'WELL, Mrs Warren, I cannot see that you have any particular cause for uneasiness, nor do I understand why I, whose time is of some value, should interfere in the matter. I really have other things to engage me.' So spoke Sherlock Holmes, and turned back to the great scrap-book in which he was arranging and indexing some of his recent material.
But the landlady had the pertinacity, and also the cunning, of her sex. She held her ground firmly.
'You arranged an affair for a lodger of mine last year,' she said--'Mr Fairdale Hobbs.'
'Ah, yes--a simple matter.'
'But he would never cease talking of it--your kindness, sir, and the way in which you brought light into the darkness. I remembered his words when I was in doubt and darkness myself. I know you could if you only would.'
Holmes was accessible upon the side of flattery, and also, to do him justice, upon the side of kindliness. The two forces made him lay down his gum-brush with a sigh of resignation and push back his chair.
'Well, well, Mrs Warren, let us hear about it, then. You don't object to tobacco, I take it? Thank you, Watson--the matches! You are uneasy, as I understand, because your new lodger remains in his rooms and you cannot see him. Why, bless you, Mrs Warren, if I were your lodger you often would not see me for weeks on end.'
'No doubt, sir; but this is different. It frightens me, Mr Holmes. I can't sleep for fright. To hear his quick step moving here and moving there from early morning to late at night, and yet never to catch so much as a glimpse of him--it's more than I can stand. My husband is as nervous