|3Preface: the only point when Watson breaks from within the stories to address the reader, it enhances the theatrical metaphor implicit in the book-title, with the preface a form of presentation from Watson raising the curtain while on the title's indication Holmes at the close brings it down.|
|philosophy and agriculture: an allusion to Virgil Georgics, whose
agricultural preoccupations turn to specific discussion of
bees in the last book, a work appropriate to Holmes after
the conclusion of his Aeneid. ACD certainly read Virgil Aeneid at Stonyhurst to the extent of a book or so, and
would probably know the Georgics in synopsis and by
complete the volume: as originally completed, the volume carried 'The Adventure of the Cardboard Box', which had lain very long indeed in portfolio, having been printed in the Strand in Jan. 1893. Our series restores it to its proper place among The Memoirs whence it was removed (save for the first American edn.), primarily, it would seem, because ACD's father, Charles Altamont Doyle ( 1832-93), whose alcoholic dependence seems to have resembled in its progress and medical effect that of the murderer James Browner in 'The Cardboard Box', died in a mental home on 10 Oct. between magazine and book publication of The Memoirs. A quarter- century later was a sufficiently decent interval, and if ACD's mother, Mary Foley Doyle ( 1838-1921), had vetoed previous book publication her recent move near her son facilitated withdrawal of the prohibition.