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“THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON” TO HOLMES PART 2

YESTERDAY IN PART 1, we shared eminent Sherlockian Christopher Morley’s observations about two classic tales having Christmas settings: Holmes’ “Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Today in Part 2, Morley’s opinions don’t exactly coincide with FDR’s.

A Coincidence of Ages.“It’s interesting, by the way,” Christopher Morley observed, “to reflect that both Dickens and Doyle were about the same age (say 31 or 32) when Carol and Carbuncle were written. It’s a critical age, when hope and disgust and domestic overhead are all in unstable balance.”

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, 1859-1930, British physician, writer, and literary agent for Dr. John H. Watson. Portrait by Herbert Rose Barraud.

Here, readers should recall the charming conceit of Sherlockians that the fellow named Doyle was merely Watson’s literary agent.

FDR’s Family Entertainment at Christmas. Morley lamented, “I used to wish that Franklin Roosevelt would sometimes vary his (widely publicized) habit of reading the Carol aloud to his family on Christmas Eve. After all, he was also a Baker Street Irregular, and (if I know anything about families) the younger generation would have enjoyed the change.”

Mr. Fezziwigs’ Ball, as described in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and apparently each year on Christmas Eve in the FDR White House.

A Carbuncle Oddity. Morley wrote of the Carbuncle tale, “You can read into it subtleties the author had no notion of, for instance that the crook Ryder and his girl-friend Kitty Cusack got the simple plumber to the hotel on Sunday (December 22)…. So read the story first (aloud if you have any friends patient enough) and don’t worry about details.”

A Yuletide Ditty. From the minutes of the Baker Street Irregulars (1945):
“God rest us merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing us disturb;
So be it we may hear again
The wheel grind at the kerb.
Regard, with mien acreb,
The boots with muddy spots on.
The tardy German verb…
You know my methods, Watson!”

In Conclusion. This being but four days before the holiday, Merry Christmas to All! Or, should you prefer, Compliments of the Season! Either sentiment is meant warmly and sincerely. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2018

2 comments on ““THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON” TO HOLMES PART 2

  1. carmacarcounselor
    December 31, 2018

    Dennis
    Thank you for the many minutes of pleasure your writing has provided in the past year.(I admire your ability to restrain the blog temptation to run off at the keyboard as I am wont to do.) It’s been my pleasure to be your occasional correspondent since the Road & Track days, giving me some connection to those wonderful years of yourself, HNMIII, Rob Walker, Peter Egan and the other great writers from the glory years.
    Dick Stewart
    Happy New Year!

    • simanaitissays
      December 31, 2018

      Thanks for your kind words, Dick. And a Joyous New Year to you too.

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