It was a cold yet bright February morning and we had arisen to be met by the sight of snow lying deep on the street below, now turning brown in the middle of Baker Street where the daily traffic had ploughed through it but still a shimmering white on the edges of the road and footpaths.
Holmes was deep in thought and as usual this meant also being shrouded in clouds of tobacco smoke. He was curled up, almost feline like in the basket chair and was practically immobile and had said not a word in almost two hours.
I was busying myself bringing my notes of the last case Holmes and myself had worked on, up to date. It involved the prominent Conservative politician Sir Eustace Makeworthy and his exposure as a thief and embezzler and his subsequent fall from grace. His wife, the fair Lady Hilda had recently won a divorce from this rather unlikeable man and his attempts to blame her for his downfall and wrongdoing because of the large alimony payments he now had to make, were pitiful and lamentable. The case itself was hardly the most exciting that Holmes had figured in but there were some quite sublime moments of analytical reasoning which deserve a wider audience. My major problem was to come up with a title for this case, should it ever have occasion to be published and to this end I was failing miserably.
" I believe I may be able to help you there Watson" said Holmes from the basket chair.
" Help me with what Holmes ? " I replied.
" With a title for your scribblings my dear fellow. "
I tried to counter the urge to be baffled and astounded but in this too, I failed miserably.
" What is this Holmes, I am baffled and indeed astounded by your deduction.....how, pray, could you have possibly known what I was thinking ? "
" It was simplicity itself my friend, as soon as you started to assemble your many notes and to put them in some kind of order, it was obvious to me that these were notes of the Makeworthy case, your enthusiasm to get the facts down on paper in a logical fashion at the conclusion of a case is, of course, well known to me. "
" Yes I see that Holmes, but two other cases were also brought to a successful conclusion recently, why could it not have been one of those I was preparing for publication ? " I asked.
" Most simple, Watson, no other case involved so closely a husband and wife and when I saw you quietly open the bureau drawer wherein lies your marriage certificate and steal a brief look at it, I knew then you were reflecting on your brief happy marriage and indeed, on the sanctity of marriage itself . "
" Bravo, Holmes, excellently reasoned out.......but how did you know I was trying to think of a title for this affair ? "
" You then proceeded to pick up your casebooks and thumbed through them, pausing briefly after every few pages, with the look of someone looking for inspiration, what else could you have been looking at but the frontispiece for each story and your furrowed brows told me you were studying the title of each tale."
" How absurdly simple Holmes" I cried.
" Quite so" said he " every problem becomes very simple when explained to you my friend. "
" And you say you have a title for me Holmes ? "
" Yes I believe I do" he replied.
He rose to his feet, knocked the dottles from his pipe into the fire and picked out a cheroot from the coal-scuttle, as he lit it, he turned around to look at me, his eyes shining.
" Watson, it must be called...........The Case of the..."
" Yes, Holmes" I interjected.
" Alimony Tory my dear Watson. "