“You appear to be astonished, ” Holmes said, smiling at my
expression. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it. You
see, I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty
attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose: A
fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that
the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best
jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has difficulty in
laying his hand upon it. It is a mistake to think that the little room
has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it, there
comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something
that you know before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to
have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones。”

However, he soon told me himself.

Chapter 6

  “But the Solar System! ” I protested。

As I remember, it was on the 4th of March.

A short passage led to the kitchen and offices.

  “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently。

I rose somewhat earlier than usual, and found that Sherlock Holmes had
not yet finished his breakfast.

There were two doors which led to the left and to the right.

  One morning, I picked up a magazine from the table and attempted to
while away the time with it, while my companion munched silently at his
toast. One of the articles had a pencil mark at the heading, and I
naturally began to run my eye through it。

I picked up a magazine from the table and attempted to pass the time
with it, while my companion ate silently.

One of these had obviously been closed for many weeks.

  Its somewhat ambitious title was “The Book of Life, ” and it
attempted to show how much an observant man might learn by an accurate
and systematic examination of all that came in his way. It struck me as
being a remarkable mixture of shrewdness and of absurdity. The reasoning
was close and intense, but the deduction appeared to me to be
far-fetched and exaggerated. The writer claimed by a momentary
expression, a twitch of a muscle or a glance of an eye, to fathom a
man’s inmost thought. Deceit, according to him, was impossibility in the
case of one trained to observation and analysis. His conclusions were as
infallible as so many propositions of Euclid. So startling would his
results appear to the uninitiated that until they learned the processes
by which he had arrived at them they might well consider him as a

One of the articles had a pencil mark at the heading, and I naturally
began to run my eye over it.

The other led to the dining-room, where the crime had happened.

  “From a drop of water, ”said the writer, “a logician could infer the
possibility of an Atlantic. So all life is a great chain, the nature of
which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it. Like all other
arts, the science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can be acquired
by long and patient study, nor is life long enough to allow any mortal
to attain the highest possible perfection in it. ”

Its somewhat ambitious title was “The Book of Life,”

Holmes walked in, and I followed him with that subdued feeling in my
heart which the presence of death inspired.

  This smartly written piece of theory I could not accept until a
succession of evidences justified it。

and it attempted to show how much an observant man might learn by an
accurate and careful examination of all that came in his way.

It was a large square room, looking all the larger from the absence of
all furniture.

  1.       What is the author’s attitude toward Holmes?

The reasoning was close and intense, but the conclusions appeared to me
to be far-fetched and exaggerated.

The wallpaper was blotched with damp patches, and here and there great
strips had peeled off, showing the yellow plaster beneath.


The writer claimed by a temporary expression, a twitch of a muscle or a
glance of an eye, to find out a man’s inner thoughts.

Opposite the door was a fireplace.


According to him, it was impossible to fool a man who has been trained
in such observation and analysis.

On one corner of the mantelpiece was a red candle.


His conclusions were very definite.

The only window was so dirty that the light was dim, and a thick layer
of dust coated the whole apartment.


To the untrained, his results would appear very surprising.

All these details I observed afterwards.

  2.       What way did the author take to stick out Holmes’

“From a drop of water,” said the writer, “a logician could gather the
possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of
one or the other.

At present my attention was focused upon the single grim still figure
which lay stretched upon the boards.

  [A]By deduction。

So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we
are shown a single link of it.

It was a man about forty-three or forty-four years old, middle-sized,
wide-shouldered, with curly black hair and a short beard.

  [B]By explanation。

By a man’s finger nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his shoes, by his
clothes, by his expression—by each of these things a man’s work is
plainly revealed.”

A top hat, well brushed, was placed upon the floor beside him.

  [C]By contrast。

“What nonsense!” I cried, throwing the magazine down on the table, “I
never read such rubbish in my life.”

His hands were closed and his arms spread out, while his legs were
crossed as if his death had been a painful one.

  [D]By analysis。

“What is it?” asked Sherlock Holmes.

On his rigid face there stood an expression of horror and hatred.

  3.       What was the Holmes’ idea about knowledge-learning?

“This article,” I said, pointing at it with my egg spoon as I sat down
to my breakfast.

I have seen death in many forms, but never has it appeared to me in a
more terrifying shape than in that dark apartment.

  [A]Learning what every body learned。

“I see that you have read it, since you have marked it.

Lestrade was standing by the doorway, and welcomed my companion and

  [B]Learning what was useful to you。

I don’t deny that it is cleverly written. It bothers me though. It is
not practical.

“This case will make a stir, sir,” he remarked. “It beats anything I
have seen, and I’ve seen a lot in my time.”

