The Gloria Scott

  "I have some papers here," said my friend Sherlock Holmes as
we sat one winter's night on either side of the fire, "which I
really think, Watson, that it would be worth your while to glance
over. These are the documents in the extraordinary case of the
Gloria Scott, and this is the message which struck Justice of the
Peace Trevor dead with horror when he read it."
  He had picked from a drawer a little tarnished cylinder, and.
undoing the tape, he handed me a short note scrawled upon a
half-sheet of slate-gray paper.

      The supply of game for London is going steadily up {it
    ran]. Head-keeper Hudson, we believe, has been now told to
    receive all orders for fly-paper and for preservation of your
    hen-pheasant's life.

  As I glanced up from reading this enigmatical message, I saw
Holmes chuckling at the expression upon my face.
  "You look a little bewildered," said he.
  "I cannot see how such a message as this could inspire horror.
It seems to me to be rather grotesque than otherwise."
  "Very likely. Yet the fact remains that the reader, who was a
fine, robust old man, was knocked clean down by it as if it had
been the butt end of a pistol."
  "You arouse my curiosity," said I. "But why did you say
just now that there were very particular reasons why I should
study this case?"
  "Because it was the first in which I was ever engaged."
  I had often endeavoured to elicit from my companion what
had first turned his mind in the direction of criminal research,
but had never caught him before in a communicative humour.
Now he sat forward in his armchair and spread out the docu-
ments upon his knees. Then he lit his pipe and sat for some time
smoking and turning them over.
  "You never heard me talk of Victor Trevor?" he asked. "He
was the only friend I made during the two years I was at college.
I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson, always rather fond
of moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods
of thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my year.
Bar fencing and boxing I had few athletic tastes, and then my
line of study was quite distinct from that of the other fellows, so
that we had no points of contact at all. Trevor was the only man
I knew, and that only through the accident of his bull terrier
freezing on to my ankle one morning as I went down to chapel.
  "It was a prosaic way of forming a friendship, but it was
effective. I was laid by the heels for ten days, and Trevor used to
come in to inquire after me. At first it was only a minute's chat
but soon his visits lengthened, and before the end of the term we
were close friends. He was a hearty, full-blooded fellow, full of
spirits and energy, the very opposite to me in most respects, but
we had some subjects in common, and it was a bond of union
when I found that he was as friendless as I. Finally he invited me
down to his father's place at Donnithorpe, in Norfolk, and I
accepted his hospitality for a month of the long vacation.
  "Old Trevor was evidently a man of some wealth and consid-
eration, a J. P., and a landed proprietor. Donnithorpe is a little
hamlet just to the north of Langmere, in the country of the
Broads. The house was an old-fashioned, widespread, oak-beamed
brick building, with a fine lime-lined avenue leading up to it.
There was excellent wild-duck shooting in the fens, remarkably
good fishing, a small but select library, taken over, as I under-
stood, from a former occupant, and a tolerable cook, so that he
would be a fastidious man who could not put in a pleasant month
  "Trevor senior was a widower, and my friend his only son.
  "There had been a daughter, I heard, but she had died of
diphtheria while on a visit to Birmingham. The father interested
me extremely. He was a man of little culture, but with a consid-
erable amount of rude strength, both physically and mentally. He
knew hardly any books, but he had travelled far, had seen much
of the world, and had remembered all that he had learned. In
person he was a thick-set, burly man with a shock of grizzled
hair, a brown, weather-beaten face, and blue eyes which were
keen to the verge of fierceness. Yet he had a reputation for
kindness and charity on the countryside, and was noted for the
leniency of his sentences from the bench.
  "One evening, shortly after my arrival, we were sitting over a
glass of port after dinner, when young Trevor began to talk about
those habits of observation and inference which I had already
formed into a system, although I had not yet appreciated the part
which they were to play in my life. The old man evidently
thought that his son was exaggerating in his description of one or
two trivial feats which I had performed.
  " 'Come, now, Mr. Holmes,' said he, laughing good-
humouredly. 'I'm an excellent subject, if you can deduce any-
thing from me.'
  " 'I fear there is not very much,' I answered. 'I might suggest
that you have gone about in fear of some personal attack within
the last twelvemonth.'
  "The laugh faded from his lips, and he stared at me in great
  " 'Well, that's true enough,' said he. 'You know, Victor,'
turning to his son, 'when we broke up that poaching gang they
swore to knife us, and Sir Edward Holly has actually been
attacked. I've always been on my guard since then, though I
have no idea how you know it.'
  " 'You have a very handsome stick,' I answered. 'By the
inscription I observed that you had not had it more than a year.
But you have taken some pains to bore the head of it and pour
melted lead into the hole so as to make it a formidable weapon. I
argued that you would not take such precautions unless you had
some danger to fear.'
  " 'Anything else?' he asked, smiling.
  " 'You have boxed a good deal in your youth.'
  " 'Right again. How did you know it? Is my nose knocked a
little out of the straight?'
  " 'No,' said I. 'It is your ears. They have the peculiar flatten-
ing and thickening which marks the boxing man.'
  " 'Anything else?'
  " 'You have done a good deal of digging by your callosities.'
  " 'Made all my money at the gold fields.'
  " 'You have been in New Zealand.'
  " 'Right again.'
  " 'You have visited Japan.'
  " 'Quite true.'
  " 'And you have been most intimately associated with some-
one whose initials were J. A., and whom you afterwards were
eager to entirely forget.'
  "Mr. Trevor stood slowly up, fixed his large blue eyes upon
me with a strange wild stare, and then pitched forward, with his