"The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

Published in:April, 1892
Set in:1887
Client:Lord Robert St. Simon
Villain: None

"The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" is a Sherlock Holmes short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in which Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson help a young aristocrat locate his bride, who vanished shortly after their marriage.


Lord Robert St. Simon comes to the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, seeking aid in finding his new bride who disappeared on the day of their marriage. She attends (and participates in) the wedding, but disappears from the reception.

The events of the wedding day are most perplexing to Lord Robert as it seemed to him that his bride, Miss Hatty Doran of San Francisco, was full of enthusiasm about their impending marriage. 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 former companion of St. Simon, Flora Millar, caused a disturbance at the house, and was ejected. After Lord Robert's and Hatty's arrival, Hatty was seen talking to her maid, and a short time later, it was realised 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? What was Hatty doing in Hyde Park with Flora Millar? Why were Hatty's wedding dress, shoes, wreath and veil found washed up on the shore of the Serpentine lake? 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 Robert. Hatty and the man, Francis H. Moulton, were husband and wife. 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. Hatty had given him up for dead, met Lord Robert, and decided to marry him, even though her heart still belonged to Frank. Frank had not been killed by the Apache raid, it turns out, but taken prisoner, and he escaped and tracked Hatty to London, where she was to be married. He was the strange man in the pew, and she recognised him instantly. Rather than have her make a scene at the church, he gestured her to be silent, and wrote a note which he slipped to her as he recovered her bouquet. She had wanted to abscond without ever telling anybody, but Holmes had tracked them down and convinced them that it would be better to have the full truth. Lord Robert is unmoved by Hatty's apologies and feels that he has been very ill used.

Story Text

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