Additional Information

Holmes' Latin quotation

“I have all the facts in my journal, and the public shall know them. In the meantime you must make yourself contented by the consciousness of success, like the Roman miser —
“Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar in arca.” (
Sherlock Holmes)

The quotation is from Horace, Book 1, Satire 1.
"The public hisses at me, but I applaude myself in my own house, and simultaneously contemplate the money in my chest."


"All these considerations led me to the irresistible conclusion that Jefferson Hope was to be found among the jarveys of the Metropolis." (Sherlock Holmes)
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London growler

"The ordinary London growler is considerably less wide than a gentleman’s brougham." (Sherlock Holmes)
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South American arrow poison

"I was once janitor and sweeper-out of the laboratory at York College. One day the professor was lecturing on poisons, and he showed his students some alkaloid, as he called it, which he had extracted from some South American arrow poison, and which was so powerful that the least grain meant instant death." (Jefferson Hope)
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Gin palace

"The craze for drink had seized him (Enoch Drebber) again, and he ordered me to pull up outside a gin palace." (Jefferson Hope)
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Liquor shops

“He (Enoch Drebber) walked down the road and went into one or two liquor shops, staying for nearly half an hour in the last of them." (Jefferson Hope)

This would not be a shop as understood these days but somewhere you could actually stay to drink as well as buy liquor.

Aortic aneurism

I did so; and became at once conscious of an extraordinary throbbing and commotion which was going on inside. The walls of his chest seemed to thrill and quiver as a frail building would do inside when some powerful engine was at work. In the silence of the room I could hear a dull humming and buzzing noise which proceeded from the same source.
“Why,” I cried, “you have an aortic aneurism!” (
Dr John Watson)
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“The prisoner will be put before the magistrates in the course of the week." (Police Inspector)
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Endowment House

“Married yesterday — that’s what those flags are for on the Endowment House." (Cowper)
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Big horn

On the edge of a jutting pinnacle, three or four hundred feet above him, (Jefferson Hope) there stood a creature somewhat resembling a sheep in appearance, but armed with a pair of gigantic horns. The big-horn — for so it is called.
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Indian file

Between the two ran the irregular tracks, so narrow in places that they (Jefferson Hope and party) had to travel in Indian file, and so rough that only practised riders could have traversed it at all.

another term for single file .
ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: so called because it was believed that North American Indians usually marched in this order.


“When the whippoorwill calls three times.”
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Mountain Owl

The melancholy hooting of a mountain owl was heard within a few yards of them.
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It was as well that his prairie training had given Jefferson Hope the ears of a lynx.
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Washoe hunter

"They may be darned sharp, but they’re not quite sharp enough to catch a Washoe hunter.” (Jefferson Hope)
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The Prophet

One hears such dreadful stories about those who oppose the Prophet.
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"If I know anything o’ that young man, he’ll be back with a speed that would whip electro-telegraphs.” (John Ferrier)
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Danite Band

To this day, in the lonely ranches of the West, the name of the Danite Band, or the Avenging Angels, is a sinister and an ill-omened one.
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“Good-bye,” he (Jefferson Hope) answered, raising his broad sombrero.
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At the same moment a sinewy brown hand caught the frightened horse by the curb.
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Long horned bullocks

The beasts closed in behind her, (Lucy Ferrier) and she found herself completely embedded in the moving stream of fierce-eyed, long-horned bullocks.
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The unemotional Indians, journeying in with their peltries.

pelts, furs; especially : raw undressed skins


....mounted upon her (Lucy Ferrier) father’s mustang, and managing it with all the ease and grace of a true child of the West.
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Brigham Young and Joseph Smith

“In a few days you will have recovered from your fatigues. In the meantime, remember that now and forever you are of our religion. Brigham Young has said it, and he has spoken with the voice of Joseph Smith, which is the voice of God.” (Elder Stangerson)
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“I see,” he( John Ferrier) said; “you are the Mormons.”
“We are the Mormons,” answered his companions with one voice."
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Angel Moroni

“....we are the persecuted children of God — the chosen of the Angel Moroni.”
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The apparition revealed itself as being a great caravan upon its journey for the West. But what a caravan!
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In more fertile spots the observer would have come to the conclusion that one of those great herds of bisons which graze upon the prairie land was approaching him.
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Chaparral bushes

As far as the eye can reach stretches the great flat plain-land, all dusted over with patches of alkali, and intersected by clumps of the dwarfish chaparral bushes.
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Coyotes, buzzards and bears

The coyote skulks among the scrub, the buzzard flaps heavily through the air, and the clumsy grizzly bear lumbers through the dark ravines, and picks up such sustenance as it can amongst the rocks.

In the blue vault of the heaven there had appeared three little specks which increased in size every moment, so rapidly did they approach. They speedily resolved themselves into three large brown birds, which circled over the heads of the two wanderers, and then settled upon some rocks which overlooked them. They were buzzards, the vultures of the West, whose coming is the forerunner of death.
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Pawnees and Blackfeet

A band of Pawnees or of Blackfeet may occasionally traverse it in order to reach other hunting-grounds, but the hardiest of the braves are glad to lose sight of those awesome plains.
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"I made shorthand notes of all that she said however, so that there should be no possibility of a mistake.” (Inspector Gregson)

I have had access to Lestrade’s notebook in which the prisoner’s words were taken down exactly as they were uttered.
When he finished, we sat for some minutes in a stillness which was only broken by the scratching of Lestrade’s pencil as he gave the finishing touches to his shorthand account. (
Dr John Watson)
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One pound a day

"They (Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson) were paying a pound a day each." (Madame Charpentier)
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Allusions made by newspapers

After alluding airily to the Vehmgericht, aqua tofana, Carbonari, the Marchioness de Brinvilliers, the Darwinian theory, the principles of Malthus, and the Ratcliff Highway murders, the article concluded by admonishing the government and advocating a closer watch over foreigners in England.

The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone. Among these men there was a stringent code of honour, any infringement of which was punished by death.
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Daily Telegraph, The Standard, The Daily News

The papers next day were full of the “Brixton Mystery,” as they termed it. (Dr John Watson)
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Four wheeler

"Presently she (Mrs Sawyer aka accomplice of Jefferson Hope) came to a halt, and hailed a four-wheeler which was passing." (Sherlock Holmes)
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Henri Murger's Vie de Boheme

I had no idea how long he (Sherlock Holmes) might be, but I sat stolidly puffing at my pipe and skipping over the pages of Henri Murger’s Vie de Boheme. (Dr John Watson)
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Union boat

"....her husband is steward aboard a Union boat." (Mrs Sawyer aka accomplice of Jefferson Hope)
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Book bought by Sherlock Holmes

"This is a queer old book I picked up at a stall yesterday — De Jure inter Gentes — published in Latin at Liege in the Lowlands, in 1642. Charles’s head was still firm on his shoulders when this little brown-backed volume was struck off.” (Sherlock Holmes)

De Jure Inter Gentes (Law among People)
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“Do you remember what Darwin says about music? He claims that the power of producing and appreciating it existed among the human race long before the power of speech was arrived at. Perhaps that is why we are so subtly influenced by it. There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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If ever human features bespoke vice of the most malignant type, they were certainly those of Enoch J. Drebber, of Cleveland. (Dr John Watson)
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Sergeant's stripes

