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A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

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would be sure to score."

"That depends on how it turns out."

"Oh, bless you, it doesn't matter in the least. If the man
is caught, it will be _on account_ of their exertions; if he
escapes, it will be _in spite_ of their exertions. It's heads
I win and tails you lose. Whatever they do, they will have
followers. `Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l'admire.'"

"What on earth is this?" I cried, for at this moment there
came the pattering of many steps in the hall and on the
stairs, accompanied by audible expressions of disgust upon
the part of our landlady.

"It's the Baker Street division of the detective police
force," said my companion, gravely; and as he spoke there
rushed into the room half a dozen of the dirtiest and most
ragged street Arabs that ever I clapped eyes on.

"'Tention!" cried Holmes, in a sharp tone, and the six dirty
little scoundrels stood in a line like so many disreputable
statuettes. "In future you shall send up Wiggins alone to
report, and the rest of you must wait in the street.
Have you found it, Wiggins?"

"No, sir, we hain't," said one of the youths.

"I hardly expected you would. You must keep on until you do.
Here are your wages. {13} He handed each of them a shilling.
"Now, off you go, and come back with a better report next time."

He waved his hand, and they scampered away downstairs like so
many rats, and we heard their shrill voices next moment in
the street.

"There's more work to be got out of one of those little
beggars than out of a dozen of the force," Holmes remarked.
"The mere sight of an official-looking person seals men's
lips. These youngsters, however, go everywhere and hear
everything. They are as sharp as needles, too; all they want
is organisation."

"Is it on this Brixton case that you are employing them?" I asked.

"Yes; there is a point which I wish to ascertain. It is
merely a matter of time. Hullo! we are going to hear some
news now with a vengeance! Here is Gregson coming down the
road with beatitude written upon every feature of his face.
Bound for us, I know. Yes, he is stopping. There he is!"

There was a violent peal at the bell, and in a few seconds
the fair-haired detective came up the stairs, three steps
at a time, and burst into our sitting-room.

"My dear fellow," he cried, wringing Holmes' unresponsive hand,
"congratulate me! I have made the whole thing as clear as day."

A shade of anxiety seemed to me to cross my companion's
expressive face.

"Do you mean that you are on the right track?" he asked.

"The right track! Why, sir, we have the man under lock and key."

"And his name is?"

"Arthur Charpentier, sub-lieutenant in Her Majesty's navy,"
cried Gregson, pompously, rubbing his fat hands and inflating
his chest.

Sherlock Holmes gave a sigh of relief, and relaxed into a smile.

"Take a seat, and try one of these cigars," he said.
"We are anxious to know how you managed it. Will you have some
whiskey and water?"

"I don't mind if I do," the detective answered.
"The tremendous exertions which I have gone through during
the last day or two have worn me out. Not so much bodily
exertion, you understand, as the strain upon the mind.
You will appreciate that, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, for we are both

"You do me too much honour," said Holmes, gravely.
"Let us hear how you arrived at this most gratifying result."

The detective seated himself in the arm-chair, and puffed
complacently at his cigar. Then suddenly he slapped his
thigh in a paroxysm of amusement.

"The fun of it is," he cried, "that that fool Lestrade,
who thinks himself so smart, has gone off upon the wrong track
altogether. He is after the secretary Stangerson, who had no
more to do with the crime than the babe unborn. I have no
doubt that he has caught him by this time."

The idea tickled Gregson so much that he laughed until he choked.

"And how did you get your clue?"

"Ah, I'll tell you all about it. Of course, Doctor Watson,
this is strictly between ourselves. The first difficulty
which we had to contend with was the finding of this
American's antecedents. Some people would have waited until
their advertisements were answered, or until parties came
forward and volunteered information. That is not Tobias
Gregson's way of going to work. You remember the hat beside
the dead man?"

"Yes," said Holmes; "by John Underwood and Sons, 129,
Camberwell Road."

Gregson looked quite crest-fallen.

"I had no idea that you noticed that," he said.
"Have you been there?"


"Ha!" cried Gregson, in a relieved voice; "you should never
neglect a chance, however small it may seem."

"To a great mind, nothing is little," remarked Holmes,

"Well, I went to Underwood, and asked him if he had sold a
hat of that size and description. He looked over his books,
and came on it at once. He had sent the hat to a Mr. Drebber,
residing at Charpentier's Boarding Establishment,
Torquay Terrace. Thus I got at his address."

"Smart -- very smart!" murmured Sherlock Holmes.

"I next called upon Madame Charpentier," continued the
detective. "I found her very pale and distressed. Her
daughter was in the room, too -- an uncommonly fine girl she
is, too; she was looking red about the eyes and her lips
trembled as I spoke to her. That didn't escape my notice.
I began to smell a rat. You know the feeling, Mr. Sherlock
Holmes, when you come upon the right scent -- a kind of
thrill in your nerves. `Have you heard of the mysterious
death of your late boarder Mr. Enoch J. Drebber, of
Cleveland?' I asked.

"The mother nodded. She didn't seem able to get out a word.
The daughter burst into tears. I felt more than ever that
these people knew something of the matter.

"`At what o'clock did Mr. Drebber leave your house for the
train?' I asked.

"`At eight o'clock,' she said, gulping in her throat to keep
down her agitation. `His secretary, Mr. Stangerson, said
that there were two trains -- one at 9.15 and one at 11.
He was to catch the first. {14}

"`And was that the last which you saw of him?'

"A terrible change came over the woman's face as I asked the
question. Her features turned perfectly livid. It was some
seconds before she could get out the single word `Yes' -- and
when it did come it was in a husky unnatural tone.

"There was silence for a moment, and then the daughter spoke
in a calm clear voice.

"`No good can ever come of falsehood, mother,' she said.
`Let us be frank with this gentleman. We _did_ see Mr. Drebber

"`God forgive you!' cried Madame Charpentier, throwing up her
hands and sinking back in her chair. `You have murdered your

"`Arthur would rather that we spoke the truth,' the girl
answered firmly.

"`You had best tell me all about it now,' I said.
`Half-confidences are worse than none. Besides, you do not
know how much we know of it.'

"`On your head be it, Alice!' cried her mother; and then,
turning to me, `I will tell you all, sir. Do not imagine
that my agitation on behalf of my son arises from any fear
lest he should have had a hand in this terrible affair.
He is utterly innocent of it. My dread is, however, that in
your eyes and in the eyes of others he may appear to be
compromised. That however is surely impossible. His high
character, his profession, his antecedents would all forbid it.'

"`Your best way is to make a clean breast of the facts,'
I answered. `Depend upon it, if your son is innocent he will
be none the worse.'

"`Perhaps, Alice, you had better leave us together,' she said,
and her daughter withdrew. `Now, sir,' she continued,
`I had no intention of telling you all this, but since my
poor daughter has disclosed it I have no alternative. Having
once decided to speak, I will tell you all without omitting
any particular.'

"`It is your wisest course,' said I.

"`Mr. Drebber has been with us nearly three weeks. He and
his secretary, Mr. Stangerson, had been travelling on the
Continent. I noticed a "Copenhagen" label upon each of their
trunks, showing that that had been their last stopping place.
Stangerson was a quiet reserved man, but his employer, I am
sorry to say, was far otherwise. He was coarse in his habits
and brutish in his ways. The very night of his arrival he
became very much the worse for drink, and, indeed, after
twelve o'clock in the day he could hardly ever be said to be
sober. His manners towards the maid-servants were
disgustingly free and familiar. Worst of all, he speedily
assumed the same attitude towards my daughter, Alice, and
spoke to her more than once in a way which, fortunately, she
is too innocent to understand. On one occasion he actually
seized her in his arms and embraced her -- an outrage which
caused his own secretary to reproach him for his unmanly conduct.'

"`But why did you stand all this,' I asked. `I suppose that
you can get rid of your boarders when you wish.'

"Mrs. Charpentier blushed at my pertinent question. `Would
to God that I had given him notice on the very day that he
came,' she said. `But it was a sore temptation. They were
paying a pound a day each -- fourteen pounds a week, and this
is the slack season. I am a widow, and my boy in the Navy has
cost me much. I grudged to lose the money. I acted for the
best. This last was too much, however, and I gave him notice
to leave on account of it. That was the reason of his going.'


"`My heart grew light when I saw him drive away. My son is
on leave just now, but I did not tell him anything of all
this, for his temper is violent, and he is passionately fond
of his sister. When I closed the door behind them a load
seemed to be lifted from my mind. Alas, in less than an hour
there was a ring at the bell, and I learned that Mr. Drebber
had returned. He was much excited, and evidently the worse
for drink. He forced his way into the room, where I was
sitting with my daughter, and made some incoherent remark
about having missed his train. He then turned to Alice, and
before my very face, proposed to her that she should fly with
him. "You are of age," he said, "and there is no law to stop
you. I have money enough and to spare. Never mind the old
girl here, but come along with me now straight away. You
shall live like a princess." Poor Alice was so frightened
that she shrunk away from him, but he caught her by the wrist
and endeavoured to draw her towards the door. I screamed,
and at that moment my son Arthur came into the room. What
happened then I do not know. I heard oaths and the confused
sounds of a scuffle. I was too terrified to raise my head.
When I did look up I saw Arthur standing in the doorway
laughing, with a stick in his hand. "I don't think that fine
fellow will trouble us again," he said. "I will just go
after him and see what he does with himself." With those
words he took his hat and started off down the street.
The next morning we heard of Mr. Drebber's mysterious death.'

