The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

  "To the man who loves art for its own sake," remarked Sher-
lock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily
Telegraph, "it is frequently in its least important and lowliest
manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. It is
pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped
this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have
been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasion-
ally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to
the many causes celebres and sensational trials in which I have
figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial
in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of
deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special
  "And yet," said I, smiling, "I cannot quite hold myself
absolved from the charge of sensationalism which has been
urged against my records."
  "You have erred, perhaps," he observed, taking up a glowing
cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood
pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a
disputatious rather than a meditative mood --" you have erred
perhaps in attempting to put colour and life into each of your
statements instead of confining yourself to the task of placing
upon record that severe reasoning from cause to effect which is
really the only notable feature about the thing."
  "It seems to me that I have done you full justice in the
matter," I remarked with some coldness, for I was repelled by
the egotism which I had more than once observed to be a strong
factor in my friend's singular character.
  "No, it is not selfishness or conceit," said he, answering, as
was his wont, my thoughts rather than my words. "If I claim full
justice for my art, it is because it is an impersonal thing -- a thing
beyond myself. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is
upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.
You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures
into a series of tales."
  It was a cold morning of the early spring, and we sat after
breakfast on either side of a cheery fire in the old room at Baker
Street. A thick fog rolled down between the lines of dun-coloured
houses, and the opposing windows loomed like dark, shapeless
blurs through the heavy yellow wreaths. Our gas was lit and
shone on the white cloth and glimmer of china and metal, for the
table had not been cleared yet. Sherlock Holmes had been silent
all the morning, dipping continuously into the advertisement
columns of a succession of papers until at last, having apparently
given up his search, he had emerged in no very sweet temper to
lecture me upon my literary shortcomings.
  "At the same time," he remarked after a pause, during which
he had sat puffing at his long pipe and gazing down into the fire,
"you can hardly be open to a charge of sensationalism, for out
of these cases which you have been so kind as to interest
yourself in, a fair proportion do not treat of crime, in its legal
sense, at all. The small matter in which I endeavoured to help
the King of Bohemia, the singular experience of Miss Mary
Sutherland, the problem connected with the man with the twisted
lip, and the incident of the noble bachelor, were all matters
which are outside the pale of the law. But in avoiding the
sensational, I fear that you may have bordered on the trivial."
  "The end may have been so," I answered, "but the methods I
hold to have been novel and of interest."
  "Pshaw, my dear fellow, what do the public, the great unob-
servant public, who could hardly tell a weaver by his tooth or a
compositor by his left thumb, care about the finer shades of
analysis and deduction! But, indeed, if you are trivial. I cannot
blame you, for the days of the great cases are past. Man, or at
least criminal man, has lost all enterprise and originality. As to
my own little practice, it seems to be degenerating into an
agency for recovering lost lead pencils and giving advice to
young ladies from boarding-schools. I think that I have touched
bottom at last, however. This note I had this morning marks my
zero-point, I fancy. Read it!" He tossed a crumpled letter across
to me.
  It was dated from Montague Place upon the preceding eve-
ning, and ran thus:

        I am very anxious to consult you as to whether I should
      or should not accept a situation which has been offered to
      me as governess. I shall call at half-past ten to-morrow if I
      do not inconvenience you.
                                                Yours faithfully,
                                                   VIOLET HUNTER.

  "Do you know the young lady?' I asked.
  "Not I."
  "It is half-past ten now."
  "Yes, and I have no doubt that is her ring."
  "It may turn out to be of more interest than you think. You
remember that the affair of the blue carbuncle, which appeared
to be a mere whim at first, developed into a serious investiga-
tion. It may be so in this case, also."
  "Well, let us hope so. But our doubts will very soon be
solved, for here, unless I am much mistaken, is the person in
  As he spoke the door opened and a young lady entered the
room. She was plainly but neatly dressed, with a bright. quick
face, freckled like a plover's egg, and with the brisk manner of a
woman who has had her own way to make in the world.
  "You will excuse my troubling you, I am sure," said she, as
my companion rose to greet her, "but I have had a very strange
experience, and as I have no parents or relations of any sort from
whom I could ask advice, I thought that perhaps you would be
kind enough to tell me what I should do."
