The Complete Sherlock Holmes         Arthur Conan Doyle
This text is provided to you “as-is” without any warranty. No warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, are made to yo...
Table of contentsA Study In Scarlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...
The Return of Sherlock HolmesThe Adventure of the Empty House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...
The Case-Book of Sherlock HolmesPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...
A Study In Scarlet
A Study In Scarlet                                            Table of contentsPart IMr. Sherlock Holmes . . . . . . . . ....
PART I.(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of         John H. Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)
A Study In Scarlet                                            CHAPTER I.I                                       Mr. Sherlo...
A Study In Scarletman for him. I should prefer having a partner to           matter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable...
A Study In Scarlethardly have given him credit. “You have been in                  His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, ...
A Study In Scarlet    “Do you include violin-playing in your cate-                My companion smiled an enigmatical smile...
A Study In Scarletstained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of ex-         and you have to stock it with such furniture...
A Study In Scarlet  9. Sensational Literature.—Immense. He ap-                 any of these nondescript individuals put in...
A Study In Scarletpossible perfection in it. Before turning to those            you can’t unravel the thousand and first. L...
A Study In Scarletin my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow.               I was still annoyed at his bumptious styl...
A Study In Scarlet  “Why, that he was a retired sergeant of                          of blood in the room, but there is no...
A Study In Scarletlike the reflection of the mud-coloured streets be-           and once I saw him smile, and heard him utt...
A Study In Scarletgreat strips had become detached and hung down,            in Utrecht, in the year ’34. Do you remember ...
A Study In Scarlet    “American Exchange, Strand—to be left till               “What do you think of that?” cried the dete...
A Study In Scarletdust from the floor, and packed it away in an enve-              Lestrade glanced at his note-book.      ...
A Study In Scarlethave been there during the night, and, therefore,           from? What was the object of the murderer, s...
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Shelock holmes

  1. 1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
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  3. 3. Table of contentsA Study In Scarlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1The Sign of the Four . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesA Scandal in Bohemia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119The Red-Headed League . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135A Case of Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149The Boscombe Valley Mystery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159The Five Orange Pips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173The Man with the Twisted Lip . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199The Adventure of the Speckled Band . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249The Adventure of the Copper Beeches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263The Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesSilver Blaze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279The Yellow Face . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293The Stock-Broker’s Clerk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305The “Gloria Scott” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315The Musgrave Ritual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 327The Reigate Puzzle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339The Crooked Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351The Resident Patient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361The Greek Interpreter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373The Naval Treaty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385The Final Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403 iii
  4. 4. The Return of Sherlock HolmesThe Adventure of the Empty House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417The Adventure of the Norwood Builder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 429The Adventure of the Dancing Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457The Adventure of the Priory School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 469The Adventure of Black Peter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497The Adventure of the Six Napoleons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507The Adventure of the Three Students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 519The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 529The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 543The Adventure of the Abbey Grange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555The Adventure of the Second Stain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 569The Hound of the Baskervilles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 583The Valley Of Fear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 659His Last BowPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 741The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 743The Adventure of the Cardboard Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 761The Adventure of the Red Circle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 773The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 787The Adventure of the Dying Detective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 803The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 813The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 825His Last Bow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 839 iv
  5. 5. The Case-Book of Sherlock HolmesPreface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 851The Illustrious Client . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 853The Blanched Soldier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 867The Adventure Of The Mazarin Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 879The Adventure of the Three Gables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 889The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 899The Adventure of the Three Garridebs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 909The Problem of Thor Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 919The Adventure of the Creeping Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 933The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 945The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 957The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 965The Adventure of the Retired Colourman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 975 v
  6. 6. A Study In Scarlet
  7. 7. A Study In Scarlet Table of contentsPart IMr. Sherlock Holmes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7The Science Of Deduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10The Lauriston Garden Mystery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14What John Rance Had To Tell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Our Advertisement Brings A Visitor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Light In The Darkness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Part IIOn The Great Alkali Plain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37The Flower Of Utah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41John Ferrier Talks With The Prophet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44A Flight For Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46The Avenging Angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51A Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson, M.D. . . . . . . . . . 55The Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 3
  8. 8. PART I.(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)
