Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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started at least twenty minutes after he, got home
"She explains that by the difference between a 'bus
and a hansom."
"Did she make it clear why, on reaching her house, she
ran into the back kitchen?"
"Because she had the money there with which to pay off
"She has at least an answer for everything. Did you
ask her whether in leaving she met any one or saw any
one loitering about Charles Street?"
"She saw no one but the constable."
"Well, you seem to have cross-examined her pretty
thoroughly. What else have you done?"
"The clerk Gorot has been shadowed all these nine
weeks, but without result. We can show nothing
"Well, we have nothing else to go upon--no evidence of
"Have you formed a theory about how that bell rang?"
"Well, I must confess that it beats me. It was a cool
hand, whoever it was, to go and give the alarm like
"Yes, it was queer thing to do. Many thanks to you
for what you have told me. If I can put the man into
your hands you shall hear from me. Come along,
"Where are we going to now?" I asked, as we left the
"We are now going to interview Lord Holdhurst, the
cabinet minister and future premier of England."
We were fortunate in finding that Lord Holdhurst was
still in his chambers in Downing Street, and on Holmes
sending in his card we were instantly shown up. The
statesman received us with that old-fashioned courtesy
for which he is remarkable, and seated us on the two
luxuriant lounges on either side of the fireplace.
Standing on the run between us, with his slight, tall
figure, his sharp features, thoughtful face, and
curling hair prematurely tinged with gray, he seemed
to represent that not to common type, a nobleman who
is in truth noble.
"You name is very familiar to me, Mr. Holmes," said
he, smiling. "And, of course, I cannot pretend to be
ignorant of the object of your visit. There has only
been once occurrence in these offices which could call
for your attention. In whose interest are you acting,
may I ask?"
"In that of Mr. Percy Phelps," answered Holmes.
"Ah, my unfortunate nephew! You can understand that
our kinship makes it the more impossible for me to
screen him in any way. I fear that the incident must
have a very prejudicial effect upon his career."
"But if the document if found?"
"Ah, that, of course, would be different."
"I had one or two questions which I wished to ask you,
"I shall be happy to give you any information in my
"Was it in this room that you gave your instructions
as to the copying of the document?"
"Then you could hardly have been overheard?"
"It is out of the question."
"Did you ever mention to any one that it was your
intention to give any one the treaty to be copied?"
"You are certain of that?"
"Well, since you never said so, and Mr. Phelps never
said so, and nobody else knew anything of the matter,
then the thief's presence in the room was purely
accidental. He saw his chance and he took it."
The statesman smiled. "You take me out of my province
there," said he.
Holmes considered for a moment. "There is another
very important point which I wish to discuss with
you," said he. "You feared, as I understand, that
very grave results might follow from the details of
this treaty becoming known."
A shadow passed over the expressive face of the
statesman. "Very grave results indeed."
"Any have they occurred?"
"If the treaty had reached, let us say, the French or
Russian Foreign Office, you would expect to hear of
"I should," said Lord Holdhurst, with a wry face.
"Since nearly ten weeks have elapsed, then, and
nothing has been heard, it is not unfair to suppose
that for some reason the treaty has not reached them."
Lord Holdhurst shrugged his shoulders.
"We can hardly suppose, Mr. Holmes, that the thief
took the treaty in order to frame it and hang it up."
"Perhaps he is waiting for a better price."
"If he waits a little longer he will get no price at
all. The treaty will cease to be secret in a few
"That is most important," said Holmes. "Of course, it
is a possible supposition that the thief has had a
"An attack of brain-fever, for example?" asked the
statesman, flashing a swift glance at him.
"I did not say so," said Holmes, imperturbably. "And
now, Lord Holdhurst, we have already taken up too much
of your valuable time, and we shall wish you
"Every success to your investigation, be the criminal
who it may," answered the nobleman, as he bowed us out
"He's a fine fellow," said Holmes, as we came out into
Whitehall. "But he has a struggle to keep up his
position. He is far from rich and has many calls.
You noticed, of course, that his boots had been
resoled. Now, Watson, I won't detain you from your
legitimate work any longer. I shall do nothing more
to-day, unless I have an answer to my cab
advertisement. But I should be extremely obliged to
you if you would come down with me to Woking
to-morrow, by the same train which we took yesterday."
I met him accordingly next morning and we traveled
down to Woking together. He had had no answer to his
advertisement, he said, and no fresh light had been
thrown upon the case. He had, when he so willed it,
the utter immobility of countenance of a red Indian,
and I could not gather from his appearance whether he
was satisfied or not with the position of the case.
His conversation, I remember, was about the Bertillon
system of measurements, and he expressed his
enthusiastic admiration of the French savant.
We found our client still under the charge of his
devoted nurse, but looking considerably better than
before. He rose from the sofa and greeted us without
difficulty when we entered.
"Any news?" he asked, eagerly.
"My report, as I expected, is a negative one," said
Holmes. "I have seen Forbes, and I have seen your
uncle, and I have set one or two trains of inquiry
upon foot which may lead to something."
"You have not lost heart, then?"
"By no means."
"God bless you for saying that!" cried Miss Harrison.
"If we keep our courage and our patience the truth