||First published in The
Strand Magazine February, 1892.
…the well-known Surrey family
of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran.
The county of Surrey is located south and southwest of London. The
town of Leatherhead, mentioned later by Miss Stoner, is a bit more
than 20 miles from Baker Street. There is no town called Stoke Moran,
but there is a Stoke D'Abernon a few miles from Leatherhead.
It is perhaps as well that the facts should now come to light,
for I have reasons to know that there are widespread rumours as to
the death of Dr. Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even
more terrible than the truth.
Not only did Conan Doyle possess a great talent for creating intriguing
plots, he knew how to tempt the reader into the story with hints of
the horrors to come.
"Very sorry to knock you up, Watson,"
said he, "but it's the common lot this morning. Mrs. Hudson has been
knocked up, she retorted upon me, and I on you."
Holmes means that Mrs. Hudson woke him up, and now he is waking Watson.
I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional
investigations, and in admiring the rapid deductions, as swift as
intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis, with which
he unravelled the problems which were submitted to him.
John Alan Maxwell
illustrated the 1930 reprint of "The Speckled Band" in the
The Golden Book.
Conan Doyle has Watson insert a bit of background for those intermittent
readers of The Strand Magazine who might not have read a
Holmes story before.
"I am glad to see that Mrs. Hudson
has had the good sense to light the fire. Pray draw up to it, and
I shall order you a cup of hot coffee, for I observe that you are
True to his character, Holmes observes the young woman's shivering,
but fails to divine its emotional cause.
drive in a dog-cart…."
A dog-cart is a generic term for a rustic, one-horse cart meant to
convey one or two people.
"…and came in by the first
train to Waterloo."
Waterloo Station serves the south and southwest rail corridor from
London. Miss Stoner must have taken a cab across the Thames for about
four miles to reach Baker Street from Waterloo."