man who rifled the papers. There were no 
footmarks and no other evidence as to his idei^ty. I was at 
my wits' ends, when suddenly the happy thought occurred to 
me that you were in th .^own, and I came straight rouml lo 
put the matter into yovr hands. Do hel{» me, Mr. Holmes. 
You see my dilemma. Either I must find the maa or else the 
examination must be postponed until fresh papers are pie- 
pared, and since this cannot be done without explanation, there 
will ensue a hideous scandal, which will thww a clovd not only 
on the collie, but on the university. Aka*ve all thi^s, I desire 
to settle the matter quietly and discreetiy.** 

"I shall be happy to look into it and ta giv« you suck 
advice as I can," said Hdbnes, ris^ nd patti^ on 
his overcoat. "The case is not entirely devoid el aterest. 
Had anyone visited you in your roam, after the papcn came 
to you?" 

"Yes, young Daulat Sas, an In<£bn student, who lives on 
the same stair, came in to ask me some particulars akmit the 
examination." 

" For which he was entered ? " 

"Yes." 

" And the papers were on your table ? " 

" To the best of my belief, they were rolled up." 

" But might be recognised as proofs ? " 

"Possibly." 

" No one else in your room ? " 

"No." 



«« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLM^ 

" Did anyone know that these proofs would be tfacte ? " 
" No one save the printer." 
" Did this man Bannistn know ? " 
" No, certainly not. No one knew.** 
" Where is Bannister now ? " 

"He was veiy ill, poor feUow. I left him coUapsed in the 
chair. I was in such a hurry to come to you." 
" You left your doM- open ? " 
" I locked up the papers first." 

"Then it amounts to this, Mr. Soames, that, unless the In- 
dian student recognised the roB as being proofs, the man who 
tampered with them came upon then acddentaUy without 
knowing that they were there." 
" So it seems to me." 
Hohnes gave an enigmatic smile. 

" Wei," said he, " let us go round. Not one of your cases, 
Watson -mental, not physical. All right; come if you want 
to. Now, Mr. Soames — at your disposal ! " 

The sitting-room of our client opened by a long, low, latticed 
window on to the ancient Uchen-tinted court of the old coUege. 
A Gothic arched door led to a worn stone staircase. On the 
ground floor was the tutor's room. Above were three students, 
one on each story. It was already twilight when we reached 
the scene of our problem. Hohnes halted and looked earnestly 
at the window. Then he approached it, and, standing on 
bp-toe with his neck craned, he looked into the room. 

"He must have entered throiigh the door. There is no 
opemng except the one pane," said our learned guide. 

"Dear me!" said Hohnes, and he smiled in a singular way 
as he glanced at our companion. " WeU, if there is nothing 
to be learned here, we had best go inside." 



THE ADVENTOHE OF THE THREE STUDENTS 24s 

The l«torer unlocked the outer door and Mhered itt into W. 

r^ We -tood at the entrance whUeHohnes made an exam- 
inatKm of the carpet. 

Jl T '^'^^ **""* ""^ ""^ ^^ **^'"'" ^^^ »»«• " One could 
h«dly hope for any upon so diy a day. Your servant «»ein. 

" By the window there." 

h^r'^]!"^^^^''^^^'- You can come in now. I 
J«^fin«hed with the carpet. Let us take the Uttle table first. 
Ofo««e what has happened is very clear. The man en- 
teml andtook the papers, sheet by sheet, from the central table. 
He earned th«n over to the window table, because from there 
hecould see ff you came across the courtyard, and so could 
«»ect an e8c^>e. 

"As a matter of hct he could not." said Soamea, "for I 
ei^red by the side door." 

•'Ah. that's good! Well, anyhow, that was in his mind. 
Let me see the tl«ee strips. No finger impessions-no! 
WeU. he a»med over this one first, and he copied it. How 
lo«« would It take him to do that, using every possible cotoc- 
tion ? A quarter of an hour, not less. Then he tossed it down 
and seized the next. He was in the midst of that when your 
return caused Wm to make a veiy hurried retreat - very Lr- 
ned. since he had not time to replace the papers whichwoold 
teU you that he had been there. You we« Vot aware of «y 
hunymg feet on the stair as you entered the outer door ? " 
No. I can't say I was." 
"WeU. he wrote so furiously that he broke his pencil, and 
had as you observe, to sharpen it again. This is of interest. 
Watson. The penal was not an ordinary one. It was above 



a*4 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

the usual size, with a soft lead, the outer colour was dark blue, 
the maker's name was printed in silver lettering, and the piece 
remaining is only about an inch and a half long. Look for 
such a pencil, Mr. Soames, and you have got your man. When 
I add that he possesses a laige and veiy blunt knife, you have 
an additional aid." 

Mr. Soames was somewhat overwhelmed by this flood of 
information. "I can follow the other points," said he, "but 
really, in this matter of the length — " 

Hohnes held out a small chip with the letters NN and a 
space of clear wood after them. 
"You see?" 

" No, I fear that even now — ** 

"Watson, I have always done you an injustice. There are 
others. What could this NN be ? It is at the end of a word. 
You are aware that Johann Faber is the most common maker's 
name. Is it not clear that there is just as much of the pencil 
left as usuaUy foUows the Johann ? " He held the smaU table 
sideways to the electric Ught. " I was hoping that if the paper 
on which he wrote was thin, some trace of it might come through 
upon thb polished surface. No, I see nothing. I don't think 
there is anything more to be learned here. Now for the cen- 
tral table. This small peUet is, I presume, the black, doughy 
mass you spoke of. Roughly pyramidal in shape and hol- 
lowed out, I perceive. As you say, there appear to be grains 
of sawdust in it. Dear me, this is very interesting. And the 
cut — a positive tear, I see. It began with a thin scratch and 
ended in a jagged hole. I am much indebted to you for direct- 
ing my attention to this case. Mr. Soames. Where does that 
door lead to ? " 

"To my bedroom." 



945 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE THREE OTUDENTO 
^ Have you been in it since your adventure ? " 
** No, I came straight away for you." 
-I should like to have a glance round. What a charming, 
old-fashioned room! Perhaps you will kindly wait a minute 
untU I have examined the floor. No, I see nothing. What 
about thw curtain? You hang your clothes behind it If 
anyone were forced to conceal himself in this room he must do 
It there, since the bed is too low and the wardrobe too shaUow 
No one there, I suppose ? " 

^ Hohnes drew the curtain I was aware, from some little 
rigidity and alertness of his attitude, that he was prepared 
foranemeigency. As a matter of fact, the drawn curtain dis- 
closed nothing but three or four suits of clothes hanging from 

to the fllr^" ^'**'"'' *"™*^ *''*^* ""^ '^^ '"^^*»*^ 

"Halloa! What's this ?" said he. 

It was a smaU pyramid of black. putty-Uke stuff, exactly like 
the one upon the table of the study. Holmes held it out on his 
open pahn m the glare of the electric light. 

"Your visitor seems to have left traces in your bedroom as 
well as in your sitting-room. Mr. Soames." 

" What could he have wanted there ? " 

"I think it is clear enough. You came back by an unex- 
pected way. and so he had no warning until you were at the very 

M S'** T^^ ^^ ^°' ^" '^'^^' "P ^^«^hi°g which 
Wmself^ *""* *"" "^"^^ '"**" ^"^^ ^"^"^ '^«»''«-^ 

"Good gmcious, Mr. Hohnes. do you mean to tell me that, 
all the fame I was talking to Bannister in this room. w« had the 
man pnsoner if we had only known it ? " 

"So I read it." 



hi 

III 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"Surely there is another alternative, Mr. Hohnes. I <km*t 
know whether you observed my bedroom window ? " 

" Lattice-paned, lead frameworic, three separate windowi, 
one swinging on hinge, and large enough to admit a man." 

" Exactly. And it looks out on an angle of the courtyard 
so as to be partly invisible. The man might have effected his 
entrance there, left traces as he passed through the bedroc»n» 
and finally, finding the door open, have escaped that way.'* 

Holmes shook his head impatiently. 

" Let us be practical," said he. " I understand you to taj 
that there are three students who use this stair, and are in the 
habit of passing you^ door ? " 

"Yes, there are." 

" And they are all in for this examination ? ' 

"Yes." 

" Have you any reason to suspect any one of them more than 
the others?" 

Soames hesitated. 

" It is a very delicate question," said he. " One haitUj likes 
to throw suspicion where there are no proofs." 

" Let us hear the suspicions. I will look after the proofs.** 

" I will tell you, then, ia a few words the character of the 
three men who inhabit thcK lomns. The lower of the thi«e 
b Gilchrist, a fine ackoiar akI sdilele, plays in the Rugby team 
and the crickd: team for the cdlege, and got his Blue for the 
hurdles and the l<»ig jump. He is a fine, manly fellow, jffis 
father was the notorious Sir Jabec GikloBt, who mined him- 
self <m the turf. My schotar has been left very psor, but he 
is hard-working and indiimlii— i He wifl do wdl. 

" The second floor is inJuitHfcri by Daalat Bas, the 
He is a quiet, maerutaUe &Abw» as mmt of 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE STUDENTS M7 
He u well up in his work, though his Graek is his weak subject 
He is steady and methodical. 

" The top floor belongs to Miles McLaren. He is a brilliaak 
fellow when he chooses to work — one of the brightest intellects 
of the university; but he is wayward, dissipated, and unprin- 
cipled. He was nearly expelled over a card scandal in his 
first year. He has been idling all this term, and he must look 
forward with dread to the examination." 

*' Then it is he whom you suspect ? *' 

"I dare not go so far as that. But, of the three, he is perhaps 
the least unlikely." 

** Exactly. Now. Mr. Soames, let us have a look at your 
servant, Bannister." 

He was a little, white-faced, clean-shaven, grizzly haired 
fellow of fifty. He was still suflFering from this sudden disturb- 
ance of the quiet routine of his life. His plump face was 
twitching with his nervousness, and his finirers could not keen 
still. ^ 

**We are investigating this unhappy business. Bannister," 
said his master. 
"Yes, sir." 

"I understand," said Hohnes, "that you left your key in 
the door?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" Was it not very octraordinary that you should do this on the 
very day when there were these papers inside ? " 

"It was most unfortunate, sir. But I have occasionally done 
the same thing at other times." 
" When did you enter the room ? " 

" It was about half-past four. That is Mr. Soames' tea time." 
" How long did you stay ? " 






THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

" When I Mw that he was abMnt. I withdrew at onoe.** 
" Did you look at these papen on the Uble ? " 
** No, sir —certainly not." 
'*How came you to leave the key in the door?" 
- 1 had the tea-tray in my hand. I thought I would come 
back for the key. Then I forgot." 

" Has the outer door a spring lock ? ** 
-No, sir." 

"Then it was <^>en all the time ? ** 
"Yes, sir." 

" Anyone in the room could get out ? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"When Mr. Soames returned and called for you, you were 
very much disturbed ? " 

"Yes, sir. Such a thing has never happened during the 
many years that I have been here. I nearly fainted, sir." 

"So I understand. Where were you when you besan to 
feel bad?" 

" Where was I, sir ? Why, here, near the door." 

"That is singular, because you sat down in that chair over 
yonder near the comer. Why did you pass these other chairs ? " 

" I don't know, sir, it didn't matter *o me where I sat." 

"I really don't think he knew mMch about it, Mr. Hohnes. 
He was looking very bad — quite ghastly." 

" You stayed here when your master left ? " 

" Only for a minute or so. Then I locked the door and went 
to my room." 

" Whom do you suspect ? " 

" Oh, I would not venture to say, sir. I don't beheve there 
is any gentleman in this university who is capable of profiting 
by such an action. No, sir, I'll not believe it." 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE STUDENTS e40 

-Thank you, that wiU do, - said Holmefi. " Oh. one more 
wofd. You have not mentioned to any 61 the thiee gentlemen 
whom you attend that anything i« anuM ? " 

" No, sir — not a word." 

" You haven't seen any of them ? " 

"No, sir." 

" Veiy good. Now, Mr. Soames, we will take a waUc in the 
quadrangle, if you j^ease." 

Three yellow squares of light shone above us in the gather- 
ing gloom. 

"Your three birds are all in their nests," said Holmes, look- 
ing up. "HaUoa! What's that? One of them seems resUess 
enough." 

It was the Indian, whose dark silhouette appeared suddenly 
upon his blind. He was pacing swiftly up and down his room. 

" I should like to have a peep at each of them," said Hoknes. 
"Is it possible?" 

" No difficulty in the world," Soames answered. " This set 
of rooms is quite the oldest in the college, and it is not unusual 
for visitors to go over them. Come along, and I will petscm- 
ally conduct you." 

"No names, please!" said Holmes, as we knocked at Gil- 
christ's door. A tall, flaxen-haired, slim young fellow opened 
it, and made us welcome when he understood our errand. 
There were some really curious pieces of mediceval domestic 
arehitecture within. Holmes was so charmed with one of them 
that he insisted on drawing it in his note-book, broke his pen- 
cil, had to borrow one from our host, and finally borrowed 
a knife to sharpen his own. The same curious accident hap- 
pened to him in the rooms of the Indian — a silent, little, 
hook-nosed fellow, who eyed us askance, and was obviously 



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«30 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

glad when Holmes' architectural studies had come to an end 
I could not see that in either case Holmes had come upon the 
clue for which he was searching. Only at the third did 
our visit prove abortive. The outer door would not open to 
our knocK. and nothing more substantial than a torrent of bad 
^nguage came from behind it. "I don't care who you are. 
You can go to blazes ! " roared the angrj. voice. « To-morrow's 
the exam, and I won't be drawn by anyone." 

"A rude fellow." said our guide, flushing with anger as we 
withdrew down the stair. " Of course, he did not realize that 
It was I who was knocking, but none the less his conduct was 
very uncourteous, and, indeed, under the circumstances rather 
suspicious." 

Holmes' response was a curious one. 

" Can you tell me his exact height ? " he asked. 

"ReaUy, Mr. Hohnes, I cannot undertake to say. He is 
taUer than the Indian, not so tall as Gilchrist. I suppose 
live foot SIX would be about it." 

"That is very important," said Hohnes. "And now, Mr. 
Soames, I wish you good-night." 

Our guide cried aloud in his astonishment and dismay. 
Good gracious, Mr. Holmes, you are surely not going to leave 
me m this abrupt fashion! You don't seem to realize the posi- 
tion. To-morrow is the examination. I must take some defi- 
nite action to-night. I cannot allow the examination to be held 
If one of the papers has been tampered with. The situation 
mu."* be faced." 

" You must leave it as it is. I shall drop round early to-mor- 
row morning, and chat the matter over. It is possible that 
I may be m a position then to indicate some course of action. 
Meanwhile, you change nothing — nothing at aU." 




THHEK VEI. I, OW 



««IAHKS „K ,.,.;„r s.,ONK ABOV 



i> 



I 






I 



t: 



I, 



iif 



'1 * T H E R I V 



'- ^• 1. 1) o M 



E I (i 



N THE 



i5i 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE STUDENTO 
"Very good, Mr. Holmes." 

bl^^clay with me. also the pencU cuttings. Good-bye" 

WeU. Watson, what do you think of it ? " Holmes asked as 

Tmrrr "!r^ "^ ^*^*- "Q-teahtTleX^ 
game -sort of three-card trick, is it not? There are vour 

^chTyoulr^^-^^^*^^- ^-t^e^uHh^ 
••The foul-mouthed fellow at the top. He is the one with 

wnysHould he be paang his room all the time ? " 
^ere is nothing in that. Many men do it when they are 
trying to learn anything by heart." ^ 

•• He looked at us in a queer way " 

you" wrD»r' ":""*"' '*^"' ""-e » on ^^ wh«, 

ZnZ^ZTXr NoT""'"?" ■"* '^y- «"• -«y 

♦«« J r . ^°' ' ^ nothing in that. Pencils 

"Who?" 

matt^^' ^*"°"*"' ^' ''''''''' ^«*'« »^« g«-»e in the 
••He impressed me as being a perfectly honest man." 
So he did me. That's the puzzling part. Why should a 
perfectiy^est man-weU. weU. here'fa laige statiWs 
We shall begin our researches here." ««oners. 

There were only four stationers of any consequence in the 



««« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

town and at each Holmes produced his pencU chips, and bid 
high for a duplicate. All were agreed that one could be ordeml. 
but that It was not a usual size of pencU, and that it was sel- 
dom kept in stock. My friend did not appear to be depressed 
by his failure, but shrugged his shoulders in half-humorous 
resignation. 

•• No good, my dear Watson. This, the best and only final 
clue, has run to nothing. But. indeed. I have little doubt that 
we can build up a suflScient case without it. By Jove' my 
dear feUow. it is nearly nine, and the landlady babbled of green 
peas at seven-thirty. What with your eternal tobacco. Watson, 
and your irregularity at meals. I expect that you wiU get notice 
to quit, and that I shaU share your downfaU-not. however, 
before we have solved the problem of the nervous tutor, the 
careless servant, and the three enterprising students " 

Hohnes made no further allusion to the matter that day 
though he sat lost in thought foi a long time after our belated 
dmner. At eight in the morning, he came into my room just 
as I fimshed my toilet. 

T ''^*"' Watson." said he, "it is time we went down to St. 
L,ukes. Can you do without breakfast?" 
"Certainly." 

"Soames wiU be in a dreadful fidget until we are able to teU 
mm something positive." 

" Have you anything positive to tell him ? " 

"I think so." 

" You have formed a conclusion ? " 

" Yes. my dear Watson, I have solved the mystery." 

" But what fresh evidence could you have got ? " 

"Aha! It is not for nothing that I have turned myself out 
of bod at the untimely hour of six. I have put in two houn,» 



US 



TOE ADVENTURE OP THE THREE STCDENTO _ 
Wd woric and covered at least five miles, with aomething to 
show for It. Look at that ! " ^^ 

He held out his hand. On the palm were three littie pyra- 
nuds of black, doughy clay. ^' 

" Why, Holmes, you had only two yesterday. " 
"And one more this morning. It is a fair aigument that 
wherever No 3 came from is also the source of Nos. 1 and «. 

Eh Watson? WeU, come along and put friend Soames out 
of his pain. 

The unfortunate tutor w.^ certainly in a state of pitiable 
^tation when we found him in his chambers. In a few hours 
toe examination would commence, and he was stiU in the 
dilemma between making the facts public and aUowing the 
culprit to compete for the valuable scholarship. He could 
hardly stand stiU, so great was his mental agitation, and he 
ran towards HoUnes with two eager hands outstretched. 

Thank Heaven, that you have come! I feared that you 
had given It up in despair. What am I to do f ShaU the 
examination proceed ? " 

" Yes, let it proceed, by all means." 
"But this rascal—?" 
" He shall not compete." 
"You know him?" 

" I think so. If this matter is not to become pubKc, we must 
give ourselves certain powers, and resolve ourselves into a 
small private court-martial. You there, if you please. Soames! 
Wateon you here! I'U take the armchair in the middle. I 
think that we are now sufficiently imposing to strike terror 
into a guilty breast. Kindly ring the beU ! " 

Bannister entered, and shrank back in evident surprise and 
fear at our judicial appearance. 









1 Fl I 

I f ' I 



I M 



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M* THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"You will kindly close the door." said Holmes. "Now 
Bannister, will you please teU us the truth about yesterday's' 
incident ?" j j 

The man turned white to the roots of his hair. 

" I have told you everything, sir." 

"Nothing to add?" 

"Nothing at all, sir." 

" WeU, then, I must make some suggestions to you. When 
you sat down on that chair yesterday, did you do so in order 
to conceal some object which would have shown who had been 
in the room ? " 

Bannister's face was ghastly. 
"No, sir, certainly not." 

" It is only a suggestion," said Holmes, suavely. « I frankly 
admit that I am unable to prove it. But it seems probable 
enough, smce the moment that Mr. Soames' back was turned 
you released the man who was hiding in that bedroom." 
Bannister licked his diy lips. 
" There was no man, sir." 

"Ah, that's a pity. Bannister. Up to now you may have 
spoken the truth, but now I know that you have lied." 
The man's face set in sullen defiance. 
" There was no man, sir." 
"Come, come. Bannister!" 
" No, sir, there was no one." 

" In that case, you can give us no further information. Would 
you please remain in the room. Stand over there near the 
bedroom door Now, Soames. I am going to ask you to have 
the great kindness to go up to the room of young Gilchrist, 
and to ask him to step down into youre." 
An instant later the tutor returned, bringing with him the 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE ffTUDENTO U5 
-^dent. He was a fine figure of a man. tall. Uthe. and agile, 
with a -Pniigy Step and a pleasant, open face. His troJSed 

«^r^ion of blank dismay upon Bannister in the farther 

we'il'' n"^.?"' f^^'V '^^ ''"*""'• "N"'^' Mr. Gilchrist. 
ZnTf uV **°°' ^'''' *"^ °° °"« °««d «-«»• know one 
Tt^ rrK*^*^*^"""""- We can be perfectly frank 
with each o^er. We want to know. Mr. Gilchrist, how you. 
an honourable luan. ever came to commit such an action a^ 
that of yesterday ? " 

f„l7*'#\"°'°'*T'* ^°""* """ '**8»^'*^ ^^^' »°d cast a look 
full of horror and reproach at Bannister. 

"No no Mr. Gilchrist, sir. I never said a word -never 
one word!" cried the servant. 

m.'J''' ^H*/? ^r "^^•" ^^^ ^°*"»^- "Now, sir. you 
mus see that after Bannister's words your position is hopelL. 

and that your only chance lies in a frank confession." 

For a moment Gilchrist, with upraised hand, tried to control 
h« wnthing features. The next he had thrown himself on 

t h^T ^ *^' **^^'' '^"^ ^^"'y^ ^ '«^ i- »^« hands, 
he had burst mto a storm of passionate sobbing. 

.„H rrr^"''" "^"^ "^^^' ^^y- "i* ^ *»"^an to err. 

Perhaps ,t would be easier for you if I were to teU Mr. Soames 
wha occurred, and you can check me where I am wron« 
ShaU I do so ? Well. weU. don't treuble to answer. Si 
and see that I do you no injustice. " 

"From the moment. Mr. Soames. that you said to me that 
no one. not even Bannister, could have told that the papera 
were m your room, the case began to take a definite shapTin 



,1 1 



THE HiiTURN OF SIIKHLOCK HOLMES 
my mind. The printer one could, of coune. diamiw. He 
could examine the papers in hin own office. The Indian I 
also thought nothing of. If the proofs were in roll, he could 
not possibly know what they were. On the other hand, it 
seemed an unthinkable coincidence that a man should dare to 
enter the room, and that by chanct; on that very day the papers 
were on the table. I dismissed that. The man who ente^ied 
knew that the papers \- ere there. How did he know ? 

"When I approached your room. I examined the window. 
You amused me by supposii^; that I was contemplating the 

^'T\ 1u """"' .'^"^'^ '" '''"^ ^«^««^*' ""^-^ the 
eyes ot al these opposite .xx>ms. forced himself through it 

M^^ji"" '"'" *^'''^- ^ ^"^ measuring how tall a man 
would need to be in order to see. as he passed, what papers 
were on the central table. I am six feet high, and I could do 
It with an effort. No one less than that would have a chance 
Already you see I had reason to think that, if one of your three 
students was a man of unusual height, he was the most worth 
watching of the three. 

"I entered, and I took you into my confidence as to the sug- 
gesUons of the side table. Of the centre table I could make 
nothing, until in your description of Gilchrist you mentioned 
that he was a longnlistance jumper. Then the whole thinir 
came to me m an instant, and I only needed certain corrob* 
rative proofs, which I speedily obtained. 

"What happened was this. This young fello.r had em- 
ployed his afternoon at the athletic grounds, where he had 
been practising the jump. He returned canying his jumping- 
shoes. which are provided, as you are aware, with sever 1 sham 

Z r'l, .'^,^" P*^ y«" ^nd«^ he saw, by means of his 
great height, these proofs upon your table, and conjectured 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE THREE ffTUDENTO t57 

What they werr. No h«m would have been done hud it not 

h!^ »«1 .!f. u* T*^ ^°" ^°°'' *^^ P*''^^^* the key which 
had been left »>. the creIeMne« of your servant. A sudden 

.mpulsecame ov. r him to enter, and see if they we« indeed 

the proof. It was not a dangerous exploit, for he could 

always pretend that be had simply looked in to ask a question. 

then thathe yielded to tempUtion. He put his shoes on the 

..7:. .!' """ '* ^°" P"* °" t*»** ^^^ n«»r the window ? - 
Woves. said the young man. 

Holmes looked triumphantly at Bannister. "He put hia 
gloves on the chair, and he took the proofs, sheet by sheet, to 
copy them. He thought the tutor must return by the main 
gate and that he would see him. As we know, he came back 
by the side gate. Suddenly he heart him at the veiy door. 
There was no possible escape. He foigot his gloves, but he 
caught up his shoes and darted into the bedroom. You ob- 
serve that the scratch on that table is slight at one side, but 
deepens m the direction of the bedroom door. That in itself 
IS enough to show us that the shoe had been drawn in that 
direction, and that the culprit had taken refuge there The 
earth round the spike had been left on the table, and a second 
sample was loosened and fell in the bedroom. I may add that 
I walked out to the athletic grounds this morning, saw that 
tenacious black clay is used in the jumping-pit. and carried 
away a specimen of it. together with some of the fine tan or 
sawdust which is strewn over it to prevent the athlete from 
sUpping. Have I told the truth, Mr. ^Ilchriat ? ' 
The student had drawn himself erect. 
" Yes, sir, it is true," said he. 
" Good Heavens f have you nothing to add ? " cried Soames. 



M 



H 



ill 



THB RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBIEB 

hJ l^l^"""' ^"l***• -hock of thi. diignw^ful exporu« 
h«bewUdeml me Ih^yt ^ letter her,, Mr. So^„,Vhich 

Here ,t «.. „r. You will ,ee that I have said. ' I have deter- 
nunednottogoinfortheexaminaUon. I have be^ off^,^ 

r.21 T ^"^^ ^ly^ ^ ^**' *^* y°" ^^ »o» intend to 
profit by your unfair advantage." «ud Soames. "But why 
did you change your purpose?" ^ 

Gilchrist pointed to Bannister. 

