For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs
concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject
or a person on which he could not at once furnish information. In
this case I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew
rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had written a monograph upon
the deep-sea fishes.
The Langham Hotel
at the very top of the map
HolmesÕs index of abstruse knowledge turns up several times in the stories.
"Let me see!" said Holmes. "Hum! Born in New Jersey in the year 1858. Contralto—hum! La Scala, hum! Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw—yes!"
Today the term "contralto" usually refers to the lowest female voice,
below the soprano and alto. Here, it probably means that Irene Adler
was an alto, or mezzo-soprano. La Scala, or Teatro alla Scala, is a world-famous opera
house in Milan, Italy. The Imperial Opera of Warsaw is fictional.
A "prima donna" is a female singer who plays starring roles.
Holmes laughed. "It is quite a pretty little problem," said he.
"But a very serious one to me," returned the King reproachfully.
Holmes sometimes forgets the human element while chasing down a solution.
You will find me at the Langham under the name of the Count Von
St. JohnÕs Wood
can be seen in the upper-left-hand corner of this map
Founded in 1865 as a grand luxury hotel, the Langham has been restored
and is in operation again today. It a short walk from there to Baker
Street, which is northwest of the hotel: up Regent Street, right on
Oxford, and right again on Baker Street.
"You have carte blanche."
The French equivalent of a "blank check."
"There are three hundred pounds in gold and seven hundred in
notes," he said.
As with everything else the King does, this is overkill. Three hundred
pounds would equal more than $100,000 today.
"…Briony Lodge, Serpentine Avenue, St. John's Wood."
St. John's Wood is a section of London not far from Baker Street,
but the street address is fictional. The neighborhood was notorious for housing a number of "kept women."