7. CHAPTER VII. LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS.
"So it proved. I spent the whole of yesterday evening in
making enquiries entirely without avail. This morning I
began very early, and at eight o'clock I reached Halliday's
Private Hotel, in Little George Street. On my enquiry as to
whether a Mr. Stangerson was living there, they at once
answered me in the affirmative.
"`No doubt you are the gentleman whom he was expecting,'
they said. `He has been waiting for a gentleman for two days.'
"`Where is he now?' I asked.
"`He is upstairs in bed. He wished to be called at nine.'
"`I will go up and see him at once,' I said.
"It seemed to me that my sudden appearance might shake his
nerves and lead him to say something unguarded. The Boots
volunteered to show me the room: it was on the second floor,
and there was a small corridor leading up to it. The Boots
pointed out the door to me, and was about to go downstairs
again when I saw something that made me feel sickish, in
spite of my twenty years' experience. From under the door
there curled a little red ribbon of blood, which had
meandered across the passage and formed a little pool along
the skirting at the other side. I gave a cry, which brought
the Boots back. He nearly fainted when he saw it. The door
was locked on the inside, but we put our shoulders to it, and
knocked it in. The window of the room was open, and beside
the window, all huddled up, lay the body of a man in his
nightdress. He was quite dead, and had been for some time,
for his limbs were rigid and cold. When we turned him over,
the Boots recognized him at once as being the same gentleman
who had engaged the room under the name of Joseph Stangerson.
The cause of death was a deep stab in the left side, which
must have penetrated the heart. And now comes the strangest
part of the affair. What do you suppose was above the
I felt a creeping of the flesh, and a presentiment of coming
horror, even before Sherlock Holmes answered.