On May 4th…

Today is a day of great significance in the Canon. We give you these three events:

First…

May 4, 1847: John Ferrier and Lucy were rescued by the Mormons. [STUD]

Illustration by D H Friston

 

The rescuing party were speedily able to convince the two castaways that their appearance was no delusion. One of them seized the little girl and hoisted her upon his shoulder, while two others supported her gaunt companion, and assisted him towards the wagons.
“My name is John Ferrier,” the wanderer explained; “me and that little un are all that’s left o’ twenty-one people. The rest is all dead o’ thirst and hunger away down in the south.”
“Is she your child?” asked someone.
“I guess she is now,” the other cried, defiantly; “she’s mine ’cause I saved her. No man will take her from me. She’s Lucy Ferrier from this day on. Who are you, though?”

 

Second…

May 4, 1882: An advertisement seeking Mary Morstan’s address appeared in The Times. [SIGN]

Ann Bell as Mary Morstan (1968)

“I have not yet described to you the most singular part. About six years ago – to be exact, upon the 4th of May, 1882 – an advertisement appeared in The Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan, and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward. There was no name and address appended. I had at the time just entered the family of Mrs. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess. By her advice I published my address in the advertisement column. The same day there arrived through the post a small cardboard box addressed to me, which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl. No word of writing was enclosed. Since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box, containing a similar pearl, without any clue as to the sender. They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value. You can see for yourselves that they are very handsome.”

And FINAlly…
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist. -Selena Buttons)

May 4, 1891: Moriarty died in a plunge over the Reichenbach Falls. [FINA]

An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other’s arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation.

 

 

Date provided by the volume A Day-by-Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn.

Tid Bit from a Special Story

This excerpt and picture appeared in the Norwegian Explorers group on Facebook recently. [Reposted from I Hear of Sherlock, so hat-tip to Burt & Scott! -Selena]

Chips writes: These are the word pictures that I fell totally and completely into the world of 1895 and all that followed after.
-Ron, aka the Game is and will forever be Afoot until I cross the Terrace.

“It was a September evening, and not yet seven o’clock, but the day had been a dreary one, and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city. Mud colored clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. The yellow glare from the shop-windows streamed out into the steamy, vaporous air, and threw a murky, shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. There was, to my mind, something eerie and ghost-like in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light,—sad faces and glad, haggard and merry. Like all human kind, they flitted from the gloom into the light, and so back into the gloom once more. I am not subject to impressions, but the dull, heavy evening, with the strange business upon which we were engaged, combined to make me nervous and depressed.” —The Sign of Four

On December 4th…

Langham Hotel (Illustrated London News. July 8, 1865)
Langham Hotel (2009)

December 4, 1878: Mary Morstan visited the Langham Hotel. [SIGN] (A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn, BSI, DWNP)

“On reaching London I drove to the Langham, and was informed that Captain Morstan was staying there, but that he had gone out the night before and had not yet returned. I waited all day without news of him. That night, on the advice of the manager of the hotel, I communicated with the police, and next morning we advertised in all the papers. Our inquiries led to no result; and from that day to this no word has ever been heard of my Father.” (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition.)

 

As noted yesterday, Dorn places NOBL in December of 1888 (most chronologists place it in October of 1888), so he also gives today’s date for the following events:

Francis Hay Moulton moved to 226 Gordon Square.

Peter Warnock as Francis Moulton in “The Eligible Bachelor” (Granada Television, 1993)

“It might have been difficult, but friend Lestrade held information in his hands the value of which he did not himself know. The initials were, of course, of the highest importance, but more valuable still was it to know that within a week he had settled his bill at one of the most select London hotels.” “How did you deduce the select?” “By the select prices. Eight shillings for a bed and eightpence for a glass of sherry pointed to one of the most expensive hotels. There are not many in London which charge at that rate. In the second one which I visited in Northumberland Avenue, I learned by an inspection of the book that Francis H. Moulton, an American gentleman, had left only the day before, and on looking over the entries against him, I came upon the very items which I had seen in the duplicate bill. His letters were to be forwarded to 226 Gordon Square; so thither I travelled, and being fortunate enough to find the loving couple at home, I ventured to give them some paternal advice and to point out to them that it would be better in every way that they should make their position a little clearer both to the general public and to Lord St. Simon in particular. (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition)

Lord Robert St Simon married Hattie Doran.

