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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

The Death of Sholmes!

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Death of Sholmes! is a Sherlock Holmes parody of the series The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes, written by Charles Hamilton (under pen name Peter Todd), published on 25 december 1915 in The Greyfriars Herald, starring Herlock Sholmes as the detective and Dr. Jotson as his sidekick.

This story is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Final Problem (1893). Professor Hickorychicory is here the arch nemesis like Sherlock Holmes' Professor Moriarty.


The Death of Sholmes!

The Greyfriars Herald (25 december 1915, p. 7)
The Greyfriars Herald (25 december 1915, p. 8)
The Greyfriars Herald (25 december 1915, p. 9)

Another Grand Story dealing with the Amazing Adventures of Herlock Sholmes, Detective.

Chapter 1

The case of Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky — is the next on my list at this period of our residence at Shaker Street, and it is the one I propose to give here. This case, which caused the disappearance and supposed death of Herlock Sholmes, proved the most tensely exciting of all in which I shared the work of my amazing friend.

Sholmes had been absent for several days, and I was growing somewhat uneasy on his account, when one morning a coal-heaver was shown into my rooms while I was at breakfast. I rose to my feet, somewhat surprised, but at once the well-known voice reassured me.

"Good-morning, Jotson!"

"Sholmes!" I exclaimed, in astonishment.

"Himself!" he replied, sinking into the armchair, and resting his feet on the mantelpiece in his old familiar way that I knew so well. "Give me something to eat, my dear fellow. I have eaten nothing for fourteen days. I am famished!"

He devoured bacon and eggs ravenously. Through the grime on his face, he looked at me with his old smile.

"I see you have changed your habits, my dear Jotson."

"In what way, Sholmes?"

"You have taken to clean-shaving."

I started.

"My dear Sholmes," I protested, "you have been absent! How can you possibly be aware——"

"Deduction, my good fellow," said Sholmes carelessly. "When I left you, you were wearing a moustache. At the present moment there is no trace of hair on your upper lip. To the trained eye of a detective, Jotson, the inference is clear. You have shaved clean!"

"I see that you have not changed, at all events, Sholmes," I replied. "The same amazing insight—the same irresistible power of deduction——"

"You flatter me, Jotson. At the present moment," he said moodily, "my insight is at fault. I have met my match at last, Jotson."

"Impossible!"

"It is true. Have you ever heard of Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky?"

I shook my head.

"Naturally," said Sholmes. "Few have heard of him. The police know nothing of him. Even the fact that his name is Hickorychicory, and pronounced Hickychicky, has failed to put them on the track. Yet he is the most dangerous criminal in London — or in the world. Every crime that has been committed during the past seventy years has been planned by this man. His hand is everywhere —invisible, but powerful. It was he who stole the Crown Jewels of Spoofia; he who robbed the Princess of Ghammon; he, my dear Jotson, who kidnapped the young Duke of Shepherd's Bush, and assassinated the Marquis of Hornsey Rise; ha who made away with the Depaste diamonds; he who administered the permanent sleeping-draught to Sir Tedward Bray; he who abstracted the Prime Minister's spectacles at a critical moment, and caused him to remain in ignorance of the existence of Vulgaria on the map at a very critical hour in European history!"

"Good heavens, Sholmes!"

"It is true, Jotson. With this unseen, invisible, indiscernible, and unspotted criminal I am now at the death-grapple!"

"My dear Sholmes!"

"Murder," said Sholmes quietly, "is nothing to him! I have had several narrow escapes. He has sworn my death! Ha, ha! Yesterday, in a fashionable restaurant, I detected a fragment of German sausage in my soup. It was a plot to poison me; he bribed the waiter. Last evening I received free tickets for the latest revue at the Giganteum Theatre; a cunning scheme to bore me to death. Last night a German band began to play under my window; I barely escaped with my life. This morning, as I came here, my taxi-cab was blown sky-high by a bomb cunningly placed in the taximeter, timed to go off when twopence had ticked away. I was blown into the air. Fortunately, I landed unharmed on top of the Monument, and descended safely by means of the steps. "Jotson, you know that I have nerve, but I confess that this has shaken me."

