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Sherlock Holmes
A Drama in Four Acts

ACT II
In two scenes with a Dark Change
 

Scene 1
PROFESSOR MORIARTY’S Underground Office. Morning

 
SCENE 1.—This scene is built inside the Second. PROFESSOR MORIARTY’S underground office. A large vault-like room, with rough masonry walls and vaulted ceiling. The general idea of this place is that it has been converted from a cellar room of a warehouse into a fairly comfortable office or head-quarters. There are no windows.

The colour or tone of this set must not be similar to the third Act set, which is a gloomy and dark bluish-brown. The effect in this set should be of masonry that has long ago been whitewashed and is now old, stained and grimy. Maps on wall of England, France, Germany, Russia, etc. Also a marked map of London — heavy spots upon certain localities. Many charts of buildings, plans of floors—possible tunnellings, etc. Many books about — on impoverished shelves, etc.

PROFESSOR ROBERT MORIARTY is seated at a large circular desk facing the front. He is looking over letters, telegrams, papers, etc., as if morning mail. He is a middle-aged man, with massive head and grey hair, and a face full of character, overhanging brow, heavy jaw. A man of great intellectual force, extremely tall and thin. His forehead domes out in a white curve, and his two eyes are deeply sunken in his head. Clean-shaven, pale, ascetic-looking. Shoulders rounded, and face protruding forward, and for ever oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion. Deep hollow voice.

The room is dark, with light showing on his face, as if from lamp. Pause. MORIARTY rings a gong at desk, which has a Peculiar sound. In a second, buzzer outside door replies twice. He Picks up a speaking tube and puts it to his mouth.

MORIARTY (speaking into tube in a low voice): Number. (He Places tube to his ear and listens, then speaks into it again.)Correct. (Drops tube. He moves a lever up against wall and the bolt of the door slides back with a solid heavy sound.)

(Enter JOHN noiselessly. No sound of steps. He stands just within the door in the half darkness.)

Has any report come in from Chibley?

JOHN: Nothing yet sir.

MORIARTY:  All the others are heard from?

JOHN:  Yes, sir.

MORIARTY:  I was afraid we’d have trouble there. If anything happened we lose Hickson — one of our best men. Send Bassick.

(JOHN goes out. Bolt slides back. Buzzer outside door rings twice. MORIARTY picks up tube and speaks into it)

(Speaking into tube.) Number. (Listens. Speaks into tube again.) Correct. (He slides back bolt of door.)

(Enter BASSICK noiselessly Bolt of door slides back. BASSICK goes to MORIARTY’S desk at once and standsMORIARTY motions to sit. He does so )

Before we go into anything else, I want to refer to Davidson.

BASSICK:  I’ve made a note of him myself, sir; he’s holding bad money.

MORIARTY: Something like six hundred short on that last haul, isn’t it?

BASSICK: Certainly as much as that.

MORIARTY: Have him attended to. Craigin is the one to do it. (BASSICK writes a memo quickly) And see that his disappearance is noticed.  Have it spoken of.  That finishes Davidson … Now as to this Blaisdell matter — did you learn anything more?

BASSICK: The whole thing was a trap.

MORIARTY: What do you mean?

BASSICK: Set and baited by an expert.

MORIARTY: But those letters and papers of instructions—you brought them back, or destroyed them, I trust?

BASSICK: I could not do it, sir — Manning has disappeared and the papers are gone!

(Music melodramatic. Cue, as MORIARTY looks at BASSICK.)

MORIARTY:  Gone! Sherlock Holmes again. That’s bad for the Underwood trial.

BASSICK: I thought Shackleford was going to get a postponement.

MORIARTY:  He tried to — and found he was blocked.

BASSICK: Who could have done it?

(MORIARTY turns and looks at BASSICK almost hypnotically — his head vibrating from side to side as if making him speak the name.)

Sherlock Holmes?

MORIARTY:  Sherlock Holmes again. (His eyes still on BASSICK.) 

BASSICK (as if fascinated by MORIARTY. Slight affirmative motion.) He’s got hold of between twenty and thirty papers and instructions in as many different jobs, and some as to putting a man or two out of the way — and he’s gradually completing chains of evidence which, if we let him go on, will reach to me as sure as the sun will rise. Reach to me! —Ha! (Sneer.) He’s playing rather a dangerous game! Inspector Wilson tried it seven years ago. Wilson is dead. Two years later Henderson took it up. We haven’t heard anything of Henderson lately, eh?

BASSICK (shaking head): Not a thing, sir.

MORIARTY: Ha! (Sneer.) This Holmes is rather a talented man. He hopes to drag me in at the Underwood trial, but he doesn’t realize what can happen between now and Monday. He doesn’t know that there isn’t a street in London that’ll be safe for him if I whisper his name to Craigin — I might even make him a little call myself — just for the satisfaction of it — (business of head swaying, etc.) — just for the satisfaction of it. (BASSICK watches MORIARTY with some anxiety.) Baker Street, isn’t it? His place — Baker Street — eh?

BASSICK: Baker Street, sir.

MORIARTY:  We could make it safe. We could make it absolutely secure for three streets each way.

BASSICK: Yes, sir, but—

MORIARTY:  We could. We’ve done it over and over again elsewhere — Police decoyed. Men in every doorway. (Sudden turn to him.) Do this to-night — in Baker Street! At nine o’clock call his attendants out on one pretext and another, and keep them out — you understand! I’ll see this Sherlock Holmes myself — I’ll give him a chance for his life. If he declines to treat with me —

(He takes a savage-looking bulldog revolver from under desk and examines it carefully, slowly placing it in breast pocket. Ring of telephone bell is heard, but not until the revolver business is finished.)

(The music stops.)

(MORIARTY gives a nod to BASSICK, indicating him to attend to phone. BASSICK rises and goes to and picks up telephone. MORIARTY resumes business of examining papers on his desk.) 

BASSICK (speaks into receiver and listens as indicated): Yes — yes—Bassick—What name did you say? Oh, Prince, yes. He’ll have to wait — Yes —I got his telegram last night — Well, tell him to come and speak to me at the phone. (Longer wait.) Yes— I got your telegram, Prince, but I have an important matter on. You’ll have to wait—Who? (Suddenly becomes very interested.) What sort of a game is it? — Where is he now? —- Wait a moment. (To MORIARTY.) Here’s something, sir. Sid Prince has come here over some job, and he says he’s got Holmes fighting against him.

MORIARTY (quickly turning to BASSICK) Eh? Ask him what it is. Ask him what it is. (BASSICK is about to speak through the telephone. Quickly.) Wait! (BASSICK stops.) Let him come here. (BASSICK turns in surprise.)

BASSICK:  No one sees you — no one knows you. That has meant safety for years.

MORIARTY:  No one sees me now. You talk with him — I’ll listen from the next room. (BASSICK looks at him hesitatingly an instant.) This is your office — you understand — your office — I’ll be there.

(BASSICK turns to telephone.)

BASSICK (speaking into telephone): Is that you, Prince? — Yes, I find I can’t come out — but I’ll see you here — What interest have they got? What’s the name? (Listening a moment. Looks round to MORIARTY.) He says there’s two with him — a man and a woman named Larrabee. They won’t consent to any interview unless they’re present.

MORIARTY: Send them in.

BASSICK (speaking into telephone): Eh, Prince — ask Beads to come to the telephone — Beads —eh — ? (Lower voice.) Those people with Prince, do they seem to be all right? Look close
yes? — Well — take them out through the warehouse and down by the circular stairway and then bring them up here by the long tunnel — Yes, here — Look them over as you go along to see they’re not carrying anything — and watch that no one sees you come down — Yes — (Hangs up ear-piece, turns and looks at MORIARTY.) I don’t like this, sir!

MORIARTY (rises): You don’t like this! You don’t like this! I tell you it’s certain death unless we can settle with this man Holmes.

(The buzzer rings three times.)

(Moves towards opening.) Your office, you understand — your office.

(BASSICK looks at MORIARTY. MORIARTY goes out. BASSICK, after MORIARTY is well off, goes and takes MORIARTY’S place at the back of the desk. Rings gong at desk. Buzzer replies twice from outside.)

BASSICK (speaking into tube): Send John here.

(BASSICK pushes back bolt. Enter JOHN noiselessly. He stands just within door. Bolt of door slides back when door shuts.)

There are some people coming in here, you stand over there, and keep your eye on them from behind. If you see anything suspicious, drop your handkerchief. If it’s the woman pick it up — if it’s the man leave it on the floor.

(Three knocks are distinctly heard on door from outside. On last knock JOHN goes near wall.)

(Picks up tube and speaks into it.) Number. (Listens—speaking into tube.) Are the three waiting with you? (Listens—drops tube and pushes lever back, and the bolt slides back from the door. The door slowly swings open.)

(Enter SID PRINCE, followed by MADGE and LARRABEE. The door Closes and the bolts slide back with a clang. At the sound of the bolts LARRABEE looks round at door very sharply, realizing that they are all locked in. BASSICK motions MADGE to chair. MADGE Sits. LARRABEE is suspicious, and does not like the look of the place. PRINCE remains standing. BASSICK sits behind desk. JOHN is in the dark, watching LARRABEE and MADGE, with a handkerchief in hand.)

I understand you to say — through our private telephone — that you’ve got something with Sherlock Holmes against you.

PRINCE: Yes, sir — we ‘ave.

BASSICK: Kindly let me have the particulars.

(LARRABEE gives “H’m,” indicating that he wants to hear.)

PRINCE: Jim and Madge Larrabee here, which you used to know in early days, they have picked up a girl at ‘Omburg, where her sister had been havin’ a strong affair of the ‘eart with a very ‘igh young foreign nob who promised to marry ‘er — but the family stepped in and threw the whole thing down. ‘E be’aved very bad to ‘er an had let ‘imself out an written her letters an given her rings and tokens, yer see — and there was photographs too. Now as these various things showed how ‘e’d deceived and betrayed ‘er, they wouldn’t look nice at all considerin’ who the young man was, an’ wot ‘igh titles he was comin’ into. So when this girl up an’ dies of it all, these letters and things all fall into the ‘ands of the sister — which is the one my friends ‘ere has been nursin’ all along — together with ‘er mother.

BASSICK (to LARRABEE): Where have you had the people? 

LARRABEE: We took a house up the Norrington Road. 

BASSICK: How long have you been there?

LARRABEE: Two years, the fourteenth of next month.

BASSICK: And those letters and — other evidences of the young man’s misconduct — when will they reach their full value?

(LARRABEE is about to answer, but PRINCE jumps in quickly.)

PRINCE:  It’s now, don’t you see. It’s now — There’s a marriage comin’ on, an’ there’s been offers, an’ the problem is to get the papers in our ‘ands.

BASSICK: Where are they?

PRINCE: Why, the girl’s got ‘old of ‘em, sir!

(BASSICK turns for explanation of this to LARRABEE)

LARRABEE:  We had a safe for her to keep them in, supposing that when the time came we could open it, but the lock was out of order and we got Prince in to help us. He opened it last night, and the package containing the things was gone — she had taken them out herself.

BASSICK: What did you do when you discovered this?

PRINCE:  Do — I ‘adn’t any more than got the box open, sir, an’ given one look at it, when Sherlock Holmes rings the front door bell.

BASSICK (intent): There — at your house?

LARRABEE: At my house.

BASSICK: He didn’t get those letters?

LARRABEE: Well, he did get them, but he passed them back to the Faulkner girl.

BASSICK (rises—in surprise): Passed them back, eh? What did that mean? (Goes down a little, thinking.)

LARRABEE (slight shrug of shoulders): There’s another thing that puzzles me. There was an accident below in the kitchen — a lamp fell off the table and scattered burning oil about, the butler came running up, yelling fire. We ran down there, and a few buckets of water put it out.

(MORIARTY suddenly appears at his desk. Lights on his face.)

MORIARTY: I have a suggestion to make. (All turn in surprise and look at MORIARTY.) The first thing we must do is to get rid of your butler — not discharge him — get rid of him. (To BASSICK.) Craigin for that! To-day! As soon as it’s dark. Give him two others to help —Mr. Larrabee will send the man into the cellar for something —they’ll be ready for him there. Doulton’s van will get the body to the river. (MADGE shudders slightly.) It need not inconvenience you at all, Madam, we do these things quietly.

(BASSICK is writing orders.)

(To BASSICK.) What’s the Seraph doing?

BASSICK: He’s on the Reading job to-morrow night.

MORIARTY: Put him with Craigin to-day to help with that butler. But there’s something else we want. Have you seen those letters, the photographs, and whatever else there may be? Have you seen them? Do you know what they’re like?

MADGE:  I have, sir. I’ve looked them through carefully several times

MORIARTY:  Could you make me a counterfeit set of these things and tie them up so that they will look exactly like the package Sherlock Holmes held in his hand last night?

MADGE:  I could manage the letters—but —

MORIARTY:  If you manage the letters, I’ll send some one who can manage the rest — from your description. Bassick — that old German artist —eh —

BASSICK: Leuftner.

MORIARTY:  Precisely! Send Leuftner to Mrs. Larrabee at eleven. (Looks at watch.) Quarter past ten — that gives you three quarters of an hour to reach home. I shall want that counterfeit packet an eleven to-night — twelve hours to make it.

MADGE:  It will be ready, sir.

MORIARTY:  Good! Bassick — notify the Lascar that I may require the Gas Chamber at Stepney to-night.

BASSICK:  The Gas Chamber?

MORIARTY:  Yes. The one backing over the river — and have Craigin there a quarter before twelve with two others. Mr. Larrabee — (turning slightly to him) — I shall want you to write a letter to Mr. Sherlock Holmes which I shall dictate — and tonight I may require a little assistance from you both. (Taking in PRINCE with his glance.) Meet me here at eleven.

