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Carol the Dabbler

Mrs. Hudson

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For indeed, "Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a long-suffering woman." She not only had to put up with "the very worst tenant in London" but a physician, who, in his writings, treated her like an extra in her own house. 

Poor Mrs. Hudson.  In the uber-masculine milieu of Conan Doyle's Victorian London she is treated with about as much consideration from her bachelor tenants as the furniture, notwithstanding that Dr. Watson often expresses appreciation for her solid Scots cooking.  As the landlady, she's in a bit of a strange position.  She serves her tenants, cooks for them, clears up after them, worries about them and announces their callers, at all hours and at no small inconvenience to herself.  But at the same time, she's much more than a skivvy -- they are living in her lodgings by her leave and they are expected to pay her every month for the privilege (plus extra for all the damages, I imagine.)  Mrs. H. is house-proud and works hard to keep a respectable establishment despite Sherlock Holmes's best efforts to foil her.  She is incredibly indulgent toward him, even though he deserves to be booted out onto the street for his cavalier treatment of her rooms and dismissive to downright insulting treatment of herself and her staff.  She probably was a young widow who got into the lodging business, or the 'Mrs.' could have been an honorific title, as was the custom for single women in business so they would be accorded more respect than a 'Miss'. 

I like what Mofftiss have done with Mrs. Hudson, giving her an entertaining backstory and making her a fully-fleshed out character in her own right.  In 'The Murder of Mary Russell', Laurie R. King envisions a provocative alternate version of the landlady of Baker Street.  I myself did not much care for her idea of Mrs. Hudson (whom she has given the unexpected name of 'Clarissa'), but it was certainly imaginative.  In King's version, Mrs. H. meets the 19-year-old Sherlock Holmes as a femme du monde in her early 30s--*not* the grandmotherly prototype we have been conditioned to expect.  

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That article makes a very good point regarding Mrs. Hudson's first name, analogous to the canonical dog that did nothing:

Quote

 

In [His] LAST [Bow], there is no recognition or greeting from Watson that Martha is the old Baker Street landlady that he had probably not seen in ten years.

 

Even though this is the canonical Watson, not Edward Hardwicke's, that does indeed seem odd to the point of being nearly definitive.  But of course even if Mrs. Hudson was not that Martha, it's still entirely possible that her first name was Martha.  It's a common enough name.

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1 hour ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

That article makes a very good point regarding Mrs. Hudson's first name, analogous to the canonical dog that did nothing:

Even though this is the canonical Watson, not Edward Hardwicke's, that does indeed seem odd to the point of being nearly definitive.  But of course even if Mrs. Hudson was not that Martha, it's still entirely possible that her first name was Martha.  It's a common enough name.

A lot of pasticheurs have Mrs. Hudson uproot herself from London to follow her exasperating tenant to the Sussex Downs to keep house for him there, but although this is an appealing idea, I don't think that's what Conan Doyle intended.  Mrs. Hudson is a lady of property in London and as such is rather well-off.  She could of course have sold up and moved to the country because she felt bereft of being abused and taken for granted by Sherlock Holmes, the big slob.  But it seems more likely that Mrs. Hudson retained her place and standing in town, and some local lady looks in on Sherlock Holmes daily and cooks his meals.  Doubtful she would live in in a tiny cottage.

This begs the question--what *did* happen to 221A and B Baker Street after Sherlock decamped?  I favor the theory that Mycroft bought Mrs. Hudson out so that the site could be kept as a perpetual museum to his little brother and also used as an MI:5 safe house/place for top secret meetings.  Plus Sherl would have needed somewhere to crash on his occasional jaunts to London in service to His Majesty's Government.  His continuing involvement in the shadow services while ostensibly tending bees in retirement on the Downs was a closely-held government secret.  After the death of the Holmes boys, 221 Baker Street must have disappeared like Brigadoon, to materialize again when, and only when, another worthy occupant appears.  :)

Mrs. Hudson retired to Italy and there, late in life, found amore again with a passionate younger Italian man who owned a vineyard.  That is how I like to think of her anyway.  And I think of her resolutely as "Martha".

 

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9 hours ago, Hikari said:

She could of course have sold up and moved to the country because she felt bereft of being abused and taken for granted by Sherlock Holmes, the big slob.

:rofl:

9 hours ago, Hikari said:

After the death of the Holmes boys, 221 Baker Street must have disappeared like Brigadoon, to materialize again when, and only when, another worthy occupant appears.

Aha!  That explains why there is actually no such address.  (Well, yes, the Holmes Museum has arranged to use that mailing address, but it's not located where it should be.)

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11 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

:rofl:

Aha!  That explains why there is actually no such address.  (Well, yes, the Holmes Museum has arranged to use that mailing address, but it's not located where it should be.)

Yes, 221 Baker Street is like the boarding platform to Hogwarts; if you are a Muggle without a guide, you will never find it.

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They should call it # 221 3/4.

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