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (April, 1892)

“Indeed! That is very interesting. And on the morning of the wedding?” “She was as bright as possible—at least until after the ceremony.” “And did you observe any change in her then?” “Well, to tell the truth, I saw then the first signs that I had ever seen that her temper was just a little sharp. The incident however, was too trivial to relate and can have no possible bearing upon the case.” “Pray let us have it, for all that.” “Oh, it is childish. She dropped her bouquet as we went towards the vestry. She was passing the front pew at the time, and it fell over into the pew. There was a moment’s delay, but the gentleman in the pew handed it up to her again, and it did not appear to be the worse for the fall. Yet when I spoke to her of the matter, she answered me abruptly; and in the carriage, on our way home, she seemed absurdly agitated over this trifling cause.” (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition)

Hattie Doran disappeared.

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (April, 1892)

“Perhaps, Mrs. Moulton, you would like my friend and me to leave the room while you explain this matter?” “If I may give an opinion,” remarked the strange gentleman, “we’ve had just a little too much secrecy over this business already. For my part, I should like all Europe and America to hear the rights of it.” He was a small, wiry, sunburnt man, clean-shaven, with a sharp face and alert manner. “Then I’ll tell our story right away,” said the lady. (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition)

 

 

 

On December 3rd…

December 3, 1878: Captain Arthur Morstan disappeared. [SIGN] (A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn, BSI, DWNP)

Terence Skelton as Captain Morstan in “The Sign of Four” (Granada Television, 1987)

In the year 1878 my father, who was senior captain of his regiment, obtained twelve months’ leave and came home. He telegraphed to me from London that he had arrived all safe, and directed me to come down at once, giving the Langham Hotel as his address. His message, as I remember, was full of kindness and love. On reaching London I drove to the Langham, and was informed that Captain Morstan was staying there, but that he had gone out the night before and had not yet returned. I waited all day without news of him. That night, on the advice of the manager of the hotel, I communicated with the police, and next morning we advertised in all the papers. Our inquiries led to no result; and from that day to this no word has ever been heard of my unfortunate father. (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition)

Illustration by Josef Friedrich (1906)

A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn, also places Frances Hay Moulton’s arrival in London and the newspaper announcement that the St Simon wedding “would be an absolutely quiet one” [NOBL] on this day in 1888, but it is an outlier, as other chronologies are near unanimous in putting the case in October 1888.

“Anything else?” asked Holmes, yawning. “Oh, yes; plenty. Then there is another note in the Morning Post to say that the marriage would be an absolutely quiet one, that it would be at St. George’s, Hanover Square, that only half a dozen intimate friends would be invited, and that the party would return to the furnished house at Lancaster Gate” (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition)

 

SS Abyssinia (1870)

“Frank had been a prisoner among the Apaches, had escaped, came on to ‘Frisco, found that I had given him up for dead and had gone to England, followed me there, and had come upon me at last on the very morning of my second wedding.” (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. Maplewood Books, Kindle Edition)

On October 10th…

October 10, 1855: Relief of Agra by Col. Greathed. [SIGN]

Illustration from History of the Indian mutiny : giving detailed account of the Sepoy insurrection in India, by Charles Ball (1859)

Well, there’s no use my telling you gentlemen what came of the Indian Mutiny. After Wilson took Delhi and Sir Colin relieved Lucknow the back of the business was broken. Fresh troops came pouring in, and Nana Sahib made himself scarce over the frontier. A flying column under Colonel Greathed came round to Agra and cleared the Pandies away from it. Peace seemed to be settling upon the country, and we four were beginning to hope that the time was at hand when we might safely go off with our share of the plunder. In a moment, however, our hopes were shattered by our being arrested as the murderers of Achmet.

October 10, 1889: Holmes confronted James Windibank AKA Hosmer Angel. [IDEN]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (September, 1891)

Holmes stuck his feet up on the corner of the mantelpiece, and leaning back with his hands in his pockets, began talking, rather to himself, as it seemed, than to us.

