To Sherlock Holmes, Mrs. St. Claire, who lives in a small house near London, seeks help from Mrs. Neville St. Claire’s missing husband.
Mr. Neville St. Clair appeared in the area recently. He rented a luxurious villa, married, two children were born in the family. According to others, Mr. Neville is a wonderful family man and an excellent person. He is engaged in commerce, he does not experience financial difficulties.
On that day, after her husband left to work, Mrs. St. Clair received a notice that a parcel had come to her name. Arriving in London, she went to the address indicated. She had to walk past the port, where beggars gathered. One of them, a lame cripple named Hugh Boon, has gained special popularity. Possessing a repulsive appearance, scarred by a scar, he sold wax matches and attracted buyers with a rare wit. He always sat in the same place, near the brothel, where they smoked opium. When a woman passed by this place, there was no beggar, but she saw
with horror in her den of her half-dressed husband. Without hesitation, she rushed there. The owner of the brothel tried to hold her, but she, accompanied by a policeman, burst into the room and found Hugh Boon there. Mr. St. Claire was nowhere to be found. His clothes with pockets full of coins, was thrown out the window, into the river. Blood spots were found in the room, but Hugh Boone showed a wounded finger and claimed that it was his blood. A box of baby cubes was discovered, which Mr. St. Clair was to bring to his son. The master of the brothel and the beggar were arrested, although they swore that they had no idea what.
The great detective and his friend Dr. Watson are visiting Mrs. St. Clair. Unfortunately, Holmes can not say anything comforting, he believes that Mr. St. Clair is dead. Mrs. St. Clair shows a note from her husband, written on the day of the disappearance. In the note, Neville reported that everything was in order with him, an error occurred that would soon be corrected. A ring was attached to the note. In the conversation, the woman mentions that on that day Mr. St. Clair hurt his finger.
night, the great detective weighs the facts. Early in the morning, taking a small suitcase, he and Dr. Watson visit the arrested beggar. According to the jailor, the beggar behaves quietly, but he does not want to wash his face and thus disgraces their prison. Holmes takes a sponge from his suitcase, wakes up the prisoner, takes off his wig and flushes his make-up. Before the visitors is the disappeared Mr. Neville Saint Clair.
Neville St. Clair received an excellent education. In his youth he had to try many professions. He was an actor, a reporter. Once he was instructed to write a note about the beggars for the newspaper. In order to obtain the necessary material, Neville was made up and sat down in a lively place to beg. By the evening he was surprised to find that he had earned a decent amount. Neville forgot about this case until he had to pay the debt. To get the right amount, he took leave at work and went to beg. Realizing that begging him to earn more money, Neville St. Claire quit his job. In his secret was dedicated only to the owner of the brothel, to which Neville generously paid. Now Neville swears to himself with the most solemn oath to quit this occupation.