Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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"'It is simplicity itself,' said I. 'When you bared
your arm to draw that fish into the boat I saw that J.
A. Had been tattooed in the bend of the elbow. The
letters were still legible, but it was perfectly clear
from their blurred appearance, and from the staining
of the skin round them, that efforts had been made to
obliterate them. It was obvious, then, that those
initials had once been very familiar to you, and that
you had afterwards wished to forget them.'
"What an eye you have!" he cried, with a sigh of
relief. 'It is just as you say. But we won't talk of
it. Of all ghosts the ghosts of our old lovers are
the worst. Come into the billiard-room and have a
"From that day, amid all his cordiality, there was
always a touch of suspicion in Mr. Trevor's manner
towards me. Even his son remarked it. 'You've given
the governor such a turn,' said he, 'that he'll never
be sure again of what you know and what you don't
know.' He did not mean to show it, I am sure, but it
was so strongly in his mind that it peeped out at
every action. At last I became so convinced that I
was causing him uneasiness that I drew my visit to a
close. On the very day, however, before I left, and
incident occurred which proved in the sequel to be of
"We were sitting out upon the lawn on garden chairs,
the three of us, basking in the sun and admiring the
view across the Broads, when a maid came out to say
that there was a man at the door who wanted to see Mr.
"'What is his name?' asked my host.
"'He would not give any.'
"'What does he want, then?'
"'He says that you know him, and that he only wants a
"'Show him round here.' An instant afterwards there
appeared a little wizened fellow with a cringing
manner and a shambling style of walking. He wore an
open jacket, with a splotch of tar on the sleeve, a
red-and-black check shirt, dungaree trousers, and
heavy boots badly worn. His face was thin and brown
and crafty, with a perpetual smile upon it, which
showed an irregular line of yellow teeth, and his
crinkled hands were half closed in a way that is
distinctive of sailors. As he came slouching across
the lawn I heard Mr. Trevor make a sort of hiccoughing
noise in his throat, and jumping out of his chair, he
ran into the house. He was back in a moment, and I
smelt a strong reek of brandy as he passed me.
"'Well, my man,' said he. 'What can I do for you?'
"The sailor stood looking at him with puckered eyes,
and with the same loose-lipped smile upon his face.
"'You don't know me?' he asked.
"'Why, dear me, it is surely Hudson,' said Mr. Trevor
in a tone of surprise.
"'Hudson it is, sir,' said the seaman. 'Why, it's
thirty year and more since I saw you last. Here you
are in your house, and me still picking my salt meat
out of the harness cask.'
"'Tut, you will find that I have not forgotten old
times,' cried Mr. Trevor, and, walking towards the
sailor, he said something in a low voice. 'Go into
the kitchen,' he continued out loud, 'and you will get
food and drink. I have no doubt that I shall find you
"'Thank you, sir,' said the seaman, touching his
fore-lock. 'I'm just off a two-yearer in an
eight-knot tramp, short-handed at that, and I wants a
rest. I thought I'd get it either with Mr. Beddoes or
"'Ah!' cried Trevor. 'You know where Mr. Beddoes is?'
"'Bless you, sir, I know where all my old friends
are,' said the fellow with a sinister smile, and he
slouched off after the maid to the kitchen. Mr.
Trevor mumbled something to us about having been
shipmate with the man when he was going back to the
diggings, and then, leaving us on the lawn, he went
indoors. An hour later, when we entered the house, we
found him stretched dead drunk upon the dining-room
sofa. The whole incident left a most ugly impression
upon my mind, and I was not sorry next day to leave
Donnithorpe behind me, for I felt that my presence
must be a source of embarrassment to my friend.
"All this occurred during the first month of the long
vacation. I went up to my London rooms, where I spent
seven weeks working out a few experiments in organic
chemistry. On day, however, when the autumn was far
advanced and the vacation drawing to a close, I
received a telegram from my friend imploring me to
return to Donnithorpe, and saying that he was in great
need of my advice and assistance. Of course I dropped
everything and set out for the North once more.
"He met me with the dog-cart at the station, and I saw
at a glance that the last two months had been very
trying ones for him. He had grown thin and careworn,
and had lost the loud, cheery manner for which he had
"'The governor is dying,' were the first words he
"'Impossible!' I cried. 'What is the matter?'
"'Apoplexy. Nervous shock, He's been on the verge
all day. I doubt if we shall find him alive.'
"I was, as you may think, Watson, horrified at this
"'What has caused it?' I asked.
"'Ah, that is the point. Jump in and we can talk it
over while we drive. You remember that fellow who
came upon the evening before you left us?'
"'Do you know who it was that we let into the house
"'I have no idea.'
"'It was the devil, Holmes,' he cried.
"I stared at him in astonishment.
"'Yes, it was the devil himself. We have not had a
peaceful hour since--not one. The governor has never
held up his head from that evening, and now the life
has been crushed out of him and his heart broken, all
through this accursed Hudson.'
"'What power had he, then?'
"'Ah, that is what I would give so much to know. The
kindly, charitable, good old governor--how could he
have fallen into the clutches of such a ruffian! But
I am so glad that you have come, Holmes. I trust very
much to your judgment and discretion, and I know that
you will advise me for the best.'
"We were dashing along the smooth white country road,
with the long stretch of the Broads in front of us
glimmering in the red light of the setting sun. From
a grove upon our left I could already see the high
chimneys and the flag-staff which marked the squire's
"'My father made the fellow gardener,' said my
companion, 'and then, as that did not satisfy him, he
was promoted to be butler. The house seemed to be at
his mercy, and he wandered about and did what he chose
in it. The maids complained of his drunken habits and
his vile language. The dad raised their wages all
round to recompense them for the annoyance. The
fellow would take the boat and my father's best gun
and treat himself to little shooting trips. And all
this with such a sneering, leering, insolent face that
I would have knocked him down twenty times over if he
had been a man of my own age. I tell you, Holmes, I
have had to keep a tight hold upon myself all this
time; and now I am asking myself whether, if I had let
myself go a little more, I might not have been a wiser
"'Well, matters went from bad to worse with us, and
this animal Hudson became more and more intrusive,
until at last, on making some insolent reply to my
father in my presence one day, I took him by the
shoulders and turned him out of the room. He slunk
away with a livid face and two venomous eyes which
uttered more threats than his tongue could do. I
don't know what passed between the poor dad and him
after that, but the dad came to me next day and asked
me whether I would mind apologizing to Hudson. I
refused, as you can imagine, and asked my father how
he could allow such a wretch to take such liberties
with himself and his household.