Oct 2008

Undertaker's mute

In Victorian times, a person employed as a professional attendant or mourner at a funeral.

Other 'Stauntons'

“There is Arthur H. Staunton, the rising young forger,” said he, “and there was Henry Staunton, whom I helped to hang.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Other Rugby players

“There’s Moorhouse, first reserve, but he is trained as a half, and he always edges right in on to the scrum instead of keeping out on the touchline. He’s a fine place-kick, it’s true but then he has no judgment, and he can’t sprint for nuts. Why, Morton or Johnson, the Oxford fliers, could romp round him. Stevenson is fast enough, but he couldn’t drop from the twentyfive line, and a three-quarter who can’t either punt or drop isn’t worth a place for pace alone.” (Cyril Overton)

Sherlock Holmes - Deductions

“Mr. Overton was evidently considerably excited when he sent it, and somewhat incoherent in consequence.” Read More...

Sherlock Holmes - Character Illustrations

Things had indeed been very slow with us, and I had learned to dread such periods of inaction, for I knew by experience that my companion’s brain was so abnormally active that it was dangerous to leave it without material upon which to work. For years I had gradually weaned him from that drug mania which had threatened once to check his remarkable career. Now I knew that under ordinary conditions he no longer craved for this artificial stimulus, but I was well aware that the fiend was not dead but sleeping, and I have known that the sleep was a light one and the waking near when in periods of idleness I have seen the drawn look upon Holmes’s ascetic face, and the brooding of his deep-set and inscrutable eyes. Therefore I blessed this Mr. Overton, whoever he might be, since he had come with his enigmatic message to break that dangerous calm which brought more peril to my friend than all the storms of his tempestuous life. Read More...

Deception which Sherlock Holmes practised on the young lady in the telegraph office

“I am sorry to trouble you,” said he, in his blandest manner, to the young woman behind the grating; “there is some small mistake about a telegram I sent yesterday. I have had no answer, and I very much fear that I must have omitted to put my name at the end. Could you tell me if this was so?”
The young woman turned over a sheaf of counterfoils.
“What o’clock was it?” she asked.
“A little after six.”
“Whom was it to?”
Holmes put his finger to his lips and glanced at me. “The last words in it were ‘for God’s sake,’ “ he whispered, confidentially; “I am very anxious at getting no answer.”
The young woman separated one of the forms.
“This is it. There is no name,” said she, smoothing it out upon the counter.

Note to Jeremy Dixon from Sherlock Holmes

The note which produced Pompey, the draghound.

Telegram from Cyril Overton in response to a question by Sherlock Holmes

“Ask for Pompey from Jeremy Dixon, Trinity College.”

Note from Dr Leslie Armstrong to Sherlock Holmes

SIR [it ran]:
I can assure you that you are wasting your time in dogging
my movements. I have, as you discovered last night, a
window at the back of my brougham, and if you desire a
twenty-mile ride which will lead you to the spot from which
you started, you have only to follow me. Meanwhile, I can
inform you that no spying upon me can in any way help Mr.
Godfrey Staunton, and I am convinced that the best service
you can do to that gentleman is to return at once to London
and to report to your employer that you are unable to trace
him. Your time in Cambridge will certainly be wasted.
Yours faithfully,

Note received by Godfrey Staunton

Godfrey read it, and fell back in a chair as if he had been pole-axed.

Telegram from Cyril Overton to Lord Mount-James

The telegram which brought Lord Mount-James to the Bentley Private Hotel by the Bayswater Bus.

Telegram from Godfrey Staunton to Dr Leslie Armstrong

The last words of the telegram being - ‘Stand by us for God’s sake.’

Telegram from Cyril Overton to Sherlock Holmes

Please await me. Terrible misfortune. Right wing threequarter missing, indispensable to-morrow.

Chesterton, Histon, Waterbeach, Oakington and Trumpington

Villages visited by Sherlock Holmes.

King's Cross station, London

King's Cross station is a major railway terminus opened in 1852.
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Bentley's Private Hotel

“Yesterday we all came up, and we settled at Bentley’s private hotel. “ (Cambridge Rugby team)

Trinity College, Cambridge

College attended by Cyril Overton, Godfrey Staunton and others.
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Wife of Godfrey Staunton

A woman, young and beautiful, was lying dead upon the bed. Her calm, pale face, with dim, wide-opened blue eyes, looked upward from amid a great tangle of golden hair.


“The pride of the local draghounds — no very great flier, as his build will show, but a staunch hound on a scent. Well, Pompey, you may not be fast, but I expect you will be too fast for a couple of middle-aged London gentlemen.”

