On March 6th… Terrier or Bull Pup?

March 6, 1881: Holmes tested some pills on the landlady’s dying dog. [STUD]

…Or was it Watson’s bull pup mentioned in the conversation that they had about each other and their habits before they moved in at 221B, as some Sherlockian scholars have noted?

As he spoke he turned the contents of the wine-glass into a saucer and placed it in front of the terrier, who speedily licked it dry. Sherlock Holmes’s earnest demeanour had so far convinced us that we all sat in silence, watching the animal intently, and expecting some startling effect. None such appeared, however. The dog continued to lie stretched upon the cushion, breathing in a laboured way, but apparently neither the better nor the worse for its draught.

March 6, 1881: Jefferson Hope was captured. [STUD]

Illustration by George Hutchinson for A Study in Scarlet (1891)

The whole thing occurred in a moment – so quickly that I had no time to realize it. I have a vivid recollection of that instant, of Holmes’s triumphant expression and the ring of his voice, of the cabman’s dazed, savage face, as he glared at the glittering handcuffs, which had appeared as if by magic upon his wrists. For a second or two we might have been a group of statues. Then with an inarticulate roar of fury, the prisoner wrenched himself free from Holmes’s grasp, and hurled himself through the window. Woodwork and glass gave way before him; but before he got quite through, Gregson, Lestrade, and Holmes sprang upon him like so many staghounds. He was dragged back into the room, and then commenced a terrific conflict. So powerful and so fierce was he that the four of us were shaken off again and again. He appeared to have the convulsive strength of a man in an epileptic fit. His face and hands were terribly mangled by his passage through the glass, but the loss of blood had no effect in diminishing his resistance. It was not until Lestrade succeeded in getting his hand inside his neckcloth and half-strangling him that we made him realize that his struggles were of no avail; and even then we felt no security until we had pinioned his feet as well as his hands. That done, we rose to our feet breathless and panting.

6 Replies to “On March 6th… Terrier or Bull Pup?”

  1. The terrier is clearly Mrs. Hudson’s old and ill dog. As to the bull pup, I’ve always believed that within a day of Holmes and Watson beginning to share quarters, the pup became a problem, using the papers on the floor for an unintended purpose and coming all too close to the chemicals.

    Since Mrs. Hudson’s dog was getting on and even then beginning to show signs of slowing down and failing at the job of keeping rats and mice out of the kitchen, she was happy to adopt the new young dog. The terrier trained the bull pup in the ways of keeping off vermin, the two dogs were happy romping in the back of the house, and when the terrier’s time came, the bull pup was able to take over the job of keeping the house pest-free.

  2. Where would Watson have kept a real dog at that time? When he was in hospital? On the troopship home? Living in a hotel in London?

    1. A “private hotel” might have allowed dogs; I suspected he got the animal in London because he was so lonely. But, admittedly, there’s not a lot of evidence about that dog.

  3. Thank you, John Hopley Neligan, for that pertinent and timely remark. “Did you ever hear of Dawson & Neligan?’ ‘You mean the West Country bankers? They failed for a million, ruined half the county families of Cornwall, and Neligan disappeared.’

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