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Exploits of Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
Being a Graphic Account of the Cunning Theft of a Part of the Famous Beryl Coronet and the Apprehension of the Clever Thief and the Quick Recovery of the Stolen Gems.
OLMES," said I, ns.I stood one morning In our bow-window,
looking down the street, "here Is a madman coming along.
It seems rather sad that his relatives should allow him to
come out alone."
My friend rose lazily from his armchair and stood with his
hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown, looking over my shoulder.
It was a bright, crisp February morning, and the snow of the day
before still lay deep upon the ground, shimmering brightly In the
wintry sun. Down the center of Baker street It had been ploughed
Into a brown, crumbly band by the traffic, but at either side and on
the heaped-up edges of the footpaths it Ft ill lay as white as when it
fell. The gray pavement had been cleaned and scraped, but was
still dangerously slippery, so that there were fewer passengers than
usual. Indeed, from the direction of the Metropolitan Station no
one was coming save the single gentleman whose eccentric conduct
bad drawn my attention.
He was a man of about 60, tall, portly and Imposing, with a
massive, strongly marked face and a commanding figure. He was
dressed In a somber yet rich style in black frock coat, shining hat,
neat brown gaiters and well-cut pearl-gray trousers. Yet his actions
were In absurd contrast to the dignity of his dress and features, for
he was running hard, with occasional little springs such as a weary
man gives who Is little accustomed to set any tax upon his legs. As
he ran he Jerked his hands up and down, waggled his head and
writhed his face Into the most extraordinary contortions.
"What on earth can be the matter with him?" I asked. "He
Is looking up at the numbers of the houses."
"I believe that he is coming here," said Holmes, rubbing his
"Yes; I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally.
I think that I recognize the symptoms. Ha! Did I not tell you?"
As he spoke the man, puffing and blowing, rushed at our door and
pulled at our bell until the whole house resounded with the clanging.
A few moments later he was In our room, still puffing, still ges
ticulating, but with so fixed a look of grief and despair in his eyes
that our smiles were turned In an Instant to horror and pity. For
a while he could not get his words out, but swayed his body and
plucked at his hair like one who has been driven to the extreme
limits of his reason. Then, suddenly springing to his feet, he beat
his head against the wall with such force that we both rushed upon
him and tore him away to the center of the room. Sherlock Holmes
pushed him down Into an easy chair, and, sitting beside him, patted
his hand and chatted with him In the easy, soothing tones which he
knew bo well how to employ.
"You have come to me to tell your story, have you not?" said
he. "You are fatigued with your haste. Pray wait until you have
recovered yourself, and then I shall be most happy to look Into any
little problem which you may submit to me."
The man Bat for a minute or more with a heaving chest, fight
ing against his emotion. Then he passed his handkerchief over his
brow, set his Hps tight and turned his face toward us.
"No doubt you think me mad?" said he.
"I see that you have had some great trouble," responded
"God knows I have! a trouble which is enough to unseat my
reason, so sudden and bo terrible Is It. Public disgrace I might
have faced, although I am a man whose character has never yet -borne
a stain. Private affliction also is the lot of every man; but
the two coming together and in so frightful a form have been; enough
to shake my very soul. Besides, it is not I alone. The very
noblest in the land may suffer unless some way be found out of this
"Pray compose yourself, sir," said Holmes, "and let me have
a clear account of who you are and what It is that has befallen you."
"My name," answered our visitor, "Is probably familiar to your
ears. I am Alexander Holder of the banking firm of Holder &
Stevenson of Threadneedle street."
The name was Indeed well known to us as belonging to the
Benior partner in the second largest private banking concern in the
city of London. What could have happened, then, to bring one of
the foremost citizens of London to this most pitiable pass? We
waited, all curiosity, until, with another effort, he braced himself
to tell his story.
"I feel that time Is of value," said he; "thai is why I hastened
here when the police inspector suggested that I Bhould secure your
co-operation. I came to Baker street by the Underground, and hur
ried from there on foot, for the cabs go' slowly through the snow.
That is why I was so out of breath, for I am a man who takes very
little exercise. I feel better now, and I will put the facts before
you as shortly and yet as clearly as I can.
