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Pages from sherlockholms

Published by dock3d, 2018-06-14 15:50:19

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Mr. Sherlock Holmes CHAPTER I. Mr. Sherlock HolmesI n the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, drained. There I stayed for some time at a private ho- and proceeded to Netley to go through the tel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spending such money as I had, consid-course prescribed for surgeons in the army. erably more freely than I ought. So alarming did theHaving completed my studies there, I was duly at- state of my finances become, that I soon realized thattached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assis- I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate some-tant Surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at where in the country, or that I must make a completethe time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan alteration in my style of living. Choosing the latterwar had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned alternative, I began by making up my mind to leavethat my corps had advanced through the passes, and the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some lesswas already deep in the enemy’s country. I followed, pretentious and less expensive domicile.however, with many other officers who were in the On the very day that I had come to this conclu-same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching sion, I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when someCandahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and one tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round Iat once entered upon my new duties. recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresserThe campaign brought honours and promotion under me at Bart’s. The sight of a friendly face in theto many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune great wilderness of London is a pleasant thing indeedand disaster. I was removed from my brigade and to a lonely man. In old days Stamford had neverattached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the been a particular crony of mine, but now I hailed himfatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the with enthusiasm, and he, in his turn, appeared to beshoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone delighted to see me. In the exuberance of my joy, Iand grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and weinto the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not started off together in a hansom.been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, “Whatever have you been doing with yourself,my orderly, who threw me across a pack-horse, and Watson?” he asked in undisguised wonder, as we rat-succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines. tled through the crowded London streets. “You areWorn with pain, and weak from the prolonged as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.”hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, I gave him a short sketch of my adventures, andwith a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base had hardly concluded it by the time that we reachedhospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had already our destination.improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards,and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I “Poor devil!” he said, commiseratingly, after hewas struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our In- had listened to my misfortunes. “What are you up todian possessions. For months my life was despaired now?”of, and when at last I came to myself and became “Looking for lodgings,” I answered. “Trying toconvalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a solve the problem as to whether it is possible to getmedical board determined that not a day should be comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.”lost in sending me back to England. I was dispatched, “That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion;accordingly, in the troopship Orontes, and landed a “you are the second man to-day that has used thatmonth later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irre- expression to me.”trievably ruined, but with permission from a paternalgovernment to spend the next nine months in attempt- “And who was the first?” I to improve it. “A fellow who is working at the chemical labora- I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was tory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himselftherefore as free as air—or as free as an income of this morning because he could not get someone to goeleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man halves with him in some nice rooms which he hadto be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravi- found, and which were too much for his purse.”tated to London, that great cesspool into which all “By Jove!” I cried, “if he really wants someone tothe loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man 7

A Study In Scarletfor him. I should prefer having a partner to being have some reason for washing your hands of the mat-alone.” ter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable, or what is it? Don’t be mealy-mouthed about it.” Young Stamford looked rather strangely at meover his wine-glass. “You don’t know Sherlock “It is not easy to express the inexpressible,” he an-Holmes yet,” he said; “perhaps you would not care swered with a laugh. “Holmes is a little too scientificfor him as a constant companion.” for my tastes—it approaches to cold-bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the “Why, what is there against him?” latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in “Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against him. order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To doHe is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some him justice, I think that he would take it himself withbranches of science. As far as I know he is a decent the same readiness. He appears to have a passion forfellow enough.” definite and exact knowledge.” “A medical student, I suppose?” said I. “Very right too.” “No—I have no idea what he intends to go in for. I “Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When itbelieve he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first-class comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-roomschemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarreany systematic medical classes. His studies are very shape.”desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot ofout-of-the way knowledge which would astonish his “Beating the subjects!”professors.” “Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced “Did you never ask him what he was going in after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes.”for?” I asked. “And yet you say he is not a medical student?” “No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out,though he can be communicative enough when the “No. Heaven knows what the objects of his studiesfancy seizes him.” are. But here we are, and you must form your own im- pressions about him.” As he spoke, we turned down “I should like to meet him,” I said. “If I am to a narrow lane and passed through a small side-door,lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious which opened into a wing of the great hospital. It wasand quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand familiar ground to me, and I needed no guiding as wemuch noise or excitement. I had enough of both in ascended the bleak stone staircase and made our wayAfghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natu- down the long corridor with its vista of whitewashedral existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?” wall and dun-coloured doors. Near the further end a low arched passage branched away from it and led to “He is sure to be at the laboratory,” returned my the chemical laboratory.companion. “He either avoids the place for weeks,or else he works there from morning to night. If you This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered withlike, we shall drive round together after luncheon.” countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and lit- “Certainly,” I answered, and the conversation tle Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames.drifted away into other channels. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprangthe Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particu- to his feet with a cry of pleasure. “I’ve found it! I’velars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as found it,” he shouted to my companion, running to-a fellow-lodger. wards us with a test-tube in his hand. “I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hœmoglobin, and by “You mustn’t blame me if you don’t get on with nothing else.” Had he discovered a gold mine, greaterhim,” he said; “I know nothing more of him than I delight could not have shone upon his features.have learned from meeting him occasionally in thelaboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you “Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” said Stamford,must not hold me responsible.” introducing us. “If we don’t get on it will be easy to part com- “How are you?” he said cordially, gripping mypany,” I answered. “It seems to me, Stamford,” I hand with a strength for which I should hardly haveadded, looking hard at my companion, “that you given him credit. “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”8

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