The Boscombe Valley Mystery

We were seated at break­fast one morn­ing, my wife and I, when the maid brought in a tele­gram. It was from Sher­lock Holmes and ran in this way:Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of Eng­land in con­nec­tion with Boscombe Val­ley tragedy. Shall be glad if you will come with me. Air and scenery per­fect. Leave Pad­ding­ton by the 11:15.”What do you say, dear?” said my wife, look­ing across at me. “Will you go?””I really don’t know what to say. I have a fairly long list at present.””Oh, An­struth­er would do your work for you. You have been look­ing a little pale lately. I think that the change would do you good, and you are al­ways so in­ter­ested in Mr. Sher­lock Holmes’s cases.””I should be un­grate­ful if I were not, see­ing what I gained through one of them,” I answered. “But if I am to go, I must pack at once, for I have only half an hour.”My ex­per­i­ence of camp life in Afgh­anistan had at least had the ef­fect of mak­ing me a prompt and ready trav­el­ler. My wants were few and simple, so that in less than the time stated I was in a cab with my valise, rat­tling away to Pad­ding­ton Sta­tion. Sher­lock Holmes was pa­cing up and down the plat­form, his tall, gaunt figure made even gaunter and taller by his long gray trav­el­ling-cloak and close-fitting cloth cap.”It is reaily very good of you to come, Wat­son,” said he. “It makes a con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence to me, hav­ing someone with me on whom I can thor­oughly rely. Loc­al aid is al­ways either worth­less or else bi­assed. If you will keep the two corner seats I shall get the tick­ets.”We had the car­riage to ourselves save for an im­mense lit­ter of pa­pers which Holmes had brought with him. Among these he rum­maged and read, with in­ter­vals of note-tak­ing and of med­it­a­tion, un­til we were past Read­ing. Then he sud­denly rolled them all in­to a gi­gant­ic ball and tossed them up onto the rack.”Have you heard any­thing of the case?” he asked.”Not a word. I have not seen a pa­per for some days.””The Lon­don press has not had very full ac­counts. I have just been look­ing through all the re­cent pa­pers in or­der to mas­ter the par­tic­u­lars. It seems, from what I gath­er, to be one of those simple cases which are so ex­tremely dif­fi­cult.””That sounds a little para­dox­ic­al.””But it is pro­foundly true. Sin­gu­lar­ity is al­most in­vari­ably a clue. The more fea­ture­less and com­mon­place a crime is, the more dif­fi­cult it is to bring it home. In this case, however, they have es­tab­lished a very ser­i­ous case against the son of the murdered man.””It is a murder, then?””Well, it is con­jec­tured to be so. I shall take noth­ing for gran­ted un­til I have the op­por­tun­ity of look­ing per­son­ally in­to it. I will ex­plain the state of things to you, as far as I have been able to un­der­stand it, in a very few words.”Boscombe Val­ley is a coun­try dis­trict not very far from Ross, in Here­ford­shire. The largest landed pro­pri­et­or in that part is a Mr. John Turn­er, who made his money in Aus­tralia and re­turned some years ago to the old coun­try. One of the farms which he held, that of Hath­er­ley, was let to Mr. Charles Mc­Carthy, who was also an ex-Aus­trali­an. The men had known each oth­er in the colon­ies, so that it was not un­nat­ur­al that when they came to settle down they should do so as near each oth­er as pos­sible. Turn­er was ap­par­ently the rich­er man, so Mc­Carthy be­came his ten­ant but still re­mained, it seems, upon terms of per­fect equal­ity, as they were fre­quently to­geth­er. Mc­Carthy had one son, a lad of eight­een, and Turn­er had an only daugh­ter of the same age, but neither of them had wives liv­ing. They ap­pear to have avoided the so­ci­ety of the neigh­bour­ing Eng­lish fam­il­ies and to have led re­tired lives, though both the Mc­Carthys were fond of sport and were fre­quently seen at the race-meet­ings of the neigh­bour­hood. Mc­Carthy kept two ser­vants – a man and a girl. Turn­er had a con­sid­er­able house­hold, some half-dozen at the least. That is as much as I have been able to gath­er about the fam­il­ies. Now for the facts.”On June 3rd, that is, on Monday last, Mc­Carthy left his house at Hath­er­ley about three in the af­ter­noon and walked down to the Boscombe Pool, which is a small lake formed by the spread­ing out of the stream which runs down the Boscombe Val­ley. He had been out with his serving-man in the morn­ing at Ross, and he had told the man that he must hurry, as he had an ap­point­ment of im­port­ance to keep at three. From that ap­point­ment he nev­er came back alive.”From Hath­er­ley Farm­house to the Boscombe Pool is a quarter of a mile, and two people saw him as he passed over this ground. One was an old wo­man, whose name is not men­tioned, and the oth­er was Wil­li­am Crowder, a game-keep­er in the em­ploy of Mr. Turn­er. Both these wit­nesses de­pose that Mr. Mc­Carthy was walk­ing alone. The game-keep­er adds that with­in a few minutes of his see­ing Mr. Mc­Carthy pass he had seen his son, Mr. James Mc­Carthy, go­ing the same way with a gun un­der his arm. To the best of his be­lief, the fath­er was ac­tu­ally in sight at the time, and the son was fol­low­ing him. He thought no more of the mat­ter un­til he heard in the even­ing of the tragedy that had oc­curred.”The two Mc­Carthys were seen after the time when Wil­li­am Crowder, the game-keep­er, lost sight of them. The Boscombe Pool is thickly wooded round, with just a fringe of grass and of reeds round the edge. A girl of four­teen, Pa­tience Mor­an, who is the daugh­ter of the lodge-keep­er of the Boscombe Val­ley es­tate, was in one of the woods pick­ing flowers. She states that while she was there she saw, at the bor­der of the wood and close by the lake, Mr. Mc­Carthy and his son, and that they ap­peared to be hav­ing a vi­ol­ent quar­rel. She heard Mr. Mc­Carthy the eld­er us­ing very strong lan­guage to his son, and she saw the lat­ter raise up his hand as if to strike his fath­er. She was so frightened by their vi­ol­ence that she ran away and told her moth­er when she reached home that she had left the two Mc­Carthys quar­rel­ling near Boscombe Pool, and that she was afraid that they were go­ing to fight. She had hardly said the words when young Mr. Mc­Carthy came run­ning up to the lodge to say that he had found his fath­er dead in the wood, and to ask for the help of the lodge-keep­er. He was much ex­cited, without either his gun or his hat, and his right hand and sleeve were ob­served to be stained with fresh blood. On