;;There is the man who set me in the right path." said he. 
Come now. Bannister." said Holmes. "It will be clear 
roZ'^ "!"* ' '*""^'' «»at only you could have let Z 

have locked the door when you went out. As to his escap- 
u« by that wmdow. it was incredible. Can you not^ 

"It was simple enough, sir.if you only had known, but. with 
aUyour cleverness, it was impossible that you coild W 
rime was. s,r. when I was buUer to old Sir Jabez GUchrist 
^you^g gentleman's father. When he was ruinedit^e' 
to the college as servant, but I never foigot my old employer 
because he was down in the worid. I Lch^ his JJl 
~uld for the sake of the old days. Well. sir. when I came 
into ^ room yesterday, when the alarm was given, the ven. 
&S thmg I saw was Mr. Gilchrist's tan gloves a-lying in th2^ 

st:'- If M 'If"' ^^^^" "'"• *"' ' understoodTir .t- 
sage. » Mr. Soames saw them, the game was up. I flopped 



THE ADVENTUHK OF THE THREE WUDENTS u> 
down into IM cWr. „d notiu.« wo«W budge m. until Mr 
SoMM. h. went for you. Tl«n out aun, „y po^ iZl 
««^. whoo. I luu. d«.dl«l on cy Ice. „d eJ^TS 

w«n t ,t nMunU J„ «,„ i d,ould try to .pedc to him i.^ 
^ htter w«,ld h«v. done. .„d n.1 hiSTrndlt^d «^ 

«nd our bK»kfi^ „^u u. .t home. Come. W.t«,r L 
to you. «r, I ,ru.t ll,.t . bright future ,w«u you te Se^ 



til 






I 



X 

THE ADVENTURE OF 
THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ 

When I look at the three massive manuscriDt volume. 
whichcontamourwoikforthevearioiA "«»"uscnpt volumes 
^.As^.u t y®"**^*» I confess that it is verv 

difficult for me. out of such a wealth of material Tsd^S 
cases which are most interesting in themselv^ ani «*^ 

ancient BrfhT k ^^^'^? **"* ''°«"^" «>ntents of the 
anaent Bntish barrow. The famous Smith-Mortimer sZ 

Zr "".~"" *I- within this period, J^ZlLZ 
trackmg and arrest of Huret. the BouleviLtl l^ • 









I I 

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«8« THE RtrrUHN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

It was a wild, tempestuous night, towards the close of Novem- 
ber. Hohnes and I sat together in silence aU the evening, he 
engaged with a powerful lens deciphering the remains of the 
original inscription upon a palimpsest, I deep in a recent treatise 
upon suigeiy. Outside the wind howled down Baker Street, 
while the rain beat fiercely against the windows. It was strange 
there, in the veiy depths of the town, with ten miles of man's 
handiworic on every side of us, to feel the iron grip of Nature, 
and to be conscious that to the huge elemental forces all London 
was no more than the molehills that dot the fields. I walked to 
the window, and looked out on the deserted street. The occa- 
sional lamps gleamed on the expanse of muddy road and shining 
pavement. A single cab was splashing its way from the Oxford 
Street end. 

" Well, Watson, it's as well we have not to turn out to-night." 
said Holmes, laying aside his lens and rolling up the paKmpseJt. 
"I've done enough for one sitting. It is trying work for the 
eyes. So far as I can make out. it is nothing more exciting than 
an Abbey's accounts dating from the second half of the fifteenth 
century. Halloa! halloa! halloa! What's this ? " 

Amid the droning of the wind there had come the stamping of 
a horse's hoofs, and the long grind of a wheel as it rasped against 
the kerb. The cab which I had seen had pulled up at our door 

"What can he want?" I ejacukted, as a man stepped out 
of it. 

"Want? He wants us. And we, my poor Watson, want over- 
coats and cravats and goloshes, and every aid that man ever in- 
vented to fight the weather. Wait a bit, though! There's the 
cab off again ! There's hope yet. He'd have kept it if he had 
wanted us to come. Run down, my dear feUow. and open the 
door, for all virtuous folk have been long in bed. " 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ MS 

When the light of the haU lamp feU upon our midnight visi- 

tor. I had no difficulty in recognising him. It was young 

Stanley Hopkms. a promising detective, m whose career HohnS 

had several times shown a very practical interest. 

'Is he in?" he asked, eagerly. 

"Come up, my dear sir, "said Holmes* voice from above. "I 
hope you have no designs upon us such a night as this " 

The detective mounted the stairs, and our lamp gleamed upon 
his shming waterproof . I helped him out of it, while Holmes 
knocked a blaze out of the logs in the grate. 

"Now, my dear Hopkins, draw up and warm your toes," 
said he. ' Here's a cigar, and the doctor has a prescription con- 
taimng hot water and a lemon, which is good medicine on a night 
hke this. It must be something important which has brought 
you out m such a gale. " 

•• It is indeed. Mr. Holmes. I've had a bustKng afternoon. I 
promise yoii. Did you see anything of the Yoxley case in the 
latest editions ? " 

1 w n^° ''°*^ ^***'* **'*'' ^^ ^^°**» ^nt^'y to^ay" 

WeU. It was only a paragraph, and aU wrong at that, so you 
have not missed anything. I haven't let the grass grow under 
my feet. It's down in Kent, seven mUes from Chatham and 
three from the railway line. I was wired for at three-fifteen, 
reached Yoxley Old Place at five, conducted my investigation, 
was back at Charing Cross by the last train, and straight to you 
by cab. —oj 

" Which means, I suppose, that you are not quite clear about 
your case ? " 

" It means that I can make neither head nor tail of it. So far 
as I can see,it is just as tangled a business as ever I handled, and 
yet at first, it seemed so simple that one couldn't go wrong 



1:1 

i 



•" THE BETOHN OP SHEHLOCK HOLMES 

Th«e-.„omoav^Mr.H«to«. TW. wh,l bolh«.m.-I 
"nlputmylMmdan.molive. Here', ,«,.„ dwd- there', 

why anyone should wiah him h«rm. » 
Hohnes Ut hi. cigar and leaned back in his chair. 

1^ us hear about it, " said he. 
-l-vegot my facts pretty clear," «ud Stanley Hopkins. "AU 

Iw«.,„,^„,„knowwh.tth.y.Ume«,. Th^sto^rf^-I! 

I«amjke,tout,islikethi8. Some years ago ^ count^ 

house Yoriey Old PUce. „„ t^^ by an el Jerly m^ wS 

rt!;\T:.°":^'^'^""- Hew.saninvid.r«;i^ 
house with a sUck or being pushed about the grounds by the 
g^denerm . baa^r. He was weU-Iiked b/.hef„7«gt 

risnfl^H°*rr'^"'^°™- Hi.h«.seh.ldusedt.cn. 
^ ^ '?,''''"',j;,^<'"f «P«. Mrs. Mariner, and of a mM. Su- 
»»T«lton. Th«e have both been with him since his an^val, 

tf^T "^f"""*^- TI'«fl^ two that he tried 
were not successes, but the third, Mr. WiHoughby Smith, a velv 

LTl!^ ^Ploye' wanted. His work consisted in writing 
dithemormng to thePrefes«,r-sdict.tion,and he usually sp^ 

uponth.nejrtd.yWk. This Willougi^th ha, not^ 

UT ^'"; ""■? " ' ^y •' "PP'"«'»" or as a young 
n»natCamb„dge. I have seen his testimonies, and frem ,2! 

.^ .t. K™ ! "^r"!' '"*'''• '^«*i»« Mow, with no wedc 
spotmhunataU. And yet this is the hd who has met his d.^ 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE GOLDEN WNCI^NEZ MS 
tWs moming in the Professor's study under dreumstances 
which can point only to murder. " 

The wind howled and screamed at the windows. Holmes 
and I drew closer to the fire, while the young inspector slowly 
and pomt by point developed his singular narraUve. 

If you were to search all England. " said he. " I don't sun- 
pose you could find a household more self-contained or freer 
f«>m outside influences. Whole weeks would pass, and not one 
of them go past the garden gate. The Professor was buried in 
h« work and ensted for nothing else. Young Smith knew no- 
e^d" *!;? "«l»^^-»^-<»' -d Uved veiy mTch as his employ- 
er did. The two women had nothing to take them from the 
house. Mortmier. the gardener, who wheels the bath-chair is 

Z "7 fr'^»*»°«'r*" «^^ C"°»«»° °»an of exceUent charL.- 
ter. He does not hve m the house, but in a three-roomed cot- 
tage at the other end of the garden. Those are the only people 
tfuu you would find within the grounds of Yoxley Old RaL. 
At the same time, the gate of the garden is a hundred yards from 

SereTL^ r''*"'^'^- ^^ ^I— it^ a latch, and 
there is nothing to prevent anyone from walking in. 

Now I wiU give you the evidence of Susan Tarlton. who is 
the only person who can say anything positive about the matter. 
It was m the forenoon, between eleven and twelve. Shew, 
engaged at the moment in hanging some curtains in the upstair 
fr^tbedroom Professor Coram was stUl in bed. for when the 
wl " K ^^I ""^^^"^ '^ *^^^'^ "^^^y- The house- 

™ lu ^'^t 7^^ ^""^ ^°* ^" **»« *>«=k o^ *he house. 
Willoughby Smith had been in hi, bHrooc:, which he uses as 

a sitti^-room, but the maid heard him at that moment pass 

along ^e ^age and descend to the study immediately below 

her. She did not see him. but she says that she could not be 



i'l 
I 

I 



f,- 



THE RETUBN OP SHERLOCK HOLBIES 
mistaken in his quick, firm tread. She did not hear the study 
door close, but a minute or so later there was a dreadful ciy in 
the room below. It was a wild, hoarse scream, so strange and 
unnatural that it might have come either from a man o7a wo- 
man. At the same instant there was a heavy thud, which shook 
Uie old house, and then aU was silence. The maid stood petri- 
fied for a moment, and then, recovering her courage, she ran 
downstairs. The study door was shut and she opened it. In- 
side, young Mr. WiUoughby Smith was stretched upon the floor 
At firat she could see no injury, but as she tried to raise him she 
saw that blood was pouring from the underside of his neck. It 
was pierced by a veiy small but very deep wound, which had 
divided the carotid artery. The instrument with which the 
injury had been inflicted lay upon the carpet beside him. It 
was one of those small sealing-wax knives to be found on old- 
fashioned writing-tables, with an ivory handle and a stiff blade 
It was part of the fittings of the Professor's own desk. 

"At first the maid thought that young Smith was already 
dead, but on pouring some water from the carafe over his fore- 
head he opened hb eyes for an instant. ' The Professor ' he 
murmured-'itwas she.' The maid is prepared toswearthat 
those were the exact words. He tried desperately to say some- 
thing eke. and he held his right hand up in the air. Then he 
fell back dead. 

" In the meantime the housekeeper had abo arrived upon the 
scene, but she was just too late to catch the young man's dying 
words. Leaving Susan with the body, she hurried to the Pr^ 
fessor s room. He was sitting up in bed horribly agitated, for 
he had heard enough to convince him that something terrible 
had occurred. Mrs. Ma.ker is prepared to swear that the Pro- 
fessor was stiU in his night-clothes, and indeed it was impos- 



THE ADVENTUBE OF THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ m 
sible frr him to dress without the help of Mortimer, whose or- 
ders were to come at twelve o'clock. The Professor declares 
that he heard the distant ciy, but that he knows nothing more. 
He can give no explanation of the young man's last words, ' The 
Professor— it was she,' but imagines that they were the out- 
come of deUrium. He beheves that WiUoughby Smith had 
not an enemy in the world, and can give no reason for the crime. 
His first action was to send Mortimer, the gardener, for the 




\n 



local poKce. A Uttle Uter the chief constable sent for me. 
Nothing was moved before I got there, and strict orders were 
given that no one should walk upon the paths leading to the 
house. It was a splendid chance of putting your theories 
into practice, Mr. Sherlock Hohnes. There was really nothing 
wanting. " 

"Except Mr. Sherlock Holmes, " said my companion, with 
8 somewhat bitter snule. " WeU, let us hear about it. What 
sort of a job did you make of it ? " 

"I must ask you first, Mr. Hohnes, to glance at this rough 
plan, which will give you a general idea of the position of the 



■i 

I: 

5 ■ 

I 'I 



lii 



«» THE RCTUHN OP SHERLOCK H0LBIE8 

I^fessor's study and the various point, of the ewe It will 
help you in foUowing my investigation- ^ 

Hohnes.studie?;?::;h!rsi„,L^^ •"'• '^^^ "^ 

It IS very rough, of course, and it only deals with the noint. 

f^^'Cfi'^tTn'^- ^^^'-yoTlteT^ 

or yourself. Now, first of aU, presuming that ftj |™„_„ „ 
teredfteho«se.howdidheord.ecortof l^d^ZZt 

^'rfn"" I' "^ •"»'• '"- "^ch «h^tt^' 

.^^Tipu:^^- Tt':reTurt'-rtL«'^- 

recent r»m, and would certainly diow any footmarks, 
he had done «, in orfer to avoid leaving a trl* I iTu I 

One moment, " said Holmes «wi,-«.j x.. 
to?" Btwuxiomies. VVhere does this path lead 

"To the road." 
How long is it ? " 



»» 



TBE ADVENTURE OP THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ 

" A hundred yards or so. ** 

"At the point where the path passes through the gate, you 
could surely pick up the tracks ? ** 

•• Unfortunately, the path was tiled at that point - 

" Well, on the road itself ? ** 

" No, it was all trodden into mire. " 

** Tut-tut f WeU, then, these tracks upon the grass, were they 
coming or going ? " 

" It was impossible to say. There was never any outline. " 

"A huge foot or a small?" 

" You could not distinguish. " 

Hohnes gave an ejaculation of impatience. 

"It has been pouring rain and blowing a hurricane ever since,' 
said he. " It will be harder to read now than that palimpsest 
WeU. weU, it can't be helped. What did you do, Hopkins, after 
you had made certam that you had made certain of nothing?" 

"I think I made certain of a good deal, Mr. Holmes. Iknew 
that someone had entered the house cautiously from without 
I next examined the corridor. It is Uned with cocoanut matting, 
and had taken no impression of any kind. This brought me 
into the study itself. It is a scantily furnished room. The 
main article is a large writing-table with a fixed bureau. This 
bureau consists of a double column of drawere, with a central 
smaU cupboard between them. The drawers were open, the 
cupboard locked. The drawers, it seems, were always open, 
and nothing of value was kept in them. There were some 
papers of importance in the cupboard, but there Tvrere no signs 
that this had been tampered with, and the Professor assures 
me that nothing was missing. It is certain that no robbery 
has been conunitted. 
•* I come now to the body of the young man. It was found 



III 



ii 

i I 



•• THE RETDBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

near the bureau, and jurt to the left ol it. M marked upon that 
chart The itabwai on the right tide of the neck and from be- 
hind forwards, so that it is almost impossible that it could have 
been self-inflicted. " 
" Unless he feU upon the knife, - said Hobnes. 
^ ExacUy. The idea crossed my mind. But we found the 
knife some feet away from the body, so that seems impossible. 
Then, of course, there are the man's own dying words. And, 
finaUy, there was this veiy important piece of evidence which 
was found clasped in the dead man's right hand. ** 

From his pocket Stanley Hopkins drew a smaU paper packet. 
He unfolded it and disclosed a golden pince-ne«, with two 
broken ends of black silk cord dangUng from the end of it 
** WiUoughby Smith had exceUent sight, " he added. " There 
can be no question that this was snatched from the face or the 
person of the assassin. " 

Sheriock Hohnes took the glasses into his hand, and exam- 
ined them with the utmost attention and interest. He held 
them on his nose, endeavoured to read through them, went 
to the window and stared up the street with them, looked at 
them most minutely in the fuU light of the Ump, and finaUy 
with a chuckle, seated himself at the table and wrote a few' 
Knes upon a sheet of paper, which he tossed across to Stanley 
Hopkins. ' 

"That's the best I can do for you, "said he. "Itmayprove 
to be of some use. " 

"The astonished detective read the note aloud. It ran aa 
follows: — 

" Wanted, a woman of good address, attired like a lady. She 
has a remarkably thick nose, with eyes which are set close upon 
either side of it. She has a puckered forehead, a peering cxpres- 



TBE ADVENTURE OP THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ f7l 
rfon, and probably rounded shoulders. There are indications 

that she has had recourse to an optician at least twice during the 
last few months. As her gUuses are of remarkable strength, 
and as opticians are not very n'- nerous. there should be no dif- 
ficulty m tracing her. " 

Holmes smiled at the astonishment of Hopkins, which must 
have been reflected upon my features. 

"Surely my deductions are simplicity itself, " said he. " It 
would be difficult to name any articles which afford a finer field 
for inference than a pair of glasses, especially so remarkable a 
pair as these. That they belong to a woman I infer from their 
delicacy, and also, of course, from the last words of the dying 
man. As to her being a person of refinement and well dressed, 
***^.*f '. ** ^°" perceive, handsomely mounted in solid gold, 
and it is inconceivable that anyone who wore such glasses could 
be slatternly in other respects. You will find that the clips are 
too wide for your nose, showing that the lady's nose was very 
broad at the base. This sort of nose is usually a short and 
coarse one, but there is a sufficient number of exceptions to pre- 
vent me from being dogmatic or from insisting upon this point 
in my description. My own face is a narrow one, and yet I find 
that I cannot get my eyes into the centre, nor near the centre, of 
these glasses. Therefore, the lady's eyes are set very near to 
the sides of the nose. You will perceive, Watson, that the 
glasses are concave and of unusual strength. A lady whose 
vision has been so extremely contracted all her life is sure to 
have the physical characteristics of such vision, which are seen 
in the forehead, the eyelids, and the shoulders. " 

" Yes, " I said, " I can follow each of your arguments. I con- 
fess, however, that I am unable to understand how you arrive at 
the double visit to the optician. " 



t 



1 1 



I 



•» THE RITCRN OF EHERLOCK HOLICU 

Holmet took the gUuMt in hb hand. 
/ You wUI peradve. " he «ud, - that the dipt are fined with 
tony band! ol corit to ioften the prewire upon the note. One 
of the«j u diMoloured and worn to some slight extent, but the 
other u new. EvidenUy one has faUen off and been replaced 
I should judge that the older of them ha. not been there more 
than a few months. They esacUy correspond, so I gather 
that the kdy went back to the same establishment for the 
second. 

•• By George, it's marvellous I - cried Hopkins, in an ecstasy 
of admiration. " To think that I had aU that evidence in my 
hand and never knew it! I had intended, however, to go the 
round of the London opticians. ** 

"Of course you would. MeanwhUe, have you anythimr 
more to tell us about the case?** 

•• Nothing. Mr. Hohnes. I think that you know as much as 
I do now — probably more. We have had inquiries made as 
to any stranger seen on the country roads or at the railway 
station. We have heard of none. What beats me is the utter 
want of all object in the crime. . Not a ghost of a motive can 
*nyone suggest. " 

" Ah I there I am not in a position to help you. But I sup- 
pose you want us to come out to-morrow ? •* 

"If it is not asking too much, Mr. Hohnes. There's a 
train from Charing Cross to Chatham t* six in the morn- 
ing, and we should be at Yoxlcy Old Place between eiirht 
and nine." ^ 

" Then we shaU take it. Your case has certainly some f ea- 
hires of great interest, and I shall be delighted to look into it. 
WeU, It's neariy one, and we had best get a few hours' sleep. 
I dare say you can manage aU right on the sofa in front of 



ITS 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ 

ttefl«. nilightniy.pWtUmp.«dgi.«jou.c«polcofti.' 
bef on we fUrt 



The gale hmd blown Itielf out next day. but it wm a bitter 
morning when we .tart«l upon our journey. We saw the cold 
winter .un rue over the dreaiy marshe. of the Thamei and the 
long. KuUen leachee of the river, which I duU ever aModate 
with our pursuit of the Andaman Islander in the eariier days of 
our career. After a long and weaiy journey, we alighted at a 
jmaU tUtion wme mUes from Chatham. WhUe a horie wa. 
being put into a trap at the local inn. we «utched a hurried 
bn^ajrt. and so we weie aU ready for buabcM when we at 
l«t arrived at Yoxley Old Place. A conrtable met u. at the 
garden gate. 

"Well. Wilson, any news?" 
"No. sir— nothing." 
" No reports of any stranger seen ? " 
••No. sir. Down at the sUtion the. are certain that no 
nnnger either came or went yesterday. " 
^ Have you had inquiries made at ir ns and lodgings ? - 

« w*"i*i "'* ****" " "** **°* **^* ^* **°°** account for. - 
Wdl. ifs only a reasonable walk to Chatham. Anyone 

might stay there or take a train without being observed. This 
M the garden path of which I spoke. Mr. Hohnes. I'U pledw 
my word there was no mark on it yesterday. " 
" On which side were the marks on the grass ? " 

'iJ^A f ""'/'' '^**^°™'^°»»^° of grass between the 
path and the flower-bed. I can't see the traces now. but they 
were dear to me then. " ^ 

" Yes. yes: someone has passed along." said Hohnes. stoop, 
mg over the grass border. " Our lady must have pidced her 



«4 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

steps carefuUy, must she not. since on the one side she would 
leave a track on the path, and on the other an even clearer one 
on the soft bed?" 

" Yes, sir, she must have been a cool hand. " 

I saw an intent look pass over Holmes' face. 

I' You say that she must have come back this way?" 

" Yes, sir, there is no other. " 

" On this strip of grass ? " 

"Cerlamly, Mr. Holmes." 

" Hum! It was a very remarkable performance — very re- 
markable. Well, I think we have exhausted the path. Let us 
go farther. This garden door is usuaUy kept open. I suppose ? 
Then this visitor had nothing to do but to walk in. The idea of 
murder was not in her mind, or she would have provided herself 
mth some sort of weapon, instead of having to pick this knife 
off the writing-table. She advanced along this corridor, leav- 
mg no traces upon the cocoanut matting. Then she found her- 
self m this study. How long was she there? We have no 
means of judging. " 

J Not more than a few minutes, sir. I foigot to teU you that 
Mrs. Marker, the housekeeper, had been in there tidying not 
very long before — about a quarter of an hour, she says. " 

" WeU, that gives us a Umit. Our lady enters this room, and 
what does she do? She goes over to the writing-table. What 
for? Not for anything in the drawers. If there had been any- 
thmg worth her taking, it would surely have been locked up. 
No, It was for something in that wooden bureau. HaUoa' 
what is that scratch upon the face of it ? Just hold a match 
Watson. Why did you not teU me of this, Hopkins?" 

The mark which he was examining began upon the brass- 
work on the right-hand side of the keyhole, and extended for 



Id 
ae 






TBE ADVENTOBE OF IHE GOLDEN PDJCE-NEZ <7. 
.iKmtfour inch«, whe« it M «,rtd.«i flie vmid, f„m ft. 

Where ,t « cut. An old ««tch would be the same colour u 
^j^hke «mh on e«h ,rfe of . fum.w. b Mr,. M^ke^ 
A Md.f«»d, dderty wonum c«me into the room. 

« V ^" » ■"' "^ ''"™'" y«««nl«y morning i - 
*es, sir. 

*' Did you notice this scratch ? " 
"No, sir, I did not." 

- 1 am sure you did not. for a duster would have swept awav 
th«.sh,^ofvarnish. Whohasthekey of thisbu^^u?^^ 
^ Ihe Professor ^e>ps it on his watch-chain. » 
Is it a simple key ? " 
"No, sir, it is a Chubb's key. " 

iJ.^S*°°^' **"M«*"y<'<«ngo. NowweimnuA. 

bureau „d either open, it or trie, to do «,. While she is thus 
eng^. young WiUoughby Snnth enters the ,«,„. b he 

ject which happens to be fti, knife, strikes at him in orier to 
make him let go hi, hold. The blow i, a fatal one. Hef2 
and ,he escape, either wift or without the object fofwhS 
she has come. Is Su»n, fte maid, there? Could anyone 



«i 



.ff 




«W THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLSIES 

"No, sir, it is impossible. Before I got down the stair, 

1 d have seen anyone in the passage. Besides, the door never 

opened, or I would have heard it. " 
" Th*t setties this exit. Then no doubt the lady went out 

the way she came. I understand that this other passage leads 

only to the Professor's room. There is no exit that way ? " 
"No, sir." ' 

" We shaU go down it and make the acquaintance of the Pro- 
fessor. Halloa, Hopkins! thi. veiy important, very im- 
portant mdeed. The Professor s corridor is also lined with 
cocoanut matting. " 

"Well, sir. what of that?" 

"Don't you see any bearing upon the case? WeU, weU, 
I don t insist upon it. No doubt I am wrong. And yet 
It seems to me to be suggestive. Come with me and intro- 
duce me. " 

We passed down the passage, which was of the same length 
aa that which led to the garden. At the end was a short flight 
of stejM ending in a door. Our guide knocked, and then 
ushered us into the Professor's bedroom. 

It was a veiy laige chamber, lined with innumerable volumes, 
which had overflowed from the shelves and lay in piles in the 
comers, or were stacked all round at the base of the cases. The 
bed was in the centre of the room, and in it. propped up with 
piUows. was the owner of the house. I have seldom seen a more 
remarkable-looking person. It was a gaunt. aquiUne face 
which was turned towards us. with piercing dark eyes, which 
lurked m deep hollows under overhung and tufted brows. His 
hair and beard were white, save that the latter was curiously 
stained with yellow around his mouth. A cigarette glowed 
amid the tangle of white hair, and the air of the room was fetid 




<n 



TOWARDS Is 



THE ADVENTDBE OF TBE GOLDEN FINCE-NEZ S77 

with stale tobacco-smoke. As he held out his hand to Holmes, 
I perceived that it was also stained with yellow nicotine. 

" A smoker, Mr. Holmes ? " said he, speaking in well-chosen 
English, with a curious little mincing accent. " Pray take a 
cigarette. And you, sir ? I can recommend them, for I have 
them especially prepared by lonides, of Alexandria. He sends 
me a thousand at a time, and I grieve to say that I have to 
arrange for a fresh supply every fortnight. Bad, sir, very 
bad, but an old man has few pleasures. Tobacco and my 
work — that is all that is left to me. " 

Holmes had lit a cigarette, and was shooting little darting 
fiances all over the room. 

