His Last Bow
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bery at High Gable I was up one of the trees in the plantation and
saw you down below. It was just who would get his evidence
"Then why did you arrest the mulatto?"
"I was sure Henderson, as he calls himself, felt that he was
suspected, and that he would lie low and make no move so long
as he thought he was in any danger. I arrested the wrong man to
make him believe that our eyes were off him. I knew he would
be likely to clear off then and give us a chance of getting at Miss
Holmes laid his hand upon the inspector's shoulder.-
"You will rise high in your profession. You have instinct and
intuition," said he.
Baynes flushed with pleasure.
"I've had a plain-clothes man waiting at the station all the
week. Wherever the High Gable folk go he will keep them in
sight. But he must have been hard put to it when Miss Burnet
broke away. However, your man picked her up, and it all ends
well. We can't arrest without her evidence, that is clear, so the
sooner we get a statement the better."
"Every minute she gets stronger," said Holmes, glancing at
the governess. "But tell me, Baynes, who is this man Henderson?"
"Henderson," the inspector answered, "is Don Murillo, once
called the Tiger of San Pedro."
The Tiger of San Pedro! The whole history of the man came
back to me in a flash. He had made his name as the most lewd
and bloodthirsty tyrant that had ever governed any country with a
pretence to civilization. Strong, fearless, and energetic, he had
sufficient virtue to enable him to impose his odious vices upon a
cowering people for ten or twelve years. His name was a terror
through all Central America. At the end of that time there was a
universal rising against him. But he was as cunning as he was
cruel, and at the first whisper of coming trouble he had secretly
conveyed his treasures aboard a ship which was manned by
devoted adherents. It was an empty palace which was stormed by
the insurgents next day. The dictator, his two children, his
secretary, and his wealth had all escaped them. From that mo-
ment he had vanished from the world, and his identity had been
a frequent subject for comment in the European press.
"Yes, sir, Don Murillo, the Tiger of San Pedro," said Baynes.
"If you look it up you will find that the San Pedro colours are
green and white, same as in the note, Mr. Holmes. Henderson he
called himself, but I traced him back, Paris and Rome and
Madrid to Barcelona, where his ship came in in '86. They've
been looking for him all the time for their revenge, but it is only
now that they have begun to find him out."
"They discovered him a year ago," said Miss Burnet, who
had sat up and was now intently following the conversation.
"Once already his life has been attempted, but some evil spirit
shielded him. Now, again, it is the noble, chivalrous Garcia who
has fallen, while the monster goes safe. But another will come,
and yet another, until some day justice will be done; that is as
certain as the rise of to-morrow's sun." Her thin hands clenched,
and her worn face blanched with the passion of her hatred.
"But how come you into this matter Miss Burnet?" asked
Holmes. "How can an English lady join in such a murderous
"I join in it because there is no other way in the world by
which justice can be gained. What does the law of England care
for the rivers of blood shed years ago in San Pedro, or for the
shipload of treasure which this man has stolen? To you they are
like crimes committed in some other planet. But we know. We
have learned the truth in sorrow and in suffering. To us there is
no fiend in hell like Juan Murillo, and no peace in life while his
victims still cry for vengeance."
"No doubt," said Holmes, "he was as you say I have heard
that he was atrocious. But how are you affected?"
"I will tell you it all. This villain's policy was to murder, on
one pretext or another, every man who showed such promise that
he might in time come to be a dangerous rival. My husband --
yes, my real name is Signora Victor Durando -- was the San
Pedro minister in London. He met me and married me there. A
nobler man never lived upon earth. Unhappily, Murillo heard of
his excellence, recalled him on some pretext, and had him shot.
With a premonition of his fate he had refused to take me with
him. His estates were confiscated, and I was left with a pittance
and a broken heart.
"Then came the downfall af the tyrant. He escaped as you
have just described. But the many whose lives he had ruined,
whose nearest and dearest had suffered torture and death at his
hands, would not let the matter rest. They banded themselves
into a society which should never be dissolved until the work
was done. It was my part after we had discovered in the trans-
formed Henderson the fallen despot, to attach myself to his
household and keep the others in touch with his movements.
This I was able to do by securing the position of governess in his
family. He little knew that the woman who faced him at every
meal was the woman whose husband he had hurried at an hour's
notice into eternity. I smiled on him, did my duty to his children,
and bided my time. An attempt was made in Paris and failed.
