The Musgrave Ritual

The Musgrave Ritual

An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.

Our chambers were always full of chemicals and of criminal relics which had a way of wandering into unlikely positions, and of turning up in the butter-dish or in even less desirable places. But his papers were my great crux. He had a horror of destroying documents, especially those which were connected with his past cases, and yet it was only once in every year or two that he would muster energy to docket and arrange them; for, as I have mentioned somewhere in these incoherent memoirs, the outbursts of passionate energy when he performed the remarkable feats with which his name is associated were followed by reactions of lethargy during which he would lie about with his violin and his books, hardly moving save from the sofa to the table. Thus month after month his papers accumulated until every corner of the room was stacked with bundles of manuscript which were on no account to be burned, and which could not be put away save by their owner. One winter’s night, as we sat together by the fire, I ventured to suggest to him that, as he had finished pasting extracts into his commonplace book, he might employ the next two hours in making our room a little more habitable. He could not deny the justice of my request, so with a rather rueful face he went off to his bedroom, from which he returned presently pulling a large tin box behind him. This he placed in the middle of the floor, and, squatting down upon a stool in front of it, he threw back the lid. I could see that it was already a third full of bundles of paper tied up with red tape into separate packages.

“There are cases enough here, Watson,” said he, looking at me with mischievous eyes. “I think that if you knew all that I had in this box you would ask me to pull some out instead of putting others in.”

“These are the records of your early work, then?” I asked. “I have often wished that I had notes of those cases.”

“Yes, my boy, these were all done prematurely before my biographer had come to glorify me.” He lifted bundle after bundle in a tender, caressing sort of way. “They are not all successes, Watson,” said he. “But there are some pretty little problems among them. Here’s the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminum crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club-foot, and his abominable wife. And here — ah. now. this really is something a little recherché.”

He dived his arm down to the bottom of the chest and brought up a small wooden box with a sliding lid such as children’s toys are kept in. From within he produced a crumpled piece of paper, an old-fashioned brass key, a peg of wood with a ball of string attached to it, and three rusty old discs of metal.

“Well, my boy, what do you make of this lot?” he asked, smiling at my expression.

“It is a curious collection.”

A curious collection

“Very curious, and the story that hangs round it will strike you as being more curious still.”

“These relics have a history, then?”

“So much so that they are history.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Sherlock Holmes picked them up one by one and laid them along the edge of the table. Then he reseated himself in his chair and looked them over with a gleam of satisfaction in his eyes.

“These,” said he, “are all that I have left to remind me of the adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.”

I had heard him mention the case more than once, though I had never been able to gather the details. “I should be so glad,” said I, “if you would give me an account of it.”

“And leave the litter as it is?” he cried mischievously. “Your tidiness won’t bear much strain, after all, Watson. But I should be glad that you should add this case to your annals, for there are points in it which make it quite unique in the criminal records of this or, I believe, of any other country. A collection of my trifling achievements would certainly be incomplete which contained no account of this very singular business.

“You may remember how the affair of the Gloria Scott, and my conversation with the unhappy man whose fate I told you of, first turned my attention in the direction of the profession which has become my life’s work. You see me now when my name has become known far and wide, and when I am generally recognized both by the public and by the official force as being a final court of appeal in doubtful cases. Even when you knew me first, at the time of the affair which you have commemorated in ‘A Study in Scarlet,’ I had already established a considerable, though not a very lucrative, connection. You can hardly realize, then, how difficult I found it at first, and how long I had to wait before I succeeded in making any headway.

“When I first came up to London I had rooms in Montague Street, just round the corner from the British Museum, and there I waited, filling in my too abundant leisure time by studying all those branches of science which might make me more efficient. Now and again cases came in my way, principally through the introduction of old fellow-students, for during my last years at the university there was a good deal of talk there about myself and my methods. The third of these cases was that of the Musgrave Ritual, and it is to the interest which was aroused by that singular chain of events, and the large issues which proved to be at stake, that I trace my first stride towards the position which I now hold.

“Reginald Musgrave had been in the same college as myself, and I had some slight acquaintance with him. He was not generally popular among the undergraduates, though it always seemed to me that what was set down as pride was really an attempt to cover extreme natural diffidence. In appearance he was a man of an exceedingly aristocratic type, thin, high-nosed, and large-eyed, with languid and yet courtly manners. He was indeed a scion of one of the very oldest families in the kingdom though his branch was a cadet one which had separated from the northern Musgraves some time in the sixteenth century and had established itself in western Sussex, where the Manor House of Hurlstone is perhaps the oldest inhabited building in the county. Something of his birth-place seemed to cling to the man, and I never looked at his pale, keen face or the poise of his head without associating him with gray archways and mullioned windows and all the venerable wreckage of a feudal keep. Once or twice we drifted into talk, and I can remember that more than once he expressed a keen interest in my methods of observation and inference.

“For four years I had seen nothing of him until one morning he walked into my room in Montague Street. He had changed little, was dressed like a young man of fashion — he was always a bit of a dandy — and preserved the same quiet, suave manner which had formerly distinguished him.

” ‘How has all gone with you, Musgrave?’ I asked after we had cordially shaken hands.

” ‘You probably heard of my poor father’s death,’ said he; ‘he was carried off about two years ago. Since then I have of course had the Hurlstone estate to manage, and as I am member for my district as well, my life has been a busy one. But I understand, Holmes, that you are turning to practical ends those powers with which you used to amaze us?’

” ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘I have taken to living by my wits.’

” ‘I am delighted to hear it, for your advice at present would be exceedingly valuable to me. We have had some very strange doings at Hurlstone, and the police have been able to throw no light upon the matter. It is really the most extraordinary and inexplicable business.’

“You can imagine with what eagerness I listened to him, Watson, for the very chance for which I had been panting during all those months of inaction seemed to have come within my reach. In my inmost heart I believed that I could succeed where others failed, and now I had the opportunity to test myself.

” ‘Pray let me have the details,’ I cried.

“Reginald Musgrave sat down opposite to me and lit the cigarette which I had pushed towards him.

” ‘You must know,’ said he, ‘that though I am a bachelor, I have to keep up a considerable staff of servants at Hurlstone, for it is a rambling old place and takes a good deal of looking after. I preserve, too, and in the pheasant months I usually have a house-party, so that it would not do to be short-handed. Altogether there are eight maids, the cook, the butler, two footmen, and a boy. The garden and the stables of course have a separate staff.

” ‘Of these servants the one who had been longest in our service was Brunton, the butler. He was a young schoolmaster out of place when he was first taken up by my father, but he was a man of great energy and character, and he soon became quite invaluable in the household. He was a well-grown, handsome man, with a splendid forehead, and though he has been with us for twenty years he cannot be more than forty now. With his personal advantages and his extraordinary gifts — for he can speak several languages and play nearly every musical instrument — it is wonderful that he should have been satisfied so long in such a position, but I suppose that he was comfortable and lacked energy to make any change. The butler of Hurlstone is always a thing that is remembered by all who visit us.

” ‘But this paragon has one fault. He is a bit of a Don Juan, and you can imagine that for a man like him it is not a very difficult part to play in a quiet country district. When he was married it was all right, but since he has been a widower we have had no end of trouble with him. A few months ago we were in hopes that he was about to settle down again, for he became engaged to Rachel Howells, our second housemaid; but he has thrown her over since then and taken up with Janet Tregellis, the daughter of the head game-keeper. Rachel — who is a very good girl, but of an excitable Welsh temperament — had a sharp touch of brain-fever and goes about the house now — or did until yesterday — like a black-eyed shadow of her former self. That was our first drama at Hurlstone; but a second one came to drive it from our minds, and it was prefaced by the disgrace and dismissal of butler Brunton.

” ‘This was how it came about. I have said that the man was intelligent, and this very intelligence has caused his ruin, for it seems to have led to an insatiable curiosity about things which did not in the least concern him. I had no idea of the lengths to which this would carry him until the merest accident opened my eyes to it.

” ‘I have said that the house is a rambling one. One day last week — on Thursday night, to be more exact — I found that I could not sleep, having foolishly taken a cup of strong cafe’ noir after my dinner. After struggling against it until two in the morning, I felt that it was quite hopeless, so I rose and lit the candle with the intention of continuing a novel which I was reading. The book, however, had been left in the billiard-room, so I pulled on my dressing-gown and started off to get it.

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The Adventure of the ‘Gloria Scott’

"I've not had my 'pology," said he sulkily, glancing in my direction

“I have some papers here,” said my friend Sherlock Holmes as we sat one winter’s night on either side of the fire, “which I really think, Watson, that it would be worth your while to glance over. These are the documents in the extraordinary case of the Gloria Scott, and this is the message which struck Justice of the Peace Trevor dead with horror when he read it.”

