wohnzimmer grau weiß landhaus

wohnzimmer grau weiß landhaus

the adventure of the three students it was in the year '95 that a combinationof events, into which i need not enter, caused mr. sherlock holmes and myself tospend some weeks in one of our great university towns, and it was during this time that the small but instructiveadventure which i am about to relate befell us. it will be obvious that any details whichwould help the reader exactly to identify the college or the criminal would beinjudicious and offensive. so painful a scandal may well be allowed todie out.

with due discretion the incident itselfmay, however, be described, since it serves to illustrate some of those qualities forwhich my friend was remarkable. i will endeavour, in my statement, to avoidsuch terms as would serve to limit the events to any particular place, or give aclue as to the people concerned. we were residing at the time in furnishedlodgings close to a library where sherlock holmes was pursuing some laboriousresearches in early english charters-- researches which led to results so striking that they may be the subject of one of myfuture narratives. here it was that one evening we received avisit from an acquaintance, mr. hilton

soames, tutor and lecturer at the collegeof st. luke's. mr. soames was a tall, spare man, of anervous and excitable temperament. i had always known him to be restless inhis manner, but on this particular occasion he was in such a state of uncontrollableagitation that it was clear something very unusual had occurred. "i trust, mr. holmes, that you can spareme a few hours of your valuable time. we have had a very painful incident at st.luke's, and really, but for the happy chance of your being in town, i should havebeen at a loss what to do." "i am very busy just now, and i desire nodistractions," my friend answered.

"i should much prefer that you called inthe aid of the police." "no, no, my dear sir; such a course isutterly impossible. when once the law is evoked it cannot bestayed again, and this is just one of those cases where, for the credit of the college,it is most essential to avoid scandal. your discretion is as well known as yourpowers, and you are the one man in the world who can help me.i beg you, mr. holmes, to do what you can." my friend's temper had not improved sincehe had been deprived of the congenial surroundings of baker street.

without his scrapbooks, his chemicals, andhis homely untidiness, he was an uncomfortable man. he shrugged his shoulders in ungraciousacquiescence, while our visitor in hurried words and with much excitable gesticulationpoured forth his story. "i must explain to you, mr. holmes, thatto-morrow is the first day of the examination for the fortescue scholarship.i am one of the examiners. my subject is greek, and the first of thepapers consists of a large passage of greek translation which the candidate has notseen. this passage is printed on the examinationpaper, and it would naturally be an immense

advantage if the candidate could prepare itin advance. for this reason, great care is taken tokeep the paper secret. "to-day, about three o'clock, the proofs ofthis paper arrived from the printers. the exercise consists of half a chapter ofthucydides. i had to read it over carefully, as thetext must be absolutely correct. at four-thirty my task was not yetcompleted. i had, however, promised to take tea in afriend's rooms, so i left the proof upon my desk. i was absent rather more than an hour."you are aware, mr. holmes, that our

college doors are double--a green baize onewithin and a heavy oak one without. as i approached my outer door, i was amazedto see a key in it. for an instant i imagined that i had leftmy own there, but on feeling in my pocket i found that it was all right. the only duplicate which existed, so far asi knew, was that which belonged to my servant, bannister--a man who has lookedafter my room for ten years, and whose honesty is absolutely above suspicion. i found that the key was indeed his, thathe had entered my room to know if i wanted tea, and that he had very carelessly leftthe key in the door when he came out.

his visit to my room must have been withina very few minutes of my leaving it. his forgetfulness about the key would havemattered little upon any other occasion, but on this one day it has produced themost deplorable consequences. "the moment i looked at my table, i wasaware that someone had rummaged among my papers.the proof was in three long slips. i had left them all together. now, i found that one of them was lying onthe floor, one was on the side table near the window, and the third was where i hadleft it." holmes stirred for the first time.

"the first page on the floor, the second inthe window, the third where you left it," said he."exactly, mr. holmes. you amaze me. how could you possibly know that?""pray continue your very interesting statement." "for an instant i imagined that bannisterhad taken the unpardonable liberty of examining my papers. he denied it, however, with the utmostearnestness, and i am convinced that he was speaking the truth.

the alternative was that someone passinghad observed the key in the door, had known that i was out, and had entered to look atthe papers. a large sum of money is at stake, for thescholarship is a very valuable one, and an unscrupulous man might very well run a riskin order to gain an advantage over his fellows. "bannister was very much upset by theincident. he had nearly fainted when we found thatthe papers had undoubtedly been tampered with. i gave him a little brandy and left himcollapsed in a chair, while i made a most

careful examination of the room. i soon saw that the intruder had left othertraces of his presence besides the rumpled papers. on the table in the window were severalshreds from a pencil which had been sharpened.a broken tip of lead was lying there also. evidently the rascal had copied the paperin a great hurry, had broken his pencil, and had been compelled to put a fresh pointto it." "excellent!" said holmes, who wasrecovering his good-humour as his attention became more engrossed by the case."fortune has been your friend."

"this was not all. i have a new writing-table with a finesurface of red leather. i am prepared to swear, and so isbannister, that it was smooth and unstained. now i found a clean cut in it about threeinches long--not a mere scratch, but a positive cut. not only this, but on the table i found asmall ball of black dough or clay, with specks of something which looks likesawdust in it. i am convinced that these marks were leftby the man who rifled the papers.

there were no footmarks and no otherevidence as to his identity. i was at my wit's end, when suddenly thehappy thought occurred to me that you were in the town, and i came straight round toput the matter into your hands. do help me, mr. holmes. you see my dilemma. either i must find the man or else theexamination must be postponed until fresh papers are prepared, and since this cannotbe done without explanation, there will ensue a hideous scandal, which will throw a cloud not only on the college, but on theuniversity.

above all things, i desire to settle thematter quietly and discreetly." "i shall be happy to look into it and togive you such advice as i can," said holmes, rising and putting on his overcoat."the case is not entirely devoid of interest. had anyone visited you in your room afterthe papers came to you?" "yes, young daulat ras, an indian student,who lives on the same stair, came in to ask me some particulars about the examination." "for which he was entered?""yes." "and the papers were on your table?""to the best of my belief, they were rolled

up." "but might be recognized as proofs?""possibly." "no one else in your room?""no." "did anyone know that these proofs would bethere?" "no one save the printer.""did this man bannister know?" "no, certainly not. no one knew.""where is bannister now?" "he was very ill, poor fellow.i left him collapsed in the chair. i was in such a hurry to come to you."

"you left your door open?""i locked up the papers first." "then it amounts to this, mr. soames:that, unless the indian student recognized the roll as being proofs, the man whotampered with them came upon them accidentally without knowing that they werethere." "so it seems to me."holmes gave an enigmatic smile. "well," said he, "let us go round. not one of your cases, watson--mental, notphysical. all right; come if you want to.now, mr. soames--at your disposal!" the sitting-room of our client opened by along, low, latticed window on to the

ancient lichen-tinted court of the oldcollege. a gothic arched door led to a worn stonestaircase. on the ground floor was the tutor's room.above were three students, one on each story. it was already twilight when we reached thescene of our problem. holmes halted and looked earnestly at thewindow. then he approached it, and, standing ontiptoe with his neck craned, he looked into the room."he must have entered through the door. there is no opening except the one pane,"said our learned guide.

"dear me!" said holmes, and he smiled in asingular way as he glanced at our companion. "well, if there is nothing to be learnedhere, we had best go inside." the lecturer unlocked the outer door andushered us into his room. we stood at the entrance while holmes madean examination of the carpet. "i am afraid there are no signs here," saidhe. "one could hardly hope for any upon so drya day. your servant seems to have quite recovered.you left him in a chair, you say. which chair?"

"by the window there.""i see. near this little table.you can come in now. i have finished with the carpet. let us take the little table first.of course, what has happened is very clear. the man entered and took the papers, sheetby sheet, from the central table. he carried them over to the window table,because from there he could see if you came across the courtyard, and so could effectan escape." "as a matter of fact, he could not," saidsoames, "for i entered by the side door." "ah, that's good!well, anyhow, that was in his mind.

let me see the three strips. no finger impressions--no!well, he carried over this one first, and he copied it.how long would it take him to do that, using every possible contraction? a quarter of an hour, not less.then he tossed it down and seized the next. he was in the midst of that when yourreturn caused him to make a very hurried retreat--very hurried, since he had nottime to replace the papers which would tell you that he had been there. you were not aware of any hurrying feet onthe stair as you entered the outer door?"

"no, i can't say i was." "well, he wrote so furiously that he brokehis pencil, and had, as you observe, to sharpen it again.this is of interest, watson. the pencil was not an ordinary one. it was above the usual size, with a softlead, the outer colour was dark blue, the maker's name was printed in silverlettering, and the piece remaining is only about an inch and a half long. look for such a pencil, mr. soames, andyou have got your man. when i add that he possesses a large andvery blunt knife, you have an additional

aid." mr. soames was somewhat overwhelmed bythis flood of information. "i can follow the other points," said he,"but really, in this matter of the length-- --" holmes held out a small chip with theletters nn and a space of clear wood after them."you see?" "no, i fear that even now----" "watson, i have always done you aninjustice. there are others.what could this nn be?

it is at the end of a word. you are aware that johann faber is the mostcommon maker's name. is it not clear that there is just as muchof the pencil left as usually follows the johann?" he held the small table sideways to theelectric light. "i was hoping that if the paper on which hewrote was thin, some trace of it might come through upon this polished surface. no, i see nothing.i don't think there is anything more to be learned here.now for the central table.

this small pellet is, i presume, the black,doughy mass you spoke of. roughly pyramidal in shape and hollowedout, i perceive. as you say, there appear to be grains ofsawdust in it. dear me, this is very interesting.and the cut--a positive tear, i see. it began with a thin scratch and ended in ajagged hole. i am much indebted to you for directing myattention to this case, mr. soames. where does that door lead to?" "to my bedroom.""have you been in it since your adventure?" "no, i came straight away for you.""i should like to have a glance round.

what a charming, old-fashioned room! perhaps you will kindly wait a minute,until i have examined the floor. no, i see nothing.what about this curtain? you hang your clothes behind it. if anyone were forced to conceal himself inthis room he must do it there, since the bed is too low and the wardrobe tooshallow. no one there, i suppose?" as holmes drew the curtain i was aware,from some little rigidity and alertness of his attitude, that he was prepared for anemergency.

as a matter of fact, the drawn curtaindisclosed nothing but three or four suits of clothes hanging from a line of pegs.holmes turned away, and stooped suddenly to the floor. "halloa!what's this?" said he. it was a small pyramid of black, putty-likestuff, exactly like the one upon the table of the study. holmes held it out on his open palm in theglare of the electric light. "your visitor seems to have left traces inyour bedroom as well as in your sitting- room, mr. soames."

"what could he have wanted there?""i think it is clear enough. you came back by an unexpected way, and sohe had no warning until you were at the very door. what could he do?he caught up everything which would betray him, and he rushed into your bedroom toconceal himself." "good gracious, mr. holmes, do you mean totell me that, all the time i was talking to bannister in this room, we had the manprisoner if we had only known it?" "so i read it." "surely there is another alternative, mr.holmes.

i don't know whether you observed mybedroom window?" "lattice-paned, lead framework, threeseparate windows, one swinging on hinge, and large enough to admit a man.""exactly. and it looks out on an angle of thecourtyard so as to be partly invisible. the man might have effected his entrancethere, left traces as he passed through the bedroom, and finally, finding the dooropen, have escaped that way." holmes shook his head impatiently. "let us be practical," said he."i understand you to say that there are three students who use this stair, and arein the habit of passing your door?"

"yes, there are." "and they are all in for this examination?""yes." "have you any reason to suspect any one ofthem more than the others?" soames hesitated. "it is a very delicate question," said he."one hardly likes to throw suspicion where there are no proofs.""let us hear the suspicions. i will look after the proofs." "i will tell you, then, in a few words thecharacter of the three men who inhabit these rooms.

the lower of the three is gilchrist, a finescholar and athlete, plays in the rugby team and the cricket team for the college,and got his blue for the hurdles and the long jump. he is a fine, manly fellow.his father was the notorious sir jabez gilchrist, who ruined himself on the turf.my scholar has been left very poor, but he is hard-working and industrious. he will do well."the second floor is inhabited by daulat ras, the indian.he is a quiet, inscrutable fellow; as most of those indians are.

he is well up in his work, though his greekis his weak subject. he is steady and methodical."the top floor belongs to miles mclaren. he is a brilliant fellow when he chooses towork--one of the brightest intellects of the university; but he is wayward,dissipated, and unprincipled. he was nearly expelled over a card scandalin his first year. he has been idling all this term, and hemust look forward with dread to the examination." "then it is he whom you suspect?""i dare not go so far as that. but, of the three, he is perhaps the leastunlikely."

