Sherlock holmes

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SHERLOCK HOLMES SHORT STORIES
Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective of them all. He sits in his room, and smokes his pipe. He listens, and watches, and thinks. He listens to the steps coming up his stairs; he watches the door opening — and he knows what question the stranger will ask. In these three of his best stories, Holmes has three visitors to the famous flat inBaker Street — visitors who bring their troubles to the only man in the world who can help them. take students through six stages towards real reading in English. Each one has been chosen for its enjoyment value and its quality of writing. Cover illustration by Alan Morrison
Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-421650-0

OXFORD BOOKWORMS

Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
Sir Arthur Conan Doyleretold by Clare West

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

The Speckled Band
1 Helen's Story

At the time of this story, I was still living at my friend Sherlock Holmes's flat in Baker Street in London. Very early one morning, a young woman, dressed in black, came to see us. She looked tired and unhappy, and her face was very white. 'I'm afraid! Afraid of death, Mr Holmes!' she cried. 'Please helpme! I'm not thirty yet and look at my grey hair! I'm so afraid!'

Very early one morning, a young woman, dressed in black, came to see us.

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Sherlock Holmes Short Stories

The Speckled Band

3

'Just sit down and tell us your story,' said Holmes kindly. 'My name is Helen Stoner,' she began, 'and I live with my stepfather, Dr Grimesby Roylott, near a village in the country. His familywas once very rich, but they had no money when my stepfather was born. So he studied to be a doctor, and went out to India. He met and married my mother there, when my sister Julia and I were very young. Our father was dead, you see.' 'Your mother had some money, perhaps?' asked Sherlock Holmes. 'Oh yes, mother had a lot of money, so my stepfather wasn't poor any more.' 'Tell me more about him,Miss Stoner,' said Holmes. 'Well, he's a violent man. In India he once got angry with his Indian servant and killed him! He had to go to prison because of that, and then we all came back to England. Mother died in an accident eight years ago. So my stepfather got all her money, but if Julia or I marry, he must pay us £250 every year.' 'And now you live with him in the country,' said Holmes. 'Yes,but he stays at home and never sees anybody, Mr Holmes!' answered Helen Stoner. 'He's more and more violent now, and sometimes has fights with the people from the village. Everybody's afraid of him now, and they run away when they see him. And they're also afraid of his Indian wild animals which

run freely around the garden. A friend sends them to him from India. And the animals are not the onlywild things in the garden; there are also gipsies. My stepfather likes these wild people, and they can come and go where they like. Poor Julia and I had very unhappy lives. We had no servants. They always left because they were afraid of my stepfather, and we had to do all the work in the house. Julia was only thirty when she died, and her hair was already grey, like my hair now.' 'When did shedie?' asked Sherlock Holmes. 'She died two years ago, and that's why I'm here. We never met anybody in the country, but sometimes we visited some of my family who live near London. There Julia met a young man who asked to marry her. My stepfather agreed, but soon after this she died.' Miss Stoner put her hand over her eyes and cried for a minute. Sherlock Holmes was listening with his eyes closed,but now he opened them and looked at Helen Stoner. 'Tell me everything about her death,' he said. 'I can remember it all very well. It was a terrible time!' she answered. 'Our three bedrooms are all downstairs. First there is my stepfather's room. Julia's room is next to his, and my room is next to Julia's. The rooms all have windows on the garden side of the house, and doors which open into the...
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