‘The Klu Klux Klan,’ said Holmes, `is a secret society. It was started by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern States of America just after the Civil War there. Many joined it from the states of Tennessee, Louisiana, the Carolina’s, Georgia, and Florida. It was used to frighten and terrorise people. People were often murdered or made to leave the country in fear. The man who was threatened would be sent a warning. An oak leaf in some parts of the country, melon seeds in others, or…’ Holmes paused for a second, ‘orange pips!’
‘And if someone stood against them and did not run?’ I asked.
`If they did not leave the country, they were murdered.’ Holmes said gravely. `For years, the Klu Klux Klan grew in numbers. But in 1869, it suddenly collapsed.’ Holmes sat back in his chair.
`So you can see,’ said Holmes, dropping his voice to a quieter tone, `that the sudden breaking up of the Klan happened at the same time as the disappearance of Openshaw from America with their papers. And I believe that these papers had names written on them. Names of men who were involved with the K.K.K! And these men do not want their names to be known.’
`And the paper that we saw…’ I did not finish my sentence.
`Is a record of people who were chased from the country or dealt with in a deadly manner. But there is nothing more we can do tonight…’ Holmes said and reached down and picked up his violin at the side of his chair. ‘So for half an hour, let us not think about the terrible weather or the terrible behaviour of our fellow men.’