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    The Resident Patient

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    Chapter 8
    Previous Chapter
    Glancing over the somewhat incoherent series of
    Memoirs with which I have endeavored to illustrate a
    few of the mental peculiarities of my friend Mr.
    Sherlock Holmes, I have been struck by the difficulty
    which I have experienced in picking out examples which
    shall in every way answer my purpose. For in those
    cases in which Holmes has performed some tour de force
    of analytical reasoning, and has demonstrated the
    value of his peculiar methods of investigation, the
    facts themselves have often been so slight or so
    commonplace that I could not feel justified in laying
    them before the public. On the other hand, it has
    frequently happened that he has been concerned in some
    research where the facts have been of the most
    remarkable and dramatic character, but where the share
    which he has himself taken in determining their causes
    has been less pronounced than I, as his biographer,
    could wish. The small matter which I have chronicled
    under the heading of "A Study in Scarlet," and that
    other later one connected with the loss of the Gloria
    Scott, may serve as examples of this Scylla and
    Charybdis which are forever threatening the historian.
    It may be that in the business of which I am now about
    to write the part which my friend played is not
    sufficiently accentuated; and yet the whole train of
    circumstances is so remarkable that I cannot bring
    myself to omit it entirely from this series.

    It had been a close, rainy day in October. Our blinds
    were half-drawn, and Holmes lay curled upon the sofa,
    reading and re-reading a letter which he had received
    by the morning post. For myself, my tern of service
    in India had trained me to stand heat better than
    cold, and a thermometer of 90 was no hardship. But
    the paper was uninteresting. Parliament had risen.
    Everybody was out of town, and I yearned for the
    glades of the New Forest or the shingle of Southsea.
    A depleted bank account had caused me to postpone my
    holiday, and as to my companion, neither the country
    nor the sea presented the slightest attraction to him.
    He loved to lie in the very centre of five millions of
    people, with his filaments stretching out and running
    through them, responsive to every little rumor or
    suspicion of unsolved crime. Appreciation of Nature
    found no place among his many gifts, and his only
    change was when he turned his mind from the evil-doer
    of the town to track down his brother of the country.

    Finding that Holmes was too absorbed for conversation,
    I had tossed aside the barren paper, and leaning back
    in my chair, I fell into a brown study. Suddenly my
    companion's voice broke in upon my thoughts.

    "You are right, Watson," said he. "It does seem a
    very preposterous way of settling a dispute."

    "Most preposterous!" I exclaimed, and then, suddenly
    realizing how he had echoed the inmost thought of my
    soul, I sat up in my chair and stared at him in blank
    amazement.

    "What is this, Holmes?" I cried. "This is beyond
    anything which I could have imagined."

    He laughed heartily at my perplexity.

    "You remember," said he, "that some little time ago,
    when I read you the passage in one of Poe's sketches,
    in which a close reasoner follows the unspoken thought
    of his companion, you were inclined to treat the
    matter as a mere tour de force of the author. On my
    remarking that I was constantly in the habit of doing
    the same thing you expressed incredulity."

    "Oh, no!"

    "Perhaps not with your tongue, my dear Watson, but
    certainly with your eyebrows. So when I saw you throw
    down your paper and enter upon a train of thought, I
    was very happy to have the opportunity of reading it
    off, and eventually of breaking into it, as a proof
    that I had been in rapport with you."

    But I was still far from satisfied. "In the example
    which you read to me," said I, "the reasoner drew his
    conclusions from the actions of the man whom he
    observed. If I remember right, he stumbled over a
    heap of stones, looked up at the stars, and so on.
    But I have been seated quietly in my chair, and what
    clews can I have given you?"

    "You do yourself an injustice. The features are given
    to man as the means by which he shall express his
    emotions, and yours are faithful servants."

    "Do you mean to say that you read my train of thoughts
    from my features?"

    "Your features, and especially your eyes. Perhaps you
    cannot yourself recall how your reverie commenced?"

    "No, I cannot."

    "Then I will tell you. After throwing down your
    paper, which was the action which drew my attention to
    you, you sat for half a minute with a vacant
    expression. Then your eyes fixed themselves upon your
    newly-framed picture of General Gordon, and I saw by
    the alteration in your face that a train of thought
    had been started. But it did not lead very far. Your
    eyes turned across to the unframed portrait of Henry
    Ward Beecher which stands upon the top of your books.
    You then glanced up at the wall, and of course your
    meaning was obvious. You were thinking that if the
    portrait were framed it would just cover that bare
    space and correspond with Gordon's picture over
    there."

    "You have followed me wonderfully!" I exclaimed.

