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)

Erlanger Gains Come On The Backs Of Employees

After reading Roy Exum's glowing praise of Erlanger's management team and their deserved bonus I must offer a different view. This bonus is earned on the backs of the faithful and dedicated employees who serve the patients and provide the high quality care. The employees have always borne the brunt of being on the loosing end when it comes to compensation; most recently we ... (click for more)

Chance Loftis Set To Be Freed From Jail After Jury Finds Him Guilty Of Only Misdemeanor Charge

Chance Loftis is set to be freed from jail on Monday after a Criminal Court jury on Friday afternoon found him guilty of only a minor charge. Instead of murder in the death of 46-year-old Donald Rogers, the jury in the courtroom of Judge Don Poole found him guilty of the lesser charge of reckless endangerment. He was found not guilty of aggravated animal cruelty in the beating ... (click for more)

Dr. David Seaberg Steps Down From Position As Dean For UT College Of Medicine In Chattanooga

David M. Stern, MD, executive dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine at UT Health Science Center (UTHSC), and Kevin Spiegel, president and CEO for Erlanger Health System, announced that  David Seaberg, MD, will be stepping down from the joint positions of dean of the UT College of Medicine, Chattanooga, and senior vice president of the Erlanger Health System. ... (click for more)

Mercer Edges UTC Men in OT 75-72

A free throw. A turnover. The simple bounce of a ball one way or the other. The Chattanooga Mocs just ended up on the losing end of a 75-72 overtime decision at Mercer. The Mocs fall to 14-8, 7- 2 in the Southern Conference, while the Bears improve to 12-10, also 7-2 tied for second a game behind Wofford. Casey Jones had career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds, while Greg ... (click for more)

Abbott Fuels Late Rally, Sale Creek Trips Whitwell, 68-57

Hayden Abbott, one of several Sale Creek basketball seniors honored between games Thursday night, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to key a fourth-quarter comeback and lead the District 6-A regular season champion Panthers to a stirring 68-57 victory over the gutty Whitwell Tigers. “Hayden hit some big shots that got some momentum going for us, got the crowd back into the game and ... (click for more)