Looking for lodgings, I answered. Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.
Thats a strange thing, remarked my companion; you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me.
And who was the first? I asked.
A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get someone to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse.
By Jove! I cried; if he really wants someone to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone.
Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me over his wineglass. You dont know Sherlock Holmes yet, he said; perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion.
Why, what is there against him?
Oh, I didnt say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideasan enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough.
A medical student, I suppose? said I.
NoI have no idea what he intends to go in for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first- class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the-way knowledge which would astonish his professors.
Did you never ask him what he was going in for? I asked.
No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him.
I should like to meet him, I said. If I am to lodge with anyone, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?
He is sure to be at the laboratory, returned my companion. He either avoids the place for weeks, or else he works there from morning till night. If you like, we will drive round together after luncheon.
Certainly, I answered, and the conversation drifted away into other channels.
As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particulars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as a fellow-lodger.
You mustnt blame me if you dont get on with him, he said; I know nothing more of him than I have learned from meeting him occasionally in the laboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you must not hold me responsible.
If we dont get on it will be easy to part company, I answered. It seems to me, Stamford, I added, looking hard at my companion, that you have some reason for washing your hands of the matter. Is this fellows temper so formidable, or what is it? Dont be mealymouthed about it.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|