Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My favorite Sherlock story

I was asked this question by Thea awhile back; What is your favorite Sherlock Holmes story and why?

The question was promptly seconded by Marian, and yet I've managed to avoid writing up an answer for a few months now. Mainly because I didn't have an answer.

I've read all of the stories multiple times and yet I have trouble picking out a favorite. It could have something to do with the fact that I love them all so much. Or that I haven't read any Sherlock since the summer, so they blend together in my memory as being one long, mysterious and wonderful tale.

However, when I think about the ones that gave me chills (all of them) or nearly made me cry (several of them) one short story stands out to me as being particularly memorable. It is the only story where Sherlock loses his icy composure for one brief moment and lets the audience get a glimpse at his feelings.

And I am not talking about the story with Irene Adler, The Woman. Yes, she was the only woman who ever bested Sherlock and he had a great deal of respect for her, but he was not in love with her.

The story I'm referring to is The Three Garridebs, and here is the passage I love. Holmes and Watson are on a stakeout, and shots have just been fired.
I felt a sudden hot sear as if a red-hot iron had been pressed to my thigh. There was a crash as Holmes's pistol came down on the man's head. I had a vision of him sprawling upon the floor with blood running down his face while Holmes rummaged him for weapons. Then my friend's wiry arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair.
"You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!"

It was worth a wound - it was worth many wounds - to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

"It's nothing, Holmes. It's a mere scratch."

He had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife.

"You are right," he cried with an immense sigh of relief. "It is quite superficial." His face set like flint as he glared at our prisoner, who was sitting up with a dazed face. "By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive. Now, sir, what have you to say for yourself?"
This display of feeling for his friend disproves Watson's previous judgement of Holmes."He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen..." Before Watson really gets to know Sherlock, he believes him to be cold and calculating, a brain without a heart. That is simply not true. Sherlock Holmes knows how to master his emotions and let logic win over feelings, but that doesn't mean that he never feels at all.

I like this story because it shows that Sherlock Holmes is human.

~Jane~

7 comments:

Shaynie said...

See, I tend to think that Sherlock Holmes actually WAS in love with Irene. ;) It's a very romantic notion. ;)

Gwenea Faelwen said...

I like...oh gosh.

The Cyclist maybe...?
Or...The Hound of the Baskervilles, and I REALLY liked The Valley of Fear...
Hah.
I don't have a favorite.
:P

Marian said...

"Before Watson really gets to know Sherlock, he believes him to be cold and calculating, a brain without a heart. That is simply not true. Sherlock Holmes knows how to master his emotions and let logic win over feelings, but that doesn't mean that he never feels at all."

So true!!

I don't have one favorite story...there's just too many good ones. :) The Final Problem, Copper Beeches, and The Stock-Broker's Clerk are some of my top faves.

"See, I tend to think that Sherlock Holmes actually WAS in love with Irene. ;) It's a very romantic notion. ;)"

Well, I like to think he might have fallen in love with Violet Hunter, had he let himself fall in love. Watson certainly seems to hint at the possibility, and Holmes probably gave her more compliments than any other lady he met. ;)

Jane said...

Marian- I always wished that Violet Hunter would be a recurring character too, but I thought of her as more of a sister for Sherlock.

Shaynie- Yes, it is romantic to think he might have loved Irene. : ) She didn't love him, though. She was in love with that lawyer guy.

Tessa Emily Hall ~ Christ is Write said...

Hey,

I just wanted to let you know that I'm holding a giveaway on my blog to help promote DevoFest, a youth conference for ages 7 - 17 which will offer classes in novel-writing, screenwriting, acting, etc. The winner of the giveaway will receive the YA Christian Fiction novel "Me, Just Different" by Stephanie Morrill - the first book in the Skylar Hoyt series. I just thought you might be interested. =)

God bless,

Tessa

Georgianna Penn said...

AHHHHH! This made me want to run and grab my Sherlock Holmes copy and dive into it for hours and hours and hours and hours... and hours... I think you get the point. ; )

I don't think I could decide which one is my favorite! They're all so amazing!

Tarissa said...

I feel like I haven't read very many Sherlock Holmes stories, especially compared to you other readers who have fully accomplished all the stories and re-read them multiple times.

However, a couple that come to mind as favorites for me, are "The Man with the Twisted Lip" and "The Red-Headed League". Like I said though, I haven't read very many. =)