STOC

On June 15th…

Pinner knew when he read the news,
Suicide he would have to choose.
He went to his room
To hasten his doom,
And to drum on the door with his shoes.
– Don Dillistone, 2002

June 15, 1889: Holmes and Watson accompanied Hall Pycroft to Birmingham to see Arthur Harry Pinner in New Street. [STOC]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1893)

Following his lead we ascended five stories, until we found ourselves outside a half-opened door, at which our client tapped. A voice within bade us “Come in”, and we entered a bare, unfurnished room, such as Hall Pycroft had described. At the single table sat the man whom we had seen in the street, with his evening paper spread out in front of him, and as he looked up at us it seemed to me that I had never looked upon a face which bore such marks of grief, and of something beyond grief – of a horror such as comes to few men in a lifetime. His brow glistened with perspiration, his cheeks were of the dull dead white of a fish’s belly, and his eyes were wild and staring. He looked at his clerk as though he failed to recognize him, and I could see by the astonishment depicted upon our conductor’s face, that this was by no means the usual appearance of his employer.
“You look very ill, Mr. Pinner,” he exclaimed.
“Yes, I am not very well,” answered the other, making obvious efforts to pull himself together, and licking his dry lips before he spoke. “Who are these gentlemen whom you have brought with you?”
“One is Mr. Harris, of Bermondsey, and the other is Mr. Price of this town,” said our clerk, glibly. “They are friends of mine, and gentlemen of experience, but they have been out of a place for some little time, and they hoped that perhaps you might find an opening for them in the company’s employment.”
“Very possibly! Very possibly!” cried Mr. Pinner, with a ghastly smile. “Yes, I have no doubt that we shall be able to do something for you. What is your particular line, Mr. Harris?”
“I am an accountant,” said Holmes.
“Ah, yes, we shall want something of the sort. And you, Mr. Price?”
“A clerk,” said I.
“I have every hope that the company may accommodate you. I will let you know about it as soon as we come to any conclusion. And now I beg that you will go. For God’s sake, leave me to myself!”

 

June 15, 1889: Arthur Pinner attempted suicide. [STOC)]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1893)

Again and much louder came the rat-tat-tat. We all gazed expectantly at the closed door. Glancing at Holmes I saw his face turn rigid, and he leaned forward in intense excitement. Then suddenly came a low gurgling, gargling sound and a brisk drumming upon woodwork. Holmes sprang frantically across the room and pushed at the door. It was fastened on the inner side. Following his example, we threw ourselves upon it with all our weight. One hinge snapped, then the other, and down came the door with a crash. Rushing over it we found ourselves in the inner room. It was empty.
But it was only for a moment that we were at fault. At one corner, the corner nearest the room which we had left, there was a second door. Holmes sprang to it and pulled it open. A coat and waistcoat were lying on the floor, and from a hook behind the door, with his own braces round his neck, was hanging the managing director of the Franco-Midland Hardware Company. His knees were drawn up, his head hung at a dreadful angle to his body, and the clatter of his heels against the door made the noise which had broken in upon our conversation. In an instant I had caught him round the waist and held him up, while Holmes and Pycroft untied the elastic bands which had disappeared between the livid creases of skin. Then we carried him into the other room, where he lay with a slate-coloured face, puffing his purple lips in and out with every breath – a dreadful wreck of all that he had been but five minutes before.

(Chronology Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn)

On June 14th…

June 14, 1889: Hall Pycroft finished marking off all of the hardware sellers in Paris. [STOC]
(Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn, BSI)

Illustration by WH Hyde for Harper’s Weekly (1893)

“I went back to the hotel with the big book under my arm, and with very conflicting feelings in my breast. On the one hand I was definitely engaged, and had a hundred pounds in my pocket. On the other, the look of the offices, the absence of name on the wall, and other of the points which would strike a business man had left a bad impression as to the position of my employers. However, come what might, I had my money, so I settled down to my task. All Sunday I was kept hard at work, and yet by Monday I had only got as far as H. I went round to my employer, found him in the same dismantled kind of room, and was told to keep at it until Wednesday, and then come again. On Wednesday it was still unfinished, so I hammered away until Friday – that is, yesterday. Then I brought it round to Mr. Harry Pinner.
“‘Thank you very much,’ said he. ‘I fear that I underrated the difficulty of the task. This list will be of very material assistance to me.’
“‘It took some time,’ said I.
“‘And now,’ said he, `I want you to make a list of the furniture shops, for they all sell crockery.’

