Sherlock Special transcript: The Abominable Bride, part 1
With all my thanks to Team Ari II – lauramcewan, laurtew, and swissmarg – for their invaluable help in checking and correcting this transcript.
Episode written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Transcript by Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan. (Last updated 6 July 2016)
Please note: Although complete, this is and will continue to be very much a work in progress. Amendments and additions will be made continually as I spot new clever stuff in the background or realise the subtlety of the way that a particular line of dialogue was delivered, or learn something new from commentaries, interviews etc. In the meantime, if you think that I’ve made any errors or have left anything out, do let me know, either in the Comments section below or by PM. (N.B. if you’re not registered with Livejournal, your message may be held unposted until I unlock it.)
Polite request: If you take extracts from this transcript for use elsewhere, and especially if you repost my own words, it would be kind if you would acknowledge the source and/or give a link back to this transcript. Thanks.
Sherlock Special transcript: The Abominable Bride, part 1
Jump to Part 2 / Jump to Part 3
Text on screen:
So far on SHERLOCK
Sherlock unzips the body bag in “A Study in Pink.”
SHERLOCK (at the door to the Bart’s lab): The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker Street.
(He click-winks at John.)
(He leaves the lab.)
MIKE STAMFORD (to John): Yeah. He’s always like that.
Brief shot of Sherlock in his security man’s uniform at the Hickman Gallery in “The Great Game.”
Sherlock flogs the dead body in “ASIP.”
MOLLY: Bad day, was it?
In the warehouse in “ASIP.”
MYCROFT: Since yesterday you’ve moved in with him ...
(There’s a brief shot of the door to 221B closing.)
MYCROFT: ... and now you’re solving crimes together.
In the hallway of 221B in “ASIP,” Sherlock kisses Mrs Hudson’s cheek.
MRS HUDSON: Look at you, all happy. It’s not decent.
SHERLOCK: Who cares about decent? The game, Mrs Hudson, is on!
Brief shot of the Houses of Parliament exploding in “The Empty Hearse” [which is out of context when so far this is meant to be a summary of the Season 1 episodes].
221B’s living room in “TGG.”
SHERLOCK: Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.
At the pool in “TGG,” John opens his jacket to reveal the bomb strapped to him.
JIM (to Sherlock): I’ll burn the heart out of you.
In Irene Adler’s living room in “A Scandal in Belgravia,” a naked Irene clamps her teeth onto Sherlock’s fake vicar’s dog-collar just as John comes in with a bowl of water and a linen napkin.
JOHN: Right, this should do it.
(He stares in shock at the sight that greets him.)
In the sitting room in Buckingham Palace in “ASIB,” John glances at a besheeted Sherlock.
JOHN: Are you wearing any pants?
(They both crack up laughing.)
In Irene’s bedroom, she flogs a drugged Sherlock, then strokes her riding crop over his face.
IRENE: This is how I want you to remember me: the woman who beat you.
In Dewer’s Hollow in “The Hounds of Baskerville,” Sherlock looks at Henry Knight.
SHERLOCK: But there never was any monster.
(The hound howls and everyone turns their flashlights to the sight at the top of the Hollow.)
On Bart’s rooftop in “The Reichenbach Fall,” Sherlock walks across the roof towards Jim.
JIM: Here we are at last.
(He shoots himself in the mouth. Sherlock cries out in shock and leaps back.)
Later, Sherlock is talking over the phone from the rooftop to John on the ground.)
SHERLOCK: Goodbye, John.
JOHN (crying out): SHERLOCK!
(Sherlock spreads his arms and starts to topple forward.
John runs towards the place where Sherlock landed.)
In the underground car park in “The Empty Hearse.”
SHERLOCK (offscreen): Those things will kill you.
(Greg Lestrade takes the lighter away from his unlit cigarette.)
LESTRADE: Ooh, you bastard!
In the kebab shop
SHERLOCK (to John): The thrill of the chase, the blood pumping through your veins ...
(Brief flashback to John outside Angelo’s restaurant in “ASIP,” jumping over the bonnet of the car.)
JOHN (to the driver): Sorry.
(He chases off after Sherlock.)
SHERLOCK: ... just the two of us against the rest of the world.
(John grabs Sherlock’s jacket and head-butts him.)
In the streets near Baker Street in “TRF” [again, shown in the wrong season flashback], Sherlock, handcuffed to John, jumps over the iron fence. John grabs his coat through the fence and pulls him back.
JOHN: Wait! We’re going to need to co-ordinate.
(Brief shot of Sherlock’s grave.)
At the bottom of the stairs in 221B in “TEH.”
JOHN: I asked you for one more miracle. I asked you to stop being dead.
SHERLOCK: I heard you.
Outside Sholto’s room in “The Sign of Three.”
JOHN: Shut up. You are not a puzzle solver; you never have been. You’re a drama queen. Now there is a man in there about to die ...
(Brief shot of Sherlock putting on the deerstalker at the end of “TEH.”)
JOHN (sarcastically quoting Sherlock): ... “The game is on.” Solve it!
At Appledore in “His Last Vow,” Magnussen opens the doors to his ‘vaults.’
SHERLOCK (voiceover): He is the Napoleon of blackmail.
(Brief shot of Magnussen walking through his Mind Palace library.
Shortly afterwards, Mycroft’s helicopter has arrived and is hovering near the patio.)
MAGNUSSEN: No chance for you to be a hero this time, Mr Holmes.
(Armed police move into position.)
SHERLOCK: I’m a high-functioning sociopath.
(He shoots Magnussen in the head, then kneels on the patio with his hands raised, his face full of despair.)
MYCROFT (speaking to Lady Smallwood and her colleagues): There is no prison in which we could incarcerate Sherlock without causing a riot on a daily basis. The alternative, however, would require your approval.
On the tarmac at the airfield, Sherlock offers his hand to John.
SHERLOCK: To the very best of times, John.
(His plane takes off while John and Mary watch from the ground.)
JIM’s VOICE (distorted): Did you miss me? Did you miss me?
LADY SMALLWOOD: How is this possible?
MYCROFT (over the phone to Sherlock in the plane): How’s the exile going?
SHERLOCK: I’ve only been gone four minutes.
MYCROFT: Well, I certainly hope you’ve learned your lesson.
SHERLOCK: Who needs me this time?
(On every TV screen in the country, Jim looks over his shoulder to the camera.)
JIM: Miss me?
MYCROFT (over the phone to Sherlock): England.
(Sherlock’s plane touches down on the tarmac.)
The date “2014” appears on the screen, then the numbers begin rapidly to scroll backwards. When they reach the late 1800s they begin to fade from the screen, reaching round about “1884” before disappearing. [It’s likely that the last visible year should be 1881 for canonical reasons.]
Close-up of a blue eye opening and then widening. Then, in an obvious flashback, Captain John Watson, wearing Victorian military uniform, is standing in a battlefield and flinching as a shell explodes close behind him.
