As he spoke there was a tap at the door, and the boy in
buttons entered to announce Miss Mary Sutherland, while the lady herself loomed behind his
small black figure like a full-sailed merchant-man behind a tiny pilot boat. Sherlock
Holmes welcomed her with the easy courtesy for which he was remarkable, and, having closed
the door and bowed her into an armchair, he looked her over in the minute and yet
abstracted fashion which was peculiar to him.
Do you not find, he said, that with your
short sight it is a little trying to do so much typewriting?
I did at first, she answered, but now I know
where the letters are without looking. Then, suddenly realizing the full purport of
his words, she gave a violent start and looked up, with fear and astonishment upon her
broad, good-humoured face. Youve heard about me, Mr. Holmes, she cried,
else how could you know all that?
Never mind, said Holmes, laughing; it is my
business to know things. Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook. If
not, why should you come to consult me?
I came to you, sir, because I heard of you from Mrs.
Etherege, whose husband you found so easy when the police and everyone had given him up
for dead. Oh, Mr. Holmes, I wish you would do as much for me. Im not rich, but still
I have a hundred a year in my own right, besides the little that I make by the machine,
and I would give it all to know what has become of Mr. Hosmer Angel.
Why did you come away to consult me in such a
hurry? asked Sherlock Holmes, with his finger-tips together and his eyes to the
Again a startled look came over the somewhat vacuous face of
Miss Mary Sutherland. Yes, I did bang out of the house, she said, for it
made me angry to see the easy way in which Mr. Windibankthat is, my fathertook
it all. He would not  go
to the police, and he would not go to you, and so at last, as he would do nothing and kept
on saying that there was no harm done, it made me mad, and I just on with my things and
came right away to you.
Your father, said Holmes, your stepfather,
surely, since the name is different.
Yes, my stepfather. I call him father, though it sounds
funny, too, for he is only five years and two months older than myself.
And your mother is alive?
Oh, yes, mother is alive and well. I wasnt best
pleased, Mr. Holmes, when she married again so soon after fathers death, and a man
who was nearly fifteen years younger than herself. Father was a plumber in the Tottenham
Court Road, and he left a tidy business behind him, which mother carried on with Mr.
Hardy, the foreman; but when Mr. Windibank came he made her sell the business, for he was
very superior, being a traveller in wines. They got £4700 for the goodwill and interest,
which wasnt near as much as father could have got if he had been alive.
I had expected to see Sherlock Holmes impatient under this
rambling and inconsequential narrative, but, on the contrary, he had listened with the
greatest concentration of attention.
Your own little income, he asked, does it
come out of the business?
Oh, no, sir. It is quite separate and was left me by my
uncle Ned in Auckland. It is in New Zealand stock, paying 4½ per cent. Two thousand five
hundred pounds was the amount, but I can only touch the interest.
You interest me extremely, said Holmes. And
since you draw so large a sum as a hundred a year, with what you earn into the bargain,
you no doubt travel a little and indulge yourself in every way. I believe that a single
lady can get on very nicely upon an income of about £60.
I could do with much less than that, Mr. Holmes, but you
understand that as long as I live at home I dont wish to be a burden to them, and so
they have the use of the money just while I am staying with them. Of course, that is only
just for the time. Mr. Windibank draws my interest every quarter and pays it over to
mother, and I find that I can do pretty well with what I earn at typewriting. It brings me
twopence a sheet, and I can often do from fifteen to twenty sheets in a day.
You have made your position very clear to me, said
Holmes. This is my friend, Dr. Watson, before whom you can speak as freely as before
myself. Kindly tell us now all about your connection with Mr. Hosmer Angel.
A flush stole over Miss Sutherlands face, and she
picked nervously at the fringe of her jacket. I met him first at the
gasfitters ball, she said. They used to send father tickets when he was
alive, and then afterwards they remembered us, and sent them to mother. Mr. Windibank did
not wish us to go. He never did wish us to go anywhere. He would get quite mad if I wanted
so much as to join a Sunday-school treat. But this time I was set on going, and I would
go; for what right had he to prevent? He said the folk were not fit for us to know, when
all fathers friends were to be there. And he said that I had nothing fit to wear,
when I had my purple plush that I had never so much as taken out of the drawer. At last,
when nothing else would do, he went off to France upon the business of the firm, but we
went, mother and I, with Mr. Hardy, who used to be our foreman, and it was there I met Mr.
