A Culture Spoofs Itself 120+ Years Ago

That well-travelled sophisticated class of person:

Client to Architect: “I want it to be nice and baronial, Queen Anne and Elizabethan, and all that; kind of quaint and Nurembergy, you know–regular Old English with French Windows opening to the lawn, and Venetian blinds, and sort of Swiss Balconies, and Loggia. But I’m sure you know what I mean!”

More globe trotting sophisticates:

Punch Magazine 1890

Mr. James: And were you in Rome?

American Lady: I guess not. (Turns to daughter) Say Bella, did we visit Rome?

Daughter: Why certainly, Mama! Don’t your remember? It was in Rome we bought the Lisle-thread stockings!

Legend says that in early 1797 clothier John Hetherington was the first man to wear a silk tophat in London: a review in 1897.

Punch Magazine 1897

On the centenary of the tall hat

A hundred years of hideousness,

Constricted brows, and strain, and stress!

And still, despite humanity’s groan,

The torturing “tall hat” holds its own!

What proof more sure and melancholy

Of the dire depths of mortal folly?

Mad was the hatter who invented the demon “topper,”

and demented the race that, spite of pain and jeers,

Has borne it–for One Hundred Years!

The Latest Thing from Paris

Punch Magazine 1897

Ratcatcher, eyeing their hand muffs: Beg your pardon, Ladies, but would you mind telling me where you get all the rats from? I’ve been out for the last week and can’t come across any at all!

The Gentlemen of the Press

Punch Magazine 1899

Journalism in France vs. Journalism in England

An Invention for Making the Law Less Dry

The Strand Magazine 1893

The Meeker, Gentler Sex

Punch Magazine 1905

He: But I thought you’d forgiven me for that and promised to forget it?

She: But I didn’t promise to forget I’d forgiven.

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable* by Susanne M. Dutton, from Propertius Press

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Sherlock Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. August 1920 finds Holmes filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.

Preorder Link: * https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

A Case More Suppressed Than “The Giant Rat of Sumatra”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

John Watson scanned the late afternoon telegram, terse as always, originating in Eastbourne and directed to his London surgery.

4 October 1920

The game is afoot. Please take the Brighton Line from Victoria at ten in the morning. Revolver unnecessary. Sherlock Holmes

Surely, Holmes missed their old life together as much as he. Giving the message pride of place on the mantle shelf, he fell in seconds into being not just Doctor Watson, but “Watson, Confederate and Chronicler.” A hurried leave of absence? All too easy to arrange, he thought. As he’d cut back his surgery hours, his patients had transferred their loyalties with unflattering alacrity to his younger partner.

So it happens that, after a number of years, Watson entrains again for Eastbourne and finds himself caught up in the most unique and outrageous Holmes adventure no one will ever hear about.

Preorder Link: * https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

Preorder Available* for Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Sherlock Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees…

August 1920 finds Holmes filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.

by Susanne M. Dutton from Propertius Press

*Available to Pre-order at this link:


https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

MORE: Victorians Mess With 21C Expectations

Punch Magazine, London, January 1895: caption below

Child seen AND heard from makes a point:

Mamma: “Today’s our wedding anniversary, Tommy. You should stand up and drink our healths.”

Tommy, rising to the occasion: “Certainly. Father–Mother–and (pointing to himself)–the result!”

Farewell Jane Austen

Punch Magazine, London, 1895 caption below:

A book review under discussion by the author (in hat and veil) and her publisher:

“We think Lips That Have Gone Astray the foulest novel that ever yet defiled the English tongue; and that in absolute filth its Author can give any modern French writer six and beat him hollow!” The Parthenon Press

Author points to review, which has been quoted in publisher’s advertisement for the novel:“And pray, Mr. Shardson, what do you mean by inserting this hideous notice?

Publisher: “You must remember that we have paid you a large price for your book–and brought it out at great expense–and we naturally wish to sell it!”

An Englishman’s home is his castle…..

Punch Magazine 1895 “The Compensating Circumstances” caption below:

Sympathetic Visitor: Poor dear Mr. Smith, how he must suffer with all that sneezing and coughing.”

Mrs. Smith: He does, indeed; but you can’t think how it amuses the baby!”

