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The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the tenth of the twelve Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in April 1892. Conan Doyle later revealed that he thought this to be one of his worst Sherlock Holmes stories.
The story entails the bride of the fictional Lord St. Simon disappearing on the day of their marriage.
The events of the wedding day are most perplexing to Lord St. Simon, as it seemed to him that his bride, Miss Hatty Doran of San Francisco, was full of enthusiasm about their impending marriage. Hatty has been married once before, but her husband saw very little of her while he was busy trying to amass a fortune by prospecting. He was reported killed in an Apache raid on a mining camp where he was working. Lord St. Simon was also apparently involved with a chorus girl at one time.
Lord St. Simon tells Holmes that he noticed a change in the young lady's mood just after the wedding ceremony. She was uncharacteristically sharp with him. The only obvious happening at the church where the wedding took place that was out of the ordinary was Hatty's little accident: She dropped her wedding bouquet and a gentleman in the front pew picked it up and handed it back to her.
A short time later, at the wedding breakfast, before the newlyweds arrived, a woman caused a disturbance at the house, and was ejected. After Lord St. Simon's and Hatty's arrival, Hatty was seen talking to her maid, and a short time later, it was realized that she had left.
There are many questions that Holmes must sift through. Who was that woman at the wedding breakfast? Who was that man in the front pew? Who was that man seen going into Hyde Park with Hatty? Why were Hatty's wedding dress and ring found washed up on the shore of the Serpentine (the large pond in Hyde Park)? What had become of her?
For Holmes, however, it proves rather an elementary case, for he has dealt with other, similar cases, and this one is not so complex to unravel, much as it confuses Dr. Watson, and Inspector Lestrade. Holmes finds Hatty and the strange man from the front pew, and the dénouement takes the form of Holmes having Hatty explain herself to Lord St. Simon. He is unmoved by Hatty's apologies and feels that he has been very ill used.
This is one of a number of stories in which Holmes bests Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Lestrade even goes as far as to imply that Holmes is mad as this case unfolds, but it is, as always, Holmes who solves the case.
"Born in 1846. He’s forty-one years of age..." — From these words can be inferred the year of the story's action, 1887.
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