Weekly Forum: 2015 #8 Something Different!

This week, we are trying something a bit different:  you create the topic or topics for the week’s discussion. They can be on the Canon, the characters, fandom, TV, radio, film, cosplay, London, or whatever enchants your imaginations.

Please add a comment and ask a question or comment on a topic and let’s see who responds.  We can have as many topics, comments, replies and re-replies as members care to provide.  Here is your chance to participate with that one burning topic you have been wanting to talk about for years! Go for it!

Wow! You ARE Good!


Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” also solved the question with this complete, fascinating and accurate submission:

Question: This dilettante was known by two names: Blackwood and Dufferin. How does this person figure in the Canon? Please name the person, how the connection comes and the story or book in which it appears.

Definition of dilettante:

a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment

  • archaic: a person with an amateur interest in the arts

Answer #1:

Helen Selina Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye, later Helen Selina Hay, Countess of Gifford, born Helen Selina Sheridan, (1807 – 13 June 1867), was a British songwriter, composer, poet, and author. Admired for her wit and literary talents, she was a well-known figure in London society of the mid-19th century. From childhood Helen had written poems, songs and prologues for private theatrical productions. After she and [sister] Caroline jointly brought out a Set of ten Songs and two Duets, she started to publish her verse, sometimes set to her own music. Her name was not usually printed at first, but she did not stay entirely anonymous. In 1863 a play of hers was staged, and in the same year she published an account of her travels up the Nile with her son. This poked fun at writing by lady travellers; the title Lispings from Low Latitudes, or, Extracts from the Journal of the Hon. Impulsia Gushington echoed [son] Frederick’s book Letters From High Latitudes. The purpose of the play was to satire travel literature, specifically that of women, during the time period. Her play, Finesse, or, A Busy Day in Messina, produced at the Haymarket Theatre with John Baldwin Buckstone as one of the actors, was a success, but the writer did not go to any of the performances, nor acknowledge her authorship.

RETI, W., p. 1115 : “On that particular evening old Amberley, wishing to give his wife a treat, had taken two upper circle seats at the Haymarket Theatre.”

And———speaking of Frederick, her son:

Answer #2:

Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Duffein and Ava, could be considered a person with an amateur interest in the arts as he became president of the Oxford Union Society for debate, but left Oxford after only two years without obtaining a degree; he commissioned schooners and a steamer to journey around the north Atlantic, eventually publishing a book about this travels.  Although the book was a success, he did not pursue a career as an author, instead became a public servant, with diplomatic postings in Syria, Canada (Governor General), Imperial Russia, India (Viceroyalty), Egypt (British Commissioner), Italy and French, and facilitated British diplomatic work in Afghanistan and Burma. He initiated sporting prizes; he initiated heritage preservation of historic sites; he initiated the building of the Dufferin Terrace.  He later served, rather badly, as chairman of the London and Globe Finance Corporation.  Hi biographer Davenport-Hines says he was imaginative, sympathetic, warm-hearted, and gloriously versatile; he was an effective leader in Lebanon, Canada and India, averted war with Russia, and annexed Burma; he was careless of money but charming in high society in three continents.

–The careless of money and charming in three continents sounds very familiar concerning our good Dr. Watson, but, perhaps, this diplomat would be more closely associated with Mycroft:

BRUC, W., p. 914: “We will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question.”


Michele Lopez “Reggie” sends along his correct solution below:

“The person is Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. His connection with the Canon derives from the fact that he was Governor General of Canada from 1872 to 1878. While there, he visited Manitoba and inaugurated a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway. BLAC.”

Now, for a bit of coincidence: Enrico “Devon” sends along his correct solution below:

“Helen Selina Blackwood, Lady Dufferin, who wrote the words of a popular ballade. The first line “I’m sitting on the tile, Mary” is quoted in VALL, as sang by Mc Murdo.”

This solution is also correct and, interestingly, Helen Selina Sheridan Blackwood, the lyric writer, was Lady Dufferin and the mother of Frederick Hamilton Temple Blackwood, Marquis of Dufferin.

Two excellent scholars from Italy have solved an obscure question set in Pennsylvania, USA in VALL, involving an Irish marquis, born in Florence, Italy, who became the Governor of Canada and whose mother wrote the lyrics to a popular song also known as “The Lament of the Irish Immigrant.” both “Reggie” and “Devon” have different answers and are both correct. Amazing!