    "So far I could hardly have gone astray. But now your
    thoughts went back to Beecher, and you looked hard
    across as if you were studying the character in his
    features. Then your eyes ceased to pucker, but you
    continued to look across, and your face was
    thoughtful. You were recalling the incidents of
    Beecher's career. I was well aware that you could not
    do this without thinking of the mission which he
    undertook on behalf of the North at the time of the
    Civil War, for I remember you expressing your
    passionate indignation at the way in which he was
    received by the more turbulent of our people. You
    felt so strongly about it that I knew you could not
    think of Beecher without thinking of that also. When
    a moment later I saw your eyes wander away from the
    picture, I suspected that your mind had now turned to
    the Civil War, and when I observed that your lips set,
    your eyes sparkled, and your hands clinched, I was
    positive that you were indeed thinking of the
    gallantry which was shown by both sides in that
    desperate struggle. But then, again, your face grew
    sadder; you shook your head. You were dwelling upon
    the sadness and horror and useless waste of life.
    Your hand stole towards your own old wound, and a
    smile quivered on your lips, which showed me that the
    ridiculous side of this method of settling
    international questions had forced itself upon your
    mind. At this point I agreed with you that it was
    preposterous, and was glad to find that all my
    deductions had been correct."

    "Absolutely!" said I. "And now that you have
    explained it, I confess that I am as amazed as
    before."

    "It was very superficial, my dear Watson, I assure
    you. I should not have intruded it upon your
    attention had you not shown some incredulity the other
    day. But the evening has brought a breeze with it.
    What do you say to a ramble through London?"

    I was weary of our little sitting-room and gladly
    acquiesced. For three hours we strolled about
    together, watching the ever-changing kaleidoscope of
    life as it ebbs and flows through Fleet Street and the
    Strand. His characteristic talk, with its keen
    observance of detail and subtle power of inference
    held me amused and enthralled. It was ten o'clock
    before we reached Baker Street again. A brougham was
    waiting at our door.

    "Hum! A doctor's--general practitioner, I perceive,"
    said Holmes. "Not been long in practice, but has had
    a good deal to do. Come to consult us, I fancy!
    Lucky we came back!"

    I was sufficiently conversant with Holmes's methods to
    be able to follow his reasoning, and to see that the
    nature and state of the various medical instruments in
    the wicker basket which hung in the lamplight inside
    the brougham had given him the data for his swift
    deduction. The light in our window above showed that
    this late visit was indeed intended for us. With some
    curiosity as to what could have sent a brother medico
    to us at such an hour, I followed Holmes into our
    sanctum.

    A pale, taper-faced man with sandy whiskers rose up
    from a chair by the fire as we entered. His age may
    not have been more than three or four and thirty, but
    his haggard expression and unhealthy hue told of a
    life which has sapped his strength and robbed him of
    his youth. His manner was nervous and shy, like that
    of a sensitive gentleman, and the thin white hand
    which he laid on the mantelpiece as he rose was that
    of an artist rather than of a surgeon. His dress was
    quiet and sombre--a black frock-coat, dark trousers,
    and a touch of color about his necktie.

    "Good-evening, doctor," said Holmes, cheerily. "I am
    glad to see that you have only been waiting a very few
    minutes."

    "You spoke to my coachman, then?"

    "No, it was the candle on the side-table that told me.
    Pray resume your seat and let me know how I can serve
    you."

    "My name is Doctor Percy Trevelyan," said our visitor,
    "and I live at 403 Brook Street."

    "Are you not the author of a monograph upon obscure
    nervous lesions?" I asked.

    His pale cheeks flushed with pleasure at hearing that
    his work was known to me.

    "I so seldom hear of the work that I thought it was
    quite dead," said he. "My publishers gave me a most
    discouraging account of its sale. You are yourself, I
    presume, a medical man?"

    "A retired army surgeon."

    "My own hobby has always been nervous disease. I
    should wish to make it an absolute specialty, but, of
    course, a man must take what he can get at first.
    This, however, is beside the question, Mr. Sherlock
    Holmes, and I quite appreciate how valuable your time
    is. The fact is that a very singular train of events
    has occurred recently at my house in Brook Street, and
    to-night they came to such a head that I felt it was
    quite impossible for me to wait another hour before
    asking for your advice and assistance."

    Sherlock Holmes sat down and lit his pipe. "You are
    very welcome to both," said he. "Pray let me have a
    detailed account of what the circumstances are which
    have disturbed you."

    "One or two of them are so trivial," said Dr.
    Trevelyan, "that really I am almost ashamed to mention
    them. But the matter is so inexplicable, and the
    recent turn which it has taken is so elaborate, that I
    shall lay it all before you, and you shall judge what
    is essential and what is not.

