Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Die Abenteuer von Sherlock Holmes

Übersetzt von Alice und Karl Heinz Berger, Lizenz der Aufbau Verlagsgruppe
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2023

















To Sher­lock Holmes she is al­ways the wo­man. I have sel­dom heard him men­tion her un­der any oth­er name.
In his eyes she ec­lipses and pre­dom­in­ates the whole of her sex.
It was not that he felt any emo­tion akin to love for Irene Adler.
All emo­tions, and that one par­tic­u­larly, were ab­hor­rent to his cold, pre­cise but ad­mir­ably bal­anced mind.
He was, I take it, the most per­fect reas­on­ing and ob­serving ma­chine that the world has seen,
but as a lov­er he would have placed him­self in a false po­s­i­tion.
He nev­er spoke of the softer pas­sions, save with a gibe and a sneer.
They were ad­mir­able things for the ob­serv­er — ex­cel­lent for draw­ing the veil from men’s motives and ac­tions.
But for the trained reason­er to ad­mit such in­tru­sions into his own del­ic­ate and finely ad­jus­ted tem­pera­ment was to in­tro­duce a dis­tract­ing factor
which might throw a doubt upon all his men­tal res­ults.
Grit in a sens­it­ive in­stru­ment, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses,
would not be more dis­turb­ing than a strong emo­tion in a nature such as his.
And yet there was but one wo­man to him, and that wo­man was the late Irene Adler, of du­bi­ous and ques­tion­able memory.
I had seen little of Holmes lately. My mar­riage had drif­ted us away from each oth­er.
My own com­plete hap­pi­ness, and the home-centred in­terests
which rise up around the man who first finds him­self mas­ter of his own es­tab­lish­ment, were suf­fi­cient to ab­sorb all my at­ten­tion,
while Holmes, who loathed every form of so­ci­ety with his whole Bo­hemi­an soul,
re­mained in our lodgings in Baker Street, bur­ied among his old books,
and al­tern­at­ing from week to week between co­caine and am­bi­tion, the drowsi­ness of the drug, and the fierce en­ergy of his own keen nature.
He was still, as ever, deeply at­trac­ted by the study of crime,
and oc­cu­pied his im­mense fac­ulties and ex­traordin­ary powers of ob­ser­va­tion in fol­low­ing out those clues,
and clear­ing up those mys­ter­ies which had been aban­doned as hope­less by the of­fi­cial po­lice.
From time to time I heard some vague ac­count of his do­ings: of his sum­mons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder,
of his clear­ing up of the sin­gu­lar tragedy of the Atkin­son broth­ers at Trin­co­malee, and fi­nally of the mis­sion
which he had ac­com­plished so del­ic­ately and suc­cess­fully for the reign­ing fam­ily of Hol­land.
Bey­ond these signs of his activ­ity, however, which I merely shared with all the read­ers of the daily press,
I knew little of my former friend and com­pan­ion.
One night — it was on the twen­ti­eth of March, 1888 — I was re­turn­ing from a jour­ney to a pa­tient
(for I had now re­turned to civil prac­tice), when my way led me through Baker Street.
As I passed the well-re­membered door, which must al­ways be as­so­ci­ated in my mind with my woo­ing, and with the dark in­cid­ents of the Study in Scar­let,
I was seized with a keen de­sire to see Holmes again, and to know how he was em­ploy­ing his ex­traordin­ary powers.
His rooms were bril­liantly lit, and, even as I looked up, I saw his tall, spare fig­ure pass twice in a dark sil­hou­ette against the blind.
He was pa­cing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head sunk upon his chest and his hands clasped be­hind him.
To me, who knew his every mood and habit, his at­ti­tude and man­ner told their own story.
He was at work again. He had ris­en out of his drug-cre­ated dreams and was hot upon the scent of some new prob­lem.
I rang the bell and was shown up to the cham­ber which had formerly been in part my own.
His man­ner was not ef­fus­ive. It sel­dom was; but he was glad, I think, to see me.
With hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to an arm­chair,
threw across his case of ci­gars, and in­dic­ated a spir­it case and a gas­o­gene in the corner.
Then he stood be­fore the fire and looked me over in his sin­gu­lar in­tro­spect­ive fash­ion.
