Holmes and Watson Visit the House

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Holmes and Watson Visit the House

Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson went by train into the country, and took a taxi to Dr. Roylott's house.

‘’Yousee" said Holmes to me, "our dangerous friend Roylott needs the girls' money, because he only has 750 a year from his dead wife. I found that out this morning. But the gypsies, the whistle, the band - they are more difficult to understand, but I think I have an answer."

When we arrived, Helen Stoner showed us the three bedrooms. We saw her room first.

'Why are they mending your bedroom wall?' asked Holmes. 'There's nothing wrong with it.'

'You're right, she said. 'I think it was a plan to move me into my sister's room.'

'Yes,' said Holmes. We went into Julia's room, and Holmes looked at the windows carefully.

'Nobody could come in from outside,' he said. Then he looked round the room. 'Why is that bell-rope there, just over the bed?'

'My stepfather put it there two years ago. It's for calling a servant, but Julia and I never used it because we didn't have any servants. He also put in that airvent on the wall between his room and this one.'

Holmes pulled the rope. 'But it doesn't work,' he said. 'How strange! And it's just over the air-vent. That also is interesting. Why have an air-vent on an inside wall? Air-vents are usually on outside walls.'

Then we went into Dr. Roylott's room. Holmes saw a large metal box near the wall.

'My stepfather keeps business papers in there,' said Helen.

'Does he keep a cat in the too?' asked Holmes. 'Look!' There was some milk on a plate on top of the box. 'Now, Miss Stoner,' he said, 'I think your life is in danger. Tonight my friend Watson and I must spend the night in your sister's room, where you are sleeping at the moment.'

Helen Stoner and I looked at him in surprise.

'Yes, we must,' he went on. 'We'll take a room in a hotel in the village. When your stepfather goes to bed, put a light in your sister's bedroom window and leave it open. Then go into your old room and we'll get into your sister's room through the window. We'll wait for the sound of the whistle and the falling metal:'

'How did my sister die, Mr. Holmes? Do you know? Please tell me!' said Helen. She put her hand on Sherlock Holmes's arm.

'I must find out more before I tell you, Miss Stoner. Now goodbye, and don't be afraid,' replied Sherlock Holmes.

We walked to the village, and Holmes said to me, 'Tonight will be dangerous, Watson. Roylott is a very violent man.'

'But if I can help, Holmes, I shall come with you,' I said.

'Thank you, Watson. I'll need your help. Did you see the bell-rope, and the air-vent? I knew about the air-vent before we came. Of course there is a hole between the two rooms. That explains why Helen's sister could smell Dr Roylott's cigarette.'

'My dear Holmes! How clever of you!' I cried.

'And did you see the bed? It's fixed to the floor. She can't move it. It must stay under the rope, which is near the air-vent.'

'Holmes!' I cried. 'I begin to understand! What a terrible crime!' 'Yes, this doctor is a very clever man. But we can stop him, I think; Watson.'


(By Arthur Conan Doyle )



The Sacred Python


Many years ago a group of men went out hunting. They walked in the forest all day long. In the evening they were far from their home.

«We must sleep in the forest tonight», said their leader, «quickly look for a good place to sleep».

The hunters had to be careful. In those days there were many slave-traders all about the country. And they could attack the hunters at any moment.

Late in the evening they found a good place to sleep. After supper the hunters lay down on the ground and soon were all asleep.

When the tired men were asleep, a group of slave-traders surrounded them. They wanted to attack the sleeping men.

Suddenly something big and heavy fell on a young hunter from one of the trees.

The hunter woke up, looked down at his body and gave a terrible scream. A big python was on him! He jumped to his feet, but his friends were already awake. In a moment they were ready to fight. The slave-traders fired their guns. But the hunters hid behind the trees.

The fight continued for a long time. When the hunters had no more arrows, they fought with sticks and even stones.

The slave-traders could do nothing against the hunters. Some of the attackers were killed. The others had to run away.

After the light was over, the hunters came together round their leader. The leader looked at the young man, and said: «What made you wake up?’’

«It was a python, the boy said. It fell on me from the tree.

«It was a special sign for us», the leader said. You can see that the python is now our friend. From this day no man, woman or child in our clan will ever kill or eat a python again.’’

The people who live in those places remember the words of that man to this day. If you go to their houses in the rainy season, you will find pythons. In the day-time they sleep in holes under the houses, but at night they crawl about the rooms. The people never harm the pythons and the pythons never harm the people.