fol­low­ing him they found the dead body stretched out upon the grass be­side the pool. The head had been beaten in by re­peated blows of some heavy and blunt weapon. The in­jur­ies were such as might very well have been inflicted by the butt-end of his son’s gun, which was found ly­ing on the grass with­in a few paces of the body. Un­der these cir­cum­stances the young man was in­stantly ar­res­ted, and a ver­dict of ’wil­ful murder’ hav­ing been re­turned at the in­quest on Tues­day, he was on Wed­nes­day brought be­fore the ma­gis­trates at Ross, who have re­ferred the case to the next As­sizes. Those are the main facts of the case as they came out be­fore the cor­on­er and the po­lice-court.””I could hardly ima­gine a more damning case,” I re­marked. “If ever cir­cum­stan­tial evid­ence poin­ted to a crim­in­al it does so here.””Cir­cum­stan­tial evid­ence is a very tricky thing,” answered Holmes thought­fully. “It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it point­ing in an equally un­com­prom­ising man­ner to something en­tirely dif­fer­ent. It must be con­fessed, however, that the case looks ex­ceed­ingly grave against the young man, and it is very pos­sible that he is in­deed the cul­prit. There are sev­er­al people in the neigh­bour­hood, however, and among them Miss Turn­er, the daugh­ter of the neigh­bour­ing landown­er, who be­lieve in his in­no­cence, and who have re­tained Lestrade, whom you may re­col­lect in con­nec­tion with ’A Study in Scar­let’, to work out the case in his in­terest. Lestrade, be­ing rather puzzled, has re­ferred the case to me, and hence it is that two middle-aged gen­tle­men are flying west­ward at fifty miles an hour in­stead of quietly di­gest­ing their break­fasts at home.””I am afraid,” said I, “that the facts are so ob­vi­ous that you will find little cred­it to be gained out of this case.””There is noth­ing more de­cept­ive than an ob­vi­ous fact,” he answered, laugh­ing. “Be­sides, we may chance to hit upon some oth­er ob­vi­ous facts which may have been by no means ob­vi­ous to Mr. Lestrade. You know me too well to think that I am boast­ing when I say that I shall either confirm or des­troy his the­ory by means which he is quite in­cap­able of em­ploy­ing, or even of un­der­stand­ing. To take the first ex­ample to hand, I very clearly per­ceive that in your bed­room the win­dow is upon the right-hand side, and yet I ques­tion wheth­er Mr. Lestrade would have noted even so self-evid­ent a thing as that.””How on earth –””My dear fel­low, I know you well. I know the mil­it­ary neat­ness which char­ac­ter­izes you. You shave every morn­ing, and in this sea­son you shave by the sun­light; but since your shav­ing is less and less com­plete as we get farther back on the left side, un­til it be­comes pos­it­ively slov­enly as we get round the angle of the jaw, it is surely very clear that that side is less il­lu­min­ated than the oth­er. I could not ima­gine a man of your habits look­ing at him­self in an equal light and be­ing satisfied with such a res­ult. I only quote this as a trivi­al ex­ample of ob­ser­va­tion and in­fer­ence. Therein lies my meti­er, and it is just pos­sible that it may be of some ser­vice in the in­vest­ig­a­tion which lies be­fore us. There are one or two minor points which were brought out in the in­quest, and which are worth con­sid­er­ing.””What are they?””It ap­pears that his ar­rest did not take place at once, but after the re­turn to Hath­er­ley Farm. On the in­spect­or of con­stabu­lary in­form­ing him that he was a pris­on­er, he re­marked that he was not sur­prised to hear it, and that it was no more than his deserts. This ob­ser­va­tion of his had the nat­ur­al ef­fect of re­mov­ing any traces of doubt which might have re­mained in the minds of the cor­on­er’s jury.””It was a con­fes­sion,” I ejac­u­lated.”No, for it was fol­lowed by a prot­est­a­tion of in­no­cence.””Com­ing on the top of such a damning series of events, it was at least a most sus­pi­cious re­mark.””On the con­trary,” said Holmes, “it is the bright­est rift which I can at present see in the clouds. However in­no­cent he might be, he could not be such an ab­so­lute im­be­cile as not to see that the cir­cum­stances were very black against him. Had he ap­peared sur­prised at his own ar­rest, or feigned in­dig­na­tion at it, I should have looked upon it as highly sus­pi­cious, be­cause such sur­prise or an­ger would not be nat­ur­al un­der the cir­cum­stances, and yet might ap­pear to be the best policy to a schem­ing man. His frank ac­cept­ance of the situ­ation marks him as either an in­no­cent man, or else as a man of con­sid­er­able self-re­straint and firmness. As to his re­mark about his deserts, it was also not un­nat­ur­al if you con­sider that he stood be­side the dead body of his fath­er, and that there is no doubt that he had that very day so far for­got­ten his filial duty as to bandy words with him, and even, ac­cord­ing to the little girl whose evid­ence is so im­port­ant, to raise his hand as if to strike him. The self-re­proach and con­tri­tion which are dis­played in his re­mark ap­pear to me to be the signs of a healthy mind rather than of a guilty on.”I shook my head. “Many men have been hanged on far slight­er evid­ence,” I re­marked.”So they have. And many men have been wrong­fully hanged.””What is the young man’s own ac­count of the mat­ter?””It is, I am afraid, not very en­cour­aging to his sup­port­ers, though there are one or two points in it which are sug­gest­ive. You will find it here, and may read it for your­self.”He picked out from his bundle a copy of the loc­al Here­ford­shire pa­per, and hav­ing turned down the sheet he poin­ted out the para­graph in which the un­for­tu­nate young man had giv­en his own state­ment of what had oc­curred. I settled my­self down in the corner of the car­riage and read it very care­fully. It ran in this way:Mr. James Mc­Carthy, the only son of the de­ceased, was then called and gave evid­ence as fol­lows: “I had been away from home for three days at Bris­tol, and had only just re­turned upon the morn­ing of last Monday, the 3d. My fath­er was ab­sent from home at the time of my ar­rival, and I was in­formed by the maid that he had driv­en over to Ross with John Cobb, the groom. Shortly after my re­turn I heard the wheels of his trap in the yard, and, look­ing out of my win­dow, I saw him get out and walk rap­idly out of the yard, though I was not aware in which dir­ec­tion he was go­ing. I then took my gun and strolled out in the dir­ec­tion of the Boscombe Pool, with the in­ten­tion