Friday, March 11, 2022

The Greatest Holmesian Hugger of the Canon

 Ah, it's International Hug A Holmesian Day again! What will 2022's holiday bring? Who knows, but once again it's time to look at the great huggers of the original Canon of Holmes.

We usually look to Hall Pycroft on this day, as he plainly became a fan of Sherlock Holmes after the events of "Stockbroker's Clerk," and we know he was a self-confessed hugger:

"You can imagine, Dr. Watson, how pleased I was at such an extraordinary bit of good fortune. I sat up half the night hugging myself over it . . ."

Pycroft's amount of self-hugging definitely reveals his propensity for hugs, even in the absence of another human being, as well as inspires us to immediately hug ourselves today if we haven't already? (Have you? Get to it!)

Yet I have always considered there to be one greater than Pycroft as the patron saint of International Hug a Holmesian Day . . . maybe even two. And I know there are a lot of folks out there who just want it to be . . . well, let's just get to it.

To be a Holmesian you have to love and admire Sherlock Holmes. And I would argue that the first Holmesian, by those standards, was not John Watson, but Sherlock Holmes himself. That guy plainly loved being who he was, at least on some days. And who is well know for hugging it out with Sherlock Holmes?

Yes, yes, John Watson "dashed from my chair, threw my arms round Holmes, and together we lurched through the door" in "Devil's Foot." But that wasn't affection, that was medical treatment. Watson had just seen Holmes's face looking like that of a dead man, and gained the strength to save them both by getting them out the door. The minute they're out that door, they're laying side by side on the grass. Watson may be the Holmes-hugger supreme outside the Canon, but inside it? Maybe not. As Yoda would say, "There is another."

And don't worry, I'm not going all hetero-normative. Sherlock Holmes was a hard hugging target, especially for the ladies. In fact, to get a good hug on Holmes, you about had to plan it with a criminal mastermind's strategic genius. Which is pretty much how it worked.

"He drew no weapon, but rushed at me and threw his long arms around me," Sherlock Holmes reports of the surprise physical affection of Professor James Moriarty at romantic Reichenbach Falls.

The fact that Moriarty showed up without a weapon after cunningly herding Holmes to an isolated, beautiful spot like the falls has always troubled Sherlockians trying to understand how a criminal genius would think that was the best route for vengeance. Holmes simply says Moriarty was courteous and they "exchanged some remarks." Those remarks, that prelude to a hug which Holmes had to just Japanese wrestling moves to extricate himself from, were probably too awkward for Holmes to recount, even to Watson. The admiration. The statement that certain feelings were not returned. And then that last, desperate attempt to show affection from Moriarty. It's all quite sad, really.

But Moriarty tried. Moriarty went for the Holmesian hug, even though it killed him, thus making him the truest saint of International Hug A Holmesian Day. At least in my mind. I will leave final judgement to the founder of the holiday, Mr. Paul Thomas Miller.

Any other candidates for the greatest Holmesian hugger of the Canon? Let us know!

No comments:

Post a Comment