Dr Watson states, “I always smoke ‘ship’s’ myself” Anyone care to define ‘ship’s’ which later becomes Ship’s without quotes and a capital “S”? Over a half-century ago, a Sherlockian with the first name of Sherry ploughed this ground, but the definitive answer remains elusive. Are you up to the challenge?
This quiz question has brought about the largest number of responses ever. And here is a perfect example of collaboration, original work, and the enthusiasm that makes our mutual interest fun and rewarding.
You too can participate. You too can create a question. Either post it as a reply or send it to Buttons and he will get down off his stool and chalk it on the board.
And, please note that the First Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt is only 31 days away!
Today’s quiz question is:
Do you accept Martha as being the housekeeper in “His Last Bow,” as well as the housekeeper at the Sussex Downs cottage, and is she also Mrs Hudson?
You will find superb replies and fully-informed research on the topic, and you can almost hear the fun in their voices as the respondents feverishly enter their comments.
This is what makes it enjoyable. This is what makes it a Society alive!
Thank you one and all for your contributions, and thank you to those who read them and appreciate the depth of the interaction.
And, please remember that the Big One — the First Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt is only 31 days away!
Who lives on Brook Street?
The Society is delighted to welcome the long-time Sherlockian, Andy Fusco, to Charter Membership. Andy is a lawyer residing in Morgantown, West Virginia. He is a member of the Baker Street Irregulars, “Pondicherry Lodge,” and a number of other clubs.
We look forward to Mr. Fusco’s contributions to the Society and to The Watsonian.
Please join in extending our greeting to Andy:
“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”
The Canon spans a time of change in travel. How many types of conveyances are there in the body of writing? We are looking for a list of specific names, i.e., “dog cart.”
The Society is delighted to welcome long time, loyal members of the Napa Valley Napoleons of S.H., Andree and Chuck Youngson, as Charter Members.
Andree, JHWS “Belle,” was born in the Panama Canal Zone and is a resident of Napa, CA. She has a B.S. in Chemistry from St. Mary’s College of Moraga, and M.S. in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco. Andree is a retired chemist and an Anglophile. Buttons has it on good authority that Andree is an expert in Canonical (and perhaps other) poisons. Her interests include playing the bodhran in the Pickle Creek String Band and in the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. Andree really likes ravens and crows and, of course, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
We will post Chuck’s, JHWS, “Jeeves,” biography when received. Until then, please extend a warm welcome to the Youngsons with our traditional greeting:
“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”
During a recent “Consultation,” six Founding Members met at the China Palace restaurant in Novato, California, where the following question was raised:
What is the only restaurant to produce a truly GREAT Szechuan beef dish?
The answer is: ?
Are there any references to non-English cuisines in the Canon?
What is the meaning of the date abbreviations often found in letters and telegrams in the Canon and throughout the writing of 19th Century Britain?
Examples: “On Sunday night, the 18th inst.” or “The ship left Liverpool on the 8th ult.” or “The inquest will be held on the 25th prox.”
Also, what is the meaning and difference between “Sennight” and “Fortnight.”
If you like the Quiz Page, you are going to want to know about this!
Go to the The Watsonian Blog page and read about what is coming!
Then tell the world!
Even Buttons awoke for this!
The First Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt will involve a lengthy search through the Canon and scholarly material requiring Watsonian Seekers of Truth to sort through a large body of data in order to arrive at the point where the Canonical Treasure is to be found and identified.
Our treasure hunt will involve encryption, obscure references, geographic and biologic inferences, people, objects, dates, and all manner of Watsonian and Holmesian/Sherlockian knowledge.
Be cautioned! It will not be simple. The First Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt may well take you weeks to sort out the answer . . . perhaps months. This will make the Musgrave Ritual look like child’s play. You will be required to hunt through the literature, both the Sacred Canon and the related scholarship of the past seventy years.
And there will be prizes! The first Society Charter member to email the correct answer will receive a fine first British edition of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes donated to the Society by an anonymous member. Other categories of winners will also receive handsome donated prizes.
