A Long Evening With Holmes

To all:

Here is a ode to Holmes and Watson that expresses so much of Baker street for me and I hope for you too. The last stanza is so beautifully an expression of my feelings:

The Adventure is solved, Holmes makes it all right
So back to the lodgings by dawn’s early light
And a breakfast by Hudson to wind up the night
When I spend a long evening with Holmes.
So the modern rat race can’t keep me in a cage
I have a passport to a far better age
As close as my bookcase, as near as a page
I can spend a long evening with Holmes.

Ah, if it could only be so.

–William B. Schweickert’s “A Long Evening with Holmes”.

The Speckled Band: Limericks

To All:

 I became intrigued with the idea of how many different ways that a limerick could be written about the same story. So I copied the different limericks that I had about the short story “The Speckled Band” and put them here for you to enjoy.


The Speckled Band

Doctor Roylott takes every precaution
to cling to each stepdaughter’s portion.
To avert Helen’s fate,
our friends lie in wait,
and he dies with a dreadful contortion.

         – Mr. Henry Baker (in the light of common day, Oliver Mundy)

“He spoke in a slow staccato fashion,
choosing his words with care,
and gave the impression of a man of learning and letters
who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune.”

The Speckled Band

Helen’s bed ‘neath the ventilator,
meant the snake by the rope could locate her.
So ran the plot
of Doctor Roylott
who was trying to liquidate her.

         -Don Dillistone, June, 2004

The Speckled Band

Her annuity was the key factor
in why Helen’s stepfather attacked her.
He was mad as a hatter,
for a pet, kept an adder,
and the adder was meant to subtract her.

          -The Dancing Man

The Speckled Band

In the bedroom a milk-drinking snake
wanted a nice piece of cake.
He crawled down the rope;
he just couldn’t cope
with more tasteless food, for Pete’s sake.

           — Matilda – from the lumber camps of Michigan aka Bill Briggs

The Speckled Band

You would not want this in your hand,
though it could crawl up a silk strand;
it would never fight,
but it could bite;
it was the maligned speckled band.

              –William S Dorn BSI, ,DWNP;  from his book The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes; Pencil Productions 2005.

Bill emailed me that he found 10 copies of his book that he would be offering for sale at $18.00 postage included. In my opinion the book is one you should get if you love limericks. Contact Bill at: billdorn@mac.com

New Page:  Chips’s Tid Bits

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new page to the Society’s website: Chips’s Tid Bits. Here, we will continue to feature the limericks, poems, aphorisms, and important miscellanea brought for our enjoyment and edification by our most active contributor, Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips,” of Denver, Colorado.

He is the Transcriber of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients and has served as past Staff Surgeon, past Chief Surgeon and member since 1972. He belongs to The Sherlock Holmes Society of India; is a member of The Sydney Passengers, The Sherlock Homes Society of Australia; and is a co-founder of The Sons of Shaw, a society honouring the memory of John Bennett Shaw. His overwhelming interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson began in seventh grade when he read “The Speckled Band.”  He has always identified with Dr John Watson and now feels he is where he belongs with The John H Watson Society. And we agree.

Please visit the new page often, as “Chips” has weekly additions and often sends tid bits more frequently. Thank you, “Chips,” for making us all a great deal richer.

A Poem for Sherlock Holmes

This poem comes to me by the courtesy of Bill Peschel who has a interesting site which includes a section called the Poems for Sherlock Holmes. Bill says, “This poem, by journalist John Northern Hilliard, was published in 1922, was written after Holmes’s final retirement in “His Last Bow.”” I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do, although I do not know how. This poem brings out in me those special, indescribable feelings of joy and peace I get whenever I go back to Baker Street.

Sherlock Holmes
By John Northern Hilliard

When Sherlock Holmes, ingenious man, pursued his strange career,
we followed his deductions with an interest sincere.

