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THE SOTUKTiST". 3TXT; 1371908
Kdi Return of
By A. CONAN DOYLE.
Author of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."
"The Hound of the Bukervilles." "The Sign
of the Four," "A Study In Scwlet." Etc.
BY F. D. STEELE
roan, with" a thin, projecting none, a
high, bald forehead and a huge griz
zled mustache. An opera hat was push
ed to the back of bis head, and an
evening drew 8 shirt front gleamed out
through hi open overcoat. His face
was gaunt and swarthy, scored with
deep, savage lines. In his hand be car
ried what appeared to be a stick, but
as be laid It down upon the floor It gave
a metallic clang. Tben from the pocket
of his overcoat be drew a bulky object,
and he busied hlmwelf In some task
which ended with a loud, sharp click,
as if a spring or bolt bad fallen into
its place. Still kneeling upon tbe floor,
he bent forward and threw all bin
weight nnd strength upon some lever,
with the result that there came a long,
whirling, grinding noise, ending once
more in a powerful click. He straight
ened himself then, and I saw that wha
he held In his hand was a sort of a
gun with a curiously misshapen bntt.
He opened if at the breech, put some
thing in nnd snapped the breechblock.
Tben, crouching down, be rested the
end of the barrel upon the ledge of the
open window, nnd I saw bis long mus
tache droop over the stock and his
eyes gleuin as It peered along the
sights. I henrd n little sigh of satis
faction as he cuddled the butt into his
shoulder nnd saw that amazing target,
the black man on the yellow ground,
standing clear at the end of his fore
sight. For an Instant he was rigid
and motionless. Then his finger tight
ened on the trigger. There was a
strange, loud whiz and a long, silvery
tinkle of broken glass. At that'instant
Holmes sprang like a tiger on to the
marksman's back and hurled him fiat
upon his face. He was up again in a
window, closed It and drdpped tbe
blinds. Lestrade had produced two
candles, and the policemen had un
covered their lanterns. I was able
at last to have a good look at our pris
oner. It was a tremendously virile and yet
sinister face which was turned toward
us. With the brow of a philosopher
above and the jaw of a sensualist be
low, the man must have "started with
great capacities for good or for evil.
But one could not look opon bis cruel
hlue eyes, with their drooping, cynical
lids, or upon the fierce, aggressive nose
and the threatening, deep lined brow
without reading nature's plainest dan
ger signals. He took no heed of any of
us, but bis eyes were fixed upon
Holmes' face with an expression in
which hatred and amazement were
equally blended. "You fiend," he kept
on muttering "you clever, clever
"Ah. colonel," said Holmes, arrang
ing bis rumpled collar, " "journeys end
in lovers' meetings.' as the old play
says. I don't think I have had tbe
pleasure of seeing you since you fa
vored ine with those attentions as I lay
on tbe ledge above the Relchenbach
The colonel still stared at my friend
like a tuuu in a trance. 'You cunning,
cunning fiend!" was all that be could
"I have not introduced you yet." said
Ilolmes. "This, gentlemen, is Colonel
Sebastian Moran, once of her majesty's
Indian army and the lest heavy game
shot that our eastern empire has ever
produced. I believe I am correct, colo
nel, in saying that your bag of tigers
still remains unrivaled?"
Copyright by Colir'i Weekly, 'frgi
"MY COLLECTION OF MS IS A FINK ONE." SAID HE.
moment, and with convulsive strength
he seized Holmes by the throat, but I
struck him on the head with the butt
of my revolver, and he dropped again
upon the floor. 1 fell upon bhu. and a
1 held bim my -ouiraile blew a shrill
cull upon a whistle. There was tbe
clatter of runuiug feet upon the pave
ment, and two policemen in uniform,
with one plain clothes detective, rushed
through the front entrance and into the
That you. Lest rude?" said Holmes.
