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“one dear little romper” [COPP] 

Home schooling is not for the faint of heart, as many of us are discovering in the age of Covid-19 (either by direct experience or through harrowing tales shared over social media).

This might be why the governesses we run across in the Sherlock Holmes stories are all strong women. They have to deal with the children (and let's face it, they're usually children from well-to-do families, which may contribute to their 'sparkling' personalities), all while cooped up in a home environment.

Take Grace Dunbar, for instance. She looked after the Gibson children in "The Problem of Thor Bridge." When Watson first saw her, he described the how he felt:
"I can never forget the effect which Miss Dunbar produced upon me. It was no wonder that even the masterful millionaire had found in her something more powerful than himself."
We can only imagine how she must have commanded a classroom at home, and how that may have translated to Neil Gibson, the U.S. senator and so-called "gold king." As Holmes says in the closing paragraph, "the financial world may find that Mr. Neil Gibson has learned something in that schoolroom of sorrow where our earthly lessons are taught.”

These days, the "schoolroom of sorrow" might be any home around the country where parents are taking on the role of teacher. Even Baker Street Elementary is not immune...

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.