  9. 9. A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER I.I Mr. Sherlock Holmes n the year 1878 I took my degree of which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are Doctor of Medicine of the University of irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time London, and proceeded to Netley to go at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a com- through the course prescribed for sur- fortless, meaningless existence, and spending suchgeons in the army. Having completed my studies money as I had, considerably more freely than Ithere, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northum- ought. So alarming did the state of my financesberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The regi- become, that I soon realized that I must eitherment was stationed in India at the time, and before leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere inI could join it, the second Afghan war had bro- the country, or that I must make a complete alter-ken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my ation in my style of living. Choosing the latter al-corps had advanced through the passes, and was ternative, I began by making up my mind to leavealready deep in the enemy’s country. I followed, the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some lesshowever, with many other officers who were in the pretentious and less expensive domicile.same situation as myself, and succeeded in reach- On the very day that I had come to this con-ing Candahar in safety, where I found my regi- clusion, I was standing at the Criterion Bar, whenment, and at once entered upon my new duties. some one tapped me on the shoulder, and turn- The campaign brought honours and promotion ing round I recognized young Stamford, who hadto many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune been a dresser under me at Bart’s. The sight of aand disaster. I was removed from my brigade and friendly face in the great wilderness of London isattached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at a pleasant thing indeed to a lonely man. In oldthe fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck days Stamford had never been a particular cronyon the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shat- of mine, but now I hailed him with enthusiasm,tered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. and he, in his turn, appeared to be delighted toI should have fallen into the hands of the murder- see me. In the exuberance of my joy, I asked himous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we startedcourage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw off together in a hansom.me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing “Whatever have you been doing with yourself,me safely to the British lines. Watson?” he asked in undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. “You Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.”hardships which I had undergone, I was removed,with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base I gave him a short sketch of my adventures,hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had al- and had hardly concluded it by the time that weready improved so far as to be able to walk about reached our destination.the wards, and even to bask a little upon the ve- “Poor devil!” he said, commiseratingly, after herandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, had listened to my misfortunes. “What are you upthat curse of our Indian possessions. For months to now?”my life was despaired of, and when at last I came “Looking for lodgings,” I answered. “Trying toto myself and became convalescent, I was so weak solve the problem as to whether it is possible toand emaciated that a medical board determined get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.”that not a day should be lost in sending me back “That’s a strange thing,” remarked my com-to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the panion; “you are the second man to-day that hastroopship Orontes, and landed a month later on used that expression to me.”Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ru- “And who was the first?” I asked.ined, but with permission from a paternal govern- “A fellow who is working at the chemical labo-ment to spend the next nine months in attempting ratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning him-to improve it. self this morning because he could not get some- I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was one to go halves with him in some nice roomstherefore as free as air—or as free as an income which he had found, and which were too muchof eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit for his purse.”a man to be. Under such circumstances, I natu- “By Jove!” I cried, “if he really wants someonerally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very 7
  10. 10. A Study In Scarletman for him. I should prefer having a partner to matter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable, orbeing alone.” what is it? Don’t be mealy-mouthed about it.” Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me “It is not easy to express the inexpressible,”over his wine-glass. “You don’t know Sherlock he answered with a laugh. “Holmes is a littleHolmes yet,” he said; “perhaps you would not care too scientific for my tastes—it approaches to cold-for him as a constant companion.” bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out “Why, what is there against him?” of malevolence, you understand, but simply out “Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accuratehim. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusi- idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think thatast in some branches of science. As far as I know he would take it himself with the same readiness.he is a decent fellow enough.” He appears to have a passion for definite and exact “A medical student, I suppose?” said I. knowledge.” “No—I have no idea what he intends to go in “Very right too.”for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a “Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. Whenfirst-class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-never taken out any systematic medical classes. rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather aHis studies are very desultory and eccentric, but bizarre shape.”he has amassed a lot of out-of-the way knowledge “Beating the subjects!”which would astonish his professors.” “Yes, to verify how far bruises may be pro- “Did you never ask him what he was going in duced after death. I saw him at it with my ownfor?” I asked. eyes.” “No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, “And yet you say he is not a medical student?”though he can be communicative enough when the “No. Heaven knows what the objects of hisfancy seizes him.” studies are. But here we are, and you must “I should like to meet him,” I said. “If I am to form your own impressions about him.” As helodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of stu- spoke, we turned down a narrow lane and passeddious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet through a small side-door, which opened into ato stand much noise or excitement. I had enough wing of the great hospital. It was familiar groundof both in Afghanistan to last me for the remain- to me, and I needed no guiding as we ascended theder of my natural existence. How could I meet this bleak stone staircase and made our way down thefriend of yours?” long corridor with its vista of whitewashed wall “He is sure to be at the laboratory,” returned and dun-coloured doors. Near the further end amy companion. “He either avoids the place for low arched passage branched away from it and ledweeks, or else he works there from morning to to the chemical laboratory.night. If you like, we shall drive round together This was a lofty chamber, lined and litteredafter luncheon.” with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scat- tered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, “Certainly,” I answered, and the conversation and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickeringdrifted away into other channels. flames. There was only one student in the room, As we made our way to the hospital after leav- who was bending over a distant table absorbed ining the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more his work. At the sound of our steps he glancedparticulars about the gentleman whom I proposed round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure.to take as a fellow-lodger. “I’ve found it! I’ve found it,” he shouted to my “You mustn’t blame me if you don’t get on with companion, running towards us with a test-tube inhim,” he said; “I know nothing more of him than his hand. “I have found a re-agent which is precip-I have learned from meeting him occasionally in itated by hœmoglobin, and by nothing else.” Hadthe laboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so he discovered a gold mine, greater delight couldyou must not hold me responsible.” not have shone upon his features. “If we don’t get on it will be easy to part com- “Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” said Stam-pany,” I answered. “It seems to me, Stamford,” I ford, introducing us.added, looking hard at my companion, “that you “How are you?” he said cordially, grippinghave some reason for washing your hands of the my hand with a strength for which I should 8
