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  • 1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 2. This text is provided to you “as-is” without any warranty. No warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, are made to you as tothe text or any medium it may be on, including but not limited to warranties of merchantablity or fitness for a particular purpose.This text was formatted from various free ASCII and HTML variants. See http://spellbreaker.org/˜chrender/Sherlock Holmes foran electronic form of this text and additional information about it.This text comes from the collection’s version 1.19.
  • 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. 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. 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. A Study In Scarlet
  • 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. PART I.(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  • 23. A Study In Scarletthe dingiest and dreariest of them our driver sud- “You stopped, and then walked back to the gar-denly came to a stand. “That’s Audley Court in den gate,” my companion interrupted. “What didthere,” he said, pointing to a narrow slit in the line you do that for?”of dead-coloured brick. “You’ll find me here when Rance gave a violent jump, and stared at Sher-you come back.” lock Holmes with the utmost amazement upon his Audley Court was not an attractive locality. features.The narrow passage led us into a quadrangle “Why, that’s true, sir,” he said; “though howpaved with flags and lined by sordid dwellings. you come to know it, Heaven only knows. Ye see,We picked our way among groups of dirty chil- when I got up to the door it was so still and sodren, and through lines of discoloured linen, until lonesome, that I thought I’d be none the worse forwe came to Number 46, the door of which was some one with me. I ain’t afeared of anything ondecorated with a small slip of brass on which the this side o’ the grave; but I thought that maybe itname Rance was engraved. On enquiry we found was him that died o’ the typhoid inspecting thethat the constable was in bed, and we were shown drains what killed him. The thought gave me ainto a little front parlour to await his coming. kind o’ turn, and I walked back to the gate to see He appeared presently, looking a little irritable if I could see Murcher’s lantern, but there wasn’tat being disturbed in his slumbers. “I made my no sign of him nor of anyone else.”report at the office,” he said. “There was no one in the street?” Holmes took a half-sovereign from his pocket “Not a livin’ soul, sir, nor as much as a dog.and played with it pensively. “We thought that we Then I pulled myself together and went back andshould like to hear it all from your own lips,” he pushed the door open. All was quiet inside,said. so I went into the room where the light was a- “I shall be most happy to tell you anything I burnin’. There was a candle flickerin’ on the man-can,” the constable answered with his eyes upon telpiece—a red wax one—and by its light I saw—”the little golden disk. “Yes, I know all that you saw. You walked “Just let us hear it all in your own way as it round the room several times, and you knelt downoccurred.” by the body, and then you walked through and Rance sat down on the horsehair sofa, and knit- tried the kitchen door, and then—”ted his brows as though determined not to omit John Rance sprang to his feet with a frightenedanything in his narrative. face and suspicion in his eyes. “Where was you “I’ll tell it ye from the beginning,” he said. hid to see all that?” he cried. “It seems to me that“My time is from ten at night to six in the morn- you knows a deal more than you should.”ing. At eleven there was a fight at the ‘White Holmes laughed and threw his card across theHart’; but bar that all was quiet enough on the table to the constable. “Don’t get arresting me forbeat. At one o’clock it began to rain, and I met the murder,” he said. “I am one of the hounds andHarry Murcher—him who has the Holland Grove not the wolf; Mr. Gregson or Mr. Lestrade will an-beat—and we stood together at the corner of Hen- swer for that. Go on, though. What did you dorietta Street a-talkin’. Presently—maybe about two next?”or a little after—I thought I would take a look Rance resumed his seat, without however los-round and see that all was right down the Brix- ing his mystified expression. “I went back toton Road. It was precious dirty and lonely. Not a the gate and sounded my whistle. That broughtsoul did I meet all the way down, though a cab or Murcher and two more to the spot.”two went past me. I was a strollin’ down, thinkin’ “Was the street empty then?”between ourselves how uncommon handy a four “Well, it was, as far as anybody that could beof gin hot would be, when suddenly the glint of of any good goes.”a light caught my eye in the window of that samehouse. Now, I knew that them two houses in Lau- “What do you mean?”riston Gardens was empty on account of him that The constable’s features broadened into a grin.owns them who won’t have the drains seed to, “I’ve seen many a drunk chap in my time,” he said,though the very last tenant what lived in one of “but never anyone so cryin’ drunk as that cove. Hethem died o’ typhoid fever. I was knocked all in a was at the gate when I came out, a-leanin’ up ag’inheap therefore at seeing a light in the window, and the railings, and a-singin’ at the pitch o’ his lungsI suspected as something was wrong. When I got about Columbine’s New-fangled Banner, or someto the door—” such stuff. He couldn’t stand, far less help.” 21
  • 24. A Study In Scarlet “What sort of a man was he?” asked Sherlock hands is the man who holds the clue of this mys-Holmes. tery, and whom we are seeking. There is no use of John Rance appeared to be somewhat irritated arguing about it now; I tell you that it is so. Comeat this digression. “He was an uncommon drunk along, Doctor.”sort o’ man,” he said. “He’d ha’ found hisself in We started off for the cab together, leaving ourthe station if we hadn’t been so took up.” informant incredulous, but obviously uncomfort- able. “His face—his dress—didn’t you notice them?”Holmes broke in impatiently. “The blundering fool,” Holmes said, bitterly, as we drove back to our lodgings. “Just to think of his “I should think I did notice them, seeing that having such an incomparable bit of good luck, andI had to prop him up—me and Murcher between not taking advantage of it.”us. He was a long chap, with a red face, the lowerpart muffled round—” “I am rather in the dark still. It is true that the description of this man tallies with your idea of “That will do,” cried Holmes. “What became the second party in this mystery. But why shouldof him?” he come back to the house after leaving it? That is “We’d enough to do without lookin’ after him,” not the way of criminals.”the policeman said, in an aggrieved voice. “I’ll wa- “The ring, man, the ring: that was what heger he found his way home all right.” came back for. If we have no other way of catching “How was he dressed?” him, we can always bait our line with the ring. I shall have him, Doctor—I’ll lay you two to one that “A brown overcoat.” I have him. I must thank you for it all. I might “Had he a whip in his hand?” not have gone but for you, and so have missed “A whip—no.” the finest study I ever came across: a study in scarlet, eh? Why shouldn’t we use a little art jar- “He must have left it behind,” muttered my gon. There’s the scarlet thread of murder runningcompanion. “You didn’t happen to see or hear a through the colourless skein of life, and our duty iscab after that?” to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch “No.” of it. And now for lunch, and then for Norman “There’s a half-sovereign for you,” my compan- Neruda. Her attack and her bowing are splendid.ion said, standing up and taking his hat. “I am What’s that little thing of Chopin’s she plays soafraid, Rance, that you will never rise in the force. magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay.”That head of yours should be for use as well as Leaning back in the cab, this amateur blood-ornament. You might have gained your sergeant’s hound carolled away like a lark while I meditatedstripes last night. The man whom you held in your upon the many-sidedness of the human mind. CHAPTER V. Our Advertisement Brings A Visitor Our morning’s exertions had been too much my eyes I saw before me the distorted baboon-for my weak health, and I was tired out in the af- like countenance of the murdered man. So sinisterternoon. After Holmes’ departure for the concert, was the impression which that face had producedI lay down upon the sofa and endeavoured to get upon me that I found it difficult to feel anythinga couple of hours’ sleep. It was a useless attempt. but gratitude for him who had removed its ownerMy mind had been too much excited by all that from the world. If ever human features bespokehad occurred, and the strangest fancies and sur- vice of the most malignant type, they were cer-mises crowded into it. Every time that I closed tainly those of Enoch J. Drebber, of Cleveland. Still 22
  • 25. A Study In ScarletI recognized that justice must be done, and that “Look at this advertisement,” he answered. “Ithe depravity of the victim was no condonement had one sent to every paper this morning immedi-in the eyes of the law. ately after the affair.” The more I thought of it the more extraordinary He threw the paper across to me and I glanceddid my companion’s hypothesis, that the man had at the place indicated. It was the first announce-been poisoned, appear. I remembered how he had ment in the “Found” column. “In Brixton Road,sniffed his lips, and had no doubt that he had de- this morning,” it ran, “a plain gold wedding ring,tected something which had given rise to the idea. found in the roadway between the ‘White Hart’Then, again, if not poison, what had caused the Tavern and Holland Grove. Apply Dr. Watson,man’s death, since there was neither wound nor 221b, Baker Street, between eight and nine thismarks of strangulation? But, on the other hand, evening.”whose blood was that which lay so thickly upon “Excuse my using your name,” he said. “If Ithe floor? There were no signs of a struggle, nor used my own some of these dunderheads wouldhad the victim any weapon with which he might recognize it, and want to meddle in the affair.”have wounded an antagonist. As long as all thesequestions were unsolved, I felt that sleep would be “That is all right,” I answered. “But supposingno easy matter, either for Holmes or myself. His anyone applies, I have no ring.”quiet self-confident manner convinced me that he “Oh yes, you have,” said he, handing me one.had already formed a theory which explained all “This will do very well. It is almost a facsimile.”the facts, though what it was I could not for an “And who do you expect will answer this ad-instant conjecture. vertisement.” He was very late in returning—so late, that I “Why, the man in the brown coat—our floridknew that the concert could not have detained him friend with the square toes. If he does not comeall the time. Dinner was on the table before he ap- himself he will send an accomplice.”peared. “Would he not consider it as too dangerous?” “It was magnificent,” he said, as he took his “Not at all. If my view of the case is correct,seat. “Do you remember what Darwin says about and I have every reason to believe that it is, thismusic? He claims that the power of producing and man would rather risk anything than lose the ring.appreciating it existed among the human race long According to my notion he dropped it while stoop-before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps ing over Drebber’s body, and did not miss it atthat is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There the time. After leaving the house he discoveredare vague memories in our souls of those misty his loss and hurried back, but found the police al-centuries when the world was in its childhood.” ready in possession, owing to his own folly in leav- “That’s rather a broad idea,” I remarked. ing the candle burning. He had to pretend to be “One’s ideas must be as broad as Nature if they drunk in order to allay the suspicions which mightare to interpret Nature,” he answered. “What’s the have been aroused by his appearance at the gate.matter? You’re not looking quite yourself. This Now put yourself in that man’s place. On think-Brixton Road affair has upset you.” ing the matter over, it must have occurred to him that it was possible that he had lost the ring in the “To tell the truth, it has,” I said. “I ought to be road after leaving the house. What would he do,more case-hardened after my Afghan experiences. then? He would eagerly look out for the eveningI saw my own comrades hacked to pieces at Mai- papers in the hope of seeing it among the arti-wand without losing my nerve.” cles found. His eye, of course, would light upon “I can understand. There is a mystery about this. He would be overjoyed. Why should he fearthis which stimulates the imagination; where there a trap? There would be no reason in his eyes whyis no imagination there is no horror. Have you seen the finding of the ring should be connected withthe evening paper?” the murder. He would come. He will come. You “No.” shall see him within an hour.” “It gives a fairly good account of the affair. It “And then?” I asked.does not mention the fact that when the man was “Oh, you can leave me to deal with him then.raised up, a woman’s wedding ring fell upon the Have you any arms?”floor. It is just as well it does not.” “I have my old service revolver and a few car- “Why?” tridges.” 23
  • 26. A Study In Scarlet “You had better clean it and load it. He will with her bleared eyes and fumbling in her pocketbe a desperate man, and though I shall take him with nervous, shaky fingers. I glanced at my com-unawares, it is as well to be ready for anything.” panion, and his face had assumed such a discon- I went to my bedroom and followed his advice. solate expression that it was all I could do to keepWhen I returned with the pistol the table had been my countenance.cleared, and Holmes was engaged in his favourite The old crone drew out an evening paper, andoccupation of scraping upon his violin. pointed at our advertisement. “It’s this as has “The plot thickens,” he said, as I entered; “I brought me, good gentlemen,” she said, droppinghave just had an answer to my American telegram. another curtsey; “a gold wedding ring in the Brix-My view of the case is the correct one.” ton Road. It belongs to my girl Sally, as was mar- ried only this time twelvemonth, which her hus- “And that is?” I asked eagerly. band is steward aboard a Union boat, and what “My fiddle would be the better for new he’d say if he comes ’ome and found her withoutstrings,” he remarked. “Put your pistol in your her ring is more than I can think, he being shortpocket. When the fellow comes speak to him in an enough at the best o’ times, but more especiallyordinary way. Leave the rest to me. Don’t frighten when he has the drink. If it please you, she wenthim by looking at him too hard.” to the circus last night along with—” “It is eight o’clock now,” I said, glancing at my “Is that her ring?” I asked.watch. “The Lord be thanked!” cried the old woman; “Yes. He will probably be here in a few min- “Sally will be a glad woman this night. That’s theutes. Open the door slightly. That will do. Now ring.”put the key on the inside. Thank you! This is a “And what may your address be?” I inquired,queer old book I picked up at a stall yesterday—De taking up a pencil.Jure inter Gentes—published in Latin at Liege in theLowlands, in 1642. Charles’ head was still firm on “13, Duncan Street, Houndsditch. A wearyhis shoulders when this little brown-backed vol- way from here.”ume was struck off.” “The Brixton Road does not lie between any “Who is the printer?” circus and Houndsditch,” said Sherlock Holmes sharply. “Philippe de Croy, whoever he may have been.On the fly-leaf, in very faded ink, is written ‘Ex The old woman faced round and looked keenlylibris Guliolmi Whyte.’ I wonder who William at him from her little red-rimmed eyes. “The gen-Whyte was. Some pragmatical seventeenth cen- tleman asked me for my address,” she said. “Sallytury lawyer, I suppose. His writing has a legal lives in lodgings at 3, Mayfield Place, Peckham.”twist about it. Here comes our man, I think.” “And your name is—?” As he spoke there was a sharp ring at the bell. “My name is Sawyer—her’s is Dennis, whichSherlock Holmes rose softly and moved his chair Tom Dennis married her—and a smart, cleanin the direction of the door. We heard the servant lad, too, as long as he’s at sea, and no stewardpass along the hall, and the sharp click of the latch in the company more thought of; but when onas she opened it. shore, what with the women and what with liquor “Does Dr. Watson live here?” asked a clear but shops—”rather harsh voice. We could not hear the servant’s “Here is your ring, Mrs. Sawyer,” I interrupted,reply, but the door closed, and some one began to in obedience to a sign from my companion; “itascend the stairs. The footfall was an uncertain clearly belongs to your daughter, and I am gladand shuffling one. A look of surprise passed over to be able to restore it to the rightful owner.”the face of my companion as he listened to it. Itcame slowly along the passage, and there was a With many mumbled blessings and protesta-feeble tap at the door. tions of gratitude the old crone packed it away in her pocket, and shuffled off down the stairs. Sher- “Come in,” I cried. lock Holmes sprang to his feet the moment that At my summons, instead of the man of vio- she was gone and rushed into his room. He re-lence whom we expected, a very old and wrinkled turned in a few seconds enveloped in an ulsterwoman hobbled into the apartment. She appeared and a cravat. “I’ll follow her,” he said, hurriedly;to be dazzled by the sudden blaze of light, and “she must be an accomplice, and will lead me toafter dropping a curtsey, she stood blinking at us him. Wait up for me.” The hall door had hardly 24
  • 27. A Study In Scarletslammed behind our visitor before Holmes had she cried. This begins to look genuine, I thought,descended the stair. Looking through the window and having seen her safely inside, I perched myselfI could see her walking feebly along the other side, behind. That’s an art which every detective shouldwhile her pursuer dogged her some little distance be an expert at. Well, away we rattled, and neverbehind. “Either his whole theory is incorrect,” I drew rein until we reached the street in question.thought to myself, “or else he will be led now to I hopped off before we came to the door, andthe heart of the mystery.” There was no need for strolled down the street in an easy, lounging way. Ihim to ask me to wait up for him, for I felt that saw the cab pull up. The driver jumped down, andsleep was impossible until I heard the result of his I saw him open the door and stand expectantly.adventure. Nothing came out though. When I reached him he was groping about frantically in the empty cab, It was close upon nine when he set out. I had and giving vent to the finest assorted collection ofno idea how long he might be, but I sat stolidly oaths that ever I listened to. There was no sign orpuffing at my pipe and skipping over the pages of trace of his passenger, and I fear it will be someHenri Murger’s Vie de Boh`me. Ten o’clock passed, e time before he gets his fare. On inquiring at Num-and I heard the footsteps of the maid as they pat- ber 13 we found that the house belonged to a re-tered off to bed. Eleven, and the more stately tread spectable paperhanger, named Keswick, and thatof the landlady passed my door, bound for the no one of the name either of Sawyer or Dennis hadsame destination. It was close upon twelve before I ever been heard of there.”heard the sharp sound of his latch-key. The instanthe entered I saw by his face that he had not been “You don’t mean to say,” I cried, in amazement,successful. Amusement and chagrin seemed to be “that that tottering, feeble old woman was able tostruggling for the mastery, until the former sud- get out of the cab while it was in motion, withoutdenly carried the day, and he burst into a hearty either you or the driver seeing her?”laugh. “Old woman be damned!” said Sherlock “I wouldn’t have the Scotland Yarders know it Holmes, sharply. “We were the old women to befor the world,” he cried, dropping into his chair; “I so taken in. It must have been a young man, andhave chaffed them so much that they would never an active one, too, besides being an incomparablehave let me hear the end of it. I can afford to laugh, actor. The get-up was inimitable. He saw that hebecause I know that I will be even with them in the was followed, no doubt, and used this means oflong run.” giving me the slip. It shows that the man we are after is not as lonely as I imagined he was, but has “What is it then?” I asked. friends who are ready to risk something for him. “Oh, I don’t mind telling a story against my- Now, Doctor, you are looking done-up. Take myself. That creature had gone a little way when she advice and turn in.”began to limp and show every sign of being foot- I was certainly feeling very weary, so I obeyedsore. Presently she came to a halt, and hailed a his injunction. I left Holmes seated in front of thefour-wheeler which was passing. I managed to smouldering fire, and long into the watches of thebe close to her so as to hear the address, but I night I heard the low, melancholy wailings of hisneed not have been so anxious, for she sang it out violin, and knew that he was still pondering overloud enough to be heard at the other side of the the strange problem which he had set himself tostreet, ‘Drive to 13, Duncan Street, Houndsditch,’ unravel. 25
  • 28. A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER VI. Tobias Gregson Shows What He Can Do The papers next day were full of the “Brixton despotism and hatred of Liberalism which ani-Mystery,” as they termed it. Each had a long ac- mated the Continental Governments had had thecount of the affair, and some had leaders upon effect of driving to our shores a number of menit in addition. There was some information in who might have made excellent citizens were theythem which was new to me. I still retain in my not soured by the recollection of all that they hadscrap-book numerous clippings and extracts bear- undergone. Among these men there was a strin-ing upon the case. Here is a condensation of a few gent code of honour, any infringement of whichof them:— was punished by death. Every effort should be The Daily Telegraph remarked that in the history made to find the secretary, Stangerson, and to as-of crime there had seldom been a tragedy which certain some particulars of the habits of the de-presented stranger features. The German name of ceased. A great step had been gained by the dis-the victim, the absence of all other motive, and the covery of the address of the house at which he hadsinister inscription on the wall, all pointed to its boarded—a result which was entirely due to theperpetration by political refugees and revolution- acuteness and energy of Mr. Gregson of Scotlandists. The Socialists had many branches in America, Yard.and the deceased had, no doubt, infringed their Sherlock Holmes and I read these notices overunwritten laws, and been tracked down by them. together at breakfast, and they appeared to affordAfter alluding airily to the Vehmgericht, aqua to- him considerable amusement.fana, Carbonari, the Marchioness de Brinvilliers, “I told you that, whatever happened, Lestradethe Darwinian theory, the principles of Malthus, and Gregson would be sure to score.”and the Ratcliff Highway murders, the article con- “That depends on how it turns out.”cluded by admonishing the Government and ad- “Oh, bless you, it doesn’t matter in the least. Ifvocating a closer watch over foreigners in England. the man is caught, it will be on account of their ex- The Standard commented upon the fact that ertions; if he escapes, it will be in spite of their exer-lawless outrages of the sort usually occurred un- tions. It’s heads I win and tails you lose. Whateverder a Liberal Administration. They arose from the they do, they will have followers. ‘Un sot trouveunsettling of the minds of the masses, and the con- toujours un plus sot qui l’admire.’ ”sequent weakening of all authority. The deceased “What on earth is this?” I cried, for at this mo-was an American gentleman who had been resid- ment there came the pattering of many steps in theing for some weeks in the Metropolis. He had hall and on the stairs, accompanied by audible ex-stayed at the boarding-house of Madame Charp- pressions of disgust upon the part of our landlady.entier, in Torquay Terrace, Camberwell. He was “It’s the Baker Street division of the detectiveaccompanied in his travels by his private secre- police force,” said my companion, gravely; and astary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson. The two bade adieu to he spoke there rushed into the room half a dozentheir landlady upon Tuesday, the 4th inst., and de- of the dirtiest and most ragged street Arabs thatparted to Euston Station with the avowed intention ever I clapped eyes on.of catching the Liverpool express. They were after-wards seen together upon the platform. Nothing “’Tention!” cried Holmes, in a sharp tone, andmore is known of them until Mr. Drebber’s body the six dirty little scoundrels stood in a line like sowas, as recorded, discovered in an empty house in many disreputable statuettes. “In future you shallthe Brixton Road, many miles from Euston. How send up Wiggins alone to report, and the rest ofhe came there, or how he met his fate, are ques- you must wait in the street. Have you found it,tions which are still involved in mystery. Nothing Wiggins?”is known of the whereabouts of Stangerson. We “No, sir, we hain’t,” said one of the youths.are glad to learn that Mr. Lestrade and Mr. Greg- “I hardly expected you would. You must keepson, of Scotland Yard, are both engaged upon the on until you do. Here are your wages.” He handedcase, and it is confidently anticipated that these each of them a shilling. “Now, off you go, andwell-known officers will speedily throw light upon come back with a better report next time.”the matter. He waved his hand, and they scampered away The Daily News observed that there was no downstairs like so many rats, and we heard theirdoubt as to the crime being a political one. The shrill voices next moment in the street. 26
  • 29. A Study In Scarlet “There’s more work to be got out of one of “The fun of it is,” he cried, “that that foolthose little beggars than out of a dozen of the Lestrade, who thinks himself so smart, has goneforce,” Holmes remarked. “The mere sight of off upon the wrong track altogether. He is afteran official-looking person seals men’s lips. These the secretary Stangerson, who had no more to doyoungsters, however, go everywhere and hear ev- with the crime than the babe unborn. I have noerything. They are as sharp as needles, too; all doubt that he has caught him by this time.”they want is organisation.” The idea tickled Gregson so much that he “Is it on this Brixton case that you are employ- laughed until he choked.ing them?” I asked. “And how did you get your clue?” “Yes; there is a point which I wish to ascertain. “Ah, I’ll tell you all about it. Of course, DoctorIt is merely a matter of time. Hullo! we are going Watson, this is strictly between ourselves. The firstto hear some news now with a vengeance! Here difficulty which we had to contend with was theis Gregson coming down the road with beatitude finding of this American’s antecedents. Some peo-written upon every feature of his face. Bound for ple would have waited until their advertisementsus, I know. Yes, he is stopping. There he is!” were answered, or until parties came forward and volunteered information. That is not Tobias Greg- There was a violent peal at the bell, and in a son’s way of going to work. You remember the hatfew seconds the fair-haired detective came up the beside the dead man?”stairs, three steps at a time, and burst into our “Yes,” said Holmes; “by John Underwood andsitting-room. Sons, 129, Camberwell Road.” “My dear fellow,” he cried, wringing Holmes’ Gregson looked quite crest-fallen.unresponsive hand, “congratulate me! I have “I had no idea that you noticed that,” he said.made the whole thing as clear as day.” “Have you been there?” A shade of anxiety seemed to me to cross my “No.”companion’s expressive face. “Ha!” cried Gregson, in a relieved voice; “you “Do you mean that you are on the right track?” should never neglect a chance, however small ithe asked. may seem.” “The right track! Why, sir, we have the man “To a great mind, nothing is little,” remarkedunder lock and key.” Holmes, sententiously. “Well, I went to Underwood, and asked him “And his name is?” if he had sold a hat of that size and description. “Arthur Charpentier, sub-lieutenant in Her He looked over his books, and came on it at once.Majesty’s navy,” cried Gregson, pompously, rub- He had sent the hat to a Mr. Drebber, residingbing his fat hands and inflating his chest. at Charpentier’s Boarding Establishment, Torquay Sherlock Holmes gave a sigh of relief, and re- Terrace. Thus I got at his address.”laxed into a smile. “Smart—very smart!” murmured Sherlock “Take a seat, and try one of these cigars,” he Holmes.said. “We are anxious to know how you managed “I next called upon Madame Charpentier,” con-it. Will you have some whiskey and water?” tinued the detective. “I found her very pale and distressed. Her daughter was in the room, too—an “I don’t mind if I do,” the detective answered. uncommonly fine girl she is, too; she was look-“The tremendous exertions which I have gone ing red about the eyes and her lips trembled asthrough during the last day or two have worn me I spoke to her. That didn’t escape my notice. Iout. Not so much bodily exertion, you understand, began to smell a rat. You know the feeling, Mr.as the strain upon the mind. You will appreciate Sherlock Holmes, when you come upon the rightthat, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, for we are both brain- scent—a kind of thrill in your nerves. ‘Have youworkers.” heard of the mysterious death of your late boarder “You do me too much honour,” said Holmes, Mr. Enoch J. Drebber, of Cleveland?’ I asked.gravely. “Let us hear how you arrived at this most “The mother nodded. She didn’t seem able togratifying result.” get out a word. The daughter burst into tears. I felt The detective seated himself in the arm-chair, more than ever that these people knew somethingand puffed complacently at his cigar. Then sud- of the matter.denly he slapped his thigh in a paroxysm of “ ‘At what o’clock did Mr. Drebber leave youramusement. house for the train?’ I asked. 27
  • 30. A Study In Scarlet “ ‘At eight o’clock,’ she said, gulping in her his employer, I am sorry to say, was far other-throat to keep down her agitation. ‘His secre- wise. He was coarse in his habits and brutish intary, Mr. Stangerson, said that there were two his ways. The very night of his arrival he becametrains—one at 9.15 and one at 11. He was to catch very much the worse for drink, and, indeed, af-the first.’ ter twelve o’clock in the day he could hardly ever “ ‘And was that the last which you saw of him?’ be said to be sober. His manners towards the maid-servants were disgustingly free and familiar. “A terrible change came over the woman’s face Worst of all, he speedily assumed the same atti-as I asked the question. Her features turned per- tude towards my daughter, Alice, and spoke to herfectly livid. It was some seconds before she could more than once in a way which, fortunately, sheget out the single word ‘Yes’—and when it did is too innocent to understand. On one occasioncome it was in a husky unnatural tone. he actually seized her in his arms and embraced “There was silence for a moment, and then the her—an outrage which caused his own secretarydaughter spoke in a calm clear voice. to reproach him for his unmanly conduct.’ “ ‘No good can ever come of falsehood, “ ‘But why did you stand all this,’ I asked. ‘Imother,’ she said. ‘Let us be frank with this gen- suppose that you can get rid of your boarderstleman. We did see Mr. Drebber again.’ when you wish.’ “ ‘God forgive you!’ cried Madame Charpen- “Mrs. Charpentier blushed at my pertinenttier, throwing up her hands and sinking back in question. ‘Would to God that I had given him no-her chair. ‘You have murdered your brother.’ tice on the very day that he came,’ she said. ‘But it was a sore temptation. They were paying a pound “ ‘Arthur would rather that we spoke the truth,’ a day each—fourteen pounds a week, and this isthe girl answered firmly. the slack season. I am a widow, and my boy in “ ‘You had best tell me all about it now,’ I said. the Navy has cost me much. I grudged to lose‘Half-confidences are worse than none. Besides, the money. I acted for the best. This last was tooyou do not know how much we know of it.’ much, however, and I gave him notice to leave on “ ‘On your head be it, Alice!’ cried her mother; account of it. That was the reason of his going.’and then, turning to me, ‘I will tell you all, sir. Do “ ‘Well?’not imagine that my agitation on behalf of my son “ ‘My heart grew light when I saw him drivearises from any fear lest he should have had a hand away. My son is on leave just now, but I did not tellin this terrible affair. He is utterly innocent of it. him anything of all this, for his temper is violent,My dread is, however, that in your eyes and in the and he is passionately fond of his sister. Wheneyes of others he may appear to be compromised. I closed the door behind them a load seemed toThat however is surely impossible. His high char- be lifted from my mind. Alas, in less than anacter, his profession, his antecedents would all for- hour there was a ring at the bell, and I learnedbid it.’ that Mr. Drebber had returned. He was much ex- “ ‘Your best way is to make a clean breast of the cited, and evidently the worse for drink. He forcedfacts,’ I answered. ‘Depend upon it, if your son is his way into the room, where I was sitting withinnocent he will be none the worse.’ my daughter, and made some incoherent remark “ ‘Perhaps, Alice, you had better leave us to- about having missed his train. He then turned together,’ she said, and her daughter withdrew. Alice, and before my very face, proposed to her‘Now, sir,’ she continued, ‘I had no intention of that she should fly with him. “You are of age,”telling you all this, but since my poor daughter has he said, “and there is no law to stop you. I havedisclosed it I have no alternative. Having once de- money enough and to spare. Never mind the oldcided to speak, I will tell you all without omitting girl here, but come along with me now straightany particular.’ away. You shall live like a princess.” Poor Alice was so frightened that she shrunk away from him, “ ‘It is your wisest course,’ said I. but he caught her by the wrist and endeavoured “ ‘Mr. Drebber has been with us nearly three to draw her towards the door. I screamed, and atweeks. He and his secretary, Mr. Stangerson, that moment my son Arthur came into the room.had been travelling on the Continent. I noticed What happened then I do not know. I heard oathsa “Copenhagen” label upon each of their trunks, and the confused sounds of a scuffle. I was tooshowing that that had been their last stopping terrified to raise my head. When I did look upplace. Stangerson was a quiet reserved man, but I saw Arthur standing in the doorway laughing, 28
  • 31. A Study In Scarletwith a stick in his hand. “I don’t think that fine “What is your theory, then?”fellow will trouble us again,” he said. “I will just “Well, my theory is that he followed Drebber asgo after him and see what he does with himself.” far as the Brixton Road. When there, a fresh alter-With those words he took his hat and started off cation arose between them, in the course of whichdown the street. The next morning we heard of Drebber received a blow from the stick, in the pitMr. Drebber’s mysterious death.’ of the stomach, perhaps, which killed him without “This statement came from Mrs. Charpentier’s leaving any mark. The night was so wet that nolips with many gasps and pauses. At times she one was about, so Charpentier dragged the bodyspoke so low that I could hardly catch the words. I of his victim into the empty house. As to the can-made shorthand notes of all that she said, however, dle, and the blood, and the writing on the wall,so that there should be no possibility of a mistake.” and the ring, they may all be so many tricks to “It’s quite exciting,” said Sherlock Holmes, throw the police on to the wrong scent.”with a yawn. “What happened next?” “Well done!” said Holmes in an encouraging “When Mrs. Charpentier paused,” the detec- voice. “Really, Gregson, you are getting along. Wetive continued, “I saw that the whole case hung shall make something of you yet.”upon one point. Fixing her with my eye in a “I flatter myself that I have managed it ratherway which I always found effective with women, I neatly,” the detective answered proudly. “Theasked her at what hour her son returned. young man volunteered a statement, in which he “ ‘I do not know,’ she answered. said that after following Drebber some time, the latter perceived him, and took a cab in order to get “ ‘Not know?’ away from him. On his way home he met an old “ ‘No; he has a latch-key, and he let himself in.’ shipmate, and took a long walk with him. On be- “ ‘After you went to bed?’ ing asked where this old shipmate lived, he was unable to give any satisfactory reply. I think the “ ‘Yes.’ whole case fits together uncommonly well. What “ ‘When did you go to bed?’ amuses me is to think of Lestrade, who had started “ ‘About eleven.’ off upon the wrong scent. I am afraid he won’t make much of—Why, by Jove, here’s the very man “ ‘So your son was gone at least two hours?’ himself!” “ ‘Yes.’ It was indeed Lestrade, who had ascended the “ ‘Possibly four or five?’ stairs while we were talking, and who now entered “ ‘Yes.’ the room. The assurance and jauntiness which “ ‘What was he doing during that time?’ generally marked his demeanour and dress were, however, wanting. His face was disturbed and “ ‘I do not know,’ she answered, turning white troubled, while his clothes were disarranged andto her very lips. untidy. He had evidently come with the inten- “Of course after that there was nothing more to tion of consulting with Sherlock Holmes, for onbe done. I found out where Lieutenant Charpen- perceiving his colleague he appeared to be embar-tier was, took two officers with me, and arrested rassed and put out. He stood in the centre of thehim. When I touched him on the shoulder and room, fumbling nervously with his hat and uncer-warned him to come quietly with us, he answered tain what to do. “This is a most extraordinaryus as bold as brass, ‘I suppose you are arresting me case,” he said at last—“a most incomprehensiblefor being concerned in the death of that scoundrel affair.”Drebber,’ he said. We had said nothing to him “Ah, you find it so, Mr. Lestrade!” cried Greg-about it, so that his alluding to it had a most sus- son, triumphantly. “I thought you would come topicious aspect.” that conclusion. Have you managed to find the “Very,” said Holmes. Secretary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson?” “He still carried the heavy stick which the “The Secretary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson,” saidmother described him as having with him when Lestrade gravely, “was murdered at Halliday’s Pri-he followed Drebber. It was a stout oak cudgel.” vate Hotel about six o’clock this morning.” 29
  • 32. A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER VII. Light In The Darkness The intelligence with which Lestrade greeted Stangerson was living there, they at once answeredus was so momentous and so unexpected, that me in the affirmative.we were all three fairly dumfoundered. Gregson “ ‘No doubt you are the gentleman whom hesprang out of his chair and upset the remainder of was expecting,’ they said. ‘He has been waitinghis whiskey and water. I stared in silence at Sher- for a gentleman for two days.’lock Holmes, whose lips were compressed and his “ ‘Where is he now?’ I asked.brows drawn down over his eyes. “ ‘He is upstairs in bed. He wished to be called “Stangerson too!” he muttered. “The plot at nine.’thickens.” “ ‘I will go up and see him at once,’ I said. “It was quite thick enough before,” grumbled “It seemed to me that my sudden appearanceLestrade, taking a chair. “I seem to have dropped might shake his nerves and lead him to say some-into a sort of council of war.” thing unguarded. The Boots volunteered to show “Are you—are you sure of this piece of intelli- me the room: it was on the second floor, and theregence?” stammered Gregson. was a small corridor leading up to it. The Boots pointed out the door to me, and was about to go “I have just come from his room,” said downstairs again when I saw something that madeLestrade. “I was the first to discover what had me feel sickish, in spite of my twenty years’ experi-occurred.” ence. From under the door there curled a little red “We have been hearing Gregson’s view of the ribbon of blood, which had meandered across thematter,” Holmes observed. “Would you mind let- passage and formed a little pool along the skirt-ting us know what you have seen and done?” ing at the other side. I gave a cry, which brought “I have no objection,” Lestrade answered, seat- the Boots back. He nearly fainted when he saw it.ing himself. “I freely confess that I was of the opin- The door was locked on the inside, but we put ourion that Stangerson was concerned in the death of shoulders to it, and knocked it in. The windowDrebber. This fresh development has shown me of the room was open, and beside the window, allthat I was completely mistaken. Full of the one huddled up, lay the body of a man in his night-idea, I set myself to find out what had become of dress. He was quite dead, and had been for somethe Secretary. They had been seen together at Eu- time, for his limbs were rigid and cold. When weston Station about half-past eight on the evening of turned him over, the Boots recognized him at oncethe third. At two in the morning Drebber had been as being the same gentleman who had engaged thefound in the Brixton Road. The question which room under the name of Joseph Stangerson. Theconfronted me was to find out how Stangerson had cause of death was a deep stab in the left side,been employed between 8.30 and the time of the which must have penetrated the heart. And nowcrime, and what had become of him afterwards. comes the strangest part of the affair. What do youI telegraphed to Liverpool, giving a description suppose was above the murdered man?”of the man, and warning them to keep a watch I felt a creeping of the flesh, and a presentimentupon the American boats. I then set to work call- of coming horror, even before Sherlock Holmes an-ing upon all the hotels and lodging-houses in the swered.vicinity of Euston. You see, I argued that if Dreb- “The word RACHE, written in letters of blood,”ber and his companion had become separated, the he said.natural course for the latter would be to put up “That was it,” said Lestrade, in an awe-strucksomewhere in the vicinity for the night, and then voice; and we were all silent for a while.to hang about the station again next morning.” There was something so methodical and so in- “They would be likely to agree on some comprehensible about the deeds of this unknownmeeting-place beforehand,” remarked Holmes. assassin, that it imparted a fresh ghastliness to his “So it proved. I spent the whole of yester- crimes. My nerves, which were steady enough onday evening in making enquiries entirely without the field of battle tingled as I thought of it.avail. This morning I began very early, and at eight “The man was seen,” continued Lestrade. “Ao’clock I reached Halliday’s Private Hotel, in Little milk boy, passing on his way to the dairy, hap-George Street. On my enquiry as to whether a Mr. pened to walk down the lane which leads from 30
  • 33. A Study In Scarletthe mews at the back of the hotel. He noticed eyes. I will give you a proof of my knowledge.that a ladder, which usually lay there, was raised Could you lay your hand upon those pills?”against one of the windows of the second floor, “I have them,” said Lestrade, producing a smallwhich was wide open. After passing, he looked white box; “I took them and the purse and theback and saw a man descend the ladder. He came telegram, intending to have them put in a placedown so quietly and openly that the boy imagined of safety at the Police Station. It was the meresthim to be some carpenter or joiner at work in the chance my taking these pills, for I am bound tohotel. He took no particular notice of him, beyond say that I do not attach any importance to them.”thinking in his own mind that it was early for him “Give them here,” said Holmes. “Now, Doc-to be at work. He has an impression that the man tor,” turning to me, “are those ordinary pills?”was tall, had a reddish face, and was dressed ina long, brownish coat. He must have stayed in They certainly were not. They were of a pearlythe room some little time after the murder, for we grey colour, small, round, and almost transparentfound blood-stained water in the basin, where he against the light. “From their lightness and trans-had washed his hands, and marks on the sheets parency, I should imagine that they are soluble inwhere he had deliberately wiped his knife.” water,” I remarked. I glanced at Holmes on hearing the description “Precisely so,” answered Holmes. “Now wouldof the murderer, which tallied so exactly with his you mind going down and fetching that poor littleown. There was, however, no trace of exultation or devil of a terrier which has been bad so long, andsatisfaction upon his face. which the landlady wanted you to put out of its pain yesterday.” “Did you find nothing in the room which couldfurnish a clue to the murderer?” he asked. I went downstairs and carried the dog upstair in my arms. It’s laboured breathing and glazing “Nothing. Stangerson had Drebber’s purse in eye showed that it was not far from its end. In-his pocket, but it seems that this was usual, as he deed, its snow-white muzzle proclaimed that itdid all the paying. There was eighty odd pounds had already exceeded the usual term of canine ex-in it, but nothing had been taken. Whatever the istence. I placed it upon a cushion on the rug.motives of these extraordinary crimes, robbery is “I will now cut one of these pills in two,” saidcertainly not one of them. There were no papers Holmes, and drawing his penknife he suited theor memoranda in the murdered man’s pocket, ex- action to the word. “One half we return into thecept a single telegram, dated from Cleveland about box for future purposes. The other half I will placea month ago, and containing the words, ‘J. H. is in this wine glass, in which is a teaspoonful of wa-in Europe.’ There was no name appended to this ter. You perceive that our friend, the Doctor, ismessage.” right, and that it readily dissolves.” “And there was nothing else?” Holmes asked. “This may be very interesting,” said Lestrade, “Nothing of any importance. The man’s novel, in the injured tone of one who suspects that he iswith which he had read himself to sleep was lying being laughed at, “I cannot see, however, what itupon the bed, and his pipe was on a chair beside has to do with the death of Mr. Joseph Stanger-him. There was a glass of water on the table, and son.”on the window-sill a small chip ointment box con- “Patience, my friend, patience! You will findtaining a couple of pills.” in time that it has everything to do with it. I shall Sherlock Holmes sprang from his chair with an now add a little milk to make the mixture palat-exclamation of delight. able, and on presenting it to the dog we find that he laps it up readily enough.” “The last link,” he cried, exultantly. “My caseis complete.” As he spoke he turned the contents of the wine glass into a saucer and placed it in front of The two detectives stared at him in amazement. the terrier, who speedily licked it dry. Sherlock “I have now in my hands,” my companion said, Holmes’ earnest demeanour had so far convincedconfidently, “all the threads which have formed us that we all sat in silence, watching the ani-such a tangle. There are, of course, details to be mal intently, and expecting some startling effect.filled in, but I am as certain of all the main facts, None such appeared, however. The dog contin-from the time that Drebber parted from Stanger- ued to lie stretched upon the cushion, breathing inson at the station, up to the discovery of the body a laboured way, but apparently neither the betterof the latter, as if I had seen them with my own nor the worse for its draught. 31
  • 34. A Study In Scarlet Holmes had taken out his watch, and as minute strangeness with mystery. The most common-followed minute without result, an expression of place crime is often the most mysterious becausethe utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared it presents no new or special features from whichupon his features. He gnawed his lip, drummed deductions may be drawn. This murder wouldhis fingers upon the table, and showed every other have been infinitely more difficult to unravel hadsymptom of acute impatience. So great was his the body of the victim been simply found lying inemotion, that I felt sincerely sorry for him, while the roadway without any of those outr´ and sensa- ethe two detectives smiled derisively, by no means tional accompaniments which have rendered it re-displeased at this check which he had met. markable. These strange details, far from making the case more difficult, have really had the effect “It can’t be a coincidence,” he cried, at last of making it less so.”springing from his chair and pacing wildly up anddown the room; “it is impossible that it should be Mr. Gregson, who had listened to this addressa mere coincidence. The very pills which I sus- with considerable impatience, could contain him-pected in the case of Drebber are actually found self no longer. “Look here, Mr. Sherlock Holmes,”after the death of Stangerson. And yet they are he said, “we are all ready to acknowledge that youinert. What can it mean? Surely my whole chain are a smart man, and that you have your ownof reasoning cannot have been false. It is impossi- methods of working. We want something moreble! And yet this wretched dog is none the worse. than mere theory and preaching now, though. ItAh, I have it! I have it!” With a perfect shriek of de- is a case of taking the man. I have made my caselight he rushed to the box, cut the other pill in two, out, and it seems I was wrong. Young Charpentierdissolved it, added milk, and presented it to the could not have been engaged in this second affair.terrier. The unfortunate creature’s tongue seemed Lestrade went after his man, Stangerson, and it ap-hardly to have been moistened in it before it gave pears that he was wrong too. You have throwna convulsive shiver in every limb, and lay as rigid out hints here, and hints there, and seem to knowand lifeless as if it had been struck by lightning. more than we do, but the time has come when we feel that we have a right to ask you straight how Sherlock Holmes drew a long breath, and much you do know of the business. Can you namewiped the perspiration from his forehead. “I the man who did it?”should have more faith,” he said; “I ought to know “I cannot help feeling that Gregson is right,by this time that when a fact appears to be op- sir,” remarked Lestrade. “We have both tried, andposed to a long train of deductions, it invariably we have both failed. You have remarked more thanproves to be capable of bearing some other inter- once since I have been in the room that you had allpretation. Of the two pills in that box one was of the evidence which you require. Surely you willthe most deadly poison, and the other was entirely not withhold it any longer.”harmless. I ought to have known that before everI saw the box at all.” “Any delay in arresting the assassin,” I ob- served, “might give him time to perpetrate some This last statement appeared to me to be so fresh atrocity.”startling, that I could hardly believe that he was Thus pressed by us all, Holmes showed signs ofin his sober senses. There was the dead dog, how- irresolution. He continued to walk up and downever, to prove that his conjecture had been correct. the room with his head sunk on his chest and hisIt seemed to me that the mists in my own mind brows drawn down, as was his habit when lost inwere gradually clearing away, and I began to have thought.a dim, vague perception of the truth. “There will be no more murders,” he said at “All this seems strange to you,” continued last, stopping abruptly and facing us. “You canHolmes, “because you failed at the beginning of put that consideration out of the question. Youthe inquiry to grasp the importance of the single have asked me if I know the name of the assas-real clue which was presented to you. I had the sin. I do. The mere knowing of his name is a smallgood fortune to seize upon that, and everything thing, however, compared with the power of layingwhich has occurred since then has served to con- our hands upon him. This I expect very shortly tofirm my original supposition, and, indeed, was the do. I have good hopes of managing it through mylogical sequence of it. Hence things which have own arrangements; but it is a thing which needsperplexed you and made the case more obscure, delicate handling, for we have a shrewd and des-have served to enlighten me and to strengthen perate man to deal with, who is supported, as Imy conclusions. It is a mistake to confound have had occasion to prove, by another who is as 32
  • 35. A Study In Scarletclever as himself. As long as this man has no idea The fellow came forward with a somewhatthat anyone can have a clue there is some chance sullen, defiant air, and put down his hands to as-of securing him; but if he had the slightest suspi- sist. At that instant there was a sharp click, thecion, he would change his name, and vanish in an jangling of metal, and Sherlock Holmes sprang toinstant among the four million inhabitants of this his feet again.great city. Without meaning to hurt either of yourfeelings, I am bound to say that I consider these “Gentlemen,” he cried, with flashing eyes, “letmen to be more than a match for the official force, me introduce you to Mr. Jefferson Hope, the mur-and that is why I have not asked your assistance. derer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph Stangerson.”If I fail I shall, of course, incur all the blame dueto this omission; but that I am prepared for. Atpresent I am ready to promise that the instant that The whole thing occurred in a moment—soI can communicate with you without endangering quickly that I had no time to realize it. I havemy own combinations, I shall do so.” a vivid recollection of that instant, of Holmes’ Gregson and Lestrade seemed to be far from triumphant expression and the ring of his voice,satisfied by this assurance, or by the depreciating of the cabman’s dazed, savage face, as he glaredallusion to the detective police. The former had at the glittering handcuffs, which had appearedflushed up to the roots of his flaxen hair, while the as if by magic upon his wrists. For a secondother’s beady eyes glistened with curiosity and re- or two we might have been a group of statues.sentment. Neither of them had time to speak, how- Then, with an inarticulate roar of fury, the pris-ever, before there was a tap at the door, and the oner wrenched himself free from Holmes’s grasp,spokesman of the street Arabs, young Wiggins, in- and hurled himself through the window. Wood-troduced his insignificant and unsavoury person. work and glass gave way before him; but before he got quite through, Gregson, Lestrade, and Holmes “Please, sir,” he said, touching his forelock, “I sprang upon him like so many staghounds. Hehave the cab downstairs.” was dragged back into the room, and then com- “Good boy,” said Holmes, blandly. “Why don’t menced a terrific conflict. So powerful and soyou introduce this pattern at Scotland Yard?” he fierce was he, that the four of us were shaken offcontinued, taking a pair of steel handcuffs from again and again. He appeared to have the con-a drawer. “See how beautifully the spring works. vulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit. HisThey fasten in an instant.” face and hands were terribly mangled by his pas- “The old pattern is good enough,” remarked sage through the glass, but loss of blood had no ef-Lestrade, “if we can only find the man to put them fect in diminishing his resistance. It was not untilon.” Lestrade succeeded in getting his hand inside his “Very good, very good,” said Holmes, smiling. neckcloth and half-strangling him that we made“The cabman may as well help me with my boxes. him realize that his struggles were of no avail; andJust ask him to step up, Wiggins.” even then we felt no security until we had pinioned I was surprised to find my companion speak- his feet as well as his hands. That done, we rose toing as though he were about to set out on a jour- our feet breathless and panting.ney, since he had not said anything to me aboutit. There was a small portmanteau in the room, “We have his cab,” said Sherlock Holmes. “Itand this he pulled out and began to strap. He was will serve to take him to Scotland Yard. And now,busily engaged at it when the cabman entered the gentlemen,” he continued, with a pleasant smile,room. “we have reached the end of our little mystery. “Just give me a help with this buckle, cabman,” You are very welcome to put any questions thathe said, kneeling over his task, and never turning you like to me now, and there is no danger that Ihis head. will refuse to answer them.” 33
  • 36. PART II.The Country of the Saints.
