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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 5, 1905)
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TITE OMAIIA ILLUSTRATED PEE.
Exploits of Sherlock Holmes The Mystery of the Musgrave Ritual
Being an Account of the Restoration of the Crown of Charles the Second Through the Revelation of a Ritual Used by an English Family for Generations Without Suspecting Its True Import
(Copyright by A. Cbnan Dcrle and Harper It Brothers.)
A anomaly which often struck me In the character of my friend
Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought
he was the neatest and moat methodical of mankind, aud al
though, also, he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, be
was none the loss In his personal hablta one of the most untidy of
men that ever drove a fellow lodger to distraction. Not tlint I am In
the least conventional In that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble
work In Afghanistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemlanlsin of
disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits A medical man.
But with me there Is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his
cigars In the coal scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slip
per, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by ft Jack-knife Into
the very center of his wooden mnntleplece, then I begin to give myself
virtuous airs. I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be
distinctly an open-air pastime; nd when Holmes, In oue of bis queer
humors, would sit In an armchair with his balr-trlgger and a hundred
Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a pa
triotic V. It. done In bullet pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmo
sphere nor the appearance of our room was Improved by It.
Our chambers were always full of chemical and of criminal relics
which had a way of wandering Into unlikely positions, and of turning
up In the butter dish or In even less desirable places. But his papers
were my great crux. He had a horror of Jestroylng documents, espe
cially those which were connected with his past cases, and yet it was
only once in every year or two that be would muster energy to docket
and arrange them; for, as I have mentioned somewhere in these in
coherent memoirs, the outbursts of passionate energy when he per
formed the remarkable feats with which his name is associated were
followed by reactions of lethargy during which he would lie about with
his violin and his books, hardly moving save from the sofa to the table.
Thiis month after mouth his papers accumulated, until every corner of
the room was stacked with bundles of manuscript which were on no
account to be burned, and which could not be put away save by their
owner. One winter's night, as we sat together by the fire, I ventured
to suggest to him that, as he had finished pasting extracts into his
common-place book, he might employ the next two hours in making
our room a little more habitable. He could not deny the Justice of my
request, so with a rather rueful faco he went off to his bed room, from
which he returned presently, pulling a large tin box behind him. This
he placed In the middle of the floor, and, squatting down upon a stool
in front of it, he threw back the lid. I could see that it was already a
third full of bundles of papers, tied up with red tape Into separate
, "There are cases enough here, Watson," said he, looking at me
with mischievous eyes. "I think that If yotl knew all that I had in this
box you would nsn me to pun some oui nsieaa or putting omrrs m.
"These arc the records of your early work, then?" I asked. "I
have often wished that I had notes of those cases."
"Yes, my boy, these were all done prematurely before my, bio
grapher bad come to glorify me." He lifted bundle after bundle in a
tender, caressing sort of way. "They are not all successes, Watson,"
aid he. "But there are some pretty little problems among them.
Here's the record of the Tarltou murders, and the case of Vamberry,
the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and
the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account
of IUcolettl of the club-foot, and his abominable wife. And here ah,
now, this really is something a little recherche."
He dived his arm down to the bottom of the chest, and brought up
a small wooden box with a sliding lid, such as children's toys are kept
, In. From within he produced a crumpled piece of paper, an old-fashioned
brass key, a peg of wood with a ball of string attached to it,
and throe rusty old disks of metal.
"Well, my boy, what do(you make of tills lot?" he asked, smiling at
my expression. '
"It is a curious collection."
"Very curious, and the story that hangs round It will strike you
as being more curious still." l4 ,
"These relics have a history, then?"
"So much so that they are history."
"What do yon mean by that?"
Sherlock Holmes picked them up one by one, and laid them along
the edge of the table. Then he reseated himself In his chair and
looked them over with a gleam of satisfaction in bis eyes.
"These," said he, "are all that I have left to remind me of the
adventure of the Musgrave Ritual."
