The Sign of Four (1987) Script

There's a very pretty young woman crossing the street and I think she may be coming here.

Incidentally, I have glanced over your latest account of my work.

Oh yes.

Honestly I cannot congratulate you upon it.

Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science.

Observation deduction a cold and unemotional subject.

You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which has much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid.

Who can match that?

There's a young lady to see you Mr. Holmes.

It's Mary Morstan.

I have no recollection of the name.

Don't go Doctor, I may need you.

I was right.

Thank you.

Miss Morstan.

Good afternoon.

I have come to you Mr. Holmes because you once enabled my employer, Mrs. Cecil Forrester, to unravel a minor domestic complication.

She was much impressed with your kindness and skill.

Thank you.

I can hardly imagine anything more strange, more utterly inexplicable, than the situation in which I find myself.

State your case.

You will, I am sure, excuse me.

If your friend would be good enough to remain, he might be of inestimable service to me.

Of course.

Briefly the facts are these.

My father was an officer in an Indian regiment.

My mother died when I was still quite a child and he was forced to send me home, despite the fact that I had no relatives here.

I was placed in a comfortable boarding establishment at Edinburgh, and I remained there until I was 1 7 years of age.

In that same year my father, who was a senior captain of his regiment, obtained 12 months' leave and returned home.

He telegraphed to me from London to say that he had arrived all safe and directed me to come down at once, giving the Langham Hotel as his address.

His message, as I remember, was full of love and kindness.

On reaching London I drove straight to the Langham Hotel and was informed that Captain Morstan was staying there, but that he had gone out the night before and had not returned.

So I waited all day without news of him.

And that night, on the advice of the manager of the hotel, I communicated with the police, the next day we advertised in all the newspapers.

Our inquiries led to no result from that day to this no word has ever been heard of my unfortunate father.

He came home with his heart so full of hope to find some peace, some comfort, and instead

The date?

The 3rd of December exactly 1 0 years ago.

His luggage?

Remained at the hotel.

Oh there was nothing in it to suggest a clue -- some clothes, some books, and a considerable number of curiosities from the Andaman Islands.

My father had been one of the officers in charge of the convict-guard there.

Watson this place is a mess.

Had he any friends in town?

Only one that we know of Major Sholto, of his old regiment, the 34th Bombay Infantry.

We communicated with the Major, of course, but he did not seem to know that his brother officer was in England.

It's a singular case.

I have not yet communicated to you the most singular part.

4 years later an advertisement had appeared in the Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan, and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward.

There was no name appended.

I had at the time just entered the family of Mrs. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess and on her advice I published my address in the advertisement column.

That same day there appeared through the post a small cardboard box addressed to me, which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl.

No word of writing was enclosed.

And since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box, containing a similar pearl, with no clue as to the sender.

They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value.

You can see for yourself that they are very handsome.

Your case is most interesting.

Something else has occurred to you?

Yes, and no later than today.

That is why I have come to you.

This letter arrived through the post this morning, which you will perhaps read for yourself.

Envelope please.

London postmark, October 7th.

Man's thumb mark on corner probably the postman.

Best quality paper.

Sixpence a packet.

Particular man in his stationery.

Watson.

Be at the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre tonight at seven o'clock.

If you are distrustful bring 2 friends.

You are a wronged woman and shall have justice.

Do not bring the police.

If you do, all will be in vain.

Your unknown friend.

Well, really, this is a very pretty little problem.

What do you intend to do, Miss Morstan?

Well that is exactly what I want to ask you.

Well then you and I shall go together.

Dr. Watson is the very man.

Your correspondent says 2 friends.

But would he come?

I shall be proud and happy if I can be of any service.

You are both very kind.

I have led a retired life and have no friends whom I could appeal to.

If I am here at 6 it will do, I suppose?

Yes but you must not be later.

Goodbye Miss Morstan.

Goodbye Mr. Holmes.

Au revoir.

Au revoir.

Buy a flower dearie.

Buy a flower.

Aw come on dearie.

Excuse me.

What a very attractive woman It is of the first importance not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities.

A client to me is a mere unit, a factor in of the problem.

Holmes, you are a automaton and a calculating machine.

There's something positively inhuman in you at times.

I assure you the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning 3 little children for their insurance money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.

However, in this case, I never make exceptions.

An exception disproves the rule.

I'm going out. I'll see you in an hour.

Had he any friends in town?

Only one that we know of, Major Sholto of his own regiment.

There is no great mystery in this matter the facts appear to admit of only one explanation.

Oh so you've solved it already?

I have found, on consulting the back files of the Times, that Major Sholto, of Upper Norwood, late of the 34th Bombay Infantry, died just 6 years ago.

Mrs. Hudson you're dreadfully under foot.

I may be very obtuse, Holmes, but I fail to see what this suggests.

Really?

You surprise me.

Now look at it this way, then.

Captain Morstan disappears.

The only person in London whom he could have visited is Major Sholto.

Major Sholto denies having heard that he was even in London.

