The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Page 3 of 10
"But his wife -- you said that she had ceased to love him."
"This hat has not been brushed for weeks. When I see you,
my dear Watson, with a week's accumulation of dust upon your
hat, and when your wife allows you to go out in such a state, I
shall fear that you also have been unfortunate enough to lose
your wife's affection."
"But he might be a bachelor."
"Nay, he was bringing home the goose as a peace-offering to
his wife. Remember the card upon the bird's leg."
"You have an answer to everything. But how on earth do you
deduce that the gas is not laid on in his house?"
"One tallow stain, or even two, might come by chance; but
when I see no less than five, I think that there can be little doubt
that the individual must be brought into frequent contact with
burning tallow -- walks upstairs at night probably with his hat in
one hand and a guttering candle in the other. Anyhow, he never
got tallow-stains from a gasjet. Are you satisfied?"
"Well, it is very ingenious," said I, laughing; "but since, as
you said just now, there has been no crime committed, and no
harm done save the loss of a goose, all this seems to be rather a
waste of energy."
Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply, when the
door flew open, and Peterson, the commissionaire, rushed into
the apartment with flushed cheeks and the face of a man who is
dazed with astonishment.
"The goose, Mr. Holmes! The goose, sir!" he gasped.
"Eh? What of it, then? Has it returned to life and flapped off
through the kitchen window?" Holmes twisted himself round
upon the sofa to get a fairer view of the man's excited face.
"See here, sir! See what my wife found in its crop!" He held
out his hand and displayed upon the centre of the palm a
brilliantly scintillating blue stone, rather smaller than a bean in
size, but of such purity and radiance that it twinkled like an
electric point in the dark hollow of his hand.
Sherlock Holmes sat up with a whistle. "By Jove, Peterson!"
said he, "this is treasure trove indeed. I suppose you know what
you have got?"
"A diamond, sir? A precious stone. It cuts into glass as
though it were putty."
"It's. more than a precious stone. It is the precious stone."
"Not the Countess of Morcar's blue carbuncle!" I ejaculated.
"Precisely so. l ought to know its size and shape, seeing that I
have read the advertisement about it in The Times every day
lately. It is absolutely unique, and its value can only be conjectured, but the reward offered of 1000 pounds is certainly not within a
twentieth part of the market price."
"A thousand pounds! Great Lord of mercy!" The commissionaire plumped down into a chair and stared from one to the
other of us.
"That is the reward, and I have reason to know that there are
sentimental considerations in the background which would induce the Countess to part with half her fortune if she could but
recover the gem."
"It was lost, if I remember aright, at the Hotel Cosmopolitan," I remarked.
"Precisely so, on December 22d, just five days ago. John
Horner, a plumber, was accused of having abstracted it from the
lady's jewel-case. The evidence against him was so strong that
the case has been referred to the Assizes. I have some account of
the matter here, I believe." He rummaged amid his newspapers,
glancing over the dates, until at last he smoothed one out,
doubled it over, and read the following paragraph:
"Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery. John Horner, 26,
plumber, was brought up upon the charge of having upon
the 22d inst., abstracted from the jewel-case of the Countess
of Morcar the valuable gem known as the blue carbuncle.
James Ryder, upper-attendant at the hotel, gave his evidence to the effect that he had shown Horner up to the
dressing-room of the Countess of Morcar upon the day of
the robbery in order that he might solder the second bar of
the grate, which was loose. He had remained with Horner
some little time, but had finally been called away. On
returning, he found that Horner had disappeared, that the
bureau had been forced open, and that the small morocco
casket in which, as it afterwards transpired, the Countess
was accustomed to keep her jewel, was lying empty upon
the dressing-table. Ryder instantly gave the alarm, and Horner
was arrested the same evening; but the stone could not be
found either upon his person or in his rooms. Catherine
Cusack, maid to the Countess, deposed to having heard
Ryder's cry of dismay on discovering the robbery, and to
having rushed into the room, where she found matters as
described by the last witness.
Inspector Bradstreet, B division, gave evidence as to the arrest of Horner, who strug gled frantically, and protested his innocence in the strongest
terms. Evidence of a previous conviction for robbery having
been given against the prisoner, the magistrate refused to
deal summarily with the offence, but referred it to the
Assizes. Horner, who had shown signs of intense emotion
during the proceedings, fainted away at the conclusion and
was carried out of court.