  11. 11. A Study In Scarlethardly have given him credit. “You have been in His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he putAfghanistan, I perceive.” his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some ap- “How on earth did you know that?” I asked in plauding crowd conjured up by his imagination.astonishment. “You are to be congratulated,” I remarked, con- siderably surprised at his enthusiasm. “Never mind,” said he, chuckling to himself.“The question now is about hœmoglobin. No “There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frank-doubt you see the significance of this discovery of fort last year. He would certainly have been hungmine?” had this test been in existence. Then there was Mason of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and “It is interesting, chemically, no doubt,” I an- Lefevre of Montpellier, and Samson of new Or-swered, “but practically—” leans. I could name a score of cases in which it “Why, man, it is the most practical medico- would have been decisive.”legal discovery for years. Don’t you see that it “You seem to be a walking calendar of crime,”gives us an infallible test for blood stains. Come said Stamford with a laugh. “You might start a pa-over here now!” He seized me by the coat-sleeve per on those lines. Call it the ‘Police News of thein his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at Past.’ ”which he had been working. “Let us have some “Very interesting reading it might be made,fresh blood,” he said, digging a long bodkin into too,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, sticking a smallhis finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of piece of plaster over the prick on his finger. “I haveblood in a chemical pipette. “Now, I add this small to be careful,” he continued, turning to me with aquantity of blood to a litre of water. You perceive smile, “for I dabble with poisons a good deal.” Hethat the resulting mixture has the appearance of held out his hand as he spoke, and I noticed that itpure water. The proportion of blood cannot be was all mottled over with similar pieces of plaster,more than one in a million. I have no doubt, how- and discoloured with strong acids.ever, that we shall be able to obtain the characteris- “We came here on business,” said Stamford, sit-tic reaction.” As he spoke, he threw into the vessel ting down on a high three-legged stool, and push-a few white crystals, and then added some drops ing another one in my direction with his foot. “Myof a transparent fluid. In an instant the contents friend here wants to take diggings, and as youassumed a dull mahogany colour, and a brownish were complaining that you could get no one to godust was precipitated to the bottom of the glass jar. halves with you, I thought that I had better bring “Ha! ha!” he cried, clapping his hands, and you together.”looking as delighted as a child with a new toy. Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea“What do you think of that?” of sharing his rooms with me. “I have my eye on a “It seems to be a very delicate test,” I remarked. suite in Baker Street,” he said, “which would suit “Beautiful! beautiful! The old Guiacum test us down to the ground. You don’t mind the smellwas very clumsy and uncertain. So is the micro- of strong tobacco, I hope?”scopic examination for blood corpuscles. The lat- “I always smoke ‘ship’s’ myself,” I answered.ter is valueless if the stains are a few hours old. “That’s good enough. I generally have chem-Now, this appears to act as well whether the blood icals about, and occasionally do experiments.is old or new. Had this test been invented, there Would that annoy you?”are hundreds of men now walking the earth who “By no means.”would long ago have paid the penalty of their “Let me see—what are my other shortcomings.crimes.” I get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my “Indeed!” I murmured. mouth for days on end. You must not think I am “Criminal cases are continually hinging upon sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I’llthat one point. A man is suspected of a crime soon be right. What have you to confess now? It’smonths perhaps after it has been committed. His just as well for two fellows to know the worst oflinen or clothes are examined, and brownish stains one another before they begin to live together.”discovered upon them. Are they blood stains, or I laughed at this cross-examination. “I keep amud stains, or rust stains, or fruit stains, or what bull pup,” I said, “and I object to rows becauseare they? That is a question which has puzzled my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts ofmany an expert, and why? Because there was no ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I havereliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes’ another set of vices when I’m well, but those aretest, and there will no longer be any difficulty.” the principal ones at present.” 9
  12. 12. A Study In Scarlet “Do you include violin-playing in your cate- My companion smiled an enigmatical smile.gory of rows?” he asked, anxiously. “That’s just his little peculiarity,” he said. “A good “It depends on the player,” I answered. “A many people have wanted to know how he findswell-played violin is a treat for the gods—a badly- things out.”played one—” “Oh, that’s all right,” he cried, with a merry “Oh! a mystery is it?” I cried, rubbing mylaugh. “I think we may consider the thing as set- hands. “This is very piquant. I am much obligedtled—that is, if the rooms are agreeable to you.” to you for bringing us together. ‘The proper study “When shall we see them?” of mankind is man,’ you know.” “Call for me here at noon to-morrow, and we’llgo together and settle everything,” he answered. “You must study him, then,” Stamford said, as “All right—noon exactly,” said I, shaking his he bade me good-bye. “You’ll find him a knottyhand. problem, though. I’ll wager he learns more about We left him working among his chemicals, and you than you about him. Good-bye.”we walked together towards my hotel. “By the way,” I asked suddenly, stopping and “Good-bye,” I answered, and strolled on to myturning upon Stamford, “how the deuce did he hotel, considerably interested in my new acquain-know that I had come from Afghanistan?” tance. CHAPTER II. The Science Of Deduction We met next day as he had arranged, and in- long walks, which appeared to take him into thespected the rooms at No. 221b, Baker Street, of lowest portions of the City. Nothing could exceedwhich he had spoken at our meeting. They con- his energy when the working fit was upon him;sisted of a couple of comfortable bed-rooms and but now and again a reaction would seize him, anda single large airy sitting-room, cheerfully fur- for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in thenished, and illuminated by two broad windows. sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving aSo desirable in every way were the apartments, muscle from morning to night. On these occasionsand so moderate did the terms seem when divided I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression inbetween us, that the bargain was concluded upon his eyes, that I might have suspected him of beingthe spot, and we at once entered into possession. addicted to the use of some narcotic, had not theThat very evening I moved my things round from temperance and cleanliness of his whole life for-the hotel, and on the following morning Sherlock bidden such a notion.Holmes followed me with several boxes and port- As the weeks went by, my interest in him andmanteaus. For a day or two we were busily em- my curiosity as to his aims in life, gradually deep-ployed in unpacking and laying out our property ened and increased. His very person and appear-to the best advantage. That done, we gradually be- ance were such as to strike the attention of thegan to settle down and to accommodate ourselves most casual observer. In height he was rather overto our new surroundings. six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp andwith. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits piercing, save during those intervals of torpor towere regular. It was rare for him to be up after ten which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like noseat night, and he had invariably breakfasted and gave his whole expression an air of alertness andgone out before I rose in the morning. Sometimes decision. His chin, too, had the prominence andhe spent his day at the chemical laboratory, some- squareness which mark the man of determination.times in the dissecting-rooms, and occasionally in His hands were invariably blotted with ink and 10