"Yes. Mr. Holmes. I took the job
myself. It's good to see you back in
"I think you want a little unofficial
help. Three undetected murders in one
year won't do. Lest rude. But you han
dled the Molesey mystery with less
than your usual that's to say, ou
bundled it fairly well."
We had all risen to our feet, our pris
oner breathing bard, with a stalwart
constable on eac h side of him. Already
a few loiterers bad begun to collect in
the street. Uplines stepped up. to .the
The fierce old man said nothing, but
still glared at my companion. With
his savage eyes and bristling mustache
he was wonderfully like a tiger him
self. "I wonder that my very simple strat
agem could deceive so old a shikari."
said Holmes. "It must be very familiar
to you. Have you not tethered a young
kid under a tree, lain above it with
your rifle and waited for the baft to
bring up your tiger? This empty
house is my tree, and you are my tiger.
You have possibly had other guns in
reserve in case there should be several
tigers or in the unlikely supposition of
your own aim falling you. These" he
pointed around "are my other guns.
Tbe parallel is exact."
Colonel Moran sprang forward with
a snarl of rage, but the constables
dragged bim back. Tbe fury upon his
face was terrible to Ixk at.
"I confess that you bad one small
surprise for me." said Holmes. "I did
not anticipate that you would Yourself
make use of this empty house and this
Conviction Follows Trial
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to have in his bin, how do you know what you are
getting ? Some queer stories about coffee that is sold in bulk,
could be told, if the people who handle it (grocers), cared to
Could any amount of mere talk have persuaded millions of
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convenient front window. I had imag.
Ined you as operating from tbe street,
where my friend Lestrade and his mer
ry men were awaiting you. With that
exception all has gone as I expected."
Colonel Moran turned to the official
"Tou may or may not have just
cause for arresting me," said he, 'but
at least there can be no reason why I
should submit to the gibes of this per
son. If I am In the bands of the law
let things be done In a legal way."
"Well, that's reasonable enough."
said Lestrade. "Nothing further you
have to say, Mr. Holmes, before we
Holmes had picked up the powerful
air gun from the floor and was examin
ing its mechanism.
"An admirable and unique weapon,"
he said, "noiseless and of tremendous
power. I knew Von nerder, tbe blind
German mechanic, who constructed It
to the order of the late Professor Mo
riarty. For years I have been aware
of Its existence, though I have never
kefore had the opportunity of handling
it. I commend It very specially to
your attention. Lestrade, and also the
bullets which fit it."
"You can trust us to look after that,
Mr. Holmes," said Lestrade as the
whole party moved toward tbe door
"Anything further to say?"
"Only to ask what charge you in
tend to prefer?"
'What charge, sir? Why, of course
the attempted murder of Mr. Sherlock
"Not so, Lestrade. I do not propose
to appear in the matter at all. To you
and to you only belongs the credit of
the remarkable arrest which you have
effected. Yes, lestrade, I congratulate
you! With your usual happy mixture
of cunning and audacity, you have got
"Got him: Got whom, Mr. Holmes?"
"The man that the whole force has
been seeking In vain Colonel Sebas
tian Moran, who shot the Hon. Ronald
Adair with an expanding bullet from
an air gun through the open window of
the second floor front of 427 Park lane
upon the 30tb of last month. That's
the charge, Lestrade. And now, Wat
eon, if you can endure the draft from
a broken window I think that half an
hour In my study over a cigar may af
ford you some profitable amusement."
Our old chambers had been left un
changed through the supervision of
Mycroft Holmes and the immediate
care of Mrs. Hudson. As I eutered I
saw, it is Irue, an unwonted tidiness,
but the old landmarks were nil in their
place. There was the chemical corner
and the acid stained, deal topped table.
There upon n shelf was the row of
formidable scrupbooks and books of
reference which many of our fellow cit
izens would have been so glad to burn.