I bad heard blm mention the case more than once, though I had
never been able to gather the details. "I should be so glad," said I,
"if yon would give me an account of it." ' '
"And leave the litter as it Is?" he cried, mischievously. "Your
tidiness won't bear much strain after all, Watson. But I should be
glad that you should add this to your annals, for there are points In it
which make it quite unique In the criminal records of this, or, I be
lieve, of any other country. A collection of my trifling achievements
would certainly be incomplete which contained no account of this very
"You remember how the affair of the Gloria Scott and my conversa
tion with the unhappy man whose fate I told you of, first turned my
Thrilling Chapters from the Life Story of the
World's Greatest Detective Character
t v U
Nil f mi iimi iiiw 1 1 " ' " n'li'imiMnmnin i im m ' '" 111 '" i" A
' THE LANTERN WAS LOWERED INTO THE CAVITY,
It Is really the most extraordinary and Inexplicable bust
side, he unlocked it and
drew out oue of the draw
ers. From this he took a
paper, and returulug to his
seat he flattened It out be
side the toper ou,the edge
of the table, and began to
study it with minute at
tention. My indignation at
this calm examination of
our family documents over
came me so far that I took
a step forward, and Bruu
ton, looking np, sow me
standing in the doorway.
He sprang to his feet, his
face turned livid with fear,
and he thrust into his
breast the chart-like paper
which he had been origin
""Sol" said I. "This
Is how you repay the trust
which we have reposed in
you. You will leave my
"'He bowed with the
look of a man who is ut
terly crushed, and slunk
past me without a word.
The taper was still on the
table, and by its light I
glanced to see what the
paper was which Brunton
had taken from the bureau.
To my surprise it was
nothing of any Importance
at all, but simply a copy
of the questions and an
swers in the singular ob
servance railed the Mus
grave Ritual. It is a sort
of ceremony peculiar to
our family, which each
Musgrave for centuries
past has gone through on
his coming of age a thing
of private interest, and
perhaps of some little im
portance to the archaeolo
gist, like our own blazon
in gs and charges, but of no
practical use whatever.'
" 'We had better come
back to the paper after
wards,' Bald I.
" 'It you think it really
necessary,' he answered,
with some hesitation. 'To
continue my statement,
however: I rclocked the
bureau, using the key
which Brunton had left,
and I turned to go when I
"You can imagine with what eagerness 1 listened to him, Watson,
for the very chance for which I had been panting during all those
months of inaction seemed to have come within my reach. In my In
most heart I believed that I could succeed where others failed, and
now I bad the opportunity to test myself.
" 'Pray, let me have the details,' I cried. .
"Reginald Musgrave sat down opposite to me, and lit the cigarette
which I pushed towards him.
" 'You must know,' said be, 'that though I am a bachelor, I have
to keep up a considerable staff of servants at Hurlstone, for it is a
rambling old place, and takes a good deal of looking after. I pre
serve, too, and in the pheasant months I usually have a bouse party,
so that It would not do to be sborthanded. ' Altogether there are eight
maids, the cook, the butler, two footmen, and a boy. The garden and
the stables of course have a separate staff.
' " 'Of these servants the one who had been longest In our service
ha Kilt lap TIa Ttma a vountr nchoolm aster out of olace
M T 0 A. J I 14 tV'Up VAJW wu bivft m.m.v W C m
attention in the direction of the profession which has become my life's wuen ua wag flr8t taken up by my father, but he was a man of great
work. You see me now when my name has become known far and eilergy and character, and he soon became quite invaluable In the
wide, and when I am generally recognised both by the pnblic and by uougebold. He was a well grown, handsome man, with a splendid
the official force as being a final court of appeal In doubtful cases. forenea(i( ani though he had been with us twenty years he cannot be
Kren when you knew me first, at the time of the affair which you more n M now. Wita n8 personal advantages and his extraordinary
bare commemorated In 'A Study In Scarlet,' I had already established giftf0r he can speak several languages and play nearly every musical
considerable, though not a very lucrative, connection. You can instrument it is wonderful that he should have been satisfied so long
lrdly realize, then, how difficult I found It at first, and how long I
had to wait before I succeeded in making any headway.
