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Amateur Sherlock

Amateur Sherlock image
Parent Issue
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The amateur Sherlock Holmes nas added anotlier chapter to hia littlc I book whicli records the sifinincauee of trifles that are important dews to tho doings of the criminal classes. Spots öf hik, cigar ashes, marks on tbefiuger and tho partióles of dnst in the folds of au unibrella are all eloquent to this observaut seeker after truth as revealing timos, placea and occurrences in which people may have been eugaged. There is a whole literature 011 the mnds of New York and viciuity, their color and consistency and the various degrees of atmospheric moisture under which they will be reduced to a fluid state, while toothpicks and matches as characteristic of various restaurants and localities are full of ineaning. Now it appeirs, by what the amateur Sherlock Holmes has been revealing in a moment of confldence, that the dead walls of New York, stoops of houses, basement entrances and area gateways „rofliasiaiiTinsts of the criminal classes, are uie sigupunia ui une vaíaíh" vi, and thatwhat look like the rade scrawlings of boys axe in reality the secret symbols by which burglars communicate with each other. Chalk marks under the edge of one of your front steps may mean that yonr house has been spotted aadwill be broken intoonacertain date. Anide drawing on the área railings may to the enlightened eye of the initiated mean: "This man has a burglar alarm on his second story windows and keeps a revolver under his pillow, but the silver is in the butler's pantry on the first floor, and the house may be entered through the second basement window, where the latch is broken. " The fraternity which has developed this sigii language to such a high degree of perfection shows considerable ingenuityin its design, but no attemptis made at accuracy of drawiog, as that would attract atteution. The sign pictnres of the burglars are made to look as much like the rude scrawls of schoolboys as possible. Three figures veré found scrawled on the gateway of one house. The tiou thus pictorially oonveyed was to the effect that the house was tenanted by a lady, one woniau servant aud a boy page. That he was a boy page was indicatd by buttons on his coat, and the servant was iudicated by a short skirt, dotted to resemble a priut dress. Another picture in the notebook of the amateur Sherlock Holmes was more easily deciphered, as it showed merely a fierce bulldog guarding the house, a warning to all members of the frater - nity The next sign, taken f rom a house in the suburbs, was more niysterious and complicated, but upon a study it finally resolved itself into the anuouncement that the nian who lived there weut out to business at 9 in the morning and returned at 6 in the evening. Another picture gathered by the amateur Sherlock Holmes during his painstaking investigación of this subject showed accurate information, as was subsequently discovered, upon the part of the sign writer as to the interior of the house. It indicated that there were three electric bells on thewindows, and that one woman servant was employed. A crude drawing taken from under the edge of a stoop indicated that the servant there had been "squared," and this house presumably was just ready to be burglarized. Some of the booty expected to be secured, together with warnings as to possible difficulties to be met with, were indicated by sign pictnres of silyer spoons, coin and plate, together with the statement that the place was "Al," but there were significant sketches of a dog, a revolver and electric bells to put the thieves npon their guard as to what to expect. Frequeutly the burglars, says the amateur Sherlock Holmes, put these sign pictnres on houses pernote from those to which they refer, and in this case the identity of the latter is revealed by mysterious symbols. This wa. the case with a rnde drawing of a house disco-vered on a streef corner. It represented a tall house with a line barbed with an arrowheud leading to the roof from the street and indicating that the best method of ingress was through the roof. The street and uumber of this house were also shown by a succession of numeráis which only the initiated could onderstand. Don 't get frightened when you see chalk marks on your front stoop or area gateway. The probabilities are that they are merely the idiotie scrawls of boys. At the same time examine them closely, and if they seem topoint to burglarious intent or design it mightnotbe a bad idea to report the matter to the pólice. The latter will probably laugh at you among themselves, having not yet developed many Sherlock Holmes propensities, but the fact that the signs have been noticed will, in some mysterious way, soon be known to the crimináis, and those enterprising gentry may be frightened off.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News