"Now, Watson," said Holmes,
rubbing his hands, "we have half
an hour to ourselves. Let us
make good use of it. My case
is, as I have told you, almost
complete; but we must not err
on the side of overconfidence.
Simple as the case seems now,
there may be something deeper
"Surely," said he with something
of the air of a clinical professor
expounding to his class. "Just
sit in the corner there, that
your footprints may not complicate
matters. Now to work! In the
first place, how did these folk
come and how did they go? The
door has not been opened since
last night. How of the window?" He
carried the lamp across to it,
muttering his obser- vations
aloud the while but addressing
them to himself rather than to
me. "Window is snibbed on the
inner side. Frame-work is solid.
No hinges at the side. Let us
open it. No water-pipe near.
Roof quite out of reach. Yet
a man has mounted by the window.
It rained a little last night.
Here is the print of a foot in
mould upon the sill. And here
is a circular muddy mark, and
here again upon the floor, and
here again by the table. See
bere, Watson! This is really
a very pretty demonstration."
I looked at the round, well-defined
"That is not a foot-mark," said
much more valuable
to us. It is
sion of a wooden stump. You see
here on the sill is the boot-
mark, a heavy boot with a broad
metal heel, and beside it is
the mark of the timber-toe."
is the wooden-legged
so. But there
has been someone
else -- a very
efficient ally. Could you scale
that wall, Doctor?"
I looked out of the open window.
The moon still shone brightiy
on that angle of the house. We
were a good sixty feet from the
ground, and, look where I would,
I could see no foothold, nor
as much as a crevice in the brickwork.
"It is absolutely impossible," I
"Without aid it is so. But
suppose you had a friend up here
who lowered you this good stout
rope which I see in the corner,
securing one end of it to this
great hook in the wall. Then,
I think, if you were an active
man, you might swarm up, wooden
leg and all. You would depart,
of course, in the same fashion,
and your ally would draw up the
rope, untie it from the hook,
shut the window, snib it on the
inside, and get away in the way
that he originally came. As a
minor point, it may be noted," he
continued, fingering the rope, "that
our wooden-legged friend, though
a fair climber, was not a professional
sailor. His hands were far from
horny. My lens discloses more
than one blood- mark, especially
towards the end of the rope,
from which I gather that he slipped
down with such velocity that
he took the skin off his hands."
"This is all very well," said
I; "but the thing becomes more
unintelligible than ever. How
about this mysterious ally? How
came he into the room?"
"Yes, the ally!" repeated Holmes
pensively. "There are fea- tures
of interest about this ally.
He lifts the case from the regions
of the commonplace. I fancy that
this ally breaks fresh ground
in the annals of crime in this
country -- though parallel cases
sug- gest themselves from India
and, if my memory serves me,
"How came he, then?" I reiterated. "The
door is locked; the window is
inaccessible. Was it through
"The grate is much too small," he
answered. "I had already considered
"How, then?" I
"You will not apply my precept," he
said, shaking his head. "How
often have I said to you that
when you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains,
however improbable, must be the
truth? We know that he did not
come through the door, the window,
or the chimney. We also know
that he could not have been concealed
in the room, as there is no concealment
possible. When, then, did he
"He came through the hole in
the roof!" I cried.
course he did.
He must have
done so. If
you will have
the kindness to hold the lamp
for me, we shall now extend our
researches to the room above
-- the secret room in which the
treasure was found."
He mounted the steps, and,
seizing a rafter with either
hand, he swung himself up into
the garret. Then, lying on his
face, he reached down for the
lamp and held it while I followed
The chamber in which we found
ourselves was about ten feet
one way and six the other. The
floor was formed by the rafters,
with thin lath and plaster between,
so that in walking one had to
step from beam to beam. The roof
ran up to an apex and was evidently
the inner shell of the true roof
of the house. There was no furniture
of any sort, and the accumulated
dust of years lay thick upon
"Here you are, you see," said
Sherlock Holmes, putting his
hand against the sloping wall. "This
is a trapdoor which leads out
on to the roof. I can press it
back, and here is the roof itself,
sloping at a gentle angle. This,
then, is the way by which Number
One entered. Let us see if we
can find some other traces of
He held down the lamp to the
floor, and as he did so I saw
for the second time that night
a startled, surprised look come
over his face. For myself, as
I followed his gaze, my skin
was cold under my clothes. The
floor was covered thickly with
the prints of a naked foot --
clear, well-defined, perfectly
formed, but scarce half the size
of those of an ordinary man.
"Holmes," I said in a whisper, "a
child has done this horrid thing."
He had recovered his self-possession
in an instant.
"I was staggered for the moment," he
said, "but the thing is quite
natural. My memory failed me,
or I should have been able to
foretell it. There is nothing
more to be learned here. Let
us go down."
