The Vigil at Camden House – Chapter 5

            Moriarty maintained his vigil from Camden House for the next week. As the date of the Athens Diamond robbery drew nearer, he was delighted to see that his note to Holmes had caused a flurry of activity. As the week progressed, Scotland Yard detectives began to make appearances and Holmes appeared to get more excitable.

As he watched from across the street, Moriarty began to feel sorry for the detective who he had so easily manipulated and yet he was delighted to see that Holmes’ own intellect was equal to the task.

Holmes left Baker Street early the following Wednesday and, on the following day, the newspapers were full of the story of how the great detective had uncovered and successfully foiled a plot to steal the famous Athens Diamond. Moriarty didn’t even care when he received an angry telegram from Andrew Carstairs demanding to know what went wrong; such was the elation that he felt for having successfully played his pursuer.

Over the coming months, the informer sent Holmes more clues about Moriarty’s plans. Each time the codes used got more elaborate and each time Holmes received more glory on the headlines. Holmes was so grateful for his new informer that he began to send small sums of money for his services, not knowing that it was going straight into Moriarty’s pocket.

The scheme had invigorated Moriarty. Even as his smaller operations collapsed around him, the Professor felt that the threat of Holmes had all but passed. Provided that Holmes did not suspect the informer as being a ruse, none of Moriarty’s larger schemes would ever be threatened.

He had won.

Such was his mood that, when Eames brought tea into his study late one summer’s day, he found Moriarty pacing back and forth. The Professor had been struggling to find a name for his informer for some time and he feared that, without one, Holmes would soon come to distrust the anonymous tipster. However Moriarty had failed to find a name clever enough and now spent most of his days struggling with the problem.

“Is anything the matter, sir?” Eames asked.

“Nothing that should concern you, Eames,” replied Moriarty, not stopping to look at the servant. “I doubt that your inferior mind would be up to the task!”

“Yes, sir,” replied Eames. “Is it about Sherlock Holmes again, sir?”

“Always with Holmes,” replied Moriarty, still pacing. “Always until the end of days. Until finally the game is no longer amusing and must be brought to its conclusion!”

Eames smiled, pouring the tea into a cup.

“I must say, it is masterful the way you have played him, Professor,” he declared. “Truly remarkable. That poor man. He won’t ever know how much his success was controlled by you, will he?”

“No he won’t, Eames,” replied Moriarty as his servant headed towards the door and left the room. “Poor Sherlock Holmes!”

Moriarty stopped pacing. Like a bolt of lightening, the idea struck, leaving him amazed as the audacity of the idea.

“Poor Sherlock,” he repeated. “Poor… Sherlock…”

Moriarty rushed towards his desk and set down to start writing. Carefully, he removed the top piece of paper from pile and set it down on the desk away from the rest of the pile.

Mr. Holmes, Moriarty intends to steal important government papers from Alfred Jessington. Potentially damaging to foreign relations. Yours, Fred Porlock!”

As he finished writing, Moriarty threw his pencil down in glee at the simplicity of his solution and sat back in his chair, satisfied that the final blow to Holmes’ intelligence had been struck. After a moment or two passed, he began to encode the simple note ready for it to be sent to Baker Street.

As the ink dried on the paper, a knock on the door heralded the reappearance of Eames.

“Sorry to disturb you sir,” he announced. “There is an American gentleman here who wishes to speak with you. He says he has an appointment!”

Moriarty glanced up at Eames. “Did he give you a name?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Eames. “He says his name is Baldwin. He’s come to speak to you on a matter of importance. He wants you to trace a man by the name of McMurdo!”

“Baldwin,” Moriarty replied, sealing the coded envelope and tossing it to one side.

With a small, wry smile, he gestured to the room around him.

“Show him in!”

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