  • 37. A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER I. On The Great Alkali Plain In the central portion of the great North stand out against the dull deposit of alkali. Ap-American Continent there lies an arid and repul- proach, and examine them! They are bones: somesive desert, which for many a long year served large and coarse, others smaller and more delicate.as a barrier against the advance of civilisation. The former have belonged to oxen, and the latter toFrom the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska, and from men. For fifteen hundred miles one may trace thisthe Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado ghastly caravan route by these scattered remainsupon the south, is a region of desolation and si- of those who had fallen by the wayside.lence. Nor is Nature always in one mood through- Looking down on this very scene, there stoodout this grim district. It comprises snow-capped upon the fourth of May, eighteen hundred andand lofty mountains, and dark and gloomy val- forty-seven, a solitary traveller. His appearanceleys. There are swift-flowing rivers which dash was such that he might have been the very geniusthrough jagged canons; and there are enormous ˜ or demon of the region. An observer would haveplains, which in winter are white with snow, and found it difficult to say whether he was nearer toin summer are grey with the saline alkali dust. forty or to sixty. His face was lean and haggard,They all preserve, however, the common charac- and the brown parchment-like skin was drawnteristics of barrenness, inhospitality, and misery. tightly over the projecting bones; his long, brown There are no inhabitants of this land of despair. hair and beard were all flecked and dashed withA band of Pawnees or of Blackfeet may occasion- white; his eyes were sunken in his head, andally traverse it in order to reach other hunting- burned with an unnatural lustre; while the handgrounds, but the hardiest of the braves are glad which grasped his rifle was hardly more fleshyto lose sight of those awesome plains, and to find than that of a skeleton. As he stood, he leanedthemselves once more upon their prairies. The upon his weapon for support, and yet his tall fig-coyote skulks among the scrub, the buzzard flaps ure and the massive framework of his bones sug-heavily through the air, and the clumsy grizzly gested a wiry and vigorous constitution. His gauntbear lumbers through the dark ravines, and picks face, however, and his clothes, which hung so bag-up such sustenance as it can amongst the rocks. gily over his shrivelled limbs, proclaimed what itThese are the sole dwellers in the wilderness. was that gave him that senile and decrepit appear- ance. The man was dying—dying from hunger In the whole world there can be no more dreary and from thirst.view than that from the northern slope of the He had toiled painfully down the ravine, andSierra Blanco. As far as the eye can reach stretches on to this little elevation, in the vain hope of see-the great flat plain-land, all dusted over with ing some signs of water. Now the great salt plainpatches of alkali, and intersected by clumps of the stretched before his eyes, and the distant belt ofdwarfish chaparral bushes. On the extreme verge savage mountains, without a sign anywhere ofof the horizon lie a long chain of mountain peaks, plant or tree, which might indicate the presencewith their rugged summits flecked with snow. In of moisture. In all that broad landscape there wasthis great stretch of country there is no sign of life, no gleam of hope. North, and east, and west henor of anything appertaining to life. There is no looked with wild questioning eyes, and then hebird in the steel-blue heaven, no movement upon realised that his wanderings had come to an end,the dull, grey earth—above all, there is absolute si- and that there, on that barren crag, he was aboutlence. Listen as one may, there is no shadow of a to die. “Why not here, as well as in a feather bed,sound in all that mighty wilderness; nothing but twenty years hence,” he muttered, as he seatedsilence—complete and heart-subduing silence. himself in the shelter of a boulder. It has been said there is nothing appertaining Before sitting down, he had deposited upon theto life upon the broad plain. That is hardly true. ground his useless rifle, and also a large bundleLooking down from the Sierra Blanco, one sees a tied up in a grey shawl, which he had carried slungpathway traced out across the desert, which winds over his right shoulder. It appeared to be some-away and is lost in the extreme distance. It is rut- what too heavy for his strength, for in lowering it,ted with wheels and trodden down by the feet of it came down on the ground with some little vio-many adventurers. Here and there there are scat- lence. Instantly there broke from the grey parceltered white objects which glisten in the sun, and a little moaning cry, and from it there protruded 37
  • 38. A Study In Scarleta small, scared face, with very bright brown eyes, “No, nor drink. And Mr. Bender, he was theand two little speckled, dimpled fists. fust to go, and then Indian Pete, and then Mrs. Mc- Gregor, and then Johnny Hones, and then, dearie, “You’ve hurt me!” said a childish voice re- your mother.”proachfully. “Then mother’s a deader too,” cried the little “Have I though,” the man answered penitently, girl dropping her face in her pinafore and sobbing“I didn’t go for to do it.” As he spoke he un- bitterly.wrapped the grey shawl and extricated a prettylittle girl of about five years of age, whose dainty “Yes, they all went except you and me. Thenshoes and smart pink frock with its little linen I thought there was some chance of water in thisapron all bespoke a mother’s care. The child direction, so I heaved you over my shoulder andwas pale and wan, but her healthy arms and legs we tramped it together. It don’t seem as thoughshowed that she had suffered less than her com- we’ve improved matters. There’s an almightypanion. small chance for us now!” “Do you mean that we are going to die too?” “How is it now?” he answered anxiously, for asked the child, checking her sobs, and raising hershe was still rubbing the towsy golden curls which tear-stained face.covered the back of her head. “I guess that’s about the size of it.” “Kiss it and make it well,” she said, with “Why didn’t you say so before?” she said,perfect gravity, shoving the injured part up to laughing gleefully. “You gave me such a fright.him. “That’s what mother used to do. Where’s Why, of course, now as long as we die we’ll bemother?” with mother again.” “Mother’s gone. I guess you’ll see her before “Yes, you will, dearie.”long.” “And you too. I’ll tell her how awful good “Gone, eh!” said the little girl. “Funny, she you’ve been. I’ll bet she meets us at the door ofdidn’t say good-bye; she ’most always did if she Heaven with a big pitcher of water, and a lot ofwas just goin’ over to Auntie’s for tea, and now buckwheat cakes, hot, and toasted on both sides,she’s been away three days. Say, it’s awful dry, like Bob and me was fond of. How long will it beain’t it? Ain’t there no water, nor nothing to eat?” first?” “No, there ain’t nothing, dearie. You’ll just “I don’t know—not very long.” The man’s eyesneed to be patient awhile, and then you’ll be all were fixed upon the northern horizon. In the blueright. Put your head up agin me like that, and vault of the heaven there had appeared three lit-then you’ll feel bullier. It ain’t easy to talk when tle specks which increased in size every moment,your lips is like leather, but I guess I’d best let you so rapidly did they approach. They speedily re-know how the cards lie. What’s that you’ve got?” solved themselves into three large brown birds, which circled over the heads of the two wander- “Pretty things! fine things!” cried the little girl ers, and then settled upon some rocks which over-enthusiastically, holding up two glittering frag- looked them. They were buzzards, the vultures ofments of mica. “When we goes back to home I’ll the west, whose coming is the forerunner of death.give them to brother Bob.” “Cocks and hens,” cried the little girl gleefully, “You’ll see prettier things than them soon,” pointing at their ill-omened forms, and clappingsaid the man confidently. “You just wait a bit. her hands to make them rise. “Say, did God makeI was going to tell you though—you remember this country?”when we left the river?” “Of course He did,” said her companion, rather “Oh, yes.” startled by this unexpected question. “Well, we reckoned we’d strike another river “He made the country down in Illinois, and Hesoon, d’ye see. But there was somethin’ wrong; made the Missouri,” the little girl continued. “Icompasses, or map, or somethin’, and it didn’t guess somebody else made the country in theseturn up. Water ran out. Just except a little drop parts. It’s not nearly so well done. They forgot thefor the likes of you and—and—” water and the trees.” “And you couldn’t wash yourself,” interrupted “What would ye think of offering up prayer?”his companion gravely, staring up at his grimy vis- the man asked diffidently.age. “It ain’t night yet,” she answered. 38
  • 39. A Study In Scarlet “It don’t matter. It ain’t quite regular, but He through the haze, and the apparition revealed it-won’t mind that, you bet. You say over them ones self as being a great caravan upon its journey forthat you used to say every night in the waggon the West. But what a caravan! When the headwhen we was on the Plains.” of it had reached the base of the mountains, the “Why don’t you say some yourself?” the child rear was not yet visible on the horizon. Rightasked, with wondering eyes. across the enormous plain stretched the straggling array, waggons and carts, men on horseback, and “I disremember them,” he answered. “I hain’t men on foot. Innumerable women who staggeredsaid none since I was half the height o’ that gun. I along under burdens, and children who toddledguess it’s never too late. You say them out, and I’ll beside the waggons or peeped out from under thestand by and come in on the choruses.” white coverings. This was evidently no ordinary “Then you’ll need to kneel down, and me too,” party of immigrants, but rather some nomad peo-she said, laying the shawl out for that purpose. ple who had been compelled from stress of circum-“You’ve got to put your hands up like this. It stances to seek themselves a new country. Theremakes you feel kind o’ good.” rose through the clear air a confused clattering and It was a strange sight had there been anything rumbling from this great mass of humanity, withbut the buzzards to see it. Side by side on the the creaking of wheels and the neighing of horses.narrow shawl knelt the two wanderers, the little Loud as it was, it was not sufficient to rouse theprattling child and the reckless, hardened adven- two tired wayfarers above them.turer. Her chubby face, and his haggard, angu- At the head of the column there rode a scorelar visage were both turned up to the cloudless or more of grave ironfaced men, clad in sombreheaven in heartfelt entreaty to that dread being homespun garments and armed with rifles. Onwith whom they were face to face, while the two reaching the base of the bluff they halted, and heldvoices—the one thin and clear, the other deep and a short council among themselves.harsh—united in the entreaty for mercy and for- “The wells are to the right, my brothers,” saidgiveness. The prayer finished, they resumed their one, a hard-lipped, clean-shaven man with grizzlyseat in the shadow of the boulder until the child hair.fell asleep, nestling upon the broad breast of her “To the right of the Sierra Blanco—so we shallprotector. He watched over her slumber for some reach the Rio Grande,” said another.time, but Nature proved to be too strong for him.For three days and three nights he had allowed “Fear not for water,” cried a third. “He whohimself neither rest nor repose. Slowly the eyelids could draw it from the rocks will not now aban-drooped over the tired eyes, and the head sunk don His own chosen people.”lower and lower upon the breast, until the man’s “Amen! Amen!” responded the whole party.grizzled beard was mixed with the gold tresses of They were about to resume their journey whenhis companion, and both slept the same deep and one of the youngest and keenest-eyed uttered andreamless slumber. exclamation and pointed up at the rugged crag Had the wanderer remained awake for another above them. From its summit there fluttered ahalf hour a strange sight would have met his eyes. little wisp of pink, showing up hard and brightFar away on the extreme verge of the alkali plain against the grey rocks behind. At the sight therethere rose up a little spray of dust, very slight at was a general reining up of horses and unslingingfirst, and hardly to be distinguished from the mists of guns, while fresh horsemen came galloping upof the distance, but gradually growing higher and to reinforce the vanguard. The word “Redskins”broader until it formed a solid, well-defined cloud. was on every lip.This cloud continued to increase in size until it “There can’t be any number of Injuns here,”became evident that it could only be raised by said the elderly man who appeared to be in com-a great multitude of moving creatures. In more mand. “We have passed the Pawnees, and therefertile spots the observer would have come to the are no other tribes until we cross the great moun-conclusion that one of those great herds of bisons tains.”which graze upon the prairie land was approach- “Shall I go forward and see, Brother Stanger-ing him. This was obviously impossible in these son,” asked one of the band.arid wilds. As the whirl of dust drew nearer to thesolitary bluff upon which the two castaways were “And I,” “and I,” cried a dozen voices.reposing, the canvas-covered tilts of waggons and “Leave your horses below and we will awaitthe figures of armed horsemen began to show up you here,” the Elder answered. In a moment 39
  • 40. A Study In Scarletthe young fellows had dismounted, fastened their twenty-one people. The rest is all dead o’ thirsthorses, and were ascending the precipitous slope and hunger away down in the south.”which led up to the object which had excited “Is she your child?” asked someone.their curiosity. They advanced rapidly and noise- “I guess she is now,” the other cried, defiantly;lessly, with the confidence and dexterity of prac- “she’s mine ’cause I saved her. No man will taketised scouts. The watchers from the plain below her from me. She’s Lucy Ferrier from this daycould see them flit from rock to rock until their on. Who are you, though?” he continued, glancingfigures stood out against the skyline. The young with curiosity at his stalwart, sunburned rescuers;man who had first given the alarm was leading “there seems to be a powerful lot of ye.”them. Suddenly his followers saw him throw uphis hands, as though overcome with astonishment, “Nigh upon ten thousand,” said one of theand on joining him they were affected in the same young men; “we are the persecuted children ofway by the sight which met their eyes. God—the chosen of the Angel Merona.” “I never heard tell on him,” said the wanderer. On the little plateau which crowned the barren “He appears to have chosen a fair crowd of ye.”hill there stood a single giant boulder, and againstthis boulder there lay a tall man, long-bearded and “Do not jest at that which is sacred,” said thehard-featured, but of an excessive thinness. His other sternly. “We are of those who believe inplacid face and regular breathing showed that he those sacred writings, drawn in Egyptian letterswas fast asleep. Beside him lay a little child, with on plates of beaten gold, which were handed untoher round white arms encircling his brown sinewy the holy Joseph Smith at Palmyra. We have comeneck, and her golden haired head resting upon from Nauvoo, in the State of Illinois, where wethe breast of his velveteen tunic. Her rosy lips had founded our temple. We have come to seekwere parted, showing the regular line of snow- a refuge from the violent man and from the god-white teeth within, and a playful smile played over less, even though it be the heart of the desert.”her infantile features. Her plump little white legs The name of Nauvoo evidently recalled recol-terminating in white socks and neat shoes with lections to John Ferrier. “I see,” he said, “you areshining buckles, offered a strange contrast to the the Mormons.”long shrivelled members of her companion. On “We are the Mormons,” answered his compan-the ledge of rock above this strange couple there ions with one voice.stood three solemn buzzards, who, at the sight of “And where are you going?”the new comers uttered raucous screams of disap-pointment and flapped sullenly away. “We do not know. The hand of God is lead- ing us under the person of our Prophet. You must The cries of the foul birds awoke the two sleep- come before him. He shall say what is to be doneers who stared about them in bewilderment. The with you.”man staggered to his feet and looked down upon They had reached the base of the hill bythe plain which had been so desolate when sleep this time, and were surrounded by crowds ofhad overtaken him, and which was now traversed the pilgrims—pale-faced meek-looking women,by this enormous body of men and of beasts. His strong laughing children, and anxious earnest-face assumed an expression of incredulity as he eyed men. Many were the cries of astonishmentgazed, and he passed his boney hand over his eyes. and of commiseration which arose from them“This is what they call delirium, I guess,” he mut- when they perceived the youth of one of thetered. The child stood beside him, holding on to strangers and the destitution of the other. Their es-the skirt of his coat, and said nothing but looked cort did not halt, however, but pushed on, followedall round her with the wondering questioning gaze by a great crowd of Mormons, until they reached aof childhood. waggon, which was conspicuous for its great size The rescuing party were speedily able to con- and for the gaudiness and smartness of its appear-vince the two castaways that their appearance was ance. Six horses were yoked to it, whereas theno delusion. One of them seized the little girl, and others were furnished with two, or, at most, fourhoisted her upon his shoulder, while two others a-piece. Beside the driver there sat a man whosupported her gaunt companion, and assisted him could not have been more than thirty years of age,towards the waggons. but whose massive head and resolute expression marked him as a leader. He was reading a brown- “My name is John Ferrier,” the wanderer ex- backed volume, but as the crowd approached heplained; “me and that little un are all that’s left o’ laid it aside, and listened attentively to an account 40
  • 41. A Study In Scarletof the episode. Then he turned to the two cast- “On, on to Zion!” cried the crowd of Mormons,aways. and the words rippled down the long caravan, “If we take you with us,” he said, in solemn passing from mouth to mouth until they died awaywords, “it can only be as believers in our own in a dull murmur in the far distance. With a crack-creed. We shall have no wolves in our fold. Better ing of whips and a creaking of wheels the greatfar that your bones should bleach in this wilder- waggons got into motion, and soon the whole car-ness than that you should prove to be that little avan was winding along once more. The Elder tospeck of decay which in time corrupts the whole whose care the two waifs had been committed, ledfruit. Will you come with us on these terms?” them to his waggon, where a meal was already “Guess I’ll come with you on any terms,” said awaiting them.Ferrier, with such emphasis that the grave Elderscould not restrain a smile. The leader alone re-tained his stern, impressive expression. “You shall remain here,” he said. “In a few “Take him, Brother Stangerson,” he said, “give days you will have recovered from your fatigues.him food and drink, and the child likewise. Let it In the meantime, remember that now and foreverbe your task also to teach him our holy creed. We you are of our religion. Brigham Young has said it,have delayed long enough. Forward! On, on to and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith,Zion!” which is the voice of God.” CHAPTER II. The Flower Of Utah This is not the place to commemorate the In the town streets and squares sprang up, as iftrials and privations endured by the immigrant by magic. In the country there was draining andMormons before they came to their final haven. hedging, planting and clearing, until the next sum-From the shores of the Mississippi to the west- mer saw the whole country golden with the wheatern slopes of the Rocky Mountains they had strug- crop. Everything prospered in the strange settle-gled on with a constancy almost unparalleled in ment. Above all, the great temple which they hadhistory. The savage man, and the savage beast, erected in the centre of the city grew ever tallerhunger, thirst, fatigue, and disease—every imped- and larger. From the first blush of dawn until theiment which Nature could place in the way—had closing of the twilight, the clatter of the hammerall been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity. Yet and the rasp of the saw was never absent from thethe long journey and the accumulated terrors had monument which the immigrants erected to Himshaken the hearts of the stoutest among them. who had led them safe through many dangers.There was not one who did not sink upon hisknees in heartfelt prayer when they saw the broad The two castaways, John Ferrier and the littlevalley of Utah bathed in the sunlight beneath girl who had shared his fortunes and had beenthem, and learned from the lips of their leader that adopted as his daughter, accompanied the Mor-this was the promised land, and that these virgin mons to the end of their great pilgrimage. Littleacres were to be theirs for evermore. Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in Elder Stangerson’s waggon, a retreat which she Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful shared with the Mormon’s three wives and withadministrator as well as a resolute chief. Maps his son, a headstrong forward boy of twelve. Hav-were drawn and charts prepared, in which the ing rallied, with the elasticity of childhood, fromfuture city was sketched out. All around farms the shock caused by her mother’s death, she soonwere apportioned and allotted in proportion to became a pet with the women, and reconciled her-the standing of each individual. The tradesman self to this new life in her moving canvas-coveredwas put to his trade and the artisan to his calling. home. In the meantime Ferrier having recovered 41
  • 42. A Study In Scarletfrom his privations, distinguished himself as a use- her father’s mustang, and managing it with all theful guide and an indefatigable hunter. So rapidly ease and grace of a true child of the West. So thedid he gain the esteem of his new companions, bud blossomed into a flower, and the year whichthat when they reached the end of their wander- saw her father the richest of the farmers left her asings, it was unanimously agreed that he should fair a specimen of American girlhood as could bebe provided with as large and as fertile a tract of found in the whole Pacific slope.land as any of the settlers, with the exception of It was not the father, however, who first discov-Young himself, and of Stangerson, Kemball, John- ered that the child had developed into the woman.ston, and Drebber, who were the four principal El- It seldom is in such cases. That mysterious changeders. is too subtle and too gradual to be measured by On the farm thus acquired John Ferrier built dates. Least of all does the maiden herself knowhimself a substantial log-house, which received so it until the tone of a voice or the touch of a handmany additions in succeeding years that it grew sets her heart thrilling within her, and she learns,into a roomy villa. He was a man of a practi- with a mixture of pride and of fear, that a new andcal turn of mind, keen in his dealings and skil- a larger nature has awoken within her. There areful with his hands. His iron constitution enabled few who cannot recall that day and remember thehim to work morning and evening at improving one little incident which heralded the dawn of aand tilling his lands. Hence it came about that his new life. In the case of Lucy Ferrier the occasionfarm and all that belonged to him prospered ex- was serious enough in itself, apart from its futureceedingly. In three years he was better off than influence on her destiny and that of many besides.his neighbours, in six he was well-to-do, in nine It was a warm June morning, and the Latterhe was rich, and in twelve there were not half a Day Saints were as busy as the bees whose hivedozen men in the whole of Salt Lake City who they have chosen for their emblem. In the fieldscould compare with him. From the great inland and in the streets rose the same hum of human in-sea to the distant Wahsatch Mountains there was dustry. Down the dusty high roads defiled longno name better known than that of John Ferrier. streams of heavily-laden mules, all heading to the west, for the gold fever had broken out in Cal- There was one way and only one in which he ifornia, and the Overland Route lay through theoffended the susceptibilities of his co-religionists. City of the Elect. There, too, were droves of sheepNo argument or persuasion could ever induce him and bullocks coming in from the outlying pastureto set up a female establishment after the manner lands, and trains of tired immigrants, men andof his companions. He never gave reasons for this horses equally weary of their interminable jour-persistent refusal, but contented himself by res- ney. Through all this motley assemblage, thread-olutely and inflexibly adhering to his determina- ing her way with the skill of an accomplished rider,tion. There were some who accused him of luke- there galloped Lucy Ferrier, her fair face flushedwarmness in his adopted religion, and others who with the exercise and her long chestnut hair float-put it down to greed of wealth and reluctance to ing out behind her. She had a commission fromincur expense. Others, again, spoke of some early her father in the City, and was dashing in as shelove affair, and of a fair-haired girl who had pined had done many a time before, with all the fearless-away on the shores of the Atlantic. Whatever the ness of youth, thinking only of her task and howreason, Ferrier remained strictly celibate. In every it was to be performed. The travel-stained adven-other respect he conformed to the religion of the turers gazed after her in astonishment, and evenyoung settlement, and gained the name of being the unemotional Indians, journeying in with theiran orthodox and straight-walking man. pelties, relaxed their accustomed stoicism as they Lucy Ferrier grew up within the log-house, and marvelled at the beauty of the pale-faced maiden.assisted her adopted father in all his undertakings. She had reached the outskirts of the city whenThe keen air of the mountains and the balsamic she found the road blocked by a great drove of cat-odour of the pine trees took the place of nurse and tle, driven by a half-dozen wild-looking herdsmenmother to the young girl. As year succeeded to from the plains. In her impatience she endeav-year she grew taller and stronger, her cheek more oured to pass this obstacle by pushing her horserudy, and her step more elastic. Many a wayfarer into what appeared to be a gap. Scarcely hadupon the high road which ran by Ferrier’s farm she got fairly into it, however, before the beastsfelt long-forgotten thoughts revive in their mind closed in behind her, and she found herself com-as they watched her lithe girlish figure tripping pletely imbedded in the moving stream of fierce-through the wheatfields, or met her mounted upon eyed, long-horned bullocks. Accustomed as she 42
  • 43. A Study In Scarletwas to deal with cattle, she was not alarmed at “Neither would I,” said her companion.her situation, but took advantage of every oppor- “You! Well, I don’t see that it would maketunity to urge her horse on in the hopes of push- much matter to you, anyhow. You ain’t even aing her way through the cavalcade. Unfortunately friend of ours.”the horns of one of the creatures, either by acci- The young hunter’s dark face grew so gloomydent or design, came in violent contact with the over this remark that Lucy Ferrier laughed aloud.flank of the mustang, and excited it to madness.In an instant it reared up upon its hind legs with “There, I didn’t mean that,” she said; “ofa snort of rage, and pranced and tossed in a way course, you are a friend now. You must come andthat would have unseated any but a most skilful see us. Now I must push along, or father won’trider. The situation was full of peril. Every plunge trust me with his business any more. Good-bye!”of the excited horse brought it against the horns “Good-bye,” he answered, raising his broadagain, and goaded it to fresh madness. It was all sombrero, and bending over her little hand. Shethat the girl could do to keep herself in the sad- wheeled her mustang round, gave it a cut withdle, yet a slip would mean a terrible death under her riding-whip, and darted away down the broadthe hoofs of the unwieldy and terrified animals. road in a rolling cloud of dust.Unaccustomed to sudden emergencies, her head Young Jefferson Hope rode on with his com-began to swim, and her grip upon the bridle to panions, gloomy and taciturn. He and they hadrelax. Choked by the rising cloud of dust and by been among the Nevada Mountains prospectingthe steam from the struggling creatures, she might for silver, and were returning to Salt Lake City inhave abandoned her efforts in despair, but for a the hope of raising capital enough to work somekindly voice at her elbow which assured her of lodes which they had discovered. He had beenassistance. At the same moment a sinewy brown as keen as any of them upon the business un-hand caught the frightened horse by the curb, and til this sudden incident had drawn his thoughtsforcing a way through the drove, soon brought her into another channel. The sight of the fair youngto the outskirts. girl, as frank and wholesome as the Sierra breezes, “You’re not hurt, I hope, miss,” said her pre- had stirred his volcanic, untamed heart to its veryserver, respectfully. depths. When she had vanished from his sight, he realized that a crisis had come in his life, and She looked up at his dark, fierce face, and that neither silver speculations nor any other ques-laughed saucily. “I’m awful frightened,” she said, tions could ever be of such importance to him asnaively; “whoever would have thought that Pon- this new and all-absorbing one. The love whichcho would have been so scared by a lot of cows?” had sprung up in his heart was not the sudden, “Thank God you kept your seat,” the other said changeable fancy of a boy, but rather the wild,earnestly. He was a tall, savage-looking young fel- fierce passion of a man of strong will and impe-low, mounted on a powerful roan horse, and clad rious temper. He had been accustomed to succeedin the rough dress of a hunter, with a long rifle in all that he undertook. He swore in his heartslung over his shoulders. “I guess you are the that he would not fail in this if human effort anddaughter of John Ferrier,” he remarked, “I saw you human perseverance could render him successful.ride down from his house. When you see him, He called on John Ferrier that night, and manyask him if he remembers the Jefferson Hopes of St. times again, until his face was a familiar one atLouis. If he’s the same Ferrier, my father and he the farm-house. John, cooped up in the valley,were pretty thick.” and absorbed in his work, had had little chance “Hadn’t you better come and ask yourself?” of learning the news of the outside world dur-she asked, demurely. ing the last twelve years. All this Jefferson Hope was able to tell him, and in a style which inter- The young fellow seemed pleased at the sug- ested Lucy as well as her father. He had been agestion, and his dark eyes sparkled with pleasure. pioneer in California, and could narrate many a“I’ll do so,” he said, “we’ve been in the mountains strange tale of fortunes made and fortunes lost infor two months, and are not over and above in vis- those wild, halcyon days. He had been a scout too,iting condition. He must take us as he finds us.” and a trapper, a silver explorer, and a ranchman. “He has a good deal to thank you for, and so Wherever stirring adventures were to be had, Jef-have I,” she answered, “he’s awful fond of me. If ferson Hope had been there in search of them. Hethose cows had jumped on me he’d have never got soon became a favourite with the old farmer, whoover it.” spoke eloquently of his virtues. On such occasions, 43
  • 44. A Study In ScarletLucy was silent, but her blushing cheek and her “And how about father?” she asked.bright, happy eyes, showed only too clearly that “He has given his consent, provided we gether young heart was no longer her own. Her hon- these mines working all right. I have no fear onest father may not have observed these symptoms, that head.”but they were assuredly not thrown away upon the “Oh, well; of course, if you and father have ar-man who had won her affections. ranged it all, there’s no more to be said,” she whis- It was a summer evening when he came gallop- pered, with her cheek against his broad breast.ing down the road and pulled up at the gate. She “Thank God!” he said, hoarsely, stooping andwas at the doorway, and came down to meet him. kissing her. “It is settled, then. The longer I stay,He threw the bridle over the fence and strode up the harder it will be to go. They are waiting for methe pathway. at the canon. Good-bye, my own darling—good- ˜ “I am off, Lucy,” he said, taking her two hands bye. In two months you shall see me.”in his, and gazing tenderly down into her face; “I He tore himself from her as he spoke, and,won’t ask you to come with me now, but will you flinging himself upon his horse, galloped furiouslybe ready to come when I am here again?” away, never even looking round, as though afraid “And when will that be?” she asked, blushing that his resolution might fail him if he took oneand laughing. glance at what he was leaving. She stood at the “A couple of months at the outside. I will come gate, gazing after him until he vanished from herand claim you then, my darling. There’s no one sight. Then she walked back into the house, thewho can stand between us.” happiest girl in all Utah. CHAPTER III. John Ferrier Talks With The Prophet Three weeks had passed since Jefferson Hope secutors on their own account, and persecutors ofand his comrades had departed from Salt Lake the most terrible description. Not the InquisitionCity. John Ferrier’s heart was sore within him of Seville, nor the German Vehmgericht, nor thewhen he thought of the young man’s return, and Secret Societies of Italy, were ever able to put aof the impending loss of his adopted child. Yet more formidable machinery in motion than thather bright and happy face reconciled him to the which cast a cloud over the State of Utah.arrangement more than any argument could havedone. He had always determined, deep down in Its invisibility, and the mystery which was at-his resolute heart, that nothing would ever induce tached to it, made this organization doubly terri-him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon. Such ble. It appeared to be omniscient and omnipotent,a marriage he regarded as no marriage at all, but as and yet was neither seen nor heard. The man whoa shame and a disgrace. Whatever he might think held out against the Church vanished away, andof the Mormon doctrines, upon that one point he none knew whither he had gone or what had be-was inflexible. He had to seal his mouth on the fallen him. His wife and his children awaited himsubject, however, for to express an unorthodox at home, but no father ever returned to tell themopinion was a dangerous matter in those days in how he had fared at the hands of his secret judges.the Land of the Saints. A rash word or a hasty act was followed by annihi- Yes, a dangerous matter—so dangerous that lation, and yet none knew what the nature mighteven the most saintly dared only whisper their re- be of this terrible power which was suspendedligious opinions with bated breath, lest something over them. No wonder that men went about inwhich fell from their lips might be misconstrued, fear and trembling, and that even in the heart ofand bring down a swift retribution upon them. the wilderness they dared not whisper the doubtsThe victims of persecution had now turned per- which oppressed them. 44
