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By A.CONAN DOYLE, author of “The White Company,” “The Sign of the Four,’ “Beyond the City,’ ‘“‘The Sherlock Holmes Stories,” Etc. oak dak eens





(Boing a veprint from the reminiscences of John H

Watson, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)

CHAPTER, I—Mr. Sherlock Holmes. 0000 0000000 00-00 6eee

TI.—The Science of Deduction .....cesccceces III.—The Lauriston Gardens Mystery....cecee: IV.—What John Rance had to Tell.....0..-02

V.—Our Advertisement Brings a Visitor...... VI.—Tobias Gregson Shows What he Can do..

VII.—Light in the Darkness ....cccoverevccocce

PART IL The Country of the Saints,

1.—On the Great Alkali Plain ......+scccece. II.—The Flower of Utah ......ccccccccccccce il1.—John Ferrier Talks with the Prophet...... IV.—A Flight for Life... ccccccccccccetsccece V.—The Avenging Angels ...-scccccscesccccces

VI—A Continuation of the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. eeeaevceoseo ee eeene

VII—The Conclusion 60000 2Oll 0900 000-5 08-09 8000

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91 105 115 123 186

148 167



(Being a reprint from the reminiscences of JOHN H. WaTSON, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department.)


In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for sur- geonsin the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusi- liers as assistant surgeon. ‘The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it the sec- ond Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bom- bay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy’s country. I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reach- ing Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.



The campaign brought honors and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for the devo- tion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a pack-horse and succeeded in bring- ing me safely to the British lines.

Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hard- ships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawur. Here I rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the veranda, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian posses- sions. For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board deter- mined that not a day should be-lost in sending me back to England. Iwas dispatched, accordingly, in the troop- ship “‘ Orontes,” and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with per- mission from a paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it.

I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was there- fore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to


London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the empire are {rresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spend- ing such money as I had considerably more freely than I ought. So alarming did the state of my finances be- come, that I soon realized that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere in the country, or that I must make a complete alteration in my style of living. Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive domicile.

On the very day that I had come to this conclusion, I was standing at the Criterion bar, when some one . tapped me on the shoulder, <nd turning round I recog- nized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Bart’s. The sight of a friendly face in the great wilderness of London is a pleasant thing indeed to a lonely man. In old days Stamford had never been a particular crony of mine, but now I hailed him with en- thusiasm, and he, in his turn, appeared to be delighted to see me. In the exuberance of my joy, I asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off to- gether in a hansom.

“What ever have you been doing with yourself, Wat- son?” he asked, in undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.”

I gave him a short sketch of my adventures, and had hardly concluded it by the time that we reached our destination.


“Poor devil! he said, commiseratingly, after he had listened to my misfortunes. ‘‘ What are you up to now ?”

“Looking for lodgings,” I answered. “Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.”

“That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion; “you are the second man to-day that has used that ex- pression to me.”

And who was the first ?” I asked.

“A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get some one to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse.”

“By Jove!” I cried, “if he really wants some one to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone.”

Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me over his wine-glass.

“You don’t know Sherlock Holmes yet,” he said; “perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion.”

“Why, what is there against him ?”

“Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know, he is a decent fellow enough.”

A medical student, I suppose ?” said I.

“No; I have no idea what he intends to goinfor. I believe he is well up in anatomy, ana he is a first-class


chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the-way knowledge which would astonish his pro- | fessors.”’

“Did you never ask him what he was going in for ?” I asked. >

“No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him.”

“T should like to meet him,” I said. “If Iam to lodge with any one, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours ?”

He is sure to be at the laboratory. He either avoids the place tor weeks, or else he works there from morn- ing to night. If you like, we shall drive round together after luncheon.”

Certainly,” I answered ; and the conversation drifted away into other channels.

As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particulars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as a fellow: lodger.

“You mustn’t blame me if you don’t get on with him,” he said; “I know nothing more of him than I have learned from meeting him occasionally in the lab- oratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you mus* not hold me responsible.”


