I am less than a hundred pages away from finishing Sherlock Holmes The Complete Novels and Stories Volume 2. As a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, I know I have to apply the art of detachment as early as now. Reading the ‘goodbye’ remark of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the preface of The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes seriously broke my heart, though I know I can always reread his works.
The Adventure of the Three Garridebs is the sixth of the twelve adventures of Sherlock Holmes in this collection. Dr John Watson was a major star in this case which was presented firstly as a case of hunting three men with Garrideb as their last name in order to fulfil a will. Of course with Sherlock Holmes, we can never be sure that the initial case presented is really the case itself. I mean you have to keep on reading in order to have a complete grasp of what the story is all about. As expected, it turned out that Mr John Garrideb, the main hunter of the other two Garridebs had a hidden agenda for launching his quest.
Another remarkable talent of Sherlock Holmes is his ability to discern if someone is telling the truth or not. This is basically why he always exert an effort in meeting his client and all the other people involved in the case, face to face be it in their Baker Street lodging or somewhere else.
Eyes don’t lie. That’s a fact. I can just imagine Sherlock Holmes’ piercing gaze and scrutinizing looks every time he interviews a client. If I were that client, I might lose focus and just stare at him in return. 🙂
Anyway, this case was a pretty easy and fast-paced adventure for Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. The former was quick to figure out that his client, Mr John Garrideb was a hoax and that his real identity is, “‘Killer’ Evans, of sinister and murderous reputation.” This dangerous man was really after the property of the second genuine Garrideb, Mr Nathan Garrideb.
Evans constructed another lie to have Mr Nathan Garrideb set out on a quest of his own in search of the ‘third Garrideb’ in the name of Mr Howard Garrideb (which is definitely another hoax). So the house was emptied and Evans took the opportunity of breaking into the house in search of a certain counterfeiter’s machine, a printing press called Prescott’s machine. Holmes didn’t know at first what particular object Evans was after. What he knew was that it is within the property of Mr Nathan Garrideb and so he also took the chance of breaking into it with his loyal accomplice, Dr John Watson for further investigation. This is when they had caught Evans in the act of taking Prescott’s machine.
For me, the highlight of this story was not when Holmes and Watson caught Evans in the act, but that when Holmes finally showed his vulnerable side – that face of Holmes whom for a moment showed genuine concern for his good friend Watson. It is not every day that I get to read such accounts of my most admired fictional character. This happened when Holmes and Watson caught Evans and the latter attempted to fire his revolver on them resulting to a sort of sudden hot sear pressed on the doctor’s thigh.
The below statement was the very statement Holmes uttered that showed his vulnerable side.
“You’re not hurt, Watson? For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!”
Watson’s thought bubble response was:
“It was worth a wound – it was worth many wounds – to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment.”
What a heart-warming statement from Watson, isn’t it? Good thing nothing serious happened to him. If there is one person in this world who is most deserving of seeing that vulnerable side of Sherlock Holmes, that’s got to be Dr John Watson. It’s a complete privilege on my part, as a reader and as a fan, to be a witness to this event. (I know t’was a bit weird but I keep playing this scenario on my mind since I’ve read it.)
And the below statement of Holmes proved just how much he cares for and values Watson.
“By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive.”
Again, what is there to not like and love in Sherlock Holmes? I must admit, Dr John Watson deeply moved me in this story as well. His loyalty and obedience to his friend never once weakened. Who wouldn’t want a friend in Watson?
I really love this adventure of Sherlock Holmes mainly because I have seen another side of him. His approach in every case he handles is highly admirable, one that will leave you in awe, but on my part, it’s really his personality, his humanity that draws me to him. Oh I can even come up with a list of all the characteristics Sir Arthur Conan Doyle carefully crafted for the world’s greatest detective.
I just love SH. I really do. 🙂
Photo credits: All images used were grabbed online. Credits to owners.