It was later that evening when I heard the rattle of hoofs and, looking up, saw a dog-cart coming at a gallop down the road. It pulled up at our door and the vicar, Mrs. Trerichards, sprang from it and rushed up our garden path. Our visitor was so excited that she could hardly articulate but at last in gasps and bursts her tragic story came out of her.
"We are devil-ridden, Mr. Holmes! My poor parish is devil-ridden!" she cried. "Satan himself is loose in it! We are given over into his hands!" She danced about in her agitation and finally shot out her terrible news.
"It's Squire Trewinwaloe, Mr. Holmes. He has gone stark raving mad. Well, stark raving madder".
Holmes leaped up and rushed out to witness this scene while I turned to the local policeman, Constable Tremaigret.
"Is it always like this down here?" I asked plaintively.
"Oh no, sir, it's quiet at the minute. You should see Penzance on Saturday night!"
Just then Holmes returned.
"I believe that I have solved the mystery," he announced, handing me a small black envelope.
"Squire Trewinwaloe was slightly indiscreet in his youth and the mackerel are, in fact, his illegitimate children. He was conducting a surreptitious family get-together when the vicar surprised him. Embarrassed and fearful of local gossip and scandal he was frantically trying to conceal them beneath his cassock."
"But, Holmes," I protested, "You say that the mackerel are his children? How can that be?"
"If you care to open the envelope and confirm my deduction, Watson, you will find that ..... "
"Good grief, Holmes!"
"Yes, Watson, Squire Trewinwaloe did it with the Mermaid of Zennor in the Tinner's Arms!"
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