One of the common activities of Sherlock Holmes gatherings is a series of toasts to individuals of Sherlockian fame, either from what is generally called “real life” or from the pages of the Holmes Canon. Over the weekend (March 25, 2017), I was surprised and honored to be asked to toast the Master at the banquet of the Holmes, Doyle & Friends Four conference in Dayton. Here’s what I (more or less) said:
“Holmes, Doyle & Friends” is an indisputably appropriate name to gather under tonight, for the Sherlockian community is all about friendship – the friendship of Holmes and Watson, and our friendship for each other.
Sherlock Holmes once asserted that he had no friends save Watson. Surely that is untrue, however. Inspector G. Lestrade, who had a habit of looking in at 221B of an evening, must be considered a friend. And so must Mrs. Hudson, Billy the page, and brother Mycroft, each in his or her own unique way.
But the greatest friends of the world’s first consulting detective are not to be found in Baker Street. They span the globe . . . and the decades. They are located in small villages and great metropolises, whether alone with their books or joined with other like-minded eccentrics in almost a thousand societies devoted to the master.
We, dear comrades, are the friends of Sherlock Holmes.
And so tonight we raise our glasses in a toast:
To him whom we shall ever regard as the best and wisest man whom we have ever known –
Mr. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street!