More busy work to keep Pycroft out of the way? More time to impersonate Pycroft and pull off the robbery? –Chips

 

On June 10th…

A Day by Day Chronology of Mr Sherlock Holmes, According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn, BSI and DWNP, once again gives us multiple events for the day:

June 10, 1889: Hall Pycroft was supposed to start work with Mawson and Williams. [STOC]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1893)

“Quite so. Why? When we answer that, we have made some progress with our little problem. Why? There can be only one adequate reason. Someone wanted to learn to imitate your writing, and had to procure a specimen of it first. And now if we pass on to the second point, we find that each throws light upon the other. That point is the request made by Pinner that you should not resign your place, but should leave the manager of this important business in the full expectation that a Mr. Hall Pycroft, whom he had never seen, was about to enter the office upon the Monday morning.”

Isaac Asimov provides us a summary in verse:

First young Pycroft had no job, then two,
And that puts him, it seems, in a stew.
First they want him no doubt.
But then Paris is out.
It’s a puzzle ___ Does Holmes get the clue?

June 10, 1900: Beppo destroyed two more busts of Napoleon. [SIXN]

Busts of Napoleon on display at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, London

Some little time ago he purchased from Morse Hudson two duplicate plaster casts of the famous head of Napoleon by the French sculptor Devine. One of these he placed in his hall in the house at Kennington Road, and the other on the mantelpiece of the surgery at Lower Brixton. Well, when Dr. Barnicot came down this morning he was astonished to find that his house had been burgled during the night, but that nothing had been taken save the plaster head from the hall. It had been carried out, and had been dashed savagely against the garden wall, under which its splintered fragments were discovered.
[…]I thought it would please you. But I have not got to the end yet. Dr. Barnicot was due at his surgery at twelve o’clock, and you can imagine his amazement when, on arriving there, he found that the window had been opened in the night, and that the broken pieces of his second bust were strewn all over the room. It had been smashed to atoms where it stood.

On June 9th…

Another Double Day. Not the complete one-volume book, just events. (Not sorry, could not resist pun. Bad, but fun for me. –Chips)

[*Groan* –Selena]

A Day by Day Chronology of Mr Sherlock Holmes According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn, BSI, gives us two events for this date.

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1892)

June 9, 1888: Jeremiah Hayling was killed by Colonel Lysander Stark [ENGI]

“Here is an advertisement which will interest you,” said [Holmes]. “It appeared in all the papers about a year ago. Listen to this – `Lost, on the 9th inst., Mr. Jeremiah Hayling, aged 26, a hydraulic engineer. Left his lodgings at ten o’clock at night, and has not been heard of since. Was dressed in,’ &c. &c. Ha! That represents the last time that the Colonel needed to have his machine overhauled, I fancy.”
“Good heavens!” cried my patient. “Then that explains what the girl said.”

(I know this picture is usually thought to be our Thumbless Engineer, but with a little imagination I imagine this could have been the fate of Mr. Hayling. –Chips)

June 9, 1889: Hall Pycroft began marking off all of the hardware sellers in Paris [STOC]

“‘You will eventually manage the great depot in Paris, which will pour a flood of English crockery into the shops of one hundred and thirty-four agents in France. The purchase will be completed in a week, and meanwhile you will remain in Birmingham and make yourself useful.’
“‘How?’
“For answer he took a big red book out of a drawer. ‘This is a directory of Paris,’ said he, ‘with the trades after the names of the people. I want you to take it home with you, and to mark off all the hardware sellers with their addresses. It would be of the greatest use to me to have them.’
“‘Surely there are classified lists?’ I suggested.
“‘Not reliable ones. Their system is different to ours. Stick at it and let me have the lists by Monday, at twelve. Good-day, Mr. Pycroft; if you continue to show zeal and intelligence, you will find the company a good master.’ […]”

No matter as why Pycroft was told he was doing it, I associate this job with copying the Encyclopedia Britannica in another case. Both tasks would keep a (not-so-bright?) person out of the way. –Chips

On June 8th…

According to A Day by Day Chronology of Mr Sherlock Holmes, According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn, BSI and DWNP, on June 8, 1889: Hall Pycroft took a train to Birmingham to meet Harry Pinner. [STOC]

Lickey Incline 5 geograph-2180870

You can imagine, Dr. Watson, how pleased I was at such an extraordinary piece of good fortune. I sat up half the night hugging myself over it, and next day I was off to Birmingham in a train that would take me in plenty of time for my appointment. I took my things to an hotel in New Street, and then I made my way to the address which had been given me[…]

Illustration by WH Hyde for Harper’s Weekly (1893)

[…]I followed him to the top of a very lofty stair, and there right under the slates were a couple of empty and dusty little rooms, uncarpeted and uncurtained, into which he led me. I had thought of a great office with shining tables and rows of clerks such as I was used to, and I daresay I stared rather straight at the two deal chairs and one little table, which, with a ledger and a wastepaper basket, made up the whole furniture.

