HOLMES had read carefully a note which the last post had brought him. Then, with the dry chuckle which was his nearest approach to a laugh, he tossed it over to me.
'For a mixture of the modern and the mediaeval, of the practical and of the wildly fanciful, I think this is surely the limit,' said he. 'What do you make of it, Watson?'
I read as follows:
46 OLD JEWRY*
Our client, Mr Robert Ferguson, of Ferguson & Muirhead, tea brokers, of Mincing Lane,* has made some inquiry from us in a communication of even date concerning vampires. As our firm specializes entirely upon the assessment of machinery the matter hardly comes within our purview, and we have therefore recommended Mr Ferguson to call upon you and lay the matter before you. We have not forgotten your successful action in the case of Matilda Briggs.
We are, Sir,
MORRISON, MORRISON, AND DODD
' Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson,' said Holmes, in a reminiscent voice. 'It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra,* a story for which the world is not yet prepared. But what do we know about vampires? Does it come within our purview either? Anything is better than stagnation, but really we seem to have been switched on to a Grimm's fairy tale.* Make a long arm, Watson, and see what V has to say.'
I leaned back and took down the great index volume to which he referred. Holmes balanced it on his knee and his