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About The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current | View Entire Issue (March 5, 1905)
KTE BPjfDAY- 0BEG0KIA2?, POBTUANK, MiECH S, 1903.
e Adventures of the Sol- 1 Ppl
ary Cyclist j fSPIW
FROM the years 1894 to 1901 Inclusive.
Mr. Sherlock Holmes was a very
busy man. It Is safe to say that
there was no public case of any difficulty
in which he -was not consulted during
those etebt years, and there -were hun
dreds o-t private cases, some of them of
the most Intricate and extraordinary
character, Jn -which he played a prominent
part Many startling successes and a few
unavoidable failures were the outcome of
this long period of continuous work. As
I have preserved very full notes of all
these cases, and -tvas myself personally
engaged In many of them, it may be Im
agined that it is no easy task to know
whicji I should select to lay before the
public. I shall, however, preserve my
former rule, and give the preference to
those cases which derive their Interest
not so much from the brutality of thej
crime as from the ingenuity and dramatic
quality of the solution. For this reason I
will now lay before the reader the facts
connected with Miss Violet Smith, tha
eolitary cyclist of Charlington. and tha
curious sequel of our investigation, -which
culminated in unexpected tragedy. It is
true that the circumstances did not admit
of any striking illustration of those
powers for which my friend was famous,
ibut there -were some points about the
case which made it stand out in those
Jong records of crime from which I gather
the material for these little narratives.
On referring to my notebopk for the
year 1S&5, I find that it was upon Satur
day, the 23d of April, that we flrst heard
of Miss Violet Smith. Her visit was, I
remember, extremely unwelcome to
( Holmes, for he was immersed at the mo
ment in a very abstruse and complicated
problem concerning the peculiar persecu
tion to which John Vincent Harden, the
well-known tobacco millionaire had been
subjected. My friend, who. loved above all
things precision and concentration of
thought, resented anything, which dis
tracted his attention from the matter in
hand. And yet, -without a harshness
which was foreign to his nature. It was
Impossible to refuse to listen to the story
of the young and beautiful woman, tall,
graceful and queenly, who presented her
self at Baker street late in the evening
and implored his assistance and advice.
It was vain to urge that his time was
already fully occupied, for the young lady
had come with the determination to tell
her story, and it was evident that noth
ing short of force could get her out of the
room until she had done so. Wftth a re
signed air and a somewhat wean- smile !
Holmes begged the beautiful intruder to
take a seat, and to inform us -what it was
that was troubling her.
. "At least It cannot be your health."
Bald he, as his keen eyes darted over her,
"so ardent a bicyclist must be full of
She glanced down In surprise at her
own feet, and I observed the slight rough
ening of the side of the sole caused, by
the friction of the edge of the pedal.
"Yes. I bicycle a good deal. Mr. Holmes,
and that has something to do with my
Visit to you today."
My friend took the lady's ungloved
hand and examined It with as close an
attention and as little sentiment as a
scientist would show to a specimen.
"You will excuse me, I am sure. It is
my business," said he, as he dropped it.
"I nearly fell into the error of supposing
that you were typewriting. Of course, it
5s obvious that it is music You observe
-the spatulate finger-ends. Watson, which
Is common to both professions? There is
a spirituality about the face, however "
she gently turned it toward the light
"which the typewriter does not generate.
This lady Is a musician."
"Yes, Mr. Holmes, I teach music."
"In the country, I presume, from your
"Yes, sir. near Farnham, on the borders
"A beautiful neighborhood, and full of
(the most interesting associations. You
remember, Watson, that It was near there
that we took Archie Stamford, the forg
er. Now, Miss Violet, what has happened
to you, near Farnham, on the borders of
The young lady, with great clearness
and composure, made the following cu
"My father is dead. Mr. Holmes. He
was James Smith, -who conducted the or
chestra at the old Imperial Theater. My
mother and I were left without a relation
In the world except one uncle. Ralph
Bmlth, who went to Africa 25 years ago,
and we have never had a word from him
Since. When father died we were left very
(poor, but one day we were told that there
was an advertisement In the Times in
quiring for our whereabouts. You can
Imagine how excited we were, for we
thought that some one had left us a for
tune. We went at once to the lawyer
whose name was given in the paper.
