Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer Meeting Report

Forty-seven members and guests convened at the Fox & Hounds restaurant in Bloomfield Hills on July 22, 2007 for the summer meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Along with the chef-carved prime rib and broiled salmon, the buffet lunch included the usual accompaniments and a well-researched presentation in which Dr. David Mohan dissected a mystery from the most famous and popular of the Master’s tales, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

Dr. Mohan’s monograph, titled “Three Knights Upon the Moor,” examined the history and homes of the two families which are the most likely candidates for the story of that large and rather disagreeable hound.
Dr. David Mohan

Backed up with heraldry, maps, drawings and photographs, the presentation examined how both families – the Cabells of Dartmoor and Norfolk and the Baskerville-Mynors and their ancestors, the Vaughns – had histories that included sightings of evil black dogs. Just as intriguing were the links both families had to the “literary agent,” Arthur Conan Doyle.

Before all of that however, Gasogene John Kramb and Tantalus Robert Musial attempted to shed light on a few of the Canonical conundrums in the assigned reading, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.”
Tantalus Musial and Gasogene Kramb

Among them was how a firm specializing in assessing machinery became involved with a tea broker who was also mixed up with the importation of nitrates? What of this giant rat and what exactly was a yeggman? When did Sherlock Holmes’ practice become “an agency”? And was Holmes’ rather casual advice at the end of the case enough to put all aright?

Along the way were the usual toasts. Introduced by Tidewaiter Walter Young, the toastees included Gloria Longueuil, Sam Stinson, Dennis Petroni and Young himself, all of whom raised a glass to publicly recognize the singular attributes of Mrs. Hudson, Watson’s Second Wife, The Woman and Mycroft Holmes. Longtime Mendicant Jerry Alvin also rose to recognize the efforts of one Ezekiah Hopkins, of Lebanon, Pa., who left a fortune to make life easier for certain men with red hair.
"Red" Alvin

Winning the summer 2007 door prize, a DVD that detailed “The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes,” was Joyce Hostnick.

Before business was adjourned, Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot read the poem “A Long Evening with Holmes” and Anne Musial and Dr. Mohan led the multitude in a chorus of “God Save the Queen.”

While the afternoon was most convivial, there was also sadness in the air since the site of this gathering, an English Tudor-style landmark in the northern Detroit suburbs since 1928, will close at the end of August – to be torn down and replaced by some modern development.
Fox & Hounds (1928-2007)

Sadder still since several knowledgeable Sherlockians report that the Fox & Hounds was patterned in part as a Stateside recreation of two famed hotels in the charming Cotswold village of Broadway in the United Kingdom – the Lygon Arms and the Broadway Hotel.

Though there is no record in the existing canon of Holmes and Watson staying at the Lygon or the Broadway, there are several cases for which the world is not yet prepared so one never knows what may turn up.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial, Tantalus


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