He had picked from a drawer a little tarnished cylinder, and. undoing the tape, he handed me a short note scrawled upon a half-sheet of slate-gray paper.

The supply of game for London is going steadily up {it
ran]. Head-keeper Hudson, we believe, has been now told to
receive all orders for fly-paper and for preservation of your
hen-pheasant’s life.

As I glanced up from reading this enigmatical message, I saw Holmes chuckling at the expression upon my face.

“You look a little bewildered,” said he.

“I cannot see how such a message as this could inspire horror. It seems to me to be rather grotesque than otherwise.”

“Very likely. Yet the fact remains that the reader, who was a fine, robust old man, was knocked clean down by it as if it had been the butt end of a pistol.”

“You arouse my curiosity,” said I. “But why did you say just now that there were very particular reasons why I should study this case?”

“Because it was the first in which I was ever engaged.”

I had often endeavoured to elicit from my companion what had first turned his mind in the direction of criminal research, but had never caught him before in a communicative humour. Now he sat forward in his armchair and spread out the documents upon his knees. Then he lit his pipe and sat for some time smoking and turning them over.

“You never heard me talk of Victor Trevor?” he asked. “He was the only friend I made during the two years I was at college. I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson, always rather fond of moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods of thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my year. Bar fencing and boxing I had few athletic tastes, and then my line of study was quite distinct from that of the other fellows, so that we had no points of contact at all. Trevor was the only man I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel.

“It was a prosaic way of forming a friendship, but it was effective. I was laid by the heels for ten days, and Trevor used to come in to inquire after me. At first it was only a minute’s chat but soon his visits lengthened, and before the end of the term we were close friends. He was a hearty, full-blooded fellow, full of spirits and energy, the very opposite to me in most respects, but we had some subjects in common, and it was a bond of union when I found that he was as friendless as I. Finally he invited me down to his father’s place at Donnithorpe, in Norfolk, and I accepted his hospitality for a month of the long vacation.

“Old Trevor was evidently a man of some wealth and consideration, a J. P., and a landed proprietor. Donnithorpe is a little hamlet just to the north of Langmere, in the country of the Broads. The house was an old-fashioned, widespread, oak-beamed brick building, with a fine lime-lined avenue leading up to it. There was excellent wild-duck shooting in the fens, remarkably good fishing, a small but select library, taken over, as I understood, from a former occupant, and a tolerable cook, so that he would be a fastidious man who could not put in a pleasant month there.

“Trevor senior was a widower, and my friend his only son.

“There had been a daughter, I heard, but she had died of diphtheria while on a visit to Birmingham. The father interested me extremely. He was a man of little culture, but with a considerable amount of rude strength, both physically and mentally. He knew hardly any books, but he had travelled far, had seen much of the world, and had remembered all that he had learned. In person he was a thick-set, burly man with a shock of grizzled hair, a brown, weather-beaten face, and blue eyes which were keen to the verge of fierceness. Yet he had a reputation for kindness and charity on the countryside, and was noted for the leniency of his sentences from the bench.

“One evening, shortly after my arrival, we were sitting over a glass of port after dinner, when young Trevor began to talk about those habits of observation and inference which I had already formed into a system, although I had not yet appreciated the part which they were to play in my life. The old man evidently thought that his son was exaggerating in his description of one or two trivial feats which I had performed.

” ‘Come, now, Mr. Holmes,’ said he, laughing good-humouredly. ‘I’m an excellent subject, if you can deduce anything from me.’

” ‘I fear there is not very much,’ I answered. ‘I might suggest that you have gone about in fear of some personal attack within the last twelvemonth.’

“The laugh faded from his lips, and he stared at me in great surprise.

” ‘Well, that’s true enough,’ said he. ‘You know, Victor,’ turning to his son, ‘when we broke up that poaching gang they swore to knife us, and Sir Edward Holly has actually been attacked. I’ve always been on my guard since then, though I have no idea how you know it.’

” ‘You have a very handsome stick,’ I answered. ‘By the inscription I observed that you had not had it more than a year. But you have taken some pains to bore the head of it and pour melted lead into the hole so as to make it a formidable weapon. I argued that you would not take such precautions unless you had some danger to fear.’

” ‘Anything else?’ he asked, smiling.

” ‘You have boxed a good deal in your youth.’

” ‘Right again. How did you know it? Is my nose knocked a little out of the straight?’

” ‘No,’ said I. ‘It is your ears. They have the peculiar flattening and thickening which marks the boxing man.’

” ‘Anything else?’

” ‘You have done a good deal of digging by your callosities.’

‘Made all my money at the gold fields.’

” ‘You have been in New Zealand.’

” ‘Right again.’

” ‘You have visited Japan.’

” ‘Quite true.’

” ‘And you have been most intimately associated with someone whose initials were J. A., and whom you afterwards were eager to entirely forget.’

“Mr. Trevor stood slowly up, fixed his large blue eyes upon me with a strange wild stare, and then pitched forward, with his face among the nutshells which strewed the cloth, in a dead faint.

“You can imagine, Watson, how shocked both his son and I were. His attack did not last long, however,- for when we undid his collar and sprinkled the water from one of the finger-glasses over his face, he gave a gasp or two and sat up.

” ‘Ah, boys,’ said he, forcing a smile, ‘I hope I haven’t frightened you. Strong as I look, there is a weak place in my heart, and it does not take much to knock me over. I don’t know how you manage this, Mr. Holmes, but it seems to me that all the detectives of fact and of fancy would be children in your hands. That’s your line of life, sir, and you may take the word of a man who has seen something of the world.’

“And that recommendation, with the exaggerated estimate of my ability with which he prefaced it, was, if you will believe me, Watson, the very first thing which ever made me feel that a profession might be made out of what had up to that time been the merest hobby. At the moment, however, I was too much concerned at the sudden illness of my host to think of anything else.

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The Stockbroker’s Clerk

"Nothing could be better", said Holmes

Shortly after my marriage I had bought a connection in the Paddington district. Old Mr. Farquhar, from whom I purchased it, had at one time an excellent general practice; but his age, and an affliction of the nature of St. Vitus’s dance from which he suffered, had very much thinned it. The public not unnaturally goes on the principle that he who would heal others must himself be whole, and looks askance at the curative powers of the man whose own case is beyond the reach of his drugs. Thus as my predecessor weakened his practice declined, until when I purchased it from him it had sunk from twelve hundred to little more than three hundred a year. I had confidence, however, in my own youth and energy and was convinced that in a very few years the concern would be as flourishing as ever.

For three months after taking over the practice I was kept very closely at work and saw little of my friend Sherlock Holmes, for I was too busy to visit Baker Street, and he seldom went anywhere himself save upon professional business. I was surprised, therefore, when, one morning in June, as I sat reading the British Medical Journal after breakfast, I heard a ring at the bell, followed by the high, somewhat strident tones of my old companion’s voice.

“Ah, my dear Watson,” said he, striding into the room, “I am very delighted to see you! I trust that Mrs. Watson has entirely recovered from all the little excitements connected with our adventure of the Sign of Four.”

“Thank you, we are both very well,” said I, shaking him warmly by the hand.

“And I hope, also,” he continued, sitting down in the rockingchair, “that the cares of medical practice have not entirely obliterated the interest which you used to take in our little deductive problems.”

“On the contrary,” I answered, “it was only last night that I was looking over my old notes, and classifying some of our past results.”

“I trust that you don’t consider your collection closed.”

“Not at all. I should wish nothing better than to have some more of such experiences.”

“To-day, for example?”

“Yes, to-day, if you like.”

“And as far off as Birmingham?”

“Certainly, if you wish it.”

“And the practice?”

“I do my neighbour’s when he goes. He is always ready to work off the debt.”

"Nothing could be better", said Holmes

“Ha! nothing could be better,” said Holmes, leaning back in his chair and looking keenly at me from under his half-closed lids. “I perceive that you have been unwell lately. Summer colds are always a little trying.”

“I was confined to the house by a severe chill for three days last week. I thought, however, that I had cast off every trace of it.”

“So you have. You look remarkably robust.”

“How, then, did you know of it?”

“My dear fellow, you know my methods.”

“You deduced it, then?”

“Certainly.”

“And from what?”

“From your slippers.”

I glanced down at the new patent-leathers which I was wearing. “How on earth –” I began, but Holmes answered my question before it was asked.

“Your slippers are new,” he said. “You could not have had them more than a few weeks. The soles which you are at this moment presenting to me are slightly scorched. For a moment I thought they might have got wet and been burned in the drying. But near the instep there is a small circular wafer of paper with the shopman’s hieroglyphics upon it. Damp would of course have removed this. You had, then, been sitting with your feet outstretched to the fire, which a man would hardly do even in so wet a June as this if he were in his full health.”

