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Chapter 5 The Adventure of the Dying Detective

  • Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a longsuffering woman. No_nly was her first-floor flat invaded at all hours by throngs of singular an_ften undesirable characters but her remarkable lodger showed an eccentricit_nd irregularity in his life which must have sorely tried her patience. Hi_ncredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasiona_evolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientifi_xperiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around hi_ade him the very worst tenant in London. On the other hand, his payments wer_rincely. I have no doubt that the house might have been purchased at th_rice which Holmes paid for his rooms during the years that I was with him.
  • The landlady stood in the deepest awe of him and never dared to interfere wit_im, however outrageous his proceedings might seem. She was fond of him, too, for he had a remarkable gentleness and courtesy in his dealings with women. H_isliked and distrusted the sex, but he was always a chivalrous opponent.
  • Knowing how genuine was her regard for him, I listened earnestly to her stor_hen she came to my rooms in the second year of my married life and told me o_he sad condition to which my poor friend was reduced.
  • "He's dying, Dr. Watson," said she. "For three days he has been sinking, and _oubt if he will last the day. He would not let me get a doctor. This mornin_hen I saw his bones sticking out of his face and his great bright eye_ooking at me I could stand no more of it. 'With your leave or without it, Mr.
  • Holmes, I am going for a doctor this very hour,' said I. 'Let it be Watson, then,' said he. I wouldn't waste an hour in coming to him, sir, or you may no_ee him alive."
  • I was horrified for I had heard nothing of his illness. I need not say that _ushed for my coat and my hat. As we drove back I asked for the details.
  • "There is little I can tell you, sir. He has been working at a case down a_otherhithe, in an alley near the river, and he has brought this illness bac_ith him. He took to his bed on Wednesday afternoon and has never moved since.
  • For these three days neither food nor drink has passed his lips."
  • "Good God! Why did you not call in a doctor?"
  • "He wouldn't have it, sir. You know how masterful he is. I didn't dare t_isobey him. But he's not long for this world, as you'll see for yourself th_oment that you set eyes on him."
  • He was indeed a deplorable spectacle. In the dim light of a foggy November da_he sick room was a gloomy spot, but it was that gaunt, wasted face staring a_e from the bed which sent a chill to my heart. His eyes had the brightness o_ever, there was a hectic flush upon either cheek, and dark crusts clung t_is lips; the thin hands upon the coverlet twitched incessantly, his voice wa_roaking and spasmodic. He lay listlessly as I entered the room, but the sigh_f me brought a gleam of recognition to his eyes.
  • "Well, Watson, we seem to have fallen upon evil days," said he in a feebl_oice, but with something of his old carelessness of manner.
  • "My dear fellow!" I cried, approaching him.
  • "Stand back! Stand right back!" said he with the sharp imperiousness which _ad associated only with moments of crisis. "If you approach me, Watson, _hall order you out of the house."
  • "But why?"
  • "Because it is my desire. Is that not enough?"
  • Yes, Mrs. Hudson was right. He was more masterful than ever. It was pitiful, however, to see his exhaustion.
  • "I only wished to help," I explained.
  • "Exactly! You will help best by doing what you are told."
  • "Certainly, Holmes."
  • He relaxed the austerity of his manner.
  • "You are not angry?" he asked, gasping for breath.
  • Poor devil, how could I be angry when I saw him lying in such a plight befor_e?
  • "It's for your own sake, Watson," he croaked.
  • "For my sake?"
  • "I know what is the matter with me. It is a coolie disease from Sumatra — _hing that the Dutch know more about than we, though they have made little o_t up to date. One thing only is certain. It is infallibly deadly, and it i_orribly contagious."
  • He spoke now with a feverish energy, the long hands twitching and jerking a_e motioned me away.
  • "Contagious by touch, Watson — that's it, by touch. Keep your distance and al_s well."
  • "Good heavens, Holmes! Do you suppose that such a consideration weighs with m_or an instant? It would not affect me in the case of a stranger. Do yo_magine it would prevent me from doing my duty to so old a friend?"
  • Again I advanced, but he repulsed me with a look of furious anger.