"When I first came up to Loudon I bad rooms in Montague street,
Just round the corned from the British Museum, and there I waited,
Ailing In my too abundant leisure time by studying all those branches
of science which might make me more efficient Now and again cases
came In my way, principally through the introduction of old fellow
indents, for during my lost yenrs at the university there was a good
deal of talk there about myself and my methods. The third of these
canes wma that of the Musgrave Ritual, and it is to the Interest which
was aroused by that singular chain of events and" the large Issues
which proved to be at stake, that I trace my first strido towards the
potdtioa which I now hold.
"Reginald Musgrave had been in the same college as myself, and
Inad some slight acquaintance with him. He was not generally popu
lar among the undergraduates, though It always seemed to me that
what was set down as pride was really an attempt to cover extreme
natural dlffideuce. In appearance he was a man of an exceedingly
in such a position, but I suppose that he was comfortable, and lacked
energy to make any change. The butler of Hurlstone Is always a
thing that is remembered by all who visit us."
" 'But this paragon had one fault. He is a tit of a Don Juan, and
you can imagine that for a man like him it Is not a very difficult part
to play In a quiet country district. When be was married it was all
right, but since he has been a widower we have had no end of trouble
with him. A few months ago we were in hopes that he was about to
settle down again, for he became engaged to Rachel Howells, our sec
ond housemaid; but he has thrown her over since then and taken up
with Janet Tregellis, the daughter of the head gamekeeper. Rachel
who Is a very good girl, but of an excitable Welsh temperament had
a sharp touch of brain fever, and goes about the house now or did
until yesterday like a black-eyed shadow of ber former self. That
was our first drama at Hurlstone; but a second one came to drive it
from our minds, and It was prefaced by the disgrace and dismissal of
" This was how It came about I have said that the man was in-
was surprised to find that the butler bad returned, and was standing
before me. ,
" ' "Mr. Musgrave, sir," he cried, In a voice which was hoarse with
emotion, "I can't bear die grace, sir. I've always been proud above
my station in life, and disgrace would kill me. My blood will be on
your bead, sir It will, Indeed If you drive me to despair. If you
cannot keep me after what has passed, then for God's sake let me give
you notice and leave in a month, as if of my own free will. I could
stand that Mr. Musgrave, but not to be cast out before all the folk
that I know so weU."
" "You don't deserve much consideration, brunton," I answered.
"Your conduct has been most infamous. However, as you have been
a long time In the family, I have no wish to bring public disgrace upon
you. (A month, however, is too long. Take yourself away in a week,
and give what reason you like for going."
" ' "Only a week, Blr?" he cried, In a desnalrlng voice. "A fort
nightsay at least a fortnight:" ( .
" ' "A week," I repeated, "and you may consider yourself to have
been very leniently dealt with."
" 'He crept away, his face sunk upon his breast, like a broken
man, while I put out the light and returned to my room.
" 'For two days after this Brunton was most assiduous in his at
tention to his duties. I made no allusion to what had. passed, and
waited with some curiosity to see how he would cover his disgrace.
On the third morning, however, he did not appear, as was his custom,
after breakfast to receive my Instructions for the day. As I left the
dining room I happened to meet Rachel Howells, the maid. I have
told you that she had only recently recovered from an illness, and was
looking so wretchedly pale and wan that I remonstrated with ber for
being at work.
" ' "You should be in bed," I said. "Come back to your duties
wheu you are stronger."
" 'She looked at me with so strange an expression that I began- to
suspect that her brain was affected.
" ' "I am strong enough, Mr. Musgrave," said she.
We will see what the doctor suvs," I answered. "You must
stop work now, and when you go downstairs Just say that I wish to
- " "The butler is gone," said she.
f "Gone! Gone where?"