“If we don’t get on it will be easy to part company,” I answered. “It seems to me, Stamford,” I added, look- ing hard at my companion, “that you have some reason for washing your hands of the matter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable, or what is it? Don’t be mealy- mouthed about it.”

“Tt is not easy to express the iuéxpressible” he an- swered, with a laugh. ‘‘ Holmes 1s a little too scientific for my tastes—-it approaches to cold-bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you | understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think that he would take it himself with the same readiness. He appears to have a passion for defi- nite and exact knowledge.”

“Very right, too.”

“Yes; but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape.”

Beating the subjects!”

“Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes.”

And yet you say he is not 2 medical student ?™

“No. Heaven knows what the objects of his studies are! But here we are, and you must form your own impressions about him.”

As he spoke, we turned down a narrow lane and passed through a smal! side door, which opened into a wing of the great hospital. It was familiar ground to me, and I needed no guiding as we ascended the blee’*


stone staircase and made our way down the long corridor with its vista of whitewashed wall and dun-colored doors. Near the further end a low, arched passage branched away from it and led to the chemical laboratory.

This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprung to his feet with a cry of pleasure.

“T’ve found it! I’ve found it!” he shouted to my companion, running toward us with a test-tube in his hand. “I have found a reagent which is precipitated by hemoglobin, and by nothing else.”

- Had he discovered a gold mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features.

Dr. Watson—Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” said Stamford, introducing us.

“How are you?” he said, cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly have given seg credit. “You have been in sane enti I perceive.”

“How on earth did you know that?” I asked, in astonishment.

Never mind,” said he, chuckling to himself. “The question now is about hemoglobin. No doubt you see the significance of this discovery of mine ?”

“Tt is interesting, chemically, no doubt,” I answered ; “but practically—


“Why, man, it is the most practical medico-legal dis- covery for years. Don’t you see that it gives us an in- fallible test for blood-stains ? Come over here, now!” He seized me by the coat-sleeve in his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at which he had been work- ing. “Let us have some fresh blood,” he said, digging

_a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the result-

ing drop of blood in a chemical pipette. Now, I add this small quantity of blood to a litre of water. You perceive that the resulting mixture has the appearance of true water. The proportion of blood cannot be more than one in a million. I have no doubt, however, that we shall be able to obtain the characteristic reaction.”

As he spoke, he threw into the vessel a few white crystals, and then added some drops of a transparent fluid. In an instant the contents assumed a dull mahog- any color, and a brownish dust was precipitated to the bottom of the glass jar. |

“Ha! ha!” he cried, clapping his hands and looking as delighted ds a child with a new toy. What do you think of that ?”

“Tt seems to be a very delicate test,” I remarked.

“Beautiful! beautiful! The old guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain. So is the microscopic ex- amination for blood-corpuscles. ‘The latter is valueless if the stains are a few hours old. Now, this appears to act as well whether the blood is old or new. Had this test been invented, there are hundreds of men now walking the earth who would long ago have paid the penalty of their crimes.”

“Indeed!” I murmured.


“Criminal cases are continually hinging upon that one point. A man is suspected of a crime months per- haps after it has been committed. His linen or clothes are examined, and brownish stains discovered upon them. Are they blood-stains, or mud-stains, or rust- | stains, or fruit-stains, or what are they? ‘That is a question which has puzzled many an expert ; and why P Because there was no reliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes test, and there will no longer be any difficulty.”

His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he put his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some applauding crowd conjured up by his imagination.

“You are to be congratulated,” I remarked, consider- ably surprised at his enthusiasm.

“There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frankfort last year. He would certainly have been hung had this test been in existence. ‘Then there was Mason, of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and Lefevre, of Montpellier, and Samson, of New Orleans. I could name a score of cases in which it would have been de- Cisive.”

“You seem to be a walking calendar of crime,” saic Stamford, with a laugh. “You might start a paper on those lines. Call it the Police News of the Past.’”

“Very interesting reading it might be made, too,” re- marked Sherlock Holmes, sticking a small piece of plas- ter over the prick of his finger. “I have to be careful,” he continued, turning to me with a smile, for I dabble with poisons a good deal.”

