It was "a wild morning in October."
Sherlock Holmes is sitting at the breakfast table "with that somewhat sinister cheerfulness which was characteristic of his lighter moments." All this takes place in the opening of "The Problem of Thor Bridge."
But Holmes is uncharacteristically not telling Watson about that case. Watson even has to ask him about the case, and when he does, Holmes makes Watson wait a full fifteen minutes while John eats two hard-boiled eggs.
And what is so important that Sherlock Holmes is delaying working on a case? Not only delaying, but taking a certain glee in holding back discussing it?
"Their condition may not be unconnected with the copy of the Family Herald which I observed yesterday upon the hall-table. Even so trivial a matter as cooking an egg demands an attention which is conscious of the passage of time, and incompatible with the love romance in that excellent periodical."
Soooooo, we have a new cook at Baker Street, and she loves reading stories in magazines.
And it's only about six years since John H. Watson made Sherlock Holmes the most famous detective in England with his stories in The Strand Magazine. Do we think that the new cook doesn't know who she's cooking hard-boiled eggs for?
And Sherlock is taking some merry delight in telling John that she's in a romantic mood. So much delight that he's putting off discussing a case for fifteen minutes that John Watson would have us believe were spent in silence. "A quarter of an hour later the table had been cleared and we were face to face," Watson writes.
Face to face? An interesting phrase, especially after a table-clearing event. Could it be that the fifteen minute conversation got a little bit heated? A bit of a table-clearing tussle ending with John's face in Sherlock's, telling him to back off?
The case we know as "Thor Bridge" took place in that time in the early 1900s of which Holmes wrote, "The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association." I once theorized that Watson finally had realized his affection for Mrs. Hudson and stolen Holmes's landlady away from him, but when one looks at this new cook, who is already messing up eggs with her romantic ideas, and the way Holmes is needling Watson about it . . . well, one has to wonder if the cooking didn't get better, reaching a level Holmes was really enjoying at about the time Watson decided to monopolize said cook's time with his own romantic notions.
It was a "wild morning" on Baker Street, indeed, that October.