The Five Orange Pips (Ch 8)

‘This is the envelope,’ said John Openshaw. `The postmark is east London. The same words – K.K.K. – are in the letter. The letter tells me to put the papers on the sundial.’

`What have you done?’ Holmes asked.

`Nothing,’ answered Openshaw.

`Nothing?’

`To tell the truth,’ said Openshaw, resting his white face in his thin hands, `I have felt helpless. I have felt like a rabbit when the snake is coming towards it. I can see evil, but I can do nothing about it.’

`Tut! Tut!’ cried Sherlock Holmes. `You must act or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for despair.’

`I have seen the police.’

`Ah!’

`But they listen to my story with a smile. The inspector thinks that the letters are a joke, and that the deaths of my relations were just accidents.’

Sherlock Holmes shook his fists in the air. `Idiots! Fools!’ he cried.

`They have, however, given me a policeman for my protection.’

`I see. Did he come with you tonight?’

`No. His orders were to stay in my house.’

Again Holmes got angry. `Why did you not come to me at once?’ he cried.

`I did not know. I only spoke to Prendergast today about my troubles, and he told me I was to come to you.’

`It is two days since you received that letter. We should have acted before this. Is there anything else that you can tell us?’

`There is one thing,’ said John Openshaw. He put his hand into his pocket and took out a crumpled piece of blue paper. `I can remember this one thing. On the day my uncle burned the papers… I found this one lying on the floor. I think that it is one of the papers that he dropped and did not notice. I think it is from his private diary. The writing is definitely my uncle’s.’

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