Sherlock Holmes had, in a very remarkable degree, the power of detaching his mind at will. For two hours the strange business in which we had been involved appeared to be forgotten, and he was entirely absorbed in the pictures of the modern Belgian masters. He would talk of nothing but art, of which he had the crudest ideas, from our leaving the gallery until we found ourselves at the Northumberland Hotel.
Sir Henry Baskerville is upstairs expecting you, said the clerk. He asked me to show you up at once when you came.
Have you any objection to my looking at your register? said Holmes.
Not in the least.
The book showed that two names had been added after that of Baskerville. One was Theophilus Johnson and family, of Newcastle; the other Mrs. Oldmore and maid, of High Lodge, Alton.
Surely that must be the same Johnson whom I used to know, said Holmes to the porter. A lawyer, is he not, gray-headed, and walks with a limp?
No, sir; this is Mr. Johnson, the coal-owner, a very active gentleman, not older than yourself.
Surely you are mistaken about his trade?
No, sir! he has used this hotel for many years, and he is very well known to us.
Ah, that settles it. Mrs. Oldmore, too; I seem to remember the name. Excuse my curiosity, but often in calling upon one friend one finds another.