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Avaelabl frum: Oxford Text Archive, P-1762-A
Spel-chek and verrificaeshun maed agenst printedtext
I had calld upon mi frend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, wun dae in th autum of last yeer and found him in deep conversaeshun with a verry stout, florid-faest, elderly jentlman with fiery red hair.
With an apolojy for mi introozhun, I was about to withdraw when Holmes puuld me abruptly into th room and cloezd th dor behiend me.
"U cuud not posibly hav cum at a beter tiem, mi deer Watson," he sed corjaly.
"I was afraed that U wer engaejd."
"So I am.
Verry much so."
"Then I can waet in th next room."
"Not at all.
This jentlman, Mr. Wilson, has bin mi partner and helper in meny of mi moest sucsesful caeses, and I hav no dout that he wil be of th utmoest ues to me in yurs allso."
Th stout jentlman haf roez frum his chair and gaev a bob of greeting, with a qik litl qeschuning glans frum his small fat-ensercld ies.
"Tri th settee," sed Holmes, relapsing into his armchair and puuting his finggertips together, as was his custom when in joodishal moods.
"I noe, mi deer Watson, that U shair mi luv of all that is bizar and outsied th convenshuns and humdrum rooteen of evrydae lief.
U hav shoen yur relish for it bi th enthooziazm which has prompted U to cronicl, and, if U wil excues mi saeing so, sumwhut to embelish so meny of mi oen litl advenchers."
"Yur caeses hav indeed bin of th graetest interest to me," I obzervd.
"U wil remember that I remarkt th uther dae, just befor we went into th verry simpl problem prezented bi Mis Mary Sutherland, that for straenj efects and extraordinairy combinaeshuns we must go to lief itself, which is allwaes far mor dairing than eny efort of th imajinaeshun."
"A propozishun which I tuuk th liberty of douting."
"U did, Doctor, but nun th les U must cum round to mi vue, for utherwiez I shal keep on pieling fact upon fact on U until yur reezon braeks doun under them and aknolejes me to be riet.
Now, Mr. Jabez Wilson heer has bin guud enuf to call upon me this morning, and to begin a narrativ which promises to be wun of th moest singguelar which I hav lisend to for sum tiem.
U hav herd me remark that th straenjest and moest ueneek things ar verry offen conected not with
Th portly clieent puft out his chest with an apeerans of sum litl pried and puuld a derty and rinkld nuespaeper frum th insied poket of his graetcoet.
As he glanst doun th advertiezment colum, with his hed thrust forward and th paeper flatend out upon his nee, I tuuk a guud luuk at th man and endeavoured, after th fashun of mi companyon, to reed th indicaeshuns which miet be prezented bi his dres or apeerans.
I did not gaen verry much, however, bi mi inspecshun.
Our vizitor bor evry mark of being an averej comonplaes British traedzman, oebees, pompus, and slo.
He wor rather bagy grae shepherd's chek trouzers, a not oever-cleen blak frockcoat, unbuttoned in th frunt, and a drab waestcoet with a hevy brasy Albert chaen, and a sqair peerst bit of metal danggling doun as an ornament.
A fraed top-hat and a faeded broun oevercoet with a rinkld velvet colar lae upon a chair besied him.
Alltogether, luuk as I wuud, thair was nuthing remarkabl about th man saev his blaezing red hed, and th expreshun of extreem shagrin and discontent upon his feechers.
Sherlock Holmes's qik ie tuuk in mi ocuepaeshun, and he shuuk his hed with a smiel as he noetist mi qeschuning glanses.
"Beyond th obvius facts that he has at sum tiem dun manueal laebor, that he taeks snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has bin in Chiena, and that he has dun a considerabl amount of rieting laetly, I can dedues nuthing els."
Mr. Jabez Wilson started up in his chair, with his forfingger upon th paeper, but his ies upon mi companyon.
"How, in th naem of guud-forchun, did U noe all that, Mr. Holmes?" he askt.
"How did U noe, for exampl, that I did manueal laebor?
It's as troo as gospel, for I began as a ship's carpenter."
"Yur hands, mi deer ser.
Yur riet hand is qiet a siez larjer than yur left.
U hav werkt with it, and th musls ar mor developt."
"Wel, th snuff, then, and th Freemasonry?"
"I woen't insult yur intelijens bi teling U how I reed that, espeshaly as, rather agenst th strict rools of yur order, U ues an arc-and-compas breastpin."
"Aa, of cors, I forgot that.
But th rieting?"
"Whut els can be indicaeted bi that riet cuf so verry shieny for fiev inches, and th left wun with th smooth pach neer th elbo wherr U rest it upon th desk?"
"Wel, but Chiena?"
Th fish that U hav tatood imeedyetly abuv yur riet rist cuud oenly hav bin dun in Chiena.
I hav maed a small study of tatoo marks and hav eeven contribueted to th literachur of th subject.
That trik of staening th fishes' scaels of a deliket pink is qiet pecuelyar to Chiena.
When, in adishun, I see a Chinese coin hanging frum yur woch-chaen, th mater becums eeven mor simpl."
Mr. Jabez Wilson laft hevily.
"Wel, I never!" sed he.
"I thaut at ferst that U had dun sumthing clever, but I see that thair was nuthing in it, after all."
"I begin to think, Watson," sed Holmes, that I maek a mistaek in explaening.
"Omne ignotum pro magnifico," U noe, and mi pur litl repuetaeshun, such as it is, wil sufer shiprek if I am so candid.
Can U not fiend th advertiezment, Mr. Wilson?"
