Dr Grimesby Roylott

Last survivor of one of the oldest Saxon families in England....
the Roylotts of Stoke Moran, on the western border of Surrey. The family was at one time among the richest in England, and the estates extended over the borders into Berkshire in the north, and Hampshire in the west. In the last century,(1700) however, four successive heirs were of a dissolute and wasteful disposition, and the family ruin was eventually completed by a gambler in the days of the Regency. Nothing was left save a few acres of ground, and the two-hundred-year-old house, which is itself crushed under a heavy mortgage. The last squire dragged out his existence there, living the horrible life of an aristocratic pauper; but his only son, Dr Grimesby Roylott, seeing that he must adapt himself to the new conditions, obtained an advance from a relative, which enabled him to take a medical degree and he went out to Calcutta, where, by his professional skill and his force of character, he established a large practice. In a fit of anger, however, caused by some robberies which had been perpetrated in the house, he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence. As it was, he suffered a long term of imprisonment and afterwards returned to England a morose and disappointed man.

When Dr. Roylott was in India he Mrs. Stoner, the young widow of Major-General Stoner, of the Bengal Artillery. Helen and Julia were twins, and were only two years old at the time of their mother’s re-marriage.

A huge man had framed himself in the aperture. (The door of the living room at 221b Baker Street) His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural, having a black top-hat, a long frock-coat, and a pair of high gaiters, with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand. So tall was he that his hat actually brushed the cross bar of the- doorway, and his breadth seemed to span it across from side to side. A large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun, and marked with every evil passion, was turned from one to the other of us, (Holmes and Watson) while his deep-set, bile-shot eyes, and his high, thin, fleshless nose, gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey.