Charles Augustus Milverton was a man of fifty, with a large,
intellectual head, a round, plump, hairless face, a perpetual frozen smile, and two keen
gray eyes, which gleamed brightly from behind broad, gold-rimmed glasses. There was
something of Mr. Pickwicks benevolence in his appearance, marred only by the
insincerity of the fixed smile and by the hard glitter of those restless and penetrating
eyes. His voice was as smooth and suave as his countenance, as he advanced with a plump
little hand extended, murmuring his regret for having missed us at his first visit. Holmes
disregarded the outstretched hand and looked at him with a face of granite.
Milvertons smile broadened, he shrugged his shoulders, removed his overcoat, folded
it with great deliberation over the back of a chair, and then took a seat.
This gentleman? said he, with a wave in my
direction. Is it discreet? Is it right?
Dr. Watson is my friend and partner.
Very good, Mr. Holmes. It is only in your clients
interests that I protested. The matter is so very delicate
Dr. Watson has already heard of it.
Then we can proceed to business. You say that you are
acting for Lady Eva. Has she empowered you to accept my terms?
What are your terms?
And the alternative?
My dear sir, it is painful for me to discuss it, but if
the money is not paid on the 14th, there certainly will be no marriage on the 18th.
His insufferable smile was more complacent than ever.
Holmes thought for a little.
You appear to me, he said, at last, to be
taking matters too much for granted. I am, of course, familiar with the contents of these
letters. My client will certainly do what I may advise. I shall counsel her to tell her
future husband the whole story and to trust to his generosity.
You evidently do not know the Earl, said he.
From the baffled look upon Holmess face, I could see
clearly that he did.
What harm is there in the letters? he asked.
They are sprightlyvery sprightly, Milverton
answered. The lady was a charming correspondent. But I can assure you that the Earl
of Dovercourt would fail to appreciate them. However, since you think otherwise, we will
let it rest at that. It is purely a matter of business. If you think that it is in the
best interests of your client that these letters should be placed in the hands of the
Earl, then you would indeed be foolish to pay so large a sum of money to regain
them. He rose and seized his astrakhan coat.
Holmes was gray with anger and mortification.
Wait a little, he said. You go too fast. We
should certainly make every effort to avoid scandal in so delicate a matter.
Milverton relapsed into his chair.
I was sure that you would see it in that light, he
At the same time, Holmes continued, Lady Eva
is not a wealthy woman. I assure you that two thousand pounds would be a drain upon her
resources, and that the sum you name is utterly beyond her power. I beg, therefore, that
you will moderate your demands, and that you will return the letters at the price I
indicate, which is, I assure you, the highest that you can get.
Milvertons smile broadened and his eyes twinkled
I am aware that what you say is true about the
ladys resources, said he. At the same time you must admit that the
occasion of a ladys marriage is a very suitable time for her friends and relatives
to make some little effort upon her behalf. They may hesitate as to an acceptable wedding
present. Let me assure them that this little bundle of letters would give more joy than
all the candelabra and butter-dishes in London.
It is impossible, said Holmes.
Dear me, dear me, how unfortunate! cried
Milverton, taking out a bulky pocketbook. I cannot help thinking that ladies are
ill-advised in not making an effort. Look at this! He held up a little note with a
coat-of-arms upon the envelope. That belongs towell, perhaps it is hardly fair
to tell the name until to-morrow morning. But at that time it will be in the hands of the
ladys husband. And all because she will not find a beggarly sum which she could get
by turning her diamonds into paste. It is such a pity! Now, you remember the sudden end of
the engagement between the Honourable Miss Miles and Colonel Dorking? Only two days before
the wedding, there was a paragraph in the Morning Post to say that it was all
off. And why? It is almost incredible, but the absurd sum of twelve  hundred pounds would have settled the whole question.
Is it not pitiful? And here I find you, a man of sense, boggling about terms, when your
clients future and honour are at stake. You surprise me, Mr. Holmes.
What I say is true, Holmes answered. The
money cannot be found. Surely it is better for you to take the substantial sum which I
offer than to ruin this womans career, which can profit you in no way?
There you make a mistake, Mr. Holmes. An exposure would
profit me indirectly to a considerable extent. I have eight or ten similar cases maturing.
If it was circulated among them that I had made a severe example of the Lady Eva, I should
find all of them much more open to reason. You see my point?
Holmes sprang from his chair.
Get behind him, Watson! Dont let him out! Now,
sir, let us see the contents of that notebook.