So, the answer can be:  Helen Selina Blackwood, Lady Dufferin, or her son, Frederick Hamilton Temple Blackwood, and both have Canonical connections.

Within an hour, we had four correct submissions on this week’s quiz involving “ermine”!  You are all so good that Buttons has to defend his honour and offer one more really obscure quiz question for your week-end:

This dilettante was known by two names: Blackwood and Dufferin. How does this person figure in the Canon? Please name the person, how the connection comes and the story or book in which it appears.

That ought to occupy all of you Quiz Masters for more than an hour!

Weekly Quiz: 2015 # 8

RESULTS: Michele Lopez “Reggie,” Margie Deck “Gwen,” Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy,” and Denny Dobry “Kirby” all solved the quiz question:  ermine = stoat = Sherman kept a stoat or ermine in SIGN (Pg. 117) and although Teddy the mongoose is not an ermine, he had the legs of a stoat.  (CROO Pg. 421).

You seem to like these single-quest quizzes, so here is another one for this week:

Ermine is found twice in the Canon.  Quote each instance and provide the book or story.

Weekly Forum: 2015 – #7 Continuing the Forum on Canon Residence Names

NEW DISCOVERY UPDATE:  12 February 2015

After a close review of the entire Canonical text, Buttons has added a number of corrections, as well as seven new entries to the Canonical Residence Names List found on the February 3rd post. The new entries include: Aston Manor; Boscombe Hall; Capleton; Charlington Hall; Elrige’s Farm; The Gables; and Westbury House.  Corrections or additions (in italic) include: Stoke Moran Manor House; Myrtles (Latimer); Ridling Thorpe Manor; Appledore Towers; and Oxshott Towers (Folliot/Ffolliot).

We now believe this to be the accurate and definitive listing of Canonical Residence names and the occupants; however, we always welcome corrections, additions, and questions pertaining to the catalogue of names.

This week we would like to continue the discussion on the Canonical Residence names that was begun last week.  Please add your comments to this topic that has stimulated quite positive interest.

We are hoping to evolve an article or possibly a joint monograph from the discussion.  An interesting bit of information was discovered by Buttons this week while reading through an eighteenth century register of British Manors. A manor and manor house dating from the fifteenth century was located at Reigate in the County of Surrey.  The description, in many ways, fits the description of one of the houses in The Reigate Puzzle. Additional research is being done and perhaps a brief article could be written on these similarities.  The Manorial history of Great Britain and the Lordships of the Manor evidence is full of fascinating vignettes and may offer some insights to the residence names chosen by Dr Watson for the stories.

Member Bill Mason “Billy” Honoured

Our loyal Member, Bill E Mason “Billy” from Tennessee scored an Honours Hat Trick recently.  He was invested in the BSI as “White Mason,” was named a Master Bootmaker (MBt) by the Bootmakers of Toronto, and was appointed Head Light (President) of The Beacon Society. The Society extends its warmest congratulations to “Billy” for a trio of achievements well-deserved.

Weekly Quiz 2015: #7

RESULTS:  We have several interesting results.  The “first-in” was Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” with completely alternative and correct answers to those Buttons has proposed; we print them in full:

  1. This Canonical character purchased a stationers & office supply business.

Answer:  Johann Faber– the German pencil maker moved to the United States in 1848, and in 1849, operated a stationary store at #133 William Street, New York City. (Wikipedia, www.nyc.gov)

3STU, W., p. 599:  “You are aware than Johann Faber is the most common maker’s name.”

  1. Associate a promontory of eastern Greece, a maid, two royals, and explain how they come together in what book or story.

Answer: Mt. Athos, Rachel Howells, Charles I and Charles II, MUSG

The Mount Athos promontory is the easternmost part of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula. (www.greecethisway.com/regions)

In some Greek mythology, the name Athos belongs to a Thracian giant; Poseidon threw a huge rock against Athos and buried him underneath–the rock was then called Mount Athos.(www.inathos.gr)

Rachel Howells allowed Brunton to die (be buried) under the heavy, large stone, while carrying away the coins of Charles the First, and the crown saved for Charles the Second.

MUSG, W., Text, pp. 396-397

THEN . . .Michele Lopez “Reggie” sent along an alternative to question #1 that is also correct, as well as a correction to question #2; printed here:

1. This Canonical character purchased a stationers & office supply business.

Jabez Wilson. “I bought a penny bottle of ink, and with a quill-pen, and seven sheets of foolscap paper, I started off for Pope’s Court.” [REDH, 181]

2. Associate a promontory of eastern Greece, a maid, two royals, and explain how they come together in what book or story.

