Vol I / Issue XIII ~ 13th of August, 2007
- Letter from the Editor
11th of August, 2007Town Hall Meeting Minutes
- Events & Announcements
- Classified Advertisements
- Contact, Circulation, and other Essential Information for the Reader
- New Babbage and Steampunk FAQ
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Dear Fellow New Babbagers,
The following issue covers 11th of August's town hall meeting and the final chapter of "The Sign of Four. I apologize for lack of coverage in this issue, but promise next issue will be full of surprises! Last July's distribution of the Cog totaled over 125 copies!
In your service,
Editor in Chief, The New Babbage Cog
Miss Eggberta Echegaray
NEW BABBAGE TOWN HALL MEETING
Shaunathan Sprocket, Pizzini Mayo, Salazar Jack, Diogen Blackadder, Solivar Scarborough, Loki Eliot, Khashai Steinbeck, Ricky Geesink, Anakin Merlin, Myrtil Igaly, Thelonious Messmer, Woolybully Bade, Ordinal Malaprop, Nareth Nishi, Cessadia Thetan, Artemisia Paine, Clear Straaf, Luciean Commodore, Diogen Blackadder, Miguel Pinion, Zoe Connolly, Ricky Geesink, Vincente Shepherd, Eggberta Echegaray, Thelonious Messmer, Spencer Upshaw, Reitsuki Kojima, Nareth Nishi, Natacha Chernov, Pizzini Mayo, Cornell Mondrian, Molly Underwood, Reitsuki Kojima, Noddeh Slade, Spencer Upshaw, Lisbeth DeCuir, TJ Tenk, Cyn Peccable, Trilliam Dyrssen.
Mayor Sprocket opened the meeting up at SL time, with reminding everyone that the community collectively agreed back in March, to not enable voice chat in New Babbage’s public areas, and the agreement still presently sits. Individual New Babbage residents are however, allowed to enable voice chat on their own parcels if they so desire, as voice chat is spatially contained and doesn’t interfere with the public areas. Mayor Sprocket also pointed out, those who discriminate others, who don’t wish to participate in voice chat in private areas of New Babbage, will be dealt with for New Babbage’s primary form of communication will be text.
Next order up for discussion was the Relay for Life event. New Babbage’s fund raising kiosk made over $16,000 Lindens for the cause, and independent donations which where added to that amount, totaled over $32,000 Lindens. Mayor Sprocket congratulated everyone for their donations, efforts and achievements with volunteering to build the Relay Campsite Track, and publicly thanked Reitsuki Kojima, for his amazing job on the underwater tunnel build, inspired by 20,000 leagues under the sea. Ms. Ordinal Malaprop proposed a toast to all those involved. Mayor Sprocket also pointed out, that a lot of the Relay for Life builds where a sneak preview of what to expect with the up and coming new underwater sim, and Loki Elliot’s skyscraper tower build, will be added New Babbage’s Town hall. Ms. Malaprop and Mr. Kojima both mentioned that they recorded some Cinematographic Reels of the event a
nd the New Babbage builds, but both haven’t had time yet to edit them. Among the builders for the event where, Shaunathan Sprocket: Charlene Trudeau, Jessica Ornitz, Salazar Jack, Loki Elliot, Rei Kojima and Pizzini Mayo’s firehall.
There will be a murder mystery Role play that will take place in New Bababge for the remainder of the month. For the event, Mayor Sprocket has created an official investigation unit, known as the Bow Street Police Service, Special Investigations Bureau, which will be located on the third floor of the canal district’s train station.
At the meeting’s closing, Solivar Scarbourgh, Reisuki Kojima and Loki Elliot had some final words. Mr.Scarbourgh announced that he will soon, finish creating New Babbage’s Museum, and apologized for it’s delay, for other out of worldly circumstances have prevented him to finish the contents.