WATSON (voiceover): The second Afghan War brought honours and promotion to many.
(In the flashback/dream, Watson is squatting down to a fallen colleague. In real life, Watson rolls over in bed, trying to get back to sleep.)
WATSON (voiceover): ... but for me it meant nothing but misfortune and disaster.
(In the flashback/dream, still tending to his colleague, Watson cowers as another shell explodes and he is showered with earth. Some distance away, an enemy soldier squints along his rifle and pulls the trigger. The bullet impacts Watson’s left shoulder and he falls to the ground. In his bed, Watson thrashes into a new position, groaning quietly. In the flashback/dream, one of Watson’s colleagues drags him to safety.)
SOLDIER: You all right, Captain?
(Watson wakes up again, his face covered with sweat. Before his open eyes he can still see explosions going off on the battlefield.)
The scene changes to a London street in the 1880s. The road is busy with horse-drawn carriages, and there are many people walking along the pavement.
WATSON (voiceover): I returned to England with my health irretrievably ruined and my future bleak.
(Watson limps along the road leaning on a cane.)
WATSON (voiceover): Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are drained.
(As his narration was happening, a voice could be heard calling out, “Watson!” Now the man calls out again.)
(Watson turns to see a man smiling as he approaches him.)
STAMFORD: Stamford. Remember?
(Watson looks blankly at him.)
STAMFORD: We were at Bart’s together.
WATSON: Yes, of course. (He shakes hands with the other man.) Stamford.
STAMFORD: Good Lord! Where have you been? You’re as thin as a rake!
Later, they are standing at a table in the crowded bar of the Criterion.
WATSON: I made it home. Many weren’t so lucky.
STAMFORD: So what now?
WATSON: Hmm? I need a place to live. Somewhere decent, and an affordable price. It’s not easy.
(He drinks from his glass of beer. Stamford chuckles.)
STAMFORD: You know, you’re the second person to say that to me today.
WATSON: Hmm? Who was the first?
In an underground mortuary, a man is repeatedly and violently flogging a corpse with a heavy walking stick. Currently we can only see the back of his head. Watson and Stamford walk into the corridor leading to the mortuary and Watson looks through the window of the room with surprise.
WATSON: Good Lord!
STAMFORD: It’s an experiment, apparently. Beating corpses to establish how long after death bruising is still possible.
(Watson watches the man a little uncomfortably as he continues to flog the corpse. Eventually he turns and limps away.)
WATSON: Is there a medical point to that?
STAMFORD (following him): Not sure.
WATSON: Neither am I. So, where’s this friend of yours, then?
(Stamford stops at the door to the room. Watson stops and turns back to look at him, then realisation begins to dawn.
Inside the room, the man is still thrashing the corpse with his back to Stamford and Watson as they walk in.)
STAMFORD (loudly): Excuse me!
(The man flogs the corpse even faster.)
WATSON (loudly): I do hope we’re not interrupting.
(Giving the corpse one last violent lash, the man blows out a breath and turns, and we see that this is Sherlock Holmes. He quickly looks down the length of Watson’s body.)
HOLMES: You’ve been in Afghanistan, I perceive. (He turns away, reaching into his waistcoat for his pocket watch.)
STAMFORD: Doctor Watson, Mr Sherlock ...
(Looking down at his watch and without turning round, Holmes tosses his walking stick towards Watson, who instinctively reaches out and catches it.)
HOLMES (turning back again): Excellent reflexes. (He smiles falsely at Watson while putting his watch back into his pocket.) You’ll do.
WATSON: I’m sorry?
HOLMES: I have my eye on a suite of rooms near Regent’s Park. Between us we could afford them.
WATSON: Rooms? (He glances briefly at Stamford.) Who said anything about rooms?
HOLMES (quick fire): I did. I mentioned to Stamford this morning I was in need of a fellow lodger. Now he appears after lunch in the company of a man of military aspect with a tan and recent injury, both suggestive of the campaign in Afghanistan and an enforced departure from it. (He finally takes a quick breath.) The conclusion seemed inescapable.
(He flicks a quick glance at Watson and then lowers his eyes with a small self-satisfied smile.)
HOLMES (pulling in a longer breath): We’ll finalise the details tomorrow evening.
(He walks towards the other two, forcing them to step aside as he walks in between them, taking his walking stick from Watson as he passes.)
HOLMES: Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hanging in Wandsworth and I’d hate them to start without me.
(He takes his coat from a nearby stand and starts to put it on.)
WATSON: A hanging?
HOLMES: I take a professional interest. I also play the violin and smoke a pipe. I presume that’s not a problem?
WATSON: Er, no, well ...
HOLMES (taking his hat from the stand and smiling at Watson): And you’re clearly acclimatised to never getting to the end of a sentence. We’ll get along splendidly. Tomorrow evening, seven o’clock, then.
(He starts to turn away, then turns back.)
HOLMES: Oh, and the name is Sherlock Holmes and the address is two hundred and twenty-one B Baker Street.
(He puts on his hat, then turns and walks away.)
STAMFORD (to Watson): Yes. He’s always been like that.
NEW OPENING (VICTORIAN) TITLES (with a Victorian twist to the theme tune).
Close-up on an issue of The Strand Magazine. Nearby, a news vendor is calling out to the passing pedestrians. He is holding newspapers and another copy of The Strand with a small red sleeve around it on which are the words “SHERLOCK HOLMES” and an in-profile white silhouette of the detective. Offscreen, carollers can be heard singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
NEWS VENDOR: Papers! Papers!
(A hansom cab approaches along the street.)
NEWS VENDOR: Papers! Papers!
(The cab slows down as Watson leans out of the window a little and gestures to attract the attention of the vendor.)
(The cab stops.)
WATSON: How’s ‘The Blue Carbuncle’ doing?
NEWS VENDOR: Very popular, Doctor Watson. Is there gonna be a proper murder next time?
WATSON: I’ll have a word with the criminal classes.
NEWS VENDOR: If you wouldn’t mind.
(He points towards the figure sitting next to Watson.)
NEWS VENDOR: Is that ’im? Is ’e in there?
(Holmes, mostly obscured from the vendor’s view, apparently kicks Watson, who grunts.)
WATSON: No. No, no, not at all. (He tips a finger to his hat.) Ah, good day to you.
CABBIE (to his horse, shaking the reins at it): Walk on.
(The cab sets off again. The news vendor calls after it.)
NEWS VENDOR: Merry Christmas, Mr Holmes!
CLOSE-UP OF THE BAKER STREET. W. sign on the wall of a building. As the camera pans down to show the street, the cab pulls up outside the front door of 221B. Next door is a canopy over a shop showing that this is SPEEDWELL’S Restaurant and Tea Rooms. The door to 221B opens and Mrs Hudson comes out as Holmes and Watson get out of the cab, Holmes holding a pipe.
