“A child would know Silver Blaze with his white forehead and his mottled off-foreleg.”
…this famous Sherlock Holness story, too, similarly known by us all, even the odd child here and there. Watson is a sort of child to be tutored, but there is no sure lock against such a child, even though he is not omniscient in this narrative memoir because Sherlock’s ‘whisper’ — carrying the plot with it — was not heard by Watson, and thus unheard by ourselves, yet Watson is no modernistic ‘unreliable narrator’ either! He is astute enough to lay clues for my ‘gestalt real-time reviewing’ process, now primed by tackling these Sherlocked works, having practised unlocking such literature when earlier applying this reviewing process to all the Father Brown stories (HERE). And that thought now gives me a clue, in the flow of my pondering, as to the nature of Silas Brown, perhaps, and, consequently, of his boss Lord Backwater, despite their names and the Watson-context implying otherwise! Whatever the value of a half-crown bribe.
I will not further re-rehearse all the clues laid by Watson’s memoir, for fear of spoilers, but I shall merely list them here, like listing the contents of someone’s pocket, as this ‘story’ does, my own list comprising the speed of the train taking our heroes to Dartmoor, the nature of the Somomy stock, a carried mutton dish, a ‘penang-lawyer’ stick weighted by lead, the town of Tavistock being in the middle of a huge circle, the arguable red herring of gypsies in the area, the ‘cataract knife’, a wax Vesta under the matting, a lady’s ostrich-feather trimmed dress, lame sheep with a ‘singular epidemic’, a bill for £37 15s, the nicking of something subcutaneously, arrival at Clapham Junction, and much else.
I shall further list (as the quotes below) what I myself found important as clues, clues particularly to my own involvement in sharing my thoughts with at least one other person (a person perhaps not unlike Watson) who is reading this unofficial review of mine, but with any horse in it being called Desborough notwithstanding.
“Because I made a blunder, my dear Watson – which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only knew me through your memoirs.”
“….for nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person,…”
“Though most of the facts were familiar to me, I had not sufficiently appreciated their relative importance, nor their connection to each other.”
“See the value of imagination…”
“That is the advantage of being unofficial. I don’t know whether you observed it,…”
“faker like him has many a dodge”
Not forgetting, though, Watson’s ‘touching the arm’ of a ‘day-dreaming’ Sherlock in this ‘story’, sure to unlock or trigger something important.
But, each time they are resurrected by the modern consciousness as reliable reality from fiction, which of them wins the race to truth in the end?
Full Penguin anthology context of this review: https://nemonymous123456.wordpress.com/the-penguin-books-of-the-british-short-story/
My recent review of A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/06/27/a-scandal-in-bohemia-sir-arthur-conan-doyle/