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The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
The Adventure of the Red Circle
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
His Last Bow - An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes
[This does not contain the Cardboard Box adventure,
as that rightly belongs in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.]
His Last Bow
The friends of Mr. Sherlock Holmes will be glad to learn that he
is still alive and well, though somewhat crippled by occasional
attacks of rheumatism. He has, for many years, lived in a small
farm upon the downs five miles from Eastbourne, where his time
is divided between philosophy and agriculture. During this pe-
riod of rest he has refused the most princely offers to take up
various cases, having determined that his retirement was a
permanent one. The approach of the German war caused him
however, to lay his remarkable combination of intellectual and
practical activity at the disposal of the government, with histori-
cal results which are recounted in His Last Bow. Several previ-
ous experiences which have lain long in my portfolio have been
added to His Last Bow so as to complete the volume.
JOHN H. WATSON, M. D.
The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
1. The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles
I find it recorded in my notebook that it was a bleak and windy
day towards the end of March in the year 1892. Holmes had
received a telegram while we sat at our lunch, and he had
scribbled a reply. He made no remark, but the matter remained
in his thoughts, for he stood in front of the fire afterwards with a
thoughtful face, smoking his pipe, and casting an occasional
glance at the message. Suddenly he turned upon me with a
mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
"I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you as a man of
letters," said he. "How do you define the word 'grotesque'?"
"Strange -- remarkable," I suggested.
He shook his head at my definition.
"There is surely something more than that," said he; "some
underlying suggestion of the tragic and the terrible. If you cast
your mind back to some of those narratives with which you have
afflicted a long-suffering public, you will recognize how often
the grotesque has deepened into the criminal. Think of that little
affair of the red-headed men. That was grotesque enough in the
outset, and yet it ended in a desperate attempt at robbery. Or,
again, there was that most grotesque affair of the five orange
pips, which led straight to a murderous conspiracy. The word
puts me on the alert."
"Have you it there?" I asked.
He read the telegram aloud.
"Have just had most incredible and grotesque experi-
ence. May I consult you?
"Post-Office, Charing Cross."
"Man or woman?" I asked.
"Oh, man, of course. No woman would ever send a reply-
paid telegram. She would have come."
"Will you see him?"
"My dear Watson, you know how bored I have been since we
locked up Colonel Carruthers. My mind is like a racing engine,
tearing itself to pieces because it is not connected up with the
work for which it was built. Life is commonplace; the papers are
sterile; audacity and romance seem to have passed forever from
the criminal world. Can you ask me, then, whether I am ready to
look into any new problem, however trivial it may prove? But
here, unless I am mistaken, is our client."
A measured step was heard upon the stairs, and a moment
later a stout, tall, gray-whiskered and solemnly respectable per-
son was ushered into the room. His life history was written in his
heavy features and pompous manner. From his spats to his
gold-rimmed spectacles he was a Conservative, a churchman, a
good citizen, orthodox and conventional to the last degree. But
same amazing experience had disturbed his native composure
and left its traces in his bristling hair, his flushed, angry cheeks
and his flurried, excited manner. He plunged instantly into his
"I have had a most singular and unpleasant experience, Mr.
Holmes," said he. "Never in my life have I been placed in such
a situation. It is most improper -- most outrageous. I must insist
upon some explanation." He swelled and puffed in his anger.
"Pray sit down, Mr. Scott Eccles," said Holmes in a soothing
voice. "May I ask, in the first place, why you came to me at
"Well, sir, it did not appear to be a matter which concerned
the police, and yet, when you have heard the facts, you must
admit that I could not leave it where it was. Private detectives
are a class with whom I have absolutely no sympathy, but none
the less, having heard your name --"
"Quite so. But, in the second place, why did you not come at
"What do you mean?"
Holmes glanced at his watch.
"It is a quarter-past two," he said. "Your telegram was
dispatched about one. But no one can glance at your toilet and
attire without seeing that your disturbance dates from the mo-
ment of your waking."
Our client smoothed down his unbrushed hair and felt his
"You are right, Mr. Holmes. I never gave a thought to my
toilet. I was only too glad to get out of such a house. But I have
been running round making inquiries before I came to you. I
went to the house agents, you know, and they said that Mr.
