Johnlock, Johnlock, Johnlock . . . and maybe a pinch of Jolto just to establish Watson's bonafides pre-Sherlock . . . Johnlock. So much Johnlock!
But when the subject of John H. Watson taking male lovers comes up, does anyone ever mention "Thurtson," the very Canonical Watson/Thurston relationship?
NO!!! It's a conspiracy, you see, one that runs even deeper than the Johnlock Conspiracy . . . the notion that BBC's Sherlock is working its way toward Sherlock and John coming out of the closet. But what then? Happily ever after? Or do Moffat and Gatiss have secret plans to turn again to the original source material and . . . DUN-DUN-DUHHHHHHH! . . . bring in Thurston.
Thurston. The 221B-wrecker.
The year was 1898. The adventure is that of the "Dancing Men."
Sherlock has sat for some hours in silence with "his head sunk upon his breast." Suddenly he speaks.
"So, Watson, you do not propose to invest in South African securities?"
Watson is startled at what he calls this "sudden intrusion into my most intimate thoughts."
Intimate thoughts about South African securities? What is going on here?
Sherlock Holmes brings up the billiard chalk between Watson's left finger and thumb the way a spouse would bring up a lipstick-stained collar.
"You never play billiards except with Thurston," Holmes remarks, in a tone we can't hear through the printed page. Possibly a tone that reveals a jealousy in Watson not playing "billiards" with him any more. If you ever wanted subtext, the talk of sticks and balls that is billiards is ripe for the plucking.
Holmes speaks of Watson having the chance at some "South African securities" that would expire in a month, a month being typically the period when leases expire on lodgings. And one immediately wonders what country Thurston hailed from. South Africa, maybe? Would Watson have possibly been considering the security of a committed relationship elsewhere than 221B?
But Sherlock Holmes concludes from his retaining of control on Watson's cheque-book that Watson is not going to take his relationship with Thurston any further with those securities. For now . . .
But let's take this a bit deeper. In 1903, four Sherlock Holmes stories were published.
First: "The Empty House -- Sherlock Holmes is not dead, a necessary restart of the Canon.
Second: "The Norwood Builder" -- The tale of a man being forced out of his closet abode.
Third: "The Dancing Men" -- Thurston's tale and that of a past love coming back to destroy a relationship.
Fourth: "The Solitary Cyclist" -- Lonely bicycling, unwanted affections, brutes and South Africans.
Now turn to the text of "The Blanched Soldier," where Sherlock Holmes himself writes: "I find from my notebook that it was January, 1903, just after the conclusion of the Boer War, that I had my visit from Mr. James M. Dodd, a big fresh sunburned, upstanding Briton. The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association. I was alone."
The Boer War was a South African conflict. Watson had supposedly taken a wife in Mary Morstan in the 1880s, something that has some very sketchy documentation when you come right down to it, and Holmes doesn't seem to care about that here. Holmes seems to find something admirable in the big upstanding British male that is James Dodd and wants at least one reader to know about it. And finally, that bald, straight-to-the-facts, three-word statement: "I was alone."
Did Watson eventually leave Sherlock Holmes to take up housekeeping with a South African named Thurston? Was "Thurtson" a bit more than just another fanfic combination paired up just because fanfic mixies cards turned up Watson and Thurston this time out? Was there no "happily ever after" for our favorite detective duo?
There are those that say Sherlockiana's exploration of the original Canon played out long ago, but Thurston, and the silent "Thurtson" conspiracy to ignore the sad end to a once-great relationship, might say otherwise.