“Wed­lock suits you,” he re­marked. “I think, Wat­son, that you have put on sev­en and a half pounds since I saw you.”
“Sev­en!” I answered.
“In­deed, I should have thought a little more. Just a trifle more, I fancy, Wat­son.
And in prac­tice again, I ob­serve. You did not tell me that you in­ten­ded to go into har­ness.”
“Then, how do you know?”
“I see it, I de­duce it. How do I know that you have been get­ting your­self very wet lately, and that you have a most clumsy and care­less ser­vant girl?”
“My dear Holmes,” said I, “this is too much. You would cer­tainly have been burned, had you lived a few cen­tur­ies ago.
It is true that I had a coun­try walk on Thursday and came home in a dread­ful mess,
but as I have changed my clothes I can’t ima­gine how you de­duce it.
As to Mary Jane, she is in­cor­ri­gible, and my wife has giv­en her no­tice, but there, again, I fail to see how you work it out.”
He chuckled to him­self and rubbed his long, nervous hands to­geth­er.
“It is sim­pli­city it­self,” said he; “my eyes tell me that on the in­side of your left shoe,
just where the fire­light strikes it, the leath­er is scored by six al­most par­al­lel cuts.
Ob­vi­ously they have been caused by someone who has very care­lessly scraped round the edges of the sole in or­der to re­move crus­ted mud from it.
Hence, you see, my double de­duc­tion that you had been out in vile weath­er,
and that you had a par­tic­u­larly ma­lig­nant boot-slit­ting spe­ci­men of the Lon­don slavey.
As to your prac­tice, if a gen­tle­man walks into my rooms smelling of iod­o­form,
with a black mark of ni­trate of sil­ver upon his right fore­finger, and a bulge on the right side of his top-hat to show where he has secreted his steth­o­scope,
I must be dull, in­deed, if I do not pro­nounce him to be an act­ive mem­ber of the med­ic­al pro­fes­sion.”
I could not help laugh­ing at the ease with which he ex­plained his pro­cess of de­duc­tion.
“When I hear you give your reas­ons,” I re­marked, “the thing al­ways ap­pears to me to be so ri­dicu­lously simple that I could eas­ily do it my­self,
though at each suc­cess­ive in­stance of your reas­on­ing I am baffled un­til you ex­plain your pro­cess.
And yet I be­lieve that my eyes are as good as yours.”
“Quite so,” he answered, light­ing a ci­gar­ette, and throw­ing him­self down into an arm­chair.
“You see, but you do not ob­serve. The dis­tinc­tion is clear.
For ex­ample, you have fre­quently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”
“How of­ten?”
“Well, some hun­dreds of times.”
“Then how many are there?”
“How many? I don’t know.”
“Quite so! You have not ob­served. And yet you have seen. That is just my point.
Now, I know that there are sev­en­teen steps, be­cause I have both seen and ob­served.
By the way, since you are in­ter­ested in these little prob­lems,
and since you are good enough to chron­icle one or two of my tri­fling ex­per­i­ences, you may be in­ter­ested in this.”
He threw over a sheet of thick, pink-tin­ted note­pa­per which had been ly­ing open upon the table.
“It came by the last post,” said he. “Read it aloud.”
The note was un­dated, and without either sig­na­ture or ad­dress.
“There will call upon you to-night, at a quarter to eight o’clock,” it said, “a gen­tle­man who de­sires to con­sult you upon a mat­ter of the very deep­est mo­ment.
Your re­cent ser­vices to one of the roy­al houses of Europe have shown
that you are one who may safely be trus­ted with mat­ters which are of an im­port­ance which can hardly be ex­ag­ger­ated.
This ac­count of you we have from all quar­ters re­ceived.
Be in your cham­ber then at that hour, and do not take it amiss if your vis­it­or wear a mask.”
“This is in­deed a mys­tery,” I re­marked. “What do you ima­gine that it means?”
“I have no data yet. It is a cap­it­al mis­take to the­or­ise be­fore one has data.
In­sens­ibly one be­gins to twist facts to suit the­or­ies, in­stead of the­or­ies to suit facts. But the note it­self. What do you de­duce from it?”
I care­fully ex­amined the writ­ing, and the pa­per upon which it was writ­ten.
“The man who wrote it was pre­sum­ably well to do,” I re­marked, en­deav­our­ing to im­it­ate my com­pan­ion’s pro­cesses.
