Stories of the Street
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
In fact, the story has no title. "Stories of the Street" was a recurring section in the newspaper.
Stories of the Street
The other passengers on the particular interurban car in question were either buried deep in their newspapers or busy holding converse with their traveling companions, but not so with the real live Sherlock Holmes in the third seat from the rear.
Having jabbed a quarter's worth of 10 per cent hypo solution into his system Sherlock Holmes was on the alert and ready to handle the most difficult case. To the other passengers the girl with the Mother Hubbard ulster and Kangaroo walk looked just one of the many, but Sherlock Holmes knew better; for simple deduction told him all about it.
Sherlock Holmes knew that this girl was to board this particular car for from his seat he could see her flagging the train. He knew that she wore a brown skirt beneath the ulster for he had caught a glimpse of it as the girl walked and he was not color blind.
"Wablins," said the great detective to his companion "That girl will take the fourth seat from the front on the right side of the aisle. How do I know? Why, simple deduction will tell you that, for the fourth seat from the aisle on the right hand side is the only vacant one in the car."
"Wonderful," declared Wablins, and he waited for more, but the great detective appeared buried in thought.
The girl with the Mother Hubbard ulster and Kangaroo walk took the fourth seat from the front on the right hand side, and, as she seated herself, the human sleuth hound clutched Wablins.
"That girl has a past," he hissed into the ear of the faithful Wablins. She will furnish me a field for work." And the great man smiled.
"Why has she a past?" asked Wablins, knowing that it was up to him to act as a foil for the remarkable Sherlock.
"Look," ordered Sherlock Holmes as he reached for the hypo injector. "Do you know that this car is going to St. Paul? Yes. And you also know that we are going to St. Paul from Minneapolis, do you not?"
Wablins admitted that a little simple deduction would confirm the great detective.
"Well," continued Sherlock Holmes, "You look up ahead and you will see that the woman in this case has a bundle of letters. She got them at the Minneapolis postoffice, for I saw her come out of the postoffice. She belongs in St. Paul because she is now on the car going to St. Paul and paid her first fare with the last ten-cent piece she has in her purse.
"She has a past because she comes over to Minneapolis to get her mail. Anyone having mail sent to Minneapolis has a past. You notice that she read the first letter and then saved it. She read all the others and then tore them up. She tore them up because they were bills and she wants to forget about them at once. After she had rid herself of the bills she returned to the first letter.
"If you were a shrewd boy like the great detective sitting beside you, you would have noticed at once that this first letter was written on a piece of hotel paper. If the young woman would permit you to give a look you would see that it is signed by the writer's first, or pet name.
"Now, what does all this show? It shows that this woman is receiving letters first from a traveling man. How do I know? Because the letter is mailed to Minneapolis from a country town. Second, the writer is a married man, for he does not sign his full name. Being a married man he knows better than to take chances in the alimony circuit.
"You would also have noticed, if you were clever, that the girl is helping the traveling man in avoiding chances, for after she read the letter she carefully tore off the letter head. That woman will break up a home some day, and I know it, for simple deduction tells me all this."
The great detective paused to fill his injector with hypo and Wablins, while waiting for more, turned to make a study of the girl with the Mother Hubbard ulster and Kangaroo walk. He turned in time to see another fair maid dash up the aisle and join the woman discovered by his great friend.
"Oh, Madge, how are you?" chirped the newcomer, "are you going over to St. Paul?"
"For a few minutes, yes," returned the girl in the M. H. ulster. "I will meet mother over there, and after matching a piece of silk we will hurry home. I just got a letter from Harry and he will be home next week. I can't show you the letter, but I will show you something else. You know I am collecting monograms and Harry always writes me on new monogram paper. Here it is," and the girl of the Kangaroo walk dug out of her purse the letter head torn from the letter Sherlock Holmes had picked as coming from a naughty married traveling man."
Wablins felt hurt, but as Sherlock Holmes was busy with the hypo injector and missed all the talk the companion of the great man heaved a happy sigh.