Milverton had glided as quick as a rat to the side of the room
and stood with his back against the wall.
Mr. Holmes, Mr. Holmes, he said, turning the
front of his coat and exhibiting the butt of a large revolver, which projected from the
inside pocket. I have been expecting you to do something original. This has been
done so often, and what good has ever come from it? I assure you that I am armed to the
teeth, and I am perfectly prepared to use my weapons, knowing that the law will support
me. Besides, your supposition that I would bring the letters here in a notebook is
entirely mistaken. I would do nothing so foolish. And now, gentlemen, I have one or two
little interviews this evening, and it is a long drive to Hampstead. He stepped
forward, took up his coat, laid his hand on his revolver, and turned to the door. I picked
up a chair, but Holmes shook his head, and I laid it down again. With a bow, a smile, and
a twinkle, Milverton was out of the room, and a few moments after we heard the slam of the
carriage door and the rattle of the wheels as he drove away.
Holmes sat motionless by the fire, his hands buried deep in
his trouser pockets, his chin sunk upon his breast, his eyes fixed upon the glowing
embers. For half an hour he was silent and still. Then, with the gesture of a man who has
taken his decision, he sprang to his feet and passed into his bedroom. A little later a
rakish young workman, with a goatee beard and a swagger, lit his clay pipe at the lamp
before descending into the street. Ill be back some time, Watson, said
he, and vanished into the night. I understood that he had opened his campaign against
Charles Augustus Milverton, but I little dreamed the strange shape which that campaign was
destined to take.
For some days Holmes came and went at all hours in this
attire, but beyond a remark that his time was spent at Hampstead, and that it was not
wasted, I knew nothing of what he was doing. At last, however, on a wild, tempestuous
evening, when the wind screamed and rattled against the windows, he returned from his last
expedition, and having removed his disguise he sat before the fire and laughed heartily in
his silent inward fashion.
You would not call me a marrying man, Watson?
Youll be interested to hear that Im
My dear fellow! I congrat
To Milvertons housemaid.
Good heavens, Holmes!
wanted information, Watson.
Surely you have gone too far?
It was a most necessary step. I am a plumber with a
rising business, Escott, by name. I have walked out with her each evening, and I have
talked with her. Good heavens, those talks! However, I have got all I wanted. I know
Milvertons house as I know the palm of my hand.
But the girl, Holmes?
He shrugged his shoulders.
You cant help it, my dear Watson. You must play
your cards as best you can when such a stake is on the table. However, I rejoice to say
that I have a hated rival, who will certainly cut me out the instant that my back is
turned. What a splendid night it is!
You like this weather?
It suits my purpose. Watson, I mean to burgle
Milvertons house to-night.
I had a catching of the breath, and my skin went cold at the
words, which were slowly uttered in a tone of concentrated resolution. As a flash of
lightning in the night shows up in an instant every detail of a wild landscape, so at one
glance I seemed to see every possible result of such an actionthe detection, the
capture, the honoured career ending in irreparable failure and disgrace, my friend himself
lying at the mercy of the odious Milverton.
For heavens sake, Holmes, think what you are
doing, I cried.
My dear fellow, I have given it every consideration. I
am never precipitate in my actions, nor would I adopt so energetic and, indeed, so
dangerous a course, if any other were possible. Let us look at the matter clearly and
fairly. I suppose that you will admit that the action is morally justifiable, though
technically criminal. To burgle his house is no more than to forcibly take his
pocketbookan action in which you were prepared to aid me.
I turned it over in my mind.
Yes, I said, it is morally justifiable so
long as our object is to take no articles save those which are used for an illegal
Exactly. Since it is morally justifiable, I have only to
consider the question of personal risk. Surely a gentleman should not lay much stress upon
this, when a lady is in most desperate need of his help?
You will be in such a false position.
Well, that is part of the risk. There is no other
possible way of regaining these letters. The unfortunate lady has not the money, and there
are none of her people in whom she could confide. To-morrow is the last day of grace, and
unless we can get the letters to-night, this villain will be as good as his word and will
bring about her ruin. I must, therefore, abandon my client to her fate or I must play this
last card. Between ourselves, Watson, its a sporting duel between this fellow
Milverton and me. He had, as you saw, the best of the first exchanges, but my self-respect
and my reputation are concerned to fight it to a finish.
Well, I dont like it, but I suppose it must
be, said I. When do we start?
You are not coming.
