Twitter has some lovely little gems some days:
Some people are just born romantics. Even among the fans of the master of coldy logical detection.
They may not have written entire Harlequin romance novels about their pairings back in the day -- the printed word was costly pre-internet. A writer had to use available venues, and novel-length production required a publisher's agreement that your words were worth print, even if you paid said publisher for that agreement.
But would Isaac George have been so invested in a Holmes/Hunter pairing that he would have traded his nine-page argument for Violet Hunter's romantic pursuit of Sherlock Holmes for a full-on epic tale that moved beyond the Canonical bounds, given the opportunity? Well, in 1949, perhaps not, given that the Sherlockian Canon itself probably still didn't feel fully explored -- plenty of places to go without leaving its pages over-much. The thought of Sherlock and Violet as mer-people swimming about the Atlantic was not yet a length they had to go to for entertainment.
Still, even within the bounds of safe, Canonical, heterosexuality, the shipping urge was there.
One might even make a case that shipping can be seen in William Gillette's famed request of Conan Doyle, "May I marry Holmes?" (Which, in itself smacks of Gillette/Holmes shipping.) Like the name "Violet," the name Alice appears multiple times early in the Canon, and the "Alice Faulkner" Gillette winds up using is not that far off in name from the eventual "Alice Fowler" of "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches." Too far a reach?
Everybody wants to work a romance into the career of Sherlock Holmes, even Dr. Watson, something Holmes accuses him of from the second published case.
"But the romance was there," Watson protests. Later, we even see the good doctor disappointed that Sherlock Holmes shows no romantic interest in Violet Hunter -- actually going so far as to write it out in the case itself: ". . . my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her . . ."
Watson was even the shippiest shipper -- he was really wanting Holmes and the actual person he had met to get together, not just his own head-canon version of Violet.
Poor Sherlock Holmes. All he wants to do is solve mysteries. And the one and only time he actually romances someone -- seemingly in service of his detective purposes, yes, but still . . . ROMANCE! -- he takes crap from Watson for doing it. We only want what we can't have, which is why you don't see tons of Sherlock/Agatha shipping out there. That one actually happened. Too easy, right? No, let us find a way to hook him up with Tonga, across Victorian gender, cultural, racial, and size barriers. Love is so much better when it has to overcome hurdle after hurdle. (Yeah, you didn't believe Tonga just fell into that river and disappeared forever, did you? SEE! Now, I'm doing it!)
Well, I guess it's better than us having to having Sherlock Holmes fight every single person in the Canon to the death. That would be a very unpleasant genre of fan fiction to see explode upon the world. (Though I think Marvel Comics has done that with one or two of its characters.) Sherlock Holmes, standing tattered, bloodied and alone, overlooking an emptied London . . . .
Better we're born romantics.