The Five Orange Pips Chapter 2

‘Come in,’ said Holmes.

A man entered. He was young and well-dressed. But his raincoat was wet, and the umbrella in his hand dripped water. He looked nervous: his face was pale and his eyes were heavy and tired.

`I am very sorry,’ the man said. `I hope I am not troubling you tonight. I am afraid I have brought some of the storm with me into your warm home.’

`Give me your coat and umbrella,’ said Holmes, standing. `I will hang them up on this hook; they will dry quickly. You have come from the South West, I see.’

`Yes, from Horsham. But how did you know?’

`There is clay and chalk on your shoes. It is quite distinctive,’ said Holmes.

`I have come for advice,’ said the man.

`I can give that easily,’ said Holmes.

`And your help.’

`That is not so easy.’

`I have heard about you, Mr Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast. He told me that you helped him in the Tankerville Club scandal.’

`I remember him,’ said Holmes. `He was wrongly accused of cheating at cards.’

`He said that you can solve anything.’

`He said too much.’

`He also said that you are never beaten.’

`Not quite true. Three men and one woman have beaten me. But generally, I am quite successful.’

`Then you might be successful with me.’

`Sit down,’ Holmes told the man, `and give me some details about your case.’

The man sat. `This is such a strange and mysterious case, and it happened to my own family.’

Holmes pulled his chair closer towards the fire and sat too. `Please start your story from the beginning. After you finish, I will ask questions about the most important details.’

The young man stretched his wet feet towards the hot fire. Then he began his story. ‘My name,’ he said, `is John Openshaw… ‘

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