William Tell

Long ago the emperor of Austria wanted to make Switzer­land a part of his empire, and he sent a man named Gessler to rule the people, Gessler was a tyrant. He ruled bold Swiss people with a hand of iron. But he couldn't make the brave, free people of Switzerland bow down to him when he came among them.

He tried to think of some way in which to make them feel his power in those days, as now, every town had a market place. Here the people came to buy and sell goods.

In the market place of Altdorf, a Swiss town, Gessler put up a tall pole. On the top of this pole he placed his hat. Then his soldiers went about the town shouting an order to the people: «Every man, woman or child who passes by the pole must bow to the hat to show their respect for Gessler.’’.

From one of the mountain homes near Altdorf there came into the market place one day a tall, strong man by the name of William Tell. He was a famous archer.

He had with him his little son, and they walked across the market place. But when they passed the pole, Tell did not bow to the hat on the pole. There were spies of Gessler in the market place and they at once reported the incident. Gessler commanded his soldiers to bring Tell to him, and Tell came, leading his little son by the hand.

«They tell me you shoot well», said the tyrant. «I shall not punish you, but you must show your skill. Let your boy stand a hundred steps from here. Place an apple on his head. You

stand here and shoot the apple from of his head with one of your arrows.’’

Two of Gessler's soldiers led the boy a hundred steps away from Gessler and then placed an apple on the boy's head. Tell put the arrow in the bow then bent it slowly ready to shoot. He could look no more and shut his eyes.

The next moment a great shout rose from the crowd. The arrow hit the apple. The people shouted with joy, but Gessler was not pleased, and said in an angry voice to Tell: «You put a second arrow in your belt. Why did you do that?’’

«The second arrow was for you, tyrant, if I missed my first shot,’’ said Tell. ,

«Seize him», shouted the tyrant, and his soldiers rushed forward. But the people also threw themselves upon the soldiers, and Tell shot the tyrant through the heart. Then, taking his boy by the hand, he escaped to the mountains.

The Flying Dutchman

Diedrich was a young Dutch lad who had no father, and did all kinds of work to earn a living for himself. He got work as a sailor on a ship going to Java. At Java he worked for a rich planter. He saved his money.

After some years he had enough money to buy a piece of land and a house. He thought of a plan and decided to carry out that plan. He sold his land and houses in Java, put the mo­ney into bags and then went on board a ship going back to Holland.

He was the only passenger on the ship. One day, when the ship was not far from the Cape of Good Hope, Diedrich sat with the captain and they talked about their early life and their plans for the future.

He told the captain his great plan. “I have made a great deal of money, which I am carrying home with me. In Amsterdam there are many poor children. I am going to build a great house and live in it, and I am going to have the biggest family in Amsterdam. I shall take only the poorest children and they will be my sons and daughters”.

The man who steered the ship heard everything they said. He wanted that gold, and he thought how he could get it. He whispered the secret to a few other sailors.

The crew was not a good one. There were many criminals among them.

When the ship was near the Cape of Good Hope, the sailors seized the captain and Diedrich and tied them. These men threw them into the sea. Then they sailed for nearest port. But as they sailed, a horrible plague broke out on board. It was a plague that made the men terribly thirsty.

Their thirst was so great that they sailed towards the near­est port. But when they came into the port, the people saw that they had the plague and refused to let them land.

It was the same when they came to the next port, and the next. So they turned back to the ports of the East.

Then a great storm broke out and the wind drove them far out in the sea. When the wind died down, they again steered for the land. But when they were near the land, another storm broke out and the wind again drove far into the sea.

That was years and years ago. But when the ship are sai­ling around the Cape of Good Hope, through the fog and mist and darkness of the night they see a phantom ship sailing. Then the sailors whisper to each other: “Look! there is the Flying Dutchman!”

How We Kept Mother’s Day


This year we decided to have a special celebration of Mo­ther's Day. We thought it a fine idea. It made us all realize how much Mother had done for us.

So we decided that we would make a great day, a holiday for all the family, and do everything we could to make Mother happy. Father decided to take a holiday from his office, so as to help in celebrating the day, my sister Anna and I stayed home from college classes, and Mary and my brother Will stayed home from school.

It was our plan to make it just like a big holiday, and so we decided to decorate the house with flowers.

