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The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Dec 14 1954



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

SHERLOCK HOLMES

DR. WATSON

PETERSON, astonished

BAKER, amiable alcoholic

BRECKINRIDGE, argumentative

RYDER, anxious

plus a small crowd of ONLOOKERS

and caroling CHILDREN




SOUND: A HANSOM CAB HURRIES BY


MUSIC: THEME ... SOLO VIOLIN ... THEN IN BG


ANNOUNCER: "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," the original and immortal stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dramatized anew, with Sir Ralph Richardson as Dr. Watson and Sir John Gielgud in the role of Sherlock Holmes. 


MUSIC: SOLO VIOLIN ... UP TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN OUT ... CHILDREN SING FIRST TWO LINES OF "THE FIRST NOËL" ... THEN IN BG--


SOUND: CITY TRAFFIC ... HORSES AND CABS AND PEOPLE HURRY BY ... IN BG


WATSON: (NARRATES, CONTEMPLATIVE) Christmas. Christmas in our London of the 1880s ... with the sparkle 'round the gaslights and the glow on the hurrying passersby laden with mysterious parcels ... with candled shop windows heaped with toys ... with tinkling hansoms hastening past ... with a million tall trees in a million tall drawing-rooms. Christmas. And in the glow and glory of it, I called at Baker Street to see my old friend Sherlock Holmes. (APPROACHES, FROM OFF) Compliments of the season, Holmes! 


HOLMES: (PREOCCUPIED) Eh? Who? What? Who's that? 


WATSON: (ON) Compliments of the season, Holmes. 


HOLMES: (ABSENTLY CURT) Oh, Watson, it's you. Good evening, how do you do? 


WATSON: Ah, I say that's a deuced cold greeting for the time of year. Or don't you believe in the Christmas spirit? 


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Yes, yes, of course I do, my dear fellow. It's only that I'm profoundly engaged. My mind was elsewhere. Er, close the door, Watson. Come in. There's a confounded din from the street.


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES, CUTTING OFF CITY BACKGROUND AND CAROLING CHILDREN


HOLMES: Yes, that's much better. Sit down, won't you? 


WATSON: Of course, if you're engaged, Holmes, I'd better not stay. I've still some visits to make to my patients. 


HOLMES: No, no, no, no. Of course! You know how glad I always am to have you, old friend, to discuss my problems with. Now, help yourself to a whiskey and soda, Watson. 


WATSON: Oh, thank you. 


HOLMES: (SLOWLY) And just tell me what you think of that. 


WATSON: Think of what? 


HOLMES: That. Hanging on the back of the chair there. I've been contemplating it for the last half hour. 


WATSON: (PUZZLED) It's, er-- It's only a hat. Er, a simple hard black hat. 


HOLMES: Just so. 


WATSON: You'd best sit down with me by the fire and tell me all about it, and I'll brew some punch. 


SOUND: WATSON PUTTERS WITH GLASSES AND UTENSILS, IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING--


HOLMES: Excellent. Excellent, Watson. You know where everything is, of course. And meanwhile I'll tell you the tale of this hat -- and I ask you to consider it, Watson, not as a battered old billycock, but as an intellectual problem.


WATSON: Well, let me find the nutmeg grater first and I'm ready. Where--? Er, yes. Ah, here it is. 


HOLMES: Well, then. You know Peterson, the commissionaire at the hotel on the corner?


WATSON: But of course. Why? Is it his hat? 


HOLMES: No, his trophy. 


WATSON: Huh? Trophy? 


HOLMES: Well, he found it. The owner is unknown. It arrived here, Watson, in company with a fine fat goose, which I have no doubt at this moment is roasting merrily in front of the Petersons' fire. 


WATSON: (AMUSED) Oh ho. Well! A goose and a hat. No doubt the connection's obvious, but, er-- But, er-- (PUZZLED) Where - where - where do you put the lemons, my dear fella?


HOLMES: Lemons? Oh, try the gasogene stand.


SOUND: WATSON TRIES THE GASOGENE STAND


WATSON: No. 


HOLMES: (LIGHTLY) Oh, well, then that hideous bamboo smoking companion that Mrs. Hudson will insist on setting down beside the sofa every afternoon. 


WATSON: Ah, yes! Here we are. 