Then you are not going, said I. I give you
my word of honourand I never broke it in my lifethat I will take a cab
straight to the police-station and give you away, unless you let me share this adventure
You cant help me.
How do you know that? You cant tell what may
happen. Anyway, my  resolution
is taken. Other people besides you have self-respect, and even reputations.
Holmes had looked annoyed, but his brow cleared, and he
clapped me on the shoulder.
Well, well, my dear fellow, be it so. We have shared
this same room for some years, and it would be amusing if we ended by sharing the same
cell. You know, Watson, I dont mind confessing to you that I have always had an idea
that I would have made a highly efficient criminal. This is the chance of my lifetime in
that direction. See here! He took a neat little leather case out of a drawer, and
opening it he exhibited a number of shining instruments. This is a first-class,
up-to-date burgling kit, with nickel-plated jemmy, diamond-tipped glass-cutter, adaptable
keys, and every modern improvement which the march of civilization demands. Here, too, is
my dark lantern. Everything is in order. Have you a pair of silent shoes?
I have rubber-soled tennis shoes.
Excellent! And a mask?
I can make a couple out of black silk.
I can see that you have a strong, natural turn for this
sort of thing. Very good, do you make the masks. We shall have some cold supper before we
start. It is now nine-thirty. At eleven we shall drive as far as Church Row. It is a
quarter of an hours walk from there to Appledore Towers. We shall be at work before
midnight. Milverton is a heavy sleeper, and retires punctually at ten-thirty. With any
luck we should be back here by two, with the Lady Evas letters in my pocket.
Holmes and I put on our dress-clothes, so that we might appear
to be two theatre-goers homeward bound. In Oxford Street we picked up a hansom and drove
to an address in Hampstead. Here we paid off our cab, and with our great coats buttoned
up, for it was bitterly cold, and the wind seemed to blow through us, we walked along the
edge of the heath.
Its a business that needs delicate
treatment, said Holmes. These documents are contained in a safe in the
fellows study, and the study is the ante-room of his bed-chamber. On the other hand,
like all these stout, little men who do themselves well, he is a plethoric sleeper.
Agathathats my fianceesays it is a joke in the servants hall that
its impossible to wake the master. He has a secretary who is devoted to his
interests, and never budges from the study all day. Thats why we are going at night.
Then he has a beast of a dog which roams the garden. I met Agatha late the last two
evenings, and she locks the brute up so as to give me a clear run. This is the house, this
big one in its own grounds. Through the gatenow to the right among the laurels. We
might put on our masks here, I think. You see, there is not a glimmer of light in any of
the windows, and everything is working splendidly.
With our black silk face-coverings, which turned us into two
of the most truculent figures in London, we stole up to the silent, gloomy house. A sort
of tiled veranda extended along one side of it, lined by several windows and two doors.
Thats his bedroom, Holmes whispered.
This door opens straight into the study. It would suit us best, but it is bolted as
well as locked, and we should make too much noise getting in. Come round here.
Theres a greenhouse which opens into the drawing-room.
The place was locked, but Holmes removed a circle of glass and
turned the key from the inside. An instant afterwards he had closed the door behind us,
and we had become felons in the eyes of the law. The thick, warm air of the conservatory  and the rich, choking
fragrance of exotic plants took us by the throat. He seized my hand in the darkness and
led me swiftly past banks of shrubs which brushed against our faces. Holmes had remarkable
powers, carefully cultivated, of seeing in the dark. Still holding my hand in one of his,
he opened a door, and I was vaguely conscious that we had entered a large room in which a
cigar had been smoked not long before. He felt his way among the furniture, opened another
door, and closed it behind us. Putting out my hand I felt several coats hanging from the
wall, and I understood that I was in a passage. We passed along it, and Holmes very gently
opened a door upon the right-hand side. Something rushed out at us and my heart sprang
into my mouth, but I could have laughed when I realized that it was the cat. A fire was
burning in this new room, and again the air was heavy with tobacco smoke. Holmes entered
on tiptoe, waited for me to follow, and then very gently closed the door. We were in
Milvertons study, and a portiere at the farther side showed the entrance to his
It was a good fire, and the room was illuminated by it. Near
the door I saw the gleam of an electric switch, but it was unnecessary, even if it had
been safe, to turn it on. At one side of the fireplace was a heavy curtain which covered
the bay window we had seen from outside. On the other side was the door which communicated
with the veranda. A desk stood in the centre, with a turning-chair of shining red leather.