MRS HUDSON: Mr Holmes, I do wish you’d let me know when you’re planning to come home.
(The houseboy, Billy [who bears a striking resemblance to Archie from “The Sign of Three”] hurries out of the house towards Watson, who is unloading bags from the cab.)
HOLMES: I hardly knew myself, Mrs Hudson. That’s the trouble with dismembered country squires – they’re notoriously difficult to schedule.
(He clamps the pipe between his teeth and turns back to pay the cabbie.)
BILLY (to Watson, looking at a bag which he is holding): What’s in there?
WATSON: Never mind.
HOLMES (to the cabbie): Thank you.
(Billy takes some of the other bags and starts to take them inside.)
BILLY (over his shoulder): Did you catch a murderer, Mr Holmes?
HOLMES: Caught the murderer; still looking for the legs. Think we’ll call it a draw.
(He goes inside. Mrs Hudson, on the doorstep, turns to Watson.)
MRS HUDSON: And I notice you’ve published another of your stories, Doctor Watson.
WATSON: Yes. Did you enjoy it?
MRS HUDSON (after only a second’s thought): No.
(She turns and goes inside. Watson follows her.)
MRS HUDSON: I never enjoy them.
WATSON (pushing the door closed behind him): Why not?
(In the hallway Holmes has taken off his coat and hat and hangs them on a hook near the front door, then walks further into the hall.)
MRS HUDSON: Well, I never say anything, do I? According to you, I just show people up the stairs and serve you breakfasts.
WATSON (hanging up his own coat and hat): Well, within the narrative, that is – broadly speaking – your function.
MRS HUDSON: My what?!
HOLMES: Don’t feel singled out, Mrs Hudson. I’m hardly in the dog one.
WATSON (indignantly): “The dog one”?!
MRS HUDSON: I’m your landlady, not a plot device.
WATSON (to Holmes, who is heading up the stairs): Do you mean ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’?!
MRS HUDSON (upset): And you make the room so drab and dingy.
WATSON (tetchily): Oh, blame it on the illustrator. He’s out of control. I’ve had to grow this moustache just so people’ll recognise me.
(He follows his colleague up the stairs.)
WATSON (voiceover): Over the many years it has been my privilege to record the exploits of my remarkable friend, Mr Sherlock Holmes, it has sometimes been difficult to choose which of his many cases to set before my readers.
(While he has been narrating, Holmes has gone up the stairs into the first floor sitting room. Glancing briefly towards the fire, he walks across the room to the right-hand window and pulls back the closed curtains, revealing a stag’s head hung on the wall between the two windows. The mounted head has a full set of antlers, upon which an ear trumpet hangs.)
WATSON (voiceover): Some are still too sensitive to recount ...
(As Holmes walks across the room to the left-hand window, a knife can be seen stabbed into some letters on the mantelpiece.)
WATSON (voiceover): ... whilst others are too recent in the minds of the public.
(On the wall opposite the fireplace is a framed copy of the painting “All is Vanity” by Charles Allen Gilbert, painted in 1892. [Click here to see the picture])
WATSON (voiceover): But in all our many adventures together, no case pushed my friend to such mental and physical extremes as that of The Abominable Bride.
(During his narration, Watson has brought one of the bags upstairs, taken it to the room behind the sitting room and put it on the table. Letting the bag go, he flexes the fingers of his left hand, then turns towards the sitting room where Holmes is pushing open the curtains of the left window. As more light floods into the room, a figure is revealed standing in front of the fire. Dressed in black mourning clothes and with a black veil over the face, the figure, apparently a woman, stands facing the fire with her hands clasped behind her back.)
WATSON (walking into the room): Good Lord!
(The figure turns around to face the room.)
HOLMES (loudly, walking past the figure to the door): Mrs Hudson, there is a woman in my sitting room! Is it intentional?
MRS HUDSON (from downstairs): She’s a client! Said you were out; insisted on waiting.
(Holmes grimaces. Watson picks up a chair near the table and turns to put it down in front of the woman.)
WATSON: Would you, er, care to sit down?
(The woman doesn’t move or respond to him.)
HOLMES (calling down the stairs): Didn’t you ask her what she wanted?
MRS HUDSON (from downstairs): You ask her!
HOLMES: Well, why didn’t you ask her?
MRS HUDSON (tetchily): How could I, what with me not talking and everything?
(Holmes rolls his eyes and sighs. He turns and walks back into the sitting room.)
HOLMES: Oh, for God’s sake. (Quietly, to Watson) Give her some lines. She’s perfectly capable of starving us.
(He walks towards the woman and smiles at her.)
HOLMES: Good afternoon. I’m Sherlock Holmes. This is my friend and colleague, Doctor Watson. You may speak freely in front of him, as he rarely understands a word.
HOLMES (to the woman): However, before you do, allow me to make some trifling observations.
(He walks closer to her and circles around her while she continues to stand there impassively.)
HOLMES: You have an impish sense of humour which currently you’re deploying to ease a degree of personal anguish.
(He moves towards Watson and circles around him, still addressing the silent woman.)
HOLMES: You have recently married a man of a seemingly kindly disposition who has now abandoned you for an unsavoury companion of dubious morals. You have come to this agency as a last resort in the hope that reconciliation may still be possible.
WATSON: Good Lord, Holmes!
HOLMES: All of this is, of course, perfectly evident from your perfume.
WATSON: Her perfume?
HOLMES: Yes, her perfume, which brings insight to me and disaster to you.
WATSON: How so?
HOLMES (stepping towards the woman): Because I recognised it and you did not.
(He undoes the woman’s veil and pulls it clear of her face. As he walks away from her, Watson instantly recognises her.)
MRS WATSON (smiling): John.
WATSON: Why, in God’s name, are you pretending to be a client?
MRS WATSON: Because I could think of no other way to see my husband, Husband.
Not long afterwards, Holmes has taken off his jacket and put on a camel coloured dressing gown over his clothes. Holding his violin and standing facing the right-hand window, he is playing a tune which we recognise as his wedding waltz. Mary still stands near the fireplace and Watson is pacing nearby but now turns back to his wife and speaks angrily to her.
WATSON: It was an affair of international intrigue.
MRS WATSON: It was a murdered country squire.
WATSON: Nevertheless, matters were pressing.
MRS WATSON: I don’t mind you going, my darling. I mind you leaving me behind!
WATSON: But what could you do?!
MRS WATSON: Oh, what do you do except wander round, taking notes, looking surprised ...
(Holmes stops playing and angrily lowers his violin.)
(The others fall silent and look at him. He doesn’t turn round.)
HOLMES (softly): The stage is set, and the curtain rises. We are ready to begin.
MRS WATSON: Begin what?
HOLMES: Sometimes, to solve a case, one must first solve another.
WATSON: Oh, you have a case, then, a new one?
HOLMES (softly): An old one. Very old. I shall have to go deep.
WATSON: Deep? Into what?
HOLMES (softly): Myself.
(He gazes out of the window for a moment longer, then turns and calls over his shoulder.)
HOLMES: Lestrade! Do stop loitering by the door and come in.
(The door to the sitting room opens and Inspector Lestrade comes in, breathing heavily and looking anxious. He glances towards the table in between the windows before looking towards the people near the fireplace.)
LESTRADE: How did you know it was me?
HOLMES (going across to his chair and sitting down): The regulation tread is unmistakeable; lighter than Jones, heavier than Gregson.
LESTRADE (stuttering): I-I-I just came up. Mrs Hudson didn’t seem to be talking.
(Rolling his eyes, Holmes reaches towards a Turkish slipper on the table beside his chair and takes out some tobacco to fill his pipe.)
HOLMES: I fear she’s branched into literary criticism by means of satire. It is a distressing trend in the modern landlady. What brings you here in your off-duty hours?
(Lestrade glances to his right, then looks back at Holmes.)
LESTRADE: How’d you know I’m off-duty?
HOLMES: Well, since your arrival you’ve addressed over forty percent of your remarks to my decanter.
(He points to the table between the windows, on which is a silver tray holding various bottles and glasses, including a whisky decanter.)
HOLMES: Watson, give the inspector what he so clearly wants.
(Watson walks across the room while Lestrade takes off his hat. Watson picks up the decanter and pours a drink.)
WATSON: So, Lestrade, what can we do for you?
LESTRADE: Oh, I’m not here on business. I just thought I’d ... drop by.
WATSON: A social call? (He walks over and hands Lestrade the glass.)
LESTRADE: Yeah, of course, just to wish you the compliments of the season.
(Holmes takes his pipe from his mouth and looks pointedly at the inspector. Lestrade looks at him a little nervously and then raises his glass, looking across to Mary.)
LESTRADE: Merry Christmas?
HOLMES: Merry Christmas.
WATSON: Merry Christmas.
MRS WATSON: Merry Christmas.
HOLMES: Thank God that’s over. Now, Inspector, what strange happening compels you to my door but embarrasses you to relate?
(Lestrade has taken a long drink from his glass and now closes his eyes before shaking his head and opening his eyes again.)
LESTRADE: Who said anything happened?
HOLMES: You did, by every means short of actual speech.
(Lestrade drinks deeply and then sighs with relief.)
WATSON (raising a finger): Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, Holmes? You have misdiagnosed.
HOLMES (smiling): Then correct me, Doctor.
WATSON: He didn’t want a drink ... (he takes the glass from Lestrade and turns it upside down to show that it is empty) ... he needed one. He’s not embarrassed; he’s afraid.
(Lestrade looks down, putting his gloved hand to his mouth and looking anxious. Holmes smirks.)
HOLMES: My Boswell is learning. They do grow up so fast.
(He looks up at Mary, who smiles at him.)
HOLMES: Watson, restore the courage of Scotland Yard.
(Watson takes the glass back over to the table.)
HOLMES: Inspector, do sit down.
(He gestures to the dining chair with his pipe and picks up a match.)
LESTRADE (picking up the chair and moving it near to Watson’s armchair so that he can sit facing Holmes): I’m-I’m not afraid, exactly.
HOLMES: Fear is wisdom in the face of danger. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
(Watson brings over the refilled glass and gives it to Lestrade.)
LESTRADE: Thank you.
HOLMES: From the beginning, then.
(He strikes the match, and the image of the igniting match head morphs into the barrel of a pistol. Standing on the balcony outside an upper storey window of a building elsewhere in London, a woman is holding a long-barrelled pistol in each hand. She is wearing a wedding dress and matching head dress with the veil flipped back on her head, and her face is painted deathly white, except for her lips which are vividly red against the paleness of her face. The lipstick runs slightly over the edges of her lips. She fires into the street below and one of the bullets smashes through the window of a nearby baker’s shop. She fires again and people in the street below cry out in panic and duck or run. As a man runs along the street, the woman turns and aims her pistols at him.)
(The man – named Giles according to the end credits – turns and stares up at her, holding up his hands pleadingly.)
GILES: No! Please!
(She turns away from him and stares wide-eyed at the pandemonium below her. Another man is running for cover. She glares at him but then fires further down the street to her right. He stops at the baker’s shop and struggles to open the door but it appears to be locked. Breathing heavily, the woman cries towards him.)
(The man turns and starts to run down the street as the woman fires in his direction.
In 221B’s sitting room, Holmes raises his hand.)
HOLMES: A moment.
(In the street, as another gunshot rings out, the scene freezes and, a little way down the road, it’s as if the sitting room has appeared in the street but with only the wall with the fireplace there. The other three walls have vanished and Holmes and the others are sitting in their chairs and looking out at the scene. Watson has now sat down in his armchair, and Mary is sitting on the arm of his chair. Holmes points at the frozen scene.)
HOLMES: When was this?
LESTRADE: Yesterday morning.
HOLMES: The bride’s face. How was it described?
(Lestrade opens his notebook and looks at his notes.)
LESTRADE: White as death ...
(Brief shot of the bride firing into the street.)
LESTRADE: ... mouth like a crimson wound.
(Holmes stands up and walks across the room to look at his imagined version of the street scene.)
HOLMES: Poetry or truth?
LESTRADE: Many would say they’re the same thing.
HOLMES (briefly closing his eyes in exasperation): Yes, idiots. Poetry or truth?
LESTRADE: I saw her face myself. Afterwards.
(Holmes turns to look at him.)
HOLMES: After what?
(On the balcony, the bride aims her pistols at another man.)
BRIDE: You! (She pauses for a moment.) Or me?
(Lowering the left-hand pistol, she raises the barrel of the other pistol in her right hand and opens her mouth wide. Aiming the gun up into her mouth, she fires and blood spatters over the white net curtains behind her. As the watching people cry out in alarm, she falls backwards and disappears from view.
In the sitting room, Holmes sighs with exasperation.)
HOLMES: Really, Lestrade. (He walks back across the room to sit in his chair.) A woman blows her own brains out in public and you need help identifying the guilty party. I fear Scotland Yard has reached a new low.
LESTRADE: That’s not why I’m here.
HOLMES: I surmise.
WATSON (now holding an open notebook on his lap): What was her name, the bride?
(Brief shot of the woman lying on the carpet in the room where she shot herself, the pistol still in her hand.)
LESTRADE: Emelia Ricoletti. Yesterday was her wedding anniversary. The police, of course, were called, and her body taken to the morgue. (He drinks from his glass.)
HOLMES: Standard procedure. Why are you telling us what may be presumed?
LESTRADE: Because of what happened next.