“Such pa­per could not be bought un­der half a crown a pack­et. It is pe­cu­li­arly strong and stiff.”
“Pe­cu­li­ar — that is the very word,” said Holmes. “It is not an Eng­lish pa­per at all. Hold it up to the light.”
I did so, and saw a large “E” with a small “g,” a “P,” and a large “G” with a small “t” woven into the tex­ture of the pa­per.
“What do you make of that?” asked Holmes.
“The name of the maker, no doubt; or his mono­gram, rather.”
“Not at all. The ‘G’ with the small ‘t’ stands for ‘Gesell­schaft,’ which is the Ger­man for ‘Com­pany.’
It is a cus­tom­ary con­trac­tion like our ‘Co.’ ‘P,’ of course, stands for ‘Papi­er.’ Now for the ‘Eg.’
Let us glance at our Con­tin­ent­al Gaz­etteer.” He took down a heavy brown volume from his shelves.
“Eglow, Eglon­itz — here we are, Egria. It is in a Ger­man-speak­ing coun­try — in Bo­hemia, not far from Carls­bad.
‘Re­mark­able as be­ing the scene of the death of Wal­len­stein, and for its nu­mer­ous glass-factor­ies and pa­per-mills.’
Ha, ha, my boy, what do you make of that?” His eyes sparkled, and he sent up a great blue tri­umphant cloud from his ci­gar­ette.
“The pa­per was made in Bo­hemia,” I said.
“Pre­cisely. And the man who wrote the note is a Ger­man.
Do you note the pe­cu­li­ar con­struc­tion of the sen­tence — ‘This ac­count of you we have from all quar­ters re­ceived.’
A French­man or Rus­si­an could not have writ­ten that. It is the Ger­man who is so un­cour­teous to his verbs.
It only re­mains, there­fore, to dis­cov­er what is wanted by this Ger­man who writes upon Bo­hemi­an pa­per and prefers wear­ing a mask to show­ing his face.
And here he comes, if I am not mis­taken, to re­solve all our doubts.”
As he spoke there was the sharp sound of horses’ hoofs and grat­ing wheels against the curb, fol­lowed by a sharp pull at the bell. Holmes whistled.
“A pair, by the sound,” said he. “Yes,” he con­tin­ued, glan­cing out of the win­dow. “A nice little brougham and a pair of beau­ties.
A hun­dred and fifty guineas apiece. There’s money in this case, Wat­son, if there is noth­ing else.”
“I think that I had bet­ter go, Holmes.”
“Not a bit, Doc­tor. Stay where you are. I am lost without my Boswell.
And this prom­ises to be in­ter­est­ing. It would be a pity to miss it.”
“But your cli­ent —”
“Nev­er mind him. I may want your help, and so may he.
Here he comes. Sit down in that arm­chair, Doc­tor, and give us your best at­ten­tion.”
A slow and heavy step, which had been heard upon the stairs and in the pas­sage, paused im­me­di­ately out­side the door.
Then there was a loud and au­thor­it­at­ive tap.
“Come in!” said Holmes.
A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height, with the chest and limbs of a Her­cules.
His dress was rich with a rich­ness which would, in Eng­land, be looked upon as akin to bad taste.
Heavy bands of as­trakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat,
while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-col­oured silk
and se­cured at the neck with a brooch which con­sisted of a single flam­ing beryl.
Boots which ex­ten­ded halfway up his calves, and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur,
com­pleted the im­pres­sion of bar­bar­ic op­u­lence which was sug­ges­ted by his whole ap­pear­ance.
He car­ried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand, while he wore across the up­per part of his face, ex­tend­ing down past the cheekbones, a black viz­ard mask,
which he had ap­par­ently ad­jus­ted that very mo­ment, for his hand was still raised to it as he entered.
From the lower part of the face he ap­peared to be a man of strong char­ac­ter,
with a thick, hanging lip, and a long, straight chin sug­gest­ive of res­ol­u­tion pushed to the length of ob­stin­acy.
“You had my note?” he asked with a deep harsh voice and a strongly marked Ger­man ac­cent.
“I told you that I would call.” He looked from one to the oth­er of us, as if un­cer­tain which to ad­dress.
“Pray take a seat,” said Holmes.
