E-Book - A SCHOOL STORY by M. R. James

Two men in a smoking-room were talking of their private-school days. "At our
school," said A., "we had a ghost's footmark on the staircase. "
  " What was it like?"
  "Oh, very unconvincing. Just the shape of a shoe, with a square toe, if I
remember right. The staircase was a stone one. I never heard any story about
the thing. That seems odd, when you come to think of it. Why didn't somebody
invent one, I wonder?"
  "You never can tell with little boys. They have a mythology of their own.
There's a subject for you, by the way - "The Folklore of Private Schools."
  "Yes; the crop is rather scanty, though. I imagine, if you were to
investigate the cycle of ghost stories, for instance, which the boys at
private schools tell each other, they would all turn out to be
highly-compressed versions of stories out of books."
  "Nowadays the Strand and Pearson's, and so on, would be extensively drawn
  "No doubt: they weren't born or thought of in my time. Let's see. I
wonder if I can remember the staple ones that I was told. First, there was
the house with a room in which a series of people insisted on passing a
night; and each of them in the morning was found kneeling in a corner, and
had just time to say, 'I've seen it,' and died."
  "Wasn't that the house in Berkeley Square?"
  "I dare say it was. Then there was the man who heard a noise in the
passage at night, opened his door, and saw someone crawling towards him on
all fours with his eye hanging out on his cheek. There was besides, let me
think - Yes! the room where a man was found dead in bed with a horseshoe
mark on his forehead, and the floor under the bed was covered with marks of
horseshoes also; I don't know why. Also there was the lady who, on locking
her bedroom door in a strange house, heard a thin voice among the
bed-curtains say, 'Now we're shut in for the night.' None of those had any
explanation or sequel. I wonder if they go on still, those stories."
  "Oh, likely enough - with additions from the magazines, as I said. You
never heard, did you, of a real ghost at a private school? I thought not,
nobody has that ever I came across."
  "From the way in which you said that, I gather that you have."
  "I really don't know, but this is what was in my mind. It happened at my
private school thirty odd years ago, and I haven't any explanation of it.
  "The school I mean was near London. It was established in a large and
fairly old house - a great white building with very fine grounds about it;
there were large cedars in the garden, as there are in so many of the older
gardens in the Thames valley, and ancient elms in the three or four fields
which we used for our games. I think probably it was quite an attractive
place, but boys seldom allow that their schools possess any tolerable
  "I came to the school in a September, soon after the year 1870; and among
the boys who arrived on the same day was one whom I took to: a Highland boy,
whom I will call McLeod. I needn't spend time in describing him: the main
thing is that I got to know him very well. He was not an exceptional boy in
any way - not particularly good at books or games - but he suited me.
  "The school was a large one: there must have been from 120 to 130 boys
there as a rule, and so a considerable staff of masters was required, and
there were rather frequent changes among them.
  "One term - perhaps it was my third or fourth - a new master made his
appearance. His name was Sampson. He was a tallish, stoutish, pale,
black-bearded man. I think we liked him: he had travelled a good deal, and
had stories which amused us on our school walks, so that there was some
competition among us to get within earshot of him. I remember too - dear me,
I have hardly thought of it since then - that he had a charm on his
watch-chain that attracted my attention one day, and he let me examine it.
It was, I now suppose, a gold Byzantine coin; there was an effigy of some
absurd emperor on one side; the other side had been worn practically smooth,
and he had had cut on it - rather barbarously - his own initials, G.W.S.,
and a date, 24 July, 1865. Yes, I can see it now: he told me he had picked
it up in Constantinople: it was about the size of a florin, perhaps rather
  "Well, the first odd thing that happened was this. Sampson was doing
Latin grammar with us. One of his favourite methods - perhaps it is rather a
good one - was to make us construct sentences out of our own heads to
illustrate the rules he was trying to make us learn. Of course that is a
thing which gives a silly boy a chance of being impertinent: there are lots
of school stories in which that happens - or any-how there might be. But
Sampson was too good a disciplinarian for us to think of trying that on with
him. Now, on this occasion he was telling us how to express remembering in
Latin: and he ordered us each to make a sentence bringing in the verb
memini, 'I remember.' Well, most of us made up some ordinary sentence such
as 'I remember my father,' or 'He remembers his book,' or something equally
uninteresting: and I dare say a good many put down memino librum meum, and
so forth: but the boy I mentioned - McLeod - was evidently thinking of
something more elaborate than that. The rest of us wanted to have our
sentences passed, and get on to something else, so some kicked him under the
desk, and I, who was next to him, poked him and whispered to him to look
sharp. But he didn't seem to attend. I looked at his paper and saw he had
put down nothing at all. So I jogged him again harder than before and
upbraided him sharply for keeping us all waiting. That did have some effect.
He started and seemed to wake up, and then very quickly he scribbled about a
couple of lines on his paper, and showed it up with the rest. As it was the
last, or nearly the last, to come in, and as Sampson had a good deal to say
to the boys who had written meminiscimus patri meo and the rest of it, it
turned out that the clock struck twelve before he had got to McLeod, and
McLeod had to wait afterwards to have his sentence corrected. There was
nothing much going on outside when I got out, so I waited for him to come.
He came very slowly when he did arrive, and I guessed there had been some
sort of trouble. 'Well,' I said, 'what did you get?' 'Oh, I don't know,'
said McLeod, 'nothing much: but I think Sampson's rather sick with me.'
'Why, did you show him up some rot?' 'No fear,' he said. 'It was all right
as far as I could see: it was like this: Memento - that's right enough for
remember, and it takes a genitive, - memento putei inter quatuor taxos.'
'What silly rot!' I said. 'What made you shove that down? What does it
mean?' 'That's the funny part,' said McLeod. 'I'm not quite sure what it
does mean. All I know is, it just came into my head and I corked it down. I
know what I think it means, because just before I wrote it down I had a sort
of picture of it in my head: I believe it means "Remember the well among the
four" - what are those dark sort of trees that have red berries on them?'
'Mountain ashes, I s'pose you mean.' 'I never heard of them,' said McLeod;
'no, I'll tell you - yews.' 'Well, and what did Sampson say?' 'Why, he was
jolly odd about it. When he read it he got up and went to the mantel-piece
and stopped quite a long time without saying anything, with his back to me.
And then he said, without turning round, and rather quiet, "What do you
suppose that means?" I told him what I thought; only I couldn't remember the
name of the silly tree: and then he wanted to know why I put it down, and I
had to say something or other. And after that he left off talking about it,
and asked me how long I'd been here, and where my people lived, and things
like that: and then I came away: but he wasn't looking a bit well.'
  "I don't remember any more that was said by either of us about this. Next
day McLeod took to his bed with a chill or something of the kind, and it was
a week or more before he was in school again. And as much as a month went by
without anything happening that was noticeable. Whether or not Mr. Sampson
was really startled, as McLeod had thought, he didn't show it. I am pretty
sure, of course, now, that there was something very curious in his past
history, but I'm not going to pretend that we boys were sharp enough to
guess any such thing.
  "There was one other incident of the same kind as the last which I told
you. Several times since that day we had had to make up examples in school
to illustrate different rules, but there had never been any row except when
we did them wrong. At last there came a day when we were going through those
dismal things which people call Conditional Sentences, and we were told to
make a conditional sentence, expressing a future consequence. We did it,
right or wrong, and showed up our bits of paper, and Sampson began looking
through them. All at once he got up, made some odd sort of noise in his
throat, and rushed out by a door that was just by his desk. We sat there for
a minute or two, and then - I suppose it was incorrect - but we went up, I
and one or two others, to look at the papers on his desk. Of course I
thought someone must have put down some nonsense or other, and Sampson had
gone off to report him. All the same, I noticed that he hadn't taken any of
the papers with him when he ran out. Well, the top paper on the desk was
written in red ink - which no one used - and it wasn't in anyone's hand who
was in the class. They all looked at it - McLeod and all - and took their
dying oaths that it wasn't theirs. Then I thought of counting the bits of
paper. And of this I made quite certain: that there were seventeen bits of
paper on the desk, and sixteen boys in the form. Well, I bagged the extra
paper, and kept it, and I believe I have it now. And now you will want to
know what was written on it. It was simple enough, and harmless enough, I
should have said.
  "'Si tu non veneris ad me, ego veniam ad te,' which means, I suppose, 'If
you don't come to me, I'll come to you.'"
  "Could you show me the paper?" interrupted the listener.
  "Yes, I could: but there's another odd thing about it. That same
afternoon I took it out of my locker - I know for certain it was the same
bit, for I made a finger-mark on it and no single trace of writing of any
kind was there on it. I kept it, as I said, and since that time I have tried
various experiments to see whether sympathetic ink had been used, but
absolutely without result.
  "So much for that. After about half an hour Sampson looked in again: said
he had felt very unwell, and told us we might go. He came rather gingerly to
his desk, and gave just one look at the uppermost paper: and I suppose he
thought he must have been dreaming: anyhow, he asked no questions.
  "That day was a half-holiday, and next day Sampson was in school again,
much as usual. That night the third and last incident in my story happened.
  "We - McLeod and I - slept in a dormitory at right angles to the main
building. Sampson slept in the main building on the first floor. There was a
very bright full moon. At an hour which I can't tell exactly, but some time
between one and two, I was woken up by somebody shaking me. It was McLeod,
and a nice state of mind he seemed to be in. 'Come,' he said, - 'come
there's a burglar getting in through Sampson's window.' As soon as I could
speak, I said, 'Well, why not call out and wake everybody up? 'No, no,' he
said, 'I'm not sure who it is: don't make a row: come and look.' Naturally I
came and looked, and naturally there was no one there. I was cross enough,
and should have called McLeod plenty of names: only - I couldn't tell why -
it seemed to me that there was something wrong - something that made me very
glad I wasn't alone to face it. We were still at the window looking out, and
as soon as I could, I asked him what he had heard or seen. 'I didn't hear
anything at all,' he said, 'but about five minutes before I woke you, I
found myself looking out of this window here, and there was a man sitting or
kneeling on Sampson's window-sill, and looking in, and I thought he was
beckoning.' 'What sort of man?' McLeod wriggled. 'I don't know,' he said,
'but I can tell you one thing - he was beastly thin: and he looked as if he
was wet all over: and,' he said, looking round and whispering as if he
hardly liked to hear himself, 'I'm not at all sure that he was alive.'
  "We went on talking in whispers some time longer, and eventually crept
back to bed. No one else in the room woke or stirred the whole time. I
believe we did sleep a bit afterwards, but we were very cheap next day.
  "And next day Mr. Sampson was gone: not to be found: and I believe no
trace of him has ever come to light since. In thinking it over, one of the
oddest things about it all has seemed to me to be the fact that neither
McLeod nor I ever mentioned what we had seen to any third person whatever.
Of course no questions were asked on the subject, and if they had been, I am
inclined to believe that we could not have made any answer: we seemed unable
to speak about it.
  "That is my story," said the narrator. "The only approach to a ghost
story connected with a school that I know, but still, I think, an approach
to such a thing."
                               *   *   *  *  *
  The sequel to this may perhaps be reckoned highly conventional; but a
sequel there is, and so it must be produced. There had been more than one
listener to the story, and, in the latter part of that same year, or of the
next, one such listener was staying at a country house in Ireland.
  One evening his host was turning over a drawer full of odds and ends in
the smoking-room. Suddenly he put his hand upon a little box. "Now," he
said, "you know about old things; tell me what that is." My friend opened
the little box, and found in it a thin gold chain with an object attached to
it. He glanced at the object and then took off his spectacles to examine it
more narrowly. "What's the history of this?" he asked. "Odd enough," was the
answer. "You know the yew thicket in the shrubbery: well, a year or two back
we were cleaning out the old well that used to be in the clearing here, and
what do you suppose we found?"
  "Is it possible that you found a body?" said the visitor, with an odd
feeling of nervousness.
  "We did that: but what's more, in every sense of the word, we found two."
  "Good Heavens! Two? Was there anything to show how they got there? Was
this thing found with them?"
  "It was. Amongst the rags of the clothes that were on one of the bodies.
A bad business, whatever the story of it may have been. One body had the
arms tight round the other. They must have been there thirty years or more -
long enough before we came to this place. You may judge we filled the well
up fast enough. Do you make anything of what's cut on that gold coin you
have there?"
  "I think I can," said my friend, holding it to the light (but he read it
without much difficulty); "it seems to be G.W.S., 24 July, 1865."

