Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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notes. He was not remarkable for intelligence, and
his answers were frequently obscure, which I
attributed to his limited acquaintance with our
language. Suddenly, however, as I sat writing, he
cased to give any answer at all to my inquiries, and
on my turning towards him I was shocked to see that he
was sitting bolt upright in his chair, staring at me
with a perfectly blank and rigid face. He was again
in the grip of his mysterious malady.
"My first feeling, as I have just said, was one of
pity and horror. My second, I fear, was rather one of
professional satisfaction. I made notes of my
patient's pulse and temperature, tested the rigidity
of his muscles, and examined his reflexes. There was
nothing markedly abnormal in any of these conditions,
which harmonized with my former experiences. I had
obtained good results in such cases by the inhalation
of nitrite of amyl, and the present seemed an
admirable opportunity of testing its virtues. The
bottle was downstairs in my laboratory, so leaving my
patient seated in his chair, I ran down to get it.
There was some little delay in finding it--five
minutes, let us say--and then I returned. Imagine my
amazement to find the room empty and the patient gone.
"Of course, my first act was to run into the
waiting-room. The son had gone also. The hall door
had been closed, but not shut. My page who admits
patients is a new boy and by no means quick. He waits
downstairs, and runs up to show patients out when I
ring the consulting-room bell. He had heard nothing,
and the affair remained a complete mystery. Mr.
Blessington cam in from his walk shortly afterwards,
but I did not say anything to him upon the subject,
for, to tell the truth, I have got in the way of late
of holding as little communication with him as
"Well, I never thought that I should see anything more
of the Russian and his son, so you can imagine my
amazement when, at the very same hour this evening,
they both came marching into my consulting-room, just
as they had done before.
"'I feel that I owe you a great many apologies for my
abrupt departure yesterday, doctor,' said my patient.
"'I confess that I was very much surprised at it,'
"'Well, the fact is,' he remarked, 'that when I
recover from these attacks my mind is always very
clouded as to all that has gone before. I woke up in
a strange room, as it seemed to me, and made my way
out into the street in a sort of dazed way when you
"'And I,' said the son, 'seeing my father pass the
door of the waiting-room, naturally thought that the
consultation had come to an end. It was not until we
had reached home that I began to realize the true
state of affairs.'
"'Well,' said I, laughing, 'there is no harm done
except that you puzzled me terribly; so if you, sir,
would kindly step into the waiting-room I shall be
happy to continue our consultation which was brought
to so abrupt an ending.'
"'For half an hour or so I discussed that old
gentleman's symptoms with him, and then, having
prescribed for him, I saw him go off upon the arm of
"I have told you that Mr. Blessington generally chose
this hour of the day for his exercise. He came in
shortly afterwards and passed upstairs. An instant
later I heard him running down, and he burst into my
consulting-room like a man who is mad with panic.
"'Who has been in my room?' he cried.
"'No one,' said I.
"'It's a lie! He yelled. 'Come up and look!'
"I passed over the grossness of his language, as he
seemed half out of his mind with fear. When I went
upstairs with him he pointed to several footprints
upon the light carpet.
"'D'you mean to say those are mine?' he cried.
"They were certainly very much larger than any which
he could have made, and were evidently quite fresh.
It rained hard this afternoon, as you know, and my
patients were the only people who called. It must
have been the case, then, that the man in the
waiting-room had, for some unknown reason, while I was
busy with the other, ascended to the room of my
resident patient. Nothing has been touched or taken,
but there were the footprints to prove that the
intrusion was an undoubted fact.
"Mr. Blessington seemed more excited over the matter
than I should have thought possible, though of course
it was enough to disturb anybody's peace of mind. He
actually sat crying in an arm-chair, and I could
hardly get him to speak coherently. It was his
suggestion that I should come round to you, and of
course I at once saw the propriety of it, for
certainly the incident is a very singular one, though
he appears to completely overtake its importance. If
you would only come back with me in my brougham, you
would at least be able to soothe him, though I can
hardly hope that you will be able to explain this
Sherlock Holmes had listened to this long narrative
with an intentness which showed me that his interest
was keenly aroused. His face was as impassive as
ever, but his lids had drooped more heavily over his
eyes, and his smoke had curled up more thickly from
his pipe to emphasize each curious episode in the
doctor's tale. As our visitor concluded, Holmes
sprang up without a word, handed me my hat, picked his
own from the table, and followed Dr. Trevelyan to the
door. Within a quarter of an hour we had been dripped
at the door of the physician's residence in Brook
Street, one of those sombre, flat-faced houses which
one associates with a West-End practice. A small page
admitted us, and we began at once to ascend the broad,
But a singular interruption brought us to a
standstill. The light at the top was suddenly whisked
out, and from the darkness came a reedy, quivering
"I have a pistol," it cried. "I give you my word that
I'll fire if you come any nearer."
"This really grows outrageous, Mr. Blessington," cried
"Oh, then it is you, doctor," said the voice, with a
great heave of relief. "But those other gentlemen,
are they what they pretend to be?"
We were conscious of a long scrutiny out of the
"Yes, yes, it's all right," said the voice at last.
"You can come up, and I am sorry if my precautions
have annoyed you."
He relit the stair gas as he spoke, and we saw before
us a singular-looking man, whose appearance, as well
as his voice, testified to his jangled nerves. He was
very fat, but had apparently at some time been much
fatter, so that the skin hung about his face in loose
pouches, like the cheeks of a blood-hound. He was of
a sickly color, and his thin, sandy hair seemed to
bristle up with the intensity of his emotion. In his
hand he held a pistol, but he thrust it into his
pocket as we advanced.
"Good-evening, Mr. Holmes," said he. "I am sure I am
very much obliged to you for coming round. No one
ever needed your advice more than I do. I suppose
that Dr. Trevelyan has told you of this most
unwarrantable intrusion into my rooms."
"Quite so," said Holmes. "Who are these tow men Mr.
Blessington, and why do they wish to molest you?"
"Well, well," said the resident patient, in a nervous
fashion, "of course it is hard to say that. You can
hardly expect me to answer that, Mr. Holmes."
"Do you mean that you don't know?"
"Come in here, if you please. Just have the kindness
to step in here."
He led the way into his bedroom, which was large and
"You see that," said he, pointing to a big black box
at the end of his bed. "I have never been a very rich
man, Mr. Holmes--never made but one investment in my
life, as Dr. Trevelyan would tell you. But I don't
believe in bankers. I would never trust a banker, Mr.
Holmes. Between ourselves, what little I have is in
that box, so you can understand what it means to me
when unknown people force themselves into my rooms."
Holmes looked at Blessington in his questioning way
and shook his head.