“This is my friend and col­league, Dr. Wat­son, who is oc­ca­sion­ally good enough to help me in my cases. Whom have I the hon­our to ad­dress?”
“You may ad­dress me as the Count Von Kramm, a Bo­hemi­an no­ble­man.
I un­der­stand that this gen­tle­man, your friend, is a man of hon­our and dis­cre­tion,
whom I may trust with a mat­ter of the most ex­treme im­port­ance. If not, I should much prefer to com­mu­nic­ate with you alone.”
I rose to go, but Holmes caught me by the wrist and pushed me back into my chair.
“It is both, or none,” said he. “You may say be­fore this gen­tle­man any­thing which you may say to me.”
The Count shrugged his broad shoulders. “Then I must be­gin,” said he, “by bind­ing you both to ab­so­lute secrecy for two years;
at the end of that time the mat­ter will be of no im­port­ance.
At present it is not too much to say that it is of such weight it may have an in­flu­ence upon European his­tory.”
“I prom­ise,” said Holmes.
“And I.”
“You will ex­cuse this mask,” con­tin­ued our strange vis­it­or.
“The au­gust per­son who em­ploys me wishes his agent to be un­known to you,
and I may con­fess at once that the title by which I have just called my­self is not ex­actly my own.”
“I was aware of it,” said Holmes dryly.
“The cir­cum­stances are of great del­ic­acy, and every pre­cau­tion has to be taken to quench what might grow to be an im­mense scan­dal
and ser­i­ously com­prom­ise one of the reign­ing fam­il­ies of Europe.
To speak plainly, the mat­ter im­plic­ates the great House of Orm­stein, hered­it­ary kings of Bo­hemia.”
“I was also aware of that,” mur­mured Holmes, set­tling him­self down in his arm­chair and clos­ing his eyes.
Our vis­it­or glanced with some ap­par­ent sur­prise at the lan­guid, loun­ging fig­ure of the man
who had been no doubt de­pic­ted to him as the most in­cis­ive reason­er and most en­er­get­ic agent in Europe.
Holmes slowly re­opened his eyes and looked im­pa­tiently at his gi­gant­ic cli­ent.
“If your Majesty would con­des­cend to state your case,” he re­marked, “I should be bet­ter able to ad­vise you.”
The man sprang from his chair and paced up and down the room in un­con­trol­lable agit­a­tion.
Then, with a ges­ture of des­per­a­tion, he tore the mask from his face and hurled it upon the ground.
“You are right,” he cried; “I am the King. Why should I at­tempt to con­ceal it?”
“Why, in­deed?” mur­mured Holmes. “Your Majesty had not spoken be­fore I was aware that I was ad­dress­ing Wil­helm Gott­s­reich Sigis­mond von Orm­stein,
Grand Duke of Cas­sel-Fel­stein, and hered­it­ary King of Bo­hemia.”
“But you can un­der­stand,” said our strange vis­it­or, sit­ting down once more and passing his hand over his high white fore­head,
“you can un­der­stand that I am not ac­cus­tomed to do­ing such busi­ness in my own per­son.
Yet the mat­ter was so del­ic­ate that I could not con­fide it to an agent without put­ting my­self in his power.
I have come in­cog­nito from Prague for the pur­pose of con­sult­ing you.”
“Then, pray con­sult,” said Holmes, shut­ting his eyes once more.
“The facts are briefly these: Some five years ago, dur­ing a lengthy vis­it to Warsaw, I made the ac­quaint­ance of the well-known ad­ven­turess, Irene Adler.
The name is no doubt fa­mil­i­ar to you.”
“Kindly look her up in my in­dex, Doc­tor,” mur­mured Holmes without open­ing his eyes.
For many years he had ad­op­ted a sys­tem of dock­et­ing all para­graphs con­cern­ing men and things,
so that it was dif­fi­cult to name a sub­ject or a per­son on which he could not at once fur­nish in­form­a­tion.
In this case I found her bio­graphy sand­wiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-com­mand­er who had writ­ten a mono­graph upon the deep-sea fishes.
“Let me see!” said Holmes. “Hum! Born in New Jer­sey in the year 1858. Con­tralto — hum! La Scala, hum!
Prima donna Im­per­i­al Op­era of Warsaw — yes! Re­tired from op­er­at­ic stage — ha! Liv­ing in Lon­don — quite so!
