The continuing saga continues to continue...
Holmes beamed and nodded.
“Indeed I do, his flair for creativity is unmatched by anyone this side of Bakerloo. Who do you suppose fashioned this frock jacket?”
Suddenly, Arthur roused from his slumber, his swollen organ swaying as he stretched his arms and yawned. His eyes opened wide and he looked with horror from his exposed member to Holmes and I. Then he leapt up, returning himself to his breeches. The protrusion was still all too visible, even through two layers of cloth.
“What in the blue blazes is going on here?” he demanded of us impatiently. He glanced from his wife to me and finally to Holmes, who stood upon a chair, his back to us once more, running a hand along the top of the magnificent oak armoire which was the centrepiece of the room.
“I’d sit back down if I were you, Mr Haversham” Holmes explained calmly. “You’re suffering the effects of a mild venom, hence the swelling.”
“Now, hold on a minute. Just what gives you the right to go barging into people’s homes like a thundering great clot and spouting orf all this half-baked gibberish?”
Holmes didn’t reply. Instead, he continued to feel his way along the top of the armoire. Haversham gestured wildly at Holmes’ back.
“I’m talking to you, man! And would you get orf that chair, for the love of -
“Aha!” Holmes cried suddenly, silencing Haversham as he leapt off the chair, holding something aloft.
“Just as I suspected” he said cryptically, as he threw the shrivelled artefact onto a side table. We all gathered around it, inspecting the foreign object with uncomprehending eyes. Haversham elbowed me aside to get a better view.
“Well, what is it, man?” Haversham spat.
“This”, announced Holmes rather grandly, “is the discarded chrysalis of a butterfly.” “A butterfly?” Mrs Haversham replied, looking about the room frantically.
“Fear not, Mrs Haversham, for the Purple Empress that emerged from this is long gone.”
He stared out of the window then, and I fancied I saw a wistful expression adorning his narrow features.
“It’s probably already dead” he said quietly, “crushed ‘neath the wheels of a vendor’s cart, or else swatted like a common bluebottle, mayhaps.”
Mr Haversham stamped his foot irritably.
“Would someone please explain to me what the deuce is going on?” Holmes finally turned around to face the twitchy little man.
“It was Pendleforth the tailor who brought this upon you. The letters on this table refer to the failure upon your part to pay for a new suit which Pendleforth had cut for not you two weeks ago. You continued not to pay, even after repeated missives urging you to do so.”
At this point, Holmes grabbed a handful of the letters he’d been perusing earlier, then let them fall to the floor, one by one.
“Pendleforth grew increasingly displeased with your cavalier attitude regarding payment, so he came to see you in person, the motive for which was two-fold. One, obviously, to attempt to extract from you the money you rightfully owed him, and two, so that he could plant both the chrysalis and the natural foodstuff of the butterfly!”
“Turmeric!” Mrs Haversham ejaculated. “But how the dickens did he get his hands on such an exotic creature?”