The diagrams, the violin case and the
pipe rack oven the Persian slipper
which contained the tobacco all met
my eyes as I glanced round me. There
were two occupants of the room one,
Mrs. Hudson, who leamed upon . us
both as we entered; the other the
strange dummy which had played so
important a part In the evening's ad
ventures. It was a wax colored model
of my friend so admirably done that
It was a perfect facsimile. It stood on
a small pedestal table with an old
dressing gown of Holmes' so draped
round it that the illusion from the
Street was absolutely perfect.
"I hope you preserved all precautions,
Mrs. Hudson?" said Holmes.
"I went to it on my knees, sir, just
as you told me."
"Excellent. You carried the thing
out well. Did you observe where the
"Yes, sir. I'm afraid it has sjoilt your
beautiful bust, for it passed right
through the head and flattened Itself
on the wall. I picked it up from the
carpet. Hero it is!"
Holmes held it out to me. "A soft
revolver bullet, as you perceive, Wat
son. There's geuius in that, for who
would expect to find such a thing fired
from an air gun. All right, Mrs. Hud
sou; I am much obliged for your as
sistance. And now, Watson, let me see
you in your old seat once more, for
there are several points which I should
like to discuss with you."
He had thrown off the seedy frock
coat, and now he was the Holmes of
old in the mouse colored dressing gown
which he took from his effigy.
"The old shikari's nerves have not
lost their steadiness nor his ejes their
keenness." said he, with- a laugh, as he
inspected the shattered forehead of his
"Plumb in the middle of the back of
the head and smack through the brain.
He was the best shot In India, and I
expect that there are few better in
London. Have you heard the name?"
"No. I have not."
"Well, well, such is fame! But. 'then,
if 1 reinemler right, you had not heard
the name of Professor James Moriarty,
who had one of the great brains of the
century. Just give me down my index
of biographies from the shelf."
He turned over the pages lazily, lean
ing back in his chair and blowing great
clouds from his cigar.
"My collection of M's Is a fine one,"
said he. "Moriarty himself is enough
to make any letter illustrious, and here
Is Morgan, the poisoner, and Merridew
of abominable memory, and Mathews,
who knocked out my left canine in the
waiting room at Charing Cross, and
finally here is our friend of tonight."
He handed over the book, and I read:
"Moran, Sebastian, colonel. I'nem
ployed. Formerly Flit Bengalore Pio
neers. Born Ixudou, ivia Son of
Sir Augustus Moran. C. B., once Brit
ish minister to Persia. Educated Eton
and Oxford. Served in Jowaki cam
pair u Afghan campaign, Charasiab
(dispanbesi, Sherpur and Cabal. Au
thor of 'Heavy Game of the Western
Himalayas' 1S81; Tbre Months In
the Jungle' (I&S-l. Address: Conduit
street. Clubs: The Anglo-Indian, the
Tankerville. the Bagatelle Card club."
Ou the mara-ia was written in Holmes'
precise hand. "The second raoet" dan
gerous man in London.'
-MUis is astonishing," said 1 as 1
handed back the volume. "The man's
career is that of an honorable sol
dier." ''It is true." Holmes answered. "Up
to a certain point he did well. He was
always a man of iron nerve, and the
story is still told In India how he
crawled down a drain after a wound
ed man-eating tiger. There are some
trees. Watson, which grow to a cer
tain height and then suddenly develop
some uusightly eccentricity. You will
see it often in humans. I have a the
ory that the individual represents in
bis developmeut the whole procession
of his ancestors, and that such a sud
den turn to good or evil stands for
some strong influence which came Into
the line of his pedigree. The person
becomes, as it were, the epitome of the
history of his own family."
"It is surely rather fanciful."
"Well. I don't insist upon it. What
ever the cause, Colonel Moran began
to go wrong. Without any open scan
dal he still made India too hot to hold
him. He retired, came to London and
again acquired au evil name. It was
at this time that he was sought out by
Professor Moriarty, to whom for a
time he was chief of the staff. Moriar
ty supplied him liberally with money
and used him ouly in one or two very
high class jobs which no ordinary crim
inal could have undertaken. You may
have some recollection of the death of
Mrs. Stewart of Lauder In 1887. Not?
