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"It has been a long evening" [WIST]

There are a few traditions that you'll come across in many Sherlockian society meetings. One is the reading of the Musgrave Ritual — not the story, but the actual ritual itself ("Where was the sun?" "Over the oak." etc., etc.)

A common recitation at such meetings is Vincent Starrett's classic "221B," which stands as something of a Sherlockian monument, particularly with its closing line "And it is always 1895."

But on occasion, you'll here another poem — one that we would dare to say is a modern classic — written by Bill Schweikert in 1984 and first recited at Autumn In Baker Street. Way back on Episode 12, we asked our guest Bob Thomalen, BSI ("The Three Garridebs") to read the piece for us, and he came through. Bill was his friend and comrade-in-arms, and Bob manages to convey the emotion that this poem brings to those of us who worship at the altar of Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.

Here we provide the text to it, but if you'd like to listen to Bob as you read, he starts talking about his friendship with Bill at the 13:48 mark above, and he reads the poem at 24:47.

A Long Evening With Holmes

by Bill Schweikert

When the world rushes in with worries and cares,
And my problems and headaches are coming in pairs,
I just climb in my mind up those seventeen stairs,
And spend a long evening with Holmes.

The good doctor greets me and motions me in,
Holmes grasps my hand and lays down his violin,
Then we sit by the fire and sip a tall gin
When I spend a long evening with Holmes.

And while we're discussing his cases galore,
If I'm lucky there comes a loud knock at the door,
In stumbles a client, head spattered with gore
When I spend a long evening with Holmes.

Watson binds up the client's poor face
While Holmes soon extracts all the facts of the case,
Then off in a hansom to Brixton we race
When I spend a long evening with Holmes.

The adventure is solved, Holmes makes it all right.
Then, back to the lodgings by dawn's early light,
And a breakfast by Hudson to wind up the night
When I spend a long evening with Holmes.

So this modern rat-race can't keep me in a cage.
I have a passport to a far better age,
As close as the bookshelf, as near as a page,
I can spend a long evening with Holmes.

We think we'll take Bill (and Bob) up on that offer of a tall gin.

Do you have any particular traditions at your local society's meetings?

Image credit: Peter (Flickr)