  "Pray take a seat, Miss Hunter. I shall be happy to do
anything that I can to serve you."
  I could see that Holmes was favourably impressed by the
manner and speech of his new client. He looked her over in his
searching fashion, and then composed himself, with his lids
drooping and his finger-tips together, to listen to her story.
  "I have been a governess for five years," said she, "in the
family of Colonel Spence Munro, but two months ago the colo-
nel received an appointment at Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and took
his children over to America with him, so that I found myself
without a situation. I advertised, and I answered advertisements,
but without success. At last the little money which I had saved
began to run short, and I was at my wit's end as to what I should
  "There is a well-known agency for governesses in the West
End called Westaway's, and there I used to call about once a
week in order to see whether anything had turned up which
might suit me. Westaway was the name of the founder of the
business, but it is really managed by Miss Stoper. She sits in her
own little office, and the ladies who are seeking employment
wait in an anteroom, and are then shown in one by one, when
she consults her ledgers and sees whether she has anything which
would suit them.
  "Well, when I called last week I was shown into the little
office as usual, but I found that Miss Stoper was not alone. A
prodigiously stout man with a very smiling face and a great
heavy chin which rolled down in fold upon fold over his throat
sat at her elbow with a pair of glasses on his nose, looking very
earnestly at the ladies who entered. As I came in he gave quite a
jump in his chair and turned quickly to Miss Stoper.
  " 'That will do,' said he; 'I could not ask for anything better.
Capital! capital!' He seemed quite enthusiastic and rubbed his
hands together in the most genial fashion. He was such a
comfortable-looking man that it was quite a pleasure to look at
  " 'You are looking for a situation, miss?' he asked.
  " 'Yes, sir.'
  " 'As governess?'
  " 'Yes, sir.'
  " 'And what salary do you ask?'
  " 'I had 4 pounds a month in my last place with Colonel Spence
  " 'Oh, tut, tut! sweating -- rank sweating!' he cried, throwing
his fat hands out into the air like a man who is in a boiling
passion. 'How could anyone offer so pitiful a sum to a lady with
such attractions and accomplishments?'
  " 'My accomplishments, sir, may be less than you imagine,'
said I. 'A little French, a little German, music, and drawing --'
  " 'Tut, tut!' he cried. 'This is all quite beside the question.
The point is, have you or have you not the bearing and deport-
ment of a lady? There it is in a nutshell. If you have not, you are
not fined for the rearing of a child who may some day play a
considerable part in the history of the country. But if you have
why, then, how could any gentleman ask you to condescend to
accept anything under the three figures? Your salary with me,
madam, would commence at 100 pounds a year.'
  "You may imagine, Mr. Holmes, that to me, destitute as I
was, such an offer seemed almost too good to be true. The
gentleman, however, seeing perhaps the look of incredulity upon
my face, opened a pocket-book and took out a note.
  " 'It is also my custom,' said he, smiling in the most pleasant
fashion until his eyes were just two little shining slits amid the
white creases of his face, 'to advance to my young ladies half
their salary beforehand, so that they may meet any little expenses
of their journey and their wardrobe.'
  "It seemed to me that I had never met so fascinating and so
thoughtful a man. As I was already in debt to my tradesmen, the
advance was a great convenience, and yet there was something
unnatural about the whole transaction which made me wish to
know a little more before I quite committed myself.
  " 'May I ask where you live, sir?' said I.
  " 'Hampshire. Charming rural place. The Copper Beeches,
five miles on the far side of Winchester. It is the most lovely
country, my dear young lady, and the dearest old country-house.'
  " 'And my duties, sir? I should be glad to know what they
would be.'
  " 'One child -- one dear little romper just six years old. Oh, if
you could see him killing cockroaches with a slipper! Smack!
smack! smack! Three gone before you could wink!' He leaned
back in his chair and laughed his eyes into his head again.
  "I was a little startled at the nature of the child's amusement,
but the father's laughter made me think that perhaps he was
  " 'My sole duties, then,' I asked, 'are to take charge of a
single child?'