The promontory is Cape Colonna (the reference is made, I believe, by Tracy, Dakin and others, but it’s wrong. The Colonnas are a very ancient and important noble family from Rome and they take their name from the small town of Colonna, on the Roman Hills).

A maid: Lucretia Venucci; two royals; Napoleon and the Borgias; the story is, of course, SIXN.

AND, Enrico Solito “Devon” sent along his comments on question #2 and–we discover–he has written on the subject!  His answer, here:

“I suspect there is a mistake in the question on the site. If the solution is SIXN and the Greek promontory is Colonna, I am afraid this is the only mistake in the excellent Tracy’s book. It is true that Cape do exists (we in Italy have another, and a couple of Mountain Colonna too) but any Italian knows that the Princes of Colonna (or simply Princes Colonna) are one of the most famous noble family in Roma, that expressed a lot of Popes and connected to the Church, including the (in)famous Alexander VI Borgia. I attach here a little article I wrote about the Princes and the Prince at the time of SIXN, what probably was the Pearl and how it arrived in Borgia’s hands.”

NOW . . . the answers Buttons had are a bit tongue in cheek and question #1 would be nearly impossible for International Members as it involves a large, “Big-Box” chain sale last week. Question #2 was taken from the erroneous Tracy entry (Encyclodaedia Sherlockiana); however, it is–in fact–also correct in that there truly is a Cape Colonna in Greece, as well as in Italy.  Here are the intended answers:

  1. Staples, the butler of Culverton Smith (DYIN).  Staples just bought Office Depot last week.
  1. The promontory is Colonna in Greece; the two royals, the Prince and Princess (Lucretia Venucci) of Colonna in Italy; the maid of the Princess stole the Black Pearl of the Borgias in SIXN.

Here are two questions for our Quiz Masters and Mavens:

1. This Canonical character purchased a stationers & office supply business.

2. Associate a promontory of eastern Greece, a maid, two royals, and explain how they come together in what book or story.

Please submit answers to Buttons by 12 Noon, Wednesday, February 11, 2014.

Nothing Today

February 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 9th, and 10th :  Nothing of Sherlockian note occurred on those dates.

Weekly Forum: February 3, 2015

NEW INFORMATION:  February 6, 2015

The Weekly Forum for February 3, 2015 asks about the British tradition of naming their homes. From those dwelling names throughout the Canon, what conclusions can we make regarding Dr Watson’s choices of those names for his stories?  Has there been a Catalogue of Canonical Residence Names created by anyone in the past?  Is this a literary endeavour worthy of addressing by the Society?

A Canonical Compendium of Residences and Occupants

The John H Watson Society

February 6, 2015

Listed are the names of the residences and occupants named in the stories and books of the Canon. It is the Society’s hope that, eventually, Members will chose one or more of these residences and offer research on the place names and the British tradition of naming homes. The Society envisions individual or cooperative articles for The Watsonian or perhaps monographs arising from this research into the Canonical Nomenclature of Residences. Please contact Buttons if you have interest in writing an article or monograph.