Coming This Spring from Propertius Press* and Susanne Dutton

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store

Victorians Mess with 21C Expectations

Punch Magazine‘s 1905 intuitive fantasy includes earbuds

Caption: “Dance when and where you like. Choose your own time and tune.” (Note EARBUDS on dancers’ heads and “boom boxes” conveniently strapped to backs in October 1905 Punch Magazine.) In the same year, tiny chalk dancers lead to violence and murder when Hilton Cubitt asks Holmes to decipher their meaning in The Adventure of the Dancing Men.

As The Naval Treaty, concerning Watson’s friend, Tadpole Phelps and his fiancée, is published in 1893, this poem pokes fun at wedding customs in The Star Newspaper of Guernsey, an UK island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. The poem was anonymous, but also front page.

When a man and maiden marry, hearts of lead their friends all carry.

Custom as they know demands, costly presents at their hands;

Ostentation, too, coerces, so they empty out their purses–

Fearful lest their names be missed from that always published list.

But in private, in a passion they denounce the sordid fashion

Crying in most bitter strain, “Only fancy, fleeced again.”

Bah, ’tis an event to dread, when a man and maiden wed.

Punch Magazine 1905

In Punch Magazine 1905, a man discovers that both his wife and mother-in-law have acquired bicycles (including all the gear) and are ready to accompany him on his ride. He is not overcome with “unmixed delight,” as Oscar Wilde would put it. In the Adventure of the Priory School, Holmes reveals that he has made a study of 42 types of bicycle treads. His knowledge of Dunlop and Palmer tires provides clues.

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable coming soon from Propertius Press* and Susanne Dutton

The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store

Holmes @ Le Dieppe Clinique – Excerpt from his Admittance Interview*….. August 1920

Photo by Chelle Bertand

21 August 1920

Patient: Holmes, Sherlock

Age: 66…….Birth Date: 6 January 1854……….Citizenship: UK

Address:  Bolt Cottage, near Beachy Head, Eastbourne, England         

Height: 190.5 cm………..Weight: 72 kg………..BP: K 100/60

Marital Status:  never married      Occupation: consulting detective, retired

Presenting Issue(s):  underweight/malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies. Self-reported: inability to concentrate, bad dreams, insomnia, “Peace of mind at a new low.”

Visitors:  None expected.

Comment:  M. Holmes is admitted on his own authority. He transferred cocaine in his possession, and associated paraphernalia, to this clinic. He arrives with a large number of trunks. I approved all to be taken to his room, contingent on inspection. Contents included constituents of patient’s favoured diet—tins of tea, crackers, honey of a peculiar red colour, assorted packs of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, pipes, at least two hundred books. Also, violin in case, music stand, sheet music. A small ormolu clock, walking stick. One trunk clothing.

+Nurse La Fon says M. Holmes has been shown to his room, but requests immediate transfer to a more secluded area or reallocation of patients in adjacent rooms due to “incessant raucous activity” therein. She sees no reason why the clinic should not move M. Holmes to a more private location. I concur.

Pierre Joubert, Director

*Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne Dutton, soon at Propertius Press*

The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store

After Publishing the First Holmes: a Self Derisive, Wryly Comic Conan Doyle

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Addressing Gas Leaks

Partially set amidst an early Mormon community in Utah, Conan Doyle’s first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, won a good readership, according to Daniel Stashower’s fine biography, Teller of Tales, The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. Publication in the popular in Beeton’s Christmas Annual (1887) practically guaranteed success.

Photo by Jack Sanders, barn from historic Mormon Row (in Wyoming rather than Utah)

When things slowed afterward, the 28 year old translated “Testing Gas Pipes for Leakage” (German to English) for the Gas and Water Gazette. Speaking at the Authors’ Club years later, he claimed the gas article as his breakthrough, the first time anyone sought his work, rather than the other way round. Not that he wasn’t persistent. He admitted to an eight year period, while also trying to build a medical practice, in which he made more than fifty submissions. Each “described an irregular orbit,” and “came back like a paper boomerang.”

