The Adventure of the Ritchie Photoplay
A reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.
To Sherlock Holmes it was always the incident. I have seldom heard him refer to it using any substitution. It was indeed an extraordinary sequence of events, a concatenation that courted the fantastic, though as Holmes was always quick to remind me, such labels could be misleading. I am therefore minded to be precise in my account of this wondrous folly.
Were we ever there? Had it truly happened? Often, with my friend outstretched on the chez lounge with its fashionable floral covering, I’d deduce, using Holmes’ own method, to which I was a slow but dutiful study, that he too struggled to make sense of it all. Against my advice and parrying the stern countenance of a concerned physician, he’d fill his vein with tincture of opiate and I’d watch those normally sharp, dark eyes, roll over and swim in a sea of waking dreams, lost to all the conundrums and exegeses that troubled his magnificent mind.
Often, as though temporarily wrenched from a numinous plain, he’d bolt upright, his hand outstretched in panic and reaching for an invisible support, and he’d cry out, “the trees, the trees!” or “vaudeville drag act!” then crumple like a terrified child, covering his face as a boy might turn from a school master’s phallus.
I, for once, was more certain of the facts than my friend. Perhaps my war experiences had primed me for horrors that second hand accounts of crime in The Times could not. I was sure that we’d entered a hansom on the morning of April the thirteenth, 1901, and having tapped the roof to signal our intent that we should get underway, had found ourselves enveloped in an blood red hue, and been jolted from our seats, caught in what to the stomach and the gyroscope in one’s head, felt like a cyclone. Moments later, with the acrid odour of a chemical burn filling the interior, and a shower of sparks outside, we exited and found ourselves no longer in Baker Street, but a theatre covered in fairground attractions; luminous strips, a brilliant red marquee, and an embossed name, “Cineworld”. It was simply unprecedented in my experience.Pages: 1 2 3 4