Reitsuki Kojima mentioned, since a lot of New Babbage’s residents role-play, he proposed to create a New Babbage role-playing directory. He said he could create a book-shaped object, which would be a portal, probably placed out near the telehubs. Mr.Kojima hasn’t worked out the mechanics for it yet, and is still deciding weather it use note cards or direct people to an off-world server. People could submit a "character description sheet" for their avatars, which would be completely voluntary, and supply only the information they wanted. The idea is for other’s to interact with your avatar on a more "in character" level, and also, this can be used as a way to get to know each other a bit better.
Loki Eliot was the last resident to speak and he mentioned how since he fully enjoys being in New Babbage, he would like to invite more people from SL to come here, to check the place out an
d see what we all do, so he is always trying to think of new ways to bring more people here. Having said that, Loki mentioned that he will be opening up an art gallery in his Absinthe bar, which anyone can freely submit work to be placed up to sell. There will be a grand opening at the Absinthe Bar soon and Loki will send out a notice as soon as he’s figured out when to have it. Mayor Sprocket thanked all the attendants for coming, and concluded the meeting at SL time.
Meeting Minutes compiled by Eggberta Echegaray.
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THE SIGN OF FOUR
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
THE STRANGE STORY OF JONATHAN SMALL
A very patient man was that inspector in the cab, for it was a weary time before I rejoined him. His face clouded over when I showed him the empty box. "There goes the reward!" said he, gloomily. "Where there is no money there is no pay. This night's work would have been worth a tenner each to Sam Brown and me if the treasure had been there." "Mr. Thaddeus Sholto is a rich man," I said. "He will see that you are rewarded, treasure or no." The inspector shook his head despondently, however. "It's a bad job," he repeated; "and so Mr. Athelney Jones will think." His forecast proved to be correct, for the detective looked blank enough when I got to
I could understand, as I saw the fury and the passion of the man, that it was no groundless or
unnatural terror which had possessed Major Sholto when he first learned that the injured convict was upon his track. 'You forget that we know nothing of all this," said Holmes quietly. "We have not heard your story, and we cannot tell how far justice may originally have been on your side." "Well, sir, you have been very fair-spoken to me, though I can see that I have you to thank that I have these bracelets upon my wrists. Still, I bear no grudge for that. It is all fair and above-board. If you want to hear my story I have no wish to hold it back. What I say to you is God's truth, every word of it. Thank you; you can put the glass beside me here, and I'll put my lips to it if I am dry. "I am a Worcestershire man myself,--born near Pershore. I dare say you would find a heap of Smalls living there now if you were to look. I have often thought of taking a look round there, but the truth is that I was never much of a credit to the family, and I doubt if they would be so very glad to see me. They were all steady, chapel-going folk, small farmers, well known and respected over the country-side, while I was always a bit of a rover. At last, however, when I was about eighteen, I gave them no more trouble, for I got into a mess over a girl, and could only get out of it again by taking the queen's shilling and joining the 3d Buffs, which was just starting for India. "I wasn't destined to do much soldiering, however. I had just got past the goose-step, and learned to handle my musket, when I was fool enough to go swimming in the
, handling our own weapons, and blowing our own bugle-calls. At
"The city of
For two nights I kept the watch with my Punjaubees.