"You (Constable John Rance) might have gained your sergeant’s stripes last night." (Sherlock Holmes)
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Typhoid fever

"....the very last tenant what lived in one of them died o’ typhoid fever." (Constable John Rance)
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Four of gin hot

I (Constable John Rance) was a-strollin’ down, thinkin’ between ourselves how uncommon handy a four of gin hot would be.
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Horsehair sofa

Rance sat down on the horsehair sofa.
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Holmes took a half-sovereign from his pocket and played with it pensively.
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"I want to go to Halle’s concert to hear Norman-Neruda this afternoon.
Her attack and her bowing are splendid. What’s that little thing of Chopin‘s she plays so magnificently: Tra-la-la-lira-lira-lay.” (
Sherlock Holmes)
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Parthian shot

With which Parthian shot he (Sherlock Holmes) walked away, leaving the two rivals open mouthed behind him.
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As I watched him I was irresistibly reminded of a pure-blooded, well-trained foxhound, as it dashes backward and forward through the covert, whining in its eagerness, until it comes across the lost scent.
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Enoch Drebber's clothes

He was dressed in a heavy broadcloth frock coat and waistcoat,
A top hat, well brushed and trim, was placed upon the floor beside him.
then glanced at the soles of his patent leather boots.
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A short passage, bare-planked and dusty, led to the kitchen and offices.

The offices might comprise not only the kitchen but a skullery for washing pots and pans, laundry for washing clothes, and a place for cleaning shoes etc. Generally these were the 'working rooms' of the house, used by servants and not to be seen by visitors.


Here and there a “To Let” card had developed like a cataract upon the bleared panes. (Dr John Watson)
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Cremona, Stradivarius and Amati

My companion was in the best of spirits, and prattled away about Cremona fiddles and the difference between a Stradivarius and an Amati. (Dr John Watson)
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Status quo

"I have left everything in status quo until I hear from you." (Inspector Gregson)

literally 'the state in which'

Our man on the Beat

An area patrolled by a policeman on a regular basis.
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Royal Marine Light Infantry

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“Commissionaire, sir,” he said, gruffly.
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“Have you read Gaboriau’s works?” I asked. “Does Lecoq come up to your idea of a detective?” (Dr John Watson)
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Edgar Allen Poe

“You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin." (Dr John Watson)
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So startling would his results appear to the uninitiated that until they learned the processes by which he had arrived at them they might well consider him as a necromancer.

the supposed practice of communicating with the dead, esp. in order to predict the future.
• witchcraft, sorcery, or black magic in general.


His conclusions were as infallible as so many propositions of Euclid.
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A railway porter in his velveteen uniform.

a cotton fabric with a pile resembling velvet.


Closely followed by a slipshod elderly woman.

(typically of a person or method of work) characterized by a lack of care, thought, or organization
• archaic (of shoes) worn down at the heel.
ORIGIN late 16th cent. (originally in the sense [wearing slippers or loose shoes] ): from the verb slip + shod.

Jew pedlar

The same afternoon brought a gray-headed, seedy visitor, looking like a Jew peddler.

a person who goes from place to place selling small goods.

Mendelssohn's Lieder

At my request he (Sherlock Holmes) has played me some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder, and other favourites. (Dr John Watson)
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Limits of Sherlock Holmes as detailed by Dr Watson

1. Knowledge of Literature. — Nil.
2. “ “ Philosophy. — Nil.
3. “ “ Astronomy. — Nil.
4. “ “ Politics. — Feeble.
5. “ “ Botany. — Variable.
Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally.
Knows nothing of practical gardening.
6. Knowledge of Geology. — Practical, but limited.
Tells at a glance different soils from each other.
After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in
what part of London he had received them.
7. Knowledge of Chemistry. — Profound.
8. “ “ Anatomy. — Accurate, but unsystematic
9. “ “ Sensational Literature. — Immense.
He appears to know every detail of every horror
perpetrated in the century.
10. Plays the violin well.
11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.
12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
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Copernican theory

My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he (Sherlock Holmes) was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System.(Dr John Watson)
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Thomas Carlyle

Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he (Sherlock Holmes) inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. (Dr John Watson)
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Ship's tobacco

“I always smoke ship’s myself.” (Dr John Watson)
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Lowest portions

....long walks, which appeared to take him (Sherlock Holmes) into the lowest portions of the city.

This would refer to the less well-to-do areas of London)


The following morning Sherlock Holmes followed me with several boxes and portmanteaus. (Dr John Watson)

a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.

Bull pup

“I keep a bull pup,” I said. (Dr John Watson)
Never mentioned again)
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(I am going with the gun option - much more in keeping with Watson)

Police News of the Past

Young Stamford suggested that Sherlock Holmes might start a paper with this title.

Cases of Murder cited by Sherlock Holmes

“There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frankfort last year. He would certainly have been hung had this test been in existence. Then there was Mason of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and Lefevre of Montpellier, and Samson of New Orleans."

"It reminds me of the circumstances attendant on the death of Van Jansen, in Utrecht, in the year ‘34." (
Sherlock Holmes)
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Guaiacum test

"The old guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain. So is the microscopic examination for blood corpuscles." (Sherlock Holmes)
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Bodkins and pipettes

“Let us have some fresh blood,” he said, digging a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of blood in a chemical pipette." (Sherlock Holmes)

Bodkin A small, sharply pointed instrument for making holes in fabric or leather.
(Or in this case Holmes' finger)

Pipette A slender tube attached to or incorporating a bulb, for transferring or measuring out small quantities of liquid, esp. in a laboratory.

Re-agent, haemoglobin

“I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by haemoglobin, and by nothing else.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Retorts, test tubes and bunsen lamps

Retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames.
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Dissecting rooms

"When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape.” (Young Stamford)
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Vegetable alkaloid

"I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects." (Young Stamford)
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" Don‘t be mealymouthed about it.” (Dr John Watson)

afraid to speak frankly or straightforwardly.


“You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.” (Young Stamford)

a thin flat strip of wood, esp. one of a series forming a foundation for the plaster of a wall or the tiles of a roof, or made into a trellis or fence.


I asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off together in a hansom. (Dr John Watson)
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A dresser at Bart's

....young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Bart’s. (Dr John Watson)

a person who serves as a doctor's assistant especially in the dressing of lesions.

Eleven shillings and sixpence a day (11/6d)

....or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. (Dr John Watson)

(This would have given Dr Watson an income of about £210 per year which although not allowing him to live in carefree luxury would have made him reasonably comfortable. In 'A Case of Identitiy" Holmes states that a single lady can get on very nicely upon an income of about 60 pounds, whereas in "The Msn with the Twisted Lip" Neville Sinclair (Hugh Boone) admits to making an income of £700 per year which would have been a very comfortable income. His wages as a reporter on a London Newspaper were £104 per year approx.)
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Kith nor kin

I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air. (Dr John Watson)
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noun (in phrase kith and kin or kith or kin)
one's friends, acquaintances, and relations : a widow without kith or kin.

