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This text comes from the collection’s version 2.5.The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire ❍
olmes had read carefully a note which
the last post had brought him. Then,
with the dry chuckle which was his
nearest approach to a laugh, he tossed
it over to me.
“For a mixture of the modern and the mediaeval, of the practical and of the wildly fanciful, I think this is surely the limit,” said he. “What do
you make of it, Watson?”
I read as follows:
46, Old Jewry,
Our client, Mr. Robert Ferguson, of
Ferguson and Muirhead, tea brokers,
of Mincing Lane, has made some inquiry from us in a communication of even date concerning vampires. As
our ﬁrm specializes entirely upon the
assessment of machinery the matter
hardly comes within our purview, and
we have therefore recommended Mr.
Ferguson to call upon you and lay the
matter before you. We have not forgotten your successful action in the case of Matilda Briggs.
We are, sir,
Morrison, Morrison, and Dodd.
per E. J. C.
“Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young
woman, Watson,” said Holmes in a reminiscent
voice. “It was a ship which is associated with the
giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world
is not yet prepared. But what do we know about
vampires? Does it come within our purview either? Anything is better than stagnation, but really we seem to have been switched on to a Grimms’
fairy tale. Make a long arm, Watson, and see what
V has to say.”
I leaned back and took down the great index
volume to which he referred. Holmes balanced it
on his knee, and his eyes moved slowly and lovingly over the record of old cases, mixed with the accumulated information of a lifetime.
“Voyage of the Gloria Scott,” he read. “That was
a bad business. I have some recollection that you
made a record of it, Watson, though I was unable
to congratulate you upon the result. Victor Lynch,
the forger. Venomous lizard or gila. Remarkable
case, that! Vittoria, the circus belle. Vanderbilt and
the Yeggman. Vipers. Vigor, the Hammersmith
wonder. Hullo! Hullo! Good old index. You can’t
beat it. Listen to this, Watson. Vampirism in Hungary. And again, Vampires in Transylvania.” He turned over the pages with eagerness, but after a
short intent perusal he threw down the great book
with a snarl of disappointment.
“Rubbish, Watson, rubbish! What have we to
do with walking corpses who can only be held in
their grave by stakes driven through their hearts?
It’s pure lunacy.”
“But surely,” said I, “the vampire was not necessarily a dead man? A living person might have the habit. I have read, for example, of the old sucking the blood of the young in order to retain their youth.”
“You are right, Watson. It mentions the legend
in one of these references. But are we to give serious attention to such things? This agency stands ﬂat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply. I fear that we cannot take Mr. Robert
Ferguson very seriously. Possibly this note may be
from him and may throw some light upon what is
He took up a second letter which had lain unnoticed upon the table while he had been absorbed with the ﬁrst. This he began to read with a smile of
amusement upon his face which gradually faded
away into an expression of intense interest and
concentration. When he had ﬁnished he sat for
some little time lost in thought with the letter dangling from his ﬁngers. Finally,...