Your Majesty, as I un­der­stand, be­came en­tangled with this young per­son,
wrote her some com­prom­ising let­ters, and is now de­sirous of get­ting those let­ters back.”
“Pre­cisely so. But how —”
“Was there a secret mar­riage?”
“No leg­al pa­pers or cer­ti­fic­ates?”
“Then I fail to fol­low your Majesty.
If this young per­son should pro­duce her let­ters for black­mail­ing or oth­er pur­poses, how is she to prove their au­then­ti­city?”
“There is the writ­ing.”
“Pooh, pooh! For­gery.”
“My private note-pa­per.”
“My own seal.”
“My pho­to­graph.”
“We were both in the pho­to­graph.”
“Oh, dear! That is very bad! Your Majesty has in­deed com­mit­ted an in­dis­cre­tion.”
“I was mad — in­sane.”
“You have com­prom­ised your­self ser­i­ously.”
“I was only Crown Prince then. I was young. I am but thirty now.”
“It must be re­covered.”
“We have tried and failed.”
“Your Majesty must pay. It must be bought.”
“She will not sell.”
“Stolen, then.”
“Five at­tempts have been made. Twice burg­lars in my pay ran­sacked her house.
Once we di­ver­ted her lug­gage when she trav­elled. Twice she has been way­laid. There has been no res­ult.”
“No sign of it?”
“Ab­so­lutely none.”
Holmes laughed. “It is quite a pretty little prob­lem,” said he.
“But a very ser­i­ous one to me,” re­turned the King re­proach­fully.
“Very, in­deed. And what does she pro­pose to do with the pho­to­graph?”
“To ruin me.”
“But how?”
“I am about to be mar­ried.”
“So I have heard.”
“To Clotilde Loth­man von Saxe-Men­in­gen, second daugh­ter of the King of Scand­inavia.
You may know the strict prin­ciples of her fam­ily. She is her­self the very soul of del­ic­acy.
A shad­ow of a doubt as to my con­duct would bring the mat­ter to an end.”
“And Irene Adler?”
“Threatens to send them the pho­to­graph. And she will do it. I know that she will do it.
You do not know her, but she has a soul of steel. She has the face of the most beau­ti­ful of wo­men, and the mind of the most res­ol­ute of men.
Rather than I should marry an­oth­er wo­man, there are no lengths to which she would not go — none.”
“You are sure that she has not sent it yet?”
“I am sure.”
“And why?”
“Be­cause she has said that she would send it on the day when the be­troth­al was pub­licly pro­claimed. That will be next Monday.”
“Oh, then we have three days yet,” said Holmes with a yawn.
“That is very for­tu­nate, as I have one or two mat­ters of im­port­ance to look into just at present.
Your Majesty will, of course, stay in Lon­don for the present?”
“Cer­tainly. You will find me at the Langham un­der the name of the Count Von Kramm.”
“Then I shall drop you a line to let you know how we pro­gress.”
“Pray do so. I shall be all anxi­ety.”
“Then, as to money?”
“You have carte blanche.”
“I tell you that I would give one of the provinces of my king­dom to have that pho­to­graph.”
“And for present ex­penses?”
The King took a heavy chamois leath­er bag from un­der his cloak and laid it on the table.
“There are three hun­dred pounds in gold and sev­en hun­dred in notes,” he said.
Holmes scribbled a re­ceipt upon a sheet of his note-book and handed it to him.
“And Ma­demois­elle’s ad­dress?” he asked.
“Is Bri­ony Lodge, Ser­pent­ine Av­en­ue, St. John’s Wood.”
Holmes took a note of it. “One oth­er ques­tion,” said he. “Was the pho­to­graph a cab­in­et?”
“It was.”
“Then, good-night, your Majesty, and I trust that we shall soon have some good news for you.
And good-night, Wat­son,” he ad­ded, as the wheels of the roy­al brougham rolled down the street.
“If you will be good enough to call to-mor­row af­ter­noon at three o’clock I should like to chat this little mat­ter over with you.”

Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes / Die Abenteuer von Sherlock Holmes
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Alice und Karl Heinz Berger

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Die Übersetzung erschien erstmals 1983 in Sämtliche Sherlock-Holmes-Erzählungen im Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, Leipzig. Gustav Kiepenheuer ist eine Marke der Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.
Übersetzung © Aufbau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin 1983, 2008.

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