Enteric fever

That curse of our Indian possessions.
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I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis. (Dr John Watson)
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I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand.(Dr John Watson)
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Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers

I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as assistant surgeon. (Dr John Watson)
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Fitzroy McPherson
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Out of Doors by J. G. Wood

“Here is a book,” I said, taking up the little volume, “which first brought light into what might have been forever dark. It is Out of Doors, by the famous observer, J. G. Wood. Wood himself very nearly perished from contact with this vile creature, so he wrote with a very full knowledge.”
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It is possible that the serum of anthropoid would have been better.
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It (the collar) had been made for a thick-necked Newfoundland.
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He is in secret correspondence with a Bohemian dealer in London.
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“Dorak — a curious name. Slavonic, I imagine."

  • Branch of Indo-european languages spoken in most eastern european countries that includes Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian ( East Slavic), Polish, Czech, Slovak, and Sorbian (West Slavic), and Bulgarian, Serbo-Croat, Macedonian, and Slovene (South Slavic)
  • Of, relating to, or denoting the peoples of central and eastern Europe who speak any of these languages.


A charming house, girt round with lawns and covered with purple wisteria.
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Combination of Oxford and Cambridge sometimes referred to as Oxbridge.


“If I remember right, an inn called the Chequers where the port used to be above mediocrity and the linen was above reproach.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“Lumbago, possibly. I have known a severe attack make a man walk in just such a way, and nothing would be more trying to the temper.” (Dr John Watson)
  • Pain in the muscles and joints of the lower back.


“One day, in looking for a canula, I took up the box.” (Trevor Bennett)
  • A thin tube inserted into a vein or body cavity to administer medicine, drain off fluid, or insert a surgical instrument.


“Why does Professor Presbury’s wolfhound, Roy, endeavour to bite him?” (Sherlock Holmes)
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‘Langur.’ “ he read. “ ‘the great black-faced monkey of the Himalayan slopes, biggest and most human of climbing monkeys.”
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“Speaking as a medical man,” said I, “it appears to be a case for an alienist." (Dr John Watson)
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Small monograph proposed by Sherlock Holmes

A small monograph upon the uses of dogs in the work of the detective. Read More...

Grappling hook

“You will, of course, get a grappling-hook and you will easily restore my friend’s revolver.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Mr. Joyce Cummings, the rising barrister who was entrusted with the defence.
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The stonework was gray, but at this one point it showed white for a space not larger than a sixpence.
  • A small coin approximately 19.5mm in diameter
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“The heat of the Amazon was always in her blood.” (Neil Gibson)
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A long, deep, reed-girt sheet of water. Thor Mere it is called.


Balustraded bridge

A single broad span of stone with balustraded sides.

  • A railing supported by balusters, esp. an ornamental parapet on a balcony, bridge, or terrace.


“A very attractive governess superintended the education of two young children.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“ The body was found by a gamekeeper about eleven o’clock.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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American Senator

“He (Neil Gibson) was once Senator for some Western state.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Plane Tree

“The last remaining leaves were being whirled from the solitary plane tree which graces the yard behind our house.” (Dr John Watson)
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“It is now referred to the Assizes at Winchester.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Coroner's jury

“That was the view taken by the coroner’s jury.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Family Herald

“The copy of the Family Herald which I observed yesterday upon the hall-table.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Abraham Lincoln

An Abraham Lincoln keyed to base uses instead of high ones would give some idea of the man.
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....but an unappreciative bench took a less favourable view, and the Killer returned to those shades from which he had just emerged.
  • (the bench) the office of judge or magistrate : his appointment to the civil bench.
  • a judge's seat in a court.
  • judges or magistrates collectively : rulings from the bench.
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Evans had indeed done great service and caused several worthy C. I. D. men to sleep the sounder.
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Counterfeiter's outfit

Our eyes fell upon a mass of rusted machinery, great rolls of paper, a litter of bottles, and, neatly arranged upon a small table, a number of neat little bundles.
“A printing press — a counterfeiter’s outfit,” said Holmes.


He had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife.
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Drawing a jemmy from his inside pocket, he knelt down and worked vigorously upon the floor.
  • Jemmy - a short crowbar used by a burglar to force open a window or door.

Spring lock

The door shut with a spring lock.
  • A type of lock with a spring-loaded bolt that requires a key to open it, as distinct from a deadbolt.

Forger and Coiner

The dead man was identified as Rodger Prescott, famous as forger and coiner in Chicago.
  • Historically a person who coins money, in particular a maker of counterfeit coins.


Killer Evans escaped from penitentiary through political influence.
  • A prison for people convicted of serious crimes.

Newgate calendar

“Ah, it is not part of your profession to carry about a portable Newgate Calendar in your memory.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Queen Anne or Georgian

“I was wondering if this was Queen Anne or Georgian.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Binders, reapers and plows

Binders, reapers, steam and hand plows, drills, harrows, farmer’s carts, buckboards, and all other appliances.
Binders, reapers, steam and hand plows, drills, harrows, farmer’s carts, buckboards, and all other appliances.
Estimates for Artesian Wells
Apply Grosvenor Buildings, Aston

“Yes, it was bad English but good American. The printer had set it up as received. Then the buckboards. That is American also. And artesian wells are commoner with them than with us. It was a typical American advertisement, but purporting to be from an English firm.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Hans Sloane

“Why, I have the nucleus of a national collection. I shall be the Hans Sloane of my age.”(Nathan Garrideb)
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Sotheby's or Christie's

“Now and again I drive down to Sotheby’s or Christie‘s. Otherwise I very seldom leave my room.” (Nathan Garrideb)
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Alexandrian school

“At their best I hold them supreme, though some prefer the Alexandrian school.” (Nathan Garrideb)
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As he stood in front of us now, he held a piece of chamois leather in his right hand with which he was polishing a coin.
“Syracusan — of the best period,” he explained, holding it up. (Nathan Garrideb)
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Neanderthal, Heidelberg, Cro-Magnon

Above was a line of plaster skulls with such names as “Neanderthal,” “ Heidelberg,” “Cro-Magnon” printed beneath them.
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Early Georgian architecture

The particular house to which we were directed was a large, old-fashioned, Early Georgian edifice, with a flat brick face broken only by two deep bay windows on the ground floor.
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Tyburn tree

Within a stone-cast of old Tyburn Tree of evil memory.
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Covert for putting up a bird

“They are my favourite covert for putting up a bird, and I would never have overlooked such a cock pheasant as that.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Wheat pit

“He made his money in real estate, and afterwards in the wheat pit at Chicago.” (Killer Evans)
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Real estate

“He made his money in real estate.” (Killer Evans)
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He emerged that morning with a long foolscap document in his hand.
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South African War

Shortly after the conclusion of the South African War.
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The same month that Holmes refused a knighthood for services which may perhaps some day be described.
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“If the child were pricked with one of those arrows dipped in curare or some other devilish drug, it would mean death if the venom were not sucked out.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Eleanor of Castile

“Was there not a queen in English history who sucked such a wound to draw poison from it?” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Spinal menningitis

“That’s what puzzled the vet. A sort of paralysis. Spinal meningitis, he thought.” (Robert Ferguson)
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A spaniel had lain in a basket in the corner.
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Yeoman farmer

The half-panelled walls may well have belonged to the original yeoman farmer of the seventeenth century.
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The rebus of a cheese and a man after the original builder.
  • A puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters; for instance, apex might be represented by a picture of an ape followed by a letter X.
  • Historically an ornamental device associated with a person to whose name it punningly alludes.

