Jody Baker: Dr. Watson Paints Pictures With Words

Thursday, November 22, 2012 - by Jody Baker

Among the many pleasures found in the study of the Canon is getting to know Sherlock Holmes as a person and as a friend. Another friendship is the relationship with Dr. John Watson. (Some Sherlockians are so fond of their friend Watson that they become aggressively angry when they are reminded that Conan Doyle once referred to him as “the rather stupid friend” of Sherlock Holmes.) The depth of these friendships bind us to a lifetime of pleasure when, from time to time, we retreat from the reality of life to spend some quiet time with them in their world.

In our excursions into the world in which they live we find that  Dr. Watson presents that world with realism. We even feel the forces that surround us when we step through the written page into their world. Where else could you find a more descriptive passage than this picture written by Watson, using a pen for his brushes and words for his paints:  

"It was a wild, tempestuous night, towards the close of November. Holmes and I sat together in silence all the evening, he engaged with a powerful lens deciphering the remains of the original inscription upon a palimpsest, I deep in a recent treatise upon surgery. Outside the wind howled down Baker Street, while the rain beat fiercely against the windows. It was strange there, in the very depths of the town, with ten miles of man's handiwork on every side of us, to feel the iron grip of Nature, and to be conscious that to the huge elemental forces all London was no more than the molehills that dot the fields. I walked to the window, and looked out on the deserted street. The occasional lamps gleamed on the expanse of muddy road and shining pavement. A single cab was splashing its way from the Oxford Street end.” [GOLD]

Though Conan Doyle was Watson’s Literary Agent, I don’t think he ever read his writings.

With best wishes to all,

Respectfully submitted,

Inspector Baynes

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

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