    "I am compelled, to begin with, to say something of my
    own college career. I am a London University man, you
    know, and I am sure that your will not think that I am
    unduly singing my own praises if I say that my student
    career was considered by my professors to be a very
    promising one. After I had graduated I continued to
    devote myself to research, occupying a minor position
    in King's College Hospital, and I was fortunate enough
    to excite considerable interest by my research into
    the pathology of catalepsy, and finally to win the
    Bruce Pinkerton prize and medal by the monograph on
    nervous lesions to which your friend has just alluded.
    I should not go too far if I were to say that there
    was a general impression at that time that a
    distinguished career lay before me.

    "But the one great stumbling-block lay in my want of
    capital. As you will readily understand, a specialist
    who aims high is compelled to start in one of a dozen
    streets in the Cavendish Square quarter, all of which
    entail enormous rents and furnishing expenses.
    Besides this preliminary outlay, he must be prepared
    to keep himself for some years, and to hire a
    presentable carriage and horse. To do this was quite
    beyond my power, and I could only hope that by economy
    I might in ten years' time save enough to enable me to
    put up my plate. Suddenly, however, an unexpected
    incident opened up quite a new prospect to me.

    "This was a visit from a gentleman of the name of
    Blessington, who was a complete stranger to me. He
    came up to my room one morning, and plunged into
    business in an instant.

    "'You are the same Percy Trevelyan who has had so
    distinguished a career and own a great prize lately?'
    said he.

    "I bowed.

    "'Answer my frankly,' he continued, 'for you will find
    it to your interest to do so. You have all the
    cleverness which makes a successful man. Have you the
    tact?'

    "I could not help smiling at the abruptness of the
    question.

    "'I trust that I have my share,' I said.

    "'Any bad habits? Not drawn towards drink, eh?'

    "'Really, sir!' I cried.

    "'Quite right! That's all right! But I was bound to
    ask. With all these qualities, why are you not in
    practice?'

    "I shrugged my shoulders.

    "'Come, come!' said he, in his bustling way. 'It's
    the old story. More in your brains than in your
    pocket, eh? What would you say if I were to start you
    in Brook Street?'

    "I stared at him in astonishment.

    "'Oh, it's for my sake, not for yours,' he cried.
    'I'll be perfectly frank with you, and if it suits you
    it will suit me very well. I have a few thousands to
    invest, d'ye see, and I think I'll sink them in you.'

    "'But why?' I gasped.

    "'Well, it's just like any other speculation, and
    safer than most.'

    "'What am I to do , then?'

    "'I'll tell you. I'll take the house, furnish it, pay
    the maids, and run the whole place. All you have to
    do is just to wear out your chair in the
    consulting-room. I'll let you have pocket-money and
    everything. Then you hand over to me three quarters
    of what you earn, and you keep the other quarter for
    yourself.'

    "This was the strange proposal, Mr. Holmes, with which
    the man Blessington approached me. I won't weary you
    with the account of how we bargained and negotiated.
    It ended in my moving into the house next Lady-day,
    and starting in practice on very much the same
    conditions as he had suggested. He cam himself to
    live with me in the character of a resident patient.
    His heart was weak, it appears, and he needed constant
    medical supervision. He turned the two best rooms of
    the first floor into a sitting-room and bedroom for
    himself. He was a man of singular habits, shunning
    company and very seldom going out. His life was
    irregular, but in one respect he was regularity
    itself. Every evening, at the same hour, he walked
    into the consulting-room, examined the books, put down
    five and three-pence for every guinea that I had
    earned, and carried the rest off to the strong-box in
    his own room.

    "I may say with confidence that he never had occasion
    to regret his speculation. From the first it was a
    success. A few good cases and the reputation which I
    had won in the hospital brought me rapidly to the
    front, and during the last few years I have made him a
    rich man.

    "So much, Mr. Holmes, for my past history and my
    relations with Mr. Blessington. It only remains for
    me now to tell you what has occurred to bring me her
    to-night.

    "Some weeks ago Mr. Blessington came down to me in, as
    it seemed to me, a state of considerable agitation.
    He spoke of some burglary which, he said, had been
    committed in the West End, and he appeared, I
    remember, to be quite unnecessarily excited about it,
    declaring that a day should not pass before we should
    add stronger bolts to our windows and doors. For a
    week he continued to be in a peculiar state of
    restlessness, peering continually out of the windows,
    and ceasing to take the short walk which had usually
    been the prelude to his dinner. From his manner it
    struck me that he was in mortal dread of something or
    somebody, but when I questioned him upon the point he
    became so offensive that I was compelled to drop the
    subject. Gradually, as time passed, his fears
    appeared to die away, and he had renewed his former
    habits, when a fresh event reduced him to the pitiable
    state of prostration in which he now lies.

