Saturday, April 30, 2022

Time to get past Watson's "marriage"

 "I had seen little of Holmes lately. My marriage had drifted us away from each other. My own complete happiness, and the home-centered interests which rise up around the man who finds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient to absorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street . . ."

-- John Watson, "A Scandal in Bohemia"

If one reads much Sherlockian chronology, which I do not advise if one wants to stay awake and alert, one sees a lot of excuses for Watson saying it is autumn when the writer thinks it wasn't, or that it was October when the writer thinks it's April. They come up with all sorts of flips and flops just to make Watson's marriage make sense, when the true fraud is obvious and blatant: the marriage fraud.

And nowhere is that fraud more evident than the paragraph above. It's practically Watson trying to convince us of his heterosexuality after an awkward moment at the ballet. 

"My own complete happiness" -- know any real husbands who use that phrase?

"Master of his own establishment" -- and if he was using the "complete happiness" line to placate his wife, would he then follow it with a declaration of household mastery?

And then there's that thing about Holmes's "Bohemian soul" in a story entitled "A Scandal in Bohemia," where Watson shows a Hercules of a man dressed for the Met Gala declaring himself the "king of Bohemia." European bohemianism was  an artist or writer seceding from conventionality in both life and art, by its very Victorian definition, and in that paragraph, John Watson is trying very hard to say, "I am a conventional man, living a conventional life, with house and home and wife." (That last part is just because Paul Thomas Miller's them to The Watsonian Weekly echoes in my head a lot.)

And yet, he betrays himself . . . oooo, how he betrays himself. 

After that whole trumped-up business about his complete happiness and his "home-centered interests," where does Holmes remain?

". . .  in our lodgings in Baker Street."

And there it is. As much as Watson fusses over what a happy married home he has (something barely referred to elsewhere), he is somehow still lodging with Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street. 

One case, Watson's supposed wife is away visiting her mother. Later that year, Watson is supposedly proposing to the orphan Mary Morstan after just a few interactions. Personally, I'm getting just a little tired of Watson's need to tell us he's "experienced" women of three continents. Name some damn names, Watson! (Especially after you're supposedly married to a woman.)

But I suppose the good doctor will be vexing me with his shenanigans for many years to come, despite any protests upon my part. It is plainly keeping me from the "complete happiness" that marriage provides, as well as being full master of my own establishment.

But at least, you know, I know where our lodgings are.

1 comment:

  1. Proposing after a few interactions - happens all the time - How many did that plumber have with that maid? - In real life, the fastest I personally knew of was 11 days from meet to vows - Many under a month - I would say you are wrong but that 'OUR' is a nagging point. From not anonymous!