4 years later Sholto dies.

Within a week of his death Captain Morstan's daughter receives a valuable present, which is repeated from year to year and now culminates in a letter, which describes her as a wronged woman.

Now what wrong can it possibly refer to except this deprivation of her father?

Tape measure, gun.

And why should these presents begin immediately after Sholto's death unless it is that Sholto's heir knows something of the mystery and desires to make compensation?

Are you ready Watson?

And waiting.

Have you any alternative theory that will meet the facts?

But what a strange compensation!

And how strangely made!

What time is it?

It's a quarter past the hour.

Evening Ellis.

Evening sir.

Why should somebody write her a letter now, rather than 6 years ago?

Again, the letter speaks of giving her justice.

What justice can she have?

It is too much to suppose that her father is still alive and there's no other injustice in her case that you know of.

There are difficulties but there are always difficulties.

Good evening Mr Holmes.

I do hope I'm not...

Good evening.

By the way, a curious paper was found in Papa's desk, which nobody could understand.

I don't suppose it is of the slightest importance, but I thought you might like to see it, so I brought it with me.

The paper appears to be of Indian manufacture.

At some point it's been pinned to a board.

The diagram upon it appears to be the plan of part of a large building with numerous halls, corridors, and passages.

There's a cross in red ink, and on the side is written '3.37 from left.'

There is a curious hieroglyphic, The sign of four Kartar Singh, Indigo Singh, Jagodish Singh, Jonathan Small.

It appears it has been kept carefully in a pocketbook, for the one side is as clean as the other.

It was in his pocketbook that we found it.

Preserve it carefully, Miss Morstan.

I begin to suspect that this case may be much deeper and more subtle than I ever first supposed.


Hey, are you the parties who come with Miss Morstan?

I'm Miss Morstan, and these 2 gentlemen are my companions.

I must ask you to give me your word that neither of your companions is a police officer.

I give you my word.


Sahib awaits you.

Show them in, Khitmutgar.

Show them straight in to me.

Your servant, Miss Morstan.

Your servant, gentlemen.

Come in.

Come in.

Come in.

Come in to my little sanctum.

I trust you have no objection to tobacco smoke?

The balsamic odor of Eastern tobacco?

I am a little nervous and I find my hookah to be an invaluable...

sedative.

You will excuse me Mr. Sholto but I am here at your request to learn something, which you desire to tell me?

It is getting very late and I should wish the interview to be as short as possible.

Well it must take some time.

For we have to go to Norwood to see brother Bartholomew.

We must all see if we can get the better of brother Bartholomew.

He is angry with me for taking the course that has seemed right to me.

You cannot imagine what a terrible fellow he is when he is angry.

If we are to go to Norwood, it would perhaps be as well if we were start at once.

No.

No that would hardly do.

I don't know what he would say if we came upon him in that sudden way.

No I must prepare you by showing you where we all stand to each other.

I must lay the facts before you, as I know them myself.

My father, the late Major John Sholto, came to live at Pondicherry Lodge in Upper Norwood some 1 1 years ago.

And he had prospered in India and brought back with him a considerable sum of money, a collection of valuable curiosities, and a staff of native servants.

With these advantages he lived in great luxury.

My brother and I were at university at the time.

We did know, however, that some mystery, some positive danger, overhung our father.

He was very fearful of going out alone, and he employed 2 prizefighters to guard him.

Williams, who drove you here tonight, was one of them.

For some reason, he never told anyone, my father had a marked aversion to men with wooden legs.

On one occasion he actually fired his revolver at a one-legged man.

A harmless tradesman as it turned out.

I remember we have to pay a considerable sum to hush it up.

Then suddenly

my father received a letter It was a great shock to him.

Out.

Out of the room!

Out of the room!

What was in the letter we could never discover?

For years my father had suffered with an enlarged spleen and from that moment on he became rapidly worse.

But one night the doctor informed us there was no hope and that he wished to make a last communication to us.

My dear family,

when we were in India my friend, Morstan and I, came into possession of a considerable treasure.

I brought it home with me to this house, where it's still alive.

On the day, Mr. Morstan, had arrived home from the East.

He came straight to this house to claim his share.

We gave our word Sholto.

A promise.

We gave our word and our oath. another time, another life, another world, a solemn promise.

You tried to betray me Morstan.

If you dare to cross me...

My God.

The man is dead Altada.

You have nothing to fear Sir.

I will arrange everything.

And soon it was done Miss Morstan, in secrecy of course but with respect.

This is disgraceful Mister Sholto.

Your father's behavior was quite unforgivable.

Please Doctor.

I knew in my heart that he was dead.

My father was not alone then.

And I'm glad he didn't suffer.

You're very brave Miss Morstan.

What concerns me now is the wishing for this quarrel.

I cannot imagine how my father came to be involved with that treasure.

I'm afraid that is not clear Miss Morstan I can only tell you my father's instructions concerning it.

The greed. accursed greed that has been my besetting thing throughout my life has robbed her of the treasure.