  • 45. A Study In Scarlet At first this vague and terrible power was ex- with you, led you safe to the Chosen Valley, gaveercised only upon the recalcitrants who, having you a goodly share of land, and allowed you toembraced the Mormon faith, wished afterwards wax rich under our protection. Is not this so?”to pervert or to abandon it. Soon, however, it “It is so,” answered John Ferrier.took a wider range. The supply of adult women “In return for all this we asked but one condi-was running short, and polygamy without a fe- tion: that was, that you should embrace the truemale population on which to draw was a bar- faith, and conform in every way to its usages. Thisren doctrine indeed. Strange rumours began to you promised to do, and this, if common reportbe bandied about—rumours of murdered immi- says truly, you have neglected.”grants and rifled camps in regions where Indians “And how have I neglected it?” asked Ferrier,had never been seen. Fresh women appeared in throwing out his hands in expostulation. “Havethe harems of the Elders—women who pined and I not given to the common fund? Have I not at-wept, and bore upon their faces the traces of an un- tended at the Temple? Have I not—?”extinguishable horror. Belated wanderers upon the “Where are your wives?” asked Young, lookingmountains spoke of gangs of armed men, masked, round him. “Call them in, that I may greet them.”stealthy, and noiseless, who flitted by them in “It is true that I have not married,” Ferrier an-the darkness. These tales and rumours took sub- swered. “But women were few, and there werestance and shape, and were corroborated and re- many who had better claims than I. I was not acorroborated, until they resolved themselves into lonely man: I had my daughter to attend to mya definite name. To this day, in the lonely ranches wants.”of the West, the name of the Danite Band, or theAvenging Angels, is a sinister and an ill-omened “It is of that daughter that I would speak toone. you,” said the leader of the Mormons. “She has grown to be the flower of Utah, and has found Fuller knowledge of the organization which favour in the eyes of many who are high in theproduced such terrible results served to increase land.”rather than to lessen the horror which it inspired John Ferrier groaned internally.in the minds of men. None knew who belonged “There are stories of her which I would fain dis-to this ruthless society. The names of the partic- believe—stories that she is sealed to some Gentile.ipators in the deeds of blood and violence done This must be the gossip of idle tongues. What isunder the name of religion were kept profoundly the thirteenth rule in the code of the sainted Josephsecret. The very friend to whom you communi- Smith? ‘Let every maiden of the true faith marrycated your misgivings as to the Prophet and his one of the elect; for if she wed a Gentile, she com-mission, might be one of those who would come mits a grievous sin.’ This being so, it is impossibleforth at night with fire and sword to exact a terrible that you, who profess the holy creed, should sufferreparation. Hence every man feared his neighbour, your daughter to violate it.”and none spoke of the things which were nearest John Ferrier made no answer, but he playedhis heart. nervously with his riding-whip. One fine morning, John Ferrier was about to set “Upon this one point your whole faith shall beout to his wheatfields, when he heard the click of tested—so it has been decided in the Sacred Coun-the latch, and, looking through the window, saw cil of Four. The girl is young, and we would nota stout, sandy-haired, middle-aged man coming have her wed grey hairs, neither would we depriveup the pathway. His heart leapt to his mouth, for her of all choice. We Elders have many heifers, 1this was none other than the great Brigham Young but our children must also be provided. Stanger-himself. Full of trepidation—for he knew that such son has a son, and Drebber has a son, and eithera visit boded him little good—Ferrier ran to the of them would gladly welcome your daughter todoor to greet the Mormon chief. The latter, how- their house. Let her choose between them. Theyever, received his salutations coldly, and followed are young and rich, and of the true faith. What sayhim with a stern face into the sitting-room. you to that?” “Brother Ferrier,” he said, taking a seat, and Ferrier remained silent for some little time witheyeing the farmer keenly from under his light- his brows knitted.coloured eyelashes, “the true believers have been “You will give us time,” he said at last. “Mygood friends to you. We picked you up when you daughter is very young—she is scarce of an age towere starving in the desert, we shared our food marry.” 1 Heber C. Kemball, in one of his sermons, alludes to his hundred wives under this endearing epithet. 45
  • 46. A Study In Scarlet “She shall have a month to choose,” said Lucy laughed through her tears at her father’sYoung, rising from his seat. “At the end of that description.time she shall give her answer.” “When he comes, he will advise us for the best. He was passing through the door, when he But it is for you that I am frightened, dear. Oneturned, with flushed face and flashing eyes. “It hears—one hears such dreadful stories about thosewere better for you, John Ferrier,” he thundered, who oppose the Prophet: something terrible al-“that you and she were now lying blanched skele- ways happens to them.”tons upon the Sierra Blanco, than that you should “But we haven’t opposed him yet,” her fatherput your weak wills against the orders of the Holy answered. “It will be time to look out for squallsFour!” when we do. We have a clear month before us; at With a threatening gesture of his hand, he the end of that, I guess we had best shin out ofturned from the door, and Ferrier heard his heavy Utah.”step scrunching along the shingly path. “Leave Utah!” He was still sitting with his elbows upon his “That’s about the size of it.”knees, considering how he should broach the mat- “But the farm?”ter to his daughter when a soft hand was laidupon his, and looking up, he saw her standing be- “We will raise as much as we can in money, andside him. One glance at her pale, frightened face let the rest go. To tell the truth, Lucy, it isn’t theshowed him that she had heard what had passed. first time I have thought of doing it. I don’t care about knuckling under to any man, as these folk “I could not help it,” she said, in answer to his do to their darned prophet. I’m a free-born Amer-look. “His voice rang through the house. Oh, fa- ican, and it’s all new to me. Guess I’m too old tother, father, what shall we do?” learn. If he comes browsing about this farm, he “Don’t you scare yourself,” he answered, draw- might chance to run up against a charge of buck-ing her to him, and passing his broad, rough hand shot travelling in the opposite direction.”caressingly over her chestnut hair. “We’ll fix it up “But they won’t let us leave,” his daughter ob-somehow or another. You don’t find your fancy jected.kind o’ lessening for this chap, do you?” “Wait till Jefferson comes, and we’ll soon man- A sob and a squeeze of his hand was her only age that. In the meantime, don’t you fret yourself,answer. my dearie, and don’t get your eyes swelled up, else “No; of course not. I shouldn’t care to hear you he’ll be walking into me when he sees you. There’ssay you did. He’s a likely lad, and he’s a Christian, nothing to be afeared about, and there’s no dangerwhich is more than these folk here, in spite o’ all at all.”their praying and preaching. There’s a party start- John Ferrier uttered these consoling remarks ining for Nevada to-morrow, and I’ll manage to send a very confident tone, but she could not help ob-him a message letting him know the hole we are serving that he paid unusual care to the fasten-in. If I know anything o’ that young man, he’ll be ing of the doors that night, and that he carefullyback here with a speed that would whip electro- cleaned and loaded the rusty old shotgun whichtelegraphs.” hung upon the wall of his bedroom. CHAPTER IV. A Flight For Life On the morning which followed his interview who was bound for the Nevada Mountains, he en-with the Mormon Prophet, John Ferrier went in to trusted him with his message to Jefferson Hope.Salt Lake City, and having found his acquaintance, In it he told the young man of the imminent dan- 46
  • 47. A Study In Scarletger which threatened them, and how necessary it them for the maiden’s hand was the highest ofwas that he should return. Having done thus he honours both to her and her father.felt easier in his mind, and returned home with a “There are two ways out of the room,” criedlighter heart. Ferrier; “there is the door, and there is the win- As he approached his farm, he was surprised to dow. Which do you care to use?”see a horse hitched to each of the posts of the gate. His brown face looked so savage, and his gauntStill more surprised was he on entering to find hands so threatening, that his visitors sprang totwo young men in possession of his sitting-room. their feet and beat a hurried retreat. The oldOne, with a long pale face, was leaning back in farmer followed them to the door.the rocking-chair, with his feet cocked up upon thestove. The other, a bull-necked youth with coarse “Let me know when you have settled which itbloated features, was standing in front of the win- is to be,” he said, sardonically.dow with his hands in his pocket, whistling a pop- “You shall smart for this!” Stangerson cried,ular hymn. Both of them nodded to Ferrier as white with rage. “You have defied the Prophet andhe entered, and the one in the rocking-chair com- the Council of Four. You shall rue it to the end ofmenced the conversation. your days.” “Maybe you don’t know us,” he said. “This “The hand of the Lord shall be heavy uponhere is the son of Elder Drebber, and I’m Joseph you,” cried young Drebber; “He will arise andStangerson, who travelled with you in the desert smite you!”when the Lord stretched out His hand and gath-ered you into the true fold.” “Then I’ll start the smiting,” exclaimed Ferrier furiously, and would have rushed upstairs for his “As He will all the nations in His own good gun had not Lucy seized him by the arm and re-time,” said the other in a nasal voice; “He grindeth strained him. Before he could escape from her, theslowly but exceeding small.” clatter of horses’ hoofs told him that they were be- John Ferrier bowed coldly. He had guessed yond his reach.who his visitors were. “The young canting rascals!” he exclaimed, “We have come,” continued Stangerson, “at the wiping the perspiration from his forehead; “Iadvice of our fathers to solicit the hand of your would sooner see you in your grave, my girl, thandaughter for whichever of us may seem good to the wife of either of them.”you and to her. As I have but four wives andBrother Drebber here has seven, it appears to me “And so should I, father,” she answered, withthat my claim is the stronger one.” spirit; “but Jefferson will soon be here.” “Nay, nay, Brother Stangerson,” cried the other; “Yes. It will not be long before he comes. The“the question is not how many wives we have, but sooner the better, for we do not know what theirhow many we can keep. My father has now given next move may be.”over his mills to me, and I am the richer man.” It was, indeed, high time that someone capable “But my prospects are better,” said the other, of giving advice and help should come to the aidwarmly. “When the Lord removes my father, I of the sturdy old farmer and his adopted daugh-shall have his tanning yard and his leather fac- ter. In the whole history of the settlement theretory. Then I am your elder, and am higher in the had never been such a case of rank disobedienceChurch.” to the authority of the Elders. If minor errors were “It will be for the maiden to decide,” rejoined punished so sternly, what would be the fate of thisyoung Drebber, smirking at his own reflection in arch rebel. Ferrier knew that his wealth and posi-the glass. “We will leave it all to her decision.” tion would be of no avail to him. Others as well known and as rich as himself had been spirited During this dialogue, John Ferrier had stood away before now, and their goods given over to thefuming in the doorway, hardly able to keep his Church. He was a brave man, but he trembled atriding-whip from the backs of his two visitors. the vague, shadowy terrors which hung over him. “Look here,” he said at last, striding up to Any known danger he could face with a firm lip,them, “when my daughter summons you, you can but this suspense was unnerving. He concealed hiscome, but until then I don’t want to see your faces fears from his daughter, however, and affected toagain.” make light of the whole matter, though she, with The two young Mormons stared at him in the keen eye of love, saw plainly that he was ill atamazement. In their eyes this competition between ease. 47
  • 48. A Study In Scarlet He expected that he would receive some mes- came no sign of him. Whenever a horseman clat-sage or remonstrance from Young as to his con- tered down the road, or a driver shouted at hisduct, and he was not mistaken, though it came in team, the old farmer hurried to the gate think-an unlooked-for manner. Upon rising next morn- ing that help had arrived at last. At last, whening he found, to his surprise, a small square of pa- he saw five give way to four and that again toper pinned on to the coverlet of his bed just over three, he lost heart, and abandoned all hope of es-his chest. On it was printed, in bold straggling cape. Single-handed, and with his limited knowl-letters:— edge of the mountains which surrounded the set- tlement, he knew that he was powerless. The “Twenty-nine days are given you for amend- more-frequented roads were strictly watched andment, and then—” guarded, and none could pass along them with- The dash was more fear-inspiring than any out an order from the Council. Turn which way hethreat could have been. How this warning came would, there appeared to be no avoiding the blowinto his room puzzled John Ferrier sorely, for his which hung over him. Yet the old man never wa-servants slept in an outhouse, and the doors and vered in his resolution to part with life itself beforewindows had all been secured. He crumpled the he consented to what he regarded as his daugh-paper up and said nothing to his daughter, but the ter’s dishonour.incident struck a chill into his heart. The twenty- He was sitting alone one evening ponderingnine days were evidently the balance of the month deeply over his troubles, and searching vainly forwhich Young had promised. What strength or some way out of them. That morning had showncourage could avail against an enemy armed with the figure 2 upon the wall of his house, and thesuch mysterious powers? The hand which fas- next day would be the last of the allotted time.tened that pin might have struck him to the heart, What was to happen then? All manner of vagueand he could never have known who had slain and terrible fancies filled his imagination. And hishim. daughter—what was to become of her after he was Still more shaken was he next morning. They gone? Was there no escape from the invisible net-had sat down to their breakfast when Lucy with a work which was drawn all round them. He sankcry of surprise pointed upwards. In the centre of his head upon the table and sobbed at the thoughtthe ceiling was scrawled, with a burned stick ap- of his own impotence.parently, the number 28. To his daughter it was What was that? In the silence he heard a gen-unintelligible, and he did not enlighten her. That tle scratching sound—low, but very distinct in thenight he sat up with his gun and kept watch and quiet of the night. It came from the door of theward. He saw and he heard nothing, and yet in house. Ferrier crept into the hall and listened in-the morning a great 27 had been painted upon the tently. There was a pause for a few moments, andoutside of his door. then the low insidious sound was repeated. Some- Thus day followed day; and as sure as morning one was evidently tapping very gently upon one ofcame he found that his unseen enemies had kept the panels of the door. Was it some midnight as-their register, and had marked up in some con- sassin who had come to carry out the murderousspicuous position how many days were still left to orders of the secret tribunal? Or was it some agenthim out of the month of grace. Sometimes the fa- who was marking up that the last day of grace hadtal numbers appeared upon the walls, sometimes arrived. John Ferrier felt that instant death wouldupon the floors, occasionally they were on small be better than the suspense which shook his nervesplacards stuck upon the garden gate or the rail- and chilled his heart. Springing forward he drewings. With all his vigilance John Ferrier could not the bolt and threw the door open.discover whence these daily warnings proceeded. Outside all was calm and quiet. The nightA horror which was almost superstitious came was fine, and the stars were twinkling brightlyupon him at the sight of them. He became hag- overhead. The little front garden lay before thegard and restless, and his eyes had the troubled farmer’s eyes bounded by the fence and gate, butlook of some hunted creature. He had but one neither there nor on the road was any human be-hope in life now, and that was for the arrival of the ing to be seen. With a sigh of relief, Ferrier lookedyoung hunter from Nevada. to right and to left, until happening to glance Twenty had changed to fifteen and fifteen to straight down at his own feet he saw to his aston-ten, but there was no news of the absentee. One by ishment a man lying flat upon his face upon theone the numbers dwindled down, and still there ground, with arms and legs all asprawl. 48
  • 49. A Study In Scarlet So unnerved was he at the sight that he leaned packed all the eatables that he could find into aup against the wall with his hand to his throat to small parcel, and filled a stoneware jar with wa-stifle his inclination to call out. His first thought ter, for he knew by experience that the mountainwas that the prostrate figure was that of some wells were few and far between. He had hardlywounded or dying man, but as he watched it he completed his arrangements before the farmer re-saw it writhe along the ground and into the hall turned with his daughter all dressed and ready forwith the rapidity and noiselessness of a serpent. a start. The greeting between the lovers was warm,Once within the house the man sprang to his feet, but brief, for minutes were precious, and there wasclosed the door, and revealed to the astonished much to be done.farmer the fierce face and resolute expression of “We must make our start at once,” said Jeffer-Jefferson Hope. son Hope, speaking in a low but resolute voice, “Good God!” gasped John Ferrier. “How you like one who realizes the greatness of the peril,scared me! Whatever made you come in like that.” but has steeled his heart to meet it. “The front “Give me food,” the other said, hoarsely. “I and back entrances are watched, but with cautionhave had no time for bite or sup for eight-and-forty we may get away through the side window andhours.” He flung himself upon the cold meat and across the fields. Once on the road we are only twobread which were still lying upon the table from miles from the Ravine where the horses are wait-his host’s supper, and devoured it voraciously. ing. By daybreak we should be half-way through“Does Lucy bear up well?” he asked, when he had the mountains.”satisfied his hunger. “What if we are stopped,” asked Ferrier. “Yes. She does not know the danger,” her fa- Hope slapped the revolver butt which pro-ther answered. truded from the front of his tunic. “If they are too many for us we shall take two or three of them “That is well. The house is watched on every with us,” he said with a sinister smile.side. That is why I crawled my way up to it. Theymay be darned sharp, but they’re not quite sharp The lights inside the house had all been extin-enough to catch a Washoe hunter.” guished, and from the darkened window Ferrier peered over the fields which had been his own, John Ferrier felt a different man now that he and which he was now about to abandon for ever.realized that he had a devoted ally. He seized the He had long nerved himself to the sacrifice, how-young man’s leathery hand and wrung it cordially. ever, and the thought of the honour and happiness“You’re a man to be proud of,” he said. “There are of his daughter outweighed any regret at his ru-not many who would come to share our danger ined fortunes. All looked so peaceful and happy,and our troubles.” the rustling trees and the broad silent stretch of “You’ve hit it there, pard,” the young hunter grain-land, that it was difficult to realize that theanswered. “I have a respect for you, but if you spirit of murder lurked through it all. Yet thewere alone in this business I’d think twice before white face and set expression of the young hunterI put my head into such a hornet’s nest. It’s Lucy showed that in his approach to the house he hadthat brings me here, and before harm comes on her seen enough to satisfy him upon that head.I guess there will be one less o’ the Hope family in Ferrier carried the bag of gold and notes, Jef-Utah.” ferson Hope had the scanty provisions and water, “What are we to do?” while Lucy had a small bundle containing a few “To-morrow is your last day, and unless you of her more valued possessions. Opening the win-act to-night you are lost. I have a mule and two dow very slowly and carefully, they waited until ahorses waiting in the Eagle Ravine. How much dark cloud had somewhat obscured the night, andmoney have you?” then one by one passed through into the little gar- den. With bated breath and crouching figures they “Two thousand dollars in gold, and five in stumbled across it, and gained the shelter of thenotes.” hedge, which they skirted until they came to the “That will do. I have as much more to add to it. gap which opened into the cornfields. They hadWe must push for Carson City through the moun- just reached this point when the young man seizedtains. You had best wake Lucy. It is as well that his two companions and dragged them down intothe servants do not sleep in the house.” the shadow, where they lay silent and trembling. While Ferrier was absent, preparing his daugh- It was as well that his prairie training hadter for the approaching journey, Jefferson Hope given Jefferson Hope the ears of a lynx. He and 49
  • 50. A Study In Scarlethis friends had hardly crouched down before the It was a bewildering route for anyone whomelancholy hooting of a mountain owl was heard was not accustomed to face Nature in her wildestwithin a few yards of them, which was imme- moods. On the one side a great crag towered updiately answered by another hoot at a small dis- a thousand feet or more, black, stern, and menac-tance. At the same moment a vague shadowy fig- ing, with long basaltic columns upon its ruggedure emerged from the gap for which they had been surface like the ribs of some petrified monster. Onmaking, and uttered the plaintive signal cry again, the other hand a wild chaos of boulders and debrison which a second man appeared out of the ob- made all advance impossible. Between the two ranscurity. the irregular track, so narrow in places that they “To-morrow at midnight,” said the first who had to travel in Indian file, and so rough that onlyappeared to be in authority. “When the Whip- practised riders could have traversed it at all. Yetpoor-Will calls three times.” in spite of all dangers and difficulties, the hearts “It is well,” returned the other. “Shall I tell of the fugitives were light within them, for everyBrother Drebber?” step increased the distance between them and the terrible despotism from which they were flying. “Pass it on to him, and from him to the others.Nine to seven!” They soon had a proof, however, that they were still within the jurisdiction of the Saints. They “Seven to five!” repeated the other, and the two had reached the very wildest and most desolatefigures flitted away in different directions. Their portion of the pass when the girl gave a star-concluding words had evidently been some form tled cry, and pointed upwards. On a rock whichof sign and countersign. The instant that their overlooked the track, showing out dark and plainfootsteps had died away in the distance, Jeffer- against the sky, there stood a solitary sentinel.son Hope sprang to his feet, and helping his com- He saw them as soon as they perceived him, andpanions through the gap, led the way across the his military challenge of “Who goes there?” rangfields at the top of his speed, supporting and half- through the silent ravine.carrying the girl when her strength appeared tofail her. “Travellers for Nevada,” said Jefferson Hope, with his hand upon the rifle which hung by his “Hurry on! hurry on!” he gasped from time to saddle.time. “We are through the line of sentinels. Every-thing depends on speed. Hurry on!” They could see the lonely watcher fingering his Once on the high road they made rapid gun, and peering down at them as if dissatisfied atprogress. Only once did they meet anyone, and their reply.then they managed to slip into a field, and so avoid “By whose permission?” he asked.recognition. Before reaching the town the hunter “The Holy Four,” answered Ferrier. His Mor-branched away into a rugged and narrow foot- mon experiences had taught him that that was thepath which led to the mountains. Two dark jagged highest authority to which he could refer.peaks loomed above them through the darkness, “Nine from seven,” cried the sentinel.and the defile which led between them was the Ea-gle Canon in which the horses were awaiting them. ˜ “Seven from five,” returned Jefferson HopeWith unerring instinct Jefferson Hope picked his promptly, remembering the countersign which heway among the great boulders and along the bed had heard in the garden.of a dried-up watercourse, until he came to the re- “Pass, and the Lord go with you,” said thetired corner, screened with rocks, where the faith- voice from above. Beyond his post the path broad-ful animals had been picketed. The girl was placed ened out, and the horses were able to break intoupon the mule, and old Ferrier upon one of the a trot. Looking back, they could see the solitaryhorses, with his money-bag, while Jefferson Hope watcher leaning upon his gun, and knew that theyled the other along the precipitous and dangerous had passed the outlying post of the chosen people,path. and that freedom lay before them. 50
  • 51. A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER V. The Avenging Angels All night their course lay through intricate out. This gave the hunter little uneasiness, how-defiles and over irregular and rock-strewn paths. ever, for there was game to be had among theMore than once they lost their way, but Hope’s in- mountains, and he had frequently before had totimate knowledge of the mountains enabled them depend upon his rifle for the needs of life. Choos-to regain the track once more. When morning ing a sheltered nook, he piled together a fewbroke, a scene of marvellous though savage beauty dried branches and made a blazing fire, at whichlay before them. In every direction the great snow- his companions might warm themselves, for theycapped peaks hemmed them in, peeping over each were now nearly five thousand feet above the seaother’s shoulders to the far horizon. So steep were level, and the air was bitter and keen. Having teth-the rocky banks on either side of them, that the ered the horses, and bade Lucy adieu, he threwlarch and the pine seemed to be suspended over his gun over his shoulder, and set out in search oftheir heads, and to need only a gust of wind to whatever chance might throw in his way. Look-come hurtling down upon them. Nor was the ing back he saw the old man and the young girlfear entirely an illusion, for the barren valley was crouching over the blazing fire, while the three an-thickly strewn with trees and boulders which had imals stood motionless in the back-ground. Thenfallen in a similar manner. Even as they passed, the intervening rocks hid them from his view.a great rock came thundering down with a hoarse He walked for a couple of miles through onerattle which woke the echoes in the silent gorges, ravine after another without success, though fromand startled the weary horses into a gallop. the marks upon the bark of the trees, and other As the sun rose slowly above the eastern hori- indications, he judged that there were numerouszon, the caps of the great mountains lit up one bears in the vicinity. At last, after two or threeafter the other, like lamps at a festival, until they hours’ fruitless search, he was thinking of turningwere all ruddy and glowing. The magnificent back in despair, when casting his eyes upwards hespectacle cheered the hearts of the three fugitives saw a sight which sent a thrill of pleasure throughand gave them fresh energy. At a wild torrent his heart. On the edge of a jutting pinnacle, threewhich swept out of a ravine they called a halt and or four hundred feet above him, there stood a crea-watered their horses, while they partook of a hasty ture somewhat resembling a sheep in appearance,breakfast. Lucy and her father would fain have but armed with a pair of gigantic horns. The big-rested longer, but Jefferson Hope was inexorable. horn—for so it is called—was acting, probably, as“They will be upon our track by this time,” he said. a guardian over a flock which were invisible to the“Everything depends upon our speed. Once safe hunter; but fortunately it was heading in the oppo-in Carson we may rest for the remainder of our site direction, and had not perceived him. Lyinglives.” on his face, he rested his rifle upon a rock, and took a long and steady aim before drawing the During the whole of that day they struggled trigger. The animal sprang into the air, totteredon through the defiles, and by evening they calcu- for a moment upon the edge of the precipice, andlated that they were more than thirty miles from then came crashing down into the valley beneath.their enemies. At night-time they chose the baseof a beetling crag, where the rocks offered some The creature was too unwieldy to lift, so theprotection from the chill wind, and there huddled hunter contented himself with cutting away onetogether for warmth, they enjoyed a few hours’ haunch and part of the flank. With this trophysleep. Before daybreak, however, they were up and over his shoulder, he hastened to retrace his steps,on their way once more. They had seen no signs for the evening was already drawing in. He hadof any pursuers, and Jefferson Hope began to think hardly started, however, before he realized the dif-that they were fairly out of the reach of the terri- ficulty which faced him. In his eagerness he hadble organization whose enmity they had incurred. wandered far past the ravines which were knownHe little knew how far that iron grasp could reach, to him, and it was no easy matter to pick out theor how soon it was to close upon them and crush path which he had taken. The valley in which hethem. found himself divided and sub-divided into many gorges, which were so like each other that it was About the middle of the second day of their impossible to distinguish one from the other. Heflight their scanty store of provisions began to run followed one for a mile or more until he came to 51
  • 52. A Study In Scarleta mountain torrent which he was sure that he had men had overtaken the fugitives, and the directionnever seen before. Convinced that he had taken of their tracks proved that they had afterwardsthe wrong turn, he tried another, but with the turned back to Salt Lake City. Had they carriedsame result. Night was coming on rapidly, and back both of his companions with them? Jeffer-it was almost dark before he at last found him- son Hope had almost persuaded himself that theyself in a defile which was familiar to him. Even must have done so, when his eye fell upon an ob-then it was no easy matter to keep to the right ject which made every nerve of his body tingletrack, for the moon had not yet risen, and the high within him. A little way on one side of the campcliffs on either side made the obscurity more pro- was a low-lying heap of reddish soil, which hadfound. Weighed down with his burden, and weary assuredly not been there before. There was no mis-from his exertions, he stumbled along, keeping up taking it for anything but a newly-dug grave. Ashis heart by the reflection that every step brought the young hunter approached it, he perceived thathim nearer to Lucy, and that he carried with him a stick had been planted on it, with a sheet of pa-enough to ensure them food for the remainder of per stuck in the cleft fork of it. The inscriptiontheir journey. upon the paper was brief, but to the point: He had now come to the mouth of the very JOHN FERRIER,defile in which he had left them. Even in the dark- Formerly of Salt Lake City,ness he could recognize the outline of the cliffs Died August 4th, 1860.which bounded it. They must, he reflected, be The sturdy old man, whom he had left so shortawaiting him anxiously, for he had been absent a time before, was gone, then, and this was allnearly five hours. In the gladness of his heart he his epitaph. Jefferson Hope looked wildly roundput his hands to his mouth and made the glen to see if there was a second grave, but there wasre-echo to a loud halloo as a signal that he was no sign of one. Lucy had been carried back bycoming. He paused and listened for an answer. their terrible pursuers to fulfil her original destiny,None came save his own cry, which clattered up by becoming one of the harem of the Elder’s son.the dreary silent ravines, and was borne back to As the young fellow realized the certainty of herhis ears in countless repetitions. Again he shouted, fate, and his own powerlessness to prevent it, heeven louder than before, and again no whisper wished that he, too, was lying with the old farmercame back from the friends whom he had left in his last silent resting-place.such a short time ago. A vague, nameless dread Again, however, his active spirit shook off thecame over him, and he hurried onwards frantically, lethargy which springs from despair. If there wasdropping the precious food in his agitation. nothing else left to him, he could at least devote When he turned the corner, he came full in his life to revenge. With indomitable patiencesight of the spot where the fire had been lit. There and perseverance, Jefferson Hope possessed also awas still a glowing pile of wood ashes there, but it power of sustained vindictiveness, which he mayhad evidently not been tended since his departure. have learned from the Indians amongst whom heThe same dead silence still reigned all round. With had lived. As he stood by the desolate fire, hehis fears all changed to convictions, he hurried on. felt that the only one thing which could assuageThere was no living creature near the remains of his grief would be thorough and complete retri-the fire: animals, man, maiden, all were gone. It bution, brought by his own hand upon his ene-was only too clear that some sudden and terrible mies. His strong will and untiring energy should,disaster had occurred during his absence—a disas- he determined, be devoted to that one end. Withter which had embraced them all, and yet had left a grim, white face, he retraced his steps to whereno traces behind it. he had dropped the food, and having stirred up the smouldering fire, he cooked enough to last Bewildered and stunned by this blow, Jeffer- him for a few days. This he made up into a bun-son Hope felt his head spin round, and had to dle, and, tired as he was, he set himself to walklean upon his rifle to save himself from falling. back through the mountains upon the track of theHe was essentially a man of action, however, and avenging angels.speedily recovered from his temporary impotence.Seizing a half-consumed piece of wood from the For five days he toiled footsore and wearysmouldering fire, he blew it into a flame, and pro- through the defiles which he had already traversedceeded with its help to examine the little camp. on horseback. At night he flung himself downThe ground was all stamped down by the feet among the rocks, and snatched a few hours ofof horses, showing that a large party of mounted sleep; but before daybreak he was always well on 52