"exactly. now, mr. soames, let us have a look atyour servant, bannister." he was a little, white-faced, clean-shaven,grizzly-haired fellow of fifty. he was still suffering from this suddendisturbance of the quiet routine of his life. his plump face was twitching with hisnervousness, and his fingers could not keep still."we are investigating this unhappy business, bannister," said his master. "yes, sir.""i understand," said holmes, "that you left

your key in the door?""yes, sir." "was it not very extraordinary that youshould do this on the very day when there were these papers inside?""it was most unfortunate, sir. but i have occasionally done the same thingat other times." "when did you enter the room?""it was about half-past four. that is mr. soames' tea time." "how long did you stay?""when i saw that he was absent, i withdrew at once.""did you look at these papers on the table?"

"no, sir--certainly not.""how came you to leave the key in the door?""i had the tea-tray in my hand. i thought i would come back for the key. then i forgot.""has the outer door a spring lock?" "no, sir.""then it was open all the time?" "yes, sir." "anyone in the room could get out?""yes, sir." "when mr. soames returned and called foryou, you were very much disturbed?" "yes, sir.

such a thing has never happened during themany years that i have been here. i nearly fainted, sir.""so i understand. where were you when you began to feel bad?" "where was i, sir?why, here, near the door." "that is singular, because you sat down inthat chair over yonder near the corner. why did you pass these other chairs?" "i don't know, sir, it didn't matter to mewhere i sat." "i really don't think he knew much aboutit, mr. holmes. he was looking very bad--quite ghastly."

"you stayed here when your master left?""only for a minute or so. then i locked the door and went to myroom." "whom do you suspect?" "oh, i would not venture to say, sir.i don't believe there is any gentleman in this university who is capable of profitingby such an action. no, sir, i'll not believe it." "thank you, that will do," said holmes."oh, one more word. you have not mentioned to any of the threegentlemen whom you attend that anything is amiss?"

"no, sir--not a word.""you haven't seen any of them?" "no, sir.""very good. now, mr. soames, we will take a walk inthe quadrangle, if you please." three yellow squares of light shone aboveus in the gathering gloom. "your three birds are all in their nests,"said holmes, looking up. "halloa!what's that? one of them seems restless enough." it was the indian, whose dark silhouetteappeared suddenly upon his blind. he was pacing swiftly up and down his room."i should like to have a peep at each of

them," said holmes. "is it possible?""no difficulty in the world," soames answered. "this set of rooms is quite the oldest inthe college, and it is not unusual for visitors to go over them.come along, and i will personally conduct you." "no names, please!" said holmes, as weknocked at gilchrist's door. a tall, flaxen-haired, slim young fellowopened it, and made us welcome when he understood our errand.

there were some really curious pieces ofmediaeval domestic architecture within. holmes was so charmed with one of them thathe insisted on drawing it in his notebook, broke his pencil, had to borrow one fromour host and finally borrowed a knife to sharpen his own. the same curious accident happened to himin the rooms of the indian--a silent, little, hook-nosed fellow, who eyed usaskance, and was obviously glad when holmes's architectural studies had come toan end. i could not see that in either case holmeshad come upon the clue for which he was searching.

only at the third did our visit proveabortive. the outer door would not open to our knock,and nothing more substantial than a torrent of bad language came from behind it. "i don't care who you are.you can go to blazes!" roared the angry voice."tomorrow's the exam, and i won't be drawn by anyone." "a rude fellow," said our guide, flushingwith anger as we withdrew down the stair. "of course, he did not realize that it wasi who was knocking, but none the less his conduct was very uncourteous, and, indeed,under the circumstances rather suspicious."

holmes's response was a curious one. "can you tell me his exact height?" heasked. "really, mr. holmes, i cannot undertake tosay. he is taller than the indian, not so tallas gilchrist. i suppose five foot six would be about it.""that is very important," said holmes. "and now, mr. soames, i wish you good-night." our guide cried aloud in his astonishmentand dismay. "good gracious, mr. holmes, you are surelynot going to leave me in this abrupt fashion!you don't seem to realize the position.

to-morrow is the examination. i must take some definite action to-night.i cannot allow the examination to be held if one of the papers has been tamperedwith. the situation must be faced." "you must leave it as it is.i shall drop round early to-morrow morning and chat the matter over.it is possible that i may be in a position then to indicate some course of action. meanwhile, you change nothing--nothing atall." "very good, mr. holmes.""you can be perfectly easy in your mind.

we shall certainly find some way out ofyour difficulties. i will take the black clay with me, alsothe pencil cuttings. good-bye." when we were out in the darkness of thequadrangle, we again looked up at the windows.the indian still paced his room. the others were invisible. "well, watson, what do you think of it?"holmes asked, as we came out into the main street."quite a little parlour game--sort of three-card trick, is it not?

there are your three men.it must be one of them. you take your choice.which is yours?" "the foul-mouthed fellow at the top. he is the one with the worst record.and yet that indian was a sly fellow also. why should he be pacing his room all thetime?" "there is nothing in that. many men do it when they are trying tolearn anything by heart." "he looked at us in a queer way." "so would you, if a flock of strangers camein on you when you were preparing for an

examination next day, and every moment wasof value. no, i see nothing in that. pencils, too, and knives--all wassatisfactory. but that fellow does puzzle me.""who?" "why, bannister, the servant. what's his game in the matter?""he impressed me as being a perfectly honest man.""so he did me. that's the puzzling part. why should a perfectly honest man--well,well, here's a large stationer's.

we shall begin our researches here." there were only four stationers of anyconsequences in the town, and at each holmes produced his pencil chips, and bidhigh for a duplicate. all were agreed that one could be ordered,but that it was not a usual size of pencil and that it was seldom kept in stock. my friend did not appear to be depressed byhis failure, but shrugged his shoulders in half-humorous resignation."no good, my dear watson. this, the best and only final clue, has runto nothing. but, indeed, i have little doubt that wecan build up a sufficient case without it.

by jove! my dear fellow, it is nearly nine,and the landlady babbled of green peas at seven-thirty. what with your eternal tobacco, watson, andyour irregularity at meals, i expect that you will get notice to quit, and that ishall share your downfall--not, however, before we have solved the problem of the nervous tutor, the careless servant, andthe three enterprising students." holmes made no further allusion to thematter that day, though he sat lost in thought for a long time after our belateddinner. at eight in the morning, he came into myroom just as i finished my toilet.

"well, watson," said he, "it is time wewent down to st. luke's. can you do without breakfast?" "certainly.""soames will be in a dreadful fidget until we are able to tell him somethingpositive." "have you anything positive to tell him?" "i think so.""you have formed a conclusion?" "yes, my dear watson, i have solved themystery." "but what fresh evidence could you havegot?" "aha!

it is not for nothing that i have turnedmyself out of bed at the untimely hour of six. i have put in two hours' hard work andcovered at least five miles, with something to show for it.look at that!" he held out his hand. on the palm were three little pyramids ofblack, doughy clay. "why, holmes, you had only two yesterday.""and one more this morning. it is a fair argument that wherever no. 3 came from is also the source of nos.1 and 2.

eh, watson?well, come along and put friend soames out of his pain." the unfortunate tutor was certainly in astate of pitiable agitation when we found him in his chambers. in a few hours the examination wouldcommence, and he was still in the dilemma between making the facts public andallowing the culprit to compete for the valuable scholarship. he could hardly stand still so great washis mental agitation, and he ran towards holmes with two eager hands outstretched."thank heaven that you have come!

i feared that you had given it up indespair. what am i to do?shall the examination proceed?" "yes, let it proceed, by all means." "but this rascal?""he shall not compete." "you know him?""i think so. if this matter is not to become public, wemust give ourselves certain powers and resolve ourselves into a small privatecourt-martial. you there, if you please, soames! watson you here!i'll take the armchair in the middle.

i think that we are now sufficientlyimposing to strike terror into a guilty breast. kindly ring the bell!"bannister entered, and shrank back in evident surprise and fear at our judicialappearance. "you will kindly close the door," saidholmes. "now, bannister, will you please tell usthe truth about yesterday's incident?" the man turned white to the roots of hishair. "i have told you everything, sir.""nothing to add?" "nothing at all, sir."

"well, then, i must make some suggestionsto you. when you sat down on that chair yesterday,did you do so in order to conceal some object which would have shown who had beenin the room?" bannister's face was ghastly. "no, sir, certainly not.""it is only a suggestion," said holmes, suavely."i frankly admit that i am unable to prove it. but it seems probable enough, since themoment that mr. soames's back was turned, you released the man who was hiding in thatbedroom."

bannister licked his dry lips. "there was no man, sir.""ah, that's a pity, bannister. up to now you may have spoken the truth,but now i know that you have lied." the man's face set in sullen defiance. "there was no man, sir.""come, come, bannister!" "no, sir, there was no one.""in that case, you can give us no further information. would you please remain in the room?stand over there near the bedroom door. now, soames, i am going to ask you to havethe great kindness to go up to the room of

young gilchrist, and to ask him to stepdown into yours." an instant later the tutor returned,bringing with him the student. he was a fine figure of a man, tall, lithe,and agile, with a springy step and a pleasant, open face. his troubled blue eyes glanced at each ofus, and finally rested with an expression of blank dismay upon bannister in thefarther corner. "just close the door," said holmes. "now, mr. gilchrist, we are all quitealone here, and no one need ever know one word of what passes between us.we can be perfectly frank with each other.

we want to know, mr. gilchrist, how you,an honourable man, ever came to commit such an action as that of yesterday?" the unfortunate young man staggered back,and cast a look full of horror and reproach at bannister."no, no, mr. gilchrist, sir, i never said a word--never one word!" cried the servant. "no, but you have now," said holmes."now, sir, you must see that after bannister's words your position ishopeless, and that your only chance lies in a frank confession." for a moment gilchrist, with upraised hand,tried to control his writhing features.

the next he had thrown himself on his kneesbeside the table, and burying his face in his hands, he had burst into a storm ofpassionate sobbing. "come, come," said holmes, kindly, "it ishuman to err, and at least no one can accuse you of being a callous criminal. perhaps it would be easier for you if iwere to tell mr. soames what occurred, and you can check me where i am wrong.shall i do so? well, well, don't trouble to answer. listen, and see that i do you no injustice. "from the moment, mr. soames, that yousaid to me that no one, not even bannister,

could have told that the papers were inyour room, the case began to take a definite shape in my mind. the printer one could, of course, dismiss.he could examine the papers in his own office.the indian i also thought nothing of. if the proofs were in a roll, he could notpossibly know what they were. on the other hand, it seemed an unthinkablecoincidence that a man should dare to enter the room, and that by chance on that veryday the papers were on the table. i dismissed that. the man who entered knew that the paperswere there.

how did he know?"when i approached your room, i examined the window. you amused me by supposing that i wascontemplating the possibility of someone having in broad daylight, under the eyes ofall these opposite rooms, forced himself through it. such an idea was absurd.i was measuring how tall a man would need to be in order to see, as he passed, whatpapers were on the central table. i am six feet high, and i could do it withan effort. no one less than that would have a chance.

already you see i had reason to think that,if one of your three students was a man of unusual height, he was the most worthwatching of the three. "i entered, and i took you into myconfidence as to the suggestions of the side table. of the centre table i could make nothing,until in your description of gilchrist you mentioned that he was a long-distancejumper. then the whole thing came to me in aninstant, and i only needed certain corroborative proofs, which i speedilyobtained. "what happened with {sic} this: this youngfellow had employed his afternoon at the

athletic grounds, where he had beenpractising the jump. he returned carrying his jumping-shoes,which are provided, as you are aware, with several sharp spikes. as he passed your window he saw, by meansof his great height, these proofs upon your table, and conjectured what they were. no harm would have been done had it notbeen that, as he passed your door, he perceived the key which had been left bythe carelessness of your servant. a sudden impulse came over him to enter,and see if they were indeed the proofs. it was not a dangerous exploit for he couldalways pretend that he had simply looked in

to ask a question. "well, when he saw that they were indeedthe proofs, it was then that he yielded to temptation.he put his shoes on the table. what was it you put on that chair near thewindow?" "gloves," said the young man.holmes looked triumphantly at bannister. "he put his gloves on the chair, and hetook the proofs, sheet by sheet, to copy them.he thought the tutor must return by the main gate and that he would see him. as we know, he came back by the side gate.suddenly he heard him at the very door.

there was no possible escape.he forgot his gloves but he caught up his shoes and darted into the bedroom. you observe that the scratch on that tableis slight at one side, but deepens in the direction of the bedroom door. that in itself is enough to show us thatthe shoe had been drawn in that direction, and that the culprit had taken refugethere. the earth round the spike had been left onthe table, and a second sample was loosened and fell in the bedroom. i may add that i walked out to the athleticgrounds this morning, saw that tenacious

black clay is used in the jumping-pit andcarried away a specimen of it, together with some of the fine tan or sawdust which is strewn over it to prevent the athletefrom slipping. have i told the truth, mr. gilchrist?"the student had drawn himself erect. "yes, sir, it is true," said he. "good heavens! have you nothing to add?"cried soames. "yes, sir, i have, but the shock of thisdisgraceful exposure has bewildered me. i have a letter here, mr. soames, which iwrote to you early this morning in the middle of a restless night.it was before i knew that my sin had found

me out. here it is, sir.you will see that i have said, 'i have determined not to go in for theexamination. i have been offered a commission in therhodesian police, and i am going out to south africa at once.'" "i am indeed pleased to hear that you didnot intend to profit by your unfair advantage," said soames."but why did you change your purpose?" gilchrist pointed to bannister. "there is the man who set me in the rightpath," said he.