of vis­it­ing the rab­bit war­ren which is upon the oth­er side. On my way I saw Wil­li­am Crowder, the game-keep­er, as he had stated in his evid­ence; but he is mis­taken in think­ing that I was fol­low­ing my fath­er. I had no idea that he was in front of me. When about a hun­dred yards from the pool I heard a cry of ’Coo­ee!’ which was a usu­al sig­nal between my fath­er and my­self. I then hur­ried for­ward, and found him stand­ing by the pool. He ap­peared to be much sur­prised at see­ing me and asked me rather roughly what I was do­ing there. A con­ver­sa­tion en­sued which led to high words and al­most to blows, for my fath­er was a man of a very vi­ol­ent tem­per. See­ing that his pas­sion was be­com­ing un­gov­ern­able, I left him and re­turned to­wards Hath­er­ley Farm. I had not gone more than 150 yards, however, when I heard a hideous out­cry be­hind me, which caused me to run back again. I found my fath­er ex­pir­ing upon the ground, with his head ter­ribly in­jured. I dropped my gun and held him in my arms, but he al­most in­stantly ex­pired. I knelt be­side him for some minutes, and then made my way to Mr. Turn­er’s lodge-keep­er, his house be­ing the nearest, to ask for as­sis tance. I saw no one near my fath­er when I re­turned, and I have no idea how he came by his in­jur­ies. He was not a pop­u­lar man, be­ing some­what cold and for­bid­ding in his man­ners, but he had, as far as I know, no act­ive en­emies. I know noth­ing fur­ther of the mat­ter.”The Cor­on­er: Did your fath­er make any state­ment to you be­fore he died?Wit­ness: He mumbled a few words, but I could only catch some al­lu­sion to a rat.The Cor­on­er: What did you un­der­stand by that?Wit­ness: It con­veyed no mean­ing to me. I thought that he was de­li­ri­ous.The Cor­on­er: What was the point upon which you and your fath­er had this final quar­rel?Wit­ness: I should prefer not to an­swer.The Cor­on­er: I am afraid that I must press it.Wit­ness: It is really im­possible for me to tell you. I can as­sure you that it has noth­ing to do with the sad tragedy which fol­lowed.The Cor­on­er: That is for the court to de­cide. I need not point out to you that your re­fus­al to an­swer will pre­ju­dice your case con­sid­er­ably in any fu­ture pro­ceed­ings which may arise.Wit­ness: I must still re­fuse.The Cor­on­er: I un­der­stand that the cry of “Coo­ee” was a com­mon sig­nal between you and your fath­er?Wit­nesls: It was.The Cor­on­er: How was it, then, that he uttered it be­fore he saw you, and be­fore he even knew that you had re­turned from Bris­tol?Wit­ness (with con­sid­er­able con­fu­sion): I do not know.A Jury­man: Did you see noth­ing which aroused your sus­piclons when you re­turned on hear­ing the cry and found your fath­er fatally in­jured?Wit­ness: Noth­ing definite.The Cor­on­er: What do you mean?Wit­ness: I was so dis­turbed and ex­cited as I rushed out in­to the open, that I could think of noth­ing ex­cept of my fath­er. Yet I have a vague im­pres­sion that as I ran for­ward something lay upon the ground to the left of me. It seemed to me to be something gray in col­our, a coat of some sort, or a plaid per­haps. When I rose from my fath­er I looked round for it, but it was gone.”Do you mean that it dis­ap­peared be­fore you went for help?””Yes, it was gone.””You can­not say what it was?””No, I had a feel­ing something was there.””How far from the body?””A dozen yards or so.””And how far from the edge of the wood?””About the same.””Then if it was re­moved it was while you were with­in a dozen yards of it?””Yes, but with my back to­wards it.”This con­cluded the ex­am­in­a­tion of the wit­ness.”I see,” said I as I glanced down the column, “that the cor­on­er in his con­clud­ing re­marks was rather severe upon young Mc­Carthy. He calls at­ten­tion, and with reas­on, to the dis­crep­ancy about his fath­er hav­ing sig­nalled to him be­fore see­ing him also to his re­fus­al to give de­tails of his con­ver­sa­tion with his fath­er, and his sin­gu­lar ac­count of his fath­er’s dy­ing words. They are all, as he re­marks, very much against the son.”Holmes laughed softly to him­self and stretched him­self out upon the cush­ioned seat. “Both you and the cor­on­er have been at some pains,” said he, “to single out the very strongest points in the young man’s fa­vour. Don’t you see that you al­tern­ately give him cred­it for hav­ing too much ima­gin­i­tion and too little? Too little, if he could not in­vent a cause of quar­rel which would give him the sym­pathy of the jury; too much, if he evolved from his own in­ner con­scious­ness any­thing so outre as a dy­ing ref­er­ence to a rat, and the in­cid­ent of the van­ish­ing cloth. No, sir, I shall ap­proach this case from the point of view that what this young man says is true, and we shall see whith­er that hy­po­thes­is will lead us. And now here is my pock­et Petrarch, and not an­oth­er word shall I say of this case un­til we are on the scene of ac­tion. We lunch at Swin­don, and I see that we shall be there in twenty minutes.”It was nearly four o’clock when we at last, after passing through the beau­ti­ful Stroud Val­ley, and over the broad gleam­ing Severn, found ourselves at the pretty little coun­try-town of Ross. A lean, fer­ret-like man, furt­ive and sly-look­ing, was wait­ing for us upon the plat­form. In spite of the light brown dust­coat and leath­er-leg­gings which he wore in de­fer­ence to his rus­tic sur­round­ings, I had no dif­fi­culty in re­cog­niz­ing Lestrade, of Scot­land Yard. With him we drove to the Here­ford Arms where a room had already been en­gaged for us.”I have ordered a car­riage,” said Lestrade as we sat over a cup of tea. “I knew your en­er­get­ic nature, and that you would not be happy un­til you had been on the scene of the crime.””It was very nice and com­pli­ment­ary of you,” Holmes answered. “It is en­tirely a ques­tion of ba­ro­met­ric pres­sure.”Lestrade looked startled. “I do not quite fol­low,” he said.”How is the glass? Twenty-nine, I see. No wind, and not a cloud in the sky. I have a case­ful of ci­gar­ettes here which need smoking, and the sofa is very much su­per­i­or to the usu­al coun­try hotel ab­om­in­a­tion. I do not think that it is prob­able that I shall use the car­riage to-night.”Lestrade laughed in­dul­gently. “Yau have, no doubt, already formed your con­clu­sions from the news­pa­pers,” he said. “The case is as plain as a pikestaff, and the more one goes in­to it the plain­er it be­comes. Still, of course, one can’t re­fuse a lady, and such a very pos­it­ive one, too. She hai heard of you, and would have your