"Excellent, Watson! You scintillate to-day."Scintillate, meaning to throw off sparks or to sparkle, is an uncommon word. And yet Holmes uses it twice in referring to Dr. Watson's modest efforts at walking in the Master's footsteps. (The other occasion is in "The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter": "You are scintillating this evening."
-- Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"
It's hard to know quite how to read this. Certainly Holmes is over-praising. But to what end? I've always assumed he's being sarcastic and therefore cruel. Perhaps, though, his intention was kind -- that of encouraging his old friend. It is pleasant to think so.
At any rate, it is not over-praising in the least to say that Scintillation of Scions V, celebrated on Saturday in Laurel, Maryland, was scintillating.
Jacquelynn Morris of Watson's Tin Box started SoS five years ago with the dream that it would be a Sherlockian family reunion. With an unexpectedly high 81 participants this year ranging in age from 15 to well past normal retirement age, that's exactly what it felt like to me.
As a first-time participant in this well-organized and affordable event, I was bowled over. The talks were all so first rate that I can't single one out. The afternoon tea was splendid, and thanks to Jacqueline's talk I now know the difference between high tea and afternoon tea. (Oops, I guess I did single one out.)
As with any such event, meeting new friends was one of the highlights for me. Increasingly, that means meeting in person people that one has already become friends with virtually (Matt Laffey, Kristina, Jacquelynn). I don't think that person-to-person contact will ever cease to be important.
Sherlockians are an impressive group of people. When the fire alarm went off, no one panicked. When the sound failed on a clip of a "Sherlock" episode, Christine McAndrews of SherlockNYC obligingly recited it from memory -- with the accent!
My memory, alas, is not that great. But I will not soon forget Scintillation of Scions V.