Like all Holmes’s reasoning the thing seemed simplicity itself when it was once explained. He read the thought upon my features, and his smile had a tinge of bitterness.

“I am afraid that I rather give myself away when I explain.” said he. “Results without causes are much more impressive. You are ready to come to Birmingham. then?”

“Certainly. What is the case?”

“You shall hear it all in the train. My client is outside in a four-wheeler. Can you come at once?”

“In an instant.” I scribbled a note to my neighbour, rushed upstairs to explain the matter to my wife, and joined Holmes upon the doorstep.

“Your neighbour is a doctor.” said he, nodding at the brass plate.

“Yes, he bought a practice as I did.”

“An old-established one?”

“Just the same as mine. Both have been ever since the houses were built.”

“Ah! then you got hold of the best of the two.”

“I think I did. But how do you know?”

“By the steps, my boy. Yours are worn three inches deeper than his. But this gentleman in the cab is my client, Mr. Hall Pycroft. Allow me to introduce you to him. Whip your horse up, cabby, for we have only just time to catch our train.”

The man whom I found myself facing was a well-built, freshcomplexioned young fellow, with a frank, honest face and a slight, crisp, yellow moustache. He wore a very shiny top-hat and a neat suit of sober black, which made him look what he was — a smart young City man, of the class who have been labelled cockneys, but who give us our crack volunteer regiments, and who turn out more fine athletes and sportsmen than any body of men in these islands. His round, ruddy face was naturally full of cheeriness, but the corners of his mouth seemed to me to be pulled down in a half-comical distress. It was not, however, until we were in a first-class carriage and well started upon our journey to Birmingham that I was able to learn what the trouble was which had driven him to Sherlock Holmes.

“We have a clear run here of seventy minutes,” Holmes remarked. “I want you, Mr. Hall Pycroft, to tell my friend your very interesting experience exactly as you have told it to me, or with more detail if possible. It will be of use to me to hear the succession of events again. It is a case, Watson, which may prove to have something in it, or may prove to have nothing, but which, at least, presents those unusual and outre features which are as dear to you as they are to me. Now, Mr. Pycroft. I shall not interrupt you again.”

Our young companion looked at me with a twinkle in his eye.

“The worst of the story is.” said he. “that I show myself up as such a confounded fool. Of course it may work out all right. and I don’t see that I could have done otherwise; but if I have lost my crib and get nothing in exchange I shall feel what a soft Johnny I have been. I’m not very good at telling a story, Dr. Watson, but it is like this with me:

“I used to have a billet at Coxon & Woodhouse’s, of Draper Gardens, but they were let in early in the spring through the Venezuelan loan, as no doubt you remember, and came a nasty cropper. I have been with them five years. and old Coxon gave me a ripping good testimonial when the smash came. but of course we clerks were all turned adrift, the twenty-seven of us. I tried here and tried there, but there were lots of other chaps on the same lay as myself, and it was a perfect frost for a long time. I had been taking three pounds a week at Coxon’s, and I had saved about seventy of them, but I soon worked my way through that and out at the other end. I was fairly at the end of my tether at last, and could hardly find the stamps to answer the advertisements or the envelopes to stick them to. I had worn out my boots paddling up office stairs, and I seemed just as far from getting a billet as ever.

“At last I saw a vacancy at Mawson & Williams’s, the great stock-broking firm in Lombard Street. I dare say E. C. is not much in your line, but I can tell you that this is about the richest house in London. The advertisement was to be answered by letter only. I sent in my testimonial and application, but without the least hope of getting it. Back came an answer by return, saying that if I would appear next Monday I might take over my new duties at once, provided that my appearance was satisfactory. No one knows how these things are worked. Some people say that the manager just plunges his hand into the heap and takes the first that comes. Anyhow it was my innings that time, and I don’t ever wish to feel better pleased. The screw was a pound a week rise, and the duties just about the same as at Coxon’s.

“And now I come to the queer part of the business. I was in diggings out Hampstead way, 17 Potter’s Terrace. Well, I was sitting doing a smoke that very evening after I had been promised the appointment, when up came my landlady with a card which had ‘Arthur Pinner, Financial Agent,’ printed upon it. I had never heard the name before and could not imagine what he wanted with me, but of course I asked her to show him up. In he walked, a middle-sized dark-haired, dark-eyed. black-bearded man. with a touch of the sheeny about his nose. He had a brisk kind of way with him and spoke sharply, like a man who knew the value of time.

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The Yellow Face

The Yellow Face

[In publishing these short sketches based upon the numerous cases in which my companion’s singular gifts have made us the listeners to, and eventually the actors in, some strange drama, it is only natural that I should dwell rather upon his successes than upon his failures. And this not so much for the sake of his reputation — for, indeed, it was when he was at his wit’s end that his energy and his versatility were most admirable — but because where he failed it happened too often that no one else succeeded. and that the tale was left forever without a conclusion. Now and again, however. it chanced that even when he erred the truth was still discovered. I have notes of some half-dozen cases of the kind, the adventure of the Musgrave Ritual and that which I am about to recount are the two which present the strongest features of interest.]

Sherlock Holmes was a man who seldom took exercise for exercise’s sake. Few men were capable of greater muscular effort, and he was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have ever seen; but he looked upon aimless bodily exertion as a waste of energy, and he seldom bestirred himself save where there was some professional object to be served. Then he was absolutely untiring and indefatigable. That he should have kept himself in training under such circumstances is remarkable, but his diet was usually of the sparest, and his habits were simple to the verge of austerity. Save for the occasional use of cocaine, he had no vices, and he only turned to the drug as a protest against the monotony of existence when cases were scanty and the papers uninteresting.

One day in early spring he had so far relaxed as to go for a walk with me in the Park, where the first faint shoots of green were breaking out upon the elms, and the sticky spear-heads of the chestnuts were just beginning to burst into their five-fold leaves. For two hours we rambled about together, in silence for the most part, as befits two men who know each other intimately. It was nearly five before we were back in Baker Street once more.

“Beg pardon, sir,” said our page-boy as he opened the door. “There’s been a gentleman here asking for you, sir.”

Holmes glanced reproachfully at me. “So much for afternoon walks!” said he. “Has this gentleman gone, then?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Didn’t you ask him in?”

“Yes, sir, he came in.”

“How long did he wait?”

“Half an hour, sir. He was a very restless gentleman, sir a-walkin’ and a-stampin’ all the time he was here. I was waitin’ outside the door, sir, and I could hear him. At last he outs into the passage, and he cries, ‘Is that man never goin’ to come?’ Those were his very words, sir. ‘You’ll only need to wait a little longer,’ says I. ‘Then I’ll wait in the open air, for I feel half choked,’ says he. ‘I’ll be back before long.’ And with that he ups and he outs, and all I could say wouldn’t hold him back.”

“Well, well, you did your best,” said Holmes as we walked into our room. “It’s very annoying, though, Watson. I was badly in need of a case, and this looks, from the man’s impatience, as if it were of importance. Hullo! that’s not your pipe on the table. He must have left his behind him. A nice old brier with a good long stem of what the tobacconists call amber. I wonder how many real amber mouthpieces there are in London? Some people think that a fly in it is a sign. Well, he must have been disturbed in his mind to leave a pipe behind him which he evidently values highly.”

“How do you know that he values it highly?” I asked.

“Well, I should put the original cost of the pipe at seven and sixpence. Now it has, you see, been twice mended, once in the wooden stem and once in the amber. Each of these mends, done, as you observe, with silver bands, must have cost more than the pipe did originally. The man must value the pipe highly when he prefers to patch it up rather than buy a new one with the same money.”

“Anything else?” I asked, for Holmes was turning the pipe about in his hand and staring at it in his peculiar pensive way.

He held it up and tapped on it with his long, thin forefinger, as a professor might who was lecturing on a bone.

“Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest,” said he. “Nothing has more individuality, save perhaps watches and bootlaces. The indications here, however, are neither very marked nor very important. The owner is obviously a muscular man, left-handed, with an excellent set of teeth, careless in his habits, and with no need to practise economy.”

My friend threw out the information in a very offhand way, but I saw that he cocked his eye at me to see if I had followed his reasoning.

“You think a man must be well-to-do if he smokes a seven-shilling pipe?” said I.

“This is Grosvenor mixture at eightpence an ounce,” Holmes answered, knocking a little out on his palm. “As he might get an excellent smoke for half the price, he has no need to practise economy.”

“And the other points?”

“He has been in the habit of lighting his pipe at lamps and gasjets. You can see that it is quite charred all down one side. Of course a match could not have done that. Why should a man hold a match to the side of his pipe? But you cannot light it at a lamp without getting the bowl charred. And it is all on the right side of the pipe. From that I gather that he is a left-handed man. You hold your own pipe to the lamp and see how naturally you, being right-handed, hold the left side to the flame. You might do it once the other way, but not as a constancy. This has always been held so. Then he has bitten through his amber. It takes a muscular, energetic fellow. and one with a good set of teeth, to do that. But if I am not mistaken I hear him upon the stair, so we shall have something more interesting than his pipe to study.”

