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|Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes||Arthur Conan Doyle|
Adventure VI - The Reigate Puzzle
|Page 7 of 13||
"Where was he sitting?"
"I was smoking in my dressing-room."
"Which window is that?"
"The last on the left next my father's."
"Both of your lamps were lit, of course?"
"There are some very singular points here," said Holmes, smiling. "Is it not extraordinary that a burglary--and a burglar who had had some previous experience--should deliberately break into a house at a time when he could see from the lights that two of the family were still afoot?"
"He must have been a cool hand."
"Well, of course, if the case were not an odd one we should not have been driven to ask you for an explanation," said young Mr. Alec. "But as to your ideas that the man had robbed the house before William tackled him, I think it a most absurd notion. Wouldn't we have found the place disarranged, and missed the things which he had taken?"
"It depends on what the things were," said Holmes. "You must remember that we are dealing with a burglar who is a very peculiar fellow, and who appears to work on lines of his own. Look, for example, at the queer lot of things which he took from Acton's--what was it?--a ball of string, a letter-weight, and I don't know what other odds and ends."
"Well, we are quite in your hands, Mr. Holmes," said old Cunningham. "Anything which you or the Inspector may suggest will most certainly be done."
"In the first place," said Holmes, "I should like you to offer a reward--coming from yourself, for the officials may take a little time before they would agree upon the sum, and these things cannot be done too promptly. I have jotted down the form here, if you would not mind signing it. Fifty pound was quite enough, I thought."
"I would willingly give five hundred," said the J.P., taking the slip of paper and the pencil which Holmes handed to him. "This is not quite correct, however," he added, glancing over the document.
"I wrote it rather hurriedly."
"You see you begin, 'Whereas, at about a quarter to one on Tuesday morning an attempt was made,' and so on. It was at a quarter to twelve, as a matter of fact."
I was pained at the mistake, for I knew how keenly Holmes would feel any slip of the kind. It was his specialty to be accurate as to fact, but his recent illness had shaken him, and this one little incident was enough to show me that he was still far from being himself. He was obviously embarrassed for an instant, while the Inspector raised his eyebrows, and Alec Cunningham burst into a laugh. The old gentleman corrected the mistake, however, and handed the paper back to Holmes.
"Get it printed as soon as possible," he said; "I think your idea is an excellent one."
Holmes put the slip of paper carefully away into his pocket-book.
"And now," said he, "it really would be a good thing that we should all go over the house together and make certain that this rather erratic burglar did not, after all, carry anything away with him."
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|Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle
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