" Tobacco and my work, but now only tobacco, " the old man 
exclaimed. "Alas! what a fatal interruption! Who could have 
foreseen such a terrible catastrophe? So estimable a yoimg 
man ! I assure you that, after a few months' training he was an 
admirable assistant. What do you think of the matter, Mr. 
Hohnes?" 

" I have not yet made up my mind. " 

" I shall indeed be indebted to you if you can throw a light 
whiere all is so dark to us. To a poor bookworm and invalid 
like myself such a blow is paralyzing. I seem to have lost the 
faculty of thought. But you are a man of action — you are a 
man of affairs. It is part of the everyday routine of your life. 
You can presei*ve your balance in every emergency. We are 
fortunate, indued, in having you at our side. " 

Holmes watt pacing up and down one side of the room whilst 
the old Professor was talking. I observed that he was smoking 
with extraordinary rapidity. It was evident that he shared our 
host's liking for the fresh Alexandrian cigarettes. 

" Yes, sir, it is a crushing blow, " said the oM man. " That is 



m 



«« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

my magnum opus — the pUe of papers on the side table yonder. 
It is my analysis of the documents found in the Coptic monas^ 
teries of Syria and Egypt, a work which will cut deep at the very 
foundation of revealed religion. With my enfeebled health I 
do not know whether I shaU ever be able to complete it, 
now that my assistant has been taken from me. Dear me! 
Mr. Hohnes, why, you are even a quicker smoker than I am 
myself. " 

Holmes smiled. 

" I am a connoisseur, " said he, taking another dgaiette from 
the boy -his fourth -and lighting it from the stub of that 
which he had finished. " I wiU not trouble you with any lengthy 
cross-examination. Professor Coram, since I gather that you 
were in bed at the time of the crime, and could know nothing 
about it. I would only ask this. What do you imagine that 
this poor fellow meant by his last words: 'The Professor— it 
was she'?" 

The Professor shook his head. 

"Susan is a country giri," said he, ''and you know the in- 
credible stupidity of that class. I fancy that the poor feUow 
murmured some incoherent, delirious words, and that she twist- 
ed them into this meaningless message. " 

" I see. You have no explanation yourself of the tragedy ? " 

"Possibly an accident, possibly -I only breathe it among 
ourselves — a suicide. Young men have their hidden troubles 
— some affair of the heart, perhaps, which we have never 
known. It is a more probable supposition than murder. " 

" But the eye-glasses ? " 

"Ah! lamonlyastudent — amanofdreams. Icannotex- 
plam the practical things of Ufe. But stiU. we are aware, my 
fnend, that love-gages may take strange shapes. By aU means 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE GOLDEN MNCE-NEZ 879 
take another cigarette. It is a pleasure to see anyone appre- 

cwte them so A fan. a glove, glasses - who knows what arUcle 
may be earned as a token or treasured when a man puts an end 
to his hfe? This gentleman speaks of footsteps in the grass, 
but. after all. it is easy to be mistaken on such a point. As to 
the kmfe it m^ht well be thrown far from the unfortunate 
man as he feU. It is possible that I speak as a child, but 
to me It seems that WiUoughby Smith has met his fate by 
his own hand." ' 

Holm^ seemed struck by the theory thus put forward, and he 
contmued to walk up and down for some time, lost in thought 
and consuming cigarette after cigarette. 

" TeU me. Professor Coram. " he said, at last. " what is in that 
cupboard in the bureau ? " 

"Nothing that would help a thief. Family papers, lettem 
from my poor wife, diplomas of universiUes wWch have done 
me honour. Here is the key. You can look for yourself . " 

Holm^ picked up the key. and looked at it for an instant, 
then he handed it back. 

" No. I hardly think that it would help me, " said he " I 
should prefer to go quieUy down to your garden, and turn the 
whole matter over in my head. There is something to be said 
for he theory of suicide which you have put forward. We must 
apologize for having intruded upon you. Professor Coram, and 
I promise that we won't disturb you untU after lunch. At 
two o clock we will come again, and report to you anything 
which may have happened in the interval. " 

Holmes was curiously distrait, and we walked up and down 
the garden path for some time in silence. 

" Have you a clue ? " I asked, at last. 

"It depends upon those cigarettes that I smoked." said he. 



I 5 



«» TBE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMIS 

2^bpo«bleth«lI«nutteriymirt«ken. The dg«ette. wiH 

" w^.,***" ^**^'"' " ^ «*^**^«d. "how on cartli-- 

h. JwT' ''""a/'*" ""^ "** '**' y**""*"' " °«*. there's no 
ham done Of coune.^e always have the optician clue to fall 
back upon, but I take a short cut when I can ir^« it Ah h«!.^ 

^J^^'"^'-' I^-enioyfivenunltelof^^^tXe 
oonvenataon with her. " "vu.o 

Imv have «nark«lbrfore that HohnMh«l. when h« liked. 
M»»I»rIy .,^ti.ting w., with w.m«.. «d tht h.^ 

««Uy«Ubh.hed tern- <rf confidence with them, mhdfth^ 
hm. which he h«l juuned, he h«J cptu«d the h.u«keeper-. 

««*. Jl. „d w« chirtting with her „ if he h«l kn,mn hi^o, 
/ears. 

JZu- ^'' ^^^^' '* ^ ** y**" ^y* «'• He does smoke 
aomejingtemble. All day and sometimes aU night, sir. Fve 
seen that «om of a morning- well, sir you'd hTve thought it 
was a London fog. Poor young Mr. Smith, he was a smoker 
abo but not as bad as the Professor. His health 1^^ J 
don t know that ,fs better nor worse for the smoking. » 

Ah «udHohnes.« but it kills the appetite." 

Well. I don't know about that. sir. " 
" I suppose the Professor eats hardly anything ? »» 
'Well, he b variable. I'U say that for him. " 

/"YT'^^*'**'^°'***'**"*«**his morning, and won't face 
his lunch after aU the cigarettes I saw him «l^;„.e. '^ 

able big breaWast this morning. I don't know when I've 
known him make a better one. and he's ordered a good dish of 
cuUeta for his lunch. I'm surprised myself, for since I came 
into that room yesterday and saw yomig Mr. Smith lying thei^ 



nH 



no 
aU 
is 
ve 

d. 

rjr 
le 
•a 
»r 

e 

e 
t 
r 
[ 



TOE ADVENTURE OP IBE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ flsi 
«. the floor I couldn't bear to look at food. WeU. it take. aU 

kiT^'l^^^^i^" "'*"['* ™y^"***'' «*«*«»• Stanley Hop. 
kmsluMlgpne down to the village to look into some rumoursS 

cKZil: " "^ """ '"'^ '' -"^ ^^^^- -"i^' 

^naUii. ^ Road the previous morning. As to my friend all his 

?11^ u! r? "* '""** • l«lf-hearted fashion. Even th^ 
news brought back by Hopkms that he had found thecbldin 
and ^t they had undoubtedly seen a woZi e^ f""^' 
.pondmg with HoUnes- description, and wearing^^,?^ 

He was more attentive when Susan, who waited upon us at 
Umchorolunteered the information that she beUeTedT SmiS. 

only returned half an hour before the tragedy occurred I 

empty d«h bore evidence to the good appetite witli wui his 
^hetrS^T"'^'^- Hewa,.Tde«,.awewtut 

^e etemd c«.rette smouldered in his mouth. He had been 
d«»d«d™ seated in an amuiair by the fire. 

n. i li^'. ^''' *""* y°« 'o'™' tl^ mysteiy yet?" 
He sho^d the huge tin of cigarettes whieh stood on a tobfelL 



Ml THE RETUBN OF SHERLOCK HOUfES 

ride him towards my companion. Holmes stretched out his 
hand at the same moment, and between them they tipped the 
box over the edge. For a minute or two we were all on our 
knees retrieving stray cigarettes from imposrible places. When 
we rose again, I observed Hoknes' eyes were shining and his 
cheeks tinged with colour. Only at a crisis have I seen those 
battle-signak flying. 
" Yes, " said he, " I have solved it. " 
Stanley Hopkins and I stared in amazement. Something 
like a sneer quivered over the gaunt features of the old 
Professor. 
"Indeed! In the garden?** 
"No, here.** 
"Here! When?'* 
"This instant.** 

"You are surely joking, Mr. Sheriock Holmes. You com- 
pel me to tell you that this is too serious a matter to be treated 
in such a fashion. 

" I have foiged and tested every link of my chain. Professor 
Coram, and I am sure that it is sound. What your motives are, 
or what exact part you play in this strange business, I am not 
yet able to say. In a few minutes I shall probably hear it from 
your own lips. Meanwhile I will reconstruct what is past for 
your benefit, so that you may know the information which I 
still require. 

"A lady yesterday entered your study. She came with the 
intention of possessing herself of certain documents which were 
in your bureau. She had a key of her own. I have had an op- 
portunity of examining yours, and I do not find that slight dis- 
colouration which the scratch made upon the varnish would 
have produced. You were not an accessory, therefore, and 



THE ADVSNTUBE OP THB GOLDEN FINCB-NBZ «• 

•he came, so far m I can read the evidence, without your 
knowledge to rob you. " 

The Fkofesior blew a cloud from fab lipt. •"Thii ii mort 
interesting and inductive. - laid he. "Have you no more to 

add? Surely, having traced thi« lady 10 far, you can alM fay 
what hai become of her. " 

*• I wUl endeavour to do so. In the first place she was seized 
by your secretary, and sUbbed him in order to escape. This 
catastrophe I am inclined to regard as an unhappy accident, for 
I am convinced that the lady had no intention of inflicting so 
gjrievous an injury. An assassin does not come unarmed. Hor^ 
rifled by what she had done, she rushed wildly away from the 
scene of the tragedy. Unfortunately for her, she had lost her 
glasses in the scuffle, and as she was extremely short-sighted 
she was reaUy helpless without them. She ran down a corri- 
dor, which she imagined to be that by which she had come— 
both were lined with cocounut matting — and it was onjy when 
it was too late that she understood that she had taken the wrong 
passage, and that her retreat was cut o£F behind her. What was 
she to do? She could not go back. She could not remain 
where she was. She must go on. She went on. She mounted 
a stair, pushed open a door, and found herself in your 
room." 

The old man sat with his mouth open, staring ^ucdj at 
Hohnes. Amazement and fear were stamped upon his ex- 
pressive features. Now, with an effort, he shrugged his 
shoulders and burst into insincere laughter. 

"AU very fine, Mr. Holmes," said he. "But there is one 
little flaw in your splendid theory. I was myself in my room, 
and I never left it during the day. " 

" I am aware of that. Professor Coram. *• 



i'\ 



THE RETUBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

- And you mean to My that I could Ue upon thiU W and not 
De aware that a woman had entered my room ?** 

-I never laid to. You i£>*r. aware of it. You spoke with 
her. Yourecognuedher. You aided her to e^ape.- 

Again the ProfeMor bunt into high-keyed laughter. He had 
men to hu feet, and hit eyes glowed Uke emben. 

"You are mad r he cried. " You are talking insanely. I 
helped her to escape? Where is she now P*^ 

•• She is there, " said Holmes, and he pointed to a high book- 
case m the comer of the room. 

I saw the old man throw up his arms, a terrible convulsion 
passed over his grim face, and he feU back in his chair. At the 
same instant the bookcase at which Hohnes pointed swung 
round upon a hinge, and a woman rushed out into the room. 

You are nghtl" she cried, in a strange, foreign voice. "You 
are right! I am here.** 

She was brown with the dust, and draped wiw the cobwebs, 
which had come from the walls of her hiding-place Her face 
too. was streaked with grime, and at the best she could neve^ 
have been handsome, for she had the exact physical characteris- 
tics which Hohnes had divined, with, in addition, a long and ob- 
sbnate chin. What with her natural blindness, and what with 
the change from dark to light, she stood as one dazed, blinking 
about her to see where and who we were. And yet, in spite 
of all these disadvantages, there was a certain nobility in the 
woman's bearing -a gaUantiy in the defiant chin and in the 
upraised head, which compeUed something of respect and 
admiration. 

Stanley Hopkins had laid his hand upon her arm and 
claimed her as his prisoner, but she waved him aside gently, and 
yet with an overmastering dignity which compeUed obedience. 



THE Aim^NTDRB OF THE GOLDEN PINCE.NEZ m 

The old man Uy back in his chair with a twitching face, and 
•Ured at her with brooding eyes. 

- Yet, dr. I am your priwrner. ** she said. - Prom where I 
•tood I could hear everything, and I know that you have learned 
the truth. IconfeMitaU. It was I who kiUed the young man. 
But you aro right —you who say it was an accident. I did not 
even know that it was a knife which I held in my hand, for in 
my despair I snatched anything from the table and struck at him 
to make him let me go. It is the truth that I tell. " 

" Madam, " said Holmes, " I am sure that it is the truth. I 
fear that you are far from well. ** 

She had turned a dreadful colour, the more ghastly under the 
dark dust-streaks upon her face. She seated herself on the 
side of the bed; then she resumed. 

•• I have only a Uttie time here. " she said, " but I would have 
you to know the whole truth. I am this man's wife. He is not 
an Englishman. He is a Russian. His name I will not tell. " 

For the first Ume the old man stirred. "God bless you. 
Anna!" he cried. "God bless you!" 

She cast a look of the deepest disdain in his direction. "Why 
should you cling so hard to that wretched life of yours, Ser- 
gius ?" said she. " It has done harm to many, and good to 
none — not even to yourself. However, it is not for me to 
cause the fraU thread to be snapped before God's time. I have 
enough already upon my soul since I crossed the threshold of 
this CTirsed house. But I must speak or I shall be too late. 

" I have said, gentlemen, that I am this man's wL*e. He was 
fifty and I a fooUsh girl of twenty when we married. I' was in a 
city of Russia, a University — I will not name the j.- rje. " 

" God Hess you, Anna! " murmured the old man again. 

" We were reformers — revolutionists — Nihilists, you under- 



IH 



i , 



"• THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

stand. He and I and many more. Then there came a time of 

trouble, a police officer was kiUed. many were arrested, evidence 

was wanted, and in order to save his own life and to earn a great 
reward my husband betrayed his own wife and his compan- 
ions. Yes, we were aU arrested upon his confession. Some of 
us found our way to the gaUows, and some to Siberia. I was 
among these last, but my term was not for life. My husband 
came to Ei^gland with his iU-gotten gains, and has lived in quiet 
ever smce, knowing weU that if the Brotherhood knew where he 
wasnot a week would pass before justice would be done. " 

The old man reached out a trembling hand, and helped 
himself to a cigarette. "I am in your hands. Amia." said 
ne. You were always good to me. " 

^ " I have not yet told you the height of his villainy, " said she. 
Among our comrades of the Order, there was one who was 
thefnend of my heart. He was noble, unselfish, loving-all 
that my husband was not. He hated violence. We were aU 
gmlty - if that is guUt-but he was not. He wrote for ever dis- 
suadii^ us from such a course. These letters would have 
saved him. So would my diaiy. in which, from day to day, I 
had entered both my feelings towards him and the view which 
each of us had taken. My husband found and kept both dianr 
and letters. He hid them, and he tried hard to swear away the 
young man's life. In this he failed, but Alexis was sent a con- 
vict to Sibena, where now, at this moment, he works in a salt 
mine. Think of that, you viUain, you villain! -now, now. at 
this very moment, Alexis, a man whose name you are not 
worthy to speak, works and Uves like a slave, and yet I have 
your life m my hands, and I let you go. " 

••You were always a noble woman, Anna, " sai.^ the old man 
puffing at his cigarette. * 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ «87 
She hiM? rsen, but she feU back again with a Httle ciy of pain. 
" I n.u;it finish, " sh • said. " When my term was over I set 
myself ., get the diarj and letters which, if sent to the Russian 
Govem^Tert, virould procure my friend's release. I knew that 
my husband had come to England. After months of searching 
I discovered where he was. I knew that he stiU had the diaiy, 
for when I was in Siberia I had a letter from him once, re^ 
proaching me and qu -^ting some passages from its pages. Yet 
I was sure that, with uis revengeful nature, he would never give 
it to me of his own free-wiU. I must get it for myself. With 
this object I engaged an agent from a private detective firm, 
who entered my husband's house as a secretary — it was your 
second secretary, Sergius, the one who left you so hurriedly. He 
found that papers were kept in the cupboard, and he got an im- 
pression of the key. He would not go farther. He furnished 
me with a plan of the house, and he told me that in the fore- 
noon the study was always empty, as the secretary was em- 
ployed up here. So at last I took my courage in both hands, 
and I came down to get the papers for myself. I succeeded; 
but at what a cost! 

" I had just taken the papers and was locking the cupboard, 
when the young man seized me. I had seen him already that 
morning. He had met me on the road, and I had asked him to 
teU me where Professor Coram Uved, not knowing that he was 
in his employ. " 

"Exactly! exactly!" said Holmes. "The secretary came 
back, and told his employer of the woman he had met. Then 
in his last breath, he tried to send a message that it was she— 
the she whom he had just discussed with him. " 

^' You must let me speak, " said the woman, in an imperative 
voice, and her face contracted as if in pain. " When he had 



«8 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

fallen I rushed from the room, chose the wrong door, and found 
myself in my husband's room. He spoke of giving me up I 
showed him that if he did so, his life was in my hands. If he 

gave me to the law, I could give him to the Brotherhood. It was 
not that I wished to Uve for my own sake, but it was that I 
desired to accomplish my purpose. He knew that I would do 
what I said — that his own fate was involved in mine. For that 
reason, and for no other, he shielded me. He thrust me into that 
dark hiding-place-a relic of old days, known only to himself. 
He took his meals in his own room, and so was able to give me 
part of his food. It was agreed that when the police left the 
house I should slip away by night and come back no more. But 
m some way you have read our plans." She tore from the bosom 
of her dress a smaD packet. " These are my last words, " said 
she; " here is the packet which will save Alexis. I confide it to 
your honour and to your love of justice. Take it ! You will de- 
liver it at the Russian Embassy. Now, I have done my duty, 
and — " 

"Stop her!" cried Hohnes. He had bounded across the 
room, and had wrenched a smaU phial from her hand. 

"Too late!" she said, sinking back on the bed. "Too late! 
I took the poison before I left my hiding-place. My head 
swims! I am going! I chaige you, sir, to remember the 
packet. " 



•A simple case, and yet, in some ways, an instructive one, " 
Holmes remarked, as we traveUed back to town. " It hinged 
from the outset upon the pince-nez. But for the fortunate 
chance of the dying man having seized these, I am not sure that 
we could ever have reached our solution. It was clear to me, 
from the strength of the glasses, tiiat the wearer must have been' 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE GOLDEN PINCE-NEZ «u 
veiy bUnd and helpless when deprived of them. When you 
asked me to believe that she walked along a narrow strip of 
grass without once making a false step, I remarked, as you may 
remember, that it was a noteworthy performance. In my mind 
1 set It down as an impossible performance, save in the unlikely 
case that she had a second pair of glasses. I was forced, there- 
fore, to seriously consider the hypothesis that she had remained 
within the house. On perceiving the similarity of the two cor- 
ndors. It became clear that she might veiy easily have made 
such a mistake, and. in that case, it was evident that she must 
have entered the Professor's room. I was keenly on the alert, 
therefore, for whatever would bear out this supposition, and 
I examined the room narrowly for anything in the shape of a 
hiding-place. The carpet seemed continuous and firmly nailed 
so I dismissed the idea of a trap-door. There might well be 
a recess behind the books. As you ai^ aware, such devices are 
common m old hbraries. I observed that books were pUed on 
the floor at all other points, but that one bookcase was left 
clear. This. then, might be the door. I could see no marks 
to guide me. but the carpet was of a dun colour, which lends 
Itself very well to examination. I therefore smoked a great 
number of those excellent cigarettes, and I dropped the ash all 
over the space in front of the suspected bookcase. It was 
a simple tnck. but exceedingly eflFective. I then went down- 
stairs, and I ascertained, in your presence. Watson, without 
your perceiving the drift of my remarks, that Professor 
Coram s consumption of food had increased -as one would 
expect when he is supplying a second person. We then as- 
cended to the room again, when, by upsetting the cigarette-box. 
I obtained a veiy excellent view of the floor, and was able to 
see quite clearly, from the traces upon the cigarette ash. that 



«0 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

the prisoner had in our absence come out from her retreat. 
Well, Hopkins, here we are at Charing Cross, and I congratulate 
you on having brought your case to a successful conclusion. 
You are going to headquarters, no doubt. I think, Watson, 
you and I will drive together to the Russian Embassy. " 



XI 

THE ADVENTURE OP 

THE MISSING THREE-QUARTER 

We were fairly accustomed to receive weird telegrams at 

WW h TJ; ''"* ' "^'^ * ^"^^'^ n-oUectiorrone 
which reached us on a gloomy February morning, some seven 

or e^ht years ago. and gave Mr. Sherlock Hohnes a puzzled 
quaj^rofanhour. It was addressed to him, and ran thus :- 
Please await me. Terrible misfortune. Right wing three- 
quarter missing, indispensable to-morrow. - OvEimw " 

Strand postmark, and dispatched ten-thirty-six." said 
Holmes, reading it over and over. " Mr. Overton was evidentiy 
considerably excited when he sent it. and somewhat incoherent 
m «>n^uence^ Well. weU. he wiU be here. I dare say. by the 
time I have looked through the Times, and then we shaU know 
an about It. Even the most insignificant problem would be 
welcome m these stagnant days." 

Things had indeed been veiy slow with us. and I had learned 
to dread such periods of inaction, for I knew by experience 
that my compamon's brain was so abnormaUy active that it 
was da^erous to leave it without material upon which to 
work. For years I had gradually weaned him from that dnut- 
mama which had threatened once to check his remarkaWe 



»« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

CM»er. Now I knew that under ordinary conditions he no 
longer craved for this artificial stimulus, but I was well aware 
that the fiend was not dead but sleeping, and I have known 
that the sleep was a light one and the waking near when in 
periods of idleness I have seen the drawn look upon Holmes* 
ascetic face, and the brooding of his deep-set and inscrutable 
e^es. Therefore I blessed this Mr. Overton, whoever he might 
be, since he had come with his enigmatic message to break that 
dangerous calm which brought more peril to my friend than aU 
the storms of his tempestuous life. 

As we had expected, the telegram was soon followed by its 
sender, and the card of Mr. Cyril Overton, Trinity CoUege, 
Cambridge, announced the arrival of an enormous young man, 
sixteen stone of soUd bone and muscle, who spanned the door- 
way with his broad shoulders, and looked from one of us to the 
other with a comely face which was haggard with anxiety. 
" Mr. Sheriock Hohnes ? " 
My companion bowed. 

"I've been down to Scotland Yard, Mr. Holmes. I saw 
Inspector Stanley Hopkins. He advised me to come to you. 
He said the case, so far as he could see, was more in your Une 
than in that of the regular police." 
" Pray sit down and tell me what is the matter." 
" It's awful, Mr. Hohnes — simply awful ! I wonder my hair 
isn't grey. Godfrey Staunton — you've heard of him, of 
course ? He's simply the hinge that the whole team turns on. 
I'd rather spare two from the pack, and have Godfrey for my 
three-quarter Une. Whether it's massing, or tackling, or drib- 
bling, there's no one to touch him, and then, he's got the head, 
and can hold us all together. What am I to do ? That's what 
I ask you, Mr. Holmes. There's Moorhouse, first reserve. 



THE MISSING THREE^UARTER _ 

but he is trained as a half, and he always edges right in on to 
the scrum instead of keeping out on the torchline. He's a 
fine pfece-kick. it's true, but then he has ro judgment, and he 
caa t sprint for nuts. Why. Morton or Johnson, the Oxford 
fliers, could romp round him. Stevenson is fast enough, but 
he couldn't drop from the twenty-five line, and a three-quarter 
who can t either punt or drop isn't worth a place for pace alone. 
Wo Mr. Holmes, we are done unless you can help me to find 
Godfrey Staunton." 

My friend had Ustened with amused surprise to this long 
speech, which was poured forth with extraordinaiy vigour and 
earnestness, every point being driven home by the slapping of 
a brawny hand upon the speaker's knee. When our visitor 
.T^.'*l^;' "^^"'^ '*'^*^»»«^ «»* his hand and took down letter 
b of his Commonplace book. For once he dug in vain into 
that mine of varied information. 

"There is Arthur H. Staunton, the rising young forger." 
said he. 'and there was Henry Staunton, whom I helped to 
hang, but Godfrey Staunton is a new name to me." 
It was our visitor's turn to 'ook surprised. 
"Why. Mr. Holmes. I thought you knew things." said he. 
I suppose, then, if you have never heard of Godfrey Staunton, 
you don't know Cyril Overton either ? " 
Holmes shook his head good humouredly. 
"Great Scot ! " cried the athlete. " Why. I was first reserve 
for England against Wales, and I've skippered the 'Varsity all 
this year. But that's nothing! I didn't think there was a 
soul m England who didn't know Godfrey Staunton, the crack 
three-quarter, Cambridge, Blackheath. and five Internationals. 
Good Lord ! Mr. Holmes, where have you lived ? " 
Holmes laughed at the young giant's naive astonishment. 



«M THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

•* You Uve in a different worid to me. Mr. Overton— a sweeter 
and healthier one. My ramifications stretch out into many 
sections of society, but never, I am happy to say, into amateur 
sport, which is the best and soundest thing in England. How- 
eve., your unexpected visit this morning shows me that even 
in that world of fresh air and fair play, there may be work for 
me to do. So now, my good sir, I beg you to sit down and to teU 
me, slowly and quieUy, exactly what it is that has occurred, and 
how you desire that I should help you." 

