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THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

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THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

 

I. A Scandal in Bohemia 

II. The Red-headed League 

III. A Case of Identity 

IV. The Boscombe Valley Mystery 

V. The Five Orange Pips 

VI. The Man with the Twisted Lip 

VII. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle 

VIII. The Adventure of the Speckled Band 

IX. The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb 

X. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor 

XI. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet 

XII. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

 

ADVENTURE I. A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA

I.

To Sherlock Holmes she is always THE woman. I have seldom heard 

him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses 

and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt 

any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that 

one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but 

admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect 

reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a 

lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never 

spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They 

were admirable things for the observer--excellent for drawing the 

veil from men's motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner 

to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely 

adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which 

might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a 

sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power 

lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a 

nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and 

that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable 

memory.

I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted us 

away from each other. My own complete happiness, and the 

home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first 

finds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient to 

absorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form of 

society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in 

Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from 

week to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of the 

drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature. He was still, 

as ever, deeply attracted by the study of crime, and occupied his 

immense faculties and extraordinary powers of observation in 

following out those clues, and clearing up those mysteries which 

had been abandoned as hopeless by the official police. From time 

to time I heard some vague account of his doings: of his summons 

to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder, of his clearing up 

of the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, 

and finally of the mission which he had accomplished so 

delicately and successfully for the reigning family of Holland. 

Beyond these signs of his activity, however, which I merely 

shared with all the readers of the daily press, I knew little of 

my former friend and companion.

One night--it was on the twentieth of March, 1888--I was 

returning from a journey to a patient (for I had now returned to 

civil practice), when my way led me through Baker Street. As I 

passed the well-remembered door, which must always be associated 

in my mind with my wooing, and with the dark incidents of the 

Study in Scarlet, I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes 

again, and to know how he was employing his extraordinary powers. 

His rooms were brilliantly lit, and, even as I looked up, I saw 

his tall, spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against 

the blind. He was pacing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head 

sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped behind him. To me, who 

knew his every mood and habit, his attitude and manner told their 

own story. He was at work again. He had risen out of his 

drug-created dreams and was hot upon the scent of some new 

problem. I rang the bell and was shown up to the chamber which 

had formerly been in part my own.

His manner was not effusive. It seldom was; but he was glad, I 

think, to see me. With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly 

eye, he waved me to an armchair, threw across his case of cigars, 

and indicated a spirit case and a gasogene in the corner. Then he 

stood before the fire and looked me over in his singular 

introspective fashion.

"Wedlock suits you," he remarked. "I think, Watson, that you have 

put on seven and a half pounds since I saw you."

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