Sunday, June 16, 2019

"Disregarding my remonstrance"

"My dear Holmes!" Watson exclaims.

". . . he continued, disregarding my remonstrance," he then writes in his pubic journal.

But Sherlock Holmes is not the only person to disregard our good John Watson.

"Disregarding my presence, she went straight to her uncle and passed her hand over his head with a sweet womanly caress."

Mary Holder, all pale and goth-looking as can be, also doesn't seem to see Watson as a factor, until he's specifically pointed out. Almost purposefully, one might think. It's interesting that we always try to lump the folk with last names beginning with "Mor" together, but leave the "Hol" folk out of it. Holmes, Holder, Holdernesse . . . what commonalities might those named have shared? An occasional disregard for Watson, perhaps?

At least Sherlock was just disregarding Watson's criticism of his behaviour and not any offers of social niceties like he does when villains try to shake his hand. Holmes disregards the offer of Silas Brown's trembling hand as he departs for King's Pyland. He disregards Charles Augustus Milverton's attempt at a handshake. But maybe they're just blusterers.

"I disregard the blusterer," Holmes stated, as he pointed out Baron Gruner is probably not one.

Still, a remonstrance is not a bluster, so Watson didn't fall under that category of disregard. Just that common disregard found in any long-term couple where, every now and then, protests of some disagreeable behavior gets ignored by the behavee.

It's interesting that Watson finds the offense that sparked Holmes's disregard of his remonstrance (a phrase I enjoy so thoroughly that I'm going on about it here) in Sherlock's deductions about Henry Baker from his hat. This isn't like the time when Holmes goes off about Watson's brother's watch -- no, Holmes is talking about a complete stranger, unknown to both himself and Watson.

Is is the stranger's decline in fortunes? The way Holmes suggests it was "probably drink" that was sending the fellow down a bad road? Or Holmes's very last comment, that the stranger's wife has obviously ceased to love him.

Since Watson isn't triggered any sooner, we have to believe it's that last bit. Watson is stung at the thought a man's wife doesn't love him any more, especially when that judgment is being made by Sherlock Holmes. Think about this for a moment: John Watson knows Sherlock Holmes as a man who can effectively read thoughts from trifles. The thought that Sherlock can tell that the stranger's wife doesn't love him, for certain, has to be disturbing to a man who harbors doubts of his wife's current affection. Holmes must surely know something about it!

In December of 1889, according to my own timeline of Watson's life, he volunteered to go off with Henry Baskerville to spend weeks in Dartmoor and away from London during September and October -- at a time when he would definitely seem to have been a married man. A sure sign of trouble in paradise, and something that would have Watson very sensitive about the alienated affections of a wife come December.

Holmes may have disregarded Watson's remonstrance, but I don't think we Watsonians can. What do you think?

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