E-Book - A Little Cloud by James Joyce

Eight years before he had seen his friend off at the North Wall and wished him God-speed. Gallaher had got on. You could tell that at once by his travelled air, his well-cut tweed suit, and fearless accent. Few fellows had talents like his, and fewer still could remain unspoiled by such success. Gallaher's heart was in the right place and he had deserved to win. It was something to have a friend like that.

Little Chandler's thoughts ever since lunch-time had been of his meeting with Gallaher, of Gallaher's invitation, and of the great city London where Gallaher lived. He was called Little Chandler because, though he was but slightly under the average stature, he gave one the idea of being a little man. His hands were white and small, his frame was fragile, his voice was quiet and his manners were refined. He took the greatest care of his fair silken hair and moustache, and used perfume discreetly on his handkerchief. The half-moons of his nails were perfect, and when he smiled you caught a glimpse of a row of childish white teeth.

As he sat at his desk in the King's Inns he thought what changes those eight years had brought. The friend whom he had known under a shabby and necessitous guise had become a brilliant figure on the London Press. He turned often from his tiresome writing to gaze out of the office window. The glow of a late autumn sunset covered the grass plots and walks. It cast a shower of kindly golden dust on the untidy nurses and decrepit old men who drowsed on the benches; it flickered upon all the moving figures - on the children who ran screaming along the gravel paths and on everyone who passed through the gardens. He watched the scene and thought of life; and (as always happened when he thought of life) he became sad. A gentle melancholy took possession of him. He felt how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.

He remembered the books of poetry upon his shelves at home. He had bought them in his bachelor days and many an evening, as he sat in the little room off the hall, he had been tempted to take one down from the bookshelf and read out something to his wife. But shyness had always held him back; and so the books had remained on their shelves. At times he repeated lines to himself and this consoled him.

When his hour had struck he stood up and took leave of his desk and of his fellow-clerks punctiliously. He emerged from under the feudal arch of the King's Inns, a neat modest figure, and walked swiftly down Henrietta Street. The golden sunset was waning and the air had grown sharp. A horde of grimy children populated the street. They stood or ran in the roadway, or crawled up the steps before the gaping doors, or squatted like mice upon the thresholds. Little Chandler gave them no thought. He picked his way deftly through all that minute vermin-like life and under the shadow of the gaunt spectral mansions in which the old nobility of Dublin had roistered. No memory of the past touched him, for his mind was full of a present joy.

He had never been in Corless's, but he knew the value of the name. He knew that people went there after the theatre to eat oysters and drink liqueurs; and he had heard that the waiters there spoke French and German. Walking swiftly by at night he had seen cabs drawn up before the door and richly-dressed ladies, escorted by cavaliers, alight and enter quickly. They wore noisy dresses and many wraps. Their faces were powdered and they caught up their dresses, when they touched earth, like alarmed Atalantas. He had always passed without turning his head to look. It was his habit to walk swiftly in the street even by day, and whenever he found himself in the city late at night he hurried on his way apprehensively and excitedly. Sometimes, however, he courted the causes of his fear. He chose the darkest and narrowest streets and, as he walked boldly forward, the silence that was spread about his footsteps troubled him; the wandering, silent figures troubled him; and at times a sound of low fugitive laughter made him tremble like a leaf.

He turned to the right towards Capel Street. Ignatius Gallaher on the London Press! Who would have thought it possible eight years before? Still, now that he reviewed the past, Little Chandler could remember many signs of future greatness in his friend. People used to say that Ignatius Gallaher was wild. Of course, he did mix with a rakish set of fellows at that time; drank freely and borrowed money on all sides. In the end he had got mixed up in some shady affair, some money transaction: at least, that was one version of his flight. But nobody denied him talent. There was always a certain... something in Ignatius Gallaher that impressed you in spite of yourself. Even when he was out at elbows and at his wits' end for money he kept up a bold face. Little Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight flush of pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher's sayings when he was in a tight corner:

`Half-time now, boys,' he used to say light-heartedly. `Where's my considering cap?'

That was Ignatius Gallaher all out; and, damn it, you couldn't but admire him for it.

Little Chandler quickened his pace. For the first time in his life he felt himself superior to the people he passed. For the first time his soul revolted against the dull inelegance of Capel Street. There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin. As he crossed Grattan Bridge he looked down the river towards the lower quays and pitied the poor stunted houses. They seemed to him a band of tramps, huddled together along the river-banks, their old coats covered with dust and soot, stupefied by the panorama of sunset and waiting for the first chill of night to bid them arise, shake themselves and begone. He wondered whether he could write a poem to express his idea. Perhaps Gallaher might be able to get it into some London paper for him. Could he write something original? He was not sure what idea he wished to express, but the thought that a poetic moment had touched him took life within him like an infant hope. He stepped onward bravely.

Every step brought him nearer to London, farther from his own sober inartistic life. A light began to tremble on the horizon of his mind. He was not so old - thirty-two. His temperament might be said to be just at the point of maturity. There were so many different moods and impressions that he wished to express in verse. He felt them within him. He tried to weigh his soul to see if it was a poet's soul. Melancholy was the dominant note of his temperament, he thought, but it was a melancholy tempered by recurrences of faith and resignation and simple joy. If he could give expression to it in a book of poems perhaps men would listen. He would never be popular: he saw that. He could not sway the crowd, but he might appeal to a little circle of kindred minds. The English critics, perhaps, would recognize him as one of the Celtic school by reason of the melancholy tone of his poems; besides that, he would put in allusions. He began to invent sentences and phrases from the notice which his book would get. `Mr Chandler has the gift of easy and graceful verse'... `A wistful sadness pervades these poems'... `The Celtic note'. It was a pity his name was not more Irish-looking. Perhaps it would be better to insert his mother's name before the surname: Thomas Malone Chandler; or better still: T. Malone Chandler. He would speak to Gallaher about it.

He pursued his reverie so ardently that he passed his street and had to turn back. As he came near Corless's his former agitation began to overmaster him and he halted before the door in indecision. Finally he opened the door and entered.

The light and noise of the bar held him at the doorway for a few moments. He looked about him, but his sight was confused by the shining of many red and green wine-glasses. The bar seemed to him to be full of people and he felt that the people were observing him curiously. He glanced quickly to right and left (frowning slightly to make his errand appear serious), but when his sight cleared a little he saw that nobody had turned to look at him: and there, Sure enough, was Ignatius Gallaher leaning with his back against the counter and his feet planted far apart.

