1) In the summer of 1888 I was living with my good friend Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, in Baker Street.

2) He was so highly intelligent that he never failed to surprise me.

3) One morning in July he turned to me lazily and said:

4) 'Watson, if I am not wrong, you have been to the post office in Wigmore Street to send a telegram.'

5) He was, of course, quite right, but I had no idea how he could know this. I had told no one.

6) 'Very good, Holmes,' I replied. 'Did you follow me when I went out?'

7) 'No, Watson,' Holmes smiled.

8) 'Then perhaps you will explain.' I said, a little impatiently.

9) 'Elementary, Watson.' my friend replied.

10) 'There's a little reddish mud on your shoe.

11) Outside the post office in Wigmore Street, men are working on the road. I saw them yesterday.

12) The ground there is red, and it's impossible to enter the post office without stepping in it.'

13) 'As you say, Holmes, elementary,' I said. 'And the telegram?'

14) 'Because we were here together all morning, I knew that you hadn't written a letter.

15) There are stamps and postcards on your desk, so why did you go to the post office and not a post box? To send a telegram, of course!'

16) At that moment there was a knock on the door and our housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, entered.

17) 'There’s a young lady to see you,' she informed us. 'Miss Mary Morstan.'

18) 'Mary Morstan.' Holmes repeated. 'I don't recognize the name. Please ask her to come in, Mrs Hudson.'

19) He turned to me. 'Don't go, Doctor. Please stay and listen to the lady's story.'

20) I was happy to do as he said.

21) When Miss Morstan came into the room, she seemed calm, but it was clear that she didn't want to waste any time.

22) She was a young woman, small, with fair hair.

23) Her clothes showed good taste, but they weren't expensive.

24) She had a pleasant face and beautiful blue eyes.

25) She looked serious and intelligent, but not, I thought, rich.

26) Holmes invited her to sit down and, as she took her seat, for the first time, she seemed worried.

27) Mrs Hudson left us, and our visitor began her story.

28) 'Mr Holmes,' she said, 'I find myself in a very strange situation. I don't understand it at all.'

29) My friend Sherlock Holmes looked very interested. 'Please tell us everything,' he said.

30) 'My father was an officer in the army,' she continued. 'He was sent to India, where I was born.

31) Two years later, my mother died and I was sent home to Scotland.

32) I lived in a small hotel in Edinburgh until I was seventeen.

33) In 1878 my father returned from India.

34) He sent me a telegram from London asking me to travel south to meet him.

35) He wrote that he was looking forward to seeing me.

36) I took the train to London, then drove to his hotel, but he wasn't there.

37) They told me that Captain Morstan had gone out the night before and had not returned.

38) I waited all day, but there was no news of him so I went to the police.

39) The next day I put an advertisement in all the newspapers, but there was still no news.

40) And since then I have heard nothing of my father.'

41) 'What was the date of his disappearance? ' asked Holmes.

42) 'The 3rd of December 1878,' she replied. 'Ten years ago.'

43) 'And his luggage?' Holmes continued.

44) 'It stayed at his hotel.

45) I searched his suitcases but found only cloths and books and some souvenirs from the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

46) My father worked as an officer at the British prison there for some years before he retired.'

47) Holmes thought for a moment.

48) 'Did your father have any friends in London?' he asked.

49) 'Only one: Major Sholto, who was an officer with my father In India.

50) He had retired six months before my father and was living in Norwood.

51) I wrote to him, but he wrote back to say that he didn't even know my father was in England.

52) 'Very strange,' said Holmes.

53) 'There is more,' Miss Morstan went on.

54) 'Six years ago I saw an advertisement in The Times. It asked for my address and informed me that there was good news.

55) There was no name or address.

56) At that time I have just started working for Mrs Forrester's family, as a governess.

57) I replied to the advertisement, and that same day I received a small box in the post.

58) In it, I found a very large pearl. There was no message.

59) Since then, every year on the same day I have received a pearl in the post.

60) They are worth a lot of money, Mr Holmes. And they're also very beautiful.'

61) As she spoke, she took a flat box from her bag, opened it and showed us six beautiful pearls.

62) 'I find your story strangely exciting,' said Holmes. 'Do you have anything else to tell us, Miss Morstan?'

63) 'One more thing.' she replied. 'This morning I received this letter. Perhaps you would like to read it.'

64) 'Yes,' said Holmes. 'And can I see the envelope, please?'

65) He studied the envelope carefully.

66) 'This was posted in London, on 7 July, yesterday. There's a man's fingerprint on the envelope, probably the postman's.

67) The paper and envelope are expensive, but there's no address, of course.'

68) He then went on to read the letter aloud:

69) ' "Come to the Lyceum Theatre this evening at seven o'clock and wait outside the front door.

70) You can bring two friends, but you must not bring the police.

71) I have good news for you.

72) Your unknown friend."

73) What a mystery! So what's your plan, Miss Morstan? '

74) 'I don't know,' she replied. 'That's why I have come to you, Mr Holmes. Please tell me what I should do.'

75) 'You must go to the Lyceum this evening,' said Holmes. 'Dr Watson and I will come with you, won't we, Watson?'

76) 'Of course,' I answered, 'If you think that could be helpful,'

77) 'Thank you both so much.' said Miss Morstan,

78) 'You're very kind. My life in Norwood Is quiet and I have no friends. Shall I come here at six o'clock this evening?'

79) 'Yes,' Holmes replied.

80) 'But I have one more question for you, Miss Morstan.

81) Is the writing in the letter the same as the writing of the addresses on the pearl boxes?'

82) 'Yes.' said Miss Morstan, taking some papers from her bag.

83) 'Excellent!' cried Holmes. 'Let me see.'

84) The great detective looked carefully at the writing in the letter and the addresses. He seemed very pleased.

85) 'They were written by the same hand,' he informed us.

86) 'Is it possible that this is your father's writing?' he asked.

87) 'No. His writing was quite different,' she told us.

88) 'That answer doesn't surprise me,' said Holmes. 'We'll see you at six. Please leave the papers here. Goodbye, Miss Morstan.'

89) The young lady stood up to leave, and smiled.

90) 'Goodbye, Mr Holmes. Goodbye, Dr Watson.'

91) 'Until this evening,' I said, looking into her blue eyes.

92) I heard her go down the stairs and out into Baker Street.

93) From the window I watched her walk away down the street.

94) 'A very fine woman, Holmes,' I said.

95) 'Really?' my friend replied lazily. 'I didn't notice. Now, what do you think of this writing? '

96) 'A businessman's, perhaps,' I answered,

97) 'I don't think so, Watson,' he replied. 'The writer sometimes finds it difficult to decide what to do.'

98) 'I'm going out,' he informed me, standing up. 'I need to think some more. I'll be back in an hour.'

99) My friend left me alone in the room.

100) Everywhere I looked, I saw the face of our visitor, Miss Mary Morstan.

101) I waited impatiently for six o'clock and her return.