  [C]Learning whatever you came across。

I should like to see him sit down in a third class carriage on the
Underground, and figure out the profession of all the travelers.

“There is no clue(线索)?” said Gregson.

  [D]Learning what was different to you。

I would lay a thousand to one against him.”

“None at all,” said Lestrade.

  4.       What did the article mentioned in the passage talk about?

“You would lose your money,” Sherlock Holmes remarked calmly.

Sherlock Holmes approached the body, and, kneeling down, examined it

  [A]One may master the way of reasoning through observation。

“As for the article, I wrote it myself.”

“You are sure that there is no wound?” he asked, pointing to numerous
splashes of blood which lay all round.

  [B]One may become rather critical through observation and

“You!” “Yes, I have a natural talent both for observation and for

“Positive!” cried both detectives.

  [C]One may become rather sharp through observation and analysis。

The theories which I have expressed there, and which appear to you to be
so absurd, are extremely practical—

“Then, of course, this blood belongs to a second individual—probably the
murderer, if murder has been committed.”

  [D]One may become practical through observation and analysis。

so practical that I depend upon them for my bread and cheese.”

As he spoke, his fingers were flying here, there, and everywhere,
feeling, pressing, examining.


“And how?” I asked.

His eyes wore an expression of deep thought.

  1.       Thomas Carlyle             托马斯·卡莱尔

“Well, I have a trade of my own.

So quickly was the examination made that one would hardly have guessed
the small details with which it was conducted.

  2.       jumble (up)               搞乱,使混乱

I suppose I am the only one in the world.

Finally, he smelled the dead man’s lips, and then glanced at his leather

  3.       lay hand on (upon) sth.        抓住,找到

I’m a consulting detective, if you can understand what that is.

“He has not been moved at all?” he asked.

  4.       at best                     最好的情况下

Here in London we have lots of Government detectives and lots of private

“Only what was needed for the purpose of our examination.”

  5.       elbow out (off)                用胳膊肘挤出,推出

When these men are at fault they come to me, and I manage to put them on
the right scent.

“You can take him to the morgue now,” he said.

  6.       deuce = devil        

They lay all the evidence before me, and I am generally able to give
them the right idea, with the help of my knowledge of the history of

“There is nothing more to be learned.”

  what the deuce is it to me?    

Lestrade is a well-known detective.

Gregson had a stretcher and four men at hand.

  7.       while away the time            消磨/打发时间

He got himself into a mess recently over a case. That’s what brought him

At his call, they entered the room, and the dead man was lifted and
carried out.

  8.       shrewdness               机敏,敏锐,犀利

“But do you mean to say,” I said, “that without leaving your room you
can undo some knots which other men cannot figure out,

As they raised him, a ring fell, making a tinkling sound as it hit the
ground, and rolled across the floor.

  9.       far-fetched               牵强附会,不自然

although they have seen every detail for themselves?”

Lestrade took it up and stared at it with a puzzled expression.

  10.   fathom                    看穿/透,推测,探索

“Quite so. I have a kind of instinct about those things.

“There’s been a woman here,” he cried. “It’s a woman’s wedding-ring.”

Sometimes a case turns up which is a little more complex.

As he spoke, he held it out upon the palm of his hand.


Then I have to move about and see things with my own eyes.

We all gathered round him and gazed at it.


You see I have a lot of special knowledge which I apply to the problem,
and which aids matters wonderfully.

There could be no doubt that the ring had once been on the finger of a

Those rules of deduction laid down in that article, which stirred your
contempt, are precious to me in practical work.

“This complicates matters,” said Gregson.

To me, observation is second nature.

“Heaven knows, they were complicated enough before.”

On our first meeting, you appeared to be surprised when I told you that
you had come from Afghanistan.”

“You’re sure it doesn’t make things simpler?” said Holmes.

“You were told, no doubt.”

“There’s nothing to be learned by staring at it. What did you find in
his pockets?”

“Nothing of the sort. I knew you came from Afghanistan.

“We have it all here,” said Gregson, pointing to a few of the items upon
the bottom steps of the stairs.

From long habit the sequence of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind
that I arrived at the conclusion without being aware of the intermediate

“A gold watch by Barraud of London. A gold Albert chain, very heavy and

There were such steps, however.

A gold pin—bull-dog’s head, with rubies as eyes.

My thoughts went like this, ‘Here is a gentleman of a medical type, but
with the air of a military man.

ca88手机版登录网页,Russian leather card-case, with cards of Enoch J. Drebber of Cleveland,
which matches the E. J. D. marked on his clothes.

Clearly an army doctor, then.