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES) Well now, the facts are these, Watson: Peterson -- who is a very honest fellow, as you know -- was returning about four o'clock this morning from some small seasonal jollification and walking homewards down the Tottenham Court Road. 


WATSON: Oh, ah, stir the fire a bit, will you? My hands are full.


HOLMES: Certainly, Watson. Heh! Of course.


SOUND: HOLMES STIRS THE FIRE 


HOLMES: In front of him, there in the gaslight, Peterson suddenly saw a tallish man with a stick, walking with a slight stagger and carrying a white goose over his shoulder. 


WATSON: Uh-huh. 


HOLMES: As he reached the corner of Warren Street, this man was suddenly set upon by a crowd of roughs. One of them knocked his hat off and as he raised his stick to defend himself, he accidentally swung it against a shop window and smashed the glass. 


WATSON: (AMUSED) Oh ho! Well, what happened next, Holmes? 


HOLMES: Well, Peterson, who was still wearing his commissionaire's uniform, rushed to the man's assistance. But the fellow, shocked at breaking a window and seeing a man in uniform running up to him, dropped his goose and took to his heels.


WATSON: Huh.


HOLMES: The roughs did the same, leaving Peterson master of the field of battle. He brought both bird and hat to me. There was a card on the bird's leg with "For Mrs. Henry Baker" written on it and the initials "H. B." are written on the label inside the hat. 


WATSON: Ah ha. 


HOLMES: But of course there are some thousands of people named Baker in this great city of ours, so it has been my little occupation for this last hour or so to try and deduce the exact identity of this one.


WATSON: From his hat? 


HOLMES: Yes, Watson. (THOUGHTFUL) The owner of this hat, Watson-- (SOUND: DRINK POURED) --highly intellectual, fairly well-to-do, but in the space of the last three years seems to have fallen on evil days. He used to have foresight, but he has less now than formerly. I suspect he's taken to drink, which would also perhaps account for the fact that his wife no longer loves him.


WATSON: (LAUGHS HEARTILY) Oh, my dear Holmes.


HOLMES: (CONTINUES) Middle-aged, goes out little, has grizzled hair -- which he anoints with lime-cream -- and has been to the barber's lately. It is also extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house.


WATSON: (CHUCKLES, SKEPTICAL) Ah, come, Holmes. Now you're surely joking. 


HOLMES: Not at all.


WATSON: Now, I've seen you at this kind of thing before, of course, but this is going too far. His wife, Holmes-- 


HOLMES: Ah? 


WATSON: You said she'd stopped loving him. 


HOLMES: (SIMPLY) The hat hasn't been brushed for weeks, my dear fellow. 


WATSON: (CONFUSED) What? 


HOLMES: Well, when I see you, Watson, with such an accumulation of dust on your respectable headgear, I shall expect you to be returning to your old quarters here within the next day or two.


WATSON: (LAUGHS) Oh, Holmes, Holmes -- you have an answer for everything. Wonderful, wonderful. (MORE SERIOUS) Except the gas. The fact that there's no gas laid on in his house, now that really is impossible.


HOLMES: Not at all. One tallow stain, or even two, might come by chance, but when I see no less than five, I think there can be little doubt that the owner must be brought in frequent contact with burning tallow. Yes, he probably walks upstairs at night with his hat in one hand and a guttering candle in the other. Anyhow, he never got tallow stains from a gasjet. Satisfied? 


WATSON: Ha! 'Pon my soul, 'pon my soul, it's really, really most - most ingenious.


HOLMES: Elementary, my dear Watson. 


WATSON: (LAUGHS) Well, actually, it seems rather a waste of your talents, for there's been no crime committed. Nothing but the loss of a Christmas goose. 


HOLMES: That goose, my dear fellow--


SOUND: SHARP KNOCKING AT DOOR


PETERSON: (BEHIND DOOR, URGENT) Mr. Holmes?


SOUND: MORE KNOCKING


PETERSON: (BEHIND DOOR) Mr. Holmes, sir, are you in? 


HOLMES: Hello, hello, what's this? Who is it? (CALLS) Yes? Come in! 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


PETERSON: (AGITATED) Mr. Holmes?


HOLMES: My dear Peterson! 


PETERSON: (BREATHLESS) Oh-- It's - it's the goose, sir. 


HOLMES: (LIGHTLY) Well, has it returned to life and flapped off through the kitchen window? You're as white as a sheet. 