Canonical Residences  and Occupants                   Story/Book

Abbey Grange (Brackenstall)                               ABBE

Albermarle Mansion (Melville)                            WIST

Appledore Towers (Milverton)                             CHAS

Arnsworth Castle                                                   SCAN

Aston Manor                                                           3GAR

Baskerville Hall (Baskerville)                               HOUN

Birchmoor (St Simon)                                           NOBL

Birlstone, Manor House of (Douglas)                  VALL

Boscombe Hall (Turner)                                       BOSC

Briarbrae (Phelps)                                                 NAVA

Briony Lodge (Adler)                                            SCAN

Camden House                                                       EMPT

Campden Mansions (La Rothiere)                       BRUC

Capleton (Backwater)                                            SOLI

Carriton’s                                                               SUSS

Carston Castle (Holdernesse)                               PRIO

Cedars, The (St Clair)                                           TWIS

Charlinton Hall (Woodley)                                   SOLI

Cheeseman’s (Ferguson)                                       SUSS

Chiltern Grange (Carruthers)                              SOLI

Copper Beeches (Rucastle)                                   COPP

Crane Water (Armitage)                                       SPEC

Deep Dene House (Oldacre)                                  NORW

Dingle, The (Harringby)                                       WIST

Elrige’s Farm (Elrige)                                           DANC

Fairbank (Holder)                                                 BERY

Folkstone Court                                                     HOUN

Forton Old Hall (Williams)                                  WIST

Gables, The (Stackhurst)                                      LION

Grosvenor Mansions (St Simon)                          NOBL

Hales Lodge (Barker)                                            VALL

Harvey’s                                                                 SUSS

Hatherley Farm (Turner)                                     BOSC

Haven, The (Bellamy)                                            LION

Haven, The (Amberley)                                         RETI

High Gable (Henderson-Murillo)                         WIST

High Lodge (Oldmore)                                          HOUN

Holdernesse Hall (Holdernesse)                           PRIO

Hurlstone Manor House (Musgrave)                   MUSG

King’s Pyland (Ross)                                             SILV

Laburnum Lodge (Brown)                                   SIXN

Lachine (Barclay)                                                  CROO

Lafter Hall (Frankland)                                        HOUN

Manor House                                                          GREE

Mapleton (Backwater)                                          SILV

Merripit House (Stapleton)                                   HOUN

Myrtles, The (Latimer)                                         GREE

Nether Walsing (Stone)                                         WIST

Odley’s                                                                    SUSS

Oxshott Towers (Folliot/Ffoliot)                          WIST

Poldhu Cottage (Holmes and Watson)                DEVI

Pondicherry Lodge (Sholto)                                 SIGN

Popham House (Eccles)                                        WIST

Purdey Place (Hynes)                                            WIST

Ridling Thorpe Manor (Cubitt)                           DANC

Shoscombe Old Place (Falder)                             SHOS

Stoke Moran Manor house(Roylott)                   SPEC

Thor Place (Gibson)                                              THOR

Three Gables (Maberley)                                      3GAB

Torrington Lodge (McFarlane)                            NORW

Tredannick Wartha (Tregennis)                          DEVI

Tuxbury Old Park (Emsworth)                            BLAN

Vicarage, The (Elman)                                           RETI

Vernon Lodge (Gruner)                                        ILLU

Westbury House (Doran)                                      NOBL

Wisteria Lodge (Garcia)                                       WIST

Woodman’s Lee (Carey)                                       BLAC

Yoxley Old Place (Coram)                                    GOLD

Weekly Quiz: 2015-6

RESULTS:  Good Quiz!  The mother is Bathsheba; her wise child is Solomon; and the reference is from “The Adventure of the Crooked Man”:  Holmes: “You remember the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba? My Biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear, but you will find the story in the first or second of Samuel.”

Those who successfully solved the quiz (in order) are: Patricia Villicrusis “Helena,” Milissa Anderson “Faith,” Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy,” and Denny Dobry “Kirby.” Well Done All!

You seem to like the slightly esoteric one question quizzes . . . So here is an obscure one for you to solve:

A mom, referred to by Holmes, had a wise child. Provide her name, the name of her child and the story or book where the reference is made. Extra credit for the textual quote.

Please submit answers by noon, Wednesday, February 4th.  Send solution to: buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com

Weekly Forum: January 27 2015

This week’s Forum topic is one that has had little, if any, explication from the textual Canon: stationery.

What evidence exists of the various writing papers, envelopes, calling cards, invitations, pens, pencils, etc. that would be generally thought to be found in a Victorian Stationers Shop?  Prepare to be surprised.

Weekly Quiz 2015: 5 Quiz by Michele Lopez “Reggie”

RESULTS:  Michele Lopez “Reggie” has created a winner!  Lots of positive comments on this week’s quiz. Taking honours were: Denny Dobry “Kirby,” Elinor Gray “Misty” and our Team, Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy.”  Well done, all!  And “Thank You” Michele for a Canonical Taste of Italy.  Answers here:  2015-5 Weekly Quiz Italy Answers

Sorry, Buttons is a day late . . . Download here:  2015-5 Weekly Quiz Italy

This week’s quiz was created by our Member from Italy and President of Uno Studio in Holmes, Michele Lopez “Reggie.”  Please submit your solutions by noon Wednesday, January 28 to: buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com

Today This Happened . . .

1891 Saturday January 23rd:  Holmes incommoded Moriarty. I always enjoy anticipating what is coming with this situation!

There are no events in the Canon for January 24 through the 31st.  Return in February!

Best from “Chips”