They were tall, fierce-looking chaps, Mahomet Singh and Abdullah Khan by name, both old fighting-men who had borne arms against us at Chilian- wallah. They could talk English pretty well, but I could get little out of them. They preferred to stand together and jabber all night in their queer Sikh lingo. For myself, I used to stand outside the gate-way, looking down on the broad, winding river and on the twinkling lights of the great city. The beating of drums, the rattle of tomtoms, and the yells and howls of the rebels, drunk with opium and with bang, were enough to remind us all night of our dangerous neighbors across the stream. Every two hours the officer of the night used to come round to all the posts, to make sure that all was well. "The third night of my watch was dark and dirty, with a small, driving rain. It was dreary work standing in the gate-way hour after hour in such weather. I tried again and again to make my Sikhs talk, but without much success. At two in the morning the rounds passed, and broke for a moment the weariness of the night. Finding that my companions would not be led into conversation, I took out my pipe, and laid down my musket to strike the match. In an instant the two Sikhs were upon me. One of them snatched my firelock up and levelled it at my head, while the other held a great knife to my throat and swore between his teeth that he would plunge it into me if I moved a step. "My first thought was that these fellows were in league with the rebels, and that this was the beginning of an assault. If our door were in the hands of the Sepoys the place must fall,and the women and children be treated as they were in
We can say no fairer.' "'But what is the treasure, then?' I asked. 'I am as ready to be rich as you can be, if you will but show me how it can be done.' "'You will swear, then,' said he, 'by the bones of your father, by the honor of your mother, by the cross of your faith, to raise no hand and speak no word against us, either now or after wards?' "'I will swear it,' I answered, 'provided that the fort is not endangered.' "'Then my comrade and I will swear that you shall have a quarter of the treasure which shall be equally divided among the four of us.' "'There are but three,' said I."'No; Dost Akbar must have his share. We can tell the tale to you while we await them. Do you stand at the gate, Mahomet Singh, and give notice of their coming. The thing stands thus, Sahib, and I tell it to you because I know that an oath is binding upon a Feringhee, and that we may trust you. Had you been a lying Hindoo, though you had sworn by all the gods in their false temples, your blood would have been upon the knife, and your body in the water. But the Sikh knows the Englishman, and the Englishman knows the Sikh. Hearken, then, to what I have to say. "'There is a rajah in the
The place is lonely, and none shall know of his coming. The world shall know of the merchant Achmet no more, but the great treasure of the rajah shall be divided among us. What say you to it, Sahib?' "In Worcestershire the life of a man seems a great and a sacred thing; but it is very different when there is fire and blood all round you and you have been used to meeting death at every turn. Whether Achmet the merchant lived or died was a thing as light as air to me, but at the talk about the treasure my heart turned to it, and I thought of what I might do in the old country with it, and how my folk would stare when they saw their ne'er-do-well coming back with his pockets full of gold moidores. I had, therefore, already made up my mind. Abdullah Khan, however, thinking that I hesitated, pressed the matter more closely. "'Consider, Sahib,' said he, 'that if this man is taken by the commandant he will be hung or shot, and his jewels taken by the government, so that no man will be a rupee the better for them. Now, since we do the taking of him, why should we not do the rest as well? The jewels will be as well with us as in the Company's coffers. There will be enough to make every one of us rich men and great chiefs. No one can know about the matter, for here we are cut off from all men. What could be better for the purpose? Say again, then, Sahib, whether you are with us, or if we must look upon you as an enemy.' "'I am with you heart and soul,' said I. "'It is well,' he answered, handing me back my fire lock. 'You see that we trust you, for your word, like ours, is not to be broken. We have now only to wait for my brother and the merchant.' "'Does your brother know, then, of what you will do?' I asked. "'The plan is his. He has devised it. We will go to the gate and share the watch with Mahomet Singh.' "The rain was still falling steadily, for it was just the beginning of the wet season. Brown, heavy clouds were drifting across the sky, and it was hard to see more than a stone-cast. A deep moat lay in front of our door, but the water was in places nearly dried up, and it could easily be crossed. It was strange to me to be standing there with those two wild Punjaubees waiting for the man who was coming to his death. "Suddenly my eye caught the glint of a shaded lantern at the other side of the moat. It vanished among the mound-heaps, and then appeared again coming slowly in our direction. "'Here they are!' I exclaimed. "'You will challenge him, Sahib, as usual,' whispered Abdullah. 'Give him no cause for fear. Send us in with him, and we shall do the rest while you stay here on guard. Have the lantern ready to uncover, that we may be sure that it is indeed the man.' "The light had flickered onwards, now stopping and now advancing, until I could see two dark figures upon the other side of the moat. I let them scramble down the sloping bank, splash through the mire, and climb half-way up to the gate, before I challenged them. "'Who goes there?' said I, in a subdued voice. "'Friends,' came the answer.
