Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930)“I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one’s weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can’t all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.”
The bloom is on the May once more,
The chestnut buds have burst anew;
But, darling, all our springs are o'er,
'Tis winter still for me and you.
We plucked Life's blossoms long ago
What's left is but December's snow.
But winter has its joys as fair,
The gentler joys, aloof, apart;
The snow may lie upon our hair
But never, darling, in our heart.
Sweet were the springs of long ago
But sweeter still December's snow.
Yes, long ago, and yet to me
It seems a thing of yesterday;
The shade beneath the willow tree,
The word you looked but feared to say.
Ah! when I learned to love you so
What recked we of December's snow?
But swift the ruthless seasons sped
And swifter still they speed away.
What though they bow the dainty head
And fleck the raven hair with gray?
The boy and girl of long ago
Are laughing through the veil of snow.
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Originally posted by duathir at Arthur Conan Doyle, 'December's Snow'--many thanks!
It is mine—the little chamber,
I had it from my forbears
Yet within its walls I see
A most motley company,
And they one and all claim me
As their own.
There's one who is a soldier
Bluff and keen;
Rude of mien.
He would gain a purse or stake it,
He would win a heart or break it,
He would give a life or take it,
And near him is a priest
He loves the censer-reek
He has leanings to the mystic,
And dim yearnings altruistic
Thrill his soul.
There's another who with doubts
I think him younger brother
To the last.
( Walking wary stride by stride, )
By Arthur Conan Doyle
On terms on a par with a man!
They've got what they wanted--the right to vote--
What next if they do 't when they can?!"
(Franz Lehar, "The Merry Widow")
And from the Baker Street Journal Twitter (@BakerStJournal):
"His appearance, you see, is so remarkable that no one can pass him without observing him.
A shock of orange hair,…a bulldog chin" (TWIS)
"by God, when next it comes to a vote—“ (VALL)
"elected to the office through the votes of the ruffians who in turn expected to receive favours at his hands." (VALL)
He said a few words to each candidate as he came up, and then he always managed to find some fault in them which would disqualify them. (REDH)
"Its power was used for political purposes, principally for the terrorizing of the negro voters” (FIVE)
"the next election, has cast a gloom over the county” (HOUN)
"The despotism and hatred of Liberalism” (STUD)
"too intimately concerned with politics and finance, to be fitting" (REIG)
With acknowledgment to my friend Sir A. Quiller-Couch.
'Twas in the shadowy gloaming
Of a cold and wet March day,
That a wanderer came roaming
From countries far away.
Scant raiment had he round him,
Nor purse, nor worldly gear,
Hungry and faint we found him,
And bade him welcome here.
His weary frame bent double,
His eyes were old and dim,
His face was writhed with trouble
Which none might share with him.
His speech was strange and broken,
And none could understand,
Such words as might be spoken
In some far distant land.
We guessed not whence he hailed from,
Nor knew what far-off quay
His roving bark had sailed from
Before he came to me.
But there he was, so slender,
So helpless and so pale,
That my wife's heart grew tender
For one who seemed so frail.
Peter Wilson, A.R.A.,
In his small atelier
Studied Continental Schools,
Drew by Academic rules.
So he made his bid for fame
But no golden answer came,
For the fashion of his day
Chanced to set the other way,
And decadent forms of Art
Drew the patrons of the mart.
Now this poor reward of merit
Rankled so in Peter's spirit,
It was more than he could bear ;
So one night in mad despair
He took his canvas for the year
('Isle of Wight from Southsea Pier'),
And he hurled it from his sight,
Hurled it blindly to the night,
Saw it fall diminuendo
From the open lattice window,
Till it landed with a flop
On the dust-bin's ashen top,
Where, 'mid damp and rain and grime.
It remained till morning time.
( Then, when morning brought reflection/ He was shamed at his dejection... )
Man says that He is jealous,
Man says that He is wise,
Man says that He is watching
From His throne beyond the skies.
