Jody Baker: Watson Paints A Word Picture Of Sherlock Holmes

Friday, March 15, 2013 - by Jody Baker

In “The Adventure of Black Peter” Dr. Watson paints a word picture of Sherlock Holmes. In doing so he tells us much about himself. If we carefully inspect a painting by an artist, we may learn more about the artist than the subject on the canvass. 

Dr. Watson, again using his pen for his brushes and words for his paints, presents to us a picture of his friend, bringing out the good qualities and ignoring the bad. From that we get a picture of  the inner Watson, himself.

He begins the story with this description of Sherlock Holmes ---  “I have never known my friend to be in better form, both mental and physical, than in the year ’95. His increasing fame had brought with it an immense practice, and I should be guilty of an indiscretion if I were even to hint at the identity of some of the illustrious clients who crossed our humble threshold in Baker Street. Holmes, however, like all great artists, lived for his art’s sake, and, save in the case of the Duke of Holdernesse, I have seldom known him claim any large reward for his inestimable services. So unworldly was he–or so capricious–that he frequently refused his help to the powerful and wealthy where the problem made no appeal to his sympathies, while he would devote weeks of most intense application to the affairs of some humble client whose case presented those strange and dramatic qualities which appealed to his imagination and challenged his ingenuity.”

Here Watson emphasizes all that is good about Sherlock Holmes and ignores all the bad. In his selection of the qualities and characteristics of Holmes to emphasize, Watson tells us much about himself. We get a glimpse of the inner man of Watson. We get a glimpse of his soul. Viewed in the perspective of all 60 tales we see that:   Watson suffers long, but he is kind. Watson does not envy others. Watson does not boast of himself. He is not puffed up. Watson does not behave in an unbecoming manner. He does not seek to promote himself. He is not easily provoked, and he thinks no evil thoughts [cf. I Corinth. 13].

When we analyze Watson we get a true picture of the man. It seems he’s an okay kind of a guy.

Respectfully submitted,
Inspector Baynes


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


My Memorial Day Story

We talk about the sacrifice our service people make defending our freedom, and are sincere in doing so, but for most of us it does not really come home. I had an experience many years ago that brought it home forcibly to me. I don’t tell it often because it really tears me up to remember.   It was in the Philippines shortly after World War II. The Huk insurrection ... (click for more)

David Carroll: Best Class Night Ever - Meet Mr. And Ms. Dade County High

Graduation season is filled with great moments, and here's my favorite of the year: Dade County High School's Class Night. Media specialist Carissa Henry just finished her 15th year at Dade, and was filled with pride as she told me the story. Each year, seniors nominate five girls and five boys to be candidates for Mr. and Ms. Dade. A school-wide election is then held, and the ... (click for more)

Unexpected Amount East Ridge Owes On Fire Hall Property Rises To $603,000; City To Apply For Reimbursement

The unexpected amount the city of East Ridge will owe the state on the fire hall property in connection with the Bass Pro development has risen to $603,000. Earlier, East Ridge officials said the payment would be $428,000. City Manager Andrew Hyatt said Monday, "The Tennessee Department of Transportation notified the city of East Ridge that an appraisal of the city’s former ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At House Off Highway 58

A fire broke out on Memorial Day afternoon at a house off Highway 58. A 911 call was made at 12:10 p.m. reporting a house fire at 6019 Hillcrest Dr. The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded and found fire showing on an addition to the house. Firefighters worked quickly entering the addition to extinguish the fire from spreading to the main level of the house. ... (click for more)

Lookouts Memorial Day Game In Mobile Rained Out

The fifth and final game of the five game series between the Chattanooga Lookouts and Mobile BayBears was rained out Monday due to heavy rains.  The Lookouts have Tuesday off before they open a homestand at AT&T Field with five games against the Southern League South Division leading Biloxi Shuckers (Milwaukee) and three games against the SL North Division's second-place ... (click for more)

Golf and Chattanooga Have Lost Another Oehmig

  It was a classic Father’ Day golf picture. No, not Jack and Arnie and their kids relaxing at Augusta National with the Dogwoods blooming. But the Oehmig men – Lew, the family patriarch, with his youngest son, King, and his then two grade school age sons Henry and John, all crowded into, what else, a golf cart and donning that Oehmig glasses look – round, turtle shell-colored ... (click for more)