  • "If you will stand there I will talk. If you do not you must leave the room."
  • I have so deep a respect for the extraordinary qualities of Holmes that I hav_lways deferred to his wishes, even when I least understood them. But now al_y professional instincts were aroused. Let him be my master elsewhere, I a_east was his in a sick room.
  • "Holmes," said I, "you are not yourself. A sick man is but a child, and so _ill treat you. Whether you like it or not, I will examine your symptoms an_reat you for them."
  • He looked at me with venomous eyes.
  • "If I am to have a doctor whether I will or not, let me at least have someon_n whom I have confidence," said he.
  • "Then you have none in me?"
  • "In your friendship, certainly. But facts are facts, Watson, and, after all, you are only a general practitioner with very limited experience and mediocr_ualifications. It is painful to have to say these things, but you leave me n_hoice."
  • I was bitterly hurt.
  • "Such a remark is unworthy of you, Holmes. It shows me very clearly the stat_f your own nerves. But if you have no confidence in me I would not intrude m_ervices. Let me bring Sir Jasper Meek or Penrose Fisher, or any of the bes_en in London. But someone you must have, and that is final. If you think tha_ am going to stand here and see you die without either helping you myself o_ringing anyone else to help you, then you have mistaken your man."
  • "You mean well, Watson," said the sick man with something between a sob and _roan. "Shall I demonstrate your own ignorance? What do you know, pray, o_apanuli fever? What do you know of the black Formosa corruption?"
  • "I have never heard of either."
  • "There are many problems of disease, many strange pathological possibilities, in the East, Watson." He paused after each sentence to collect his failin_trength. "I have learned so much during some recent researches which have _edico-criminal aspect. It was in the course of them that I contracted thi_omplaint. You can do nothing."
  • "Possibly not. But I happen to know that Dr. Ainstree, the greatest livin_uthority upon tropical disease, is now in London. All remonstrance i_seless, Holmes, I am going this instant to fetch him." I turned resolutely t_he door.
  • Never have I had such a shock! In an instant, with a tigerspring, the dyin_an had intercepted me. I heard the sharp snap of a twisted key. The nex_oment he had staggered back to his bed, exhausted and panting after his on_remendous outflame of energy.
  • "You won't take the key from me by force, Watson. I've got you, my friend.
  • Here you are, and here you will stay until I will otherwise. But I'll humou_ou." (All this in little gasps, with terrible struggles for breath between.)
  • "You've only my own good at heart. Of course I know that very well. You shal_ave your way, but give me time to get my strength. Not now, Watson, not now.
  • It's four o'clock. At six you can go."
  • "This is insanity, Holmes."
  • "Only two hours, Watson. I promise you will go at six. Are you content t_ait?"
  • "I seem to have no choice."
  • "None in the world, Watson. Thank you, I need no help in arranging th_lothes. You will please keep your distance. Now, Watson, there is one othe_ondition that I would make. You will seek help, not from the man you mention, but from the one that I choose."
  • "By all means."
  • "The first three sensible words that you have uttered since you entered thi_oom, Watson. You will find some books over there. I am somewhat exhausted; _onder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor? A_ix, Watson, we resume our conversation."
  • But it was destined to be resumed long before that hour, and in circumstance_hich gave me a shock hardly second to that caused by his spring to the door.
  • I had stood for some minutes looking at the silent figure in the bed. His fac_as almost covered by the clothes and he appeared to be asleep. Then, unabl_o settle down to reading, I walked slowly round the room, examining th_ictures of celebrated criminals with which every wall was adorned. Finally, in my aimless perambulation, I came to the mantelpiece. A litter of pipes, tobacco-pouches, syringes, penknives, revolver-cartridges, and other debri_as scattered over it. In the midst of these was a small black and white ivor_ox with a sliding lid. It was a neat little thing, and I had stretched out m_and to examine it more closely when — It was a dreadful cry that he gave — _ell which might have been heard down the street. My skin went cold and m_air bristled at that horrible scream. As I turned I caught a glimpse of _onvulsed face and frantic eyes. I stood paralyzed, with the little box in m_and.
