How to save a life?
In this memoir narrated by Dr John Watson, Sherlock Holmes not only successfully answered this question, but he, more than ever, successfully showed how to save a life…a precious woman’s life.
The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger is a story which I can relate to the most in this collection. I wanted to express in writing what I’ve experienced. Hence, this entry.
The case revolves on the life of a woman who escaped from a very terrible past, did everything to live peacefully and with the utmost privacy and literally hid her face every single day with a black veil even though she lives with no one else.
The landlady of the apartment she was renting was pretty okay with the whole setting of her paying the monthly rent in time and not allowing anyone else to see her nor come near her. Until one day, the house owner in the name of Mrs Merrilow heard her screams with some sort of allusions to her bitter past, not to mention when she accidentally saw the face behind that veil which caught her off guard.
Eugenia Ronder, the veiled lodger, had a tragic, miserable history. She was a poor circus performer, a lovely woman whose life turned for the worst after marrying a brute husband. That marriage, as implied in the story, was definitely against her will. As with any other woman who are suffering within their marriage, it’s given that that woman will soon fall for the guy who will show her genuine kindness and love. In addition, a lot of women, since time immemorial, have been forced to marry someone they don’t love either as in an arranged marriage or as a form of payment for the family’s debt. That’s a piece of harsh reality right there.
The battered wife can no longer tolerate such inhumane treatment from his husband that she soon agreed to devise a scheme to murder him, with the aid of Leonardo, her lover. The plan was to have the circus lion attack and eventually kill her spouse. It was carried out one night but unfortunately went awry. Though the husband was killed in the process, Eugenia was also attacked and had her face chewed up by the beast. It was a miracle she came out alive after that incident. This was the first sad result of their actions. The second one was that Leonardo turned out not to be the man she expected him to be for he run away and left her when she needed him most.
It was tough. It has been one hell of a long ride for Eugenia Ronder. That tragic past of hers haunted her and she came to a point when she could no longer hold it all in. She couldn’t tell the police either because that will mean imprisonment for her or/and Leonardo and she didn’t want that to take place. No, she wouldn’t allow something like that to happen to her old lover. Even after everything that had occurred, she still cared for Leonardo. Sacrifices such as this one is undoubtedly evident in the real world. As in Eugenia Ronder’s words, “But a woman’s love is not so easily set aside.”
Sherlock Holmes was the best option for her story so she then opted to invite the great detective accompanied by his loyal friend to her apartment. There she told the two men of her past. And so the powers of Sherlock Holmes came in play. After listening intently, in John Watson’s words, “…Holmes stretched out his long arm and patted her hand with such a show of sympathy as I had seldom shown him to exhibit.”
Such gesture definitely worked for Mrs Ronder. There were also accounts of Sherlock Holmes’s soothing ability in the previous stories. He then decided to close the case and his parting words to her were:
“Your life is not your own. Keep your hands of it.”
The above stated line struck me deeply. Yes, our life is not our own to end. While there is life, there is hope. Amidst immeasurable sufferings and loneliness, we can always count on a Being superior than our own to soothe our pains. There is always, always someone who can help us. Such a cliché, but it’s true.
Good results. That’s what we expect from the world’s greatest detective and he definitely never fails to deliver such positive outcomes.
“Two days later, when I called upon my friend, he pointed with some pride to a small blue bottle upon his mantelpiece. I picked it up. There was a small poison label. A pleasant almondy odour rose when I opened it.
‘Prussic acid,’ said I.
‘Exactly. It came by post. ‘I send you my temptation. I will follow your advice.’ That was the message. I think, Watson, we can guess the name of the brave woman who sent it.’ ”
I was a bit teary-eyed upon reading that last part. Another good ending, isn’t it? Indeed the best one for this story.
And that…that was how Sherlock Holmes saved a life. 🙂
Photo credits: All images used were grabbed online. Credits to owners.