Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Doyle Arthur Conan | A Scandal In Bohemia | Irene Adler

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THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE A Scandal in Bohemia The Red-headed League A Case of Identity The Boscombe Valley Mystery The Five Orange Pips The Man with the Twisted Lip The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle The Adventure of the Speckled Band The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet The Adventure of the Copper Beeches ADVENTURE I. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA I. To Sherlock Holmes she is always THE woman. I hav
  THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by ARTHUR CONAN DOYLEA Scandal in BohemiaThe Red-headed LeagueA Case of IdentityThe Boscombe Valley MysteryThe Five Orange PipsThe Man with the Twisted LipThe Adventure of the Blue CarbuncleThe Adventure of the Speckled BandThe Adventure of the Engineer's ThumbThe Adventure of the Noble BachelorThe Adventure of the Beryl CoronetThe Adventure of the Copper BeechesADVENTURE I. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIAI.To Sherlock Holmes she is always THE woman. I have seldom heardhim mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipsesand predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he feltany emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and thatone particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise butadmirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfectreasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as alover he would have placed himself in a false position. He neverspoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. Theywere admirable things for the observer--excellent for drawing theveil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained teasonerto admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finelyadjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor whichmight throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in asensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-powerlenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in anature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, andthat woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionablememory.I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted usaway from each other. My own complete happiness, and thehome-centred interests which rise up around the man who firstfinds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient toabsorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form ofsociety with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings inBaker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating fromweek to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of thedrug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. He was still,as ever, deeply attracted by the study of crime, and occupied hisimmense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation infollowing out those clews, and clearing up those mysteries whichhad been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. From timeto time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summonsto Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up  of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee,and finally of the mission which he had accomplished sodelicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland.Beyond these signs of his activity, however, which I merelyshared with all the readers of the daily press, I knew little ofmy former friend and companion.One night--it was on the twentieth of March, 1888--I wasreturning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned tocivil practice), when my way led me through Baker Street. As Ipassed the well-remembered door, which must always be associatedin my mind with my wooing, and with the dark incidents of theStudy in Scarlet, I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmesagain, and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers.His rooms were brilliantly lit, and, even as I looked up, I sawhis tall, spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette againstthe blind. He was pacing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his headsunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. To me, whoknew his every mood and habit, his attitude and manner told theirown story. He was at work again. He had risen out of hisdrug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of some newproblem. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber whichhad formerly been in part my own.His manner was not effusive. It seldom was; but he was glad, Ithink, to see me. With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindlyeye, he waved me to an armchair, threw across his case of cigars,and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. Then hestood before the fire and looked me over in his singularintrospective fashion. Wedlock suits you, he remarked. I think, Watson, that you haveput on seven and a half pounds since I saw you. Seven! I answered. Indeed, I should have thought a little more. Just a trifle more,I fancy, Watson. And in practice again, I observe. You did nottell me that you intended to go into harness. Then, how do you know? I see it, I deduce it. How do I know that you have been gettingyourself very wet lately, and that you have a most clumsy andcareless servant girl? My dear Holmes, said I, this is too much. You would certainlyhave been burned, had you lived a few centuries ago. It is truethat I had a country walk on Thursday and came home in a dreadfulmess, but as I have changed my clothes I can't imagine how youdeduce it. As to Mary Jane, she is incorrigible, and my wife hasgiven her notice, but there, again, I fail to see how you work itout. He chuckled to himself and rubbed his long, nervous handstogether. It is simplicity itself, said he; my eyes tell me that on theinside of your left shoe, just where the firelight strikes it,the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. Obviously they  have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped roundthe edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it.Hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vileweather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slittingspecimen of the London slavey. As to your practice, if agentleman walks into my rooms smelling of iodoform, with a blackmark of nitrate of silver upon his right forefinger, and a bulgeon the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secretedhis stethoscope, I must be dull, indeed, if I do not pronouncehim to be an active member of the medical profession. I could not help laughing at the ease with which he explained hisprocess of deduction. When I hear you give your reasons, Iremarked, the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculouslysimple that I could easily do it myself, though at eachsuccessive instance of your reasoning I am baffled until youexplain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as goodas yours. Quite so, he answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwinghimself down into an armchair. You see, but you do not observe.The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seenthe steps which lead up from the hall to this room. Frequently. How often? Well, some hundreds of times. Then how many are there? How many? I don't know. Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That isjust my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps,because I have both seen and observed. By-the-way, since you areinterested in these little problems, and since you are goodenough to chronicle one or two of my trifling experiences, youmay be interested in this. He threw over a sheet of thick,pink-tinted note-paper which had been lying open upon the table. It came by the last post, said he. Read it aloud. The note was undated, and without either signature or address. There will call upon you to-night, at a quarter to eighto'clock, it said, a gentleman who desires to consult you upon amatter of the very deepest moment. Your recent services to one ofthe royal houses of Europe have shown that you are one who maysafely be trusted with matters which are of an importance whichcan hardly be exaggerated. This account of you we have from allquarters received. Be in your chamber then at that hour, and donot take it amiss if your visitor wear a mask. This is indeed a mystery, I remarked. What do you imagine thatit means? I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize beforeone has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suittheories, instead of theories to suit facts. But the note itself.  What do you deduce from it? I carefully examined the writing, and the paper upon which it waswritten. The man who wrote it was presumably well to do, I remarked,endeavoring to imitate my companion's processes. Such papercould not be bought under half a crown a packet. It is peculiarlystrong and stiff. Peculiar--that is the very word, said Holmes. It is not anEnglish paper at all. Hold it up to the light. I did so, and saw a large E with a small g, a P, and alarge G with a small t woven into the texture of the paper. What do you make of that? asked Holmes. The name of the maker, no doubt; or his monogram, rather. Not at all. The 'G' with the small 't' stands for'Gesellschaft,' which is the German for 'Company.' It is acustomary contraction like our 'Co.' 'P,' of course, stands for'Papier.' Now for the 'Eg.' Let us glance at our ContinentalGazetteer. He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves. Eglow, Eglonitz--here we are, Egria. It is in a German-speakingcountry--in Bohemia, not far from Carlsbad. 'Remarkable as beingthe scene of the death of Wallenstein, and for its numerousglass-factories and paper-mills.' Ha, ha, my boy, what do youmake of that? His eyes sparkled, and he sent up a great bluetriumphant cloud from his cigarette. The paper was made in Bohemia, I said. Precisely. And the man who wrote the note is a German. Do younote the peculiar construction of the sentence--'This account ofyou we have from all quarters received.' A Frenchman or Russiancould not have written that. It is the German who is souncourteous to his verbs. It only remains, therefore, to discoverwhat is wanted by this German who writes upon Bohemian paper andprefers wearing a mask to showing his face. And here he comes, ifI am not mistaken, to resolve all our doubts. As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses' hoofs andgrating wheels against the curb, followed by a sharp pull at thebell. Holmes whistled. A pair, by the sound, said he. Yes, he continued, glancingout of the window. A nice little brougham and a pair ofbeauties. A hundred and fifty guineas apiece. There's money inthis case, Watson, if there is nothing else. I think that I had better go, Holmes. Not a bit, Doctor. Stay where you are. I am lost without myBoswell. And this promises to be interesting. It would be a pityto miss it. But your client--
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