An instant later our door opened, and a tall young man entered the room. He was well but quietly dressed in a dark gray suit and carried a brown wideawake in his hand. I should have put him at about thirty, though he was really some years older.

“l beg your pardon,” said he with some embarrassment, “I suppose I should have knocked. Yes, of course I should have knocked. The fact is that I am a little upset, and you must put it all down to that.” He passed his hand over his forehead like a man who is half dazed, and then fell rather than sat down upon a chair.

“I can see that you have not slept for a night or two,” said Holmes in his easy, genial way. “That tries a man’s nerves more than work, and more even than pleasure. May I ask how I can help you?”

“I wanted your advice, sir. I don’t know what to do, and my whole life seems to have gone to pieces.”

“You wish to employ me as a consulting detective?”

“Not that only. I want your opinion as a judicious man — as a man of the world. I want to know what I ought to do next. I hope to God you’ll be able to tell me.”

He spoke in little, sharp, jerky outbursts, and it seemed to me that to speak at all was very painful to him, and that his will all through was overriding his inclinations.

“It’s a very delicate thing,” said he. “One does not like to speak of one’s domestic affairs to strangers. It seems dreadful to discuss the conduct of one’s wife with two men whom I have never seen before. It’s horrible to have to do it. But I’ve got to the end of my tether, and I must have advice.”

“My dear Mr. Grant Munro –” began Holmes.

Our visitor sprang from his chair. “What!” he cried, “you know my name?”

“If you wish to preserve your incognito,” said Holmes, smiling, “I would suggest that you cease to write your name upon the lining of your hat, or else that you turn the crown towards the person whom you are addressing. I was about to say that my friend and I have listened to a good many strange secrets in this room, and that we have had the good fortune to bring peace to many troubled souls. I trust that we may do as much for you. Might I beg you, as time may prove to be of importance, to furnish me with the facts of your case without further delay?”

Our visitor again passed his hand over his forehead, as if he found it bitterly hard. From every gesture and expression I could see that he was a reserved. self-contained man, with a dash of pride in his nature. more likely to hide his wounds than to expose them. Then suddenly. with a fierce gesture of his closed hand, like one who throws reserve to the winds, he began:

“The facts are these, Mr. Holmes,” said he. “I am a married man and have been so for three years. During that time my wife and I have loved each other as fondly and lived as happily as any two that ever were joined. We have not had a difference. not one, in thought or word or deed. And now, since last Monday, there has suddenly sprung up a barrier between us. and I find that there is something in her life and in her thoughts of which I know as little as if she were the woman who brushes by me in the street. We are estranged, and I want to know why.

“Now there is one thing that I want to impress upon you before I go any further, Mr. Holmes. Effie loves me. Don’t let there be any mistake about that. She loves me with her whole heart and soul, and never more than now. I know it. I feel it. I don’t want to argue about that. A man can tell easily enough when a woman loves him. But there’s this secret between us, and we can never be the same until it is cleared.”

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The Silver Blaze

Holmes gave me a sketch of the events

“I am afraid, Watson that I shall have to go,” said Holmes as we sat down together to our breakfast one morning.

“Go! Where to?”

“To Dartmoor; to King’s Pyland.”

I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had not already been mixed up in this extraordinary case, which was the one topic of conversation through the length and breadth of England. For a whole day my companion had rambled about the room with his chin upon his chest and his brows knitted, charging and recharging his pipe with the strongest black tobacco, and absolutely deaf to any of my questions or remarks. Fresh editions of every paper had been sent up by our news agent, only to be glanced over and tossed down into a corner. Yet, silent as he was, I knew perfectly well what it was over which he was brooding. There was but one problem before the public which could challenge his powers of analysis, and that was the singular disappearance of the favourite for the Wessex Cup, and the tragic murder of its trainer. When, therefore, he suddenly announced his intention of setting out for the scene of the drama, it was only what I had both expected and hoped for.

“I should be most happy to go down with you if I should not be in the way,” said I.

“My dear Watson, you would confer a great favour upon me by coming. And I think that your time will not be misspent, for there are points about the case which promise to make it an absolutely unique one. We have, I think, just time to catch our train at Paddington, and I will go further into the matter upon our journey. You would oblige me by bringing with you your very excellent field-glass.”

And so it happened that an hour or so later I found myself in the corner of a first-class carriage flying along en route for Exeter, while Sherlock Holmes, with his sharp, eager face framed in his ear-flapped travelling-cap, dipped rapidly into the bundle of fresh papers which he had procured at Paddington. We had left Reading far behind us before he thrust the last one of them under the seat and offered me his cigar-case.

“We are going well,” said he, looking out of the window and glancing at his watch. “Our rate at present is fifty-three and a half miles an hour.”

“I have not observed the quarter-mile posts,” said I.

“Nor have I. But the telegraph posts upon this line are sixty yards apart, and the calculation is a simple one. I presume that you have looked into this matter of the murder of John Straker and the disappearance of Silver Blaze?”

“I have seen what the Telegraph and the Chronicle have to say.”

“It is one of those cases where the art of the reasoner should be used rather for the sifting of details than for the acquiring of fresh evidence. The tragedy has been so uncommon, so complete, and of such personal importance to so many people that we are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture, and hypothesis. The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact — of absolute undeniable fact — from the embellishments of theorists and reporters. Then, having established ourselves upon this sound basis, it is our duty to see what inferences may be drawn and what are the special points upon which the whole mystery turns. On Tuesday evening I received telegrams from both Colonel Ross, the owner of the horse, and from Inspector Gregory, who is looking after the case, inviting my cooperation.”

“Tuesday evening!” I exclaimed. “And this is Thursday morning. Why didn’t you go down yesterday?”

“Because I made a blunder, my dear Watson — which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only knew me through your memoirs. The fact is that I could not believe it possible that the most remarkable horse in England could long remain concealed, especially in so sparsely inhabited a place as the north of Dartmoor. From hour to hour yesterday I expected to hear that he had been found, and that his abductor was the murderer of John Straker. When, however, another morning had come and I found that beyond the arrest of young Fitzroy Simpson nothing had been done, I felt that it was time for me to take action. Yet in some ways I feel that yesterday has not been wasted.”

“You have formed a theory, then?”

“At least I have got a grip of the essential facts of the case. I shall enumerate them to you, for nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person, and I can hardly expect your cooperation if I do not show you the position from which we start.”

Holmes gave me a sketch of the events
I lay back against the cushions, puffing at my cigar, while Holmes, leaning forward, with his long, thin forefinger checking off the points upon the palm of his left hand, gave me a sketch of the events which had led to our journey.

“Silver Blaze,” said he, “is from the Somomy stock and holds as brilliant a record as his famous ancestor. He is now in his fifth year and has brought in turn each of the prizes of the turf to Colonel Ross, his fortunate owner. Up to the time of the catastrophe he was the first favourite for the Wessex Cup, the betting being three to one on him. He has always, however, been a prime favourite with the racing public and has never yet disappointed them, so that even at those odds enormous sums of money have been laid upon him. It is obvious, therefore, that there were many people who had the strongest interest in preventing Silver Blaze from being there at the fall of the flag next Tuesday.

“The fact was, of course, appreciated at King’s Pyland, where the colonel’s training-stable is situated. Every precaution was taken to guard the favourite. The trainer, John Straker, is a retired jockey who rode in Colonel Ross’s colours before he became too heavy for the weighing-chair. He has served the colonel for five years as jockey and for seven as trainer, and has always shown himself to be a zealous and honest servant. Under him were three lads, for the establishment was a small one, containing only four horses in all. One of these lads sat up each night in the stable, while the others slept in the loft. All three bore excellent characters. John Straker, who is a married man lived in a small villa about two hundred yards from the stables. He has no children, keeps one maidservant, and is comfortably off. The country round is very lonely, but about half a mile to the north there is a small cluster of villas which have been built by a Tavistock contractor for the use of invalids and others who may wish to enjoy the pure Dartmoor air. Tavistock itself lies two miles to the west, while across the moor, also about two miles distant, is the larger training establishment of Mapleton, which belongs to Lord Backwater and is managed by Silas Brown. In every other direction the moor is a complete wilderness, inhabited only by a few roaming gypsies. Such was the general situation last Monday night when the catastrophe occurred.

“On that evening the horses had been exercised and watered as usual, and the stables were locked up at nine o’clock. Two of the lads walked up to the trainer’s house, where they had supper in the kitchen, while the third, Ned Hunter, remained on guard. At a few minutes after nine the maid, Edith Baxter, carried down to the stables his supper, which consisted of a dish of curried mutton. She took no liquid, as there was a water-tap in the stables, and it was the rule that the lad on duty should drink nothing else. The maid carried a lantern with her, as it was very dark and the path ran across the open moor.

