Sherlock Holmes Discourses
It was one of those dramatic moments for which my friend existed. It would be an overstatement to say that he was shocked or even excited by the amazing announcement. Without having a tinge of cruelty in his singular composition, he was undoubtedly callous from long overstimulation. Yet, if his emotions were dulled, his intellectual perceptions were exceedingly active. There was no trace then of the horror which I had myself felt at this curt declaration; but his face showed rather the quiet and interested composure of the chemist who sees the crystals falling into position from his oversaturated solution.
Remarkable! said he. Remarkable!
You dont seem surprised.
Interested, Mr. Mac, but hardly surprised. Why should I be surprised? I receive an anonymous communication from a quarter which I know to be important, warning me that danger threatens a certain person. Within an hour I learn that this danger has actually materialized and that the person is dead. I am interested; but, as you observe, I am not surprised.
In a few short sentences he explained to the inspector the facts about the letter and the cipher. MacDonald sat with his chin on his hands and his great sandy eyebrows bunched into a yellow tangle.
I was going down to Birlstone this morning, said he. I had come to ask you if you cared to come with meyou and your friend here. But from what you say we might perhaps be doing better work in London.
I rather think not, said Holmes.
Hang it all, Mr. Holmes! cried the inspector. The papers will be full of the Birlstone mystery in a day or two; but wheres the mystery if there is a man in London who prophesied the crime before ever it occurred? We have only to lay our hands on that man, and the rest will follow.
No doubt, Mr. Mac. But how do you propose to lay your hands on the so-called Porlock?
MacDonald turned over the letter which Holmes had handed him. Posted in Camberwellthat doesnt help us much. Name, you say, is assumed. Not much to go on, certainly. Didnt you say that you have sent him money?
In notes to Camberwell postoffice.
Did you ever trouble to see who called for them?
The inspector looked surprised and a little shocked. Why not?
Because I always keep faith. I had promised when he first wrote that I would not try to trace him.
You think there is someone behind him?
I know there is.
This professor that Ive heard you mention?
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