The Return of Sherlock Holmes
A Collection of Holmes Adventures
THE ADVENTURE OF THE EMPTY HOUSE
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"The shadow has moved!" I cried.
It was indeed no longer the profile, but the back, which was
turned towards us.
Three years had certainly not smoothed the asperities of his
temper or his impatience with a less active intelligence than
"Of course it has moved," said he. "Am I such a farcical
bungler, Watson, that I should erect an obvious dummy, and
expect that some of the sharpest men in Europe would be deceived
by it? We have been in this room two hours, and Mrs. Hudson has
made some change in that figure eight times, or once in every
quarter of an hour. She works it from the front, so that her
shadow may never be seen. Ah!" He drew in his breath with a
shrill, excited intake. In the dim light I saw his head thrown
forward, his whole attitude rigid with attention. Outside the
street was absolutely deserted. Those two men might still be
crouching in the doorway, but I could no longer see them. All
was still and dark, save only that brilliant yellow screen in
front of us with the black figure outlined upon its centre.
Again in the utter silence I heard that thin, sibilant note
which spoke of intense suppressed excitement. An instant later
he pulled me back into the blackest corner of the room, and I
felt his warning hand upon my lips. The fingers which clutched
me were quivering. Never had I known my friend more moved, and
yet the dark street still stretched lonely and motionless before us.