    "What happened was this. Two days ago I received the
    letter which I now read to you. Neither address nor
    date is attached to it.

    "'A Russian nobleman who is now resident in England,'
    it runs, 'would be glad to avail himself of the
    professional assistance of Dr. Percy Trevelyan. He
    has been for some years a victim to cataleptic
    attacks, on which, as is well known, Dr. Trevelyan is
    an authority. He proposes to call at about quarter
    past six to-morrow evening, if Dr. Trevelyan will make
    it convenient to be at home.'

    "This letter interest me deeply, because the chief
    difficulty in the study of catalepsy is the rareness
    of the disease. You may believe, than, that I was in
    my consulting-room when, at the appointed hour, the
    page showed in the patient.

    He was an elderly man, thin, demure, and
    common-place--by no means the conception one forms of
    a Russian nobleman. I was much more struck by the
    appearance of his companion. This was a tall young
    man, surprisingly handsome, with a dark, fierce face,
    and the limbs and chest of a Hercules. He had his
    hand under the other's arm as they entered, and helped
    him to a chair with a tenderness which one would
    hardly have expected from his appearance.

    "'You will excuse my coming in, doctor,' said he to
    me, speaking English with a slight lisp. 'This is my
    father, and his health is a matter of the most
    overwhelming importance to me.'

    "I was touched by this filial anxiety. 'You would,
    perhaps, care to remain during the consultation?' said
    I.

    "'Not for the world,' he cried with a gesture of
    horror. 'It is more painful to me than I can express.
    If I were to see my father in one of these dreadful
    seizures I am convinced that I should never survive
    it. My own nervous system is an exceptionally
    sensitive one. With your permission, I will remain in
    the waiting-room while you go into my father's case.'

    "To this, of course, I assented, and the young man
    withdrew. The patient and I then plunged into a
    discussion of his case, of which I took exhaustive
    notes. He was not remarkable for intelligence, and
    his answers were frequently obscure, which I
    attributed to his limited acquaintance with our
    language. Suddenly, however, as I sat writing, he
    cased to give any answer at all to my inquiries, and
    on my turning towards him I was shocked to see that he
    was sitting bolt upright in his chair, staring at me
    with a perfectly blank and rigid face. He was again
    in the grip of his mysterious malady.

    "My first feeling, as I have just said, was one of
    pity and horror. My second, I fear, was rather one of
    professional satisfaction. I made notes of my
    patient's pulse and temperature, tested the rigidity
    of his muscles, and examined his reflexes. There was
    nothing markedly abnormal in any of these conditions,
    which harmonized with my former experiences. I had
    obtained good results in such cases by the inhalation
    of nitrite of amyl, and the present seemed an
    admirable opportunity of testing its virtues. The
    bottle was downstairs in my laboratory, so leaving my
    patient seated in his chair, I ran down to get it.
    There was some little delay in finding it--five
    minutes, let us say--and then I returned. Imagine my
    amazement to find the room empty and the patient gone.

    "Of course, my first act was to run into the
    waiting-room. The son had gone also. The hall door
    had been closed, but not shut. My page who admits
    patients is a new boy and by no means quick. He waits
    downstairs, and runs up to show patients out when I
    ring the consulting-room bell. He had heard nothing,
    and the affair remained a complete mystery. Mr.
    Blessington cam in from his walk shortly afterwards,
    but I did not say anything to him upon the subject,
    for, to tell the truth, I have got in the way of late
    of holding as little communication with him as
    possible.

    "Well, I never thought that I should see anything more
    of the Russian and his son, so you can imagine my
    amazement when, at the very same hour this evening,
    they both came marching into my consulting-room, just
    as they had done before.

    "'I feel that I owe you a great many apologies for my
    abrupt departure yesterday, doctor,' said my patient.

    "'I confess that I was very much surprised at it,'
    said I.

    "'Well, the fact is,' he remarked, 'that when I
    recover from these attacks my mind is always very
    clouded as to all that has gone before. I woke up in
    a strange room, as it seemed to me, and made my way
    out into the street in a sort of dazed way when you
    were absent.'

    "'And I,' said the son, 'seeing my father pass the
    door of the waiting-room, naturally thought that the
    consultation had come to an end. It was not until we
    had reached home that I began to realize the true
    state of affairs.'