"come now, bannister," said holmes. "it will be clear to you, from what i havesaid, that only you could have let this young man out, since you were left in theroom, and must have locked the door when you went out. as to his escaping by that window, it wasincredible. can you not clear up the last point in thismystery, and tell us the reasons for your action?" "it was simple enough, sir, if you only hadknown, but, with all your cleverness, it was impossible that you could know.

time was, sir, when i was butler to old sirjabez gilchrist, this young gentleman's father. when he was ruined i came to the college asservant, but i never forgot my old employer because he was down in the world.i watched his son all i could for the sake of the old days. well, sir, when i came into this roomyesterday, when the alarm was given, the very first thing i saw was mr. gilchrist'stan gloves a-lying in that chair. i knew those gloves well, and i understoodtheir message. if mr. soames saw them, the game was up.

i flopped down into that chair, and nothingwould budge me until mr. soames he went for you. then out came my poor young master, whom ihad dandled on my knee, and confessed it all to me. wasn't it natural, sir, that i should savehim, and wasn't it natural also that i should try to speak to him as his deadfather would have done, and make him understand that he could not profit by sucha deed? could you blame me, sir?""no, indeed," said holmes, heartily, springing to his feet.

"well, soames, i think we have cleared yourlittle problem up, and our breakfast awaits us at home.come, watson! as to you, sir, i trust that a brightfuture awaits you in rhodesia. for once you have fallen low.let us see, in the future, how high you can rise." > the adventure of the golden pince-nez when i look at the three massive manuscriptvolumes which contain our work for the year 1894, i confess that it is very difficultfor me, out of such a wealth of material,

to select the cases which are most interesting in themselves, and at the sametime most conducive to a display of those peculiar powers for which my friend wasfamous. as i turn over the pages, i see my notesupon the repulsive story of the red leech and the terrible death of crosby, thebanker. here also i find an account of the addletontragedy, and the singular contents of the ancient british barrow. the famous smith-mortimer succession casecomes also within this period, and so does the tracking and arrest of huret, theboulevard assassin--an exploit which won

for holmes an autograph letter of thanks from the french president and the order ofthe legion of honour. each of these would furnish a narrative,but on the whole i am of opinion that none of them unites so many singular points ofinterest as the episode of yoxley old place, which includes not only the lamentable death of young willoughby smith,but also those subsequent developments which threw so curious a light upon thecauses of the crime. it was a wild, tempestuous night, towardsthe close of november. holmes and i sat together in silence allthe evening, he engaged with a powerful

lens deciphering the remains of theoriginal inscription upon a palimpsest, i deep in a recent treatise upon surgery. outside the wind howled down baker street,while the rain beat fiercely against the windows. it was strange there, in the very depths ofthe town, with ten miles of man's handiwork on every side of us, to feel the iron gripof nature, and to be conscious that to the huge elemental forces all london was no more than the molehills that dot thefields. i walked to the window, and looked out onthe deserted street.

the occasional lamps gleamed on the expanseof muddy road and shining pavement. a single cab was splashing its way from theoxford street end. "well, watson, it's as well we have not toturn out to-night," said holmes, laying aside his lens and rolling up thepalimpsest. "i've done enough for one sitting. it is trying work for the eyes.so far as i can make out, it is nothing more exciting than an abbey's accountsdating from the second half of the fifteenth century. halloa! halloa! halloa!what's this?"

amid the droning of the wind there had comethe stamping of a horse's hoofs, and the long grind of a wheel as it rasped againstthe curb. the cab which i had seen had pulled up atour door. "what can he want?"i ejaculated, as a man stepped out of it. "want? he wants us.and we, my poor watson, want overcoats and cravats and goloshes, and every aid thatman ever invented to fight the weather. wait a bit, though! there's the cab off again!there's hope yet.

he'd have kept it if he had wanted us tocome. run down, my dear fellow, and open thedoor, for all virtuous folk have been long in bed." when the light of the hall lamp fell uponour midnight visitor, i had no difficulty in recognizing him. it was young stanley hopkins, a promisingdetective, in whose career holmes had several times shown a very practicalinterest. "is he in?" he asked, eagerly. "come up, my dear sir," said holmes's voicefrom above.

"i hope you have no designs upon us such anight as this." the detective mounted the stairs, and ourlamp gleamed upon his shining waterproof. i helped him out of it, while holmesknocked a blaze out of the logs in the grate. "now, my dear hopkins, draw up and warmyour toes," said he. "here's a cigar, and the doctor has aprescription containing hot water and a lemon, which is good medicine on a nightlike this. it must be something important which hasbrought you out in such a gale." "it is indeed, mr. holmes.i've had a bustling afternoon, i promise

you. did you see anything of the yoxley case inthe latest editions?" "i've seen nothing later than the fifteenthcentury to-day." "well, it was only a paragraph, and allwrong at that, so you have not missed anything.i haven't let the grass grow under my feet. it's down in kent, seven miles from chathamand three from the railway line. i was wired for at 3:15, reached yoxley oldplace at 5, conducted my investigation, was back at charing cross by the last train,and straight to you by cab." "which means, i suppose, that you are notquite clear about your case?"

"it means that i can make neither head nortail of it. so far as i can see, it is just as tangleda business as ever i handled, and yet at first it seemed so simple that one couldn'tgo wrong. there's no motive, mr. holmes. that's what bothers me--i can't put my handon a motive. here's a man dead--there's no denying that--but, so far as i can see, no reason on earth why anyone should wish him harm." holmes lit his cigar and leaned back in hischair. "let us hear about it," said he."i've got my facts pretty clear," said

stanley hopkins. "all i want now is to know what they allmean. the story, so far as i can make it out, islike this. some years ago this country house, yoxleyold place, was taken by an elderly man, who gave the name of professor coram. he was an invalid, keeping his bed half thetime, and the other half hobbling round the house with a stick or being pushed aboutthe grounds by the gardener in a bath chair. he was well liked by the few neighbours whocalled upon him, and he has the reputation

down there of being a very learned man. his household used to consist of an elderlyhousekeeper, mrs. marker, and of a maid, susan tarlton. these have both been with him since hisarrival, and they seem to be women of excellent character. the professor is writing a learned book,and he found it necessary, about a year ago, to engage a secretary. the first two that he tried were notsuccesses, but the third, mr. willoughby smith, a very young man straight from theuniversity, seems to have been just what

his employer wanted. his work consisted in writing all themorning to the professor's dictation, and he usually spent the evening in hunting upreferences and passages which bore upon the next day's work. this willoughby smith has nothing againsthim, either as a boy at uppingham or as a young man at cambridge. i have seen his testimonials, and from thefirst he was a decent, quiet, hard-working fellow, with no weak spot in him at all. and yet this is the lad who has met hisdeath this morning in the professor's study

under circumstances which can point only tomurder." the wind howled and screamed at thewindows. holmes and i drew closer to the fire, whilethe young inspector slowly and point by point developed his singular narrative. "if you were to search all england," saidhe, "i don't suppose you could find a household more self-contained or freer fromoutside influences. whole weeks would pass, and not one of themgo past the garden gate. the professor was buried in his work andexisted for nothing else. young smith knew nobody in theneighbourhood, and lived very much as his

employer did.the two women had nothing to take them from the house. mortimer, the gardener, who wheels the bathchair, is an army pensioner--an old crimean man of excellent character. he does not live in the house, but in athree-roomed cottage at the other end of the garden. those are the only people that you wouldfind within the grounds of yoxley old place. at the same time, the gate of the garden isa hundred yards from the main london to

chatham road.it opens with a latch, and there is nothing to prevent anyone from walking in. "now i will give you the evidence of susantarlton, who is the only person who can say anything positive about the matter.it was in the forenoon, between eleven and twelve. she was engaged at the moment in hangingsome curtains in the upstairs front bedroom. professor coram was still in bed, for whenthe weather is bad he seldom rises before midday.the housekeeper was busied with some work

in the back of the house. willoughby smith had been in his bedroom,which he uses as a sitting-room, but the maid heard him at that moment pass alongthe passage and descend to the study immediately below her. she did not see him, but she says that shecould not be mistaken in his quick, firm tread. she did not hear the study door close, buta minute or so later there was a dreadful cry in the room below. it was a wild, hoarse scream, so strangeand unnatural that it might have come

either from a man or a woman. at the same instant there was a heavy thud,which shook the old house, and then all was silence. the maid stood petrified for a moment, andthen, recovering her courage, she ran downstairs.the study door was shut and she opened it. inside, young mr. willoughby smith wasstretched upon the floor. at first she could see no injury, but asshe tried to raise him she saw that blood was pouring from the underside of his neck. it was pierced by a very small but verydeep wound, which had divided the carotid

artery. the instrument with which the injury hadbeen inflicted lay upon the carpet beside him. it was one of those small sealing-waxknives to be found on old-fashioned writing-tables, with an ivory handle and astiff blade. it was part of the fittings of theprofessor's own desk. "at first the maid thought that young smithwas already dead, but on pouring some water from the carafe over his forehead he openedhis eyes for an instant. 'the professor,' he murmured--'it was she.'

the maid is prepared to swear that thosewere the exact words. he tried desperately to say something else,and he held his right hand up in the air. then he fell back dead. "in the meantime the housekeeper had alsoarrived upon the scene, but she was just too late to catch the young man's dyingwords. leaving susan with the body, she hurried tothe professors room. he was sitting up in bed, horriblyagitated, for he had heard enough to convince him that something terrible hadoccurred. mrs. marker is prepared to swear that theprofessor was still in his night-clothes,

and indeed it was impossible for him todress without the help of mortimer, whose orders were to come at twelve o'clock. the professor declares that he heard thedistant cry, but that he knows nothing more. he can give no explanation of the youngman's last words, 'the professor--it was she,' but imagines that they were theoutcome of delirium. he believes that willoughby smith had notan enemy in the world, and can give no reason for the crime.his first action was to send mortimer, the gardener, for the local police.

a little later the chief constable sent forme. nothing was moved before i got there, andstrict orders were given that no one should walk upon the paths leading to the house. it was a splendid chance of putting yourtheories into practice, mr. sherlock holmes.there was really nothing wanting." "except mr. sherlock holmes," said mycompanion, with a somewhat bitter smile. "well, let us hear about it.what sort of a job did you make of it?" "i must ask you first, mr. holmes, toglance at this rough plan, which will give you a general idea of the position of theprofessor's study and the various points of

the case. it will help you in following myinvestigation." he unfolded the rough chart, which i herereproduce, graphic and he laid it across holmes'sknee. i rose and, standing behind holmes, studiedit over his shoulder. "it is very rough, of course, and it onlydeals with the points which seem to me to be essential.all the rest you will see later for yourself. now, first of all, presuming that theassassin entered the house, how did he or

she come in? undoubtedly by the garden path and the backdoor, from which there is direct access to the study.any other way would have been exceedingly complicated. the escape must have also been made alongthat line, for of the two other exits from the room one was blocked by susan as sheran downstairs and the other leads straight to the professor's bedroom. i therefore directed my attention at onceto the garden path, which was saturated with recent rain, and would certainly showany footmarks.

"my examination showed me that i wasdealing with a cautious and expert criminal.no footmarks were to be found on the path. there could be no question, however, thatsomeone had passed along the grass border which lines the path, and that he had doneso in order to avoid leaving a track. i could not find anything in the nature ofa distinct impression, but the grass was trodden down, and someone had undoubtedlypassed. it could only have been the murderer, sinceneither the gardener nor anyone else had been there that morning, and the rain hadonly begun during the night." "one moment," said holmes.