Half of which, at least, should be hers.

You see that chaplet there.

I had the design of sending it to her but could not bear to part with it.

You my sons must see that Miss Morstan gets her share of the treasure.

Get him away.

For Christ's sake get him away.

We ran to the window and out into the garden but the intruder was gone.

My father was dead.

We soon had more striking proof that there were secret agencies that work all around us.

The next day my father's bedroom was broken into and this was fixed to his chest.

Remarkable.

It is the Sikkh symbol for the numeral 4.

What the paper means and who our secret visitor or visitors were we never found out.

And my brother and I were much excited as you could imagine of the treasure that my father had spoken but try as we might we couldn't find it.

It was maddened to think that the hiding place was on his very lips when he died.

We could judge the splendor of the riches by the chaplet, which he had taken out.

The pearls were evidently of great value, and my brother was averse to part with them, for, between friends, he was a little inclined to my father's fault.

And it was all I could do was to persuade him to allow me to send Miss Morstan a detached pearl at regular intervals so that she would not feel destitute.

It was a kindly thought.

No it was very good of you.

We were your trustees that was the way I looked at it, although my brother did not altogether see it in that light.

We had plenty of money ourselves.

It would have been in such bad taste to have treated a young lady in so scurvy a fashion.

Yesterday an event of extreme importance occurred.

We, found of the treasure.

Hence my instant communication to you Miss Morstan.

Now all we have to do is to drive to Norwood and claim our share.

We shall be expected, if not entirely welcome, visitors.

You have done well from first to last Mr. Sholto.

My health is somewhat fragile.

I am compelled to be a valetudinarian.

Please?

We dug up every inch of the garden without discovering anything.

Brother Bartholomew is such a clever fellow.

Do you know how he found out where the treasure was?

Tell me.

He made measurements everywhere, all along the top, along the side, inside and he found out he was 4 foot out at the top.

We found our father made a false room So he smashed through the lath and the plaster and there was the treasure chest lying across the rafters.

He has computed the value of the treasure to be more than one half million sterling.

[scream]

It's Mrs. Bernstone.

Mrs. Bernstone is the only lady in the house wait here.

Oh, Mr. Thaddeus I'm so glad you've come!

I'm so glad you've come, sir!

What a strange place!

It looks as if all the moles in England have been let loose in it.

There's something amiss with Bartholomew Into the house!

bless your sweet, calm face.

Oh, but I have been sorely tried this day.

How Mrs. Bernstone?

Mr. Bartholomew shut himself in his room and I can't get a word out of him.

His bed hasn't been slept in and he hasn't been down for any food.

I dare not disturb him at his work.

You know what he's like when it's his work.

Look after her Miss Morstan.

There, there do try to calm down.

Look I'm sure everything will be all right.

I do hope your right Miss.

Sit down over there.

Come.

Which is the door?


There's something devilish in this, Watson.


The sign of the four again.

What in God's name does it all mean?

It means murder.

We brought the treasure down there last night.

Now its gone.

What time is that?

I don't know.

I think six, or seven.

I heard him lock the door after I left.

I must have been the last person to see him alive.

And now he's dead

you think I did it?

I didn't, why should I, I wouldn't have wanted you...

I wouldn't have asked you to...

I'll go mad.

Gentle, gently, gentle Mr. Sholto.

I suggest that you go down to the police station and tell them everything that you know.

We shall wait here until you return.

Holmes look at this.

Careful!

Forgive me, its poisoned.

Well Watson we have a little time let's make the most of it.

Awe this is an Insoluble mystery to me.

It grows darker instead of clearer.

No, no, no, no it clears every instant.

I only require a few missing links to have an entirely connected case.

Simple as the case seems now there may be something deeper underlying it.

How did these people come and how did they go?

People?

Well it takes more than one, perhaps more than 2 to remove a heavy treasure chest from a place like this.

The door hasn't been opened since last night.

So how about these windows?

Snibbed on the inside.

No hinges.

Roof quite out of reach.

No drainpipe near.

Yet someone has entered this way look.

Watson.

See that a scuff on the sill.

Look at this Watson and this and this.

This is a very pretty demonstration.

But that's not a footmark.

Something much more valuable to us.

This is mark of a boot and this this the mark of the timber toe.

It is a wooden-legged man.

And someone else.

A very able and efficient ally.

Could you scale that wall, Watson?

Absolutely impossible.

I aid it is so but suppose you had a friend who lowered you this good stout rope securing it first to this ring.

I think if you were an active man, you'd be able to swarm up, wooden leg and all.

You would depart, of course, in the same fashion, and then your friend would pull up the rope,

close the window, snib it on the inside, and depart in the manner he originally came.

Well the thing grows more unintelligible than ever.

How about this mysterious ally?

How did he get into the room?

Yes, this ally.

He lifts this case from the regions of the commonplace.

Well the door is locked; the window inaccessible.

The grate's too small.

How then?

You will not follow my precept.

How often have I said to you that once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?

He must of come in through the roof.