  • "Put it down! Down, this instant, Watson — this instant, I say!" His head san_ack upon the pillow and he gave a deep sigh of relief as I replaced the bo_pon the mantelpiece. "I hate to have my things touched, Watson. You know tha_ hate it. You fidget me beyond endurance. You, a doctor — you are enough t_rive a patient into an asylum. Sit down, man, and let me have my rest!"
  • The incident left a most unpleasant impression upon my mind. The violent an_auseless excitement, followed by this brutality of speech, so far remove_rom his usual suavity, showed me how deep was the disorganization of hi_ind. Of all ruins, that of a noble mind is the most deplorable. I sat i_ilent dejection until the stipulated time had passed. He seemed to have bee_atching the clock as well as I, for it was hardly six before he began to tal_ith the same feverish animation as before.
  • "Now, Watson," said he. "Have you any change in your pocket?"
  • "Yes."
  • "Any silver?"
  • "A good deal."
  • "How many half-crowns?"
  • "I have five."
  • "Ah, too few! Too few! How very unfortunate, Watson! However, such as they ar_ou can put them in your watchpocket. And all the rest of your money in you_eft trouserpocket. Thank you. It will balance you so much better like that."
  • This was raving insanity. He shuddered, and again made a sound between a coug_nd a sob.
  • "You will now light the gas, Watson, but you will be very careful that not fo_ne instant shall it be more than half on. I implore you to be careful, Watson. Thank you, that is excellent. No, you need not draw the blind. Now yo_ill have the kindness to place some letters and papers upon this table withi_y reach. Thank you. Now some of that litter from the mantelpiece. Excellent, Watson! There is a sugar-tongs there. Kindly raise that small ivory box wit_ts assistance. Place it here among the papers. Good! You can now go and fetc_r. Culverton Smith, of 13 Lower Burke Street."
  • To tell the truth, my desire to fetch a doctor had somewhat weakened, for poo_olmes was so obviously delirious that it seemed dangerous to leave him.
  • However, he was as eager now to consult the person named as he had bee_bstinate in refusing.
  • "I never heard the name," said I.
  • "Possibly not, my good Watson. It may surprise you to know that the man upo_arth who is best versed in this disease is not a medical man, but a planter.
  • Mr. Culverton Smith is a wellknown resident of Sumatra, now visiting London.
  • An outbreak of the disease upon his plantation, which was distant from medica_id, caused him to study it himself, with some rather far-reachin_onsequences. He is a very methodical person, and I did not desire you t_tart before six, because I was well aware that you would not find him in hi_tudy. If you could persuade him to come here and give us the benefit of hi_nique experience of this disease, the investigation of which has been hi_earest hobby, I cannot doubt that he could help me."
  • I give Holmes's remarks as a consecutive whole and will not attempt t_ndicate how they were interrupted by gaspings for breath and those clutching_f his hands which indicated the pain from which he was suffering. Hi_ppearance had changed for the worse during the few hours that I had been wit_im. Those hectic spots were more pronounced, the eyes shone more brightly ou_f darker hollows, and a cold sweat glimmered upon his brow. He stil_etained, however, the jaunty gallantry of his speech. To the last gasp h_ould always be the master.
  • "You will tell him exactly how you have left me," said he. "You will conve_he very impression which is in your own mind — a dying man — a dying an_elirious man. Indeed, I cannot think why the whole bed of the ocean is no_ne solid mass of oysters, so prolific the creatures seem. Ah, I am wandering!
  • Strange how the brain controls the brain! What was I saying, Watson?"
  • "My directions for Mr. Culverton Smith."
  • "Ah, yes, I remember. My life depends upon it. Plead with him, Watson. Ther_s no good feeling between us. His nephew, Watson — I had suspicions of fou_lay and I allowed him to see it. The boy died horribly. He has a grudg_gainst me. You will soften him, Watson. Beg him, pray him, get him here b_ny means. He can save me — only he!"
  • "I will bring him in a cab, if I have to carry him down to it."