He held out his hand as he spoke, and I noticed that


it was all mottled over with similar pieces of plaster and discolored with strong acids.

“We came here on business,” said Stamford, sitting down on a three-legged stool, and pushing another one in my direction with his foot. ‘‘ My frend here wants to take diggings, and as you were complaining that you could get no one to go halves with you, I thought that I had better bring you together.”

Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me.

“T have my eye ona suite in Baker street,” he sail

“which would suit us down to the ground. You don’t mind the smell of strong tobacco, I hope ?”

“T always smoke ‘ship’s’ myself,” I answered.

“That’s good enough. I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that annoy you?”

By no means.”

‘Let me see—what are my other shortcomings? 1 get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I'll soon be all right. What have you to confess, now? It’s just as well for two fellows to know the worst of each other before they begin to live together.”

I laughed at this cross-examination.

“TI keep a bull-pup,” I said, “and object to rows, be- cause my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have an- other set of vices when I’m well, but those are the prin- cipal ones at present.”


“Do you include violin-playing in your category of rows ?” he asked, anxiously.

“Tt depends on the player,” I answered. “A well- played violin is a treat for the gods; a badly played one—”

“Oh, that’s all right,” he cried, with a merry laugh. **T think we may consider the thing as séttled—that is, if the rooms are agreeable to you.”

“When shall we see them?”

“Call for me here at noon to-morrow, and we'll go together and settle everything,” he answered.

All right—noon exactly,” said I, shaking his hand.

We left him working among his chemicals, and we walked together toward my hotel.

“By the way,” I asked, suddenly, stopping and turn- ing upon Stamford, “how the deuce did he know that I had come from Afghanistan?”

My companion smiled an enigmatical smile,

“That’s just his little peculiarity,” he said. “A good many people have wanted to know how he finds things out.”

“Oh, a mystery, is it ?” I cried, rubbing my hands. “This is very piquant. I am much obliged to you for bringing us together. ‘The proper study of mankind is man,’ you know.”

“You must study him, then,” Stamford said, as he bid me good-by. “You'll find him a knotty problem, though. I'll wager he learns more about you than you about him. Good-by.”

Good-by,” I answered ; and strolled on to my hotel, considerably interested in my new acquaintance.


WE met next day, as he had arranged, and inspected the rooms at No. 2218 Baker street, of which he had spoken at our meeting. They consisted of a couple of comfortable bedrooms and a single, large, airy sitting- room, cheerfully furnished, and illuminated by two broad windows. So desirable in every way were the apartments, and so moderate did the terms seem when divided between us, that the bargain was concluded upon the spot, and we at once entered into possession. That very evening I moved my things round from the hotel, and on the following morning Sherlock Holmes followed me with several boxes and portmanteaus. For a day or two we were busily employed in unpacking and laying out our property to the best advantage. That done, we gradually began to settle down and to accommodate ourselves to our new surroundings. -

Holmes was certainly not a difficult man to live with. He was quiet in his ways, and his habits were regular. It was rare for him to be up after ten at night, and he had invariably breakfasted and gone out before I rose in the morning. Sometimes he spent his day at the chem- ical laboratory, sometimes in the dissecting-room, and occasionally in long walks, which appeared to take him



into the lowest portions of the city. Nothing could ex- ceed his energy when the working fit was upon him; but now and again a reaction would seize him, and for days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the sitting- room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night. On these occasions I have noticea such a dreamy, vacant expression in His eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic, had not the temperance and cleanli- ness of his whole life forbidden such a notion.

As the weeks went by, my interest in him and my curiosity as to his aims in life gradually deepened and increased. His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination. His hands were invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch, as I frequently had occasion to observe when I watched him manipulating his fragile philosophical instruments.

The reader may set me down as a hopeless busybody, when I confess how much this man stimulated my curiosity, and how often I endeavored to break through the reticence which he showed on all that concerned

himself. Before pronouncing judgment, however, be it


remembered how objectless was my life, and how little there was to engage my attention. My health forbade me from venturing out unless the weather was exception- ally genial, and I had no friends who would call upon me and break the monotony of my daily existence, Under these circumstances, I eagerly hailed the little mystery which hung around my companion, and spent much of my time in endeavoring to unravel it.

