CARTER WATSON, a current magazine under his arm, strolled slowly along, gazing about him curiously.
Another thing: Carter Watson had a keen social and civic consciousness.
But on this late summer afternoon, Carter Watson was curious.
In Watson's note-book there are such entries during this period as "Lent Bell fifty cents," "Lent Hubbard twenty cents," "Bought one bottle beer--too bad can't have beer every day." More than once Hubbard would have gone hungry had not Devonshire, the only clerk, shared with him the contents of a dinner-pail.
He decided that the time had come to organize the business, so he created a simple agreement which he called the "Bell Telephone Association." This agreement gave Bell, Hubbard and Sanders a three-tenths interest apiece in the patents, and Watson one-tenth.
"Am I such a farcical bungler, Watson, that I should erect an obvious dummy, and expect that some of the sharpest men in Europe would be deceived by it.
"By my old enemies, Watson. By the charming society whose leader lies in the Reichenbach Fall.
"Having gathered these facts, Watson, I smoked several pipes over them, trying to separate those which were crucial from others which were merely incidental.
But really, Watson, I am keeping you up, and I might just as well tell you all this on our way to Aldershot to-morrow."
Mr Watson too, after much variety of luck, rose from the table in some heat, and declared he had lost a cool hundred, and would play no longer.
"Mr Watson now bespoke the most extravagant supper he could well think of; and though he had contented himself with simple claret before, nothing now but the most precious Burgundy would serve his purpose.
So your grave, middle-aged family practitioner vanishes into thin air, my dear Watson, and there emerges a young fellow under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded, and the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff."
"But, tell me, Watson, what do you make of our visitor's stick.
"Exactly, my dear Watson! Hence the extreme importance of Porlock.
"Your native shrewdness, my dear Watson, that innate cunning which is the delight of your friends, would surely prevent you from inclosing cipher and message in the same envelope.