Well, I am sure Moran was at the bot
tom of it, but nothing could be proved.
So cleverly was the colonel concealed
that even when the Moriarty gang was
broken up we could not Incriminate
bim. You remember at that date, when
I called upon you in your rooms, how
I put up the shutters for fear of air
guns? No doubt you thought me fanci
ful. I knew exactly what I was do
ing, for I knew of the existence of this
remarkable gun, and I knew also that
one of the best shots in the world
would be behind It. When we were in
Switzerland he followed us with Mori
arty, and It was undoubtedly he who
gave me that evil five minutes ou the
"You may think that I read the pa
pers with some attention during my so
journ in France, on the lookout for any
chance of laying him by the heels. So
long as he was free in London my life
would really not have been worth liv
ing. Night and day the shadow would
have been over me and sooner or later
his chance must have come. What
could I do? I could not shoot him at
sight or I should myself be in the dock.
There was no use appealing to a magis
trate. They cannot Interfere on the
strength of what would appear to them
to be a wild suspicion. So I could do
nothing. But I watched the criminal
news, knowing that sooner or later I
should get him. Theu came the death
of this Bona Id Adair. My chance had
come at last. Knowing what I did.
was It not certain that Colonel Moran
had done It? He bad played cards with
tbe lud; he bad followed him home
from the club; he had shot him through
the open window. There was not a
doubt of it. .'Hie bullets alone are
enough to put bis head in a noose.
"I came over at once. I was seen by
the sentinel, who would, I knew, direct
the colonel's attention to my presence.
He could not fail to connect my sudden
return with his crime and to be terribly
alarmed. I was sure he would make
an uttempt to get me out of the way
at once and would bring round his mur
derous weapon for that purpose. I left
him an excellent mark in the window,
and, having warned tbe police that
they might be needed by the way,
Watson, you sjotted their presence in
that doorway with unerring accuracy
I took up what seemed to me to be a
judicious post for observation, never
dreaming that he would choose the
same spot for his attack. Now, my
dear Watson, does anything remain for
me to explain?"
"Yes," said I. "You have not made it
quite clear what was Colonel Moran's
motive in murdering the Hon. Itonald
"Ah, my dear Watson, there we come
Into those realms of conjecture where
the most logical mind may be at fault.
Each may form his own hypothesis up
on the present evidence, and your9 la
as likely to be correct as mine."
"You have formed one, then?"
"I think that it is not difficult to ex
plain the facts. It came out in evidence
that Colonel Moran and young Adair
had between them won a considerable
amount of money. Now, Moran un
doubtedly played foul. Of that I have
long been aware. I believe that on the
day of the murder Adair had discov
ered that Moran was cheating. Very
likely he had spoken to bim privately
and had threatened to expose bim un
less he voluntarily resigned his mem
bership of the club and promised not to
play cards again. It Is unlikely that a
youngster like Adair would at once
make n hideous scandal by exposing a
well known man so much older than
himself. Probably he acted as I sug
gest. The exclusion from his clubs
would mean ruin to Moran, who lived
by his ill gotten card gains. He there
fore murdered Adair, who at the time
was endeavoring to work out how
much money he should himself return,
since he could not profit by his part
ner's foul play. He locked the door lest
the ladies should surprise him and In
sist uion knowing what he was doing
with these names and coins. Will it
"I have no doubt that you have hit
upon the truth."
"It will be verified or disproved at
the trial. Meanwhile, come what may.
Colonel Moran will trouble us no more.
The famous air gun of Von Herder will
embellish the Scotland Yard museum,
and once again Mr. Sherlock Ilolmes Is
free to devote his life to examining
those interesting little problems which
tbe complex life of London so plenti
Another -tioii ,f thin interfxtiTTff
jtvrie will nar next welt-
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