  13. 13. A Study In Scarletstained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of ex- and you have to stock it with such furniture astraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of everyoccasion to observe when I watched him manipu- sort that he comes across, so that the knowledgelating his fragile philosophical instruments. which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or The reader may set me down as a hopeless at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things sobusybody, when I confess how much this man that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.stimulated my curiosity, and how often I endeav- Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed asoured to break through the reticence which he to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will haveshowed on all that concerned himself. Before pro- nothing but the tools which may help him in doingnouncing judgment, however, be it remembered, his work, but of these he has a large assortment,how objectless was my life, and how little there and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake towas to engage my attention. My health forbade me think that that little room has elastic walls and canfrom venturing out unless the weather was excep- distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comestionally genial, and I had no friends who would a time when for every addition of knowledge youcall upon me and break the monotony of my daily forget something that you knew before. It is of theexistence. Under these circumstances, I eagerly highest importance, therefore, not to have uselesshailed the little mystery which hung around my facts elbowing out the useful ones.”companion, and spent much of my time in endeav- “But the Solar System!” I protested.ouring to unravel it. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted He was not studying medicine. He had him- impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun.self, in reply to a question, confirmed Stamford’s If we went round the moon it would not make aopinion upon that point. Neither did he appear to pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”have pursued any course of reading which mightfit him for a degree in science or any other recog- I was on the point of asking him what thatnized portal which would give him an entrance work might be, but something in his mannerinto the learned world. Yet his zeal for certain showed me that the question would be an unwel-studies was remarkable, and within eccentric lim- come one. I pondered over our short conversa-its his knowledge was so extraordinarily ample tion, however, and endeavoured to draw my de-and minute that his observations have fairly as- ductions from it. He said that he would acquiretounded me. Surely no man would work so hard no knowledge which did not bear upon his object.or attain such precise information unless he had Therefore all the knowledge which he possessedsome definite end in view. Desultory readers are was such as would be useful to him. I enumeratedseldom remarkable for the exactness of their learn- in my own mind all the various points upon whiching. No man burdens his mind with small matters he had shown me that he was exceptionally well-unless he has some very good reason for doing so. informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowl- down. I could not help smiling at the documentedge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and when I had completed it. It ran in this way—politics he appeared to know next to nothing.Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired Sherlock Holmes—his limits.in the naivest way who he might be and what he 1. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil.had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, 2. Philosophy.—Nil.when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of 3. Astronomy.—Nil.the Copernican Theory and of the composition of 4. Politics.—Feeble.the Solar System. That any civilized human being 5. Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna,in this nineteenth century should not be aware that opium, and poisons generally. Knows noth-the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to ing of practical gardening.me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly 6. Geology.—Practical, but limited. Tells at arealize it. glance different soils from each other. Af- “You appear to be astonished,” he said, smil- ter walks has shown me splashes upon hising at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do trousers, and told me by their colour andknow it I shall do my best to forget it.” consistence in what part of London he had “To forget it!” received them. “You see,” he explained, “I consider that a 7. Chemistry.—Profound.man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, 8. Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic. 11
  14. 14. A Study In Scarlet 9. Sensational Literature.—Immense. He ap- any of these nondescript individuals put in an ap- pears to know every detail of every horror pearance, Sherlock Holmes used to beg for the use perpetrated in the century. of the sitting-room, and I would retire to my bed- 10. Plays the violin well. room. He always apologized to me for putting me 11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and to this inconvenience. “I have to use this room as a swordsman. place of business,” he said, “and these people are 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British my clients.” Again I had an opportunity of asking law. him a point blank question, and again my delicacy prevented me from forcing another man to confide When I had got so far in my list I threw it into in me. I imagined at the time that he had somethe fire in despair. “If I can only find what the strong reason for not alluding to it, but he soonfellow is driving at by reconciling all these accom- dispelled the idea by coming round to the subjectplishments, and discovering a calling which needs of his own accord.them all,” I said to myself, “I may as well give up It was upon the 4th of March, as I have goodthe attempt at once.” reason to remember, that I rose somewhat earlier I see that I have alluded above to his pow- than usual, and found that Sherlock Holmes haders upon the violin. These were very remark- not yet finished his breakfast. The landlady hadable, but as eccentric as all his other accomplish- become so accustomed to my late habits that myments. That he could play pieces, and difficult place had not been laid nor my coffee prepared.pieces, I knew well, because at my request he With the unreasonable petulance of mankind Ihas played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder, and rang the bell and gave a curt intimation that I wasother favourites. When left to himself, however, he ready. Then I picked up a magazine from the ta-would seldom produce any music or attempt any ble and attempted to while away the time with it,recognized air. Leaning back in his arm-chair of an while my companion munched silently at his toast.evening, he would close his eyes and scrape care- One of the articles had a pencil mark at the head-lessly at the fiddle which was thrown across his ing, and I naturally began to run my eye throughknee. Sometimes the chords were sonorous and it.melancholy. Occasionally they were fantastic and Its somewhat ambitious title was “The Book ofcheerful. Clearly they reflected the thoughts which Life,” and it attempted to show how much an ob-possessed him, but whether the music aided those servant man might learn by an accurate and sys-thoughts, or whether the playing was simply the tematic examination of all that came in his way.result of a whim or fancy was more than I could It struck me as being a remarkable mixture ofdetermine. I might have rebelled against these ex- shrewdness and of absurdity. The reasoning wasasperating solos had it not been that he usually close and intense, but the deductions appeared toterminated them by playing in quick succession a me to be far-fetched and exaggerated. The writerwhole series of my favourite airs as a slight com- claimed by a momentary expression, a twitch of apensation for the trial upon my patience. muscle or a glance of an eye, to fathom a man’s inmost thoughts. Deceit, according to him, was an During the first week or so we had no callers, impossibility in the case of one trained to observa-and I had begun to think that my companion was tion and analysis. His conclusions were as infalli-as friendless a man as I was myself. Presently, ble as so many propositions of Euclid. So startlinghowever, I found that he had many acquaintances, would his results appear to the uninitiated that un-and those in the most different classes of society. til they learned the processes by which he had ar-There was one little sallow rat-faced, dark-eyed fel- rived at them they might well consider him as alow who was introduced to me as Mr. Lestrade, necromancer.and who came three or four times in a singleweek. One morning a young girl called, fashion- “From a drop of water,” said the writer, “a lo-ably dressed, and stayed for half an hour or more. gician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic orThe same afternoon brought a grey-headed, seedy a Niagara without having seen or heard of one orvisitor, looking like a Jew pedlar, who appeared the other. So all life is a great chain, the natureto me to be much excited, and who was closely of which is known whenever we are shown a sin-followed by a slipshod elderly woman. On an- gle link of it. Like all other arts, the Science ofother occasion an old white-haired gentleman had Deduction and Analysis is one which can only bean interview with my companion; and on another acquired by long and patient study nor is life longa railway porter in his velveteen uniform. When enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest 12
  15. 15. A Study In Scarletpossible perfection in it. Before turning to those you can’t unravel the thousand and first. Lestrademoral and mental aspects of the matter which is a well-known detective. He got himself into apresent the greatest difficulties, let the enquirer be- fog recently over a forgery case, and that was whatgin by mastering more elementary problems. Let brought him here.”him, on meeting a fellow-mortal, learn at a glance “And these other people?”to distinguish the history of the man, and the tradeor profession to which he belongs. Puerile as such “They are mostly sent on by private inquiryan exercise may seem, it sharpens the faculties of agencies. They are all people who are in troubleobservation, and teaches one where to look and about something, and want a little enlightening. Iwhat to look for. By a man’s finger nails, by his listen to their story, they listen to my comments,coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser knees, by and then I pocket my fee.”the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his “But do you mean to say,” I said, “that with-expression, by his shirt cuffs—by each of these out leaving your room you can unravel some knotthings a man’s calling is plainly revealed. That which other men can make nothing of, althoughall united should fail to enlighten the competent they have seen every detail for themselves?”enquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.” “Quite so. I have a kind of intuition that way. “What ineffable twaddle!” I cried, slapping the Now and again a case turns up which is a littlemagazine down on the table, “I never read such more complex. Then I have to bustle about and seerubbish in my life.” things with my own eyes. You see I have a lot of “What is it?” asked Sherlock Holmes. special knowledge which I apply to the problem, and which facilitates matters wonderfully. Those “Why, this article,” I said, pointing at it with rules of deduction laid down in that article whichmy egg spoon as I sat down to my breakfast. “I aroused your scorn, are invaluable to me in prac-see that you have read it since you have marked it. tical work. Observation with me is second na-I don’t deny that it is smartly written. It irritates ture. You appeared to be surprised when I toldme though. It is evidently the theory of some arm- you, on our first meeting, that you had come fromchair lounger who evolves all these neat little para- Afghanistan.”doxes in the seclusion of his own study. It is notpractical. I should like to see him clapped down “You were told, no doubt.”in a third class carriage on the Underground, and “Nothing of the sort. I knew you came fromasked to give the trades of all his fellow-travellers. Afghanistan. From long habit the train of thoughtsI would lay a thousand to one against him.” ran so swiftly through my mind, that I arrived at “You would lose your money,” Sherlock the conclusion without being conscious of interme-Holmes remarked calmly. “As for the article I diate steps. There were such steps, however. Thewrote it myself.” train of reasoning ran, ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type, but with the air of a military man. “You!” Clearly an army doctor, then. He has just come “Yes, I have a turn both for observation and for from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that isdeduction. The theories which I have expressed not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists arethere, and which appear to you to be so chimerical fair. He has undergone hardship and sickness, asare really extremely practical—so practical that I his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has beendepend upon them for my bread and cheese.” injured. He holds it in a stiff and unnatural man- “And how?” I asked involuntarily. ner. Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm “Well, I have a trade of my own. I suppose wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan.’ The wholeI am the only one in the world. I’m a consult- train of thought did not occupy a second. I then re-ing detective, if you can understand what that is. marked that you came from Afghanistan, and youHere in London we have lots of Government de- were astonished.”tectives and lots of private ones. When these fel-lows are at fault they come to me, and I manage “It is simple enough as you explain it,” I said,to put them on the right scent. They lay all the ev- smiling. “You remind me of Edgar Allen Poe’sidence before me, and I am generally able, by the Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals didhelp of my knowledge of the history of crime, to exist outside of stories.”set them straight. There is a strong family resem- Sherlock Holmes rose and lit his pipe. “Noblance about misdeeds, and if you have all the de- doubt you think that you are complimenting metails of a thousand at your finger ends, it is odd if in comparing me to Dupin,” he observed. “Now, 13
  16. 16. A Study In Scarletin my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. I was still annoyed at his bumptious style ofThat trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ conversation. I thought it best to change the topic.thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of “I wonder what that fellow is looking for?” Ian hour’s silence is really very showy and superfi- asked, pointing to a stalwart, plainly-dressed in-cial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but dividual who was walking slowly down the otherhe was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe side of the street, looking anxiously at the num-appeared to imagine.” bers. He had a large blue envelope in his hand, “Have you read Gaboriau’s works?” I asked. and was evidently the bearer of a message.“Does Lecoq come up to your idea of a detective?” “You mean the retired sergeant of Marines,” Sherlock Holmes sniffed sardonically. “Lecoq said Sherlock Holmes.was a miserable bungler,” he said, in an angryvoice; “he had only one thing to recommend him, “Brag and bounce!” thought I to myself. “Heand that was his energy. That book made me pos- knows that I cannot verify his guess.”itively ill. The question was how to identify an The thought had hardly passed through myunknown prisoner. I could have done it in twenty- mind when the man whom we were watchingfour hours. Lecoq took six months or so. It might caught sight of the number on our door, and ranbe made a text-book for detectives to teach them rapidly across the roadway. We heard a loudwhat to avoid.” knock, a deep voice below, and heavy steps as- I felt rather indignant at having two characters cending the stair.whom I had admired treated in this cavalier style. “For Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” he said, steppingI walked over to the window, and stood looking into the room and handing my friend the letter.out into the busy street. “This fellow may be veryclever,” I said to myself, “but he is certainly very Here was an opportunity of taking the conceitconceited.” out of him. He little thought of this when he made that random shot. “May I ask, my lad,” I said, in “There are no crimes and no criminals in these the blandest voice, “what your trade may be?”days,” he said, querulously. “What is the use ofhaving brains in our profession? I know well that “Commissionaire, sir,” he said, gruffly. “Uni-I have it in me to make my name famous. No form away for repairs.”man lives or has ever lived who has brought the “And you were?” I asked, with a slightly mali-same amount of study and of natural talent to cious glance at my companion.the detection of crime which I have done. Andwhat is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, “A sergeant, sir, Royal Marine Light Infantry,at most, some bungling villany with a motive so sir. No answer? Right, sir.”transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can He clicked his heels together, raised his handsee through it.” in a salute, and was gone. CHAPTER III. The Lauriston Garden Mystery I confess that I was considerably startled by past my comprehension. When I looked at himthis fresh proof of the practical nature of my he had finished reading the note, and his eyes hadcompanion’s theories. My respect for his powers assumed the vacant, lack-lustre expression whichof analysis increased wondrously. There still re- showed mental abstraction.mained some lurking suspicion in my mind, how-ever, that the whole thing was a pre-arranged “How in the world did you deduce that?” Iepisode, intended to dazzle me, though what asked.earthly object he could have in taking me in was “Deduce what?” said he, petulantly. 14
