When autumn came, a vociferous individual dressed in a long black cape and wearing a wide-brimmed hat used to stay stuck near 221B, Baker Street. To Holmes it seemed insufferable. Not only because of the hollering, but because of the content of his preaching.
Holmes had read the Bible several times since his youth, which in his case amounted to saying that he knew the Bible by heart. And that’s why he could not stand the falseness of the biblical quotations that the preacher voiced.
Those quotes were not only inaccurate but totally invented. For example, one of his favorites was:
“Saint Matthew says: Keep your sheep in a spacious place and do not pile them up, for the piles are an abomination and the one who piles up will be piled up and he will be called wicked blockhead and his gums will bleed.”
Holmes knew that nothing was said in the Bible about piling up sheep. As nothing was said about Chinese laundries, another favorite topic of that faker:
“Saint John says: White clothes were not created to be taken to Chinese laundries. The one who takes white clothes to a Chinese laundry will be eaten by wild ants. Because it has been said: Chinese laundries will keep your buttons and when you go to demand a refund they will pretend not to see you. ”
As he passed by this preacher, Holmes could not help but reproach him for misrepresenting the Bible in such a crude manner, and often both got into a dispute like this:
“Faker! Your quotes are false. In the Bible there is no talk of breastfeeding butterflies or of parting the waters of the Thames or of Chinese laundries. ”
“What would you know about it, heretic?”
“I have read the Bible, which you have never done, imposter!”
“Shut up, calamity! I don’t argue with jerks! Don’t blaspheme if you don’t want a slug coming out of your navel as happened to Tobiah!”
“Such a thing never happened to Tobiah!”
“Book of Deuteronomy, at the end of page 53.”
At this point, the discussion rose in tone and it was necessary to separate them. I tried to convince my friend that he shouldn’t be so outraged by that kind of thing. But Holmes was a perfectionist who loved accuracy and having to hear such foolishness every day exasperated him.
But then, at the middle of an autumn, the preacher was gone.
“He will have taken his business elsewhere” I said.
“I wish that were the case, Watson. But I’m afraid a worse thing has happened.”
“What do you mean?”
I laughed at such an idea: “What? You’re not serious? Who would want to kill that poor devil? ”
“Me, without going any further.”
I was having breakfast and I choked on the buttered toast.
“Holmes! Don’t joke about that, I beg you. ”
“I’m not joking, Watson. I seriously suspect myself.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“You know that sometimes I sleepwalk. Have you already forgotten when I started licking a lamppost?”
“But, Holmes, on that occasion you were awake!”
“And what about the time I went out in pajamas to the street and chased that lady?”
“Ah, yes, on that occasion you were asleep. But the slaps she gave you woke you up immediately!”
Just then we received the unexpected visit of Inspector Lestrade. It was merely a courtesy visit, in his own words. There had been a murder not far from there and, after completing the proceedings, he decided to come to greet us.
“Yes, a men dressed in black who used to preach near here. Surely you have passed next to him many a time.”
Holmes got up unperturbed and went to Lestrade with his arms outstretched so he could be handcuffed.
“Arrest me, Lestrade.”
“Do you want to play cops and robbers? ”
“I am the murderer you seek.”
Lestrade turned to Watson with a questioning look. Watson hastened to explain his friend’s strange behavior:
“Don’t listen to him, Lestrade. He couldn’t stand that individual and that’s why he suspects that he has committed the crime while he was asleep.”
“Well, Holmes, if you fantasized about killing him, I’m afraid someone got to him before you could. We have already arrested the killer. He has confessed, and there were a hundred witnesses.
“Who killed him?” I asked.
“The owner of the Chinese laundry around the corner. His business went belly-up because of the slogans preached by the deceased. Apparently, he wasn’t exactly a propagandist of Chinese laundries.”