Chips’s Tid Bits

The Good Doctor Offers a Toast by Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips”

We thank our Society’s author of interesting miscellanea, Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips,” who sends this toast he gave to Denver’s Doctor Watson’s Neglected Patients two years ago:

“The Song of Doctor Watson”
Words and music by Harvey Officer

Doctor John H. Watson was I,
Known as a straight and honest guy.

Was to be a Surgeon for years,
In the Northumberland Fusiliers

But wounded was I in the thigh
Or was it the Subclavian Artery?

‘Twas by a vile bullet Jezail,
Shot by the Ghazis murderous hail.

Needless that I should repeat,
How I arrived in Baker Street.

Of all the tales I have versed
A Study in Scarlet was the first.

Holmes, ‘tis true, made me the goat,
Criticized every word I wrote,

But he tried, after a while,
Even to imitate my style.

However, I did marry again,
Who was the dame I married then?

The name must be mysterious still,
Roberts declared ‘twas De Merville.

Morley, he did not agree,
Said it was Sherlock’s landlady.

But any proof I do not see,
So, it must remain a mystery.

Rightly, then, praise you my pen,
All you men and women.

Was I not willing to be?
Called by him “Elementary?”

For you see, I had to be,
Boswell to his curious vanity,

After all, but for my tomes,
What could you know of Sherlock Holmes?

OK, Here’s the Answer:

The Sonnet came from a pamphlet titled A Lauriston Garden Of Verses, six Sherlockian sonnets and a ballad by Helene Yuhasova and published by the Pamphlet House, Summit, New Jersey; 1946. Helene Yuhasova is a pen name for the great Sherlockian scholar, Vincent Starrett.Thanks to Ron Lies, “Chips” for this delightful remembrance of the legendary Mr Starrett.

An addendum from commenter Marci in April 2015: Helene Yuhasova is the pen name of my Auntie Helene, who is the author, not Vincent Starrett.

From Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips”: Another Interesting Item About Dr Watson

Ron sent this interesting sonnet from Holmes to Watson. Does anyone know who wrote it or where it appeared, or who was the illustrator? We extend our sincere thanks to “Chips” who is one of our very interesting and interested members, managing to send something a bit reserché nearly every week.
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The Sonnet reads: Sherlock Holmes to John H. Watson

You said of me what Plato said of him:
Who took the hemlock at his soul’s behest
That I was paragon and paradigm–
Of all you’ve known, the wisest and the best.
Discernment such as that shows goodness, too,
And certifies a wisdom long concealed–
My wisdom lay, perhaps in choosing you
To stand beside me as my foil and shield.

For you are Britain’s apotheosis;
The summum bonum of the bulldog’s breed;
A benison epitomized in this:
That strength and valour flourish in your deed . . .
Come, Watson, come!  The game’s afoot and free:
The world has need of men like you–and me.

Baron Maupertuis and Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips”

Our member, Ron Lies, “Chips” takes part in a Sherlockian group on the web led by “Judith” who poses interesting questions for the participants to discuss. Here is a recent example concerning “The Reigate Squires”:

Judith: This case opens with Watson saying: “The whole question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis are too recent in the minds of the public, and too intimately concerned with politics and finance, to be fitting subjects for this series of sketches.”

Questions and Ron Lies’s responses:

A. Why would being too recent in the minds of the public make these cases not fitting subjects for this series of sketches? This implies that they would be fitting later.  Either a subject is fitting or not, right?

RL: No, a subject could be too painful and fresh in peoples’ minds, whereas the
passage of time might mitigate the pain.

B. Wouldn’t the fact that these cases are still fresh in the minds of the public make them more marketable?  Why not strike while the iron is hot?

RL: No, I think that the Doctor Watson was trying to not to bring up again the pain and the destruction of the financial dreams of the lives of the people who were swindled by Baron Maupertuis. Watson was trying in his own way to soften the pain and the destruction to the vast numbers of people ruined by The Baron’s swindles.

C. Is it possible that Watson is just toying with his readers and making mountains out of mole hills?

RL: Doctor Watson would not toy with his readers or make mountains out of mole hills. His code of conduct would not allow him to do so. Doctor Watson was crediting the readers with reasonable intelligence. He felt some readers would wonder why the question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertins” were not being addressed by Sherlock Holmes
and himself.

Yours in Sherlock and Watson,

“The Game is Afoot”  aka Ron in Denver, JHWS “Chips”

What do you think? What other explanations may be reasonable for Holmes and Watson not acting in response to the Baron Maupertuis schemes? Please feel free to make comments. We thank “Chips” for his sending these insights on this shadowy corner of the Canon.