Opposite was a large bookcase, with a marble bust of Athene on the top. In the corner,
between the bookcase and the wall, there stood a tall, green safe, the firelight flashing
back from the polished brass knobs upon its face. Holmes stole across and looked at it.
Then he crept to the door of the bedroom, and stood with slanting head listening intently.
No sound came from within. Meanwhile it had struck me that it would be wise to secure our
retreat through the outer door, so I examined it. To my amazement, it was neither locked
nor bolted. I touched Holmes on the arm, and he turned his masked face in that direction.
I saw him start, and he was evidently as surprised as I.
I dont like it, he whispered, putting his
lips to my very ear. I cant quite make it out. Anyhow, we have no time to
Can I do anything?
Yes, stand by the door. If you hear anyone come, bolt it
on the inside, and we can get away as we came. If they come the other way, we can get
through the door if our job is done, or hide behind these window curtains if it is not. Do
I nodded, and stood by the door. My first feeling of fear had
passed away, and I thrilled now with a keener zest than I had ever enjoyed when we were
the defenders of the law instead of its defiers. The high object of our mission, the
consciousness that it was unselfish and chivalrous, the villainous character of our
opponent, all added to the sporting interest of the adventure. Far from feeling guilty, I
rejoiced and exulted in our dangers. With a glow of admiration I watched Holmes unrolling
his case of instruments and choosing his tool with the calm, scientific accuracy of a
surgeon who performs a delicate operation. I knew that the opening of safes was a
particular hobby with him, and I understood the joy which it gave him to be confronted
with this green and gold monster, the dragon which held in its maw the reputations of many
fair ladies. Turning up the cuffs of his dress-coathe had placed his overcoat on a
chairHolmes laid out two drills, a jemmy, and several skeleton keys. I stood at the
centre door with my eyes glancing at each of the others, ready for any emergency, though,
indeed, my plans were  somewhat
vague as to what I should do if we were interrupted. For half an hour, Holmes worked with
concentrated energy, laying down one tool, picking up another, handling each with the
strength and delicacy of the trained mechanic. Finally I heard a click, the broad green
door swung open, and inside I had a glimpse of a number of paper packets, each tied,
sealed, and inscribed. Holmes picked one out, but it was hard to read by the flickering
fire, and he drew out his little dark lantern, for it was too dangerous, with Milverton in
the next room, to switch on the electric light. Suddenly I saw him halt, listen intently,
and then in an instant he had swung the door of the safe to, picked up his coat, stuffed
his tools into the pockets, and darted behind the window curtain, motioning me to do the
It was only when I had joined him there that I heard what
had alarmed his quicker senses. There was a noise somewhere within the house. A door
slammed in the distance. Then a confused, dull murmur broke itself into the measured thud
of heavy footsteps rapidly approaching. They were in the passage outside the room. They
paused at the door. The door opened. There was a sharp snick as the electric light was
turned on. The door closed once more, and the pungent reek of a strong cigar was borne to
our nostrils. Then the footsteps continued backward and forward, backward and forward,
within a few yards of us. Finally there was a creak from a chair, and the footsteps
ceased. Then a key clicked in a lock, and I heard the rustle of papers.
So far I had not dared to look out, but now I gently parted
the division of the curtains in front of me and peeped through. From the pressure of
Holmess shoulder against mine, I knew that he was sharing my observations. Right in
front of us, and almost within our reach, was the broad, rounded back of Milverton. It was
evident that we had entirely miscalculated his movements, that he had never been to his
bedroom, but that he had been sitting up in some smoking or billiard room in the farther
wing of the house, the windows of which we had not seen. His broad, grizzled head, with
its shining patch of baldness, was in the immediate foreground of our vision. He was
leaning far back in the red leather chair, his legs outstretched, a long, black cigar
projecting at an angle from his mouth. He wore a semi-military smoking jacket,
claret-coloured, with a black velvet collar. In his hand he held a long, legal document
which he was reading in an indolent fashion, blowing rings of tobacco smoke from his lips
as he did so. There was no promise of a speedy departure in his composed bearing and his
I felt Holmess hand steal into mine and give me a
reassuring shake, as if to say that the situation was within his powers, and that he was
easy in his mind. I was not sure whether he had seen what was only too obvious from my
position, that the door of the safe was imperfectly closed, and that Milverton might at
any moment observe it. In my own mind I had determined that if I were sure, from the
rigidity of his gaze, that it had caught his eye, I would at once spring out, throw my
great coat over his head, pinion him, and leave the rest to Holmes. But Milverton never
looked up. He was languidly interested by the papers in his hand, and page after page was
turned as he followed the argument of the lawyer. At least, I thought, when he has
finished the document and the cigar he will go to his room, but before he had reached the
end of either, there came a remarkable development, which turned our thoughts into quite
Several times I had observed that Milverton looked at his
watch, and once he had risen and sat down again, with a gesture of impatience. The idea,
however,  that he might
have an appointment at so strange an hour never occurred to me until a faint sound reached
my ears from the veranda outside. Milverton dropped his papers and sat rigid in his chair.
