Monday, September 30, 2013

Tour de Hound - Chapter 14 - putting the Hound down. . .as well as Lestrade I guess. . . .

This has never been one of my favorite chapters, and I don't really know why.

I don't know if it's because I don't agree with how Holmes handled it or what.

Or how Sir Henry is, as it would appear most English gentleman are, left shaking and incapacitated by the adventure (remember this is a man who is a world traveler and someone who spent a lot of time outside in wild country).

I don't know if it was the inconclusiveness of the outcome (maybe I was hoping for a sequel).

Whatever it is, this chapter has always been a little bit of a let down for me.

Sir Henry is quickly forgotten.

Beryl doesn't come out to well as she laughs and claps her hands and as "Her eyes and teeth gleamed with fierce merriment."

And really, why was Lestrade there?

In the discussion over the last couple of days, it was brought up by James, when listing Canonical references in 'Elementary', that Lestrade in that episode used a hip flask when at his hide out, thus adding to the list of references.

It is interesting to note that in HOUN Lestrade is called upon twice to use his hip flask in this second to the last chapter.
First with Sir Henry on the moor. Then again with Beryl when rescued from Merripit House.

Several comments were made about 'Elementary' making Lestrade out to be a drunken, lazy tag along, only out for the credit.

And I don't think, canonically,  that is necessarily an inapt description of the earlier Lestrade.

But Watson states in HOUN that Lestrade was perhaps capable of change and growth, ". . . and I saw at once from the reverential way in which Lestrade gazed at my companion that he had learned a good deal since the days when they had first worked together." 
Or was that reverential look just saying, "Here's comes another promotion."

So, perhaps 'Elementary' had it right, at least partially.

But my main point on this line of though is this; Does Lestrade even have a gun with him?

After our three hound hunters have left the pub, and paid off the wagonette driver, and are once deposited on the moor, Holmes turns to Lestrade and asks, "Are you armed,"
To which the little detective smiles and says, "As long as I have my trousers I have a hip-pocket, and as long as I have a hip-pocket, I have something in it."

I think most of us would assume Holmes is asking Lestrade if he is carrying a gun, even if a hip-pocket would an uncomfortable spot to carry even the smallest gun.

But know where in the adventure that follows does Lestrade pull out his gun, show a gun or in anyway make reference to a gun.

When first confronted by the apparition of the hound, Lestrade "gave a yell of terror and threw himself  face downward upon the ground."

Watson springs up, even though terrified, grasping for his pistol, (Did any one count how many times Watson checks his gun in the Granada episode.?) but Lestrade does not draw his pistol at all, never.

The only thing that ever comes out of his pocket is his hip flask.

The biggest contribution Lestrade makes to the evening is being left "in possession of the house (Merripit)". Guarding it in case Stapleton came back or making sure Beryl doesn't run away?

Although when asked about being armed, we are told it is Lestrade that smiles, but maybe Holmes was smiling also, knowing full well what was in Lestrade's pocket, "Yea, I know what you are armed with, Lestrade. Liquid courage, right?", as Holmes winks and pokes Lestrade in the ribs.

He was armed all right, but maybe just against the cold.

Holmes probably needed someone there in an official capacity, and having worked with Lestrade on many occasions and knowing the strengths and limitations of that relationship, found Lestrade the ideal man for the job.

So, was the portrayal in 'Elementary' that far off?

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