"where does this path lead to?""to the road." "how long is it?""a hundred yards or so." "at the point where the path passes throughthe gate, you could surely pick up the tracks?""unfortunately, the path was tiled at that point." "well, on the road itself?""no, it was all trodden into mire." "tut-tut!well, then, these tracks upon the grass, were they coming or going?" "it was impossible to say.there was never any outline."

"a large foot or a small?""you could not distinguish." holmes gave an ejaculation of impatience. "it has been pouring rain and blowing ahurricane ever since," said he. "it will be harder to read now than thatpalimpsest. well, well, it can't be helped. what did you do, hopkins, after you hadmade certain that you had made certain of nothing?""i think i made certain of a good deal, mr. holmes. i knew that someone had entered the housecautiously from without.

i next examined the corridor.it is lined with cocoanut matting and had taken no impression of any kind. this brought me into the study itself.it is a scantily furnished room. the main article is a large writing-tablewith a fixed bureau. this bureau consists of a double column ofdrawers, with a central small cupboard between them.the drawers were open, the cupboard locked. the drawers, it seems, were always open,and nothing of value was kept in them. there were some papers of importance in thecupboard, but there were no signs that this had been tampered with, and the professorassures me that nothing was missing.

it is certain that no robbery has beencommitted. "i come now to the body of the young man.it was found near the bureau, and just to the left of it, as marked upon that chart. the stab was on the right side of the neckand from behind forward, so that it is almost impossible that it could have beenself-inflicted." "unless he fell upon the knife," saidholmes. "exactly.the idea crossed my mind. but we found the knife some feet away fromthe body, so that seems impossible. then, of course, there are the man's owndying words.

and, finally, there was this very importantpiece of evidence which was found clasped in the dead man's right hand."from his pocket stanley hopkins drew a small paper packet. he unfolded it and disclosed a goldenpince-nez, with two broken ends of black silk cord dangling from the end of it."willoughby smith had excellent sight," he added. "there can be no question that this wassnatched from the face or the person of the assassin." sherlock holmes took the glasses into hishand, and examined them with the utmost

attention and interest. he held them on his nose, endeavoured toread through them, went to the window and stared up the street with them, looked atthem most minutely in the full light of the lamp, and finally, with a chuckle, seated himself at the table and wrote a few linesupon a sheet of paper, which he tossed across to stanley hopkins."that's the best i can do for you," said he. "it may prove to be of some use."the astonished detective read the note aloud.it ran as follows:

"wanted, a woman of good address, attiredlike a lady. she has a remarkably thick nose, with eyeswhich are set close upon either side of it. she has a puckered forehead, a peeringexpression, and probably rounded shoulders. there are indications that she has hadrecourse to an optician at least twice during the last few months. as her glasses are of remarkable strength,and as opticians are not very numerous, there should be no difficulty in tracingher." holmes smiled at the astonishment ofhopkins, which must have been reflected upon my features."surely my deductions are simplicity

itself," said he. "it would be difficult to name any articleswhich afford a finer field for inference than a pair of glasses, especially soremarkable a pair as these. that they belong to a woman i infer fromtheir delicacy, and also, of course, from the last words of the dying man. as to her being a person of refinement andwell dressed, they are, as you perceive, handsomely mounted in solid gold, and it isinconceivable that anyone who wore such glasses could be slatternly in otherrespects. you will find that the clips are too widefor your nose, showing that the lady's nose

was very broad at the base. this sort of nose is usually a short andcoarse one, but there is a sufficient number of exceptions to prevent me frombeing dogmatic or from insisting upon this point in my description. my own face is a narrow one, and yet i findthat i cannot get my eyes into the centre, nor near the centre, of these glasses.therefore, the lady's eyes are set very near to the sides of the nose. you will perceive, watson, that the glassesare concave and of unusual strength. a lady whose vision has been so extremelycontracted all her life is sure to have the

physical characteristics of such vision,which are seen in the forehead, the eyelids, and the shoulders." "yes," i said, "i can follow each of yourarguments. i confess, however, that i am unable tounderstand how you arrive at the double visit to the optician." holmes took the glasses in his hand."you will perceive," he said, "that the clips are lined with tiny bands of cork tosoften the pressure upon the nose. one of these is discoloured and worn tosome slight extent, but the other is new. evidently one has fallen off and beenreplaced.

i should judge that the older of them hasnot been there more than a few months. they exactly correspond, so i gather thatthe lady went back to the same establishment for the second." "by george, it's marvellous!" criedhopkins, in an ecstasy of admiration. "to think that i had all that evidence inmy hand and never knew it! i had intended, however, to go the round ofthe london opticians." "of course you would.meanwhile, have you anything more to tell us about the case?" "nothing, mr. holmes.i think that you know as much as i do now--

probably more. we have had inquiries made as to anystranger seen on the country roads or at the railway station.we have heard of none. what beats me is the utter want of allobject in the crime. not a ghost of a motive can anyonesuggest." "ah! there i am not in a position to helpyou. but i suppose you want us to come out to-morrow?" "if it is not asking too much, mr. holmes. there's a train from charing cross tochatham at six in the morning, and we

should be at yoxley old place between eightand nine." "then we shall take it. your case has certainly some features ofgreat interest, and i shall be delighted to look into it.well, it's nearly one, and we had best get a few hours' sleep. i daresay you can manage all right on thesofa in front of the fire. i'll light my spirit lamp, and give you acup of coffee before we start." the gale had blown itself out next day, butit was a bitter morning when we started upon our journey.

we saw the cold winter sun rise over thedreary marshes of the thames and the long, sullen reaches of the river, which i shallever associate with our pursuit of the andaman islander in the earlier days of ourcareer. after a long and weary journey, we alightedat a small station some miles from chatham. while a horse was being put into a trap atthe local inn, we snatched a hurried breakfast, and so we were all ready forbusiness when we at last arrived at yoxley old place. a constable met us at the garden gate."well, wilson, any news?" "no, sir--nothing.""no reports of any stranger seen?"

"no, sir. down at the station they are certain thatno stranger either came or went yesterday." "have you had inquiries made at inns andlodgings?" "yes, sir: there is no one that we cannotaccount for." "well, it's only a reasonable walk tochatham. anyone might stay there or take a trainwithout being observed. this is the garden path of which i spoke,mr. holmes. i'll pledge my word there was no mark on ityesterday." "on which side were the marks on thegrass?"

"this side, sir. this narrow margin of grass between thepath and the flower-bed. i can't see the traces now, but they wereclear to me then." "yes, yes: someone has passed along," saidholmes, stooping over the grass border. "our lady must have picked her stepscarefully, must she not, since on the one side she would leave a track on the path,and on the other an even clearer one on the soft bed?" "yes, sir, she must have been a cool hand."i saw an intent look pass over holmes's face."you say that she must have come back this

way?" "yes, sir, there is no other.""on this strip of grass?" "certainly, mr. holmes.""hum! it was a very remarkable performance--veryremarkable. well, i think we have exhausted the path.let us go farther. this garden door is usually kept open, isuppose? then this visitor had nothing to do but towalk in. the idea of murder was not in her mind, orshe would have provided herself with some sort of weapon, instead of having to pickthis knife off the writing-table.

she advanced along this corridor, leavingno traces upon the cocoanut matting. then she found herself in this study.how long was she there? we have no means of judging." "not more than a few minutes, sir.i forgot to tell you that mrs. marker, the housekeeper, had been in there tidying notvery long before--about a quarter of an hour, she says." "well, that gives us a limit.our lady enters this room, and what does she do?she goes over to the writing-table. what for?

not for anything in the drawers.if there had been anything worth her taking, it would surely have been lockedup. no, it was for something in that woodenbureau. halloa! what is that scratch upon the faceof it? just hold a match, watson. why did you not tell me of this, hopkins?" the mark which he was examining began uponthe brass-work on the right-hand side of the keyhole, and extended for about fourinches, where it had scratched the varnish from the surface.

"i noticed it, mr. holmes, but you'llalways find scratches round a keyhole." "this is recent, quite recent.see how the brass shines where it is cut. an old scratch would be the same colour asthe surface. look at it through my lens.there's the varnish, too, like earth on each side of a furrow. is mrs. marker there?"a sad-faced, elderly woman came into the room."did you dust this bureau yesterday morning?" "yes, sir.""did you notice this scratch?"

"no, sir, i did not.""i am sure you did not, for a duster would have swept away these shreds of varnish. who has the key of this bureau?""the professor keeps it on his watch- chain.""is it a simple key?" "no, sir, it is a chubb's key." "very good.mrs. marker, you can go. now we are making a little progress. our lady enters the room, advances to thebureau, and either opens it or tries to do so.while she is thus engaged, young willoughby

smith enters the room. in her hurry to withdraw the key, she makesthis scratch upon the door. he seizes her, and she, snatching up thenearest object, which happens to be this knife, strikes at him in order to make himlet go his hold. the blow is a fatal one. he falls and she escapes, either with orwithout the object for which she has come. is susan, the maid, there? could anyone have got away through thatdoor after the time that you heard the cry, susan?""no sir, it is impossible.

before i got down the stair, i'd have seenanyone in the passage. besides, the door never opened, or i wouldhave heard it." "that settles this exit. then no doubt the lady went out the way shecame. i understand that this other passage leadsonly to the professor's room. there is no exit that way?" "no, sir.""we shall go down it and make the acquaintance of the professor.halloa, hopkins! this is very important, very important indeed.

the professor's corridor is also lined withcocoanut matting." "well, sir, what of that?""don't you see any bearing upon the case? well, well. i don't insist upon it.no doubt i am wrong. and yet it seems to me to be suggestive.come with me and introduce me." we passed down the passage, which was ofthe same length as that which led to the garden.at the end was a short flight of steps ending in a door. our guide knocked, and then ushered us intothe professor's bedroom.

it was a very large chamber, lined withinnumerable volumes, which had overflowed from the shelves and lay in piles in thecorners, or were stacked all round at the base of the cases. the bed was in the centre of the room, andin it, propped up with pillows, was the owner of the house.i have seldom seen a more remarkable- looking person. it was a gaunt, aquiline face which wasturned towards us, with piercing dark eyes, which lurked in deep hollows under overhungand tufted brows. his hair and beard were white, save thatthe latter was curiously stained with

yellow around his mouth. a cigarette glowed amid the tangle of whitehair, and the air of the room was fetid with stale tobacco smoke. as he held out his hand to holmes, iperceived that it was also stained with yellow nicotine. "a smoker, mr. holmes?" said he, speakingin well-chosen english, with a curious little mincing accent."pray take a cigarette. and you, sir? i can recommend them, for i have themespecially prepared by ionides, of

alexandria. he sends me a thousand at a time, and igrieve to say that i have to arrange for a fresh supply every fortnight.bad, sir, very bad, but an old man has few pleasures. tobacco and my work--that is all that isleft to me." holmes had lit a cigarette and was shootinglittle darting glances all over the room. "tobacco and my work, but now onlytobacco," the old man exclaimed. "alas! what a fatal interruption!who could have foreseen such a terrible catastrophe?

so estimable a young man!i assure you that, after a few months' training, he was an admirable assistant.what do you think of the matter, mr. holmes?" "i have not yet made up my mind.""i shall indeed be indebted to you if you can throw a light where all is so dark tous. to a poor bookworm and invalid like myselfsuch a blow is paralyzing. i seem to have lost the faculty of thought.but you are a man of action--you are a man of affairs. it is part of the everyday routine of yourlife.

you can preserve your balance in everyemergency. we are fortunate, indeed, in having you atour side." holmes was pacing up and down one side ofthe room whilst the old professor was talking. i observed that he was smoking withextraordinary rapidity. it was evident that he shared our host'sliking for the fresh alexandrian cigarettes. "yes, sir, it is a crushing blow," said theold man. "that is my magnum opus--the pile of paperson the side table yonder.

it is my analysis of the documents found inthe coptic monasteries of syria and egypt, a work which will cut deep at the veryfoundation of revealed religion. with my enfeebled health i do not knowwhether i shall ever be able to complete it, now that my assistant has been takenfrom me. dear me! mr. holmes, why, you are even a quickersmoker than i am myself." holmes smiled. "i am a connoisseur," said he, takinganother cigarette from the box--his fourth- -and lighting it from the stub of thatwhich he had finished.

