wohnzimmer arbeitszimmer kombiniert

wohnzimmer arbeitszimmer kombiniert

his last bow: a reminiscence of sherlock holmesby sir arthur conan doyle "the adventure of the bruce-partington plans" in the third week of november, in the year 1895, a dense yellow fog settled down upon london. from the monday to the thursday i doubt whetherit was ever possible from our windows in baker street to see the loom of the opposite houses. the first day holmes had spent in cross-indexinghis huge book of references. the second and third had been patiently occupiedupon a subject which he hand recently made his hobby—the music of the middle ages. but when, for the fourth time, after pushingback our chairs from breakfast we saw the

greasy, heavy brown swirl still drifting pastus and condensing in oily drops upon the window- panes, my comrade’s impatient and activenature could endure this drab existence no longer. he paced restlessly about our sitting- roomin a fever of suppressed energy, biting his nails, tapping the furniture, and chafingagainst inaction. “nothing of interest in the paper, watson?”he said. in was aware that by anything of interest,holmes meant anything of criminal interest. there was the news of a revolution, of a possiblewar, and of an impending change of government; but these did not come within the horizonof my companion.

i could see nothing recorded in the shapeof crime which was not commonplace and futile. holmes groaned and resumed his restless meanderings. “the london criminal is certainly a dullfellow,” said he in the querulous voice of the sportsman whose game has failed him. “look out this window, watson. see how the figures loom up, are dimly seen,and then blend once more into the cloud-bank. the thief or the murderer could roam londonon such a day as the tiger does the jungle, unseen until he pounces, and then evidentonly to his victim.” “there have,” said i, “been numerouspetty thefts.”

holmes snorted his contempt. “this great and sombre stage is set forsomething more worthy than that,” said he. “it is fortunate for this community thati am not a criminal.” “it is, indeed!” said i heartily. “suppose that i were brooks or woodhouse,or any of the fifty men who have good reason for taking my life, how long could i surviveagainst my own pursuit? a summons, a bogus appointment, and all wouldbe over. it is well they don’t have days of fog inthe latin countries—the countries of assassination. by jove! here comes something at last to breakour dead monotony.”

it was the maid with a telegram. holmes tore it open and burst out laughing. “well, well! what next?” said he. “brother mycroft is coming round.” “why not?” i asked. “why not? it is as if you met a tram-car coming downa country lane.

mycroft has his rails and he runs on them. his pall mall lodgings, the diogenes club,whitehall—that is his cycle. once, and only once, he has been here. what upheaval can possibly have derailed him?” “does he not explain?” holmes handed me his brother’s telegram. must see you over cadogen west. coming at once. mycroft.

“cadogen west? i have heard the name.” “it recalls nothing to my mind. but that mycroft should break out in thiserratic fashion! a planet might as well leave its orbit. by the way, do you know what mycroft is?” i had some vague recollection of an explanationat the time of the adventure of the greek interpreter. “you told me that he had some small officeunder the british government.”

holmes chuckled. “i did not know you quite so well in thosedays. one has to be discreet when one talks of highmatters of state. you are right in thinking that he under thebritish government. you would also be right in a sense if yousaid that occasionally he is the british government.” “my dear holmes!” “i thought i might surprise you. mycroft draws four hundred and fifty poundsa year, remains a subordinate, has no ambitions of any kind, will receive neither honour nortitle, but remains the most indispensable

man in the country.” “but how?” “well, his position is unique. he has made it for himself. there has never been anything like it before,nor will be again. he has the tidiest and most orderly brain,with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. the same great powers which i have turnedto the detection of crime he has used for this particular business.

the conclusions of every department are passedto him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. all other men are specialists, but his specialismis omniscience. we will suppose that a minister needs informationas to a point which involves the navy, india, canada and the bimetallic question; he couldget his separate advices from various departments upon each, but only mycroft can focus themall, and say offhand how each factor would affect the other. they began by using him as a short-cut, aconvenience; now he has made himself an essential. in that great brain of his everything is pigeon-holedand can be handed out in an instant.

again and again his word has decided the nationalpolicy. he lives in it. he thinks of nothing else save when, as anintellectual exercise, he unbends if i call upon him and ask him to advise me on one ofmy little problems. but jupiter is descending to-day. what on earth can it mean? who is cadogan west, and what is he to mycroft?” “i have it,” i cried, and plunged amongthe litter of papers upon the sofa. “yes, yes, here he is, sure enough!

cadogen west was the young man who was founddead on the underground on tuesday morning.” holmes sat up at attention, his pipe halfwayto his lips. “this must be serious, watson. a death which has caused my brother to alterhis habits can be no ordinary one. what in the world can he have to do with it? the case was featureless as i remember it. the young man had apparently fallen out ofthe train and killed himself. he had not been robbed, and there was no particularreason to suspect violence. is that not so?”

“there has been an inquest,” said i, “anda good many fresh facts have come out. looked at more closely, i should certainlysay that it was a curious case.” “judging by its effect upon my brother,i should think it must be a most extraordinary one.” he snuggled down in his armchair. “now, watson, let us have the facts.” “the man’s name was arthur cadogan west. he was twenty-seven years of age, unmarried,and a clerk at woolwich arsenal.” “government employ.

behold the link with brother mycroft!” “he left woolwich suddenly on monday night. was last seen by his fiancee, miss violetwestbury, whom he left abruptly in the fog about 7:30 that evening. there was no quarrel between them and shecan give no motive for his action. the next thing heard of him was when his deadbody was discovered by a plate-layer named mason, just outside aldgate station on theunderground system in london.” “when?” “the body was found at six on tuesday morning.

it was lying wide of the metals upon the lefthand of the track as one goes eastward, at a point close to the station, where the lineemerges from the tunnel in which it runs. the head was badly crushed—an injury whichmight well have been caused by a fall from the train. the body could only have come on the linein that way. had it been carried down from any neighbouringstreet, it must have passed the station barriers, where a collector is always standing. this point seems absolutely certain.” “very good.

