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From Watson’s Tin Box – The Man With the Twisted Lip

From Watson’s Tin Box – The Man With the Twisted Lip

“Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch-box with my name, John H. Watson, MD, Late Indian Army, painted upon the lid.”

– The Problem of Thor Bridge (THOR)

Isa Whitney, brother of the late Elias Whitney, D.D., Principal of the Theological College of St George’s, was much addicted to opium. The habit grew upon him, as I understand, from some foolish freak when he was at college, for having read De Quincey’s description of his dreams and sensations, he had drenched his tobacco with laudanum in an attempt to produce the same effects. He found, as so many more have done, that the practice is easier to attain than to get rid of, and for many years he continued to be a slave to the drug, an object of mingled horror and pity to his friends and relatives. I can see him now, with yellow, pasty face, drooping lids and pin-point pupils, all huddled in a chair, the wreck and ruin of a noble man. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

Watson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion that meets in Columbia, Maryland, shares a few select items from their tin evidence box for The Man With the Twisted Lip with us here at The Fourth Garrideb. These evidence boxes were originally created by the late Paul Churchill, BSI, one of the founders of Watson’s Tin Box and contains both genuine artifacts and genuine faux reproductions that he (and others) created. These items create a great deal of discussion at their monthly meetings and we hope it will do the same here. Enjoy!

It is the vilest murder-trap on the whole riverside, and I fear Neville St Clair has entered it never to leave it more. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box
Last Monday Mr Neville St Clair went into town rather earlier than usual, remarking before he started that he had two important commissions to perform, and that he would bring his little boy home a box of bricks. Now, by the merest chance his wife received a telegram upon this same Monday, very shortly after his departure, to the effect that a small parcel of considerable value which she had been expecting was waiting for her at the offices of the Aberdeen Shipping Company. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box
So determined was their denial that the inspector was staggered, and had almost come to believe that Mrs St Clair had been deluded when, with a cry, she sprang at a small deal box which lay upon the table, and tore the lid from it. Out there fell a cascade of children’s bricks. It was the toy which he had promised to bring home. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

Some little distance down Threadneedle Street upon the left hand side there is, as you may have remarked, a small angle in the wall. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

Here it is that the creature takes his daily seat, cross-legged, with his tiny stock of matches on his lap, and as he is a piteous spectacle a small rain of charity descends into the greasy leather cap which lies upon the pavement before him. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

Every pocket stuffed with pennies and halfpennies – four hundred and twenty-one pennies, and two hundred and seventy halfpennies. It was no wonder that it had not been swept away by the tide. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box
‘The name, you see, is in perfectly black ink, which has dried itself. The rest is of the greyish colour which shows that blotting-paper has been used. If it had been written straight off, and then blotted, none would be of a deep black shade. This man has written the name, and there has then been a pause before he wrote the address, which can only mean that he was not familiar with it. It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles. Let us now see the letter! Ha! there has been an enclosure here!’ ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

With these he constructed a sort of Eastern divan, upon which he perched himself cross-legged, with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him. In the dim light of the lamp I saw him sitting there, an old brier pipe between his lips, his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of the ceiling, the blue smoke curling up from him, silent, motionless, with the light shining upon his strong-set aquiline features. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

‘He certainly needs a wash,’ remarked Holmes. ‘I had an idea that he might, and I took the liberty of bringing the tools with me.’ He opened his Gladstone bag as he spoke, and took out, to my astonishment, a very large bath sponge. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

It was only by trying begging as an amateur that I could get the facts upon which to base my articles. When an actor I had, of course, learned all the secrets of making up, and had been famous in the greenroom for my skill. I took advantage now of my attainments. I painted my face, and to make myself as pitiable as possible I made a good scar and fixed one side of my lip in a twist by the aid of a small slip of flesh-coloured plaster. Then with a red head of hair, and an appropriate dress, I took my station in the busiest part of the City, ostensibly as a match-seller, but really as a beggar. ~ WTB TWIS Evidence Box

Thanks to Beth Austin, and the 42nd Garrideb, Denny Dobry, for the scans in this post. Thanks also to Debbie Clark, the 58th Garrideb, the current keeper of the evidence boxes.