Tudor chimneys and Horsham slabs

It was a large, straggling building, very old in the centre, very new at the wings with towering Tudor chimneys and a lichen-spotted, high-pitched roof of Horsham slabs.
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Blackheath and Richmond

“I believe your friend Watson played Rugby for Blackheath when I was three-quarter for Richmond.” (Robert Ferguson)
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Old Deer Park

“You don’t look quite the man you did when I threw you over the ropes into the crowd at the Old Deer Park." (Robert Ferguson)
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Rugby/rugby three-quarter

“I believe your friend Watson played Rugby for Blackheath when I was three-quarter for Richmond.” (Robert Ferguson)
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This gentleman married some five years ago a Peruvian lady the daughter of a Peruvian merchant, whom he had met in connection with the importation of nitrates.
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Elizabeth Báthory

“A living person might have the habit. I have read, for example, of the old sucking the blood of the young in order to retain their youth.” (Dr Watson)

“You are right, Watson. It mentions the legend in one of these references.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“Vampirism in Hungary. And again, Vampires in Transylvania.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Other listings in the Index

Vittoria, the circus belle. Vanderbilt and the Yeggman. Vipers. Vigor, the Hammersmith wonder.

Grimm's Fairy Tale

“We seem to have been switched on to a Grimms’ fairy tale.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Arabian nights

A minute later we were in an Arabian Nights drawing-room, vast and wonderful.
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A machine-like footman took up our cards.
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Belle dame sans merci

"But she is the ‘belle dame sans merci’ of fiction." (Sherlock Holmes)
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“I was conscious for a moment of the chloroform rag which was thrust over my mouth.” (Mary Maberley)
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Bow window

This strange, languid creature spent his waking hours in the bow window of a St. James’s Street club.
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“Poor Douglas had only his pay and a small annuity.” (Mary Maberley)
  • A fixed sum of money paid to someone each year, typically for the rest of their life : he left her an annuity of £1,000 in his will.

Crown Derby

“No, I don’t think I have anything rarer than a Crown Derby tea-set.” (Mary Maberley)
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Post Office Bank

“Of course, when people bury treasure nowadays they do it in the Post-Office bank.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“Good-bye, Susan. Paregoric is the stuff.... " (Sherlock Holmes)
  • A medicine consisting of opium flavoured with camphor, aniseed, and benzoic acid, formerly used to treat diarrhea and coughing in children.


"He was attache at Rome." (Mary Maberley)
  • A person on the staff of an ambassador, typically with a specialized area of responsibility.


“Now, what would you regard as final evidence against the receiver?” (Sherlock Holmes)
“The actual possession of the stone.” (Lord Cantlemere)
  • Possession of stolen goods is a crime in which an individual has bought, been given, or acquired stolen goods some other way.


“These modern gramophones are a remarkable invention.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:


“Would you care to put your revolver out also? Oh, very good, if you prefer to sit upon it.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:

Loaded cane/stick

....his thick stick half raised, he approached the silent figure.

For an instant he (Count Sylvius) half raised his loaded cane once more.
See also:

Shark and Gudgeon

“Yes, and he’s a shark. He bites. The other is Sam Merton the boxer. Not a bad fellow, Sam, but the Count has used him. Sam’s not a shark. He is a great big silly bull-headed gudgeon. But he is flopping about in my net all the same.”

“I told him that I had a shark and a gudgeon in my net; now I am drawing the net and up they come together.” (Sherlock Holmes)


Madam Tussaud

“Well, strike me! Madame Tussaud ain’t in it. It’s the living spit of him, gown and all.” (Sam Merton)
See also:

Hoffman 'Barcarole'

“I shall try over the Hoffman ‘Barcarole’ upon my violin.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:

Gasogene and cigars

“Is alcohol permitted? The gasogene and cigars are in the old place.”
See also:

Sitting room at Baker Street, London

He (Watson) looked round him at the scientific charts upon the wall, the acid-charred bench of chemicals, the violin-case leaning in the corner, the coal-scuttle, which contained of old the pipes and tobacco.
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Mazarin diamonds

The missing diamond - the great yellow Mazarin stone.
See also:

Lancet or the British Medical Journal

“Had it been the Lancet or the British Medical Journal it would have helped me.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:

Lord Roberts

“The prospect of an interview with Lord Roberts would not have excited greater wonder and pleasure in a raw subaltern than was now reflected upon the face of Mr. Kent.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:

The Spectator

“It might have been the Spectator.” (James M. Dodd)
See also:


“After a year of sleeping upon the veldt, Mr. Holmes, one is not too particular about one’s quarters.” (James M. Dodd)
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Tuxbury Old Park

Starting on a half-timbered Elizabethan foundation and ending in a Victorian portico.
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Middlesex Corps

“Middlesex Corps, no doubt.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Imperial Yeomanry

“Imperial Yeomanry, I fancy.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:

Boer War

“I find from my notebook that it was in January, 1903, just after the conclusion of the Boer War, that I had my visit from Mr. James M. Dodd.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:

Pseudo-leprosy or ichthyosis

“A well-marked case of pseudo-leprosy or ichthyosis, a scalelike affection of the skin, unsightly, obstinate, but possibly curable, and certainly noninfective.” (Sir James Saunders)
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“There remained the third possibility, into which, rare and unlikely as it was, everything seemed to fit. Leprosy is not uncommon in South Africa.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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‘The trap will be at the door at eight.’
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Crimean V.C.

Emsworth the Crimean V. C.
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I need not say that my eyes had hardly glanced over the paragraph before I had sprung into a hansom and was on my way to Baker Street.
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Morning Post

Three days later appeared a paragraph in the Morning Post to say that the marriage between Baron Adelbert Gruner and Miss Violet de Merville would not take place. The same paper had the first police-court hearing of the proceedings against Miss Kitty Winter on the grave charge of vitriol-throwing.
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Cockaded coachman/Armorial bearings

A brougham was waiting for him. He sprang in, gave a hurried order to the cockaded coachman, and drove swiftly away. He flung his overcoat half out of the window to cover the armorial bearings upon the panel.
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Murderers mouth

If ever I saw a murderer’s mouth it was there — a cruel, hard gash in the face, compressed, inexorable, and terrible. He was ill-advised to train his moustache away from it, for it was Nature’s danger-signal, set as a warning to his victims.
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District messenger

A district messenger was duly dispatched with it.
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It is said that the barrister who crams up a case with such care that he can examine an expert witness upon the Monday has forgotten all his forced knowledge before the Saturday.
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“Put my pipe on the table — and the tobacco-slipper.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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I found Sir Leslie Oakshott, the famous surgeon, in the hall and his brougham waiting at the curb. (Dr John Watson)
See also:

Middle Ages

“ I have seen such faces in the pictures of the old masters of the Middle Ages.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“Well, you surely know enough about this devil to prevent any decent girl in her senses wanting to be in the same parish with him.” (Kitty Winter)
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Post-hypnotic suggestion

“I thought of what the rascal had said about a post-hypnotic influence. One could really believe that she was living above the earth in some ecstatic dream. Yet there was nothing indefinite in her replies.” (Sherlock Holmes)
  • The giving of ideas or instructions to a subject under hypnosis that are intended to affect behavior after the hypnotic trance ends.
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Had Johnson been a “nark” of the police he would soon have been exposed, but as he dealt with cases which never came directly into the courts, his activities were never realized by his companions.
  • A nark is someone to informs on other people, usually to the police.