the case is definite enough. the man, dead or alive, either fell or wasprecipitated from a train. so much is clear to me. continue.” “the trains which traverse the lines ofrail beside which the body was found are those which run from west to east, some being purelymetropolitan, and some from willesden and outlying junctions. it can be stated for certain that this youngman, when he met his death, was travelling in this direction at some late hour of thenight, but at what point he entered the train

it is impossible to state.” “his ticket, of course, would show that.” “there was no ticket in his pockets.” “no ticket! dear me, watson, this is really very singular. according to my experience it is not possibleto reach the platform of a metropolitan train without exhibiting one’s ticket. presumably, then, the young man had one. was it taken from him in order to concealthe station from which he came?

it is possible. or did he drop it in the carriage? that is also possible. but the point is of curious interest. i understand that there was no sign of robbery?” “apparently not. there is a list here of his possessions. his purse contained two pounds fifteen. he had also a check-book on the woolwich branchof the capital and counties bank.

through this his identity was established. there were also two dress- circle ticketsfor the woolwich theatre, dated for that very evening. also a small packet of technical papers.” holmes gave an exclamation of satisfaction. “there we have it at last, watson! british government—woolwich. arsenal—technical papers—brother mycroft,the chain is complete. but here he comes, if i am not mistaken, tospeak for himself.”

a moment later the tall and portly form ofmycroft holmes was ushered into the room. heavily built and massive, there was a suggestionof uncouth physical inertia in the figure, but above this unwieldy frame there was percheda head so masterful in its brow, so alert in its steel-gray, deep-set eyes, so firmin its lips, and so subtle in its play of expression, that after the first glance oneforgot the gross body and remembered only the dominant mind. at his heels came our old friend lestrade,of scotland yard—thin and austere. the gravity of both their faces foretold someweighty quest. the detective shook hands without a word.

mycroft holmes struggled out of his overcoatand subsided into an armchair. “a most annoying business, sherlock,”said he. “i extremely dislike altering my habits,but the powers that be would take no denial. in the present state of siam it is most awkwardthat i should be away from the office. but it is a real crisis. i have never seen the prime minister so upset. as to the admiralty—it is buzzing like anoverturned bee-hive. have you read up the case?” “we have just done so.

what were the technical papers?” “ah, there’s the point! fortunately, it has not come out. the press would be furious if it did. the papers which this wretched youth had inhis pocket were the plans of the bruce-partington submarine.” mycroft holmes spoke with a solemnity whichshowed his sense of the importance of the subject. his brother and i sat expectant.

“surely you have heard of it? i thought everyone had heard of it.” “only as a name.” “its importance can hardly be exaggerated. it has been the most jealously guarded ofall government secrets. you may take it from me that naval warfarebecomes impossible within the radius of a bruce-partington’s operation. two years ago a very large sum was smuggledthrough the estimates and was expended in acquiring a monopoly of the invention.

every effort has been made to keep the secret. the plans, which are exceedingly intricate,comprising some thirty separate patents, each essential to the working of the whole, arekept in an elaborate safe in a confidential office adjoining the arsenal, with burglar-proofdoors and windows. under no conceivable circumstances were theplans to be taken from the office. if the chief constructor of the navy desiredto consult them, even he was forced to go to the woolwich office for the purpose. and yet here we find them in the pocket ofa dead junior clerk in the heart of london. from an official point of view it’s simplyawful.”

“but you have recovered them?” “no, sherlock, no! that’s the pinch. we have not. ten papers were taken from woolwich. there were seven in the pocket of cadoganwest. the three most essential are gone—stolen,vanished. you must drop everything, sherlock. never mind your usual petty puzzles of thepolice-court.

it’s a vital international problem thatyou have to solve. why did cadogan west take the papers, whereare the missing ones, how did he die, how came his body where it was found, how canthe evil be set right? find an answer to all these questions, andyou will have done good service for your country.” “why do you not solve it yourself, mycroft? you can see as far as i.”“possibly, sherlock. but it is a question of getting details. give me your details, and from an armchairi will return you an excellent expert opinion. but to run here and run there, to cross-questionrailway guards, and lie on my face with a

lens to my eye—it is not my metier. no, you are the one man who can clear thematter up. if you have a fancy to see your name in thenext honours list—” my friend smiled and shook his head. “i play the game for the game’s own sake,”said he. “but the problem certainly presents somepoints of interest, and i shall be very pleased to look into it. some more facts, please.” “i have jotted down the more essential onesupon this sheet of paper, together with a

few addresses which you will find of service. the actual official guardian of the papersis the famous government expert, sir james walter, whose decorations and sub-titles filltwo lines of a book of reference. he has grown gray in the service, is a gentleman,a favoured guest in the most exalted houses, and, above all, a man whose patriotism isbeyond suspicion. he is one of two who have a key of the safe. i may add that the papers were undoubtedlyin the office during working hours on monday, and that sir james left for london about threeo’clock taking his key with him. he was at the house of admiral sinclair atbarclay square during the whole of the evening

when this incident occurred.” “has the fact been verified?” “yes; his brother, colonel valentine walter,has testified to his departure from woolwich, and admiral sinclair to his arrival in london;so sir james is no longer a direct factor in the problem.” “who was the other man with a key?” “the senior clerk and draughtsman, mr. sidneyjohnson. he is a man of forty, married, with five children. he is a silent, morose man, but he has, onthe whole, an excellent record in the public

service. he is unpopular with his colleagues, but ahard worker. according to his own account, corroboratedonly by the word of his wife, he was at home the whole of monday evening after office hours,and his key has never left the watch-chain upon which it hangs.” “tell us about cadogan west.” “he has been ten years in the service andhas done good work. he has the reputation of being hot-headedand imperious, but a straight, honest man. we have nothing against him.

he was next sidney johnson in the office. his duties brought him into daily, personalcontact with the plans. no one else had the handling of them.” “who locked up the plans that night?” “mr. sidney johnson, the senior clerk.” “well, it is surely perfectly clear whotook them away. they are actually found upon the person ofthis junior clerk, cadogan west. that seems final, does it not?” “it does, sherlock, and yet it leaves somuch unexplained.

in the first place, why did he take them?” “i presume they were of value?” “he could have got several thousands forthem very easily.” “can you suggest any possible motive fortaking the papers to london except to sell them?” “no, i cannot.” “then we must take that as our working hypothesis. young west took the papers. now this could only be done by having a falsekey—”

“several false keys. he had to open the building and the room.” “he had, then, several false keys. he took the papers to london to sell the secret,intending, no doubt, to have the plans themselves back in the safe next morning before theywere missed. while in london on this treasonable missionhe met his end.” “how?” “we will suppose that he was travellingback to woolwich when he was killed and thrown out of the compartment.”