I uncovered my lantern and threw a flood of light upon them. The first was an enormous Sikh, with a black beard which swept nearly down to his cummerbund. Outside of a show I have never seen so tall a man. The other was a little, fat, round fellow, with a great yellow turban, and a bundle in his hand, done up in a shawl. He seemed to be all in a quiver with fear, for his hands twitched as if he had the ague, and his head kept turning to left and right with two bright little twinkling eyes, like a mouse when he ventures out from his hole. It gave me the chills to think of killing him, but I thought of the treasure, and my heart set as hard as a flint within me. When he saw my white face he gave a little chirrup of joy and came running up towards me. "'Your protection, Sahib,' he panted,--'your protection for the unhappy merchant Achmet. I have traveled across Rajpootana that I might seek the shelter of the fort at Agra. I have been robbed and beaten and abused because I have been the friend of the Company. It is a blessed night this when I am once more in safety,--I and my poor possessions.' "'What have you in the bundle?' I asked. "'An iron box,' he answered, 'which contains one or two little family matters which are of no value to others, but which I should be sorry to lose. Yet I am not a beggar; and I shall reward you, young Sahib, and your governor also, if he will give me the shelter I ask.' "I could not trust myself to speak longer with the man. The more I looked at his fat, frightened face, the harder did it seem that we should slay him in cold blood. It was best to get it over. "'Take him to the main guard,' said I. The two Sikhs closed in upon him on each side, and the giant walked behind, while they marched in through the dark gate-way. Never was a man so compassed round with death. I remained at the gate-way with the lantern. "I could hear the measured tramp of their footsteps sounding through the lonely corridors. Suddenly it ceased, and I heard voices, and a scuffle, with the sound of blows. A moment later there came, to my horror, a rush of footsteps coming in my direction, with the loud breathing of a running man.
I turned my lantern down the long, straight passage, and there was the fat man, running like the wind, with a smear of blood across his face, and close at his heels, bounding like a tiger, the great black-bearded Sikh, with a knife flashing in his hand. I have never seen a man run so fast as that little merchant. He was gaining on the Sikh, and I could see that if he once passed me and got to the open air he would save himself yet. My heart softened to him, but again the thought of his treasure turned me hard and bitter. I cast my firelock between his legs as he raced past, and he rolled twice over like a shot rabbit. Ere he could stagger to his feet the Sikh was upon him, and buried his knife twice in
his side. The man never uttered moan nor moved muscle, but lay were he had fallen. I think myself that he may have broken his neck with the fall. You see, gentlemen, that I am keeping my promise. I am telling you every work of the business just exactly as it happened, whether it is in my favor or not." He stopped, and held out his manacled hands for the whiskey-and- water which Holmes had brewed for him. For myself, I confess that I had now conceived the utmost horror of the man, not only for this cold-blooded business in which he had been concerned, but even more for the somewhat flippant and careless way in which he narrated it. Whatever punishment was in store for him, I felt that he might expect no sympathy from me. Sherlock Holmes and Jones sat with their hands upon their knees, deeply interested in the story, but with the same disgust written upon their faces. He may have observed it, for there was a touch of defiance in his voice and manner as he proceeded. "It was all very bad, no doubt," said he. "I should like to know how many fellows in my shoes would have refused a share of this loot when they knew that they would have their throats cut for their pains. Besides, it was my life or his when once he was in the fort. If he had got out, the whole business would come to light, and I should have been court-martialled and shot as likely as not; for people were not very lenient at a time like that." "Go on with your story," said Holmes, shortly. "Well, we carried him in, Abdullah, Akbar, and I. A fine weight he was, too, for all that he was so short. Mahomet Singh was left to guard the door. We took him to a place which the Sikhs had already prepared. It was some distance off, where a winding passage leads to a great empty hall, the brick walls of which were all crumbling to pieces. The earth floor had sunk in at one place, making a natural grave, so we left Achmet the merchant there, having first covered him over with loose bricks. This done, we all went back to the treasure. "It lay where he had dropped it when he was first attacked. The box was the same which now lies open upon your table. A key was hung by a silken cord to that carved handle upon the top. We opened it, and the light of the lantern gleamed upon a collection of gems such as I have read of and thought about when I was a little lad at Pershore. It was blinding to look upon them.
