Sherlock Holmes - Deductions

“I believe that he is coming here,” said Holmes, rubbing his hands .
“Yes; I rather think he is coming to consult me professionally. I think that I recognize the symptoms. Ha! did I not tell you?”
“I see that you have had some great trouble,” responded Holmes.

“How can we have when I saw him with my own eyes with the coronet in his hands.”
“I hardly consider that 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 straighten it?”

“Precisely. And if it were guilty, why did he not invent a lie? His silence appears to me to cut both ways.

“A likely story! As if a man bent on felony would slam his door so as to wake a household.”

“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.”

“You suppose that your son came down from his bed, went, at great risk, to your dressing-room, opened your bureau, took out your coronet, broke off by main force a small portion of it, went off to some other place, concealed three gems out of 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 exposed himself to the greatest danger of being discovered. I ask you now, is such a theory tenable?”

“He stood,” said Holmes, “to the left of the door — that is to say, farther up the path than is necessary to reach the door?”
“Yes, he did.”
“And he is a man with a wooden leg?”

“What could she mean by that note, Mr. Holmes? Do you think it points to suicide?”
“No, no, nothing of the kind. It is perhaps the best possible solution. I trust, Mr. Holder, that you are nearing the end of your troubles.”

“I will tell you, then, what occurred in your house last night. Your niece, when you had, as she thought, gone to your room. slipped down and talked to her lover through the window which leads into the stable lane. His footmarks had pressed right through the snow, so long had he stood there. She told him of the coronet.”

“She had hardly listened to his instructions when she saw you coming downstairs, on which she closed the window rapidly and told you about one of the servants’ escapade with her wooden-legged lover, which was all perfectly true.”

“When I arrived at the house,” continued Holmes, “I at once went very carefully round it to observe if there were any traces in the snow which might help me. I knew that none had fallen since the evening before, and also that there had been a strong frost to preserve impressions. I passed along the tradesmen’s path, but found it all trampled down and indistinguishable. Just beyond it, however, at the far side of the kitchen door, a woman had stood and talked with a man, whose round impressions on one side showed that he had a wooden leg. I could even tell that they had been disturbed, for the woman had run back swiftly to the door, as was shown by the deep toe and light heel marks, while Wooden-leg had waited a little, and then had gone away. I thought at the time that this might be the maid and her sweetheart, of whom you had already spoken to me, and inquiry showed it was so.”

“When I got into the stable lane a very long and complex story was written in the snow in front of me.”

“There was a double line of tracks of a booted man, and a second double line which I saw with delight belonged to a man with naked feet. I was at once convinced from what you had told me that the latter was your son. The first had walked both ways, but the other had run swiftly, and as his tread was marked in places over the depression of the boot, it was obvious that he had passed after the other. I followed them up and found they led to the hall window, where Boots had worn all the snow away while waiting. Then I walked to the other end, which was a hundred yards or more down the lane. I saw where Boots had faced round, where the snow was cut up as though there had been a struggle, and, finally, where a few drops of blood had fallen, to show me that I was not mistaken. Boots had then run down the lane, and another little smudge of blood showed that it was he who had been hurt. When he came to the highroad at the other end, I found that the pavement had been cleared, so there was an end to that clue.”

“As he loved his cousin, however, there was an excellent explanation why he should retain her secret — the more so as the secret was a disgraceful one.”

“And who could it be who was her confederate? A lover evidently, for who else could outweigh the love and gratitude which she must feel to you? I knew that you went out little, and that your circle of friends was a very limited one. But among them was Sir George Burnwell. I had heard of him before as being a man of evil reputation among women. It must have been he who wore those boots and retained the missing gems.”