LARRABEE:  This is all very well, sir, but you have said nothing  about — the business arrangements. I’m not sure that!  — 

MORIARTY (turning front): You have no choice.

LARRABEE:  No choice. (Looks fiercely to MORIARTY.)

(MADGE rises to quiet him. JOHN drops handkerchief. Pause.)

MORIARTY (looking at him): No choice. (PRINCE aghast.) I do what I please. It pleases me to take hold of this case.

LARRABEE (angry—crossing to desk): Well, what about pleasing me?

(BASSICK looks across at LARRABEE.)

MORIARTY (perfectly quiet—looks at LARRABEE an instant):  I am not so sure but I shall be able to do that as well. I will obtain the original letters from Miss Faulkner and negotiate the for much more than you could possibly obtain. In addition — you will have an opportunity to sell the counterfeit package to Holmes tonight, for a good round sum. And the money obtained from both these sources shall be divided as follows: you will take one hundred per cent, and I — nothing.

(Brief pause of astonishment.)

LARRABEE:  Nothing!

MORIARTY:  Nothing!

(LARRABEE moves to PRINCE.)

BASSICK: But we cannot negotiate those letters until we know who they incriminate. Mr. Larrabee has not yet informed us.

MORIARTY:  Mr. Larrabee — (LARRABEE looks round to MORIARTY) — is wise in exercising caution. He values the keystone to his arch. But he will consent to let me know.

(LARRABEE goes to MADGE.)

MADGE (going across to MORIARTY): Professor Moriarty, that information we would like to give — only to you. (Looking toward BASSICK).

(MORIARTY motions BASSICK away. BASSICK moves a little.  MORIARTY hands a card and pencil to MADGE from desk. MADGE writes a name and hands it to MORIARTY. He glances at name on card, then looks more closely. Looks up at MADGE astonished.)

MORIARTY:  This is an absolute certainty.

LARRABEE:  Absolute.

MORIARTY:  It means that you have a fortune.

(PRINCE drinks in every word and look.)

Had I known this, you should hardly have had such terms.

LARRABEE:  Oh well — we don’t object to a — 

MORIARTY (interrupting): The arrangement is made, Mr. Larrabee — I bid you good morning. (Bowing with dignity and Pulling lever back.)

(LARRABEE, PRINCE and MADGE move toward door. Bolts, etc., slide back on door. BASSICK motions JOHN, who stands ready to conduct the party. BASSICK crosses to door. All bow a little and go out, followed by JOHN — business of door closing, bolts, etc. BASSICK turns at door and looks at MORIARTY.)

Bassick, place your men at nine to-night for Sherlock Holmes house in Baker Street.

BASSICK:  You will go there yourself sir! 

MORIARTY: I will go there myself — myself (Revolver out) I am the one to attend to this. 

BASSICK: But this meeting to-night at twelve, to trap Holmes in the Gas Chamber in Swandem Lane.

MORIARTY:  If I fail to kill him in Baker Street, we’ll trap him to-night in Swandem Lane. Either way I have him, Bassick. I have  him. I have him.

(Lights off gradually but not too slow on this act, and leave light on MORIARTY’S face last.)

(Music. Swell out forte for change.)

DARK CHANGE


Scene 2
SHERLOCK HOLMES’S Apartments in Baker Street. Evening


  
SCENE II. — In SHERLOCK HOLMES’ rooms in Baker Street —the large drawing-room of his apartments. An open, cheerful room, but not too much decorated. Rather plain. The walls are a plain tint, the ceiling ditto. The furniture is comfortable and goody but not elegant. Books, music, violins, tobacco pouches, pipes, tobacco, etc., are scattered in places about the room with some disorder. Various odd things are hung about. Some very choice pictures and etchings hang on the walls here and there, but the pictures do not have heavy gilt frames. All rather simple. The room gives more an impression of an artist’s studio. A wide door up right side to hall (and thus by stairway to street door). Door communicating with bedroom or dining-room. A fireplace with cheerful grate fire burning, throwing a red glow into room. Through a large arch can be seen a laboratory and a table with chemicals and various knick-knacks. The lighting should be arranged so that after the dark change the first thing that becomes visible — even before the rest of the room — is the glow of the fire, the blue flame of the spirit lamp — and SHERLOCK HOLMES seated among cushions on the floor before the fire. Light gradually on, but still leaving the effect of only firelight.

Music stops, just as lights up.

SHERLOCK HOLMES is discovered on the floor before the fire. He is in a dressing-gown and slippers and has his pipe. HOLMES leans against the chesterfield. A violin is upon the chesterfield, and the bow near it, as if recently laid down. Other things Scattered about him. He sits smoking awhile in deep thought. Enter BILLY, the boy page, or buttons. He comes down to back of table.

BILLY: Mrs. ‘Udson’s compliments, sir, an’ she wants to know if she can see you?

HOLMES (without moving, looking into fire thoughtfully): Where is Mrs. Hudson?

BILLY:  Downstairs in the back kitchen, sir.

HOLMES:  My compliments and I don’t think she can — from where she is.

BILLY:  She’ll be very sorry, sir.

HOLMES: Our regret will be mutual.

(BILLY hesitates.)

BILLY:  She says it was terribly important, sir, as she wants to know what you’ll have for your breakfast in the mornin’.

HOLMES: Same.

(Slight pause.)

BILLY:  Same as when, sir?

HOLMES:  This morning.

BILLY:  You didn’t ‘ave nothing, sir — you wasn’t ‘ere.

HOLMES: Quite so — I won’t be here tomorrow.

BILLY:  Yes, sir. Was that all, sir?

HOLMES: Quite so.

BILLY:  Thank you, sir.

(BILLY goes out. After long pause bell rings off. Enter BILLY.)

It’s Doctor Watson, sir. You told me as I could always show ‘im up.

HOLMES: Well! I should think so. (Rises and meets WATSON.)

BILLY:  Yes, sir, thank you, sir. Dr. Watson, sir!

(Enter DR. WATSON. BILLY, grinning with pleasure as he passes in, goes out at once.)

HOLMES (extending left hand to WATSON): Ah, Watson, dear fellow.

WATSON (going to HOLMES and taking his hand): How are you, Holmes?

HOLMES: I’m delighted to see you, my dear fellow, perfectly delighted, upon my word — but — I’m sorry to observe that your wife has left you in this way.

WATSON (laughing): She has gone on a little visit. (Puts hat on chair between bookcases.) But how did you know?

HOLMES (goes to laboratory table and puts spirit lamp out, then turns up lamp on table. All lights up): How do I know?  Now, Watson, how absurd for you to ask me such a question as that. How do I know anything? (Comes down a little way. Gives a very little sniff an instant, smelling something.) How do I know that you’ve opened a consulting room and resumed the practice of medicine without letting me hear a word about it? How do I know that you’ve been getting yourself very wet lately? That you have an extremely careless servant girl — and that you’ve moved your dressing-table to the other side of your room?