Although in his time his victories monotonous became,
we must admit that since he quit work, life’s never been the same.

He always kept his wits on tap, he always had a clue,
he always could foretell just what a criminal would do.

A bit of string, a button, or a half smoked cigarette
made up the only evidence that Sherlock Holmes need get.

And when he bagged his man and had him safe behind bars,
he’d tell the tale to Watson over coffee and cigars.

Friend Watson then would spin a yarn from details of the case,
and label it “The Tonkin Three” or “Mystery of a Face.”

We have detectives who are shrewd, detectives who are wise,
detectives who, like M. Lecoq, are experts at disguise.

We have detectives whose brave deeds would fill a dozen tomes,
but never one that can compare with Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Dupin’s “Rue Morgue” deductions we today vote rather “slow,”
for Sherlock would have solved the case in half a day or so.

The novels of Gaboriau, the tales of Mrs. Green,
were tossed aside when Sherlock Holmes appeared upon the scene.

So here’s to Sherlock Holmes and may his glory never dim,
and here’s to his friend Watson for his faithfulness to him.

And here’s to Conan Doyle, may he attain the prophet’s span,
and all his life just write of Holmes, that great and noble man.


“Chips’s” Weekly Limericks

To all:

I have received permission from two members of The Hounds of the Internet to post their limericks and here are examples. Please let me know in the “comments” section if you have limericks, poems, sonnets, or other word pictures you would like to see posted.  

The Gloria Scott

To Australia once he was sent,
But escaped and set up as a gent,
Till the castaway’s greed
And the “fly-paper” screed
Taught Trevor what Nemesis meant.

Mr Henry Baker

“He spoke in a slow staccato fashion,

choosing his words with care,
and gave the impression of a man of learning and letters
who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune.”

            — in the light of common day, Oliver Mundy

Gloria Scott

Nuts being cracked and some port,
But the munching was quickly cut short.
Your hen-pheasant’s life
Brought serious strife
When Old Trevor slipped out for a snort.

            — Matilda, from the lumber camps of Michigan, aka Bill Briggs

 All my best,

Ron Lies “Chips” and the Weekly Limerick

Here is “Chips'” Limerick of the Week:

In the 1940s Edgar W. Smith wrote, “We love the times in which he lived, of course, the half-remembered, half-forgotten times of snug Victorian illusion, of gas lit comfort and contentment, of perfect dignity and grace. And we love the place: the England of those times, fat with the fruits of her achievements, but strong and daring still with the spirit of imperial adventure. But there is more than time and space and the yearning of things gone by to account for what we feel toward Sherlock Holmes. Not only there and then, but here and now, he stands as a symbol, if you please, of all that we are not, but ever would be. We see him as the fine expression of our urge to trample evil and to set aright the wrongs with which the world is plagued. He is Galahad and Socrates, bringing high adventure to our dull existences and calm, judicial logic to our biased minds.”

Limerick for The Hound of the Baskervilles

So here’s to that wonderful Hound,
Who crossed the moor with a bound,
He glowed in the night,
A terrible sight,
And did make a frightening sound.

Author William S Dorn BSI, DWNP,from his book and card set, The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes, published by Pencil Productions, 2005.

All my best,

Ron Lies’ Weekly Limerick

Ron writes:

I do not think I have posted this one yet. I would be amiss in my posting duties if I did not. Here is the first of Mr. Asimov’ s superb efforts.  What more would or should be said?

Ron aka “Chips”

A Study in Scarlet

Meet the quick mind that restlessly combs
Through he smallest of clues as it roams
From initial confusion
To triumphant conclusion.
My friends, here we have Sherlock Holmes.

Author: Isaac Asimov BSI, from his book, Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks published by Mysterious Press, New York; 1978

Ron Lies “Chips” Sonnet of the Week

“Chips” sends along something a bit different from his weekly limerick: a sonnet by Helene Yuhasova (pen name of Edgar W. Smith, BSI) written in 1946.

