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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?
7 Replies to “Scroll Down and Look at the Responses to the MD, Mr, Dr, FRCS question!”
While a charming supposition, I’m afraid the weight of evidence is against Martha of LAST as Mrs. Hudson, last of Baker Street, and nothing to indicate that Holmes’ “old housekeeper” in LION is the same as the landlady of a valuable Baker Street property.
I agree with Pippin. “Martha” in LAST seems to work for British Intelligence. In addition, Holmes seems to talk to her rather differently than he did Mrs. Hudson. There’s nothing to tie Martha or the Sussex housekeeper to Mrs. Hudson, although the latter being “old” might make the LION woman slightly more likely to be the same as Mrs. Hudson than the housekeeper in LAST.
Roxie is likely right: Martha was probably a recruit for British Intelligence and subservient to Holmes in the mission. If she was Mrs. Hudson, where are the words of greeting and remembrance from Watson? It is more likely that Holmes’ Sussex housekeeper was a local woman. As landlady of a valuable property in the heart of the capital, Mrs. Hudson would be seen as a businesswoman of some social standing. Would she chuck that to be a lower status servant out in the sticks? Because she missed “the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around” Holmes, “the very worst tenant in London”? Despite her “deepest awe” and fondness for him, she was no doubt happy to live her own life after his retirement.
I know that most Sherlockians are of the view of Benedict Cumberbatch in “A Scandal in Belgravia”: “Mrs Hudson, leave Baker Street? England would fall!” While I like Mrs. Hudson, she seems to be a tabla rasa on to which Sherlockians project their own feelings about the Canon. I’ve always wanted to count the lines of dialog she has in the entirety of the Canon and compare them to other minor characters. I suspect that Sir Henry Baskerville, who despite his congeniality Sherlockians don’t give a whit about, has more lines of dialog. Aside from her “stately tread” and that she maybe a “Scotchwoman” (a famous grouse?), we know nothing about her. In fact, Watson’s “the more stately tread of the landlady passed my door” comes from “A Study in Scarlet” and the landlady is never named. It could be Mrs. Turner for all we know!
Not to be self-serving, but we do have Holmes’s own words to guide us in these matters. Mrs Turner was the bane of his existence and he managed to pack her off to sea in the ill-fated Alicia. Mrs Hudson remained in her desmesne with Holmes upstairs at 47 Montague Street.
That Montague Street guy sounds like one bad dude. “You annoy me, Colonel Moran. I think it’s time you took a little trip on the S.S. Alicia.” “John Clay, pity you did not get first prize–thirty thousand napoleons from the cellar of the City and Suburban Bank. However, Watson and I have a consolation prize; a round trip cruise on the cutter Alicia. Oh, you may pack light. Very light indeed.”
You are both right on the mark. And yet, in a world where it is always 1895, I can’t but feel sorry that it isn’t Mrs. Hudson through to the end. (I know… “Cut out the poetry….”)
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