On June 11th…

According to A Day by Day Chronology of Mr. Sherlock Holmes according to Zeisler and Christ, compiled by William S Dorn, on June 11, 1900, Lestrade consulted Holmes about the theft of busts of Napoleon. [SIXN]

Illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine (1904)

“Anything remarkable on hand?” he asked.
“Oh, no, Mr. Holmes, nothing very particular.”
“Then tell me all about it.”
Lestrade laughed.
“Well, Mr. Holmes, there is no use denying that there is something on my mind. And yet it is such an absurd business that I hesitated to bother you about it. On the other hand, although it is trivial, it is undoubtedly queer, and I know that you have a taste for all that is out of the common. But in my opinion it comes more in Dr. Watson’s line than ours.”
“Disease?” said I.
“Madness, anyhow. And a queer madness too! You wouldn’t think there was anyone living at this time of day who had such a hatred of Napoleon the First that he would break any image of him that he could see.”

I love this passage, and the way it shows the friendly relationship that’s developed over the years between Lestrade, Holmes, and Watson. Lestrade just pops round from time to time for cigars and a chat about what’s new in London crime. –Selena

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.’
“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.

A Note From Chips

I know I promised a song about the female villain in “The Three Gables”. I have to change that. I have not had a great few months health wise, now being confined to a wheelchair and taking pills that help make a fortune for the drug companies. So I turned to my Sherlockian world of 1895. I have not been disappointed. I had a surprise arrive for me in the post today. I wish I had a picture of Selena, aka Beth, who has to have one of the most beautiful hearts and souls in our group.

Readers to my column know how much I am interested in dating what happened and when in the canon. Never mind the little problem of reality. I had been lucky enough to accumulate some of the volumes from those Sherlockian scholars who have gone down this road before. Selena acquired a copy of one of those valuable fascinating volumes and send it to me as a present. The book is The Date being–?: A Compendium of Chronological Data (Expanded and Revised) by Andrew Jay Peck and Leslie S Klinger. This book is the guide to find out which of the great researchers have dated which story. It is simply The Volume to go to. Not only did Beth get a copy which is a Herculean task. She then had it autographed by Les Klinger, the truly best researcher Sherlockian living today. She also autographed the book to me too.

I will never be able to touch on thanking in any way Beth for what she has done for me. How she has given me a renewal of faith in people who go above and beyond to be so kind and caring to one she never met. Beth in our many communications in the past has helped me so much more than she can ever know. And now she has renewed my desire to live in the world of 1895. I love you, Beth.

[You are entirely too kind, Ron. –Beth, “Selena Buttons”]

[PS from Selena: Les Klinger has a few copies of the book that can be purchased from him directly, if anyone else would like to have one of their very own. 🙂 ]

On June 4th…

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 4, 1902, Holmes confronted Isadora Klein. [3GAB]

A minute later we were in an Arabian Nights’ drawing-room, vast and wonderful, in a half gloom, picked out with an occasional pink electric light. The lady had come, I felt, to that time of life when even the proudest beauty finds the half-light more welcome. She rose from a settee as we entered; tall, queenly, a perfect figure, a lovely mask-like face, with two wonderful Spanish eyes which looked murder at us both.

Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele for Liberty (1926)


“In the first place you must give back this manuscript.”
She broke into a ripple of laughter, and walked to the fireplace. There was a calcined mass which she broke up with the poker. “Shall I give this back?” she asked. So roguish and exquisite did she look as she stood before us with a challenging smile that I felt of all Holmes’s criminals this was the one whom he would find it hardest to face. However, he was immune from sentiment.
“That seals your fate,” he said coldly. “You are very prompt in your actions, madame, but you have overdone it on this occasion.”

On June 3rd…

Edward Hardwicke as Watson and Jeremy Brett as Holmes (1994)

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 3, 1902, Holmes visited Mrs Maberly at Three Gables. [3GAB]

We found The Three Gables a very different establishment to the orderly household of the previous day. A small group of idlers had assembled at the garden gate, while a couple of constables were examining the windows and the geranium beds. Within we met a gray old gentleman, who introduced himself as the lawyer, together with a bustling, rubicund Inspector, who greeted Holmes as an old friend.
“Well, Mr. Holmes, no chance for you in this case, I’m afraid. Just a common, ordinary burglary, and well within the capacity of the poor old police. No experts need apply.”
“I am sure the case is in very good hands,” said Holmes. “Merely a common burglary, you say?”

[PS: In two days you will read a song dedicated (Maybe not the right word) to the female villain of this tale!!! -Chips]

On June 2nd…

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 2, 1902, the house agent presented Mrs Maberly terms of sale for Three Gables. [3GAB]

Mary Ellis as Mary Maberly in “The Three Gables” (1994)

“Yesterday the man arrived with the agreement all drawn out. Luckily I showed it to Mr. Sutro, my lawyer, who lives in Harrow. He said to me, `This is a very strange document. Are you aware that if you sign it you could not legally take anything out of the house – not even your own private possessions?’ When the man came again in the evening I pointed this out, and I said that I meant only to sell the furniture.
” `No, no; everything,’ said he.
” `But my clothes? My jewels?’
” `Well, well, some concession might be made for your personal effects. But nothing shall go out of the house unchecked. My client is a very liberal man, but he has his fads and his own way of doing things. It is everything or nothing with him.’
” `Then it must be nothing,’ said I. And there the matter was left, but the whole thing seemed to me to be so unusual that I thought – ”
Here we had a very extraordinary interruption.