WATSON (turning and looking at HOLMES in astonishment):  Holmes, if you’d lived a few centuries ago, they’d have burned you alive. (Sits.)

HOLMES:  Such a conflagration would have saved no considerable trouble and expense. (Strolls over to near fire.)

WATSON: Tell me, how did you know all that?

HOLMES (pointing): Too simple to talk about. (Pointing at WATSON’S shoe.) Scratches and clumsy cuts — on the side of shoe there just where the fire strikes it, somebody scraped away crusted mud — and did it badly — badly. There’s your wet feet and careless servant all on one foot. Face badly shaved on one side — used to be on left — light must have come from other side — couldn’t well move your window — must have moved your dressing-table. (Goes to mantel and gets cocaine, etc.)

WATSON: Yes, by Jove! But my medical practice — I don’t see how you — 

HOLMES (glancing up grieved): Now, Watson! How perfectly absurd of you to come marching in here, fairly reeking with the odour of iodoform, and with the black mark of nitrate of silver on the inner side of your right forefinger and ask me how I know — 

WATSON (interrupting with a laugh): Ha! ha! of course. But how the deuce did you know my wife was away and — 

HOLMES (breaking in): Where the deuce is your second Waistcoat button, and what the deuce is yesterday’s boutonniere doing in to-day’s lapel — and why the deuce do you wear the expression of a — 

WATSON (toying with a cigarette and laughing): Ha, ha, ha! 

HOLMES: Ho! (Sneer.) Elementary! The child’s play of deduction!

(HOLMES has a neat morocco case and a phial in hand, which he brings to the table and lays carefully upon it. As WATSON sees HOLMES with the open case he looks restless and apparently
annoyed at what HOLMES is about to do, throwing cigarette on table. HOLMES opens the case and takes therefrom a hypodermic syringe, carefully adjusting the needle. Fills from phial. Then back left cuff of shirt a little. Pauses, looks at arm or wrist a moment. Inserts needle. Presses piston home.)

(Music. A weird bar or two — keeping on a strange pulsation on one note for cocaine business. Begin as HOLMES fills syringe.)

(WATSON has watched him with an expression of deep anxiety but with effort to restrain himself from speaking.

WATSON (as HOLMES puts needle in case again. Finally speaks.)  Which is it to-day? Cocaine or morphine or —

HOLMES: Cocaine, my dear fellow. I’m back to my old love.  A seven per cent. solution. (Offering syringe and phial.) Woud you like to try some?

WATSON (emphatically — rise) Certainly not.

HOLMES (as if surprised): Oh! I’m sorry!

WATSON: I have no wish to break my system down before time.

(Pause.)

HOLMES: Quite right, my dear Watson — quite right — but, see, my time has come. (Goes to mantel and replaces case thereon. Throws himself languidly into chesterfield and leans back in luxurious enjoyment of the drug.)

WATSON (goes to table, resting hand on upper corner, looking at HOLMES seriously): Holmes, for months I have seen you use these deadly drugs — in ever-increasing doses. When they lay hold of you there is no end. It must go on, and on — until the finish.

HOLMES (lying back dreamily): So must you go on and on eating your breakfast — until the finish.

WATSON (approaches HOLMES): Breakfast is food. These are poisons — slow but certain. They involve tissue changes of a most serious nature.

HOLMES: Just what I want. I’m bored to death with my present tissues, and I’m trying to get a brand-new lot.

WATSON (going near HOLMESputting hand on HOLMES' shoulder) Ah Holmes — I am trying to save you.

HOLMES (earnest at once — places right hand on WATSON’S arm): You can’t do it, old fellow — so don’t waste your time.

(Music stops.)

(They look at one another an instant. WATSON sees cigarette on table—picks it up and sits.)

Watson, to change the subject a little. In the enthusiasm which has prompted you to chronicle and — if you will excuse my saying so, to somewhat embellish — a few of my little — adventures, you have occasionally committed the error — or indiscretion — of giving them a certain tinge of romance which struck me as being a trifle out of place. Something like working an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid. I merely refer to this in case you should see fit at some future time — to chronicle the most important and far-reaching case in my career — one upon which I have laboured for nearly fourteen months, and which is now rapidly approaching a singularly diverting climax — the case of Professor Robert Moriarty.

WATSON: Moriarty! I don’t remember ever having heard of the fellow.

HOLMES: The Napoleon of crime. The Napoleon! Sitting motionless like an ugly venomous spider in the centre of his web — but that web having a thousand radiations and the spider knowing every quiver of every one of them.

WATSON: Really! This is very interesting. (Turns chair facing HOLMES.)

HOLMES: Ah — but the real interest will come when the Professor begins to realize his position — which he cannot fail to do shortly. By ten o’clock to-morrow night the time will be ripe for the arrests. Then the greatest criminal trial of the century … the clearing up of over forty mysteries … and the rope for every one.

WATSON: Good! What will he do when he sees that you have him?

HOLMES: Do? He will do me the honour, my dear Watson, of turning every resource of his wonderful organization of criminals to the one purpose of my destruction.

WATSON: Why, Holmes, this is a dangerous thing. (Rises.)

HOLMES: Dear Watson, it’s perfectly delightful! It saves me any number of doses of those deadly drugs upon which you occasionally favour me with your medical views! My whole life is spent in a series of frantic endeavours to escape from the dreary common places of existence! For a brief period I escape! You should congratulate me!

WATSON: But you could escape them without such serious risks! Your other cases have not been so dangerous, and they were even more interesting. Now, the one you spoke of — the last time I saw you — the recovery of those damaging letters and gifts from a young girl who — 

(HOLMES suddenly rises — stands motionless. WATSON looks at him surprised. Brief pause. Then WATSON sits in arm-chair.)

A most peculiar affair as I remember it. You were going to try an experiment of making her betray their hiding-place by an alarm of fire in her own house — and after that —

HOLMES: Precisely — after that.

(Pause.)

WATSON: Didn’t the plan succeed?

HOLMES: Yes — as far as I’ve gone.

WATSON: You got Forman into the house as butler?

HOLMES (nods): Forman was in as butler.

WATSON: And upon your signal he overturned a lamp in the kitchen— (HOLMES moves up and down) —scattered the smoke balls and gave an alarm of fire?

(HOLMES nods and mutters “Yes” under his breath)

And the young lady — did she — 

HOLMES (turning and interrupting): Yes, she did, Watson.  (Going down near him as if he had recovered himself) The young  lady did.  It all transpired precisely as planned.  I took the packet of papers from its hiding-place — and as I told you I would handed it back to Miss Faulkner.

WATSON: But you never told me why you proposed to hand it back.

HOLMES For a very simple reason my dear Watson That would have been theft for me to take it. The contents of the packet were the absolute property of the young lady.

WATSON: What did you gain by this? 

