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HIS LAST BOW

lOME LATER REMINISCENCES
OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

IAN DOYLE



m




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PtOfC tn OF NEAKST COfcF.



HIS LAST BOW:

A REMINISCENCE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES



By ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE



HIS LAST BOW

A HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR

THE VALLEY OF FEAR

THE POISON BELT

THE LOST WORLD

THE CASE OF OSCAR SLATER

THE GERMAN WAR

NEW YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



HIS LAST BOW

A REMINISCENCE
OF SHERLOCK HOLMES



BY

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

AUTHOR OF

"THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES,"

"THE BOER WAR," ETC.




NEW YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



COPYRIGHT, 191 7,
BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



I

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



PREFACE

THE friends of Mr. Sherlock Holmes will be
glad to learn that he is still alive and well,
though somewhat crippled by occasional attacks
of rheumatism. He has, for many years, lived in
a small farm upon the Downs five miles from
Eastbourne, where his time is divided between
philosophy and agriculture. During this period
of rest he has refused the most princely offers to
take up various cases, having determined that his
retirement was a permanent one. The approach
of the German war caused him, however, to lay
his remarkable combination of intellectual and
practical activity at the disposal of the Govern-
ment, with historical results which are recounted
in His Last Bow. Several previous experiences
which have lain long in my portfolio have been
added to His Last Bow so as to complete the

volume.

John H. Watson, M.D.



[v]



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge . . 11
II The Adventure of the Cardboard Box . 62

III The Adventure of the Red Circle . . 98

IV The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington

Plans 130

V The Adventure of the Dying Detective 179

VI The Disappearance of Lady Frances Car-
fax 205

VII The Adventure of the Devil's Foot . . 239

VIII His Last Bow 282



[vii]



HIS LAST BOW



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA

LODGE



I. — THE SINGULAR EXPERIENCE OF MR. JOHN

SCOTT ECCLES

1FIND it recorded in my notebook that it
was a bleak and windy day towards the end
of March in the year 1892. Holmes had re-
ceived a telegram whilst we sat at our lunch, and
he had scribbled a reply. He made no remark,
but the matter remained in his thoughts, for he
stood in front of the fire afterwards with a
thoughtful face, smoking his pipe, and casting an
occasional glance at the message. Suddenly
he turned upon me with a mischievous twinkle
in his eyes.

"I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you
as a man of letters," said he. "How do you
define the word 'grotesque'?"

"Strange — remarkable," I suggested.

He shook his head at my definition.

en]



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA

LODGE



I. — THE SINGULAR EXPERIENCE OF MR. JOHN

SCOTT ECCLES

1FIND it recorded in my notebook that it
was a bleak and windy day towards the end
of March in the year 1892. Holmes had re-
ceived a telegram whilst we sat at our lunch, and
he had scribbled a reply. He made no remark,
but the matter remained in his thoughts, for he
stood in front of the fire afterwards with a
thoughtful face, smoking his pipe, and casting an
occasional glance at the message. Suddenly
he turned upon me with a mischievous twinkle
in his eyes.

"I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you
as a man of letters," said he. "How do you
define the word 'grotesque'?"

"Strange — remarkable," I suggested.

He shook his head at my definition.

en]



HIS LAST BOW



"There is surely something more than that,'
said he; "some underlying suggestion of the
tragic and the terrible. If you cast your mind
back to some of those narratives with which you
have afflicted a long-suffering public, you will
recognise how often the grotesque has deepened
into the criminal. Think of that little affair of
the red-headed men. That was grotesque enough
in the outset, and yet it ended in a desperate at-
tempt at robbery. Or, again, there was that
most grotesque affair of the five orange pips,
which led straight to a murderous conspiracy.
The word puts me on the alert."

"Have you it there?" I asked.

He read the telegram aloud.

"Have just had most incredible and grotesque
experience. May I consult you? — Scott Eccles,
Post Office, Charing Cross."

"Man or woman?" I asked.

"Oh, man, of course. No woman would ever
send a reply-paid telegram. She would have
come."

"Will you see him?"