opin­ion, though I re­peatedly told her that there was noth­ing which you could do which I had not already done. Why, bless my soul! here is her car­riage at the door.”He had hardly spoken be­fore there rushed in­to the room one of the most lovely young wo­men that I have ever seen in my life. Her vi­ol­et eyes shin­ing, her lips par­ted, a pink flush upon her cheeks, all thought of her nat­ur­al re­serve lost in her over­power­ing ex­cite­ment and con­cern.”Oh, Mr. Sher­lock Holmes!” she cried, glan­cing from one to the oth­er of us, and finally, with a wo­man’s quick in­tu­ition, fasten­ing upon my com­pan­ion, “I am so glad that you have come. I have driv­en down to tell you so. I know that James didn’t do it. I know it, and I want you to start upon your work know­ing it, too. Nev­er let your­self doubt upon that point. We have known each oth­er since we were little chil­dren, and I know his faults as no one else does; but he is too tender­hearted to hurt a fly. Such a charge is ab­surd to any­one who really knows him.””I hope we may clear him, Miss Turn­er,” said Sher­lock Holmes. “You may rely upon my do­ing all that I can.””But you have read the evid­ence. You have formed some con­clu­sion? Do you not see some loop­hole, some flaw? Do you not your­self think that he is in­no­cent?””I think that it is very prob­able.””There, now!” she cried, throw­ing back her head and look­ing defiantly at Lestrade. “You hear! He gives me hopes.”Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. “I am afraid that my col­league has been a little quick in form­ing his con­clu­sions,” he said.”But he is right. Oh! I know that he is right. James nev­er did it. And about his quar­rel with his fath­er, I am sure that the reas­on why he would not speak about it to the cor­on­er was be­cause I was con­cerned in it.””In what way?” asked Holmes.”It is no time for me to hide any­thing. James and his fath­er had many dis­agree­ments about me. Mr. Mc­Carthy was very anxious that there should be a mar­riage between us. James and I have al­ways loved each oth­er as broth­er and sis­ter; but of course he is young and has seen very little of life yet, and – and – well, he nat­ur­ally did not wish to do any­thing like that yet. So there were quar­rels, and this, I am sure, was one of them.””And your fath­er?” asked Holmes. “Was he in fa­vour of such a uni­on?””No, he was averse to it also. No one but Mr. Mc­Carthy was in fa­vour of it.” A quick blush passed over her fresh young face as Holmes shot one of his keen, ques­tion­ing glances at her.”Thank you for this in­form­a­tion,” said he. “May I see your fath­er if I call to-mor­row?””I am afraid the doc­tor won’t al­low it.””The doc­tor?””Yes, have you not heard? Poor fath­er has nev­er been strong for years back, but this has broken him down com­pletely. He has taken to his bed, and Dr. Wil­lows says that he is a wreck and that his nler­vous sys­tem is shattered. Mr. Mc­Carthy was the only man alive who had known dad in the old days in Vic­tor­ia.””Ha! ln Vic­tor­ia! That is im­port­ant.””Yes, at the mines.””Quite so; at the gold-mines, where, as I un­der­stand, Mr. Turn­er made his money.””Yes, cer­tainly.””Thank you, Miss Turn­er. You have been of ma­ter­i­al as­sist­ance to me.””You will tell me if you have any news to-mor­row. No doubt you will go to the pris­on to see James. Oh, if you do, Mr. Holmes, do tell him that I know him to be in­no­cent.””I will, Miss Turn­er.””I must go home now, for dad is very ill, and he misses me so if I leave him. Good-bye, and God help you in your un­der­tak­ing.” She hur­ried from the room as im­puls­ively as she had entered, and we heard the wheels of her car­riage rattle off down the street.”I am ashamed of you, Holmes,” said Lestrade with dig­nity after a few minutes’ si­lence. “Why should you raise up hopes which you are bound to dis­ap­point? I am not over-tender of heart, but I call it cruel.””I think that I see my way to clear­ing James Mc­Carthy,” said Holmes. “Have you an or­der to see him in pris­on?””Yes, but only for you and me.””Then I shall re­con­sider my res­ol­u­tion about go­ing out. We have still time to take a train to Here­ford and see him to-night?””Ample.””Then let us do so. Wat­son, I fear that you will find it very slow, but I shall only be away a couple of hours.”I walked down to the sta­tion with them, and then wandered through the streets of the little town, finally re­turn­ing to the hotel, where I lay upon the sofa and tried to in­terest my­self in a yel­low-backed nov­el. The puny plot of the story was so thin, however, when com­pared to the deep mys­tery through which we were grop­ing, and I found my at­ten­tion wander so con­tinu­ally from the ac­tion to the fact, that I at last flung it across the room and gave my­self up en­tirely to a con­sid­er­a­tion of the events of the day. Sup­pos­ing that this un­happy young man’s story were ab­so­lutely true, then what hellish thing, what ab­so­lutely un­fore­seen and ex­traordin­ary calam­ity could have oc­curred between the time when he par­ted from his fath­er, and the mo­ment when drawn back by his screams, he rushed in­to the glade? It was something ter­rible and deadly. What could it be? Might not the nature of the in­jur­ies re­veal something to my med­ic­al in­stincts? I rang the bell and called for the weekly county pa­per, which con­tained a ver­batim ac­count of the in­quest. In the sur­geon’s de­pos­ition it was stated that the pos­teri­or third of the left pari­et­al bone and the left half of the oc­cipit­al bone hail been shattered by a heavy blow from a blunt weapon. I marked the spot upon my own head. Clearly such a blow must have been struck from be­hind. That was to some ex­tent in fa­vour of the ac­cused, as when seen quar­rel­ling he was face to face with his fath­er. Still, it did not go for very much, for the older man might have turned his back be­fore the blow fell. Still, it might be worth while to call Holmes’s at­ten­tion to it. Then there was the pe­cu­li­ar dy­ing ref­er­ence to a rat. What could that mean? It could not be de­li­ri­um. A man dy­ing from a sud­den blow does not com­monly be­come de­li­ri­ous. No, it was more likely to be an at­tempt to ex­plain how he met his fate. But what could it in­dic­ate? I cudgelled my brains to find some pos­sible ex­plan­a­tion. And then the in­cid­ent of the gray cloth seen by young Mc­Carthy. If that were true the mur­der­er must have dropped some part of his dress, pre­sum­ably his over­coat, in his flight, and must have had the hardi­hood to re­turn and to carry it away at the in­stant