I suppose, said Holmes, that when Mr.
Windibank came back from France he was very annoyed at your having gone to the ball.
well, he was very good about it. He laughed, I remember, and shrugged his shoulders, and
said there was no use denying anything to a woman, for she would have her way.
I see. Then at the gasfitters ball you met, as I
understand, a gentleman called Mr. Hosmer Angel.
Yes, sir. I met him that night, and he called next day
to ask if we had got home all safe, and after that we met himthat is to say, Mr.
Holmes, I met him twice for walks, but after that father came back again, and Mr. Hosmer
Angel could not come to the house any more.
Well, you know, father didnt like anything of the
sort. He wouldnt have any visitors if he could help it, and he used to say that a
woman should be happy in her own family circle. But then, as I used to say to mother, a
woman wants her own circle to begin with, and I had not got mine yet.
But how about Mr. Hosmer Angel? Did he make no attempt
to see you?
Well, father was going off to France again in a week,
and Hosmer wrote and said that it would be safer and better not to see each other until he
had gone. We could write in the meantime, and he used to write every day. I took the
letters in in the morning, so there was no need for father to know.
Were you engaged to the gentleman at this time?
Oh, yes, Mr. Holmes. We were engaged after the first
walk that we took. HosmerMr. Angelwas a cashier in an office in Leadenhall
Thats the worst of it, Mr. Holmes, I dont
Where did he live, then?
He slept on the premises.
And you dont know his address?
Noexcept that it was Leadenhall Street.
Where did you address your letters, then?
To the Leadenhall Street Post-Office, to be left till
called for. He said that if they were sent to the office he would be chaffed by all the
other clerks about having letters from a lady, so I offered to typewrite them, like he did
his, but he wouldnt have that, for he said that when I wrote them they seemed to
come from me, but when they were typewritten he always felt that the machine had come
between us. That will just show you how fond he was of me, Mr. Holmes, and the little
things that he would think of.
It was most suggestive, said Holmes. It has
long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. Can
you remember any other little things about Mr. Hosmer Angel?
He was a very shy man, Mr. Holmes. He would rather walk
with me in the evening than in the daylight, for he said that he hated to be conspicuous.
Very retiring and gentlemanly he was. Even his voice was gentle. Hed had the quinsy
and swollen glands when he was young, he told me, and it had left him with a weak throat,
and a hesitating, whispering fashion of speech. He was always well dressed, very neat and
plain, but his eyes were weak, just as mine are, and he wore tinted glasses against the
Well, and what happened when Mr. Windibank, your
stepfather, returned to France?
Mr. Hosmer Angel came to the house again and proposed
that we should marry before father came back. He was in dreadful earnest and made me
swear, with  my hands
on the Testament, that whatever happened I would always be true to him. Mother said he was
quite right to make me swear, and that it was a sign of his passion. Mother was all in his
favour from the first and was even fonder of him than I was. Then, when they talked of
marrying within the week, I began to ask about father; but they both said never to mind
about father, but just to tell him afterwards, and mother said she would make it all right
with him. I didnt quite like that, Mr. Holmes. It seemed funny that I should ask his
leave, as he was only a few years older than me; but I didnt want to do anything on
the sly, so I wrote to father at Bordeaux, where the company has its French offices, but
the letter came back to me on the very morning of the wedding.
It missed him, then?
Yes, sir; for he had started to England just before it
Ha! that was unfortunate. Your wedding was arranged,
then, for the Friday. Was it to be in church?
Yes, sir, but very quietly. It was to be at St.
Saviours, near Kings Cross, and we were to have breakfast afterwards at the
St. Pancras Hotel. Hosmer came for us in a hansom, but as there were two of us he put us
both into it and stepped himself into a four-wheeler, which happened to be the only other
cab in the street. We got to the church first, and when the four-wheeler drove up we
waited for him to step out, but he never did, and when the cabman got down from the box
and looked there was no one there! The cabman said that he could not imagine what had
become of him, for he had seen him get in with his own eyes. That was last Friday, Mr.
Holmes, and I have never seen or heard anything since then to throw any light upon what
became of him.
It seems to me that you have been very shamefully
treated, said Holmes.
Oh, no, sir! He was too good and kind to leave me so.
Why, all the morning he was saying to me that, whatever happened, I was to be true; and
that even if something quite unforeseen occurred to separate us, I was always to remember
that I was pledged to him, and that he would claim his pledge sooner or later. It seemed
strange talk for a wedding-morning, but what has happened since gives a meaning to
Most certainly it does. Your own opinion is, then, that
some unforeseen catastrophe has occurred to him?