  " 'No, no, not the sole, not the sole, my dear young lady,' he
cried. 'Your duty would be, as I am sure your good sense would
suggest, to obey any little commands my wife might give,
provided always that they were such commands as a lady might
with propriety obey. You see no difficulty, heh?'
  " 'I should be happy to make myself useful.'
  " 'Quite so. In dress now, for example. We are faddy people,
you know -- faddy but kind-hearted. If you were asked to wear
any dress which we might give you, you would not object to our
little whim. Heh?'
  " 'No,' said I, considerably astonished at his words.
  " 'Or to sit here, or sit there, that would not be offensive to
  " 'Oh, no.'
  " 'Or to cut your hair quite short before you come to us?'
  "I could hardly believe my ears. As you may observe, Mr.
Holmes, my hair is somewhat luxuriant, and of a rather peculiar
tint of chestnut. It has been considered artistic. I could not dream
of sacrificing it in this offhand fashion.
  " 'I am afraid that that is quite impossible,' said I. He had
been watching me eagerly out of his small eyes, and I could see
a shadow pass over his face as I spoke.
  " 'I am afraid that it is quite essential,' said he. 'It is a little
fancy of my wife's, and ladies' fancies, you know, madam,
ladies' fancies must be consulted. And so you wonn't cut your
  " 'No, sir, I really could not,' I answered firmly.
  " 'Ah, very well; then that quite settles the matter. It is a pity,
because in other respects you would really have done very
nicely. In that case, Miss Stoper, I had best inspect a few more
of your young ladies.'
  "The manageress had sat all this while busy with her papers
without a word to either of us, but she glanced at me now with
so much annoyance upon her face that I could not help suspect-
ing that she had lost a handsome commission through my refusal.
  " 'Do you desire your name to be kept upon the books?' she
  " 'If you please, Miss Stoper.'
  " 'Well, really, it seems rather useless, since you refuse the
most excellent offers in this fashion,' said she sharply. 'You can
hardly expect us to exert ourselves to find another such opening
for you. Good-day to you, Miss Hunter.' She struck a gong upon
the table, and I was shown out by the page.
  "Well, Mr. Holmes, when I got back to my lodgings and
found little enough in the cupboard, and two or three bills upon
the table. I began to ask myself whether I had not done a very
foolish thing. After all, if these people had strange fads and
expected obedience on the most extraordinary matters, they were
at least ready to pay for their eccentricity. Very few governesses
in England are getting 100 pounds a year. Besides, what use was my
hair to me? Many people are improved by wearing it short and
perhaps I should be among the number. Next day I was inciined
to think that I had made a mistake, and by the day after I was
sure of it. I had almost overcome my pride so far as to go back
to the agency and inquire whether the place was still open when I
received this letter from the gentleman himself. I have it here
and I will read it to you:

                           "The Copper Beeches, near Winchester.

      "DEAR Mlss HUNTER:
        "Miss Stoper has very kindly given me your address, and
      I write from here to ask you whether you have reconsidered
      your decision. My wife is very anxious that you should
      come, for she has been much attracted by my description of
      you. We are willing to give 30 pounds a quarter, or 120 pounds a year,
      so as to recompense you for any little inconvenience which
      our fads may cause you. They are not very exacting, after
      all. My wife is fond of a particular shade of electric blue
      and would like you to wear such a dress indoors in the
      morning. You need not, however, go to the expense of
      purchasing one, as we have one belonging to my dear
      daughter Alice (now in Philadelphia), which would, I should
      think, fit you very well. Then, as to sitting here or there, or
      amusing yourself in any manner indicated, that need cause
      you no inconvenience. As regards your hair, it is no doubt a
      pity, especially as I could not help remarking its beauty
      during our short interview, but I am afraid that I must
      remain firm upon this point, and l only hope that the
      increased salary may recompense you for the loss. Your
      duties, as far as the child is concerned, are very light. Now
      do try to come, and I shall meet you with the dog-cart at
      Winchester. Let me know your train.
                                            "Yours faithfully,
                                             "JEPHRO RUCASTLE.

  "That is the letter which I have just received, Mr. Holmes,
and my mind is made up that I will accept it. I thought, how-
ever, that before taking the final step I should like to submit the
whole matter to your consideration."
