The View from the East End
Dirty Old Men in the Canon
by Inspector Hopkins
Well . . . . I can’t stand it any longer! It’s time I got back into the Game once again, if only to come to the defenses of what I had heard was despicable and unworthy . . .
The Creeping Man
After several readings and re-readings of this tale using both the Baring-Gould and Klinger annotated hardcopies, and, in combination with watching the Granada interpretation of Watson’s reporting of this case, I have come to the conclusion that it is utterly unfair and outright discriminatory to cast such vile judgment on what is probably one of the most misunderstood men in the Canon.
Sixty is not enough
As I indicated last time I spoke with you, sixty was not enough. In this case, however, I am referring to the age of our poor discriminated-against hero, Professor Presbury. Recall that according to Watson’s account, he was sixty-one years of age and engaged to a young girl, the daughter of one of his colleagues, Professor Morphy. It turns out that, according to the Granada film, she was only “a third” of his age, meaning that we can assume she was approximately 20 years old.
I mean, really . . . what was all the concern about? . . . What was the big deal?
The man had money, was well established, and had impeccable credentials. He was well educated, and according to Watson’s account, was a “brilliant” lecturer at Camford University. He therefore could have easily provided for a young bride, given her a life of luxury in an extremely sophisticated academic setting, and could have provided her (and any offspring which they might have produced) with a very generous endowment indeed!
So what if he was “old”, eh?
Think about this a bit . . . Does this situation not constitute age discrimination in its most blatant form?
Personally, I can find absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with Professor Presbury’s wants and needs. And yet . . . and yet . . . through all my researches, and my involvements with Chat Rooms, I have been absolutely appalled at the negative reception with which the female Sherlockians seem to have given his desires and needs!
I ask you . . . is this really fair?
Today, we might call it “Viagra”, or “Cialis”, etc. but in the Victorian times, the medication was in a much cruder form, only coming into its infantile existence by the efforts of yet still another unappreciated older gentleman, Mr. Lowenstein.
Today, few people doubt the benefits of Viagra! If only Lowenstein had had more time to refine his medication, the public attitudes may have shifted to his favour. However, Mr. Holmes still saw fit to threaten him with holding him “criminally responsible” for its distribution. I have been, and continue to be, distressed and concerned by Holmes’s closed-mindedness.
But, on the other hand . . . suppose that this untested medication DID have some unexpected side effects? I mean . . . suppose that it had some effect on the Professor’s chromosomes which might be passed on to his children . . .
We wouldn’t want to see a lot of little Presbury’s swinging from the trees, would we?
Next time, we will begin to look somewhat more critically at Holmes’s adventures and consider some of the “loose ends” in many of Watson’s tales in an entirely new series.
So . . . stay tuned to Sherlockpeoria!
Until then, and glad to be back again, I indeed remain,
Past 2010 Columns