going to the same dinner party, and Holmes
said to himself, “That story will be Appleton
's pitce de resistance;
it will be good fun to circumvent him.”
Accordingly, before they had begun upon their soup, Holmes
burst out with the story.
It won immense success, and Appleton
sat glum and silent through the rest of the dinner.
There was nothing really malicious about it; it was simply a joke, although, it must be confessed, a little cruel.
If the tables had been turned, Holmes
would have laughed it off, instead of growing morose upon it. Appleton
was possibly, I have sometimes thought, a more brilliant talker than either Holmes
; while he was not their equal in thought, yet his knowledge of society was more varied, and perhaps I have never in my life been so heartily amused as once at a ttte-d-thte
dinner with him in his bachelor house at Newport
, when for two hours he mainly sustained the conversation and seemed at the end to have passed in review, in the most brilliant way, half the celebrities of Europe
He was perhaps more arrogant and self-imposing than either Holmes
, yet he knew better when to change the subject;