Excellent Watson, hold this lamp.

Let us carry our research to the room above the secret room in which the treasure was found.

The skylight.

Holmes a child has done this horrid thing.

My memory failed me, for I should have been able to foretell it.

There is nothing we can learn from here.

Let us go down.

What is your theory about those footmarks?

My dear Watson, try a little analysis yourself.

You know my methods.

Apply them.

I cannot conceive of anything that will cover the facts.

You will soon.

We're in luck.

Our little ally has trod in the creosote.

[Voices from afar].

Ahh, look at that.

Quite a nice little place you got here.

Holmes! representatives of the law unless I'm very, very much mistaken.

Now Watson before they come what do you make of this poor fellow?

The muscles are stiff as a board.

A state of extreme contraction, far exceeding the usual rigor mortis.

Quite so.

Coupled with this distortion of the face, the Hippocratic smile, risus sardonicus, as the old writers called it, what would that suggest to your mind?

Death from a powerful vegetable alkaloid some strychnine-like substance that produces tetanus.

Well, to the right, come on along gentleman to the right.

Up these stairs.

This thorn. old English thorn.

I think it is not right that Miss Morstan remain in this stricken house.

I suggest you slip away and take her home Watson and then go to 3 Pinchin Lane, Lambeth and ask for Toby.

3 Pinchin Lane.

I'd rather have Toby's help than that of the whole protective force London.

Well here's a pretty business!

Place is as full as a rabbit-warren!

I think you better recollect me, Mr. Athelney Jones.

Why, of course I do!

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, the theorist.

I'll never forget that you lectured us all about the Bishopgate jewel case, True you set us on the right track then I think you'll own now it is more by good luck than good guidance.

It was a piece of very simple reasoning.

Oh, come, now, come!

Never be ashamed to own up.

But what is all this?

It's a bad business!

Bad business!

Stern facts here no room for theories.

It's lucky I happened to be up at Norwood on another case when I got the message.

How do you think this man died?

This is not a case for me to theorize over.

No, no, no.

Still, we can't deny you hit the nail on the head sometimes.

Door locked, I understand.

Jewels worth a fortune missing.

How were the windows?

Fastened; but there was a footstep on the sill.

Windows fastened.

Nothing to do with it. It's common sense.

Man could have died in a fit I suppose.

Ha!

I have a theory.

These flashes come to me sometimes.

Sergeant, outside if you please.

And you too, Mr. Sholto.

What do you think of this, Holmes?

Sholto has confessed he was with his brother last night.

The brother died in a fit.

Sholto walks off with the treasure?

How about that?

Whereupon a dead man very considerately gets up and locks the door from the inside.

Hum!

There's a flaw there somewhere.

Let us apply common sense to the matter.

They were brothers there was a quarrel brother Bartholomew dead jewels gone.

And master Thaddeus evidently in a disturbed state of mind.

His appearance well, not attractive.

You see I'm weaving a web around Thaddeus.

The net begins to close upon him.

Jones that splinter,

which I firmly believe to be poisoned, that card and that curiously shaped instrument were lying there on the table.

Confirms my theory in every respect.

The house is full of Indian curiosities.

All point to Thaddeus.

But how did he escape?

There is a trapdoor in the roof Sergeant.

May I ask Mr. Sholto to step this way?

You see facts are better than theories, after all.

My view of the case is confirmed.

There is a trapdoor communicating with the roof, and it is partly open.

It is I who opened it.

Mr. Thaddeus Sholto, it is my duty to inform you that anything you say will be taken down and maybe used in evidence against you.

I arrest you in the Queen's name as being concerned in the death of your brother.

I didn't I tell you Don't trouble yourself, Mr. Sholto.

I think that I can engage to clear you of this charge.

Don't promise too much, Mr. Theorist.

You may find it a harder matter than you think.

Not only will I clear Mr. Sholto, but I will give you a description of the 2 men who were in this room last night.

One was a poorly educated man, strong, active, with his right leg off, wearing a stump worn away on the inside.

His left boot has a coarse, square-toed sole it has an iron band around the heel.

He's much sunburned, middle-aged and has a certain amount of skin missing from the palm of one hand.

And the other one?

He's rather a curious person.

I hope before long to be able to introduce you to the pair of them.

Watson, go to 3 Pinchin Lane, London and ask for Toby.

I'd rather have Toby's help than that of the whole detective force of London.


Mr. Toby?

Mr. Toby?

Mr. Toby?

Get out of it.

You drunken hooligan.

Go on get out of it or I'll turn my dogs on you.

All 43 of them.

I'm looking for Mr. Toby.

I have a viper in this bag, and I'll tip it out over your 'ead if you don't hoof it!

It's urgent that I find him.

I won't be argued with!

1 , 2, 3 and down comes the viper.

I've come from Mr. Holmes.

I've come from Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Mr. Sherlock Holmes well who'd of thought it?

Awe here you are.

Mr. Sherlock Holmes why didn't you say so, come in.

[inaudible].

Oh yes he does now Naughty.