"Yes, I hav got it now," he anserd with his thik red fingger planted hafwae doun th colum.
"Heer it is.
This is whut began it all.
U just reed it for yurself, ser."
I tuuk th paeper frum him and reed as foloes.
TO TH RED-HEDED LEEG: On acount of th beqest of th laet Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, U. S. A., thair is now anuther vaecansy oepen which entietls a member of th Leeg to a salary of 4 pounds a week for puerly nominal servises.
"Whut on erth duz this meen?" I ejacuelaeted after I had twies reed oever th extraordinairy anounsment.
Holmes chukld and wriggled in his chair, as was his habit when in hi spirits.
"It is a litl off th beeten trak, isn't it?" sed he.
"And now, Mr. Wilson, off U go at scrach and tel us all about yurself, yur hous-hoeld, and th efect which this advertiezment had upon yur forchuns.
U wil ferst maek a noet, Doctor, of th paeper and th daet."
"It is Th Morning Cronicl of April 27, 1890.
Just too munths ago."
Now, Mr. Wilson?"
"Wel, it is just as I hav bin teling U, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," sed Jabez Wilson, moping his forhed; "I hav a small pawnbroker's biznes at Coburg Sqair, neer th Sity.
It's not a verry larj afair, and of laet yeers it has not dun mor than just giv me a living.
I uezd to be aebl to keep too asistants, but now I oenly keep wun; and I wuud hav a job to pae him but that he is wiling to cum for haf waejes so as to lern th biznes."
"Whut is th naem of this obliejing yooth?" askt Sherlock Holmes.
"His naem is Vincent Spaulding, and he's not such a yooth, eether.
It's hard to sae his aej.
I shuud not wish a smarter asistant, Mr. Holmes; and I noe verry wel that he cuud beter himself and ern twies whut I am aebl to giv him.
But, after all, if he is satisfied, whi shuud I puut iedeeas in his hed?"
U seem moest forchunet in having an emploiee hoo cums under th fuul market pries.
It is not a comon expeeryens amung emploiers in this aej.
I don't noe that yur asistant is not as remarkabl as yur advertiezment."
"O, he has his fallts, too," sed Mr. Wilson.
"Never was such a felo for fotografy.
Snaping awae with a camera when he aut to be improoving his miend, and then dieving doun into th selar liek a rabit into its hoel to develop his pikchers.
That is his maen fallt, but on th hoel he's a guud werker.
Thair's no vies in him."
"He is stil with U, I prezoom?"
He and a gerl of forteen, hoo duz a bit of simpl cuuking and keeps th plaes cleen -- that's all I hav in th hous, for I am a widoeer and never had eny family.
We liv verry qieetly, ser, th three of us; and we keep a roof oever our heds and pae our dets, if we do nuthing mor.
"Th ferst thing that puut us out was that advertiezment.
Spaulding, he caem doun into th offis just this dae aet weeks, with this verry paeper in his hand, and he ses:
""I wish to th Lord, Mr. Wilson, that I was a red-heded man."
""Whi that?" I asks.
" "Whi," ses he, `heer's anuther vaecansy on th Leeg of th Red-heded
""Whi, whut is it, then?" I askt.
Mr. Holmes, I am a verry stae-at-hoem man, and as mi biznes caem to me insted of mi having to go to it, I was offen weeks on end without puuting mi fuut oever th dor-mat.
In that wae I didn't noe much of whut was going on outsied, and I was allwaes glad of a bit of nues.
""Hav U never herd of th Leeg of th Red-heded Men?" he askt with his ies oepen.
" `Whi, [ wunder at that, for U ar elijibl yurself for wun of th vaecansys."
""And whut ar thae werth?" I askt.
" "O, meerly a cupl of hundred a yeer, but th werk is sliet, and it need not interfeer verry much with one's uther ocuepaeshuns."
"Wel, U can eezily think that that maed me prik up mi eers, for th biznes has not bin oever-guud for sum yeers, and an extra cupl of hundred wuud hav bin verry handy.
""Tel me all about it," sed I.
" "Wel" sed he, shoeing me th advertiezment, "U can see for yurself that th Leeg has a vaecansy, and thair is th adres wherr U shuud apli for particuelars.
As far as I can maek out, th Leeg was founded bi an American milyonair.
Ezekiah Hopkins, hoo was verry pecuelyar in his waes.
He was himself red-heded, and he had a graet simpathy for all redheded men; so when he died it was found that he had left his enormus forchun in th hands of trustees, with instrucshuns to apli th interest to th provieding of eezy berths to men hoos hair is of that colour.
Frum all I heer it is splendid pae and verry litl to do."
""But," sed I, `thair wuud be milyons of red-heded men hoo wuud apli."
""Not so meny as U miet think," he anserd.
"U see it is reealy confiend to Londoners, and to groen men.
This American had started frum London when he was yung, and he wonted to do th oeld toun a guud tern.
Then, agen, I hav herd it is no ues yur aplieing if yur hair is liet red, or dark red, or enything but reeal briet, blaezing, fiery red.
Now, if U caird to apli, Mr. Wilson, U wuud just wauk in; but perhaps it wuud hardly be werth yur whiel to puut yurself out of th wae for th saek of a fue hundred pounds."
"Now, it is a fact, jentlmen, as U mae see for yurselvs, that mi hair is of a verry fuul and rich tint, so that it seemd to me that if thair was to be eny competishun in th mater I stuud as guud a chans as eny man that I had ever met.
Vincent Spaulding seemd to noe so much about it that I thaut he miet proov uesful, so I just orderd him to puut up th shuters for th dae and to cum riet awae with me.