Garcia's rent was paid up all right and that everything was in
order at Wisteria Lodge."
"Come, come, sir," said Holmes, laughing. "You are like
my friend, Dr. Watson, who has a bad habit of telling his stories
wrong end foremost. Please arrange your thoughts and let me
know, in their due sequence, exactly what those events are
which have sent you out unbrushed and unkempt, with dress
boots and waistcoat buttoned awry, in search of advice and
Our client looked down with a rueful face at his own uncon-
"I'm sure it must look very bad, Mr. Holmes, and I am not
aware that in my whole life such a thing has ever happened
before. But I will tell you the whole queer business, and when I
have done so you will admit, I am sure, that there has been
enough to excuse me."
But his narrative was nipped in the bud. There was a bustle
outside, and Mrs. Hudson opened the door to usher in two robust
and official-looking individuals, one of whom was well known
to us as Inspector Gregson of Scotland Yard, an energetic,
gallant, and, within his limitations, a capable officer. He shook
hands with Holmes and introduced his comrade as Inspector
Baynes, of the Surrey Constabulary.
"We are hunting together, Mr. Holmes and our trail lay in
this direction." He turned his bulldog ejes upon our visitor.
"Are you Mr. John Scott Eccles, of Popham House, Lee?"
"We have been following you about all the morning."
"You traced him through the telegram, no doubt," said Holmes.
"Exactly, Mr. Holmes. We picked up the scent at Charing
Cross Post-Office and came on here."
"But why do you follow me? What do you want?"
"We wish a statement, Mr. Scott Eccles, as to the events
which led up to the death last night of Mr. Aloysius Garcia, of
Wisteria Lodge, near Esher."
Our client had sat up with staring eyes and every tinge of
colour struck from his astonished face.
"Dead? Did you say he was dead?"
"Yes, sir, he is dead."
"But how? An accident?"
"Murder, if ever there was one upon earth."
"Good God! This is awful! You don't mean -- you don't mean
that I am suspected?"
"A letter of yours was found in the dead man's pocket, and
we know by it that you had planned to pass last night at his
"So I did."
"Oh, you did, did you?"
Out came the official notebook.
"Wait a bit, Gregson," said Sherlock Holmes. "All you
desire is a plain statement, is it not?"
"And it is my duty to warn Mr. Scott Eccles that it may be
used against him."
"Mr. Eccles was going to tell us about it when you entered
the room. I think, Watson, a brandy and soda would do him no
harm. Now, sir, I suggest that you take no notice of this addition
to your audience, and that you proceed with your narrative
exactly as you would have done had you never been interrupted. "
Our visitor had gulped off the brandy and the colour had
returned to his face. With a dubious glance at the inspector's
notebook, he plunged at once into his extraordinary statement.
"I am a bachelor," said he, "and being of a sociable turn I
cultivate a large number of friends. Among these are the family
of a retired brewer called Melville, living at Albemarle Mansion,
Kensington. It was at his table that I met some weeks ago a
young fellow named Garcia. He was, I understood, of Spanish
descent and connected in some way with the embassy. He spoke
perfect English, was pleasing in his manners, and as good-
looking a man as ever I saw in my life.
"In some way we struck up quite a friendship, this young
fellow and I. He seemed to take a fancy to me from the first, and
within two days of our meeting he came to see me at Lee. One
thing led to another, and it ended in his inviting me out to spend
a few days at his house, Wisteria Lodge, between Esher and
Oxshott. Yesterday evening I went to Esher to fulfil this
"He had described his household to me before I went there.
He lived with a faithful servant, a countryman of his own, who
looked after all his needs. This fellow could speak English and
did his housekeeping for him. Then there was a wonderful cook
he said, a half-breed whom he had picked up in his travels, who
could serve an excellent dinner. I remember that he remarked
what a queer household it was to find in the heart of Surrey, and
that I agreed with him, though it has proved a good deal queerer
than I thought.
