The Yellow Face – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title : The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

From ‘Sherlock Holmes; The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I’ (Bantam Classic)

Contents:

1. Silver Blaze
2. The Yellow Face
3. The Stock-Broker’s Clerk
4. The “Gloria Scott”
5. The Musgrave Ritual
6. The Reigate Puzzle
7. The Crooked Man
8. The Resident Patient
9. The Greek Interpreter
10. The Naval Treaty
11. The Final Problem

The Yellow Face (p.546)

Sherlock Holmes was a man who seldom took exercise for exercise’s sake. Few men were capable of greater muscular effort, and he was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have ever seen; but he looked upon aimless bodily exertion as a waste of energy, and he seldom bestirred himself save when there was some professional object to be served. Then he was absolutely untiring and indefatigable. That he should have kept himself in training under such circumstances is remarkable, but his diet was usually of the sparest, and his habits were simple to the verge of austerity. Save for the occasional use of cocaine, he had no vices, and he only turned to the drug as a protest against the monotony of existence when cases were scanty and the papers uninteresting. (p.547)

Sekalinya keluar untuk berjalan-jalan, Sherlock Holmes ternyata dinanti-nanti oleh seorang klien yang begitu panik. Adalah Grant Munro dari Norbury yang gelisah karena khawatir akan hubungannya dengan sang istri. Dia yakin bahwa cintanya dan istrinya tidak berubah, tetapi ada ganjalan di antara mereka sejak munculnya tetangga baru yang mencurigakan. Mr. Munro pertama kali melihat sosok aneh sang tetangga tersebut dari jendela, seseorang yang tidak jelas wujudnya, hanya wajah kuning pucat dan kaku. Kemudian diikuti oleh kunjungan-kunjungan rahasia istrinya ke rumah itu.

“Well, I think that you are in the right. Any truth is better than indefinite doubt.” (p.562)

Usaha Mr. Munro untuk mencari kebenaran hanya berbuah pada ketakutan istrinya akan keberlangsungan hubungan mereka jika kebenaran terungkap. Apa yang sebenarnya disembunyikan oleh Mrs. Munro? Apakah dia berada di bawah ancaman? Ataukah ada rahasia besar dari masa lalunya yang belum siap untuk diungkapkan?

Inti dari permasalahan ini agak mirip dengan The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor dari The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, dengan sedikit perbedaan pada kasus dan penyelesaiannya. Petunjuk awal yang diberikan juga sedikit mirip, terutama mengenai sang istri yang sama-sama pernah tinggal di Amerika. Akan tetapi, kasus ini berakhir sangat manis, menunjukkan bahwa cinta yang sebenarnya tidak bisa digoyahkan oleh apa pun. Juga sedikit tamparan bagi Holmes yang tidak mempertimbangkan unsur itu dalam metodenya.

“Watson,” said he, “if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.” (p.565)

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