“Edith Baxter was within thirty yards of the stables when a man appeared out of the darkness and called to her to stop. As she stepped into the circle of yellow light thrown by the lantern she saw that he was a person of gentlemanly bearing, dressed in a gray suit of tweeds, with a cloth cap. He wore gaiters and carried a heavy stick with a knob to it. She was most impressed, however, by the extreme pallor of his face and by the nervousness of his manner. His age, she thought, would be rather over thirty than under it.

” ‘Can you tell me where I am?’ he asked. ‘I had almost made up my mind to sleep on the moor when I saw the light of your lantern.’

” ‘You are close to the King’s Pyland training stables,’ said she.

” ‘Oh, indeed! What a stroke of luck!’ he cried. ‘I understand that a stable-boy sleeps there alone every night. Perhaps that is his supper which you are carrying to him. Now I am sure that you would not be too proud to earn the price of a new dress, would you?’ He took a piece of white paper folded up out of his waistcoat pocket. ‘See that the boy has this to-night, and you shall have the prettiest frock that money can buy.’

“She was frightened by the earnestness of his manner and ran past him to the window through which she was accustomed to hand the meals. It was already opened, and Hunter was seated at the small table inside. She had begun to tell him of what had happened when the stranger came up again.

” ‘Good-evening,’ said he, looking through the window. ‘I wanted to have a word with you.’ The girl has sworn that as he spoke she noticed the corner of the little paper packet protruding from his closed hand.

” ‘What business have you here?’ asked the lad.

” ‘It’s business that may put something into your pocket.’ said the other. ‘You’ve two horses in for the Wessex Cup -Silver Blaze and Bayard. Let me have the straight tip and you won’t be a loser. Is it a fact that at the weights Bayard could give the other a hundred yards in five furlongs, and that the stable have put their money on him?’

” ‘So, you’re one of those damned touts!’ cried the lad. ‘I’ll show you how we serve them in King’s Pyland.’ He sprang up and rushed across the stable to unloose the dog. The girl fled away to the house, but as she ran she looked back and saw that the stranger was leaning through the window. A minute later, however, when Hunter rushed out with the hound he was gone, and though he ran all round the buildings he failed to find any trace of him.”

“One moment,” I asked. “Did the stable-boy, when he ran out with the dog, leave the door unlocked behind him?”

“Excellent, Watson, excellent!” murmured my companion. “The importance of the point struck me so forcibly that I sent a special wire to Dartmoor yesterday to clear the matter up. The boy locked the door before he left it. The window, I may add, was not large enough for a man to get through.

“Hunter waited until his fellow-grooms had returned, when he sent a message to the trainer and told him what had occurred. Straker was excited at hearing the account, although he does not seem to have quite realized its true significance. It left him, however, vaguely uneasy, and Mrs. Straker, waking at one in the morning, found that he was dressing. In reply to her inquiries, he said that he could not sleep on account of his anxiety about the horses, and that he intended to walk down to the stables to see that all was well. She begged him to remain at home, as she could hear the rain pattering against the window, but in spite of her entreaties he pulled on his large mackintosh and left the house.

“Mrs. Straker awoke at seven in the morning to find that her husband had not yet returned. She dressed herself hastily, called the maid, and set off for the stables. The door was open; inside, huddled together upon a chair, Hunter was sunk in a state of absolute stupor, the favourite’s stall was empty, and there were no signs of his trainer.

“The two lads who slept in the chaff-cutting loft above the harness-room were quickly aroused. They had heard nothing during the night, for they are both sound sleepers. Hunter was obviously under the influence of some powerful drug, and as no sense could be got out of him, he was left to sleep it off while the two lads and the two women ran out in search of the absentees. They still had hopes that the trainer had for some reason taken out the horse for early exercise, but on ascending the knoll near the house, from which all the neighbouring moors were visible, they not only could see no signs of the missing favourite, but they perceived something which warned them that they were in the presence of a tragedy.

“About a quarter of a mile from the stables John Straker’s overcoat was flapping from a furze-bush. Immediately beyond there was a bowl-shaped depression in the moor, and at the bottom of this was found the dead body of the unfortunate trainer. His head had been shattered by a savage blow from some heavy weapon, and he was wounded on the thigh, where there was a long, clean cut, inflicted evidently by some very sharp instrument. It was clear, however, that Straker had defended himself vigorously against his assailants, for in his right hand he held a small knife, which was clotted with blood up to the handle, while in his left he clasped a red and black silk cravat, which was recognized by the maid as having been worn on the preceding evening by the stranger who had visited the stables. Hunter, on recovering from his stupor, was also quite positive as to the ownership of the cravat. He was equally certain that the same stranger had, while standing at the window, drugged his curried mutton, and so deprived the stables of their watchman. As to the missing horse, there were abundant proofs in the mud which lay at the bottom of the fatal hollow that he had been there at the time of the struggle. But from that morning he has disappeared, and although a large reward has been offered, and all the gypsies of Dartmoor are on the alert, no news has come of him. Finally, an analysis has shown that the remains of his supper left by the stable-lad contained an appreciable quantity of powdered opium, while the people at the house partook of the same dish on the same night without any ill effect.

“Those are the main facts of the case, stripped of all surmise, and stated as baldly as possible. I shall now recapitulate what the police have done in the matter.

“Inspector Gregory, to whom the case has been committed, is an extremely competent officer. Were he but gifted with imagination he might rise to great heights in his profession. On his arrival he promptly found and arrested the man upon whom suspicion naturally rested. There was little difficulty in finding him, for he inhabited one of those villas which I have mentioned. His name, it appears, was Fitzroy Simpson. He was a man of excellent birth and education, who had squandered a fortune upon the turf. and who lived now by doing a little quiet and genteel book-making in the sporting clubs of London. An examination of his betting-book shows that bets to the amount of five thousand pounds had been registered by him against the favourite. On being arrested he volunteered the statement that he had come down to Dartmoor in the hope of getting some information about the King’s Pyland horses, and also about Desborough, the second favourite, which was in charge of Silas Brown at the Mapleton stables. He did not attempt to deny that he had acted as described upon the evening before, but declared that he had no sinister designs and had simply wished to obtain first-hand information. When confronted with his cravat he turned very pale and was utterly unable to account for its presence in the hand of the murdered man. His wet clothing showed that he had been out in the storm of the night before, and his stick, which was a penanglawyer weighted with lead, was just such a weapon as might, by repeated blows, have inflicted the terrible injuries to which the trainer had succumbed. On the other hand, there was no wound upon his person, while the state of Straker’s knife would show that one at least of his assailants must bear his mark upon him. There you have it all in a nutshell, Watson, and if you can give me any light I shall be infinitely obliged to you.”

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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Written in 1902, The Hound of the Baskervilles was the third novel (in the series of four) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Narrated an early case of the dead detective, the murder weapon in the story is an animal.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Chapter 1 – Mr. Sherlock Holmes

Chapter 2 – The Curse of Baskervilles

Chapter 3 – The Problem

Chapter 4 – Sir Henry Baskervilles

Chapter 5 – Three Broken Threads

Chapter 6 – Baskerville Hall

Chapter 7 – The Stapletons of Merripit House

Chapter 8 – First Report of Dr. Watson

Chapter 9 – Second Report of Dr. Watson

Chapter 10 – Extract from the diary of Dr. Watson

Chapter 11 – The Man on the Tor

Chapter 12 – Death on the Moor

Chapter 13 – Fixing the Nets

Chapter 14 – The Hound of the Baskervilles

Chapter 15 – A Retrospection

The Lost World TV Series

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

Status: Ended
Premiered: April 1, 1999
Last Aired: May 1, 2002
Show Categories: Action/Adventure, Drama

“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World” was a syndicated television series. It was only loosely based on his original novel (1912), mainly sharing only its title, basic premise, and some character names.

It ran for three seasons. For the most part the series was filmed in Australia. However due to Australian tax laws, a production could only include so many non-Australians and still qualify for benefits. The series was finally cancelled in 2002 after funding for a fourth season fell through.

All three seasons were released in DVD box sets through 2004.

The Lost World - Season 1 The Lost World - Season 2The Lost World - Season 3

The Plot

The voice over from the opening credits states the premise of the series:

“At the dawn of the last century, a band of explorers searched for a prehistoric world, driven by ambition, secret desires, a thirst for adventure, and seeking the ultimate story, they are befriended by an untamed beauty. Stranded in a strange and savage land, each day is a desperate search, for a way out, of The Lost World.”

