“What do you make of that?”

“What do you make of that?” — an illustration (1892) by Sidney Paget for Arthur Conan Doyle's “Adventure of the Crooked Man,” p. 270. Photographic reproduction of pen and ink. Click on image to enlarge it. Formatting and text by George P. Landow [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the Internet Archive and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Passage illustrated

Holmes pulled a large sheet of tissue-paper out of his pocket and carefully unfolded it upon his knee.

"What do you make of that?" he asked.

The paper was covered with the tracings of the foot-marks of some small animal. It had five well-marked foot-pads, an indication of long nails, and the whole print might be nearly as large as a dessert-spoon.

"It's a dog," said I.

"Did you ever hear of a dog running up a curtain? I found distinct traces that this creature had done so."

"A monkey, then?"

"But it is not the print of a monkey."

"What can it be, then?"

"Neither dog nor cat nor monkey nor any creature that we are familiar with. I have tried to reconstruct it from the measurements. Here are four prints where the beast has been standing motionless. You see that it is no less than fifteen inches from fore-foot to hind. Add to that the length of neck and head, and you get a creature not much less than two feet long—probably more if there is any tail. But now observe this other measurement. The animal has been moving, and we have the length of its stride. In each case it is only about three inches. You have an indication, you see, of a long body with very short legs attached to it. It has not been considerate enough to leave any of its hair behind it. But its general shape must be what I have indicated, and it can run up a curtain, and it is carnivorous."

References

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes. “Reproduced from the original publication in The Strand Magazine with the classic illustrations by Sidney Paget.” Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, [after 1954]. Internet Archive version of a copy donated by Friends of the San Francisco Library. Web.


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Last modified 4 December 2013