“I’m a bit of a single-stick expert, as you know. I took most of them on my guard. It was the second man that was too much for me.” (Sherlock Holmes)
See also:


On the seventh day the stitches were taken out, in spite of which there was a report of erysipelas in the evening papers.
  • An acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterized by large, raised red patches on the skin, esp. that of the face and legs, with fever and severe general illness.


“I’m yours to the rattle” (Kitty Winter)
  • Meaning to the very end - even death.
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“My old friend Charlie Peace was a violin virtuoso. Wainwright was no mean artist.”
See also:

Charlie Peace

“My old friend Charlie Peace was a violin virtuoso. Wainwright was no mean artist.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Short frocks

“My client however is an old friend, one who has known the General intimately for many years and taken a paternal interest in this young girl since she wore short frocks.” (Sir James Damery)


The lavender spats over the varnished shoes.
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Christie or Sotheby

“I could perhaps suggest that the set should be valued by an expert.”
“Excellent, Watson! You scintillate to-day. Suggest Christie or Sotheby.”
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Ruritania - Cunard Line

It was simply that among the passengers on the Cunard boat Ruritania, starting from Liverpool on Friday, was the Baron Adelbert Gruner, who had some important financial business to settle in the States.
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General additional information

The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot.
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Poldhu Cove to Predannack Wollas

Poldhu Cove to Predannack Wollas is about two miles along country lanes.

It was marked, however, at the outset by an incident which left the most sinister impression upon my mind. The approach to the spot at which the tragedy occurred is down a narrow, winding, country lane. While we made our way along it we heard the raffle of a carriage coming towards us and stood aside to let it pass. As it drove by us I caught a glimpse through the closed window of a horribly contorted, grinning face glaring out at us. Those staring eyes and gnashing teeth flashed past us like a dreadful vision.


Like an old hound who hears the view-halloa.
  • The shout made by a hunter on seeing a fox break cover.
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Chaldean/Ancient Cornish language

“A study of those Chaldean roots which are surely to be traced in the Cornish branch of the great Celtic speech.”
The ancient Cornish language had also arrested his attention, and he had, I remember, conceived the idea that it was akin to the Chaldean, and had been largely derived from the Phoenician traders in tin. He had received a consignment of books upon philology and was settling down to develop this thesis.
See also:

Talc shield

A small plate, often metal, above the wick in a oil lamp which acted as a smoke guard or shield. The metal plate shown in the picture below would serve the purpose.

Foxhound drawing a cover

Covert (pronounced 'cover') - Generally used to describe a wood but also encompasses any copse, thicket, hedge or field where a fox may lie for shelter.
  • Draw - The act of encouraging the hounds through a covert in search of a quarry.
  • See also:

Dog cart

I heard the rattle of hoofs and, looking up, saw a dog-cart coming at a gallop down the road.

“Can you fit us both into your dog-cart?” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Flint arrows

“Let us walk along the cliffs together and search for flint arrows.”


With a united effort we tore off the coffin-lid. As we did so there came from the inside a stupefying and overpowering smell of chloroform. A body lay within, its head all wreathed in cotton-wool, which had been soaked in the narcotic.
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“A sovereign if the lid comes off in a minute!” (Sherlock Holmes)
  • A former British gold coin worth one pound sterling.

Big Ben

But even so it was twenty-five to eight as we passed Big Ben, and eight struck as we tore down the Brixton Road.
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Five minutes had not passed before we were flying in a hansom down Baker Street.
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“Rose Spender by name, whom we found in the Brixton Workhouse Infirmary.” (Dr Shlessinger)

First we drove to Brixton Workhouse Infirmary, where we found that it was indeed the truth that a charitable couple had called-some days before, that they had claimed an imbecile old woman as a former servant, and that they had obtained permission to take her away with them.
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“We can do nothing legal without a warrant, and you can serve the cause best by taking this note down to the authorities and getting one.”
  • A document issued by a legal or government official authorizing the police or some other body to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice.


We have just passed the pawnbroker’s.
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A tray, typically one made of silver and used in formal circumstances.
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Honourable Philip Green

He was, I may mention the son of the famous admiral of that name who commanded the Sea of Azof fleet in the Crimean War.
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French ouvrier in a blue blouse darted out from a cabaret opposite, with a cudgel in his hand, and struck my assailant a sharp crack over the forearm, which made him leave go his hold.
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Cook's local office

This much I gathered from the manager of Cook’s local office.
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Miss Dobney, her old governess.
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Mob cap

“Old Susan Dobney with the mob cap!" (Hon. Philip Green)
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Turkish bath

“Why the relaxing and expensive Turkish rather than the invigorating home-made article?”
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Sherlock Holmes quotation

‘Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just.’ Read More...


“I dare say it was by some such device that poor Savage, who stood between this monster and a reversion, was done to death.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“Now, Watson,” said he. “Have you any change in your pocket?”
“Any silver?”
“A good deal.”
“How many half-crowns?”
“I have five.”
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“With vaseline upon one’s forehead, belladonna in one’s eyes, rouge over the cheek-bones, and crusts of beeswax round one’s lips, a very satisfying effect can be produced. Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph.”
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“With vaseline upon one’s forehead, belladonna in one’s eyes, rouge over the cheek-bones, and crusts of beeswax round one’s lips, a very satisfying effect can be produced. Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph.”
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“With vaseline upon one’s forehead, belladonna in one’s eyes, rouge over the cheek-bones, and crusts of beeswax round one’s lips, a very satisfying effect can be produced. Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph.”
See also:


“With vaseline upon one’s forehead, belladonna in one’s eyes, rouge over the cheek-bones, and crusts of beeswax round one’s lips, a very satisfying effect can be produced. Malingering is a subject upon which I have sometimes thought of writing a monograph.”
See also:

Sugar tongs

"Excellent, Watson! There is a sugar-tongs there. Kindly raise that small ivory box with its assistance. Place it here among the papers.”


The officer gave the usual cautions.
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Turn up the gas

“What is that?” said Smith. “Turn up the gas? Ah, the shadows begin to fall, do they? Yes, I will turn it up, that I may see you the better.” He crossed the room and the light suddenly brightened.
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“Yes, the coolies used to do some squealing towards the end. Takes you as cramp, I fancy.” (Culverton Smith)
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Coals of fire

“And yet, you see, I am here. Coals of fire, Holmes — coals of fire!” (Culverton Smith)
  • To heap coals of fire on the head of a foe. To melt down his animosity by deeds of kindness.
  • “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink, for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.” Prov. xxv. 21, 22.

