“Did anything come by post? A box by chance? On Wednesday?”
“Yes I opened it and there was a sharp spring inside it. A joke perhaps. It drew blood,” said Holmes.
“No, it was not a joke, you fool, you’ve got it. Who asked you to cross my path? You knew too much about Victor’s death. Your end is near, Holmes. I’ll carry this box in my pocket. The last piece of evidence!”
“Turn up the gas, Smith,” said Holmes in his natural voice.
“Yes I will, so that I can see you better.” There was silence. Then I heard Smith say, “What’s all this?”
“Successful acting,” said Holmes, “for three days I didn’t taste anything – neither food nor drink.”
There were footsteps outside. The door opened and I heard Inspector Morton’s voice. “I arrest you on charge of murder,” he said.
“If so, let me bring Sir Jaspet Meek or Penrose fisher, or Holmes”.
There was a sudden rush and scuffle, followed by the clash of iron and sudden cry of pain. There was a click of handcuffs. Holmes asked me to come in.
“Sorry, Watson, I was rude to you. I undermined your capability as a doctor. It was just to get Smith here. And I didn’t want you to know that I was not ill.”
“But your appearance--?” I said.
"Three days, fasting and make up did the trick."
“Oh! That was only to prove that I was delirious,” he laughed. “I need to eat now, Watson. Mr. Smith killed his nephew and he wanted to kill me the same way to avoid imprisonment. I need to eat now, Watson. I think that something nutritious at Simpsons’ would not be out of place. And thank you, Watson,” he said.
Sherlock Holmes is the best detective who knows how to pull out words from the criminal's mouth. He pretends that he is unaware of how he had contracted the disease. He asks Mr. Smith if he could think of something. This gives him the idea that he is in complete control of the situation. He starts opening up and directly asks if Holmes has received any delivery in the recent days. He gives very specific details about the delivery. Usually, a person who has no connection would not know what delivery the other person gets. But Smith asks specifically if he had received a box on Wednesday. This shows that he was the one who sent it or that he had something to do with it.
Smith enquires about a delivery
Holmes agrees that he had received a box, and when he had opened it, there was a spring that came out of it. It was sharp and stung him hard, which even drew blood. Holmes innocently pretends that he does not know much about it and says that it must have been a prank or joke played on him. It is now that the evil nature of Smith is revealed. Since he thinks that it is the end of Holmes, he confesses that it was not a joke and he was behind it. He does this to prove he has the upper hand. He angrily asks why Holmes crossed his path, indicating the fact that he had investigated his nephew's murder. Holmes was nearing him in the case, and he wanted to sideline him. He takes away the ivory box that was set on the table and pockets it, as to destroy the evidence.
Immediately after the confession, Holmes speaks in his normal voice and asks Smith to turn the gas up in the lamp so that it becomes brighter. When he does so, he is faced with confusion. Watson can only hear what is unfolding. Holmes reveals that he acted as if he was sick by starving himself for three days. Watson hears Smith being handcuffed and that he was struggling to let himself loose. Inspector Morton arrests him, showing that he knew all along with the plan. He charges Smith with murder. Holmes then apologises to Watson and says that he knew that Watson was a good doctor and he did not allow to treat him, only because he wanted to bring Smith in. He had fasted for three days to get the look of a sick person so that nobody suspected him. He asked Watson to put half-crowns in the pocket only to emphasise that the sickness had made him half-minded, and he didn't know what he was doing. Holmes says that he wanted to eat something nutritious from the restaurant named Simpsons, and once again, thanks, Watson.
Meaning of difficult words:
|Evidence||Proof that something had taken place|
|Handcuffs||A pair of rings that encloses a prisoner's hand|
|Scuffle||Moving in a hurried manner|
|Capability||The ability to perform|
|Imprisonment||To arrest someone|
State Council of Educational Research and Training 2019. Term 1 English Standard - 10. The Dying Detective - Arthur Conan Doyle (pp. 189 -201). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.