Holmesian Studies SIG     Recent History

                                              The Norbury Chronicle XXII
                                                         The On-line Edition

 We obtained West by One and by One by Poul Anderson (1965) via interlibrary loan from Harvard. It contains such interesting Holmesian studies as:
  "In the Island of Uffa" by Poul Anderson which suggests that Uffa was not (as Fletcher Pratt suggested) Jutland of Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus, but 6th century A. D. East Anglia, including the Fens near Thetford, S. Norfolk, probably a burial mound, dug up by amateur archeologist Grice Patterson -- with not ancient treasure, but a modern murder victim, uncovered.
  "The Case of the Illustrious Predecessor" by Armine D. Mackenzie  of the Mary Maguires of San Francisco on Holmes' library -- Whitaker's Almanac (VALL), American Encyclopedia (FIVE), continental gazetteer (SCAN). The Encyclopedia of Reference (PRIO), Index of Biographies by Holmes (MISS, EMPT).
   "Who Was Isadora Persano or A Poet's (?) Revenge" by Joel Hedgpeth has the curious statement, "It is obvious . . . that Watson meant to write 'dogerellist' instead of 'duelist'." leading to Persano's alleged alii T. Z. Spaulding, M. Moore, Charles E. Bolton, Black Bart, the reason Ambrose Brierce disappeared, and the identification of the worm with a luminescent millipede with odor of bitter almonds, luminodesmus sequoiae (1951).
   "Skipping Stones at Reichenbach" by Ruth Berman beings with Holmes' "undoubtedly" (EMPT) taking it to means "not certainly", and deduces that the whole Moriarty gang would have included both Moran, Walter P. Armstrong who would have shot Holmes and  have known Holmes had survived (as in "The Truth about Sherlock Holmes" BSJ 1:4;399), she identifies the Swiss boy stone-thrower, with one of "two of most dangerous members".
   "The Professor and The Valley of Fear" by B. M. Castner makes Holmes Moriarty ("highly efficient criminal" CHAS, "clever, clever fiend" EMPT) at least during the winter of '90-'91 to gather evidence against his gang with work for French government as cover story, not mentioned  in '95 3STU, BRUC, SIXN (as pointed out in "Mr. Moriarty" by A. G. Macdonnel in Baker  Street Studies where Holmes becomes Moriarty to bolster a failing business!), Macdonnel also deals with The Valley of Fear differently than either W. W. Bell's 1887 Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Chronology of Their Adventures or Macdonnell's 1899  book (which notes "a good deal was suppressed upon that occasion" , identifies "Birdy Edwards" as Sherlock Holmes, the "Scowrers" as Moriarty's gang, "Vermissa Valley" as London, Fred Porlock as from  Shinwell "Porky" Johnson plus Sherlock). Castner concludes: "I leave it to my readers to discover how completely "The Final Problem" becomes a new story, and how exciting a story, when read in the light of these new discoveries."
   "The Camberwell Poisoning Case" by Stillman Drake notes that Holmes' reputation was undeniable by 1887, assumes  that Holmes must have known that watch had not been wound up since owner's death, that not "such singular features as" (FIVE) means a lost watch, not the lost of ability to wind watch; not damaged, not so lost as to be found later likely means the murderer had possession of watch, the illusion of suicide, and the murderer's escape, Holmes' presence within two hours, andsuspects "Porlock" (VALL), close associate to Moriarty, was killed by Col. Sebastian Moran for collaborating with the enemy.
   "Ponderings by the Politician" by Robert R. PattrickVery Little DangerHolmes shot at by Moran with airgun, Killer Evans withrevolver, Tonga by darttwo scalp wounds and bruises from Baron Adelbert Gruner'shenchmen, lost left canine in fight with Mathews, cut lip andforehead lump from Roaring Jack Woodley, cut over knucklesfrom Joseph Harrisonthwarted attempts by Barney Stockdale, Count NegrettoSylvius, Dr. Roylott, Brooks, Woodhouse, Culverton Smith,Alec CunninghamWatson endangered by Tonga's dart, choked in error by PhilipGreen, wounded by Killer Evans, threatened by Baron Gruner
    "The Moriarty Gambit"  by Fritz Leiber is based on the chess game between "Vernet"  (guess who!) and Moriarty 1883:
  1. P-Q4         P-Q4
  2. P-QB4      P-K3
  3. N-QB3     P-QB4
  4. PxQP       PxQP
  5. QxP          N-QB3
  6. Q-QR4     PxP
  7. N-KB3     P-Q5
  8. N-QN5     B-Q2
  9. QNxQP    B-N5 ch
10. K-Q1       NxN
11. QxB        NxN
12. KPxN      B-R5 ch
13. K-K2       Q-Q8 ch
14. K-K3       O-O-OB
15. B-Q2       QxR
16. B-QR6    R-K1 ch
17. K-B4       R-K5 ch
18. PxR         P-KN4 ch
19. K-N3       QxRW
20. QxP ch   K-Q1
21. Q-B8 ch  K-K2
22. B-N4 ch  K-B3
23. Q-B5 ch  K-N2
24. QxMP mate
                                           A CONTEST
        Most interesting however, we thought, was the invitation in "An Introduction to Filk Singing" by Karen K. Anderson:
    "I leave to anyone who cares to complete it":

                                                 O COME, BAKER STREETERS
                                                      ttto "Adestes Fideles"
O come, Baker Streeters,  joyful and triumphant, . . .

