The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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about. 'You really must, you know.'
" 'After Monday,' said I.
" 'Tut, tut!' said he. 'I am quite sure that a man of your
intelligence will see that there can be but one outcome to this
affair. It is necessary that you should withdraw. You have
worked things in such a fashion that we have only one resource
left. It has been an intellectual treat to me to see the way in
which you have grappled with this affair, and I say, unaffect-
edly, that it would be a grief to me to be forced to take any
extreme measure. You smile, sir, but I assure you that it really
" 'Danger is part of my trade,' I remarked.
" 'This is not danger,' said he. 'It is inevitable destruction.
You stand in the way not merely of an individual but of a mighty
organization, the full extent of which you, with all your clever-
ness, have been unable to realize. You must stand clear, Mr.
Holmes, or be trodden under foot.'
" 'I am afraid,' said I, rising, 'that in the pleasure of this
conversation I am neglecting business of importance which awaits
"He rose also and looked at me in silence, shaking his head
" 'Well, well,' said he at last. 'It seems a pity, but I have
done what I could. I know every move of your game. You can
do nothing before Monday. It has been a duel between you and
me, Mr. Holmes. You hope to place me in the dock. I tell you
that I will never stand in the dock. You hope to beat me. I tell
you that you will never beat me. If you are clever enough to
bring destruction upon me, rest assured that I shall do as much to
" 'You have paid me several compliments, Mr. Moriarty,'
said I. 'Let me pay you one in return when I say that if I were
assured of the former eventuality I would, in the interests of the
public, cheerfully accept the latter.'
" 'I can promise you the one, but not the other,' he snarled,
and so turned his rounded back upon me and went peering and
blinking out of the room.
"That was my singular intervie with Professor Moriarty. I
confess that it left an unpleasant effect upon my mind. His soft,
precise fashion of speech leaves a conviction of sincerity which a
mere bully could not produce. Of course, you will say: 'Why not
take police precautions against him?' The reason is that I am
well convinced that it is from his agents the blow would fall. I
have the best of proofs that it would be so."
"You have already been assaulted?"
"My dear Watson, Professor Moriarty is not a man who lets
the grass grow under his feet. I went out about midday to
transact some business in Oxford Street. As I passed the corner
which leads from Bentinck Street on to the Welbeck Street
crossing a two-horse van furiously driven whizzed round and
was on me like a flash. I sprang for the foot-path and saved
myself by the fraction of a second. The van dashed round by
Marylebone Lane and was gone in an instant. I kept to the
pavement after that, Watson, but as I walked down Vere Street a
brick came down from the roof of one of the houses and was
shattered to fragments at my feet. I called the police and had the
place examined. There were slates and bricks piled up on the
roof preparatory to some repairs, and they would have me be-
lieve that the wind had toppled over one of these. Of course I
knew better, but I could prove nothing. I took a cab after that
and reached my brother's rooms in Pall Mall, where I spent the
day. Now I have come round to you, and on my way I was
attacked by a rough with a bludgeon. I knocked him down, and
the police have him in custody; but I can tell you with the most
absolute confidence that no possible connection will ever be
traced between the gentleman upon whose front teeth I have
barked my knuckles and the retiring mathematical coach, who is,
I daresay, working out problems upon a black-board ten miles
away. You will not wonder, Watson, that my first act on enter-
ing your rooms was to close your shutters, and that I have been
compelled to ask your permission to leave the house by some
less conspicuous exit than the front door."
I had often admired my friend's courage, but never more than
now, as he sat quietly checking off a series of incidents which
must have combined to make up a day of horror.
"You will spend the night here?" I said.
"No, my friend, you might find me a dangerous guest. I have
my plans laid, and all will be well. Matters have gone so far now
that they can move without my help as far as the arrest goes,
though my presence is necessary for a conviction. It is obvious,
therefore, that I cannot do better than get away for the few days
which remain before the police are at liberty to act. It would be a
great pleasure to me, therefore, if you could come on to the
Continent with me."
