The late "lan Maclaren" (Dr. John Watson) once told this story on himself to some friends:
"I was coming over on the steamer to America, when one day I went into the library to do some literary work. I was very busy and looked so, I suppose. I had no sooner started to write than a diffident-looking young man plumped into the chair opposite me, began twirling his cap and stared at me. I let him sit there. An hour or more passed, and he was still there, returning my occasional and discouraging glances at him with a foolish, ingratiating smile. I was inclined to be annoyed. I had a suspicion that he was a reader of my books, perhaps an admirer—or an autograph-hunter. He could wait. But at last he rose, and still twirling his cap, he spoke:
"'Excuse me, Doctor Watson; I'm getting deathly sick in here and I'm real sorry to disturb you, but I thought you'd like to know that just as soon as you left her Mrs. Watson fell down the companionway stairs, and I guess she hurt herself pretty badly.'"