  • "You will do nothing of the sort. You will persuade him to come. And then yo_ill return in front of him. Make any excuse so as not to come with him. Don'_orget, Watson. You won't fail me. You never did fail me. No doubt there ar_atural enemies which limit the increase of the creatures. You and I, Watson, we have done our part. Shall the world, then, be overrun by oysters? No, no; horrible! You'll convey all that is in your mind."
  • I left him full of the image of this magnificent intellect babbling like _oolish child. He had handed me the key, and with a happy thought I took i_ith me lest he should lock himself in. Mrs. Hudson was waiting, trembling an_eeping, in the passage. Behind me as I passed from the flat I heard Holmes'_igh, thin voice in some delirious chant. Below, as I stood whistling for _ab, a man came on me through the fog.
  • "How is Mr. Holmes, sir?" he asked.
  • It was an old acquaintance, Inspector Morton, of Scotland Yard, dressed i_nofficial tweeds.
  • "He is very ill," I answered.
  • He looked at me in a most singular fashion. Had it not been too fiendish, _ould have imagined that the gleam of the fanlight showed exultation in hi_ace.
  • "I heard some rumour of it," said he.
  • The cab had driven up, and I left him.
  • Lower Burke Street proved to be a line of fine houses lying in the vagu_orderland between Notting Hill and Kensington. The particular one at which m_abman pulled up had an air of smug and demure respectability in its old- fashioned iron railings, its massive folding-door, and its shining brasswork.
  • All was in keeping with a solemn butler who appeared framed in the pin_adiance of a tinted electric light behind him.
  • "Yes, Mr. Culverton Smith is in. Dr. Watson! Very good, sir, I will take u_our card."
  • My humble name and title did not appear to impress Mr. Culverton Smith.
  • Through the half-open door I heard a high, petulant, penetrating voice.
  • "Who is this person? What does he want? Dear me, Staples, how often have _aid that I am not to be disturbed in my hours of study?"
  • There came a gentle flow of soothing explanation from the butler.
  • "Well, I won't see him, Staples. I can't have my work interrupted like this. _m not at home. Say so. Tell him to come in the morning if he really must se_e."
  • Again the gentle murmur.
  • "Well, well, give him that message. He can come in the morning, or he can sta_way. My work must not be hindered."
  • I thought of Holmes tossing upon his bed of sickness and counting the minutes, perhaps, until I could bring help to him. It was not a time to stand upo_eremony. His life depended upon my promptness. Before the apologetic butle_ad delivered his message I had pushed past him and was in the room.
  • With a shrill cry of anger a man rose from a reclining chair beside the fire.
  • I saw a great yellow face, coarse-grained and greasy, with heavy, double-chin, and two sullen, menacing gray eyes which glared at me from under tufted an_andy brows. A high bald head had a small velvet smoking-cap poise_oquettishly upon one side of its pink curve. The skull was of enormou_apacity, and yet as I looked down I saw to my amazement that the figure o_he man was small and frail, twisted in the shoulders and back like one wh_as suffered from rickets in his childhood.
  • "What's this?" he cried in a high, screaming voice. "What is the meaning o_his intrusion? Didn't I send you word that I would see you to-morro_orning?"
  • "I am sorry," said I, "but the matter cannot be delayed. Mr. Sherlock Holmes —"
  • The mention of my friend's name had an extraordinary effect upon the littl_an. The look of anger passed in an instant from his face. His features becam_ense and alert.
  • "Have you come from Holmes?" he asked.
  • "I have just left him."
  • "What about Holmes? How is he?"
  • "He is desperately ill. That is why I have come."
  • The man motioned me to a chair, and turned to resume his own. As he did so _aught a glimpse of his face in the mirror over the mantelpiece. I could hav_worn that it was set in a malicious and abominable smile. Yet I persuade_yself that it must have been some nervous contraction which I had surprised, for he turned to me an instant later with genuine concern upon his features.
  • "I am sorry to hear this," said he. "I only know Mr. Holmes through som_usiness dealings which we have had, but I have every respect for his talent_nd his character. He is an amateur of crime, as I am of disease. For him th_illain, for me the microbe. There are my prisons," he continued, pointing t_ row of bottles and jars which stood upon a side table. "Among those gelatin_ultivations some of the very worst offenders in the world are now doin_ime."
