The Beast of Buskerville? Now there's a tale! Why, it's only the tale of old Whelp, eh? The tale of the most frightsome hound as ever haunted London, and of Yapper, the Scruffian as learned to speak dog, the Scruffian as tamed Whelp... well, as near to tamed him as that snarling, slavering, scurrilous cur of a canine ever could be tamed. But more'n that, scamps, this here's a tale of the single most villainest villain ever to prey on the likes of us, the vulture of vagabonds, the buzzard of beggars, the scavenger of Scruffians... the Waiftaker General himself.
Now, you all's seen the Waiftaker General with yer own peepers, so there ain't no need for conjuring him, right? Back when this story took place, he'd the same beak nose of a bird of prey, the same beady eyes with pin-prick pupils, the same scrawny neck to angle his head this way and that, to size up a Scruffian just Fixed or all set for a Scrubbing. Only thing different back then... though his hair it were slicked back to his skull the same, so's he looks a true hawk -- back then it were black instead of white.
So. It began on a day as seemed like any others for the Waiftaker General, as he rose from his fancy four-poster bed, bid his butler hold the piss-pot for him whiles he drains his bladder, then pour water -- piping hot! -- for him to wash his fams. Why, that butler even buttons up his breeches, he does; helps him on with his big black frockcoat what flaps like wings when he pounces on yer; and knots his white silk cravat so sartorially sophisticated... what only makes his neck look scrawnier, poking out as a vulture's from its ruff.
All the whiles he were dressing, of course, he were already at work, calling in his lieutenant to tell him how many waifs was took for Fixing in the dead of night, and was they Jews or gypsies, paupers or carnies? Was they boys or girls with black mops or blond curls? What ages and stages of starving was they? So what was their worth at the going rates? And all of this writ in his little black book. And then lastly he spins, with a smile cruel as sin, and asks, How many scruffs did the stickmen bring in?
UPDATE: "The Beast of Buskerville" is also now available as EPUB rather than PDF, courtesy of Eric Rosenfield, bless him. Just let me know which you'd prefer.