He had hardly shut the door behind him when Holmes rose to put
his overcoat. "There is something in what the fellow says
outdoor work," he remarked, "so I think, Watson, that
leave you to your papers for a little."
It was after five o'clock when Sherlock Holmes left me, but I
no time to be lonely, for within an hour there arrived a
confectioner's man with a very large flat box. This he unpacked
with the help of a youth whom he had brought with him, and
presently, to my very great astonishment, a quite epicurean
little cold supper began to be laid out upon our humble
lodging-house mahogany. There were a couple of brace of cold
woodcock, a pheasant, a pate de foie gras pie with a group of
ancient and cobwebby bottles. Having laid out all these luxuries,
my two visitors vanished away, like the genii of the Arabian
Nights, with no explanation save that the things had been paid
for and were ordered to this address.
Just before nine o'clock Sherlock Holmes stepped briskly into
room. His features were gravely set, but there was a light in
eye which made me think that he had not been disappointed in his
"They have laid the supper, then," he said, rubbing
"You seem to expect company. They have laid for five."
"Yes, I fancy we may have some company dropping in,"
said he. "I
am surprised that Lord St. Simon has not already arrived. Ha!
fancy that I hear his step now upon the stairs."
It was indeed our visitor of the afternoon who came bustling
dangling his glasses more vigorously than ever, and with a very
perturbed expression upon his aristocratic features.
"My messenger reached you, then?" asked Holmes.
"Yes, and I confess that the contents startled me beyond
Have you good authority for what you say?"
"The best possible."
Lord St. Simon sank into a chair and passed his hand over his
"What will the Duke say," he murmured, "when he
hears that one of
the family has been subjected to such humiliation?"
"It is the purest accident. I cannot allow that there is
"Ah, you look on these things from another standpoint."
"I fail to see that anyone is to blame. I can hardly see
lady could have acted otherwise, though her abrupt method of
doing it was undoubtedly to be regretted. Having no mother, she
had no one to advise her at such a crisis."
"It was a slight, sir, a public slight," said Lord
tapping his fingers upon the table.
"You must make allowance for this poor girl, placed in so
unprecedented a position."
"I will make no allowance. I am very angry indeed, and I
been shamefully used."
"I think that I heard a ring," said Holmes. "Yes,
there are steps
on the landing. If I cannot persuade you to take a lenient view
of the matter, Lord St. Simon, I have brought an advocate here
who may be more successful." He opened the door and ushered
lady and gentleman. "Lord St. Simon," said he "allow
introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hay Moulton. The lady, I
think, you have already met."