THE ORIGINAL TREE WORSHIPPERS OF ROCK COUNTY
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Hedberg Public Library Public Meeting Room
Tom Drucker, Linda Fredell, Resa Haile, Bryan Pike, Gayle Lange Puhl, Victor Rufer.
REPORTS AND MISCELLANY
Gayle reported on the book Irregular Crises of the Late ’Forties edited by Jon L. Lellenberg (agent for the Conan Doyle estate in the U.S.) and shared the song, We Never Mention Aunt Clara. Sherlockian James Montgomery used to claim that his aunt Clara was Irene Adler.
Resa read “In Defense of Henry Baker’s Hat” by Greg Darak from The Baker Street Journal, Winter 2003.
STORY: THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLUE CARBUNCLE
Tom provided the quiz for this story, with first place going to Gayle, Victor and Linda tied for second, and Resa in third place.
Tom noted that because of the order we read the stories, with “A Case of Identity” and “The Blue Carbuncle” coming so close together, the similarities and contrasts became apparent, with the exits and how Holmes resolves the two stories differently. There is “a clatter on the stairs” in both cases. In both cases the miscreant is set free; in one case to continue to a bad end, but in the other with hope of reform.
Gayle said that if you read the entire Canon as it’s published, you see that Holmes changes. He recognizes people’s foibles more and more and has a more rounded character. Victor: “As I read the stories, I keep a list of the outcome. Holmes is more interested in justice than the letter of the law.” Bryan wasn’t sure he ever showed respect for the law. Victor agreed that “[w]hen Holmes has a choice, he prefers to mete out his own justice.” Tom commented on Gayle’s observation; in the early stories, Holmes was a Dupin character. The Post-Reichenbach stories are more sentimental.
Gayle didn't think Holmes would have forgiven James Windibank in “A Case of Identity.” Mary Sutherland’s emotions tangled up for possibly thirty years; it was unforgivable. In “The Abbey Grange,” Holmes said he would rather play tricks with the laws of England than with his own conscience. She thought he softens towards policemen. Bryan said Holmes didn't necessarily want to follow the law.
Tom noted the ending of “The Illustrious Client”: “. . .when an object is good and a client sufficiently illustrious, even the rigid British law becomes human and elastic. My friend has not yet stood in the dock.”
Regarding the brushing, or lack thereof, of Henry Baker’s hat, Gayle stated that the Victorian housewife had to be house proud: “The shining stair rails in The Sign of Four.” The middle class strove to be quite respectable and it was so easy to slip down the social ladder. Women worked very hard to keep up. Victor asked if anyone walking down the street would notice a dusty hat; it’s different if the hats are next to each other.
There was a discussion of hats and the different types of hats the Victorians would wear for different occasions.
Resa asked if the group thought James Ryder reformed. It was generally agreed that he was scared enough. There was some discussion of Watson’s marriages, including June Thomson’s Grace Dunbar theory. Bryan noted that Watson’s home life is mentioned very little. “He teases people. We kind of find clues. If he were real, his home life would come in . . . but it wouldn't be the focus.”
NO STORY: SHOW AND TELL—January 22, 2011, 11 a.m.
There will be no meeting in February.
Minutes prepared by Resa Haile.