He was verry wiling to hav a holidae, so we shut th biznes up and started off for th adres that was given us in th advertiezment.
"I never hoep to see such a siet as that agen, Mr. Holmes.
Frum north, south, eest, and west evry man hoo had a shaed of red in his hair had trampt into th sity to anser th advertiezment.
Fleet Street was choekt with red-heded foek, and Pope's Cort luukt liek a coster's orenj barro.
I shuud not hav thaut thair wer so meny in th hoel cuntry as wer braut together bi that singgl advertiezment.
Evry shaed of colour thae wer -- straw, lemon, orenj, brik, Irish-seter, liver, clae; but, as Spaulding sed, thair wer not meny hoo had th reeal vivid flaem-culord tint.
When I saw how meny wer waeting, I wuud hav given it up in despair; but Spaulding wuud not heer of it.
How he did it I cuud not imajin, but he puusht and puuld and buted until he got me thru th croud, and riet up to th steps which led to th offis.
Thair was a dubl streem upon th stair, sum going up in hoep, and sum cuming bak dejected; but we wejd in as wel as we cuud and soon found ourselvs in th offis."
"Yur expeeryens has bin a moest entertaening wun," remarkt Holmes as his clieent pauzd and refresht his memory with a huej pinch of snuff.
"Prae continue yur verry interesting staetment."
"Thair was nuthing in th offis but a cupl of wuuden chairs and a deel taebl, behiend which sat a small man with a hed that was eeven reder than mien.
He sed a fue werds to eech candidaet as he caem up, and then he allwaes manejd to fiend sum fallt in them which wuud disqolifi them.
Geting a vaecansy did not seem to be such a verry eezy mater, after all.
However, when our tern caem th litl man was much mor favourable to me than to eny of th uthers, and he cloezd th dor as
""This is Mr. Jabez Wilson," sed mi asistant, "and he is wiling to fil a vaecansy in th Leeg."
""And he is admerably sooted for it," th uther anserd.
"He has evry reqierment.
I cannot recall when I hav seen enything so fien."
He tuuk a step bakward, cokt his hed on wun sied, and gaezd at mi hair until I felt qiet bashful.
Then sudenly he plunjd forward, wrung mi hand, and congrachulaeted me wormly on mi sucses.
""It wuud be injustis to hezitaet," sed he.
"U wil, however, I am shur, excues me for taeking an obvius precaushun."
With that he seezd mi hair in boeth his hands, and tugd until I yeld with th paen.
"Thair is wauter in yur ies," sed he as he releest me.
"I perseev that all is as it shuud be.
But we hav to be cairful, for we hav twies bin deseevd bi wigs and wuns bi paent.
I cuud tel U taels of cobbler's wax which wuud disgust U with hueman naecher."
He stept oever to th windo and shouted thru it at th top of his vois that th vaecansy was fild.
A groen of disapointment caem up frum belo, and th foek all troopt awae in diferent direcshuns until thair was not a red-hed to be seen exsept mi oen and that of th manejer.
""Mi naem," sed he, `is Mr. Duncan Ross, and I am mieself wun of th pensioners upon th fund left bi our noebl benefactor.
Ar U a marryd man, Mr. Wilson?
Hav U a family?"
"I anserd that I had not.
" His faes fel imeedyetly.
""Deer me!" he sed graevly, `that is verry seerius indeed!
I am sorry to heer
"Mi faes lengthend at this, Mr. Holmes, for I thaut that I was not to hav th vaecansy after all; but after thinking it oever for a fue minits he sed that it wuud be all riet.
""In th caes of anuther," sed he, `th objecshun miet be faetal, but we must strech a point in faevor of a man with such a hed of hair as yurs.
When shal U be aebl to enter upon yur nue duetys?"
""Wel, it is a litl aukward, for I hav a biznes allredy," sed I.
""O, never miend about that, Mr. Wilson!" sed Vincent Spaulding.
"I shuud be aebl to luuk after that for U."
""Whut wuud be th ours?" I askt.
" "Ten to too."
"Now a pawnbroker's biznes is moestly dun of an eevning, Mr. Holmes, espeshaly Thursday and Friday eevning, which is just befor pae-dae; so it wuud soot me verry wel to ern a litl in th mornings.
Besieds, I nue that mi asistant was a guud man, and that he wuud see to enything that ternd up.
""That wuud soot me verry wel," sed I.
"And th pae?"
""Is 4 pounds a week."
" `And th werk?"
""Is puerly nominal."
" `Whut do U call puerly nominal?"
""Wel, U hav to be in th offis, or at leest in th bilding, th hoel tiem.
If U leev, U forfit yur hoel pozishun forever.
Th wil is verry cleer upon that point.
U don't compli with th condishuns if U buj frum th offis during that tiem."
""It's oenly foer ours a dae, and I shuud not think of leeving," sed I.
""No excues wil avael," sed Mr. Duncan Ross; "neether siknes nor biznes nor enything els.
Thair U must stae, or U looz yur bilet."
""And th werk?"
" `Is to copy out th Ensieclopeedia Britannica.
Thair is th ferst voluem of it in that pres.
U must fiend yur oen ink, pens, and bloting-paeper, but we provied this taebl and chair.
Wil U be redy to-morro?"
""Sertenly," I anserd.
" "Then, guud-bi, Mr. Jabez Wilson, and let me congrachulaet U wuns mor on th important pozishun which U hav bin forchunet enuf to gaen."