"My dear Watson, you know how bored I
have been since we locked up Colonel Carruthers.
My mind is like a racing engine, tearing itself
to pieces because it is not connected up with
the work for which it was built. Life is common-
place, the papers are sterile; audacity and ro-
mance seem to have passed for ever from the
[12]



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE

criminal world. Can you ask me, then, whether
I am ready to look into any new problem, how-
ever trivial it may prove? But here, unless I am
mistaken, is our client."

A measured step was heard upon the stairs,
and a moment later a stout, tall, grey-whiskered
and solemnly respectable person was ushered
into the room. His life history was written in
his heavy features and pompous manner. From
his spats to his gold-rimmed spectacles he was
a Conservative, a Churchman, a good citizen,
orthodox and conventional to the last degree.
But some amazing experience had disturbed his
native composure and left its traces in his bris-
tling hair, his flushed, angry cheeks, and his flur-
ried, excited manner. He plunged instantly
into his business.

"I have had a most singular and unpleasant
experience, Mr. Holmes," said he, "Never in
my life have I been placed in such a situation.
It is most improper — most outrageous. I must
insist upon some explanation." He swelled
and puffed in his anger.

"Pray sit down, Mr. Scott Eccles," said
Holmes.,, in a soothing voice. "May I ask, in
the first place, why you came to me at all?"

"Well, sir, it did not appear to be a matter
which concerned the police, and yet, when you
have heard the facts, you must admit that I could
not leave it where it was. Private detectives

[13]



HIS LAST BOW



are a class with whom I have absolutely no sym-
pathy, but none the less, having heard your
name "



"Quite so. But, in the second place, why did
you not come at once?"

"What do you mean?"

Holmes glanced at his watch.

"It is a quarter past two," he said. "Your
telegram was dispatched about one. But no one
can glance at your toilet and attire without seeing
that your disturbance dates from the moment of
your waking."

Our client smoothed down his unbrushed hair
and felt his unshaven chin.

'You are right, Mr. Holmes. I never gave
a thought to my toilet. I was only too glad to
get out of such a house. But I have been run-
ning round making inquiries before I came to
you. I went to the house agents, you know, and
they said that Mr. Garcia's rent was paid up all
right and that everything was in order at Wis-
teria Lodge."

"Come, come, sir," said Holmes, laughing.
"You are like my friend Dr. Watson, who has
a bad habit of telling his stories wrong end fore-
most. Please arrange your thoughts and let
me know, in their due sequence, exactly what
those events are which have sent you out un-
brushed and unkempt, with dress boots and waist-
[14]



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE

coat buttoned awry, in search of advice and as-
sistance."

Our client looked down with a rueful face at
his own unconventional appearance.

"I'm sure it must look very bad, Mr. Holmes,
and I am not aware that in my whole life such a
thing has ever happened before. But I will tell
you the whole queer business, and when I have
done so you will admit, I am sure, that there has
been enough to excuse me."

But his narrative was nipped in the bud.
There was a bustle outside, and Mrs. Hudson
opened the door to usher in two robust and
official-looking individuals, one of whom was
well known to us as Inspector Gregson of
Scotland Yard, an energetic, gallant, and, with-
in his limitations, a capable officer. He shook
hands with Holmes, and introduced his comrade
as Inspector Baynes of the Surrey Constabulary.

"We are hunting together, Mr. Holmes, and
our trail lay in this direction." He turned his
bulldog eyes upon our visitor. "Are you
Mr. John Scott Eccles, of Popham House,
Lee?"

"I am."

"We have been following you about all the
morning."

"You traced him through the telegram, no
doubt," said Holmes.

"Exactly, Mr. Holmes. We picked up the

[15]



HIS LAST BOW



scent at Charing Cross Post Office and came
on here."

"But why do you follow me? What do you
want?"

'We wish a statement, Mr. Scott Eccles, as
to the events which led up to the death last
night of Mr. Aloysius Garcia, of Wisteria Lodge,
near Esher."

Our client had sat up with staring eyes and
every tinge of colour struck from his astonished
face.