PETERSON: Oh, well-- See here, sir. Here. Look what my wife found inside its crop. 


HOLMES: (BEAT, ASTONISHED) Watson! Look. 


WATSON: (AMAZED) This - this is a treasure trove indeed, Peterson. Yes, a precious stone. One of the biggest I've ever seen.


HOLMES: It's more than a precious stone, Watson. It's the precious stone. The blue carbuncle.


WATSON: Great heavens! The - the Countess of Morcar's? 


HOLMES: Precisely. Missing for five days and with a descriptive advertisement every morning in The Times about it. And a reward of a thousand pounds for its recovery.


PETERSON: (STUNNED) Thousand pounds? Cor, love a duck. 


WATSON: A goose, Peterson. 


PETERSON: A blue carbuncle? 


WATSON: Yes, yes, I remember now. Lost at the Hotel Cosmopolitan.


HOLMES: That's it, and they've arrested some plumber fellow who's supposed to have taken it from the countess's jewel case. 


PETERSON: (DISBELIEF) A thousand pounds reward. Oh, cor.


WATSON: I was reading about it only just now. (SOUND: RUSTLE OF NEWSPAPER) Yes. Here we are, here we are. (READS) "The Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery. John Horner, plumber, twenty-six, was brought up on the charge of having abstracted from the jewel-case of the Countess of Morcar the valuable gem known as the blue carbuncle."


HOLMES: What else, Watson? 


WATSON: Well, it seems that this fellow Horner was taken up to the countess's room by her maid -- a girl called Catherine Cusack -- to do some kind of repair.


HOLMES: Hmm. 


WATSON: When the head attendant of the hotel went in -- a fellow called James Ryder -- to see if the work was finished, he found the jewel case was lying empty and that Horner had gone. Then he gave the alarm and Horner was found by the police and they arrested him. The case has been referred to the Assizes.


HOLMES: Hmm. Well, then the only problem remaining to be solved is the sequence of events leading from an empty jewel-case in a hotel room at one end, to the crop of a goose in the Tottenham Court Road at the other. Er, just give me a pencil and that slip of paper, will you, Peterson? 


PETERSON: Huh? Oh-- Oh, yes, sir. (TO HIMSELF) Thousand pounds. Oh, blow me down. (TO HOLMES) Here, sir. 


WATSON: What are you going to do, Holmes? 


HOLMES: Find the owner of this hat. (AS HE WRITES) "H. B., Henry Baker." (TO WATSON) Yes, he began as a joke and now he's become a mystery. We'll try the simplest method first -- an advertisement. How's this, Watson? Read it.


WATSON: (READS) "Found at the corner of [Tottenham Court Road and] Warren Street: a goose and a black felt hat. Mr. Henry Baker can have the same by applying at six-thirty this evening at Two-Two-One Baker Street." 


HOLMES: Clear and concise, I think. Yes, if you've quite recovered from your astonishment, Peterson-- 


PETERSON: (HE HASN'T) Sir? 


HOLMES: (AMUSED) Just run down to the advertisement office and have this put in all the evening papers, will you? 


PETERSON: All of them, sir? 


HOLMES: All of them. Oh, and by the way, Peterson--?


PETERSON: Sir? 


HOLMES: On your way back, just see if you can buy another goose.


PETERSON: Another goose, sir? 


HOLMES: Yes, as near as possible the same size as that one that your family is about to devour. 


PETERSON: Oh. Oh! Oh, yes, sir. (CONCERNED) Um, you're going to keep the stone, sir? 


HOLMES: Yes, here in my strong-box. And I'll just drop a note to the Countess to say we found it. Hurry up, Peterson. 


PETERSON: Oh, yes, sir! (MOVING OFF, TO HIMSELF) Thousand pounds. Cor! Cor, stone the crows. 


WATSON: No, no -- the geese, Peterson. 


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES)


SOUND: DOOR CLOSES


MUSIC: BRIDGE


HOLMES: Ah, Mr. Henry Baker, if I am not mistaken. Do come in, Mr. Baker. 


BAKER: Oh, thank you, sir. 


HOLMES: Sit down, won't you? Pray, sit down. 


BAKER: (SITS) Thank you.


HOLMES: This is my good friend, Dr. Watson. 


BAKER: How do you do, sir? 


WATSON: How do you do? 


HOLMES: Mayn't I help you to a whiskey and soda, Mr. Baker? 


