PART II. The Country of the Saints.
6. CHAPTER VI. A CONTINUATION OF THE REMINISCENCES OF JOHN WATSON, M.D.
"The blood had been streaming from my nose, but I had taken
no notice of it. I don't know what it was that put it into
my head to write upon the wall with it. Perhaps it was some
mischievous idea of setting the police upon a wrong track,
for I felt light-hearted and cheerful. I remembered a German
being found in New York with RACHE written up above him, and
it was argued at the time in the newspapers that the secret
societies must have done it. I guessed that what puzzled the
New Yorkers would puzzle the Londoners, so I dipped my finger
in my own blood and printed it on a convenient place on the
wall. Then I walked down to my cab and found that there was
nobody about, and that the night was still very wild. I had
driven some distance when I put my hand into the pocket in
which I usually kept Lucy's ring, and found that it was not
there. I was thunderstruck at this, for it was the only
memento that I had of her. Thinking that I might have
dropped it when I stooped over Drebber's body, I drove back,
and leaving my cab in a side street, I went boldly up to the
house -- for I was ready to dare anything rather than lose
the ring. When I arrived there, I walked right into the arms
of a police-officer who was coming out, and only managed to
disarm his suspicions by pretending to be hopelessly drunk.
"That was how Enoch Drebber came to his end. All I had to do
then was to do as much for Stangerson, and so pay off John
Ferrier's debt. I knew that he was staying at Halliday's
Private Hotel, and I hung about all day, but he never came
out. I fancy that he suspected something when Drebber
failed to put in an appearance. He was cunning, was
Stangerson, and always on his guard. If he thought he could
keep me off by staying indoors he was very much mistaken.
I soon found out which was the window of his bedroom, and early
next morning I took advantage of some ladders which were
lying in the lane behind the hotel, and so made my way into
his room in the grey of the dawn. I woke him up and told him
that the hour had come when he was to answer for the life he
had taken so long before. I described Drebber's death to
him, and I gave him the same choice of the poisoned pills.
Instead of grasping at the chance of safety which that
offered him, he sprang from his bed and flew at my throat.
In self-defence I stabbed him to the heart. It would have
been the same in any case, for Providence would never have
allowed his guilty hand to pick out anything but the poison.