“aldgate, where the body was found, is considerablypast the station london bridge, which would be his route to woolwich.” “many circumstances could be imagined underwhich he would pass london bridge. there was someone in the carriage, for example,with whom he was having an absorbing interview. this interview led to a violent scene in whichhe lost his life. possibly he tried to leave the carriage, fellout on the line, and so met his end. the other closed the door. there was a thick fog, and nothing could beseen.” “no better explanation can be given withour present knowledge; and yet consider, sherlock,

how much you leave untouched. we will suppose, for argument’s sake, thatyoung cadogan west had determined to convey these papers to london. he would naturally have made an appointmentwith the foreign agent and kept his evening clear. instead of that he took two tickets for thetheatre, escorted his fiancee halfway there, and then suddenly disappeared.” “a blind,” said lestrade, who had satlistening with some impatience to the conversation. “a very singular one.

that is objection no. 1. objection no. 2: we will suppose that he reacheslondon and sees the foreign agent. he must bring back the papers before morningor the loss will be discovered. he took away ten. only seven were in his pocket. what had become of the other three? he certainly would not leave them of his ownfree will. then, again, where is the price of his treason? once would have expected to find a large sumof money in his pocket.”

“it seems to me perfectly clear,” saidlestrade. “i have no doubt at all as to what occurred. he took the papers to sell them. he saw the agent. they could not agree as to price. he started home again, but the agent wentwith him. in the train the agent murdered him, tookthe more essential papers, and threw his body from the carriage. that would account for everything, would itnot?”

“why had he no ticket?” “the ticket would have shown which stationwas nearest the agent’s house. therefore he took it from the murdered man’spocket.” “good, lestrade, very good,” said holmes. “your theory holds together. but if this is true, then the case is at anend. on the one hand, the traitor is dead. on the other, the plans of the bruce-partingtonsubmarine are presumably already on the continent. what is there for us to do?”

“to act, sherlock—to act!” cried mycroft,springing to his feet. “all my instincts are against this explanation. use your powers! go to the scene of the crime! see the people concerned! leave no stone unturned! in all your career you have never had so greata chance of serving your country.” “well, well!” said holmes, shrugging hisshoulders. “come, watson!

and you, lestrade, could you favour us withyour company for an hour or two? we will begin our investigation by a visitto aldgate station. good-bye, mycroft. i shall let you have a report before evening,but i warn you in advance that you have little to expect.” an hour later holmes, lestrade and i stoodupon the underground railroad at the point where it emerges from the tunnel immediatelybefore aldgate station. a courteous red-faced old gentleman representedthe railway company. “this is where the young man’s body lay,”said he, indicating a spot about three feet

from the metals. “it could not have fallen from above, forthese, as you see, are all blank walls. therefore, it could only have come from atrain, and that train, so far as we can trace it, must have passed about midnight on monday.” “have the carriages been examined for anysign of violence?” “there are no such signs, and no tickethas been found.” “no record of a door being found open?” “none.” “we have had some fresh evidence this morning,”said lestrade.

“a passenger who passed aldgate in an ordinarymetropolitan train about 11:40 on monday night declares that he heard a heavy thud, as ofa body striking the line, just before the train reached the station. there was dense fog, however, and nothingcould be seen. he made no report of it at the time. why, whatever is the matter with mr. holmes?” my friend was standing with an expressionof strained intensity upon his face, staring at the railway metals where they curved outof the tunnel. aldgate is a junction, and there was a networkof points.

on these his eager, questioning eyes werefixed, and i saw on his keen, alert face that tightening of the lips, that quiver of thenostrils, and concentration of the heavy, tufted brows which i knew so well. “points,” he muttered; “the points.” “what of it? what do you mean?” “i suppose there are no great number ofpoints on a system such as this?” “no; they are very few.” “and a curve, too.

points, and a curve. by jove! if it were only so.” “what is it, mr. holmes? have you a clue?” “an idea—an indication, no more. but the case certainly grows in interest. unique, perfectly unique, and yet why not? i do not see any indications of bleeding onthe line.” “there were hardly any.”

“but i understand that there was a considerablewound.” “the bone was crushed, but there was nogreat external injury.” “and yet one would have expected some bleeding. would it be possible for me to inspect thetrain which contained the passenger who heard the thud of a fall in the fog?” “i fear not, mr. holmes. the train has been broken up before now, andthe carriages redistributed.” “i can assure you, mr. holmes,” said lestrade,“that every carriage has been carefully examined.

i saw to it myself.” it was one of my friend’s most obvious weaknessesthat he was impatient with less alert intelligences than his own. “very likely,” said he, turning away. “as it happens, it was not the carriageswhich i desired to examine. watson, we have done all we can here. we need not trouble you any further, mr. lestrade. i think our investigations must now carryus to woolwich.” at london bridge, holmes wrote a telegramto his brother, which he handed to me before

dispatching it. it ran thus:see some light in the darkness, but it may possibly flicker out. meanwhile, please send by messenger, to awaitreturn at baker street, a complete list of all foreign spies or international agentsknown to be in england, with full address. sherlock. “that should be helpful, watson,” he remarkedas we took our seats in the woolwich train. “we certainly owe brother mycroft a debtfor having introduced us to what promises to be a really very remarkable case.”

his eager face still wore that expressionof intense and high- strung energy, which showed me that some novel and suggestive circumstancehad opened up a stimulating line of thought. see the foxhound with hanging ears and droopingtail as it lolls about the kennels, and compare it with the same hound as, with gleaming eyesand straining muscles, it runs upon a breast-high scent—such was the change in holmes sincethe morning. he was a different man from the limp and loungingfigure in the mouse- coloured dressing-gown who had prowled so restlessly only a few hoursbefore round the fog-girt room. “there is material here. there is scope,” said he.