"It is, of course, well known to you that in a successful banking
business as much depends upon our being able to find remunerative
investments for our funds as upon our increasing our connection
and the number of our depositors. One of our most lucrative means
of laying out money is in the shape of loans where the security is
unimpeachable. We have done a good deal in this direction during
the last few years, and there are many-Aioble families to whom we
have advanced large sums upon the security of their pictures,
libraries or plate.
"Yesterday morning I was seated in my office at the bank when
a card was brought in to me by one of the clerks. I started when
I saw the name, for it was that of none other than well, perhaps
even to you I had better say no more than that it was a name which
is a household word all over the earth one of the highest, noblest,
most exalted names in England. I was overwhelmed by the honor,
and attempted, when he entered, to say so, but he plunged at once
Into business with the air of a man who wishes to hurry quickly
through a disagreeable task.
" "Mr. Holder, said he, 'I have been informed that you are In the
habit of advancing money.'
" 'The firm does so when the security is good,' I answered.
" 'It is absolutely essential to me,' said he, 'that I should have
50,000 at once. I could, of course, borrow so trifling a sum ten
times over from my friends, but I much prefer to make it a matter
of business and to carry out that business myself. In my position
you can readily understand that it is unwise to place one's self un
" 'For how long, may I ask, do you want this sum?' I asked.
'Next Monday I have a large sum due to me, and I shall then
most certainly repay what you advance, with whatever Interest you
think It right to charge. But it is very essential to me that the
money should be paid at once.'
" 'I should be happy to advance it without further parley from
my own private purse," said I, 'were It not that the strain would be
rather more than it could bear. If, on the other hand, I am to do
it In the name of the firm, then. In justice to my partner, I must
insist that, even in your case, every businesslike precaution should
'"I should much prefer to have it so,' said he, raising up a
square black morocco case which he had laid beside his chair. 'You
have doubtless heard of the Beryl Coronet?
" 'One of the most precious public possessions of the empire,'
" 'Precisely.' He opened the case, and there, imbedded In soft,
flesh-colored velvet, lay the magulticent piece of jewelry which he
had named. There are thirty-nine enormous beryls,' said he, "and
the price of the gold chasing Is incalculable. The lowest estimate
would put the worth-rf the coronet at double the sum which I have
asked. I sm prepared to leave it with you as my security.'
"I took the precious case into my hands and looked in some
perplexity from it to my Illustrious client.
" 'You doubt its value?' he asked.
" 'Not at all. I only doubt'
" The propriety of my leaving it. You may set your mind at
rest about that. I should not dream of doing so were it not abso
lutely certain that I should be able In four d:iys to reclaim it. It Is
pure matter of form. Is the security sufficient?'
" 'You understand, Mr. Holder, that I am giving you a strong
Thrilling Chapters from the Life Story of the
World's Greatest Detective Character
proof of the confidence
which I have in you,
founded upon all that I have
heard of you. I rely upon
you not only to be discreet
and to refrain from all gos
sip upon the mauer, but,
above all. to preserve this
coronet with every possible
precaution, because I need
not say that a great public
scandal would ba caused if
any harm were to befall it.
Any injury to it would be al
most as serious as its com
plete loss, for there are no
beryls In the world to match
these, and it would be im
possible to replace them. I
leave it with you, however,
with every confidence, and I
shall call for It in person on
"Seeing that my client
was anxious to leave, I said
no more; but, calling foi' my
cashier, I ordered him to
pay over fifty 1,000 notes.
When I was alone once
more, however, with the
precious case lying upon the
table in front of me, I could
not but think with some mis
givings of the Immense re
sponsibility which it entailed
upon me. There could be
no doubt that, as It was a
national possession, a horri
ble scandal would ensue if
any misfortune should occur
to it. I already regretted
having ever consented to
take charge of it. However,
it was too late to alter the matter now, so I locked it up in my pri
vate safe and turned once more to my work.
"When evening came I felt that it would be Imprudent to
leave so precious a thing in the office behind me. Bankers' safes
had been forced before now, and why should not mine, be? If so,
how terrible would be the position in which I shoul'dllSnd myself!
I determined, therefore, that for. the next few days. I would always
carry the case backward and forward with me, so that;. it Jmight
never be really out of my reach. With this intention I balled a cab
and drove out to my house at Streatham, carrying ithe Jewel with.,
me: I did not breathe freely until I had taken li upstairs ' and
locked it in the bureau of my dressing, room. -:
"And now a word as to my household, Mr. Holmes, for I wish
you to thoroughly Understand the situation. My groom and. my
page Bleep out of the housef and may be set aside altogether. I
have three maidservants who have been with me a number, of years,
1 1 f
' No, I cannot!' I an
swered, sharply. I have
been far too generous with
you in money matters.'
' "You have been very
kind.' said he; 'but I must
have this money, or else 1
can never show my face in
side the club again.
" 'And a very
thing, too!' I cried.
" 'Yes, but you
not have me leave It
honored man,' said
could not bare the disgrace.
I must raise the money In
some way, and if you will
not let me have It, then I
must try other means.'
"I was very angry, for
this was the third demand
during the month. 'You
shall not have a farthing
from me,' I cried; on which
he bowed and left the room
without another word.
"When he was gone I
unlocked my bureau, made
sure that my treasure was
safe and locked it again.
Then I started to go round
the house to see that all was
secure a duty which I us
ually leave to Mary, but
which I thought it well to
perform myself that night.
As I came down the stairs I
saw Mary herself at the side
window of the hall, which
she closed and fastened as I
" 'Tell me, dad,' Bald
she, looking, I thought, a
little disturbed, "did you give Lucy, the maid, leave to go out to
night?' " 'Certainly not.'
" 'She came In Just now by the back door. I have no doubt
that she has only been to the side gate to see someone; but I think
that it is hardly safe, and should be stopped.'
" 'You must speak to her In the morning, or I will, if you pre
fer It . Are you sure that everything is fastened?'
" 'Quite sure, dad'
,v:y " 'Then,-good-night.' I kissed her, and went up to my bed
room again, where I was soon asleep.
"I am endeavoring to tell you everything, Mr. Holmes, which
may, have any bearing upon the case, but I beg that you will ques
tion me upon any point which I do not make clear."
"On the contrary, your statement is singularly lucid."
"I come to a part ot my story now in which I should wish to
'AT MY CRY HE DROPPED IT FROM HIS GRASP AND TURNED
AS PALE AS DEATH."
and whose absolute reliability is quite above suspicion. Another, be particularly so.- I am not a very heavy sleeper, and the anxiety
Lucy Parr, the second waiting maid, has only been in my service a
few months. She came with an excellent character, however, and
has always given me satisfaction. She is a very pretty girl, arid has
attracted admirers who have occasionally hung about the place".
That is the only drawback which we have found to her, but we be
lieve her to be a thoroughly good girl In every way.
"So much for the servants. My family itself is so small that
It wlU not take me long to describe it I am a widower, and have
an only son, Arthur. He has been a disappointment to me, Mr.
Holmes a grievous disappointment I have no doubt that I am
myself to blame. People tell me that I have spoiled him. Very
in my mind tended, no doubt, to make me even less so than usual.
About 2 in the morning, then, I was awakened by some sound in the
house. It had ceased ere I. was wide awake, but it had left an Im
pression behind It as though a window had gently closed somewhere.
I lay listening with all my ears. Suddenly, to my horror, there was
a distinct sound of footsteps moving softly in the next room. I
slipped out of bed, all palpitating with fear, and peeped round the
corner of my dresslng-roqni door.
" 'Arthur!' I screamed, 'you villain! you thiefl How dare you
touch that coronet?'
'The gas was half up, -as I had left it, and my unhappy boy,
likely I have. When my dear wife died I felt that he was all I had dressed only in his shirt and trousers, was standing beside the light,
to love. I could not bear to see the smile fade even for a moment Jioldlng the coronet in his hands. He appeared to be wrenching at
from his face. I have never denied him a wish. -Perhaps it would
have been better for both of us had I been sterner, but I meant it
for the best.