There we met two gentlemen, Mr. Car
ruthers and Mr. Woodley, who were home
on a visit from South Africa. They said
that my uncle was a friend of theirs,
that he had died some months before
in great poverty in Johannesburg, and
that he had asked them with his last j
breath to hunt up his relations and see
that they were in no want. It seemed
otrange to us that Uncle Ralph, who
took no notice of us when he was alive,
ehould be so careful to look after us
when he was dead, but Mr. Carrutbers
explained that the reason was that my
uncle had Just heard of the death of his
brother, and so felt responsible for our
"Excuse me," said Holmes. "When was
"Liast December four months ago."
"Mr. Woodley seemed to me to be a
most odious person. He was forever
making eyes at me a coarse, puffy-faced,
red-mustached young man. with his hair
plastered down on each side of his fore
head. I thought that he was perfectly
hateful and I was sure that Cyril would
ao t wish me to know such a person."
"Oh, Cyril is his name!" said Holmes,
The young lady blushed and laughed.
"Yes, Mr. Holmes. Cyril Morton, an
electrical engineer, and we hope to bo
married at the end of the Summer. Dear
me, how did I get talking about him?
What I wished to say was that Mr
Woodley was perfectly odious, but that
Sir. Carruthers, who was a much older
man, was more agreeable. He was a
dark, sallow, clean-shaven, silent person.
but he had polite manners and a pleasant
cmlle. He inquired how we were left
and on finding that we were very poor, J
he suggested that I should come and 1
teach music to his only daughter, aged 10.
I said that I did not like to leave my
another, on which he suggested that I
should go home to her every week-end,
and he offered me a hundred a year, which
was certainly splendid pay. So it ended, by
my accepting, and I went down to Chlltern
Grange, about six miles from Farn
ham. Mr. Carruthers was a widower, but i
he had engaged a lady housekeeper, a
yery respectable, elderly person, called
3Irs. Dixon, to look after his establish
ment. The child was a dear, and every
thing promised welL Mr. Carruthers was
very kind and very musical, and we had
most pleasant evenings together. Every
week-end I went home to my mother in
"The first flaw in my happiness was the
arrival of the red-moustacbed Mr. Wood
ley. , He cam for a visit of a week, and
oh! 'it teemed three months to sae' He
was a deadful person a bully to everyone
else, but to me something infinitely worse.
He made odious love to me, boasted of
his wealth, said that if I married him
I could have the finest diamonds In Lon
don, and finally when I would have noth
ing to do with him., he seized me in Ills
arms one day after dinner he was hide
ously strong and swore that he would
not let me go until I had kissed him. Mr.
Carruthers came in and tore him from
me. on which he turned upon his own
host, knocking him down and cutting his
face open. That was the end of his visit
as you can imagine. Mr. Carruthers apol
ogized to me next day, and assured me
that I ehould never be exposed to such
an insult again. I have not seen Mr.
And now, Mr. Holmes. I come at last
to the special thing which has caused me
to ask your advice today. You must
know that every Saturday forenoon I ride
on my bicycle to Farnham Station, in or
der to get the 12:22 to town. The road
from Chlltern Grange Is a lonely one. and
at one spot it is particularly so, for It
lies for over a mile between Charlington
Heath upon one side and the woods which
He round Charlington Hall upon the oth
er. You could not And a more lonely tract
of road anywhere, and it is quite rare
to meet so much as a cart, or a peasant,
until you reach the high road, near
Crooksbury hill. Two weeks ago I was
passing this place, when I chanced to
look back over my shoulder, and about
200 yards behind me I saw a man, also
on a bicycle. He seemed to be a middle
aged man, with a short dark beard. I
looked back before I reached Farnham,
but the man was gone, so I thought no
more about it But you can imagine how
surprised I was. Mr. Holmes, when, on
my return on the Monday. I saw the same
man on the same stretch of road. My
astonishment was increased when the in
cident occurred again, exactly as before,
on the following Saturday and Monday.