Yes, sir. I believe that he foresaw some danger, or else
he would not have talked so. And then I think that what he foresaw happened.
But you have no notion as to what it could have
One more question. How did your mother take the
She was angry, and said that I was never to speak of the
And your father? Did you tell him?
Yes; and he seemed to think, with me, that something had
happened, and that I should hear of Hosmer again. As he said, what interest could anyone
have in bringing me to the doors of the church, and then leaving me? Now, if he had
borrowed my money, or if he had married me and got my money settled on him, there might be
some reason, but Hosmer was very independent about money and never would look at a
shilling of mine. And yet, what could have happened? And why could he not write? Oh, it
drives me half-mad to think of it, and I cant sleep a wink at night. She
pulled a little handkerchief out of her muff and began to sob heavily into it.
I shall glance into the case for you, said Holmes,
rising, and I have no doubt  that
we shall reach some definite result. Let the weight of the matter rest upon me now, and do
not let your mind dwell upon it further. Above all, try to let Mr. Hosmer Angel vanish
from your memory, as he has done from your life.
Then you dont think Ill see him again?
I fear not.
Then what has happened to him?
You will leave that question in my hands. I should like
an accurate description of him and any letters of his which you can spare.
I advertised for him in last Saturdays Chronicle,
said she. Here is the slip and here are four letters from him.
Thank you. And your address?
No. 31 Lyon Place, Camberwell.
Mr. Angels address you never had, I understand.
Where is your fathers place of business?
He travels for Westhouse & Marbank, the great claret
importers of Fenchurch Street.
Thank you. You have made your statement very clearly.
You will leave the papers here, and remember the advice which I have given you. Let the
whole incident be a sealed book, and do not allow it to affect your life.
You are very kind, Mr. Holmes, but I cannot do that. I
shall be true to Hosmer. He shall find me ready when he comes back.
For all the preposterous hat and the vacuous face, there
was something noble in the simple faith of our visitor which compelled our respect. She
laid her little bundle of papers upon the table and went her way, with a promise to come
again whenever she might be summoned.
Sherlock Holmes sat silent for a few minutes with his
finger-tips still pressed together, his legs stretched out in front of him, and his gaze
directed upward to the ceiling. Then he took down from the rack the old and oily clay
pipe, which was to him as a counsellor, and, having lit it, he leaned back in his chair,
with the thick blue cloud-wreaths spinning up from him, and a look of infinite languor in
Quite an interesting study, that maiden, he
observed. I found her more interesting than her little problem, which, by the way,
is rather a trite one. You will find parallel cases, if you consult my index, in Andover
in 77, and there was something of the sort at The Hague last year. Old as is the
idea, however, there were one or two details which were new to me. But the maiden herself
was most instructive.
You appeared to read a good deal upon her which was
quite invisible to me, I remarked.
Not invisible but unnoticed, Watson. You did not know
where to look, and so you missed all that was important. I can never bring you to realize
the importance of sleeves, the suggestiveness of thumb-nails, or the great issues that may
hang from a boot-lace. Now, what did you gather from that womans appearance?
Well, she had a slate-coloured, broad-brimmed straw hat,
with a feather of a brickish red. Her jacket was black, with black beads sewn upon it, and
a fringe of little black jet ornaments. Her dress was brown, rather darker than coffee
colour, with a little purple plush at the neck and sleeves. Her gloves were grayish and
were worn through at the right forefinger. Her boots I didnt observe. She had  small round, hanging gold
earrings, and a general air of being fairly well-to-do in a vulgar, comfortable,
Sherlock Holmes clapped his hands softly together and
Pon my word, Watson, you are coming along
wonderfully. You have really done very well indeed. It is true that you have missed
everything of importance, but you have hit upon the method, and you have a quick eye for
colour. Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.
My first glance is always at a womans sleeve. In a man it is perhaps better first to
take the knee of the trouser. As you observe, this woman had plush upon her sleeves, which
is a most useful material for showing traces. The double line a little above the wrist,
where the typewritist presses against the table, was beautifully defined. The
sewing-machine, of the hand type, leaves a similar mark, but only on the left arm, and on
the side of it farthest from the thumb, instead of being right across the broadest part,
as this was. I then glanced at her face, and, observing the dint of a pince-nez at either
side of her nose, I ventured a remark upon short sight and typewriting, which seemed to
It surprised me.