  "Well, Miss Hunter, if your mind is made up, that settles the
question," said Holmes, smiling.
  "But you would not advise me to refuse?"
  "I confess that it is not the situation which I should like to see
a sister of mine apply for."
  "What is the meaning of it all, Mr. Holmes?"
  "Ah, I have no data. I cannot tell. Perhaps you have yourself
formed some opinion?"
  "Well, there seems to me to be only one possible solution.
Mr. Rucastle seemed to be a very kind, good-natured man. Is it
not possible that his wife is a lunatic, that he desires to keep the
matter quiet for fear she should be taken to an asylum, and that
he humours her fancies in every way in order to prevent an
  "That is a possible solution -- in fact, as matters stand, it is the
most probable one. But in any case it does not seem to be a nice
household for a young lady."
  "But the money, Mr. Holmes the money!"
  "Well, yes, of course the pay is good -- too good. That is what
makes me uneasy. Why should they give you 120 pounds a year, when
they could have their pick for 40 pounds? There must be some strong
reason behind."
  "I thought that if I told you the circumstances you would
understand afterwards if I wanted your help. I should feel so
much stronger if I felt that you were at the back of me."
  "Oh, you may carry that feeling away with you. I assure you
that your little problem promises to be the most interesting which
has come my way for some months. There is something dis-
tinctly novel about some of the features. If you should find
yourself in doubt or in danger --"
  "Danger! What danger do you foresee?"
  Holmes shook his head gravely. "It would cease to be a
danger if we could define it," said he. "But at any time, day or
night, a telegram would bring me down to your help."
  "That is enough." She rose briskly from her chair with the
anxiety all swept from her face. "I shall go down to Hampshire
quite easy in my mind now. I shall write to Mr. Rucastle at
once, sacrifice my poor hair to-night, and start for Winchester
to-morrow." With a few grateful words to Holmes she bade us
both good-night and bustled off upon her way.
  "At least," said I as we heard her quick, firm steps descend-
ing the stairs, "she seems to be a young lady who is very well
able to take care of herself."
  "And she would need to be," said Holmes gravely. "I am
much mistaken if we do not hear from her before many days are
  It was not very long before my friend's prediction was ful-
filled. A fortnight went by, during which I frequently found my
thoughts turning in her direction and wondering what strange
side-alley of human experience this lonely woman had strayed
into. The unusual salary, the curious conditions, the light duties,
all pointed to something abnormal, though whether a fad or a
plot, or whether the man were a philanthropist or a villain, it was
quite beyond my powers to determine. As to Holmes, I observed
that he sat frequently for half an hour on end, with knitted brows
and an abstracted air, but he swept the matter away with a wave
of his hand when I mentioned it. "Data! data! data!" he cried
impatiently. "I can't make bricks without clay." And yet he
would always wind up by muttering that no sister of his should
ever have accepted such a situation.
  The telegram which we eventually received came late one
night just as I was thinking of turning in and Holmes was settling
down to one of those all-night chemical researches which he
frequently indulged in, when I would leave him stooping over a
retort and a test-tube at night and find him in the same position
when I came down to breakfast in the morning. He opened the
yellow envelope, and then, glancing at the message, threw it
across to me.
  "Just look up the trains in Bradshaw," said he, and turned
back to his chemical studies.
  The summons was a brief and urgent one.

       Please be at the Black Swan Hotel at Winchester at
     midday to-morrow [it said]. Do come! I am at my wit's end.
                                                       HUNTER .

  "Will you come with me?" asked Holmes, glancing up.
  "I should wish to."
  "Just look it up, then."
  "There is a train at half-past nine," said I, glancing over my
Bradshaw. "It is due at Winchester at 11:30."
  "That will do very nicely. Then perhaps I had better postpone
my analysis of the acetones, as we may need to be at our best in
the morning."

  By eleven o'clock the next day we were well upon our way to
the old English capital. Holmes had been buried in the morning
papers all the way down, but after we had passed the Hampshire
border he threw them down and began to admire the scenery. It
was an ideal spring day, a light blue sky, flecked with little
fleecy white clouds drifting across from west to east. The sun
was shining very brightly, and yet there was an exhilarating nip
in the air, which set an edge to a man's energy. All over the
countryside, away to the rolling hills around Aldershot, the little
red and gray roofs of the farm-steadings peeped out from amid
the light green of the new foliage.
