The Speckled Band: Limericks

To All:

 I became intrigued with the idea of how many different ways that a limerick could be written about the same story. So I copied the different limericks that I had about the short story “The Speckled Band” and put them here for you to enjoy.


The Speckled Band

Doctor Roylott takes every precaution
to cling to each stepdaughter’s portion.
To avert Helen’s fate,
our friends lie in wait,
and he dies with a dreadful contortion.

         – Mr. Henry Baker (in the light of common day, Oliver Mundy)

“He spoke in a slow staccato fashion,
choosing his words with care,
and gave the impression of a man of learning and letters
who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune.”

The Speckled Band

Helen’s bed ‘neath the ventilator,
meant the snake by the rope could locate her.
So ran the plot
of Doctor Roylott
who was trying to liquidate her.

         -Don Dillistone, June, 2004

The Speckled Band

Her annuity was the key factor
in why Helen’s stepfather attacked her.
He was mad as a hatter,
for a pet, kept an adder,
and the adder was meant to subtract her.

          -The Dancing Man

The Speckled Band

In the bedroom a milk-drinking snake
wanted a nice piece of cake.
He crawled down the rope;
he just couldn’t cope
with more tasteless food, for Pete’s sake.

           — Matilda – from the lumber camps of Michigan aka Bill Briggs

The Speckled Band

You would not want this in your hand,
though it could crawl up a silk strand;
it would never fight,
but it could bite;
it was the maligned speckled band.

              –William S Dorn BSI, ,DWNP;  from his book The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes; Pencil Productions 2005.

Bill emailed me that he found 10 copies of his book that he would be offering for sale at $18.00 postage included. In my opinion the book is one you should get if you love limericks. Contact Bill at:

New Page:  Chips’s Tid Bits

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new page to the Society’s website: Chips’s Tid Bits. Here, we will continue to feature the limericks, poems, aphorisms, and important miscellanea brought for our enjoyment and edification by our most active contributor, Ron Lies, JHWS “Chips,” of Denver, Colorado.

He is the Transcriber of Dr Watson’s Neglected Patients and has served as past Staff Surgeon, past Chief Surgeon and member since 1972. He belongs to The Sherlock Holmes Society of India; is a member of The Sydney Passengers, The Sherlock Homes Society of Australia; and is a co-founder of The Sons of Shaw, a society honouring the memory of John Bennett Shaw. His overwhelming interest in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson began in seventh grade when he read “The Speckled Band.”  He has always identified with Dr John Watson and now feels he is where he belongs with The John H Watson Society. And we agree.

Please visit the new page often, as “Chips” has weekly additions and often sends tid bits more frequently. Thank you, “Chips,” for making us all a great deal richer.

A Poem for Sherlock Holmes

This poem comes to me by the courtesy of Bill Peschel who has a interesting site which includes a section called the Poems for Sherlock Holmes. Bill says, “This poem, by journalist John Northern Hilliard, was published in 1922, was written after Holmes’s final retirement in “His Last Bow.”” I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do, although I do not know how. This poem brings out in me those special, indescribable feelings of joy and peace I get whenever I go back to Baker Street.

Sherlock Holmes
By John Northern Hilliard

When Sherlock Holmes, ingenious man, pursued his strange career,
we followed his deductions with an interest sincere.

Although in his time his victories monotonous became,
we must admit that since he quit work, life’s never been the same.

He always kept his wits on tap, he always had a clue,
he always could foretell just what a criminal would do.

A bit of string, a button, or a half smoked cigarette
made up the only evidence that Sherlock Holmes need get.

And when he bagged his man and had him safe behind bars,
he’d tell the tale to Watson over coffee and cigars.

Friend Watson then would spin a yarn from details of the case,
and label it “The Tonkin Three” or “Mystery of a Face.”

We have detectives who are shrewd, detectives who are wise,
detectives who, like M. Lecoq, are experts at disguise.

We have detectives whose brave deeds would fill a dozen tomes,
but never one that can compare with Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Dupin’s “Rue Morgue” deductions we today vote rather “slow,”
for Sherlock would have solved the case in half a day or so.

The novels of Gaboriau, the tales of Mrs. Green,
were tossed aside when Sherlock Holmes appeared upon the scene.

So here’s to Sherlock Holmes and may his glory never dim,
and here’s to his friend Watson for his faithfulness to him.

And here’s to Conan Doyle, may he attain the prophet’s span,
and all his life just write of Holmes, that great and noble man.


“Chips’s” Weekly Limericks

To all:

I have received permission from two members of The Hounds of the Internet to post their limericks and here are examples. Please let me know in the “comments” section if you have limericks, poems, sonnets, or other word pictures you would like to see posted.  

The Gloria Scott

To Australia once he was sent,
But escaped and set up as a gent,
Till the castaway’s greed
And the “fly-paper” screed
Taught Trevor what Nemesis meant.