  • "It was on account of your special knowledge that Mr. Holmes desired to se_ou. He has a high opinion of you and thought that you were the one man i_ondon who could help him."
  • The little man started, and the jaunty smoking-cap slid to the floor.
  • "Why?" he asked. "Why should Mr. Holmes think that I could help him in hi_rouble?"
  • "Because of your knowledge of Eastern diseases."
  • "But why should he think that this disease which he has contracted i_astern?"
  • "Because, in some professional inquiry, he has been working among Chines_ailors down in the docks."
  • Mr. Culverton Smith smiled pleasantly and picked up his smoking-cap.
  • "Oh, that's it — is it?" said he. "I trust the matter is not so grave as yo_uppose. How long has he been ill?"
  • "About three days."
  • "Is he delirious?"
  • "Occasionally."
  • "Tut, tut! This sounds serious. It would be inhuman not to answer his call. _ery much resent any interruption to my work, Dr. Watson, but this case i_ertainly exceptional. I will come with you at once."
  • I remembered Holmes's injunction.
  • "I have another appointment," said I.
  • "Very good. I will go alone. I have a note of Mr. Holmes's address. You ca_ely upon my being there within half an hour at most."
  • It was with a sinking heart that I reentered Holmes's bedroom. For all that _new the worst might have happened in my absence. To my enormous relief, h_ad improved greatly in the interval. His appearance was as ghastly as ever, but all trace of delirium had left him and he spoke in a feeble voice, it i_rue, but with even more than his usual crispness and lucidity.
  • "Well, did you see him, Watson?"
  • "Yes; he is coming."
  • "Admirable, Watson! Admirable! You are the best of messengers."
  • "He wished to return with me."
  • "That would never do, Watson. That would be obviously impossible. Did he as_hat ailed me?"
  • "I told him about the Chinese in the East End."
  • "Exactly! Well, Watson, you have done all that a good friend could. You ca_ow disappear from the scene."
  • "I must wait and hear his opinion, Holmes."
  • "Of course you must. But I have reasons to suppose that this opinion would b_ery much more frank and valuable if he imagines that we are alone. There i_ust room behind the head of my bed, Watson."
  • "My dear Holmes!"
  • "I fear there is no alternative, Watson. The room does not lend itself t_oncealment, which is as well, as it is the less likely to arouse suspicion.
  • But just there, Watson, I fancy that it could be done." Suddenly he sat u_ith a rigid intentness upon his haggard face. "There are the wheels, Watson.
  • Quick, man, if you love me! And don't budge, whatever happens — whateve_appens, do you hear? Don't speak! Don't move! Just listen with all you_ars." Then in an instant his sudden access of strength departed, and hi_asterful, purposeful talk droned away into the low, vague murmurings of _emi-dellrious man.
  • From the hiding-place into which I had been so swiftly hustled I heard th_ootfalls upon the stair, with the opening and the closing of the bedroo_oor. Then, to my surprise, there came a long silence, broken only by th_eavy breathings and gaspings of the sick man. I could imagine that ou_isitor was standing by the bedside and looking down at the sufferer. At las_hat strange hush was broken.
  • "Holmes!" he cried. "Holmes!" in the insistent tone of one who awakens _leeper. "Can't you hear me, Holmes?" There was a rustling, as if he ha_haken the sick man roughly by the shoulder.
  • "Is that you, Mr. Smith?" Holmes whispered. "I hardly dared hope that yo_ould come."
  • The other laughed.
  • "I should imagine not," he said. "And yet, you see, I am here. Coals of fire, Holmes — coals of fire!"
  • "It is very good of you — very noble of you. I appreciate your specia_nowledge."
  • Our visitor sniggered.
  • "You do. You are, fortunately, the only man in London who does. Do you kno_hat is the matter with you?"
  • "The same," said Holmes.
  • "Ah! You recognize the symptoms?"
  • "Only too well."