  • 53. A Study In Scarlethis way. On the sixth day, he reached the Eagle best claim; but when they argued it out in council,Canon, from which they had commenced their ill- ˜ Drebber’s party was the stronger, so the Prophetfated flight. Thence he could look down upon gave her over to him. No one won’t have her verythe home of the saints. Worn and exhausted, he long though, for I saw death in her face yesterday.leaned upon his rifle and shook his gaunt hand She is more like a ghost than a woman. Are youfiercely at the silent widespread city beneath him. off, then?”As he looked at it, he observed that there were “Yes, I am off,” said Jefferson Hope, who hadflags in some of the principal streets, and other risen from his seat. His face might have been chis-signs of festivity. He was still speculating as to elled out of marble, so hard and set was its expres-what this might mean when he heard the clatter sion, while its eyes glowed with a baleful light.of horse’s hoofs, and saw a mounted man riding “Where are you going?”towards him. As he approached, he recognized “Never mind,” he answered; and, slinging hishim as a Mormon named Cowper, to whom he weapon over his shoulder, strode off down thehad rendered services at different times. He there- gorge and so away into the heart of the mountainsfore accosted him when he got up to him, with the to the haunts of the wild beasts. Amongst themobject of finding out what Lucy Ferrier’s fate had all there was none so fierce and so dangerous asbeen. himself. “I am Jefferson Hope,” he said. “You remem- The prediction of the Mormon was only toober me.” well fulfilled. Whether it was the terrible death The Mormon looked at him with undisguised of her father or the effects of the hateful marriageastonishment—indeed, it was difficult to recognize into which she had been forced, poor Lucy neverin this tattered, unkempt wanderer, with ghastly held up her head again, but pined away and diedwhite face and fierce, wild eyes, the spruce young within a month. Her sottish husband, who hadhunter of former days. Having, however, at last, married her principally for the sake of John Fer-satisfied himself as to his identity, the man’s sur- rier’s property, did not affect any great grief at hisprise changed to consternation. bereavement; but his other wives mourned over her, and sat up with her the night before the burial, “You are mad to come here,” he cried. “It is as as is the Mormon custom. They were groupedmuch as my own life is worth to be seen talking round the bier in the early hours of the morn-with you. There is a warrant against you from the ing, when, to their inexpressible fear and aston-Holy Four for assisting the Ferriers away.” ishment, the door was flung open, and a savage- “I don’t fear them, or their warrant,” Hope looking, weather-beaten man in tattered garmentssaid, earnestly. “You must know something of this strode into the room. Without a glance or a wordmatter, Cowper. I conjure you by everything you to the cowering women, he walked up to the whitehold dear to answer a few questions. We have al- silent figure which had once contained the pureways been friends. For God’s sake, don’t refuse to soul of Lucy Ferrier. Stooping over her, he pressedanswer me.” his lips reverently to her cold forehead, and then, “What is it?” the Mormon asked uneasily. “Be snatching up her hand, he took the wedding-ringquick. The very rocks have ears and the trees from her finger. “She shall not be buried in that,”eyes.” he cried with a fierce snarl, and before an alarm “What has become of Lucy Ferrier?” could be raised sprang down the stairs and was gone. So strange and so brief was the episode, that “She was married yesterday to young Drebber. the watchers might have found it hard to believe itHold up, man, hold up, you have no life left in themselves or persuade other people of it, had ityou.” not been for the undeniable fact that the circlet of “Don’t mind me,” said Hope faintly. He was gold which marked her as having been a bride hadwhite to the very lips, and had sunk down on the disappeared.stone against which he had been leaning. “Mar- For some months Jefferson Hope lingeredried, you say?” among the mountains, leading a strange wild “Married yesterday—that’s what those flags life, and nursing in his heart the fierce desire forare for on the Endowment House. There was some vengeance which possessed him. Tales were toldwords between young Drebber and young Stanger- in the City of the weird figure which was seenson as to which was to have her. They’d both been prowling about the suburbs, and which hauntedin the party that followed them, and Stangerson the lonely mountain gorges. Once a bullet whis-had shot her father, which seemed to give him the tled through Stangerson’s window and flattened 53
  • 54. A Study In Scarletitself upon the wall within a foot of him. On an- his property into money, and that he had departedother occasion, as Drebber passed under a cliff a a wealthy man, while his companion, Stangerson,great boulder crashed down on him, and he only was comparatively poor. There was no clue at all,escaped a terrible death by throwing himself upon however, as to their whereabouts.his face. The two young Mormons were not long Many a man, however vindictive, would havein discovering the reason of these attempts upon abandoned all thought of revenge in the face oftheir lives, and led repeated expeditions into the such a difficulty, but Jefferson Hope never falteredmountains in the hope of capturing or killing their for a moment. With the small competence he pos-enemy, but always without success. Then they sessed, eked out by such employment as he couldadopted the precaution of never going out alone or pick up, he travelled from town to town throughafter nightfall, and of having their houses guarded. the United States in quest of his enemies. YearAfter a time they were able to relax these mea- passed into year, his black hair turned grizzled,sures, for nothing was either heard or seen of their but still he wandered on, a human bloodhound,opponent, and they hoped that time had cooled with his mind wholly set upon the one object uponhis vindictiveness. which he had devoted his life. At last his per- Far from doing so, it had, if anything, aug- severance was rewarded. It was but a glance ofmented it. The hunter’s mind was of a hard, un- a face in a window, but that one glance told himyielding nature, and the predominant idea of re- that Cleveland in Ohio possessed the men whomvenge had taken such complete possession of it he was in pursuit of. He returned to his miser-that there was no room for any other emotion. He able lodgings with his plan of vengeance all ar-was, however, above all things practical. He soon ranged. It chanced, however, that Drebber, look-realized that even his iron constitution could not ing from his window, had recognized the vagrantstand the incessant strain which he was putting in the street, and had read murder in his eyes. Heupon it. Exposure and want of wholesome food hurried before a justice of the peace, accompaniedwere wearing him out. If he died like a dog among by Stangerson, who had become his private secre-the mountains, what was to become of his revenge tary, and represented to him that they were in dan-then? And yet such a death was sure to overtake ger of their lives from the jealousy and hatred of anhim if he persisted. He felt that that was to play old rival. That evening Jefferson Hope was takenhis enemy’s game, so he reluctantly returned to the into custody, and not being able to find sureties,old Nevada mines, there to recruit his health and was detained for some weeks. When at last he wasto amass money enough to allow him to pursue liberated, it was only to find that Drebber’s househis object without privation. was deserted, and that he and his secretary had His intention had been to be absent a year at departed for Europe.the most, but a combination of unforeseen circum- Again the avenger had been foiled, and againstances prevented his leaving the mines for nearly his concentrated hatred urged him to continue thefive. At the end of that time, however, his memory pursuit. Funds were wanting, however, and forof his wrongs and his craving for revenge were some time he had to return to work, saving everyquite as keen as on that memorable night when dollar for his approaching journey. At last, hav-he had stood by John Ferrier’s grave. Disguised, ing collected enough to keep life in him, he de-and under an assumed name, he returned to Salt parted for Europe, and tracked his enemies fromLake City, careless what became of his own life, as city to city, working his way in any menial capac-long as he obtained what he knew to be justice. ity, but never overtaking the fugitives. When heThere he found evil tidings awaiting him. There reached St. Petersburg they had departed for Paris;had been a schism among the Chosen People a few and when he followed them there he learned thatmonths before, some of the younger members of they had just set off for Copenhagen. At the Dan-the Church having rebelled against the authority ish capital he was again a few days late, for theyof the Elders, and the result had been the secession had journeyed on to London, where he at last suc-of a certain number of the malcontents, who had ceeded in running them to earth. As to what oc-left Utah and become Gentiles. Among these had curred there, we cannot do better than quote thebeen Drebber and Stangerson; and no one knew old hunter’s own account, as duly recorded in Dr.whither they had gone. Rumour reported that Watson’s Journal, to which we are already underDrebber had managed to convert a large part of such obligations. 54
  • 55. A Study In Scarlet CHAPTER VI. A Continuation Of The Reminiscences Of John Watson, M.D. Our prisoner’s furious resistance did not “I’ve got a good deal to say,” our prisoner saidapparently indicate any ferocity in his disposition slowly. “I want to tell you gentlemen all about it.”towards ourselves, for on finding himself power- “Hadn’t you better reserve that for your trial?”less, he smiled in an affable manner, and expressed asked the Inspector.his hopes that he had not hurt any of us in the “I may never be tried,” he answered. “Youscuffle. “I guess you’re going to take me to the needn’t look startled. It isn’t suicide I am think-police-station,” he remarked to Sherlock Holmes. ing of. Are you a Doctor?” He turned his fierce“My cab’s at the door. If you’ll loose my legs I’ll dark eyes upon me as he asked this last question.walk down to it. I’m not so light to lift as I used tobe.” “Yes; I am,” I answered. “Then put your hand here,” he said, with a Gregson and Lestrade exchanged glances as if smile, motioning with his manacled wrists to-they thought this proposition rather a bold one; wards his chest.but Holmes at once took the prisoner at his word,and loosened the towel which we had bound I did so; and became at once conscious of an ex-round his ankles. He rose and stretched his legs, as traordinary throbbing and commotion which wasthough to assure himself that they were free once going on inside. The walls of his chest seemed tomore. I remember that I thought to myself, as I thrill and quiver as a frail building would do insideeyed him, that I had seldom seen a more power- when some powerful engine was at work. In thefully built man; and his dark sunburned face bore silence of the room I could hear a dull hummingan expression of determination and energy which and buzzing noise which proceeded from the samewas as formidable as his personal strength. source. “Why,” I cried, “you have an aortic aneurism!” “If there’s a vacant place for a chief of the po-lice, I reckon you are the man for it,” he said, “That’s what they call it,” he said, placidly. “Igazing with undisguised admiration at my fellow- went to a Doctor last week about it, and he told melodger. “The way you kept on my trail was a cau- that it is bound to burst before many days passed.tion.” It has been getting worse for years. I got it from over-exposure and under-feeding among the Salt “You had better come with me,” said Holmes Lake Mountains. I’ve done my work now, and Ito the two detectives. don’t care how soon I go, but I should like to leave “I can drive you,” said Lestrade. some account of the business behind me. I don’t want to be remembered as a common cut-throat.” “Good! and Gregson can come inside with me. The Inspector and the two detectives had a hur-You too, Doctor, you have taken an interest in the ried discussion as to the advisability of allowingcase and may as well stick to us.” him to tell his story. I assented gladly, and we all descended to- “Do you consider, Doctor, that there is imme-gether. Our prisoner made no attempt at escape, diate danger?” the former asked.but stepped calmly into the cab which had been “Most certainly there is,” I answered.his, and we followed him. Lestrade mounted thebox, whipped up the horse, and brought us in a “In that case it is clearly our duty, in the in-very short time to our destination. We were ush- terests of justice, to take his statement,” said theered into a small chamber where a police Inspector Inspector. “You are at liberty, sir, to give yournoted down our prisoner’s name and the names of account, which I again warn you will be takenthe men with whose murder he had been charged. down.”The official was a white-faced unemotional man, “I’ll sit down, with your leave,” the pris-who went through his duties in a dull mechanical oner said, suiting the action to the word. “Thisway. “The prisoner will be put before the mag- aneurism of mine makes me easily tired, and theistrates in the course of the week,” he said; “in tussle we had half an hour ago has not mendedthe mean time, Mr. Jefferson Hope, have you any- matters. I’m on the brink of the grave, and I amthing that you wish to say? I must warn you that not likely to lie to you. Every word I say is the ab-your words will be taken down, and may be used solute truth, and how you use it is a matter of noagainst you.” consequence to me.” 55
  • 56. A Study In Scarlet With these words, Jefferson Hope leaned back the other side of the river. When once I foundin his chair and began the following remarkable them out I knew that I had them at my mercy.statement. He spoke in a calm and methodical I had grown my beard, and there was no chancemanner, as though the events which he narrated of their recognizing me. I would dog them andwere commonplace enough. I can vouch for the follow them until I saw my opportunity. I was de-accuracy of the subjoined account, for I have had termined that they should not escape me again.access to Lestrade’s note-book, in which the pris- “They were very near doing it for all that. Gooner’s words were taken down exactly as they where they would about London, I was always atwere uttered. their heels. Sometimes I followed them on my cab, “It don’t much matter to you why I hated these and sometimes on foot, but the former was themen,” he said; “it’s enough that they were guilty best, for then they could not get away from me. Itof the death of two human beings—a father and a was only early in the morning or late at night thatdaughter—and that they had, therefore, forfeited I could earn anything, so that I began to get be-their own lives. After the lapse of time that has hind hand with my employer. I did not mind that,passed since their crime, it was impossible for me however, as long as I could lay my hand upon theto secure a conviction against them in any court. I men I wanted.knew of their guilt though, and I determined thatI should be judge, jury, and executioner all rolled “They were very cunning, though. They mustinto one. You’d have done the same, if you have have thought that there was some chance of theirany manhood in you, if you had been in my place. being followed, for they would never go out alone, and never after nightfall. During two weeks I “That girl that I spoke of was to have married drove behind them every day, and never once sawme twenty years ago. She was forced into marry- them separate. Drebber himself was drunk halfing that same Drebber, and broke her heart over it. the time, but Stangerson was not to be caught nap-I took the marriage ring from her dead finger, and ping. I watched them late and early, but never sawI vowed that his dying eyes should rest upon that the ghost of a chance; but I was not discouraged,very ring, and that his last thoughts should be of for something told me that the hour had almostthe crime for which he was punished. I have car- come. My only fear was that this thing in my chestried it about with me, and have followed him and might burst a little too soon and leave my workhis accomplice over two continents until I caught undone.them. They thought to tire me out, but they couldnot do it. If I die to-morrow, as is likely enough, “At last, one evening I was driving up andI die knowing that my work in this world is done, down Torquay Terrace, as the street was called inand well done. They have perished, and by my which they boarded, when I saw a cab drive up tohand. There is nothing left for me to hope for, or their door. Presently some luggage was broughtto desire. out, and after a time Drebber and Stangerson fol- lowed it, and drove off. I whipped up my horse “They were rich and I was poor, so that it was and kept within sight of them, feeling very ill atno easy matter for me to follow them. When I ease, for I feared that they were going to shift theirgot to London my pocket was about empty, and I quarters. At Euston Station they got out, and I leftfound that I must turn my hand to something for a boy to hold my horse, and followed them on tomy living. Driving and riding are as natural to me the platform. I heard them ask for the Liverpoolas walking, so I applied at a cabowner’s office, and train, and the guard answer that one had just gonesoon got employment. I was to bring a certain sum and there would not be another for some hours.a week to the owner, and whatever was over that Stangerson seemed to be put out at that, but Dreb-I might keep for myself. There was seldom much ber was rather pleased than otherwise. I got soover, but I managed to scrape along somehow. The close to them in the bustle that I could hear everyhardest job was to learn my way about, for I reckon word that passed between them. Drebber said thatthat of all the mazes that ever were contrived, this he had a little business of his own to do, and thatcity is the most confusing. I had a map beside me if the other would wait for him he would soon re-though, and when once I had spotted the principal join him. His companion remonstrated with him,hotels and stations, I got on pretty well. and reminded him that they had resolved to stick “It was some time before I found out where my together. Drebber answered that the matter was atwo gentlemen were living; but I inquired and in- delicate one, and that he must go alone. I could notquired until at last I dropped across them. They catch what Stangerson said to that, but the otherwere at a boarding-house at Camberwell, over on burst out swearing, and reminded him that he was 56
  • 57. A Study In Scarletnothing more than his paid servant, and that he and when they came to the head of the steps hemust not presume to dictate to him. On that the gave him a shove and a kick which sent him halfSecretary gave it up as a bad job, and simply bar- across the road. ‘You hound,’ he cried, shakinggained with him that if he missed the last train he his stick at him; ‘I’ll teach you to insult an honestshould rejoin him at Halliday’s Private Hotel; to girl!’ He was so hot that I think he would havewhich Drebber answered that he would be back thrashed Drebber with his cudgel, only that theon the platform before eleven, and made his way cur staggered away down the road as fast as hisout of the station. legs would carry him. He ran as far as the corner, “The moment for which I had waited so long and then, seeing my cab, he hailed me and jumpedhad at last come. I had my enemies within my in. ‘Drive me to Halliday’s Private Hotel,’ said he.power. Together they could protect each other, “When I had him fairly inside my cab, my heartbut singly they were at my mercy. I did not jumped so with joy that I feared lest at this last mo-act, however, with undue precipitation. My plans ment my aneurism might go wrong. I drove alongwere already formed. There is no satisfaction in slowly, weighing in my own mind what it was bestvengeance unless the offender has time to real- to do. I might take him right out into the country,ize who it is that strikes him, and why retribu- and there in some deserted lane have my last in-tion has come upon him. I had my plans arranged terview with him. I had almost decided upon this,by which I should have the opportunity of making when he solved the problem for me. The craze forthe man who had wronged me understand that his drink had seized him again, and he ordered meold sin had found him out. It chanced that some to pull up outside a gin palace. He went in, leav-days before a gentleman who had been engaged in ing word that I should wait for him. There he re-looking over some houses in the Brixton Road had mained until closing time, and when he came outdropped the key of one of them in my carriage. he was so far gone that I knew the game was inIt was claimed that same evening, and returned; my own hands.but in the interval I had taken a moulding of it, “Don’t imagine that I intended to kill him inand had a duplicate constructed. By means of this cold blood. It would only have been rigid justiceI had access to at least one spot in this great city if I had done so, but I could not bring myself towhere I could rely upon being free from interrup- do it. I had long determined that he should havetion. How to get Drebber to that house was the a show for his life if he chose to take advantagedifficult problem which I had now to solve. of it. Among the many billets which I have filled “He walked down the road and went into one in America during my wandering life, I was onceor two liquor shops, staying for nearly half-an- janitor and sweeper out of the laboratory at Yorkhour in the last of them. When he came out he College. One day the professor was lecturing onstaggered in his walk, and was evidently pretty poisons, and he showed his students some alka-well on. There was a hansom just in front of me, loid, as he called it, which he had extracted fromand he hailed it. I followed it so close that the some South American arrow poison, and whichnose of my horse was within a yard of his driver was so powerful that the least grain meant instantthe whole way. We rattled across Waterloo Bridge death. I spotted the bottle in which this prepa-and through miles of streets, until, to my astonish- ration was kept, and when they were all gone, Iment, we found ourselves back in the Terrace in helped myself to a little of it. I was a fairly goodwhich he had boarded. I could not imagine what dispenser, so I worked this alkaloid into small, sol-his intention was in returning there; but I went on uble pills, and each pill I put in a box with a sim-and pulled up my cab a hundred yards or so from ilar pill made without the poison. I determined atthe house. He entered it, and his hansom drove the time that when I had my chance, my gentle-away. Give me a glass of water, if you please. My men should each have a draw out of one of thesemouth gets dry with the talking.” boxes, while I ate the pill that remained. It would be quite as deadly, and a good deal less noisy than I handed him the glass, and he drank it down. firing across a handkerchief. From that day I had “That’s better,” he said. “Well, I waited for always my pill boxes about with me, and the timea quarter of an hour, or more, when suddenly had now come when I was to use them.there came a noise like people struggling inside “It was nearer one than twelve, and a wild,the house. Next moment the door was flung open bleak night, blowing hard and raining in torrents.and two men appeared, one of whom was Drebber, Dismal as it was outside, I was glad within—soand the other was a young chap whom I had never glad that I could have shouted out from pure exul-seen before. This fellow had Drebber by the collar, tation. If any of you gentlemen have ever pined for 57
  • 58. A Study In Scarleta thing, and longed for it during twenty long years, “ ‘What do you think of Lucy Ferrier now?’ Iand then suddenly found it within your reach, you cried, locking the door, and shaking the key in hiswould understand my feelings. I lit a cigar, and face. ‘Punishment has been slow in coming, but itpuffed at it to steady my nerves, but my hands has overtaken you at last.’ I saw his coward lipswere trembling, and my temples throbbing with tremble as I spoke. He would have begged for hisexcitement. As I drove, I could see old John Ferrier life, but he knew well that it was useless.and sweet Lucy looking at me out of the darkness “ ‘Would you murder me?’ he stammered.and smiling at me, just as plain as I see you all in “ ‘There is no murder,’ I answered. ‘Who talksthis room. All the way they were ahead of me, one of murdering a mad dog? What mercy had youon each side of the horse until I pulled up at the upon my poor darling, when you dragged herhouse in the Brixton Road. from her slaughtered father, and bore her away to “There was not a soul to be seen, nor a sound to your accursed and shameless harem.’be heard, except the dripping of the rain. When I “ ‘It was not I who killed her father,’ he cried.looked in at the window, I found Drebber all hud-dled together in a drunken sleep. I shook him by “ ‘But it was you who broke her innocent heart,’the arm, ‘It’s time to get out,’ I said. I shrieked, thrusting the box before him. ‘Let the high God judge between us. Choose and eat. “ ‘All right, cabby,’ said he. There is death in one and life in the other. I shall “I suppose he thought we had come to the ho- take what you leave. Let us see if there is justicetel that he had mentioned, for he got out without upon the earth, or if we are ruled by chance.’another word, and followed me down the garden. “He cowered away with wild cries and prayersI had to walk beside him to keep him steady, for he for mercy, but I drew my knife and held it to hiswas still a little top-heavy. When we came to the throat until he had obeyed me. Then I swalloweddoor, I opened it, and led him into the front room. the other, and we stood facing one another in si-I give you my word that all the way, the father and lence for a minute or more, waiting to see whichthe daughter were walking in front of us. was to live and which was to die. Shall I ever for- “ ‘It’s infernally dark,’ said he, stamping about. get the look which came over his face when the first warning pangs told him that the poison was “ ‘We’ll soon have a light,’ I said, striking a in his system? I laughed as I saw it, and heldmatch and putting it to a wax candle which I had Lucy’s marriage ring in front of his eyes. It wasbrought with me. ‘Now, Enoch Drebber,’ I contin- but for a moment, for the action of the alkaloidued, turning to him, and holding the light to my is rapid. A spasm of pain contorted his features;own face, ‘who am I?’ he threw his hands out in front of him, staggered, “He gazed at me with bleared, drunken eyes and then, with a hoarse cry, fell heavily upon thefor a moment, and then I saw a horror spring up floor. I turned him over with my foot, and placedin them, and convulse his whole features, which my hand upon his heart. There was no movement.showed me that he knew me. He staggered back He was dead!with a livid face, and I saw the perspiration break “The blood had been streaming from my nose,out upon his brow, while his teeth chattered in his but I had taken no notice of it. I don’t know whathead. At the sight, I leaned my back against the it was that put it into my head to write upon thedoor and laughed loud and long. I had always wall with it. Perhaps it was some mischievous ideaknown that vengeance would be sweet, but I had of setting the police upon a wrong track, for I feltnever hoped for the contentment of soul which light-hearted and cheerful. I remembered a Ger-now possessed me. man being found in New York with RACHE writ- “ ‘You dog!’ I said; ‘I have hunted you from ten up above him, and it was argued at the timeSalt Lake City to St. Petersburg, and you have al- in the newspapers that the secret societies mustways escaped me. Now, at last your wanderings have done it. I guessed that what puzzled the Newhave come to an end, for either you or I shall never Yorkers would puzzle the Londoners, so I dippedsee to-morrow’s sun rise.’ He shrunk still further my finger in my own blood and printed it on aaway as I spoke, and I could see on his face that convenient place on the wall. Then I walked downhe thought I was mad. So I was for the time. The to my cab and found that there was nobody about,pulses in my temples beat like sledge-hammers, and that the night was still very wild. I had drivenand I believe I would have had a fit of some sort some distance when I put my hand into the pocketif the blood had not gushed from my nose and re- in which I usually kept Lucy’s ring, and found thatlieved me. it was not there. I was thunderstruck at this, for it 58
  • 59. A Study In Scarletwas the only memento that I had of her. Thinking and said that his cab was wanted by a gentlemanthat I might have dropped it when I stooped over at 221b, Baker Street. I went round, suspecting noDrebber’s body, I drove back, and leaving my cab harm, and the next thing I knew, this young manin a side street, I went boldly up to the house—for here had the bracelets on my wrists, and as neatlyI was ready to dare anything rather than lose the snackled as ever I saw in my life. That’s the wholering. When I arrived there, I walked right into of my story, gentlemen. You may consider me tothe arms of a police-officer who was coming out, be a murderer; but I hold that I am just as muchand only managed to disarm his suspicions by pre- an officer of justice as you are.”tending to be hopelessly drunk. So thrilling had the man’s narrative been, and “That was how Enoch Drebber came to his end. his manner was so impressive that we had satAll I had to do then was to do as much for Stanger- silent and absorbed. Even the professional detec-son, and so pay off John Ferrier’s debt. I knew that tives, blase as they were in every detail of crime, ap-he was staying at Halliday’s Private Hotel, and I peared to be keenly interested in the man’s story.hung about all day, but he never came out. I fancy When he finished we sat for some minutes in athat he suspected something when Drebber failed stillness which was only broken by the scratch-to put in an appearance. He was cunning, was ing of Lestrade’s pencil as he gave the finishingStangerson, and always on his guard. If he thought touches to his shorthand account.he could keep me off by staying indoors he wasvery much mistaken. I soon found out which was “There is only one point on which I should likethe window of his bedroom, and early next morn- a little more information,” Sherlock Holmes saiding I took advantage of some ladders which were at last. “Who was your accomplice who came forlying in the lane behind the hotel, and so made my the ring which I advertised?”way into his room in the grey of the dawn. I woke The prisoner winked at my friend jocosely. “Ihim up and told him that the hour had come when can tell my own secrets,” he said, “but I don’t gethe was to answer for the life he had taken so long other people into trouble. I saw your advertise-before. I described Drebber’s death to him, and ment, and I thought it might be a plant, or it mightI gave him the same choice of the poisoned pills. be the ring which I wanted. My friend volunteeredInstead of grasping at the chance of safety which to go and see. I think you’ll own he did it smartly.”that offered him, he sprang from his bed and flewat my throat. In self-defence I stabbed him to the “Not a doubt of that,” said Holmes heartily.heart. It would have been the same in any case, for “Now, gentlemen,” the Inspector remarkedProvidence would never have allowed his guilty gravely, “the forms of the law must be compliedhand to pick out anything but the poison. with. On Thursday the prisoner will be brought “I have little more to say, and it’s as well, for before the magistrates, and your attendance willI am about done up. I went on cabbing it for a be required. Until then I will be responsible forday or so, intending to keep at it until I could save him.” He rang the bell as he spoke, and Jeffersonenough to take me back to America. I was stand- Hope was led off by a couple of warders, while mying in the yard when a ragged youngster asked friend and I made our way out of the Station andif there was a cabby there called Jefferson Hope, took a cab back to Baker Street. CHAPTER VII. The Conclusion We had all been warned to appear before hand, and Jefferson Hope had been summoned be-the magistrates upon the Thursday; but when the fore a tribunal where strict justice would be metedThursday came there was no occasion for our tes- out to him. On the very night after his capture thetimony. A higher Judge had taken the matter in aneurism burst, and he was found in the morning 59