(In Limehouse, a pretty Chinese woman smiles at an English man who is sitting in a carriage. A Chinese man stands beside her. Nearby, another Chinese man stands outside what can be presumed to be an opium den.)
LESTRADE (voiceover): Limehouse, just a few hours later.
(An English man in a smart dress suit comes out of the den and starts to walk down the street. The scene freezes with the man facing towards where the sitting room of 221B seems to have appeared in the street. Lestrade looks towards the man.)
LESTRADE: Thomas Ricoletti, Emelia Ricoletti’s husband.
HOLMES: Presumably on his way to the morgue to identify her remains.
(Lestrade takes another drink, then nods.)
LESTRADE: As it turned out, he was saved the trip.
(In the street, a hansom cab approaches and a horse whinnies. Ricoletti turns around to look. The door of the cab opens and a woman starts to get out. At this moment all we can see is her boot and her white wedding dress covering her leg.)
BRIDE (singing): ♪ Do not forget me ...
(Ricoletti stares in horror as the Bride is revealed, her face covered and obscured by the head dress’ veil. She is holding a shotgun which she now aims at him as she continues to sing.)
BRIDE (singing the next line of her song): ♪ Do not forget me ...
(Ricoletti raises his hands in terrified submission. The Bride slowly walks towards him.)
BRIDE: ♪ Remember the maid ...
RICOLETTI: Who are you?
BRIDE: ♪ The maid of the mill. ♪
RICOLETTI (talking over her): Why are you doing this? Just tell me who you are!
BRIDE: You recognise our song, my dear? I sang it at our wedding.
(Ricoletti stares in horror as the Bride lifts her veil with one hand. Her lipstick is even more smeared than before, and there are powder burns around the middle of her lips.)
RICOLETTI: Emelia?! (He stutters.) You’re dead. You can’t be here. You died.
BRIDE (smiling at him): Am I not beautiful, Thomas? As beautiful as the day you married me?
(Behind her, a young police constable runs toward the scene but stops a few paces away.)
PC RANCE (nervously): What the hell’s all this about?
(The Bride turns her head towards him. The back of her head is covered with blood.)
BRIDE: What does it look like, my handsome friend?
(She turns her head towards her husband again.)
BRIDE: It’s a shotgun wedding.
(Cocking the shotgun twice in rapid succession, she fires at him twice. She smiles as he stares sightlessly at her for a moment, his own blood spattered over his face, then drops to the ground. His head seems to lands on the carpet of the sitting room in 221B. Holmes looks impassively at the man’s body.)
HOLMES: ’Til death us do part. Twice, in this case.
(He smiles at Lestrade. In the street, the Bride has pulled her veil back over her face and now turns in the direction of the hansom cab. The back of her head can be seen more clearly and it looks as if the rear of her skull has been blown off. PC Rance gasps as she walks past the cab and continues on into the fog and disappears from view. Rance blows his police whistle and then runs off after her.)
MRS WATSON: Impossible!
HOLMES (standing): Superb! Suicide as street theatre; murder by corpse. Lestrade, you’re spoiling us. Watson, your hat and coat.
(He walks towards the door.)
WATSON (also standing): Where are we going?
HOLMES (standing just outside the sitting room): To the morgue. There’s not a moment to lose ...
(He takes off his dressing gown and puts on his jacket.)
HOLMES: ... which one can so rarely say of a morgue.
MRS WATSON: And am I just to sit here?
WATSON: Not at all, my dear. (He leans down and chucks her under the chin.) We’ll be hungry later!
(He turns to Holmes.)
WATSON: Holmes, just one thing? (He looks down at his own clothes.) Tweeds, in a morgue?
HOLMES: Needs must when the devil drives, Watson.
(They both hurry down the stairs. Lestrade looks at Mary as he starts to follow them.)
MRS WATSON (standing up): I’m part of a campaign, you know.
LESTRADE (turning back to her): Oh yeah? Campaign?
MRS WATSON: Votes for Women.
LESTRADE: And are you – are you for or against?
MRS WATSON (sternly pointing to the stairs): Get out.
(Looking bewildered, Lestrade turns and leaves. Mary sits down in Watson’s chair, props her head on her hand and stares into the fire, sighing in exasperation. Mrs Hudson comes to the open door and knocks on it.)
MRS HUDSON: Ooh-ooh!
(She looks around the room.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh. Have they gone off again, have they? I dunno – what a life those gentlemen lead.
MRS WATSON (bitterly): Yes. Those gentlemen.
MRS HUDSON: Oh, never you mind. Ooh, almost forgot.
(She walks over and hands Mary an envelope.)
MRS HUDSON: That came for you.
MRS WATSON: Oh!
(She takes it and opens it. Mrs Hudson stands nearby, trying to read the card which Mary takes from the envelope. On one side is simply:
On the other side it says:
Mary smiles with delight.)
MRS WATSON: Mrs Hudson, tell my husband I’ll be home late. I have some urgent business.
MRS HUDSON: Is everything all right?
MRS WATSON: Oh, you know, just a ... (she waves her hand vaguely and clears her throat) ... friend in need.
(She stands up and walks toward the door.)
MRS HUDSON: Oh dear. What friend?
(Mary turns and smiles at her excitedly.)
MRS WATSON: England.
(She turns and goes down the stairs. Mrs Hudson looks round, bewildered.)
MRS HUDSON: Well, that’s not very specific!
On the streets, the men are in a hansom cab, Holmes and Watson sitting side by side facing forward and Lestrade sitting facing Holmes. Holmes looks at the inspector.
HOLMES: Who’s on mortuary duty?
LESTRADE: You know who.
HOLMES (exasperated): Always him.
Shortly afterwards, Holmes opens the door to the underground mortuary room and leads in the other two. They walk across to the nearest table on which is a body covered with a sheet.
HOLMES: Please tell me which idiot did this!
(The body has been chained down in several places along its length. Nearby, a man turns and walks towards Holmes.)
ANDERSON: It’s for everyone’s safety.
(Watson pulls back the cover from the corpse’s head, revealing the face of Emelia Ricoletti.)
WATSON: This woman is dead. Half her head is missing! She’s not a threat to anyone!
ANDERSON: Tell that to her husband. (He points across the room.) He’s under a sheet over there.
HOLMES: Whatever happened in Limehouse last night, I think we can safely assume it wasn’t the work of a dead woman.
ANDERSON: Stranger things have happened.
HOLMES: Such as?
ANDERSON (hesitantly): Well ... strange things.
WATSON: You’re speaking like a child.
HOLMES (looking down at the body): This is clearly a man’s work. Where is he?
(Anderson hesitates, but before he can answer the door opens. Holmes turns to look at the new arrival. It’s a man wearing a suit, with brown hair and a moustache. He looks familiar to us, and now speaks with a voice that most of us immediately recognise, though it’s slightly deeper than we’re used to.)