"This statement came from Mrs. Charpentier's lips with many
gasps and pauses. At times she spoke so low that I could
hardly catch the words. I made shorthand notes of all that
she said, however, so that there should be no possibility of
a mistake."

"It's quite exciting," said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.
"What happened next?"

"When Mrs. Charpentier paused," the detective continued,
"I saw that the whole case hung upon one point. Fixing her
with my eye in a way which I always found effective with women,
I asked her at what hour her son returned.

"`I do not know,' she answered.

"`Not know?'

"`No; he has a latch-key, and he let himself in.'

"`After you went to bed?'


"`When did you go to bed?'

"`About eleven.'

"`So your son was gone at least two hours?'


"`Possibly four or five?'


"`What was he doing during that time?'

"`I do not know,' she answered, turning white to her very lips.

"Of course after that there was nothing more to be done.
I found out where Lieutenant Charpentier was, took two officers
with me, and arrested him. When I touched him on the
shoulder and warned him to come quietly with us, he answered
us as bold as brass, `I suppose you are arresting me for
being concerned in the death of that scoundrel Drebber,'
he said. We had said nothing to him about it, so that his
alluding to it had a most suspicious aspect."

"Very," said Holmes.

"He still carried the heavy stick which the mother described
him as having with him when he followed Drebber. It was a
stout oak cudgel."

"What is your theory, then?"

"Well, my theory is that he followed Drebber as far as the
Brixton Road. When there, a fresh altercation arose between
them, in the course of which Drebber received a blow from the
stick, in the pit of the stomach, perhaps, which killed him
without leaving any mark. The night was so wet that no one
was about, so Charpentier dragged the body of his victim into
the empty house. As to the candle, and the blood, and the
writing on the wall, and the ring, they may all be so many
tricks to throw the police on to the wrong scent."

"Well done!" said Holmes in an encouraging voice. "Really,
Gregson, you are getting along. We shall make something of
you yet."

"I flatter myself that I have managed it rather neatly,"
the detective answered proudly. "The young man volunteered a
statement, in which he said that after following Drebber some
time, the latter perceived him, and took a cab in order to
get away from him. On his way home he met an old shipmate,
and took a long walk with him. On being asked where this old
shipmate lived, he was unable to give any satisfactory reply.
I think the whole case fits together uncommonly well. What
amuses me is to think of Lestrade, who had started off upon
the wrong scent. I am afraid he won't make much of {15}
Why, by Jove, here's the very man himself!"

It was indeed Lestrade, who had ascended the stairs while we
were talking, and who now entered the room. The assurance
and jauntiness which generally marked his demeanour and dress
were, however, wanting. His face was disturbed and troubled,
while his clothes were disarranged and untidy. He had
evidently come with the intention of consulting with Sherlock
Holmes, for on perceiving his colleague he appeared to be
embarrassed and put out. He stood in the centre of the room,
fumbling nervously with his hat and uncertain what to do.
"This is a most extraordinary case," he said at last --
"a most incomprehensible affair."

"Ah, you find it so, Mr. Lestrade!" cried Gregson,
triumphantly. "I thought you would come to that conclusion.
Have you managed to find the Secretary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson?"

"The Secretary, Mr. Joseph Stangerson," said Lestrade gravely,
"was murdered at Halliday's Private Hotel about six o'clock
this morning."



THE intelligence with which Lestrade greeted us was so
momentous and so unexpected, that we were all three fairly
dumfoundered. Gregson sprang out of his chair and upset the
remainder of his whiskey and water. I stared in silence at
Sherlock Holmes, whose lips were compressed and his brows
drawn down over his eyes.

"Stangerson too!" he muttered. "The plot thickens."

"It was quite thick enough before," grumbled Lestrade,
taking a chair. "I seem to have dropped into a sort of council
of war."

"Are you -- are you sure of this piece of intelligence?"
stammered Gregson.

"I have just come from his room," said Lestrade.
"I was the first to discover what had occurred."

"We have been hearing Gregson's view of the matter," Holmes
observed. "Would you mind letting us know what you have seen
and done?"

"I have no objection," Lestrade answered, seating himself.
"I freely confess that I was of the opinion that Stangerson
was concerned in the death of Drebber. This fresh
development has shown me that I was completely mistaken.
Full of the one idea, I set myself to find out what had
become of the Secretary. They had been seen together at
Euston Station about half-past eight on the evening of the
third. At two in the morning Drebber had been found in the
Brixton Road. The question which confronted me was to find
out how Stangerson had been employed between 8.30 and the
time of the crime, and what had become of him afterwards.
I telegraphed to Liverpool, giving a description of the man,
and warning them to keep a watch upon the American boats.
I then set to work calling upon all the hotels and
lodging-houses in the vicinity of Euston. You see, I argued
that if Drebber and his companion had become separated,
the natural course for the latter would be to put up somewhere
in the vicinity for the night, and then to hang about the
station again next morning."

"They would be likely to agree on some meeting-place beforehand,"
remarked Holmes.

"So it proved. I spent the whole of yesterday evening in
making enquiries entirely without avail. This morning I
began very early, and at eight o'clock I reached Halliday's
Private Hotel, in Little George Street. On my enquiry as to
whether a Mr. Stangerson was living there, they at once
answered me in the affirmative.

"`No doubt you are the gentleman whom he was expecting,'
they said. `He has been waiting for a gentleman for two days.'

"`Where is he now?' I asked.

"`He is upstairs in bed. He wished to be called at nine.'

"`I will go up and see him at once,' I said.

"It seemed to me that my sudden appearance might shake his
nerves and lead him to say something unguarded. The Boots
volunteered to show me the room: it was on the second floor,
and there was a small corridor leading up to it. The Boots
pointed out the door to me, and was about to go downstairs
again when I saw something that made me feel sickish, in
spite of my twenty years' experience. From under the door
there curled a little red ribbon of blood, which had
meandered across the passage and formed a little pool along
the skirting at the other side. I gave a cry, which brought
the Boots back. He nearly fainted when he saw it. The door
was locked on the inside, but we put our shoulders to it, and
knocked it in. The window of the room was open, and beside
the window, all huddled up, lay the body of a man in his
nightdress. He was quite dead, and had been for some time,
for his limbs were rigid and cold. When we turned him over,
the Boots recognized him at once as being the same gentleman
who had engaged the room under the name of Joseph Stangerson.
The cause of death was a deep stab in the left side, which
must have penetrated the heart. And now comes the strangest
part of the affair. What do you suppose was above the
murdered man?"

I felt a creeping of the flesh, and a presentiment of coming
horror, even before Sherlock Holmes answered.

"The word RACHE, written in letters of blood," he said.

"That was it," said Lestrade, in an awe-struck voice;
and we were all silent for a while.

There was something so methodical and so incomprehensible
about the deeds of this unknown assassin, that it imparted a
fresh ghastliness to his crimes. My nerves, which were steady
enough on the field of battle tingled as I thought of it.

"The man was seen," continued Lestrade. "A milk boy, passing
on his way to the dairy, happened to walk down the lane which
leads from the mews at the back of the hotel. He noticed
that a ladder, which usually lay there, was raised against
one of the windows of the second floor, which was wide open.
After passing, he looked back and saw a man descend the
ladder. He came down so quietly and openly that the boy
imagined him to be some carpenter or joiner at work in the
hotel. He took no particular notice of him, beyond thinking
in his own mind that it was early for him to be at work. He
has an impression that the man was tall, had a reddish face,
and was dressed in a long, brownish coat. He must have
stayed in the room some little time after the murder, for we
found blood-stained water in the basin, where he had washed
his hands, and marks on the sheets where he had deliberately
wiped his knife."

I glanced at Holmes on hearing the description of the murderer,
which tallied so exactly with his own. There was, however,
no trace of exultation or satisfaction upon his face.

"Did you find nothing in the room which could furnish a clue
to the murderer?" he asked.

"Nothing. Stangerson had Drebber's purse in his pocket,
but it seems that this was usual, as he did all the paying.
There was eighty odd pounds in it, but nothing had been
taken. Whatever the motives of these extraordinary crimes,
robbery is certainly not one of them. There were no papers
or memoranda in the murdered man's pocket, except a single
telegram, dated from Cleveland about a month ago, and
containing the words, `J. H. is in Europe.' There was no
name appended to this message."

"And there was nothing else?" Holmes asked.

"Nothing of any importance. The man's novel, with which he
had read himself to sleep was lying upon the bed, and his
pipe was on a chair beside him. There was a glass of water
on the table, and on the window-sill a small chip ointment
box containing a couple of pills."

Sherlock Holmes sprang from his chair with an exclamation
of delight.

"The last link," he cried, exultantly. "My case is complete."

The two detectives stared at him in amazement.

"I have now in my hands," my companion said, confidently,
"all the threads which have formed such a tangle. There are,
of course, details to be filled in, but I am as certain of
all the main facts, from the time that Drebber parted from
Stangerson at the station, up to the discovery of the body of
the latter, as if I had seen them with my own eyes. I will
give you a proof of my knowledge. Could you lay your hand
upon those pills?"

"I have them," said Lestrade, producing a small white box;
"I took them and the purse and the telegram, intending to have
them put in a place of safety at the Police Station. It was
the merest chance my taking these pills, for I am bound to
say that I do not attach any importance to them."

"Give them here," said Holmes. "Now, Doctor," turning to me,
"are those ordinary pills?"

They certainly were not. They were of a pearly grey colour,
small, round, and almost transparent against the light.
"From their lightness and transparency, I should imagine that
they are soluble in water," I remarked.

"Precisely so," answered Holmes. "Now would you mind going
down and fetching that poor little devil of a terrier which
has been bad so long, and which the landlady wanted you to
put out of its pain yesterday."

I went downstairs and carried the dog upstair in my arms.
It's laboured breathing and glazing eye showed that it was
not far from its end. Indeed, its snow-white muzzle
proclaimed that it had already exceeded the usual term of
canine existence. I placed it upon a cushion on the rug.

"I will now cut one of these pills in two," said Holmes,
and drawing his penknife he suited the action to the word.
"One half we return into the box for future purposes.
The other half I will place in this wine glass, in which
is a teaspoonful of water. You perceive that our friend,
the Doctor, is right, and that it readily dissolves."

"This may be very interesting," said Lestrade, in the injured
tone of one who suspects that he is being laughed at,
"I cannot see, however, what it has to do with the death of
Mr. Joseph Stangerson."

"Patience, my friend, patience! You will find in time that
it has everything to do with it. I shall now add a little
milk to make the mixture palatable, and on presenting it to
the dog we find that he laps it up readily enough."

As he spoke he turned the contents of the wine glass into a
saucer and placed it in front of the terrier, who speedily
licked it dry. Sherlock Holmes' earnest demeanour had so far
convinced us that we all sat in silence, watching the animal
intently, and expecting some startling effect. None such
appeared, however. The dog continued to lie stretched upon
tho {16} cushion, breathing in a laboured way, but apparently
neither the better nor the worse for its draught.

Holmes had taken out his watch, and as minute followed minute
without result, an expression of the utmost chagrin and
disappointment appeared upon his features. He gnawed his lip,
drummed his fingers upon the table, and showed every
other symptom of acute impatience. So great was his emotion,
that I felt sincerely sorry for him, while the two detectives
smiled derisively, by no means displeased at this check which
he had met.

"It can't be a coincidence," he cried, at last springing from
his chair and pacing wildly up and down the room; "it is
impossible that it should be a mere coincidence. The very
pills which I suspected in the case of Drebber are actually
found after the death of Stangerson. And yet they are inert.
What can it mean? Surely my whole chain of reasoning cannot
have been false. It is impossible! And yet this wretched
dog is none the worse. Ah, I have it! I have it!" With a
perfect shriek of delight he rushed to the box, cut the other
pill in two, dissolved it, added milk, and presented it to
the terrier. The unfortunate creature's tongue seemed hardly
to have been moistened in it before it gave a convulsive
shiver in every limb, and lay as rigid and lifeless as if it
had been struck by lightning.

Sherlock Holmes drew a long breath, and wiped the
perspiration from his forehead. "I should have more faith,"
he said; "I ought to know by this time that when a fact
appears to be opposed to a long train of deductions,
it invariably proves to be capable of bearing some other
interpretation. Of the two pills in that box one was of the
most deadly poison, and the other was entirely harmless.
I ought to have known that before ever I saw the box at all."

This last statement appeared to me to be so startling,
that I could hardly believe that he was in his sober senses.
There was the dead dog, however, to prove that his conjecture
had been correct. It seemed to me that the mists in my own
mind were gradually clearing away, and I began to have a dim,
vague perception of the truth.

"All this seems strange to you," continued Holmes,
"because you failed at the beginning of the inquiry to grasp
the importance of the single real clue which was presented
to you. I had the good fortune to seize upon that, and
everything which has occurred since then has served to
confirm my original supposition, and, indeed, was the logical
sequence of it. Hence things which have perplexed you and
made the case more obscure, have served to enlighten me and
to strengthen my conclusions. It is a mistake to confound
strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is
often the most mysterious because it presents no new or
special features from which deductions may be drawn.
This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to
unravel had the body of the victim been simply found lying
in the roadway without any of those _outre_ {17} and sensational
accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. These
strange details, far from making the case more difficult,
have really had the effect of making it less so."

Mr. Gregson, who had listened to this address with
considerable impatience, could contain himself no longer.
"Look here, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," he said, "we are all ready
to acknowledge that you are a smart man, and that you have
your own methods of working. We want something more than
mere theory and preaching now, though. It is a case of
taking the man. I have made my case out, and it seems I was
wrong. Young Charpentier could not have been engaged in this
second affair. Lestrade went after his man, Stangerson, and
it appears that he was wrong too. You have thrown out hints
here, and hints there, and seem to know more than we do, but
the time has come when we feel that we have a right to ask
you straight how much you do know of the business. Can you
name the man who did it?"

"I cannot help feeling that Gregson is right, sir," remarked
Lestrade. "We have both tried, and we have both failed.
You have remarked more than once since I have been in the room
that you had all the evidence which you require. Surely you
will not withhold it any longer."

"Any delay in arresting the assassin," I observed,
"might give him time to perpetrate some fresh atrocity."

Thus pressed by us all, Holmes showed signs of irresolution.
He continued to walk up and down the room with his head sunk
on his chest and his brows drawn down, as was his habit when
lost in thought.

"There will be no more murders," he said at last, stopping
abruptly and facing us. "You can put that consideration out
of the question. You have asked me if I know the name of the
assassin. I do. The mere knowing of his name is a small
thing, however, compared with the power of laying our hands
upon him. This I expect very shortly to do. I have good
hopes of managing it through my own arrangements; but it is a
thing which needs delicate handling, for we have a shrewd and
desperate man to deal with, who is supported, as I have had
occasion to prove, by another who is as clever as himself.
As long as this man has no idea that anyone can have a clue
there is some chance of securing him; but if he had the
slightest suspicion, he would change his name, and vanish in
an instant among the four million inhabitants of this great
city. Without meaning to hurt either of your feelings, I am
bound to say that I consider these men to be more than a
match for the official force, and that is why I have not
asked your assistance. If I fail I shall, of course, incur
all the blame due to this omission; but that I am prepared
for. At present I am ready to promise that the instant that
I can communicate with you without endangering my own
combinations, I shall do so."

Gregson and Lestrade seemed to be far from satisfied by this
assurance, or by the depreciating allusion to the detective
police. The former had flushed up to the roots of his flaxen
hair, while the other's beady eyes glistened with curiosity
and resentment. Neither of them had time to speak, however,
before there was a tap at the door, and the spokesman of the
street Arabs, young Wiggins, introduced his insignificant and
unsavoury person.

"Please, sir," he said, touching his forelock, "I have the
cab downstairs."

"Good boy," said Holmes, blandly. "Why don't you introduce
this pattern at Scotland Yard?" he continued, taking a pair
of steel handcuffs from a drawer. "See how beautifully the
spring works. They fasten in an instant."

"The old pattern is good enough," remarked Lestrade,
"if we can only find the man to put them on."

"Very good, very good," said Holmes, smiling. "The cabman may
as well help me with my boxes. Just ask him to step up, Wiggins."

I was surprised to find my companion speaking as though he
were about to set out on a journey, since he had not said
anything to me about it. There was a small portmanteau in
the room, and this he pulled out and began to strap. He was
busily engaged at it when the cabman entered the room.

"Just give me a help with this buckle, cabman," he said,
kneeling over his task, and never turning his head.

The fellow came forward with a somewhat sullen, defiant air,
and put down his hands to assist. At that instant there was
a sharp click, the jangling of metal, and Sherlock Holmes
sprang to his feet again.

"Gentlemen," he cried, with flashing eyes, "let me introduce
you to Mr. Jefferson Hope, the murderer of Enoch Drebber and
of Joseph Stangerson."

The whole thing occurred in a moment -- so quickly that I had
no time to realize it. I have a vivid recollection of that
instant, of Holmes' triumphant expression and the ring of his
voice, of the cabman's dazed, savage face, as he glared at
the glittering handcuffs, which had appeared as if by magic
upon his wrists. For a second or two we might have been a
group of statues. Then, with an inarticulate roar of fury,
the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmes's grasp, and
hurled himself through the window. Woodwork and glass gave
way before him; but before he got quite through, Gregson,
Lestrade, and Holmes sprang upon him like so many staghounds.
He was dragged back into the room, and then commenced a
terrific conflict. So powerful and so fierce was he, that
the four of us were shaken off again and again. He appeared
to have the convulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit.
His face and hands were terribly mangled by his passage
through the glass, but loss of blood had no effect in
diminishing his resistance. It was not until Lestrade
succeeded in getting his hand inside his neckcloth and
half-strangling him that we made him realize that his struggles
were of no avail; and even then we felt no security until we
had pinioned his feet as well as his hands. That done,
we rose to our feet breathless and panting.

"We have his cab," said Sherlock Holmes. "It will serve
to take him to Scotland Yard. And now, gentlemen,"
he continued, with a pleasant smile, "we have reached
the end of our little mystery. You are very welcome to put
any questions that you like to me now, and there is no danger
that I will refuse to answer them."


_The Country of the Saints._



IN the central portion of the great North American Continent
there lies an arid and repulsive desert, which for many a
long year served as a barrier against the advance of
civilisation. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska, and from
the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the
south, is a region of desolation and silence.
Nor is Nature always in one mood throughout this grim district.
It comprises snow-capped and lofty mountains, and dark and
gloomy valleys. There are swift-flowing rivers which dash
through jagged canons; {18} and there are enormous plains, which
in winter are white with snow, and in summer are grey with
the saline alkali dust. They all preserve, however,
the common characteristics of barrenness, inhospitality,
and misery.