“i am dull indeed not to have understoodits possibilities.” “even now they are dark to me.” “the end is dark to me also, but i havehold of one idea which may lead us far. the man met his death elsewhere, and his bodywas on the roof of a carriage.” “on the roof!” “remarkable, is it not? but consider the facts. is it a coincidence that it is found at thevery point where the train pitches and sways as it comes round on the points?

is not that the place where an object uponthe roof might be expected to fall off? the points would affect no object inside thetrain. either the body fell from the roof, or a verycurious coincidence has occurred. but now consider the question of the blood. of course, there was no bleeding on the lineif the body had bled elsewhere. each fact is suggestive in itself. together they have a cumulative force.” “and the ticket, too!” i cried.

“exactly. we could not explain the absence of a ticket. this would explain it. everything fits together.” “but suppose it were so, we are still asfar as ever from unravelling the mystery of his death. indeed, it becomes not simpler but stranger.” “perhaps,” said holmes, thoughtfully,“perhaps.” he relapsed into a silent reverie, which lasteduntil the slow train drew up at last in woolwich

station. there he called a cab and drew mycroft’spaper from his pocket. “we have quite a little round of afternooncalls to make,” said he. “i think that sir james walter claims ourfirst attention.” the house of the famous official was a finevilla with green lawns stretching down to the thames. as we reached it the fog was lifting, anda thin, watery sunshine was breaking through. a butler answered our ring. “sir james, sir!” said he with solemnface.

“sir james died this morning.” “good heavens!” cried holmes in amazement. “how did he die?” “perhaps you would care to step in, sir,and see his brother, colonel valentine?” “yes, we had best do so.” we were ushered into a dim-lit drawing-room,where an instant later we were joined by a very tall, handsome, light-bearded man offifty, the younger brother of the dead scientist. his wild eyes, stained cheeks, and unkempthair all spoke of the sudden blow which had fallen upon the household.

he was hardly articulate as he spoke of it. “it was this horrible scandal,” said he. “my brother, sir james, was a man of verysensitive honour, and he could not survive such an affair. it broke his heart. he was always so proud of the efficiency ofhis department, and this was a crushing blow.” “we had hoped that he might have given ussome indications which would have helped us to clear the matter up.” “i assure you that it was all a mysteryto him as it is to you and to all of us.

he had already put all his knowledge at thedisposal of the police. naturally he had no doubt that cadogan westwas guilty. but all the rest was inconceivable.” “you cannot throw any new light upon theaffair?” “i know nothing myself save what i haveread or heard. i have no desire to be discourteous, but youcan understand, mr. holmes, that we are much disturbed at present, and i must ask you tohasten this interview to an end.” “this is indeed an unexpected development,”said my friend when we had regained the cab. “i wonder if the death was natural, or whetherthe poor old fellow killed himself!

if the latter, may it be taken as some signof self-reproach for duty neglected? we must leave that question to the future. now we shall turn to the cadogan wests.” a small but well-kept house in the outskirtsof the town sheltered the bereaved mother. the old lady was too dazed with grief to beof any use to us, but at her side was a white-faced young lady, who introduced herself as missviolet westbury, the fiancee of the dead man, and the last to see him upon that fatal night. “i cannot explain it, mr. holmes,” shesaid. “i have not shut an eye since the tragedy,thinking, thinking, thinking, night and day,

what the true meaning of it can be. arthur was the most single-minded, chivalrous,patriotic man upon earth. he would have cut his right hand off beforehe would sell a state secret confided to his keeping. it is absurd, impossible, preposterous toanyone who knew him.” “but the facts, miss westbury?” “yes, yes; i admit i cannot explain them.” “was he in any want of money?” “no; his needs were very simple and hissalary ample.

he had saved a few hundreds, and we were tomarry at the new year.” “no signs of any mental excitement? come, miss westbury, be absolutely frank withus.” the quick eye of my companion had noted somechange in her manner. she coloured and hesitated. “yes,” she said at last, “i had a feelingthat there was something on his mind.” “for long?” “only for the last week or so. he was thoughtful and worried.

once i pressed him about it. he admitted that there was something, andthat it was concerned with his official life. ‘it is too serious for me to speak about,even to you,’ said he. i could get nothing more.” holmes looked grave. “go on, miss westbury. even if it seems to tell against him, go on. we cannot say what it may lead to.” “indeed, i have nothing more to tell.

once or twice it seemed to me that he wason the point of telling me something. he spoke one evening of the importance ofthe secret, and i have some recollection that he said that no doubt foreign spies wouldpay a great deal to have it.” my friend’s face grew graver still. “anything else?” “he said that we were slack about such matters—thatit would be easy for a traitor to get the plans.” “was it only recently that he made suchremarks?” “yes, quite recently.”

“now tell us of that last evening.” “we were to go to the theatre. the fog was so thick that a cab was useless. we walked, and our way took us close to theoffice. suddenly he darted away into the fog.” “without a word?” “he gave an exclamation; that was all. i waited but he never returned. then i walked home.

next morning, after the office opened, theycame to inquire. about twelve o’clock we heard the terriblenews. oh, mr. holmes, if you could only, only savehis honour! it was so much to him.” holmes shook his head sadly. “come, watson,” said he, “our ways lieelsewhere. our next station must be the office from whichthe papers were taken. “it was black enough before against thisyoung man, but our inquiries make it blacker,” he remarked as the cab lumbered off.