He was not studying medicine. He had himself, in reply to a question, confirmed Stamford’s opinion upon that point. Neither did he appear to have pursued any course of reading which might fit him for a degree in science or any other recognized portal which would give him an entrance into the learned world. Yet his zeal for certain studies was remarkable, and within eccentric limits his knowledge was so extraordinarily ample and minute that his observations have fairly astounded me. Surely no man would work so hard to attain such pre- cise information unless he had some definite end in view. . Desultory readers are seldom remarkable for the exact- ness of their learning. No man burdens his mind with small matters unless he has some very good reason for doing so.

His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy, and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican theory and of the com- . position of the solar system. That any civilized human


being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth trdveled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly real- ize it.

“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “‘ Now that I do know it, I shall do my best to forget it.”

“To forget it!”

“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very care- ful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can dis- tend to any extent. Depend upon it, there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

“But the solar system!” I protested.

“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted, impa- tiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon, it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”


I was on the point of asking him what that work might be, but something in his manner showed me that the question would be an unwelcome one. I pondered over our short conversation, however, and endeavored to draw my deductions from it. He said that he would aequire no Lnowledge which did not bear upon his ob- ject. Therefore, all the knowledge which he possessed was such a3 would be useful to him. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally well informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them down. I could not help smiling at the document when I had completed it. It ran in this way:

SHERLOCK Ho_mMEs—his limits. ie eno eae of Literature.—Nil.

2. Philosophy.—Nil.

3 i Astronomy.—Nil.

4. * ** Politics.—Feeble.

5 * Botany.—Variable. Well up m belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.

&, * Geology.—Practical, but limited.

Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their color and consistence in what part of London he had received them,


7. Knowledge of Chemistry.—Profound.

8. * Anatomy.—<Accurate, but unsys: tematic. >. we Sensational Literature —Immense.

He appears to know every de. tail of every horror perpetrated in the century. to. Plays the violin well. 11. Is an expert single-stick player, boxer, and swords. man. 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.

When I had got so far in my list I threw it into the fire in despair.

“Tf I cannot find what the fellow is driving at by reconciling all these accomplishments, and discovering a calling which needs them all,” I said to myself, “1 may as well give up the attempt at once.”

I see that I have alluded above to his powers upon the violin. These were very remarkable, but as eccentric as all his other accomplishments. That he could play pieces, and difficult pieces, I knew well, because at my request he has played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder, and other favorites. When left to himself, however, he would seldom produce any music or attempt any recog- nized air.

_ Leaning back in his arm-chair of an evening he would Close his eyes and scrape carelessly at the fiddle, which was thrown across his knee. Sometimes the chords were sonorous and melancholy. Occasionally they were fan- tastic and cheerful. Clearly they reflected the thoughts


which possessed him, but whether the music aided these thoughts, or whether the playing was simply the result of a whim or fancy, was more than I could determine. I might have rebelled against these exasperating solos had it not been that he usually terminated them by playing in quick succession a whole series of my favorite airs as a slight compensation for the trial upon my patience.

During the first week or so we had no callers, and I had@ébegun to think that my companion was as friendless a man as I was myself. Presently, however, I found that he had many acquaintances, and those in the most different classes of society. There was o: e little sallow, rat-faced, dark-eyed fellow who was ir .oduced to me as Mr. Lestrade, and who came three or four times in a single week. One morning a young girl called, fashion- ably dressed, and stayed for half an hour or more. The same afternoon brought a gray-headed, seedy visitor, looking like a Jew peddler, who appeared to me te be much excited, and who was closely followed by a slip- shod elderly woman. On another occasion an old white- haired gentleman had an interview with my companion; and on another, a railway porter in his velveteen uni- form. When any of these nondescript individuals put in an appearance, Sherlock Holmes used to beg for the use of the sitting-room, and I would retire to my bed- room. He always apologized to me for putting me to this inconvenience. |

“T have to use this room as a place of business,” he said, “and these people are my clients.”

