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The Adventure of the Thorn-less Rose

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Holmes had spent the better part of an hour clambering through the rather wild shrubbery at Lady Chamberlain's summer house. He refused to tell me what he was looking for, and so I stood on the sun-drenched lawn watching him ruin his formerly-immaculate wool trousers and enjoying the sweet summer air.

At last, he let out a cry, and I observed him bend, pluck something minuscule off of a thorn, wrap in in a handkerchief, and stuff it into his breast pocket. He then emerged from the jungle, still not divulging the slightest hint of what he had found, but in the highest spirits. "Come along, Watson!" he cried, "We must catch the one forty-five for Hertford, or all shall be lost!"

Noting that familiar predatory gleam in his eye, I could not help but smile with him as we ran to the carriage. He urged the driver to haste with a sharp word and an exorbitant fee, all the while brushing dirt and crushed leaves from his clothes. As we boarded the train, he lectured me on the romantic history of Lady Chamberlain's maternal uncle, Roderick Smith-Hewlett, still fastidiously trying to rub mud stains off his knees with what I hoped was a different handkerchief.

Suddenly, he paused, took a breath, and, looking me directly into the eye, asked. "Do you see the connection, Watson?"

I confessed that I did not. He dropped his gaze, apparently disappointed, though I could not imagine why, as I so rarely saw what he did.

Before he could explain, I reached across our carriage, gently lifted a crimson rose petal from his hair, and brought it to my lips before securing it my own left breast pocket.

Holmes did not utter another word until the train pulled into Hertford.