Oh please don't you bite the gentleman cause this gentleman is a friend of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and any friend of Mr. Sherlock Holmes is a friend of mine.

Don't mind him.

He'll just give you a nice friendly squeeze.

I've give him the run of the room because he keeps down the beetles something beautiful.

Now what did you say Mr. Sherlock Holmes wanted?

Toby.

Toby?

Yes Toby.

Awe well Toby's No. 7 there along on the left.

Here you give him these and Toby will go along with you as quiet as a lamb.

Hey Toby wake up come on.

There's work for you to do.

A gentleman's come here to see you.

Toby come on.

Come on love.


Come on Toby.

Watson?

It's all right officer it's Mr. Holmes.

Coach around.

Come on Toby.

Well done you've got Toby.

Here comes London.

I'm coming down.


Holmes!

Ah,

look at these Watson.

I found them in the gutter.

Oh thank you Mrs. Bernstone.

Do you smell the creosote?

Athelney Jones arrested not only Thaddeus but also the gatekeeper, the gamekeeper, 2 Indian servants.

I was lucky to escape myself.

Watson are you on for a bit of a trudge?

Of course.

You and Toby game as they come when it's a good holding scent.

Now find him.

Go Toby.

Seek Toby seek.

Steady Watson steady.

Lucky the rain has stopped.

The scent will lie on the road in spite of their start.

Ah, how sweet the morning air is.

Have you brought your pistol Watson?

No I have my stick.

In the event were led to the men the peg leg I'll leave to you.

Leave the ally to me come.

What the deuce is the matter with the dog?

They took a boat except they didn't take a cab or a balloon.

They must have been met at the waters edge.

Toby!

Toby!

Toby!

Toby!

Toby!

He's lost his character to infallibility.

No, no, no.

Toby's not to blame.

Those barrels are filled with creosote.

The scent was divided.

So like good huntsmen Watson.

We must cast the dog again and find the true one.

Toby Toby

We're out of luck.

They've taken the boat from here.

These people are cleverer than I thought.

Now Watson these people show preconcerted management here.

Mordecai Smith.

You come back here and get your face washed.

Jack?

Oh you youngin'.

I'll get your Dad to give you a good spankin' when he gets back.

My what a rosy-cheeked young rascal!

Is there anything you'd like Jack?

I'd like a shillin'.

A fine young lad you got there, Mrs. Smith.

Lor' bless you, sir, he is that, and forward.

He gets a'most too much for me to manage, 'specially when my man is away days at a time.

Awe it's a pity about that.

I was hoping to hire a boat from him, a steam launch.

Why, bless you, sir, it is in the steam launch that he has gone.

Aye' didn't like the bloke who did the hire not at all, very rough, with a wooden leg, come tappin' at our window in the middle of the night and away they went without a word to me.

Now this man with the wooden leg, was he alone?

Think he might have had an animal with him.

A dog?

Didn't look like no dog to me sir.

More like something that you find at the zoo.

So tell me about the launch.

It's the old green bird with the yellow line.

Oh no, no, sir.

The Aurora has just been fresh painted black with a gold trim.

Awe yes, with a white funnel.

No sir black funnel.

Awe yes of course.

Well thank you Mrs. Smith.

Goodbye Jack.

Bye.

The main thing with people of that sort is never to let them think that information is of the slightest importance to you.

If you do they will instantly shut up like an oyster.

Well our course seems pretty clear now.

What would you do, then?

Get on the track of the Aurora.

It would take days if not months to search every wharf and landing place on the harbor between here and Greenwich.

What do you propose?

As our query has no reason to fear that he's being hunted I propose first of all a bath.

And shave.

And then a good meal and then some hours of sleep.

At the same time mobilizing the Baker Street division of the detective police force.

In other words the irregulars.

Awe the energetic Jones the ubiquitous reporter fixed up the case between them.

Watson look at this.

Here.

Mr. Jones' trained and experienced faculties were at once directed towards the detection of the criminals.

His well-known technical knowledge and powers of minute observation... well it gets better still the prompt and energetic action of the officers of the law shows the great advantage for the single vigorous and masterful mind.

Isn't it gorgeous?

We had a close shave of being arrested ourselves.

I wouldn't answer for our safety now if he has another of his attacks of energy.

Mr Holmes said nothing of this.

You can't possibly go in there.

I'm sorry Mr. Holmes It's all right Mrs. Hudson, they are my guests.

Look, hats off.

I've got your message.

I brought 'em on sharp.

3 bob and a tenner for the tickets.

Now Wiggins, in future they can report to you and you to me.

I cannot have the house invaded in this way.

Oye stop that.

Sorry.

Now I want you to find the steamboat Aurora.

Aurora.

Owner Mordecai Smith, black with gold trim.

Richmond to Gravesend both sides of the river.

Fine sir.

How much?

Old scale of pay a guinea to the boy who finds the boat.

Here is a day in advance.

If the launch is above water the irregulars will find her.

They can go everywhere, see everything.