He always kept his distance and did not
molest me in any way. but still It cer
tainly was very odd. I mentioned It to
Mr. Carruthers. who seemed Interested
in what I said, and told me that he
had ordered a horse and trap, so that in
future I should not pass over these lonely
roads without some companion.
"The horse and trap were to have come
this week, but for some reason they were
not delivered, and again I had to cycle
to the station. That was this morning.
You can think that 1 looked out when I
came to Charlington Heath, and there,
sure enough, was the man, exactly as
he had been the two weeks before. He
always kept so far from me that I could
not clearly see his face, but it was cer
tainly someone whom I did not know.
He was dressed in a dark suit with a
cloth cap. The only thing about his face
"IT WAS A STRAIGHT JJEFT AGAINST X SXOGGIXG
Jjmi MJ-1. mm A.i,LlP.. ..jL.t...l..yB.iJ.'".i'"
that I could clearly see was his dark
beard. Today I was not alarmed, but I
was filled with curiosity, and 1 deter
mined to find out who he was and what
he wanted. I slowed down my machine,
but he slowed down his. Then I stopped
altogether, but he stopped also. Then
1 laid a trap for him. There
Is a sharp turning of the road,
and I pedaled verr culckly round
this, and then I -stopped and waited. I
expected blm to shoot round and pass
me before he could stop. But he never
appeared. Then I went back and looked
round the corner. 1 could see a mile of
road, but he was not on It. To make it
the more 'extraordinary, there was no
side road at this point down which he
could have' gone."
Holmes chuckled and rubbed his hands.
"This case certainly presents some feat
ures of its. own," said he. "How much
time elapsed between -your turning the
corner and your discovery that the road
"Two or three minutes."
"Then he could not have retreated down
the road, and you say that there are no
Then he certainly took a footpatn on
one -side or the other."
"It could not have been on the side
of the heath, or I should have seen him."
"So, by the process of- exclusion we ar
rive at the fact tha't he made his way
toward Charlington Hall, which, as I un
derstand, is situated in 'its own grounds
on one side of the road. Anything elso?"
"Nothing, Mr. Holmes, save that I was
so perplexed that I felt I should not be
happy until I had seen you and had your
Holmes sat in silence for some time.
"Where is the gentleman to whom you
are engaged?" he asked at last
"He Is in the Midland Electrical Com
pany, at Coventry."
"Ho would not pay you a surprise
"Oh, Mr. Holmes! As If I should not
"Have you had any 'other admirers?"
""Several before I knew Cyril.".
"There was this dreadful man. Wood
ley. If you can call him an admirer.'.'
"No one else?"
Our fair client seemed a lltlte confused.
"Who was her asked Holmes.
"Oh, it may be a mere fancy of mine:
but it had seemed to me sometimes that
my employer, Mr. Carruthers, takes a
great deal of Interest in me. We are
thrown rather together. I play his ac
companiments in the evening. He nas
never said anything. He is a perfect
gentleman. But a girl always knows."
"Ha!" Holmes looked grave. "What
does he do for a living?"
"He Is a rich man."
"No carriages or horses?"
"Well, at least, he Is fairly well-tp-do.
But he goes Into the city two or three
times a week. He is deeply interesetd
in South African gold shares."
"You will let me know any fresh de
velopment Miss Smith. I am very busy
Just now, but I will find time to make
some inquiries into your case, in the
meantime, take no step without letting
me know. Good-bye. and I trust that we
shall have nothing but good news- from
"It is part of the settled order of Na
ture that such a girl should have follow
ers," said Holmes, as he pulled at bis
meditative pipe, "but for choice not on
bicycles In lonely country roads. Some
secretive lover, beyond all doubt But
there are curious and suggestive details
about the case, Watson."