When we had feasted our eyes we took them all out and made a list of them. There were one hundred and forty-three diamonds of the first water, including one which has been called, I believe, 'the Great Mogul' and is said to be the second largest stone in existence. Then there were ninety-seven very fine emeralds, and one hundred and seventy rubies, some of which, however, were small. There were forty carbuncles, two hundred and ten sapphires, sixty-one agates, and a great quantity of beryls, onyxes, cats'-eyes, turquoises, and other stones, the very names of which I did not know at the time, though I have become more familiar with them since. Besides this, there were nearly three hundred very fine pearls, twelve of which were set in a gold coronet. By the way, these last had been taken out of the chest and were not there when I recovered it. "After we had counted our treasures we put them back into the chest and carried them to the gate-way to show them to Mahomet Singh. Then we solemnly renewed our oath to stand by each other and be true to our secret. We agreed to conceal our loot in a safe place until the country should be at peace again, and then to divide it equally among ourselves. There was no use dividing it at present, for if gems of such value were found upon us it would cause suspicion, and there was no privacy in the fort nor any place where we could keep them. We carried the box,therefore, into the same hall where we had buried the body, and there, under certain bricks in the best-preserved wall, we made a hollow and put our treasure. We made careful note of the place, and next day I drew four plans, one for each of us, and put the sign of the four of us at the bottom, for we had sworn that we should each always act for all, so that none might take advantage. That is an oath that I can put my hand to my heart and swear that I have never broken. "Well, there's no use my telling you gentlemen what came of the Indian mutiny. After
"It came about in this way. When the rajah put his jewels into the hands of Achmet he did it because he knew that he was a trusty man. They are suspicious folk in the East, however: so what does this rajah do but take a second even more trusty servant and set him to play the spy upon the first? This second man was ordered never to let Achmet out of his sight, and he followed him like his shadow. He went after him that night and saw him pass through the doorway. Of course he thought he had taken refuge in the fort, and applied for admission there himself next day, but could find no trace of Achmet. This seemed to him so strange that he spoke about it to a sergeant of guides, who brought it to the ears of the commandant. A thorough search was quickly made, and the body was discovered. Thus at the very moment that we thought that all was safe we were all four seized and brought to trial on a charge of murder,--three of us because we had held the gate that night, and the fourth because he was known to have been in the company of the murdered man. Not a word about the jewels came out at the trial, for the rajah had been deposed and driven out of
Often, if I felt lonesome, I used to turn out the lamp in the surgery, and then, standing there, I could hear their talk and watch their play. I am fond of a hand at cards myself, and it was almost as good as having one to watch the others. There was Major Sholto, Captain Morstan, and Lieutenant Bromley Brown, who were in command of the native troops, and there was the surgeon himself, and two or three prison-officials, crafty old hands who played a nice sly safe game.A very snug little party they used to make. "Well, there was one thing which very soon struck me, and that was that the soldiers used always to lose and the civilians to win. Mind, I don't say that there was anything unfair, but so it was. These prison-chaps had done little else than play cards ever since they had been at the Andamans, and they knew each other's game to a point, while the others just played to pass the time and threw their cards down anyhow. Night after night the soldiers got up poorer men, and the poorer they got the more keen they were to play. Major Sholto was the hardest hit. He used to pay in notes and gold at first, but soon it came to notes of hand and for big sums. He sometimes would win for a few deals, just to give him heart, and then the luck would set in against him worse than ever. All day he would wander about as black as thunder, and he took to drinking a deal more than was good for him. "One night he lost even more heavily than usual. I was sitting in my hut when he and Captain Morstan came stumbling along on the way to their quarters. They were bosom friends, those two, and never far apart. The major was raving about his losses. "'It's all up, Morstan,' he was saying, as they passed my hut. 'I shall have to send in my papers. I am a ruined man.'
