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THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

by Arthur Conan Doyle


Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes, with his brows
knitted and his eyes fixed upon the fire.

"Do you receive much company?" he asked.

"None save my partner with his family and an occasional friend of
Arthur's. Sir George Burnwell has been several times lately. No
one else, I think."

"Do you go out much in society?"

"Arthur does. Mary and I stay at home. We neither of us care for
it."

"That is unusual in a young girl."

"She is of a quiet nature. Besides, she is not so very young. She
is four-and-twenty."

"This matter, from what you say, seems to have been a shock to
her also."

"Terrible! She is even more affected than I."

"You have neither of you any doubt as to your son's guilt?"

"How can we have when I saw him with my own eyes with the coronet
in his hands."

"I hardly consider that a conclusive proof. Was the remainder of
the coronet at all injured?"

"Yes, it was twisted."

"Do you not think, then, that he might have been trying to
straighten it?"

"God bless you! You are doing what you can for him and for me.
But it is too heavy a task. What was he doing there at all? If
his purpose were innocent, why did he not say so?"

"Precisely. And if it were guilty, why did he not invent a lie?
His silence appears to me to cut both ways. There are several
singular points about the case. What did the police think of the
noise which awoke you from your sleep?"

"They considered that it might be caused by Arthur's closing his
bedroom door."

"A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his door
so as to wake a household. What did they say, then, of the
disappearance of these gems?"

"They are still sounding the planking and probing the furniture
in the hope of finding them."

"Have they thought of looking outside the house?"

"Yes, they have shown extraordinary energy. The whole garden has
already been minutely examined."

"Now, my dear sir," said Holmes. "is it not obvious to you now
that this matter really strikes very much deeper than either you
or the police were at first inclined to think? It appeared to you
to be a simple case; to me it seems exceedingly complex. Consider
what is involved by your theory. You suppose that your son came
down from his bed, went, at great risk, to your dressing-room,
opened your bureau, took out your coronet, broke off by main
force a small portion of it, went off to some other place,
concealed three gems out of the thirty-nine. with such skill that
nobody can find them, and then returned with the other thirty-six
into the room in which he exposed himself to the greatest danger
of being discovered. I ask you now, is such a theory tenable?"

"But what other is there?" cried the banker with a gesture of
despair. "If his motives were innocent, why does he not explain
them?"

"It is our task to find that out," replied Holmes; "so now, if
you please, Mr. Holder, we will set off for Streatham together,
and devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into
details."

My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedition,
which I was eager enough to do, for my curiosity and sympathy
were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. I
confess that the guilt of the banker's son appeared to me to be
as obvious as it did to his unhappy father, but still I had such
faith in Holmes's judgment that I felt that there must be some
grounds for hope as long as he was dissatisfied with the accepted
explanation. He hardly spoke a word the whole way out to the
southern suburb, but sat with his chin upon his breast and his
hat drawn over his eyes, sunk in the deepest thought. Our client
appeared to have taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope
which had been presented to him, and he even broke into a
desultory chat with me over his business affairs. A short railway
journey and a shorter walk brought us to Fairbank, the modest
residence of the great financier.


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