" "He is gone. No one has seen him. He Is not in his room. Oh,
yes, be is gone, be is gone!" She fell back against the wall with
shriek after shriek of laughter, while I, horrified at this suddon
hysterical attack, rushed to the bell to summon help. The girl was
arfatwTatic type, thin.ihlgh-uosed and large-eyed, with languid and yet telllgent and this very intelligence has caused his ruin, for It seems taken to her room, still screaming and sobbing, while I made inquiries
- . ... ' . a. . rait. i i. i i. a. . , m
courtly manners, lie was Indeed a sclou of one of the very oldest
families In the kingdom, though his branch was a cadet one which had
separated from the northern Musgraves some time In the slxteeuth
centnry, and had established itself in western Sussex, where the manor
house of Hurlstone is perhaps the oldest iuhabited building iu the coun
try. Something of his birthplace seemed to cling to the man, and I
never looked at his pule, keeu face or the poise of his head without
associating blm with gray archways aud mullloued windows and all
the venerable wreckage of a feudal keep. Once or twice "we drifted
Into talk, and I can remember that more than once he expressed a
keen Interest in my methods of observation and inference.
"For four years I had seen nothing of htm until one morning be
walked Into my room iu Montague street. He had changed little.-was
dressed like a young mau of fushlou he was always a bit of a dandy
and he preserved the same quiet suave manner which had formerly
" How has all gone with yon. Musgrave?' I asked, after we had
cordially shaken hands.
" 'You probably heard of my poor father's death,' said he; 'he was
carried off about two years ago. Since then I have of course had the
Hurlstone estates to manage, and as I am a member for my district as
well, my life has been a busy one. But I understand. Holmes, that yon
re turuiug to practical ends those powers with which you used to
"'Yes,' said I, 'I have taken to living by my wits.
,'1 am delighted to hear It. for your advice at present would be
to have led to an Insatiable curiosity about things which did not in the
least concern hliu. I had no idea of the lengths to which this would
carry him, until the merest accident opened my eyes to it
" 'I have said that the house is a rambling one. One day last week
on Thursday night, to be more exact I found that I could not sleep,
having foolishly taken a cup of strong cafe noir after my dinner.
After struggling against it until 2 in the morning, I felt that it was
quite hopeless, so I rose and lit the caudle with the intention of con
tinuing a novel which I was reading. The book, however, bad been left
ln,tbe billiard room, so I pulled on my dressing gown and started off
to get It
" 'In order to reach the billiard room I had to descend a flight of
stairs aud then to cross the head of a passage which led to the library
and the gun room. You can imagine my surprise when, as I looked
down this corridor, I saw a glimmer cf light coming from the open door
of the library. I had myself extinguished the lamp and closed the
door Itefore coming to bed. Naturally my first thought was of burglars.
The corridors at Hurlstone have their walls largely decorated with
trophies of old weapons. From one of these I picked a battle-axe, and
theu, leaving my candle behind me, I crept on tiptoe down the passage
aud pveped in at the oen door.
' 'Brunton, the butler, was In the library. He was sitting, fully
dressed, In uu easy chair, with a slip of paper which looked like a map
unou bis knee, aud his forehead sunk forward upon his hand In deep
thought. 1 stood dumb with astonishment, watching blm from the
darkness. A small taper on the edge of the table shed a feeble light
exceedingly valuable to me. We have had some very strange doings which sufficed to show me that be was fully dressed. Suddenly, as I
at Hurl. tone, aud the police have leen able to throw no light upon the looked, he rose from his chair, and walking over to a bureau at the
about Brunton. There was no doubt about it that he had disappeared.
Ills bed had not been slept in, be had been seen by no one since he had
retired to bis room the night before, and yet it was difficult to see how
he could have left the house, as both windows and doors were found
to be fastened in the morning. His clothes, bis watch, and even his
money were in his room, but the black suit which he usually wore
was missing. His slippers, too, were gone, but his boots were left
behind. Where, then, could Butler Brunton have gone in the night
and what could have become of blm now?