Tapanuli fever and black Formosa corruption

“Shall I demonstrate your own ignorance? What do you know, pray, of Tapanuli fever? What do you know of the black Formosa corruption?”
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Jemmy, dark lantern, chisel, revolver

Jemmy - a short crowbar used by a burglar to force open a window or door.
See also:
Chisel-a long-bladed hand tool with a beveled cutting edge and a plain handle
See also:
Dark lantern
See also:
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Dress circle

“There were also two dress-circle tickets for the Woolwich Theatre, dated for that very evening.” (Dr Watson)

A curved section or tier of seats in a hall or theater or opera house; usually the first tier above the orchestra.


“Then join me in a coffee and curacao. Try one of the proprietor’s cigars.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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“If time hangs heavy get foolscap and a pen, and begin your narrative of how we saved the State.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Bimetallic question

“We will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question; he could get his separate advices from various departments upon each, but only Mycroft can focus them all, and say offhand how each factor would affect the other.” (Sherlock Holmes)
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Polyphonic Motets of Lassus

As to Holmes, he returned refreshed to his monograph upon the Polyphonic Motets of Lassus, which has since been printed for private circulation, and is said by experts to be the last word upon the subject.
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All the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men

“I’m afraid,” said Holmes, smiling, “that all the queen’s horses and all the queen’s men cannot avail in this matter.”
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Points on the railway line

“Points,” he muttered, “the points.”
“What of it? What do you mean?”
“I suppose there are no great number of points on a system such as this?”
“No; there are very few.”
“And a curve, too. Points, and a curve."
"Is it a coincidence that it is found at the very point where the train pitches and sways as it comes round on the points? Is not that the place where an object upon the roof might be expected to fall off? The points would affect no object inside the train." (Sherlock Holmes)
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A workman who lays down the rails of a railway and fixes them to the sleepers or ties.
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“We would do better in the area. There is an excellent archway down yonder in case a too zealous policeman should intrude.”
  • A sunken enclosure giving access to the basement of a building often used as a servants’ entrance in Victorian houses.
  • These pictures of Bath, U.K. show the rails of the 'area' which in this instance was at the front of the house.
See also:
  • This photograph of the Jane Austen centre clearly shows the railings round the 'area', the basement windows and the superior front door which the family and their guests would have used.
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Wagner and Covent Garden

“Well, Watson, you have one more specimen of the tragic and grotesque to add to your collection. By the way, it is not eight o’clock, and a Wagner night at Covent Garden! If we hurry, we might be in time for the second act.”
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Journeys end with lovers' meetings

"Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man's son doth know."
Twelfth Night (II, iii, 44-45)(William Shakespeare)
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Kid gloves

Gloves made from kid (young goat) leather were very commonly worn from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

Daily Gazette

There was no Daily Gazette in London at the time but there was the Pall Mall Gazette. The ‘Pall Mall’ was mentioned by Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.’
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  • A spud: a small, narrow spade for cutting the roots of plants.

Quotation from Eckermann

Quotation from Eckermann’s Voodooism and the Negroid Religions: (This book is fictional)
  • ‘The true voodoo-worshipper attempts nothing of importance without certain sacrifices which are intended to propitiate his unclean gods. In extreme cases these rites take the form of human sacrifices followed by cannibalism. The more usual victims are a white cock, which is plucked in pieces alive, or a black goat, whose throat is cut and body burned.’

Clothing found at Wisteria Lodge

A good deal of clothing with the stamp of Marx and Co., High Holborn, had been left behind. Telegraphic inquiries had been already made which showed that Marx knew nothing of his customer save that he was a good payer.

Names and addresses of neighbours supplied by Allan Brothers

Lord Harringby, The Dingle;
Sir George Ffolliott, Oxshott Towers;
Mr. Hynes Hynes, J.P., Purdey Place;
Mr. James Baker Williams, Forton Old Hall;
Mr. Henderson, High Gable;
Rev. Joshua Stone, Nether Walsling.


“....a long mantle down to her feet.”
  • A mantle is a piece of clothing, similar to a robe but sleeveless and often open in the front, worn as an outer covering.


  • A floor or table covering made of a coarse woven fabric.
  • the fabric used for such coverings.
  • ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from French droguet, from drogue in the sense ‘poor-quality article.’

Other contents of the despatch box used by the Rt. Hon. Trelawney Hope.

Letter from Lord Merrow, report from Sir Charles Hardy, memorandum from Belgrade, note on the Russo-German grain taxes, letter from Madrid, note from Lord Flowers —

Despatch box

Red box used by government ministers to carry documents in.
See also:

Queer Street

  • To find one’s self in a bad situation.
See also:

Top three secret agents in London

“There are only those three capable of playing so bold a game — there are Oberstein, La Rothiere, and Eduardo Lucas.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Undertaker's mute

In Victorian times, a person employed as a professional attendant or mourner at a funeral.

Other 'Stauntons'

“There is Arthur H. Staunton, the rising young forger,” said he, “and there was Henry Staunton, whom I helped to hang.” (Sherlock Holmes)

Other Rugby players

“There’s Moorhouse, first reserve, but he is trained as a half, and he always edges right in on to the scrum instead of keeping out on the touchline. He’s a fine place-kick, it’s true but then he has no judgment, and he can’t sprint for nuts. Why, Morton or Johnson, the Oxford fliers, could romp round him. Stevenson is fast enough, but he couldn’t drop from the twentyfive line, and a three-quarter who can’t either punt or drop isn’t worth a place for pace alone.” (Cyril Overton)

Russian Nihilists

“We were reformers — revolutionists — Nihilists, you understand.”
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Chubb key

“Is it a simple key?”
“No, sir, it is a Chubb’s key.”
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Spirit lamp

“I’ll light my spirit lamp, and give you a cup of coffee before we start.”
  • A lamp, used mainly for heating in laboratory work, in which alcohol is burned.


From his pocket Stanley Hopkins drew a small paper packet. He unfolded it and disclosed a golden pince-nez, with two broken ends of black silk cord dangling from the end of it.
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Mortimer, the gardener, who wheels the Bath chair, is an army pensioner — an old Crimean man of excellent character.
See also:

Bath chair

  • A kind of wheelchair for invalids, typically with a hood.
  • ORIGIN early 19th cent.: named after the city of Bath , which attracted many invalids because of the supposed curative powers of its hot springs.
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“I’ve done enough for one sitting. It is trying work for the eyes. So far as I can make out, it is nothing more exciting than an Abbey’s accounts dating from the second half of the fifteenth century.” (Sherlock Holmes)
  • A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.

Red Lamp

"You ask about the Red Lamp." says the postscript to the preface of the American edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's Round the Red Lamp (1894): 'It is the usual sign of the general practitioner in England.'
(The new annotated Sherlock Holmes; Leslie S Klinger Vol II (2005))

Contents of Pietro Venucci's pockets

An apple, some string, a shilling map of London, and a photograph.

Lumber room

  • Articles of furniture or other household items that are no longer useful and inconveniently take up storage space: as an adjective: a lumber room.

An area beneath

  • A sunken enclosure giving access to the basement of a building often used as a servants’ entrance in Victorian houses.

Idée fixe

  • An idea or desire that dominates the mind; an obsession.
  • ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: French, literally ‘fixed idea.’

