had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas,
with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging
upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach upon the
right, and a pile of crumpled morning papers, evidently newly studied, near at
hand. Beside the couch was a wooden chair, and on the angle of the back hung a
very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat, much the worse for wear, and cracked
in several places. A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair suggested
that the hat had been suspended in this manner for the purpose of examination.|
are engaged," said l; "perhaps I interrupt you."
at all. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results. The matter
is a perfectly trivial one" - he jerked his thumb in the direction of the
old hat -- "but there are points in connection with it which are not entirely
devoid of interest and even of instruction."
seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire, for
a sharp frost had set in, and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. "I
suppose," I remarked, "that, homely as it looks, this thing has some
deadly story linked on to it -- that it is the clue which will guide you in the
solution of some mystery and the punishment of some crime."