Weekly Forum: December 9

Once again, the great wheel of the seasons has revolved and we find ourselves approaching the Winter Solstice. Do you believe Doctor Watson wrote of the astronomical influences? If so, perhaps you would care to comment on those observations he made.  Are they purely secondary to the stories, or are they part-and-parcel of the events and outcomes?  For example, we know of the good doctor’s mention of the equinoctial gale, but is it influential or symbolic–indeed, part of–the events in the story ?

Here, for your pleasure in language, is Doctor Watson’s extraordinary paragraph from FIVE:

It was in the latter days of September, and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life, and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime, whilst I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories, until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves. My wife was on a visit to her aunt’s, and for a few days I was a dweller once more in my old quarters at Baker Street.

Are there other examples of this astronomical atmosphere and periodicity of Nature in the Canon?


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