when the son was kneel­ing with his back turned not a dozen paces off. What a tis­sue of mys­ter­ies and im­prob­ab­il­it­ies the whole thing was! I did not won­der at Lestrade’s opin­ion, and yet I had so much faith in Sher­lock Holmes’s in­sight that I could not lose hope as long as every fresh fact seemed to strengthen his con­vic­tion of young Mc­Carthy’s in­no­cence.It was late be­fore Sher­lock Holmes re­turned. He came back alone, for Lestrade was stay­ing in lodgings in the town.”The glass still keeps very high,” he re­marked as he sat down. “It is of im­port­ance that it should not rain be­fore we are able to go over the ground. On the oth­er hand, a man should be at his very best and keen­est for such nice work as that, and I did not wish to do it when fagged by a long jour­ney. I have seen young Mc­Carthy.””And what did you learn from him?””Noth­ing.””Could he throw no light?””None at all. I was in­clined to think at one time that he knew who had done it and was screen­ing him or her, but I am con­vinced now that he is as puzzled as every­one else. He is not a very quick-wit­ted youth, though comely to look at and, I should think, sound at heart.””I can­not ad­mire his taste,” I re­marked, “if it is in­deed a fact that he was averse to a mar­riage with so charm­ing a young lady as this Miss Turn­er.””Ah, thereby hangs a rather pain­ful tale. This fel­low is madly, in­sanely, in love with her, but some two years ago, when he was only a lad, and be­fore he really knew her, for she had been away five years at a board­ing-school, what does the idi­ot do but get in­to the clutches of a bar­maid in Bris­tol and marry her at a re­gistry of­fice? No one knows a word of the mat­ter, but you can ima­gine how mad­den­ing it must be to him to be up­braided for not do­ing what he would give his very eyes to do, but what he knows to be ab­so­lutely im­possible. It was sheer frenzy of this sort which made him throw his hands up in­to the air when his fath­er, at their last in­ter­view, was goad­ing him on to pro­pose to Miss Turn­er. On the oth­er hand, he had no means of sup­port­ing him­self, and his fath­er, who was by all ac­counts a very hard man, would have thrown him over ut­terly had he known the truth. It was with his bar­maid wife that he had spent the last three days in Bris­tol, and his fath­er did not know where he was. Mark that point. It is of im­port­ance. Good has come out of evil, however, for the bar­maid, finding from the pa­pers that he is in ser­i­ous trouble and likely to be hanged, has thrown him over ut­terly and has writ­ten to him to say that she has a hus­band already in the Ber­muda Dock­yard, so that there is really no tie between them. I think that that bit of news has con­soled young Mc­Carthy for all that he has suffered.””But if he is in­no­cent, who has done it?””Ah! who? I would call your at­ten­tion very par­tic­u­larly to two points. One is that the murdered man had an ap­point­ment with someone at the pool, and that the someone could not have been his son, for his son was away, and he did not know when he would re­turn. The second is that the murdered man was heard to cry ’Coo­ee!’ be­fore he knew that his son had re­turned. Those are the cru­cial points upon which the case de­pends. And now let us talk about George Meredith, if you please, and we shall leave all minor mat­ters un­til to-mor­row.”There was no rain, as Holmes had fore­told, and the morn­ing broke bright and cloud­less. At nine o’clock Lestrade called for us with the car­riage, and we set off for Hath­er­ley Farm and the Boscombe Pool.”There is ser­i­ous news this morn­ing,” Lestrade ob­served. “It is said that Mr. Turn­er, of the Hall, is so ill that his life is des­paired of.””An eld­erly man, I pre­sume?” saild Holmes.”About sixty; but his con­sti­tu­tion has been shattered by his life abroad, and he has been in fail­ing health for some time. This busi­ness has had a very bad ef­fect upon him. He was an old friend of Mc­Carthy’s, and, I may add, a great be­ne­fact­or to him, for I have learned that he gave him Hath­er­ley Farm rent free.””In­deed! That is in­ter­est­ing,” said Holmes.”Oh, yes! In a hun­dred oth­er ways he has helped him. Every­body about here speaks of his kind­ness to him.””Really! Does it not strike- you as a little sin­gu­lar that this Mc­Carthy, who ap­pears to have had little of his own, and to have been un­der such ob­lig­a­tions to Turn­er, should still talk of mar­ry­ing his son to Turn­er’s daugh­ter, who is, pre­sum­ably, heir­ess to the es­tate, and that in such a very cock­sure man­ner, as if it were merely a case of a pro­pos­al and all else would fol­low? It is the more strange, since we know that Turn­er him­self was averse to the idea. The daugh­ter told us as much. Do you not de­duce something from that?””We have got to the de­duc­tions and the in­fer­ences,” said Lestrade, wink­ing at me. “I find it hard enough to tackle facts, Holmes, without flying away after the­or­ies and fan­cies.””You are right,” said Holmes de­murely; “you do find it very hard to tackle the facts.””Any­how, I have grasped one fact which you seem to find it dif­fi­cult to get hold of,” replied Les­bi­ade with some warmth.”And that is –””That Mc­Carthy seni­or met his death from Mc­Carthy ju­ni­or and that all the­or­ies to the con­trary are the merest moon­shine.””Well, moon­shine is a bright­er thing than fog,” said Holmes, laugh­ing. “But I am very much mis­taken if this is not Hath­er­ley Farm upon the left.””Yes, that is it.” It was a wide­spread, com­fort­able-look­ing build­ing, two-stor­ied, slate-roofed, with great yel­low blotches of lichen upon the gray walls. The drawn blinds and the smoke­less chim­neys, however, gave it a stricken look, as though the weight of this hor­ror still lay heavy upon it. We called at the door, when the maid, at Holmes’s re­quest, showed us the boots which her mas­ter wore at the time of his death, and also a pair of the son’s, though not the pair which he had then had. Hav­ing meas­ured these very care­fully from sev­en or eight dif­fer­ent points, Holmes de­sired to be led to the court-yard, from which we all fol­lowed the wind­ing track which led to Boscombe Pool.Sher­lock Holmes was trans­formed when he was hot upon such a scent as this. Men who had only known the quiet thinker and lo­gi­cian of Baker Street would have failed to re­cog­nize him. His face flushed and darkened. His brows were drawn in­to two hard black lines, while his eyes shone out from be­neath them with a steely glit­ter. His face was bent down­ward, his shoulders bowed, his