Again I had an opportunity of asking him a point-


blank question, and again my delicacy prevented me from forcing another man to confide in me. I imagined at the time that he had some strong reason for not al- luding to it, but he soon dispelled the idea by coming round to the subject of his own accord.

It was upon the 4th of March, as I have good reason to remember, that I rose somewhat earlier than usual, and found that Sherlock Holmes had not yet finished his breakfast. The landlady had become so accustomed to my late habits that my place had not been laid nor my coffee prepared. With the unreasonable petulance of mankind I rang the bell and gave a curt intimation that I was ready. Then I picked up a magazine from the table and .,ttempted to while away the time with it, while my companion munched silently at his toast. One of the articles had a pencil-mark at the heading, and I naturally began to run my eye through it.

Its somewhat ambitious title was ‘‘ The Book of Life,” and it attempted to show how much an observant man might learn by an accurate and systematic examination of all that came in his way. It struck me as being a remarkable mixture of shrewdness and of absurdity. The reasoning was close and intense, but the deductions ap- peared to me to be far-fetched and exaggerated. The writer claimed by a momentary expression, a twitch of a muscle, or a glance of an eye, to fathom a man’s in- most thoughts. Deceit, according to him, was an im- possibility in the case of one trained to observation and analysis. His conclusions were as infallible as so many propositions of Euclid. So startling would his results appear to the uninitiated that, until they learned the



processes by which he had arrived at them, they might well consider him as a necromancer.

“From a drop of water,” said the writer, “a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it. Like all other arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study, nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible perfection init. Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by master- ing more elementary problems. Let him, on meeting a fellow-mortal, learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man, and the trade or profession to which he be- longs. Puerile as such an exercise may seem, it sharpens the faculties of observation and teaches one where to look and what to look for. By a man’s finger-nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser-knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuffs—by each of these things a man’s call- ing is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.”

“What ineffable twaddle!” I cried, slapping the maga- zine down on the table; “I never read such rubbish in my life.”

What is it? asked Sherlock Holmes.

“Why, this article,” I said, pointing at it with my


egg-spoon as I sat down to my breakfast. “T see that you have read it, since you have marked it. I don’t deny that it is smartly written. It irritates me, though. It is evidently the theory of some arm-chair lounger who evolves all these neat little paradoxes in the seclusion of | his own study. It is not practical. I should like to see him clapped down in a third-class carriage on the Un- derground, and asked to give the trades of all his fellow- travelers. I would lay a thousand to one against him.”

“You would lose your money,” Sherlock Holmes re- marked, calmly. ‘As for the article, I wrote it myself.”

‘6 You!

“Yes; I have a turn both for observation and for deduction. The theories which I have expressed there, and which appear to you to be so chimerical, are really extremely practical—so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese.”

And how?” I asked, involuntarily.

“Well, I have a trade of my own. I suppose Iam the only one in the world. [ma consulting detective, if you can understand what that is. Here in London we have lots of government detectives and lots of pri- vate ones. When these fellows are at fault, they come to me, and I manage to put them on the right scent. They lay all the evidence before me, and I am generally able, by the help of my knowledge of the history of crime, to set them straight. There is a strong family resemblance about misdeeds, and if you have all the de- tails of a thousand at your finger-ends, it is odd if you can’t unravel the thousand and first. Lestrade is a


well-known detective. He got himself into a fog re- cently over a forgery case, and that was what brought him here.”

And these other people ?”

“They are mostly sent out by private inquiry agen- cies. They are all people who are in trouble about something, and want a little enlightening. I listen to their story, they listen to my comments, and then I pocket my fee.”

“But do you mean to say,” I said, “that without leaving your room you can unravel some knot which other men can make nothing of, although they have seen every detail for themselves?

