Saturday, February 20, 2016

Inkling Explorations[February 2016]

Second time to participate!



February is:

A Scene Involving a Disguise in Book or Film

I read lots of Sherlock Holmes, so this month's wasn't going to be too tricky. The particular Sherlock disguise passage I chose comes from the first story in The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Prior to writing this collection, Doyle had resolved to quit writing SH stories and thus kill Holmes off. Fortunately, things didn't go as he'd expected, and due to fandom protests(although "fandoms" weren't really things back then :D), Doyle revived Holmes and created an explanation for his seemingly unexplainable reappearance.

Shortly before this excerpt, Watson had collided with an elderly man carrying a collection of odd books. This picks up after Watson has returned to his home:

...I had not been in my study five minutes when the maid entered to say that a person desired to see me. To my astonishment it was none other than my strange old book collector, his sharp, wizened face peering out from a frame of white hair, and his precious volumes, a dozen of them at least, wedged under his right arm. 

   "You're surprised to see me, sir," said he, in a strange, croaking voice. 

   I acknowledged that I was. 

   "Well, I've a conscience, sir, and when I chanced to see you go into this house, as I came hobbling after you, I thought to myself, I'll just step in and see that kind gentleman, and tell him that if I was a bit gruff in my manner there was not any harm meant, and that I am much obliged to him for picking up my books."

   "You make too much of a trifle," said I. "May I ask how you knew who I was?"

   Well, sir, if it isn't too great a liberty, I am a neighbour of yours, for you'll find my little bookshop at the corner of Church Street, and very happy to see you, I am sure. Maybe you collect yourself, sir. Here's British Birds, and Catullus, and The Holy War--a bargain, every one of them. With five volumes you could just fill the gap on that second shelf. It looks untidy, does it not, sir?"

   I moved my head to look at the cabinet behind me. When I turned again, Sherlock Holmes was standing smiling at me across my study table. I rose to my feet, stared at him for some seconds in utter amazement, and then it appears that I must have fainted for the first and last time in my life. Certainly a gray mist swirled before my eyes, and when it cleared I found my collar-ends undone and the tingling after-taste of brandy upon my lips...

   He sat opposite to me, and lit a cigarette in his old, nonchalant manner. He was dressed in the seedy frockcoat of the book merchant, but the rest of that individual lay in a pile of white hair and old books upon the table. 

Have you read Sherlock Holmes?? Do you remember this story? Comment and share your thoughts!


12 comments:

  1. It's good to hear your voice again! (Well reading what you wrote:) I've missed you. I have started reading a little bit of a Shelock Holmes book I have. Sadly, I didn't finish it. I liked reading this! Good choice! :)

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    1. Awww, thanks Morgan! Yeah, school has been limiting my free time, but piano and skiing lessons ended recently, so maybe that'll allow a little more time.

      Thanks! You should finish it some time!

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  2. Ooh, this is a fantastic selection! And I haven't read this story, but you've totally piqued my interest. ;D The descriptive skill in those last two paragraphs is just perfect!

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    1. Good! I know, doesn't Doyle wrote so well? But not as well as G K Chesterton, in my opinion:)

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  3. I'm reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I haven't read that one yet. It sounds interesting!

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    1. That's great! I envy you for not knowing the endings yet;) Re-reading Sherlock Holmes is fun, but not *quite* the same, you know?

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  4. It's such a great moment :-D And poor Watson actually fainted! I adore Sherlock Holmes. Always nice to meet another fan!

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    1. Isn't it, though?

      Definitely! Have you read all the books?

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    2. Yes, I've read the whole canon, and lots of pastiches besides :-) You?

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    3. Wow! I've read all three collections of short stories, but none of the longer length mysteries yet.

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    4. Of the novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles is by FAR the best. The Sign of the Four is good too, and the first half of A Study in Scarlet is great, but the second half is draggy. Ditto for The Valley of Fear.

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    5. Good to know! I own all of them, so it's just a matter of getting around to it.

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Comments are my favorite, seriously. :D But please do remember to remain respectful and all that.