Visitors to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London can see a plaque commemorating the location in which John Watson first met Sherlock Holmes. The occasion of Holmes and Watson’s meeting there led Tokyo’s Sherlock Holmes Appreciation Society to contribute £650 to the “Save Bart’s Campaign” in 2006.
Holmes is astir elsewhere as well. A passage in T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral runs:
THOMAS: Who shall have it?
TEMPTER: He who will come.
THOMAS: What shall be the month?
TEMPTER: The last from the first.
THOMAS: What shall we give for it?
TEMPTER: Pretence of priestly power.
THOMAS: Why should we give it?
TEMPTER: For the power and the glory.
A writer to John O’ London’s Weekly in August 1937 noted that this is strikingly similar to a passage in “The Musgrave Ritual”:
“Whose was it?”
“His who is gone.”
“Who shall have it?”
“He who will come.”
“Where was the sun?”
“Over the oak.”
“Where was the shadow?”
“Under the elm.”
“How was it stepped?”
“North by ten and by ten, east by five and by five, south by two and by two, west by one and by one, and so under.”
“What shall we give for it?”
“All that is ours.”
“Why should we give it?”
“For the sake of the trust.”
The writer asked, “Can you tell me what the connection is between the two?”
The editors replied: “We are informed that Mr. Eliot makes no secret of the fact that occasionally in order to obtain a special effect certain passages from his works are taken from the writings of other authors, and that the passage in question was actually adapted by him from the Conan Doyle story.”
Conan Doyle himself paid a similar compliment at the end of Holmes’ career. At the conclusion of “The Final Problem,” Watson calls his friend “the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.” A writer to the Times, March 5, 1941, points out that Plato says the same of Socrates at the end of the Phaedo: “Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend; concerning whom I may truly say, that of all the men of his time whom I have known, he was the wisest and justest and best.”