lips com­pressed, and the veins stood out like whip­cord in his long, sinewy neck. His nos­trils seemed to dilate with a purely an­im­al lust for the chase, and his mind was so ab­so­lutely con­cen­trated upon the mat­ter be­fore him that a ques­tion or re­mark fell un­heeded upon his ears, or, at the most, only pro­voked a quick, im­pa­tient snarl in reply. Swiftly and si­lently he made his way along the track which ran through the mead­ows, and so by way of the woods to the Boscombe Pool. It was damp, marshy ground, as is all that dis­trict, and there were marks of many feet, both upon the path and amid the short grass which bounded it on either side. Some­times Holmes would hurry on, some­times stop dead, and once he made quite a little de­tour in­to the mead­ow. Lestrade and I walked be­hind him, the de­tect­ive in­dif­fer­ent and con­temp­tu­ous, while I watched my friend with the in­terest which sprang from the con­vic­tion that every one of his ac­tions was dir­ec­ted to­wards a definite end.The Boscombe Pool, which is a little reed-girt sheet of wa­ter some fifty yards across, is situ­ated at the bound­ary between the Hath­er­ley Farm and the private park of the wealthy Mr. Turn­er. Above the woods which lined it upon the farther side we could see the red, jut­ting pin­nacles which marked the site of the rich landown­er’s dwell­ing. On the Hath­er­ley side of the pool the woods grew very thick, and there was a nar­row belt of sod­den grass twenty paces across between the edge of the trees land the reeds which lined the lake. Lestrade showed us the ex­act spot at which the body had been found, and, in­deed, so moist was the ground, that I could plainly see the traces which had been left by the fall of the stricken man. To Holmes, as I could see by his eager face and peer­ing eyes, very many oth­er things were to be read upon the trampled grass. He ran round, like a dog who is pick­ing up a scent, and then turned upon my com­pan­ion.”What did you go in­to the pool for?” he asked.”I fished about with a rake. I thought there might be some weapon or oth­er trace. But how on earth –””Oh, tut, tut! I have no time! That left foot of yours with its in­ward twist is all over the place. A mole could trace it, and there it van­ishes among the reeds. Oh, how simple it would all have been had I been here be­fore they came like a herd of buf­falo and wal­lowed all over it. Here is where the party with the lodge-keep­er came, and they have covered all tracks for six or eight feet round the body. But here are three sep­ar­ate tracks of the same feet.” He drew out a lens and lay down upon his wa­ter­proof to have a bet­ter view, talk­ing all the time rather to him­self than to us. “These are young Mc­Carthy’s feet. Twice he was walk­ing, and once he ran swiftly, so that the soles are deeply marked and the heels hardly vis­ible. That bears out his story. He ran when he saw his fath­er on the ground. Then here are the fath­er’s feet as he paced up and down. What is this, then? It is the butt-end of the gun as the son stood listen­ing. And this? Ha, ha! What have we here? Tip­toes! tip­toes! Square, too, quite un­usu­al boots! They come, they go, they come again – of course that was for the cloak. Now where did they come from?” He ran up and down, some­times los­ing, some­times finding the track un­til we were well with­in the edge of the wood and un­der the shad­ow of a great beech, the largest tree in the neigh­bour­hood. Holmes traced his way to the farther side of this and lay down once more upon his face with a little cry of sat­is­fac­tion. For a long time he re­mained there, turn­ing over the leaves and dried sticks, gath­er­ing up what seemed to me to be dust in­to an en­vel­ope and ex­amin­ing with his lens not only the ground but even the bark of the tree as far as he could reach. A jagged stone was ly­ing among the moss, and this also he care­fully ex­amined and re­tained. Then he fol­lowed a path­way through the wood un­til he came to the highroad, where all traces were lost.”It has been a case of con­sid­er­able in­terest,” he re­marked, re­turn­ing to his nat­ur­al man­ner. “I fancy that this gray house on the right must be the lodge. I think that I will go in and have a word with Mor­an, and per­haps write a little note. Hav­ing done that, we may drive back to our lunchebn. You may walk to the cab, and I shall be with you presently.”It was about ten minutes be­fore we re­gained our cab and drove back in­to Ross, Holmes still car­ry­ing with him the stone which he had picked up in the wood.”This may in­terest you, Lestrade,” he re­marked, hold­ing it out. “The murder was done with it.””I see no marks.””There are none.””How do you know, then?””The grass was grow­ing un­der it. It had only lain there a few days. There was no sign of a place whence it had been taken. It cor­res­ponds with the in­jur­ies. There is no sign of any oth­er weapon.””And the mur­der­er?””Is a tall man, left-handed, limps with the right leg, wears thick-soled shoot­ing-boots and a gray cloak, smokes In­di­an ci­gars, uses a ci­gar-hold­er, and car­ries a blunt pen-knife in his pock­et. There are sev­er­al oth­er in­dic­a­tions, but these may be enough to aid us in our search.”Lestrade laughed. “I am afraid that I am still a scep­tic,” he said. “The­or­ies are all very well, but we have to deal with a hard-headed Brit­ish jury.””Nous ver­rons,” answered Holmes calmly. “You work your own meth­od, and I shall work mine. I shall be busy this af­ter­noon, and shall prob­ably re­turn to Lon­don by the even­ing train.””And leave your case unfinished?””No, finished.””But the mys­tery?””It is solved.’”Who was the crim­in­al, then?””The gen­tle­man I de­scribe.””But who is he?””Surely it would not be dif­fi­cult to find out. This is not such a pop­u­lous neigh­bour­hood.”Lestrade shrugged his shoulders. “I am a prac­tic­al man,” he said, “and I really can­not un­der­take to go about the coun­try look­ing for a left-handed gen­tle­man with a game-leg. I should be­come the laugh­ing-stock of Scot­land Yard.””All right,” said Holmes quietly. “I have giv­en you the chance. Here are your lodgings. Good-bye. I shall drop you a line be­fore I leave.”Hav­ing left Lestrade at his rooms, we drove to our hotel, where we found lunch upon the ta­ble. Holmes was si­lent and bur­ied in thought with a pained ex­pres­sion upon his face, as one who finds him­self in a per­plex­ing po­s­i­tion.”Look here, Wat­son,” he said when the cloth was cleared “just sit down in this chair and let me preach to you for a little. don’t know quite what to do, and I should value your ad­vice. Light a ci­gar and let me ex­pound.””Pray do so.””Well, now, in con­sid­er­ing this case there are two points about young Mc­Carthy’s nar­rat­ive which struck us both in­stantly, al­though they im­pressed me in his fa­vour and you against him. One was the fact that his fath­er should, ac­cord­ing to his ac­count, cry ’Coo­ee!’ be­fore see­ing him. The oth­er was his sin­gu­lar dy­ing ref­er­ence to a rat. He mumbled sev­er­al words, you un­der­stand, but that was all that caught the son’s ear. Now from this double point our re­search must com­mence, and we will be­gin it by pre­sum­ing that what the lad says is ab­so­lutely true.””What of this ’Coo­ee!’ then?””Well, ob­vi­ously it could not have been meant for the son. The son, as far as he knew, was in Bris­tol. It was mere chance that he was with­in earshot. The ’Coo­ee!’ was meant to at­tract the at­ten­tion of who­ever it was that he had the ap­point­ment with. But ’Coo­ee’ is a dis­tinctly Aus­trali­an cry, and one which is used between Aus­trali­ans. There is a strong pre­sump­tion that the per­son whom Mc­Carthy ex­pec­ted to meet him at Boscombe Pool was someone who had been in Aus­tralia.””What of the rat, then?”Sher­lock Holmes took a fol­ded pa­per from his pock­et and flattened it out on the ta­ble. “This is a map of the Colony of Vic­tor­ia,” he said. “I wired to Bris­tol for it last night.” He put his hand over part of the map. “What do you read?””AR­AT,” I read.”And now?” He raised his hand.”BAL­LAR­AT. “”Quite so. That was the word the man uttered, and of which his son only caught the last two syl­lables. He was try­ing to ut­ter the name of his mur­der­er. So and so, of Bal­lar­at.””It is won­der­ful!” I ex­claimed.”It is ob­vi­ous. And now, you see, I had nar­rowed the field down con­sid­er­ably. The pos­ses­sion of a gray gar­ment was a third point which, grant­ing the son’s state­ment to be cor­rect, was a cer­tainty. We have come now out of mere vague­ness to the definite con­cep­tion of an Aus­trali­an from Bal­lar­at with a gray cloak.””Cer­tainly. “”And one who was at home in the dis­trict, for the pool can only be ap­proached by the farm or by the es­tate, where strangers could hardly wander.””Quite so.””Then comes our ex­ped­i­tion of to-day. By an ex­am­in­a­tion of the ground I gained the trifling de­tails which I gave to that im­be­cile Lestrade, as to the per­son­al­ity of the crim­in­al.””But how did you gain them?””You know my meth­od. It is foun­ded upon the ob­ser­va­tion of trifles.””His height I know that you might roughly judge from the length of his stride. His boots, too, might be told from their traces.””Yes, they were pe­cu­li­ar boots.””But his lame­ness?””The im­pres­sion of his right foot was al­ways less dis­tinct than his left. He put less weight upon it. Why? Be­cause he limped – he was lame.””But his left-handed­ness.””You were your­self struck by the nature of the in­jury as re­cor­ded by the sur­geon at-the in­quest. The blow was struck from im­me­di­ately be­hind, and yet was upon the left side. Now, how can that be un­less it were by a left-handed man? He had stood be­hind that tree dur­ing the in­ter­view between the fath­er and son. He had even smoked there. I found the ash of a ci­gar, which my spe­cial know­ledge of to­bacco ashes en­ables me to pro­nounce as an In­di­an ci­gar. I have, as you know, de­voted some at­ten­tion to this, and writ­ten a little mono­graph on the ashes of 140 dif­fer­ent vari­et­ies of pipe, ci­gar, and ci­gar­ette to­bacco. Hav­ing found the ash, I then looked round and dis­covered the stump among the moss where he had tossed it. It was an In­di­an ci­gar, of the vari­ety which are rolled in Rot­ter­dam.””And the ci­gar-hold­er?””I could see that the end had not been in his mouth. There­fore he used a hold­er. The tip had been cut off, not bit­ten off, but the cut was not a clean one, so I de­duced a blunt pen-knife.””Holmes,” I said, “you have drawn a net round this man from which he can­not es­cape, and you have saved an in­no­cent hu­man life as truly as if you had cut the cord which was hanging him. I see the dir­ec­tion in which all this points. The cul­prit is –””Mr. John Turn­er,” cried the hotel waiter, open­ing the door of our sit­ting-room, and ush­er­ing in a vis­it­or.The man who entered was a strange and im­press­ive figure. His slow, limp­ing step and bowed shoulders gave the ap­pear­ance of de­crep­itude, and yet his hard, deep-lined, craggy fea­tures, and his enorm­ous limbs showed that he was pos­sessed of un­usu­al strength of body and of char­ac­ter. His tangled beard, grizzled hair, and out­stand­ing, droop­ing eye­brows com­bined to give an air of dig­nity and power to his ap­pear­ance, but his face was of an ashen white, while his lips and the corners of his nos­trils were tinged with a shade of blue. It was clear to me at a glance that he was in the grip of some deadly and chron­ic dis­ease.”Pray sit down on the sofa,” said Holmes gently. “You had my note?””Yes, the lodge-keep­er brought it up. You said that you wished to see me here to avoid scan­dal.””I thought people would talk if I went to the Hall.””And why did you wish to see me?” He looked across at my com­pan­ion with des­pair in his weary eyes, as though his ques­tion was already answered.”Yes,” said Holmes, an­swer­ing the look rather than the words. “It is so. I know all about Mc­Carthy.”The old man sank his face in his hands. “God help me!” he cried. “But I would not have let the young man come to harm. I give you my word that I would have spoken out if it went against him at the As­sizes.””I am glad to hear you say so,” said Holmes gravely.”I would have spoken now had it not been for my dear girl. It would break her heart – it will break her heart when she hears that I am ar­res­ted.””It may not come to that,” said Holmes.”What?””I am no of­fi­cial agent. I un­der­stand that it was your daugh­ter who re­quired my pres­ence here, and I am act­ing in her in­terests. Young Mc­Carthy must be got off, however.””I am a dy­ing man,” said old Turn­er. “I have had dia­betes for years. My doc­tor says it is a ques­tion wheth­er I shall live a month. Yet I would rather die un­der my own roof than in a jail.”Holmes rose and sat down at the ta­ble with his pen in his hand and a bundle of pa­per be­fore him. “lust tell us the truth,” he said. “I shall jot down the facts. You will sign it, and Wat­son here can wit­ness it. Then I could pro­duce your con­fes­sion at the last ex­tremity to save young Mc­Carthy. I prom­ise you that I shall not use it un­less it