Doyle's Crowborough Home
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Doyle's Crowborough Home is an article published in The Bookman (US version) in february 1913, including several testimonials of Arthur St. John Adcock (1864-1930), an English novelist and poet, who did an interview with Conan Doyle in november 1912 in The Bookman (UK), and dedicated 7 pages to Conan Doyle in his book Gods of Modern Grub Street (1923).
Doyle's Crowborough Home
Mr. A. St. John Adcock, writing of the creator of Sherlock Holmes, thus describes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's home at Windlesham, Crowborough. "In the hall hangs the mud-encrusted cricket-bat, with which he made a century, on a wet wicket, in the very first match he played at Lords; in one room is a beautiful statuette of Lord Roberts, presented to him by the members of the Langman Hospital staff in recognition of the work he did during the Boer War; and in another, again in spontaneous recognition of his national services in South Africa, is the silver bowl subscribed for by Sir Arthur's neighbours (and the grooms and gardeners of his neighbours), when he was living at Hindland; here hangs a blood-smeared banolier taken from a soldier who was killed in battle on the veldt; there, a haversack containing a set of cheap chess-men. This too is a relic of the Boer War. As Sir Arthur was riding with a small party across country, they were stopped by a native who told them a dead or dying Englishman lay some little distance aside, and they found a soldier, dead of his wounds, with one of the pawns out of this haversack of his clasped between a finger and thumb. Trophies of sport are on many of the walls, and pictures of famous prize-fighters and prize-fighting; in one of the windows is a large bust of Sherlock Holmes; modelled in clay and sent to the author by an unknown admirer from Manchester; and, to say nothing of many other similar mementoes, on the floor of the billiard room stand two huge fossil feet of the prehistoric Iguanodon, and on the table above them is the flint head of an arrow that has survived from the Stone Age. It was the discovery of these relics on the downs that stretch for miles before his own door that set Sir Arthur's imagination at work on the period to which they belong and resulted in the creation of the astonishing Professor Challenger, the sending of him and his search party to that almost inaccessible plateau in the wilds of South America which they find still inhabited by men and animals of the prehistoric type and, in a word, in the writing of The Lost World, which is at once one of the most realistic and one of the most romantic of his books — its wildest imaginings wearing an air of sheer reality from the Defoe-like, matter-of-fact manner of their narration.
Mr. Adcock makes the following divisions of Sir Arthur Doyle's work : Police or sensational romances — A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Firm of Girdlestone. Historical novels — Sir Nigel, and its sequel (though it was written first), The White Company; these two covering the period between 1340 and 1360; Micah Clarke (1679), The Refugees (1670), Rodney Stone (1804). Then come four novels fashioned round the glamorous figure of Napoleon, The Great Shadow, Uncle Bernac, The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard, The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard, and a romance of modern Egypt, The Tragedy of the Korosko.
Then there are short novels of modern life and books of short stories, such as The Doings of Raffles Haw, and The Parasite; A Duet, and an Occasional Chorus, dealing with the domestic humours and emotions of average lives; The Green Flag; Round the Fire Stories; The Lost Galley; the collection of medical stories in Round the Red Lamp; The Stark Munro Letters, again reminiscent of their author's medical experiences, and vividly and realistically revealing the thoughts and opinions of a young man on life and the world in which he is living; one book of literary criticisms, The Magic Door; two of poetry, Songs of Action and Songs of the Road; and one notable volume of history, The Great Boer War. Also, besides the books and pamphlets on The Crime of the Congo, the Edalji and Slater cases, and the Boer War, there are the plays : Halves; A Story of Waterloo, in which Irving made one of his great successes as Corporal Brewster; The Fires of Fate (a dramatic version of The Tragedy of the Korosko), The House of Temperley, The Speckled Band (a Sherlock Holmes adventure) and Sherlock Holmes, which was dramatised by Mr. William Gillette, who himself played the title role.