Arthur Conan Doyle
The Firm of Girdlestone

by

Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Firm of Girdlestone Page 01

THE FIRM OF GIRDLESTONE.

A. CONAN DOYLE

TO MY OLD FRIEND

PROFESSOR WILLIAM K. BURTON,

OF THE IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY, TOKYO,

WHO FIRST ENCOURAGED ME, YEARS AGO, TO PROCEED WITH

THIS LITTLE STORY,

I DESIRE AFFECTIONATELY TO

DEDICATE IT.

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE

I cannot let this small romance go to press without prefacing it with a word of cordial thanks to Mr. P. G. Houlgrave, of 28, Millman Street, Bedford Row. To this gentleman I owe the accuracy of my African chapters, and I am much indebted to him for the copious details with which he furnished me.

A. CONAN DOYLE.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER.

I. MR. JOHN HARSTON KEEPS AN APPOINTMENT.

II. CHARITY A LA MODE.

III. THOMAS GILRAY MAKES AN INVESTMENT.

IV. CAPTAIN HAMILTON MIGGS OF THE "BLACK EAGLE".

V. MODERN ATHENIANS.

VI. A RECTORIAL ELECTION.

VII. ENGLAND VERSUS SCOTLAND.

VIII. A FIRST PROFESSIONAL.

IX. A NASTY CROPPER.

X. DWELLERS IN BOHEMIA.

XI. SENIOR AND JUNIOR.

XII. A CORNER IN DIAMONDS.

XIII. SHADOW AND LIGHT.

XIV. A SLIGHT MISUNDERSTANDING

XV. AN ADDITION TO THE HOUSE.

XVI. THE FIRST STEP.

XVII. THE LAND OF DIAMONDS.

XVIII. MAJOR TOBIAS CLUTTERBUCK COMES IN FOR A THOUSAND POUNDS.

XIX. NEWS FROM THE URALS.

XX. MR. HECTOR O'FLAHERTY FINDS SOMETHING IN THE PAPER.

XXI. AN UNEXPECTED BLOW.

XXII. ROBBERS AND ROBBED.

XXIII. A MOMENTOUS RESOLUTION.

XXIV. A DANGEROUS PROMISE.

XXV. A CHANGE OF FRONT.

XXVI. BREAKING GROUND.

XXVII. MRS. SCULLY OF MORRISON'S.

XXVIII. BACK IN BOHEMIA.

XXIX. THE GREAT DANCE AT MORRISON'S.

XXX. AT THE "COCK AND COWSLIP".

XXXI. A CRISIS AT ECCLESTON SQUARE.

XXXII. A CONVERSATION IN THE ECCLESTON SQUARE LIBRARY.

XXXIII. THE JOURNEY TO THE PRIORY.

XXXIV. THE MAN WITH THE CAMP-STOOL.

XXXV. A TALK ON THE LAWN.

XXXVI. THE INCIDENT OF THE CORRIDOR.

XXXVII. A CHASE AND A BRAWL.

XXXVIII. GIRDLESTONE SENDS FOR THE DOCTOR.

XXXIX. A GLEAM OF LIGHT.

XL. THE MAJOR HAS A LETTER.

XLI. THE CLOUDS GROW DARKER.

XLII. THE THREE FACES AT THE WINDOW.

XLIII. THE BAIT ON THE HOOK.

XLIV. THE SHADOW OF DEATH.

XLV THE INVASION OF HAMPSHIRE.

XLVI. A MIDNIGHT CRUISE.

XLVII LAW AND ORDER.

XLVIII. CAPTAIN HAMILTON MIGGS SEES A VISION.

XLIX. A VOYAGE IN A COFFIN SHIP.

L. WINDS UP THE THREAD AND TIES TWO KNOTS AT THE END.

THE FIRM OF GIRDLESTONE.

CHAPTER I.

MR. JOHN HARSTON KEEPS AN APPOINTMENT.

The approach to the offices of Girdlestone and Co. was not a very dignified one, nor would the uninitiated who traversed it form any conception of the commercial prosperity of the firm in question. Close to the corner of a broad and busy street, within a couple of hundred yards of Fenchurch Street Station, a narrow doorway opens into a long whitewashed passage. On one side of this is a brass plate with the inscription "Girdlestone and Co., African Merchants," and above it a curious hieroglyphic supposed to represent a human hand in the act of pointing. Following the guidance of this somewhat ghostly emblem, the wayfarer finds himself in a small square yard surrounded by doors, upon one of which the name of the firm reappears in large white letters, with the word "Push" printed beneath it. If he follows this laconic invitation he will make his way into a long, low apartment, which is the counting-house of the African traders.

On the afternoon of which we speak things were quiet at the offices. The line of pigeon-holes in the wire curtain was deserted by the public, though the linoleum-covered floor bore abundant traces of a busy morning. Misty London light shone hazily through the glazed windows and cast dark shadows in the corners.

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