“I mean, damn it all Holmes” I went on, determined not to allow him to avoid explanations. “Her glove was found at the scene of the crime, the rope used in the hanging came from her sash window, we found the bloodied knife in her room and on top of everything, Sir Horace had recently changed his will leaving everything to her.”
Holmes put his paper down with some visible irritation. He seemed to be physically discomforted, in addition to his usual irascibility.
“Indeed Watson. But as you know, I had a very long talk with the, erm, formidable Miss Huntingdon in her schoolroom, and she explained everything to me very clearly. Very clearly indeed. I cannot breach her confidence to explain why, but there is no question of her guilt. She was most persuasive.”
And he fell silent as if recalling a vivid memory, then shook his head and shifted nervously in his seat – and instantly, it seems, regretted it, as he winced in some pain.
“This railway company is a disgrace.” he remarked. “Singularly uncomfortable seats.”
“We could swap” I offered. "Mine is well upholstered." But he refused with a curter shake of his head.
“So…” I mused. “Suicide, after all. But Holmes, how ever did Sir Horace hang himself and stab himself several times, after tying his own hands behind his back? And did you ever solve the mystery of the strange marks across his buttocks?”
“The English aristocrat is a remarkably creative animal, Watson” Holmes remarked. “Damn this seat” – and he got up, wincing all the way.
“If you’ll excuse me, Watson” he remarked, I think I might after all not accompany you all the way to London. I cannot abandon Miss Huntingdon, at this difficult time. To lose her employer and gain control of a household and vast fortune all in one week like that… the poor woman will need a man’s guidance. I shall return to Castle Charingbourne.
But he did not - or would not - hear me or look in my direction, gazing instead almost longingly up the hill in the direction of the great house, with the faintest smile playing across his lips.