"Dead? Did you say he was dead?"
Yes, sir, he is dead."
But how? An accident?"
Murder, if ever there was one upon earth."
Good God ! This is awful ! You don't mean
— you don't mean that I am suspected?"

"A letter of yours was found in the dead man's
pocket, and we know by it that you had planned
to pass last night at his house."
"So I did."

"Oh, you did, did you?"
Out came the official notebook.
'Wait a bit, Gregson," said Sherlock Holmes.
All you desire is a plain statement, is it not?"
And it is my duty to warn Mr. Scott Eccles
that it may be used against him."

"Mr. Eccles was going to tell us about it
when you entered the room. I think, Watson,
a brandy and soda would do him no harm.
[16]



if

<<-

<<i



it



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE

Now, sir, I suggest that you take no notice of
this addition to your audience, and that you
proceed with your narrative exactly as you
would have done had you never been inter-
rupted."

Our visitor had gulped off the brandy and
the colour had returned to his face. With a
dubious glance at the inspector's notebook, he
plunged at once into his extraordinary state-
ment.

"I am a bachelor," said he, "and, being of a
sociable turn, I cultivate a large number of
friends. Among these are the family of a re-
tired brewer called Melville, living at Albemarle
Mansion, Kensington. It was at his table that
I met some weeks ago a young fellow named
Garcia. He was, I understood, of Spanish de-
scent and connected in some way with the Em-
bassy. He spoke perfect English, was pleasing
in his manners, and as good-looking a man as
ever I saw in my life.

"In some way we struck up quite a friend-
ship, this young fellow and I. He seemed to
take a fancy to me from the first, and within
two days of our meeting he came to see me at
Lee. One thing led to another, and it ended in
his inviting me out to spend a few days at his
house, Wisteria Lodge, between Esher and Ox-
shott. Yesterday evening I went to Esher to
fulfil this engagement.

[17]



HIS LAST BOW



"He had described his household to me before
I went there. He lived with a faithful servant,
a countryman of his own, who looked after all
his needs. This fellow could speak English and
did his housekeeping for him. Then there was
a wonderful cook, he said, a half-breed whom
he had picked up in his travels, who could serve
an excellent dinner. I remember that he re-
marked what a queer household it was to find
in the heart of Surrey, and that I agreed with
him, though it has proved a good deal queerer
than I thought.

"I drove to the place — about two miles on
the south side of Esher. The house was a fair-
sized one, standing back from the road, with
a curving drive which was banked with high
evergreen shrubs. It was an old, tumble-down
building in a crazy state of disrepair. When
the trap pulled up on the grass-grown drive in
front of the blotched and weather-stained door,
I had doubts as to my wisdom in visiting a
man whom I knew so slightly. He opened the
door himself, however, and greeted me with a
great show of cordiality. I was handed over
to the manservant, a melancholy, swarthy in-
dividual, who led the way, my bag in his hand,
to my bedroom. The whole place was depress-
ing. Our dinner was tete-a-tete, and though
my host did his best to be entertaining, his
thoughts seemed to continuallv wander, and he
[18]



THE ADVENTURE OF WiSTERIA LODGE

talked so vaguely and wildly that I could hardly
understand him. He continually drummed his
fingers on the table, gnawed his nails, and gave
other signs of nervous impatience. The dinner
itself was neither well served nor well cooked,
and the gloomy presence of the taciturn servant
did not help to enliven us. I can assure you
that many times in the course of the evening
I wished that I could invent some excuse which
would take me back to Lee.

"One thing comes back to my memory which
may have a bearing upon the business that you
two gentlemen are investigating. I thought
nothing of it at the time. Near the end of din-
ner a note was handed in by the servant. I
noticed that after my host had read it he seemed
even more distrait and strange than before. He
gave up all pretence at conversation and sat,
smoking endless cigarettes, lost in his own
thoughts, but he made no remark as to the con-
tents. About eleven I was glad to go to bed
Some time later Garcia looked in at my door —
the room was dark at the time — and asked me
if I had rung. I said that I had not. He apolo-
gised for having disturbed me so late, saying
that it was nearly one o'clock. I dropped off
after this and slept soundly all night.