"i will not trouble you with any lengthycross-examination, professor coram, since i gather that you were in bed at the time ofthe crime, and could know nothing about it. i would only ask this: what do you imaginethat this poor fellow meant by his last words: 'the professor--it was she'?"the professor shook his head. "susan is a country girl," said he, "andyou know the incredible stupidity of that class. i fancy that the poor fellow murmured someincoherent delirious words, and that she twisted them into this meaninglessmessage." "i see.

you have no explanation yourself of thetragedy?" "possibly an accident, possibly--i onlybreathe it among ourselves--a suicide. young men have their hidden troubles--someaffair of the heart, perhaps, which we have never known.it is a more probable supposition than murder." "but the eyeglasses?""ah! i am only a student--a man of dreams.i cannot explain the practical things of but still, we are aware, my friend, thatlove-gages may take strange shapes. by all means take another cigarette.it is a pleasure to see anyone appreciate

them so. a fan, a glove, glasses--who knows whatarticle may be carried as a token or treasured when a man puts an end to hislife? this gentleman speaks of footsteps in thegrass, but, after all, it is easy to be mistaken on such a point.as to the knife, it might well be thrown far from the unfortunate man as he fell. it is possible that i speak as a child, butto me it seems that willoughby smith has met his fate by his own hand." holmes seemed struck by the theory thus putforward, and he continued to walk up and

down for some time, lost in thought andconsuming cigarette after cigarette. "tell me, professor coram," he said, atlast, "what is in that cupboard in the bureau?""nothing that would help a thief. family papers, letters from my poor wife,diplomas of universities which have done me honour.here is the key. you can look for yourself." holmes picked up the key, and looked at itfor an instant, then he handed it back. "no, i hardly think that it would help me,"said he. "i should prefer to go quietly down to yourgarden, and turn the whole matter over in

my head. there is something to be said for thetheory of suicide which you have put forward. we must apologize for having intruded uponyou, professor coram, and i promise that we won't disturb you until after lunch. at two o'clock we will come again, andreport to you anything which may have happened in the interval." holmes was curiously distrait, and wewalked up and down the garden path for some time in silence."have you a clue?"

i asked, at last. "it depends upon those cigarettes that ismoked," said he. "it is possible that i am utterly mistaken.the cigarettes will show me." "my dear holmes," i exclaimed, "how onearth----" "well, well, you may see for yourself.if not, there's no harm done. of course, we always have the optician clueto fall back upon, but i take a short cut when i can get it.ah, here is the good mrs. marker! let us enjoy five minutes of instructiveconversation with her." i may have remarked before that holmes had,when he liked, a peculiarly ingratiating

way with women, and that he very readilyestablished terms of confidence with them. in half the time which he had named, he hadcaptured the housekeeper's goodwill and was chatting with her as if he had known herfor years. "yes, mr. holmes, it is as you say, sir. he does smoke something terrible.all day and sometimes all night, sir. i've seen that room of a morning--well,sir, you'd have thought it was a london fog. poor young mr. smith, he was a smokeralso, but not as bad as the professor. his health--well, i don't know that it'sbetter nor worse for the smoking."

"ah!" said holmes, "but it kills theappetite." "well, i don't know about that, sir.""i suppose the professor eats hardly anything?" "well, he is variable.i'll say that for him." "i'll wager he took no breakfast thismorning, and won't face his lunch after all the cigarettes i saw him consume." "well, you're out there, sir, as ithappens, for he ate a remarkable big breakfast this morning. i don't know when i've known him make abetter one, and he's ordered a good dish of

cutlets for his lunch. i'm surprised myself, for since i came intothat room yesterday and saw young mr. smith lying there on the floor, i couldn'tbear to look at food. well, it takes all sorts to make a world,and the professor hasn't let it take his appetite away."we loitered the morning away in the garden. stanley hopkins had gone down to thevillage to look into some rumours of a strange woman who had been seen by somechildren on the chatham road the previous morning. as to my friend, all his usual energyseemed to have deserted him.

i had never known him handle a case in sucha half-hearted fashion. even the news brought back by hopkins thathe had found the children, and that they had undoubtedly seen a woman exactlycorresponding with holmes's description, and wearing either spectacles or eyeglasses, failed to rouse any sign ofkeen interest. he was more attentive when susan, whowaited upon us at lunch, volunteered the information that she believed mr. smithhad been out for a walk yesterday morning, and that he had only returned half an hourbefore the tragedy occurred. i could not myself see the bearing of thisincident, but i clearly perceived that

holmes was weaving it into the generalscheme which he had formed in his brain. suddenly he sprang from his chair andglanced at his watch. "two o'clock, gentlemen," said he."we must go up and have it out with our friend, the professor." the old man had just finished his lunch,and certainly his empty dish bore evidence to the good appetite with which hishousekeeper had credited him. he was, indeed, a weird figure as he turnedhis white mane and his glowing eyes towards us.the eternal cigarette smouldered in his mouth.

he had been dressed and was seated in anarmchair by the fire. "well, mr. holmes, have you solved thismystery yet?" he shoved the large tin of cigarettes whichstood on a table beside him towards my holmes stretched out his hand at the samemoment, and between them they tipped the box over the edge. for a minute or two we were all on ourknees retrieving stray cigarettes from impossible places. when we rose again, i observed holmes'seyes were shining and his cheeks tinged with colour.only at a crisis have i seen those battle-

signals flying. "yes," said he, "i have solved it."stanley hopkins and i stared in amazement. something like a sneer quivered over thegaunt features of the old professor. "indeed! in the garden?""no, here." "here!when?" "this instant." "you are surely joking, mr. sherlockholmes. you compel me to tell you that this is tooserious a matter to be treated in such a

fashion." "i have forged and tested every link of mychain, professor coram, and i am sure that it is sound. what your motives are, or what exact partyou play in this strange business, i am not yet able to say.in a few minutes i shall probably hear it from your own lips. meanwhile i will reconstruct what is pastfor your benefit, so that you may know the information which i still require."a lady yesterday entered your study. she came with the intention of possessingherself of certain documents which were in

your bureau.she had a key of her own. i have had an opportunity of examiningyours, and i do not find that slight discolouration which the scratch made uponthe varnish would have produced. you were not an accessory, therefore, andshe came, so far as i can read the evidence, without your knowledge to robyou." the professor blew a cloud from his lips. "this is most interesting and instructive,"said he. "have you no more to add?surely, having traced this lady so far, you can also say what has become of her."

"i will endeavour to do so.in the first place she was seized by your secretary, and stabbed him in order toescape. this catastrophe i am inclined to regard asan unhappy accident, for i am convinced that the lady had no intention ofinflicting so grievous an injury. an assassin does not come unarmed. horrified by what she had done, she rushedwildly away from the scene of the tragedy. unfortunately for her, she had lost herglasses in the scuffle, and as she was extremely short-sighted she was reallyhelpless without them. she ran down a corridor, which she imaginedto be that by which she had come--both were

lined with cocoanut matting--and it wasonly when it was too late that she understood that she had taken the wrong passage, and that her retreat was cut offbehind her. what was she to do?she could not go back. she could not remain where she was. she must go on.she went on. she mounted a stair, pushed open a door,and found herself in your room." the old man sat with his mouth open,staring wildly at holmes. amazement and fear were stamped upon hisexpressive features.

now, with an effort, he shrugged hisshoulders and burst into insincere laughter."all very fine, mr. holmes," said he. "but there is one little flaw in yoursplendid theory. i was myself in my room, and i never leftit during the day." "i am aware of that, professor coram." "and you mean to say that i could lie uponthat bed and not be aware that a woman had entered my room?""i never said so. you were aware of it. you spoke with her.you recognized her.

you aided her to escape."again the professor burst into high-keyed laughter. he had risen to his feet, and his eyesglowed like embers. "you are mad!" he cried."you are talking insanely. i helped her to escape? where is she now?""she is there," said holmes, and he pointed to a high bookcase in the corner of theroom. i saw the old man throw up his arms, aterrible convulsion passed over his grim face, and he fell back in his chair.

at the same instant the bookcase at whichholmes pointed swung round upon a hinge, and a woman rushed out into the room."you are right!" she cried, in a strange foreign voice. "you are right!i am here." she was brown with the dust and draped withthe cobwebs which had come from the walls of her hiding-place. her face, too, was streaked with grime, andat the best she could never have been handsome, for she had the exact physicalcharacteristics which holmes had divined, with, in addition, a long and obstinatechin.

what with her natural blindness, and whatwith the change from dark to light, she stood as one dazed, blinking about her tosee where and who we were. and yet, in spite of all thesedisadvantages, there was a certain nobility in the woman's bearing--a gallantry in thedefiant chin and in the upraised head, which compelled something of respect andadmiration. stanley hopkins had laid his hand upon herarm and claimed her as his prisoner, but she waved him aside gently, and yet with anover-mastering dignity which compelled obedience. the old man lay back in his chair with atwitching face, and stared at her with

brooding eyes."yes, sir, i am your prisoner," she said. "from where i stood i could heareverything, and i know that you have learned the truth.i confess it all. it was i who killed the young man. but you are right--you who say it was anaccident. i did not even know that it was a knifewhich i held in my hand, for in my despair i snatched anything from the table andstruck at him to make him let me go. it is the truth that i tell." "madam," said holmes, "i am sure that it isthe truth.

i fear that you are far from well." she had turned a dreadful colour, the moreghastly under the dark dust-streaks upon her face.she seated herself on the side of the bed; then she resumed. "i have only a little time here," she said,"but i would have you to know the whole truth.i am this man's wife. he is not an englishman. he is a russian.his name i will not tell." for the first time the old man stirred."god bless you, anna!" he cried.

"god bless you!" she cast a look of the deepest disdain inhis direction. "why should you cling so hard to thatwretched life of yours, sergius?" said she. "it has done harm to many and good to none--not even to yourself. however, it is not for me to cause thefrail thread to be snapped before god's time. i have enough already upon my soul since icrossed the threshold of this cursed house. but i must speak or i shall be too late."i have said, gentlemen, that i am this man's wife.

he was fifty and i a foolish girl of twentywhen we married. it was in a city of russia, a university--iwill not name the place." "god bless you, anna!" murmured the old managain. "we were reformers--revolutionists--nihilists, you understand. he and i and many more. then there came a time of trouble, a policeofficer was killed, many were arrested, evidence was wanted, and in order to savehis own life and to earn a great reward, my husband betrayed his own wife and hiscompanions. yes, we were all arrested upon hisconfession.

some of us found our way to the gallows,and some to siberia. i was among these last, but my term was notfor life. my husband came to england with his ill-gotten gains and has lived in quiet ever since, knowing well that if the brotherhoodknew where he was not a week would pass before justice would be done." the old man reached out a trembling handand helped himself to a cigarette. "i am in your hands, anna," said he."you were always good to me." "i have not yet told you the height of hisvillainy," said she. "among our comrades of the order, there wasone who was the friend of my heart.

he was noble, unselfish, loving--all thatmy husband was not. he hated violence.we were all guilty--if that is guilt--but he was not. he wrote forever dissuading us from such acourse. these letters would have saved him. so would my diary, in which, from day today, i had entered both my feelings towards him and the view which each of us hadtaken. my husband found and kept both diary andletters. he hid them, and he tried hard to swearaway the young man's life.

in this he failed, but alexis was sent aconvict to siberia, where now, at this moment, he works in a salt mine. think of that, you villain, you villain!--now, now, at this very moment, alexis, a man whose name you are not worthy to speak,works and lives like a slave, and yet i have your life in my hands, and i let yougo." "you were always a noble woman, anna," saidthe old man, puffing at his cigarette. she had risen, but she fell back again witha little cry of pain. "i must finish," she said. "when my term was over i set myself to getthe diary and letters which, if sent to the

russian government, would procure myfriend's release. i knew that my husband had come to england. after months of searching i discoveredwhere he was. i knew that he still had the diary, forwhen i was in siberia i had a letter from him once, reproaching me and quoting somepassages from its pages. yet i was sure that, with his revengefulnature, he would never give it to me of his own free-will.i must get it for myself. with this object i engaged an agent from aprivate detective firm, who entered my husband's house as a secretary--it was yoursecond secretary, sergius, the one who left

you so hurriedly. he found that papers were kept in thecupboard, and he got an impression of the key.he would not go farther. he furnished me with a plan of the house,and he told me that in the forenoon the study was always empty, as the secretarywas employed up here. so at last i took my courage in both hands,and i came down to get the papers for myself.i succeeded; but at what a cost! "i had just taken the paper; and waslocking the cupboard, when the young man seized me.i had seen him already that morning.

he had met me on the road, and i had askedhim to tell me where professor coram lived, not knowing that he was in his employ.""exactly! exactly!" said holmes. "the secretary came back, and told hisemployer of the woman he had met. then, in his last breath, he tried to senda message that it was she--the she whom he had just discussed with him." "you must let me speak," said the woman, inan imperative voice, and her face contracted as if in pain. "when he had fallen i rushed from the room,chose the wrong door, and found myself in

my husband's room.he spoke of giving me up. i showed him that if he did so, his lifewas in my hands. if he gave me to the law, i could give himto the brotherhood. it was not that i wished to live for my ownsake, but it was that i desired to accomplish my purpose.he knew that i would do what i said--that his own fate was involved in mine. for that reason, and for no other, heshielded me. he thrust me into that dark hiding-place--arelic of old days, known only to himself. he took his meals in his own room, and sowas able to give me part of his food.

