have had some dramatic entrances and exits upon our small stage at Baker Street,
but I cannot recollect anything more sudden and startling than the first appearance
of Thorneycroft Huxtable, M.A., Ph.D., etc. His card, which seemed too small to
carry the weight of his academic distinctions, preceded him by a few seconds,
and then he entered himself -- so large, so pompous, and so dignified that he
was the very embodiment of self-possession and solidity. And yet his first action,
when the door had closed behind him, was to stagger against the table, whence
he slipped down upon the floor, and there was that majestic figure prostrate and
insensible upon our bearskin hearthrug.|
had sprung to our feet, and for a few moments we stared in silent amazement at
this ponderous piece of wreckage, which told of some sudden and fatal storm far
out on the ocean of life. Then Holmes hurried with a cushion for his head. and
I with brandy for his lips. The heavy, white face was seamed with lines of trouble,
the hanging pouches under the closed eyes were leaden in colour, the loose mouth
drooped dolorously at the corners, the rolling chins were unshaven. Collar and
shirt bore the grime of a long journey, and the hair bristled unkempt from the
well-shaped head. It was a sorely stricken man who lay before us.
is it, Watson?" asked Holmes.
"Absolute exhaustion -- possibly
mere hunger and fatigue," said I, with my finger on the thready pulse, where
the stream of life trickled thin and small.