View Full Version : Watsons Dog?

Tobias Gregson
09-02-2009, 01:57 PM
I have been an avid reader of the canon since I was 14 ( now 63 ). Iread all the novels and short stories at least once a year. One thing, However, has baffled me throughout the years. In the opening pages of "A study in Scarlet ", when Holmes and Watson are discussing their various quirks; Watson's last remark is; " I keep a Bull Pup ". Never again, even in this first novel, is Watson's Bull Pup ever mentioned. Any ideas or did I miss Something??

Sam Gamgee
05-19-2010, 01:24 PM
I believe some Holmes person argues that "to keep a bull pup" was Victorian slang for "to have a bad temper." I am not entirely convinced by that, in part because I've never seen the phrase anywhere else, and I am a Victorian literature buff (I also tried to find it by searching online, and using the OED and Brewer's Dictionary of phrase and fable...still nothing)

My personal opinion is that Arthur Conan Doyle just forgot about it. I love Sherlock Holmes, I really do. I've been reading the books since I was in middle school, and have read everything at least twice, but many of the books many more times than that. I think that people seem to forget that Conan Doyles got sick of Holmes very quickly, and was not at all a Tolkien who needed everything to fit precisely. I maen, why does Watson's wife call him James? Because Conan Doyle forgot that he was named John...not because the H in his middle name actually stands for "Hamish" which is Scottish for James and so that was Watson's wife's pet name for him!

I know it is all part of "The Game" to make Sherlock Holmes real...but I think part of the game should be a recognition of Conan Doyles fallibility. :-)

I probably sound like a grumpy old person. I'm really not. Hehe.

08-15-2011, 05:21 AM
he is actually refering to his gun.