Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sherlock Holmes - A Study In Scarlet

Sidney Paget: Sherlock Holmes
Sidney Paget: Sherlock Holmes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mr. Sherlock Holmes In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for sur- geons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northum- berland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The regi- ment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had bro- ken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy’s country.

 I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reach- ing Candahar in safety, where I found my regi- ment, and at once entered upon my new duties. The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shat- tered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery.

 I should have fallen into the hands of the murder- ous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines. Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawar. Here I rallied, and had al- ready improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the ve- randah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions.

 For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lost in sending me back to England. I was dispatched, accordingly, in the troopship Orontes, and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ru- ined, but with permission from a paternal govern- ment to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it. I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I natu- rally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained.

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