HOLMES: Her confidence, and so far as I was able to secure it, her regard. As it was impossible for me to take possession of the letters, photographs and jewellery in that packet without her consent, my only alternative is to obtain that consent — to induce her to give it to me of her own free will. Its return to her after I had laid hands on it was the first move in this direction. The second will depend entirely upon what transpires to-day. I expect Forman here to report in half an hour.

(Light hurried footsteps outside. Short quick knock at door and enter TÉRÉSE in great haste and excitement. WATSON rises and turns and faces her near table. HOLMES turns towards fire-place.)

TÉRÉSE:  I beg you to pardon me, sir, ze boy he say to come right up as soon as I come.

HOLMES: Quite right! quite right!

TÉRÉSE:  Ah! I fear me zere is trouble — Messieurs — ze butlair— you assesstant — ze one who sent me to you —

HOLMES: Forman? (Turning to her.)

TÉRÉSE: Heem! Forman. Zere ees somesing done to heem! I fear to go down to see.

HOLMES: Down where?

(WATSON watches.)

TÉRÉSE:  Ze down. (Gesture.) Ze cellaire of zat house. Eet ees a dreadful place. He deed not come back. He went down — he deed not return. (Business of anguish.)

(HOLMES goes to table — rings bell and takes revolver from drawer and slides it into his hip pocket, at same time unfastening dressing-gown.)

HOLMES (during business): Who sent him down?

TÉRÉSE:  M’sjeur of ze house, M’sieur Chetwood.

HOLMES: Larrabee?

TÉRESE:  Yes.

HOLMES (during business): Has he been down there long?

TÉRÉSE:  No — for I soon suspect — ze dreadful noise was heard. Oh — (covers face) — ze noise! Ze noise!

HOLMES: What noise? (Goes to her and seizes her arm.)

TÉRÉSE:  Ze noise!

HOLMES: Try to be calm and answer me. What did it sound like?

TÉRÉSE:  Ze dreadful cry of a man who eez struck down by a deadly seeng.

(Enter BILLY)

HOLMES:  Billy! Coat — boots, and order a cab — quick! (Back again to table, takes a second revolver out.)

BILLY (darting off at door) Yes, sir.

HOLMES (to TÉRÉSE) Did anyone follow him down?

(BILLY is back in a second.)

TÉRÉSE:  I did not see.

HOLMES:  Don’t wait. The cab.

(BILLY shoots off having placed coat over chesterfield and boots on floor)

Take this Watson and come with me. (Handing WATSON a revolver. WATSON advances a step to meet HOLMES and takes revolver.)

TÉRÉSE:  I had not better go also? 

HOLMES: No … Wait here! (Ready to go. About to take off dressing gown)

(Hurried footsteps heard outside)

(Pause.) Ha! I hear Forman coming now.

(Enter FORMAN.)

TÉRÉSE (seeing FORMAN — under her breath) Ah! (Backing a little)

(FORMAN coming rapidly on is covered with black coal stains, and his clothing otherwise stained. He has a bad bruise on forehead. But he must not be made to look grotesque. There must be no suspicion of comedy about his entrance. Also he must not be torn, as BILLY is later in the scene. HOLMES just above table stops taking off his dressing gown, slips it back on shoulders again.)

FORMAN (to HOLMES in an entirely matter of fact tone): Nothing more last night, sir. After you left, Prince came in, they made a start for her room to get the package away, but I gave the three knocks with an axe on the floor beams as you directed, and they didn’t go any farther. This morning, a little after nine— 

HOLMES: One moment.

FORMAN: Yes, sir?

HOLMES (quietly turns to TÉRÉSE): Mademoiselle — step into that room and rest yourself. (Indicating bedroom door.)

TÉRÉSE (who has been deeply interested in FORMAN’S report):  Ah! (Shaking head.) I am not tired, Monsieur.

HOLMES: Step in and walk about, then. I’ll let you know when you are required.

TÉRÉSE (after an instant’s pause sees it): Oui, Monsieur. (Goes out.)

(HOLMES goes over and quickly closes the door after her — he then turns to WATSON, but remains at the door with right ear alert to catch any sound from within.)

HOLMES: Take a look at his head, Watson. (Listens at door.)

(WATSON at once goes to FORMAN.)

FORMAN: It’s nothing at all.

HOLMES: Take a look at his head, Watson.

WATSON: An ugly bruise, but not dangerous. (Examining head.)

(WATSON goes quickly and stands near end of chesterfield facing around to FORMAN.)

HOLMES:  Very well … At a little after nine, you say — (HOLMES has attention on door, where TÉRÉSE went off while listening to FORMAN —but not in such a marked way as to take the attention off from what he says, and after a few seconds sits on chesterfield)

FORMAN:  Yes, sir! (Coming down a little.) This morning a little after nine, Larrabee and his wife drove away and she returned about eleven without him. A little later, old Leuftner came and the two went to work in the library. I got a look at them from the outside and found they were making up a counterfeit of the Package we’re working for! You’ll have to watch for some sharp trick, sir.

HOLMES: They’ll have to watch for the trick, my dear Forman.  And Larrabee what of him?

FORMAN: He came back a little after three

HOLMES: How did he seem?

FORMAN: Under great excitement, sir. 

HOLMES: Any marked resentment towards you?

FORMAN: I think there was, sir — though he tried not to show it.

HOLMES: He has consulted some one outside. Was the Larrabee woman’s behaviour different also?

FORMAN:  Now I come to think of it, she gave me an ugly look as she came in.

HOLMES:  Ah, an ugly look. She was present at the consultation. They were advised to get you out of the way. He sent you into the cellar on some pretext. You were attacked in the dark by two men — possibly three — and received a bad blow from a sand club.  You managed to strike down one of your assailants with a stone or piece of timber and escaped from the others in the dark crawling out through a coal grating.

FORMAN That’s what took place sir.

HOLMES: They’ve taken in a partner, and a dangerous one at that. He not only directed this conspiracy against you, but he advised the making of the counterfeit package as well. Within a very short time I shall receive an offer from Larrabee to sell the package of letters. He will indicate that Miss Faulkner changed her mind, and has concluded to get what she can for them.  He will desire to meet me on the subject — and will then endeavour to sell me his bogus package for a large sum of money.  After that — 

(Enter BILLY with a letter)

BILLY:  Letter, sir! Most important letter, sir! (After giving HOLMES letter, he stands waiting.)

HOLMES: Unless I am greatly mistaken — the said communication is at hand. (Lightly waves letter across before face once getting the scent.) It is. Read it, Watson, there’s a good fellow, my eyes — (With a motion across eyes. Half smile.) You know, cocaine — and all those things you like so much.

(BILLY goes with letter to WATSON. WATSON takes letter and up to lamp.)

WATSON (opens letter and reads): “Dear Sir.”

(After WATSON is at lamp, FORMAN waits.)

HOLMES: Who — thus — addresses me? (Slides further on to chesterfield, supporting head on pillows.)

WATSON (glances at signature): “James Larrabee.”