Young Overton's face assumed the bothered look of the man 
who is more accustomed to using his muscles than his wits, 
but by degrees, with many repetitions and obscurities wWch I 
may omit from his narrative, he laid his strange stoiy before us. 
" It's this way, Mr. Holmes. As I have said, I am the skip- 
per of the Rugger team of Cambridge 'Varsity, and Godfrey 
Staunton is my best man. To-morrow we play Oxford. Yes- 
terday we aU came up, and we setUed at Bentley's private hotel. 
At ten o'clock I went round and saw that aU the fellows had 
gone to roost, for I beUeve in strict training and plenty of sleep 
to keep a team fit. I had a word or two with Godfrey before 
he turned in. He seemed to me to be pale and bothered. I 
asked him what was the matter. He said he was aU right — 
just a touch of headache. I bade him good-night and left 
him. Half an hour later, the porter tells me that a rough-look- 
ing man with a beard called with a note for Godfrey. He had 
not gone to bed, and the note was taken to his room. Godfrey 
read it, and feU back in a chair as if he had been pole-axed. 
The porter was so scared that he was going to fetch me, but 
Godfrey stopped him, had a drink of water, and pulled him- 
self together. Then he went downstairs, said a few words 
to the man who was waiting in the haU. and the two of them 



THE MISSING THREE^UARTER 

went off together. The last that the porter saw of them, they 
were abnort nimung down the street in the direction of the 
Strand. Thia morning Godfrey's room was empty, his bed 
had never been slept in. and his things were all just as I had 
seen thorn the night before. He had gone off at a moment's 
notict With this stranger, and no word has come from him 
since. I don't beheve he wiU ever come back. He was a 
sportsman, was Godfrey, down to his marrow, and he wouldn't 
have stopped his training and let in his skipper if it were not 
for some cause that was too strong for him. No: I feel as if he 
were gone for good, and we should never see him again." 

Sherlock Hoknes listened with the deepest attention to this 
angular narrative. 

" What did you do ? " he asked. 

'•I wired to Cambridge to learn if anything had been heard 
of him there. I have had an answer. No one has seen him." 

'• Could he have got back to Cambridge ? " 

" Yes, there is a late train — quarter-past eleven." 

" But, so far as you can ascertain, he did not take it ? " 

*' No, he has not been seen." 

" What did you do next ? " 

" I wired to Lord Mount-James." 

" Why to Lord Mount-James ? " 

" Godfrey is an orphan, and Lord Mount-James is his nearest 
relative — his uncle, I believe." 

"Indeed. This throws new light upon the matter. Lord 
Mount-James is one of the richest men in England." 

•* So I've heard Godfrey say." 

*' And your friend was closely related ? " 

"Yes, he was his heir, and the old boy is nearly eighty — 



•• THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

cfim fuU of gout. too. They say he could chalk hi. bilUanl- 
cue wi h his knuckles. He never aUowed Godfrey a shilling 
m his hfe, for he is an absolute miser, but it wiU aU cometo 
bim right enough." 

•• Have you heard from Lord Mount-James ? " 
"No." 

"What motive could your friend have in going to Loitl 
Mount-James?" ^ 

" WeU. something was worrying Wm the night before, and if 
It was to do with money it is possible that he would make for 
his nearest relative who had so much of it. though from all I 
have heard he would not have much chance of getting it. God- 
frey was not fond of the old man. He would not go if he could 
Help it. 

"WeU, we can soon determine that. If your friend was 
going to his relative. Lord Mount-James, you have then to 
explain thevi.,tof this «>ugh-looking fellow at so late an hour, 
and the agitation that was caused by his coming." 

Cyril Overton pressed his hands to his head. " I can make 
nothing of it," said he. 

" WeU. weU. I have a clear day, and I shall be happy to look 
mtoUiematter,"saidHolmes. " I should strongly Jie^mmend 
you to make your preparations for your match without refer- 
ence to this young gentleman. It must, as you say. have been 
an overpowering necessity which tore him away in such a 
fashion, and the same necessity is Ukely to hold him away 
Let us step round together to the hotel, and see if the porter 
can throw any fresh light upon the matter." 

Sherlock Holmes was a past-master in the art of putting a 
humble ^tness at his ease, and veiy soon, in the privac^of 
Godfrey Staunton's abandoned room, he had extracted aU 



THE MISSING THREE^UARTER wi 

that the porter had to tell. The visitor of the night before was 
not a genUeman. neither was he a workingman. He was 
simply what the porter described as a •' medium-looking chap " 
a man of fifty, beard grizzled, pale face, quietly dressed. He 
seemed himself to be agitated. The porter had observed his 
hand trembling when he had held out the note. Godfrey 
Staunton had crammed the note into his pocket. Steunton 
had not shaken hands with the man in the hall. They had 
exchanged a few sentences, of which the porter had only dis- 
tmguished the one word '• time." Then they had hurried off in 
the manner described. It was just half-past ten by the hall clock 

K^ ' v^ ^" ^^ "''^"*^' '^^^'^S ^°^^ o» Staunton's 
bed. You are the day porter, are you not ? " 

" Yes, sir, I go off duty at eleven." 

" The night porter saw nothing. I suppose ? " 

•• No, sir. one theatre party came in late. No one else." 

" Were you on duty all day yesterday ? " 

"Yes, sir." ^ 

" Did you take any messages to Mr. Staunton ? " 
" Yes, sir, one tel^ram." 

" Ah ! that's interesting. What o'clock was this ? " 
••About six." 

•• Where was Mr. Staunton when he received it ? " 
•' Here in his room." 

•• Were you present when he opened it ? " 

" Yes, sir, I waited to see if there was an answer " 

••Well, was there?" 

•• Yes, sir, he wrote an answer." 

••Did you take it?" 

•• No, he took it himself." 

'• But he wrote it in your presence ? " 



tM TI1£ RETURN OP SHERtOCK HOLMES 

" Yes. sir. I was sUnding by the door, and he with his back 
turned at that Ubie. When he had written it. he said :' All 
right, porter. I will take this myself.' " 

" What did he write it with ? " 

"A pen, sir." 

" Was the telegraphic form one of these on the table ? ** 

" Yes. sir, it was the top one." 

Hohnes rose. Taking the forms, he carried them over 
to the window and carefully examined that which was up- 
permost. 

"It is a pity he did not write in pencil," said he, throwing 
them down again with a shrug of disappointment. "As you 
have no doubt frequfciitly observed, Watson, the impression 
usually goes through — a fact which has dissolved many a 
happy merriage. However, I can find no trace here. I re- 
joice, however, to perceive that he wrote with a broad-pointed 
quill pen, and I can hardly doubt that we will find some im- 
pression upon this blotting-pad. Ah, yes, surely this is the very 
thing!" 

He tore off a strip of the blotting-paper and turned towards 
us the following hieroglyphic. — 




Cyril Overton was much excited. "Hold it to the glass!** 
he cried. 
" That is unnecessary,'* said Holmes. " The paper is thin. 



THE BOBBING THREE-QUARTER 

and the revene will give the metiage. Here it ii. 
it over, and we read :— 



He turned 




*• So that is the tail end of the telegram which Godfrey Staun- 
ton dispatched within a few hours of his disappearance. There 
are at least six words of the message which have escaped us; 
but what remains — 'Stand by us for God's sake!' — proves 
that this young man saw a formidable danger which approached 
him, and from which someone else could protect him. ' U»* 
mark you! Another person was involved. Who should it be 
but the pale-faced, bearded man. who seemed himself in so 
nervous a state ? What, then, is the connection between God- 
frey SUunton and the bearded man ? And what is the third 
source from which each of them sought for help against pressing 
danger ? Our inquiry has already narrowed down to that." 

" We have only to find to whom that telegram is addressed," 
I suggested. 

" Exactly, my dear Watson. Your reflection, though pro- 
found, had already crossed my mind. But I dare say it may 
have come to your notice that, if you walk into a post-office and 
demand to see the counterfoil of another man's message, there 
may be some disinclination on the part of the officials to oblige 
you. There is so much red tape in these matters. However, 
I have no doubt that with a little delicacy and finesse the end 
may be attained. Meanwhile, I should like in your presence, 



800 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

Mr. Overton, to go through these papers which have been left 
upon the table." 

There were a number of letters, bills, and note-books, which 
Holmes turned over and examined with quick, nervous fingers 
and darting, penetrating eyes. " Nothing here," he said, at last. 
" By the way, I suppose your friend was a healthy young fel- 
low — nothing amiss with him ? " 
"SoundasabeU." 
" Have you ever known him ill ? " 

" Not a day. He has been laid up with a hack, and once he 
slipped his knee-cap, but that was nothing." 

"Perhaps he was not so strong as you suppose. I should 
think he may have had some secret trouble. With your assent, 
I will put one or two of these papers in my pocket, in case they 
should bear upon our future inquiry." 

" One moment — one moment ! " cried a querulous voice, and 
we looked up to find a queer little old man, jericing and twitch- 
ing in the doorway. He was dressed in rusty black, with a very 
broad brimmed top-hat and a loose white necktie — the whole 
effect being that of a very rustic parson or of an undertaker's 
mute. Yet, in spite of his shabby and even absurd appearance, 
his voice had a sharp crackle, and his manner a quick intensity 
which commanded attention. 

"Who are you, sir, and by what right do you touch this 
gentleman's papers ? " he asked. 

" I am a private detective, and I am endeavouring to explain 
his disappearance." 
" Oh, you are, are you ? And who instructed you, eh ? " 
"This gentleman, Mr. Staunton's friend, was referred to me 
by Scotland Yard." 
'♦Who are you, sir?" 



THE BOSSING THREE-QUARTER 801 

•*T am Cyril Overton." 

" Then it is you who sent me a tel^ram. My name is Lord 
Mount-James. I came round as quickly as the Bayswater 
'bus would bring me. So you have instructed a detective ? " 

"Yes, sir." 

" And are you prepared to meet the cost ? " 

" I have no doubt, sir, that my friend Godfrey, when we find 
him, will be prepared to do that." 

" But if he is never found, eh ? Answer me that ! " 

" In that case, no doubt his family — " 

" Nothing of the sort, sir! " screamed the little man. " Don't 
look to me for a penny — not a penny! You understand that, 
Mr. Detective! I am all the family that this young man has 
got, and I tell you that I am not responsible. If he has any 
expectations it is due to the fact that I have never wasted money, 
and I do not propose to b^n to do so now. As to those papers 
with which you are making so free, I may tell you that in case 
there should be anything of any value among them, you will be 
held strictly to account for what you do with them." 

" Very good, sir," said Sherlock Holmes. " May I ask, in the 
meanwhile, whether you have yourself any theory to account 
for this young man's disappearance ? " 

'• No, sir, I have not. He is big enough and old enough to 
look after himself, and if he is so foolish as to lose himself, 
I entirely refuse to accept the responsibility of hunting for 
him." 

" I quite understand your position," said Holmes, with a mis- 
chievous twinkle in his eyes. " Perhaps you don't quite under- 
stand mine. Godfrey Staunton appears to have been a poor 
man. If he has been kidnapped, it could not have been for 
anything which he himself possesses. The fame of your wealth 



IBE BETDBN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 
haa gone abroad, Lord Mount-James, and it is entirely possible 
that a gang of thieves have secured your nephew in order to 
gain from him some information as to your house, your 
habits, and your treasure." 

The face of our unpleasant httie visitor turned as white as 
his neckcloth. 

"Heavens, sir, what an idea! I never thought of such vil- 
lainy! What inhuman rogues there are in the world! But 
Godfrey is a fine lad — a staunch lad. Nothing would induce 
him to give his old uncle away. I'll have the plate moved over 
to the bank this evening. In the meantime spare no pains, Mr. 
Detective! I beg you to leave no stone unturned to bring him 
safely back. As to money, weU, so far as a fiver, or even a 
tenner goes you can always look to me." 

Even in his chastened frame of mind, the noble miser could 
give us no information which could help us, for he knew little 
of the private life of his nephew. Our only clue lay in the tnin- 

cated telegram, and with a copy of this in his hand Hohnes set 
forth to find a second link for his chain. We had shaken oflF 
Lord Mount-James, and Overton had gone to consult with the 
other members of his team over the misfortune which had 
befallen them. 

There was a telegraph-office at a short distance from the 
hotel. We halted outside it. 

"It's worth trying, Watson," said Holmes. "Of course, 
with a warrant we could demand to see the counterfoils, but we 
have not reached that stage yet. I don't suppose they remem- 
ber faces in so busy a place. Let us venture it." 

" I am sorry to trouble you," said he, in his blandest manner, 
to the young woman behind the grating; "there is some smaU 
mistake about a telegram I sent yesterday. I have had no 



THE MISSING TBREE^UABTER S08 

answer, and I very much fear that I must have omitted to put 
my name at the end. Could you tell me if this was so ? " 

The young woman turned over a sheaf of counterfoils. 

- What o'clock was it ? " she asked. 

"A little after six." 

"Whom was it to?" 

Hohnes put his finger to his lips and glanced at me. - The 
last words in it were 'for God's sake.'" he whispered, confi- 
dentially; " I am very anxious at getting no answer." 

The young woman separated one of the forms. 

" This is it. There is no name," said she, smoothing it out 
upon the counter. 

"Then that, of course, accounts for my getting no answer," 
said HoUnes. " Dear me, how very stupid of me, to be sure! 
Good .-loming, miss, and many thanks for having relieved my 
mind." He chuckled and rubbed his hands when we found 
ourselves in the street once more. 
"WeU?"Iasked. 

" We progress, my dear Watson, we progress. I had seven 
diflFerent schemes for getting a ghmpse of that telegram, but I 
could hardly hope to succeed the veiy first time." 
" And what have you gained ? " 

"A starting-point for our investigation." He hailed a cab. 
"King's Cross Station," said he. 
" We have a jo jmey, then ? " 

"Yes, I think we must run down to Cambridge together. All 
the indications seem to me to point in that direction." 

" Tell me," I asked, as we rattled up Gray's Inn Road, " have 
you any suspicion yet as to the cause of the disappearance ? I 
don't think that among all our cases I have known one where 
the motives are more obscure. Surely you don't reaUy imagine 



804 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

that he may be kidnapped in order to give information against 
his wealthy uncle ? " 

" I confess, my dear Watson, that that does not appeal to me 

as a very probable explanation. It struck me, however, as 

being the one which was most Ukely to interest that exceedingly 

unpleasant old person." 

'• It certainly did that ; but what are your alternatives ? " 

" I could mention several. You must admit that it b curious 

and suggestive that this incident shoulu occur on the eve of 

this important match, and should involve the only man whose 

presence seems essential to the success of the side. It may, 

of course, be a coincidence, but it is interesting. Amateur sport 

is free from betting, but a good deal of outside betting goes on 

among the public, and it is possible that it might be worth 

someone's while to get at a player as the ruffians of the turf get 

at a race-horse. There is one explanation. A second very 

obvious one is that this young man really is the heir of a great 

property, however modest his means may at present be, and it 

is not impossible that a plot to hold him for ransom might be 

concocted." 

" These theories take no account of the telegram." 

"Quite true, Watson. The telegram still remains the only 

sohd thing with which we have to deal, and we must not permit 

our attention to wander away from it. It is to gain light upon 

the purpose of this telegram that we are now upon our way 

to Cambridge. The path of our investigation is at present 

obscure, but I shall be very much surprised if before evening 

we have not cleared it up, or made a considerable advance 

along it." 

It was ah«ady dark when we reached the old University City. 
Holmes took a cab at the station, and ordered the man to drive 



THE BOSSING THREE^UARTER 805 

to the house of Dr. Leslie Annstrong. A few minutes Uter, we 
had stopped at a laige mansion in the busiest thoroughfare 
We were shown in, and after a long wait were at kst admitted 
into the consulting-room, where we found the doctor seated 
behmd his table. 

It aigues the degree in which I had lost touch with my pro- 
fession that the name of LesUe Armstrong was unknown to 
me. Now I am aware that he is not only one of the heads of 
the medical school of the University, but a thinker of European 
reputation m more than one branch of science. Vet even with- 
out knowing his brilliant record one could not fail to be im- 
pressed by a mere ghmce at the man, the square, massive face 
the brooding eyes under the thatched brows, and the granite 
mouldmg of the inflexible jaw. A man of deep character, a 
man with an alert mind, grim, ascetic, self-contained, formi- 
dable- so I read Dr. Leslie Armstrong. He held my friend's 
card 1 ^ hand, and he looked up with no very pleased 
express a upon his dour features. 

"I have heard your name, Mr. Sheriock Hohnes, and I 
am aware of your profession -one of which I by no means 
approve." 

"In that. Doctor, you will find >ourself in agreement with 
every criminal in the country," said my friend, quietly. 

-So far as your efforts are directed towards the suppression 
of crime, sir, they must have the support of every reasonable 
iMinber of the community, though I cannot doubt that the 
official machinery is amply sufficient for the purpose. Where 
your caUing is more open to criticism is when you piy into the 
secrets of private individuals, when you rake up family matters 
which are better hidden, and when you incidentally waste the 
time of men who are more busy tiian yourself. At the present 



806 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

moment, for example, I should be writing a treatise instead of 
conversing with you." 

" No doubt, Doctor; and yet the conversation may prove more 
important than the treatise. Incidentally, I may tell you that 
we are doing the reverse of what you very justly blame, and that 
we are endeavouring to prevent anything Uke public exposure of 
private matters which must necessarily follow when once the 
case is fairly in the hands of the official police. You may look 
upon me simply as an irregular pioneer, who goes in front of the 
r^ular forces of the country. I have come to ask you about 
Mr. Godfrey Staunton." 
"What about him?" 
" You know him, do you not ? " 
" He is an intimate friend of mine." 
*' You are aware that he has disappeared ? *• 
"Ah, indeed!" There was no change of expression in the 
rugged features of the doctor. 
"He left his hotel last night — he has not been heard of." 
" No doubt he will return." 
"To-morrow is the 'Varsity football match." 
"I have no sympathy with these childish games. The 
young man's fate interests me deeply, since I know him and 
like him. The football match does not come within my 
horizon at all." 

" I claim your sympathy, then, in my investigation of Mr. 
Staunton's fate. Do you know where he is ? " 
" Certainly not." 

" You have not seen him since yesterday ? ** 
"No, I have not." 

" Was Mr. Staunton a healthy man ? ** 
"Absolutely." 



THE MISSING TIIfi£E<)UABTBB mt 

" Did you evtr know him ill ? ** 
"Never." 

Holmes popped a sheet of paper before the doctor's eye.. 

Then perhaps you wiU explain this receipted biU for thirteen 
guineas, paid by Mr. Godfrey Staunton last month to Dr. Les- 
lie Armstrong, of Cambridge. I picked it out from amonir the 
papers upon his desk." ^ 

The doctor flushed with anger. 

" I do not feel that there is any reason why I should render 
an explanation to you. Mr. Holmes." 

Holmes replaced the bill in his notebook. "If you prefer 
a pubhc explanation, it must come sooner or later." said he 

11 rt!^**!^ ^""^^ ^°" **'** ' "*° *»"«*^ "P «»** ^Wch others 
wiU be bound to publish, and you would really be wiser to take 
me mto your complete confidence." 

" I know nothing about it." 

" Did you hear from Mr. Stounton in London ? - 

"Certainly not." 

"Dear me dear me-the post-office againf'Hohnes sighed, 
weanly. 'A most uigent telegram was dispatched to you 
from London by Godfrey Staunton at six-fifteen yesterday 
eyemng - a telegram wWch is undoubtedly associated with his 
disappearance - and yet you have not had it. It is most cul- 
pable. I shaU certainly go down to the office here and register 
a complaint." -^""^r 

Dt. Leslie Armstrong sprang up from behind his desk, and 
his dark face was crimson with fury. 

" I'll trouble you to walk out of my house, sir." said he. " You 
can teU your employer. Lord Mount-James, that I do not wish 
to have anythmg to do either with him or with his agents. No 
«r-not another word?" He rang the beU furiously. "John' 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

show these gentlemen out." A pompous butUr udMred ui 
severely to the door, and we found oursdves in the street. 
Hdmes burst out laughing. 

" Dr. Leslie Armstrong is certainly a man of eneigy and char- 
acter," said he. " I have not seen a man who, if he turns his 
talents that way, was more calculated to fill the gap left by the 
illustrious M oriarity. And now, my poor Watson, here we are, 
stranded and friendless in this inhospitable town, which we 
cannot leave without abandoning our case. This little inn just 
opposite Armstrong's house is singularly adapted to our needs. 
If you would engage a front room and purchase the necessaries 
for the night, I may have time to make a few inquiries." 

These few inquiries proved, however, to be a more lengthy 
proceeding than Holmes had imagined, for he did not return to 
the inn until nearly nine o'clock. He was pale and dqected, 
stained with dust, and exhausted with hunger and fatigue. A 
cold supper was ready upon the table, and when his needs were 
Steosfied and his pipe alight he was ready to take that half comic 
and wholly philosophic view which was natural to him when his 
affairs were going awry. The sound of carriage wheels caused 
him to rise and glance out of the window. A brougham and 
pair of greys, under the glare of a gas-lamp, stood b^ore the 
doctor's door. 

"It's been out three hours," said Holmes; "started at half- 
past six, and here it is back again. That gives a radius 
of ten or twelve miles, and he does it once, or sometimes 
twice, a day." 

" No unusual thing for a doctor in practice." 

" But Armstrong is not really a doctor in practice. He is 
a lecturer and a consultant, but he does not care for general 
practice, which distracts him from his literary woik. Why, 



THE BflSSING THREE^UARTER Mf 

then, do« he make these long journeys, which must be exceed- 
ingly irksome to him, and who is it that he visits ? - 
" His coachman — " 

" My dear Watson, can you doubt that it was to him that I 
first appUed ? I do not know whether it came from his own 
innate depravity or from the promptings of his master, but he 
was rude enough to set a dog at me. Neither dog nor man 
hked the look of my stick, however, and the matter feU through. 
Relations were strained after that, and further inquiries out of 
the question. AU that I have learned I got from a friendly 
native in the yard of our own inn. It was he who told me of the 
doctor's habits and of his daily journey. At that instant, to 
give point to his words, the carriage came round to the door." 
" Could you not follow it ? " 

"Excellent, Watson! You are scintillating this evening. 
The idea did cross my mind. There b, as you may have ob- 
served, a bicycle shop next to our inn. Into this I rushed, en- 
gaged a bicycle, and was able to get started before the carriage 
was quite out of sight. I rapidly overtook it. and then, keeping 
atadiscreetdistanceofahundredyardsorso I foUowed its lights 
unta we were dear of the town. We had got weU out on the 
country road, when a somewhat mortifying incident occurred. 
The carriage stopped, the doctor alighted, walked swiftiy 
back to where I had also halted, and told me in an exceUent 
sardonic fashion that he feared the road was narrow, and that 
he hoped his carriage did not impede the passage of my bicycle. 
Nothing could have been more admirable than his way of put- 
ting it. I at once rode past the carriage, and. keeping to the 
main road. I went on for a few miles, and then halted in a con- 
venient place to see if the carriage passed. There was no sign 
of It. however, and so it became evident that it had turned down 



810 THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

one of wvwal dde roAds which I had observed. I rode back, 
but again law nothing of the carriage, and now, as you per- 
cdve, it has returned after me. Of course, I had at the outset 
no particular reason to connect these journeys with the dis- 
appearance of Godfrey Staunton, and was only inclined to in- 
vestigate them on the general grounds that everything which 
concerns Dr. Armstrong is at present of interest to us, but, 
now that I find he keeps so keen a look-out upon anyone who 
may foUow him on these excursions, the affair appears more 
important, and I shall not be satisfied until I have made the 
matter clear." 
" We can follow him to-morrow." 

"Can we? It is not so easy as you seem to think. You are 
not familiar with Cambridgeshire scenery, are you ? It does 
not lend itself to conceahnent. All this country that I passed 
over to-night is as flat and clean as the palm of your hand, and 
the man we are following is no fool, as he very clearly showed 
to-night. I have wired to Overton to let us know any fresh 
London developments at this address, and in the meantime 
we can only concentrate our attention upon Dr. Armstrong, 
whose name the obliging young lady at the office aUowed me 
to read upon the counterfoil of Staunton's urgent message. He 
knows where the young man is — to that I'll swear, and if 
he knows, then it must be our own fault if we cannot manage 
to know also. At present it must be admitted that the odd 
trick is in his possession, and, as you are r -vare, Watson, it is 
not my habit to leave the game in that condition." 

And yet the next day brought us no nearer to the solution of 
the mystery. A note was handed in after breakfast, wWch 
Holmes passed across to me with a smile. 
"Sir," it ran, "I can assure you that you are wasting your 



THE BUSSING THRE&QUARTER 91 1 

tame in dqggiiig my movements. I have, m ycu discovered 
iMt njght. a rrindow at tlie bade of my brougham, and if you 
desire a tweuty-mile ride which wiU lead you to the spot from 
which you started, you have only to foUow me. MeanwhUe, 
I can inform you that no spying upon mc can in any way help 
Mr. Godfrey SUunton, and I am convinced that the best ser- 
vice you can do to that genUeman is to return at once to London 
and to report to your employer that you are unable to trace him. 
Your time in Cambridge will certainly be wasted. 

"Yours faithfully. 
^ "Leslie Armstrong." 

'An outspoken, honest antagonist is the doctor," said 
Hohnes. " Well, well, he excites my curiosity, and I must reaUy 
know before I leave him." 

" His carriage is at his door now." said I. " There he is step- 
ping into it. I saw him glance up at our window as he did so. 
Suppose I try my luck upon the bicycle ?" 

" No. no. my dear Watson ! With aU respect for your natural 
acumen, I do not think that you are quite a match for the worthy 
doctor. I think that possibly I can attain our end by some in- 
dependent explorations of my own. I am afr-id that I must 
leave you to your own devices, as the appearance of two inquir- 
ing strangers upon a sleepy countryside might excite more gos- 
sip than I care for. No doubt you will find some sights to 
amuse you in this venerable city, and I hope to bring back a 
more favourable report to you before evening." 

Once more, however, my friend was destined to be disap- 
pointed. He came back at night weary and unsuccessful. 