And now for the Rules:
1. The Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt will be posted on the Society’s website at the Quiz Page at exactly 12:00 Noon (Pacific) on Thursday, 1 August 2013. All participants will have an equal opportunity relative to time and access. The Canonical Treasure Hunt will end upon submission of the first correct answer or on Monday, September 2, 2013 at 12 Noon (Pacific).
2. The Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt shall have four categories: Charter Members, Non-Members, Founding Members and Students. One winner from the Charter Members shall be determined and one winner from Non-Members shall also be determined. A winning Founding Member will be determined, as well. Founding Members may not compete in the Charter Member category. The Student winner may be a member or non-member, but must be enrolled in a high school, college or university of higher learning. The Charter Member winner will receive a first British edition of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes ( a $1,000 value). The Non-Member winner will receive a six-year membership to the Society (a $120 value). The Student winner will receive an Honorarium of $250. The Founding Member (Directors) winner shall have the satisfaction of knowing the answer submitted was correct.
3. The winners will be determined by two criteria: 1) Correctness of the final answer; and 2) Time of receipt of the correct answer by the Society via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Winners in all categories will be posted on the Society website. NOTE: The final answer will consist of identifying the ultimate Treasure, but will also require answering correctly all questions leading up to the final answer.
4. All matters concerning the Canonical Treasure Hunt, the contest, the answers, and the determination of the winning answer will be the sole decision of the John H Watson Society Directors. The only purpose of the Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt is to encourage scholarship and a deeper understanding of the writings of John H Watson, M.D. All prizes have been donated to the Society by anonymous members.
The Society encourages its members to inform as many people of this First Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt as possible. We also encourage other scion clubs and organisations to let their members know of this unique and exciting event. And, we would hope the Sherlockian, Holmesian and Watsonian media worldwide find it a worthy effort for featuring prominently in their reportage.
And so, we announce the First Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt and ask you to spread the word and return promptly at noon (Pacific) on Thursday 1 August 2013 for the revealing of the mystery! The game IS afoot!
Please join in welcoming Mr Nuno Robles, JHWS “Oakley,” SHSL to Charter Membership. Nuno is the first member of the Society from Portugal. He writes:”I worked at Sony for 20 years but I left the company in late 2010 and now I’m a Wine Producer, with my own family company “Quinta do Falcao”. Our Wines are prestigious and we’ve won several national and international awards. The latest has been the International Wine Challenge with our Paço dos Falcoes Red Wine. I’m a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and also subscribe to the Baker Street Journal.”
We would draw Nuno’s attention to By-Law #5 and assure him that he is joining a Society with members having a particularly deep and discerning appreciation for the grape and, generally, Spiritus Fermenti in most forms.
Please join in a very warm welcome and out traditional greeting to a Fellow Watsonian and follower of Bacchus:
“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive. . . . and your tongue appears to be purple.”
The Society is pleased to welcome Mr Matt Laffey as a Charter Member. Matt publishes the always interesting and informative “Always 1895” website at:
I was born and raised in Chicago. I moved to NYC in 2006 where I kindled an interest/obsession with all things Sherlockian by starting www.always1895.net and co-restarting The Priory Scholars of NYC. You can find me on Twitter as @always1895 .
Matt recently mentioned The John H Watson Society as follows:
The John H. Watson Society is a (very) recently founded society which “seeks a level of equality in scholarship and enthusiasm for the life and work of John H. Watson, M. D. The Founding Members are committed to recognition of Dr. Watson’s contributions, albeit often masked and misunderstood, to the cases, adventures and memoirs he wrote as the first biographer of Sherlock Holmes. The Society believes that Watson has an equality of stature with Holmes and that his accomplishments and talents deserve further scholarship and research.” You can read more about the purposes and goals of the John H. Watson Society here. For updated information and society news as well as fascinating and informative biographies of those Sherlockians…or should we say Watsonians, who have most recently become members, make sure to check out The Watsonian Blog. It should come as no surprise that the Society’s motto is derived from one of Holmes’ final reflections on his stalwart friend and biographer, found at the very end of “His Last Bow”: “Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age.” It strikes me that even though the society is a new one, the seeds of the group were planted long ago in the minds of those involved giving The John H. Watson society an air of established, long standing permanence. I also look forward to subscribing to and reading The Watsonian, journal of the society.