Court dress

Holmes’s eyes fixed themselves upon one of them, and following his gaze I saw the picture of a regal and stately lady in Court dress, with a high diamond tiara upon her noble head.
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We were in Milverton’s study, and a portiere at the farther side showed the entrance to his bedroom.
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Ribston Pippin

The first who entered was a little Ribston pippin of a man, with ruddy cheeks and fluffy white side-whiskers.
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Bicycle tyres

“I am familiar with forty-two different impressions left by tyres. This as you perceive, is a Dunlop, with a patch upon the outer cover. Heidegger’s tyres were Palmer’s, leaving longitudinal stripes.

Other notable pupils at the Priory school

“Lord Leverstoke, the Earl of Blackwater, Sir Cathcart Soames — they all have intrusted their sons to me.” (Thorneycroft Huxtable)

Eton jacket

He had dressed himself fully, before going off, in his usual school suit of black Eton jacket and dark gray trousers.

Huxtable's Sidelights on Horace

“Huxtable’s Sidelights on Horace may possibly recall my name to your memories.” (Thorneycroft Huxtable)
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Queen Victoria's Jubilee

“Last year I came up to London for the Jubilee.” (Hilton Cubitt)
  • The Chronology of William S Baring-Gould puts the date of this story at 1898 which would mean that Hilton Cubitt was referring to the Diamond Jubilee.

Monograph - Sherlock Holmes

“I am fairly familiar with all forms of secret writings, and am myself the author of a trifling monograph upon the subject, in which I analyze one hundred and sixty separate ciphers.”

Monograph - Tattoo marks

I have made a small study of tattoo marks and have even contributed to the literature of the subject. (Sherlock Holmes)

Title deeds, mortgages, scrip

Building leases, title-deeds, mortgages, scrip, and so forth
Title deeds
  • A legal deed or document constituting evidence of a right, especially to ownership of property.
  • A certificate entitling the holder to acquire possession of certain portions of public land.
Building leases
  • A contract by which one party conveys land, property, services, etc., to another for a specified time, usually in return for a periodic payment.
  • Money raised on a property.

Colonels, Professors and James

Colonel James Moriarty, brother of Professor Moriarty is referred to in FINA but in EMPT the Professor himself is referred to as Professor ‘James’ Moriarty. In FINA the Professors first name is not mentioned.


Baritsu, or the Japanese system of wrestling.
See also:

Books of the bibliophile

Among the books carried by the old bibliophile were:
  • The Origin of Tree Worship
  • British Birds
  • The Holy War
  • Catullus
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“I wonder that my very simple stratagem could deceive so old a shikari.”
  • Shikari - hunter or guide on hunting expeditions.

Stormy Petrel

Holmes refers to Watson as ‘the stormy petrel of crime.’
  • One who brings discord or appears at the onset of trouble.

Day's Music Hall

Obscure reference to ‘Days Music Hall.’
  • 1893 Alteration: benches replaced with redundant seating from Days Music Hall, Birmingham.
  • The reference refers to the Empire Theatre, Smithford Street, Coventry.

Franco-Midland Hardware Company Limited

Franco-Midland Hardware Company, Limited, with a hundred and thirty-four branches in the towns and villages of France, not counting one in Brussels and one in San Remo.

List Slippers

A list was the border or edging of a piece of cloth, its selvage, woven in a slightly different way from the body of the material so that it would not fray or unravel. List slippers were made of material woven in this way.
List slippers were often worn when quiet was needed, say when somebody in the house was ill and people walking about in ordinary shoes on bare floors would disturb them.

  • List slippers were soft-soled shoes worn in the navy by the gunner and his mates. When a ship went into action, anyone who went in and out of the room where gunpowder was kept had to wear list slippers, to avoid striking a spark from spilled powder on the floor.

Board Schools

“Look at those big, isolated clumps of buildings rising up above the slates, like brick islands in a lead-coloured sea.”
“The board-schools.”
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His conversation, I remember, was about the Bertillon system of measurements, and he expressed his enthusiastic admiration of the French savant.
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Iron master

“She and her brother are the only children of an iron-master somewhere up Northumberland way.”
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Monograph by Percy Trevelyan

“Are you not the author of a monograph upon obscure nervous lesions?” I asked. (Dr John Watson)

Nitrite of Amyl

“I had obtained good results in such cases by the inhalation of nitrite of amyl, and the present seemed an admirable opportunity of testing its virtues.” (Dr Percy Trevelyan)
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Worthingdon Bank Robbery

“You must surely remember the great Worthingdon bank business,” said Holmes. “Five men were in it — these four and a fifth called Cartwright. Tobin, the caretaker, was murdered, and the thieves got away with seven thousand pounds. This was in 1875. They were all five arrested, but the evidence against them was by no means conclusive. This Blessington or Sutton, who was the worst of the gang, turned informer. On his evidence Cartwright was hanged and the other three got fifteen years apiece.”

Lady Day

The day on which Dr Percy Trevelyan moved into the house at 403 Brook Street, London.
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Bruce Pinkerton

I was fortunate enough to excite considerable interest by my research into the pathology of catalepsy, and finally to win the Bruce Pinkerton prize and medal by the monograph on nervous lesions to which your friend has just alluded. (Dr Percy Trevelyan)

  • ‘Introduction to Mr Pinkerton’ is also the title of a chapter in The Wrecker (1892) by Robert Louis Stevenson co-written with Lloyd Osbourne.
  • The was also the Pinkerton Agency in America of which ACD was well aware.
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“I was fortunate enough to excite considerable interest by my research into the pathology of catalepsy.” (Dr Percy Trevelyan)
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Scylla and Charybdis

....examples of this Scylla and Charybdis which are forever threatening the historian.
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Norah Creina

The ill-fated steamer Norah Creina, which was lost some years ago with all hands upon the Portuguese coast, some leagues to the north of Oporto.
  • Norah Creina is also the name of a ship mentioned in the The Wrecker (1892) by Robert Louis Stevenson co-written with Lloyd Osbourne.

Watt Street Chapel

Could this have been what ACD was referring to?
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Guild of St. George

The Guild of St. George, which was formed in connection with the Watt Street Chapel for the purpose of supplying the poor with cast-off clothing.
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King David

“You remember the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba? My Biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear, but you will find the story in the first or second of Samuel.”
See also:
  • II Samuel, Chapter 11

General Neill

“There were ten thousand rebels round us, and they were as keen as a set of terriers round a rat-cage. About the second week of it our water gave out, and it was a question whether we could communicate with General Neill’s column, which was moving up-country.” (Henry Wood)
See also:


A military camp.
  • historically a permanent military station in British India.
  • ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from French cantonnement, from cantonner ‘to quarter’.

Powder blackening

There was no powder blackening on the clothes.

When a bullet is fired at very close range there is blackening of the wound and clothes from gunpowder and metal fragments.

Stormy petrel

“I am afraid, my dear Colonel, that you must regret the hour that you took in such a stormy petrel as I am.”
  • One who brings discord or appears at the onset of trouble.