"It was naturally my Intention that he should succeed me in
my business, but he was not of a business turn. He was wild, way
ward and, to speak the truth, I could not trust him In the handling
of large sums of money. When he was young he became a member
of an aristocratic club, and there, having charming manners, he was
soon the intimate of a number of men with long purses and expen
sive habits. He learned to play heavily at cards and to squander
money on the turf, until he had again and again to come to me and
Implore me to give him an advance upon his allowance, that he
might settle his debts of honor. He tried more than once to break
away from the dangerous company which he was keeping, but each
time the Influence of his friend, Sir George Burnwell, was enough
to draw him back again.
"And, Indeed, I could not wonder that such a man as Sir George
Burnwell should gain an influence over him, for he has frequently
brought htm to my house and I have found myself that I could
hardly resist the fascination of his manner. He la older than
Arthur, a man of the world to his jOnger-tlps, one who has been
everywhere, seen everything, a brilliant talker, and a man of great
personal beauty. Yet when I think of him in cold blood, far away
from the glamour of his presence, I am convinced from his cynical
speech and the look which I have caught in his eyes that he is one
who should be deeply distrusted. 80 I think, and so, too, thinks
my little Mary, who has a woman's quick insight into character.
"And now there is only she to be described. She is my niece;
but when my brother died five years ago and left her alone in the
world I adopted her, and have looked upon her ever since as my
daughter. She is a sunbeam in my house sweet, loving, beautiful,
a wonderful manager and housekeeper, yet as tender and quiet and
gentle as a woman could be. She is my right hand. I do not know
what I would do without her. In only one matter has she ever gone
against my wishes. Twice my boy has asked her to marry him, for
he loves her devotedly, but each time she has refused him. I think
that If anyone could have drawn him into the right path it would
have been she, and that his marriage might have changed his whole
life; but now, alas! It is too late forever too lato!
"Now, Mr. Holmes, you know the people who live under my
roof, and I shall continue with my miserable story.
"When we were taking coffee in the drawing-room that night
after dinner I told Arthur and Mary my experience and of the
precious treasure which we had under our roof, suppressing only
the name of my client. Lucy Parr, who hud brought in the coffee,
had. I am sure, left the room; but I cannot swear that the door was
closod. Mary and Arthur were much Interested and wished to see
the famous coronet, but I thought it better not to disturb it.
" 'Where have you put it ? " asked Arthur.
" 'In my own bureau.'
" 'Well, I hope to goodness the house won't be burgled during
the night,' said he.
" 'It is locked up,' I answered.
" "Oh, any old key will fit that bureau. When I was a youngster
I have opened it myself with the key of the box-room cupboard.'
"He often had a wild way of talking, so that I thought little of
what he said. He followed me to my room, however, that night
with a very grave face.
" 'Look here, dad,' said he, with his eyes cast down, "can you
let me have 200?'
it, or bending it with all his strength. At my cry he dropped it
from his grasp and turned as pale as death. I snatched It up and
examined it. One of the gold corners, with three of the beryls In
it, was missing.
"'You blackguard!' I shouted, beside myself with rage. 'You
have destroyed it! You have dishonored me forever! Where are
the jewels which you have stolen?'
" 'Stolen!' he cried.
" 'Yes, you thief!' I roared, shaking hlra by the shoulder.
" 'There are none missing. There cannot be any missing,' said
"There are three missing. And you know where they are.
Must I call you a liar as well as a thief? Did I not see you trying
to tear off another piece?'
" 'You have called me names enough,' said he; 'I will not stand
it any longer. I shall not say another word about this business,
since you have chosen to insult me. I will leave your house In the
morning and make my own way in the world.'
"'You shall leave it In the hands of the police!' I cried half
mad with grief and rage. 'I shall have this matter probed to the
" 'You shall learn nothing from me,' said he, with a passion
such as I should not have thought was in his nature. 'If you choose
to call the poUce, let the police find what they can.'
"By this time the whole house was astir, for I had raised my
voice la my anger. Mary was the first to rush into my room, and,
at the sight of the coronet and of Arthur's face, she read the wholo
story, and, with a Bcream, fell down senseless on the ground. I sent
the housemaid for the police, and put the Investigation Into their
hands at once. When the inspector and a constable entered the
house, Arthur, who had stood sullenly with his arms folded, asked
me whether It was my intention to charge him with the theft. I
answered that it had oeased to be a private matter, but had become
a public one, since the ruined coronet was national property. I was
determined that the law should have Its way in everything.