  17. 17. A Study In Scarlet “Why, that he was a retired sergeant of of blood in the room, but there is noMarines.” wound upon his person. We are at a “I have no time for trifles,” he answered, loss as to how he came into the emptybrusquely; then with a smile, “Excuse my rude- house; indeed, the whole affair is aness. You broke the thread of my thoughts; but puzzler. If you can come round to theperhaps it is as well. So you actually were not able house any time before twelve, you willto see that that man was a sergeant of Marines?” find me there. I have left everything in statu quo until I hear from you. If “No, indeed.” you are unable to come I shall give you “It was easier to know it than to explain why fuller details, and would esteem it aI knew it. If you were asked to prove that two great kindness if you would favour meand two made four, you might find some difficulty, with your opinion.and yet you are quite sure of the fact. Even across “Yours faithfully,the street I could see a great blue anchor tattooed “Tobias Gregson.”on the back of the fellow’s hand. That smackedof the sea. He had a military carriage, however, “Gregson is the smartest of the Scotlandand regulation side whiskers. There we have the Yarders,” my friend remarked; “he and Lestrademarine. He was a man with some amount of self- are the pick of a bad lot. They are both quick andimportance and a certain air of command. You energetic, but conventional—shockingly so. Theymust have observed the way in which he held his have their knives into one another, too. They arehead and swung his cane. A steady, respectable, as jealous as a pair of professional beauties. Theremiddle-aged man, too, on the face of him—all will be some fun over this case if they are both putfacts which led me to believe that he had been a upon the scent.”sergeant.” I was amazed at the calm way in which he rip- pled on. “Surely there is not a moment to be lost,” “Wonderful!” I ejaculated. I cried, “shall I go and order you a cab?” “Commonplace,” said Holmes, though I “I’m not sure about whether I shall go. I am thethought from his expression that he was pleased most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoeat my evident surprise and admiration. “I said just leather—that is, when the fit is on me, for I can benow that there were no criminals. It appears that spry enough at times.”I am wrong—look at this!” He threw me over the “Why, it is just such a chance as you have beennote which the commissionaire had brought. longing for.” “Why,” I cried, as I cast my eye over it, “this is “My dear fellow, what does it matter to me.terrible!” Supposing I unravel the whole matter, you may be “It does seem to be a little out of the common,” sure that Gregson, Lestrade, and Co. will pockethe remarked, calmly. “Would you mind reading it all the credit. That comes of being an unofficialto me aloud?” personage.” This is the letter which I read to him— “But he begs you to help him.” “Yes. He knows that I am his superior, and ac- “My dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes: knowledges it to me; but he would cut his tongue “There has been a bad business dur- out before he would own it to any third person. ing the night at 3, Lauriston Gardens, However, we may as well go and have a look. I off the Brixton Road. Our man on the shall work it out on my own hook. I may have a beat saw a light there about two in laugh at them if I have nothing else. Come on!” the morning, and as the house was an He hustled on his overcoat, and bustled about empty one, suspected that something in a way that showed that an energetic fit had su- was amiss. He found the door open, perseded the apathetic one. and in the front room, which is bare “Get your hat,” he said. of furniture, discovered the body of a gentleman, well dressed, and having “You wish me to come?” cards in his pocket bearing the name “Yes, if you have nothing better to do.” A of ‘Enoch J. Drebber, Cleveland, Ohio, minute later we were both in a hansom, driving U.S.A.’ There had been no robbery, nor furiously for the Brixton Road. is there any evidence as to how the It was a foggy, cloudy morning, and a dun- man met his death. There are marks coloured veil hung over the house-tops, looking 15
  18. 18. A Study In Scarletlike the reflection of the mud-coloured streets be- and once I saw him smile, and heard him utterneath. My companion was in the best of spirits, an exclamation of satisfaction. There were manyand prattled away about Cremona fiddles, and the marks of footsteps upon the wet clayey soil, butdifference between a Stradivarius and an Amati. since the police had been coming and going overAs for myself, I was silent, for the dull weather it, I was unable to see how my companion couldand the melancholy business upon which we were hope to learn anything from it. Still I had had suchengaged, depressed my spirits. extraordinary evidence of the quickness of his per- “You don’t seem to give much thought to ceptive faculties, that I had no doubt that he couldthe matter in hand,” I said at last, interrupting see a great deal which was hidden from me.Holmes’ musical disquisition. At the door of the house we were met by a “No data yet,” he answered. “It is a capital mis- tall, white-faced, flaxen-haired man, with a note-take to theorize before you have all the evidence. book in his hand, who rushed forward and wrungIt biases the judgment.” my companion’s hand with effusion. “It is indeed kind of you to come,” he said, “I have had every- “You will have your data soon,” I remarked, thing left untouched.”pointing with my finger; “this is the Brixton Road, “Except that!” my friend answered, pointing atand that is the house, if I am not very much mis- the pathway. “If a herd of buffaloes had passedtaken.” along there could not be a greater mess. No doubt, “So it is. Stop, driver, stop!” We were still a however, you had drawn your own conclusions,hundred yards or so from it, but he insisted upon Gregson, before you permitted this.”our alighting, and we finished our journey upon “I have had so much to do inside the house,”foot. the detective said evasively. “My colleague, Mr. Number 3, Lauriston Gardens wore an ill- Lestrade, is here. I had relied upon him to lookomened and minatory look. It was one of four after this.”which stood back some little way from the street, Holmes glanced at me and raised his eyebrowstwo being occupied and two empty. The latter sardonically. “With two such men as yourself andlooked out with three tiers of vacant melancholy Lestrade upon the ground, there will not be muchwindows, which were blank and dreary, save that for a third party to find out,” he said.here and there a “To Let” card had developed like Gregson rubbed his hands in a self-satisfieda cataract upon the bleared panes. A small gar- way. “I think we have done all that can be done,”den sprinkled over with a scattered eruption of he answered; “it’s a queer case though, and I knewsickly plants separated each of these houses from your taste for such things.”the street, and was traversed by a narrow path- “You did not come here in a cab?” asked Sher-way, yellowish in colour, and consisting apparently lock Holmes.of a mixture of clay and of gravel. The wholeplace was very sloppy from the rain which had “No, sir.”fallen through the night. The garden was bounded “Nor Lestrade?”by a three-foot brick wall with a fringe of wood “No, sir.”rails upon the top, and against this wall was lean- “Then let us go and look at the room.” Withing a stalwart police constable, surrounded by a which inconsequent remark he strode on into thesmall knot of loafers, who craned their necks and house, followed by Gregson, whose features ex-strained their eyes in the vain hope of catching pressed his astonishment.some glimpse of the proceedings within. A short passage, bare planked and dusty, led I had imagined that Sherlock Holmes would to the kitchen and offices. Two doors opened outat once have hurried into the house and plunged of it to the left and to the right. One of these hadinto a study of the mystery. Nothing appeared to obviously been closed for many weeks. The otherbe further from his intention. With an air of non- belonged to the dining-room, which was the apart-chalance which, under the circumstances, seemed ment in which the mysterious affair had occurred.to me to border upon affectation, he lounged up Holmes walked in, and I followed him with thatand down the pavement, and gazed vacantly at the subdued feeling at my heart which the presence ofground, the sky, the opposite houses and the line death inspires.of railings. Having finished his scrutiny, he pro- It was a large square room, looking all theceeded slowly down the path, or rather down the larger from the absence of all furniture. A vul-fringe of grass which flanked the path, keeping his gar flaring paper adorned the walls, but it waseyes riveted upon the ground. Twice he stopped, blotched in places with mildew, and here and there 16