  • "Well, I shouldn't be surprised, Holmes. I shouldn't be surprised if it wer_he same. A bad lookout for you if it is. Poor Victor was a dead man on th_ourth day — a strong, hearty young fellow. It was certainly, as you said, very surprising that he should have contracted an out-of-the-way Asiati_isease in the heart of London — a disease, too, of which I had made such _ery special study. Singular coincidence, Holmes. Very smart of you to notic_t, but rather uncharitable to suggest that it was cause and effect."
  • "I knew that you did it."
  • "Oh, you did, did you? Well, you couldn't prove it, anyhow. But what do yo_hink of yourself spreading reports about me like that, and then crawling t_e for help the moment you are in trouble? What sort of a game is that — eh?"
  • I heard the rasping, laboured breathing of the sick man. "Give me the water!"
  • he gasped.
  • "You're precious near your end, my friend, but I don't want you to go till _ave had a word with you. That's why I give you water. There, don't slop i_bout! That's right. Can you understand what I say?"
  • Holmes groaned.
  • "Do what you can for me. Let bygones be bygones," he whispered. "I'll put th_ords out of my head — I swear I will. Only cure me, and I'll forget it."
  • "Forget what?"
  • "Well, about Victor Savage's death. You as good as admitted just now that yo_ad done it. I'll forget it."
  • "You can forget it or remember it, just as you like. I don't see you in th_itness-box. Quite another shaped box, my good Holmes, I assure you. I_atters nothing to me that you should know how my nephew died. It's not him w_re talking about. It's you."
  • "Yes, yes."
  • "The fellow who came for me — I've forgotten his name — said that yo_ontracted it down in the East End among the sailors."
  • "I could only account for it so."
  • "You are proud of your brains, Holmes, are you not? Think yourself smart, don't you? You came across someone who was smarter this time. Now cast you_ind back, Holmes. Can you think of no other way you could have got thi_hing?"
  • "I can't think. My mind is gone. For heaven's sake help me! "
  • "Yes, I will help you. I'll help you to understand just where you are and ho_ou got there. I'd like you to know before you die."
  • "Give me something to ease my pain."
  • "Painful, is it? Yes, the coolies used to do some squealing towards the end.
  • Takes you as cramp, I fancy."
  • "Yes, yes; it is cramp."
  • "Well, you can hear what I say, anyhow. Listen now! Can you remember an_nusual incident in your life just about the time your symptoms began?"
  • "No, no; nothing."
  • "Think again."
  • "I'm too ill to think."
  • "Well, then, I'll help you. Did anything come by post?"
  • "By post?"
  • "A box by chance?"
  • "I'm fainting — I'm gone!"
  • "Listen, Holmes!" There was a sound as if he was shaking the dying man, and i_as all that I could do to hold myself quiet in my hiding-place. "You mus_ear me. You shall hear me. Do you remember a box — an ivory box? It came o_ednesday. You opened it — do you remember?"
  • "Yes, yes, I opened it. There was a sharp spring inside it. Some joke —"
  • "It was no joke, as you will find to your cost. You fool, you would have i_nd you have got it. Who asked you to cross my path? If you had left me alon_ would not have hurt you."
  • "I remember," Holmes gasped. "The spring! It drew blood. This box — this o_he table."
  • "The very one, by George! And it may as well leave the room in my pocket.
  • There goes your last shred of evidence. But you have the truth now, Holmes, and you can die with the knowledge that I killed you. You knew too much of th_ate of Victor Savage, so I have sent you to share it. You are very near you_nd, Holmes. I will sit here and I will watch you die."
  • Holmes's voice had sunk to an almost inaudible whisper.
  • "What is that?" said Smith. "Turn up the gas? Ah, the shadows begin to fall, do they? Yes, I will turn it up, that I may see you the better." He crosse_he room and the light suddenly brightened. "Is there any other little servic_hat I can do you, my friend?"
  • "A match and a cigarette."
  • I nearly called out in my joy and my amazement. He was speaking in his natura_oice — a little weak, perhaps, but the very voice I knew. There was a lon_ause, and I felt that Culverton Smith was standing in silent amazemen_ooking down at his companion.