“his coming marriage gives a motive forthe crime. he naturally wanted money. the idea was in his head, since he spoke aboutit. he nearly made the girl an accomplice in thetreason by telling her his plans. it is all very bad.” “but surely, holmes, character goes forsomething? then, again, why should he leave the girlin the street and dart away to commit a felony?” “exactly! there are certainly objections.

but it is a formidable case which they haveto meet.” mr. sidney johnson, the senior clerk, metus at the office and received us with that respect which my companion’s card alwayscommanded. he was a thin, gruff, bespectacled man ofmiddle age, his cheeks haggard, and his hands twitching from the nervous strain to whichhe had been subjected. “it is bad, mr. holmes, very bad! have you heard of the death of the chief?” “we have just come from his house.” “the place is disorganized.

the chief dead, cadogan west dead, our papersstolen. and yet, when we closed our door on mondayevening, we were as efficient an office as any in the government service. good god, it’s dreadful to think of! that west, of all men, should have done sucha thing!” “you are sure of his guilt, then?” “i can see no other way out of it. and yet i would have trusted him as i trustmyself.” “at what hour was the office closed on monday?”

“at five.” “did you close it?” “i am always the last man out.” “where were the plans?” “in that safe. i put them there myself.” “is there no watchman to the building?” “there is, but he has other departmentsto look after as well. he is an old soldier and a most trustworthyman.

he saw nothing that evening. of course the fog was very thick.” “suppose that cadogan west wished to makehis way into the building after hours; he would need three keys, would he not, beforethe could reach the papers?” “yes, he would. the key of the outer door, the key of theoffice, and the key of the safe.” “only sir james walter and you had thosekeys?” “i had no keys of the doors—only of thesafe.” “was sir james a man who was orderly inhis habits?”

“yes, i think he was. i know that so far as those three keys areconcerned he kept them on the same ring. i have often seen them there.” “and that ring went with him to london?” “he said so.” “and your key never left your possession?” “never.” “then west, if he is the culprit, must havehad a duplicate. and yet none was found upon his body.

one other point: if a clerk in this officedesired to sell the plans, would it not be simply to copy the plans for himself thanto take the originals, as was actually done?” “it would take considerable technical knowledgeto copy the plans in an effective way.” “but i suppose either sir james, or you,or west has that technical knowledge?” “no doubt we had, but i beg you won’ttry to drag me into the matter, mr. holmes. what is the use of our speculating in thisway when the original plans were actually found on west?” “well, it is certainly singular that heshould run the risk of taking originals if he could safely have taken copies, which wouldhave equally served his turn.”

“singular, no doubt—and yet he did so.” “every inquiry in this case reveals somethinginexplicable. now there are three papers still missing. they are, as i understand, the vital ones.” “yes, that is so.” “do you mean to say that anyone holdingthese three papers, and without the seven others, could construct a bruce-partingtonsubmarine?” “i reported to that effect to the admiralty. but to-day i have been over the drawings again,and i am not so sure of it.

the double valves with the automatic self-adjustingslots are drawn in one of the papers which have been returned. until the foreigners had invented that forthemselves they could not make the boat. of course they might soon get over the difficulty.” “but the three missing drawings are themost important?” “undoubtedly.” “i think, with your permission, i will nowtake a stroll round the premises. i do not recall any other question which idesired to ask.” he examined the lock of the safe, the doorof the room, and finally the iron shutters

of the window. it was only when we were on the lawn outsidethat his interest was strongly excited. there was a laurel bush outside the window,and several of the branches bore signs of having been twisted or snapped. he examined them carefully with his lens,and then some dim and vague marks upon the earth beneath. finally he asked the chief clerk to closethe iron shutters, and he pointed out to me that they hardly met in the centre, and thatit would be possible for anyone outside to see what was going on within the room.

“the indications are ruined by three days’delay. they may mean something or nothing. well, watson, i do not think that woolwichcan help us further. it is a small crop which we have gathered. let us see if we can do better in london.” yet we added one more sheaf to our harvestbefore we left woolwich station. the clerk in the ticket office was able tosay with confidence that he saw cadogan west—whom he knew well by sight—upon the monday night,and that he went to london by the 8:15 to london bridge.

he was alone and took a single third- classticket. the clerk was struck at the time by his excitedand nervous manner. so shaky was he that he could hardly pickup his change, and the clerk had helped him with it. a reference to the timetable showed that the8:15 was the first train which it was possible for west to take after he had left the ladyabout 7:30. “let us reconstruct, watson,” said holmesafter half an hour of silence. “i am not aware that in all our joint researcheswe have ever had a case which was more difficult to get at.

every fresh advance which we make only revealsa fresh ridge beyond. and yet we have surely made some appreciableprogress. “the effect of our inquiries at woolwichhas in the main been against young cadogan west; but the indications at the window wouldlend themselves to a more favourable hypothesis. let us suppose, for example, that he had beenapproached by some foreign agent. it might have been done under such pledgesas would have prevented him from speaking of it, and yet would have affected his thoughtsin the direction indicated by his remarks to his fiancee. very good.

we will now suppose that as he went to thetheatre with the young lady he suddenly, in the fog, caught a glimpse of this same agentgoing in the direction of the office. he was an impetuous man, quick in his decisions. everything gave way to his duty. he followed the man, reached the window, sawthe abstraction of the documents, and pursued the thief. in this way we get over the objection thatno one would take originals when he could make copies. this outsider had to take originals.

so far it holds together.” “what is the next step?” “then we come into difficulties. one would imagine that under such circumstancesthe first act of young cadogan west would be to seize the villain and raise the alarm. why did he not do so? could it have been an official superior whotook the papers? that would explain west’s conduct. or could the chief have given west the slipin the fog, and west started at once to london

to head him off from his own rooms, presumingthat he knew where the rooms were? the call must have been very pressing, sincehe left his girl standing in the fog and made no effort to communicate with her. our scent runs cold here, and there is a vastgap between either hypothesis and the laying of west’s body, with seven papers in hispocket, on the roof of a metropolitan train. my instinct now is to work form the otherend. if mycroft has given us the list of addresseswe may be able to pick our man and follow two tracks instead of one.” surely enough, a note awaited us at bakerstreet.

