This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Saturday Rave: The Priory School by Arthur Conan Doyle.

I could have chosen any of the Sherlock Holmes short stories to rave about, and so I've opened my collected works at random and this is the passage I've found:

The duke leaned back in his chair and stared with amazement at my friend.
"You seem to have powers that are hardly human," he said.

Riveting stuff, eh? It's page 691 in my 1928 copy of the collected short stories, which seems to have first belonged to a Mr Wilbee of Sarratt House. I can see why he wanted to stake his claim to the volume, because it must be one of the most tempting books to borrow or steal ever written.

Of course I can't tell you the story of The Priory School because that would spoil it, but I can reveal the very end. I want to do this because in all the gushing over the hawk-like unemotional Homes and his uncanny etc etc, the humour and warmth of the stories - and the man - tends to get overlooked.

"Thank you," he said, as he replaced the glass. "It is the second most interesting object that I have seen in the North."
"And the first?"
Homes folded up his cheque, and placed it carefully in his notebook. "I am a poor man," said he, as he patted it affectionately, and thrust it into the depths of his pocket.

Word to use today: cheque. Or check, if you live in the US. This word is the same as the check which means making sure. In England cheques over £50 are no longer guaranteed by the issuing bank, so they're more uncheques, really. The word comes originally from the Persian shāh, the king! as in the chess term.

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