`Hallo, Tommy, old hero, here you are! What is it to be? What will you have? I'm taking whisky: better stuff than we get across the water. Soda? Lithia? No mineral? I'm the same. Spoils the flavour... Here, gar
on, bring us two halves of malt whisky, like a good fellow... Well, and how have you been pulling along since I saw you last? Dear God, how old we're getting! Do you see any signs of ageing in me - eh, what? A little grey and thin on the top - what?'

Ignatius Gallaher took off his hat and displayed a large closely-cropped head. His face was heavy, pale, and clean-shaven. His eyes, which were of bluish slate-colour, relieved his unhealthy pallor and shone out plainly above the vivid orange tie he wore. Between these rival features the lips appeared very long and shapeless and colourless. He bent his head and felt with two sympathetic fingers the thin hair at the crown. Little Chandler shook his head as a denial. Ignatius Gallaher put on his hat again.

`It pulls you down,' he said. `Press life. Always hurry and scurry, looking for copy and sometimes not finding it: and then, always to have something new in your stuff. Damn proofs and printers, I say, for a few days. I'm deuced glad, I can tell you, to get back to the old country. Does a fellow good, a bit of a holiday. I feel a ton better since I landed again in dear, dirty Dublin... Here you are, Tommy. Water? Say when.'

Little Chandler allowed his whisky to be very much diluted.

`You don't know what's good for you, my boy,' said Ignatius Gallaher. `I drink mine neat.'

`I drink very little as a rule,' said Little Chandler modestly. `An odd half-one or so when I meet any of the old crowd: that's all.'

`Ah well,' said Ignatius Gallaher cheerfully, `here's to us and to old times and old acquaintance.'

They clinked glasses and drank the toast.

`I met some of the old gang today,' said Ignatius Gallaher. `O'Hara seems to be in a bad way. What's he doing?'

`Nothing,' said Little Chandler. `He's gone to the dogs.'

`But Hogan has a good sit, hasn't he?'

`Yes, be's in the Land Commission.'

`I met him one night in London and he seemed to be very flush... Poor O'Hara! Booze, I suppose?'

`Other things, too,' said Little Chandler shortly.

Ignatius Gallaher laughed.

`Tommy,' he said, `I see you haven't changed an atom. You're the very same serious person that used to lecture me on Sunday mornings when I had a sore head and a fur on my tongue. You'd want to knock about a bit in the world. Have you never been anywhere even for a trip?'

`I've been to the Isle of Man,' said Little Chandler.

Ignatius Gallaher laughed.

`The Isle of Man!' he said. `Go to London or Paris: Paris, for choice. That'd do you good.'

`Have you seen Paris?'

`I should think I have! I've knocked about there a little.'

`And is it really so beautiful as they say?' asked Little Chandler.

He sipped a little of his drink while Ignatius Gallaher finished his boldly.

`Beautiful?' said Ignatius Gallaher, pausing on the word and on the flavour of his drink. `It's not so beautiful, you know. Of course it is beautiful... But it's the life of Paris; that's the thing. Ah, there's no city like Paris for gaiety, movement, excitement... '

Little Chandler finished his whisky and, after some trouble, succeeded in catching the barman's eye. He ordered the same again.

`I've been to the Moulin Rouge,' Ignatius Gallaher continued when the barman had removed their glasses, `and I've been to all the Bohemian cafŽs. Hot stuff! Not for a pious chap like you, Tommy.'

Little Chandler said nothing until the barman returned with two glasses: then he touched his friend's glass lightly and reciprocated the former toast. He was beginning to feel somewhat disillusioned. Gallaher's accent and way of expressing himself did not please him. There was something vulgar in his friend which lie had not observed before. But perhaps it was only the result of living in London amid the bustle and competition of the Press. The old personal charm was still there under this new gaudy manner. And, after all, Gallaher had lived, he had seen the world. Little Chandler looked at his friend enviously.

`Everything in Paris is gay,' said Ignatius Gallaher. `They believe in enjoying life - and don't you think they're right? If you want to enjoy yourself properly you must go to Paris. And, mind you, they've a great feeling for the Irish there. When they heard I was from Ireland they were ready to eat me, man.'

Little Chandler took four or five sips from his glass.

`Tell me,' he said, `is it true that Paris is so... immoral as they say?'

Ignatius Gallaher made a catholic gesture with his right arm.

`Every place is immoral,' he said. `Of course you do find spicy bits in Paris. Go to one of the students' balls, for instance. That's lively, if you like, when the cocottes begin to let themselves loose. You know what they are, I suppose?'

`I've heard of them,' said Little Chandler.

Ignatius Gallaher drank off his whisky and shook his head.

`Ah,' he said, `you may say what you like. There's no woman like the Parisienne - for style, for go.'

`Then it is an immoral city,' said Little Chandler, with timid insistence - `I mean, compared with London or Dublin?'

`London!' said Ignatius Gallaher. `It's six of one and half a dozen of the other. You ask Hogan, my boy. I showed him a bit about London when he was over there. He'd open your eye... I say, Tommy, don't make punch of that whisky: liquor up.'

`No, really.'

`O, come on, another one won't do you any harm. What is it? The same again, I suppose?'

`Well... all right.'

ois, the same again... Will you smoke, Tommy?'

Ignatius Gallaher produced his cigar-case. The two friends lit their cigars and puffed at them in silence until their drinks were served.

`I'll tell you my opinion,' said Ignatius Gallaher, eme
rging after some time from the clouds of smoke in which he had taken refuge, `it's a rum world. Talk of immorality! I've heard of cases - what am I saying? - I've known them: cases of... immorality... '

Ignatius Gallaher puffed thoughtfully at his cigar and then, in a calm historian's tone, he proceeded to sketch for his friend some pictures of the corruption which was rife abroad. He summarized the vices of many capitals and seemed inclined to award the palm to Berlin. Some things he could not vouch for (his friends had told him), but of others he had had personal experience. He spared neither rank nor caste. He revealed many of the secrets of religious houses on the Continent and described some of the practices which were fashionable in high society, and ended by telling, with details, a story about an English duchess - a story which he knew to be true. Little chandler was astonished.

`Ah, well,' said Ignatius Gallaher, `here we are in old jog-along Dublin where nothing is known of such things.'

`How dull you must find it,' said Little Chandler, `after all the other places you've seen!'

`Well,' said Ignatius Gallaher, `it's a relaxation to come over here, you know. And, after all, it's the old country, as they say, isn't it? You can't help having a certain feeling for it. That's human nature... But tell me something about yourself. Hogan told me you had... tasted the joys of connubial bliss. Two years ago, wasn't it?'

Little Chandler blushed and smiled.

`Yes,' he said. `I was married last May twelve months.'

`I hope it's not too late in the day to offer my best wishes,' said Ignatius Gallaher. `I didn't know your address or I'd have done so at the time.'

He extended his hand, which Little Chandler took.

`Well, Tommy,' he said, `I wish you and yours every joy in life, old chap, and tons of money, and may you never die till I shoot you. And that's the wish of a sincere friend, an old friend. You know that?'

`I know that,' said Little Chandler.

`Any youngsters?' said Ignatius Gallaher.

Little Chandler blushed again.

`We have one child,' he said.

`Son or daughter?'

`A little boy.'

Ignatius Gallaher slapped his friend sonorously on the back.

`Bravo,' he said, `I wouldn't doubt you, Tommy.'

Little Chandler smiled, looked confusedly at his glass and bit his lower lip with three childishly white front teeth.

`I hope you'll spend an evening with us,' he said, `before you go back. My wife will be delighted to meet you. We can have a little music and--'

`Thanks awfully, old chap,' said Ignatius Gallaher, `I'm sorry we didn't meet earlier. But I must leave tomorrow night.'

`Tonight, perhaps... ?`

`I'm awfully sorry, old man. You see I'm over here with another fellow, clever young chap he is too, and we arranged to go to a little card-party. Only for that... '

`O, in that case... '

`But who knows?' said Ignatius Gallaher considerately. `Next year I may take a little skip over here now that I've broken the ice. It's only a pleasure deferred.'

`Very well,' said Little Chandler, `the next time you come we must have an evening together. That's agreed now, isn't it?'

`Yes, that's agreed,' said Ignatius Gallaher. `Next year if I come, parole d'honneur.'

`And to clinch the bargain,' said Little Chandler, `we'll just have one more now.'

Ignatius Gallaher took out a large gold watch and looked at it.

`Is it to be the last?' he Said. `Because, you know, I have an a.p.'

`O, yes, positively,' said Little Chandler.

`Very well, then,' said Ignatius Gallaher, `let us have another one as a deoc an doirus - that's good vernacular for a small whisky, I believe.'

Little Chandler ordered the drinks. The blush which had risen to his face a few moments before was establishing itself. A trifle made him blush at any time: and now he felt warm and excited. Three small whiskies had gone to his head and Gallaher's strong cigar had confused his mind, for he was a delicate and abstinent person. The adventure of meeting Gallaher after eight years, of finding himself with Gallaher in Corless's surrounded by lights and noise, of listening to Gallaher's stories and of sharing for a brief space Gallaher's vagrant and triumphant life, upset the equipoise of his sensitive nature. He felt acutely the contrast between his own life and his friend's, and it seemed to him unjust. Gallaher was his inferior in birth and education. He was sure that he could do something better than his friend had ever done, or could ever do, something higher than mere tawdry journalism if he only got the chance. What was it that stood in his way? His unfortunate timidity! He wished to vindicate himself in some way, to assert his manhood. He saw behind Gallaher's refusal of his invitation. Gallaher was only patronizing him by his friendliness just as he was patronizing Ireland by his visit.

The barman brought their drinks. Little Chandler pushed one glass towards his friend and took up the other boldly.

