Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A Toast to a 'Wild, Profane' Villain

Sidney Paget's Sir Hugo Baskerville 

For me, being asked to offer a toast at a Sherlockian gathering is equal parts honor and pleasure. I had both last month when my friend Al Shaw, “Sir Hugo” of Hugo’s Companions in Chicago, asked me to propose one of the toasts at the group’s annual Birthday Dinner and Awards Celebration.

The Companions have odd notion that Sherlock Holmes was born in May. This year they celebrated on May 25. Having the choice of subject for my toast, I picked Sir Hugo Baskerville himself. A fine Sherlockian once asked, “Why would you ever want to toast a villain?” I say, “Because it’s fun!”

Here was my toast to the evil Sir Hugo:

Companions and Fellow Guests:

Every great novel demands a great villain, and The Hound of the Baskervilles has one. But it’s not the man responsible for the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and the persecution of his nephew, Sir Henry. That feckless butterfly collector inspires only our derision. No, the real villain of the story is the “most wild, profane, and godless man” who met his much-deserved fate at the time of the Great Rebellion.

Let us lift our glasses in dishonor of one – 

Who himself drained many glasses during the long carouses that were his nightly custom;

Who surrounded himself with idle and wicked companions (a tradition maintained by our own Sir Hugo to this very day);

Who when in his cups uttered such terrible oaths which as might blast the man which said them;

Whose “certain wanton and cruel humor . . . made his name a byword throughout the West;”

Who, in the end, rendered his body and soul to the Powers of Evil;

And without whom there would be Baskerville curse, no Baskerville hound, and no adventure of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

To Sir Hugo Baskerville – may his eternally damned spirit stay right where it is!  

1 comment: