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The Return of Sherlock Holmes


  Project Gutenberg's Return of Sherlock Holmes [Magazine Edition]

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  The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

  February, 1995 [Etext #221B]

  Project Gutenberg's Return of Sherlock Holmes [Magazine Edition]

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  --------------------------------------------------------------

  This edition of _The Return of Sherlock Holmes_ rholm12b.txt

  is based on the PG etext rholm10.txt (prepared by Charles Keller

  keller@ra.msstate.edu from a 1905 Doubleday-Collier edition)

  and proof-read so as to duplicate the original publication

  of these stories (using facsimiles) in The Strand Magazine

  by Joanne Brown brownjm@admin1.unbsj.ca, Frank Sadowski

  fsdw@db1.cc.rochester.edu, & Roger Squires rsquires@nmia.com.

  Thanks also to The Hounds of the Internet (blocka@beloit.edu

  for more info) for their assistance and encouragement.

  --------------------------------------------------------------

  THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.

  By ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.

  {EMPT, Rev 4, 1/17/96 rms, 4th proofing}

  {The Adventure of the Empty House, by Arthur Conan Doyle}

  {Source: The Strand Magazine 26 (Oct. 1903)}

  {Etext prepared by Roger Squires rsquires@nmia.com}

  {Braces({}) in the text indicate textual end-notes}

  {Underscores (_) in the text indicate italics}

  I. -- The Adventure of the Empty House.

  IT was in the spring of the year 1894 that all London was

  interested, and the fashionable world dismayed, by the

  murder of the Honourable Ronald Adair under most unusual

  and inexplicable circumstances. The public has already

  learned those particulars of the crime which came out in

  the police investigation; but a good deal was suppressed

  upon that occasion, since the case for the prosecution was

  so overwhelmingly strong that it was not necessary to bring

  forward all the facts. Only now, at the end of nearly ten

  years, am I allowed to supply those missing links which

  make up the whole of that remarkable chain. The crime was

  of interest in itself, but that interest was as nothing to

  me compared to the inconceivable sequel, which afforded me

  the greatest shock and surprise of any event in my

  adventurous life. Even now, after this long interval,

  I find myself thrilling as I think of it, and feeling once

  more that sudden flood of joy, amazement, and incredulity

  which utterly submerged my mind. Let me say to that public

  which has shown some interest in those glimpses which I

  have occasionally given them of the thoughts and actions of

  a very remarkable man that they are not to blame me if I

  have not shared my knowledge with them, for I should have

  considered it my first duty to have done so had I not been

  barred by a positive prohibition from his own lips, which

  was only withdrawn upon the third of last month.

  It can be imagined that my close intimacy with Sherlock

  Holmes had interested me deeply in crime, and that after

  his disappearance I never failed to read with care the

  various problems which came before the public, and I even

  attempted more than once for my own private satisfaction to

  employ his methods in their solution, though with

  indifferent success. There was none, however, which

  appealed to me like this tragedy of Ronald Adair. As I

  read the evidence at the inquest, which led up to a verdict

  of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown,

  I realized more clearly than I had ever done the loss which

  the community had sustained by the death of Sherlock

  Holmes. There were points about this strange business

  which would, I was sure, have specially appealed to him,

  and the efforts of the police would have been supplemented,

  or more probably anticipated, by the trained observation

  and the alert mind of the first criminal agent in Europe.

  All day as I drove upon my round I turned over the case in

  my mind, and found no explanation which appeared to me to

  be adequate. At the risk of telling a twice-told tale I

  will recapitulate the facts as they were known to the

  public at the conclusion of the inquest.

  The Honourable Ronald Adair was the second son of the Earl

  of Maynooth, at that time Governor of one of the Australian

  Colonies. Adair's mother had returned from Australia to

  undergo the operation for cataract, and she, her son Ronald,

  and her daughter Hilda were living together at 427, Park Lane.

  The youth moved in the best society, had, so far as was known,

  no enemies, and no particular vices. He had been engaged to

  Miss Edith Woodley, of Carstairs, but the engagement had been

  broken off by mutual consent some months before, and there was

  no sign that it had left any very profound feeling behind it.

  For the rest the man's life moved in a narrow and conventional

  circle, for his habits were quiet and his nature unemotional.

  Yet it was upon this easy-going young aristocrat that death

  came in most strange and unexpected form between the hours

  of ten and eleven-twenty on the night of March 30, 1894.

  Ronald Adair was fond of cards, playing continually, but

  never for such stakes as would hurt him. He was a member

  of the Baldwin, the Cavendish, and the Bagatelle card

  clubs. It was shown that after dinner on the day of his

  death he had played a rubber of whist at the latter club.

  He had also played there in the afternoon. The evidence

  of those who had played with him -- Mr. Murray, Sir John

  Hardy, and Colonel Moran -- showed that the game was whist,

  and that there was a fairly equal fall of the cards. Adair

  might have lost five pounds, but not more. His fortune was

  a considerable one, and such a loss could not in any way

  affect him. He had played nearly every day at one club or

  other, but he was a cautious player, and usually rose a

  winner. It came out in evidence that in partnership with

  Colonel Moran he had actually won as much as four hundred

  and twenty pounds in a sitting some weeks before from

  Godfrey Milner and Lord Balmoral. So much for his recent

  history, as it came out at the inquest.

  On the evening of the crime he returned from the club

  exactly at ten. His mother and sister were out spending

  the evening with a relation. The servant deposed that

  she heard him enter the front room on the second floor,

  generally used as his sitting-room. She had lit a fire

  there, and as it smoked she had opened the window. No

  sound was heard from the room until eleven-twenty, the hour

  of the return of Lady Maynooth and her daughter. Desiring

  to say good-night, she had attempted to enter her son's

  room. The door was locked on the inside, and no answer

  could be got to their cries and knocking. Help was

  obtained and the door forced. The unfortunate young man

  was found lying near the table. His head had been horribly

 
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