ARTHUR CONAN KRANZ
THE SUSPICIOUS DOCUMENT held firmly by the great detective, Holmes and Watson rushed downstairs and hailed the first hansom, Holmes crying to the driver, "Fenchurch Street Station - and there's an extra guinea if you get us there in twenty minutes."
The venturous pair were bound for Tilbury docks.
Holmes - "Watson, have you got some spare clothes?"
Watson - "No you bundled me out in such a hurry."
Holmes - "Never mind, I'm sure we can acquire some along the way".
Watson - "On the way where?"
Holmes - " New Guinea, of course! But first I must send an urgent telegram to brother Switholm. We need his help to clear the way in official circles. They all have secret nicknames and are sometimes known just by abbreviations, for security reasons. Luckily he confided his to me, to be assured this telegram will reach him in record time."
Watson - “Do they? How childish.”
And so was initiated Watson's strangest journey of all. Having served in the Indian Raj and the depths of South Africa, he was no stranger to sudden commands to travel to strange places, but this was exceptional.
He'd barely had time to pack his underpants and he had been forced to leave Mrs Hudson's good beef and kidney pie still steaming on his plate.
"Holmes, this really is quite intemperate, after all I have patients to tend!"
"To hell with your patients, Watson - the future of the Empire is at stake!"
And so they rushed towards Fenchurch Street hoping to catch the last train for Tilbury thence the Australia-New Zealand packet steamer for a fast trip to the Antipodes.
Settling into the train carriage at last, Holmes turned to Watson.
"What was that you said about a man giving you a strange wild message, along with that document?"
"Well he said a friend of his served with me in India. Armstrong by name. True enough, I knew an Armstrong under Kitchener. The 29th Punjabis.
"Then he thrust that paper into my hand and said, ‘The fate of the empire lies with you, good doctor!’ Then he disappeared as quick as a shadow.”
Holmes - "Watson - you touch on greater things than most have knowledge of. Now, on to Tilbury, we have a vessel to catch."