Jody Baker: Watson Continues To Paint Word Pictures

Sunday, December 23, 2012 - by Jody Baker

In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, we find that Dr. Watson, caught up in the spirit of Christmas just past, continues to present to us vivid pictures, both interior and exterior images, using his pen for his brushes and words for his paints.

“I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes…He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right, and a pile of crumpled morning papers, evidently newly studied, near at hand. Beside the couch was a wooden chair, and on the angle of the back hung a very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat, much the worse for wear, and cracked in several places.


“I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire, for a sharp frost had set in, and the windows were thick with the ice crystals.”

Dr. Watson, was disparaged by Holmes in the Retired Colourman episode when Holmes, impatiently instructed: “Cut out the poetry, Watson.” However, good old Watson continues to favor us with his word artistry:

“It was a bitter night, so we drew on our ulsters and wrapped cravats about our throats. Outside, the stars were shining coldly in a cloudless sky, and the breath of the passers-by blew out into smoke like so many pistol shots.”

Watson enjoyed a sensitivity without equal among the men of the Canon. How in the world could the Literary Agent have been comfortable in quoting, without qualifying or refuting , the characterization of Watson as “the rather stupid friend of Sherlock Holmes.”

Inspector and Mrs. Baynes send Seasons Greetings to all.


(Jody Baker is a Chattanooga attorney, who specializes in Sherlock Holmes lore. He can be reached at

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