He bowd me out of th room and I went hoem with mi asistant, hardly noeing whut to sae or do, I was so pleezd at mi oen guud forchun.
"Wel, I thaut oever th mater all dae, and bi eevning I was in lo spirits agen; for I had qiet perswaeded mieself that th hoel afair must be sum graet hoex or fraud, tho whut its object miet be I cuud not imajin.
It seemd alltogether past beleef that enywun cuud maek such a wil, or that thae wuud pae such a sum for doing enything so simpl as copying out th Ensieclopeedia Britannica.
Vincent Spaulding did whut he cuud to cheer me up, but bi bedtiem I had reezond mieself out of th hoel thing.
However, in th morning I determind to hav a luuk at it enyhow, so I baut a peny botl of ink, and with a qil-pen, and seven sheets of foolzcap paeper, I started off for Pope's Cort.
"Wel, to mi serpriez and deliet, evrything was as riet as posibl.
Th taebl was set out redy for me, and Mr. Duncan Ross was thair to see that I got fairly to werk.
He started me off upon th leter A, and then he left me; but he wuud drop in frum tiem to tiem to see that all was riet with me.
At too o'clok he baed me guud-dae, complimented me upon th amount that I had riten, and lokt th dor of th offis after me.
"This went on dae after dae, Mr. Holmes, and on Saturday th manejer caem in and planked doun foer goelden sovrins for mi week's werk.
It was th saem next week, and th saem th week after.
Evry morning I was thair at ten, and evry afternoon I left at too.
Bi degrees Mr. Duncan Ross tuuk to cuming in oenly wuns of a morning, and then, after a tiem, he did not cum in at all.
Stil, of cors, I never daird to leev th room for an instant, for I was not shur when he miet cum, and th bilet was such a guud wun, and sooted me so wel, that I wuud not risk th loss of it.
"Aet weeks past awae liek this, and I had riten about Abbots and Archery and Armour and Arkitekcher and Attica, and hoept with dilijens that I miet get on to th B's befor verry long.
It cost me sumthing in foolzcap, and I had prity neerly fild a shelf with mi rietings.
And then sudenly th hoel biznes caem to an end."
"To an end?"
And no laeter than this morning.
I went to mi werk as uezhual at ten o'clok, but th dor was shut and lokt, with a litl sqair of card-bord hamerd on to th midl of th panel with a tak.
Heer it is, and U can reed for yurself."
He held up a pees of whiet card-bord about th siez of a sheet of noet-paeper.
It reed in this fashun:
TH RED-HEDED LEEG IS DIZOLVD.
October 9, 1890.
Sherlock Holmes and I servaed this curt anounsment and th rooful faes behiend it, until th comical sied of th afair so compleetly overtopped evry uther consideraeshun that we boeth berst out into a ror of lafter.
"I cannot see that thair is enything verry funy," cried our clieent, flushing up to th roots of his flaeming hed.
"If U can do nuthing beter than laf at me, I can go elswherr."
"No, no," cried Holmes, shuving him bak into th chair frum which he had haf rizen.
"I reealy wuudn't mis yur caes for th werld.
It is moest refreshingly unuezhual.
But thair is, if U wil excues mi saeing so, sumthing just a litl funy about it.
Prae whut steps did U taek when U found th card upon th dor?"
"I was stagerd, ser.
I did not noe whut to do.
Then I calld at th offises round, but nun of them seemd to noe enything about it.
Fienaly, I went to th landlord, hoo is an acountant living on th ground-flor, and I askt him if he cuud tel me whut had becum of th Red-heded
""Wel," sed I, `th jentlman at No. 4.'
" "Whut, th red-heded man?"
" `O,' sed he, "his naem was William Morris.
He was a solisitor and was uezing mi room as a temporairy conveenyuns until his nue premises wer redy.
He moovd out yesterdae."
""Wherr cuud I fiend him?"
" "O, at his nue offises.
He did tel me th adres.
Yes, 17 King Edward Street, neer St. Paul's."
"I started off, Mr. Holmes, but when I got to that adres it was a manuefaktory of artifishal nee-caps, and no wun in it had ever herd of eether Mr. William Morris or Mr. Duncan Ross."
"And whut did U do then?" askt Holmes.
"I went hoem to Saxe-Coburg Sqair, and I tuuk th advies of mi asistant.
But he cuud not help me in eny wae.
He cuud oenly sae that if I waeted I shuud heer bi poest.
But that was not qiet guud enuf, Mr. Holmes.
I did not wish to looz such a plaes without a strugl, so, as I had herd that U wer guud enuf to giv advies to pur foek hoo wer in need of it, I caem riet awae to U."
"And U did verry wiezly," sed Holmes.
"Yur caes is an exseedingly remarkabl wun, and I shal be hapy to luuk into it.
Frum whut U hav toeld me I think that it is posibl that graever ishoos hang frum it than miet at ferst siet apeer."
"Graev enuf!" sed Mr. Jabez Wilson.
Whi, I hav lost foer pound a week."
"As far as U ar personaly consernd," remarkt Holmes, "I do not see that U hav eny greevans agenst this extraordinairy leeg.
On th contrairy, U ar, as I understand, richer bi sum therty pounds, to sae nuthing of th minit nolej which U hav gaend on evry subject which cums under th leter A.
U hav lost nuthing bi them."
But I wont to fiend out about them, and hoo thae ar, and whut thair object was in plaeing this prank -- if it was a prank -- upon me.
It was a prity expensiv joek for them, for it cost them too and therty pounds."
"We shal endevor to cleer up thees points for U.