If our man had an easy task just as ours ought to be.

One-legged men are not so common and this other man must be unique.

The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth.

They are a fierce, morose, and intractable people, though capable of forming the most devoted friendships when their confidence has once been gained.

They have always been a terror to shipwrecked crews, braining the survivors with their stone-headed clubs or shooting them with

with poisoned arrows.

These massacres are usually concluded by a cannibal feast.

Nice, amiable people.

And what time would you like for dinner Mr. Holmes?

Half past eight the day after tomorrow.

You'll wear yourself out old man.

I heard you marching about all night.

You really must get some rest.

I can't sleep.

This infernal problem is consuming me.

No news?

None.

None whatsoever.

The whole river has been searched from both sides.

Mrs. Smith has not heard from her husband, it's too much.

To be balked by some petty obstacle when all else has been overcome.


See anything?

No nothing.


Shove off.

Or you'll feel the back of my hand.

I'm not going to tell you again boy.


A nice little craft.

Aye, she's a good boat this.

We built her right in this yard.

Fastest boat on the river.

What she in for?

Repairs to her rudder.

That's the order.

I can't find anything amiss with it.

I want her in the water by six o'clock tonight.

Fully coaled and steam up.

Right Mr. Smith she'll be ready.

Six o'clock sharp, mind, for 2 gentlemen that'll not be kept waiting.

Right.

It's this Norwood case Doctor.

I have a great deal to worry and try me.

And this case is a very dark one too.

Thank you.

I shall be most grateful for Mr. Holmes' help.

Your friend is a wonderful man and not to be beat.

Well you maybe in for a long wait.

Nope I don't think so.

Go to Baker Street at once.

If I've not returned, wait for me.

I am close on the track of the Sholto gang.

Come with us tonight if you want to be in at the kill.

Good.

So he's on the scent again?

He's been at fault too has he?

Even the best of us are thrown off sometimes.

Yes?

Sherlock Holmes?

What is it?

Are you Mr. Sherlock Holmes?

No but I'm acting for him.

I've come about this right here.

If you have any information you may give to me.

There's a reward.

Is it about the steam launch, Aurora?

I'm telling no one but Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

No, no; come inside.

I'm a police officer.

You look like one.

No you will be recompensated for your loss of time.

You will not have long to wait.

Sit down.

Cigar Mr. Jones?

Oh, thank you for you very much.

As I was saying Doctor, I consider your friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes is a man not to be beat.

He would have made the most promising police officer.

I don't care who knows it.

With a little more discipline and a lot less theory.

Thank you.

You might offer me one.

Oh, you rogue you would have made an actor and a rare one.

You had the proper workhouse cough, and those weak legs of yours there worth 1 0 pounds each.

A police officer, I'm flattered.

Jones I shall need a police launch at the Westminster steps.

The fastest you have.

2 stout men, yourself, myself, Watson all of us armed.

That is easily arranged.

I will telephone the local station.

When we get to the tower we'll stop opposite of Jacobson's Yard.

How did you find the Aurora then?

Well I have reasons that the launch couldn't be far often despite of its invisibility.

So gentlemen, where could it be?

Well out of the water I suppose.

In a repair or boat builders yard.

Exactly.


One of my boys is waiting by the yard to give us the signal.

You planned it all very neatly Mr. Holmes but if the affair were in my hands I should have a body of police in the yard and arrested them when they came down.

Which would have been never.

This man Small is a pretty shrewd fellow.

Anything suspicious and he would lie snug for another week.

Sir?

We're opposite Jacobson's Yard now, shall we move downstream a little.

No this mist may be of an advantage to us.

We must lie low and wait.


Your boy's signaling, I can see it plainly.

There's the Aurora going like the devil She's very fast.

I doubt if we shall catch her.

We must catch her!

Pile it on, stokers!

I'll never forgive myself if she proves to have some use.

Faster, faster.

This is the fast boat they've got.


Pile on the coals.

Stoke her.

We must have her.

Even if we burn the boat.


Keep the light steady.

I can almost make out his companion.


We're gaining.

Pile it on, stoker.

Give it all the steam we've got.

I think we gained a little.

I'm sure of it.

Absolutely.

Point the light more to the left.

Keep it steady.


What's happening on that boat?

They're fighting among themselves.

Tonga, Tonga.

The peg leg.

Stop!

Police!

Cease you.

You can burn in hell Stop!

The sign of four Watson look.

What a face.


Wait Wait.

Let him wear himself out.


So Jonathan Small.

I am sorry it's come to this.

And so am I sir.

But I give you my word gentlemen I never laid hands on young Mr. Sholto.

Of course you didn't.

Your little friends dart killed him while he was still climbing the rope.

Well you speak as if you were there sir.

Well if it had been old Major Sholto I would have swung for him with a light heart.

But to be lagged over this young Sholto, cursed heart.

You must make a clean breast of it if you do I may be of use to you.

Quite a family party.

I reckon I'll pull that flask myself.

Now, where are you going Small?