‘The man married a woman very much older than himself for her money,’ said he, ‘and he enjoyed the use of the money of the daughter as long as she lived with them. It was a considerable sum for people in their position, and the loss of it would have made a serious difference. It was worth an effort to preserve it. The daughter was of a good, amiable disposition, but affectionate and warm-hearted in her ways, so that it was evident that with her fair personal advantages, and her little income, she would not be allowed to remain single long. Now her marriage would mean, of course, the loss of a hundred a year, so what does her step-father do to prevent it? He takes the obvious course of keeping her at home, and forbidding her to seek the company of people of her own age. But soon he found that that would not answer for ever. She became restive, insisted upon her rights, and finally announced her positive intention of going to a certain ball. What does her clever step-father do then? He conceives an idea more creditable to his head than to his heart. With the connivance and assistance of his wife he disguised himself, covered those keen eyes with tinted glasses, masked the face with a moustache and a pair of bushy whiskers, sunk that clear voice into an insinuating whisper, and doubly secure on account of the girl’s short sight, he appears as Mr Hosmer Angel, and keeps off other lovers by making love himself.’

On May 10th…

May 10, 1857: Sepoy Mutiny began at Meerut [SIGN]

Illustration from History of the Indian mutiny : giving detailed account of the Sepoy insurrection in India, by Charles Ball (1859)

Well, I was never in luck’s way long. Suddenly, without a note of warning, the great mutiny broke upon us. One month India lay as still and peaceful, to all appearance, as Surrey or Kent; the next there were two hundred thousand black devils let loose, and the country was a perfect hell. Of course you know all about it, gentlemen – a deal more than I do, very like, since reading is not in my line. I only know what I saw with my own eyes. Our plantation was at a place called Muttra, near the border of the North-west Provinces. Night after night the whole sky was alight with the burning bungalows and day after day we had small companies of Europeans passing through our estate with their wives and children, on their way to Agra, where were the nearest troops.

Date information provided by the volume A Day-by-Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn.

On May 4th… Beginnings and an Ending

Today is a day of great significance in the Canon. We give you these three events:

First…

May 4, 1847: John Ferrier and Lucy were rescued by the Mormons. [STUD]

Illustration by D H Friston

The rescuing party were speedily able to convince the two castaways that their appearance was no delusion. One of them seized the little girl and hoisted her upon his shoulder, while two others supported her gaunt companion, and assisted him towards the wagons.
“My name is John Ferrier,” the wanderer explained; “me and that little un are all that’s left o’ twenty-one people. The rest is all dead o’ thirst and hunger away down in the south.”
“Is she your child?” asked someone.
“I guess she is now,” the other cried, defiantly; “she’s mine ’cause I saved her. No man will take her from me. She’s Lucy Ferrier from this day on. Who are you, though?”

 

Second…

May 4, 1882: An advertisement seeking Mary Morstan’s address appeared in The Times. [SIGN]

Ann Bell as Mary Morstan (1968)

“I have not yet described to you the most singular part. About six years ago – to be exact, upon the 4th of May, 1882 – an advertisement appeared in The Times asking for the address of Miss Mary Morstan, and stating that it would be to her advantage to come forward. There was no name and address appended. I had at the time just entered the family of Mrs. Cecil Forrester in the capacity of governess. By her advice I published my address in the advertisement column. The same day there arrived through the post a small cardboard box addressed to me, which I found to contain a very large and lustrous pearl. No word of writing was enclosed. Since then every year upon the same date there has always appeared a similar box, containing a similar pearl, without any clue as to the sender. They have been pronounced by an expert to be of a rare variety and of considerable value. You can see for yourselves that they are very handsome.”

And FINAlly…
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist. -Selena Buttons)

May 4, 1891: Moriarty died in a plunge over the Reichenbach Falls. [FINA]

An examination by experts leaves little doubt that a personal contest between the two men ended, as it could hardly fail to end in such a situation, in their reeling over, locked in each other’s arms. Any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation.

 

 

Date provided by the volume A Day-by-Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn.

