Not in reason, sir. But this is out of all reason. He has been there for ten days, and neither Mr Warren, nor I, nor the girl has once set eyes upon him. We can hear that quick step of his pacing up and down, up and down, night, morning, and noon; but except on that first night he has never once gone out of the house.
Oh, he went out the first night, did he?
Yes, sir, and returned very lateafter we were all in bed. He told me after he had taken the rooms that he would do so, and asked me not to bar the door. I heard him come up the stair after midnight.
But his meals?
It was his particular direction that we should always, when he rang, leave his meal upon a chair outside his door. Then he rings again when he has finished, and we take it down from the same chair. If he wants anything else he prints it on a slip of paper and leaves it.
Yes, sir; prints it in pencil. Just the word, nothing more. Heres one I brought to show yousoap. Heres anothermatch. This is one he left the first morningDaily Gazette. I leave that paper with his breakfast every morning.
Dear me, Watson, said Holmes, staring with great curiosity at the slips of foolscap which the landlady had handed to him, this is certainly a little unusual. Seclusion I can understand; but why print? Printing is a clumsy process. Why not write? What would it suggest, Watson?
That he desired to conceal his handwriting.
But why? What can it matter to him that his landlady should have a word of his writing? Still, it may be as you say. Then, again, why such laconic messages?
I cannot imagine.
It opens a pleasing field for intelligent speculation. The words are written with a broad-pointed, violet- tinted pencil of a not unusual pattern. You will observe that the paper is torn away at the side here after the printing was done, so that the S of soap is partly gone. Suggestive, Watson, is it not?
Exactly. There was evidently some mark, some thumb-print, something which might give a clue to the persons identity. Now, Mrs Warren, you say that the man was of middle size, dark, and bearded. What age would he be?
Youngish, sirnot over thirty.
Well, can you give me no further indications?
He spoke good English, sir, and yet I thought he was a foreigner by his accent.
And he was well dressed?
Very smartly dressed, sirquite the gentleman. Dark clothesnothing you would note.
He gave no name?
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