John H Watson to Sherlock Holmes

You are a benefactor of the race;
Warrant and symbol of our land’s content:
A Sword that strikes in evil’s darkest place,
The law’s oblique, incisive instrument.
For this you have the nation’s accolade
In grateful token of the wrongs redressed–
But when your donative is fully weighted
Not England, but the world will call you blest.

For you have given us escape today
From threats that lie against our lives and pelf;
While thru the days to come you’ll show the way
To find elusion from the world.
This is the benefaction I’ve designed:
To give you to the ages of mankind

From the pamphlet: A Lauriston Garden of Verses by Helene Yuhasova;
published by The Pamphlet House, Summit, New Jersey, 1946 


Weekly Limerick: “Chipping” Away at the Humorous Art

Ron Lies “Chips” gives us these two delightful limericks this week. Thank you, as always.

“I have wrought my simple plan if I give one hour of joy to the boy who’s half a man, or the man who’s half a boy.”
— Doyle, Arthur Conan; The Lost World

That dedication describes me to a “T.” That is why my favourite story from the Canon is The Sign of the Four. These limericks are my favourites of them all.

All my best, Chips

The Sign of the Four

Miss Morstan was quite a nice doll,
for her good old Watson did fall,
but with feelings hid,
he joined Holmes and did
down The Thames chase Tonga and Small.

Author: William S Dorn, BSI, from his book, The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes, produced by Pencil Productions, 2005.

I am adding a limerick from that noted Sherlockian, Isaac Asimov, that describes my romantic love affair with my wife Mary for forty-one years and forever.

The Sign of the Four

Muttered Holmes, “Never mind cocaine’s pleasure,
let us seek out the famed Agra Treasure.”
Answered Watson, “No pearls
for myself—only girls;
and it’s Mary that’s made to my measure. “

Author: Isaac Asimov, BSI, from his book, Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks, published by The Mysterious Press New York, 1978.

Limerick of the Week

Here is Ron Lies’ Limerick of the Week:


Now Watson did have a bull pup,
Although it did never show up.
Though where it did go, there is no way to know,
Perhaps they had pup for their sup.

Author: William S Dorn  BSI, DWNP 2005
From his Book The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes and his card set
Produced by Pencil Productions, 2005.

A note from Chips:  As a animal lover I was a little disturbed by this limerick’s last line. It seemed to be a put-down of Mrs. Hudson’s dinners as to just what the meat might be. I brought up these points to Bill. He thanked me and said if I would like to write a better one I was welcome to try. I tried and failed. Maybe someone in our group would like to try?


And Limericks Also Beget Toasts . . .

Ron Lies “Chips” has begun a sub-culture of limerick and toast composers. Here is a musical toast created by Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” of the Seattle Sound of the Baskervilles (SOB’s).

Daisy writes:

I am attaching here a musical toast that I made up for the SOB Masters’ Dinner (the move in the apostrophe is deliberate: some of our older members are not able to come if the dinner is in January due to darkness and weather, so we decided on March to celebrate SH and JHW meeting at St. Barts; we celebrate SH’s birthday at our January club meeting.)  My JHWS bull-pup name of “Daisy” got me to remembering the old song, “Daisy, Daisy,” so I made up the words, and three of us sang it at the dinner.  What a kick!

Sherlock, Sherlock, Give Us Your Answer
to the tune of Daisy, Daisy

Sherlock, Sherlock, give us your answers, do
We’re half crazy over the likes of you.
We’ll ride in a big, black carriage.
And go to Irene’s marriage.
We’ll stay out late to keep your dates
In our hansom cabs built for two.

Watson, Watson, give us your answers, do
We’re half crazy over the likes of you.
We’ll go to the turf for betting;
We’ll dine with ladies fetching.
We’ll meet with Lestrade,
We’ll go to Lowther Arcade,
In our hansom cabs built for two.

