The Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle EncyclopediaThe Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

An Adventure in the Life of Sherlock Holmes (play 1902 with W. R. Perceval)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Stage (15 may 1902, p. 10)

An Adventure in the Life of Sherlock Holmes is a British play in 3 scenes written by John Lawson, performed at the Royal (Garston, UK) on 8 may 1902, starring W. R. Percival as Sherlock Holmes.


Plot summary

Scene one represents a Drawing-room in Baron de Denmar's House, and the Baron. Sherlock Holmes (disguised as a courier), and Jarvis are discovered in deep conversation. We learn that Sylvester Valmore had a sister, who was dishonoured and had a child by one Philip Dalton, a millionaire. This sister died, and Philip Dalton is anxious to marry a titled lady. The letters that passed between Dalton and his victim are hidden, and the hiding-place is known only to Sylvester Valmore. The baron wants these letters for the purpose of blackmail, and has detained Sylvester Valmore in his house as a prisoner and subjected her to all sorts of torture in the hope of gaining the hiding place of the incriminating letters, but without avail, Holmes, throwing off his disguise, reveals himself to the baron. Holmes tells the baron that he is in the employ of Dalton, who has commissioned him to get the letters at any cost. Ten. twenty, thirty thousands of pounds are offered, but the baron will not take less than fifty thousand. Then Holmes turns the table on the baron by piercing through his disguise and accusing him of being Stephen Parker, ex-convict. At last de Denmar consents to part with the letters for £1,000, intending to substitute forgeries for the real things. Holmes mow has an interview with Jarvis, who is also an ex-convict, and by threats he gets the man on his side. He further demands his clothes for the purpose of disguise, and retires behind a screen to effect the exchange. The baron and Sylvester enter, and a stormy scene ensues, in which the baron is just going to strike Sylvester when Sherlock Holmes comes from behind the screen, interferes, and saves the girl from further violence.

Scene two shows us a Street in London, and we find Sherlock Holmes despatching Jarvis and the courier off to Spain to bring Dalton back to England.

Scene three is the Professor's Laboratory. De Denmar is discovered putting the finishing touches to a very ingenious machine, a phonograph, which, while emitting sweet music also sends out a poisonous, gaseous vapour. Sylvester now appears, expecting to meet Holmes, being decoyed by a false letter sent by the baron, but, of course, is confronted by the baron, who again demands the letters, and on her refusal, turns on the phonograph. Sylvester, very much afraid that the letters will be discovered (they are hidden under the chair in the room she is now in), keeps glancing at the chair. De Denmar notices this, and makes a dart for the chair, tears away the cushions, and discovers the letters. Sylvester now faints, and de Denmar is just escaping with the documents when Sherlock Holmes makes his appearance and bars the way. Sylvester recovers, and Holmes demands the letters. The, answer from de Denmar is four shots from his revolver at Holmes, but owing to a mailed shirt which he always wears, he is unhurt. They are all more or less getting suffocated, and de Denmar is compelled to turn the machine off. A struggle ensues between de Denmar and Holmes, in which Holmes secures the papers. De Denmar in his rage says: "You shall not escape me, even if I have to perish." He then hurls a Chair at a lighted lamp. and the globe being smashed, a terrific explosion occurs, and de Denmar perishes in the ruins, Holmes and Sylvester just making their escape in the nick of time.