The next morning, Holmes and I sat in the sitting room surrounded by copies of every newspaper in
“I say, this description of you in the Times is nearly accurate,” Holmes said, flinging the paper in my direction.
I grinned as I read about the well-built male with a full moustache and light brown hair who was spotted fleeing the garden. I noticed there was no mention of the empty green safe.
“Holmes,” I said, “how is Mary to know that we destroyed the letter implicating Norton?”
“Ah yes,” he said with a light smile, “if you would be so kind as to ring Mrs. Hudson and tell her to send that telegram on my desk immediately, I think the matter will be neatly resolved.”
I went to his desk and found the telegram which read:
Burned all papers after you left. Full confidence is assured.
With a heart so light I nearly floated out the room, I sealed the telegram, summoned Mrs. Hudson and handed it to her. When I returned, Holmes was sitting cross-legged in front of the fireplace sorting through the newspapers. I knelt in front of him, grabbed his head and pulled his face to mine. I tingled with pleasure as his hands found their way to my waist and I started on the buttons of his nightshirt.
“So soon, Watson?” he laughed. “How often have you complained that you’re positively useless until you’ve eaten breakfast?”
I did not bother with a response, for once I caught sight of his flesh rising beneath his dressing gown, my only concern was whether I should ravish him on the floor or try the settee. Unfortunately, I was not able to proceed just then as we heard the clamor of a police carriage pulling up to the curb downstairs.
On our feet in an instant, we quickly gathered the newspapers and threw them into his bedroom. By the time we heard the knock on the sitting room door, we were seated on either end of the settee languidly sipping coffee.
“Come in!” Holmes called.
The door opened and a somber-eyed Inspector Lestrade walked in.
“Ah, Lestrade,” Holmes sang, “what brings you here so early in the day?”
“Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson,” he said, nodding to us in turn, “I wonder if you might be able to assist us in the matter of a rather extraordinary murder that took place at Hampstead last night.”
“Dear me!” said Holmes looking genuinely surprised, “Murder of whom?”
“Well, it seems this was a rather disagreeable gentlemen who made his fortune from blackmail schemes. Milverton was his name, and I don’t doubt he had a great number of enemies. We’ve been watching him for some time, actually,” Lestrade explained. “It looks like his killers had only in mind to prevent social exposure, for nothing of value was missing from the house save the cache of letters he kept in his safe.”
“Killers?” Holmes asked. “There was more than one?”
God bless Holmes and his ability to focus on his audience.
“Yes, and we’ve a fair description of one of them. I’m afraid the first one was a mite too quick.”
I felt Holmes beam with pride, though he kept his expression schooled in one of grave concern.
“And?” he said.
“Strongly built man with square jaw, thick neck and full moustache,” he replied.
Holmes snorted. “Such a vagary may as well describe Dr. Watson here,” he said, nodding at me.
To my great relief, Lestrade laughed heartily. “Yes, I suppose so,” he said.
“Alas, I regret,” said Holmes as he rose to fill his pipe, “I shan’t be able to assist you with this one. I was among those who knew Milverton, and while I never had the misfortune to be at his mercy, I’ve much more sympathy for those who were. I believe
Lestrade nodded, though he was clearly disappointed. “All right then, Mr. Holmes, we’ll continue the investigation on our own. Good day to you both.” And he exited the room. We waited until we heard his footsteps on the stairs and the front door open and close before we spoke again.
“Is it over?” I asked quietly.
“Yes, Watson,” Holmes replied, “It’s over.” He went over to the door of the sitting room, locked it and sat beside me on the settee. He slowly leaned towards me with luminous grey eyes and an intoxicating smile.
“Now, I believe you were about to make an important decision before we were interrupted,” he murmured, pushing his hand up my leg until it reached the top of my thigh.
“Yes, well,” I stammered as my nerves jumped to attention. “What do you think?”
“The floor, certainly,” he whispered between kisses to my neck and ears. “One does not kneel so easily on the settee.”
“Whatever…you…prefer,” I breathed incoherently.
Just before we tumbled to the warm spot on the hearth rug, Holmes reached into the pocket of his dressing gown and extracted a familiar-looking band of black silk.