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Webley Bullpup

Webley Bullpup here!

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Hello, Everyone! I used to be on Holmesian.net but hadn't signed on for several months and it seems to have gotten lost in the swirling waters of Reichenbach Falls in the meantime. :-(

 

I joined the Sherlock Holmes Social Network, where HN seems to survive - in a manner of speaking - as a sub Group. Unfortunately, the whole SHSN seems moribund.

 

Anyway, , , great to be back in the world of SH!

 

I noticed Shangas' name as I was signing in here. Any of my other old friends from the HN here? Mrs. Pencil? Teddy the Mongoose?

 

Jim

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Hello, Webley Bullpup -- welcome to Sherlock Forum!   :welcome:

 

We're glad you found us.  Do feel free to dive right in and reply to posts (old or new), or if you can't find the topic you want, just start one.  Hope you have fun here!

 

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Hello and welcome Webley Bullpup! :wave:

 

Maybe your old friends will find their way here, too, as season 3 draws closer (keeping fingers crossed for you).

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By the way, Jim, I got curious about your user name and Googled it.  I think you might have an interesting tale to tell about how you chose it!

 

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Hello and greetings, Webley Bullpup! So glad you found our happy group. The more the merrier. :wave3:

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By the way, Jim, I got curious about your user name and Googled it.  I think you might have an interesting tale to tell about how you chose it!

Watson, of course, mentioned to Holmes at their first meeting - while they're fessing up about personal quirks that might affect them as roommates - that he "keeps a bull pup". Many readers have wondered what happened to the dog, as it never appears in later stories.

 

This is because there was no dog: what would a recently discharged army doctor, just back from Afghanistan, and living in a rooming house, be doing with a dog?

 

Watson was really saying that he kept a revolver.

 

I like old revolvers, and the Webley company manufactured many of them in that era: hence, I put the two words together, and Webley Bullpup I became. :-)

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Let me add my welcome.  I thought the interesting thing about the Webley Bulldog is that it was more popular in America than in Britain, very common in the West and we know that Doyle seemed fascinated by the American west.  Was there a short-barreled version called a "bullpup" at the time, do you know?

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I wondered what that dog was all about!

 

I wonder whether the Guy Ritchie people are assuming that Watson really did have a dog, or if perhaps their Watson's bulldog is an in-joke.

 

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Let me add my welcome.  I thought the interesting thing about the Webley Bulldog is that it was more popular in America than in Britain, very common in the West and we know that Doyle seemed fascinated by the American west.  Was there a short-barreled version called a "bullpup" at the time, do you know?

Yes, despite the Colt Single Action Army getting all the attention,  there were probably a lot more Bulldogs actually carried in the Old West than is true for the SAA's. Smaller, less expensive, easier to conceal.

 

I've never really looked into the term "Bullpup" as being so applied, but it makes sense to me: pups being smaller than dogs, short-barreled and/or smaller-caliber versions being handier than the larger pistols.

 

I assumed that it was a known "guy's slang" term of that era. Had the two been conducting the conversation in the 1960's, Watson might have said that he kept a "Colt" or a "snubbie" or a ".38". Today he might have said that he kept a "Glock" or an "automatic" or a "9mm", with a reasonable expectation that Holmes would have understand his reference.

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I wondered what that dog was all about!

 

I wonder whether the Guy Ritchie people are assuming that Watson really did have a dog, or if perhaps their Watson's bulldog is an in-joke.

No telling what any of those people had in mind!

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In modern firearm terminology "Bullpup" refers to a design of gun that places the action behind the trigger group and alongside the shooter's face, thus reducing the overall length of the firearm as a whole, more info can be found in this Wikipedia article.

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Now that really puzzles me!  I had been thinking (like Webley) that the term was probably a bit of ephemeral Victorian slang -- but there it is on Wikipedia!  That article does state, however, that the origins of the term are "unclear," perhaps related to the use of the term "bullpup" for a fancy target pistol in the late 1950's, and that the mechanism currently tied to the term dates back only to 1901 or so.