    "'Well,' said I, laughing, 'there is no harm done
    except that you puzzled me terribly; so if you, sir,
    would kindly step into the waiting-room I shall be
    happy to continue our consultation which was brought
    to so abrupt an ending.'

    "'For half an hour or so I discussed that old
    gentleman's symptoms with him, and then, having
    prescribed for him, I saw him go off upon the arm of
    his son.

    "I have told you that Mr. Blessington generally chose
    this hour of the day for his exercise. He came in
    shortly afterwards and passed upstairs. An instant
    later I heard him running down, and he burst into my
    consulting-room like a man who is mad with panic.

    "'Who has been in my room?' he cried.

    "'No one,' said I.

    "'It's a lie! He yelled. 'Come up and look!'

    "I passed over the grossness of his language, as he
    seemed half out of his mind with fear. When I went
    upstairs with him he pointed to several footprints
    upon the light carpet.

    "'D'you mean to say those are mine?' he cried.

    "They were certainly very much larger than any which
    he could have made, and were evidently quite fresh.
    It rained hard this afternoon, as you know, and my
    patients were the only people who called. It must
    have been the case, then, that the man in the
    waiting-room had, for some unknown reason, while I was
    busy with the other, ascended to the room of my
    resident patient. Nothing has been touched or taken,
    but there were the footprints to prove that the
    intrusion was an undoubted fact.

    "Mr. Blessington seemed more excited over the matter
    than I should have thought possible, though of course
    it was enough to disturb anybody's peace of mind. He
    actually sat crying in an arm-chair, and I could
    hardly get him to speak coherently. It was his
    suggestion that I should come round to you, and of
    course I at once saw the propriety of it, for
    certainly the incident is a very singular one, though
    he appears to completely overtake its importance. If
    you would only come back with me in my brougham, you
    would at least be able to soothe him, though I can
    hardly hope that you will be able to explain this
    remarkable occurrence."

    Sherlock Holmes had listened to this long narrative
    with an intentness which showed me that his interest
    was keenly aroused. His face was as impassive as
    ever, but his lids had drooped more heavily over his
    eyes, and his smoke had curled up more thickly from
    his pipe to emphasize each curious episode in the
    doctor's tale. As our visitor concluded, Holmes
    sprang up without a word, handed me my hat, picked his
    own from the table, and followed Dr. Trevelyan to the
    door. Within a quarter of an hour we had been dripped
    at the door of the physician's residence in Brook
    Street, one of those sombre, flat-faced houses which
    one associates with a West-End practice. A small page
    admitted us, and we began at once to ascend the broad,
    well-carpeted stair.

    But a singular interruption brought us to a
    standstill. The light at the top was suddenly whisked
    out, and from the darkness came a reedy, quivering
    voice.

    "I have a pistol," it cried. "I give you my word that
    I'll fire if you come any nearer."

    "This really grows outrageous, Mr. Blessington," cried
    Dr. Trevelyan.

    "Oh, then it is you, doctor," said the voice, with a
    great heave of relief. "But those other gentlemen,
    are they what they pretend to be?"

    We were conscious of a long scrutiny out of the
    darkness.

    "Yes, yes, it's all right," said the voice at last.
    "You can come up, and I am sorry if my precautions
    have annoyed you."

    He relit the stair gas as he spoke, and we saw before
    us a singular-looking man, whose appearance, as well
    as his voice, testified to his jangled nerves. He was
    very fat, but had apparently at some time been much
    fatter, so that the skin hung about his face in loose
    pouches, like the cheeks of a blood-hound. He was of
    a sickly color, and his thin, sandy hair seemed to
    bristle up with the intensity of his emotion. In his
    hand he held a pistol, but he thrust it into his
    pocket as we advanced.

    "Good-evening, Mr. Holmes," said he. "I am sure I am
    very much obliged to you for coming round. No one
    ever needed your advice more than I do. I suppose
    that Dr. Trevelyan has told you of this most
    unwarrantable intrusion into my rooms."

    "Quite so," said Holmes. "Who are these tow men Mr.
    Blessington, and why do they wish to molest you?"

    "Well, well," said the resident patient, in a nervous
    fashion, "of course it is hard to say that. You can
    hardly expect me to answer that, Mr. Holmes."

    "Do you mean that you don't know?"

    "Come in here, if you please. Just have the kindness
    to step in here."

    He led the way into his bedroom, which was large and
    comfortably furnished.

    "You see that," said he, pointing to a big black box
    at the end of his bed. "I have never been a very rich
    man, Mr. Holmes--never made but one investment in my
    life, as Dr. Trevelyan would tell you. But I don't
    believe in bankers. I would never trust a banker, Mr.
    Holmes. Between ourselves, what little I have is in
    that box, so you can understand what it means to me
    when unknown people force themselves into my rooms."

