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This parody appeared in Ally Sloper's Half Holiday in 1893. As far as I am aware it has not been republished since then.


Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (


A. SLOPER had come up to town from the sea coast to dine with the Prince of Wales. Arriving at Mildew Court he inserted his latchkey in the door and entered.

(1) Everything was as the Family had left it, save that a summons or two lay where they had been pushed under the door on the floor of the silent hall.

Not waiting to gather them up A. SLOPER hurried to his bedroom to get out his evening things. All were there—coat, trousers, vest, dickey; but where were his dress boots? A. SLOPER searched everywhere. Gone!

"This," said he, "is a case for Conan Sherlock Doyle Holmes and not a moment must be lost, for I should be really sorry to keep the Prince waiting."

"You have come," said Dr. Doyle, "on a matter of urgency, and in a hansom."

(2) "Bless my soul!" cried the F.O.M., "how knew you that?"

"I saw you alight from the vehicle, and knew you would not do so without you had previously entered it."

"Wonderful! But how knew you my business was urgent ?"

The Doctor took him by the arm, led him to the window, and pointed to the cabman wiping the perspiration from the heated brow of his steaming, panting horse.

"Need you ask ?" said he.

A. SLOPER drew back and gazed at Dr. Doyle in mute amazement.

"And now, state your case."

A. SLOPER did.

"This requires thinking out." said Dr. Doyle; "stay here till I return."

One hour passed and A. SLOPER began to wish he had not told the cabman to wait.

(3) Two hours passed, and A. SLOPER began to feel sinking for the want of a little something.

"I must see the prernises," said the Doctor, at length, calmly entering picking his teeth. "Absolute secrecy is necessary. Come with me to the wardrobe room; we must disguise. Are you armed?"


"So much the better."

(4) "When disguised It Is essential," said he, producing a large red banner, bearing the words, "Sherlock Holmes, Private Enquiry Agent, Terms Moderate," in gold, "that we court not observation." Then, when they got into the street, "Cabman, fly this from the roof, and put on this false nose."

In the cab Dr. Doyle made A. SLOPER describe his dress boots. Here is the description taken from his note-book:

"Age of Boots, three years, five months, convex Impression of bunion on left, heels worn, elastic sides lost elasticity and frayed and bulgy, sole of right parted from upper, patches numerous."

(5) The Scene of Mildew Court.

"You have a back yard ?" inquired Dr. Doyle.

"I have."

"Take me there."

The Doctor walked straight to the dust-bin, lifted the lid, and commenced searching with his arm.

A moment of sickening suspense and then he rose with the missing boots in his hand.

"Marvellous!" cried A. SLOPER, and the reaction being more than he could bear, he fainted.

Ally Sloper's Half Holiday, 22 July, 1893

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