From the Diary of Doctor Watson
It was late when we chugged into Edinburgh Waverly and I was doubtful of us being able to secure suitable transport, however, Holmes set off at a gallop, leaping from the train and grasping the lapel of the nearest porter.
“Ah, my good man,” said he. “Be so good as to arrange transport for myself and my colleagues and I shall compensate you to the tune of one new penny.” So saying, he produced that very item and waved it in front of the man’s face.
“Och, get tae fuck, ye great ninny.”
“Now, now, there’s no need for that sort of talk.” He pulled the surly fellow aside and whispered a few words to him. As he did so, I noticed he pointed me out to the porter as if I were of some significance. A moment later, the man had thrown aside his clipboard and advanced towards the exit, a broad grin across his features.
I clambered down from the carriage and helped Hannay step down (he was feeling a little queasy from the trip). “I say old man, what on earth did you say to that chap?”
Holmes grinned. “I merely told him he was in the presence of the eminent consulting detective Mr Sherlock Holmes.”
He nodded. “Indeed. I believe the fellow will expect some recompense for his efforts – ah! Here he comes now.” He stepped forward and spoke in low tones amid the throngs of travellers that were now pouring from the train.
I pushed my way through the crowds and reached Holmes just as the porter turned to greet me.
“Och, I’m fair chuffed to dae a service fer the famous Mr Holmes. I hope yous gentl’min enjoy your stay at the but an ben.” And with that he handed Holmes a piece of paper, and disappeared into the crowd
“What was all that about?” Hannay was clinging to my arm.
“Come along, now,” said Holmes. “We’ve a cabbie waiting.” He turned to go but I caught his arm.
“To Newton Stewart?”
“Of course not, Watson, are you mad?” He clipped me playfully round the ear. “It’s past ten o’clock and the place is over a hundred miles away! No, I’ve arranged for us to stay with Effie McThick at her private hotel for prominent gentlemen. The porter is her husband.”
And he was off. I hurried along behind him, Hannay clinging to me like a drunken limpet. As I caught sight of the ‘cab’ (in reality, a ramshackle horse and cart) my heart sank and I had the awful feeling that whatever payment was due for the coming night, was going to involve me and some indescribably sordid act…
To be continued…