"That he should appear only at that
"Exactly; Our first effort must be to
find who are the tenants of Charlington
Hall. Then, again, how about the con-,
nectlon between Carruthers and Woodley.
since they appear to be men of such a
different type? How came they both to
be so keen upon looking up Ralph Smith's
relations? One more point What sort
of a menage is It. which pays double the
market price for , a governess, but does
not keep a horse, although six miles from
the station? Odd, Watson very odd!"
"You will go down?"
"No, my dear fellow, you will go
down. This may be some trifling intrigue, I
and I cannot break my other important
research for the sake ot it On Monday
you will arrive early at Farnham: you
will cqneeal yourself near Charlington
Heath; you will observe these facts for
yourself, and act as your own Judgment
advises. Then, having inquired as to the
occupants of the Hall, you will come back
to me and. Teport And now, Watson, not
another word of. the matter until we have
a few solid stepping-stones on which we
may hope to get across to our solution."
Wo had ascertained from the lady that
she went down upon the Monday by the
train which leaves Waterloo at 9:50, so
I started early and caught the 9:13. At
Farnham Station I had no difficulty in
being directed to Charlington Heath, It
was impossible to mistake the scene of
the young lady's adventure, for the road
runs between the open heath on one side
and an old yew. hedge upon the other,
surrounding a part which is studded with
magnificent trees. There was a main
gateway of lichen-studded stone, each
side pillar surmounted by moldering
heraldic emblems, but besides this cen
tral carriage drive I observed several
points where there were gaps In the
hedge, and paths leading through them.
The house was invisible from the road,
but the surroundings all spoke of gloom
The heath was covered with golden
patches of flowering gprse.' gleaming mag
nificently in the .light of the bright Spring
sunshine. Behind one of these clumps I
took np my position, so as to command
both the gateway of the Hall and a long
stretch of the road upon either side.
It had been deserted when I left It but
now I saw a cyclist riding down it from
tho opposite direction to that in which
I had come. He was clad in a dark suit,
and I saw that he had a black beard.
On reaching tho end of the Charlington
grounds, he sprang from his machine and
led It through a gap In the hedge, dis
appearing from my view.
A quarter of an hour passed, and then
a second cyclist appeared. This time it
was the young lady coming from the
station. I saw her look about her as she
came to the Charlington hedge. An in
stant later the man emerged from his
hiding-place, sprang upon his cycle, and
followed her. In all the broad landscape
those were the only moving figures, the
graceful girl sitting very straight upon
her machine, and the man behind her
bending low over his handle-bar with a'
curiously furtive suggestion In every
movement. She looked back at him and
slowed her pace. He slowed also. She
stopped. He at once stopped, too, keep
ing 200 yards behind her. Her next move
ment was as unexpected as it was spir
ited. She suddenly whisked her wheels
round and dashed straight at him. He
was as quick as she. however, and darted
off in desperate flight. Presently she
came back up the road again, her head
haughtily in the air, not deigning to take
any further notice of her silent attendant
He had turned also, and still kept his
distance until the curve of the road hid
them from my Bight
I remained in my hiding-place, and it
wa3 well that I did so, for presently the
man reappeared, cycling slowly back. He
turned in at the Hall gates, and dis
mounted from his machine. For some
minutes I could see blm standing among
the trees. His bands were raised, and
he seemed to be settling his necktie.
Then he mounted his cycle, and rode
away from me down the drive towards
the hall. J ran across the heath and
peered through the trees. Far away I
could catch glimpses of the old gray
building with Its bristling Tudor chim
neys, but the drive ran through a dense
shrubbery, and I saw no more of my
However, it seemed to me that I had
done a fairly good morning's work, and
I walked back In high spirits to Farn
ham. The local house agent could tell
roe nothing about Charlington Hall, and
referred me' to a well-known firm -in Pall
Mall. There I halted on my way home,
and met" with courtesy from the "repre
sentative. No. I could not have-Charllng-ton
Hall for the Summer. I was Just too
late. It had been let about a month ago.