  19. 19. A Study In Scarletgreat strips had become detached and hung down, in Utrecht, in the year ’34. Do you remember theexposing the yellow plaster beneath. Opposite the case, Gregson?”door was a showy fireplace, surmounted by a man- “No, sir.”telpiece of imitation white marble. On one corner “Read it up—you really should. There is noth-of this was stuck the stump of a red wax candle. ing new under the sun. It has all been done be-The solitary window was so dirty that the light fore.”was hazy and uncertain, giving a dull grey tingeto everything, which was intensified by the thick As he spoke, his nimble fingers were flyinglayer of dust which coated the whole apartment. here, there, and everywhere, feeling, pressing, un- All these details I observed afterwards. At buttoning, examining, while his eyes wore thepresent my attention was centred upon the sin- same far-away expression which I have alreadygle grim motionless figure which lay stretched remarked upon. So swiftly was the examinationupon the boards, with vacant sightless eyes star- made, that one would hardly have guessed theing up at the discoloured ceiling. It was that of a minuteness with which it was conducted. Finally,man about forty-three or forty-four years of age, he sniffed the dead man’s lips, and then glancedmiddle-sized, broad shouldered, with crisp curl- at the soles of his patent leather boots.ing black hair, and a short stubbly beard. He “He has not been moved at all?” he asked.was dressed in a heavy broadcloth frock coat and “No more than was necessary for the purposeswaistcoat, with light-coloured trousers, and im- of our examination.”maculate collar and cuffs. A top hat, well brushed “You can take him to the mortuary now,” heand trim, was placed upon the floor beside him. said. “There is nothing more to be learned.”His hands were clenched and his arms thrownabroad, while his lower limbs were interlocked Gregson had a stretcher and four men at hand.as though his death struggle had been a grievous At his call they entered the room, and the strangerone. On his rigid face there stood an expression was lifted and carried out. As they raised him,of horror, and as it seemed to me, of hatred, such a ring tinkled down and rolled across the floor.as I have never seen upon human features. This Lestrade grabbed it up and stared at it with mys-malignant and terrible contortion, combined with tified eyes.the low forehead, blunt nose, and prognathous “There’s been a woman here,” he cried. “It’s ajaw gave the dead man a singularly simious and woman’s wedding-ring.”ape-like appearance, which was increased by his He held it out, as he spoke, upon the palm ofwrithing, unnatural posture. I have seen death in his hand. We all gathered round him and gazedmany forms, but never has it appeared to me in at it. There could be no doubt that that circlet ofa more fearsome aspect than in that dark grimy plain gold had once adorned the finger of a bride.apartment, which looked out upon one of the main “This complicates matters,” said Gregson.arteries of suburban London. “Heaven knows, they were complicated enough Lestrade, lean and ferret-like as ever, was before.”standing by the doorway, and greeted my compan-ion and myself. “You’re sure it doesn’t simplify them?” ob- served Holmes. “There’s nothing to be learned by “This case will make a stir, sir,” he remarked. staring at it. What did you find in his pockets?”“It beats anything I have seen, and I am nochicken.” “We have it all here,” said Gregson, pointing to a litter of objects upon one of the bottom steps “There is no clue?” said Gregson. of the stairs. “A gold watch, No. 97163, by Bar- “None at all,” chimed in Lestrade. raud, of London. Gold Albert chain, very heavy Sherlock Holmes approached the body, and, and solid. Gold ring, with masonic device. Goldkneeling down, examined it intently. “You are sure pin—bull-dog’s head, with rubies as eyes. Russianthat there is no wound?” he asked, pointing to nu- leather card-case, with cards of Enoch J. Drebbermerous gouts and splashes of blood which lay all of Cleveland, corresponding with the E. J. D. uponround. the linen. No purse, but loose money to the extent “Positive!” cried both detectives. of seven pounds thirteen. Pocket edition of Boccac- “Then, of course, this blood belongs to a sec- cio’s ‘Decameron,’ with name of Joseph Stanger-ond individual—presumably the murderer, if mur- son upon the fly-leaf. Two letters—one addressedder has been committed. It reminds me of the cir- to E. J. Drebber and one to Joseph Stangerson.”cumstances attendant on the death of Van Jansen, “At what address?” 17
  20. 20. A Study In Scarlet “American Exchange, Strand—to be left till “What do you think of that?” cried the detective,called for. They are both from the Guion with the air of a showman exhibiting his show.Steamship Company, and refer to the sailing of “This was overlooked because it was in the darkesttheir boats from Liverpool. It is clear that this un- corner of the room, and no one thought of lookingfortunate man was about to return to New York.” there. The murderer has written it with his or her “Have you made any inquiries as to this man, own blood. See this smear where it has trickledStangerson?” down the wall! That disposes of the idea of sui- cide anyhow. Why was that corner chosen to write “I did it at once, sir,” said Gregson. “I have had it on? I will tell you. See that candle on the man-advertisements sent to all the newspapers, and one telpiece. It was lit at the time, and if it was lit thisof my men has gone to the American Exchange, corner would be the brightest instead of the dark-but he has not returned yet.” est portion of the wall.” “Have you sent to Cleveland?” “We telegraphed this morning.” “And what does it mean now that you have found it?” asked Gregson in a depreciatory voice. “How did you word your inquiries?” “We simply detailed the circumstances, and “Mean? Why, it means that the writer wassaid that we should be glad of any information going to put the female name Rachel, but waswhich could help us.” disturbed before he or she had time to finish. You mark my words, when this case comes to “You did not ask for particulars on any point be cleared up you will find that a woman namedwhich appeared to you to be crucial?” Rachel has something to do with it. It’s all very “I asked about Stangerson.” well for you to laugh, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. You “Nothing else? Is there no circumstance on may be very smart and clever, but the old houndwhich this whole case appears to hinge? Will you is the best, when all is said and done.”not telegraph again?” “I really beg your pardon!” said my compan- “I have said all I have to say,” said Gregson, in ion, who had ruffled the little man’s temper byan offended voice. bursting into an explosion of laughter. “You cer- Sherlock Holmes chuckled to himself, and ap- tainly have the credit of being the first of us topeared to be about to make some remark, when find this out, and, as you say, it bears every markLestrade, who had been in the front room while of having been written by the other participant inwe were holding this conversation in the hall, reap- last night’s mystery. I have not had time to exam-peared upon the scene, rubbing his hands in a ine this room yet, but with your permission I shallpompous and self-satisfied manner. do so now.” “Mr. Gregson,” he said, “I have just made a dis- As he spoke, he whipped a tape measure andcovery of the highest importance, and one which a large round magnifying glass from his pocket.would have been overlooked had I not made a With these two implements he trotted noiselesslycareful examination of the walls.” about the room, sometimes stopping, occasionally The little man’s eyes sparkled as he spoke, and kneeling, and once lying flat upon his face. Sohe was evidently in a state of suppressed exulta- engrossed was he with his occupation that he ap-tion at having scored a point against his colleague. peared to have forgotten our presence, for he chat- “Come here,” he said, bustling back into the tered away to himself under his breath the wholeroom, the atmosphere of which felt clearer since time, keeping up a running fire of exclamations,the removal of its ghastly inmate. “Now, stand groans, whistles, and little cries suggestive of en-there!” couragement and of hope. As I watched him I He struck a match on his boot and held it up was irresistibly reminded of a pure-blooded well-against the wall. trained foxhound as it dashes backwards and for- wards through the covert, whining in its eagerness, “Look at that!” he said, triumphantly. until it comes across the lost scent. For twenty I have remarked that the paper had fallen away minutes or more he continued his researches, mea-in parts. In this particular corner of the room a suring with the most exact care the distance be-large piece had peeled off, leaving a yellow square tween marks which were entirely invisible to me,of coarse plastering. Across this bare space there and occasionally applying his tape to the walls inwas scrawled in blood-red letters a single word— an equally incomprehensible manner. In one place RACHE. he gathered up very carefully a little pile of grey 18
