“The Irregulars’ Room”: A Forgotten Piece of Sherlockiana

I recently bought a used copy of Profile by Gaslight, edited by Edgar W. Smith, the first mainstream publication of Sherlockian scholarship. To my surprise, it was a first edition, acquired on July 29, 1944, according to the original owner’s note on the title page. I flipped through the book, and tucked next to Vincent Starrett’s “221B” was this newspaper clipping.

To save everyone’s eyes, I’ll transcribe the poem here. The clipping is from the Chicago Tribune of Wednesday, March 11, 1964, and includes this explanatory note: “Last night marked the dedication of the Irregulars’ Room in Sage’s restaurant at 1 N. La Salle. This is the only public Sherlockian room in the United States.”

The Irregulars’ Room
by Robert W. Hahn

Here dwell, dear Sherlock, here, within these walls,
With your test tubes, violin, pipe, and shag.
And when your voice, sharp with excitement, calls
“Come! The game is afoot,” we will not lag
But speed to stable or ancestral halls,
In train or hansom or colonel’s drag;
And watch your piercing eyes and mind
Find clews to which Lestrade is blind.
Then, with the culprit safe in custody,
Return with you to 221B,
And gasogene, tantalus, pipes, and fire,
To await the next client with tale so dire.
For in that land or eighteen-ninety-five
We, your faithful Watsons, best survive.

Not a literary masterpiece, perhaps, but an admirable sentiment nonetheless. I hope other faithful Watsons enjoy Mr. Hahn’s work as well.

From Janice M. Eisen (“Maggie Oakeshott”), Gazetteer

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