Sherlock Holmes In Montague Street Volume 2

Sherlock Holmes In Montague Street Volume 2 by David Marcum

Book: Sherlock Holmes In Montague Street Volume 2 by David Marcum Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Marcum
Tags: Crime, Mystery, British, Holmes, Short Fiction, sherlock
a little surprised before very long. But come, we must move.” And we mended our pace along the lane.
    The lane, by the bye, was hard and firm, with scarcely a spot where a track might be left, except in places at the sides; and at these places Holmes never gave a glance. At the end the lane turned into a by-road, and at the turning Holmes stopped and scrutinized the ground closely. There was nothing like a recognizable footmark to be seen; but almost immediately Holmes turned off to the right, and we continued our brisk march without a glance at the road.
    â€œHow did you judge which way to turn then?” I asked.
    â€œDidn’t you see?” replied Holmes; “I’ll show you at the next turning.”
    Half a mile farther on the road forked, and here Holmes stooped and pointed silently to a couple of small twigs, placed crosswise, with the longer twig of the two pointing down the branch of the road to the left. We took the branch to the left, and went on.
    â€œOur man’s making a mistake,” Holmes observed. “He leaves his friends’ messages lying about for his enemies to read.”
    We hurried forward with scarcely a word. I was almost too bewildered by what Holmes had said and done to formulate anything like a reasonable guess as to what our expedition tended, or even to make an effective inquiry - though, after what Holmes had said, I knew that would be useless. Who was this mysterious man with the broken shoe? What had he to do with the murder of Sneathy? What did the mutilation mean? And who were his friends who left him signs and messages by means of crossed twigs?
    We met a man, by whom I sent a short note to my uncle, and soon after we turned into a main road. Here again, at the corner, was the curious message of twigs. A cart-wheel had passed over and crushed them, but it had not so far displaced them as to cause any doubt that the direction to take was to the right. At an inn a little farther along we entered, and Holmes bought a pint of Irish whisky and a flat bottle to hold it in, as well as a loaf of bread and some cheese, which we carried away wrapped in paper.
    â€œThis will have to do for our dinner,” Holmes said as we emerged.
    â€œBut we’re not going to drink a pint of common whisky between us?” I asked in some astonishment.
    â€œNever mind,” Holmes answered with a smile. “Perhaps we’ll find somebody to help us - somebody not so fastidious as yourself as to quality.”
    Now we hurried - hurried more than ever, for it was beginning to get dusk, and Holmes feared a difficulty in finding and reading the twig signs in the dark. Two more turnings we made, each with its silent direction - the crossed twigs. To me there was something almost weird and creepy in this curious hunt for the invisible and incomprehensible, guided faithfully and persistently at every turn by this now unmistakable signal. After the second turning we broke into a trot along a long, winding lane, but presently Holmes’s hand fell on my shoulder, and we stopped. He pointed ahead, where some large object, round a bend of the hedge was illuminated as though by a light from below.
    â€œWe will walk now,” Holmes said. “Remember that we are on a walking tour, and have come along here entirely by accident.”
    We proceeded at a swinging walk, Holmes whistling gaily. Soon we turned the bend, and saw that the large object was a traveling van drawn up with two others on a space of grass by the side of the lane. It was a gipsy encampment, the caravan having apparently only lately stopped, for a man was still engaged in tugging at the rope of a tent that stood near the vans. Two or three sullen-looking ruffians lay about a fire which burned in the space left in the middle of the encampment. A woman stood at the door of one van with a large kettle in her hand, and at the foot of the steps below her a more pleasant-looking old man sat on an inverted pail.

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