The Cast

The series began at pretty much the same place as the book, where Professor George Challenger (Peter McCauley) is coming under fire from his scientific peers, including Professor Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff, who was to be unceremoniously booted from the show at the end of season 1), for his claims about living dinosaurs.

Determined to prove the worth of his claims Challenger sets up an expedition. He is joined by Summerlee, reporter Ned Malone (David Orth) and Lord John Roxton (Will Snow). The final character to join the band of (not so merry) expeditors is an unscrupulous female socialite named Marguerite Krux (Rachel Blakely), who finances the expedition for mysterious and dubious reasons.

Upon reaching the hidden plateau via the balloon used to escape attacking cannibals, the first thing the expedition meets is the true star and special effect of the show, Veronica (Jennifer O’Dell). A regular little “Tarzan-lady” her parents found the lost world but died, leaving her stranded and forced to survive, build a tree house, make a leather bikini (I can never figure out what it is about living in the wild that requires one to wear as little clothes as possible) and learn English all on her own (Sir Conan must have rolled in his grave).

Thanks to her, the group has a base and the necessary experience to face the dangers of this lost land where each day brings a new adventure or trial – they have to work together to defeat; hostile tribes, dinosaurs, witches, supernatural occurrences…everything that goes to make up the wonderful, frightening and magical place that is, ‘The Lost World’.

The Cast

The Cast
(Left-Right: David Orth, Jennifer O’Dell, Peter McCauley, Rachel Blakely, William Snow)

The Main Cast comprised of: (source IMDB)

David Orth – Ned Malone Jennifer O’Dell – Veronica Peter McCauley – Professor George Challenger Rachel Blakely – Marguerite Will Snow – Lord John Roxton

Others:

Michael Sinelnikoff – Professor SummerleeWilliam de Vry – Ned Malone (Pilot – 1999)Lara Cox – Finn (recurring role)Jerome Ehlers – Tribune (recurring role)

Trivia:

  • The series has added the characters of Marguerite and Veronica, there were no women on the expedition in Doyles’ book.
  • Michael Sinelnikoff played Professor Summerlee in two different versions of The Lost World. Besides playing Challenger’s foil in the first season of the series, he also played opposite Patrick Bergin’s Challenger in the terrible 1998 direct-to-video film version. In it, he managed to die as well.
  • The producers of the show have revealed some details of a long-ago proposed fourth season. If the subsequent season had been produced, fans would have learned that Professor Arthur Summerlee was indeed alive, residing in Avalon. Veronica’s mother Abigail Layton was also alive and had become the Plateau’s protector soon after her disappearance. She became the ruler of Avalon and had left behind a triangle artifact for her daughter Veronica to find. At the epilogue of the Season Three Finale, Veronica was to become the new Protector of the Plateau. Her treehouse dwelling was apparently the epicenter of the entire Plateau. It would have been revealed that Marguerite and Roxton were always meant to be together.
  • The Official Site: http://www.lostworldtv.net has interesting Behind the scenes making of the dinos:  T-Rex, Pterandon & Velociraptor.

Jennifer O'Dell

Though some male viewers may argue that Veronica’s bathing scenes were the best thing about the series, I really enjoyed the hot-cold chemistry and the quirky lines between Marguerite and Roxton.

Quotes:

Here are some of my favorite Marguerite and Roxton quotes:

BlakelyWill

Marguerite: So, Roxton, just curious. Why did you risk your life for me with that dinosaur?
Roxton: Hmmm, must have thought you were someone else.

**

Marguerite: The boy’s done us proud.  They grow up so fast these days.
Roxton: How motherly of you.  I wouldn’t have thought there was a maternal bone in your body.
Marguerite: How little you know me.  On the other hand, why would I need children when I have you?

**

Roxton: What’s the big discussion about?
Marguerite: They’re trying to decide which one of us to dine on first. They think I’d be the most tender.
Roxton: Well they obviously don’t know you very well

**

Marguerite: All he does these days is watch the skies for Veronica.
Roxton: Well, surely we owe her that much.  Without Veronica’s treehouse and her parents supplies, why we’d all be wearing raptor skins, living in caves and conversing in grunts.
Marguerite: Well, what makes you think that’s not how you boys communicate now?

**

Marguerite: That’s it, my love.
Roxton: What did you just say, Marguerite?
Marguerite: Nothing, nothing!  You must have been dreaming.

**

Roxton: You know, sometimes Marguerite’s afraid of me just as you are. That makes me think maybe, someone once broke her heart, same way your heart’s been broken and she’s still not ready to risk that happening again.Mayleen: Did someone ever break your heart?
Roxton: Oh, I’ve never met the woman that could break my heart…till I met Marguerite.

**

Marguerite: John, please, if you get shot…
Roxton: If I get shot, what?
Marguerite: I won’t have anyone to antagonize, my life would be quite dull.

**

Marguerite: Say something, say something…
Roxton: What’s a nice girl like you, doing in a place like this?

**

Marguerite: What is the matter with you? You’re behaving like a jealous schoolboy!
Roxton: Jealous, I am not! However, your infuriating habit of fawning over every man you meet does leave me a trifle weary

**

Marguerite: What?!
Roxton: Oh I was just remembering that delightful little mole you have right by…
Marguerite: Stop there!  Right now.
Roxton: As you command, my Contesse.
Marguerite: Command.  You want a command? (She whispers into his ear)
Roxton: I don’t know if that’s physically possible. (Marguerite bows mockingly)  Certainly not ladylike.

**

Roxton: So much for Prince Charming.
Marguerite: Actually, he was quite charming when he wanted to be.
Roxton: Sorry we interrupted you.
Marguerite: Yes, I’ll bet you are.

**

Roxton: No, I won’t believe it.
Marguerite: Grow up, Roxton.  We all have a price.
Roxton: You mean you do.

**

Roxton: Body heat?
Marguerite: I’m familiar with the concept.
Roxton: Well, be my guest.

**

Roxton: I thought I told you to stay in the tent.
Marguerite: Does the phrase, ‘ungrateful son of a bitch’ have a familiar ring?

**

Marguerite: Thank you for coming back for me.
Roxton: You think I did what I did to save your life?  You don’t get it do you?  I was a coward, Marguerite.
Marguerite: No. No.
Roxton: You know, it wasn’t death I was afraid of, it was not living. I couldn’t believe it was over.  My life.  My life!  What, that was it?  Can’t be.  And then, it wasn’t.
Marguerite: You’re not a coward, John, just human.  Welcome to the planet.

**

Roxton: An extra rifle.  It’s fully loaded.
Marguerite: Lord Roxton, someone would think you cared.
Roxton: I do.

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive. It was originally published serially in the popular Strand Magazine during the months of April 1912-November 1912. The character of Professor Challenger was introduced in this book. The novel also describes a war between Native Americans and a vicious tribe of ape-like creatures.

I have wrought my simple plan
If I give one hour of joy
To the boy who’s half a man,
Or the man who’s half a boy.

Foreword

Mr. E. D. Malone desires to state that both the injunction for restraint and the libel action have been withdrawn unreservedly by Professor G. E. Challenger, who, being satisfied that no criticism or comment in this book is meant in an offensive spirit, has guaranteed that he will place no impediment to its publication and circulation.
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – THERE ARE HEROISMS ALL ROUND US

Chapter 2 – TRY YOUR LUCK WITH PROFESSOR CHALLENGER

Chapter 3 – HE IS A PERFECTLY IMPOSSIBLE PERSON

Chapter 4 – IT’S JUST THE VERY BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD

Chapter 5 – QUESTION!

Chapter 6 – I WAS THE FLAIL OF THE LORD

Chapter 7 – TOMORROW WE DISAPPEAR INTO THE UNKNOWN

Chapter 8 – THE OUTLYING PICKETS OF THE NEW WORLD

Chapter 9 – WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN IT?

Chapter 10 – THE MOST WONDERFUL THINGS HAVE HAPPENED

Chapter 11 – FOR ONCE I WAS THE HERO

Chapter 12 – IT WAS DREADFUL IN THE FOREST

Chapter 13 – A SIGHT I SHALL NEVER FORGET

Chapter 14 – THOSE WERE THE REAL CONQUESTS

Chapter 15 – OUR EYES HAVE SEEN GREAT WONDERS

Chapter 16 – A PROCESSION! A PROCESSION!

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Running up I blew its brains out

“To the man who loves art for its own sake,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of The Daily Telegraph, “it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasion- ally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province.”

“And yet,” said I, smiling, “I cannot quite hold myself absolved from the charge of sensationalism which has been urged against my records.”

“You have erred, perhaps,” he observed, taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood –” you have erred perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your statements instead of confining yourself to the task of placing upon record that severe reasoning from cause to effect which is really the only notable feature about the thing.”

“It seems to me that I have done you full justice in the matter,” I remarked with some coldness, for I was repelled by the egotism which I had more than once observed to be a strong factor in my friend’s singular character.

