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We were seated at breakfast one morning, my wife and I, when the
maid brought in a telegram. It was from Sherlock Holmes and ran
in this way:

"Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from
the west of England in connection with Boscombe Valley tragedy.
Shall be glad if you will come with me. Air and scenery perfect.
Leave Paddington by the 11:15."

"What do you say, dear?" said my wife, looking across at me.
"Will you go?"

"I really don't know what to say. I have a fairly long list at

"Oh, Anstruther would do your work for you. You have been looking
a little pale lately. I think that the change would do you good,
and you are always so interested in Mr. Sherlock Holmes' cases."

"I should be ungrateful if I were not, seeing what I gained
through one of them," I answered. "But if I am to go, I must pack
at once, for I have only half an hour."

My experience of camp life in Afghanistan had at least had the
effect of making me a prompt and ready traveller. My wants were
few and simple, so that in less than the time stated I was in a
cab with my valise, rattling away to Paddington Station. Sherlock
Holmes was pacing up and down the platform, his tall, gaunt
figure made even gaunter and taller by his long grey
travelling-cloak and close-fitting cloth cap.

"It is really very good of you to come, Watson," said he. "It
makes a considerable difference to me, having someone with me on
whom I can thoroughly rely. Local aid is always either worthless
or else biassed. If you will keep the two corner seats I shall
get the tickets."

We had the carriage to ourselves save for an immense litter of

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