And, ferst, wun or too qeschuns, Mr. Wilson.
This asistant of yurs hoo ferst calld yur atenshun to th advertiezment -- how long had he bin with U?"
"About a munth then."
How did he cum?"
"In anser to an advertiezment."
Was he th oenly aplicant?"
"No, I had a duzen."
Whi did U pik him?"
"Becauz he was handy and wuud cum cheep."
"At haf-waejes, in fact."
Whut is he liek, this Vincent Spaulding?"
"Small, stout-bilt, verry qik in his waes, no hair on his faes, tho he's not short of therty.
Has a whiet splash of asid upon his forhed."
Holmes sat up in his chair in considerabl exsietment.
"I thaut as much," sed he.
Hav U ever obzervd that his eers ar peerst for eer-rings?"
He toeld me that a jipsy had dun it for him when he was a lad."
"Hum!" sed Holmes, sinking bak in deep thaut.
"He is stil with U?"
"O, yes, ser; I hav oenly just left him."
"And has yur biznes bin atended to in yur absens?"
"Nuthing to complaen of, ser.
Thair's never verry much to do of a morning."
"That wil do, Mr. Wilson.
I shal be hapy to giv U an opinyon upon th subject in th cors of a dae or too.
To-dae is Saturday, and I hoep that bi Monday we mae cum to a concloozhun."
"Wel, Watson," sed Holmes when our vizitor had left us, "whut do U maek of it all?"
"I maek nuthing of it," I anserd frankly.
"It is a moest misteerius biznes."
"As a rool," sed Holmes, th mor bizar a thing is th les misteerius it proovs to be.
It is yur comonplaes, feecherles criems which ar reealy puzling, just as a comonplaes faes is th moest dificult to iedentifi.
But I must be prompt oever this mater."
"Whut ar U going to do, then?" I askt.
"To smoek," he anserd.
It is qiet a three piep problem, and I beg that U woen't speek to me for fifty minits."
He curld himself up in his chair, with his thin nees drawn up to his hauk-liek noez, and thair he sat with his ies cloezd and his blak clae piep thrusting out liek th bil of sum straenj berd.
I had cum to th concloozhun that he had dropt asleep, and indeed was noding mieself, when he sudenly sprang out of his chair with th jescher of a man hoo has maed up his miend and puut his piep doun upon th mantelpees.
"Sarasate plaes at th St. James's Hall this afternoon," he remarkt.
"Whut do U think, Watson?
Cuud yur paeshents spair U for a fue ours?"
"I hav nuthing to do
"Then puut on yur hat and cum.
I am going thru th Sity ferst, and we can hav sum lunch on th wae.
I obzerv that thair is a guud deel of German muezic on th programme, which is rather mor to mi taest than Italian or French.
It is introspectiv, and I wont to introspect.
We traveld bi th Underground as far as Aldersgate; and a short wauk tuuk us to Saxe-Coburg Sqair, th seen of th singguelar story which we had lisend to in th morning.
It was a poky, litl, shaby-jenteel plaes, wherr foer liens of dinjy too-storyd brik houses luukt out into a small railed-in encloezher, wherr a laun of weedy gras and a fue clumps of faeded lorel-buushes maed a hard fiet agenst a smoek-laeden and uncongenial atmosfeer.
Three gilt balls and a broun bord with "JABEZ WILSON" in whiet leters, upon a corner hous, anounst th plaes wherr our red-heded clieent carryd on his biznes.
Sherlock Holmes stopt in frunt of it with his hed on wun sied and luukt it all oever, with his ies shiening brietly between pukerd lids.
Then he waukt sloely up th street, and then doun agen to th corner, stil luuking keenly at th houses.
Fienaly he reternd to th pawnbroker's, and, having thumpt vigorusly upon th paevment with his stik too or three tiems, he went up to th dor and nokt.
It was instantly oepend bi a briet-luuking, cleen-shaeven yung felo, hoo askt him to step in.
"Thank U," sed Holmes, I oenly wisht to ask U how U wuud go frum heer to th Strand."
"Therd riet, foerth left," anserd th asistant promptly, cloezing th dor.
"Smart felo, that," obzervd Holmes as we waukt awae.
"He is, in mi jujment, th foerth smartest man in London, and for dairing I am not shur that he has not a claem to be therd.
I hav noen sumthing of him befor."
"Evidently," sed I, Mr. Wilson's asistant counts for a guud deel in this mistery of th Red-heded Leeg.
I am shur that U inqierd yur wae meerly in order that U miet see him."
"Th nees of his trouzers."
And whut did U see?"
"Whut I expected to see."
Whi did U beet th paevment?"
"Mi deer doctor, this is a tiem for obzervaeshun, not for tauk.
We ar spies in an enemy's cuntry.
We noe sumthing of Saxe-Coburg Sqair.
Let us now explor th parts which lie behiend it."
Th roed in which we found ourselvs as we ternd round th corner frum th retierd Saxe-Coburg Sqair prezented as graet a contrast to it as th frunt of a pikcher duz to th bak.
It was wun of th maen arterys which convaed th trafic of th Sity to th north and west.
Th roedwae was blokt with th imens streem of comers floeing in a dubl tied inward and outward, whiel th footpaths wer blak with th herying sworm of pedestrians.
It was dificult to reealiez as we luukt at th lien of fien shops and staetly biznes premises that
"Let me see," sed Holmes, standing at th corner and glansing along th lien, "I shuud liek just to remember th order of th houses heer.
It is a hoby of mien to hav an exact nolej of London.