"'Nonsense, old chap!' said the other, slapping him upon the shoulder. 'I've had a nasty facer myself, but--' That was all I could hear, but it was enough to set me thinking. A couple of days later Major Sholto was strolling on the beach: so I took the chance of speaking to him. "'I wish to have your advice, major,' said I. "'Well, Small, what is it?' he asked, taking his cheroot from his lips. "'I wanted to ask you, sir,' said I, 'who is the proper person to whom hidden treasure should be handed over. I know where half a million worth lies, and, as I cannot use it myself, I thought perhaps the best thing that I could do would be to hand it over to the proper authorities, and then perhaps they would get my sentence shortened for me.' "'Half a million, Small?' he gasped, looking hard at me to see if I was in earnest. "'Quite that, sir,--in jewels and pearls. It lies there ready for any one. And the queer thing about it is that the real owner is outlawed and cannot hold property, so that it belongs to the first comer.' 'To government, Small,' he stammered,--'to government.' But he said it in a halting fashion, and I knew in my heart that I had got him. "'You think, then, sir, that I should give the information to the Governor-General?' said I, quietly. "'Well, well, you must not do anything rash, or that you might repent. Let me hear all about it, Small. Give me the facts.' "I told him the whole story, with small changes so that he could not identify the places. When I had finished he stood stock still and full of thought. I could see by the twitch of his lip that there was a struggle going on within him." 'This is a very important matter, Small,' he said, at last. 'You must not say a word to any one about it, and I shall see you again soon.' "Two nights later he and his friend Captain Morstan came to my hut in the dead of the night with a lantern. "'I want you just to let Captain Morstan hear that story from your own lips, Small,' said he.
"I repeated it as I had told it before. "'It rings true, eh?' said he. 'It's good enough to act upon?' "Captain Morstan nodded. "'Look here, Small,' said the major. 'We have been talking it over, my friend here and I, and we have come to the conclusion that this secret of yours is hardly a government matter, after all, but is a private concern of your own, which of course you have the power of disposing of as you think best. Now, the question is, what price would you ask for it? We might be inclined to take it up, and at least look into it, if we could agree as to terms.' He tried to speak in a cool, careless way, but his eyes were shining with excitement and greed. "'Why, as to that, gentlemen,' I answered, trying also to be cool, but feeling as excited as he did, 'there is only one bargain which a man in my position can make.
I shall want yo to help me to my freedom, and to help my three companions to theirs. We shall then take yo into partnership, and give you a fifth share to divide between you.' "'Hum!' said he. 'A fifth share! That is not very tempting.' "'It would come to fifty thousand apiece,' said I. "'But how can we gain your freedom? You know very well that you ask an impossibility.' "'Nothing of the sort,' I answered. 'I have thought it all out to the last detail. The only bar to our escape is that we can get no boat fit for the voyage, and no provisions to last us for so long a time. There are plenty of little yachts and yawls at
"Well, I have set my mind on many things in this life, and never one which I did not carry out. But it was weary years before my time came. I have told you that I had picked up something of medicine. One day when Dr. Somerton was down with a fever a little Andaman Islander was picked up by a convict-gang in the woods. He was sick to death, and had gone to a lonely place to die. I took him in hand, though he was as venomous as a young snake, and after a couple of months I got him all right and able to walk. He took a kind of fancy to me then, and would hardly go back to his woods, but was always hanging about my hut. I learned a little of his lingo from him, and this made him all the fonder of me. "Tonga--for that was his name--was a fine boatman, and owned a big, roomy canoe of his own. When I found that he was devoted to me and would do anything to serve me, I saw my chance of escape. I talked it over with him. He was to bring his boat round on a certain night to an old wharf which was never guarded, and there he was to pick me up. I gave him directions to have several gourds of water and a lot of yams, cocoa-nuts, and sweet potatoes. "He was stanch and true, was little Tonga. No man ever had a more faithful mate. At the night named he had his boat at the wharf. As it chanced, however, there was one of the convict- guard down there,--a vile Pathan who had never missed a chance of insulting and injuring me. I had always vowed vengeance, and now I had my chance. It was as if fate had placed him in my way that I might pay my debt before I left the island. He stood on