" 'Of course we searched the house from cellar to garret but there
was no trace of him. It Is, as I have said, a labyrinth of an old house,
especially the original wing, which is now practically uninhabited; but
we ransacked every room and cellar without discovering the least sign
of the missing man. It was incredible to me that he could have gone
away leaving all bis property behind him, and yet when could he be?
I called in the local police, but without success. Rain had fallen on
the night before, and ,we examined the lawn and the paths all round
the house, but in vain. Matters were In this state, when a new develop
ment quite drew our attention away from the original mystery.
'"For two days Rachel Howells had been so 111, sometimes de
lirious, sometimes hysterical, that a nurse bud been employed to sit up
with ber at night On the third night after Brunton's disappearance,
the nurse, finding ber patient sleeping nicely, bad dropped Into a nap in
the armchair, when She woke in the early morning to find the bed
empty, the window open, and no signs of the invalid. I was Instantly
aroused, and, with two footmen, started off at oiioe In search of the
missing girl. It was not difficult to tell the direction which she bad
taken, for, starting from under her window, we could follow ber foot"
ninrks easily aciws the lawu to the edge of the mere, where they van
ished close to the gravel path which leads out of the grounds. The
luko there is right feet deep, and you can imagine our feelings when
wo saw that the trail of the poor demented girl came to an end at the
edge of It
" 'Of course, we hod the drags at once, and sot to work to recover
the remains, but no trai-o of the lody could we find. On the other
hand, we brought to the surface an object of a most unexpected kind.
It was a linen bag which contained within It a mass of old rusted and
discolored metal nnd sevcial dull-colored pieces of pebble or glass.
This strange find was all that we could get from the mere, and, al
though we made every possible search and inquiry yesterday, we know
nothing of the fate either of Rachel Howells or of Richard Brunton.
The country police are at their wits' end, and I have come np to you
as a last resource."
"You can Imagine, Watson, with what eagerness I listened to this
extraordinary sequence of events, and endeavored to piece them to
gether, aud to devise some common thread upon which they might all
hang. The butler was gone. The maid was gone. The maid had
loved the butler, but had afterwords had cause to hate him. She was
of Welsh blood, fiery aud passionate. She bad been terribly excited
immediately after his disappearance. She had flung Into the lake a
bag containing some curious contents. These were all factors which
had to be taken Into consideration, nnd yet none of them got quite to
the heart of the matter. What was tho starting point of this chain of
events? There lay the end of this tangled Hue.
" 'I must see that paper, Musgrave," said I. whtch this butler of
yours thought it worth his while to consult, even at tho risk of the
loss of his place.'
" 'It Is rather an absurd business, this ritual of ours,' he answered.
'But it has at least the saving grace of antiquity to excuse it I have
a copy of the questions and answers here If you core to run your eye
"He banded me the very paper I have here, Watson, and this is
the strange catechism to which each Musgrave had to submit when he
came to man's estate. I will read you the, questions and answers as
" 'Whose was it?'
" 'His who Is gone.'
" 'Who shall have it?'
"'Ho who will come.'
" 'Where was the sun?'
" 'Over tho oak.'
" 'Where was the shadow?'
" 'Under the elm.'
" 'now was it stepped?
" 'North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two
and by two, west by one and by one, and so under.'
" 'What shall we give for it?
" 'All that Is ours.'
" 'Why should we give it?'
" 'For the sake of the trust'
" 'The original has no date, but it Is hi the spelling of the middle
of the seventeenth century, remarked Musgrave. 'I am afraid, how
ever, that it can be of little help to you In solving this mystery.'
" 'At least,' said I, 'It gives us another mystery, and one which Is
even more interesting than the first It may be that the solution of the
one may prove to be the solution of the other. You will excuse me,
Musgrave, If I say that your butler appears to me to have been a very
clever man, and to have bad a clearer insight than ten generations of
" 'I hardly follow you,' said Musgrave. 'The paper seema to me
to be of no practical importance.'
" 'But to me It seems Immensely practical, and I fancy that
Brunton took the same view. He had probably seen It before that
night on which you caught him.'
