Amock Comedy Magazine 1 HTML version

(A Serialised Tale)
I returned to Baker Street on a cold November evening
to find Holms on the floor with Mrs Houston astride his
chest and striking at his head with a rolling pin.
“Good heavens!” I cried, “Have you taken leave of your
senses, Mrs Houston?”
I attempted to remover her from atop Holms but she
swung at me with the wooden pin and caught me on the
temple knocking me clean out. The last thing I recall was
Mrs Houston’s shrill voice. “I’ll have my rent, you lazy,
good-for-nothing blaggards!”
When I recovered my senses I was in my chair in our
rooms and a young man was entering. He was young but
broken, walking with the aid of two canes supporting his
thin frame and his face was gaunt. I cleared my head
with a shake and hurried to escort him to my armchair
opposite Holms, and myself leant against the
Holms gave him the merest of glimpses before clapping a hand to his temple. “You are troubled, young sir.”
The stranger gave a shallow grin. “That much, I think, is obvious.”
“May I offer you a drink?” I volunteered, feeling sure that a small refreshment would lift the man’s spirits, but he
shook his head.
“I shall not detain you long, gentlemen. I am Sir Clifford Shatterley of Wrigsby Hall, lately back from the wars,
and I fear that I am losing the affections of my wife, Connie, to another man. I shall pay you handsomely to
discover who my rival is.”
With that he fell silent and only the ticking of the grandfather clock broke the gloom his words had imparted.
Finally Holms lifted his chin. “I am no great expert on maters of the heart, Sir Clifford and these are not the
types of matters I normally take an interest in but as you are a wounded veteran, it gives me pause. What would
be your intentions if I were to discover who this fellow was?”
Sir Clifford smiled grimly. “Oh no, dear sir, if you imagine that I intend to shoot the scoundrel dead, you are much
mistaken. My wounds are such that I am not long for this world. I love Connie with all my heart and it grieves
me that I shall leave her a widow so young. My hope was that she would find someone else to love, but if she
already has, I must ensure that he is the right type of character.”
I was appalled. “But how can you behave so nobly when you suspect that she is already playing you unfairly?”
Sir Clifford turned his head up to me and I noticed that his eyes were the palest blue I’d ever seen in a man.
“You do not know my Connie, sir, she is the most delightful thing and anybody who could think ill of her must be
in league with the devil. Her happiness after I am gone is all that matters to me.”
Holmes had been sucking on his pipe during this interchange but now turned the mouthpiece towards our visitor.
“It seems to me, Sir Clifford, that if things are as you say they are, there should be no great difficulty in simply
asking your wife who this man is.
A dark cloud shadowed the young man’s face. “It is not so simple, she admits to nothing.”
“And yet you suspect …?” Holms interjected.