it was agreed that when the police left thehouse i should slip away by night and come back no more. but in some way you have read our plans."she tore from the bosom of her dress a small packet."these are my last words," said she; "here is the packet which will save alexis. i confide it to your honour and to yourlove of justice. take it!you will deliver it at the russian embassy. now, i have done my duty, and----" "stop her!" cried holmes.he had bounded across the room and had

wrenched a small phial from her hand."too late!" she said, sinking back on the bed. "too late!i took the poison before i left my hiding- place.my head swims! i am going! i charge you, sir, to remember the packet.""a simple case, and yet, in some ways, an instructive one," holmes remarked, as wetravelled back to town. "it hinged from the outset upon the pince-nez. but for the fortunate chance of the dyingman having seized these, i am not sure that

we could ever have reached our solution. it was clear to me, from the strength ofthe glasses, that the wearer must have been very blind and helpless when deprived ofthem. when you asked me to believe that shewalked along a narrow strip of grass without once making a false step, iremarked, as you may remember, that it was a noteworthy performance. in my mind i set it down as an impossibleperformance, save in the unlikely case that she had a second pair of glasses. i was forced, therefore, to considerseriously the hypothesis that she had

remained within the house. on perceiving the similarity of the twocorridors, it became clear that she might very easily have made such a mistake, and,in that case, it was evident that she must have entered the professor's room. i was keenly on the alert, therefore, forwhatever would bear out this supposition, and i examined the room narrowly foranything in the shape of a hiding-place. the carpet seemed continuous and firmlynailed, so i dismissed the idea of a trap- door.there might well be a recess behind the books.

as you are aware, such devices are commonin old libraries. i observed that books were piled on thefloor at all other points, but that one bookcase was left clear. this, then, might be the door.i could see no marks to guide me, but the carpet was of a dun colour, which lendsitself very well to examination. i therefore smoked a great number of thoseexcellent cigarettes, and i dropped the ash all over the space in front of thesuspected bookcase. it was a simple trick, but exceedinglyeffective. i then went downstairs, and i ascertained,in your presence, watson, without your

perceiving the drift of my remarks, thatprofessor coram's consumption of food had increased--as one would expect when he issupplying a second person. we then ascended to the room again, when,by upsetting the cigarette-box, i obtained a very excellent view of the floor, and wasable to see quite clearly, from the traces upon the cigarette ash, that the prisoner had in our absence come out from herretreat. well, hopkins, here we are at charingcross, and i congratulate you on having brought your case to a successfulconclusion. you are going to headquarters, no doubt.

i think, watson, you and i will drivetogether to the russian embassy." the adventure of the missing three-quarter we were fairly accustomed to receive weirdtelegrams at baker street, but i have a particular recollection of one whichreached us on a gloomy february morning, some seven or eight years ago, and gave mr. sherlock holmes a puzzled quarter of anhour. it was addressed to him, and ran thus:please await me. terrible misfortune. right wing three-quarter missing,indispensable to-morrow.

overton. "strand postmark, and dispatched tenthirty-six," said holmes, reading it over and over. " mr. overton was evidently considerablyexcited when he sent it, and somewhat incoherent in consequence. well, well, he will be here, i daresay, bythe time i have looked through the times, and then we shall know all about it.even the most insignificant problem would be welcome in these stagnant days." things had indeed been very slow with us,and i had learned to dread such periods of

inaction, for i knew by experience that mycompanion's brain was so abnormally active that it was dangerous to leave it withoutmaterial upon which to work. for years i had gradually weaned him fromthat drug mania which had threatened once to check his remarkable career. now i knew that under ordinary conditionshe no longer craved for this artificial stimulus, but i was well aware that thefiend was not dead but sleeping, and i have known that the sleep was a light one and the waking near when in periods of idlenessi have seen the drawn look upon holmes's ascetic face, and the brooding of his deep-set and inscrutable eyes.

therefore i blessed this mr. overtonwhoever he might be, since he had come with his enigmatic message to break thatdangerous calm which brought more peril to my friend than all the storms of histempestuous life. as we had expected, the telegram was soonfollowed by its sender, and the card of mr. cyril overton, trinity college,cambridge, announced the arrival of an enormous young man, sixteen stone of solid bone and muscle, who spanned the doorwaywith his broad shoulders, and looked from one of us to the other with a comely facewhich was haggard with anxiety. " mr. sherlock holmes?"

my companion bowed."i've been down to scotland yard, mr. holmes.i saw inspector stanley hopkins. he advised me to come to you. he said the case, so far as he could see,was more in your line than in that of the regular police.""pray sit down and tell me what is the matter." "it's awful, mr. holmes--simply awful iwonder my hair isn't gray. godfrey staunton--you've heard of him, ofcourse? he's simply the hinge that the whole teamturns on.

i'd rather spare two from the pack, andhave godfrey for my three-quarter line. whether it's passing, or tackling, ordribbling, there's no one to touch him, and then, he's got the head, and can hold usall together. what am i to do? that's what i ask you, mr. holmes.there's moorhouse, first reserve, but he is trained as a half, and he always edgesright in on to the scrum instead of keeping out on the touchline. he's a fine place-kick, it's true, but thenhe has no judgment, and he can't sprint for nuts.why, morton or johnson, the oxford fliers,

could romp round him. stevenson is fast enough, but he couldn'tdrop from the twenty-five line, and a three-quarter who can't either punt or dropisn't worth a place for pace alone. no, mr. holmes, we are done unless you canhelp me to find godfrey staunton." my friend had listened with amused surpriseto this long speech, which was poured forth with extraordinary vigour and earnestness,every point being driven home by the slapping of a brawny hand upon thespeaker's knee. when our visitor was silent holmesstretched out his hand and took down letter "s" of his commonplace book.

for once he dug in vain into that mine ofvaried information. "there is arthur h. staunton, the risingyoung forger," said he, "and there was henry staunton, whom i helped to hang, butgodfrey staunton is a new name to me." it was our visitor's turn to looksurprised. "why, mr. holmes, i thought you knewthings," said he. "i suppose, then, if you have never heardof godfrey staunton, you don't know cyril overton either?"holmes shook his head good humouredly. "great scott!" cried the athlete. "why, i was first reserve for englandagainst wales, and i've skippered the

'varsity all this year.but that's nothing! i didn't think there was a soul in englandwho didn't know godfrey staunton, the crack three-quarter, cambridge, blackheath, andfive internationals. good lord! mr. holmes, where have you lived?"holmes laughed at the young giant's naive astonishment."you live in a different world to me, mr. overton--a sweeter and healthier one. my ramifications stretch out into manysections of society, but never, i am happy to say, into amateur sport, which is thebest and soundest thing in england.

however, your unexpected visit this morningshows me that even in that world of fresh air and fair play, there may be work for meto do. so now, my good sir, i beg you to sit downand to tell me, slowly and quietly, exactly what it is that has occurred, and how youdesire that i should help you." young overton's face assumed the botheredlook of the man who is more accustomed to using his muscles than his wits, but bydegrees, with many repetitions and obscurities which i may omit from his narrative, he laid his strange story beforeus. "it's this way, mr. holmes.

as i have said, i am the skipper of therugger team of cambridge 'varsity, and godfrey staunton is my best man.to-morrow we play oxford. yesterday we all came up, and we settled atbentley's private hotel. at ten o'clock i went round and saw thatall the fellows had gone to roost, for i believe in strict training and plenty ofsleep to keep a team fit. i had a word or two with godfrey before heturned in. he seemed to me to be pale and bothered.i asked him what was the matter. he said he was all right--just a touch ofheadache. i bade him good-night and left him.

half an hour later, the porter tells methat a rough-looking man with a beard called with a note for godfrey.he had not gone to bed, and the note was taken to his room. godfrey read it, and fell back in a chairas if he had been pole-axed. the porter was so scared that he was goingto fetch me, but godfrey stopped him, had a drink of water, and pulled himselftogether. then he went downstairs, said a few wordsto the man who was waiting in the hall, and the two of them went off together. the last that the porter saw of them, theywere almost running down the street in the

direction of the strand. this morning godfrey's room was empty, hisbed had never been slept in, and his things were all just as i had seen them the nightbefore. he had gone off at a moment's notice withthis stranger, and no word has come from him since.i don't believe he will ever come back. he was a sportsman, was godfrey, down tohis marrow, and he wouldn't have stopped his training and let in his skipper if itwere not for some cause that was too strong for him. no: i feel as if he were gone for good, andwe should never see him again."

sherlock holmes listened with the deepestattention to this singular narrative. "what did you do?" he asked. "i wired to cambridge to learn if anythinghad been heard of him there. i have had an answer.no one has seen him." "could he have got back to cambridge?" "yes, there is a late train--quarter-pasteleven." "but, so far as you can ascertain, he didnot take it?" "no, he has not been seen." "what did you do next?""i wired to lord mount-james."

"why to lord mount-james?" "godfrey is an orphan, and lord mount-jamesis his nearest relative--his uncle, i believe.""indeed. this throws new light upon the matter. lord mount-james is one of the richest menin england." "so i've heard godfrey say.""and your friend was closely related?" "yes, he was his heir, and the old boy isnearly eighty--cram full of gout, too. they say he could chalk his billiard-cuewith his knuckles. he never allowed godfrey a shilling in hislife, for he is an absolute miser, but it

will all come to him right enough.""have you heard from lord mount-james?" "no." "what motive could your friend have ingoing to lord mount-james?" "well, something was worrying him the nightbefore, and if it was to do with money it is possible that he would make for hisnearest relative, who had so much of it, though from all i have heard he would nothave much chance of getting it. godfrey was not fond of the old man.he would not go if he could help it." "well, we can soon determine that. if your friend was going to his relative,lord mount-james, you have then to explain

the visit of this rough-looking fellow atso late an hour, and the agitation that was caused by his coming." cyril overton pressed his hands to hishead. "i can make nothing of it," said he. "well, well, i have a clear day, and ishall be happy to look into the matter," said holmes. "i should strongly recommend you to makeyour preparations for your match without reference to this young gentleman. it must, as you say, have been anoverpowering necessity which tore him away

in such a fashion, and the same necessityis likely to hold him away. let us step round together to the hotel,and see if the porter can throw any fresh light upon the matter." sherlock holmes was a past-master in theart of putting a humble witness at his ease, and very soon, in the privacy ofgodfrey staunton's abandoned room, he had extracted all that the porter had to tell. the visitor of the night before was not agentleman, neither was he a workingman. he was simply what the porter described asa "medium-looking chap," a man of fifty, beard grizzled, pale face, quietly dressed.

he seemed himself to be agitated.the porter had observed his hand trembling when he had held out the note.godfrey staunton had crammed the note into his pocket. staunton had not shaken hands with the manin the hall. they had exchanged a few sentences, ofwhich the porter had only distinguished the one word "time." then they had hurried off in the mannerdescribed. it was just half-past ten by the hallclock. "let me see," said holmes, seating himselfon staunton's bed.

"you are the day porter, are you not?""yes, sir, i go off duty at eleven." "the night porter saw nothing, i suppose?" "no, sir, one theatre party came in late.no one else." "were you on duty all day yesterday?""yes, sir." "did you take any messages to mr.staunton?" "yes, sir, one telegram.""ah! that's interesting. what o'clock was this?" "about six.""where was mr. staunton when he received it?""here in his room."

"were you present when he opened it?" "yes, sir, i waited to see if there was ananswer." "well, was there?""yes, sir, he wrote an answer." "did you take it?" "no, he took it himself.""but he wrote it in your presence." "yes, sir.i was standing by the door, and he with his back turned at that table. when he had written it, he said: 'allright, porter, i will take this myself.'" "what did he write it with?""a pen, sir."