a government messenger had brought it post-haste. holmes glanced at it and threw it over tome. there are numerous small fry, but few whowould handle so big an affair. the only men worth considering are adolphmayer, of 13 great george street, westminster; louis la rothiere, of campden mansions, nottinghill; and hugo oberstein, 13 caulfield gardens, kensington. the latter was known to be in town on mondayand is now reported as having left. glad to hear you have seen some light. the cabinet awaits your final report withthe utmost anxiety.

urgent representations have arrived from thevery highest quarter. the whole force of the state is at your backif you should need it. “i’m afraid,” said holmes, smiling,“that all the queen’s horses and all the queen’s men cannot avail in this matter.” he had spread out his big map of london andleaned eagerly over it. “well, well,” said he presently with anexclamation of satisfaction, “things are turning a little in our direction at last. why, watson, i do honestly believe that weare going to pull it off, after all.” he slapped me on the shoulder with a suddenburst of hilarity.

“i am going out now. it is only a reconnaissance. i will do nothing serious without my trustedcomrade and biographer at my elbow. do you stay here, and the odds are that youwill see me again in an hour or two. if time hangs heavy get foolscap and a pen,and begin your narrative of how we saved the state.” i felt some reflection of his elation in myown mind, for i knew well that he would not depart so far from his usual austerity ofdemeanour unless there was good cause for exultation.

all the long november evening i waited, filledwith impatience for his return. at last, shortly after nine o’clock, therearrived a messenger with a note: am dining at goldini’s restaurant, gloucesterroad, kensington. please come at once and join me there. bring with you a jemmy, a dark lantern, achisel, and a revolver. s.h. it was a nice equipment for a respectablecitizen to carry through the dim, fog-draped streets. i stowed them all discreetly away in my overcoatand drove straight to the address given.

there sat my friend at a little round tablenear the door of the garish italian restaurant. “have you had something to eat? then join me in a coffee and curacao. try one of the proprietor’s cigars. they are less poisonous than one would expect. have you the tools?” “they are here, in my overcoat.” “excellent. let me give you a short sketch of what i havedone, with some indication of what we are

about to do. now it must be evident to you, watson, thatthis young man’s body was placed on the roof of the train. that was clear from the instant that i determinedthe fact that it was from the roof, and not from a carriage, that he had fallen.” “could it not have been dropped from a bridge?” “i should say it was impossible. if you examine the roofs you will find thatthey are slightly rounded, and there is no railing round them.

therefore, we can say for certain that youngcadogan west was placed on it.” “how could he be placed there?” “that was the question which we had to answer. there is only one possible way. you are aware that the underground runs clearof tunnels at some points in the west end. i had a vague memory that as i have travelledby it i have occasionally seen windows just above my head. now, suppose that a train halted under sucha window, would there be any difficulty in laying a body upon the roof?”

“it seems most improbable.” “we must fall back upon the old axiom thatwhen all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. here all other contingencies have failed. when i found that the leading internationalagent, who had just left london, lived in a row of houses which abutted upon the underground,i was so pleased that you were a little astonished at my sudden frivolity.” “oh, that was it, was it?” “yes, that was it.

mr. hugo oberstein, of 13 caulfield gardens,had become my objective. i began my operations at gloucester road station,where a very helpful official walked with me along the track and allowed me to satisfymyself not only that the back-stair windows of caulfield gardens open on the line butthe even more essential fact that, owing to the intersection of one of the larger railways,the underground trains are frequently held motionless for some minutes at that very spot.” “splendid, holmes! you have got it!” “so far—so far, watson.

we advance, but the goal is afar. well, having seen the back of caulfield gardens,i visited the front and satisfied myself that the bird was indeed flown. it is a considerable house, unfurnished, sofar as i could judge, in the upper rooms. oberstein lived there with a single valet,who was probably a confederate entirely in his confidence. we must bear in mind that oberstein has goneto the continent to dispose of his booty, but not with any idea of flight; for he hadno reason to fear a warrant, and the idea of an amateur domiciliary visit would certainlynever occur to him.

yet that is precisely what we are about tomake.” “could we not get a warrant and legalizeit?” “hardly on the evidence.” “what can we hope to do?” “we cannot tell what correspondence maybe there.” “i don’t like it, holmes.” “my dear fellow, you shall keep watch inthe street. i’ll do the criminal part. it’s not a time to stick at trifles.

think of mycroft’s note, of the admiralty,the cabinet, the exalted person who waits for news. we are bound to go.” my answer was to rise from the table. “you are right, holmes. he sprang up and shook me by the hand. “i knew you would not shrink at the last,”said he, and for a moment i saw something in his eyes which was nearer to tendernessthan i had ever seen. the next instant he was his masterful, practicalself once more.

“it is nearly half a mile, but there isno hurry. let us walk,” said he. “don’t drop the instruments, i beg. your arrest as a suspicious character wouldbe a most unfortunate complication.” caulfield gardens was one of those lines offlat-faced pillared, and porticoed houses which are so prominent a product of the middlevictorian epoch in the west end of london. next door there appeared to be a children’sparty, for the merry buzz of young voices and the clatter of a piano resounded throughthe night. the fog still hung about and screened us withits friendly shade.

holmes had lit his lantern and flashed itupon the massive door. “this is a serious proposition,” saidhe. “it is certainly bolted as well as locked. we would do better in the area. there is an excellent archway down yonderin case a too zealous policeman should intrude. give me a hand, watson, and i’ll do thesame for you.” a minute later we were both in the area. hardly had we reached the dark shadows beforethe step of the policeman was heard in the fog above.

