It was a late evening in August, not long after our honeymoon trip, when Mary and I returned home from the theatre to find young Wiggins in my study. As leader of the band of Baker Street Irregulars sometimes employed by my dear friend Sherlock Holmes in his consulting detective work, my first sight of Wiggins brought me to the assumption that the great detective had sent the boy to fetch me “for the game is afoot,” as Sherlock was apt to say. But in the next moment (as accompanying Sherlock Holmes on his cases for eight years had considerably improved my observational powers), the boy’s hasty attempt to hide a drink and a cigar alerted me that his errand was, shall I say, more casual.
“I see Mansfred welcomed you in, Wiggins. And he’s made you comfortable, I trust?” Asked Mary, knowing full well that it was our Butler’s night out. Although the little blighter had assuredly broken into my home, my heart softened at Wiggins’ attempt to stand and address my lady, his youthful complexion betraying a definite greenish tinge from the cigar.
“Mum,” he stammered, “Begging your pardon, Mum, I didn’t expect…thought you’d be to bed...” and then with all the summoned assurance a thirteen year-old could muster, “I’ve come to see Doctor Watson. I have matters of his interest. His very definite interest.”
“Of course,” replied Mary, the tiniest of grins betraying the formality of her address, “If you gentlemen will excuse me. It was a lovely evening, thank you, John.” I bent my head to receive her kiss goodnight to my cheek before she continued with, “Good to see you again, Master Wiggins. I believe I shall retire now while you conduct your business.” The silken swishing of Mary’s ball gown followed her from the room as I waited to see what news could possibly make Wiggins so daring, and yet so nervous at the same time.
But the boy continued to stand solider still in front of the fireplace, with cigar and crystal behind his back. Thus I decided some action was required to get him talking. “Chilly this late summertime, don’t you agree, eh Wiggins?“ Honoring Mary’s lead and continuing to play congenial host for our guest. “Make us a fire, will you?” I requested as I loosened my black tie and moved around the room, selecting a cigar from my still open humidor and pointedly shutting the case, then pouring myself a drink. After returning the decanter to its proper place on the mahogany side bar, I chose one of the pair of leather wing backed chairs in the bay window, and moved a claw footed ashtray table nearer its twin so that Wiggins and his purloined cigar would have a place to land now that the usefulness of his chore had semi-restored his good standing in my home.
Settled in the big chair with the gaslights of Harley street gleaming through the lace curtains, the new laid fire crackling quietly in its grate, the easy confidence of Wiggin’s street urchin hustler skills began to return. “Well, Governor,” he began, and I paused into raise an eyebrow at him over lighting my cigar. “Doctor Watson, begging your pardon, Sir,” he started again.......
I'm posting the beginning of new quilt story here this 1st day of the New Year in hopes you will keep me accountable.
2016 goal is to finish writing this story, plus quilt to go with it.
Happy New Year! I'm really glad you are here:)