Mr Henry Baker

“He spoke in a slow staccato fashion,

choosing his words with care,
and gave the impression of a man of learning and letters
who had had ill-usage at the hands of fortune.”

            — in the light of common day, Oliver Mundy

Gloria Scott

Nuts being cracked and some port,
But the munching was quickly cut short.
Your hen-pheasant’s life
Brought serious strife
When Old Trevor slipped out for a snort.

            — Matilda, from the lumber camps of Michigan, aka Bill Briggs

 All my best,

Ron Lies “Chips” and the Weekly Limerick

Here is “Chips'” Limerick of the Week:

In the 1940s Edgar W. Smith wrote, “We love the times in which he lived, of course, the half-remembered, half-forgotten times of snug Victorian illusion, of gas lit comfort and contentment, of perfect dignity and grace. And we love the place: the England of those times, fat with the fruits of her achievements, but strong and daring still with the spirit of imperial adventure. But there is more than time and space and the yearning of things gone by to account for what we feel toward Sherlock Holmes. Not only there and then, but here and now, he stands as a symbol, if you please, of all that we are not, but ever would be. We see him as the fine expression of our urge to trample evil and to set aright the wrongs with which the world is plagued. He is Galahad and Socrates, bringing high adventure to our dull existences and calm, judicial logic to our biased minds.”

Limerick for The Hound of the Baskervilles

So here’s to that wonderful Hound,
Who crossed the moor with a bound,
He glowed in the night,
A terrible sight,
And did make a frightening sound.

Author William S Dorn BSI, DWNP,from his book and card set, The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes, published by Pencil Productions, 2005.

All my best,

Ron Lies’ Weekly Limerick

Ron writes:

I do not think I have posted this one yet. I would be amiss in my posting duties if I did not. Here is the first of Mr. Asimov’ s superb efforts.  What more would or should be said?

Ron aka “Chips”

A Study in Scarlet

Meet the quick mind that restlessly combs
Through he smallest of clues as it roams
From initial confusion
To triumphant conclusion.
My friends, here we have Sherlock Holmes.

Author: Isaac Asimov BSI, from his book, Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks published by Mysterious Press, New York; 1978

Ron Lies “Chips” Sonnet of the Week

“Chips” sends along something a bit different from his weekly limerick: a sonnet by Helene Yuhasova (pen name of Edgar W. Smith, BSI) written in 1946.

John H Watson to Sherlock Holmes

You are a benefactor of the race;
Warrant and symbol of our land’s content:
A Sword that strikes in evil’s darkest place,
The law’s oblique, incisive instrument.
For this you have the nation’s accolade
In grateful token of the wrongs redressed–
But when your donative is fully weighted
Not England, but the world will call you blest.

For you have given us escape today
From threats that lie against our lives and pelf;
While thru the days to come you’ll show the way
To find elusion from the world.
This is the benefaction I’ve designed:
To give you to the ages of mankind

From the pamphlet: A Lauriston Garden of Verses by Helene Yuhasova;
published by The Pamphlet House, Summit, New Jersey, 1946 


Weekly Limerick: “Chipping” Away at the Humorous Art

Ron Lies “Chips” gives us these two delightful limericks this week. Thank you, as always.

“I have wrought my simple plan if I give one hour of joy to the boy who’s half a man, or the man who’s half a boy.”
— Doyle, Arthur Conan; The Lost World

That dedication describes me to a “T.” That is why my favourite story from the Canon is The Sign of the Four. These limericks are my favourites of them all.

All my best, Chips

The Sign of the Four

Miss Morstan was quite a nice doll,
for her good old Watson did fall,
but with feelings hid,
he joined Holmes and did
down The Thames chase Tonga and Small.

Author: William S Dorn, BSI, from his book, The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes, produced by Pencil Productions, 2005.

I am adding a limerick from that noted Sherlockian, Isaac Asimov, that describes my romantic love affair with my wife Mary for forty-one years and forever.

The Sign of the Four

Muttered Holmes, “Never mind cocaine’s pleasure,
let us seek out the famed Agra Treasure.”
Answered Watson, “No pearls
for myself—only girls;
and it’s Mary that’s made to my measure. “

Author: Isaac Asimov, BSI, from his book, Asimov’s Sherlockian Limericks, published by The Mysterious Press New York, 1978.

Limerick of the Week

Here is Ron Lies’ Limerick of the Week:


Now Watson did have a bull pup,
Although it did never show up.
Though where it did go, there is no way to know,
Perhaps they had pup for their sup.

Author: William S Dorn  BSI, DWNP 2005
From his Book The Limericks of Sherlock Holmes and his card set
Produced by Pencil Productions, 2005.

A note from Chips:  As a animal lover I was a little disturbed by this limerick’s last line. It seemed to be a put-down of Mrs. Hudson’s dinners as to just what the meat might be. I brought up these points to Bill. He thanked me and said if I would like to write a better one I was welcome to try. I tried and failed. Maybe someone in our group would like to try?