I heard the footsteps. I heard a voice say, “Holmes! Holmes! Can you hear me?”
“Is that you Mr. Smith?” Holmes whispered. “You know what is wrong with me. You are the only one in London who can cure me.”
“Do you know the symptoms?” asked Smith.
“Only too well, Mr. Smith,” and he described the symptoms.
“They are the same, Holmes,” Smith said, “Poor Victor was a dead man on the fourth day -a strong and healthy young man. What a coincidence indeed!”
“I know that you did it,” said Holmes.
“Well, you can’t prove it.”
“Give me water, please,” Holmes groaned.
“Here.” I heard Smith’s voice.
“Cure me, please. Well, about Victor Savage’s death. You did it. I’ll forget everything, but cure me. I’ll forget about it.”
“You can forget or remember, just as you like. It doesn’t matter to me how my nephew died. Watson said you got it from the Chinese sailors. Could there be any other reason?”
“I can’t think. My mind is gone, help me,” pleaded Holmes.
Holmes had prepared for an event that he had planned to unfold. He lays there in his sickbed, waiting for Mr. Smith to reach. Watson heard a footstep approaching from the other room. He can only hear and not see clearly from his place. He heard a voice call Holmes' name. Holmes had also probably heard the footsteps and the voice and calls out asking if it was Smith who had come. He starts praising him immediately, saying that he is the only person who knows about the disease and the only person who can rescue him. He asks if he could cure him of the deadly disease. Mr. Smith asks if he could tell him the symptoms of the disease, and Holmes faintly relies on that he could easily list all the effects that his body is showing.
When Holmes gives out all the symptoms, Smith is pleased. His voice reveals that he is actually happy rather than being concerned. He then confirms that these symptoms are the same as his nephew Victor Savage. He also says that Victor was very hale and healthy, but he died pathetically once he got the disease. He could only survive for four days. When he sarcastically says that it is a coincidence that Holmes and Victor shared the same symptom, he expects Holmes also to share the same fate as Victor. Holmes reveals that he is aware that Victor's condition was not natural and that Smith had a role in his death. Mr. Smith very confidently says that there is no way that Holmes could prove it. Holmes does not take up the challenge rather asks for water which emphasises that he is weak to think of proving all that. This gives Smith even more courage, and he passes the water.
Holmes appears as if he is very sick and that he is at the mercy of Smith. He pleads with him to cure him, and that in exchange for that, he would forget about his nephew's death case. It is here that we understand that Sherlock had so far been investigating on this case. He even says that he knows that Smith did it but is willing to forget about it. But even now, Smith does not accept that he did it. He acts as if he is the least bothered and says that he is not worried bout his nephew's death. He is now even more curious to confirm the disease that has affected Holmes. He says that he only knows that he transmitted it from Chinese soldiers on his way from Sumatra. He wonders if there is any other reason for his disease. Holmes does not say anything but tries to get it from Smith himself. He says that his mind is not functioning properly because of the sickness and asks if he could provide any insight.
Holmes pretends to plead with Smith
Meaning of difficult words:
|Footsteps||The sound of someone walking with shoes|
|Coincidence||Events happening similarly without connection|
|Symptoms||An indication of something happening|
|Whispered||To speak slowly|
|Groan||Make a deep sound|
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.