Anglický čtenář v Doubravníku [16]

Závěrečná část detektivního příběhu. Případ je vyřešen a ...
Mr. Sherlock Holmes is free to devote his life to examining those interesting little problems which the complex life of London so plentifully presents.

The Adventure of the Empty House 5

He turned over several pages, leaning back in his chair and blowing great clouds from his cigar.

He gave the book back to me, and I read:

Moran, Sebastian, Colonel. Unemployed. Born London, 1840. Son of Sir Augustus Moran, once British Minister to Persia. Educated in Eton and Oxford. Served in the army of Eastern Empire. Author several books about hunting.

On the margin was written, in Holmes's precise hand:

The second most dangerous man in London.

"This is surprising," said I, as I handed back the volume.

"The man's career is that of a good soldier."

"It is true," Holmes answered. "Up to a certain point he did well. He was always a man of iron nerve, and the story is still told in India how he crawled down a drain after a wounded man-eating tiger. There are some trees, Watson, which grow to a certain height, and then suddenly develop some unsightly eccentricity. You will see it often in humans. I have a theory that the individual represents in his development the whole procession of his ancestors, and that such a sudden turn to good or evil stands for some strong influence which came into the line of his ancestors."

"It is surely rather fanciful."

"Well, I don't insist upon it. Whatever was the cause, Colonel Moran began to go wrong. He came to London. It was at this time that he was met Professor Moriarty. Moriarty gave him a lot of money, and used him only in most difficult jobs, which no ordinary criminal could have undertaken. So cleverly was the colonel concealed that, even when the Moriarty gang was broken up, we could not incriminate him; you remember at that date, when I called upon you in your rooms, how I put up the shutters for fear of air-guns? No doubt you thought me fanciful. I knew exactly what I was doing, for I knew of the existence of this remarkable gun, and I knew also that one of the best shots in the world would be behind it".

"When I read the papers with some attention during my stay in France I came to the notice about Ronald´s death. I was certain that Colonel Moran had done it. So long as he was free in London, my life would really not have been safe. Night and day the shadow would have been over me, and sooner or later his chance must have come. What could I do? There was no use appealing to a magistrate. They cannot interfere on the strength of what would appear to them to be a wild suspicion. So I could do nothing. But I watched the criminal news, knowing that sooner or later I should get him. Then came the death of this Ronald Adair. My chance had come at last".

"Yes" I said, "but why did he murder Ronald?"

"It is not difficult to explain. Knowing the facts, was it not certain that Colonel Moran had done it? He had played cards with the old boy, he had followed him home from the club, and he had shot him through the open window. There was not a doubt of it. He could not fail to connect my sudden return with his crime, and to be terribly alarmed. I was sure that he would make an attempt to get me out of the way at once, and would bring round his murderous weapon for that purpose. I left him an excellent mark in the window, and, having warned the police that they might be needed. I took up what seemed to me to be a very good place for observation, never dreaming that he would choose the same spot for his attack. Now, my dear Watson, does anything remain for me to explain?"

"Yes," said I. "You have not made it clear what was Colonel Moran's motive in murdering the Honourable Ronald Adair?"

"Ah! My dear Watson, there we come into those realms of thinking, where the most logical mind may be wrong. Each may state his own hypothesis upon the present evidence, and yours is as likely to be correct as mine."

"You have formed one, then?"

"I think that it is not difficult to explain the facts. It came out in evidence that Colonel Moran and young Adair had, between them, won a considerable amount of money. Now, Moran undoubtedly played false cards -- of that I have long been aware. I believe that on the day of the murder Adair had discovered that Moran was cheating. Very likely he had spoken to him privately, and had threatened to expose him unless he voluntarily resigned his membership of the club, and promised not to play cards again. The exclusion from his clubs would mean ruin to Moran, who lived by his card gains. He therefore murdered Adair, who at the time was trying to find out how much money he had lost. He locked the door because he did not want anyone to see what he was doing. Am I right do you think?"

"I have no doubt you are."

"It will be verified or disproved at the trial. Mr. Sherlock Holmes is free to devote his life to examining those interesting little problems which the complex life of London so plentifully presents."

. . .

rubriku vede: PhDr.Tomášek Pavel CSc.