On June 26th…

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

June 26, 1889: Holmes interviewed Henry Wood about Colonel Barclay’s death. [CROO]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1893)

“Mr. Henry Wood, late of India, I believe?” said Holmes, affably. “I’ve come over this little matter of Colonel Barclay’s death.”
“What should I know about that?”
“That’s what I wanted to ascertain. You know, I suppose, that unless the matter is cleared up, Mrs. Barclay, who is an old friend of yours, will in all probability be tried for murder?”
The man gave a violent start.
“I don’t know who you are,” he cried, “nor how you come to know what you do know, but will you swear that this is true that you tell me?”
“Why, they are only waiting for her to come to her senses to arrest her.”

June 26, 1902: John Garrideb visited Holmes. [3GAR]

Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin (1925)


A moment later he was in the room. Mr. John Garrideb, Counsellor at Law, was a short, powerful man with the round, fresh, clean-shaven face characteristic of so many American men of affairs. The general effect was chubby and rather childlike, so that one received the impression of quite a young man with a broad set smile upon his face. His eyes, however, were arresting. Seldom in any human head have I seen a pair which bespoke a more intense inward life, so bright were they, so alert, so responsive to every change of thought. His accent was American, but was not accompanied by any eccentricity of speech.


June 26, 1902: Holmes and Watson visited Nathan Garrideb’s museum. [3GAR]

Illustration by Howard K. Elcock for The Strand Magazine (1925)

The house had a common stair, and there were a number of names painted in the hall, some indicating offices and some private chambers. It was not a collection of residential flats, but rather the abode of Bohemian bachelors. Our client opened the door for us himself and apologized by saying that the woman in charge left at four o’clock. Mr. Nathan Garrideb proved to be a very tall, loose-jointed, round-backed person, gaunt and bald, some sixty-odd years of age. He had a cadaverous face, with the dull dead skin of a man to whom exercise was unknown. Large round spectacles and a small projecting goat’s beard combined with his stooping attitude to give him an expression of peering curiosity. The general effect, however, was amiable, though eccentric.

On June 25th…

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

June 25, 1890: James McCarthy was brought before the Magistrates. [BOSC]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1891)

My father was absent from home at the time of my arrival, and I was informed by the maid that he had driven over to Ross with John Cobb, the groom. Shortly after my return I heard the wheels of his trap in the yard, and, looking out of my window, I saw him get out and walk rapidly out of the yard, though I was not aware in which direction he was going. I then took my gun, and strolled out in the direction of the Boscombe Pool, with the intention of visiting the rabbit warren which is upon the other side. On my way I saw William Crowder, the gamekeeper, as he has stated in his evidence; but he is mistaken in thinking that I was following my father. I had no idea that he was in front of me. When about a hundred yards from the Pool I heard a cry of `Cooee!’ which was a usual signal between my father and myself. I then hurried forward, and found him standing by the Pool. He appeared to be much surprised at seeing me, and asked me rather roughly what I was doing there. A conversation ensued, which led to high words, and almost to blows, for my father was a man of a very violent temper. Seeing that his passion was becoming ungovernable, I left him, and returned towards Hatherley Farm. I had not gone more than one hundred and fifty yards, however, when I heard a hideous outcry behind me, which caused me to run back again. I found my father expiring on the ground, with his head terribly injured. I dropped my gun, and held him in my arms, but he almost instantly expired.


Watson (David Burke) and Holmes (Jeremy Brett) in “The Crooked Man” (1984)

June 25, 1889: Holmes investigated Colonel Barclay’s death. [CROO]

That was the state of things, Watson, when upon the Tuesday morning I, at the request of Major Murphy, went down to Aldershot to supplement the efforts of the police. I think you will acknowledge that the problem was already one of interest, but my observations soon made me realize that it was in truth much more extraordinary than would at first sight appear.