  • 60. A Study In Scarletstretched upon the floor of the cell, with a placid “Now this was a case in which you were givensmile upon his face, as though he had been able in the result and had to find everything else for your-his dying moments to look back upon a useful life, self. Now let me endeavour to show you the dif-and on work well done. ferent steps in my reasoning. To begin at the be- ginning. I approached the house, as you know, “Gregson and Lestrade will be wild about his on foot, and with my mind entirely free from alldeath,” Holmes remarked, as we chatted it over impressions. I naturally began by examining thenext evening. “Where will their grand advertise- roadway, and there, as I have already explained toment be now?” you, I saw clearly the marks of a cab, which, I as- “I don’t see that they had very much to do with certained by inquiry, must have been there duringhis capture,” I answered. the night. I satisfied myself that it was a cab and “What you do in this world is a matter of no not a private carriage by the narrow gauge of theconsequence,” returned my companion, bitterly. wheels. The ordinary London growler is consider-“The question is, what can you make people be- ably less wide than a gentleman’s brougham.lieve that you have done. Never mind,” he con- “This was the first point gained. I then walkedtinued, more brightly, after a pause. “I would not slowly down the garden path, which happenedhave missed the investigation for anything. There to be composed of a clay soil, peculiarly suitablehas been no better case within my recollection. for taking impressions. No doubt it appeared toSimple as it was, there were several most instruc- you to be a mere trampled line of slush, but totive points about it.” my trained eyes every mark upon its surface had a meaning. There is no branch of detective science “Simple!” I ejaculated. which is so important and so much neglected as “Well, really, it can hardly be described as oth- the art of tracing footsteps. Happily, I have alwayserwise,” said Sherlock Holmes, smiling at my sur- laid great stress upon it, and much practice hasprise. “The proof of its intrinsic simplicity is, that made it second nature to me. I saw the heavy foot-without any help save a few very ordinary deduc- marks of the constables, but I saw also the tracktions I was able to lay my hand upon the criminal of the two men who had first passed through thewithin three days.” garden. It was easy to tell that they had been before the others, because in places their marks “That is true,” said I. had been entirely obliterated by the others com- “I have already explained to you that what is ing upon the top of them. In this way my secondout of the common is usually a guide rather than link was formed, which told me that the noctur-a hindrance. In solving a problem of this sort, the nal visitors were two in number, one remarkablegrand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That for his height (as I calculated from the length ofis a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy his stride), and the other fashionably dressed, toone, but people do not practise it much. In the judge from the small and elegant impression leftevery-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason by his boots.forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected. “On entering the house this last inference wasThere are fifty who can reason synthetically for confirmed. My well-booted man lay before me.one who can reason analytically.” The tall one, then, had done the murder, if murder “I confess,” said I, “that I do not quite follow there was. There was no wound upon the deadyou.” man’s person, but the agitated expression upon his face assured me that he had foreseen his fate be- “I hardly expected that you would. Let me see fore it came upon him. Men who die from heartif I can make it clearer. Most people, if you de- disease, or any sudden natural cause, never by anyscribe a train of events to them, will tell you what chance exhibit agitation upon their features. Hav-the result would be. They can put those events to- ing sniffed the dead man’s lips I detected a slightlygether in their minds, and argue from them that sour smell, and I came to the conclusion that hesomething will come to pass. There are few peo- had had poison forced upon him. Again, I arguedple, however, who, if you told them a result, would that it had been forced upon him from the hatredbe able to evolve from their own inner conscious- and fear expressed upon his face. By the method ofness what the steps were which led up to that re- exclusion, I had arrived at this result, for no othersult. This power is what I mean when I talk of hypothesis would meet the facts. Do not imaginereasoning backwards, or analytically.” that it was a very unheard of idea. The forcible ad- “I understand,” said I. ministration of poison is by no means a new thing 60
  • 61. A Study In Scarletin criminal annals. The cases of Dolsky in Odessa, driven the cab. The marks in the road showed meand of Leturier in Montpellier, will occur at once that the horse had wandered on in a way whichto any toxicologist. would have been impossible had there been any- “And now came the great question as to the one in charge of it. Where, then, could the driverreason why. Robbery had not been the object of be, unless he were inside the house? Again, it isthe murder, for nothing was taken. Was it poli- absurd to suppose that any sane man would carrytics, then, or was it a woman? That was the ques- out a deliberate crime under the very eyes, as ittion which confronted me. I was inclined from the were, of a third person, who was sure to betrayfirst to the latter supposition. Political assassins him. Lastly, supposing one man wished to dogare only too glad to do their work and to fly. This another through London, what better means couldmurder had, on the contrary, been done most de- he adopt than to turn cabdriver. All these consid-liberately, and the perpetrator had left his tracks all erations led me to the irresistible conclusion thatover the room, showing that he had been there all Jefferson Hope was to be found among the jarveysthe time. It must have been a private wrong, and of the Metropolis.not a political one, which called for such a method- “If he had been one there was no reason to be-ical revenge. When the inscription was discovered lieve that he had ceased to be. On the contrary,upon the wall I was more inclined than ever to from his point of view, any sudden chance wouldmy opinion. The thing was too evidently a blind. be likely to draw attention to himself. He would,When the ring was found, however, it settled the probably, for a time at least, continue to performquestion. Clearly the murderer had used it to re- his duties. There was no reason to suppose that hemind his victim of some dead or absent woman. was going under an assumed name. Why shouldIt was at this point that I asked Gregson whether he change his name in a country where no onehe had enquired in his telegram to Cleveland as knew his original one? I therefore organized myto any particular point in Mr. Drebber’s former ca- Street Arab detective corps, and sent them sys-reer. He answered, you remember, in the negative. tematically to every cab proprietor in London un- til they ferreted out the man that I wanted. How “I then proceeded to make a careful examina- well they succeeded, and how quickly I took ad-tion of the room, which confirmed me in my opin- vantage of it, are still fresh in your recollection.ion as to the murderer’s height, and furnished me The murder of Stangerson was an incident whichwith the additional details as to the Trichinopoly was entirely unexpected, but which could hardlycigar and the length of his nails. I had already in any case have been prevented. Through it, ascome to the conclusion, since there were no signs you know, I came into possession of the pills, theof a struggle, that the blood which covered the existence of which I had already surmised. Youfloor had burst from the murderer’s nose in his ex- see the whole thing is a chain of logical sequencescitement. I could perceive that the track of blood without a break or flaw.”coincided with the track of his feet. It is sel-dom that any man, unless he is very full-blooded, “It is wonderful!” I cried. “Your merits shouldbreaks out in this way through emotion, so I haz- be publicly recognized. You should publish an ac-arded the opinion that the criminal was probably count of the case. If you won’t, I will for you.”a robust and ruddy-faced man. Events proved that “You may do what you like, Doctor,” he an-I had judged correctly. swered. “See here!” he continued, handing a paper “Having left the house, I proceeded to do what over to me, “look at this!”Gregson had neglected. I telegraphed to the head It was the Echo for the day, and the paragraphof the police at Cleveland, limiting my enquiry to to which he pointed was devoted to the case inthe circumstances connected with the marriage of question.Enoch Drebber. The answer was conclusive. It “The public,” it said, “have lost a sensationaltold me that Drebber had already applied for the treat through the sudden death of the man Hope,protection of the law against an old rival in love, who was suspected of the murder of Mr. Enochnamed Jefferson Hope, and that this same Hope Drebber and of Mr. Joseph Stangerson. The de-was at present in Europe. I knew now that I held tails of the case will probably be never known now,the clue to the mystery in my hand, and all that though we are informed upon good authority thatremained was to secure the murderer. the crime was the result of an old standing and ro- “I had already determined in my own mind mantic feud, in which love and Mormonism borethat the man who had walked into the house with a part. It seems that both the victims belonged, inDrebber, was none other than the man who had their younger days, to the Latter Day Saints, and 61
  • 62. Hope, the deceased prisoner, hails also from Salt that a testimonial of some sort will be presentedLake City. If the case has had no other effect, it, at to the two officers as a fitting recognition of theirleast, brings out in the most striking manner the services.”efficiency of our detective police force, and will “Didn’t I tell you so when we started?” criedserve as a lesson to all foreigners that they will Sherlock Holmes with a laugh. “That’s the resultdo wisely to settle their feuds at home, and not of all our Study in Scarlet: to get them a testimo-to carry them on to British soil. It is an open se- nial!”cret that the credit of this smart capture belongsentirely to the well-known Scotland Yard officials, “Never mind,” I answered, “I have all the factsMessrs. Lestrade and Gregson. The man was ap- in my journal, and the public shall know them. Inprehended, it appears, in the rooms of a certain the meantime you must make yourself contentedMr. Sherlock Holmes, who has himself, as an am- by the consciousness of success, like the Romanateur, shown some talent in the detective line, and miser—who, with such instructors, may hope in time to “ ‘Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudoattain to some degree of their skill. It is expected Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar in arca.’ ”
  • 63. The Sign of the Four
  • 64. The Sign of the Four Table of contentsThe Science of Deduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67The Statement of the Case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70In Quest of a Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73The Story of the Bald-Headed Man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82The Episode of the Barrel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86The Baker Street Irregulars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91A Break in the Chain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95The End of the Islander . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100The Great Agra Treasure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103The Strange Story of Jonathan Small . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 65
  • 65. The Sign of the Four CHAPTER I.S The Science of Deduction herlock Holmes took his bottle from which involves increased tissue-change and may at the corner of the mantelpiece and his hy- last leave a permanent weakness. You know, too, podermic syringe from its neat morocco what a black reaction comes upon you. Surely the case. With his long, white, nervous fin- game is hardly worth the candle. Why should you,gers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled for a mere passing pleasure, risk the loss of thoseback his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his great powers with which you have been endowed?eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm Remember that I speak not only as one comradeand wrist all dotted and scarred with innumer- to another, but as a medical man to one for whoseable puncture-marks. Finally he thrust the sharp constitution he is to some extent answerable.”point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and He did not seem offended. On the contrary, hesank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a put his fingertips together and leaned his elbowslong sigh of satisfaction. on the arms of his chair, like one who has a relish Three times a day for many months I had wit- for conversation.nessed this performance, but custom had not rec- “My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Giveonciled my mind to it. On the contrary, from day me problems, give me work, give me the most ab-to day I had become more irritable at the sight, and struse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis,my conscience swelled nightly within me at the and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dis-thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. pense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhorAgain and again I had registered a vow that I the dull routine of existence. I crave for mentalshould deliver my soul upon the subject, but there exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own par-was that in the cool, nonchalant air of my com- ticular profession,—or rather created it, for I ampanion which made him the last man with whom the only one in the world.”one would care to take anything approaching toa liberty. His great powers, his masterly manner, “The only unofficial detective?” I said, raisingand the experience which I had had of his many my eyebrows.extraordinary qualities, all made me diffident and “The only unofficial consulting detective,” hebackward in crossing him. answered. “I am the last and highest court of ap- Yet upon that afternoon, whether it was the peal in detection. When Gregson or Lestrade orBeaune which I had taken with my lunch, or the Athelney Jones are out of their depths—which, byadditional exasperation produced by the extreme the way, is their normal state—the matter is laiddeliberation of his manner, I suddenly felt that I before me. I examine the data, as an expert, andcould hold out no longer. pronounce a specialist’s opinion. I claim no credit “Which is it to-day?” I asked,—“morphine or in such cases. My name figures in no newspa-cocaine?” per. The work itself, the pleasure of finding a field for my peculiar powers, is my highest reward. He raised his eyes languidly from the old But you have yourself had some experience of myblack-letter volume which he had opened. “It methods of work in the Jefferson Hope case.”is cocaine,” he said,—“a seven-per-cent solution.Would you care to try it?” “Yes, indeed,” said I, cordially. “I was never so “No, indeed,” I answered, brusquely. “My con- struck by anything in my life. I even embodied itstitution has not got over the Afghan campaign in a small brochure with the somewhat fantasticyet. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon title of ‘A Study in Scarlet.’ ”it.” He shook his head sadly. “I glanced over it,” He smiled at my vehemence. “Perhaps you are said he. “Honestly, I cannot congratulate you uponright, Watson,” he said. “I suppose that its influ- it. Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science,ence is physically a bad one. I find it, however, and should be treated in the same cold and un-so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the emotional manner. You have attempted to tinge itmind that its secondary action is a matter of small with romanticism, which produces much the samemoment.” effect as if you worked a love-story or an elope- “But consider!” I said, earnestly. “Count the ment into the fifth proposition of Euclid.”cost! Your brain may, as you say, be roused and ex- “But the romance was there,” I remonstrated.cited, but it is a pathological and morbid process, “I could not tamper with the facts.” 67
  • 66. The Sign of the Four “Some facts should be suppressed, or at least hundred and forty forms of cigar-, cigarette-, anda just sense of proportion should be observed in pipe-tobacco, with colored plates illustrating thetreating them. The only point in the case which difference in the ash. It is a point which is con-deserved mention was the curious analytical rea- tinually turning up in criminal trials, and whichsoning from effects to causes by which I succeeded is sometimes of supreme importance as a clue. Ifin unraveling it.” you can say definitely, for example, that some mur- I was annoyed at this criticism of a work which der has been done by a man who was smoking anhad been specially designed to please him. I con- Indian lunkah, it obviously narrows your field offess, too, that I was irritated by the egotism which search. To the trained eye there is as much differ-seemed to demand that every line of my pamphlet ence between the black ash of a Trichinopoly andshould be devoted to his own special doings. More the white fluff of bird’s-eye as there is between athan once during the years that I had lived with cabbage and a potato.”him in Baker Street I had observed that a small “You have an extraordinary genius for minu-vanity underlay my companion’s quiet and didac- tiae,” I remarked.tic manner. I made no remark, however, but sat “I appreciate their importance. Here is mynursing my wounded leg. I had a Jezail bullet monograph upon the tracing of footsteps, withthrough it some time before, and, though it did some remarks upon the uses of plaster of Parisnot prevent me from walking, it ached wearily at as a preserver of impresses. Here, too, is a cu-every change of the weather. rious little work upon the influence of a trade “My practice has extended recently to the Con- upon the form of the hand, with lithotypes of thetinent,” said Holmes, after a while, filling up his hands of slaters, sailors, corkcutters, compositors,old brier-root pipe. “I was consulted last week by weavers, and diamond-polishers. That is a mat-Francois Le Villard, who, as you probably know, ter of great practical interest to the scientific detec-has come rather to the front lately in the French de- tive,—especially in cases of unclaimed bodies, ortective service. He has all the Celtic power of quick in discovering the antecedents of criminals. But Iintuition, but he is deficient in the wide range of weary you with my hobby.”exact knowledge which is essential to the higher “Not at all,” I answered, earnestly. “It is of thedevelopments of his art. The case was concerned greatest interest to me, especially since I have hadwith a will, and possessed some features of inter- the opportunity of observing your practical appli-est. I was able to refer him to two parallel cases, cation of it. But you spoke just now of observationthe one at Riga in 1857, and the other at St. Louis and deduction. Surely the one to some extent im-in 1871, which have suggested to him the true so- plies the other.”lution. Here is the letter which I had this morning “Why, hardly,” he answered, leaning back lux-acknowledging my assistance.” He tossed over, as uriously in his armchair, and sending up thick bluehe spoke, a crumpled sheet of foreign notepaper. I wreaths from his pipe. “For example, observa-glanced my eyes down it, catching a profusion of tion shows me that you have been to the Wigmorenotes of admiration, with stray magnifiques, coup- Street Post-Office this morning, but deduction letsde-maˆtres and tours-de-force, all testifying to the ar- ı me know that when there you dispatched a tele-dent admiration of the Frenchman. gram.” “He speaks as a pupil to his master,” said I. “Right!” said I. “Right on both points! But I “Oh, he rates my assistance too highly,” said confess that I don’t see how you arrived at it. ItSherlock Holmes, lightly. “He has considerable was a sudden impulse upon my part, and I havegifts himself. He possesses two out of the three mentioned it to no one.”qualities necessary for the ideal detective. He has “It is simplicity itself,” he remarked, chucklingthe power of observation and that of deduction. at my surprise,—“so absurdly simple that an ex-He is only wanting in knowledge; and that may planation is superfluous; and yet it may serve tocome in time. He is now translating my small define the limits of observation and of deduction.works into French.” Observation tells me that you have a little reddish “Your works?” mould adhering to your instep. Just opposite the “Oh, didn’t you know?” he cried, laughing. Seymour Street Office they have taken up the pave-“Yes, I have been guilty of several monographs. ment and thrown up some earth which lies in suchThey are all upon technical subjects. Here, for a way that it is difficult to avoid treading in it inexample, is one ‘Upon the Distinction between the entering. The earth is of this peculiar reddish tintAshes of the Various Tobaccoes.’ In it I enumerate a which is found, as far as I know, nowhere else in 68
  • 67. The Sign of the Fourthe neighborhood. So much is observation. The “Quite so. The W. suggests your own name.rest is deduction.” The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back, “How, then, did you deduce the telegram?” and the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation. Jewelry usually de- “Why, of course I knew that you had not writ- scents to the eldest son, and he is most likely toten a letter, since I sat opposite to you all morning. have the same name as the father. Your fatherI see also in your open desk there that you have a has, if I remember right, been dead many years.sheet of stamps and a thick bundle of postcards. It has, therefore, been in the hands of your eldestWhat could you go into the post-office for, then, brother.”but to send a wire? Eliminate all other factors, andthe one which remains must be the truth.” “Right, so far,” said I. “Anything else?” “He was a man of untidy habits,—very untidy “In this case it certainly is so,” I replied, after a and careless. He was left with good prospects, butlittle thought. “The thing, however, is, as you say, he threw away his chances, lived for some time inof the simplest. Would yo think me impertinent if poverty with occasional short intervals of prosper-I were to put your theories to a more severe test?” ity, and finally, taking to drink, he died. That is all “On the contrary,” he answered, “it would pre- I can gather.”vent me from taking a second dose of cocaine. I sprang from my chair and limped impatientlyI should be delighted to look into any problem about the room with considerable bitterness in mywhich you might submit to me.” heart. “I have heard you say that it is difficult for a “This is unworthy of you, Holmes,” I said. “Iman to have any object in daily use without leav- could not have believed that you would have de-ing the impress of his individuality upon it in such scended to this. You have made inquires into thea way that a trained observer might read it. Now, history of my unhappy brother, and you now pre-I have here a watch which has recently come into tend to deduce this knowledge in some fancifulmy possession. Would you have the kindness to let way. You cannot expect me to believe that you haveme have an opinion upon the character or habits of read all this from his old watch! It is unkind, and,the late owner?” to speak plainly, has a touch of charlatanism in it.” I handed him over the watch with some slight “My dear doctor,” said he, kindly, “pray acceptfeeling of amusement in my heart, for the test my apologies. Viewing the matter as an abstractwas, as I thought, an impossible one, and I in- problem, I had forgotten how personal and painfultended it as a lesson against the somewhat dog- a thing it might be to you. I assure you, however,matic tone which he occasionally assumed. He that I never even know that you had a brother untilbalanced the watch in his hand, gazed hard at the you handed me the watch.”dial, opened the back, and examined the works, “Then how in the name of all that is wonder-first with his naked eyes and then with a power- ful did you get these facts? They are absolutelyful convex lens. I could hardly keep from smiling correct in every particular.”at his crestfallen face when he finally snapped thecase to and handed it back. “Ah, that is good luck. I could only say what was the balance of probability. I did not at all ex- “There are hardly any data,” he remarked. pect to be so accurate.““The watch has been recently cleaned, which robsme of my most suggestive facts.” “But it was not mere guess-work?” “No, no: I never guess. It is a shocking “You are right,” I answered. “It was cleaned be- habit,—destructive to the logical faculty. Whatfore being sent to me.” In my heart I accused my seems strange to you is only so because you do notcompanion of putting forward a most lame and follow my train of thought or observe the smallimpotent excuse to cover his failure. What data facts upon which large inferences may depend.could he expect from an uncleaned watch? For example, I began by stating that your brother “Though unsatisfactory, my research has not was careless. When you observe the lower partbeen entirely barren,” he observed, staring up at of that watch-case you notice that it is not onlythe ceiling with dreamy, lack-lustre eyes. “Subject dinted in two places, but it is cut and marked allto your correction, I should judge that the watch over from the habit of keeping other hard objects,belonged to your elder brother, who inherited it such as coins or keys, in the same pocket. Surelyfrom your father.” it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats “That you gather, no doubt, from the H. W. a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a care-upon the back?” less man. Neither is it a very far-fetched inference 69
  • 68. The Sign of the Fourthat a man who inherits one article of such value ask whether you have any professional inquiry onis pretty well provided for in other respects.” foot at present?” I nodded, to show that I followed his reasoning. “None. Hence the cocaine. I cannot live with- “It is very customary for pawnbrokers in Eng- out brain-work. What else is there to live for?land, when they take a watch, to scratch the num- Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary,ber of the ticket with a pin-point upon the inside dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellowof the case. It is more handy than a label, as there fog swirls down the street and drifts across theis no risk of the number being lost or transposed. duncolored houses. What could be more hope-There are no less than four such numbers visible to lessly prosaic and material? What is the use ofmy lens on the inside of this case. Inference,—that having powers, doctor, when one has no field uponyour brother was often at low water. Secondary which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, exis-inference,—that he had occasional bursts of pros- tence is commonplace, and no qualities save thoseperity, or he could not have redeemed the pledge. which are commonplace have any function uponFinally, I ask you to look at the inner plate, which earth.”contains the key-hole. Look at the thousands of I had opened my mouth to reply to this tirade,scratches all round the hole,—marks where the key when with a crisp knock our landlady entered,has slipped. What sober man’s key could have bearing a card upon the brass salver.scored those grooves? But you will never see adrunkard’s watch without them. He winds it at “A young lady for you, sir,” she said, address-night, and he leaves these traces of his unsteady ing my companion.hand. Where is the mystery in all this?” “Miss Mary Morstan,” he read. “Hum! I have “It is as clear as daylight,” I answered. “I re- no recollection of the name. Ask the young lady togret the injustice which I did you. I should have step up, Mrs. Hudson. Don’t go, doctor. I shouldhad more faith in your marvellous faculty. May I prefer that you remain.” CHAPTER II. The Statement of the Case Miss Morstan entered the room with a firm placed for her, her lip trembled, her hand quiv-step and an outward composure of manner. She ered, and she showed every sign of intense inwardwas a blonde young lady, small, dainty, well agitation.gloved, and dressed in the most perfect taste. “I have come to you, Mr. Holmes,” she said,There was, however, a plainness and simplicity “because you once enabled my employer, Mrs. Ce-about her costume which bore with it a sugges- cil Forrester, to unravel a little domestic complica-tion of limited means. The dress was a sombre tion. She was much impressed by your kindnessgrayish beige, untrimmed and unbraided, and she and skill.”wore a small turban of the same dull hue, re- “Mrs. Cecil Forrester,” he repeated thought-lieved only by a suspicion of white feather in the fully. “I believe that I was of some slight serviceside. Her face had neither regularity of feature to her. The case, however, as I remember it, was anor beauty of complexion, but her expression was very simple one.”sweet and amiable, and her large blue eyes were “She did not think so. But at least you cannotsingularly spiritual and sympathetic. In an experi- say the same of mine. I can hardly imagine any-ence of women which extends over many nations thing more strange, more utterly inexplicable, thanand three separate continents, I have never looked the situation in which I find myself.”upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a re-fined and sensitive nature. I could not but observe Holmes rubbed his hands, and his eyes glis-that as she took the seat which Sherlock Holmes tened. He leaned forward in his chair with an ex- pression of extraordinary concentration upon his 70
  • 69. The Sign of the Fourclear-cut, hawklike features. “State your case,” “A singular case,” remarked Holmes.said he, in brisk, business tones. “I have not yet described to you the most sin- I felt that my position was an embarrassing gular part. About six years ago—to be exact, uponone. “You will, I am sure, excuse me,” I said, rising the 4th of May, 1882—an advertisement appearedfrom my chair. in the Times asking for the address of Miss Mary To my surprise, the young lady held up her Morstan and stating that it would be to her ad-gloved hand to detain me. “If your friend,” she vantage to come forward. There was no name orsaid, “would be good enough to stop, he might be address appended. I had at that time just enteredof inestimable service to me.” the family of Mrs. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess. By her advice I published my ad- I relapsed into my chair. dress in the advertisement column. The same day “Briefly,” she continued, “the facts are these. there arrived through the post a small card-boardMy father was an officer in an Indian regiment box addressed to me, which I found to contain awho sent me home when I was quite a child. My very large and lustrous pearl. No word of writingmother was dead, and I had no relative in England. was enclosed. Since then every year upon the sameI was placed, however, in a comfortable boarding date there has always appeared a similar box, con-establishment at Edinburgh, and there I remained taining a similar pearl, without any clue as to theuntil I was seventeen years of age. In the year 1878 sender. They have been pronounced by an expertmy father, who was senior captain of his regiment, to be of a rare variety and of considerable value.obtained twelve months’ leave and came home. He You can see for yourselves that they are very hand-telegraphed to me from London that he had ar- some.” She opened a flat box as she spoke, andrived all safe, and directed me to come down at showed me six of the finest pearls that I had everonce, giving the Langham Hotel as his address. seen.His message, as I remember, was full of kindness “Your statement is most interesting,” said Sher-and love. On reaching London I drove to the Lang- lock Holmes. “Has anything else occurred toham, and was informed that Captain Morstan was you?”staying there, but that he had gone out the nightbefore and had not yet returned. I waited all day “Yes, and no later than to-day. That is why Iwithout news of him. That night, on the advice have come to you. This morning I received thisof the manager of the hotel, I communicated with letter, which you will perhaps read for yourself.”the police, and next morning we advertised in all “Thank you,” said Holmes. “The envelopethe papers. Our inquiries let to no result; and from too, please. Postmark, London, S.W. Date, July 7.that day to this no word has ever been heard of my Hum! Man’s thumb-mark on corner,—probablyunfortunate father. He came home with his heart postman. Best quality paper. Envelopes at six-full of hope, to find some peace, some comfort, and pence a packet. Particular man in his stationery.instead—” She put her hand to her throat, and a No address. ‘Be at the third pillar from the left out-choking sob cut short the sentence. side the Lyceum Theatre to-night at seven o’clock. “The date?” asked Holmes, opening his note- If you are distrustful, bring two friends. You arebook. a wronged woman, and shall have justice. Do not “He disappeared upon the 3d of December, bring police. If you do, all will be in vain. Your1878,—nearly ten years ago.” unknown friend.’ Well, really, this is a very pretty little mystery. What do you intend to do, Miss “His luggage?” Morstan?” “Remained at the hotel. There was nothing in “That is exactly what I want to ask you.”it to suggest a clue,—some clothes, some books,and a considerable number of curiosities from the “Then we shall most certainly go. You and IAndaman Islands. He had been one of the officers and—yes, why, Dr. Watson is the very man. Yourin charge of the convict-guard there.” correspondent says two friends. He and I have worked together before.” “Had he any friends in town?” “But would he come?” she asked, with some- “Only one that we know of,—Major Sholto, thing appealing in her voice and expression.of his own regiment, the 34th Bombay Infantry.The major had retired some little time before, and “I should be proud and happy,” said I, fer-lived at Upper Norwood. We communicated with vently, “if I can be of any service.”him, of course, but he did not even know that his “You are both very kind,” she answered. “Ibrother officer was in England.” have led a retired life, and have no friends whom 71
  • 70. The Sign of the FourI could appeal to. If I am here at six it will do, I you that the most winning woman I ever knewsuppose?” was hanged for poisoning three little children for “You must not be later,” said Holmes. “There their insurance-money, and the most repellant manis one other point, however. Is this handwriting of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who hasthe same as that upon the pearl-box addresses?” spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the Lon- don poor.” “I have them here,” she answered, producinghalf a dozen pieces of paper. “In this case, however—” “You are certainly a model client. You have the “I never make exceptions. An exception dis-correct intuition. Let us see, now.” He spread out proves the rule. Have you ever had occasion tothe papers upon the table, and gave little darting study character in handwriting? What do youglances from one to the other. “They are disguised make of this fellow’s scribble?”hands, except the letter,” he said, presently, “butthere can be no question as to the authorship. See “It is legible and regular,” I answered. “A manhow the irrepressible Greek e will break out, and of business habits and some force of character.”see the twirl of the final s. They are undoubtedly Holmes shook his head. “Look at his long let-by the same person. I should not like to suggest ters,” he said. “They hardly rise above the com-false hopes, Miss Morstan, but is there any resem- mon herd. That d might be an a, and that l anblance between this hand and that of your father?” e. Men of character always differentiate their long “Nothing could be more unlike.” letters, however illegibly they may write. There is “I expected to hear you say so. We shall look vacillation in his k’s and self-esteem in his capitals.out for you, then, at six. Pray allow me to keep the I am going out now. I have some few referencespapers. I may look into the matter before then. It to make. Let me recommend this book,—one ofis only half-past three. Au revoir, then.” the most remarkable ever penned. It is Winwood Reade’s Martyrdom of Man. I shall be back in an “Au revoir,” said our visitor, and, with a bright, hour.”kindly glance from one to the other of us, she re-placed her pearl-box in her bosom and hurried I sat in the window with the volume in myaway. Standing at the window, I watched her walk- hand, but my thoughts were far from the daringing briskly down the street, until the gray turban speculations of the writer. My mind ran uponand white feather were but a speck in the sombre our late visitor,—her smiles, the deep rich tonescrowd. of her voice, the strange mystery which overhung “What a very attractive woman!” I exclaimed, her life. If she were seventeen at the time ofturning to my companion. her father’s disappearance she must be seven-and- twenty now,—a sweet age, when youth has lost its He had lit his pipe again, and was leaning self-consciousness and become a little sobered byback with drooping eyelids. “Is she?” he said, lan- experience. So I sat and mused, until such dan-guidly. “I did not observe.” gerous thoughts came into my head that I hur- “You really are an automaton,—a calculating- ried away to my desk and plunged furiously intomachine!” I cried. “There is something positively the latest treatise upon pathology. What was I,inhuman in you at times.” an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker He smiled gently. “It is of the first importance,” banking-account, that I should dare to think ofhe said, “not to allow your judgment to be biased such things? She was a unit, a factor,—nothingby personal qualities. A client is to me a mere more. If my future were black, it was better surelyunit,—a factor in a problem. The emotional qual- to face it like a man than to attempt to brighten itities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. I assure by mere will-o’-the-wisps of the imagination. 72
