Baron Maupertuis and Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips”

Our member, Ron Lies, “Chips” takes part in a Sherlockian group on the web led by “Judith” who poses interesting questions for the participants to discuss. Here is a recent example concerning “The Reigate Squires”:

Judith: This case opens with Watson saying: “The whole question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertuis are too recent in the minds of the public, and too intimately concerned with politics and finance, to be fitting subjects for this series of sketches.”

Questions and Ron Lies’s responses:

A. Why would being too recent in the minds of the public make these cases not fitting subjects for this series of sketches? This implies that they would be fitting later.  Either a subject is fitting or not, right?

RL: No, a subject could be too painful and fresh in peoples’ minds, whereas the
passage of time might mitigate the pain.

B. Wouldn’t the fact that these cases are still fresh in the minds of the public make them more marketable?  Why not strike while the iron is hot?

RL: No, I think that the Doctor Watson was trying to not to bring up again the pain and the destruction of the financial dreams of the lives of the people who were swindled by Baron Maupertuis. Watson was trying in his own way to soften the pain and the destruction to the vast numbers of people ruined by The Baron’s swindles.

C. Is it possible that Watson is just toying with his readers and making mountains out of mole hills?

RL: Doctor Watson would not toy with his readers or make mountains out of mole hills. His code of conduct would not allow him to do so. Doctor Watson was crediting the readers with reasonable intelligence. He felt some readers would wonder why the question of the Netherland-Sumatra Company and of the colossal schemes of Baron Maupertins” were not being addressed by Sherlock Holmes
and himself.

Yours in Sherlock and Watson,

“The Game is Afoot”  aka Ron in Denver, JHWS “Chips”

What do you think? What other explanations may be reasonable for Holmes and Watson not acting in response to the Baron Maupertuis schemes? Please feel free to make comments. We thank “Chips” for his sending these insights on this shadowy corner of the Canon.


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