" I have had a blank day, Watson. Having got the doctor's 
general direction. I spent the day in visiting aU the viUages 
upon that side of Cambridge, and compaiin^ notes with pub- 



11' 



•M THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK ROUCBS 

Hcuis and other local newt agencies. I have covered lome 
ground. Cherterton, Hilton, Waterbeach. and Oakington have 
each been ex|rfored, and have eadi proved di«appointing. The 
daily appearance of a brougham and pair could hardly have 
been overlooked in such Sleepy Hollows. The doctor has 
scored (Hice more. Is there a telegram for me ? ** 

"Yes, I opened it. Here it is: 'Ask for Pompey from 
Jeremy Dixon, Trinity CoUege.' I don't understand it." 

"Oh, it is clear enough. It is from our friend Overton, 
and is in answer to a question from me. FU just send round 
a note to Mr. Jeremy Dixon, and then I have no doubt 
that our luck will turn. By the way, is there any news of 
the match?" 

"Yes, the local evening paper has an excellent account in 
its last edition. Oxford won by a goal and two tries. The 
last sentences of the description say : ' The defeat of the Light 
Blues may be entirely attributed to the unfortunate absence 
of the crack International, Godfrey Staunton, whose want was 
felt at every instent of the game. The lack of combination 
in the three-quarter line and their weakness both in aUack 
and defence more than neutralized the efforts of a heavy and 
hard-working pack.' " 

" Then our friend Overton's forebodings have been justified," 
said Holmes. " Personally I am in agreement with Dr. Arm- 
strong, and football does not come within my horizon. Eariy 
to bed to-night, Watson, for I foresee that to-morrow may be 
an eve^ul day." 

I wasliorrified by my first glimpse of Holmes next morning, 
for he sat by the fire holding his tiny hypodermic syringe. I 
associated that instrument with the single weakness of his na- 
ture, and I feared the worst when I saw it glittering in his 



THE BOSBINO THREB^^TJ.'uirER t|8 

hand. He laughed at my expresiion of disiiMy. and laid it 
upon the Uble. 

*• No, no, my dear fellow, there is no cause for alarm. It is 
not upon this occasion the instrument of evil, but it will rather 
prove to be the key which will unlock our mysteiy. On this 
syringe I base aU my hopes. I have just returned from a small 
■couting expedition, and everything is favourable. Eat a good 
breakfast, Watson, for I propose to get upon Dr. Armstrong's 
trail UMlay, and once on it I wiU not stop for rest or food until 
I run him to his burrow." 

"In that case," said I. "we had best cany our breakfast 
with us, for he is making an early start. His carriage is at 
the door." 

-Never mind. Let him go. He wiU be clever if he can 
drive where I cannot foUow him. When you have finished, 
come downstairs with me, and I will introduce you to a detec- 
tive who is a very eminent specialist in the work that lies before 
us." 

When we descended I foUowed Holmes into the stable yaid, 
where he opened the door of a loose-box and led out a squat, 
lop-cared, white-and-tan dog, something between a beagle and 
a foxhound. 

" Let me introduce you to Pompey," said he. " Pompey is 
the pride of the local draghounds — no very great flier, as his 
build will show, but a staunch hound on a scent. Well, Pom- 
pey, you may not be fast, but I expect you wiU be too fast for 
a couple of middle-aged London gentlemen, so I will take the 
liberty of fastening this leather leash to your coUaf. Now, 
boy, come along, and show wh you can do." He led him 
across to the doctor's door. The dog sniffed round for an in- 
stant, and then with a shrill whine of excitement started off 






SM THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

dowB the street, tugging at his leash in his efforts to g. faste, 
In half an hour, we were clear of the town and hastening dow 
a countiy road. ^ 

" What have you done. Holmes ? " I asked. 
"A threadbare and venerable device, but useful upon occa 
«on. I walked into the doctor's yard this moming.rdT 
^synngeful of amseed over the hind wheel. Adraghounc 
^1 follow an^eed from here to John o» Groat's.Tnd ou 
fnend. Armstrong, would have to drive throu;;h the Can, 
^r.^r^^'t Pompey off his trail. Oh^he cunni::^ 
rascal ! This is how he gave me the slip the other night." 

The dog had suddenly turned out of the main road into a 
gi^s^wn lane. Half a mile farther this opened into an- 
otW broad road, and the trail turned hard to the right in the 
dir^^on of the town, which we had just quitted. The road 

^J^^^ *° '^"^ '""**' °^ *^' *°^' *"^ ^^'^^^^^ » the oppo- 
site direction to that in which we started. 

"This detour has been entirely for our benefit, then?" said 
Holmes. No wonder that my inquiries among those villages 
led o nothing. The doctor has certainly played the gamelor 
«J1 It IS worth, and one would like to know the reason for such 
elaborate deception. This should be the village of Trumping- 
ton to the nght of us. And. by Jove! hereTs the broug^l 
conung round the comer. Quick. Watson -quick, or we are 

Po^'J'^.? through a gate into a field, dragging the reluctant 
Pompey after h.m. We had hardly got under the shelter of 
the hedge when the carriage rattled past. I caught a gUmpse 
of Dr. Armstrong within, his shoulder, bowed, his head sunk 
on his hands, the very image of distress. I could tell, by my 
compamons graver face, that he also had seen 



THE MISSING THREE-QUARTER 315 

"I fear there is some dark ending to our quest." said he. 
It cannot be long before we know it. Come, Pompey! Ah 
it is the cottage in the field!" 

There could be no doubt that we had reached the end 0/ our 
journey. Pompey ran about and whined eagerly outside the 
gate, where the marks of the brougham's wheels were still to bt; 
seen. A footpath led across to the lonely cottage. Holmes tied 
the dog to the hedge, and we hastened onwards. My friend 
knocked at the little rustic door, and knocked agam without 
response. And yet the cottage was not deserted, for a low 
sound came to our ears — a kind of drone of misery and de- 
spair, which was indescribably melancholy. Holmes paused 
irresolute, and then he glanced back at the road which he had 
just traversed. A brougham was coming down it, and there 
could be no mistaking those grey horses. 

•• By Jove, the doctor is coming back ! " cried Hohnes. " That 
settles it. We are bound to see what it means before he comes." 
He opened the door, and we stepped into the haU. The 
droning sound sweUed louder upon our ears until it became 
one long, deep wail of distress. It came from upstairs. Holmes 
darted up, and I foUowed him. He pushed open a half- 
closed door, and we both stood appaUed at the sight before us. 
A woman, young and beautiful, was lying dead upon the 
bed. Her calm, pale face, with dim. wide-opened blue eyes, 
looked upwards from amid a great tangle of golden hair At 
the foot of the bed, half sitting, half kneeUng, his face buried 
m the clothes, was a young man, whose frame was racked by 
his sobs. So absorbed was he by his bitter grief, that he never 
looked up until Holmes* hand was on his shoulder. 
" Are you Mr. Godfrey Staunton ? " 
" Yes, yes, I am — but you are too late. She is dead." 



"• THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

The man was so dazed that he could not be made to under- 
stand that we were anything but doctors who had been sent to 
his assistance. Holmes was endeavouring to utter a few words 
of consolation, and to explain the alarm which had been caused 
to his friends by his sudden disappearance, when there was a 
step upon the stairs, and there was the heavy, stem, question- 
ing face of Dr. Armstrong at the door. 

"So, gentlemen," said he, "you have attained your end, and 
have certainly chosen a particularly delicate moment for your 
intrusion. I would not brawl in the presence of death, but I 
can assure you that if I were a younger man your monstrous 
conduct would not pass with impunity." 

" Excuse me. Dr. Armstrong, I think we are a little at cross- 
purposes," said my friend, with dignity. "If you could step 
downstairs with us, we may each be able to give some light to 
the other upon this miserable affair." 

A minute later, the grim doctor and ourselves were in the 
sitting-room below. 
"WeU, sir? "said he. 

" I wish you to understand, in the first place, that I am not 
employed by Lord Mount-James, and that my sympathies in 
this matter are entirely against that nobleman. When a man 
is lost it is my duty to ascertain his fate, but having done so 
the matter ends so far as I am concerned, and so long as there 
is nothing criminal, I am much more anxious to hush up 
private scandals than to give them publicity. If , as I imagine 
there is no breach of the law in this matter, you can absolutely 
depend upon my discretion and my co-operation in keeping 
the facts out of the papers." 

Dr. Armstrong took a quick step forward and wrung Holmes 
by the hand. 



THE MISSING THREE^UARTER sn 

" You are a good fellow," said he. " I had misjudged you. 
I thank Heaven that my compunction at leaving poor Staunton 
all alone in this plight caused me to turn my carriage back, 
and so to make your acquaintance. Knowing as much as you 
do, the situation is very easily explained. A year ago Godfrey 
Staunton lodged in London for a time, and became passionately 
attached to his landlady's daughter, whom he married. She 
was as good as she was beautiful, and as intelligent as she was 
good. No man need be ashamed of such a wife. But God- 
frey was the heir to this crabbed old nobleman, and it was 
quite certain that the news of his marriage would have been 
the end of his inheritance. I knew the lad well, and I loved 
him for his many excellent qualities. I did all I could to help 
him to keep things straight. We did our very best to keep 
the thing from everyone, for, when once such a whisper gets 
about, it is not long before everyone has heard it. Thanks to 
this lonely cottage and his own discretion, Godfrey has up 
to now succeeded. Their secret was known to no one save to 
me and to one excellent servant, who has at present gone for 
assistance to Trumpington. But at last there came a terrible 
blow in the shape of dangerous illness to his wife. It was con- 
sumption of the most virulent kind. The poor boy wa half 
crazed with grief, and yet he had to go to London to play this 
match, for he could not get out of it without explanations which 
would expose his secret. I tried to cheer him up by wire, and 
he sent me one in reply, imploring me to do all I could. This 
was the tel^ram which you appear in some inexplicable way 
to have seen. I did not tell him how urgent the daiiger was, 
for I knew that he could do no good here, but I sent the truth 
to the girl's father, and he very injudiciously communicated it 
to Godfrey. The result was that he came straight away in a 



«• TBE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

■Uto borderiiig ob frenzy, and has remained in the laae itate 
kneeling at the end of her bed, until this morning death put an 
end to her sufferings. That is all, Mr. Hohnes, and I am sure 
that I can rely upon your discretion and that of your friend." 

Hohnes grasped the doctor's hand. 

" Come, Watson," said he, and we passed from that house of 
grief mto the pale sunlight of the winter day. 



XII 
THE ADVENTURE OF 
THE ABBEY GRANGE 

IT was on a bitteriy cold and frosty morning, towards the end 
of the winter of '97. that I was awakened by a tugging at my 
shoulder. ItwasHohnes. The candle in his hand shone upon 
his eager, stooping face, and told me at a glance that something 
was amiss. 

"Come.Watson.come!"hecried. "The game is afoot. Not 
a word! Into your clothes and come!" 

Ten minutes later we were both in a cab. and rattling through 
the sUent streets on our way to Charing Cross Station. The 
first faint winter's dawn was beginning to appear, and we could 
dimly see the occasional figure of an early workman as he passed 
us, blurred and indistinct in the opalescent London reek. 
Holmes nestled in silence into his heavy coat, and I was glad to 
do the same, for the air was most bitter and neither of us had 
broken our fast. 

It was not until we had consumed some hot tea at 
the station, and taken our places in the Kentish train, 
that we were suflSciently thawed, he to speak and I to 
listen. Hohnes drew a note from his pocket, and read 
it aloud:-- 



•» THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

Abbey Grange. Manham, Kent, 

„ _ ,, *•*> ^- »«• 

Mt Dear Mb. Houim, — I should be very glad of your 
immediate assistance in what promises to be a most remark- 
able case. It is something quite in your line. Except for re- 
leasing the lady I will see that everything is kept exacUy as I 
have found it, but I beg you not to lose an instant, as it is difficult 
to leave Sir Eustace there. 

Yours faithfully, 

Stanley Hopkins. 

"Hopkins has caUed me in seven times, and on each occa- 
sion his summons has been entirely justified," said Hohnes. 
" I fancy tiiat every one of his cases has found its way into your 
collection, and I must admit, Watson, that you have some power 
of selection, which atones for much which I deplore in your nar- 
ratives. Your fatid habit of looking at everything from the 
point of view of a story instead of as a scientific exercise has 
rumed what might have been an instructive and even classical 
series of demonstrations. You slur over work of the utmost 
finesse and delicacy, in order to dweU upon sensational defauls 
which may excite, but cannot possibly instruct, the reader. " 

Why do you not write them yourself ? " I said, with some 
bitterness. 

" I wiU, my dear Watson, I wUl. At present I am, as you 
know, fairly busy, but I propose to devote my declimng years 
to the composition of a text-book, which shall focus the whole 
art of detection into one volume. Our present research appears 
to be a case of murder. " 
" You think this Sir Eustace is dead, then ? " 
"I should say so. Hopkins' writing shows considerable 



ir 

k- 
e- 
I 
It 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE «! 

agitation. «nd he i. not an emotional man. Yes. I gather there 
ha. been viotence. and that the body is left for our inspection. 

A mere siuade would not have caused him to send for me. As 

1^^ ^r* "^ ""^ *~'^' ** ^°"^^ •?!*"**»**•*«»»" been 
ockedm her reom during the tragedy. We are moving in high 
We. Watson, crackling paper. 'E. B.' monogmm/coatS. 
arms, picturesque address. I think timt friend Hopkins wiU 
hve up to his reputation, and that we shall have an interesting 
morning. The crime was committed before twelve last ni«ht^ 
How can you possibly tell ? " 

Tl!l w!f ^•'^"^ "^^^ *~^* "** ^y «^«"^ *be time. 
^K ^, ^i'S '^ *° *^ "*"«* ^* *^«y J^^l to communicate 
wiUi ScoUand Yard. Hopkins had to go out. and he in turn had 
to send for me. All tiiat makes a fair night's woric. WeU here' 
we are at Chiselhuist Station, and we dull soon set our diubt.' 
at rest. 

A drive of a couple of nules through narrow countiy knes 
brought us to a paric gate, which was opened for us by an old 
lodge-keeper. whose haggard face bore tiie reflection of some 
great disaster. The avenue ran through a noble park, between 
hn^ of anaent elms, and ended in a low. widespread house. pU- 
lared in front after tiie fashion of PaUadio. The central part 
was evidently of a great age. and shrouded in ivy, but tiie laive 
windows showed that modem changes had been carried oS^ 

and one wmg of the house appeared to be entirely new. The 
youtiiful figure and alert, eager face of Inspector Stanley Hop- 
kins confronted us in tiie open doorway. 

" ^^J^^ glad you have come, Mr. Hohnes. And you too. 
Dr. Watson. But. indeed, if I had my time over again, I should 
not have troubled you, for smce the lady has come to he«elf. 
she has given so dear an account Of tb« affair that there is not 



THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

much left for ui to do. You remember that Lewiaham a^» 
ot burglars ?" i^ewunam gang 

" What, the three Randalls ? " 

-ExacUy; the father and two sons. It's their work I 
^ZT'T ""''''• ^•^^"^•iobatSydelr^^ort! 

-«oth« saloon and so near, but it is they, beyond aU doubt. 

It 8 a hanging matter this time." 
" Sir Eustace is dead, then ? ** 
•'Yes his head was knocked in with his own poker. " 
^^ Sir Eustace Brackenstall, the driver tells me. " 
Exactly - one of the richest men in Kent - Lady Bracken- 

rtaU IS in the moming-room. Poor lady, she has had a m^t 

fi«t I^nkyouhadbestseeher,andhearheraccountofthe 
facts, "^en we wiU examine the dining-room together." 
J^^^^frf """"^""^"yP*"^"- Seldom have I 

wild . K.r * "°"^"' ««W««-h«i«d. blue-eyed, and 
would no doubt have had the perfect complexion wWch go<« 
Tf -uch colouring, had not her recent ^rience left W 
A^wnimd haggard. Her sufferings were ^ical as TeuL 
mentel for over one eye rose a hideous, plum-coloured swelling, 
which her maid, a tall, auster. woman, was bathing assiduoudy 
^hvmcga, and water. The lady lay back exhausted upon a 
^uch but her qmck. observant gaze, as we entered the ^m. 

neither her wits nor her courage had been shaken by her terri- 
o llTaTT '^^---^<>P-J-aloosedJsi4^:^ 
o blue and sUver. but a black sequin-covered dimier-^ JZ 
hung upon the couch beside her. ^^ 



™« ABVBNTOBE OF THE ABBEY CRANOB .a 

b«ri«l he, face fa her h„d. T.he L «, ^t f ''"*^ r** 
You have other injuries, madam! What is this?" Vn 

u^l^T^\ ""^ »""■'«'«««» "ft Uu. hide™. bud. 
;rJS"JtI: "^""""^•"""•''il'd.down.Iwm'.Sl 

w« bmught up fa the freer, les. conve-L.l'^LX^ .f 

U pnmne». „ .ot cngem.1 to me. But the .L/,Cn"J 
m the one f«t, which U notorious to eveiyoue. «,d Ih^ tt^ 
S.r Eu.t>«e w« . couflrmed drunkard, fo be "h suci .^ 

«Zrhr? "^. '^''•'P;'"«» "»««» '» be tied to hfa. for d.y 
and n«ht ? It „ . sacnlege. a crime, a villafay to hold that Mich 
am.™ge«bfadfag. I«yth.tthe.mon/rousCo ^ut 

«e<toe« endure. For an mstant .he sat up, her cheek. 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBIES 

fluihed. and her eyes blaring from under the terrible mark 

upon her brow Then the .tiong. «x,thing hand of the aurteie 

maid drew her head down on to the cushion, and the wild anger 

!Jl*T.?.*** P*»»«°**« -ebbing. At hut she continuedL 

^i m thi. house aU the servants sleep in the modem wi^. 
ThiB central block is made up of the dwelling-rooms. with the 
lutchen behmd and our bedroom above. My maid. Theresa 
•leepe above my room. There is no one else, and no sound 
could aUrm those who are m the farther wing. This must 
have been weU known to the robben. or they would not have 
acted as they did. 

•• Sir Eustace retired about half-past ten. The servants had 
already gone to their quarters. Only my maid was up. and 
she had remained in her room at the top of the house until I 
needed her services. I sat until after eleven in this room, 
absorbed m a book. Then I walked round to see that aU 
was nght before I went upstairs. It was my custom to do 
this myself for, as I have explamed. Sir Eustace was not 
•Iways to be trusted. I went into tiie kitchen, the butier's 
panliy, thegun-room. the billiard-ioom, the drawing-room, and 
finaUy tiie dimng-room. As I approached the window, which 
18 covered with thick curtains, I suddenly felt tiie wmd blow 
upon my face, and realized tiiat it was open. I flung tiie 
curtain aside, and found myself face to face witii a broad- 
shouldered, elderly man. who had just stepped into tiie room. 
The wmdow is a long French one. which reaUy forms a door 
leading to tiie lawn. I held my bedroom candle lit in my hand, 
and. by its hght. behind tiie first man I saw two otiiers. who 
were m tiie act of entering. I stepped back, but tiie feUow was 
on me man instant. He caught me first by tiie wrist, and tiien 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY OBANOE SI5 

b7 the throat. I opened my mouth to «««„. but he .truck me 
• -vage blow with hi. fist over the eye. and feUed me to the 
ground. I mu.t have been uncon«aou. for a few minute., for 
when I came to my.elf . I found that they had torn down the beU- 

T^hHtlfjT"^'" .;f: totheoakenchairwhich.tand. 
at the head of the dirmg* ■hi. 1 .a., no firmly bound that I 
could not move, and . h.n.iken h •. , r.u. , I my mouth prevented 
me from uttenng . sound It was at f inatant that my un- 
fortunate hu.bandont....d the ro.>n,. li had evidently heard 

^me.u.p,aou......nds. u u' ncca.... r.nparedfor.ucha««ne 

a. he found. He wa.s dr- ss. • In Lis shirt and trousers, with hi. 
favounte blackthon. cudgel m L hand. He rushed at the 
buiglar.. but another- it « as .n elderly man. .tooped. picked 
the poker out of the grate, and struck him a horrible blow as he 
P««»ed. He feU with a groan, and never moved again. I 
fainted once more, but again it could only have been for a very 
few mmute. during which I was insensible. When I opened my 
^ I found that they had collected the silver from^Te ride- 

E^lf J?, t^ f"""^ * ^''^' °' ^"^ ^"^»> «*°«1 there. 
Each of them had a glass in his hand. I Lave already told you. 

young, hair^ lads. They might have been a father with hi. 
two«,n.. TTiey talked together in whispers. Then they came 
over and made sure that I was securely bound, FinaUy they 
withdrew, closing the window after them. It was quite a 
quarter of an hour before I got my mouth free. When I did so 
my screams brought the maid to my assistance. The othe^ 
^rvants were soon alarmed, and we sent for the local police, 
who mstantiy communicated with London. That is reX aU 
that I can teU you, genUemen. and I trust that it wiU nti be 
necessary for me to go over so painful a story again. " 



8«« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

"Any questions, Mr. Holmes?" asked Hopkins. 
"I will not impose any further tax upon Lady BrackenstaU's 

patience and time. " said Holmes. " Before I go into the din- 

ing-room, I should like to hear your experience. " He looked 

at the maid. 

•• I saw the men before ever they came into the house. " said 
She. As I sat by my bedroom window I saw three men in the 
moonhght down by the lodge gate yonder, but I thought noth- 
ing of It at the time. It was more than an hour after that I 
heard my mistress scream, and down I ran. to find her. poor 
himb. just as she says, and him on the floor, with his bloodVnd 
bnuns over the room. It was enough to drive a woman out of 
her wits, tied there, and her very dress spotted with him. but 
she never wanted courage, did Miss Maiy Fraser of Adelaide, 
and Lady BrackenstaU of Abbey Grange hasn't learned new 
ways. You ve questioned her long enough, you gentlemen, 
and now she is coming to her own room, just with her old 
Iheiesa. to get the rest that she badly needs. " 

With a motheriy tenderness the gaunt woman put her arm 
round her mistress and led her from the room. 

" She has been with her aU her life. » said Hopkins. " Nureed 
her Bs a baby, and came with her to England when they first 
left Austraha. eighteen months ago. Theresa Wright is her 

name^d the kind of maid you don't pick up nowadays. This 
way, Mr. Hohnes. if you please!" 

Th ) keen interest had passed out of Holmes' expressive face, 
and I knew that with the mystery aU the charm of the case had 
departed. There stiU remained an arrest to be effected, but 
what were these commonplace rogues, that he should soU his 
hands with them? An abstruse and learned specialist who 
finds that he has been caUed in for a case of measles would 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE s«7 

experience something of the annoyance which I read in my 
friend's eyes. Yet the scene in the dining-room of the Abbey 
Grange was sufficiently strange to arrest his attention and to 
recall his waning interest. 

It was a very large and high chamber, with carved oak ceU- 
ing. oaken panelling, and a fine array of deer's heads and an- 
cient weapons around the walls. At the further end from the 
door was the high. French window of which we had heard. 
Three smaUer windows on the right-hand side filled the apart- 
meot with cold winter sunshine. On the left was a large, deep 
firepkce with a massive, overhanging oak mantelpiece. Be- 
side the fireplace was a heavy oaken chair with arms and cross- 
bars at the bottom. In and out through the open woodwork 
was woven a crimson cord, which was secured at each side to 
the crosspiece below. In releasing the hidy. the cord had been 
slipped off her, but the knots with which it had been secured 
stiUremamed. These details only struck our attention after- 
wa^. for our thoughts were entirely absorbed by the terrible 
o^ect which lay upon the tiger-skin hearthrug in front of the 

It WM the body of a tall. weU-made man. about forty years of 
age He lay upon his back, his face upturned, with his white 
teeth gmimng through his short, black beard. His two clenched 
hands were raised above his head, and a heavy, blackthorn 
stick lay across them. His dark, handsome, aquiline features 
were conviilsed into a spasm of vindictive hatred, which had set 
his dead face m a terribly fiendish expression. He had evi- 
dently been in his bed when the alarm had broken out. for he 
wore a foppish, embroidered night-shirt, and his bare feet pro- 
jected from his trousers. His head was horribly injured, and 
the whole room bore witness to the savage feredty of the 



THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 
blow which had struck him down. Beside him Uj the hesvy 
poker, bent mto a curve by the concussion. Hoknes examined 
both it and the indescribable wreck which it had wrought. 

"He must be a powerful man, this elder Randall," he 
xemarked. 

" Yes, " said Hopkins. " I have some lecoid of the feUow, 
and he is a rough customer. " 
"You should have no difficulty in getting him. " 
"Not the slightest. We have been on the lookout for him, 
tod there was some idea that he had got away to America. 
Now that we know that the gang are here, I don't see how they 
can escape. We have the news at eveiy seaport already, and a 
reward will be oflFered before evening. What beats me is how 
they could have done so mad a thing, knowing that the lady 
could describe them, and that we could not fail to recognise the 
description. ** 

" Exactiy. One would have expected that they would have 
silenced Lady Brackenstall as well. " 

"They may not have realized," I suggested, "that she had 
recovered from her faint. " 

" That is likely enough. If she seemed to be senseless, they 
would not take her life. What about this poor feUow, Hop- 
kins ? I seem to have heard some queer stories about him. " 

" He was a good-hearted man when he was sober, but a pei^ 
feet fiend when he was drunk, or rather when he was half 
drunk, for he seldom reaUy went the whole way. The devil 
seemed to be in him at such times, and he was capable of 
anything. From what I hear, in spite of all his wealth and his 
tiUe, he very nearly came our way once or twice. There was 
a scandal about his drenching a dog with petroleum and setting 
It on fire— her ladyship's dog, to make the matter worse— and 



THE ADVBNTEBB OP 1^ ABBEY GRANGE m 

thrt WM only hushed ap with difficulty. Then he threw a 
decnter at that n»d. There* Wright, there was trouble 
about that. On the wMe, and between ourselves, it wiU be 
a brighter house withaist him. Whrt are you looking at now ? " 
Hohnes was down on his knees, examining with great atten- 
tion the knots upon the red cord with which the lady had been 
secured. Then he auefuUy scrutinized the broken and frayed 
end where it had snapped off when the buigiw had dranred it 
it down. 

"When this was pulled down, tiM bcU in the kitchen must 
have rung loudly. " he ronarked. 