    Holmes looked at Blessington in his questioning way
    and shook his head.

    "I cannot possibly advise you if you try to deceive
    me," said he.

    "But I have told you everything."

    Holmes turned on his heel with a gesture of disgust.
    "Good-night, Dr. Trevelyan," said he.

    "And no advice for me?" cried Blessington, in a
    breaking voice.

    "My advice to your, sir, is to speak the truth."

    A minute later we were in the street and walking for
    home. We had crossed Oxford Street and were half way
    down Harley Street before I could get a word from my
    companion.

    "Sorry to bring you out on such a fool's errand,
    Watson," he said at last. "It is an interesting case,
    too, at the bottom of it."

    "I can make little of it," I confessed.

    "Well, it is quite evident that there are two
    men--more, perhaps, but at least two--who are
    determined for some reason to get at this fellow
    Blessington. I have no doubt in my mind that both on
    the first and on the second occasion that young man
    penetrated to Blessington's room, while his
    confederate, by an ingenious device, kept the doctor
    from interfering."

    "And the catalepsy?"

    "A fraudulent imitation, Watson, though I should
    hardly dare to hint as much to our specialist. It is
    a very easy complaint to imitate. I have done it
    myself."

    "And then?"

    "By the purest chance Blessington was out on each
    occasion. Their reason for choosing so unusual an
    hour for a consultation was obviously to insure that
    there should be no other patient in the waiting-room.
    It just happened, however, that this hour coincided
    with Blessington's constitutional, which seems to show
    that they were not very well acquainted with his daily
    routine. Of course, if they had been merely after
    plunder they would at least have made some attempt to
    search for it. Besides, I can read in a man's eye
    when it is his own skin that he is frightened for. It
    is inconceivable that this fellow could have made two
    such vindictive enemies as these appear to be without
    knowing of it. I hold it, therefore, to be certain
    that he does know who these men are, and that for
    reasons of his own he suppresses it. It is just
    possible that to-morrow may find him in a more
    communicative mood."

    "Is there not one alternative," I suggested,
    "grotesquely improbably, no doubt, but still just
    conceivable? Might the whole story of the cataleptic
    Russian and his son be a concoction of Dr.
    Trevelyan's, who has, for his own purposes, been in
    Blessington's rooms?"

    I saw in the gaslight that Holmes wore an amused smile
    at this brilliant departure of mine.

    "My dear fellow," said he, "it was one of the first
    solutions which occurred to me, but I was soon able to
    corroborate the doctor's tale. This young man has
    left prints upon the stair-carpet which made it quite
    superfluous for me to ask to see those which he had
    made in the room. When I tell you that his shoes were
    square-toed instead of being pointed like
    Blessington's, and were quite an inch and a third
    longer than the doctor's, you will acknowledge that
    there can be no doubt as to his individuality. But we
    may sleep on it now, for I shall be surprised if we do
    not hear something further from Brook Street in the
    morning."

    Sherlock Holmes's prophecy was soon fulfilled, and in
    a dramatic fashion. At half-past seven next morning,
    in the first glimmer of daylight, I found him standing
    by my bedside in his dressing-gown.

    "There's a brougham waiting for us, Watson," said he.

    "What's the matter, then?"

    "The Brook Street business."

    "Any fresh news?"

    "Tragic, but ambiguous," said he, pulling up the
    blind. "Look at this--a sheet from a note-book, with
    'For God's sake come at once--P. T.,' scrawled upon it
    in pencil. Our friend, the doctor, was hard put to it
    when he wrote this. Come along, my dear fellow, for
    it's an urgent call."

    In a quarter of an hour or so we were back at the
    physician's house. He came running out to meet us
    with a face of horror.

    "Oh, such a business!" he cried, with his hands to his
    temples.

    "What then?"

    "Blessington has committed suicide!"

    Holmes whistled.

    "Yes, he hanged himself during the night."

    We had entered, and the doctor had preceded us into
    what was evidently his waiting-room.

    "I really hardly know what I am doing," he cried.
    "The police are already upstairs. It has shaken me
    most dreadfully."

    "When did you find it out?"

    "He has a cup of tea taken in to him early every
    morning. When the maid entered, about seven, there
    the unfortunate fellow was hanging in the middle of
    the room. He had tied his cord to the hook on which
    the heavy lamp used to hang, and he had jumped off
    from the top of the very box that he showed us
    yesterday."

    Holmes stood for a moment in deep thought.

    "With your permission," said he at last, "I should
    like to go upstairs and look into the matter."

