Obscure Nervous Lesions: Watson leads us right to the mental question when he describes the "somewhat incoherent series of Memoirs with which I have endeavoured to illustrate the mental peculiarities of my friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes." Mental peculiarities, eh? The story begins with a mind-reading sequence, of all things, and although
If Blessington hadn't been a criminal, his arrangement with Dr. Percy Trevelyan would have been a pretty good one. Was this sort of thing more common in Holmes's day, or was the idea of investing in a young doctor (or lawyer, artist or musician) every bit as unusual as we would consider such a set-up today?
More learned Hounds will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that "Lady Day," the day Dr. Trevelyan moved into Brook Street, is March 25, and is the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. Beyond the fact that Lady Day was one of the usual "quarter days" when a term of tenancy would logically begin, can we attach any significance to the fact that Trevelyan mentioned that particular day even though it made no difference to his subsequent story? Is there a religious connotation? A mathematical symmetry?
The doctor is innocent: At first reading, the obvious suspect in this case is Dr. Trevelyan himself - Watson even says so. Holmes assured him that the doctor was not the culprit, but was the evidence of those oversized footprints really sufficient to put the doctor in the clear? After all, Trevelyan was supposed to be a clever man, and it might easily occur to him to trespass into Blessington's room with disguised footprints.
And even if there had been someone else in Blessington's room, isn't it still possible that Dr. Trevelyan might have been their accomplice? Had he grown tired of doling out three-quarters of his income to Blessington? Had Hayward, Biddle and Moffat won the doctor's sympathy for their cause, or simply made him a tempting offer on top of his increased profit? If the doctor was not in league with them, is there any logical way to explain how the gang of bank robbers managed to fool him with their phony cataleptic Russian act? In fact, if the gang eventually arrived in the middle of the night to kill Blessington while the household was asleep, why would they have made an appointment with the doctor at all?
Copyright © Chris Redmond 2000