The Esmeralda, at Gravesend, outward bound for the Brazils.

And nearly made it.

Another man at the engines and you'd never have caught us.

Where's the key my man?

At the bottom of the river.

Now look here, we've had enough of you tonight Small.

Bring the cuffs in men, I'm warning you.

Its alright constable When we leave the stacks.

I suggest that we go back to Baker Street.

Well I think Miss Morstan should be there.

Well that's not the regulation way Mr. Holmes.

Well I can at least promise you a nice, warming drink.

Very well gentlemen.

Well Miss Morstan I am pleased and proud to have been able to bring the thief to justice.

Justice?

The pretty justice.

Who's loot is this if it is not ours?

Where is the justice that I should give it up to those who have never owned it?

You forget Small they know nothing of this matter.

We cannot tell how far justice may have originally been on your side.

No sir.

You have been fair spoken to me, though I can say that it's you that I have to thank for these bracelets on my wrists.

Still I bear no grudge for that.

If you want to hear my story I have no wish to hold it back.

And what I say to you is God's truth, every word of it.

When I was a lad I took the Queen's shilling and was posted out to India with the Third Buff's.

A crocodile snapped this off when I was bathing in the Ganges.

The sawbones had my stump in the tar barrel nice and quick.

I was young and strong.

We got my discharge and this fellow...

it's been a good support to me

so there I was a cripple at 20.

But I liked it out there so I found myself a job as an overseer on an Indigo farm.

I was on horseback all day so that was fine.

But I was never in luck for long, without a note of warning the great mutiny was on us.

I came back to the farm one evening to find my master and all his family be murdered.

I didn't wait.

On that same evening I was in the Fort of Agra, the nearest city still held by the British.

The old Fort of Agra, a queer place, huge, it's full of passages and rooms and more entrances than you can count.

There were many gates and because I was an ex-soldier and British they put me in charge of one of them and gave me a couple of Sikkhs who'd stayed loyal to us.

It was a lonely place.

My 2 Punjabis were experienced, fighting men.

Kartar Singh and Indigo Singh.

Rebels?

No rebels.

The fort is safe.

There are no rebel this side of the river.

You must be with us or you must be silenced forever.

With you how?

We want you to be rich, which is why you British came to this land.

Well I have no objection of being rich.

Then swear by the bones of your father to raise no hand and to speak no word against us now or ever afterwards then you will have quarter of the treasure.

But there are only 3 of us.

Jagodish Singh my foster brother he must have his share.

There is no time Sahib decide.

Well provided the fort is in no kind of danger I swear.

What would you have done Mr. Holmes?

I strongly suspect I would have done exactly as you did.

Yes I know the Sikkh.

He's not a man to be trifled with.

One of our local Rajahs, Rich as Croesus of course, he'd gone in with the rebels.

But... He wanted to hedge his bet just in case the British came out on top.

So he made a plot to get half his treasure hidden in the Fort of Agra sending one of his men with it in the guise of a merchant and Jagodish Singh Kartar's brother to be the guide.

They come challenging sahib, in a major way giving no caution to fear.

What then? we do what has to be done.

Who goes there?

A friend sahib.

A friend advance and be recognized.

What have you with you?

A box sahib, old box.

Having some family papers.

No good to nobody sahib only for myself.

Sahib, I'm no ordinary beggar.

You will have money sahib. and you comrades sahib also.

Take him to the main guardroom.


Never was a man more compassed round with death.


If that man had escaped the whole affair would have come out.

I should have been shot most like.

Which of you would have held back his musket?

Kartar was for burning him, that's there religion.

But such a fire was impossible.

Jagodish was for throwing him down into the great ditch below the fort where the jackal's to clean him.

No doubt he was right.

I'm always for showing some respect for the dead.

Then we turned to the box, this box.

Inside were more gems than I could have ever even had dreamed of.

A 1 43 diamonds of the first order including the Great Mogul, the second largest stone in existence.

97 emeralds, 1 70 rubies, 40 carbuncles, 61 agates.

Jagodish was right, it was a great mistake you made burying the body as you did would you not say so Watson?

Yes indeed.

Bodies not burned in India are soon discovered.

So you and your 3 companions were found guilty and sent away for life to the penal colony in the Andaman Islands.

Blair Island sir.

Hopetown, never was a place worse named.

It was a place to sweat.

A place to rot.

A place to die.

And I sweated there year after year until your father arrived Miss. Morstan. corporal! you will not maltreat the white prisoner.

If it happens again you'll be court marshaled.

He was our administrative officer and he gave me a nice cushy villa in the dispensary.

He was as good and kind a Christian gentleman as I ever come across and I hold no grudge against him.

Or you Miss.

Thank you Mr. Small.

Well as I sat thinking about the treasure I could see all the offices and the prison officials at their drinking and their gambling.

Major Sholto never had much luck.

Night after night he was the loser.

Some people are born like that.

It's all over for me Morstan.

I'm ruined.

I shall have to send in my paper.

I don't suppose you could manage another couple of hundred hey?