BAKER: (VERY PLEASED) Oh - oh - oh, thank you. I'll, er-- I'll leave out the soda if I may, Mr. Holmes. 


HOLMES: (WITH A CHUCKLE) Oh, of course. 


SOUND: DRINK POURED


HOLMES: (PLEASED) You see, Watson? 


WATSON: Congratulations, Holmes. The very man as you described him. 


BAKER: I beg your pardon?


WATSON: Oh, nothing, sir. Forgive us; a private matter. 


HOLMES: Now, Mr. Baker, you've come, haven't you, in answer to my advertisement? Er, is this your hat? 


BAKER: This? Oh, yes, sir, undoubtedly. 


HOLMES: Then pray allow me to return it to you with my compliments. The bird, I am afraid, we've been compelled to eat. 


BAKER: (SHAKEN) What? Oh, dear. 


WATSON: Careful - careful, Mr. Baker. You'll - you'll spill your drink.


HOLMES: It was quite a necessity, I'm afraid, since in these modern days we seem to have lost the art of refrigeration in which our Elizabethan ancestors were so adept. However, there's this other bird here on the sideboard to which you're extremely welcome as a replacement. 


BAKER: (RELIEVED) That's uncommonly kind of you, sir. 


HOLMES: Not at all. (CAREFULLY) Of course, er, we still have the feathers and the crop of your own bird, if you'd like to take them, too. 


BAKER: (LAUGHS) Oh, you're an honest man, sir, but the Disjecta membra of my late acquaintance are hardly likely to be of much use to me. (CHUCKLES) 


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES)


BAKER: But - but I will have one more drink, if I may. Very small.


SOUND: DRINK POURED BEHIND--


HOLMES: Most certainly. Would it trouble you, Mr. Baker, to tell me where you got that uncommonly fine bird of yours? 


BAKER: Not at all, sir. I'm a member of a Christmas goose club run by the landlord at the Alpha Inn near the Museum.


HOLMES: The Alpha Inn, Watson. 


WATSON: (POLITELY INTERESTED) Ah ha. 


BAKER: I got it there in exchange for my weekly four pences, which I've been paying since last April. 


WATSON: Well, that's good value for twelve shillings, Mr. Baker, eh? (CHUCKLES)


BAKER: Yes, yes. I really am most grateful to you for your kindness, sir. I was set on by some roughs in the street and I - I lost it. 


HOLMES: All's well that ends well, Mr. Baker. We were fortunate enough to find it, so-- Here's your hat.


BAKER: Thank you.


HOLMES: And here is your new bird. Oh, I've put the old ticket onto it -- the one that was tied to the other goose's leg -- marked "To Mrs. Henry Baker." 


BAKER: (VERY PLEASED) Oh, how nice of you. I - I'm much obliged, sir. 


HOLMES: Well, not at all. A peace offering, Mr. Baker? 


BAKER: (YES) A peace offering, sir, in point of fact -- to my better half.


HOLMES: Ah, quite.


BAKER: Good night, sir, and thank you again.


WATSON: Good night.


HOLMES: Good night, Mr. Baker.


BAKER: Good night, sir.


SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES AS BAKER EXITS


MUSIC: CHILDREN SING "O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL" ... FADES IN DURING FOLLOWING ... THEN IN BG--


HOLMES: Well, well, well. So much for Mr. Henry Baker, Watson. 


WATSON: It's quite evident that he was innocent, of course, from the trap you laid -- I mean, about the feathers and the crop.


HOLMES: Yes, evident. I suggest, Watson, that we turn that proposed dinner of ours into a late supper. I'll tell Mrs. Hudson -- she'll forgive us -- and in the meanwhile let's follow up the clew of the Alpha Inn.


WATSON: By all means, Holmes. I confess I'm most intrigued.


HOLMES: Yes, I'm afraid we shall have to battle our way out through those infernal waifs who are making night so hideous on our humble doorstep. Come, Watson -- we've work to do this Christmas Eve.


MUSIC: CHILDREN SING "O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL" ... UP TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN FADE OUT ... THEN SOLO VIOLIN FOR TRANSITION


SOUND: NOCTURNAL CITY BACKGROUND


WATSON: (NARRATES) It was a bitter night and so we drew on our Ulsters and wrapped our mufflers about our throats. We swung through the doctors' quarter of Wimpole Street and Harley Street, and so along the great thoroughfare of Oxford Street, where the crowds were thinning now, to Bloomsbury. And there, in a forgotten corner, we found the Alpha Inn -- and from the rosy landlord learnt that the geese for his Christmas club had come from a dealer named Breckinridge in Covent Garden.


