Tuesday, June 21, 2022

That very randy opening to "Five Orange Pips"

You probably remember this moment . . .

 It was late September 1887, and there was a loud, nasty storm pounding London that evening.

The doorbell rang at 221B Baker Street.

Watson: "Who could come to-night? Some friend of yours, perhaps?"

After six years with Sherlock Holmes, Watson somehow seems to have forgotten that Sherlock Holmes has clients coming to the sitting room at Baker Street, until Holmes denies the suggestion.

"Except yourself I have none. I do not encourage visitors."

Is it because it's the evening and clients are only supposed to show up in the daytime? And when Watson finally comes 'round to the possibility it could be a client, Holmes replies, "If so, it is a serious case. Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour. But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady's."

Okay, so according to Sherlock Holmes, it's just too rainy for a man to go see a detective. But Mrs. Hudson's "cronies" are going to come out in the storm to see her.

Ignoring the weather sexism, why are Mrs. Hudson's pals so anxious to see her that they're going to come out in this storm when someone needing a detective's help would not? And the word "crony" is gender neutral isn't it?

So, whatever your take on Mrs. Hudson's preferences, coming to see her in a storm means a motivated visitor, like someone who really loves the lady. Like really loves the lady. Was Mrs. Hudson dating? In a relationship? Was the sort of guest who fought their way through a client-barrier-level storm going to spend the night?

Oh, Mrs. Hudson! We never give you enough credit!

Never mind that Watson is having a sleepover at Baker Street because "My wife was on a visit to her mother's" and we know Mary Morstan was an orphan -- which means she could've been having a sleepover somewhere as well.

In the case that follows all these strange behaviours, Holmes tells the client, "I'll shall call upon you in a day, or in two days," and when the client asks if Holmes is going to come to his house in Horsham, Holmes basically goes, "Nope, staying in London."

Well, of course he is. Watson's wife is away on a sleepover for a couple of days and Holmes isn't encouraging visitors. Mrs. Hudson, of course, is definitely still having someone over.

And the next morning, Watson brings the case to a close by reading the newspaper before the maid can bring his coffee, Holmes feels all guilty and runs around to solve a case that's too late to solve, and comes back starving at ten o'clock because he's had nothing to eat since breakfast. Which is weird.

We then learn they keep oranges in a cupboard in the sitting room at 221B Baker Street. Case closed.

Did a client die just because it was "Baker Street springtime" in late September for all of the residents of number 221 Baker Street?

These stories, I tell you.

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