Sherlock Holmes: The Veiled Lodger

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  5. The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle : The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

Upon arriving at Brixton, Holmes and Watson are shown into Mrs. She is wearing her veil. Her purpose, it seems, is to make a clean breast of the matter before she dies. She tell Holmes and Watson that Mr. He was very rich and the fines meant nothing. Ronder also had an extramarital lover in Leonardo, the circus strongman. He was always very supportive and encouraging to his lover, who felt that Leonardo was the only man her husband feared. Eventually, Mrs. Ronder and Leonardo realized that Mr. Ronder was not fit to live, and formed a plan to eradicate him.

As part of the plan, Leonardo made a club with five nails in it, which could deliver wounds that might be mistaken for those of a lion's paw. Then one night at Abbas Parva, a small village in Berkshire where the circus was camped for the night, Mrs. Ronder and Leonardo carried out their plan. When Mrs. Ronder and her husband went to the lion's cage to feed it, Leonardo crept up behind them and smashed Mr.

Ronder released the lion to make it appear that it had broken free and done the deed. But the lion, having been riven into a feeding frenzy by the scent of Mr. Ronder's blood, turned and pounced on Mrs. Ronder instead, badly chewing her face up in the process. At the sight of this, Leonardo started screaming and ran to get help from the other circus members. He could have saved his lover himself by using the club on the lion, but he was too cowardly. She never saw or heard of Leonardo again, and later learned that he had drowned.

Ever since the night of the incident, she has lived alone and veiled. Holmes can only offer advice in this situation; realising that Mrs. Ronder is contemplating suicide, he reminds her that her life is worth something as an example of patient suffering in an impatient world. She responds to this by lifting her veil, and the sight is ghastly.

Nevertheless, Holmes receives a bottle of prussic acid from Mrs. Ronder two days later. She was going to use it to kill herself, but upon considering what Holmes told her, she apparently thought better of it. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. There is a cold partridge on the sideboard, Watson, and a bottle of Montrachet. Let us renew our energies before we make a fresh call upon them. When our hansom deposited us at the house of Mrs.

Merrilow, we found that plump lady blocking up the open door of her humble but retired abode. It was very clear that her chief preoccupation was lest she should lose a valuable lodger, and she implored us, before showing us up, to say and do nothing which could lead to so undesirable an end. Then, having reassured her, we followed her up the straight, badly carpeted staircase and were shown into the room of the mysterious lodger.

It was a close, musty, ill-ventilated place, as might be expected, since its inmate seldom left it. From keeping beasts in a cage, the woman seemed, by some retribution of fate, to have become herself a beast in a cage. She sat now in a broken armchair in the shadowy corner of the room. Long years of inaction had coarsened the lines of her figure, but at some period it must have been beautiful, and was still full and voluptuous.


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A thick dark veil covered her face, but it was cut off close at her upper lip and disclosed a perfectly shaped mouth and a delicately rounded chin. I could well conceive that she had indeed been a very remarkable woman. Her voice, too, was well modulated and pleasing. Edmunds, the county detective. I fear I lied to him. Perhaps it would have been wiser had I told the truth.

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I know that he was a very worthless being, and yet I would not have his destruction upon my conscience. We had been so close — so close! That other person is myself. I could not stand the scandal and publicity which would come from a police examination. I have not long to live, but I wish to die undisturbed. And yet I wanted to find one man of judgment to whom I could tell my terrible story, so that when I am gone all might be understood. At the same time, I am a responsible person.

I do not promise you that when you have spoken I may not myself think it my duty to refer the case to the police. I know your character and methods too well, for I have followed your work for some years. Reading is the only pleasure which fate has left me, and I miss little which passes in the world.

But in any case, I will take my chance of the use which you may make of my tragedy. It will ease my mind to tell it. The woman rose and took from a drawer the photograph of a man. He was clearly a professional acrobat, a man of magnificent physique, taken with his huge arms folded across his swollen chest and a smile breaking from under his heavy moustache — the self-satisfied smile of the man of many conquests. It was a dreadful face — a human pig, or rather a human wild boar, for it was formidable in its bestiality. One could imagine that vile mouth champing and foaming in its rage, and one could conceive those small, vicious eyes darting pure malignancy as they looked forth upon the world.