SOUND: MARKET BACKGROUND (HORSES, CABS, PEOPLE, ET CETERA) ... HOLMES AND WATSON'S STEPS APPROACH AND STOP


WATSON: Yes! Here's the market, Holmes. What was the name of the goose dealer? 


HOLMES: Breckinridge, Watson. Here, there it is -- you see? The largest stall of the lot. There's the name written up over it.


WATSON: Yes! Just in time: they're closing up. Hmmm! Horsy-looking fella, isn't he? 


HOLMES: What's that you say? Horsy? (PLEASED) Good for you, Watson. That fact might come in useful. (BEAT, WINNINGLY) Ah, good evening, Mr. Breckinridge. Mm, it's a cold night. 


BRECKINRIDGE: (CURT) Yeah, cold enough, I reckon. Glad to get finished. 


HOLMES: Sold out of geese, I see. 


BRECKINRIDGE: Let you have five hundred tomorrow morning.


HOLMES: Ah, that's no good, I'm afraid. We want one tonight. 


BRECKINRIDGE: Here, there's some on that stall over there with the gas-flare. Now, excuse me, sir.


WATSON: Well, we were recommended to you particularly, Mr. Breckinridge. 


BRECKINRIDGE: Oh? Who by? 


WATSON: By the landlord of the Alpha Inn in Bloomsbury.


HOLMES: Yes, you supplied him with some incomparable birds, he told us. Where did you get them from, by the way? 


BRECKINRIDGE: (ANNOYED) Now look here! What exactly are you drivin' at, mister? 


HOLMES: Why, nothing, only that I wanted to know who sold you those geese. 


BRECKINRIDGE: (DEFIANT) I'm dashed if I'll tell you, then! You're another one to pester me, are ya?


HOLMES: Another one? What do you mean? 


BRECKINRIDGE: (EXPLODES) When I pay good money for a thing, that should be the end of it I say. But it's "where are those geese?" and "who did you sell those geese to?" till I'm sick of it! You'd think that lot were the only geese in the world the way some folk keep on at me about 'em!


HOLMES: (LIGHTLY) Well, I can assure you that we've nothing to do with any other people who've been making inquiries, Mr. Breckinridge. In fact, all I'm concerned with-- (CHUCKLE) --is a little bet I've made. 


BRECKINRIDGE: (INTERESTED) A bet? 


HOLMES: Just so. I'm always ready to back my opinion and I bet a fiver with my friend the doctor here that the bird we et from the Alpha Inn was country bred. 


BRECKINRIDGE: You've lost your fiver then, 'cause it was town bred.


HOLMES: No-no-no, it was nothing of the kind. 


BRECKINRIDGE: (EXPLODES) It was, I tell you! Cor, do you think you know more about fowls than I do when I've been in the trade, man and boy, for--? 


HOLMES: (INTERRUPTS) I tell you, it's country bred. 


BRECKINRIDGE: It's town! Here, will you take a bet with me, too? 


HOLMES: With pleasure. A sovereign. Every penny of it. 


BRECKINRIDGE: Right! It's on now! Where's that ruddy book of mine? Haha! Here it is. Here. Just look in here, Mr. Cocksure! 


SOUND: BOOK OPENED, PAGES FLIPPED


HOLMES: Well, what's this?


BRECKINRIDGE: That's the list of the folk I buy from, see? And what I do with the stuff when I've bought it. Now then, look at that line there. Do you see? 


HOLMES: Can you see it, Watson, in this light? 


WATSON: Yes, yes. "Mrs. Oakshott," isn't it? 


BRECKINRIDGE: That's right, Mrs. Oakshott. And what's the address, eh? 


WATSON: (READS) "A Hundred-and-Seventeen Brixton Road, egg and poultry supplier." 


BRECKINRIDGE: (TRIUMPHANT, TO HOLMES) Brixton Road, Mr. High and Mighty! (TO WATSON) And what's the last entry under it, eh? 


WATSON: (READS) "December the twenty-second. Twenty-four geese at seven and six." 