`Who knows?' he said, as they lifted their glasses. `When you come next year I may have the pleasure of wishing long life and happiness to Mr and Mrs Ignatius Gallaher.'

Ignatius Gallaher in the act of drinking closed one eye expressively over the rim of his glass. When he had drunk he smacked his lips decisively, set down his glass and said:

`No blooming fear of that, my boy. I'm going to have my fling first and see a bit of life and the world before I put my head in the sack - if I ever do.'

`Some day you will,' said Little Chandler calmly.

Ignatius Gallaher turned his orange tie and slate-blue eyes full upon his friend.

`You think so?' he said.

`You'll put your head in the sack,' repeated Little Chandler stoutly, `like everyone else if you can find the girl.'

He had slightly emphasized his tone, and he was aware that he had betrayed himself; but, though the colour had heightened in his cheek, he did not flinch from his friends' gaze. Ignatius Gallaher watched him for a few moments and then said:

`If ever it occurs, you may bet your bottom dollar there'll be no mooning and spooning about it. I mean to marry money. She'll have a good fat account at the bank or she won't do for me.'

Little Chandler shook his head.

`Why, man alive,' said Ignatius Gallaher, vehemently, `do you know what it is? I've only to say the word and tomorrow I can have the woman and the cash. You don't believe it? Well, I know it. There are hundreds - what am I saying? - thousands of rich Germans and Jews, rotten with money, that'd only be too glad... You wait a while, my boy. See if I don't play my cards properly. When I go about a thing I mean business, I tell you. You just wait.'

He tossed his glass to his mouth, finished his drink and laughed loudly. Then he looked thoughtfully before him and said in a calmer tone:

`But I'm in no hurry. They can wait. I don't fancy tying myself up to one woman, you know.'

He imitated with his mouth the act of tasting and made a wry face.

`Must get a bit stale, I should think,' he said.


Little Chandler sat in the room off the hall, holding a child in his arms. To save money they kept no servant, but Annie's young sister Monica came for an hour or so in the morning and an hour or So in the evening to help. But Monica had gone home long ago. It was a quarter to nine. Little Chandler had come home late for tea and, moreover, he had forgotten to bring Annie home the parcel of coffee from Bewley's. Of course she was in a bad humour and gave him short answers. She said she would do without any tea, but when it came near he time at which the shop at the corner closed she decided to go out herself for a quarter of a pound of tea and two pounds of sugar. She put the sleeping child deftly in his arms and said:

`Here. Don't waken him.'

A little lamp with a white china shade stood upon the table and its light fell over a photograph which was enclosed in a frame of crumpled horn. It was Annie's photograph. Little Chandler looked at it, pausing at the thin tight lips. She wore the pale blue summer blouse which he had brought her home as a present one Saturday. It had cost him ten and elevenpence; but what an agony of nervousness it had cost him! How he had suffered that day, waiting at the shop door until the shop was empty, standing at the counter and trying to appear at his ease while the girl piled ladies' blouses before him, paying at the desk and forgetting to take up the odd penny of his change, being called back by the cashier, and finally, striving to hide his blushes as he left the shop by examining the parcel to see if it was Securely tied. When he brought the blouse home Annie kissed him and said it was very pretty and stylish; but when she heard the price she threw the blouse on the table and said it was a regular swindle to charge ten and elevenpence for it. At first she wanted to take it back, but when she tried it on she was delighted with it, especially with the make of the sleeves, and kissed him and said he was very good to think of her.


He looked coldly into the eyes of the photograph and they answered coldly. Certainly they were pretty and the face itself was pretty. But he found something mean in it. Why was it so unconscious and ladylike? The composure of the eyes irritated him. They repelled him and defied him: there was no passion in them, no rapture. He thought of what Gallaher had said about rich Jewesses. Those dark Oriental eyes, he thought, how full they are of passion, of voluptuous longing!... Why had he married the eyes in the photograph?

He caught himself up at the question and glanced nervously round the room. He found something mean in the pretty furniture which he had bought for his house on the hire system. Annie had chosen it herself and it reminded him of her. It too was prim and pretty. A dull resentment against his life awoke within him. Could he not escape from his little house? Was it too late for him to try to live bravely like Gallaher? Could he go to London? There was the furniture still to be paid for. If he could only write a book and get it published, that might open the way for him.

A volume of Byron's poems lay before him on the table. He opened it cautiously with his left hand lest he should waken the child and began to read the first poem in the book:

Hushed are the winds and still the evening gloom, Not e'en a Zephyr wanders through the grove, Whilst I return to view my Margaret's tomb And scatter flowers on the dust I love.

He paused. He felt the rhythm of the verse about him in the room. How melancholy it was! Could he, too, write like that, express the melancholy of his soul in verse? There were so many things he wanted to describe: his sensation of a few hours before on Grattan Bridge, for example. If he could get back again into that mood...

The child awoke and began to cry. He turned from the page and tried to hush it: but it would not be hushed. He began to rock it to and fro in his arms, but its wailing cry grew keener. He rocked it faster while his eyes began to read the second stanza:

Within this narrow cell reclines her clay, That clay where once...

It was useless. He couldn't read. He couldn't do anything. The wailing of the child pierced the drum of his ear. It was useless, useless! He was a prisoner for life. His arms trembled with anger and suddenly bending to the child's face he shouted:


The child stopped for an instant, had a spasm of fright and began to scream. He jumped up from his chair and walked hastily up and down the room with the child in his arms. it began to sob piteously, losing its breath for four or five seconds, and then bursting out anew. The thin walls of the room echoed the sound. He tried to soothe it, but it sobbed more convulsively. He looked at the contracted and quivering face of the child and began to be alarmed. He counted seven sobs without a break between them and caught the child to his breast in fright. If it died!...

The door was burst open and a young woman ran in, panting.

`What is it? What is it?' she cried.

The child, hearing its mother's voice, broke out into a paroxysm of sobbing.

`It's nothing, Annie... it's nothing... He began to cry... '

She flung her parcels on the floor and snatched the child from him.

`What have you done to him?' she cried, glaring into his face.

Little Chandler sustained for one moment the gaze of her eyes and his heart closed together as he met the hatred in them. He began to stammer:

`It's nothing... He... he... began to cry... I couldn't... I didn't do anything... What?'

Giving no heed to him she began to walk up and down the room, clasping the child tightly in her arms and murmuring:

`My little man! My little mannie! Was 'ou frightened, love?'... There now, love! There now!... Lambabaun! Mamma's little lamb of the world!... There now!'

Little Chandler felt his cheeks suffused with shame and he stood back out of the lamplight. He listened while the paroxysm of the child's sobbing grew less and less; and tears of remorse started to his eyes.

E-Book - Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby by Joel Chandler Harris

One evening recently, the lady whom Uncle Remus calls “Miss Sally” missed her little seven-year-old. Making search for him through the house and through the yard, she heard the sound of voices in the old man’s cabin, and looking through the window, saw the child sitting by Uncle Remus. His head rested against the old man’s arm, and he was gazing with an expression of the most intense interest into the rough, weather-beaten face that beamed so kindly upon him. This is what “Miss Sally” heard:
“Bimeby, one day, after Brer Fox bin doin’ all dat he could fer ter ketch Brer Rabbit, en Brer Rabbit bin doin’ all he could fer ter keep ’im fum it, Brer Fox say to hisse’f dat he’d put up a game on Brer Rabbit, en he ain’t mo’n got de wuds out’n his mouf twel Brer Rabbit come a-lopin’ up de big road, lookin’ des ez plump en ez fat en ez sassy ez a Moggin hoss in a barley-patch.
“‘Hol’ on dar, Brer Rabbit,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.
“‘I ain’t got time, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, sorter mendin’ his licks.
“‘I wanter have some confab wid you, Brer Rabbit,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.
“‘All right, Brer Fox, but you better holler fum whar you stan’: I’m monstus full er fleas dis mawnin’,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
“‘I seed Brer B’ar yistiddy,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘en he sorter raked me over de coals kaze you en me ain’t make frens en live naberly, en I told him dat I’d see you.’
“Den Brer Rabbit scratch one year wid his off hine-foot sorter jub’usly, en den he ups en sez, sezee:
“‘All a-settin’, Brer Fox. S’posen you drap roun’ ter-morrer en take dinner wid me. We ain’t got no great doin’s at our house, but I speck de ole ’oman en de chilluns kin sort o’ scramble roun’ en git up sump’n fer ter stay yo’ stummuck.’
“‘I’m ’gree’ble, Brer Rabbit,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.
“‘Den I’ll ’pen on you,’ says Brer Rabbit, sezee.
“Nex’ day, Mr. Rabbit an’ Miss Rabbit got up soon, ’fo day, en raided on a gyarden like Miss Sally’s out dar, en got some cabbiges, en some roas’n-years, en some sparrer-grass, en dey fix up a smashin’ dinner. Bimeby one er de little Rabbits, playin’ out in de backyard, come runnin’ in hollerin’, ‘Oh, ma! oh, ma! I seed Mr. Fox a-comin’!’ En den Brer Rabbit he tuck de chilluns by der years en make um set down, and den him en Miss Rabbit sorter dally roun’ waitin’ for Brer Fox. En dey keep on waitin’, but no Brer Fox ain’t come. Atter while Brer Rabbit goes to de do’, easy like, en peep out, en dar, stickin’ out fum behime de cornder, wuz de tip-een’ er Brer Fox’s tail. Den Brer Rabbit shot de do’ en sot down, en put his paws behime his years, en begin fer ter sing:
“‘De place wharbouts you spill de grease,
Right dar youer boun’ ter slide,
An’ whar you fine a bunch er ha’r,
You’ll sholy fine de hide!”’
“Nex’ day Brer Fox sont word by Mr. Mink en skuze hisse’f kaze he wuz too sick fer ter come, en he ax Brer Rabbit fer ter come en take dinner wid him, en Brer Rabbit say he wuz ’gree’ble.
“Bimeby, w’en de shadders wuz at der shortes’, Brer Rabbit he sorter brush up en santer down ter Brer Fox’s house, en w’en he got dar he yer somebody groanin’, en he look in de do’, en dar he see Brer Fox settin’ up in a rockin’-cheer all wrop up wid flannil, en he look mighty weak. Brer Rabbit look all roun’, he did, but he ain’t see no dinner. De dish-pan wuz settin’ on de table, en close by wuz a kyarvin-knife.
“‘Look like you gwineter have chicken fer dinner, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
“‘Yes, Brer Rabbit, deyer nice en fresh en tender,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.
“Den Brer Rabbit sorter pull his mustarsh, en say, ‘You ain’t got no’ calamus-root, is you, Brer Fox? I done got so now dat I can’t eat no’ chicken ’ceppin’ she’s seasoned up wid calamus-root.’ En wid dat Brer Rabbit lipt out er de do’ and dodge ’mong de bushes, en sot dar watchin’ fer Brer Fox; en he ain’t watch long, nudder, kaze Brer Fox flung off de flannil en crope out er de house en got whar he could close in on Brer Rabbit, en bimeby Brer Rabbit holler out, ‘Oh, Brer Fox! I’ll des put yo’ calamus-root out yer on dis yer stump. Better come git it while hit’s fresh.’ And wid dat Brer Rabbit gallop off home. En Brer Fox ain’t never kotch ’im yit, en w’at’s mo’, honey, he ain’t gwineter.”
“Didn’t the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?” asked the little boy the next evening.
“He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho’s you bawn—Brer Fox did. One day arter Brer Rabbit fool ’im wid dat calamus-root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got ’im some tar, en mix it wid some turken-time, en fix up a contrapshun what he call a Tar-Baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby en he sot ’er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer ter see wat de news wuz gwineter be. En he didn’t hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin’ down de road—lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity—des ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin’ ’long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he was ’stonished. De Tar-Baby she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox he lay low.
“‘Mawnin’!’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; ‘nice wedder dis mawnin’,’ sezee.
“Tar-Baby ain’t sayin’ nuthin’ en Brer Fox he lay low.
“‘How duz yo’ sym’tums seem ter segashuate?’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.
“Brer Fox he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby she ain’t sayin’ nuthin’.
“‘How you come on, den? Is you deaf?’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ‘Kaze if you is I kin holler louder,’ sezee.
“Tar-Baby lay still, en Brer Fox he lay low.
“‘Youer stuck up, dat’s w’at you is,’ says Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘en I’m gwineter kyore you, dat’s w’at I’m a-gwineter do,’ sezee.
“Brer Fox he sorter chuckle in his stummuck, he did, but Tar-Baby ain’t sayin’ nuthin’.
“‘I’m gwineter larn you howter talk ter ’specttubble fokes ef hit’s de las ’ack,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. ‘Ef you don’t take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I’m gwineter bus’ you wide open,’ sezee.
“Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox he lay low.
“Brer Rabbit keep on axin’ ’im, en de Tar-Baby she keep on sayin’ nuthin’, twel present’y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis’, he did, en blip he tuck er side er de head. Right dar’s whar he broke his merlasses-jug. His fis’ stuck, en he can’t pull loose. De tar hilt him. But Tar-Baby she stay still, en Brer Fox he lay low.
“‘Ef you don’t lemme loose, I’ll knock you ag’in,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; en wid dat he fotch ’er a wipe wid te udder han’, en dat stuck. Tar-Baby she ain’t sayin’ nuthin’, en Brer Fox he lay low.
“‘Tu’n me loose, of’ I kick de natal stuffin’ outen you,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee; but de Tar-Baby she ain’t sayin’ nuthin’. She des hilt on, en den Brer Rabbit lose de use er his feet in de same way. Brer Fox he lay low. Den Brer Rabbit squall out dat ef de Tar-Baby don’t tu’n ’im loose he butt ’er crank-sided. En den he butted, en his head got stuck. Den Brer Fox he santered fort’, lookin’ des ez innercent ez wunner yo’ mammy’s mockin’-birds.
“‘Howdy, Brer Rabbit?’ sez Brer Fox, sezee. ‘You look sorter stuck up dis mawnin’,’ sezee; en den he rolled on de groun’, en laft en laft twel he couldn’t laff no mo’. ‘I speck you’ll take dinner wid me dis time, Brer Rabbit. I done laid in some calamus-root, en I ain’t gwineter take no skuse,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.”
Here Uncle Remus paused, and drew a two-pound yam out of the ashes.
“Did the fox eat the rabbit?” asked the little boy to whom the story had been told.
“Dat’s all de fur de tale goes,” replied the old man. “He mout, en den ag’in he moutent. Some say Jedge B’ar come ’long en loosed ’im; some say he didn’t. I hear Miss Sally callin’. You better run ’long.”…
“Uncle Remus,” said the little boy one evening, when he had found the old man with little or nothing to do, “did the fox kill and eat the rabbit when he caught him with the Tar-Baby?”
“Law, honey, ain’t I tell you ’bout dat?” replied the old darky, chuckling slyly. “I ’clar ter grashus I ought er tole you dat; but ole man Nod wuz ridin’ on my eyelids twel a leetle mo’n I’d ’a’ dis’member’d my own name, en den on to dat here come yo’ mammy hollerin’ atter you.
“W’at I tell you w’en I fus’ begin? I tole you Brer Rabbit wuz a monstus soon beas’; leas’ways dat’s w’at I laid out fer ter tell you. Well, den, honey, don’t you go en make no udder kalkalashuns, kaze in dem days Brer Rabbit en his family wuz at de head er de gang w’en enny racket wuz on han’, en dar dey stayed. ’Fo’ you begins fer ter wipe yo’ eyes ’bout Brer Rabbit, you wait en see whar’bouts Brer Rabbit gwineter fetch up at. But dat’s needer yer ner dar.
“W’en Brer Fox fine Brer Rabbit mixt up wid de Tar-Baby, he feel mighty good, en he roll on de groun’ en laff. Bimeby he up ’n’ say, sezee:
“Well, I speck I got you dis time, Brer Rabbit,’ sezee; ‘maybe I ain’t but I speck I is. You been runnin’ roun’ here sassin’ atter me a mighty long time, but I speck you done come ter de een’ er de row. You bin cuttin’ up yo’ capers en bouncin’ roun’ in dis naberhood ontwel you come ter b’leeve yo’se’f de boss er de whole gang. En den youer allers some’rs whar you got no bizness,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee. ‘Who ax you fer ter come en strike up a ’quaintence wid dish yer Tar-Baby? En who stuck you up dar whar you iz? Nobody in de roun’ worril. You des tuck en jam yo’se’f on dat Tar-Baby widout waitin’ fer enny invite,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee—‘ en dar you is, en dar you’ll stay twel I fixes up a bresh-pile and fires her up, kaze I’m gwineter bobbycue you dis day, sho’,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee.
“Den Brer Rabbit talk mighty ’umble.
“‘I don’t keer w’at you do wid me, Brer Fox,’ sezee, ‘so you don’t fling me in dat brier-patch. Roas’ me, Brer Fox,’ sezee, ‘but don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.
“‘Hit’s so much trouble fer ter kindle a fier,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘dat I speck I’ll hatter hang you,’ sezee.
“‘Hang me des ez high ez you please, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘but do fer de Lord’s sake don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.
“‘I ain’t got no string,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘en now I speck I’ll hatter drown you,’ sezee.
“‘Drown me ez deep ez you please, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘but don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.
“‘Dey ain’t no water nigh,’ sez Brer Fox, sezee, ‘en now I speck I’ll hatter skin you,’ sezee.
“‘Skin me, Brer Fox,’ sez Brer Rabbit, sezee, ‘snatch out my eyeballs, t’ar out my years by de roots, en cut off my legs,’ sezee, ‘but do please, Brer Fox, don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,’ sezee.
“Co’se Brer Fox wanter hurt Brer Rabbit bad ez he kin, so he cotch him by de behime legs en slung ’im right in de middle er de brier-patch. Dar wuz a considerbul flutter whar Brer Rabbit struck de bushes, en Brer Fox sorter hung roun’ fer ter see what wuz gwineter happen. Bimeby he hear somebody call ’im, en way up de hill he see Brer Rabbit settin’ cross-legged on a chinkapin log koamin’ de pitch outen his har wid a chip. Den Brer Fox know dat he bin swop off mighty bad. Brer Rabbit wuz bleedzed fer ter fling back some er his sass, en he holler out:
“‘Bred en bawn in a brier-patch, Brer Fox; bred en bawn in a brier-patch!’ en wid dat he skip out des ez lively ez a cricket in de embers.”