Ruffian, bully, beast — it was all written on that heavy-jowled face. I was a poor circus girl brought up on the sawdust, and doing springs through the hoop before I was ten. When I became a woman this man loved me, if such lust as his can be called love, and in an evil moment I became his wife. From that day I was in hell, and he the devil who tormented me.

There was no one in the show who did not know of his treatment. He deserted me for others. He tied me down and lashed me with his ridingwhip when I complained. They all pitied me and they all loathed him, but what could they do?

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The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

They feared him, one and all. For he was terrible at all times, and murderous when he was drunk. Again and again he was had up for assault, and for cruelty to the beasts, but he had plenty of money and the fines were nothing to him. The best men all left us, and the show began to go downhill. It was only Leonardo and I who kept it up — with little Jimmy Griggs, the clown. Poor devil, he had not much to be funny about, but he did what he could to hold things together.

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You see what he was like. I know now the poor spirit that was hidden in that splendid body, but compared to my husband he seemed like the angel Gabriel. He pitied me and helped me, till at last our intimacy turned to love — deep, deep, passionate love, such love as I had dreamed of but never hoped to feel. My husband suspected it, but I think that he was a coward as well as a bully, and that Leonardo was the one man that he was afraid of. He took revenge in his own way by torturing me more than ever.

One night my cries brought Leonardo to the door of our van. We were near tragedy that night, and soon my lover and I understood that it could not be avoided. My husband was not fit to live. We planned that he should die. It was he who planned it. I do not say that to blame him, for I was ready to go with him every inch of the way.

But I should never have had the wit to think of such a plan. This was to give my husband his death-blow, and yet to leave the evidence that it was the lion which we would loose who had done the deed. We carried with us the raw meat in a zinc pail. Leonardo was waiting at the corner of the big van which we should have to pass before we reached the cage.

Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

My heart leaped with joy at the sound. You may have heard how quick these creatures are to scent human blood, and how it excites them. Some strange instinct had told the creature in one instant that a human being had been slain.


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  • As I slipped the bars it bounded out and was on me in an instant. Leonardo could have saved me. If he had rushed forward and struck the beast with his club he might have cowed it. But the man lost his nerve. I heard him shout in his terror, and then I saw him turn and fly.

    At the same instant the teeth of the lion met in my face. Its hot, filthy breath had already poisoned me and I was hardly conscious of pain. With the palms of my hands I tried to push the great steaming, blood-stained jaws away from me, and I screamed for help. I was conscious that the camp was stirring, and then dimly I remembered a group of men. That was my last memory, Mr. Holmes, for many a weary month.

    Sherlock Holmes - The Adventure Of The Veiled Lodger (June 20, 1948)

    When I came to myself and saw myself in the mirror, I cursed that lion — oh, how I cursed him! I had but one desire, Mr. Holmes, and I had enough money to gratify it.

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    It was that I should cover myself so that my poor face should be seen by none, and that I should dwell where none whom I had ever known should find me. That was all that was left to me to do — and that is what I have done. A poor wounded beast that has crawled into its hole to die — that is the end of Eugenia Ronder. We sat in silence for some time after the unhappy woman had told her story.


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    • Then Holmes stretched out his long arm and patted her hand with such a show of sympathy as I had seldom known him to exhibit. The ways of fate are indeed hard to understand. If there is not some compensation hereafter, then the world is a cruel jest. But what of this man Leonardo? Perhaps I have been wrong to feel so bitterly against him. He might as soon have loved one of the freaks whom we carried round the country as the thing which the lion had left. For myself, I cared nothing what became of me. What could be more dreadful than my actual life?

      The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle : The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

      But I stood between Leonardo and his fate. There is a chalk-pit by the camp, with a deep green pool at the base of it. He turned swiftly upon her. The example of patient suffering is in itself the most precious of all lessons to an impatient world. It was horrible. No words can describe the framework of a face when the face itself is gone. Two living and beautiful brown eyes looking sadly out from that grisly ruin did but make the view more awful. Holmes held up his hand in a gesture of pity and protest, and together we left the room. Two days later, when I called upon my friend, he pointed with some pride to a small blue bottle upon his mantelpiece.

      I picked it up. There was a red poison label. A pleasant almondy odour rose when I opened it. It came by post.