  • 71. The Sign of the Four CHAPTER III. In Quest of a Solution It was half-past five before Holmes returned. that he thought that our night’s work might be aHe was bright, eager, and in excellent spirits,—a serious one.mood which in his case alternated with fits of the Miss Morstan was muffled in a dark cloak,blackest depression. and her sensitive face was composed, but pale. “There is no great mystery in this matter,” he She must have been more than woman if shesaid, taking the cup of tea which I had poured out did not feel some uneasiness at the strange enter-for him. “The facts appear to admit of only one prise upon which we were embarking, yet her self-explanation.” control was perfect, and she readily answered the few additional questions which Sherlock Holmes “What! you have solved it already?” put to her. “Well, that would be too much to say. I have “Major Sholto was a very particular friend ofdiscovered a suggestive fact, that is all. It is, how- papa’s,” she said. “His letters were full of allu-ever, very suggestive. The details are still to be sions to the major. He and papa were in commandadded. I have just found, on consulting the back of the troops at the Andaman Islands, so they werefiles of the Times, that Major Sholto, of Upper Nor- thrown a great deal together. By the way, a curi-word, late of the 34th Bombay Infantry, died upon ous paper was found in papa’s desk which no onethe 28th of April, 1882.” could understand. I don’t suppose that it is of the “I may be very obtuse, Holmes, but I fail to see slightest importance, but I thought you might carewhat this suggests.” to see it, so I brought it with me. It is here.” “No? You surprise me. Look at it in this way, Holmes unfolded the paper carefully andthen. Captain Morstan disappears. The only per- smoothed it out upon his knee. He then veryson in London whom he could have visited is Ma- methodically examined it all over with his doublejor Sholto. Major Sholto denies having heard that lens.he was in London. Four years later Sholto dies. “It is paper of native Indian manufacture,” heWithin a week of his death Captain Morstan’s daugh- remarked. “It has at some time been pinned to ater receives a valuable present, which is repeated board. The diagram upon it appears to be a plan offrom year to year, and now culminates in a letter part of a large building with numerous halls, cor-which describes her as a wronged woman. What ridors, and passages. At one point is a small crosswrong can it refer to except this deprivation of done in red ink, and above it is ‘3.37 from left,’her father? And why should the presents begin in faded pencil-writing. In the left-hand corner isimmediately after Sholto’s death, unless it is that a curious hieroglyphic like four crosses in a lineSholto’s heir knows something of the mystery and with their arms touching. Beside it is written, indesires to make compensation? Have you any al- very rough and coarse characters, ‘The sign of theternative theory which will meet the facts?” four,—Jonathan Small, Mahomet Singh, Abdullah Khan, Dost Akbar.’ No, I confess that I do not see “But what a strange compensation! And how how this bears upon the matter. Yet it is evidentlystrangely made! Why, too, should he write a letter a document of importance. It has been kept care-now, rather than six years ago? Again, the letter fully in a pocket-book; for the one side is as cleanspeaks of giving her justice. What justice can she as the other.”have? It is too much to suppose that her father isstill alive. There is no other injustice in her case “It was in his pocket-book that we found it.”that you know of.” “Preserve it carefully, then, Miss Morstan, for it may prove to be of use to us. I begin to suspect “There are difficulties; there are certainly dif- that this matter may turn out to be much deeperficulties,” said Sherlock Holmes, pensively. “But and more subtle than I at first supposed. I mustour expedition of to-night will solve them all. Ah, reconsider my ideas.” He leaned back in the cab,here is a four-wheeler, and Miss Morstan is inside. and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacantAre you all ready? Then we had better go down, eye that he was thinking intently. Miss Morstanfor it is a little past the hour.” and I chatted in an undertone about our present I picked up my hat and my heaviest stick, but expedition and its possible outcome, but our com-I observed that Holmes took his revolver from his panion maintained his impenetrable reserve untildrawer and slipped it into his pocket. It was clear the end of our journey. 73
  • 72. The Sign of the Four It was a September evening, and not yet seven Morstan’s demeanor was as resolute and collectedo’clock, but the day had been a dreary one, as ever. I endeavored to cheer and amuse her byand a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great reminiscences of my adventures in Afghanistan;city. Mud-colored clouds drooped sadly over the but, to tell the truth, I was myself so excited at ourmuddy streets. Down the Strand the lamps were situation and so curious as to our destination thatbut misty splotches of diffused light which threw a my stories were slightly involved. To this day shefeeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. declares that I told her one moving anecdote as toThe yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed how a musket looked into my tent at the dead ofout into the steamy, vaporous air, and threw a night, and how I fired a double-barrelled tiger cubmurky, shifting radiance across the crowded thor- at it. At first I had some idea as to the directionoughfare. There was, to my mind, something in which we were driving; but soon, what witheerie and ghost-like in the endless procession of our pace, the fog, and my own limited knowledgefaces which flitted across these narrow bars of of London, I lost my bearings, and knew nothing,light,—sad faces and glad, haggard and merry. save that we seemed to be going a very long way.Like all human kind, they flitted from the gloom Sherlock Holmes was never at fault, however, andinto the light, and so back into the gloom once he muttered the names as the cab rattled throughmore. I am not subject to impressions, but the dull, squares and in and out by tortuous by-streets.heavy evening, with the strange business upon “Rochester Row,” said he. “Now Vincentwhich we were engaged, combined to make me Square. Now we come out on the Vauxhall Bridgenervous and depressed. I could see from Miss Road. We are making for the Surrey side, appar-Morstan’s manner that she was suffering from the ently. Yes, I thought so. Now we are on the bridge.same feeling. Holmes alone could rise superior to You can catch glimpses of the river.”petty influences. He held his open note-book uponhis knee, and from time to time he jotted down We did indeed bet a fleeting view of a stretchfigures and memoranda in the light of his pocket- of the Thames with the lamps shining upon thelantern. broad, silent water; but our cab dashed on, and was soon involved in a labyrinth of streets upon At the Lyceum Theatre the crowds were al- the other side.ready thick at the side-entrances. In front acontinuous stream of hansoms and four-wheelers “Wordsworth Road,” said my companion.were rattling up, discharging their cargoes of “Priory Road. Lark Hall Lane. Stockwell Place.shirt-fronted men and beshawled, bediamonded Robert Street. Cold Harbor Lane. Our quest doeswomen. We had hardly reached the third pillar, not appear to take us to very fashionable regions.”which was our rendezvous, before a small, dark, We had, indeed, reached a questionable andbrisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us. forbidding neighborhood. Long lines of dull brick “Are you the parties who come with Miss houses were only relieved by the coarse glare andMorstan?” he asked. tawdry brilliancy of public houses at the corner. “I am Miss Morstan, and these two gentlemen Then came rows of two-storied villas each with aare my friends,” said she. fronting of miniature garden, and then again inter- He bent a pair of wonderfully penetrating and minable lines of new staring brick buildings,—thequestioning eyes upon us. “You will excuse me, monster tentacles which the giant city was throw-miss,” he said with a certain dogged manner, “but ing out into the country. At last the cab drewI was to ask you to give me your word that neither up at the third house in a new terrace. Noneof your companions is a police-officer.” of the other houses were inhabited, and that at “I give you my word on that,” she answered. which we stopped was as dark as its neighbors, He gave a shrill whistle, on which a street Arab save for a single glimmer in the kitchen window.led across a four-wheeler and opened the door. On our knocking, however, the door was instantlyThe man who had addressed us mounted to the thrown open by a Hindoo servant clad in a yellowbox, while we took our places inside. We had turban, white loose-fitting clothes, and a yellowhardly done so before the driver whipped up his sash. There was something strangely incongruoushorse, and we plunged away at a furious pace in this Oriental figure framed in the commonplacethrough the foggy streets. door-way of a third-rate suburban dwelling-house. The situation was a curious one. We were “The Sahib awaits you,” said he, and even as hedriving to an unknown place, on an unknown spoke there came a high piping voice from someerrand. Yet our invitation was either a com- inner room. “Show them in to me, khitmutgar,“ itplete hoax,—which was an inconceivable hypoth- cried. ”Show them straight in to me.”esis,—or else we had good reason to think that im-portant issues might hang upon our journey. Miss 74
  • 73. The Sign of the Four CHAPTER IV. The Story of the Bald-Headed Man We followed the Indian down a sordid and I listened to his heart, as requested, but wascommon passage, ill lit and worse furnished, un- unable to find anything amiss, save indeed that hetil he came to a door upon the right, which he was in an ecstasy of fear, for he shivered from headthrew open. A blaze of yellow light streamed out to foot. “It appears to be normal,” I said. “Youupon us, and in the centre of the glare there stood have no cause for uneasiness.”a small man with a very high head, a bristle of “You will excuse my anxiety, Miss Morstan,”red hair all round the fringe of it, and a bald, he remarked, airily. “I am a great sufferer, and Ishining scalp which shot out from among it like have long had suspicions as to that valve. I ama mountain-peak from fir-trees. He writhed his delighted to hear that they are unwarranted. Hadhands together as he stood, and his features were your father, Miss Morstan, refrained from throw-in a perpetual jerk, now smiling, now scowling, ing a strain upon his heart, he might have beenbut never for an instant in repose. Nature had alive now.”given him a pendulous lip, and a too visible lineof yellow and irregular teeth, which he strove fee- I could have struck the man across the face, sobly to conceal by constantly passing his hand over hot was I at this callous and off-hand reference tothe lower part of his face. In spite of his obtru- so delicate a matter. Miss Morstan sat down, andsive baldness, he gave the impression of youth. In her face grew white to the lips. “I knew in mypoint of fact he had just turned his thirtieth year. heart that he was dead,” said she. “Your servant, Miss Morstan,” he kept repeat- “I can give you every information,” said he,ing, in a thin, high voice. “Your servant, gentle- “and, what is more, I can do you justice; and Imen. Pray step into my little sanctum. A small will, too, whatever Brother Bartholomew may say.place, miss, but furnished to my own liking. An I am so glad to have your friends here, not onlyoasis of art in the howling desert of South Lon- as an escort to you, but also as witnesses to whatdon.” I am about to do and say. The three of us can show a bold front to Brother Bartholomew. But We were all astonished by the appearance o the let us have no outsiders,—no police or officials.apartment into which he invited us. In that sorry We can settle everything satisfactorily among our-house it looked as out of place as a diamond of selves, without any interference. Nothing wouldthe first water in a setting of brass. The richest annoy Brother Bartholomew more than any pub-and glossiest of curtains and tapestries draped the licity.” He sat down upon a low settee and blinkedwalls, looped back here and there to expose some at us inquiringly with his weak, watery blue eyes.richly-mounted painting or Oriental vase. The car-pet was of amber-and-black, so soft and so thick “For my part,” said Holmes, “whatever youthat the foot sank pleasantly into it, as into a bed may choose to say will go no further.”of moss. Two great tiger-skins thrown athwart it I nodded to show my agreement.increased the suggestion of Eastern luxury, as did “That is well! That is well!” said he. “May Ia huge hookah which stood upon a mat in the cor- offer you a glass of Chianti, Miss Morstan? Or ofner. A lamp in the fashion of a silver dove was Tokay? I keep no other wines. Shall I open a flask?hung from an almost invisible golden wire in the No? Well, then, I trust that you have no objectioncentre of the room. As it burned it filled the air to tobacco-smoke, to the mild balsamic odor of thewith a subtle and aromatic odor. Eastern tobacco. I am a little nervous, and I find “Mr. Thaddeus Sholto,” said the little man, still my hookah an invaluable sedative.” He applied ajerking and smiling. “That is my name. You are taper to the great bowl, and the smoke bubbledMiss Morstan, of course. And these gentlemen—” merrily through the rose-water. We sat all three “This is Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and this is Dr. in a semicircle, with our heads advanced, and ourWatson.” chins upon our hands, while the strange, jerky lit- “A doctor, eh?” cried he, much excited. “Have tle fellow, with his high, shining head, puffed un-you your stethoscope? Might I ask you—would easily in the centre.you have the kindness? I have grave doubts as “When I first determined to make this commu-to my mitral valve, if you would be so very good. nication to you,” said he, “I might have given youThe aortic I may rely upon, but I should value your my address, but I feared that you might disregardopinion upon the mitral.” my request and bring unpleasant people with you. 75
  • 74. The Sign of the FourI took the liberty, therefore, of making an appoint- We read the details in the papers, and, knowingment in such a way that my man Williams might that he had been a friend of our father’s, we dis-be able to see you first. I have complete confidence cussed the case freely in his presence. He usedin his discretion, and he had orders, if he were dis- to join in our speculations as to what could havesatisfied, to proceed no further in the matter. You happened. Never for an instant did we suspectwill excuse these precautions, but I am a man of that he had the whole secret hidden in his ownsomewhat retiring, and I might even say refined, breast,—that of all men he alone knew the fate oftastes, and there is nothing more unaesthetic than Arthur Morstan.a policeman. I have a natural shrinking from allforms of rough materialism. I seldom come in “We did know, however, that some mys-contact with the rough crowd. I live, as you see, tery—some positive danger—overhung our father.with some little atmosphere of elegance around He was very fearful of going out alone, and he al-me. I may call myself a patron of the arts. It is ways employed two prize-fighters to act as portersmy weakness. The landscape is a genuine Corot, at Pondicherry Lodge. Williams, who drove youand, though a connoisseur might perhaps throw a to-night, was one of them. He was once light-doubt upon that Salvator Rosa, there cannot be the weight champion of England. Our father wouldleast question about the Bouguereau. I am partial never tell us what it was he feared, but he had ato the modern French school.” most marked aversion to men with wooden legs. On one occasion he actually fired his revolver at a “You will excuse me, Mr. Sholto,” said Miss wooden-legged man, who proved to be a harmlessMorstan, “but I am here at your request to learn tradesman canvassing for orders. We had to pay asomething which you desire to tell me. It is very large sum to hush the matter up. My brother and Ilate, and I should desire the interview to be as used to think this a mere whim of my father’s, butshort as possible.” events have since led us to change our opinion. “At the best it must take some time,” he an-swered; “for we shall certainly have to go to Nor- “Early in 1882 my father received a letter fromwood and see Brother Bartholomew. We shall all India which was a great shock to him. He nearlygo and try if we can get the better of Brother fainted at the breakfast-table when he opened it,Bartholomew. He is very angry with me for tak- and from that day he sickened to his death. Whating the course which has seemed right to me. I was in the letter we could never discover, but Ihad quite high words with him last night. You could see as he held it that it was short and writ-cannot imagine what a terrible fellow he is when ten in a scrawling hand. He had suffered forhe is angry.” years from an enlarged spleen, but he now became rapidly worse, and towards the end of April we “If we are to go to Norwood it would perhaps were informed that he was beyond all hope, andbe as well to start at once,” I ventured to remark. that he wished to make a last communication to He laughed until his ears were quite red. “That us.would hardly do,” he cried. “I don’t know whathe would say if I brought you in that sudden way. “When we entered his room he was proppedNo, I must prepare you by showing you how we up with pillows and breathing heavily. He be-all stand to each other. In the first place, I must sought us to lock the door and to come upon ei-tell you that there are several points in the story ther side of the bed. Then, grasping our hands,of which I am myself ignorant. I can only lay the he made a remarkable statement to us, in a voicefacts before you as far as I know them myself. which was broken as much by emotion as by pain. “My father was, as you may have guessed, Ma- I shall try and give it to you in his own very words.jor John Sholto, once of the Indian army. He re- “ ‘I have only one thing,’ he said, ‘which weighstired some eleven years ago, and came to live at upon my mind at this supreme moment. It is myPondicherry Lodge in Upper Norwood. He had treatment of poor Morstan’s orphan. The cursedprospered in India, and brought back with him greed which has been my besetting sin through lifea considerable sum of money, a large collection has withheld from her the treasure, half at least ofof valuable curiosities, and a staff of native ser- which should have been hers. And yet I have madevants. With these advantages he bought himself a no use of it myself,—so blind and foolish a thinghouse, and lived in great luxury. My twin-brother is avarice. The mere feeling of possession has beenBartholomew and I were the only children. so dear to me that I could not bear to share it with “I very well remember the sensation which was another. See that chaplet dipped with pearls be-caused by the disappearance of Captain Morstan. side the quinine-bottle. Even that I could not bear 76
  • 75. The Sign of the Fourto part with, although I had got it out with the de- in the matter. My fault lies in the fact that we con-sign of sending it to her. You, my sons, will give cealed not only the body, but also the treasure, andher a fair share of the Agra treasure. But send her that I have clung to Morstan’s share as well as tonothing—not even the chaplet—until I am gone. my own. I wish you, therefore, to make restitution.After all, men have been as bad as this and have Put your ears down to my mouth. The treasure isrecovered. hidden in—At this instant a horrible change came over his expression; his eyes stared wildly, his jaw “ ‘I will tell you how Morstan died,’ he contin- dropped, and he yelled, in a voice which I canued. ‘He had suffered for years from a weak heart, never forget, ‘Keep him out! For Christ’s sake keepbut he concealed it from every one. I alone knew him out’! We both stared round at the window be-it. When in India, he and I, through a remark- hind us upon which his gaze was fixed. A faceable chain of circumstances, came into possession was looking in at us out of the darkness. We couldof a considerable treasure. I brought it over to Eng- see the whitening of the nose where it was pressedland, and on the night of Morstan’s arrival he came against the glass. It was a bearded, hairy face, withstraight over here to claim his share. He walked wild cruel eyes and an expression of concentratedover from the station, and was admitted by my malevolence. My brother and I rushed towardsfaithful Lal Chowdar, who is now dead. Morstan the window, but the man was gone. When we re-and I had a difference of opinion as to the divi- turned to my father his head had dropped and hission of the treasure, and we came to heated words. pulse had ceased to beat.Morstan had sprung out of his chair in a parox-ysm of anger, when he suddenly pressed his hand “We searched the garden that night, but foundto his side, his face turned a dusky hue, and he no sign of the intruder, save that just under thefell backwards, cutting his head against the corner window a single footmark was visible in theof the treasure-chest. When I stooped over him I flower-bed. But for that one trace, we might havefound, to my horror, that he was dead. thought that our imaginations had conjured up that wild, fierce face. We soon, however, had an- “ ‘For a long time I sat half distracted, wonder- other and a more striking proof that there wereing what I should do. My first impulse was, of secret agencies at work all round us. The windowcourse, to call for assistance; but I could not but of my father’s room was found open in the morn-recognize that there was every chance that I would ing, his cupboards and boxes had been rifled, andbe accused of his murder. His death at the moment upon his chest was fixed a torn piece of paper, withof a quarrel, and the gash in his head, would be the words ‘The sign of the four’ scrawled across it.black against me. Again, an official inquiry could What the phrase meant, or who our secret visitornot be made without bringing out some facts about may have been, we never knew. As far as we canthe treasure, which I was particularly anxious to judge, none of my father’s property had been ac-keep secret. He had told me that no soul upon tually stolen, though everything had been turnedearth knew where he had gone. There seemed to out. My brother and I naturally associated thisbe no necessity why any soul ever should know. peculiar incident with the fear which haunted my “ ‘I was still pondering over the matter, when, father during his life; but it is still a complete mys-looking up, I saw my servant, Lal Chowdar, in the tery to us.”doorway. He stole in and bolted the door behind The little man stopped to relight his hookahhim. “Do not fear, Sahib,” he said. “No one need and puffed thoughtfully for a few moments. Weknow that you have killed him. Let us hide him had all sat absorbed, listening to his extraordi-away, and who is the wiser?” “I did not kill him,” nary narrative. At the short account of her father’ssaid I. Lal Chowdar shook his head and smiled. “I death Miss Morstan had turned deadly white, andheard it all, Sahib,” said he. “I heard you quar- for a moment I feared that she was about to faint.rel, and I heard the blow. But my lips are sealed. She rallied however, on drinking a glass of waterAll are asleep in the house. Let us put him away which I quietly poured out for her from a Vene-together.” That was enough to decide met. If my tian carafe upon the side-table. Sherlock Holmesown servant could not believe my innocence, how leaned back in his chair with an abstracted ex-could I hope to make it good before twelve fool- pression and the lids drawn low over his glitteringish tradesmen in a jury-box? Lal Chowdar and I eyes. As I glanced at him I could not but thinkdisposed of the body that night, and within a few how on that very day he had complained bitterlydays the London papers were full of the mysteri- of the commonplaceness of life. Here at least wasous disappearance of Captain Morstan. You will a problem which would tax his sagacity to the ut-see from what I say that I can hardly be blamed most. Mr. Thaddeus Sholto looked from one to 77
  • 76. The Sign of the Fourthe other of us with an obvious pride at the effect Miss Morstan remarked just now, it is late, and wewhich his story had produced, and then continued had best put the matter through without delay.”between the puffs of his overgrown pipe. Our new acquaintance very deliberately coiled “My brother and I,” said he, “were, as you may up the tube of his hookah, and produced fromimagine, much excited as to the treasure which my behind a curtain a very long befrogged topcoatfather had spoken of. For weeks and for months with Astrakhan collar and cuffs. This he buttonedwe dug and delved in every part of the garden, tightly up, in spite of the extreme closeness ofwithout discovering its whereabouts. It was mad- the night, and finished his attire by putting on adening to think that the hiding-place was on his rabbit-skin cap with hanging lappets which cov-very lips at the moment that he died. We could ered the ears, so that no part of him was visiblejudge the splendor of the missing riches by the save his mobile and peaky face. “My health ischaplet which he had taken out. Over this chaplet somewhat fragile,“ he remarked, as he led the waymy brother Bartholomew and I had some little dis- down the passage. ”I am compelled to be a vale-cussion. The pearls were evidently of great value, tudinarian.”and he was averse to part with them, for, betweenfriends, my brother was himself a little inclined Our cab was awaiting us outside, and our pro-to my father’s fault. He thought, too, that if we gramme was evidently prearranged, for the driverparted with the chaplet it might give rise to gossip started off at once at a rapid pace. Thaddeusand finally bring us into trouble. It was all that I Sholto talked incessantly, in a voice which rosecould do to persuade him to let me find out Miss high above the rattle of the wheels.Morstan’s address and send her a detached pearl “Bartholomew is a clever fellow,” said he.at fixed intervals, so that at least she might never “How do you think he found out where the trea-feel destitute.” sure was? He had come to the conclusion that “It was a kindly thought,” said our companion, it was somewhere indoors: so he worked out allearnestly. “It was extremely good of you.” the cubic space of the house, and made measure- The little man waved his hand deprecatingly. ments everywhere, so that not one inch should be“We were your trustees,“ he said. ”That was unaccounted for. Among other things, he foundthe view which I took of it, though Brother that the height of the building was seventy-fourBartholomew could not altogether see it in that feet, but on adding together the heights of all thelight. We had plenty of money ourselves. I desired separate rooms, and making every allowance forno more. Besides, it would have been such bad the space between, which he ascertained by bor-taste to have treated a young lady in so scurvy ings, he could not bring the total to more thana fashion. ‘Le mauvais gout m`ne au crime.’ The ˆ e seventy feet. There were four feet unaccountedFrench have a very neat way of putting these for. These could only be at the top of the build-things. Our difference of opinion on this subject ing. He knocked a hole, therefore, in the lath-and-went so far that I thought it best to set up rooms for plaster ceiling of the highest room, and there, suremyself: so I left Pondicherry Lodge, taking the old enough, he came upon another little garret abovekhitmutgar and Williams with me. Yesterday, how- it, which had been sealed up and was known toever, I learn that an event of extreme importance no one. In the centre stood the treasure-chest, rest-has occurred. The treasure has been discovered. I ing upon two rafters. He lowered it through theinstantly communicated with Miss Morstan, and it hole, and there it lies. He computes the value ofonly remains for us to drive out to Norwood and the jewels at not less than half a million sterling.”demand our share. I explained my views last nightto Brother Bartholomew: so we shall be expected, At the mention of this gigantic sum we allif not welcome, visitors.” stared at one another open-eyed. Miss Morstan, could we secure her rights, would change from a Mr. Thaddeus Sholto ceased, and sat twitching needy governess to the richest heiress in England.on his luxurious settee. We all remained silent, Surely it was the place of a loyal friend to rejoicewith our thoughts upon the new development at such news; yet I am ashamed to say that self-which the mysterious business had taken. Holmes ishness took me by the soul, and that my heartwas the first to spring to his feet. turned as heavy as lead within me. I stammered “You have done well, sir, from first to last,” out some few halting words of congratulation,said he. “It is possible that we may be able to and then sat downcast, with my head drooped,make you some small return by throwing some deaf to the babble of our new acquaintance. Helight upon that which is still dark to you. But, as was clearly a confirmed hypochondriac, and I was 78
  • 77. The Sign of the Fourdreamily conscious that he was pouring forth in- taking more than two drops of castor oil, while Iterminable trains of symptoms, and imploring in- recommended strychnine in large doses as a seda-formation as to the composition and action of in- tive. However that may be, I was certainly relievednumerable quack nostrums, some of which he bore when our cab pulled up with a jerk and the coach-about in a leather case in his pocket. I trust that man sprang down to open the door.he may not remember any of the answers which Igave him that night. Holmes declares that he over- “This, Miss Morstan, is Pondicherry Lodge,”heard me caution him against the great danger of said Mr. Thaddeus Sholto, as he handed her out. CHAPTER V. The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge It was nearly eleven o’clock when we reached This was an unexpected obstacle. Thaddeusthis final stage of our night’s adventures. We had Sholto looked about him in a perplexed and help-left the damp fog of the great city behind us, and less manner. “This is too bad of you, McMurdo!”the night was fairly fine. A warm wind blew from he said. “If I guarantee them, that is enough forthe westward, and heavy clouds moved slowly you. There is the young lady, too. She cannot waitacross the sky, with half a moon peeping occasion- on the public road at this hour.”ally through the rifts. It was clear enough to see “Very sorry, Mr. Thaddeus,” said the porter, in-for some distance, but Thaddeus Sholto took down exorably. “Folk may be friends o’ yours, and yetone of the side-lamps from the carriage to give us no friends o’ the master’s. He pays me well to doa better light upon our way. my duty, and my duty I’ll do. I don’t know none Pondicherry Lodge stood in its own grounds, o’ your friends.”and was girt round with a very high stone wall “Oh, yes you do, McMurdo,” cried Sherlocktopped with broken glass. A single narrow iron- Holmes, genially. “I don’t think you can have for-clamped door formed the only means of en- gotten me. Don’t you remember the amateur whotrance. On this our guide knocked with a peculiar fought three rounds with you at Alison’s rooms onpostman-like rat-tat. the night of your benefit four years back?” “Who is there?” cried a gruff voice from within. “Not Mr. Sherlock Holmes!” roared the prize- “It is I, McMurdo. You surely know my knock fighter. “God’s truth! how could I have mistookby this time.” you? If instead o’ standin’ there so quiet you had just stepped up and given me that cross-hit of There was a grumbling sound and a clanking yours under the jaw, I’d ha’ known you withoutand jarring of keys. The door swung heavily back, a question. Ah, you’re one that has wasted yourand a short, deep-chested man stood in the open- gifts, you have! You might have aimed high, if youing, with the yellow light of the lantern shining had joined the fancy.”upon his protruded face and twinkling distrustfuleyes. “You see, Watson, if all else fails me I have still one of the scientific professions open to me,“ said “That you, Mr. Thaddeus? But who are the oth- Holmes, laughing. “Our friend won’t keep us outers? I had no orders about them from the master.” in the cold now, I am sure.” “No, McMurdo? You surprise me! I told my “In you come, sir, in you come,—you and yourbrother last night that I should bring some friends. friends,” he answered. “Very sorry, Mr. Thaddeus, “He ain’t been out o’ his room to-day, Mr. but orders are very strict. Had to be certain of yourThaddeus, and I have no orders. You know very friends before I let them in.”well that I must stick to regulations. I can let you Inside, a gravel path wound through deso-in, but your friends must just stop where they are.” late grounds to a huge clump of a house, square 79
  • 78. The Sign of the Fourand prosaic, all plunged in shadow save where a whom no word or even look of affection had evermoonbeam struck one corner and glimmered in passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble oura garret window. The vast size of the building, hands instinctively sought for each other. I havewith its gloom and its deathly silence, struck a chill marvelled at it since, but at the time it seemed theto the heart. Even Thaddeus Sholto seemed ill at most natural thing that I should go out to her so,ease, and the lantern quivered and rattled in his and, as she has often told me, there was in her alsohand. the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protec- “I cannot understand it,” he said. “There must tion. So we stood hand in hand, like two children,be some mistake. I distinctly told Bartholomew and there was peace in our hearts for all the darkthat we should be here, and yet there is no light in things that surrounded us.his window. I do not know what to make of it.” “What a strange place!” she said, looking “Does he always guard the premises in this round.way?” asked Holmes. “It looks as though all the moles in England “Yes; he has followed my father’s custom. He had been let loose in it. I have seen something ofwas the favorite son, you know, and I sometimes the sort on the side of a hill near Ballarat, wherethink that my father may have told him more than the prospectors had been at work.”he ever told me. That is Bartholomew’s window “And from the same cause,” said Holmes.up there where the moonshine strikes. It is quite “These are the traces of the treasure-seekers. Youbright, but there is no light from within, I think.” must remember that they were six years looking “None,” said Holmes. “But I see the glint of a for it. No wonder that the grounds look like alight in that little window beside the door.” gravel-pit.” “Ah, that is the housekeeper’s room. That is At that moment the door of the house burstwhere old Mrs. Bernstone sits. She can tell us all open, and Thaddeus Sholto came running out,about it. But perhaps you would not mind wait- with his hands thrown forward and terror in hising here for a minute or two, for if we all go in eyes.together and she has no word of our coming she “There is something amiss with Bartholomew!”may be alarmed. But hush! what is that?” he cried. “I am frightened! My nerves cannot He held up the lantern, and his hand shook stand it.” He was, indeed, half blubbering withuntil the circles of light flickered and wavered all fear, and his twitching feeble face peeping outround us. Miss Morstan seized my wrist, and from the great Astrakhan collar had the helplesswe all stood with thumping hearts, straining our appealing expression of a terrified child.ears. From the great black house there sounded “Come into the house,” said Holmes, in histhrough the silent night the saddest and most piti- crisp, firm way.ful of sounds,—the shrill, broken whimpering of a “Yes, do!” pleaded Thaddeus Sholto. “I reallyfrightened woman. do not feel equal to giving directions.” “It is Mrs. Bernstone,” said Sholto. “She is theonly woman in the house. Wait here. I shall be We all followed him into the housekeeper’sback in a moment.” He hurried for the door, and room, which stood upon the left-hand side of theknocked in his peculiar way. We could see a tall passage. The old woman was pacing up and downold woman admit him, and sway with pleasure at with a scared look and restless picking fingers,the very sight of him. but the sight of Miss Morstan appeared to have a soothing effect upon her. “Oh, Mr. Thaddeus, sir, I am so glad you havecome! I am so glad you have come, Mr. Thaddeus, “God bless your sweet calm face!” she cried,sir!” We heard her reiterated rejoicings until the with an hysterical sob. “It does me good to seedoor was closed and her voice died away into a you. Oh, but I have been sorely tried this day!”muffled monotone. Our companion patted her thin, work-worn Our guide had left us the lantern. Holmes hand, and murmured some few words of kindlyswung it slowly round, and peered keenly at the womanly comfort which brought the color backhouse, and at the great rubbish-heaps which cum- into the others bloodless cheeks.bered the grounds. Miss Morstan and I stood to- “Master has locked himself in and will now an-gether, and her hand was in mine. A wondrous swer me,” she explained. “All day I have waited tosubtle thing is love, for here were we two who hear from him, for he often likes to be alone; buthad never seen each other before that day, between an hour ago I feared that something was amiss, so 80
  • 79. The Sign of the FourI went up and peeped through the key-hole. You “This is terrible!” I said to Holmes. “What is tomust go up, Mr. Thaddeus,—you must go up and be done?”look for yourself. I have seen Mr. Bartholomew “The door must come down,” he answered,Sholto in joy and in sorrow for ten long years, but and, springing against it, he put all his weightI never saw him with such a face on him as that.” upon the lock. It creaked and groaned, but did not Sherlock Holmes took the lamp and led the yield. Together we flung ourselves upon it onceway, for Thaddeus Sholto’s teeth were chattering more, and this time it gave way with a suddenin his head. So shaken was he that I had to pass snap, and we found ourselves within Bartholomewmy hand under his arm as we went up the stairs, Sholto’s chamber.for his knees were trembling under him. Twice It appeared to have been fitted up as a chemicalas we ascended Holmes whipped his lens out of laboratory. A double line of glass-stoppered bot-his pocket and carefully examined marks which tles was drawn up upon the wall opposite the door,appeared to me to be mere shapeless smudges of and the table was littered over with Bunsen burn-dust upon the cocoa-nut matting which served as ers, test-tubes, and retorts. In the corners stooda stair-carpet. He walked slowly from step to step, carboys of acid in wicker baskets. One of these ap-holding the lamp, and shooting keen glances to peared to leak or to have been broken, for a streamright and left. Miss Morstan had remained behind of dark-colored liquid had trickled out from it, andwith the frightened housekeeper. the air was heavy with a peculiarly pungent, tar- like odor. A set of steps stood at one side of the The third flight of stairs ended in a straight pas- room, in the midst of a litter of lath and plaster,sage of some length, with a great picture in Indian and above them there was an opening in the ceil-tapestry upon the right of it and three doors upon ing large enough for a man to pass through. Atthe left. Holmes advanced along it in the same the foot of the steps a long coil of rope was thrownslow and methodical way, while we kept close at carelessly together.his heels, with our long black shadows stream- By the table, in a wooden arm-chair, the mas-ing backwards down the corridor. The third door ter of the house was seated all in a heap, withwas that which we were seeking. Holmes knocked his head sunk upon his left shoulder, and thatwithout receiving any answer, and then tried to ghastly, inscrutable smile upon his face. He wasturn the handle and force it open. It was locked stiff and cold, and had clearly been dead manyon the inside, however, and by a broad and pow- hours. It seemed to me that not only his featureserful bolt, as we could see when we set our lamp but all his limbs were twisted and turned in theup against it. The key being turned, however, the most fantastic fashion. By his hand upon the tablehole was not entirely closed. Sherlock Holmes bent there lay a peculiar instrument,—a brown, close-down to it, and instantly rose again with a sharp grained stick, with a stone head like a hammer,intaking of the breath. rudely lashed on with coarse twine. Beside it “There is something devilish in this, Watson,” was a torn sheet of note-paper with some wordssaid he, more moved than I had ever before seen scrawled upon it. Holmes glanced at it, and thenhim. “What do you make of it?” handed it to me. “You see,” he said, with a significant raising of I stooped to the hole, and recoiled in horror. the eyebrows.Moonlight was streaming into the room, and it wasbright with a vague and shifty radiance. Look- In the light of the lantern I read, with a thrill ofing straight at me, and suspended, as it were, in horror, “The sign of the four.”the air, for all beneath was in shadow, there hung “In God’s name, what does it all mean?” Ia face,—the very face of our companion Thad- asked.deus. There was the same high, shining head, the “It means murder,” said he, stooping over thesame circular bristle of red hair, the same bloodless dead man. “Ah, I expected it. Look here!” Hecountenance. The features were set, however, in a pointed to what looked like a long, dark thornhorrible smile, a fixed and unnatural grin, which stuck in the skin just above the ear.in that still and moonlit room was more jarring “It looks like a thorn,” said I.to the nerves than any scowl or contortion. So likewas the face to that of our little friend that I looked “It is a thorn. You may pick it out. But be care-round at him to make sure that he was indeed with ful, for it is poisoned.”us. Then I recalled to mind that he had mentioned I took it up between my finger and thumb. Itto us that his brother and he were twins. came away from the skin so readily that hardly 81
  • 80. The Sign of the Fourany mark was left behind. One tiny speck of blood “What time was that?”showed where the puncture had been. “It was ten o’clock. And now he is dead, and “This is all an insoluble mystery to me,” said I. the police will be called in, and I shall be sus-“It grows darker instead of clearer.” pected of having had a hand in it. Oh, yes, I am “On the contrary,” he answered, “it clears ev- sure I shall. But you don’t think so, gentlemen?ery instant. I only require a few missing links to Surely you don’t think that it was I? Is it likelyhave an entirely connected case.” that I would have brought you here if it were I? We had almost forgotten our companion’s pres- Oh, dear! oh, dear! I know that I shall go mad!” He jerked his arms and stamped his feet in a kindence since we entered the chamber. He was stillstanding in the door-way, the very picture of terror, of convulsive frenzy.wringing his hands and moaning to himself. Sud- “You have no reason for fear, Mr. Sholto,” saiddenly, however, he broke out into a sharp, queru- Holmes, kindly, putting his hand upon his shoul-lous cry. der. “Take my advice, and drive down to the sta- “The treasure is gone!” he said. “They have tion to report this matter to the police. Offer torobbed him of the treasure! There is the hole assist them in every way. We shall wait here untilthrough which we lowered it. I helped him to do your return.”it! I was the last person who saw him! I left him The little man obeyed in a half-stupefied fash-here last night, and I heard him lock the door as I ion, and we heard him stumbling down the stairscame down-stairs.” in the dark. CHAPTER VI. Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration “Now, Watson,” said Holmes, rubbing his and here again upon the floor, and here again byhands, “we have half an hour to ourselves. Let the table. See here, Watson! This is really a veryus make good use of it. My case is, as I have told pretty demonstration.”you, almost complete; but we must not err on the I looked at the round, well-defined muddyside of over-confidence. Simple as the case seems discs. “This is not a footmark,” said I.now, there may be something deeper underlyingit.” “It is something much more valuable to us. It is the impression of a wooden stump. You see here “Simple!” I ejaculated. on the sill is the boot-mark, a heavy boot with the broad metal heel, and beside it is the mark of the “Surely,” said he, with something of the air of timber-toe.”a clinical professor expounding to his class. “Justsit in the corner there, that your footprints may “It is the wooden-legged man.”not complicate matters. Now to work! In the first “Quite so. But there has been some one else,—aplace, how did these folk come, and how did they very able and efficient ally. Could you scale thatgo? The door has not been opened since last night. wall, doctor?”How of the window?” He carried the lamp across I looked out of the open window. The moonto it, muttering his observations aloud the while, still shone brightly on that angle of the house. Webut addressing them to himself rather than to me. were a good sixty feet from the round, and, look“Window is snibbed on the inner side. Framework where I would, I could see no foothold, nor asis solid. No hinges at the side. Let us open it. No much as a crevice in the brick-work.water-pipe near. Roof quite out of reach. Yet aman has mounted by the window. It rained a lit- “It is absolutely impossible,” I answered.tle last night. Here is the print of a foot in mould “Without aid it is so. But suppose you had aupon the sill. And here is a circular muddy mark, friend up here who lowered you this good stout 82
  • 81. The Sign of the Fourrope which I see in the corner, securing one end floor was formed by the rafters, with thin lath-and-of it to this great hook in the wall. Then, I think, plaster between, so that in walking one had to stepif you were an active man, you might swarm up, from beam to beam. The roof ran up to an apex,wooden leg and all. You would depart, of course, and was evidently the inner shell of the true roofin the same fashion, and your ally would draw up of the house. There was no furniture of any sort,the rope, untie it from the hook, shut the window, and the accumulated dust of years lay thick uponsnib it on the inside, and get away in the way that the floor.he originally came. As a minor point it may be “Here you are, you see,” said Sherlock Holmes,noted,” he continued, fingering the rope, “that our putting his hand against the sloping wall. “This iswooden-legged friend, though a fair climber, was a trap-door which leads out on to the roof. I cannot a professional sailor. His hands were far from press it back, and here is the roof itself, slopinghorny. My lens discloses more than one blood- at a gentle angle. This, then, is the way by whichmark, especially towards the end of the rope, from Number One entered. Let us see if we can find onewhich I gather that he slipped down with such ve- other traces of his individuality.”locity that he took the skin off his hand.” “This is all very well,” said I, “but the thing be- He held down the lamp to the floor, and as hecomes more unintelligible than ever. How about did so I saw for the second time that night a star-this mysterious ally? How came he into the tled, surprised look come over his face. For my-room?” self, as I followed his gaze my skin was cold under my clothes. The floor was covered thickly with the “Yes, the ally!” repeated Holmes, pensively. prints of a naked foot,—clear, well defined, per-“There are features of interest about this ally. He fectly formed, but scarce half the size of those oflifts the case from the regions of the commonplace. an ordinary man.I fancy that this ally breaks fresh ground in theannals of crime in this country,—though parallel “Holmes,” I said, in a whisper, “a child hascases suggest themselves from India, and, if my done the horrid thing.”memory serves me, from Senegambia.” He had recovered his self-possession in an in- “How came he, then?” I reiterated. “The door stant. “I was staggered for the moment,” he said,is locked, the window is inaccessible. Was it “but the thing is quite natural. My memory failedthrough the chimney?” me, or I should have been able to foretell it. There “The grate is much too small,” he answered. “I is nothing more to be learned here. Let us gohad already considered that possibility.” down.” “How then?” I persisted. “What is your theory, then, as to those foot- “You will not apply my precept,” he said, shak- marks?” I asked, eagerly, when we had regaineding his head. “How often have I said to you the lower room once more.that when you have eliminated the impossible “My dear Watson, try a little analysis yourself,”whatever remains, however improbable, must be the said he, with a touch of impatience. “You knowtruth? We know that he did not come through the my methods. Apply them, and it will be instruc-door, the window, or the chimney. We also know tive to compare results.”that he could not have been concealed in the room, “I cannot conceive anything which will coveras there is no concealment possible. Whence, then, the facts,” I answered.did he come?” “He came through the hole in the roof,” I cried. “It will be clear enough to you soon,” he said, in an off-hand way. “I think that there is noth- “Of course he did. He must have done so. If ing else of importance here, but I will look.” Heyou will have the kindness to hold the lamp for whipped out his lens and a tape measure, and hur-me, we shall now extend our researches to the ried about the room on his knees, measuring, com-room above,—the secret room in which the trea- paring, examining, with his long thin nose only asure was found.” few inches from the planks, and his beady eyes He mounted the steps, and, seizing a rafter gleaming and deep-set like those of a bird. Sowith either hand, he swung himself up into the swift, silent, and furtive were his movements, likegarret. Then, lying on his face, he reached down those of a trained blood-hound picking out a scent,for the lamp and held it while I followed him. that I could not but think what a terrible criminal The chamber in which we found ourselves was he would have made had he turned his energy andabout ten feet one way and six the other. The sagacity against the law, instead of exerting them 83
  • 82. The Sign of the Fourin its defense. As he hunted about, he kept mut- “No, it certainly is not.”tering to himself, and finally he broke out into a “With all these data you should be able to drawloud crow of delight. some just inference. But here are the regulars: so “We are certainly in luck,” said he. “We ought the auxiliary forces may beat a retreat.”to have very little trouble now. Number One has As he spoke, the steps which had been cominghad the misfortune to tread in the creosote. You nearer sounded loudly on the passage, and a verycan see the outline of the edge of his small foot stout, portly man in a gray suit strode heavily intohere at the side of this evil-smelling mess. The car- the room. He was red-faced, burly and plethoric,boy has been cracked, You see, and the stuff has with a pair of very small twinkling eyes whichleaked out.” looked keenly out from between swollen and puffy “What then?” I asked. pouches. He was closely followed by an inspector “Why, we have got him, that’s all,” said he. “I in uniform, and by the still palpitating Thaddeusknow a dog that would follow that scent to the Sholto.world’s end. If a pack can track a trailed her- “Here’s a business!” he cried, in a muffled,ring across a shire, how far can a specially-trained husky voice. “Here’s a pretty business! But whohound follow so pungent a smell as this? It sounds are all these? Why, the house seems to be as fulllike a sum in the rule of three. The answer should as a rabbit-warren!”give us the—But halloo! here are the accreditedrepresentatives of the law.” “I think you must recollect me, Mr. Athelney Jones,” said Holmes, quietly. Heavy steps and the clamor of loud voices wereaudible from below, and the hall door shut with a “Why, of course I do!” he wheezed. “It’s Mr.loud crash. Sherlock Holmes, the theorist. Remember you! I’ll never forget how you lectured us all on causes and “Before they come,” said Holmes, “just put inferences and effects in the Bishopgate jewel case.your hand here on this poor fellow’s arm, and here It’s true you set us on the right track; but you’llon his leg. What do you feel?” own now that it was more by good luck than good “The muscles are as hard as a board,” I an- guidance.”swered. “It was a piece of very simple reasoning.” “Quite so. They are in a state of extreme con-traction, far exceeding the usual rigor mortis. Cou- “Oh, come, now, come! Never be ashamed topled with this distortion of the face, this Hippo- own up. But what is all this? Bad business! Badcratic smile, or ‘risus sardonicus,’ as the old writers business! Stern facts here,—no room for theories.called it, what conclusion would it suggest to your How lucky that I happened to be out at Norwoodmind?” over another case! I was at the station when the message arrived. What d’you think the man died “Death from some powerful vegetable alka- of?”loid,” I answered,—“some strychnine-like sub-stance which would produce tetanus.” “Oh, this is hardly a case for me to theorize over,” said Holmes, dryly. “That was the idea which occurred to me theinstant I saw the drawn muscles of the face. On “No, no. Still, we can’t deny that you hit thegetting into the room I at once looked for the nail on the head sometimes. Dear me! Doormeans by which the poison had entered the sys- locked, I understand. Jewels worth half a milliontem. As you saw, I discovered a thorn which had missing. How was the window?”been driven or shot with no great force into the “Fastened; but there are steps on the sill.”scalp. You observe that the part struck was thatwhich would be turned towards the hole in the “Well, well, if it was fastened the steps couldceiling if the man were erect in his chair. Now ex- have nothing to do with the matter. That’s com-amine the thorn.” mon sense. Man might have died in a fit; but then the jewels are missing. Ha! I have a theory. These I took it up gingerly and held it in the light of flashes come upon me at times.—Just step outside,the lantern. It was long, sharp, and black, with a sergeant, and you, Mr. Sholto. Your friend can re-glazed look near the point as though some gummy main.—What do you think of this, Holmes? Sholtosubstance had dried upon it. The blunt end had was, on his own confession, with his brother lastbeen trimmed and rounded off with a knife. night. The brother died in a fit, on which Sholto “Is that an English thorn?” he asked. walked off with the treasure. How’s that?” 84
  • 83. The Sign of the Four “On which the dead man very considerately “There, now! Didn’t I tell you!” cried the poorgot up and locked the door on the inside.” little man, throwing out his hands, and looking “Hum! There’s a flaw there. Let us apply com- from one to the other of us.mon sense to the matter. This Thaddeus Sholto “Don’t trouble yourself about it, Mr. Sholto,”was with his brother; there was a quarrel; so much said Holmes. “I think that I can engage to clearwe know. The brother is dead and the jewels are you of the charge.”gone. So much also we know. No one saw the “Don’t promise too much, Mr. Theorist,—don’tbrother from the time Thaddeus left him. His bed promise too much!” snapped the detective. “Youhad not been slept in. Thaddeus is evidently in may find it a harder matter than you think.”a most disturbed state of mind. His appearance “Not only will I clear him, Mr. Jones, but I willis—well, not attractive. You see that I am weaving make you a free present of the name and descrip-my web round Thaddeus. The net begins to close tion of one of the two people who were in thisupon him.” room last night. His name, I have every reason to “You are not quite in possession of the facts believe, is Jonathan Small. He is a poorly-educatedyet,” said Holmes. “This splinter of wood, which I man, small, active, with his right leg off, and wear-have every reason to believe to be poisoned, was in ing a wooden stump which is worn away upon thethe man’s scalp where you still see the mark; this inner side. His left boot has a coarse, square-toedcard, inscribed as you see it, was on the table; and sole, with an iron band round the heel. He is abeside it lay this rather curious stone-headed in- middle-aged man, much sunburned, and has beenstrument. How does all that fit into your theory?” a convict. These few indications may be of some assistance to you, coupled with the fact that there “Confirms it in every respect,” said the fat de- is a good deal of skin missing from the palm of histective, pompously. “House is full of Indian cu- hand. The other man—”riosities. Thaddeus brought this up, and if thissplinter be poisonous Thaddeus may as well have “Ah! the other man—?” asked Athelney Jones,made murderous use of it as any other man. The in a sneering voice, but impressed none the less,card is some hocus-pocus,—a blind, as like as not. as I could easily see, by the precision of the other’sThe only question is, how did he depart? Ah, of manner.course, here is a hole in the roof.” With great ac- “Is a rather curious person,” said Sherlocktivity, considering his bulk, he sprang up the steps Holmes, turning upon his heel. “I hope beforeand squeezed through into the garret, and imme- very long to be able to introduce you to the pairdiately afterwards we heard his exulting voice pro- of them. A word with you, Watson.”claiming that he had found the trap-door. He led me out to the head of the stair. “This “He can find something,” remarked Holmes, unexpected occurrence,“ he said, ”has caused usshrugging his shoulders. “He has occasional glim- rather to lose sight of the original purpose of ourmerings of reason. Il n’y a pas des sots si incommodes journey.”que ceux qui ont de l’esprit!” “I have just been thinking so,” I answered. “It “You see!” said Athelney Jones, reappearing is not right that Miss Morstan should remain indown the steps again. “Facts are better than mere this stricken house.”theories, after all. My view of the case is con- “No. You must escort her home. She lives withfirmed. There is a trap-door communicating with Mrs. Cecil Forrester, in Lower Camberwell: so it isthe roof, and it is partly open.” not very far. I will wait for you here if you will “It was I who opened it.” drive out again. Or perhaps you are too tired?” “By no means. I don’t think I could rest until I “Oh, indeed! You did notice it, then?” He know more of this fantastic business. I have seenseemed a little crestfallen at the discovery. “Well, something of the rough side of life, but I give youwhoever noticed it, it shows how our gentleman my word that this quick succession of strange sur-got away. Inspector!” prises to-night has shaken my nerve completely. “Yes, sir,” from the passage. I should like, however, to see the matter through “Ask Mr. Sholto to step this way.—Mr. Sholto, it with you, now that I have got so far.”is my duty to inform you that anything which you “Your presence will be of great service to me,”may say will be used against you. I arrest you in he answered. “We shall work the case out inde-the queen’s name as being concerned in the death pendently, and leave this fellow Jones to exult overof your brother.” any mare’s-nest which he may choose to construct. 85
  • 84. The Sign of the FourWhen you have dropped Miss Morstan I wish you than that of the whole detective force of London.”to go on to No. 3 Pinchin Lane, down near thewater’s edge at Lambeth. The third house on the “I shall bring him, then,” said I. “It is one now.right-hand side is a bird-stuffer’s: Sherman is the I ought to be back before three, if I can get a freshname. You will see a weasel holding a young rab- horse.”bit in the window. Knock old Sherman up, and “And I,” said Holmes, “shall see what I cantell him, with my compliments, that I want Toby learn from Mrs. Bernstone, and from the Indianat once. You will bring Toby back in the cab with servant, who, Mr. Thaddeus tell me, sleeps in theyou.” next garret. Then I shall study the great Jones’s “A dog, I suppose.” methods and listen to his not too delicate sarcasms. “Yes,—a queer mongrel, with a most amazing ‘Wir sind gewohnt, daß die Menschen verh¨ hnen was opower of scent. I would rather have Toby’s help sie nicht verstehen.’ Goethe is always pithy.” CHAPTER VII. The Episode of the Barrel The police had brought a cab with them, and It was nearly two o’clock when we reachedin this I escorted Miss Morstan back to her home. Mrs. Cecil Forrester’s. The servants had retiredAfter the angelic fashion of women, she had borne hours ago, but Mrs. Forrester had been so inter-trouble with a calm face as long as there was ested by the strange message which Miss Morstansome one weaker than herself to support, and I had received that she had sat up in the hope ofhad found her bright and placid by the side of her return. She opened the door herself, a middle-the frightened housekeeper. In the cab, however, aged, graceful woman, and it gave me joy to seeshe first turned faint, and then burst into a pas- how tenderly her arm stole round the other’s waistsion of weeping,—so sorely had she been tried by and how motherly was the voice in which shethe adventures of the night. She has told me since greeted her. She was clearly no mere paid depen-that she thought me cold and distant upon that dant, but an honored friend. I was introduced, andjourney. She little guessed the struggle within my Mrs. Forrester earnestly begged me to step in andbreast, or the effort of self-restraint which held me tell her our adventures. I explained, however, theback. My sympathies and my love went out to importance of my errand, and promised faithfullyher, even as my hand had in the garden. I felt to call and report any progress which we mightthat years of the conventionalities of life could not make with the case. As we drove away I stole ateach me to know her sweet, brave nature as had glance back, and I still seem to see that little groupthis one day of strange experiences. Yet there were on the step, the two graceful, clinging figures, thetwo thoughts which sealed the words of affection half-opened door, the hall light shining throughupon my lips. She was weak and helpless, shaken stained glass, the barometer, and the bright stair-in mind and nerve. It was to take her at a disad- rods. It was soothing to catch even that passingvantage to obtrude love upon her at such a time. glimpse of a tranquil English home in the midst ofWorse still, she was rich. If Holmes’s researches the wild, dark business which had absorbed us.were successful, she would be an heiress. Wasit fair, was it honorable, that a half-pay surgeon And the more I thought of what had happened,should take such advantage of an intimacy which the wilder and darker it grew. I reviewed thechance had brought about? Might she not look whole extraordinary sequence of events as I rat-upon me as a mere vulgar fortune-seeker? I could tled on through the silent gas-lit streets. There wasnot bear to risk that such a thought should cross the original problem: that at least was pretty clearher mind. This Agra treasure intervened like an now. The death of Captain Morstan, the sendingimpassable barrier between us. of the pearls, the advertisement, the letter,—we had had light upon all those events. They had 86
  • 85. The Sign of the Fouronly led us, however, to a deeper and far more “Toby lives at No. 7 on the left here.” He movedtragic mystery. The Indian treasure, the curious slowly forward with his candle among the queerplan found among Morstan’s baggage, the strange animal family which he had gathered round him.scene at Major Sholto’s death, the rediscovery of In the uncertain, shadowy light I could see dimlythe treasure immediately followed by the murder that there were glancing, glimmering eyes peepingof the discoverer, the very singular accompani- down at us from every cranny and corner. Evenments to the crime, the footsteps, the remarkable the rafters above our heads were lined by solemnweapons, the words upon the card, corresponding fowls, who lazily shifted their weight from one legwith those upon Captain Morstan’s chart,—here to the other as our voices disturbed their slumbers.was indeed a labyrinth in which a man less singu- Toby proved to an ugly, long-haired, lop-earedlarly endowed than my fellow-lodger might well creature, half spaniel and half lurcher, brown-despair of ever finding the clue. and-white in color, with a very clumsy waddling Pinchin Lane was a row of shabby two-storied gait. It accepted after some hesitation a lumpbrick houses in the lower quarter of Lambeth. I of sugar which the old naturalist handed to me,had to knock for some time at No. 3 before I could and, having thus sealed an alliance, it followedmake my impression. At last, however, there was me to the cab, and made no difficulties about ac-the glint of a candle behind the blind, and a face companying me. It had just struck three on thelooked out at the upper window. Palace clock when I found myself back once more “Go on, you drunken vagabone,” said the face. at Pondicherry Lodge. The ex-prize-fighter Mc-“If you kick up any more row I’ll open the kennels Murdo had, I found, been arrested as an accessory,and let out forty-three dogs upon you.” and both he and Mr. Sholto had been marched off to the station. Two constables guarded the narrow “If you’ll let one out it’s just what I have come gate, but they allowed me to pass with the dog onfor,” said I. my mentioning the detective’s name. “Go on!” yelled the voice. “So help me gra-cious, I have a wiper in the bag, an’ I’ll drop it on Holmes was standing on the door-step, withyour ’ead if you don’t hook it.” his hands in his pockets, smoking his pipe. “But I want a dog,” I cried. “Ah, you have him there!” said he. “Good dog, “I won’t be argued with!” shouted Mr. Sher- then! Athelney Jones has gone. We have had anman. “Now stand clear, for when I say ‘three,’ immense display of energy since you left. He hasdown goes the wiper.” arrested not only friend Thaddeus, but the gate- keeper, the housekeeper, and the Indian servant. “Mr. Sherlock Holmes—” I began, but the We have the place to ourselves, but for a sergeantwords had a most magical effect, for the window up-stairs. Leave the dog here, and come up.”instantly slammed down, and within a minute thedoor was unbarred and open. Mr. Sherman was We tied Toby to the hall table, and reascendeda lanky, lean old man, with stooping shoulders, a the stairs. The room was as he had left it, save thatstringy neck, and blue-tinted glasses. a sheet had been draped over the central figure. A weary-looking police-sergeant reclined in the cor- “A friend of Mr. Sherlock is always welcome,” ner.said he. “Step in, sir. Keep clear of the badger; forhe bites. Ah, naughty, naughty, would you take a “Lend me your bull’s-eye, sergeant,” said mynip at the gentleman?” This to a stoat which thrust companion. “Now tie this bit of card round myits wicked head and red eyes between the bars of neck, so as to hang it in front of me. Thank you.its cage. “Don’t mind that, sir: it’s only a slow- Now I must kick off my boots and stockings.—Justworm. It hain’t got no fangs, so I gives it the run you carry them down with you, Watson. I am go-o’ the room, for it keeps the bettles down. You ing to do a little climbing. And dip my handker-must not mind my bein’ just a little short wi’ you at chief into the creasote. That will do. Now comefirst, for I’m guyed at by the children, and there’s up into the garret with me for a moment.”many a one just comes down this lane to knock me We clambered up through the hole. Holmesup. What was it that Mr. Sherlock Holmes wanted, turned his light once more upon the footsteps insir?” the dust. “He wanted a dog of yours.” “I wish you particularly to notice these foot- “Ah! that would be Toby.” marks,” he said. “Do you observe anything note- “Yes, Toby was the name.” worthy about them?” 87
  • 86. The Sign of the Four “They belong,” I said, “to a child or a small dropped this. It confirms my diagnosis, as youwoman.” doctors express it.” “Apart from their size, though. Is there nothing The object which he held up to me was a smallelse?” pocket or pouch woven out of colored grasses and “They appear to be much as other footmarks.” with a few tawdry beads strung round it. In shape and size it was not unlike a cigarette-case. Inside “Not at all. Look here! This is the print of a were half a dozen spines of dark wood, sharp atright foot in the dust. Now I make one with my one end and rounded at the other, like that whichnaked foot beside it. What is the chief difference?” had struck Bartholomew Sholto. “Your toes are all cramped together. The other “They are hellish things,” said he. “Look outprint has each toe distinctly divided.” that you don’t prick yourself. I’m delighted to “Quite so. That is the point. Bear that in mind. have them, for the chances are that they are all heNow, would you kindly step over to that flap- has. There is the less fear of you or me findingwindow and smell the edge of the wood-work? I one in our skin before long. I would sooner face ashall stay here, as I have this handkerchief in my Martini bullet, myself. Are you game for a six-milehand.” trudge, Watson?” I did as he directed, and was instantly con- “Certainly,” I answered.scious of a strong tarry smell. “Your leg will stand it?” “That is where he put his foot in getting out. “Oh, yes.”If you can trace him, I should think that Toby will “Here you are, doggy! Good old Toby! Smellhave no difficulty. Now run down-stairs, loose the it, Toby, smell it!” He pushed the creasote hand-dog, and look out for Blondin.” kerchief under the dog’s nose, while the creature By the time that I got out into the grounds stood with its fluffy legs separated, and with aSherlock Holmes was on the roof, and I could see most comical cock to its head, like a connoisseurhim like an enormous glow-worm crawling very sniffing the bouquet of a famous vintage. Holmesslowly along the ridge. I lost sight of him behind then threw the handkerchief to a distance, fasteneda stack of chimneys, but he presently reappeared, a stout cord to the mongrel’s collar, and let him toand then vanished once more upon the opposite the foot of the water-barrel. The creature instantlyside. When I made my way round there I found broke into a succession of high, tremulous yelps,him seated at one of the corner eaves. and, with his nose on the ground, and his tail in “That You, Watson?” he cried. the air, pattered off upon the trail at a pace which strained his leash and kept us at the top of our “Yes.” speed. “This is the place. What is that black thing The east had been gradually whitening, and wedown there?” could now see some distance in the cold gray light. “A water-barrel.” The square, massive house, with its black, empty “Top on it?” windows and high, bare walls, towered up, sad and forlorn, behind us. Our course let right across “Yes.” the grounds, in and out among the trenches and “No sign of a ladder?” pits with which they were scarred and intersected. “No.” The whole place, with its scattered dirt-heaps and ill-grown shrubs, had a blighted, ill-omened look “Confound the fellow! It’s a most break-neck which harmonized with the black tragedy whichplace. I ought to be able to come down where he hung over it.could clim