But, surely, it was obvious. I was then much surprised
and interested on glancing down to observe that, though the boots which she was wearing
were not unlike each other, they were really odd ones; the one having a slightly decorated
toe-cap, and the other a plain one. One was buttoned only in the two lower buttons out of
five, and the other at the first, third, and fifth. Now, when you see that a young lady,
otherwise neatly dressed, has come away from home with odd boots, half-buttoned, it is no
great deduction to say that she came away in a hurry.
And what else? I asked, keenly interested, as I
always was, by my friends incisive reasoning.
I noted, in passing, that she had written a note before
leaving home but after being fully dressed. You observed that her right glove was torn at
the forefinger, but you did not apparently see that both glove and finger were stained
with violet ink. She had written in a hurry and dipped her pen too deep. It must have been
this morning, or the mark would not remain clear upon the finger. All this is amusing,
though rather elementary, but I must go back to business, Watson. Would you mind reading
me the advertised description of Mr. Hosmer Angel?
I held the little printed slip to the light.
- Missing [it said] on the morning of the fourteenth, a
gentleman named Hosmer Angel. About five feet seven inches in height; strongly built,
sallow complexion, black hair, a little bald in the centre, bushy, black side-whiskers and
moustache; tinted glasses, slight infirmity of speech. Was dressed, when last seen, in
black frock-coat faced with silk, black waistcoat, gold Albert chain, and gray Harris
tweed trousers, with brown gaiters over elastic-sided boots. Known to have been employed
in an office in Leadenhall Street. Anybody bringing
That will do, said Holmes. As to the
letters, he continued, glancing over them, they are very commonplace.
Absolutely no clue in them to Mr. Angel, save that he quotes Balzac once. There is one
remarkable point, however, which will no doubt strike you.
They are typewritten, I remarked.
Not only that, but the signature is typewritten. Look at
the neat little  Hosmer
Angel at the bottom. There is a date, you see, but no superscription except
Leadenhall Street, which is rather vague. The point about the signature is very
suggestivein fact, we may call it conclusive.
My dear fellow, is it possible you do not see how
strongly it bears upon the case?
I cannot say that I do unless it were that he wished to
be able to deny his signature if an action for breach of promise were instituted.
No, that was not the point. However, I shall write two
letters, which should settle the matter. One is to a firm in the City, the other is to the
young ladys stepfather, Mr. Windibank, asking him whether he could meet us here at
six oclock to-morrow evening. It is just as well that we should do business with the
male relatives. And now, Doctor, we can do nothing until the answers to those letters
come, so we may put our little problem upon the shelf for the interim.
I had had so many reasons to believe in my friends
subtle powers of reasoning and extraordinary energy in action that I felt that he must
have some solid grounds for the assured and easy demeanour with which he treated the
singular mystery which he had been called upon to fathom. Once only had I known him to
fail, in the case of the King of Bohemia and of the Irene Adler photograph; but when I
looked back to the weird business of The Sign of Four, and the extraordinary
circumstances connected with A Study in Scarlet, I felt that it would be a
strange tangle indeed which he could not unravel.
I left him then, still puffing at his black clay pipe, with
the conviction that when I came again on the next evening I would find that he held in his
hands all the clues which would lead up to the identity of the disappearing bridegroom of
Miss Mary Sutherland.
A professional case of great gravity was engaging my own
attention at the time, and the whole of next day I was busy at the bedside of the
sufferer. It was not until close upon six oclock that I found myself free and was
able to spring into a hansom and drive to Baker Street, half afraid that I might be too
late to assist at the denouement of the little mystery. I found Sherlock Holmes alone,
however, half asleep, with his long, thin form curled up in the recesses of his armchair.
A formidable array of bottles and test-tubes, with the pungent cleanly smell of
hydrochloric acid, told me that he had spent his day in the chemical work which was so
dear to him.
Well, have you solved it? I asked as I entered.
Yes. It was the bisulphate of baryta.
No, no, the mystery! I cried.
Oh, that! I thought of the salt that I have been working
upon. There was never any mystery in the matter, though, as I said yesterday, some of the
details are of interest. The only drawback is that there is no law, I fear, that can touch
Who was he, then, and what was his object in deserting
The question was hardly out of my mouth, and Holmes had not
yet opened his lips to reply, when we heard a heavy footfall in the passage and a tap at
This is the girls stepfather, Mr. James
Windibank, said Holmes. He has written to me to say that he would be here at
six. Come in!