E- Book - The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - The Final Problem

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

     It is with a heavy heart that I take up my pen to write these the last words in which I shall ever record the singular gifts by which my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes was distinguished. In an incoherent and, as I deeply feel, an entirely inadequate fashion, I have endeavored to give some account of my strange experiences in his company from the chance which first brought us together at the period of the "Study in Scarlet," up to the time of his interference in the matter of the "Naval Treaty"—and interference which had the unquestionable effect of preventing a serious international complication.
      It was my intention to have stopped there, and to have said nothing of that event which has created a void in my life which the lapse of two years has done little to fill. My hand has been forced, however, by the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother, and I have no choice but to lay the facts before the public exactly as they occurred. I alone know the absolute truth of the matter, and I am satisfied that the time has come when on good purpose is to be served by its suppression.
      As far as I know, there have been only three accounts in the public press: that in the Journal de Genève on May 6th, 1891, the Reuters dispatch in the English papers on May 7th, and finally the recent letter to which I have alluded. Of these the first and second were extremely condensed, while the last is, as I shall now show, an absolute perversion of the facts.
      It lies with me to tell for the first time what really took place between Professor Moriarty and Mr. Sherlock Holmes. It may be remembered that after my marriage, and my subsequent start in private practice, the very intimate relations which had existed between Holmes and myself became to some extent modified. He still came to me from time to time when he desired a companion in his investigation, but these occasions grew more and more seldom, until I find that in the year 1890 there were only three cases of which I retain any record. During the winter of that year and the early spring of 1891, I saw in the papers that he had been engaged by the French government upon a matter of supreme importance, and I received two notes from Holmes, dated from Narbonne and from Nimes, from which I gathered that his stay in France was likely to be a long one.
      It was with some surprise, therefore, that I saw him walk into my consulting-room upon the evening of April 24th. It struck me that he was looking even paler and thinner than usual. "Yes, I have been using myself up rather too freely," he remarked, in answer to my look rather than to my words; "I have been a little pressed of late. Have you any objection to my closing your shutters?"
      The only light in the room came from the lamp upon the table at which I had been reading. Holmes edged his way round the wall and flinging the shutters together, he bolted them securely.
      "You are afraid of something?" I asked.
      "Well, I am."
      "Of what?"
      "Of air-guns."
      "My dear Holmes, what do you mean?"
      "I think that you know me well enough, Watson, to understand that I am by no means a nervous man. At the same time, it is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you. Might I trouble you for a match?" He drew in the smoke of his cigarette as if the soothing influence was grateful to him.
      "I must apologize for calling so late," said he, "and I must further beg you to be so unconventional as to allow me to leave your house presently by scrambling over your back garden wall."
      "But what does it all mean?" I asked.
      He held out his hand, and I saw in the light of the lamp that two of his knuckles were burst and bleeding. "It is not an airy nothing, you see," said he, smiling. "On the contrary, it is solid enough for a man to break his hand over. Is Mrs. Watson in?"
      "She is away upon a visit."
      "Indeed! You are alone?"
      "Then it makes it the easier for me to propose that you should come away with me for a week to the Continent."
      "Oh, anywhere. It's all the same to me."
      There was something very strange in all this. It was not Holmes's nature to take an aimless holiday, and something about his pale, worn face told me that his nerves were at their highest tension.
      He saw the question in my eyes, and, putting his fingertips together and his elbows upon his knees, he explained the situation. "You have probably never heard of Professor Moriarty?" said he.
      "Aye, there's the genius and the wonder of the thing!" he cried. "The man pervades London, and no one has heard of him. That's what puts him on a pinnacle in the records of crime. I tell you, Watson, in all seriousness, that if I could beat that man, if I could free society of him, I should feel that my own career had reached its summit, and I should be prepared to turn to some more placid line in life. Between ourselves, the recent cases in which I have been of assistance to the royal family of Scandinavia, and to the French republic, have left me in such a position that I could continue to live in the quiet fashion which is most congenial to me, and to concentrate my attention upon my chemical researches. But I could not rest, Watson, I could not sit quiet in my chair, if I thought that such a man as Professor Moriarty were walking the streets of London unchallenged."
      "What has he done, then?"
      "His career has been an extraordinary one. He is a man of good birth and excellent education, endowed by nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty. At the age of twenty-one he wrote a treatise upon the Binomial Theorem, which has had a European vogue. On the strength of it he won the Mathematical Chair at one of our smaller universities, and had, to all appearance, a most brilliant career before him. But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers. Dark rumors gathered round him in the university town, and eventually he was compelled to resign his chair and to come down to London, where he set up as an army coach. So much is known to the world, but what I am telling you now is what I have myself discovered.
      "As you are aware, Watson, there is no one who knows the higher criminal world of London so well as I do. For years past I have continually been conscious of some power behind the malefactor, some deep organizing power which forever stands in the way of the law, and throws its shield over the wrongdoer. Again and again in cases of the most varying sorts—forgery cases, robberies, murders—I have felt the presence of this force, and I have deduced its action in many of those undiscovered crimes in which I have not been personally consulted. For years I have endeavored to break through the veil which shrouded it, and at last the time came when I seized my thread and followed it, until it led me, after a thousand cunning windings, to ex-Professor Moriarty of mathematical celebrity.
      "He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed—the word is passed to the Professor, the matter is organized and carried out. The agent may be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defense But the central power which uses the agent is never caught—never so much as suspected. This was the organization which I deduced, Watson, and which I devoted my whole energy to exposing and breaking up.
      "But the Professor was fenced round with safeguards so cunningly devised that, do what I would, it seemed impossible to get evidence which would convict in a court of law. You know my powers, my dear Watson, and yet at the end of three months I was forced to confess that I had at last met an antagonist who was my intellectual equal. My horror at his crimes was lost in my admiration at his skill. But at last he made a trip—only a little, little trip—but it was more than he could afford when I was so close upon him. I had my chance, and, starting from that point, I have woven my net round him until now it is all ready to close. In three days—that is to say, on Monday next—matters will be ripe, and the Professor, with all the principal members of his gang, will be in the hands of the police. Then will come the greatest criminal trial of the century, the clearing up of over forty mysteries, and the rope for all of them; but if we move at all prematurely, you understand, they may slip out of our hands even at the last moment.
      "Now, if I could have done this without the knowledge of Professor Moriarty, all would have been well. But he was too wily for that. He saw every step which I took to draw my toils round him. Again and again he strove to break away, but I as often headed him off. I tell you, my friend, that if a detailed account of that silent contest could be written, it would take its place as the most brilliant bit of thrust-and-parry work in the history of detection. Never have I risen to such a height, and never have I been so hard pressed by an opponent. He cut deep, and yet I just undercut him. This morning the last steps were taken, and three days only were wanted to complete the business. I was sitting in my room thinking the matter over, when the door opened and Professor Moriarty stood before me.
      "My nerves are fairly proof, Watson, but I must confess to a start when I saw the very man who had been so much in my thoughts standing there on my threshold. His appearance was quite familiar to me. He is extremely tall and thin, his forehead domes out in a white curve, and his two eyes are deeply sunken in this head. He is clean-shaven, pale, and ascetic-looking, retaining something of the professor in his features. His shoulders are rounded from much study, and his face protrudes forward, and is forever slowly oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion. He peered at me with great curiosity in his puckered eyes.
      "'You have less frontal development that I should have expected,' said he, at last. 'It is a dangerous habit to finger loaded firearms in the pocket of one's dressing-gown.'
      "The fact is that upon his entrance I had instantly recognized the extreme personal danger in which I lay. The only conceivable escape for him lay in silencing my tongue. In an instant I had slipped the revolved from the drawer into my pocket, and was covering him through the cloth. At his remark I drew the weapon out and laid it cocked upon the table. He still smiled and blinked, but there was something about his eyes which made me feel very glad that I had it there.
      "'You evidently don't know me,' said he.
      "'On the contrary,' I answered, 'I think it is fairly evident that I do. Pray take a chair. I can spare you five minutes if you have anything to say.'
      "'All that I have to say has already crossed your mind,' said he.
      "'Then possibly my answer has crossed yours,' I replied.
      "'You stand fast?'
      "He clapped his hand into his pocket, and I raised the pistol from the table. But he merely drew out a memorandum-book in which he had scribbled some dates.
      "'You crossed my patch on the 4th of January,' said he. 'On the 23d you incommoded me; by the middle of February I was seriously inconvenienced by you; at the end of March I was absolutely hampered in my plans; and now, at the close of April, I find myself placed in such a position through your continual persecution that I am in positive danger of losing my liberty. The situation is becoming an impossible one.'
      "'Have you any suggestion to make?' I asked.
      "'You must drop it, Mr. Holmes,' said he, swaying his face about. 'You really must, you know.'
      "'After Monday,' said I.
      "'Tut, tut,' said he. 'I am quite sure that a man of your intelligence will see that there can be but one outcome to this affair. It is necessary that you should withdraw. You have worked things in such a fashion that we have only one resource left. It has been an intellectual treat to me to see the way in which you have grappled with this affair, and I say, unaffectedly, that it would be a grief to me to be forced to take any extreme measure. You smile, sir, abut I assure you that it really would.'
      "'Danger is part of my trade,' I remarked.
      "'That is not danger,' said he. 'It is inevitable destruction. You stand in the way not merely of an individual, but of a mighty organization, the full extent of which you, with all your cleverness, have been unable to realize. You must stand clear, Mr. Holmes, or be trodden under foot.'
