Leaping out through the door of 69 Baker Street, the great detective strides with determination into the fog. "Hurry Wattsit!...The game is afoot!" Shylark shouts, startling a lost chimney sweep and an equally lost prostitute.
"The game is afoot! The game is afoot!" the gray-haired doctor mumbles. "You would think we were on a bloody fox hunt!"
Doctor Wattsit waddles up the dark sidewalk. Despite not being as athletic as he once was, he soon catches up with his energetic friend. "I say old boy, did you see that ladybird?" Wattsit asks. "Most remarkable!...I havenít seen a bodice equal to that in years!"
"Please, Doctor...I am not interested in your views on the female form. We have a mystery to solve!" Shylark snaps his fingers, hailing a passing Hansom cab.
"You are just angry, Homes, because you cannot solve the mystery of women," Wattsit accuses, climbing inside the cab.
Once the driver had been informed of their destination, Homes turns to his companion, giving him a withering stare. "I have solved their mystery, my dear Wattsit! The conclusion to which I arrived was most unsatisfactory."
The good doctor harrumphs. "I am surprised, Homes. I have found most women quite satisfied with my conclusion!"
Both gentlemen turn to study the ever-thickening fog as they travel along the cobbled street. "As do equine and other species within the animal kingdom, I'm sure," Homes chuckles.
For the remainder of the carriage ride, Dr. Wattsit sits silently in anger.
Shortly after arrival at the Palace of Westminster, some time later, the detective stands in front of the massive structure and considers the situation. Pacing in front of St. Stephen's Tower and drawing on his pipe, Shylark stops suddenly, spinning to face the sprawling Gothic building.
"Time is of the essence, Wattsit!" says Homes. "Finding the clues before they are disturbed will aid considerably in my deductions. We cannot waste time clarifying our necessity to the usually dim-witted authorities. I propose a swifter approach to the problem at hand."
While the doctor looks on, perplexed, Homes slams his walking cane into the nearest window. "Quickly Wattsit!" Shylark encourages his friend, diving through the shattered opening.
Clambering up the wall with the aid of his mentor, then picking his way through broken glass, the doctor soon finds himself face-to-face with Homes in the gentlemenís water closet.
"It is imperative that we remain silent Wattsit," Homes whispers. "I have deduced that two guards are outside in the hallway and will pass by this door on their hourly patrol in precisely sixteen seconds."
Standing motionless, Dr. Wattsit counts under his breath. Just as he reaches the sixteenth second, the sounds of footsteps and voices become audible to him. "I say Homes," he gasps, once the guards have passed out of earshot, "however could you have known that?"
Shylark snorts, waving aside the question. "Both guards have received new shoes recently. It was elementary, Wattsit. Any fool could have deduced it."
"That is absolute rubbish, Homes, and you know it!" the doctor fumes. "New shoes, equalling sixteen seconds, indeed! Your hearing is much better than my own. You must have heard them walking our way and calculated the time it would take them to arrive. What sort of fool do you take me for, old boy?"
"What sort of fool would you prefer to be taken for, Wattsit?" Homes smiles.
Making his way to the stairs and gantries leading up the inside of the tower, Homes leaps ahead, invigorated by the thrill of the case and the cocaine rushing through his veins.
Climbing at a slower pace, Dr. Wattsit arrives puffing and out of breath at the top of the tower to find his friend already pondering the scene.
"The villainous rotter!" Wattsit exclaims, as he takes his place beside Shylark.
Inside the cavernous belfry illuminated by only four gas lamps on the upper walls above the railed walkway leading to the lantern room, Homes looks upon the gruesome clue Moranarity has left behind.
The centre of the room is dominated by the largest bell ever produced by the Whitechapel foundry. The bell, measuring nine feet in diameter and standing seven-foot, six inches, hangs from the curved stone ceiling. Also suspended from the ceiling are the hinged, double arms of the hammer which curve inward and downward into one metallic arm, ending with the large, square brass striker.
At the end of that striker Wattsit is appalled to see the body of a shoddily-dressed man hanging by his neck from a four-foot long hemp rope.
"Only a genius such as Moronarity could have accomplished this, undetected," Homes marvels. "Murdering this poor fellow in the very seat of civilized government is an affront to all Englishmen! I shall have to scale back the frequency of my morphine injections if I am to catch this diabolical monster, I fear!"
The four lesser bells within the tower suddenly ring in the quarter-hour. The reverberations resound for a lengthy time. After which, the two men hear only the pendulum-driven mechanism operating the most accurate public clock in the world loudly clicking every two seconds.
"By Jove," Wattsit says, finally, "I think I could use some of your blasted morphine right now, old boy!" The portly physician looks around the belfry at the slender, ceiling-high windows incircling the room. Only the pale light of the full moon is filtering through, sending another shiver through the nervous man's spine.
Homes taps his cane along the oaken floor as he moves closer to examine the hanging corpse. "Obviously, this was a sea-going man, judging from his natty attire. I would say he hails from Liverpool and has three sisters in the service of the British postal service, one of whom has recently recovered from a bout of Typhoid Fever."
"Oh come now, Homes!" the doctor protests. "Did you inject that entire vile of cocaine while we were back in your flat, old boy?"
The much sought-after detective has to stand on his tip-toes to retrieve a folded paper from the coat pocket of the corpse. He marches over to get under one of the lamps fastened to the walls. For several seconds, he remains silent as he studies the document. "These are seaman's papers, Wattsit!" he gloats. "According to this, he is currently obligated to sail shortly on a freighter going by the name of Belle Star."
"My Lord!" Wattsit gasps. "You were spot-on about this poor unfortunate being a sailor! The body was left hanging from the largest bell in the world, and he was to sail on the Belle Star! Do you suppose there is a connection?"
"An obvious connection even you were able to deduce, my dear Wattsit," answers Homes. "Moranarity dispatched this man here in the belfry, of course. That master-criminal is rather a slight man and could not have possibly carried the body up the three hundred and ninety-three steps to this level. But why would an ordinary seaman accompany Moranarity on such a climb, I wonder?" Homes turns a squinting gaze toward his long-time friend. "The game..."
"Yes, yes, I know..the bloody game is afoot!" the doctor seethes. "Now what of that rubbish concerning his three sisters and his being from Liverpool, Homes?"
Shylark stuffs the document in his vest pocket and makes great strides toward the stairwell. "Did I say three sisters?" he says over his shoulder. "I meant to say four sisters."
"Employed by the post office?"
"No, dear fellow," Homes says, stepping gingerly down the stairs, "I generally work on commission."