"I drove to the place -- about two miles on the south side of
Esher. The house was a fair-sized one, standing back from the
road, with a curving drive which was banked with high ever-
green shrubs. It was an old, tumble-down building in a crazy
state of disrepair. When the trap pulled up on the grass-grown
drive in front of the blotched and weather-stained door, I had
doubts as to my wisdom in visiting a man whom I knew so
slightly. He opened the door himself, however, and greeted me
wlth a great show of cordiality. I was handed over to the
manservant, a melancholy, swarthy individual, who led the way,
my bag in his hand, to my bedroom. The whole place was
depressing. Our dinner was tete-a-tete, and though my host did
his best to be entertaining, his thoughts seemed to continually
wander, and he talked so vaguely and wildly that I could hardly
understand him. He continually drummed his fingers on the
table, gnawed his nails, and gave other signs of nervous impa-
tience. The dinner itself was neither well served nor well cooked,
and the gloomy presence of the taciturn servant did not help to
enliven us. I can assure you that many times in the course of the
evening I wished that I could invent some excuse which would
take me back to Lee.
"One thing comes back to my memory which may have a
bearing upon the business that you two gentlemen are investigat-
ing. I thought nothing of it at the time. Near the end of dinner a
note was handed in by the servant. I noticed that after my host
had read it he seemed even more distrait and strange than before.
He gave up all pretence at conversation and sat, smoking endless
cigarettes, lost in his own thoughts, but he made no remark as to
the contents. About eleven I was glad to go to bed. Some time
later Garcia looked in at my door -- the room was dark at the
time -- and asked me if I had rung. I said that I had not. He
apologized for having disturbed me so late, saying that it was
nearly one o'clock. I dropped off after this and slept soundly all
"And now I come to the amazing part of my tale. When I
woke it was broad daylight. I glanced at my watch, and the time
was nearly nine. I had particularly asked to be called at eight, so
I was very much astonished at this forgetfulness. I sprang up and
rang for the servant. There was no response. I rang again and
again, with the same result. Then I came to the conclusion that
the bell was out of order. I huddled on my clothes and hurried
downstairs in an exceedingly bad temper to order some hot
water. You can imagine my surprise when I found that there was
no one there. I shouted in the hall. There was no answer. Then I
ran from room to room. All were deserted. My host had shown
me which was his bedroom the night before, so I knocked at the
door. No reply. I turned the handle and walked in. The room
was empty, and the bed had never been slept in. He had gone with
the rest. The foreign host, the foreign footman, the foreign cook,
all had vanished in the night! That was the end of my visit to
Sherlock Holmes was rubbing his hands and chuckling as he
added this bizarre incident to his collection of strange episodes.
"Your experience is, so far as I know, perfectly unique," said
he. "May I ask, sir, what you did then?"
"I was furious. My first idea was that I had been the victim of
some absurd practical joke. I packed my things, banged the hall
door behind me, and set off for Esher, with my bag in my hand.
I called at Allan Brothers, the chief land agents in the village,
and found that it was from this firm that the villa had been
rented. It struck me that the whole proceeding could hardly be
for the purpose of making a fool of me, and that the main object
must be to get out of the rent. It is late in March, so quarter-day
is at hand. But this theory would not work. The agent was
obliged to me for my warning, but told me that the rent had been
paid in advance. Then I made my way to town and called at the
Spanish embassy. The man was unknown there. After this I went
to see Melville, at whose house I had first met Garcia, but I
found that he really knew rather less about him than I did.
Finally when I got your reply to my wire I came out to you,
since I gather that you are a person who gives advice in difficult
cases. But now, Mr. Inspector, I understand, from what you said
when you entered the room, that you can carry the story on, and
that some tragedy has occurred. I can assure you that every word
I have said is the truth, and that, outside of what I have told you,
I know absolutely nothing about the fate of this man. My only
desire is to help the law in every possible way."
"I am sure of it, Mr. Scott Eccles -- I am sure of it," said
Inspector Gregson in a very amiable tone. "I am bound to say
that everything which you have said agrees very closely with the
facts as they have come to our notice. For example, there was
that note which arrived during dinner. Did you chance to observe
what became of it?"
"Yes, I did. Garcia rolled it up and threw it into the fire."
"What do you say to that, Mr. Baynes?"
The country detective was a stout, puffy, red man, whose face
was only redeemed from grossness by two extraordinarily bright
eyes, almost hidden behind the heavy creases of cheek and brow.