Watson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion in Columbia, MD, is one of the most active Sherlockian groups in the Middle Atlantic region, Generally meeting on the last Monday of each month, the meetings feature canonical toasts, good conversations and dining, as well as a discussion of the month’s featured story and an educational presentation. For more information about Watson’s Tin Box, please visit their website HERE.

Data! Data! Data! – The Man with the Twisted Lip

Data! Data! Data! – The Man with the Twisted Lip

“‘Data! Data! Data!‘ he cried impatiently. ‘I can’t make bricks without clay.’” – The Adventures of The Copper Beeches (COPP) This column is composed of material (Data!) developed for a short course called Appreciating Sherlock Holmes that I teach twice a year in the Community Education Life Enrichment Program for a local community college.  It is… Continue Reading

The 17 Steps: The Man With the Twisted Lip

The 17 Steps: The Man With the Twisted Lip

Seventeen thoughts for further ponderance of the case at hand – The Man with the Twisted Lip (TWIS) WATSON’S LONDON GOSSIP COLUMN “Isa Whitney, brother of the late Elias Whitney, D. D., Principal of the Theological College of St. George’s, was much addicted to opium,” this tale begins. While the Hounds have often discussed Watson’s protecting… Continue Reading

In for a Penny, In for a Pound – British Money as Holmes Knew It

In for a Penny, In for a Pound – British Money as Holmes Knew It

“I’d like two shillin’ better” – The Sign of the Four (SIGN) Some Sherlockians are puzzled by references to money in the Sherlock Holmes adventures – “a fifty-guinea watch” in The Sign of Four, a pipe that cost “seven-and sixpence” in “The Yellow Face.” The British monetary system was undoubtedly complicated. A pound was divided into 20 shillings,… Continue Reading

British Royal Mint Now Selling 2019 Sets With Sherlock Holmes Coin

British Royal Mint Now Selling 2019 Sets With Sherlock Holmes Coin

“… a work which had been specially designed to please him.” – The Sign of the Four (SIGN) On January 1, 2019, the British Royal Mint released the designs of their 2019 dated coins and began selling the annual sets to collectors. As we predicted in our earlier post about the 2019 Sherlock Holmes 50 Pence coin,… Continue Reading

British Royal Mint to Issue Holmes 50 Pence Coins in January 2019

British Royal Mint to Issue Holmes 50 Pence Coins in January 2019

“It might be his portrait.” – The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOUN) In January 2019, the British Royal Mint will be issuing a series of 50 pence coins honoring Sherlock Holmes. Late yesterday, an image of the coin’s design was leaked and shared to the World of Coins website. Below is the proclamation authorizing these coins, as… Continue Reading

Sherlock Holmes and Cheques

Sherlock Holmes and Cheques

Many people collect checks connected with specific bank ‘family trees’, others from banks connected with a certain town or city. Many collectors also collect cheques signed by famous people, but perhaps more challenging is collecting cheques associated with fictional characters. One of the best known fictional characters in the world, and one of my favorites,… Continue Reading

A Coming Plague (1971)

A Coming Plague (1971)

“There’s an east wind coming, Watson.” – His Last Bow (LAST) I am sure that many of us have been concerned and perhaps upset by the coming of Decimalization. It strikes me as being one of the most idiotic things since the United States tried Prohibition. Surely a lot of tourists have had difficulties with… Continue Reading

Watson Coins A Phrase (2001)

Watson Coins A Phrase (2001)

“There’s money in this case …” – A Scandal In Bohemia (SCAN) In The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, son Arthur asks father, Alexander Holder, for 100 pounds. The father “… was very angry, for this was the third demand during the month. ‘You shall not have a farthing from me’, (he) cried, on which… Continue Reading

The Banking Connection: 1894 – 1994

The Banking Connection: 1894 – 1994

“The Capital and Counties Bank, Oxford Street branch, are my agents.” – The Adventure of The Priory School (PRIO) London in 1894, when Sherlock Holmes returned from his incognito foreign journeying, was enjoying the Golden Age of British Imperial investment and expansion, bringing an enormous accretion of wealth to the Capital City of the Empire.… Continue Reading