the bank with his back to me, and his carbine on his shoulder. I looked abut for a stone to beat out his brains with, but none could I see. Then a queer thought came into my head and showed me where I could lay my hand on a weapon. I sat down in the darkness and unstrapped my wooden leg. With three long hops I was on him. He put his carbine to his shoulder, but I struck him full, and knocked the whole front of his skull in. You can see the split in the wood now where I hit him. We both went down together, for I could not keep my balance, but when I got up I found him still lying quiet enough. I made for the boat, and in an hour we were well out at sea. Tonga had brought all his earthly possessions with him, his arms and his gods. Among other things, he had a long bamboo spear, and some Andaman cocoa-nut matting, with which I make a sort of sail. For ten days we were beating about, trusting to luck, and on the eleventh we were picked up by a trader which was going from Singapore to Jiddah with a cargo of Malay pilgrims.
They were a rum crowd, and Tonga and I soon managed to settle down among them. They had one very good quality: they let you alone and asked no questions. "Well, if I were to tell you all the adventures that my little chum and I went through, you would not thank me, for I would have you here until the sun was shining. Here and there we drifted about the world, something always turning up to keep us from London. All the time, however, I never lost sight of my purpose. I would dream of Sholto at night. A hundred times I have killed him in my sleep. At last, however, some three or four years ago, we found ourselves in England. I had no great difficulty in finding where Sholto lived, and I set to work to discover whether he had realized the treasure, or if he still had it. I made friends with someone who could help me,--I name no names, for I don't want to get any one else in a hole,--and I soon found that he still had the jewels. Then I tried to get at him in many ways; but he was pretty sly, and had always two prize-fighters, besides his sons and his khitmutgar, on guard over him. "One day, however, I got word that he was dying. I hurried at once to the garden, mad that he should slip out of my clutches like that, and, looking through the window, I saw him lying in his bed, with his sons on each side of him. I'd have come through and taken my chance with the three of them, only even as I looked at him his jaw dropped, and I knew that he was gone. I got into his room that same night, though, and I searched his papers to see if there was any record of where he had hidden our jewels. There was not a line, however: so I came away, bitter and savage as a man could be. Before I left I bethought me that if I ever met my Sikh friends again it would be a satisfaction to know that I had left some mark of our hatred: so I scrawled down the sign of the four of us, as it had been on the chart, and I pinned it on his bosom. It was too much that he should be taken to the grave without some token from the men whom he had robbed and befooled. "We earned a living at this time by my exhibiting poor Tonga at fairs and other such places as the black cannibal. He would eat raw meat and dance his war-dance: so we always had a hatful of pennies after a day's work. I still heard all the news from Pondicherry Lodge, and for some years there was no news to hear, except that they were hunting for the treasure. At last, however, came what we had waited for so long. The treasure had been found. It was up at the top of the house, in Mr. Bartholomew Sholto's chemical laboratory. I came at once and had a look at the place, but I could not see how with my wooden leg I was to make my way up to it. I learned, however, about a trap- door in the roof, and also about Mr. Sholto's supper-hour. It seemed to me that I could manage the thing easily through Tonga. I brought him out with me with a long rope wound round his waist. He could climb like a cat, and he soon made his way through the roof, but, as ill luck would have it, Bartholomew Sholto was still in the room, to his cost. Tonga thought he had done something very clever in killing him, for when I came up by the rope I found him strutting about as proud as a peacock. Very much surprised was he when I made at him with the rope's end and cursed him for a little blood-thirsty imp. I took the treasure- box and let it down, and then slid down myself, having first left the sign of the four upon the table, to show that the jewels had come back at last to those who had most right to them. Tonga then pulled up the rope, closed the window, and made off the way that he had come. "I don't know that I have anything else to tell you. I had heard a waterman speak of the speed of Smith's launch the Aurora, so I thought she would be a handy craft for our escape. I engaged with old Smith, and was to give him a big sum if he got us safe to our ship. He knew, no doubt, that there was some screw loose, but he was not in our secrets.
