December 27, 1889: Watson wished Holmes the compliments of the season. [BLUE] December 27, 1889: Holmes traced the goose in whose crop the blue carbuncle was found to the Alpha Inn and thence to Breckinridge’s stall at Covent Garden. [BLUE] December 27, 1889: James Ryder confessed to stealing the blue carbuncle. [BLUE] December 27, 1889: Holmes decided to allow James Ryder to go free. [BLUE]
As we move into the time of Christmas , I look for and find that one volume and have it at hand to read. I open the cover of the book and read the introductory notes.
The title of the piece is: “The Blue Carbuncle or The Season of Forgiveness.”
The first Sentence is: “Surely one of the most unusual things in the world: A Christmas Story without slush.”
These words penned by our beloved scholars and the rest of the article are well worth reading.
To all of our society and their loved ones, I wish a joyful, peaceful and a blessed one. “God bless us every one.”
Four members submitted excellent analyses of the question about the ornithological “either/or” riddle. Usually this is thought to be Dr Watson’s sighting of either a gull or a curlew in HOUN. Our member team of Margie Deck and Sheila Holtgrieve, “Gwen” and “Daisy” from Seattle, were first to submit with brilliant and very thorough textual, scientific and scholarship reviews favouring the gull.
Second in was Denny Dobry “Kirby” who submitted an equally adroit analysis offering evidence for either a city bred or a country bred goose in BLUE. This was a new theory in the extant scholarship and very clever; it hinges on the validity of the actual existence of a “crop” in a goose. Town geese, not having crops, were posited to have undergone an evolutionary change over time, thereby producing a crop due to London’s pollution.
And our third submission was from fellow member, Michele Lopez “Reggie” president of Italy’s Uno Studio in Holmes, who offered his precise analysis of the gull/curlew hypothesis, also favouring the gull.
All were well-done and well-supported by both Canonical, scientific and scholarly evidence. Each cited the specific BSJ articles of prior years that explored the issues of birds in the Canon.
There will be a modest article in the forthcoming issue of The Watsonian at the end of this month discussing aspects of this question. Those interested are invited to read more on the topic in the journal.
This week’s quiz was a question requiring research, both Canonical and scientific.
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.
Two days after Christmas, as per the Canonical text, a Consultation of the Society was held in Napa, California at the home of Charter Members Andree and Chuck Youngson, “Belle” and “Jeeves.” The gracious hosts prepared the wonderful classic British dinner of roast beef with all the trimmings and additional dishes, appetizers, and desserts, as well as a liberality of wines, were brought by members. Suffice it to say that the warmth of hospitality, conviviality and superb cooking have seldom reached such heights in the post-Christmas quietude.
The afternoon also served as a meeting of the Napa Valley Napoleons of S.H., Dr Don Yates, “Pal” in the chair. The “Blue Carbuncle” radio drama starring Sirs Richardson and Geilgud was listened to and discussion followed.
Prof Yates called the Society’s third Consultation to order. The nine Founding and Charter Members present included Prof Yates and Dr Joanne Yates “Pal and “Sandy,” Andree and Chuck Youngson “Belle” and Jeeves,” Bruce Taylor “Booker,” Alice and Donald Schueler, “Goldie” and “Ascoyne,” Andrea Stewart “Asta” and Don Libey, “Buttons.”
Prof Yates called the Consultation to order at 3:00 p.m. A toast to Dr Watson was offered and celebrated. A motion was made to proceed with Bylaw #5 and to adjourn the meeting as no other business was before the Society. The motion carried and the Chair adjourned the Consultation at 3:05 p.m. Following the meeting, a fine bottle of aged port was poured and sticky toffee pudding was enjoyed by all.
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.”
“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.