The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Page 10 of 10
" 'Where are they all, Maggie?' I cried.
" 'Gone to the dealer's, Jem.'
" 'Which dealer's?'
" 'Breckinridge, of Covent Garden.'
" 'But was there another with a barred tail?' I asked, 'the
same as the one I chose?'
" 'Yes, Jem; there were two barred-tailed ones, and I could
never tell them apart.'
"Well, then, of course I saw it all, and I ran off as hard as my
feet would carry me to this man Breckinridge; but he had sold
the lot at once, and not one word would he tell me as to where
they had gone. You heard him yourselves to-night. Well, he has
always answered me like that. My sister thinks that I am going
mad. Sometimes I think that I am myself. And now -- and now I
am myself a branded thief, without ever having touched the
wealth for which I sold my character. God help me! God help
me!" He burst into convulsive sobbing, with his face buried in
There was a long silence, broken only by his heavy breathing
and by the measured tapping of Sherlock Holmes's finger-tips
upon the edge of the table. Then my friend rose and threw open
"Get out!" said he.
"What, sir! Oh, Heaven bless you!"
"No more words. Get out!"
And no more words were needed. There was a rush, a clatter
upon the stairs, the bang of a door, and the crisp rattle of running
footfalls from the street.
"After all, Watson," said Holmes, reaching up his hand for
his clay pipe, "I am not retained by the police to supply their
deficiencies. If Horner were in danger it would be another thing;
but this fellow will not appear against him, and the case must
collapse. I suppose that I am commuting a felony. but it is just
possible that I am saving a soul. This fellow will not go wrong
again; he is too terribly frightened. Send him to jail now, and
you make him a jail-bird for life. Besides, it is the season of
forgiveness. Chance has put in our way a most singular and
whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward. If you
will have the goodness to touch the bell, Doctor, we will begin
another investigation, in which, also a bird will be the chief