" 'It la very possible. We took no pains to hide It'
"He simply wished, I should imagine, to refresh his memory
upon that last occasion. He had, as I understand, some sort of map
or chart which he was comparing with the manuscript and which he
thrust into his pocket when yon appeared.'
" 'That Is true. Bnt what could he have to do with this old family
cuetom of ours, and what does this rigmarole mean?
" 'I don't think that we should have much difficulty Jn determining
that,' said I; 'with your permission we will take the first train down
to Sussex, and go a little more deeply into the matter upon the spot'
"That aame afternoon saw us both at Hurlstone. Possibly you
have seen pictures and read descriptions of the famous old building,
so I will confine my account of it to saying that it Is built In the shape
of an L, the long arm being the more modern portion, and the shorter
the ancient nucleus, from which the other has developed. Over the
low, heavy Ilntelled door, in the center of this old part. Is chiseled the
date, 1007, but experts are agreed that the beams and stone work
are really much older than this. The enormously thick walls and tiny
windows of this part had In the last century driven the family into
building the new. wing nnd the old one was used now as a store house
and a cellar when It was used at all. A splendid park, with fine old
timber, surrounds the house, and the lake, to which my client had re
ferred, lay close to the avenue, about 200 yards from the building.
"I was alrendy firmly convinced, Watson, that there were not
three separate msyterles here, but only one, and that If I could read the
Musgrave ritual aright I should hold In my hand the clue which would
lead me to the trutn concerning both the butler, Brunton, and the
maid, Howells. To that then I turned all my energies. Why should
this servant be so anxious to master this old formula? Evidently be
cause be saw something in it which had escaped all those generations
of country squires, and from which he expected some personal advan
tage. What was it then, and how had it affected bis fate?
"It was perfectly obvious to me, on reading the ritual, that the
measurements must refer to some spot to which the rest of the docu
ment alluded, and that if we could find that spot, we should be in a
fair way towards finding what the secret was which the old Mus
graves had thought it necessary to embalm in so curious a fashion.
There were two guides given us to start with, an oak and an elm. As
to the oak there could bo no question at all. Right in front of the
house, upon the left hand side of the drive, there stood a patriarch
among oaks,, one of the most magnificent trees that I have ever seen.
" 'That was there when your ritual was drawn up,' said I, as we
drove past it.
" 'It was there at tiie Norman conquest In ail probability,' he an
swered. 'It has a girth of twenty-three feet'
"Here was one of my fixed points secured.
" 'Have you any old elms?' I asked.
" 'There used to be a very old one over yonder, but it was struck
by lightning ten years ago, and we cut down the stump.'
" 'You can see where it used to be?'
" 'Oh, yes.'
" 'There are no other elms?'
" 'No old ones, but plenty of beeches.'
" 'I should like to see where It grew.
"We had driven up in a dogcart, and my client led me away at
once, without our entering the house, to the scar on the lawn where
the elm had stood. It was nearly midway between the oak and the
house. My investigation seemed to be progressing.
" 'I suppose it is Impossible to find out bow high the elm was?' I
" 'I can give It you at once. It was sixty-four feet'
" 'How did you come to know it?" I asked, Iu surprise.
" 'When my old tutor used to give roe an exercise In trigonometry,
it always took the shape of measuring heights. When" I was a lad I
worked out every tree and building in the estate.'
"This was an unexpected piece of luck. ( My data were coming
more quickly than I could have reasonably hoped.
" 'Tell me,' I asked, 'did your butler ever ask you such a ques
"Reginald Musgrave looked at me In astonishment. 'Now thnt
you call It to my mind,' he answered, Krunton did' ask me about the
height of the tree some mouths ago, iu connection with some little
argument with the groom.'
"This was excellent uews, Watson, for It showed me that I was
on the right road. I looked up at the sun. It was low In the heav
ens, and I calculated that Iu less than an hour It would lie Just above
the topmost branches of the old oak. Oue .condition mentioned la th
(Continued on Page Seven.)