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    “That seems to be all right, Lester,” said Mr. Royce, and handed the papers back to me. “I’ll be mighty glad when we get that off our hands.”

    So, I knew, would the whole force of the office, for the case had been an unusually irritating one, tangling itself up in the most unexpected ways, until, with petitions and counter-petitions and answers and demurrers and what not, we were all heartily tired of it. I slipped the papers into an envelope and shot them into a pigeon-hole with a sigh of relief.

    “I think that’ll end it,” I said. “I don’t see how there can be any further delay.”

    “No,” agreed our junior, “neither do I. Are the papers in the Griffin case ready?”

    “Not yet; I doubt if they will be ready before this afternoon.”

    “Well, they can wait,” he said, and glanced at his watch. “I want to catch the ten-ten for Elizabeth.”

    “For Elizabeth?”

    “Yes. I know it’s a mighty awkward time for me to leave, but it’s an engagement I’ve got to keep. You’ve heard me speak of Burr Curtiss?”

    “Yes,” I said; “I seem to remember the name.”

  • The Hound of the Baskervilles

    Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was a fine, thick piece of wood, bulbous-headed, of the sort which is known as a “Penang lawyer.” Just under the head was a broad silver band nearly an inch across. “To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.,” was engraved upon it, with the date “1884.” It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry—dignified, solid, and reassuring.

    “Well, Watson, what do you make of it?”

  • The Last Stroke

    It was a May morning in Glenville. Pretty, picturesque Glenville, low lying by the lake shore, with the waters of the lake surging to meet it, or coyly receding from it, on the one side, and the green-clad hills rising gradually and gently on the other, ending in a belt of trees at the very horizon’s edge.

    There is little movement in the quiet streets of the town at half-past eight o’clock in the morning, save for the youngsters who, walking, running, leaping, sauntering or waiting idly, one for another, are, or should be, on their way to the school-house which stands upon the very southernmost outskirts of the town, and a little way[Pg 2] up the hilly slope, at a reasonably safe remove from the willow-fringed lake shore.

    The Glenville school-house was one of the earliest public buildings erected in the village, and it had been “located” in what was confidently expected to be the centre of the place. But the new and late-coming impetus, which had changed the hamlet of half a hundred dwellings to one of twenty times that number, and made of it a quiet and not too fashionable little summer resort, had carried the business of the place northward, and its residences still farther north, thus leaving this seat of learning aloof from, and quite above the newer town, in isolated and lofty dignity, surrounded by trees; in the outskirts, in fact, of a second belt of wood, which girdled the lake shore, even as the further and loftier fringe of timber outlined the hilltops at the edge of the eastern horizon and far away.

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles

    The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as “The Styles Case” has now somewhat subsided. Nevertheless, in view of the world-wide notoriety which attended it, I have been asked, both by my friend Poirot and the family themselves, to write an account of the whole story. This, we trust, will effectually silence the sensational rumours which still persist.

    I will therefore briefly set down the circumstances which led to my being connected with the affair.

    I had been invalided home from the Front; and, after spending some months in a rather depressing Convalescent Home, was given a month’s sick leave. Having no near relations or friends, I was trying to make up my mind what to do, when I ran across John Cavendish. I had seen very little of him for some years. Indeed, I had never known him particularly well. He was a good fifteen years my senior, for one thing, though he hardly looked his forty-five years. As a boy, though, I had often stayed at Styles, his mother’s place in Essex.

    We had a good yarn about old times, and it ended in his inviting me down to Styles to spend my leave there.

    “The mater will be delighted to see you again—after all those years,” he added.

    “Your mother keeps well?” I asked.

    “Oh, yes. I suppose you know that she has married again?”

  • The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow by Anna Katharine Green

    The hour of noon had just struck, and the few visitors still lingering among the curiosities of the great museum were suddenly startled by the sight of one of the attendants running down the broad, central staircase, loudly shouting:

    “Close the doors! Let no one out! An accident has occurred, and nobody’s to leave the building.”

    There was but one person near either of the doors, and as he chanced to be a man closely connected with the museum,—being, in fact, one of its most active directors,—he immediately turned about and in obedience to a gesture made by the attendant, ran up the marble steps, followed by some dozen others.

    At the top they all turned, as by common consent, toward the left-hand gallery, where in the section marked II, a tableau greeted them which few of them will ever forget.

  • The Red House Mystery

    In the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon the Red House was taking its siesta. There was a lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms. From distant lawns came the whir of a mowing-machine, that most restful of all country sounds; making ease the sweeter in that it is taken while others are working.

    It was the hour when even those whose business it is to attend to the wants of others have a moment or two for themselves. In the housekeeper’s room Audrey Stevens, the pretty parlour-maid, re-trimmed her best hat, and talked idly to her aunt, the cook-housekeeper of Mr. Mark Ablett’s bachelor home.

    “For Joe?” said Mrs. Stevens placidly, her eye on the hat. Audrey nodded. She took a pin from her mouth, found a place in the hat for it, and said, “He likes a bit of pink.”

    “I don’t say I mind a bit of pink myself,” said her aunt. “Joe Turner isn’t the only one.”

    “It isn’t everybody’s colour,” said Audrey, holding the hat out at arm’s length, and regarding it thoughtfully. “Stylish, isn’t it?”


    Colwyn had never seen anything quite so eccentric in a public room as the behaviour of the young man breakfasting alone at the alcove table in the bay embrasure, and he became so absorbed in watching him that he permitted his own meal to grow cold, impatiently waving away the waiter who sought with obtrusive obsequiousness to recall his wandering attention by thrusting the menu card before him.

    To outward seeming the occupant of the alcove table was a good-looking young man, whose clear blue eyes, tanned skin and well-knit frame indicated the truly national product of common sense, cold water, and out-of-door pursuits; of a wholesomely English if not markedly intellectual type, pleasant to look at, and unmistakably of good birth and breeding. When a young man of this description, your fellow guest at a fashionable seaside hotel, who had been in the habit of giving you a courteous nod on his morning journey across the archipelago of snowy-topped tables under the convoy of the head waiter to his own table, comes in to breakfast with shaking hands, flushed face, and passes your table with unseeing eyes, you would probably conclude that he was under the influence of liquor, and in your English way you would severely blame him, not so much for the moral turpitude involved in his excess as for the bad taste, which prompted him to show himself in public in such a condition. If, on reaching his place, the young man’s conduct took the additional extravagant form of picking up a table-knife and sticking it into the table in front of him, you would probably enlarge your previous conclusion by admitting the hypotheses of drugs or dementia to account for such remarkable behaviour.

  • Trent’s Last Case

    Between what matters and what seems to matter, how should the world we know judge wisely?

    When the scheming, indomitable brain of Sigsbee Manderson was scattered by a shot from an unknown hand, that world lost nothing worth a single tear; it gained something memorable in a harsh reminder of the vanity of such wealth as this dead man had piled up—without making one loyal friend to mourn him, without doing an act that could help his memory to the least honour. But when the news of his end came, it seemed to those living in the great vortices of business as if the earth too shuddered under a blow.