The man who entered was a sturdy, middle-sized fellow, some
thirty years of age, clean-shaven, and sallow-skinned, with a bland, insinuating manner,
and a pair  of
wonderfully sharp and penetrating gray eyes. He shot a questioning glance at each of us,
placed his shiny top-hat upon the sideboard, and with a slight bow sidled down into the
Good-evening, Mr. James Windibank, said Holmes.
I think that this typewritten letter is from you, in which you made an appointment
with me for six oclock?
Yes, sir. I am afraid that I am a little late, but I am
not quite my own master, you know. I am sorry that Miss Sutherland has troubled you about
this little matter, for I think it is far better not to wash linen of the sort in public.
It was quite against my wishes that she came, but she is a very excitable, impulsive girl,
as you may have noticed, and she is not easily controlled when she has made up her mind on
a point. Of course, I did not mind you so much, as you are not connected with the official
police, but it is not pleasant to have a family misfortune like this noised abroad.
Besides, it is a useless expense, for how could you possibly find this Hosmer Angel?
On the contrary, said Holmes quietly; I have
every reason to believe that I will succeed in discovering Mr. Hosmer Angel.
Mr. Windibank gave a violent start and dropped his gloves.
I am delighted to hear it, he said.
It is a curious thing, remarked Holmes, that
a typewriter has really quite as much individuality as a mans handwriting. Unless
they are quite new, no two of them write exactly alike. Some letters get more worn than
others, and some wear only on one side. Now, you remark in this note of yours, Mr.
Windibank, that in every case there is some little slurring over of the e, and
a slight defect in the tail of the r. There are fourteen other
characteristics, but those are the more obvious.
We do all our correspondence with this machine at the
office, and no doubt it is a little worn, our visitor answered, glancing keenly at
Holmes with his bright little eyes.
And now I will show you what is really a very
interesting study, Mr. Windibank, Holmes continued. I think of writing another
little monograph some of these days on the typewriter and its relation to crime. It is a
subject to which I have devoted some little attention. I have here four letters which
purport to come from the missing man. They are all typewritten. In each case, not only are
the es slurred and the rs tailless, but you will
observe, if you care to use my magnifying lens, that the fourteen other characteristics to
which I have alluded are there as well.
Mr. Windibank sprang out of his chair and picked up his hat.
I cannot waste time over this sort of fantastic talk, Mr. Holmes, he said.
If you can catch the man, catch him, and let me know when you have done it.
Certainly, said Holmes, stepping over and
turning the key in the door. I let you know, then, that I have caught him!
What! where? shouted Mr. Windibank, turning white
to his lips and glancing about him like a rat in a trap.
Oh, it wont doreally it wont,
said Holmes suavely. There is no possible getting out of it, Mr. Windibank. It is
quite too transparent, and it was a very bad compliment when you said that it was
impossible for me to solve so simple a question. Thats right! Sit down and let us
talk it over.
visitor collapsed into a chair, with a ghastly face and a glitter of moisture on his brow.
Itits not actionable, he stammered.
I am very much afraid that it is not. But between
ourselves, Windibank, it was as cruel and selfish and heartless a trick in a petty way as
ever came before me. Now, let me just run over the course of events, and you will
contradict me if I go wrong.
The man sat huddled up in his chair, with his head sunk upon
his breast, like one who is utterly crushed. Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the
mantelpiece and, leaning back with his hands in his pockets, began talking, rather to
himself, as it seemed, than to us.
The man married a woman very much older than himself for
her money, said he, and he enjoyed the use of the money of the daughter as
long as she lived with them. It was a considerable sum, for people in their position, and
the loss of it would have made a serious difference. It was worth an effort to preserve
it. The daughter was of a good, amiable disposition, but affectionate and warm-hearted in
her ways, so that it was evident that with her fair personal advantages, and her little
income, she would not be allowed to remain single long. Now her marriage would mean, of
course, the loss of a hundred a year, so what does her stepfather do to prevent it? He
takes the obvious course of keeping her at home and forbidding her to seek the company of
people of her own age. But soon he found that that would not answer forever. She became
restive, insisted upon her rights, and finally announced her positive intention of going
to a certain ball. What does her clever stepfather do then? He conceives an idea more
creditable to his head than to his heart. With the connivance and assistance of his wife
he disguised himself, covered those keen eyes with tinted glasses, masked the face with a
moustache and a pair of bushy whiskers, sunk that clear voice into an insinuating whisper,
and doubly secure on account of the girls short sight, he appears as Mr. Hosmer
Angel, and keeps off other lovers by making love himself.
