|My Sherlock Gnomes|
My wife Ann and I just had the great pleasure of spending a long Sherlockian weekend, bracketed my talk to the Red Circle of Washington, D.C., on Friday and attending a delightful meeting of Watson’s Tin Box of Ellicott City, MD, on Monday. It was great to see the faces of so many friends, and so many friendly faces.
The Red Circle is presided over by Peter Blau, a wise and witty force of (benign) nature who has been a member of the Baker Street Irregulars since 1959. He explained that he doesn’t hold an office in the scion, however, so that he can’t be impeached! Although "DC" is part of its name, the group actually meets in Bethesda, MD, where Peter also lives.
Peter’s collection of Sherlockiana is beyond description – at least, it’s beyond my description. Every shelf of his large and beautiful library contains gems I never even imagined. I’m not a collector, but I love to look at the collections of others.
Perhaps my favorite item from our tour of the Blau shelves was the volume of Holmes stories containing the signature of its original owner – T.S. Eliot. Peter believes that when Eliot wrote the famous scene in Murder in the Cathedral based on the Musgrave Ritual, it was to this very book that the great poet went to refresh his memory of the ritual’s wording.
In addition to thousands of books, Peter also has memorabilia – lots and lots of memorabilia, from the tacky to the sublime. When Ann mentioned that she had bought me a Sherlock Gnomes statue for Father’s Day, and where to get it online, a new edition to the Blau collection was in the mail as soon as Peter could get to his computer.
As one of the worst villains in the entire Canon remarked to Dr. Watson, “If a man has a hobby he follows it up, whatever his other pursuits may be.”