|The capture of Colonel Moran was made possible by Mrs. Hudson|
A posting this week by Dave Price had me thinking about the redoubtable Mrs. Hudson.
As Dave pointed out, William Hyder’s 11-page article on “The Martha Myth” in the March 1991 issue of the Baker Street Journal effectively destroyed the idea that Mrs. Hudson was also Holmes’s “old housekeeper” in “The Lion’s Mane” and/or “Martha” the spy in “His Last Bow.” Rob Nunn did likewise on his blog last year: http://interestingthoughelementary.blogspot.com/2020/07/that-is-martha-last.html
The triple identity fantasy was born of the fertile mind of Vincent Starrett an d later adopted by others, including William S. Baring-Gould (who, let’s be honest, made a lot of stuff up).
- But what do we really know about Mrs. Hudson? A surprising amount!She is the landlady of 221B Baker Street, not a housekeeper (every Canonical reference).
- In that capacity, she “was a long-suffering woman” who “stood in the deepest awe” of Sherlock Holmes, whose “payments were princely” (DYIN).
- She had cronies (FIVE).
- On numerous occasions she ushered in the clients or others (SIGN, VALL, BLAC, WIST), brought in a cablegram (DANC), or presented a card (GARR).
- Although she is first mentioned by name in The Sign of Four, she most likely was the landlady right from the beginning in A Study in Scarlet with her “stately tread.” Nobody really knows who Mrs. Turner is (SCAN).
- “Her cuisine is a little limited, but she has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman” (NAVA).
- Those grubby Baker Street Irregulars freaked her out (STUD, SIGN), but who can blame her for that?
- She was absolutely essential to Holmes’s plan for capturing Colonel Sebastian Moran as she turned the wax bust every quarter of an hour (EMPT). Undoubtedly she didn’t hesitate when asked.
In many ways, Mrs. Hudson was truly the woman in the life of Sherlock Holmes.