It was only a joke at first, groaned our visitor.
We never thought that she would have been so carried away.
Very likely not. However that may be, the young lady was
very decidedly carried away, and, having quite made up her mind that her stepfather was in
France, the suspicion of treachery never for an instant entered her mind. She was
flattered by the gentlemans attentions, and the effect was increased by the loudly
expressed admiration of her mother. Then Mr. Angel began to call, for it was obvious that
the matter should be pushed as far as it would go if a real effect were to be produced.
There were meetings, and an engagement, which would finally secure the girls
affections from turning towards anyone else. But the deception could not be kept up
forever. These pretended journeys to France were rather cumbrous. The thing to do was
clearly to bring the business to an end in such a dramatic manner that it would leave a
permanent impression upon the young ladys mind and prevent her from looking upon any
other suitor for some time to come. Hence those vows of fidelity exacted upon a Testament,
and hence also the allusions to a possibility of something happening on the very morning
of the wedding. James Windibank wished Miss Sutherland to be so bound to Hosmer Angel, and
so uncertain as to his fate, that for ten years to come, at any rate, she would not listen
to another man. As far as the church door he brought her, and then, as he could go no
farther, he conveniently vanished away by the old trick  of stepping in at one door of a four-wheeler and out at
the other. I think that that was the chain of events, Mr. Windibank!
Our visitor had recovered something of his assurance while
Holmes had been talking, and he rose from his chair now with a cold sneer upon his pale
It may be so, or it may not, Mr. Holmes, said he,
but if you are so very sharp you ought to be sharp enough to know that it is you who
are breaking the law now, and not me. I have done nothing actionable from the first, but
as long as you keep that door locked you lay yourself open to an action for assault and
The law cannot, as you say, touch you, said
Holmes, unlocking and throwing open the door, yet there never was a man who deserved
punishment more. If the young lady has a brother or a friend, he ought to lay a whip
across your shoulders. By Jove! he continued, flushing up at the sight of the bitter
sneer upon the mans face, it is not part of my duties to my client, but
heres a hunting crop handy, and I think I shall just treat myself to
He took two swift steps to the whip, but before he could grasp it there was a
wild clatter of steps upon the stairs, the heavy hall door banged, and from the window we
could see Mr. James Windibank running at the top of his speed down the road.
Theres a cold-blooded scoundrel! said
Holmes, laughing, as he threw himself down into his chair once more. That fellow
will rise from crime to crime until he does something very bad, and ends on a gallows. The
case has, in some respects, been not entirely devoid of interest.
I cannot now entirely see all the steps of your
reasoning, I remarked.
Well, of course it was obvious from the first that this
Mr. Hosmer Angel must have some strong object for his curious conduct, and it was equally
clear that the only man who really profited by the incident, as far as we could see, was
the stepfather. Then the fact that the two men were never together, but that the one
always appeared when the other was away, was suggestive. So were the tinted spectacles and
the curious voice, which both hinted at a disguise, as did the bushy whiskers. My
suspicions were all confirmed by his peculiar action in typewriting his signature, which,
of course, inferred that his handwriting was so familiar to her that she would recognize
even the smallest sample of it. You see all these isolated facts, together with many minor
ones, all pointed in the same direction.
And how did you verify them?
Having once spotted my man, it was easy to get
corroboration. I knew the firm for which this man worked. Having taken the printed
description, I eliminated everything from it which could be the result of a
disguisethe whiskers, the glasses, the voice, and I sent it to the firm, with a
request that they would inform me whether it answered to the description of any of their
travellers. I had already noticed the peculiarities of the typewriter, and I wrote to the
man himself at his business address, asking him if he would come here. As I expected, his
reply was typewritten and revealed the same trivial but characteristic defects. The same
post brought me a letter from Westhouse & Marbank, of Fenchurch Street, to say that
the description tallied in every respect with that of their employee, James Windibank.
And Miss Sutherland?
If I tell her she will not believe me. You may remember
the old Persian saying, There is danger for him who taketh the tiger cub, and danger
also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman. There is as much sense in Hafiz as
in Horace, and as much knowledge of the world.