BRECKINRIDGE: And who were they sold to, eh? 


WATSON: (READS) "Sold to Mr. Windigate of the Alpha at twelve shillings."


BRECKINRIDGE: Right! (TO HOLMES) And so what do you say now, Mr. Bloomin' Poultry Fancier?! 


HOLMES: (CHUCKLES RUEFULLY) Well, I must say, I could have sworn it was country bred. All right, you win, Mr. Breckinridge.


BRECKINRIDGE: (CACKLES HAPPILY)


HOLMES: There's your sovereign. 


BRECKINRIDGE: Thank you. 


HOLMES: Come along, doctor. I owe you five, I think.


WATSON: (PLEASED) Yes, you do! 


BRECKINRIDGE: Easy money, that's what I say! Haha! Well, good evening, gents! A merry Christmas to ye! 


HOLMES: (MOVING OFF, CHEERFUL) Good evening, Mr. Breckinridge. (BEAT, ON MIKE, THOUGHTFUL) Well, Watson, let's stand here by the gas lamp for a moment. I want to think.


SOUND: VOICES OF BRECKINRIDGE AND RYDER ARGUE VIOLENTLY, SLIGHTLY OFF


BRECKINRIDGE: I tell you, I don't know nothin' about it! 


RYDER: Well, you ruddy well ought to, then!


BRECKINRIDGE: You get of out of here, I say!


RYDER: I'll stay where I want to!


BRECKINRIDGE: You'll what?


SOUND: ARGUMENT CONTINUES, INDECIPHERABLY, IN BG


HOLMES: Hello, what's going on? 


WATSON: There's some kind of a quarrel, Holmes, back there at Breckinridge's stall.


HOLMES: (PLEASED) Oh, yes. So there is. Let's see what's the matter. 


WATSON: Look. Look, that little rat-faced fellow -- do you see? Breckinridge is threatening him. 


SOUND: ARGUING VOICES OF BRECKINRIDGE AND RYDER GROW LOUDER ... MURMUR OF ONLOOKERS HOPING FOR A FIGHT, IN BG


BRECKINRIDGE: Now, I tell you, I've had enough of you -- and your bloomin' geese!


RYDER: I was only asking ye.


BRECKINRIDGE: Yeah, well, you've asked the same before and you got the same ruddy answer! You and anybody else! 


RYDER: One of them geese was mine, I say.


BRECKINRIDGE: Well, you can ask Mrs. Bloomin' Oakshott for it.


RYDER: She told me to ask you! 


BRECKINRIDGE: Yeah? Then you can ask the King of Prussia for all I care! You get off now. Go on, or I'll knock your teeth out, mind ye.


ONLOOKERS: "Here, here!" "He's goin'!" "Give it to them teeth, honey boy! 


BRECKINRIDGE: Go on, ya bloomin' nosy parker, ye!


SOUND: ONLOOKERS LAUGH AND FADE OUT DURING FOLLOWING, REPLACED BY CITY TRAFFIC BACKGROUND--


HOLMES: (QUIETLY DELIGHTED) The little fellow's coming this way, Watson. It looks as if we've saved our trip to Brixton. 


WATSON: You want me to collar him? 


HOLMES: Stand by if he gets nasty. He looks a bit of a shrimp, though; not much trouble. (CALLS, TO RYDER) Here, my man! Not so fast. I'd just like a word with you. 


RYDER: (STARTLED) What? Here, who are you? What do you want? 


HOLMES: I couldn't help overhearing your little disagreement with the good salesman over there, and I think I might be able to assist you. 


RYDER: How do you mean? How could you know anything? Who are you, eh? 


HOLMES: My name is Sherlock Holmes, and it's my business to know what other people don't know.


RYDER: (DISMISSIVE) Well, you can't know anything about this.


HOLMES: On the contrary. You're trying to trace some geese, which were sold by a Mrs. Oakshott, to that man there, who sold them to the landlord of the Alpha Inn, who got rid of them through his goose club, of which Mr. Henry Baker is a member.


RYDER: (ASTONISHED) What?! Why, you're the very man I've been looking for, Mr. Holmes. Oh, I can hardly tell you how much it means to me. 


HOLMES: Watson, be good enough to signal for a four-wheeler, will you? 


WATSON: Yes, certainly. (CALLS) Cabbie!