HOLMES (whimsically): What a surprise! And what has James to say this evening?

WATSON: “Dear Sir.”

HOLMES: I hope he won’t say that again.

WATSON: “I have the honour to inform you that Miss Faulkner has changed her mind regarding the letters, etc., which you wish to obtain, and has decided to dispose of them for a monetary consideration. She has placed them in my hands for this purpose, and if you are in a position to offer a good round sum, and to pay it down at once in cash, the entire lot is yours. If you wish to negotiate, however, it must be to-night, at the house of a friend of mine, in the city. At eleven o’clock you will be at the Guards’ Monument at the foot of Waterloo Place. You will see a cab with wooden shutters to the windows. Enter it and the driver will bring you to my friend’s house. If you have the cab followed, or try any other underhand trick, you won’t get what you want. Let me know your decision. Yours truly, James Larrabee.”

(HOLMES during the reading of the letter begins to write something in a perfectly leisurely way. The light of the fire is upon him, shining across the room — on his left — as he writes.)

HOLMES: Now see if I have the points. To-night, eleven o’clock — Guards’ Monument — cab with wooden shutters. No one to come with me. No one to follow cab — or I don’t get what I want.

WATSON: Quite right.

HOLMES: Ah!

WATSON: But this cab with the wooden shutters. (Coming down and placing letter on table.)

HOLMES: A little device to keep me from seeing where I am driven. Billy!

BILLY (going to HOLMES at once): Yes, sir.

HOLMES (reaching out letter to BILLY back of him without looking): Who brought it?

BILLY:  It was a woman, sir.

HOLMES (slight dead stop as he is handing letter): Ah — old young? (He does not look round for these questions, but faces the was front or nearly so)

BILLY: Werry old sir.

HOLMES: In a cab?

BILLY: Yes, sir.

HOLMES: Seen the driver before?

BILLY: Yes sir — but I cant think where.

HOLMES (rising): Hand this over to the old lady — apologize for the delay and look at the driver again.

BILLY (takes letter): Yes sir. (Goes out)

WATSON: My dear Holmes — you did not say you would go? 

HOLMES Certainly I did.

WATSON But it is the counterfeit.

HOLMES (moves towards bedroom door) The counterfeit is what I want.

WATSON:  Why so?

HOLMES (turning to WATSON an instant) Because with it I shall obtain the original (Turns and speaks off at door.) Mademoiselle! (Turns back)

WATSON: But this fellow means mischief.

(Enter TÉRESE She comes into and stands a little way inside the room)

HOLMES (facing WATSON — touching himself lightly): This fellow means the same.

(As HOLMES turns away to TÉRÉSE, WATSON crosses and stands with back to fire)

(To TÉRÉSE) Be so good Mademoiselle as to listen to every word. To-night at twelve o’clock I meet Mr. Larrabee and purchase from him the false bundle of letters to which you just now heard us refer, as you were listening at the keyhole of the door.

TÉRÉSE (slightly confused but staring blankly) Oui, Monsieur. 

HOLMES: I wish Miss Faulkner to know at once that I propose to buy this package to night.

TÉRÉSE: I will tell her, Monsieur.

HOLMES:  That is my wish. But do not tell her that I know this packet and its contents to be counterfeit. She is to suppose that I think I am buying the genuine.

TÉRÉSE:  Oui, Monsieur, je comprends. When you purchase you think you have the real.

HOLMES: Precisely. (Motions her up to door and moving towards door with her.) One thing more. Tomorrow evening I shall want you to accompany her to this place, here. Sir Edward Leighton and Count von Stalburg will be here to receive the package from me. However, you will receive further instructions as to this in the morning.

TÉRÉSE:  Oui, Monsieur. (Turns and goes out at once.)

HOLMES:  Forman.

FORMAN:  Yes, sir.

HOLMES:  Change to your beggar disguise No. 14 and go through every place in the Riverside District. Don’t stop till you get a clue to this new partner of the Larrabees. I must have that. (Turns away towards WATSON.) I must have that.

FORMAN: Very well, sir. (Just about to go.)

(Enter BILLY.)

BILLY:  If you please, sir, there’s a man a-waitin’ at the street door — and ‘e says ‘e must speak to Mr. Forman, sir, as quick as ‘e can.

(HOLMES — who was moving — stops suddenly and stands motionless — eyes front. Pause.)

(Music. Danger. Melodramatic. Very low. Agitato. B String.)

HOLMES (after a pause): We’d better have a look at that man, Billy, show him up.

BILLY:  ‘E can’t come up, sir — ‘e’s a-watchin’ a man in the Street. ‘E says ‘e’s from Scotland Yard.

FORMAN (going toward door): I’d better see what it is, sir.

HOLMES: No!

(FORMAN stops. Pause. Music heard throughout this pause, but without swelling forte in the least. HOLMES stands motionless a moment)

Well — (a motion indicating FORMAN to go) — take a look at first. Be ready for anything.

FORMAN: Trust me for that, sir. (Goes out.)

HOLMES: Billy, see what he does.

BILLY: Yes, sir.

(HOLMES stands an instant thinking)

WATSON: This is becoming interesting.

(HOLMES does not reply He goes up to near door and listens then moves to window and glances down to street then turns goes down to table)

Look here Holmes you’ve been so kind as to give me a half look into this case — 

HOLMES (looking up at him): What case?

WATSON: This strange case of — Miss — 

HOLMES: Quite so. One moment my dear fellow (Rings bell.)

(After slight wait enter BILLY )

Mr. Forman—is he there still?

BILLY:  No, sir — ’e’s gone. (Second’s pause.)

HOLMES: That’s all.

BILLY: Yes sir. Thank you sir. (Goes out)

(Music stops)

HOLMES: As you were saying, Watson. (Eyes front.) strange case — of — (Stops but does not change position.  As if listening or thinking)

WATSON: Of Miss Faulkner.

HOLMES (abandoning further anxiety and giving attention to WATSON): Precisely. This strange case of Miss Faulkner. (Eyes down an instant as he recalls it)

WATSON: You’ve given me some idea of it. Now don’t you it would be only fair to let me have the rest?

(HOLMES looks at him)

HOLMES:  What shall I tell you?

WATSON: Tell me what you propose to do with that counterfeit  package — which you are going to risk your life to obtain.

(HOLMES looks at WATSON an instant before speaking.)

HOLMES: I intend, with the aid of the counterfeit, to make her willingly hand me the genuine. I shall accomplish this by a piece of trickery and deceit of which I am heartily ashamed — and which I would never have undertaken if I — if I had known her — as I do now (Looks to the front absently.) It’s too bad. She’s — she’s rather a nice girl, Watson. (Goes over to mantel and gets a pipe.)

WATSON (following HOLMES with his eyes): Nice girl, is she?

(HOLMES nods “Yes” to WATSON. Brief pause. He turns with pipe in hands and glances towards WATSON, then down.)