There are no inhabitants of this land of despair. A band of
Pawnees or of Blackfeet may occasionally traverse it in order
to reach other hunting-grounds, but the hardiest of the
braves are glad to lose sight of those awesome plains, and to
find themselves once more upon their prairies. The coyote
skulks among the scrub, the buzzard flaps heavily through the
air, and the clumsy grizzly bear lumbers through the dark
ravines, and picks up such sustenance as it can amongst the
rocks. These are the sole dwellers in the wilderness.

In the whole world there can be no more dreary view than that
from the northern slope of the Sierra Blanco. As far as the
eye can reach stretches the great flat plain-land, all dusted
over with patches of alkali, and intersected by clumps of the
dwarfish chaparral bushes. On the extreme verge of the
horizon lie a long chain of mountain peaks, with their rugged
summits flecked with snow. In this great stretch of country
there is no sign of life, nor of anything appertaining to
life. There is no bird in the steel-blue heaven, no movement
upon the dull, grey earth -- above all, there is absolute
silence. Listen as one may, there is no shadow of a sound in
all that mighty wilderness; nothing but silence -- complete
and heart-subduing silence.

It has been said there is nothing appertaining to life upon
the broad plain. That is hardly true. Looking down from the
Sierra Blanco, one sees a pathway traced out across the
desert, which winds away and is lost in the extreme distance.
It is rutted with wheels and trodden down by the feet of many
adventurers. Here and there there are scattered white
objects which glisten in the sun, and stand out against the
dull deposit of alkali. Approach, and examine them! They
are bones: some large and coarse, others smaller and more
delicate. The former have belonged to oxen, and the latter
to men. For fifteen hundred miles one may trace this ghastly
caravan route by these scattered remains of those who had
fallen by the wayside.

Looking down on this very scene, there stood upon the fourth
of May, eighteen hundred and forty-seven, a solitary
traveller. His appearance was such that he might have been
the very genius or demon of the region. An observer would
have found it difficult to say whether he was nearer to forty
or to sixty. His face was lean and haggard, and the brown
parchment-like skin was drawn tightly over the projecting
bones; his long, brown hair and beard were all flecked and
dashed with white; his eyes were sunken in his head, and
burned with an unnatural lustre; while the hand which grasped
his rifle was hardly more fleshy than that of a skeleton.
As he stood, he leaned upon his weapon for support, and yet his
tall figure and the massive framework of his bones suggested
a wiry and vigorous constitution. His gaunt face, however,
and his clothes, which hung so baggily over his shrivelled
limbs, proclaimed what it was that gave him that senile and
decrepit appearance. The man was dying -- dying from hunger
and from thirst.

He had toiled painfully down the ravine, and on to this
little elevation, in the vain hope of seeing some signs of
water. Now the great salt plain stretched before his eyes,
and the distant belt of savage mountains, without a sign
anywhere of plant or tree, which might indicate the presence
of moisture. In all that broad landscape there was no gleam
of hope. North, and east, and west he looked with wild
questioning eyes, and then he realised that his wanderings
had come to an end, and that there, on that barren crag,
he was about to die. "Why not here, as well as in a feather
bed, twenty years hence," he muttered, as he seated himself
in the shelter of a boulder.

Before sitting down, he had deposited upon the ground his
useless rifle, and also a large bundle tied up in a grey
shawl, which he had carried slung over his right shoulder.
It appeared to be somewhat too heavy for his strength, for
in lowering it, it came down on the ground with some little
violence. Instantly there broke from the grey parcel a
little moaning cry, and from it there protruded a small,
scared face, with very bright brown eyes, and two little
speckled, dimpled fists.

"You've hurt me!" said a childish voice reproachfully.

"Have I though," the man answered penitently, "I didn't go
for to do it." As he spoke he unwrapped the grey shawl and
extricated a pretty little girl of about five years of age,
whose dainty shoes and smart pink frock with its little linen
apron all bespoke a mother's care. The child was pale and
wan, but her healthy arms and legs showed that she had
suffered less than her companion.

"How is it now?" he answered anxiously, for she was still rubbing
the towsy golden curls which covered the back of her head.

"Kiss it and make it well," she said, with perfect gravity,
shoving {19} the injured part up to him. "That's what mother
used to do. Where's mother?"

"Mother's gone. I guess you'll see her before long."

"Gone, eh!" said the little girl. "Funny, she didn't say
good-bye; she 'most always did if she was just goin' over
to Auntie's for tea, and now she's been away three days.
Say, it's awful dry, ain't it? Ain't there no water,
nor nothing to eat?"

"No, there ain't nothing, dearie. You'll just need to be
patient awhile, and then you'll be all right. Put your head
up agin me like that, and then you'll feel bullier. It ain't
easy to talk when your lips is like leather, but I guess I'd
best let you know how the cards lie. What's that you've got?"

"Pretty things! fine things!" cried the little girl
enthusiastically, holding up two glittering fragments of mica.
"When we goes back to home I'll give them to brother Bob."

"You'll see prettier things than them soon," said the man
confidently. "You just wait a bit. I was going to tell you
though -- you remember when we left the river?"

"Oh, yes."

"Well, we reckoned we'd strike another river soon, d'ye see.
But there was somethin' wrong; compasses, or map, or somethin',
and it didn't turn up. Water ran out. Just except a little
drop for the likes of you and -- and ----"

"And you couldn't wash yourself," interrupted his companion
gravely, staring up at his grimy visage.

"No, nor drink. And Mr. Bender, he was the fust to go,
and then Indian Pete, and then Mrs. McGregor, and then
Johnny Hones, and then, dearie, your mother."

"Then mother's a deader too," cried the little girl dropping
her face in her pinafore and sobbing bitterly.

"Yes, they all went except you and me. Then I thought there
was some chance of water in this direction, so I heaved you
over my shoulder and we tramped it together. It don't seem
as though we've improved matters. There's an almighty small
chance for us now!"

"Do you mean that we are going to die too?" asked the child,
checking her sobs, and raising her tear-stained face.

"I guess that's about the size of it."

"Why didn't you say so before?" she said, laughing gleefully.
"You gave me such a fright. Why, of course, now as long as
we die we'll be with mother again."

"Yes, you will, dearie."

"And you too. I'll tell her how awful good you've been.
I'll bet she meets us at the door of Heaven with a big
pitcher of water, and a lot of buckwheat cakes, hot,
and toasted on both sides, like Bob and me was fond of.
How long will it be first?"

"I don't know -- not very long." The man's eyes were fixed
upon the northern horizon. In the blue vault of the heaven
there had appeared three little specks which increased in
size every moment, so rapidly did they approach. They
speedily resolved themselves into three large brown birds,
which circled over the heads of the two wanderers, and then
settled upon some rocks which overlooked them. They were
buzzards, the vultures of the west, whose coming is the
forerunner of death.

"Cocks and hens," cried the little girl gleefully, pointing
at their ill-omened forms, and clapping her hands to make
them rise. "Say, did God make this country?"

"In course He did," said her companion, rather startled by
this unexpected question.

"He made the country down in Illinois, and He made the Missouri,"
the little girl continued. "I guess somebody else made the
country in these parts. It's not nearly so well done.
They forgot the water and the trees."

"What would ye think of offering up prayer?" the man asked

"It ain't night yet," she answered.

"It don't matter. It ain't quite regular, but He won't mind
that, you bet. You say over them ones that you used to say
every night in the waggon when we was on the Plains."

"Why don't you say some yourself?" the child asked,
with wondering eyes.

"I disremember them," he answered. "I hain't said none since
I was half the height o' that gun. I guess it's never too late.
You say them out, and I'll stand by and come in on the choruses."

"Then you'll need to kneel down, and me too," she said,
laying the shawl out for that purpose. "You've got to put
your hands up like this. It makes you feel kind o' good."

It was a strange sight had there been anything but the
buzzards to see it. Side by side on the narrow shawl knelt
the two wanderers, the little prattling child and the
reckless, hardened adventurer. Her chubby face, and his
haggard, angular visage were both turned up to the cloudless
heaven in heartfelt entreaty to that dread being with whom
they were face to face, while the two voices -- the one thin
and clear, the other deep and harsh -- united in the entreaty
for mercy and forgiveness. The prayer finished, they resumed
their seat in the shadow of the boulder until the child fell
asleep, nestling upon the broad breast of her protector.
He watched over her slumber for some time, but Nature proved
to be too strong for him. For three days and three nights
he had allowed himself neither rest nor repose. Slowly the
eyelids drooped over the tired eyes, and the head sunk lower
and lower upon the breast, until the man's grizzled beard was
mixed with the gold tresses of his companion, and both slept
the same deep and dreamless slumber.