Jeremy Dixon, Trinity College

“I’ll just send round a note to Mr. Jeremy Dixon, and then I have no doubt that our luck will turn.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Friendly native in the yard of our own inn

“All that I have learned I got from a friendly native in the yard of our own inn. It was he who told me of the doctor’s habits and of his daily journey.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Coachman to Dr Armstrong

“I do not know whether it came from his own innate depravity or from the promptings of his master, but he was rude enough to set a dog at me. Neither dog nor man liked the look of my stick, however, and the matter fell through. Relations were strained after that, and further inquiries out of the question.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Young woman in telegraph office

The young woman separated one of the forms.
“This is it. There is no name,” said she, smoothing it out upon the counter.

Lord Mount-James

“Lord Mount-James is his nearest relative — his uncle; one of the richest men in England.”
“The old boy is nearly eighty — cram full of gout, too. They say he could chalk his billiard-cue with his knuckles. He never allowed Godfrey a shilling in his life. for he is an absolute miser.” (Cyril Overton) Read More...

Father of Godfrey Staunton's wife

A rough-looking man with a beard.

Porter at Bentley's Private Hotel

Sherlock Holmes was a past-master in the art of putting a humble witness at his ease, and very soon, in the privacy of Godfrey Staunton’s abandoned room, he had extracted all that the porter had to tell.

Inspector Stanley Hopkins

A promising detective, in whose career Holmes had several times shown a very practical interest.

Dr Leslie Armstrong

The square, massive face, the brooding eyes under the thatched brows, and the granite moulding of the inflexible jaw. A man of deep character, a man with an alert mind, grim, ascetic, self-contained, formidable.

Godfrey Staunton

The crack threequarter, Cambridge, Blackheath, and five Internationals.

Cyril Overton, Trinity College, Cambridge

An enormous young man, sixteen stone of solid bone and muscle, who spanned the doorway with his broad shoulders, and looked from one of us to the other with a comely face which was haggard with anxiety.

“I was first reserve for England against Wales, and I’ve skippered the ’Varsity all this year.”

Russian Nihilists

“We were reformers — revolutionists — Nihilists, you understand.”
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Chubb key

“Is it a simple key?”
“No, sir, it is a Chubb’s key.”
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Spirit lamp

“I’ll light my spirit lamp, and give you a cup of coffee before we start.”
  • A lamp, used mainly for heating in laboratory work, in which alcohol is burned.


From his pocket Stanley Hopkins drew a small paper packet. He unfolded it and disclosed a golden pince-nez, with two broken ends of black silk cord dangling from the end of it.
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Mortimer, the gardener, who wheels the Bath chair, is an army pensioner — an old Crimean man of excellent character.
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Bath chair

  • A kind of wheelchair for invalids, typically with a hood.
  • ORIGIN early 19th cent.: named after the city of Bath , which attracted many invalids because of the supposed curative powers of its hot springs.
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“I’ve done enough for one sitting. It is trying work for the eyes. So far as I can make out, it is nothing more exciting than an Abbey’s accounts dating from the second half of the fifteenth century.” (Sherlock Holmes)
  • A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.

Sherlock Holmes - Deductions

From his pocket Stanley Hopkins drew a small paper packet. He unfolded it and disclosed a golden pince-nez, with two broken ends of black silk cord dangling from the end of it. Read More...

Sherlock Holmes - Character Illustrations

Holmes and I sat together in silence all the evening, he engaged with a powerful lens deciphering the remains of the original inscription upon a palimpsest. Read More...

Sergius - Professor Coram

"I would have you to know the whole truth. I am this man’s wife. He is not an Englishman. He is a Russian. His name I will not tell.” (Anna)

Scratch upon the bureau in Professor Coram's study

The mark which he was examining began upon the brasswork on the righthand side of the keyhole, and extended for about four inches, where it had scratched the varnish from the surface.

Alexandrian cigarettes

"I have them especially prepared by Ionides, of Alexandria. He sends me a thousand at a time, and I grieve to say that I have to arrange for a fresh supply every fortnight." (Professor Coram)

Packet of letters

“These are my last words,” said she; “here is the packet which will save Alexis. I confide it to your honour and to your love of justice. Take it! You will deliver it at the Russian Embassy. “ (Anna)

Golden pince-nez

From his pocket Stanley Hopkins drew a small paper packet. He unfolded it and disclosed a golden pince-nez, with two broken ends of black silk cord dangling from the end of it.

Sealing-wax knife

The instrument with which the injury had been inflicted lay upon the carpet beside him. It was one of those small sealing-wax knives to be found on old-fashioned writing-tables, with an ivory handle and a stiff blade.

Willoughby Smith's dying words

‘The professor,’ he murmured — ‘it was she.’

The repulsive story of the red leech and others

I see my notes upon the repulsive story of the red leech and the terrible death of Crosby, the banker. Here also I find an account of the Addleton tragedy, and the singular contents of the ancient British barrow. The famous Smith-Mortimer succession case comes also within this period, and so does the tracking and arrest of Huret, the Boulevard assassin — an exploit which won for Holmes an autograph letter of thanks from the French President and the Order of the Legion of Honour.

Yoxley Old Place

Yoxley Old Place, Chatham, Kent (seven miles from Chatham and three from the railway line).
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“The friend of my heart. He was noble, unselfish, loving — all that my husband was not. He hated violence.”

“Alexis was sent a convict to Siberia, where now, at this moment, he works in a salt mine.” (Anna)


The Constable on duty at the gate of Yoxley Old Place.


....the gardener, who wheels the Bath chair, is an army pensioner — an old Crimean man of excellent character.

Susan Tarleton

Professor Coram’s maidservant.

Mrs Marker

Professor Coram's elderly housekeeper.
A sad-faced, elderly woman came into the room.

Willoughby Smith

A very young man straight from the university.


Professor Coram’s wife.

Professor Coram

An invalid, keeping his bed half the time, and the other half hobbling round the house with a stick or being pushed about the grounds by the gardener in a Bath chair. He was well liked by the few neighbours who called upon him, and he has the reputation down there of being a very learned man. Read More...

Inspector Stanley Hopkins

A promising detective, in whose career Holmes had several times shown a very practical interest.

Sherlock Holmes - Deductions

Holmes stirred for the first time.
“The first page on the floor, the second in the window, the third where you left it,” said he.

Sherlock Holmes - Character Illustrations

My friend’s temper had not improved since he had been deprived of the congenial surroundings of Baker Street. Without his scrapbooks, his chemicals, and his homely untidiness, he was an uncomfortable man.

Sherlock Holmes - Sayings

“For once you have fallen low. Let us see, in the future, how high you can rise.”

Gilchrist's tan gloves

Which he left on the chair by the small table in Hilton Soames room.


Proofs of the Greek examination paper which consisted of half a chapter of Thucydides.
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Black dough or clay

A small ball of black dough or clay, with specks of something which looks like sawdust in it.

Shreds from a pencil

On the table in the window were several shreds from a pencil which had been sharpened. A broken tip of lead was lying there also.

Fortescue Scholarship

A large sum of money is at stake, for the scholarship is a very valuable one.

College of St. Luke's

Where the unfortunate incident took place.

Temporary lodgings

Temporary furnished lodgings close to a library in one of our great university towns.

Sir Jabez Gilchrist

Who ruined himself on the turf. Father of Gilchrist the student.

Miles McLaren

A brilliant fellow when he chooses to work — one of the brightest intellects of the university; but he is wayward, dissipated, and unprincipled. He was nearly expelled over a card scandal in his first year.

Raulat Das

An Indian student. He is a quiet, inscrutable fellow; a silent, little, hook-nosed fellow.


A fine scholar and athlete, plays in the Rugby team and the cricket team for the college, and got his Blue for the hurdles and the long jump. He is a fine, manly fellow. Read More...


Servant to Hilton Soames.

Hilton Soames

Tutor and lecturer at the College of St. Luke’s. Read More...

Red Lamp

"You ask about the Red Lamp." says the postscript to the preface of the American edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's Round the Red Lamp (1894): 'It is the usual sign of the general practitioner in England.'
(The new annotated Sherlock Holmes; Leslie S Klinger Vol II (2005))

Contents of Pietro Venucci's pockets

An apple, some string, a shilling map of London, and a photograph.

Lumber room

  • Articles of furniture or other household items that are no longer useful and inconveniently take up storage space: as an adjective: a lumber room.

An area beneath

  • A sunken enclosure giving access to the basement of a building often used as a servants’ entrance in Victorian houses.

Idée fixe

  • An idea or desire that dominates the mind; an obsession.
  • ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: French, literally ‘fixed idea.’

Sherlock Holmes - Deductions

“I would only observe that there is a certain method in the gentleman’s eccentric proceedings. For example, in Dr. Barnicot’s hall, where a sound might arouse the family, the bust was taken outside before being broken, whereas in the surgery, where there was less danger of an alarm, it was smashed where it stood.” Read More...