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

On the heels of A Study in Scarlet and the Gas Leakage, Holmes’ creator set about a work of historical fiction, more befitting his own tastes than more detective plotting. In late 1888, he finished the well-researched Micah Clarke, about a group English Puritans during an 1685 attempt to overthrow James II, a Roman Catholic who succeeded his Protestant older brother, Charles II. Initially, Micah seemed another flop. Cornhill Magazine asked why he’d waste himself on historical fiction. Publishers Bentley and Company pointed out that Micah Clarke “lacked that one great necessary point for fiction, i.e. interest.”

Finally, Micah Clarke found favor with Longman’s Publishers, garnered excellent reviews, went through three printings in its first year and even made it to the school reading lists. As unbelievable as it seems to us, Conan Doyle always considered Micah Clarke his first success, rather than A Study in Scarlet which, he said, “belonged to a different and humbler plane.”





Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

Coming Soon from Susanne M. Dutton and Propertius Press*

The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store

Holmes’ World’s Suspicions of a Dystopian 21st Century (c. 1905)

The words are the actual 1905/06 captions. I’ve copied words into the blog to make them more legible.
July 25, 1905 Punch

“I’ve noticed, Miss, when you ‘as a motor car, you catches ‘a train,’ not ‘the train.'”

from Punch’s Almanack 1906

“The Triumph of Rush,” as Punch Almanack 1906 saw it: a future in which the police can arrest you for failing to go at least 150 miles per hour, bedeviled, according to original cartoon, by the gremlins of “Dust, Smell, Jarred Nerves and Insanity.” (Those high speed trains are a pretty good forecast, aren’t they?)

Q: “Is Mr. Forbes in?” A: “No, Sir.”

Q: “Is he on the telephone?” (Have a phone?)

A: “I don’t know where he is, Sir.”

Punch Almanack 1906

This one speaks for itself. I was aghast to see the constable using a Segway-like pair of motorized wheels, however. Those did not come to market until 2001, ninety-five years after this cartoon.

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

by Susanne M.Dutton, soon from Propertius Press*

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store

The Sturdy Beggar Inn? Or Bolt Cottage?

“After a day with Holmes,” Watson writes,”including hours afield and hours, too, amidst the the tumult of his cottage–a return to my whitewashed room at the village inn was welcome. I’d mount the stairway looking forward to my quiet room with the narrow bed of clean linens, a mirror, basin and a simple square window overlooking a pebbled path into a wood.

Photo by Yvonne Lau

Another advantage of this inn was regular sustenance, at least on waking and before bed in the evening. Along with the excellent ale, the inn furnished its tables with fresh bread, cheeses, assorted veg, and and a steaming stew that may have contained squirrel as well as the rabbit advertised.

Photo by Roy Sloan on Pexels.com

Holmes, on the other hand, seemed to thrive on a severe diet of a half-cracker, half-bread substance liberally doused with honey from his own hives alongside a hard cheese. Of course, a supply of his favoured cheap shag was always ready.” *

*from Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable, soon from Susanne Dutton and Propertius Press.

As World War I ends, British law declares Holmes’ cocaine use illegal and, hoping to end his habit, he fills out entry papers at a psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Confronted by a question asking for his “treatment goals,” he hesitates, suddenly aware that his real goals far exceed the capacity of this or any clinic. The inscrutable words he scribbles, never before encountered by his doctor, churn interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of friends and enemies both.

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store

Holmes and Inspector Lestrade Walk into a Bar: the Art of Induction

Photo by Jonathan Monk

… London’s Criterion Bar, of course. It’s empty except for a seated chap slumped over the bar, and another who stands on the other side, wiping it. Lestrade is pleased they have the place to themselves. He decides to skip the brandy in favor of whiskey. Holmes wonders where everyone’s gone, whether the fellow on the stool still has a pulse, and if the man with the cloth is getting rid of gory evidence. He is not ready to theorize, but will continue to gather data. (An exaggerated example of Holmes’ induction vs. the usual deduction (in which the fact that it’s a bar heavily influences conclusions.)

Photo by Abdulhamid AlFadhly

Sherlock Holmes

and the Remaining Improbable

The Game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall, as WWI ends. Holmes fills out entry papers at a rundown psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Now that the law declares his cocaine use illegal, he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” he hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. Holmes’ scribbled response, never before encountered by his long-experienced doctor, soon churns interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of enemies and friends both.

Soon! From Susanne M. Dutton and Propertius Press

* https://propertiuspress.wixsite.com/bookstore/online-store