With a slow smile he drew a folded and discoloured scrap of
paper from his pocket.
"It was a dog-grate, Mr. Holmes, and he overpitched it. I
picked this out unburned from the back of it."
Holmes smiled his appreciation.
"You must have examined the house very carefully to find a
single pellet of paper."
"I did, Mr. Holmes. It's my way. Shall I read it, Mr. Gregson?"
The Londoner nodded.
"The note is written upon ordinary cream-laid paper without
watermark. It is a quarter-sheet. The paper is cut off in two snips
with a short-bladed scissors. It has been folded over three times
and sealed with purple wax, put on hurriedly and pressed down
with some flat oval object. It is addressed to Mr. Garcia, Wiste-
ria Lodge. It says:
"Our own colours, green and white. Green open, white
shut. Main stair, first corridor, seventh right, green baize.
It is a woman's writing, done with a sharp-pointed pen, but the
address is either done with another pen or by someone else. It is
thicker and bolder, as you see."
"A very remarkable note," said Holmes, glancing it over. "I
must compliment you, Mr. Baynes, upon your attention to detail
in your examination of it. A few trifling points might perhaps be
added. The oval seal is undoubtedly a plain sleeve-link -- what
else is of such a shape? The scissors were bent nail scissors.
Short as the two snips are, you can distinctly see the same slight
curve in each."
The country detective chuckled.
"I thought I had squeezed all the juice out of it, but I see there
was a little over," he said. "I'm bound to say that I make
nothing of the note except that there was something on hand, and
that a woman, as usual, was at the bottom of it."
Mr. Scott Eccles had fidgeted in his seat during this conver-
"I am glad you found the note, since it corroborates my
story," said he. "But I beg to point out that I have not yet heard
what has happened to Mr. Garcia, nor what has become of his
"As to Garcia," said Gregson, "that is easily answered. He
was found dead this morning upon Oxshott Common, nearly a
mile from his home. His head had been smashed to pulp by
heavy blows of a sandbag or some such instrument, which had
crushed rather than wounded. It is a lonely corner, and there is
no house within a quarter of a mile of the spot. He had appar-
ently been struck down first from behind, but his assailant had
gone on beating him long after he was dead. It was a most
furious assault. There are no footsteps nor any clue to the
"No, there was no attempt at robbery."
"This lis very painful -- very painful and terrible," said Mr.
Scott Eccles in a querulous voice, "but it is really uncommonly
hard upon me. I had nothing to do with my host going off upon a
nocturnal excursion and meeting so sad an end. How do I come
to be mixled up with the case?"
"Very simply, sir," Inspector Baynes answered. "The only
document found in the pocket of the deceased was a letter from
you saying that you would be with him on the night of his death.
It was the envelope of this letter which gave us the dead man's
name and address. It was after nine this morning when we
reached his house and found neither you nor anyone else inside
it. I wired to Mr. Gregson to run you down in London while I
examined Wisteria Lodge. Then I came into town, joined Mr.
Gregson, and here we are."
"I think now," said Gregson, rising, "we had best put this
matter into an official shape. You will come round with us to the
station, Mr. Scott Eccles, and let us have your statement in
"Certainly, I will come at once. But I retain your services,
Mr. Holmes. I desire you to spare no expense and no pains to get
at the truth."
My friend turned to the country inspector.
"I suppose that you have no objection to my collaborating
with you, Mr. Baynes?"
"Highly honoured, sir, I am sure."
"You appear to have been very prompt and business-like in all
that you have done. Was there any clue, may I ask, as to the
exact hour that the man met his death?"
"He had been there since one o'clock. There was rain about
that time, and his death had certainly been before the rain."
"But that is perfectly impossible, Mr. Baynes," cried our
client. "His voice is unmistakable. I could swear to it that it was
he who addressed me in my bedroom at that very hour."
"Remarkable, but by no means impossible," said Holmes,
"You have a clue?" asked Gregson.
"On the face of it the case is not a very complex one, though
it certainly presents some novel and interesting features. A fur-
ther knowledge of facts is necessary before I would venture to
give a final and definite opinion. By the way, Mr. Baynes, did
you find anything remarkable besides this note in your exami