is ab­so­lutely needed.””It’s as well,” said the old man; “it’s a ques­tion wheth­er I shall live to the As­sizes, so it mat­ters little to me, but I should wish to spare Alice the shock. And now I will make the thing clear to you; it has been a long time in the act­ing, but will not take me long to tell.”You didn’t know this dead man, Mc­Carthy. He was a dev­il in­carn­ate. I tell you that. God keep you out of the clutches of such a man as he. His grip has been upon me these twenty years, and he has blas­ted my life. I’ll tell you first how I came to be in his power.”It was in the early ’60’s at the dig­gings. I was a young chap then, hot-blooded and reck­less, ready to turn my hand at any­thing; I got among bad com­pan­ions, took to drink, had no luck with my claim, took to the bush, and in a word be­came what you would call over here a high­way rob­ber. There were six of us, and we had a wild, free life of it, stick­ing up a sta­tion from time to time, or stop­ping the wag­ons on the road to the dig­gings. Black Jack of Bal­lar­at was the name I went un­der, and our party is still re­membered in the colony as the Bal­lar­at Gang.”One day a gold con­voy came down from Bal­lar­at to Mel­bourne, and we lay in wait for it and at­tacked it. There were six troop­ers and six of us, so it was a close thing, but we emp­tied four of their saddles at the first vol­ley. Three of our boys were killed, however, be­fore we got the swag. I put my pis­tol to the head of the wag­on-driver, who was this very man Mc­Carthy. I wish to the Lord that I had shot him then, but I spared him, though I saw his wicked little eyes fixed on my face, as though to re­mem­ber every fea­ture. We got away with the gold, be­came wealthy men, and made our way over to Eng­land without be­ing sus­pec­ted. There I par­ted from my old pals and de­term­ined to settle down to a quiet and re­spect­able life. I bought this es­tate, which chanced to be in the mar­ket, and I set my­self to do a little good with my money, to make up for the way in which I had earned it. I mar­ried, too, and though my wife died young she left me my dear little Alice. Even when she was just a baby her wee hand seemed to lead me down the right path as noth­ing else had ever done. In a word, I turned over a new leaf and did my best to make up for the past. All was go­ing well when Mc­Carthy laid hls grip upon me.”I had gone up to town about an in­vest­ment, and I met him in Re­gent Street with hardly a coat to his back or a boot to his foot.”’Here we are, Jack,’ says he, touch­ing me on the arm; ’we’ll be as good as a fam­ily to you. There’s two of us, me and my son, and you can have the keep­ing of us. If you don’t – it’s a fine, law-abid­ing coun­try is Eng­land, and there’s al­ways a po­lice­man with­in hail.’”Well, down they came to the west coun­try, there was no shak­ing them off, and there they have lived rent free on my best land ever since. There was no rest for me, no peace, no for­get­ful­ness; turn where I would, there was his cun­ning, grin­ning face at my el­bow. It grew worse as Alice grew up, for he soon saw I was more afraid of her know­ing my past than of the po­lice. Whatever he wanted he must have, and whatever it was I gave him without ques­tion, land, money, houses, un­til at last he asked a thing which I could not give. He asked for Alice.”His son, you see, had grown up, and so had my girl, and as I was known to be in weak health, it seemed a fine stroke to him that his lad should step in­to the whole prop­erty. But there I was firm. I would not have his cursed stock mixed with mine; not that I had any dis­like to the lad, but his blood was in him, and that was enough. I stood firm. Mc­Carthy threatened. I braved him to do his worst. We were to meet at the pool mid­way between our houses to talk it over.”When we went down there I found him talk­ing with his son, so smoked a ci­gar and waited be­hind a tree un­til he should be alone. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bit­ter in me seemed to come up­per­most. He was ur­ging his son to marry my daugh­ter with as little re­gard for what she might think as if she were a slut from off the streets. It drove me mad to think that I and all that I held most dear should be in the power of such a man as this. Could I not snap the bond? I was already a dy­ing and a des­per­ate man. Though clear of mind and fairly strong of limb, I knew that my own fate was sealed. But my memory and my girl! Both could be saved if I could but si­lence that foul tongue. I did it, Mr. Holmes. I would do it again. Deeply as I have sinned, I have led a life of mar­tyr­dom to atone for it. But that my girl should be en­tangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suf­fer. I struck him down with no more com­punc­tion than if he had been some foul and venom­ous beast. His cry brought back his son; but I had gained the cov­er of the wood, though I was forced to go back to fetch the cloak which I had dropped in my flight. That is the true story, gen­tle­men, of all that oc­curred.””Well, it is not for me to judge you,” said Holmes as the old man signed the state­ment which had been drawn out. “I pray that we may nev­er be ex­posed to such a tempta­tion.””I pray not, sir. And what do you in­tend to do?””In view of your health, noth­ing. You are your­self aware that you will soon have to an­swer for your deed at a high­er court than the As­sizes. I will keep your con­fes­sion, and if Mc­Carthy is con­demned I shall be forced to use it. If not, it shall nev­er be seen by mor­tal eye; and your secret, wheth­er you be alive or dead, shall be safe with us.””Farewell, then,” said the old man sol­emnly. “Your own deathbeds, when they come, will be the easi­er for the thought of the peace which you have giv­en to mine.” Tot­ter­ing and shak­ing in all his gi­ant frame, he stumbled slowly from the room.”God help us!” said Holmes after a long si­lence. “Why does fate play such tricks with poor, help­less worms? I nev­er hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Bax­ter’s words, and say, ’There, but for the grace of God, goes Sher­lock Holmes.’ “James Mc­Carthy was ac­quit­ted at the As­sizes on the strength of a num­ber of ob­jec­tions which had been drawn out by Holmes and sub­mit­ted to the de­fend­ing coun­sel. Old Turn­er lived for sev­en months after our in­ter­view, but he is now dead; and there is every pro­spect that the son and daugh­ter may come to live hap­pily to­geth­er in ig­nor­ance of the black cloud which rests upon their past.

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