Thair is Mortimer's, th tobaconist, th litl nuespaeper shop, th Coburg branch of th Sity and Suberban Bank, th Vejetairian Resterant, and Mcfarlane's carrej-bilding deepo.
That carrys us riet on to th uther blok.
And now, Doctor, we'v dun our werk, so it's tiem we had sum plae.
A sandwich and a cup of coffy, and then off to vieolin-land, wherr all is sweetnes and delicasy and harmony, and thair ar no red-heded clieents to vex us with thair conundrums."
Mi frend was an enthooziastic muezishan, being himself not oenly a verry caepabl performer but a compoezer of no ordinairy merrit.
All th afternoon he sat in th stalls rapt in th moest perfect hapynes, jently waeving his long, thin finggers in tiem to th muezic, whiel his jently smieling faes and his langgwid, dreemy ies wer as unliek thoes of Holmes, th slooth-hound, Holmes th relentles, keen-witted, redy-handed criminal aejent, as it was posibl to conseev.
In his singguelar carracter th dueal naecher allternetly aserted itself, and his extreem exactnes and astuetnes reprezented, as I hav offen thaut, th reacshun agenst th poeetic and contemplaetiv mood which ocaezhunaly predominaeted in him.
Th swing of his naecher tuuk him frum extreem langgor to devouring enerjy; and, as I nue wel, he was never so trooly formidabl as when, for daes on end, he had bin lounjing in his armchair amid his improvizaeshuns and his blak-leter edishuns.
Then it was that th lust of th chaes wuud
"U wont to go hoem, no dout, Doctor," he remarkt as we emerjd.
"Yes, it wuud be as wel."
And I hav sum biznes to do which wil taek sum ours.
This biznes at Coburg Sqair is seerius."
A considerabl criem is in contemplaeshun.
I hav evry reezon to beleev that we shal be in tiem to stop it.
But to-dae being Saturday rather complicates maters.
I shal wont yur help to-niet."
"At whut tiem?"
Ten wil be erly enuf."
"I shal be at Baeker Street at ten."
And, I sae, Doctor, thair mae be sum litl daenjer, so kiendly puut yur army revolver in yur poket."
He waevd his hand, ternd on his heel, and disapeerd in an instant amung th croud.
I trust that I am not mor dens than mi naebors, but I was allwaes oprest with a sens of mi oen stoopidity in mi deelings with Sherlock Holmes.
Heer I had herd whut he had herd, I had seen whut he had seen, and yet frum his werds it was evident that he saw cleerly not oenly whut had hapend but whut was about to hapen, whiel to me th hoel biznes was stil confuezd and groetesk.
As I droev hoem to mi hous in Kensington I thaut oever it all,
It was a qorter-past nien when I started frum hoem and maed mi wae across th Park, and so thru Oxford Street to Baeker Street.
Too hansoms wer standing at th dor, and as I enterd th pasej I herd th sound of voises frum abuv.
On entering his room I found Holmes in animaeted conversaeshun with too men, wun of hoom I recogniezd as Peeter Jones, th ofishal polees aejent, whiel th uther was a long, thin, sad-faest man, with a verry shieny hat and oppressively respectabl frok-coet.
Our party is compleet," sed Holmes, butoning up his peajacket and taeking his hevy hunting crop frum th rak.
"Watson, I think U noe Mr. Jones, of Scotland Yard?
Let me introdues U to Mr. Merryweather, hoo is to be our companyon in to-night's advencher."
"We'r hunting in cupls agen, Doctor, U see," sed Jones in his conseqenshal wae.
"Our frend heer is a wunderful man for starting a chaes.
All he wonts is an oeld daug to help him to do th runing doun."
"I hoep a wield goos mae not proov to be th end of our chaes," obzervd Mr. Merryweather gloomily.
"U mae plaes considerabl confidens in Mr. Holmes, ser," sed th polees aejent lofftily.
"He has his oen litl methods, which ar, if he woen't miend mi saeing so, just a litl too theoretical and fantastic, but he has th maekings of a detectiv in him.
It is not too much to sae that wuns or twies, as in that biznes of th Sholto merder and th Agra trezher, he has bin mor neerly corect than th ofishal fors."
"O, if U sae so, Mr. Jones, it is all riet," sed th straenjer with deferens.
"Stil, I confes that I mis mi ruber.
It is th ferst Saturday niet for seven-and-twenty yeers that I hav not had mi ruber."
"I think U wil fiend," sed Sherlock Holmes, "that U wil plae for a hieer staek to-niet than U hav ever dun yet, and that th plae wil be mor exsieting.
For U, Mr. Merryweather, th staek wil be sum 30,000 pounds; and for U, Jones, it wil be th man upon hoom U wish to lae yur hands."
"John Clae, th merderer, theef, smasher, and forjer.
He's a yung man, Mr. Merryweather, but he is at th hed of his profeshun, and I wuud rather hav mi bracelets on him than on eny criminal in London.
He's a remarkabl man, is yung John Clae.
His grandfaather was a roial duek, and he himself has bin to Eton and Oxford.
His braen is as cuning as his finggers, and tho we meet siens of him at evry tern, we never noe wherr to fiend th man himself.
He'l crak a crib in Scotland wun week, and be raezing muny to bild an orfanej in Cornwall th next.
I'v bin on his trak for yeers and hav never set ies on him yet."
"I hoep that I mae hav th plezher of introduesing U to-niet.
I'v had wun or too litl terns allso with Mr. John Clae, and I agree with U that he is at th hed of his profeshun.
It is past ten, however, and qiet tiem that we started.