"was the telegraphic form one of these onthe table?" "yes, sir, it was the top one."holmes rose. taking the forms, he carried them over tothe window and carefully examined that which was uppermost. "it is a pity he did not write in pencil,"said he, throwing them down again with a shrug of disappointment. "as you have no doubt frequently observed,watson, the impression usually goes through--a fact which has dissolved many ahappy marriage. however, i can find no trace here.

i rejoice, however, to perceive that hewrote with a broad-pointed quill pen, and i can hardly doubt that we will find someimpression upon this blotting-pad. ah, yes, surely this is the very thing!" he tore off a strip of the blotting-paperand turned towards us the following hieroglyphic:graphic cyril overton was much excited. "hold it to the glass!" he cried."that is unnecessary," said holmes. "the paper is thin, and the reverse willgive the message. here it is."

he turned it over, and we read:graphic [stand by us for gods sake] "so that is the tail end of the telegramwhich godfrey staunton dispatched within a few hours of his disappearance. there are at least six words of the messagewhich have escaped us; but what remains-- 'stand by us for god's sake!'--proves thatthis young man saw a formidable danger which approached him, and from whichsomeone else could protect him. 'us,' mark you!another person was involved. who should it be but the pale-faced,bearded man, who seemed himself in so nervous a state?what, then, is the connection between

godfrey staunton and the bearded man? and what is the third source from whicheach of them sought for help against pressing danger?our inquiry has already narrowed down to that." "we have only to find to whom that telegramis addressed," i suggested. "exactly, my dear watson.your reflection, though profound, had already crossed my mind. but i daresay it may have come to yournotice that, counterfoil of another man's message, there may be some disinclinationon the part of the officials to oblige you.

there is so much red tape in these matters. however, i have no doubt that with a littledelicacy and finesse the end may be attained. meanwhile, i should like in your presence,mr. overton, to go through these papers which have been left upon the table." there were a number of letters, bills, andnotebooks, which holmes turned over and examined with quick, nervous fingers anddarting, penetrating eyes. "nothing here," he said, at last. "by the way, i suppose your friend was ahealthy young fellow--nothing amiss with

him?""sound as a bell." "have you ever known him ill?" "not a day.he has been laid up with a hack, and once he slipped his knee-cap, but that wasnothing." "perhaps he was not so strong as yousuppose. i should think he may have had some secrettrouble. with your assent, i will put one or two ofthese papers in my pocket, in case they should bear upon our future inquiry." "one moment--one moment!" cried a querulousvoice, and we looked up to find a queer

little old man, jerking and twitching inthe doorway. he was dressed in rusty black, with a verybroad-brimmed top-hat and a loose white necktie--the whole effect being that of avery rustic parson or of an undertaker's mute. yet, in spite of his shabby and even absurdappearance, his voice had a sharp crackle, and his manner a quick intensity whichcommanded attention. "who are you, sir, and by what right do youtouch this gentleman's papers?" he asked. "i am a private detective, and i amendeavouring to explain his disappearance." "oh, you are, are you?

and who instructed you, eh?""this gentleman, mr. staunton's friend, was referred to me by scotland yard.""who are you, sir?" "i am cyril overton." "then it is you who sent me a telegram.my name is lord mount-james. i came round as quickly as the bayswaterbus would bring me. so you have instructed a detective?" "yes, sir.""and are you prepared to meet the cost?" "i have no doubt, sir, that my friendgodfrey, when we find him, will be prepared to do that."

"but if he is never found, eh?answer me that!" "in that case, no doubt his family----""nothing of the sort, sir!" screamed the little man. "don't look to me for a penny--not a penny!you understand that, mr. detective! i am all the family that this young man hasgot, and i tell you that i am not responsible. if he has any expectations it is due to thefact that i have never wasted money, and i do not propose to begin to do so now. as to those papers with which you aremaking so free, i may tell you that in case

there should be anything of any value amongthem, you will be held strictly to account for what you do with them." "very good, sir," said sherlock holmes."may i ask, in the meanwhile, whether you have yourself any theory to account forthis young man's disappearance?" "no, sir, i have not. he is big enough and old enough to lookafter himself, and if he is so foolish as to lose himself, i entirely refuse toaccept the responsibility of hunting for him." "i quite understand your position," saidholmes, with a mischievous twinkle in his

eyes."perhaps you don't quite understand mine. godfrey staunton appears to have been apoor man. if he has been kidnapped, it could not havebeen for anything which he himself possesses. the fame of your wealth has gone abroad,lord mount-james, and it is entirely possible that a gang of thieves havesecured your nephew in order to gain from him some information as to your house, yourhabits, and your treasure." the face of our unpleasant little visitorturned as white as his neckcloth. "heavens, sir, what an idea!

i never thought of such villainy!what inhuman rogues there are in the world! but godfrey is a fine lad--a staunch lad.nothing would induce him to give his old uncle away. i'll have the plate moved over to the bankthis evening. in the meantime spare no pains, mr.detective! i beg you to leave no stone unturned tobring him safely back. as to money, well, so far as a fiver oreven a tenner goes you can always look to me." even in his chastened frame of mind, thenoble miser could give us no information

which could help us, for he knew little ofthe private life of his nephew. our only clue lay in the truncatedtelegram, and with a copy of this in his hand holmes set forth to find a second linkfor his chain. we had shaken off lord mount-james, andoverton had gone to consult with the other members of his team over the misfortunewhich had befallen them. there was a telegraph-office at a shortdistance from the hotel. we halted outside it."it's worth trying, watson," said holmes. "of course, with a warrant we could demandto see the counterfoils, but we have not reached that stage yet.i don't suppose they remember faces in so

busy a place. let us venture it.""i am sorry to trouble you," said he, in his blandest manner, to the young womanbehind the grating; "there is some small mistake about a telegram i sent yesterday. i have had no answer, and i very much fearthat i must have omitted to put my name at the end.could you tell me if this was so?" the young woman turned over a sheaf ofcounterfoils. "what o'clock was it?" she asked."a little after six." "whom was it to?"

holmes put his finger to his lips andglanced at me. "the last words in it were 'for god'ssake,'" he whispered, confidentially; "i am very anxious at getting no answer." the young woman separated one of the forms."this is it. there is no name," said she, smoothing itout upon the counter. "then that, of course, accounts for mygetting no answer," said holmes. "dear me, how very stupid of me, to besure! good-morning, miss, and many thanks forhaving relieved my mind." he chuckled and rubbed his hands when wefound ourselves in the street once more.

"well?" i asked."we progress, my dear watson, we progress. i had seven different schemes for getting aglimpse of that telegram, but i could hardly hope to succeed the very firsttime." "and what have you gained?" "a starting-point for our investigation."he hailed a cab. "king's cross station," said he."we have a journey, then?" "yes, i think we must run down to cambridgetogether. all the indications seem to me to point inthat direction."

"tell me," i asked, as we rattled up gray'sinn road, "have you any suspicion yet as to the cause of the disappearance? i don't think that among all our cases ihave known one where the motives are more obscure. surely you don't really imagine that he maybe kidnapped in order to give information against his wealthy uncle?" "i confess, my dear watson, that that doesnot appeal to me as a very probable explanation. it struck me, however, as being the onewhich was most likely to interest that

exceedingly unpleasant old person.""it certainly did that; but what are your alternatives?" "i could mention several. you must admit that it is curious andsuggestive that this incident should occur on the eve of this important match, andshould involve the only man whose presence seems essential to the success of the side. it may, of course, be a coincidence, but itis interesting. amateur sport is free from betting, but agood deal of outside betting goes on among the public, and it is possible that itmight be worth someone's while to get at a

player as the ruffians of the turf get at arace-horse. there is one explanation. a second very obvious one is that thisyoung man really is the heir of a great property, however modest his means may atpresent be, and it is not impossible that a plot to hold him for ransom might beconcocted." "these theories take no account of thetelegram." "quite true, watson. the telegram still remains the only solidthing with which we have to deal, and we must not permit our attention to wanderaway from it.

it is to gain light upon the purpose ofthis telegram that we are now upon our way to cambridge. the path of our investigation is at presentobscure, but i shall be very much surprised if before evening we have not cleared itup, or made a considerable advance along it." it was already dark when we reached the olduniversity city. holmes took a cab at the station andordered the man to drive to the house of dr. leslie armstrong. a few minutes later, we had stopped at alarge mansion in the busiest thoroughfare.

we were shown in, and after a long waitwere at last admitted into the consulting- room, where we found the doctor seatedbehind his table. it argues the degree in which i had losttouch with my profession that the name of leslie armstrong was unknown to me. now i am aware that he is not only one ofthe heads of the medical school of the university, but a thinker of europeanreputation in more than one branch of science. yet even without knowing his brilliantrecord one could not fail to be impressed by a mere glance at the man, the square,massive face, the brooding eyes under the

thatched brows, and the granite moulding ofthe inflexible jaw. a man of deep character, a man with analert mind, grim, ascetic, self-contained, formidable--so i read dr. lesliearmstrong. he held my friend's card in his hand, andhe looked up with no very pleased expression upon his dour features. "i have heard your name, mr. sherlockholmes, and i am aware of your profession-- one of which i by no means approve." "in that, doctor, you will find yourself inagreement with every criminal in the country," said my friend, quietly.

"so far as your efforts are directedtowards the suppression of crime, sir, they must have the support of every reasonablemember of the community, though i cannot doubt that the official machinery is amplysufficient for the purpose. where your calling is more open tocriticism is when you pry into the secrets of private individuals, when you rake upfamily matters which are better hidden, and when you incidentally waste the time of menwho are more busy than yourself. at the present moment, for example, ishould be writing a treatise instead of conversing with you." "no doubt, doctor; and yet the conversationmay prove more important than the treatise.

incidentally, i may tell you that we aredoing the reverse of what you very justly blame, and that we are endeavouring toprevent anything like public exposure of private matters which must necessarily follow when once the case is fairly in thehands of the official police. you may look upon me simply as an irregularpioneer, who goes in front of the regular forces of the country. i have come to ask you about mr. godfreystaunton." "what about him?""you know him, do you not?" "he is an intimate friend of mine."

"you are aware that he has disappeared?""ah, indeed!" there was no change of expression in therugged features of the doctor. "he left his hotel last night--he has notbeen heard of." "no doubt he will return.""to-morrow is the 'varsity football match." "i have no sympathy with these childishgames. the young man's fate interests me deeply,since i know him and like him. the football match does not come within myhorizon at all." "i claim your sympathy, then, in myinvestigation of mr. staunton's fate. do you know where he is?"

"certainly not.""you have not seen him since yesterday?" "no, i have not.""was mr. staunton a healthy man?" "absolutely." "did you ever know him ill?""never." holmes popped a sheet of paper before thedoctor's eyes. "then perhaps you will explain thisreceipted bill for thirteen guineas, paid by mr. godfrey staunton last month to dr.leslie armstrong, of cambridge. i picked it out from among the papers uponhis desk." the doctor flushed with anger.

"i do not feel that there is any reason whyi should render an explanation to you, mr. holmes."holmes replaced the bill in his notebook. "if you prefer a public explanation, itmust come sooner or later," said he. "i have already told you that i can hush upthat which others will be bound to publish, and you would really be wiser to take meinto your complete confidence." "i know nothing about it." "did you hear from mr. staunton inlondon?" "certainly not.""dear me, dear me--the postoffice again!" holmes sighed, wearily.

"a most urgent telegram was dispatched toyou from london by godfrey staunton at six- fifteen yesterday evening--a telegram whichis undoubtedly associated with his disappearance--and yet you have not had it. it is most culpable.i shall certainly go down to the office here and register a complaint." dr. leslie armstrong sprang up from behindhis desk, and his dark face was crimson with fury."i'll trouble you to walk out of my house, sir," said he. "you can tell your employer, lord mount-james, that i do not wish to have anything

to do either with him or with his agents.no, sir--not another word!" he rang the bell furiously. "john, show these gentlemen out!"a pompous butler ushered us severely to the door, and we found ourselves in the street.holmes burst out laughing. " dr. leslie armstrong is certainly a manof energy and character," said he. "i have not seen a man who, if he turns histalents that way, was more calculated to fill the gap left by the illustriousmoriarty. and now, my poor watson, here we are,stranded and friendless in this inhospitable town, which we cannot leavewithout abandoning our case.

this little inn just opposite armstrong'shouse is singularly adapted to our needs. if you would engage a front room andpurchase the necessaries for the night, i may have time to make a few inquiries." these few inquiries proved, however, to bea more lengthy proceeding than holmes had imagined, for he did not return to the innuntil nearly nine o'clock. he was pale and dejected, stained withdust, and exhausted with hunger and fatigue. a cold supper was ready upon the table, andwhen his needs were satisfied and his pipe alight he was ready to take that half comicand wholly philosophic view which was

natural to him when his affairs were goingawry. the sound of carriage wheels caused him torise and glance out of the window. a brougham and pair of grays, under theglare of a gas-lamp, stood before the doctor's door. "it's been out three hours," said holmes;"started at half-past six, and here it is back again. that gives a radius of ten or twelve miles,and he does it once, or sometimes twice, a day.""no unusual thing for a doctor in practice."

