in "ANOTHER BOW"
Being an Unabridged Reprint
from the Unpublished Portfolio
of the late
JOHN H. WATSON, M.D.
--The first three chapters of Dr. Watson's lost manuscript
--the annotated Passenger List of the S. S. Destiny
--General information for passengers
The manuscript of "Another Bow" came to us through channels as
mysterious as any Holmes ever
encountered. The pages, yellowed and dog-eared, were discovered in a
safety-deposit box in
the vault of the National Newark and Essex Bank of New Jersey, where,
presumably, Dr. Watson
had stored them for safekeeping. For decades, someone in Neward, under the name
of J. H.
Watson, had paid the rental on the box. Suddenly the payments stopped. Bank
the vault, and the manuscript, sold at auction, began its circuitous route to
our offices in
California. We blew the dust off the pages and checked their authenticity as
such things can be checked, including an unpleasant week with a cranky old paper
and ink expert
in his musty San Francisco laboratory. Since we are a software company and
since Holmes was
characterized by his chronicler, Watson, as "the most perfect reasoning
machine that the world
has ever seen," we thought it appropriate that the manuscript be translated
to the computer,
instead of the usual book form. Thus, "Another bow" has found its way
to a medium, which we
are convinced, would have been of invaluable service to the Master had he been
to practice his craft amidst the golden age of computers.
P. A. Golden, Editor
Los Gatos, California
May 19, 1984
A NOTE FROM THE PAST
"It canít hurt now," Mr. Sherlock Holmes would often remark when, a
case having been
long completed, I sought his permission to record his professional activities.
I can recall him wearing his purple dressing gown and sitting before the fire
lodgings in Baker Street, drawing a bow across the fiddle on his knees and
shag tobacco incessantly. His haggard and ascetic face was nearly invisible in
pungent cloud, his eyes were closed, and his black clay pipe thrust forward
mouth like the bill of some strange bird. "You see, Watson, but you do
he would correct me on one point or another, and I would marvel at the keenness
mind, and speculate on his place in history, knowing it was assured.
Which brings me to the heart of this matter. I have seldom drawn my narratives
the brilliant twilight of my friendís career, yet I do so in this case because
possessed such vital importance. Not only did I require Holmesí leave to
record it, I
required that the world once again be at peace. I required the conviction that
planet would still spin safely on its axis. For if my singular friend had not
himself, had he not applied his prodigious talents to the task, not bent his
intellectual shoulders to the wheel, the existence of the world as we know it
would have had no more reality than a fever dream.
It began innocently enough, in the latter days of June, that first summer
Great War. I awoke one morning to discover that the dreary rains had ceased,
sun was shining. At breakfast, Mrs. Watson suggested we take our holiday with
widowed sister, who had secured for the season a home in Portofino. Having no
for Italy, and even less for my wifeís sister, I argued with some vehemence
Violetís plan. However, when she slid the ham and eggs from the pan, missing
but not my lap, I took it as an indication that my darling was in one of her
stubborn moods--precisely her sisterís permanent state--and I brushed the food
floor and fled out the door to Queen Anne Street.
I wandered aimlessly. By noon it was quite hot, a breeze having lifted the
veil of fog
from London, revealing a light blue sky with fleecy white clouds drifting out
the Channel. I thought enviously of Holmes living peacefully with Nature in
on the southern slope of the Downs, with a marvellous view of the Channel, and
he revelled in the exquisite air whilst walking the pebbled beach. There, if
one could have a refreshing dip in the swimming-pools of curves and hollows
the contours of the coast-line and were filled by the tides.
Although it was Holmes who had introduced me to the present Mrs. Watson, owing
Violetís moods and a strong possessiveness whose charm had worn during the
stormy years of our marriage, I had not seen my old comrade in a number of
After strolling to a tobacconist and purchasing an ounce of Ďship's,í I
charged my pipe
and resumed my walk, wistfully remembering my decades of association with
that the War was ended and the Allied and associated powers were negotiating
of peace at Versailles, Londoners appeared cheerful as they hurried about their
as cheerful as Londoners are wont to appear. I was lost in my reminiscences
bells sounded in a church. I opened my pocket-watch, and so as not be late for
luncheon with my literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I rode, reluctantly,
in a cab
Sir Arthur had served as senior physician in a field hospital during the second
War. He had written a sterling defense of Englandís conduct in that campaign,
had been widely read. He had received his knighthood in 1902, and not long
first wife had passed away. That was quite some time ago--roundabout the time
marriage to Violet--and although, along with his re-marriage, the intervening
been kind to him, the past six months had not. That cold and bitter east wind,
Holmes had predicted upon the capture of the German spy Von Bork, had withered
its blast Doyleís beloved son, Kingsley, and Sir Arthurís brother, Innes. Both
died as a result of that Hun-inspired atrocity.
