The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Page 4 of 10
"Hum! So much for the police-court," said Holmes thoughtfully, tossing aside the paper. "The question for us now to solve
is the sequence of events leading from a rifled jewel-case at one
end to the crop of a goose in Tottenham Court Road at the other.
You see, Watson, our little deductions have suddenly assumed a
much more important and less innocent aspect. Here is the stone;
the stone came from the goose, and the goose came from Mr.
Henry Baker, the gentleman with the bad hat and all the other
characteristics with which I have bored you. So now we must set
ourselves very seriously to finding this gentleman and ascertaining what part he has played in this little mystery. To do this, we
must try the simplest means first, and these lie undoubtedly in an
advertisement in all the evening papers. If this fail, I shall have
recourse to other methods."
"What will you say?"
"Give me a pencil and that slip of paper. Now, then:
"Found at the corner of Goodge Street, a goose and a
black felt hat. Mr. Henry Baker can have the same by
applying at 6:30 this evening at 221B, Baker Street.
That is clear and concise."
"Very. But will he see it?"
"Well, he is sure to keep an eye on the papers, since, to a
poor man, the loss was a heavy one. He was clearly so scared by
his mischance in breaking the window and by the approach of
Peterson that he thought of nothing but flight, but since then he
must have bitterly regretted the impulse which caused him to
drop his bird. Then, again, the introduction of his name will
cause him to see it, for everyone who knows him will direct his
attention to it. Here you are, Peterson, run down to the advertising agency and have this put in the evening papers."
"In which, sir?"
"Oh, in the Clobe, Star, Pall Mall, St. James's, Evening
News Standard, Echo, and any others that occur to you."
"Very well, sir. And this stone?"
"Ah, yes, I shall keep the stone. Thank you. And, I say,
Peterson, just buy a goose on your way back and leave it here
with me, for we must have one to give to this gentleman in place
of the one which your family is now devouring."
When the commissionaire had gone, Holmes took up the stone
and held it against the light. "It's a bonny thing," said he. "Just
see how it glints and sparkles. Of course it is a nucleus and focus
of crime. Every good stone is. They are the devil's pet baits. In
the larger and older jewels every facet may stand for a bloody
deed. This stone is not yet twenty years old. It was found in the
banks of the Amoy River in southem China and is remarkable in
having every characteristic of the carbuncle, save that it is blue
in shade instead of ruby red. In spite of its youth, it has already a
sinister history. There have been two murders, a vitriol-throwing,
a suicide, and several robberies brought about for the sake of this
forty-grain weight of crystallized charcoal. Who would think that
so pretty a toy would be a purveyor to the gallows and the
prison? I'll lock it up in my strong box now and drop a line to
the Countess to say that we have it."
"Do you think that this man Horner is innocent?"
"I cannot tell."
"Well, then, do you imagine that this other one, Henry Baker,
had anything to do with the matter?"
"It is, I think, much more likely that Henry Baker is an
absolutely innocent man, who had no idea that the bird which he
was carrying was of considerably more value than if it were
made of solid gold. That, however, I shall determine by a very
simple test if we have an answer to our advertisement."
"And you can do nothing until then?"
"In that case I shall continue my professional round. But I
shall come back in the evening at the hour you have mentioned,
for I should like to see the solution of so tangled a business."
"Very glad to see you. I dine at seven. There is a woodcock, I
believe. By the way, in view of recent occurrences, perhaps I
ought to ask Mrs. Hudson to examine its crop."
I had been delayed at a case, and it was a little after half-past
six when I found myself in Baker Street once more. As I
approached the house I saw a tall man in a Scotch bonnet with a
coat which was buttoned up to his chin waiting outside in the
bright semicircle which was thrown from the fanlight. Just as l
arrived the door was opened, and we were shown up together to