      "'I am afraid,' said I, rising, 'that in the pleasure of this conversation I am neglecting business of importance which awaits me elsewhere.'
      "He rose also and looked at me in silence, shaking his head sadly.
      "'Well, well,' said he, at last. 'It seems a pity, but I have done what I could. I know every move of your game. You can do nothing before Monday. It has been a duel between you and me, Mr. Holmes. You hope to place me in the dock. I tell you that I will never stand in the dock. You hope to beat me. I tell you that you will never beat me. If you are clever enough to bring destruction upon me, rest assured that I shall do as much to you.'
      "'You have paid me several compliments, Mr. Moriarty,' said I. 'Let me pay you one in return when I say that if I were assured of the former eventuality I would, in the interests of the public, cheerfully accept the latter.'
      "'I can promise you the one, but not the other,' he snarled, and so turned his rounded back upon me, and went peering and blinking out of the room.
      "That was my singular interview with Professor Moriarty. I confess that it left an unpleasant effect upon my mind. His soft, precise fashion of speech leaves a conviction of sincerity which a mere bully could not produce. Of course, you will say: 'Why not take police precautions against him?' the reason is that I am well convinced that it is from his agents the blow will fall. I have the best proofs that it would be so."
      "You have already been assaulted?"
      "My dear Watson, Professor Moriarty is not a man who lets the grass grow under his feet. I went out about midday to transact some business in Oxford Street. As I passed the corner which leads from Bentinck Street on to the Welbeck Street crossing a two-horse van furiously driven whizzed round and was on me like a flash. I sprang for the footpath and saved myself by the fraction of a second. The van dashed round by Marylebone Lane and was gone in an instant. I kept to the pavement after that, Watson, but as I walked down Vere Street a brick came down from the roof of one of the houses, and was shattered to fragments at my feet. I called the police and had the place examined. There were slates and bricks piled up on the roof preparatory to some repairs, and they would have me believe that the wind had toppled over one of these. Of course I knew better, but I could prove nothing. I took a cab after that and reached my brother's rooms in Pall Mall, where I spent the day. Now I have come round to you, and on my way I was attacked by a rough with a bludgeon. I knocked him down, and the police have him in custody; but I can tell you with the most absolute confidence that no possible connection will ever be traced between the gentleman upon whose front teeth I have barked my knuckles and the retiring mathematical coach, who is, I dare say, working out problems upon a blackboard ten miles away. You will not wonder, Watson, that my first act on entering your rooms was to close your shutters, and that I have been compelled to ask your permission to leave the house by some less conspicuous exit than the front door."
      I had often admired my friend's courage, but never more than now, as he sat quietly checking off a series of incidents which must have combined to make up a day of horror.
      "You will spend the night here?" I said.
      "No, my friend, you might find me a dangerous guest. I have my plans laid, and all will be well. Matters have gone so far now that they can move without my help as far as the arrest goes, though my presence is necessary for a conviction. It is obvious, therefore, that I cannot do better than get away for the few days which remain before the police are at liberty to act. It would be a great pleasure to me, therefore, if you could come on to the Continent with me."
      "The practice is quiet," said I, "and I have an accommodating neighbor. I should be glad to come."
      "And to start tomorrow morning?"
      "If necessary."
      "Oh yes, it is most necessary. Then these are your instructions, and I beg, my dear Watson, that you will obey them to the letter, for you are now playing a double-handed game with me against the cleverest rogue and the most powerful syndicate of criminals in Europe. Now listen! You will dispatch whatever luggage you intend to take by a trusty messenger unaddressed to Victoria tonight In the morning you will send for a hansom, desiring your man to take neither the first nor the second which may present itself. Into this hansom you will jump, and you will drive to the Strand end of the Lowther Arcade, handling the address to the cabman upon a slip of paper, with a request that he will not throw it away. Have your fare ready, and the instant that your cab stops, dash through the Arcade, timing yourself to reach the other side at a quarter-past nine. You will find a small brougham waiting close to the curb, driven by a fellow with a heavy black cloak tipped at the collar with red. Into this you will step, and you will reach Victoria in time for the Continental express."
      "Where shall I meet you?"
      "At the station. The second first-class carriage from the front will be reserved for us."
      "The carriage is our rendezvous, then?"
      It was in vain that I asked Holmes to remain for the evening. It was evident to me that he though he might bring trouble to the roof he was under, and that that was the motive which impelled him to go. With a few hurried words as to our plans for the morrow he rose and came out with me into the garden, clambering over the wall which leads into Mortimer Street, and immediately whistling for a hansom, in which I heard him drive away.
      In the morning I obeyed Holmes's injunctions to the letter. A hansom was procured with such precaution as would prevent its being one which was placed ready for us, and I drove immediately after breakfast to the Lowther Arcade, through which I hurried at the top of my speed. A brougham was waiting with a very massive driver wrapped in a dark cloak, who, the instant that I had stepped in, whipped up the horse and rattled off to Victoria Station. On my alighting there he turned the carriage, and dashed away again without so much as a look in my direction.
      So far all had gone admirably. My luggage was waiting for me, and I had no difficulty in finding the carriage, which Holmes had indicated, the less so as it was the only one in the train which was marked "Engaged." My only source of anxiety now was the nonappearance of Holmes. The station clock marked only seven minutes from the time when we were due to start. In vain I searched among the groups of travelers and leave-takers for the little figure of my friend. There was no sign of him. I spent a few minutes in assisting a venerable Italian priest, who was endeavoring to make a porter understand, in his broken English, that his luggage was to be booked through to Paris.
      Then, having taken another look round, I returned to my carriage, where I found that the porter, in spite of the ticket, had given me my decrepit Italian friend as a traveling companion. It was useless for me to explain to him that his presence was an intrusion, for my Italian was even more limited than his English, so I shrugged my shoulders resignedly, and continued to look out anxiously for my friend. A chill of fear had come over me, as I thought that his absence might mean that some blow had fallen during the night. Already the doors had all been shut and the whistle blown, when—
      "My dear Watson," said a voice, "you have not even condescended to say good-morning."
      I turned in uncontrollable astonishment. The aged ecclesiastic had turned his face towards me. For an instant the wrinkles were smoothed away, the nose drew away from the chin, the lower lip ceased to protrude and the mouth to mumble, the dull eyes regained their fire, the drooping figure expanded. The next the whole frame collapsed again, and Holmes had gone as quickly as he had come.
      "Good heavens!" I cried; "how you startled me!"
      "Every precaution is still necessary," he whispered.
      "I have reason to think that they are hot upon our trail. Ah, there is Moriarty himself."
      The train had already begun to move as Holmes spoke. Glancing back, I saw a tall man pushing his way furiously through the crowd, and waving his hand as if he desired to have the train stopped. It was too late, however, for we were rapidly gathering momentum, and an instant later had shot clear of the station.
      "With all our precautions, you see that we have cut it rather fine," said Holmes, laughing. He rose, and throwing off the black cassock and hat which had formed his disguise, he packed them away in a handbag. "Have you seen the morning paper, Watson?"
      "You haven't' seen about Baker Street, then?"
      "Baker Street?"
      "They set fire to our rooms last night. No great harm was done."
      "Good heavens, Holmes! this is intolerable."
      "They must have lost my track completely after their bludgeon-man was arrested. Otherwise they could not have imagined that I had returned to my rooms. They have evidently taken the precaution of watching you, however, and that is what has brought Moriarty to Victoria. You could not have made any slip in coming?"
      "I did exactly what you advised."
      "Did you find your brougham?"
      "Yes, it was waiting."
      "Did you recognize your coachman?"
      "It was my brother Mycroft. It is an advantage to get about in such a case without taking a mercenary into your confidence. But we must plan what we are to do about Moriarty now."
      "As this is an express, and as the boat runs in connection with it, I should think we have shaken him off very effectively."
      "My dear Watson, you evidently did not realize my meaning when I said that this man may be taken as being quite on the same intellectual plane as myself. You do not imagine that if I were the pursuer I should allow myself to be baffled by so slight an obstacle. Why, then, should you think so meanly of him?"
      "What will he do?"
      "What I should do?"
      "What would you do, then?"
      "Engage a special."
      "But it must be late."
      "By no means. This train stops at Canterbury; and there is always at least a quarter of an hour's delay at the boat. He will catch us there."
      "One would think that we were the criminals. Let us have him arrested on his arrival."
      "It would be to ruin the work of three months. We should get the big fish, but the smaller would dart right and left out of the net. On Monday we should have them all. No, an arrest is inadmissible."
      "What then?"
      "We shall get out at Canterbury."
      "And then?"
      "Well, then we must make a cross-country journey to Newhaven, and so over to Dieppe. Moriarty will again do what I should do. He will get on to Paris, mark down our luggage, and wait for two days at the depot. In the meantime we shall treat ourselves to a couple of carpetbags, encourage the manufactures of the countries through which we travel, and make our way at our leisure into Switzerland, via Luxembourg and Basle."
      At Canterbury, therefore, we alighted, only to find that we should have to wait an hour before we could get a train to Newhaven. I was still looking rather ruefully after the rapidly disappearing luggage-van which contained my wardrobe, when Holmes pulled my sleeve and pointed up the line.
      "Already, you see," said he.
      Far away, from among the Kentish woods there rose a thin spray of smoke. A minute later a carriage and engine could be seen flying along the open curve, which leads to the station. We had hardly time to take our place behind a pile of luggage when it passed with a rattle and a roar, beating a blast of hot air into our faces.
      "There he goes," said Holmes, as we watched the carriage swing and rock over the point. "There are limits, you see, to our friend's intelligence. It would have been a coup-de-maître had he deduced what I would deduce and acted accordingly."
      "And what would he have done had he overtaken us?"
      "There cannot be the least doubt that he would have made a murderous attack upon me. It is, however, a game at which two may play. The question, now is whether we should take a premature lunch here, or run our chance of starving before we reach the buffet at Newhaven."
      We made our way to Brussels that night and spent two days there, moving on upon the third day as far as Strasburg.
      On the Monday morning Holmes had telegraphed to the London police, and in the evening we found a reply waiting for us at our hotel. Holmes tore it open, and then with a bitter curse hurled it into the grate. "I might have known it!" he groaned.