On April 19th…

Emrys James, Jeremy Brett, and Edward Hardwicke

April 19, 1888: Holmes, Watson, and Altheney Jones chased the launch Aurora down the river Thames. [SIGN]

“And there is the Aurora,” exclaimed Holmes, “and going like the devil! Full speed ahead, engineer. Make after that launch with the yellow light. By Heaven, I shall never forgive myself if she proves to have the heels of us!”

 

April 19, 1888: Tonga was shot and killed by Holmes or Watson (or both). [SIGN]

“Fire if he raises his hand,” said Holmes, quietly.

We were within a boat’s-length by this time, and almost within touch of our quarry. I can see the two men now as they stood: the white man with his legs far apart, shrieking out curses, and the unhallowed dwarf with his hideous face and his strong, yellow teeth gnashing at us in the light of our lantern.

Zena Keller as Tonga

It was well that we had so clear a view of him. Even as we looked he plucked out from under his covering a short, round piece of wood, like a school-ruler, and clapped it to his lips. Our pistols rang out together. He whirled round, threw his arms in the air, and, with a kind of choking cough, fell sideways into the stream. I caught one glimpse of his venomous, menacing eyes amid the white swirl of the waters.

Date provided by A Day-by-Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn.

 

On April 18th…

April 18, 1888: The Baker Street Irregulars started their search for the launch Aurora. [SIGN]

Which one of us have not wanted to be a Baker Street Irregular? I was lucky in the sense, I got into the world of 1895 when I was about 11, so I still thought of myself as willing get into whatever dirty messy situation to look for the Aurora if asked by that towering giant of a idol Holmes. One of my local friends also thought she would do the same. I had brought her into the world of the Thames and Tonga firing poison darts whilst chasing a missing Treasure.

April 18, 1887: Action’s house in Reigate was broken into [REIG]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine

My old friend Colonel Hayter, who had come under my professional care in Afghanistan, had now taken a house near Reigate, in Surrey, and had frequently asked me to come down to him upon a visit. On the last occasion he had remarked that if my friend would only come with me, he would be glad to extend his hospitality to him also. A little diplomacy was needed, but when Holmes understood that the establishment was a bachelor one, and that he would be allowed the fullest freedom, he fell in with my plans, and a week after our return from Lyons we were under the Colonel’s roof. Hayter was a fine old soldier, who had seen much of the world, and he soon found, as I had expected, that Holmes and he had plenty in common.

On the evening of our arrival we were sitting in the Colonel’s gunroom after dinner, Holmes stretched upon the sofa, while Hayter and I looked over his little armoury of firearms.

“By the way,” said he, suddenly, “I think I’ll take one of these pistols upstairs with me in case we have an alarm.”

“An alarm!” said I’

“Yes, we’ve had a scare in this part lately. Old Acton, who is one of our county magnates, had his house broken into last Monday. No great damage done, but the fellows are still at large.”

The interesting point about this Colonel comes from the distinguished Sherlockian scholar D Martin Dakin. In his indispensable research volume A Sherlock Holmes Commentary, he mentions the fact that Colonel Hayter is the only Colonel Holmes had good luck with. Try to think of any other Colonel in the cases who is an honest and upright British citizen. From Colonel Moran on, if you are able to think of such an upright Colonel, let us know. I bet on Dakin.

Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

On April 17th… The Aurora

April 17, 1888: The launch Aurora disappeared. [SIGN]

Illustration by Richard Gutschmidt

He was approaching the door of the house, when it opened, and a little curly-headed lad of six came running out, followed by a stoutish, red-faced woman with a large sponge in her hand.
“You come back and be washed, Jack,” she shouted. “Come back, you young imp; for if your father comes home and finds you like that he’ll let us hear of it.”
“Dear little chap!” cried Holmes, strategically. “What a rosy-cheeked young rascal! Now, Jack, is there anything you would like?”
The youth pondered for a moment.
“I’d like a shillin’,” said he.
“Nothing you would like better?”
“I’d like two shillin’ better,” the prodigy answered, after some thought.
“Here you are, then! Catch! – A fine child, Mrs. Smith!”
“Lor’ bless you, sir, he is that, and forward. He gets a’most too much for me to manage, ‘specially when my man is away days at a time.”
“Away, is he?” said Holmes, in a disappointed voice. “I am sorry for that, for I wanted to speak with Mr. Smith.”
“He’s been away since yesterday mornin’, sir, and, truth to tell, I am beginning to feel frightened about him. But if it was about a boat, sir, maybe I could serve as well.”
“I wanted to hire his steam-launch.”
“Why, bless you, sir, it is in the steam-launch that he has gone. That’s what puzzles me; for I know there ain’t no more coals in her than would take her to about Woolwich and back. If he’d been away in the barge I’d ha’ thought nothin’; for many a time a job has taken him as far as Gravesend, and then if there was much doin’ there he might ha’ stayed over. But what good is a steam-launch without coals?”

