A Study in Scarlet (Paperback)
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CHAPTER I. MR. SHERLOCK HOLMES.IN the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of theUniversity of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the courseprescribed for surgeons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as AssistantSurgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and beforeI could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing atBombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, andwas already deep in the enemy's country. I followed, however, with manyother officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeededin reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at onceentered upon my new duties.The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it hadnothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade andattached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle ofMaiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, whichshattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should havefallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for thedevotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across apack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines.Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I hadundergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, tothe base hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had already improvedso far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a littleupon the verandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curseof our Indian possessions. For months my life was despaired of, andwhen at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak andemaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lostin sending me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in thetroopship "Orontes," and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, withmy health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a paternalgovernment to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it.I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free asair--or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day willpermit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated toLondon, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers ofthe Empire are irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time ata private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaninglessexistence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freelythan I ought. So alarming did the state of my finances become, thatI soon realized that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticatesomewhere in the country, or that I must make a complete alteration inmy style of living. Choosing the latter alternative, I began by makingup my mind to leave the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some lesspretentious and less expensive domicile.