The two girls thought it would be a nice thing to dress in our very best for such a big day, and so they both got new hats. Father had bought four ties for himself and us boys, for we wanted to have something to remember Mother by. We were going to get Mother a new hat too but she said she liked her old hat better than a new one, and both the girls said that it was awfully becoming her.

Well, after breakfast we all decided that we would hire a car and take her for a beautiful drive away into the country. Mother is hardly ever able to have anything like that because she is busy in the house all the time. And, of course, the coun­try is so lovely now that it would be just wonderful for her to have a lovely morning, driving for miles and miles.

But on the very morning of the day we changed the plan a little, because Father said that it would be much better for Mother if we took her fishing. Father said that as the car was hired and paid for, we might just as well use it for a drive up into the hills where the streams are. So we all felt that it would be nicer for Mother to go fishing. Father got a new rod and he said that Mother could use it if she wanted to...

So we got everything arranged for the trip, and we got Mother to cut up some sandwiches and make up a sort of lunch in case we got hungry. Mother packed it all up in a

basket for us.

When the car came to the door, it turned out that there hardly seemed as much room in it as we had supposed, and it was plain enough that we couldn't all get in. Father said not to mind him, he could just as well stay home and do some rough dirty work that would save hiring a man. Anna and Mary would gladly have stayed and helped the maid get din­ner. Mother had only to say the word, and they would stay home and work. Will and I would have dropped out, but unfortunately we wouldn't have been any use in getting the dinner.

So in the end it was decided that Mother would stay home and just have a lovely restful day round the house, and get the dinner. We all drove away with three cheers for Mother, and Mother stood and watched us from the verandah for as long as she could see us.

Well, we had the loveliest day up the hills that you could possibly imagine. And at home we had the grandest kind of dinner prepared by Mother.


( After S. Leacock)

Captains Courageous

When Harvey awoke next morning he found the "first half" at breakfast. The schooner was dancing on the waves and every part of it was singing its own tune. The cook ba­lanced over his stove and all. the pots and pans rattled. It was a stormy sea indeed.

Long Jack passed from the table to his bunk and began to smoke.

"Ashore", he said, "you always have some work to do, and you must do it any weather. But here, when the sea's like this, we've nothing to do. Good-night, all".

Tom Platt followed his example; Uncle Salters and Penn climbed up the ladder to stand their watch on deck, and the cook set the table for the "second half". Manuel and the two boys came out of their bunks and ate till they could eat no more.

As there was nothing they could do in such weather they returned to their bunks. Manuel filled his pipe with some ter­rible tobacco and began to smoke. Dan lay in his bunk and tried to play his accordion whose tunes went up and down with the jerks of the We're Here. The cook was standing near the locker where he kept fried pies (Dan was fond of fried pies) and "peering potatoes, and the general smell and smoke and noise were beyond description.

Harvey was surprised that he was not sick in such a gale, but he got into his bunk again, as it was certainly the softest and safest place.

"How long is this for?" he asked Manuel.

"Till it gets a little quieter and we can row to trawl", the latter answered. "Perhaps tonight, perhaps two days more. You do not like it?"

"A week ago I should have been terribly sick, but I feel quite all right now", Harvey said.

"That is because we are making a fisherman of you. You will get quite used to it in some days".

Tom Platt opened a locker and brought up an old white fiddle. Manuel's eyes glistened and from behind his bunk he drew out a small thing that looked like a guitar.

"This is a concert", said Long Jack smiling through the smoke. "A real Boston concert".

The door opened and Disko came in.

"We're giving a concert", said Long Jack . "You'll lead of course, Disko?"

"I think there are only two songs that I know and you've heard them both".

His excuses were cut short by Tom Platt, who began to play an old tune.

With his eyes fixed on the ceiling Disko began to sing. The accordion and the fiddle accompanied his song. It was an old song about a boat from Liverpool that went on a long voyage across the Atlantic. The song was almost as long as the voyage, but Disko sang it to the end. Then Tom follow­ed with some old tune and Manuel finished up with some­thing sad and tender in Portuguese. That made Harvey almost weep, though he could not tell why. But it was much worse when the cook dropped the potatoes and held out his hands for the fiddle. He began a song in an unknown language, his big chin on the fiddle tail, his white eyeballs glaring in the lamplight.

Harvey sat up in his bunk to hear better. The tune was so sad that Long Jack sighed deep when it ended and Dan cried out, "Now let's have something merry for a change", and started a rattling tune on his accordion which ended with the line "It's six and twenty Sundays since last we saw the land".


( After R.. Kipling )

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