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crissdee
1390684.  Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:53 am Reply with quote

Re that link from AFB. The title suggests that "taking the performance below the stage" is some kind of well-known phrase. Is it? If it is, it passed me by completely.

 
Big Martin
1390749.  Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:53 am Reply with quote

Having largely run through the "Lady Be Good" medley at choir practice yesterday evening, it's been the title track all day today. At least there are worse things than a bit of Gershwin to be stuck in my head!

 
crissdee
1391000.  Sun Sep 26, 2021 1:18 pm Reply with quote

Send for Mr Holmes! Moriarty's descendants are causing trouble.....

 
tetsabb
1391039.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:58 am Reply with quote

Did Moriarty have offspring?
😉

 
crissdee
1391042.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:13 am Reply with quote

He had one (or possibly two) brothers, so the chance of nieces and nephews is there. His own marital status was never discussed, so direct descendants remain a possibility.

 
Jenny
1391076.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 9:55 am Reply with quote

Offspring are not necessarily dependent on marital status.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1391080.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:02 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Offspring are not necessarily dependent on marital status.


True enough, but as we're talking about Victorian times here the contingency that any presumptive offspring born out of wedlock would have born his name is a remote one.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
suze
1391103.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 12:12 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
He had one (or possibly two) brothers, so the chance of nieces and nephews is there. His own marital status was never discussed, so direct descendants remain a possibility.


Oh, it was!

From The Valley of Fear, we learn that "He is unmarried. His younger brother is a station master in the west of England.".

Now, VoF is set about three years before Holmes and Moriarty took the trip to Switzerland from which Moriarty never returned. Watson hadn't intended to write a book - The final problem - about those events, but his hand was forced by one Colonel James Moriarty "defending the memory of his brother" in print. (Probably in a letter to The Times, although we are not told.)

Station masters, in the west of England and elsewhere, were men of mature years. For such a man to forsake station mastery and join the Army would be an unusual career move; for one thing one does not normally join the Army at such an age, and even if one did one would not rise to the rank of Colonel in only three years.

So if there was only one brother, his Army career must have preceded his railway career. That's a rather odd career move too, though; retired Colonels gambled and drank, maybe went into Parliament, maybe the Stock Exchange - but they didn't take relatively menial jobs in the provinces unless they were broke. Which they weren't, unless they had some rather large skeletons in their closets - and in that case, they kept a low profile and didn't go writing letters to The Times.

Accordingly, I tend to think that Professor Moriarty must have been the middle son of three. The oldest brother went into the Army, the middle brother into academia, but the parents' money didn't stretch to sending the youngest brother too to public school and he was forced to look to the railways for a living. That back story suggests that the youngest brother is the most likely of the three to have lived a fairly conventional life in a brick built home - a house quite like ours, in fact - and married and had children.

Why at least two of the three brothers were called James - it is often suggested that it was all three - God only knows.

 
crissdee
1391110.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 1:26 pm Reply with quote

How shall I ever live that down? Being corrected on a point of Holmes scholarship!!!!

Still, it is better than to fall before a less worthy opponent...

 
PDR
1391121.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:45 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

Station masters, in the west of England and elsewhere, were men of mature years. For such a man to forsake station mastery and join the Army would be an unusual career move; for one thing one does not normally join the Army at such an age,


It depends on when we are talking about (forgive me, but I'm not a Holmes buff and so I'm vague on the dates), but it's not impossible. A brevetted officer from relatively humble origins could have risen Captain or Major with field commissions but then had to face returning to permanent rank at the end of a conflict. Such people took on all sorts of medium-supervisory roles in trade and commerce because they were (allegedly) good at managing people and getting things done - unlike many holders of more senior permanent commissions they were promoted because of obvious ability and competence. So it's quite possible that (say) a Brevetted Ensign who rose from the ranks would leave the army into a position of trust like stationmaster or postmaster.

Quote:
...and even if one did one would not rise to the rank of Colonel in only three years.


Well this depends on dates, but if we take up the history from above we might assume that Brother Moriarty still longed for the soldiering life, but not as an Ensign. So he purchased a Colonelcy as soon as one became available. If this was early enough it would have been in the period where most commissions of field rank (Captain, Major, Col) were sold by their respective regiments (General Officer commissions were in the gift of the sovereign and were never officially sold, but there were allegations). It has been alleged that the army invented the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel solely to create extra commissions to sell. The practice of selling commissions was only finally abandoned towards the end of the 19th century when the Army finally fell into line with the Royal Navy's bizarre belief that officers should be trained and promoted on ability & experience rather than social standing.

So it could be the Col Moriarty was a brevetted officer who was promoted in the field and then retired to await a vacant colonelcy into which to return, possibly funded by his infamous brother's ill-gotten gains because a Colonel's commission would have cost nearly 10k in pounds.

Is that possible within the context of the Holmes cannon?

PDR

 
crissdee
1391128.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:40 pm Reply with quote

We are talking about the end of C19th and very early C20th, by which time purchasing of commissions would have all but died out. The idea of the Professor funding his brother's commission is not impossible, but as suze indicates, he would have to have been a stationmaster before he was a colonel, which is less likely.

What we must of course bear in mind is that, by this time, ACC was slinging these stories together with little regard for how they married up with anything else he had written, but it is fun to speculate and play the Great Game.

 
PDR
1391129.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:53 pm Reply with quote

Phooey! Don't go ruining my perfect theory with inconvenient facts!

PDR

 
suze
1391131.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 5:40 pm Reply with quote

In fairness, PDR's idea is not impossible.

The sale of commissions ceased in 1871. Professor Moriarty as depicted in canon was a man of middle years, so his brother(s) presumably would have been as well. That does make it possible for the Colonel Moriarty who wrote to The Times in 1891 after the Reichenbach events to have bought a colonelcy more than twenty years earlier.

But here's why it I think it unlikely that Colonel Moriarty and the Moriarty who worked on the railway were one and the same. The Colonel would have left the Army in one of three ways:

1. Death. We know he didn't die, because dead men do not often write to The Times.
2. Retirement (or other honourable discharge). In that event he'd have sold his colonelcy and wouldn't have needed the money that being a stationmaster paid.
3. Discharge in disgrace. In that event he wouldn't have got the cost of his colonelcy back and hence might have needed to work for a living, but he'd have been persona non grata in public life. He'd have called himself Mr Moriarty (or perhaps adopted another name altogether), and he wouldn't have broadcast his previous career to his railway peers.
Had he written to The Times using a rank from which he had been cashiered, there would have been return letters reminding the Editor that the man was a considerable blackguard - and he'd also have been at risk of losing his railway job for being an embarrassment.

The possibility that his promotion to Colonel had happened in the field, and that he'd then gone into civilian employment rather than return to his previous rank certainly exists. But Watson was an Army man himself, and would have known better than to refer to a man by a breveted rank that he no longer held.

 
PDR
1391134.  Mon Sep 27, 2021 6:30 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
In fairness, PDR's idea is not impossible.


To which there can be only one response:

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

:0)

PDR

 
tetsabb
1391144.  Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:08 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
suze wrote:
In fairness, PDR's idea is not impossible.


To which there can be only one response:

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

:0)

PDR


But not Infinitely Improbable...

 

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