21 Mar 2014
Friday’s entry from the 223B Casebook appeared in the 1903 edition of The Bookman. It is written by J. Alston Cooper, about whom nothing is known, and it is a charming little piece about Dr. Watson’s upcoming marriage to Mary Morstan.
Stories from the 223B casebook — stories published during Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s lifetime (plus later ones I liked) — are published here every Monday and Friday. The up-to-date list can be found here.
As you can see, Cooper left the ending up in the air. In the next issue, the Bookman’s editor had this to add:
Just a word regarding Sherlock Holmes’s wedding present. The idea of “the editor with the golf stick” is certainly crude. Would it not have been truly characteristic if Holmes had contrived in his own ingenious fashion to find what Dr. Watson and his bride had most wanted for their new home, but had been forced to cut from the list, since the doctor’s purse was not over-plethoric? You will probably think that this is begging the question, after all.”
Coincidentally, the next item in the article — a collection of answers to reader mail — concerns Carolyn Wells, whose work we presented in a previous installment. The Bookman had been asked who it considered the greatest living American poet and replied they couldn’t answer, because they knew many poets and would not want to hurt their feelings:
A crisp little note comes to us from Bath, New York. The lady who wrote it has really found us out. She is a true Sherlockian.
Oh, come! Why this unwonted shyness? You know that you consider Miss Carolyn Wells “the greatest living American poet;” so answer “The Lady from Cairo” honestly, and don’t dodge behind tombstones.”
(Also, did I mention that I published this month a Sherlock Holmes short story featuring Mark Twain? I believe I just did.)