The sound was repeated, and then there came a gentle tap at the door. Milverton rose and
Well, said he, curtly, you are nearly half
an hour late.
So this was the explanation of the unlocked door and of the
nocturnal vigil of Milverton. There was the gentle rustle of a womans dress. I had
closed the slit between the curtains as Milvertons face had turned in our direction,
but now I ventured very carefully to open it once more. He had resumed his seat, the cigar
still projecting at an insolent angle from the corner of his mouth. In front of him, in
the full glare of the electric light, there stood a tall, slim, dark woman, a veil over
her face, a mantle drawn round her chin. Her breath came quick and fast, and every inch of
the lithe figure was quivering with strong emotion.
Well, said Milverton, you made me lose a
good nights rest, my dear. I hope youll prove worth it. You couldnt come
any other timeeh?
The woman shook her head.
Well, if you couldnt you couldnt. If the
Countess is a hard mistress, you have your chance to get level with her now. Bless the
girl, what are you shivering about? Thats right. Pull yourself together. Now, let us
get down to business. He took a notebook from the drawer of his desk. You say
that you have five letters which compromise the Countess dAlbert. You want to sell
them. I want to buy them. So far so good. It only remains to fix a price. I should want to
inspect the letters, of course. If they are really good specimens Great
heavens, is it you?
The woman, without a word, had raised her veil and dropped the
mantle from her chin. It was a dark, handsome, clear-cut face which confronted
Milverton a face with a curved nose, strong, dark eyebrows shading hard, glittering
eyes, and a straight, thin-lipped mouth set in a dangerous smile.
It is I, she said, the woman whose life you
Milverton laughed, but fear vibrated in his voice. You
were so very obstinate, said he. Why did you drive me to such extremities? I
assure you I wouldnt hurt a fly of my own accord, but every man has his business,
and what was I to do? I put the price well within your means. You would not pay.
So you sent the letters to my husband, and hethe
noblest gentleman that ever lived, a man whose boots I was never worthy to lacehe
broke his gallant heart and died. You remember that last night, when I came through that
door, I begged and prayed you for mercy, and you laughed in my face as you are trying to
laugh now, only your coward heart cannot keep your lips from twitching. Yes, you never
thought to see me here again, but it was that night which taught me how I could meet you
face to face, and alone. Well, Charles Milverton, what have you to say?
Dont imagine that you can bully me, said he,
rising to his feet. I have only to raise my voice, and I could call my servants and
have you arrested. But I will make allowance for your natural anger. Leave the room at
once as you came, and I will say no more.
The woman stood with her hand buried in her bosom, and the
same deadly smile on her thin lips.
You will ruin no more lives as you have ruined mine. You
will wring no more hearts as you wrung mine. I will free the world of a poisonous thing.
Take that, you houndand that!and that!and that!and that!
had drawn a little gleaming revolver, and emptied barrel after barrel into
Milvertons body, the muzzle within two feet of his shirt front. He shrank away and
then fell forward upon the table, coughing furiously and clawing among the papers. Then he
staggered to his feet, received another shot, and rolled upon the floor. Youve
done me, he cried, and lay still. The woman looked at him intently, and ground her
heel into his upturned face. She looked again, but there was no sound or movement. I heard
a sharp rustle, the night air blew into the heated room, and the avenger was gone.
No interference upon our part could have saved the man from
his fate, but, as the woman poured bullet after bullet into Milvertons shrinking
body I was about to spring out, when I felt Holmess cold, strong grasp upon my
wrist. I understood the whole argument of that firm, restraining gripthat it was no
affair of ours, that justice had overtaken a villain, that we had our own duties and our
own objects, which were not to be lost sight of. But hardly had the woman rushed from the
room when Holmes, with swift, silent steps, was over at the other door. He turned the key
in the lock. At the same instant we heard voices in the house and the sound of hurrying
feet. The revolver shots had roused the household. With perfect coolness Holmes slipped
across to the safe, filled his two arms with bundles of letters, and poured them all into
the fire. Again and again he did it, until the safe was empty. Someone turned the handle
and beat upon the outside of the door. Holmes looked swiftly round. The letter which had
been the messenger of death for Milverton lay, all mottled with his blood, upon the table.
