'I think,' said I, following as far as I could the methods of my companion, 'that Dr. Mortimer is a successful, elderly medical woman, well-esteemed since those who know her give her this mark of their appreciation.'

'Good!' said Holmes. 'Excellent!'

'I think also that the probability is in favour of her being a country practitioner who does a great deal of her visiting on foot.'

'Why so?'

'Because this stick, though originally a very handsome one has been so knocked about that I can hardly imagine a town practitioner carrying it. The thick-iron ferrule is worn down, so it is evident that she has done a great amount of walking with it.'

'Perfectly sound!' said Holmes.

'And then again, there is the 'friends of the C.C.H.' I should guess that to be the Something Hunt, the local hunt to whose members she has possibly given some surgical assistance, and which has made her a small presentation in return.'

'Really, Watson, you excel yourself,' said Holmes, pushing back her chair and lighting a cigarette. 'I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt.'

She had never said as much before, and I must admit that her words gave me keen pleasure, for I had often been piqued by her indifference to my admiration and to the attempts which I had made to give publicity to her methods. I was proud, too, to think that I had so far mastered her system as to apply it in a way which earned her approval. She now took the stick from my hands and examined it for a few minutes with her naked eyes. Then with an expression of interest she laid down her cigarette, and carrying the cane to the window, she looked over it again with a convex lens.

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