Then you think that possibly — 

(Enter BILLY quickly.)

BILLY:  I beg pardon, sir, Mr. Forman’s just sent over from the chemist’s on the corner to say ‘is ‘ead is a-painin’ ‘im a bit, an’ would Dr. Watson —

(WATSON, on hearing his name, turns and looks in direction of BILLY)

—kindly step over and get ‘im something to put on it.

WATSON (moving at once towards door): Yes — certainly — I’ll go at once. (Picking up hat off chair.) That’s singular. (Stands puzzled.) It didn’t look like anything serious. (At door.) I’ll be back in a minute, Holmes. (Goes out.)

(HOLMES says nothing.)

HOLMES: Billy.

BILLY:  Yes, sir.

HOLMES:  Who brought that message from Forman?

BILLY:  Boy from the chemist’s, sir.

HOLMES:  Yes, of course, but which boy?

BILLY:  Must-a-bin a new one, sir — I ain’t never seen ‘im before.

(Music. Danger. Melodramatic. Very low. Agitato.)

HOLMES: Quick, Billy, run down and look after the doctor. If the boy’s gone and there’s a man with him it means mischief. Let me know, quick. Don’t stop to come up, ring the door bell. I’ll hear it. Ring it loud. Quick now.

BILLY:  Yes, sir. (Goes out quickly.)

(HOLMES waits motionless a moment, listening.)

(Music heard very faintly.)

(HOLMES moves quickly towards door. When half-way to the door he stops suddenly, listening; then begins to glide backward toward table, stops and listens — eyes to the front; turns towards door listening. Pipe in left hand — waits — sees pipe in hand — picks up match — lights pipe, listening, and suddenly shouts of warning from BILLY — turns — at the same time picking up revolver from off table and puts in pocket of dressing-gown, with his hand clasping it. HOLMES at once assumes easy attitude, but keeps eyes on door. Enter MORIARTY. He walks in at door very quietly and deliberately. Stops just within doorway, and looks fixedly at HOLMES, then moves forward a little way. His right hand behind his back. As MORIARTY moves forward, HOLMES makes slight motion for the purpose of keeping him covered with revolver in his pocket. MORIARTY, seeing what HOLMES is doing, stops.)

MORIARTY (very quiet low voice): It is a dangerous habit to finger loaded firearms in the pocket of one’s dressing-gown.

HOLMES: You’ll be taken from here to the hospital if you keep that hand behind you.

(After slight pause MORIARTY slowly takes his hand from behind his back and holds it with the other in front of him.)

In that case, the table will do quite as well. (Places his revolver on the table.)

MORIARTY:  You evidently don’t know me.

HOLMES (takes pipe out of mouth, holding it. With very slight motion toward revolver): I think it quite evident that I do. Please take a chair, Professor. (Indicating arm-chair.) I can spare five minutes — if you have anything to say.

(Very slight pause—then MORIARTY moves his right hand as if to take something from inside his coat. Stops instantly on HOLMES covering him with revolver, keeping hand exactly where it was stopping.)

What were you about to do?

MORIARTY:  Look at my watch.

HOLMES: I’ll tell you when the five minutes is up.

(Slight pause. MORIARTY comes slowly forward. He advances to back of arm-chair. Stands motionless there an instant, his eyes on HOLMES. He then takes off his hat, and stoops slowly, putting it on floor, eyeing HOLMES the while. He then moves down a little to right of chair, by its side. HOLMES now places revolver on table, but before he has quite let go of it, MORIARTY raises his right hand, whereupon HOLMES quietly takes the revolver back and holds it at his side. MORIARTY has stopped with right hand near his throat, seeing HOLMES’ business with revolver. He now slowly pulls away a woolen muffler from his throat and stands again with hands down before him. HOLMES’ forefinger motionless on table. MORIARTY moves a little in front of chair. This movement is only a step or two. As he makes it HOLMES moves simultaneously on the other side of the table so that he keeps the revolver between them on the table. That is the object of this business.)

MORIARTY: All that I have to say has already crossed your mind.

HOLMES: My answer thereto has already crossed yours.

MORIARTY:  It is your intention to pursue this case against me?

HOLMES: That is my intention to the very end.

MORIARTY:  I regret this — not so much on my own account — but on yours.

HOLMES: I share your regrets, Professor, but solely because of the rather uncomfortable position it will cause you to occupy.

MORIARTY:  May I inquire to what position you are pleased to allude, Mr. Holmes?

(HOLMES motions a man being hanged with his left hand — slight Pause. A tremor of passion. MORIARTY slowly advances towards HOLMES. He stops instantly as HOLMES’ hand goes to his revolver, having only approached him a step or two.)

And have you the faintest idea that you would be permitted to live to see the day?

HOLMES: As to that, I do not particularly care, so that I might bring you to see it.

(MORIARTY makes a sudden impulsive start towards HOLMES, but stops on being covered with revolver. He has now come close to the table on the other side of HOLMES. This tableau is held briefly.)

MORIARTY (passionately but in a low tone): You will never bring me to see it. You will find — (He stops, recollecting himself as HOLMES looks at him — changes to quieter tone.) Ah! you are a bold man Mr. Holmes to insinuate such a thing to my face — (turning towards front) — but it is the boldness born of ignorance. (Turning still further away from HOLMES in order to get his back to him and after doing so suddenly raising his right hand to breast he is again stopped with hand close to pocket by hearing the noise of HOLMES’S revolver behind him. He holds that position for a moment then passes the matter off by feeling muffler as if adjusting it. He mutters to himself
You’ll never bring me to see it, you’ll never bring me to see it (Then begins to move in front of table still keeping his back towards HOLMES. Business as he moves forward of stopping suddenly on hearing the noise of revolver sliding along table then when in front of table slowly turns so that he brings his hands into view of HOLMES then a slight salute with hand and bow and back slowly with dignity into chair

(Business of HOLMES seating himself on stool opposite MORIARTY, revolver business and coming motionless)

(After HOLMES’S business.) I tell you it is the boldness born of  ignorance. Do you think that I would be here if I had not made the streets quite safe in every respect?

HOLMES (shaking head): Oh no! I could never so grossly overestimate your courage as that. 

MORIARTY: Do you imagine that your friend the doctor, and your man Forman will soon return?

HOLMES: Possibly not.

MORIARTY: So it leaves us quite alone — doesn’t it, Mr. Holmes — quite alone — so that we can talk the matter over quietly and not be disturbed.  In the first place I wish to call your attention to a few memoranda which I have jotted down — (suddenly put both hands to breast pocket) — which you will find — 

HOLMES: Look out! Take your hands away.

(Music: Danger pp)

(MORIARTY again stopped with his hands at breast pocket

Get your hands down.

(MORIARTY does not lower his hands at first request.)

A little further away from the memorandum book you are talking about.

MORIARTY (lowers hands to his lap. Slight pause, raising hands again slowly as he speaks): Why, I was merely about to —

HOLMES: Well, merely don’t do it.

