The Eye of Osiris

A Detective Story by

R. Austin Freeman


Second Series

P. F. Collier & Son Company - New York




























The school of St. Margaret's Hospital was fortunate in its lecturer on

Medical Jurisprudence, or Forensic Medicine, as it is sometimes

described. At some schools the lecturer on this subject is appointed

apparently for the reason that he lacks the qualifications to lecture

on any other. But with us it was very different: John Thorndyke was

not only an enthusiast, a man of profoundlearning and great

reputation, but he was an exceptional teacher, lively and fascinating

in style and of endless resources. Every remarkable case that had ever

been reported he appeared to have at his fingers' ends; every

fact--chemical, physical, biological, or even historical--that could in

any way be twisted into a medico-legal significance, was pressed into

his service; and his own varied and curious experiences seemed as

inexhaustible as the widow's curse. One of his favorite devices for

giving life and interest to a rather dry subject was that of analyzing

and commenting upon contemporary cases as reported in the papers

(always, of course, with a due regard to the legal and social

proprieties); and it was in this way that I first became introduced to

the astonishingseries of events that was destined to exercise so great

an influence on my own life.

The lecture which had just been concluded had dealt with the rather

unsatisfactory subject of survivorship. Most of the students had left

the theater, and the remainder had gathered round the lecturer's table

to listen to the informal comments that Dr. Thorndyke was wont to

deliver on these occasions in an easy, conversational manner, leaning

against the edge of the table and apparently addressing his remarks to

a stick of blackboard chalk that he held in his fingers.

"The problem of survivorship," he was saying, in reply to a question

put by one of the students, "ordinarily occurs in cases where the

bodies of the parties are producible, or where, at any rate, the

occurrence of death and its approximate time are actually known. But

an analogous difficulty may arise in a case where the body of one of

the parties is not forthcoming, and the fact of death may have to be

assumed on collateral evidence.

"Here, of course, the vital question to be settled is, what is the

latest instant at which it is certain that this person was alive? And

the settlement of that question may turn on some circumstance of the

most trivial and insignificant kind. There is a case in this morning's

paper which illustrates this. A gentleman has disappeared rather

mysteriously. He was last seen by the servant of a relative at whose

house he had called. Now, if this gentleman should never reappear,

dead or alive, the question as to what was the latest moment at which

he was certainly alive will turn upon the further question: 'Was he or

was he not wearing a particular article of jewelry when he called at

the relative's house?'"

He paused with a reflective eye bent upon the stump of chalk he still

held; then, noting the expectant interest with which we were regarding

him, he resumed:

"The circumstances in this case are very curious; in fact, they are

highly mysterious; and if any legal issues should arise in respect of

them, they are likely to yield some very remarkable complications. The

gentleman who has disappeared, Mr. John Bellingham, is a man well known

in archeological circles. He recently returned from Egypt, bringing

with him a very fine collection of antiquities--some of which, by the

way, he has presented to the British Museum, where they are now on

view--and having made this presentation, he appears to have gone to

Paris on business. I may mention that the gift consisted of a very

fine mummy and a complete set of tomb-furniture. The latter, however,

had not arrived from Egypt at the time when the missing man left for

Paris, but the mummy was inspected on the fourteenth of October at Mr.

Bellingham's house by Dr. Norbury of the British Museum, in the

presence of the donor and his solicitor, and the latter was authorized

to hand over the complete collection to the British Museum authorities

when the tomb-furniture arrived; which he has since done.

"From Paris he seems to have returned on the twenty-third of November,

and to have gone direct to Charing Cross to the house of a relative, a

Mr. Hurst, who is a bachelor and lives at Eltham. He appeared at the

house at twenty minutes past five, and as Mr. Hurst had not yet come

down from town and was not expected until a quarter to six, he

explained who he was and said he would wait in the study and write some

letters. The housemaid accordingly showed him into the study,

furnished him with writing materials, and left him.

"At a quarter to six Mr. Hurst let himself in with his latchkey, and

before the housemaid had time to speak to him he had passed through

into the study and shut the door.

"At six o'clock, when the dinner bell was rung, Mr. Hurst entered the

dining-room alone, and observing that the table was laid for two, asked

the reason.

"'I thought Mr. Bellingham was staying to dinner, sir,' was the

housemaid's reply.

"'Mr. Bellingham!' exclaimed the astonished host. 'I didn't know he

was here. Why was I not told?'

"'I thought he was in the study with you, sir,' said the housemaid.

"On this a search was made for the visitor, with the result that he was

nowhere to be found. He had disappeared without leaving a trace, and

what made the incident more odd was that the housemaid was certain that

he had not gone out by the front door. For since neither she nor the

cook was acquainted with Mr. John Bellingham, she had remained the

whole time either in the kitchen, which commanded a view of the front

gate, or in the dining-room, which opened into the hall opposite the

study door. The study itself has a French window opening on a narrow

grass plot, across which is a side-gate that opens into an alley; and

it appears that Mr. Bellingham must have made his exit by this rather

eccentric route. At any rate--and this is the important fact--he was

not in the house, and no one had seen him leave it.

"After a hasty meal Mr. Hurst returned to town and called at the office

of Mr. Bellingham's solicitor and confidential agent, a Mr. Jellicoe,

and mentioned the matter to him. Mr. Jellicoe knew nothing of his

client's return from Paris, and the two men at once took the train down

to Woodford, where the missing man's brother, Mr. Godfrey Bellingham,

lives. The servant who admitted them said that Mr. Godfrey was not at

home, but that his daughter was in the library, which is a detached

building situated in a shrubbery beyond the garden at the back of the

house. Here the two men found, not only Miss Bellingham, but also her

father, who had come in by the back gate.

"Mr. Godfrey and his daughter listened to Mr. Hurst's story with the

greatest surprise, and assured him that they had neither seen nor heard

anything of John Bellingham.

"Presently the party left the library to walk up to the house; but only

a few feet from the library door Mr. Jellicoe noticed an object lying

in the grass and pointed it out to Mr. Godfrey.

"The latter picked it up, and they all recognized it as a scarab which

Mr. John Bellingham had been accustomed to wear suspended from his

watch-chain. There was no mistaking it. It was a very fine scarab of

the eighteenth dynasty fashioned of lapis lazuli and engraved with the

cartouche of Amenhotep III. It had been suspended by a gold ring

fastened to a wire which passed through the suspension hole, and the

ring, though broken, was still in position.

"This discovery of course only added to the mystery, which was still

further increased when, on inquiry, a suit-case bearing the initials J.

B. was found to be unclaimed in the cloak-room at Charing Cross.

Reference to the counterfoil of the ticket-book showed that it had been

deposited about the time of the arrival of the Continental express on

the twenty-third of November, so that its owner must have gone straight

on to Eltham.

"That is how the affair stands at present, and, should the missing man

never reappear or should his body never be found, the question, as you

see, which will be required to be settled is, 'What is the exact time

and place, when and where, he was last known to be alive!' As to the

place, the importance of the issues involved in that question is

obvious and we need not consider it. But the question of time has

another kind of significance. Cases have occurred, as I pointed out in

the lecture, in which proof of survivorship by less than a minute has

secured succession to property. Now, the missing man was last seen

alive at Mr. Hurst's house at twenty minutes past five on the

twenty-third of November. But he appears to have visited his brother's

house at Woodford, and, since nobody saw him at that house, it is at

present uncertain whether he went there before calling on Mr. Hurst.

If he went there first, then twenty minutes past five on the evening of

the twenty-third is the latest moment at which he is known to have been

alive; but if he went there after, there would have to be added to this

time the shortest time possible in which he could travel from the one

house to the other.

"But the question as to which house he visited first hinges on the

scarab. If he was wearing the scarab when he arrived at Mr. Hurst's

house, it would be certain that he went there first; but if it was not

then on his watch-chain, a probability would be established that he

went first to Woodford. Thus, you see, a question which may

conceivably become of the most vital moment in determining the

succession of property turns on the observation or non-observation by

this housemaid of an apparentlytrivial and insignificant fact."

"Has the servant made any statement on this subject, sir?" I ventured

to inquire.

"Apparently not," replied Dr. Thorndyke; "at any rate, there is no

reference to any such statement in the newspaper report, though

otherwise, the case is reported in great detail; indeed, the wealth of

detail, including plans of the two houses, is quite remarkable and well

worth noting as being in itself a fact of considerable interest."

"In what respect, sir, is it of interest?" one of the students asked.

"Ah," replied Dr. Thorndyke, "I think I must leave you to consider that

question yourself. This is an untried case, and we mustn't make free

with the actions and motives of individuals."

"Does the paper give any description of the missing man, sir?" I asked.

"Yes; quite an exhaustive description. Indeed, it is exhaustive to the

verge of impropriety, considering that the man may turn up alive and

well at any moment. It seems that he has an old Pott's fracture of the

left ankle, a linear, longitudinal scar on each knee--origin not

stated, but easily guessed at--and that he has tattooed on his chest in

vermilion a very finely and distinctly executed representation of the

symbolical Eye of Osiris--or Horus or Ra, as the different authorities

have it. There certainly ought to be no difficulty in identifying the

body. But we hope that it will not come to that.

"And now I must really be running away, and so must you; but I would

advise you all to get copies of the paper and file them when you have

read the remarkably full details. It is a most curious case, and it is

highly probable that we shall hear of it again. Good afternoon,


Dr. Thorndyke's advice appealed to all who heard it, for medical

jurisprudence was a live subject at St. Margaret's, and all of us were

keenly interested in it. As a result, we sallied forth in a body to

the nearest news-vendor's, and, having each provided himself with a

copy of the _Daily Telegraph_, adjourned together to the Common room to

devour the report and thereafter to discuss the bearings of the case,

unhampered by those considerations of delicacy that afflicted our more

squeamish and scrupulous teacher.



It is one of the canons of correct conduct, scrupulously adhered to

(when convenient) by all well-bred persons, that an acquaintance should

be initiated by a proper introduction. To this salutary rule, which I

have disregarded to the extent of an entire chapter, I now hasten to

conform; and the more so inasmuch as nearly two years have passed since

my first informal appearance.

Permit me then, to introduce Paul Berkeley, M.B., etc., recently--very

recently--qualified, faultlessly attired in the professional frock-coat

and tall hat, and, at the moment of introduction, navigating with

anxious care a perilousstrait between a row of well-filled coal-sacks

and a colossal tray piled high with kidney potatoes.

The passage of this strait landed me on the terra firma of Fleur-de-Lys

Court, where I halted for a moment to consult my visiting list. There

was only one more patient for me to see this morning, and he lived at

49, Nevill's Court, wherever that might be. I turned for information

to the presiding deity of the coal shop.

"Can you direct me, Mrs. Jablett, to Nevill's Court?"

She could and she did, grasping me confidentially by the arm (the mark

remained on my sleeve for weeks) and pointing a shaking forefinger at

the dead wall ahead. "Nevill's Court," said Mrs. Jablett, "is a alley,

and you goes into it through a archway. It turns out on Fetter Lane on

the right 'and as you goes up, oppersight Bream's Buildings."

I thanked Mrs. Jablett and went on my way, glad that the morning round

was nearly finished, and vaguelyconscious of a growing appetite and of

a desire to wash in hot water.

