The sun was rising above London when the doorbell rang at Baker Street. John was still in bed and the piercing sound woke him up suddenly. John, gasping for air, shook his head. He heard the doorbell again and realized that he was no longer dreaming.
He had a strange dream in which he was running after twins wearing red trousers and funny hats, in a forest, surrounded by gigantic mushrooms, blue and red, green and yellow. He felt as if he were stuck into a huge kaleidoscope, with all the colours and the flashing lights of the sun coming through the leaves. Completely lost, John thought the place was completely nonsense even if he admired the beauty of it. He walked through the Mushroom Forest until he found himself at a crossroads: there were warning signs leading to strange locations such as “This way” or “Up” and “Down”. Then, as you always do in a dream, he took a path and was suddenly surrounded by soldiers. Oh, not the soldiers he used to mix with during the war, but card soldiers. Like real living playing cards. With proper heads, proper arms, spears. He was attacked, the cards were trying to chop off his head and he could only hear a loud voice screaming: “Off with his head!” That was the point where he woke up.
John only had time to put on his dressing gown. Sherlock already made the early visitor sit on the clients’ chair. He was a short man, wearing green trousers and an orange jacket – Sherlock thought he had a terrible taste in clothes. On the top of his big round head, he was wearing a hat. Not the modern kind of hat: it was a top hat, the same green as the trousers. Likes to wear strange clothes – awful colour taste – Not living in London – Countryside probably.¬ 10/6. Did not bother to take off the price of the hat, but why ? Ten shillings and six pence. Not the actual way of counting. Sherlock watched thoughtfully the mad man in the hat. Curiouser and curiouser. Sherlock saw the blue bowtie. Bowties are awful, even worse than ties. Definitely not a man from the city. Never used to dress up before, hence wearing the best things he must have in his wardrobe. Only things that he has in his wardrobe actually.
- So, you live in the countryside, considering that you have no clue about how to dress properly in London. Lot of green, mostly not to get dirty when you take your long walks – must I say when you wander for hours – in the woods. You got little spores on the edge of your hat. You must like picking mushrooms during you little strolls outside.
- I don’t understand a single word of yours, the strange man in the hat explained.
- Why are you here? I’m not consulting to help people find out which mushroom they should eat and which one would get them poisoned.
- I don’t have this problem. I drink tea.
- Boring… Every person in this country drinks tea. Not relevant to the case.
- Let me explain. I drank tea yesterday and she did not come.
- Who what?
- Who did not come to drink tea with you?
- Oh, yes, I love tea!
Sherlock glanced at John, rolling his eyes as a sign of extreme boredom. He was about to open the door and tell the visitor to get out of the flat when John asked: “You drink tea every day and somebody did not come? Who is this person? And who are you, sir?” The man gave a sidelong look to John and answered, lowering his voice: “I’m the Hatter, the Mad Hatter as they call me there. And Alice missed tea today”.