“No, it is not selfishness or conceit,” said he, answering, as was his wont, my thoughts rather than my words. “If I claim full justice for my art, it is because it is an impersonal thing — a thing beyond myself. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales.”

It was a cold morning of the early spring, and we sat after breakfast on either side of a cheery fire in the old room at Baker Street. A thick fog rolled down between the lines of dun-coloured houses, and the opposing windows loomed like dark, shapeless blurs through the heavy yellow wreaths. Our gas was lit and shone on the white cloth and glimmer of china and metal, for the table had not been cleared yet. Sherlock Holmes had been silent all the morning, dipping continuously into the advertisement columns of a succession of papers until at last, having apparently given up his search, he had emerged in no very sweet temper to lecture me upon my literary shortcomings.

“At the same time,” he remarked after a pause, during which he had sat puffing at his long pipe and gazing down into the fire, “you can hardly be open to a charge of sensationalism, for out of these cases which you have been so kind as to interest yourself in, a fair proportion do not treat of crime, in its legal sense, at all. The small matter in which I endeavoured to help the King of Bohemia, the singular experience of Miss Mary Sutherland, the problem connected with the man with the twisted lip, and the incident of the noble bachelor, were all matters which are outside the pale of the law. But in avoiding the sensational, I fear that you may have bordered on the trivial.”

“The end may have been so,” I answered, “but the methods I hold to have been novel and of interest.”

“Pshaw, my dear fellow, what do the public, the great unobservant public, who could hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a compositor by his left thumb, care about the finer shades of analysis and deduction! But, indeed, if you are trivial. I cannot blame you, for the days of the great cases are past. Man, or at least criminal man, has lost all enterprise and originality. As to my own little practice, it seems to be degenerating into an agency for recovering lost lead pencils and giving advice to young ladies from boarding-schools. I think that I have touched bottom at last, however. This note I had this morning marks my zero-point, I fancy. Read it!” He tossed a crumpled letter across to me.

It was dated from Montague Place upon the preceding evening, and ran thus:

DEAR MR. HOLMES: I am very anxious to consult you as to whether I should or should not accept a situation which has been offered to me as governess. I shall call at half-past ten to-morrow if I do not inconvenience you.

Yours faithfully,
VIOLET HUNTER.

“Do you know the young lady?’ I asked.

“Not I.”

“It is half-past ten now.”

“Yes, and I have no doubt that is her ring.”

“It may turn out to be of more interest than you think. You remember that the affair of the blue carbuncle, which appeared to be a mere whim at first, developed into a serious investigation. It may be so in this case, also.”

“Well, let us hope so. But our doubts will very soon be solved, for here, unless I am much mistaken, is the person in question.”

As he spoke the door opened and a young lady entered the room. She was plainly but neatly dressed, with a bright. quick face, freckled like a plover’s egg, and with the brisk manner of a woman who has had her own way to make in the world.

“You will excuse my troubling you, I am sure,” said she, as my companion rose to greet her, “but I have had a very strange experience, and as I have no parents or relations of any sort from whom I could ask advice, I thought that perhaps you would be kind enough to tell me what I should do.”

“Pray take a seat, Miss Hunter. I shall be happy to do anything that I can to serve you.”

I could see that Holmes was favourably impressed by the manner and speech of his new client. He looked her over in his searching fashion, and then composed himself, with his lids drooping and his finger-tips together, to listen to her story.

“I have been a governess for five years,” said she, “in the family of Colonel Spence Munro, but two months ago the colonel received an appointment at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and took his children over to America with him, so that I found myself without a situation. I advertised, and I answered advertisements, but without success. At last the little money which I had saved began to run short, and I was at my wit’s end as to what I should do.

“There is a well-known agency for governesses in the West End called Westaway’s, and there I used to call about once a week in order to see whether anything had turned up which might suit me. Westaway was the name of the founder of the business, but it is really managed by Miss Stoper. She sits in her own little office, and the ladies who are seeking employment wait in an anteroom, and are then shown in one by one, when she consults her ledgers and sees whether she has anything which would suit them.

“Well, when I called last week I was shown into the little office as usual, but I found that Miss Stoper was not alone. A prodigiously stout man with a very smiling face and a great heavy chin which rolled down in fold upon fold over his throat sat at her elbow with a pair of glasses on his nose, looking very earnestly at the ladies who entered. As I came in he gave quite a jump in his chair and turned quickly to Miss Stoper.

” ‘That will do,’ said he; ‘I could not ask for anything better. Capital! capital!’ He seemed quite enthusiastic and rubbed his hands together in the most genial fashion. He was such a comfortable-looking man that it was quite a pleasure to look at him.

” ‘You are looking for a situation, miss?’ he asked.

” ‘Yes, sir.’

” ‘As governess?’

” ‘Yes, sir.’

” ‘And what salary do you ask?’

” ‘I had four pounds a month in my last place with Colonel Spence Munro.’

” ‘Oh, tut, tut! sweating — rank sweating!’ he cried, throwing his fat hands out into the air like a man who is in a boiling passion. ‘How could anyone offer so pitiful a sum to a lady with such attractions and accomplishments?’

” ‘My accomplishments, sir, may be less than you imagine,’ said I. ‘A little French, a little German, music, and drawing –‘

” ‘Tut, tut!’ he cried. ‘This is all quite beside the question. The point is, have you or have you not the bearing and deportment of a lady? There it is in a nutshell. If you have not, you are not fined for the rearing of a child who may some day play a considerable part in the history of the country. But if you have why, then, how could any gentleman ask you to condescend to accept anything under the three figures? Your salary with me, madam, would commence at hundred pounds a year.’

“You may imagine, Mr. Holmes, that to me, destitute as I was, such an offer seemed almost too good to be true. The gentleman, however, seeing perhaps the look of incredulity upon my face, opened a pocket-book and took out a note.

” ‘It is also my custom,’ said he, smiling in the most pleasant fashion until his eyes were just two little shining slits amid the white creases of his face, ‘to advance to my young ladies half their salary beforehand, so that they may meet any little expenses of their journey and their wardrobe.’

“It seemed to me that I had never met so fascinating and so thoughtful a man. As I was already in debt to my tradesmen, the advance was a great convenience, and yet there was something unnatural about the whole transaction which made me wish to know a little more before I quite committed myself.

” ‘May I ask where you live, sir?’ said I.

” ‘Hampshire. Charming rural place. The Copper Beeches, five miles on the far side of Winchester. It is the most lovely country, my dear young lady, and the dearest old country-house.’

” ‘And my duties, sir? I should be glad to know what they would be.’

” ‘One child — one dear little romper just six years old. Oh, if you could see him killing cockroaches with a slipper! Smack! smack! smack! Three gone before you could wink!’ He leaned back in his chair and laughed his eyes into his head again.

“I was a little startled at the nature of the child’s amusement, but the father’s laughter made me think that perhaps he was joking.

” ‘My sole duties, then,’ I asked, ‘are to take charge of a single child?’

” ‘No, no, not the sole, not the sole, my dear young lady,’ he cried. ‘Your duty would be, as I am sure your good sense would suggest, to obey any little commands my wife might give, provided always that they were such commands as a lady might with propriety obey. You see no difficulty, heh?’

” ‘I should be happy to make myself useful.’

” ‘Quite so. In dress now, for example. We are faddy people, you know — faddy but kind-hearted. If you were asked to wear any dress which we might give you, you would not object to our little whim. Heh?’

” ‘No,’ said I, considerably astonished at his words.

” ‘Or to sit here, or sit there, that would not be offensive to you?’

” ‘Oh, no.’

” ‘Or to cut your hair quite short before you come to us?’

“I could hardly believe my ears. As you may observe, Mr. Holmes, my hair is somewhat luxuriant, and of a rather peculiar tint of chestnut. It has been considered artistic. I could not dream of sacrificing it in this offhand fashion.

” ‘I am afraid that that is quite impossible,’ said I. He had been watching me eagerly out of his small eyes, and I could see a shadow pass over his face as I spoke.

” ‘I am afraid that it is quite essential,’ said he. ‘It is a little fancy of my wife’s, and ladies’ fancies, you know, madam, ladies’ fancies must be consulted. And so you won’t cut your hair?’

” ‘No, sir, I really could not,’ I answered firmly.

” ‘Ah, very well; then that quite settles the matter. It is a pity, because in other respects you would really have done very nicely. In that case, Miss Stoper, I had best inspect a few more of your young ladies.’

“The manageress had sat all this while busy with her papers without a word to either of us, but she glanced at me now with so much annoyance upon her face that I could not help suspecting that she had lost a handsome commission through my refusal.

” ‘Do you desire your name to be kept upon the books?’ she asked.

” ‘If you please, Miss Stoper.’