Mr. Williamson was the name of the ten
ant He was a respectable, elderly gen
tleman. The polite agent was afraid he
could say no more, as the affairs of his
clients were not matters which he could
Mr. Sherlock Holmes listened with at
tention to the long report which I wa3
able to present to blm that evening, but
it did not elicit that word of curt praise
which I had hoped for, and should have
valued. On the contrary, his austere face
was even more severe than usual as he
commented upon the things that I had
done and the things that I had not
"Your hiding-place, my dear Watson,
was very faulty. You should have been
. MISS VIOLET SMITH,
behind the hedge, then you would have
had a close view" of this -interesting per
son. As it is, you were some hundreds
of yards away, and can tell me even less
than Miss Smith. She thinks she does
not know the man; I am convinced she
does. Why, otherwise, should he be -so
desperately anxious that she should not
get so near him as to see his features?
You describe him as bending over the
handle-bar. Concealment again, you see.
You really have done remarkably badly.
He returns to the house, and you want to
And out who he Is. You come to a Lon
don house agent!"
"What should I have done?" I cried,
with some heat
"Cone to the nearest public-house.
That is the center of country gossip.
They would have told you every name,
from the master to the scullery maid.
Williamson? It conveys nothing to my
mind. If he is an elderly man he is not
this active cyclist who sprints away
from that young lady's athletic pursuit
What have we gained by your expedition?
The knowledge that the girl's story is
true. I never doubted It That there Is
a connection between the cyclist and the
Hall. I never doubted that either. That
the Hall is tenanted by Williamson.
Who's the better for that Well, well, my
dear sir, don't look so depressed. We
can do little more until next Saturday,
and in the meantime I may make one
or two inquiries myself."
Next morning, we had a note from Miss
Smith, recounting shortly and accurately
the very incidents which I had seen, but
the pith ot the letter lay in the post
script: "I am sure that you will respect my
confidence, Mr. Holmes, when I tell you
that my place here has become difficult,
owing to the fact that my employer has
proposed marriage to me. I am convinced
that his feelings are most deep and most
honorable. At the same time, my prom
ise la of course given. He took my re
fusal very seriously, but also very gent
ly. You can understand, however, that
the situation is a little strained."
"Our young friend seems to be getting
into deep waters," said Holmes, thought
fully, as he finished the letter. "The
case certainly presents more features of
Interest and more possibility of develop
ment than I had originally thought I
should be none the worse for a quiet
peaceful day in the country, and I am in
clined to run down this afternoon and
test one or two theories which I have
Holmes' quiet day In the country had a
singular termination, for he arrived at
Baker street late in the evening, with a
cut lip and a discolored lump upon his
forehead, besides a general air of dissi
pation which would have made his own
person the fitting object of a Scotland
Yard investigation. He was immensely'
tickled by hl3 own .adventures, and
laughed heartily as he recounted them.
"I get so little active exercise that It
is always a treat," said he. "You: are
aware that I nave some proficiency In the
good old British sport of boxing. Occa
sionally, it Is of service; today, for ex
ample, I should have come to very ig
nominious grief without it"
I begged him to tell me what had oc
curred. "I found that country pub which I had
already recommended to your notice, and
there I made my discreet inquiries. I
was in the bar, and a garrulous landlord
was giving- me all that I wanted. Wil
liamson la a white-bearded man, and he
lives alone with a small staff of ser
vants at the Hall. There Is some rumor
that he Is or has been a clergyman, but
one or two incidents of bis short residence
at the Hall struck me as peculiarly unec-cleslastlcal-
I have already made some
inquiries at a clerical agency and they
tell me that there was a man of that
name in orders, whose career haa been a
singularly dark one. The landlord fur
ther infnrmfld. ma that there ant usually.
week-end visitors a warm lot sir at
the hall, and especially one gentleman
with a red mustache. Mr. Woodley by
nam, who was always there. We had
got as far as this, when who should walk
In but the gentleman hjmself. who had
been drinking his beer In the taproom and
had heard the whole conversation. Who
was I? What did I want? What did I
mean by asking- questions? He had a
fine flow of language, and his adjectives
were, very vigorous. He ended a string of
abuse by a vicious back-hander. which I
failed to entirely; avoid. The next few
minutes were delicious. It was a straight
left against a slogging ruffian. I emerged
as you see me. Mr. Woodley went home
in a cart So ended my country trip,
and It must be confessed that however
enjoyable, my day on the Surrey border
has not been much more profitable than
The Thursday brought us another letter
from our client
"You will not be surprised, Mr.
Holrae3," said she, "to hear that I am
leaving Mr. Caruthers" employment Even
the high pay cannot reconcile me to the
discomforts of my situation. On Satur-
T1U.C11ER. OF MUSIC.
day I came up to town, and I do not In
tend to return. Mr. Carruthers has got
a trap, and so the dangers of the lonely
road. If there ever were any dangers, are
"As to the special cause of my leaving.
it Is not merely the strained situation
with Mr. Carruthers. but It is the reap
pearance of that odious man, Mr. Wood
ley. He was always hideous, but he
looks more awful than ever now, for he
appears to lyive been an accident, and he
is much disfigured. I saw him out of
the window, but I am glad to say I did
not meet him. He had a long talk with
Mr. Carruthers. who seemed much excited
afterward. Woodley must be staying in
the neighborhood, for he did not sleep
here, and yet I caught a glimpse of him
again this morning, slinking about In
the shrubbery. I would sooner have a
savage wild animal loose about the place.
I loathe and fear him more than I can
say. How can Mr. Carruthers endure
I Vver, all my troubles will be over on Sat
"3o I trust. Watson, so I trust." said
Holmes, gravely. "There 13 some deep
intrigue going on round that little wom
an, and it is our duty to see that no one
molests her upon that last Journey. I
think, Watson, that we must spare time
to run down together on Saturday morn
ing, and make sure that this curious and
Inclusive investigation has no untoward
I confess that I had not up to now
taken a very serious view of the case,
wuicii iiiiu KCKiuau iu me rawer grotesque
and bizarre than dangerous. That a man
should lie in wait for and follow a very
handsome woman is no unheard-of thing,
and if he has so little audacity that he
not only dared not address her, but even
fled from her approach, he was not a
very formidable assailant The ruffian
Woodley was a very different person,
but, except on one occasion, he had not
molested our client and now he visited
the house of Carruthers without Intruding
upon her presence. The man on the
bicycle was doubtless a member of those
week-end parties at the Hall of which
the publican had spoken, but who he was.
or what he wanted, was as obscure as
ever. It was the severity of Holmes'
manner, and the fact that he slipped a
revolver into his pocket before leaving
our rooms which impressed me with the
feeling that tragedy might prove to lurk
behind this curious train of events.
A rainy night had been followed by
a glorious morning, and the heath-covered
country-side, with the glowing
clumps of flowering gorse. seemed all the
more beautiful to eyes-which were weary
of the duns and drabs and slate-grays of
London- Holroe3 and I walked along the
broad, sandy road inhaling the fresh
morning- air, and rejoicing in the music
of the birds and the fresh breath of the
Spring. From a rise of the road on the
shoulder of Crooksbury Hill we could see
the grim Hall bristling out from amidst
the ancient oaks, which, old as they
were, were still younger than the build
ing which they surrounded. Holmes
pointed down the long tract of road which
wound, a reddish-yellow band, between
the brown or the heath and the budding
green of the woods. Far away, a black
dot, we could see a vehicle moving in
our direction. Holmes gave an exclama
tion of impatience.
