About three miles from the little town of Norton, in Missouri, on the road leading to Maysville, stands an old house that was last occupied by a family named Harding. Since 1886 no one has lived in it, nor is anyone likely to live in it again.
The Harding family consisted of Robert Harding, his wife Matilda, Miss Julia Went, who was her sister, and two young children.
Harding was a gentle, sad-eyed woman, lacking a left foot.
She never came back, and two years later, without selling his farm or anything that was his, or appointing an agent to look after his interests, or removing his household goods, Harding, with the rest of the family, left the country.
Gruber, of Norton, and a Maysville attorney named Hyatt met on horseback in front of the Harding place.
I picked it up cheap from Harding Brothers, two doors from the High Street Station.
Sherlock Holmes and I walked together to the High Street, where we stopped at the shop of Harding Brothers, whence the bust had been purchased.
A reference to his books showed that hundreds of casts had been taken from a marble copy of Devine's head of Napoleon, but that the three which had been sent to Morse Hudson a year or so before had been half of a batch of six, the other three being sent to Harding Brothers, of Kensington.
And now, if you have quite finished, we will hark back to Kensington and see what the manager of Harding Brothers has to say on the matter."
Harding's evidence, and I could see that he was thoroughly satisfied by the turn which affairs were taking.