 

I'm thinking now that the expression probably stayed in the oral jargon of gun fanciers, somehow never making it into print till the late 1950's, and then eventually becoming associated with a new type of gun.  It does seem that the Victorians were much more restrained in print than is the case today, but it might be interesting to examine the advertisements of the day (both commercial ads and the classifieds), some of which may have been worded a bit more colloquially.

 

Baring-Gould's annotated Holmes takes Watson's statement at face value, saying that the bull pup (sic, two words) "is never heard of again."  The note then suggests several possible reasons for the dog's disappearance:  Holmes didn't get along with it and insisted Watson get rid of it; Mrs. Hudson objected to having a dog in the house; Watson stumbled carrying it up the stairs and it died; Holmes used it as a test subject and it died (as nearly happens several times in the Guy Ritchie movies); the dog didn't like Holmes and ran away.  It goes on to quote a Mr. L. S. Holstein in wondering how Watson had previously managed to keep a dog in a hotel, especially on his limited income.  Apparently the Holmesian scholars were all too ivory-tower to be familiar with firearm slang, or even to wonder whether the term actually referred to a literal dog!

 

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It could be that Sherlock would not have it. When he was in University he was bitten so badly by a dog that he was laid up for 10 days.

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Yes, that possibility was also mentioned, and who could blame him?  (I'm still leaning toward the "it was actually a pistol" theory myself, though.)

 

We watched Gene Wilder's 1975 comedy The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother tonight (on DVD), and I found it interesting that Moriarty uses a Webley.

 

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Jumped here via Carol’s link on another thread. The ‘Webley Bullpup,’ is an interesting and plausible suggestion.

 

Two doubts though:

 

The first is that Watson/Doyle writes it as two words. I’m assuming the gun was one word. Doyle was very interested in all things military so it’s likely that he would have heard of a ‘bullpup.’ (I certainly hadn’t) Surely he would have wanted to distinguish between a dog and a gun?

 

Secondly, Holmes had just elucidated his more unsociable habits, violin noise, not talking for days etc. Habits that might affect someone sharing rooms. Watson then did the same. I don’t see how keeping a gun, say in a box in his room, could be seen as anything that might affect Holmes. Keeping a dog might have though.

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You're forgetting that neither Watson nor his agent Doyle had final say on precisely how his accounts would appear in print.  There are editors and proofreaders to consider, and I know from semi-personal experience that they're perfectly capable of "correcting" a meticulously prepared manuscript.  Watson's editors and proofreaders would presumably be more familiar with dogs than with firearms, for example.

 

Some people are a bit nervous about having a gun in the house.  Since Holmes and Watson had only just met at that point, Watson would have no real way of knowing Holmes's opinion on that subject.

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You're forgetting that neither Watson nor his agent Doyle had final say on precisely how his accounts would appear in print. There are editors and proofreaders to consider, and I know from semi-personal experience that they're perfectly capable of "correcting" a meticulously prepared manuscript. Watson's editors and proofreaders would presumably be more familiar with dogs than with firearms, for example.

 

Some people are a bit nervous about having a gun in the house. Since Holmes and Watson had only just met at that point, Watson would have no real way of knowing Holmes's opinion on that subject.

Good points Carol

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I obviously came at this conversation from the wrong direction as I have no idea what y'all are talking about ... but I'm about to go find out! :d

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I obviously came at this conversation from the wrong direction as I have no idea what y'all are talking about ... but I'm about to go find out! :d

We're talking about the scene where Holmes and Watson first meet and discuss sharing their lodgings. If you don't own a print copy, just Google

 

"Study in Scarlet" text

 

and you'll find several sites where you can read the story for free. In any case, that scene is very early in the story, so you might enjoy reading from the beginning. You'll recognize quite a lot of the first part from Pink, plus some from TAB.

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Oh, I understood it was about Study in Scarlet, it was the references to bullpups that puzzled me! But after some google-fu, all is clear now. I'm with Carol, I think it's the gun.

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Belated welcome to the Sherlock Forum!    :wave:

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