"but armstrong is not really a doctor inpractice. he is a lecturer and a consultant, but hedoes not care for general practice, which distracts him from his literary work. why, then, does he make these longjourneys, which must be exceedingly irksome to him, and who is it that he visits?""his coachman----" "my dear watson, can you doubt that it wasto him that i first applied? i do not know whether it came from his owninnate depravity or from the promptings of his master, but he was rude enough to set adog at me. neither dog nor man liked the look of mystick, however, and the matter fell

through.relations were strained after that, and further inquiries out of the question. all that i have learned i got from afriendly native in the yard of our own inn. it was he who told me of the doctor'shabits and of his daily journey. at that instant, to give point to hiswords, the carriage came round to the door.""could you not follow it?" "excellent, watson! you are scintillating this evening.the idea did cross my mind. there is, as you may have observed, abicycle shop next to our inn.

into this i rushed, engaged a bicycle, andwas able to get started before the carriage was quite out of sight. i rapidly overtook it, and then, keeping ata discreet distance of a hundred yards or so, i followed its lights until we wereclear of the town. we had got well out on the country road,when a somewhat mortifying incident occurred. the carriage stopped, the doctor alighted,walked swiftly back to where i had also halted, and told me in an excellentsardonic fashion that he feared the road was narrow, and that he hoped his carriagedid not impede the passage of my bicycle.

nothing could have been more admirable thanhis way of putting it. i at once rode past the carriage, and,keeping to the main road, i went on for a few miles, and then halted in a convenientplace to see if the carriage passed. there was no sign of it, however, and so itbecame evident that it had turned down one of several side roads which i had observed. i rode back, but again saw nothing of thecarriage, and now, as you perceive, it has returned after me. of course, i had at the outset noparticular reason to connect these journeys with the disappearance of godfrey staunton,and was only inclined to investigate them

on the general grounds that everything which concerns dr. armstrong is at presentof interest to us, but, now that i find he keeps so keen a look-out upon anyone whomay follow him on these excursions, the affair appears more important, and i shall not be satisfied until i have made thematter clear." "we can follow him to-morrow.""can we? it is not so easy as you seem to think. you are not familiar with cambridgeshirescenery, are you? it does not lend itself to concealment.

all this country that i passed over to-night is as flat and clean as the palm of your hand, and the man we are following isno fool, as he very clearly showed to- night. i have wired to overton to let us know anyfresh london developments at this address, and in the meantime we can only concentrateour attention upon dr. armstrong, whose name the obliging young lady at the office allowed me to read upon the counterfoil ofstaunton's urgent message. he knows where the young man is--to thati'll swear, and if he knows, then it must be our own fault if we cannot manage toknow also.

at present it must be admitted that the oddtrick is in his possession, and, as you are aware, watson, it is not my habit to leavethe game in that condition." and yet the next day brought us no nearerto the solution of the mystery. a note was handed in after breakfast, whichholmes passed across to me with a smile. sir [it ran]: i can assure you that you are wasting yourtime in dogging my movements. i have, as you discovered last night, awindow at the back of my brougham, and if you desire a twenty-mile ride which willlead you to the spot from which you started, you have only to follow me.

meanwhile, i can inform you that no spyingupon me can in any way help mr. godfrey staunton, and i am convinced that the bestservice you can do to that gentleman is to return at once to london and to report to your employer that you are unable to tracehim. your time in cambridge will certainly bewasted. yours faithfully, leslie armstrong. "an outspoken, honest antagonist is thedoctor," said holmes. "well, well, he excites my curiosity, and imust really know before i leave him." "his carriage is at his door now," said i.

"there he is stepping into it.i saw him glance up at our window as he did so.suppose i try my luck upon the bicycle?" "no, no, my dear watson! with all respect for your natural acumen, ido not think that you are quite a match for the worthy doctor.i think that possibly i can attain our end by some independent explorations of my own. i am afraid that i must leave you to yourown devices, as the appearance of two inquiring strangers upon a sleepycountryside might excite more gossip than i care for.

no doubt you will find some sights to amuseyou in this venerable city, and i hope to bring back a more favourable report to youbefore evening." once more, however, my friend was destinedto be disappointed. he came back at night weary andunsuccessful. "i have had a blank day, watson. having got the doctor's general direction,i spent the day in visiting all the villages upon that side of cambridge, andcomparing notes with publicans and other local news agencies. i have covered some ground.chesterton, histon, waterbeach, and

oakington have each been explored, and haveeach proved disappointing. the daily appearance of a brougham and paircould hardly have been overlooked in such sleepy hollows.the doctor has scored once more. is there a telegram for me?" "yes, i opened it.here it is: "ask for pompey from jeremy dixon, trinitycollege." "i don't understand it." "oh, it is clear enough.it is from our friend overton, and is in answer to a question from me.

i'll just send round a note to mr. jeremydixon, and then i have no doubt that our luck will turn.by the way, is there any news of the match?" "yes, the local evening paper has anexcellent account in its last edition. oxford won by a goal and two tries.the last sentences of the description say: "'the defeat of the light blues may beentirely attributed to the unfortunate absence of the crack international, godfreystaunton, whose want was felt at every instant of the game. the lack of combination in the three-quarter line and their weakness both in

attack and defence more than neutralizedthe efforts of a heavy and hard-working pack.'" "then our friend overton's forebodings havebeen justified," said holmes. "personally i am in agreement with dr.armstrong, and football does not come within my horizon. early to bed to-night, watson, for iforesee that to-morrow may be an eventful day." i was horrified by my first glimpse ofholmes next morning, for he sat by the fire holding his tiny hypodermic syringe.

i associated that instrument with thesingle weakness of his nature, and i feared the worst when i saw it glittering in hishand. he laughed at my expression of dismay andlaid it upon the table. "no, no, my dear fellow, there is no causefor alarm. it is not upon this occasion the instrumentof evil, but it will rather prove to be the key which will unlock our mystery.on this syringe i base all my hopes. i have just returned from a small scoutingexpedition, and everything is favourable. eat a good breakfast, watson, for i proposeto get upon dr. armstrong's trail to-day, and once on it i will not stop for rest orfood until i run him to his burrow."

"in that case," said i, "we had best carryour breakfast with us, for he is making an early start.his carriage is at the door." "never mind. let him go.he will be clever if he can drive where i cannot follow him. when you have finished, come downstairswith me, and i will introduce you to a detective who is a very eminent specialistin the work that lies before us." when we descended i followed holmes intothe stable yard, where he opened the door of a loose-box and led out a squat, lop-eared, white-and-tan dog, something between

a beagle and a foxhound. "let me introduce you to pompey," said he."pompey is the pride of the local draghounds--no very great flier, as hisbuild will show, but a staunch hound on a scent. well, pompey, you may not be fast, but iexpect you will be too fast for a couple of middle-aged london gentlemen, so i willtake the liberty of fastening this leather leash to your collar. now, boy, come along, and show what you cando." he led him across to the doctor's door.

the dog sniffed round for an instant, andthen with a shrill whine of excitement started off down the street, tugging at hisleash in his efforts to go faster. in half an hour, we were clear of the townand hastening down a country road. "what have you done, holmes?"i asked. "a threadbare and venerable device, butuseful upon occasion. i walked into the doctor's yard thismorning, and shot my syringe full of aniseed over the hind wheel. a draghound will follow aniseed from hereto john o'groat's, and our friend, armstrong, would have to drive through thecam before he would shake pompey off his

trail. oh, the cunning rascal!this is how he gave me the slip the other night."the dog had suddenly turned out of the main road into a grass-grown lane. half a mile farther this opened intoanother broad road, and the trail turned hard to the right in the direction of thetown, which we had just quitted. the road took a sweep to the south of thetown, and continued in the opposite direction to that in which we started."this detour has been entirely for our benefit, then?" said holmes.

"no wonder that my inquiries among thosevillagers led to nothing. the doctor has certainly played the gamefor all it is worth, and one would like to know the reason for such elaboratedeception. this should be the village of trumpingtonto the right of us. and, by jove! here is the brougham cominground the corner. quick, watson--quick, or we are done!" he sprang through a gate into a field,dragging the reluctant pompey after him. we had hardly got under the shelter of thehedge when the carriage rattled past. i caught a glimpse of dr. armstrongwithin, his shoulders bowed, his head sunk

on his hands, the very image of distress.i could tell by my companion's graver face that he also had seen. "i fear there is some dark ending to ourquest," said he. "it cannot be long before we know it.come, pompey! ah, it is the cottage in the field!" there could be no doubt that we had reachedthe end of our journey. pompey ran about and whined eagerly outsidethe gate, where the marks of the brougham's wheels were still to be seen. a footpath led across to the lonelycottage.

holmes tied the dog to the hedge, and wehastened onward. my friend knocked at the little rusticdoor, and knocked again without response. and yet the cottage was not deserted, for alow sound came to our ears--a kind of drone of misery and despair which wasindescribably melancholy. holmes paused irresolute, and then heglanced back at the road which he had just traversed.a brougham was coming down it, and there could be no mistaking those gray horses. "by jove, the doctor is coming back!" criedholmes. "that settles it.we are bound to see what it means before he

comes." he opened the door, and we stepped into thehall. the droning sound swelled louder upon ourears until it became one long, deep wail of distress. it came from upstairs.holmes darted up, and i followed him. he pushed open a half-closed door, and weboth stood appalled at the sight before us. a woman, young and beautiful, was lyingdead upon the bed. her calm pale face, with dim, wide-openedblue eyes, looked upward from amid a great tangle of golden hair.

at the foot of the bed, half sitting, halfkneeling, his face buried in the clothes, was a young man, whose frame was racked byhis sobs. so absorbed was he by his bitter grief,that he never looked up until holmes's hand was on his shoulder."are you mr. godfrey staunton?" "yes, yes, i am--but you are too late. she is dead."the man was so dazed that he could not be made to understand that we were anythingbut doctors who had been sent to his assistance. holmes was endeavouring to utter a fewwords of consolation and to explain the

alarm which had been caused to his friendsby his sudden disappearance when there was a step upon the stairs, and there was the heavy, stern, questioning face of dr.armstrong at the door. "so, gentlemen," said he, "you haveattained your end and have certainly chosen a particularly delicate moment for yourintrusion. i would not brawl in the presence of death,but i can assure you that if i were a younger man your monstrous conduct wouldnot pass with impunity." "excuse me, dr. armstrong, i think we area little at cross-purposes," said my friend, with dignity.

"if you could step downstairs with us, wemay each be able to give some light to the other upon this miserable affair."a minute later, the grim doctor and ourselves were in the sitting-room below. "well, sir?" said he."i wish you to understand, in the first place, that i am not employed by lordmount-james, and that my sympathies in this matter are entirely against that nobleman. when a man is lost it is my duty toascertain his fate, but having done so the matter ends so far as i am concerned, andso long as there is nothing criminal i am much more anxious to hush up privatescandals than to give them publicity.

if, as i imagine, there is no breach of thelaw in this matter, you can absolutely depend upon my discretion and mycooperation in keeping the facts out of the papers." dr. armstrong took a quick step forwardand wrung holmes by the hand. "you are a good fellow," said he."i had misjudged you. i thank heaven that my compunction atleaving poor staunton all alone in this plight caused me to turn my carriage backand so to make your acquaintance. knowing as much as you do, the situation isvery easily explained. a year ago godfrey staunton lodged inlondon for a time and became passionately

attached to his landlady's daughter, whomhe married. she was as good as she was beautiful and asintelligent as she was good. no man need be ashamed of such a wife. but godfrey was the heir to this crabbedold nobleman, and it was quite certain that the news of his marriage would have beenthe end of his inheritance. i knew the lad well, and i loved him forhis many excellent qualities. i did all i could to help him to keepthings straight. we did our very best to keep the thing fromeveryone, for, when once such a whisper gets about, it is not long before everyonehas heard it.

thanks to this lonely cottage and his owndiscretion, godfrey has up to now succeeded. their secret was known to no one save to meand to one excellent servant, who has at present gone for assistance to trumpington.but at last there came a terrible blow in the shape of dangerous illness to his wife. it was consumption of the most virulentkind. the poor boy was half crazed with grief,and yet he had to go to london to play this match, for he could not get out of itwithout explanations which would expose his secret.

i tried to cheer him up by wire, and hesent me one in reply, imploring me to do all i could.this was the telegram which you appear in some inexplicable way to have seen. i did not tell him how urgent the dangerwas, for i knew that he could do no good here, but i sent the truth to the girl'sfather, and he very injudiciously communicated it to godfrey. the result was that he came straight awayin a state bordering on frenzy, and has remained in the same state, kneeling at theend of her bed, until this morning death put an end to her sufferings.

that is all, mr. holmes, and i am surethat i can rely upon your discretion and that of your friend."holmes grasped the doctor's hand. "come, watson," said he, and we passed fromthat house of grief into the pale sunlight of the winter day.

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