It was in the summer of '89, not long after my marriage, that the events occurred which I am now about to summarize.
I had returned to civil practice and had finally abandoned Holmes in his Baker Street rooms,
although I continually visited him and occasionally even persuaded him to forego his Bohemian habits so far as to come and visit us.
My practice had steadily increased, and as I happened to live at no very great distance from Paddington Station,
I got a few patients from among the officials.
One of these, whom I had cured of a painful and lingering disease,
was never weary of advertising my virtues and of endeavouring to send me on every sufferer over whom he might have any influence.
One morning, at a little before seven o'clock,
I was awakened by the maid tapping at the door to announce that two men had come from Paddington and were waiting in the consulting-room.
I dressed hurriedly, for I knew by experience that railway cases were seldom trivial, and hastened downstairs.
As I descended, my old ally, the guard, came out of the room and closed the door tightly behind him.
"I've got him here," he whispered, jerking his thumb over his shoulder; "he's all right."
"What is it, then?" I asked, for his manner suggested that it was some strange creature which he had caged up in my room.
"It's a new patient," he whispered. "I thought I'd bring him round myself; then he couldn't slip away.
There he is, all safe and sound. I must go now, Doctor; I have my dooties, just the same as you."
And off he went, this trusty tout, without even giving me time to thank him.