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I first met my close personal friend, Charlotte Colmes, in the autumn of 1887. I had just arrived in London from a three-year stay as a nurse in America. Upon my arrival my sister had planned on introducing me to a young lady of her acquaintence who had been looking for someone to share rooms with in Montague Street. My sister insisted that we would take an instant liking to each other.
"She is a bit odd, Jane, but don't fret. She's as nice a young woman as you're ever likely to meet." We arrived at the flat early the next morning, and from that moment on my life was changed for the better. I saw her standing with her back to us, admiring the painting which had been hung on the wall. She was exceedingly tall, although the boots she wore may have contributed to her height. She was also very thin and wore a blue taffeta dress. She heard us approach from behind, and she turned to face us fully.
"Miss Charlotte Colmes, Miss Jane Dodson," my sister said.
"How do you do?" Charlotte Colmes said to me.
"How do you do?" I replied.
"You have been in America, I believe."
"Why, yes, I have. However could you tell?"
"From your clothing, naturally. The particular fashion you are wearing is currently very popular with American women. Also, I see traces of reddish dirt caked on the sides of your boots. That sort of dirt is usually found in areas of the United States. Take Maryland, for example. I think, too, that you have worked as a nurse."
"Quite unbelieveable!" I commented, smiling.
"Commonplace," answered my new friend.
"May I ask how you gathered that I was a nurse?"
"That is simple enough," said Charlotte. "Your sister told me." We moved aside to allow several men to carry a piano into the flat.
"Thank goodness we're on the ground floor," I observed.
"I hope you don't mind piano music," Charlotte Colmes said to me. "I tend to play on occasion when I am not busy with other things."
"No, I do not mind at all," I replied, "provided the player plays well." Charlotte's eyes sparkled.
"Then you shall have no problem with it at all. When will you be moving in?"
"Within the next few days."
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