A STRANGER AT THE DOOR- CHAPTER 9- PROPRIETY

When Violet got to her room, she was both hurt and furious. "What have I done that Holmes should want to hide me away?" She sat in the chair with her clinched fists, her nails digging into the palms of her hands. She fumed for a while longer then gave up the fight and took a nap.

It was getting dark outside when she awakened. Her stomach growled. She was hungry, but what to do about it? Holmes had sent her upstairs with no indication as to when she could come downstairs again. She walked to the doorway of her room trying to decide if she should wait to be called downstairs for dinner or go on down and brave Holmes' wrath. Her stomach growled again and gave her the answer. "I am going downstairs and if he is angry with me, so be it!" Violet walked downstairs and into the sitting room.

Watson stood and pulled out a chair out for her at the table. "Violet I looked in on you about an hour ago and you were sleeping so soundly that I hesitated to wake you. I had planned for Mrs. Hudson to bring you a tray a little later this evening."

"Thank you, Dr. Watson. It was very kind of you to be concerned that I have dinner." Violet turned to Holmes formulating in her mind what she would say to him. A little voice in her mind whispered a reminder, "Young ladies do not yell. They do not engage in dramatic behavior." Violet mentally waved away this little voice as if swatting at an annoying insect. She drew in a deep breath. "Mr. Holmes, why did you send me upstairs so abruptly when we returned to the house this morning?" He started to speak but she held her hand up to stop him. "Sir, do not interrupt me until I finish what I have to say. My memories of how gentlemen are supposed to behave may be hazy. But this much I do know, without a doubt, you are the rudest man God has seen fit to put upon this earth!"

For Watson, the stunned expression on Holmes' face was priceless and not one soon to be forgotten. He put his napkin up to his mouth to keep from laughing out loud. To add to his amusement, he saw his friend open and close his mouth several times like a fish out of water gasping for air.

Holmes composed himself and spoke. "What I did was for your protection young woman, both for your physical safety and to safeguard your reputation."

Some of her anger drained away and with a much calmer voice she asked, "What do you mean?"

"Firstly, we do not know if the person or persons who "cast" you here at still at large seeking to do you further harm. And for the moment, consider the sudden appearance of an unmarried young woman in a house with 2 bachelors that are not related to her. To many, it would seem highly improper."

A word surfaced in Violet's mind- "propriety". "Mr. Holmes, are you concerned with my reputation or yours?"

Holmes huffed. "I am concerned about yours. You are of a marriageable age and by chance you remain in London after the mystery of your identity is solved, it would greatly ruin your chances for a suitable husband. Besides, I do not want tongues wagging that you are being kept here for immoral purposes. "

"Oh, I think that it would be unlikely for anyone to think that, even if you had a harem closeted away upstairs. You want to be rid of me by any means necessary even if it means marrying me off to some man!" she hissed.

Watson interrupted this disputatious conversation between Holmes and Violet. "I have an idea that might serve to answer the question about Violet being here with two unmarried men not related to her. It will call for this fiction; she can be a relative of Mrs. Hudson come from America for an extended visit. Now as to your surname Violet, what shall that be?"

Violet thought for a moment. Suddenly she remembered the author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. "Carroll. I am Miss Violet Carroll come to visit Mrs. Hudson, my dear aunt in London."

"Very well," said Holmes. "That particular matter is settled. As to your safety, you are not to venture forth from this house at any time without being accompanied by Dr. Watson or myself. And under no circumstances are you to enter this sitting room when there are other people here. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Mr. Holmes. I quite understand," she told him.

The rest of the meal proceeded in an uncomfortable silence. Once Violet was finished she got up from the table. "I think I would like to read this evening. I must go to my room."

"Good night Miss Carroll, "Holmes said a little too eagerly.

She turned to him and flashed an insincere smile. "Oh, I intend to bring the book down to the sitting room to read. I do not wish to spend the evening alone."

Violet returned to the sitting room with a book titled A Brief History of the United States of America and went to the settee. For a while she tried to read, but a distracting thought crept into her mind and try as she might to dismiss it, it would not go away and she was determined to know. "Who was here when we returned from our walk?"

"No one of any consequence to you," he answered and abruptly left the room.

Violet sighed and threw the book down on the settee. She leaned forward and asked Watson, "Why did he say it was no one of any consequence to me? What would it matter if I knew this person's identity, seeing presently I only have knowledge of three people in this wide world; yourself, Mr. Holmes and Mrs. Hudson?"

"Violet, Holmes is a consulting detective. Clients come to him trusting in his discretion."

"Hmph, they may trust his discretion, but does he in turn trust anyone else?" She leaned back on the settee, arms crossed. Watson got up from his chair and sat beside Violet. He turned to her and gently said, "Violet, Holmes can deduce many things about you. However, he can only learn to trust you through experience."

She sighed, "What a wise man you are. I have behaved like a spoiled, petulant child which I sense is not proper behavior for young ladies."

He smiled at her fondly. "Both you and Holmes have a lot to learn."

Violet was being a little on the bratty side, wasn't she? That voice of proper behavior for young ladies in her head got squashed and caused Sherlock Holmes to get a tongue lashing from Violet! God bless Watson, at least he gets some amusement from the interchange between Holmes and Violet. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. Please continue!