The practice which I was conducting was not my own. It belonged to

poor Dick Barnard, an old St. Margaret's man of irrepressible spirits

and indifferent physique, who had started only the day before for a

trip down the Mediterranean on board a tramp engaged in the currant

trade; and this, my second morning's round, was in some sort a voyage

  • detective [di´tektiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.侦探 a.侦探的   (初中英语单词)
  • voyage [´vɔi-idʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.航海;航程;旅行   (初中英语单词)
  • fortunate [´fɔ:tʃənət] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.幸运的,侥幸的   (初中英语单词)
  • learning [´lə:niŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.学习;学问;知识   (初中英语单词)
  • lively [´laivli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.活泼的;热烈的   (初中英语单词)
  • remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.值得注意的;显著的   (初中英语单词)
  • physical [´fizikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.物质的;有形的   (初中英语单词)
  • series [´siəri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.连续;系列;丛书   (初中英语单词)
  • actually [´æktʃuəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.事实上;实际上   (初中英语单词)
  • instant [´instənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.立即的 n.紧迫;瞬间   (初中英语单词)
  • relative [´relətiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有关系的 n.亲属   (初中英语单词)
  • mysterious [mi´stiəriəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.神秘的;难以理解的   (初中英语单词)
  • collection [kə´lekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.收集;征收;募捐   (初中英语单词)
  • missing [´misiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.缺掉的;失踪的   (初中英语单词)
  • accordingly [ə´kɔ:diŋli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.因此;从而;依照   (初中英语单词)
  • writing [´raitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.书写;写作;书法   (初中英语单词)
  • visitor [´vizitə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.访问者;来宾;参观者   (初中英语单词)
  • incident [´insidənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.小事件;事变   (初中英语单词)
  • opening [´əupəniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开放;开端 a.开始的   (初中英语单词)
  • situated [´sitʃueitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.位于;处于….境地   (初中英语单词)
  • pointed [´pɔintid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尖(锐)的;中肯的   (初中英语单词)
  • mystery [´mistəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.神秘;秘密;故弄玄虚   (初中英语单词)
  • inquiry [in´kwaiəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.询问;质询;调查   (初中英语单词)
  • arrival [ə´raivəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.到达;到达的人(物)   (初中英语单词)
  • succession [sək´seʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.继任;继承(权)   (初中英语单词)
  • uncertain [ʌn´sə:tn] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不定的;不可靠的   (初中英语单词)
  • observation [,ɔbzə´veiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.观测;注意;意义   (初中英语单词)
  • wealth [welθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.财富,财产   (初中英语单词)
  • considerable [kən´sidərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.重要的;值得重视   (初中英语单词)
  • description [di´skripʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.描写   (初中英语单词)
  • distinctly [di´stiŋktli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.清楚地,明晰地   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • probable [´prɔbəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.大概的n.很可能的事   (初中英语单词)
  • acquaintance [ə´kweintəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.相识;熟人,相识的人   (初中英语单词)
  • introduction [,intrə´dʌkʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.介绍;引言;引导   (初中英语单词)
  • extent [ik´stent] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.长度;程度;范围   (初中英语单词)
  • hasten [´heisən] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.催促;促进 vi.赶紧   (初中英语单词)
  • professional [prə´feʃənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.职业的 n.自由职业   (初中英语单词)
  • consult [kən´sʌlt] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.商量;磋商;请教   (初中英语单词)
  • wherever [weər´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.无论在哪里   (初中英语单词)
  • sleeve [sli:v] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.袖子;袖套   (初中英语单词)
  • conscious [´kɔnʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.意识的;自觉的   (初中英语单词)
  • appetite [´æpitait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.欲望;食欲   (初中英语单词)
  • profound [prə´faund] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.深奥的;渊博的   (高中英语单词)
  • significance [sig´nifikəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.意义;重要性   (高中英语单词)
  • contemporary [kən´tempərəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.同时代的(人)   (高中英语单词)
  • astonishing [əs´tɔniʃiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.令人惊讶的   (高中英语单词)
  • remainder [ri´meində] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.剩余物;残余部分   (高中英语单词)
  • apparently [ə´pærəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显然,表面上地   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • jewelry [´dʒu:əlri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.珠宝(饰物)   (高中英语单词)
  • bachelor [´bætʃələ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.未婚男子;学士   (高中英语单词)
  • bearing [´beəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.举止;忍耐;关系   (高中英语单词)
  • continental [,kɔnti´nentl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.大陆的,大陆性的   (高中英语单词)
  • probability [,prɔbə´biliti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.或有;可能性   (高中英语单词)
  • finely [´fainli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.美好地;精细地   (高中英语单词)
  • representation [,reprizen´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.描写;表现(法)   (高中英语单词)
  • thereafter [ðeə´rɑ:ftə] 移动到这儿单词发声  adv.此后,其后   (高中英语单词)
  • delicacy [´delikəsi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.精美;娇弱,微妙   (高中英语单词)
  • perilous [´periləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.危险的;冒险的   (高中英语单词)
  • strait [streit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海峡   (高中英语单词)
  • indifferent [in´difrənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不关心的;中立的   (高中英语单词)
  • mediterranean [,meditə´reiniən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地中海 a.地中海的   (高中英语单词)
  • exceptional [ik´sepʃənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.异常的,特别的   (英语四级单词)
  • varied [´veərid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.各种各样的   (英语四级单词)
  • informal [in´fɔ:məl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.非正式的,非正规的   (英语四级单词)
  • approximate [ə´prɔksimit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.近似的 v.接近   (英语四级单词)
  • trivial [´triviəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.琐碎的;不重要的   (英语四级单词)
  • insignificant [,insig´nifikənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无意义的;无价值的   (英语四级单词)
  • presentation [,prezən´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.介绍;赠送;提出   (英语四级单词)
  • confidential [,kɔnfi´denʃəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.极受信任的;心腹的   (英语四级单词)
  • dynasty [´dinəsti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.王朝;朝代   (英语四级单词)
  • suspension [sə´spenʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.吊;中止;暂停   (英语四级单词)
  • reappear [,ri:ə´piə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.再(出)现   (英语四级单词)
  • considering [kən´sidəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.就…而论   (英语四级单词)
  • fracture [´fræktʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.折断;骨折;挫伤   (英语四级单词)
  • remarkably [ri´mɑ:kəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.非凡地;显著地   (英语四级单词)
  • inasmuch [,inəz´mʌtʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.因为;鉴于   (英语四级单词)
  • colossal [kə´lɔsəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.庞大的;异常的   (英语四级单词)
  • fetter [´fetə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.脚镣;束缚   (英语四级单词)
  • vaguely [´veigli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.含糊地,暖昧地   (英语四级单词)
  • lecturer [´lektʃərə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.演讲者;讲师   (英语六级单词)
  • enthusiast [in´θju:ziæst] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.热衷者,渴慕者   (英语六级单词)
  • biological [,baiə´lɔdʒikəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.生物学(上)的   (英语六级单词)
  • forthcoming [,fɔ:θ´kʌmiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.即将到来的   (英语六级单词)
  • expectant [ik´spektənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.期待的,预期的   (英语六级单词)
  • solicitor [sə´lisitə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.律师;掮客   (英语六级单词)
  • assured [ə´ʃuəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.确实的 n.被保险人   (英语六级单词)
  • calling [´kɔ:liŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.点名;职业;欲望   (英语六级单词)
  • kidney [´kidni] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.肾;性格;脾气   (英语六级单词)
  • forefinger [´fɔ:,fiŋgə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.食指   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 18:24:13
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