On June 24th…

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

Illustration by Frank Wiles for The Strand Magazine (1915)

June 24, 1872: McMurdo was made into Lodge 29 of the Ancient Order of Freemen in Chicago. [VALL]

“This is a strange welcome,” McMurdo answered, with some dignity, “for the bodymaster of a Lodge of Freemen to give to a stranger brother.”
“Aye, but it’s just that same that you have to prove,” said McGinty, “and God help you if you fail. Where were you made?”
“Lodge 29, Chicago.”
“June 24th, 1872.”
“What bodymaster?”
“James H.Scott.”
“Who is your district ruler?”
“Bartholomew Wilson.”


Denys Hawthorne as Col. James Barclay (1984)

June 24, 1889: Colonel Barclay died of apoplexy. [CROO]

“Ah, Holmes,” [the Major] said, “I suppose you have heard that all this fuss has come to nothing?”
“What, then?”
“The inquest is just over. The medical evidence showed conclusively that death was due to apoplexy. You see, it was quite a simple case after all.”
“Oh, remarkably superficial,” said Holmes, smiling. “Come, Watson, I don’t think we shall be wanted in Aldershot any more.”

June 24, 1890: The coroner’s inquest into Charles McCarthy’s death was held. [BOSC]

Will Tacey as the Coroner (1991)

“I see,” said I, as I glanced down the column, “that the coroner in his concluding remarks was rather severe upon young McCarthy. He calls attention, and with reason, to the discrepancy about his father having signalled to him before seeing him, also to his refusal to give details of his conversation with his father, and his singular account of his father’s dying words. They are all, as he remarks, very much against the son.”

June 24, 1902: John Garrideb visited Nathan Garrideb. [3GAR]

Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin (1925)

“I merely called to make your acquaintance, and there is no reason why I should interrupt your studies,” said Holmes. “I prefer to establish personal touch with those with whom I do business. There are few questions I need ask, for I have your very clear narrative in my pocket, and I filled up the blanks when this American gentleman called. I understand that up to this week you were unaware of his existence.”
“That is so. He called last Tuesday.”
“Did he tell you of our interview today?”
“Yes, he came straight back to me. He had been very angry.”
“Why should he be angry?”
“He seemed to think it was some reflection on his honour. But he was quite cheerful again when he returned.”

On June 23rd…

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

June 23, 1890: John Turner murdered Charles McCarthy. [BOSC]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1891)

“When I went down there I found him talking with his son, so I smoked a cigar, and waited behind a tree until he should be alone. But as I listened to his talk all that was black and bitter in me seemed to come uppermost. He was urging his son to marry my daughter with as little regard for what she might think as if she were a slut from off the streets. It drove me mad to think that I and all that I held most dear should be in the power of such a man as this. Could I not snap the bond? I was already a dying and a desperate man. Though clear of mind and fairly strong of limb, I knew that my own fate was sealed. But my memory and my girl! Both could be saved, if I could but silence that foul tongue. I did it, Mr. Holmes. I would do it again. Deeply as I have sinned, I have led a life of martyrdom to atone for it. But that my girl should be entangled in the same meshes which held me was more than I could suffer. I struck him down with no more compunction than if he had been some foul and venomous beast. His cry brought back his son; but I had gained the cover of the wood, though I was forced to go back to fetch the cloak which I had dropped in my flight. That is the true story, gentlemen, of all that occurred.”

Chips says: I think this tale was written in such a way to gain the audience’s sympathy for the murderer already under a sentence of death, and it worked as far as I am concerned.

On June 21st…

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

June 21, 1889: Watson found Holmes in the Bar of Gold. [TWIS]

Opium-den in the East End of London (Illustrated London News, 1874)
(Wellcome Library, London 
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0)

