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5205Re: Coincidence in the Second Stain

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  • Sajan Venniyoor
    8 Aug
      I think Ravi makes an interesting point, but one has to agree with Noufal that if it isn't one coincidence, its probably two; but nevertheless it's just a coincidence that Lucas got bumped off that fateful night. If La Rothière had choked on a fishbone or Oberstein been run over by a Hansom cab on that fateful night, Holmes would have jumped to similar conclusions. 

      "The odds are enormous against its being coincidence," says Holmes. "No figure could express them. No, my dear Watson, the two events are connected—must be connected. It is for us to find the connection." As it turns out, they weren't connected, but Holmes doesn't apologize to Watson when it becomes clear that the unfortunate Mme Fournaye's presence at Lucas's house had nothing to do with the missing letter. 

      Which reminds me, why are all these international spies in London mostly sinister foreigners with exotic names, who stick out like sore thumbs in Britain's genteel upper class society? Of another Mr. Lucas (in The Wisteria Lodge), ACD says, "Mr. Lucas, is undoubtedly a foreigner, chocolate brown, wily, suave, and catlike, with a poisonous gentleness of speech." 

      Spies or not, foreigners in the canon are seldom up to any good. 

      The celebrated spies in the canon are men like Louis La Rothière, Hugo Oberstein, Eduardo Lucas (a.k.a Henri Fournaye), Von Bork etc etc. Surely if a private detective knew about them, so would Whitehall. (Of course they did: In the Bruce-Partington Plans, Mycroft -- who works with the British government -- writes to his brother, "There are numerous small fry, but few who would handle so big an affair. The only men worth considering are Adolph Mayer, of 13 Great George Street, Westminster; Louis La Rothière, of Campden Mansions, Notting Hill; and Hugo Oberstein, 13 Caulfield Gardens, Kensington". 

      This was ten years after The Second Stain, so the late Eduardo Lucas has been replaced by Adolph Mayer.

      I don't think ACD could quite reconcile such high levels of international skulduggery with his fellow countrymen. To the co-conspirator in The Bruce-Partington Plans, Holmes says, "How an English gentleman could behave in such a manner is beyond my comprehension."

      The truth is that there probably were no freelance spies in Britain who stole incriminating letters and auctioned them in Europe. And the German spies in town mostly blended rather well into British society. The first of 11 German spies to be shot in the Tower of London during the First World War went under the name 'Charles Inglis' and spoke English very well. 

      By the Cold War, of course, all international spies in Britain were clean cut, upper class Englishmen, like the Cambridge Four (or Five, or Fifty -- the actual number is not known), like Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt, men driven by political beliefs, not profit motive. Though most of them were bumbling amateurs, they escaped detection for so long because, just as it was to Holmes, it was beyond the comprehension of the British establishment that an English gentleman could behave in such a manner. 

      Sajan











      On 9 August 2017 at 08:04, <SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@...> wrote:

      2 Messages

      Digest #2012
      1.2
      Re: Coincidence in the Second Stain by "Noufal Ibrahim KV" n_kv2001

      Messages

      Tue Aug 8, 2017 9:38 am . Posted by:

      "Ravi" raviraomv

      Hi Noufal,

      For the sake of argument, I disagree with you :)

      You say that the coming of the French woman, just as Lady Hilda was
      leaving, was completely coincidental. However, do pay attention to the
      words the french lady utters as soon as she enters - <quote> screamed in
      French, ‘My waiting is not in vain. At last, at last I have found you with
      her!’ </quote>

      Does the above not imply that the french lady was waiting for an opportune
      moment, to capture Lucas red-handed? And if so, then it cannot be
      coincidental.

      I rest my case.

      Cheers,
      Ravi.

      On Sun, Aug 6, 2017 at 11:59 PM, Noufal Ibrahim KV noufal@...
      [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia] <
      SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@ yahoogroups.co.in> wrote:

      >
      >
      >
      > Hello fellow Holmesians,
      > Here's a long unsolved problem I've had with Sherlock Holmes that
      > I'd like to offer for consideration.
      >
      > In the Adventure of the Second Stain, the detective names 3
      > possible criminals one of whom is Eduardo Lucas. Immediately, there's
      > news that this person was found dead in his rooms.
      >
      > Watson suggested that the murder was a coincidence to which Holmes
      > asserts - "A coincidence! Here is one of the three men whom we had named
      > as possible actors in this drama, and he meets a violent death during
      > the very hours when we know that that drama was being enacted. The odds
      > are enormous against its being coincidence. No figures could express
      > them. No, my dear Watson, the two events are connected -- MUST be
      > connected. It is for us to find the connection."
      >
      > Now, this seemed like he was jumping to conclusions, given how
      > stubbornly led by facts he is but in this instance, we can actually
      > verify it. Lady Hilda had exchanged the diplomatic paper for her
      > indiscreet love letter and was leaving when the French woman came into
      > the room and stabbed Mr. Lucas. This was completely coincidental. The
      > only thing that actually helped the mystery was that Mr. Lucas couldn't
      > immediately use the letter in any fashion but the murder itself was
      > still a complete coincidence. If one of the other 3 possible suspects
      > had stolen the letter, the whole murder would still have happened and
      > Holmes would have followed up the fake lead because of his confidence
      > that the two incidents "MUST be connected".
      >
      > Is this not a lapse in his judgment? What are your opinions?
      >
      > --
      > Cordially,
      > Noufal
      > http://nibrahim.net.in
      >
      >

      --
      .............................. .............................. ................
      The music that can deepest reach,
      And cure all ill, is cordial speech.
      -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Writer & Philosopher (1803-1882)

      Tue Aug 8, 2017 11:50 pm . Posted by:

      "Noufal Ibrahim KV" n_kv2001


      I suppose that's one way of looking at it but it's really a case of multiple
      coincidences knocking the train of the events in a direction suitable
      for Holmes.

      1. Lucas' had a jealous lover. This is clearly unrelated to the events
      of the tale.

      2. This jilted lover was waiting spying on him on the very night Lady
      Hilda came in, her wrong assumption that the latter was Lucas' lover
      and the ensuing murder. This is also unrelated to the events of the
      story.

      However, because of these two, Lucas' is unable to use the letter and
      Lady Hilda is able to recover it (both unknown to Holmes) till his
      searches.

      Not "just a coincidence" would, to my mind, mean incontrovertible
      evidence.

      On Tue, Aug 08 2017, Ravi muzikbuff@... [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia] wrote:

      > Hi Noufal,
      >
      > For the sake of argument, I disagree with you :)
      >
      > You say that the coming of the French woman, just as Lady Hilda was
      > leaving, was completely coincidental. However, do pay attention to the
      > words the french lady utters as soon as she enters - <quote> screamed in
      > French, ‘My waiting is not in vain. At last, at last I have found you with
      > her!’ </quote>
      >
      > Does the above not imply that the french lady was waiting for an opportune
      > moment, to capture Lucas red-handed? And if so, then it cannot be
      > coincidental.
      >
      > I rest my case.
      >
      > Cheers,
      > Ravi.
      >
      > On Sun, Aug 6, 2017 at 11:59 PM, Noufal Ibrahim KV noufal@...
      > [SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia] <
      > SherlockHolmesSocietyofIndia@ yahoogroups.co.in> wrote:
      >
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >> Hello fellow Holmesians,
      >> Here's a long unsolved problem I've had with Sherlock Holmes that
      >> I'd like to offer for consideration.
      >>
      >> In the Adventure of the Second Stain, the detective names 3
      >> possible criminals one of whom is Eduardo Lucas. Immediately, there's
      >> news that this person was found dead in his rooms.
      >>
      >> Watson suggested that the murder was a coincidence to which Holmes
      >> asserts - "A coincidence! Here is one of the three men whom we had named
      >> as possible actors in this drama, and he meets a violent death during
      >> the very hours when we know that that drama was being enacted. The odds
      >> are enormous against its being coincidence. No figures could express
      >> them. No, my dear Watson, the two events are connected -- MUST be
      >> connected. It is for us to find the connection."
      >>
      >> Now, this seemed like he was jumping to conclusions, given how
      >> stubbornly led by facts he is but in this instance, we can actually
      >> verify it. Lady Hilda had exchanged the diplomatic paper for her
      >> indiscreet love letter and was leaving when the French woman came into
      >> the room and stabbed Mr. Lucas. This was completely coincidental. The
      >> only thing that actually helped the mystery was that Mr. Lucas couldn't
      >> immediately use the letter in any fashion but the murder itself was
      >> still a complete coincidence. If one of the other 3 possible suspects
      >> had stolen the letter, the whole murder would still have happened and
      >> Holmes would have followed up the fake lead because of his confidence
      >> that the two incidents "MUST be connected".
      >>
      >> Is this not a lapse in his judgment? What are your opinions?
      >>
      >> --
      >> Cordially,
      >> Noufal
      >> http://nibrahim.net.in
      >>
      >>

      --
      Cordially,
      Noufal
      http://nibrahim.net.in



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