“The Naval Treaty” Or, YOU KNOW WHAT’S UP NEXT, DON’T YOU?!

“The Naval Treaty” was published in two parts in October and November 1893 (way to make the next one come during the Holidays, ACD, that’s just what everyone needs) and takes place Tuesday, July 30 to Thursday, August 1, 1889.

Looks like I only have miscellaneous thoughts this week! [Let me show you them!]

  • When Holmes is interviewing Percy (and given that Watson totally used to bully him at school, I agree with Leslie that its odd Percy would contact him for help), Watson notes that he takes a few notes on his cuff. According to Leslie, Watson ‘observes that Dr. Mortimer used his shirtcuff similarly in The Hound of the Baskervilles, but the context suggests that Watson thought it a sign of untidiness and absentmindedness’ (NA, 680). [I’m not sure whether Leslie means that Watson thought Dr. Mortimer was untidy and absentminded or that Holmes is untidy and absentminded. Either way, we’ve got judgemental!Watson at our disposal!]
  • The doctor who looks after Percy on his trip home from town is named Dr. Ferrier. Leslie comments that ‘surprisingly, no one has suggested any connection with the Ferriers of A Study in Scarlet‘ (NA, 684). [That is surprising! The Holmesians do so love their tenuous connections.]
  • There’s this weirdly poetic moment with Holmes admiring a flower where he delivers this whole speech:
  • ‘What a lovely thing a rose is! . . . There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,’ said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. ‘It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to reset in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existance in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.’ (BG, 178). [Not only is he wrong (the color and smell of flowers attracts bugs to pollinate them, but I’m with Percy and Miss Harrison with a resound WTF here?!]
  • ‘It was a sound which a mouse makes when it is gnawing a plank, and I lay listening to it for some time under the impression that it must have come from that cause. Then it grew louder, and suddenly there came from the window a sharp metallic snick’ (NA, 698). According to Leslie, The Oxford English Dictionary credits “The Nava Treaty” as the first usage of this word to mean a sound (NA, 698). [Aw, look at you, ACD, coining words and everything!]
  • ‘S.C. Roberts, a tireless champion of the point of view that Holmes attended university at Oxford, points out that Holmes had several intimate conversations with Phelps (who had had a “triumphant” career at Cambridge), none of which made any reference to the school. “If Holmes had in fact also been a Cambridge man, it is almost inconceivable that neither he nor Phelps should have mentioned the University which they had in common”‘ (NA, 702). [I sense some snark there, Leslie – a tireless champion, is he? I wonder if this means Leslie’s in the Cambridge camp…]
  • When Holmes sends Watson and Percy off to Baker Street, Holmes says that ‘Mr. Phelps can have to spare bedroom to-night’ presumably meaning Watson’s old room. [Hmm, so Holmes is telling Watson to sleep in his room?]


*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.