No wallet, but change in the amount of seven pounds.

He has just come from the tropics, for his face is dark, and that is not
the natural color of his skin, for his wrists are fair.

Two letters—one addressed to E. J. Drebber and one to Joseph

He has experienced suffering and sickness, as his worn face says

“At what address?”

His left arm has been wounded.

“American Exchange, Strand—to be left till called for.

He holds it in a stiff and unnatural manner.

They are both from the Guion Steamship Company, and are about the
sailing times of their boats from Liverpool.

Where in the tropics could an English army doctor have seen much
suffering and got his arm wounded? Clearly in Afghanistan.’

It is clear that this unfortunate man was about to return to New York.”

The whole train of thought did not take a second.

“Have you made any inquiries about this man, Stangerson?”

I then remarked that you came from Afghanistan, and you were shocked.”

“I did so at once, sir,” said Gregson.

“It is simple enough when you explain it,” I said, smiling.

“I have had advertisements sent to all the newspapers, and one of my men
has gone to the American Exchange, but he has not returned yet.”

“No man lives, or has ever lived, who has brought the same amount of
study and of natural talent to the detection of crime as I have done.

“Have you contacted Cleveland?”

And what is the result? There is no crime to detect, or, at most, some
stupid crimes with a motive so obvious that even a Scotland Yard
official can see through it.”

“Yes, this morning.”

I was annoyed at his arrogant style of conversation.

“What did you say?”

I thought it best to change the topic.

“We simply explained the situation, and said that we should be glad of
any information which could help us.”

“I wonder what that fellow is looking for.”I asked, pointing to a
plainly-dressed man who was walking slowly down the other side of the
street, looking anxiously at the numbers.

“You did not ask for any details which appeared to you to be crucial?”

He had a large blue envelope in his hand, and was evidently carrying a
message to someone.

“I asked about Stangerson.”

“You mean the retired sergeant of Marines,” said Sherlock Holmes.

“Nothing else? Are there details which seem to you to be important? Will
you contact them again?”

“Nonsense!” I thought to myself.

“I have said all I have to say,” said Gregson, in an unhappy voice.

“He knows that I cannot verify his guess.”

Sherlock Holmes laughed to himself, and appeared to be about to make
some remark,

The thought had hardly passed through my mind when the man whom we were
watching caught sight of(看见) the number on our door, and ran rapidly
across the road.

when Lestrade, who had been in the front room while we were having this
conversation in the hall, returned to the scene.

We heard a loud knock, a deep voice below, and heavy steps climbing the

He rubbed his hands in a proud and self-satisfied manner.

“For Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” he said, stepping into the room and handing
my friend the letter.

“Mr. Gregson,” he said, “I have just made a discovery of the highest
importance, and one which would have been missed if I had not made a
careful examination of the walls.”

Here was an opportunity of taking the pride out of him.

“Come here,” he said, rushing back into the room.

He little thought of this when he made that random guess.

The atmosphere of the room felt clearer since the removal of the dead

“May I ask, my man,” I said, “what your job may be?”

“Now, stand there!”

“Messenger, sir,” he said. “My uniform is away to be mended.”

He struck a match on his boot and held it up against the wall.

“And you were?” I asked.

“Look at that!” he said, proudly.

“A sergeant, sir, Royal Marine Light Infantry, sir. No answer? Right,

I have remarked that the wallpaper had fallen away in parts.

He clicked his heels together, raised his hand in a salute, and was

In one corner of the room, a large piece had peeled off, leaving a
yellow square of rough plaster.

Across this bare space there was blood-red letters, a single word—


“What do you think of that?” cried Lestrade, “this was missed because it
was in the darkest corner of the room, and no one thought of looking

The murderer has written it with his or her own blood.

See this smear where it has trickled down the wall!

That eliminates the idea of suicide.

Why was that corner chosen to write it on? I will tell you.

See that candle on the mantelpiece.

It was lit at the time, and if it was lit this corner would be the
brightest instead of the darkest part of the room.”

“And what does it mean now that you have found it?” asked Gregson in a
critical voice.

“Mean? It means that the writer was going to put the female name Rachel,
but was disturbed before he or she had time to finish.

Remember my words, when this case comes to be cleared up you will find
that a woman named Rachel has something to do with it.

It’s all very well for you to laugh, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

You may be very smart and clever, but the old dog is the best, when all
is said and done.”

“I really beg your pardon!” said my companion, who had irritated the
little man by bursting into laughter.

“You do have the credit of being the first of us to find this out.

As you say, it bears every mark of having been written by the murderer
in last night’s mystery.

I have not had time to examine this room yet, but with your permission,
I will do so now.”