Holmes tossed it in among the blazing papers. Then he drew the key from the outer door,
passed through after me, and locked it on the outside. This way, Watson, said
he, we can scale the garden wall in this direction.
I could not have believed that an alarm could have spread so
swiftly. Looking back, the huge house was one blaze of light. The front door was open, and
figures were rushing down the drive. The whole garden was alive with people, and one
fellow raised a view-halloa as we emerged from the veranda and followed hard at our heels.
Holmes seemed to know the grounds perfectly, and he threaded his way swiftly among a
plantation of small trees, I close at his heels, and our foremost pursuer panting behind
us. It was a six-foot wall which barred our path, but he sprang to the top and over. As I
did the same I felt the hand of the man behind me grab at my ankle, but I kicked myself
free and scrambled over a grass-strewn coping. I fell upon my face among some bushes, but
Holmes had me on my feet in an instant, and together we dashed away across the huge
expanse of Hampstead Heath. We had run two miles, I suppose, before Holmes at last halted
and listened intently. All was absolute silence behind us. We had shaken off our pursuers
and were safe.
We had breakfasted and were smoking our morning pipe on the
day after the remarkable experience which I have recorded, when Mr. Lestrade, of Scotland
Yard, very solemn and impressive, was ushered into our modest sitting-room.
Good-morning, Mr. Holmes, said he;
good-morning. May I ask if you are very busy just now?
Not too busy to listen to you.
I thought that, perhaps, if you had nothing particular
on hand, you might care to assist us in a most remarkable case, which occurred only last
night at Hampstead.
me! said Holmes. What was that?
A murdera most dramatic and remarkable murder. I
know how keen you are upon these things, and I would take it as a great favour if you
would step down to Appledore Towers, and give us the benefit of your advice. It is no
ordinary crime. We have had our eyes upon this Mr. Milverton for some time, and, between
ourselves, he was a bit of a villain. He is known to have held papers which he used for
blackmailing purposes. These papers have all been burned by the murderers. No article of
value was taken, as it is probable that the criminals were men of good position, whose
sole object was to prevent social exposure.
Criminals? said Holmes. Plural?
Yes, there were two of them. They were as nearly as
possible captured red-handed. We have their footmarks, we have their description,
its ten to one that we trace them. The first fellow was a bit too active, but the
second was caught by the under-gardener, and only got away after a struggle. He was a
middle-sized, strongly built mansquare jaw, thick neck, moustache, a mask over his
Thats rather vague, said Sherlock Holmes.
Why, it might be a description of Watson!
Its true, said the inspector, with
amusement. It might be a description of Watson.
Well, Im afraid I cant help you,
Lestrade, said Holmes. The fact is that I knew this fellow Milverton, that I
considered him one of the most dangerous men in London, and that I think there are certain
crimes which the law cannot touch, and which therefore, to some extent, justify private
revenge. No, its no use arguing. I have made up my mind. My sympathies are with the
criminals rather than with the victim, and I will not handle this case.
Holmes had not said one word to me about the tragedy which
we had witnessed, but I observed all the morning that he was in his most thoughtful mood,
and he gave me the impression, from his vacant eyes and his abstracted manner, of a man
who is striving to recall something to his memory. We were in the middle of our lunch,
when he suddenly sprang to his feet. By Jove, Watson, Ive got it! he
cried. Take your hat! Come with me! He hurried at his top speed down Baker
Street and along Oxford Street, until we had almost reached Regent Circus. Here, on the
left hand, there stands a shop window filled with photographs of the celebrities and
beauties of the day. Holmess eyes fixed themselves upon one of them, and following
his gaze I saw the picture of a regal and stately lady in Court dress, with a high diamond
tiara upon her noble head. I looked at that delicately curved nose, at the marked
eyebrows, at the straight mouth, and the strong little chin beneath it. Then I caught my
breath as I read the time-honoured title of the great nobleman and statesman whose wife
she had been. My eyes met those of Holmes, and he put his finger to his lips as we turned
away from the window.