    We both ascended, followed by the doctor.

    It was a dreadful sight which met us as we entered the
    bedroom door. I have spoken of the impression of
    flabbiness which this man Blessington conveyed. As he
    dangled from the hook it was exaggerated and
    intensified until he was scarce human in his
    appearance. The neck was drawn out like a plucked
    chicken's, making the rest of him seem the more obese
    and unnatural by the contrast. He was clad only in
    his long night-dress, and his swollen ankles and
    ungainly feet protruded starkly from beneath it.
    Beside him stood a smart-looking police-inspector, who
    was taking notes in a pocket-book.

    "Ah, Mr. Holmes," said he, heartily, as my friend
    entered, "I am delighted to see you."

    "Good-morning, Lanner," answered Holmes; "you won't
    think me an intruder, I am sure. Have you heard of
    the events which led up to this affair?"

    "Yes, I heard something of them."

    "Have you formed any opinion?"

    "As far as I can see, the man has been driven out of
    his senses by fright. The bed has been well slept in,
    you see. There's his impression deep enough. It's
    about five in the morning, you know, that suicides are
    most common. That would be about his time for hanging
    himself. It seems to have been a very deliberate
    affair."

    "I should say that he has been dead about three hours,
    judging by the rigidity of the muscles," said I.

    "Noticed anything peculiar about the room?" asked
    Holmes.

    "Found a screw-driver and some screws on the wash-hand
    stand. Seems to have smoked heavily during the night,
    too. Here are four cigar-ends that I picked out of
    the fireplace."

    "Hum!" said Holmes, "have you got his cigar-holder?"

    "No, I have seen none."

    "His cigar-case, then?"

    "Yes, it was in his coat-pocket."

    Holmes opened it and smelled the single cigar which it
    contained.

    "Oh, this is an Havana, and these others are cigars of
    the peculiar sort which are imported by the Dutch from
    their East Indian colonies. They are usually wrapped
    in straw, you know, and are thinner for their length
    than any other brand." He picked up the four ends and
    examined them with his pocket-lens.

    "Two of these have been smoked from a holder and two
    without," said he. "Two have been cut by a not very
    sharp knife, and two have had the ends bitten off by a
    set of excellent teeth. This is no suicide, Mr.
    Lanner. It is a very deeply planned and cold-blooded
    murder."

    "Impossible!" cried the inspector.

    "And why?"

    "Why should any one murder a man in so clumsy a
    fashion as by hanging him?"

    "That is what we have to find out."

    "How could they get in?"

    "Through the front door."

    "It was barred in the morning."

    "Then it was barred after them."

    "How do you know?"

    "I saw their traces. Excuse me a moment, and I may be
    able to give you some further information about it."

    He went over to the door, and turning the lock he
    examined it in his methodical way. Then he took out
    the key, which was on the inside, and inspected that
    also. The bed, the carpet, the chairs the
    mantelpiece, the dead body, and the rope were each in
    turn examined, until at last he professed himself
    satisfied, and with my aid and that of the inspector
    cut down the wretched object and laid it reverently
    under a sheet.

    "How about this rope?" he asked.

    "It is cut off this," said Dr. Trevelyan, drawing a
    large coil from under the bed. "He was morbidly
    nervous of fire, and always kept this beside him, so
    that he might escape by the window in case the stairs
    were burning."

    "That must have saved them trouble," said Holmes,
    thoughtfully. "Yes, the actual facts are very plain,
    and I shall be surprised if by the afternoon I cannot
    give you the reasons for them as well. I will take
    this photograph of Blessington, which I see upon the
    mantelpiece, as it may help me in my inquiries."

    "But you have told us nothing!" cried the doctor.

    "Oh, there can be no doubt as to the sequence of
    events," said Holmes. "There were three of them in
    it: the young man, the old man, and a third, to whose
    identity I have no clue. The first two, I need hardly
    remark, are the same who masqueraded as the Russian
    count and his son, so we can give a very full
    description of them. They were admitted by a
    confederate inside the house. If I might offer you a
    word of advice, Inspector, it would be to arrest the
    page, who, as I understand, has only recently come
    into your service, Doctor."

    "The young imp cannot be found," said Dr. Trevelyan;
    "the maid and the cook have just been searching for
    him."

    Holmes shrugged his shoulders.

    "He has played a not unimportant part in this drama,"
    said he. "The three men having ascended the stairs,
    which they did on tiptoe, the elder man first, the
    younger man second, and the unknown man in the rear--"

    "My dear Holmes!" I ejaculated.