  • "What's the meaning of this?" I heard him say at last in a dry, rasping tone.
  • "The best way of successfully acting a part is to be it," said Holmes. "I giv_ou my word that for three days I have tasted neither food nor drink until yo_ere good enough to pour me out that glass of water. But it is the tobacc_hich I find most irksome. Ah, here are some cigarettes." I heard the strikin_f a match. "That is very much better. Halloa! halloa! Do I hear the step of _riend?"
  • There were footfalls outside, the door opened, and Inspector Morton appeared.
  • "All is in order and this is your man," said Holmes.
  • The officer gave the usual cautions.
  • "I arrest you on the charge of the murder of one Victor Savage," he concluded.
  • "And you might add of the attempted murder of one Sherlock Holmes," remarke_y friend with a chuckle. "To save an invalid trouble, Inspector, Mr.
  • Culverton Smith was good enough to give our signal by turning up the gas. B_he way, the prisoner has a small box in the right-hand pocket of his coa_hich it would be as well to remove. Thank you. I would handle it gingerly i_ were you. Put it down here. It may play its part in the trial."
  • There was a sudden rush and a scuffle, followed by the clash of iron and a cr_f pain.
  • "You'll only get yourself hurt," said the inspector. "Stand still, will you?"
  • There was the click of the closing handcuffs.
  • "A nice trap!" cried the high, snarling voice. "It will bring you into th_ock, Holmes, not me. He asked me to come here to cure him. I was sorry fo_im and I came. Now he will pretend, no doubt, that I have said anything whic_e may invent which will corroborate his insane suspicions. You can lie as yo_ike, Holmes. My word is always as good as yours."
  • "Good heavens!" cried Holmes. "I had totally forgotten him. My dear Watson, _we you a thousand apologies. To think that I should have overlooked you! _eed not introduce you to Mr. Culverton Smith, since I understand that you me_omewhat earlier in the evening. Have you the cab below? I will follow yo_hen I am dressed, for I may be of some use at the station.
  • "I never needed it more," said Holmes as he refreshed himself with a glass o_laret and some biscuits in the intervals of his toilet. "However, as yo_now, my habits are irregular, and such a feat means less to me than to mos_en. It was very essential that I should impress Mrs. Hudson with the realit_f my condition, since she was to convey it to you, and you in turn to him.
  • You won't be offended, Watson? You will realize that among your many talent_issimulation finds no place, and that if you had shared my secret you woul_ever have been able to impress Smith with the urgent necessity of hi_resence, which was the vital point of the whole scheme. Knowing hi_indictive nature, I was perfectly certain that he would come to look upon hi_andiwork."
  • "But your appearance, Holmes — your ghastly face?"
  • "Three days of absolute fast does not improve one's beauty, Watson. For th_est, there is nothing which a sponge may not cure. With vaseline upon one'_orehead, belladonna in one's eyes, rouge over the cheek-bones, and crusts o_eeswax round one's lips, a very satisfying effect can be produced.
  • Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing _onograph. A little occasional talk about half-crowns, oysters-, or any othe_xtraneous subject produces a pleasing effect of delirium."
  • "But why would you not let me near you, since there was in truth n_nfection?"
  • "Can you ask, my dear Watson? Do you imagine that I have no respect for you_edical talents? Could I fancy that your astute judgment would pass a dyin_an who, however weak, had no rise of pulse or temperature? At four yards, _ould deceive you. If I failed to do so, who would bring my Smith within m_rasp? No, Watson, I would not touch that box. You can just see if you look a_t sideways where the sharp spring like a viper's tooth emerges as you ope_t. I dare say it was by some such device that poor Savage, who stood betwee_his monster and a reversion, was done to death. My correspondence, however, is, as you know, a varied one, and I am somewhat upon my guard against an_ackages which reach me. It was clear to me, however, that by pretending tha_e had really succeeded in his design I might surprise a confession. Tha_retence I have carried out with the thoroughness of the true artist. Than_ou, Watson, you must help me on with my coat. When we have finished at th_olice-station I think that something nutritious at Simpson's would not be ou_f place."