As I passed the tall man who sat by the brazier I felt a sudden pluck at my skirt, and a low voice whispered, “Walk past me, and then look back at me.” The words fell quite distinctly upon my ear. I glanced down. They could only have come from the old man at my side, and yet he sat now as absorbed as ever, very thin, very wrinkled, bent with age, an opium pipe dangling down from between his knees, as though it had dropped in sheer lassitude from his fingers. I took two steps forward and looked back. It took all my self-control to prevent me from breaking out into a cry of astonishment. He had turned his back so that none could see him but I. His form had filled out, his wrinkles were gone, the dull eyes had regained their fire, and there, sitting by the fire, and grinning at my surprise, was none other than Sherlock Holmes. He made a slight motion to me to approach him, and instantly, as he turned his face half round to the company once more, subsided into a doddering, loose-lipped senility.
“Holmes!” I whispered, “what on earth are you doing in this den?”
“As low as you can,” he answered, “I have excellent ears. If you would have the great kindness to get rid of that sottish friend of yours, I should be exceedingly glad to have a little talk with you.”

Chips asks: Another one of Holmes great disguises developed by long practice. Was it just that?

English: 1873 engraving of Views in Bristol by Thomas Sulman (c.1834 – 1900)

June 21, 1890: James McCarthy spent a second day in Bristol. [BOSC]

Mr. James McCarthy, the only son of the deceased, was then called, and gave evidence as follows: – `I had been away from home for three days at Bristol, and had only just returned upon the morning of last Monday, the 3rd. My father was absent from home at the time of my arrival […]

Chips says: We know the real reason for the trip thanks to Mr. Holmes’s brilliant detective work.


On June 20th…

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

Gwalior Fort (c. 1860)


June 20, 1858: Sepoy mutiny ended at Gwalior. [CROO]

It was in this way, sir. You see me now with my back like a camel and my ribs all awry, but there was a time when Corporal Henry Wood was the smartest man in the 117th Foot. We were in India then, in cantonments, at a place we’ll call Bhurtee.[…]

[I believe that Bhurtee is a fictional name that was made up to conceal the true location. I imagine this was done to protect the honor and the name of the regiment from the fact that the enlisted man who made it up to chain to become an officer and commander of the regiment was a coward and traitor and deserved to given the white feather and cashiered from the regiment in disgrace and shot. –Chips]

Bristol – Weymouth express approaching Clink Road Junction, Frome
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Ben Brooksbankgeograph.org.uk/p/2475449

June 20, 1890: James McCarthy went to Bristol to visit his wife. [BOSC]

Mr. James McCarthy, the only son of the deceased, was then called, and gave evidence as follows: – `I had been away from home for three days at Bristol, and had only just returned upon the morning of last Monday, the 3rd. My father was absent from home at the time of my arrival […]

[We know the real reason he was in Bristol thanks to Mr. Holmes’s brilliant detective work. –Chips]

On June 19th…

June 19, 1889: Isa Whitney went to the Bar of Gold. [TWIS]

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

Terence Longdon as Isa Whitney (1986)

She had the surest information that of late he had, when the fit was on him, made use of an opium den in the furthest east of the City. Hitherto his orgies had always been confined to one day, and he had come back, twitching and shattered, in the evening. But now the spell had been upon him eight-and-forty hours, and he lay there, doubtless, among the dregs of the docks, breathing in the poison or sleeping off the effects. There he was to be found, she was sure of it, at the `Bar of Gold’, in Upper Swandam Lane. But what was she to do? How could she, a young and timid woman, make her way into such a place, and pluck her husband out from among the ruffians who surrounded him?

Chips says: This tale contains the famous line where John’s wife Mary adresses him as “James”. Any ideas why?

[Any ideas other than the Hamish Theory? –Selena Buttons]

Friend & Biographer Series: A Baker Street Dozen, A Hiatus, A Hunt

Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark….Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own, to which in his modesty he has given small attention…

Hello Watsonians,

Over the past few months, I have posted interviews with a dozen of our members: Stuart Nelan, Robert Perret, Carla Coupe, Ron Lies, Charles Prepolec, Elise Eliot, Chris Redmund, Sheila Holtgrieve, Molly Carr, Sandy Kozinn, Stephanie Thomas and Beth Gallego as part of the Friend & Biographer series.  I hope you have enjoyed learning a little something about these Watsonian friends.  I have  enjoyed bringing the interviews to you.