In addition to his political writings, medical work, and literary agency, Sir
owned an establishment in Westminster, The Psychic Bookstore, where he pursued
passion for mysterious phenomena by authoring, publishing, and selling tomes on
subject. He had been working feverishly, adhering to the maxim that work is
antidote to sorrow, but his passion was bankrupting the poor fellow. He and
regularly attended seances, claiming to have contacted through them the dear
boy, Kingsley. I was skeptical of the subject of Sir Arthurís obsession, and
agreed with Holmesí verdict in the matter, that the world is big enough for us,
ghosts need apply. I had written Sir Arthur a note to this effect, and
although I could
not concur with his logic--indeed, that is the very element which is absent in
argument--the emotional content of his reply is etched in my memory:
My dearest Dr. Watson: In our agonized world, with the flower of our race
dying in the
promise of their youth, with their wives and mothers having no conception
loved ones have gone, I suddenly saw that this subject with which I had dallied
merely a study of a force outside science, but that it was a breaking down of
between two worlds, a message from beyond, an undeniable call of hope and
humanity at the time of its deepest affliction.
Entering Simpsonís I spotted Sir Arthur at a small table in the front window.
precisely the table where Holmes and I solved many a knotty problem,
the case of ĎThe Illustrious Client,í a draft of which was piled
unceremoniously on my
desk, crying for completion. I was to have finished it that very morning, and
my error in arguing with my wife. She had read the draft the previous evening,
accused me of making sport of her younger years.
Sir Arthur was sipping from a glass of whiskey and gazing sadly out the window.
agony of which he had written in his letter was plainly marked on his face.
seemed hollow and distant, as though he were regarding the fog across a dark,
moor, and not the gay, sunlit ribbon of humanity unravelling through the
great drooping moustaches, grey now as a winter sky, hid a mouth whose corners
turned south in a perpetual frown, a mouth that could speak only of sadness.
"Dear Watson," said he, bravely casting off his gloom rising, and
extending his hand
when I approached the table. "Itís been too long."
We shook hands vigourously, and he clapped me upon the back. I was curious as
purpose of our meeting. He had been vague over the telephone, and he continued
his intentions to himself. The waiter arrived. I requested a gin and tonic,
ordered our meal. With the noose of German U-boats finally loosened from
shores, food rationing was but an unpleasant memory. The roast beef, Yorkshire
and peas were delicious; the claret a dry, quiet complement to our fare.
We made idle chatter, evading all talk of comrades and colleagues. At our
it was no trivial matter to ask of old friends, as they might very well have
their houses to their graves on rather short notice. I avoided asking after
for I had heard the death of her step-son had horribly stricken her. Sir
Arthur, on his
part, did not inquire about Mrs. Watson, the gossips of London having spread
warnings of my marriage from stern to bow.
At last the waiter cleared the table. Sir Arthur tossed me his cigar case, a
that brought Holmes to mind, and passed me the gold end-cutter from his
we sipped the wine, and savoured the wonderfully slow-smoking Havanas, Sir
proceeded to disclose his reason for inviting me to luncheon.
"Watson," said he, clearing his throat, "you are familiar with
the American actor
"Of course. I saw him in London. Believe it was in í97 or í98, in his
Service.í Marvellous actor. And his Sherlock Holmes was magnificent. The
Holmes of my
stories is a wan and shadowy creature compared to the vivid, flesh-and-blood
that Gillette has written and brought to the stage."
"Youíre too modest. But allow me to continue. You recall the party Lady
Doyle and I
gave last Christmas? When I introduced you to Waldorf Astor, and his wife, the
born in America, Nancy Witcher Astor?"
"Certainly. Astor is proprietor of The Observer. A fine paper. Topping.
as private secretary to Lloyd George. Was hellís own amount of assistance to
Minister. Then he was something or other in the ministry of foods towards the
conclusion of the War. And from what I understand, come the November election,
Astorís a viscount and required to abandon his seat in the Commons, his wife
well be the first woman every to sit in Parliament."
