To still unknown detective Sherlock Holmes, his colleague in college Reginald Maysgrave, a scion of one of the most ancient families of the kingdom, turns.
Reginald lives in an ancient castle, which is built on an extremely stupid, and needs to be looked after. In addition, he owns a reserve for hunting and therefore holds a solid staff of servants. The longest, about twenty years, he has the butler Brighton, an unusually attractive and versatile educated man. After the death of his wife, he began to cause trouble for his adventures. Engaged with one of the maids named Rachel, he seemed to calm down, but suddenly got carried away by another. From the experience, Rachel fell ill.
A few days ago, Reginald could not sleep and went down to the library for a book at night. There he was surprised to see Brighton studying the family documents of the Maysgraves. Outraged, Reginald fired him. The butler begged not to drive him out in front of the servants and give him another month to work, but only got a week.
For two days Brighton performed his duties, as if nothing had happened, but on the third day he disappeared. Rachel, who after her illness was similar to a shadow, began to work. Although Reginald told her that she must still get stronger, the girl did not agree. At his request to convey to Brighton that he go to the owner, Rachel replied that the butler was gone, and began to laugh hysterically. Frightened by a fit of servants, they took the girl to her
Two days Rachel then raved, then rolled up hysterics, had to hire her a nurse. Seeing that the patient fell asleep, the nurse also decided to sleep. When she woke up, she saw that the girl had disappeared. Traces led to the pond. After searching the pond, they found a bag with pieces of rusty metal and glass fragments. Neither Rachel nor Brighton knew anything, the police had reached a dead end. Reginald hoped only for Sherlock Holmes.
The detective first of all wants to look at the document that Brighton studied. It was a description of the rite, which from the seventeenth century was subjected to every man from the genus Maisgrave, who reached the age of majority. Questions and answers in the ritual had a strict order.
“To whom does this belong?”
– To the one who left.
“Who will it belong to?”
“The one who comes.”
“What month was it?”
– In the sixth, starting with the first.
“Where was the sun?”
– Above the oak tree.
“Where was the shadow?”
– Under the elm.
– How many steps should be taken?
– To the north – ten and ten, to the east – five and five, to the south – two and two, to the west – one and one and then down.
“What will we give for this?”
– Everything that we have.
– For what we give it?
“In the name of duty.”
Holmes comes to the conclusion that this ritual has some meaning, and the butler, who saw this document earlier, was more perceptive than many generations of his masters and decided to solve this riddle.
In the estate Holmes finds an oak, but the elm does not turn out, he was cut long ago. Reginald, being a schoolboy, solved mathematical problems, measured all the trees and remembered the height of the elm. Then he remembers that the butler also asked him this question. Holmes calculates the place on which the shadow of the elm was to fall, and sees that there is a small hole dug out, therefore, he follows the tracks of Brighton. Counting the steps from this point, Holmes comes to the doorstep of the house and together with Reginald descends to the basement.
The firewood in the basement is spread out. In the open space you can see a heavy plate, to the iron ring of which is tied a scarf, identified by Reginald, as a scarf of Brighton. With the help of the cops, the slab is pushed aside, in the black pit underneath it is found an old, mold-eaten trunk, in which several old coins roll. Brighton sits by the chest. His face turned blue and distorted beyond recognition.
Holmes tries to restore the chain of events. Brighton was a man of uncommon mind. He guessed that the rite indicates something of value. One he could not cope with the task, so he took an assistant. It was difficult to deal with an outsider, and he decided to find an accomplice in the house. It was most convenient to turn to Rachel, reminding her of her former love. Having propped a log with a log, they went down to the basement. What happened there is difficult to say: whether the log fell and immured Brighton, or whether Rachel decided to avenge the infidelity and immured the butler – one can only guess. Now her hysterics and seizures became clear.
Collecting pieces of iron, caught in a pond, Holmes sees that this is the crown of Charles the First. One of the ancestors of Reginald held a prominent post at the court of the executed monarch. Most likely, he was entrusted with the crown, intending to return to her. The ancestor of the crown retained, but did not tell the descendants of the essence of the document.
Now the crown is kept in the house of the Maysgraves. They will show it with pleasure, it is only visitors who call the name of the great detective.