Sherlock Holmes - Character Illustrations

It was no very unusual thing for Mr. Lestrade, of Scotland Yard, to look in upon us of an evening, and his visits were welcome to Sherlock Holmes, for they enabled him to keep in touch with all that was going on at the police headquarters. In return for the news which Lestrade would bring, Holmes was always ready to listen with attention to the details of any case upon which the detective was engaged, and was able occasionally without any active interference, to give some hint or suggestion drawn from his own vast knowledge and experience.

Sherlock Holmes - Sayings

“The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it.”

Sherlock Holmes' message to Horace Harker

“If you are going back to Pitt Street, you might see Mr. Horace Harker. Tell him for me that I have quite made up my mind, and that it is certain that a dangerous homicidal lunatic, with Napoleonic delusions, was in his house last night. It will be useful for his article.”

Black Pearl

Next instant, with a loud shout of triumph he held up one splinter, in which a round, dark object was fixed like a plum in a pudding.
“Gentlemen,” he cried, “let me introduce you to the famous black pearl of the Borgias.”


He had himself picked up the loaded hunting-crop, which was his favourite weapon.

Napoleonic busts

Six plaster casts of the famous head of Napoleon by the French sculptor, Devine.

Special Messenger letter to Josiah Brown

“I had the note which you sent by the express messenger, and I did exactly what you told me. We locked every door on the inside and awaited developments.”

Telegram from Lestrade

“Come instantly, 131 Pitt Street, Kensington. “LESTRADE.”

Conk-Singleton forgery case

Th papers of the Conk-Singleton forgery case.

Abernetty family

The dreadful business of the Abernetty family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day.

Church Street, Stepney, London

Site of Gelder & co. who manufactured the Napoleonic busts.
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Empty house in Campden House Road

In the garden of which Mr Horace Harker’s Napoleon bust was smashed.

Laburnum Lodge, Laburnum Vale, Chiswick, London

A secluded road fringed with pleasant houses, each standing in its own grounds. In the light of a street lamp we read “Laburnum Villa” upon the gate-post of one of them. Home of Josiah Brown.
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Two doors from the High Street Station, Kensington

Site of Harding Bros. shop.
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Inspector Hill

An inspector who makes a specialty of Saffron Hill and the Italian quarter.

131 Pitt Street, London

A quiet little backwater just beside one of the briskest currents of London life. No. 131 was one of a row, all flat-chested, respectable, and most unromantic dwellings.

Kennington Road, London

Morse Hudson’s shop in the Kennington Road.
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Lucretia Venucci

Lady’s maid to the Princess of Colonna.
There is no doubt in my mind that this Pietro who was murdered two nights ago was the brother.

Pietro Venucci

Pietro Venucci, from Naples, and he is one of the greatest cut-throats in London. He is connected with the Mafia, which, as you know, is a secret political society, enforcing its decrees by murder. Read More...

Mr Sandeford of Reading

An elderly red-faced man with grizzled side-whiskers was ushered in. In his right hand he carried an old-fashioned carpet-bag, which he placed upon the table.

Josiah Brown of Laburnum Lodge

A jovial, rotund figure in shirt and trousers.

Harding Bros.

The founder of that great emporium proved to be a brisk, crisp little person, very dapper and quick, with a clear head and a ready tongue.

Manager of Gelder & Co.

The manager, a big blond German, received us civilly and gave a clear answer to all Holmes’s questions. the production of the photograph had a remarkable effect upon the manager. His face flushed with anger, and his brows knotted over his blue Teutonic eyes.

Horace Harker

Mr Horace Harker of the Central Press Syndicate.
An exceedingly unkempt and agitated elderly man, clad in a flannel dressing-gown, was pacing up and down. He was introduced to us as the owner of the house.

Dr Barnicot

In Kennington Road, and within a few hundred yards of Morse Hudson’s shop, there lives a well-known medical practitioner, named Dr. Barnicot, who has one of the largest practices upon the south side of the Thames. His residence and principal consulting-room is at Kennington Road, but he has a branch surgery and dispensary at Lower Brixton Road, two miles away.

Morse Hudson

He was a small, stout man with a red face and a peppery manner.
It was at the shop of Morse Hudson, who has a place for the sale of pictures and statues in the Kennington Road.


His name, it appeared, was Beppo, second name unknown. He was a well-known ne’er-do-well among the Italian colony. He had once been a skilful sculptor and had earned an honest living, but he had taken to evil courses and had twice already been in jail — once for a petty theft, and once, as we had already heard, for stabbing a fellow-countryman. He could talk English perfectly well.

Inspector Lestrade

It was no very unusual thing for Mr. Lestrade, of Scotland Yard, to look in upon us of an evening, and his visits were welcome to Sherlock Holmes, for they enabled him to keep in touch with all that was going on at the police headquarters.