On September 23rd…

Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett), Kitty Winter (Kim Thomson), and Baron Adelbert Gruner (Anthony Valentine) in “The Illustrious Client” (Granada Television, 1991

September 23, 1902: Kitty Winter threw acid into the face of Baron Gruner. [ILLU]

It was done in an instant, and yet I clearly saw it. An arm —a woman’s arm—shot out from among the leaves. At the same instant the Baron uttered a horrible cry—a yell which will always ring in my memory. He clapped his two hands to his face and rushed round the room, beating his head horribly against the walls. Then he fell upon the carpet, rolling and writhing, while scream after scream resounded through the house.

“Water! For God’s sake, water!” was his cry.

I seized a carafe from a side-table and rushed to his aid. At the same moment the butler and several footmen ran in from the hall. I remember that one of them fainted as I knelt by the injured man and turned that awful face to the light of the lamp. The vitriol was eating into it everywhere and dripping from the ears and the chin. One eye was already white and glazed. The other was red and inflamed. The features which I had admired a few minutes before were now like some beautiful painting over which the artist has passed a wet and foul sponge. They were blurred, discoloured, inhuman, terrible.

3 Replies to “On September 23rd…”

  1. This is another fine example of ACD’s great writing and descriptions. I can “see” the scene as if I were a piece of ancient Chinese pottery in one of the glass cases.

  2. The Illustrious Client

    Violet de Merville refused to look
    At the crimes in which Gruner partook,
    But had to admit
    She’d been a nitwit,
    When she saw his little brown book.

    – Don Dillistone, October, 2002

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