The Reappearance of Sherlock Holmes
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
The Reappearance of Sherlock Holmes
Note. — Dr. Conan Doyle claims that, having let his great detective fall over an abyss, he can not see how to make him reappear again alive and well. The present writer, in the following tale, kindly help the doctor out of his difficulties.
THE END INEVITABLE.
After that awful, unseen tragedy at the Falls of Reichenbach, when my friend had gone over that sheer and horrid precipice, clasped in a death struggle with Moriarity, as the traces of that awful combat showed too well, I returned to England a broken man.
The dreadful death of Sherlock Holmes preyed upon my mind so much that, in the following Spring, I gave up the room in Baker Street and sailed for New York.
Here I hung out my shingle, hoping that the change of scene and the newer faces and occupations would drive from my memory that awful scene of the death struggle ever in my mental eye.
In some slight measure I was successful. That is, I had gotten so I could review the thing more calmly and still cherish that faint, trembling hope that Holmes was not dead.
I was sitting in my office one Summer evening, turning the matter over in my mind. The image of my friend, discreet, cautious, resourceful, rose before me. Unconsciously, I spoke aloud. "Suppose, after all, Holmes was not killed?"
"Well, let us suppose it." As the words in answer to mine rang out, I sprang, faint with fright, to my feet, and clutched my study table for support. For there before me stood Sherlock Holmes in the flesh!
I gasped, but could say no more.
"Yes, Watson." It was the same careless yet incisive voice of old. "It is I. Have a cigar?" And my friend coolly sat down and pushed his pocket case toward me.
"But — but, the Falls of Reichenbach, man?" I stammered.
"Watson;" Holmes looked at me, smiling calmly; "I'll admit that circumstances did look as if I had gone over that dizzy height, into the boiling torrent below, in company with our extremely versatile friend, Professor Moriarity, and so I did. But, Watson, how often have I told you to deduce?" Here Holmes bit off the end of his cigar.
"But you say you and he went over the wall. How—"
But Holmes broke in.
"Watson, am I not a man of resources?"
"Well, you remember that I wore a cloak when last you saw me?"
"Yes, yes; but—"
"Now, don't interrupt. I had expected that meeting with the Professor. I had a portable parachute under that cloak. After we fell over the cliff in our struggle, we let go our holds, and I opened the parachute and drifted down."
"And the Professor was dashed to death?" I asked, eagerly.
"No;" Holmes flicked the ash from his cigar; "the Professor is also a man of resources. He had a parachute, too."
I was too much surprised to speak, and Holmes continued: "The long and short of it is, that we struck the water safely; but in the boiling mist I lost the Professor. I swam down the torrent to the next canton, and, after a few days' rest, resumed my search for Moriarity. But again he had been too much for me. I had the pleasure, some weeks after, to read the very nice notices of my life, deeds and death, in the English papers. For once the jealousy of Scotland Yard was abated, and I eat my due measure of praise. De mortuis nil nisi bonum, you know. So I thought I would let them think me dead. But Moriarity knew better, and fled to America. He is here, somewhere in New York, now. But he, the arch plotter, the head and brains of organized, educated crime can not escape me. His capture is but a question of time, and I shall have him."
"But how?" I asked. For the old, calm, confident manner of Holmes, his old self, sitting there, had almost brought me to the belief that his struggle and his disappearance were as a dreams.
Holmes looked at me calmly.
"Yes," he said; "he can not escape me. I shall stand on the corner of the Boulevard and Sixty-sixth Street, and catch him when he comes by on a bicycle!"
Roy L. McCardell.