When Holmes came back to life in "The Empty
House," nearly ten years had passed in the real world, and the Victorian
Age was a thing of the past. In Holmes's universe, "The Final Problem"
took place in 1891, and "The Empty House" in 1894. Conan Doyle's
wise decision to keep Holmes in Victorian times inspired well-known
Sherlockian Vincent Emerson Starrett to pen these lines, beloved
of all Sherlockians:
dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game's afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears--
Only those things the heart believes are true.
A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen-ninety-five.
—Vincent Emerson Starrett
Journalist, book-collector, mystery writer, and expert Sherlockian,
Vincent Emerson Starrett co-founded the Baker Street Irregulars
and wrote mysteries and books on Sherlock Holmes, including The
Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.