The Affair of the Dartymuir Dog. Part Nine

The adventures of Piglock Homes and his sidekick Doctor Bearson.

Once away from the smoky orange lights of the station, the beauty of a cloudless night sky could be appreciated. The moon painted the landscape blue and silver and Bearson leaned back to better enjoy the glory of the stars. It was chilly and he pulled his Ulster closer about his throat.
“It’s a fine night for stargazing,” he said.
“It is indeed, my friend. And I fancy Sirius shines brightly on our endeavours.”
Homes chuckled at his own joke and Yore interjected sourly.
“We aren’t out here to stargaze.”
Homes barely spared him a glance. “We might as well be,” he explained with barely concealed impatience, “as there is little we can profitably do until we reach the place where the old gentleman was attacked. And even then we can only test a theory.”
Your subsided into a foetid sulk, while Bearson composed himself to while away the tedium of the ride by lifting his face to the cold beauty of the heavens.
It must have been the better part of an hour later when he was recalled to his surroundings by the gig being drawn to a halt. They were in the bottom of a deep defile where the moonlight hardly reached.
Their driver was speaking in her low, rather beautiful voice. “This was the place where Lord Sleepytown was found. He was lying at the side of the road, like a pile of discarded sacks.”
Homes jumped down and was almost at once lost to view. Bearson knew he would be sniffing the ground with his trufflish snout – a proceeding the good doctor found disturbing enough to be relieved not to have to see it.
Of a sudden, Homes sneezed loudly, thrice.
“I say, Bearson, give a chap a hand will you?”
Bearson leaned out of the vehicle and hauled his small friend aboard. As the great detective’s feet touched the carriage floor, Bearson looked at his face.
“Homes,” he hissed, “your snout is all over mud.”
Homes grinned and rubbed the grubby sleeve of his greatcoat across his nose. He took something from his pocket and blew into it. Bearson was aware that some sound had been made because the hair on his fat tummy bristled briefly, though his ears registered nothing.
After a moment of two his ears just caught a peculiar ululating sound on the stiff night breeze.
Homes looked truly smug.
“Drive on, if you please, ma’am.”
Their driver shook the reins, and the horse set this considerable strength to the task of pulling the gig back up onto the ridge that carried the main road – if one was to be so charitable as to call it that – across the expanse of the muir.
On the skyline, Bearson could see lights twinkling and he prodded Homes in the belly.
“Would that be our destination, old chap?”
“Aye. It would. And we can hope for an hour or two of rest before we have to be out here again.”

Piglock Homes and his sidekick Doctor Bearson will continue their investigation into The Affair of the Dartymuir Dog next week

Jane Jago

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