HOLMES: I think, my friend, we'd better discuss this whole matter in some cozy place rather than in the crowded street. We'll go to my room, shall we? Oh, what's your name, may I ask? 


RYDER: (UNCONVINCING) My name's, er, Robinson. John Robinson. 


HOLMES: No-no-no, the real name. It's always so awkward doing business with an alias.


RYDER: All right then. James Ryder. 


HOLMES: Ah! Head attendant at the Hotel Cosmopolitan, I believe. 


RYDER: Yeh. 


HOLMES: Quite so. You have the cab, Watson? 


WATSON: Just coming over, Holmes. 


HOLMES: Splendid, splendid. Now, would you mind just standing on Mr. Ryder's other side and, er-- (LOWERS HIS VOICE) --just take him by the arm, will you? He might have a fancy to go for a little walk.


SOUND: SCENE FADES OUT ... TRANSITIONAL PAUSE ... SCENE FADES IN 


HOLMES: Well now, here we are. The fire looks very seasonable in this weather. Do put some more coal on, would you, Watson?


SOUND: COAL ON FIRE


HOLMES: Now then, pray take the basket-chair, Mr. Ryder. You look chilly. 


WATSON: I'll make some more punch I think, Holmes. We could all do with a warming. 


HOLMES: Thank you, Watson, if you will! You'll find the lemons behind you on the gasogene stand. 


WATSON: And the nutmeg scraper? 


HOLMES: There, behind the Persian slipper. Oh, you might hand it to me, will you, dear fellow? I'd like some tobacco.


WATSON: Certainly.


HOLMES: Thank you so much. Well now, Mr. Ryder-- 


RYDER: Yes, sir? 


HOLMES: You, er-- You want to know what became of those geese, Mr. Ryder -- or rather of that goose, for I fancy it was only one that you were interested in: a white one with a black bar across its tail.


RYDER: (ANXIOUS) Oh, if you could only tell me, sir, I'd be that grateful. It's really mine, you see, sir. It was sold by mistake. 


HOLMES: (LAUGHS BRIEFLY) And a most remarkable bird, if I may say so, Mr. Ryder. Watson, hand me over my strong-box, if you please. 


SOUND: STRONG-BOX HANDED OVER


HOLMES: Ah, that bird laid an egg after it was dead, Mr. Ryder.


RYDER: What?


HOLMES: The bonniest, brightest little blue egg that ever was seen. I have it here.


SOUND: STRONG-BOX UNLOCKS AND OPENS


RYDER: (STAGGERED) Cor, merciful heaven! 


HOLMES: The game's up, Ryder.


RYDER: (COUGHS, BREATHES HEAVILY, IN BG)


WATSON: Steady, man, steady -- or you'll be in the fire. 


HOLMES: Hang on to him, Watson!


WATSON: It's all right, Holmes, I've got him. Almost fainting, poor devil. I'll get him a brandy.


HOLMES: Poor devil, hey? Heavens, what a worm the fellow is. He's not got blood enough to go in for felony.


SOUND: DRINK HANDED OVER


WATSON: Well, there you are, my man. Drink it up. 


RYDER: (DRINKS, EXHALES) Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you, sir. (IN DESPAIR) Ohhhh, what have I done? What have I done?


HOLMES: You know perfectly well what you've done, Ryder. It only needs one or two more links, Watson, to make the case complete. Now then, Ryder, who told you of the Countess of Morcar's jewel, the blue carbuncle? 


RYDER: It was Catherine Cusack, sir. I swear it was her idea. 


WATSON: The countess's waiting-maid, Holmes! 


HOLMES: Exactly. And so you invented some excuse to send that unfortunate young Horner into the countess's hotel room -- and after he was gone, you rifled the jewel-case, raised the alarm, and put the blame onto him. 


RYDER: Yes, sir, I did, sir. 


HOLMES: (JUST AS HE THOUGHT) Ah.


RYDER: (WILDLY) Oh, for heaven's sake, have mercy, Mr. Holmes. I - I never went wrong before. It was Cathy was to blame! Please, sir--


HOLMES: Get up off the floor, man! It's no good kneeling to me. You didn't show much mercy to Horner, did you? 


RYDER: I - I'll leave the country, sir. The charge will break down against him.


HOLMES: Get up. Get up! Watson, help him onto his feet, for heaven's sake. 


WATSON: What I want to know is how the stone got into the goose, Ryder. There, man -- take another drink.


