“Perform in the circus? Are you quite mad, Mr. Holmes?” Mirabella exclaimed, dropping John’s hand, feeling that she might hyperventilate on the spot. Fortunately the good doctor took her by the elbow and steadied her.
Wait, I know the answer, you are!
“I am not a circus performer!”
“Did you think I brought you here for pleasure, Miss Belle?” asked Sherlock, glancing at her disinterestedly. “I told you very clearly that this is a working excursion.”
“But if you had told me you expected me to perform in the circus, I never would have come!”
“That is precisely why I didn’t tell you.” Sherlock twirled his ebony cane. “I hope that you are not allergic to animals or that would make you entirely un-useful to me, Miss Hudson.”
“How horridly selfish of me if my inability to breathe should inconvenience you, Mr. Holmes!”
“Indeed it would,” he replied upon reflection.
“Oh, you . . . you . . . I could . . . !”
“Ha! ha! ha!” John Watson began laughing with his characteristic delight and optimistic outlook.
Sherlock turned and raised an eyebrow. “You, too, have an important undertaking to perform, my dear Watson.”
John Watson stopped laughing abruptly. “But I thought you said we would be attending, my dear fellow . . .”
“And so we will. But you have perhaps the most important part to play of this entire charade, old chap.” Sherlock tapped his cane on the ground, adding emphasis.
“To suppose that the success of the mission rests on my shoulders fills me with a deep foreboding.” Watson took out his handkerchief and wiped his forehead.
“Never fear, Watson, it is a role imminently suited to your talents and abilities.”
“And when did you plan to tell us this, Holmes?” John demanded, suddenly joining the ranks of the offended, his handkerchief held in mid-air.
“Let’s see, it is now two o’clock. Miss Hudson will be performing at eight o’clock. Is that sufficient notice?”
“You are far too accommodating, Mr. Holmes,” Mirabella uttered through barred teeth.
“Even I am entitled to a shortcoming, Miss Hudson. I realize it boggles the mind.” He sighed with regret. “And I fear that a tendency towards duty and service is mine.”
“Either that or the constant need for excitement and stimulation,” muttered Watson.
“Realized through the persecution and torment of anyone who is foolish enough to associate with you,” added Mirabella.