Holmes and Watson, give us your answers, do
We’re all crazy over the likes of you.
We’ll meet with you in the stories,
With you life is never boring.
We’ll keep your name,
We’ll keep your fame,
In our hansom cabs built for two.

Limericks Beget Limericks . . .

Thanks to Ron Lies, we have our Weekly Limerick. It appears Ron has created renewed interest in this very old literary form,  as several members have commented and offered their own favorites. We will include these from time to time for the enjoyment of all. Our Chair, Prof. Don Yates “Pal” sends along this limerick and comment:

I’ll throw in a Sherlockian limerick of my own, in case you’d be interested in using it. It’s somewhat seasonal and requires familiarity with BLUE’s cast of characters, but most of our members will likely understand the play with words.

Sans hat and sans goose do we meet
This poor fellow roughed up in the street.
In the end such a winner,
He might have us for dinner.
Which could aptly be termed Baker’s treat.

Limerick of the Week

Here is Ron Lies’s, “Chips” Limerick of the Week:

Here is the second of the limericks for the week of the 23rd.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes was the great master sleuth,
For he always discovered the truth.
He assisted the poor
Using logic quite sure,
And he never did one thing uncouth.

Author is William S Dorn, BSI, DWNP, From his book THE LIMERICKS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and his card set, Pencil Productions 2005, both currently out of print with no plans to reprint.

A note of interest (at least to me).  Dr. Dorn’s is the only set I have found to include limericks about characters from the Canon as well as the two stories that surfaced after Doyle’s death and thought by some to be written by Doyle.

Yours in the willing service of Dr. Watson,


New Feature: Limerick of the Week  by Ron Lies, “Chips”

Our always interesting and interested Charter Member, Ron Lies “Chips,” will be sending us a new limerick each week. These are the limericks of  author William S Dorn, BSI, who published The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes, now out of print and unavailable. Mr Dorn has graciously given Chips permission to reprint the work and we will all be able to enjoy these classics once again.  Thank you Ron, as always, for your ever-welcome support.

John H Watson

Watson wrote all those wonderful tales

Besides which every other tale pales.

What more can we say

But up to this day,

Each attempt to improve on them fails.

An Observation on Our Passion by Ron Lies “Chips”

Ron Lies, our always thoughtful and interesting member from Denver, sent this observation along. It has components pertinent to recent discussions in the Sherlockian/Watsonian world and, therefore, deserves as wide an audience as possible. Feel free to comment, and thank you “Chips”.

An Observation

Recently, there have been exchanges online about who is a Sherlockian. We have always had a healthy exchange of different ideas. This discussion question has brought out responses that have caused hard feelings among some Sherlockians. This concerns me and I would like to share some thoughts I have about the Grand Game we play.

I was fortunate to meet and know John Bennett Shaw, who had the largest individual Sherlockian collection in the United States and was one of the kindest, most decent human beings I ever had the pleasure to know. In my too few visits by letter and in person, we discussed all things Sherlockian. The following points are concepts I took away from my conversations with John Bennett Shaw. I try to base my Sherlockian actions on these points:

1. If you have one of a Sherlockian collectible, you gloat. If you have two, you share.

2. A Sherlockian is anyone who has read a Sherlock Holmes story (preferably a story from the Canon) and tries to find more.

3. A Sherlockian is someone who has watched a Sherlock Holmes movie, television program or play and who tries to find more.

4. A Sherlockian is one who has listened to a Sherlockian radio show, tape or cassette and tries to find more.

5. We should treat a Sherlockian’s opinion with respect even if that opinion is wrong or disagrees with yours.

6. The most important rule is: if you are having fun, do it; if you are not having fun, don’t do it.

I wish you all could have met John Bennett Shaw. He was a Sherlockian and human being of the finest kind.

