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A Scandal in Bohemia

   ■ 1 ■

Only one person has ever beaten Sherlock Holmes. Irene Adler was that person and Holmes never forgot her.

I had not seen much of Holmes for a few weeks. After my marriage I had moved to another part of London. Holmes remained in our Baker Street rooms. I was working very hard as a doctor and I did not often visit him because I was very busy.

One night in March 1888 I was returning home. I had been to visit a sick woman who lived near Baker Street.
As I passed my old rooms, I looked up. There was a light in Holmes' room and I could see him. His hands were behind his back and his head was bent. Holmes was at work.


He was thinking about a new problem. No problem had ever beaten Holmes. I wondered what this one was. I decided to visit him and find out.

Holmes was standing by the fire, thinking deeply. He did not say anything but just pointed to a chair.

Holmes was always like this when he was thinking about a problem. But I think he was glad to see me.

At last he picked up a piece of paper. 'Look at this, Watson,' he said. 'What do you think about this?'

I took the paper. It was a note. There was no address, there was no date and it was not signed.

'A man will visit you tonight at a quarter to eight,' the note said. 'Do not be surprised if he is wearing a mask. He will not tell you his real name. He needs your advice about a very important question. This must remain a secret.'

'This is indeed a mystery,' I said. 'What does it mean, Holmes?'

'We shall soon see,' said Holmes, looking out of the window. 'A carriage has just stopped at our door. It's a beautiful carriage. Our visitor must be an important man.'

A few moments later there was a knock at the door.

'Come in!' called Holmes.

The man who came in was very tall. He was wearing a mask and his clothes looked foreign.

'Did you receive my note?' he asked.

'Yes indeed,' Holmes replied. 'Please sit down. This is my friend Dr Watson. Your note was not signed. Would you tell me your name?'
'You may call me Count von Kramm. I am from Bohemia. I have come to ask for your advice. But you must not tell anyone about my visit. A king wishes this. Can I talk freely in front of your friend?'

'Of course,' answered Holmes. 'Dr Watson often helps me. You can speak freely, your Majesty.'

The man sprang from his chair and tore the mask from his face. 'You are quite right,' he cried. 'I am the King of Bohemia. How did you know?'

'It was quite easy,' said Holmes. 'You have a beautiful carriage with two beautiful horses. You are a rich man. You must be an important man.'

'But that does not explain how you knew...'

'You have come to ask for my advice,' continued Holmes. 'You say I must not tell anyone about your visit and that a king wishes this...'

'I still do not see how you know.'

'You are from Bohemia. I have read in the newspapers that the King of Bohemia is in London at the moment. You must be the King. Please tell me how I can help you.'

'These are the facts,' Began the King. 'About five years ago I met a lady named Irene Adler. Perhaps you have heard of her?'

'I will look at my notes,' said Holmes. He went to a case which was full of cards. There were notes about hundreds of people on the cards. After a few moment he pulled out a card. 'Irene Adler,' he read. 'Born in New Jersey in 1858. A singer. La Scala and Warsaw. Now living in London.'

He turned to the King.

'Five years ago, Irene Adler was living in Warsaw. Did you meet her there?'

'Yes,' said the King.

'You fell in love and wrote certain letters to her. Now you want the lady to return the letters.'

'Yes. But how...'

'Was there a secret marriage?'


'Did you sign any legal papers?'


'Then there is no problem.'

'But the letters...'

'You can say that you did not write them.'

'She has a photograph,' said the King.

'Perhaps she bought it.'

'But we are both in the photograph.'

'Oh!' said Holmes. 'That is different. You will have to buy the photograph.'

'I have tried, but she will not sell it.'

'Steal it then.'

'I have twice paid men to steal it but they could not find the photograph in her house.'

Holmes laughed. 'We have quite a problem,' he said. 'What is the lady going to do with the photograph?'

'The King of Scandinavia has a daughter. I am going to marry her. Irene Adler is going to use the photograph to stop the marriage.'

'I had heard that you were going to be married,' said Holmes. 'How is Irene Adler going to stop you?'

'She will send the photograph to the King of Scandinavia. He is afraid of any scandal and will stop the marriage.'

'And why doesn't Irene Adler want you to marry the Princess?'

'It is the usual reason. She is still in love with me and wants me to marry her.'

'Are you sure that she has not sent the photograph yet?'

'I am sure.'