Had the wanderer remained awake for another half hour a
strange sight would have met his eyes. Far away on the
extreme verge of the alkali plain there rose up a little
spray of dust, very slight at first, and hardly to be
distinguished from the mists of the distance, but gradually
growing higher and broader until it formed a solid,
well-defined cloud. This cloud continued to increase in size
until it became evident that it could only be raised by a
great multitude of moving creatures. In more fertile spots
the observer would have come to the conclusion that one of
those great herds of bisons which graze upon the prairie land
was approaching him. This was obviously impossible in these
arid wilds. As the whirl of dust drew nearer to the solitary
bluff upon which the two castaways were reposing, the
canvas-covered tilts of waggons and the figures of armed
horsemen began to show up through the haze, and the apparition
revealed itself as being a great caravan upon its journey for
the West. But what a caravan! When the head of it had
reached the base of the mountains, the rear was not yet
visible on the horizon. Right across the enormous plain
stretched the straggling array, waggons and carts, men on
horseback, and men on foot. Innumerable women who staggered
along under burdens, and children who toddled beside the
waggons or peeped out from under the white coverings.
This was evidently no ordinary party of immigrants, but rather
some nomad people who had been compelled from stress of
circumstances to seek themselves a new country. There rose
through the clear air a confused clattering and rumbling from
this great mass of humanity, with the creaking of wheels and
the neighing of horses. Loud as it was, it was not
sufficient to rouse the two tired wayfarers above them.

At the head of the column there rode a score or more of grave
ironfaced men, clad in sombre homespun garments and armed
with rifles. On reaching the base of the bluff they halted,
and held a short council among themselves.

"The wells are to the right, my brothers," said one,
a hard-lipped, clean-shaven man with grizzly hair.

"To the right of the Sierra Blanco -- so we shall reach the
Rio Grande," said another.

"Fear not for water," cried a third. "He who could draw it
from the rocks will not now abandon His own chosen people."

"Amen! Amen!" responded the whole party.

They were about to resume their journey when one of the
youngest and keenest-eyed uttered an exclamation and pointed
up at the rugged crag above them. From its summit there
fluttered a little wisp of pink, showing up hard and bright
against the grey rocks behind. At the sight there was a
general reining up of horses and unslinging of guns, while
fresh horsemen came galloping up to reinforce the vanguard.
The word `Redskins' was on every lip.

"There can't be any number of Injuns here," said the elderly
man who appeared to be in command. "We have passed the Pawnees,
and there are no other tribes until we cross the great mountains."

"Shall I go forward and see, Brother Stangerson,"
asked one of the band.

"And I," "and I," cried a dozen voices.

"Leave your horses below and we will await you here,"
the Elder answered. In a moment the young fellows had
dismounted, fastened their horses, and were ascending the
precipitous slope which led up to the object which had
excited their curiosity. They advanced rapidly and
noiselessly, with the confidence and dexterity of practised
scouts. The watchers from the plain below could see them
flit from rock to rock until their figures stood out against
the skyline. The young man who had first given the alarm was
leading them. Suddenly his followers saw him throw up his
hands, as though overcome with astonishment, and on joining
him they were affected in the same way by the sight which met
their eyes.

On the little plateau which crowned the barren hill there
stood a single giant boulder, and against this boulder there
lay a tall man, long-bearded and hard-featured, but of an
excessive thinness. His placid face and regular breathing
showed that he was fast asleep. Beside him lay a little
child, with her round white arms encircling his brown sinewy
neck, and her golden haired head resting upon the breast of
his velveteen tunic. Her rosy lips were parted, showing the
regular line of snow-white teeth within, and a playful smile
played over her infantile features. Her plump little white
legs terminating in white socks and neat shoes with shining
buckles, offered a strange contrast to the long shrivelled
members of her companion. On the ledge of rock above this
strange couple there stood three solemn buzzards, who,
at the sight of the new comers uttered raucous screams
of disappointment and flapped sullenly away.

The cries of the foul birds awoke the two sleepers who stared
about {20} them in bewilderment. The man staggered to his feet
and looked down upon the plain which had been so desolate
when sleep had overtaken him, and which was now traversed by
this enormous body of men and of beasts. His face assumed an
expression of incredulity as he gazed, and he passed his
boney hand over his eyes. "This is what they call delirium,
I guess," he muttered. The child stood beside him, holding
on to the skirt of his coat, and said nothing but looked all
round her with the wondering questioning gaze of childhood.

The rescuing party were speedily able to convince the two
castaways that their appearance was no delusion. One of them
seized the little girl, and hoisted her upon his shoulder,
while two others supported her gaunt companion, and assisted
him towards the waggons.

"My name is John Ferrier," the wanderer explained; "me and
that little un are all that's left o' twenty-one people.
The rest is all dead o' thirst and hunger away down in the south."

"Is she your child?" asked someone.

"I guess she is now," the other cried, defiantly;
"she's mine 'cause I saved her. No man will take her from me.
She's Lucy Ferrier from this day on. Who are you, though?"
he continued, glancing with curiosity at his stalwart,
sunburned rescuers; "there seems to be a powerful lot of ye."

"Nigh upon ten thousand," said one of the young men;
"we are the persecuted children of God -- the chosen
of the Angel Merona."

"I never heard tell on him," said the wanderer.
"He appears to have chosen a fair crowd of ye."

"Do not jest at that which is sacred," said the other
sternly. "We are of those who believe in those sacred
writings, drawn in Egyptian letters on plates of beaten gold,
which were handed unto the holy Joseph Smith at Palmyra.
We have come from Nauvoo, in the State of Illinois, where
we had founded our temple. We have come to seek a refuge
from the violent man and from the godless, even though it
be the heart of the desert."

The name of Nauvoo evidently recalled recollections to John
Ferrier. "I see," he said, "you are the Mormons."

"We are the Mormons," answered his companions with one voice.

"And where are you going?"

"We do not know. The hand of God is leading us under
the person of our Prophet. You must come before him.
He shall say what is to be done with you."

They had reached the base of the hill by this time, and were
surrounded by crowds of the pilgrims -- pale-faced meek-looking
women, strong laughing children, and anxious earnest-eyed men.
Many were the cries of astonishment and of commiseration which
arose from them when they perceived the youth of one of the
strangers and the destitution of the other. Their escort did
not halt, however, but pushed on, followed by a great crowd
of Mormons, until they reached a waggon, which was conspicuous
for its great size and for the gaudiness and smartness of its
appearance. Six horses were yoked to it, whereas the others
were furnished with two, or, at most, four a-piece.
Beside the driver there sat a man who could not have been more
than thirty years of age, but whose massive head and resolute
expression marked him as a leader. He was reading a brown-backed
volume, but as the crowd approached he laid it aside,
and listened attentively to an account of the episode.
Then he turned to the two castaways.

"If we take you with us," he said, in solemn words, "it can
only be as believers in our own creed. We shall have no
wolves in our fold. Better far that your bones should bleach
in this wilderness than that you should prove to be that
little speck of decay which in time corrupts the whole fruit.
Will you come with us on these terms?"

"Guess I'll come with you on any terms," said Ferrier,
with such emphasis that the grave Elders could not restrain
a smile. The leader alone retained his stern, impressive

"Take him, Brother Stangerson," he said, "give him food and
drink, and the child likewise. Let it be your task also to
teach him our holy creed. We have delayed long enough.
Forward! On, on to Zion!"

"On, on to Zion!" cried the crowd of Mormons, and the words
rippled down the long caravan, passing from mouth to mouth
until they died away in a dull murmur in the far distance.
With a cracking of whips and a creaking of wheels the great
waggons got into motion, and soon the whole caravan was
winding along once more. The Elder to whose care the two
waifs had been committed, led them to his waggon, where a
meal was already awaiting them.

"You shall remain here," he said. "In a few days you will
have recovered from your fatigues. In the meantime, remember
that now and for ever you are of our religion. Brigham Young
has said it, and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph
Smith, which is the voice of God."



THIS is not the place to commemorate the trials and
privations endured by the immigrant Mormons before they came
to their final haven. From the shores of the Mississippi to
the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains they had struggled
on with a constancy almost unparalleled in history. The
savage man, and the savage beast, hunger, thirst, fatigue,
and disease -- every impediment which Nature could place in
the way, had all been overcome with Anglo-Saxon tenacity.
Yet the long journey and the accumulated terrors had shaken
the hearts of the stoutest among them. There was not one who
did not sink upon his knees in heartfelt prayer when they saw
the broad valley of Utah bathed in the sunlight beneath them,
and learned from the lips of their leader that this was the
promised land, and that these virgin acres were to be theirs
for evermore.

Young speedily proved himself to be a skilful administrator
as well as a resolute chief. Maps were drawn and charts
prepared, in which the future city was sketched out. All
around farms were apportioned and allotted in proportion to
the standing of each individual. The tradesman was put to
his trade and the artisan to his calling. In the town
streets and squares sprang up, as if by magic. In the
country there was draining and hedging, planting and
clearing, until the next summer saw the whole country golden
with the wheat crop. Everything prospered in the strange
settlement. Above all, the great temple which they had
erected in the centre of the city grew ever taller and
larger. From the first blush of dawn until the closing of
the twilight, the clatter of the hammer and the rasp of the
saw was never absent from the monument which the immigrants
erected to Him who had led them safe through many dangers.

The two castaways, John Ferrier and the little girl who had
shared his fortunes and had been adopted as his daughter,
accompanied the Mormons to the end of their great pilgrimage.
Little Lucy Ferrier was borne along pleasantly enough in
Elder Stangerson's waggon, a retreat which she shared with
the Mormon's three wives and with his son, a headstrong
forward boy of twelve. Having rallied, with the elasticity
of childhood, from the shock caused by her mother's death,
she soon became a pet with the women, and reconciled herself
to this new life in her moving canvas-covered home. In the
meantime Ferrier having recovered from his privations,
distinguished himself as a useful guide and an indefatigable
hunter. So rapidly did he gain the esteem of his new
companions, that when they reached the end of their wanderings,
it was unanimously agreed that he should be provided with as
large and as fertile a tract of land as any of the settlers,
with the exception of Young himself, and of Stangerson, Kemball,
Johnston, and Drebber, who were the four principal Elders.

