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“my correspondence certainly has the charm of variety” [NOBL] 

Insects don't get a lot of attention in the Sherlock Holmes stories, although they do crawl in from time to time.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson first encountered Stapleton when the moor resident was chasing down butterflies.
"A tin box for botanical specimens hung over his shoulder and he carried a green butterfly-net in one of his hands."

Stapleton's study in Merripit House contained his remarkable collection of Lepidoptera:
"The room had been fashioned into a small museum, and the walls were lined by a number of glass-topped cases full of that collection of butterflies and moths the formation of which had been the relaxation of this complex and dangerous man."

And when Holmes and Watson visited the home of Nathan Garrideb in "The Three Garridebs," this consummate collector's surroundings were described by Watson:
"The room was as curious as its occupant. It looked like a small museum. It was both broad and deep, with cupboards and cabinets all round, crowded with specimens, geological and anatomical."

Even two individuals in the Canon had attributes that were positively insect-like. Can you identify each and the stories in which they appeared?

  1. "The man drew out paper and tobacco and twirled the one up in the other with surprising dexterity. He had long, quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect."
  2. "The Baron has little waxed tips of hair under his nose, like the short antennae of an insect. These quivered with amusement as he listened, and he finally broke into a gentle chuckle."

[Answers are below*]

Finally, the most notorious individual connected with insects must be little Edward Rucastle, whose interactions with bugs were described by his proud father Jephro:
"One child—one dear little romper just six years old. Oh, if you could see him killing cockroaches with a slipper! Smack! smack! smack! Three gone before you could wink!"
But more than a father's twisted sense of pride, the following description of little Edward should have been an early indicator of the cruelty that pervaded the Copper Beeches:
"His whole life appears to be spent in an alternation between savage fits of passion and gloomy intervals of sulking. Giving pain to any creature weaker than himself seems to be his one idea of amusement, and he shows quite remarkable talent in planning the capture of mice, little birds, and insects."

Meanwhile, there's a certain appreciation for insects at Baker Street Elementary...

Baker Street Elementary follows the original adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, as they and their friends work through the issues of elementary school in Victorian London. An archive of all previous episodes can be viewed at www.bakerstreetelementary.org.

* The answers to the mini quiz above:
  1. Dr. Mortimer, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  2. Baron Gruner, "The Illustrious Client"