-No one could hear it. The kitchen stairfs right rt the back 
of the house." 

" How did 1^ buigkr kn«r no me would hear it ? How 
dared he p«l at a beU-rape in that reckless fashion ? " 

"Exactly, at. Mohnes, exactly. You put the very question 
whi^ I have .A,dmy«« again a»d again. Therecanbeno 
doubt that this Mhm must hme known the house and its habits. 
He mu^ have perfecdy n^entood that the servants would all 
be k bed at that companirvely eariy hour, and that no one 
could paasfttly he«r a beU ring in the kitdien. Therefore, he 
■Mist have been in cloae l e ^ m wilh one of the servants. Surely 

that is evident. Itet there are eight servants, and aU of irood 
character. " ® 

"Other things be«g espial* said Bolmes, "one would sus- 
pect the one at whose head the master threw a decanter. And 
yet that would involve treachery towai^ the nwtre&i to whom 
this woman seems devoted WeU, wefl. the point is a minor 
one, and when you have RandaU you will probably find no 
difficulty in securing his accomplice. The hid/s story certainly 
seems to be corroborated, if it needed corrobonrtion, by every 



Ml TBE RETURN OF 9BRL0CK HOLMES 

detail which we see before us. " He walked to the Frencl 
window and threw it open. " There are no signs hne, but th 
ground is iron hard, and one would not expect them. I see tha 
these candles in the numtelpiece have bem lighted. " 

"Yes, it was by tlwiT light, and that of the Udy's bedroou 
candle, that the bui^^ars s&w their way about. " 

" And what did they take ? " 

" Well, they did not take much — orfy half a dozen articles o 
plate off the sideboard. Lady Bradcenstall thinks that the; 
were themselves so disturbed by the deatii of Sir Eustace tha 
they did not raaattck the house, as they would othenrise hwi 
dose." 

" No doubt that is true, and yet tiwy <kank some wiae, ! 
anderstand. * 

" To steady their nerves. " 

** Exactly. These three glasses upon the sideboaad hav( 
been untouched, I suppose ? " 

"Yes, and the bottle stands as they left it. " 

"Let us look at it. Halloa, haUoa! What is this ? " 

The three glasses were gmuped togethra*, all of them tinge( 
witii wine, and oae of them containii^ some dregs of beeswing 
The bottle stood near them, two-thirds full, and beade it lay t 
long, deeply stained cork. Its a{^>eanHKe and the dust upoi 
the bottle showed that was no common 'vintage which the mur 
derers had enjoyed. 

A change had come over H(dmes' manner. He had lost his list 
less expression, and again I saw an alert light of interest In hii 
keen,deep-set eyes. He raised the cork and examined it minutely 

" How did they draw it ? " he asked. 

Hopkins pointed to a half-opened drawer. In it lay somi 
table linen and a large cork-screw. 



have 




THRMK TH1.ee CU.A..E, rPOV T„. .,DK.O*,p „^VK „KK, 

rsToiTHED. I KvrrotK? •• 



li 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE 881 

•* Did Lady BrackensUll say that screw was used ?" 
"No, you remember that she was senseless at the moment 
when the bottle was opened. " 

"Quite so. As a matter of fact, that screw was not used. 
This bottle was opened by a pocket screw, probably contained 
in a knife, and not more than an inch and a half long. If you 
will examine the top of the cork, you will observe that the screw 
was driven in three times before the cork was extracted. It 
has never been transfixed. This long screw would have trans- 
fixed it and drawn it up with a single pull. When you catch 
this fellow, you will find that he has one of these multiplex 
knives in his possession." 
"ExceUent!" said Hopkins. 

" But these glasses do puzzle me, I confess. Lady Bracken- 
stall actually saw the three men drinking, did she not ? " 
" Yes : she was clear about that. " 

"Then there is an end of it. What more is to be said ? And 
yet, you must admit, that the three glasses are very remarkable, 
Hopkins. What? You see nothing remarkable ? Well, well, 
let it pass. Perhaps, when a man has special knowledge and 
special powers like my own, it rather encourages him to seek 
a complex explanation when a simpler one is at hand. Of 
course, it must be a mere chance about the glasses. Well, 
good morning, Hopkins. I don't see that I can be of any use 
to you, and you appear to have your case very clear. You will 
let me know when Randall is arrested, and any further de- 
velopments which may occur. I trust that I shall soon have to 
congratulate you upon a successful conclusion. Come, Wat- 
son, I fancy that we may employ ourselves more profitably at 
home. " 

During our return journey, I could see by Holmes* face that 



»• THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK BOLBfB 

he WM much puzzled by something which he had observed. 
Eveiy now and then, by an effort, he would throw off the im- 
preMion.andt.lka.if thematterweredear. but then hi. doubt, 
would^e down upon him again, and hi. knitted brow, and 
abstracted eye. would diow that hi. thought, had gone back 
once more to the great dining-room of the Abbey Gnmge. in 
wbch thi. midnight tragedy had been enacted. AthTbya 
.udden impulse, just a. our train wa. crawling out of a wibur- 

afer'him °' '^"^ **° *° ^^ '*^*'°"° "** ^"^ "^ «"* 

-Excu.e me my dear feUow." «ud he. a. we watched the 

rear carnages of our train disappearing round a curve. " I am 

Sony to make you the victim of what may tieem a mere whim. 

but on my Me. Watson. I simply con'< leave that case in this con- 
dition. Every instinct that I possess crie. out against it It's 
wrong-it'saUwrong-rUswearthatifswrong. Andyetthe 
lady s stoy was complete, the maid's corroboration was suffi- 

r^;^ T*'''^'*y«»^- What have I to put up against 
that ? Three wmeglasses. that is aU. But if I had notlaken 

UuBg. for granted, if I had examined everything with care which 
I shouW have shown had we approached the case cfo now, and 
h^ no cut-and-dried stoiy to warp my mind, should I not then 
fcave found something more definite to go upon? Of course I 
-iiorfd at down on this bench. Wat^m, until a tnun for 
Chisdhum amves. and allow me to ky the evidence before 
you. imploring you in the first instance to di«m« from your 
mmd the Kfca that anything which the maid or her mistaes. 
mayhap said must KcesMray be true. Tte lady's charming 
P«-«faty must not be permitted to warp our judgment. 

Smdy there are detaifa in her story which, if we looked at in 
■Mbtod. would exateowsBspidon. Theie burglars made a 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE ABBEY ORANGE 888 

conridenble haul at Sydenham, a fortnight ago. Some account 
of them and of their appearance was in the papers, and would 
naturally occur to anyone who wished to invent a stoiy in which 
imaginary robbers should play a part. As a matter of fact, bur- 
glars who have done a good stroke of business are, as a rule, only 
too glad to enjoy the proceeds in peace and quiet without em- 
baridng on another perilous undertaking. Again, it is unusual 
for buiglars to operate at so eariy an hour, it is unusual for buig- 
lars to strike a lady to prevent her screaming, since one would 
imagine that was the sure way to make her scream, it is unusual 
for them to conunit murder when their numbers are sufSdent 
to overpower one man, it is unusual for them to be content with 
a limited plunder when there was much more within their 
reach, and finally, I should say, that it was very unusual for 
such men to leave a bottle half empty. How do all these un- 
usuals strike you, Watson ? " 

*• Their cumulative eflfect is certainly considerable, and yet 
each of them is quite possible in itself. The most unusual thing 
of all, as it seems to me, is that the lady should be tied to the 
chair. " 

" Well, I am not so clear about that, Watson, for it is evident 
that they must dther Idll her or else secure her in such a way 
that she could not give immediate notice of their escape. But 
at any rate I have shown, have I not, that there is a certain ele- 
ment of improbability about the lady's story? And now, on 
the top of this, comes the incident of the windlasses. " 
" What about the wineglasses ? " 
" Can you see them in your mind's eye ? ** 
"I see them clearly." 

" We are told that three men drank from them. Does th ut 
strike you as likely ? " 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 
1 Why not ? There was wine in each glass. " 
••Exactly, but there was beeswing only in one glass You 
murt have noticed that fact. What does that suggest to your 

"The last glass fiUed would be most likely to contain bees- 
wing. *• 

♦I. w? •!*"• "^^ *^**^' ""^ ^" *^ »*• •»«> »» » inconceivable 
tftat the first two glasses were clear and the third heavily 
charged with it. There are two possible explanations, and 
only two. One is that after the second glass was filled the bot- 
Uewas violentiy agitated, and so the third glass received the 
beeswing. That does not appear probable. No. no. I am 
sure that I am right. " 
"What, then, do you suppose?" 

"That only twoglasses were used, and that the dregs of both 
were poured into a third glass, so as togive the false impression 
that Uiree people had been here. In that way aU the beeswinij 
would be in the last glass, would it not? Yes. I am coeh 
vmce:! ^at this is so. But if I have hit upon the true explana- 
tion of this one smaU phenomenon, then in an instant the case 
rises from the commonplace to the exceedingly remaricable, for 
It can only mean that Lady BrackenstaU and her maid have de- 
hberatcly Ued to us, that not one word of their stoiy is to be be- 
liever*. that they have some veiy strong reason for covering the 
real cnmmal, and that we must construct our case for ourselves 
without anv help from them. That is the mission which now 
hes before U;^. and here, Watson, is the Sydenham train. " 

The household at the Abbey Grange were much surprised 
at our return, but Sherlock Holmes, finding that Stanley Hop- 
kins h«l gone o£F to report to headquarters, took possession 
of the dining-room, locked the door upon the inside, and de- 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE SM 

Totod himself for two houn to one of those minute and 
laborious investigations which lonn the solid basis on 
which his brilliant edifices of deduction were reared. Seated 
in a comer like an interested student who observes the 
demonstration of his professor, I followed eveiy step of 
that remarkable research. The window, the curtains, the 
carpet, the chair, the rope — each in turn was minutely ex- 
amined and duly pondered. The body of the unfortunate 
baronet had been removed, and all else remained as we 
had seen it in the morning. Finally, to my astonishment. 
Holmes climbed up on to the massive mantelpiece. Far 
above his head hung the few inches of red cord which were 
still attached to the wire. For a long time he gazed upwards 
at it, and the a in an attempt to get nearer to it he rested his 
knee upon a wooden bracket on the wall. This brought his 
hand within a few inches of the broken end of the rope, 
but it was not this so much as the bracket itself which 
seemed to engage his aitention. FinaUy, he sprang down 
with an ejaculation of satisfaction. 

" It's aU right, Watson," said he. " We have got our case — 
one of the most remarkable in our collection. But, dear me, 
how slow-witted I have been, and how nearly I have committed 
the blunder of my lifetime I Now, I think that, with a few miss- 
ing links, my chain is almost complete." 
" You have got your men ? " 

" Man, Watson, man. Only one, but a very formidable per- 
son. Strong as a lion — witness the blow that bent that 
poker.' Six fnt three in height, active as a squirrel, dexter- 
ous with Ws fingers, finally, remarkably quick-witted, for this 
whole ingenious story is of his concoction. Yes, Watson, we 
have come upon the handiwork of a very remarkable individual. 



MKXOCOrv RBOUITION TBT CHART 

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9M THE RETDBN OF SHERLOCK HOLSfES 

And yet, in that bell-rope, he has given us a due which should 
not have left us a doubt." 

" Where was the clue ? ** 

" Well, if you were to pull down a bell-rope, Watson, whens 
would you expect it to break ? Surely at the spot where it is 
attached to the wire. Why should it break three inches from 
the top, as this one has done ? " 

" Because it is frayed there ? '* 

*■ Exactly. This end, which we can examine, is frayed. He 
was cunning enough to do that with his knife. But the other 
end is not frayed. You could not observe that from here, but 
if you were on the mantelpiece you would see that it is cut clean 
off without any mark of fraying whatever. You can recon- 
struct what occurred. The man needed the rope. He would 
no» ear it down for fear of giving the alarm by ringing the bell. 
Wkat did he do ? He sprang up on the mantelpiece, could not 
quite reach it, put his knee on the bracket -- you will see the 
impression in the dust — and so got his knife to bear upon the 
cord. I could not reach the place by at least three inches — from 
which I infer that he is at least three inches a bigger man than I. 
Look at that mark upon the seat of the oaken chair! What is it ? " 
"Blood." 

" Undoubtedly it is blood. This alone puts the lady's story 
out of court. If she were seated on the chair when the crime 
was done, how comes that mark. No, no, she was placed in 
the chair after the death of her husband. I'll wager that the 
black-dress shows a corresponding mark to this. We have not 
yet met -ur Waterloo, Watson, but this is our Marengo, for it 
begins in defeat and ends in victory. I should like now to have 
a few words with the nurse, Theresa. We must be wary for 
swhile, if we are to get the information which we want" 



THE ADVENTURE OP TBE ABBEY GRANGE SS7 

She was an interesting person, this stem Australian nurse 
— taciturn, suspicious, ungracious, it took some time be- 
fore Hohnes' pleasant manner and frank acceptance of 
all that she said thawed her into a corresponding amiability. 
She did not attempt to conceal her hatred for her kte 
employer. 

"Yes, sir, it is true that he threw the decanter at me. I 
heard him call my mistress a name, and I told him that he would 
not dare to speak so if her brother had been there. Then it 
was that he threw it at me. He might have thrown a dozen 
if he had but left my bonny bird alone. He was forever iU- 
treating her, and she too proud to complain. She will not even 
teU me all that he has done to her. She never told me of those 
marks on her arm that you saw this morning, but I know very 
well that they come from a stab with a hatpin. The sly devil — 
God foigive me that I should speak of him so, now that he is 
dead ! But a devil he was, if ever one walked the earth. He was 
aU honey when first we met him — only eighteen months ago, 
and we both fed as if it were eighteen years. She had only just 
arrived in London. Yes, it was her first voyage — she had 
never been from home before. He won her with his title and 
his money and his false London ways. If she made a mistake 
she was paid for it, if ever a woman did. What month did we 
meet him? Well, I teU you it was just after we arrived. W'e 
arrived m June, and it was July. They were married in Janu- 
aiy of last year. Yes, she is down in the morning-room again, 
and I have no doubt she wiU see you, but you must not ask tw 
much of her, for she has gone through all that flesh and blood 
will stand." 

Lady Brackenstall was reclining on the same couch, but 
looked brighter than before. The maid had entered with us, 



THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

and began once more to foment the bruise upon her mistress' 
brow. 

"I hope," said the lady, "that you have not come to cross- 
examine me again ? " 

"No," Hohnes answered, in his gentlest voice, "I will not 
cause you any unnecessary trouble, Lady BrackensteU, and 
my whole desire is to make things easy for you, for I am con- 
vinced that you are a much-tried woman. If you will treat me 
as a friend and trust me, you may find that I will justify your 
trust." 

" What do you want me to do ? " 

" To tell me the truth." 

"Mr. Hohnes!" 

*• No, no. Lady Brackenstall — it is no use. You may have 
beard of any little reputation which I possess. I will stake it all 
on the fact that your story is an absolute fabrication." 

Mistress and maid were both staring at Holmes with pale 
faces and frightened eyes. 

"You are an impudent fellow!" cried Theresa. "Do you 
mean to say that my mistress has told a lie ? " 

Holmes rose from his chair. 

" Have you nothing to tell me ? " 

" I have told you everything. " 

"Think once more. Lady BrackenstaU. Would it not be 
better to be frank ? " 

For an instant there was hesitation in her beautiful face. 
Then some new strong thought caused it to set like a mask. 

" I have told you all I know." 

Holmes took his hat and shrugged his shoulders. "I am 
sorry," he said, and without another word we left the room and 
the house. There was a pond in the paric, and to this my 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE _ 

friend led the way. It was frozen over, but a single hole was 
left for the convenience of a solitary swan. Hohnes gazed at 
It, and then passed on to the lodge gate. There he scribbled 
a short note for Stanley Hopkins, and left it with the lodite- 
keeper. ^ 

"It may be a hit, or it may be a miss, but we are bound to 
do something for friend Hopkins, just to justify this second 
visit, said he. " I wiU not quite take him into my confidence 
yet. I think our next scene of operations must be the shipping 
office of the Adelaide-Southampton line, which stands at the 
end of PaU Mall, if I remember right. There is a second line 
of steamers which connect South Australia with England, but 
we will draw the larger cover first." 

Holmes' card sent in to the manager ensured instent atten- 
tion, and he was not long in acquiring aU the mformation he 
needed. In June of '95, only one of their line had reached a 
home port. It was the /JocAro/Gt6ra/ter, their lai^est and best 
boat. A reference to the passenger list showed that Miss 
Fraser, of Adelaide, with her maid had made the voyage in her. 
The boat was now on her way to AustraUa somewhere in the 
south of the Suez Canal. Her officere were the same as in '96, 
with one exception. The first officer, Mr. Jack Crocker, had 
been made a captain, and was to take chaige of their new ship. 
The Bass Rock, saiUng in two days' time from Southampton! 
He lived at Sydenham, but he was likely to be in that morning 
for instructions, if we cared to wait for him. 

No : Mr. Holmes had no desire to see him, but would be glad 
to know more about his record and character. 

His record was magnificent. There was not an officer in the 
fleet to touch him. As to his character, he was reUable on duty, 
but a wUd, desperate feUow off the deck of his ship-hot-headed, 



MO THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

exdtoble, but loyal, honest, and kind-hearted. That was the 
pith of the information with which Hohnes left the office of the 
Adehiide-Southampton company. Thence he drove to Scot- 
land Yard, but, instead of entering, he sat in his cab with his 
brows drawn down, lost in profound thought. Finally he 
drove round to the Charing Cross telegraph office, sent off a 
message, and then, at last, we made for Baker Street once 
more. 

" No, I couldn't do it, Watson," said he, as we re-entered our 
room. "Once that warrant was made out, nothing on earth 
would save him. Once or twice in my career I feel that I have 
done more real harm by my discovery of the criminal than 
ever he had done by his crime. I have learned caution now, 
and I had rather play tricks with the law of England than with 
my own conscience. Let us know a little more before we act." 

Before evening, we had a visit from Inspector Stanley Hop- 
kins. Things were not going veiy well with him. 

" I believe that you are a wizard, Mr. Holmes. I really do 
sometimes think that yon ha^e powers that are not human. 
Now, how on earth could you know that the stolen silver was at 
the bottom of that pond ? ** 

"I didn't know it." 

" But you told me to examine it*' 

"You got it, then?" 

"Yes, I got it." 

" I am very glad if I have helped you." 

"But you haven't helped me. You have made the affair 
far more difficult. What sort of burghirs are they who steal 
silver, and then throw it into the nearest pond ? " 

" It was certainly rather eccentric behaviour. I was merely 
going on the idea that if the silver had been taken by persons 



TBE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE 84, 

Who <fid not want it-who merely took it for a blind as it 

we« ihentheywouldnaturaUybean^oustogetri^^^^^^^ 

« w !, ^"^"^ *° '^^ *="^ y«"' °»wd ? - 

♦I, ™' ^f»*>"«*»t »t was possible. When they came out 

r^r^Tint^,::^^^^ ^^' 

•'Ah a luding-,Jace--that is better!" cried Stanley Hop- 
kins. Y^, yes, I sec it aU nowl It was early, there were 
folk upon the roads, they eere afraid of being Ln^thli^ 
«lver, so they sank it in the pond, intendinpl return!^ 

^en tte coast was clear. ExceUent. ISfcTHohnes - thit L 
better than your idea of a blind." 

A "Sfw"**' ^""^ ^''^ ^ *° admirable theory. I have no 
doubt that my own ideas were nm'f a «nM u » 

l»d!S^7^ I«w«.nyo„rdobg. B«Ib.„h«,. 

"A setback?" 
N Jvoil^jX*^^ ^"^ .an, were arrested in 

»»."^TuTL^°P^' '^*' ^ ^''a^y ^^*^e' against your 
th«,i7. that they committedamurder in Kentlastn%ht.» ^ 

It IS fatal Mr. Holmes -absolutely fatal. StiU, there are 
oUiergangsofthreebesides ae Randalls, or it may be sornew 
gang of which the police have never heard » 

«v"'**Ar''i^P'''''**^P^^*^^"- What, are you off?" 
* fK i! ^'* °^^' "'^'^ ^ '^^ '^t ^°' °»e unta I have got 

i:^:m:r^^'''^''^^- ^-pp- you have no i^: 

" I have given you one.** 



I] 



THE RETUBN OF SHERLOCK HOL&IiS 

"Which?" 

" Well, I suggested a blind." 

" But why, Mr. Holmes, why ? " 

"Ah, that's the question, of course. But I commend the 
idea to your mind. You might possibly find that there was 
something in it. You won't stop for dinner? Well, good-bye, 
and let us know how you get on." 

Dinner was over, and the table cleared before Holmes alluded 
to the matter again. He had lit his pipe and held his sUppered 
feet to the cheerful blaze of the fire. Suddenly he looked at 
his watch. 

" I expect developments, Watson." 

"When?" 

"Now — within a few minutes. I dare say you thought I 
acted rather badly to Stanley Hopkins just now ? *• 

" I trust your judgment." 

"A very sensible reply, Watson. You must look at it this 
way: what I know is unofficial, what he knows is official. I 
have the right to private judgment, but he has none. He 
must disclose all, or he is a traitor to his service. In a doubt- 
ful case I would not put him in so pamful a position, and so 
I reserve my information until my own mind is dear upon the 
matter." 

" But when will that be ? " 

"The time has come. You will now be present at the last 
scene of a remarkable little drama." 

There was a sound upon the stairs, and our door was opened 
to admit as fine a specimen of manhood as ever passed through 
it. He was a very tall young man, golden-moustached, blue- 
eyed, with a skin which had been burned by tropical suns, and 
a springy step, which showed that the huge frame was as active 



THE AD -ENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE Stt 

M it was strong. He closed the door behind him, and then he 
stood with clenched hands and heaving breast, chokbg down 
some overmastering emotion. 
" Sit down, Captain Crocker. You got my telegram ? ** 
Our visitor sank into an arm-chair, and looked from one to 
the other of us with questioning ey^s. 

" I got your telegram, and I came at the hour you said. I 
heard that you had been down to the office. There was no 
getting away from you. Let's hear the worst. What are you 
going to do with me? Arrest me? Speak out, man! You 
can't sit there and play with me Uke a cat with a mouse." 

" Give him a cigar," said Holmes. " Bite on that. Captain 
Crocker, and don't let your nerves run away with you. I 
should not sit here smoking with you if I thought that you 
were a common criminal, you may be sure of that. Be frank 
with me and we may do some good. Play tricks with me, and 
I'll crush you." 
" What do you wish me to do ? " 

" To give me a true account of all that happened at the Abbey 
Grange last night — a true account, mind you, with nothing 
added and nothing taken off. I know so much already that if 
you go one inch off the straight, I'll blow this poUce whistle 
from my window and the affair goes out of my hands forever." 
The sailor thought for a little. Then he struck his leg with 
his great sun-bumed hand. 

"I'll chance it," he cried, "I believe you are a man of your 
word, and a white man, and I'll tell you the whole story. But 
one thing I will say first. So far as I am concerned, I regret 
nothing and I fear nothing, and I would do it all again, and be 
proud of the job. Damn the beast, if he had as many lives as a 
cat, he would owe them all to me! But it's the lady, Maiy — 



^ THE RETDRN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

my Lfe just to bring one «nule to her dear face. if. that SH 

«k vou 1 L f ^°"u°^ "*"^' «*""*"*»• "d then ru 
ask you. as man to man, what less could I do. 

I JJT^ f ^^ • ^^' '^"^ -^"^ *° kno^ eveiything. so 
I«pect that you know .hatlmetherwhen she wasaT«^„;IJ 

day I met her. she was the only woman to me. Eveiy day of 

toe deck of that ship because I knew her dear feet had trod it. 
She was never engaged to me. She treated me as fairly ^ver 
awomant^atedamon. I have no complaint to makT 
was aU love on my side, and all good comideship and friend 

^P on hers. When we parted she was a free won^ but i 
could never again be a free man. 

"Next time I came back from sea, I heard of her marriaxre 

WeU. why shouldn't she many whom she liked? TiUe and 

money -who could cany them better than she? She was 

born for aU that is beautiful and dainty. I didn't grievie ov" 

hermarnage. I was not such a selfish hound as that. I just 

J* WeU. I never thought to see her again, but last voyage I 
was promoted, and the new boat was not yet launched, .o Ihad 
to wait for a couple of months with my people at Sydenham. 
One day out m a country lane I met Theresa Wright, her old 
ma.d. Shetoldmeallabouther.abouthim,aboureveVthing 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE 8J5 

Itenyou,genUemen,itneariydrovemem«d. Thi. drunken 
hound, that he should dare to raiae his hand to her, whose boots 
hewasnotwortL, » Uckl I met Theresa again. Then I met 
Mary hewe'f-ai met her again. Then she would meet 
me no more. But the other day I had a noUw that I was to 
start on my voyage within a week, and I determined that I 
would see her once before I left. Theresa was always my 
fnend. for she loved Maiy and hated this viUain almost as 
much as I did. From her I learned the ways of the house, 
laiy used to «t up reading in her own litUe room downsUira. 
I crept round there last night and scratched at the window. 
At first she would not open to me, but in her heart I know that 
now she loves me, and she could not leave me in the frosty 
night. She whispered to me to come round to the big front 
wmdow, and I found it open before me. so as to let me into the 
dimng-room. Agam I heard from her own Ups things that 
made my blood boU. and again I cursed this brute, who mishan- 
dled the woman I loved. WeU.genUemen. I was standing with 
her just mside the window, in aU innocence as God is my judge 
when he rushed like a madman into the room, called her the 
vilest name that a man could use to a woman, and welted 
her across the face with the stick he had in his hand I 
had sprung for the poker, and it was a fair fight between us. 
bee here, on my arm, where his first blow feU. Then it 
was my turn, and I went through him as if he had been a 
rotten pumpkin. Do you think I was sorry? Not I ! 
It was his life or mine, but far more than that, it was his 
hfe or hers, for how could I leave hei in the power of this 
madman? That was how I killed him. Was I wrong? WeU 
then what would either of you genUemen have done, if you' 
had been m my position ? 



