You can understand that, with my routine of work, I should find myself on familiar terms with half the rogues’ gallery, and you will agree that exceptions are invidious.”

“Well, Mr. Holmes, then.”

“Excellent! But I assure you you are mistaken about my alleged agents.”

Count Sylvius laughed contemptuously.

“Other people can observe as well as you. Yesterday there was an old sporting man. To-day it was an elderly woman. They held me in view all day.”

“Really, sir, you compliment me. Old Baron Dowson said the night before he was hanged that in my case what the law had gained the stage had lost. And now you give my little impersonations your kindly praise?”

“It was you — you yourself?”

Holmes shrugged his shoulders. “You can see in the corner the parasol which you so politely handed to me in the Minories before you began to suspect.”

“If I had known, you might never —”

“Have seen this humble home again. I was well aware of it. We all have neglected opportunities to deplore. As it happens, you did not know, so here we are!”

The Count’s knotted brows gathered more heavily over his menacing eyes. “What you say only makes the matter worse. It was not your agents but your play-acting, busybody self! You admit that you have dogged me. Why?”

“Come now, Count. You used to shoot lions in Algeria.”


“But why?”

“Why? The sport — the excitement — the danger!”

“And, no doubt, to free the country from a pest?”


“My reasons in a nutshell!”

The Count sprang to his feet, and his hand involuntarily moved back to his hip-pocket.

“Sit down, sir, sit down! There was another, more practical, reason. I want that yellow diamond!”

Count Sylvius lay back in his chair with an evil smile.

“Upon my word!” said he.

“You knew that I was after you for that. The real reason why you are here to-night is to find out how much I know about the matter and how far my removal is absolutely essential. Well, I should say that, from your point of view, it is absolutely essential, for I know all about it, save only one thing, which you are about to tell me.”

“Oh, indeed! And pray, what is this missing fact?”

“Where the Crown diamond now is.”

The Count looked sharply at his companion. “Oh, you want to know that, do you? How the devil should I be able to tell you where it is?”

“You can, and you will.”


“You can’t bluff me, Count Sylvius.” Holmes‘s eyes, as he gazed at him, contracted and lightened until they were like two menacing points of steel. “You are absolute plate-glass. I see to the very back of your mind.”

“Then, of course, you see where the diamond is!”

Holmes clapped his hands with amusement, and then pointed a derisive finger. “Then you do know. You have admitted it!”

“I admit nothing.”

“Now, Count, if you will be reasonable we can do business. If not, you will get hurt.”

Count Sylvius threw up his eyes to the ceiling. “And you talk about bluff!” said he.

Holmes looked at him thoughtfully like a master chess-player who meditates his crowning move. Then he threw open the table drawer and drew out a squat notebook.

“Do you know what I keep in this book?”

“No, sir, I do not!”



“Yes, sir, you! You are all here — every action of your vile and dangerous life.”

“Damn you, Holmes!” cried the Count with blazing eyes. “There are limits to my patience!”

“It’s all here, Count. The real facts as to the death of old Mrs. Harold, who left you the Blymer estate, which you so rapidly gambled away.”

“You are dreaming!”

“And the complete life history of Miss Minnie Warrender.”

“Tut! You will make nothing of that!”

“Plenty more here, Count. Here is the robbery in the train de-luxe to the Riviera on February 13, 1892. Here is the forged check in the same year on the Credit Lyonnais.”

“No, you’re wrong there.”

“Then I am right on the others! Now, Count, you are a card-player. When the other fellow has all the trumps, it saves time to throw down your hand.”

“What has all this talk to do with the jewel of which you spoke?”

“Gently, Count.

Sherlock Holmes
Classic Literature Library

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