He rose to his feet and tiptoed to the window. On the other side of the street a ragman was passing, uttering the familiar cry: "Rags and bones, bottles and jars!" Sholmes turned to me, his face blazing with excitement.

"Run, Jotson!"

"Sholmes!" I ejaculated.

"You see that ragman? It is Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky — in disguise! Bolt!"

We rushed to the door.

Hardly had we reached the garden, when a terrific explosion shook the building to its foundations.

Sholmes looked at me, with a grim smile.

"Just in time, Jotson!"

"Sholmes!"

"A bomb!" he said. "The work of Professor Hickorychicory — prounounced Hickychicky. He sticks at nothing. The coils are closing round him, Dotson. Only my demise can save him." He set his teeth. "It is a struggle for life or death between Herlock Sholmes and Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky. Dotson, are you with me?"

"Hear me swear——" I began.

"Enough! Let us go!"

With a few magic touches of his hand, he disguised me as a fishmonger. Then he hurried me away.


Chapter 2

The next few weeks were crammed with excitement.

It was the hardest case Herlock Sholmes had undertaken, and he did not conceal from me that sometimes he feared that Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky — might yet escape him. Our narrow escapes were marvellous; we grew familiar with danger. The coils were closing round the hardened criminal, but he was fighting hard. The man who had ruled the criminal world for seventy years was not to be taken easily.

Why Sholmes did not cause the arrest of the man who was so deeply dyed with crime was a mystery to me. Sholmes did not explain. It was one of the secrets that were locked up in that inscrutable breast.

It was at sunset one evening that we found ourselves pursuing a lonely track amid the rocky waste and precipices of the wild Hill of Ludgate. Far below us flowed the dark water of the Fleet river. Sholmes had been silent for several minutes — a most unusual circumstance. He turned to me suddenly.

"Jotson!" he said. His voice was unusually gentle, and I could not help a rush of tears to my eyes. I blew my nose. "Jotson, I feel that the end is coming — the end for him, Dotson, and the end for me!"

"Sholmes!" I murmured.

"He is here," said Sholmes. "I have tracked him down. In the narrow pass leading to the Bridge of the Black Friars he is in hiding. Dotson, my old friend, good-bye!"

"You shall not go alone!" I exclaimed.

"I must, Jotson. At the finish we must be alone—Herlock Sholmes, the detective, and Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky — the master-criminal. Fear not for me, Dotson; I am armed. I have here a railway sandwich, and with one blow——"

"But—"

"If I fail, Jotson, I leave to you all my belongings. My account in the bank, amounting at the present moment to fourpence-halfpenny, will be paid to you in a lump sum. I have instructed my bankers. The furniture at Shaker Street is yours — on the sole condition that you pay the remainder of the instalments. Only the tabby cat I should like to be given to my Aunt Sempronia. You promise me this, Jotson?"

I promised, with tears in my eyes. Could I refuse him anything at that moment?

It was in vain to seek to change his resolution. The last scene of the tragedy was to be enacted between those two alone — Herlock Sholmes, my dear, amazing friend, and the dark and tortuous criminal, the spelling of whose name gave no clue to its pronunciation.

We parted, and Sholmes plunged into the dark and gloomy pass. I sat upon a rock and waited. My eyes were blinded with tears. Was I ever to see again my astonishing friend — ever again to behold those old familiar feet resting upon the mantelpiece in the old rooms at Shaker Street? I am not ashamed to say that I wept, and the lonely rocks around me echoed: "Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo!"

Suddenly there was a trampling of feet — a sound of voices. I recognised the voice of Herlock Sholmes.

"At last!"

"At last! Ha, ha!" echoed another voice, the deep and thrilling tones of Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky.

For a moment I saw them — locked in a deadly embrace, reeling upon the verge of the wildest precipice of the Hill of Ludgate. Then they disappeared from my sight — still locked in that deadly embrace as in a Chubb lock.

I stumbled away — I hardly know how. I had looked my last upon Herlock Sholmes — that marvellous man whose adventures I now present for the first time to the public (copyright in the U.S.). Far, far below, where the dark waters of the Fleet murmured beneath the frowning crags of Ludgate Hill, lay Herlock Sholmes, side by side with his deadly foe, Professor Hickorychicory — pronounced Hickychicky!

THE END





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