"And now I come to the amazing part of my
tale. When I woke it was broad daylight. I
glanced at my watch, and the time was nearly

[19]



HIS LAST BOW



nine. I had particularly asked to be called at
eight, so I was very much astonished at this
forgetfulness. I sprang up and rang for the
servant. There was no response. I rang again
and again, with the same result. Then I came
to the conclusion that the bell was out of order.
I huddled on my clothes and hurried downstairs
in an exceedingly bad temper to order some hot
water. You can imagine my surprise when I
found that there was no one there. I shouted
in the hall. There was no answer. Then I ran
from room to room. All were deserted. My
host had shown me which was his bedrom the
night before, so I knocked at the door. No reply.
I turned the handle and walked in. The room
was empty, and the bed had never been slept
in. He had gone with the rest. The foreign
host, the foreign footman, the foreign cook, all
had vanished in the night! That was the end
of my visit to Wisteria Lodge."

Sherlock Holmes was rubbing his hands and
chuckling as he added this bizarre incident to
his collection of strange episodes.

"Your experience is, so far as I know, per-
fectly unique," said he. "May I ask, sir, what
you did then?"

"I was furious. My first idea was that I

had been the victim of some absurd practical

joke. I packed my things, banged the hall

door behind me, and set off for Esher, with my

[20]



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE

bag in my hand. I called at Allan Brothers',
the chief land agents in the village, and found
that it was from this firm that the villa had
been rented. It struck me that the whole pro-
ceeding could hardly be for the purpose of
making a fool of me, and that the main object
must be to get out of the rent. It is late in
March, so quarter-day is at hand. But this
theory would not work. The agent was obliged
to me for my warning, but told me that the
rent had been paid in advance. Then I made
my way to town and called at the Spanish
Embassy. The man was unknown there. After
this I went to see Melville, at whose house I
had first met Garcia, but I found that he really
knew rather less about him than I did. Finally,
when I got your reply to my wire I came out
to you, since I gather that you are a person
who gives advice in difficult cases. But now,
Mr. Inspector, I understand, from what you said
when you entered the room, that you can carry
the story on, and that some tragedy has occurred.
I can assure you that every word I have said
is the truth, and that, outside of what I have
told you, I know absolutely nothing about the
fate of this man. My only desire is to help the
law in every possible way."

"I am sure of it, Mr. Scott Eccles — I am sure
of it," said Inspector Gregson, in a very amia-
ble tone. "I am bound to say that everything

[21]



HIS LAST BOW



which you have said agrees very closely with
the facts as they have come to our notice. For
example, there was that note which arrived dur-
ing dinner. Did you chance to observe what
became of it?"

"Yes, I did. Garcia rolled it up and threw
it into the fire."

"What do you say to that, Mr. Baynes?"

The country detective was a stout, puffy, red
man, whose face was only redeemed from gross-
ness by two extraordinarily bright eyes, almost
hidden behind the heavy creases of cheek and
brow. With a slow smile he drew a folded and
discoloured scrap of paper from his pocket.

"It was a dog-grate, Mr. Holmes, and he over-
pitched it. I picked this out unburned from the
back of it."

Holmes smiled his appreciation.

"You must have examined the house very care-
fully, to find a single pellet of paper."

"I did, Mr. Holmes. It's my way. Shall I
read it, Mr. Gregson?"

The Londoner nodded.

"The note is written upon ordinary cream-
laid paper without watermark. It is a quarter-
sheet. The paper is cut off in two snips with
a short-bladed scissors. It has been folded over
three times and sealed with purple wax, put on
hurriedly and pressed down with some flat, oval
object. It is addressed to Mr. Garcia, Wisteria
[22]



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE

Lodge. It says: 'Our own colours, green and
white. Green open, white shut. Main stair,
first corridor, seventh right, green baize. God
speed. D.' It is a woman's writing, done with
a sharp-pointed pen, but the address is either done
with another pen or by someone else. It is thicker
and bolder, as you see."

