glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last
eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic,
some comic, a large number merely strange, but none commonplace; for, working
as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he
refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards
the unusual, and even the fantastic. Of all these varied cases, however, I cannot
recall any which presented more singular features than that which was associated
with the well-known Surrey family of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. The events in
question occurred in the early days of my association with Holmes, when we were
sharing rooms as bachelors in Baker Street. It is possible that I might have placed
them upon record before, but a promise of secrecy was made at the time, from which
I have only been freed during the last month by the untimely death of the lady
to whom the pledge was given. It is perhaps as well that the facts should now
come to light, for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rumours as
to the death of Dr. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible
than the truth.|
It was early in April in the year '83 that I woke one
morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing, fully dressed, by the side of my bed.
He was a late riser, as a rule, and as the clock on the mantelpiece showed me
that it was only a quarter-past seven, I blinked up at him in some surprise, and
perhaps just a little resentment, for I was myself regular in my habits.
sorry to knock you up, Watson," said he, "but it's the common lot this
morning. Mrs. Hudson has been knocked up, she retorted upon me, and I on you."
"What is it, then -- a fire?"