The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Adventure I
Silver Blaze
"I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go," said Holmes, as we sat
down together to our breakfast one morning.
"Go! Where to?"
"To Dartmoor; to King's Pyland."
I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had not
already been mixed up in this extraordinary case, which was the one
topic of conversation through the length and breadth of England. For a
whole day my companion had rambled about the room with his chin
upon his chest and his brows knitted, charging and recharging his pipe
with the strongest black tobacco, and absolutely deaf to any of my
questions or remarks. Fresh editions of every paper had been sent up by
our news agent, only to be glanced over and tossed down into a corner.
Yet, silent as he was, I knew perfectly well what it was over which he
was brooding. There was but one problem before the public which
could challenge his powers of analysis, and that was the singular
disappearance of the favorite for the Wessex Cup, and the tragic
murder of its trainer. When, therefore, he suddenly announced his
intention of setting out for the scene of the drama it was only what I
had both expected and hoped for.

"I should be most happy to go down with you if I should not be in the
way," said I.
"My dear Watson, you would confer a great favor upon me by coming.
And I think that your time will not be misspent, for there are points
about the case which promise to make it an absolutely unique one. We
have, I think, just time to catch our train at Paddington, and I will go
further into the matter upon our journey. You would oblige me by
bringing with you your very excellent field-glass."
And so it happened that an hour or so later I found myself in the corner
of a first-class carriage flying along en route for Exeter, while Sherlock
Holmes, with his sharp, eager face framed in his ear-flapped
travelling-cap, dipped rapidly into the bundle of fresh papers which he
had procured at Paddington. We had left Reading far behind us before
he thrust the last one of them under the seat, and offered me his
"We are going well," said he, looking out the window and glancing at
his watch. "Our rate at present is fifty-three and a half miles an hour."
"I have not observed the quarter-mile posts," said I.
"Nor have I. But the telegraph posts upon this line are sixty yards apart,
and the calculation is a simple one. I presume that you have looked into
this matter of the murder of John Straker and the disappearance of
Silver Blaze?"
"I have seen what the Telegraph and the Chronicle have to say."
"It is one of those cases where the art of the reasoner should be used
rather for the sifting of details than for the acquiring of fresh evidence.
The tragedy has been so uncommon, so complete and of such personal
importance to so many people, that we are suffering from a plethora of
surmise, conjecture, and hypothesis. The difficulty is to detach the
framework of fact--of absolute undeniable fact--from the
embellishments of theorists and reporters. Then, having established
ourselves upon this sound basis, it is our duty to see what inferences

may be drawn and what are the special points upon which the whole
mystery turns. On Tuesday evening I received telegrams from both
Colonel Ross, the owner of the horse, and from Inspector Gregory, who
is looking after the case, inviting my cooperation."
"Tuesday evening!" I exclaimed. "And this is Thursday morning. Why
didn't you go down yesterday?"
"Because I made a blunder, my dear Watson--which is, I am afraid, a
more common occurrence than any one would think who only knew me
through your memoirs. The fact is that I could not believe it possible
that the most remarkable horse in England could long remain concealed,
especially in so sparsely inhabited a place as the north of Dartmoor.
From hour to hour yesterday I expected to hear that he had been found,
and that his abductor was the murderer of John Straker. When, however,
another morning had come, and I found that beyond the arrest of young
Fitzroy Simpson nothing had been done, I felt that it was time for me to
take action. Yet in some ways I feel that yesterday has not been
"You have formed a theory, then?"
"At least I have got a grip of the essential facts of the case. I shall
enumerate them to you, for nothing clears up a case so much as stating
it to another person,
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