Jody Baker: Watson's Painting About A Child In The Chimney

Monday, June 24, 2013 - by Jody Baker

Watson, using his pen for his brushes and words for his paints, gives us another beautiful picture:

“It was in the latter days of September, and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life, and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime, while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves.”

This is the famous child-in-the-chimney passage. The passage that has been so much the subject of interpretation and speculation among Sherlockians.

Just think, for a moment, how much better it would read if Watson had written: 

“…the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind in the chimney cried and sobbed like a child.”

Instead, Watson wrote: 

“…the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney.”

Just think, for a moment, how much merry-making and jollity we Sherlockians would have missed if Watson had chosen the former syntax rather than the latter. It is interesting to speculate upon whether, or not, Watson occasionally tossed in a bone for the hounds to gnaw on.

Watson’s painting of a child-in-the-chimney may be a distraction. But it is compares favourably with  Edvard Munch’s *The Scream.* To some Munch is art. I call Munch’s work a clip from a horror movie. 

By the way, *The Scream* sold at Sotheby’s on 2 May 2012 for $119,922,600.  

“And Watson don’t charge us a thing to read his paintings,” said Mrs. Baynes. 

Respectfully submitted,

Inspector Baynes 

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




Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Time To End The Kiser Circus

What a circus and waste of time to just watch two people lie to the court in regards to keeping Kiser alive.  Kiser killed Deputy Bond, but here he is still breathing and concocting more lies so he won't be killed. We should have killed Kiser years ago. I'd be more than happy to be the one who pulls the switch to snuff out that killer of a very good man (Donald Bond) whom ... (click for more)

Erlanger Refinancing To Provide Cash For New Children's/Women's Hospital, $50 Million Erlanger East Expansion, $8.5 Million Surgical Improvements

Erlanger Health System officials said an overhaul of the hospital's debt will include $70 million in new loans for several major hospital projects - including $11.5 million toward a new $30 million Children's/Women's Hospital. The overall cost of the latter facility is $30 million, but the hospital is seeking significant outside gifts and support. It will also pay for a $50 million ... (click for more)

Legendary Radio Broadcaster Luther Dies At 92 After Record 74 Years On The Air; Funeral Will Be Thursday At 2 PM At Engel Stadium

Legendary radio broadcaster Luther Masingill died early Monday morning at Memorial Hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was 92 and had been on the air for a record 74 years. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at Historic Engel Stadium, 1130 E 3rd St., at 2 p.m. with Pastor Todd McElyea officiating.   Honorary pallbearers will be the staff at ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)