THE NEW ARRIVAL: Holmes.
(Hooper walks closer, looking sternly at Anderson.)
HOOPER: You – back to work.
(Anderson nods nervously and turns away. Hooper walks to one side of the table and looks across it at Holmes.)
HOOPER: So, come to astonish us with your magic tricks, I suppose.
HOLMES: Is there anything to which you would like to draw my attention?
HOOPER: Nothing at all, Mr Holmes. You may leave any time you like.
LESTRADE: Doctor Hooper, I asked Mr Holmes to come here. Co-operate. That’s an order.
(Hooper takes a long breath, then looks down at the body.)
HOOPER: There are two ‘features of interest,’ as you are always saying in Doctor Watson’s stories.
HOLMES: I never say that.
WATSON: You do, actually, quite a lot.
(He nods. Holmes narrows his eyes.)
HOOPER: First of all, this is definitely Emelia Ricoletti. She has been categorically identified. Beyond a doubt it is her.
WATSON: Then who was that in Limehouse last night?
HOOPER: That was also Emelia Ricoletti.
WATSON: It can’t have been. She was dead. She was here.
(Holmes takes out a small magnifying glass and bends down to look more closely at the Bride’s face.)
HOOPER: She was positively identified by her own husband seconds before he died. He had no reason to lie. He could hardly be mistaken.
LESTRADE: The cabbie knew her too. There’s no question it’s her.
WATSON: But she can’t have been in two places at the same time, can she?
HOLMES (straightening up): No, Watson. One place is strictly the limit for the recently deceased.
(Watson clicks his fingers and points to his friend.)
WATSON: Holmes, could it have been twins?
WATSON: Why not?
HOLMES: Because it’s never twins.
LESTRADE: Emelia was not a twin, nor did she have any sisters. She had one older brother who died four years ago.
(Watson isn’t yet prepared to let go of the idea and shakes his head, humming.)
WATSON: Maybe it was a secret twin.
(Holmes looks at him as if staggered by his idiocy.)
HOLMES: A what?
WATSON (precisely): A secret twin?
(Holmes continues to look at him as if he can’t believe what he’s hearing.)
WATSON: Hmm? You know? A twin that nobody knows about? This whole thing could have been planned.
HOLMES: Since the moment of conception? How breathtakingly prescient of her! It is never twins, Watson.
WATSON: Then what’s your theory?
HOLMES (turning to look at Lestrade): More to the point, what’s your problem?
(Lestrade lifts his eyes from the corpse and looks at him.)
LESTRADE: I-I don’t understand. What ...
HOLMES: Why were you so frightened? Nothing so far has justified your assault on my decanter, and why have you allowed a dead woman to be placed under arrest?
HOOPER: Ah. That would be the other feature of interest.
(Hooper lifts the right hand of the corpse, showing her index finger. Holmes and Watson bend down for a closer look.)
WATSON: Ah. A smear of blood on her finger. That could have happened any number of ways.
(Lowering the hand, Hooper looks sternly at Holmes.)
HOOPER: There’s one other thing. It wasn’t there earlier.
(Holmes straightens up. Lestrade points to a nearby wall.)
LESTRADE: And neither was that.
(He walks towards the wall and picks up a lantern to illuminate it more clearly. Watson walks around the table and he and Holmes go over to the wall. In the light from the lantern, a single word can be seen painted on the wall, apparently in blood:
There’s a brief flashback to the Bride standing on the balcony, pointing her pistols into the street and crying out, “You!” or “You?” three times to various men.)
HOLMES (softly, staring at the word on the wall): Gun in the mouth; a bullet through the brain; back of the head blown clean off. How could he survive?
(Confused, Watson looks around the mortuary and then turns back to Holmes.)
WATSON: She, you mean.
HOLMES (his eyes still fixed on the wall): I’m sorry?
WATSON: Not “he,” “she.”
HOLMES (absently): Yes, yes, of course.
(He stares at the wall for another moment, apparently lost in thought, then jumps and comes back to himself.)
HOLMES (more normally, turning to the others): Well, thank you all for a fascinating case. (He looks at Lestrade.) I’ll send you a telegram when I’ve solved it. Watson?
(He walks away and leaves the room. Watson, however, turns back to Hooper and points down at the body.)
WATSON: Er, the gunshot wound was obviously the cause of death, but there are clear indicators of consumption. Might be worth a post mortem. We need all the information we can get.
(He turns and starts to walk away.)
HOOPER: Oh, isn’t he observant now that Daddy’s gone?
(Watson stops. Hooper quietly smirks. After a moment, Watson turns back and walks closer to the table again.)
WATSON (quietly): I am observant in some ways, just as Holmes is quite blind in others.
HOOPER (sarcastically): Really?
WATSON (quietly): Yes. Really. (He looks at Hooper pointedly.) Amazing what one has to do to get ahead in a man’s world.
(Hooper stares at him. Watson doffs his hat to
him her, then puts it back on his head. He glances across to Anderson, then turns and walks away. Hooper swallows a little nervously and watches him go.)
ANDERSON: What’s he saying that for?
HOOPER (sternly): Get back to work.
HANSOM CAB. Watson looks across to his friend.
WATSON: Well, Holmes? Surely you must have some theory.
HOLMES: Not yet. These are deep waters, Watson. Deep waters. (He looks out of the window.) And I shall have to go deeper still.
Headlines from various newspaper reports drift across the screen:
STATEMENT FROM CAB DRIVER
“IT WAS MRS RICOLETTI”
IN THE WEST END!
DREADFUL END OF PEER.
ALARMING DISCOVERY IN ISLINGTON
BODY OF SEA CAPTIN FOUND IN CHAPEL
[Oh goodie. The production team’s spelling still hasn’t improved. And don’t tell me they did it deliberately, because I won’t believe you!]
MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL AT EASTHAM
Statement from cab driver claims:
“It was Mrs Ricoletti”.
WHO WILL BE NEXT?
In the notorious ‘Bride’
SCOTLAND YARD BAFFLED
MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF VISCOUNT HUMMERSKNOT
The mysterious death of Viscount Hummersknot on Wednesday last
has led to questions in the House. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard
refused to say whether the peer’s death was anything to do with the
(The rest of the text disappears offscreen.)
WATSON (voiceover): It was not for several months that we were to pick up the threads of this strange case again; and then under very unexpected circumstances.
(In 221B, Holmes – wearing a dark blue dressing gown over his clothes – is pacing back and forth beside the table of the room behind the sitting room, reading a book. Lestrade is sitting on a chair at the other side of the table.)
LESTRADE: Five of them now, all the same, every one of ’em.
HOLMES (not looking up from his book): Hush, please. This is a matter of supreme importance.
LESTRADE: What is?
HOLMES: The obliquity of the ecliptic. I have to understand it.
LESTRADE: What is it?