THE RETURN OF 8HBRLCCX HOLMES 

^i^"^* ^ ««*ined when he struck her. ud that brought 
old Theresa down from the room above. There was a bottle 
of wine on the sideboard, and I opened it and poured a little 
betwwn Mary s lips, for she was half dead with shock. Then 
I took a drop myself. Theresa was as cool as ice, and it was 
her plot as much as mine. We must make it appear that bur- 
glar. had done the thing. Theresa kept on repeating our 
story to her mistresa, while I swarmed up and cut the rope of 
the beU Then I lashed her in her chair, and frayed ouUhe 
end of the rope to make it look natural, else they would wonder 
how m the world a buiglar could have got up there to cut it. 
Then I gathered up a few plates and pots of silver, to cany out 
the Idea of the robbery, and there I left them, with orders to give 
the alarm when I had a quarter of an hour's start. I dropped 
the silver into the pond, and made off for Sydenham, fed- 
ing that for once in my life I had done a real good night's woik. 
And that s the truth and the whole truth. Mr. Hohnes. if it 
costs me my neck." 

Hohnes smoked for some time in silence. Then he crossed 
the room, and shook our visitor by the hand. 

''That's what I think." said he. "I know that evenr word 
M true, for you have hardly said a word which I did not know 
No one but an acrobat or a sailor could have got up to that beU- 
rope from the bracket, and no one but a sailor could have 
made the knots with which the cord was fastened to the chair 
OiJy once had this lady been brought into contact with saUors 
aiid that was on her voyage, and it was someone of her own 
class of hfe. since she was tiying hard to shield him. and so 
.howmg that she loved him. You see how easy it was for me 
to lay my hands upon you when once I had started upon the 
r^ht trail." "^ 



THE ADVENTDRE OP THE ABBEY GRANGE S47 

•*I thought the police never could have leen through our 
dodge." ^ 

•^ And the police haven't, nor will they, to the best of my 
belief. Now, look here, Captain Crocker, this is a veiy serious 
matter, though I am willing to admit that you acted under the 
most extreme provocation to which any man could be sub- 
jected. I am not sure that in defence of your own life your 
acUon wiU not be pronounced legiUmate. However, that is 
for a BriUsh jury to decide. Meanwhile I have so much sym- 
pathy for you that, if you choose to disappear in the next twenty- 
four hours, I will promise you that no one will hinder you." 
' And then it will all come out ? " 
** Certainly it will come out." 
The sailor flushed with anger. 

"What sort of proposal is that to make a man? I know 
enough of law to underatand that Mary would be held as accom- 
plice. Do you think I would leave her alone to face the music 
while I slunk away? No, sir, let them do their worst upon 
me, but for Heaven's sake, Mr. Holmes, find some way of 
keeping my poor Mary out of the courts." 
Holmes for a second time held out his hand to the sailor. 
" I was only testing you, and you ring true every time. Well, 
it is a great responsibility that I take upon myself, but I hatre 
given Hopkins an exceUent hint, and if he can't avail himself of 
it I can do no more. See here, Captain Crocker, we'U do this in 
due form of law. You are the prisoner. Watson, you are a 
British jury, and I never met a man who was more eminenUy 
fitted to represent one. I am the judge. Now, gentleman of 
the jury, you have heard the evidence. Do you find the prisoner 
guilty or not guilty?" 

" Not guilty, my lord," said I. 



r 



8« THE BETOBN OP SHEHLOCK HOLMS 

& long « a. Uw doe. BO* fbd «m» .rthe, victiT^ J^, 

r„::d's^' """""'"*-«" "^«'^«1^ 



I i: 
: i: 



rocker, 
ire safe 
her fu- 
irepio- 



xm 

THE ADVENTURE OF 
THE SECOND STAIN 

I HAD intended **The Adventure of the Abbey Grange** to 
be the last of those exploits of my friend. Mr. Sherlock Hohnes. 
which I should ever communicate to the pubUc. This resolution 
of mine was not due to any lack of material, since I have notes 
of many hundreds of cases to which I have never alluded, nor 

was it caused by any waning interest on the part of my readers 
in the singular personality and unique methods of this remark- 
able man. The real reason Uy in the reluctance which Mr. 
Hohnes has shown to the continued pubhcation of his experi- 
ences. So. long as he was in actual professional practice the 
records of his successes were of some practical value to him, but 
since he has definitely retired from London and betaken him- 
self to study and bee-farming on the Sussex Downs, notoriety 
has become hateful to him, and he has peremptorily requested 
that his wishes in this matter should be strictly observed. It 

was only upon my representing to him that I had given a prom- 
ise that " The Adventure of the Second Stain ** should be pub- 
lished when the times were ripe, and pointing out to him that 
it is only appropriate that this long series of episodes should 
cuhninate in the most important international case which he 



& 



! 



WO THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

has ever been caUed upon to handle, that I at last «,c«^*^ 

It was, then, in a year, and even in a decade thaf «K«ii k^ 

jyed. ^d donumint. w« none rther IhTfte ill^t^oM 
I->rd BeUinger, twiw Premier of Britain Th- „.!, jT 
de.««. «d el.g«., hardiy ye.^Tl^id]^*'^*"^,^' 
dowed wth every beauty „f body and of rrZ ^ ftj 
^ht Hono„„ble Trelawney Hope. SecreUryX Cpl 

" ^ f^J"ft •"'""' °" F«per-Iitte,cd ,ettee, and iTwa. Z 
to we from their worn and anaou, faces that it was burinZ 
of U.en>o,t pre«ing in,portu.« which h«i br:,^MTr 
The Premier's thin, bhie-veined hands were rl«3 « i^' 
^r Uie ivory he«l ., hi. nmbreC:^ C^ntS^tStl^ 
Iookedgloomayf«,mHohnestome. TheESU^I^'^ 

"gnyo Clock this morning, I at once informed the Prim,. 
^. 1. was a. his .^jgesBoa that we have Z.^ 

" Have you infonned the police ? " 

J' No, sir," said the Prime Minister, with the quick decisive 
manner for which he was famous. "We have no?don;;rnIr 



THE ADVENTDBE OF THE SECOND STAIN m 

i. it poedble th.1 w. .hould do «,. To Worn, ft, p.liee „urt. 
in the ong ruo, mem to infona the pubHc Thi. U wh.t m 
pMticttlMly desire to avoid." 
"And why, sir?" 

"Became the document in quertion is of «ch immense 
I imp.rt«,ce that it, publication might ,«y easU^ JJ^ 
dmo, «.y p„b.bly_,e«, to EZpean Jmphc^aons Ttt^ 

utmost moment It is not toomuchtosaythat^Leorwafn^; 
h«« upon the «s«e Unless its recve-y can bHLded Jl 
fteutaos^ secrecy. th» i, may as weU no, be recovered at ^ 
f . Jtat " «med at by those who have UUku it is that it, con 
tents should be generaUy known." ""wiscon 

mix "u'Tf' ^°"' ^- ''^'^ Hope. I should be 

Z. ^J r ''°"" "^ "" «»^y *« ci^umstance. 
under which this document disappeared." 

U»I^\'^.^ '"""f " » ^y fe" «nb. Mr. Hohnes. The 
fetter - for ,t was a letter from . foreign potentate - was re- 
.^v«l SIX days .g^. I, was of such import«,ce that I have never 
left It m n^safe, but I have hAen it acress each evening U, my 

ocked d«p.teh.box. It was there h«t night W tiia, I am ce,. 
tan. I actaaUy opened the box whUe I was dressing for dimier. 

Zl^T t r;°"°' ^^ ™ """"^ " ^^ gone. The 
d«patch.box h«l stood beside the glass upon myfcsrfug. 

Ubfe aU mght. I am a light sleeper, and so is my Jfe!W^ 

both prepared to swear that no one could have entMed the 

«om dunng the night And yet I rep.., Ui., «„ p^ j, 

"What time did you dine?" 

"Half.past seven," 

* How long was it before you went to bed ? '* 



*» 1™ BETUHN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

haJf-paatdevea before we went to our room.- 

guaiS:"''" '"' "'"" *"* ""^^'^^ luui to un. 

j; No one is ever pennitted to enter that room save the house, 
maid ,n «.e monung. and my valet, or my wife's m«U d«Z 

^erest of theday.They are both trusty seJrants who WeS 
with us for some time. Besides, neit'-er of them couIdTssI^^ 
have known that there was anything more valuable thTZ 

Who did know of the existence of that letter ? » 
No one in the house." 
** Surely your wife knew ? ** 

"No, sir. I had said nothing to my wife untU I missed th^ 
paper this morning." « ««»ai i missed the 

The Premier nodded approvingly, 
duty said he. "I am convi ced that in the case of a se^i^ of 

dt^rr^'^^-^^'^-^-*^*^^--^^- 

The European Secretaiy bowed. 

-You do me no more than justice, sir. Until this momimr I 
have never breathed one word to my wife upon this mZf." 
Could she have guessed ? ** "«* wr. 

- No, Mr. Hohnes, she could not have guessed - nor coul(? 
anyone have guessed." "wcouio 

'^ Have you lost any documents before ? " 

oi'^^fr " ^'"•i wh. did w .1 a» .^„ 

"E«i m«nber of the CMna w« informri of it yertodv. 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SECOND STAIN ^ 

but the pled^ of secrecy which attends every Cabinet meetiZ 
w« increased by the solemn warning which was given by the 
Pnme Minister. Good heavens, to think that within a few 
hours I should myself have lost it f" His handsome face was dis- 

torted with a spasm of despair, and his hands tore at his hai^ 
For a moment we caught a glimpse of the natural man. impul- 
wl •'^*°^^'*"Jy ««»«itive. The next the aristocmtic nmdc 

ZZ^'^.l "f.^' ^'°*^' ""'^ ^ «*"™«J- " Besides the 
mrt^"« m' ^.**'V*'* *^'" *" *""' or possibly three, depart- 
menW offiaab who know of the letter. No one dse in Engtend. 
Mr. Hohnes, I assure you." -B"«*u. 

"But abroad?" 

"I believA that no one abroad has seen it save the man who 
wrote It I am weU convinced that his Ministers - that the 
usual official channels have not been employed." 
Hohnes considered for some little time. 
•• Now. sir. I must ask you more particularly what this docu- 
ment IS. and why its disappearance should have such momen- 
tons consequences ? " 

The two statesmen exchanged a quick glance and the 
l^mier s shaggy eyebrows gathered in a frown. 

"Mr. Hohnes. the envelope is a long. thin one of pale blue 
colour There is a seal of red wax stamped with a crouching lion 
It IS addressed in large,bold handwriting to — " 

"I fear. «r." said Hohnes. "that, interesting and indeed 
^nbal as th^ details are. my inquiries must go more to the 
root of things. What was the letter ? " 

•u 3^* " * ^***^ ^^^ °' ^^ "^'^^^^ importance, and I fear 

♦K aT^""^ **" ^*'"' °°' ^"^ ^ ^ *^** i' « necessary. If by 
the aid of the powers which you are said to possess you can find 
such an envelope as I describe with its inclosure. you will have 



««* THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

decCTved weU of your country, and earned any lewaid which it 

lies in our power to bestow." 

Sherlock Hoknes rose with a sirile. 
^ " You are two of the most busy men in the country," said he, 
and m my own smaU way I have also a good many calls upon 
me. I regret exceedingly that I can not help you in this matter, 
«uid any continuation of this interview would be a waste of 
tone. 

The Premier sprang to his feet with that quick, fierce gleam 
of his deep-set eyes before which a Cabinet has cowered. " I am 
not accustomed, sir." he began, but mastered his anger and re- 
sumed his seat. For a minute or more we aU sat in sUence. Then 
the old statesman shrugged his shoulders. 

*We must accept your terms, Mr. Holmes. No doubt you 
are right, and it is unreasonable for us to expect you to ad 
unless we give you our entire confidence." 
*^ I agree with you." said the younger statesman. 
"Then I wiU teU you, relying entirely upon your honour and 
that of your coUeague, Dr. Watson. I may appeal to your pa- 
tnotism also, for I could not imagine a greater misfortune for 
the country than that tiiis aflFair should come out." 
*' You maj »p*ely trust us." 

"The letter, tiien. is from a certain foreign potentate who 
has been ruffled by some rec at Colonial developments of this 
country. It has been written hurriedly and upon his own respon- 
sibiUty entirely. Inquiries have shown that his Ministers know 
nothing of the matter. At the same time it is couched in so un- 
fortunate a manner, and certain phrases in it are of so provo- 
cative a character, tiiat its publication would undoubtedly lead 
to a most dangerous stalo of feeUng in this country. There 
would be such a ferment, sir, that I do not hesitate to say that 






THE ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND STAIN su 

^^AU ^""^ ![.*^' publication of that letter this countnr 
would be involved in a great war." country 

J^Jer'^*' * ""^"^ "^° "^ ^"P °^ P*P«' -<» J-ded H to 
"Exa^Iy. It was he. And it is this letter - this letter wh.Vh 

hves of a hundred thousand men - which has become lost 1 
this unaccountable fashion." "* 

•* Have you informed the sender ? " 

;; Yc« sir. a cipher telegram has been despatched." 
Perhaps he desires the publication of the letter." 

«r,A^ ''l' 7 ^^""^ '*™"« "^"^ *« believe that he alreadv 
«nde«tands that he has acted in an indiscreet and hot-hS 
mamier. It would be a greater blow to him and to his „ 
than to us if this letter were to come out." ^ 

out ?"m ' K """'J^""^ ^"*''^* " ^* **»»* **»« Jitter should come 
out ? Why should anyone desire to steal it or to publish it ? ^ 

t.m 7 ; V . ''^'°''' y°" **^« °»« «*o "gions of high in- 
temational pohtics. But if you consider the Zopean sSion 
you ^11 have no difficulty in perciving the motivT^^e J^^ 
of Euro^ « an armed camp. Thei^ is « double league wWch 

^. If S2 ""^'.™"*^P^"^^- G-tBritT^olIthe 
Z;.M T """"^ "^"^"^ ^°*^ ™ ^*h «°e confedemcy it 

would assure the supremacy of the other confederacy. wSer 
they jomed m the war or not. Do you follow ? " ^ 

no Jf T ?*'^^' ^* ^' **^"° *^" ^"*^^«* «f *!>« enemies of this 
P^^te to secui. and publish this letter, so as to make a 
breach between his country and oure ? " 
"Yes, sir." 



It; 



M« THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

•* To any of the great ChanceUeries of Europe. It is probably 
apeeding on its way thither at the present instant as fast as steam 
can take it" 

Mr. Trelawney Hope dropped his head on his chest and 
groaned aloud. The Premier phiced his hand kindly upon his 
shoulder. 

*'It is your misfortune, my dear fellow. No one can blame 
you. There is no precaution which you have neglected. Now, 
Mr. HoUnes, you are in full possession of the facts. What course 
do you recommend ? " 

Holmes shook his head mournfully. 

"You think, sir, that unless this document is recovered there 
will be war?" 

" I think it is very probable." 

**Then, sir, prepare for war." 

" That is a hard saying, Mr. Holmes." 

**Consiuer the facts, sir. It is inconceivable that it was taken 
after eleven-thirty at night, since I underetand that Mr. Hope 
ana his wife were both in the room from that hour until the 
loss was found out. It was taken, then, yesterday evening be- 
tween :<8ven-thirty and eleven-thirty, probably near the earlier 
hour, since whoever took it evidently knew thAt it was there, 
and would naturally secure it as early as possible. Now, sir, if a 
document of this ijnportance were taken at that hour, where 
can it be now? No one has any reason to retain it. It has 
been passed rapidly on to those who need it. What chance 
have we now to overtake or even to trace it? It is beyond 
our reach." 

The Prime Minister rose from the settee. 
-What you say is perfectly logical, Mr. Holmes. I feel that 
the matter is indeed out of our hands." 



TBE ADVBNTOBE OP THE SECOND STAIN (57 

• _ *^^ >» PfMunie. for ugumenf. mIw, that the document 

" Thqr are both old and tried jCTvanti " 
floir ^rT"**-^ " "^ '^' ^™' -oom i. .n the «»nd 

taiert ? To one of ««r.l intemationJ .pies and ««ret agent. 
wh«e n«n« are tolerably fanrilia, to m. There .„ J^^ 
m^be «ad to be the head, of their p,„f,«on. I Z^^ 
~««h by go.ng ™„nd and finding if each of th«n U at 2 
Z'Xr T^!f ~ '^'^ "^^ diMppeared «n« 

m«:ti ;:.r- ""^ ""' """"""•" " *" "-« «■• <•— 

"Why diould he be nAang?" adted the European Secre- 
SSy J::^- '-'««■"««"-» ^ba-y in^Td^ 

»:«o^^thie?^ri';t':S^''^- "-' '^ 

Tlie Prime Minister nodded his acquiescence. 
I beheve you are right. Mr. Holmes. He would take so 
valuable a prize to headquarter with his own hands. I^ 
that your course of action is an exceUent one. Meanwhile. Hope 
we can not neglect aU our other duties on account of tWs o^e 
misfortune. Should there be any fi^h developments dult; I 
day we shaU communicate with you. and you wiU no do2 let 
us know the results of your own inquiries." 
^^e two statesmen bowed and walked gxavely from the 

men our illustrious visitors had departed Holmes lit his pipe 
in silence, and sat for some time lost in the deepest thought 



•» THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

I had opened the moniiiig paper and was immened in a sensa- 
tional cnme which had occurred in London the night before 
when my friend gave an exclamation, sprang to his feet, and 
laid lus pipe down upon the mantelpiece. 

-Y«." said he. "there is no better way of approaching it. 
The situation is desperate, but not hopeless. Even now. if we 
could be sure which of them has taken it. it is just possible that 
It has not yet passed out of his hands. After all. it is a question of 
money with these feUows. and I have the British treasuiy be- 
hind me. If it's on the market I'll buy it - if it means another 
penny on the income-tax. It is conceivable that the feUow 
might hold It back to see what bids come from this side before 
he tnes his luck on the other. There are only those Uiree 
capable of playing so bold a game - there are Oberatein. U 
Kothiere. and Eduardo Lucas. I will see each of them." 

I glanced at my morning paper. 

* Is that Eduardo Lucas of Godolphin Street ? " 

" You will not see him." 
-Why not?" 

" He was murdered in his house last night." 

My friend has so often astonished me in the course of our 
adventures that it was with a sense of exultation Uuit I real- 
ized how completely I had astonished him. He stared in amaze- 
ment, and then snatched the paper from my hands. This was 
the paragraph which I had been engaged in reading when he 
rose from his chair. 



MURDER IN WESTMINSTER 

StrL'^^^l!^J^'^' ""^ committed l«.t night at 16, Godolphin 
wS r ti °f'«f »»<»»«d and secluded rows of eighteenth century houses 
whKTh he between the nver and the Abbey, ahnort in the shadow IL ^ 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SECOND 8TA1N 8M 

both on account of hi. chiming penoniUity nd beotUM he hM thewdT 
^«n;ad njutotioo cfWng one :!^:^^t^ teno« tali e^ 

conrirt. of Mr.. Phngle. an elderly ..oiaekeeper. .ndll Mitlon. hi. nJetTV 

f ^n*:.?r*''"r*'*"''™°«™^- From ten o'clock onwudBlT 
LucM h^ U.e hou« to hin»elf. Wh.t occu„«l during thatlm^Z^ «^ 

?.?^Slf^***^» **^* thedoordNo. 16 wa. .^r/ hTK? 
but ««ned no M«rer Perceiving . light in the front Zm,he ^^ 
into the p««ge and .g«n knocked, but without reply. He the^ pu^ST^ 

SelLrSl .X.-rr*"' -^ °~ **^ lying onit.b«* inthe^^ 
rfSrhSil^'KSl!?'ri^°™'"'^'^'''y«^ unfortunate tenant 
^k^n:i2^i*fu "*'^'*^ '° the he«t and mu.t have died uJ^j. 
Ttobuf. wrth wbch the crin» had been committed wm a curvrifaZ 
S^SLlir '"»*»«>P»'y<rf Oriental arm. which adorned^ 
Ik!Jk~;S!^^ °" '"^ •?!«•'*«> have been the motive of the crime, for 
Jtere h«i been no attempt to remove the valuable content, of the ^i^ 

Wu«A,I^wM«,weU known and popular that hi. violent «;^Z^ 
^tewffl arouae p«nf ul mterert and intent .ympathy in a wkfcipr«KlS3 

" WeU, Watson, what do you make of tfcis ? - asked Holmes, 
after a long pause. 

" It is an amazing coincidence. ** 

"A coincidence! Here is one of the three men whom we had 
named as possible actors in this drama, and he meets a violent 
death during the veiy hours when we know that that drama 
was bemg enacted. The odds are enormous against its being 
comddence. No figures could express them. No. my dear 
Watson, the two events are connected — mtuf be connected. It 
is for us to find the connection." 
" But now the official police must know all.** 
-Not at aU. They know all they see at Godolphin Street 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

them Th«^ it one obviout point wUch would, in any cMe 
Uve turned my «i.pidon. i«dnrt Li.«u. Godolphin 8t«et.* 
Westminrter, i. only « few minutet' walk from Whitehdl Ter- 
!!^ w**^ T? '«~** ''****"»' '^^^ »»»»«» Mve in the 

from the European SecreUiy'. hou^hold - a .maU thinTZi 

^ ''^T S'*?*' •" compreMed mto a few houn it mayprove 
ewential. HaUoa I what have we here ? " 

M« Hud«« hi^app««d with a lady', c^ upon her «d. 

». 1"^*" 't*^ S^*** ''^^y "**?• ^ •*>• '^ »>« kind enough 
to step up," said he. ^ 

A moment Uter our modest apartment, already h> distin- 
fm-hed that mormng. wa. further honoured by the entrance of 
tt« most lovely woman in London. I had often heard of the 
beauty of the youngest daughter of the Duke of Behninster 
but no description of it, and no contemplation of colouriess pho-' 

!?^ «if ^l"^^ '"^ '**' ^"^ '""^^^ ^"^^ charm and 
the beautiful colounng of that exquisite head. And yet as we 

be the first thing to mipiess the observer. The cI .eek was lovely 

the brightness of fever, the sensitive mouth was tight and drawn 
m an effort after self-command. Terror -not beauty- was 
what sprang first to the eye as our fair visitor stood framed for 
an instant m the open door. 
•• Has my husband been here. Mr. Hohnes ? • 



Ml 



THEADVENnJHE OF THE SECOND OTAIN 
^ Y«. nwdam. he hat been here." 

tl»t^ ^'t".^ r !? • '"y •'•«'»•• P«-i«o«. I beg 

lip. «e «„«,. H^.i't; ^'e*,"! °" "^ "• 

there was a most denIo«Ki- ^^* ' *" *'^»'* ***** 

a'^lj'"i^°" ■* ■" " ""'ly i»P<«ible. - 
ShegTMuied Md amk herface u, her handT 

"uiua m to keep you m the d«A over this matter, i. it for me. 



•M THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

who have only learned the true facts under the pledge of pro- 
fessional secrecy, to teU what he has withheld ? It is not fair to 
ask it. It is him whom you must ask." 

"I have asked him. I come to you as a last lesource. But 
without your telling me anything definite, Mr. Hohnes, you 
may do a great service if you would enlighten me on one point." 

"What is it, madam?" 

"Is my husband's political career likely to suffer through 
this incident ? " 

" Well, madam, unless it is set right it may certainly have a 
very unfortunate effect." 

"Ah!" She drew in her breath sharply as one whose doubts 
are resolved. 

"One more question, Mr. Holmes. From an expression 
which my husband dropped in the first shock of this disaster I 
understood that terrible public consequences might arise from 
the loss of this document." 

" If he said so, I certainly can not deny it." 

" Of what nature are they ? " 

"Nay, madam, there again you ask me more than I can 
possibly answer." 

" Then I will take up no more of your time. I can not blame 
you, Mr. Holmes, for having refused to speak more freely, and 
you on your side will not, I am sure, think the worse of me 
because I desire, even against his will, to share my husband's 
anxieties. Once more I beg that you will say nothing of my 
visit." 

She looked back at us from the door, and I had a last 
impression of that beautiful haunted face, the startled eyes, and 
the drawn mouth. Then she was gone. 

"Now, Watson, the fair sex is your department," said 



THE ADVENTUBE OP THE SECOND STADJ «a 

Surely her own statement is clear itnA ».-, - -^ 
natural." *"** *"*' *°»«ty veiy 

"Hum! Think of her appearance. Watson -her mamier 
her suppressed excitement, her resUessness. her tenaSty'r^k ' 

" She was certainly much moved." 

"Remember also the curious earnestness wiffc ^u: u x, 

aU What did she mean by that ? And you must have observed 
Watson, how she manoeuvred tohave L light at her b^k^t 
didnot wishus to read her expression." "^'''**'*"'***^^- ^he 
1 Yes. she chose the one chair in the room." 
And yet the motives of women are so inscrutable You 
remember the woman at Maigate whom I susp3 L ^ 

correct solution How can you build on such a quicksand? 

t^Z *"".^ '"'^'^ "^'^ -«^° -^--' or thermr^l' 
traordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin or a ^li^ 
tongs. Good morning, Watson." ^ ^ 

"You are off?" 

"Yes. I wiU while away the morning at Godolphin Street 
w^Ui our fnends of the r^lar estabhinent. WirEdua^o 

tHat I have not an inkhng as to what form it may take It is a 
capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts'^ So yoj Vtey 
on guard, my good Watson, and r^eive any fresh visitor VU 
jom you at lunch if I am able." " 



«64 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOL&IES 

AU that day and the next and the next Holmes was in a mood 
which his friends would call taciturn, and others morose. He 
ran out and ran in, smoked incessantly, pla ed snatches on his 
violin, sank into reveries, devoured sandwiches at irreguhir 
hours, and hardly answered the casual questions which I put to 
him. It was evident to me that things were not going well with 
him or his quest. He would say nothing of the case, and it was 
from the papers that I learned the T^—^iculars of the inquest, and 
the arrest with the subsequent relt^ J John Mitton, the valet 
of the deceased. The coroner's jury brought in the obvious 
" Wilful Murder," but the parties remained as unknown as ever. 
No motive was suggested. The room was full of articles of 
value, but none had been taken. The dead man's papers had 
not been tampered with. They were carefully examined, and 
showed that he was a keen student of international politics, an 
indefatigable gossip, a remarkable linguist, and an untiring 
letter writer. He had been on intimate terms with the leading 
politicians of several countries. But nothing sensational was 
discovered among the documents which filled his drawers. As 
to his relations with women, they appeared to have been pro- 
miscuous but superficial. He had many acquaintances among 
them, but few friends, and no one whom he loved. His habits 
were regular, his conduct inoflFensive. His death was an abso- 
lute mystery, and likely to remain so. 

