His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes

By Arthur Conan Doyle; Owen Dudley Edwards | Go to book overview

Wisteria* Lodge

1 THE SINGULAR EXPERIENCE OF
MR JOHN SCOTT ECCLES

I FIND it recorded in my notebook that it was a bleak and windy day towards the end of March in the year 1895.* Holmes had received a telegram whilst we sat at our lunch, and he had scribbled a reply. He made no remark, but the matter remained in his thoughts, for he stood in front of the fire afterwards with a thoughtful face, smoking his pipe, and casting an occasional glance at the message. Suddenly he turned upon me with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

'I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you as a man of letters,' said he. 'How do you define the word "grotesque"?'

'Strange--remarkable,' I suggested.

He shook his head at my definition.

'There is surely something more than that,' said he; 'some underlying suggestion of the tragic and the terrible. If you cast your mind back to some of those narratives with which you have afflicted a long-suffering public, you will recognize how often the grotesque has deepened into the criminal. Think of that little affair of the red-headed men. That was grotesque enough in the outset, and yet it ended in a desperate attempt at robbery. Or, again, there was that most grotesque affair of the five orange pips,* which led straight to a murderous conspiracy. The word puts me on the alert.'

'Have you it there?' I asked.

He read the telegram aloud.

'"Have just had most incredible and grotesque experience. May I consult you?--Scott Eccles, Post Office, Charing Cross."'*

'Man or woman?' I asked.

'Oh, man, of course. No woman would ever send a reply-paid telegram.* She would have come.'

'Will you see him?'

-5-

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His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • General Editor's Preface to the Series vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Note on the Text xxxvi
  • Select Bibliography xxxvii
  • A Chronology of Arthur Conan Doyle xliii
  • Preface 3
  • Wisteria Lodge 5
  • The Bruce-Partington Plans 37
  • The Devil's Foot 68
  • The Red Circle 95
  • The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax 116
  • The Dying Detective 138
  • His Last Bow 155
  • Explanatory Notes 173
  • Appendix Three Unsigned Pieces by P. G. Wodehouse 244
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