As he spoke he turned the contents of the wineglass into a
saucer and placed it in front of the terrier, who speedily licked it dry. Sherlock
Holmess earnest demeanour had so far convinced us that we all sat in silence,
watching the animal intently, and expecting some startling effect. None such appeared,
however. The dog continued to lie stretched upon the cushion, breathing in a laboured way,
but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught.
Holmes had taken out his watch, and as minute followed minute
without result, an expression of the utmost chagrin and disappointment appeared upon his
features. He gnawed his lip, drummed his fingers upon the table, and showed every other
symptom of acute impatience. So great was his emotion that I felt sincerely sorry for him,
while the two detectives smiled derisively, by no means displeased at this check which he
It cant be a coincidence, he cried, at last
springing from his chair and pacing wildly up and down the room; it is impossible
that it should be a mere coincidence. The very pills which I suspected in the case of
Drebber are actually found after the death of Stangerson. And yet they are inert. What can
it mean? Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot have been false. It is impossible! And
yet this wretched dog is none the worse. Ah, I have it! I have it! With a perfect
shriek of delight he rushed to the box, cut the other pill in two, dissolved it, added
milk, and presented it to the terrier. The unfortunate creatures tongue seemed
hardly to have been moistened in it before it gave a convulsive shiver in every limb, and
lay as rigid and lifeless as if it had been struck by lightning.
Sherlock Holmes drew a long breath, and wiped the perspiration
from his forehead. I should have more faith, he said; I ought to know by
this time that when a fact appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions, it
invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other interpretation. Of the two pills in
that box, one was of the most deadly poison, and the other was entirely harmless. I ought
to have known that before ever I saw the box at all.
This last statement appeared to me to be so startling that I
could hardly believe that he was in his sober senses. There was the dead dog, however, to
prove that his conjecture had been correct. It seemed to me that the mists in my own mind
were gradually clearing away, and I began to have a dim, vague perception of the truth.
All this seems strange to you, continued Holmes,
because you failed at the beginning of the inquiry to grasp the importance of the
single real clue which was presented to you. I had the good fortune to seize upon that,
and everything  which has
occurred since then has served to confirm my original supposition, and, indeed, was the
logical sequence of it. Hence things which have perplexed you and made the case more
obscure have served to enlighten me and to strengthen my conclusions. It is a mistake to
confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most
mysterious, because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be
drawn. This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to unravel had the body of
the victim been simply found lying in the roadway without any of those outré and
sensational accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. These strange details, far
from making the case more difficult, have really had the effect of making it less
Mr. Gregson, who had listened to this address with
considerable impatience, could contain himself no longer. Look here, Mr. Sherlock
Holmes, he said, we are all ready to acknowledge that you are a smart man, and
that you have your own methods of working. We want something more than mere theory and
preaching now, though. It is a case of taking the man. I have made my case out, and it
seems I was wrong. Young Charpentier could not have been engaged in this second affair.
Lestrade went after his man, Stangerson, and it appears that he was wrong too. You have
thrown out hints here, and hints there, and seem to know more than we do, but the time has
come when we feel that we have a right to ask you straight how much you do know of the
business. Can you name the man who did it?
I cannot help feeling that Gregson is right, sir,
remarked Lestrade. We have both tried, and we have both failed. You have remarked
more than once since I have been in the room that you had all the evidence which you
require. Surely you will not withhold it any longer.
Any delay in arresting the assassin, I observed,
might give him time to perpetrate some fresh atrocity.
Thus pressed by us all, Holmes showed signs of irresolution.
He continued to walk up and down the room with his head sunk on his chest and his brows
drawn down, as was his habit when lost in thought.
There will be no more murders, he said at last,
stopping abruptly and facing us. You can put that consideration out of the question.
You have asked me if I know the name of the assassin. I do. The mere knowing of his name
is a small thing, however, compared with the power of laying our hands upon him. This I
expect very shortly to do. I have good hopes of managing it through my own arrangements;
but it is a thing which needs delicate handling, for we have a shrewd and desperate man to
deal with, who is supported, as I have had occasion to prove, by another who is as clever
as himself. As long as this man has no idea that anyone can have a clue there is some
chance of securing him; but if he had the slightest suspicion, he would change his name,
and vanish in an instant among the four million inhabitants of this great city. Without
meaning to hurt either of your feelings, I am bound to say that I consider these men to be
more than a match for the official force, and that is why I have not asked your
assistance. If I fail, I shall, of course, incur all the blame due to this omission; but
that I am prepared for. At present I am ready to promise that the instant that I can
communicate with you without endangering my own combinations, I shall do so.
Gregson and Lestrade seemed to be far from satisfied by this
assurance, or by the depreciating allusion to the detective police. The former had flushed
up to the roots of his flaxen hair, while the others beady eyes glistened with
curiosity and resentment. Neither of them had time to speak, however, before there was a
tap  at the door, and the
spokesman of the street Arabs, young Wiggins, introduced his insignificant and unsavoury
Please, sir, he said, touching his forelock,
I have the cab downstairs.
Good boy, said Holmes, blandly. Why
dont you introduce this pattern at Scotland Yard? he continued, taking a pair
of steel handcuffs from a drawer. See how beautifully the spring works. They fasten
in an instant.
The old pattern is good enough, remarked Lestrade,
if we can only find the man to put them on.
Very good, very good, said Holmes, smiling.
The cabman may as well help me with my boxes. Just ask him to step up,
I was surprised to find my companion speaking as though he
were about to set out on a journey, since he had not said anything to me about it. There
was a small portmanteau in the room, and this he pulled out and began to strap. He was
busily engaged at it when the cabman entered the room.
Just give me a help with this buckle, cabman, he
said, kneeling over his task, and never turning his head.
The fellow came forward with a somewhat sullen, defiant air,
and put down his hands to assist. At that instant there was a sharp click, the jangling of
metal, and Sherlock Holmes sprang to his feet again.
Gentlemen, he cried, with flashing eyes, let
me introduce you to Mr. Jefferson Hope, the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph
The whole thing occurred in a momentso quickly that I
had no time to realize it. I have a vivid recollection of that instant, of Holmess
triumphant expression and the ring of his voice, of the cabmans dazed, savage face,
as he glared at the glittering handcuffs, which had appeared as if by magic upon his
wrists. For a second or two we might have been a group of statues. Then with an
inarticulate roar of fury, the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmess grasp,
and hurled himself through the window. Woodwork and glass gave way before him; but before
he got quite through, Gregson, Lestrade, and Holmes sprang upon him like so many
staghounds. He was dragged back into the room, and then commenced a terrific conflict. So
powerful and so fierce was he that the four of us were shaken off again and again. He
appeared to have the convulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit. His face and hands
were terribly mangled by his passage through the glass, but loss of blood had no effect in
diminishing his resistance. It was not until Lestrade succeeded in getting his hand inside
his neckcloth and half-strangling him that we made him realize that his struggles were of
no avail; and even then we felt no security until we had pinioned his feet as well as his
hands. That done, we rose to our feet breathless and panting.
We have his cab, said Sherlock Holmes. It
will serve to take him to Scotland Yard. And now, gentlemen, he continued, with a
pleasant smile, we have reached the end of our little mystery. You are very welcome
to put any questions that you like to me now, and there is no danger that I will refuse to