Quandary Resolution 753
nucha, hoity-toitily, parsnip, ignoramus
Loth to appear o'ersoon at the Red Mill (kick-off was not until eight o' the clock), and availing ourselves of the rare opportunity for a leisurely interdigitated crepuscular stroll past the brave
demimondegreenaines who - so Holmes instructed me - kept the streets blessedly free of vice and depravity; and having cunningly disguised ourselves as two fictive English chums in search of a good lay, the ace sleuth suddenly drew me to one side (in a becoming silverpoint three-quarter profile) and libidinously remarked 'Look - lay - fully bare - share?', to which I stuffily riposted 'I'm a married man, Holmes, she's all yours', and to which he impatiently snarled 'No, you ignoramus, Les Folies Bergère', at that very moment fortuitously espying a crumpled Annie Oakley lodged in the vertiginously crevassed décolletage of a festering, toothless, madame who, in return for relieving her of a few jaundiced parsnips from a decaying tumbril, grudgingly yielded up the aforesaid billet, which bore only the curious motto 'M+1' . . . at which Holmes immediately declared, as was his wont, 'a low trick, and we must attempt la recherche du temps perdu,' clearly divining in a trice that not Lautrec, Toulouse but Mucha, Alphonse had earlier been intended by the devious Moriarty, and that the singular alphabetic additive could mean only 'Nucha' - on concluding which astounding deduction, Holmes pontificated, as he strode purposefully across the Pont du Change: 'This colubrine exposition, growing ever more Proustian, Watson, demands timous surcease, and we must accordingly, if a trifle nostalgically, put a reluctant stop to it; but not before I ingest (being, as you must know by now, a cunning linguist) this tasty "petite madelaine", moulded in the hoity-toity flutey-wootey scallopy-wallopy of a pilgrim's shell'; and on taking it oh so delicately between his comely lips he was given to communicate, unrestrainedly bespawling me: 'Moriarty, you see, is telegraphing that he has me by the scruff of the neck, but' - and here he choked and would have surely expired in my close embrace had I not speedily rumbled him.