  "Are they not fresh and beautiful?" I cried with all the
enthusiasm of a man fresh from the fogs of Baker Street.
  But Holmes shook his head gravely.
  "Do you know, Watson," said he, "that it is one of the
curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at
everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at
these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I
look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a
feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime
may be committed there."
  "Good heavens!" I cried. "Who would associate crime with
these dear old Londrasteads?"
  "They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief,
Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest
alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin
than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."
  "You horrify me!"
  "But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public
opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish.
There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the
thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indigna-
tion among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of
justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going,
and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look
at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most
part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of
the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may
go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser. Had
this lady who appeals to us for help gone to live in Winchester, I
should never have had a fear for her. It is the five miles of
country which makes the danger. Still, it is clear that she is not
personally threatened."
  "No. If she can come to Winchester to meet us she can get
  "Quite so. She has her freedom."
  "What can be the matter, then? Can you suggest no expla-
  "I have devised seven separate explanations, each of which
would cover the facts as far as we know them. But which of
these is correct can only be determined by the fresh information
which we shall no doubt find waiting for us. Well, there is the
tower of the cathedral, and we shall soon learn all that Miss
Hunter has to tell."
  The Black Swan is an inn of repute in the High Street, at no
distance from the station, and there we found the young lady
waiting for us. She had engaged a sitting-room, and our lunch
awaited us upon the table.
  "I am so delighted that you have come," she said earnestly.
"It is so very kind of you both; but indeed I do not know what I
should do. Your advice will be altogether invaluable to me."
  "Pray tell us what has happened to you."
  "I will do so, and I must be quick, for I have promised Mr.
Rucastle to be back before three. I got his leave to come into
town this morning, though he little knew for what purpose."
  "Let us have everything in its due order." Holmes thrust his
long thin legs out towards the fire and composed himself to
  "In the first place, I may say that I have met, on the whole,
with no actual ill-treatment from Mr. and Mrs. Rucastle. It is
only fair to them to say that. But I cannot understand them, and I
am not easy in my mind about them."
  "What can you not understand?"
  "Their reasons for their conduct. But you shall have it all just
as it occurred. When I came down, Mr. Rucastle met me here
and drove me in his dog-cart to the Copper Beeches. It is, as he
said, beautifully situated, but it is not beautiful in itself, for it is
a large square block of a house, whitewashed, but all stained and
streaked with damp and bad weather. There are grounds round it,
woods on three sides, and on the fourth a field which slopes
down to the Southampton highroad, which curves past about a
hundred yards from the front door. This ground in front belongs
to the house, but the woods all round are part of Lord Southerton's
preserves. A clump of copper beeches immediately in front of
the hall door has given its name to the place.
  "I was driven over by my employer, who was as amiable as
ever, and was introduced by him that evening to his wife and the
child. There was no truth, Mr. Holmes, in the conjecture which
seemed to us to be probable in your rooms at Baker Street. Mrs.
Rucastle is not mad. I found her to be a silent, pale-faced
woman, much younger than her husband, not more than thirty, I
should think, while he can hardly be less than forty-five. From
their conversation I have gathered that they have been married
about seven years, that he was a widower, and that his only child
by the first wife was the daughter who has gone to Philadelphia.
Mr. Rucastle told me in private that the reason why she had left
them was that she had an unreasoning aversion to her step-
mother. As the daughter could not have been less than twenty, I
can quite imagine-that her position must have been uncomfort-
able with her father's young wife.
  "Mrs. Rucastle seemed to me to be colourless in mind as well
as in feature. She impressed me neither favourably nor the
reverse. She was a nonentity. It was easy to see that she was
passionately devoted both to her husband and to her little son.
Her light gray eyes wandered continually from one to the other,
noting every little want and forestalling it if possible. He was
kind to her also in his bluff, boisterous fashion, and on the whole
they seemed to be a happy couple. And yet she had some secret
sorrow, this woman. She would often be lost in deep thought,
with the saddest look upon her face. More than once I have
surprised her in tears. I have thought sometimes that it was the
disposition of her child which weighed upon her mind, for I have
never met so utterly spoiled and so ill-natured a little creature.
He is small for his age, with a head which is quite dispro-
portionately large. His whole life appears to be spent in an
alternation between savage fits of passion and gloomy intervals
of sulking. Giving pain to any creature weaker than himself
seems to be his one idea of amusement, and he shows quite
remarkable talent in planning the capture of mice, little birds,
and insects. But I would rather not talk about the creature, Mr.
Holmes, and, indeed, he has little to do with my story."
  "I am glad of all details," remarked my friend, "whether
they seem to you to be relevant or not."
  "I shall try not to miss anything of importance. The one
unpleasant thing about the house, which struck me at once, was
the appearance and conduct of the servants. There are only two,
a man and his wife. Toller, for that is his name, is a rough,
uncouth man, with grizzled hair and whiskers, and a perpetual
smell of drink. Twice since I have been with them he has been
quite drunk, and yet Mr. Rucastle seemed to take no notice of it.
His wife is a very tall and strong woman with a sour face, as
silent as Mrs. Rucastle and much less amiable. They are a most
unpleasant couple, but fortunately I spend most of my time in the
nursery and my own room, which are next to each other in one
corner of the building.
  "For two days after my arrival at the Copper Beeches my life
was very quiet; on the third, Mrs. Rucastle came down just after
breakfast and whispered something to her husband.
  " 'Oh, yes,' said he, turning to me, 'we are very much
obliged to you, Miss Hunter, for falling in with our whims so far
as to cut your hair. I assure you that it has not detracted in the
tiniest iota from your appearance. We shall now see how the
electric-blue dress will become you. You will find it laid out
upon the bed in your room, and if you would be so good as to
put it on we should both be extremely obliged.'
  "The dress which I found waiting for me was of a peculiar
shade of blue. It was of excellent material, a sort of beige, but it
bore unmistakable signs of having been worn before. It could not
have been a better fit if I had been measured for it. Both Mr. and
Mrs. Rucastle expressed a delight at the look of it, which seemed
quite exaggerated in its vehemence. They were waiting for me in
the drawing-room, which is a very large room, stretching along
the entire front of the house, with three long windows reaching
down to the floor. A chair had been placed close to the central
window, with its back turned towards it. In this I was asked to
sit, and then Mr. Rucastle, walking up and down on the other
side of the room, began to tell me a series of the funniest stories
that I have ever listened to. You cannot imagine how comical he
was, and I laughed until I was quite weary. Mrs. Rucastle,
however, who has evidently no sense of humour, never so much
as smiled, but sat with her hands in her lap, and a sad, anxious
look upon her face. After an hour or so, Mr. Rucastle suddenly
remarked that it was time to commence the duties of the day, and
that I might change my dress and go to little Edward in the
  "Two days later this same performance was gone through
under exactly similar circumstances. Again I changed my dress,
again I sat in the window, and again I laughed very heartily at
the funny stories of which my employer had an immense reper-
toire, and which he told inimitably. Then he handed me a yellow-
backed novel, and moving my chair a little sideways, that my
own shadow might not fall upon the page. he begged me to read
aloud to him. I read for about ten minutes, beginning in the heart
of a chapter, and then suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, he
ordered me to cease and to change my dress.
  "You can easily imagine, Mr. Holmes, how curious I became
as to what the meaning of this extraordinary performance could
possibly be. They were always very careful, I observed, to turn
my face away from the window, so that I became consumed with
the desire to see what was going on behind my back. At first it
seemed to be impossible, but I soon devised a means. My
hand-mirror had been broken, so a happy thought seized me, and
I concealed a piece of the glass in my handkerchief. On the next
occasion, in the midst of my laughter, I put my handkerchief up
to my eyes, and was able with a little management to see all that
there was behind me. I confess that I was disappointed. There
was nothing. At least that was my first impression. At the second
glance, however, I perceived that there was a man standing in
the Southampton Road, a small bearded man in a gray suit, who
seemed to be looking in my direction. The road is an important
highway, and the