Wednesday, February 17, 2021

And now, a rant about "mouse"

 Tonight, I hit a real crisis of Sherlockian faith.

Dressing gowns again. Earlier, you may recall, I worried that Sherlock Holmes was some sort of trophy-collecting serial killer because he had a gray dressing gown and the man he might have killed, Grimesby Roylott, had a gray dressing gown on when he was killed. But I was wrong.

Sherlock Holmes did not own a gray dressing gown.

He owned a mouse dressing gown.

An in looking into that color called "mouse," I discovered tonight that it is truly a pale taupe, a mix of brown and gray that often gets mixed up for one or the other of those colors.

But the BSI necktie is purple, blue, and gray. Bill Mason's monograph Deeper Shades: The Dressing Gowns of Sherlock Holmes and the Psychology of Color spends much time on the meaning of that dressing gown being gray. The rubber mouse that I have for no good reason is gray.

And now I find that the color in "mouse-coloured" is actually taupe?

TAUPE? Rhymes with "soap?" And "nope?" And, also . . . "dope?"

That's very close to the sombre grayish beige dress that Mary Morstan wore when Watson first was crushing on her. Did Watson buy Holmes this taupe monstrosity of a dressing gown because he was into taupe?

Light taupe is an awful color for a dressing gown, especially Sherlock Holmes's dressing gown, sure to show stains from whatever chemical experiment he was working on. (And don't tell me he was too tidy to spill -- remember his hands when Watson first saw them? "Discoloured with strong acids." If he's doing that to his hands, his clothes aren't getting special treatment.)

I liked gray. Gray was the color of Holmes's eyes and who doesn't want a dressing gown to match their eyes? And Watson could wear the purple dressing gown and they'd color-coordinate. Gray was fine. Gray was great. I liked gray.

A light taupe dressing gown. What a fool I have been.

The Sherlockian world as I knew it is upended. I just can't believe in anything any more.


  1. Taupe is a dark grey/brown, originally the color of a French mole, though lighter and darker shades are now called taupe. Images show that it carries a lot of brown pigment. It's basically a rather boring color!

  2. How many mice does it take to make a mouse dressing-gown? And what happened to that Great Mouse and side-kick who live beneath 221B?

  3. Last night my wife asked me to bring up her gray shirt from the laundry room. When I got there, all I could find was a taupe one, but that seems to have been the one she had in mind.