the sign of four chapter 12


Inspector Jones Receives a Telegram

We had not slept all night and I was very tired. I went to bed and woke late in the afternoon. I felt much better. I went downstairs. Holmes was reading a book. I saw at once that he was worried.

‘Is there any news?’ I asked.

‘Nothing at all. I can’t understand it. I am very surprised and disappointed. My agents say that they cannot find the Aurora.’

‘Can I do anything to help?’ I asked.


‘Then I’ll take Toby back to Pinchin Lane. Then I’ll go and see Miss Morstan and tell her what has happened.’

I went to Miss Morstan’s house. She looked very pleased to see me. I told her that we had not found the treasure yet. But she did not look disappointed. I was surprised about this but I was also very pleased. I said goodbye to her and drove back to Baker Street.

I went to bed, but I could not sleep. I was thinking about Miss Morstan. I wanted to ask her to marry me. All night, I heard Holmes walking up and down in his room. Next morning, he looked tired and ill.

‘My agents cannot find the Aurora,’ he said impatiently. They have searched the whole river. The Aurora has disappeared.’

We waited all that day, but there was no news.

The next day, I woke early. It was still dark. To my surprise Sherlock Holmes was standing by my bed. He was dressed and ready to go out.

‘I have had an idea, Watson,’ he said. ‘I am going up the river myself. Perhaps I can find the launch. You must stay here. There may be some messages.’ Holmes left without another word.

That day, the time passed very slowly. I picked up a book but was unable to read it. I was thinking all the time about the wooden-legged man and the pygmy. Where were they? Why could Holmes not find them? I was worried about my friend. I knew that he was a clever detective. But perhaps this time he would not be able to catch the murderers.

At three o’clock in the afternoon, I had a visitor. It was Inspector Jones, the police officer.

I was astonished. Inspector Jones had changed completely. Two days ago, he had been very rude to Holmes. He had not wanted his help. Now he was very quiet and polite.

‘Good afternoon, Doctor Watson,’ said Inspector Jones. ‘I’m afraid that I made a bad mistake. I have had to let Thaddeus Sholto go. Sholto has proved that he was at a friend’s house when his brother died.’

Inspector Jones looked so sad that I began to feel sorry for him.

‘I’ve received a telegram from Sherlock Holmes,’ the Inspector went on. ‘Here it is.’

I took the telegram and read it.


‘That’s excellent!’ I cried. ‘Forget about Thaddeus Sholto. You’ll soon have some other prisoners, Inspector Jones.’

At that moment, the door opened and Holmes came into the room. He was smiling.

‘What news?’ we asked together.

‘I know where the Aurora is,’ Holmes replied. ‘It wasn’t on the river at all. The Aurora has been hidden in a boatyard near the river for two days. I knew the launch at once. Mordecai Smith, the owner, was there too. He was talking to someone and he was speaking very loudly. He said that he had to have the Aurora ready for eight o’clock tonight. His two gentlemen were leaving for America. Their ship was waiting for them out at sea and they must not be late.

‘I knew immediately what they were planning to do,’ went on Holmes. ‘And I know what we must do. Inspector Jones, will you help me?’

‘I was wrong before and you were right,’ said Jones sadly. ‘I didn’t listen to you then. But I’ll help you now.’

‘Good,’ said Holmes. ‘We need a fast police launch — as fast as the Aurora. It must be ready this evening. And two or three strong policemen to come with us.’

‘I’ll arrange all this,’ said Jones.

‘Excellent,’ said Holmes. ‘Tonight the three of us — you and me and Doctor Watson — will be on the police launch. We will be waiting outside the boatyard at eight o’clock. We’ll be ready for the Aurora when she comes out. We’ll catch the murderers and we’ll get the treasure!’


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