as its soft rhythm died away, holmes set towork upon the lower door. i saw him stoop and strain until with a sharpcrash it flew open. we sprang through into the dark passage, closingthe area door behind us. holmes let the way up the curving, uncarpetedstair. his little fan of yellow light shone upona low window. “here we are, watson—this must be theone.” he threw it open, and as he did so there wasa low, harsh murmur, growing steadily into a loud roar as a train dashed past us in thedarkness. holmes swept his light along the window-sill.

it was thickly coated with soot from the passingengines, but the black surface was blurred and rubbed in places. “you can see where they rested the body. halloa, watson! what is this? there can be no doubt that it is a blood mark.” he was pointing to faint discolourations alongthe woodwork of the window. “here it is on the stone of the stair also. the demonstration is complete. let us stay here until a train stops.”

we had not long to wait. the very next train roared from the tunnelas before, but slowed in the open, and then, with a creaking of brakes, pulled up immediatelybeneath us. it was not four feet from the window-ledgeto the roof of the carriages. holmes softly closed the window. “so far we are justified,” said he. “what do you think of it, watson?” “a masterpiece. you have never risen to a greater height.”

“i cannot agree with you there. from the moment that i conceived the ideaof the body being upon the roof, which surely was not a very abstruse one, all the restwas inevitable. if it were not for the grave interests involvedthe affair up to this point would be insignificant. our difficulties are still before us. but perhaps we may find something here whichmay help us.” we had ascended the kitchen stair and enteredthe suite of rooms upon the first floor. one was a dining-room, severely furnishedand containing nothing of interest. a second was a bedroom, which also drew blank.

the remaining room appeared more promising,and my companion settled down to a systematic examination. it was littered with books and papers, andwas evidently used as a study. swiftly and methodically holmes turned overthe contents of drawer after drawer and cupboard after cupboard, but no gleam of success cameto brighten his austere face. at the end of an hour he was no further thanwhen he started. “the cunning dog has covered his tracks,”said he. “he has left nothing to incriminate him. his dangerous correspondence has been destroyedor removed.

this is our last chance.” it was a small tin cash-box which stood uponthe writing-desk. holmes pried it open with his chisel. several rolls of paper were within, coveredwith figures and calculations, without any note to show to what they referred. the recurring words, “water pressure”and “pressure to the square inch” suggested some possible relation to a submarine. holmes tossed them all impatiently aside. there only remained an envelope with somesmall newspaper slips inside it.

he shook them out on the table, and at oncei saw by his eager face that his hopes had been raised. “what’s this, watson? eh? what’s this? record of a series of messages in the advertisementsof a paper. daily telegraph agony column by the printand paper. right-hand top corner of a page. no dates—but messages arrange themselves.

this must be the first:“hoped to hear sooner. terms agreed to. write fully to address given on card. “pierrot. “next comes:“too complex for description. must have full report, stuff awaits you whengoods delivered. “then comes:“matter presses. must withdraw offer unless contract completed. make appointment by letter.

will confirm by advertisement. “finally:“monday night after nine. two taps. only ourselves. do not be so suspicious. payment in hard cash when goods delivered. “a fairly complete record, watson! if we could only get at the man at the otherend!” he sat lost in thought, tapping his fingerson the table.

finally he sprang to his feet. “well, perhaps it won’t be so difficult,after all. there is nothing more to be done here, watson. i think we might drive round to the officesof the daily telegraph, and so bring a good day’s work to a conclusion.” mycroft holmes and lestrade had come roundby appointment after breakfast next day and sherlock holmes had recounted to them ourproceedings of the day before. the professional shook his head over our confessedburglary. “we can’t do these things in the force,mr. holmes,” said he.

“no wonder you get results that are beyondus. but some of these days you’ll go too far,and you’ll find yourself and your friend in trouble.” “for england, home and beauty—eh, watson? martyrs on the altar of our country. but what do you think of it, mycroft?” “excellent, sherlock! admirable! but what use will you make of it?”

holmes picked up the daily telegraph whichlay upon the table. “have you seen pierrot’s advertisementto-day?” “what? another one?” “yes, here it is:“to-night. same hour. same place. most vitally important. your own safety at stake.

“by george!” cried lestrade. “if he answers that we’ve got him!” “that was my idea when i put it in. i think if you could both make it convenientto come with us about eight o’clock to caulfield gardens we might possibly get a little nearerto a solution.” one of the most remarkable characteristicsof sherlock holmes was his power of throwing his brain out of action and switching allhis thoughts on to lighter things whenever he had convinced himself that he could nolonger work to advantage. i remember that during the whole of that memorableday he lost himself in a monograph which he

had undertaken upon the polyphonic motetsof lassus. for my own part i had none of this power ofdetachment, and the day, in consequence, appeared to be interminable. the great national importance of the issue,the suspense in high quarters, the direct nature of the experiment which we were trying—allcombined to work upon my nerve. it was a relief to me when at last, aftera light dinner, we set out upon our expedition. lestrade and mycroft met us by appointmentat the outside of gloucester road station. the area door of oberstein’s house had beenleft open the night before, and it was necessary for me, as mycroft holmes absolutely and indignantlydeclined to climb the railings, to pass in

and open the hall door. by nine o’clock we were all seated in thestudy, waiting patently for our man. an hour passed and yet another. when eleven struck, the measured beat of thegreat church clock seemed to sound the dirge of our hopes. lestrade and mycroft were fidgeting in theirseats and looking twice a minute at their watches. holmes sat silent and composed, his eyelidshalf shut, but every sense on the alert. he raised his head with a sudden jerk.

“he is coming,” said he. there had been a furtive step past the door. now it returned. we heard a shuffling sound outside, and thentwo sharp taps with the knocker. holmes rose, motioning us to remain seated. the gas in the hall was a mere point of light. he opened the outer door, and then as a darkfigure slipped past him he closed and fastened it. “this way!” we heard him say, and a momentlater our man stood before us.

holmes had followed him closely, and as theman turned with a cry of surprise and alarm he caught him by the collar and threw himback into the room. before our prisoner had recovered his balancethe door was shut and holmes standing with his back against it. the man glared round him, staggered, and fellsenseless upon the floor. with the shock, his broad-brimmed hat flewfrom his head, his cravat slipped sown from his lips, and there were the long light beardand the soft, handsome delicate features of colonel valentine walter. holmes gave a whistle of surprise.