With the 5th Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt rapidly approaching on August 1, I am taking a hiatus from the Friend & Biographer Series to focus on the Treasure Hunt.  From what I hear, Michele Lopez is working on an extraordinary hunt for us.  I hope my team, The Sound of the Baskervilles, will rise to the challenge.

If you have not formed a team for this year, please consider doing so.  The SOBs will be happy to trounce you…um, I mean….we would be happy to compete along with you.   😉

On we go,

Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’


On June 18th…

Arthur and Jean (c. 1920)

While touring in America in 1922, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife, Jean, stopped at Atlantic City, where they were able to spend time with friends Harry and Bess Houdini. During the visit, on June 18, 1922, Sir Arthur invited Harry to the Doyles’ hotel room so that Jean could perform an automatic writing session for him, contacting a deceased loved one who would “dictate” a message through Jean.

The Houdinis were skeptical of seances – Harry spent years debunking mediums and would later reveal some of their methods in his A Magician Among the Spirits – but Harry agreed to go. Before he went, Bess mentioned to him that she had been talking with Jean the previous evening about Harry’s mother, Cecilia Weiss, who had died in 1913.

Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle (Atlantic City, 1922)

In the Doyles’ room at the Ambassador Hotel, Jean entered a “trance” and began to write:

Oh, my darling, thank God, thank God, at last I’m through – I’ve tried oh so often – now I am happy. Why, of course I want to talk to my boy – my own beloved boy – Friends, thank you, with all my heart for this. […]

When complete, the message covered 15 pages. Cecilia Weiss assured her son that she was happy, that she loved him, and that she was grateful to the Doyles for the chance to speak with him again.

Harry Houdini was polite, but the seance proved to be a breaking point in his friendship with Sir Arthur. Among other problematic aspects, the purported message from his mother was in fluent English, which she never spoke.

Cecilia Weiss, Harry Houdini, and Bess Houdini (1907)


Sources: A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”); Teller of Tales: The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, by Daniel Stashower; and “A Magician Among the Spirits: The Improbable Friendship of Harry Houdini & Sir Arthur Conan Doyle”, by Joe McGasko.

On June 17th…

June 17, 1889: Mrs Neville St Clair saw her husband in the Bar of Gold. [TWIS]
(Source: A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes According to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn)

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1891)

“If you remember, Monday was an exceedingly hot day, and Mrs. St Clair walked slowly, glancing about in the hope of seeing a cab, as she did not like the neighbourhood in which she found herself. While she walked in this way down Swandam Lane she suddenly heard an ejaculation or cry, and was struck cold to see her husband looking down at her, and, as it seemed to her, beckoning to her from a second-floor window. The window was open, and she distinctly saw his face, which she describes as being terribly agitated. He waved his hands frantically to her, and then vanished from the window so suddenly that it seemed to her that he had been plucked back by some irresistible force from behind. One singular point which struck her quick feminine eye was that, although he wore some dark coat, such as he had started to town in, he had on neither collar nor necktie.

“Convinced that something was amiss with him, she rushed down the steps – for the house was none other than the opium den in which you found me tonight – and, running through the front room, she attempted to ascend the stairs which led to the first floor. At the foot of the stairs, however, she met this Lascar scoundrel, of whom I have spoken, who thrust her back, and, aided by a Dane, who acts as assistant there, pushed her out into the street.

I always found Watson’s description of Mrs St Clair when Holmes and Watson arrived to stay the night at the St Clair residence quite descriptive. –Chips

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1891)

We had pulled up in front of a large villa which stood within its own grounds. A stable-boy had run out to the horse’s head, and, springing down, I followed Holmes up the small, winding gravel drive which led to the house. As we approached, the door flew open, and a little blonde woman stood in the opening, clad in some sort of light mousseline-de-soie, with a touch of fluffy pink chiffon at her neck and wrists. She stood with her figure outlined against the flood of light, one hand upon the door, one half raised in eagerness, her body slightly bent, her head and face protruded, with eager eyes and parted lips, a standing question.