We zig-zagged swiftly here and there over Europe to throw off
the pursuers and finally retulned to this house, which he had
taken upon his first arrival in England.
"But here also the ministers of justice were waiting. Knowing
that he would return there, Garcia, who is the son of the former
highest dignitary in San Pedlro, was waiting with two trusty
companions of humble station, all three fired with the same
reasons for revenge. He could do little during the day, for
Murillo took every precaution and never went out save with his
satellite Lucas, or Lopez as he was known in the days of his
greatness. At night, however, he slept alone, and the avenger
might find him. On a certain evening, which had been prear-
ranged, I sent my friend final instructions, for the man was
forever on the alert and continually changed his room. I was to
see that the doors were open and the signal of a green or white
light in a window which faced the drive was to give notice if all
was safe or if the attempt had better be postponed.
"But everything went wrong with us. In some way I had
excited the suspicion of Lopez, the secretary. He crept up behind
me and sprang upon me just as I had finished the note. He and
his master dragged me to my room and held judgment upon me
as a convicted traitress. Then and there they would have plunged
their knives into me could they have seen how to escape the
consequences of the deed. Finally, after much debate, they
concluded that my murder was too dangerous. But they deter-
mined to get rid forever of Garcia. They had gagged me, and
Murillo twisted my arm round until I gave him the address. I
swear that he might have twisted it off had I understood what it
would mean to Garcia. Lopez addressed the note which I had
written, sealed it with his sleeve-link, and sent it by the hand of
the servant, Jose. How they murdered him I do not know, save
that it was Murillo's hand who struck him down, for Lopez had
remained to guard me. I believe he must have waited among the
gorse bushes through which the path winds and struck him down
as he passed. At first they were of a mind to let him enter the
house and to kill him as a detected burglar; but they argued that
if they were mixed up in an inquiry their own identity would at
once be publicly disclosed and they would be open to further
attacks. With the death of Garcia, the pursuit might cease, since
such a death might frighten others from the task.
"All would now have been well for them had it not been for
my knowledge of what they had done. I have no doubt that there
were times when my life hung in the balance. I was confined to
my room, terrorized by the most horrible threats, cruelly ill-used
to break my spirit -- see this stab on my shoulder and the bruises
from end to end of my arms -- and a gag was thrust into my
mouth on the one occasion when I tried to call from the window.
For five days this cruel imprisonment continued, with hardly
enough food to hold body and soul together. This afternoon a
good lunch was brought me, but the moment after I took it I
knew that I had been drugged. In a sort of dream I remember
being half-led, half-carried to the carriage; in the same state I was
conveyed to the train. Only then, when the wheels were almost
moving, did I suddenly realize that my liberty lay in my own
hands. I sprang out, they tried to drag me back, and had it not
been for the help of this good man, who led me to the cab, I
should never have broken away. Now, thank God, I am beyond
their power forever."
We had all listened intently to this remarkable statement. It
was Holmes who broke the silence.
"Our difficulties are not over," he remarked, shaking his
head. "Our police work ends, but our legal work begins."
"Exactly," said I. "A plausible lawyer could make it out as
an act of self-defence. There may be a hundred crimes in the
background, but it is only on this one that they can be tried."
"Come, come," said Baynes cheerily, "I think better of the
law than that. Self-defence is one thing. To entice a man in cold
blood with the object of murdering him is another, whatever
danger you may fear from him. No, no, we shall all be justified
when we see the tenants of High Gable at the next Guildford
It is a matter of history, however, that a little time was still to
elapse before the Tiger of San Pedro should meet with his
deserts. Wily and bold, he and his companion threw their pur-
suer off their track by entering a lodging-house in Edmonton
Street and leaving by the back-gate into Curzon Square. From
that day they were seen no more in England. Some six months
afterwards the Marquess of Montalva and Signor Rulli, his secre-
tary, were both murdered in their rooms at the Hotel Escurial at
Madrid. The crime was ascribed to Nihilism, and the murderers
were never arrested. Inspector Baynes visited us at Baker Street
with a printed description of the dark face of the secretary, and
of the masterful features, the magnetic black eyes, and the tufted
brows of his master. We could not doubt that justice, if belated,