      "He has escaped!"
      "They have secured the whole gang with the exception of him. He has given them the slip. Of course, when I had left the country there was no one to cope with him. But I did think that I had put the game in their hands. I think that you had better return to England, Watson."
      "Because you will find me a dangerous companion now. This man's occupation is gone. He is lost if he returns to London. If I read his character right he will devote his whole energies to revenging himself upon me. He said as much in our short interview, and I fancy that he meant it. I should certainly recommend you to return to your practice."
      It was hardly an appeal to be successful with one who was an old campaigner as well as an old friend. We sat in the Strasburg salle-à-manger arguing the question for half an hour, but the same night we had resumed our journey and were well on our way to Geneva. For a charming week we wandered up the Valley of the Rhone, and then, branching off at Leuk, we made our way over the Gemmi Pass, still deep in snow, and so, by way of Interlaken, to Meiringen.
      It was a lovely trip, the dainty green of the spring below, the virgin white of the winter above; but it was clear to me that never for one instant did Holmes forget the shadow which lay across him. In the homely Alpine villages or in the lonely mountain passes, I could tell by his quick glancing eyes and his sharp scrutiny of every face that passed us, that he was well convinced that, walk where we would, we could not walk ourselves clear of the danger which was dogging our footsteps.
      Once, I remember, as we passed over the Gemmi, and walked along the border of the melancholy Daubensee, a large rock which had been dislodged from the ridge upon our right clattered down and roared into the lake behind us. In an instant Holmes had raced up on to the ridge, and, standing upon a lofty pinnacle, craned his neck in every direction. It was in vain that our guide assured him that a fall of stones was a common chance in the springtime at that spot. He said nothing, but he smiled at me with the air of a man who sees the fulfillment of that which he had expected.
      And yet for all his watchfulness he was never depressed. On the contrary, I can never recollect having seen him in such exuberant spirits. Again and again he recurred to the fact that if he could be assured that society was freed from Professor Moriarty he would cheerfully bring his own career to a conclusion. "I think that I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not lived wholly in vain," he remarked. "If my record were closed tonight I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is the sweeter for my presence. In over a thousand cases I am not aware that I have ever used my powers upon the wrong side. Of late I have been tempted to look into the problems furnished by nature rather than those more superficial ones for which our artificial state of society is responsible. Your memoirs will draw to an end, Watson, upon the day that I crown my career by the capture or extinction of the most dangerous and capable criminal in Europe."
      I shall be brief, and yet exact, in the little which remains for me to tell. It is not a subject on which I would willingly dwell, and yet I am conscious that a duty devolves upon me to omit no detail.
      It was on the 3d of May that we reached the little village of Meiringen, where we put up at the Englischer Hof, then kept by Peter Steiler the elder. Our landlord was an intelligent man, and spoke excellent English, having served for three years as waiter at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. At his advice, on the afternoon of the 4th we set off together, with the intention of crossing the hills and spending the night at the hamlet of Rosenlaui. We had strict injunctions, however, on no account to pass the falls of Reichenbach, which are about halfway up the hill, without making a small detour to see them. It is indeed, a fearful place. The torrent, swollen by the melting snow, plunges into a tremendous abyss, from which the spray rolls up like the smoke from a burning house. The shaft into which the river hurls itself is a immense chasm, lined by glistening coal-black rock, and narrowing into a creaming, boiling pit of incalculable depth, which brims over and shoots the stream onward over its jagged lip. The long sweep of green water roaring forever down, and the thick flickering curtain of spray hissing forever upward, turn a man giddy with their constant whirl and clamor.
      We stood near the edge peering down at the gleam of the breaking water far below us against the black rocks, and listening to the half-human shout which came booming up with the spray out of the abyss. The path has been cut halfway round the fall to afford a complete view, but it ends abruptly, and the traveler has to return as he came. We had turned to do so, when we saw a Swiss lad come running along it with a letter in his hand. It bore the mark of the hotel which we had just left, and was addressed to me by the landlord. It appeared that within a very few minutes of our leaving, an English lady had arrived who was in the last stage of consumption. She had wintered at Davos Platz, and was journeying now to join her friends at Lucerne, when a sudden hemorrhage had overtaken her. It was thought that she could hardly live a few hours, but it would be a great consolation to her to see an English doctor, and, if I would only return, etc. The good Steiler assured me in a postscript that he would himself look upon my compliance as a very great favor, since the lady absolutely refused to see a Swiss physician, and he could not but feel that he was incurring a great responsibility.
      The appeal was one which could not be ignored. It was impossible to refuse the request of a fellow-countrywoman dying in a strange land. Yet I had my scruples about leaving Holmes. It was finally agreed, however, that he should retain the young Swiss messenger with him as guide and companion while I returned to Meiringen. My friend would stay some little time at the fall, he said, and would then walk slowly over the hill to Rosenlaui, where I was to rejoin him in the evening.
      As I turned away I saw Holmes, with his back against a rock and his arms folded, gazing down at the rush of the waters. It was the last that I was ever destined to see of him in this world. When I was near the bottom of the descent I looked back. It was impossible, from that position, to see the fall, but I could see the curving path which winds over the shoulder of the hill and leads to it. Along this a man was, I remember, walking very rapidly. I could see his black figure clearly outlined against the green behind him. I noted him, and the energy with which he walked but he passed from my mind again as I hurried on upon my errand.
      It may have been a little over an hour before I reached Meiringen. Old Steiler was standing at the porch of his hotel. "Well," said I, as I came hurrying up, "I trust that she is no worse?"
      A look of surprise passed over his face, and at the first quiver of his eyebrows my heart turned to lead in my breast. "You did not write this?" I said, pulling the letter from my pocket. "There is no sick Englishwoman in the hotel?"
      "Certainly not!" he cried. "But it has the hotel mark upon it! Ha, it must have been written by that tall Englishman who came in after you had gone. He said—"
      But I waited for none of the landlord's explanations. In a tingle of fear I was already running down the village street, and making for the path which I had so lately descended. It had taken me an hour to come down. For all my efforts two more had passed before I found myself at the fall of Reichenbach once more. There was Holmes's Alpine-stock still leaning against the rock by which I had left him. But there was no sign of him, and it was in vain that I shouted. My only answer was my own voice reverberating in a rolling echo from the cliffs around me.
      It was the sight of that Alpine-stock which turned me cold and sick. He had not gone to Rosenlaui, then. He had remained on that three-foot path, with sheer wall on one side and sheer drop on the other, until his enemy had overtaken him. The young Swiss had gone too. He had probably been in the pay of Moriarty, and had left the two men together.
      And then what had happened? Who was to tell us what had happened then? I stood for a minute or two to collect myself, for I was dazed with the horror of the thing. Then I began to think of Holmes's own methods and to try to practice them in reading this tragedy. It was, alas, only too easy to do. During our conversation we had not gone to the end of the path, and the Alpine-stock marked the place where we had stood. The blackish soil is kept forever soft by the incessant drift of spray, and a bird would leave its tread upon it. Two lines of footmarks were clearly marked along the farther end of the path, both leading away from me. There were none returning.
      A few yards from the end the soil was all plowed up into a patch of mud, and the branches and ferns which fringed the chasm were torn and bedraggled. I lay upon my face and peered over with the spray spouting up all around me. It had darkened since I left, and now I could only see here and there the glistening of moisture upon the black walls, and far away down at the end of the shaft the gleam of the broken water. I shouted; but only the same half-human cry of the fall was borne back to my ears.
      But it was destined that I should after all have a last word of greeting from my friend and comrade. I have said that his Alpine-stock had been left leaning against a rock which jutted on to the path. From the top of this boulder the gleam of something bright caught my eye, and, raising my hand, I found that it came from the silver cigarette-case which he used to carry. As I took it up a small square of paper upon which it had lain fluttered down on to the ground. Unfolding it, I found that it consisted of three pages torn from his notebook and addressed to me. It was characteristic of the man that the direction was a precise, and the writing as firm and clear, as though it had been written in his study.
My dear Watson [it said], I write these few lines through the courtesy of Mr. Moriarty, who awaits my convenience for the final discussion of those questions which lie between us. He has been giving me a sketch of the methods by which he avoided the English police and kept himself informed of our movements. They certainly confirm the very high opinion which I had formed of his abilities. I am pleased to think that I shall be able to free society from any further effects of his presence, though I fear that it is at a cost which will give pain to my friends, and especially, my dear Watson, to you. I have already explained to you, however, that my career had in any case reached its crisis, and that no possible conclusion to it could be more congenial to me than this. Indeed, if I may make a full confession to you, I was quite convinced that the letter from Meiringen was a hoax, and I allowed you to depart on that errand under the persuasion that some development of this sort would follow. Tell Inspector Patterson that the papers which he needs to convict the gang are in pigeonhole M., done up in a blue envelope and inscribed "Moriarty." I made every disposition of my property before leaving England, and handed it to my brother Mycroft. Pray give my greetings to Mrs. Watson, and believe me to be, my dear fellow,
           Very sincerely yours, Sherlock Holmes

      A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains. An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other's arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful caldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation. The Swiss youth was never found again, and there can be no doubt that he was one of the numerous agents whom Moriarty kept in this employ.
      As to the gang, it will be within the memory of the public how completely the evidence which Holmes had accumulated exposed their organization, and how heavily the hand of the dead man weighted upon them. Of their terrible chief few details came out during the proceedings, and if I have now been compelled to make a clear statement of his career it is due to those injudicious champions who have endeavored to clear his memory by attacks upon him whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.