"Excellent, dear boy," replied sir Arthur, excitedly drawing his
cigar from his mouth,
causing the long ash to topple on the tablecloth. A few of the grey flakes
his wine glass, floating like volcanic islands on the ruby surface.
passionately continued, "you are undoubtedly acquainted with your American
"Really," said I, chuckling to mask my annoyance. "You must
stop quizzing me like a
school boy. Please, come to the point."
"Yes, very well," he sighed, draining the wine from his glass. I
thought it best not to
mention the ash. It did not appear to bother him. He said, "Mr. Gillette
revive his Holmes play. First in New York, then London. Your Mr. Doubleman
to finance the productions, if--and this is a rather large if--if he can
to allow Doubleman & Company to publish his early monographs in a
"Ah," said I, "Holmesí writings on tobacco ash, the tracing of
footsteps, the influence
of a trade upon the hand, tattooing, cyphers, the human ear and I believe there
"Mr. Doubleman has heard rumblings that Holmes is completing a master-work
science of deduction. He wishes to publish this as well. He feels that the
coming on the eve of these publications, will assist in the selling of the
paused and re-filled his wine glass. "I donít need to tell you, Watson,
as the agent
in this affair, I stand to earn a tidy sum. Of course, you do as well. Not to
Holmes. My share will keep my Psychic Bookstore afloat."
I puffed on my cigar, feeling my mouth twist in a wry expression.
Sir Arthur responded heatedly, "As a public man of affairs I have never
shown myself to
be wild or unreasonable! I hope my opinions in psychic matters have some
compared to those of my opponents, whose contempt for the subject has not
to give calm consideration to the facts."
"I apologise. No offence intended. What part am I to play?"
"The Astors, now that the War has ended, are planning a cruise. It will
New York, sail to London, and return to the States, where theyíll visit with
American half of their family. Gillette and Doubleman are scheduled to be
are the inventors Edison and Bell; some avant-garde sort from Paris; a Spanish
named Picasso; Miss Gertrude Stein, a critic or collector; the
the Baron de Rothschild; and Colonel T. E. Lawrence."
"Lawrence of Arabia?" I exclaimed, profoundly interested.
Sir Arthur nodded. "Heís writing the memoirs of his campaign. General
and Lieutenant Cullum Jenkins will attend as well."
"The heroes of Belleau Wood," said I, impressed. "Brave
"Rather," replied he. "It should be quite pleasant. The Astors
have engaged a band of
jazzmen from new Orleans, and a grand chef. Many more distinguished guests
aboard. All to celebrate the peace."
"And you wish Holmes to be on hand to discuss your proposition?"
"Precisely. As well as you and Mrs. Watson."
I reflected for a moment. "My dear Violet mentioned something about
taking her holiday
in Italy with her sister. I could join her later."
"Splendid," answered Sir Arthur. "But what of Holmes?"
I remembered my comrade as I had seen him last. He was gaunt, his hair a white
his shoulders stooped with rheumatism. He followed his regimen of exercise,
his bees, reading, and writing. His years of excessive tobacco use had caused
a disease that dimmed his keen grey eyes and had forced him to employ a
whilst poring over his books and papers. He had relinquished cigars and
had held fast to his beloved pipes and shag. He had remained good old Holmes,
singular man I have every known, but his powers had been lessened by lifeís
"Well?" asked Sir Arthur, anxiously. "Would it persuade Holmes
to know that the
violinist Leopold Auer will be aboard? He has re-located from St. Petersburg
York. I know Holmes greatly admires him."
"As did Tchaikovsky. I recall Holmes telling me that the composer had
concerto to Auer. I believe it was after Holmes had lunched with Auer when he
teaching in London." The idea of being re-united with Holmes was
tempting, even though
it would concern money, not crime. "I trust Holmes will agree to sail.
He once said to
me, ĎI fear that I am like one of those popular tenors, who, having outlived
is still tempted to make repeated farewell bows to his indulgent audience.í My
could never resist a stage. Iím certain heíll come!"
"God bless you, Watson! Iím very grateful."
Sir Arthur settled the bill. Although his finances were in disarray, he was a
and I did not offer my share, cringing as I remembered how my wife often
referred to me
as frugal. Sir Arthur wrote some financial figures on a pad and asked that I
to Holmes. He stated that we were sailing on the S. S. Destiny, the day after
which necessitated that I visit Holmes straight away.
"Iíve had a letter from my friend Houdini," said Sir Arthur.