"I have .given a margin of half an
hour," said he. "If that is her trap, she
must be making for the earlier train. I
fear. Watson, that she will be past
Charlington before we can possibly meet
From the instant that we passed the.
rise, we could 'no longer see the vehicle,
but we hastened onwards at such a pace
that my sedentary life began to tell upon
me, and I was compelled to fall behind.
Holmes, however, was always in train
ing, for he had Inexhaustible stores of
nervous energy upoa.whlch to draw. His
springy step never sIowed'untiTsuddcnly,
when he was a hundred yards in front of
me, he halted, and I saw him throw up
his hand with a gesturo of grief and de
spair. At the same instant an empty
dog-cart, the horse cantering, the reins
trailing, appeared round tho curve of
the road and rattled swiftly toward us.
"Too late, Watson, too late!" cried
Holmes, as I ran panting to his side.
"Fool that I was. not to allow for that
earlier train! It's abduction. Watson
abduction! Murder! Heaven knows
what! Block the road! Stop the horse!
That's right Now, Jump In and let us see
if I can repair the consequences of my
We had sprung Into the dog-cart and
Holmes, after turning the horse, gave It
a sharp cut with the whip, and we flew
back along the road. As we turned the
curve, the whole stretch of road between
the Hall and the heath was opened up. I
grasped Holmes' arm.
"That's the man!" I gasped.
A solitary cyclist was coming towards
us. His head was down and his shoul
ders rounded, as ho put every ounce of
energy that he possessed onto the ped
als. He was flying like a racer. Sud
denly he raised his bearded face, saw
us close to him.' and pulled np. springing
from his machine. That coal-black beard
was In singular contrast to tho pallor of
his face, and his eyes were as bright as
if he had a fever. He stared at us and at
the dogcart Then a look ot amazement
came over his face.
"Halloa! Stop there!" he shouted, hold
ing his bicycle to block our road. "Where
did you get that dogcart? Pull up, man!"
he yelled, drawing a pistol from his side
pocket "Pull up. I say. or, by George,
I'll put a bullet Into your horse.
Holmes threw the reins into my lap,
and sprang down from the cart.
"You're the man we want to see. Where
Is Miss Violet Smith?" he said. In hi3
quick, clear way.
"That's what I'm asking you. You're
In her dogcart You ought to know where
"We met the dogcart on the road. There
was no one In it We drove back to
help the young lady." '
"Good Lord! Good Lord! what shall I
do?" cried the stranger, in an ecstasy ot
despair. "They've got her. that hellhound-
Woodley and the blackguard par
son. Come, man. come. If you really are
her friend. Stand by me and we'll save
her. if I have to leave my carcass In
He ran distractedly, his pistol in his
hand, towards a gap in the hedge. Holmes
followed him. and I. leaving the horse
grazing beside the road, followed Holme.".
"This is where they came through."
said he, pointing to the marks of several
feet upon the muddy path. "Halloa! Stop
a minute! Who's this in the bush?"
It was a young fellow about 17, dressed
like an ostler, with leather cords and
gaiters. He lay upon his back, his knees
drawn up, a terrible cut upon his head.
He was insensible, but alive. A glance at
his wound told me that it had not pene
trated the bone.
"That's Peter, the groom," cried the
stranger. "He drove her. The beasts
have pulled him off and clubbed him.
Let him He; we can't do him any good,
but we may save her from the worst fate
that can befall a woman."
We ran frantically down the path,
which wound among the trees. We had
reached tho shrubbery which surrounded
the house when Holmes pulled up.
"They didnt go to the house. Here
are their marks on the left here, beside
the laurel busbes. Ah! I said eo."
As he spoke, a woman's shrill scream
a scream which vibrated with a frenzy
of horror burst from the thick green
clump of bushes !n front of us. It ended
suddenly on Its highest note with a choke
and a gurgle.