"The practice is quiet," said I, "and I have an accommodat-
ing neighbour. I should be glad to come."
"And to start to-morrow morning?"
"Oh, yes, it is most necessary. Then these are your instruc-
tions, and I beg, my dear Watson, that you will obey them to the
letter, for you are now playing a double-handed game with me
against the cleverest rogue and the most powerful syndicate of
criminals in Europe. Now listen! You will dispatch whatever
luggage you intend to take by a trusty messenger unaddressed to
Victoria to-night. In the morning you will send for a hansom,
desiring your man to take neither the first nor the second which
may present itself. Into this hansom you will jump, and you will
drive to the Strand end of the Lowther Arcade, handing the
address to the cabman upon a slip of paper, with a request that
he will not throw it away. Have your fare ready, and the instant
that your cab stops, dash through the Arcade, timing yourself to
reach the other side at a quarter-past nine. You will find a small
brougham waiting close to the curb, driven by a fellow with a
heavy black cloak tipped at the collar with red. Into this you will
step, and you will reach Victoria in time for the Continental
"Where shall I meet you?"
"At the station. The second first-class carriage from the front
will be reserved for us."
"The carriage is our rendezvous, then?"
It was in vain that I asked Holmes to remain for the evening.
It was evident to me that he thought he might bring trouble to the
roof he was under, and that that was the motive which impelled
him to go. With a few hurried words as to our plans for the
morrow he rose and came out with me into the garden, clamber-
ing over the wall which leads into Mortimer Street, and immedi-
ately whistling for a hansom, in which I heard him drive away.
In the morning I obeyed Holmes's injunctions to the letter. A
hansom was procured with such precautions as would prevent its
being one which was placed ready for us, and I drove immedi-
ately after breakfast to the Lowther Arcade, through which I
hurried at the top of my speed. A brougham was waiting with a
very massive driver wrapped in a dark cloak, who, the instant
that I had stepped in, whipped up the horse and rattled off to
Victoria Station. On my alighting there he turned the camage,
and dashed away again without so much as a look in my direction.
So far all had gone admirably. My luggage was waiting for
me, and I had no difficulty in finding the carriage which Holmes
had indicated, the less so as it was the only one in the train
which was marked "Engaged." My only source of anxiety now
was the non-appearance of Holmes. The station clock marked
only seven minutes from the time when we were due to start. In
vain I searched among the groups of travellers and leave-takers
for the lithe figure of my friend. There was no sign of him. I
spent a few minutes in assisting a venerable Italian priest, who
was endeavouring to make a porter understand, in his broken
English, that his luggage was to be booked through to Paris.
Then, having taken another look round, I returned to my car-
riage, where I found that the porter, in spite of the ticket, had
given me my decrepit Italian friend as a travelling companion. It
was useless for me to explain to him that his presence was an
intrusion, for my Italian was even more limited than his English,
so I shrugged my shoulders resignedly, and continued to look out
anxiously for my friend. A chill of fear had come over me, as I
thought that his absence might mean that some blow had fallen
during the night. Already the doors had all been shut and the
whistle blown, when --
"My dear Watson," said a voice, "you have not even conde-
scended to say good-morning."
I turned in uncontrollable astonishment. The aged ecclesiastic
had turned his face towards me. For an instant the wrinkles were
smoothed away, the nose drew away from the chin, the lower lip
ceased to protrude and the mouth to mumble, the dull eyes
regained their fire, the drooping figure expanded. The next the
whole frame collapsed again, and Holmes had gone as quickly as
he had come.
"Good heavens!" I cried, "how you startled me!"
"Every precaution is still necessary," he whispered. "I have
reason to think that they are hot upon our trail. Ah, there is
The train had already begun to move as Holmes spoke. Glanc-
ing back, I saw a tall man pushing his way furiously through the
crowd, and waving his hand as if he desired to have the train
stopped. It was too late, however, for we were rapidly gathering
momentum, and an instant later had shot clear of the station.
"With all our precautions, you see that we have cut it rather
fine," said Holmes, laughing. He rose, and throwing off the