So, what will Holmes and Watson do? How will they find the Aurora (besides looking east next to the Denver? Bad inside Colorado joke!!)

To find out the answer to Holmes’s dilemma, check out the Tid Bits column tomorrow, the 18th. Also coming later, another puzzling contradiction that makes this story a mishmash of scholarly debate!

Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

On April 17th… Toby and the Wiper


April 17, 1888: Toby led Holmes and Watson on a creosote trail. [SIGN]
(Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.)

One of the errors mentioned in this story in the Canon involves Watson going to pick up Toby the bloodhound from Old Sherman to try to trail the creosote. The quotes from the story that apply to the problem are:

Chapter 5: The Tragedy of Pondicherry Lodge

[The room] appeared to have been fitted up as a chemical laboratory. A double line of glass-stoppered bottles was drawn up upon the wall opposite the door, and the table was littered over with Bunsen burners, test-tubes, and retorts. In the corners stood carboys of acid in wicker baskets. One of these appeared to leak or to have been broken, for a stream of dark-coloured liquid had trickled out from it, and the air was heavy with a peculiarly pungent, tar-like odour.

Chapter 6: Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration

He whipped out his lens and a tape measure, and hurried about the room on his knees, measuring, comparing, examining, with his long, thin nose only a few inches from the planks, and his beady eyes gleaming and deep-set like those of a bird. So swift, silent, and furtive were his movements, like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent, that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law instead of exerting them in its defence. As he hunted about he kept muttering to himself, and finally he broke out into a loud crow of delight.

“We are certainly in luck,” he said. “We ought to have very little trouble now. Number One has had the misfortune to tread in the creosote. You can see the outline of the edge of his small foot here at the side of this evil-smelling mess. The carboy has been cracked, you see, and the stuff has leaked out.”

“What then?” I asked.

“Why, we have got him, that’s all,” said he. “I know a dog that would follow that scent to the world’s end. If a pack can track a trailed herring across a shire, how far can a specially-trained hound follow so pungent a smell as this? […]”

Chapter 6: Sherlock Holmes Gives a Demonstration

I wish you to go to No. 3, Pinchin Lane, down near the water’s edge at Lambeth. The third house on the right-hand side is a bird-stuffer’s; Sherman is the name. You will see a weasel holding a young rabbit in the window. Knock old Sherman up, and tell him, with my compliments, that I want Toby at once. You will bring Toby back in the cab with you.”

“A dog, I suppose?”

“Yes, a queer mongrel, with a most amazing power of scent. I would rather have Toby’s help than that of the whole detective force of London.”

Chapter 7: The Episode of the Barrel

Pinchin Lane was a row of shabby, two-storied brick houses in the lower quarter of Lambeth. I had to knock for some time at No. 3 before I could make any impression. At last, however, there was the glint of a candle behind the blind, and a face looked out at the upper window.

“Go on, you drunken vagabond,” said the face. “If you kick up any more row, I’ll open the kennels and let out forty-three dogs upon you.”

“If you’ll let one out, it’s just what I have come for,” said I.

“Go on!” yelled the voice. “So help me gracious, I have a wiper in this bag, an’ I’ll drop it on your ‘ead if you don’t hook it!”

Can any one tell us what a wiper is that it might need to be carried in a bag and threaten anyone Prevailing Sherlockian scholarly research indicates the word was supposed to be Viper and was a typo, misprint, or a certain Doctor’s handwriting was very hard to read, or the same certain Doctor/Author could not spell well.