  21. 21. A Study In Scarletdust from the floor, and packed it away in an enve- Lestrade glanced at his note-book. “Johnlope. Finally, he examined with his glass the word Rance,” he said. “He is off duty now. You will findupon the wall, going over every letter of it with the him at 46, Audley Court, Kennington Park Gate.”most minute exactness. This done, he appeared to Holmes took a note of the address.be satisfied, for he replaced his tape and his glass “Come along, Doctor,” he said; “we shall goin his pocket. and look him up. I’ll tell you one thing which may “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for help you in the case,” he continued, turning to thetaking pains,” he remarked with a smile. “It’s a two detectives. “There has been murder done, andvery bad definition, but it does apply to detective the murderer was a man. He was more than sixwork.” feet high, was in the prime of life, had small feet for his height, wore coarse, square-toed boots and Gregson and Lestrade had watched the smoked a Trichinopoly cigar. He came here withmanœuvres of their amateur companion with con- his victim in a four-wheeled cab, which was drawnsiderable curiosity and some contempt. They evi- by a horse with three old shoes and one new onedently failed to appreciate the fact, which I had be- on his off fore leg. In all probability the murderergun to realize, that Sherlock Holmes’ smallest ac- had a florid face, and the finger-nails of his righttions were all directed towards some definite and hand were remarkably long. These are only a fewpractical end. indications, but they may assist you.” “What do you think of it, sir?” they both asked. Lestrade and Gregson glanced at each other with an incredulous smile. “It would be robbing you of the credit of the “If this man was murdered, how was it done?”case if I was to presume to help you,” remarked asked the former.my friend. “You are doing so well now that itwould be a pity for anyone to interfere.” There was “Poison,” said Sherlock Holmes curtly, anda world of sarcasm in his voice as he spoke. “If you strode off. “One other thing, Lestrade,” he added,will let me know how your investigations go,” he turning round at the door: “ ‘Rache,’ is the Ger-continued, “I shall be happy to give you any help I man for ‘revenge;’ so don’t lose your time lookingcan. In the meantime I should like to speak to the for Miss Rachel.”constable who found the body. Can you give me With which Parthian shot he walked away,his name and address?” leaving the two rivals open-mouthed behind him. CHAPTER IV. What John Rance Had To Tell It was one o’clock when we left No. 3, Lau- “There’s no room for a mistake,” he answered.riston Gardens. Sherlock Holmes led me to the “The very first thing which I observed on arrivingnearest telegraph office, whence he dispatched a there was that a cab had made two ruts with itslong telegram. He then hailed a cab, and ordered wheels close to the curb. Now, up to last night, wethe driver to take us to the address given us by have had no rain for a week, so that those wheelsLestrade. which left such a deep impression must have been “There is nothing like first hand evidence,” he there during the night. There were the marks ofremarked; “as a matter of fact, my mind is entirely the horse’s hoofs, too, the outline of one of whichmade up upon the case, but still we may as well was far more clearly cut than that of the otherlearn all that is to be learned.” three, showing that that was a new shoe. Since the cab was there after the rain began, and was “You amaze me, Holmes,” said I. “Surely you not there at any time during the morning—I haveare not as sure as you pretend to be of all those Gregson’s word for that—it follows that it mustparticulars which you gave.” 19
  22. 22. A Study In Scarlethave been there during the night, and, therefore, from? What was the object of the murderer, sincethat it brought those two individuals to the house.” robbery had no part in it? How came the woman’s “That seems simple enough,” said I; “but how ring there? Above all, why should the secondabout the other man’s height?” man write up the German word RACHE before decamping? I confess that I cannot see any possi- “Why, the height of a man, in nine cases out ble way of reconciling all these facts.”of ten, can be told from the length of his stride.It is a simple calculation enough, though there is My companion smiled approvingly.no use my boring you with figures. I had this fel- “You sum up the difficulties of the situationlow’s stride both on the clay outside and on the succinctly and well,” he said. “There is much thatdust within. Then I had a way of checking my cal- is still obscure, though I have quite made up myculation. When a man writes on a wall, his instinct mind on the main facts. As to poor Lestrade’s dis-leads him to write about the level of his own eyes. covery it was simply a blind intended to put theNow that writing was just over six feet from the police upon a wrong track, by suggesting Social-ground. It was child’s play.” ism and secret societies. It was not done by a Ger- “And his age?” I asked. man. The A, if you noticed, was printed somewhat after the German fashion. Now, a real German in- “Well, if a man can stride four and a-half feet variably prints in the Latin character, so that wewithout the smallest effort, he can’t be quite in may safely say that this was not written by one, butthe sere and yellow. That was the breadth of a by a clumsy imitator who overdid his part. It waspuddle on the garden walk which he had evi- simply a ruse to divert inquiry into a wrong chan-dently walked across. Patent-leather boots had nel. I’m not going to tell you much more of thegone round, and Square-toes had hopped over. case, Doctor. You know a conjuror gets no creditThere is no mystery about it at all. I am simply when once he has explained his trick, and if I showapplying to ordinary life a few of those precepts you too much of my method of working, you willof observation and deduction which I advocated come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinaryin that article. Is there anything else that puzzles individual after all.”you?” “I shall never do that,” I answered; “you have “The finger nails and the Trichinopoly,” I sug- brought detection as near an exact science as it evergested. will be brought in this world.” “The writing on the wall was done with a My companion flushed up with pleasure at myman’s forefinger dipped in blood. My glass al- words, and the earnest way in which I utteredlowed me to observe that the plaster was slightly them. I had already observed that he was as sen-scratched in doing it, which would not have been sitive to flattery on the score of his art as any girlthe case if the man’s nail had been trimmed. I could be of her beauty.gathered up some scattered ash from the floor. Itwas dark in colour and flakey—such an ash as is “I’ll tell you one other thing,” he said. “Patent-only made by a Trichinopoly. I have made a spe- leathers and Square-toes came in the same cab,cial study of cigar ashes—in fact, I have written a and they walked down the pathway together asmonograph upon the subject. I flatter myself that friendly as possible—arm-in-arm, in all probabil-I can distinguish at a glance the ash of any known ity. When they got inside they walked up andbrand, either of cigar or of tobacco. It is just in down the room—or rather, Patent-leathers stoodsuch details that the skilled detective differs from still while Square-toes walked up and down. Ithe Gregson and Lestrade type.” could read all that in the dust; and I could read that as he walked he grew more and more ex- “And the florid face?” I asked. cited. That is shown by the increased length of his “Ah, that was a more daring shot, though I strides. He was talking all the while, and workinghave no doubt that I was right. You must not ask himself up, no doubt, into a fury. Then the tragedyme that at the present state of the affair.” occurred. I’ve told you all I know myself now, for I passed my hand over my brow. “My head the rest is mere surmise and conjecture. We haveis in a whirl,” I remarked; “the more one thinks a good working basis, however, on which to start.of it the more mysterious it grows. How came We must hurry up, for I want to go to Halle’s con-these two men—if there were two men—into an cert to hear Norman Neruda this afternoon.”empty house? What has become of the cabman This conversation had occurred while our cabwho drove them? How could one man compel an- had been threading its way through a long suc-other to take poison? Where did the blood come cession of dingy streets and dreary by-ways. In 20

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