SHERLOCKIAN PERSONS, PLACES & THINGS
WATSON'S QUICK MYSTERIES
JEREMY BRETT PAGE
GIVE SIR ARTHUR A GREAT BIG HAND
EDITOR'S NOTE: Our Feature Article for this month was authored by E. A. "Bud" Livingston. Our communication with Bud comes from our mutual membership in The American Firm, Ed Smith, Jr.'s marvelous scion dedicated to providing readable versions of the Canon to the visually impaired. Bud tells us that he came to Sherlock Holmes "late in life," but came "with a vengence" and now belongs to at least six scions other than The American Firm. Bud has written many canonical monographs (including this one) - we have asked Bud to consider allowing us to publish a collection of his works in book form we are awaiting his his thoughts on this matter now. Aside from being a devoted Sherlockian, Bud is also a Civil War enthusiast and pursues that interest through teaching and giving speeches to Civil War Round Tables, etc., around the New York area and through his book President Lincoln's Third Largest City Brooklyn and the Civil War. We thank Bud for allowing us to publish his essay on canonical hands here for your information and enjoyment.
GIVE SIR ARTHUR A GREAT BIG HAND
by "Bud" Livingston
When it came to describing hands, ACD liked "thin" (and its synonyms) best, with "strong" (and its synonyms) a close second.
Miss Burnett had thin hands (WIST) along with Mortimer Tregennis (DEVI), Holmes (DYIN, PRIO), Old Ralph (skinny, BLAN), and Josiah Amberly (bony, RETI). Lord Bellinger's hands were thin and blue-veined (a true blue-blood, SECO), Percy Trevelyan's were thin and white (RESI), Holmes hands were thin and long (FIVE), and poor distraught Mrs. Bernstone's mitts were thin and work-worn (SIGN). On the other hand (pardon me), John Douglas had muscular hands (VALL) and Jefferson Hope's were sinewy, brown and leathery (STUD). Both Cecil James Barker (VALL) and Hilton Cubitt (DANC) had great, strong hands. John McMurdo had strong brown hands (VALL) and Gennaro Lucca had just plain old strong hands, (no colour , REDC) Jack Croker had great sunburnt hands (ABBE) as did the Honorable Philip Green who throttled Dr. Watson with huge and sunburned hands (LADY). Grimesby Roylott bent the poker with huge brown hands (SPEC). Boss McGinty's hands were hairy paws, and enormous as a gorilla's (VALL). Count Negretto Sylvius (MAZA) was another hirsute entry with hands dark and hairy.
Isadora Klein had dainty hands (3GAB), Ivy Douglas' were finely moulded (VALL) and Ettie Shafter had white hands (VALL). Three men had fat hands: White Mason (VALL), Shinwell Johnson (ILLU) and Jephro Rucastle (COPP), along with the charming Charles Augustus Milverton who had plump little hands (CHAS).
Two men have discoloured hands: Professor Sergius Coram's hands were stained yellow with nicotine (GOLD) and our favourite consulting detective's hands were mottled and discoloured in STUD although this condition is never mentioned again.
We have two southpaws: John Turner (BOSC) and Grant Munro (YELL). Our best rightie is Jabez Wilson whose right hand was a full size larger than his left (REDH). Although Professor Presbury had thick and horny knuckles (CREE), Jonathan Small's hands were far from horny and a good deal of skin was missing from the palm of one of them (SIGN).
And how about nervousness? Sidney Johnson's hands twitched (BRUC), Mr. Melas' hands trembled (GREE), Thaddeus Sholto's hands writhed (SIGN), Mary Morstan's hands quivered (SIGN), and Henry Baker's had a slight tremor (BLUE).
Baron Gruner had burning hands, bloody hands and vile paws (ILLU), and in The Gloria Scott, J.P. Trevor had calloused hands while Hudson's were crinkled. Poor Sam Merton has the singular distinction of having unwashed hands (MAZA).
Who had the most interesting hands? Well, in this writer's opinion, it is the Diogenes Club's own Mycroft Holmes. He had a broad, flat hand, like the flipper of a seal(GREE).
Mycroft wins, hands down!
Copyright © 1998 by Classic Specialties
P.O. Box 19058
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219