"A very remarkable note," said Holmes,
glancing it over. "I must compliment you,
Mr. Baynes, upon your attention to detail in
your examination of it. A few trifling points
might perhaps be added. The oval seal is un-
doubtedly a plain sleeve-link — what else is of such
a shape? The scissors were bent nail scissors.
Short as the two snips are, you can distinctly see
the same slight curve in each."

The countiy detective chuckled.

"I thought I had squeezed all the juice out
of it, but I see there was a little over," he said.
"I'm bound to say that I make nothing of the
note except that there was something on hand,
and that a woman, as usual, was at the bottom
of it."

Mr. Scott Eccles had fidgeted in his seat'
during this conversation.

"I am glad you found the note, since it cor-
roborates my story," said he. "But I beg to
point out that I have not yet heard what has
happened to Mr. Garcia, nor what has become of
his household."

[23]



HIS LAST BOW



"As to Garcia," said Gregson, "that is easily
answered. He was found dead this morning
upon Oxshott Common, nearly a mile from his
home. His head had been smashed to pulp
by heavy blows of a sand-bag or some such
instrument, which had crushed rather than
wounded. It is a lonely corner, and there is no
house within a quarter of a mile of the spot. He
had apparently been struck down first from
behind, but his assailant had gone on beating him
long after he was dead. It was a most furious
assault. There are no footsteps nor any clue
to the criminals."

"Robbed?"

No, there was no attempt at robbery."
This is very painful — very painful and
terrible," said Mr. Scott Eccles, in a querulous
voice; "but it is really uncommonly hard upon
me. I had nothing to do with my host going
off upon a nocturnal excursion and meeting so
sad an end. How do I come to be mixed up
with the case?"

"Very simply, sir," Inspector Baynes an-
swered. "The only document found in the
pocket of the deceased was a letter from you
saying that you would be with him on the night
of his death. It was the envelope of this letter
which gave us the dead man's name and address.
It was after nine this morning when we reached
his house and found neither you nor anyone
[24]



Cll



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE

else inside it. I wired to Mr. Gregson to run
you down in London while I examined Wisteria
Lodge. Then I came into town, joined Mr.
Gregson, and here we are."

"I think now," said Gregson, rising, "we
had best put this matter into an official shape.
You will come round with us to the station,
Mr. Scott Eccles, and let us have your statement
in writing."

"Certainly, I will come at once. But I retain
your services, Mr. Holmes. I desire you to
spare no expense and no pains to get at the
truth."

My friend turned to the country inspector.

"I suppose that you have no objection to my
collaborating with you, Mr. Baynes?"

"Highly honoured, sir, I am sure."

"You appear to have been very prompt and
businesslike in all that you have done. Was
there any clue, may I ask, as to the exact hour
that the man met his death?"

"He had been there since one o'clock. There
was rain about that time, and his death had
certainly been before the rain."

"But that is perfectly impossible, Mr.
Baynes," cried our client. "His voice is un-
mistakable. I could swear to it that it was he
who addressed me in my bedroom at that very
hour."

[25]



HIS LAST BOW



a-



"Remarkable, but by no means impossible,"
said Holmes, smiling.

'You have a clue?" asked Gregson.
'On the face of it the case is not a very-
complex one, though it certainly presents some
novel and interesting features. A further knowl-
edge of facts is necessary before I would venture
to give a final and definite opinion. By the way,
Mr. Baynes, did you find anything remarkable
besides this note in your examination of the
house?"

The detective looked at my friend in a singular
wav.

"There were," said he, "one or two very
remarkable things. Perhaps when I have fin-
ished at the police-station you would care to
come out and give me your opinion of them."

"I am entirely at your service," said Sherlock
Holmes, ringing the bell. "You will show
these gentlemen out, Mrs. Hudson, and kindly
send the boy with this telegram. He is to pay
a five-shilling reply."

We sat for some time in silence after our
visitors had left. Holmes smoked hard, with
his brows drawn down over his keen eyes, and
his head thrust forward in the eager way charac-
teristic of the man.

"Well, Watson," he asked, turning suddenly
upon me, "what do you make of it?"
[26]



THE ADVENTURE OF WISTERIA LODGE


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