— an illustration (1892) by Sidney Paget for Arthur Conan Doyle's “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual,” p. 249. Photographic reproduction of watercolor. Click on image to enlarge it.
One winter's night, as we sat together by the fire, I ventured to suggest to him that, as he had finished pasting extracts into his common-place book, he might employ the next two hours in making our room a little more habitable. He could not deny the justice of my request, so with a rather rueful face he went off to his bedroom, from which he returned presently pulling a large tin box behind him. This he placed in the middle of the floor and, squatting down upon a stool in front of it, he threw back the lid. I could see that it was already a third full of bundles of paper tied up with red tape into separate packages.
"There are cases enough here, Watson," said he, looking at me with mischievous eyes. "I think that if you knew all that I had in this box you would ask me to pull some out instead of putting others in."
"These are the records of your early work, then?" I asked. "I have often wished that I had notes of those cases."
"Yes, my boy, these were all done prematurely before my biographer had come to glorify me." He lifted bundle after bundle in a tender, caressing sort of way. "They are not all successes, Watson," said he. "But there are some pretty little problems among them. Here's the record of the Tarleton murders, and the case of Vamberry, the wine merchant, and the adventure of the old Russian woman, and the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, as well as a full account of Ricoletti of the club-foot, and his abominable wife. And here—ah, now, this really is something a little recherché."
He dived his arm down to the bottom of the chest, and brought up a small wooden box with a sliding lid, such as children's toys are kept in. From within he produced a crumpled piece of paper, an old-fashioned brass key, a peg of wood with a ball of string attached to it, and three rusty old disks of metal. "Well, my boy, what do you make of this lot?" he asked, smiling at my expression."
Scanned image, caption, and commentary by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes. “Reproduced from the original publication in The Strand Magazine with the classic illustrations by Sidney Paget.” Edison, New Jersey: Castle Books, [after 1954]. Internet Archive version of a copy donated by Friends of the San Francisco Library. Web.
Last modified 3 December 2013