“you can write me down an ass this time,watson,” said he. “this was not the bird that i was lookingfor.” “who is he?” asked mycroft eagerly. “the younger brother of the late sir jameswalter, the head of the submarine department. yes, yes; i see the fall of the cards. he is coming to. i think that you had best leave his examinationto me.” we had carried the prostrate body to the sofa. now our prisoner sat up, looked round himwith a horror-stricken face, and passed his

hand over his forehead, like one who cannotbelieve his own senses. “what is this?” he asked. “i came here to visit mr. oberstein.” “everything is known, colonel walter,”said holmes. “how an english gentleman could behave insuch a manner is beyond my comprehension. but your whole correspondence and relationswith oberstein are within our knowledge. so also are the circumstances connected withthe death of young cadogan west. let me advise you to gain at least the smallcredit for repentance and confession, since there are still some details which we canonly learn from your lips.”

the man groaned and sank his face in his hands. we waited, but he was silent. “i can assure you,” said holmes, “thatevery essential is already known. we know that you were pressed for money; thatyou took an impress of the keys which your brother held; and that you entered into acorrespondence with oberstein, who answered your letters through the advertisement columnsof the daily telegraph. we are aware that you went down to the officein the fog on monday night, but that you were seen and followed by young cadogan west, whohad probably some previous reason to suspect you.

he saw your theft, but could not give thealarm, as it was just possible that you were taking the papers to your brother in london. leaving all his private concerns, like thegood citizen that he was, he followed you closely in the fog and kept at your heelsuntil you reached this very house. there he intervened, and then it was, colonelwalter, that to treason you added the more terrible crime of murder.” “i did not! i did not! before god i swear that i did not!” criedour wretched prisoner.

“tell us, then, how cadogan west met hisend before you laid him upon the roof of a railway carriage.” “i will. i swear to you that i will. i did the rest. i confess it. it was just as you say. a stock exchange debt had to be paid. i needed the money badly.

oberstein offered me five thousand. it was to save myself from ruin. but as to murder, i am as innocent as you.” “what happened, then?” “he had his suspicions before, and he followedme as you describe. i never knew it until i was at the very door. it was thick fog, and one could not see threeyards. i had given two taps and oberstein had cometo the door. the young man rushed up and demanded to knowwhat we were about to do with the papers.

oberstein had a short life-preserver. he always carried it with him. as west forced his way after us into the houseoberstein struck him on the head. the blow was a fatal one. he was dead within five minutes. there he lay in the hall, and we were at ourwit’s end what to do. then oberstein had this idea about the trainswhich halted under his back window. but first he examined the papers which i hadbrought. he said that three of them were essential,and that he must keep them.

‘you cannot keep them,’ said i. ‘there will be a dreadful row at woolwichif they are not returned.’ ‘i must keep them,’ said he, ‘for theyare so technical that it is impossible in the time to make copies.’ ‘then they must all go back together to-night,’said i. he thought for a little, and then he criedout that he had it. ‘three i will keep,’ said he. ‘the others we will stuff into the pocketof this young man. when he is found the whole business will assuredlybe put to his account.’

i could see no other way out of it, so wedid as he suggested. we waited half an hour at the window beforea train stopped. it was so thick that nothing could be seen,and we had no difficulty in lowering west’s body on to the train. that was the end of the matter so far as iwas concerned.” “and your brother?” “he said nothing, but he had caught me oncewith his keys, and i think that he suspected. i read in his eyes that he suspected. as you know, he never held up his head again.”

there was silence in the room. it was broken by mycroft holmes. “can you not make reparation? it would ease your conscience, and possiblyyour punishment.” “what reparation can i make?” “where is oberstein with the papers?” “i do not know.” “did he give you no address?” “he said that letters to the hotel du louvre,paris, would eventually reach him.”

“then reparation is still within your power,”said sherlock holmes. “i will do anything i can. i owe this fellow no particular good- will. he has been my ruin and my downfall.” “here are paper and pen. sit at this desk and write to my dictation. direct the envelope to the address given. that is right. now the letter:“dear sir:

“with regard to our transaction, you willno doubt have observed by now that one essential detail is missing. i have a tracing which will make it complete. this has involved me in extra trouble, however,and i must ask you for a further advance of five hundred pounds. i will not trust it to the post, nor willi take anything but gold or notes. i would come to you abroad, but it would exciteremark if i left the country at present. therefore i shall expect to meet you in thesmoking-room of the charing cross hotel at noon on saturday.

remember that only english notes, or gold,will be taken. “that will do very well. i shall be very much surprised if it doesnot fetch our man.” and it did! it is a matter of history—that secret historyof a nation which is often so much more intimate and interesting than its public chronicles—thatoberstein, eager to complete the coup of his lifetime, came to the lure and was safelyengulfed for fifteen years in a british prison. in his trunk were found the invaluable bruce-partingtonplans, which he had put up for auction in all the naval centres of europe.

colonel walter died in prison towards theend of the second year of his sentence. as to holmes, he returned refreshed to hismonograph upon the polyphonic motets of lassus, which has since been printed for private circulation,and is said by experts to be the last word upon the subject. some weeks afterwards i learned incidentallythat my friend spent a day at windsor, whence be returned with a remarkably fine emeraldtie-pin. when i asked him if he had bought it, he answeredthat it was a present from a certain gracious lady in whose interests he had once been fortunateenough to carry out a small commission. he said no more; but i fancy that i couldguess at that lady’s august name, and i

have little doubt that the emerald pin willforever recall to my friend’s memory the adventure of the bruce-partington plans.

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