" IAt least,' said he, 'you will not have me arrested at once. It
would be to your advantage as well as mine if I might leave the
house for five minutes.'
"That you may get away, or perhaps that you may conceal
what you have stolen,' said I. And then reallilng the dreadful posi
tion In which I was placed, I implored" him to remember that not
only my honor, but that of one who was far greater than I was at
stake; and that he threatened to raise a scandal which would con
vulse the nation. He mtght avert It all if he would but tell me what
he had done with the three missing stones.
" 'You may as well face the matter,' said I; 'you have been
caught In the act, and no confession could make your guilt more
heinous. If you but make such reparation as is In your power, by
telling us where the beryls are, all shall be forgiven and forgotten.'
" 'Keep your forgiveness for those w ho asK .for It,' he answered,
turning away from me with a sneer. I saw that he was too har
dened for any word of mine to influence hlrn. There was but one
way for it. I called in the Inspector, and gave him Into custody.
A search was made at once, not onlv of bis person, tut of bis room,
and of every portion of the house where he could possibly have con
cealed the gems; but no trace of them could be found, nor would
the wretched boy open his mouth for all our persuasions and our
threats. This morning he was removed to a cell, and I, after going
through all the police formalities, have hurried round to you, to Im
plore you to use your skill In unravelling the matter. The police
have openly confessed that they can ut present make nothlug of it
You may go to any expense which you think necessary. I have
already offered a reward of 1,000. My Uod, what shall I do! I
have lost my honor, my gems and my son in one night Oh, what
shall I da!"
He put a hand on either side of his head and rocked himself
to and fro, droning to himself like a child whoso grief has got be
Sherlock Holmes sat silent for some few minutes, with his
brows knitted and his eyes fixed upon the llro.
"Do you receive much company?" he nsked.
"None, save my rartner with his family, and an occnsional
friend of Arthur's. Sir George Burnwell has been several tlmea
lately. No one else, I think."
"Do you go out much in society?"
"Arthur does. Mary and I stay at home. We neither of us
care for it."
"That is unusual in a young girl."
"She is of a quiet nature. Besides, she is not so very young.
She Is four and twenty."
"This matter, from what you say, seems to have been a shock
to her also."
"Terrible! Sho is even more affected than I."
"You have neither of you any doubt as to your son's guilt?"
"How can we have, when I saw him with my own eyes with the
coronet In his hands?" v
"I hardly consider thnt a conclusive proof. Was the remainder
of the coronet at all Injured?"
"Yes, It. was twisted."
"Do you not think, then, that he might have been trying to
"God bless you! You are doing what you can for him and for
me. But it is too heavy a task. What was he doing there at all?
If his purpose were Innocent, why did he not say so?"
"Precisely. And If It were guilty, why did he not Invent a He?
His silence appears to me to cut both ways. There are several sin
gular points about the case. What did the police think of the noise
which awoke you from your sleep?"
"They considered that It might be caused by Arthur closing his
"A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his
door so as to wake a household. What did they say, then, of the
disappearance of these gems?"
"They are still sounding the planking nnd probing the furni
ture in the hone of finding them."
"Have they thought of looking outside the house?"
"Yes, they have shown extraordinary energy. The whole gar
den has already been minutely examined."
"Now, my dear sir," said Holmes, "Is it not obvious to you now
that this matter really strikes very much deeper than either you or
the police were at first Inclined to think? It appeared to you to be a
simple case; to me it seems exceedingly complex. Consider what
is involved by your theory. You suppose that your son came down
from his bed, went, at great risk, to your dressing-room, opened
four bureau, took out your coronet, broke oft by main force a small
portion of It, went off to some other place, concealed three gems out
Df the thirty-nine with such skill that nobody can find them, and
then returned with the other thirty-six into the room in which he
sxposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered. I ask
rou now. Is such a theory tenable?"
"But what other is there?" cried the banker, with a gesture of
despair. "It his motives were Innocent, why does he not explain
"It is our task to find that out," replied Holmes; "so now, if
you please, Mr. Holder, we will set off for Streatham together and
devote an hour to glancing a little more closely into details."
My friend insisted upon my accompanying them in their expedi
tion, which I was eager enough to do, for my curiosity and sym
pathy were deeply stirred by the story to which we had listened. I
confess that the guilt of the banker's son appeared to me to be as
obvious as it did to his unhappy father, but still I had such faith in
Holmes' Judgment that I felt that there must be some grounds for
hope as long as he was dissatisfied with the accepted explanation.
He hardly spoke a word the whole way out to the southern suburb,
but sat with bis chin upon his breast and his hat drawn over his
eyes, sunk in the deepest thought. Our client appeared to have
taken fresh heart at the little glimpse of hope which had been pre
sented to him, and he even broke into a desultory chat with me over
his business affairs. A short railway Journey and a shorter walk
brought us to Falrbank, the modest residence of the great financier.
Falrbank was a good-sized square house of white stone, stand
ing back a little from the road. A double carriage-sweep, with a
snow-clad lawn, stretched down In front to two large Iron gates
which closed the entrance. On the rlsht side was a small wooden
thicket, which led Into a narrow path between two neat hedges
stretching from the road to the kitchen door and forming the trades
men's entrance. On the left ran a lane which led to the stables and
was not Itself within the grounds at all, being a public, though little
used, thoroughfare. Holmes left us standing at the door and walked
slowly all round the house, across the front, down the tradesmen's
path and so round by the garden behind into the stable lane. So
long was he that Mr. Holder and I went Into the dining-room and
waited by the fire until he should return. We were sitting there In
silence when the door opened and a young lady came in. She was
rather above the middle height, slim, with dark hair and eyes, which
seemed the darker against the absolute pallor of her skin. I do not
think that I have ever seen such deadly paleness In a woman's face.
Her Hps, too, were bloodless, but her eyes were flushed with crying.
As Bhe swept silently into the room she Impressed me with a greater
sense of grief than the banker had done in the morning, and It was
the more striking In her, as she was evidently a woman of strong
character, with immense capacity for self-restraint. Disregarding
my presence, she went straight to her uncle, and passed her hand
over his head with a sweet, womanly caress.
"You have given orders that Arthur should be liberated, have
you not. dad?" she asked.
"No, no, my girl; the matter mast be probed to the bottom."
"But I am sure that he Is Innocent! You know what women's
instincts are. I know that he has done no harm and that you wlU
be sorry for having acted so harshly."
"Why is he silent, then, if he is innocent?"
"Who knows? Perhaps because he was so angry that you
should suspect him."
"How could I help suspecting him when I actually saw him
with the coronet In his hand?"
"Oh, but he had only picked it up to look at it. Oh, do, do
take my word for it that he U Innocent. Let the matter drop and
say no more. It Is so dreadful to thiDk of our dear Arthur la
"I shall never let H drop until the gems are found never,
Mary! Your affection for Arthur blinds you as to the lawful con
sequences to me. Far from hushin the thing up, I have brought a
gentleman down from London to inquire more deeply into It."
"This gentleman?" she asUed, facing round to jne.
"No, his friend. He wished us to leave him alone. He is
round In the stable lane now."
"The stable lane!" she raised her dark eyebrows. "What can
he hope to find there? Ah! tills, I suppose, is be. I trust, sir, that
I you will succeed in proving, w hat I feel sure is the truth, that my
Cousin Arthur is innocent ef tMs crime."
"I fully share your r pinion, aud I trust, with you. that we may
prove it," returned Holmes, polt.g Luck to t,e mat to knock the
snew from his shoes. "I bel! -ve I havo the honor of addressing
Miss Mary Holder. Might I ask you a question or two?"
"Pray do, sir, if it may help to clear this horrible affair up."
"You heard nothing yourself lust ni jht?"
"Nothing, until my uncio ue.u Lean 10 speak loudly. I heard
that, and I cr.me down."
"You shut up the windowns and doors the night befor. Did