But perchance the arch above us
Is one great mirror's span,
And the Figure seen so dimly
Is a vast reflected man.
If it is love that gave us
A thousand blossoms bright,
Why should that love not save us
From poisoned aconite?
Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I.
How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!”
(ACD, from SIGN)
There are three Holmes cases which mention a "life preserver." At that time that term was in fact used for a flotation device, but gained a different meaning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A blackjack-type weapon had the name as well, and was called a "life preserver" because it would harm someone but not kill them. Unlike a blackjack or cudgel, it was flexible in the middle. That helped soften the blow.
The only case of the three (BERY, BRUC, GREE) that shows us what one looks like is BERY - 'The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet.' In that story George Burnwell takes one down from a wall. Luckily for us, Sidney Paget was able to illustrate the scene for us.
The first picture here is that Paget drawing. The other is a section of a 1902 book which featured a story about New Scotland Yard and the weapons they had encountered.
(from Historical Sherlock FB pg)
debriswoman, ennui_enigma, and capt_facepalm--here you are, at long last ;)
Tales out of school:
"It was only in the latest stage of my Stonyhurst development that I realized that I had some literary streak in me which was not common to all.
Another assured me that I would never do any good in the world, and perhaps from his point of view his prophecy has been justified."
"Early in my career there, an offer had been made to my mother that my school fees would be remitted if I were dedicated to the Church. She refused this, so both the Church and I had an escape."
"Sherlock Holmes is no more. He dies with his name ringing in men's ears. The police of the world are left with their inferior resources to deal with crimes as of old. In the new number of 'The Strand Magazine' the career of this, the most wonderful detective -- amateur or otherwise -- known to fiction is brought to an end; how, it would be unfair to say. Enough that he meets with one who is "on the same intellectual plane" as himself, and the result is decisive, though there is no place for boasting. This creation of Sherlock Holmes is really great. There seemed no possibility of giving freshness to a favourite character of French fiction, but Dr. Conan Doyle has done that, and more. He has touched the imagination anew, and with amazing fertility and daring has made one person famous over the world. Sherlock Holmes will not be forgotten by this generation at least."
And speaking of Doyle, here's a complete good-quality scan of his "Memories and Adventures" autobiography, well worth a read if you like biographies and autobiographies. I shall post some excerpts later...
(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his autobiography "Memories and Adventures", published in 1924)
...How much the time we live in shapes our views...this, from someone who worked in a field hospital during the Boer war, and had been in the thick of action as well and saw death and carnage and an enteric fever epidemic first hand...from someone who lived to see WWI and the horror that was chemical warfare...
A Lay of the Links
From Songs of Action (1898).
It's up and away from our work to-day,
For the breeze sweeps over the down;
And it's hey for a game where the gorse blossoms flame,
And the bracken is bronzing to brown.
With the turf 'neath our tread and the blue overhead,
And the song of the lark in the whin;
There's the flag and the green, with the bunkers between -
Now will you be over or in?
The doctor may come, and we'll teach him to know
A tee where no tannin can lurk;
The soldier may come, and we'll promise to show
Some hazards a soldier may shirk;
The statesman may joke, as he tops every stroke,
That at last he is high in his aims;
And the clubman will stand with a club in his hand
That is worth every club in St. James'.
The palm and the leather come rarely together,
Gripping the driver's haft,
And it's good to feel the jar of the steel
And the spring of the hickory shaft.
Why trouble or seek for the praise of a clique?
A cleek here is common to all;
And the lie that might sting is a very small thing
When compared with the lie of the ball.
Come youth and come age, from the study or stage,
From Bar or from Bench--high and low!
A green you must use as a cure for the blues -
You drive them away as you go.
We're outward bound on a long, long round,
And it's time to be up and away:
If worry and sorrow come back with the morrow,
At least we'll be happy to-day.
(Arthur Conan Doyle)