I had a pretty nasty face in myself and I have a daughter back home to support.

Well I've got 2 wretched sons.

Ruined hey, damn pity.

So you decided to approach your benefactor Captain Morstan?

He was often in the dispensary.

The tropical climate didn't agree with him.

His heart was weak and his blood was all poisoned.

Knowing that he would wish to share any arrangement with his friend the officer in command, Major Sholto?

Yes sir it seemed the safest way.

And is there any private concern over which of course you have the power of disposing as you think best Thank you for that advice sir.

Thank you indeed but the fact is being in the position I am I need help.

What sort of help?

I need a partner.

Well I'm sure Major Sholto and myself would like to help you if we could.

We could at least talk about, that is of course if we can agree as to terms.

There's only one bargain a man in my position can make.

In exchange for my freedom and that of my 3 companions we shall give you a fifth share to divide between you.

A fifth?

That isn't very much.

50 thousand at the least.

Anyway how can we possibly give you your freedom?

You know it's impossible.

All we need is a boat and provisions.

There are plenty little yachts and yawls in Calcutta or Madras, Well enough to serve our purpose.

If only there were just one of you.

None.

None or all.

We have sworn it.

The 4 of us must always act together!

Calm yourself Sholto.

Calm yourself, think about it man, think about it.

Small is a man of his word he will not abandon his friends.

I think we may very well trust him.

We met the next morning in the small hours.

I had our written agreement in every detail.

We being officers in the Army of her majesty Queen Victoria...

We being officers in the Army of her majesty Queen Victoria...

Do swear on the Holy Bible that this agreement will always remain sacred and binding to us.

Do swear on the Holy Bible that this agreement will always remain sacred and binding to us.

I gave each of them a plan showing the position of the treasure.

Oh that brings back memories.

Sholto took the next boat to India, found the treasure and took it back with him to England?

Yes.

When we heard the news Captain Morstan was as angry as I was.

He swore to me he would go home and settle the matter with Sholto.

And so he would if he lived but that was not to be.

From that day, I lived only for vengeance.

I thought of it by day, I nursed it by night to get to Sholto, put my hands on his throat that was my one thought.

As luck would have it, one of the islanders had been brought in to my dispensary, more than half dead from a snakebite.

And in common humanity I did my best for him.

Somehow he pulled through and became very devoted to me, a funny little fellow.

Well you gentlemen caught a glimpse of him yourselves, no doubt, last night.

He was staunch and true little Tonga.

No man ever had a more faithful mate.

Being by trade a fisherman he had a goodish size native boat and he had agreed to try to escape with me.


After 1 0 days we were picked up by a trader with a cargo of pilgrims from Malay bound for Gito.

After many months we worked our way across the world to London.

A remarkable account.

And now I think Miss Morstan might like to see the Great Agra Treasure, which will surely make her one of the richest young ladies in England.

Watson?

There's no key.

I'm sure our iron poker will oblige.


Ha ha ha ha ha ha

This is your doing Small.

Yes.

Yes I put the treasure away where you shall never lay a hand on it.

No living man or woman has any right to it unless it is the 3 men in the Andaman Convict Barracks and myself.

I know now that I cannot have the use of it, no more can they.

But I have acted all along for them as much as for myself.

We have the sign of four with us always.

Where is it?

Where the key is and where little Tonga is.

I saw your launch might catch us and I saw little Tonga go over the side.

I put the loot in a safe place.

You are deceiving us Small if you had wished to throw the treasure into the Thames it would have been easier to have thrown box and all.

Easier for me to throw and easier for you to recover.

A man who's clever enough to hunt me down is clever enough to pick up a box from the bottom of the river.

I am sorry.

I am glad the treasure is lost.

It's been nothing but a curse to every man who has owned it.

And only death to my poor father.

And slavery for life to me and my companions.

We spent the first half of my life digging a breakwater in the Andaman's.

And I'm likely to spend the other half digging ditches on Dartmoor.

Well Holmes duty is duty and I've gone rather far in bringing him here.

I shall feel more at ease when I have our storyteller here under lock and key.

I am obliged to you for your assistance.

Good day to you. Doctor Watson, Miss Morstan.

Awe, after you Small. you seem a bit handy with that wooden leg of yours.


I feel most ashamed that you Mr. Holmes and you dear Doctor Watson have had to put yourself into such peril on my behalf.

Oh that's all over and forgotten.

Mrs. Forrester has sent her carriage for Miss Morstan.

I'll impose on you no longer gentlemen.

You must be exhausted.

Yes I confess the reaction is already upon me.

I shall be as limp as a rag for a week.

I'm so very grateful to you for clearing my father's name.

I'm so very grateful to you both.


Seems so unfair.

You ve done all the work in this business and Athelney Jones gets all the credit.

What remains for you?

For me, the pleasure of having solved an interesting case almost single-handed.

And for you no doubt the pleasure of writing it up in your usual flowery and romantic style.


What a very attractive woman.

Was she?

I hadn't noticed.