Police whistles

The inspector said nothing, but, stepping to the door, he blew his whistle. Two of his constables came at the call.
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Queen Anne and Malplaquet

It was a fine old Queen Anne (1665-1714) house, which bears the date of Malplaquet (1709) upon the lintel of the door.
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Strange items stolen

“The thieves ransacked the library and got very little for their pains. The whole place was turned upside down, drawers burst open, and presses ransacked, with the result that an odd volume of Pope’s Homer, two plated candlesticks, an ivory letter-weight, a small oak barometer, and a ball of twine are all that have vanished.”

County magnates

  • A wealthy and influential person living in a specific area of England.
  • ORIGIN late Middle English : from late Latin magnas, magnat- ‘great man,’ from Latin magnus ‘great.’


  • A hogshead is a large cask of liquid (less often, of a food commodity). More specifically, it refers to a specified volume, measured in Imperial units, primarily applied to alcoholic beverages such as wine, ale, or cider.

Blue Ribbon

Th Blue Ribbon was worn as a sign of a temperance pledge.
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Brown study

Melancholy thoughtfulness.
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Algar of the Liverpool Force

“I therefore sent off a telegram to my friend Algar, of the Liverpool force, and asked him to find out if Mrs. Browner were at home, and if Browner had departed in the May Day.”

Monogram -Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes monograms on the distinction between ears which was published in an Anthropological Journal.


Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)
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A type of violin.
Sherlock Holmes said he bought his from a jew peddlar in Tottenham Court Road for 55 shillings but it was worth 500 guineas.


Cover for the back of a chair.
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Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
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Henry Ward Beecher

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)
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General Gordon

Major-Geneal Charles George Gordon CB (1833-1885)
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Duke of Balmoral

Lord Backwater


Wessex was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England.
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Pullman car

A railway carriage affording special comfort, especially one with sleeping berths.

Runners in the Wessex Cup

Wessex Plate [it ran] 50 sovs. each h ft with 1000 sovs. added, for four and five year olds. Second, 300 pounds. Third, 200 pounds. New course (one mile and five furlongs).

1 . Mr. Heath Newton’s The Negro. Red cap. Cinnamon jacket.

2. Colonel Wardlaw’s Pugilist. Pink cap. Blue and black

3. Lord Backwater’s Desborough. Yellow cap and sleeves.

4. Colonel Ross’s Silver Blaze. Black cap. Red jacket.

5. Duke of Balmoral’s Iris. Yellow and black stripes.

6. Lord Singleford’s Rasper. Purple cap. Black sleeves.

Yellowbacked novel

A cheap and typically sensational novel, with a yellow board or cloth binding.

Brain fever

Alice Rucastle was said to have suffered from brain fever, inflamation of the brain.

Locus standi

Holmes remarks that, “it seems to me that our locus standi now is rather a questionable one.”
  • He obviously felt that they no longer had a justifiable right to be present in the Rucastle household, if indeed they ever had!

Marriage Licence

Mr. Fowler and Miss Rucastle were married, by special license, in Southampton the day after their flight.
  • They were presumably granted a ‘Special Licence’ since they were both over 21 years and were about to leave for Mauritius.

Bradshaw train directory

The Bradshaw train directory was an indispensible book concerning all train travel and times in Victorian England.
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Jezail bullet

Here Dr Watson states:
“The Jezail bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my Afghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence.”
Does this refer to an arm or a leg?
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Plugs, dottles, shake-downs and Fuller's earth

Plugs and dottles:
  • A remnant of tobacco left in a pipe after smoking.
  • A place to sleep for the night.
Fuller’s earth:
  • A type of clay used in fulling cloth and as an absorbant.

Disjecta membra and the pink 'un'

Mr Henry Baker declined to take the ‘Disjecta membra’ of his former goose with him.
  • Disjecta membra translates as ‘scattered fragments’.
  • The pink ‘un’ refers to The Sporting Times.
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Assizes, Penal Servitude

Assize Court now known as the Crown Court
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Penal Servitude. Sherlock Holmes fears John Horner will get seven years Penal Servitude if he is not cleared of the robbery.
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Scotch bonnets, billycocks and ulsters

Mr Henry Baker wore a scotch bonnet after loosing his hat. A scotch bonnet was a flat brimless cap.
  • Sherlock Holmes refers to Mr Baker’s hat as a billycock. This usually described any round crowned brimmed hats of felt, such as the bowler.
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  • Ulster coat and cravats. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson wrapped up against the December weather wearing these clothes.
  • Ulster:
  • A Heavy double-breated overcoat with a belt or half-belt at the back.
  • A scarf of silk or fine wool worn round the neck.

James, Frogged jackets and DeQuincey

This is the notorious story where Mrs Watson refers to her husband Dr John Watson as ‘James’. Read More...

Gales, Generals, Boats and Societies etc.

Equinoctial gales - September
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Clark Russell's sea stories.
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Invention of Bicycling
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American civil war:
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“Ku Klux Klan. A name derived from the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle. This terrible secret society was formed by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern states after the Civil War, and it rapidly formed local branches in different parts of the country, notably in Tennessee, Louisiana, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Its power was used for political purposes, principally for the terrorising of the negro voters and the murdering and driving from the country of those who were opposed to its views. Its outrages were usually preceded by a warning sent to the marked man in some fantastic but generally recognised shape — a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts, melon seeds or orange pips in others. On receiving this the victim might either openly abjure his former ways, or might fly from the country. If he braved the matter out, death would unfailingly come upon him, and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner. So perfect was the organisation of the society, and so systematic its methods, that there is hardly a case upon record where any man succeeded in braving it with impunity, or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. For some years the organisation flourished in spite of the efforts of the United States government and of the better classes of the community in the South. Eventually, in the year 1869, the movement rather suddenly collapsed, although there have been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date.”
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He had always laughed at what he called my cock-and-bull story about the colonel (A ridiculous and implausible story)
As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone.
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“I have spent the whole day,” said he, “over Lloyd’s registers and files of the old papers, following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in ‘83.”
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....found that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning,
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Lone Star - Name of the Bark on which Captain James Calhoun sailed.
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‘Bark Lone Star’
Also Barque - a sailing ship with three masts typically with three masts, in which the foremast and mainmast are square-rigged and the mizzenmast is rigged fore-and-aft.
• archaic or poetic/literary a ship or boat.

Baxter, Petrarch and Meredith

‘There, but for the grace of God, goes Sherlock Holmes.’ Holmes said these were Baxter’s words, but actually they were the words of John Bradford.
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George Meredith
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‘Nous verrons’.

‘We shall see’.

Translations and Pea Jackets

“‘L’homme c’est rien — l’oeuvre c’est tout,’ as Gustave Flaubert wrote to George Sand.”

Palmer and Pritchard

Dr. William Palmer convicted of murder by poison and executed on 6th August 1824 at Stafford, Staffordshire.
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Dr. Edward Pritchard convicted of murder by poison and executed on 28th July 1865 at Glasgow, Scotland.
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Gloria Scott-facts and figures

The Gloria Scott Left Falmouth on 8th October 1855. Bound for Australia. Destroyed N.Lat 15 degrees 20'.W.Long 25 degrees 14' on November 6th 1855. Height of the Crimean War. Read More...

Armitage, Evans and The Gloria Scott

J.A. The initials tattooed in the bend of his elbow which JP Trevor wished to forget and had tried to obliterate. Read More...