Every time I read this story, I often wonder just how with it Hall Prycroft was. The old expression keeps popping into my mind: If it seems too good to be true…! –Chips

On June 7th…

Another day with two cases in two years on the same day. Confused yet? Here we go.

June 7 1889: Arthur Pinner offered Hall Pycroft a job with Franco-Midland Hardware Company [STOC]

Illustration by WH Hyde for Harper’s Weekly (1893)

Well, I was sitting doing a smoke that very evening after I had been promised the appointment, when up came my landlady with a card which had `Arthur Pinner, financial agent,’ printed upon it. I had never heard the name before, and could not imagine what he wanted with me, but of course I asked her to show him up. In he walked – a middle-sized, dark-haired, dark-eyed, black-bearded man, with a touch of the sheeny about his nose. He had a brisk kind of way with him and spoke sharply, like a man that knew the value of time.

[The description of Pinner includes an offensive slang term for a Jewish person. I always disliked comments like that even if those descriptions were in common use at the time. -Chips]

June 7, 1900: Beppo destroyed the first bust of Napoleon. [SIXN]

“The first case reported was four days ago,” said he. “It was at the shop of Morse Hudson, who has a place for the sale of pictures and statues in the Kennington Road. The assistant had left the front shop for an instant when he heard a crash, and, hurrying in, found a plaster bust of Napoleon, which stood with several other works of art upon the counter, lying shivered into fragments.

On June 6th…

A Day by Day Chronology of Mr Sherlock Holmes, According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled and edited by William S Dorn, BSI and DWNP, gives us two entries for Sherlockian events in two different years. So here we go.

June 6, 1889: Hall Pycroft received a letter offering him a berth with Mawson and Williams. [STOC]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1893)

“At last I saw a vacancy at Mawson and Williams’, the great stockbroking firm in Lombard Street. I daresay E.C. is not much in your line, but I can tell you that this is about the richest house in London. The advertisement was to be answered by letter only. I sent in my testimonial and application, but without the least hope of getting it. Back came an answer by return saying that if I would appear next Monday I might take over my new duties at once, provided that my appearance was satisfactory. No one knows how these things are worked. Some people say the manager just plunges his hand into the heap and takes the first that comes. Anyhow, it was my innings that time, and I don’t ever wish to feel better pleased. The screw was a pound a week rise, and the duties just about the same as at Coxon’s.

Question from Chips: In the last sentence of the quote above, a rise in pay is referred to as “a screw”. Why?

Answer from the English Oxford Living Dictionaries:

British – dated, informal [in singular]
An amount of salary or wages.
‘he’s offered me the job with a jolly good screw’

June 6, 1890: Busts of Napoleon were sold to Morse Hudson and the Harding Brothers. [SIXN]

Busts of Napoleon on display at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, London

“Now, Watson, let us make for Gelder and Co., of Stepney, the source and origin of busts. I shall be surprised if we don’t get some help down there.”
[…] A reference to his books showed that hundreds of casts had been taken from a marble copy of Devine’s head of Napoleon, but that the three which had been sent to Morse Hudson a year or so before had been half of a batch of six, the other three being sent to Harding Brothers, of Kensington.

On June 15th…

June 15, 1889: Holmes and Watson accompanied Hall Pycroft to Birmingham to see Arthur Harry Pinner (STOC)
June 15, 1889: Arthur Pinner attempted suicide (STOC)

On June 9th…

June 9, 1888: Jeremiah Hayling was killed by Colonel Lysander Stark (ENGI)
June 9, 1889: Hall Pycroft began marking off all of the hardware sellers in Paris (STOC)

On June 7th…

June 7, 1889: Arthur Pinner offered Hall Pycroft a job with Franco-Midland Hardware Company (STOC)
June 7, 1900: Beppo destroyed the first bust of Napoleon (SIXN)

On June 6th…

June 6, 1889: Hall Pycroft received a letter offering him a berth with Mawson & Williams (STOC)
June 6, 1890: Napoleon busts were sold to Morse Hudson and the Harding Brothers (SIXN)

On June 15th…

June 15, 1889: Holmes and Watson accompanied Hall Pycroft to Birmingham to meet Arthur Harry Pinner. (STOC)
June 15, 1889: Arthur Pinner attempts suicide. (STOC)