As to the arrest of John Mitton, the valet, it was a council 
of despair as an alternative to absolute inaction. But no case 
could be sustained against him. He had visited friends in Ham- 
mersmith that night. The a/tW was complete. It is true that he 
started home at an hour which should have brought him to 
Westmmster before the time when the crime was discovered, 
but his own explanation that he had walked part of the way 



THE ADVENTDHE OP THE SECOND OTAIN M, 

^ri probable enough in view of the finenew of the night. 
He h*d «t„.Uy .mved .t twelve o'clock. «,d .ppe,«d to be 

on good temu with h» master. Several of the dead man's dos- 
s^, - noUbly a smaU ca« of razors - had beeXn^n 

^r.h?, "^t "^ *' '■•"Steeper was able to ^rrobo- 
TeL K^r '^*»!^^,''~»ta L—'employment for th«e 

Contenent with him. Sometimes he virfted Pari, for three 
m^s on end but Mtton was left in cha,ge of the Godolphin 
^e °"m t... *' '""^'=~P"- *« h«I heard nothing 

c™ld foUow It m the papers. If Hohnes knew more, he kept his 
own counsel, but, as he told me that Ir,.«clor Lestrede hid 
taken h.m mto his confidence in the case, I knew thaThe w^s 
IreTn :!.""? ''"^ "-elopmeot. Upon the fourth day 

^ZfTTf ' '°"« '^'«^ *""■ P"^ ""<* seemed to 
solve the whole question. 

.J n ^iTr' ''"J?' "*"■ ''^ '■y *« J""™"" Poliee." said 

fte tr^e fate of Mr. Eduardo Lucas, who met his death by vi,v 
knee l^t Monday nigh, at Godolphin Street, WestaiLr. 

found stabbed m hs room, and that some suspicion attached 
to h.s vdet, but that the case breke down on aJ, alM. Yester- 
day a lady, who has been known as Mme. Hemi Foumaye, oc- 
eupying a small villa in the Rue AusterHtz, was reported to the 
authonbes by her servants as being ins«,e. An «aminadon 



••• THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

showed she had indeed developed mania of a dangerous and 
pennanent form. On inquiry, the police have discovered that 
Mme. Henn Poumaye only returned from a journey to London 
on Tuesday last, and there is evidence to comiect her with the 
cnme at Westminster. A comparison of photographs has proved 
conclusively that M. Henri Foumaye and Eduardo Lucas 
were really one and the same person, and that the deceased had 
for some reason Uved a double Ufe in London and Paris. Mme. 
Foumaye. who is of Creole origin, is of an extremely excitabl- 
nature and has suffered in the past from attacks of jealousy 
which have amounted to frenzy. It is conjectured that it was in 
one of these that she committed the terrible crime which has 
caus«l such a sensation in London. Her movements upon the 
Monday mght have not yet been traced, but it is undoubted that a 
woman answering to her description attracted much attention at 
Channg Cross Station on Tuesday morning by the wildness of 
her appearance and the violence of her gestures. It is probable, 
therefore, that the crime was either committed when insane, or 
that Its immediate effect was to drive the unhappy woman out of 
her mind. At present she is unable to give any coherent account 
of the past, and the doctors hold out no hopes of the re-estab- 
hshment of her reason. There is evidence that a woman, who 
might have been Mme. Foumaye. was seen for some hours 
upon Monday night watching the house in Godolphin Street " 
" What do you think of that, Hohnes ? " I had read the ac- 
count aloud to him, while he finished his breakfast. 

"My dear Watson." said he. as he rose from the table and 
paced up and down the room, "you are most iong-suffering, 
but If I have told you nothing in the last three days, it is be- 
cause there is nothing to tell. Even now this report from Paris 
does not help us much." 



ser 



"^ ADVENTURE OP THE SECOND STAIN 
.. !,r*^ '' ? ^ ^ «ga«is the man's death." 
The mans death is a mere incident- a tr,Vo! • ^ 
m comparison with our real task whtl • ! ? T"^* ~ 
ment and save a Pn,v»rJ^ x ^ " *° '"^^ *^« ^ocU" 

thing Jhrinedrn^?:^" T'^^^^^^ ""^^ °"^ ^-Po^t 
■g «. Happened. 1 get reports almost hourly from »!,« n 
emment. and it is certain that nowhere in P„il *,^ "" 
sign of trouble. Now. if this letter w!^ ^ " '^"'^ *"^ 

loose - but if it ;,n'» I . ^ ^'^^"^ - "*>• »* ^"^^'^ be 

Whyisithlblcl^^PTha^^^^^^ '* '^' ^« '^^ "? 

like a ha^er wSd^ '""^^-T '''^^ ''"^ ^° -^ »>«^° 
meet his de^h ^^he ^h^^rr t^^^ 
the letter ever reach S tJ i "^^PP^"^ ? ™ 

.pape^PDid th,-s m^J^^of Ss:'r; f:;:,C^^^^ ^« 

dear Wa^on^'S thrrTrd"' '^ ''''''''' ^^ 
criminals are. Everv man'sL^ ^«°ge«>us to us as the 

interests at stafel^ eoLal SholTh "' "' '''' ''' *^^ 

conclusion, it will cert^^tSen th '^^ '' *° T^''""' 

career. Ah, here is mv Lr?? *^ ^"^^^"g g^o^,^ of my 

^, nere is my latest from the front'" Ha „i» j 

Westminster ' ^ we will stroU down together to 

It ^as lay first visit to the scene of the crime - a h.'.l, ^• 
narrow-chested house nrim f««,, i ? ^''g^'*^"^^' 

tuiy which gave itTrthT; Tf^I' ^"^ '°"^' "^^ *^« ^^n- 

a big constable had^;tdrdl^%r.:^.";r^^ 
^nto which we wereshown was that in whicr^hrcle?^::: 



oOo 



THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBfES 



committed, but no trace of it now remained, save an ugly.ii 
regular stain upon the carpet. This carpet was a small squai 
drugget in the centre of the room, surrounded by a broad ei 
panse of beautiful, old-fashioned wood-flooring in square blodi 
highly polished. Over the fireplace was a magnificent troph 
of weapons, one of which had been used on that tragic nigh 
In the window was a sumptuous writing-desk, and every d< 
tail of the apartment, the pictures, the rugs, and the hangingi 
all pointed to a taste which was luxurious to the verge < 
effeminacy. 

" Seen the Paris news ? " asked Lestrade. 

Holmes nodded. 

"Our French friends seem to have touched the spot th 
time. No doubt it's just as they say. She knocked at the doc 
— surprise visit, I guess, for he kept his life in water-tigLt con 
partments — he let her in, couldn't keep her in the stree 
She told him how she had traced him, reproached him, on 
thing led to another, and then with that dagger so handy tb 
end soon came. It wasn't all done in an instant, though, fc 
these chairs were all swept over yonder, and he had one in h 
hand as if he had tried to hold her off with it. We've got it a 
clear as if we had seen it." 

Holmes raised his eyebrows. 

" And yet you have sent for me ? " 

" Ah, yes, that's another matter — a mere trifle, but the soi 
of thing you take an interest in — queer, you know, and whi 
you might call freakish. It has nothing to do with the mai 
fact — can't have, on the face of it." 

"What is it, then?" 

" Well, you know, after a crime of this sort we are very careft 
to keep things in their position. Nothing has been moved. Oi 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND STAIN 889 

fioer in charge here day and night. This morning, as the man 
was buried and the investigation over — so far as this room is 
concerned — we thought we could tidy up a bit. This carpet. 
You see, it is not fastened down, only just laid there. We had 
occasion to raise it. We found — " 

"Yes? You found—" 

Holmes' face grew tense with anxiety. 

" Well, I'm sure you would never guess in a hundred years 
what we did find. You see that stain on the carpet ? Wdl, a 
great deal must have soaked through, must it not ? " 

"Undoubtedly it must." 

" Well, you will be surprised to hear that there is no stain on 
the white woodwork to correspond." 

" No stain ! But there must — " 

"Yes, so you would say. But the fact remains that there 
isn t. 

He took the comer of the carpet in his hand and, turning it 
over, he showed that it was indeed as he said. 

" But the underside is as stained as the upper. It must have 
left a mark." 

Lestrade chuckled with delight at having puzzled the famous 
expert. 

"Now, I'll show you the explanation. There i» a second 
stain, but it does not correspond with the other. See for your- 
self." As he spoke he turned over another portion of the carpet, 
and there, sure enough, was a great crimson spill upon the 
square white facing of the old-fashioned floor. " What do you 
make of that, Mr. Holmes ? " 

" Why, it is simple enough. The two stains did correspond, 
but the carpet has been turned round. As it was square and un< 
fastoied it was easily done." 



*» THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

th^l^*/®fli^"'* *l^"'* "•^ y^"' ^'- «°^"' to teU them 
that the carpet must have been turned round. That's d^ 

«ough. for the stains lie above each other - if you lay it o^ 

tbs way.^But what I want to Icnow is. who shifL the' ::^: 

wiirard^'^ti^r ^' -^^ ^^ ^* '^ -- ^'-^ 

"Look here. Lestrade." said he. "has that constable in the 
passage been m chaige of the place all the time ? » 
"Yes. he has." 
"WeU, take my advice. Examine him carefuUv Dnn'f a^ 

HL h T f 5 *^ «^ « «>°^--on out of him alone. 
A^ hm, how he dared to admit people and leave them alone in 
^loom. Don'taskhimifhehasdoneit. Take it for granted 
TeU hun you W someone has been here. Press hkn. Tell 
him tJiat a fuU confession is his only chance of foitriveness Do 
exacUywhatltellyou!" i]giveness. Do 

tmde. He darted mto the haU. and a few moments later his bul- 
lymg voice sounded from the back room. 

nJ^Zu'^C'Z"'' "^^•" '"^ "°^^ ^'^^ ^^^^ eager. 
^. All the demoniacal force of the man masked l^nd 

that hstless manner burst out in a paroxysm of eneigy. He 
tore the dru^etfn,m the floor, and in an instant wasZen on 

nT^ri ^ f*'^"^ ** ^^ °^ "»^ «^"««« of ^ood ^e- 

ont T. ^?V^^^f'''^^' "^ ^' ^"« *^ °^^ i«to the edge 
ofit. IthmgedbackHkethelidofabox. Asmall black^- 
ity opened beneath it. Holmes plunged his eager hand into it 
and drew ,t out with a bitter snarl of anger anddisappointoLt 
It was empty. ^'^ ""cuu 



THE ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND CTAIN 871 

JQuidcWateon. quick! Get it back againl" Thewood«. 

ufjZ 7 '^T^' *"^ ^^"^ ^™«^* ^^ «»»y )»»* been d«wn 
straight when Lestrade's voice was heard in the passage. He 
found Hohnes leaning languidly against the ma^tel^. ^ 
si^ed and patient, endeavouring to conceal his impressible 

"Sony to keep you waiting. Mr. Holmes. I can see that you 

fl^'t .r^""*^*^^"*^"'^*^"'- Well, he has cin. 
f««ed.allnght. Come in he«. MacPhe«on. Let these gen- 
Uemen hear of your most inexcusable conduct. - 
JThe big constable, veiy hot and penitent, sidled into the 

J2 T°*r *^™* '^'' ^'"^ '"**• The young woman aune 
to the door ast evening - mistook the house, she did. ^d 
ft^we got talking. It's lonesome, when you're on duty i^ 

" Well, what happened then ? *• 

"She wanted to see where the crime was done - had read 
about It m the papers, she said. She was a very respecUble. 
weU-spoken young woman, sir, and I saw no harm in letLr her ' 

dropped on the floor, and lay as if she were dead. I ran to the 
back and got some water, but I could not bring her to. Then I 
went round the corner to the Ivy Plant for some brandy, and 
bythe hme I had brought it back the young woman had recov 

"How about moving that drugget?" 

" Well, sir, it was a bit rumpled, certainly, when I cam* back 
You see. she fell on it and it Ues on a polished floor with nothing 
to keep It m place. I stmightened it out afterward » 



I 
i 



«7« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLBfES 

"It^i • l«Mon to you that you cw't d«cdv« me, ConiUWe 

U^^ht tut your b«ach of duty could never be dj^ 
•nd yet . me« glance at that drugget wa. enough to convince 

me that «,meone had been admitted to the rol. I^lX 
Z^i .'-y ™>. that nothing i. mi«ii„g. or you would find 
your«.lf in Queer St«et. Fm «>r,y to have called you down 
over such a petty business. Mr. Holmes, but I thought'^e p^^ 
intett^"- "^ "' corresponding with the'fi„t w^uld 

"Certainly. it was most interesting. Ha. this woman only 
been here once, constable ? ** ^ 

** Yes. sir. only once. ** 

"Who was she?" 

"Don't know the name. sir. Was answering an adverti«s 
ment about typewriting, and came to the wk^ ntm^ 
very pleasant, genteel young woman, sir. " 

"TaU? Handsome?- 

V J ^*?'i!?'' "^l""" * weU-grown young woman. I suppose 
you might say she was handsome. Perhaps some would^ 
she was ve^ handsome. 'Oh. officer, do let me have a peep !» 
7' "t J ^ P'^tty-coaxing ways, as you might say^^d I 

" How was she dressed ? " 

"Quiet, sir — a long manUe down to her feet. " 
What time was it?" 

"It was just growing dusk at the time. They were lighting 
the lamps as I came back with the brandy." 

"Very good. " said Hohnes. « Come. Watson. I think that 
we Have more important work elsewhere. " 



iit 4 



^\ 



^ ." 



HI ronwp H< 



KASIXli LASr.UIDlv A 
MANTRLPIEn 



•iAIMHT THE 



TH£ ADVENTURE OF THE SECOSD WAIN ,7, 

Ai we left the house LetlraHi> mr..:.^ • »i_ - 

"obiTwirbeT ™ '"^« '«* "d -"iwemenl upon our p«t 
d.i^k'tlt^^Br;*'"". '^""■"o-"* point. wWch«„ 



874 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

wJ^^'^''*'"^^' ^^^"^^ ^ ^^ "° I^'We alternative. I 
bare been commissioned to recover this immensely important 

J^SL ! ""* *^'1°" "' ^^"' '-^'-' *« ^ ^^ -ough 
to place It m my hands. " ** 

The lady sprang to her feet, with the colour all dashed in an 
S^ I tr Kr.K'""f "'''"" Her eyes glazed -she totter- 

sl~ n i7^ ^ f ' ""^"^^ ^"'"*- 'T^^" ^**» « g'^nd effort 
rf.e raUied from the shock, and a supi^me astonishment and in- 
dignation chased eveiy other expression from her features. 
You —you insult me, Mr. Holmes. " 

"Come come, madam, it is useless. Give up the letter. " 

one darted to the bell. 

"The butler shall show you out. " 

effln V"** '^' ^'^^ ™^^"' ^ y°" ^«' *h«° »« ^y earnest 
Ind^I Tk ! "T""' "^" '^ '™^''^*^^- ^-« "P the letter 
andaUwiUbesetnght. Ifyou will work with me I can arrange 
eve^ng. K you work against me I must expose you. " 
ur^^K- V^?'''"^ ^'^'"*' " ^"^'^y ^^' »»«' eyes fixed 

rL^h'A r.f'"'*^'^^^^^^^^- Her hand was on 
the bell, but she had forborne to ring it. 

iW^Z *S i'^"^ *° ^'^*'*'° °^"- I* ^« "«t » ^eiy manly 
thing Mr. Holmes, to come here and browbeat a woman. You 
say that you know something. What is it that you know ? " 

f-li T m! ' '^'^'^' ^°" ^" ^"rt y°"^elf there if you 

tail. 1 will not speak until you sit down. Thank you " 

• I give you five minutes. Mr. Holmes. " 

"One is enough Lady ffilda. I know of your visit to 
Eduardo Lucas, of your giving him this document, of your 
ingenious return to the room last night, and of the manner 
m which you took the letter from the hidii^-place under 
ine carpet. 



TH^ ADVENTURE OF THE SECOND STAIN 375 

J:^;^^'^ ""' "" "''™ '"* "^ «^^ ^'- w<« 

JYou art mad. M.-. Holme, - you .« m«l.-. she cried,* 

He drew a small piece of cardboard from his pocket. It wa. 
the face of a woman cut out of a portrait. 

Jd'hf" Th""",^' ""T" ' *""«'" "°«htl>eu«ful.» 
said he. The poUce^an has recognised it " 

She gave a gasp and her head dropped back in the ch«r. 

stillbrL^'^^^u*- Y"'""'™*''-''""- Themattermay 
sMbeadjusted. Ihavenodesiretobringtroubletoyou. My 
du^ ends when I have returned thelost letter to your husband 
T^e my adnce and be frank with me. It is your only chan« " 
^JJrcourage was admirable. Even now ,L woJd;^:L 

.bll'luZ.^""' «'•«»-«•«»' y- - under some 
Holmes rose from his chair. 

" I «^ Sony for you. Lady Hilda. I have done my best for 
you. I can see that it is all in vain." « my best for 

He rang the bell. The butler entered. 
J Is Mr. Trelawney Hope at home ? " 
"He will be home, sir, at a quarter to one. '» 
Holmes glanced at his watch. 
JStUl a quarter of an hour. " said he. « Ve,y good. I shaU 

The butler had hardly closed the door behind him when Lady 

st^hTH T ".'r '^""^ '' ««^"-' ^-*' J»- hands out- 
stretched, her beautrful face upturned and wet with her tea«. 

Oh, spare me, Mr. Holmes! Spare me!" she pleaded in a 
frenzy of supplication. "For heaven's sake, don't t«SLS.r 



«»« THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

I love him so! I would not bring one shadow on his life «.! 

this I know would break his noble heart. " 

Holmes «ised the lady. "I am thankful, madam, that you 
have come to your senses even at this last moment! Thereb 
notanmstanttolose. Where is the letter?- 

«..f*'^'**'^ **^ ^ * writing-desk, unlocked it. and drew 
out a long blue envelope. 

_^ "Here it is. Mr. Hohnes. Would to heaven I had never seen 

"How can we return it?" Holmes muttered. "Quick 
qmck. we must think of some way! Where is the des^tch-' 

"StiU in his bedroom. " 

••What a stroke of luck! Quick, madam, bring it here»" 
^^moment later she had appeared with p. red flat box in her 

••How did you open it before ? You have a duplicate key ? 
xes, of course you have. Open it!" 
From out of her bosom Lady Hilda had drawn a smaU key. 

i™,trKr°^^' '* ^^ «t"ff«l with papers. Hohnes 
thrust the blue envelope deep down into the heart of them, be- 
twe^the leaves of some other document. The box was shut 
locked, and returned to the bedroom. 

"Now we are ready for him. "said Holmes. "We have still 
ten mmutes. I am going far to screen you. Lady HUda. In 
return you wiU spend the time in telling me frankly the real 
meanmg of this- extraordinaiy aflFair. " 

"Ol^M^w?^' ^7^ *'" ^''^ eveiything." cried the lady. 
Oh. Mr. Hohnes. I would cut off my right hand before I eave 

hmi a moment of sorrow ! There is no woman in aU London who 
loves her husband as I do. and yet if he knew how I have acted 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SECOND STAIN 3„ 

get or pardon a lapse in another. Help me Mr H„lm-.t »/ 

Quick, madam, the time grows short!" 
It was a letter of mine Mr Hr,i«,^» « j. 
written before my m^r^e'SVi^y^'l ^"^ "^^""^ ^*«^' 
pulsive. loving il TZnTn T "f * " ^''''' "^ '^^ '^^ 

Hohnes.'WhatwasItodo?" ^ '^'*'^'*' ^'• 

;;Take your husband into your confidence. " 

an imp^sion of his key. This 1^ "f"!^^^^ 
duphcate. I opened his despatch-box took ^1 1 ! 

conveyed it to Godolphin W » ' ^ *^' P*?"^' *»** 

•• What happened there, madam ? " 

"I tapped at the door as aereed I nni., «rw. j •. x . . 
..wed hin. int. M, ^n.. ,ea^e .^TJ^^H. J ^i] 



(■■' 

I 



378 THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES 

for I feared to be alone with the man. I remember that there 
was a woman outside as I entered. Our business was soon 
done. He had my letter on his desk. I handed him the docu- 
ment. He gave me the letter. At this instant there was a 
sound at the door. There were steps in the passage. Lucas 
quickly turned back the drugget, thrust the document into 
some hiding-place there, and covered it over. 

"What happened after that is like some fearful dream. I 
have a vision of a dark.f rantic face, of a woman's voice, which 
screamed in French. 'My waiting is not in vain. At last, at 
last I have found you with her! ' There was a savage struggle. 
I saw him with a chair m his hand, a knife gleamed in hers. I 
rushed from the horrible scene, ran from the house, and only 
next morning in the paper did I leam the dreadful result. That 
night I was happy, for I had my letter, and I had not seen yet 
what the future would bring. 

" It was the next morning that I realized that I had only ex- 
changed one trouble for another. My husband's anguish at 
the loss of his paper went to my heart. I could hardly prevent 
myself from there and then kneeUng down at his feet and telling 
him what I had done. But that again would mean a confes- 
sion of the past. I came to you that morning in order to under- 
stand the full enormity of my offence. From the instant that I 
grasped it my whole mind was turned to the one thought of get- 
ting back my husband's paper. It must still be where Lucas 
had placed it. for it was concealed before this dreadful woman 
entered the room. If it had not been for her coming. I should 
not have known where his hiding-place was. How was I to 
get into the room ? For two days I watched the place, but the 
door was never left open. Last night I made a last attempt. 
What I did and how I succeeded, you have already learned. I 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SECOND STAIN 879 

brought the paper back with me, and thought of destroying it. 
amce I could see no way of returning it without confessin/m; 
gu.lt to my husband. Heavens. I hear his step upon the 

The European Secretaiy burst excitedly into the room. 

^ Any news, Mr. Holmes, any news ? " he cried. 

"I have some hopes. " 

"Ah. thank heaven!" His face became radiant "ThePrime 
Mmister ,s lunching with me. May he share your hopes VTe 
has nerv^ of steel, and yet I know that he has hanlly slept since 
this temble event. Jacobs, will you ask the Prime Minister to 
come up ? As to you. dear, I fear that this is a matter of poli- 

'^1. ^^."^^^r ^°" ^° ^ ^^^ °^°"*^« ^° *»»« dining-room/" 
1 he Prime Mmister's manner was subdued, but I could see 
by the gleam of his eyes and the twitchings of his bony hands 
that he shared the excitement of his young coUeague 

Holie!?"'"**""* ^^' ^°" ^^"^^ '°°''*^"« *^ '^P^'*' Mr. 

" Purely negative as yet. » my friend answered. " I have in- 
quired at every point where it might be. and I am sure that 
tnere is no danger to be apprehended. " 

" But that is not enough, Mr. Holmes. We can not live for- 
ever on such a volcano. We must have something definite. " 

lammho^sofgettingit. That is why I am here. The 
more I thmk of the matter the more convinced I am that the 
letter has never left this house. " 

"Mr. Holmes!" 

•' K it had it would certainly have been public by now. " 

houseT"'^*'^ '^''"^'* *°^°°* *^^^ '* '" ''"^*' **" ^^P *' ^ **^ 
" I am not convinced that anyone did take it. " 



wo THE RETURN OP SHERLOCK HOLMES 

" Then how could it leave the despatch-box ? " 
;; I am not convinced that it ever did leave the despatch-box. •* 
Mr. Holmes, this jokmg is veiy iU-timed. You have my 
assurance that it left the box. - ^ 

" Have you examined the box since Tuesday morning ? •» 
•No. It was not necessary. " 

• You may conceivably have overlooked it. " 
" Impossible, I say. " 

•• But I am not convinced of it. I have known such things to 
happen I presume there are other papers there. Welljtmay 
have got mixed with them. " ^ 

"It was on the top." 

•'Someone may have shaken the box and displaced it. " 

iNo, no, I had everything out. " 
"Surely it is easily decided. Hope. " said the Premier. "Let 
us have the despatch-box brought in. " 
The Secretary rang the bell. 
"Jacobs, bring down my despatch-box. This is a farcical 

bTtne Th!'^"*^*"! ^"'"""^^^^^^ satisfyyou.it shaU 
be done. Thank you, Jacobs, put it here. I have always had the 

key on niy watch-chain. Here are the pape«, you L Let- 
ter from Lord Merrow. report from Sir Charles Hardy, memo- 
randum from Belgrade, note on the Russo-German grain 
taxes, letter from Madrid, note from LoidFloweiB- ^ 
heavenslwhatisthis? Lord Bellinger! Lord Beilingerl" 
The Premier snatched the blue envelope from his hand. 

late yr; " '' '' ~~ "^ "^^ *'"'' " ^"^^ ^°P^' ' '^^^' 

"Thank you! Thank you! What a weight from my heart. 
But this IS inconceivable - impossible. Mr. Holmes, you are 
a wizard, a soreerer ! How did you know it was there ? " 



881 



THE ADVENTURE OP THE SECOND STAIN 
" Because I knew it was nowhere else. " 
"I ^ not believe my eyes!" He ran wildly to ihe door 

^a^^l7:f:' '.--»*«"»»« that all is well. ^\ 
HUda! we heard his voice on the stairs. 

eve How"' T. ?" 7^^-^«-o--thisthanmeetsthe 
eye. How came the letter back in the box ? " 

wJ^SS "^ """^ ™^ '""» «" ^ '^^y f those 
up liu hat, he tamed to the door. >j'">™g 



THE END