"What is your theory, then,
as to those footmarks?" I asked
eagerly when we had regained
the lower room once more.
"My dear Watson, try a little
analysis yourself," said he with
a touch of impatience. "You know
my methods. Apply them, and it
will be instructive to compare
"I cannot conceive anything
which will cover the facts," I
"It will be clear enough to
you soon," he said, in an offhand
way. "I think that there is nothing
else of importance here, but
I will look."
He whipped out his lens and
a tape measure and hurried about
the room on his knees, measuring,
comparing, examining, with his
long thin nose only a few inches
from the planks and his beady
eyes gleaming and deep-set like
those of a bird. So swift, silent,
and furtive were his movements,
like those of a trained bloodhound
picking out a scent, that I could
not but think what a terrible
criminal he would have made had
he turned his energy and sagacity
against the law instead of exerting
them in its defence. As he hunted
about, he kept muttering to himself,
and finally he broke out into
a loud crow of delight.
"We are certainly in luck," said
he. "We ought to have very little
trouble now. Number One has had
the misfortune to tread in the
creosote. You can see the outline
of the edge of his small foot
here at the side of this evil-smelling
mess. The carboy has been cracked,
you see, and the stuff has leaked
"What then?" I
"Why, we have got him, that's
all," said he.
know a dog
scent to the
If a pack can track a trailed
herring across a shire, how far
can a specially trained hound
follow so pungent a smell as
this? It sounds like a sum in
the rule of three. The answer
should give us the -- But hallo!
here are the accredited representatives
of the law."
Heavy steps and the clamour
of loud voices were audible from
below, and the hall door shut
with a loud crash.
"Before they come," said Holmes, "just
put your hand here on this poor
fellow's arm, and here on his
leg. What do you feel?"
as hard as
a board," I
so. They are
in a state
the usual rigor mortis. Coupled
with this distortion of the face,
this Hippocratic smile, or 'risus
sardonicus,' as the old writers
called it, what conclusion would
it suggest to your mind?"
"Death from some powerful vegetable
alkaloid," I answered, "some
strychnine-like substance which
would produce tetanus."
was the idea
to me the instant I saw the drawn
muscles of the face. On getting
into the room I at once looked
for the means by which the poison
had entered the system. As you
saw, I discovered a thorn which
had been driven or shot with
no great force into the scalp.
You observe that the part struck
was that which would be turned
towards the hole in the ceiling
if the man were erect in his
chair. Now examine this thorn."
I took it up gingerly and held
it in the light of the lantern.
It was long, sharp, and black,
with a glazed look near the point
as though some gummy substance
had dried upon it. The blunt
end had been trimmed and rounded
off with a knife.
"Is that an English thorn?" he
all these data
be able to
draw some just
But here are the regulars, so
the auxiliary forces may beat
As he spoke, the steps which
had been coming nearer sounded
loudly on the passage, and a
very stout, portly man in a gray
suit strode heavily into the
room. He was red-faced, burly,
and plethoric, with a pair of
very small twinkling eyes which
looked keenly out from between
swollen and puffy pouches. He
was closely followed by an inspector
in uniform and by the still palpitating
"Here's a business!" he cried
in a muffled, husky voice. "Here's
a pretty business! But who are
all these? Why, the house seems
to be as full as a rabbit-warren!"
"I think you must recollect
me, Mr. Athelney Jones," said
"Why, of course I do!" he wheezed. "It's
Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the theorist.
Remember you! I'll never forget
how you lectured us all on causes
and inferences and effects in
the Bishopgate jewel case. It's
true you set us on the right
track; but you'll own now that
it was more by good luck than
was a piece
of very simple
be ashamed to own up. But what
is all this? Bad business! Bad
business! Stern facts here --
no room for theories. How lucky
that I happened to be out at
Norwood over another case! I
was at the station when the message
arrived. What d'you think the
man died of?"
"Oh, this is hardly a case
for me to theorize over," said
we can't deny
that you hit the nail on the
head sometimes. Dear me! Door
locked, I understand. Jewels
worth half a million missing.
How was the window?"
but there are
steps on the
well, if it
the steps could have nothing
to do with the matter. That's
common sense. Man might have
died in a fit; but then the jewels
are missing. Ha! I have a theory.
These flashes come upon me at
times. -- Just step outside,
Ser- geant, and you, Mr. Sholto.
Your friend can remain. -- What
do you think of this, Holmes?
Sholto was, on his own confession,
with his brother last night.
The brother died in a fit, on
which Sholto walked off with
the treasure? How's that?"
which the dead
man very considerately
got up and
the door on the inside."
There's a flaw
us apply common
the matter. This Thaddeus Sholto
was with his brother; there was
a quarrel: so much we know. The
brother is dead and the jewels
are gone. So much also we know.
