I opened the door to our rooms at 221 B Baker Street and entered, careful not to jostle the package I carried. I was immediately engulfed in the warmth of the crackling fire that blazed in our hearth. Sherlock Holmes was in his favorite chair, looking half asleep. Opening his eyes, he turned his head and greeted me lazily.
“Ah, Watson, you have finished your rounds and holiday shopping and returned too late for Mrs. Hudson’s evening repast. However, I am sure she can be prevailed upon to provide you with some cold meats.”
Here, he stopped, and before I could reply, changed his tack entirely. “But I see that you stopped at your club, where I am sure you supped.”
You can imagine my astonishment, dear reader, to hear this. I had not uttered a word since entering the room, and I saw no way that he could know that I had indeed dined at the club. I was surprised that he hadn’t given the name of the former army colleague who had joined me.
“Holmes, this is outrageous! How could you possibly have deduced that in the few seconds I have been in this room?”
He airily waved a hand of dismissal. “Please, it is obvious.” The look on my face must have shown I was not convinced, so he continued.” Your boots have that dark sheen that is unique to the elderly boot man at your establishment. There are at least three other distinctive marks that tell me as much, but the boots alone were enough to deduce it. It is the merest child’s play. Pray, remove your coat, light your pipe and make yourself comfortable.”