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“So you infiltrated a circle of artists,” I said, wonderingly.

“More poets than artists,” said Holmes. “Probably because it is slightly more difficult for the average observer to determine whether poetry is any good.”

“Did you write poetry?” I asked, probably because of the amount of brandy we’d both had.

“I did not.”

But there was something in his tone... “Did you try?”


I didn’t think he was lying, but... “Were you the subject of poetry?” I asked, and he—who I knew could lie perfectly smoothly if he wished—though perhaps not while as drunk as he was tonight—glanced away and covered his face.

“Holmes!” I exclaimed, delighted. “Show it to me!”

“I will not.”

“Go on!”

“It’s not as though I kept any of it.”

“More than once!” I deduced. “Oh, I must see this.”

“You are destined to be disappointed.”

“You realize that if you won’t I will have to find the poets themselves.”

“You will do no such thing.”

“I know you have little opinion of my investigative abilities, but I will be very strongly motivated.”

“I absolutely refuse. I shall warn them that you are a very dangerous murderer, see if I don’t.”