These then are my thoughts: I am afraid we are losing some of the fun in and respect for each other’s point of view that John mentioned we should have. We each have our own favourite Sherlock Holmes and his world. I am a traditionalist. My Sherlock Holmes is that of the Canon and of the world of 1887. The actor who portrayed my quintessential Holmes is Peter Cushing in his portrayal of Holmes in the 1968 BBC television series.

I am sure there are others who will disagree with me. I look forward to discussing my beliefs with you whether you are Brett supporters or the new wave of Cumberbatch supporters from the BBC Series “Sherlock” which updates Holmes to modern times. All I ask is that you treat my beliefs with the same respect and courtesy I will treat yours.

Greetings to all my Sherlockian friends and those friends I have not yet met.

Ron Lies “Chips” in Denver

Monograph Review from Ron Lies “Chips”

This kind review of the Society’s first monograph publication was received from our appreciative member Ron Lies “Chips” in Denver. Thank you, “Chips”:

“I received my copy of Coin of the Canonical Realm written by Nicolas Utechin and edited and designed by Dr Joanne Yates. This first monograph by our society is a pleasure to read. It is full of information for each case that I now have at my fingertips. It is a great bargain for what little it costs. I feel there will come a day when you will not be able to obtain a copy and you will be sorry.”

Ron in Denver

From Ron Lies and Sandy Kozinn: An Ode

Our Maven of Miscellanea, Ron Lies “Chips” of Denver, who sends us wonderful tid-bits he finds in his Watsonian and Sherlockian peregrinations, suggested we offer the Ode written by Sandy Kozinn “Roxie”.  Ron writes:

“Buttons, I read this and thought it would be a good piece to put in our blog. I wish you and yours all the best for a blessed and wonderful Christmas and all things great for next year. Please extend all my hopes and wishes for the holiday season to all the members of our Society.”

“Roxie” writes:

“There are always new Sherlockians.  Some of them may actually have never seen this, a toast I presented to a Blue Carbuncle Dinner meeting of The Three Garridebs some years ago. It’s another take on that old question:  What was that stone, anyhow?”

ODE ON THE O.E.D. ON THE CARBUNCLE, or What Was it, Anyhow?

Each year we meet to greet and dine,
Perhaps to sip a glass of wine
In honor of the carbuncle blue.
A carbuncle blue?  It can’t be true!
As I glanced through the O.E.D.
Three definitions popped out at me.
A carbuncle stone, it clearly said,
Was a precious stone of a fiery red.
A carbuncle could be a red facial spot,
An infection or a tumor, but both red hot.
There’s one thing more that it could be:
A small lump of coal, quite black to see.
Such coal in a goose would be quite shocking.
(It really belongs in Moriarty’s stocking.)
But if Mycroft Holmes had sired a child
(And I admit that idea is wild)
And if Sherlock were sad on the day that he sat
For Oscar Meunier — did you get all that? —
And Oscar worked in coal, then that statue or trunk’ll
Turn out to have been a blue carb uncle.
But a statue in black, the size of a bean
In the crop of a goose might never be seen.
So what was the stone?  what color?  what kind?
There’s only one answer I’m able to find.
Since Watson wrote “scintillatingly brilliant blue”
Then what must have happened — I leave it to you —
Was:  He made a mistake!  There’s a very good reason,
For Watson, like us, was toasting the season.

Ron Lies “Chips” on an Allusive Mystery Story 

Our Society’s frequent contributor, Ron Lies “Chips”, sends along a few clues to an allusive mystery story related to Dr Watson and Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes.

Members who would like to add this to their collection, can find the book on Amazon listed for about $7.00. Information below:

“Chips” writes:

“A fellow member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of India posted the information about a short story where Dr. Watson beats the Holmes Brothers at their own game. The story is written by Collin Dexter who created The Inspector Morse stories. It is in the collection Morse’s Greatest Mystery and Other Stories. The short story is “A Case of Mis-Identity.” The tale is enjoyable and worth the time to find it.”