Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Mostly stories begin at Baker Street, the office of Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective, his friend, Doctor Watson and Mr Hatherley, the engineer.
Mr Hatherley is a hydraulic engineer. One day, he gets a job. Captain Stark tells him he has to come at night to Reading to repair a hydraulic machine. Stark uses the machine to press fuller’s earth into bricks, so his neighbours wont recognise the fuller’s earth. With the money of the fuller’s earth, Stark wants to buy the land of his neighbours, where is even more fuller’s earth. Hatherley has to swear to tell it nobody. So, next day Hatherley caught a train to Reading. There he goes in a carriage, with a fresh horse. They drive for at least an hour. Inside the house, he has to wait in a room. When he is waiting, Stark’s wife comes in. She tells Hatherley that he must get out now. He doesn’t listen to her, and stays. Then Stark comes back with another man. They go upstairs. doesn’t listen to her, and stays. Then Stark comes back with another man. They go upstairs.
They come by an enormous machine. Mr Hatherley examines it, but he doesn’t believe that Stark uses it for fuller’s earth. He finds metal powder on the ground, and asks what it is. Stark gets angry and puts Hatherley in the giant machine and puts it on. Stark’s wife helps him to escape, but his lamp gets crashed. Stark’s wife gets him to the bedroom, where is a window. That is the only way to escape. He climbs out, but hesitate to jump, so he could return and help Stark’s wife. He hears Stark and his wife talk, and suddenly Stark rushes into the window, and struck Hatherley with an axe. He falls into the garden. He runs among the bushes, but his hand is very painfully. Suddenly he sees that his thumb had been cut off. He ties his handkerchief round his thumb, but he faints and fells. The next morning he wakes up near the train station. Except for the wound on his hand, everything might have been a dream. He goes to doctor Watson, and so he meets Sherlock Holmes. Holmes figures out that the house is very near to the station, and that the carriage just went five miles out and five back, so they drove at least an hour. The men are forgers of coins, and the hydraulic press is used to form the mixture of metals with which they imitate silver. When the come to the house, they see it is almost completely destroyed by fire of the lamp, that Hatherley had left in the hydraulic press. The two men and woman are gone.