February 13 is a good day to create a Sherlockian Valentine’s Day, I think. We made it Watsonian Valentine's Day at the John H. Watson Society meeting for today, and shared valentines for John Watson. But today worked especially well because the number 13 is important to the one time a Sherlock Holmes actually gave someone a Valentine, which I was sure to point out today, as follows.
The scene is 13 Caulfield Gardens, in West London, a flat-faced row house with roof over the doorway supported by a couple of columns. It’s the kind of neighborhood that has children’s parties in the evening, and the residents are very used to the underground rumbling along behind their houses now and then.
In the study in this house, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and G. Lestrade are all seated, waiting for a very special visitor. A knock comes on the front door, Sherlock Holmes lets the new arrival in, and all is good until their visitor sees the other three men in the study, at which point Sherlock Holmes has to grab him by the collar and throw him into the room.
In that act, that simple act of throwing a man bodily into a room, Sherlock Holmes is literally giving his brother, his room-mate, and his favorite Scotland Yard inspector a Valentine.
Sure, it’s the handsome Colonel Valentine Walter, a delicate featured man with a long light beard, a broad brimmed hat, but Holmes whistles at the sight of him.
“You can write me down an ass this time, Watson,” Holmes says. “This was not the bird I was looking for.”
Sherlock Holmes says he was expecting something with wings. And why not? Why shouldn’t a Valentine look more like a cupid, with wings and a bow and arrow.
So February 13th for Sherlockian/Watsonian Valentine's Day? I think so.