Dear little chap! said Holmes strategically.
What a rosy-cheeked young rascal! Now, Jack, is there anything you would like?
The youth pondered for a moment.
Id like a shillin, said he.
Nothing you would like better?
Id like two shillin better, the
prodigy answered after some thought.
Here you are, then! Catch!A fine child, Mrs.
Lor bless you, sir, he is that, and forward. He
gets amost too much for me to manage, specially when my man is away days at a
Away, is he? said Holmes in a disappointed voice.
I am sorry for that, for I wanted to speak to Mr. Smith.
Hes been away since yesterday mornin, sir,
and, truth to tell, I am beginnin to feel frightened about him. But if it was about
a boat, sir, maybe I could serve as well.
I wanted to hire his steam launch.
Why, bless you, sir, it is in the steam launch that he
has gone. Thats what puzzles me; for I know there aint more coals in her than
would take her to about Woolwich and back. If hes been away in the barge Id
ha thought nothin; for many a time a job has taken him as far as Gravesend,
and then if there was much doin there he might ha stayed over. But what good
is a steam launch without coals?
He might have bought some at a wharf down the river.
He might, sir, but it werent his way. Many a time
Ive heard him call out at the prices they charge for a few odd bags. Besides, I
dont like that wooden-legged man, wi his ugly face and outlandish talk. What
did he want always knockin about here for?
A wooden-legged man? said Holmes with bland
Yes, sir, a brown, monkey-faced chap thats called
moren once for my old man. It was him that roused him up yesternight, and,
whats more, my man knew he was comin, for he had steam up in the launch. I
tell you straight, sir, I dont feel easy in my mind about it.
But, my dear Mrs. Smith, said Holmes, shrugging
his shoulders, you are frightening yourself about nothing. How could you possibly
tell that it was the wooden-legged man who came in the night? I dont quite
understand how you can be so sure.
His voice, sir. I knew his voice, which is kind o
thick and foggy. He tapped at the winderabout three it would be. Show a leg,
matey, says he: time to turn out guard. My old man woke up
Jimthats my eldestand away they went without so much as a word to me. I
could hear the wooden leg clackin on the stones.
And was this wooden-legged man alone?
Couldnt say, I am sure, sir. I didnt hear no
I am sorry, Mrs. Smith, for I wanted a steam launch, and
I have heard good reports of the Let me see, what is her name?
The Aurora, sir.
Ah! Shes not that old green launch with a yellow
line, very broad in the beam?
No, indeed. Shes as trim a little thing as any on
the river. Shes been fresh painted, black with two red streaks.
Thanks. I hope that you will hear soon from Mr. Smith. I
am going down the river, and if I should see anything of the Aurora I shall let
him know that you are uneasy. A black funnel, you say?
No, sir. Black with a white band.
Ah, of course. It was the sides which were black.
Good-morning, Mrs. Smith. There is a boatman here with a wherry, Watson. We shall take it
and cross the river.
The main thing with people of that sort, said
Holmes as we sat in the sheets of the wherry, is never to let them think that their
information can be of the slightest importance to you. If you do they will instantly shut
up like an oyster. If you listen to them under protest, as it were, you are very likely to
get what you want.
Our course now seems pretty clear, said I.
What would you do, then?
I would engage a launch and go down the river on the
track of the Aurora.
My dear fellow, it would be a colossal task. She may
have touched at any wharf on either side of the stream between here and Greenwich. Below
the bridge there is a perfect labyrinth of landing-places for miles. It would take you
days and days to exhaust them if you set about it alone.
Employ the police, then.
No. I shall probably call Athelney Jones in at the last
moment. He is not a bad fellow, and I should not like to do anything which would injure
him professionally. 
But I have a fancy for working it out myself, now that we have gone so far.
Could we advertise, then, asking for information from
Worse and worse! Our men would know that the chase was
hot at their heels, and they would be off out of the country. As it is, they are likely
enough to leave, but as long as they think they are perfectly safe they will be in no
hurry. Joness energy will be of use to us there, for his view of the case is sure to
push itself into the daily press, and the runaways will think that everyone is off on the
What are we to do, then? I asked as we landed near
Take this hansom, drive home, have some breakfast, and
get an hours sleep. It is quite on the cards that we may be afoot to-night again.
Stop at a telegraph office, cabby! We will keep Toby, for he may be of use to us
We pulled up at the Great Peter Street Post-Office, and Holmes
dispatched his wire.