All this is the truth, and if I tell it to you, gentlemen, it is not to amuse you,--for you have not done me a very good turn,--but it is because I believe the best defense I can make is just to hold back nothing, but let all the wold know how badly I have myself been served by Major Sholto, and how innocent I am of the death of his son." "A very remarkable account," said Sherlock Holmes. "A fitting wind-up to an extremely interesting case. There is nothing at all new to me in the latter part of your narrative, except that you brought your own rope. That I did not know. By the way, I had hoped that Tonga had lost all his darts; yet he managed to shoot one at us in the boat." "He had lost them all, sir, except the one which was in his blow- pipe at the time." "Ah, of course," said Holmes. "I had not thought of that." "Is there any other point which you would like to ask about?" asked the convict, affably. "I think not, thank you," my companion answered. "Well, Holmes," said Athelney Jones, "You are a man to be humored, and we all know that you are a connoisseur of crime, but duty is duty, and I have gone rather far in doing what you and your friend asked me. I shall feel more at ease when we have our story-teller here safe under lock and key. The cab still waits, and there are two inspectors down-stairs. I am much obliged to you both for your assistance. Of course you will be wanted at the trial. Good-night to you.""Good-night, gentlemen both," said Jonathan Small. "You first, Small," remarked the wary Jones as they left the room. "I'll take particular care that you don't club me with your wooden leg, whatever you may have done to the gentleman at the Andaman Isles." "Well, and there is the end of our little drama," I remarked, after we had set some time smoking in silence. "I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. Miss Morstan has done me the honor to accept me as a husband in prospective." He gave a most dismal groan. "I feared as much," said he. "I really cannot congratulate you." I was a little hurt. "Have you any reason to be dissatisfied with my choice?" I asked. "Not at all. I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met, and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. She had a decided genius that way: witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father. But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment.""I trust," said I, laughing, "that my judgment may survive the ordeal. But you look weary.""Yes, the reaction is already upon me. I shall be as limp as a rag for a week." Strange,"said I, "how terms of what in another man I should call laziness alternate with your fits of splendid energy and vigor." "Yes," he answered, "there are in me the makings of a very fine loafer and also of a pretty spry sort of fellow. I often think of those lines of old Goethe,--Schade dass die Natur nur EINEN Mensch aus Dir schuf, Denn zum wuerdigen Mann war und zum Schelmen der Stoff. By the way, a propos of this
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NEW BABBAGE AND STEAMPUNK FAQ
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A. New Babbage is a planned group of themed sims designed to promote a steampunk aesthetic.
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Q. What is "steampunk?"
A. Steampunk is a genre of speculative fiction, usually science fiction, that explores the question of how past eras, particularly the Victorian period, would have looked if more modern technology had existed using only the tools at their disposal. Thus the steampunk aesthetic often makes use of wood, brass, iron, and steam-powered engines to construct fantastic machines that never were.
Please see the steampunk Wikipedia entry:
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A. New Babbage is for anyone interested in steampunk ideas. Although many residents dress and role-play the part, all are welcome to participate in the activities here (period attire not required), and are encouraged to explore the technology made available to us in SL New Babbagers are builders, scripters, and texture artists, curious and experimental by nature, come together to invent, create, and commune.
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