MORIARTY (remonstratingly—his hands still up near breast): But I would like to show you a —

HOLMES: I don’t want to see it.

MORIARTY: But if you will allow me —

HOLMES: I don’t care for it at all. I don’t require any notebooks. If you want it so badly we’ll have someone get it for you.

(MORIARTY slowly lowers hands again.)

(Rings bell on table with left hand.) I always like to save my guests unnecessary trouble.

MORIARTY (after quite a pause): I observe that your boy does not answer the bell.

HOLMES: No. But I have an idea that he will before long.

MORIARTY (leaning towards HOLMES and speaking with subdued rage and significance): It may possibly be longer than you think, Mr. Holmes.

HOLMES (intensely): What! That boy!

MORIARTY (hissing at HOLMES): Yes, your boy.

(Hold the tableau for a moment, the two men scowling at each other. HOLMES slowly reaching left hand out to ring bell again. MORIARTY begins to raise right hand slowly towards breast pocket, keeping it concealed beneath his muffler as far as possible. On slight motion of HOLMES’ left hand, he lowers it again, giving up the attempt this time.)

HOLMES: At least we will try the bell once more, Professor. (Rings bell.)

(Short wait.)

MORIARTY (after pause): Doesn’t it occur to you that he may Possibly have been detained, Mr. Holmes?

HOLMES: It does. But I also observe that you are in very much the same predicament. (Pause.)

(HOLMES rings bell for the third time. Noise on stairway outside. Enter BILLY with part of his coat, and with sleeves of shirt and waistcoat badly torn)

(Music stops)

BILLY (up near door): I beg pardon, sir—someone tried to ‘old me sir! (Panting for breath)

HOLMES: It is quite evident however that he failed to do so.

BILLY: Yes sir — ‘e’s got my coat sir but ‘e ‘asn't got me!

HOLMES: Billy!

BILLY (cheerfully): Yes sir (Still out of breath)

HOLMES: The gentleman I am pointing out to you with this six-shooter desires to have us get something out of his left hand coat pocket.

(MORIARTY gives a very slight start or movement of right hand to  breast pocket, getting it almost to his pocket, then recollecting himself, seeing that HOLMES has got him covered)

Ah, I thought so. Left-hand coat pocket. As he is not feeling quite himself to-day, and the exertion might prove injurious, suppose you attend to it.

BILLY: Yes sir (He goes quickly to MORIARTY puts hand in his pocket and draws out a bull dog revolver) Is this it sir?

HOLMES: It has the general outline of being it. Quite so. Put it on the table.

(MORIARTY makes a grab for it)

Not there Billy. Look out. Push it a little further this way.

(BILLY does so placing it so that it is within easy reach of HOLMES.)

HOLMES: That’s more like it.

BILLY: Shall I see if he’s got another sir?

HOLMES: Why, Billy, you surprise me, after the gentleman has taken the trouble to inform you that he hasn’t.

BILLY: When sir?

HOLMES: When he made a snatch for this one. Now that we have your little memorandum book, Professor, do you think of anything else you’d like before Billy goes?

(MORIARTY does not reply.)

Any little thing that you’ve got, that you want? No! Ah, I am sorry that’s all, Billy.

(pause. MORIARTY motionless, eyes on HOLMES. HOLMES puts his own revolver in his pocket quietly. MORIARTY remains motionless, his eyes on HOLMES, waiting for a chance.)

BILLY:  Thank you, sir. (Goes out.)

(HOLMES carelessly picks up MORIARTY’S weapon, turns it over in his hands a little below table for a moment, then tosses it back on table again—during which business MORIARTY looks front savagely.)

HOLMES (tapping revolver with pipe): Rather a rash project of yours Moriarty— even though you have made the street quite safe in every respect — to make use of that thing — so early in the evening and in this part of the town.

MORIARTY: Listen to me. On the 4th of January you crossed my path — on the 23rd you incommoded me. And now, at the close of April, I find myself placed in such a position through your continual interference that I am in positive danger of losing my liberty.

HOLMES: Have you any suggestion to make?

MORIARTY (head swaying from side to side): No! (Pause and look fiercely at HOLMES.) I have no suggestion to make. I have a fact to state. If you do not drop it at once your life is not worth that. (Snap of finger.)

HOLMES:  I shall be pleased to drop it — at ten o’clock to-morrow night.

MORIARTY: Why then?

HOLMES: Because at that hour, Moriarty … your life will not be worth that, (A snap of finger.) You will be under arrest.

MORIARTY: At that hour, Sherlock Holmes, your eyes will be closed in death.

(Both look at one another motionless an instant.)

HOLMES (rising as if rather bored): I am afraid, Professor, that in the pleasure of this conversation I am neglecting more important business. (Turns away to mantel and business of looking for match, etc.)

(MORIARTY rises slowly, picks up hat, keeping his eyes on HOLMES. Suddenly catches sight of revolver on table — pause — and putting hat on table.)

MORIARTY (nearing HOLMES and looking towards door): I came here this evening to see if peace could not be arranged between us.

HOLMES: Ah yes (Smiling pleasantly and pressing tobacco in pipe.) I saw that. That’s rather good.

MORIARTY (passionately): You have seen fit not only to reject my proposals, but to make insulting references coupled with threats of arrest.

HOLMES:  Quite so! Quite so! (Lights match and holds it to pipe)

MORIARTY (moving a little so as to be nearer table): Well (slyly picking up revolver) —you have been warned of your danger — you do not heed that warning—perhaps you will heed this!

(Making a sudden plunge and aiming at HOLMES’ head rapidly snaps the revolver in quick attempt to fire)

(HOLMES turns quietly toward him still holding match to pipe so that the last snap of hammer is directly in his face. Very slight pause on MORIARTY being unable to fire — and back up at same time boiling with rage.) 

HOLMES: Oh! ha! — here! (As if recollecting something. Tosses away match and feeling quickly in left pocket of dressing gown brings out some cartridges and tosses them carelessly on table towards MORIARTY.) I didn’t suppose you’d want to use that thing again, so I took all your cartridges out and put them in my pocket.  You’ll find them all there, Professor. (Reaches over and rings bell on table with right hand.)

(Enter BILLY)

Billy!

BILLY:  Yes, sir!

HOLMES: Show this gentleman nicely to the door.

BILLY: Yes sir! This way sir! (Standing within door)

(PROFESSOR MORIARTY looks at HOLMES a moment, then flings revolver down and across the table, clenches fist in HOLMES’ face, turns boiling with rage, picks hat up, and exits quickly at door, muttering aloud as he goes.)

HOLMES (after exit of MORIARTY): Billy! Come here!

BILLY:  Yes, sir! (BILLY comes quickly down.)

HOLMES: Billy! You’re a good boy!

BILLY:  Yes, sir! Thank you, sir! (Stands grinning up at HOLMES.)

(The lights go out suddenly.)

(No music at end of this Act.)

CURTAIN

 
 
Act
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III


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