Well, you can just call me "Batman," because I'll always be here to fight the Mad Hatty-er.
My peer in the blogosphere, Rob Nunn, has backed up his case against the honourable Hatty Doran Moulton as some sort of villain. Thus, I find myself answering the call amid the darkness of this September night to once again defend one of the true innocents of the Sherlockian Canon.
Again, I will start with the unimpeachable testimony of Mr. Sherlock Holmes himself, who counseled, "You must make allowance for this poor girl, placed in so unprecedented a position."
T'were Hatty Doran Moulton of "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor" anything close to the villain Rob casts her as, she could have simply denied her previous marriage to Frank Moulton, which no one else knew of, gained her noble title by marrying Sir Robert, and kept all the family money coming her way no matter who she married. She had nothing to gain from going back to Frank. No motive for the act whatsoever, except for true love, and without motive, as we all know, a criminal case easily falls apart.
And take Hatty's own testimony about the St. Simon engagement: "Then Lord St. Simon came to 'Frisco, and we came to London, and a marriage was arranged, and pa was very pleased, but I felt all the time that no man on this earth would ever take the place in my heart that had been given to my poor Frank."
After hearing her true love was in a massacre and hearing no more news for over a year . . . a period in which she was actually ill from grief . . . Hatty, sure that her one chance at love was over, let a marriage be "arranged" to please her father. A dutiful daughter . . . and a faithful wife, when she finds her husband still lives . . . how could anyone cast this lady as a villain?
I will admit, some might have a certain political bias against her. In his original post, Rob said this about Hatty believing the story of her husband's death: "Has this woman never heard of fake news?" And there evidence of Rob's bias may be coming out in that -- the papers did refer to Hatty as "a Republican lady," someone he would expect to be familiar with "fake news" even though she died long before a Republican politician made those words famous. But we must not let such modern political issues throw false light on the clear cut case for Hatty Doran Moulton's innocence.
When you truly look at Hatty Doran Moulton's situation, her closest Canonical counterpart can be found in Irene Adler Norton, perhaps the most impressive woman Sherlock Holmes ever knew. Both women had two of the ultimate cases of white male privilege, a king and a lord, with designs upon them, and both tried to slip away with the commoner they truly loved, only to have Sherlock Holmes take their side at the end, even though he had been hired by their noble ex.
Would we call Irene a "villain" for outsmarting Holmes? Would we call Hatty a "villain" for outsmarting Lestrade? (Who knows, Hatty might have even been Lestrade's the woman!) Nawww.
Smart women had enough obstacles to deal with in Victorian England. Let's not add any more burdens to their memory with such accusations.
But, hey, if you want to call Sherlock Holmes "The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street," well there's a book for that now, thanks to Rob Nunn. I just hope he doesn't decide to do a similar book about Hatty Doran, as I don't want to take the time to write a book-length rebuttal. But I will!