On April 16th…

April 16, 1888: Holmes, Watson and Mary Morstan went to Pondicherry Lodge. [SIGN]

We had hardly reached the third pillar, which was our rendezvous, before a small, dark, brisk man in the dress of a coachman accosted us.

“Are you the parties who come with Miss Morstan?” he asked.

“I am Miss Morstan, and these two gentlemen are my friends,” said she.

He bent a pair of wonderfully penetrating and questioning eyes upon us.

“You will excuse me, miss,” he said, with a certain dogged manner, “but I was to ask you to give me your word that neither of your companions is a police-officer.”

“I give you my word on that,” she answered.

He gave a shrill whistle, on which a street arab led across a four-wheeler and opened the door. The man who had addressed us mounted to the box, while we took our places inside. We had hardly done so before the driver whipped up his horse, and we plunged away at a furious pace through the foggy streets.

The situation was a curious one. We were driving to an unknown place on an unknown errand.

April 16, 1897: Brenda Tregennis was murdered, and her two brothers lost their sanity. [DEVI]

Source
A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

On April 15th… “Chips” on the Sign of Four

April 15, 1888: Tonga killed Bartholomew Sholto with a poison dart. [SIGN]

Source
A Day by Day Chronology of Sherlock Holmes according to Ziesler and Christ by William S Dorn DWNP, BSI.

“Chips” writes:

The Sign of Four – my favorite of the long stories.

I enjoyed the story because it incorporated every thing that would take me from my daily life on the plains of Kansas to the fog covered streets of London and then into the warmth of my new home, 221B Baker Street, with my two favorite companions. A pretty female who needed our help. A mysterious mystery which before it was over involved a revenge plot and a stolen missing treasure of incredible fortune.

And then the Villains! A one-legged man and a murderous pygmy with a blow gun and poison darts. Coupled with a chase down a fog-covered river and these words:

“Fire if he raises his hand,” said Holmes, quietly.

We were within a boat’s-length by this time, and almost within touch of our quarry. I can see the two men now as they stood: the white man with his legs far apart, shrieking out curses, and the unhallowed dwarf with his hideous face and his strong, yellow teeth gnashing at us in the light of our lantern.

It was well that we had so clear a view of him. Even as we looked he plucked out from under his covering a short, round piece of wood, like a school-ruler, and clapped it to his lips. Our pistols rang out together. He whirled round, threw his arms in the air, and, with a kind of choking cough, fell sideways into the stream. I caught one glimpse of his venomous, menacing eyes amid the white swirl of the waters.

Then, as an after action, the treasure disappears, but Watson and Mary Morstan declared their love for each other.

Years later, I met my wife – Mary, as fate would have it. And another quote from the story ends my piece:

“Because I love you, Mary, as truly as ever a man loved a woman. Because this treasure, these riches, sealed my lips. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. That is why I said, `Thank God’.”

“Then I say `Thank God,’ too,” she whispered, as I drew her to my side.

Whoever had lost a treasure, I knew that night that I had gained one.

And that describes my wife who is my life for 45 years and going strong forever.

-Ron, aka The Sign of Four

An Army Tid Bit, Courtesy of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients

No activity recorded for today, so here is a little known fact unearthed from a Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients past event.

A question came up at Ron Lies’ presentation of The Sign of the Four at the September 2006 meeting as to whether British Army at the time were all volunteers at that time or were they conscripted. The Staff Surgeon (Stan Moskal) researched this question and found the answer on page 80 of Mr. Kipling’s Army: All the Queen’s Men, by Byron Farwell:

It was and had always been an army of volunteers; not until the middle of the First World War (January 1916) did Britain resort to conscription. From 1783 until 1806 men enlisted for life; then for a twenty-three-year, enlistments were seven years for the infantry, ten years for the cavalry and twelve years for sappers and gunners. In 1829 Parliament restored the life engagement; in 1847 this was changed to twenty-one years- which was much the same thing. In 1870 ‘short service’ was introduced. Men enlisted for twelve years, but spent only three to seven years with the colours and the remainder in reserve.

See the original post on the Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients site: Some Random Notes.