Whom do you think that is to? he asked as we
resumed our journey.
I am sure I dont know.
You remember the Baker Street division of the detective
police force whom I employed in the Jefferson Hope case?
Well, said I, laughing.
This is just the case where they might be invaluable. If
they fail I have other resources, but I shall try them first. That wire was to my dirty
little lieutenant, Wiggins, and I expect that he and his gang will be with us before we
have finished our breakfast.
It was between eight and nine oclock now, and I was
conscious of a strong reaction after the successive excitements of the night. I was limp
and weary, befogged in mind and fatigued in body. I had not the professional enthusiasm
which carried my companion on, nor could I look at the matter as a mere abstract
intellectual problem. As far as the death of Bartholomew Sholto went, I had heard little
good of him and could feel no intense antipathy to his murderers. The treasure, however,
was a different matter. That, or part of it, belonged rightfully to Miss Morstan. While
there was a chance of recovering it I was ready to devote my life to the one object. True,
if I found it, it would probably put her forever beyond my reach. Yet it would be a petty
and selfish love which would be influenced by such a thought as that. If Holmes could work
to find the criminals, I had a tenfold stronger reason to urge me on to find the treasure.
A bath at Baker Street and a complete change freshened me up
wonderfully. When I came down to our room I found the breakfast laid and Holmes pouring
out the coffee.
Here it is, said he, laughing and pointing to an
open newspaper. The energetic Jones and the ubiquitous reporter have fixed it up
between them. But you have had enough of the case. Better have your ham and eggs
I took the paper from him and read the short notice, which was
headed Mysterious Business at Upper Norwood.
- About twelve oclock last night [said the Standard]
Mr. Bartholomew Sholto, of Pondicherry Lodge, Upper Norwood, was found dead in his room
under circumstances which point to foul play. As far as we can learn, no actual traces of
violence were found upon Mr. Sholtos person, but a valuable collection of Indian
gems which the deceased gentleman had inherited  from his father has been carried off. The discovery was
first made by Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who had called at the house with Mr.
Thaddeus Sholto, brother of the deceased. By a singular piece of good fortune, Mr.
Athelney Jones, the well-known member of the detective police force, happened to be at the
Norwood police station and was on the ground within half an hour of the first alarm. His
trained and experienced faculties were at once directed towards the detection of the
criminals, with the gratifying result that the brother, Thaddeus Sholto, has already been
arrested, together with the housekeeper, Mrs. Bernstone, an Indian butler named Lal Rao,
and a porter, or gatekeeper, named McMurdo. It is quite certain that the thief or thieves
were well acquainted with the house, for Mr. Joness well-known technical knowledge
and his powers of minute observation have enabled him to prove conclusively that the
miscreants could not have entered by the door or by the window but must have made their
way across the roof of the building, and so through a trapdoor into a room which
communicated with that in which the body was found. This fact, which has been very clearly
made out, proves conclusively that it was no mere haphazard burglary. The prompt and
energetic action of the officers of the law shows the great advantage of the presence on
such occasions of a single vigorous and masterful mind. We cannot but think that it
supplies an argument to those who would wish to see our detectives more de-centralized,
and so brought into closer and more effective touch with the cases which it is their duty
Isnt it gorgeous! said Holmes, grinning
over his coffee cup. What do you think of it?
I think that we have had a close shave ourselves of
being arrested for the crime.
So do I. I wouldnt answer for our safety now if he
should happen to have another of his attacks of energy.
At this moment there was a loud ring at the bell, and I could
hear Mrs. Hudson, our landlady, raising her voice in a wail of expostulation and dismay.
By heavens, Holmes, I said, half rising, I
believe that they are really after us.
No, its not quite so bad as that. It is the
unofficial forcethe Baker Street irregulars.
As he spoke, there came a swift pattering of naked feet upon
the stairs, a clatter of high voices, and in rushed a dozen dirty and ragged little street
Arabs. There was some show of discipline among them, despite their tumultuous entry, for
they instantly drew up in line and stood facing us with expectant faces. One of their
number, taller and older than the others, stood forward with an air of lounging
superiority which was very funny in such a disreputable little scarecrow.
Got your message, sir, said he, and brought
em on sharp. Three bob and a tanner for tickets.
Here you are, said Holmes, producing some silver.
