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Inspection Report IV

The Sign of
Sherlock Holmes

Teresa Roberts

The Diogenes Club:  Link to the Norwood Building Inspectors:  The Sherlock Holmes Society of Charleston, West Virginia

On January 6, 2000, with a fine dinner, we celebrated Sherlock Holmes’ birthday. In the realm of astrology, this makes Mr. Holmes a Capricorn - the sign of the goat.

Does the characteristics and personality of our Master of Reasoning and Observing match the same with Capricorn? Let us see if covering ten main points will make us skeptics or believers in the reading of the stars.

Capricorn is ruled by Saturn the plant of discipline, structure, and isolation. We all know about Sherlock’s discipline and the practical structure he forms as he works on a problem. Isolation is shown in the "The Stock Broker’s Clerk" by Watson who mentions that Holmes, . . ."seldom went anywhere himself save upon professional business."

Capricorn are hard workers and achievers. With the sloppy condition of Sherlock’s rooms and the odd hours he is found in bed asleep as from Dr. Watson’s description in "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone," one may think Sherlock is lazy. But, as we know, he is hard working and achieving when focused on a case like this.

Progress is important to Capricorn and no matter how small the progress, will be patient till achievement is made. We clearly see this trait in "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" when Watson asked Holmes if they could get a warrant to legalize their plan. But with little evidence and small progress, Holmes patiently establishes a successful conclusion on his own.

Status is important to Capricorn taking pride in their career. This shows with how particular Sherlock is about what cases his name can be attached to as in what he said to Inspector Lestrade in "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box." "I should prefer that you do not mention my name at all in connection with the case, as I choose to be only associated with crimes which present some difficulty in their solution."

Nice things appeal to Capricorn, but they are not extravagant and deplore waste of any kind. Sherlock is known to appreciate things of worth as shown in "A Case of Identity" where Watson notices a gold and amethyst snuff box which Holmes accepted as a gift from the King of Bohemia for work on a case and . . ."a remarkable brilliant" . . . as Watson described the ring on Holmes finger, a gift from the reigning family of Holland. Watson also notes these things as being in . . . "such contrast to his homely ways and simple life."

Capricorn is often a history buff. It is shown that Sherlock is interested in history by the statement he makes to you detective Hopkins in "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez." After Hopkins asks if he’s seen the day’s paper, Holmes states, "I’ve seen nothing later than the fifteenth century today."

Capricon usually has a hard time expressing inner feelings. Again in "The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans," Watson observed of Holmes. . . "and for a moment I saw something in his eyes which was nearer to tenderness than I had ever seen."

Capricorn often takes up hobbies in later life that may have seemed frivolous when younger. One of Sherlock’s hobbies in his retirement years, as stated by Watson in "The Adventure of the Second Stain" was study. Obviously, study is, was, and always has been seen as a youthful dread not as a hobby even, I bet, for a young Sherlock.

Capricorn never does anything halfway. As in "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" Holmes ignored the conclusions of Inspector Lestrade investigating in his own direction. He even felt discouraged early on yet continued till the truth was found.

Capricorn is cautious and serious, but never dull. Sherlock seems to take careless risks as in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" by being in a room with a poisonous snake in the dark. But he never takes risks without back-up as with making sure Watson has his revolver hand. And we wouldn’t have celebrated the man’s birthday a century plus later if he were dull.

Now, has this piqued your awareness? Could you see the Great Detective in any or all these traits? I personally feel whether you do or not that these ten points are great qualities to have anyway. And the fact that I am also a Capricorn has nothing to do with how I feel about it.

Presented by
Teresa Roberts, "The Red-Headed League"
The Norwood Building Inspectors
The Sherlock Holmes Society of Charleston, West Virginia
March 16, 2000

Copyright 2000, Teresa Roberts, All Rights Reserved

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