Please join in extending to Matt the warm welcome of the Society: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”
The British have their own way of referring to physicians. Some are Mr, some are Dr, some have FRCS after their name, and some have M.D. Our own John Watson was styled: John H. Watson, M.D. and referred to as Dr Watson. What are the distinctions, the degrees or education indicated, and who can come up with the list of all the physicians and their appropriate professional titles as per the Canon?
We have an extensive catalogue of Mr Holmes’s personal belongings, from dressing gowns to pipes to commonplace books and on and on.
But, what do we know of Dr Watson’s belongings? Who can catalogue those items that are Dr Watson’s personal things? And where no evidence exists, who would care to speculate on Dr Watson’s likely inventory?
The programme is described here: http://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/ies-events/conferences/SherlockHolmes
As one reads the various topics, it becomes clear this is a major academic gathering with serious papers being presented that indicate the Holmesian genre as written by Dr Watson has entered an age of mainstream academia. Note, for instance, “Sherlock Holmes: Modern Literary Virgil,” and “The Spatial Code in Sherlock Holmes Stories.”
A Sherlockian since age 13, Melissa is a former Instructor of English Literature and Writing Composition at Bradley, University. She has most recently written and produced a play featuring Sherlock Holmes and is completing a novel of Watson and Holmes titled The Mystery of That Woman.”
Melissa also has the distinction of being the winner of the 221B Cellars essay contest on the topic “Beeswing.” Her entry is an absolute gem of concision and insight packed into 400 words. She won the prize and her essay will be published in the forthcoming inaugural issue of The Watsonian in October. She has also received an offer from another scion group for its later publication.
When not writing about Dr Watson and Mr Holmes, Melissa is a Ministry Assistant at a Peoria church. She is a member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and The Hansoms of John Clayton.
Please welcome Melissa with our traditional warmth and Canonical greeting:
“You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”
Dr Watson writes of moons in about thirty instances throughout the Canon. Has anyone worked out the references, the pattern, or the significance of the moons?
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson have a bearskin rug in front of the fireplace. Anyone care to speculate on this? Would not a bearskin rug be unusual in Victorian England? Were (are) there bears in Great Britain?
On a separate note, Buttons has it on first authority that Vamberry Wine Merchant bottled the First Edition A Study In Scarlet today. He reports that it is something a bit special in a red wine. A case is being sent to Dr Watson for “medicinal purposes.” www.221bcellars.com.
And, now, back to the bear…
The Society is pleased to welcome Mr Joseph Kruth as a Charter Member. Joe has been corresponding regularly and has sent along his delightful biography:It was quiet. No radio or TV allowed on the ward floor. As I was drifting in and out of a swirling yellow fog, a smartly turned-out young women in a crisp Red Cross uniform was approaching – book cart in tow. Maybe a book would clear my head. The book cart had many well-thumbed books including one Sherlock Holmes book. Sadly, I neither remember the book title nor the stories. This was in my adventurous year of 1969. Three years later, in a library, I came across William S. Baring-Gould’s two volume Sherlock Holmes Annotated and spent several hours paging through this weighty tome. Yes, I was hooked. Within a few days I purchased my own Baring-Gould set for about $50 – no small amount of money at the time. However, money well spent.
Through the years, I have endeavored to keep-up on all things Sherlockian:
Seven 3-ring binders containing 526 newspaper clippings, advertisements, book excerpts, etc. Please note: my collection is hard copy-print media. No internet searches.
Also, my main Sherlock Holmes index appropriately sub-titled “Behold the Fruits of Laborious Days and Pensive Nights,” contains 324 entries ranging from books, tapes, DVDs and miscellany.
And, in August 1996, Classic Specialties was gracious enough to publish my small unworthy monograph “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.”
In August 1998, I corresponded with the Franco-Midland Hardware Company based in England. After a little time, I passed the 200 question exam and received my Certificate in Holmesian Studies (CHS). I am no longer in contact.
Lastly, it was the Peter Blau newsletter of April 2013 that alerted me to your august John H. Watson Society.
It is time to end with a non-canonical, but appropriate, exit:
“Holmes Again? Always Holmes…Until the End.” Recognize the line?
And, Joe, we all warmly welcome you to the Society with our also most appropriate greeting: “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”