” ‘Well, really, it seems rather useless, since you refuse the most excellent offers in this fashion,’ said she sharply. ‘You can hardly expect us to exert ourselves to find another such opening for you. Good-day to you, Miss Hunter.’ She struck a gong upon the table, and I was shown out by the page.

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The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

Arthur caught him

“Holmes,” said I as I stood one morning in our bow-window looking down the street, “here is a madman coming along. It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to come out alone.”

My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown, looking over my shoulder. It was a bright, crisp February morning, and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground, shimmering brightly in the wintry sun. Down the centre of Baker Street it had been ploughed into a brown crumbly band by the traffic, but at either side and on the heaped-up edges of the foot-paths it still lay as white as when it fell. The gray pavement had been cleaned and scraped, but was still dangerously slippery, so that there were fewer passengers than usual. Indeed, from the direction of the Metropolitan Station no one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric conduct had drawn my attention.

He was a man of about fifty, tall, portly, and imposing, with a massive, strongly marked face and a commanding figure. He was dressed in a sombre yet rich style, in black frock-coat, shining hat, neat brown gaiters, and well-cut pearl-gray trousers. Yet his actions were in absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features, for he was running hard, with occasional little springs, such as a weary man gives who is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. As he ran he jerked his hands up and down, waggled his head, and writhed his face into the most extraordinary contortions.

“What on earth can be the matter with him?” I asked. “He is looking up at the numbers of the houses.”

“I believe that he is coming here,” said Holmes, rubbing his hands .

“Here?”

“Yes; I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. I think that I recognize the symptoms. Ha! did I not tell you?” As he spoke, the man, puffing and blowing, rushed at our door and pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging.

A few moments later he was in our room, still puffing, still gesticulating, but with so fixed a look of grief and despair in his eyes that our smiles were turned in an instant to horror and pity. For a while he could not get his words out, but swayed his body and plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme limits of his reason. Then, suddenly springing to his feet, he beat his head against the wall with such force that we both rushed upon him and tore him away to the centre of the room. Sherlock Holmes pushed him down into the easy-chair and, sitting beside him, patted his hand and chatted with him in the easy, soothing tones which he knew so well how to employ.

“You have come to me to tell your story, have you not?” said he. “You are fatigued with your haste. Pray wait until you have recovered yourself, and then I shall be most happy to look into any little problem which you may submit to me.”

The man sat for a minute or more with a heaving chest, fighting against his emotion. Then he passed his handkerchief over his brow, set his lips tight, and turned his face towards us.

“No doubt you think me mad?” said he.

“I see that you have had some great trouble,” responded Holmes.

“God knows I have! — a trouble which is enough to unseat my reason, so sudden and so terrible is it. Public disgrace I might have faced, although I am a man whose character has never yet borne a stain. Private affliction also is the lot of every man; but the two coming together, and in so frightful a form, have been enough to shake my very soul. Besides, it is not I alone. The very noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this horrible affair.”

“Pray compose yourself, sir,” said Holmes, “and let me have a clear account of who you are and what it is that has befallen you.”

“My name,” answered our visitor, “is probably familiar to your ears. I am Alexander Holder, of the banking firm of Holder & Stevenson, of Threadneedle Street.”

The name was indeed well known to us as belonging to the senior partner in the second largest private banking concern in the City of London. What could have happened, then, to bring one of the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We waited, all curiosity, until with another effort he braced himself to tell his story.

“I feel that time is of value,” said he; “that is why I hastened here when the police inspector suggested that I should secure your cooperation. I came to Baker Street by the Underground and hurried from there on foot, for the cabs go slowly through this snow. That is why I was so out of breath, for I am a man who takes very little exercise. I feel better now, and I will put the facts before you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can.

“It is, of course, well known to you that in a successful banking business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection and the number of our depositors. One of our most lucrative means of laying out money is in the shape of loans, where the security is unimpeachable. We have done a good deal in this direction during the last few years, and there are many noble families to whom we have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures, libraries, or plate.

“Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks. I started when I saw the name, for it was that of none other than — well, perhaps even to you I had better say no more than that it was a name which is a household word all over the earth — one of the highest, noblest, most exalted names in England. I was over- whelmed by the honour and attempted, when he entered, to say so, but he plunged at once into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly through a disagreeable task.

” ‘Mr. Holder,’ said he, ‘I have been informed that you are in the habit of advancing money.’

” ‘The firm does so when the security is good.’ I answered.

” ‘It is absolutely essential to me,’ said he, ‘that I should have fifty thousand pounds at once. I could, of course, borrow so trifling a sum ten times over from my friends, but I much prefer to make it a matter of business and to carry out that business myself. In my position you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one’s self under obligations.’

” ‘For how long, may I ask, do you want this sum?’ I asked.

” ‘Next Monday I have a large sum due to me, and I shall then most certainly repay what you advance, with whatever interest you think it right to charge. But it is very essential to me that the money should be paid at once.’

” ‘I should be happy to advance it without further parley from my own private purse,’ said I, ‘were it not that the strain would be rather more than it could bear. If, on the other hand, I am to do it in the name of the firm, then in justice to my partner I must insist that, even in your case, every businesslike precaution should be taken.’

” ‘I should much prefer to have it so,’ said he, raising up a square, black morocco case which he had laid beside his chair. ‘You have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coronet?’

” ‘One of the most precious public possessions of the empire,’ said I.

” ‘Precisely.’ He opened the case, and there, imbedded in soft, flesh-coloured velvet, lay the magnificent piece of jewellery which he had named. ‘There are thirty-nine enormous beryls,’ said he, ‘and the price of the gold chasing is incalculable. The lowest estimate would put the worth of the coronet at double the sum which I have asked. I am prepared to leave it with you as my security.’

“I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some perplexity from it to my illustrious client.

” ‘You doubt its value?’ he asked.

” ‘Not at all. I only doubt –‘

” ‘The propriety of my leaving it. You may set your mind at rest about that. I should not dream of doing so were it not absolutely certain that I should be able in four days to reclaim it. It is a pure matter of form. Is the security sufficient?’

” ‘Ample. ‘

” ‘You understand, Mr. Holder, that I am giving you a strong proof of the confidence which I have in you, founded upon all that I have heard of you. I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but, above all, to preserve this coronet with every possible precaution because I need not say that a great public scandal would be caused if any harm were to befall it. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss, for there are no beryls in the world to match these, and it would be impossible to replace them. I leave it with you, however, with every confidence, and I shall call for it in person on Monday morning.’

“Seeing that my client was anxious to leave, I said no more but, calling for my cashier, I ordered him to pay over fifty 1000 pound notes. When I was alone once more, however, with the precious case lying upon the table in front of me, I could not but think with some misgivings of the immense responsibility which it entailed upon me. There could be no doubt that, as it was a national possession, a horrible scandal would ensue if any misfortune should occur to it. I already regretted having ever consented to take charge of it. However, it was too late to alter the matter now, so I locked it up in my private safe and turned once more to my work.

“When evening came I felt that it would be an imprudence to leave so precious a thing in the office behind me. Bankers’ safes had been forced before now, and why should not mine be? If so, how terrible would be the position in which I should find myself! I determined, therefore, that for the next few days I would always carry the case backward and forward with me, so that it might never be really out of my reach. With this intention, I called a cab and drove out to my house at Streatham, carrying the jewel with me. I did not breathe freely until I had taken it upstairs and locked it in the bureau of my dressing-room.

“And now a word as to my household, Mr. Holmes, for I wish you to thoroughly understand the situation. My groom and my page sleep out of the house, and may be set aside altogether. I have three maid-servants who have been with me a number of years and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. Another, Lucy Parr, the second waiting-maid, has only been in my service a few months. She came with an excellent character, however, and has always given me satisfaction. She is a very pretty girl and has attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place. That is the only drawback which we have found to her, but we believe her to be a thoroughly good girl in every way.

“So much for the servants. My family itself is so small that it will not take me long to describe it. I am a widower and have an only son, Arthur. He has been a disappointment to me, Mr. Holmes — a grievous disappointment. I have no doubt that I am myself to blame. People tell me that I have spoiled him. Very likely I have. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had to love. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment from his face. I have never denied him a wish. Perhaps it would have been better for both of us had I been sterner, but I meant it for the best.

“It was naturally my intention that he should succeed me in my business, but he was not of a business turn. He was wild, wayward, and, to speak the truth, I could not trust him in the handling of large sums of money. When he was young he became a member of an aristocratic club, and there, having charming manners, he was soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expensive habits. He learned to play heavily at cards and to squander money on the turf, until he had again and again to come to me and implore me to give him an advance upon his allowance, that he might settle his debts of honour. He tried more than once to break away from the dangerous company which he was keeping, but each time the influence of his friend, Sir George Burnwell, was enough to draw him back again.

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