A Sherlock Holmes story involves a simple substitution code in which each letter is written as a stick figure in a different posture, so that lines of text look like rows of dancing men that a child might draw.

The full code is not revealed in the story, but 18 letters are, as described below.

The characters holding a flag in one hand mark the last letters of words. The last letter of the last word may or may not have a flag.

Besides that, there are 7 different ways of drawing the arms of the man, and 8 different ways of drawing the legs, which includes one case where the man is drawn upside down. Various combinations of these are used to make the figures.

Arms: (names and numbers are my made-up ways of identifying the shapes)

   O      O      O    O     O    O     O
   |     \|/    \|    |/    |/  \|    |||
   |      |      |    |    <|    |>   `+'
                          left right 
armless normal left right bent bent  shrug
   0      1      2    3     4    5     6

Legs:

   |    ~\ /~    |   |__|     |__|   |    /|        |\
   ^      V     / \     |     |      |   / |        | \
 _/ \_    |     \ /     |_   _|     _|_  \ |_      _| /
       upside   ~ ~   left  right  stand ~ left right ~
normal  down   bent  raised raised  ing    bent  bent
   1      2      3      4     5      6     7        8

For the upside-down figures, the left and right arms refer to the sides as drawn, or in other words, assume the man flipped vertically toward or away from you, rather than performing a cartwheel.

Code letters:

    arms 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
legs
   1     - E - - - - -
   2     - T G D - - -
   3     B M C Y N L S
   4     V I P - - - -
   5     - R - - - - -
   6     - H - - - - -
   7     - O - - - - -
   8     - A - - - - -

The letters F, J, K, Q, U, W, X, Z do not appear in the coded messages in the story, but may be presumed to be represented by other combinations of arm and leg positions.

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