On the farm thus acquired John Ferrier built himself a
substantial log-house, which received so many additions in
succeeding years that it grew into a roomy villa. He was a
man of a practical turn of mind, keen in his dealings and
skilful with his hands. His iron constitution enabled him to
work morning and evening at improving and tilling his lands.
Hence it came about that his farm and all that belonged to
him prospered exceedingly. In three years he was better off
than his neighbours, in six he was well-to-do, in nine he was
rich, and in twelve there were not half a dozen men in the
whole of Salt Lake City who could compare with him. From the
great inland sea to the distant Wahsatch Mountains there was
no name better known than that of John Ferrier.

There was one way and only one in which he offended the
susceptibilities of his co-religionists. No argument or
persuasion could ever induce him to set up a female
establishment after the manner of his companions. He never
gave reasons for this persistent refusal, but contented
himself by resolutely and inflexibly adhering to his
determination. There were some who accused him of
lukewarmness in his adopted religion, and others who put it
down to greed of wealth and reluctance to incur expense.
Others, again, spoke of some early love affair, and of a
fair-haired girl who had pined away on the shores of the
Atlantic. Whatever the reason, Ferrier remained strictly
celibate. In every other respect he conformed to the
religion of the young settlement, and gained the name of
being an orthodox and straight-walking man.

Lucy Ferrier grew up within the log-house, and assisted her
adopted father in all his undertakings. The keen air of the
mountains and the balsamic odour of the pine trees took the
place of nurse and mother to the young girl. As year
succeeded to year she grew taller and stronger, her cheek
more rudy, and her step more elastic. Many a wayfarer upon
the high road which ran by Ferrier's farm felt long-forgotten
thoughts revive in their mind as they watched her lithe
girlish figure tripping through the wheatfields, or met her
mounted upon her father's mustang, and managing it with all
the ease and grace of a true child of the West. So the bud
blossomed into a flower, and the year which saw her father
the richest of the farmers left her as fair a specimen of
American girlhood as could be found in the whole Pacific slope.

It was not the father, however, who first discovered that the
child had developed into the woman. It seldom is in such
cases. That mysterious change is too subtle and too gradual
to be measured by dates. Least of all does the maiden
herself know it until the tone of a voice or the touch of a
hand sets her heart thrilling within her, and she learns,
with a mixture of pride and of fear, that a new and a larger
nature has awoken within her. There are few who cannot
recall that day and remember the one little incident which
heralded the dawn of a new life. In the case of Lucy Ferrier
the occasion was serious enough in itself, apart from its
future influence on her destiny and that of many besides.

It was a warm June morning, and the Latter Day Saints were
as busy as the bees whose hive they have chosen for their
emblem. In the fields and in the streets rose the same hum
of human industry. Down the dusty high roads defiled long
streams of heavily-laden mules, all heading to the west, for
the gold fever had broken out in California, and the Overland
Route lay through the City of the Elect. There, too, were
droves of sheep and bullocks coming in from the outlying
pasture lands, and trains of tired immigrants, men and horses
equally weary of their interminable journey. Through all
this motley assemblage, threading her way with the skill of
an accomplished rider, there galloped Lucy Ferrier, her fair
face flushed with the exercise and her long chestnut hair
floating out behind her. She had a commission from her
father in the City, and was dashing in as she had done many
a time before, with all the fearlessness of youth, thinking
only of her task and how it was to be performed.
The travel-stained adventurers gazed after her in astonishment,
and even the unemotional Indians, journeying in with their
pelties, relaxed their accustomed stoicism as they marvelled
at the beauty of the pale-faced maiden.

She had reached the outskirts of the city when she found the
road blocked by a great drove of cattle, driven by a half-dozen
wild-looking herdsmen from the plains. In her
impatience she endeavoured to pass this obstacle by pushing
her horse into what appeared to be a gap. Scarcely had she
got fairly into it, however, before the beasts closed in
behind her, and she found herself completely imbedded in the
moving stream of fierce-eyed, long-horned bullocks.
Accustomed as she was to deal with cattle, she was not
alarmed at her situation, but took advantage of every
opportunity to urge her horse on in the hopes of pushing her
way through the cavalcade. Unfortunately the horns of one of
the creatures, either by accident or design, came in violent
contact with the flank of the mustang, and excited it to
madness. In an instant it reared up upon its hind legs with
a snort of rage, and pranced and tossed in a way that would
have unseated any but a most skilful rider. The situation
was full of peril. Every plunge of the excited horse brought
it against the horns again, and goaded it to fresh madness.
It was all that the girl could do to keep herself in the
saddle, yet a slip would mean a terrible death under the
hoofs of the unwieldy and terrified animals. Unaccustomed to
sudden emergencies, her head began to swim, and her grip upon
the bridle to relax. Choked by the rising cloud of dust and
by the steam from the struggling creatures, she might have
abandoned her efforts in despair, but for a kindly voice at
her elbow which assured her of assistance. At the same
moment a sinewy brown hand caught the frightened horse by the
curb, and forcing a way through the drove, soon brought her
to the outskirts.

"You're not hurt, I hope, miss," said her preserver, respectfully.

She looked up at his dark, fierce face, and laughed saucily.
"I'm awful frightened," she said, naively; "whoever would
have thought that Poncho would have been so scared by a lot
of cows?"

"Thank God you kept your seat," the other said earnestly.
He was a tall, savage-looking young fellow, mounted on a
powerful roan horse, and clad in the rough dress of a hunter,
with a long rifle slung over his shoulders. "I guess you are
the daughter of John Ferrier," he remarked, "I saw you ride
down from his house. When you see him, ask him if he remembers
the Jefferson Hopes of St. Louis. If he's the same Ferrier,
my father and he were pretty thick."

"Hadn't you better come and ask yourself?" she asked, demurely.

The young fellow seemed pleased at the suggestion, and his dark
eyes sparkled with pleasure. "I'll do so," he said, "we've been
in the mountains for two months, and are not over and above in
visiting condition. He must take us as he finds us."

"He has a good deal to thank you for, and so have I," she answered,
"he's awful fond of me. If those cows had jumped on me he'd have
never got over it."

"Neither would I," said her companion.

"You! Well, I don't see that it would make much matter
to you, anyhow. You ain't even a friend of ours."

The young hunter's dark face grew so gloomy over this remark
that Lucy Ferrier laughed aloud.

"There, I didn't mean that," she said; "of course, you are a
friend now. You must come and see us. Now I must push along,
or father won't trust me with his business any more. Good-bye!"

"Good-bye," he answered, raising his broad sombrero, and
bending over her little hand. She wheeled her mustang round,
gave it a cut with her riding-whip, and darted away down the
broad road in a rolling cloud of dust.

Young Jefferson Hope rode on with his companions, gloomy and
taciturn. He and they had been among the Nevada Mountains
prospecting for silver, and were returning to Salt Lake City
in the hope of raising capital enough to work some lodes
which they had discovered. He had been as keen as any of
them upon the business until this sudden incident had drawn
his thoughts into another channel. The sight of the fair
young girl, as frank and wholesome as the Sierra breezes,
had stirred his volcanic, untamed heart to its very depths.
When she had vanished from his sight, he realized that a crisis
had come in his life, and that neither silver speculations
nor any other questions could ever be of such importance to
him as this new and all-absorbing one. The love which had
sprung up in his heart was not the sudden, changeable fancy
of a boy, but rather the wild, fierce passion of a man of
strong will and imperious temper. He had been accustomed
to succeed in all that he undertook. He swore in his heart
that he would not fail in this if human effort and human
perseverance could render him successful.

He called on John Ferrier that night, and many times again,
until his face was a familiar one at the farm-house.
John, cooped up in the valley, and absorbed in his work,
had had little chance of learning the news of the outside world
during the last twelve years. All this Jefferson Hope was
able to tell him, and in a style which interested Lucy as
well as her father. He had been a pioneer in California,
and could narrate many a strange tale of fortunes made and
fortunes lost in those wild, halcyon days. He had been a
scout too, and a trapper, a silver explorer, and a ranchman.
Wherever stirring adventures were to be had, Jefferson Hope
had been there in search of them. He soon became a favourite
with the old farmer, who spoke eloquently of his virtues.
On such occasions, Lucy was silent, but her blushing cheek
and her bright, happy eyes, showed only too clearly that her
young heart was no longer her own. Her honest father may not
have observed these symptoms, but they were assuredly not
thrown away upon the man who had won her affections.

It was a summer evening when he came galloping down the road
and pulled up at the gate. She was at the doorway, and came
down to meet him. He threw the bridle over the fence and
strode up the pathway.

"I am off, Lucy," he said, taking her two hands in his,
and gazing tenderly down into her face; "I won't ask you
to come with me now, but will you be ready to come when
I am here again?"

"And when will that be?" she asked, blushing and laughing.

"A couple of months at the outside. I will come and claim
you then, my darling. There's no one who can stand between us."

"And how about father?" she asked.

"He has given his consent, provided we get these mines
working all right. I have no fear on that head."

"Oh, well; of course, if you and father have arranged it all,
there's no more to be said," she whispered, with her cheek
against his broad breast.

"Thank God!" he said, hoarsely, stooping and kissing her.
"It is settled, then. The longer I stay, the harder it will
be to go. They are waiting for me at the canon. Good-bye,
my own darling -- good-bye. In two months you shall see me."