HOLMES: I don’t know. I’m still trying to understand it.
LESTRADE: I thought you understood everything.
HOLMES: Of course not. That would be an appalling waste of brain space. I specialise.
LESTRADE: Then what’s so important about this?
HOLMES (loudly, looking angrily at Lestrade): What’s so important about five boring murders?
LESTRADE: They’re not boring! Five men dead! Murdered in their own homes; rice on the floor, like at a wedding; and the word “YOU” written in blood on the wall!
(He points angrily towards the opposite wall. Holmes continues to pace and read his book.)
LESTRADE: Uh, it’s-it’s her! It’s-it’s the Bride. Somehow she’s risen again!
HOLMES (nonchalantly): Solved it.
LESTRADE (angrily): You can’t have solved it!
HOLMES (stopping and turning to look at him): Of course I’ve solved it. It’s perfectly simple. The Incident of the Mysterious Mrs Ricoletti, the Killer from Beyond the Grave, has been widely reported in the popular press. Now people are disguising their own dull little murders as the work of a ghost to confuse the impossibly imbecilic Scotland Yard. There you are: solved.
(He closes his book and puts it on the table.)
HOLMES: Pay Mrs Hudson a visit on your way out. She likes to feel involved.
LESTRADE: You sure?
HOLMES: Certainly. Go away. (He turns and calls into the sitting room.) Watson! I’m ready. Get your hat and boots. We have an important appointment.
(Lestrade stands and picks up his hat, then looks into the sitting room.)
LESTRADE: Didn’t Doctor Watson move out a few months ago?
HOLMES: He did, didn’t he? (He looks thoughtful.) Who have I been talking to all this time?
LESTRADE: Well, speaking on behalf of the impossibly imbecilic Scotland Yard, that chair is definitely empty.
(Holmes looks towards Watson’s armchair.)
HOLMES: It is, isn’t it? Works surprisingly well, though. I actually thought he was improving.
(He looks through some paperwork on the table and then walks off in the direction of his bedroom. Lestrade turns and leaves the room.)
Another empty chair is facing Doctor Watson. This chair is at a dining table and there is cutlery, a teacup and saucer and a tea plate in front of the chair. Sitting at the other end of the table in the dining room of his house while reading a newspaper, Watson looks across at the chair, then sighs and looks down at his newspaper again. After a moment he lifts his head and looks towards the door, then picks up a small bell from the table and rings it for a couple of seconds. He also has cutlery and a teacup and saucer in front of him, and nearby is a glass bowl of marmalade with a spoon in it. Another glass bowl with a glass lid stands beside it. He puts down the bell and looks expectantly towards the door. After a while he puts down the newspaper and takes out his pocket watch from his waistcoat to look at the time. Sighing and shaking his head, he puts the watch away and rings the bell again. The door opens and a maid comes in.
WATSON: Ah. Where have you been?
JANE: Sorry, sir. I’m rather behind my time this morning.
WATSON: Are you incapable of boiling an egg? (He sighs.) The fires are rarely lit; there is dust everywhere; and you almost destroyed my boots scraping the mud off them. If it wasn’t my wife’s business to deal with the staff, I would talk to you myself. Where is my wife?
JANE: Begging your pardon, sir, but the mistress has gone out.
WATSON: Out? At this hour of the morning?
JANE: Yes, sir. Did you not know that, sir?
WATSON: Where did she go? (He looks down at his newspaper.) She’s always out these days.
JANE (laughing softly): Not unlike yourself.
(Watson raises his head to look at her.)
JANE: ... sir.
WATSON: I’m sorry?
JANE: Just observing, sir.
WATSON: Well, that’s quite enough. Nobody asked you to be observant.
JANE: Sorry, sir. I just meant you’re hardly ever home together any more, sir.
WATSON: You are dangerously close to impertinence. (He leans forward.) I shall have a word with my wife to have a word with you.
(He sits back again and looks down at his paper.)
JANE: Very good, sir. And when will you be seeing her?
(Watson’s head snaps up. He leans forward again.)
WATSON: Now listen ...
JANE: Ooh, I nearly forgot, sir.
(She reaches into the pocket of her apron and takes out a telegram which she hands to him.)
JANE: Er, a telegram came for you.
WATSON: You forgot?!
JANE: No, I nearly forgot.
WATSON (snatching the telegram from her): What have you been doing all morning?
JANE: Reading your new one in The Strand, sir.
WATSON: Did you enjoy it?
JANE: Why do you never mention me, sir?
WATSON: Go away.
(She turns and leaves, and Watson opens the telegram. On the outside it reads:
DR. JOHN WATSON
and the message reads:
COME AT ONCE
COME ALL THE SAME.
Watson instantly drops the telegram onto the table, stands up and hurries away.)
A spinning globe can briefly be seen on the screen, then the scene resolves into a hansom cab carrying Holmes and Watson.
WATSON: The what of the what?
HOLMES: The obliquity of the ecliptic.
WATSON: “Come at once,” you said. I assumed it was important.
HOLMES: It is. It’s the inclination of the Earth’s equator to the path of the sun on the celestial plane.
WATSON: Have you been swotting up?
HOLMES: Why would I do that?
WATSON: To sound clever.
HOLMES: I am clever.
WATSON: Oh, I see.
HOLMES: You see what?
WATSON: I deduce we’re on our way to see someone cleverer than you.
HOLMES (after a slight pause): Shut up.
A little later, the pair of them approach a building which we instantly recognise, and the sign at the side of its entrance confirms that this is THE DIOGENES CLUB. Inside, a glass sign hangs above the reception desk stating, “ABSOLUTE SILENCE”. Holmes and Watson walk in and approach the desk, and Holmes smiles at the elderly uniformed gentleman standing behind it, who raises an acknowledging finger to him. Holmes puts his gloves into his coat pocket, then uses sign language to communicate with the receptionist, signing:
Good morning, Wilder.
Is my brother in?
(Wilder nods and signs back:)
It’s breakfast time.
The Stranger’s Room?
(Wilder nods, implying:)
(Holmes gestures towards Watson, then signs:)
This gentleman is my guest.
(Wilder looks at Watson and signs:)
Dr Watson, of course.
Enjoyed ‘The Blue Carbuncle’, sir.
(Holmes looks towards Watson and rolls his eyes, then elbows him and nods. Looking a little nervous, Watson signs to Wilder:)
Thank you. I...am...glad
You are very...ugly.
(Holmes does a double-take in his direction, and Wilder frowns and signs:)
I beg your pardon?
Ugly. What you said about
‘The Blue Fishmonger’.
I am glad you liked
(Wilder looks a little bewildered and throws a nervous glance at Holmes, who smiles ruefully at Watson and signs to him:)
Yes. Needs work, Watson.
Too much time spent on
[The full translation of the (mostly accurate) British Sign Language can be seen here.]