RYDER: (DRINKS, EXHALES, CALMER) Well, it - it was all a mistake, you see, sir. Once I had it, I wanted to hide it somewhere. It seemed to burn a hole in me pocket. So I went to my sister's, you see, to think things out-- 


HOLMES: (INTERRUPTS) Your sister? 


RYDER: Maggie. She married a man called Oakshott.


HOLMES: Aha. 


RYDER: She fattens fowls for the market at Brixton. 


WATSON: Ah, Oakshott, eh? 


RYDER: Well, I was thinking it out in our yard, see -- smokin' a pipe like -- and I remembered that Maggie had promised me a bird for Christmas, so-- Well, I had an idea.


HOLMES: Ah, you forced the stone down the bird's throat.


RYDER: (EXHALES) Yes, sir. Well, just then, Maggie come out to see what I was up to and the bird got free for a minute, but I went and caught it again, and Maggie and I killed it. I had a notion to take the stone to a chap I know up in Kilburn that told me once he knew how to get rid of stolen property. And I thought it would be safe from any search in the bird's crop, you see, sir, even if the police did take it into their hands to stop me. They weren't all that certain about Horner, you see. 


WATSON: Aha -- and when you got to Kilburn, it wasn't there. 


RYDER: No, sir. So I rushed back to Maggie. By that time all the other birds had gone to market, see? There was two of 'em with barred tails, you see, sir. I'd caught the wrong one after it'd got away. I've been at that stall at the Garden ever since, trying to find out where it had gone. (IN DESPAIR AGAIN) Oh, Mr. Holmes--! 


WATSON: Ah! Well, what you going to do, Holmes? 


HOLMES: (MOVING TO THE DOOR, SLOW AND THOUGHTFUL) I'm not quite sure, but I think, all things considered, it might be best to-- 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


HOLMES: (SHARPLY) --get out, Ryder! 


RYDER: (CONFUSED) What? You mean--? 


HOLMES: I mean get out, man!


RYDER: (RELIEVED) Oh, heaven bless you, Mr. Holmes! 


HOLMES: I don't want to hear any more from you; get out.


RYDER: Oh, thank you, Mr. Holmes--


HOLMES: Get out!


RYDER: -- and heaven bless you, sir.


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS AS RYDER EXITS ... HOLMES STEPS TO WATSON


HOLMES: (QUIETLY CONTEMPLATIVE) Well, well! A most singular and whimsical business, my dear Watson. 


WATSON: Ah, my dear Holmes, shouldn't you have turned him in?


HOLMES: Well, when all is said and done, Watson, I'm really not retained by the police to supplement their deficiencies. As soon as I send the stone back, the case against Horner will collapse at once. There'll be no witness. 


WATSON: But you're committing a felony, you know.


HOLMES: (LIGHTLY) Well, it's just possible that I'm also saving a soul. I don't believe he'll go wrong again. (WITH A CHUCKLE) He's too scared. Besides, Watson-- 


SOUND: DISTANT CLOCK STARTS TO CHIME MIDNIGHT, IN BG


WATSON: What? 


HOLMES: Well, this is the season of forgiveness, man. (BEAT) Listen. Twelve o'clock! It's Christmas Day. (BEAT) Oh, pass me some of that delicious punch of yours, won't you? And tell me you forgive me, too. 


WATSON: (AMUSED) Forgive you? In heaven's name, for what? 


MUSIC: MANY JOYOUS RINGING CHURCH BELLS JOIN THE CHIMING ... THEN CONTINUE IN BG


HOLMES: For being so surly yesterday morning when you offered me the compliments of the season. I return them now with all my heart. And here's your health, old friend, with my glass upraised. A merry Christmas, my dear Watson. 


WATSON: A merry Christmas, Holmes! 


HOLMES: God save her gracious Majesty.


WATSON: Amen! 


MUSIC: GLASSES CLINK ... THEN BELLS, UP BIG FOR A CURTAIN ... THEN SLOWLY FADE OUT


ANNOUNCER: "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," based on the original stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, have been dramatized anew, with original music composed by Sidney Torch. Sir Ralph Richardson played the part of Dr. Watson and Sir John Gielgud that of Sherlock Holmes. The program was produced by Harry Alan Towers.


MUSIC: THEME ... SOLO VIOLIN ... UNTIL END


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