Thursday, May 17, 2018

No man ever had more respect for a baby!

If you work in any kind of not-totally-male workspace, you've seen the shift in atmosphere when a friendly baby comes toted through the door. Babies are kind of a thing. And, I suppose, one might start to suggest that it speaks to the elder male domination of Sherlockiana that we don't fuss over Canonical babies more. Or does it?

Elinor Gray brought Sherlock Holmes and babies to the fore today with a tweet about a remarkable audiobook cover. It was a lovely painting of Sherlock Holmes fussing over a baby. And it's of a Canonical moment. A moment that's just as much Canon as the time Watson got pissy and called Holmes a machine.

"Finally he shook one of the dimpled fists which waved in front of him."

No cold machine Sherlock stopped to shake a baby's hand.

And how many times have to stopped to shake a baby's hand and went, "Hey, I'm like Sherlock Holmes! I may not be able to solve crimes, but I can introduce myself to this baby with a wee little firm handshake."

"Might we make the acquaintance of the baby?" Holmes asked just moments before, showing all propriety in the meeting of a baby.

Not many babies to meet in the Canon, but still . . . babies!

Alice Turner of Boscombe Valley once had a wee baby hand which seemed to always lead her father down the path of good. And little Miss Mary Fraser of Adelaide was a baby at the breast of a much younger Teresa Wright than Sherlock Holmes ever met. There might have even been a grab-able baby in Arnsworth Castle or in the Darlington family, if one of those didn't involve a jewelry box.

In the end, there was really only one baby for Sherlock Holmes. "The baby," if you want to get all Irene Adler about it. Little baby Ferguson, whom Holmes saw off with a "Good-bye, little man. You have made a strange start in life." Total respect for the baby there from Holmes.

And like so many other singular incidents in the Canon Holmes, we must, perhaps, take it as representative of a larger picture. (And something that bodes well for little Rosie.)

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