He tore himself from her as he spoke, and, flinging himself
upon his horse, galloped furiously away, never even looking
round, as though afraid that his resolution might fail him if
he took one glance at what he was leaving. She stood at the
gate, gazing after him until he vanished from her sight. Then
she walked back into the house, the happiest girl in all Utah.



THREE weeks had passed since Jefferson Hope and his comrades
had departed from Salt Lake City. John Ferrier's heart was
sore within him when he thought of the young man's return,
and of the impending loss of his adopted child. Yet her
bright and happy face reconciled him to the arrangement more
than any argument could have done. He had always determined,
deep down in his resolute heart, that nothing would ever
induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon. Such a
marriage he regarded as no marriage at all, but as a shame
and a disgrace. Whatever he might think of the Mormon
doctrines, upon that one point he was inflexible. He had to
seal his mouth on the subject, however, for to express an
unorthodox opinion was a dangerous matter in those days in
the Land of the Saints.

Yes, a dangerous matter -- so dangerous that even the most
saintly dared only whisper their religious opinions with
bated breath, lest something which fell from their lips might
be misconstrued, and bring down a swift retribution upon
them. The victims of persecution had now turned persecutors
on their own account, and persecutors of the most terrible
description. Not the Inquisition of Seville, nor the German
Vehm-gericht, nor the Secret Societies of Italy, were ever
able to put a more formidable machinery in motion than that
which cast a cloud over the State of Utah.

Its invisibility, and the mystery which was attached to it,
made this organization doubly terrible. It appeared to be
omniscient and omnipotent, and yet was neither seen nor
heard. The man who held out against the Church vanished
away, and none knew whither he had gone or what had befallen
him. His wife and his children awaited him at home, but no
father ever returned to tell them how he had fared at the
hands of his secret judges. A rash word or a hasty act was
followed by annihilation, and yet none knew what the nature
might be of this terrible power which was suspended over
them. No wonder that men went about in fear and trembling,
and that even in the heart of the wilderness they dared not
whisper the doubts which oppressed them.

At first this vague and terrible power was exercised only
upon the recalcitrants who, having embraced the Mormon faith,
wished afterwards to pervert or to abandon it. Soon,
however, it took a wider range. The supply of adult women
was running short, and polygamy without a female population
on which to draw was a barren doctrine indeed. Strange
rumours began to be bandied about -- rumours of murdered
immigrants and rifled camps in regions where Indians had
never been seen. Fresh women appeared in the harems of the
Elders -- women who pined and wept, and bore upon their faces
the traces of an unextinguishable horror. Belated wanderers
upon the mountains spoke of gangs of armed men, masked,
stealthy, and noiseless, who flitted by them in the darkness.
These tales and rumours took substance and shape, and were
corroborated and re-corroborated, until they resolved
themselves into a definite name. To this day, in the lonely
ranches of the West, the name of the Danite Band, or the
Avenging Angels, is a sinister and an ill-omened one.

Fuller knowledge of the organization which produced such
terrible results served to increase rather than to lessen the
horror which it inspired in the minds of men. None knew who
belonged to this ruthless society. The names of the
participators in the deeds of blood and violence done under
the name of religion were kept profoundly secret. The very
friend to whom you communicated your misgivings as to the
Prophet and his mission, might be one of those who would come
forth at night with fire and sword to exact a terrible
reparation. Hence every man feared his neighbour, and none
spoke of the things which were nearest his heart.

One fine morning, John Ferrier was about to set out to his
wheatfields, when he heard the click of the latch, and,
looking through the window, saw a stout, sandy-haired,
middle-aged man coming up the pathway. His heart leapt to
his mouth, for this was none other than the great Brigham
Young himself. Full of trepidation -- for he knew that such
a visit boded him little good -- Ferrier ran to the door to
greet the Mormon chief. The latter, however, received his
salutations coldly, and followed him with a stern face into
the sitting-room.

"Brother Ferrier," he said, taking a seat, and eyeing the
farmer keenly from under his light-coloured eyelashes,
"the true believers have been good friends to you. We picked
you up when you were starving in the desert, we shared our
food with you, led you safe to the Chosen Valley, gave you
a goodly share of land, and allowed you to wax rich under our
protection. Is not this so?"

"It is so," answered John Ferrier.

"In return for all this we asked but one condition: that was,
that you should embrace the true faith, and conform in every
way to its usages. This you promised to do, and this,
if common report says truly, you have neglected."

"And how have I neglected it?" asked Ferrier, throwing out
his hands in expostulation. "Have I not given to the common
fund? Have I not attended at the Temple? Have I not ----?"

"Where are your wives?" asked Young, looking round him.
"Call them in, that I may greet them."

"It is true that I have not married," Ferrier answered.
"But women were few, and there were many who had better claims
than I. I was not a lonely man: I had my daughter to attend
to my wants."

"It is of that daughter that I would speak to you," said the
leader of the Mormons. "She has grown to be the flower of
Utah, and has found favour in the eyes of many who are high
in the land."

John Ferrier groaned internally.

"There are stories of her which I would fain disbelieve --
stories that she is sealed to some Gentile. This must be the
gossip of idle tongues. What is the thirteenth rule in the
code of the sainted Joseph Smith? `Let every maiden of the
true faith marry one of the elect; for if she wed a Gentile,
she commits a grievous sin.' This being so, it is impossible
that you, who profess the holy creed, should suffer your
daughter to violate it."

John Ferrier made no answer, but he played nervously with his

"Upon this one point your whole faith shall be tested -- so
it has been decided in the Sacred Council of Four. The girl
is young, and we would not have her wed grey hairs, neither
would we deprive her of all choice. We Elders have many
heifers, * but our children must also be provided. Stangerson
has a son, and Drebber has a son, and either of them would
gladly welcome your daughter to their house. Let her choose
between them. They are young and rich, and of the true faith.
What say you to that?"

Ferrier remained silent for some little time with his brows knitted.

"You will give us time," he said at last. "My daughter is
very young -- she is scarce of an age to marry."

"She shall have a month to choose," said Young, rising from
his seat. "At the end of that time she shall give her answer."

He was passing through the door, when he turned, with flushed
face and flashing eyes. "It were better for you, John Ferrier,"
he thundered, "that you and she were now lying blanched
skeletons upon the Sierra Blanco, than that you should
put your weak wills against the orders of the Holy Four!"

With a threatening gesture of his hand, he turned from the door,
and Ferrier heard his heavy step scrunching along the shingly path.

He was still sitting with his elbows upon his knees,
considering how he should broach the matter to his daughter
when a soft hand was laid upon his, and looking up, he saw
her standing beside him. One glance at her pale, frightened
face showed him that she had heard what had passed.

"I could not help it," she said, in answer to his look.
"His voice rang through the house. Oh, father, father,
what shall we do?"

"Don't you scare yourself," he answered, drawing her to him,
and passing his broad, rough hand caressingly over her
chestnut hair. "We'll fix it up somehow or another.
You don't find your fancy kind o' lessening for this chap,
do you?"

A sob and a squeeze of his hand was her only answer.

"No; of course not. I shouldn't care to hear you say you
did. He's a likely lad, and he's a Christian, which is more
than these folk here, in spite o' all their praying and
preaching. There's a party starting for Nevada to-morrow,
and I'll manage to send him a message letting him know the
hole we are in. If I know anything o' that young man, he'll
be back here with a speed that would whip electro-telegraphs."

Lucy laughed through her tears at her father's description.

"When he comes, he will advise us for the best. But it is
for you that I am frightened, dear. One hears -- one hears
such dreadful stories about those who oppose the Prophet:
something terrible always happens to them."

"But we haven't opposed him yet," her father answered.
"It will be time to look out for squalls when we do.
We have a clear month before us; at the end of that,
I guess we had best shin out of Utah."

"Leave Utah!"

"That's about the size of it."

"But the farm?"

"We will raise as much as we can in money, and let the rest go.
To tell the truth, Lucy, it isn't the first time I have
thought of doing it. I don't care about knuckling under to
any man, as these folk do to their darned prophet. I'm a
free-born American, and it's all new to me. Guess I'm too
old to learn. If he comes browsing about this farm, he might
chance to run up against a charge of buckshot travelling in
the opposite direction."

"But they won't let us leave," his daughter objected.

"Wait till Jefferson comes, and we'll soon manage that.
In the meantime, don't you fret yourself, my dearie,
and don't get your eyes swelled up, else he'll be walking into
me when he sees you. There's nothing to be afeared about,
and there's no danger at all."

John Ferrier uttered these consoling remarks in a very
confident tone, but she could not help observing that he paid
unusual care to the fastening of the doors that night, and
that he carefully cleaned and loaded the rusty old shotgun
which hung upon the wall of his bedroom.



ON the morning which followed his interview with the Mormon
Prophet, John Ferrier went in to Salt Lake City, and having
found his acquaintance, who was bound for the Nevada
Mountains, he entrusted him with his message to Jefferson
Hope. In it he told the young man of the imminent danger
which threatened them, and how necessary it was that he
should return. Having done thus he felt easier in his mind,
and returned home with a lighter heart.

As he approached his farm, he was surprised to see a horse
hitched to each of the posts of the gate. Still more
surprised was he on entering to find two young men in
possession of his sitting-room. One, with a long pale face,
was leaning back in the rocking-chair, with his feet cocked
up upon the stove. The other, a bull-necked youth with
coarse bloated features, was standing in front of the window
with his hands in his pocket, whistling a popular hymn.
Both of them nodded to Ferrier as he entered, and the one
in the rocking-chair commenced the conversation.