If U too wil taek th ferst hansum, Watson and I wil folo in th second."
Sherlock Holmes was not verry comuenicaetiv during th long driev and lae bak in th cab huming th tuens which he had herd in th afternoon.
We ratld thru an endles laberinth of gas-lit streets until we emerjd into Farrington Street.
"We ar cloes thair now," mi frend remarkt.
"This felo Merryweather is a bank director, and personaly interested in th mater.
I thaut it as wel to hav Jones with us allso.
He is not a bad felo, tho an absoloot imbisil in his profeshun.
He has wun pozitiv verchoo.
He is as braev as a buuldaug and as tenaeshus as a lobster if he gets his claws upon enywun.
Heer we ar, and thae ar waeting for us."
We had reecht th saem crouded theroefair in which we had found ourselvs in th morning.
Our cabs wer dismist, and, foloeing th giedans of Mr. Merryweather, we past doun a narro pasej and thru a sied dor, which he oepend for us.
Within thair was a small coridor, which ended in a verry masiv ieern gaet.
This allso was oepend, and led doun a fliet of wiending stoen steps, which terminaeted at
"U ar not verry vulnerabl frum abuv," Holmes remarkt as he held up th lantern and gaezd about him.
"Nor frum belo," sed Mr. Merryweather, strieking his stik upon th flags which liend th flor.
"Whi, deer me, it sounds qiet holo!" he remarkt, luuking up in serpriez.
"I must reealy ask U to be a litl mor qieet!" sed Holmes seveerly.
"U hav allredy imperrild th hoel sucses of our expedishun.
Miet I beg that U wuud hav th guudnes to sit doun upon wun of thoes boxes, and not to interfeer?"
Th solem Mr.
"We hav at leest an our befor us," he remarkt, "for thae can hardly taek eny steps until th guud paunbroeker is saefly in bed.
Then thae wil not looz a minit, for th sooner thae do thair werk th longger tiem thae wil hav for thair escaep.
We ar at prezent, Doctor -- as no dout U hav divined -- in th selar of th Sity branch of wun of th prinsipal London banks.
Mr. Merryweather is th chairman of directors, and he wil explaen to U that thair ar reezons whi th mor dairing criminals of London shuud taek a considerabl interest in this selar at prezent."
"It is our French goeld," whisperd th director.
"We hav had several wornings that an atempt miet be maed upon it."
"Yur French goeld?"
We had ocaezhun sum munths ago to strengthen our resorses and borroed for that perpos 30,000 napoleons frum th Bank of France.
It has becum noen that we hav never had ocaezhun to unpak th muny, and that it is stil lieing in our selar.
Th craet upon which I sit contaens 2,000 napoleons pakt between laeers of leed foil.
Our rezerv of buulyon is much larjer at prezent than is uezhualy kept in a singgl branch offis, and th directors hav had misgivings upon th subject."
"Which wer verry wel justified," obzervd Holmes.
"And now it is tiem that we araenjd our litl plans.
I expect that within an our maters wil cum to a hed.
In th meentiem Mr. Merryweather, we must puut th screen oever that dark lantern."
"And sit in th dark?"
I am afraed so.
I had braut a pak of cards in mi poket, and I thaut that, as we wer a partie carree, U miet hav yur ruber after all.
But I see that th enemy's preparaeshuns hav gon so far that we cannot risk th prezens of a liet.
I plaest mi revolver, cokt, upon th top of th wuuden caes behiend which I croucht.
Holmes shot th slied across th frunt of his lantern and left us in pich darknes -- such an absoloot darknes as I hav never befor expeeryenst.
Th smel of hot metal remaend to ashur us that th liet was stil thair, redy to flash out at a moment's noetis.
To me, with mi nervs werkt up to a pich of expectansy, thair was sumthing depresing and subdueing in th suden gloom, and in th coeld dank air of th vallt.
"Thae hav but wun retreet," whisperd Holmes.
"That is bak thru th hous into Saxe-Coburg Sqair.
I hoep that U hav dun whut I askt U, Jones?"
"I hav an inspector and too offisers waeting at th frunt dor."
"Then we hav stopt all th hoels.
And now we must be sielent and waet."
Whut a tiem it seemd!
Frum compairing noets afterwards it was but an our and a qorter, yet it apeerd to me that th niet must hav allmoest gon, and th daun be braeking abuv us.
Mi lims wer weery and stif, for I feerd to chaenj mi pozishun; yet mi nervs wer werkt up to th hieest pich of tenshun, and mi heering was so acuet that I cuud not oenly heer th jentl breething of mi companyons, but I cuud distinggwish th deeper, hevyer in-breth of th bulky Jones frum th thin, sieing noet of th bank director.
Frum mi pozishun I cuud luuk oever th caes in th direcshun of th flor.
Sudenly mi ies caut th glint of a liet.
At ferst it was but a lurid spark upon th stoen paevment.
Then it lengthend out until it becaem a yelo lien, and then, without eny worning or sound, a gash seemd to oepen and a hand apeerd; a whiet, allmoest wuumanly hand, which felt about in th senter of th litl airia of liet.
For a minit or mor th hand, with its riething finggers, proetrooded out of th flor.
Then it was withdrawn as sudenly as it apeerd, and all was dark agen saev th singgl lurid spark which markt a chink between th stoens.
Its disapeerans, however, was but moementairy.
With a rending, tairing sound, wun of th braud, whiet stoens ternd oever upon its sied and left a sqair, gaeping hoel, thru which streemd th liet of a lantern.
