The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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"Then it was barred after them."
"How do you know?"
"I saw their traces. Excuse me a moment, and I may be able
to give you some further information about it."
He went over to the door, and turning the lock he examined it
in his methodical way. Then he took out the key, which was on
the inside. and inspected that also. The bed, the carpet, the
chairs, the mantelpiece, the dead body, and the rope were each
in turn examined, until at last he professed himself satisfied, and
with my aid and that of the inspector cut down the wretched
object and laid it reverently under a sheet.
"How about this rope?" he asked.
"It is cut off this," said Dr. Trevelyan, drawing a large coil
from under the bed. "He was morbidly nervous of fire, and
always kept this beside him, so that he might escape by the
window in case the stairs were burning."
"That must have saved them trouble," said Holmes thought-
fully. "Yes, the actual facts are very plain, and I shall be
surprised if by the afternoon I cannot give you the reasons for
them as well. I will take this photograph of Blessington, which I
see upon the mantelpiece, as it may help me in my inquiries."
"But you have told us nothing!" cried the doctor.
"Oh, there can be no doubt as to the sequence of events,"
said Holmes. "There were three of them in it: the young man,
the old man, and a third, to whose identity I have no clue. The
first two, I need hardly remark, are the same who masqueraded
as the Russian count and his son, so we can give a very full
description of them. They were admitted by a confederate inside
the house. If I might offer you a word of advice. Inspector, it
would be to arrest the page. who, as I understand, has only
recently come into your service, Doctor."
"The young imp cannot be found," said Dr. Trevelyan; "the
maid and the cook have just been searching for him."
Holmes shrugged his shoulders.
"He has played a not unimportant part in this drama," said
he. "The three men having ascended the stairs, which they did
on tiptoe, the elder man first, the younger man second, and the
unknown man in the rear --"
"My dear Holmes!" I ejaculated.
"Oh, there could be no question as to the superimposing of
the footmarks. I had the advantage of learning which was which
last night. They ascended, then, to Mr. Blessington's room, the
door of which they found to be locked. With the help of a wire,
however, they forced round the key. Even without the lens you
will perceive, by the scratches on this ward, where the pressure
"On entering the room their first proceeding must have been
to gag Mr. Blessington. He may have been asleep, or he may
have been so paralyzed with terror as to have been unable to cry
out. These walls are thick, and it is conceivable that his shriek, if
he had time to utter one, was unheard.
"Having secured him, it is evident to me that a consultation of
some sort was held. Probably it was something in the nature of a
judicial proceeding. It must have lasted for some time, for it was
then that these cigars were smoked. The older man sat in that
wicker chair; it was he who used the cigar-holder. The younger
man sat over yonder; he knocked his ash off against the chest of
drawers. The third follow paced up and down. Blessington, I
think, sat upright in the bed, but of that I cannot be absolutely
"Well, it ended by their taking Blessington and hanging him.
The matter was so prearranged that it is my belief that they
brought with them some sort of block or pulley which might
serve as a gallows. That screw-driver and those screws were, as I
conceive, for fixing it up. Seeing the hook, however, they
naturally saved themselves the trouble. Having finished their
work they made off, and the door was barred behind them by
We had all listened with the deepest interest to this sketch of
the night's doings, which Holmes had deduced from signs so
subtle and minute that, even when he had pointed them out to us,
we could scarcely follow him in his reasonings. The inspector
hurried away on thc instant to make inquiries about the page.
while Holmes and I returned to Baker Street for breakfast.
"I'll be back by three," said he when we had finished our
meal. "Both the inspector and the doctor will meet me here at
that hour, and I hope by that time to have cleared up any little
obscurity which the case may still present."
Our visitors arrived at the appointed time, but it was a quarter
to four before my friend put in an appearance. From his expres-
sion as he entered, however, I could see that all had gone well
"Any news, Inspector?"
"We have got the boy, sir."
"Excellent, and I have got the men."
"You have got them!" we cried, all three.
"Well, at least I have got their identity. This so-called
Blessington is, as I expected, well known at headquarters, and so
are his assailants. Their names are Biddle, Hayward, and Moffat."
"The Worthingdon bank gang," cried the inspector.
"Precisely," said Holmes.
"Then Blessington must have been Sutton."
"Exactly," said Holmes.
"Why, that makes it as clear as crystal," said the inspector.
But Trevelyan and I looked at each other in bewilderment.
"You must surely remember the great Worthingdon bank
business," said Holmes. "Five men were in it -- these four and a
fifth called Cartwright. Tobin, the caretaker, was murdered, and
the thieves got away with seven thousand pounds. This was in
1875. They were all five arrested, but the evidence against them
was by no means conclusive. This Blessington or Sutton, who
was the worst of the gang, turned informer. On his evidence
Cartwright was hanged and the other three got fifteen years
apiece. When they got out the other day, which was some years
before their full term, they set themselves, as you perceive, to
hunt down the traitor and to avenge the death of their comrade
upon him. Twice they tried to get at him and failed; a third time
you see, it came off. Is there anything further which I can
explain, Dr. Trevelyan?"
"I think you have made it all remarkably clear," said the
doctor. "No doubt the day on which he was so perturbed was the
day when he had seen of their release in the newspapers."
"Quite so. His talk about a burglary was the merest blind."
"But why could he not tell you this?"
"Well, my dear sir, knowing the vindictive character of his
old associates, he was trying to hide his own identity from
everybody as long as he could. His secret was a shameful one
and he could not bring himself to divulge it. However, wretch as
he was, he was still living under the shield of British law, and I
have no doubt, Inspector, that you will see that, though that
shield may fail to guard, the sword of justice is still there to
Such were the singular circumstances in connection with the
Resident Patient and the Brook Street Doctor. From that night
nothing has been seen of the three murderers by the police, and it
is surmised at Scotland Yard that they were among the passen-
gers of the ill-fated steamer Norah Creina, which was lost some
years ago with all hands upon the Portuguese coast, some leagues
to the north of Oporto. The proceedings against the page broke
down for want of evidence, and the Brook Street Mystery, as it
was called, has never until now been fully dealt with in any
The Greek Interpreter
During my long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock
Holmes I had never heard him refer to his re}ations, and hardly
ever to his own early life. This reticence upon his part had
increased the somewhat inhuman effect which he produced upon
me, until sometimes I found myself regarding him as an isolated
phenomenon, a brain without a heart, as deficient in human
sympathy as he was preeminent in intelligence. His aversion to
women and his disinclination to form new friendships were both
typical of his unemotional character, but not more so than his
complete suppression of every reference to his own people. I had
come to believe that he was an orphan with no relatives living;
but one day. to my very great surprise, he began to talk to me
about his brother.
It was after tea on a summer evening, and the conversation,
which had roamed in a desultory, spasmodic fashion from golf
clubs to the causes of the change in the obliquity of the ecliptic,
came round at last to the question of atavism and hereditary
aptitudes. The point under discussion was, how far any singular
gift in an individual was due to his ancestry and how far to his
own early training.
"In your own case," said I, "from all that you have told me,
it seems obvious that your faculty of observation and your
peculiar facility for deduction are due to your own systematic
"To some extent," he answered thoughtfully. "My ancestors