Measured Extravagance

2001-05-19 - 11:03 p.m.

It's been a pretty mellow day chez Mechaieh. In the morning, I alternated between watching the puppy chase white moths and constructing the quiz for the afternoon gathering of the Scholars.

The pint of Bass and the Cornish pastie I consumed at the meeting left me feeling somewhat queasy afterwards, so I plunked myself down in a bookstore armchair to wait out the antacids with the companion book for the Pearl Harbor movie (mostly looking in vain for photos of Colm Feore, to tell the truth) and A Finer End, the new Deborah Crombie mystery. The clerk rang up Debi Gliori's Flora's Blanket for me and wrapped it in a deep purple paper with round ladybugs and gold squiggles. (Flora's a baby rabbit, which will make the book perfect for the bunny enthusiast/expecting mother for whom I purchased it.)

I've spent the rest of the evening writing one longish letter, one short review, and a couple of notes, and I'm about to go make myself a spinach salad and brew another pot of tea. I'm rejoicing in the red roses (one full-blown and one in bud) that have sprung up in the thicket under our walnut tree. I'm thinking I ought to spend the rest of the evening cleaning the kitchen, but I'm also feeling like I need to spend more time with the cat, so I suspect I'm going to put off the dishes until tomorrow and spend the rest of tonight reading.

Here's the script for the quiz I gave at this afternoon's meeting. If you aren't an ardent Sherlockian, you'll probably want to skip this. If you're a budding Sherlockian and haven't yet read "The Norwood Builder," you'll also want to skip this, since it's thick with spoilers. If you want the answers, email me.

The NORW quiz for the Nashville Scholars, 5/19/01:

This is a story that offers several interesting, if not outright tantalizing, glimpses into the relationship between Holmes and Watson - what they say to each other, what they don't say to each other, etc.

a. What prompts Watson's return to Baker Street?
b. What makes Watson's return to Baker Street possible?
c. Who underwrites the transaction?
d. When does Watson find out?
e. Why does Holmes travel to Blackheath alone?"
f. Why does Holmes want Watson with him when they travel to Norwood?

This is a story that features both s-o-n-s and s-u-n-s. If you don't know the significance of the word s-o-n in to this story, you didn't (re)read it before today's meeting. (Tsk, tsk.) Thus, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions about s-u-n related lines instead:

a. When Holmes visits Deep Dene House, he says that "I crawled about the lawn with a _________ sun on my back, but I got up at the end of the hour no wiser than before." What kind of sun was on Holmes' back?
b. When Holmes receives Lestrade's telegram, he calls it "Lestrade's little ___________ of victory." What kind of victory is it?
c. When Holmes sees the thumbprint on the wall, he tells his companion, "I _know_ that that mark was not there when I examined the hall yesterday. And now, Watson, let us have a little stroll round in the ____________." Where do they stroll?
d. When Lestrade objects to Holmes' "tomfoolery," Holmes replies with "I assure you, my good Lestrade, I have an excellent reason for everything that I do. You may possible remember that you chaffed me a little, some hours ago, when ___________________." When what?

This is a story with a notable number of animal analogies - let's see how many we noticed:

a. During Holmes' opening plaint, to what does he compare the "late, lamented Professor Moriarty"?
b. How does Mrs. McFarlane describe Mr. Oldacre?
c. Why did she break her engagement to Mr. Oldacre?
d. In what manner does Oldacre leave his hiding-place?
e. After discussing who gets credit for the case with Lestrade, Holmes says, "Now, let us see where this __________ has been lurking." This what?
f. Oldacre refuses to confess what kind of critter he slaughtered to produce the remains in the woodpile. What does Holmes suggest?

Last but not least, this is a story that has encouraged much speculation into Holmes' artistic ancestry, thanks to the distantly-related Dr. Verner, possibly of the Vernets. Hence, it seems not coincidental that, in this story, Holmes mentions what he considers "the supreme gift of the artist." Which is...? (The answer to that last question? "...the knowledge of when to stop.")

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