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)

Not Everything Has Been Done To Save Hutcheson

I am a resident of Walker County and I have a personal belief that a hospital ranks equal to other basic services a community should offer (like police, fire, emergency services, school systems, government, etc.). I am not privy to all the management and financial conundrums concerning the feasibility of maintaining and growing Hutcheson, and as a private citizen I don’t believe ... (click for more)

Additions And Improvements At Camp Jordan Arena Coming Soon

Additions and improvements are coming to Camp Jordan Arena in the near future. At the Thursday night meeting of the East Ridge city council, approval was given for buying new playground equipment. It will come from Gametime, a locally-based company. The VP of Marketing lives in East Ridge and made a proposal to set up the playground at Camp Jordan so his company could use it for ... (click for more)

Teenager Killed In ATV Accident Thursday Night

Damon Lee Jones, 15, was killed Thursday night in an ATV accident in Walker County. It was reported he was riding with a 17-year old, when they tried to enter a church parking lot, but ran into a cable barrier. The accident happened on Dunwoody Road in LaFayette. The other rider, identified as Timothy J. Wallin, was not injured.   (click for more)

Freeman-Led Owls Whip Cleveland, 30-14, To Win 5-AAA Title

Junior Rashun Freeman's stunning versatility stole the show Friday night. Freeman caught a touchdown pass, returned a punt for a second score and had one of three Ooltewah interceptions as the fourth-ranked Owls whipped Cleveland, 30-14, to win the District 5-AAA championship in front of a near-capacity crowd at James N. Monroe Stadium. “I practice hard and that shows ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats Father Ryan For D-II State Volleyball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Friday was a magical day for the Baylor Lady Red Raider volleyball team. Facing arch-rival Father Ryan for the fourth time this season, Baylor evened the score at 2-2, but the last time at Siegel High School was the sweetest as it came in the championship match of the D-II Class AA state tournament. Father Ryan had a huge group of students in its ... (click for more)