Scandal in Bohemia
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"She brought, I understand, a considerable dowry?"
"A fair dowry. Not more than is usual in my family."
"And this, of course, remains to you, since the marriage is a
"I really have made no inquiries on the subject."
"Very naturally not. Did you see Miss Doran on the day before the
"Was she in good spirits?"
"Never better. She kept talking of what we should do in our
"Indeed! That is very interesting. And on the morning of the
"She was as bright as possible--at least until after the
"And did you observe any change in her then?"
"Well, to tell the truth, I saw then the first signs that I had
ever seen that her temper was just a little sharp. The incident
however, was too trivial to relate and can have no possible
bearing upon the case."
"Pray let us have it, for all that."
"Oh, it is childish. She dropped her bouquet as we went towards
the vestry. She was passing the front pew at the time, and it
fell over into the pew. There was a moment's delay, but the
gentleman in the pew handed it up to her again, and it did not
appear to be the worse for the fall. Yet when I spoke to her of
the matter, she answered me abruptly; and in the carriage, on our
way home, she seemed absurdly agitated over this trifling cause."
"Indeed! You say that there was a gentleman in the pew. Some of
the general public were present, then?"
"Oh, yes. It is impossible to exclude them when the church is
"This gentleman was not one of your wife's friends?"
"No, no; I call him a gentleman by courtesy, but he was quite a
common-looking person. I hardly noticed his appearance. But
really I think that we are wandering rather far from the point."
"Lady St. Simon, then, returned from the wedding in a less
cheerful frame of mind than she had gone to it. What did she do
on re-entering her father's house?"
"I saw her in conversation with her maid."
"And who is her maid?"
"Alice is her name. She is an American and came from California
"A confidential servant?"
"A little too much so. It seemed to me that her mistress allowed
her to take great liberties. Still, of course, in America they
look upon these things in a different way."
"How long did she speak to this Alice?"
"Oh, a few minutes. I had something else to think of."
"You did not overhear what they said?"
"Lady St. Simon said something about 'jumping a claim.' She was
accustomed to use slang of the kind. I have no idea what she
"American slang is very expressive sometimes. And what did your
wife do when she finished speaking to her maid?"
"She walked into the breakfast-room."
"On your arm?"
"No, alone. She was very independent in little matters like that.
Then, after we had sat down for ten minutes or so, she rose
hurriedly, muttered some words of apology, and left the room. She
never came back."
"But this maid, Alice, as I understand, deposes that she went to
her room, covered her bride's dress with a long ulster, put on a
bonnet, and went out."
"Quite so. And she was afterwards seen walking into Hyde Park in
company with Flora Millar, a woman who is now in custody, and who
had already made a disturbance at Mr. Doran's house that
"Ah, yes. I should like a few particulars as to this young lady,
and your relations to her."
Lord St. Simon shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows.
"We have been on a friendly footing for some years--I may say on
a very friendly footing. She used to be at the Allegro. I have
not treated her ungenerously, and she had no just cause of
complaint against me, but you know what women are, Mr. Holmes.
Flora was a dear little thing, but exceedingly hot-headed and
devotedly attached to me. She wrote me dreadful letters when she
heard that I was about to be married, and, to tell the truth, the
reason why I had the marriage celebrated so quietly was that I
feared lest there might be a scandal in the church. She came to
Mr. Doran's door just after we returned, and she endeavored to
push her way in, uttering very abusive expressions towards my
wife, and even threatening her, but I had foreseen the
possibility of something of the sort, and I had two police
fellows there in private clothes, who soon pushed her out again.
She was quiet when she saw that there was no good in making a
"Did your wife hear all this?"
"No, thank goodness, she did not."
"And she was seen walking with this very woman afterwards?"
"Yes. That is what Mr. Lestrade, of Scotland Yard, looks upon as
so serious. It is thought that Flora decoyed my wife out and laid
some terrible trap for her."
"Well, it is a possible supposition."
"You think so, too?"
"I did not say a probable one. But you do not yourself look upon
this as likely?"
"I do not think Flora would hurt a fly."
"Still, jealousy is a strange transformer of characters. Pray
what is your own theory as to what took place?"
"Well, really, I came to seek a theory, not to propound one. I
have given you all the facts. Since you ask me, however, I may
say that it has occurred to me as possible that the excitement of
this affair, the consciousness that she had made so immense a
social stride, had the effect of causing some little nervous
disturbance in my wife."
"In short, that she had become suddenly deranged?"
"Well, really, when I consider that she has turned her back--I
will not say upon me, but upon so much that many have aspired to
without success--I can hardly explain it in any other fashion."
"Well, certainly that is also a conceivable hypothesis," said
Holmes, smiling. "And now, Lord St. Simon, I think that I have
nearly all my data. May I ask whether you were seated at the
breakfast-table so that you could see out of the window?"
"We could see the other side of the road and the Park."
"Quite so. Then I do not think that I need to detain you longer.
I shall communicate with you."
"Should you be fortunate enough to solve this problem," said our
"I have solved it."
"Eh? What was that?"
"I say that I have solved it."
"Where, then, is my wife?"
"That is a detail which I shall speedily supply."
Lord St. Simon shook his head. "I am afraid that it will take
wiser heads than yours or mine," he remarked, and bowing in a
stately, old-fashioned manner he departed.
"It is very good of Lord St. Simon to honor my head by putting
it on a level with his own," said Sherlock Holmes, laughing. "I
think that I shall have a whisky and soda and a cigar after all
this cross-questioning. I had formed my conclusions as to the
case before our client came into the room."
"My dear Holmes!"
"I have notes of several similar cases, though none, as I
remarked before, which were quite as prompt. My whole examination
served to turn my conjecture into a certainty. Circumstantial
evidence is occasionally very convincing, as when you find a
trout in the milk, to quote Thoreau's example."