WATSON (aloud): Sorry, what?
(Rolling his eyes, Holmes turns and walks away. Watson looks awkwardly at Wilder.)
(He turns his head and watches Holmes for a moment, then turns back to look at Wilder. Giving him an embarrassed thumbs-up with his left hand, he follows Holmes who opens the door to a room in which, with his back to the door, an extremely corpulent man sits wedged into a chair. On either side of the chair are several tables loaded with all sorts of food, including puddings, cakes, pork pies and a huge roasted ham. The man is rubbing his fingers together as he chews on his latest mouthful. As the camera circles around him, he is revealed to be Mycroft Holmes.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: To anyone who wishes to study mankind, this is the spot.
(Watson closes the door while Holmes walks round to face his brother.)
HOLMES: Handy, really, as your ever-expanding backside is permanently glued to it. Good morning, brother mine.
MYCROFT HOLMES (still chewing his last mouthful): Sherlock. Doctor Watson.
(Watson, now standing at Holmes’ side, is staring in horror at all the food surrounding Mycroft, but then notices that he is holding out his very pudgy hand to him. He takes Mycroft’s hand and shakes it.)
WATSON: You look ... well, sir.
MYCROFT HOLMES: Really? I rather thought I looked enormous.
(He picks up a glass of port and drinks from it.)
WATSON: Well, now you mention it, this level of consumption is incredibly injurious to your health. Your heart ...
HOLMES: No need to worry on that score, Watson.
HOLMES: There’s only a large cavity where that organ should reside.
MYCROFT HOLMES: It’s a family trait.
HOLMES: Oh, I wasn’t being critical.
WATSON: If you continue like this, sir, I give you five years at the most.
(Holmes raises his eyebrows and looks round at him.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Five? We thought three, did we not, Sherlock?
HOLMES: I’m still inclined to four.
MYCROFT HOLMES: As ever, you see but you do not observe. Note the discolouration in the whites of my eyes, the visible rings of fat around the corneas ...
HOLMES: Yes, you’re right. I’m changing my bet to three years, four months and eleven days.
WATSON: A bet?!
HOLMES: I understand your disapproval, Watson, but if he’s feeling competitive it is perfectly within his power to die early.
MYCROFT HOLMES: That’s a risk you’ll have to take.
WATSON: You’re gambling with your own life?
MYCROFT HOLMES: Why not? It’s so much more exciting than gambling with others’.
HOLMES (nodding to an item on one of the nearby tables): Three years flat if you eat that plum pudding.
MYCROFT HOLMES: Done!
(Licking his lips, he reaches over to the table, picks up the large stodgy pudding on a plate, opens his mouth wide and lifts the pudding towards it. The camera follows the pudding into his mouth.)
A little later Holmes and Watson are sitting side by side on chairs facing Mycroft. There is a small table beside Watson on which is a coffee pot, a cream or milk jug and a bowl of sugar, together with a cup and saucer with white coffee in it. Holmes is holding another cup and saucer and has just taken a drink from his black coffee.
MYCROFT HOLMES: I expected to see you a few days ago about the Manor House case. I thought you might be a little out of your depth there.
HOLMES (putting down his cup and saucer on a table beside him): No. I solved it.
MYCROFT HOLMES: It was Adams, of course.
HOLMES: Yes, it was Adams.
MYCROFT HOLMES (to Watson): Murderous jealousy. He’d written a paper for the Royal Astronomical Society on the obliquity of the ecliptic, and then read another that seemed to surpass it.
HOLMES: I know. I read it.
MYCROFT HOLMES: Did you understand it?
HOLMES (looking sideways to Watson): Yes, of course I understood it. It was perfectly simple.
MYCROFT HOLMES: No – did you understand the murderous jealousy? It is no easy thing for a great mind to contemplate a still greater one.
(Holmes sighs but then smiles slightly at his brother.)
HOLMES: Did you summon me here just to humiliate me?
MYCROFT HOLMES: Yes.
(Holmes stands up, his face angry. Mycroft chuckles a little.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Of course not, but it is by far the greater pleasure.
HOLMES: Then would you mind explaining exactly why you did summon ...
MYCROFT HOLMES (talking over him): Our way of life is under threat from an invisible enemy, one that hovers at our elbow on a daily basis. These enemies are everywhere, undetected and unstoppable.
(Watson leans forward.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Not socialists, Doctor, no.
MYCROFT HOLMES: No.
WATSON: The French? The suffragists?
MYCROFT HOLMES: Is there any large body of people you’re not concerned about?
HOLMES: Doctor Watson is endlessly vigilant. (He looks at his brother.) Elaborate.
MYCROFT HOLMES: No. Investigate. This is a conjecture of mine and I need you to confirm it. I’m sending you a case.
(Watson frowns thoughtfully and now has another idea.)
WATSON: The Scots.
MYCROFT HOLMES: Are you aware of recent theories concerning what is known as ‘paranoia’?
WATSON: Ooh, sounds Serbian.
(Holmes rolls his eyes.)
MYCROFT HOLMES (to Holmes): A woman will call on you – Lady Carmichael. I want you to take her case.
WATSON: But these enemies: how are we to defeat them if you won’t tell us about them?
MYCROFT HOLMES: We don’t defeat them. We must certainly lose to them.
MYCROFT HOLMES: Because they are right, and we are wrong.
HOLMES: Lady Carmichael’s case – what is it?
MYCROFT HOLMES: Oh, rest assured, it has features of interest.
HOLMES: I never really say that.
WATSON: You really do.
HOLMES (to Mycroft): And you’ve solved it already, I assume?
MYCROFT HOLMES: Only in my head. I need you for the, er ... (he grimaces) ... legwork.
WATSON: Why not just tell us your solution?
MYCROFT HOLMES: Where would be the sport in that? Will you do it, Sherlock? I can promise you a superior distraction.
HOLMES: On one condition. Have another plum pudding.
MYCROFT HOLMES: There’s one on the way.
HOLMES (buttoning his dress coat and starting to walk away): Two years, eleven months and four days.
MYCROFT HOLMES: It’s getting exciting now!
(Watson realises that Holmes is leaving and stands up to follow him.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.
(He waggles his fingers at Watson as he leaves. From another door, Wilder wheels in a trolley with a silver cover over a large plate.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Thank you, Wilder.
WILDER: Also, Mr Melas to see you, Mr Holmes.
MYCROFT HOLMES: Ah. Give me five minutes. I have a wager to win.
(He leans forward as Wilder lifts the silver cover. There are three large plum puddings on the plate. Mycroft looks up at Wilder.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Better make that fifteen.
(He reaches out with an ecstatic expression on his face.)
MYCROFT HOLMES: Tick tock.
(He sinks his fingers into one of the puddings and there’s a loud squelch as he lifts it from the plate and takes it in both hands.)
On to Part 2