"He assured me the ship is
I knew of his budding correspondence with the magician, and I wished Houdini,
seemed like a clear-thinking fellow, would set Sir Arthur aright in the amount
trickery required to simulate mysticism. Ambling out onto the Strand, we shook
and Sir Arthur removed a sheet of thick, pink-tinted note-paper from his jacket
handed it to me, and said, "In my anxiety I nearly forgot this. It
arrived at my office
from America. Iím skeptical of its importance. Clearly the work of some
The note was dated June 10, 1919, and had a return address on a Lyons Avenue,
Dear Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
My mother, Irene Adler, told me a month ago that if I ever needed help I should
note to you on this paper and youíd see that it got to my father. As I have
of him in the newspapers and in Dr. Watsonís stories, and heís never contacted
not counting on him, but mother and I are in real trouble and I beg you to pass
note along. Mother has said that father has a keen yet suspicious mind, that
fails those in need, and that he will recognize the paper. Please help.
"See, Watson," chuckled Sir Arthur, "itís nothing. In ĎA
Scandal in Bohemiaí you
referred to the woman as the late Irene Adler. Besides, you were Holmesí
companion. When would he have had a son?"
"Quite true," replied I, hoping not to alarm him with the facts.
"May I keep the note?
We each hailed a cab, and I promised to contact him as soon as I had Holmesí
Riding towards Queen Anne Street, I read and re-read the note. Was this thing
What I had not told sir Arthur was that it had been Holmes himself who had
of Irene Adlerís death. Perhaps he wanted it that way. To say that he was not
the fair sex was to beg the limits of understatement. Particularly, Irene, who
beaten him at his own game, and who, to Holmes, was always the woman, eclipsing
others in his eyes. At the time, over thirty years ago, I had recently married
frail Mary Morstan, dead now of a failed heart. My complete happiness and
interests had drifted Holmes and me apart. I knew little of his comings and
only that he alternated between cocaine and ambition, occasionally rising out
drug-created dreams to take on a case. Reflecting on the matter caused me to
wearily, realising that Jeffrey Adler might very well be the son of Sherlock
Fortunately, when I arrived at home, Violet was not in the kitchen, so as I
bag and leather briefcase, and informed her that I would join her in Portofino
weeks hence, she was armed with neither a cooking utensil nor its contents.
when I mentioned that the matter with Holmes was urgent, she softened, and
and even assisted in the folding of my shirts. In spite of the fact that we
socialise, my Violet kept a warm spot for Holmes in her heart, for he had saved
from the clutches of her ruthless ex-fiancť, Baron Gruner. We kissed once more
my departure. I noticed tears glistening on my belovedís ivory cheeks, and
the raging waters under the bridge of our marriage, I marveled at the depth of
I motored out towards the Downs, revelling in how the dusk bathed the rolling
countryside with gold and crimson light. Drawing closer to Holmesí seaside
inhaled the salt air, spied the chalk cliffs, and missed the turn-off for the
tree-shaded lane where he lived. I threw the gears into reverse, and
myself parking my automobile beyond the hedges of a stone house, crossing a
which wound up a wide, sloped lawn, and knocking on the door of my dear old
Sherlock Holmes, late of Baker Street.
"Holmes, Holmes. Open up. Itís Watson."
Holmes drew back the door. I shouted my greeting, so glad was I to see him.
his manner was reserved, and with hardly a word spoken, he rested his hand upon
shoulder and we walked to the sitting-room. It was large and airy, and
furnished. Beyond the windows, I watched the white-capped waters of the
against the chalk cliffs, and felt the heat of the sunset pouring past the
unfurling over the wood floors like a bolt of scarlet satin.
When we were seated in the comfortably sagging chairs, Holmes said,
"Watson, how is
Doyle? And why is this matter so pressing?"
I gaped at him in astonishment. "How on earth did you know?"
"Elementary, my dear Watson," replied he, picking up his Persian
slipper, from which he
removed fingerfuls of shag and proceeded to fill his calabash, the bowl of the
curved pipe golden brown from endless hours of smoking. "Your
briefcase," said he, "a
fine Spanish leather. You employ it only on literary matters. Ergo, your
Doyle. That the matter is urgent is clear. We are both aware that your Violet
you on a rather short rein. For her to allow you out of the stable could only
the matter is serious, not social."
Abashed at Holmesí description of my marriage, I was nonetheless awed by his
deduction. I hurriedly explained Sir Arthurís situation and proposal, whilst
ever the close and patient listener, blew great acrid clouds towards the beamed
Finally, he said, "Thatís all well and good. But Violet would not have
journey to the Downs for this alone. Come to the point, my boy."