'She is waiting until the date of my wedding appears in the newspapers. That will be next Monday. She will then send the photograph to the King.'

'Then we have three more days,' said Holmes. 'Will you be staying in London?'

'Of course. I shall be staying at the Langham Hotel.'

'Then I shall write to you. I shall soon have some news for you. Now, the question of money...'

'You can name your own price,' said the King. 'I would give anything to get that photograph.'

'I shall need some money now,' said Holmes. 'I shall have to pay for some help.'

The King took some notes from his pocket.

'There is a thousand pounds,' he said. 'I hope that will be enough.'

Holmes took the money. 'What is the lady's address?' he asked.

'Briony Lodge, Serpentine Avenue, St John's Wood.'

Holmes took a note of it. 'One more question,' he said. 'How big is the photograph?'

'It's quite large. It's about thirty centimetres by twenty.'

'Then good night, Your Majesty. I shall have some news for you very soon. And good night, Watson,' he added, as the King went out.

'Will you come to see me tomorrow afternoon at three o'clock? I would like your help.'

   ■ 2 ■

The next afternoon at three o'clock I went to Baker Street. Holmes had not returned. I found out that he had left the house at eight o'clock that morning. I waited for him.

It was four o'clock when the door opened. The man who came in was dressed as a coachman. His hair was long and his face was red. It was Holmes! Without saying a word he went into his bedroom.

Five minutes later he came out. He had washed his face and he was wearing his usual clothes.

He sat near the fire. He was laughing. 'Well, Watson,' he said. 'What do you think I have been doing today?'

'Let me think... You have been watching Irene Adler's house.'

'I have indeed. I left here at eight o'clock this morning dressed as a coachman. I soon found Briony Lodge. It is a villa with a garden at the back. The front of the villa comes right up to the road. In a road at the side of the villa, there are some buildings. Carriages and horses are kept there. I found a coachman there who told me all about Irene Adler.'

'What did he tell you?' I asked.

'She is very beautiful. She lives quietly and sings at concerts. She goes for a drive every day at five 0'clock and always returns at seven o'clock for dinner. Only one man visit her. He is dark and good-looking. He goes to the villa every day. His name is Godfrey Norton and he is a lawyer.'

'You have been busy,' I said.

'That is not all,' Holmes continued.

'This Godfrey Norton is very important. He is a lawyer and he visits Irene Adler every day. He may be just her lawyer or he may be her friend. He may be in love with her. If he is just her lawyer perhaps she has given him the photograph. If they are in love, she may not want him to see it. If this is so, the photograph could be in her house. While I was there, a cab drove up to Briony Lodge.

A man sprang out. He was dark and good-looking. It was Goodfrey Norton and he appeared to be in a grey hurry. He shouted to the cab driver to wait and then rushed into the villa.

'He stayed there for about half an hour. I could see him through the sitting-room window. He appeared to be very excited. I could not see the woman. Then Godfrey Norton came out of the house. He ran to the cab and looking at his watch. "Take me to Regent Street. I have to buy a ring. Then take me to the Church of St Monica in the Edgware Road," he shouted to the driver. ''I'll give you a pound if you get there in twenty minutes.''

'The cab left. Then Irene Adler's own carriage came to the front of the villa. Irene Adler came out of the house. She got into the carriage. "The Church of St Monica, John," she cried. The carriage left.

'I decided to follow her. A cab came into the street and I jumped into it. I arrived at the church and hurried inside. There was no one there except Irene Adler, Godfrey Norton and a priest.

When I came in they all looking at me. Godfrey Norton ran to me. "Come with me," he cried. "We must have a witness. It won't take long. Only a few minutes. If we don't have a witness, the marriage won't be legal."
(教会へ私が入ると祭壇の三人が僕の方を顧み、ゴドフリィ・ノートンに至ってはこちらに駆けてくるのだ。『私と来たまえ、こっちに来たまえ!』と彼は叫んだ。『私たちには結婚立会人が必要なんだ。あまり時間はかからない。証人がいなければこの結婚は正式なものにはならないだろう。』 )

He then dragged me to the front of the church. There I was a witness at the wedding if Irene Adler and Godfrey Norton. It was soon over. The man thanked me and the woman gave me a pound. The priest smiled.

'When I think about it, I have to laugh. That is why I was laughing just now. The priest had refused to marry them eithout a witness. They had Sherlock Holmes as a witness.'