    "Oh, there could be no question as to the
    superimposing of the footmarks. I had the advantage
    of learning which was which last night. They
    ascended, then, to Mr. Blessington's room, the door of
    which they found to be locked. With the help of a
    wire, however, they forced round the key. Even
    without the lens you will perceive, by the scratches
    on this ward, where the pressure was applied.

    "On entering the room their first proceeding must have
    been to gag Mr. Blessington. He may have been asleep,
    or he may have been so paralyzed with terror as to
    have been unable to cry out. These walls are thick,
    and it is conceivable that his shriek, if he had time
    to utter one, was unheard.

    "Having secured him, it is evident to me that a
    consultation of some sort was held. Probably it was
    something in the nature of a judicial proceeding. It
    must have lasted for some time, for it was then that
    these cigars were smoke. The older man sat in that
    wicker chair; it was he who used the cigar-holder.
    The younger man sat over yonder; he knocked his ash
    off against the chest of drawers. The third fellow
    paced up and down. Blessington, I think, sat upright
    in the bed, but of that I cannot be absolutely
    certain.

    "Well, it ended by their taking Blessington and
    hanging him. The matter was so prearranged that it is
    my belief that they brought with them some sort of
    block or pulley which might serve as a gallows. That
    screw-driver and those screws were, as I conceive, for
    fixing it up. Seeing the hook, however they naturally
    saved themselves the trouble. Having finished their
    work they made off, and the door was barred behind
    them by their confederate."

    We had all listened with the deepest interest to this
    sketch of the night's doings, which Holmes had deduced
    from signs so subtle and minute that, even when he had
    pointed them out to us, we could scarcely follow him
    in his reasoning. The inspector hurried away on the
    instant to make inquiries about the page, while Holmes
    and I returned to Baker Street for breakfast.

    "I'll be back by three," said he, when we had finished
    our meal. "Both the inspector and the doctor will
    meet me here at that hour, and I hope by that time to
    have cleared up any little obscurity which the case
    may still present."

    Our visitors arrived at the appointed time, but it was
    a quarter to four before my friend put in an
    appearance. From his expression as he entered,
    however, I could see that all had gone well with him.

    "Any news, Inspector?"

    "We have got the boy, sir."

    "Excellent, and I have got the men."

    "You have got them!" we cried, all three.

    "Well, at least I have got their identity. This
    so-called Blessington is, as I expected, well known at
    headquarters, and so are his assailants. Their names
    are Biddle, Hayward, and Moffat."

    "The Worthingdon bank gang," cried the inspector.

    "Precisely," said Holmes.

    "Then Blessington must have been Sutton."

    "Exactly," said Holmes.

    "Why, that makes it as clear as crystal," said the
    inspector.

    But Trevelyan and I looked at each other in
    bewilderment.

    "You must surely remember the great Worthingdon bank
    business," said Holmes. "Five men were in it--these
    four and a fifth called Cartwright. Tobin, the
    care-taker, was murdered, and the thieves got away
    with seven thousand pounds. This was in 1875. They
    were all five arrested, but the evidence against them
    was by no means conclusive. This Blessington or
    Sutton, who was the worst of the gang, turned
    informer. On his evidence Cartwright was hanged and
    the other three got fifteen years apiece. When they
    got out the other day, which was some years before
    their full term, they set themselves, as you perceive,
    to hunt down the traitor and to avenge the death of
    their comrade upon him. Twice they tried to get at
    him and failed; a third time, you see, it came off.
    Is there anything further which I can explain, Dr.
    Trevelyan?"

    "I think you have made it all remarkable clear," said
    the doctor. "No doubt the day on which he was
    perturbed was the day when he had seen of their
    release in the newspapers."

    "Quite so. His talk about a burglary was the merest
    blind."

    "But why could he not tell you this?"

    "Well, my dear sir, knowing the vindictive character
    of his old associates, he was trying to hide his own
    identity from everybody as long as he could. His
    secret was a shameful one, and he could not bring
    himself to divulge it. However, wretch as he was, he
    was still living under the shield of British law, and
    I have no doubt, Inspector, that you will see that,
    though that shield may fail to guard, the sword of
    justice is still there to avenge."

    Such were the singular circumstances in connection
    with the Resident Patient and the Brook Street Doctor.
    From that night nothing has been seen of the three
    murderers by the police, and it is surmised at
    Scotland Yard that they were among the passengers of
    the ill-fated steamer Norah Creina, which was lost
    some years ago with all hands upon the Portuguese
    coast, some leagues to the north of Oporto. The
    proceedings against the page broke down for want of
    evidence, and the Brook Street Mystery, as it was
    called, has never until now been fully dealt with in
    any public print.
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