"This way! This way! They are in the
bowling alley," cried the stranger, dart
ing through the bushes. "Ah. the cow
ardly dogs! Follow me. gentlemen! Too
late! too late! by the living Jingo!"
We had broken suddenly into a lovely
glade of greensward surrounded by -an-,
cient trees. On the farther side of It,
under the shadow of a mighty oak, there
stood a singular group of three people.
One was a woman, our client, drooping
and faint a handkerchief round her
mouth. Opposite her stood a brutal,
heavy-faced, red-moustached young man,
his galtered legs parted- wide, one arm
akimbo, the other waving a riding, crop,
his whole attitude suggestive of triumph
ant bravado. Between- them an elderly,
gray-bearded man, wearing a short sur
plice over a light tweed suit had evident
ly Just completed the wedding service, for
he pocketed his prayerbook as we ap
peared, and slapped , the sinister bride
groom upon the back" in Jovial congratu
lation. "Theyre married!" I gasped.
"Come on!" cried our guide; "come on!"
He rushed across the glade. Holmes and
I at his heels. As we approached, the
lady staggered against the trunk of the
tree for support Williamson, the ex
clergyman, bowed to us with mock polite
ness, and the bully, Woodley. advanced
with a shout of brutal and exultant
"You can take your beard off, jBob."
said he. "I know you, right enough.
Well, you. and your pals have Just come
in time for me to be able to introduce
you to Mrs. Woodley."
Our guide's answer was a singular one.
He snatched off the dark beard which had
disguised him and threw it on the ground,
disclosing a long, sallow, clean-shaven
face below it Then he raised his re
volver and covered the young ruffian, who
was advancing upon him with his dan
gerous riding-crop swinging in his hand.
"Yes." said our ally, 'I am Bob Car
ruthers. and I'll see this woman righted,
if I have to swing for it I told you
what I'd do if you molested her, and, by
the Lord! I'll be as good as my word."
"You're too late. She's my wife."
"No. she's your widow."
His revolver cracked, and I saw the
blood spurt from the front of Woodley's
waistcoat He spun round with a scream
and fell upon his back, his hideous red
face turning suddenly to a drc'adful mot
tled pallor. The old man. still clad In
his surplice, burst into such a string of
foul oaths as I have never heard, and
pulled out a revolver of his own, but. be
fore he could raise It he was looking
down the barrel of Holmes weapon.
"Enough of this." said my friend, cold
ly. "Drop that pistol! Watson, pick It!
up! Hold It to his head! Thank you. You,
Carruthers, give me that revolver. We'll
have no more violence. Come, hand it
"Who are you, then?"
"My name Is Sherlock Holmes."
"You have heard of me, I see. I will
represent the official police until their ar
rivaL Here you!" he shouted to a fright
ened groom, who had appeared at the
edge of the glade. "Come here. Take
this note, as hard as you can ride, to
Farnham." He scribbled a few words upon
a leaf from hia notebook. "Give It to
the superintendent at the police station.
Until he comes I must detain you all
under by personal custody."
The strong, masterful personality of
Holmes dominated the tragic scene, and
all were equally puppets in his hands.
Williamson and Carruthers found them
selves carrying the wounded Woodley Into
the house, and I gave my arm to the
frightened girl. The injured man was laid
on his bed, and at Holmes' request I
examined him. I carried my report to
where he sat In the old tapestry-hung
dining-room with his two prisoners be
"He will live." said I.
"What!" cried Carruthers, springing out
of his chair. 'Til go upstairs and finish
him flrst Do you tell me that that, girl,
that angel, is to be tied to Roaring Jack
Woodley for life?"
"You need not concern yourself
about that" saidHolmes. "There are
two very good reasons why she should,
under no circumstances be his wife.
In the flrst place, we arc very safe In,
questioning" Mr. Wiliamson's right, to
solemnize a. marriage."
T have been ordained," cried the old
(Concluded pa Paa 13.