'So they are married,' I said 'They seemed to be in a great hurry. What was the reason for that?'

'I think that Irene Adler is afraid,' said Holmes. 'Someone has tried to steal the photograph twice. I think that she decided to marry Norton and to leave England.'

'Do you think that the King would hurt her?' I asked.

'I don't know,' said Holmes. 'But she seems to be afraid of him.'

'What did you do after you left the church?' I asked.

'Well,' said Holmes. 'I thought that they would leave London immediately. I was very surprised when I heard the woman say to Norton, "I shall drive to the park at five as usual." They left in separate carriages. Now I have to move quickly. Will you help me, Watson?'

'Of course,' I said. 'What do you want me to do?'

'It is nearly five o'clock now,' Holmes said. 'In two hours we must be at Briony Lodge. The woman returns from her drive at seven and we must be there to meet her.'

'And what then?'

'Something will happen which will surprise you. But you must not do anything at first. Is that clear? Four or five minutes later the sitting-room window will open. You will be standing by that window.'

'And then?'

'You must watch me. You will be able to see me. When I raise mu hand...like this...I want you to throw something into the room. Then you will shout ''Fire...Fire!'''

'Is that all?' I asked.

'Yes,' said Holmes. 'You will throw this into the room.' It was made of metal and about fifteen centimetres long. 'It's a smoke bomb.'

'A smoke bomb!' I cried. 'Is it dangerous?'

'Not at all,' smiled Holmes. 'It will make a lot of smoke. That is all. When you have thrown it and shouted "Fire!" go to the end of the street and wait for me.'

Holmes went into his bedroom. When he came out, he was dressed as a priest.

   ■ 3 ■

It was a quarter past six when we left Baker Street. We arrived in Serpentine Avenue at ten minutes to seven. It was getting dark as we waited near Briony Lodge. I was surprised to see a lot of people there. Some men were standing near the villa. Two soldiers were talking to a girl. Some more men were at the corner of the street.

At seven o'clock, Irene Adler's carriage came into the avenue. It drove to the door of Briony Lodge. As it was stopping, a man rushed forward. He was going to open the door of the carriage. One of the soldiers immediately came and pushed him away from the carriage. A fight started. The second soldier and the other men joined in.

Irene Adler was now in the middle of a crowd of fighting men. Holmes rushed into the crowd to help her. As he reached her, he gave a cry and fell to the ground. Blood was running down his face. When Holmes fell, the fighting stopped. The men who had been fighting ran down the street. The men who had been at the corner of the street came to help Holmes.

'How is he?' cried Irene Adler.

'He's dead,' someone said.

'No, he isn't,' said someone else. 'But he's dying.'

'He's a brave man,' said the girl who had been talking to the soldiers. 'They were going to steal this lady's bag. He stopped them. Ah, he's breathing. But he can't lie the street.' She looking at Irene Adler. 'May we bring him into the house?'

'Of course,' she answered. 'Bring him into the sitting-room. This way, please.'

Slowly they carried the old priest into Briony Lodge and into the sitting-room. I went to the window. I could see Holmes. He was lying in a chair I remembered his orders and took the smoke bomb from my pocket.

Holmes sat up and pointed to the window. The woman hurried to the window and opened it. Holmes then raised his arm. I threw the smoke bomb into the room and shouted "Fire!" Immediately the crowd shouted "Fire!". I then went to the corner of the street.

Ten minutes later Holmes arrived. We started to walk towards Baker Street.

'You did very well, Watson,' he said. 'Yhe result was very good indeed.'

'Have you got the photograph?'

'I know where it is.'

'And how did you find it?'

'She showed me.'

'Please explain, Holmes.'

'It was quite easy,' he laughed. 'I paid all those people to help me.'

'When the fight started, I rushed forward and fell to the ground. I had some red paint on my hand. I put my hand on my face. The red paint looked like blood.'

'Of course.'

'Then they carried me into the villa. She had to let me in. What else could she do? And into her sitting-room. I knew that the photograph would be either in there or in her bedroom. The put me in a chair. I pointed to the window and you had your chance.'

'How did that help you?'

