One of the most dangerous classes in the world," says Holmes, "is the drifting and friendless woman. And Lady Frances Carfax is such, and who has fallen into the clutches of a phony preacher." Holmes sends Dr. Watson to Lausanne to investigate Lady Frances Carfax’s disappearance. Holmes is too busy in London. Lady Frances is a lone, unwed woman denied a rich inheritance because of her sex. She does, however, carry valuable jewels with her. It is also her habit to write to her old governess, Miss Dobney, every other week, but for the past five weeks, there has not been a word from her. She has left the Hôtel National for parts unknown. Her last two bank transactions were cheques, one to pay her hotel bill, and another for £50 to her maid, Miss Marie Devine. In Switzerland, Watson finds out that Lady Frances stayed at the Hôtel International for several weeks, but then suddenly left in a hurry one day. Only one witness could suggest an explanation, one involving a big, bearded man who kept hounding her. It also emerges that Lady Frances’s maid has left her employ, although it is not known why.