Oever th ej thair peeped a cleen-cut, boiish faes, which luukt keenly about it, and then, with a hand on eether sied of th apercher, droo itself shoelder-hi and waest-hi, until wun nee rested upon th ej.
In anuther instant he stuud at th sied of th hoel and was halling after him a companyon, lieth and small liek himself, with a pael faes and a shok of verry red hair.
"It's all cleer," he whisperd.
Hav U th chizel and th bags?
Jump, Archie, jump, and I'l swing for it!"
Sherlock Holmes had sprung out and seezd th introoder bi th colar.
Th uther dievd doun th hoel, and I herd th sound of rending clauth as Jones clucht at his skerts.
Th liet flasht upon th barrel of a revolver, but Holmes's hunting crop caem doun on th man's rist, and th pistol clinkt upon th stoen flor.
"It's no ues, John Clae," sed Holmes blandly.
"U hav no chans at all."
"So I see," th uther anserd with th utmoest coolnes.
"I fansy that mi pal is all riet, tho I see U hav got his coet-taels."
"Thair ar three men waeting for him at th dor," sed Holmes.
U seem to hav dun th thing verry compleetly.
I must compliment U."
"And I U," Holmes anserd.
Yur red-heded iedeea was verry nue and efectiv."
"U'l see yur pal agen prezently," sed Jones.
"He's qiker at clieming doun hoels than I am.
Just hoeld out whiel I fix th derbies."
"I beg that U wil not tuch me with yur filthy hands," remarkt our prizoner as th handcufs claterd upon his rists.
"U mae not be awair that I hav roial blud in mi vaens.
Hav th guudnes, allso, when U adres me allwaes to sae "ser" and `pleez.'"
"All riet," sed Jones with a stair and a snigger.
"Wel, wuud U pleez, ser, march upstairs, wherr we can get a cab to carry yur Hienes to th polees-staeshun?"
"That is beter," sed John Clae sereenly.
He maed a sweeping bow to th three of us and waukt qieetly off in th custody of th detectiv.
"Reealy, Mr. Holmes," sed Mr. Merryweather,
"I hav had wun or too litl scors of mi oen to setl with Mr. John Clae," sed Holmes.
"I hav bin at sum small expens oever this mater, which I shal expect th bank to reefund, but beyond that I am amply re-paed bi having had an expeeryens which is in meny waes ueneek, and bi heering th verry remarkabl narrativ of th Red-heded Leeg."
"U see, Watson," he explaend in th erly ours of th morning as we sat oever a glas of whisky and soeda in Baeker Street, "it was perfectly obvius frum th ferst that th oenly posibl object of this rather fantastic biznes of th advertiezment of th Leeg, and th copying of th Ensieclopeedia, must be to get this not oever-briet paunbroeker out of th wae for a number of ours evry dae.
It was a cuerius wae of manejing it, but, reealy, it wuud be dificult to sugjest a beter.
Th method was no dout sugjested to Clay's injeenius miend bi th colour of his accomplice's hair.
Th 4 pounds a week was a lur which must draw him, and whut was it to them, hoo wer plaeing for thouzands?
Thae puut in th advertiezment, wun roeg has th temporairy offis, th uther roeg incites th man to apli for it, and together thae manej to secuer his absens evry morning in th week.
Frum th tiem that I herd of th asistant having cum for haf waejes, it was obvius to me that he had sum strong moetiv for secuering th sichuaeshun."
"But how cuud U ges whut th moetiv was?"
"Had thair bin wimen in th hous, I shuud hav suspected a meer vulgar intreeg.
That, however, was out of th qeschun.
Th man's biznes was a small wun, and thair was nuthing in his hous which cuud acount for such elaboret preparaeshuns, and such an expendicher as thae wer at.
It must, then, be sumthing out of th hous.
Whut cuud it be?
I thaut of th assistant's fondnes for fotografy, and his trik of vanishing into th selar.
Thair was th end of this tanggld cloo.
Then I maed inqierys as to this misteerius asistant and found that I had to deel with wun of th coolest and moest dairing criminals in London.
He was doing sumthing in th selar -- sumthing which tuuk meny ours a dae for munths on end.
Whut cuud it be, wuns mor?
I cuud think of nuthing saev that he was runing a tunel to sum uther bilding.
"So far I had got when we went to vizit th seen of acshun.
I serpriezd U bi beeting upon th paevment with mi stik.
I was ascertaining whether th selar strecht out in frunt or behiend.
"And how cuud U tel that thae wuud maek thair atempt to-niet?" I askt.
"Wel, when thae cloezd thair Leeg offises that was a sien that thae caird no longger about Mr. Jabez Wilson's prezens -- in uther werds, that thae had compleeted thair tunel.
But it was esenshal that thae shuud ues it soon, as it miet be discuverd, or th buulyon miet be remoovd.
Saturday wuud soot them beter than eny uther dae, as it wuud giv them too daes for thair escaep.
For all thees reezons I expected them to cum to-niet."
"U reezond it out buetyfuly," I exclaemd in unfeigned admeraeshun "It is so long a chaen, and yet evry link rings troo."
"It saevd me frum aanwe," he anserd, yauning.
I allredy feel it cloezing in upon me.
Mi lief is spent in wun long efort to escaep frum th comonplaeses of existens.
Thees litl problems help me to do so."
"And U ar a benefactor of th raes," sed I.
He shrugd his shoelders.
"Wel, perhaps, after all, it is of sum litl ues," he remarkt.
""L'homme c'est rien -- l'oeuvre c'est tout," as Gustave Flaubert roet to George Sand."