"Maybe you don't know us," he said. "This here is the son of
Elder Drebber, and I'm Joseph Stangerson, who travelled with
you in the desert when the Lord stretched out His hand and
gathered you into the true fold."

"As He will all the nations in His own good time," said the
other in a nasal voice; "He grindeth slowly but exceeding small."

John Ferrier bowed coldly. He had guessed who his visitors were.

"We have come," continued Stangerson, "at the advice of our
fathers to solicit the hand of your daughter for whichever of
us may seem good to you and to her. As I have but four wives
and Brother Drebber here has seven, it appears to me that my
claim is the stronger one."

"Nay, nay, Brother Stangerson," cried the other; "the question
is not how many wives we have, but how many we can keep.
My father has now given over his mills to me, and I am the
richer man."

"But my prospects are better," said the other, warmly.
"When the Lord removes my father, I shall have his tanning yard
and his leather factory. Then I am your elder, and am higher
in the Church."

"It will be for the maiden to decide," rejoined young Drebber,
smirking at his own reflection in the glass. "We will leave
it all to her decision."

During this dialogue, John Ferrier had stood fuming in the
doorway, hardly able to keep his riding-whip from the backs
of his two visitors.

"Look here," he said at last, striding up to them, "when my
daughter summons you, you can come, but until then I don't
want to see your faces again."

The two young Mormons stared at him in amazement.
In their eyes this competition between them for the maiden's
hand was the highest of honours both to her and her father.

"There are two ways out of the room," cried Ferrier; "there is
the door, and there is the window. Which do you care to use?"

His brown face looked so savage, and his gaunt hands so
threatening, that his visitors sprang to their feet and beat
a hurried retreat. The old farmer followed them to the door.

"Let me know when you have settled which it is to be,"
he said, sardonically.

"You shall smart for this!" Stangerson cried, white with rage.
"You have defied the Prophet and the Council of Four.
You shall rue it to the end of your days."

"The hand of the Lord shall be heavy upon you," cried young
Drebber; "He will arise and smite you!"

"Then I'll start the smiting," exclaimed Ferrier furiously,
and would have rushed upstairs for his gun had not Lucy
seized him by the arm and restrained him. Before he could
escape from her, the clatter of horses' hoofs told him that
they were beyond his reach.

"The young canting rascals!" he exclaimed, wiping the
perspiration from his forehead; "I would sooner see you in
your grave, my girl, than the wife of either of them."

"And so should I, father," she answered, with spirit;
"but Jefferson will soon be here."

"Yes. It will not be long before he comes. The sooner the
better, for we do not know what their next move may be."

It was, indeed, high time that someone capable of giving
advice and help should come to the aid of the sturdy old
farmer and his adopted daughter. In the whole history of the
settlement there had never been such a case of rank
disobedience to the authority of the Elders. If minor errors
were punished so sternly, what would be the fate of this arch
rebel. Ferrier knew that his wealth and position would be of
no avail to him. Others as well known and as rich as himself
had been spirited away before now, and their goods given over
to the Church. He was a brave man, but he trembled at the
vague, shadowy terrors which hung over him. Any known danger
he could face with a firm lip, but this suspense was
unnerving. He concealed his fears from his daughter,
however, and affected to make light of the whole matter,
though she, with the keen eye of love, saw plainly that he
was ill at ease.

He expected that he would receive some message or
remonstrance from Young as to his conduct, and he was not
mistaken, though it came in an unlooked-for manner. Upon
rising next morning he found, to his surprise, a small square
of paper pinned on to the coverlet of his bed just over his
chest. On it was printed, in bold straggling letters:--

"Twenty-nine days are given you for amendment, and then ----"

The dash was more fear-inspiring than any threat could have
been. How this warning came into his room puzzled John
Ferrier sorely, for his servants slept in an outhouse, and
the doors and windows had all been secured. He crumpled the
paper up and said nothing to his daughter, but the incident
struck a chill into his heart. The twenty-nine days were
evidently the balance of the month which Young had promised.
What strength or courage could avail against an enemy armed
with such mysterious powers? The hand which fastened that
pin might have struck him to the heart, and he could never
have known who had slain him.

Still more shaken was he next morning. They had sat down to
their breakfast when Lucy with a cry of surprise pointed
upwards. In the centre of the ceiling was scrawled, with a
burned stick apparently, the number 28. To his daughter it
was unintelligible, and he did not enlighten her. That night
he sat up with his gun and kept watch and ward. He saw and
he heard nothing, and yet in the morning a great 27 had been
painted upon the outside of his door.

Thus day followed day; and as sure as morning came he found
that his unseen enemies had kept their register, and had
marked up in some conspicuous position how many days were
still left to him out of the month of grace. Sometimes the
fatal numbers appeared upon the walls, sometimes upon the
floors, occasionally they were on small placards stuck upon
the garden gate or the railings. With all his vigilance John
Ferrier could not discover whence these daily warnings
proceeded. A horror which was almost superstitious came upon
him at the sight of them. He became haggard and restless,
and his eyes had the troubled look of some hunted creature.
He had but one hope in life now, and that was for the arrival
of the young hunter from Nevada.

Twenty had changed to fifteen and fifteen to ten, but there
was no news of the absentee. One by one the numbers dwindled
down, and still there came no sign of him. Whenever a
horseman clattered down the road, or a driver shouted at his
team, the old farmer hurried to the gate thinking that help
had arrived at last. At last, when he saw five give way to
four and that again to three, he lost heart, and abandoned
all hope of escape. Single-handed, and with his limited
knowledge of the mountains which surrounded the settlement,
he knew that he was powerless. The more-frequented roads
were strictly watched and guarded, and none could pass along
them without an order from the Council. Turn which way he
would, there appeared to be no avoiding the blow which hung
over him. Yet the old man never wavered in his resolution to
part with life itself before he consented to what he regarded
as his daughter's dishonour.

He was sitting alone one evening pondering deeply over his
troubles, and searching vainly for some way out of them.
That morning had shown the figure 2 upon the wall of his
house, and the next day would be the last of the allotted
time. What was to happen then? All manner of vague and
terrible fancies filled his imagination. And his daughter --
what was to become of her after he was gone? Was there no
escape from the invisible network which was drawn all round
them. He sank his head upon the table and sobbed at the
thought of his own impotence.

What was that? In the silence he heard a gentle scratching
sound -- low, but very distinct in the quiet of the night.
It came from the door of the house. Ferrier crept into the
hall and listened intently. There was a pause for a few
moments, and then the low insidious sound was repeated.
Someone was evidently tapping very gently upon one of the
panels of the door. Was it some midnight assassin who had
come to carry out the murderous orders of the secret
tribunal? Or was it some agent who was marking up that the
last day of grace had arrived. John Ferrier felt that
instant death would be better than the suspense which shook
his nerves and chilled his heart. Springing forward he drew
the bolt and threw the door open.

Outside all was calm and quiet. The night was fine, and the
stars were twinkling brightly overhead. The little front
garden lay before the farmer's eyes bounded by the fence and
gate, but neither there nor on the road was any human being
to be seen. With a sigh of relief, Ferrier looked to right
and to left, until happening to glance straight down at his
own feet he saw to his astonishment a man lying flat upon his
face upon the ground, with arms and legs all asprawl.

So unnerved was he at the sight that he leaned up against the
wall with his hand to his throat to stifle his inclination to
call out. His first thought was that the prostrate figure
was that of some wounded or dying man, but as he watched it
he saw it writhe along the ground and into the hall with the
rapidity and noiselessness of a serpent. Once within the
house the man sprang to his feet, closed the door, and
revealed to the astonished farmer the fierce face and
resolute expression of Jefferson Hope.

"Good God!" gasped John Ferrier. "How you scared me!
Whatever made you come in like that."

"Give me food," the other said, hoarsely. "I have had no
time for bite or sup for eight-and-forty hours." He flung
himself upon the {21} cold meat and bread which were still lying
upon the table from his host's supper, and devoured it
voraciously. "Does Lucy bear up well?" he asked, when he had
satisfied his hunger.

"Yes. She does not know the danger," her father answered.

"That is well. The house is watched on every side.
That is why I crawled my way up to it. They may be darned sharp,
but they're not quite sharp enough to catch a Washoe hunter."

John Ferrier felt a different man now that he realized that
he had a devoted ally. He seized the young man's leathery
hand and wrung it cordially. "You're a man to be proud of,"
he said. "There are not many who would come to share our
danger and our troubles."

"You've hit it there, pard," the young hunter answered.
"I have a respect for you, but if you were alone in this
business I'd think twice before I put my head into such a
hornet's nest. It's Lucy that brings me here, and before
harm comes on her I guess there will be one less o' the Hope
family in Utah."

"What are we to do?"

"To-morrow is your last day, and unless you act to-night you
are lost. I have a mule and two horses waiting in the Eagle
Ravine. How much money have you?"

"Two thousand dollars in gold, and five in notes."

"That will do. I have as much more to add to it. We must
push for Carson City through the mountains. You had best
wake Lucy. It is as well that the servants do not sleep in
the house."

While Ferrier was absent, preparing his daughter for the
approaching journey, Jefferson Hope packed all the eatables
that he could find into a small parcel, and filled a

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