'It was very important. What does a woman do if there is a fire? She rushes to save her most valuable things. A married woman saves her baby. An unmarried woman saves her jewels. Now what was of most value to our lady? The photograph, of course. She thought there was a fire, so she immediately rushed to save it. It is hidden behind a picture, and she went straight to it. I saw it as she pulled it out. I then shouted that there was no fire and she put the photograph back. She looked at smoke bomb and rushed out of the room. I have not seen her since that moment. I was going to take the photograph but her coachman came in. It seemed safer to wait until later.'

'And what now?' I asked.

'Tomorrow we are going to visit the lady. I shall ask the King to come with us. We shall go into the sitting-room to wait for her. But when she comes we will not be there. The King can take the photograph himself.'

'And what time will you go?'

'At eight o'clock in the morning. She will still be in bed. It will be easy to take the photograph. I must send a message to the King immediately.'

By this time we had reached Baker Street. We stopped at the door. Some who was passing said, 'Good night, Mister Sherlock Holmes.'

There were a lot of people in the street at the time. The person who had spoken appeared to be a youth. He hurried past us.

'I have heard that voice before,' said Holmes. 'Now I wonder who it was.'

   ■ 4 ■

I slept at Baker Street that night. We were eating breakfast when the King of Bohemia rushed into the room.

'Have you really got the photograph?' he cried.

'Not yet,' said Holmes.

'But you hope to get it.'

'I hope so.'

'Come on then,' said the King. 'Let us go immediately. My carriage is at the door.'

A few minutes later we left for Briony Lodge.

'Irene A dler is married,' said Holmes.

'Married! When?' asked the King.
(「結婚とな! いつのことか?」と、王は尋ねた。)


'But to whom?'

'To a lawyer named Norton.'

'But she does not love him.'

'I hope she does.'

'Why is that?'

'Because your wedding will be safe. If she loves Norton, she does not love you. If she does not love you, she will not try to stop your wedding.'

'That's true,' said the King.

The door of Briony Lodge was open. An old woman stood on the steps.

'Mr Sherlock Holmes?' she asked.

'I am Mr Holmes,' said my friend.

'Mrs Norton told me that you would come. She left this morning with her husband. They have gone to France.'

'What!' cried Holmes. 'She has left the country?'

'We shall see,' said Holmes. He pushed past the old woman and rushed into the sitting-room. The King and I followed him. Holmes went to a picture near the door and turned it over. A photograph and a letter were fixed to the back. The photograph was of Irene Adler in evening dress. On the letter were the words 'To Mr Sherlock Holmes'. My friend tore open the letter and we all read it together. It said:

My Dear Mr Holmes,

You were very clever. You discovered where the photograph was. I did not until I saw the smoke bomb. Someone had told me that the King would ask you to help him. They even gave me your address. But I did not know that the old priest was really you, Mr Holmes. When I left the Sitting-room I sent my coachman to watch you. Then I put on men's clothes. When you left, I followed you to Baker Street. I had to know if it was really you. I was the youth who wished you good night. Then I went to meet my husband.

We decided that we had better leave England immediately. We do not wish to fight you, Mr Holmes. We know that you would win in the end. The King need not be afraid of the photograph. I will not do anything to atop his marriage. I love a better man than him. The King was cruel to me. I am afraid of him, so I shall keep tha photograph. While I have it, he will not dare to do anything against me. I leave another photograph which he may wish to keep. I remain, dear Mr Sherlock Holmes, yours sincerely,

Irene Norton

'What a woman―oh what a woman!' cried the King of Bohemia. 'She would have made a good Queen. But there is such a difference between us.'

'Yes, there seems to be a great difference between you,' said Holmes coldly. 'I am sorry that we did not get the photograph for you.'

'My dear Mr Holmes,' cried the King. 'That is not important. She has promised. She always keeps her promises. My wedding is safe.'

'I am glad to hear Your Majesty say so,' said Holmes.

'How can I thank you, Mr Holmes? Will you take this ring? It is very valuable.'

'Your Majesty has something which is more valuable to me,' said Holmes.

'Please name it.'

Holmes held up the photograph of Irene Adler in evening dress.

'This photograph,' he said.

The King looked very surprised.

'Irene's photograph!' he cried. 'Certainly, if you want it.'

'Thank you, Your Majesty. Then there is nothing more to do. May I wish you a very good morning.' Holmes turned away. Perhaps he did not see the hand the King held out to him. I returned with Homes to Baker Street.

And that was how a great scandal almost touched the King of Bohemia. That was how a woman beat Sherlock Holmes.

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