“Quite so. I have a kind of intuition that way. Now and again a case turns up which is a little more complex. Then I have to bustle about and see things with my own eyes. You see, I have a lot of special knowledge which I apply to the problem, and which facilitates matters wonderfully. Those rules of deduc- _ tion laid down in that article which aroused your scorn are invaluable to me in practical work. Observation, with me, is second nature. You appeared to be sur- prised when I told you, on our first meeting, that you had come from Afghanistan.”

“You were told, no doubt.”

“Nothing of the sort. I 4mew you came from Af- ghanistan. From long habit the train of thought ran so swiftly through my mind that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps. There were such steps, however. The train of reasoning ran: ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type, but with the

A STUDY IN StanLE£7Z, <7

air of a military man. Clearly an army doctor, then. | He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not the natural tint of his skin, for his wrists are fair. He has undergone hardship and sickness, as his haggard face says clearly. His left arm has been injured. He holds it in a stiff and unnatural manner. Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much hardship and got his arm wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan.’ The whole train of thought did not occupy a second. I then remarked that you came from Afghanistan, and you were astonished.”

“It is simple enough as you explain it,” I said, smil- ing. “You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.”

Sherlock Holmes rose and lighted his pipe.

“No doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin,” he observed. Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour’s silence is really very showy and superficial He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine.”

Have you read Gaboriau’s works?” I asked. ‘‘ Does Lecog come up to your idea of a detective?”

Sherlock Holmes sniffed sardonically.

“Lecoq was a miserable bungler,” he said, in an an- gry voice; “he had only one thing to recommend him, and that was his energy. That book made me posi- tively ill. The question was how to identify an unknown


prisoner. I could have done it in twenty-four hours Lecog took six months orso. It might be made a text book for detectives to teach them what to avoid.”

I felt rather indignant at having two characters whom I had admired treated in this cavalier style. I walked over to the window, and stood looking out into the busy street.

“This fellow may be very clever,” I said to myself, “but he is certainly very conceited.”

“There are no crimes and no criminals in these days,” he said, querulously. ‘‘ What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the detection of crime which I have done. And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some bungling villainy with a motive so transparent that even a Scotland Yard official can see through it.”

I was still annoyed at his bumptious style of conver- sation. I thought it best to change the topic.

“T wonder what that fellow is looking for?” I asked, pointing to a stalwart, plainly dressed individual who was walking slowly down the other side of the street, looking anxiously at the numbers. He had a large blue envelope in his hand, and was evidently the bearer of a message.

“You mean the retired sergeant of marines,” said Sherlock Holmes. ;

“Brag and bounce!” thought I to myself. “He knows that I cannot verify his guess.”


The thought had hardly passed through my mind when the man whom we were watching caught sight of the number on our door, and ran rapidly across the road- way. We heard a loud knock, a deep voice below, and heavy steps ascending the stair.

“For Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” he said, stepping into the room and handing my friend the letter.

Here was an opportunity of taking the conceit out of him. He little thought of this when he made that ran- dom shot.

“May I ask, my lad,” I said, blandly, “what your trade may be?”

“Commissionaire, sir,” he said, gruffly. ‘“ Uniform away for repairs.”

“And you were?” I asked. with a slightly malicious glance at my companion.

“A sergeant, sir; Royal Marine Light Infantry, sir. No answer? Right, sir.”

He clicked his heels together, raised his hand in a salute, and was gone.


I conress that I was considerably startled by this fresh proof of the practical nature of my companion’s theories. My respect for his powers of analysis increased wondrously. There still remained some lurking suspi- cion in my mind, however, that the whole thing was a prearranged episode, intended to dazzle me, though what earthly object he could have in taking me in was past my comprehension. When I looked at him he had finished reading the note, and his eyes had assumed the vacant, lack-luster expression which showed mental ab- straction.

How in the world did you deduce that ?” I asked.

“Deduce what?” said he, petulantly.

“Why, that he was a retired sergeant of marines.”

“T have no time for trifles,’’ he replied, brusquely ; then, with a smile, “Excuse my rudeness. You broke the thread of my thoughts; but perhaps it is as well. So you actually were not able to see that that man was a sergeant of marines?”

“No, indeed.”

“It was easier to know it than to explain why I know | it. If you were asked to prove that two and tw