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Proposal (02/2022) | harpooners

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As we approach the end of our turn with the (perhaps misnamed) “Modified Baring-Gould Order” of the Canon, it would behoove us to begin considering some new way of going through the accounts of Dr Watson so we can begin again in 2023.  As much as I hope we enjoy comparing Canon accounts that happen in the same month, we have discovered some discrepancies along the way with Baring-Gould’s chronological reckonings (for more information and background on the “Modified Baring-Gould Order,” feel free to review “Proposal (08/2019)”).

One example is “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet” [BERY]. Baring-Gould places this event as to have occurred on 19-December, 1890. Jay Finley Christ, on the other hand, places it as having occurred on 23-February, 1883. Watson himself gives at least the month that it occurred when he says the following in the second paragraph of his account:

My friend rose lazily from his armchair, and stood with his hands in the pockets of his dressing-gown, looking over my shoulder. It was a bright, crisp February morning, and the snow of the day before still lay deep upon the ground, shimmering brightly in the wintry sun.

There is also the matter of “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor” [NOBL]. We can see that it occurred some time after October 4 of whatever year it took place because of the date on the bill that Frank Moulton received from his hotel. Baring-Gould reckons it to have occurred on 8-October, 1886, while Finley Christ marks the start date as being 9-Octobert, 1888. However, there are two statements in NOBL that may give a different determination for the year. The first is Holmes’ reading aloud his own dossier on Lord St Simon:

’Robert Walsingham de Vere St Simon, second son of the Duke of Balmoral’ – Hum! ‘Arms. Azure, three caltrops in chief over a fess sable. Born in 1846.’ He’s forty-one years of age, which is mature for marriage.

1846 + 41 = 1887

Also, given that this account was published in March and April of 1892 in the US and the UK, Watson’s own introduction seems to give a good clue:

The Lord St Simon marriage, and its curious termination, have long since ceased to be a subject of interest in those exalted circles in which the unfortunate bridegroom moves. Fresh scandals have eclipsed it, and their more piquant details have drawn the gossips away from this four-year-old drama….”

October 1891 (closest October to March/April 1892) – 4 years = October 1887

One could also bring up “The Adventure of the Missing Three Quarter” [MISS] between Watson stating it to have happened in February while many chronologists (Baring-Gould and Finley Christ included) take a more researched view of it actually having happened in December of some year (more details can be heard on this subject in the podcast commentary “Dating the Missing Three Quarter” from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere if one is interested).

As mentioned before, there seem to be some discrepancies in Baring-Gould’s dating. It is at this time that I propose something I call a “Periodic Finley Christ” Canon order.

Just as with the Modified Baring-Goud Order, every account in the Canon is reported to have taken place at some time, a day of some month, in a particular given year.  For example, The Valley of Fear [VALL, 1889], “The Adventure of Red Circle” [REDC, 1893], “The Adventure of the Abbey Grange” [ABBE, 1897], and “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier” [BLAN, 1903] all took place in January of their respective years.  So, for a January meeting, any one of those four stories would be up-for-grabs to be given as a presentation for that month’s meeting (multiple presentations could be given as well if enough people choose to try it).

Unlike the “Modified Baring-Gould Order,” every month has occurrences in them, including February. What could cause exception is the fact that three accounts only have years assigned to them, no month or even day of the month: VEIL (1890), RETI (1898), and MAZA (1904). Fortunately, there are THREE months that have only TWO Canon accounts assigned to them, February, May, and December, and with some strategic thinking, these three stories could be planted into one each of these three months.

As we did with the Modified Baring-Gould before, we will still have our special months of April (for Holmes’ birthday), July (for our “Feast of Black Peter”) and December (for the “Feast of the Blue Carbuncle”), and we would still have other accounts that we could observe alongside these.

Also as before, we can manage to observe at most five accounts per month. Finley Christ’s chronology typically varies between 2 to 5 Canon accounts per month. The notable exceptions would be April (with 7), June (7), August (6), and September (10). As we did with some months in our Modified Baring-Gould order, we can stretch this out over a two-year period and rotate through all the stories each year.

Here would be the proposed schedule using this “Modified Baring-Gould” sequence:(Yellow boxes denote novellas; Canon accounts left by themselves in February, May, and December do NOT have months or days noting them)

Originally, it was hoped that if the Modified Baring-Gould order was successful, we could do it every two years at least until a new annotated edition came to fruition. As we may likely see problems even with Finely Christ’s chronology, it may be prudent for us to go through different chronologies of various Sherlockian scholars (also listed with the Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia). For now, let’s look at this proposal, analyze and discuss it, and then determine if A) we should go through with it, B) return to the Modified Baring-Gould order, or C) see if we can come upon a third option.

Let’s be thinking on this and please leave comments on this page. As it may take management a while to get everything on a final schedule, let’s try to come to a final decision by no later than 30-September of 2022.

Thank you for your attention to this proposal, and I hope we can get underway with this soon.

Canonically yours,

J. Andrew Basford, HSU, Pilot Whale

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