No one saw the brother from the
time Thaddeus left him. His bed
had not been slept in. Thaddeus
is evidently in a most disturbed
state of mind. His appearance
is -- well, not attractive. You
see that I am weaving my web
round Thaddeus. The net begins
to close upon him."
"You are not quite in possession
of the facts yet," said Holmes. "This
splinter of wood, which I have
every reason to believe to be
poisoned, was in the man's scalp
where you still see the mark;
this card, inscribed as you see
it, was on the table, and beside
it lay this rather curious stone-headed
instrument. How does all that
fit into your theory?"
"Confirms it in every respect," said
the fat detective pom- pously. "House
is full of Indian curiosities.
Thaddeus brought this up, and
if this splinter be poisonous
Thaddeus may as well have made
murderous use of it as any other
man. The card is some hocus-pocus
-- a blind, as like as not. The
only question is, how did he
depart? Ah, of course, here is
a hole in the roof."
With great activity, considering
his bulk, he sprang up the steps
and squeezed through into the
garret, and immediately afterwards
we heard his exulting voice proclaiming
that he had found the trapdoor.
"He can find something," remarked
Holmes, shrugging his shoulders; "he
has occasional glimmerings of
reason. ll n'y a pas des sots
si incommodes que ceux qui ont
"You see!" said Athelney Jones,
reappearing down the steps again; "facts
are better than theories, after
all. My view of the case is confirmed.
There is a trapdoor communicating
with the roof, and it is partly
was I who opened
"Oh, indeed! You did notice
it, then?" He seemed a little
crestfallen at the discovery. "Well,
whoever noticed it, it shows
how our gentleman got away. Inspector!"
"Yes, sir," from
to step this
way. -- Mr. Sholto, it is my
duty to inform you that anything
which you may say will be used
against you. I arrest you in
the Queen's name as being concerned
in the death of your brother."
"There, now! Didn't I tell
you!" cried the poor little man
throwing out his hands and looking
from one to the other of us.
"Don't trouble yourself about
it, Mr. Sholto," said Holmes; "I
think that I can engage to clear
you of the charge."
"Don't promise too much, Mr.
Theorist, don't promise too much!" snapped
the detective. "You may find
it a harder matter than you think."
only will I
but I will
a free present of the name and
description of one of the two
people who were in this room
last night. His name, I have
every reason to believe, is Jonathan
Small. He is a poorly educated
man, small, active, with his
right leg off, and wearing a
wooden stump which is worn away
upon the inner side. His left
boot has a coarse, square-toed
sole, with an iron band round
the heel. He is a middle-aged
man, much sunburned, and has
been a convict. These few indications
may be of some assistance to
you, coupled with the fact that
there is a good deal of skin
missing from the palm of his
hand. The other man --"
"Ah! the other man?" asked
Athelney Jones in a sneering
voice, but impressed none the
less, as I could easily see,
by the precision of the other's
"Is a rather curious person," said
Sherlock Holmes, turning upon
his heel. "I hope before very
long to be able to introduce
you to the pair of them. A word
with you, Watson."
He led me out to the head of
"This unexpected occurrence," he
said, "has caused us rather to
lose sight of the original purpose
of our journey."
"I have just been thinking
so," I answered; "it is not right
that Miss Morstan should remain
in this stricken house."
You must escort
her home. She
in Lower Camberwell, so it is
not very far. I will wait for
you here if you will drive out
again. Or perhaps you are too
no means. I
I could rest until I know more
of this fantastic business. I
have seen something of the rough
side of life, but I give you
my word that this quick succession
of strange surprises to-night
has shaken my nerve completely.
I should like, however, to see
the matter through with you,
now that I have got so far."
"Your presence will be of great
service to me," he answered. "We
shall work the case out independently
and leave this fellow Jones to
exult over any mare's-nest which
he may choose to construct. When
you have dropped Miss Morstan,
I wish you to go on to No. 3
Pinchin Lane, down near the water's
edge at Lambeth. The third house
on the right-hand side is a bird-
stuffer's; Sherman is the name.
You will see a weasel holding
a young rabbit in the window.
Knock old Sherman up and tell
him, with my compliments, that
I want Toby at once. You will
bring Toby back in the cab with
dog, I suppose."
a queer mongrel
with a most
I would rather have Toby's help
than that of the whole detective
force of London."
"I shall bring him then," said
I. "It is one now. I ought to
be back before three if I can
get a fresh horse."
"And I," said Holmes, "shall
see what I can learn from Mrs.
Bernstone and from the Indian
servant, who, Mr. Thaddeus tells
me, sleeps in the next garret.
Then I shall study the great
Jones's methods and listen to
his not too delicate sarcasms.
" 'Wir sind
gewohnt dass die Menschen verhohnen