In future they can report to you, Wiggins, and you to me. I cannot have the house
invaded in this way. However, it is just as well that you should all hear the
instructions. I want to find the whereabouts of a steam launch called the Aurora,
owner Mordecai Smith, black with two red streaks, funnel black with a white band. She is
down the river somewhere. I want one boy to be at Mordecai Smiths landing-stage
opposite  Millbank to
say if the boat comes back. You must divide it out among yourselves and do both banks
thoroughly. Let me know the moment you have news. Is that all clear?
Yes, guvnor, said Wiggins.
The old scale of pay, and a guinea to the boy who finds
the boat. Heres a day in advance. Now off you go!
He handed them a shilling each, and away they buzzed down
the stairs, and I saw them a moment later streaming down the street.
If the launch is above water they will find her,
said Holmes as he rose from the table and lit his pipe. They can go everywhere, see
everything, overhear everyone. I expect to hear before evening that they have spotted her.
In the meanwhile, we can do nothing but await results. We cannot pick up the broken trail
until we find either the Aurora or Mr. Mordecai Smith.
Toby could eat these scraps, I dare say. Are you going
to bed, Holmes?
No: I am not tired. I have a curious constitution. I
never remember feeling tired by work, though idleness exhausts me completely. I am going
to smoke and to think over this queer business to which my fair client has introduced us.
If ever man had an easy task, this of ours ought to be. Wooden-legged men are not so
common, but the other man must, I should think, be absolutely unique.
That other man again!
I have no wish to make a mystery of him to you, anyway.
But you must have formed your own opinion. Now, do consider the data. Diminutive
footmarks, toes never fettered by boots, naked feet, stone-headed wooden mace, great
agility, small poisoned darts. What do you make of all this?
A savage! I exclaimed. Perhaps one of those
Indians who were the associates of Jonathan Small.
Hardly that, said he. When first I saw signs
of strange weapons I was inclined to think so, but the remarkable character of the
footmarks caused me to reconsider my views. Some of the inhabitants of the Indian
Peninsula are small men, but none could have left such marks as that. The Hindoo proper
has long and thin feet. The sandal-wearing Mohammedan has the great toe well separated
from the others because the thong is commonly passed between. These little darts, too,
could only be shot in one way. They are from a blow-pipe. Now, then, where are we to find
South America, I hazarded.
He stretched his hand up and took down a bulky volume from the
This is the first volume of a gazetteer which is now
being published. It may be looked upon as the very latest authority. What have we here?
- Andaman Islands, situated 340 miles to the north of
Sumatra, in the Bay of Bengal.
Hum! hum! Whats all this? Moist climate, coral reefs,
sharks, Port Blair, convict barracks, Rutland Island, cottonwoods Ah, here we
- The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps
claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth, though some
anthropologists prefer the Bushmen of Africa, the Digger Indians of America, and the Terra
del Fuegians. The average height is rather below four feet, although many full-grown
adults may be found who are very much smaller than this.  They are a fierce, morose, and intractable people,
though capable of forming most devoted friendships when their confidence has once been
Mark that, Watson. Now, then listen to this.
- They are naturally hideous, having large, misshapen
heads, small fierce eyes, and distorted features. Their feet and hands, however, are
remarkably small. So intractable and fierce are they, that all the efforts of the British
officials have failed to win them over in any degree. They have always been a terror to
shipwrecked crews, braining the survivors with their stone-headed clubs or shooting them
with their poisoned arrows. These massacres are invariably concluded by a cannibal feast.
Nice, amiable people, Watson! If this fellow had been left
to his own unaided devices, this affair might have taken an even more ghastly turn. I
fancy that, even as it is, Jonathan Small would give a good deal not to have employed
But how came he to have so singular a companion?
Ah, that is more than I can tell. Since, however, we had
already determined that Small had come from the Andamans, it is not so very wonderful that
this islander should be with him. No doubt we shall know all about it in time. Look here,
Watson; you look regularly done. Lie down there on the sofa and see if I can put you to
He took up his violin from the corner, and as I stretched
myself out he began to play some low, dreamy, melodious airhis own, no doubt, for he
had a remarkable gift for improvisation. I have a vague remembrance of his gaunt limbs,
his earnest face and the rise and fall of his bow. Then I seemed to be floated peacefully
away upon a soft sea of sound until I found myself in dreamland, with the sweet face of
Mary Morstan looking down upon me.