THE ADVENTURE OF THE DIGESTIVE TRACT
It was a Friday in the early summer of 1896 and I had arrived back at the rooms in Baker Street I shared with Sherlock Holmes, late the preceding evening. I slept soundly and rose somewhat later than my usual time and prepared myself to do full justice to a handsome breakfast Mrs. Hudson had prepared.
Holmes was sitting in one of the arm chairs with papers strewn everywhere as was his wont, he appeared to be deep in thought as I entered the room and my cheery greeting was greeted less affably than could have been. I was used to this behaviour from him and busied myself amongst the ham and eggs laid out on the table. I was reflecting on my recent stay in Lyme Regis, I had stayed on in that delighful town after a case there was brought to a triumphant conclusion by Holmes, a case which, for various reasons, may never see the light of day. ( editors note: In fact the manuscript of this adventure turned up in Lyme Regis itself in 2007 and is being prepared for publication. )
My attention was drawn to Holmes by his occasional moan as though in pain and his fidgeting around in the arm chair, which had the result of not only disturbing my breakfast, but also tumbled yet more papers on to floor.
" You appear to be in some discomfiture Holmes. " I ventured.
" It's nothing Watson, I assure you dear fellow."
" Nevertheless, Holmes you do not even look well, have you been overdoing things in my absence ? "
" No more than is usual my friend, unfortunately the criminal classes do not adhere to convenient hours and I in my position as hunter have to follow suit. " he replied.
He followed up this statement with a prolonged coughing fit, I brought him some water from the carafe on the table " Here, my old friend, drink this down." He swallowed thirstily and languished once more in the chair.
" Holmes, you must see that even your own iron constitution cannot take much more and as I am to some extent answerable for your constitution by dint of being not only a physician but also your comrade and friend, pray, let me examine you and advise a course of action."
" Thank you my old friend, but I am starting to feel more my old self now."
" Did you eat yesterday Holmes, or the day before come to that ? "
I had known Holmes go for days without food when his mind had chafed before some problem while his thin eager features became more accentuated with the prolonged complete mental concentration.
" I must admit I have not thought of food recently Doctor." he answered meekly.
" Then I insist you let me examine you Holmes."
" Very well Watson, I can see I will not have the peace I crave until I succumb to your earnest request."
A brief examination told me all I needed to know, Holmes has been abusing his body for too long, particularly as regards his food intake and the regularity thereof.
" What is your diagnosis, pray, Doctor ? "
" The problem lies with your digestive tract Holmes, in fact you could say......."
" Yes, Watson ? "
" It's alimentary my dear Holmes. "