I handed him the note. He read it, puffing madly on his calabash, the smoke
though from a steam engine. Suddenly he dashed from the sitting-room, and I
his heels until we traversed a hallway and reached his study. He removed a
lens from the awesome clutter on his desk and examined the pink-tinted paper.
switched on a lamp and held the note to the light.
"Look Watson," said he.
I did so and saw a large E with a small g, a P, and a large G with a small t
the texture of the paper.
"My God, Holmes!" exclaimed I. "Now I remember. It is the same
paper from ĎA Scandal.í
The Eg is for Egria, a German speaking country once in Bohemia. The P is for
The G and t stand for Gesellschaft, which is the German contraction for
is the identical paper the Bohemian king sent you when Irene Adler was
"Precisely," mumbled Holmes, "and this Jeffrey Adler is supposed
to be my son."
Although the possibility was a simple question of biology, I had not the heart
him if it were true. I remarked, "If Professor Moriarty were alive, one
might think he
was behind such a letter."
"Yes, yes," answered Holmes impatiently, still studying the note.
"Watson, be a good
chap and help yourself to some of the cold beef and beer in the kitchen, then
the guest room. I want to consider this to-night. Iíll give you your answer
cruise in the morning."
I glumly went off to eat my supper. Long into the watches of the night, whilst
attempting sleep, I heard the mournful wailings of Holmes playing his violin, a
that his mind was feverishly at work.
Dawn came cold and foggy. When I had dressed I entered the sitting-room, where
poisonous haze of shag smoke and an empty coffee pot informed me that Holmes
"Watson," said he. "Iíve arranged for a neighbour to tend my
bees whilst weíre away,
and Iíve packed this blasted trunk."
"Splendid," said I, and we hoisted the trunk, and left straight away
for the docks.
PASSENGERS OF THE DESTINY
At the dock, we met Sir Arthur and Lady Doyle. They were overjoyed to see
though he remained as pensive as he had been on the trip from Sussex. Sir
introduced us to Houdini, and I was not much impressed. Yet seeing the Astors,
T. E. Lawrence, the Baron de Rothschild, and the world-renowned art critic,
Berens ascending the gangplank was quite invigourating, and even Holmes
he was introduced to Thomas Alva Edison. As we boarded the Destiny, I spied a
elderly gentleman being wheeled round the bow in a wheelchair. He had a white
forehead, scant white hair, terribly hunched shoulders, and a scowling,
which slowly oscillated from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion. He
familiar though I could not place him. Perhaps I had seen his picture in the
had read a desciption of him elsewhere. I asked Holmes if he recognised the
My companion squinted towards the bow and replied, "I think not, Watson.
But I didnít
see him too clearly. My eyes are not what they were."
"Same with my memory," chuckled I, as a porter showed us to our
stateroom, and I did not
give it another thought.
The dining-room was grand, as was our meal, numerous Creole dishes which I
pronounce yet managed to consume in extraordinary quantities. A band from New
played a rousing music I had never heard, and which my well-travelled friend
explained was known as Dixieland Jazz. I particularly enjoyed the tail-gate
Kid Ory, and the cornetist, who the band referred to as Satchelmouth. Holmes
and I were
seated with the Doyles; my distinguished, silver-haired publisher, Isidore
and his rather homely wife, Becky; General Phillip Ryan, a short handsome man
thirty-five, and his bride, Jenny, a slim, auburn beauty whom I overheard
Scripture to her husband as he summoned the sommelier for his third bottle of
Lieutenant Cullum Jenkins, whom, I speculated, because of his gangly appearance
hairless cheeks, was no more than nineteen years old. The General became
to his wife, sneering that he had heard enough of her Bible-quoting dribble to
a lifetime. I was eager to discuss the War with these heroes of Belleau Wood,
not do so in the presence of the Doyles, and General Ryan appeared only in the
drink himself senseless. Whilst dessert was being served, the General, quite
now, stood, called for silence, raised a glass of Bordeaux and another of
shouted, "I like the wine of life with a little brandy in it!"
He downed both glasses in rapid succession, announced he needed some air, then
drunkenly from the room. I noticed that Mrs. Ryan flashed a winning smile at
Jenkins, and thought I detected her hand, hidden by the linen tablecloth, slide
Lieutenantís lap. Discreetly, I mentioned this to Holmes.
"Very good, Watson," whispered he. "You are learning to
A HERO ON THE RAIL