This would seem to allude to the happy ending of "The Sign ofthe Four", after the near escape of Jonathan Small on the Aurora, specifically Watson's:"
". . . a great shadow seemed to pass from my soul. I did not know how this Agra treasure had weighed me down, until now that it was finally removed. It was selfish, no doubt, disloyal, wrong, but I could realize nothing save that the golden barrier was gone from between us. 'Thank God!' I ejaculated from my heart . . . Whoever had lost a treasure, I knew that night I had gained one."

                              O CHARLES AUGUSTUS MILVERTON
                                     ttto "O Tannenbaum"
O Charles Augustus Milverton, how very dreadful are you.
O Charles Augustus Milverton, how very dreadful are you.
All kinds of folk in London town
Hold still to let you shake them down.
O Charles Augustus Milverton, how very dreadful are you.

 This alludes to, of course, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton". It could end with "how very dead now are you."

                                       THE GAME'S AFOOT
                                  ttto "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
It came upon a morning dark,
That glorious call of old,
"Come, Watson, come. The game's afoot.
Let not the scent grow cold."  

   This alludes to "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange", written 7 years after that "bitterly cold and frosty morning" and to The Life of Henry the Fifth Act III, Scene 1, line 32 by William Shakespeare. William S. Baring-Gould comments Holmes' "words epitomize the whole Saga."
                                             LORD SALTIRE
                                        ttto "Lord Randall"
Oh, where have you been, Lord Saltire my son?
Oh, where have you been, my handsome young man?  

This would be Duke Holdernesse's lament, alluding to "The Adventure of the Priory School".
                                             STUDENTS THREE
                                           ttto "Henry Martin"
There were three students in old Camford town.
In Camford there were students three.  

      This alludes to "The Adventure of the Three Students"   - - Gilchrist, Daulat Ras and Miles McLaren competing for theFortescue scholarship 1895.

                             OH, SHERLOCK CAME A-STROLLING
                                   ttto "The Highland Tinker"
1. Oh, Sherlock came a-strolling,
     A-strolling down the Strand.
     He had a deerstalker on his head   
     And a clue within his hand.

 2. With his jolly old Boswell, Watson,
      Who carried a little black bag,  
      And a briar pipe well loaded   
      With an ounce and a half of shag.

    Shag brings to mind the word's use in currently hyped movie, "The Spy Who Shagged Me". Partridge's ConciseDictionary of Slang and Unconventional English lists among the less vulgar definitions: shag, n. bore, nuisance; someone rough and ready [shaggy]; beatnik partial to a particularly powerful blend of shag tobacco; adj. weary, exhausted. The American Heritage Dictionary lists: [O. E. sceacga] n. tangle or mass, especially of rough, matted hair; coarse long nap, as on woolen cloth; rug with a thick, rough pile; coarseshredded tobacco; 1930's dance step, a hop on each foot in turn; the seabirds Phalacrocorax aristotelis or P. punctatus; v. make shaggy, roughen, chase and bring back, fetch; perform the shag step.

                        NOW SHERLOCK KNEW BARITSU
                                           ttto "The Wild Boar"
Now Sherlock Holmes knew baritsu,
Dillum down, dillum,
Now Sherlock Holmes knew baritsu,
Dillum down,
Now Sherlock Holmes knew baritsu
And Moriarty o'er the falls he threw.
Kibbee kee, cuddle down, killie quo quum.

    Baritsu's mentioned in "The Adventure of the Empty House"and is generally seen as a misprint for E. W. Barton-Wright's Anglized ju-jutsu, "Bartisu" publicized in "The New Art of Self-Defense" in Pearson's Magazine March-April 1899. As Ralph Judson points out in his "The Mystery of Baritsu: A Sidelight Upon Sherlock Holmes' Accomplishments"  it could have been Holmes' own particular school of self-defense, developed probably some 12 years before Barton-Wright's version. (We notice barasu in Japanese means "to break into pieces, dispose of, kill" and jitsu "truth, reality" so baritsu could desribe Holmes' prefered fighting technique, breaking into pieces a web of lies with the truth.)

                                                THE SIX NAPOLEONS
                                            ttto "John Brown's Body"
The plaster six Napoleons were scattered 'round the town.
In one of them the Borgia pearl was hidden safe and sound.
The case was looking hopeless until Sherlock buckled down
And went deducing on.

                                             SWEET LUCY FERRIER
                                    ttto "Sweet Betsy from Pike"
They went on to Utah -- there was no other way,
And Drebber he said that sweet Lucy should stay,
But Lucy took off and she fled like a deer,
While Drebber stood pawing the ground like a steer.  
      This alludes to the conflict in "A Study in Scarlet" between Drebber and Joseph Strangerson and John Ferrier's" I would sooner see you in your grave, my girl, than the wife of either of them." and Lucy's "And so should I" - - and perhap Jefferson Hope's revenge.

                              THE GREAT SHIP FRIESLAND
                                ttto "The Great Ship Titanic"
It was sad when that great ship went down.
It was sad when that great ship when down.
Oh, those Dutchmen and their wives
Nearly cost us both our lives.
It was sad when the Friesland went down.
    This alludes to "the shocking affair of the Dutch steamship Friesland, which so nearly cost us both our lives" mentioned in "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder". Is it that "affair" that made the wives life threatening?

                                          KATE WHITNEY's LAMENT
                                ttto "There Is a Tavern in the Town"
There is an opium den in town
And there my husband sits him down, sits him down
And he smokes, smokes, smokes. He smokes a pipe or three.
O Watson, bring him back to me.
    This is the plea of Kate Whitney in "The Man with theTwisted Lip" - - which incidentally included "consuming an ounce of shag".